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Category Archives: E-Commerce

Google Says It Continues to Allow Apps to Scan Data From Gmail Accounts

WSJ [paywall] via MarketScreener [no paywall]: “Google Inc. told lawmakers it continues to allow other companies to scan and share data from Gmail accounts, responding to questions raised on Capitol Hill about privacy and potential misuse of the information contained in users’ emails.”

“In a letter to senators, a top Google official said the company allows app developers to scan Gmail accounts, even though Google itself stopped the practice for the purpose of ad targeting last year. The company also disclosed that app developers generally are free to share the data with others, as long as Google determines that their privacy policies adequately disclose potential uses. “Developers may share data with third parties so long as they are transparent with the users about how they are using the data,” Susan Molinari, the company’s vice president for public policy and government affairs for the Americas, wrote in the letter. She added that the company, a unit of Alphabet Inc., makes sure the relevant privacy policy is “easily accessible to users to review before deciding whether to grant access.” Using software tools provided by Gmail and other email services, outside app developers can access information about what products people buy, where they travel and which friends and colleagues they interact with the most. In some cases, employees at these app companies have read people’s actual emails in order to improve their software algorithms. Google’s letter, received by lawmakers in July, came in response to written questions from several lawmakers, including Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R., S.D.), following a Wall Street Journal report detailing how app developers frequently gain access to the contents of users’ Gmail accounts. Google’s letter likely will provide fodder for what could be a contentious Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday on data privacy practices of other internet platforms, as well as some telecommunications firms. In the letter, the company outlined the steps it takes to vet third-party email apps, including manually reviewing privacy policies and using computer tools to detect any significant changes to the behavior of the apps.”

Google handles 90% of the world’s internet searches, and it increasingly is promoting a single answer for many questions. Even subjective or unanswerable queries sometimes get seemingly definitive answers.”

Study Shows the Best Times of Day to Post to Social Media

Harvard Business Review: “U.S. companies are expected to spend more than $37 billion dollars on social media promotion annually each year by 2020, representing 24% of the economy’s total digital advertising spend. It’s an astounding number, given that the vast majority of social media managers charged with getting customers to click on posts and through… Continue Reading

Decentralisation: the next big step for the world wide web

The Guardian – “The decentralised web, or DWeb, could be a chance to take control of our data back from the big tech firms. So how does it work and when will it be here? What is the decentralised web? It is supposed to be like the web you know but without relying on centralised… Continue Reading

Amazon global headquarters competition yields huge cache of economic data

Axios: “When Amazon invited cities to compete for its second global headquarters a year ago today, it got reams of data from the 238 entrants — enough to learn details of the cities’ future plans that a lot of their residents don’t even know about, Axios’ Erica Pandey reports. Why it matters: The information effectively… Continue Reading

Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea

The New York Times: “With a single scholarly article, Lina Khan, 29, has reframed decades of monopoly law….In early 2017, when she was an unknown law student, Ms. Khan published “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” in the Yale Law Journal. Her argument went against a consensus in antitrust circles that dates back to the 1970s — the… Continue Reading

Going Cashless: What Can We Learn from Sweden’s Experience?

[email protected]: “Sweden is regarded as the poster child of cashless countries and is expected to become the world’s first cashless society by March 2023. This means that cash will not be a generally accepted means of payment in Sweden. This journey has been powered by various factors such as a robust card payment system, strong… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – Library Acquisition Patterns: Preliminary Findings

Via LLRX – Library Acquisition Patterns: Preliminary Findings – Katherine Daniel, Joseph J. Esposito, Roger C. Schonfeld: Several years ago, we set out to better understand how both library acquisition practices and the distribution patterns of publishers and vendors were evolving over time. Within the academic publishing community, there is a sense that academic libraries are… Continue Reading

Walmart Launches Online Store for Ebooks, Audiobooks

Variety: “Amazon just got yet another competitor in the ebook and audiobook space: Walmart launched its very own digital book store Wednesday, selling ebooks as well as audiobooks through its website and dedicated apps. The retail giant’s digital book service is being powered by Kobo, the ebook company owned by Japan’s Rakuten. Through the partnership,… Continue Reading

Those Partisan Agencies Spent the Most on Google Ads

Statista: “In an effort to increase transparency, Google disclosed American political groups’ expenses in advertising on its platform in the current election cycle. As our chart shows, organizations affiliated with both parties spend huge amounts of money to advertise their policies. Within the top 10 one can find six organizations with a direct link or… Continue Reading

AI is bringing a new set of rules to knowledge work

Thomson Reuters – When things go digital, they start following a new set of rules. “The rules of the physical world are either not applicable or are severely diminished. Things move from sparsity to abundance, where consumption does not lead to depletion. To the contrary, the more an object is consumed, the more valuable it… Continue Reading

Automatic Transliteration Can Help Alexa Find Data Across Language Barriers

Alexa Blog: “As Alexa-enabled devices continue to expand into new countries, finding information across languages that use different scripts becomes a more pressing challenge. For example, a Japanese music catalogue may contain names written in English or the various scripts used in Japanese — Kanji, Katakana, or Hiragana. When an Alexa customer, from anywhere in… Continue Reading

Library Acquisition Patterns: Preliminary Findings

Library Acquisition Patterns: Preliminary Findings – Katherine Daniel,  Joseph J. Esposito,  Roger C. Schonfeld – July 19, 2018 . DOI: https://doi.org/10.18665/sr.307940 “Several years ago, we set out to better understand how both library acquisition practices and the distribution patterns of publishers and vendors were evolving over time. Within the academic publishing community, there is a… Continue Reading