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AMP Under Fire in New Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

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AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), an open source initiative that originated with Google, is coming under greater scrutiny at the tail end of 2020, as the company is facing a rash of antitrust lawsuits beginning in October. The second suit is the one most pertinent to the AMP project. (A third suit brought by 38 state attorneys general alleges that Google is operating an illegal monopoly for online search and search advertising.)

The second suit is led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state attorneys general. It alleges that AMP was created for the purpose of pushing publishers away from “header bidding,” an advertising mechanism that allows sites to route their ad inventory through several ad exchanges and sell the space to the highest bidder. Header bidding requires JavaScript and therefore doesn’t play well with AMP.

The complaint claims that “Google’s program secretly let its own

exchange win, even when another exchange submitted a higher bid.” It also alleges that “Google ad server employees met with AMP employees to strategize about using AMP to impede header bidding, and how much pressure publishers and advertisers would tolerate:”

First, Google restricted the code to prohibit publishers from routing their bids to or sharing their user data with more than a few exchanges a time, which limited AMP compatibility with header bidding. At the same time, Google made AMP fully compatible with routing to exchanges through Google. Google also designed AMP to force publishers to route rival exchange bids through Google’s ad server so that Google could continue to peek at rivals’ bids and trade on inside information. Third, Google designed AMP so that users loading AMP pages would make direct communication with Google servers, rather than publishers’ servers. This enabled Google’s access to publishers’ inside and non-public user data. AMP pages also limit the number of ads on a page, the types of ads publishers can sell, as well as enriched content that publishers can have on their pages.

There are many more claims about collusion with Facebook and other anti-competitive practices, but the section regarding AMP may be of particular interest to publishers who are considering implementing it:

Google falsely told publishers that adopting AMP would enhance load times, but Google employees knew that AMP only improves the [redacted] and AMP pages can actually [redacted] [redacted] [redacted]. In other words, the ostensible benefits of faster load times for cached AMP version of webpages were not true for publishers that designed their web pages for speed. Some publishers did not adopt AMP because they knew their pages actually loaded faster than AMP pages.

Google also [redacted] of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one second delays in order to give Google AMP a [redacted] [redacted] slows down header bidding, which Google uses to turn around and denigrate header bidding for being too slow.

The complaint references internal documents that demonstrate how AMP is an inferior product when compared to the options previously available to publishers:

Google gave publishers a Faustian bargain: (1) publishers could lose more money by using header bidding because Google Search would suppress their search rankings and send traffic to competing AMP-compatible publishers; or (2) publishers could lose less money by using AMP pages and forgoing exchange competition in header bidding. Either option was far inferior to the options available to publishers before AMP was introduced. Just how inferior? [redacted] [redacted] [redacted] according to internal Google documents.

Just 48 hours after this lawsuit was filed, AMP Advisory Committee member Terence Eden resigned from his position as a non-corporate representative.

The goal of the AMP AC is to “Make AMP a great web citizen,” but Eden declined to nominate a replacement candidate, because he is concerned that “Google has limited interest in that goal.”

“Google’s thesis is that the mobile-web is dying and people prefer to use apps – therefore making the web faster and more app-like will retain users,” Eden wrote. “Google doesn’t publish data about this, so I can’t directly criticize their motives. But I do not think AMP, in its current implementation, helps make the web better.

“I remain convinced that AMP is poorly implemented, hostile to the interests of both users and publishers, and a proprietary and unnecessary incursion into the open web.”

In a follow-up email to The Register, Eden said, “I don’t know what Google’s motives are. But AMP has not been responsive to the needs of users, publishers, or the web community. We need an open, standards based approach to the web.”

Where will AMP go in 2021? Publishers have already invested a lot of resources in order to comply with its proprietary subset of HTML. Smaller sites often lack the resources to support AMP, which may be one reason why Google began investing heavily in developing WordPress plugins that make its products easier to use. More than 500,000 WordPress site are now using the official AMP plugin.

Google has spent years clawing for greater AMP adoption, despite widespread criticism that the project is a threat to the open web. Every last bit of that effort is now in jeopardy if the complaints in the antitrust lawsuits and their supporting documents are found to be true.

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Exploring the Evolution of Language Translation: A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

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A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

According to an article on PCMag, while Google Translate makes translating sentences into over 100 languages easy, regular users acknowledge that there’s still room for improvement.

In theory, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are expected to bring about a new era in language translation. These models consume vast amounts of text-based training data and real-time feedback from users worldwide, enabling them to quickly learn to generate coherent, human-like sentences in a wide range of languages.

However, despite the anticipation that ChatGPT would revolutionize translation, previous experiences have shown that such expectations are often inaccurate, posing challenges for translation accuracy. To put these claims to the test, PCMag conducted a blind test, asking fluent speakers of eight non-English languages to evaluate the translation results from various AI services.

The test compared ChatGPT (both the free and paid versions) to Google Translate, as well as to other competing chatbots such as Microsoft Copilot and Google Gemini. The evaluation involved comparing the translation quality for two test paragraphs across different languages, including Polish, French, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, and Amharic.

In the first test conducted in June 2023, participants consistently favored AI chatbots over Google Translate. ChatGPT, Google Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft Bing outperformed Google Translate, with ChatGPT receiving the highest praise. ChatGPT demonstrated superior performance in converting colloquialisms, while Google Translate often provided literal translations that lacked cultural nuance.

For instance, ChatGPT accurately translated colloquial expressions like “blow off steam,” whereas Google Translate produced more literal translations that failed to resonate across cultures. Participants appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to maintain consistent levels of formality and its consideration of gender options in translations.

The success of AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be attributed to reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF), which allows these models to learn from human preferences and produce culturally appropriate translations, particularly for non-native speakers. However, it’s essential to note that while AI chatbots outperformed Google Translate, they still had limitations and occasional inaccuracies.

In a subsequent test, PCMag evaluated different versions of ChatGPT, including the free and paid versions, as well as language-specific AI agents from OpenAI’s GPTStore. The paid version of ChatGPT, known as ChatGPT Plus, consistently delivered the best translations across various languages. However, Google Translate also showed improvement, performing surprisingly well compared to previous tests.

Overall, while ChatGPT Plus emerged as the preferred choice for translation, Google Translate demonstrated notable improvement, challenging the notion that AI chatbots are always superior to traditional translation tools.


Source: https://www.pcmag.com/articles/google-translate-vs-chatgpt-which-is-the-best-language-translator

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Google Implements Stricter Guidelines for Mass Email Senders to Gmail Users

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Beginning in April, Gmail senders bombarding users with unwanted mass emails will encounter a surge in message rejections unless they comply with the freshly minted Gmail email sender protocols, Google cautions.

Fresh Guidelines for Dispatching Mass Emails to Gmail Inboxes In an elucidative piece featured on Forbes, it was highlighted that novel regulations are being ushered in to shield Gmail users from the deluge of unsolicited mass emails. Initially, there were reports surfacing about certain marketers receiving error notifications pertaining to messages dispatched to Gmail accounts. Nonetheless, a Google representative clarified that these specific errors, denoted as 550-5.7.56, weren’t novel but rather stemmed from existing authentication prerequisites.

Moreover, Google has verified that commencing from April, they will initiate “the rejection of a portion of non-compliant email traffic, progressively escalating the rejection rate over time.” Google elaborates that, for instance, if 75% of the traffic adheres to the new email sender authentication criteria, then a portion of the remaining non-conforming 25% will face rejection. The exact proportion remains undisclosed. Google does assert that the implementation of the new regulations will be executed in a “step-by-step fashion.”

This cautious and methodical strategy seems to have already kicked off, with transient errors affecting a “fraction of their non-compliant email traffic” coming into play this month. Additionally, Google stipulates that bulk senders will be granted until June 1 to integrate “one-click unsubscribe” in all commercial or promotional correspondence.

Exclusively Personal Gmail Accounts Subject to Rejection These alterations exclusively affect bulk emails dispatched to personal Gmail accounts. Entities sending out mass emails, specifically those transmitting a minimum of 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts, will be mandated to authenticate outgoing emails and “refrain from dispatching unsolicited emails.” The 5,000 message threshold is tabulated based on emails transmitted from the same principal domain, irrespective of the employment of subdomains. Once the threshold is met, the domain is categorized as a permanent bulk sender.

These guidelines do not extend to communications directed at Google Workspace accounts, although all senders, including those utilizing Google Workspace, are required to adhere to the updated criteria.

Augmented Security and Enhanced Oversight for Gmail Users A Google spokesperson emphasized that these requisites are being rolled out to “fortify sender-side security and augment user control over inbox contents even further.” For the recipient, this translates to heightened trust in the authenticity of the email sender, thus mitigating the risk of falling prey to phishing attempts, a tactic frequently exploited by malevolent entities capitalizing on authentication vulnerabilities. “If anything,” the spokesperson concludes, “meeting these stipulations should facilitate senders in reaching their intended recipients more efficiently, with reduced risks of spoofing and hijacking by malicious actors.”

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Google’s Next-Gen AI Chatbot, Gemini, Faces Delays: What to Expect When It Finally Launches

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Google AI Chatbot Gemini

In an unexpected turn of events, Google has chosen to postpone the much-anticipated debut of its revolutionary generative AI model, Gemini. Initially poised to make waves this week, the unveiling has now been rescheduled for early next year, specifically in January.

Gemini is set to redefine the landscape of conversational AI, representing Google’s most potent endeavor in this domain to date. Positioned as a multimodal AI chatbot, Gemini boasts the capability to process diverse data types. This includes a unique proficiency in comprehending and generating text, images, and various content formats, even going so far as to create an entire website based on a combination of sketches and written descriptions.

Originally, Google had planned an elaborate series of launch events spanning California, New York, and Washington. Regrettably, these events have been canceled due to concerns about Gemini’s responsiveness to non-English prompts. According to anonymous sources cited by The Information, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai, personally decided to postpone the launch, acknowledging the importance of global support as a key feature of Gemini’s capabilities.

Gemini is expected to surpass the renowned ChatGPT, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, and preliminary private tests have shown promising results. Fueled by significantly enhanced computing power, Gemini has outperformed GPT-4, particularly in FLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second), owing to its access to a multitude of high-end AI accelerators through the Google Cloud platform.

SemiAnalysis, a research firm affiliated with Substack Inc., expressed in an August blog post that Gemini appears poised to “blow OpenAI’s model out of the water.” The extensive compute power at Google’s disposal has evidently contributed to Gemini’s superior performance.

Google’s Vice President and Manager of Bard and Google Assistant, Sissie Hsiao, offered insights into Gemini’s capabilities, citing examples like generating novel images in response to specific requests, such as illustrating the steps to ice a three-layer cake.

While Google’s current generative AI offering, Bard, has showcased noteworthy accomplishments, it has struggled to achieve the same level of consumer awareness as ChatGPT. Gemini, with its unparalleled capabilities, is expected to be a game-changer, demonstrating impressive multimodal functionalities never seen before.

During the initial announcement at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, the company emphasized Gemini’s multimodal prowess and its developer-friendly nature. An application programming interface (API) is under development, allowing developers to seamlessly integrate Gemini into third-party applications.

As the world awaits the delayed unveiling of Gemini, the stakes are high, with Google aiming to revolutionize the AI landscape and solidify its position as a leader in generative artificial intelligence. The postponed launch only adds to the anticipation surrounding Gemini’s eventual debut in the coming year.

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