Day: May 17, 2019

‘Love and Bananas’: A Celebrity Finds Her Voice In Elephants’ Plight

Source: Forbes Innovation On:

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The next time your friends show you a photo of themselves riding an elephant, you might wince after watching Ashley Bell’s documentary. It’s the story of rescuing Asian elephants from the cruelty they endure for our “entertainment.” Bell calls it “an action adventure story,” yet it’s so much more.

SpaceX files lawsuit against the federal government — but asks to keep the details under wraps

Source: Geek Wire On:

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A recovered Falcon 9 rocket booster stands tall next to SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

SpaceX today filed a lawsuit against the federal government, apparently protesting a contract bidding process — but asked the court to keep the proceedings under seal and covered by a protective order.

The California-based company said the details had to be kept out of the public eye because they include “confidential and proprietary information and source selection information not appropriate for release to the public.”

SpaceX’s lawyers told the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that the proceedings surrounding the company’s bid protest should be conducted confidentially, under the terms of a protective order, in order to safeguard the competitive process.

In accordance with court procedures, the specifics of today’s complaint were held back from public access, but SpaceX’s motion to keep those specifics under seal is accessible via the court docket. The case was assigned to Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby; no further action on the motion was noted in court documents filed today. We’ve asked SpaceX about the filings, and will update this item with anything we hear.

This isn’t the first time SpaceX has filed a bid protest against the federal government: The best-known case came in 2014 when SpaceX sued the government over the Air Force’s decision to order 36 rocket cores from United Launch Alliance.

At the time, United Launch Alliance — a joint venture involving Lockheed Martin and Boeing — was the only company certified to launch national security payloads for the federal government. After the protest was filed, the Air Force worked out a deal to certify SpaceX for national security launches as well, and SpaceX dropped the suit.

More recently, SpaceX filed a bid protest in February with the Government Accountability Office, focusing on NASA’s award of the 2021 launch of its Lucy asteroid mission to United Launch Alliance. That protest was withdrawn last month.

In both cases, SpaceX argued that it could have provided the contracted goods and services at a dramatically lower price.

Contracts for space services can amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, or billions of dollars, so there’s plenty of incentive for challenging a bidding process that doesn’t turn out the way a bidder expected. Last October, SpaceX missed out on a rocket development contract from the Air Force. Instead, $2.3 billion went to Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance and Northrop Grumman.

There’s an even bigger Air Force launch service procurement competition in the works, and the procedure for the selection process has already generated controversy. But unless more details come to light, it’ll be hard for folks outside the courtroom to know exactly what SpaceX is upset about.

Google keeps a running list of the things you buy. You can’t turn it off, but here’s how to stop Google from using your shopping history. (GOOG, GOOGL)

Source: Business Insider On:

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  • Google keeps a list of your purchases based on receipts emailed to your Gmail account.
  • Google says the information is used to provide personalized services, and is not used to serve ads.
  • There’s no way to turn off the purchase tracking in Google. But you can change your settings to that Google doesn’t use the information about your purchases in the services it provides you.
  • Here’s how to do it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The fact that Google keeps track of information such as search and location history is fairly well-known, considering the widespread popularity of its search engine and navigation app.

But what may be less obvious is the running list that Google keeps of your purchases. The company logs purchases based on receipts delivered to your Gmail inbox as well as items or services you’ve purchased through Google’s services. It’s unclear exactly how long the company has been logging this information, but the page was noted in a Reddit thread from nine months ago and surfaced again on Friday thanks to a report from CNBC.

“To help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings, and subscriptions in one place, we’ve created a private destination that can only be seen by you,” Google said in a statement to Business Insider. “You can delete this information at any time. We don’t use any information from your Gmail messages to serve you ads, and that includes the email receipts and confirmations shown on the Purchases page.”

There doesn’t appear to be an easy way to delete these purchases from your Gmail inbox or the Purchases page other than removing each entry individually. And you can’t actually stop Google from tracking and cataloging your purchases.

But you can prevent Google from accessing and using this information in the products and services it provides you. If you do decide to remove this functionality, for example, you won’t be able to ask the Google Assistant questions about when your packages will be delivered.

To stop Google from using your shopping history, follow the steps below:

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

From Google.com, click on the “Settings” button in the lower right corner.

Then choose “Search Settings.”

Under “Private results,” check the “Do not use private results” option.

This won’t delete the information Google has already stored, or even stop Google from tracking your future purchases. But it will prevent the company from using private information like purchase history in search results and other services moving forward. 

The company also says its looking into ways to further simplify its settings page. 

Google is using its famously sparse homepage to brag about how much it helps the economy, and it’s a telling sign of the tech backlash (GOOG, GOOGL)

Source: Business Insider On:

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  • On Friday, Google began promoting reports outlining its economic benefits on its famously spare homepage.
  • The reports show stats like how many billions of dollars the tech giant has helped generate and how many hundreds of thousands of businesses have leveraged its ad tools.  
  • Google appears to have created these reports since at least 2009, but it’s unclear whether it has ever placed them directly on its homepage until now. 
  • The company’s self-promotion comes as President Trump steps up criticisms of social media platforms, including Google’s YouTube, and as Democratic presidential candidates call for increased regulation of big tech companies.
  • Read more on the Business Insider homepage.

Want to see all the ways Google is helping the economy and creating jobs in your state? Just go to the Google homepage. 

But you don’t need to type a search query. 

Google has put a link to the information front-and-center on its Google.com landing page, one of the most visited pages on the internet.

On Friday, the tech giant began promoting its so-called state economic impact reports on Google.com. The link to the reports is one of the few pieces of information on the famously sparse white page other than the search box and the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

The reports are localized, and what’s displayed depends on the state in which you live. In San Francisco, for instance, Google linked to its California economic report — which shows stats like how many billions of dollars the tech giant has helped generate and how many hundreds of thousands of businesses have leveraged its ad tools.  

Screen Shot 2019 05 17 at 3.20.17 PM

Google’s decision to lobby on its own behalf is interesting timing, given President Trump’s continued barrage on social media platforms, including Google’s YouTube. Just this week, the White House released a tool to report social media bias and censorship on platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

Many of the Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential race are vowing to increase regulation of “Big Tech” companies like Google, Facebook and Apple.

In its quarterly earnings conference call in October, CEO Sundar Pichai took time to talk up the company’s investments in the US economy, a novel talking point that has now become a standard part of the company’s quarterly talks with investors.

Read more: The White House created an online tool for Facebook and Twitter users to report examples of political bias and censorship

Based on online records, it appears that Google has created an annual national economic impact report every year since at least 2009. A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s questions regarding whether this was the first time it has displayed these impact reports on the Google.com homepage.

Google occasionally puts links under its search box to promote major events like the US President’s State of the Union address, and to advertise its own products like the Pixel phones. But the economic impact reports seem of a decidedly wonkier nature for such a heavily visited consumer hub.

Friday’s decision surface the reports is also a reminder of just how much power and reach Google has to spread a message on behalf of itself. 

SEE ALSO: Trump’s new tool for collecting social-media-bias stories has one unusual question on it: Are you a US citizen?

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Facial recognition is almost perfectly accurate — here’s why that could be a problem

Android Circuit: Galaxy Note 10 Leak, Adobe Improves Nokia 9 PureView, Massive OnePlus 7 Pro Launch

Source: Forbes Innovation On:

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This week’s Android Circuit includes the leaked Galaxy Note 10 screen leaks, the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 are launched, Lightroom enhances the Nokia 9 PureView, Honor 20 expectations, and Google’s Fuchsia OS will not challenge Android.

WTIA’s Founder Cohort Program launches new class of 24 startups with inside tips from investors

Source: Geek Wire On:

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Early-stage investors offered advice to startups on the first day of the WTIA Founder Cohort Program. From left: James Newell, Voyager Capital; Elisa La Cava, Madrona Venture Group; Jennifer Savage, Illuminate; Chris Picardo, Madrona; Cameron Borumand, Ignition; Manish Jain, Trilogy; T.A. McCann, Pioneer Square Labs; Heather Redman, Flying Fish. (James Thorne / GeekWire Photo)

A new group of startups tackling everything from business networking to marijuana data analytics have joined the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) Founder Cohort Program.

The year-long experience is geared toward early-stage founders in Washington state who want help growing their companies. It’s led by a team of business leaders that includes 6 Month Startup creator Dave Parker, SeaChange Fund managing partner Susan Preston and Leslie Feinzaig, founder and CEO of the Female Founders Alliance.

Each of the startups is required to have one or more products in development and revenues of less than $1 million. The program, which is free for the companies, comes with a number of perks, including $10,000 in AWS credits, HubSpot discounts and access to Microsoft for Startups. The first class of two dozen startups began their journey last September.

The idea is to give early-stage startups support, networking opportunities and a community of peers. On the first full day of the program, the founders got heaps of advice from Seattle-area investors. Among their tips:

Make good first impressions. “First impressions are, frankly, everything,” said Manish Jain, a principal at Trilogy Equity Partners. Jain said it’s critical for founders to understand an investor’s focus before reaching out and to be tactful in their approach.

Referrals are the best way to get in touch, but there’s nothing wrong with a cold call. “If you fit my thesis, I don’t care that I’ve never heard of you before,” said Heather Redman, a partner at Flying Fish Partners.

Gather a team that people want to invest in. Founders are great, but investors want to know who else is supporting the startup. “We’re betting on team,” said Jain. “Oftentimes, we’re investing on two co-founders, their vision and strategy, and the product market fit.”

The investors also said that, while they might occasionally invest in solo founders, a team of co-founders was preferable.

Know that it’s your job to raise money.  “It’s not a bad thing to get really good at raising money,” said Chris Picardo, a senior associate at Madrona. Fundraising can help founders learn to tell their story, and it can become a significant part of the CEO’s job as a company matures.

But that doesn’t mean all founders should go for venture capital-level investment. For many, the better business decision is to bootstrap or find other sources of funding. “Our money is some of the most expensive that you can take,” said Picardo.

Here’s the full list of startups and founders in the WTIA’s second cohort.

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