GOOG - Alphabet Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real Time Price. Currency in USD
+7.15 (+0.66%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close1,085.35
Bid0.00 x 800
Ask0.00 x 1800
Day's Range1,086.28 - 1,099.18
52 Week Range970.11 - 1,289.27
Avg. Volume1,523,566
Market Cap758.748B
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.14
PE Ratio (TTM)27.41
EPS (TTM)39.86
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateN/A
1y Target Est1,275.00
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • How the Pentagon competes against Silicon Valley for tech talent
    Yahoo Finance8 hours ago

    How the Pentagon competes against Silicon Valley for tech talent

    Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter explains why the Department of Defense needs to up its game and recruit tech talent from Silicon Valley.

  • The BreakUP!?: Debating the future of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook
    Yahoo Finance Video12 hours ago

    The BreakUP!?: Debating the future of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook

    In the first part of our series on the future of big tech, Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi debate the calls to split up the tech giants with Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer and Rick Newman.

  • The Fed is wrong about inflation and productivity
    Yahoo Finance12 hours ago

    The Fed is wrong about inflation and productivity

    When it comes to inflation, Federal Reserve officials resemble the characters Estragon and Vladimir in Samuel Beckett’s existential play “Waiting for Godot.”

  • E3 2019: Here's when we'll get a Netflix for video games
    Yahoo Finance14 hours ago

    E3 2019: Here's when we'll get a Netflix for video games

    E3 2019 brought us plenty of news about cloud gaming. Here's where the major playings including Google, Microsoft, and Sony stack up.

  • Financial Times2 hours ago

    Google’s life sciences unit reveals data-driven opioid addiction centre

    On the corner of Hopeland Street in Dayton, Ohio — the epicentre of the US opioid epidemic — an old tool factory has been revived. Painted in bright greens and whites, and furnished with comfy chairs and a ping-pong table, the OneFifteen campus looks more like a tech company than a healthcare facility.

  • Comcast Is Investing in European TV and ... Home Health Care?
    Motley Fool4 hours ago

    Comcast Is Investing in European TV and ... Home Health Care?

    Your local cable and internet providers have had crazier ideas. This one might actually work.

  • Alphabet (GOOG) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks7 hours ago

    Alphabet (GOOG) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Alphabet (GOOG) closed at $1,092.31, marking a +0.64% move from the previous day.

  • Facebook Will Try to Fix Its Reputation With Advertisements
    Motley Fool8 hours ago

    Facebook Will Try to Fix Its Reputation With Advertisements

    The company will double its ad spending over the next two to three years.

  • Bloomberg8 hours ago

    Solving the 'Edge Computing' Puzzle Will Make Your TV Smarter

    (Bloomberg) -- Since Japan launched its first deep space probe in 1985, the photographs have been taken in a relatively low-tech way, by pointing cameras at objects in the cosmos and letting them run. Whatever is captured gets sent back to Earth, where people cull the material for the most beautiful shots.Problem is, this dragnet approach uses up precious bandwidth and batteries. So Japan’s space agency is experimenting with a camera that’s more discriminating: It decides which pics have the best light, angle and composition, and beams back only those. Using artificial intelligence on powerful, large computers? That’s no big deal. But it’s a lot harder on a tiny spacecraft with its serious energy constraints.Enter LeapMind Inc., a Tokyo company specialized in “edge computing,” or running computations not on a central server or even a PC, but on remote devices with limited processing power and no internet connection. The idea is to bring AI to traffic lights, security cameras, home appliances—or even the odd space probe.Artificial intelligence can do amazing things, but it’s still rare because the math takes enormous computing power and loads of electricity. This means driverless cars must be something akin to data centers on wheels, with dozens of processors that can get hot enough to boil water. Edge computing promises to make AI work inside the thousands of smaller gadgets and machines in people’s homes and offices.“The hurdles to putting AI in actual products are really high,” said LeapMind’s founder, Soichi Matsuda, 36. “There are all kinds of severe limitations: price, power-consumption, dealing with exhaust heat.”LeapMind is just one of dozens of companies working on edge computing. Google and have led the way, but last year venture capital firms invested about $750 million in startups working in the field, according to CB Insights, up 26% from the previous year. In 2017, a group led by Intel Capital invested $10 million in LeapMind.They’re all seeking to drastically simplify the way AI works, so that everyday devices can take voice commands, respond to gestures and see the world around them. The technology would enable a home security camera to tell family members from strangers or allow sensors sewn into clothing to track your health, without sending private information to the cloud.“Edge AI is becoming more and more important, especially in areas where latency, power consumption, connectivity and security matter,” said Anthony Lin, senior managing director at LeapMind investor Intel Capital.In order to understand what makes edge computing so difficult, it helps to recall your high school algebra. Each variable in a typical AI algorithm is built out of a 32-digit string of ones and zeros that allows for 4.3 billion possible combinations. (They look like this: 0010001001000.0000101001000010110.) The detail is what gives AI its predictive power.The trick in edge computing is shaving down the numbers so they can be processed by smaller chips, but without losing too much precision. It’s a challenge because for every digit that’s lopped off, there’s an exponential loss in expressiveness.This is why even the smallest achievements in edge computing are treated as major victories. In March, for example, when Google announced it finally managed to get a speech-recognition function to run offline on its smartphones, at least one Google engineer called the effort “heroic.” For most users the difference is probably unnoticeable, but making it work without being connected to the internet required chopping the program’s variables down from 32 to 8 digits, or bits.LeapMind is working at a level that’s orders of magnitude smaller, just 1 or 2 bits, according to Matsuda. It’s the computer science equivalent of boiling the English language down to just four words and somehow still being able to convey a lot of meaning.“When we started working on this in 2015, we knew that someone like Google would eventually do 8 bits,’’ Matsuda said. “So we had to aim higher.’’The techniques developed by LeapMind are sufficient for many, but not all tasks. You couldn’t run a driverless car with them, for example. But they’d be useful for driver-assist functions or other less-exacting work.Which brings us back to the space agency’s photography problem.As it stands, JAXA’s probes can’t devote scarce computing power to getting visually-pleasing photos, no matter how valuable they are for PR purposes, because it would come at the expense of doing actual science. The photos that the public sees now have been taken in the process of doing other work, not specifically for their beauty.That’s why JAXA researcher Takayuki Ishida decided to try using LeapMind’s tools to build a smart camera. He started by taking 10,000 photos of planet and probe models, shot from different angles and with different juxtapositions, and ranking them in terms of aesthetic appeal.Then he used LeapMind’s software to create a pattern-matching algorithm that learned to differentiate between good photos and bad ones. The code was compact enough to run on a single chip that consumed no more electricity than a 10-watt light bulb.JAXA declined to comment, but Ishida described his experiments in a paper he presented at a February conference held by LeapMind.If the system works, it would be a small step forward for space exploration and perhaps a big leap for everyday devices closer to home.“If you want to add AI to a television or a laptop or any other existing product, you have to re-design things from scratch because most of the power supply is already spoken for,’’ said LeapMind’s Matsuda. “Power is the big constraint.’’To contact the reporter on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at palpeyev@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at, Jason Clenfield, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The Story of Uber
    Investopedia8 hours ago

    The Story of Uber

    Uber’s disruptive technology, explosive growth, and constant controversy make it one of the most fascinating companies to emerge over the past decade.Uber's journey to becoming the world's most highly valued a private startup.

  • Benzinga10 hours ago

    Chinese Brands Are Taking The Global Economy By Storm

    Chinese stocks have taken a big hit from the trade war, with the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE: FXI) down 13.8% in the past year. BrandZ recently released its Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands list for 2019. Meituan is an online-to-offline e-commerce service platform with 600 million users and 4.5 million business partners throughout China.

  • Surging Netflix stock snaps losing streak after analyst foresees U.S. subscriber number topping estimate
    MarketWatch10 hours ago

    Surging Netflix stock snaps losing streak after analyst foresees U.S. subscriber number topping estimate

    Shares of Netflix Inc. surged Monday, on track for the first gain in six sessions, after a Piper Jaffray analyst said he expects the video streaming giant to beat second-quarter U.S. subscriber growth expectations.

  • Micron Stock Is in the Crosshairs As China Threatens Its DRAM Business
    InvestorPlace10 hours ago

    Micron Stock Is in the Crosshairs As China Threatens Its DRAM Business

    Micron (NASDAQ:MU) has been having a less than stellar 2019. At this point one year ago, MU stock was trading near $60. On Friday, it capped a week of losses with Micron stock closing at $32.66, sliding another 2.16%. The company is being hit by the usual cyclical nature of the DRAM business, its primary revenue generator. But what's spooking many investors is the China effect.Source: Micron This is something relatively new, and what's making it even worse for MU than other U.S. chipmakers is that the trade war has spurred Chinese competition that will end up eating into its core business even when the current spat is over. The Cyclical Nature of DRAMDynamic random-access memory is a key component of technology ranging from computers to smartphones to smart cars. American chipmaker Micron is the world's third-largest supplier of DRAM, after a pair of South Korean companies: First-place is Samsung and second-place is SK Hynix. DRAM is Micron's core product, and primary source of revenue.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsMost investors in MU stock recognize that the DRAM market tends to be cyclical in nature. Demand for the products that rely on the component goes up and down, that has a big impact on MU revenue. In 2017, global demand for DRAM was high, as companies like Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google expanded their server capacity in the race for artificial intelligence dominance. High demand pushed up DRAM prices, and revenue for companies like Micron. As a result, MU stock was approaching the $50 level as 2017 closed out. The party continued in early 2018 -- Micron stock topped $61 -- before the bottom began to fall out of the DRAM market. * The 10 Best Index Funds to Buy and Hold With smartphone sales beginning to decline, the shortage of DRAM turned into a glut and prices fell. When Micron reported its Q2 2019 earnings, DRAM prices had declined over 20% from the previous quarter and demand was down. As a result, its DRAM revenue dropped from $5.2 billion in Q2 2018 to $3.74 billion. DRAM demand is expected to recover -- remember it's a cyclical business -- but not until into 2020. MU Stock Hit by the Trade WarRoughly half of Micron's revenue comes from the Chinese market. The company said earlier this year that China's Huawei alone accounts for 13% of its annual revenue. As the trade war with China heats up, more of MU's revenue is at risk -- its DRAM gets more expensive for Chinese companies to buy, it's not allowed to sell at all to some, the Chinese government may push some customers to buy from non-U.S. suppliers and reduced demand in the U.S. for the final products further reduces demand for DRAM. As the trade war with China escalated in May, MU stock dropped nearly 25%. China's Changxin Memory a Long-Term Threat for Micron StockThe latest blow to Micron stock is again related to China. Last week the Nikkei Asian Review reported that China's Changxin Memory is on the verge of becoming the country's first mass-producer of DRAM.The company has invested $8 billion in a new chip plant, and is using a new design for its DRAM based on a bankrupt German chipmaker -- thus avoiding U.S. charges of intellectual property theft. Initial production is expected to be 10K wafers a month, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the 1.3 million wafers currently produced globally. However, when Changxin Memory ramps up production its output could add to the global DRAM glut, further lowering already depressed prices. And as a native Chinese producer of DRAM, it is positioning itself to replace America's Micron as a supplier for Chinese tech companies like Huawei.There's nothing but downside for MU stock in that news, which goes a long way toward explaining Friday's drop. As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 4 Top American Penny Pot Stocks (Buy Before June 21) * The 7 Best Tech Stocks to Buy for the Second Half of 2019 * 7 Top-Rated Biotech Stocks to Invest In Today * 4 Semiconductor Stocks to Sell Compare Brokers The post Micron Stock Is in the Crosshairs As China Threatens Its DRAM Business appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • The Most Popular Kids’ Video Site in the World Isn’t for Kids
    Bloomberg10 hours ago

    The Most Popular Kids’ Video Site in the World Isn’t for Kids

    (Bloomberg) -- In late May, the advocacy group Common Sense Media held a summit on “digital well-being.” Attendees gathered inside the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, to debate the long-term effects of apps, services and electronic devices once hailed as revolutionary. The final panel was devoted to content deemed “NSFK,” or “not safe for kids.”What was supposed to be a roundtable discussion functioned more like a public drubbing of YouTube. The video site, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, is in the news every week for the inane, upsetting or harmful videos involving children. A decade ago, fretful parents worried about video games and slasher films—but today, YouTube incites greater fear. “Now parents say, ‘Bring me the violent movie,’” Jill Murphy, editor-in-chief of Common Sense, said on stage. “It’s better than a Google search box.”Alicia Blum-Ross, YouTube’s policy chief for kids and family, tried to convince the room that her company was getting quality content to kids. It has spent the past year throwing resources at child safety. YouTube has recruited staff and set up an outside advisory council. Last fall, the company hired Blum-Ross, an anthropologist, and speaking on the panel, she ticked off recent product upgrades – an option for screened kids’ videos only, more parental controls, smarter software. “We’ve actually made a lot of strides,” she said. In the first quarter of 2019, the company removed more than 800,000 videos for violations of its child safety policy.Blum-Ross then touted YouTube’s supposed panacea: YouTube Kids. The app, created four years ago, filters videos from the main site specifically for children under thirteen, who are protected by federal law from forms of digital data collection. The app has faced criticism – that it’s too addictive, lowbrow and unedited -- but YouTube Kids is, relatively speaking, a haven from the dangers of the open web and “We strongly encourage parents that the general site is not made for kids,” Blum-Ross said.What Blum-Ross didn’t mention, however, is that not many kids use YouTube Kids, and those who do don’t stick around. Several of the most popular channels on the main site, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, specialize in programming designed for young kids, but that doesn’t mean they are free of advertising or screened for safety. One, Cocomelon, a channel of nursery rhymes, has more than 50 million subscribers. That’s double the weekly audience for all of YouTube Kids, which is used by more than 20 million people a week, according to a company spokesperson. (Much of the audience for a channel like Cocomelon could be parents trying to keep up with popular rhymes, a spokesperson said.)Children who do watch YouTube Kids tend to shift over to YouTube’s main site before they hit thirteen, according to multiple people at YouTube familiar with the internal data. One person who works on the app said the departures typically happen around age seven. In India, YouTube’s biggest market by volume, usage of the Kids app is negligible, according to this employee. These people asked not to be identified discussing private information.  Once kids leave, they don’t come back. “Many parents have expressed that their child refuses to go back to YouTube Kids,” said Jenny Radesky. Radesky is a University of Michigan assistant professor of pediatrics and an expert on childhood development, and was also on the panel held by Common Sense Media. “It’s too baby-ish, too restrictive. Now that they’ve let the genie out of the bottle with YouTube main, it’s hard to reverse course,” she said in an interview.YouTube said it is working to bring its Kids app to as many families as possible, and has created restricted versions of the full video service so parents can screen clips for their kids when they watch together. At the Code Conference last week, Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki addressed safety. “I’ve been really clear that that responsibility is my No. 1 priority,” she said. “There is a lot of work for us to do. I acknowledge that, but I also know that we have tremendous tools at our fingertips that we can continue to invest in to do a better job.”In an interview with CNN, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai acknowledged the tension between free speech and hateful content on YouTube. “It is definitely one of the hardest things. In some ways, companies alone aren't fully equipped to handle problems like that, so I think there is a lot of work ahead,” he said.Solving the kids problem is at the top of a growing list of headaches for the world’s largest video site. In just the past few weeks, the company has been accused of radicalizing young voters and ignoring harassment of gay people. YouTube has spent years chasing engagement on its service and ignored internal calls to address toxic videos, as Bloomberg previously reported, and it’s a habit that continues to irritate rank-and-file staff inside the tech giant. Four people at Google privately admitted that they don’t let their kids watch YouTube unsupervised and said the sentiment was widespread at the company. One of these people said frustration with YouTube has grown so much that some have suggested the division spin off altogether to preserve Google’s brand.Yet YouTube is under limited pressure to change its ways. While YouTube is facing competition for younger viewers from Walt Disney Co. and Netflix Inc., it isn’t at risk of losing the audience. Some 97 percent of children have used YouTube, either the main site or the kids app, according Insight Strategy Group, a market research firm that polled 1,200 American families about online behavior this year. (The poll did not distinguish between the kids app and the main site; Chumsky said they stopped asking parents about YouTube Kids because many parents didn’t understand the difference.) Children from five to twelve reported spending more time on YouTube than anywhere else, including Fortnite and Instagram. “Basically, every kid who doesn’t live in Amish country,” said Sarah Chumsky, vice president for the research firm. YouTube said it’s working on digital well-being: curbing kids’ screen time with features like a “take a break” icon that reminds viewers to stop watching. “We’re changing our metrics,” Blum-Ross told the crowd in Mountain View. But she admitted the company hasn’t figured out how to implement those without sacrificing too much of its business.“How do we measure success when success is actually using our products less?” she asked.YouTube Kids went live in a moment of optimism for tech, and for Google. The search giant introduced the app, in February, 2015, as the first of its “tech for tykes” initiative. At first, the plan was to hand-pick videos and charge a fee. Google, at the time, was plotting more subscriptions businesses and it planned to bundle the Kids app with other services like music and gaming, according to former staffers involved.But the deals needed for the bundles never formed. And the plan to limit what videos appeared ran counter to YouTube’s ethos: Users dictate all. A former executive, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters, recalled surveying a father whose son loved watching airplanes take off on YouTube. The clips were unusual for kid’s programming, but didn’t seem harmful. If younger viewers found thousands of these niches, YouTube’s staff couldn’t keep up with manual curation. Software could. So the app launched with algorithmic sorting like YouTube’s main site.YouTube designed the app with a focus on pre-schoolers. Viewers that open the app are met with dancing cartoons, and most of the library is filled with millions of hours of footage of nursery rhymes and popular “unboxing” toy clips. YouTube staff thought that older kids would still use the main site and there was no reason to target them beyond managing legal liabilities, according to a media executive who consulted with YouTube on the formation of the Kids app.Less than three months after launching, though, child and consumer advocacy groups found inappropriate content on the app, including explicit sexual language and jokes about pedophilia.Over the years, YouTube has made several attempts to better handle its ocean of kid’s content. One way it did that was to turn to humans – not as curators or screeners, but as “genre-taggers.” Starting in 2017, staff were assigned to categorize clips based on twelve fields, such as “music,” “play” and “toy unboxing,” according to someone who worked on the project. YouTube has squads of people that sift out videos in violation of its policies, but this team was focused on lumping together videos by subject. Employees usually tagged the videos within ninety seconds, although many took far longer. The former staffer recalled seeing a 10 hour upload of the viral Baby Shark video, on loop. In late 2017, those jobs were moved to Hyderabad, India.Despite the changes, YouTube has avoided mirroring Disney or Netflix, which rely on established production companies and review videos before making them available. YouTube conducted a trial recently to see the impact of hand-picking every video that appears in the Kids app. It’s something critics have proposed; many of the app’s scandals involve kids stumbling onto user-generated videos that would not have snuck past careful human censors. In the internal trials, however, kids between seven and 12 grew bored of the limited library and went to surf regular YouTube, according to people familiar with the test.  YouTube would like to put the onus on parents to manage their kids, much as it expects copyright holders to flag pirated material and users to flag inappropriate content. Parents can choose to only let their kids watch programming from certain channels, like Sesame Street and PBS Kids, according to a spokesperson. But most parents feel powerless to monitor their kids’ use of YouTube, according to Radesky, the Michigan researcher who studies how young kids use technology, searching for ways to prevent mental illness, chronic pain and improve child-parent relations. The company also likes to point out how much educational content is consumed. But external research shows that kids, particularly tweens, like very different kinds of videos.  Older kids watch music videos, stunts, reaction clips (“Funny Baby Try Lemon First Time”) and movie trailers, Insight Strategy Group found. They prefer “prank and humor” videos the most. Radesky has managed to limit her two kids’ use of YouTube thus far, directing them instead to PBS Kids and Netflix. “The algorithm is promoting whatever gets clicked on the most and that isn’t going to promote content that is best for kids at that stage of development,” she said. “It will promote the junk food kids love.”  Karen Green, a writer who lives southwest of Toronto, kept her two daughters away from YouTube until they turned 10. At that point, they got iPads, and were allowed to use regular YouTube. Green didn’t understand the point of YouTube Kids. She thought parents shouldn’t limit their kids’ interest to things that are only for children. “YouTube Kids is an unfair thing to do unless kids are super little,” she said.But it didn’t take long for Green to regret her decision. One day her daughter came to her horrified because following different videos on YouTube had led her to a website for Furries, a subculture of people interested in dressing up as animals (and having sex with people dressed up as animals). “We were angry it was so easy to get to a place where she was so uncomfortable,” Green said.That experience was the impetus for Green to buy a device called Circle, a rectangular box parents can attach to their computers to limit the amount of time their kids spend online. Green hooked Circle up to her modem, and placed a 30-minute limit on her kids’ screen time. As soon her kids use YouTube for 30 minutes, the computer turns off. The device also has a content filter that blocks certain types of videos, though it is, in Green’s estimation, a loose filter. Green receives updates on her kids’ activity and can control the device using an app on her phone.Green would like to see YouTube do more to filter out inappropriate content, or deliver warnings when users are going beyond filters. “YouTube is the app parents hate the most and kids love the most,” she said. Critics and business partners have also called for implementing ratings and review processes. But YouTube doesn’t want to change the way it’s wired, as an open platform largely edited by software. “That’s their operating system,” said Mat Baxter, global chief executive officer for Initiative, an advertising agency. “But when it comes to children, there is no margin of error.”  (Updates with comment from Google CEO in the ninth paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected the number of families surveyed by Insight Strategy Group.)To contact the authors of this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at mbergen10@bloomberg.netLucas Shaw in Los Angeles at lshaw31@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Biuso at, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Benzinga12 hours ago

    Internet Trends Report: Why Immigration Is Critical To The US Tech Industry

    Immigration is an important driver of the United States technology industry – without immigrants, it’s not quite clear that many of the biggest tech companies would have been started. While immigrants make up less than 15% of the nation’s population, they started one out of four new tech businesses over the last couple of decades.

  • Software Stocks with least Risk and Positive Sales Growth
    Investopedia12 hours ago

    Software Stocks with least Risk and Positive Sales Growth

    Several fast-growing software stocks are poised to outperform despite heightened risks facing the technology sector.

  • A global ‘shock to markets’ could trigger next financial crisis, warns Roubini
    MarketWatch12 hours ago

    A global ‘shock to markets’ could trigger next financial crisis, warns Roubini

    The Federal Reserve is widely expected to strike a dovish chord when it meets this week, clearing the way for a July rate cut — the first in more than a decade — that almost 40% of economists in a WSJ poll are expecting. While a hawkish Fed no longer looms over this aging bull market, Nouriel Roubini, now says the world “has an even bigger problem on its hands.”

  • American City Business Journals14 hours ago

    These are the top 15 best-paying tech jobs for new grads, study says

    Newly graduated members of the Class of 2019 could eventually make salaries ranging from $60,000 to over $100,000, should they pick one of the highest-paying technology jobs.

  • Google Maps Wants to Help You Navigate During Natural Disasters
    City Lab NonHosted15 hours ago

    Google Maps Wants to Help You Navigate During Natural Disasters

    The app will offer crisis navigation warnings and provide detailed visual information about hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

  • MarketWatch16 hours ago

    Facebook in worse regulatory position than peers, says analyst

    Needham analyst Laura Martin wrote Monday that Facebook Inc. appears to be in a worse position than Big Tech peers Alphabet Inc. and Apple Inc. given that the Federal Trade Commission and not the Department of Justice has jurisdiction to investigate the company's practices. Martin points to several aspects of the FTC's mission statement that indicate to her that the agency has a wider scope for its investigations. The FTC's mission statement conveys a focus on "preventing anti-competitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity" and mentions that the agency is "the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy." To Martin, this mission means that the company "can look into almost anything it wants to in any industry it wants to" and can "pivot and look at a different potential infraction" if it doesn't find anything in one area. The FTC also has public hearings, which could bring negative attention to Facebook, while peers Alphabet and Apple are now under the eye of the DOJ, which runs a closed investigative process. Martin has a hold rating on shares, which are up 38% so far this year, as the S&P 500 has risen 12%.

  • Cities Need Scooter Data, and They Need to Keep It Safe
    Bloomberg17 hours ago

    Cities Need Scooter Data, and They Need to Keep It Safe

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The great scooter schism was perhaps inevitable. Electric scooters — the latest tech-mobility trend — do more than move people from place to place. They also gather detailed information on where and when people travel. City planners can well use that data to help them plan smarter, safer streets. And they have the leverage to demand it, in return for permission to use city-regulated sidewalk space. Rules and permit systems in many cities now require scooter providers to turn over data on everything from travel routes to flat tires.But this has sparked a backlash. Uber, Lyft, Bird and the other leaders of Big Scooter have successfully stonewalled many cities on ride-hail data, and they haven’t been eager to turn over scooter data either. Unfortunately, they found allies in the California Legislature, which considered a bill that would have prohibited any “unduly restrictive” city rules on scooter operations. This would have been bad for planning and public safety, without truly protecting privacy.Privacy is at the core of the argument companies use against sharing their data. In this, they were given an opening when, early on, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation developed a universal scooter-data-collection standard that seemed to run afoul of existing state laws meant to clarify that individual trip data is sensitive, personally identifiable information. Thus, companies best known for not cooperating with cities have come to claim that they need to keep scooter data to themselves in order to safeguard the public’s digital privacy.It’s true that privacy is a big issue. Within the past few years, the potential for data breaches has grown into one of the greatest risks cities face. (They were not among the fears that kept me awake at night in my seven years as commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, a job I left just five years ago.) By gaining access to travel data, a hacker could readily figure out exactly where any individual travels, and when. This is why mobility data are at the center of a larger conversation in cities, state legislatures and the private sector about people’s right to digital privacy.Perhaps you’re thinking that Google and Facebook have had your data for a decade, and nothing’s gone wrong there. (What’s a presidential election between friends?) Data breaches are a fixture of the daily news, snaring all sorts of private companies (including ride-hail companies) and crippling major cities. As of this writing, a ransomware attack has left the city of Baltimore without core services for over a month.And lest you assume location data can be harmlessly “anonymized,” that’s a nebulous term masking art as science. Permanently de-identifying data is exceedingly hard; any computer-science undergrad could re-identify an individual from just a few data points. Some law enforcement agencies already use such data to improperly track down suspects, leading to false arrests.Privacy concerns are real, but that doesn’t mean companies should be able to prevent responsible access to their data. Without the voluminous data that transportation apps gather, cities are left to plan blindly, relying on their old clickers and clipboards. Better cities need better data — to prevent crashes, minimize traffic congestion and get people where they need to go efficiently. So the way to protect mobility data is not to let private companies keep it to themselves; it’s for cities to raise the bar on digital privacy, championing practices that protect both citizens and the public interest. Thankfully, cities navigating this ocean of data are developing new tools for both using it and protecting it. They’re building privacy into their data demands — by requesting only what they need, aggregating what they receive, and storing it safely. The National Association of City Transportation Officials, a coalition of 72 cities and 10 transit agencies (which I chair), has just published a set of principles alongside the International Municipal Lawyers Association for protecting mobility data. And SharedStreets, a nonprofit digital commons incubated by NACTO, is designing open-source, privacy-first systems for improving city streets — everything from curb regulations to vehicle speeds to management of scooter data — that protect privacy by design.As cities work through these street fights, they must also collectively push to codify the digital privacy rights of their citizens (think of the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, or California’s analog). We need a digital bill of rights, ensuring that cities can access the data they need to keep people safe on the streets and online, and stopping companies from engaging in dangerous data collection to begin with. As we make privacy as great a civic value as safety and equity, the lessons we learn will be equal parts ethics and algorithms.In the process, it certainly won’t help for any state to limit what data its cities can collect — or to micromanage how cities regulate their streets. Recent amendments to the California legislation seem to have walked the state back from the cliff edge, but cities must remain vigilant, and California must avoid setting a dangerous preemption precedent.Today we’re debating scooters, but in the years ahead, we’ll be talking about data on autonomous vehicles, flying taxis and other modes of travel that haven’t even been invented yet. By putting safeguards in place now, we’ll have the infrastructure we’ll need to protect our lives, property and privacy.To contact the author of this story: Janette Sadik-Khan at jsk@bloomberg.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mary Duenwald at mduenwald@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Janette Sadik-Khan, a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, is a principal for Bloomberg Associates and chair of the National Association of City Transportation Officials.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.