2017年7月27日 星期四

Facebook's Profit and Revenue Surge, Despite Company Predictions of a Slowdown

Facebook's Profit and Revenue Surge, Despite Company Predictions of a Slowdown


Facebook executives have been cautioning investors that the social-networking giant's growth might start to slow. The latest earnings report suggests that hasn't happened yet.

How Microsoft Has Become the Surprise Innovator in PCs


How Microsoft Has Become the Surprise Innovator in PCs


For years, Apple was the innovative leader in personal computers. Not anymore.

2017年7月19日 星期三

Google Glass 沒消失,企業版已獲得客戶認可

在消費市場吞敗仗,去年在所有社群上銷聲匿跡的 Google Glass,轉而在企業版獲得成就,目前已進入 50 多家公司做為生產輔助裝置。
Google Glass 智慧型眼鏡曾是聞名全球的穿戴式裝置,最終以商業化失敗的結局淡出人們的視野,但這款產品並沒有永遠消失 …

2017年7月18日 星期二

Google's Quantum Computing

Google 計劃挑戰全球最大的超級電腦
Google's Quantum Computing Push Opens New Front in Cloud Battle
For years, Google has poured time and money into one of the most ambitious dreams of modern technology: building a working quantum computer.

2017年7月13日 星期四

亞馬遜Prime Day促銷日賣出10億美元

【即時頭條】亞馬遜Prime Day促銷日賣出10億美元
亞馬遜稱其連續第三年舉辦的Prime Day會員促銷日活動是公司歷史上最盛大的一次,銷售超過了傳統的促銷節日比如黑五和網絡星期一。
根據Cowen & Co.和摩根大通分析師各自的估算,這次30個小時的大促銷為亞馬遜帶來了大約10億美元的收入。據彭博整理的資料,這一數字達到了亞馬遜2016年日均電商收入的三倍。
此次促銷活動中最受歡迎的商品是亞馬遜的迷你版智能揚聲器Echo Dot,打折幅度達到30%。亞馬遜在聲明中稱,今年的活動中會員可享受30個小時的促銷,且本次活動和2016年相比增幅超過60%。此外,亞馬遜稱活動還帶來了大量的新會員。
亞馬遜股價7月12日上漲1.25%至1006.51美元,再次站上1000美元大關,距離6月創下的紀錄高點1011.34美元已經相去不遠。撰文/Spencer Soper

Apple to set up its first data centre in China

Apple's first bite in China: Why is it choosing to set up its first data hub on the mainland?
Read more: http://on.ft.com/2ud5Rsx

Apple to set up its first data centre in China Move reflects concessions foreign companies must make to tap mainland market Read next EU regulators bar social media searches on jobseekers Apple’s move follows Beijing’s introduction last month of tighter cyber security rules © Bloomberg Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) 14 Save YESTERDAY by: Tim Bradshaw in San Francisco and Emily Feng in Beijing Listen to this article Pause 00:01 04:10 Powered by FT Labs Text-to-Speech Find more articles to listen to Personal online information belonging to Chinese owners of iPhones and iPads — including private messages, photos and device backups — is to be stored locally in China for the first time, as Apple opens its first iCloud data centre on the mainland. Apple’s move follows Beijing’s introduction last month of tighter cyber security rules and reflects the concessions foreign multinationals must make to tap the world’s largest mobile market, which is increasingly important for iPhone sales.  The US tech group’s new facility in Guizhou will be jointly operated with a Chinese internet company, as part of a $1bn investment in the southwestern province.  Announcing the relocation of mainland Chinese customers’ iCloud data from the US, Apple sought to head off potential security concerns from its tens of millions of users in the region.  “As our customers know, Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems,” it said in a statement.  Apple already complies with legally valid requests for data from law enforcement authorities around the world, including China. Nonetheless, moving customers’ iCloud data to a Chinese facility will make it easier for the authorities to go through the legal motions required to obtain that private information.  Under US law, foreign governments have to undertake a process, which can sometimes take years, to obtain data about their citizens that are stored on servers in the US. China’s new cyber security law requires all data collected on the country’s citizens or areas relating to broadly defined issues of national security to be held on servers in China. Transfers of data abroad must first be reviewed and approved by regulators. Until now, Apple has serviced its Chinese iCloud customers using data centres outside the country, primarily in the US. Some Apple media systems, including parts of its iTunes and iBooks digital content stores, were transferred to servers in China a few years ago, but those systems did not include any personal data.  Related article China’s cyber security law rattles multinationals Businesses warn rules will increase costs and leave them more vulnerable to spying Last year, Apple fought a request by the US government to break down the encryption protections built into its iOS operating system, as investigators sought to access a dead terrorist’s iPhone. Apple also said last year that it had rejected a Chinese demand that it hand over its iOS source code.  The Chinese law means Apple must store its iCloud encryption keys there securely. Apple will retain control of the keys but, in certain instances, such as credit card information, only the user holds the key to their data, meaning the iPhone maker would be unable to comply with any request from law enforcement.  Other US tech groups including Microsoft, IBM and Amazon already offer their cloud infrastructure services in China through local partners. Google has not sought to place any data centres in China. US tech companies have been wary of storing their users’ data in China ever since Yahoo was caught up in controversy surrounding the jailing of two Chinese dissidents in the mid-2000s. Yahoo was criticised by US politicians and human rights activists for handing over emails to the Chinese authorities in both cases. After facing lawsuits from their families, co-founder Jerry Yang was forced to apologise at a US congressional hearing in 2007.  “It’s not a new direction. China has been increasingly requiring different types of data be stored within China,” said Mark Natkin, managing director at Marbridge Consulting. “It’s indicative of an effort China is making to ensure that user data from online and mobile services provided to Chinese users is stored in data centres in China.”  Additional reporting by Yuan Yang Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserve

2017年7月11日 星期二

Google says it wants to make artificial intelligence more people-friendly. With Alphabet, Google faces a daunting challenge: organizing itself

Google says it wants to make artificial intelligence more people-friendly.

New research initiative to make sure humans are not disadvantaged by…

With Alphabet, Google faces a daunting challenge: organizing itself


Google’s self-professed mission is to organize the world’s information. But a company known for engineering excellence is still trying to solve the very human problem of how to organize itself.

Nearly two years ago, Google co-founder Larry Page announced the tech giant would be remade as Alphabet, a holding company whose units would include Google and an array of unrelated pursuits in areas such as healthcare, self-driving cars and urban planning.

Wall Street cheered. Previously those riskier ventures had been lumped into Google's overall financial results. Investors would now see Google’s performance independent of its so-called “Other Bets,” an eclectic collection of 11 ventures. They include Nest, a maker of Wi-Fi enabled thermostats; Calico, which seeks to prolong the human lifespan; and X, the company's secretive research lab.

Alphabet's top management also aimed to boost accountability by appointing chief executives to head each of the Other Bets. Few people in Google's constellation of ventures had ever held the title prior to that.

But so far Alphabet has failed to show it can convert its Other Bets from experiments to businesses with the reach, impact and money-making potential of Google’s core search and advertising operations. Interviews with two dozen former Alphabet executives and employees reveal an organization grappling with how much time and resources Other Bets deserve in the pursuit of profitability.

In the first quarter, which ended March 31, the ventures lost a combined $855 million; that's on top of a collective $3.6 billion loss for 2016. As a whole, Alphabet generated $90.3 billion in revenue in 2016. Google's share of that revenue was $89.5 billion, while its 2016 operating income was $27.9 billion.

Alphabet's early days have seen more pruning than expansion of its holdings.

The company has skinned back plans for Google Fiber, which delivers rapid Internet service in 10 metro areas. This month, Alphabet agreed to sell robotics company Boston Dynamics to Japanese multinational SoftBank Group Corp. It unloaded its Terra Bella satellite imaging business in February.

At one point last year, it was even looking to sell Nest, the largest of the Other Bets, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Google paid an eye-popping $3.2 billion for the start-up in 2014.

(For a graphic showing Alphabet's holdings, see: tmsnrt.rs/2rNgdKN)

Meanwhile, a series of executives have departed since the reorganization, including the heads of Nest, an Internet operation called Access and a venture capital firm known as GV.

An Alphabet spokeswoman declined repeated requests for comment or to make executives available for interviews. Supporters of the restructuring frame the early struggles as typical growing pains.

For now, Wall Street isn't worried: Alphabet's stock is near an all-time high, having reached $1,000 per share in June. Ruth Porat, the no-nonsense chief financial officer who has steered the restructuring, has won rave reviews from investors for enforcing financial accountability across Alphabet.

Some Other Bets have made notable strides. Life sciences initiative Verily recently attracted $800 million in outside investment. Self-driving car project Waymo is considered among the leaders in the burgeoning industry.

Attendees wait for a Google presentation in San Francisco, October 2016. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

Still, it's not yet clear the structure will enable Alphabet to do what most companies cannot: conceive the next wave of innovation in-house or through the development of key acquisitions. That goal is central to both the company's mission and investor expectations, analysts say.

“The reason Google gets to trade at a decent multiple… is because there's a growth story beyond advertising,” said analyst James Wang of ARK Investment Management.


The Alphabet structure is Google’s stab at an age-old corporate conundrum: sustaining innovation within a giant enterprise.

Alphabet's strategy is to give entrepreneurs the autonomy of a startup, coupled with the discipline of a traditional corporate structure.

Roughly once a quarter, Other Bets leaders meet with the Alphabet board – comprised of Porat, Page, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and David Drummond, Alphabet's senior vice president of corporate development – to discuss funding and performance, according to two former employees.

At the same time, Alphabet is establishing separate compensation plans for the Other Bets to reward employees if their ventures succeed, mirroring startup incentives.

The formula has primed Alphabet's emerging businesses for "global impact," Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said this month at the annual stockholders meeting at the Mountain View headquarters.

"There is one solution that we know works well in capitalism, which is boards, shareholders, CEOs," Schmidt said. "My bet is that the traditional lessons of business organization will in fact result in success at Alphabet."

Still, Alphabet top brass continue to hold sway over key strategy and financing decisions, a dynamic that has chafed Other Bets chief executives who've complained they are treated more like chief operating officers than shot callers, according to people familiar with the situation.

In addition, scrutiny from Wall Street limits how generous Alphabet can be in extending Google's resources to Other Bets, said Brian McClendon, a former vice president of engineering at Google.

"As of yet, the restructuring hasn’t provided what I think is one of the immediate benefits, which is risk-taking investment," he said.


Some companies acquired by Google found that being part of Alphabet wasn't what they'd bargained for.

Two former Nest employees said they were promised generous funding and time to achieve profitability following the company's acquisition by Google in 2014. But after the restructuring, Alphabet executives were keenly focused on revenue, one former employee said.

Pricey overhead has made the path to profitability tougher. After the restructuring, Alphabet began charging Other Bets for their portion of shared services such as security and facilities, ending what had previously amounted to a subsidy, people familiar with the situation said. The units also felt pressure to maintain Google perks such as free employee meals.

“One of the pitfalls (of Alphabet) is that those companies are asked to stand on their own two feet, but they may inherit the cost structure of Google," said Nest investor Peter Nieh, a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners.

In early 2016, Alphabet explored selling Nest in an effort code-named Project Amalfi, according to three people familiar with the matter. No deal materialized, and Nest co-founder Tony Fadell departed last year. Fadell declined to comment.

Boston Dynamics, acquired in 2013 during a robotics shopping spree led by Android creator Andy Rubin, enjoyed generous funding at first. But it was adrift after Rubin's departure, two former employees said. Rubin did not respond to requests for comment.


The creation of the Other Bets has also changed what it means to work for Google.

Some grumble that their role now is to subsidize innovation at their sister companies, rather than to innovate themselves.

“It did sort of send the message to people who stayed back at Google, whether in search or in ads: Your job isn’t to push the envelope,” one former Googler said.

Employee transfers to X, the illustrious “moonshot factory,” are more complicated now that it's a separate entity, former employees say.

That’s a striking shift, especially for high-performing employees accustomed to moving about the company almost at will, said Punit Soni, a former Google employee who is now chief executive of Learning Motors, an artificial intelligence startup.

“A basic premise of Google was people could do whatever they wanted,” Soni said. “I can see why people will feel like it’s no longer the old Google."

In the meantime, co-founder Page is pursuing yet another "moonshot": flying cars.

He is the primary investor in Kitty Hawk, a startup in the field that is entirely outside the Alphabet umbrella.

(Editing by Marla Dickerson)

2017年7月2日 星期日

Google Says It Will No Longer Read Users' Emails To Sell Targeted Ads

Google Stakes Its Future on a Piece of Software
Early in 2015, artificial-intelligence researchers at Google created an obscure piece of software called TensorFlow. Two years later the tool, which is ...

Google Says It Will No Longer Read Users' Emails To Sell Targeted Ads
Google will no longer scan emails in Gmail accounts in order sell targeted advertising, the company said Friday. The company will make the change ...

Amazon may be gunning to take on Google Translate
Google first released a language translation service for developers in 2008. Neither Amazon nor Google immediately responded to requests for ...