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Mark Bergen

Recent and archived articles by Mark Bergen

17 Jun 2019 | 6:19 PM

The most popular kids’ video site in the world isn’t for kids

In late May, the advocacy group Common Sense Media held a summit on “digital well-being”. Attendees gathered inside the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, to debate the long-term effects of apps, services and electronic devices once hailed as revolutionary.

YouTube has spent years chasing engagement on its service and ignored internal calls to address toxic videos, as Bloomberg previously reported, and it’s a habit that continues to irritate rank-and-file staff inside the tech giant. — dpa
13 Jun 2019 | 4:43 PM

Google is moving more hardware production out of China

Alphabet Inc’s Google is moving some production of Nest thermostats and server hardware out of China, avoiding punitive US tariffs and an increasingly hostile government in Beijing, according to people familiar with the matter.

Tariffs have also pushed American-bound production of its Nest devices to Taiwan and Malaysia, sources said. — Reuters
24 May 2019 | 11:37 AM

Google’s secret ‘trashy video’ AI cleans up YouTube homepage

YouTube is littered with extreme and misleading videos, and the company has been criticised for not doing enough to limit the dreck. But one place the Google unit has managed to clean up is YouTube’s homepage.

Google tested the classifier as early as 2015, but deployed it broadly after a series of ugly incidents with children’s videos in 2017, according to a former YouTube staffer. — AFP
8 May 2019 | 1:43 PM

Google’s upgraded digital assistant brings privacy trade-offs

Google unveiled a slew of new privacy features at its annual developer conference on May 7, but the Internet giant also gave users new reasons to give the company even more of their personal information.

2 May 2019 | 1:00 PM

Googlers protest retaliation, even some Facebook staff join fray

At over a dozen offices of Alphabet Inc’s Google, workers staged sit-ins, with the largest protests drawing hundreds of workers, according to people who attended.

Employees step outside to hang fliers on Google's main campus cafeteria doors during a sit-in to protest against the company's retaliation against workers. — AFP
29 Apr 2019 | 5:30 PM

Google staffers share stories of ‘systemic’ retaliation

Hundreds of Google staffers met and discussed what activists allege is a frequent consequence of criticising the company: retaliation.

Alphabet Inc’s Google set the standard in Silicon Valley for employing and retaining scores of highly-trained computer scientists. — Reuters
28 Apr 2019 | 4:58 PM

Google staffers share stories of ‘systemic’ retaliation

Hundreds of Google staffers met on April 26 and discussed what activists allege is a frequent consequence of criticising the company: Retaliation.

25 Apr 2019 | 5:05 PM

SoftBank unit invests US$125mil in Google’s Loon balloons

One of the most improbable ideas from Google’s eccentric co-founders – using high-altitude balloons to provide Internet connections – is getting a boost from another unconventional technology mogul.

Loon, which began in the Google X “moonshot lab”, retreated from an initial plan to blanket the globe with its Internet-beaming, stratospheric helium-filled balloons. — Reuters
15 Apr 2019 | 3:27 PM

To answer critics, YouTube tries a new metric: responsibility

YouTube is changing the way it measures success on the world’s biggest video site following a series of scandals. There’s just one problem: The company is still deciding how this new approach works.

8 Apr 2019 | 1:28 PM

The Google AI ethics board with actual power is still around

Two weeks ago, Google established an external panel of experts to review thorny ethical issues related to artificial intelligence. It quickly imploded.

On April 5, when the company shuttered its external council, a company statement said it was “going back to the drawing board”. It made no mention of the internal panel. — TNS