|Day's Range||45.00 - 45.00|
Google is announcing the global availability of Swirl, an ad format the company unveiled in beta just over a year ago. The Swirl format involves banner ads that include interactive 3D product models. Swirl lets consumers engage with a product like it's right in front of them by allowing them to rotate, zoom and expand the creative in the ad.
After reportedly spending a year and a half working on a cloud service meant for China and other countries, Google cancelled the project, called “Isolated Region,” in May due partly to geopolitical and pandemic-related concerns. Bloomberg reports that Isolated Region, shut down in May, would have enabled it to offer cloud services in countries that want to keep and control data within their borders. According to two Google employees who spoke to Bloomberg, the project was part of a larger initiative called "Sharded Google" to create data and processing infrastructure that is completely separate from the rest of the company’s network.
(Bloomberg) -- South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. is buying the software of Hooq Digital Ltd., the Southeast Asian video streaming service owned by Singtel, Sony and Warner Bros that’s filed for liquidation, according to people familiar with the deal.Coupang has already struck a deal to acquire the assets, the people said, asking not to be named because the information hasn’t been announced.The deal ushers SoftBank-backed Coupang into a competitive but fragmented video streaming arena and pits it against the likes of Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. U.S. giants have emerged as frontrunners, squeezing out a number of domestic players with splashier local programming and fuller Hollywood slates. In a sign of accelerating consolidation, Tencent Holdings Ltd. recently agreed to buy the assets of Malaysian streaming platform iFlix Ltd. And last month, ride-hailing giant Gojek won funding from Golden Gate Ventures and other backers for its own video foray.Coupang, backed also by BlackRock Inc. and Sequoia Capital, has designs too on its own home market. Korea in recent years birthed blockbusters that captivated global audiences from “Parasite” to “Train to Busan,” yet Netflix and Alphabet Inc.’s Youtube remain dominant local players. South Korea’s government announced a plan last month to nurture five homegrown over-the-top or streaming service providers into global companies, and support their growth by expediting deals and investment in content.A Coupang representative declined to comment.Read more: Tencent Buys Assets of Struggling Streaming Platform IFlixHooq, a joint venture between Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Sony Pictures Television Inc. and Warner Bros Entertainment Inc., filed for liquidation in March and discontinued service at the end of April. Set up in 2015, it offered movies and drama series across Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and India, but ran into trouble during the pandemic.Coupang, widely regarded as South Korea’s Amazon, has been aggressively expanding into new businesses such as food delivery and digital payments, mirroring the U.S. giant by broadening its services. The Seoul-based company, founded in 2010 by Chief Executive Officer Bom Kim, was said to be valued at $9 billion in late 2018 and has been eyeing a public listing as early as next year, Bloomberg News reported in January.Buoyed by the growth in subscribers to its delivery service, sales at the startup rose to a record 7.15 trillion won ($5.9 billion) in 2019.Read more: Coupang Grew Revenue 64% in Boost For SoftBank’s Startup Cred(Updates with details on Asian market from the third paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The TikTok-tivists are at it again.Thousands of users of the popular video app flocked to the Apple App Store in the last few days to flood U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign app with negative reviews. On Wednesday alone 700 negative reviews were left on the Official Trump 2020 app and 26 positive ones, according to tracking firm Sensor Tower.TikTok fans are retaliating for Trump’s threats to ban the app, which is owned by China’s Bytedance Ltd. and is hugely popular in the U.S., especially among teens. The thought of taking away a key social and entertainment hub in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to outrage.“For Gen Z and Millennials, TikTok is our clubhouse and Trump threatened it,” said Yori Blacc, a 19-year-old TikTok user in California who joined in the app protest. “If you’re going to mess with us, we will mess with you.”Blacc said the movement gained steam Wednesday when a popular TikTok user, DeJuan Booker, called on his 750,000 followers to seek revenge. He posted a step-by-step primer on how to degrade the app’s rating, notching 5.6 million views. “Gen Z don’t go down without a fight,” said Booker, who goes by @unusualbeing on TikTok. “Let’s go to war.”The efforts to push the app low enough so that Apple will remove it from the app store may be misguided. Apple doesn’t delete apps based on their popularity. The App Store may review those that violate its guidelines or are outdated, but not if their ratings sink. A similar tactic was tried in April to protest Google Classroom by kids frustrated with quarantine home-schooling.But young people are looking for ways to make their voices heard, even if some of them can’t yet vote. Last month, many young people organized through TikTok to sign up to attend Trump’s first post-shutdown campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but then didn’t show up. The Trump campaign denied the online organizing effort contributed to lower-than-expected attendance.Nearly 60% of Gen Zers are opposed to a TikTok ban, according to a survey conducted from Tuesday to Thursday of 2,200 adults by Morning Consult Brand Intelligence. Across all ages, about a third of Americans have never heard of TikTok, while a third have a favorable impression and a third have an unfavorable view of the app, the survey found.The Trump campaign and Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. TikTok was experiencing connectivity issues on Thursday, according to Downdector, which measures web traffic.Trump’s re-election smartphone app is a big part of the president’s unrivaled digital operation and was meant to circumvent tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. and give the campaign a direct line to supporters. The app has helped the campaign engage Trump’s die-hard supporters, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, by feeding them his latest tweets and promoting virtual events. Supporters can donate to the president’s campaign or earn rewards for recruiting friends like VIP seats to rallies or photos with the president.The Official Trump 2020 app has been downloaded more than 500,000 times on Google’s Android store as of June 15. Apple doesn’t publish information on downloads.Reviews with titles such as “Terrible App” or “Do Not Download!” have been flooding the App Store since late June. Official Trump 2020 now has more than 103,000 one-star reviews for an overall rating of 1.2.But the uptick of activity has also caused the app to rise in rankings. Users have to download the app to review it, vaulting it to second place on the Apple store from No. 486 on Tuesday, according to Sensor Tower.“Do I think that this is going to fundamentally change the election? No,” said Tim Lim, a veteran Democratic digital strategist. “But it goes to show that they are just as susceptible to these mass actions as anyone else. Trump is starting to see what it feels like to have a massive online army committed to defeating him.”Trump earlier this week said his administration is considering banning TikTok as one way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Trump’s comments came after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told Americans not to download the app unless they want to see their private information fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Bytedance is also facing a U.S. national security review for its acquisition of startup Musical.ly. It has denied allegations that it poses a threat to U.S. national security.Trump didn’t offer specifics about a potential decision and Pompeo seemed to walk back the idea of a ban in a later statement, saying that the U.S. efforts to protect American consumers’ data don’t relate to any one particular company.Many TikTok users say they care less about potential Chinese snooping and more about Trump taking away their digital hangout. In the U.S., TikTok has been downloaded more than 165 million times, according to Sensor Tower.“I don’t believe Trump is trying to take TikTok away because of national security, but more to retaliate against activism on the app and all the videos about him that drag him through the mud,” said Darius Jackson, an 18-year-old TikTok user in Champaign, Illinois, who asked his followers Wednesday to give Trump’s app a one-star rating.“This is the first year I’ll be able to vote and I think activism on TikTok is going to make a big difference,” Jackson said.(Updates with survey in the eighth paragraph. A previous version of the story corrected the spelling of the Illinois city in the penultimate paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The European Union (EU) expects concessions before its regulator allows Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL) unit Google to acquire Fitbit (NYSE: FIT). According to a report from Reuters citing "people familiar with the matter," the U.S. tech giant will have to give up something in order for the deal to clear the European Commission's (EC) antitrust review process. One possible solution is that Google concretely promises that it will not misuse Fitbit user data by culling it to target advertising, the article's sources said.
(Bloomberg) -- Some of Wall Street’s biggest stocks are coming off their best quarterly performance in years, and with the broader economy still grappling with the pandemic, analysts are starting to express some skepticism about high-profile rallies.The S&P 500 surged 20% in the second quarter, its biggest quarterly gain since 1998. While the superlative nature of the rally was partly a function of timing -- many components hit a bottom right before the end of the first quarter -- the move was fueled by tech and internet stocks, which outperformed the benchmark and have heavy weightings due to their massive market capitalizations.Apple and Amazon.com both gained more than 40% during the quarter, making it the iPhone maker’s best quarter since 2012 and Amazon’s best since 2010.On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank confessed it was “surprised at both the speed and magnitude of the rebound” in Apple shares, adding that the move “has us nervous.” Raymond James echoed this tone on Tuesday, seeing uncertainty surrounding Apple’s forecast given an expected delay in the iPhone 12, a product Nomura Instinet expects “will fall short of a supercycle.” Both Deutsche Bank and Raymond James still recommend buying Apple shares.Amazon remains a consensus favorite on Wall Street -- more than 90% of the firms tracked by Bloomberg recommend buying it -- but the degree to which the share price exceeds analysts’ average price target is near a multiyear high, suggesting that even bulls aren’t expecting much additional upside.Among other mega-cap names, Microsoft rose 29% over the second quarter, its best such showing since 2009. Both Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet notched their biggest quarterly gain since 2013, with Facebook up 36% and Alphabet up 22%, based on its Class A shares. Netflix rose 21% last quarter.All are at or near record levels, and the rallies will soon be tested as each member of the group is scheduled to post quarterly results before the end of the month, with Netflix reporting next week.Apple EstimatesFor Apple, the rally has come despite a more tepid view for its upcoming results. Wall Street expects third-quarter earnings, excluding some items, of $2.03 a share, a consensus that is down 6.8% from where it was three months ago. The consensus for revenue has declined 0.9% over the same period.While analysts debate whether the results will justify the recent gains, many of these names are seen as potential pandemic winners. Microsoft is expected to see stronger demand for its cloud-computing and workplace collaboration products as people continue to work remotely, while the e-commerce wave lifting Amazon and others is seen as outlasting the coronavirus’s impact on brick-and-mortar stores.Apple analysts also see a number of reasons to be optimistic for the long term, including the company’s services business, wearable products, and its stock-buyback program. “Overall, we believe the directionality and reasoning behind AAPL’s stock rise,” Deutsche Bank’s Jeriel Ong wrote. Still, the firm has “ambivalence at these levels.”Firms expressed a similar sentiment about Netflix, which has seen higher engagement during the pandemic. Rosenblatt Securities “struggle[s] to see the upside” from current levels given “uncertainty over how [long] this favorable environment will last.” Stifel continues “to grapple with the risk/reward profile given limited 2H visibility.”Imperial Capital downgraded the stock earlier this week, moving away from an outperform rating that it had held since starting coverage on Netflix about two years ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Following the recent advance, Netflix “will begin a fairly extensive range-bound trend as other long opportunities emerge in the media space,” the firm said.(Removes reference to Microsoft reporting next week in seventh paragraph of story originally published July 8.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reiterated Thursday that the world's newly crowned most valuable automaker could develop a fully self-driving car by 2020. Tesla stock climbed 2.1%.
The AI-powered analytics company's share price has soared by more than 250% over the last three years.
Warren Buffett, after giving away a $2.9 billion gift this week, has seen his wealth drop below Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as well as former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
By Yasin Ebrahim
Google may be able to stave off a full-scale EU antitrust investigation into its planned $2.1 billion bid for Fitbit <FIT.N> by pledging not to use Fitbit's health data to help it target ads, people familiar with the matter said. The deal announced in November last year allows Google, a unit of Alphabet <GOOGL.O>, to take on Apple <AAPL.O> and Samsung <005930.KS> in the fitness tracking and smart watch market, alongside others including Huawei and Xiaomi <1810.HK>. Apple is the leader in the global wearables market with a 29.3% market share in the first quarter of 2020, followed by Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei, according to data from market research firm International Data Corp. Fitbit's share of the market was 3%.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOGL) has secured a major boost for its Google Cloud division with a multi-year agreement to house Renault SA’s (RNLSY) manufacturing data.In a report by Bloomberg on July 9, the deal will have Google providing its cloud-computing capabilities to the French automaker’s various manufacturing divisions. Both businesses have not disclosed the deal’s amount nor the specific length of the agreement but Alphabet refers to the contract as the “largest of its kind globally” and its first deal for Google Cloud in France.Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said in an interview, “We believe that manufacturing companies need a new platform to complement the assembly lines, the supply chains and other systems they already have.” He added, “The Renault contract offers a chance to improve manufacturing processes, industrial automation and adapted controls.”Kurian said that the agreement will have no overlap with Alphabet’s advertising unit and self-driving division Waymo. Additionally, he assured that no data will be going to the search giant’s other units.Renault Director of Manufacturing and Logistics José Vicente de los Mozos stated, “This agreement and the commitment of our IT teams will allow us to accelerate the deployment of our Industry 4.0 plan designed to transform and connect our production sites and logistics processes around the world to improve our standards of excellence and performance.”Adding the automaker to its cloud computing clientele represents another recent win for the Google Cloud portfolio. On July 8, GOOGL forged a 10-year agreement with Deutsche Bank AG (DB) to provide its enterprise-level services. Germany’s largest lender is the third client that the company will be servicing from the financial sector.Monness analyst Brian White on July 6 reiterated a Buy rating on GOOGL and a price target of $1420 (implying 6% downside) but cut Q2 earnings estimates, noting the growing global privacy initiatives along with the spread of COVID-19.On July 7, Needham analyst Laura Martin lowered the company’s Q2 revenue after the market research company, eMarketer projected that Google-search revenue will decline in 2Q and 2020. Martin said, “We lower our Alphabet Q2 revenue estimate down to 7% year-over-year.” She assigned a Buy rating on Alphabet’s stock and a price target of $1800 which implies 20% upside.Google is up 12% year-to-date with 28 analysts assigning Buy ratings, 2 with Hold ratings, and no Sell ratings which altogether results in a Strong Buy consensus. The average analyst price target stands at $1531.50 suggesting 2% upside potential. (See Google’s stock analysis on TipRanks).Related News: Intel Capital Snaps Up $255M Stake In India’s Jio Platforms Apple Doubles Down On 5G iPhone Mass Production- Report Apple’s Integrated Ecosystem Takes the Cake, Says Top Analyst More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Bed Bath Drops 9% In Pre-Market As Sales Sink 49%; Merrill Lynch Raises PT * Apple Reassures On Intel’s Thunderbolt Despite Chip Departure * Costco June Sales Beat Estimates As Shoppers Go Online; Top Analyst Raises PT * AstraZeneca’s Wins FDA Priority Review For Heart Drug Brilinta
(Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk said the carmaker is on the verge of developing technology to render its vehicles fully capable of driving themselves, repeating a claim he’s made for years but been unable to achieve.The chief executive officer has long offered exuberant takes on the capabilities of Tesla cars, even going so far as to start charging customers thousands of dollars for a “Full Self Driving” feature in 2016. Years later, Tesla still requires users of its Autopilot system to be fully attentive and ready to take over the task of driving at any time.Tesla’s mixed messages have drawn controversy and regulatory scrutiny. In 2018, the company blamed a driver who died after crashing a Model X while using Autopilot for not paying attention to the road. Documents made public last year showed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had issued multiple subpoenas for information about crashes involving Tesla vehicles, suggesting the agency may have been preparing a formal investigation of Autopilot.Read more: Businessweek’s October 2019 cover story on Tesla AutopilotWhile other self-driving developers have tempered expectations for when their technology will be ready for deployment, Musk is undeterred. He said in a prerecorded video played Thursday during the World AI Conference in Shanghai that Tesla is “very close” to level five autonomy, meaning its cars won’t require human intervention.“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level five autonomy complete this year,” Musk said. “I think there are no fundamental challenges remaining for level five autonomy. There are many small problems, and then there’s the challenge of solving all those small problems and then putting the whole system together, and just keep addressing the long tail of problems.”Shares of Tesla rose as much as 3.1% to $1,408.56 in early New York trading on Thursday.Musk’s view contrasts with Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, which recently acknowledged it will be relying on human safety drivers to back up its robotaxis for many years to come. General Motors Co.’s Cruise last year backed off plans to make autonomous vehicles available for hailing rides and hasn’t set a new timetable for when such a service will be ready.Related: The State of the Self-Driving Car Race 2020Musk, 49, has repeatedly described autonomous driving as transformative for Tesla. He’s not alone in this sense: Cruise CEO Dan Ammann has estimated there will be a $1 trillion addressable market in the U.S. for autonomous ride hailing.During Thursday’s video, Musk said that original engineering on Tesla technology is an important facet of the company’s operations in China, which are anchored by its massive new factory near Shanghai.(Updates with shares in sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
With people now preferring to work remotely due to growing number of coronavirus cases, investments in the cloud space have increased.
Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) is a household name in the fitness market thanks to its simple but effective exercise-activity trackers. With a roster of products including smart watches and wristband activity trackers, Fitbit's offerings record health metrics including heart rate, distance travelled, and steps walked. Most of Fitbit's activity trackers cost between $100 and $175; the company's most recent tracker, the Fitbit Charge 4, cost $149 upon its release in March.
The attraction of smaller cities has been growing. Whether you're just starting out, making a career change, or planning retirement, one of these cities just might fit the bill.
(Bloomberg) -- About a year ago, Zerius Zontay discovered that his family’s work was no longer appearing on YouTube Kids. He and his wife, Symphony, regularly post short clips on the giant video-sharing site, featuring their three sons, who play with toys, sing songs and joke around. Zontay wanted to get their clips back on YouTube’s app for kids, a destination where the video site tries to direct viewers who are under the age of 13. For months, Zontay lobbied YouTube, repeatedly sending emails to community managers, to no avail. Then, in June, as protests against police misconduct spurred a national conversation on race, his frustration simmered over. “I’m seeing YouTube promoting Black Lives Matter, but with the Kids app, they’re showing that certain kids don’t matter,” said Zontay, a former music teacher. “You scroll for a long, long, long, long time before you get to a Black face.”In recent years, YouTube has come under intense pressure for how it handles kids content, both for letting too many underage people use YouTube’s main site and for allowing harmful programming in the Kids app. In 2017, YouTube published a “Field Guide for Creating Family Content,” and began restricting more types of programming from appearing in the app. Last year, the Zontays’ channel disappeared from YouTube Kids at a time when the video site was removing thousands of channels in bulk to try and cleanse the app of inappropriate content.When reached for comment, a YouTube spokesperson sent a statement in response. “We are committed to supporting and amplifying Black creators on YouTube Kids and have launched programming initiatives designed to highlight equality, racial justice, and activism for kids of different ages, but we recognize there’s more to be done,” it read. YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, pitches itself as an equalizer in the media world, allowing anyone to upload videos and amass an audience. But some of YouTube’s video producers say the company hasn’t done enough to support diversity. In June, four Black YouTube creators sued the company for racial discrimination, arguing that the service automatically removed their videos. YouTube has said it doesn’t discriminate and that the suit is without merit. On June 11, YouTube announced a new $100 million fund for Black creators. The opacity surrounding YouTube’s recommendations, rules and content-moderation process is a frequent source of frustration among its users. YouTube staff members don’t select the videos or the content creators that get promoted, instead letting its software surface programming based on viewing habits. The Zontays were never notified directly that their programming had been removed from the Kids app. Instead, they learned about it when a fan reached out and asked why their videos were missing. While they waited for an answer from YouTube, the Zontays saw a post on Facebook from a YouTube creator with the inverse problem: Their video was inadvertently appearing on the Kids app even though they had uploaded footage not intended for minors. “It makes no sense,” said Symphony Zontay. Melanie, the owner of CrayCrayFamilyTV, a Black family-friendly vlogging channel, said she has experienced similarly puzzling problems. (She asked that Bloomberg News not use her last name for privacy reasons.) Videos of her two daughters, Naiah and Eli, have been removed from YouTube Kids without explanation while the family’s clips of doll videos have remained on the app. She suspects YouTube’s algorithm may be at work, surfacing similar videos from families with a different racial profile. “It’s more digestible to see very lily-white families doing things,” she said. “It’s just unfortunate.” A company spokeswoman told Bloomberg News that some channels have been removed because a number of their videos—showing the binge consumption of junk food or “pranks where kids were in distress”—were “not enriching or appropriate” for children. The company said that many of those channels have since “adjusted” their content and, as a result, would be reinstated on the Kids app. YouTube didn’t specify which channels had run afoul of the rules.Zerius Zontay said his family has not produced any inappropriate videos and pointed to several examples of clips currently available on the Kids app that feature pranks and skits involving junk food. “We do not have this type of content, but others do and they are on the app!” he wrote in an email. YouTube Kids draws a fraction of YouTube’s main audience, but the app is where parents, educators and YouTube steer children. Last fall, after settling with U.S. regulators for violating children’s-privacy laws, YouTube began promoting the app with videos that creators or the company deemed “Made for Kids.” For millions of children, YouTube has replaced television as the central medium for passing the time and learning how the world works. There are Black creators on YouTube Kids, and the site’s top-earning channel, Ryan’s World, features an Asian-American family.Even after being kicked off of the Kids app, the Zontay family’s programming continued to thrive on YouTube’s main site. Their primary channels, ZZ Kids TV and Goo Goo Colors, have more than 6.5 million subscribers—just shy of Nickelodeon’s numbers on YouTube. In 2019, the two channels brought in over 97 million views on the Kids app before being removed, according to Zerius Zontay.“In parts of the country where they aren’t seeing Black faces, how else are they going to learn about diversity if not through YouTube?” said Melissa Hunter, head of Family Video Network, a multichannel network that represents the Zontays.On June 28, the Zontays posted a 52-minute video about the issue. In it, Zerius, Symphony and their three sons are wearing shirts that read, “Black Entertainment Matters.” A few days later, they found that their channels had been reinstated on YouTube Kids with no explanation. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Google’s campus security system subjected Black and Latinx workers to bias and prompted complaints to management, according to people familiar with the situation, leading the company to scrap a key part of the approach.The internet giant encouraged employees to check colleagues’ ID badges on campus, and asked security staff to do the same. This went beyond the typical corporate office system where workers swipe badges to enter. The policy was designed to prevent unauthorized visitors and keep Google’s open work areas safe.But some staffers told management that Black and Latinx workers had their badges checked more often than other employees, according to the people, who experienced this themselves or saw friends and colleagues go through it.As a result, these employees felt policed on campus in a similar way that they are under suspicion elsewhere in life, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the issue. It’s an example of the unconscious, or overlooked, biases that make working in Silicon Valley harder for minorities, the people added.Some workers complained about the security system to Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, and, in the midst of recent nationwide protests against racism and police brutality, he committed to change. In a June 17 blog post, the CEO pledged donations and more diverse leadership, and said the practice of asking Googlers to check each other’s ID badges would end. The change seems small, but it illuminates how Black and brown employees struggle to fit in at Google, and elsewhere in Silicon Valley. A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.Read more: For Black CEOs in Tech, Humiliation Is a Part of Doing Business“We’re working to create a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging for Googlers in general and our Black+ community in particular,” Pichai wrote in the blog, which was also sent as a memo to staff. “We have realized this process is susceptible to bias.”Alphabet Inc.’s Google has tried to increase the diversity of its workforce. The company was among the first to release an annual diversity report, and it has pledged to hire more minorities, women and LGBTQ employees for years. However, progress has been slow, especially when it comes to hiring and retaining Black people. Just 3.7% of Google’s U.S. workforce is Black and 5.9% is Latinx, according to its most recent diversity report. Other tech giants have also struggled with this.Read more: Facebook, Google Diversity Pledges Follow Scant Progress on Race The recent wave of anti-racism protests and a broader embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement spurred underrepresented workers at Google to push for more and faster change. A Black Leadership Advisory Group met multiple times with Pichai after the police killing of George Floyd. The badge-checking system was one of the top issues highlighted by the group. So the CEO’s decision to scrap the policy was a big deal for Black and Latinx workers, according to the people familiar with the situation.Pichai said Google had been researching changes to its campus security policy over the past year, but the protests likely prompted faster action. The company had been increasing workplace security since April 2018, when three employees were shot at the Silicon Valley headquarters of its YouTube video unit.The insistence on checking employee IDs was meant to discourage “tailgaters” -- people who followed others into Google buildings without swiping badges to enter. But in practice, Black and Latinx employees were stopped and told “Let me see your badge,” even after they proved they had the right to enter the office by swiping in, one of the people said.The resulting impression Black employees got is that they don’t belong, that their education, credentials and gainful employment aren’t enough to avoid suspicion based on the color of their skin, the people said. One staffer described the policy as death by a thousand cuts, which may have contributed to some Black and Latinx employees leaving the company. Retaining diverse workers is a challenge other companies face, too.Another Google worker noted that Google’s previous policy empowered employees outside of security staff to weigh in on who belonged on campus and who didn’t. Pichai conceded in his memo that the policy may have added to a loss of “psychological safety” among Black workers and other underrepresented employees.Even with the CEO’s recent changes, some Black employees don’t expect the company to become a haven for Black advancement any time soon. One worker pointed out that the company has committed to hiring and promoting “underrepresented” executives, not specifically Black people.Another Black employee said they were heartened to see that Pichai’s pledge included a specific target this time -- increase leadership from underrepresented groups by 30% by 2025. There are some big open roles at Google right now, so workers will be watching to see if real change happens, this person said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) owned Google will not be offering its new cloud service termed "Isolated Region" in China and other sensitive markets.What Happened Isolated Region was an initiative that aimed at helping countries keep control of data within their borders and was thought to be a "massive strategy shift," according to Bloomberg's sources.Under the initiative, Google could have set up cloud computing services controlled by a third party -- for example -- a government agency or a local company. This would have allowed the search engine giant to separate the set-up from its existing data centers and computer networks.Bloomberg's sources revealed that the search engine giant ended the Isolated Region initiative in May due to mounting geopolitical concerns and COVID-19.Google's plan was to sell cloud services in what it terms as "sovereignty sensitive markets," such as China and the European Union.A Google spokesperson denied that Isolated Region was shuttered due to geopolitical tensions or the pandemic and instead attributed the closure of the project to "other approaches" the company was pursuing that "offered better outcomes."The spokesperson said that Google does not offer and "has not offered cloud platform services inside China." Why It Matters The project was initiated in 2018 and was thought to be aimed at China, where rules require that Western firms join hands with a local Chinese partner company in order to provide data or networking services, according to Bloomberg. Rivals Amazon Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) sell their cloud services in China, but Google does not. Efforts were made by Google to sell these services nearly three years ago, but these were brought to an end by Thomas Kurian after he took over as Google Cloud's CEO.Google cloud generated $8.9 billion in revenue in 2019, a rise of 53% compared with the preceding year. Price Action Alphabet class A shares traded 0.16% higher at $1,506 on Wednesday in the after-hours session. The shares had closed the regular session 0.92% higher at $1,503.60.The company's Class C shares traded 0.33% higher at $1,501 in the after-hours and closed the regular session 0.73% higher at $1,496.See more from Benzinga * Verizon's Decision To Halt Facebook Advertising Was Not Political, Says CEO * Hong Kong National Security Law Fallout: US Tech Companies To Decline Law Enforcement Requests * Google Puts Off Reopening Offices As Coronavirus Infections Escalate(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL) has stopped plans to develop its cloud computing project in China and other sensitive countries partly due to geopolitical tensions and the coronavirus pandemic.According to the decision, which was first reported by Bloomberg, the search giant in May discontinued the cloud project known as “Isolated Region”, which sought to meet nations' need to control data within their borders. The project was considered a "massive strategy shift," which had involved hundreds of workers around the globe.Google's decision was made partly because of global political divisions, which were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Bloomberg report. The geopolitical issues put demands on Isolated Region that it couldn't deliver.The project would have allowed Google to set up cloud services controlled by a third party, such as a locally owned company or a government agency. The result would be a business isolated from Google's existing cloud computing services, which include data centers and computer networks."What we learned from customer conversations and input from government stakeholders in Europe and elsewhere is that other approaches we were actively pursuing offered better outcomes," a Google spokeswoman said following the report. "Google does not offer and has not offered cloud platform services inside China."Google as well as other major tech companies such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon.com (AMZN), have been investing into expanding their cloud computing capabilities and offerings to add another revenue growth channel beyond search advertising. While Amazon and Microsoft sell their cloud services in mainland China, Google hasn't. Last year Google Cloud’s revenues increased 53% to $8.9 billion year-on-year as the search giant targeted finance and government sectors which are increasingly in need of security shields and features to protect confidential data.Needham analyst Laura Martin earlier this week lowered Google’s 2Q20 revenue estimate to down 7% year-on-year because of expectations of declining US search revenue. Martin noted that eMarketer projects that Google-search revenue will decline in 2Q and 2020, for the first time in history, adding that she expects international ad revenue to be down more than in the U.S.“We are more optimistic than eMarketer for 2H20, so our GOOGL revenue estimate for FY20 is for flat revenue vs eMarketer's 3.3% decline, including a 7.2% y/y search decline," Martin wrote in a note to investors maintaining a Buy rating on the stock with a $1,800 price target.Shares in Google have fully recovered since dropping to a low in March and are now trading more than 12% higher than at the start of the year. The stock advanced less than 1% to $1,502.79 at the close of trading on Wednesday.Indeed, the stock’s upside potential now looks more limited. The average analyst price target of $1,531.50 indicates shares are almost fully priced and have room to advance a mere 1.9% in the coming 12 months. (See Alphabet’s stock analysis on TipRanks)Overall, the Wall Street rating outlook for Google remains bullish. The Strong Buy analyst consensus boasts 28 Buys versus 2 Holds.Related News: Google Snaps Up Canadian Smart Glasses Startup North Google Vulnerable to Reduced Ad Spend, Says 5-Star Analyst Google, Temasek Are Said To Be In Talks To Invest Up To $1B In Tokopedia More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Square (SQ): One Analyst Finally Got off the Fence -- but for What? * Google Vulnerable to Reduced Ad Spend, Says 5-Star Analyst * Altra Industrial Motion's (AIMC) Valuation Is Appealing, Says Analyst * Upwork’s Potential Is Underappreciated, Says Analyst
Google (GOOGL) takes the last letter among FAANG stocks and indeed in 2020 it is currently in last place among its peers where market performance is concerned. While some tech giants have been notching all-time highs almost every other day recently, Google has relatively underperformed. That said, the internet giant is only a touch away from its all time highs of $1,530 per share, and with a 12% gain year-to-date, it is way too early to call in the search engine doctor.However, Brian White, analyst at investment firm Monness, notes other areas Google needs to keep a close eye on.“For the foreseeable future,” said the 5-star analyst, “We anticipate Alphabet will struggle with weak digital ad spending trends and other headwinds.”The recent ad boycott on Facebook, while yet to impact Google, does leave other platforms vulnerable to further boycott action, with YouTube, according to White, the most at risk from a wider ban. On the flip side, with ad spend on Facebook reduced, companies’ ad budgets could be siphoned off in other directions, which could be beneficial to Google.Still, with COVID-19 showing no signs of retreating just yet, slashed ad budgets could be a theme for the foreseeable future. A post-COVID world could usher in changes that might not have been considered in the pre-pandemic climate.“Given the weak economic environment and the expansion of this COVID-19 crisis across more parts of the country, a pause in spending could turn into something that lasts longer than expected given a lack of urgency to return to previous spending levels. Moreover, there is a risk that some companies spending less on advertising, notice little impact on revenue from their cutbacks, resulting in less ambitious ad spending budgets in the future,” White summarizedAll in all, White maintains a Buy rating along with a $1,420 price target. Therefore, the analyst anticipates shares declining by 5.5% over the coming months. (To watch White’s track record, click here)Most on the Street keep a Buy rating, too – in fact, 29 out of the 31 analysts to post a Google review over the last 3 months suggest just that – with the remaining 2 recommending a Hold. GOOGL's strong Buy consensus rating is backed by a $1,527.66 price target – suggesting an all-time high is possible, although the figures implies a modest upside of 2% from current levels. (See GOOGL stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. More recent articles from Smarter Analyst: * Altra Industrial Motion's (AIMC) Valuation Is Appealing, Says Analyst * Upwork’s Potential Is Underappreciated, Says Analyst * Tesla China Sales Of Model 3 Vehicles Up 35% In June * Walgreens Plans To Expand 700 Stores Into Primary Care Clinics
Some Senate Finance Committee members are looking into a plan that would allow corporations to claim additional federal tax credits this year, according to the Washington Post. Matthew Gardner, Senior Fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman to discuss how a proposal like this could provide new breaks to companies like Netflix and Amazon.
A new GDI study finds digital advertising platforms run by Google, Amazon, and other tech companies will funnel at least $25 million to websites spreading coronavirus misinformation. Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi discuss with GDI Co-founder Clare Melford.
Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi discuss what’s moving the markets on Thursday with Allan Boomer, Momentum Advisor CIO.