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Autonomous delivery startup Nuro has been granted a permit to begin driverless testing on California's public roads, paving the way for the company to roll out commercial operations throughout the state. Nuro, which raised $940 million from SoftBank Vision Fund last year, is allowed to put two of its low-speed electric R2 delivery vehicles on public roads in parts of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the agency that regulates autonomous vehicle testing in the state. The driverless permit allows the vehicles to operate at a maximum speed of 25 mph and only in fair weather conditions on streets with a speed limit of no more than 35 mph, the DMV said Tuesday.
Alphabet Inc.-owned Google has completed a purchase-and-sale agreement that it filed in December 2019 to acquire another building in North San Jose, where it is assembling one of the largest corporate campuses in the city.
The Mountain View startup founded by a pair of ex-Google engineers is only the second company to win permission to test fully driverless vehicles on public streets in the state.
Google's work productivity software, G Suite, has added about one million paying customers since February of last year, a company executive told CNBC. Javier Soltero, general manager of G Suite at Google, told the station in an interview on Tuesday that the service has more than six million paying customers. "The business of G Suite is growing at an incredibly healthy and, frankly for me, surprising rate," Soltero said in the interview.
Online orders for fitness equipment such as kettlebells, dumbbells and treadmills saw a 55% boost in the week spanning March 11–15 compared to the 10 days before, according to Adobe Analytics’ new Digital Economy Index released on Tuesday. March downloads of the Peloton app — which offers yoga and body strength classes if you don’t have the $2,000-plus stationary bike — are five times higher than February’s, according to data from Sensor Tower.
Many tech stocks have held up relatively well during the coronavirus crisis. Mark Grant of B. Riley FBR says long-term investors can make money ‘with a little patience.’
(Bloomberg) -- Nuro Inc. has won permission to test driverless, low-speed delivery vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area, becoming the second company to allowed to operate on public roads without a driver.The startup backed by SoftBank Group Corp. received approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles on Tuesday, after the agency granted a driverless testing permit to Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo unit. More than 60 other companies hold permits from the state to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver behind the wheel.“The Covid-19 pandemic has expedited the public need for contactless delivery services,” David Estrada, Nuro’s chief policy officer, said in a blog post. “Our R2 fleet is custom-designed to change the very nature of driving and the movement of goods by allowing people to remain safely at home while their groceries, medicines, and packages are brought to them.”The permit allows Nuro to test two of its purpose-built, driverless delivery vehicles -- dubbed the R2 -- in parts of nine Silicon Valley cities on roads with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less, according to the agency. The vehicles are designed to go no faster than 25 miles per hour.The testing permit will also allow the company to make deliveries for local businesses, Estrada said.“The safety of the motoring public is the DMV’s top priority, and we do not give out these permits lightly,” California DMV Director Steve Gordon said in a statement. “Nuro has met the DMV’s requirements to receive this permit to test their driverless delivery vehicles on California’s public roads.”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.
COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11 and the declaration coincided with the official start of the bear market with equity indexes crashing more than 20% from their February highs. More accurately, the stock market transitioned from a record high to descend into a bear market in just 19 days. Of course, […]
For weeks, Zoom Video Communications Inc. basked in the glow of surging shares, enthusiastic research reports, and insatiable demand among consumers and enterprises.
Barclays cut its price targets on shares of Google parent Alphabet and of Facebook on a weaker ad outlook. But the analysts affirmed both at overweight. They expect revenue declines but not as big as others do.
Facebook (FB) boosts user location data collection initiatives to help researchers understand and derive measures to combat coronavirus outbreak.
(Bloomberg) -- It wasn’t ordered up by Washington, it doesn’t have a catchy name and its members don’t get paid. But the Covid-19 Mobility Data Network could mean the difference between life and death.The network sprang up voluntarily among universities, epidemiologists, public-health departments, database providers, advertising-technology companies and social-media giants like Facebook Inc. Their mission is to fight the pandemic’s spread by testing the effectiveness of stay-at-home and social-distancing policies using a single tool: your cell phone’s physical location.The new data-sharing relationship is just one way companies, academics and public-health officials are teaming up to curb the spread of coronavirus. The network is analyzing the data and sharing insights with governments in states like Massachusetts and California; in cities such as Boston, New York and Miami; and in other countries, including India, Italy and Spain.“A lot of these companies just came out of the woodwork,” said Andrew Schroeder, one of the network’s coordinators. “There’s a lot of location data out there,” he said, which needs to be shaped “into something that’s not just the Wild West, but is passing through an expert filter on what this means for public health.”The data show whether people are complying with stay-at-home and social distancing orders that have spread across the U.S. and countries around the globe.For example, people taking trips outside their neighborhoods in San Francisco decreased 40% to 50%, but dropped only 20% to 30% in other parts of California, Shroeder said.In New York City, residents were more mobile during the week than they were on weekends, and mobility rates were higher on Staten Island than in lower Manhattan, he noted.Facebook on Monday announced that it was expanding the kinds of location data it provides to researchers tracking the pandemic, which has infected more than 1.3 million people and claimed more than 74,000 lives worldwide.The company, which normally uses such data to help sell targeted advertising, has been sharing it with researchers in an anonymized, aggregated form since 2017 to track things like whether people evacuate disaster zones.The data sets are now being used by dozens of organizations studying Covid-19, the disease the virus causes. The expansion of the program means Facebook will also share more nuanced details on whether people are staying at home, or the “probability that people in one area will come in contact with people in another,” the company wrote on its blog.The network is also working with Camber Systems, a Washington-based data-analytics company, and will soon team up with Cuebiq Inc., a New York-based data-collection company, to provide reports to “decision-makers who are implementing social distancing interventions,” according to the network’s website.It’s in talks with Alphabet Inc.’s Google about using data from the search giant. Google is posting “mobility reports” to show how traffic to places such as parks and transportation hubs has declined.The mobility data project, which started in early March, is similar to work that Schroeder, along with others such as Caroline Buckee, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, had been doing to analyze mobility rates in disaster situations.Schroeder, vice president of research and analysis for public-health nonprofit Direct Relief, had worked with Buckee on travel trends in Mozambique after a cyclone tore through the country in 2019. He’s taken on similar initiatives for Houston after a tropical storm hit last year and for California after wildfires ravaged the state, Schroeder said.Once they realized the need for data would probably be greater than in previous natural disasters, Schroeder, Buckee and Satchit Balsari, another Harvard professor and medical doctor, came up with the network idea. They recruited others who had done similar work and reached out to government contacts to ask how they could help, Schroeder said.“All of these various public-health departments around the country were making these pretty big calls on shutting down big chunks of the economy and society,” said Schroeder. “Nobody had any visibility at all” into the question: “Are people listening to you when you say that everyone should stay home? Do they stay home?”Camber Systems is processing anonymized geo-location data from millions of U.S. cell phones and passing it to the mobility network, Schroeder said. The company receives the data from firms in the advertising-technology industry, and then strips it of any names, addresses or other personal identifying details before handing it to researchers in a digestible format. The data are refreshed every few hours to track how devices are moving throughout a region. Camber Systems declined to comment.The increased ability of mobile-app providers and digital-advertising companies to track cell-phone owners’ positions has made such projects possible -- and elicited criticism from consumer advocates concerned about privacy violations.Some fear that an emphasis on health over privacy could undermine the protection of civil liberties, similar to what happened after 9/11, when the U.S. secretly began collecting mass amounts of data on its own citizens in an effort to track down terrorists.Earlier: Pandemic Data-Sharing Puts New Pressure on Privacy ProtectionsFacebook and the mobility network insist that no one’s privacy is being jeopardized, and that no governments are receiving raw data. “We’re not aware of any active conversations or asks with the U.S. or other governments at this point asking for access to that data directly,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said March 18.Since May 2019, Facebook has offered what it calls “disease prevention maps” to researchers and nonprofits. It hands over anonymous user-movement data that is aggregated into 0.6 kilometer-sized grids and updated every 8 hours, according to Schroeder.The researchers use that information to calculate changes in the number of trips Facebook users in a specific region take outside their homes in a day. Facebook said it only shares data from users who have opted in to the company’s location-tracking settings.In the coronavirus outbreak, the maps have found multiple uses. Direct Relief, the humanitarian aid group that Schroeder works for, has used them to help determine where to distribute medical supplies, he said. Researchers at Taiwan’s National Tsing-Hua University are using the data to model possible outbreaks of the disease on the island, said Hsiao-Han Chang, a professor at the university.Harvard researchers are also using Facebook’s data sets to study the effects of government social-distancing advisories. “We have no idea what they actually do in terms of subsequent epidemiology of the disease,” said Harvard’s Buckee. “Policy makers want to know things like, ‘Which of these policies actually work? And how long are we going to have to do them?’”“We are acting as an intermediary to help make sure that this information is processed together correctly,” Schroeder said. “We can help people make sense of it and not just dump a bunch of raw data on them.”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.
Silicon Valley has stepped up to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in unexpected ways. Twitter has relinquished its anxiety about free speech and moved swiftly to take down tweets and ban users it believed were spreading misinformation. Google’s Covid-19 Community Mobility Report shows anonymised data from 131 countries to show how busy or quiet certain areas are.
Facebook Inc said on Monday it would start surveying some U.S. users about their health as part of a Carnegie Mellon University research project aimed at generating "heat maps" of self-reported coronavirus infections. Facebook said it may make surveys available to users in other countries too, if the approach is successful. Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook's rival in mobile advertising, began querying users for the Carnegie Mellon project last month through its Opinion Rewards app, which exchanges responses to surveys from Google and its clients for app store credit.
Foursquare, a pioneer in consumer check-ins a decade ago that pivoted into location data services for ad targeting, is merging with a competitor, Factual. The tie-up — the terms of which was not disclosed — pairs two already strong players in location data advertising services, and strengthens them as an alternative to Google and Facebook […]
Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) was originally founded as a search engine company in 1998 under the name Google Inc. Since then, Google has become the world's most popular search engine with an 87% share of the global search market. The company has diversified far beyond search engines in the past two decades. The majority of Alphabet's revenue is generated from advertising. It also sells brand advertising, which aims to enhance users' awareness and affinity with brands. Advertising is thus a core part of Alphabet's strategy and has guided many of its acquisition decisions, such as the purchase of DoubleClick in 2008 (see below).
By John Jannarone The recent quarantine triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in demand for home fitness video-streaming services. Beachbody, which has a track record of over 20 years in the business, has been a leader in the field as media formats evolved from VHS to DVD and now streaming. In an […]
A group of Morgan Stanley analysts put together a list of quality stocks around the world available at better prices than just a few weeks ago.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is expanding the user location data that the company offers to researchers and non-profits trying to study the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus.The world’s largest social network shares anonymized, aggregated location information as part of an effort to study disease outbreaks, and more than 150 organizations partner with the company to use that data for research. Facebook is adding new data points for researchers fighting Covid-19, including information about whether people are staying at home, and other material that details “the probability that people in one area will come in contact with people in another,” the company said Monday.At Harvard University, researchers are using the information to measure whether government recommended “social-distancing” measures are actually helping to decrease spread of the virus, which has already infected a confirmed 1.3 million people worldwide.“We are putting in social distancing policies and currently we have no idea what they actually do in terms of subsequent epidemiology of the disease,” said Caroline Buckee, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard. “Policy makers want to know things like, ‘Which of these policies actually work? And how long are we going to have to do them?’”Facebook will also put a post atop users’ feeds in the U.S. directing them to a Carnegie Mellon University survey that will ask users, among other things, to self-report possible Covid-19 symptoms. Facebook says the survey is intended to “help health researchers better monitor and forecast the spread of Covid-19.”“[Researchers] won’t share individual survey responses with Facebook, and Facebook won’t share information about who you are with the researchers,” the company said. Only those 18-years-old or older will see the survey prompt.Alphabet Inc.’s Google said last week it would publicly release mobility reports that show anonymized data about where people are traveling to help researchers better track the disease. The company’s Maps app is used by more than 1 billion people worldwide.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 Opinion) -- Google has deployed the tracking data it collects from users around the world to assess our movements before and after the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic.Charted below are the location trends for places such as national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas and public gardens. They illustrate which countries reacted most swiftly to the call for social distancing (e.g. Italy) and which lagged behind (e.g. Sweden).— Ben Schott is a Bloomberg Opinion visual columnist. He created the Schott’s Original Miscellany and Schott’s Almanac series, and writes for newspapers and magazines around the world.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.