Android wins GM’s dashboards

Google’s Android is chosen for future GM dashboards

Google won an important battle to control in-car infotainment systems, when GM decided that Android will power its models starting in 2022. Android in car will mean seamless access to Google Maps and Google Assistant, beating Amazon’s Echo Auto out of that spot. GM will continue to offer Apple Car Play in models, accommodating both iOS and Android users behind the wheel. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Combining auto-makers’ in-car systems with smartphone interfaces makes for an awkward match up, especially if you frequently rent cars and try to learn every brand’s unique approach to important navigation, communications and music controls. Leveraging the ever improving smartphone interface is the preferred path, and making the car an extension of the smartphone (which needs to disappear while we drive) is the best, and safest, consumer experience. Expect the role of mobile operating systems to expand deeper into home controls, including music players, TVs, and kitchen appliances.

Must haves: a phone charger built into your walls

Debuting at the CEDIA Expo event is 4AMPS 4A-WCC2 charger with integrated cord . This is a DIY faceplate that anyone who has the courage to remove an electrical outlet face plate can slide into the exposed socket to retro-fit an existing socket. The result is an in-wall socket with added 3 foot retractable charging cord for charging both an Apple device (Lightning connector) and USB-C. The product sells for $35. CEPro

dis-rup-shun: Admit it — you have hid your charging cord from your roommates, your kids or your spouse, as it seems someone in the house always seems to be missing theirs and borrows yours. A built-in retractable cord that disappears when not in use is genius, and placed in a few strategic locations will improve the lives of more than a few people. Expect this kind of offering to be standard in homes and high-end hotels, alike.

Groupon’s offers on medical treatments a shock to doctors

ArsTechnica reports that doctors are aghast to learn that patients are using Groupon specials to shop for medical treatments such as mammograms, eye care and dental work.

dis-rup-shun: Memo to doctors: your services are becoming another consumer service that will be discounted, promoted and hawked, like carpet cleaning and brake inspections. The Internet has been slow to disrupt healthcare and bring the same conveniences and transparency that it has for travel, for book buying, and for restaurant reservations. But the open market, courtesy of the Internet and fueled by partnerships with consumer companies like CVS and Aetna and the entry of Amazon, has arrived. This will be great for consumers and insurers, but disruptive to doctors whose incomes will now be set by the market, not by the AMA.

Is $170M penalty a slap on Google’s wrist or historical?

Google agreed to pay fine of $170M to the FTC and the State of New York for violating COPPA rules designed to protect the identity of children. Google was targeting specific ads to children under 13, in violation of COPPA. The fine is the largest ever for violation of the privacy act, but has been criticized as “paltry” in relation to Google’s $137 billion in 2018 revenues. The company did agree, however, to use Artificial Intelligence to identify and protect children’s content going forward. CNN

dis-rup-shun: This penalty and controversy sounds very similar to Facebook’s $5 billion penalty in July for revealing personal information – also decried as being too lenient on a multi-billion dollar company. Here are the currents swirling around regulation of Big Tech firms: 1) Many government and business leaders are claiming that Big Tech is too powerful and anti-competitive and that their astronomical lobbying expenditures are buying leniency from the Feds. A series of investigations into Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple are queued up for the remainder of this year, and the recent settlements set the tone for size of the penalties.  2) Apple has initiated a “good guy” campaign, building privacy protection features into its products at the public relations expense of Facebook and Google – increasing pressure on the industry to raise the privacy bar. 3) Google researchers have discovered a “zero day” hack of thousands of iPhones, creating a public relations embarrassment for the good guys at Apple. 4) Penalties levied against Facebook and Google are small relative to revenues, but some of the largest of their kind, leading one to believe that the Feds are firing a warning shot to test the pain points of both Big Tech and the public. Expect to see a series of relatively low penalties levied against Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and others in the next half dozen months.

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