Google, Ministry of Youth And Sports Partner To Support Entrepreneurs, Job-Seekers

 

Google on Tuesday announced plans to help business owners, job seekers,  educational institutions, and vulnerable populations as they grapple with the “new normal” and begin to rebuild and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis locally and across the continent.

The tech company’s initiatives will address the need for funding, training, and services across identified sectors, including support for 500,000 SMBs and 25,000 teachers.

According to a statement by Google, this support includes a partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. The partnership aims to provide support for youth-owned SMBs.  It will also provide support for job seekers in Nigeria to help them acquire marketable skills through certification and training programs, and involve supporting programs that enable and improve access to quality education across the region.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Inflation Hits 13.22%, Highest In 29 Months

A digital hub has been set up by the tech giant to provide free tools and resources to businesses and individuals. Through the hub, 500,000 small businesses will receive help getting online or improving their digital presence through Google My Business (GMB) which helps them connect with millions of users every month.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with these initiatives,” said Google Nigeria Country Director Juliet Ehimuan.

Google.org has also set aside $3million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment across Africa. $500,000 of that is going towards a grant to the Praekelt Foundation (a software development non-profit that builds open-source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of underprivileged people) in order to help train micro and small businesses in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare said the country is focused on creating an enabling environment that promotes youth and economic development in Nigeria.

“This partnership with Google in Nigeria is critical at this period and we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on SMBs’ recovery, enhancing the skills of jobseekers and supporting the education sector,” Dare said.

In an effort to help job seekers acquire new skills while they look for opportunities, Google is providing underserved communities and job seekers with $750,000 in IT support scholarships through Google.org across Africa. Job seekers can also access the Grow with Google training portal for help in growing their careers or businesses at their own pace and through flexible and personalised training courses.

Google is also giving a grant of $250,000 to organizations in Nigeria which are developing programs and tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools in the country.

The tech gaint is also launching a new Marketing Kit tool to help people to put together marketing kits for their businesses while the free Market Finder tool (which includes updated insights for negotiating a COVID and post-COVID environment) is there to help with localisation, international payments and logistics for African businesses looking to reach new customers around the world.

Google Services Restored For Users Around The World

 

Popular Google services including Gmail, Docs and Drive were down for many users around the world on Thursday, but were restored after a few hours, the US technology giant said.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and continued support,” the company said.

“System reliability is a top priority at Google. We are making continuous improvements to make our systems better.”

Frustrated customers in countries including Australia, Japan, France and the United States complained online of the outage, and tracking website DownDetector reported Google services were down in every continent.

“Anyone else having issues with @gmail in Australia?” one person tweeted.

Another Twitter user, in Brooklyn, New York, wrote: “Nearly 16 years in and this is the first time I can remember Gmail being completely down.”

Google’s @Gmail Twitter feed replied to the posts with: “Thanks for reporting. We are aware of a service disruption at the moment.”

The G Suite Dashboard tracking outages in Google’s services showed it was working on the issue, and had it fully resolved in under six hours.

As well as English, the Gmail Twitter feed replied to people in French, Japanese, Portuguese and German.

AFP

Facebook, Google Step Up Election Protection Efforts

This file illustration taken on October 1, 2019 shows the logos of mobile apps Facebook and Google displayed on a tablet in Lille, France. DENIS CHARLET / AFP
This file illustration taken on October 1, 2019 shows the logos of mobile apps Facebook and Google displayed on a tablet in Lille, France. DENIS CHARLET / AFP.

 

Facebook on Thursday launched its voting information center as internet platforms unveiled fresh moves to protect the November US election from manipulation and interference.

The hub was described as central to defending against deception and confusion in what promises to be an election roiled by the pandemic and efforts to dupe voters.

The move comes amid a coordinated effort by Facebook, Google and other online platforms to curb the spread of disinformation and thwart efforts to manipulate voters.

Google separately announced new features for its search engine to provide detailed information about how to register and vote, directing users to local election administrators.

Google-owned YouTube will take down content aimed at manipulation, including “videos that contain hacked information about a political candidate shared with the intent to interfere in an election,” according to a statement.

YouTube will also remove videos promoting efforts to interfere with the voting process such as telling viewers to create long voting lines.

The announcements come a day after an industry group, members of which include Google, Microsoft, Reddit, Pinterest and Twitter, met with federal agencies including the FBI’s foreign influence task force to step up coordination on election interference.

A joint industry statement said the tech platforms, including the Wikimedia Foundation which operates Wikipedia, would be on the lookout for disinformation.

“We know that disinformation and misinformation are at their most virulent in an information vacuum,” Facebook head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher said on a briefing call with reporters.

“Getting accurate information to voters is one of the best vaccines against disinformation campaigns.”

Facebook has set a goal of helping 4 million people registered to vote in the US.

The hub, which Facebook announced earlier this year, will be prominently positioned at Facebook and Instagram and “will serve as a one-stop-shop to give people in the US the tools and information they need to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” the social media giant said.

– ‘Hack-and-Leak’ –

Expected attacks include “hack-and-leak” tactics along the lines of what was used against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, Facebook said.

The tactic typically involves state-sponsored actors giving hacked information to traditional media, then exploiting social media platforms to spread the stories, according to Gleicher.

“We know it is an effective technique,” Gleicher said.

Facebook said the voter hub will evolve with the election season, from focusing on registration and poll-worker volunteering matters to how to vote in the pandemic and then tallying of ballots.

“We know we can help millions of people access accurate, reliable information about the election,” vice president of social impact Naomi Gleit said on the briefing call.

“We firmly believe that voting is voice; the best way to hold our leaders accountable.”

Facebook and Instagram users can use the tool to check if they are registered to vote and how to do so if they are not.

“Voting alerts” on the social network which include updates on the election process will be restricted to “pages from a government authority,” Facebook said.

– Tally turbulence –

Facebook is expecting malicious actors to try to exploit uncertainly about the election process or promote violence while votes are being counted, which is expected to take longer than usual due to the pandemic prompting more people to vote by mail.

The social network has created “red teams” and conducted internal exercises to prepare, according to Gleicher.

US President Donal Trump has made unsubstantiated claims about the reliability of voting by mail, which he has done himself.

Facebook’s latest moves come amid concerns over campaigns by governments aimed at influencing elections and public sentiment in other countries through media outlets that disguise their true origins.

State-led influence campaigns were prominent on social media during the 2016 US election and have been seen around the world.

AFP

US Congressional Antitrust Hearing With Big Tech Ceos Postponed

The hearing is titled “Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”

 

 

A highly anticipated antitrust hearing including top executives of four Big Tech firms, originally set for Monday, has been postponed.

A notice filed by the House Judiciary Committee set no new date for the hearing titled “Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”

The hearing would have conflicted with the memorial service for the late representative and civil rights leader John Lewis, to lie in state in the US Capitol.

-AFP

India’s Richest Man Takes On Amazon, Walmart In E-Commerce Gamble

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 28, 2011 the Amazon logo is seen on a podium during a press conference in New York. 
Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP

 

 

Backed by multi-billion-dollar investments from global tech giants, India’s richest man is ready to rumble with Amazon and Walmart for the country’s huge e-commerce market through his conglomerate Reliance.

But it is far from certain that Mukesh Ambani’s latest gamble will pay off in a crowded market where many suppliers are not well-versed in digital business.

The mogul has long trumpeted his ambition to revolutionise retail in the country of 1.3 billion by convincing farmers and shopkeepers to sell their goods on his new JioMart platform launched this year.

But modernising India’s creaky, inefficient supply chains will not be easy, even for Reliance, the nation’s largest retailer by revenue with a portfolio including supermarkets, electronics stores and fast-fashion outlets.

Google on Wednesday became the latest Silicon Valley player to invest in the digital unit of the Indian oil-to-telecoms juggernaut, following in the footsteps of Facebook and Intel.

 

With global tech giants pumping billions into Reliance, India’s richest man is ready to battle Amazon and Walmart for the country’s huge e-commerce market. But analysts say it’s far from certain that Mukesh Ambani’s latest big gamble will pay off. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) /

 

These votes of confidence notwithstanding, Ambani’s success will depend on India’s mom-and-pop stores and their ability to adapt to the demands of an online business, analysts say.

Keeping bargain-hungry consumers satisfied in a fiercely contested market may be even harder.

Early signs have not been promising for JioMart since its roll-out in 200 Indian cities in May.

Customers have complained about everything from rotting vegetables to missing deliveries and delayed refunds.

An avid online shopper who buys electronics from Amazon and clothing from Walmart-owned retailer Myntra, Mehul Shah is the kind of customer much sought after by Ambani and his rivals.

The 22-year-old placed his first JioMart order soon after the platform’s hotly-anticipated launch.

“I wanted to experience what it was like… because there was so much hype around it,” he told AFP.

But fewer than half his items were delivered and mint leaves he ordered arrived rotten, forcing Shah to throw them away.

Money, money, money

Shah’s experience underlines the challenges facing Ambani as he attempts to take on Amazon, BigBasket and Grofers, all of which have established supply and delivery networks in India.

The 63-year-old tycoon will likely deploy the same strategy he used to make his Jio mobile service a market leader following its 2016 launch.

Jio’s cut-price discounts put phones in the hands of millions of first-time buyers in India, clobbering the competition and driving rivals out of the race.

In recent months Ambani has raised more than $22 billion in a rights issue and through selling stakes in Reliance to foreign investors.

The conglomerate is now net-debt-free and has cash to burn, analysts say.

“JioMart will use the money by offering deep discounting to get consumers, and is in it for the long haul,” said independent analyst Minakshi Ghosh.

But the firm will also need to pump funds into training local shopkeepers in online trading. Many say their businesses have been badly hit by the rise of supermarkets and e-commerce.

“Even in my dreams I never imagined running such a modern business… or receiving card payments,” said Kavita Chowdhury, a shopkeeper in Navi Mumbai, a city neighbouring India’s financial capital.

Her partnership with JioMart could not have come at a better time for the 30-year-old, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing her to shutter the bricks-and-mortar store.

She can now sell online instead and business is booming, she told AFP.

 

India’s richest man takes on Amazon, Walmart in e-commerce gamble.

 

‘Teething issues’

A Reliance source told AFP JioMart had received an “amazing” response from consumers.

“People in small towns are buying Del Monte olives and focaccia bread… They are aware of global trends and want more options,” he said.

But he acknowledged the company faced “teething issues” in logistics — problems which analysts believe could prove its Achilles heel.

“You need consistent delivery models and customer satisfaction” to run a successful e-commerce operation, Forrester Research senior forecast analyst Satish Meena told AFP.

Reliance will not “have a walkover just because of their financial strength”, he said.

Some customers have already sworn off the platform.

Vamshi Krishna, 28, told AFP he would never again buy anything from JioMart after his first two orders went missing.

“Despite problems with my first order, I decided to give them a second chance… because it is an Ambani company,” he said.

“Now I seriously doubt whether I will ever get my money back.”

 

 

-AFP

Google To Invest $10bn In India

In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019, a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

Google said Monday it will invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years as it battles rivals like Facebook and Amazon in the vast market of 1.3 billion consumers.

Chief executive Sunder Pichai told a virtual Google in India event that its fund would help “accelerate India’s digital economy” and will include investing in local firms and infrastructure in areas like digital payments, education and health.

“There’s no question we are facing a difficult moment today, in India and around the world. The dual challenges to our health and to our economies have forced us to rethink how we work and how we live,” Pichai said.

“But times of challenge can lead to incredible moments of innovation,” Indian-born Pichai said according to a transcript of his remarks released by the US search engine giant.

Foreign firms have spent tens of billions of dollars in India in recent years as they fight for a piece of the Asian giant’s burgeoning digital economy.

This has included only this year around $16 billion in investments from Facebook, Intel and others in stakes in the digital services unit of Jio, controlled by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani.

Pichai on Monday briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his plans, but a government statement suggested that Modi also expressed concerns about data security and privacy.

Modi “said that tech companies need to put in efforts to bridge the trust deficit,” the statement said.

Earlier this month the Indian government banned 59 Chinese cellphone apps including the hugely popular TikTok over concerns the firms were passing user data to the Chinese government.

The move came amid a dramatic worsening in relations with China following a brawl on their disputed Himalayan border on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

 

AFP

China Censors Hong Kong Internet, US Tech Giants Resist

A photo taken on December 14, 2018 in Paris shows the logo of the application TikTok. - TikTok, is a Chinese short-form video-sharing app, which has proved wildly popular this year. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)
A photo taken on December 14, 2018 in Paris shows the logo of the application TikTok. – TikTok, is a Chinese short-form video-sharing app, which has proved wildly popular this year. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

 

 

China has unveiled new powers to censor Hong Kong’s internet and access user data using its feared national security law — but US tech giants have put up some resistance citing rights concerns.

The online censorship plans were contained in a 116-page government document released on Monday night that also revealed expanded powers for police, allowing warrantless raids and surveillance for some national security investigations.

China imposed the law on semi-autonomous Hong Kong a week ago, targeting subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces — its wording kept secret until the moment it was enacted.

Despite assurances that only a small number of people would be targeted by the law, the new details show it is the most radical change in Hong Kong’s freedoms and rights since Britain handed the city back to China in 1997.

Late Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke out against “Orwellian” moves to censor activists, schools and libraries since the law was enacted.

“Until now, Hong Kong flourished because it allowed free thinking and free speech, under an independent rule of law. No more,” Pompeo said.

– Restore stability –
Under its handover deal with the British, Beijing promised to guarantee until at least 2047 certain liberties and autonomy not seen on the authoritarian mainland.

Years of rising concerns that China’s ruling Communist Party was steadily eroding those freedoms birthed a popular pro-democracy movement, which led to massive and often violent protests for seven months last year.

China has made no secret of its desire to use the law to crush that democracy movement.

“The Hong Kong government will vigorously implement this law,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the city’s Beijing-appointed leader, told reporters on Tuesday.

“And I forewarn those radicals not to attempt to violate this law, or cross the red line, because the consequences of breaching this law are very serious.”

With pro-democracy books quickly pulled out of libraries and schools, the government signalled in the document released on Monday night that it would also expect obedience online.

Police were granted powers to control and remove online information if there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect the data breaches the national security law.

Internet firms and service providers can be ordered to remove the information and their equipment can be seized. Executives can also be hit with fines and up to one year in jail if they refuse to comply.

The companies are also expected to provide identification records and decryption assistance.

– Big tech unease –
However the biggest American tech companies offered some resistance.

Facebook, Google and Twitter said Monday they had put a hold on requests by Hong Kong’s government or police force for information on users.

Facebook and its popular messaging service WhatsApp would deny requests until it had conducted a review of the law that entailed “formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts,” the company said in a statement.

“We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Twitter and Google told AFP that they too would not comply with information requests by Hong Kong authorities in the immediate future.

Twitter told AFP it had “grave concerns regarding both the developing process and the full intention of this law”.

Tik Tok, which is owned by Chinese company Byte Dance, announced it was pulling out of Hong Kong altogether.

“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” TikTok told AFP.

Tik Tok has become wildly popular amongst youngsters around the world. However many Hong Kongers have distrusted it because of its Chinese ownership.

ByteDance has consistently denied sharing any user data with authorities in China, and was adamant it did not intend to begin to agree to such requests.

In less than a week since the law was enacted, democracy activists and many ordinary people have scrubbed their online profiles of anything that China may deem incriminating.

Monday night’s document also revealed that judicial oversight that previously governed police surveillance powers in Hong Kong had been eliminated when it comes to national security investigations.

Police officers will be able to conduct a search without a warrant if they deem a threat to national security is “urgent”.

“The new rules are scary, as they grant powers to the police force that are normally guarded by the judiciary,” barrister Anson Wong Yu-yat told the South China Morning Post.

Google Says It Will Pay Publishers For News Content

In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

Google will pay partnered media publishers in three countries and offer some users free access to paywalled news sites, the tech giant said Thursday.

The announcement comes after legal battles in France and Australia over Google’s refusal to pay news organizations for content.

In a blog post, the firm said it would launch “a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience” due to launch later this year.

Brad Bender, Google’s vice-president of product management, said they had been in discussions with partnered publishers — including the Spiegel Group in Germany and Brazil’s Diarios Associados — for several months, “with more to come.”

“Google will also offer to pay for free access for users to read paywalled articles on a publisher’s site,” the statement said, without offering any further details.

Australian publishers Schwartz Media, The Conversation and Solstice Media are also among the partners, according to public broadcaster ABC.

Bender said the program will help publishers “monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience.”

READ ALSO: UN Urges ‘Moratorium’ On Facial Recognition Tech Use In Protests

He added it would build on the 2018 Google News Initiative, a $300 million project that aimed to tackle disinformation online and help news sites grow financially.

It comes after growing calls for internet tech titans, notably Google, to pay for content.

A number of European and global publications — including AFP — have called on the European Union to adopt laws requiring internet companies to pay for the material they produce.

In April, France’s competition regulator said the firm must start paying media groups for displaying their content, ordering it to begin negotiations after refusing for months to comply with Europe’s new digital copyright law.

And earlier this month, Google rejected demands from Australian news publishers that it pay hundreds of millions of dollars per year in compensation to local news media under a government-imposed revenue sharing deal.

AFP

Google Says It Will Pay Publishers For News

 In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

Google will pay partnered media publishers in three countries and offer some users free access to paywalled news sites, the tech giant said Thursday.

The announcement comes after legal battles in France and Australia over Google’s refusal to pay news organizations for content.

In a blog post the firm said they would launch “a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience” due to launch later this year.

Brad Bender, Google’s vice-president of product management, said they had been in discussions with partnered publishers — including the Spiegel Group in Germany, Schwartz media in Australia and Brazil’s Diarios Associados — for several months, “with more to come.”

“Google will also offer to pay for free access for users to read paywalled articles on a publisher’s site,” the statement said, without offering any further details.

Bender said the program will help publishers “monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience.”

He added it would build on the 2018 Google News Initiative, a $300 million project that aimed to tackle disinformation online and help news sites grow financially.

It comes after growing calls for internet tech titans, notably Google, to pay for content.

A number of European and global publications — including AFP — have called on the European Union to adopt laws requiring internet companies to pay for the material they produce.

In April, France’s competition regulator said the firm must start paying media groups for displaying their content, ordering it to begin negotiations after refusing for months to comply with Europe’s new digital copyright law.

And earlier this month, Google rejected an Australian ruling that it pay hundreds of millions of dollars per year in compensation to local news media under a government-imposed revenue-sharing deal.

 

AFP

Google Now Auto-Deleting Data For New Users In Bid To Tighten Privacy Settings

In this file photo taken on October 4, 2017 Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google Inc., speaks about Google’s improvements in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning at a product launch event, October 4, 2017 at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, California. Elijah Nouvelage / AFP

 

Google has begun auto-deleting new users’ search data and location history on a rolling 18-month basis, CEO Sundar Pichai announced, as the tech giant moves to tighten privacy settings.

The tweak was introduced Wednesday and is the latest attempt by a big online firm to boost public trust after hefty fines were levied against Facebook and Google for privacy violations in recent years.

“We believe that products should keep your information for only as long as it’s useful and helpful to you,” Pichai said in a blog post, adding that the changes were designed to “keep less data by default.”

When creating a new Google account, “your activity data will be automatically and continuously deleted after 18 months, rather than kept until you choose to delete it,” he explained.

Current users can already opt in to auto-delete their data every three or 18 months — a setting that has not changed, although existing users will be reminded of the option to do so.

Smartphone location technology has been in the spotlight as governments study or implement app-based initiatives to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, despite concerns over privacy and civil liberties.

Pinchai, also head of Google’s parent company Alphabet, asserted that “privacy is at the heart of everything we do” in his blog post.

He detailed other changes including easier access to privacy settings within apps and to the more secure “incognito” mode.

New users of Google’s subsidiary YouTube will also have their search data auto-deleted after 36 months, Pinchai said.

 

AFP

Google Adds Fact-Checking To Images In Bid To Combat Fake News

Google is one of the largest tech companies in the world. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

Google said Monday it was adding fact-check labels to images as part of its efforts to stem visually misleading information.

The new labels will be attached to the underlying web pages of photos and videos which appear in a Google search, the tech giant said.

Google showed how the fact-check system works with an illustration of a widely circulated set of images which showed — falsely —  sharks were swimming in the streets of Houston after a 2017 hurricane.

“Photos and videos are an incredible way to help people understand what’s going on in the world. But the power of visual media has its pitfalls — especially when there are questions surrounding the origin, authenticity or context of an image,” said Google product manager Harris Cohen.

“Starting today, we are surfacing fact check information in Google Images globally to help people navigate these issues and make more informed judgments about what they see on the web.”

The new labels will be based on the ClaimReview database established by independent fact-checkers.

“Now, when you search on Google Images, you may see a ‘Fact Check’ label under the thumbnail image results,” Cohen said.

“When you tap one of these results to view the image in a larger format, you’ll see a summary of the fact check that appears on the underlying web page. These labels may appear both for fact check articles about specific images and for fact check articles that include an image in the story.”

Google said the new labels won’t affect search rankings: “Our systems are designed to surface the most relevant, reliable information available, including from sources that provide fact checks,” Cohen said.

 

AFP

Google Loses $56mn Appeal In France

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 29, 2018 shows the Google logo displayed on a screen and reflected on a tablet in Paris.  Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

 

France’s highest administrative authority on Friday dismissed a challenge by Google against a fine of 50 million euros ($56 million) for failing to provide adequate information on its data consent policies.

The fine was imposed in 2019 by France’s data watchdog, the CNIL.

It found at the time that Google made it too difficult for users to understand and manage preferences on how their personal information is used, in particular with regards to targeted advertising.

Its ruling applied principles enshrined in the EU’s strict new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Google then appealed.

But on Friday, the Council of State, a French government body that is also the court of last resort for matters of administrative justice, confirmed the CNIL ruling.

It agreed the information that Google provided to users “does not meet the requirements of clarity and accessibility required by the GDPR” even when the nature and volume of data collected was “particularly intrusive.”

The council said the CNIL’s record fine was not disproportionate “given the particular seriousness of the breaches committed, their continuous nature and duration, the ceilings provided for by the GDPR (up to four percent of turnover) and Google’s financial situation.”

In a statement sent to AFP, the American giant said it would “now examine the changes we need to make”.

The matter was brought to the CNIL by two advocacy groups shortly after the landmark GDPR directive came into effect.

One was filed on behalf of some 10,000 signatories by France’s Quadrature du Net group, and the other by None Of Your Business, created by the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems.

Schrems had accused Google of securing “forced consent” via its Android mobile operating software through the use of pop-up boxes online or on its apps which imply that its services will not be available unless the conditions of use are accepted.

The CNIL noted in its ruling that details on how long a person’s data can be kept and what it is used for were spread over several different web pages.

Modifying a user’s data preferences required clicking through a variety of pages such as “More Options”, and often the choices to accept Google’s terms were pre-checked by default.

It was not the first time the regulator had taken Google to task.

In 2014 it fined the company 150,000 euros — the maximum possible at the time — for failing to comply with privacy guidelines.

And in 2016 it imposed a 100,000-euro penalty over non-compliance with the EU’s “right to be forgotten” rule which allows people to request having references to them removed from search results.