Tech CEOs dodge question on whether China steals technology

UNTV News   •   July 30, 2020   •   341

The chief executives of four of the world’s largest tech companies, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc, Apple, and Alphabet’s Google, faced a congressional hearing on Wednesday (July 29) where, amongst other questions, they were asked whether the Chinese government steals technology from U.S. companies.

Rep. Greg Steube of Florida, who presented the question, said he was looking for a “yes or no answer”.

The four executives – Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Apple’s Tim Cook – offered a mixed bag of responses, with Zuckerberg coming closest to a direct answer.

“Congressman, I think it’s well documented that the Chinese government steals technology from American companies,” the Facebook CEO said via videoconference.

The day-long hearing marked the first time the four CEOs have appeared together before lawmakers, and was also the first-ever appearance of Bezos before Congress. (Reuters)

(Production: Pavithra George)

Australia to force Facebook, Google to pay media companies for content

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020

Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move on Friday (July 31) to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world.

Australia will become the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content provided by media companies under a royalty-style system that will become law this year, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

The move comes as the tech giants fend off calls around the world for greater regulation, and a day after Google and Facebook took a battering for alleged abuse of market power from U.S. lawmakers in a congressional hearing.

Following an inquiry into the state of the media market and the power of the U.S. platforms, the Australian government late last year told Facebook and Google to negotiate a voluntary deal with media companies to use their content. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

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Balloon internet service flying high over Kenya

UNTV News   •   July 9, 2020

Alphabet Inc began offering the world’s first commercial high-speed internet using balloons to villagers in remote regions of Kenya’s Rift Valley on Wednesday (July 8).

The technology has been used before, but not commercially. U.S. telecom operators used balloons to connect more than 250,000 people in Puerto Rico after a 2017 hurricane.

The project aims to provide affordable fourth generation (4G) internet to under-covered or uncovered rural communities and has been more than a decade in development.

The service is run by Loon, a unit of Google’s parent Alphabet, and Telkom Kenya, the East African nation’s third largest telecoms operator.

“Kenya is the first country… to have base stations high up in the sky. Now we will be able to cover the whole country in a very short span of time,” said Information Minister Joe Mucheru after launching the service.

According to Loon, the airborne base stations have a much wider coverage, about a hundred times the area of a traditional cell phone tower. The large balloons carry a solar panel and battery, and float in the upper atmosphere, high above planes and weather.

They are launched from facilities in California and Puerto Rico and controlled via computers in Loon’s flight station in Silicon Valley, using helium and pressure to steer.

They also have software equipped with artificial intelligence to navigate flight paths without much human intervention.

During the launch of the service in the vast, semi-arid county of Baringo in the heart of the Rift Valley, Mucheru placed a video call to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Locals used to travel more than 60 km (40 miles) to the nearest towns for an internet connection.

Details of the commercial agreement between Loon and Telkom Kenya have not been made public. (Reuters)

(Jackson Njehia, Duncan Mriri)

Google gives love to all food service workers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 16, 2020

Google’s latest doodle gives praises to the food service workers around the globe amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“To all food service workers, thank you.”

To all food service workers, thank you

Restaurants in the Philippines and other countries have an estimated 70% to 80% revenue loss as of March 2020 due to COVID-19, according to the Unilever Food Solutions Philippines.

However, that doesn’t stop the industry from providing service to its customers.

Grab PH has recorded a rapid demand in food delivery since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Country Head of GrabFood Philippines, EJ Dela Vega, said the demand tripled after the ECQ was announced.

“A lot more people are trying to order food online,” he said.

Grab drivers, including street food vendors and other food service workers are frontlining in the fight against COVID-19. They risk their safety to provide service and earn a living for their family.

Due to this, Google and the rest of the world is giving praises to the sacrifices of food service workers.

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