Google is starting to take user privacy seriously

Might copy Apple’s privacy nutrition labels



Recently, Apple announced a new privacy-oriented feature: privacy nutrition labels. A future requirement for app developers, the feature will show users just how much of their data goes to an app’s trackers. After Apple, Google is reportedly trying to take user privacy seriously too.

According to Bloomberg, the Android developers are developing a feature similar to Apple’s privacy nutrition labels. The company is looking at options which will “limit data collection and cross-app tracking.”

However, instead of completely copying Apple, Google is looking for laxer alternatives. Notably, Apple’s recent solutions stepped on a lot of toes in the developer world including giants like Facebook and Epic Games.

Google, on the other hand, draws a lot of its revenue from advertising. The company has a lot to lose from limiting an advertiser’s ability to track users. Currently, Google is still planning its own iteration of privacy options. As such, the company is consulting heavily with stakeholders on the best way to go.

Whichever way the company goes, user privacy is always a great concern for any company to have. Because of recent events, the world is taking user privacy and data collection a lot more seriously. Everyone wants to know how third parties are using their data.

In Apple’s case, the upcoming privacy nutrition label will come with the iOS 14.5 update coming later this year.

SEE ALSO: Apple is adding privacy nutrition labels to the Apple Store


Why is Amazon starting a $250 million venture fund in India?

Aims to bring 1 million offline stores online by 2025



Amazon has announced a US$ 250 million venture fund called Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund that’ll invest in small and medium-sized businesses. The goal is to boost India’s export by using technology and the marketplace’s reach.

Amazon Smbhav will be focusing on the digitization of small businesses, agri-tech innovations to raise farmer productivity, and health tech for quality universal healthcare. The fund was announced at Amazon India’s annual Smbhav Summit.

It intends to tap offline sellers and professionals via the fund and on onboarding a million shops by 2025. Another initiative is “Spotlight NorthEast,” which will bring 50,000 artisans, weavers, and small businesses online from India’s North-Eastern states. The region is known for its local produce like honey, tea, and spices.

The announcement came at a fireside chat at the summit between Andy Jassy, incoming CEO of Amazon and Amit Agarwal, Global Senior VP and Country Head, Amazon India. They also revealed the first bet Amazon was making through the new fund — invoice discounting platform M1xchange, in which it has led a $10 million investment.

Amazon said it created close to 300,000 jobs since January 2020 and one million in total. It also boasted of having almost 70,000 sellers, exporting Indian goods to other markets totaling US$ 3 billion in sales.

The timing of Amazon India’s announcement is key because the e-commerce companies have been barred from delivering in the state of Maharashtra amid a Coronavirus-led curfew. While the restrictions are regional, businesses are unable to get necessary and basic supplies. In a work-from-home world, getting an emergency mice/keyboard or mattress should be easy via digitization, but there are antitrust concerns.

Due to a lockdown, offline sellers cannot operate and thus, don’t want online businesses to eat their share. The Narendra Modi-led government has historically sided with the offline traders since they constitute a majority of India’s market. The offline market is still the king, and the gap between the two is very substantial.

If online players operate exclusively for too long, they’ll start gobbling up market share gradually, killing the smaller businesses. While the aim is to maintain a level-playing field, the current rules aren’t helping anybody at the end of the day. The region also fails to collect indirect taxes over the possible transactions, leading to a cash crunch while the pandemic rages.

The FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) rules for the retail market were changed in 2019, meaning Amazon India could no longer directly sell its products. It had to act like a marketplace to maintain healthy competition since 100 percent FDI is allowed in e-commerce as a tech platform, but not as a retailer.

Thanks to the fund, Amazon can show its commitment to India and its initiatives to encourage online trade. India’s new farm laws also make it easier for private companies to invest in agriculture or partner with farmers for contracts.

Amazon had announced an investment of US$1 billion in January 2020 and its purpose was also the same — digitizing India’s small and medium businesses. Founder Jeff Bezos had said back then, “We are doing this now because it is working. And when something works you should double down on it.”

For now, the concerns of a monopoly are diminished because Amazon is going up against India’s homegrown Flipkart, which Walmart now backs. Reliance is also eyeing this segment and has already kicked off a hyperlocal service called JioMart. Lastly, many other retailers like Dmart, Tata CliQ + Bigbasket, and Grofers are available.

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Nvidia will now let you rent a DGX Station A100 mini supercomputer

It’s not meant for gaming though



Today, many services are based on a subscription model, whether it’s music streaming or ordering monthly coffee brew packs. Even the gaming industry is gradually moving to a subscription-based business. So, what’s left? How about subscribing to a plan that gives you access to a supercomputer?

Nvidia is trying to pull off a trend in the supercomputer world — selling them via a subscription model. The equipment is costly and requires a lot of upfront investment, discouraging smaller companies or individual developers.

Its DGX Station A100 is a new cloud-native supercomputer that delivers 2.5 Petaflops of AI training power & 5 PetaOPS of INT8 inferencing horsepower. It’s also unique to support MIG (Multi-Instance GPU) protocol, allowing multiple processes to execute faster. The computing resources can be shared with up to 28 scientists at once.

Each A100 system has dual AMD EPYC 7742 CPUs with 64-cores each, supports up to 2TB of memory, and has eight A100 GPUs.

A DGX SuperPod, on the other hand, consists of multiple DGX Station computers. They are AI supercomputers featuring 20 or more Nvidia DGX A100 systems and Nvidia InfiniBand HDR networking. Nvidia intends to open the world of AI to more enterprise customers for artificial intelligence, drug research, autonomous vehicles, and more.

The bare-metal server features 80 GB A100 Tensor Core GPUs, delivering 25 percent faster inference performance and two times faster data analytics performance. This rig clearly isn’t meant for gaming and is specifically designed for research, complex calculations, and content creation.

It’s the first time Nvidia is trying a subscription model, and it genuinely makes a lot of sense. GX Stations start at US$ 149,000, while the DGX SuperPod starts at US$ 7 million and scales to US$ 60 million. This makes it a herculean task for a small team to source the gear. A subscription starts at US$ 9,000 a month, and even though it may sound a lot for a “processor,” it isn’t.

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US Senator proposes a ban on Big Tech acquisitions

But will it see daylight?



Big Tech

Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has introduced a new bill that aims to stop Big Tech companies from acquiring a smaller company ever again. Any company with a market capitalization greater than US$ 100 billion will not be able to acquire or merge.

The new bill is called “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act” and is specifically designed to hamper the growth of companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple. But due to its wording, it’ll also affect companies like Pfizer, Nike, Costco, and McDonald’s because their market cap is greater than US$ 100 billion.

Hawley accuses the biggest social media companies of stifling conservative voices, making sectors too concentrated and often biased. The bill seeks to reform the Sherman and Clayton antitrust acts, making it clear that evidence of anticompetitive conduct is sufficient to bring an antitrust claim. In turn, making it easier to prosecute.

The Big Tech companies are under increasing scrutiny across the globe because of their massive size. They can easily acquire a smaller company, stifle competition, and monopolize the market. Regulators have failed to take action because existing legislation cannot gauge a technology company’s new-gen nature. And, the big five are trying their best to lobby the Senate for a favorable outcome.

Hawley also argues that antitrust claims should be pursued without debating a specific market definition. Facebook is his prime example since it acquired Instagram, another social media network. Today, Facebook also controls WhatsApp, which added another socially engaged product in one basket.

This isn’t the only bill that’s being introduced, though. In the House of Representatives, Representative David Cicilline plans to introduce a series of antitrust bills. Do keep in mind, these are just bills at the moment and need to go through months of bureaucracy. If it doesn’t get the required support, it’ll be shelved.

Read Also: Everything you need to know about the congressional big tech hearing

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