Googley Philanthropy

December 13, 2019

We are treated to more Google executive PR speak in the ABC News story, “Google’s Do-Good Arm Tries to Make Up for Everything Else.” AP Reporter Angela Charlton cites a Paris interview with Google VP Jacqueline Fuller, where she announced some grant awards. The winning projects aspire to teach digital literacy to the poor, the elderly, immigrants, and rural users. Other emphases of Fuller’s division include working to keep children safe online and using AI to increase access to health care, build better emergency services, and boost access to job opportunities. Charlton writes:

“The philanthropic arm she runs, Google.org, is like the company’s conscience, spending $100 million a year on non-profit groups that use technology to try to counteract problems the tech world is accused of creating, abetting or exacerbating. ‘Across the world we want to make sure we’re a responsible citizen,’ she said. But can Google’s do-good arm make up for everything else? At least it’s trying, she argues.”

So, they want an A for effort? That would take more than a measly $100 million per year. Fuller insists the company is having vigorous internal “conversations” around the topics of their controversies, for whatever that is worth. Issues like privacy and the misuse of user data, algorithmic bias, the perpetuation of hate speech, employee sexual misconduct allegations, weapons development (Project Maven, in cooperation with the Pentagon), and potential human rights violations are not so easily counteracted. There may be hope for change, however, due to external pressure. The article reminds us:

“Public outrage has grown over Google’s use of consumer data and domination of the online search market, with governments stepping up scrutiny of the company. … Former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris argues technology is shortening our attention spans and pushing people toward more extreme views. He couldn’t get Google to tackle these problems when he was there, so he quit and is pushing for change through his Center for Human Technologies. He says companies like Google won’t change voluntarily but that the tech world has undergone a ‘sea change’ in awareness of problems it’s caused, thanks in part to pressure from a frustrated public.”

We shall see where that awareness leads.

Cynthia Murrell, December 13, 2019

Google Faces Anti-Trust Allegations in Georgia

December 9, 2019

Countries large and small are thinking about Google.

Once again, Google is being charged with anti-competitive behavior. We have grown used to seeing such lawsuits proceed in the EU, but this time the allegations come from a company based in Atlanta. The Hindu Business Line reports, “Google Accused by Rival of Anti-Trust Violations in Ad Market.” The write-up specifies:

“Advertising technology company Inform Inc alleges that Google has used its monopoly power in internet search and mobile operating systems to undermine competition in the ad market. Inform claims that while it posted revenue of more than $100 million from 2014 to 2016 from its online ad services, Google’s conduct effectively put Inform out of business, according to the complaint filed Monday in federal court in Atlanta. The totality of Google’s illegal and anti-competitive conduct across multiple, inter-related markets demonstrates a frightening march to online and digital dominance, the company said in the suit. The lawsuit comes on the heels of antitrust investigations into Google by state attorneys general, the Justice Department and Congress. Google’s control over the technology that delivers ads across the web are a focus of all the probes.”

Inform provides online video ad services to publishers and advertisers, so it is in direct competition with those services from Google. Interesting timing—earlier this year, Inform agreed to a merger with digital advertising firm Bright Mountain Media, based in Boca Raton, Florida.

Cynthia Murrell, December 9, 2019

Has Google Trashed Christmas for Kids?

December 6, 2019

Christmas? Ruined by the Google? I don’t believe it, but Metro UK may.

I learned in “Google Ruins Christmas for 1.1 Million Children Every Year Claim Teachers.” If the story is online, isn’t it true?

The write up states:

Research carried out by Exam Papers Plus suggests that each year over a million children are typing into Google whether or not Father Christmas is real.

How is this possible?

1,116,500 children ask Google “Is Santa Real” each year.

Google’s smart search system obviously knows the answer. Kids who do research are informed of the truth delivered by an objective, ad supported online service.

One tip: Don’t make a video for children that espouses untruths or put links in comments sections of video for children. A lump of coal may be placed in one’s stocking. Not just any coal. The lignite stuff.

Stephen E Arnold, December 6, 2019

Alphabet Google: Bail Out Time

December 5, 2019

The future of Alphabet Google is online advertising. Oh, there’s one other challenge rushing toward the company: Litigation.

Who is the new face for lawyers from most of the US states and a clutch of other countries? Sundar Pichai. You can get the Googley story in “A Letter from Larry and Sergey.”

Several observations:

  1. The legal scrutiny is not likely to be gentle and sweet. The good night may not be so good.
  2. The likelihood a change from high school science club management to a more McKinsey-like approach will produce some interesting disruptions. Fire people before Thanksgiving? Just a warm up, gentle reader.
  3. The “new” Google will be stripped of its down home Backrub charm. The influence of Indian high school and IIT will be significant.

Exciting? Probably. Good for lawyers. Absolutely? What about those mom and pop businesses that depend on Google for revenue? Amazon and TikTok are looking better each day.

Stephen E Arnold, December 5, 2019

Do It Yourself Surgery: An Unexpected YouTube Consequence

December 5, 2019

DarkCyber noted the CNBC real news story “Doctors Are Turning to YouTube to Learn How to Do Surgical Procedures, But There’s No Quality Control.”

Quality control. What a quaint concept.

The write up states:

YouTube has become a fixture of medical education.

Fix a broken lamp? YouTube. Take out an appendix? YouTube.

DarkCyber learned:

CNBC found tens of thousands of videos showing a wide variety of medical procedures on the Google-owned video platform, some of them hovering around a million views. People have live streamed giving birth and broadcast their face-lifts. One video, which shows the removal of a dense, white cataract, has gone somewhat viral and now has more than 1.7 million views. Others seem to have found crossover appeal with nonmedical viewers…

Maybe there’s an opportunity for Google:

Google’s vice president of health, David Feinberg, noted at a recent medical conference in the fall that a lot of surgeons are flocking to YouTube. He implied, without sharing specifics, that his team would look to do a better job of managing the content as part of its broader focus on combating health misinformation across Google. Medical experts say they’re more than willing to work with YouTube to help curate medical content.

The advertising model seems ideal for this type of “professional” curation. Will medical device manufacturers sponsor curated videos?

Opportunity beckons for:

  • Do it yourselfers
  • Medical product and service providers
  • Google itself.

A management challenge? Nothing Google cannot overcome with assistance. Think the flying car tapping Boeing for expertise.

Stephen E Arnold, December 5, 2019

Google Avoids a Prince Andrew Like Interview

December 5, 2019

Yep, prime time. After a football game. A hard hitting interview with a PR message. You can read and watch some of the talk in the self referential, Google indexing friendly news story “How Does YouTube Handle the Site’s Misinformation, Conspiracy Theories and Hate? YouTube’s Mission Is to Give Everyone a Voice, But the Site’s Open Platform Has Opened the Door to Hate. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Tells Lesley Stahl What the Company’s Doing about It.

Now that’s a headline.

A couple words in this 43 word headline caught my attention. First the word “mission”, the phrase “everyone a voice,” “tells,” and “company’s doing.” Interview? More like a sales pitch, perhaps?

Very PR like. Almost Prince Andrewish.

The main point: The quantity of video is a problem, an excuse. The numbers sure sound impressive.

What’s the fix? Limit the video uploads. Presto. No more cost challenges. Editorial guidelines. Responsibility. Conformance to the laws of nation states. (Think how silly Apple looks changing the maps to make the Russian government happy. Crimea? Just upload a YouTube video and make your voice heard, right?)

Users are, after all is said and done, the point of the service.

Here’s a telling comment in response to a question about providing a YouTube video of murders in New Zealand:

Susan Wojcicki: This event was unique because it was really a made-for-Internet type of crisis. Every second there was a new upload. And so our teams around the world were working on this to remove this content. We had just never seen such a huge volume.

Yep, unique plus the fact that Google/YouTube was obviously unprepared. Like this sign:

Image result for plan ahead

Prince Andrewish or not? You decide:

  1. A lack of awareness of the situation Google sustains?
  2. Is there a “certain blindness” to examine the content findable by individuals who know where to look for stolen software’s unlock codes, images of interest to bad actors, and content designed to promote activities which can harm a person?
  3. Is a slow waltz required to mute the perception that advertising revenue is more important than Austrian concert master virtues?
  4. Why not explain that the goal of YouTube is engagement is to keep children and the young at heart clicking, viewing, and sticking. The more engagement, the greater the real estate for ads. (See item 3 above, please.)

Prince Andrew’s train wreck interview underscored his interesting behavior and caused the Queen to take away his flag. (Yep, he had his own flag!) Google still has its flag for the sovereign state of Google, just a new and beloved leader.

Did the CBS news team get a Google mouse pad before leaving the Google office? Probably but the big numbers about the YouTube videos may have left the team addled. Big is good. PR is gooder. Google advertising? The absolute goodest.

This interview was not Andrewesque; it was Googley.

Stephen E Arnold, December 5, 2019

Kitty Hawk: Dreaming Is Different from Doing When One Seeks Management Guidance

December 4, 2019

I read in the capitalist’s tool this story: “Inside Larry Page’s Turbulent Kitty Hawk: Returned Deposits, Battery Fires And A Boeing Shakeup.” The business story as a business school case study is an interesting journalistic niche.

The main idea is that Larry Page, founder of Google and all-around business Lionel Messi, has scored an own goal with its flying car business. Kitty Hawk has suffered a couple of minor setbacks; for example, battery fires and disenchanted supporters.

To add insult to injury, Forbes, the capitalist’s tool, sagely observes:

Kitty Hawk’s promise to bring personal flying to the masses has failed to take wing yet amid technical problems and safety issues with Flyer and unresolved questions about its practical use, according to four former Kitty Hawk employees who were among six who spoke to Forbes on the condition of anonymity due to non-disclosure agreements.

Yep, management of a science club project underscores the difference between thinking about a flying car and actually building one are different. Just a tiny bit.

Which company can “save” Kitty Hawk. What about Boeing (the 737 Max outfit) for business guidance?

Amazing.

Something a Hollywood screenwriter might struggle to conceive. Faulty software and burning batteries managed by Boeing and Google.

Here’s a summary of this interesting case study from the hollows of Kentucky: Another Googley DNW or “did not work.”

Stephen E Arnold, December 4, 2019

Is Google Thinking about Turkeys?

November 27, 2019

Is Google actually fearful of an authoritarian government? Google is okay with firing people who do not go along. Google exerts considerable force. Is Google is a company driven by dollar signs? Is it possible that Google fears anything and anyone that threatens its net profit? The Register explains the cause of Google’s fear in “Google Takes Sole Stand on Privacy, Rejects New Rules For Fear Of ‘Authoritarian’ Review.”

Google, like any company from a capitalist society, is leery of any organization that wishes to restrain its power. Google recently blocked a new draft for he Privacy Interest Group (PING)’s charter. PING is a member of the W3C web standards body. Google blocked the new draft, because it creates an unchecked authoritarian review group and will create “significant unnecessary chaos in the development of the web platform.”

PING exists to enforce technical specifications that W3C issued to respect people’s Web privacy. W3C provides horizontal review, where members share suggestions with technical specifications authors to ensure they respect privacy. Ever since the middle of 2019, PING’s sixty-eight members have tried to rewrite its charter. The first draft was shared with 450 W3C members, one of which is Google, and only twenty-six members responded. Of the twenty-six members, Google was the only one that objected.

Google supports PING’s horizontal review, bit the search engine giant did not want to invest in the new charter without the group having more experience. There are not many differences between the charter drafts:

“‘The new charter is not dramatically different from the existing one, Doty said in an email. ‘It includes providing input and recommendations to other groups that set process, conduct reviews or approve the progression of standards and mentions looking at existing standards and not just new ones. I think those would all have been possible under the old charter (which I drafted originally); they’re just stated more explicitly in this draft. It includes a new co-chair from Brave, in addition to the existing co-chairs from the Internet Society and Google.’

Doty said he’s not surprised there would be discussion and disagreement about how to conduct horizontal spec reviews. ‘I am surprised that Google chose to formally object to the continued existence of this interest group as a way to communicate those differences,’ he said.”

Doty hopes that Google will invest in PING and Web privacy, but Google’s stance is more adversarial. Google and other tech companies are worried about their business models changing of cookies are blocked. Google does not want to lose the majority of its business, which comes from advertising through its search engine. Google might protect privacy, but only so far as it does not interfere with their bottom line.

Whitney Grace, November 27, 2019

Google Ads: Some Data

November 26, 2019

DarkCyber noted some information about the cost of Google ads for a pet-related business. Navigate to “How Much Does it Cost to Run Google Ads? : Tech : Nature World News”.

Here’s the passage we found interesting:

Google Ad Spend costs an average of $9,000 to $10,000 per month. Depending on your budget, you decide the maximum amount that you will spend on cost-per-click (CPC). The average CPC on the Google Search Network is $1 to $2 per click. The average CPC on the Google Display Network is $1 or less per click. The cost for professional Google Ads management per month is 12 percent to 30 percent of the cost of Ad Spend per month. PPC (pay-per-click) costs an average of $15 to $800 per month.

Stephen E Arnold, November 26, 2019

Google Cloud: Identification of an AWS Weakness

November 25, 2019

Who knows if this report is public relations or data gold? Today one can struggle to wriggle the truth in technical reports. If you are up to a challenge, navigate to “Just Eat Orders Google Cloud Platform for Its Data Needs – Ditches AWS.”

image

JustEat says on its Web site:

More than 12 million hungry people come to Just Eat every month. And they keep coming back because we continue to invest in marketing and improved products and services for customers and restaurants.

The write up points out that JustEat has 27 million customers. Each is “wanting food and you’ve got 112,000 restaurants. How do you start to map the two together?”

The article explains that the Google Cloud Platform is the solution. The company’s AWS system:

and every Monday morning, analysts and data scientists would cause a massive traffic jam and demand to get data, and the average query time would be 800 seconds, so people would start a query, go and get a coffee and then come back and get their results set and then may even have to query again if there’s something wrong.

How much faster is the Google solution? The answer is:

the average query time is down to 30 seconds, so not only are people getting data quicker than before, but all of that 90% of data that we weren’t ingesting is also being ingested – so the data estate is a magnitude bigger, and yet we’re still getting lower query times.

Just Eat was impressed with Google Contact Centre AI product. The write up quotes a JustEat executive as saying:

The post-order space is just as important [as ordering food], and I think there is a lot of work we can do there to improve the experience and remove anxiety. So, looking for services like Customer Contact Centre AI is a big piece.

A few observations:

  • Amazon has invented a streaming data service. This article takes direct aim at AWS and its failures
  • Query time improvement is interesting, but there is scant data about what’s happening within the GCP set up
  • Amazon offers a range of smart software. The write up makes it clear that Google is just better at implementing.

Whom does one believe? The information flowing from Amazon via its AWS Web site or information in an article which can find little fault with the Google.

DarkCyber’s take away is that the PR battle between Google and AWS may be ticking up a notch. Despite the assertions in the write up, Amazon is likely to find a way to point out its virtues.

And the facts? Have you ever heard of road kill on the information superhighway?

Stephen E Arnold, November 25, 2019

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