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Google now knows when its users go to the store and buy stuff (Wapo story)

“Google has begun using billions of credit-card transaction records to prove that its online ads are prompting people to make purchases – even when they happen offline in brick-and-mortar stores, the company said Tuesday.

The advance allows Google to determine how many sales have been generated by digital ad campaigns, a goal that industry insiders have long described as “the holy grail” of online advertising. But the announcement also renewed long-standing privacy complaints about how the company uses personal information.

To power its multibillion-dollar advertising juggernaut, Google already analyzes users’ Web browsing, search history and geographic locations, using data from popular Google-owned apps like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and the Google Play store. All that information is tied to the real identities of users when they log into Google’s services.

The new credit-card data enables the tech giant to connect these digital trails to real-world purchase records in a far more extensive way than was possible before. But in doing so, Google is yet again treading in territory that consumers may consider too intimate and potentially sensitive. Privacy advocates said few people understand that their purchases are being analyzed in this way and could feel uneasy, despite assurances from Google that it has taken steps to protect the personal information of its users.”

Google now knows when its users go to the store and buy stuff
via Instapaper

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What Google and Facebook must do about one of their biggest problems – Vivek Wadhwa

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Social media was developed with the promise of spreading democracy, community and freedom, not ignorance, bigotry and hatred. Connecting billions of people together and allowing them to share knowledge and ideas, it could have enabled them to achieve equality and justice; to expose what is wrong and crowd-solve global problems. Instead, it has become a tool enabling technology companies to mine data to sell to marketers, politicians and special-interest groups, enabling them to spread disinformation. It has created echo chambers in which people with similar views reinforce their ignorance and bias. And the loss of control over user data has now affected not just the economic lives of Americans but also the political messages they receive on platforms such as Facebook.”

What Google and Facebook must do about one of their biggest problems - Vivek Wadhwa
via Instapaper

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Forget AT&T: What about Google and Facebook…? good read via the NYT

“Look at the numbers. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and Facebook are among the 10 largest companies in the world. Alphabet alone has a market capitalization of around $550 billion. AT&T and Time Warner combined would be about $300 billion.

Alphabet has an 83 percent share of the mobile search market in the United States and just under 63 percent of the US mobile phone operating systems market. AT&T has a 32 percent market share in mobile phones and 26 percent in pay TV. The combined AT&T-Time Warner will have $8 billion in cash but $171 billion of net debt, according to the research company MoffettNathanson. Compare that to Alphabet’s balance sheet, with total cash of $76 billion and total debt of about $3.94 billion.

In the first quarter of 2016, 85 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising will go to Google or Facebook, according to Brian Nowak, an analyst with Morgan Stanley.”

Forget AT&T. The Real Monopolies Are Google and Facebook. via Instapaper

Gerd Leonhard Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Author

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The US government vs Apple and Google’s: the smartphone encryption discussion

“The US government and police officials are in the midst of a misleading PR offensive to try to scare Americans into believing encrypted cellphones are somehow a bad thing.”
— Trevor Timm”

Yes... That just about says it all! This is why I like to use apple phones, btw - you pay for privacy.

Feds only have themselves to blame for Apple and Google's smartphone encryption efforts | ZDNet
via Instapaper

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Google is increasingly relying on artificial intelligence to enhance search results: the RankBrain is here

“Corrado says RankBrain is different from the “hundreds” of signals and technologies that contribute to Google’s Search algorithms in that it actually learns and improves over time.”

Google is increasingly relying on artificial intelligence to enhance search results

My new film on tech vs humanity:

New: Future of Business book (I contributed)

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