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Google to stop reading your Gmail to help sell ads

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:17:53 UT

[...] instead of scanning through email content, the company's software will rely on other signals to determine which ads are most likely to appeal to each of its 1.2 billion Gmail users. The paid Gmail doesn't include ads, so the company has never tried to scan the content of those users' emails for marketing purposes. Both Microsoft and Apple have publicly skewered Google for having the audacity to mine users' emails for ad sales, but those attacks didn't undercut Gmail's popularity.



German parties salvage vote on social media hate posts bill

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 15:36:37 UT

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's governing parties have cleared the way for parliament to vote on legislation designed to get illegal content such as hate speech or defamatory fake news removed quickly from social networking sites. Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc said the governing parties agreed Friday to amendments that would allow for a vote next week.



Founder of Russian messaging app defies official ultimatum

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:32:07 UT

MOSCOW (AP) — The founder of a Russian encrypted messaging app is defying the government's request to provide information about his company.



Toshiba gets earnings report extension, faces delisting risk

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:12:32 UT

TOKYO (AP) — Money-losing Japanese electronics and nuclear company Toshiba Corp. has until Aug. 10 to get auditors to sign off on its earnings statements, or else it faces the risk of getting delisted. Tokyo-based Toshiba, whose U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in March, said Friday it received an extension of an earlier June deadline to give its earnings report for the fiscal year that ended in March. Toshiba said earlier this week it chose a consortium led by a Japanese government-backed fund as the preferred bidder to purchase its lucrative computer memory chip business. Toshiba, whose sprawling business included everything from TV sets to high-speed trains, now has as its major responsibility the decommissioning of Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors suffered meltdowns after a massive earthquake and tsunami.



China tightens online video controls, jolting investors

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 05:54:50 UT

BEIJING (AP) — Three popular Chinese internet services have been ordered to stop streaming video after censors complained it contained improper comments on sensitive issues. Thursday's announcement adds to efforts by President Xi Jinping's government to tighten media control ahead of a Communist Party congress late this year. Video streamed by users of Sina Weibo, AcFun and Phoenix New Media's ifeng.com contained "negative comments" about unspecified sensitive issues, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio Film and Television said. The technology ministry said it forbids use of virtual private networks and leased lines to circumvent government filters and access banned websites abroad.



Uber knew fired exec had info at center of Google theft case

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:06:37 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber acknowledged hiring a former Google engineer — now accused of stealing self-driving car technology — despite having received warnings that he was still carrying around some of his former employer's property. The admission, contained in a Thursday court filing, is the latest twist in a high-profile legal fight between the ride-hailing company and a Google spin-off, Waymo. The investors who have financed Uber's growth had concluded Kalanick had to go following revelations of sexual harassment in the company's office, a federal investigation into company tactics used to thwart regulators, and the threat of even more trouble posed by the Waymo lawsuit.



Line messaging digital theme park to open in Thai capital

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:35:29 UT

BANGKOK (AP) — The text-messaging service Line plans to inaugurate an indoor digital theme park in Thailand's capital, seeking to squeeze maximum advantage from its popularity in the country, its second biggest market after Japan. Line Village is located in Siam Square, for decades a hangout for young Thais enthralled with fashion and the culture of cute — there is already a Hello Kitty cafe located there. Since its launch in 2011, Japan-based, Korean-owned Line has amassed more 200 million users worldwide.



Facebook wants to nudge you into 'meaningful' online groups

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 21:51:52 UT

[...] the Facebook founder wants to bring more meaning to its nearly 2 billion users by shepherding them into online groups that bring together people with common passions, problems and ambitions. The shift comes as Facebook continues to grapple with the darker side of connecting the world, from terrorist recruitment to videos of murder and suicides to propaganda intended to disrupt elections around the world. For Zuckerberg, using his social network to "build community" and "bring the world closer together" — two phrases from Facebook's newly updated mission statement — is a big part of the answer. "When you think of the social structure of the world, we are probably one of the larger institutions that can help empower people to build communities," Zuckerberg said in a recent interview at the company's offices in Menlo Park, California. Facebook is also rolling out new administrative tools intended to simplify the task of screening members and managing communities in hopes that will encourage people to create and cultivate more groups. Originally conceived as a way for friends and family to communicate privately, groups have evolved to encompass hobbies, medical conditions, military service, pets, parenthood and just about anything else you could think of. [...] anything that keeps people coming back to Facebook also gives it more opportunities to learn about their interests and other personal details that help it sell advertising, according to analysts.



A new platform for Whole Foods? How deal could upend grocery

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:08:04 UT

[...] the deal has the potential to boost the outsized ambitions of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Whole Foods chief John Mackey, each of whom has already radically altered the way Americans shop. If the deal goes through, those items could get prime real estate on a massive platform outside the chain's 440 U.S. stores. Amazon, in instantly acquiring a stable of its own grocery staples such as pizza sauce and peanut butter, could decide to give them favored placement in its search results. Doing so with Whole Foods brands as well would help lower costs — and possibly diminish Amazon's reliance on packaged food makers like Kraft Heinz and PepsiCo. That could open up Whole Foods to a much broader customer base, said Theodore Waldron, an associate professor of management at Texas Tech University. [...] the companies say they don't plan to change Whole Foods' standards, which includes a ban on artificial ingredients that shuts out products like Diet Pepsi and Oreo cookies. Amazon's expertise with data crunching could benefit both companies, especially as Whole Foods moves to collect more customer information through the rollout of its loyalty program. The company would gain insight on how people shop in stores, in addition to the information it already has on how they shop online.



Fake quake: Report of major California temblor a false alarm

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 04:07:13 UT

Seismologists said Wednesday's automatically generated report of a magnitude 6.8 quake in the Pacific Ocean 10 miles west of Santa Barbara was a false alarm based on a quake that happened in the same area nearly a century ago. "The quake did happen, but it happened in 1925," said Rafael Abreu, a geophysicist from the US Geological Survey. The report caused huge ripples on Twitter, where dozens of automated tweets were generated, and concerned citizens were hoping the people of California were OK. Reporters and editors often use the automated emails from the USGS to begin their coverage, though the reports themselves warn that they contain automated information that has not been reviewed by a seismologist.



Uber searches for a new CEO in wake of Kalanick's departure

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:56:52 UT

DETROIT (AP) — Uber seeks a strong manager who can repair a broken image, juggle multiple lawsuits and government investigations, develop and nurture a new corporate culture and lead a successful IPO. Uber needs a new leader after former CEO and company founder Travis Kalanick resigned Tuesday night under pressure from Uber's board and investors. [...] Fields delivered record profits while at Ford, and became a familiar face in Silicon Valley after setting up Ford operations there. David Cush, a longtime American Airlines executive, was believed to be in the running for a chief operating officer spot at Uber before Kalanick's departure. "Appointing a woman would certainly send a strong signal given the recent troubles, and that would be one of the easiest ways to cement a broad cultural shift away from the frat mentality that often characterized Travis Kalanick's tenure," Dawson said. Harvard Business School's Frances Frei as its senior vice president of leadership and strategy and Bozoma Saint John, who left Apple to become Uber's top brand officer.



Could one of these cities be the next Silicon Valley of the world?

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:56:22 UT

Could there be another Silicon Valley on the horizon?




Uber CEO is pushed out as company tries to clean up its act

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 21:38:38 UT

DETROIT (AP) — Under Travis Kalanick's leadership, Uber's "Animal House"-style business plan was to grow as quickly as possible, steamrolling regulators while flouting the rules of workplace conduct. [...] Kalanick is out as CEO, resigning under pressure as the company he co-founded eight years ago tries to clean up its act and deal with a federal investigation and widespread claims of sexual harassment inside its offices. While it's losing billions, the quarterly red ink is shrinking, and ridership and driver numbers keep growing in New York City, one of the few places that collect such statistics. Uber made a series of costly missteps under Kalanick that damaged its reputation, including the harassment claims and allegations of stolen trade secrets. [...] federal authorities are investigating Uber's use of a phony app that thwarted efforts by city inspectors to see if the company was operating illegally. Two outside investigations found sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation against those who complained. "When you're at war with customers, employees, service suppliers, you can't build up a business model, and Kalanick was at war with everyone," said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. During the past year, several senior managers left the company, including the president and chief financial and business officers.



Spotify tested promotion of 'Sponsored Songs' within users' playlists

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:11:06 UT

Spotify, a music streaming app, is "experimenting" with the idea of allowing music labels to promote and inject songs into the playlists of non-premium subscribers, as the BBC reports.




89-year-old Ukiah man builds hyperloop competitor in backyard

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 17:55:54 UT

An 89-year-old man is attempting to reinvent the train in his backyard in Ukiah.