Inside Google & Alphabet - June 11th, 2019 |

Inside Google & Alphabet (Jun 11th, 2019)

Google News / Android Security / Google Lobbying

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1. A New York Times story alleging Google made $4.7 billion from the news industry is getting pushback from industry experts. The article cited a study by the News Media Alliance asserting that Google made $4.7 billion from Google News — and by extension, from news publishers — in 2018. The NYT story also noted that the news industry as a whole took in $5.1 billion from digital advertising last year, making the $4.7 billion number all the more shocking. NiemanLab, a publication of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, is skeptical of the study's conclusions, calling the $4.7 billion estimate "imaginary." In addition, Columbia Journalism Review published a roundup of journalist and industry observer responses to the Times article — the politest of which was "nonsense." -- NIEMANLAB

2. Google has acknowledged that a 2017 supply chain attack installed malware on some Android devices. The malware, called Triada, could be used to install apps that send spam and show ads. Antivirus company Dr.Web wrote in 2017 that Triada had been found on several Android devices, including smartphones from Leagoo and Nomu. Because the malware was introduced during the production process, it can't be removed by regular anti-malware measures. Though Google has confirmed the accuracy of the Dr.Web report, it has yet to name the manufacturers involved. -- ARS TECHNICA

3. Google continues its reign as lobbying-dollars champion. In 2018 the company spent $21.7 million on lobbying, making it the top corporate lobbying spender. It's the second year Google has held that position; in 2018 it spent over $18 million on lobbying and became the first tech company to be the top corporate lobbyist. Google's come a long way since establishing its own political action committee (PAC) in 2006 -- it was called NetPAC and it's still active today. -- CNBC

4. A recent study says Google News is less anti-conservative than it is pro-accuracy. The Economist study gathered links from Google News throughout 2018. The Economist then built a model guessing how sites should appear in Google News based on the site's social media following, popularity and other metrics. It then compared the collected links (all 175,000 of them) to the model. The analysis concluded that while Google News did not appear to discriminate based on the political leanings of a news source, it did give sources with "bad trust rankings" lower ranks in search results -- an action that affected both far-left and far-right sources. -- GIZMODO 

5. YouTube's CEO Susan Wojcicki has apologized to the LGBTQ community for the way the Carlos Maza/Steven Crowder controversy was handled. But she stands by her company's stance, she said. -- THE VERGE

6. Google's dynamic email feature has gotten a release date. It'll be expanding to more Gmail users starting July 2. -- SLASHGEAR

7. Larry Page and Sergey Brin appeared at a Google all-hands meeting after an apparent six-month absence. -- BUSINESS INSIDER

8. CCN, a cryptocurrency news site, was hit so hard by Google's June search algorithm update that it's shutting down. It lost more than 71 percent of its mobile traffic from Google searches overnight. -- CCN

9. Google is adding Google Assistant to Waze. Voice commands will expand past just navigation and into playing music, making phone calls, etc. -- SEARCH ENGINE LAND

10. Japan's Defense Ministry has admitted that its reliance on Google Earth when considering sites for its Aegis Ashore missile defense system led to errors. Some sites were dropped from consideration because Google Earth appeared to show nearby mountains as taller than they actually are. -- ASAHI SHIMBUN

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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