Technology Now The business and culture of our digital lives
Americans don't trust government and companies to protect their data

Americans have little faith the government or companies can keep their private records secure online, a new survey by the Pew Research Center shows.

Only 6% of respondents said there were “very confident” government agencies can keep their records private and secure while 31% said they were “not confident at all.”

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FOR THE RECORD

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Landline telephone companies, which typically provide Internet service, didn’t fare any better. Just 6% of adults were “very confident” the companies could secure their data while 29% were “not confident at all.”

The results were even worse for social media sites and search engines. Among the survey’s 959 participants, 45% and 41% respectively said they had no confidence the sites could keep their activity private.

The attitudes appear to be driven by news of government surveillance revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 and the cascade of data breaches...

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Tweets now show up in Google search results

Twitter and Google have teamed up to bring tweets to Google's search results.

That means if you do a search on, for example, Justin Timberlake, you'll see his most recent tweets along with the related news, biographical information, songs and movies that would typically show up. A Google search for #GameofThrones brings up fan tweets concerning the HBO franchise.

It's a win for Twitter, which will have its content seen by many more people -- including non-Twitter users -- as a result of the deal. The San Francisco-based company is under pressure to grow its user base and prove its relevance.

U.S. users searching in English will see relevant tweets in their results within Google's iOS and Android apps as well as mobile Web. Twitter said a desktop Web version is "coming shortly, and we have plans to bring this feature to more countries in the coming months."

When tapping on a tweet in Google search, users will be taken directly to Twitter, where they can view the tweet and discover additional...

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Chinese investments in U.S. businesses are accelerating

Chinese investments in U.S. businesses, all but nonexistent 15 years ago, now total nearly $50 billion and could reach $200 billion by the end of the decade, according to a new study tracking the accelerating trend.

Rising energy and labor costs in China have helped to push the trend toward direct U.S. investments by Chinese individuals and companies over the last five years, said the study by global research firm Rhodium Group and the nonprofit National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Chinese investors have bought or created 1,583 U.S. companies over 15 years through December that now employ 80,600 full-time workers after a five-fold increase in the last five years.

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FOR THE RECORD:

  Chinese investments: In the May 20 Business section, an article about Chinese investment in U.S. businesses referred in one instance to the total potentially reaching $200 million by the end of 2020. As the article correctly said in another reference, total investment could reach $200 billion,...

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Uber now gives you the option to choose a Spanish-speaking driver

On-demand transportation company Uber now lets Los Angeles passengers decide if they want a bilingual driver who can speak Spanish.

The option, UberESPAÑOL, launched in L.A., Orange County and Chicago on Tuesday after an initial roll-out earlier this year in San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson. It comes at no extra cost to passengers, who can make the selection by pressing a button inside the Uber app indicating they want a driver who can speak Spanish.

The move caters to Southern California’s large Latino population and gives Uber a way to tap into a growing market.

"Latinos now account for over 53 million people in the United States and almost 40% of California,” said Ruben Guerra, chairman of Latin Business Assn. "With that tremendous growth comes a more prominent seat at the business table.”

Guerra described the launch of UberESPAÑOL as a “progressive approach” to providing members of the Latino community more opportunities to “conduct their business in the language in which they feel most...

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What to do with a smartwatch? Little Labs says play the slots, for one

Someone shells out hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars for a smartwatch. Then what? Ariel Vardi doesn’t have the answer, but he’s confident after spending most of the last decade building games for cellphones that he can entertain people when they look down at a screen on their wrist.

Last May, Vardi and two former colleagues launched Little Labs Inc. They had met at Jamdat Mobile, a Los Angeles startup acquired by Electronic Arts that was considered a pioneer in flip-phone gaming.

Vardi convinced Kris McDonald and Michael Marchetti that smartwatches soon would become the center of people’s digital lives and that they could be the Jamdat of the smartwatch era.

“Eventually, you’ll be able to go to Starbucks, walk in without your phone and not feel naked,” Vardi said. “I’m very bullish.”

The trio have 30 years of collective game-making experience, from color-screen-less flip phones and clickwheel iPods to iPhones and Facebook.

They launched three smartwatch apps last year that that...

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At AlphaDraft, pro video game players become stars of fantasy sports

Todd Peterson knows games.

He twice quit jobs selling software to play “Call of Duty” and other video games for fun until he needed a paycheck again. He spent so much time with a controller in hand he’d rather not say exactly how much, afraid his mom might get angry. Over the last couple of years, he’s won about $3,500 playing fantasy football.

Now, with a fresh $5 million infusion from investors, Peterson is out to bring fantasy contests to the emerging arena of professional video gaming. Video game tournaments are nothing new. But streaming video networks such as Twitch and Major League Gaming have made matches between skilled players more accessible to more viewers, drawing in advertisers and speeding the growth of competitive leagues reminiscent of traditional sports.

Peterson, 40, barely has time to play video games anymore, but he hopes that his Venice start-up AlphaDraft makes it easier for people to do something he struggled to do on his own: earn a living as an “eSports” player.

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