Inside Google & Alphabet - August 12th, 2019

Inside Google & Alphabet (Aug 12th, 2019)

Russia Threatens Google / DeepMind Lost $572 Million / Android Malware

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1. Russia has threatened Google to stop promoting "illegal mass events" or it will perceive its actions as hostile "interference" in the affairs of the state. The warning comes after people used YouTube push notifications to promote livestreams of protesters demanding free elections during the largest protest of its kind in eight years. Although Russia calls the protest "illegal," Al Jazeera reports the Russian government had approved of the event. Nevertheless, in a letter, state communications watchdog Roscomnadzo asked Google to stop immediately, or "the Russian Federation will regard this as interference in the sovereign affairs of the state, as well as a hostile influence and obstructing the holding of democratic elections, leaving the right to an adequate reaction." - GIZMODO

2. Alphabet's DeepMind lost $572 million in 2018, accounts posted to U.K. business registry Companies House reveals. That's a 55 percent increase from 2017, in which the company reported losses of 302.2 million pounds ($364.6 million) and 153.8 million pounds ($185.6 million) in 2016. Records also reveal the company has billions of dollars in debt to repay this year. Despite the losses, however, some experts say Alphabet will continue to regard DeepMind as an extremely worthwhile investment. "The losses are high but are to be expected, and I don't think those are of concern nor will be even if they were to double," said Alan Pelz-Sharpe, founder of market advisory and research firm Deep Analysis. "There are few companies that have those kinds of resources to spend on speculative tech, but Alphabet is one of them." - BLOOMBERG

3. Google security researchers revealed millions of Android smartphones currently on the market contain dangerous factory-installed malware. The malware is capable of taking over the device and committing ad fraud. However, the malware only affects those lower-cost smartphones with  Android's Open-Source Project (AOSP) installed on them. Android-badged devices from the likes of Samsung and Google are not affected by the vulnerability. - FORBES

4. In an interview with Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures", PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member Peter Thiel says he wants the US government to determine if there has been any "foreign infiltration" at Google. ” Thiel captured President Trump's attention last month after he called for the government to look into the tech giant's relationship with China, which he described as harmful to America. “I think it is unprecedented in the last 100 years, or ever, that a major U.S. company refused to work with U.S. military and has worked with our geopolitical rival,” Thiel explained during the interview. “So this is not a liberal-conservative thing...this is absolutely unprecedented.- FOX NEWS

5. Alphabet-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind is working on an AI project with conservationists and ecologists to track and protect wildlife in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. The company is developing a tool requiring relatively little hardware and internet connectivity that can quickly count animals in "millions" of Serengeti photos taken over the span of nine years. This would thus shorten the amount of it time it would typically take humans to do by nine months. If successful, the tool could help protect wildlife elsewhere as well by quickly providing data about behavior and more so that conservationists could respond to short-term changes faster. - ENGADGET

6. Android owners can now log into Google websites using their fingerprints. Instead of typing out their login credentials, users can now verify their identity with their fingers or use the existing phone screen lock method on select sites. The new feature will be rolled on Pixel and Android 7.0+ devices that have a screen lock and personal Google Account over the next few days. - 9TO5GOOGLE

7. Google-hosted corporate email accounts are almost 5 times more likely to receive phishing emails than regular Gmail accounts. Meanwhile, attackers prefer to trick users with fake email services login pages the most, Google security researchers at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas reveal. - FAST COMPANY

8. Google's John Mueller warns users embedding Instagram photos on their websites can cause SEO problems as Google may not rank such images in image search. - SEARCH ENGINE ROUNDTABLE

9. Google is now officially launching its new gallery ads in beta to advertisers. - SEARCH ENGINE JOURNAL

10. Major U.K. bank NatWest announced it will be conducting a three-month voice banking trial using Google Assistant via Google Home smart speakers or a smartphone. - CNBC

Written and curated by Inside Dev and Inside Deals Editor Sheena Vasani, a freelance journalist based in California. Proficient in Javascript and Ruby. Got my start at Dev Bootcamp and Thinkful.

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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