Inside Google & Alphabet - June 24th, 2019 |

Inside Google & Alphabet (Jun 24th, 2019)

Brazil antitrust investigation / Counterfeit apps / Chrome privacy

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1. Brazil dropped one investigation into Google -- and immediately launched another. The Administrative Council for Economic Defense (Cade) had been investigating Google over accusations that Google was stealing content from competitors. That investigation was closed because the Council could not corroborate those accusations. But the Council immediately opened another investigation into Google's overarching control of the search engine market and possible anti-competition practices. It also appears that the Council is in the early stages of an anti-competition investigation about Google's Android operating system. -- AGÊNCIA BRASIL  

2. An Australian competition watchdog is ready to crack down on Google and Facebook. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's report is not due until June 30, but expectations are high that it will contain a proposal for controlling how tech companies handle personal data. There might also be a spotlight on the tech industries use of non-transparent algorithms to rank content and show search results and advertisements. A preliminary report was released last December. -- ECONOMIC TIMES

3. A two-year study found over 2,000 dangerous counterfeit apps in the Google Play Store. Researchers trained neural networks on app icons and descriptions from Google Play's top 10,000 most popular apps. The neural network then found almost 50,000 potential counterfeit apps. The researcher's analysis winnowed the group down to 2,040 apps which contain malware. Since the study was presented at the World Wide Web Conference in May, more than 1/3 of the identified apps have been removed from Google Play. -- COMPUTERWORLD

4. Google Street View is helping researchers find invasive plants. Two faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology will use a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation to identify and map five invasive plant species around New York State. Instead of the traditional methods of crowdsourcing and field reports, however, the faculty will train AI to recognize the plants in high-resolution images from Google Street View. Knowing where the plants are will help officials identify high-priority treatment sites. -- ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

5. Google is increasing Google Pay's integration with PayPal. Customers will be able to use PayPal with Google Pay merchants without an extra login. -- SOCIAL BARREL

6. Google is knocking off YouTube's "Hangouts on Air." There's no exact date yet, nor is it clear if Google will replace this popular way to livestream group video calls. -- ARS TECHNICA  

7. A plastic surgeon in Australia has been awarded more than $500,000 after a defamatory review was posted about his practice on Google. Traffic to his site dropped almost 25 percent after the review was posted, according to the site's webmaster. -- AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

8. A columnist at the Washington Post is calling for users to stop using Google Chrome. Geoffrey A. Fowler cited a number of issues that he says makes Chrome privacy-unfriendly -- WASHINGTON POST

9. Italian insurance company Generali Italia is teaming up with Google. The two companies will develop cloud platforms using machine learning for custom products and services. -- ITIJ

10. Google My Business apparently has a big response backlog. One SEO consultant was told that it might take 2-3 weeks to get a response to his query. -- SEARCH ENGINE ROUNDTABLE

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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