Google CEO Sundar Pichai joins Alphabet board

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is joining the Alphabet board of directors, effective last week. Pichai has been at Google since 2004 and CEO since 2015, when the formation of Alphabet was announced.
In addition to Pichai, the Alphabet board includes:

Larry Page
Sergey Brin
Eric E. Schmidt
L. John Doerr
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.
Diane B. Greene
John L. Hennessy
Ann Mather
Alan R. Mulally
Paul S. Otellini
K. Ram Shriram
Shirley M. Tilghman

Since the time that Pichai was appointed CEO, Google’s stock has increased in value from roughly $650 to $995. Google remains the most important business unit in the Alphabet portfolio and delivers the vast majority of its revenue.
Later this afternoon Google will report quarterly earnings.
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New EU copyright rules: basic fairness or punitive media subsidy?

Years ago the internet effectively destroyed the once mighty business model of newspapers. It has also put considerable pressure on other traditional media and entertainment, which often argue their work is being pirated and distributed online without fair compensation.
There can be little dispute that journalism is critical to democratic societies. However the question is what do about the business models of legacy media organizations. The recently proposed EU copyright directive has one answer — and it’s one that Google doesn’t like very much.
Here’s what the European Commission says the proposed rules will accomplish:

better choice and access to content online and across borders
improved copyright rules on research, education and inclusion of disabled people
a fairer and sustainable marketplace for creators, the creative industries and the press.

One of the additional objectives of the new rules, which must be approved by the European Parliament, is to harmonize copyright laws across the EU. However, Google says the directive would take the largely

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Google’s ban on payday & high-interest loan ads going into effect now

In May, Google announced that ads promoting payday loans that require repayment within 60 days and loans with interest rates above 35 percent would no longer be accepted or displayed starting July 13. Yet many people have noticed that payday loans are still showing up in Google search results, a week after the ban was supposed to start.
Google’s execution of the ban was delayed, but it is now rolling out. The company posted an update to the ad policies in the AdWords help center covering personal loans, high-APR (annual percentage rate) and personal loans on Wednesday afternoon. Note, the policy on high-APR personal loans affects US advertisers only. The policy for short-term personal loans is global.
The policy includes the following reasons for ad disapproval:
Payday loans: “Personal loans which require repayment in full in 60 days or less from the date the loan is issued (we refer to these as ‘Short-term personal loans’). This policy applies to advertisers who offer loans directly, lead generators, and those who connect consumers with

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Report: EU responding to Google antitrust search-quality defense with new objections

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, regulators at the European Commission (EC) are preparing a “supplementary statement of objections” in the existing shopping search antitrust matter. The EC filed the original “statement of objections” (formal antitrust charges) regarding Google’s alleged abuse of market power in early 2015.
While the EC focused exclusively on shopping search in the original charges, it is widely expected that shopping is a kind of template for other potential “search bias” cases against Google. If the EC succeeds, nearly identical charges will likely follow in other vertical search areas such as local, maps and potentially travel.
The supplementary statement reportedly allows the EC to address arguments and claims made in Google’s formal response to the EC’s original statement of objections. In a blog post reflecting the arguments made to the EC, Google vigorously asserts that the evolution of its search results pages has been about improving quality and the user experience and is

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Google: “No current plans” for ads in Gboard

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Google launched Gboard, its keyboard app for iOS, on Thursday, and it is currently sitting in the top spot in the App Store’s chart of free apps. Among other things, Gboard brings Google search into any app with the press of the “G” icon. This, of course, could also mean bringing Google search ads to any app.
For example, one can easily envision AdWords search ads extending into these results in the Twitter app for [restaurants near me]. However, a Google Spokesperson tells Search Engine Land, “We have no current plans around ads in Gboard.”

“Current plans” leaves a lot of ambiguity, of course. Currently this week? Currently this month or year? It’s nearly impossible to imagine a scenario in which Google would not be looking at this as an eventual ad vehicle. The big argument Google has faced in the age of mobile and the rise of native in-stream ads is that apps are where users spend their time, not

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PhantomALERT: Waze Stole Our Database And Sold It To Google For $1 Billion

Traffic violation-avoidance app maker PhantomALERT has sued Waze/Google for copyright violations and related claims. The company contends that Waze stole its points of interest (POI) database after partnership negotiations broke down between the two companies.
Google is named in the suit only as the legal owner of and successor to Waze. No specific Google wrongdoing is alleged. The plaintiff is asking for, among other things, compensatory and punitive damages.
Here are the critical facts according to the complaint (embedded below):
Only July 30, 2102, Noam Bardin, the CEO of Waze, sent Yoseph Seyoum, the CEO of PhantomALERT, an email with a proposal to cooperate in the operation of their respective GPS-mapping companies.
Later that same day, Bardin and Seyoum spoke by telephone. During the call, Bardin proposed that Waze and PhantomALERT exchange their respective Points of Interest databases. Because Waze did not appear to have substantial data to share, Seyoum declined Bardin’s offer.
After Seyoum rejected Bardin’s offer to exchange databases … 

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Google Gets A Brand-New Look: Updates Search & Now Card Visuals

In addition to updating its logo, Google announced today it is also updating the look of its mobile search results page and Now cards to reflect the company’s new visual language.
“You’ll start seeing our new logo, icon and animated dots soon across Google, including when you search on mobile web, and of course, the Google App,” writes Google product designer Kai Conragan on the Google search blog.
As part of the refresh, the Google App home page on Android devices has been updated so that users can “dive into diverse content such as images, videos, news stories and more” by swiping and tapping content.

Also, Google says Now cards will be organized by category so that users can find what they need more predictably. As the day moves forward, the cards will shift to display what’s most relevant.

These updates are part of a larger rebranding effort, including a new logo and “identity family” that applies to Google’s various icons

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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:

Calico
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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Virtually No Change In US Desktop Search Market Share According To ComScore’s May 2015 Report

According to comScore’s May 2015 U.S. desktop search report, there was nearly zero change in search market share for Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Ask and AOL between April and May.
Google still owned 64 percent, and Bing held on to the 20 percent share it reached in March. The only reported changes included a .1 percent loss by Google, while Bing and AOL both gained .1 percent.

ComScore reports a total of 18.2 billion search queries were performed in May, with more than half – 11.7 billion – conducted on Google. Bing captured 3.7 billion searches, followed by Yahoo at 2.3 billion.
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