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Here is what people searched most on Google in 2018

SAN FRANSICO: The World Cup topped a list of this year's hottest Google search topics that turned quickly to lost stars such as Avicii, Mac Miller and Stan Lee. An annual summary of "top trending searches" released Tuesday by the world's most popular online search engine was meant to reflect fresh subjects or names in which interest rocketed this year. The top term for general search as well as in a news category was "World Cup" football. But, seven of the 10 most keenly pursued new searches for the year…

Google has ‘no plans’ to launch Chinese search engine: CEO

WASHINGTON: Google has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China though it is continuing to study the idea, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told a U.S. congressional panel on Tuesday amid increased scrutiny of big tech firms. Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market. Google’s main search platform has been blocked in China since 2010, but the Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O)…

Google+ shutdown speeds up

SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Monday it would shut down its Google+ social media service in April, four months ahead of schedule, after finding a software flaw for the second time this year that allowed partner apps to access its users’ private data. However, Google said in a blog post that it found no evidence that any other apps had accessed the data, such as name, email, gender and age, using the latest bug. It affected 52.5 million Google+ accounts, including those of some business customers, for six…

Google launches AI-driven audio news feed available on smart speakers

SAN FRANCISCO: Google has said  it was launching a radio-style, on-demand audio news feed available on smart speakers, personalized with the help of artificial intelligence. The technology giant said it had partnerships with more than a dozen news organizations to deliver an audio feed in the same manner as its smartphone news feed. "This new experience will bring you an audio news playlist assembled in that moment, for you," Google product manager Liz Gannes said in a blog post. "It starts with a briefing of top…

Google moves to curb gender bias in translation application

Google said Thursday it was tweaking its translation application with the goal of reducing gender bias. The move comes amid criticism that Google Translate often defaulted to masculine names when it converted text to another language. "Over the course of this year, there's been an effort across Google to promote fairness and reduce bias in machine learning," product manager James Kuczmarski said in a blog post. Up to now, the translate program provided only one translation for a query, often choosing the masculine…

Tech giants in spotlight as EU lawmakers consider strong action

BRUSSELS: Google (GOOGL.O), Amazon (AMZN.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and other tech giants face one of their biggest challenges this week as a key EU lawmaking committee prepares to take a tough stance on legislation designed to curb their power and boost the rights of businesses. In a bid to ensure a level playing field between the tech companies and bricks-and-mortar businesses, the European Commission in April drafted rules to prevent unfair business practices by app stores, search engines, e-commerce sites and hotel booking…

Google accused of manipulation to track users

OSLO: Seven European consumer groups filed complaints against Google with national regulators Tuesday, accusing the internet giant of covertly tracking users' movements in violation of an EU regulation on data protection. The complaints cited a study by the Norwegian Consumer Council that concluded the Internet giant used "deceptive design and misleading information, which results in users accepting to be constantly tracked." Council official Gro Mette Moen charged that "Google uses extremely detailed and comprehensive…

Google outlines steps to tackle workplace harassment

Google on Thursday outlined changes to its handling of sexual harassment complaints, hoping to calm outrage that triggered a worldwide walkout of workers last week. "We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that," chief executive Sundar Pichai said in a message to employees, a copy of which was shared with AFP. Arbitration of harassment claims will be optional instead of obligatory, according to Pichai, a move that could end anonymous settlements that fail…

Facebook, Google tools reveal new political ad tactics

OHIO: Public databases that shine a light on online political ads - launched by Facebook and Google before Tuesday’s U.S. elections - offer the public the first broad view of how quickly the companies yank advertisements that break their rules. The databases also provided campaigns unprecedented insight into opponents’ online marketing, enabling them to capitalize on weaknesses, political strategists told Reuters. Facebook Inc and Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, introduced the databases this year to give details on some…

Google workers walk out to protest office harassment, inequality

SAN FRANCISCO: Hundreds of Google employees and contractors in Asia staged brief midday walkouts on Thursday, with thousands more expected to follow at offices worldwide, amid complaints of sexism, racism and unchecked executive power in their workplace. In a statement late Wednesday, the organizers called on Google parent Alphabet to add an employee representative to its board of directors and internally share pay-equity data. They also asked for changes to Google’s human resources practices intended to make bringing…