Google continues to expand its use of legal-but-questionable tax shenanigans as a way to minimize its overseas tax burden.
According to Irish media reports Friday, in 2013 Google Ireland Limited paid an effective tax rate of just 0.16 percent on €17 billion ($22.8 billion) revenue, which came to a mere €27.7 million ($37.2 million). Google paid €11.7 billion in “administrative expenses,” which The Irish Times reports “largely refers to royalties paid to other Google entities, some of which are ultimately controlled from tax havens such as Bermuda.”
David Wilson, a London-based Google spokesman, confirmed the Irish figures to Ars.
Google and many other tech firms have recently come under increased scrutiny for using a quirky Irish tax law arrangement that allows organizations to incorporate in Ireland but legally route money through other jurisdictions, such as the Netherlands. It’s all done in the name of drastically reducing tax burdens. The general term is called “transfer pricing,” although specific tactics involve colorful names like the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich.”
Update: I installed the app and all the available modules (Russian, Portugese, Spanish, German, Italian and French) and then tried using it on pravda.ru. The app does real-time translating as you point your smartphone camera at a group of words. It seemed to do a decent job on the main banner headline on Pravda’s Russian language site.
Knowing how many here are from around the globe, I thought this would be of interest.
Google has purchased a visual translation app (doubtless to help with their rollout of Glass), and made it free for the time being!
The software uses a smartphone camera to translate signs in real time into the users native language. The technology is remarkable and used by many world travelers. Previously, translation packs were available as in-app purchases, but Quest Visual has made all the packs and the app itself free for a limited time.
There are iOS and Android versions of the app. It has a 4-star rating in the Apple iOS store.
More: Google Buys Visual Translation App ‘Word Lens’, Makes It Free for Limited Time - Mac Rumors
The hiring agreement between Google, Apple, and others that recently scandalized the tech industry may have been bigger than initially suspected. At first, it was believed to be a collusion between seven major tech firms that stifled competition and, in the process, worker wages through an agreement to not hire each others’ employees. The Department of Justice eventually filed and settled a suit with the companies in question that resulted in their agreeing to bring an end to the illegal, anticompetitive practices.
But new details, which surfaced in court documents from a related civil suit, reveal that the scheme may actually have extended beyond Silicon Valley. Per a Pando Daily report, the conspiracy began as a high-level agreement between Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s Eric Schmidt before growing to encompass dozens of companies with a combined workforce exceeding one million people.
But the idea that I am capturing all this — and all who cross my path — on video is fantasy. Glass is not always on (hence the head nod). The video function is set to a default length of 10 seconds. If I want to extend it, I can do so by tapping the arm of the glasses as recording begins (it takes me several goes to get this right), but I’d be out of battery in 45 minutes, max. And to take a video in the first place, I either have to press a button on the glasses, or announce “OK Glass, record a video,” to the world.
When I do that in Bob Bob Ricard (while raising a glass to Glass) the barman — totally unfazed — turns to me to give me a piece-to-camera introduction to the champagne he’s pouring.
There are spying devices out there on the market. This is not one of them. Development of apps (or Glassware) using facial recognition technology is also banned. So what is it good for?
Google insists that Glass is not meant to replace your phone, but is an additional device. Yet to me, replacing my phone is its greatest potential. We might love our mobiles but that’s because of what they do, not what they are. I like my phone’s screen quality, its camera and that it keeps me online all the time. If all that connectivity could be built in to my eyewear, then this could be truly useful.
The nod: Tilt your head back to activate the display. Say “OK Glass” and give your instructions. Get directions, call a friend, send a message, video call, share pictures directly to Facebook or Twitter.
The photo wink: Wink with your right eye while looking at the screen and Glass will take a photo.
The news: With the New York Times and CNN Breaking News apps you can have news alerts pushed to your Glass display. Tap to watch video clips or hear article summaries read aloud.
The money: A new payment app called Eaze is not official Glassware, but lets Glass users make low-cost purchases by nodding twice. Currently the app works with bitcoin only.
The lingo: Say, “OK Glass, translate this” and as you read an Italian menu, Glass will translate it for you.
The fitness: The Strava cycling and running app provides a heads-up display of speed, GPS, maps and heart rate data as you work out.
The food: Get step-by-step cooking guides on the display. You’ll still have to use oily fingers to s
Viacom’s would-be blockbuster lawsuit against YouTube has fizzled out, with the companies reaching a settlement and apparently planning to collaborate on future endeavors. Though it ended quietly, the billion-dollar lawsuit’s stakes were high. The case will have a profound effect on the Internet’s future, said the Center for Democracy and Technology’s David Sohn.
“Google and Viacom today jointly announced the resolution of the Viacom vs. YouTube copyright litigation,” the companies said Tuesday in a brief joint statement. “This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together.”
One of the coolest things about Chrome is the silent, automatic updates that always ensure that users are always running the latest version. While Chrome itself is updated automatically by Google, that update process also includes Chrome’s extensions, which are updated by the extension owners. This means that it’s up to the user to decide if the owner of an extension is trustworthy or not, since you are basically giving them permission to push new code out to your browser whenever they feel like it.
To make matters worse, ownership of a Chrome extension can be transferred to another party, and users are never informed when an ownership change happens. Malware and adware vendors have caught wind of this and have started showing up at the doors of extension authors, looking to buy their extensions. Once the deal is done and the ownership of the extension is transferred, the new owners can issue an ad-filled update over Chrome’s update service, which sends the adware out to every user of that extension.
We ought to clarify here that Google isn’t explicitly responsible for such unwanted adware, but vendors are exploiting Google’s extension system to create a subpar—and possibly dangerous—browsing experience. Ars has contacted Google for comment, but we haven’t heard back yet. We’ll update this article if we do.
Google+ has been blurring a problematic number of lines lately. Recently, the service was named in violation of a restraining order, and Google announced that soon it would be possible for Google+ users to place e-mails in other users’ inboxes without their e-mail address.
As the NY Daily News reports, Tom Gagnon, 32, was arrested in December because Google+ sent his ex-girlfriend a message asking her to “join his circle.” It’s unclear whether that means she was asked to join a specific circle, of which most Google users have many, or if the message was asking her to sign up for the service in general.
Gagnon, whose ex-girlfriend has a no-contact restraining order against him, claims that he did not initiate the invite and that it was an automated message. Another news outlet, Salem News, reported that the message was a result of Google sending messages to “anyone you’ve ever contacted.” In fact, Google+ will not mass-message everyone in your inbox, but it will selectively message contacts in Gmail.
Salem District Court Judge Robert Brennan admitted that he was not sure if what Gagnon alleged about the automated message was possible. Brennan said he would investigate the matter and held Gagnon on $500 bail.
On this eve of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary there’s an alien force spreading across Google’s platforms around the world.
If you’re fan of the good Doctor, you may not be able to resist.
Google has launched what CNET thinks is “the most marvelous Google Doodle yet.” As of early Friday afternoon, we were seeing it on Google U.K., Google New Zealand, Google Canada and several of the Web browser’s other international domains (but not as of then on the U.S. homepage).
Call it the Whodle — an “8-bit multilevel platform game [that] is a masterpiece of interactive theater,” as CNET says.
Off to see how #9 does at it!
Slightly edited to remove personal name. And it’s designed for Californians, as she is our Senator.
A warrant issued by a judge is out best protection under the law from excess or unfair surveillance. The more secrecy that is involved the more potential for abuse. No matter who is President, no matter what “extra oversight” is said to be added. So far so good is not a good long term argument for secrecy about surveillance. Metadata or not.
Those who disagree-I’d love to hear why in comments.
Here’s the difference between your legal right to privacy online and your legal right to privacy offline:
If the government wants to obtain a document stored in your home file cabinet, the law requires a warrant signed by a judge. The warrant needs to show that there’s probable cause that such an intrusion of your privacy will expose proof of illegal activity.
Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, however, some government agencies argue that they don’t need a warrant to access your online data. They simply send a subpoena — which doesn’t require a judge’s signature or the same burden of proof — to the Internet service.
Your senator, Dianne Feinstein, is a leader on the Senate Judiciary Committee, giving her the responsibility to lead the way on updating the law.
Share this message with Senator Feinstein to let her know that your privacy online should be protected as much as your privacy offline.
We deserve the same protection online and offline
To be clear, Google requires a search warrant before releasing any data relating to contents of Gmail or other Google services.
That said, the number of requests from law enforcement to Google are growing — in the first half of this year, Google received 10,918 requests for information about our users from government investigators in the US. That’s an increase of 205% since 2009.
It’s time for the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to protect our privacy in more than name only — a warrant should always be required when the government wants to read your email or any other form of online communication.
Do you agree? Tell Senator Feinstein now:
(Reuters) - Google Inc has overhauled its search algorithm, the foundation of the Internet’s dominant search engine, to better cope with the longer, more complex queries it has been getting from Web users.
Amit Singhal, senior vice president of search, told reporters on Thursday that the company launched its latest “Hummingbird” algorithm about a month ago and that it currently affects 90 percent of worldwide searches via Google.
Google is trying to keep pace with the evolution of Internet usage. As search queries get more complicated, traditional “Boolean” or keyword-based systems begin deteriorating because of the need to match concepts and meanings in addition to words.
“Hummingbird” is the company’s effort to match the meaning of queries with that of documents on the Internet, said Singhal from the Menlo Park garage where Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin conceived their now-ubiquitous search engine.