http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Mon, 25 Sep 2017 21:38:30 +0100 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Taiwanese smartphone group HTC suspends shares amid Google takeover talk ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184320/taiwanese-smartphone-group-htc-suspends-shares-amid-google-takeover-talk-184320.html Shares in Taiwanese smartphone firm HTC were halted earlier in the wake of speculation that it may get taken over by Google's giant parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

Google's first own-brand smartphone called the Pixel, launched earlier this year, is manufactured at HTC’s factories.

The Taiwan Stock Exchange said in a statement earlier: “TWSE announced trading in the shares of HTC Corporation and the securities underlying the company will be halted starting from 21 September 2017 pending the release of material information.

"The company will apply for resumption of trading after the release of material information.”

HTC has been dogged by falling smartphone sales in recent years as has struggled to compete with the likes of  Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung.

Some commentators have suggested Alphabet may want to turn HTC into an in-house manufacturer for Google-branded products, and drop the HTC brand entirely.

Alphabet shares added 1.37% today in New York to stand at US$949.88.

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Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:58:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184320/taiwanese-smartphone-group-htc-suspends-shares-amid-google-takeover-talk-184320.html
<![CDATA[News - Google sued by former female employees over gender pay discrimination ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184071/google-sued-by-former-female-employees-over-gender-pay-discrimination-184071.html Google has been sued by three former female employees on claims the search engine paid women less than men for similair work.

The former employees, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease and Kelli Wisuri, filed the gender pay discrimination lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court yesterday. They are seeking class action status to cover women who have worked at Google over the past four years.

READ: Google appeals against record €2.4bn EU antitrust fine

“Google has discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by systemically paying them lower compensation than Google pays male employees performing substantially similar work, under similar working conditions," the complaint read.

The women claim they quit Google after being placed at lower job levels, which resulted in less pay, and denied promotions.

It serves as another blow to Google, which is already being investigated by the Labor Department over claims of unfair pay practices.

Extensive systems in place to ensure staff paid fairly

A spokeswoman for Google said the company works hard to create a “great workplace for everyone” and give “everyone the chance to thrive here."

"In relation to this particular lawsuit, we'll review it in detail, but we disagree with the central allegations. Job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no gender bias in these decisions," spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said.

 "And we have extensive systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly."

The lawsuit was brought forward after the Labor Department’s investigation prompted attorney James Finberg to ask female employees to come forward if they had experienced pay discrimination.

Finberg is representing the women in the lawsuit along with attorney Kelly M. Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein.

Shares in Google parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) were little changed in US pre-market trading with shares down 0.04% to US$939.71 each. 

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Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:48:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184071/google-sued-by-former-female-employees-over-gender-pay-discrimination-184071.html
<![CDATA[News - Google appeals against record €2.4bn EU antitrust fine ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/183773/google-appeals-against-record-24bn-eu-antitrust-fine-183773.html Google has appealed against a record €2.4bn antitrust fine imposed by the European Commission in June.

The EU fined the internet giant for abusing its dominance in Europe to position its own shopping comparison service at the top of Google search results.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner had said that Google's activity was "illegal under EU antitrust rules".

The Commission ordered Google to stop its practice of promoting its own shopping comparison service above rivals by 28 September.

Google faces a further fine amounting to 5% of the average daily global earning of its parent company Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) if it continues its practices after the deadline.

The company was expected to appeal the fine, which was the largest ever penalty issued by the regulator, after saying it had "respectfully disagreed" with the ruling.

It is anticipated to take years before the Luxembourg-based General Court rules on the case.

Google has not asked for an interim order to suspend the EU decision, a court spokesperson told Reuters.

Another spokesperson said the EU competition enforcer will defend its decision in court.

Google said declined to comment further.

Shares in Alphabet rose 1.07% to US$951.46 each in early US trading.

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Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:20:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/183773/google-appeals-against-record-24bn-eu-antitrust-fine-183773.html
<![CDATA[News - Google to outline plan to meet EU order to stop favouring own shopping service in search results ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/183111/google-to-outline-plan-to-meet-eu-order-to-stop-favouring-own-shopping-service-in-search-results-183111.html Google will today outline its plan to meet an order by the European Commission to stop favouring its own comparison-shopping service, parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) said.

In June the search engine was fined a record €2.42bn fine by the EU for abusing its dominance in Europe by giving rival shopping sites an unfair advantage in search results.

The EU said Google gave its own shopping service a prominent position in search ranking and ordered the company to overhaul its search results by 28 September and have a plan in place to do so by 29 August.

Google faces additional penalties if its plans fall short of what the EU has demanded. It could be fined up to 5% of average daily global revenue for each day the regulator deems Google has failed to comply with its order by the deadline.

Google has so far failed in its attempts to resolve the EU’s concerns about the way it tips the scales in favour of its own shopping service. The company has made at least three settlement offers since the EU opened the case in 2010 but the regulator has ruled them insufficient.

 

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Tue, 29 Aug 2017 15:59:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/183111/google-to-outline-plan-to-meet-eu-order-to-stop-favouring-own-shopping-service-in-search-results-183111.html
<![CDATA[News - Google parent Alphabet posts quarterly profit decline after record EU antitrust fine ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/181390/google-parent-alphabet-posts-quarterly-profit-decline-after-record-eu-antitrust-fine-181390.html Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) posted a drop in quarterly profits, reflecting the impact of a record US$2.7bn EU fine.

Net income in the three months to 30 June came to US$3.5bn, compared to US$4.8bn the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share fell to US$5.01 from US$7.0.

The search engine was forced to pay an antitrust fine to the European Commission last month for favouring its own shopping service. It marked the biggest ever competition fine from the Commission and followed a seven-year investigation into claims the technology giant abused its internet search monopoly. Alphabet is considering an appeal. 

READ: Google to lose out on billions in shopping revenues every year following EU ruling

Excluding the fine, Alphabet would have made EPS of US$8.90.

EU antitrust officials are also investigating the company’s practice of bundling its Android operating system with popular smartphone apps such as Google Maps.

Google chief executive, Sundar Pichai, said the group would fight to continue this practice.

"It's a very open market, open ecosystem, and it works well for everyone, and I expect that to continue," Pichai said in an analyst call.

Revenue jumped 21% to US$26.01bn from US$21.5bn with Google accounting for most of the growth. Google revenue rose to US$25.8bn from US$21.3bn, boosted by an 18.4% increase in advertising revenue.

Paid clicks, where advertisers only pay for the adverts users clicked on, rose 52%.

Alphabet’s other businesses, including the Nest smart home devices unit and the Waymo self-driving car company, delivered an increase in revenue to US$248mln from US$185mln a year earlier. 

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Tue, 25 Jul 2017 07:33:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/181390/google-parent-alphabet-posts-quarterly-profit-decline-after-record-eu-antitrust-fine-181390.html
<![CDATA[News - Google opens first London cloud data centre as competition with Amazon and Microsoft heats up ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/180862/google-opens-first-london-cloud-data-centre-as-competition-with-amazon-and-microsoft-heats-up-180862.html Google has responded to mounting competition in cloud computing by opening its first data centre to support the internet-based service in London.

The data centre for the cloud computing services it rents to third parties is the second in Europe after Brussels.

The search engine, owned by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), is the third most capable cloud computing service provider after Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), according to a study by Gartner last month.

In terms of sales of cloud infrastructure services Google’s market share is also a “distant third”, the report added.

Most of Google’s cloud platform data centres have until now been based in the US and Asia, including Singapore, Taiwan and Tokyo.

Google to open more cloud data centres in Europe

Responding to the growing demand for cloud computing services, Google announced that it also plans to open facilities in Finland, Netherlands and Frankfurt.

“GCP [Google Cloud Platform] customers throughout the British Isles and Western Europe will see significant reductions in latency when they run their workloads in the London region," said product manager Dave Stiver, referring to processing delays caused by the distances data has to travel.

"In cities like London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Amsterdam, our performance testing shows 40% to 82% reductions in round-trip latency when serving customer from London compared with the Belgium region."

Google says decision to build London centre made before Brexit vote

The new London centre has been built amid speculation that the UK’s data privacy laws may diverge from the European Union’s after Brexit.

But a spokeswoman for Google said the decision to build the centre was taken before the UK voted to leave the EU last June.  

The data centre will allow clients to offload processing tasks and information storage to support mobile apps they may offer to the public.  

Google charges its customers, who include The Telegraph newspaper and Coca-Cola, for the amount of compute time rather than a flat rate in order to provide cheaper alternative to other cloud computing services.

"Google uses deep discounts and exceptionally flexible contracts to try to win projects from customers that are currently spending significant sums of money with cloud competitors," Gartner said.

Gartner said at the moment Google’s cloud platform offers fewer features than Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure but it is improving. 

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Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:44:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/180862/google-opens-first-london-cloud-data-centre-as-competition-with-amazon-and-microsoft-heats-up-180862.html
<![CDATA[News - Google to lose out on billions in shopping revenues every year following EU ruling ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179968/google-to-lose-out-on-billions-in-shopping-revenues-every-year-following-eu-ruling-179968.html Google could miss out on billions in ad revenues every year from its Google Shopping service following yesterday’s ruling from EU regulators, according to analysts at US investment bank Raymond James.

The European Commission hit Google with a record US$2.7bn fine on Tuesday after it found the internet search giant had abused its dominant position to unfairly promote its own shopping comparison service at the expense of competitors.

.@Google gave illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service by abusing its search dominance: It must stop & pay fine of €2,4 bn.

— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) June 27, 2017

On top of that, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager  ordered Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days, or risk having to pay out billions more in other fines.

That’s the longer-term issue, according to analyst Aaron Kessler. He estimates that Google Shopping generates revenues of between US$3.5bn and US$4bn in Europe every year.

Should Google make significant changes to the way it runs this service, Kessler believes that a large chunk of those revenues would likely disappear.

The analyst said it was “unclear” how Google would go about eliminating its anti-competitive bias in order to satisfy the EU’s demand, but he did come up with a few suggestions.

“We believe potential remedies could include: 1) increasing prominence of comparison shopping sites in organic results; 2) rotating which comparison shopping site is shown first (potentially moving Google Shopping results lower in the results); 3) shifting back to more text-based ads in these markets (vs. current Google Shopping ads),” Kessler wrote in a note to clients.

He also notes that Google is likely to face civil action from European competitors which have been impacted by its actions.

Shares in Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) closed 2.6% lower yesterday, and they’ve dipped another 0.2% in pre-market trading this morning to US$926.20.

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Wed, 28 Jun 2017 11:09:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179968/google-to-lose-out-on-billions-in-shopping-revenues-every-year-following-eu-ruling-179968.html
<![CDATA[News - Google slapped with record US$2.7bn EU fine for abusing monopoly to promote shopping service ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179888/ Google has been hit with a record US$2.7bn (£2.1bn) fine from the European Commission after a seven-year investigation found that the tech giant had abused its internet search monopoly.

The regulator said Google had broken EU law by exploiting its dominant position to promote its own shopping comparison service at the top of its search results pages, at the expense of its competitors.

The fine is believed to be the largest competition penalty dished out by the Commission, doubling the previous record handed to Intel back in 2009.

“[Google] abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors,” said European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager.

.@Google gave illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service by abusing its search dominance: It must stop & pay fine of €2,4 bn.

— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) June 27, 2017

On top of the money, Vestager also ordered Google to end its anti-competitive practices within 90 days, or risk having to pay out billions more in other fines.

The investigation dates back to the start of this decade but Google – which has always denied its practices unfairly stunted competition –  was only served with formal charges a couple of years ago.

You’ve likely seen Google Shopping results at the top of the page when searching for a particular product or item online.

It displays relevant images, prices, the name of shop and review scores if they’re available. These comparison lists are labelled as ‘sponsored’ reflecting the fact that only products paid for by the seller appear.

The EU found that since 2008, Google has “systematically” ranked its own price comparison service higher than its rivals, hence why it can always be found at the top of the first page of searches.

'All the makings of a brand disaster'

There's no doubt that Google and its parent company, Alphabet, can afford the fine given that the whole group is worth the best part of US$700bn with US$172bn of assets.

The true cost might run deeper than that though, with commentators suggesting the company's reputation could take a hit as a result of the ruling.

"Given the depth of Google's pockets, this is by no means a commercial disaster but it has the makings of a brand disaster,” said Rupert Bhatia of Rhizome Media.

"Google has always presented itself as ‘the good guy’ of technology, but if this fine stands then it would be harder for them to argue that.

"The record fine handed out to Google by the European Commission will be seen by many as a victory for e-commerce companies that operate in the shadow of giants.”

Alphabet shares fell 1.51% in afternoonb trade in New York on Tuesday to US$957.

--Updates for share price, tweet and additional info--

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Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:17:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179888/
<![CDATA[News - Google reportedly faces record US$1.1bn European Commission fine ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179399/google-reportedly-faces-record-us11bn-european-commission-fine-179399.html The search giant Google is reportedly facing a US$1.1bn fine from the European commission for allegedly abusing its dominant market position.

According to the Financial Times, the Commission is set to dole out the record penalty after finding Google had systematically manipulated its search results to favor its comparison shopping service.

It is part of wider anti-trust probe into Google, which is owned by Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

In depth analysis from the New York Times

The scale of fine, if true, would exceed the US$1bn meted out by the EC in 2009 to the chip-maker Intel for monopoly abuse.

The financial punishment is worked out on a capped maximum of 10% of Alphabet’s total revenues.

It would mark the first sanction by a leading competition regulator into the company's search practices, said CNBC.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian the company will have a set time to propose how it intends to operate in future.

If it fails to agree a deal with the Commission in that period, the company could be fined up to 5% of average daily turnover for each day of delay.

The sanctions follow the Commission’s decision to force Apple to pay Ireland US$14.5bn in unpaid taxes after it ruled  after it ruled tax regime in the Republic had been a form “illegal state aid”.

 

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Fri, 16 Jun 2017 09:13:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179399/google-reportedly-faces-record-us11bn-european-commission-fine-179399.html
<![CDATA[News - Google owner Alphabet agrees deal to sell off its robotic dog business to SoftBank ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179027/google-owner-alphabet-agrees-deal-to-sell-off-its-robotic-dog-business-to-softbank-179027.html After almost a year of trying, Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has finally found a loving new home for its Boston Dynamics robotic dog business.

Japanese tech giant Softbank is the new owner and said the deal – reported to be worth more than US$100mln – will help to keep it at the forefront of “the next wave of smart robotics”.

Not commercially viable

Boston Dynamics’ eye-catching robots – which include the dog-like Spot, a life-sized humanoid called Atlas and a sprinting cheetah – have often been in the headlines.

But despite their fame on social media sites such as YouTube, Alphabet has been unable to turn them into a viable business and put the division up for sale back in 2016.

SoftBank – which bought British microchip company ARM Holdings for US$32bn last year – is known for its outlandish bets on long-term ideas, while its eccentric chief executive, Masayoshi Son, has made no secret of his enthusiasm for robots.

 “Today, there are many issues we still cannot solve by ourselves with human capabilities,” said Son.

“Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the information revolution, and Marc [Reibert] and his team at Boston Dynamics are the clear technology leaders in advanced dynamic robots.”

Swift exit from robot space

Under the deal, SoftBank will also acquire another of Alphabet’s robotics business Schaft.

Alphabet snapped Schaft up back in 2013 as part of a broader push into the field of robotics, which saw the tech giant invest in another seven robotics firms that same year.

That approach was led by Andy Rubin, the former leader of Google’s Android mobile unit, although he left not long after to set up his own smartphone firm.

Following Rubin’s departure and the recent group restructuring, robots have taken a back seat, with Alphabet now seemingly more intent on developing it driverless cars and artificial intelligence.

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Fri, 09 Jun 2017 11:32:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/179027/google-owner-alphabet-agrees-deal-to-sell-off-its-robotic-dog-business-to-softbank-179027.html
<![CDATA[News - Google, Facebook and Twitter respond to criticism over extremist content after London attack ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/178781/google-facebook-and-twitter-respond-to-criticism-over-extremist-content-after-london-attack-178781.html Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) have hit back at criticism by Theresa May over their handling of extremist content following the London terror attack.

The Prime Minister said tech giants have provided a “safe space” for terrorist ideology and called for areas of the internet to be closed after Saturday night’s attack.

The so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack at London Bridge, which killed seven people and injured 48.

Tech giants working to rid networks of terrorist activity...

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, and Twitter said they were trying to rid their social media networks of terrorist activity.

Google, owner of YouTube, said it has invested heavily to combat extremist content after several clients pulled advertising over the issue.

Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS), HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA), Sky plc (LON:SKY) are among those who boycotted advertising after their marketing content appeared alongside YouTube videos that advocated extremism.

A spokesman for Google said the search engine was working on an "international forum to accelerate and strengthen our existing work” to fight abuse on its platforms, adding that it shared the government’s commitment to ensuring terrorists don’t have a voice online.

"We are committed to working in partnership with the government and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to tackle these challenging and complex problems, and share the government's commitment to ensuring terrorists do not have a voice online,” he said.

"We employ thousands of people and invest hundreds of millions of pounds to fight abuse on our platforms and ensure we are part of the solution to addressing these challenges."

Simon Milner, director of policy at Facebook, said:  "Using a combination of technology and human review, we work aggressively to remove terrorist content from our platform as soon as we become aware of it - and if we become aware of an emergency involving imminent harm to someone's safety, we notify law enforcement."

Nick Pickles, UK head of public policy at Twitter, said terrorist content had “no place” on the platform and has shut down 376,890 accounts linked to extremism in the last six months of 2016.

"We continue to expand the use of technology as part of a systematic approach to removing this type of content,” he said.

"We will never stop working to stay one step ahead and will continue to engage with our partners across industry, government, civil society and academia."

Conservatives propose stricter approach to internet regulation...

A Tory manifesto have proposed a stricter approach to regulation of the internet, including tougher sanctions for companies that fail to remove illegal content and legislating for an industry-wide levy on social media companies to counter damaging activity online.

Digital campaigners the Open Rights Group said the Tory’s proposals could be risky as it could lead to extremist content being placed in “darker corners of the web” where they will be harder to observe.

"But we should not be distracted: the internet and companies like Facebook are not a cause of this hatred and violence, but tools that can be abused,” it said.

"While governments and companies should take sensible measures to stop abuse, attempts to control the internet is not the simple solution that Theresa May is claiming."

Professor Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre For The Study Of Radicalisation at King's College London, said: "Few people radicalised exclusively online. Blaming social media platforms is politically convenient but intellectually lazy.

"In other words, May's statement may have sounded strong but contained very little that is actionable, different, or new."

Twelve people were arrested, including seven women and five men aged between 19 and 60, in connection to Saturday's attack. Eleven remain in custody on suspicion of offences against the Terrorism act. 

A white van hit pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday evening before three men wearing fake bomb vests got out and stabbed people in nearby Borough Market. The attackers were shot dead by police.

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Mon, 05 Jun 2017 12:49:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/178781/google-facebook-and-twitter-respond-to-criticism-over-extremist-content-after-london-attack-178781.html
<![CDATA[News - Google unveils tighter controls on advertising after clients boycott ads over extremist content ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/177796/google-unveils-tighter-controls-on-advertising-after-clients-boycott-ads-over-extremist-content-177796.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has announced tighter controls to prevent adverts from appearing alongside inappropriate content after a string of major brands pulled advertising from the search engine and its YouTube channel.

The company, owned by Alphabet, has made changes to its Adsense technology that will remove adverts from individual web pages, rather than targeting entire websites.

Google said this would ensure adverts do not appear next to violent images, pornography, illegal drug sales or content that advocates terrorism. 

The move comes after a raft of clients decided to boycott marketing from Google over worries that criminals and extremists were profiting from their advertising.

Marks & Spencer Group (LON:MKS), Havas, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) the BBC, HSBC Holdings plc (LON:HSBA), Lloyds Banking Group plc (LON:LLOY),  L’Oreal and Audi were among the companies that suspended advertising on Google and YouTube.

  Faster response to violation of Google's policies...

Adsense, launched 15 years ago, allows individual websites to earn revenue by installing a small piece of code on their websites.  Google paid US$11bn to website owners last year, compared to US$2bn in 2012.

Adsense previously blocked entire websites, instead of individual pages, if they violated Google’s policies but the company has sometimes been reluctant to do so unless they repeatedly break the rules.

Google said by blocking individual pages it would be able to act more quickly.

“Page level action lets us be more surgical on how we take policy action. We can do so more quickly because we don’t need a certain number,” said Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads.

Google has also recently employed staff to proactively search for inappropriate content and was restricting which YouTube videos could carry adverts.

Despite the scandal, Alphabet last month reported a 22% increase in first quarter revenue to US$24.7bn with Google advertising revenue up 18% to US$21.4bn.

  Google forms partnership with Lyft to develop driverless vehicles...

Meanwhile, the group’s self-driving unit Waymo has formed a partnership with US ride hailing business Lyft to develop driverless vehicles.

The deal is expected to escalate rivalry between Waymo and Uber amid a court battle between the two over self-driving technology.

Waymo claims a former employee stole technology from the company and set up a firm with it before Uber took it over. Uber has insisted it did not seal or use Waymo’s secrets.

Lyft, which is Uber’s biggest rival in the US, has also signed a partnership to develop self-driving cars with General Motors but said it would not affect its new deal with Waymo.

"Waymo holds today's best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world's best transportation,” Lyft said. 

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Mon, 15 May 2017 11:37:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/177796/google-unveils-tighter-controls-on-advertising-after-clients-boycott-ads-over-extremist-content-177796.html
<![CDATA[News - GSK, AT&T and Verizon join advertising boycott on Google over extremist content ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175308/gsk-att-and-verizon-join-advertising-boycott-on-google-over-extremist-content-175308.html GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK), Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) have become the latest companies to pull advertising from Google over extremist content.

The move comes despite the tech giant’s pledge to put a stop to videos that advocate terrorism from appearing alongside clients' adverts on Google’s YouTube.

Google’s European boss Matt Brittin apologised to clients on Monday after several brands suspended advertising on the search engine and on YouTube, including Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS), the BBC, HSBC Holdings plc (LON:HSBA), Lloyds Banking Group plc (LON:LLOY), L’Oreal and Audi.

Google plans to make changes to its technology in the coming weeks to give brands more control over where their ads appear.

The group is also reviewing its advertising policies and will adjust how it controls and enforces appropriate content on its platforms.

But Google’s clients don’t seem to be hanging around for these changes to happen.

British pharmaceutical group GSK, one of the latest companies to join the advertising boycott, said in a statement: “The placement of our brands next to extremist content is completely unacceptable to us and we have raised our concerns directly with Google.

"We are encouraged by Google’s steps over the past few days to take action and will continue to work with them to make further progress in developing adequate safeguards to ensure that advertisers are not placed in this position.”

AT&T echoed GSK’s concerns that its ads may have appeared alongside YouTube content “promoting terrorism and hate”.

"Until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms,” the company added.

Verizon said it decided to suspend its advertising after its marketing content was appearing on non-sanctioned websites.

"We are working with all of our digital advertising partners to understand the weak links so we can prevent this from happening in the future," a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Google has declined to comment on individual customers.

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Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:55:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175308/gsk-att-and-verizon-join-advertising-boycott-on-google-over-extremist-content-175308.html
<![CDATA[News - Google's advertising scandal highlights industry-wide dilemma ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175138/google-s-advertising-scandal-highlights-industry-wide-dilemma-175138.html Google’s advertising scandal has brought to light the challenges the industry faces as a whole.

The company’s European boss Matt Brittan apologised to clients yesterday after several brands pulled advertising from the search engine and its YouTube channel over extremist content.

Marks & Spencer Group (LON:MKS), the BBC, HSBC Holdings plc (LON:HSBA), Lloyds Banking Group plc (LON:LLOY), L’Oreal and Audi are among the companies that have suspended marketing on Google and YouTube after their ads were placed next to videos that advocate terrorism.

YouTube pays £6.15 of advertising revenue to those who post videos, which means companies have been inadvertently funding terror groups.

Speaking at the Advertising Week Europe event in London, Brittan said: “I want to start by saying sorry.

“When anything like this happens we take responsibility for it.”

Google plans to make changes to its technology in the coming weeks to give brands more control over where their ads appear.

The group is also reviewing its advertising policies and will adjust how it controls and enforces appropriate content on its platforms.

“We have a review under way on how we can improve. We are accelerating that review,” Brittan said.

Industry-wide dilemma…

The issue at Google highlights a broader problem for the online advertising sector, which has been expanding rapidly in a digital age.

Advertisers are using algorithms to automatically buy, sell and place ads as it is easier to place marketing across a vast amount of online content and digital videos. Add to that the growth in smartphone ownership, which has 2.7 billion users and is expected to rise to five billion by 2020.

However, the use of such programmatic advertising has led to the kind of complications that Google is facing. The problem with automatic advertising is that it chases audiences without checking what sites they are using.

Matt Scheckner, founder of the Advertising Week Europe, said one of the biggest challenges to advertisers right now is to “make sure your advert doesn’t end up next to a recruitment video for Isis”.

Matt Kelly, chief content officer of regional newspaper group Archant, said at the event that it was no surprise that ads were appearing in unwanted places. He said it has been an “open” secret" in the sector for some time.

"The idea that nobody has twigged that these ads were appearing next to dodgy content is frankly not believable. Of course they realised this, it's at the heart of programmatic advertising," he said.

Solutions but at a cost…

While there are a number of solutions to preventing the issues that automated advertising brings, brands are reluctant to spend money amid the uncertainty of Brexit.

Advertisers could blacklist websites, hire staff to vet websites or create a 'white-list' of so-called approved sites. But this isn’t cheap.

"We all want the cheapest [advertising]," said Unilever's chief marketing officer Keith Weed, "but it comes at a cost."

Political agendas…

Aside from extremist and inappropriate content, advertisers are also becoming more wary of placing marketing on websites that have political agendas.

Nick Flynn, senior vice president at Shutterstock, the stock photography, image and music provider, said brands and advertisers have started taking sides on issues such as immigration, the US elections and Brexit.

Last October, Lego pulled its promotional giveaways with the Daily Mail due to its divisive coverage of migrants. The move was part of a wider-campaign aimed at stopping businesses from advertising with some newpapers that take sides on the immigration debate.

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Tue, 21 Mar 2017 09:38:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175138/google-s-advertising-scandal-highlights-industry-wide-dilemma-175138.html
<![CDATA[News - Tax charge sees Google owner Alphabet miss expectations ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/172280/tax-charge-sees-google-owner-alphabet-miss-expectations-172280.html Google owner Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) fell short of Wall Street's expectations with its fourth quarter earnings update last night.

Profit after tax rose to US$6.59bn from US$6.04bn the year before. On a generally accepted accounted principles (GAAP) basis, net income rose to US$5.33bn from US$4.92bn the year before.

Underlying earnings per share came in at US$9.36, up from US$8.67 the year before, but well short of the US$9.64 expected by analysts.

Reported (i.e. GAAP) earnings per share were US$7.56 a share, versus expectations of US$7.63.

Surprisingly for a company that has attracted a lot of flak for its tax policies, the difference between the underlying earnings and the reported earnings was largely down to a US$586mln tax charge related to stock-based compensation for employees.

Alphabet said that henceforth it would no longer remove stock-based compensation from its adjusted (or “headline”) earnings figure.

Revenue rose 22.2% (24% on a constant currency basis) to US$26.06bn from US$21.33bn in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

Stripping out commissions of US$4.85bn paid to Google network members, revenue came to US$21.3bn, ahead of some forecasts of around US$20.58bn.

Google advertising revenues climbed 17% to US$22.40bn from US$19.08bn the previous year.

“Our growth in the fourth quarter was exceptional, with revenues up 22% year-on-year and 24% on a constant currency basis,” said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet.

“This performance was led by mobile search and YouTube. We’re seeing great momentum in Google’s newer investment areas and ongoing strong progress in Other Bets,” she said.

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Fri, 27 Jan 2017 07:59:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/172280/tax-charge-sees-google-owner-alphabet-miss-expectations-172280.html
<![CDATA[News - ‘Overpriced’ Pixel fails to drive Google share price ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/166945/overpriced-pixel-fails-to-drive-google-share-price-166945.html Yesterday’s highly-anticipated launch of Google’s latest smartphone venture fell flat with investors, with Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) share price flattering to deceive.

Indeed, the stock could only muster another couple of dollars during regular trading on Tuesday, and it actually gave up some of those gains in the after-hours market.

Most reviews on the internet seem to be positive, with bloggers commenting on the camera, as well as several other software and hardware upgrades.

But the sticking point with potential customers seems to be the price. In the UK, the standard Pixel will go on sale for around £599, with its bigger cousin, the Pixel XL, starting at £719.

These price tags have put the phones firmly into the premium segment of the market, headed by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung, and fans aren’t happy…

 

Looking at the price for Google's Pixel and it's actually stupid. Way too expensive for a phone that lacks a lot of things.

— Dr. Feel (@Shegstein) October 5, 2016

W/starting price Rs 57,000 in India for #Pixel, Google just wants people to trade their second kidney

PS: iPhone owns first kidney always

— Debarati Majumder (@debarati_m) October 4, 2016

 

The company will hope that pre-order sales for the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL are as strong as those achieved by Apple last month to help push up the share price

Despite initial bad reviews, the iPhone 7 propelled the tech giant’s stock forward, with the company adding US$50bn to its market value in the week following initial pre-orders.

Shares in Alphabet were down slightly to US$776.43 in after-hours trading.

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Wed, 05 Oct 2016 04:35:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/166945/overpriced-pixel-fails-to-drive-google-share-price-166945.html
<![CDATA[News - Alphabet's Google boosted by mobile ads ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/128808/alphabet-s-google-boosted-by-mobile-ads-128808.html Google's parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) said strong mobile advertising sales boosted its quarterly profits, driving its share price to record highs.

Revenue in the three months to June rose more than 21% to US$21.5bn (£16bn) from US$17.7bn in the previous year.

Net income for the period stood at US$4.9bn, up from US$3.9bn last year, as well as a 17% rise in first-quarter revenues.

“Our investment in mobile underlines everything that we do, from Search and YouTube to Android and advertising. Mobile is the engine that drives our present,” said chief executive Sundar Pichai.

“And now to our deep investments in machine learning and AI, we are building the engine that will drive our future,” Pichai told analysts today.

Google used artificial intelligence to optimise video recommendations to users on YouTube, which the group owns.

The group’s foray into the video market put it in direct competition with social media giants Facebook and Twitter.

Earlier this week, Facebook also hailed the success of its mobile advertising. Mobile sales made up 84% of its US$6.24bn advertising revenue. It now boasts a now boasts a US$17bn a year mobile ad business.

Revenue at Alphabets Other Bets division, rose 150% to US$185mln, but net losses increased to US$859mln from US$660mln for the same period last year.

Other bets includes Google Fiber, Nest, self-driving cars and X, the research facility that works on “moon shot” ventures. 

Shares in Alphabet reached all-time highs of US$802 per share.

-- update for Alphabet --

Shares hit an intraday record high of $803.94 and closed up 3.33% at $791.34.

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Fri, 29 Jul 2016 10:50:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/128808/alphabet-s-google-boosted-by-mobile-ads-128808.html
<![CDATA[News - Google ad policy clamps down on payday lenders ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/125850/google-ad-policy-clamps-down-on-payday-lenders-125850.html Alphabet Inc -owned search engine Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) announced that it would be banning ads for payday loans and related products from its advertising system.

“Ads for financial services are a particular area of vigilance given how core they are to people’s livelihood and well-being,” Google said in a policy statement released Wednesday.

The ban, in effect from July, will mean companies offering so-called pay-day loans will no longer be able to advertise to internet users through the search engine.

The group will no longer allow ads for loans where repayment is due within 60 days of the date of the issue. In the US it is also banning ads for loans with an APR of 36% or higher.

Lenders have long been accused of targeting the poor, trapping them in a cycle of high-interest rate borrowing.

“This change is designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful financial products,” it said.

The ban will not affect companies advertising loans such as mortgages, car loans, student loans or credit cards.

"This new policy addresses many of the longstanding concerns shared by the entire civil rights community about predatory payday lending,” said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

“These companies have long used slick advertising and aggressive marketing to trap consumers into outrageously high interest loans - often those least able to afford it."

Google dominates the online advertising market, meaning the ban could have a much bigger impact on suppressing the pay-day loan industry than government regulation.

Lisa McGreevy, president of the Online Lenders Alliance responded to the statement, commenting:

“It’s disappointing that a site created to help give users full access to information is making arbitrary choices on the advertisements users are allowed to see from legal businesses.”

McGreevy cited research by the Federal Reserve Board which found that 47% of Americans are not prepared to handle a $400 unexpected expense.

“Limiting their access to the financial system will only exacerbate their problem.  This unprecedented abuse of power by a monopoly player should concern lawmakers at both the state and federal levels,” she added.

In 2015 Google disabled more than 780mln ads it deemed harmful. Google’s existing policy bans ads for counterfeit goods, weapons, explosives, tobacco, and hate speech.

Last year, Google's ad revenue amounted to over US$67bn. Advertising accounted for the majority of its total online revenues.

UK-based payday lender Wonga was approached by Proactive but declined to comment.

A spokesman from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that it was not unheard of for media owners to enact their own polcies based on the company's views.

"We understand the broader societal concerns," the ASA told Proactive, "but it is entirely up to those that own the space to decide what they advertise."

The ASA said that they had already clamped down on payday loan advertisers who had broken regulations or misled viewers.

"Advertising is not a bad thing - as long as it sticks to the rules."

--UPDATE ASA COMMENT--

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Thu, 12 May 2016 09:59:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/125850/google-ad-policy-clamps-down-on-payday-lenders-125850.html
<![CDATA[News - Google owner Alphabet shares drop after disappointing earnings ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/125120/google-owner-alphabet-shares-drop-after-disappointing-earnings-125120.html Google parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares saw the sharpest drop in four years after first quarter earnings failed to meet Wall Street forecasts and Google ad prices dipped.

In after hours trading, shares plummeted from $759.96 to lows of $711.21 when the group issued an earnings report after market close on Thursday.

Alphabet, the second largest company in the world by market capitalisation, lost more than 6% (around $32bn) from its market value.

Although the group saw revenue grow 17% in the period, it spent more money on experimental projects, engineers, data centres and YouTube shows, causing it to miss investor expectations.

Revenues rose to $20.26bn between January and March, from $17.26bn in the same period last year. Net income stood at $4.2bn, up from $3.5bn last year.

Google ad revenues surged 16% in the first quarter to $18bn as the number of ads, or paid clicks, jumped almost 30%, but the cost per click fell 9% in the period.

The report followed formal monopoly charges issued by the European Commission against Google over claims it abused the dominant market position of its Android operating system.

Last year, Google underwent a restructuring and created a new parent company, Alphabet.

Google kept its best known businesses, such as search, YouTube and Android.

Alphabet will run its newer entities such as the drone arm and research divisions.

The drop comes as a major blow for the search engine empire, which could see the group shifting its focus from search to high-speed internet and video broadcasting.

"We're thoughtfully pursuing big bets and building exciting new technologies, in Google and our other bets, that position us well for long-term growth,” said Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat.

Revenues from its “other bets”, in which it classes everything aside from Google, more than doubled to $166mln, but there was an overall loss of $802mln.

Shares were yet to recover this morning, currently at $714.20 in after hours trading.

 

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Fri, 22 Apr 2016 09:27:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/125120/google-owner-alphabet-shares-drop-after-disappointing-earnings-125120.html
<![CDATA[News - European competition watchdogs accuse Google of breaking law ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/125039/european-competition-watchdogs-accuse-google-of-breaking-law-125039.html European competition watchdogs have accused Google of breaking EU law over commercial practices relating to its Android operating system.

The European Commission has written to the internet search engine giant, owned by Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), accusing it of slapping cumbersome conditions on companies using Android.

Brussels claimed the "onerous requirements" breach the EU’s regulations by stifling competition.

Google has 12 weeks to respond, and, if found guilty, faces a fine and may be told to change its practices.

The EU claimed Google had harmed both competitors and consumers by forcing mobile manufacturers and operators to pre-fit some of its own products and sometimes make them default or exclusive options on handsets.

In some cases, this was in return for Google agreeing to grant a licence to use some of its apps.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “A competitive mobile internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe.

"Based on our investigation thus far, we believe Google's behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players, in breach of EU antitrust rules.

"These rules apply to all companies active in Europe."

Google said Android was "good for competition and good for consumers".

Kent Walker, Google's senior vice president and general counsel, said: "Android has helped foster a remarkable and, importantly, sustainable ecosystem, based on open-source software and open innovation.

"We look forward to working with the European Commission."

Shares in Alphabet fell 0.4% to US$751 in early New York trading.

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Wed, 20 Apr 2016 10:35:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/125039/european-competition-watchdogs-accuse-google-of-breaking-law-125039.html
<![CDATA[News - Google to launch contactless payment service Android Pay in the UK ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/124035/google-to-launch-contactless-payment-service-android-pay-in-the-uk-124035.html Google is looking to take on the UK contactless payment market with the release of Android Pay.

The internet and mobil tech titan announced on Wednesday that it will extend Android Pay to the UK "in the next few months", having previously only been available in the US.

Users will be able to use Android Pay "everywhere contactless payments are accepted", Google said.

It follows Samsung, which earlier said its rival service would also come to the UK this year.

Rival Apple launched its Apple Pay in the UK in July last year but, this is limited to the firm's iOS device,  while Google’s runs on devices running Android 4.4 or higher and fitted with an NFC (near field communication) chip

Put simply, Google’s product allows any device to act as a tap-and-pay substitute for credit and debit cards.

The firm, which is part of holding company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) already has the backing of a number of high-profile lenders including Lloyds Bank, HSBC and Nationwide, which have all said they will support the scheme.

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Wed, 23 Mar 2016 11:07:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/124035/google-to-launch-contactless-payment-service-android-pay-in-the-uk-124035.html
<![CDATA[News - Google faces parliamentary onslaught over UK tax deal ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/122936/google-faces-parliamentary-onslaught-over-uk-tax-deal-122936.html Politicians have slammed a deal between Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and the UK government over how much the internet giant has to pay in tax arrears.

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the £130mln that Google agreed to pay for the last decade in a settlement with Chancellor George Osborne seemed small compared to the size of its business in the UK.

It urged tax authority HMRC to reopen the deal if new evidence became available following probes by other European authorities.

The chairman of the committee, Meg Hillier MP, criticised Google for a lack of clarity and details of the settlement and highlighted "palpable" public irritation over the issue.

"Whether you call it secrecy or confidentiality, this lack of transparency does nothing to build confidence that big corporations are paying their fair share of tax," the BBC quoted her as saying.

Google insisted it paid a "fair" amount of tax and Osborne described the deal as a victory.

HMRC said it collected all the tax due from multi-nationals and was maximising the amount paid by rigorously enforcing the rules.

"We are committed to being as open and transparent as we can within the constraints of our statutory duty of taxpayer confidentiality," the BBC quoted an HMRC spokesman as saying.

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Wed, 24 Feb 2016 14:39:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/122936/google-faces-parliamentary-onslaught-over-uk-tax-deal-122936.html
<![CDATA[News - Google in crosshairs again after CEO share pay-out ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/122331/google-in-crosshairs-again-after-ceo-share-pay-out-122331.html Search engine giant Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is back in the crosshairs again - as it emerged it paid its boss more than the UK taxman.

Not content with swiping the title of world's most valuable firm from Apple, parent firm Alphabet has now issued shares to 43 -year -old Sundar Pichai making him the highest paid boss in the USA.

A regulatory filing showed he has been paid shares in Alphabet worth an eye watering US$199mln (£138mln), bringing his total holding to a cool US$650mln.

But this is unlikely to go down too well with critics of Google's tax settlement last month where Google agreed to pay HMRC £130mln just to cover the last decade.

The figure was declared "derisory" by Labour, while George Osborne, the Chancellor, claimed it as a success for the government's approach.

Pichai's latest share issue is almost three times what Ralph Lauren was paid over the whole of 2015 - at US$66.7mln.

The next highest paid executive last year reportedly was John Hammergren, of pharmaceutical group Mckesson - who brought in US$131.2mln last year.

Pichai has been at the helm of the internet search engine since Alphabet became parent in a restructuring last October.

His shares will vest incrementally each quarter until 2019.

Pichai joined Google in 2004 and led the product management and innovation for a suite of software products, including Google Chrome, Chrome OS. He was largely responsible for Google Drive.

Last week, Alphabet revealed it was now worth about US$568bn against the maker of the iPhone, which is valued at US$535bn after reporting a profit of US$4.9bn in the quarter to end December, up from US$4.7bn a year earlier.

An increase in online advertising on Google helped the company rack up annual profits of US$16.3bn, although its Other Bets business lost US$3.6bn during the period.

Google shares rose 0.69% on Tuesday to US$687.41.

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Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:45:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/122331/google-in-crosshairs-again-after-ceo-share-pay-out-122331.html
<![CDATA[News - Google parent overtakes Apple as world's most valuable ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/122048/google-parent-overtakes-apple-as-world-s-most-valuable-122048.html The group behind Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has swiped the crown from tech giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world's most valuable company following fourth quarter earnings.

The search engine's holding company Alphabet is now worth about US$568bn against the maker of the iPhone, which is valued at US$535bn, following a rise in its shares on Monday.

Alphabet achieved the distinction after reporting a profit of US$4.9bn in the quarter, up from US$4.7bn a year earlier.

An increase in online advertising on Google helped the company rack up annual profits of US$16.3bn, although its Other Bets business lost US$3.6bn during the period.

Other Bets includes more experimental ventures such as self-driving cars and internet balloon programmes.

Shares in Alphabet rocketed in the wake of the news, fell back to close 1.2% up at US$752, but rose in after-hours trading to US803.03.

US broker Wedbush said mobile search drove the figures, helped by desktop search, while YouTube doubled the number of small business advertisers in the last two years.

The broker's James Dix and Aria Ertefaie said in a note: "Google's dominant share in mobile search looks to keep paying dividends, with its research showing that a robust 30% of online shopping purchases occur on mobile phones."

Broker Killik & Co said: "We remain positive on the investment case for Alphabet, with Google being the leading search advertising player, with strong traffic drivers through YouTube, Google Maps and Android.

"In addition, we believe it offers unrivalled options through innovative new product areas, with a strong track record of bringing these profitably to the market."

Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched Google as Backrub in 1998 and later renamed it with its current title, which is based on the large number Googol - 1 followed by 100 zeroes.

The company has since beaten off competition from rivals such as Ask to dominate the global search market and grab a growing share of online advertising.

Google shares are now at US$772.62- up 2.74%.

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Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:30:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/122048/google-parent-overtakes-apple-as-world-s-most-valuable-122048.html
<![CDATA[News - Google to become Alphabet in shock revamp ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/109845/google-to-become-alphabet-in-shock-revamp-109845.html Global tech giant Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) surprised the world last night as it said it will become 'Alphabet' after a shake-up at the company.

The move is designed to identify the core operations within Google, including Chrome and Android, from the more left-field products such as its drones arm and investment branches.

The new group will be a collection of companies, with Google the largest.

Co-founder Larry Page said “We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes.

“But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.”

“Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable.”

The idea is to slim down Google itself, Page said.

As part of the restructuring, former product boss Sandar Pichai will become chief executive of Google.

In a blog post, Page said: “it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google.”

Meanwhile, Page will take on the role of chief executive at Alphabet, with Sergey Brin the president.

Eric Schmidt will become executive chairman while Ruth Porat, chief financial officer at Google, will take the same role at Alphabet.

Alphabet will replace Google as a publicly-traded company with all Google shares transferred automatically.

Shares in Google jumped 6.3% in after-hours trading to US$663.

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Tue, 11 Aug 2015 07:50:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/109845/google-to-become-alphabet-in-shock-revamp-109845.html
<![CDATA[News - In the papers: Google to become Alphabet in shake-up ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/109841/in-the-papers-google-to-become-alphabet-in-shake-up-109841.html Google is to become the subsidiary of a new company called Alphabet under a surprise restructuring unveiled last night with the aim of enabling one of the world’s most powerful tech companies to focus on its core activities, writes the Times.

Larry Page, a co-founder of Google, is to run Alphabet, with his co-founder Sergey Brin as president, while Sundar Pichai, previously in charge of products, will become chief executive of a slimmed down Google.

Jeremy Corbyn is heading for a “knockout victory” in the Labour leadership race after almost doubling his lead over rival candidates, according to a new poll. The hard-left candidate is 32 points ahead of his nearest rival, up from 17 points three weeks ago, The Times reports.

The Co-operative Bank is expected to escape a hefty fine after a long-running investigation into its near collapse two years ago.The bank was warned in June it could face penalties from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England, which are preparing to announce their findings on Tuesday, writes the Guardian.

A company that offered its customers protection against the deluge of nuisance calls has itself been fined £50,000 for making unsolicited, and in some cases threatening, calls to consumers. The Bournemouth-based company behind Stop the Calls offered people a call-blocking device to stop unwanted sales and marketing calls and also offered to remove people from a cold-calling database for £45 a year, the Times writes.

The Telegraph

Russia crisis deepens as economy suffers worst recession in six years: Russia's economic woes deepened on Monday as a collapse in oil prices and western sanctions sent the economy spiralling into a 4.6pc contraction in the second quarter of the year.

Network Rail faces £2mln fine from regulator over travel chaos: Network Rail faces a £2mln fine after the transport regulator found that recent travel chaos had been caused by a host of failings at the troubled infrastructure group and constituted a breach of its licence.

Alibaba agrees £4.4bn tie-up with Chinese electronics giant Suning: Chinese Internet giant Alibaba is to pay 28.3 billion yuan (£3bn) for a near-20 percent stake in consumer electronics retailer Suning, the two companies have announced.

Daily Mail

Warren Buffett seals biggest deal of his life to snap up aircraft parts group for £24bn just days before his 85th birthday: The latest and biggest in a recent line of global takeovers was announced yesterday as US investor Warren Buffett snapped up aircraft parts and engineering group Precision Castparts for £24billion.

Sacked ex-Quindell boss Rob Terry mired in dispute over £100k that the company 'inadvertently' loaned him: Rob Terry, who could be questioned as part of a Serious Fraud Office investigation into the company's accounts at the time he ran the business, was fired last year after being accused of selling shares while sitting on price-sensitive information.

The Guardian

Germany has urged Greece and its creditors to put quality before speed as negotiators in Athens strive to finalise a bailout worth up to €86bn (£61bn).

A finance ministry spokesman in Berlin said the government would scrutinise any agreement, which must also be voted through by the Bundestag, but cautioned against rushing a deal. Greece and its lenders are seeking an accord by 20 August, when the country must make a payment of €3.2bn to the European Central Bank(ECB), reports the Guardian.

 

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Tue, 11 Aug 2015 07:01:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/109841/in-the-papers-google-to-become-alphabet-in-shake-up-109841.html
<![CDATA[News - Alibaba goes 'bricks and mortar' with US$4.6bn Suning deal ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/109831/alibaba-goes-bricks-and-mortar-with-us46bn-suning-deal-109831.html The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) appears to have performed something of a strategic U-turn with its latest deal.

It is going all ‘bricks and mortar’ with the acquisition of a 19.9% stake in Suning for around US$4.6bn. 

For the uninitiated, Suning is A Chinese consumer electronics retailer with more than 1,600 stores in 289 cities across the People’s Republic.

According to experts, the rationale lies in the shop chain’s logistical network, which will allow Alibaba to gets goods to its own customers more quickly.

Having an offline as well as offline presence is also a growing trend in China, analysts add, and this transaction, which will also see Sunning take a 1% in Alibaba, gives the Internet giant the best of both worlds.

“Over the past two decades, e-commerce has become an inextricable part of the lives of Chinese consumers, and this new alliance brings forth a new commerce model that fully integrates online and offline,” Alibaba chief Jack Ma told investors.

Ma’s comments were echoed by Suning chairman Zhang Jindong. 

“This collaboration signals a new trend in the Internet age: strengthening China’s traditional industries by leveraging the power of Internet.

“It will also help transform China’s manufacturing industry and broaden the global horizons of Chinese brands.”

The deal is being announced ahead of first-quarter results on Wednesday, which are likely to show a one-third rise in revenues to US$3.4bn, but a near 60% fall in net profits, which are predicted to be in the order of US$840mln.

The expected drop in earnings will reflect the firm’s heavy investment in mobile Internet as well as share-based payments to employees.

Investors will focus on the extent to which the sluggish growth of the world’s second largest economy is hitting the top and bottom line.

Regulation and competition are also expected to have an impact on a company that has seen its valuation fall by more than 20% in the year to date.

That said, the company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is still valued at a whopping US$198bn.

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Mon, 10 Aug 2015 14:01:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/109831/alibaba-goes-bricks-and-mortar-with-us46bn-suning-deal-109831.html
<![CDATA[News - Google shares advance after posting higher Q1 profit and revenue ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/106422/google-shares-advance-after-posting-higher-q1-profit-and-revenue-61153.html Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) advanced in today’s trading after the world's largest Internet search engine reported higher profit and revenue in the first quarter as rising online ad volume outstripped a hit from the strong dollar.

Shares rose 3.3 percent to $575.61 at 2:36 p.m. in New York.

Net income rose to $3.59 billion, or $5.20 per share, in the first quarter, from $3.45 billion, or $5.04 per share, a year earlier, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a statement late yesterday.

Excluding items, the company earned $6.57 per share, just missing analysts' forecast of $6.60.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $17.26 billion, from $15.42 billion a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $17.5 billion.

During the quarter, Google's aggregate paid clicks increased 13 percent from a year ago, while cost-per-click fell 7 percent.

Google's ad revenue has been pressured as more consumers access its online services on mobiles devices such as smartphones and tablets, where ad rates are typically lower.

Google's advertising sales in the first quarter rose 11 percent to $15.51 billion.

The company tweaked its algorithm for mobile searches on Tuesday to favour sites that look good on smartphone screens.

Earlier this month, the European Union accused Google of abusing its dominance of Internet searches to push its own products. 

 

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Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:51:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/106422/google-shares-advance-after-posting-higher-q1-profit-and-revenue-61153.html
<![CDATA[News - Google faces anti-trust charges by EU regulators ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/106319/google-faces-anti-trust-charges-by-eu-regulators-61001.html Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) fluctuated between gains and losses after the U.S. search engine giant said it strongly disagreed with the European Commission, which accused it of distorting Internet searches in its favour and launched an antitrust probe into its mobile operating system Android.

The case could cost the tech firm billions in fines or even force Google to make significant changes to its business in Europe. It also revives memories of Microsoft's decade-long antitrust fight with the EU. That case ended in 2009 with Microsoft paying over $2 billion in fines to the EU's competition commission.

Shares were up 0.4 percent at $541.80 at 2:41 p.m. in New York, after falling to as low as $532.37 earlier in the session.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement today that Google, which dominates Internet search engine markets worldwide, had been sent a Statement of Objections - effectively a charge sheet - to which it has 10 weeks to respond.

Investigations into Google's business practices in other areas would continue. The shopping case, on which the EU has had the most complaints dating back the longest time, could potentially set a precedent for concerns over Google's search products for hotels, flights and other services.

Google accounts for 90 percent of all Internet searches in Europe and the commission alleges the Internet giant broke antitrust regulations by siphoning traffic from its competitors to its own services.

The commission said Google "may be artificially divert(ing) traffic from rival comparison shopping services (to its Google Shopping) and hinder their ability to compete."

This is the first time a regulator has filed formal antitrust charges against Google.

The EU has been investigating Google for five years. Google nearly settled the case without any charges last year but the deal fell apart over objections from ministers in France and Germany and powerful tech groups.

Google rejected the charges. In its first reaction, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a blog post that it strongly disagreed with the EU's statement of objections and would make the case that its products have fostered competition and benefited consumers.

"Android has been a key player in spurring this competition and choice, lowering prices and increasing choice for everyone (there are over 18,000 different devices available today)," it said of its free operating system for mobile devices.

French Socialists Pervenche Beres and Virginie Roziere applauded the Commission for "at long last" taking action against "the threat posed to the European economy" and renewed their call for the breakup of Google.

American domination of the Internet and other new technology sectors has prompted a mixture of admiration and anxiety in Europe.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel welcomed Vestager's action. Germany, backed by major companies in the EU's biggest economy, has been particularly vocal in pressing the Commission to act against Google.

 

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Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:55:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/106319/google-faces-anti-trust-charges-by-eu-regulators-61001.html
<![CDATA[News - Google Q4 revenue grows slower-than-expected on declining ad prices, strong dollar ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/105292/google-q4-revenue-grows-slower-than-expected-on-declining-ad-prices-strong-dollar-59578.html Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), the world’s largest Internet search engine, reported slower-than-expected revenue growth in the fourth quarter, hurt by falling online ad prices and a strong U.S. dollar.

Net income rose to $4.76 billion, or $6.91 per share, in the October-to-December quarter, from $3.38 billion, or $4.95 per share, a year earlier, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a statement late yesterday. Adjusted earnings per share of $6.88 missed analysts' expectations of $7.11.

Revenue, excluding payments to other companies that syndicate its ads, rose 17 percent, to $14.5 billion, from $12.4 billion in the same period a year earlier. Analysts polled by Capital IQ had projected revenue on that basis of $14.7 billion.

Google’s chief financial officer, Patrick Pichette, told investors on a conference call that the strong dollar reduced revenue by more than $400 million after taking account of currency hedges. Absent the impact of the dollar, revenue would have risen roughly 20 percent.

Operating-profit margin was 24 percent in the fourth quarter, a slight improvement from the third quarter but down from 28 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Google’s growth has been slowing as search queries stall on personal computers, where Google makes more money from clicks on ads.

The growing popularity of mobile devices has made the world’s largest social network Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) a greater threat in the battle for advertisers. Facebook reported on January 28 that mobile ads on its network doubled year-over-year during the fourth quarter.

Google said yesterday that the average price of its online ads, or "cost per click," decreased 3 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, while the number of consumer clicks on its ads increased 14 percent.

Despite the tough business landscape, Google is making the bulk of its money from its traditional websites, like Google.com and YouTube.com. The company's traditional websites are bringing in 69 percent of its revenue.

The advertising revenue Google generates from its own websites increased 18 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the prior year.

Expenses for the fourth quarter were $13.7 billion, up 22 percent from the previous year, with a 46 percent jump coming from R&D costs.

Going forward, Google plans to continue its adventures investing in robots, home automation devices and artificial intelligence. The company is confident its results are "a license to continue investing smartly," Pichette said.

Shares rose 3.1 percent to $529.22 at 9:57 a.m. in New York, paring losses in the past 12 months to 7.1 percent.

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Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/105292/google-q4-revenue-grows-slower-than-expected-on-declining-ad-prices-strong-dollar-59578.html
<![CDATA[News - Google moves into auto insurance in U.S. ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/104977/google-moves-into-auto-insurance-in-us-59172.html Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) may begin selling auto insurance in the United States through a comparison shopping site, according to an analyst.

A business called Google Compare Auto Insurance Services obtained licenses to sell insurance in 26 states, The Wall Street Journal reported late yesterday, citing Forrester Research principal analyst Ellen Carney.

Google Compare is authorized to sell auto policies on behalf of six insurers, Carney said.

“As late as last month the site was expected to launch in California, to be followed in Q1 2015 with likely launches in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Last I heard was that California pilot wouldn’t begin until sometime in Q1,” Carney wrote, speaking about Google Compare’s presumed introduction in the United States.

The company is authorized to sell insurance for a number of companies, including “Dairyland, MetLife, Mercury, Permanent General Assurance, Viking Insurance of Wisconsin and Workmen’s, meaning that many others were likely taking a wait and see approach before jumping on,” Carney wrote.

She also uncovered that a Google executive, Meredith Stechbart, recently secured authorization to sell insurance through Google Compare and through San Francisco auto insurance comparison website CoverHound.

Google also is working with CompareNow.com—"which operates like the Kayak travel site only for auto insurance"— a unit of U.K. auto insurer Admiral Group PLC, according to a person familiar with the matter. CompareNow has relationships with 31 insurance carriers and operates in 48 states and Washington, D.C., the person said.

Carney said Google may also face resistance from insurance companies that are reluctant to share information that could help Google compete with them someday.

Google already provides auto- and travel-insurance quotes in the U.K., as well as mortgage quotes, and even credit cards.

Insurance comparison is common in Europe but less so in America. It's a simple enough process that allows you to see rates from competing companies for the same cover—but in the U.S., law states that the site that brings the quotes together must itself be licensed to sell the insurance to the customers.

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Fri, 09 Jan 2015 10:29:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/104977/google-moves-into-auto-insurance-in-us-59172.html
<![CDATA[News - Google's Q3 results fall short as paid clicks slow ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/103707/googles-q3-results-fall-short-as-paid-clicks-slow-57491.html Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) reported third quarter results that came in short of expectations late Thursday as the Internet giant also posted a slowdown in paid clicks on advertiser links and ramped up spending.

The company's total revenue jumped 20 percent year-on-year to $16.52 billion, but missed the $16.57 billion expected by analysts. 

Overall, it posted a net profit of $2.81 billion, or $4.09 per share, compared to $2.97 billion, or $4.38 per share, in the same period a year ago. On an adjusted basis, excluding stock-based compensation and its Motorola Mobility unit which it is selling to China's Lenovo Group, it booked a profit of $6.35 per share, up from $5.63 a year earlier, but analysts were hoping for earnings of $6.54 a share.

The company's site revenues, meaning revenue from Google's own properties, comprised 68 percent of total sales, coming in at $11.25 billion, up 20 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, revenue from its partner sites rose 9 percent to $3.43 billion. 

Paid clicks, which includes clicks related to ads served on Google and its partner sites, increased 17 percent from the same quarter a year ago, a deceleration from closer to 30 percent growth in recent quarters, and worse than the expected 20 percent by analysts. Clicks on the sites Google owns increased 24 percent year-on-year while clicks on Google ads on other sites rose only 2 percent from the prior year.

The average cost-per-click, which is the revenue Google collects from each click, decreased 2 percent over the third quarter of 2013 and remained flat with the second quarter.

Traffic acquisition costs, the portion of revenues shared with Google's partners, increased to $3.35 billion from $2.97 billion. 

While the company's total revenue increased 20 percent in the third quarter, many analysts are concerned the rate of expense growth is eclipsing this. Expenses climbed 28 percent in the third quarter, with research and development costs soaring 46 percent.

Capital expenditures came to $7.4 billion for the first nine months of the year, up 45 percent from the same period of 2013 as hiring continues to surge. Excluding Motorola, the company added 2,980 employees in the third quarter, to total 51,564.

In the latest period, capital expenditures were $2.42 billion, the majority of which was for data-center construction, production equipment, and real estate purchases, the company said. It added that it expects to continue to make significant capital expenditures.

Shares of Google fell in after hours trading last night, but reversed losses to edge up premarket.

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Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:26:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/103707/googles-q3-results-fall-short-as-paid-clicks-slow-57491.html
<![CDATA[News - Google Q2 revenue jumps 22%, tops estimates as ads improve ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/102368/google-q2-revenue-jumps-22-tops-estimates-as-ads-improve-55538.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), owner of the world's largest search engine, rose in pre-market trade after posting revenue that exceeded analysts’ estimates, driven by higher advertising sales.

Shares were up 2.8 percent at $597.09 at 8:28 a.m. in New York. The stock had risen 3.5 percent since the beginning of the year through yesterday, lagging behind the 4.5 percent rise for the Nasdaq Composite Index.

Revenue for the quarter rose 22 percent to $16 billion from $13.1 billion a year earlier, excluding the Motorola Mobility business Google plans to sell to China's Lenovo Group Ltd. 

The company surpassed analysts' revenue forecast of $15.6 billion on that basis, 

Net income for the period, excluding Motorola, totaled $3.5 billion, or $5.09 per share, up 26 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Excluding stock compensation and other expenses, Google said it would have earned $6.08 a share; on that basis, analysts had forecast $6.23 a share.

Growth of so-called other revenue accelerated to 53 percent in the second quarter, up from 48 percent in the first quarter.

The growth is led by rising sales of apps on Google Play, the digital bazaar where users of smartphones and tablets powered by Google's Android operating system buy games, music, books and more. App sales is Google's largest non-advertising business.

The volume of clicks on search ads rose 33 percent on its own sites, which include Google.com and youtube.com, compared with 9 percent click growth for the network of other sites that feature Google ads—including aol.com and ask.com. 

The average price of clicks continued to fall, though less quickly for Google-owned sites, down 7 percent, compared with a 13 percent drop for non-Google sites.

Ad prices have been sagging because marketers haven't been willing to pay as much to pitch consumers who are squinting at the smaller screens on the smartphones that are drawing eyeballs away from desktop and laptop computers. 

Google executives are confident advertisers eventually will be willing to pay more to connect with prospective customers on smartphones and tablets as mobile computing becomes even more pervasive.

Despite Google’s continuing mobile dilemma, Google accounted for nearly 32 percent of online global ad spending in 2013, according to estimates from eMarketer. Facebook Inc. is in second place, accounting for nearly 6 percent of 2013’s $120.05 billion online global advertising market.

Facebook accounted for almost 16 percent of mobile advertising dollars spent around the world last year, eMarketer estimates, up from 9 percent in 2012. Google dropped to a 41.5 percent share of the mobile ad market last year, down from 49.8 percent in 2012.

Google also announced that its chief business officer, Nikesh Arora, would be leaving to join Japan's SoftBank Corp., which owns U.S. telecommunications carrier Sprint Corp. Mr. Arora oversaw all of Google's revenue and customer operations. He will be succeeded by Omid Kordestani, who led Google's sales team for many years.

 

 

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Fri, 18 Jul 2014 09:00:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/102368/google-q2-revenue-jumps-22-tops-estimates-as-ads-improve-55538.html
<![CDATA[News - Google acquires music streaming service Songza ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/102087/google-acquires-music-streaming-service-songza-55142.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), owner of the most used Internet search engine, purchased music streaming service Songza for an undisclosed amount. Shares fluctuated.

Google did not provide financial terms of the deal, though a report in the New York Post earlier this month citing unnamed sources said Google had offered to buy the company for $15 million.

Songza is a music service that offers users expertly curated playlists around mood, time of day and general theme. It offers a blend between human curation and algorithmic determination. 

Google said late yesterday that it will integrate Songza into both its Google Play music service as well as YouTube.

The acquisition highlights the growing importance of services that customize playlists as more people listen to music through Internet connections on their smartphones, tablets and personal computers.

Sales of digital music downloads have declined in recent months, while streaming services such as Pandora Media Inc. and Spotify have become increasingly popular with consumers.

Songza launched its app in 2010 and has relatively few listeners—5.5 million, compared with 75 million for Pandora and 40 million for both Spotify Ltd. and Apple Inc.s' (NASDAQ:AAPL)  iTunes Radio.

Google launched a $9.99-per-month Play All Access subscription music service in 2013, and the company said last month its YouTube video website was preparing to launch a paid streaming service.

Shares were up down less than 0.1 percent at 591.13 at 9:35 a.m. in New York. Shares of Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P), Songza's competitor, were up 1.9 percent at $30.16.

 

 

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Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:40:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/102087/google-acquires-music-streaming-service-songza-55142.html
<![CDATA[News - Google climbs after unveiling a new version of Android software and other goodies ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/102003/google-climbs-after-unveiling-a-new-version-of-android-software-and-other-goodies-55020.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) jumped in midday trade after unveiling a new version of its Android software for smartphones and other devices.

Shares gained 1.9 percent to $583.54 at 2:30 p.m. in New York.

The new “L” version of Android, the first major update of the mobile operating system since last year, will let developers easily implement features such as animations, shadows and lighting so that users get a more real-life experience when they touch objects on a screen, Google’s Android design chief, Matias Duarte, said at the company’s annual gathering of developers in San Francisco.

Google is looking beyond its traditional desktop Web-search business and is expanding its software into new devices as consumers increasingly gravitate to mobile computing. Competition is stiff, with Apple and others jockeying for a bigger share of the mobile market. 

Google’s annual developer conference is key to its efforts to continually refresh Android and maintain support from software makers.

Smartphones based on Android, which Google gives to hardware manufacturers for free, made up 78 percent of the global industry in 2013, up from 66 percent in 2012, according to Gartner Inc. The second-largest player was Apple’s iPhone, which had 16 percent, down from 19 per cent.

Also at the I/O conference today, Google unveiled its Android TV software, which will run on set-top boxes. The software allows users to speak commands to the TV and also features a smart home screen that’s designed to make recommendations to users based on what they watch, a la Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX). The software is able to not only find content in the Google Play store but also with partners Hulu and Netflix.

Google Inc. has also included its Knowledge Graph into the Android TV software to make search the focus of the entire experience. 

The software comes after the search giant’s Chromecast, a small device that plugs into TV sets and allows users to stream video from their tablet or smartphone to their TV. 

Google said it will launch the Android TV store sometime this fall.

 

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Wed, 25 Jun 2014 14:55:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/102003/google-climbs-after-unveiling-a-new-version-of-android-software-and-other-goodies-55020.html
<![CDATA[News - Google to acquire satellite startup Skybox for $500 mln; shares slip ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/101755/google-to-acquire-satellite-startup-skybox-for-500-mln-shares-slip-54684.html Google Inc. (GOOG), owner of the world's most popular Internet search engine, said it agreed to acquire satellite maker Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash, as it seeks to bolster its mapping services and improve Internet access. Shares declined in morning trading.

“Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery,”  Mountain View, California-based company said late yesterday. “Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief -- areas Google has long been interested in.”

Google Inc. plans to use Skybox's satellite already in orbit to supplement the material that it licenses from more than 1,000 sources, including other satellite companies such as DigitalGlobe and Astrium. Skybox had previously raised about $91 million in venture capital. The company says it employs about 100 people.

Skybox only has a single satellite in orbit right now, but plans to fly a fleet of them to cover the entire globe at all times. 

Constantly-updated satellite images would be of interest to everyone from agricultural companies and hedge funds to hardware stores.

The Skybox deal "subject to adjustments," Google said. The transaction has yet to close and needs regulatory approvals in the U.S., the company added.

The acquisition of the five-year old company comes as Google and rival Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) are racing to snap up satellite and drone companies in an expensive effort to expand the reach of their businesses.

In April, Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico-based maker of solar-powered drones, for an undisclosed sum. Google has also started a small network of balloons designed to deliver Internet access over the Southern Hemisphere.

Google made about 250 acquisitions during the past decade, using many of them to expand into new markets, including maps and mobile devices.

Shares slipped 0.7 percent to $65.32 at 9:34 a.m. in New York.

 

 

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Wed, 11 Jun 2014 09:38:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/101755/google-to-acquire-satellite-startup-skybox-for-500-mln-shares-slip-54684.html
<![CDATA[News - Google reportedly to spend $1bln on Internet satellites ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/101594/google-reportedly-to-spend-1bln-on-internet-satellites-54479.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), owner of the world's largest internet search engine, reportedly plans to spend more than $1 billion to deploy hundreds of low-Earth orbit satellites to provide Internet access to underserved regions of the globe.

The project is expected to launch with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the Earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the project.

Google's satellite venture is led by Greg Wyler, founder of satellite-communications startup O3b Networks Ltd., who recently joined Google with O3b's former chief technology officer, the newspaper said. Google has also been hiring engineers from satellite company Space Systems/Loral LLC to work on the project, according to another person familiar with the hiring initiative.

An unnamed Google spokeswoman told the paper that the company is focused on bringing hundreds of millions of additional people online. "Internet connectivity significantly improves people's lives. Yet two thirds of the world have no access at all," she said. 

With its satellites, balloons and drones, Google seems to be well on its way to achieving its goal of bringing Internet access to the as-yet unserved and underserved regions of the globe. The company, however, isn't alone in its efforts. Earlier this year, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) announced that it was launching a drone and satellite project of its own.

The shares fluctuated in early New York trading. It closed less than 0.1 percent at $559.89 on May 30.

 

 

 

 

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Mon, 02 Jun 2014 08:50:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/101594/google-reportedly-to-spend-1bln-on-internet-satellites-54479.html
<![CDATA[News - Google starts "right to be forgotten" service ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/101569/google-starts-right-to-be-forgotten-service-54453.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the owner of the world's largest search engine, created a website late yesterday and formed a committee of Internet experts to help the company handle requests from Europeans who want to erase unflattering information from the results produced by Google.

The move was taken in response to a landmark ruling issued two weeks ago by Europe's highest court. The decision gives Europeans the means to polish their online reputations by petitioning Google and other search engines to remove potentially damaging links to newspaper articles and other websites with embarrassing information about their past activities.

The ruling sent shock waves through the Internet industry and hit Google, particularly hard.

Google's new site lets European residents list Web addresses that they want removed from search results on the resident's name. The people must list their names and email addresses, supply photo identification, explain how each linked page is related to them and why the search result is "irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate."

Google said it would assess each request, including whether there is a public interest in the information, such as information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.

Failure to remove links that meet the EU's criteria can result in fines.

It is not clear when Google will begin to actually remove any links, and the ruling does not mean that information itself must be taken down, just the link in search results.

Google has said it is disappointed with the EU ruling, and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the balance the court struck between privacy and "the right to know" was wrong.

"The court's ruling requires Google to make difficult judgments about an individual's right to be forgotten and the public's right to know," a Google spokesman said.

Google said it has convened a committee of senior Google executives and independent experts to try and craft a long-term approach to dealing with what's expected to be a barrage of requests from the EU's 500 million citizens.

The move will also create a divide between how Google generates search results about some people in Europe and the rest of the world. Google will only scrub personal information spanning a 32-nation swath in Europe. That means Googling the same person in the United States and dozens of other countries could look much different than it does from Europe.

Google's move comes just before a two-day meeting of heads of the 28 EU data protection agencies from Tuesday, during which they are due to discuss the implications of the EU ruling on May 13.

Europe is one of the biggest markets for the online ads that generate most of Google's revenue. But implementing the "right to be forgotten" isn't expected to drive traffic away from Google because its major rivals must also abide by the new rules in Europe.

Google shares (NASDAQ:GOOGL) were little changed at $570.70 at 8:17 a.m. in New York.

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Fri, 30 May 2014 08:53:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/101569/google-starts-right-to-be-forgotten-service-54453.html
<![CDATA[News - Google drops as Q1 results miss estimates on slumping ad prices ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/100876/google-drops-as-q1-results-miss-estimates-on-slumping-ad-prices-53504.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), the owner of the world’s largest search engine, fell in pre-market trading after reporting first-quarter earnings and revenue that missed analysts' expectations amid declining ad prices.

Google shares dropped 2 percent to $545.40 at 8:25 a.m. in New York. 

Net income rose to $3.45 billion, or $5.04 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $3.35 billion, or $4.97 per share, in the year-earlier period, the Mountain View, California–based company said in a statement after market close yesterday. 

Stripping out one-time items, Google earned $6.27 per share, well below the $.6.39-per-share estimate of analysts.

Revenue jumped 19 percent to $15.42 billion in the first quarter from $12.95 billion in the year-earlier period. Analysts on average had estimated $15.54 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Google’s audience is steadily migrating to smartphones, where the company gets less money for marketing spots than on desktops and tablets. Google along with Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) are renovating their products and advertising business to account for smartphones. 

The number of "paid clicks" by consumers on Google's ads increased by 26 percent in the first quarter, disappointing some analysts who had hoped for stronger volume growth. 

The average "cost per click" declined 9 percent, extending a downward trend.

Operating income slid to 32 percent of revenue on an adjusted basis, from 34 percent in the year-earlier period.

Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora said in a conference call yesterday that the company's mobile ad revenue is being held up in part because merchants haven't spent enough time developing their mobile sites, assuming that customers will make more purchases via desktop.

"The journey is just beginning for advertisers on the mobile side," he said. As advertisers begin to see the potential of mobile ads, including location targeting, Arora added that the gap between desktop and mobile ad rates would likely close.

Other revenue at Google, which includes the mobile Play store and hardware such as Chromecast, increased 48 percent from the year-earlier period to $1.55 billion.

Google is investing in new products to drive future growth. The company is licensing hotel-booking software from Room 77 Inc., a startup backed by Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) With Room 77, Google can cater to travelers looking to quickly book hotels, the most lucrative part of online travel.

Earlier this week, Google announced the acquisition of Titan Aerospace, a start-up that makes high-altitude, solar-powered drones that Google hopes to use to deliver Internet service. 

The search giant has also invested billions of dollars in driverless cars, wearable gadgets, military robots and, through its $3.2 billion purchase of Nest earlier this year, connected home devices.  

 

 

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Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:13:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/100876/google-drops-as-q1-results-miss-estimates-on-slumping-ad-prices-53504.html
<![CDATA[News - Google posts strong Q4 sales, to split stock ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/99666/google-posts-strong-q4-sales-to-split-stock-51700.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), the owner of the world’s largest search engine, climbed to a record high in pre-market trade after posting fourth-quarter sales that surpassed estimates and announcing plans to split its stock.

Google jumped 4.1 percent to 1,182.10 at 8:17 a.m. in New York. The stock climbed 58 percent in 2013.

Stripping out sales passed on to partners, revenue in the three months ended Dec. 31 increased 11 percent to $13.6 billion, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a statement yesterday. Analysts had predicted sales of $13.4 billion.

Google benefited from strong demand from brand marketers and retailers in the fourth quarter, as well as healthy demand for online ads in international markets. The company is expected to take 41 percent of the U.S. digital-ad market this year with the closest No. 2, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), grabbing just 8.2 percent, according to EMarketer Inc.

The volume of paid clicks on Google's online ads leaped 31 percent during the holiday quarter, compared with a gain of 26 percent in the previous period.

But the average cost per click that marketers paid the company slid 11 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with a decline of 8 percent in the previous period.

Google's advertising rates have been under pressure as more consumers access its online services on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, where advertising rates are lower than on PCs.

Mobile devices now generate nearly one-fourth of Google's total ad revenue, up from a small fraction just two years ago, based on estimates from the research firm eMarketer.

Profit excluding certain items was $12.01 a share, below analysts' projection of $12.25 a share.

Google's consolidated net income was $3.38 billion, or $9.90 a share, compared to $2.89 billion, or $8.62 per share, in the year-earlier period.

Operating expenses, excluding the cost of revenues, rose 14 percent to $5.5 billion. 

Motorola, which Google has agreed to sell to China's top PC maker for $2.91 billion, saw operating losses of $384 million in the quarter, more than double the $152 million loss from a year earlier. Google had bought the Motorola mobile unit for $12.4 billion in 2012, 

The stock's trading price is likely to be halved after Google executes a 2-for-1 stock split this spring. The company announced yesterday that the long-delayed split will be completed April 2.

The move had been delayed because of staunch resistance from other Google Inc. shareholders, who feared the maneuver would unfairly benefit co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at the expense of just about everyone else.

Google proposed the unorthodox split so that Page and Brin could preserve power in the company they started in a rented garage more than 15 years ago. 

Google's split will create a new class of "C'' stock that carries no voting power. One share of C stock will be distributed for each share of voting Class A stock owned as of March 27. 

Page and Brin primarily own Google's Class B stock, which already gives them 10 times the voting power of each Class A share. Combined, the Google founders control 56 percent of the shareholder votes, even though they own less than 15 percent of the stock issued.

Distributing a new class of non-voting stock will enable Google to continue doling out shares to its nearly 44,000 workers without further undermining the co-founders' power.

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Fri, 31 Jan 2014 09:01:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/99666/google-posts-strong-q4-sales-to-split-stock-51700.html
<![CDATA[News - Google to sell Motorola to Lenovo for $2.9 bln ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/99642/google-to-sell-motorola-to-lenovo-for-29-bln-51660.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), the owner of the world’s largest search engine, advanced in morning trade after agreeing to sell the Motorola Mobility mobile-phone business to Lenovo Group Ltd. (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) for $2.91 billion. 

Google shares climbed 3.8 percent to 1,148.98 at 9:32 a.m. in New York, extending gains in the past six months to 29 percent. Meanwhile, American depositary receipts of Lenovo slid 0.8 percent to $27.63.

The Chinese PC maker will pay $1.4 billion in cash and its own shares and $1.5 billion in a three-year promissory note, Google said in a statement late yesterday.

Google will retain a majority of Motorola Mobility’s patent portfolio, with Lenovo receiving a license to the intellectual property.

The deal comes less than two years after Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.4 billion in the biggest acquisition of Google's 15-year history. After closing the agreement, Google got the unit’s $2.9 billion in cash. Google also sold Motorola's set-top box business last year to Arris Group Inc. for $2.35 billion.

Google is holding on to most of Motorola's more than 20,000 mobile patents, providing Google with legal protection for its widely used Android software for smartphones and tablet computers. Gaining control of Motorola's patents was the main reason Google was willing to pay so much for a smartphone maker that was already losing money and market share.

The Motorola patents were valued at $5.5 billion at the time Google took over, according to regulatory filings.

"This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere,” Google's Chief Executive Officer Larry Page said in the statement.

With its acquisition of Motorola, Lenovo is emerging as the most viable contender to global smartphone leaders Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. (KRX:005930)—albeit still a distant third-place player.

The deal will allow Lenovo to step outside its China comfort zone and firmly into other regions, including the United States, where Chinese smartphone makers have struggled, and Latin America, where Motorola remains a strong brand.

The Motorola deal follows Lenovo’s agreement to purchase International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM)’s low-end x86 server unit for $2.3 billion earlier this month. In 2005, Lenovo also acquired IBM’s PC division.

A cellphone pioneer, Motorola Mobility had its last big hit with the Razr flip phone, which came out in 2004. Its product line became outmoded after Apple Inc. released the iPhone in 2007, unleashing a new era of touch-screen phones. Motorola hasn't been able to catch up yet, even as last summer's Moto X received positive reviews.

Google is set to announce its fourth-quarter earnings after the market closes today.

 

 

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Thu, 30 Jan 2014 09:45:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/99642/google-to-sell-motorola-to-lenovo-for-29-bln-51660.html
<![CDATA[News - Google shoots up above $1,000 as analysts highlight reacceleration of paid clicks - UPDATE ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/97983/google-shoots-up-above-1000-as-analysts-highlight-reacceleration-of-paid-clicks-update-49071.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), owner of the world’s biggest search engine, crossed the $1,000 mark for the first time after posting better-than-expected third-quarter sales as higher advertising volumes offset ad-rate declines.

Google spiked 14 percent to $1,010.96 at 2:22 p.m. in New York, after touching an all-time high of $1,015.42. Google had never closed higher than $928 since the company went public at $85 per share nine years ago. 

"The highlight of the quarter was the reacceleration of paid clicks as growth normalized following a period of tougher comps," Stephen Ju of Credit Suisse wrote in a note emailed to clients today. Ju raised the target price to $1,200 and maintained his "outperform" rating on the stock. 

Revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30, removing sales passed on to partner sites, was $11.92 billion, the Mountain View, California-based company said yesterday. This surpassed the average analyst estimate for $11.64 billion. 

Profit taking out special items amounted to $10.74 a share, above the $10.36 average expectation of analysts. Net income grew 36 percent to $2.97 billion compared with the year-earlier period.

Google's average ad price has now declined from the prior year in each of the last eight quarters as more consumers access its online services on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, where advertising rates are lower than on PCs.

The average cost-per-click -- the price that marketers pay Google when consumers click on their ads -- dropped 8 percent during the third quarter, deepening the 6 percent price erosion that Google experienced in the second quarter.

However, the total amount of paid clicks rose 26 percent year-on-year, the highest rate of growth in one year.

Google's market share in the ad market is rougly 7 percent, according to Research firm eMarketer. This has recently slid slightly as competitor Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), operator of the world’s most-popular social network, has made inroads. Facebook now has 15 percent of the market, a jump from 9 percent last year. eMarketer estimates that the mobile ad market worldwide will grow 89 percent to $16.65 billion this year; up from $8.8 billion last year.

Approximately 40 percent of the traffic to YouTube, the Google-owned video website, now occurs on mobile devices, Google Chief Executive Larry Page said during a conference call yesterday. That compared with only 6 percent of YouTube's traffic that occurred on mobile devices two years ago.

Page also disclosed that he doesn't plan to regularly take part in the company's quarterly earnings calls with analysts in the future.

The company's troubled Motorola unit continued to be a drag on the figures. It lost Google $248 million, despite the launch of the flagship Moto X phone in August.

Google shares have rallied 36 percent so far this year, giving the company a market value of $337 billion.

"We continue to view Google as one of the best-positioned in our space to benefit from the proliferation of connected devices and the ensuing lift in engagement," Credit Suisse's Ju wrote in his note.

"We view the volume growth as a leading indicator of where its top line growth can go as pricing on mobile will eventually close the gap with desktop," he added.

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Fri, 18 Oct 2013 14:38:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/97983/google-shoots-up-above-1000-as-analysts-highlight-reacceleration-of-paid-clicks-update-49071.html
<![CDATA[News - Google near record high as Q3 sales top estimates ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/97964/google-near-record-high-as-q3-sales-top-estimates-49052.html Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), the owner of the world’s biggest search engine, leaped in premarket trades after posting better-than-expected third-quarter sales as higher advertising volumes offset ad-rate declines.

Google jumped 8.4 percent to $963 at 5:51 a.m. in New York, set to log a new all-time high in regular hours trading. The shares have rallied 26 percent this year, compared with a 28 percent gain for the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC).

Removing sales passed on to partner sites, revenue for the three months ended Sept. 30 was $11.92 billion, the Mountain View, California-based company said yesterday, surpassing the average analyst estimate for $11.64 billion. 

Profit taking out special items amounted to $10.74 a share, above the $10.36 average expectation of analysts. Net income grew 36 percent to $2.97 billion compared with the year-earlier period.

Google's average ad price has now declined from the prior year in each of the last eight quarters as more consumers access its online services on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, where advertising rates are lower than on PCs.

The average cost-per-click -- the price that marketers pay Google when consumers click on their ads -- dropped 8 percent during the third quarter, deepening the 6 percent price erosion that Google experienced in the second quarter.

However, the total amount of paid clicks rose 26 percent year-on-year, the highest rate of growth in one year.

Google's market share in the ad market is 6.9 percent, according to Research firm eMarketer. This has recently slipped slightly as rival Facebook has made inroads. Facebook now has 14.9 percent of the market, a jump from 9 percent last year. eMarketer estimates that the mobile ad market worldwide will grow 89 percent to $16.65 billion this year; up from $8.8 billion in 2012.

Roughly 40 percent of the traffic to YouTube, the Google-owned video website, now occurs on mobile devices, Google Chief Executive Larry Page said during a conference call yesterday. That compared with only 6 percent of YouTube's traffic that occurred on mobile devices two years ago.

Page also disclosed that he doesn't plan to regularly take part in the company's quarterly earnings calls with analysts in the future.

The company's troubled Motorola unit continued to be a drag on the figures. It lost Google $248 million, despite the launch of the flagship Moto X phone in August.

 

 

 

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Fri, 18 Oct 2013 06:57:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/97964/google-near-record-high-as-q3-sales-top-estimates-49052.html
<![CDATA[News - Google's stock stumbles after it fails to meet analyst predictions - UPDATE ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/96370/googles-stock-stumbles-after-it-fails-to-meet-analyst-predictions-update-46276.html Even though Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) revenue is climbing, investors picked up on shrinking prices charged for its ads and punished the stock. 

Google's revenue grew 19 per cent in the second quarter to $14.1 billion, but the Street was looking for $14.4 billion. 

Noteworthy was the six per cent slide in the price charged to clients each time users clicked on their search engine ads, or the average cost-per-click, the major artery in Google's revenue stream. That compares to a four per cent year-over-year decline in the first quarter.

As consumers access more content through their phones, where ad prices are even lower, the street's concern is the growth decline will continue.

A 23 per cent rise in click-throughs made up for what would have been an even sharper decline. Excluding revenue generated from Motorola Mobile, Google's revenue grew 20 per cent year over year.

Google's net income was $3.2 billion or $9.54 per share, compared to $2.8 billion or $8.42 per share in the second quarter of 2012. On an adjusted basis, Google earned $3.2 billion or $9.56 per share versus the mean analyst forecast of $10.78.

Operating income came to $3.1 billion, a 3.7 fall from last year, attributable to a $342 operating loss for Motorola Mobile, 72 per cent wider than last year's second quarter.

In the conference call, Google said growth is picking up in newer business lines, like its cloud-computing services.

The company's global workforce, including Motorola staff, fell 16.9 per cent to 44,777 employees. The headcount grew at Google's main operations but the post-acquisition Motorola staff is a third of what it was last year.

Shares of Google plunged more than four per cent in after hours trading on Thursday. They are off 2.8 per cent from yesterday's close. 

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 10:45:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/96370/googles-stock-stumbles-after-it-fails-to-meet-analyst-predictions-update-46276.html
<![CDATA[News - Google dives in after hours after missing the Street ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/96359/google-dives-in-after-hours-after-missing-the-street--46249.html Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) says its revenue grew 19 per cent in the second quarter but the results missed Street expectations.

The internet giant's revenue was $14.1 billion compared to the Street's $14.4 billion estimate.

Operating income came to $3.1 billion, versus $3.2 billion for the same period last year.

Google's net income was $3.2 billion or $9.54 per share, compared to $2.8 billion or $8.42 per share in the second quarter of 2012.

On an adjusted basis, Google earned $3.2 billion or $9.56 per share versus the mean analyst forecast of $10.78.

Shares of Google slid 4.6 per cent in after hours.

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Thu, 18 Jul 2013 16:44:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/96359/google-dives-in-after-hours-after-missing-the-street--46249.html
<![CDATA[News - Google confirms Waze acquisition ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/95548/google-confirms-waze-acquisition-44881.html Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is buying Waze, social media's imprint on mapping technology, after unconfirmed reports had surfaced about the deal.

Google outduelled rivals Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to scoop up Waze, a community-based app that lets users interact to plan out routes in real time. 

Google, confirming the speculation on its official blog, did not disclose financial terms of the deal. The rumour mill put a price tag as high as $1.3 billion on the startup. 

The tech giant did not mention specifically how Waze's traffic-update service will integrate into its Maps app but said Waze will compliment Maps, and Waze will make use of Google's search expertise. 

Waze, rationalizing on its own blog why it opted not to grow by means of public markets, said "the path of an IPO often shifts attention to bankers, lawyers and the happiness of Wall Street."

Last year, reports suggested that Apple was interested in Waze and Facebook had entered into talks with the firm but, according to Israeli paper Globes, the two sides could not agree on a price. Globes says Waze also refused to meet Facebook's wishes to relocate its offices out of Israel. Google, in contrast, has an office in the country. 

Waze has more than 100 employees and a tiny presence in Palo Alto, California and an office in New York. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook denied making an offer at the All Things Digital D11 developer conference last month. Apple's own map software has been a source of frustration for users. 

Google shares slipped $4.20 to $886.02 as of 1:01 pm ET. 

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Tue, 11 Jun 2013 13:02:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/95548/google-confirms-waze-acquisition-44881.html
<![CDATA[News - Google cracks $900 as it unveils a series of new tech treats ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/94991/google-cracks-900-as-it-unveils-a-series-of-new-tech-treats-43928.html Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) shares broke a new barrier as momentum builds ahead of the first few announcements at its three-day developer retreat in San Franscisco. 

For the first time in its history, Google's stock rose above $900 this morning after analysts at Jefferies reiterated their buy rating and $1,000 price target. 

The goodies for technophiles so far in the early stages of the Google I/O Developers Conference centre around APIs or application-programming interface technology. An API is a software-to-software interface designed to access web-based applications, meaning users do not directly control them. APIs are a cog in the wheel, so to speak. 

Three APIs announced right out of the gate, Fused Location Provider, Geofencing, and Activity Recognition,  are location related. Fused Location Provider supposedly makes it faster and more accurate for an app to access location. Geofencing builds virtual fences around locations that are triggered when users move in and out of these areas. Activity Recognition aims to hone in on a user in motion and identify the method of transportation: walking, cycling or driving, without depending on a GPS. 

Google also used its platform to toot its own horn. It says Google Cloud Messaging, or GCM, which pushes data from servers to Android apps, has delivered 17 billion messages per day. There are a few new APIs related to GCM. One will give users the ability move messages in the reserve direction, i.e., from the cloud to servers. 

Another GCM app, which drew a round of cheers, synchronizes notifications on multiple devices.

Google wants to cash in even more on online gaming, revealing new APIs for Google Play. Cloud Save allows a user to start a game on his laptop, for instance, and pick up where he left off later on, say, a tablet. 

Rounding out the APIs, so far this afternoon, Android Studio is targeted at developers who build apps for the operating system. And to facilitate the creation of new apps around the world, Google is providing developers with an app to translate languages. 

On the heels of Google Locker, and in a bid to compete with streaming music sites like  Pandora and Spotify, Google is rolling out subscription-based Google Play Music All Access. The service will cost $9.99 per month. 

Google was trading $19.15 higher at $906.25 as of 1:56 pm ET. 

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Wed, 15 May 2013 14:08:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/94991/google-cracks-900-as-it-unveils-a-series-of-new-tech-treats-43928.html
<![CDATA[News - 'Google Now' now on the iPhone; shares rise ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/94602/google-now-now-on-the-iphone-shares-rise-43257.html  

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) rose 2.5 percent to $821.50 in afternoon trading in New York on Monday after the company said Google Now, its popular personal assistant and intelligent search app, is available on the iPhone and the iPad starting Monday.

Google Now allows users to do real-time searches for such needs as directions, restaurants, weather updates or traffic forecasts. The app works on voice commands, rivaling Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL), well-known Siri voice assistant.

Google Now, which was introduced last year, has been one of the most popular apps on Google’s Android platform.

Like personal assistant technology such as Apple's Siri, Google Now help smartphone users with daily chores such as looking up information on the Web, handling calendar appointments and managing travel plans.

The smartphone has recently become a key battleground between Google and Apple as consumers increasingly access the Web with mobile devices instead of laptops or personal computers.

Google has slowly been adding a number of its top Android services to the iPhone in the form of apps. In September, Apple replaced Google’s mapping app with what many considered was an inferior version.

Google dominates the mobile search market with an emphatic 93 percent of U.S. mobile search advertising dollars, according to eMarketer. Google is followed by Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P) and Twitter Inc.

On April 18, the Mountain View, California-based company reported better-than-expected net income in the first quarter.

 

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Mon, 29 Apr 2013 14:07:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/94602/google-now-now-on-the-iphone-shares-rise-43257.html
<![CDATA[News - Google reports stronger-than-expected Q1 net; revenue misses ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/94408/google-reports-stronger-than-expected-q1-net-revenue-misses-42936.html Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), operator of the world’s largest Internet search engine, reported better-than-expected net income in the first quarter as advertisers increased spending. However, sales fell short of analyst projections.

Net income for the quarter that ended March 31 rose to $3.35 billion, or $9.94 per diluted share, from $3.35 billion, or $8.75 per diluted share, the Mountain View, California-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Excluding some items, earnings rose to $11.58 a share from $10.08, topping the average estimate of 36 analysts who predicted a profit of $10.69 per share.

First-quarter revenue rose 31 percent from last year to $14 billion. After subtracting advertising commissions, Google's revenue totaled $11 billion, trailing the average analyst estimate of $11.2 billion.

Excluding fees paid to partner websites, the net revenue of Google's main Internet business advanced to $9.99 billion in the January-March period, from $8.14 billion a year earlier.

"We are working hard and investing in our products that aim to improve billions of people's lives all around the world," the statement quoted CEO Larry Page as saying.

Google shares gained 1.3 percent to $765.91 in premarket trading on Friday. The stock rallied approximately 8 percent this year through Thursday, outperforming the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) which gained 5 percent.

Google has been growing steadily despite facing competition with Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) for ad dollars. Google's market value is currently at $252 billion.

Google dominates the mobile search market with an emphatic 93 percent of U.S. mobile search advertising dollars, according to eMarketer. Google is followed by Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P) and Twitter Inc. 

In February, the company upgraded its online advertising service to make it easier for marketers to reach users on different devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Google's average cost-per-click, a key metric that shows the price advertisers pay the company,  retreated 4 percent from a year earlier, the sixth consecutive quarter of drops but better than the previous quarter's 6 percent decline. The number of paid clicks rose 3 percent over the year.

 

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Fri, 19 Apr 2013 08:39:00 +0100 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/94408/google-reports-stronger-than-expected-q1-net-revenue-misses-42936.html
<![CDATA[News - Google to pay $7 million fine to settle Street View claims ]]> http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/93594/google-to-pay-7-million-fine-to-settle-street-view-claims-41603.html Internet search engine Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) will pay a $7 million fine in the United States for collecting personal data without authorization via its Street View service.

The company settled with attorney generals in 38 states, and also pledged to train its employees over data privacy and launch a nationwide campaign to teach people about securing Wi-Fi hotspots. 

As part of the settlement, California-based Google will have to destroy data it collected from unsecured wireless networks across the U.S. between 2008 and 2010 as part of Street View. It then also improperly stored the information that came in the form of email and text messages, passwords and web histories.

Word that vehicles snapping panoramic photos in neighbourhoods for Street View images in Google's online maps were grabbing data from unsecured hot spots triggered investigations in at least a dozen countries, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

Google, operator of the world’s largest search engine, has been struggling with scrutiny by government officials around the world over how it handles private information. The Federal Communications Commission fined Google$25,000 last year for not cooperating with an investigation into the company’s collection of the data.

Shares of Google, which has a market value of $274 billion, dropped 0.3 percent to $825 in early trading on Wednesday. 


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Wed, 13 Mar 2013 09:41:00 +0000 http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/93594/google-to-pay-7-million-fine-to-settle-street-view-claims-41603.html