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Google says it won’t stalk you across the web with cookies. Experts think it’s a clever ploy to consolidate its ads empire.

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Alphabet & Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

  • Google made a big announcement this week, saying it will stop tracking individuals round the web.
  • Insider spoke to privacy experts who said the move falls short of fully protecting privacy.
  • Experts also said it could be a cynical business ploy by Google to get good PR and cement its ad dominance.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Google made a big announcement on Wednesday – it’s going to stop following people round the web. Sort of.

The tech giant said in a blog post that it will be moving away from technologies that track individual people round the web.

This followed a similarly privacy-minded announcement in January, when Google promised to phase out third-party cookies – which also help advertisers target people with ads – by 2022.

“Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products,” Google director David Temkin wrote in the blog post. 

In its blog Google touted a new ad system that gives individuals anonymity online by grouping them together with people who share similar interests, called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).

FLoC is part collection of proposed new advertising tools that Google has bundled together in what it calls its “Privacy Sandbox.”

For advertisers that means that while their ads won’t be targeted at specific individuals, they’ll be able to target broad sets of people with specific interests.

On the face of it, this is a big deal. Most internet users know that the way Google makes money is by tracking much of what you do online, then using that information to target ads at you, often to creepy effect.

But six experts Insider spoke to voiced varying levels of skepticism over how much the changes will actually protect people’s privacy online.

Some even viewed it as a clever ploy by Google to further entrench its advertising empire.

A PR move that could simultaneously make Google more dominant

Many of the experts Insider spoke to felt the announcement was a way for Google to try and placate users who no longer trust Big Tech companies with their data.

“My feeling is that Google understands that the writing is on the wall for third-party tracking – the public is becoming more critical of targeted advertising – so it’s smart to announce a phaseout,” said Dr. Nakeema Stefflbauer, a tech policy consultant and expert.

In Google’s blog post it cited a Pew Research poll that said 72% people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers.

“It’s difficult not to conclude that, bearing in mind Google’s business model is based around using users data, that Google have seen the polls and realized users are losing faith in them, and so this move may be enough to assuage that loss of confidence,” said Professor Alan Woodward, a computer scientist at the University of Surrey.

The benefits of shifting to FLoC go beyond good PR – some experts believe its a tactical ploy to further cement Google’s dominance in the digital ads market.

“Google will come off as being progressive and ahead of privacy regulations to governments, and to advertisers, it is a call to jump ship from other networks to Google’s own alternative framework [FLoC],” said Prof. Sastry.

Eliot Bendinelli, a researcher at Privacy International, thinks that by cementing its advertising dominance Google could pose a bigger privacy threat to users further down the road.

“Google is using raising privacy concerns and increased regulatory attention as marketing arguments to justify changes that might reinforce its dominant position. The reality is that with the Privacy Sandbox, Google is developing and forcing onto users and competitors a new set of tools that strengthen its dominant position on the market,” said Bendinelli.

Prof. Sastry also said that Google’s control of Chrome could give it a “stranglehold over internet advertising.”

This is because the change will mean third-parties – like Facebook and companies that sell digital ads who aren’t Google – won’t be able to track people round the web using cookies.

Google however will still have lots of data about people it can glean directly and use to track them because of its suite of first-party products, like Gmail and Google Maps.

Bendinelli added that the wealth of data Google gleans from its first-party apps means it won’t be out in the cold when it comes to user data.

“Google is in an absolutely dominant position here given the prominence of its services like Gmail, Youtube or Google Maps. This change won’t affect the advertising giant in the same way it will affects its competitors given that millions of users are logged in a Google account when using these services, allowing Google to track and target them at its will,” he said.

Google is shifting from targeting individuals to profiling large sets of people – which comes with its own dangers

In its blog, Google FLoC is good for privacy because it can “hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests.”

But although Google is holding FLoC up as a way to make itself look privacy-conscious, it could lead the company into another PR nightmare surrounding AI ethics.

Dr. Kutoma Wakunuma of DeMontfort University said one of the disadvantages of technology like FLoC is it can encourage “social sorting,” i.e. breaking people down into groups like race, gender and ethnicity likes and dislikes. She said this can open up a “whole host of other challenges.”

“The thing to focus on is not the ‘hiding’ but ‘the crowd’ – it takes a lot of machine learning to make these cohorts accurate as groups of ‘people like you,'” Professor Eerke Boiten of DeMontfort University told Insider.

“In that context, it is relevant that Google has just got rid of some of their key people who were working to keep machine learning honest and fair,” he said, referencing Google’s firing of  AI ethics researcher Dr. Timnit Gebru in December, a move that sparked an intense internal and industry backlash. In February it fired a second AI ethicist, Margaret Mitchell.

It will help strengthen privacy, but it’s too little too late

Professor Nishanth Sastry, who specializes in tracking technologies online at the University of Surrey, said new technologies other than cookies have emerged for tracking people, used by other big firms like Facebook.

“Even if Google does not offer alternate ways of tracking users through its products, it will do little to prevent Facebook pixels,” he said.

Dr. Wakunuma said while the announcement was welcome, Google needs to do more to protect user data. She added that Google is already behind the curve when it comes to blocking cookies.

“Google in a sense is merely playing catch-up with likes of Safari and Firefox browsers which have long since stopped using third party cookies,” she said.

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Genesis Celebrates Official Launch In China, Unveiling Its All-new Vision Of Automotive Luxury To Chinese Consumers

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  • Genesis announced its arrival in China with an extraordinary event, introducing the brand to a new generation of Chinese consumers seeking true distinction in luxury
  • Athletic Elegance, the distinctive Genesis design philosophy was showcased with an unveiling of the Genesis G80 and Genesis GV80
  • To deliver the unique Genesis Experience, a new business model will be introduced in China aiming to design authentic relationships with Chinese consumers

SHANGHAI, April 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Global luxury automotive brand Genesis marked its official entry into China with a spectacular Brand Night held on April 2 at Shanghai’s International Cruise Terminal, where Genesis showcased its unique Genesis brand identity, design and experience philosophy. With a stunning drone show titled the “Genesis of Genesis” sweeping over the Bund, Genesis signified its exceptional beginning in the Chinese market.

Genesis performing dazzling drone show, titled with “Genesis of You”

Jaehoon (Jay) Chang, Global Head of Genesis, said, “Today marks the beginning of another audacious chapter for Genesis. The Chinese market serves a critical role in the development of our global business, and we are very excited to present the next generation luxury for China.”

“We are excited to showcase our globally recognized products, Genesis G80 and Genesis GV80, known for the highest quality and distinctive design. We are driven by a purpose to design authentic relationships with Chinese consumers. This is our promise and our differentiator in China to deliver meaningful and stress-free experiences,” said Markus Henne, Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Motor China. “To do that, we will be implementing an all-new business model that will bring our commitments to life.”

New Luxury Defined by A Unique Brand Identity and Design Philosophy

Genesis is a brand that aspires to make true positive impact in our customers’ lives. With a fresh perspective, Genesis audaciously challenges expectations and brings a progressive attitude in order to build emotional bonds with customers based on new ideas in design and innovation. Genesis also desires to provide customers with a sense of thoughtful hospitality throughout the entire journey. More than an automotive brand, Genesis represents a lifestyle and an experience.

Every Genesis presents an intimate opportunity to explore the extraordinary Genesis vision. The distinctive design of Genesis was showcased through a special Brand Night unveiling of the Genesis G80, its mid-sized luxury sedan, and Genesis GV80, the first SUV in the lineup. Defined by their symbolic Two Lines architecture, both models are the expression of Athletic Elegance, Genesis’ design philosophy that achieves the perfect balance between two opposing characteristics: Athleticism and Elegance. Inside the cabin, the Beauty of White Space philosophy is expressed through a harmony of personal space and state-of-the-art technology.

China-tailored Strategy to Provide An All-New Experience

Genesis intends to inspire its customers of what new luxury can be. It addresses what the brand calls Generation Genesis, a generation with bold new perspectives in style and everyday life, whose refined taste in aesthetics and appreciation for distinctive design cultivates resonance with the brand spirit of Genesis. To underline this, Genesis unveiled its brand manifesto at the heart of which sits the  “Genesis of You” message-Every touchpoint with Genesis is designed to fuel the confidence of these consumers, as they embark on new beginnings, break boundaries and progress in their every endeavor. 

Genesis is establishing an all-new business model for the Chinese market, aiming to design authentic relationships with Generation Genesis and deliver meaningful, stress-free experiences centered on human-touch, convenience, trust and transparency. Genesis will gradually develop its presence in China through an omnichannel approach based on direct sales, supported by trusted agents and online sales. 

Furthermore, Genesis will ensure that every person interested in the brand receives the best one-to-one experience from a dedicated companion with the introduction of the Genesis Partner Concept. 

A transparent pricing model under the Genesis One Price Promise will be implemented to ensure a unified price across all sales channels. This unique and uncompromising brand experience will be enabled by the Genesis Digital Ecosystem.

Focus on Brand Building and Designing Genesis Experience

An essential part of the Genesis is lifestyle. Aesthetic ambition with the love for beautiful things are at the core of the brand. That’s the reason Genesis is never compromising anything on design and open to collaborate on a variety of canvases, where the Generation Genesis can be naturally met.

One of these forthcoming brand experiences, for instance, will be held in collaboration with the Shanghai Fashion Week, to create an elevated and in-depth exploration of progressive luxury style through world-class fashion concepts. Comprehensive and touchable Genesis Experience will come to life at Genesis Studios, a luxury lifestyle oasis where people can experience our cars, the arts and culture combined with Genesis hospitality. The first of Genesis Studio will soon launch in downtown Shanghai.

Markus Henne, Chief Executive Officer of Genesis Motor China, added, “Launching the brand in China represents a significant, perhaps the most important, new chapter in our brand’s history. Genesis will focus on brand building in the early stage. We will continue to reveal more highlights of how we plan to appeal to our Chinese audience. I am confident to deliver this promise and invite everyone to be a part of this journey.”

About Genesis

Genesis is a global luxury automotive brand that delivers the highest standards of performance, design, safety, and innovation. The Genesis brand is one of the highest-ranked brands in the automotive industry by respected, third-party experts including North American Car of the Year, Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and more. For more information on Genesis and its new definition of luxury, please visit https://www.genesis.com.cn

Speech of Markus Henne, CEO of Genesis Motor China, at Genesis Brand Night

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Monteverde & Associates PC Announces an Investigation of Qell Acquisition Corp. – QELL

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NEW YORK, April 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Juan Monteverde, founder and managing partner at Monteverde & Associates PC, a national securities firm rated Top 50 in the 2018 and 2019 ISS Securities Class Action Services Report and headquartered at the Empire State Building in New York City, is investigating Qell Acquisition Corp. (“QELL” or the “Company”) (QELL) relating to its proposed merger with by Lilium GmbH. Under the terms of the agreement, QELL will acquire Lilium through a reverse merger, with Lilium emerging as a publicly traded company.

The investigation focuses on whether Qell Acquisition Corp. and its Board of Directors violated securities laws and/or breached their fiduciary duties to the Company by 1) failing to conduct a fair process, and 2) whether the transaction is properly valued.

Click here for more information: https://monteverdelaw.com/case/qell-acquisition-corp. It is free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

Monteverde & Associates PC Logo

About Monteverde & Associates PC

We are a national class action securities litigation law firm that has recovered millions of dollars and is committed to protecting shareholders from corporate wrongdoing. We were listed in the Top 50 in the 2018 and 2019 ISS Securities Class Action Services Report. Our lawyers have significant experience litigating Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities Class Actions. Mr. Monteverde is recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Securities Litigation in 2013, 2017-2019, an award given to less than 2.5% of attorneys in a particular field. He has also been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a 2017-2019 Top Rated Lawyer. Our firm’s recent successes include changing the law in a significant victory that lowered the standard of liability under Section 14(e) of the Exchange Act in the Ninth Circuit. Thereafter, our firm successfully preserved this victory by obtaining dismissal of a writ of certiorari as improvidently granted at the United States Supreme Court. Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian, 139 S. Ct. 1407 (2019). Also, in 2019 we recovered or secured six cash common funds for shareholders in mergers & acquisitions class action cases.

If you own common stock in Qell Acquisition Corp. and wish to obtain additional information and protect your investments free of charge, please visit our website or contact Juan E. Monteverde, Esq. either via e-mail at jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com or by telephone at (212) 971-1341.

Contact:
Juan E. Monteverde, Esq.
MONTEVERDE & ASSOCIATES PC
The Empire State Building
350 Fifth Ave. Suite 4405
New York, NY 10118
United States of America
jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com
Tel: (212) 971-1341

Attorney Advertising. (C) 2021 Monteverde & Associates PC. The law firm responsible for this advertisement is Monteverde & Associates PC (www.monteverdelaw.com).  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome with respect to any future matter.

 

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Monteverde & Associates PC Announces an Investigation of BowX Acquisition Corp. – BOWX

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NEW YORK, April 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Juan Monteverde, founder and managing partner at Monteverde & Associates PC, a national securities firm rated Top 50 in the 2018 and 2019 ISS Securities Class Action Services Report and headquartered at the Empire State Building in New York City, is investigating BowX Acquisition Corp. (“BOWX” or the “Company”) (BOWX) relating to its proposed merger with WeWork. Under the terms of the agreement, BOWX will acquire WeWork through a reverse merger, with WeWork emerging as a publicly traded company.

The investigation focuses on whether BowX Acquisition Corp. and its Board of Directors violated securities laws and/or breached their fiduciary duties to the Company by 1) failing to conduct a fair process, and 2) whether the transaction is properly valued.

Click here for more information: https://monteverdelaw.com/case/bowx-acquisition-corp. It is free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

Monteverde & Associates PC Logo

About Monteverde & Associates PC

We are a national class action securities litigation law firm that has recovered millions of dollars and is committed to protecting shareholders from corporate wrongdoing. We were listed in the Top 50 in the 2018 and 2019 ISS Securities Class Action Services Report. Our lawyers have significant experience litigating Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities Class Actions. Mr. Monteverde is recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Securities Litigation in 2013, 2017-2019, an award given to less than 2.5% of attorneys in a particular field. He has also been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a 2017-2019 Top Rated Lawyer. Our firm’s recent successes include changing the law in a significant victory that lowered the standard of liability under Section 14(e) of the Exchange Act in the Ninth Circuit. Thereafter, our firm successfully preserved this victory by obtaining dismissal of a writ of certiorari as improvidently granted at the United States Supreme Court. Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian, 139 S. Ct. 1407 (2019). Also, in 2019 we recovered or secured six cash common funds for shareholders in mergers & acquisitions class action cases.

If you own common stock in BowX Acquisition Corp. and wish to obtain additional information and protect your investments free of charge, please visit our website or contact Juan E. Monteverde, Esq. either via e-mail at jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com or by telephone at (212) 971-1341.

Contact:
Juan E. Monteverde, Esq.
MONTEVERDE & ASSOCIATES PC
The Empire State Building
350 Fifth Ave. Suite 4405
New York, NY 10118
United States of America
jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com
Tel: (212) 971-1341

Attorney Advertising. (C) 2021 Monteverde & Associates PC. The law firm responsible for this advertisement is Monteverde & Associates PC (www.monteverdelaw.com).  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome with respect to any future matter.

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SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Monteverde & Associates PC Announces an Investigation of Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. – MLND

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NEW YORK, April 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Juan Monteverde, founder and managing partner at Monteverde & Associates PC, a national securities firm rated Top 50 in the 2018 and 2019 ISS Securities Class Action Services Report and headquartered at the Empire State Building in New York City, is investigating Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. (“MLND” or the “Company”) (MLND) relating to its proposed merger with Tempest Therapeutics, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, MLND shareholders are expected to own 18.5% of the combined company.

The investigation focuses on whether Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. and its Board of Directors violated securities laws and/or breached their fiduciary duties to the Company by 1) failing to conduct a fair process, and 2) whether the transaction is properly valued.

Click here for more information: https://monteverdelaw.com/case/millendo-therapeutics-inc. It is free and there is no cost or obligation to you.

Monteverde & Associates PC Logo

About Monteverde & Associates PC

We are a national class action securities litigation law firm that has recovered millions of dollars and is committed to protecting shareholders from corporate wrongdoing. We were listed in the Top 50 in the 2018 and 2019 ISS Securities Class Action Services Report. Our lawyers have significant experience litigating Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities Class Actions. Mr. Monteverde is recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Securities Litigation in 2013, 2017-2019, an award given to less than 2.5% of attorneys in a particular field. He has also been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a 2017-2019 Top Rated Lawyer. Our firm’s recent successes include changing the law in a significant victory that lowered the standard of liability under Section 14(e) of the Exchange Act in the Ninth Circuit. Thereafter, our firm successfully preserved this victory by obtaining dismissal of a writ of certiorari as improvidently granted at the United States Supreme Court. Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian, 139 S. Ct. 1407 (2019). Also, in 2019 we recovered or secured six cash common funds for shareholders in mergers & acquisitions class action cases.

If you own common stock in Millendo Therapeutics, Inc. and wish to obtain additional information and protect your investments free of charge, please visit our website or contact Juan E. Monteverde, Esq. either via e-mail at jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com or by telephone at (212) 971-1341.

Contact:
Juan E. Monteverde, Esq.
MONTEVERDE & ASSOCIATES PC
The Empire State Building
350 Fifth Ave. Suite 4405
New York, NY 10118
United States of America
jmonteverde@monteverdelaw.com
Tel: (212) 971-1341

Attorney Advertising. (C) 2021 Monteverde & Associates PC. The law firm responsible for this advertisement is Monteverde & Associates PC (www.monteverdelaw.com).  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome with respect to any future matter.

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