The Chicago Journal

Google’s $93 Million Settlement for Unauthorized Location Data Collection

In a landmark development, Google has recently concluded a significant legal settlement with the state of California, agreeing to pay a substantial sum of $93 million. This settlement stems from allegations of unauthorized data collection and the use of such data without users’ informed consent. In this article, we will delve into the intricate details of this pivotal settlement, explore its implications for Google and the wider digital landscape, and discuss the concrete actions that Google intends to take to rectify its practices.

The Allegations: A Breach of Trust:

The California Department of Justice, following an extensive and thorough multi-year investigation, leveled serious allegations against the tech giant. Google was accused of engaging in deceptive practices, specifically related to its collection, storage, and utilization of users’ location data for the purposes of consumer profiling and targeted advertising. These allegations raised fundamental questions about the protection of user privacy and the need for transparent and ethical data handling practices in the digital age.

Google’s Response: A Commitment to Change:

In response to these allegations, Google acknowledged the settlement and emphasized that the issues in question were rooted in outdated product policies that had already undergone significant revisions. The company pointed to a blog post published in 2022, which introduced a range of transparency-enhancing tools. Among these tools were auto-delete controls and the introduction of incognito mode on Google Maps. Google’s response indicates a commitment to addressing the concerns raised and improving user data protection.

The Significance of Location Data: Shaping the Digital Landscape:

It is essential to recognize the pivotal role played by location-based advertising in Google’s business model. By leveraging location data, companies can precisely tailor their content and advertising to specific geographic areas, enhancing the user experience. Google also utilizes location data as a critical component in building users’ “behavioral profiles,” enabling more effective targeting of advertisements and content.

Deceptive Practices: A Closer Examination:

California Attorney General Rob Bonta alleged that Google had not been entirely forthcoming about its location data collection and storage methods. For instance, the complaint highlighted that Google continued to gather location data even when users disabled the “location history” setting, albeit through different mechanisms. These practices raised serious questions about transparency and the need for users to have control over their data.

Settlement Terms: A Path to Greater Transparency:

As part of the settlement agreement, Google commits to enhancing transparency regarding its location tracking practices. Users will receive clear notifications that their location information may be used for targeted advertisements. However, it is essential to note that the proposed order is subject to court approval, underscoring the importance of legal oversight in such matters.

Broader Legal Scrutiny: Google’s Ongoing Challenges:

This settlement is just one facet of Google’s ongoing legal challenges. The company is currently under intense scrutiny for alleged antitrust violations. The Biden administration, in January, initiated a lawsuit seeking to break up Google’s ad tech business, citing concerns about anti-competitive practices.

Google’s Defense: Emphasizing Market Preference:

During the recent antitrust trial, Google presented a robust defense, highlighting the popularity of its search engine. The fact that Apple chose Google as the default search engine for its Safari browser was cited as evidence of consumer preference for Google’s search capabilities.

A Turning Point for Data Privacy:

Google’s $93 million settlement in the location data case is a pivotal moment in the ongoing discourse surrounding data privacy and digital ethics. It underscores the growing concern over tech giants’ data collection practices and the need for transparency and user consent. While Google has committed to addressing these issues, it also faces broader legal challenges in the realm of antitrust. This settlement serves as a stark reminder of the evolving digital landscape’s complexities and the imperative to protect user data.

Microsoft AI actually had errors in demo last week

Microsoft Last week, two key tech firms engaged in a contest to showcase their progress in artificial intelligence.

Early versions of the AI-powered search engines from Google and Microsoft were on exhibit at two different gatherings.

The fact that Microsoft’s event took place a day before Google’s, whose disastrous failure resulted in a drop in Alphabet’s shares, gave them an edge.

More than a million people attempted to join and utilize Microsoft’s new tool in the first 48 hours as a result of the presentation’s widespread notice.

According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the industrial revolution may have “brought to knowledge work” technology.

Its AI validated concerns regarding accuracy, therefore the achievement was not without problems.

The demo

In the experiment, the ChatGPT-inspired AI system of the Bing search engine examined financial data, including that from Gap and Lululemon.

The chatbot’s results showed a fault in that it overlooked certain data when compared to the actual reports.

Additionally, the viewers noticed that some of the figures looked to be false.

Dmitri Brereton, an independent search researcher, wrote the following on Monday in a post on Substack:

“Bing AI got some answers completely wrong during their demo. But no one noticed. Instead, everyone jumped on the Bing hype train.”

Brereton also drew attention to apparent factual flaws with the demo’s irregularities in the specifications of the vacuum cleaner and the travel plans to Mexico.

The researcher said he wasn’t purposefully trying to find errors.

Brereton didn’t become aware of the errors until he tried to compare the Microsoft and Google AI reveals in his writing.

Meanwhile, AI experts referred to the errors as “hallucinations.”

The tendency of tools to create data based on in-depth language models is referred to as hallucinations in artificial intelligence.

When Google put on a similar event, its AI system also produced factual errors that were easily detected.

AI and search engines

Google and Microsoft are working to integrate new types of generative AI into their search engines as a way to showcase their progress.

The rivalry intensified after OpenAI debuted ChatGPT in November.

Microsoft granted OpenAI billions of dollars.

Due to billion-dollar valuations in private financing rounds, several companies, such Stability AI and Hugging Face, had great growth during this time.

Read also: BuzzFeed wants to take advantage of AI

Google, on the other hand, was wary of incorporating AI-generated answers into its search engines because it needed to maintain its image for providing the best results.

The business had safety worries as well.

However, during its introduction, Microsoft emphasized the potential short-term exposure of portions of the public to its technology.

“I think it’s important not to be in a lab,” Nadella added. “You have to get these things out safely.”

Demo problems

When Bing debuted their AI solution, there were problems with the corporate profitability outcomes.

Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft marketing executive, went to the Gap investor relations website and gave Bing AI instructions to emphasize the company’s November third-quarter numbers.

The AI-generated results showed that the summary included the following errors:

  • The stated gross margin for Gap was 37.4%, but once Yeezy was dropped, it rose to 38.7%.
  • The company’s operating margin was 4.6% as opposed to 5.9% (Gap’s report omitted this information).
  • Diluted earnings per share (adjusted) were $0.71 as opposed to the $0.42 that was reported. The report from Gap showed an adjusted income tax benefit of nearly $0.33.
  • According to Gap, net sales would decrease sequentially in the fourth quarter by the mid-single digits, which will result in lower revenue for the whole year. The operating margin is not given a forecast, however.


Microsoft is aware of the errors and expects the Bing AI to keep making them.

“We’re aware of this report and have analyzed its findings in our efforts to improve this experience,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

“We recognize that there is still work to be done and are expecting that the system may make mistakes during this preview period, which is why the feedback is critical, so we can learn and help the models get better.”

NetChoice claims California law violates First Amendment, sues state

The extensive industry group NetChoice comprises tech giants like Amazon, Google, Meta, TikTok, and Twitter.

On Wednesday, the group announced its intention to sue California.

They decided to overturn the state’s recently approved Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, which they believe violates the First Amendment.

The Age-Appropriate Design Code Act

California’s legislation was modeled after those in the UK.

It wants to establish rules to make the internet safer for young people.

The Age-Appropriate Design Code Act mandates that kids always have the most privacy enabled.

Additionally, it mandates that websites intended for children under 18 assess the possibility of user abuse or exploitation.

The lawsuit

The NetChoice lawsuit is a developing legal case involving online free expression.

Legislators routinely want to weaken the extensive liability protections offered by online platforms for user posts and content control.

All political parties are impacted by privacy and content control issues.

However, there is still disagreement between Republicans and Democrats regarding the best ways to solve the issues.

Even though a majority Democratic legislature supported the California act, NetChoice filed lawsuits against Texas and Florida for the social media laws passed by those states’ legislatures.

By requiring tech corporations to delete posts with political undertones, the legislation seeks to make them accountable.


In contrast to what it was supposed to do, the new law in California would harm adolescents rather than protect them, claims NetChoice.

Furthermore, they contend that compelling businesses to deduce from consumers the meaning of “inherently subjective terms” violates their First Amendment rights to free speech.

According to NetChoice, the state may impose financially ruinous fines if the companies are wrong.

“The State can also impose such penalties if companies fail to enforce their content moderation standards to the Attorney General’s satisfaction,” said the group.

The Age-Appropriate Design Code Act is anticipated to take effect in July 2024.

According to NetChoice, the bill will force content providers to drastically reduce their output to avoid paying fines for creating what California deems harmful.

“The over-moderation will stifle important resources, particularly for vulnerable youth who rely on the Internet for life-saving information,” said NetChoice.

Read also: Donald Trump slumps in voter standing based on recent poll

Defense of the law

A representative for California Attorney General Rob Bonta defended the legislation despite the accusations.

The statement claims that the policy provides essential new safeguards against the collection and use of children’s data.

Furthermore, it addresses some verifiable negative consequences of social networking and other online products and services.

“We are reviewing the complaint and look forward to defending this important children’s safety law in court.”

Prior concerns

The lawsuit’s language is similar to a bipartisan federal bill that aims to provide children with online protection but is being contested by civil society organizations.

The groups expressed concern that the bill would increase the danger posed by children and teenagers.

The following organizations were among those opposed to the legislation:

  • The American Civil Liberties Union
  • Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Fight for the Future
  • Glaad
  • Wikimedia Foundation

Concerning the bill’s potential negative impacts, notably on the rights of the LGBTQ community, the organizations issued a warning.

People in the community are already concerned about how political prejudices can affect the standards used by content filters.

The bipartisan bill

The law would have imposed requirements on websites that minors under the age of 16 are likely to access.

Therefore, it would be their responsibility to reduce the likelihood of physical or psychological harm to young users, especially by encouraging the following:

  • Self-harm or suicide
  • Encouragement of addictive behavior
  • Enabling online bullying
  • Predatory marketing

“KOSA would require online services to ‘prevent’ a set of harms to minors, which is effectively an instruction to employ broad content filtering to limit minors’ access to certain online content,” wrote the groups.

“Online service would face substantial pressure to over-moderate, including from state Attorneys General seeking to make political points about what kind of information is appropriate for young people.”

“At a time when books with LGBTQ+ themes are being banned from school libraries, and people providing healthcare to trans children are being falsely accused of ‘grooming,’ KOSA would cut off another vital avenue to access to information for vulnerable youth.”

Revamping the federal bipartisan bill

The responsible legislators attempted to address the problems in a revised version of the legislation.

On Tuesday night, updates that addressed issues raised by the LGBTQ community and significant lawmakers were released.

In order to address worries that attorneys general with anti-LGBTQ attitudes may abuse the law, a modified “duty of care” language was introduced.

Additionally, a language stating that companies are not required to collect additional user information to determine the user’s age was changed.

Despite the changes, certain groups nevertheless opposed the law.

Read also: Elon Musk sells giant chunk of Tesla shares again

Content moderation

NetChoice opposes the laws in Florida and Texas that would weaken Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields the tech industry from legal culpability.

The Act safeguards the right to manage content.

Republicans, on the other hand, have been attempting to enact more regulations on social media because they believe that conservative ideas are being suppressed on well-known websites.

Popular sites have denied unfairly implementing their community guidelines when this has occurred.

According to a reputable study, internet discussions are often dominated by conservative viewpoints.

A Texas version was barred from taking effect in May by the Supreme Court.

The merits of the case were not, however, decided.

Lower courts have thus far rejected Florida’s version.


Tech industry group sues to block California law designed to protect kids online over free speech concerns

Kids Online Safety Act may harm minors, civil society groups warn lawmakers

Revamped kids’ online privacy bill emerges in year-end push (1)

Google employees stressed about new performance review system

Google: Only a small number of Google employees, according to internal discussions, are expected to receive great performance ratings, with many more perhaps receiving low ratings.

The company’s upcoming implementation of a new performance review system will also endanger the security of underperforming employees.

The news

Google officials recently provided further information on the company’s new performance evaluation system during a meeting and a separate presentation last week.

The company estimates that under the new policy, 6% of full-time employees will fall to low-ranking groups, increasing their likelihood of receiving corrective action from the prior 2%.

High marks will also be more challenging to achieve.

In contrast to the previous prediction of 27%, Google forecasts that 22% of employees will be rated in one of the top two categories.

Employees must do the “near-impossible” and offer more than “thought possible” in order to be in the highest-rated category, Transformative Impact.


The company’s performance evaluation procedure, Google Reviews and Development (GRAD), was revealed earlier this year.

There have apparently been more employee concerns about GRAD’s procedural and technical issues as year-end deadlines have gotten closer.

Many people are concerned that the evaluations they receive won’t be accurate.

Recent cutbacks in the technology industry have made the situation more pressing.

Although Google has avoided massive job cuts like those at Meta, some employees are concerned they could be the next.

Read also: TikTok receives ban on government devices


Although Google officials have long emphasized transparency, employees have complained that headcount inquiries have not been appropriately answered.

Some workers think the corporation may reduce staff as a result of the new review system.

The headcount has been the main source of stress for employees in the latter months of 2022.

After years of explosive expansion, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was compelled to explain Google’s shifting attitude in September.

Executives did not totally rule out the possibility of layoffs despite the small savings.

At an all-hands meeting in November, a number of employees questioned the management about their projected headcount.

Additionally, employees questioned whether officials had improperly regulated staffing when Google increased its workforce by 24% year over year in Q3 2022.

The company employed 186,779 full-time staff members as of the third quarter, in addition to a comparable number of contractors.

According to recent GRAD filings, the company will review stock, salary, and bonuses.

The new system expects handing out more money per individual overall.

The document concludes by stating that Google will keep paying between the top 5% and 10% of market values.


Many of the most frequently asked topics from the most recent all-hands conference focused heavily on the stress associated with year-end performance reports.

Employees don’t believe Google’s management will be open and honest about its employment count, according to the questions.

“Why did Google push support check-in quotas in front-line managers days before the deadline?” one employee asked.

“I’ve been through a lot in Google in 5+ years, but this is a new low.”

Another said:

“It seems like a lot of last-minute support check-ins were forced through part of Cloud in order to meet a quota, causing a lot of distress.”

“With only two weeks to correct course, how is this helpful feedback? How do we prevent this from happening in the future?”

A top-rated employee said:

“The support check-in process is confusing, increasingly becoming a cause of stress and anxiety in Googlers, especially given the current economic situation and rumors around layoffs.”

Read also: The Federal Reserve influences 2022 stock market, Thursday market movement


Earlier this month, reports of “support check-ins” for personnel surfaced.

On the days before year-end deadlines, support check-ins are typically linked linked to poor performance ratings.

Employees said that on the closing days, administrators changed a number of the process steps.

Fiona Cicconi discussed the GRAD concerns at a recent meeting, saying, “I know it’s been bumpy.”

“It’s not ideal to have support check-ins occur so late in the review cycle, and we know that people need time to absorb the feedback and take action on it.”

Google employees, according to Cicconi, require more time to change their course.

Executives have been questioned by staff members about if they are obliged to transfer employees to lower performance categories in order to cut headcount in 2023.

The staff weren’t fully convinced despite the management’s frequent claims that there were no quotas.

The question of whether Google was becoming a “stack-ranking” company like Amazon, which ranks employees’ performance based on quotas, was also put to the executives.

“Uncertainties around GRAD processes have been putting a lot of pressure on lower-level managers to pass down information,” said a highly-rated question.

“Layoffs across the industry has been a topic impacting Googlers, raising stress, anxiety, and burnout,” another read.

“There’s been no official comms on this, which raises even more concern around this. When will the company address this topic?”

CEO Sundar Pichai made it clear that he is unsure of what the future holds while avoiding direct questions from the general public.

“What we’ve been trying hard to do is, we are trying to prioritize where we can so we are set up to better weather the storm, regardless of what’s ahead,” said Pichai.

“We really don’t know what the future holds, so unfortunately, I cannot making forward looking commitments, but everything we’ve been planning on as a company for the past six to seven months has been: do all the hard work to try and work our way through this as best as possible so, that’s all I can say.”


Google tells employees more of them will be at risk for low performance ratings next year

TikTok receives ban on government devices

TikTok: It’s a new step that the bipartisan spending agreement will forbid TikTok from being utilized on equipment used by the government.

On Friday, the legislation was approved by both Houses of Congress.

The decision highlights the growing anxiety surrounding the popular video-sharing app, which is owned by the Chinese corporation ByteDance.

The bill

President Joe Biden has not yet given his approval to the bipartisan spending plan.

It urges e-commerce retailers to conduct more research to halt the sale of counterfeit goods online.

The measure also increases the filing fees for companies seeking to merge with federal antitrust regulators.

However, Congress was unable to pass a number of strict measures aimed at the tech industry, including:

  • Antitrust legislation that requires Apple and Google app stores to give developers more payment options
  • A measure mandating new guardrails to protect children online

In spite of progress made by Congress in 2022 toward a compromise measure on national privacy standards, a patchwork of state laws continue to govern the protection of consumer data.

Reaction to the bill

The Chamber of Progress, a center-left-leaning organization in the tech sector, praised the rejection of many antitrust bills that would have targeted its donors which included:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Google
  • Meta

Following the presentation of the package, Adam Kovacevich, CEO of the Chamber of Progress, made the following official statement:

“What you don’t see in this year’s omnibus are the more controversial measures that have raised red flags on issues like content moderation.”

The company has previously expressed worries about the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, a well-known antitrust statute.

NetChoice, another tech organization, praised Congress for refusing to include unrestrained extremist progressive ideas to alter American antitrust law.

However, the legislation that was enacted by lawmakers as part of the budget package would have an impact on the industry in a number of different ways.

Read also: Sam Bankman-Fried to receive bail for $250 million

TikTok ban

The removal of TikTok from devices provided by the government may have an influence on rival platforms like Snap, Facebook, and Instagram that are fighting for the attention of younger users.

Exemptions from the law are also provided for research, national security, and law enforcement purposes.

Lawmakers and FBI Director Christopher Wray are concerned that TikTok’s ownership structure may expose US user data to Chinese firms that may be required by law to turn over user information.

Although TikTok has often stated that the information it gathers from US users is not kept in China, these assertions have had little impact.

The company has been attempting to come to an agreement with the government through the US Committee on Foreign Investment to allay worries about national security.

A spokesperson for TikTok released the following statement after the announcement:

“We’re disappointed that Congress has moved to ban TikTok on government devices – a political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests – rather than encouraging the Administration to conclude its national security review.”

“The agreement under review by CFIUS will meaningfully address any security concerns that have been raised at both the federal and state level.”

“These plans have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies – plans that we are well underway in implementing – to further secure our platform in the United States, and we will continue to brief lawmakers on them.”


Even though other antitrust measures targeting digital platforms were not included in the end-of-year legislation, a bill that helps raise funds for the antitrust institutions that investigate mergers did.

The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act raises the filing fee that companies pursuing significant mergers must pay to the antitrust agencies in order to comply with the law’s requirements.

Additionally, the bill lowers the cost of smaller fees and allows for yearly charge adjustments in accordance with the CPI.

The measure’s targeted beneficiaries are the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.

Both have seen a large increase in merger filings over the past few years without adequate budget increases.

Despite falling short of antitrust groups’ hopes, the measure incorporating the merger filing fee was praised.

According to Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, the bill would strengthen antitrust law for the first time since 1976.

“This is a major milestone for the anti-monopoly movement,” said Miller.

“Big Tech, Big Ag, and Big Pharma spent extraordinary sums in an unprecedented effort to keep Congress from delivering on antitrust reform and undermine the ability of state and federal enforcers to uphold the law – and they lost.”

The bill’s proponent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, claimed that updating merger fees after decades is vital to provide antitrust enforcers with the resources they require to carry out their duties.

“This is clearly the beginning of this fight and not the end,” she said.

“I will continue to work across the aisle to protect consumers and strengthen competition.”

Read also: Twitter and Elon Musk sued by former workers

Tech impact on children

The bill contains the Children and Media Research Advancement (CAMRA) Act.

It authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to do research on how media and technology affect young children, teenagers, and infants.

According to the law, the following technological advancements may have an effect on physical, mental, and cognitive health:

  • Social media
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Video games
  • Virtual reality

The director of the National Institutes of Health must provide a report to Congress on the organization’s operations within two years of the law’s adoption.


TikTok banned on government devices under spending bill passed by Congress

Elon Musk wary of Twitter removal from Apple

Elon Musk has claimed that Apple is threatening to remove Twitter from its iOS app store, which could throw off Twitter’s business.

The revelation fell on Monday.

If Apple goes ahead with its plan, it would be devastating for the company that Musk recently bought for $44 billion.

The tweets

On Monday, Elon Musk made several tweets targeting Apple and its CEO over the alleged move that could ruin Twitter’s business.

“Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why,” Musk tweeted.

In another, the Twitter owner said Apple has largely stopped advertising.

“Do they hate free speech in America,” he asked, referencing his desire to bolster his idea of free speech on Twitter.

“What’s going on here [Apple CEO Tim Cook]?”

Elon Musk also criticized Apple’s size, claiming the tech giant engages in “censorship.”

He then blasted the 30% transaction fee Apple charges major app developers to get their apps up for the app store.

Read also: Jobless claims exceed analyst’s expectations


Elon Musk’s tweets shed light on his relationship with the tech giant.

Before acquiring the social media platform, Musk said when Tesla ran into problems, he considered selling the company to Apple.

However, Cook reportedly refused to meet him.


Removing Twitter from the Apple App Store (or even Google) would damage Twitter’s operations.

The social media platform is already struggling after losing advertisers following its acquisition.

In addition, the company is trying to increase its profits through its subscription business.

Apple has already shown a willingness to remove apps from its App Store due to concerns about harmful content or attempts to circumvent cuts Apple offers on purchases and subscriptions.

For example, Apple removed Parler in January 2021.

Parler was a popular app among conservatives, especially the far right.

Apple removed it after the Capitol attack over concerns about the platform’s ability to detect and moderate hate speech.

However, Parler returned to the App Store after three months following an update on its content moderation practices.

Read also: Russia threatens Europe, says it may cut gas


Earlier this month, Tim Cook had an interview with CBS.

He was asked if Twitter could somehow change that would cause Apple to remove the app from the app store.

“They say that they’re going to continue to moderate and so… I count on them to do that,” said Cook.

“Because I don’t think that anybody really wants hate speech on their platform. So I’m counting on them to continue to do that.”

Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety at Twitter, also hinted that the company has already received calls from App Store moderators since the Musk acquisition.

Roth said Twitter’s failure to follow Google’s and Apple’s App Store rules could be disastrous.

Phil Schiller, head of Apple’s App Store, deleted his Twitter account last weekend.

While the relationship between Apple and Twitter is unclear, the tech giant recently posted Black Friday announcements on social media.

Meanwhile, many companies have recently reduced their digital ad spending due to the economic downturn.

Twitter probably represents a small portion of Apple’s advertising budget.

However, Apple’s impact could be more remarkable, especially if Musk manages to shift his core business to subscription revenue and potentially pay Apple a 30% cut.


Elon Musk claims Apple has ‘threatened to withhold’ Twitter from its app store

Apple reportedly plans to bring changes to Siri

Apple has made a lot of innovations in 2022 so far, and they’re about to make another change with the Siri feature.

The tech giant is reportedly planning to ditch “Hey.”

The report

Apple is allegedly training Siri, its voice assistant, to take commands without saying the first half of the phrase “Hey Siri.”

The activation phase launches Siri on Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, HomePod, and Apple Watch.

According to Bloomberg, the move could take place in 2023 or 2024.

Read also: Apple to see iPhone 14 models shipment setback


While the update is minor, experts believe it is a sign that more changes are underway and that in-depth training in artificial intelligence will be required.

Lian Jye Su, research director at ABI Research, said the system recognizes requests more accurately from two keywords.

The transition to using a word would rely on a more advanced artificial intelligence system.

“During the recognition phase, the system compares the voice command to the user-trained model,” explained Su.

“‘Siri’ is much shorter than ‘Hey Siri,’ giving the system potentially less comparison points and higher error rate in an echo-y, large room and noisy environments.”

The move

Apple’s change would allow them to catch up with Amazon’s “Alexa” prompt, which doesn’t require an initial voice assistant activation word.

In 2018, Microsoft moved away from “Hey Cortana” so that users need only say “Cortana” on smart speakers.

However, for product inquiries from Google, users must still use the phrase “OK Google.”

The “Hey Siri” change comes at a time when Apple, Amazon and Google are working together on the Matter automation standard.

The Matter automation standard allows automation and Internet of Things devices from different vendors to collaborate.

James Sanders, the chief analyst at market research firm CCS Insight, says Apple’s priority is likely to redouble efforts to improve Siri functionality.

Read also: Apple continues positive streak amid inflation


Apple’s voice assistant has been active since February 2010, over twelve years ago.

It started as a standalone app on Apple’s App Store before the tech giant bought it two months later.

Apple then integrated Siri into the iPhone 4S.

It introduced the ability to say “Hey Siri” without using the home button in 2014.

Over the years, Siri has gotten smarter by integrating third-party developers like carpooling and payment apps.

It also supports follow-up questions, multiple languages, and other access.

Despite the improvements, Siri still has problems, including user misunderstandings and wrong answers.

“While the ‘Hey Siri’ change requires a considerable amount of work, it would be surprising if Apple announced only this change to Siri,” said Sanders.

“Considering the rumored timing, I would anticipate this change to be bundled with other new or improved functionality for Siri, perhaps alongside a new model of HomePod and integrations with other smart home products via Matter, as a reintroduction to Apple’s voice assistant.”


Why Apple may be working on a ‘hey Siri’ change

Google agrees to pay $392 million to 40 states

Google is in trouble for violating privacy and location tracking practices.

However, reports say the company agreed to a record $391.5 million settlement with 40 states.

The deal comes after users complained about the company’s location-tracking practices with its devices and services.

The announcement

A group of lawyers announced the settlement on Monday.

Attorneys General have called it the largest multi-state privacy settlement in the history of the United States.

The coalition includes a list of attorneys general from New York, Kentucky and Oregon.

Furthermore, they said that as early as 2015, Google lied to users about location tracking in different ways.

Lawyers said users were confused over the scope of setting location history and the extent to which users who rely on Google products and services can limit location tracking by changing their account and device settings.

Read also: Report: Texas to sue Google for violating user privacy with technology


Google must now show transparency with the settlement and meet these requests:

  • Show additional information for location-related settings
  • Make key location tracking policies more visible
  • Give users details

However, the company faces restrictions on location usage and storage information.

Google spokesperson José Castañeda said:

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago.”

Read also: Android 13 launches for Google Pixel devices, what it has to offer


Attorneys general were investigating Google after a 2018 Associated Press report said that the company records user movements even when not turned on.

At the time, the company released a statement saying:

  • A clear description of the tools
  • Robust controls so users can turn them on and off
  • The ability to delete their histories at any time

A similar lawsuit hit Google in January.

Four attorneys general from Columbia, Texas, Indiana and Washington’s counties claim the company was using shady schemes.

They also said the company is using deceptive practices to track users’ physical locations, even when they try to block Google.

Additionally, location data can target ads and create Internet user profiles.

Google is a major tech company under scrutiny for how it handles location data following the destruction of Roe v. Wade.

Finally, lawmakers highlight how the company on how the data can be used to track abortion seekers.

As a result, the company will remove users’ location history for visits to abortion clinics, fertility clinics, and other destinations.


Google agrees to $392 million settlement with 40 states over location tracking practices

Report: Texas to sue Google for violating user privacy with technology

Texas General Ken Paxton sued Google, claiming the tech company violated the state’s biometric privacy law on Thursday.

According to Paxton’s lawsuit, Google collected users’ voiceprints and facial recognition data.

The actions were done with their knowledge or consent.

The lawsuit

Paxton filed a lawsuit in the Midland County District Court in Texas.

He says the company’s face and voice recognition in Google Photos and smart speakers violated state law on acquiring or using biometric identifiers.


Using Google Photos, the tech giant scans uploaded images, identifying and classifying subjects, such as people.

However, people don’t know that their faces are scanned or saved.

The company also allegedly listened to Texans without considering the speaker’s consent to Google’s indiscriminate voice printing.

The complaint also claimed that Google’s Nest Hub Max, the smart home display with an integrated camera, was a “modern eye of Sauron.”

Nest Hub Max watches people, waiting for a face it recognizes.

“All across the state, everyday Texans have become unwitting cash cows being milked by Google for profits,” said the complaint.

Texas and biometric data

The Red State is one of the few states to have a law governing the use of biometrics.

Ken Paxton’s lawsuit is the second time Texas has invoked the 2009 law to prosecute a company.

In February, Texas claimed a now-defunct Facebook photo tagging tool violated Texas biometrics law.

The Facebook tool was also the subject of a $650 million biometric privacy agreement in Illinois last year.

The state has other lawsuits against Google.

Some of the lawsuits include two consumer protection lawsuits and an antitrust lawsuit against the company’s digital ads.


Texas sues Google over alleged ‘indiscriminate’ biometric data collection

Apple Joins the Tech Giant Trend of Slowing Down Hiring Process

No one is immune to the heavy inflation affecting the country, and Apple is no exception to the rule. But, with an unsteady second quarter, the tech giant is forced to slow its hiring process.

The tech giant is not alone. Many other companies are making similar decisions.

However, Apple assured employees that the hiring freeze would not be a company-wide policy.

Apple’s statement

The company’s new recruitment policy will impact different industries based on sales, supply chain issues and consumer demand.

Although not all Apple teams are affected, the company plans to produce a wider product line next year.

Additionally, the tech giant will assess the situation of industries “on a case-by-case basis” rather than fill vacancies.

Hiring decisions by other companies

Google and Microsoft recently announced that they are changing their plans.

While Google will implement the same plan as Apple, Microsoft will lay off a small percentage of its workforce.

Microsoft Chairman Brad Smith said US companies are entering a new era of hiring as fewer people enter the workforce, suggesting many companies are offering higher wages to attract more workers.

Read also: Victory for Towson, Maryland’s Apple Store Lays Foundations for Other Stores Across the United States


Apple’s flagship iPhone remains the key to sales. However, regional uncertainty and economic hardships reduced global telephone shipments by 9% year-on-year in the second quarter, research firm Canalys reported.

The company noted that Apple accounted for 17% of global phone shipments in the second quarter, up 14% sequentially.

The iPhone 13 remains one of the most sought-after phones, while the competitor Samsung has the largest market share with a market share of 21%.

Canalys pointed out that Samsung’s strong shipments are mainly due to its low-end A-series phones, a remarkably affordable range compared to the iPhone 13 series.

Read also: iPhone Users to Receive Two New Major Security Boost from Apple

Earnings report

The company will announce the results next week, on July 28th.

Earlier in April, Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, warned that the company would face several challenges in the second quarter, most notably inventory shortages that could push total sales to $8 billion.

However, the steady demand for the iPhone 13 shows significant revenue despite the warnings.

Calays analyst Toby Zhu said phone promotions and special offers would ease the supply pressure.

However, he warned that consumers are suffering from inflation, making it unlikely that they will earn the same income as last year to buy the new phones. Zhu also warned of ongoing collapses in the supply chain.

“While component supplies and cost pressures are easing, a few concerns remain within logistics and production,” said Zhu.

“Such as some emerging markets’ tightening import laws and customs procedures delaying shipments.”

Meanwhile, Chinese phone makers have been enduring the pressure of issues like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, which have dropped to double digits and captured 14%, 10% and 9% global market shares, respectively.

Other Apple news

Apple recently launched a new initiative to strengthen security and fight mercenary spyware and other digital threats.

Block Mode is a tool that allows users to protect themselves from threats, especially those that hold key positions in their respective fields.

For example, the tool would allow them to block most messages, disable various web technologies, limit functionality, and block Apple services such as invitations and service requests.


Inflation takes a bit out of Apple’s hiring plans

Smartphone shipments fell 9% in Q2, but Apple iPhone remains in high demand despite inflation pressure