Category Archives: Alphabet

Can we really trust Google as judge, jury and executioner of online ads?

With cries of undue influence over the industry body deciding which ads to ban, is new Chrome adblocking too self-serving?

From today, users of Google Chrome, the most popular web browser in the world, will no longer see 12 types of online adverts which have been deemed to be “intrusive” by a group of advertising industry members

Leading that body, which examined 104 potential formats to determine which should be blocked and which should be allowed, is the world’s largest digital advertiser: Google.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

Google turns on default adblocker within Chrome

Users of latest Chrome browser on Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Android will have some of most intrusive types of ads blocked automatically

Google will start automatically blocking intrusive ads within its Chrome browser for desktop and Android from Thursday 15 February.

The change, announced in June, will see the dominant browser that is used by over 56% of internet users block some of the most intrusive ads including full-page prestitial ads, flashing animated ads and auto-playing video ads with sound.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

Humans no longer required: Google tests robot to chat with friends for you

With its new Reply system the firm is taking the art of conversion one step forwards – or should that be backwards?

Are you tired of the constant need to tap on a glass keyboard just to keep up with your friends? Do you wish a robot could free you of your constant communication obligations via WhatsApp, Facebook or text messages? Google is working on an AI-based auto-reply system to do just that.

Google’s experimental product lab called Area 120 is currently testing a new system simply called Reply that will work with Google’s Hangouts and Allo, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Android Messages, Skype, Twitter direct messages and Slack.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

Google search results for abortion services promote anti-abortion centers

When users seek facilities for the procedure, Google Maps often presents ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ that discourage abortions

Google searches for abortion services direct users to anti-abortion centers across the US, according to a new report that has sparked concerns from reproductive rights’ groups.

In response to the question “Where can I get an abortion near me?”, Google Maps frequently suggests “crisis pregnancy centers”, which are often non-medical facilities that provide counseling meant to discourage women from having abortions.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

Boston Dynamics crosses new threshold with door-opening dog

Robotics company releases video of the SpotMini, its four-legged and well-mannered machine

Eight years after it was first revealed to the public, the uncanny gait of Boston Dynamics’ quadrupedal robots is still unsettling. But a new video, released by the firm on Monday, shows the company’s flagship robot, the SpotMini, crossing a new threshold – literally – as it demonstrates that it can open doors.

The video depicts a SpotMini, a four-legged yellow machine that stands about a metre high, flummoxed by a closed door before a second robot of the same type, equipped with a fifth limb extending from its back, arrives to save the day. The second bot turns the handle, pulls the door open and holds it for the first to walk through, then follows.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

Uber and Waymo reach settlement in blockbuster trade secrets trial

  • Waymo will receive a settlement of about $245m from Uber
  • Uber’s CEO said his job included ‘correcting mistakes of the past’

The trade secrets trial between Uber and Google’s self-driving car spinoff came to a sudden close on Friday, when an attorney for Waymo announced that it had reached a settlement with the ride hailing company.

Waymo will receive a financial settlement that includes 0.34% of Uber’s equity based on a $72bn valuation, putting the reward at about $245m.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

YouTube penalises Logan Paul for dead rat Taser video

Google pulls all adverts from vlogger’s content for displaying a ‘pattern of behaviour’ that ‘damages the broader creator community’

YouTube has once again penalised vlogger Logan Paul for posting inappropriate content, just weeks after he was suspended from the company’s paid-content program over a video trivialising suicide.

The YouTube star has had all adverts on his videos suspended over what Google describes as a “pattern of behaviour”, repeatedly posting content which push the boundaries of what is acceptable on the site.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

How an ex-YouTube insider investigated its secret algorithm

The methodology Guillaume Chaslot used to detect videos YouTube was recommending during the election – and how the Guardian analysed the data

YouTube’s recommendation system draws on techniques in machine learning to decide which videos are auto-played or appear “up next”. The precise formula it uses, however, is kept secret. Aggregate data revealing which YouTube videos are heavily promoted by the algorithm, or how how many views individual videos receive from “up next” suggestions, is also withheld from the public.

Disclosing that data would enable academic institutions, fact-checkers and regulators (as well as journalists) to assess the type of content YouTube is most likely to promote. By keeping the algorithm and its results under wraps, YouTube ensures that any patterns that indicate unintended biases or distortions associated with its algorithm are concealed from public view.

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

Jeff Bezos adds billions to his fortune as Amazon reports profit surge

Amazon’s share price soared over 4%, while Apple shares wobbled despite quarterly revenues, and Alphabet announced a loss

Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, added another couple of billion to his fortune on Thursday as Amazon, the company he founded, announced it had made close to $2bn in profits in the three months running up to Christmas.

Related: Amazon fulfillment centers don’t boost employment, analysis finds

Continue reading…
Source: gadt

The big tech backlash

Tech giants are drawing political fire over fake news and Russian meddling

Nicholas Terry understands the internet’s darker side better than most. A history lecturer at Exeter University, Terry is an expert on antisemitism and runs a blog examining Holocaust denial and its dissemination online.

“You’ve got three separate phenomena converging,” he says. “One is the fake news stuff, promulgated by the likes of Facebook and Twitter, which is trying to promote specific false stories in real time for immediate impact; second, there’s the ideological bubble – people only reading leftwing or rightwing news sites; and then there’s this effort by fringe movements on Holocaust denial to make their websites look respectable and to hoodwink readers into thinking what they’re reading is OK.”

Continue reading…
Source: gadt