Tag Archives: Alphabet

Google closed the Fitbit deal as US and Australian investigations continued | Instant News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Search and advertising giant Google closed its deal to buy fitness tracking firm Fitbit, it said on Thursday, even as US and Australian competition regulators said they were continuing to investigate a $ 2.1 billion transaction.

The Justice Department, which sued Alphabet Inc’s Google in October for allegedly violating antitrust laws in its search and search advertising businesses, said it “has not yet reached a final decision on whether to pursue enforcement action” over the Fitbit deal.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said “depending on the results of our investigation, we will consider whether to take legal action on this matter”.

Google said it “complied with the extensive DOJ (Department of Justice) review over the past 14 months, and the agreed waiting period has ended without their objection.”

“We are in constant contact with them and we are committed to answering additional questions,” the company added.

Google did not immediately respond to Sims’ statement.

Large transactions are rare without antitrust approval.

Google won EU antitrust approval last month for a Fitbit bid after agreeing to restrictions on how it will use data related to customer health.

Australia rejects similar restrictions proposed by Google, expressing concerns that it might block Fitbit rivals from connecting to phones running Google’s Android operating software.

Fitbit makes watch-like devices for measuring physical activity that compete with Apple Watch and others. Google says it is buying the company to compete in this market.

“We are working with global regulators on an approach that protects consumer privacy expectations,” said Google in a blog post, which said Fitbit had 29 million active users.

“(It includes) a series of binding commitments confirming Fitbit users’ health and fitness data will not be used for Google advertising and this data will be separated from other Google advertising data.”

Although Alphabet is known for its free service, its search engine, it owns many other businesses, including online advertising services, audio devices and thermostat maker Nest, YouTube video streamer, and self-driving car company Waymo.

Google’s plans to buy Fitbit raised concerns when it was announced at the end of 2019 due to its already rich data set about people, what they buy, where they travel and more.

Fitbit fitness trackers and other devices monitor user steps and calories burned. They also measured floors climbed, heart rate, and how long and how well people slept.

Alphabet shares closed around 1% on Thursday. The company is expected to retain 1,800 Fitbit employees.

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, California; Edited by David Gregorio and Christopher Cushing


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Google’s new underwater cable to connect the US, UK and Spain | Instant News

Alphabet has commissioned a new submarine cable, which he said will be one of the first new fiber lines to connect the US and the UK since 2003 and subsequently entrenched technology giants in global internet infrastructure.

Cable, named Grace Hopper after a computer scientist, will also be connected to Spain, becoming the first fiber lines to land there, the company said in a statement. Join existing ones Submarine cables include Google Curie, which stretches from the US to Chile, and Dunant, which connects the US to France, and Equio. Companies based in Mountain View, California expect to complete the project in 2022. Steady trans-sea flow of cables announced by technology giants; Facebook joined telecommunications operators to connect Africa better in May.

“Once commissioned, Grace Hopper cable will be one of the first new cables to connect the US and UK since 2003, increasing capacity at this busy global intersection and powering Google services such as Meet, Gmail and Google Cloud,” said Bikash Koley, deputy -President of the Google Global Network, on a blogpost.


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Coronavirus: Google travel data shows movements in the U.S., compliance in Brazil, Japan – National | Instant News

More people live in Brazil, Japan and Singapore in April as novels for these countries corona virus cases soared, while people in the United States and Australia returned to parks and jobs when infection rates increased, data from Google showed.

The latest weekly update of aggregated travel patterns that Google has collected from users’ mobile phones shows an increase in non-compliance with locking orders since March but increased compliance with that issued last month.

Data, posted on line by the Alphabet Inc. unit Thursday night, comparing daily traffic with retail and leisure venues, parks, train and bus stations, grocery stores and workplaces with a five-week period from January 3 to February 6.

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Singapore apparently controlled the spread of the virus through close contact tracing and surveillance, but the nation-state was locked up on April 7 after an outbreak in migrant workers’ dormitories.

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Retail and park visits in Singapore fell by around 25 percent in the first weekend of April. They dropped about 70 percent at the end of April. Visits at work, dropped only 20 percent in early April, slumped almost 70 percent last week.

Trends are mixed in Brazil, where viruses are starting to emerge in rocky environments and move to low-income favelas. The decline in visits to bars, cinemas and similar venues has been stable until the end of April, but work and park visits have crept up.

Coronavirus Outbreak: Brazilian homeless people face many risks amid COVID-19

Coronavirus Outbreak: Brazilian homeless people face many risks amid COVID-19

Although Brazil has some local lockouts, President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly described such actions as extreme.

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Leaders in Japan, who declared a state of emergency on April 7, have urged people to stay at home.

Traffic to sites in Tokyo as measured by Google fell by half after the declaration and remained at that level until last weekend. The Tokyo Daily reported new cases had fallen since reaching the peak of 201 on April 17.

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US authorities have warned against returning to normal too soon, but Google data shows traffic to work is creeping back up. That’s down only 48 percent from the baseline last Friday after falling 56 percent on April 10. The southern and western states are leading the way in restarting more typical patterns.

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National travel to retail and leisure sites dropped 63 percent on April 12, but fell only 42 percent two weeks later.

Epidemiologists estimate fatigue with lockdown in the US, with increasing concern as the weather warms up and people protest against shelter orders. Infection rates have stabilized in several areas, prompting the governor over the past week to facilitate locking.

In Australia, visits to transit points, workplaces and entertainment venues dropped 80 percent in mid-April but recovered in late April when the level of new cases slowed.


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