The European Union on Wednesday ordered Google to pay 1.49 billion euros ($1.69 billion) for stifling competition in the online advertisement sector. The European Commission said Google had placed exclusivity contracts on website owners, stopping them from including search results from Google’s rivals. The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said Google had prevented rivals from being able to “compete and innovate fairly” in the online ad market.
Google is expected to unveil a new streaming game service at the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week. The tech giant will be making its foray into online gaming, joining Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo in a $140 billion industry. Google has kept the project carefully under wraps and not much is known about the service, set to debut Tuesday, March 19. There is expected to be both a software and hardware component to Google’s announcement.
A consortium of global technology firms has shared on its collective database the digital fingerprints of more than 800 versions of the video of New Zealand’s mass shootings that killed 50 people, it said on Monday. “This incident highlights the importance of industry cooperation regarding the range of terrorists and violent extremists operating online,” the grouping, which includes Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter Inc, said of the attack. The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) was created in 2017 under pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of deadly attacks.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are all experiencing outages, preventing users from accessing the apps. Figures suggest there has been a partial outage across its apps since 4pm GMT, making it one of the longest outages the company has suffered in the recent past. “We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” the company posted on Twitter, adding that the outages were not due to a DSoS attack.
The Samsung Unpacked 2019 event in San Francisco kicked off Wednesday featuring the newest model of its flagship Galaxy S line and the long-awaited Samsung Galaxy Fold, a foldable smartphone that can turn into a tablet. The Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch display in phone mode and opens into a 7.3-inch display. The unique device also touts multiple batteries — one for each side of the fold — and six cameras.
Technology giant Facebook has announced plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. The merger is intended to create “the best messaging experiences” for the billions of users around the world who use the Facebook-owned apps. The apps will remain distinct from each other, although the underlying messaging infrastructure would be unified, according to people familiar with the matter.
Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are getting a divorce after 25 years of marriage, according to a joint statement put out Wednesday on the Amazon CEO’s Twitter account. “After a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” the couple said in the statement. Bezos, 54, and MacKenzie, 48, met and got married while working at D.E. Shaw, a New York-based hedge fund, in the early 90s. Shortly after, they packed up and moved across the country to Seattle, where Bezos launched Amazon.
Hyundai has shown off a small model of a car it says can activate robotic legs to walk at 3mph (5km/h) over rough terrain. Also able to climb a 5ft (1.5m) wall and jump a 5ft gap, the Hyundai Elevate could be useful for emergency rescues following natural disasters, it said. It was part of a project exploring “beyond the range of wheels”, it added. The concept has been in development for three years and was unveiled at the CES technology fair in Las Vegas.
Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google unit won approval from U.S. regulators to deploy a radar-based motion sensing device known as Project Soli. The FCC said the Soli sensor captures motion in a three-dimensional space using a radar beam to enable touchless control of functions or features that can benefit users with mobility or speech impairments. In a video on its website, Google said a user could operate a smart watch, scroll through music or adjust the volume by simply motioning using the system.
SpaceX on Sunday successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket, which is carrying a $500 million GPS satellite made by Lockheed Martin, in its first national security mission for the U.S. military. The blastoff, which had been delayed Tuesday because of an unspecified problem with the rocket and also delayed Saturday because of high winds, lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral at 8:51 a.m. ET.