Dissent has been brewing both inside and outside Google against the company’s controversial China search engine project — Dragonfly. Last week, the internal dissent came to the fore when hundreds of Google employees signed a petition protesting against the project and asking that it be discontinued.
Google has been colluding with the Chinese government to build a search engine that complies with China’s online censorship regime that will blacklist certain websites and search terms, including human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest.
Meanwhile, in the US — and in India — ecommerce companies have been making hay while the festive sun shines, raking in huge profits from sale after sale. US-based ecommerce giant Amazon announced it recorded the highest sales in the company’s history on Cyber Monday (a marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the US) on November 26 in terms of the total number of products sold worldwide.
Though the company did not reveal any figures, this may indicate that the Cyber Monday sales were even higher than Black Friday (November 23) and its own flagship sales event — Prime Day.
With online shopping on a high, digital payments companies’ cash registers have been ringing as well. US-based online payment platform PayPal recorded over $1 Bn in mobile payment volume or the number of transactions on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It reportedly processed more than $25K per second during the sale days with nearly $11K per second being processed through mobiles.
We’ve kept you updated on the latest news from the Indian startup ecosystem. Here’s Inc42’s weekly roundup of the latest news from the international technology and startup ecosystem for the week of November 26-December 2:
Google Faces Privacy Complaint For Tracking Users
EU consumer organisations, including Norway’s Consumer Council, have filed a privacy complaint against Google, alleging that the company has been using underhanded tactics to track user location for ad targetting purposes. The groups have alleged that the search company does not have an appropriate legal framework to track users via the ‘Location History’ and ‘Web and App Activity’ settings, which are integrated into all Google accounts. The complaint has been filed under EU’s new data protection framework, GDPR.
Amazon Senior Executive To Join Airbnb As CFO
US-based online community marketplace Airbnb has hired Amazon vice-president Dave Stephenson as its chief financial officer (CFO). According to reports, the company has been looking to hire for the post after former CFO Laurence Tosi left the company to focus on his own investment firm. In an official blog post, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that Stephenson, who comes with 17 years experience at Amazon, will drive Airbnb’s long-term growth.
Google May Shut Down Hangouts
Google is reportedly planning to shut down its messaging app Google Hangouts from 2020. The app, which was launched in 2013 as a replacement for Gchat, hasn’t been updated in recent times. The company had reportedly signalled the shutdown in April when it announced plans to launch a Rich Communication Services (RCS) chat, which will combine the operating processes of Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and WhatsApp on one platform.
WeChat Partners With Line To Develop Payment Services
Chinese messaging application WeChat has reportedly joined hands with Japan’s chat app Line to develop digital payment services. As part of the deal, the duo will provide Japanese brick-and-mortar merchants with a Line Pay terminal to process WeChat Pay transactions directly. In simple terms, now Chinese travellers in Japan can simply pay using their WeChat Pay services through the QR code without worrying about currency changes.
Amazon Launches Machine Learning Service To Extract Medical Data
Amazon has launched a new service named Amazon Comprehend Medical, which will use machine learning (ML) to extract key learning data from patient records. It will help researchers save money, make treatment decisions, and manage clinical trials better.
The cloud software uses text analysis along with ML to read patient records, including prescriptions, notes, audio interviews, and test reports. Once the documents are uploaded on the software, it takes up and organises information about diagnoses, treatments, medication dosage, and symptoms.
Amazon Steps Into Space-Related Business
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the launch of AWS Ground Station, a fully managed ground station service for satellite providers. According to reports, the ground station unit is setting up a network of 12 satellite facilities across the globe. The company also announced that the ground station may begin its operations from mid-2019.
Netflix To Produce Animated Series On Dahl Books
US-based over-the-top (OTT) platform Netflix has signed a deal with The Roald Dahl Story Company (RDSC), which manages the copyrights of the children’s author, to produce animated “event series” on popular classic books written by Dahl. As part of this deal, popular series such as Charlie, Matilda will be produced along with lesser-known stories such as George’s Marvelous Medicine, and Going Solo.
[Stay tuned for the next week’s edition of Around The Tech And Startup World!]