AppleMagazine #471


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United States
Ivan Castilho de Almeida
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californians consider expanding landmark data privacy law

Two years ago, California became the first state to pass a sweeping digital privacy law seen as the strongest of its kind in the United States. Voters are now deciding whether to refine and expand that law, or leave it as is. If approved, Proposition 24 would update a 2018 law that gave Californians the right to know what information companies collect about them online, the right to get that data deleted and the right to opt out of the sale of their personal information. The new measure would triple the fines for companies that violate kids’ privacy or break laws on the collection and sale of children’s private information. It would create a dedicated state agency to enforce the new law, with an annual budget of $10 million. It also aims to…

uber, lyft prevail to keep california workers independent

Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride-hailing and delivery services prevailed at the ballot box in their expensive gamble to keep drivers classified as independent contractors. The titans of the so-called gig economy bankrolled the most expensive ballot measure in California history to exempt drivers from being classified as company employees eligible for benefits and job protections. The measure had more than 58% of the nearly 11 million votes counted so far. Proposition 22 pitted the gig companies, including DoorDash, Postmates and Instacart, against labor unions. More than $225 million was spent — the vast majority by the companies. The ballot question overrides lawmakers and the courts to keep drivers independent and able to set their own hours. If the companies’ had lost, it would have upended their business model and San Francisco-based Uber and…

google ad costs, not its alleged monopoly, irks businesses

When asked about Google, Bryan Clayton voices a familiar lament among small business owners. “You keep getting squeezed further and further down the search results page,” says Clayton, CEO of GreenPal, a company that operates an app to help homeowners find lawn care. “As a startup, you don’t have a million-dollar advertising budget.” The Justice Department sued Google on Oct. 20 for anticompetitive behavior, saying the company’s dominance in online search and advertising harms rivals and consumers. Owners such as Clayton have a different beef. What’s unfair about Google, they say, is the way it gives the greatest prominence in search results to the companies that spend the most on advertising. Companies covet the top spots in Google search results — the first page of rankings, and the top of subsequent pages. But if…

where are our self-driving cars?

Tesla recently made headlines with the beta launch of its Full Self-Driving system. That system comes with a disclaimer saying, “It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road.” Tesla’s system has impressive capabilities, but it’s definitely not hands-free driving. A few years ago, news stories seemed to say that autonomous vehicles were just a few years away. Well, it’s been a few years and autonomous vehicles are, alas, still in the future. Right now, there is no car on sale that can drive itself without requiring the driver to pay attention to the road and be prepared to take control of the vehicle. In fact, some automakers have slowed down their timelines. Here are…

search: apple could rival google with new indexing service

As antitrust battles continue to dominate Silicon Valley, Apple is using its initiative, planning for a future where multibillion-dollar tie-ups aren’t acceptable. In a perhaps surprising move, the Cupertino company has reportedly begun ramping up efforts to launch its own search engine tech to rival that of Google’s, a course of action that could change the face of search. SEARCH HISTORY: THE APPLE AND GOOGLE DEAL For a number of years, consumers have been complaining that Siri just doesn’t come close to rival smart assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Echo, and it’s clear to see why. It might be true that Apple spearheaded the smart speaker and assistant market when Siri was added to iPhones back in 2011, but the truth is that the company has failed to invest enough to…

airbnb sets up endowment, council for hosts ahead of ipo

Airbnb is setting up an endowment fund to support its 4 million hosts as part of its upcoming initial public offering. The San Francisco-based home-sharing company said it will set aside 9.2 million shares for the endowment, which will start funding projects when its value tops $1 billion. “As we prepare for Airbnb to become a public company, we want to institutionalize our commitment to hosting, and our investment in the host community,” Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said in an open letter to hosts. Airbnb will name a 15-member host advisory board that will meet monthly with Airbnb leadership and decide which projects to fund. The company said its initial board, which it will introduce soon, will be made up of leaders from the host community. Eighty-five percent will be…