Twitter rival Gab sues Google over app store rejection

Gab, a Twitter rival popular with the Breitbart crowd, is suing Google. The lawsuit, filed in Pennsylvania federal court on Thursday, argues that Google violated antitrust laws when it rejected Gab’s app from its Android app store.

Gab says Google rejected Gab to help its business partner Twitter. Google and Twitter signed a data-sharing deal in 2015, and Gab argues the deal gave Google a financial stake in Twitter’s success. The deal “makes the Google search engine immeasurably more valuable,” Gab writes in its lawsuit. As a result of the deal, “the two companies’ user bases have essentially been merged.”

In Gab’s view, the decision to block its app from the Play Store “is intended to, and does, unlawfully protect the financial and strategic benefits it enjoys by virtue of its partnership with Twitter, Gab’s chief competitor, from other competitors.”

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A typical day for researchers on Google’s Brain Team

 What do you and researchers on Google’s Brain Team have most in common? You both probably spend a lot of time triaging email. In a Reddit AMA, 11 Google AI researchers took time to share the activities that consume the greatest chunks of their days. Email was a frequent topic of conversation, in addition to less banal activities like skimming academic papers and brainstorming with… Read More

Upcoming versions of Google Chrome will let you permanently mute sites, block autoplaying videos

 One of the most annoying things about surfing today’s web – besides all those ads, of course – is landing on a site and getting blasted by a video that starts playing automatically. Not only does the experience surprise and annoy web users, it can also consume power and use data – which is concerning for mobile users, in particular. Now Google says it will do… Read More

Europe says “all options on table” for taxing tech giants

 The European Commission is preparing a list of legal options on how to make digital multinationals such as Amazon, Facebook and Google pay more tax, Reuters reports.  Read More

Google Chrome will block autoplay video starting January 2018

Google is taking on the irritating trend of auto-playing web videos with its Chrome browser. Starting in Chrome 64, which is currently earmarked for a January 2018 release, auto-play will only be allowed when the video in question is muted, or when a “user has indicated an interest in the media.”

The latter applies if the site has been added to the home screen on mobile, or if the user has frequently played media on the site on desktop. Google also says auto-play will be allowed if the user has “tapped or clicked somewhere on the site during the browsing session.”

“Chrome will be making auto-play more consistent with user expectations and will give users more control over audio,” writes Google in a blog post. “These changes will also unify desktop and mobile web behaviour, making web media development more predictable across platforms and browsers.”

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Facebook is the latest tech giant to hunt for AI talent in Canada

 Facebook is turning its attention to Canada with a new AI research office in Montreal. Google and Microsoft already have outposts in the city and countless other tech companies, including Uber, have researchers based in Canada. McGill University’s Joelle Pineau will be leading Facebook’s AI efforts in Montreal. Pineau’s research focus tends to lean heavily on robotics and… Read More

Female ex-Googlers sue, claiming sex discrimination

Three women who work for Google filed a lawsuit today alleging the company discriminates against female employees “by systematically paying them lower compensation.”

The lawsuit (PDF), which was filed in San Francisco Superior Court and seeks class-action status, says Google has violated the California Equal Pay Act and other sections of the state labor code.

Much of the allegations mirror claims made earlier this year by the US Department of Labor, which has an ongoing litigation against Google over alleged gender pay disparities. A statistical regression analysis performed by the government found “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.” Google has disputed those claims.

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Alphabet is reportedly mulling a $1B investment in Lyft

 It’s about as good a timing as any for Lyft to capitalize on the tidal wave of negative publicity that Uber is facing right now, and it looks like it might end up with a significant investment from Alphabet in the middle of that train wreck, according to a report by Axios.  That’s not to say that this is directly related to Uber, which has a new CEO and is trying to move on… Read More