Google’s Motion to Disprove Advertising Antitrust Case Denied by US Judge

“The US government filed the ad tech lawsuit in January and has argued that Google should sell its ad manager suite, taking the route of the court. The tech company has refused any wrongdoing.”

On Friday, a federal judge in the USA rejected Google’s motion to dismiss a Department of Justice antitrust case. The judge claimed that the government’s case was strong enough to proceed.

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The US government filed the ad tech lawsuit in January and has argued that Google should sell its ad manager suite, taking the route of the court. The tech company has refused any wrongdoing.

The company Google has made the latest attempt to end time-consuming and costly antitrust lawsuits by filing a motion. Additionally, Google has requested Washington’s federal court to dismiss the claims made in a 2020 lawsuit filed by the government.

Eric Mahr argued for Google. Mahr stated that the Justice Department failed to allege a high enough market share, specifically 70% of the hard market power of Google.

Judge Leonie Brinkema said in a federal court in Virginia, “I’m going to deny the defendant’s motion to dismiss,”. Google is a unit of Alphabet Inc. Mahr argued that the government had reviewed Google’s deals to buy DoubleClick and Admeld, both more than 10 years ago, to increase its clout in ad tech. However, there were factors beyond market share to consider, such as whether a company engaged in “rapacious conduct”. Mahr’s argument was countered by the government, which admitted it had made a mistake.”

Eric Mahr argued for the company. He argued that the Justice Department could not present evidence that advertisers suffered any financial damage due to Google’s action. He mentioned that the government erroneously excluded Facebook and others from its definition of the market. Eric Mahr referred to Facebook and others as “obvious substitutes.”

Health Connect by Google, will integrate all fitness and health apps

Google has introduced a new health app, Health Connect, where you can get All Health & Fitness Apps at one place. It integrates more than ten health, fitness, and wellness apps including Fitbit, Samsung Health, MyFitnessPal, Peloton, Oura, Flo, Lifesum etc.


App information

According to GizmoChina, “The Google Health Connect app weighs only 3MB in beta version. Smartwatch and fitness tracker users have to rely on various apps for monitoring various health-related metrics. This is where the Health Connect app comes in place. It aims to reduce users’ dependency on different apps to manage their health data. It allows users to share health and fitness data across Android devices with user consent. The app shows the permissions that are granted to each health and fitness app on the device. Any single permission, including those for heart rate, sleep, steps, calories burned, etc., can be granted or revoked through it. The health data stored via Health Connect can be deleted at any time.

The Google Health Connect app supports more than 40 data types spanning six categories. It aims to give users more in-depth health insights and keep track of things like workout, sleep patterns, and other vital signs.”



According to Times of India, “Google says that the idea is to enable health and fitness apps to talk to each other, each app is able to provide a user with better, more holistic health insights. Earlier, developers had to work with multiple API connections to share data between different. As per Google, “each integration was costly to build and maintain, limited developers’ data sharing capabilities and made it hard for users to unlock this data so that it could be utilized in different apps.

Android users will now be able to sync and get credit for their Peloton workouts in apps like Oura, MyFitnessPal, WeightWatchers and Lifesum.”


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Google launches third-party Play Store billing pilot—but only cuts fees by 4%

Google is slowly opening up the Play Store’s billing policies. The “user choice billing” pilot program that was announced in March is now accepting sign-ups. Google describes the program in a support article, saying, “This pilot is designed to test offering an alternative billing option next to Google Play’s billing system and to help us explore offering this choice to users. We are looking to gain feedback in different countries and ensure we can maintain a positive user experience.”


Developers interested in billing through an alternative provider can fill out Google’s sign-up form, and it sounds like Google will manually review each application. Currently the supported regions are the European Economic Area (that’s Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden), Australia, India, Indonesia, and Japan.


User Choice Billing


With “user choice billing,” when a user hits the checkout system, a box will pop up asking if they want to use Google Play billing or some other third-party service. (This list of choices must include Google Play billing.) In the European Economic Area, however, developers already have the option not to not use Google Play billing at all, thanks to the EU’s Digital Markets Act.


Barring a few promotional tiers, Google and Apple both take around 30 percent not just for purchases of newly downloaded apps but also for digital purchases inside already downloaded apps. Many developers view these fees as excessive, and the push inside both ecosystems to allow third-party billing was originally pitched as a solution to high app store fees. Various regulatory bodies have forced the Google/Apple app store duopoly to open up payments, but Google and Apple have each done so without fixing the core problem of high app store fees. Apple takes a 27 percent cut of purchases processed outside the app store—basically the original 30 percent fee minus the typical 3 percent processing fee charged by credit card companies. Google is doing something similar with this new program and will only reduce its fees by 4 percent.


You’ll still need to pay some kind of fee to your third-party payment processor, so with only a 4 percent reduction from Google, developers won’t really save money. Sign-ups are open now though, if you’re interested!

New feature by Google

It has been seen that Google appears to be rolling out a feature that could reduce that friction: if you simply search for the name of a game in Google search, you might be presented with a “Play” button that can instantly launch the title. When it comes to cloud gaming, friction is the mind-killer. You can’t just click a game trailer to instantly be playing a game quite yet.


“The Nerf Report’s Bryant Chappel appears to be the one who noticed the change, and he quickly discovered it’s not limited to Google’s own Stadia cloud gaming service, either. He says it works with Amazon Luna, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now, too.” Verge reported.


There is still friction


However, there’s still friction — you need to be logged into an account which is associated with these cloud gaming services or else you’ll just get a signup page, and there may still be intermediate prompts. Also, it doesn’t appear to work with all games.


But with Stadia and Xbox Cloud Gaming, at least, a single click from a Google search result will take you just as far as you get by navigating to the website of your favorite cloud gaming service, picking your title, and pressing the play button you’d find there, The Verge reported.


What reports say


According to 9 to 5 Google, “For years now, Google Search has acted as an aggregator of the world’s streaming services. If you want to watch a particular show, you can use Google Search or Google TV to get accurate info about what services it’s on. For example, searching for The Simpsons reveals that the show can be streamed from a variety of apps, including Disney+ and Hulu, or purchased from multiple stores.


In the last few days, Google Search has expanded this capability to include support for video games. However, rather than including links to various consoles’ storefronts or to the many PC gaming retailers, Google is strictly focusing on cloud gaming.


This makes perfect sense, given Google has skin in the game thanks to Stadia and Google Cloud’s Immersive Stream. Of course, as you’d hope, Google Search isn’t only surfacing results from Stadia, with confirmed support for Amazon Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Xbox Cloud Gaming.”


Google is deciding to call two apps, Meet

Google is going to merge Duo and Meet, if not quite as elegantly as some might like. TechCrunch reported, “In June, Google told us that it would start merging its Duo video chat service for consumers with Meet, its Zoom competitor for business users. The next phase of this merger starts today.


Merging two apps was always going to be a complicated process. Add to that the overall confusion around Google’s messaging strategy and you can imagine what this looks like, but what Google is basically doing here is bringing all of Meet’s capabilities to the Duo app and then turning that into the new and updated Google Meet app.”


Engadget reported, “All Duo users should see the rebrand by September. You’ll have to use your Google account for any meeting features, but familiar elements (like effects and contacts) will remain intact. The original Meet app will continue to work, but won’t get ad hoc calling and will eventually disappear.”


They also said, “As a spokesperson explained in June, the merger is meant to adapt to the “evolving needs” of video calling, including meetings, by providing a unified experience. To some extent, it’s also further acknowledgment that Google’s communication app mix had grown too complex. The tech firm plans to shut down Hangouts this fall to focus on Chat, for instance, and it dropped Allo in early 2019. While the old Meet’s existence could still prove confusing, it should soon be clearer as to just which Google apps you should use for work meetings or keeping up with friends.”


A couple of months before Google Hangouts was already announced to be shut down but now the tech giant is planning to merge two of its apps. It will be interesting to see how the company handles the merger in future and how the user are going to accept it.

Google fires researcher who claimed LaMDA AI was sentient

Blake Lemoine, an engineer who’s spent the last seven years with Google, has been fired, reports Alex Kantrowitz of the Big Technology newsletter. The news was allegedly broken by Lemoine himself during a taping of the podcast of the same name, though the episode is not yet public. Google confirmed the firing to Engadget.


Lemoine, who most recently was part of Google’s Responsible AI project, went to the Washington Post last month with claims that one of company’s AI projects had allegedly gained sentience. The AI in question, LaMDA — short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications — was publicly unveiled by Google last year as a means for computers to better mimic open-ended conversation. Lemoine seems not only to have believed LaMDA attained sentience, but was openly questioning whether it possessed a soul. And in case there’s any doubt words his views are being expressed without hyperbole, he went on to tell Wired, “I legitimately believe that LaMDA is a person.”


Put on Administrative Leave


After making these statements to the press, seemingly without authorization from his employer, Lemoine was put on paid administrative leave. Google, both in statements to the Washington Post then and since, has steadfastly asserted its AI is in no way sentient.


Several members of the AI research community spoke up against Lemoine’s claims as well. Margaret Mitchell, who was fired from Google after calling out the lack of diversity within the organization, wrote on Twitter that systems like LaMDA don’t develop intent, they instead are “modeling how people express communicative intent in the form of text strings.” Less tactfully, Gary Marcus referred to Lemoine’s assertions as “nonsense on stilts.”


Google’s Comments


Reached for comment, Google shared the following statement with Engadget:


As we share in our AI Principles, we take the development of AI very seriously and remain committed to responsible innovation. LaMDA has been through 11 distinct reviews, and we published a research paper earlier this year detailing the work that goes into its responsible development. If an employee shares concerns about our work, as Blake did, we review them extensively. We found Blake’s claims that LaMDA is sentient to be wholly unfounded and worked to clarify that with him for many months. These discussions were part of the open culture that helps us innovate responsibly. So, it’s regrettable that despite lengthy engagement on this topic, Blake still chose to persistently violate clear employment and data security policies that include the need to safeguard product information. We will continue our careful development of language models, and we wish Blake well.”

Google, Oracle cloud servers are being affected by heatwaves in UK

Servers of Google Cloud and Oracle located in the UK struggled with cooling-related outages Tuesday as the country experienced record-breaking heat that reached as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). Both companies blame temperature for the unexpected shutdowns. The Verge reported, “The UK recorded temperatures rising above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time in its 350 years of climate records. The searing heatwave is unprecedented in a country that’s used to much cooler summer weather and is a bellwether of more extremes to come.”


Google Cloud status page said, “There was a cooling related failure in one of our buildings that hosts a portion of capacity for zone europe-west2-a for region europe-west2 that is now resolved. GCE, Persistent Disk and Autoscaling impacts have been addressed. Customers can launch VMs in all zones of europe-west2. A small number of HDD backed Persistent Disk volumes are still experiencing impact and will exhibit IO errors. If you are continuing to experience issues with these services, please contact Google Cloud Product Support and reference this message.


The issue has been resolved for all affected users as of Tuesday, 2022-07-19 20:43 US/Pacific.


We thank you for your patience while we worked on resolving the issue.”


The Register reported, “When the mercury hit 40.3C (104.5F) in eastern England, the highest ever registered by a country not used to these conditions, data centers couldn’t take the heat. Selected machines were powered off to avoid long-term damage, causing some resources, services, and virtual machines to become unavailable, taking down unlucky websites and the like.


Multiple Oracle Cloud Infrastructure resources are offline, including networking, storage, and compute provided by its servers in the south of UK. Cooling systems were blamed, and techies switched off equipment in a bid to prevent hardware burning out, according to a status update from Team Oracle.”

Gmail’s New Look will be Activated from February 2023

Gmail’s new look is being rolled out by Google from February. The new look pulls Meet, Chat, and Spaces closer and applies more of its Material You styling effects. Google in February announced, “We’re introducing a new, integrated view for Gmail, making it easy to move between critical applications like Gmail, Chat, and Meet in one unified location.”


The timeline Google have to introduce this new experience


“Beginning February 11, 2022:


  1. Users can opt-in to test the new experience, allowing them to try it out and become more accustomed to it.
  2. We will share an update on the Google Workspace Updates Blog, along with Help Center content, once rollout begins.


By April 2022:


  1. Users who have not opted-in will begin seeing the new experience by default.


By the end of Q2 2022:


  1. This will become the standard experience for Gmail.
  2. Around the same time, users will also begin seeing the new streamlined navigation experience on Chat web (
  3. Important Note: This also means users will not have the option to configure Chat to display on the right side of Gmail.”


Though the changes are not very big, they contribute in bringing a new flavor into the end user experience. By making the workspace different it shows a focus towards becoming a potential competitor for Office.


Regarding the Gmail’s new look changes, The Verge said, “If you can’t tell what’s different here, the updated UI collects buttons for Mail, Meet, Spaces, and Chat into one list at the top of the left rail instead of showing several conversations from each one in a list. They’re still easily accessible without having everything on screen at once, and you can quickly jump into a conversation in any one section as a list will pop out when you mouse over its icon.”


Gmail’s new look is surely an interesting thing for its users. But in the long run its pros and cons are yet to be worked out.

Why are Senators and Lawmakers Urging Federal Trade Commission?

A group of Democratic senators is urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple and Google over their collection of mobile users’ information. In a letter addressed to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, the lawmakers — Senators Ron Wyden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory A. Booker and Sara Jacobs — accuse the tech giants of “engaging in unfair and deceptive practices by enabling the collection and sale of hundreds of millions of mobile phone users’ personal data.” They added that the companies “facilitated these harmful practices by building advertising-specific tracking IDs into their mobile operating systems.”


Plea to Federal Trade Commission


The senators specifically mentioned in their letter how individuals seeking abortions will become particularly vulnerable if their data, especially their location information, is collected and shared. They wrote the letter shortly before the Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade, making abortion immediately illegal in states with trigger laws. They explained that data brokers are already selling location information of people visiting abortion providers. The senators also stressed how that information can now be used by private citizens incentivized by “bounty hunter” laws targeting individuals seeking an abortion.

Android and Google were built with tracking identifiers that are used for advertising purposes. While the identifiers are supposed to be anonymous, the senators said data brokers are selling databases linking them to consumer names, email addresses and telephone numbers. Apple rolled out an update for iOS last year to implement stricter app tracking privacy measures, requiring apps to ask for permission before collecting users’ unique Identification for Advertisers device code.


Google and Apple’s Response


Google, they said, still enables that tracking identifier by default. The company previously introduced features to make it harder to track users across apps, though, and it recently vowed to refine Privacy Sandbox on Android, “with the goal of introducing new, more private advertising solutions.” The tech giant told Ars Technica: “Google never sells user data, and Google Play strictly prohibits the sale of user data by developers… Any claims that advertising ID was created to facilitate data sale are simply false.”

Despite the solutions the companies had introduced, the lawmakers said they’d already caused harm. They’re now asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into the role Apple and Google played in “transforming online advertising into an intense system of surveillance that incentivizes and facilitates the unrestrained collection and constant sale of Americans’ personal data.”


Syncing between Android phones and Chromebooks are easy with Chrome 103

Google released Chrome 103, an updated version of the old chrome we used to use. The best thing about this is that in order to make it easier to sync Android and Chromebook devices, Google is attempting to solve the syncing issues that users have had with Google’s devices for years, starting with Phone Hub.


The new update of Chrome 103


Google’s Chrome 103 have simplified syncing. The way how one sees the photos taken on your Android device will show up on your other Google devices, such as Chromebooks and tablets, as long as you’re signed in to the same account, will change for good.

The nearby share will allow you to share the passwords with another Chromebook or smartphone like the Pixel 6 for example. It will enable them to connect to the network in an instant.

The features that Google is introducing have been available in Apple since years. Finally Google has also felt the need for interactive easy sharing stuff between devices of the same platform. Earlier Google Chrome was already better than Microsoft Edge with some better features like, better support for extensions, better search engine experience, compatibility with Chrome OS, better account syncing experience and better Autofill support. Now Google will be competing with Apple’s Safari too.


Google’s future plans


Speaking of Chrome 103, Engadget says, “Google said it will roll out more features to make Chromebooks and Android devices play more nicely with each other later this year. The company is looking to take a page out of Apple’s playbook with updates like these. Apple has long offered deep integration between its devices, including features such as WiFi password sharing and iCloud photo syncing, which helps it get people more invested in its ecosystem.”


Added to that Chromebooks will gain fast pairing support for hundreds of Bluetooth headphone models including, of course, Pixel Buds. It will allow the users to save the headphones to their Google account. As a result, their Chromebook and Android phones can connect to them smoothly and easily, even without taking extra time.

Google is becoming Wikimedia’s customer to make Wikipedia more reliable

Wikimedia, the parent company of Wikipedia, is going to get a big customer soon. The customer is none but Google. Since most of the Google users’ first choice of source of information is Wikipedia, Google is intended to work with Wikimedia to make Wikipedia a more reliable source of information. Wikipedia is the most easy to access online source for anyone who wants to know about something, especially for the first time. But as it is an open-source platform, the information is not 100 percent reliable. Google with this tie-up is expecting to make the information available on Wikipedia more accurate.


How does Google use Wikimedia’s information for Wikipedia?


Google uses the information provided by Wikipedia in so many ways. Google uses Wikipedia’s information in knowledge panels” that appear on the right side of a results page. Added to that Google users don’t have to rely on huge dumps of data and publicly available APIs (application programming interfaces) to get information. They can open Wikipedia pages about the thing they want to know about and read.


Google Wikipedia relationship


Earlier Google has made so many donations to Wikimedia. But this is the first time that Google is becoming a customer of Wikipedia. For now, it is hard to say whether the changes will be seen in the experience of the end-users or it will remain same for them. But one thing is clear this collaboration of two companies will benefit the people who come to Wikipedia for getting accurate, to the point and reliable data.

Emma Roth in her article published in The Verge said, “I would imagine that Google users probably won’t notice a change at all — maybe we’ll see Wikipedia cited more often in knowledge panels or perhaps Google will come up with a new way to integrate Wikipedia’s information into its services.”


For now we can wait to see what happens to the user experience of Wikipedia in future.

Lawmakers Direct Google to Crackdown Manipulative Search Results

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Elissa Slotkin is urging Google to “crackdown on manipulative search results” that lead people seeking abortions to anti-abortion clinics. In a letter addressed to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, the lawmakers reference a study conducted by US nonprofit group Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). The organization found that 1 in 10 Google search results for queries such as “abortion clinics near me” and “abortion pill” — specifically in states with trigger laws that would ban the procedure the moment Roe v. Wade is overturned — points to crisis pregnancy centers that oppose abortion instead.


Google’s Manipulative Search Results


“Directing women towards fake clinics that traffic in misinformation and don’t provide comprehensive health services is dangerous to women’s health and undermines the integrity of Google’s search results,” the lawmakers wrote. CCDH also found that 37 percent of results on Google Maps for the same search terms lead people to anti-abortion clinics. The lawmakers argue in the letter that Google should not be displaying manipulative search results for users searching for abortion and that if the company’s search results must continue showing them, they should at least be properly labeled.

In addition, CCDH found that 28 percent of ads displayed at the top of Google’s manipulative search results are for crisis pregnancy centers. Google added a disclaimer for those ads, “albeit one that appears in small font and is easily missed,” the lawmakers note, after getting flak for them a few years ago. “The prevalence of these misleading ads marks what appears to be a concerning reversal from Google’s pledge in 2014 to take down ads from crisis pregnancy centers that engage in overt deception of women seeking out abortion information online,” the letter reads.


Plans to Limit Appearance of Anti-abortion Clinics


Warner, Slotkin and the letter’s other signees are asking Google what it plans to do to limit the appearance of anti-abortion clinics when users are explicitly searching for abortion services. And, if Google chooses not to take action to prevent them from appearing in results, the group is asking whether Google would add user-friendly disclaimers clarifying whether the clinic is or isn’t providing abortion services. You can read the whole letter below:

A Supreme Court draft obtained by Politico in May showed that SCOTUS justices have voted to reverse Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that protected the federal rights to abortion across the country. Senator Ron Wyden and 41 other Democratic lawmakers also previously asked Google to stop collecting and keeping users’ location data. They said the information could be used against people who’ve had or are seeking abortions in states with trigger laws.