Archive for Google

Google Analytics Declared Unlawful In Denmark

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 22, 2022 by itnerd

Denmark yesterday declared the use of Google Analytics unlawful. The Danish Data Protection Agency concluded that the tool would require the ‘implementation of supplementary measures in addition to the settings provided by Google’. The Agency stated that the decision represents a common European position among the citizens whose personal data is protected. Here are the key details:

The Danish Data Protection Agency has looked into the tool Google Analytics, its settings, and the terms under which the tool is provided. On the basis of this review, the Danish Data Protection Agency concludes that the tool cannot, without more, be used lawfully. Lawful use requires the implementation of supplementary measures in addition to the settings provided by Google.

In sort, if you’re in Denmark you can’t use Google Analytics. Full stop.

Mark Bower, VP of Product Management of Anjuna Security:

     “The ever-expanding bulk collection of consumer data and its handling will continue to land under the EU regulatory microscope, especially with the recent expansion of GDPR scope around inferred data following recent rulings in Lithuania that propagate across the union. Under this new extension, data that is derived from personal data is considered in scope. If breached, it has the same consequence as primary personal identifiers including massive fines. This has sweeping impact and risk for organizations: traditional approaches to compliance that often assume the personal data can be identified in advance of collection and then protected it may no longer work or be fit for purpose, especially with machine learning models where new derived outcomes and inference are coveted by data processors across industry, especially ad-tech, payments, financial services and retail. Organizations handling personal data must therefore look at more thorough and innovative protection strategies in addition to carefully analyze the risk of bulk collection itself. It’s no surprise then that the top of the data food chain is the first to be put in the spotlight – but they will not be the last”

You have to assume that a bunch of people at Google are not happy about this as gathering data and making money off of it is their core business. And I would not be surprised if other places on the planet start to do similar things.

Sucks to be Google.

Google Closes Its Acquisition Of Mandiant

Posted in Commentary with tags on September 12, 2022 by itnerd

Google LLC today announced the completion of its acquisition of Mandiant, Inc., a recognized leader in dynamic cyber defense, threat intelligence and incident response services. Mandiant will join Google Cloud and retain the Mandiant brand.

Google and Mandiant share a long commitment to industry-leading security. Over the past two decades, Google has innovated to build some of the most secure computing systems in the world. Google Cloud customers and partners benefit from these pioneering security capabilities including world-class threat intelligence, zero trust architecture, and planet-scale analytics for security operations. Mandiant, which is known for delivering unparalleled frontline expertise and industry-leading threat intelligence, is a proven first responder to the world’s largest cybersecurity incidents. Mandiant’s services, delivered by their team of security and intelligence individuals spread across 22 countries, are widely recognized for helping top enterprises and organizations prepare for and react to cybersecurity incidents.

With this acquisition, Google Cloud and Mandiant will deliver an end-to-end security operations suite with even greater capabilities to support customers across their cloud and on-premise environments.

Organizations today are facing cybersecurity challenges that have accelerated in frequency, severity and diversity, creating a global security imperative. Enterprises need to be able to detect and respond to malicious actors quickly, with actionable threat intelligence to continually protect their organizations against new attacks.

For more information, see the Google Cloud blog and Mandiant blog.

Three Canadian Startups Joining Google For Startups Accelerator: Black Founders 2022 Cohort

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 30, 2022 by itnerd

Building on Google’s support for underrepresented founders in the startup community, we’re pleased to announce that 12 Black-led North American startups will be joining our class of 2022 for the Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders program. This year’s cohort welcomes three incredible Canadian Black-led startups including Beam.city DNAHumanSquad Inc. and Node App. This news comes off the heels of their recent announcement of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Womens Founders 2022 cohort last week.

Research highlights ongoing systemic challenges faced by Black-led businesses along the journey to grow their business including a lack of equitable access to funding, personal development and mentorship opportunities – with these barriers to entry perpetuating the lack of underrepresentation in the startup community. 

Now in its third year, the 10-week digital accelerator program is designed to provide access to vital resources including the best of Google’s programs, products, people and technology–fostering an inclusive environment to help black-led startups scale and grow their businesses.

Please see the full blog post with additional details here. Here’s more on the participating North American startups below. 

  • Beam.city DNA (Toronto, Ontario): Beam.city DNA is a growth coordination AI Platform helping businesses maximize growth using ads, email and social. 
  • Ed.Light (Melrose, Massachusetts): EdLight is a platform using AI to better read, interpret and digitize handwritten student work, reducing misconceptions and increasing equity amongst students, teachers and families. 
  • HumanSquad Inc. (Toronto, Ontario): HumanSquad is an immigration technology company simplifying the immigration & study abroad system by empowering immigrants everywhere with the resources, products and personalized support to immigrate conveniently and affordably.
  • Innovare (Chicago, Illinois): Innovare’s app aggregates and displays data from a variety of systems to empower education leaders to make data-driven decisions that positively impact students and communities.
  • Mozaic (Chicago, Illinois): Mozaic is an API-first global payment platform built for co-creators on any project, anywhere. Mozaic provides smart contracts that automate split income among creative teams.
  • Node App (Toronto, Ontario): Node is a gig marketplace that lets small businesses hire local influencers in their neighbourhood.
  • Onramp (Oakland, California): Onramp is a workforce development platform helping companies build more diverse candidate pipelines by providing them with a mechanism to invest in skills development for current and future candidates. 
  • Paerpay (Boston, Massachusetts): Paerpay is a contactless payment and loyalty experience for restaurants and their guests that doesn’t require a new POS system.
  • SmartAlto (Brimingham, Alabama): Smart Alto is a conversational sales platform for local service providers, enabling them to set meetings with clients without cold calling.
  • TurnSignl (Minneapolis, Minnesota): TurnSignl is a mobile platform that provides real-time, on-demand legal guidance from an attorney to drivers, all while their camera records the interaction.
  • WearWorks (Brooklyn, New York): WearWorks is a company that uses the skin as a communications channel to deliver information. Their product, Wayband, is a Haptic navigation app and wristband that gently guides users to a destination using vibration. without visual or audio cues.
  • XPressRun (Louisville, Kentucky): XpressRun is a platform that enables Same Day & Next Day delivery at competitive rates for Direct-to-Consumer brands who maintain their brand identity throughout.

Three Canadian startups joining the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders Program Class of 2022

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 24, 2022 by itnerd

Google has announced that 12 startups from across North America will be participating in the 2022 Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders program! With challenges of gender bias and systemic discrimination ongoing for women founders, the 10-week program is designed to give women founders technical support and mentorship opportunities to help scale their business. This year’s cohort features 12 women-led startups from Canada and the US. 

Among the cohort, Google is thrilled to share three Canadian women-led startups including MedEssistBlossom Social and Emaww joining the program this year. 

Now in its third year, the accelerator program continues Google’s commitment to support women entrepreneurs by creating a more inclusive and equitable startup ecosystem for the incredible startup founders who are building great businesses, in spite of barriers to access and other systemic challenges. 

You can read the full blog post here with additional details on the participating North American startups below. 

Arinitra (Austin, Texas): Arinitra helps hospitals and clinics save time and maximize reimbursement by automating their medical coding.

Blossom Social (Vancouver, British Columbia): Blossom is building Canada’s first social brokerage, combining mobile-first stock trading with a social community for investors. On Blossom, users can see the portfolios and trades of friends and top investors and discover new investment ideas and insights – empowering people to not only make trades but learn from and discuss investments with the community.

CIRT (Athens, Georgia): CIRT builds software and uses AI to digitize the circularity of products and packaging for the modern world, helping customers go to zero waste. 

CyDeploy (Baltimore, Maryland): CyDeploy provides an intelligent, automated configuration and patch testing solution that positions customers to make security changes quickly and with confidence.

Emaww (Montreal, Quebec): Emaww provides the most advanced and least intrusive emotion analytics for websites to better user experience and improve their digital well-being with emotional intelligence.

Farm Generations (Germantown, New York): Farm Generations Cooperative builds fair technology for the future of small farms.

Hound (Denver, Colorado): Hound is building the future of work in veterinary medicine through verticalized and consolidated technology. Hound provides solutions for modern recruiting, veterinary employee engagement technology and distributing of at-home veterinary care.

Generable (New York, New York): Generable develops best-in-class Bayesian machine-learning models to improve efficiency of Oncology drug-development.

MedEssist (Toronto, Ontario): MedEssist is a healthcare delivery platform enabling digital health, diagnostic, and pharmaceutical companies to leverage a pharmacy’s physical space and trusted health professionals to scale innovative solutions.

NOTICENINJA (Fort Myers, Florida): NOTICENINJA is a Digital Notice Compliance Platform that is innovating the way companies manage and resolve agency notices. It converts paper notices and manual processes into automated digital workflows that provide resolution pathways for users to follow.

Zero5 (San Mateo, California): zero5 transforms parking garages from simple storage spaces into tech-enabled mobility service hubs through automation.

12 Canadian Startups Selected For The 2022 Google For Startups Accelerator Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2022 by itnerd

12 startups from across Canada have been selected to participate in our 2022 Google for Startups Accelerator Canada program. 

  • Fillip (Calgary, AB) is the first digital payments platform built for business fleets of all sizes. It gives driver’s purchasing power for vehicle-related expenses with a secure digital wallet, spend controls and real-time transaction notifications.
  • Fyyne (Toronto, ON) is a social marketplace for beauty services and products.
  • Haze Automotive (Oshawa, ON) democratizes carbon fiber to mass market EVs.
  • Helcim (Calgary, AB) strives to be the world’s most loved payments company, by giving small businesses every possible edge, from lower rates, smarter tools and putting a human touch to its service.
  • LatenceTech (Montreal, QC) offers a SaaS analytics and monetization solution for cellular networks with a special focus on ultra-low latency connectivity. It uses real-time active measurements and AI, to help mobile operators, telecom vendors and advanced industries track, predict and secure the new benefits of 5G cellular technology.
  • MintList (Vancouver, BC) is an AI-powered online marketplace that enables buying and selling of cars between consumers and dealers, all within 24 hours.
  • Miru (Vancouver, BC) develops dynamic electrochromic windows which help lower carbon footprint, reduce emissions, and connect people to the outside by removing reliance on blinds. Its next generation, smart window technology and innovative distribution model is disrupting the glass industry, by offering builders and automobile manufacturers an alternative to conventional glass.
  • OraQ (Calgary, AB) is a state-of-the-art dental software solution that harnesses the analytical power of AI and ML to automate data collection. It provides advanced patient assessment support and detailed risk-profiling in a fraction of the time, improving patient outcomes while enhancing practice revenue. 
  • STEM Minds (Aurora, ON) provides parents, schools and educators with cutting edge STEM content and learning experiences for children ages 4-18. Its advanced STEM curriculum includes a range of dynamic virtual classes and on-demand courses designed and delivered by certified teachers and STEM professionals. STEM Minds education helps break down barriers, empowering the next generation of future-ready students.
  • Tali AI (Toronto, ON) is a voice-enabled virtual assistant for physicians to help them with administrative tasks at the point of care.
  • Ukko Agro (Toronto, ON) is an agriculture technology company helping commercial farms and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector reduce uncertainty in growing successful crops while balancing environmental sustainability and bottom-line profitability.
  • WeavAir (Toronto, ON) offers proactive end-to-end software and hardware solutions for air distribution systems that prevent the spread of air contamination and infection, while saving energy and reducing operational and maintenance costs.

Supporting the next generation of Canadian founders, the intensive 10-week Google for Startups Accelerator program brings the best of Google’s products, people and technology to startups that leverage machine learning and AI today, or plan to in the future. 

Now in its third year, the Google for Startups Accelerator builds on Google’s continued support for Canada’s startup ecosystem. The program is one of five accelerators developed specifically for Canadian companies, including the Cloud AcceleratorWomen Founders AcceleratorBlack Founders Accelerator, and the Climate Change Accelerator. 

Google has a blog post on this here.

Google To Automatically Delete Location History For Abortion Clinics, Domestic Violence Shelters And Other Sensitive Locations 

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 3, 2022 by itnerd

In a move that I am sure that will draw some ire from the right, Google has announced that it will automatically delete visits to abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, weight loss clinics, fertility centres, and other sensitive locations from its ‘Location History’ in the “coming weeks.” Fitbit users will also get an update that to allow people to delete multiple menstruation logs at once. I should also note that Google says in the blog post that it will push back on law enforcement requests to access this data, especially with “demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable.” Also, the company plans to notify users when it gives their data to the government unless it’s been ordered not to or there is another pressing security concern.

They don’t say that this is related to the U.S. Supreme Court removing reproductive rights in America, but I am sure that this was the impetus for this move. And I should point out that Google collects far more data than what is detailed in the blog post that I linked to. So I think that Google needs to do more because as I detailed here, it is a real possibility that this sort of data will be used to go after women who are seeking reproductive related services. Having said that, this is a good first step by Google. But it’s only a first step.

FCC To Apple And Google: Delete TikTok From Your App Stores

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on June 29, 2022 by itnerd

Last week I posted a story about a report that data from US users of TikTok was being seen in China. This despite the fact that TikTok has always claimed that this is not the case. This has now escalated to the point where FCC commissioner Brendan Carr posted this on Twitter:

I encourage you to click on the Tweet to read the letter in full. But in short, he wants TikTok gone from Apple’s App Store and Google Play for violating the terms of service and for being a data-gathering tool for the Chinese authorities. The letter gives both Apple and Google until July 8th to respond. As I type this, neither has responded and it isn’t clear what will happen if they don’t respond or pull the app. But TikTok has responded and said this:

We know we’re among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data. That’s why we hire experts in their fields, continually work to validate our security standards, and bring in reputable, independent third parties to test our defenses.

You’ll note that they did not directly address the accusations that were made by Carr.

My feeling is that this is about to come to a head. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this because my feeling is that this is about to blow up into something resembling the scale that we saw when Donald Trump tried to force a sale of TikTok to a US company or be banned.

Google for Startups Accelerator expands support for Underrepresented Founders with applications for the Black Founders & Women Founders programs

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 28, 2022 by itnerd

Today, Google Canada announces applications are open for the 2022 cohorts of both the Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders program and the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders program, marking the third year for both programs across North America. 

Black and women entrepreneurs continue to be underrepresented in Canada’s tech startup ecosystem because many lack access to resources required to launch their business. 

  • For Black founders, a recent study underscores how securing funding, financing, capital or sales is the most significant barrier to scaling their business. 
  • Similarly for women founders, women are less likely to receive venture capital or angel funding and other forms of leverage such as trade credit or capital leasing, compared to their male counterparts.

To address the challenges underrepresented founders face, up to twelve technology startups from across North America will be selected to participate for each accelerator, providing unique programming that addresses the specific needs of Black and women-led startups and include deep dives and workshops focused on product design, customer acquisition and leadership development for founders.

You can read more info in their blog post. Applications for the program are now open to startups across all sectors until July 28. 

Google Is Killing Off Location Based Reminders…. WHY??

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 4, 2022 by itnerd

This makes no sense. ARS Technica is reporting that Google is killing location based reminders:

Google is sending out notifications telling users the feature is dead. A message on a Google support pagesays: “The option to create reminders for a certain location is going away soon. You can still create reminders at a certain time and set routines for a location.” Suggesting routines as a replacement is a ludicrous suggestion, since routines are, well, routine, and want to repeat after a set period of time. They also are meant to trigger smart-home automation or alarm clocks; they aren’t simple notifications.

How does this make sense? Why is Google doing this? I have no clue. I can’t explain it. The cynic in me says that they are trying to find a way to monetize it. But truly, it makes no sense. Especially seeing that I as a member of Team iPhone can ask Siri to remind me to do something when I get home.

And for bonus points, they’re also killing this:

Another reminder feature getting the ax is a fairly new one, probably dying due to a lack of usage. In 2019 Google announced the ability to send reminders to other people. Actually doing this was pretty difficult, though. You would have to either be in the Google “Family” ecosystem and have them set up in the family link or have that person be someone you share an Assistant device with, like a roommate.

That one make sense as to why Google might be killing that feature. But if anyone can explain to me why Google is killing off location based reminders, please let me know because I am at a loss to explain this.

Google Canada Unveils New Advertising Updates For Canada 

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 24, 2022 by itnerd

Today, Google Canada is hosting their annual Google Marketing Live event. Here’s some quick highlights from the event:

  • Ads on YouTube Shorts: Starting today, Video action campaigns and App campaigns will automatically scale to YouTube Shorts. Google has been experimenting with these ads in YouTube Shorts since last year, and they’re now gradually rolling that out to all advertisers around the world. This is an exciting milestone for advertisers, and a key step on our road to developing a long-term Shorts monetization solution for creators, which Google will share more about soon. Later this year, you’ll also be able to connect your product feed to your campaigns and make your video ads on YouTube Shorts more shoppable.
  • Performance Max: Google is announcing six new upcoming additions to Performance Max, expanding experimentation capabilities, cross-product support and advertiser eligibility for the campaign type.
  • Insights Page: Google is introducing three new reports that will roll out over the coming months, including attribution insights, budget insights and audience insights for first-party data.

You can find out more details on Google’s blog post on this year’s announcements here.