Google announces “Simplicity Sprint” to drive efficiency, Amazon’s carbon emission increases by 18 per cent amid an online shopping surge, and Meta faces another lawsuit over data privacy.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday, August 2, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Google has announced an initiative it calls “Simplicity Sprint” to drive productivity. The initiative will collect ideas from its entire workforce on how to improve efficiency. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company’s productivity isn’t where it’s supposed to be, adding that the company needs to be more focused on its mission, products, and customers. In its recently released quarterly report, Google posted slower earnings, growing 13 per cent in revenue. As a way to get faster results, Google is looking to crowdsource ideas from its workers and trim needless functions.

Source: CNBC

Driven by pandemic online shopping, Amazon’s carbon emissions increased by 18 per cent in 2021. The company noted the increase in its annual sustainability report released on Monday. This is an unfortunate but predicted effect of the massive online shopping surge during the pandemic. To meet the demand, Amazon had to splurge on new warehouses, fulfillment centres and delivery networks, including vehicles and planes. In 2021, the size of the company’s delivery network double what it had built in the past 25 years. Still, the company promises to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Source: CNBC

Meta and two medical organizations are facing a class action lawsuit for allegedly using medical data to serve targeted ads. The lawsuit accused Meta, along with the UCSF Medical Centre and the Dignity Health Medical Foundation, of collecting sensitive patient data without their consent. The patients raised concerns when they began receiving advertisements specifically to their medical conditions. The lawsuit is seeking damages for invasion of privacy, violation of confidentiality, and breach of contract.

Source: Bleeping Computers

Virtual influencers are becoming the rising stars in Korea’s entertainment industry. These personas are carefully crafted using CGI and made to look flawless. Unlike humans, virtual influencers will always look perfect, do not age, never cause controversy, and can be easily manipulated for whatever products they’re contracted to promote. They’re also way easier than humans to work with. Creating the perfect picture or video takes way less time than it does with a person. In South Korea, virtual influencers are a hit among younger people. Despite their success, there are now concerns that these digital personas are setting unrealistic beauty standards.

Source: CNN

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

The post Hashtag Trending August 2 – Google ‘Simplicity Sprint’; Amazon carbon emission rises in 2021; another Meta lawsuit first appeared on IT World Canada.

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