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  • 5 simple internet safety tips from one of Google's information security engineers

    woman on laptopJustin Schuh knows a thing or two about internet security best practices.

    Before Google hired him as its very first, full-time security engineer for its Chrome browser back in 2009, he'd already had experience working for IBM, the NSA, and the US Marine Corps.

    As one of Google's tech lead managers for Chrome, he's now responsible for making sure the browser stays secure from attackers through infrastructural preventative measures. 

    While he and his team toil away on strengthening Chrome's architecture, there are a lot of things the average person can do to stay safer online.

    Schuh gave Business Insider some of his top, easy tips:

    1. Avoid using public computers, and if you are using a public computer, it’s best to assume that whatever information you access on it could be be public.

    When you're working on a public computer — like at a hotel or in the library —  don't check your bank statement or sign into any other sensitive accounts. 

    "It’s too big of a burden on the system maintainers to really keep those kinds of system safe, so it’s best to keep what you do on them to public research," Schuh says. 

    2. Use separate passwords for different services. Really.

    Yes, memorizing a bunch of random passwords can feel like a big hassle, but having the same one for every account is needlessly dangerous. 

    "Password managers can really help with creating and remembering lots of strong passwords," Schuch says. (learn more about a few options here).

    3. Use two-factor authentication whenever possible. 

    Two-step verification is a way for websites to confirm that you are who you say you are when you try to log in, usually through a code that gets texted to you. 

    "A lot of the drive-by attacks can be significantly mitigated with two-factor," Schuch says. 

    Here's how to set it up for Facebook, Google, Microsoft products, and more

    4. Think twice before installing a new plug-in

    Schuch says that over the years he's been at Google he's seen an increase in malicious third-parties tricking users into downloading plug-ins or other executables. Users will download (sometimes despite warnings from their browsers), and then the tool will  do something like reset all their preferences, monitor  and log their keystrokes, or funnel their search requests to a third-party.  

    Really investigate a new plug-in before you install. An easy way to make sure it's not sketchy is just by Googling its name and seeing what comes up. 

    "Chrome does a really good job of protecting you," Scuch says. "We saw the problem of bad plug-ins several years ago, and we spent a lot of work trying to address that."

    Over the course of the next six months, he said, Google won't offer any "un-sandboxed" plug-ins for Chrome. When a security team sandboxes something, it means they've actually tested out the untrusted code or programs. So, soon you won't be able to download a plug-in for Chrome that hasn't already been thoroughly checked.  

    5. Keep an up-to-date browser.

    Browser security teams work around the clock to protect users from risks. But all their hard work will go to waste if you're using an old version of your internet browser. 

    Chrome pushes major new releases every six to eight weeks, with minor releases every two to three weeks, and Goolge will make your life easier by updating  your browser automatically. However, if you don't use Chrome, double check that you're working with the latest version. 

    SEE ALSO: Google fires back at the Wall Street Journal over White House meetings: 'Really, Rupert?'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How to supercharge your iPhone in only 5 minutes

  • Here's Morgan Stanley's Google analyst's analysis of Morgan Stanley's CFO leaving to become Google's CFO (GOOG, GOOGL, MS)

    Ruth Porat

    On Tuesday, Google announced that Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat would join the company in the same capacity. 

    And so in what is sort of an awkward scenario, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne, who covers Google, chimed in what the departure of its own firm's CFO means (for Google, not Morgan Stanley). 

    From Swinburne: 

    Ruth Porat's background as CFO and former technology banker make her a strong fit for the Google CFO. In addition, it's worth noting that her focus with investors and analysts while at Morgan Stanley was on setting clear targets and providing transparency into the key areas of interest. She also has extensive experience in dealing with regulatory issues. In the context of Google, where there is a clamoring for 1) greater visibility into spending plan, 2) greater transparency into revenue trends, and 3) a change in capital allocation given $74bn in net cash — Ms. Porat's background will only raise the level of expectations for change.

    Now, in this note, Morgan Stanley's analysts don't make any mention on what this move means for Morgan Stanley. Which may come as a surprise to some people who might think: "But wait, they both work at Morgan Stanley! Don't they have some insight into what this move means for the company?"

    In fact, no, and why would they? They are tech analysts, not banking analysts. Moreover, Morgan Stanley is a massive operation — the company had 55,800 global employees at the end of 2014 — and so while serving as an analyst covering Google is a major responsibility at the firm, it's likely that an analyst will never meet the bank's CFO. 

    (Additionally, banks also have dedicated banking analysts that cover other banks, which can lead to somewhat awkward notes like one written by analysts at Goldman Sachs earlier this year which speculated that JPMorgan could break itself to bolster is share price.)

    As for what the move means for Google, Morgan Stanley added: "While we are encouraged by Ruth's hire, we wait and see if tangible change will come."

    Morgan Stanley maintained its "Equal-Weight" rating on shares of Google. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 5 Awesome Google Features You Didn't Know About

  • Google HR boss says to ace any interview you need to 'predict your future'

    fortune teller

    You've perfected your résumé, submitted your application, and landed an interview for your dream job. Now, how do you ace it?

    Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president of people operations and author of the upcoming book, "Work Rules!" recently shared a few tips on how to convince the person on the other side of the table to hire you.

    In a LinkedIn post, Bock says predicting your future is one of the smartest things you can do.

    "You can anticipate 90% of the interview questions you're going to get," he writes. "It's an easy list to generate. 'Why do you want this job'?' 'What's a tough problem you've solved?' If you can't think of any, Google 'most common interview questions.' Write down the top 20 questions you think you'll get," he suggests.

    laszlo bockWhen you do this, you'll be able to better plan your attack 

    "For every question, write down your answer," he says. "Yes, it's a pain to actually write something. It's hard and frustrating. But it makes it stick in your brain. That's important."

    You'll also want to have a backup plan, he warns. "Actually, for every question, write down three answers." You need to have different, equally good answers prepared for each question because as you get to know your interviewer, you might decide one story will resonate more than another. 

    Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.

    SEE ALSO: Google HR boss explains why most job interviews are a 'waste of time'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 7 smart questions to ask at the end of every job interview

  • Google fires back at the Wall Street Journal over White House meetings: 'Really, Rupert?'

    Larry Page Sergey Brin Eric Schmidt Google Portrait Illustration

    Google just fired off a feisty blog post refuting a recent Wall Street journal piece about the company's ties to the White House. 

    Google basically said that yes, some former and current Google employees have visited the White House quite a lot in recent years. But, they weren't there to discuss the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust probe into the company, as it says The Wall Street Journal insinuates. 

    "In fact, we seem to have discussed everything but," Google writes. 

    The tension between the paper and Google started after The WSJ recently published a major story about the FTC's 2012 investigation into Google's anticompetitive practices, after accidentally obtaining the staff's internal report through an unrelated Freedom of Information Act request. The paper then published a follow-up story about the number of White House visits Google employees during the FTC's deliberations about its antitrust investigation. 

    "As the federal government was wrapping up its antitrust investigation of Google Inc., company executives had a flurry of meetings with top officials at the White House and Federal Trade Commission," the WSJ story begins. It then goes on to say that Google employees have visited the White House 230 times since President Obama took office, based on visitor logs. The piece doesn't claim to know the content of many of the meetings, but points out how many took place right before the FTC made its decision to drop its antitrust probe. 

    In a blog post published Friday evening, Google SVP of communications and policy Rachel Whetstone addresses specific claims from the WSJ piece, including the number of White House visits Google made and that the Bureau of Economics findings disagreed with the findings of the FTC. 

    "Given the inaccuracies that have been published, we wanted to give our side of the story," she writes. 

    Here's Google's full post, titled "Really, Rupert?" (GIFs their own):

    Last year Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, accused Google of creating a "less informed, more vexatious level of dialogue in our society." Given the tone of some of your publications, that made quite a few people chuckle.

    tumblr_liawtqPPmT1qc7bl7.gif

    This week you were at it again.  One of your newspapers, The Wall Street Journal, accused Google of wielding undue political influence.  Blimey!

    More seriously, given the inaccuracies that have been published, we wanted to give our side of the story. Here goes.

    Wall Street Journal:

    “The findings [from the Bureau of Competition] stand in contrast to the conclusion of the FTC’s commissioners, who voted unanimously in early 2013 to end the investigation.”.   

    Google:
    As the FTC made clear this week:  “... the Commission’s decision on the search allegations was in accord with the recommendations of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Economics, and Office of General Counsel” (something the Journal has chosen not to report).

    Wall Street Journal:
    “Since Mr. Obama took office, employees of the Mountain View, Calif., company have visited the White House for meetings with senior officials about 230 times …  In comparison, employees of rival Comcast Corp., also known as a force in Washington, have visited the White House a total of about 20 times … Google’s knack for getting in the room with important government officials is gaining new relevance as scrutiny grows over how the company avoided being hit by the FTC with a potentially damaging antitrust lawsuit”.

    Google:
    Of course we’ve had many meetings at the White House over the years.  But when it comes to the information the Journal provided to Google about these meetings, our employment records show that 33 of the White House visits were by people not employed here at the time.  And over five visits were a Google engineer on leave helping to fix technical issues with the government’s Healthcare.gov website (something he’s been very public about).  Checking through White House records for other companies, our team counted around 270 visits for Microsoft over the same time frame and 150 for Comcast.  

    And the meetings we did have were not to discuss the antitrust investigation.  In fact, we seem to have discussed everything but, including patent reform, STEM education, self-driving cars, mental health, advertising, Internet censorship, smart contact lenses, civic innovation, R&D, cloud computing, trade and investment, cyber security, energy efficiency and our workplace benefit policies.  For example:  

    • Several visits were advertising industry meetings attended by Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and others.  Yes, Microsoft, the main complainant in the FTC’s antitrust investigation;
    • Over a dozen visits were for production crews covering the YouTube interviews with the President following the State of the Union and photographing the White House art collection for Google’s Art Project;
    • One of the meetings specifically called out by the Journal was actually a meeting with our Chairman, Eric Schmidt, and Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, with several other technology companies to discuss copyright legislation (the draft SOPA/PIPA laws that were ultimately dropped by Congress).

    As the FTC has said, the Journal "makes a number of misleading inferences and suggestions about the integrity of the FTC's investigation. The article suggests that a series of disparate and unrelated meetings involving FTC officials and executive branch officials or Google representatives somehow affected the Commission's decision to close the search investigation in early 2013. Not a single fact is offered to substantiate this misleading narrative". 

    We understand you have a new found love of the regulatory process, especially in Europe, but as the FTC’s Bureau of Competition staff concluded, Google has strong pro-competitive arguments on our side.  To quote from their report “... the record will permit Google to show substantial innovation, intense competition from Microsoft and others, and speculative long-run harm”.  

    And the FTC was not alone when it comes to search ranking and display.  The Texas and Ohio Attorneys General closed their comprehensive competition investigations into Google in 2014. And courts in Germany and Brazil found that there is no basis in the law for Google competitors to dictate Google’s search results.

    giphy.gif

    SEE ALSO: Google is now one of the most powerful corporate forces in Washington

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Android One's early sales performance in India and future plans beyond South Asia

    Back at the Google I/O developer conference in June 2014, Google officially unveiled the Android One project, a program in which Google would work hand-in-hand with low-cost smartphone manufacturers in emerging markets. 

    AOSPshipmentsgrowth

    The goal of the program is to provide manufacturers with hardware specifications that these companies can use to easily build the most cost-effective smartphone devices, which run the stock Android operating system, similar to the OS found on Google Nexus devices. 

    Android One's initial launch was in India, and it is also now available in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Philippines, and Bangladesh. Beyond South Asia, Google may look to Latin America and Africa as potential regions for Android One expansion, although no announcements have been made.

    In a new report from BI Intelligence, we look at how Android One has been performing in India thus far in relation to the performance of the rest of India's smartphone market. We also discuss the potential opportunity for Android One in other emerging markets like South America and Africa and break down the platform and vendor wars happening in those markets.

    Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Trial Today >>

    Here are a few key points about Android One:

    The report is full of charts and data that can be downloaded and put to use.

    In full, the report:

    For full access to all BI Intelligence's charts, data, and analysis on the mobile industry, sign up for a risk-free trial.

    AndroidAOSPshare

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Animated map of what Earth would look like if all the ice melted

  • Google investors will love these charts. Android developers will hate them. (GOOG)

    Google Play Ads

    Earlier this year, Google announced it was going to start testing out search ads in the Google Play store. 

    As investors and analysts panic about how Google's search advertising revenue growth is slowing because it can't charge as much for mobile ad clicks as desktop ad clicks, this move gives Google another huge avenue for mobile monetization. 

    "We view this move as akin to when the company first introduced 
    sponsored links in the search engine results page," analysts from Credit Suisse wrote in a note Friday morning.

    Credit Suisse included two charts in its note that perfectly underscore exactly why investors and analysts love this move and why it could have negative effects for Android developers. 

    Here's the old value chain versus the new one one:

    PlaysAds1

    Google will make more money, developers will make less. But Android devs already make less money, on average, than iOS developers, so the prospect of a further slice taken from their piece of the pie objectively isn't great news. 

    Of course, not all developers will have to opt into that estimated 20% cut by buying search ads. And, for some, the revenue cut will be worth the additional downloads its app gets. 

    Ryan Matzner, new projects director at app design and development company Fueled, told Business Insider that his company sees the introduction of ads as a huge boon to business. 

    "Fueled is releasing new apps all the time and usually there’s some other app in the store with a similar name or the same name. Even though it’s a completely unrelated app or crappy app that no one’s using and has four reviews that are at two stars, it’s hard for us to rank ahead of them early on," Matzner says. "We would almost always want to buy paid placement, so that we could be visible right away."

    The choice between additional revenue loss or less visibility would affect smaller developers much more, though.

    "For people like us, it’s not very good," Cameron Banga, co-founder of app development company 9Magnets, told Business Insider. "We’re small. Most of our clients aren’t going to have the budget to compete with the people who are at the top. They’re already facing an uphill battle, and this is just going to be just one more step that’s going to be really hard to overcome without tons of capital."

    SEE ALSO: Google is paying its new CFO $70 million in bonuses and grants

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • THE RISE OF ANDROID: How a flailing startup became the world's biggest computing platform (GOOG)

    Andy Rubin Android Illustration

    In 2004, Andy Rubin made an urgent call to his friend, Steve Perlman.

    Rubin’s startup, Android, was in trouble, he explained. Rubin didn’t like asking for money again, but the situation was dire.

    Android, which was creating mobile software for phones, was out of cash, and other investors weren’t biting.

    Perlman agreed to wire some funds as soon as possible.

    “Maybe a little sooner would be better,” Rubin said nervously. Rubin had already missed payments on Android’s office space, and the landlord was threatening to evict him.

    Perlman went to the bank and withdrew $10,000 in $100 bills and handed them to Rubin. The next day, he wired over an undisclosed amount of money to provide the seed funding for Android.

    “I did it because I believed in the thing, and I wanted to help Andy,” Perlman told Business Insider.

    With the new cash, Rubin got Android back on track. He secured more funding and moved the team into a larger office in Palo Alto, California, a technology hub on the West Coast.

    Today, Android powers about 85% of all smartphones globally, while the iPhone accounts for only 11%. It’s making a push into wristwatches, cars, and TVs. It’s not hard to envision a time when Android will be in every single device from stove and thermostats to toothbrushes.

    To grab 85% of the smartphone market, Rubin had to beat the two most valuable, and profitable, technology companies of their era: Microsoft and Apple. He had to fight entrenched wireless carriers. He had to get phone makers to buy into its radical vision.

    Rubin didn’t do it alone. He got help from investors such as Perlman and big support from Google.

    Based on interviews that Business Insider conducted with several sources who were there at the beginning, the following is the story of how Android came to be.

    An impossible idea

    Over the course of his 29-year career in Silicon Valley, Andy Rubin has become known as a technical genius, a skillful businessman, and a dynamic leader.

    Above all, Rubin is an entrepreneur who loves to create things, whether it’s writing code or building robots.

    His knack for engineering was evident in Building 44, where Android lives on Google’s campus. There, Rubin spent his spare time programming a gigantic robotic arm to make him coffee each time he sent it a text message. The machine was on the second floor of Building 44, and it was large enough to lift cars, a former Googler says.

    Another one of Rubin's projects involved flying a massive remote-controlled helicopter on Google’s lawn.

    "It's this huge $5,000 helicopter — he's trying to pilot it and it takes off and flips over upside down," said Sumit Agarwal, a former head of mobile product management at Google. "And it doesn't explode, but you've got this helicopter that's literally ripped itself apart out on the lawn in front of Building 44."

    Long before Rubin had the luxury of tinkering with enormous robots at Google, he had to prove he could execute his crazy ideas. One of his wildest was building an open operating system for phones in the early 2000s.

    In the early 2000s, carriers controlled everything from the way a phone was marketed to how much it would cost. Carriers called the shots back then, and they were determined to keep it that way. They didn’t want any company — large or small — infringing on their profits, which is why most of the tech industry thought an idea like Rubin’s was impossible, say sources who worked at Google in Android’s early days.

    While the carrier system was closed and siloed, Android is open source. The term “open source” means anyone can take the original source code that makes up Android and use it on their gadgets free. Anyone can build on that code or modify it.

    Rubin initially tried to design Android for cameras but couldn’t get traction from investors. So he teamed up with Chris White, who previously designed the interface for WebTV, and Nick Sears, a former T-Mobile marketing executive Rubin had worked with when launching the Danger Hiptop, or T-Mobile Sidekick as it was widely known. Rubin explained his idea to create an open-source operating system for phones. Rich Miner, another Android cofounder who leads the East Coast investment team at Google Ventures, joined the group in February 2004.

    TMobileSidkickWhen the Android team pitched their idea to venture capitalists, their original business plan was to give away the software free to phone manufacturers. The carriers would then order phones from the manufacturers running Android’s open software, and they could brand or modify it as they saw fit. Android would then sell “value-added services” to the carriers to go on top of that software, a source said.

    It was a business model designed to attract carriers. The problem, however, was that it was difficult to make any mobile product successful because the carriers didn’t want to give up control of the industry. For example, Rubin’s first phone, the T-Mobile Sidekick, came to fruition only because T-Mobile agreed to sell it and re-brand it. Most teens who owned the Sidekick probably didn’t even know what Rubin’s company, Danger, was. They just knew they could only get the phone through T-Mobile. It was T-Mobile’s product more than Danger’s to any customer looking to buy the phone.

    Sure, Rubin’s plan would allow carriers to openly advertise their products and services, but it would also require that they share some of their handle on the mobile market with Android. And they weren’t willing to agree to an idea like that very easily.

    The impenetrable environment could rattle any CEO — but not Rubin.

    “Even when things get really bad, you never really give up,” one source said of Rubin’s reaction to the difficult carriers. “It’s just the way these people who build these kinds of things are built to work.”

    Most people thought Rubin was crazy for trying. Perlman, who met Rubin when they both worked for Apple in the early 1990s, remembers running into a venture capitalist at a Whole Foods in 2003 and asking what he thought about Rubin’s open-source project.

    “He said, ‘Steve, come on. He’d have to sell at least a million of those things for it to break even,’” Perlman recalled. “‘He’s trying to boil the ocean.’”

    In 2014, analysts estimate that more than 1 billion Android phones were shipped.

    The man behind the idea

    andy rubin google androidRubin graduated from Utica College in upstate New York. Prior to Android, he had a long career in tech, which started at Carl Zeiss Microscopy, where he worked as a development engineer for about a year between 1986 and 1987.

    After leaving his job at Carl Zeiss, Rubin moved to Switzerland to work for a robotics company, according to The New York Times. During a vacation in the Cayman Islands in 1989, Rubin met an Apple engineer named Bill Caswell.

    Rubin barely knew Caswell, but did him a favor — he offered Caswell a place to stay after he had been evicted from his beach cottage following a fight with his girlfriend, according to the Times.

    This is how Rubin got his job at Apple, where he worked as a software engineer between 1989 and 1992 after Caswell offered him a job. Rubin’s love of robots was apparent at Apple too — he even earned himself the nickname Android while working at the company, according to The Verge.

    But he was also quite the prankster back then. Rubin once got in trouble for programming Apple’s internal phone system to make it look like then-CEO John Sculley was calling to offer Rubin’s engineering colleagues special stock grants, The New York Times reported.

    Rubin and Perlman, now the CEO of a company called Artemis Networks that’s working on an alternative to traditional wireless carrier networks, eventually left Apple to work for General Magic — a company that spun out of Apple in the early 1990s. The company was credited with creating a personal handheld computer some have called the precursor to the modern smartphone.

    Rubin worked at General Magic between 1995 and 1997, until he left to join WebTV, which eventually was acquired by Microsoft and became MSN TV. Perlman founded WebTV and went with Rubin to Microsoft, too. After leaving Microsoft in 1999, Rubin started his own company Danger, the startup that invented the T-Mobile Sidekick.

    Rubin didn’t know it at the time, but this was his first big break, and it would eventually lead to his next startup getting acquired by Google.

    Google comes knocking

    Larry PageWhile many saw Rubin’s idea for Android as crazy, he did find one other early supporter: Larry Page.

    The Google co-founder was the company’s president of products when he learned about Rubin’s Android project. He asked a Google executive to reach out to Rubin, and it may have been the most important call of Rubin’s life.

    Google told Rubin it heard about Android and wanted to offer “help.” Page previously met Rubin during a panel at Stanford University.

    Rubin and Sears drove to Google’s Mountain View headquarters the first week of January in 2005. They sat down with Page and his Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as well as Georges Harik, a Google Ventures advisor and one of the company’s first 10 employees.

    Page was dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt. Brin wore no shoes but had a plastic Disney watch on his wrist. He sat near two candy jars and popped handfuls into his mouth.

    Page wasted no time and praised Rubin’s previous work. He called the T-Mobile Sidekick one of the best phones he had ever seen.

    Sergey BrinBrin jumped in with a few jokes. He also talked with Rubin in meticulous detail about the technology that powered the Sidekick.

    The meeting wasn’t all about praising Rubin; Brin wanted to test him too. He kept pressing Rubin about what he could have done differently to make the Sidekick even better, and why he chose to create the phone the way he did.

    It wasn’t an aggressive conversation but a collaborative exercise in problem solving.

    When Rubin and Sears walked out of that meeting, one thing was clear: Google was interested in Android. But it wasn’t clear why.

    Was Google their friend or foe? Was it developing its own mobile software and learning from the competition?

    Forty-five days later, when Google called Rubin back for a second meeting, Page’s intentions became clear. This time all four Android co-founders attended, and they brought a prototype of the software to show Google.

    Harik got straight to the point: Google wanted to buy Android.

    The founders were torn. Android desperately needed funding. Rubin, Android co-founder Chris White, and Sears were on board. But Rich Miner, the fourth founder who now works at Google Ventures, wanted the company to stay small.

    Ultimately, Android accepted Google’s offer for a reported $50 million. About six months after their first meeting with Google in January, the Android team moved into the Googleplex on July 11, 2005.

    'The new model'

    Android’s headquarters in Building 44, which is where the team moved in April 2006 after living in Building 41, wasn’t like the rest of Google. A cylon from Battlestar Galactica guarded the entrance to the secluded office. Gizmos, gadgets, and robots filled the workspace.

    “[Android] was a little resistant to becoming part of the bigger Google,” one early employee said. “It was kept pretty separate.”

    Google typically reviews every single piece of code before it’s put into a product to improve code quality. Android, however, resisted that idea. A year or two passed before the team allowed Google to review its code.

    Another former Googler described Android as an “island” inside Google in its early days that ran as its own secretive group with its own culture.

    “I didn’t realize he was running a startup inside Google,” one source that worked with Rubin told us. “That’s what it was.”

    Android KitKat

    The Android team’s strategy when it came to mobile was foreign to other Googlers at the time, too. If one were to explain the idea behind Android to other Google employees around 2005 or 2006, the reaction probably would have been, “good luck with that.”

    Before Android, Google focused its mobile efforts on getting its apps onto other phones — like those made by Nokia or Blackberry devices. The idea with Android, however, was to create Google’s own system for distributing its services in addition to making Google apps for other platforms.

    “Call it the old model,” one source said. “We were the new model.”

    But in order to distribute Android at all, the team at Google would need to develop a phone that would run on the software. Then, they would have to find a carrier that would sell the phone.

    “If you said just go out and build a phone, that’s one thing,” a source who previously worked with Rubin said. “That’s what Apple did. We went out and built the phone and then we had to build this infrastructure, this alliance, and partnerships.”

    That meant, partnering with chipmakers, smartphone makers, and wireless carriers. All to build a phone that was seen as radically disruptive at the time.

    “He [Rubin] maneuvered the waters between the OEMs very skillfully, and often times you don’t find that,” one source that worked with Rubin said. “Often times, people that speak the engineers’ language can’t really sit in a boardroom and listen to CEOS. But he had both”

    Google and the Android team basically built its first phone, the G1, as a proof-of-concept. They wanted to show potential partners what Android could do so that they would want to use it on their own phones.

    TMobileG1No carrier wanted to partner with Google to launch the first Android phone in 2007. Verizon had turned them down, Sprint wasn’t interested, and AT&T didn’t give them a straight answer. Even T-Mobile, which eventually agreed to release the G1, initially refused.

    “It was not a good time in Android history,” the source said.

    Carriers wanted to sell content on phones and keep all of the profits for themselves, so they were reluctant to work with any company. They were essentially the gatekeepers between the companies that make the phones and the customers who buy them, and they weren’t willing to compromise.

    The Android team knew T-Mobile was their best bet at the time.

    After trying to negotiate with T-Mobile for about six months, the carrier came back and said they didn’t want to do a deal with Google, according to our source.

    Rubin was one of the few people in Google that knew the T-Mobile deal had balked.

    “He was disappointed, but Andy’s not the kind of guy that’s going to wear disappointment on his sleeve,” one source said. “We still had people that hadn’t told us no. He certainly didn’t like it and he knew that was our best prospect and we spent a lot of time on it.”

    But T-Mobile eventually came around to the deal — largely because Android co-founder Nick Sears previously worked as a marketing executive for the carrier and was able to convince then-CEO Robert Dodson to take the deal, one source said.

    The 'game changer' comes along

    Google had finally overcome one of its biggest hurdles. It had found a carrier that would launch its first Android phone. But just as Google was putting the final touches on the G1, something happened: Apple unveiled its smartphone.

    “Rubin was so astonished by what Jobs was unveiling that, on his way to a meeting, he had his driver pull over so that he could finish watching the webcast,” Fred Vogelstein writes in his book “Dogfight: How Apple And Google Went To War And Started A Revolution.

    “Holy crap,” Rubin said to one of his colleagues in the car, according to Vogelstein’s book. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”

    Rubin and his team modified their original plans and eventually shipped a phone that was much different than their original vision. The first version of the G1 had no touch screen and a slide-out keyboard and was thought to appeal more to the BlackBerry-loving crowd. Apple was the first company to wholly bet that touchscreens would be the preferred means of interacting with computers for the foreseeable future.

    “It was a game changer,” one source said in explaining what Apple’s launch had felt like inside Google. “It made us go back to the drawing board and reevaluate: Do we want to launch this product without touch? We had to go back and make that decision.”

    steve jobs unveils first iphone

    Another former Googler describes it differently. According to Sumit Agarwal, a former head of product management at Google, the company had been developing features like pinch-to-zoom for touch-screen devices long before the iPhone was unveiled.

    “Everyone thinks it was this epochal moment,” Agarwal said. “The one thing that I would say might have been directly influenced by Apple was the likelihood that people would want to leap all the way to a full touch screen. Everybody knew that would be the future. I think Apple caused Android to go that direction more quickly.”

    The 'crusade against the iPhone'

    Although the Android team had to backtrack a bit, the iPhone contributed to Android’s success in a strange way.

    The iPhone was released as an exclusive to AT&T, and the buzz around its launch alone was enough to convince the world that this was going to be big.

    By 2009 the growing success of the iPhone had become a problem for Verizon, one former Google employee on the Android team said. The company had no real smartphone option that could compete with the iPhone just yet.

    The iPhone pushed phone manufacturers and carriers to side with Android.

    Carriers viewed the iPhone as the biggest threat to their business models. With the iPhone, Apple owned the relationship with the customer — not AT&T. And customers were switching from other carriers to AT&T to get their hands on the iPhone.

    So when the iPhone was announced, it was much easier for Android to sign on with carrier partners.

    Compared to the iPhone, Android was a much more appealing opportunity for carriers. Rubin and his team pitched it as a platform for developers, not consumers, which made carriers and phone manufacturers feel more comfortable.

    “At the time, the strategy was to counter,” one source who previously worked in Google’s Android division said. “Look at what Android brings as a way for them to actually fight the iPhone from kicking [carriers] out of relevance … Let’s find terms that carriers would be happy with that will help them in their crusade against the iPhone.”

    Carriers could modify the phones and add their branding, which gave them some control over the product.

    Android’s first big win

    FirstDroidAlthough BlackBerry has fallen to the bottom of the smartphone market, it was the dominant player in the early 2000s. The iPhone came on strong after its launch, in 2007, but Android was nowhere.

    Verizon saw the threat clearly, but it didn’t have an answer. Motorola did, however.

    Motorola had developed an Android-based phone. It wasn’t as sleek as the iPhone. It was somewhat bulky and had a slideout keyboard. But it was the best non-iPhone on the market when it was released in 2009.

    Verizon spent $100 million marketing Motorola’s phone, known as the Droid, a name it had licensed from George Lucas. It wasn’t as big as the iPhone in sheer numbers, but it was successful enough to make the world start paying attention to Android.

    Rubin’s platform broke through to the mainstream and ultimately marginalized the iPhone.

    “I remember the toasting and cheering as the team huddled around the war room, intently watching the dashboards and seeing the massive spike building fup on the first day of sales,” Jonathan Matus, a former Google employee who worked as the product marketing lead for Android between 2007 and 2010, told Business Insider.

    The 'magic of Andy Rubin'

    If you were to ask exactly what made Android the smash hit it is today, you wouldn’t get a clear-cut answer. It’s a mix of things — one being that Rubin knew how to approach carriers in the early 2000s. He knew they wouldn’t want to give up their power, and he, along with the rest of Google’s Android team, convinced them that his software wouldn’t force them to. At the same time, carriers weren’t calling all the shots, either. The first Droid, for instance, was a combined effort on the part of Motorola, Google, and Verizon. That became clear in the final product.

    Andy Rubin“Open source was important because it gave carriers and manufacturers confidence that Google wouldn’t have absolute power over the Android platform,” one source said.

    Rubin doesn’t have any say in what happens to Android anymore — Google’s Sundar Pichai oversees Android, Chrome, and most of Google’s other major products now. Pichai has been in charge of Android for nearly two years — in March 2013, Rubin left the Android department at Google to return to his first love: robotics. He oversaw the robotics department at Google until he left the company in 2014 to focus on his own startup incubator, which is listed as being called Playground.global on Rubin’s LinkedIn profile.

    Rubin is an entrepreneur at heart; he knows exactly how to build a company, and he expects all the hurdles that come with it. Android is the strongest testament to that.

    Rubin was the one who made Google and the rest of the wireless industry believe he could do the impossible with Android.

    “And that’s the magic of Andy Rubin,” said a source who worked closely with him. “When he attracts talent, everybody kind of contributes. And he still has a vision, and it’s very smart, and he kind of puts it together. It’s his ability to attract, this coolness factor he has, to attract talent and to make people believe in this path he’s going down.”

    Join the conversation about this story »

  • Google is going to make surgery robots (GOOG)

    star wars medical droids

    Google and Johnson & Johnson are teaming up to develop robots that can perform surgery.

    The companies say they are developing a "platform" to make robotic assistants to help doctors during surgery. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    Johnson & Johnson already makes a lot of medical equipment. Google's role in the partnership will be to explore new ways on a software and hardware level to improve that equipment.

    For example, Google can add new imaging sensors and other tools to help enhance robotic surgery.

    Here's the full announcement from Johnson & Johnson:

    Johnson & Johnson today announced that Ethicon, a medical device company in the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, has executed a definitive agreement to enter into a strategic collaboration with Google, Inc., working with the Life Sciences team on advancing surgical robotics to benefit surgeons, patients and health care systems.

    The companies will bring together capabilities, intellectual property and expertise to create an innovative robotic-assisted surgical platform capable of integrating advanced technologies with the goal of improving health care delivery in the operating room. The collaboration was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation in California.

    Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that uses technology to give surgeons greater control, access and accuracy during the surgical procedure while Benefitting patients by minimizing trauma and scarring, enabling accelerated post-surgical healing. The companies seek to develop new robotic tools and capabilities for surgeons and operating room professionals that integrate best-in-class medical device technology with leading-edge robotic systems, imaging and data analytics.

    “For more than 60 years, Ethicon has developed products and technologies that have transformed the way surgery is done,” said Gary Pruden, Worldwide Chairman, Global Surgery Group, Johnson & Johnson. “This collaboration with Google is another important step in our commitment to advancing surgical care, and together, we aim to put the best science, technology and surgical know-how in the hands of medical teams around the world.”

    The closing of the transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Google Has Invented A Super Spoon To Help Parkinson's Patients

  • Safari users in the UK can now sue Google over alleged privacy breaches (GOOG)

    Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin

    Google has lost a court battle in the UK to stop people suing it over alleged privacy breaches, the Guardian reports.

    Google has been trying to force the High Court to reverse its decision, which ruled that a group of Safari users in the UK could sue it for damages. Now that Google has lost its case in the Court of Appeal, the group can go ahead and sue.

    The court battle came after users of Apple's Safari web browser claimed that Google was getting around a Safari setting that blocked Google tracking users, and then using data to show personalised adverts, where it shouldn't have been.

    A group of Safari users has been trying to sue Google for damages over what they see as privacy violations. But the company has tried to block that action in UK courts, arguing that nobody actually lost any money through its actions.

    Google has already paid fines in the US over the tracking of Safari users. The BBC reports that the FTC fined Google over $40 million in total, and 38 US states have also brought fines against Google for its actions.

    Here's a statement from the Court of Appeal on the judgement:

    These claims raise serious issues which merit a trial. They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature… about and associated with the claimants' internet use, and the subsequent use of that information for about nine months. The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Police are pleading with Google to ditch a feature in its Waze app that could help terrorists

  • The antitrust ruling against Microsoft was the top of the dot-com boom. History could repeat itself with Google

    The tech industry is in a boom right now. We know that every boom has its bust.

    But the hard part is figuring out when the turn will happen.

    You're probably familiar with this chart. It's the historical tech-heavy NASDAQ index from its inception to the present date:

    NASDAQ all time

    See that quick rise and fall? That was the dot-com boom and bust.

    (There are other more accurate measurements of the total value of tech companies, but this is a pretty good proxy and one that's commonly used, so let's run with it for the sake of argument.)

    If you zoom in a little bit on the peak of the dot-com craze, between 1998 and 2002, you can see that the NASDAQ peaked in March 2000. March 24, to be exact:

    NASDAQ Peak

    I lived through this time, and it's always fascinated me. Why did the tide suddenly turn? 

    In December 1996, then-Fed chair Alan Greenspan warned that stocks were being driven by "irrational exuberance," but people kept buying.

    Things got completely ridiculous in 1999 — that's when we saw companies with not only zero profits, but also zero revenues and zero customers, somehow going public. 

    But people kept buying, all the way up to the spring of 2000.

    What changed? Why did all the tech companies who looked great in January turn to dogs by the summer? Was there a big political change? No, that happened in November 2000, by which time the slide was well underway. Was there some great geopolitical disaster? No, that happened in September 2001, by which time the bubble was long over.

    Here's another chart of exactly the same period:

    NASDAQ april 3 2000

    Why did I center this one on April 3?

    Because that's the day something big happened in the tech industry.

    That was the day that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ruled that Microsoft had violated sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, a national antitrust law in the United States.  

    There were other big dates in that trial. On November 5, 1999, Jackson issued his "findings of fact," which formally stated that Microsoft was a monopoly and had used its monopoly power to intimidate companies like Netscape, IBM, Compaq, and Intel. And after the verdict, on June 7, 2000, Jackson issued his penalties, including an order to break Microsoft into two companies. (A lot of his ruling was overturned on appeal, and eventually Microsoft settled the case with the Department of Justice in 2001 and all the related antitrust cases with private companies and state attorneys general over the next several years.)

    But that first date, April 3, was the day that the United States government formally declared that the biggest and most powerful company in the sector that was driving these crazy stock market valuations had broken the law.

    If you're looking for a psychological event that might have spooked tech investors — or, less charitably, caused them to wake up and learn to read a financial report — that seems like a pretty good date to zero in on.

    Right now, the most powerful company in the tech world is probably Apple. It's certainly the biggest. And as far as we know, there are no big government agencies investigating Apple.

    But if Apple is number one, Google is number two.

    In some ways, Google has a much broader reach than Apple. Sure, Apple has one of the most profitable products ever in the iPhone, but Google's mobile platform, Android, ships on about five or six times as many new phones every day.

    Plus, Google dominates online advertising. It's got the biggest video site in the world, YouTube. It's got (arguably, depending how you measure) the most popular web browser on personal computers, Chrome.  

    And Google is suddenly under a lot of scrutiny, both in the United States and Europe

    History doesn't necessarily repeat itself. But at some point, something will cause investors who are pouring their money into tech companies — or the limited partners who are pouring their money into venture capital funds who are investing in tech companies — to change their minds.

    Maybe it'll be a change in interest rates, a big geopolitical shift, a natural or manmade disaster, or some other macro event.

    But if a powerful government decides to investigate Google's core business, and if it decides that Google has violated antitrust law, and if it hands down severe remedies like splitting Google into two companies, that might be a pretty strong signal to investors that the upside in tech isn't quite as unlimited as they might have imagined. 

    Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe a government breakup of Google would cause a burst of new investment into its competitors. Maybe the Valley would rejoice that the giant has finally been slowed.

    But that's not what happened last time.

    SEE ALSO: The one very important thing everyone needs to understand about Google

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen actually found at the bottom of the ocean in the Philippines

Affiliate Resource Site
  • iTunes Affiliate Program Terms & Conditions Update 2014-10-23T16:00:50Z

    The Terms and Conditions for the Affiliate Program have been updated. There will not be any impact to the commission rate or the purchase window which remain at 7% and 24 hours respectively.

    Here is a brief overview of the changes:

    • Minor changes to unify verbiage used in the platform and program terms

    • Section 2.2 has broader language for qualifying links allowing Store Kit Product Sheet to be supported for app developers

    • All the terms are managed and enforced by Performance Horizon Group in United Kingdom

    You can review the new PHG Terms and Conditions here.

    The new terms come into effect immediately. If you continue using our services after today, you agree to be bound by these new terms. If you do not agree with the new terms and wish to remove your account, or if you have any questions, please contact us at our Helpdesk.

  • Affiliate Linking to App Bundles 2014-10-02T16:49:18Z

    App Bundles

    App Bundles let you promote multiple apps or games from the same developer at a special price. This is a great way to promot high quality apps and earn more commission with higher value sales.

    View App Bundles: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewFeature?id=915131749&mt=8

    Grab a link from any App Bundle and append your affiliate token when linking from your own app or website. For more information about how to create an affiliate link, see our basic linking guide.

  • Affiliate Program Update for App Developers 2014-08-18T16:15:43Z

    Store Kit Product Sheet

    We are excited to announce that Store Kit Product Sheet is now affiliate commissionable on iOS 8. Store Kit Product Sheet allows app developers to promote the purchase of music, apps, books and more directly from a sheet within your app and earn the standard affiliate commission on all sales within 24 hours.

    We encourage you to use Store Kit Product Sheet to provide a superior user experience and keep users in your app longer. Learn how to integrate your affiliate token into the Store Kit Product Sheet in the Developer Documentation.

    Smart App Banners

    Smart App Banners have always been commissionable in the affiliate program. Promote your app with this banner feature when a user is viewing your website in mobile Safari. Learn how integrate your affiliate token in the Developer Documentation.

  • Korea and 19 More Countries Added this Week 2014-04-17T21:17:49Z

    Korea and 19 more countries have been added this week. The Affiliate Program is now supporting 147 countries on one easy to use platform. Start earning commission today when you link to music, apps, books, and more.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in these new countries.

    New Countries added April 2014
    Albania Algeria Angola
    Azerbaijan Benin Bhutan
    Cambodia Dominican Republic Iceland
    Korea Laos Malawi
    Montserrat Palau Seychelles
    Solomon Islands Sri Lanka Tajikistan
    Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands  

    Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission

  • 33 New Countries Added, Now Over 100 Supported 2014-02-18T05:10:24Z

    We've done it again. We have expanded support of our Affiliate Program to 33 new countries added today on the PHG platform. Also, as part of our expansion two weeks ago into Europe and South America, we added six more countries that had previously not been supported. Over 100 countries are now supported.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in these new countries.

    New Countries added February 17, 2014
    Anguilla
    Antigua and Barbuda Belize
    Brunei Burkina-Faso Cape Verde
    Fiji Gambia Ghana
    Grenada Guinea-Bissau Guyana
    Jamaica Kyrgyzstan Macedonia
    Micronesia Mongolia and Tobago Mozambique
    Namibia Nepal Niger
    Pakistan Papua New Guinea Saint Kitts and Nevis
    Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and The Grenadine São Tomé and Príncipe
    Sierra Leone Suriname Swaziland
    Tunisia Virgin Islands Zimbabwe
    New Countries added February 3, 2014
    Bolivia
    Ecuador Guatemala
    Nicaragua Uruguay Venezuela

    Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission in over 100 countries.

  • Important News for Europe and South America 2014-02-03T17:08:47Z

    Last year we introduced our new affiliate platform partner, PHG, providing added countries and unified program reporting. Today we are announcing the migration of 39 Europe and South America countries to this single platform.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in every country we support. If you are currently participating in the affiliate program for Europe or South America, you need to migrate your links to PHG before 3/31 in order to continue earning affiliate commission. Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    Latin & South America
    Argentina
    Brazil Chile
    Colombia Costa Rica
    El Salvador
    Honduras
    Panama
    Paraguay
    Peru


    Europe
    Austria
    Belgium
    Bulgaria
    Cyprus Czech Republic
    Denmark
    Estonia
    Finland France
    Germany Greece Hungary
    Ireland Italy Latvia
    Lithuania Luxembourg Malta
    Netherlands Norway Poland
    Portugal
    Romania
    Slovakia
    Slovenia
    Spain
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    United Kingdom

    Learn more about this transition. If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission in all 94 countries.

  • Affiliate Reporting Holiday Shutdown 2013-12-18T18:46:21Z

    As a reminder, the iTunes Connect holiday shutdown schedule will also impact the affiliate program tools.

    Affiliate program reporting may be impacted from approximately from Saturday, December 21 to Friday, December 27, 2013. Some of the affiliate tools will be temporarily suspended or updated less frequently.

    • The Enterprise Partner Feed will be taken offline for the duration of the iTunes Connect shutdown.

    • The Search API, Link Maker, Banner Builder, RSS Generator and Widget Builder will be kept online.

    We thank you for your understanding and wish you the best of luck in the coming weeks with your affiliate sales.

    Happy Holidays,

    The Affiliate Team

  • Affiliate Reporting Planned Downtime 2013-10-16T02:04:16Z

    As part of a planned downtime affiliate reporting will be delayed this week by 3 to 4 days.

    All sales are still being recorded and will be recognized by PHG and TradeDoubler respectively once reporting is resumed.

    • Clicks will still be reported to PHG and TradeDoubler
    • Free items will still be reported daily on the PHG platform

    Only paid items are impacted by this downtime.

    If you have any questions please contact the Affiliate Helpdesk at http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/support.

  • 20 Additional Countries Added to the PHG Platform 2013-09-30T19:07:38Z

    We are happy to announce the continued expansion of the Affiliate Program with 20 new countries added today to the PHG platform. This brings the total of new countries to 43. The total number of countries on the PHG platform (existing plus new) is 49, providing a tremendous opportunity for iTunes affiliates.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in these new countries.

    New Countries
    Armenia
    Bahamas Bahrain
    Barbados Belarus Bermuda
    Botswana
    Cayman Islands Croatia
    Dominica Kenya Mauritius
    Moldova Nigeria Oman
    Tanzania Trinidad and Tobago Uganda
    Uzbekistan Yemen

    Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission in all 49 countries.

  • 17 New Countries Added to the PHG Platform 2013-09-04T23:03:54Z

    We are very happy to announce the expansion of the iTunes Affiliate Program with 17 new countries now available on the PHG platform.

    If you are already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG then you are automatically opted-in to start earning commission in these new countries.

    Egypt India Indonesia
    Israel Jordan Kazakhstan
    Kuwait Lebanon Macau
    Malaysia Philippines Qatar
    Saudi Arabia Thailand Ukraine
    United Arab Emirates Vietnam

    Click here for a full list of all countries in the Affiliate Program.

    If you have not already signed up for the Affiliate Program on PHG you can go to http://affiliate.itunes.apple.com/apply to apply and start earning commission in all 29 countries.


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