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   Technology StocksAlphabet Inc. (Google)

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From: JakeStraw6/7/2019 8:13:09 AM
1 Recommendation   of 15365
Google Announces Acquisition of Looker In A Move to Support Business Intelligence

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From: JakeStraw6/7/2019 8:13:34 AM
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Google plans to press play on its Stadia cloud gaming service in November
Google has shed some more clarity on its upcoming cloud-based video game service: an entry price, launch window and some of the games you will be able to play.

Google's Stadia will become available in November with an entry price of $129.99 for the Founders Edition package (pre-order on Google's Stadia site), which includes a game controller, Chromecast Ultra streaming device and a three-month subscription.

Cloud gaming promises to make it easier for consumers to play online games, as it sidesteps the need for pricey gaming PCs or console video game systems.

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From: Glenn Petersen6/8/2019 10:21:09 AM
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Not Your Daddy’s Regulation: Tech Giants Face A Complicated Reckoning In Washington

Old rules and moving targets create new challenges for regulators and Congress.

By Alex Kantrowitz
BuzzFeed News
Posted on June 6, 2019, at 2:01 p.m. ET

As federal regulators and Congress zero in on Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, they’re about to encounter one of the most difficult rulemaking challenges in US history. The tech giants don’t fit neatly into the existing model for antitrust action since many of their services are available for free, making any consumer harm they may or may not have done difficult to grasp and quantify. And perhaps more vexingly, they are constantly shifting shape, adding new business lines with regularity to keep pace with a fast-changing technology industry. In Washington, it’s going to be hard to figure out where to even begin.

“One of the things we’ve seen in the past with regulation is by the time the courts catch up to regulating the industry often new industries emerge,” Rep. Ro Khanna, who represents a large slice of Silicon Valley, told BuzzFeed News. “Of course, we need regulation, but it has to be thoughtful regulation and well-crafted regulation.”

Consider the moving target the Federal Trade Commission will encounter when it examines Amazon. The FTC won’t just be dealing with a retailer, but an outsourced logistics provider, a grocer, a cloud services clearinghouse, a hardware manufacturer, and a voice search company. And as the FTC works to get its head around these business lines, Amazon will inevitably expand into more — the company is rumored to be debuting a home robot this year.

Amazon is ferociously aggressive in many of its business lines, yet it faces fierce competition in nearly all of them. There’s vs. Walmart, Whole Foods vs. the broader grocery industry, AWS vs. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Echo vs. Google Home.

With such a diverse set of businesses, Amazon will make it hard for regulators to reign in the “bigness” many are hoping it will tackle. Amazon and its fellow tech giants are nothing like the Bell Telephone Company or Standard Oil, which grew dominant by finding a core advantage and defending it at all costs. They have instead built their empires through continual reinvention, and they are far more nimble than their corporate predecessors. Regulators will therefore have to comb through each business line, consider the market dynamics in each, and toe the line between policing anti-competitive behavior and picking winners and losers.

“I think there is a lot of appetite for letting the market sort lots of things out,” Robert Seamans, an associate professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business who spent a year as a senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told BuzzFeed News. “We don’t want to pick a China model where the government decides everything that should happen.”

While some are advocating for a breakup of the tech giants, such a move is likely politically infeasible. Breaking up these companies would create more competition, but it would open up the door for Chinese companies to enter the void, a fact that worries both Silicon Valley executives and the federal government. And public servants in Washington who follow poll numbers closely know well that Big Tech is popular among the general population. “They have the most precious asset, their approval ratings are in the 70s and 80s,” Khanna said of the tech giants. “Everyone in Congress, we celebrate when we get in the 40s or 50s.”

A meek federal regulatory body has long resisted sinking its teeth into this messy situation. But now that the proceedings are underway, the most likely outcome — if any rules are made — is one in which small changes are enacted. “My sense is that the animating principle behind regulation should be very simple,” Khanna said. “A company shouldn’t be able to privilege its own products, you shouldn’t be able to have anti-competitive platform privileges.”

The FTC, according to a report by Vox, is indeed already asking how Amazon competes with third-party sellers on its platform. The agency is also expected to fine Facebook a few billion dollars for privacy violations, a sum that sent the company’s stock up when Facebook told investors about it. The Department of Justice will investigate Google’s search and ad-tech businesses, according to reports, but it would be a major surprise if the department takes a more aggressive approach than European regulators and goes beyond examining whether Google privileges its own products, as Khanna laid out. Rulemaking along these lines would be meaningful, but would do little to slow down the tech giants overall.

Much of the coverage on the new set of investigations by the FTC, DOJ, and Congress has focused on the prospect of hearings Big Tech will likely now have to sit through. These hearings would be unpleasant for the tech giants, as would fines and other restrictions. But for this new set of corporate giants, time and competition — either among themselves or from the outside — are the most probable forces to check their power.

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From: JakeStraw6/13/2019 8:10:09 AM
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Alphabet's stake in the 2019 IPO boom jumps to $5 billion thanks to CrowdStrike

Alphabet owns significant stakes in Uber, Lyft and Crowdstrike, three of the most high profile tech IPOs of the year.

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From: JakeStraw6/18/2019 8:20:02 AM
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Google Integrates Cryptocurrency Project With New Smart Contract Tool

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From: JakeStraw6/18/2019 8:54:37 AM
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Official Pixel 4 teaser photo signals a whole new Google
Google is ready to take on the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy in 2019.

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To: JakeStraw who wrote (15242)6/18/2019 9:02:04 AM
From: E_K_S
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Facebook Introduces New "Libra" Digital Currency With Landmark White Paper

I like Google's view for Bitcoin embedding contract information into the chain. Could be another disruptive development for the 'Cloud'. See if they get transaction getting ORCL and/or IBM on-board.

FB working Bitcoin in a different direction . . .


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From: JakeStraw6/18/2019 3:03:01 PM
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Google Chrome blocks malicious web address tricks, lets you flag suspicious sites
Malicious websites can use substitute characters to try to fool you into thinking they're legit. But now Chrome will let you know.

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From: JakeStraw6/20/2019 12:16:40 PM
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Waymo has locked in an exclusive partnership with Renault and Nissan to research how commercial autonomous vehicles might work for passengers and packages in France and Japan.

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From: Glenn Petersen6/23/2019 9:12:13 PM
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Scoop: Bipartisan senators want Big Tech to put a price on your data

Kim Hart
June 23, 2019

Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will introduce legislation on Monday to require Facebook, Google, Amazon and other major platforms to disclose the value of their users' data, as first reported Sunday evening on "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Our personal data is arguably our most valuable asset in the digital age, but internet users don't have any way of knowing how much their data is actually worth.

The big picture: Two decades ago, consumers made a bargain — we traded our data in exchange for using "free" sites like Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube and Twitter. Warner says he wants consumers to be more informed about the real value of what they give up in the form of, for example, location data, relationship status, data about the apps we use, our age, gender and lifestyle.

"These companies take enormous, enormous amounts of data about us... If you're an avid Facebook user, chances are Facebook knows more about you than the U.S. government knows about you. People don't realize one, how much data is being collected; and two, they don't realize how much that data is worth."
— Sen. Mark Warner on "Axios on HBO"

Between the lines:
The point of the bill is to help consumers understand what they may be giving up when they click on "I agree" and hold tech companies to a higher level of transparency.

    -- Individuals wouldn't get any sort of pay-out for the use of their data.

    -- The value of an individual's data is the subject of some debate. Warner says it's probably around $5 a month, while other estimates put it around $20 a month. It could be more, depending on the type of data collected.
How it works: The legislation will be introduced Monday as the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data Act, or DASHBOARD for short.
    -- The bill would require companies that generate material revenue from data collection or processing — and have more than 100 million monthly users — to disclose to users the types of data collected, how it is used, and to provide an assessment of the value of that data once every 90 days.

    -- It would require these companies to disclose annually to the Securities and Exchange Commission the aggregate value of all of their users' data. The report would have to include details of contracts with third parties for data collection, how revenue is generated by user data, and measures taken to protect that data.

    -- The bill would direct the SEC to develop methods for calculating the value of user data, accounting for varying uses, sectors, and business models.

    -- Companies must provide a setting or tool for users to delete all or part of their data.
The other side: Tech companies are reluctant to disclose specifics of how users data is gathered, shared and sold. There's little chance they'll be interested in putting a dollar figure on how much that data — the core of their business — is actually worth to them.

    -- Some have argued it's not possible to calculate the exact value of specific pieces of data in a high-volume marketplace across an industry that uses data across dozens of platforms, all delivering different services with different business models.

    -- "Boloney," Warner said of that defense. "I mean if these companies — go back to Facebook — can do all these acquisitions and many of these acquisitions were made on what appeared to be outrageous prices — they had a pretty darn good notion of how they could use that data and how much that was worth from one platform to another."
Despite more aggressive calls to break up Big Tech, Warner said he's not yet sure that's necessary, as long as Silicon Valley is receptive to more tailored measures like this bill.

    -- Warner told "Axios on HBO" he plans to introduce a separate bill "in a few weeks" that would require tech firms to make data portable so consumers can move it from one platform to another.

    -- He's also sponsored legislation to improve online political ad disclosures, and to ban social media sites from tricking users into giving up their data.

    -- "If they're not willing to work with us on this kind of, I think, rational, focused reform, then I may very quickly join the crowd that simply says, 'you know, let's break them up,'" he said. "And I say that as somebody who was a technology entrepreneur longer than I've been a senator."
The bottom line: "This senator's patience is wearing very thin. It's time for these companies to put their money where their mouth is."

Go deeper: Axios Deep Dive on Data Privacy

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