Google has reportedly abandoned plans for its first-ever retail store, according to Crain’s. The first-of-its-kind store for the company was expected to showcase products running on its Android operating system, including Chromebooks and the newly-refreshed line of Nexus smartphones.
That would put it in direct competition with retail stores by the likes of Apple and Microsoft, the latter of which just opened its brand-new flagship store on Fifth Avenue at the end of last month.
— VentureBeat (@VentureBeat) October 26, 2015
The 5,442-square-foot SoHo space leased by Google (which is now reportedly looking to sub-lease it for $2.25 million per year) is located at 131 Greene St., an upmarket shopping district surrounded by trendy brands such as Dior, Tiffany, and Louis Vuitton, as well as Sonos, a tech company making hugely popular wireless speakers.
Google is said to have spent $6 million renovating the space before deciding to axe the plans for unclear reasons. Is it just unsatisfied with this particular space, or has the company decided to shelve plans for physical retail stores altogether?
It’s would be a shame if it’s the latter, because I think everyone agrees: a Google retail store would be pretty cool.
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(By Dan Levine, Reuters) – A driver for Google’s same day delivery service filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the company on Friday, alleging it improperly classified her as an independent contractor and owes expenses.
The case, filed in a Massachusetts state court, comes days after Amazon Prime Now drivers filed a similar lawsuit against Amazon.com in California.
The level of benefits owed to workers in the on-demand economy has been the subject of litigation in the courts, and debate in the U.S. presidential race.
Like drivers in the Amazon case, Google Express driver Anna Coorey said in her lawsuit that she was hired by an intermediary courier service but is required to work only for Google during her shift. Drivers wear Google Express uniforms and are required to accept every delivery assigned to them during each shift, the lawsuit said.
That makes drivers employees under Massachusetts state law, attorneys for Coorey argue, who should be paid overtime and other expenses.
A Google spokesman could not immediately comment on the lawsuit.
Ride services Uber and Lyft face similar lawsuits from drivers, brought by the same law firm which filed the case against Google on Friday.
The case in Suffolk County Superior Court is Anna Coorey vs. Google Inc and Beavex Inc.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Alan Crosby)
(By Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters) – The New York attorney general is probing whether three major Internet providers could be short-changing consumers by charging them for faster broadband speeds and failing to deliver the speeds being advertised, according to documents seen by Reuters.
The letters, which were sent on Friday to executives at Verizon Communications Inc, Cablevision Systems Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, ask each company to provide copies of all the disclosures they have made to customers, as well as copies of any testing they may have done to study their Internet speeds.
“New Yorkers deserve the Internet speeds they pay for. But, it turns out, many of us may be paying for one thing, and getting another,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
Time Warner Cable spokesman Bobby Amirshahi said in a statement: “We’re confident that we provide our customers the speeds and services we promise them and look forward to working with the AG to resolve this matter.”
Cablevision spokesman Charlie Schueler said the company’s Optimum Online service “consistently surpasses advertised broadband speeds, including in FCC and internal tests. We are happy to provide any necessary performance information to the Attorney General as we do to our customers.”
Verizon declined comment, saying it had not yet seen the letter.
The probe by the attorney general is particularly focused on so-called interconnection arrangements, or contractual deals that Internet service providers strike with other networks for the mutual exchange of data.
In the letters, the office says it is concerned that customers paying a premium for higher speeds may be experiencing a disruption in their service thanks to technical problems and business disputes over the interconnection agreements.
A 2014 study by the Measurement Lab Consortium, or M-Lab, found that customers’ Internet service tended to suffer at points where their broadband providers connected with long haul Internet traffic carriers including Cogent Communications Group Inc.
“Internet service provider interconnection has a substantial impact on consumer Internet performance – sometimes a severely
negative impact,” the study said, adding that business relationships rather than technical issues were often at the root of the problem.
A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said the findings in the 2014 study, coupled with consumer complaints and internal analysis, prompted the inquiry into the Internet speeds.
Some of the letters also raise questions about speeds delivered by Time Warner Cable and Cablevision to consumers over “the last mile,” a term that refers to the point where a telecommunication chain reaches a retail consumer’s devices.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Peter Cooney and Christian Plumb)