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Retailers News & Analysis

5 Reasons Google Beat Apple to Become the Top Brand

2014-5-june-arm-wrestling-champ.jpgYou just can't block the buzz about Google. In the past few weeks, the company surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable brand, according to Millward Brown Optimor's 2014 BrandZ ranking.

It was a big blow for Apple, which had held the top spot for the previous three years. But Apple fell 20 percent in brand value in the past year to an estimated $147.9 billion. Even worse, there is a "growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers," according to Millward Brown, a New York City-based research firm.

Meanwhile, Google's brand value rose 40 percent from a year ago to $159 billion. Apparently it's pretty profitable to avoid evil, even as regulators here and abroad are taking a closer look to make sure that slogan is true.

What's behind Google's climb, beyond Apple's loss of founder Steve Jobs?

Google Wants to Tap Your Brain

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While the quest for the ultimate in marketing automation technology continues, I'm still struggling to get my email spam filter to work properly. But Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering, says that more intelligent systems are coming faster than we think.

By 2030, computers will be able to handle natural human language and experience emotions, Kurzweil said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal this weekend. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. By 2045, we will attain "full singularity," he continued, which means that humans will be completely integrated with technology — with direct links to the cerebral neocortex.

European High Court Spanks Google

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Europe’s highest court just gave ordinary people the right to challenge Google over “irrelevant” or outdated search results. The court ruled today that individuals could ask Google to remove such search results associated with someone's name.

The case stems from a request by a Spanish citizen to remove information about the repossession of his home 16 years ago. The man successfully argued before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that the outdated search results infringed on his right to privacy.

The ECJ ruled that individuals have the right to approach search companies like Google directly to request removal of information and, when the request is denied, "bring the matter before the competent authorities" to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of questionable links from the list of search results.

If that wasn’t bad enough for search engine operators, the court also ruled that operators are responsible for any personal data it processes, even if that data appears on web pages published by third parties. In short, this means search engine operators are responsible for any information generated about individuals through search.

Maybe Customers Should Choose: Privacy or Free Content

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With all the amazing content available for free on the web, why are customers surprised or upset that companies track your online behavior? Are they seriously "creeped out" that their web searches today drive some of the ads they'll see for the next few weeks? Why?

Does anyone think all that content is pure altruism?

Privacy is Overrated: Ask Your Customers and They Will Tell

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Guess what? New research from IBM shows customers are willing to share their personal information, especially if they get something in return.

Excuse us while we yawn ... But doesn't it seem like anyone who ever signed up for something as innocuous as a store loyalty card could explain the same thing? How many people registered for a website during the heady dot-com days, just to get a free water bottle?

And don't even get us started on the phenomenon of too much information on social media, where everyone shares just about everything, for nothing but 15 seconds of fame in return.

So let's overlook the obvious, and see if there are any deeper insights in the research IBM released this week at the National Retail Federation's 103rd Annual Convention and EXPO in New York City.

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