Friday, June 4, 2010

Morning Brief: Google gives in to European regulators; The Scoop for iPhone; Businessweek looks at Foxconn

The Financial Times is reporting that Google has agreed to hand over to European regulators the data it intercepted from WiFi connections while collecting data for its Street View project.

"We screwed up. Let's be very clear about that," Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO told the FT.

The company also said it will reveal the results of an external audit into its practices that led to the disputed collection of personal data.

The New York Times released an iPhone app that will make non-NYC residents (like me) very jealous. Called The Scoop, the app is a wonderfully constructed entertainment app that contains many of the features that make smartphone apps so useful.
The app's main menu is broken out into four segments: The Sifty Fifty, Times critic Sam Sifton's favorite 50 restaurants; The Top Shelf, dining editor Pete Wells lists his favorite city bars; Events, a guide to city concerts, dance and other events; and Only in N.Y., a collection of articles concerning . . . well, just about any topic, I suppose.

Each category includes a list view and a map view, integrating Google maps in a way that makes perfect sense.

To monetize the app there are is a small banner ad spot along the bottom. In addition to that ad, an animated ad also appears the first time one jumps to a section or article -- in this case an ad for The Lion King.

Assuming this app is constantly updated, this will prove to be an extremely popular mobile app. The app is free to download and so far the only fault I can find with the app is that it isn't for Chicago.

Left: the menu page; Middle: an animated ad for The Lion King;
Right: the use of maps in the Events section

Hearst Corporation and Condé Nast today announced that Jay Felts, a Hearst veteran, has been named president of Comag Marketing Group, the newsstand distribution and marketing company which is a joint venture of the two companies.

"Jay has done an exceptional job cultivating and strengthening relationships within the wholesale and retail communities and has played an important part in establishing CMG as an industry leader, as well as promoting the category overall," said John Loughlin, executive vice president and general manager, Hearst Magazines. "In this new position, he will serve as an even more essential advocate for the industry."

Businessweek (or is it Bloomberg?) has an excellent article on the troubles at Foxconn.

In case you are not up to speed on topic, Foxconn is the Taipei-based company that maintains a huge manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China which produces Apple and Dell products  (among others). The company has been reporting an unusually high number of suicides of employees -- ten so far this year -- and it has their clients very concerned. "We're all over this," Steve Jobs of Apple said at the recent D8 conference.

Working conditions at the facility are accused of being grueling with conversation forbidden, bathroom breaks minimal, etc.

The article ends with this line: Foxconn's suicides are a reminder of the human cost that can come with the low-cost manufacturing U.S. tech companies demand. (Well said)

The article was penned by Stephanie Wong, John Liu and Tim Culpan.