Just In: $GOOGL 3 Cloud-Computing Stocks That Are Better Buys Than Snowflake
The world's computing needs will increasingly be handled through the cloud, and Snowflake 's (NYSE: SNOW) leading position in data-warehousing services has made its stock one of 2020's biggest market success stories. The company's stock skyrocketed following its initial public offer...
Got this from GOOGL - 3 Cloud-Computing Stocks That Are Better Buys Than Snowflake
$1350 is strong support so I don't think it will ever trade below $1350 ever again imo
How is about the first gap 3/20 and 3/21....don’t you think it will fill soon? I think it maybe
Gap at $1448-1451 will fill, should find support at $1400 or so imo
Will all gaps sooner of later be filled?
Former Google Engineer Anthony Levandowski Sentenced to Prison in Trade-Secret Theft CaseBy Preetika Rana
August 04 2020 - 02:48AM
Dow Jones News
Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of a yearslong legal battle between Google's self-driving unit and Uber Technologies Inc., was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison on one count of stealing trade secrets.
The judge in the case temporarily suspended the incarceration because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Levandowski's lawyer said.
Mr. Levandowski reached a deal with prosecutors in March, under which he pleaded guilty to theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google's self-driving program "with the intent to use it to benefit someone other than Google," according to a legal filing at the time.
Mr. Levandowski left Google's self-driving unit, Waymo, in 2016 and helped start a company soon acquired by Uber. Google parent Alphabet Inc. sued Uber in 2017, claiming that Mr. Levandowski stole more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving Google. Waymo and Uber settled the lawsuit in 2018, but a judge in the case asked federal prosecutors to investigate Uber and Mr. Levandowski over possible trade-secret theft.
"Anthony deeply regrets his past decisions," his lawyers said in a statement, thanking the judge for the deferral of the imprisonment. Mr. Levandowski is expected to return to court in February to determine when his prison term might begin, his lawyer said.
An Uber spokesman declined to comment on the sentencing. Lawyers for Mr. Levandowski didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. A Waymo spokeswoman said the company last month sent a letter to the U.S. probations office asking that Mr. Levandowski be sentenced to between 24 and 30 months in prison.
"His misconduct was enormously disruptive and harmful to Waymo, constituted a betrayal, and the financial effects would likely have been even more severe had it gone undetected," the letter said.
Tuesday's sentencing resolves the criminal charges against Mr. Levandowski, but there are other cases pending in U.S. courts. Mr. Levandowski, who filed for bankruptcy in March, filed a new lawsuit last month, demanding a payout from Uber.
The Uber spokesman called the filing desperate and declined to comment further.
Deutsche Bank, Google to Form Strategic Partnership
July 07 2020 - 02:02AM
Dow Jones News
By Pietro Lombardi
Deutsche Bank AG and Alphabet Inc.'s Google are launching a strategic partnership that will provide the German bank with cloud services and lead to the creation of new products for clients.
The parties have signed a letter of intent, while a multiyear contract should be signed in the coming months, the German bank said Tuesday.
The agreement will help Deutsche speed up its cloud transition and improve its capabilities related to data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning, it said.
The collaboration will play a key role in the bank's strategic overhaul, Deutsche Chief Executive Christian Sewing said.
"It demonstrates our determination to invest in our technology as our future is strongly linked to successful digitization. It is as much a revenue story as it is about costs."
Where Advertisers Boycotting Facebook Are Spending Their Money Instead
June 29 2020 - 06:28PM
Dow Jones News
By Nat Ives
Facebook Inc.'s sprawling reach among consumers and its powerful ad targeting abilities have made it a seeming must-buy for many marketers.
Its Facebook and Instagram platforms are likely to collect 23.4% of U.S. digital ad revenue this year, second only to Alphabet Inc.'s Google and far ahead of its next closest rival, Amazon.com Inc., according to research firm eMarketer.
But a growing list of companies are pausing their advertising with Facebook for July or longer, responding to civil-rights groups' call for a boycott over what they say is a lack of progress in preventing hate speech and misinformation.
Facebook on Friday said it would start labeling political speech that violated its rules and take other measures to prevent voter suppression and protect minorities from abuse.
That didn't stop more companies from joining the boycott. The list of advertisers that say they won't buy ads on Facebook or Instagram in July at a minimum now includes Levi Strauss & Co., Beam Suntory Inc., Hershey Co., Patagonia Inc., North Face, the U.S. sales and marketing arm of Honda Motor Co., Eddie Bauer LLC and Recreational Equipment Inc. Clorox Co. on Monday said it will cease advertising with Facebook through December.
"We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and continuously work with outside experts to review and update our policies, " a Facebook spokeswoman said Monday. "We've opened ourselves up to a civil-rights audit, and we have banned 250 white supremacist organizations from Facebook and Instagram." Facebook finds nearly 90% of the hate speech on which it takes action before users report it but will continue to work with civil-rights groups and others to do more, she said.
While the ad industry waits to see how the confrontation will play out, the boycotters have another question to answer: What is their marketing strategy without Facebook?
The alternatives sometimes don't get enough attention because Facebook advertising is considered a safe choice, according to an ad buyer at a major advertising agency. "Putting your next dollar into Facebook, you know it's going to work," the buyer said. "Whereas putting that dollar someplace else, you might not know it's gonna work."
Some of the marketers pulling back from Facebook are now going to find out.
"We stand with the Black community and support those who are fighting for stricter policies that stop racist, violent or hateful content and misinformation from circulating on these platforms," the VF Corp. backpack brand JanSport said Friday as it joined the boycott. "As such, we will shift the planned launch of our July back-to-school campaign to YouTube and TikTok."
YouTube, part of Google, and video-sharing social networking service TikTok, which is owned by Bytedance Ltd., are already part of the JanSport campaign but will assume a larger role, a spokeswoman said.
Apparel brand North Face, also owned by VF, is likely to increase ad spending with current partners such as Google and Pinterest Inc., a spokeswoman said. But it is also exploring opportunities in affiliate marketing, in which websites get commissions for referring traffic to a brand, and targeting consumers elsewhere around the web, she said.
Password manager Dashlane Inc. will spend more on sponsored content, online display ads and social media platforms such as Pinterest, said Joy Howard, chief marketing officer at the company. It will also collaborate with other marketers to bring in new customers through joint promotions, she said.
"There is a lot of interest in doing things in a different way," Ms. Howard said. "People are hungry to find alternatives."
Outdoor apparel company Eddie Bauer will redirect some money to tools that it already uses, like the ads that show up when consumers search Google or Amazon for terms such as "hiking shorts," according to Damien Huang, president at the company.
Eddie Bauer also plans an updated test of advertising within Gmail, something it tried previously, plus new territory for the brand such as TikTok and Snap Inc.'s Snapchat.
Clothing and design brand Eileen Fisher Inc. said it would increase spending on current tactics such as using Google Display Network and Rakuten Inc., the Japanese online merchant, to attract new customers and re-contact existing ones with online display ads, for example. And it will lean more on marketing programs like the one from RewardStyle Inc., which helps find influencers who might promote brands to their followers.
But company executives are also exploring the use of streaming TV services for later in the year, drawn in part by increased viewing as lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic forced people to stay home, said Jamie Habanek, director of brand marketing.
"It's a shift that we were already talking about and could become more important if we decide that we have to move away from Facebook and Instagram for a longer period of time," Ms. Habanek said.
Not every boycotter will reallocate its Facebook and Instagram ad spending to other advertising and marketing channels, however: REI, the outdoor retailer, said it will spend the money elsewhere in its business instead.
Write to Nat Ives at email@example.com
$GOOGL | #Alphabet A Political Pawn $GOOG
Alphabet Inc has a tough few weeks ahead, as mainstream media
have grabbed the current turmoil in the world to try and grasp control of
advertising spend once again.
The political and social situation is toxic in the USA and
TWTR FB & GOOGL are now weapons in a political game as the election approaches.
Downside may continue but temporary once major companies realize the need these
platforms more than token gestures of support.
PLEASE GIVE US A LIKE IF YOU FIND OUR CONTENT HELPFUL, THANK YOU.
Google employees demand company stop selling tech to police
A growing group of more than 1,666 Google employees is demanding Google stop selling its technology to police departments, TechCrunch has learned.
“We’re disappointed to know that Google is still selling to police forces, and advertises its connection with police forces as somehow progressive, and seeks more expansive sales rather than severing ties with police and joining the millions who want to defang and defund these institutions,” employees wrote in a letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. “Why help the institutions responsible for the knee on George Floyd’s neck to be more effective organizationally? Not only that, but the same Clarkstown police force being advertised by Google as a success story has been sued multiple times for illegal surveillance of Black Lives Matter organizers.”
Google, for example, has publicized how Clarkstown Police Department uses G Suite for sharing information and digital evidence. Meanwhile, Google is also a partner and donor to the Seattle police foundation and its venture capital arm, GV, has invested in startups working on artificial intelligence technology for police.
In the letter, employees go on to say they want to be proud of the company they work for. They also want Google to speak to their values, the letter says.
“The racist legacy of police across the United States goes all the way back to its roots, when police forces emerged to protect the wealth gotten from slavery and genocide,” the letter states. “We have a long way to go to address the full legacy of racism but to begin with — we should not be in the business of profiting from racist policing. We should not be in the business of criminalizing Black existence while we chant that Black Lives Matter. We, the undersigned Googlers, call onyou to stop making our technology available to police forces.”
Google employees have been able to successfully pressure the company to drop contracts in the past. After employees petitioned Google to stop working on Project Maven, Google decided not to renew its contract with the Pentagon for that project. Then, in October 2018, Google dropped out of the running for JEDI, the big cloud computing contract with the Pentagon.
Google is not the only tech company that has contracted with police departments and other law enforcement agencies. Salesforce, for example, has long held a contract with Customs and Border Protection, despite protest from employees and others.
Some positive change, however, has occurred. Earlier this month, IBM said it would no longer sell its facial recognition technology, which has become a tool for policing and mass surveillance. Meanwhile, Microsoft recently said it won’t sell facial recognition technology to police without federal regulation and Amazon halted police use of its facial recognition tech for one year. These were direct responses to the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.
In response to Floyd’s death, Pichai noted in an email to employees that “Our Black community is hurting, and many of us are searching for ways to stand up for what we believe, and reach out to people we love to show solidarity.”
He also outlined how Google will give $12 million to racial justice organizations. Since then, Pichai has elaborated on Google’s commitments to racial justice. Internally, for example, Google committed to improving diverse representation at the leadership level by 30% by 2025.
“We want Google to take real steps to help dismantle racism,” employees wrote. “We as a society have moved past the point where saying Black Lives Matter is enough, we need to show it in our thinking, in our words and in our actions that Black lives do matter to us.”
An Army of Hackers Can Make Crypto Safer, But Is Enough Being Done?
Bug bounties have emerged as one of the key ways for companies to prevent catastrophic hacks.
In the past decade, hacking gradually became a respectable and potentially rewarding career thanks to the introduction of bug bounties.
While some organizations like Mozilla launched bug bounties all the way back in 2004, major impetus to the industry came when Google and Facebook rolled out similar programs in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Soon after, in 2011 and 2012, platforms like Bugcrowd and HackerOne commercialized bug bounties to make it easier for other companies to set them up.
Why are bug bounties useful?
Security audits and code reviews are limited both in time and in the number of eyes providing scrutiny. While they are useful to pick the lowest hanging fruit before releasing software to the public, some of the most serious bugs can result from the composition of many subtle design failures.
As a recent example of this, an independent researcher found a major bug in the ProgPoW algorithm despite multiple previous audits.
Recent hacks in decentralized finance, or DeFi, showcase the complexity of these systems. In the first bZX hack, the core of the exploit was a subtle failure to check for proper collateralization in the bZX smart contracts — but flash loans and other platforms provided the necessary tools to extract money through this bug.
Google’s program easily demonstrates that releasing safe code from the get go is nearly impossible. Its vulnerability reward program posted an unprecedented record of $6 million in payouts in 2019 — nine years after launch. During that period, the company had all the tools to perfect its internal security practices, but the complexity of its systems seems to have made that all but impossible.
Bug bounties in crypto
Many companies and projects in crypto will offer generous rewards for critical bugs. DeFi projects Maker, Compound and Aave have maximums of $100,000, $150,000 and $250,000 respectively.
Major exchanges like Kraken, Coinbase and Binance also provide bug bounty programs. Kraken has no explicit maximum, while Coinbase and Binance top out at $50,000 and $10,000, respectively. Not all major exchanges launched such programs — notably Huobi and Bitstamp.
It is worth noting that an advertised maximum payout does not necessarily make the program more attractive, as the sums paid are almost always at the discretion of the company.
Out of 458 reports submitted to Coinbase, the maximum payout was only $20,000, while the average is just $200. This is likely due to low severity of the bugs, but these statistics are important signals to researchers who must decide the platform to focus on. Some of the highest average payouts on Hacker One can be obtained from Monolith, Tron (TRX) and Matic, though the latter just launched its bug bounty program.
Can bug bounties save projects?
Crypto infrastructure poses an ideal target to hackers due to its cash-like properties, as stealing digital money from a bank is much harder.
Hacking “success” stories like Coincheck, where the perpetrators of a $500 million hack were not caught after more than two years, may attract “black hat,” or fully malicious, hackers more than other industries.
According to a ranking of exchange security published by Hacken in 2019, 82% of all exchanges lack any bug bounty programs at all. Of those that do, and that are ranked highly in its list, only Binance suffered a major attack in 2019.
Curiously, both bZX and dForce had bug bounty programs in place before their incidents — but they had notable caveats.
bZX’s program only had a $5,000 maximum payment, and crucially required researchers to submit a proof of identity before collecting the reward. It also appears that it was only published on a Medium post. Following the incident, the project rectified all of the aforementioned issues.
DForce’s program likewise required submitting documents, and while its maximum payout was significant at $50,000, it only covered the USDx stablecoin system — not the Lendf.me platform that ended up being hacked.
While companies are obligated to withhold payment to researchers living in sanctioned regions, very few successful programs require a full identity check to receive money. From the perspective of a bug hunter, submitting identity documents may become a Damocles Sword due to frequent legal reprisals against fully legitimate hackers— thus discouraging them from applying.
Given all of the above, there appears to be a significant correlation between the presence of a fair bug bounty program and the incidence of catastrophic hacks.
Nevertheless, in a conversation with Cointelegraph, Egor Homakov, a well-respected security researcher, warned against “shaming” projects:
“Bounties shouldn't be forced on any project, and the interest should come from within. Every project already comes with a bounty program by default, it's just the bounties are equal [to] $0. I don't think people should shame the programs for higher amounts. This market perfectly self-regulates, and doesn't need any more research rage/demands.”
Judging from incident responses by some of the companies who were hacked, natural selection toward better bug bounties may be already happening.
Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
It looks like Director and 10% holder (Brin Sergey) immediately disposed of his 13,400 class A common stock, imo...
An environmentalist documentary produced by Oscar-winning director Michael Moore has been removed from YouTube. The filmmakers said that they have angered “green capitalists” who are in bed with Wall Street.
The film ‘Planet of the Humans,’ produced by Michael Moore and directed by Jeff Gibbs, was pulled from YouTube due to a copyright claim after it had garnered more than 8.3 million views since being released online last month. The copyright claim in question concerned a four-second clip showing the mining of rare earth materials, which are used in the manufacture of wind turbines.
In a statement to the Deadline news website, Gibbs called the removal of the film “a blatant act of censorship by political critics,” and claimed that he had included the disputed footage under “fair use.”
It is a misuse of copyright law to shut down a film that has opened a serious conversation about how parts of the environmental movement have gotten into bed with Wall Street and so-called ‘green capitalists.’
Gibbs said that he is working with YouTube to resolve the issue and get the film back up as soon as possible
Correction to Story on BuzzFeed News Naming a New Editor
Dow Jones News
The story, "BuzzFeed News Names Mark Schoofs as Editor in Chief," published at 12:04 p.m., erroneously said more than 200 journalists work at BuzzFeed News. About 150 journalists work for BuzzFeed News.
Coronavirus Tracking Apps Raise Questions About Bluetooth Security
Dow Jones News
By Catherine Stupp
Governments and companies are planning to introduce mobile applications that use Bluetooth to track coronavirus infections. Researchers say the technology keeps users' identifying data private, but the complexity of working with Bluetooth raises cybersecurity concerns.
Bluetooth, a widely used technology for connecting devices, has emerged as the technology of choice for tracking the spread of the coronavirus, as the U.S. and European countries decide how to safely reopen businesses in the coming weeks and months. European governments including France, the U.K. and Germany said in recent weeks that they are developing Bluetooth-based mobile apps to notify individuals who came close to someone who has the virus.
Singapore and Australia are already using Bluetooth-based tracing apps. Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google said this month they are working on a Bluetooth system that developers can use to build tracing apps while protecting users' privacy.
Security and privacy researchers say there are advantages, along with potential risks, to using Bluetooth. It reveals less detailed information about a person's location than other technologies, such as GPS. Bluetooth's specifications are several thousand pages long, and that complexity can lead to mistakes by developers, said Ben Seri, vice president for research at cybersecurity firm Armis Inc.
In November, a researcher from the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany found a vulnerability in how Bluetooth was implemented on devices using Google's Android operating system. Google issued a patch in February. The problem could have allowed hackers to launch remote cyberattacks.
In 2017, Mr. Seri discovered a security problem in how mobile devices handled Bluetooth signals. Hackers could have exploited the bug to move between devices using Bluetooth connections. Apple, Google and other companies issued patches to fix the problem in devices' operating systems. Such flaws are becoming less common as companies improve how they implement Bluetooth, said Mr. Seri.
If many people start using tracing apps, there could be more devices that enable Bluetooth all the time. Creative hackers might look for devices with Bluetooth turned on in their vicinity and try to launch remote cyberattacks, said Eliot Bendinelli, a technologist at London-based nonprofit Privacy International.
Apple and Google have said app developers that use their technology must comply with their privacy and security criteria. For example, users must opt in to share their data. Public health authorities would receive a list of Bluetooth beacons showing devices that were in contact with users who have coronavirus.
The app that France plans to deploy by May 11 won't be able to work on iPhones the way the government intended because Apple appears to prevent the transfer of data collected by Bluetooth coronavirus apps from a device to centralized servers, the country's Digital Minister Cédric O told Bloomberg last week. He said he asked Apple to change the policy.
Apple and Google declined to comment on France's complaint. A Google spokesman referred to the two companies' publication last week of updates to their system that they say will protect privacy and make it more difficult to identify individuals. This includes encrypting the Bluetooth metadata that phones share when they connect using the technology.
Representatives of the companies said Wednesday their technology will let public-health authorities assign users different risk levels and tailor the notifications they send to people accordingly. The risk level will be based on users' proximity and duration of exposure to known coronavirus carriers, and will be calculated on users' devices for privacy and security reasons.
Bluetooth connects devices by changing signals periodically to hide users' unique addresses. The feature is designed to protect privacy, but it could be possible for data to be exposed when a mobile phone connects with other devices nearby, according to a paper published last year by Boston University researchers.
It is unclear whether other apps installed on a phone could collect data from a coronavirus tracing app, David Starobinski, a Boston University professor in electrical and computer engineering who wrote the research, said in an interview. The 2019 paper was published before the coronavirus outbreak and didn't refer to contact-tracing apps.
Individuals would be more secure using a second phone for contact tracing, he said. "Ideally, we'd have a different device that's more isolated from other services," he said.
Aside from potential security risks, Bluetooth may not be a perfect technology for tracing which people have come close enough to transmit the coronavirus.
Developers of the original Bluetooth protocol said the technology wasn't designed to generate detailed, reliable data about proximity between devices. "The accuracy is limited," said Sven Mattisson, one of the engineers who designed the concept for Bluetooth in 1995 when he worked at Ericsson AB.
"You might interpret a false contact in a parking lot because you get such a strong signal back, even though the contact is far away. But if you're in an office space, you might not receive a signal," said Mr. Mattisson, who is now an adjunct professor in microelectronics at Lund University in Sweden. Signals might be strong in an open space with few people even if they are far apart, but they may be weaker in a crowded enclosed area.
A Bluetooth-based contact-tracing app that sends a signal when two users are close to each other might not recognize when they are separated by a window or walls, the Australian law firm Maddocks wrote last week in a privacy assessment of the country's app. The Australian health ministry said in response that it is seeking advice about the use of Bluetooth from the country's cybersecurity agency.
But the ubiquity of Bluetooth is an advantage amid a pandemic, said Jaap Haartsen, who developed the technology with Mr. Mattisson. It could take years to roll out mobile technology that could be better suited to tracing contacts, he said. Mr. Haartsen is now chief scientist for wireless technologies at Plantronics Inc.'s Poly, a communications services company.
"It was not made for tracing, but at least it can give an indication [of] which other phones have been in close range," he said in an email.
Write to Catherine Stupp at Catherine.Stupp@wsj.com
Alphabet Posts Sales Rise, With A Caveat -- WSJ
By Rob Copeland
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (April 29, 2020).
Google's parent posted strong results in what the company called "a tale of two quarters," with a head start in advertising earlier this year making up for the crunch of the global pandemic later.
Alphabet Inc.'s results add to indications that Silicon Valley might weather the economic slowdown better than others in the corporate world. One heavy caveat: Alphabet executives said that company performance fell off sharply as the coronavirus crisis accelerated, and cautioned that they couldn't predict how the coming months would turn out. Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said that March produced "a significant and sudden slowdown in ad revenues."
Alphabet reported total revenue of $41.2 billion for the first quarter, up 13% compared with a year earlier. Though the company doesn't provide future guidance for earnings and frequently diverges from market expectations, this was a particularly well-timed reveal for a company that has been a model of growth during its 22 years of existence.
Analysts polled by FactSet had expected revenue of $40.8 billion. The company's shares gained more than 7% in after-hours trading after the release.
The Alphabet results represent a significant public hint of how the major technology companies are faring in an economy brought low by the Covid-19 pandemic. The conglomerate's many arms overlap with tech rivals reporting earnings later this week. Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. report on Wednesday, while Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. follow on Thursday.
Snap Inc. reported another tech surprise to the upside last week, when it posted growth in users and revenue, sending its shares up more than 30%.
Alphabet's operating profit came in at $8 billion, up from $6.6 billion a year ago. The company makes most of its money from online advertising in areas such as search, where many major customers are pulling back sharply in industries including travel and retail. The YouTube unit, on the other hand, has an opportunity to grab eyeballs, and associated advertising, from homebound users turning to the video platform in lockdown.
Google's revenue has risen in every quarter of its history.
"People are relying on Google's services more than ever, and we've marshalled our resources and product development in this urgent moment," Mr. Pichai said in a statement.
He said on a call with analysts that coronavirus-related searches were, at peak, coming in at four times the pace of equivalent queries during the Super Bowl. A few minutes later, however, executives cautioned that they weren't sure whether they could make money off the increased activity.
Despite the encouraging overall results, Google showed signs of a slowdown across the board that could also affect other tech giants. Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat called it "a tale of two quarters," with the period bifurcated by the start of U.S. quarantine orders in March.
Advertising revenue on the company's traditional properties like search -- its longtime flagship franchise -- was tracking down more than 10% year over year by the end of March, Ms. Porat said, a possible indicator for advertising rivals Amazon and Facebook. New hardware activations of devices fell in the first quarter, a potentially discouraging sign for Apple. "Other Bets," a category that includes theoretically more-static outlying efforts like self-driving-car division Waymo, lost more than before.
YouTube's advertising revenue, a small but growing part of Alphabet, did better, up 33%. That growth, too, was down dramatically by the end of the quarter, the company said.
Questions remain about what comes next. Alphabet's first-quarter earnings report includes only a few weeks of results during which lockdown orders first swept the U.S. Some of the company's biggest advertisers, such as travel agencies, entertainment brands and even Amazon have said they plan to pull back on marketing more -- even if the country opens back up soon without major complications. Morgan Stanley analysts project that online advertising will suffer more this year than during the 2008 financial crisis.
"The second quarter is going to catch the brunt of it," said analyst Mark Shmulik of AllianceBernstein.
And yet Silicon Valley has found itself in an unusually advantageous position during the public-health crisis. Less than two months ago, Google and its peers were in the government's crosshairs. The Justice Department was undertaking a wide-ranging antitrust investigation, and the Trump administration was probing Google Health for potential civil-rights violations regarding its trove of sensitive patient data.
While those inquiries are continuing, Google and others are now engaged in many public efforts to stem the pandemic. In addition to running testing sites in California for Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, the company is developing software that would alert users when they have potentially been exposed to people infected with the virus. The technology, a partnership with rival Apple, is slated to be released in May, though it remains to be seen how widely it will be adopted.
Write to Rob Copeland at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Google to cut marketing budgets by as much as half, directors warned of hiring freezes
*The company is planning to slash its marketing budgets by as much as half, according to internal documents viewed by CNBC.
*Directors were told that hiring freezes for both full-time and contract workers are taking place.
*The cuts represent a more drastic move than Google CEO Sundar Pichai originally described a week ago.
Google is slashing its marketing budgets by as much as half for the second half of the year, according to internal materials viewed by CNBC.
One email about the cuts went out to marketing employees this week, noting the budget cuts and a new hiring freeze for full-time and contract employees.
“There are budget cuts and hiring freezes happening across marketing and across Google,” said one message from a global director sent to employees Wednesday. “We, along with the rest of marketing, have been asked to cut our budget by about half for H2.”
A company spokesperon confirmed that some areas’ budgets are being cut by as much as half, but added that others may not be since it is still in the process of “recalibrating.”
“As we outlined last week, we are re-evaluating the pace of our investment plans for the remainder of 2020 and will focus on a select number of important marketing efforts,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CNBC Thursday. “We continue to have a robust marketing budget, particularly in digital, in many business areas.”
Google shares dropped nearly 2% after hours following the news.
The drastic moves come a week after Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said Google would be pulling back on some of its investments for the rest of the year amid the Covid-19 crisis, starting with hiring. However, Pichai, at the time, only said it would recalibrate “non-business essential marketing” and “significantly slow down” hiring. There were not mentions of such drastic budget cuts or hiring freezes.
“Beyond hiring, we continue to invest, but will be recalibrating the focus and pace of our investments in areas like data centers and machines, and non business essential marketing and travel,” Pichai said in the note to employees last week.
The news also comes as the company faces economic headwinds caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has effected the global economy. CNBC last week also found the company started pulling back on skills training resources for many of its workers. It also comes days before the company is scheduled to announce its second quarter earnings next Tuesday.
The Google spokesperson said the company was not conducting a widespread hiring freeze but would not comment on why directors received such information.
“We’ll be slowing down the pace of hiring, while maintaining momentum in a small number of strategic areas, and onboarding the many people who’ve been hired but haven’t started yet,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Prior to the pandemic, Google expected increase marketing spending from the year prior. The company, which breaks outs marketing and sales expenses together, spent $18.46 billion on sales and marketing in 2019, according to its most recent annual 10-k.
That includes advertising and promotional expenditures related to products and services as well as compensation for employees in sales and marketing. Last year, it increased its headcount by at least 15%, the annual report shows. In addition, there was an increase in advertising and promotional expenses of $402 million.
“Just like the 2008 financial crisis, the entire global economy is hurting, and Google and Alphabet are not immune to the effects of this global pandemic,” CEO Sundar Pichai stated in the memo sent to employees last week. “We exist in an ecosystem of partnerships and interconnected businesses, many of whom are feeling significant pain.”
How To Identify A Stock Market Peak..........by nowwhat 2020
Read this :
That was Pure Evil...............and continues to be.
The post box in Bermuda numbered 666 which receives Google profits worth £8BILLION a year
By Tim Sculthorpe, Mailonline Deputy Political Editor
Google has no offices or staff in Bermuda but sends billions of profit there
Island has a 0 per cent rate of corporation tax and is used as a tax haven
But Google claims it has no 'permanent base' in the UK despite vast offices
Britain lobbied EU not to put sanctions on Bermuda for sheltering tax
Google has no office, no staff and little more than a plain PO Box numbered 666 on the sunny Caribbean Island of Bermuda
Google mentioned in article below!
The Pandemic Gives Digital Currencies Another Chance to Shine
Mar 24, 2020 at 17:30 UTC
Updated Mar 24, 2020 at 18:26 UTC Marcelo M. Prates
Marcelo M. Prates is a lawyer at the Central Bank of Brazil and holds a doctorate from Duke University School of Law. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position or policy of any of the institutions with which he is affiliated.
In times of crisis and radical uncertainty, the search for alternatives that can improve everyday life intensifies. The Bitcoin project was launched in October 2008, just six weeks after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and the financial crisis went from bad to dreadful. Since then, many other private cryptocurrencies have sprung up, and even central banks have began contemplating digital currencies of their own. None of these digital currencies became widely available or adopted, though.
The coronavirus pandemic and its severe social, political and economic repercussions give digital currencies one more chance to shine. Unlike cash, digital currencies would not be a potential source of virus transmission or require persons to overlook social distancing when making payments. A central-bank digital currency (CBDC) available to the public could, moreover, allow the government to send money directly to the population as part of a stimulus plan without having to mail checks.
But can digital currencies, private or public, finally deliver on their promises and change money for the better? It does not seem so.
First, cryptocurrencies are an elitist type of money. Bitcoin (BTC), the reigning cryptocurrency until these days, may be attractive to the tech savvy and wealthy, but fails to meet the needs of people fighting for survival. As bitcoin enthusiast Peter McCormack reports from a recent visit to Venezuela, the persons who could benefit the most from bitcoin cannot use it. The poor and the less educated, who rely on cash and are the most affected by surging inflation, don’t have regular access to smartphones, connectivity or even electricity.
See also: 4 Reasons Central Banks Should Launch Retail Digital Currencies
Here lies a lesson for central banks. If they plan to issue a digital currency that can be used by banks and the public alike, they’ll need to adopt an all-or-nothing approach. Either everyone – no matter how poor, uneducated or old they may be – will have full access to the CBDC or it isn’t ready for launch.
Instability is the second reason why cryptocurrencies still fall short of revolutionizing money. Even if people from a country facing monetary disarray could flight for bitcoin to seek protection against hyperinflation, they would continue to face price instability. During the coronavirus outbreaks, bitcoin lost half its value in dollars in a matter of weeks – not what is expected from “digital gold.” As usual, liquidity and safety were only found in U.S. bonds and dollars.
So, the issuer or the people behind the currency still matter. Facing doomsday scenarios, both sophisticated investors in Tokyo and regular people in Harare trust the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve above all. Does that mean governments are more reliable than private money issuers? Not necessarily.
BANK DEPOSITS ARE THE CLOSEST WE HAVE TO A DIGITAL SOVEREIGN CURRENCY – AND THEY’RE PRIVATELY ISSUED.
As Argentinians and Brazilians can tell, some governments will not think twice before freezing bank accounts and limiting withdrawals during a crisis. Imagine what they could do with a CBDC! More than that, about nine in 10 dollars in circulation are already created by private parties: commercial banks. Bank deposits are the closest we have to a digital sovereign currency – and they’re privately issued.
To be sure, as Cornell law professors Robert Hockett and Saule Omarova well underscore, the modern financial system is a public-private partnership, in which a sovereign government takes a privately issued liability (bank deposits) as a liability of its own (money). This franchise-like arrangement also means that, when things go wrong, the sovereign government has to provide support in the form of liquidity assistance and bailouts. After all, it’s “the sovereign’s full faith and credit” that are at stake.
A privately issued digital currency could only present a credible alternative to this public-private model now in place if it could avoid bitcoin’s shortcomings. Global technology companies, like Google or Facebook, are the most favorably positioned to come up with an option in the short run. They can take advantage of their extensive user base and geographical dispersion to quickly provide the public with a digital currency that would facilitate not only local transactions but also cross-border payments.
See also: The US Should Use Stablecoins for Emergency Coronavirus Payments
Facebook’s libra was the initial step in this direction. However, as I argue in another post, libra looks more like a security than a currency and may well be a short-lived project because of its flawed design. To avoid this fate, the Libra Association should shy away from the stablecoin model, which requires the digital currency to be backed by a basket of sovereign currencies. This feature may be useful to help the digital currency keep its value stable. But it also turns the currency into a digital claim on a portfolio of assets, much like shares in a money-market fund.
If the Libra Association wants to create a truly digital currency, it should move libra closer to the bitcoin model. Libra could still have an identified issuer, but it should also have its own unit of account and not rely on sovereign currencies to be created, transferred, or valued. In this case, libra could deliver the benefits of both the public and private monies without the hassles.
Because of Facebook’s 2.4 billion user base, a revamped libra would be readily available to more than 1/3 of the world’s population. Rich or poor, old or young, educated or illiterate, if these users can already access Facebook, they could easily use libra, too. Also, with a known and reliable issuer behind it, libra could gain the public’s confidence – as long as the Libra Association can overcome Facebook’s complicated history with privacy protection. And the more trustworthy the issuer, the more stable and safe the currency.
Against this backdrop, Facebook seems to be the only institution ready to launch an alternative currency in the digital format that could be widely available and potentially stable. In any case, finding the money of choice eventually comes down to answering one salient yet old question: Who do you trust the most (or the least) to take care of your money? Your government, bitcoin’s developers and miners or Facebook?
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Digital Ad Upfronts Weigh Going Online-Only Amid Coronavirus Fears -- Update By Sahil Patel
This year's Digital Content NewFronts were supposed to be a big party for streaming video. Now, its organizer is advising presenters to make their pitches to advertisers online-only as the media and marketing industries grapple with the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which organizes the NewFronts, an annual series of events meant to mimic the TV industry's upfront ad galas, said it would add a video-streaming option for presenters and attendees to use in place of a live, physical event.
The trade group said presenters can still hold events with live audiences in attendance, but said it strongly recommends going online-only.
This year's events are set to take place from April 26 through May 6 in New York.
YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc.'s Google, said it is canceling its in-person "Brandcast" event in favor of a digital-only version to be streamed on the video platform. YouTube is considered one of the founding companies of the current iteration of the NewFronts, and will host its ninth event this year.
Twitter Inc., which last week suspended all noncritical business travel and events, will produce a streaming-only NewFronts presentation this spring, a company spokeswoman said. This is Twitter's fourth year hosting a NewFronts event.
Roku Inc., which is part of the official IAB NewFronts calendar for the first time this year, said it would likely make a decision in the coming weeks. "We're assessing internally on the exact plans for NewFronts," a Roku spokeswoman said.
Roku canceled an event it planned to host later this month in Miami for advertising clients, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Digital publishers and technology companies use the NewFronts to pitch advertisers on their brands and upcoming programming plans -- much like the way that TV networks trot out big stars during their splashy upfronts to talk up their upcoming TV schedules.
The rise of the streaming era was expected to take center stage during this year's NewFronts. Amazon.com Inc. is hosting its first official NewFronts presentation this year. The IAB had also added two days of conference programming devoted to the streaming-video business.
Walt Disney Co.'s Hulu didn't immediately respond to an inquiry about its NewFronts plans.
Potential changes to the NewFronts come as some TV ad sellers including A+E Networks, AMC Networks and Fox Corp. have already canceled their upfront events. A+E Networks said it would opt instead for an online presentation; AMC Networks said it would hold individual meetings with advertising clients.
Billions of dollars of TV ad spending is negotiated every year during meetings that follow the upfronts. A majority of broadcast network prime-time and other national-level broadcast and cable TV commercial time is bought and sold during upfront negotiations, said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence for WPP PLC's ad-buying giant GroupM.
The NewFronts, which over the years have also featured participation from TV companies ranging from Disney to Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, haven't been as successful in establishing a market for upfront digital ad spending.
That is partially because digital video advertising inventory is virtually limitless, whereas traditional TV programming has a finite amount of available commercial time. That means advertisers face less pressure to commit to digital video ads much ahead of time.
Most digital advertising is also not restricted to a fall-to-spring TV schedule, said Kait Boulos, vice president of marketing for Cadreon, an ad tech unit owned by IPG Mediabrands.
"Digital media is just not bought that way," she said. "Programming can start wherever and whenever."
Some NewFronts presenters, such as Hulu and YouTube, have been able to secure ad money upfront, largely because both are able to present some type of scarcity for their most popular programming, ad executives said.
But there is still a wide gap between how much video ad buyers commit to spending during the upfronts versus the NewFronts: One agency investment executive said 80% of their agency's upfront budgets still go toward traditional TV, with the rest largely going to Hulu and YouTube.
One benefit of the NewFronts is giving presenters -- especially smaller companies -- the chance to get valuable facetime with ad buyers. That will be hurt by hosting events remotely.
Going online-only could also lead presenters and marketers to reassess whether it is necessary to host NewFronts as in-person events, which can cost companies hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, especially if it has little or no effect on ad deals.
"It's important to me to know that [the NewFronts] are a point in time when digital video is really top of mind, where I can go and see new products and ideas in the marketplace -- it's a good thing for the industry to organize around," said Andrea Ching, chief marketing officer at brand-safety measurement company OpenSlate. "But it might not need to be a physical event."
Write to Sahil Patel at firstname.lastname@example.org