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Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:42 am

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Over2 million copies sold

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, weve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Lets be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesnt sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it isa dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, lets-all-feel-good mindset that has infectedmodern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

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BT partners with Google to bundle free Stadia with broadband deals in the UK – The Verge

Posted: at 10:42 am

BT is partnering with Google to launch broadband plans in the UK that come with access to the Stadia cloud gaming service. Its a first for Europe, allowing BT to offer a free Google Stadia Premiere Edition with broadband deals direct to consumers. BT, the biggest ISP in the UK, is planning to offer the free kit to customers who opt for the companys Superfast Broadband 2, Ultrafast Fibre 100, or Ultrafast Fibre 250 services. BT is also planning a marketing campaign to promote its Stadia bundles.

Google recommends a connection of at least 35Mbps for Stadia 4K streaming, and the vast majority of the UK will only be able to access the basic Superfast Fibre 2 service from BT, offering average download speeds of 67Mbps. Thats not as superfast as the name implies, and its no guarantee you will get 67Mbps regularly. BTs Fiber To The Premises (FTTP) packages are still being rolled out to homes, and the company expects to offer average download speeds of 145Mbps and 300Mbps through its two Ultrafast deals to 12 million homes this year. If you drop below 100Mbps on BTs FTTP services then the company will compensate you.

BTs deal with Google comes just a day after the promise of more than 120 games in 2020 for Stadia, including 10 exclusives. Thats a big jump from the 26 games currently available, and Google had previously only confirmed four games for 2020. Google is also bringing 4K gaming to the web part of Stadia in the coming months, alongside support for more Android phones and wireless gameplay on the web with the Stadia controller.

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Report: Google wants to bring the Steam game store to Chrome OS? – Ars Technica

Posted: at 10:42 am

Enlarge / Pictured: a hotrod gaming device.

Valentina Palladino / Ron Amadeo

We have a wild report from Android Police this morning, as the site claims that Google is working to bring official Steam support to Chrome OS. Yes, Valve's Steam. The gaming platform. On Chromebooks.

The story apparently comes from a direct source:Kan Liu, the director of product management for Chrome OS. During an interview with Liu at CES, the site says Liu "implied, though would not directly confirm, that Google was working in direct cooperation with Valve on this project." The idea is that, according the Liu, "gaming is the single most popular category of downloads for Play Store content on Chromebooks," and Steam would mean even more games.

There's also the issue that Google already has a gaming-focused solution for Chromebooks: the Stadia game-streaming platform. Stadia offloads game rendering to the cloud and only streams a live video to your Chromebook, so it doesn't require hot-and-heavy gaming hardware. It's a perfect solution for a light, limited Chromebook. A push for Steam on Chromebooks would muddy Google's Chrome OS gaming strategy. Muddying its own strategies with competing products is something Google is really good at, though.

Chromebook hardware has gotten really bloated over the years and can seem pretty far from the original idea of a light, fast Web-focused laptop. Today, you can get Chromebooks with 1TB of storagefor, I guess, a whole lot of Linux and Android apps. A gaming Chromebook would be a thicker, hotter, heavier, more expensive laptop, and I wonder if anyone wants a Chromebook like that. (If they start outfitting Chromebooks with gamer RGB lights, let the record show that the Chromebook Pixel was a trailblazer with its light bar.)

Valve would probably welcome Chrome OS as an official Steam platform with open arms. Steam is more powerful the more platforms it is on, and Valve has been working to reduce its reliance on Windows for some time, with projects like the Linux distributionSteamOS.The advent of Vulkan as a leading graphics API alternative to the Microsoft-built DirectX is also enabling high-end games on non-Windows platforms.

A push for Steam compatibility would be yet another app store Google is bolting onto the once-simple Chrome OS. It used to be a light and simple Web OS. Then Google added Android and the Play Store in 2017. In 2018, it added support for Linux programs. If Steam gets added, that's three major platforms, plus Chrome's extensions and Web apps, that are available on the OS.

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Why Google added little logos next to search results this week – CNBC

Posted: at 10:42 am

Google has added small logos to each search result

You may have noticed Google's search results look a little different this week.

That's because of an effort aimed at clarifying sources of information, according to the company.

Googlehas added small logos to each search result that appear when someone enters a search query on their desktop. For example, a CNN or Fox News logo appears next to results that come from their respective news sites. A big, bold "Ad" logo appears next to advertisements.

But the logos show up for each search result -- not just news and ads.

The company said the new look is an expansion of an announcement it made last summer, which stated it would introduce the new look to mobile devices. This week, it launched the new look on the desktops.

The new look comes as Google and its parent company, Alphabet, face scrutiny from regulators and the public for struggling to contain misinformation. Calls for remedies have grown louder as the 2020 Presidential elections grow closer and the company faces a number of probes included antitrust related to its search business.

When asked for comment, the company directed CNBC to a tweet by "Google SearchLiaison" Monday.

"The format puts a site's brand front & center, helping searchers better understand where information is coming from, more easily scan results & decide what to explore," the company tweeted.

"This new design allows us to add more action buttons and helpful previews to search results cards, all while giving you a better sense of the web page's content with clear attribution back to the source," wrote Google Search senior interaction designer Jamie Leach.

WATCH: How Gmail beat Yahoo and Hotmail to dominate consumer email

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Will Googles more-efficient Reformer mitigate or accelerate the arms race in AI? – ZDNet

Posted: at 10:42 am

The promise of technology is always more for less faster processors at lower prices, thanks to more circuits crammed into the same silicon area.

And artificial intelligence has an analogue, it turns out, based on recent work by engineers at Google, who have found a way to take the "Transformer" language model and make a version of it run in a single graphics processing unit, or GPU, rather than the multiple graphics processing units it normally requires to operate.

That presents users with an interesting choice. If you could choose between getting the top technology in AI in a more easy-to-use fashion, would you opt for that, or would you instead want to stretch the power of your existing computer budget to do more?

It's like asking, Would you like to pay less for a PC or get even more power for what you have been paying? It's a classic dilemma for buyers.

The intent, at least, of Google scientists Nikita Kitaev (who also holds a position at U.C. Berkeley, ukasz Kaiser, and Anselm Levskaya, is to make the power of Transformer available on a budget, an invention they christen "Reformer."

"We believe that this will help large, richly-parameterized Transformer models become more widespread and accessible," they write in the formal paper, posted on the arXiv pre-print server this week. (There's also a blog post Google has published on the work.)

Here's the situation they're addressing. The Transformer approach to modeling sequential data was introduced in 2017 by Google's Ashish Vaswani and colleagues, and became a sensation. The approach of using "attention" to predict elements of a sequence based on other elements near to it became the basis for numerous language models, including Google's BERT and OpenAI's "GPT2."

An illustration of the "locality sensitive" hashing function used in Google's Reformer to cut down on the number of activations that need to be stored in memory. The colors denote vectors close in value that can be grouped together to consolidate storage.

The problem is these mega-models take tons of GPUs to run, mostly because of memory issues, not compute issues. GPUs used for training deep neural networks like Transformer, chips such as Nvidia's V100, tend to come with sixteen or thirty-two gigabytes of memory, and that's not enough to hold all of the parameters of neural nets with dozens of layers of neurons, as well as the matrix of activations of each neuron as the network tries in parallel various pairings of symbols looking for the right matches.

Take for example "XLNet," last year's big leap forward in Transformer capability. Authors Zhilin Yang and colleagues write in their implementation notes that they did all their work on Google's TPU chip, "which generally have more RAM than common GPUs." They do the math as to what fit would take to move it to GPUs: "[I]t is currently very difficult (costly) to re-produce most of the XLNet-Large SOTA results in the paper using GPUs." It would take 32 to 128 GPUs to equal their TPU work, they write.

Also: Google says 'exponential' growth of AI is changing nature of compute

The problem is not just that people are getting locked out of using some forms of deep learning. A deeper concern is that claims about which deep learning neural networks may be making breakthroughs are being clouded by massive engineering resources. Cloud giants like Google may be beefing up resources rather than truly making breakthroughs in AI science. That concern is articulated nicely by Anna Rogers in an article on Thinking Semantics cited by Kitaev.

To make Transformer more accessible, Kitaev and colleagues implement a couple tricks to reduce the memory footprint, such as hashing. Hashing, where a code turns a bit sequence into a different bit sequence, can be a way to reduce the total size of data. In this case, "locality-sensitive hashing" groups vectors that are close to one another in terms of values. These are the "key" vectors used by Transformer to store the words it is going to search through for the attention mechanism.

"For example, if K is of length 64K, for each qi we could only consider a small subset of, say, the 32 or 64 closest keys," write Kitaev and colleagues. ["K" is the matrix of keys and "q" refers to the queries that access those keys.) That eliminates the usual N-squared problem that explodes the number of vectors to store in memory.

The second big thing they do is to reduce the total number of neuron activations that need to be stored. Usually, all of them need to be stored, in order to facilitate the backward pass of backpropogation that computes the gradient of a neural network's solution by traversing the layer activations. That activation storage balloons memory as the number of layers of neurons scales. But Kitaev and team adopt something called a "reversible residual network," developed in 2017 by Aidan Gomez and colleagues at the University of Toronto. Gomez and team adapted the traditional ResNet so each layer's activations can be reconstructed from the stored value of the layer coming after it, so most activations don't need to be stored at all.

Also:AI is changing the entire nature of compute

"The reversible Transformer does not need to store activations in each layer and so gets rid of the nl term," write Kitaev and colleagues, referring to the N layers of a network.

With these efficiencies, they are able to cram a twenty-layer Transformer into a single GPU, they write. They can't directly compare its performance to a full sixty-four-layer Transformer, of course, because the Transformer can't fit in the same single GPU. But they show results that appear competitive.

But now comes the question: Reformer can also operate much faster than Transformer running in the traditional computer footprint, in this case, eight GPUs running in parallel, with the same sixty-four layers as the full Transformer. "Reformer matches the results obtained with full Transformer but runs much faster, especially on the text task, and with orders of magnitude better memory efficiency."

That means that with Reformer running on big iron, you can process potentially millions of "tokens," meaning, the individual characters of a written work. The authors refer to processing all of the text of Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment," 513,812 tokens, with one Reformer on one machine's worth with eight gigabytes of memory. You can imagine that if Reformer is multiplied across machines, it could operate on data at a greatly increased scale.

If you can get even more performance out of Reformer in this way, it raises the question: will you take a Reformer that can run on a single machine and get good results, or will you run it on multiple GPUs to get even more power? Will Reformer reduce some of the arms race aspect of hardware in AI, or will it only provide a new aspect to that arms race?

Too soon to tell, maybe a mix of both. At least, the breadth of choices is now greater.

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Rachel Bovard: Congress has a role to play in regulating Google – Home – WSFX

Posted: at 10:42 am

The Silicon Valley libertarians at Google are spending a lot of money these days to keep the government out of the companys business. But their sudden aversion to government regulation is a newfound religion for Google: the company has been profiting for years off of a sweetheart deal with the government struck in 1996 a government subsidy which Google no longer deserves.

Blockbuster reporting from the Wall Street Journal reveals that Google is no longer the neutral search platform they have long led consumers to believe they were.

It is not possible for an individual employee or a group of employees to manipulate our search results, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Congress. We dont manually intervene on any particular search result.

GOOGLE PARENT COMPANYS LEGAL CHIEF IS LEAVING FOLLOWING MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS

Except, it turns out, they do. And on quite a large scale. In fact, subjectivity underpins Googles entire search business.

Google uses tens of thousands of individual contractors to manually shape search results based on a set of internal company criteria, as well as subjective contractor opinion. The company also uses its engineers to tweak its algorithms on behalf of business interests. Chillingly, the company intentionally modifies results around inflammatory topics like abortion and immigration in an effort to steer political discourse. This is in addition to using blacklists to block sites or terms from appearing in search results.

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Google does all of this in blatant violation of what it tells users and lawmakers and of the terms of protection it has from the federal government.

The tech industrys arrangement with the federal government dates back to 1990s, in the infancy of the internet, when Congress passed the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 of the law was intended to spur online discourse by giving present and future internet companies immunity for content posted by their users in order to create forum[s] for a true diversity of political discourse.

In other words, lawmakers envisioned internet platforms as merely that neutral platforms. Giant bulletin boards where people could post content without interference, except for, as the law described, content which companies in good faith deemed to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable. (Courts have held that otherwise objectionable content must be similar to obscenity, violence, or harassment.)

Its a lucrative arrangement, unique to tech. No other outlet of ideas has the same protection. And it has contributed to turning outlets like Google from dorm room projects to the worlds most dominant billion-dollar company.

But its all contingent upon Google continuing to act as the neutral bulletin board. The platform, as it were, merely a host for ideas not as a publisher, with editorial control and subjective determinations around content.

But based on the Journals reporting, as well as multiple whistleblower claims, Google is far from a neutral arbiter. Rather, they engage in significant search manipulation and editorial control, ranking results based on subjective criteria, individual bias, and non-transparent internal editorial guidelines.

Put simply, they are no longer the neutral platform the law envisioned. They are a publisher. And the law ought to treat them as such, stripping them of the Sec. 230 protection whose terms they no longer meet.

When presented with the possibility of losing their government protection, Google and their backers howl that Sec. 230 is vital to their survival; that without it, they would have to allow exploitive and abusive content to flourish, for fear or being sued.

Its nonsense. Responsible moderation and outright search manipulation are two different and mutually exclusive behaviors, and in fact, a distinction which Sec. 230 requires.

As Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has pointed out, the ability to responsibly moderate content is not also a license to engage in political censorship. Tech companies can support or oppose whatever political causes that they want and engage in the good faith moderation the law allows. But the moment they begin to pick and choose what gets posted or amplified based on subjective determinations, the law demands they should be held accountable for the criteria with which they moderate their users. And this means losing the Sec. 230 protection.

Google isattempting to have it both ways benefiting from government protections while claiming that any change to their sweetheart deal is unwarranted government meddling.

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It doesnt work like that, and hopefully, lawmakers are smart enough to begin to catch on.

Sec. 230 may be a sweetheart deal for Google, but its turned sour for the rest of us. Its time for Google to engage in radical transparency and real reform, or for Congress to take away the government subsidy they no longer deserve.

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Google Maps keeps a detailed record of everywhere you go here’s how to stop it – CNBC

Posted: at 10:42 am

A log of my trip to Bristol, RI.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Google Maps tracks everywhere you go on your iPhone or Android phone, and then keeps a log of this information in a "Timeline" that shows you everywhere you've been.

This includes a creepy level of detail, like exactly when you left work, when you arrived at home, the exact route you took along the way, pictures you took in specific locations and more. It'll show you if you were driving, walking or on a train, and any pit stops you might have made during your journey.

Sometimes this information can be useful, like if you want to remember the restaurant you ate at on Nov. 7 in New York City. (For me, it was Philippe Chow), and what you did before and after that.

Here's an example of that day, including my stop for lunch, and a meeting I took with Snapchat on the Upper West side earlier in the day.

Google Maps Timeline shows you everywhere you've been, and how you got there.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

If I zoom in, you can see the exact route I took to get there and where I parked. It's wild:

Google Maps Timeline shows everywhere you were on a certain day.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

There's no reason Google needs to know this much information about you, unless youreallycare about things like Google's recommendations based on where you've been (like restaurants you might like). There are a few ways you can reclaim your privacy.

First, here's how to delete everything Google Maps currently knows about you:

Choose "Delete all Location History."

Todd Haselton | CNBC

I also recommend that you set it up so Google automatically deletes all this location data every three months. Here's how:

Set Google Maps to automatically delete your location history.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

If you're really paranoid, you can turn it off entirely so Google Maps can't track you at all. Just do this:

Choose the option to pause Location History.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Or, if you don't mind Google tracking you day to day but just want to stop it for a little while, you can turn on Incognito mode in Maps by doing this:

Google Maps incognito mode (as shown on an Android phone.)

Todd Haselton | CNBC

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Google Health VP on Ascension partnership: ‘The press has made this into something it’s not’ – Healthcare IT News

Posted: at 10:42 am

SAN FRANCISCO This past year, Google found itself inthe spotlight of a nationwide debate on health data privacy when a Wall Street Journal scoop brought to light its data sharing deal with Ascension Health. Subsequent reporting, however, confirmed that Google had done nothing wrong legally, even as conversations about the ethics of this kind of data sharing continue.

At the Startup Health Festival on the outskirts of the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference here this week, Google Health VP Dr. David Feinberg opened up to Startup Health CMO Dr. Howard Krein about the debacle, speaking candidly about the companys dealings with Ascension, as well as his disappointment with the medias handling of the news.

The press has made this into something that it's not, Feinberg said. This is not us mining somebodys records to sell ads, to learn from it, to do machine learning, to develop products. We developed this on de-identified data. We brought this to Ascension. We're piloting with them.

"Every doctor that is using it, of course, is aware because they see a Google search bar on their patients record," he added. "It wasn't in secret. And so we're actually really, really proud of the work. And we hope that we can demonstrate a real improvement in care, less physician burnout and more joy into taking care of people.

Specifically, Feinberg said, Google is working with Ascension in several ways, which have sometimes been conflated in the reporting that was done. Two are straightforward and dont involve Google seeing any data: Ascension uses Googles cloud services and some G-suite tools.

And then they asked us, in two hospitals, to do something special, Feinberg said. Two hospitals, not three quarters of the United States like the Wall Street Journal said. In two hospitals they said, 'Could you help us organize that health record?'

Dr. David Feinberg, Google Health

For Google, its a low-hanging fruit project because search is at the heart of the tech companys core competency but search in healthcare is behind the times.

As a practicing clinician, if you go into these health systems, it's like finding a needle in a haystack to try to find a piece of information, he said. And you really have a view just for Epic or Cerner. You don't necessarily have a view on that patient for the other parts of their record that aren't in the Epic and Cerner. So we brought in the Google technology for search and created a unified platform for doctors and nurses at two hospitals to search their patients individual records.

For that functionality, Feinberg admitted, Google employees did need access to some patient data. But he maintains that they managed that access in a legal, responsible way.

It's a business associates agreement, he said. Ascension has 600 business associates agreements. When you go to any doctor's office, any hospital, they give you a privacy form that says we're gonna keep your information private, but we have third parties that we've worked with, like Epic, Cerner, a lab or maybe Mayo Clinic specialty diagnostics, life insurance companies, billing companies that are going to have to see part of your record to do what we've asked them to do. We had been asked and the only thing we did was organize the record. We just put it in a way that it was searchable. That's all we did.

Google and Ascensions partnership, and the reaction to it, has highlighted a knowledge disconnect between the industry and the public around what HIPAA does and doesnt do. But Feinberg thinks the sort of reaction that transpired represents a risk to health tech reform.

I think that very often fear is used to sort of quell innovation Oh, people are going to have access to your records, nothing is going to be secure and then that creates this fear, but it really is more hurtful to innovation than it is helpful to secure data, he said.

Much of the criticism in the WSJ piece and subsequently focused on the fact that patients werent informed that Google would have access to their data. This is true, Feinberg said, but not really remarkable.

Nobody goes over all 600 business associates agreements, he said. But we keep thinking about this one, how we can get more agency there and more understanding there. We do appreciate that we're in a somewhat unique position in that we're also a consumer company and there's there's worry that we're combining stuff. We're not combining stuff, but to build that trust I think we really have to think about ways we can give people agency to understand what's going on in this particular instance where we may be exposed to private health information.

Feinberg didnt spend his whole time on stage talking about search and Ascension. He highlighted additional work Google is doing around diabetic retinopathy screening in India and Thailand and some promising work the company has done applying AI to mammography and kidney screening. But none of that good work can reach its full potential without bridging the trust gap brought to light by the reaction to the Ascension partnership.

If you don't trust us and we can't bring [innovation] in a way that actually makes it easier, that's comprehensible, that's affordable, that's dignified, that's culturally sensitive if we can't make it the way that I would care for my own family then I don't care how good the AI is. It's not going to work. So we're really, really focused on understanding what people need, especially on the consumer side and the deep, deep relationships on the provider side.

"It would be a shame on us if we can't get this technology into the real world because we don't act in a humble way, we don't act in a thoughtful way, and we don't appreciate how hard it is to be a caregiver," he said.

Jonah Comstock is Director of Content Development for HIMSS Media.Email: jonah.comstock@himssmedia.comTwitter: @JonahComstock

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Googles Takeover of Fitbit Faces Another Regulatory Hurdle – Motley Fool

Posted: at 10:42 am

Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google agreed to buy wearables maker Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) for $2.1 billion last November. It initially seemed like a win-win deal: Google would strengthen its wearables presence to counter Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Fitbit would be salvaged after years of decelerating sales growth.

Yet the deal alarmed some consumers and privacy advocates, who worried that Google would mine Fitbit's user data to craft targeted ads. Both companies declared that wouldn't happen, butsome Fitbit users still deleted their accounts and dumped their devices.

Image source: Fitbit.

In December, the New York Post claimed that theDepartment of Justice could look into the acquisition and the privacy concerns regarding Fitbit's health data. The investigation would reportedly mark an expansion of the broader antitrust probe of Google by the DOJ that started last September.

Those developments already cast a dark cloud over the deal, but another hurdle recently appeared when Dutch electronics giant Koninklijke Philips (NYSE:PHG) claimed thatFitbit, Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN), distributor Ingram Micro, and two Chinese manufacturers had violated its patents.

That complaint caused the U.S. International Trade Commission to launch a new investigation into all four companies. Could this spell even more trouble for Google's plans to buy Fitbit?

Philips claims that Fitbit and Garmin's wearable devices infringed on its activity tracking, alarm reporting, and motion sensing patents. The company claims it had been negotiating settlements with the companies for three years before the talks collapsed.

If the ITC sides with Philips, Fitbit and Garmin's products could face high tariffs or complete sales bans on all disputed products. In the past, companies have often used ITC rulings to force other companies into settlements instead of slugging it out in longer civil suits.

Speaking to Reuters, a Fitbit spokesperson stated that the claims were "without merit and a result of Philips' failure to succeed in the wearables market." Philips previously entered the wearables market with its Health Watch in2016, but the device failed to stand out in a crowded market which was dominated byApple, Xiaomi, Samsung, and Huawei.

Image source: Fitbit.

Phillips has repeatedly leveraged its patent portfolio to launch lawsuits at other companies, including Nintendo (OTC:NTDOY) and Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), sparking widespread allegations that it was becoming a "patent troll."

Those lawsuits bore mixed results. Some instances, like itscase against Lowe's and other companies over LED lights, were terminated by the ITC.Others, like its case against Nintendo over motion sensors in its Wii hardware, resulted in settlements. Therefore, there's a significant chance that Philips could force Fitbit and Garmin into unfavorable settlements.

The DOJ and ITC probes will likely delay Google's planned takeover of Fitbit, which was expected toclose this year. Google agreed to buy Fitbit for $7.35 per share in cash, but the pressure from regulators and Fitbit's own disappointing quarterly results could cause the stock to slide lower before the deal closes.

Those delays could also make it tougher for Google to execute its post-Fitbit wearable plans. Fitbit already tethers its users' data to Google Cloud, so the takeover should lead to the full integration of Fitbit's data into Google's ecosystem -- even if it isn't used for targeted ads.

That combination would complement Alphabet's other life science ventures, including Verily, which develops AI solutions, medical devices, and wearable devices for healthcare applications; and Calico, which is researching treatments for age-related diseases. It would also complement Wear OS, its operating system for smartwatches, and Google Fit, its mobile dashboard for fitness apps.

All those moves would widen Google's moat against Apple and other tech giants in the growing digital health market. However, these regulatory headwinds indicate that investors should expect significant delays before the deal closes -- which could cause Google to fall further behind Apple and other market leaders in the wearables race.

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This Is How Your iPhone Is A Cool New Way To Access Google – Forbes

Posted: at 10:42 am

Google has made a change that allows you to use your Apple iPhone to access services such as Gmail.

Your Apple iPhone can now be used as a cool and secure way to access your Google services. Thanks to a change made by Google, your Apple iPhone now works as a physical security key to authenticate you when using Gmail and other Google services, according to9to5Google.

It is the extension of asecurity featureintroduced last April that allows Android users to use their smartphones as a security key to open their Google accounts.

According to oneGoogle cryptographer, it works by utilisingthe Secure Enclaveon Apples A-Series chips. But it should be noted that the ability to use your iPhone as a security key only works in the Chrome and some other Chromium-based browsersat least for now.

Its still a pretty cool feature. As I have said before,security keys such as the Yubico YubiKey are a great extra layer of security for your accounts. Using a security keyin this case your iPhonehelps protect you from phishing attacks, where a hacker may try to persuade you to enter your details on a fake site. Its also more secure than SMS based authentication.

Google offers astep-by-step guideon its Help Center. First, ensure your iPhone is running iOS 10 or later. Youll also need to installthe Google Smart Lockapp, which has now been updated to support iPhones.

Go tomyaccount/securityusing your browser, then you will need to register your Apple iPhone as a method of two-factor authentication. You can do this by clicking Add Security Key > Select Your iPhone > Add. Then follow the on-screen instructions.

When using your Apple iPhone as a security key to sign in to new devices, make sure Bluetooth is turned on for both. Then check your iPhone for a Smart Lock notification, tap the notification and say Yes to sign in.

In addition to Chrome, the feature appears to work in some other Chromium based browsers. Security researcher Sean Wright, who tried it out using an iPhone XS onBrave, calls the feature pretty slick.

However, iPhones dont work as a security key in every Chromium based browser. The function doesnt work innewly-launched Microsoft Edgeyet, but it may be added later.

Your iPhone as a security key is a great thing, because it isnt necessary for you to buy another piece of hardware to try out this method of authentication.

It is a lot more user friendly than a verification code, says security professional John Opdenakker. However, he points out that one drawback is the fact the function isnt available in all browsers yet.

He also points out that the fairly lengthy set up involving an app might be too much of a barrier for less tech savvy users.

Indeed, says Jake Moore, cybersecurity specialist at ESET, the toughest hurdle in persuading people to try two factor authentication is making them set it up. It will only gain maximum uptake when it is handed out on a plate and easy to implement.

However, Moore encourages users to try out this new iPhone feature: Hardware security keys are an excellent way of adding an extra layer of security without delaying you when accessing your accounts.

So, should you use your iPhone as a security key? If you dont mind using Chrome or a compatible Chromium based browser, I would say yes, especially if you havent tried out security keys before. Its a great way to get started.

For more information onusing security keys, Id also strongly advise you to watch myvideo demoon how to use a YubiKey in iOS 13.3.

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This Is How Your iPhone Is A Cool New Way To Access Google - Forbes

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