Amazon will start letting random people provide Alexa answers

Amazon is rolling out a new program to let anybody provide answers to questions that Alexa is unable to answer. Alexa Answers is meant to expand the smart digital assistant’s knowledge base to keep it competitive with the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. It’s particularly hard for Amazon to compete against Google, which can leverage years of information collected and organized for its search engine. It’s easy to imagine the kinds of answers somebody might submit for questions about Donald Trum


Amazon is rolling out a new program to let anybody provide answers to questions that Alexa is unable to answer. Alexa Answers is meant to expand the smart digital assistant’s knowledge base to keep it competitive with the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. It’s particularly hard for Amazon to compete against Google, which can leverage years of information collected and organized for its search engine. It’s easy to imagine the kinds of answers somebody might submit for questions about Donald Trum
Amazon will start letting random people provide Alexa answers Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-12  Authors: matt rosoff
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, assistant, system, start, usergenerated, questions, provide, letting, assistants, google, random, siri, alexa, hard, answers, amazon


Amazon will start letting random people provide Alexa answers

Amazon is rolling out a new program to let anybody provide answers to questions that Alexa is unable to answer.

Alexa Answers is meant to expand the smart digital assistant’s knowledge base to keep it competitive with the Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. For two years in a row, Google’s assistant has easily won an 800-question test conducted by Loup Ventures, with Alexa coming in third place. It’s particularly hard for Amazon to compete against Google, which can leverage years of information collected and organized for its search engine.

The system will use game mechanics to engage users — people will be able to earn “points” each time the assistant shares one of their answers.

But as other platforms such as Facebook, Google and Reddit have discovered, user-generated content is open to mischief and propaganda. It’s easy to imagine the kinds of answers somebody might submit for questions about Donald Trump or measles vaccines, for instance.

Amazon told Fast Company that it’s relying on a combination of algorithms and human editors to help vet responses and hoping that a system of user up and down votes will weed out mischief-makers. But previous experiments with user-generated answers, such as Yahoo Answers and Quora, have never really taken off, so Amazon has a hard task ahead.

RELATED: How virtual assistants have evolved, and why Siri lags


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-12  Authors: matt rosoff
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, assistant, system, start, usergenerated, questions, provide, letting, assistants, google, random, siri, alexa, hard, answers, amazon


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Google hit with $550 million fine in France over tax probe

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Google I/O keynote session at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on May 7, 2019. Google has agreed to pay 500 million euros ($550 million) in France in connection with a fiscal fraud probe. French financial prosecutors opened an investigation into the company’s tax dealings four years ago. A Google spokesperson said the settlement brings an end to tax and related disputes that have “persisted for many years.” This often results in them


Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Google I/O keynote session at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on May 7, 2019. Google has agreed to pay 500 million euros ($550 million) in France in connection with a fiscal fraud probe. French financial prosecutors opened an investigation into the company’s tax dealings four years ago. A Google spokesperson said the settlement brings an end to tax and related disputes that have “persisted for many years.” This often results in them
Google hit with $550 million fine in France over tax probe Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-12  Authors: annie palmer
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, million, 550, pay, spokesperson, agreed, tax, probe, google, hit, fine, 500, financial, france, taxes, results


Google hit with $550 million fine in France over tax probe

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Google I/O keynote session at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on May 7, 2019.

Google has agreed to pay 500 million euros ($550 million) in France in connection with a fiscal fraud probe.

French financial prosecutors opened an investigation into the company’s tax dealings four years ago. Investigators were probing the company to determine if it evaded taxes by failing to declare the full extent of its activities in the country.

Shares of Google closed up 1.2% on Thursday.

A Google spokesperson said the settlement brings an end to tax and related disputes that have “persisted for many years.”

“The settlements comprise a €500 million payment that was ordered today by a French court, as well as €465 million in additional taxes that we had agreed to pay, and that have been substantially reflected in our prior financial results,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We continue to believe that the best way to provide a clear framework for companies that operate around the world is co-ordinated reform of the international tax system.”

Google, Apple and other U.S. tech giants have long taken advantage of a loophole that allows them to report almost all their sales in Ireland, which offers corporations low tax rates. This often results in them paying little taxes in other European countries.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-12  Authors: annie palmer
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, million, 550, pay, spokesperson, agreed, tax, probe, google, hit, fine, 500, financial, france, taxes, results


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Microsoft president: Being a big company doesn’t mean you’re a monopoly

Just because a company has had exponential growth, does not mean it is a monopoly, Microsoft President Brad Smith told CNBC on Tuesday. Smith was referring to several investigations that have popped up in recent months into Big Tech’s market power. After becoming Microsoft’s general counsel in 2002, he spent the next decade resolving government antitrust inquires into the company. In 1992, the Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation into Microsoft that led to a government settleme


Just because a company has had exponential growth, does not mean it is a monopoly, Microsoft President Brad Smith told CNBC on Tuesday. Smith was referring to several investigations that have popped up in recent months into Big Tech’s market power. After becoming Microsoft’s general counsel in 2002, he spent the next decade resolving government antitrust inquires into the company. In 1992, the Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation into Microsoft that led to a government settleme
Microsoft president: Being a big company doesn’t mean you’re a monopoly Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-10  Authors: jessica bursztynsky
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, monopoly, company, big, general, president, facebook, pay, youre, microsoft, google, mean, smith, doesnt, antitrust, federal, investigation


Microsoft president: Being a big company doesn't mean you're a monopoly

Just because a company has had exponential growth, does not mean it is a monopoly, Microsoft President Brad Smith told CNBC on Tuesday.

“I don’t think that one should ever equate size in and of itself with a potential threat or harm,” said Smith, who also serves as the company’s chief legal officer. However, he added, “I do think that with power comes responsibility.”

Smith was referring to several investigations that have popped up in recent months into Big Tech’s market power.

One day after attorneys general from eight states and the District of Columbia announced an antitrust investigation into Facebook, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday revealed that he’s leading a multi-jurisdictional antitrust probe of Google. AGs from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are also participating in the investigation of the Alphabet unit. California and Alabama are not involved. All the attorneys general in the separate Facebook probe are also supporting the Google inquiry.

Smith certainly knows a thing or two about dealing with government investigations. After becoming Microsoft’s general counsel in 2002, he spent the next decade resolving government antitrust inquires into the company.

In 1992, the Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation into Microsoft that led to a government settlement about nine years later. Microsoft escaped a breakup, but it had to pay billions of dollars in fines in lawsuits from rivals and state governments. The ordeal arguably made Microsoft more cautious in the 2000s, allowing competitors such as Google and Apple to cut into its dominance.

In the fast-paced tech industry, companies want to move quickly and innovate — but at the same time, they cannot forget their missions and values, Smith said in a “Squawk Box” interview. He’s the author of the new book out Tuesday, “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age.”

“You need some guardrails,” he stressed, saying smaller firms are able to get away with some anti-competitive behavior. But once start-ups grow into giants, they can no longer employ certain tactics, he added.

Smith talked about the idea of a company limiting exposure of certain apps on its app store. Though he did not name it specifically, Apple recently tweaked its app store to reduce the frequency of its own apps in search results after competitors raised antitrust concerns with regulators around the world, two executives told The New York Times in an interview published Monday.

Regulatory action at the federal government level to date has had a minimal impact on big tech companies.

The Federal Trade Commission recently imposed fines on both Google and Facebook over their handling of user data. Last week, Google’s YouTube agreed to pay $170 million. Facebook, in July, agreed to pay $5 billion. Those penalties, which would be considered large by most standards, represented just small fractions of their quarterly revenues.

But antitrust, compared with privacy and consumer protection concerns, poses a more direct threat to these companies’ business models. If the federal or state probes find evidence of anti-competitive behavior at Google, for example, the company could be compelled to make its algorithms friendlier to rivals even if that eats at its own profits. It could also be forced to spin off entire business units, such as YouTube.

What Smith does know, is that it’s not too late for companies to begin changing practices or focusing on their mission. “When you put it in that broad perspective, it’s not a day too late but we better not wait until tomorrow.”

Officials for Apple, Facebook and Google were not immediately available for comment.

— CNBC’s Lauren Feiner and Jennifer Elias contributed to this report.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-10  Authors: jessica bursztynsky
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, monopoly, company, big, general, president, facebook, pay, youre, microsoft, google, mean, smith, doesnt, antitrust, federal, investigation


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AG investigating Google: ‘We surely hope it does not require decades’ to get resolved

“We surely hope it does not require decades,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said on “Squawk Alley.” Other high-profile antitrust investigations into large technology companies include the DOJ’s inquiry into IBM and Microsoft. Paxton’s probe is being jointly conducted with attorneys general from 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. All nine attorneys general in the separate Facebook inquiry are also supporting the Google investigation. State attorneys general have


“We surely hope it does not require decades,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said on “Squawk Alley.” Other high-profile antitrust investigations into large technology companies include the DOJ’s inquiry into IBM and Microsoft. Paxton’s probe is being jointly conducted with attorneys general from 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. All nine attorneys general in the separate Facebook inquiry are also supporting the Google investigation. State attorneys general have
AG investigating Google: ‘We surely hope it does not require decades’ to get resolved Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-10  Authors: kevin stankiewicz
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, federal, hope, resolved, decades, facebook, companies, inquiry, investigation, general, google, surely, require, investigations, does, antitrust, attorneys, investigating


AG investigating Google: 'We surely hope it does not require decades' to get resolved

One of the state attorneys general investigating Google told CNBC on Tuesday that the coalition doesn’t want it to take has long as other seminal antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice.

“We surely hope it does not require decades,” North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said on “Squawk Alley.”

Other high-profile antitrust investigations into large technology companies include the DOJ’s inquiry into IBM and Microsoft. The IBM lawsuit was first filed in 1969, and the trial didn’t begin until 1975. It took six years for it to be dropped, in 1981. Robert Bork reportedly called it the “Antitrust Division’s Vietnam.” The Microsoft investigation began in 1992 and didn’t conclude until 2001.

“The whole purpose is to do the investigation, hopefully in a timely fashion … and reach some resolution, should that be the appropriate outcome,” said Stein, a Democrat.

The Google inquiry, announced Monday, will examine the company’s “overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers,” according to a statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who is leading the bipartisan coalition.

The investigation, which had been rumored for weeks, came just days after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a multistate probe into Facebook’s potential antitrust violations.

Paxton’s probe is being jointly conducted with attorneys general from 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Only California and Alabama are not involved. All nine attorneys general in the separate Facebook inquiry are also supporting the Google investigation.

The state AGs’ investigations into Facebook and Google are the latest scrutiny directed toward large tech companies this year. They also have faced criticism over user data security and consolidation in e-commerce.

The Federal Trade Commission opened an antitrust investigation into Facebook in June, and the Justice Department announced broad antitrust investigations of Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet in July.

State attorneys general have said they will cooperate with federal investigators but insist their inquiry is distinct and independent.

Antitrust experts told CNBC the inquiry from state attorneys general is significant because it adds pressure to federal regulators and could serve as a “backstop” if the federal investigations end.

Stein said the goal of the investigations is to ensure large tech companies are not using their size to “squelch the innovation we’ve all benefited so much from.”

Stein said preventing innovation causes harm to consumers, just like companies using their influence to raise prices on digital advertising. “Consumer harm can be more than just the prices you pay.”

“There is a whole wave of possible new businesses out there that want to take the internet in directions that none of us can even imagine that can make our lives better,” Stein added. “But if they are strangled on the vine, if they never even come to fruition, then all of that opportunity growth and value is denied to consumers.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-10  Authors: kevin stankiewicz
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, federal, hope, resolved, decades, facebook, companies, inquiry, investigation, general, google, surely, require, investigations, does, antitrust, attorneys, investigating


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Google’s cloud chief Thomas Kurian on antitrust, Amazon competition

Thomas Kurian, who took over Google’s growing cloud business last year, isn’t concerned about regulators hampering his ability to expand, even as the Justice Department investigates the parent company for potential anti-competitive behavior. There’s business in the enterprise space. The cloud business [is] really in the enterprise space.” Google’s advertising revenue increased 16% in the second quarter to $32.6 billion, representing about 84% of Alphabet’s overall sales. The cloud business, whic


Thomas Kurian, who took over Google’s growing cloud business last year, isn’t concerned about regulators hampering his ability to expand, even as the Justice Department investigates the parent company for potential anti-competitive behavior. There’s business in the enterprise space. The cloud business [is] really in the enterprise space.” Google’s advertising revenue increased 16% in the second quarter to $32.6 billion, representing about 84% of Alphabet’s overall sales. The cloud business, whic
Google’s cloud chief Thomas Kurian on antitrust, Amazon competition Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-10  Authors: jordan novet
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, suite, cloud, week, googles, competition, thomas, google, theres, advertising, chief, space, antitrust, kurian, business, billion, amazon


Google's cloud chief Thomas Kurian on antitrust, Amazon competition

Thomas Kurian, who took over Google’s growing cloud business last year, isn’t concerned about regulators hampering his ability to expand, even as the Justice Department investigates the parent company for potential anti-competitive behavior.

“They’re different businesses,” Kurian told CNBC’s Josh Lipton in an interview this week. “There’s a business in the consumer space. There’s business in the enterprise space. The cloud business [is] really in the enterprise space.”

Google’s advertising revenue increased 16% in the second quarter to $32.6 billion, representing about 84% of Alphabet’s overall sales. In digital advertising, Google has a commanding position, with research firm eMarketer estimating that it controlled more than 38% of the market in 2018, making it by far the largest player.

However, in public cloud, where big tech companies provide infrastructure so that customers can offload their computing and storage needs, Google is way behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The cloud business, which includes cloud hosting and Google’s G Suite portfolio of productivity apps, is generating annualized revenue of over $8 billion, up from $4 billion less than two years earlier. Gartner’s most recent data show that Google controls 4% of the public cloud market and 10% of the office suite market.

Regulators are clearly more concerned about Google’s growth in advertising, where the company has the potential to use its ownership of the Android operating system, Chrome browser and dominant search engine to collect vast amounts of consumer data and control what users see. Last week, Alphabet confirmed that it’s being investigated by the DOJ. And on Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that 50 attorneys general have joined an investigation into Google over possible antitrust violations.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-10  Authors: jordan novet
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, suite, cloud, week, googles, competition, thomas, google, theres, advertising, chief, space, antitrust, kurian, business, billion, amazon


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Review: Google Nest Hub’s new smart display can read your face, but some may find that too creepy

Todd Haselton | CNBCGoogle’s Nest Hub Max, a larger version of the Nest Hub that was announced during Google I/O in June, is now available for purchase. The Nest Hub Max represents yet another way Google is getting into our homes, and this time with a camera. I tried calling someone on Duo who was using a phone rather than another Nest Hub Max, and the video on my end wasn’t good, even with the big display. I think video chats would be most appealing between two Nest Hub Max owners, so I want to


Todd Haselton | CNBCGoogle’s Nest Hub Max, a larger version of the Nest Hub that was announced during Google I/O in June, is now available for purchase. The Nest Hub Max represents yet another way Google is getting into our homes, and this time with a camera. I tried calling someone on Duo who was using a phone rather than another Nest Hub Max, and the video on my end wasn’t good, even with the big display. I think video chats would be most appealing between two Nest Hub Max owners, so I want to
Review: Google Nest Hub’s new smart display can read your face, but some may find that too creepy Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-09  Authors: todd haselton
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, youtube, face, kitchen, smart, hubs, nest, review, hub, camera, todd, read, creepy, max, haselton, google, display, room


Review: Google Nest Hub's new smart display can read your face, but some may find that too creepy

I liked using it to watch live sports and recaps with YouTube TV. Todd Haselton | CNBC

Google’s Nest Hub Max, a larger version of the Nest Hub that was announced during Google I/O in June, is now available for purchase. I’ve been using it for the past several days, so I wanted to let you know what it’s like. It’s similar to the Nest Hub, which launched last year and serves as a smart display that lets you watch YouTube TV ($50 a month), stream music and speak to Google Assistant. It also helps you learn more about your day, with information on your commute to work, reminders and more. The Nest Hub Max represents yet another way Google is getting into our homes, and this time with a camera. It’s similar to the Facebook Portal+, but it has a smaller display and can do a lot more. It’s also Google’s answer to Amazon’s line of Echo Show products, which range in size, price and capability. While the $129 Nest Hub is best served in places like the bedroom, given its small 7-inch screen, Google wants the $229 Nest Hub Max and its larger 10-inch screen to take over your kitchen or living room. It has a camera for video chats with family or for monitoring your house while you’re away. That camera can also recognize each member of your family’s face, so it can display unique information for each person it sees. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s good

The Hub Max is a great digital photo frame. Todd Haselton | CNBC

I like the big screen on the Nest Hub Max, since I was able to watch a football game in the kitchen and still see the score. The bigger screen makes it easier to see menus, too, if you use the Hub Max for recipes (I’m a terrible cook, so I didn’t try this) and for viewing photos.

It’s a great photo frame. Here’s my dog Mabel. Todd Haselton | CNBC

That’s one of the best parts of the Hub and Hub Max: It serves as a great digital photo frame for displaying any albums you want from Google Photos. My wife and I love seeing old memories pop up on the regular Hub when we walk into the kitchen, and now they’re even bigger.

The camera can be turned off with a physical switch. Todd Haselton | CNBC

There’s a built-in wide-angle camera that lets other people easily see you during a Google Duo video call. It follows you around the room, too, so you can walk and talk at the same time, much like the video chat feature on the Facebook Portal. You can call people who have Duo installed on either an iPhone or an Android phone, and it’s free. One problem, though. I tried calling someone on Duo who was using a phone rather than another Nest Hub Max, and the video on my end wasn’t good, even with the big display.

You can fit a lot in a video call with the wide angle lens. It can track you if you move around, too. Todd Haselton | CNBC

They were able to see me and my entire kitchen, though, which means they benefited from my better camera. I think video chats would be most appealing between two Nest Hub Max owners, so I want to get a couple for my family over the holidays.

It’s bigger than the regular Nest Hub, on the left. Todd Haselton | CNBC

The camera can be added to your Nest account to double as a security device when you’re away. I set it so it turned off when I was home, but it automatically switched on when I was away to let me check in on the kitchen from my smartphone. You can get alerts if someone walks into the room, and it synced well with my existing in-home and outdoor Nest cameras. If you’re worried about the camera, you can turn it off. There’s a switch on the back of the Hub Max to turn the camera and the microphones off. Google says it’s a hardware switch, so, in theory, someone can’t hack in and turn it back on.

The speakers aren’t amazing but good enough for filling a room with music. Todd Haselton | CNBC

Google Assistant is built in, so you can ask it to play music on Spotify, launch YouTube videos, play TV channels from YouTube TV, check the weather, call people and more. It understood me really well, even when I was across the room. And when you’re blaring music, you can pause it by simply holding your hand in the air, or resume it doing the same gesture. This also works for timers, if you don’t want to talk to Google but have a bunch of cake batter on your hands. One of the most unique features is also a bit worrying, though.

What’s bad

The camera will recognize you and recommend content you might like. Todd Haselton |CNBC

The Nest Hub Max’s camera can be used to recognize anyone who walks in the room. One morning, it showed me how long it was going to take me to get to work, recommended YouTube videos and Google News catered to me. It could do the same for my wife, switching up all of that information when it recognized her face. Except my wife won’t register her face. Even though Google says it keeps your facial recognition data locked down to the device and doesn’t use it for anything else, I’m a bit skeptical. For one, you need to register your face on a phone, so it has to travel to Google’s servers first before it lands on the Hub Max. My wife told me she thinks it’s “creepy.” Maybe your family will feel differently, but Google hasn’t gained everyone’s trust yet.

There are volume controls and a switch to turn off the camera and mic on the back. Todd Haselton | CNBC

The speakers sound just OK. For $229, I expected something better, but they get irritating at high volumes. They’re fine for just playing casual music in the kitchen, but you won’t want to replace your Sonos speakers for this. That’s kind of annoying, since I now have to keep a Sonos speaker in the kitchen in addition to a smart display, just to make sure I have good music in the room everyone hangs out in.

Should you buy it?

The Hub Max is recommending YouTube videos and recipes Google thinks I might like. Todd Haselton | CNBC

I like it a lot. The Nest Hub Max is a big screen for viewing photos, recipes, TV shows, your schedule and more, all wherever you decide to plug it in. It works well at what Google says it can do: The cameras are solid, it connects to Nest just fine, it’s good at recognizing my face (even if it’s creepy to my wife) and it’s priced well for what you get. I like the information more than what the Echo Show can provide, but you should stick with that if you’re already an Echo household. If that appeals to you, then yes it’s a good buy.

You can control gadgets in your smart home, if you have any. Todd Haselton | CNBC


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-09  Authors: todd haselton
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, youtube, face, kitchen, smart, hubs, nest, review, hub, camera, todd, read, creepy, max, haselton, google, display, room


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Google faces a new antitrust probe by 50 attorneys general

Fifty attorneys general are joining an investigation into Google over possible antitrust violations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the initiative’s leader, announced Monday. The bipartisan probe includes attorneys general from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. At the press conference Monday announcing the probe, attorneys general emphasized Google’s dominance in the ad market and use of consumer data. “Is something really free if we are increasingly giving over our privac


Fifty attorneys general are joining an investigation into Google over possible antitrust violations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the initiative’s leader, announced Monday. The bipartisan probe includes attorneys general from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. At the press conference Monday announcing the probe, attorneys general emphasized Google’s dominance in the ad market and use of consumer data. “Is something really free if we are increasingly giving over our privac
Google faces a new antitrust probe by 50 attorneys general Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-09  Authors: lauren feiner
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, states, press, investigation, antitrust, probe, attorneys, free, google, really, general, attorney, prices, faces


Google faces a new antitrust probe by 50 attorneys general

Fifty attorneys general are joining an investigation into Google over possible antitrust violations, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the initiative’s leader, announced Monday.

The news confirms reports last week about the bipartisan investigation into Google’s practices. The bipartisan probe includes attorneys general from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. California and Alabama are not involved in the probe, Paxton said at a press conference.

At the press conference Monday announcing the probe, attorneys general emphasized Google’s dominance in the ad market and use of consumer data.

“When there is no longer a free market or competition, this increases prices, even when something is marketed as free, and harms consumers,” said Florida state attorney general Ashley Moody, a Republican. “Is something really free if we are increasingly giving over our privacy information? Is something really free if online ad prices go up based on one company’s control.”

The investigation will take place as Facebook faces its own antitrust probe led by New York Attorney General Letitia James with attorneys general from seven states plus the District of Columbia. At the press conference announcing the news Monday, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, a Democrat, said it “remains to be seen” if the two probes will be “a coordinated expansion.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-09  Authors: lauren feiner
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, states, press, investigation, antitrust, probe, attorneys, free, google, really, general, attorney, prices, faces


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State probes into Big Tech are a ‘backstop’ in case the feds back down, say antitrust experts

Nearly all the country’s attorneys general are now putting their weight behind antitrust investigations of Big Tech. “The state attorneys general, they are an independent bunch,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, a Democrat, said Monday. Lately, federal regulatory action against Facebook and Google has had little impact on their core businesses or stock prices. So for those waiting to see if the U.S. government will deal a more significant blow to Big Tech, the state AG investigations may be a


Nearly all the country’s attorneys general are now putting their weight behind antitrust investigations of Big Tech. “The state attorneys general, they are an independent bunch,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, a Democrat, said Monday. Lately, federal regulatory action against Facebook and Google has had little impact on their core businesses or stock prices. So for those waiting to see if the U.S. government will deal a more significant blow to Big Tech, the state AG investigations may be a
State probes into Big Tech are a ‘backstop’ in case the feds back down, say antitrust experts Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-09  Authors: lauren feiner
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, state, experts, antitrust, facebook, tech, federal, say, backstop, investigations, probes, case, google, companies, feds, states, big, general


State probes into Big Tech are a 'backstop' in case the feds back down, say antitrust experts

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (L) and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speak during the launch of an antitrust investigation into large tech companies, outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on September 9, 2019.

The group investigating Google, which includes all the states except California and Alabama, stressed their independence from federal regulators, who are already asking their own questions of the company, Google previously disclosed .

Nearly all the country’s attorneys general are now putting their weight behind antitrust investigations of Big Tech. And while the state-led probes will turn up the heat on companies such as Google and Facebook , they will also likely add pressure to federal regulators who have launched their own investigations into the industry, according to antitrust experts.

“The state attorneys general, they are an independent bunch,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, a Democrat, said Monday. “And they can be quite tenacious. So I’m very confident that this bipartisan group is going to be led by the facts and not be swayed by any conclusion that may fall short, if you will, if it’s inconsistent with our facts, on the federal side. So we’re going to do what we think is right based on our investigation.”

Racine’s comments, and the mobilization of such a large group of attorneys general, could indicate a level of dissatisfaction among top state legal officials when it comes to federal action against Big Tech.

Lately, federal regulatory action against Facebook and Google has had little impact on their core businesses or stock prices. The Federal Trade Commission recently slapped Google with a $170 million fine for allegedly violating a law protecting children online. The amount represented less than half of a single day’s revenue for its parent company, based on its second quarter 2019 earnings. And the FTC’s record $5 billion settlement with Facebook over its use of user data also resolved all claims against Facebook and its executives involving its previous agreement with the agency.

So for those waiting to see if the U.S. government will deal a more significant blow to Big Tech, the state AG investigations may be a welcome development. After all, states have played a noteworthy role in past cases, gaining significant concessions from tobacco companies and pressing Microsoft in a landmark antitrust case. In that case, attorneys general from 20 states and the District of Columbia joined the Justice Department in alleging Microsoft suppressed competition in the software market. In the end, however, the Justice Department decided to settle with the company, and several states vocally dissented against what they saw as a weak agreement.

Half a dozen antitrust experts interviewed for this article said state investigations can certainly add heat to the federal probes, but ultimately, their resources pale in comparison to those of the FTC and DOJ.

“The big picture here is that states can serve as a backstop if the federal government decides not to go after these companies,” Rutgers Law professor Michael Carrier said.

“You’re putting 30 generally small offices together and then they have to coordinate,” said Harry First, a professor at the New York University School of Law. “It’s good, but it’s not quite the same as the extent of the staffs on the federal level.”

Considering both Google and Facebook are large global companies, “it’s a heavy lift,” First said.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-09  Authors: lauren feiner
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, state, experts, antitrust, facebook, tech, federal, say, backstop, investigations, probes, case, google, companies, feds, states, big, general


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A new Google tool aims to bring ‘in-depth analysis’ to the college search

In 2018, the search giant launched a college search feature that gives students information about four-year universities, including acceptance rates, costs and graduation rates. This year, Google expanded the feature to include two-year colleges, associate programs and certificate programs, reflecting the changing ways Americans are pursuing degrees. Today, roughly 35% of all college students, about 6 million people, are enrolled in two-year institutions like community colleges, rather than trad


In 2018, the search giant launched a college search feature that gives students information about four-year universities, including acceptance rates, costs and graduation rates. This year, Google expanded the feature to include two-year colleges, associate programs and certificate programs, reflecting the changing ways Americans are pursuing degrees. Today, roughly 35% of all college students, about 6 million people, are enrolled in two-year institutions like community colleges, rather than trad
A new Google tool aims to bring ‘in-depth analysis’ to the college search Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-06  Authors: abigail hess
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, google, rates, search, indepth, colleges, programs, students, institutions, tool, bring, aims, fouryear, analysis, twoyear, workers, college, education


A new Google tool aims to bring 'in-depth analysis' to the college search

Students today use Google to do their homework, connect with peers and teachers and apply to college. Now, more college-bound students may turn to the search engine for decision-making help. In 2018, the search giant launched a college search feature that gives students information about four-year universities, including acceptance rates, costs and graduation rates. This year, Google expanded the feature to include two-year colleges, associate programs and certificate programs, reflecting the changing ways Americans are pursuing degrees. Today, roughly 35% of all college students, about 6 million people, are enrolled in two-year institutions like community colleges, rather than traditional four-year colleges. While workers with associate’s degrees are typically out-earned by workers with higher educational attainment, earning a two-year degree in a high-demand field can be a low-cost way for workers to continue their education and increase their potential earnings. As a result, the number of students earning an associate’s degree each year has risen from 579,000 in 2001 to nearly 1 million in 2018, an increase of about 74%.

Attendance at these kinds of programs has increased also because they are typically “open-access,” meaning they accept most, or all, qualified students. Proponents of these kinds of open-access programs emphasize that they provide a low-cost education to students who might not have the opportunity to attend more exclusive four-year schools and that they enroll high percentages of students of color and low-income students. But graduation rates are significantly lower at two-year programs than they are at four-year programs. According to the Department of Education, 31.6% of students at two-year institutions graduate within four years, compared to over 40% at four-year institutions.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-06  Authors: abigail hess
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, google, rates, search, indepth, colleges, programs, students, institutions, tool, bring, aims, fouryear, analysis, twoyear, workers, college, education


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Tariffs are no longer China’s biggest problem in the trade war

Two Fridays ago, pundits seemed to be beside themselves over what was the latest flare up in the U.S.-China trade war. President Trump raised tariffs in retaliation for China’s retaliatory tariffs, he called Fed Chairman Jerome Powell an “enemy,” and the Dow plummeted 623 points while the Nasdaq closed 3% lower. It’s not the new round of tariffs that went into effect; we’ve been playing the tit-for-tat tariff war for more than a year. It’s important to note that decoupling, even if the trend con


Two Fridays ago, pundits seemed to be beside themselves over what was the latest flare up in the U.S.-China trade war. President Trump raised tariffs in retaliation for China’s retaliatory tariffs, he called Fed Chairman Jerome Powell an “enemy,” and the Dow plummeted 623 points while the Nasdaq closed 3% lower. It’s not the new round of tariffs that went into effect; we’ve been playing the tit-for-tat tariff war for more than a year. It’s important to note that decoupling, even if the trend con
Tariffs are no longer China’s biggest problem in the trade war Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-06  Authors: jake novak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, china, economy, trade, trump, google, sources, tariffs, biggest, war, president, chinas, decoupling, problem, longer


Tariffs are no longer China's biggest problem in the trade war

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and US President Donald Trump attend their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 29, 2019. Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

What a difference two weeks makes. Two Fridays ago, pundits seemed to be beside themselves over what was the latest flare up in the U.S.-China trade war. President Trump raised tariffs in retaliation for China’s retaliatory tariffs, he called Fed Chairman Jerome Powell an “enemy,” and the Dow plummeted 623 points while the Nasdaq closed 3% lower. Now it seems like trade deal optimism is back in the air. New formal talks between the U.S. and China have been announced for next month, and there are even high-level Chinese sources suggesting a breakthrough could occur at those meetings. It doesn’t appear there’s anything the Trump administration has done to improve this sentiment. Right now, it’s the more encouraging news and messaging from China that’s the cause of that optimism. But what forced this sudden change in the rhetoric from Beijing? It’s not the new round of tariffs that went into effect; we’ve been playing the tit-for-tat tariff war for more than a year. It’s not the economic reports; they’ve been a little too mixed lately to force any dramatic moves. It’s not even the decision by Hong Kong administrator Carrie Lam to fully withdraw the controversial mainland extradition bill; it’s still not clear that the Hong Kong unrest would be affected in any way by a trade deal.

Given the timing of the change in tone, it seems more likely that what’s making the difference is a realization on both sides that there’s another way this trade war could end – and that possible ending is one the U.S. is very unlikely to lose. That alternate ending is summed up in one word: decoupling. The decoupling push is quite different than any U.S. efforts to get China to open up more of its economy to American companies. Instead, it focuses on reducing America’s extremely heavy reliance on China for so much of its manufacturing needs. Even if China’s economy weren’t so closed off to so many American goods and services, a strong argument has long been made that the U.S. needs to diversify its sources for imports. While finding those new sources wouldn’t necessarily do anything to dent America’s trade imbalances, it would reduce the risks of a major disruption to the U.S. economy based on disputes or other problems connected to a single foreign country. So what happened between Aug. 23 and this week’s trade optimism-fueled rally? Thanks to some major news about Google, the world got its clearest notice yet that U.S.-China decoupling has gone from just a theory to something that’s really happening. Just five days after that trade war flare up, the Nikkei business daily reported on Aug. 28 that Google is shifting its Pixel smartphone production to Vietnam from China starting this year and that the company is also looking to shift some of its smart home speaker assembly to Thailand. It’s not that Google is the first U.S.-based company to announce some shift away from China; more than 50 other big names have moved out or scaled back. But the timing of Google’s reported plans and how they seem to have affected Beijing can’t be ignored. It’s important to note that decoupling, even if the trend continues, isn’t necessarily a bullish force for the U.S. economy. It doesn’t mean there will be any increase in American jobs, as the expected Google moves to Vietnam and Thailand make clear. The tariffs on Chinese goods are also not making America richer or directly growing our economy, no matter what the White House says.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-09-06  Authors: jake novak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, china, economy, trade, trump, google, sources, tariffs, biggest, war, president, chinas, decoupling, problem, longer


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