The outage for the mail service, used by about 450M people, began a little after 11 AM PT, and lasted about a half hour. Google‘s Apps Status Dashboard showed a disruption for the mail service, although some people on Twitter reported that Google+ and Google Hangouts also were affected. Google hasn’t said yet what happened.
Not according to AMC, you don’t — which a Columbus, Ohio, man discovered the hard way Saturday night when he and his wife went through a 3 1/2-hour ordeal at the AMC Easton 30, where he wore his Google Glass with prescription lenses to a showing of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. For those who don’t follow tech news, Google Glass is a kind of eyewear that shows computer information to the user on a tiny screen — but also has a built-in camera capable of recording video. About an hour into the movie, the man told website Gadgeteer, “a guy comes near my seat, shoves a badge that had some sort of a shield on it, yanks the Google Glass off my face and says ‘follow me outside immediately’.” The official, with others, was from the Department of Homeland Security, which handles movie theft cases. The moviegoer said there was a misunderstanding and that he wasn’t recording anything. “They wanted to know where I got Glass and how did I came by having it.” After telling them that he had applied for the Google explorer program, “I offered to show them receipt and Google Glass website if they would allow me to access any computer with internet. Of course, that was not an option. Then they wanted to know what does Google ask of me in exchange for Glass, how much is Google paying me, who is my boss and why am I recording the movie.”
Deadline Financial Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom talk with Chris DeWolfe, CEO of SGN Games and former CEO and co-founder of MySpace, about the very big and very quickly evolving businesses of online video games and social media. The Davids also talk about the creepy-cool future of TV that is just around the corner and why Ernst & Young thinks most of Hollywood isn’t ready for it; and the maturation into major players by two long-time little guys, Lionsgate, which is offering its first quarterly dividend, and Hulu, which generated $1 billion in revenues in 2013
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Internally, it’s being referred to as a ‘Whodle.’ The interactive Google doodle that’s gracing the search giant’s homepage the world over today is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of cult BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who. Earlier this year, some 4,000 fans signed a Change.org petition requesting a doodle in the Time Lord’s honor. Their wish has been granted with a game that incorporates all 11 Doctors, a bunch of Daleks and the TARDIS. (Play it here.) The goal of the multi-level game that travels to different areas and eras, is to collect all the letters that spell out ‘Google’ while avoiding patrolling Daleks who are keen to exterminate any Doctor in their path — although regeneration is an option. According to The Guardian, the Whodle and the game are the product of a team of five Google employees led by transplanted Brit Matthew Cruickshank, the mastermind behind last May’s Saul Bass birthday doodle.
Listen to (and share) episode 57 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive business editor and host David Bloom talk about Time-Warner Cable, which says that its recent CBS blackout was surprisingly painful but worth every penny, even as retiring CEO Glenn Britt looks back on 41 years in the business. They also talk about Facebook, which is trying to relocate its mojo as young teens turn elsewhere and marketers get frustrated; DreamWorks Animation, which finally has reason to look animated as short sellers take a pounding; and Google, which announced a slew of new mobile and social media products that could have big impacts on the phone business.
In contrast to Apple, Google eschewed the usual new product event hype today as it released its its long-awaited new flagship phone and the KitKat upgrade to its Android operating system. The company says in a blog post that its Nexus 5 phone, made by LG, is available today online. While it has high-end specs — I’ll get to that in a sec — the big selling point is the price: $349 with 16 GB of memory, and $399 for 32 GB, unlocked — and before any subsidies from wireless carriers. (It’ll work with AT&T, TMobile, and Sprint but not Verizon.) The Nexus 5′s low price could make it attractive to people who’d prefer to buy their own phone and not lock themselves into a two-year contract with a wireless carrier. Consider that the iPhone 5s with 16 GB costs $649, and $749 with 32 GB, without a subsidy. As for the specs: The Nexus 5 has a 5 inch screen and is 8.59 mm thick. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 800, 2.3GHz processor. The rear-facing camera has 8 megapixels and Optical Image Stabilization, while the front-facing one has 1.3 MP. It’s also the first device to come with Android KitKat. The company says the operating system upgrade uses 16% less memory than the previous version. As a result it can “run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of …
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
There wasn’t a whiff of talk about its next phone or mobile operating system in today’s Google announcements but plenty of other cool bits of news. SVP Engineering Vic Gundotra talked up rapid growth in the 2-year-old Google Plus, which gets little love from tech pundits but has blossomed into the second-largest social-media platform. Gundotra said the site now has 300 million active users and 540 million people who have accessed the site in the past month. Both are giant jumps from just a year ago.
Gundotra unveiled a raft of improvements to one of Google Plus’ most compelling capabilities, its Hangouts, free video chat rooms that can have audiences and be automatically recorded to YouTube. The latest additions will make it easier for people and businesses to set up, promote and produce Hangouts, with landing pages for scheduled public Hangouts and improved production capabilities, such as being able to control the volume or presence of an individual participant. “It’s like having a satellite truck in your pocket,” Gundotra said.
The stock is up about 6.2% in post-market trading shortly after the search giant released its strong results for the quarter that ended in September. Net income at $2.97B was +36.5% vs the period last year on revenues of $14.9B, +11.9%. The revenue number beat expectations for $14.82B. Adjusted earnings at $10.74 a share also topped the consensus forecast for $10.37. Paid clicks for clicks on Google sites or others in its network were up 26% from last year while the average cost per click fell 8%. That contributed to a 22% increase in revenues for the Google-owned sites, to $9.39B. The Motorola Mobile unit recorded an operating loss of $248M, a 29.2% increase from last year. “We are closing in on our goal of a beautiful, simple and intuitive experience regardless of your device,” says CEO Larry Page. By the end of this month the company is expected to release an updated version of its popular Android mobile operating system, as well as a phone — the Nexus 5 — positioned to rival Apple’s iPhone 5S.
UPDATED, 4:01 PM: The NFL responded to the WSJ report today by saying there are no plans to add more games on Thursday nights, let alone discussions about who might air them. Brian McCarthy, the league’s VP Communications, tweeted today: “Wondering where the idea of Thursday night doubleheaders came from? So are we. We have not considered this.”
PREVIOUSLY: This possibility petrifies cable and satellite execs. Who knows how many sports fans would cut the video cord if they had a Web-based alternative to satisfy their craving for live games? Yet The Wall Street Journal this morning strangely buried the possibility of a digital deal with the NFL in a story about the league’s interest in selling a new package of Thursday night games. (Officials are disappointed with the performance of the Thursday matches that air on their NFL Network.) While the league believes that a cable channel would be interested in a new package, officials “have also considered” selling to “a nontraditional media partner, including online players like Netflix Inc. or Google Inc.” according to an unnamed source. And why not? Google’s executives reportedly met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about rights to the Sunday Ticket package when the deal with DirecTV expires at the end of 2014. Netflix also is eager to try different kinds of programming. CEO Reed Hastings noted in response to a question in an …
The search giant casually made the disclosure in a post on its Google+ social network. Google says that it will instantly tell people looking up a TV series when the next season starts, as well as info for upcoming episodes. For example, if you’re a fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead, Google says: “Try searching for [the walking dead tv show] and you’ll see all episodes listed along with their air dates. The first season kicks off with an episode called ’30 Days Without An Accident’ on October 13, which means you only have a few days to refresh your memory by watching last season’s final episode, ‘Welcome to the Tombs’.” Google adds that the new info complements data about ratings, cast, and characters it already provides in its Knowledge Graph. Those who want to be reminded to watch can click a button to have a card pop up when they check in with the Google Now personal assistant service. Google also provides links to find information about past episodes.
Listen to (and share) episode 51 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive business editor and host David Bloom talk about radio powerhouse Cumulus’ partnership with the parent company of digital music site Rdio; the record opening-day haul for videogame Grand Theft Auto V; Redbox’s reeling share price after a so-so summer; and the MPAA’s unhappiness with Google’s anti-piracy efforts on its own search engine.
Last year Google changed its search algorithm in a way that was supposed to demote the rankings of websites that had been identified as persistent copyright violators. But there’s “no evidence” that the change has affected search-driven traffic to the sites, the MPAA says today based on a study it commissioned to follow up on the matter. “The share of referral traffic from Google to infringing sites included in the Google Transparency Report remained flat in the three months following Google’s implementation of the change last August.” This is important, MPAA chief Chris Dodd says, because search engines “bear responsibility for introducing people to infringing content — even people who aren’t actively looking for it.” Research firm Compete Inc. studied how many Internet users accessed URLs of 12M film and TV content sites that had hosted infringing content from 2010-2012, but not P2P sites or applications. It found that Google accounted for 82% of the queries that led people to the sites. In addition, 58% of the searches leading to the sites “contained only general keywords — such as the titles of recent films or TV shows, or phrases related to watching films or TV online — and not specific keywords aimed at finding illegitimate content.” U.S. Reps. Howard Coble, Adam Schiff, Marsha Blackburn and Judy Chu joined Dodd in calling on search engine providers to …
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
That’s the intriguing notion floated by Kelly Day, who headed online video distributor Blip.TV before it was bought by Maker Studios, the even bigger creator and distributor of online content based in Culver City. Day, still an adviser to Maker, was keynote speaker as the WestDoc conference for documentary, nonfiction and reality-show makers opened this morning. Online pundits have been griping lately about the 45% cut of ad revenue that Google takes for video it distributes on YouTube, up from a 70-30 split early in the platform’s life. While Day acknowledged it’s expensive and technically complicated for Google to host and distribute the massive amounts of video it makes available on YouTube, show creators have a sense that, because YouTube has so much content, “for the most part there hasn’t been a lot of sophistication about how to monetize the best of that content.” For companies such as Maker that operate so-called Multi-Channel Networks, or MCNs, that represent dozens or even thousands of individual online creators, “there is a great opportunity to think about how to package and monetize that content better,” Day said. And Google might not even mind, she said, given its previous pronouncements and how it allowed a similar ecology of outside companies to grow and thrive atop its core search-engine business.
Really, Google? A co-branding arrangement for the latest iteration of Android? Yep. The upcoming Android 4.4 will market a Nestle product: KitKat — a surprise to everyone who thought it would be named Key Lime Pie. The word had to begin with “K”: Google has been naming each major revision of its Android operating system after something sweet, with names proceeding in alphabetical order beginning with Cupcake and continuing with Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Marketers are taking this seriously. “Look for specially branded KitKat bars in a store near you that give you a chance to win a Nexus 7 or Google Play credit,” Google says. Nestle says the branding partnership is its “latest move in its ambition to leverage digital technology and online content to get closer to its consumers to better understand and cater to their preferences.”
The folks at Yahoo must be yodeling with delight today. A month after posting a disappoint Q2 report, the web giant has usurped Google for the US web-traffic throne. At least for July. Yahoo scored nearly 196.6 million visits during the month, according to comScore, topping Google’s 192.3 million and ending its five-year run at No. 1. That controversial $1.1B acquisition of Tumblr might have had a hand in Yahoo’s win. Although comScore still ranks Tumblr separately — it finished 38th in July — a footnote on the report says the social networking/microblogging site “assigned some portion of traffic to other syndicated entities.” Then again, fantasy football drafts are looming, and no one comes close to Yahoo’s domination in that space.
CBS This Morning‘s Charlie Rose has a fascinating interview this morning with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The billionaire describes the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs — his former best friend — as “our Edison…our Picasso” and adds that under Tim Cook the company “will not be nearly so successful.” Ellison also attacks Google CEO Larry Page: Google’s Android operating system infringes on Oracle’s copyrights for Java, the company says.
UPDATED, 11:14 PM: YouTube today dismissed the support that IATSE, the DGA, AFM and SAG-AFTRA has shown for Viacom’s efforts to get another day in court with its $1 billion copyright infringement suit. Not only does the Google-owned company say in a statement that the unions’ brief “recycles” a previous filing from 2010 in the suit but that they “don’t seem to have followed developments in the case.” Read the statement YouTube issued via a spokesperson late Monday below:
The brief filed by entertainment industry unions recycles their brief from the first appeal in 2010. They don’t seem to have followed developments in the case or recognized the changes to YouTube’s place in the entertainment ecosystem. The Court has twice rejected Viacom’s unfounded copyright infringement claims. And even Viacom has conceded it doesn’t object to how YouTube has operated for the last five years. YouTube has signed licensing agreements with every major movie studio and record label, has developed an industry-leading Content Identification system used by 4,000 media partners, and does more to prevent piracy than any other major video hosting provider.
PREVIOUSLY, 6:33 PM: Despite another recent court loss, Viacom’s latest attempt to revive its billion-dollar copyright suit against YouTube has just gotten some very vocal support again from some old friends. “YouTube’s role in the rampant, systematic distribution of content in violation of the exclusive rights of copyright holders caused and continues to cause harm to the entertainment industries and the members of the Guilds and Unions working in those industries,” said a joint brief filed late last week by lawyers for the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the American Federation of Musicians. “We urge the Court to consider the full ramifications of YouTube’s actions, and request that the Court reverse the lower court’s decision.” The unions offered similar such support as they did last week back in 2010. Filed on August 2 this year, the quartet’s new 28-page brief (read it here) comes after Viacom filed materials on July 30 with the 2nd Court of Appeals asking for a new judge in the long-running case. That expected legal move against Judge Louis Stanton followed the NY-based U.S. District Court judge granting YouTube yet another favorable summary judgment in the matter on April 18. That was the second such decision for the Google-owned entity in the case. Viacom first launched the $1B action in 2007.
Google clearly caught the public’s imagination on Wednesday when it introduced Chromecast – the $35 dongle that can turn any TV with an HDMI port, and access to Wi-Fi, into a smart TV. Plug it in, and you can access YouTube, Netflix and other media, including music and photos from your computer, phone, or tablet. The device is already sold out on Google Play, Amazon, and Best Buy. (You can find it for about $45 on eBay, though.) And Google has exhausted its allotment of promotions that gave early Chromecast buyers three months of Netflix for free. So is Google’s new product worth all this excitement? Several critics who have tried it say that it is — but mostly because its cheaper than alternatives such as Apple TV and Roku. It “works as advertised, and it makes me feel like I’m a little further into the future,” The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal says. ”For $35, that’s a good deal.” Wired’s Mat Honan says that images don’t show that Chromecast needs to draw power from either a USB port or an outlet. Still, he’s “pretty blown away by how easy, versatile, and inexpensive this is. Given the low, low price … it’s really hard not to like.”
If you’re interested in YouTube, then check out Fortune’s new cover story — titled “How YouTube Changes Everything” (goes online today and hits newsstands Monday) – and stick with it to the end. The most intriguing, and critical, observations are buried. “Even as YouTube explodes in popularity, making money in its world remains a challenge for all but Google itself,” writer Miguel Helft says deep into his piece. One entrepreneur, Jason Calacanis, observes that while YouTube is “amazing for marketers, individuals and companies seeking to reach a large audience,” the business itself is “a trap.” He raises some common complaints: YouTube’s 45% slice of the ad sales pie is too big. It fails to provide enough marketing support. And YouTube, not individual producers, controls the relationships with viewers. Google shouldn’t complain, though. The criticisms are after-thoughts in largely flattering profile that confirms DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s observation that “this thing is like a rocket ship.” YouTube’s viewership is up 50% over the last 12 months. Barclays estimates that it’s worth as much as $21B — not bad for an asset that Google bought in 2006 for $1.65B. Although YouTube “is not about to kill off television,” the story …