International coalition joins the call to ban ‘surveillance advertising’

An international coalition of consumer protection, digital and civil rights organizations and data protection experts has added its voice to growing calls for a ban on what’s been billed as “surveillance-based advertising”. The objection is to a form of digital advertising that relies upon a massive apparatus of background data processing which sucks in information […]

India orders antitrust investigation against Google over smart TV market

India’s antitrust watchdog has ordered an investigation into allegations that Google has abused the dominant position of Android in the country’s smart TV market. The news comes hours after the European Union opened a formal antitrust investigation into allegations that Google abuses its leading role in the advertising-technology sector. In its initial review, the Competition […]

Brave’s nontracking search engine is now in beta

Pro-privacy browser Brave, which has been testing its own brand search engine for several months — operating a waitlist where brave (ha!) early adopters could kick the tyres of an upstart alternative in Internet search — has now launched the tool, Brave Search, in global beta. Users interested in checking out Brave’s nontracking search engine, […]

EU is now investigating Google’s adtech over antitrust concerns

EU antitrust authorities are finally taking a broad and deep look into Google’s adtech stack and role in the online ad market — confirming today that they’ve opened a formal investigation. Google has already been subject to three major EU antitrust enforcements over the past five years — against Google Shopping (2017), Android (2018) and […]

Google announces EPYC-based Tau virtual machines for Cloud

Google this morning announced the launch of Tau, a new family of virtual machines built on AMD’s third-gen EPYC processor. According to the company, the new x86-compatible system offers a 42% price-performance boost over standard VMs. Google notably first started utilizing AMD EPYC processors for Cloud back in 2017, while Amazon Cloud’s offerings date back […]

A look inside Google’s first store, opening in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood tomorrow

There have been plenty of pop-ups over the years, but tomorrow Google’s first store opens in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood. The brick-and-mortar model finds the company joining peers like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and even Amazon, all of whom have a retail presence in Manhattan, including several just around the corner from Google’s new digs. The new […]

Google updates its kids online safety curriculum with lessons on gaming, video and more

Google announced today it’s updating and expanding its digital safety and citizenship curriculum called Be Internet Awesome, which is aimed at helping school-aged children learn to navigate the internet responsibly. First introduced four years ago, the curriculum now reaches 30 countries and millions of kids, says Google. In the update rolling out today, Google has […]

On a growth tear, DuckDuckGo reveals it picked up $100M in secondary investment last year

Privacy tech continues cooking on gas. To wit: Non-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo has just revealed that it beefed up its balance sheet at the back end of last year with $100 million+ in “mainly secondary investment” — from a mix of existing and new investors. Its blog post name-checks Omers Ventures, Thrive, GP Bullhound, Impact America […]

Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving arm, raises $2.5B in second external investment round

Waymo, Google’s former self-driving project that is now a business unit under Alphabet, said Wednesday it raised $2.5 billion in its second outside funding round. The company said in a blog post it will use the funds to continue growing Waymo Driver, its autonomous driving platform, and growing its team. The round saw participation from […]

Android announces six new features, emphasizing safety and accessibility

Android shared information today about six features that will roll out this summer. Some of these are just quality of life upgrades, like starring text messages to easily find them later, or getting contextual Emoji Kitchen suggestions depending on what you’re typing. But other aspects of this update emphasize security, safety and accessibility. Last summer, […]

UK’s CMA opens market study into Apple, Google’s mobile ‘duopoly’

The U.K.’s competition watchdog will take a deep dive look into Apple and Google’s dominance of the mobile ecosystem, it said today — announcing a market study which will examine the pair’s respective smartphone platforms (iOS and Android); their app stores (App Store and Play Store); and web browsers (Safari and Chrome).  The Competition and […]

Shopify expands its one-click checkout, Shop Pay, to any merchant on Facebook or Google

E-commerce platform Shopify announced this morning its one-click checkout service known as Shop Pay will become available to any U.S. merchant that sells on Facebook or Google — even if they don’t use Shopify’s software to power their online stores. That makes Shop Pay the first Shopify product offered to non-Shopify merchants, the company notes. […]

Google’s AirTable rival, Tables, graduates from beta test to become a Google Cloud product

Last fall, Google’s in-house incubator Area 120 introduced a new work-tracking tool called Tables, an AirTable rival that allows for tracking projects more efficiently using automation. Today, Google says Tables will officially “graduate” from Area 120 to become an official Google product by joining Google Cloud, which it expects to complete in the next year. […]

Yana’s mental health tool for Spanish speakers nears 5 million users

Andrea Campos has struggled with depression since she was eight years old. Over the years, she’s tried all sorts of therapies — from behavioral to pharmacotherapy. In 2017, when Campos was in her early 20s, she learned to program and created a system to help manage her mental health. It started as a personal project, […]

Google will let enterprises store their Google Workspace encryption keys

As ubiquitous as Google Docs has become in the last year alone, a major criticism often overlooked by the countless workplaces that use it is that it isn’t end-to-end encrypted, allowing Google — or any requesting government agency — access to a company’s files. But Google is finally addressing that key complaint with a round […]

7 new security features Apple quietly announced at WWDC

Apple went big on security and privacy during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote this week, showcasing features from on-device Siri audio processing to a new privacy dashboard for iOS that makes it easier than ever to see which apps are collecting your data and when. While typically vocal about security during the Memoji-filled, two-hour-long(!) […]

This Week in Apps: WWDC 21 highlights, Instagram Creator Week recap, Android 12 beta 2 arrives

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices […]

Google won’t end support for tracking cookies unless UK’s competition watchdog agrees

Well this is big. The U.K.’s competition regulator looks set to get an emergency brake that will allow it to stop Google ending support for third-party cookies, a technology that’s currently used for targeting online ads, if it believes competition would be harmed by the depreciation going ahead. The development follows an investigation opened by […]

Productivity startup Time is Ltd raises $5.6M to be the ‘Google Analytics for company time’

Productivity analytics startup Time is Ltd wants to be the Google Analytics for company time. Or perhaps a sort of “Apple Screen Time” for companies. Whatever the case, the founders reckon that if you can map how time is spent in a company enormous productivity gains can be unlocked and, money better spent. It’s now […]

InfoSum outs an identity linking tool that’s exciting marketing firms like Experian

InfoSum, a startup which takes a federated approach to third-party data enrichment, has launched a new product (called InfoSum Bridge) that it says significantly expands the customer identity linking capabilities of its platform. “InfoSum Bridge incorporates multiple identity providers across every identity type — both online and offline, in any technical framework — including deterministic, […]

Microsoft plans to launch dedicated Xbox cloud gaming hardware

Microsoft will soon launch a dedicated device for game streaming, the company announced today. It’s also working with a number of TV manufacturers to build the Xbox experience right into their internet-connected screens and Microsoft plans to bring cloud gaming to the PC Xbox app later this year, too, with a focus on play-before-you-buy scenarios. […]

Spotlight gets more powerful in iOS 15, even lets you install apps

With the upcoming release of iOS 15 for Apple mobile devices, Apple’s built-in search feature known as Spotlight will become a lot more functional. In what may be one of its bigger updates since it introduced Siri Suggestions, the new version of Spotlight is becoming an alternative to Google for several key queries, including web […]

Voice AIs are raising competition concerns, EU finds

The European Union has been digging into the competition implications of AI-powered voice assistants and other Internet of Things (IoT) connected technologies for almost a year. Today it’s put out a first report discussing potential concerns that EU lawmakers say will help inform their wider digital policymaking in the coming years. A major piece of […]

Google announces the Firmina subsea cable between the US and Argentina

Google today announced its plans to build a new subsea cable that will connect the East Coast of the U.S. and Las Toninas, Argentina — with additional landings in Brazil and Uruguay. The idea here is to provide users in South America with improved low-latency access to Google’s portfolio of consumer and cloud services. The […]

ProtonMail gets a slick new look, as privacy tech eyes the mainstream

End-to-end encrypted email service ProtonMail has refreshed its design, updating with a cleaner look and a more customizable user interface — including the ability to pick from a bunch of themes (dark and contrasting versions are both in the mix). Last month the Swiss company officially announced passing 50 million users globally, as it turned […]

Ring won’t say how many users had footage obtained by police

Ring gets a lot of criticism, not just for its massive surveillance network of home video doorbells and its problematic privacy and security practices, but also for giving that doorbell footage to law enforcement. While Ring is making moves towards transparency, the company refuses to disclose how many users had their data given to police. […]