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JUST GOOGLE IT
Google is like that one really, ridiculously interesting friend everyone has who is always doing all sorts of cool sh*t. Except, of course, that your friend probably isn’t literally shooting for the moon … or trying to cure death.
But the patently unsexy “Google News Initiative” seeks to remedy an industry that desperately needs fixing. Google is ponying up $300M to focus on …
- Fighting fake news … just not on Youtube
- Helping news sites grow … via paid ads on Google
- Creating tools to help journalists … that can be monetized
The service, “Subscribe with Google” will allow readers to easily signup for paid subscriptions, while Outline will give journos more secure access to the internet. I thought that’s what ‘Incognito’ mode was for.
Undoubtedly, Google’s biggest investment will be in combating erroneous news. The company created the “Disinfo Lab” to separate fact from fiction during breaking news events and other contentious incidents (read: American political elections), in hopes of not ending up like Facebook.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Does anyone else remember when Google was the Wild West and you could search a WSJ URL or headline to get behind the paywall? Now you have to get really creative.”
CHILL OUT, MAN
The NBA and mindfulness training app, Headspace, have partnered up to bring a little zen to the hardwood. The company is giving the league 7k subscriptions, which typically cost $96/year. Players, coaches, and staff (water boys included) will have access to the app, including WNBA, G-League, and NBA 2K League teams.
Headspace, the brainchild of co-founder and silky-tongued former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe, and the NBA will be working together to develop exclusive content that will live on Headspace’s app. The duo will also be creating a series of in-person events to help staffers and players alike find their inner peace.
From a business sense, partnering with the NBA is a low-cost alternative to buying TV spots and traditional media around the league. With the recent acknowledgment of depression among some of the leagues best players, Puddicombe’s app strikes a chord as it addresses mental health. It’s a shame that the NBA didn’t have this technology available before the Malice at the Palace.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “We had our doubts after the whole Knicks experiment, but maybe the Zen Master was onto something after all. Athletes are always talking about the ‘flow’ they get into, and this will help get there faster. I give it a year before the NFL calls mindfulness a PED.”
SHIP TIL YOU DROP
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Unless it’s FedEx and Walmart’s announcement that they are joining forces to compete against the evil Bezonian empire.
The deal calls for installing FedEx shipping centers in 500 Walmart locations. The launch comes after a successful pilot launch in 47 stores showed increased foot traffic.
The biggest drug dealer in the US has lofty expectations for the partnership. A major draw for FedEx’s in-store footprint is an option to receive shipments at the center itself. A huge win for package thieves and customers alike.
Walmart’s goal is to become a one-stop shop for all of its customers’ needs and adding print, pack, and ship services is a step towards world domination. While some of their online sales figures have been a little suspect lately, an in-store experience is something no e-tailer can offer. This is right about the time that Jeff Bezos says “hold my beer.”
Of course, Amazon remains a very real threat to both of these businesses. Jeffrey Commerce and Co. plan to launch their own shipping service.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Props to FedEx for being the first to act and see the writing on the wall with Amazon bringing B2B shipping in-house. Not sure what UPS is going to do, and I’m VERY worried about USPS. What I do know is the “Uber for mail” is being developed somewhere as we speak.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- Salesforce will buy MuleSoft in a deal worth $6.5B. The name MuleSoft screams “let’s try to think of something that we can easily trademark.”
- Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, was suspended by the board after being caught on camera bragging about using bribery and entrapment with sex workers to undermine political opponents. I’m pretty sure this is just the plot line to House of Cards.
- Amazon jumped ahead of Alphabet in market share for the first time this week. Amazon’s valuation rose to $768B while Google’s hung around $762.2B. The battle to take over the world is heating up, which probably why Elon Musk is so dead set on Mars.
- United Airlines suspended its pet cargo program, for the time being, after 18 pets died last year, and one dog died en route to its destination just last week. Wait until PETA gets wind of this.
- Toys “R” Us is dead, and KB Toys is set to rise from the ashes like a cheap plastic Phoenix that comes complete with karate chopping action. Strategic Marks, a company specializing in bringing old brands back from obscurity, is planning to revitalize the KB Toys brand by popping up 1k of them for the holidays this year. And poor Geoffery’s body isn’t even cold yet.
- US indices were up yesterday:
- DOW: +0.47%
- S&P 500: +0.15%
- NASDAQ: +0.27%