Google vs Amazon: Youtube to be banned from Fire TV and Echo Show

In an escalating spat, Google has decided to terminate YouTube services from Amazon’s Fire TV and Echo Show devices. This decision was taken in the light of Amazon’s refusal to sell some Google products that would serve as a competition to Amazon gadgets. These products included Chromecast, Google’s streaming device seen as an alternative to Fire TV, and Home, an internet- connected speaker which attempts to compete with Amazon’s market-leading Echo .

In a statement given by Google on December 5, it said, “Given this lack of reciprocity, we are no longer supporting YouTube on Echo Show and Fire TV.’’ However, Amazon didn’t instantaneously respond to a request for comment.

Google hopes to pressurise Amazon into selling its products by denying access to the world’s  most extensively viewed video service. YouTube will be taken off  Fire TV on January 1, 2018, unless the two companies agree upon a truce.

YouTube was to be withdrawn from the Echo Show, although Amazon has in the past found methods to formulate unauthorised versions of YouTube available on its device.

Clashes between Google and Amazon have been persistent since the past few years. An initial sign was Amazon redesigning Google’s Android mobile software for its Kindle tablets. Two years ago, Amazon ousted Chromecast from its store, although the device had formerly been its top-selling gadget.

Apart from abjuring Chromecast and the Home speaker from appearing on its store, Amazon has declined to sell an internet-connected thermostat made by Nest, owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc. Amazon also doesn’t permit its Prime video streaming service on Chromecast, an elision that Google seeks to modify.

This spat reflects the contentions that occasionally stir between pay-TV providers and TV networks during re-negotiation of deals. Here, the two aren’t quarrelling over licensing fees. Instead, they are struggling to position their gadgets and digital services into our daily lives as internet-connected appliances become deeply embedded.

Sources:

Bloomberg , The Indian Express

Youtube to expand work force to keep inappropriate content in check

Youtube has decided to expand its work force to ensure that all forms of extremist content undergo review. Reuters reports that more employees will be hired in 2018 so that all kinds of unsuitable content on the website can be monitored better and taken down promptly. Susan Wojcicki’s, CEO, Youtube in a blog post says that Youtube is attempting to take strict action to protect their users against inappropriate content. This is being done by enforcing stricter policies and bigger review teams.

 The ultimate aim for Google is to increase the total number of people working on the content that violates their policies to 10,000. They want to achieve this by 2018, according to Susan Wojcicki’s. She also mentions that “aggressive action” is being taken on comments and new comment moderation tools will soon be launched.

Last week, Youtube rolled out a new update on their recommendation feature which spotlights videos that users will find most interesting and gratifying. They overlooked concerns that this update might make users fall prey to misinformation and limit dissent since they will be exposed to too many like-minded opinions.

In the recent past, Youtube has faced serious back-lash and criticism from multiple advertisers and advocacy groups because of their inability to monitor the content on their website and the fact that such content may have a lasting impact on the society at large.

Sources:

Reuters, NDTV

Amazon Alexa to hit the business market

Amazon’s Alexa is your new assistant at work. The device takes your command with the help of your voice. The increasing popularity has made the device to enter office spaces. Amazon is on a mission to give Alexa much more power by competing with Apple or Google.
The question that ponders is not the purchasing of Alexa but whether the businesses and conference rooms may trust the device with sensitive information. “Without a doubt, privacy and security is the number one issue,” said Geoff Blaber, analyst, CCS Insight.” Arguably that is more important than the functionality.” he adds.
 
To start off and understand the effectiveness, Alexa would be used for mundane and basic office activities like printing papers before doing anything confidential. Alexa is expected to turn tables with the new Amazon’s product. Its cloud computing software will allow businesses to create customised skills for the device. Specific business related questions, directions, travel and expenses for corporate offices include some of them.
A device like Echo is supposedly told to reduce the stress and overload of tedious tasks at work like, managing calenders, handling conference calls, checking availability of meeting rooms and so on. Alexa sell out has been 11 million already within a year after its launch. Reaching office spaces is the next logical step for the device, as Blaber says.

 

Sources:

Microsoft offers the highest package of Rs 1.39 crore a year

Microsoft, the biggest technology company of US is ready to welcome students from the Indian Institute of Technology with a ransom pay package. The placements for the passing batch of 2018 commences on December 1. Numerous companies are a part of this process, offering impressive offers to grab the most talented engineers from one of the topnotch institutes of India.

According to the Economics times, Microsoft is recruiting students for their Redmond headquarters with an annual pay check of Rs 1.39 crore. The exorbitant salary will include a base income of $108,000, along with performance gratuity of $21,600, joining bonus of $15,000 and stock units worth $70,000. All of this adds to a total of $214,600. As compared to Microsoft’s offer during the previous placement season with a package of $136,000 inclusive of all bonuses, this year’s offer is a remarkable leap.

 Reports from Business Standard stated that one among the chief recruiters is Uber Technologies, the US-based cab aggregator. Uber is set to provide a total package of Rs 99.87 lakh ($155,000), with a base income of $110,000. The other top hirers include Samsung Korea with an offer of Rs 96.8 ($150,000) and Rubrik, an American cloud data management company with Rs 74 lakh ($115,000).

Sources claim students from Kanpur, Bombay, Madras, Banaras Hindu University and Roorkee campuses are more likely to bag such opportunities.

Sources:

Economic Times, Business Standard

Growth rate rebounds to 6.3% as GDP recovers

The data published by Central Statistics Office states that the Indian GDP has grown at a rate of 6.3% in the third quarter of the financial year 2017-18. Following which, it has slowed down to a three year low of 5.7% in the June quarter.

The manufacturing sector has grown by 7% along with mining output and electricity growing at the rate of 5.5% and 7.6% respectively. However, the agricultural sector witnessed a sharp decline from 2.3% to 1.7% in the growth rate.

 The eight core sectors (coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity) constitute 40.27% of the weight of items in the index of industrial production. These sectors have decelerated to 3.5%.

Private consumption declined to a lowly 6.5% whereas the investment demand growth increased up to 4.6%.

The economy reeling from the effects of demonetisation, wherein Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were withdrawn as official mode of payment, has not been able to show major signs of improvement.

Sources:

Livemint, The Hindu

US fuel stock rises unexpectedly

US saw an unexpected rise in fuel stock, despite the oil prices witnessing a sharp decline on November 29 and the cut in trading crude oil. On November 28, a report from the American Petroleum Institute claimed that US crude inventories rose from 1.8 million barrels to 457.3 million barrels within a week in November.

UAE and Russia have confirmed that the output scenario will remain constant throughout 2018. Various economists had different opinion regarding this policy of the oil-rich nation.

According to some experts, an extension should be given which is much needed before shutting down output, mainly to keep the demand-supply balance proportionate. On the contrary, there are a handful of experts who completely disagreed to this. Their claim being, this policy will do no good to the economy.

Nevertheless, the overall opinion as seen by majority of the experts, is that the decision is great indeed for the oil market as well as for a healthy global economy, as reported by Reuters.

Sources:

Moneycontrol, Hindu Business Line

Government to easen GST norms for small businesses

The Goods and service tax regime may have been burdensome for small businesses to get acclimatized to  and although the current norm requires traders with an annual turnover of Rs. 20 lakhs and above to register under the GST system, for the businesses to fully exploit the benefits of the new system it is important that everybody from the raw material trader to the vendor registers under the system.

To this effect, the government is planning an easier set of rules to comply with for the convenience of small businesses with an annual turnover of under Rs 20 lakh.

This decision comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged tax officials to help these traders and small businesses to migrate to the GST rule everyone in the production chain might be cumbersome, the government acknowledges these predicaments, “It should be like Saral (the income tax form), which should be a single-page form with only the sales and purchase details to be furnished,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be named, as reported in the Times Of India.

The registration process might be cumbersome along the chain, but the government has duly noted these predicaments, “It should be like Saral (the income tax form), which should be a single-page form with only the sales and purchase details to be furnished,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be named, as reported in the Times Of India.

Meanwhile, the new compliance mechanism is in its infancy and is being worked out by the Central Board of Excise and Customs. Once the conceptualization is done, the compliance rules will then be finalized by the GST Council.

The main idea is to expand the current tax base while ensuring that those registered under GST and who are doing business with non-registered entities have a fair and legitimate database of their business links.

Sources: Times Of India, Deccan Chronicle 

Image source: Deccan Chronicle