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.



Google Tez records 4 lakh active users within 24 hours of its launch

Google Tez, digital payment app launched in India touched the benchmark of lakh active users on within 24 hours. The app launched by Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley on Monday saw a total of nearly 1.8 crore gross merchandise, a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Google tez, an app which allows the users to make the digital payments free of charge from their Bank accounts is being designed on Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and is being made to work on the smartphones in the country. With a view of supporting the agenda of Digital India, the app is being made available in English and seven major Indian languages namely Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telegu.

In the partnership with four major banks – Axis bank,  HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India Google has put a step forward to explore the potential in the field of Digital payments in a developing nation.

On the occasion of launch Arun Jaitley said that the idea of Tez was in talks with Sundar Pichai, CEO Google from Januay, 2017. D.D Mishra, the Research Director, Tez stated that “It is too early to say whether it can be a game changer as evolution in this business is going to continue, but yes it has the capabilities to bring some disruption as of now.”


Google sued over gender discrimination

California (USA), September 15: Three former female employees of Alphabet Inc’s Google have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant alleging discrimination in pay and promotions against women.

Kelly Ellis, a former employee of Google, has filed the lawsuit over discrimination against the female staff in salaries, promotions, and advancement opportunities as compared to men. Hired in 2010, Ellis was appointed at a college graduate level even though she had despite having an experience of four years.

The other plaintiffs, apart from Ellis include Holly Pease (hired in 2005), and Kelli Wisuri (hired in 2012) echo Ellis’ allegations of bias against women in promotions. Despite years of experience in their respective fields, the plaintiffs allege of starting their jobs in Google at lower levels as compared to their male colleagues. All of them stated their reason for resignation being “lack of opportunities for advancement for women”.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status covering women working in the largest search engine for the last four years. Filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the lawsuit comes at a time when Google is already facing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor in sex bias in pay practices.

Google had earlier made headlines when a memo written by a senior Google employee, James Damore criticized diversity programs, giving out the reason for the underrepresentation of women in Google as being biological. Google later fired him.

News Sources- BBC, Reuters

Google files an appeal to challenge 2.4 Billion Euro fine

Internet giant Google has yet another bone to pick with the European Union. On Monday, Google filed an appeal at a court in Luxemburg, challenging a whopping 2.4-billion euro fine slapped by the European Union anti-trust authorities, that accused the tech giant of favoring its own shopping services in its web browser search results.

A source from Google confirmed the appeal as per reported in EU had slammed Google in June for favoring its own shopping centers and had given the company 90 days to comply to the appeal.

However, the attempts made by Google to revoke the fine will not serve well. Google will have to invariably pay up.  Instead of which, it can put the amount in a blocked account until the final verdict. Last week, Google also notified EU that it would attempt to meet the demands of the appeal.

In 2009, EU had also filed a similar case to the tune of 1.06 billion Euros on the US chip producer Intel, alleging monopoly in the market by Intel.

This legal battle will extend the existing seven-year tussle with the EU, in addition to a failed effort to settle, that would perhaps affect the crux of Google’s business model.

In the future, EU is expected to develop another case against the tech giant Google for abusing its dominance of internet search to deliberate upon its Andriod mobile operating system.

News Source: ET, Business Standard

Image Source: ET

Walmart partners will Google for voice activated shopping

World’s largest retailer Walmart has joined hands with search engine giant Google to give its customers voice activated shopping experience.

It has been revealed that Google will soon start offering Walmart products to consumers who shop on Google Express which is the firm’s online shopping mall, reported the New York Times.

The partnership between the two firms was announced on Wednesday, August 23 and it is the first time that Walmart has made its products available online.  The news that has been surfacing along with this partnership is that it a testament to the mutual threat both the companies face from the online leader Amazon.

This is Google’s biggest retail partnership and along with offering highly personalised shopping experience, it is a direct completion to Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo device with dominates this area.

Giving his comments on the same, Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart’s US e-commerce business said that voice shopping is becoming a more important part of everyday shopping behaviour. And with this personalised partnership people will be able to shout out generic items like milk or bread, and Google Assistant will know exactly what brand or quantity the consumer wants.

Walmart has claimed that it will be tapping 4,700 stores in the United States for this service.

Sources: NDTV and The New York Times 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai clears air on Diversity policies

On August 10 Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai cancelled a company meeting that was scheduled to discuss the controversial  memo that threatened diversity policies.

The crux of the meeting was engulfed around the personal attacks on the company’s employees from alt-right commentators. But more importantly, the meeting was called to discuss Google’s decision to fire engineer, James Damore, when he posted a memo on Google’s in-house network asserting that the small number of female engineers at Google was because women are genetically inferior or less-suited to software engineering as compared to their male counterparts.

Google then released a statement saying that Damore violated their code of conduct and were starkly against gender stereotypes.

Pichai, in a statement wrote, “Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be ‘outed’ publicly for asking a question in the Town Hall. “In recognition of Googlers’ concerns, we need to step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion.” the Economic Times reported.

In a turn of events, Damore filed a complaint to the National Labour Relations Board saying he was subjected to “coercive statements” at the company

In order to clear the air on Google’s stand on diversity policies, Sundar Pichai addressed a coding event for women on the campus today and assured them in his statement saying “I want you to know there’s a place for you in this industry. There’s a place for you at Google. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”.

Sources: The Economic Times, TechCruch

India starts paying for Apps

Indian consumers spent three times more on smartphone apps in the past year. This has led to India becoming the largest downloader at Google’s Play Store. According to Google this is an inflection point in the country’s digital ecosystem which will allow developers to monetize their creations.

“If there’s one thing that the Indian internet ecosystem has been challenged with, it is monetization. But we have monitored a change, I believe the time has come.” Said Rajan Anandan, managing director, Google India- at Bengaluru in the very first App Excellence Summit. In a country like India where monetization has been difficult, there is a need for experiments on ways to monetize the existing services available. Google plans on building robust payment gateways, involving popular digital wallets. Anandan added “The challenge is that when one would try, it’s going to take a lot of time to make consumers used-to the change. So, the sooner the experiments begin, the better.”

One of the biggest contributing factors is the enormous shift witnessed in the internet ecosystem over the past year. The data rates have fell to as low as Rs.15 a GB, because of Jio causing Airtel and others to provide free data- perfect market. This not only lured users online, but caused a spike in internet usage per person. “In a span of 10 months we have gone from having a large number of users spending hardly any time on the internet to having a large number of users and magnificent rise in time spent online.” Anandan said.

SOURCES: Times of India, Business Standard