While Alphabet stock (GOOG) made a bit of early-April headway toward recovery following advertiser flight, the past two weeks essentially netted a whole lot of not much. At the time of writing, one GOOG share was worth $823.55, up 0.02 percent from Tuesday’s close with a current estimated market cap of just over $574 billion.
While flat for the month, GOOG still holds on to a fair share of growth since 2017 began. Analysts still tend toward optimism, suggesting that prices will resume their upward trend once the offensive content controversy runs its course. For now, GOOG numbers indicate investors might just be hanging back, waiting to see how things play out.
The verdict’s also out on whether Alphabet’s invigoration of its brand safety controls will have any lasting or significant impact. While advertisers wait and see, the technology company recently rolled out a feature for global users of Google’s search engine that’s aimed at combating a related issue in the current digital space: fake news, and misinformation more broadly.
First introduced via limited tests in Google News for U.S. and U.K. users back in October of last year, Google recently rolled out fact-checking capabilities to its global user base across Search. The fact check feature leverages information provided by Snopes, PolitiFact and Wikipedia — among some 115 other third-party fact-checking organizations.
The fact-checking feature was created with Google’s Jigsaw subsidiary, which in September of last year released a set of tools called Conversation AI — software that will use machine learning to automatically identify abusive or harassing language.
The different sources Google leverages could still present different points of view and conclusions around single topics, the company said. Likewise, fact check information won’t be available for every search.
Google noted that the feature is still a helpful resource to allow people to “understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree.”
Moving beyond search and into Google subsidiary news: Don’t touch that dial! YouTube TV has gone live.
As of last week, the YouTube TV streaming service was made available in 5 major metro areas in the U.S.: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. The company said that the service will be expanding to additional markets soon.
The play to stream television comes at a time of rampant cord cutting, especially among younger media consumers. For instance, the latest semi-annual survey to track teen spending and trends by Piper Jiffray found that, for the first time in the survey’s history, post-millennials spend more time on YouTube than they do watching cable television.
Those cable viewership stats could also be inflated as is, since it’s likely the respondent’s parents cover the cost of the cable TV subscription. But once they’re out of the house, it’s likely they’ll follow the cable-less, digital streaming trends of their millennial elders.
Since post-millennials are projected to make up some 40 percent of the North American population by 2020, it’s a market segment cable TV providers can't afford to miss out on.
Unsurprisingly, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, along with cable channels like FX, USA and Bravo, have already signed on to reach viewers where they increasingly prefer to watch. Other channels like AMC, BBC America, and IFC are on the way. For Google and YouTube, the TV streaming play is all about growing advertising revenue.
For $35 dollars each month, the service includes Cloud DVR, allowing users to save an unlimited number of shows without having to eye storage. The interface looks like a combination of a traditional cable experience and a personalized media experience à la Netflix or Hulu and allows cable streaming on mobile devices. Each subscription comes with six individual user accounts and the ability to watch three different streams at one time.