In big win, Apple hires Google AI chief John Giannandrea away from Google

Earlier this week, we reported on personnel changes within Google’s search organization: Ben Gomes will now be in charge of all search, and Jeff Dean is taking on leadership of Google Brain and AI. The changes come as Google SVP of Engineering John Giannandrea moves to Apple to run AI efforts there.
Giannandrea “will run Apple’s machine learning and AI strategy,” according to reports. He will also report directly to the company’s CEO, Tim Cook.
While Google has a “deep bench” in AI, the move is still a loss for Google and a win for Apple. Giannandrea was instrumental in infusing AI into all of Google’s main products, including search. He came originally from Metaweb when Google acquired the company in 2010.
Google’s focus and emphasis on AI is such that at an event last year in San Francisco, CEO Sundar Pichai said, “We’re moving from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world.”
It’s not clear from statements and published reports

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India’s competition regulator fines Google $21.1 million for ‘search bias’ in travel results

India’s Competition Commission (CCI) today fined Google $1.36 billion rupees (roughly $21.1 million) for “abuse of its dominant position” in search. The specific finding made by CCI (in a 4 to 2 decision) surrounded Google’s treatment of flight search results.
CCI said that Google “allocated disproportionate real estate” to the box of sponsored flight results at the top of the page, which the Committee said disadvantaged “verticals trying to gain market access”:

CCI found prominent display of Commercial Flight Unit by Google on Search Engine Result Page (SERP) with link to Google’s specialised search options/ services (Flight) in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Act. CCI noted in its order that Google through its search design has not only placed its commercial flight unit at a prominent position on SERP, it has also allocated disproportionate real estate thereof to such units to the disadvantage of verticals trying to gain market access. Besides, it was also found

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Alphabet (GOOG) third quarter beats estimates: $27.8 billion, revenues up 24%

Google parent Alphabet announced third-quarter results. Both revenues and earnings per share beat Wall Street estimates.
The company reported roughly $27.8 billion in total revenues (up 24 percent), with Google contributing all but $302 million of that amount. Earnings per share were $9.57, which was about $1.24 higher than expected.
Advertising generated just over $24 billion in quarterly revenue. Operating income was about $7.8 billion. However, traffic acquisition costs (TAC) rose to $3.1 billion (vs. $2.6 billion a year ago). There are sure to be analyst questions about that item.
The revenue breakdown by segment:

Google properties: $19.7 billion
Google network: $4.3 billion
Google “other revenues”: $3.4 billion
Other bets: $302 billion

Paid clicks on Google properties were up 6 percent year over year and aggregate cost per click (CPC) was up 1 percent. Here’s more detail:

Aggregate paid clicks overall up 47 percent (year over year).
Paid clicks on Google properties up 55 percent.
Paid clicks on the Google Network up 10 percent.
Aggregate CPCs down 18 percent year over

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Danny Sullivan joins Google, leaves advisor role at Third Door Media

Three months after retiring from his Chief Content Officer position at Third Door Media (this publication’s publisher), Danny Sullivan announced this morning that he’ll begin working at Google in an as-yet-undefined role with the search division of Alphabet.
From his post:
My title is still being determined, but the position will be to serve as a sort of public liaison for search. The goal is to increase the connection between those at Google who work hard on search each day and the public that depends on Google for answers. I’ll be educating the public about how search works. I’ll be exploring and explaining issues that may arise. I’ll be looking at ways to take in feedback and work for solutions to improve search going forward.
Sullivan relinquished the advisory role he’s held at Third Door Media since June. He continues to own a minority stake in the company.
The post Danny Sullivan joins Google, leaves advisor role at Third Door Media

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Sundar Pichai Appointed Google CEO As Google Becomes Division Of Alphabet Inc.

In a totally unexpected development this afternoon, Google announced that it had formed a new holding company, Alphabet, Inc. and that Google would be a wholly owned subsidiary of that entity. In addition, Google co-founders Page and Brin will become CEO and President of the new company, respectively, turning over daily control of Google to Sundar Pichai, who will become the new CEO.
As explained in a companion post at Marketing Land, Alphabet Inc., will consist of the following entities:

Fiber (internet access)
Google (Search, Maps, YouTube, Android, Ads, Apps)
Google Ventures (VC investing)
Google Capital (investment fund)
Google X (auto-driving cars, Google Glass, internet by balloon, moonshots)
Life Sciences (the glucose sensing contact lens people)
Nest (smoke alarms, home camera, thermostats & connected home devices)

There’s a good deal of head scratching going on right now around the internet. However it appears to be an effort by Page and Brin to remove themselves from daily Google operations and focus on a wider range of projects at a higher level. Page said this

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Is Bing Trolling Google & Alphabet With ABC.WTF Redirect?

Google’s big restructuring/name change news today has many people scratching their heads.
And perhaps the perfect reaction to the confusion came from Bing … well, perhaps it came from Bing.
The ABC.WTF domain now redirects to the Microsoft search engine.
Zing! Bing!
So is Microsoft officially having fun at Google’s expense? We emailed Microsoft to ask and will update if we hear back. The domain registration listing is private but the IP address points to the Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington.
Meanwhile, if you want more clarity about the Google to Alphabet changes, look no further than Danny Sullivan’s post on Marketing Land: Meet Alphabet, The New Conglomerate Absorbing Google That’s Run By Larry Page & Sergey Brin
Because it’s the Internet, the news has also launched a litany of one liners. You can check out some of the best of those on Twitter, also on Marketing Land: Twitter Takes On Google’s Alphabet: Today’s Best Tweets So Far
The post Is Bing Trolling Google

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Irony Alert: Could Alphabet’s Hidden Link To Hooli Get It Banned In Google?

Alphabet, the new company planned to eventually absorb Google, might be off on the wrong foot with its soon-to-be subsidiary. It turns out that Alphabet is already violating Google’s guidelines against search spam.
It’s unlikely Alphabet will suffer any serious penalty, given the violation is apparently part of a joke. But technically, Alphabet is doing something that Google warns against.
Several people have spotted that the Alphabet home page has a secret link. This link leads to Hooli [XYZ], which is the research arm of the fictional Hooli company in HBO’s comedy series, Silicon Valley.
You’ll only spot the link if you scan through the source code of the home page or if you click on a period at the end of a sentence midway down the page that talks about Google’s drone delivery effort, Wing. Here’s the section and the source code:

Funny. But not so funny when you consider it precisely violates Google’s guidelines about hidden links:
Hiding text or links in your

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