Day: May 8, 2019

Trump’s tweet about Workhorse sent its stock soaring on news the electric-truck company is in talks to buy a GM assembly plant in Ohio (WKHS)

Source: Business Insider On:

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  • Workhorse, the electric-truck company negotiating a deal to buy an Ohio assembly plant from General Motors, got a sizable boost in its stock price on Wednesday after President Donald Trump sent a tweet about the deal.
  • Shares of Workhorse Group Incorporated finished the day at $2.65, nearly 215% above the previous day’s close at $0.84 per share. The stock settled at $3.47 in after-hours trading.
  • Workhorse shares have floated around $1 or less for most of 2019.
  • Trump apparently preempted an official announcement about the deal between GM and Workhorse on Wednesday, forcing GM to correct the president’s remarks.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The electric-truck company Workhorse is talking to General Motors about buying its assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

President Donald Trump apparently preempted an official announcement about the deal on Wednesday, after a conversation with GM CEO Mary Barra. The two companies are still in the negotiation phase, according to GM.

The automaker swooped in after Trump celebrated the pending deal on Twitter, saying the “discussions” with Workhorse were ongoing, and that Workhorse founder Steve Burns would buy the plant “upon final agreement.”

Markets had a strong reaction to the news, sending the Workhorse stock up nearly 215% to $2.65 per share. The stock climbed even higher in after hours trading, where it landed at $3.47.

Read more: It looks like Trump just announced GM’s plan to sell its Ohio car factory to an electric-truck company — before GM could

“We remain committed to growing manufacturing jobs in the US, including in Ohio,” Barra said in a statement, “and we see this development as a potential win-win for everyone.”

“Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”

That would be welcome news for the Midwest manufacturing sector hit hard by auto-plant closures — which themselves are due in part to shifts in demand for certain types of vehicles.

Trump has also interpreted the pending deal between GM and Workhorse as a victory for his policy agenda, and a potential boost to his 2020 reelection campaign in Ohio. He won the generally purple state in 2016, taking 51.3% of the vote, after President Barack Obama won the state in 2012.

SEE ALSO: Uber is reportedly set to price its IPO at the midpoint of its target or below, giving it a valuation of as much as $86 billion

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Nest’s product boss says it’s time to rethink what it means to ‘own’ a tech product: ‘We’re not going to allow the owner dictate how our products work’ (GOOG, GOOGL)

Source: Business Insider On:

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  • As technology increasingly shifts from the smartphones in our pockets to smart devices all around us, Google foresees privacy protocols will need to evolve as well. 
  • “It’s not like you can sign a TOS (Terms Of Service) when you enter someone’s house,” Nest’s VP of Product Rishi Chandra told Business Insider in a recent interview. “So we have to be very upfront about how our products work.” 
  • In response, the company released a set of privacy commitments on Tuesday for its smart home devices and services that it says it will follow, starting with Nest Hub Max — which was announced at Google’s annual developer’s conference on Tuesday. 
  • Chandra said part of earning users’ trust in an ambient computing world will be creating a consistent experience across its suite of products. 
  • “Part of this is making us rethink decisions we’ve made in the past,” Chandra said. “[Moving forward] we’re not going to allow the owner dictate how our products work.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As technology evolves from the smartphones in our pockets into a realm of scattered devices that listen, watch and interact with us, Google expects privacy to go through a big change.

For one thing, says Google hardware executive Rishi Chandra, a world of ubiquitous smart devices located in homes, offices and streets means a different relationship between a user and a product. 

“We’re trying to clarify, whether you’re the owner or a friend or a guest — what our products do from a privacy standpoint. How do they work? Why do we have sensors in them? What do the sensors do?” Chandra said in an interview with Business Insider. “It’s not like you can sign a TOS (Terms Of Service) when you enter someone’s house. So we have to be very upfront about how our products work.” 

Chandra is the VP of Product at Nest, Google’s line of home appliances such as smart thermostats, video cameras and the Nest Hub Max that was unveiled at the Google I/O developers conference this week. His products exist in the world of “ambient computing” — a term coined by tech journalist Walt Mossberg to describe the growing array of technology that exists outside our personal devices. 

Read more: Google’s new $229 ‘smart hub’ device has a built-in Nest camera that can recognize your face

With ambient computing, much of the decision making power that users have today on their computers or smartphones will be stripped, Chandra says. For instance, when someone walks into a friend’s home who has a smart speaker, that person doesn’t have control over what information is collected from the conversation — the power lies with the company making the speaker. 

“Because it’s a communal experience, the bar is very different,” Chandra said. “Now all of a sudden, the commitment to privacy isn’t just to me, but to anybody that actually walks into my house.” 

Chandra told us that Google recognized this paradigm shift and the problems it could introduce. In response, the company released a set of privacy commitments on Tuesday for its smart home devices and services that it says it will follow moving forward, starting with the Nest Hub Max. 

Consistency will be key

To gain users’ trust in a world of ambient computing, Chandra said consistency in product design will be key. 

With the Nest Hub Max, for example, anytime the camera is recording, a green status light will shine. That same green light should illuminate on all Nest products when the camera is on so users can make the association, according to Chandra.

But today, that’s not the case. 

On current Nest cam products, users can turn the status light off — even if it’s recording — so that the camera becomes less noticeable. In the future, those kinds of product tweaks will not be allowed. 

Nest Hub Max

“Part of this is making us rethink decisions we’ve made in the past,” Chandra said. “[Moving forward] we’re not going to allow the owner dictate how our products work or how people understand how our products work.” 

Gaining consumer trust will be essential for Google’s efforts to spread its lineup of smart home devices, but could be an uphill battle given the company’s recent track record. In February, Business Insider was the first to report that Google admitted to making an “error” in not disclosing an embedded microphone in its home security and alarm system, Nest Secure. 

“It was a strong reminder that if we screw up, it erodes trust,” Chandra said of the incident. “It forced us to double down on how we are going to institute these [privacy] commitments.”

‘It’s one team now’

Beyond its new commitment to privacy, the Nest Hub Max also signifies a meaningful internal development for Google’s home hardware division. The company said on Tuesday that moving forward, all of its new and updated products will be branded with the “Nest” name. 

The cohesion of brands is a long time coming for Google, which acquired Nest for $3.2 billion in 2014. When Google reorganized into Alphabet in 2015, Nest became a standalone company and wasn’t folded back into Google until 2017

Rick Osterloh

“It’s one team now. One roadmap across the entire organization,” Chandra told us. “A lot of it was breaking the silos — that’s the work we’ve been doing over the past year.” 

To start, the Google Home Hub (the original hub product without a camera) will change its name to “Nest Home Hub.” In the future, when hardware products like Google Wifi come out with new versions, their names will change as well. 

“I’m super excited about the roadmap that we have now,” Chandra said. “But it took us some time to get there because we are changing the vision of where we want to go.” 

Don’t call it a ‘smart home’

That change of vision, Chandra said, comes from the team’s decision to focus its product efforts to build a “helpful home,” not simply, a “smart home.” 

To Chandra and his team, that means making products that are simple — anyone from five to ninety-five years old should be able to understand how to use their products. It also means, that when Nest products are used in conjunction with one another, they should deliver a better experience. “Better together” is the feel-good phrase Chandra likes to use. 

The mantra of building a more helpful Google was echoed on stage by Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai during his keynote speech at I/O on Tuesday, and seems to be how the company hopes to evolve its product offering across the board. 

“In the end, our mission [at Google] is about help,” Chandra said. “If we focus on the tech, I think, if we follow that path, we’ll fail as an industry. If we focus on help and the benefits we give to our users, then I think we have opportunity and upside.”

SEE ALSO: Google’s CEO took a subtle swing at Apple in a new op-ed: ‘Privacy cannot be a luxury good’

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