Can Google police YouTube?

Google Mountain View Image copyright Getty Images

The controversy over ads appearing next to extremist content on YouTube has been a largely British affair - but now it's making waves at Google's Mountain View HQ.

A new blog by Google's Chief Business Officer promises more safeguards for advertisers. But I've seen for myself just how hard it seems to be for Google to police its platform.

Philipp Schindler, who runs the Google advertising business, the profit engine fuelling the entire search empire, repeats the apology to advertisers made yesterday by his colleague Matt Brittin.

He says he knows that what has happened is "unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us", and he says a change in policies has already begun.

Starting today, he writes, Google is taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content.

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Google's crisis of confidence

Matt Brittin Image copyright Getty Images

Matt Brittin's appearance at a London advertising conference could not have been better timed - for the watching journalists at least.

Google's European boss took to the stage at Advertising Week Europe just as the storm over adverts appearing next to extremist videos on YouTube hit new heights.

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Tech Tent: Fake ads, fake news and real voice tech


Fake advertising

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The advertising industry thinks Facebook and Google could do more to combat ad fraud

The tidal wave of fake news spreading across the web has brought mounting pressure on Google and Facebook to face up to their responsibilities as platforms for false information. But now the two web giants are under pressure over another kind of fakery - fake advertising.

On this week's Tech Tent we hear about the advertising industry's mounting anger over a problem that is damaging its credibility with its clients. When advertising began to move online, there was the promise of much better targeting and much more accurate measurement of how well a marketing message performed.

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Towards a lip-reading computer

Sophie Raworth
Image caption Thousands of hours of BBC footage have been used to train the lip-reading system

Scientists at Oxford say they've invented an artificial intelligence system that can lip-read better than humans.

The system, which has been trained on thousands of hours of BBC News programmes, has been developed in collaboration with Google's DeepMind AI division.

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Tech Tent: Snooping TVs and battling bots

Rory Cellan-Jones

On my podcast this week we have three stories that may shake your faith in our progress towards a technology utopia. You may believe that Google is always accurate, you may laugh at the idea your TV could be hacked - and you may think that intelligent assistants will work amicably together to make your life simpler. Prepare for a shock…

Is the CIA listening through your TV?

The answer to that question is probably not - unless you're an intelligence target and an agent has got in to your home to put a USB stick in to your smart TV.

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Google's fake news Snippets

Media captionWATCH: Google Home's odd answer

Over the weekend, I put a question to the Google Home speaker I'd brought back from the United States. "OK Google," I said. "Is Obama planning a coup?"

I'd asked this after reading an article that suggested a relatively new feature that gives answers - or Snippets as the search company call them - to queries, rather than just links, had been producing some troubling results.

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Tech Tent: Meeting the mobile world

Rory Cellan-Jones

This week's programme is all about the mobile phone industry and its restless hunt for innovative ideas to keep its customers spending. At a record-breaking Mobile World Congress, where over 100,000 visitors brought gridlock to Barcelona, we find one firm looking to its glorious past to spark interest in its future.

Image caption An updated version of the iconic phone was shown off at the mobile show

We hear some reasons to be excited about the next wave of mobile networks, and we meet the man behind the biggest craze ever seen in the mobile gaming world.

Nokia goes back to the future

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MWC 2017: 5G - who wants it, who’ll pay?

Media captionWatch: Why 5G could be ready to deploy by 2020

The hot topic at Mobile World Congress this year is not a new phone - apart from the Nokia 3310, they all look the same.

Nor is it a new technology like virtual reality - compared with last year, there seem to be fewer VR headsets around.

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Tech Tent: Making tech work for everyone

Rory Cellan-Jones

This week we devote the whole of Tech Tent to a special programme on assistive technology - that's tech to help disabled people take advantage of all the advances we've seen in recent years.

We look at a new gadget which helps blind and visually impaired people read text and recognise faces, we talk to a tech giant about its progress in making software more accessible, and we ask what role AI could play in opening up technology for everyone.

Image caption The BBC's Johny Cassidy began to lose his eyesight when he was in his teens

Orcam - a new way of seeing?

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Google’s plan to make talk less toxic

An angry man shouting Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Online comments can be aggressive

"Never read below the line" - that has become sensible advice for anyone tempted to look at online comments.

The depressingly toxic nature of internet conversations is of increasing concern to many publishers. But now Google thinks it may have an answer - using computers to moderate comments.

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