Tech Digest daily round up: Google earnings profits soar in lockdown


Google owner Alphabet saw its earnings soar in the first quarter as people stuck at home in the pandemic used more of its services. Net profit jumped by 162% to a record $17.9bn in the three months to March as advertising revenue swelled by a third. It comes as the tech giant faces increased scrutiny over its power and the pandemic has people turning to the internet more than ever. The firm credited “elevated consumer activity online” for its results. “Over the last year, people have turned to Google Search and many online services to stay informed, connected and entertained,” said Alphabet and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai. BBC News 

A French state-backed satellite company has allied itself with Britain against Elon Musk’s SpaceX by taking a stake in the space internet company OneWeb. Eutelsat is paying $550m (£395m) for a 24pc stake in OneWeb, which was rescued by the UK last year in a joint venture with Indian telecoms giant Bharti. The French government has a 20pc stake in Eutelsat and the deal is expected to be a fillip for OneWeb as it seeks European support for its satellite internet business due to go live later this year. OneWeb has been fighting a heated regulatory battle with SpaceX as the two companies compete to launch “mega constellations” of hundreds or thousands of satellites to provide high-speed internet access to rural communities and internet-enabled devices. Jeff Bezos’ Amazon is also planning to launch its own constellation known as Kuiper. Telegraph 

England’s “vaccine passport” for international travellers will be based on the standard NHS smartphone app, the government has revealed. At present all non-essential trips abroad are illegal, but the overseas travel ban is expected to be lifted on 17 May. Some foreign countries are making visits contingent upon having completed a course of coronavirus vaccinations, while many others will ease or remove testing requirements for tourists who have had both jabs. There is no international agreement on either the standard of proof or the method, and the UK government appears to be working on a short-term fix that will ease border restrictions for the coming summer. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, told Sky News: “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application. The actual app will be the NHS app which is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you have had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing.” Independent

Facebook is allowing businesses to advertise to children as young as 13 who express an interest in smoking, extreme weight loss and gambling for as little as $3, research by the lobby group Reset Australia has found. The organisation, which is critical of digital platforms, set up a Facebook page and advertising account under the name “Ozzie news network” to see what ad options Facebook would provide through its Ads Manager platform. While Facebook will not allow the advertising of alcohol and other age-inappropriate content to people under 18, it does not prevent advertisers from targeting children determined by Facebook’s profile to have an interest in alcohol, for advertising that might not appear explicitly to be about those topics. Guardian

Thousands of patients with high cholesterol are set to benefit from a treatment after health officials said that it could be used in the NHS. Adults in England who have primary hypercholesterolaemia or mixed dyslipidaemia – also known as high cholesterol – will now be eligible for treatment with two new types of once-daily pills. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has approved bempedoic acid with ezetimibe for NHS use for patients who have high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), also known as “bad” cholesterol, and are unable to take statins. It is estimated that some 70,000 patients will be eligible for the treatment. Yahoo! News 


Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to