In Tech: Google ads, Verizon video, domain leadership

Google is helping to promote the fight against extremism through its own digital advertising network.

Anti-extremist ads partially financed by Google recently began appearing in the U.K. as part of a program that helps non-profit organizations highlight their causes when people enter certain words into a search engine.

In this instance, Google says it is providing a “handful” of nonprofits with $10,000 apiece to buy such ads. These ads may appear alongside search results when a search request hints at an interest in extremists such as the Islamic State group.

It comes at a time when Google, Facebook, Twitter and other Internet companies are under more pressure to counter the use of online services by the Islamic State and other extremists to recruit supporters.

Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., hasn’t decided yet whether to extend its financing of anti-extremist ads to the U.S.

It’s up to each participating non-profit to decide which search terms should be linked to its ads and how much it’s willing to bid for the right to have the messages appear alongside the results. Google’s financing won’t affect the formula that’s used to determine the rankings of websites in the non-commercial area where its main search results appear.

The funding of anti-extremist ads is part of a grants program that Google started more than a decade ago. In the past, Google has provided funding for non-profit groups to buy ads promoting animal rescue efforts and the fight against hunger.

— Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer


Verizon is exempting its go90 mobile video service from data limits it imposes on most users.

Verizon spokeswoman Deidre Hart says the go90 business is paying the Verizon Wireless business for the data use “on the same terms as any third party” so that customers can watch shows and clips for free. It’s part of the “FreeBee” sponsored-data program that Verizon announced last month.

Consumer advocates say sponsoring data is problematic because it could draw consumers to bigger, established services that are able to pay for free access, at the expense of startups and smaller companies. For Verizon, the broadband provider, to exempt its own video service is particularly anti-competitive, said Matt Wood, the policy director for consumer advocate Free Press.

Government regulators are already studying how AT&T, T-Mobile and Comcast are using sponsored data or exempting some services from data caps. Comcast’s nascent online video service, Stream, wouldn’t count toward data caps in markets where the cable giant has them. T-Mobile exempts many video and music services from its caps, and doesn’t make providers pay; its exemptions do include rivals such as Verizon’s go90. AT&T has a handful of companies in a sponsored-data program, and has hinted that sponsored data will be a “critical element” of a future mobile video offering.

Verizon’s exemptions apply to customers who pay their cellphone bills at the end of the month — “postpaid” in industry jargon, rather than prepaid. Go90 video includes some full episodes of TV shows, like “The Daily Show,” original video and news and sports.

— Tali Arbel, AP Technology Writer


The organization that oversees the Internet’s domain name system has tapped a Swedish telecommunications official to become its next leader.

Among other things, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is in charge of domain name suffixes — the “.com” in Internet addresses. It decides which suffixes are available and who runs their databases. The change in leadership comes as ICANN adds hundreds of new suffixes to the system and as the U.S. government prepares to relinquish veto authority over these matters.

Goran Marby, director-general of the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority, will start in May as ICANN’s president and CEO. He will replace Fadi Chehade, who is stepping down March 15. An ICANN official will serve as an interim CEO.

— Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer