In what will be Google‘s largest investment in Australia to date, the tech giant said it will build a research hub, enlarge cloud computing, and fund joint projects with local organizations to the tune of $740 million.
The investment is called “The Digital Future Initiative” and will likely create about 6,000 jobs directly and support 28,000 more secondary jobs.
“Australia can help lead the world’s next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress,” said Sundar Pichai, a Google executive who spoke at the launch in Sydney.
Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia, also spoke at the launch, saying: “The decision by Google has major benefits for Australian businesses as we engage with the economic recovery before us.”
Other Australian groups will take part in the initiative, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s government science agency.
A representative of DivisionX Global, a hi-tech investment company, Joshua Kennedy-White said Google’s initiative is a “huge win” for the Australian tech sector.
“It takes money to move an idea into innovation and the first money is the hardest to come by. If Google cut $250k cheques to promising start-ups, they could fund 4,000 new tech companies in Australia,” Kennedy-White said.
The US presidency may have shifted parties, but social media giants Google, Facebook and Twitter are in a wait-and-see pattern vis-à-vis President Biden’s approach to the social media sector .
At home, all three platforms have come under fire in recent years for allegedly violating federal antitrust statutes. In December, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit for what the Commission called “a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.” That followed a trifecta of antitrust cases filed against Google.
The companies have also run into trouble in recent months on the socio-cultural stage, with social and political conservatives accusing the platforms of censoring conservative voices, and progressives arguing that the lack of oversight has facilitated the spread of disinformation and fake news.
Here, too, the battle is likely to play out in court: Parler, a Twitter-like platform favored by many conservatives that have been banned by Twitter, sued Amazon after the latter’s Amazon Web Services announced it would cut service to Parler.
In the international arena, too, the social media giants are facing unprecedented scrutiny and legal challenges. In Brussels, the European Commission has opened an investigation into Google’s advertising practices, while in Australia the company is embroiled in a political fight with Canberra over paying for news articles that appear in the company’s search results.
Coming just a bit more than one month after Apple became the first US publicly traded company to be valued at over $1 trillion, Amazon takes second place in the race to corporate hugeness.
Amazon entered the rarefied atmosphere of trillion-dollar companies when its stock rose 1.9 percent last Tuesday to a value of $2,050.50 per share, just 23 cents beyond what it needed to reach that magic trillion dollar point. The price of Amazon’s stock has climbed by 70 percent so far this year, continuing to explode along with other US stocks in the tech sector. The milestone was fleeting however, when the stock actually closed up only 1.3 percent, not enough to keep it beyond $1 trillion.
Amazon has been doing quite well lately, pulling past other tech major players such as Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and Microsoft. Alphabet’s valuation stands at about $840.3 billion, and Microsoft’s at $854.5 billion.
In 1994 Jeff Bezos founded Amazon as an on-line bookseller. The company grew quickly to become one of the US’ most influential companies. Based in Seattle, Amazon is a leader in e-commerce, but also is expanding to other markets such as cloud computing, home security and movie production. Only Walmart hires more people, and this year’s profit so far comes to $4.1 billion. Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post.
Bezos is the world’s richest person. As a the major beneficiary of the skyrocketing stock price, as of Tuesday, Bezos’ worth is estimated to be $166 billion.
The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy announced that Google’s drone delivery service, Project Wing, will begin testing in the United States. The step is part of a White House initiative to encourage research into safety measures and other issues connected to unmanned flight.
Tuesday’s email announcement stated that the National Science Foundation has budgeted $35 million over five years on research into unmanned flight, while the Department of the Interior is planning on increasing its use of drones.
The White House is following up on the Federal Aviation Administration’s June finalization of introductory regulations controlling drone flight, especially creating guidelines for acquiring unmanned pilot licenses and rules for commercial unmanned flights.
“Honestly, the way I think about these issues, I don’t think about the problems,” said Dave Vos, the head of Project Wing. “I think about the solutions that we can bring to bear.”
Vos was speaking at a White House event promoting drone technology.
The general description of shares on the stock market at the moment can be described as “expensive” according to many observers.
A report in Yahoo Finance stated that “One reason that folks are paying up for richly priced stocks is that money – for many – is not much of an object right now.’’
The report added that American companies have added about $700 billion in debt so far in 2015, and repurchases of stock are on their way to going beyond a value of $600 billion.
Stocks for US companies are high-priced. The median stock carries a higher valuation than almost all of the time in the last 40 years, Yahoo stated. The largest 100 companies in the world today are worth an enormous $16.24 trillion. That amount is close to double what those companies were valued at immediately following the recent financial crisis.
According to PwC, Apple Inc. is the most valuable business in the world, with a market capitalization of $725 billion, which conducted a study in March. Since 2009 the maker of the iPhone and many other popular consumer electronic products has increased its market value by 671%. Only 6 years ago Apple was ranked the world’s 33rd largest company and worth about $94 billion.
The second largest company in the world is Google, with a valuation of $375 billion, more than double its worth in 2009 of $110 billion. Six years ago it ranked in 22nd place.