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Google Australia reports bumper year for 2020 as net profit jumps fivefold

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Google Australia has reported a bumper year for 2020, with indicators headed in the right direction for Alphabet’s south west Pacific outpost.

The company reported consolidated revenue of AU$1.4 billion compared to AU$1.24 billion the year prior, however it also revealed it had AU$5.2 billion in gross revenue pass through it before direct costs of sales was included, which was an improvement on 2019’s AU$4.8 billion.

Of the AU$5.2 billion, AU$4.4 billion was from “advertising reseller revenue”, an increase of around AU$300 million on last year.

Breaking down its consolidated revenue, Google Australia said advertising increased from AU$609 million to AU$681.7 million, reselling cloud services from its Singapore related entity produced AU$65 million in increased revenue to AU$175 million for the year to 31 December 2020, while hardware sales increased by AU$10 million to AU$189 million.

Service revenue suffered a rare drop, with revenue falling from AU$332.6 million to AU$329 million.

Payments to related entities under the Google and Alphabet umbrella for service fees rose from AU$3.45 billion to AU$3.8 billion.

Google Australia reported pre-tax profit of AU$238.5 million, up from AU$133.7 million, with net profit spiking from AU$34 million to AU$185.6 million.

One reason for the net profit jump was a significant drop in income tax expense, falling from AU$99.8 million last year to AU$53 million. In the year prior, Google was hit with a AU$51 million tax adjustment for years prior, while this year it received an adjustment benefit of AU$2 million. The company also had a AU$22 million deferred tax benefit compared to the AU$9.6 million benefit recorded last year.

In early January, Google Australia issued AU$310 million in shares to Google International, and did not issue a dividend this year.

The company said at the end of 2020, it had 1,878 employees, with wages jumping from AU$386 million to AU$462 million, and overall payments to employees growing from AU$453 million to AU$715 million.

Google Australia described its principal activities marketing and selling “certain internet search, advertising, and information management technology services and related products”, as well as providing marketing and sales support for search engine and advertising. It also said it conducts certain research for its corporate overlords, as well as generating revenue from hardware sales.

Recently, Android handsets in Australia have begun to try to get users to add their birthdays to their profile. While starting off with polite requests, the alerts have escalated to stating the birthday needs to be added to the profile to ensure Google complies with “the law”.

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Android gets pushy

Screenshot: Chris Duckett/ZDNet

“This prompt is part of an effort to ensure that our users meet the age requirements for their Google Account,” the company said in response to being asked what laws it needs to comply with.

The company did not address how it treats accounts without birthday information.

Google Australia said in its 2020 financial report that it had considered any penalties from its recent court loss as a contingent liability, where an impact exists but is not recognised because it is unknown.

The Australian Federal Court found Google misled domestic consumers about the way it collected personal location data on Android mobile devices for almost two years.

Justice Thomas Thawley ruled Google had misrepresented the “location history” setting as being the only Google Account setting that affected whether Google collected, kept, or used personally identifiable data about their location when consumers first create an account.

Thawley said Google failed to disclose to consumers that another Google Account setting, titled “web and app activity”, also enabled Google to collect, store, and use personally identifiable location data when it was turned on. The “web and app activity” setting is, by default, turned on for Android devices.

In addition, Thawley found, from 9 March 2017 to 29 November 2018, consumers were not told by Google that the “web and app activity” setting on their Android device was relevant to the collection of personal location data.

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-australia-reports-bumper-year-for-2020-as-net-profit-jumps-fivefold/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

HRTech

Google I/O 2021: What developers can expect on Android 12, TensorFlow, Material Design

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Google’s I/O 2021 conference kicks off this week and the focus will be on Android 12, machine learning and perhaps some hardware but there are a few broad developer themes and opportunities worth tracking.

While Google’s opening keynote is likely to cover a lot of ground including AI advances, a bevy of interface changes with Android 12 and system on a chip development, rest assured that the conference is all about developers. Here are the themes to watch:

Android 12. For developers, there will be a lot of sessions on Jetpack Compose, Android new UI toolkit. Google is also likely to push more development tools to enable voice shortcuts in apps including one session on how to voicify your Android app. Other odds and ends will include machine learning tools in Android, addressing multiple screen sizes and integrating augmented reality.

Updates for Android 12 include a new app launch experience, improved web linking, rich haptic experiences, video encoding improvements, faster machine leaning and camera enhancements. Add it up and Android 12 is getting a big makeover according to Pixel 6 leaks

The developer monetization model and privacy. While Google Play takes a 15% revenue cut, half what it used to be, there’s an opportunity for Google to up the ante. With Apple’s iOS 14.5 launch, users have to opt into data tracking. This change has caused quite the skirmish with Facebook but may also impact how much money developers can make with advertising. According to Flurry data, the data opt-in rate for apps is low single digits–anywhere from 3% to 5%. Developers have historically favored iOS because they make more money there, Android could close the monetization gap by a) cutting the revenue cut to 5% or lower and b) finding a way to address privacy and maintain ad targeting. Google outlined data and privacy transparency practices for developers.

Chrome bloat. The Chrome OS track in the Google I/O schedule is fairly thin, but it would be wonderful to hear about some code streamlining in Chrome, the browser. In my experience, it’s clear Chrome’s code base is becoming a problem. The browser over time has become a memory hog and is seeing stability issues. Google may not address the Chrome browser issues directly but needs to.

TensorFlow and machine learning. Google’s previous I/O conferences featured a heavy dose of machine learning and 2021 won’t be any different. Expect Google to roll out a bevy of TensorFlow advances as well as how machine learning will be integrated into Android and throughout the platform. Machine learning tracks include ethics, accessibility and solving everyday problems. Android Machine Learning also has a few sessions.

Material Design advances. Android is getting more than its share of UI tweaks and the track on Google’s approach to design (Material Design) has a decent amount of sessions.

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-io-2021-what-developers-can-expect-on-android-12-tensorflow-material-design/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Tech Mahindra appoints Meghna Hareendran as wellness officer

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Amidst the pandemic, Tech Mahindra has taken another step towards the well-being of its employees. The IT firm has appointed Meghna Hareendran as its wellness officer with immediate effect. The new role has been created to institutionalise the physical and mental wellness of all employees at Tech Mahindra. This move will also ensure that every employee has access to medicines, hospitals and any other medical equipment required during this crisis.

Hareendran will act as a central manager for the healthcare needs of all employees at Tech Mahindra and will also be responsible for handling the wellness partners and vendors to provide holistic employee wellness offerings.

Prior to this appointment, Hareendran was part of the HR team at Tech Mahindra as an HR benefits analyst. She was working with the global HR team to design policies and strategies pertaining to the health and wellness of the staff. Hareendran is a young HR professional with little over five years of experience in HR. Before joining Tech Mahindra, she has also worked as an intern with Tata Communications.

Hareendran holds an MBA and is a graduate in electronic and telecommunication engineering.

“Guided by our values and culture of driving positive change, celebrating each moment, and empowering all to rise, we at Tech Mahindra, have always prioritised the well-being of our associates. Meghna is one of our bright young HR leaders who is passionate and already making a positive difference to the lives of many. Her appointment as a ‘Wellness Officer’ reiterates our belief in ‘Wellness before Business’ and underscores our commitment towards ensuring holistic wellness of our associates,” comments Harshvendra Soin, global chief people officer & head – marketing, Tech Mahindra.

Commenting on the present situation, Hareendran says, “The pandemic has taken a significant toll on lives across the world, and it has created a unique challenge to ensure both physical and mental wellness of people. To combat this, the key is to build a wave of ‘collective well-being’, with humans and technology at the centre.” She is grateful that Tech Mahindra recognised this need early on, and “enabled a culture where everyone comes together to ensure each other’s well-being.”

Tech Mahindra has been collaborating with multiple hospitals to convert their official campuses into COVID care units where employees are assured of medical help in emergency cases. The Company also has a COVID-19 risk-screening test called Mhealthy, to test the presence of antibodies along with all the vital health stats for COVID-19 comorbidities. With this system in place, it will ensure that anyone entering the premises of Tech Mahindra is healthy, while the employees are assured of a healthy place to work in.

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Source: https://www.hrkatha.com/people/movement/tech-mahindra-appoints-meghna-hareendran-as-wellness-officer/

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Govt offers relief on ESIC contribution, may do so for EPFO too

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As many manufacturing units have been forced to shut down their operations, the Indian government has decided to extend a helping hand to India Inc. through its social security bodies. The Labour Ministry has decided to offer flexibility to industries to submit Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) deductions and contributions for the month of April by mid-June, which will give a liquidity boost of Rs 1400 crore to companies. Also, the Ministry is considering to take a similar measure for Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). If implemented, this will give liquidity boost of another Rs 12,500 crore to the firms and related establishments that are facing the problem of dent in demand.

As of now, this relief has been announced for one month only, but if it gets extended, the liquidity boost amount will get doubled.

Each month, industrial firms contribute 3.25 per cent of their salaries and the employees contribute 0.75 per cent for ESIC statutory deduction. The ESIC subscribers and their families get unemployment benefits and other health benefits from primary and tertiary care, at ESIC hospitals. Annually, ESIC receives Rs 16,745 crore from these deductions. Similarly, EPFO also collects Rs 12,500 crore every month from these deductions, where the employer contributes 12 per cent of the salary and the employee also has to contribute the same amount. Companies who are enrolled with ESIC and EPFO need to submit these contributions within 15 days after the month ends. This move from the Government will give more liquidity to the employers.

Last year also relief was granted for three months. This is essential across sectors, such as the the automobile sector and the MSME sector, that witnessed a lot of shut down and pay cuts. Such relief and hand holding from the government brings great relief to industries.

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Source: https://www.hrkatha.com/news/govt-offers-relief-on-esic-contribution-may-do-so-for-epfo-too/

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Juvenile criminal record not to be held against candidate for job: Allahabad Court

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Recently, the Allahabad Court has said that using criminal prosecution, which a candidate faced as a juvenile, to form an opinion about his/her suitability for appointment is arbitrary, illegal and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Also, the Court has said that even asking or inquiring about someone’s past juvenile criminal cases is an attack on the right to privacy and reputation of the person. The Court maintains that requirement to disclose details of criminal prosecutions faced as a juvenile goes against the right to privacy and the right to reputation of a child under Article 21.

The order came after the observation of a petition assailing the order dated September 03, 2020 passed by Commandant of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), Etah. The petitioner was found ‘not suitable’ for the post of a constable on the basis of a juvenile criminal record by the competent authority.

It was observed that this was a case where the hiring authority was misdirected by the law and overlooked the fact that the petitioner was tried when he was a juvenile. In a disciplined force, such as PAC, if a person has a criminal record in the past, then he is considered to be ‘Not Fit’ to serve in the force.

The court also mentioned that, if the candidate chooses to not disclose any fact pertaining to a criminal case, where the offence was committed when the candidate was a juvenile, it will not be considered as a wilful act of suppression of facts.

However, the court clarifies that these observations should not be applied beyond the ambit of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 or in a case where the candidate has committed a heinous crime between the ages of 16 and 18.

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Source: https://www.hrkatha.com/discrimination/juvenile-criminal-record-not-to-be-held-against-candidate-for-job-allahabad-court/

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