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Business Insider
  • Apple may be about to seriously hurt Google's search business (AAPL, GOOG)

    larry page and tim cook

    Google's search deal with Apple — which makes Google the default search engine on Apple's mobile devices —  is up for renewal this year and analysts at UBS are worrying that this could seriously impact Google's dominance of search.

    "Over the past few months, investors have become increasingly concerned about Google's positioning in the worlds of digital advertising and mobile computing," a note to investors from UBS said on March 7.

    On its own, it's not a big deal. But the note is just one of a series of beats from analysts questioning whether Google's position in search is really as strong as it looks. There has never been a time when so many doubts about Google have been expressed so publicly, so often.

    Google is under threat because of the shift to mobile, and "the rising/sustained strength of companies such as Apple & Facebook," UBS added.

    According to an analyst's note from R. W. Baird in January, Google has "lost some of its mojo," and is "down but not out." The company is increasingly referred to as the "New Microsoft." And the New York Times' Farhad Manjoo recently penned a column suggesting that tech companies "meet their end not with a bang but a whimper, a slow imperceptible descent into irrelevancy," and that Google may be "mighty now, but not forever."

    Google isn't going to go bankrupt any time soon, obviously. It is a vast company with fingers in many pies. But somehow, things just keep going wrong for it. The Mountain View company recently all but conceded defeat over Google+; the experimental Google Glass has gone back to the drawing board; YouTube faces a significant threat from Facebook's growing video offerings.

    The new report from UBS on Google's future is bullish, and argues that some of the fears surrounding Google's prospects are overblown. 

    The most interesting example involves Apple: Currently, Google Search is included as the default search on the Safari browsers all Apple devices — iPhones, iPads, the lot. The deal to renew this will come up later in 2015, and there is growing speculation that due to competition between Google and Apple in the mobile sphere, Apple will choose not to renew the deal.

    Instead, Apple might replace Google Search with one of its competitors like Yahoo, or Microsoft's Bing, which is already used to power Siri. It could even build its own in-house tool, like it did with Apple Maps after ditching Google Maps in 2012. In 2014, Apple also added Duck Duck Go, a privacy-centric search engine, as an alternative choice for search in iOS. The move could be read as a signal to Google: We don't need you. We have options.

    This isn't news in itself — a report from The Information's Amir Efrati that Apple might ditch Google came in November 2013. But UBS's new report puts a figure on just how much the move would hurt Google.

    UBS estimates that Google will generate $7.8 billion from the iOS deal in 2015 — or 10% of its gross revenues from the year. If that disappears, Apple would deal a significant blow to Google, and provide a massive boost to one of its competitors.

    Something similar has happened before. Mozilla recently dropped Google Search as default from its Firefox browser in favour of a new deal with Yahoo. The result? Google's desktop search market share in the US dropped below 75% for the first time in years, while Yahoo saw significant growth.

    Here's a chart:

    stat counter search engine market share google yahoo march 2015

    Of course, Google won't lose that complete amount. There will be some "switchback" of iOS customers opting to reset Google as their search engine in Safari, even if it's no longer the default one. UBS estimates that this number could be as high as 50%, based on estimated switchback rates in the months following the Mozilla deal. But there's no guarantee that what happens on desktop will also hold true for mobile. (It's arguably easier to change desktop settings.)

    This is just one problem facing Google. There is also the deceleration of desktop search as mobile usage continues to grow, the risks posed by regulatory action taken against the company (especially in Europe), and a shift toward so-called "native" display advertising at the expense of search advertising.

    UBS may be "bullish" over Google stock, but there's a lot to be worried about in terms of the company's market share.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Google X exec jumps to Oculus — here's the talk she gave at Google when she was hired

    mary lou jepsen

    It's Google's loss and Oculus' gain as three-year Google X executive Mary Lou Jepsen has jumped ship to pursue new opportunities in the exploding virtual reality market, reports Re/code. Facebook bought Oculus back in March 2014.

    We don't know exactly what Jepsen was in charge of at the secretive Google X labs, where projects like the self-driving car, the seemingly ill-fated Google Glass, and Internet-via-balloon idea Project Loon got their start.

    But given that Jepsen was leading the Display Division, and that her time at Google saw the release of Google Glass, it seems like she was probably involved in that project, which is reportedly undergoing a pretty big shakeup.

    We also don't know exactly what Jepsen will be doing at Oculus.

    A lot of tech companies are betting on virtual or augmented reality as next frontier in how humans interact with computers — HTC just announced Vive, an Oculus-based VR headset developed in conjunction with video game developer Valve, Sony has its Project Morpheus, Google has an investment in Magic Leap, and Microsoft made headlines recently with the HoloLens. Google X is supposed to be where Google works on its "moonshot" projects, but it's clear that top talent is being drawn to the challenges presented by the promising new VR market. 

    Jepsen also co-founded One Laptop Per Child, an organization that aims to provide children in developing nations with free or reduced-cost computers.

    For more of an idea of her expertise and interests, check out her talk at Google's Solve for X conference in 2012, which was before she joined the company. She spoke about how the human brain shows very similar activity when a person is imagining an image, versus when they're actually seeing it, suggesting that imagination and perception are closer than one might think.

      

    SEE ALSO: Almost every top leader Larry Page appointed in 2011 is gone or has moved to a new role

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  • Samsung will get 'slaughtered' in 5 years, says the CEO behind one of the biggest Android software companies

    Kirt McMaster

    The mobile industry is essentially a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung. But Kirt McMaster, the CEO of Cyanogen, doesn't think things will stay that way for much longer.

    There's a big shift happening, McMaster says, and it could leave companies like Samsung "slaughtered."

    Cyanogen makes a forked version of Android known as CyanogenMod. It essentially lets you add new features and themes to your Android phone without compromising performance.

    CyanogenMod is incredibly popular among the hacker community, and it comes preloaded on the OnePlus One, which proved to be an extremely popular phone in 2014.

    Cyanogen's software is a bit niche — if you were to ask the everyday Android or iPhone user, they probably would have never heard of CyanogenMod. But the company is looking to change that soon, and in 2015 there's a chance you'll see CyanogenMod appear on dozens of smartphones overseas.

    Cyanogen is now partnering with Qualcomm, a company that makes processors for almost every smartphone you'll find in any corner of the world, to appear on phones using its turnkey solution in emerging markets. A turnkey solution is essentially a package deal: Instead of just giving the manufacturer permission to use its chips, Qualcomm will provide the software, too.

    This means Cyanogen will likely be able to reach a much broader audience than it does today. At the same time, this also means it should be much easier for manufacturers to build high-quality, fast-performing phones at a cheap price since they no longer have to hire software developers.

    McMaster thinks the rise of these cheap smartphones over the next few years could make it much harder for companies like Samsung and Apple to hold their spots at the top. He also thinks there's a lot of room for another, more open operating system to compete with Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

    We chatted with McMaster to learn about Cyanogen's plans. Here's what we had to say.

    The following is a transcript of our conversation with McMaster; it has been edited for clarity and length.

    Business Insider: So tell me more about why you are working with Qualcomm. You said this means your software will be on a lot more phones.

    Kirt McMaster: The disruption in smartphones and the marketing associated with that [coming] from Samsung and other tier-one OEMS has really been played out. In other words, the battle between moving from a 3- to 4-inch screen to a 5-inch screen, that's done. Everybody has a phone with a 5-inch screen. And you can now get a phone with a 5-inch screen that's sub-$140, etc.

    The first disruption was moving from feature phones to smartphones, the second was app stores, and then form factors. We’ve seen Samsung and the Android ecosystem win on the form-factor front to get great global distribution. Apple has caught up to form factor now with the iPhone 6 Plus with a large screen, etc. The next major disruption is going to occur around the commoditization of hardware.

    Over the course of the next 3-5 years, it will impact every market on the planet. It’s mostly being felt now in emerging markets. The reason it’s being impacted there is because of the turnkey model. It allows these local OEMs to arise out of nothing.

    xiaomi ceo lei jun

    On the global platform, we see Xiaomi becoming the No. 3 OEM. Micromax is now No. 10. These guys are basically creating really cheap handsets that have really awesome performance. This is made possible because of Qualcomm’s turnkey solution as well as Mediatek’s.

    One of the things Cyanogen does really well is optimizations at the low level, at the kernel level. Which means we can get performance out of these chipsets coming out of turnkey that make the device for all intents and purposes feel like a $600 iPhone.

    The tier one OEMs like Samsung are going to be the next generation Nokias in the next five years. They’re going to be slaughtered. We think long term Apple itself will have problems because they’re just not good at competing at the low end.

    So you think Samsung will be toast in five years?

    It could get pretty bad pretty damn quick. This is often the case. Look what happened to Research In Motion (RIM). Look what happened to Nokia. Last summer Micromax surpassed Samsung as the dominant feature phone player in India. We're talking literally in eight months this occurred.

    This is just one market. We see this happen all over the world. We see these local kings, [such as] Blu Products in Latin America [and] Cherry Mobile in the Philippines. All of these guys are arising. They understand local marketing and distribution better than any incumbent that attempts to move into the region. These guys are hustlers; they’re fast moving. They know what it takes to influence market dynamics.

    samsung galaxy s 6 and galaxy s 6 ege

    In the past you said to The Wall Street Journal that you wanted to take Android away from Google. Can you explain that?

    It’s not so much about taking Android away from Google. Android is now at a billion and a half or more users globally. It's going to go to well over more than five billion. In a market of that scale, keep in mind the growth in Android over the next five years is the widest, fastest, largest computing platform growth in the history of the known universe. So we have never experienced this kind of growth in a single computing platform that we will see over the next five years.

    What does that mean? It means that in a market of well over five billion users, a handful of derivatives, not a billion, but maybe two or three derivatives of Android can work and have significant user bases [with] a couple of hundred million users. Xiaomi is going to be successful. There’s no doubt we’re going to be successful and have a couple of hundred million users. Google will probably have a couple of billion users.

    But if you're an operating system and you have a half a billion users or more, you can build a very unique interesting business. To be honest though, we think it’s the open platform that’s going to win. It's this notion of an open computing platform that's going to capture the hearts and minds and where the innovation is going to occur.

    Google IO + Dave Material

    Android is open source, but you don't think it's open enough. Why not?

    We’re building a platform to open up Android so that we can open up services from third parties into the platform. Today Android and iOS are shells for [Google's and Apple's] services and everything else can be an application. {With] our model, Facebook doesn't have to build a Facebook phone. Amazon doesn't have to build an Amazon phone to get that level of integration in Cyanogen. We can make all of these things possible.

    As an example, today if you use Google Now and say "Play X song," what happens is that song is indexed, Google searches and comes back and gives you a song in Google Play Music. And if you click that link, that query obviously favors Google's own services. In no way does the core natural language engine of Android, iOS, or Windows Phone know that Spotify may be the only way I interact with music. We can give Spotify that deep level of integration at the kernel level.

    Cyanogen

    Let's talk about Microsoft for a minute. The Wall Street Journal reported the company might be making a big $70 million investment in you guys.

    I’m not announcing who our strategic partners are, not yet. We will be making some announcements about our C round in the next few weeks. From an investment standpoint, we as a company are not interested in taking money from any strategic partner unless there's actually a deal in place that we’re working with some of these companies. You can only imagine that there's a lot of interest in the world today to create a version of Android that’s more open. And that allows for other parties to have some greater control of what is the largest computing platform ever.

    We’re talking to a lot of different people. And during the course of these conversations, some of these people have liked what we’re doing and have expressed interest in possibly participating in future rounds of financing. Whether or not that happens now or later I can’t talk about it. There’s a number of significant parties that are interested in the company.

    So with this platform you're building, is your ultimate goal to compete with Android?

    Yes and no. We love Google services. I use Google services. We expect our users to continue to use Google services. What we’re saying is, on our platform, let's open it up. Let the user have a choice. Choose whether they want to use Google Maps or Nokia Here. Give them all the same system level access. We love Google services, we like the guys at Google and we hope to continue working with them going forward. We think that with Android at 5 billion-plus users, Google has a huge opportunity. We think that we'll have a couple hundred million users, and Google should support us as well.

    SEE ALSO: A former Google employee describes what it was like to work with the genius that created Android

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Google thinks its internet balloons will be a $10 billion business (GOOG)

    project loon

    When Google first announced its ambitions to use high-altitude balloons to beam internet to the most remote parts of the world, it seemed like a pie-in-the-sky kind of idea. 

    About four years later, Project Loon is starting to look a lot less crazy. 

    On Monday, the company's "floating cell towers in the sky" are capable of staying aloft up to six months and Google envisions its efforts eventually turning into a business that could make tens of billions of revenue dollars a year, according to The Verge's Ben Popper

    Google will partner with telecommunications companies, beaming their LTE services to places they don't usually reach, via the balloons. That saves the companies from having to build out their own infrastructure like cell towers or fiber optic cables to reach remote areas.

    Google has already run tests with several different telcos — Vodafone in New Zealand, Telstra in Australia, and Telefonica in Latin America — and is working on commercial deals with other new network operators.

    Google will split the revenue from any new customers with the telecommunications company providing the LTE spectrum. 

    Here's how Project Loon lead Mike Cassidy describes it to The Verge:

    "Think about it — with 4.5 billion people without internet access, take 5 percent; you’re talking 250 million people," he says. If those people pay just a small portion of their monthly income, say $5 a piece, "you’re going to be in a billion dollars a month in revenue, tens of billions a year in revenue. So it’s good business, too."

    Right now, each of Google's balloons cost tens of thousands of dollars to fly, but as Google pushes its research forward, that price will likely go down. Google believes Project Loon could be an enormous business — even bigger than YouTube, which currently pulls in about $4 billion in revenue per year.

    Cassidy also pointed out that developed regions could be interested in Project Loon's services, too: Google met with Japanese officials interested in the project's potential for providing Internet service if infrastructure was ever compromised due to another typhoon. 

    Although many people consider Google X (the branch of Google sprouting projects like smart contacts, self-driving cars, and Project Loon) as just a research lab for moonshot ideas, Cassidy made sure to dismiss that idea. 

    "Very early on in the project analysis it has to have a viable business model," he told Popper, "And they are tough on the business model." 

    Read the whole Verge piece here

    Project Loon stands to be an enormous business for Google. (YouTube currently pulls in about $4 billion in revenue per year.) 

    SEE ALSO: Google just paid $25 million to buy the entire '.app' web domain

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Google+ is going to break out its photo product. Here's why you should start using it. (GOOG)

    Instagram

    Google is officially going to break its social network, Google+, into two separate products: Streams and Photos. 

    Although Google+ as an overall product has a bad rap, the photo service, which can automatically organize and edit all your pictures, is great. 

    If you're not using it already, you should give it a try. 

    Here are some of the best things about Google+'s photo product:

    Stories

    Stories

    Stories are probably the best thing about Google+ Photos: Google will automatically choose your best photos from a trip or event and arrange them in a fun timeline that you can edit and add captions to.

    Generally, Photos is most valuable if all the photos you take on your phone automatically back-up to Google+ (here's how you can make that happen<).

    To use Stories, you should also turn on Google Location History, which allows Google to periodically store your smartphone's most recent location data (here's how to do that for Android or iOS).

    Weaving together your photos, videos, and maps of places you visited, Google essentially makes you a digital scrapbook, a gorgeous travelogue that takes zero effort. Google knows the window for sharing photos is small, so each custom Story will be generated quickly and automatically and you'll get a Google+ notification when it's ready.

    Auto-awesome

    Google's "auto-awesome" features can make GIFs out of photos taken in rapid succession, create photobooth-style grids of pictures, add fun filters, and stitch photos together into panoramas. 

    Here's a GIF Google made for me: IMG_1199 MOTION

    Google also added filters to one of my sunrise photos:

    IMG_1299 EFFECTS

    Easy search

    Google makes it incredibly easy to search through your Google+ photos — you can even do it right from the regular search bar. 

    If you search "my photos of ____," Google will use context clues and meta-data to sort through and bring up the right results:

    Plus photos

    It's not fool-proof, but it's a quick and easy way to start.

    Google automatically separates your photos into albums by date or location and makes it easy to browse through the best ones, by pulling out your "Highlights." As you can see below, I took 40 photos on February 15, and Google just shows the dozen that its algorithms think are my best: 

    Highlights

    Free storage

    Even if those features didn't win you over, the bare minimum of being able to back up your photos for free is pretty nice (if you want to back-up high-res, large photos — over 2048 x 2048 pixels — it will count against the 15 GB of Drive space every Google user gets for free).

    Now that Google is breaking Photos into a separate product, it may put more resources into finding ways to make the service even more valuable and useful. 

    SEE ALSO: An insider's look at the tumultuous launch of Google Glass

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Google is breaking up its struggling social network Google+ (GOOG)

    Vic Gundotra Google+

    Google is breaking its Google+ social network into two separate entities, Photos and Streams, Google's Bradley Horowitz revealed in a Google+ post on Sunday (via Gizmodo).

    The announcement comes just as reports have suggested Google would make such a move.

    Here's what Horowitz wrote in his post:

    Just wanted to confirm that the rumors are true -- I'm excited to be running Google's Photos and Streams products! It's important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.

    Rumors that Google would break up its social network have been circulating for almost a year since Vic Gundotra, who previously oversaw Google+, announced he was leaving the company last April. 

    Horowitz's post also confirms reports we have heard from Bloomberg and TechCrunch over the past several months. Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Chrome, Android, and apps, hinted as much when speaking to Forbes last week.

    "I think increasingly you'll see us focus on communications, photos and the Google+ Stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area," Pichai said to Forbes.

    The move isn't necessarily surprising either. Over its four years of existence, Google+ hasn't really proved to be as popular as platforms like Facebook. It serves more as a means of keeping you logged into your Google account when using the Chrome browser. 

    The photo platform of Google+ has proved to be pretty useful for those who actually use it, though, which means it has a chance at succeeding as a standalone product. Google+ stores all of your photos in virtual albums that are automatically organized and edited by Google's algorithms, as Business Insider's Steve Kovach pointed out.

    SEE ALSO: The main difference between Google's rising star Sundar Pichai and CEO Larry Page

    SEE ALSO: Here's why Google's photo product is awesome

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • YOUTUBE ADRIFT: The world's biggest video platform risks losing its dominance (GOOG)

    Youtube eye

    YouTube is, and has for many years, been the the dominant video platform on the web. But there are signs that dominance could soon be waning, with its apparent reluctance to act quickly to adapt to new viewing trends.

    In particular, Facebook has created (or taken from YouTube, depending on your point of view) a huge audience for online video. It took only a few months for Facebook to build that audience, and already Facebook is threatening to replace YouTube as the place where people go to see the viral video of the moment.

    Facebook has a key weapon in video that YouTube does not: When you look at your Facebook page, you're automatically seeing videos from people you know or things you have expressed an interest in. There is a built-in relevance to your incoming feed. YouTube, by contrast, is great for search or as a hosting platform. But it lacks the ability to push video at users in a way that users welcome.

    YouTube has not rested on its laurels entirely, of course: Google has been steadily investing in the platform, putting resources behind the original content makers that have made it such a runaway success through its Creators and BrandLab teams, partnering with more traditional content makers like TV networks and the NFL, and most recently launching a Kids version. 

    But never before has YouTube had to face such genuine competition: Facebook, Vessel, Snapchat, Netflix, Twitter, and publishers like BuzzFeed and Vice all now have their own compelling video offerings. They are all competing for users' valuable time, and innovating with new ways to produce and serve content.

    Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion back in 2006, but nearly a decade later it still isn't profitable, sources told The Wall Street Journal earlier this week. It managed to increase revenue from $3 billion in 2013 to $4 billion in 2014, but it is still only roughly breaking even.

    That's despite the fact that it attracts over a billion monthly viewers. By comparison, Facebook has around 1.4 billion monthly active users, and it reported $2.94 billion in profit in 2014.

    YouTube's fightback: Subscriptions and better-targeted ads

    In a bid to drive up its average revenue per user, YouTube is planning to launch a paid subscription service this year, in addition to the YouTube Music Key service it rolled out in beta last November. But even that has got off to a rocky start.

    Digiday reports that YouTube is struggling to sign up content partners, according to its sources at publishers and multichannel networks. A source at one publisher with a major YouTube presence told Digiday it was reluctant to sign on the dotted line because the agreement did not give any indication on how the revenue was to be shared, nor any guarantee they wouldn't completely lose out on advertising revenue. Other sources the trade publication spoke to felt YouTube's subscription plans thus far were "half-baked."

    Elsewhere, in-keeping with the more traditional way in which YouTube has made money, The Wall Street Journal says YouTube is considering a system that would use Google's data more effectively in order to target ads. Currently YouTube uses tracking cookies dropped on users' browsers by Google DoubleClick, building profiles of people based on the non-Google websites they visit. But using data from Google sites could prove more effective, the report suggests.

    However, while that system may be an improvement, it is still merely playing catch-up with Facebook. Its logged in, registered, interest-based database is arguably one of the best targeting systems out there. 

    The Facebook threat

    In another example of YouTube looking to travel where Facebook has stepped long before it, the company is also looking to include more autoplay videos.

    Autoplay is the key pillar to the meteoric rise of video on Facebook. Until recently, Facebook wasn't even considered a destination for video. Users and page owners would simply share YouTube links. Now, more and more video content is being uploaded to Facebook direct. 

    So much so that Facebook videos are even driving YouTube videos off Facebook.

    Google did not wish to comment on this article.

    Behind the scenes, Facebook has also been making other clear, concerted efforts to make sure it becomes the destination for video: It recently made an acqui-hire of video compression company QuickFire, it is scaling up the rollout of video ads, and it has reportedly set up a team tasked with poaching YouTube stars to create original Facebook-only video content. The shareable nature of Facebook means it has become one of the key video discoverability platforms on the internet, and some analysts even think it is working behind the scenes to make a standalone YouTube-competitor of its own.

    Eric Franchi, co-founder of digital advertising company Undertone, told Business Insider: "I think that Facebook surprised YouTube with how quickly they scaled. Facebook is a natural platform for things like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge but even things like Super Bowl have garnered massive views. I also give it to Facebook for making autoplay work. I think Google still wins with original and professional content, but we could see Facebook make a play here as well. The big question is, can Facebook build an ad experience that is as natural for brands as YouTube's. They certainly have the scale to do so."

    The CEO of a marketing company that works closely with both companies told us off the record that YouTube's execs lack a sense of urgency about the oncoming threat to its video crown that is Facebook. He told us his impression was that they were complacent, seemingly safe in the knowledge that YouTube's traffic is ticking along nicely, it is by far and away the number one, and it has sufficient technology geniuses in Google to thwart any oncoming disruption, thank you very much.

    comscore videos sites kitch

    And they're right: YouTube is the clear front-runner, as the latest desktop unique users data from comScore above shows. According to Google's own figures, YouTube has over a billion users and the number of hours of videos people are watching on YouTube each month is up 50% year over year.

    But Facebook's strong second-place showing has been built mostly in the last year. YouTube is a decade old.

    No site is too big to fail

    Amy Kean, head of futures at media agency Havas UK, told Business Insider that while YouTube's product offering has remained relatively consistent, a strategy of concentrating on content has longevity is a solid one: "Rather than being complacent, where YouTube have added huge value by working in partnership with brands to make better video content, championing YouTube talent and spearheading the revolution in short-form content. In this way, YouTube and Google have developed to become very powerful consultants which has actually made advertisers better creatively, and is a great thing for the industry." 

    But no site is too big to fail with consumers. MySpace used to be the dominant social network. Eeveryone used to chat over MSN Messenger. Many a millennial's first email account had a "@yahoo.com" suffix. Dominance does not equal relevance, and if YouTube continues to stay complacent, that could be costly.

    SEE ALSO: Posting a photo is the worst way to get people to see your Facebook posts

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  • Google confirms plans to launch its own wireless service (GOOG)

    Sundar Pichai

    Google is going to be a wireless provider just like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. 

    Well, maybe not just like those big companies. 

    At the industry trade show Mobile World Congress, Google executive Sundar Pichai said the company would do its own wireless service at a "small scale" to "show what's possible." 

    Google is going to be a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). An MVNO buys wireless spectrum from someone else, like AT&T, and then rebrands/repackages the service for users. 

    Pichai is framing Google's wireless plan as an experiment along the lines of what Google did with the Nexus phones. It wants to show bigger wireless carriers what is possible. 

    So initially this will not be a big product. But if it works, we could see Google expanding it over time. 

    Here are tweets from Amir Efrati, a reporter at The Information, who live-tweeted Pichai's talking about Google's MVNO:

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Check Google's plans for its crazy new campus in California (GOOG)

    Larry Page smiling happy

    Google just announced details about a beautiful new campus it's planning to develop in Mountain View, California. 

    The company is submitting plans to develop four sites in Mountain View's North Bayshore.

    This campus is designed by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio, and it will be the first time Google has built offices from scratch, instead of taking over previously existing buildings. 

    "Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas," Google writes.



    "Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air."



    Here's a bird's eye view of the new buildings.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider
  • Here's what you need to know about Google's new EMEA boss Matt Brittin (GOOG)

    matt brittin google

    Google is reorganizing its European operations — previously split into two groups: One for Northern and Central Europe, and another for Southern and Eastern Europe, plus the Middle East and Africa — into one single division, placing the boss of the former group Matt Brittin at the helm.

    Brittin told The Financial Times that the new structure will allow the company to respond better to local conditions and opportunities, and a response to competitive pressures from Silicon Valley rivals which are forcing it to adapt more swiftly to local trends. Having one unit led from London also appears to be a response to the rising regulatory pressures thrust upon Google in the region, over issues such as tax, anti-trust, and May's "right to be forgotten" ruling.

    None of these issues are new to Brittin, who joined Google as managing director of its UK and Ireland operations in 2007, and has been working with key advertising partners and policy makers in the region ever since. Here's everything we know about him.

    The first thing you usually notice about Brittin is his friendly demeanor (in spite of his seniority) and his height. He describes himself on his Google+ page as "inconveniently tall" and at 6ft 3, he towers above most of his colleagues.

    Born in 1968 in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, England, he was educated at Hampton School and Robinson College before leaving home to study at Cambridge University, where he earned a Master of Arts in Land Economy and Geography.

    Matt BrittinNot only was Cambridge the bedrock for his professional career, but it was also where he earned several notable sporting accolades. Brittin rowed in annual Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford University on the Thames river three times, coming second in each race. In 1985 to 1989 he also rowed for Great Britain, winning a bronze medal at the World Rowing Championships in 1988. That was the same year he also rowed in the Seoul Olympics for Team GB.

    But Brittin had a professional calling and after graduating from Cambridge he landed a job at Connell Wilson, a chartered surveyors where he worked for six years, eventually becoming associate director.

    Having taken time out to study for an MBA in Business at London Business School, he became a consultant at consultancy firm McKinsey & Co., working for clients in the marketing, technology, retail, and media industries.

    It was there he caught the media bug, and after six years he left to become commercial director at newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror, which owns The Daily Mirror, The People, and dozens of regional titles. After two years he was promoted to become the company's director of strategy and digital.

    He held that role for ten months before being snapped up by Google, to become the company's head of direct sales in the UK. In 2009 he was promoted to become managing director of UK and Ireland, replacing Dennis Woodside who relocated to the US business and later became CEO of Motorola Mobility while it was a Google company (Woodside is now COO of Dropbox.)

    Matt BrittinThe UK may only be a small region in terms of population, but it was not without its challenges. During his four-year tenure as managing director Brittin was accountable for defending some of Google's more controversial moves in the region, such as its launch of Street View, which was met with complaints over privacy. On the commercial side, Brittin helped maintain the UK's position as Google's second largest operation outside the US. He also led Google's involvement in Getting British Business Online, an initiative focused on helping small businesses use digital, and got the company behind the Tech City initiative in East London.

    Outside of the day job, he also chose to sit on three boards: The Climate Group (2009-present), Media Trust (2010-present), and UK supermarket Sainsbury's (2011-present.)

    Such was his success in the UK, that Brittin was promoted in 2011 to become vice president of Google's North and Central European division. In that role he has faced some of his biggest career challenges to date.

    Brittin has repeatedly been forced to defend the company's European tax practices, insisting that Google "plays by the rules set by the politicians." In the UK he has appeared in front of parliamentary select committee hearings, denying that the company tries to disguise the way in which its business operates in order to lower its tax bill in the region. However, his defense — that Google did not make any sales in the UK, and instead these took place in Ireland (where tax rates are lower) — was met with incredulity by some MPs.

    Characteristically, Brittin is quick on his feet, a key attribute for an executive that will continue to need to answer to formidable European policy makers. Memorably, while on stage during the IAB's annual Engage Conference in 2013 to demo Google products like Google Now and Chromecast technology failed him. "OK Google, show me the cycling route to St. Paul's Cathedral" was met with a map to the Eiffel Tower, for example, and he had to drop the live feed of his devices for an overhead projector. But like a pro, he carried on and turned his session into more of a slapstick comedy routine. Afterwards he tweeted:

    It's a mantra Brittin will hold close in his new, wider European leadership role. With innovation in mind, Brittin will announce later on Thursday the launch of a commitment to train 1 million European businesses to learn crucial digital skills by 2016.

    And on the failure front? Brittin will be bracing himself for several more grillings from European politicians and policy makers, and decisions — over data privacy laws, the ongoing antitrust investigation that could lead to multi-billion dollar fines for Google, and setbacks surrounding the "right to be forgotten" ruling — may not always go Google's way. But it appears that in Brittin, Google has chosen the ideal candidate to overcome these choppy waters. He's a rower after all.

    SEE ALSO: These charts show just how far Google and Facebook are ahead of Twitter

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Liam Neeson transformed what could have been an ordinary mobile game ad into a Super Bowl great

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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