Google Parent Alphabet Reports Strong Results on Mobile Ads, YouTube, Other Bets

Google Parent Alphabet Reports Strong Results on Mobile Ads, YouTube, Other Bets

Google’s parent company Alphabet on Thursday reported profit in the recently-ended quarter leapt as money poured in from ads delivered to mobile devices and returns improved on “other bets.”

Alphabet profit was up 32.4 percent to $6.7 billion (roughly Rs. 43,555 crores) on in the quarter on revenue that increased 24 percent to $27.8 billion (roughly Rs. 1,80,724 crores), up 24 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Chief financial officer Ruth Porat credited “strength across Google and Other Bets.”

The earnings topped market expectations, and Alphabet shares jumped in after-market trade on the Nasdaq exchange before concerns about growing expenses apparently caused them to settle back a bit to be up nearly 3 percent to $1,021.

“It is what everybody looks at every time: what is going on with expenses?” independent analyst Rob Enderle told AFP.

“For the most part they seem to be well managed, but you watch to make sure they remember they still have limits even though they are printing money.”

While mobile ads were a main area of growth, they brought with them higher traffic acquisition costs, pushing up Google expenses in a trend seen as unavoidable.

Investing in cloud services and artificial intelligence also means spending more on data centers to provide the massive computing power involved.

“I’ve been really proud of the progress this quarter; launching popular new products and continuing to grow our business in new areas,” Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said in an earnings call with analysts.

“It’s been particularly exciting to see our early bet on artificial intelligence pay off and go from a research project to something that can solve new problems for 1 billion people a day.”

YouTube continued to see “phenomenal growth” with more than 1.5 billion people spending an average of an hour a day watching videos there on mobile devices, and surging use on television screens in homes, according to Pichai.

He boasted of progress winning businesses over to Google services hosted in the internet cloud, where the company competes with Amazon and Microsoft in that market.

Pichai also said that opening day pre-orders for recently unveiled Pixel 2 smartphones were double that seen for the first-generation Pixel.

Google is “seriously committed to making hardware” as well as working with partners such as South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung which is a major producer of smartphones powered by Android software made available free by the US Internet company.

“The intersection of hardware and software is how you drive computing forward,” Pichai said.

“I think it’s important we thoughtfully put our opinion forward.”

Smartphones and other devices “made by Google” can showcase the potential of its Android and Chrome software, setting a bar for partners.

Moonshots
A corporate reorganisation started two years ago created Alphabet, which has holdings including cash-engine Google and ventures devoted to innovative “moonshots” such as Waymo self-driving car unit and a Loon project for delivering internet service from high-altitude balloons.

Subsidiaries other than Google were put into an “other bets” group which saw revenue in the quarter rise to $302 million (roughly Rs. 1,963 crores) from $197 million (roughly Rs. 1,280 crores) during the same three-month period last year.

Google ads accounted for the bulk of Alphabet revenue, contributing $27.47 billion (roughly Rs. 1,80,369 crores), according to the earnings release.

Alphabet earlier this year spun off a little-known unit working on geothermal power called Dandelion, which will begin offering residential energy services.

Dandelion chief executive Kathy Hannun said her team had been working for several years “to make it easier and more affordable to heat and cool homes with the clean, free, abundant, and renewable energy source right under our feet,” and that the efforts culminated in the creation of an independent company outside of Alphabet.

Meanwhile, Alphabet’s life sciences unit Verily announced a study to track people for years, right down to their genetics, in a quest for insights into staying healthy.

Alphabet also owns Nest, which recently expanded its line-up of smart home devices to include a security system.

Nest, Fiber, and Verily were said to be top performing other bets in the quarter.

Waymo on Thursday announced plans to begin testing self-driving cars in notoriously troublesome ice and snow conditions in the US state of Michigan this winter.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

CBSE Class 12 results: Delhi HC allows revaluation in all subjects

CBSE

The Delhi high court on Thursday lifted all conditions imposed by the CBSE on students looking to revaluate their class 12 exam results, giving succour to thousands of candidates denied scrutiny of answer sheets beyond 12 major subjects.

The relief came from a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar which said the order will be applicable to all students and not just those who have approached the court.

This year, nearly 11 lakh students appeared for the class 12 exams – conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) — and 2.47% of them applied for re-evaluation.

Students have time till July 7 to approach the board with applications for scrutiny.

On June 28, the CBSE limited the facility of scrutiny of marks to just 12 subjects, including English, Hindi and Mathematics.

The board also restricted the right of a student to apply for scrutiny to only 10 questions.

The court order came on a plea filed by advocate Sandeep Bajaj, representing four students, challenging the board’s notification.

On June 23, the board assured the high court it will entertain all applications of students but later came up with the restrictions.

“It cannot be denied that grave and irreparable loss and damage would ensure to the petitioners so far as their admissions to colleges and universities are concerned. Balance of convenience is also in favour of the petitioners,” the court said.

While issuing notices to the Centre, CBSE and the Delhi University on the plea , the court fixed July 26 for the next hearing.

 

 

 

[“source-hindustantimes”]

IB diploma results improve this year, Mumbai topper scores full points

Mumbai city news

Mumbai students did well in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) exams, which are equivalent to the Class 12 board exams, held in May. The results were declared on Wednesday.

Rahil Bathwal from Jamnabai Narsee International School, Juhu, bagged the perfect score — 45 out of 45 points — the highest in the city. The IBDP results are given in the form of grade points. Pranav Khemka came second with 43 points. Of 103 students, 12 scored above 40 and 32 scored between 35 and 39.

The overall performance in Mumbai schools was much better than last year’s, said principals. At Podar International School in Khar, Ritik Chopra was the topper with 44 points. Last year, their top student scored 43 points. “This year’s results are one of the best in the history of our institution,” said Vandana Lulla, director and principal of the school.

Of 52 exam takers, a majority of the students scored above 40 points, and bagged six and seven points in individual subjects. “We had opted for new subjects such as environmental studies and Spanish, which help drive up scores,” said Lulla.

Similarly, the highest in SVKM’s JV Parekh International School, Vile Parle, this year is 40 points with 65% out of 37 students from the school receiving 33 points. Around 39% of entries scored 6 and 7 grade points.

School principal, Swaminathan said 60% students from the batch received admissions to top universities in Toronto, British Columbia, California, Edinburgh, Illinois Urbana Champagne and King’s College London.

 

[“source-hindustantimes”]

Election results: What does a hung parliament mean for education?

School books

The shock election result will come as a relief to schools leaders in particular, following months of audible protest and condemnation over Theresa May’s controversial grammar school expansion plans.

The Conservative Party is left in such a weak position that even if they form a government, ministers will in no way be able to push forward with the much contested selective schooling proposals outlaid in the Tory manifesto.

As a source close to Number 10 reportedly put it to the Times Education Supplement early on Friday morning, grammar school plans are “f***ed”.

The result will come as a huge blow to New Schools Network head and free schools advocate, Toby Young, who has championed Theresa May’s plan to build at least 100 new free schools – including selective schools such as grammars – each year.

While most agree that new school places are needed – especially given the forecasted population increase – free schools remains something of a contentious issue, with some arguing they are too costly and unaccountable, receiving huge budgets while local authority schools are neglected.

As director of NSN, Mr Young was tasked with helping to deliver the new free schools, which are autonomous from local authority.

Speaking to The Independent before the snap election was called, however, he suggested that even if the current ban on selective school expansions were to be lifted “no more than five” would realistically have been opened by 2020.

Responding the outcome on Friday morning, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “The Conservative party was hugely divided over grammar schools.

“The initiative for them came directly from Theresa May and her advisor Nick Timothy – perhaps only introduced in a misguided attempt to gain voters from Ukip.

“This policy can’t possibly survive this calamitous election. Government education policy now needs to urgently concentrate on and address school funding cuts.”

Schools are already facing very real and immediate consequences as a result of the squeeze on school funding.

We’ve heard and read stories about schools closing half an hour early to save money, parents being sent begging letters asking for donations, and teachers buying art materials and textbooks using money from their own pocket.

 

Speaking on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour in the run-up to election day, Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted that a Conservative Government would not increase per pupil funding in England – a disclosure union leaders said confirmed their worst fears.

The future of school funding now hangs in the air: voters have undoubtedly reacted against the Conservative’s real terms cuts of 7 per cent per pupil, as well as the much criticised plans to scrap universal free lunches for infants.

By comparison, Labour pledged to increase school spending per pupil by 6 per cent compared with present levels, and the Liberal Democrat plan would protect spending in real terms at the 2017-18 level.

Responding to the main parties’ manifestos, however, the Education Policy Institute think tank published scathing criticisms that there had been “no clear indication” as to how any party intended to make savings, with “no clear estimate” of how some new policies would cost.

Industry leaders have long called for the school spending budget to be reassessed, and now it might have to be.

“Schools and universities are in comparatively good places,” said Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham.

“What they absolutely don’t need is any more initiatives from governments from the left or the right which will only damage the direction in which they are going.

“That said, the cuts to the school programme needs to be urgently eased out, or the quality of education will really suffer.”

The university head suggested a National Headship College needed to be set up – something his own institution Buckingham is proposing to do –  to ensure that the quality of leadership across the country at primary and secondary levels is dramatically improved.

“Finally, teacher recruitment needs to be given a very significant boost, particularly in maths and science, and that will mean more money will have to be found.”

While schools have made headlines for their financial struggles, top UK universities have been slipping down the ranks of recent global league tables – an issue experts have blamed on cuts to funding within higher education.

Despite this, Universities Minister Jo Johnson appears to remain in favour, with vice chancellors including Sir Anthony commending his efforts to pilot new university legislation, including the Teaching Excellence Framework.

“Dropping him would be folly and dangerous,” the Buckingham head warned.

Now, it seems, is the time for industry leaders to place increasing pressure on ministers to protect the rights of overseas students by allowing free movement following Brexit, and by discounting them from UK migration statistics.

“The government needs to start welcoming and celebrating overseas students, not deterring them, and it needs to ensure the softest of soft Brexit’s that will not inflict significant damage on British higher education and science.

“This is the time for strong and stable leadership in education,” Sir Anthony added. “Most governments and most education secretaries only start understanding their subject when it is time for them to pack up and leave.  If they do what is laid out here and nothing else, they will make a success of their job. The rule is – don’t meddle.”

University and College union, which represents higher and further education institutions across the UK, said the next government must prioritise investment in further and higher education and act swiftly to end the uncertainty over the position of EU nationals.

Responding to early indications of high youth turnout, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘It is encouraging to see that a positive message, particularly after the unpleasant Brexit campaign last year, can still inspire voters.

“Theresa May called this election expecting to secure a mandate for a hard Brexit. She has signally failed to achieve that and the next government must bring some stability in these chaotic times.

“We believe an important first step is to now guarantee the rights of EU citizens currently in the UK, including thousands of university and college staff and students who contribute so much to our economy and society.”

The outgoing President of the National Union of Students, Malia Bouattia, added: “Students want to see progressive and fair policies that will have a very real and positive impact on all our futures.

“We want a government that does everything in its power to welcome international students and keep our universities and colleges diverse and vibrant.

“We have seen the student vote play a key role in marginal seats across the UK. The student vote yesterday was about more than tuition fees… it is unsurprising that they sent a strong message in this election not only to the Lib Dems because of their betrayal, but also to the Tories and their destructive policies of cuts and privatisation. “

[“Source-ndtv”]