GOOG - Alphabet Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real Time Price. Currency in USD
1,480.39
+28.69 (+1.98%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close1,451.70
Open1,462.91
Bid1,480.11 x 1100
Ask1,481.50 x 1000
Day's Range1,458.22 - 1,481.22
52 Week Range1,025.00 - 1,481.30
Volume2,396,215
Avg. Volume1,345,600
Market Cap1.02T
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.02
PE Ratio (TTM)31.77
EPS (TTM)46.60
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateN/A
1y Target Est1,520.20
  • The market says Alphabet is worth $1 trillion, but figuring out Google’s real value is tricky
    MarketWatch

    The market says Alphabet is worth $1 trillion, but figuring out Google’s real value is tricky

    The market says Google parent company Alphabet Inc. is worth $1 trillion, but investors who have tried know that putting a believable valuation on this company is extremely difficult.

  • Bloomberg

    Noom Signs Up Dieters as Investors See New Wins for Weight Loss

    (Bloomberg) -- This New Year’s Day, 55,000 people signed up to lose weight with the smartphone app Noom. You’ve probably seen the ads -- it claims to have helped more than 350,000 get slimmer.Dieting, not to mention keeping weight off, is an iffy proposition, but Americans spend billions each year trying.Noom, which combines human coaches and AI, has attracted $114 million from A-list investors such as Sequoia Capital, Groupe Arnault-backed Aglaé Ventures, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum, Serena Williams, and other prominent names that see promise in its approach and growth.The company’s founders say they’re in constant conversation with their investors who are watching the market to assess a possible IPO as soon as this year.Crowded MarketIndeed, in a competitive market, Noom has racked up impressive growth, driven in part by aggressive advertising: Noom closed 2019 with $237 million in revenue, up from $61 million and $12 million in the two previous years, respectively.“For a certain demographic, Weight Watchers is more comfortable and familiar,” said David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “For a younger, more digitally savvy audience, Noom is a different way to get a grip.”Shares in WW International Inc., the diet company formerly known as Weight Watchers, have more than doubled from last year’s low in June. In September, WW announced the Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus Tour with shareholder Oprah Winfrey. Investors will have to wait for WW’s fourth-quarter results in late February for a sense about early-year sign ups.Industry analysts note the cyclical nature of the dieting industry and that Noom’s robust start this year does not necessarily herald lasting success.“You’ve got a lot of program starts after the holidays, and that’s the nature of the business,” said Steven Halper, a senior health-care IT and managed care analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.Pounds Off, Pounds On“You get in shape, you lose your weight, everyone wants to look good at the beach in the summer time, and lo and behold the weight comes back on,” Halper said. He covers Tivity Health Inc., which acquired WW rival Nutrisystem in March.Noom was founded over a decade ago by Artem Petakov, a former Google engineer, and Saeju Jeong, lover of heavy metal, who strayed from his family lineage of 29 medical doctors to be an entrepreneur.“Noom’s story didn’t initially work,” said Amy Sun, a partner at Sequoia Capital. Sequoia invested for the first time in the $58 million Series E round that Noom announced in May 2019.“They tried a whole bunch of different angles, including doing pure AI where it’s completely automated, and they tried 100% human coaches, and it wasn’t until they married the two that the company started to grow,” said Sun.The company now employs 1,600 remote, full-time coaches in 36 states.Not Peloton“The product they have today is not what they started with,” said Miyuki Matsumoto, head of U.S. investments at Groupe Arnault’s tech venture-capital arm Aglaé Ventures. The firm invested the second most after Sequoia in the most recent funding round.“We weren’t thinking we were going to get our money back in two years or less, even though that’s a possibility,” Matsumoto said.Sun notes that Sequoia is looking to capitalize on the trend of digital companies focused on helping people manage their health. Other investors saw that trend in Peloton Interactive Inc., which priced at $29 a share in its September IPO, but traded as low at $21 a share a month later.“Peloton is quite different because so much of their revenue is hardware,” Sun said. “It’s hardware plus subscription, versus Noom is all digital.”To contact the reporter on this story: Hailey Waller in New York at hwaller@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Ludden at jludden@bloomberg.net, Ian FisherFor 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.

  • Putin Hunted for Scapegoats and Found Medvedev
    Bloomberg

    Putin Hunted for Scapegoats and Found Medvedev

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a radical overhaul of Russia’s governance system this week, he also ended the Medvedev era. Dmitry Medvedev was, at least formally, Putin’s closest sidekick, the politician with whom the strongman was most willing to share formal power.  Whether or not it’s time for Medvedev’s political obit, his stint near the top of Russia’s so-called power vertical will serve as an example of how the Putin system’s inertia can suffocate the best modernizing intentions.Medvedev abruptly resigned as prime minister on Wednesday, without giving advance notice to members of his government, who also had to tender their resignations. “We as the government must give our country’s president the opportunity to make all the necessary decisions,” Medvedev said, though it wasn’t clear how his continued occupancy of the top cabinet post could get in the way of Putin’s reform. Putin expressed rather tepid gratitude for the prime minister’s service. “Not everything has worked out, but then things never work out completely,” he said. Putin has always avoided firing close, trusted associates, but as prime minister since 2012, Medvedev presided over Russia’s longest run of declining real incomes during Putin’s 20-year rule. The government’s $400 billion “national projects” spending plan, designed to rectify things, hasn’t gotten off to a great start. The new job Putin has offered Medvedev didn’t even exist before — deputy chairman of the Security Council, an advisory body that includes Russia's mighty security chiefs. It’s formally headed by Putin but run by its secretary, former secret police chief Nikolai Patrushev. The council has been described, including by Kremlin propaganda outlets, as the closest Russia has to the Soviet Union's ruling Politburo. So the newly created post, with Putin as the direct supervisor, can be enormously influential — but perhaps not when filled by Medvedev, who has never really commanded the respect of the security bosses in the way Putin does, with his KGB record and training.Medvedev’s move means he isn’t likely to be Putin’s successor as president when the latter's term ends in 2024. Nor will he return to the prime ministerial post, now handed to a supremely skillful technocrat, former tax chief Mikhail Mishustin. His career has been launched on a downward trajectory — something he probably expected. For years, he has appeared bored and morose at official functions, time and again photographed with his eyes closed and seemingly asleep. Opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny posted one such photo taken as Putin delivered his Wednesday address, tweeting, “Only one thing in Russia is really stable and unshakable — Dmitry Medvedev, asleep during the president’s state of the nation speech.”During a recent award ceremony, Medvedev’s New Year’s greetings included this quotation from Anton Chekhov: “The newer the year, the closer you are to death, the wider your bald spot, the twistier your wrinkles, the older your wife, the more kids you have and the less money.” Some of the incredulous listeners couldn't help but recall Medvedev's most famous quote, his answer to a woman in Russian-annexed Crimea in 2016 who complained that her pension was too low: “There's just no money now. When we find the money, we'll raise pensions. You hang on in there, stay cheerful and healthy.”Medvedev may have been fatigued and depressed lately as his government failed to deliver on Putin's promises of a tangible improvement in living standards, but money isn't something he's lacked himself. During this snowless winter, the vast land plot around his residence in Central Russia is covered with artificial snow. Medvedev has never given a substantive answer to a long video produced by Navalny's team and watched more than 33 million times on YouTube, in which he was accused of accumulating vast wealth while working for the government.Medvedev's approval rating never recovered from that video's release, languishing below 40% in recent months, while Putin's remains close to 70%. Government spending cuts that began in 2015 and lasted through 2018 didn't help, and the government’s decision in June 2018 to raise the retirement age — made by Putin, but often ascribed to Medvedev because of his perceived insensitivity — dealt his popularity an especially crippling blow.The visibly bored, defeated Medvedev at the end of his prime ministership was a far cry from the hopeful, cheerful modernizer who started a four-year presidency in 2008 and charmed U.S. President Barack Obama and his aides into trying a reset of U.S.-Russia relations. Though many Putin opponents — myself included — never believed Medvedev could pursue an independent policy, so-called system liberals, believers in changing the system from within, vested serious hopes in the younger, more polished leader. They believed he could shake off Putin's conservative influence if he ran for a second term in 2012, and that Russia would then gradually become freer both economically and politically.Medvedev tried some promising things. He set up a large innovation center at Skolkovo near Moscow, trying to lure investors and entrepreneurs into a Russian version of Silicon Valley. He started reforms in the self-serving, thoroughly rotten law-enforcement agencies, and he modernized Russia's obsolete armed forces, starting an ambitious reorganization and rearmament. He removed some of the most entrenched, hidebound regional leaders, breaking up the corrupt monopolies that had sprung up around them.But the system liberals’ hopes were probably dashed in March 2011, when Medvedev ordered the Russian representative in the United Nations Security Council to abstain on a resolution authorizing the U.S. and its allies to use force against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. Putin publicly criticized his protege for not ordering a "no" vote, likening the Western intervention in Libya to a “medieval crusade." In his book, “From Cold War to Hot Peace," Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and a believer in Medvedev's liberal intentions, wrote that “U.S. military intervention in Libya, which helped topple Qaddafi, also inadvertently might have helped remove Medvedev from power in Russia."In September 2011, Putin and Medvedev announced they intended to switch jobs the following year, a development that bitterly disappointed the system liberals. Protests against a rigged parliamentary election, which broke out less than three months later, only served to convince Putin that the West was trying to undermine him and empower Medvedev instead. But, perhaps out of a sense of loyalty toward his temporary successor who hadn't tried to cling to power, Putin made no attempt to replace Medvedev as prime minister.The latter never really raised his head again. He avoided making major decisions or advocating big reforms; the cabinet ministers learned they needed Putin's approval for anything remotely controversial. In a way, that helped Russia build a protective economic wall after Putin annexed Crimea and, simultaneously, the oil price crashed in 2014. Amid Western sanctions and a tightening hold of Putin's cronies and enforcers on the economy, Russia's generally competent economic managers could only cut spending to insulate the budget from external shocks — and accumulate international reserves every time the price of oil edged up. Medvedev's tenure ended with these reserves at $554 billion, near the 2008 historic high of $569 billion.Putin's patience was sorely tested. Busy with geopolitical chess and with finding ways to retain power after 2024, he clearly wanted his hands free from domestic economic management. He wanted to set goals and let someone else get to them. Time after time, he told Medvedev that he wanted "results.” They failed to materialize.Meanwhile, Medvedev's work as the formal leader of the Kremlin's loyalist party, United Russia, also proved insufficient. The party's support melted away, and its legislative majorities and governorships have had to be obtained with increasing rigging efforts and administrative pressure. In December, only 29% of Russians were willing to cast a vote for United Russia in a national election, a threat to its parliamentary majority even in an unfair system. Putin needs a stronger party behind him post-2024, and an effort to build one on the basis of his broad support network, the United People's Front — or to reform United Russia — is to be expected.Putin’s legendary personal loyalty stretched far enough not to send Medvedev, who is only 54, into retirement. But then, it was Putin himself who backpedaled in 2011 instead of letting Medvedev pursue his cautiously reformist course. It was Putin who created a system that paralyzed any kind of economic liberalization and who launched Russia on military adventures that limited its ability to develop trade. Putin, who gave Medvedev the exhilarating hope of building a more modern Russia, then quickly took it away, leaving his former successor with little except the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by the Russian elite.It was Putin's country to give and to take back.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.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.

  • Anti-Google protesters disrupt Business Journal event on downtown's future
    American City Business Journals

    Anti-Google protesters disrupt Business Journal event on downtown's future

    The protest is one of several that have disrupted several meetings over the last two years regarding a Google development plan that supporters and opponents alike agree will bring huge change to downtown San Jose.

  • Benzinga

    9 Takeaways From The JPMorgan Healthcare Conference

    The JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, which showcases innovations in the industry and provides a platform to exchange ideas and insights as well as to make breaking announcements, went by without much fanfare ...

  • Bloomberg

    Sonos CEO Tells House Antitrust Panel Google Abused Power

    (Bloomberg) -- Sonos Inc. Chief Executive Officer Patrick Spence accused Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. of using their market power to thwart competition a week after filing a lawsuit against the world’s largest search engine.“Today’s dominant companies have so much power across such a broad array of markets and continue to leverage that power to expand into new markets that we need to rethink existing laws and policies,” said Spence Friday at a congressional antitrust hearing in Boulder, Colorado, led by Representative David Cicilline, the Rhode Island Democrat who is investigating competition in the technology sector.Sonos, a 1,500-person company, sued Google Jan. 7 for allegedly infringing five patents covering multi-room audio technology. Spence said Google’s dominance enabled it to violate the speaker company’s intellectual property. He said that Google tries to prevent customers from using its voice assistants alongside another company’s on Sonos speakers. While Amazon doesn’t go that far, he said, it has used its power to “to subsidize the conquest” of the booming smart-speaker market, particularly by under-pricing its offerings.Sonos has worked with the committee since before it decided to file the lawsuit, according to a person familiar with the discussions. It has also responded to questions that the committee sent to customers of the large technology platforms.Google has disputed Sonos’ claims and said it will defend itself. The search giant, which faces antitrust probes by 48 state attorneys general as well as the U.S. Justice Department, says it faces robust competition. Cicilline is using the hearing to air grievances by smaller companies, following a series of Washington meetings that focused on the tech giants.“It is apparent that the dominant platforms are increasingly using their gatekeeper power in abusive and coercive ways,” Cicilline said in his opening statement.The panel also heard from David Barnett, the founder of Boulder-based PopSockets, which makes phone holders and stands. He alleged that Amazon frequently engaged in “bullying,” including deliberately selling counterfeits, threatening to go to unauthorized resellers and dropping prices without consulting. “We have $10 million less to innovate this year” because of PopSockets’s decision to end its relationship with Amazon even though it’s more difficult to sell elsewhere, Barnett said.“It seems like Amazon is so dominant that there is no alternative,” said Representative Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican on the committee.Amazon said in a statement that PopSockets is a “valued retail vendor” and added: “We’ve continued to work with PopSockets to address our shared concerns about counterfeit, and continue to have a relationship with PopSockets through Merch by Amazon, which enables other sellers to create customized PopSockets for sale.”The company said it refuses to work with some resellers to ensure low prices, and rejects the notion that it’s dominant, saying it represents just 4% of U.S. retail.The panel also heard from Kirsten Daru, general counsel of Tile Inc., which makes devices that pair with phones to help people locate lost items such as keys or purses.Apple Inc. is reportedly preparing to unveil a competing service, and Daru’s 100-employee company alleges the phone maker has started putting up roadblocks to Tile’s business, such as burying permissions that allow the phone and Tile devices to communicate and prompting users to disable permissions that have been set.“You’re playing up against a team that owns the field, the ball and can change the rules at any given time,” Daru said in an interview before the hearing, adding that a majority of the company’s customers are on Apple’s operating system.Apple said that its treatment of permissions, which focused on location, were designed to protect user privacy and that it’s working with developers whose customers may want particular apps to be able to track them at all times.Daru said Apple also removed Tile devices from its retail stores, and that it bid on search terms related to the would-be rival to drive up the cost of advertising 50% each week during the fall.Cicilline has said his goal is to develop a final report with recommendations for Congress this year. He told reporters on Tuesday that he wants to wrap up his probe by the end of March and said he’s hopeful the tech giants will cooperate with requests for chief executives to give information without subpoenas, preferably in public hearings.“It’s hard to imagine that we’d conclude the investigation without hearing from some of the large technology CEOs, particularly in companies whether there’s such really centralized decision making,” he said.(Updates with comments from PopSockets CEO from eighth paragraph)\--With assistance from Mark Gurman, Rebecca Kern and David McLaughlin.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Brody in Washington, D.C. at btenerellabr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Paula DwyerFor 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.

  • Buy Google parent Alphabet Stock at its New $1 Trillion Market Cap?
    Zacks

    Buy Google parent Alphabet Stock at its New $1 Trillion Market Cap?

    Shares of Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) have jumped 9% in 2020 to help it ascend into the $1 trillion market cap club. Is it time to buy?

  • Barrons.com

    A Former Peacock Skeptic Is Warming to NBC’s Streaming Plan

    NBC’s streaming entry is cheap enough to compete with Disney and Netflix, with enough free content to compare well with ViacomCBS. Good news for Comcast.

  • Is Alphabet Over-Hyped at the Trillion-Dollar Mark?
    InvestorPlace

    Is Alphabet Over-Hyped at the Trillion-Dollar Mark?

    Last year ended on a great note, which was the exact opposite of how 2018 finished. The sentiment last year was at an extreme high going into Christmas, so equity markets finally broke out into their own new all-time highs. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) rode the way and GOOGL stock has been setting highs this week. In fact, today it's making headlines as it joins Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) into the trillion dollar market capitalization club.Source: Benny Marty / Shutterstock.com The good news is that there is no imminent sign of a giant bubble. But from these levels, stocks like GOOGL are not at an obvious entry point. This by no means is an invitation to short them, especially not going into earnings. First of all, we do not know what the companies are going to report, and more importantly, we cannot forecast how traders will react.It's more about expectations than quality of results.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsI'm a big fan of Google, so I tend to lean bullish most times. I have been recommending it as a long all of last year, even against Wall Street consensus. Now that we are at my upside targets, I believe that there will be better entry points than current levels. If I've been long GOOGL stock, this is a time I lock in some profits just to be safe.The options markets offer me ways where I don't necessarily need to sell my shares. I can hedge my longs by selling covered calls and generate some income while I wait. Or I can temporarily protect my stock by buying puts. There are hundreds of ways investors can protect profits at all-time high levels. * 7 Earnings Reports to Watch Next Week Beware of the Competition to GOOGL StockThe only serious threat to the long-term viability of the Alphabet income statement perhaps comes from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). The reach of Facebook's marketing machine is massive and the advertisers are getting results. So I can imagine it will severely impact Alphabet's bottom line in the long-term. Hopefully the company's management is doing all the right things to offset this. But so far leadership there has been lackluster. Maybe the most recent changes in the c-suite will cultivate a better impression in the next few quarters. Until then, I remain skeptical of their overall corporate strategy.The equity markets are as bullish as they've ever been and we're going into an election year. So the incumbent government will do all it can to prop up the prices.Case in point, this week's signing of phase 1 of the U.S.-China deal looks like an award show for movie stars. Don't get me wrong, I was in favor of the economic war as a necessary evil, and I welcome the deal with open arms, but I think the benefit of this week's step is over hyped. It's not in the actual terms that are bullish but more so the stoppage of the fighting. That was one gigantic risk that held investors back in 2019. The Experts Are Too BullishSource: Charts by TradingView * 10 Monthly Dividend Stocks to Buy to Pay the Bills But now the rhetoric in the media has swung to the other extreme. We now hear experts express their opinions that there are absolutely no risks out there to break this bullish thesis. It sounds like reckless behavior and that's when accidents happen. I am not flipping bearish yet, but the trader in me says this is where I book profits and wait for the dip to buy it. This applies to the markets in general and Alphabet.Short term, $1,360 and $1,330 are two necklines that stick out. GOOGL stock used them as spring board for mini rallies. So it's only natural we retest them for footing.For a slightly long-term pivot, $1,270 is the line to watch. It has been in contention since July 2018. Clearly investors care about it and they will most likely revisit it one more time in the next few months. While this is not an imminent forecast, it is definitely a viable scenario, especially from this altitude.Nicolas Chahine is the managing director of SellSpreads.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Join his live chat room for free here. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * The Top 5 Dow Jones Stocks to Buy for 2020 * 7 Fintech ETFs to Buy Now for Fabulous Financial Exposure * 3 Tech Stocks to Play Ahead of Earnings The post Is Alphabet Over-Hyped at the Trillion-Dollar Mark? appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • San Francisco 49ers hope to score big with digital dashboard of fan data
    MarketWatch

    San Francisco 49ers hope to score big with digital dashboard of fan data

    Built on top of data collected by SAP analytics cloud and resembling an air-traffic control room, the team’s Executive Huddle service is housed in a suite at Levi’s amid popcorn, drinks, and assorted snacks.

  • Amazon’s Snooping on Alexa Chats Spurs EU Privacy Response
    Bloomberg

    Amazon’s Snooping on Alexa Chats Spurs EU Privacy Response

    (Bloomberg) -- European Union privacy watchdogs are gearing up to police digital assistants after revelations that Amazon.com Inc. workers listened in on people’s conversations with their Alexa digital assistants.Bloomberg first reported in April that Amazon had a team of thousands of workers around the world listening to Alexa audio requests with the goal of improving the software.Similar issues have been raised over Google and Apple Inc.’s digital assistants, triggering privacy fears across the world, as intimate conversations in some users’ homes were laid bare to technicians fine-tuning the technology.EU regulators are now working on a common approach on how to police the technology, said Tine Larsen, head of the data protection authority in Luxembourg, where the U.S. retail giant has its European base and employs a staff of more than 2,000.“Because it’s a question of principle, the members of the EDPB should work out a common position in line with the consistency mechanism to apply data protection rules in a harmonized way for this type of treatment,” she said, referring to a panel of regulators from across the 28-nation EU.The revelations of the snooping into people’s homes came after regulators across Europe were handed beefed-up powers with its General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018, including the right to levy fines of as much as 4% of a company’s global annual sales for the most serious violations. But the move toward common guidelines for digital assistants means companies should avoid fines -- for now.Larsen’s comments echo those of Helen Dixon, head of the Irish watchdog, responsible for overseeing the likes of Apple and Google.She told Bloomberg in November that the regulator first has to “bottom out fully on whether it’s true” when companies say they need to do transcripts of people’s interactions with the assistants. That’s why a focus will be first on coming up with guidelines, instead of investigations or inquiries, she said.Amazon said in a statement that “to help improve Alexa, we manually review and annotate a small fraction of 1% of Alexa requests” and that “access to data annotation tools is only granted to a limited number of employees who require them to improve the service.”EU regulators are working on a common position on the privacy issues surrounding voice assistant systems, said Johannes Caspar, head of the watchdog in Hamburg, Germany. “We urgently need common and reliable industry standards on this to better regulate” privacy protections, he said in an email.Caspar’s office initiated a number of probes into the issue, including one into Facebook over audio transcriptions from its Messenger users, he said. The questions his office has asked of Facebook have been discussed within the EDPB, the EU body of national regulators. The plan is to use the results to have a more coordinated approach by all European regulators affected by the issue, he said.Europe Mulls New Tougher Rules for Artificial IntelligenceThe U.K., which is set to leave the EU at the end of the month, will soon publish the results of a consultation into security features for smart speakers and other connected devices, with proposals for mandatory industry requirements that could lead to potential new regulation, U.K. Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan told Bloomberg Wednesday.Siri ChangesApple, whose Siri virtual assistant is embedded in its operating phone and desktop computer operating systems, pointed to an August blog post about the issue.“We know that customers have been concerned by recent reports of people listening to audio Siri recordings as part of our Siri quality evaluation process — which we call grading,” it said. “We heard their concerns, immediately suspended human grading of Siri requests and began a thorough review of our practices and policies. We’ve decided to make some changes to Siri as a result.”Google, which offers similar technology, referred to its September announcement that it would add new security protections to the way its workers listen to audio snippets, meant to help improve the product’s quality.In a blog post in September, Google said it would tell users that their audio may be listened to if they opt in to a feature that also improves audio quality. “We believe in putting you in control of your data, and we always work to keep it safe. We’re committed to being transparent about how our settings work so you can decide what works best for you,” the company said.While Amazon is escaping penalties over Alexa, Luxembourg, which is the company’s main privacy watchdog in Europe, is probing the company for other potential breaches.This follows complaints from activists that the online retailer is illegally tracking and profiling internet users without their permission, as well as not providing full access to users’ data.Amazon ‘Cooperating’The company says it’s “cooperating” with the authority, “which is at an advanced stage of its fact finding,” according to an emailed statement. The data commission declined to comment on any probes, citing local rules.French privacy activists La Quadrature du Net, filed one of the complaints on behalf of more than 10,000 customers. They urge regulators to crack down on “behavioral analysis and targeted advertising” by Amazon and levy a fine that is “as high as possible” due to the “massive, lasting and manifestly deliberate nature” of the alleged violations without the consent of its users.None of Your Business (Noyb), a group created by Austrian activist Max Schrems, followed up with a separate complaint last January over data access concerns, accusing Amazon of violating EU law by not handing over all personal data requested by a user of its Amazon Prime service.Arthur Messaud, a lawyer with La Quadrature du Net, and Schrems said they’d had no updates from the Luxembourg regulator, which is bound by strict secrecy provisions under national law, meaning it can’t reveal details until after any fines have been levies and all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.(Updates with Google response from 15th paragraph)\--With assistance from Natalia Drozdiak.To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net, Peter Chapman, Giles TurnerFor 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.

  • Google Stock Hits $1 Trillion Market Cap But Is Internet Giant A Buy?
    Investor's Business Daily

    Google Stock Hits $1 Trillion Market Cap But Is Internet Giant A Buy?

    Here is what fundamental and technical analysis says about buying Google stock. There's also antitrust risk, financial transparency, new ad products and stock buyback to consider.

  • Dow Jones Futures: Stock Market Rally Keeps Testing Limits; FANG Stock Joins Apple, Microsoft In $1 Trillion Club
    Investor's Business Daily

    Dow Jones Futures: Stock Market Rally Keeps Testing Limits; FANG Stock Joins Apple, Microsoft In $1 Trillion Club

    Dow Jones futures: The stock market rally keeps testing limits. Google parent Alphabet hit a $1 trillion market cap, joining Apple and Microsoft.

  • Barrons.com

    Twitter Is Falling, Google’s Parent Is Rising, and the Dow Is Ready to Hit Another All-Time High

    Stocks are looking to cap a big week with more gains. Google parent Alphabet and Gap shares are higher in premarket trading. Twitter stock, on the other hand, is down after an analyst downgrade.

  • Barrons.com

    The Dow Looks Set to Hit Another New High. Thanks China.

    Futures suggested the rally in U.S. stocks wasn’t about to stop soon, as data from China underscored optimism the global economy will continue to expand.

  • Break up big tech's 'monopoly', smaller rivals tell Congress hearing
    Reuters

    Break up big tech's 'monopoly', smaller rivals tell Congress hearing

    In April 2019, Tile.com, which helps users find lost or misplaced items, suddenly found itself competing with Apple Inc , after years of enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship with the iPhone maker. Apple carried Tile on its app store and had sold its products at its stores since 2015. It had even showcased Tile's technology at a big event in 2018.

  • Lessons to be learned from Facebook's WhatsApp deal, French watchdog says
    Reuters

    Lessons to be learned from Facebook's WhatsApp deal, French watchdog says

    Facebook's $22 billion buyout of WhatsApp six years ago should have been blocked, the boss of France's antitrust watchdog, which is set to help review EU rules, has told Reuters. "Clearly, deals such as the Facebook/WhatsApp merger should probably not have been allowed," Isabelle de Silva said in an interview. A spokesman for Facebook had no immediate comment.

  • Europe Mulls New Tougher Rules for Artificial Intelligence
    Bloomberg

    Europe Mulls New Tougher Rules for Artificial Intelligence

    (Bloomberg) -- The European Union is considering new legally binding requirements for developers of artificial intelligence in an effort to ensure modern technology is developed and used in an ethical way.The EU’s executive arm is set to propose the new rules apply to “high-risk sectors,” such as healthcare and transport, and suggest the bloc updates safety and liability laws, according to a draft of a so-called “white paper” on artificial intelligence obtained by Bloomberg. The European Commission is due to unveil the paper in mid-February and the final version is likely to change.The paper is part of the EU’s broader effort to catch up to the U.S. and China on advancements in AI, but in a way that promotes European values such as user privacy. While some critics have long argued that stringent data protection laws like the EU’s could hinder innovation around AI, EU officials say harmonizing rules across the region will boost development.European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has pledged her team would present a new legislative approach on artificial intelligence within the first 100 days of her mandate, which started Dec. 1, handing the task to the EU’s digital chief, Margrethe Vestager, to coordinate.A spokesman for the Brussels-based Commission declined to comment on leaks but added: “To maximize the benefits and address the challenges of Artificial Intelligence, Europe has to act as one and will define its own way, a human way. Trust and security of EU citizens will therefore be at the center of the EU’s strategy.”Facial RecognitionThe EU is also considering new obligations for public authorities around the deployment of facial recognition technology and more detailed rules on the use of such systems in public spaces. However, the provision on facial recognition isn’t among the three policy options officials recommend that the commission pursue.The provision suggests prohibiting use of facial recognition by public and private actors in public spaces for several years to allow time to assess the risks of such technology.“Such a ban would be a far-reaching measure that might hamper the development and uptake of this technology,” the commission says in the document, adding that it’s therefore preferable to focus on implementing relevant provisions in the EU’s existing data protection laws.As part of the recommended policy measures, the EU also wants to urge its member states to appoint authorities to monitor the enforcement of any future rules governing the use of AI, according to the document.In the draft, the EU defines high-risk applications as “applications of artificial intelligence which can produce legal effects for the individual or the legal entity or pose risk of injury, death or significant material damage for the individual or the legal entity.”Artificial intelligence is already subject to a variety of European regulations, including rules on fundamental rights around privacy, non-discrimination, as well as product safety and liability laws, but the rules may not fully cover all specific risks posed by new technologies, the Commission says in the document. For instance, product safety laws currently wouldn’t apply to services based on AI.Key RequirementsThe EU’s AI strategy will build on previous work coordinated by the commission, including reports published in the last year by a committee of academics, experts and executives. EU rules often reverberate across the globe, as companies don’t want to build software or hardware which would be banned from the bloc’s vast developed market.One of the reports outlined a set of seven key requirements that AI systems should implement in order to be deemed trustworthy, including incorporating human oversight, respect for privacy, traceability and avoiding unfair bias in decisions taken by the systems.The other report outlined policy and investment recommendations for the EU and its member states. The experts said unnecessarily prescriptive regulation should be avoided but that governments should restrict the development of automated lethal weapons and consider new rules around unjustified tracking through facial recognition or other biometric technologies.Alphabet Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai will also make a rare public appearance in Brussels next week to give a speech at a think-tank about the development of responsible AI ahead of the EU’s February announcement.(Adds more details in paragraph six, eight)To contact the reporter on this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Nikos ChrysolorasFor 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.

  • Which company just hit $1 trillion? Google it.
    Reuters

    Which company just hit $1 trillion? Google it.

    As Google-parent Alphabet Inc became on Thursday the fourth U.S. company to top a market value of more than $1 trillion, some funds holding its shares are wondering whether now is the time to cash in on the stock's extraordinary gains. Short interest in the stock, a measure of how many investors are betting on a price decline, is at 1%, near a 52-week high for the company and higher than competitors such as Microsoft and Facebook, according to Refinitv data. Alphabet joins Apple, Amazon.com and Microsoft as the only U.S. companies to hit $1 trillion in market value.

  • TheStreet.com

    A Trillion Here, A Trillion There: What Investors Need to Know About Alphabet and Microsoft

    Davos is coming up, Alphabet is the fourth U.S. company to hit a trillion-dollar market cap, and Microsoft is aiming to be carbon negative by 2050.

  • TheStreet.com

    Google Shares Rise as UBS Increases Price Target to $1,675

    Alphabet is building on gains after joining the trillion-dollar market valuation club for the first time on Thursday.