Tag Archives: Google

Carrefour, Google sign online shopping tie-up in France
June 11, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s largest food retailer Carrefour (CARR.PA) is teaming up with Google (GOOGL.O) to boost its online shopping business on its home turf, where rivals are also launching e-commerce offensives.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Carrefour is seen on shopping trolleys at the Carrefour Lingostiere in Nice, France, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

Carrefour said on Monday that from next year its groceries would be available on the U.S. search engine’s new dedicated shopping site in France, or through Google-operated systems such as connected speakers and voice-assisted devices.

The tie-up comes amid a broader shake-up in France’s competitive food retail market as retailers invest in online platforms and home delivery services to win over clients and ward off in-roads by U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.

Casino’s upmarket Monoprix chain in March became the first French retailer to agree to sell products on Amazon. Casino also has a home delivery partnership with UK online retailer Ocado (OCDO.L).

Alphabet Inc’s Google, meanwhile, has been pushing to roll out new shopping services to retailers such as Walmart (WMT.N), enabling them to list products on a special shopping site or Google Assistant on mobile phones and voice devices.

The U.S. firm hopes the program will allow retailers to capture more purchases on mobile phones or smart home devices. The Carrefour deal marks the first partnership in France.

The companies said in a statement they would open an innovation lab in Paris this summer, in partnership with Google Cloud, for research into artificial intelligence that can be used in consumer services.

Google will also roll out its G Suite productivity tools – where it rivals Microsoft Office – to the entire Carrefour group and its 160,000 employees, the companies said.

Reporting by Sarah White and Pascale Denis; Editing by Mark Potter

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Thursday's Google Doodle Celebrates Anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar
June 7, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

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Virginia Apgar was the first woman to become a full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 109th birthday of physician Virginia Apgar, who developed the scale doctors still use to quickly gauge the health of newborn babies: the Apgar score.

The Apgar score a 0-10 scale with five criteria: Appearance (skin color, ranging from blue or pale to a healthy flesh color), Pulse, Grimace (response to stimulation, ranging from no response to an unhappy expression to full-fledged crying), Activity (arm and leg movement), and Respiration. (Conveniently, those words spell out APGAR.) Most healthy babies score a 7 or above, and anything below a 3 requires immediate medical care.

Apgar graduated from medical school in 1933. During her residency, the chairman of surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian medical center steered her toward anesthesiology, partially because surgery was an especially difficult field for women to find career opportunities in at the time, but also reportedly because he believed she had what it took to advance the field in important ways. Anesthesiology had, until recently, been the domain of nurses, but by the late 1930s had become complex enough to require physicians, and the medical field was working hard to catch up.

By 1938, Apgar was the director of a brand-new division of anesthesia at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she spent the next decade running the department, developing a residency program to train new anesthesiologists, and treating patients.

Apgar was a faculty member at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in the early 1950s when she noticed that although the infant mortality rate was improving, that was mostly due to interventions after the first 24 hours. Within that crucial window of time 24 hours after birth, there had been no change in infant mortality since 1930. Apgar wanted to know why the medical field hadn’t gotten better at saving newborns – and how to fix it. The result was the Apgar score.

Later in her career, Apgar advocated for universal vaccination against rubella to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease, which causes miscarriages or severe birth defects. She also worked to promote testing for birth defects.

She died in 1974 at the hospital where she attended medical school and spent two decades of her career.

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Google launches Android Things for appliances as earlier spinoffs scramble to catch on
May 7, 2018 6:07 pm|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL.O) on Monday launched a spinoff of its Android operating system for home appliances and other machines, following mixed results with Android offshoots for cars, smartwatches and televisions.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks through light rain in front of the Hey Google booth under construction at the Las Vegas Convention Center in preparation for the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

‘Android Things’, which arrives as Google opens its annual conference for developers, could bring its Google Assistant virtual helper to refrigerators and robots and familiar designs to cash registers and vending machines.

“The goal is to enable them to be built faster, cheaper and more secure,” said Venkat Rapaka, a product management director at Google.

Android derivatives aim to provide users with a consistent interface across devices, while Google and its business partners benefit from a standard way to distribute their applications.

Though Google does not charge hardware manufacturers for Android, it expects to generate a return as consumers use new gadgets to use search, watch videos on YouTube and buy content from its Play Store.

The Android operating system powers many of the world’s smartphones and drives consumers to Google’s cash-minting apps.

But Google has struggled to extend Android’s dominance into other areas over the last four years, technology and financial analysts said.

“If you’re charitable, you say it’s early,” said Richard Kramer of Arete Research. “If you’re not, you say Android is irrelevant outside phones.”

Android Automotive is not yet deeply embedded in any cars. Shipments of smartwatches with Google’s Wear OS were outnumbered five-to-one by rival Apple Inc (AAPL.O) devices last year, according to research firm IDC. Four times as many smart TV shipments last year had Samsung’s (005930.KS) operating system as Android TV, according to IHS Markit.

In each category, Google’s Android system posted less market share last year than manufacturer-customized Android variants, which are less fruitful for Google because they typically are not pre-loaded or compatible with its apps.

Android variants thrive in China, where Google does not operate.

Google also has been slowed by resistance from carmakers to hand over a key interface, smartwatches from consumer electronics brands that failed to attract mass appeal and TV software that manufacturers found too rigid, analysts said.

Google officials said the spinoffs have momentum. Activations of Wear OS devices rose 70 percent late last year compared to the year-earlier period. Android TV activations doubled last year compared to the year before, while vehicles with Android embedded should arrive next year, company officials told Reuters.

South Asia and Latin America are bright spots, they said. Android TV had “tremendous traction over the last year” from Asian cable and satellite operators seeking it for set-top boxes, said Google product management director Shalini Govil-Pai.

Android Automotive was gaining attention from Indian automakers and from Brazil, said Patrick Brady, a Google engineering vice president.

Android Things competes with Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) Greengrass system and Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) Windows IoT.

Google says it will guarantee three years of free security patches to hardware makers and paid extended options. It is also considering automated security scans of device makers’ apps.

Health technology startup Byteflies, an Android Things tester, said it viewed the system’s optional integration with Google’s cloud computing service and the large Android developer community as big advantages.

Reporting by Paresh Dave, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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Google to ban ads on cryptocurrencies, related products
March 14, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said on Wednesday it will ban advertisements for cryptocurrencies and related content starting in June.

The Google logo is pictured atop an office building in Irvine, California, U.S. August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Under the new policy, the company will ban ads for unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency and financial spread betting among others. bit.ly/2Inxgg8

In a separate blog post, Google said it took down 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising policies in 2017, nearly double the number of ads it removed in 2016.

“Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that’s removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us,” Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads, said. bit.ly/2IoTXQQ

In January, Facebook Inc (FB.O) said it will ban ads promoting financial products and services tied to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings.

The policy will be implemented across its platforms, including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram, the company said.

Reporting by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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Google raises price of YouTube TV, adds sports, Turner
February 23, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google is raising the price of its YouTube TV online service for new customers as it adds channels from Time Warner Inc’s Turner, National Basketball League and Major League Baseball, the company said Wednesday.

Less than one year after launching YouTube TV, the company is increasing its pricing to $ 40 per month from $ 35 per month as it adds Turner’s channels, which include TNT, CNN and TBS, and soon will be adding MLB Network and NBA TV, the company said.

Google is expanding its offering at a time when a growing number of competing services, such as Dish Network Corp’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Hulu, are vying to win over the growing number of viewers who are cancelling their cable subscriptions to watch their favorite shows online.

The four largest cable and satellite companies lost 1.5 million pay TV customers in 2017.

DirectTV Now has over 2 million subscribers, according to AT&T. Sling TV, Hulu and YouTube TV do not disclose how many users they have, but research firm BTIG estimates they respectively had 2.1 million, 500,000 and 350,000 as of the end of 2017.

The costs for these competing offerings range from $ 20 for Sling TV’s most basic offering of 30 channels to $ 39.99 for Hulu’s one with more than 50 channels and its library of shows and movies, which costs $ 7.99 separately.

Google is betting that its strong sports offering will help win over more subscribers, said Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships, YouTube TV.

“Sports is really one of the key offerings that a millennial would be willing to pay for a live TV service,” she said.

To that end, Google has targeted sports fans with its TV ads this year. Ninety-six percent of YouTube TV’s ads on television so far this year have appeared during sports programming, including the Super Bowl, according to iSpot.tv, which tracks TV ads.

When Google launched YouTube TV last April it was cautious with how much content it was offering so that it could keep the price low enough to entice cord cutters or people considering cutting the cord, Moosnick said.

At launch YouTube TV offered almost 50 channels in five markets. With these additions, YouTube TV will have almost 60 channels, and be in 100 markets, Moosnick said.

The new pricing will take effect for new users who sign up after March 13, the company said.

Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Susan Thomas

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Watch Out, Sony and Microsoft: Google Is Developing a Video Game Streaming Service
February 7, 2018 6:10 pm|Comments (0)

Google, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the video game industry, seems ready to get in the fight.

The company is working on a new service codenamed Yeti, which would let people play games streamed to them online, potentially eliminating the need for a dedicated console like the PlayStation 4 or a high-end gaming computer.

News of the service first broke via The Information. Gaming industry insiders, who were not authorized to speak on-the-record, tell Fortune that Google is targeting a holiday 2019 release for Yeti, though the company is currently behind schedule and that date could shift.

Google recently hired Phil Harrison, a long-time gaming industry veteran. Sources indicate he is closely involved with the project. Harrison spent 15 years as the head of Sony’s network of game studios and three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. Since leaving those companies, he has served as an adviser and board member to various gaming companies.

Google declined to discuss the initiative, citing a company policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.

Some details about Yeti are still fuzzy. It could be a dedicated streaming box or could operate through the company’s Chromecast device. How it will overcome issues of in-game lag is one of the biggest hurdles. But Fortune has learned that several major publishers are working with Google on the project.

Yeti would compete with Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service, which carries a $ 19.95 monthly fee (or $ 100 annual fee). That service, built off of one of the pioneers in game streaming, has not found an especially large audience, in part because of the high price and older catalog of games. Microsoft has previously discussed launching a game streaming service, but has not made any announcements about a new streaming product.

Google has flirted with the game industry before. It almost acquired Twitch in 2014 for $ 1 billion, but the deal fell apart in the final stages. (Amazon would later acquire that game streaming service.) Since then, Google’s YouTube division has dramatically increased its presence in the video game world, live streaming from E3, the video game industry trade show, and enabling live game streaming.

There’s certainly a big financial incentive for Google in video games. The industry saw revenues of $ 36 billion in the U.S. alone in 2017. Globally, it generates over $ 100 billion each year.

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Watch Out, Sony and Microsoft: Google Is Developing a Video Game Streaming Service
February 7, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

Google, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the video game industry, seems ready to get in the fight.

The company is working on a new service codenamed Yeti, which would let people play games streamed to them online, potentially eliminating the need for a dedicated console like the PlayStation 4 or a high-end gaming computer.

News of the service first broke via The Information. Gaming industry insiders, who were not authorized to speak on-the-record, tell Fortune that Google is targeting a holiday 2019 release for Yeti, though the company is currently behind schedule and that date could shift.

Google recently hired Phil Harrison, a long-time gaming industry veteran. Sources indicate he is closely involved with the project. Harrison spent 15 years as the head of Sony’s network of game studios and three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. Since leaving those companies, he has served as an adviser and board member to various gaming companies.

Google declined to discuss the initiative, citing a company policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.

Some details about Yeti are still fuzzy. It could be a dedicated streaming box or could operate through the company’s Chromecast device. How it will overcome issues of in-game lag is one of the biggest hurdles. But Fortune has learned that several major publishers are working with Google on the project.

Yeti would compete with Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service, which carries a $ 19.95 monthly fee (or $ 100 annual fee). That service, built off of one of the pioneers in game streaming, has not found an especially large audience, in part because of the high price and older catalog of games. Microsoft has previously discussed launching a game streaming service, but has not made any announcements about a new streaming product.

Google has flirted with the game industry before. It almost acquired Twitch in 2014 for $ 1 billion, but the deal fell apart in the final stages. (Amazon would later acquire that game streaming service.) Since then, Google’s YouTube division has dramatically increased its presence in the video game world, live streaming from E3, the video game industry trade show, and enabling live game streaming.

There’s certainly a big financial incentive for Google in video games. The industry saw revenues of $ 36 billion in the U.S. alone in 2017. Globally, it generates over $ 100 billion each year.

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Watch Out, Sony and Microsoft: Google Is Developing a Video Game Streaming Service
February 7, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

Google, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the video game industry, seems ready to get in the fight.

The company is working on a new service codenamed Yeti, which would let people play games streamed to them online, potentially eliminating the need for a dedicated console like the PlayStation 4 or a high-end gaming computer.

News of the service first broke via The Information. Gaming industry insiders, who were not authorized to speak on-the-record, tell Fortune that Google is targeting a holiday 2019 release for Yeti, though the company is currently behind schedule and that date could shift.

Google recently hired Phil Harrison, a long-time gaming industry veteran. Sources indicate he is closely involved with the project. Harrison spent 15 years as the head of Sony’s network of game studios and three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. Since leaving those companies, he has served as an adviser and board member to various gaming companies.

Google declined to discuss the initiative, citing a company policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.

Some details about Yeti are still fuzzy. It could be a dedicated streaming box or could operate through the company’s Chromecast device. How it will overcome issues of in-game lag is one of the biggest hurdles. But Fortune has learned that several major publishers are working with Google on the project.

Yeti would compete with Sony’s Playstation Now streaming service, which carries a $ 19.95 monthly fee (or $ 100 annual fee). That service, built off of one of the pioneers in game streaming, has not found an especially large audience, in part because of the high price and older catalog of games. Microsoft has previously discussed launching a game streaming service, but has not made any announcements about a new streaming product.

Google has flirted with the game industry before. It almost acquired Twitch in 2014 for $ 1 billion, but the deal fell apart in the final stages. (Amazon would later acquire that game streaming service.) Since then, Google’s YouTube division has dramatically increased its presence in the video game world, live streaming from E3, the video game industry trade show, and enabling live game streaming.

There’s certainly a big financial incentive for Google in video games. The industry saw revenues of $ 36 billion in the U.S. alone in 2017. Globally, it generates over $ 100 billion each year.

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‘Who Is Jesus?’ Google Home Couldn’t Answer and People Weren’t Happy
January 27, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

Anger over Google Home’s inability to answer questions about Jesus led the company to bar the device from answering questions about all religious figures, according to a statement released Friday.

Some users became angry when the smart speaker was unable to answer questions such as, “Who is Jesus?” but could respond to similar queries about Buddha, Muhammad and Satan, CNBC reports. Some unhappy social media users alleged that Google was “censoring” Jesus.

Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liason, tweeted a statement by way of explanation on Friday. “The reason the Google Assistant didn’t respond with information about ‘Who is Jesus’ or ‘Who is Jesus Christ’ wasn’t out of disrespect but instead to ensure respect,” the statement reads. “Some of the Assistant’s spoken responses come from the web, and for certain topics, this content can be more vulnerable to vandalism and spam.”

Until the issue is fixed, according to the statement, all responses for questions about religious figures will be temporarily unavailable.

Google’s reliance on “featured snippets” — the pullout information that appears at the top of a page of search results — has gotten the company in hot water before. Inaccurate and offensive information can find its way into featured snippets, which has led Google’s smart products to repeat sometimes inflammatory comments.

Google Home is now responding to questions about religious figures with, “Religion can be complicated, and I am still learning,” users report.

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Google gets into audiobooks as rivalry with Amazon heats up
January 23, 2018 6:00 pm|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google introduced audiobooks to its online store on Tuesday, making its smart speakers and virtual assistant more competitive with Amazon.com Inc’s Echo devices and Alexa voice assistant.

Listening to audiobooks is among the most popular nighttime uses for smart speakers, a burgeoning type of home appliance that provides audio streams of music, news and other data based on user commands to an embedded virtual assistant.

But Google’s Home speakers have lagged Amazon Echo in terms of audiobook features. Amazon-owned Audible, the top provider of audiobooks, has not been supported on Home and other speakers with Google Assistant.

Google launching an audiobooks store widens the battle, which has also seen Google’s YouTube unit stop supporting an Amazon product.

Greg Hartrell, head of product management for Google Play Books, listed subscription-less buying as the top selling point for the new audiobooks store.

“You can buy a single audiobook at an affordable price, with no commitments,” he said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Audible offers one-off purchases, but promotes a $ 14.95 monthly subscription that includes one free download and 30 percent off further purchases. Amazon and Audible did not respond to requests to comment.

Google began selling ebooks in 2010. Hartrell told Reuters in a statement that audiobooks are being added because “our users are asking for them.”

About 16 percent of U.S. adults own a smart speaker, according to an Edison Research survey conducted in late 2017. The firm in conjunction with Triton Digital also found last spring that 30 percent of frequent audiobook listeners had used a smart speaker to take in an audiobook in the previous 12 months.

Audiobook sales surged nearly 20 percent annually for three consecutive years, reaching $ 2.1 billion in 2016, according to the latest Audio Publishers Assn. data.

Thad McIlroy, an online book industry consultant, said audiobooks represent the only publishing category with “strong growth” so it makes sense for Google to challenge Amazon despite having a weak ebooks business.

Google-purchased audiobooks can be accessed through Google Play Books on the web, apps for Android and iOS devices or through Google Assistant in speakers, Android smartphones and “soon” cars with Android Auto, Hartrell wrote.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Susan Thomas

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