Inside Google & Alphabet - May 20th, 2019

Inside Google & Alphabet (May 20th, 2019)

Privacy concerns / Italy antitrust investigation / Wing nearing deliveries in Finland

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1. Two recent Google issues have privacy advocates concerned. The first was Google Pay having privacy settings concealed behind a particular URL. Google says this was a bug and has been fixed. The second was the revelation that Gmail uses email receipts to track purchases made by users. Even when following instructions from Google, CNBC was unable to turn this tracking off. -- CNBC

2. Italy has opened its own antitrust investigation into Google. The competition watchdog took the action following Google's alleged refusal to integrate the "Enel X Recharge" app into Android Auto, and comes on the heels of India opening a similar antitrust investigation. Italy's investigation is scheduled to end by May 30 of next year. -- REUTERS

3. Wing is much closer to drone deliveries in Finland. Alphabet subsidiary Wing will start offering drone deliveries in Helsinki this summer. The new service will be deployed in the Vuosaari district to deliver items weighing up to 3.3 pounds at a distance of up to 6.2 miles. Wing launched a limited drone delivery service in Australia last month with deliveries in Virginia expected at some point.  -- VENTUREBEAT  

4. A European Commission analysis says Google is not doing enough to fight disinformation online. The report, which also investigated Facebook and Twitter, acknowledges improvement from all platforms but notes that Google's transparency with its political advertising is still lacking. YouTube was mentioned for its continuing removal of channels that violate policies against spam and impersonation. Another assessment will be made at the end of the year. -- OPEN ACCESS GOVERNMENT

5. Law enforcement in India has asked Google India to assist in an investigation involving Google Pay. An Indian citizen allegedly lost 30,000 Indian Rupees (about $426 USD) in a fraudulent transaction. --- TIMES OF INDIA

6. Google engineer Lorenzo Caggioni has been working on Project Diva, a tool to make Google Assistant accessible to those who can't speak. His younger brother is his inspiration. -- CNET

7. A look into the history of link ranking algorithms. Search engine algorithms have been around longer than you may have realized. -- SEARCH ENGINE JOURNAL

8. Google Street View wants to update its New Zealand images to HD. That means a long and winding NZ road trip for Street View car drivers. -- NEWSHUB 

9. Google site appeared long enough for someone to notice, then vanished again. -- 9TO5 GOOGLE

10. Google is shutting down its Jump VR Platform, which it launched in 2015. It'll be deactivated by the end of June.  -- ENGADGET

Tara Calishain has been writing about search engines since 1996, when she wrote the Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research. She's since authored or co-authored several other search-related books, including Google Hacks. Tara is obsessed with all things related to online information collections. You can say hi at @ResearchBuzz on Twitter.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside) and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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