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[Author’s Note: It has been brought to my attention that the source of this report, Scott Cleland, may not be a credible source of information–at least not as it relates to Google. For more details about Mr. Cleland’s background and industry affiliation, check these sources: “Scott Cleland: Google Using 21x The Bandwidth They Pay For” DSL Reports, 12/4/08; “Is Google Really Using 21x The Bandwidth It Pays For?” Techdirt, 12/4/08; and “Google Critic Paid by Microsoft,” Tech Daily Dose, 6/16/09]

The report, titled “Googleopoly VI Seeing the Big Picture: How Google is Monopolizing Consumer Internet Media & Threatening a Price Deflationary Spiral & Job Losses in a $Trillion Sector”, was prepared by Scott Cleland, President of Precursor–a tech communications research and consulting firm. It contains a number of damning assertions about Google’s effect on the economy, and implores the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to wield the antitrust hammer to put a stop to it.

Cleland has prepared a detailed and seemingly well-researched document which presents a number of conclusions including:

• There is no net-economic growth or job creation from Google’s “free” Internet sector model, only a deflationary price spiral, negative growth, property devaluation, and hundreds of thousands of job losses in over 20 industries. Consumers don’t win long term from a monopoly-gatekeeper of “free” information access and distribution.

• Lax antitrust merger enforcement is responsible for tipping Google to monopoly and facilitating its monopolization of consumer Internet media. If antitrust authorities do not wake up soon, a wide swath of a trillion dollar sector with millions of jobs– i.e. video, maps, books, analytics, travel, etc.–will suffer the same fate as the music and newspaper industries.

There are many valid points in the report, ultimately arriving at the conclusion that the reality of Google is very different from its “Do No Evil” mantra. However, it also paints Google in a specifically damning light that may not be entirely accurate depending on your point of view.

It is also worth noting that Google emerged at a time when many were making the same sorts of accusations against the growing threat of a Microsoft monopoly. With Yahoo and others already dominating the market, it seemed unlikely that a startup named “Google” could even compete in the search industry, much less evolve into a giant on par with Microsoft itself in only a decade.

The report itself may be an extreme point of view, but it does seem that the DOJ has treated the rise of Google differently than the rise of Microsoft, and that Google’s virtually ubiquitous access to the data on the Internet poses a variety of security and privacy concerns. But, I think it is more accurate to suggest that Google is guilty of benign neglect than overt evil.

“A Washington Bank Shot – How a Telephone Company Lobbyist Works To Weaken Google,” The Huffington Post, 9/25/07)

“A Washington Bank Shot – How a Telephone Company Lobbyist Works To Weaken Google,” The Huffington Post, 9/25/07)

“Google Critic Paid By Microsoft,” Tech Daily Dose, 6/16/09

Cleland was “only coming [to testify before the Senate] to tarnish Google at the behest of other parties.” (Art Brodsky, “A Washington Bank Shot – How a Telephone Company Lobbyist Works To Weaken Google,” The Huffington Post, 9/25/07)

“A Washington Bank Shot – How a Telephone Company Lobbyist Works To Weaken Google,” The Huffington Post, 9/25/07)

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Terese Lam: Aligning Human Resource Strategies To Thrive In The Digital Economy

Wind River continues to lead the way

 i

n this new era of autonomy and connectivity

.

The company’s

software runs the “can’t fail” computing systems of the most important modern infrastructure, and is accelerating the evolution from automated to autonomous systems across a diverse range of use cases from collaborative robots to commercial and military drones, connected cars to the connected factory floor as well as the intelligent communication networks that support these applications. As Wind River enters its next phase of growth, its DNA is poised to accelerate the digital transformation of the customers in a data-driven, AI-first world.

A Responsible Leadership Dedicated to Human Resource 

Terese was born in Vietnam and migrated to Australia with her family when she was two years old. Terese is the eldest of four and has graduated with a Bachelor of Business degree majoring in HR and a Masters in HR and Training. She started the first half of her career into human resources in Australia. The second half of her 21 years of professional experience was gained in both large multinational and medium-sized high-growth organizations across the globe. Terese has lived in Singapore, UK, France, and now has been residing in the Bay Area, US for almost 5 years.  Along her career journey, Terese has started a few businesses, sold them but has always gravitated back to human resources since she loves the complexity of HR making an impact at both a business and human level.   

Driving a 

Strategic Change with a Reputation for Achieving Results

Terese

 has faced many highs and lows throughout her career journey. These combined experiences

, both achievements and failures have shaped the person she is today. Her moral compass has guided her through thick and thin, and 

Terese

 truly believes that things happen for a reason, therefore she continuously looks for learnings in every experience and challenge to do better and be better.  

Terese

 did not grow up in a family that had abundances. Her parents worked very hard and made sacrifices to send her to a private all-girl school to enable a bright future. This has certainly made her appreciate opportunities and persevere in challenging times.

Although most of 

Terese’s

 career has been in human resources, she has always been interested in how companies operate and businesses are developed. During her 2

1

 year plus professional career, 

Terese

has 

built several businesses from scratch, enabling her to gain an intimate understanding of the workings of a business, securing customers, and what it means to manage finances. This has truly shaped her as an HR executive to be able to lead from both a business and people perspective.

Terese’s

 multinational experiences living and working in Australia, Asia, Europe, and now 

in 

the US have also been invaluable. Although with an Asian ethnicity, 

Terese

 grew up in Australia so her cultural background is a blend of the two, and being abroad for the last 11 years, 

Terese

 considers herself as a true global citizen with a great appreciation of every culture and way of life. This has helped her to imbibe diversity and inclusion working for a global company like Wind River.   

Relishing Challenges to Drive the Company’s Vision

Early in her career, 

Terese

 was a practitioner who was relentless on results and getting things done to achieve impact. She learned early on the hard way that transitioning from an individual contributor to a manager of a team requires a mindset shift towards developing, empowering, coaching and mentoring others, as opposed to just directing and/or doing everything by self.  As a leader, she asserts that it is critical to build and nurture a great team who can share in the same vision, aspirations and purpose

. S

uccess is determined by the people one has on their team

 and the influence one has on those who are not

. This is certainly important in HR where the accountability is shared with other leaders when it comes to people-related topics such as culture, diversity, and engagement. 

Terese

 believes that one should seek out mentors and supporters in their career, especially early on.

Embracing a Transformational Leader Mindset

Terese

believes

that 

driving transformation

should

be part of 

every leader’s

 success toolbox. According to McKinsey and Company, 70% of all transformation efforts fail and why is this? 

Most often, t

ransformations fail not because the solution was not the right one, but because the leaders have not brought the teams along the journey with them.  

A vital component of any transformation is that it involves people, which requires winning hearts and minds. This means a leader needs to be able to listen, collaborate and involve others in the transformation journey.  There are a number of key attributes that every transformation leader needs to possess to increase the chances of success. It first starts with the leader embracing a growth mindset. 

Every transformation is different with their own strategies. Therefore, approaching every transformation opportunity with curiosity and a thirst for learning and listening to others is paramount. 

Communication, communication, communication is imperative during any transformation efforts. Starting with articulating the why and painting a picture of the future vs. where things are today. Regular communication and keeping people updated on progress, even when one does not have all the answers is key to keeping the momentum going

”, she adds

Driving transformative outcomes requires a leader who is great at driving flawless execution as much as they are a visionary and an innovator. The ability to zoom in and out and oscillate between the bigger picture and the minutiae is critical. This involves being able to translate broad strategies into clear, specific objectives, plans, as well as postulating between digging into the details and then how it relates to the bigger picture.  

Incorporating Innovation Principles

Incorporating design thinking principles and agile approaches to drive innovation in products/solutions regardless of whether it is applied to HR programs, business products, or solutions is vital according to 

Terese

. This involves listening to and understanding the customers (both internal and external), their problems and balancing between creating the need and addressing that need in an iterative cycle. At times, the customers don’t know what they don’t know and the leader needs to show them the way. That’s why when it comes to innovation, understanding their challenges and desired outcomes first is imperative.

Towards Faster and Dynamic Technological Advances

Today’s C-suite is investing in the latest technology, and the COVID-19 pandemic is an accelerant that is pushing even the most reluctant businesses into hyper-digital mode. Leaders who embrace the latest digital technologies to innovate, make business decisions with data analytics, improve operational efficiencies powered by AI automation, improve customer experiences that are digital, personalized and contextualized, have shown to be more successful in staying ahead of the game and often experience more than double the revenue growth.

Riding the Future Wave of Digital Transformation

Looking ahead, 

t

he next wave of digital transformation is forecast to be in the Operational Technology (OT) domain

 in an AI-first world

In this AI-first world, we will continue to see the rapid rise of new digitally native businesses that are disrupting business models and destabilizing established companies and industry sectors. 

Traditional companies are understanding that to realize their future of transforming into digital platforms, they need to embrace software, data, and AI as value drivers for their business

transform their products and optimize 

their 

operations

.

As Wind River enters its next phase of growth, 

it will

 be at the center of this AI-first world playing a leadership role with 

its

 software for the intelligent edge. With 

its

 proven

 expertise, 

it

 will help 

its 

customers on their digital transformation journey where AI enables them to solve the world’s hardest problems.

Becoming a Strong Woman Leader

Secondly, emerging women leaders must approach every challenge and opportunity with a growth mindset for continuous learning and development. Asking for feedback is part of practicing a growth mindset

as more is learnt about oneself through other

s

,

 which helps 

us 

to become better and do better

.

The Disavow Tool: Is It A Google Ranking Factor?

The disavow tool, now located in your Google Search Console, enables you to tell Google not to count spammy links as part of your link profile.

Following Google’s Penguin update in 2012, toxic links became a huge issue. Sites with link profiles that appeared unnatural ended up hurting a lot of businesses and brands that had dabbled in spammy link building tactics in prior years.

SEO professionals balked at the idea of having to contact someone on the other end of every potentially damaging link to ask for its removal. There were also many reports of extortion (“Sure, we’ll remove that sketchy link, just send us lots of $$$!”)

And although Google initially resisted, the disavow tool was born.

We know unnatural links can negatively affect your search rankings.

So can you improve your search rankings by using Google’s disavow tool?

Let’s answer this question.

The Claim: Disavow Tool as a Ranking Factor

Claims about this range from “use it to protect your rankings” to “we used the disavow tool and rankings skyrocketed.”

The idea is that if you rid your link profile of spam, identifiably paid, and other low-quality links, your organic search rankings will directly benefit.

The Evidence for the Disavow Tool as a Ranking Factor

Reddit and SEO forums are rife with anecdotes about the power of disavowing links.

Here are just a few titles currently coming up on the topic:

How to Use Google’s Disavow Tool For Better Rankings

How to Effectively Disavow Links & Protect Organic Ranking

Disavow Unnatural Links and Improve Your Rankings

Really, that’s about it.

There’s no verifiable evidence that would prove that using the disavow tool tells the algorithm anything about your site.

The Evidence Against the Disavow Tool as a Ranking Factor

Google is careful in its positioning of the disavow tool as a preventative measure against manual action – not a component of the organic ranking algorithm – and says:

“If you have a manual action against your site for unnatural links to your site, or if you think you’re about to get such a manual action (because of paid links or other link schemes that violate our quality guidelines), you should try to remove the links from the other site to your site.

If you can’t remove those links yourself, or get them removed, then you should disavow the URLs of the questionable pages or domains that link to your website.”

But as Penguin taught the SEO world, manual actions aren’t the only weapon in Google’s link spam arsenal.

Links are a ranking factor, and the disavow tool can help you clean up that signal.

Still, it’s not a ranking factor on its own and is only useful in cases where the link spam is so egregious Google can’t possibly ignore it on its own.

The Disavow Tool as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

Is using the disavow tool a ranking factor?

No. You will not experience any lift in search rankings for using the tool.

Are links a ranking factor?

Absolutely.

Can you positively influence organic rankings by cleaning up the links pointing to your site?

Yes. It’s a matter of reducing any potential negative impact of low quality/spam links; you are influencing an existing ranking factor.

But only in certain cases, and those tend to be few and far between.

If you’ve experienced a manual penalty, cleaning that up is going to stop the suppression of your site in Google search.

Even outside of a manual action, spammy and identifiably paid or otherwise manipulated links could be negatively impacting the algorithm’s assessment of your link profile.

You can actually end up doing more harm than good by disavowing links.

As Google’s John Mueller says,

“Random links collected over the years aren’t necessarily harmful, we’ve seen them for a long time too and can ignore all of those weird pieces of web-graffiti from long ago.

Disavow links that were really paid for (or otherwise actively unnaturally placed), don’t fret the cruft.”

If you do use it and don’t see any results, it could be that you didn’t need to use it in the first place – or, you need to follow up with a reconsideration request.

As Chuck Price recommends:

“The most common misconception is the disavow tool doesn’t work. It does. For a manual penalty, the disavow file works, when used as a last resort. That means that a full fledged and well documented link removal campaign must precede it.

The disavow file, combined with a detailed reconsideration request, is a core component in successfully getting a manual penalty revoked.”

Bottom line: Google does not use your use of the disavow tool as a search ranking signal.

Featured image: Paulo Bobita

Is Google Home Listening To Me?

Google Home Mini to review before its launch. He soon discovered it was recording him 24/7, without the “OK Google” hotword – and those recording were getting uploaded directly to Google’s cloud servers.

It’s no secret: the ease of using a smart home device comes at the cost of privacy – or at least how much of our personal data we are willing to barter for the undeniable convenience these devices bring to our busy lives.

The Google Home range consists of four smart speakers: the Nest Mini ( £49/US$49), Home ( £129/US$129) Home Max (£399/US$399) and Home Hub ( £139/$149), which has its own display. Other retailers are also selling the older Home Mini for just £19.

revealed Amazon employs a global team analysts to review audio files collected from Echo devices to help train the software’s understanding of natural language.

In Russakovskii’s case, Google Home Mini’s constant surveillance turned out to be a defect and Google took immediate action to correct the issue with both a software and hardware update – but it does leave a simmering unease around the device’s privacy and security.

If you’re wondering whether the ever-helpful Google Home or Home Mini is listening in your conversations here’s the answer, and what you can do about it.

Also see our article on how to set up parental controls on Google Home.

Google’s latest and largest smart speaker in the range, the Home Max. Is Google Home Listening to me?

The short answer is yes. Google Home is always listening – which may be a surprise, but that’s how the device works.

On the hardware level, the speaker locally stores a stream of audio so it can appropriately respond to the wake word when it needs to.

These ambient recordings only upload to Google’s cloud servers when the wake word is said. The audio is then processed in the cloud and then returned to the device to deliver a result or response to whatever is asked. According to Google’s Data Security and Privacy on Google Home, the device listens for a few seconds at a time, in what it calls snippets, for the hotword – but these Snippets are deleted if it doesn’t pick up the hotword.

On the larger service level, these recordings are used to improve, as Google states in its Voice and Activity permissions prompt, “This data helps Google give you [the user] more personalised experiences across Google services, such as improved speech and audio recognition, both on and off Google”.

How to delete Google Home recordings

While it’s understandable to be suspicious of big data companies, Google is mostly transparent around how to access and delete your recordings.

To see every recording of your voice-activated commands so far, head to the My Activity section of your Google Account, where you should be able to delete individual queries.

Its Manage Google Voice & Audio Activity section outlines how to delete recordings one at a time or all at once.

How to delete Google voice recordings one at a time

How to delete all Google voice recordings

Is Google spying on you? It’s hard to tell truly but we don’t think so (we can’t speak for government agencies who would want to

We have an equivalent article on Alexa – check out  Is Alexa listening to me?

Evaluated the concerns and still looking to buy one? Check out our guide to the  best Google Home.

The Google Tensor G2 Is Just A Recycled Tensor G1, But Why?

Google Tensor G2 boasts the same 5nm manufacturing as its predecessor

Ahead of the Google Pixel 7 series launch, some rumors were pointing to the Google Tensor G2 as a 4nm chipset. That would be a major change for the processor over this predecessor. After all, it brings the same ARMv8 core architecture, the same old Cortex-A76 cores. A newer manufacturing process could have made the SoC more efficient and would also delivered a slight jump in performance. However, in the end, it turns out that the Tensor G2 is the same processor with slight refreshments.

Recently, a Google spokesperson confirmed to Android Authority that the new chipset has the same 5nm manufacturing process. It uses the same Samsung 5LPE process as the Tensor G1. In the best scenario, it uses the newer 5LPP process. We’ll never know since Google goes for an Apple-like route of keeping certain technical aspects under wraps.

Anyway, the chipset brings 2 x Cortex-X1 cores, 2 x Cortex-A78 cores, and 4 x Cortex-A55 cores. There are some updates in the clock speed to deliver a small bump in performance. Anyway, the GPU is better thanks to a newer Mali-G710 MC10. Therefore, the SoC is an improvement in gaming and image processing.

Google teases its processor as an improvement over the past generation. According to the search giant, the Tensor G2 brings power efficiency improvements. Moreover, it can handle camera and machine learning tasks 60% faster. Obviously, these improvements are not coming thanks to a newer manufacturing process.

Gizchina News of the week Perhaps, Google didn’t want to use Samsung’s 4nm manufacturing process

Honestly, we can’t blame Google for not using Samsung’s 4nm manufacturing. After all, it seemed to be quite problematic. The Exynos 2200 didn’t prove itself against the competition, and Qualcomm was not happy with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Due to poor efficiency and thermal management, Qualcomm decided to move the Snapdragon manufacturing to Qualcomm. That gave birth to the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC which proved to be 10% faster and 30% more efficient with TSMC’s 5nm manufacturing.

Therefore, Google could have had problems in using the 4nm manufacturing process from Samsung. Things may be different in the next year, and we may see a jump straight to the 3nm architecture.

Hopes are on the Google Tensor G3

We’re not saying that Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro owners should be disappointed with the performance brought by the Tensor G2. The processor may hold well to fill its purposes. Google makes clear that its goal is not to compete with flagship manufacturers anymore. In fact, the company’s flagships are to offer stellar camera capabilities and showcase the company’s reliability in software.

You won’t see fancy technologies like crazy-high fast charging, or stellar hardware to do 120fps gaming. Anyway, as we’ve said, the device will hold well for another year. The situation may finally improve with the Google Tensor G3.

According to rumors, the chipset will use upcoming Samsung’s 3nm manufacturing. It will be ready in time for the Pixel 8 series release. We can expect efficiency that greatly overcomes the 5nm on the Tensor G1 and G2. Moreover, we expect the upcoming chipset to finally make a switch to ARMv9 cores.

We expect details to start appearing in the next year, but an actual unveiling will happen only in October with the Pixel 8 series. We expect a Pixel 7a to appear in mid-2023, but that will likely stick with the Tensor G2.

2024 Cadillac Escalade Fuel Economy Ratings Reveal A Big Thirsty Boy

2024 Cadillac Escalade Fuel Economy Ratings Reveal A Big Thirsty Boy

Cadillac’s brand new 2023 Escalade won’t just be more lavish than its predecessor, but thirstier too, as the tech-packed luxury SUV’s official fuel economy numbers have now confirmed. Unveiled back in February, the all-new Escalade increases the cabin space and upgrades the gadgetry on offer by the now-iconic truck. As always, though, you’ll need deep pockets to consider it.

Final pricing for the 2023 Escalade is yet to be confirmed, though Cadillac told us back at the reveal that it expects the SUV to start at roughly the same price as the outgoing model. The 2023 Escalade currently begins at $75,195, but expect the new one to quickly spiral up as you add higher-end trims and newly-offered features like Super Cruise.

The standard engine for the 2023 version will be a new 6.2-liter V8 gas power plant. That has 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, and comes as standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Cadillac has thrown in variable valve timing, automatic stop/start, and Dynamic Fuel Management to try to coax as many miles per gallon out as possible, but even then there’s only so much you can do with something this size and weight.

The US EPA has just released the final fuel economy figures for the 2023 Escalade, in both 2WD and 4WD forms. The 2023 Escalade with 2WD is rated for 15 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined. To contrast, the 2023 version was rated for 14 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined.

As for the 2023 Escalade 4WD, that’s rated by the EPA at 14 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and 16 mpg combined. Again, by contrast, the 2023 version came in at 14 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined.

Clearly, economy numbers are only part of the equation when it comes to the decision process behind a new vehicle purchase. They probably play even less of a role when it’s something like an Escalade: after all, the impact of a point or two difference in miles per gallon is a lot less important when you’re paying upward of $75k for the SUV in the first place. Factor in the current low gas prices, too, and you might be questioning why anyone will care.

Nonetheless, it leaves us even more curious about the second engine Cadillac will offer with the new Escalade. The 3.0-liter Duramax inline-6 turbodiesel will have less horsepower, at 277 hp, but the same 460 lb-ft of torque; the latter will also arrive much sooner than in the gas V8, from 1,500 rpm rather than 4,100 rpm. It’ll also use the same, 10-speed automatic transmission as its gasoline counterpart.

Cadillac hasn’t said what sort of economy numbers we might expect for the diesel Escalade, and the EPA is yet to publish its figures. Nor do we know what sort of price premium it might carry on the car.

Beyond that, the EPA’s results do highlight a glaring absence in Cadillac’s range: an electrified Escalade. Right now there’s no hybrid model, never mind a fully-electric version of the truck, and the automaker isn’t even making use of mild-hybrid technology as it does with a China-specific version of the XT5. The automaker’s range as a whole is looking sparse when it comes to EV tech right now, indeed.

That’s set to change with the debut of the Cadillac Lyriq, of course. The first of GM’s family to use the new Ultium battery-electric architecture, the luxury crossover will be entirely powered by electricity, the automaker has confirmed. Originally, the reveal of the new Lyriq had been intended to take place in early April, a timeline that was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. Still, GM insists that the Lyriq itself is still on track.

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