iOS: Google updated the Hangouts app today and added a slew of new features. The most notable is the integration with Google Voice, so you can now access SMS and voicemails from your Google Voice account right in the Hangouts app.
Tech companies spend a lot of money on lobbying. Two companies that are known for opening their wallets for political lobbying are Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Verizon. In the last two years, the two companies spent a combined $63 million to drive legislation in their favor. And the two companies already spent $6 million combined in 2014.
Google spent over $3.8 million in 2014 so far. One of Google’s ideas for lobbying was hosting a conference at George Mason University with Federal Trade Commission regulators added to the list of invited people. Verizon spends money on lobbying the Federal Communications Commission for wireless spectrum.
“These companies continue to spend whatever they think necessary to buy the laws and regulations they want,” stated John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “These disclosure statements don’t include payments to trade associations or the sort of ‘soft’ lobbying that has become a Google trademark – funds to think tanks and academic research centers. When all that is factored in, the amounts are staggering. Policy making is no longer about what’s right; it’s all about the money.”
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is going very green this month. Yesterday Google announced a deal to purchase up to 407MW of wind power for its Iowa data center. And today, Google has announced that it has committed $100 million to create a new fund for financing the purchase of residential solar installations through a partnership with SunPower Corporation.
This is Google’s 16th renewable energy investment and is the 3rd in residential rooftop solar projects. Google previously committed $280 million to create another fund with SolarCity. Google also committed $75 million through a partnership with Clean Power Finance.
This fund will include $150 million from SunPower, which will be used for purchasing solar panels that homeowners can use as part of a lease program. The lease will cost lower than normal electricity bills.
SunPower currently has a program that brought solar panels to around 20,000 U.S. households. SunPower expects that its partnership with Google will bring solar panels to thousands of more homes. SunPower builds the panels itself and installs them for homeowners.
“We’re pleased to team with SunPower to make solar power accessible to more homeowners, and offer families a more effective way to reduce their carbon footprint,” stated Kojo Ako-Asare, head of corporate finance at Google in a statement today. “Google is committed to promoting the efficient use of resources and expanding the use of renewable energy. Our partnership with SunPower makes good business sense and supports our goals for a clean energy future.”