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Political Ads Under Scrutiny By Google Before The EU Elections

Google News Lab will collaborate with news organisations across all 27 countries to support online fact checking

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

In the run-up to European Union (EU) elections in May 2019, Google will introduce a EU-specific Election Ads Transparency Report and searchable ad library to provide more information about who is purchasing election ads, whom they’re targeted to and how much money is being spent.

In May 2019, up to 350 million voters across the EU will take to the Parliamentary polls to elect 705 Members of European Parliament (MEPs).

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

“To support this democratic process, we’re rolling out products and programmes to help people get the information they need to cast their votes,” Lie Junius, Director, EU Public Policy and Government Relations, said in a blog post on Thursday.

Google will require ads that mention a political party, candidate or current officeholder, to make it clear to voters who are paying for the advertising.

“We’ll also introduce a new process to verify EU election advertisers to make sure they are who they say they are,” Junius added.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

The company will also work with campaigns, elections officials, journalists, human rights organisations and others across the EU to ensure the security of the online platforms that they depend on.

“For the EU 2019 Parliamentary elections, we’re offering in-person security training to the most vulnerable groups, who face increased risks of phishing attacks,” said Google.

Also Read: How Political Ads Work, A Guide By Facebook And Google

The company will be walking them through Google’s Advanced Protection Programme and Project Shield, a free service that uses Google technology to protect news sites and free expression from DDoS attacks on the web.

“Google News Lab will collaborate with news organisations across all 27 countries to support online fact checking,” said the company. (IANS)

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Tech Giant Google Decides to Invest $1 Billion in Housing Across Bay Area

Google last week announced a $6 million grant to support 4-H, the largest youth development organisation in the US

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FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

After announcing a fresh investment of $600 million in expanding its data centre in Oklahoma, Google has now decided to invest $1 billion for 20,000 homes in the Bay Area in San Francisco.

“Today we’re announcing an additional $1 billion investment in housing across the Bay Area. Over the next 10 years, we’ll repurpose at least $750 million of Google’s land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing,” Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog-post on Tuesday.

The project is aimed at supporting the development of at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle and low-income families.

“We’ll establish a $250 million investment fund so that we can provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market,” Pichai said.

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FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

In addition to the increased supply of affordable housing, the search engine giant has also announced to give $50 million in grants through Google.org to nonprofits focused on the issues of homelessness and displacement.

“This builds on the $18 million in grants we’ve given to help address homelessness over the last five years, including $3 million we gave to the newly opened SF Navigation Center and $1.5 million to affordable housing for low income veterans and households in Mountain View,” Pichai added.

Also Read- Monthly Data Usage Per Smartphone Highest in India, States a Report by Ericsson

Earlier this week, as part of its plan to invest $13 billion in building new data centres and offices in over a dozen states in the US this year, the company invested $600 million in Pryor, Oklahoma.

To boost computer science education in the US, Google last week announced a $6 million grant to support 4-H, the largest youth development organisation in the US. (IANS)