Google’s Data Addiction is Spreading to Healthcare

Bottom Line: It was recently reported that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has partnered with Ascension, the second largest health system in the U.S., which has given Google access to tens of millions of detailed personal medical records. The partnership, which was first reported in the Wall Street Journal, is already under investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services. The shared data reportedly includes patient names, birth dates, and addresses along with medical information. While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does govern what can be done with patient records and medical information, the sharing of the information with a ‘business associate’ without permission from the patients or doctors is allowable if it is used to improve health care quality. Google already has deep interests in health and is doing similar work with many other health care providers. No matter how third rail health data may be, Google just can’t seem to help itself when it comes to its data addiction.

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Alibaba’s $13 billion Secondary Listing in Hong Kong

Bottom Line: Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) raised nearly $25 billion when it first ventured out of Asian markets to the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. Now it’s looking to raise an additional $13 billion by going back to Asia. The Chinese-based conglomerate plans to sell 500 million new shares with 12.5 million of those set aside for Hong Kong and the rest as part of an international offering and an option for 75 million extra shares as “greenshoe” options. Part of the deal also includes a lock-up for insiders and Softbank (who owns over 25% of the company) for 90 days. While the bulk of Alibaba shares will remain on the NYSE, the company seems to be looking to provide Asian investors more exposure in light of the potentially protracted U.S.-China trade war.

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Game Developers are Wary that Google may Shut Down It’s Soon to Be Released Stadia Game Streaming Platform

Bottom Line: Stadia, Google’s new game streaming service, announced the games that will launch with the service recently which included more ports of console games than Stadia exclusives. Developers and players have been burnt before when game streaming service OnLive shut down a few years ago and are wary Google may do the same given its history with shutting down products. Game development can be a pricey and time-consuming endeavour, especially when developing for a new platform. But most developers acknowledge that game streaming is likely to be a significant distribution method going forward and using the power of Stadia’s cloud data centres offers interesting possibilities that may be worth taking a gamble on Google keeping it open.

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Google Partnering with Citi to Launch Checking Accounts

Bottom Line: Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is teaming up with Citigroup (NYSE: C) and the Stanford Federal Credit Union in a project that is expected to offer checking accounts sometime next year. The accounts will reportedly carry the banks’ brands, not Google’s, and would let consumers access their checking accounts through Google Pay. While checking accounts may not be the money maker that other tech companies are pursuing in fintech, it is a first step for the company into finance. Given that some of Google’s rivals’ recent moves into finance have faced trouble, such as Apple’s reportedly sexist credit card, or Facebook’s troubled cryptocurrency, the big G seems to be taking the slow and steady route into the market.

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Facebook Pay

Bottom Line: Facebook is another of the big tech giants jumping into the world of finance. After the less than stellar reception the social media giant received from regulators of its proposed crypto asset Libra, the company recently announced a new, separate project called Facebook Pay. Facebook Pay is a payment platform the company is initially bringing to Facebook, Messenger, and Facebook Marketplace, but is eventually planned to roll out to the company’s other apps like Instagram and WhatsApp. The new payment platform will compete with Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and other similar digital payment platforms that have been continually popping up. Perhaps with this more conventional approach, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg won’t get hauled up in front of Congress, but we wouldn’t bet on it.

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Motorola Works Nostalgia into a Foldable Razr Phone

Bottom Line: Those of us of a certain age will remember way back in 2004 when there really was only one must-have cell phone, the Motorola Razr. Well Motorola is bringing back the iconic phone, but this time as a foldable phone with a full touchscreen and all the modern bells and whistles. While Samsung’s foldable phone hasn’t been well received and its first iteration was prone to breaking when being folded, the Motorola phone, which will hit shelves in January 2020, looks to have avoided some of Samsung’s most egregious errors. I for one am also super excited for the ‘Retro Razr’ mode that basically turns the modern phone back into it’s original using the old-style UI.

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