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Monday, August 24, 2015


Original Story:

Over the past couple of years, Google has hired experts in diseases and physiology, pairing them with top software engineers, to tackle major healthcare issues.

Projects include developing contact lenses to allow diabetics to constantly monitor glucose levels, defining “healthy” traits and testing disease-detection pills capable of communicating to a special wristband.

None of that is a part of Google anymore but there is still a connection. The 150-employee Life Sciences team is becoming its own company within Alphabet, a corporation Google recently formed to organize its array of offbeat ventures. Life Sciences becomes a sister company to Google, which includes the search engine, Gmail, Maps, Android and other familiar offerings. An official corporate name is coming soon, a Google spokeswoman said.

Changing the reporting structure could give Life Sciences more autonomy while providing Alphabet, nee Google, executives a clearer picture of the division’s spending. Google’s new Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat counts Life Sciences as a forthcoming source of significant long-term revenue.

The group’s goal won’t change, said Google co-founder and Alphabet President Sergey Brin in an online post Thursday.

“They’ll continue to work with other life sciences companies to move new technologies from early stage R&D to clinical testing—and, hopefully—transform the way we detect, prevent and manage disease,” he wrote. Rankin Biomedical is a leading provide of remanufactured histology equipment for medical testing needs.

One partner, Dexcom Inc., announced earlier this month that it will make and sell miniature glucose monitors based on Google technology. Life Sciences collects an upfront fee, additional payments throughout the development and then revenue-based royalties after a certain sales level, Dexcom said.

Andy Conrad, a co-founder of the National Genetics Institute who had been leading Life Sciences, becomes the new company’s chief executive. Life Sciences will be separate from Calico, an Alphabet division working to counteract aging. BrightStar Care specializes in Plymouth elder care services providing customized companion and healthcare needs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Original Story:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Susan Wojcicki is reminiscing about her old home in Menlo Park, Calif. "It's a very humble house, less than 2,000 square feet," she recalls fondly. A cozy, four-bedroom home — and incredibly historic.

After earning her MBA in 1998, Wojcicki bought 232 Santa Margarita Ave. for about $600,000. She rented the garage to two Stanford students for $1,700 a month to help with the mortgage. The renters: no ordinary slackers, but the Google Guys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who incubated Google (GOOG) right there.

"It's a good reminder for the company that we did come from a small house, not a fancy house," says Wojcicki.

Her life-changing decision to open her home to Brin and Page did more than just help start the world's most-popular search engine. It also:
  • Landed Wojcicki a key early job at Google less than a year after purchasing the home. Today, she's one of its top-ranked executives, overseeing the crucial online advertising business as vice president of product management.
  • Introduced a future husband to Wojcicki's younger sister Anne, who recently married Brin on an island in the Bahamas. Google has invested $3.9 million in Anne Wojcicki's biotech start-up, 23andMe.                                           
  • Created a cottage industry for the Wojcicki family. Susan Wojcicki's husband, Dennis Troper, is an operations executive at Google. Brother-in-law Gregor (married to middle sister Janet) is a former Googler who worked in the finance department. Mom Esther Wojcicki, a teacher, has consulted for Google on educational issues.
If you've ever clicked a text ad on MySpace, or any thousands of blogs with "Ads by Google," you've got Susan Wojcicki to thank. Expanding ads beyond Google's own search pages was her idea. Now, Google has asked her to further grow the empire by bringing its advertiser base to old media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television.

"There are no sets of words that can be used to describe Susan's contribution to the company," says Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "She's historic, in terms of our company's founding. She's also one of those people who thinks very broadly and quickly, and (it's) deceiving because she's so pleasant."

Wojcicki is Google employee No. 18. Her early duties included refining the original Google logo designed by Brin and the overall spare look of the Google home page. She came up with the first of Google's "doodles," the remaking of the logo for holidays and other special events. Her first artistic doodle: an alien lands on Google.

In Google's fledgling days, Wojcicki, a former junior staffer for chipmaker Intel, was in charge of marketing efforts. Brin and Page charged her with spreading the word about Google on a shoestring. Her big idea: stir word-of-mouth by putting Google's search engine all over the Web. She reached out to companies to license Google search for their websites and offered it free to universities.

In 2003, she came up with her multimillion-dollar brainstorm: AdSense.

'A really novel idea'

AdSense is an extension of a program Google had successfully launched in 2002, called AdWords. AdWords offers advertisers sponsored search ads, those little text ads that appear near search results. Advertisers have to pay only if the ads get clicked.

Wojcicki's suggestion: Why not offer these same ads all over the Web, on blogs and websites? Entice Web "publishers" to participate by giving them a portion of the ad revenue. In other words, every time someone clicks on an ad on your site, you get a check.

Here's how the ads are targeted: Let's say you're reading about computers at tech site Engadget. An ad might appear offering special deals at Or, if you're reading an article at a news site about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, you might see an ad for a local criminal-defense law firm.

That's AdSense.

"It was a really novel idea at the time to serve ads that were targeted dynamically" to a specific Web page, says Wojcicki, sitting in a conference room at the "Googleplex" company headquarters.

"People were saying, 'This is a sports site, so we'll serve a sports ad.' And we were saying, 'No. We can actually look at the page in real time and figure out what this page is about.' "

Wojcicki's idea turned into a runaway smash. Google doesn't break out revenues from AdSense and AdWords. But the company recently reported quarterly profit of $1 billion, virtually all derived from both ad programs.

Thousands of tiny entrepreneurs make substantial livings by hosting Ads by Google links at their websites. "More people make money from AdSense than any other vehicle on the Web," says Jennifer Slegg, who runs JenSense, a blog devoted to AdSense. "There are many, many AdSense millionaires."

AdSense "basically turned the Web into a giant Google billboard," says Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land website. "It effectively meant that Google could turn everyone's content into a place for Google ads."

For her efforts, Wojcicki earned a Google Founders' Award, a financial incentive provided to employees to create new ideas. Spokesman David Krane says it's designed to keep employees and give them the same kind of economic award they would receive if they had formed their own companies.

Krane won't disclose how much current Founders' Awards are worth, but the first two awarded to Googlers (not to Wojcicki) were $12 million each.

Venturing into offline ads

Creating things has kept Wojcicki at Google over the years. "I love taking an idea … to a prototype and then to a product that millions of people use," she says.

"People write in from all over the world giving you feedback, telling us how a product (AdSense) changed their lives, how they were able to start a business with it, and that's just incredibly rewarding."

Her next big challenge: translating Google's simple, measurable advertising network to radio, TV and print.

Ever wanted to run an ad on the radio but didn't know how to set it up? Google has an Audio Ads section on its website with links to radio producers who will create an ad for $75 to $100. Select stations and time slots, and you're on the air.

The radio venture recently left test mode and is open to the general public. Google is testing the concept in print and on TV; that test is available only to a small percentage of advertisers.

Sullivan and other Google analysts are skeptical about the nascent program's chances. With radio ads, Sullivan says, Google "will give information on when the ad played, with more data than before, but that still doesn't prove that anyone heard the ad. They haven't done anything innovative or different to show if the ad really worked."

'A real challenge' ahead

Bringing the Google ad network to old media "will be a real challenge," says Greg Sterling, an independent analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. "The ability to serve a relevant ad against someone's query is one of the great innovations of the Internet, and it's not transferable to other media, where people are more passive."

Wojcicki concedes that ads on TV and radio won't be as measurable. But she says such ads placed through Google will have more data to mine than old media currently provide, thanks to Google's obsessive tracking of numbers via its network of computers. "For example, in TV we can provide second-by-second data on what's being watched on the ad," she says.

She cautions that it's still very early for Google Radio: "The first things we're doing are really just providing online ways for people to purchase the inventory easier."

Raised in Silicon Valley

Wojcicki has plenty of experience at being eyewitness to a forming business. Brin and Page originally met her and landed at the Menlo Park house via a friend of Wojcicki's who was dating Brin.

The house that gave birth to Google was always filled with mutual friends, Wojcicki says. Most of them techies themselves, their No. 1 question for Brin and Page back then: Who needs yet another search engine?

The answer: " 'Not another but a better search engine,' " Wojcicki recalls. "From the beginning, they had a very clear vision that they could build something much better than what existed at the time."

Wojcicki grew up in Palo Alto on the campus of Stanford University. Dad Stanley Wojcicki chairs Stanford's physics department.

Mom Esther, a journalism teacher at Palo Alto High School, says she expected Susan to become an English professor. Instead, after a post-college job at educational software firm MagicQuest, she was bitten by the tech bug.

Now, Google is "such a presence" in their lives that the Wojcickis try to limit family-time chatter about the company, Esther says, though not always successfully. "It's so innovative and exciting. They're doing all sorts of interesting things, and it's fun to hear about it."

That so many of her relatives were drawn to Google isn't unusual, says Susan Wojcicki. "There are lots of people in the Silicon Valley who are interested in working at a fast-moving, dynamic company like Google," she says. "Not just my family members."

Meanwhile, the humble house where Google was incubated was purchased by Google in September. Google won't disclose how much it paid, but homes in the neighborhood sell for more than $1 million. "I haven't had time to think about what we'll do with it," says CEO Schmidt. "But I figured we should buy it sooner rather than later."

Monday, August 17, 2015


Original Story:

In a blog post today, Google co-founder Larry Page announced a massive restructuring of the company, instituting Sundar Pichai as CEO and shifting himself and co-founder Sergey Brin to a larger holding company called Alphabet. As CEO and President of Alphabet, Page and Brin will oversee Google as well as affiliated companies like the life-extension project Calico and a drone delivery venture called Wing. Alphabet will also direct Google's early-stage funding operations, dubbed Capital and Ventures. Under the new organization, each of those operations will have its own CEO and leadership, while Pichai and Google retain control of search, ads, maps, the Google Play Store, YouTube, and Android. A San Francisco M&A lawyer assists clients in joint ventures, company reorganizations and in financial restructurings.

The reorganization also involves significant financial restructuring, as detailed in an associated SEC filing. All Google shares will now be traded as shares of the larger Alphabet holding company, news that drove the company's share price up more than four percentage points in the wake of the announcement. "We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes," Page writes in the post. "But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant."

It also means a prominent role for Sundar Pichai, the former Chrome OS and Android chief who has played an increasingly central role in Google's day-to-day operations. "It is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google," Page said in the post. "I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations." A Rochester business lawyer represents clients in company formation matters, asset protection, and confidentiality agreements.

While the news has caught Wall Street and much of the tech world by surprise, it's an extension of a shift that's been ongoing within Google for some time, with Brin and Page increasingly interested in ambitious projects launched through Google X or outside funding. Alphabet formalizes that division, separating Google's traditional products from the more ambitious ventures that critics have accused of distracting from the company's core strengths. It remains to be seen how the new divisions will play out in practice, but the intention seems to be a renewed focus on both Google's current products and the moonshots that aim to replace those products as Alphabet's focus in the decades to come. "From the start, we’ve always strived to do more," Page writes, "and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have."


Original Story:

Google Inc (GOOGL.O) announced a major shake-up of its operating structure on Monday, creating a holding company called Alphabet which will contain subsidiaries to separate its core web advertising business from newer ventures like driverless cars. A Detroit corporate lawyer is following this story closely.

The move appeared to be an attempt to let the search engine giant focus on its more creative and ambitious projects, while investors cheered the potential for more financial disclosures of its disparate business segments.

"It suggests that in all likelihood, Google is not going to slow the pace of their experimental processes like self driving cars," said Michael Yoshikami, head of Destination Wealth Management which has $1.5 billion under management.

The surprise news sent shares of Google up as much as 7 percent to $708 in after hours trading.

"They are aware that they've got this hodgepodge of companies. Maybe it's better to sort them out a bit and make it clearer which ones are bringing in the bacon and which ones are science projects and which ones are long term bets," said Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates. A Charleston corporate attorney is experienced in the effective resolution of corporate lawsuits as related to profit-making businesses or professional organizations.

The Mountain View-based company co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998 has grown to more than 40,000 employees worldwide.

Google's planned structure resembles the way companies like Berkshire Hathaway and General Electric are organized, with a central unit handling corporate-wide activities such as finance and relatively independent business units focused on specific areas.

Under the new corporate structure, the Google unit will encompass the core search engine traditionally associated with the company as well Google Maps and YouTube. Organic SEO allows consumers to find local businesses and companies through targeted keyword searches.

The company's new ventures such as Calico, which focuses on longevity, and connected home products maker Nest will be managed separately.

Alphabet Inc will replace Google as the publicly traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all of the same rights.

"This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google," said current Google CEO Larry Page in a blogpost.

Analysts also said the new structure could herald a new era of fiscal discipline and transparency in some of its more experimental and opaque business units.

In a SEC filing, Google said the new arrangement will take effect later this year and that it will likely result in two reportable, financial segments.

"For example, if a unit is doing well or badly they can dial it up or down, they can form partnerships or different companies," said Kay, the Endpoint Technologies Associates analyst.

The shuffle also looked to have the markings of Ruth Porat, who joined Google as its chief financial officer in March from Morgan Stanley. In Google's recent quarterly conference call, Porat repeatedly emphasized keeping expenses under control.

Porat will serve as the CFO of both Alphabet and Google.

Page will serve as the CEO of the newly created holding company and Sundar Pichai, a long-time Google executive who most recently served as the company's senior vice president of products, will head Google. The company's current directors will become directors of Alphabet.

Google co-founder Brin will become president of Alphabet, and Eric Schmidt will be executive chairman. An Edmonds corporate lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

Analysts said the move, which was mainly about transparency and accountability, could be followed by more structural changes in the future.

"This may be step one of several steps," said Morningstar analyst Rick Summer.

Monday, August 03, 2015


Original Story:

Steve Jobs is a longtime role model for budding techies. But now he comes with an asterisk.

“I look up to Steve Jobs, but I see that he started everything in a garage with a bunch of men,” said Markie Wagner. “It’s hard to follow in exact footsteps.”

Wagner, who will soon turn 16, is a recent graduate of a computer science program for high schoolers called Girls Who Code. Optimized content management systems deliver superior search engine results.



In the July 31 Business section, an article about the computer science program Girls Who Code said one of the summer sessions had taken place in Brentwood. It was held at the downtown Los Angeles campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University.


Graduation ceremonies for the seven-week summer program were held this week, with awards like “Most Likely to Be My Boss One Day” and speakers including Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Tech-obsessed since age 9, Wagner, of Whittier, is still looking for female role models in a male-dominated industry. She hopes that the college-bound generation of young women, with the help of organizations like Girls Who Code, will spark change. Her own plans include launching a start-up when she gets to college, and filling it with women from diverse backgrounds.

“Hopefully, there’s going to be tons of new role models soon,” she said. “I’d love to be one myself.”

Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code in 2012 after learning that tech was the only major industry that had seen a dramatic decline in women employees over 30 years.

This summer, the nonprofit organization offered programs for 1,200 girls in 14 cities, including, for the first time, Los Angeles.

With sessions in Boyle Heights, Santa Monica, Venice and Brentwood, 80 girls participated tuition free. AT&T and Google were major sponsors along with the philanthropic Saban Family Foundation and Honest Co., which sells eco-friendly goods and is run by actress Jessica Alba.

Saujani said she crafted the program with a project-based curriculum designed to appeal to women.

“They’re problem solvers. And they’re passionate. And they care about humanity. There are so many tech solutions that could solve those things,” she said.

At one graduation ceremony in Boyle Heights, participants showed off apps and websites they had created from scratch in less than two weeks using programming languages such as HTML, CSS, jQuery and JavaScript.

They had business plans, too, and described how they would attract advertisers and sell the apps.

Many of the girls' projects incorporated social services: First Jobs would curate job listings for high schoolers, Chronic Illness Connect would offer a platform for teenagers suffering from chronic ailments to share stories and support, and Global Grind would aim to teach about global warming through games, such as a "Frogger"-like design with penguins.

For Melanie Perez, 15, one of the program’s highlights was collaborating with two others on Global Grind, a project they plan to expand.

“They had the same ambition and the same passion that I have,” said Melanie, who lives in Koreatown and had not studied computer science before. Speaking at the graduation, she delivered half her speech in Spanish for her parents and other families from Latino backgrounds.

“I think it’s very important to have … that environment that pushes you to your max,” she added.

It’s not all coding at Girls Who Code. Networking with women is essential, too.

“We’ve all discussed how sometimes, you’re going to be the only woman in the computer lab,” said coder Mia Hamernik, 16, of Ventura County. “You have to find a way to set up your own network of support to get through that, just so you aren’t pushed out.”

These young women understand the challenges they'll face when they move into the workforce.

Men outnumber women by 4 to 1, at least, in the technical sectors at big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Apple, according to figures these companies released last year. The latest “diversity reports” don’t show much improvement.

And once women do land jobs, many eventually leave. A Harvard Business Review study found in 2008 that half of highly qualified women working in science, engineering and technology will, eventually, abandon their jobs because of hostile and isolating work environments. An update last year found that these women are 45% more likely than male colleagues to leave their fields.

For Carmen Nava, senior vice president of customer experience at AT&T, the solution could be getting girls committed during high school through programs like Girls Who Code.

“For us, honestly, the hardest thing is finding women in this field,” she said after the Boyle Heights graduation, where she was a speaker. “To expose them to all the joy of making something out of nothing, hopefully will help retain them.”

The girls aren’t spending all their time worrying about the future, though. They’re immersing themselves in code.

“You can look at a piece of code five hours, your eye goes over errors, and you miss a tiny semicolon,” said Wagner. “We’re all supportive in helping each other find that semicolon.”


Original Story:

(WXYZ) - No one likes to get stuck in line at their favorite coffee shop or local eatery—and now Google wants to help.

It’s a new feature labeled "popular times"—and the goal is to save you time.

It appears when you do a simple Google search of a restaurant or business on your mobile device. For iOS devices, you can use the Safari app to see the feature. If you have an Android, reports indicate you can find the feature using the Google app.

When you see the spot you're looking for with the address and hours of operation, just click on the "more" button. You’ll then see the "popular times" section.

The section helps users avoid busy times at that place throughout the week. You can scroll through the neat bar graphs to see what the peak hours are day to day.

A spokesperson for Google tells me in an email, "Much like we compute traffic data based on the anonymized aggregated movement of people on the road, we are able to determine relatively how busy a place is."

It’s a pretty neat feature; you can test it out for yourself. It’s just beginning to roll out, so if you can’t see it yet, be patient.