GOOGLE executives, declaring themselves pleased with the results of an unusual advertising initiative last year, are bringing out a Version 2.0, again teaming with agencies and marketers to try demonstrating that technology is not incompatible with traditional Madison Avenue sales strategies like emotional storytelling.
The 2013 version of the initiative is to be announced on Thursday as a gaggle of Googlers gets ready for the annual South by SouthwestInteractive Conference and Festival in Austin, Tex.
The initiative last year, known as Project Re:Brief, was meant to help change minds outside Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley about the role that technology in general, and Google products in particular, could play in mainstream brand marketing.
The focus of Project Re:Brief — as in rethinking a creative brief — was to reimagine for contemporary consumers four classic commercials and campaigns from the “Mad Men” era, for Alka-Seltzer, Avis, Coca-Cola and Volvo.
Another change for 2013 is a renaming of the initiative: Art, Copy and Code, riffing on the ad industry phrase “art and copy,” evoking the two components of most ads; the organization known as the One Club for Art and Copy; and a movie, “Art and Copy,” produced by the organization.
Perhaps the biggest change for Version 2.0 is to shift the time frame. The work developed last year for Project Re:Brief was based on ads from the 1960s and 1970s. The work being developed for Adidas, Burberry and Volkswagen will be based on current ads.
“We had a great experience last year when we went back to the iconic campaigns, people saying, ‘Wow, you can build brands online; digital isn’t just for click-here, direct-response ads,’ ” said Jim Lecinski, vice president for United States sales and service at Google.
SEATTLE – The $731 million fine European regulators slapped on Microsoft Wednesday for failing to abide by an antitrust sanction reinforces the European Union’s longstanding insistence on fair competition.
What’s more, the huge penalty also signaled that Europe won’t easily be swayed by Google and Facebook to back down from expanding online privacy rights for individuals, a policy that the U.S. tech and media companies contend would crimp the global growth of online advertising.
“This puts a spotlight on how important it is for global companies to take into account the laws and customs of the places they do business,” says Charles King, principal analyst at tech industry research firm Pund-IT. “If they can’t do that, they’re almost begging for the sort of spankings the EU has administered to Microsoft.”
Citing a technical error, Microsoft took full responsibility for failing to give European consumers a choice of Web browsers in shipping some 15 million copies of the Windows 7 operating system. The company had agreed to do that as part of a 2009 sanction closing out a protracted antitrust investigation conducted by the EU’s competition commission.
That antitrust case began in 2004, and Microsoft paid fines of $357 million in 2006 and $1.3 billion in 2008 for being slow to comply with regulations.
The company’s board last year reduced CEO Steve Ballmer’s bonus in anticipation of some sort of embarrassing sanction. “Microsoft cut a deal with the EU and failed to live up to it,” says Randal Picker, law professor at the University of Chicago. “That will get you in trouble in the EU or the U.S.”
The company didn’t say whether it would challenge this latest fine, but it is not expected to do so. “We have apologized for it,” Microsoft said in a statement. “We have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake — or anything similar — in the future.” Read More
Federal stimulus money has helped cut the high cost of lithium-ion batteries, but not nearly enough to make electric cars affordable. Now there’s an abundance of advanced battery manufacturers and not enough major companies to buy them. Many plants in the United States, South Korean, Japan and China that got government subsidies aren’t producing many batteries, if at all. Three years ago Michigan’s governor touted the state as the new battery capital of the world. There were five new advanced battery plants in the works, all of which were to get major tax breaks and some federal grants. But most of these plans have not worked out. Listen to the story
Google has revealed the number of National Security Letters (NSL) that it has received in the last four years alone. The numbers are a general estimate of NSLs sent to Google by the government. The FBI sends NSLs to various entities, including businesses, internet service providers, credit card companies, and more. They demand that those entities deliver confidential information about their customers such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, purchase history, web history, and more. Anything is fair game as long as it pertains to the FBI’s investigation.
Google has received 0-999 NSLs each year for the past 4 years from the FBI. Google isn’t allowed to release the exact amount legally because the numbers may interfere with the FBI’s investigations, but it is able to provide a range. In 2009, the FBI asked Google to deliver confidential information from over 1000-1999 of its users. In 2010, it was asked to deliver info on 2000-2999 users, and in 2011 and 2012, it was asked to deliver info on 1000-1999 users each year.
National Security Letters can be issued by the FBI even without a court order, which makes them powerful and abusive. The Electronic Frontier Foundation stated, “Of all the dangerous government surveillance powers that were expanded by the USA Patriot Act, the National Security Letter… is one of the most frightening and invasive.” Many people have voiced their concerns over the NSLs and their extensive use. Read More
The White House decided Tuesday to publicly denounce the ban on unlocking cell phones after an online petition against the ban surfaced Monday.
Last month it became illegal to unlock cell phones to make them work on other wireless carriers by adjusting software and changing the SIM card.
The ban was created after changes were made to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which made it illegal for consumers to unlock mobile devices.
Consumers found guilty of illegally unlocking mobile phones can face up to five years in prison.
The online petition against the ban on the White House website received over 114,000 signatures.
White House Senior Adviser for Internet, Innovation and Privacy R. David Edelman wrote a blog post titled, “It’s Time to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking.”
“The White House agrees with the 114,000 of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties,” Edelman said.
Edelman said that legalizing the unlocking of cell phones is simply common sense.
“If you have paid for your mobile device, and aren’t bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network,” he said.
The Obama Administration has taken the side of consumers, arguing that if they paid for the device they should be able to unlock their phones.
The clock is ticking down to when Samsung‘s Galaxy S IV will make its official public debut, but until then we’ve seen a variety of leaks and rumors about the device, with a new one surfacing today. The ever-faithful @evleaks on Twitter has posted two render images purported to be the Galaxy S IV, with one of them listing its specs, which you can check out after the jump.
The two images show off a rather spartan mock-up of the Galaxy S IV’s design, with the first image also including an array of specs that aren’t anything we haven’t seen before. According to the leak, the display will be a full HD Super AMOLED touchscreen, which will have a 4.99-inch display, while storage will be available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB varieties.
The camera is said to be a 13-megapixel unit offering a max resolution of 4,128 x 3,096 pixels, as well as an LED flash and auto focus. There’s 2GB of RAM listed, and it is said to run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. According to a benchmark that surfaced last month, the Galaxy S IV could have a Qualcomm Adreno 320 GPU, while word has it the handset will run a Exynos 5250 processor. Read More