SAN FRANCISCO: The US Department of Justice is preparing an antitrust investigation of Internet titan Google, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The Journal cited unnamed sources close to the matter as saying the department would look into Google practices related to web search and other businesses.
Justice department officials share antitrust oversight with the Federal Trade Commission, which conducted a wide-ranging investigation of its own into Alphabet-owned Google that ended in 2013 with no action taken.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A new investigation would come as backlash grows against major tech companies that dominate key segments of the online economy.
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has argued that big firms such as Facebook, Google and Apple should be broken up through antitrust enforcement.
Alphabet’s profit in the first three months of this year sagged under the weight of a hefty antitrust fine in the European Union.
Alphabet said profit in the first-quarter fell 29 percent to $6.7 billion on revenue that climbed 17 percent to $36.3 billion.
The earnings took a hit from a European Commission fine that amounted to $1.7 billion at the end of March, according to the quarterly update.
Google’s lucrative advertising platform remained the largest revenue driver for Alphabet, delivering more than $30 billion in revenue, but costs rose sharply as well.
But Google continues to face pressure around the world from regulators, notably in Europe amid multiple investigations over alleged abuse of its dominance in internet search, advertising and its mobile system.
World’s highest operating weather stations installed on Mt. Everest
ISLAMABAD: The National Geographic Society has announced the successful installation of the worlds highest operating weather stations on Mount Everest to provide researchers, climbers, and the public with near real-time information about mountain conditions, the media reported.
“The multi-disciplinary team installed the world’s two highest operating automated weather stations at Balcony area (8,430 m) and South Col (7,945 m), as well as three other weather stations on Mount Everest,” Fae Jencks, Director, Marketing and Communications at the National Geographic Society, said in a statement.
The other stations were placed at Phortse (3,810 m), Everest Base Camp (5,315 m) and Camp II (6,464 m), the statement said, adding that each weather station will record data on temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction, The Himalayan Times reported.
Data from the weather stations and other new research conducted as part of National Geographic and Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Everest will help communities respond to climate risks that threaten the lives and livelihoods of the more than one billion people in the region.
The successful installation aims to break new ground in our monitoring and understanding of climate change as the stations will help continuously monitor the upper reaches of the atmosphere, which is critical to tracking and predicting weather patterns around the globe, the statement added.
“The Balcony weather station is the first weather station installed at an elevation above 8,000 meters, meaning it will also be the first to sample the stratosphere as natural variations in the atmospheric boundaries change over time.”
From April to June, an international team of scientists, climbers, and story-tellers, led by the NatGeo Society and Tribhuvan University and supported in partnership with Rolex, conducted a scientific expedition to Everest, believed to be the most comprehensive single scientific expedition to the mountain in history, it claimed.
With team members from eight countries, including 17 Nepali researchers, the expedition team conducted trailblazing research in five areas of science that are critical to understanding environmental changes and their impacts: biology, glaciology, meteorology, geology, and mapping.
Instagram, PlayStation hit with outages
SAN FRANCISCO: An Instagram outage on Thursday left users of the Facebook-owned social network flocking to Twitter to vent frustration.
The website DownDetector.com showed a spike in reports of Instagram being unavailable in the afternoon, nearly hitting 54,000 before diving back down.
“Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing their Instagram accounts. We are now fully recovered and apologize for the inconvenience,” an Instagram spokesperson said in a statement.
The company did not elaborate on the cause or extent of the outage.
People using the #instagram hashtag on Twitter posted that attempts to access the service on mobile apps or computers had been met with messages such as “couldn’t refresh feed” or “something went wrong.”
Along with complaints and animated gifs playing on the inconvenience, some offered words of wisdom.
“Imagine if Instagram and social media closed every day at 6 pm like a shop,” read a tweet from the account of @stevebartlettsc.
“We would all be forced to meet up and speak to each other in real life, to be present with our families, to work out, to go outside, to read, to make art, music… eurghhh, nevermind.”
Meanwhile, some gamers trying to access the PlayStation network on Thursday were also met with error messages.
“We’re aware that some users are experiencing issues logging into PSN. Thank you for your patience as we investigate,” the official Ask PlayStation Twitter account said.
According to DownDetector.com, the outages were concentrated in northern Europe and Britain, as well as in several parts of the United States and Brazil.
Facebook says CEO did not ignore personal data issues
SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not knowingly violate an agreement with the regulator supervising the company’s management of users’ personal data, the social media giant said Wednesday as it addressed an issue that has been under federal investigation for the past year.
Facebook was required to provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with emails, some from 2012, suggesting that Zuckerberg was personally aware of but neglected to address the fact that external applications had access to massive amounts of personal data without Facebook users’ knowledge, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The newspaper added that it did not have access to the documents but that anonymous sources had described their contents.
“We have fully cooperated with the FTC’s investigation to date and provided tens of thousands of documents, emails and files,” said a Facebook spokesperson.
“At no point did Mark or any other Facebook employee knowingly violate the company’s obligations under the FTC consent order nor do any emails exist that indicate they did.”
The FTC reopened investigations into whether Facebook violated a 2011 settlement with the regulator on protecting user data following revelations last year that personal data from tens of millions of users was hijacked by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica as it worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
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