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Microsoft Tests a New Retail Marketplace

Microsoft is a charter member of the Big Tech club, but testing a retail marketplace within its Bing search engine makes it sound like a scrappy upstart nipping at the ankles of Amazon and Google.  The new marketplace will let consumers buy within the search results instead of sending them to retailers’ websites.    Details are sketchy but the marketplace may do targeting with information gathered by other Microsoft products – which puts the story back into the “Big Tech exploiting your data” department.

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Google May Open Access to YouTube Ad Placement

June 16, 2022

We don’t usually report rumors and this item is a couple of days old.  But it’s huge news so I wanted you to see it.  The specific item is that, to avert EU anti-trust action, Alphabet may drop its requirement that YouTube ads be placed through its Ad Manager and Google Ads products.  What makes it huge is the implication that regulators may finally start to take serious action against Big Tech monopolies.

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Shopify Offers Ad Targeting Based on Aggregated Merchant Data

June 16, 2022

At $4+ billion revenue, Shopify is big but not Big Tech.  But it’s taking a page from the Big Tech playbook with Audiences, which will aggregate customer behaviors from participating merchants to develop target audiences that can then reached through Facebook and LinkedIn.  The new feature will help to overcome the loss in targeting capabilities resulting from Apple’s tighter privacy rules.  

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Meta Releases Lying, Offensive AI and Pretends to Be Surprised

November 23, 2022

Like trouble, bad behavior by Meta shows up whether you look for it or not.  The latest is an open-source language model that was supposed to provide reliable search results because it was trained on academic papers.  Alas, it was quickly withdrawn after reviewers found that it returned results that were grammatical and plausible but also incorrect, not to mention filled with “antisemitism, homophobia, and misogyny.”  How can this be a surprise?

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