Inside Google & Alphabet - June 4th, 2019

Inside Google & Alphabet (Jun 4th, 2019)

Antitrust Investigations / YouTube Content / Lorraine Avenue, San Jose

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1. The House Judiciary Committee has launched a "top-to-bottom" antitrust investigation into a number of tech giants, including Google. The news comes after the Department of Justice is said to be investigating Google. The House Judiciary Committee's investigation likely will be wide-ranging and could focus on the tech industry's impact on areas such as consumer privacy, journalism and online commerce — part of what one lawmaker called the tech giants' "tremendous market power." Google CEO Sundar Pichai already testified before Congress last December about possible bias in Google's search engine. -- THE DAILY BEAST

2. YouTube's recommendation algorithms have inadvertently turned into aggregators for unsavory sexual content. Researchers discovered that following recommendations for sexually-themed videos led to content that was incrementally more sexual and included younger people, including children. YouTube has already had a controversy with pedophiles leaving comments on children's videos, which Google responded to by closing comments on videos that might be a target of that behavior. But YouTube won't remove children's videos from its recommendation system, saying that recommendations drive views; according to Google, YouTube's recommendations account for 70 percent of video views on the site. -- NEW YORK TIMES

3. The best-laid plans of Nick D’Arpino were disrupted by a Google real estate purchase. Mr. D'Arpino had worked for 40 years to own all the properties on a block fronted by Lorraine Avenue in San Jose. He'd purchased all the houses except one. The owners turned down a $1.2 million offer. Then Google came in and bought that property and another from the owners for a whopping $4 million — $1.7 million more than the approximately $2.3 million the two properties were worth. Mr. D'Arpino wants a legacy to leave his children, but Google wants to start building a "transit village" for employees in San Jose. -- SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

4. A tweet thread from Carlos Maza is prompting YouTube to investigate channel host Steven Crowder. Maza, who hosts a YouTube program called "Strikethrough," has been a regular target of alleged verbal abuse from Crowder. Maza says that Crowder frequently makes anti-gay and racist comments about him. But it wasn't until Maza cataloged these incidents in an extensive Twitter thread that YouTube began investigating the content of Crowder's videos. Crowder responded to the investigation with a new video published on Monday. -- THE VERGE

5. Google stock dropped following news of a possible Department of Justice antitrust investigation. The stock was down -67.40 (-6.11%) when the stock market closed Monday. -- THE REGISTER

6. Google is working to develop content providers all over India. -- BUSINESS INSIDER

7. Google Play's gotten a new look. The navigation is different, with a less-colorful design. -- NEOWIN

8. Nielsen has expanded its YouTube digital ad ratings service. It now covers more than 30 countries. -- AD AGE

9. Google has updated its rich results testing tool. Now tools are available for mobile and desktop. -- SEARCH ENGINE JOURNAL 

10. We'll be getting some new info on Google Stadia on June 6. Google's hosting an event that day at 9 a.m. Pacific time. -- SLASHGEAR

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), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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