Paytm Google Feud: What Counts As Digital Gambling?

Paytm Google Feud: What Counts As Digital Gambling?

Google took down Paytm and Paytm First Games from its Play Store after the former alleged Paytm’s Cricket Fantasy game to be a breach of its gambling policies. The digital payments app accused Google of discrimination by pointing out that its Tez app has a similar strategy for cashback promotions. Let’s dig deeper into the issue.

Crux of the Matter

What Happened?
On 18th September 2020, Google blocked Paytm from its Play Store after the ‘PayTM Cricket League’ was started by the latter in its ‘PayTM First Games’ section. The move came one day before the cricketing league IPL was set to commence.

A policy update ahead of IPL was made by Google, which stated that they will discontinue apps that support any unregulated gambling.

About Paytm Cricket League
In this fantasy cricket gaming model, users would receive virtual stickers of cricket players on making certain transactions. They can then add these players in their virtual team and earn points based on the actual performance of the players. Top 1 lakh performers – based on cumulative points at the end of the tournament – would earn scratch cards that can fetch them rewards up to ₹1 lakh.

If an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of its policies.

Google

Paytm Restored
Google later restored the app a few hours later after Paytm rolled back the campaign. However, on Sunday, 20th September 2020 Paytm claimed that to get re-listed on the Play store, it was forced to roll back the UPI cashback and scratch card campaign even though it is legal in India. Paytm denies any violation of rules.

Allegations Of Discrimination
Paytm in its blog alleged Google of discrimination and mentioned that Google Pay’s campaign of Tez Shots mentioned “score runs to earn assured rewards up to ₹1 lakh” at the beginning of this cricket season. In Tez Shots games, a user can play multiple times and earn vouchers. Then they are qualified for a lucky draw through which they can get assured tickets for up to ₹1 lakh. They can further earn discounts and reward points on various services through their Google Pay app. Paytm said ‘either these cashback campaigns are not in breach of Play store policies, or, they have a different set of rules for their apps.’

What About Dream11 Then?
There has been a debate around whether Paytm First Games, Dream11, or any other Fantasy Sports game that utilizes a similar reward and cashback strategy on the basis of a real-time cricket match would be considered gambling.

In 2019, a Bombay High Court bench said that Dream11 was “undoubtedly a game of skill and not a game of chance”. Dream11’s app is also not listed on Google Play Store. Mobile Premier League, another sports fantasy contest app, is also not listed on the Play Store.

Google’s Response
In response to the allegations, a spokesperson from Google stated that their policies do not allow any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate betting or support online casinos. If the policy violation is repeated they may take serious actions that may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. These policies are enforced on all developers.

New Groupings
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of Paytm asked for a formation of a new grouping which will give representation to the domestic tech firms. He added that since established industries such as NASSCOM and IAMAI are dominated by US-tech companies, a new platform will ensure that local tech firms have their voices represented.

Madhur Deora, president of One97 Communications, and owner of Paytm verbalized the issue, “You’ve got a player which regulates India’s digital ecosystem while competing with many companies in the same ecosystem”, and asked the problem to be taken into account.

Founders are coming together and there is a discussion on this topic. We will be talking to the government, lawmakers, and regulators. We would like to amplify the voice of the Indian startup community and our technology companies.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Paytm

Curiopedia
  • PayPal filed a case against Paytm in the Indian trademark office for using a logo with a similar color combination to its own in 2016. PayPal claimed to be using the logo with the said color combination since 2007.
  • Tez was a mobile payments service by Google, targeted at users in India, later folded into the new Google Pay app in 2018. Within 37 days after being launched, Tez got about 8.5 million installations.
  • Paytm has alleged that telecom companies are not blocking numbers used for phishing activities and sued them for ₹100 crores in damages in the Delhi High Court. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Apple & Android v/s Fortnite

Apple & Android v/s Fortnite

Fortnite developer Epic Games has sued Apple and Google for removing its app from their respective stores. The tech giants said that the game developer violated store policies by bypassing them. Let us understand the whole matter.

Crux of the Matter

Battle Between Apple, Google, and Epic Games
Apple and Google removed Fortnite after the latest update which violated the terms and conditions of the stores. Epic games accused Apple of creating a monopoly in the market. Due to an ongoing lawsuit, one would not be able to run and download Fortnite on any iOS devices.

Apple and Google (wherever the game is listed) get a 30% commission on any inbuilt game purchase made by the users. The rest 70% goes to the developer. For Example, if someone buys a Gun skin in PUBG for ₹100 then ₹30 will go in the pockets of Apple or Google and ₹70 will go in Tencent’s pocket.

Why Pay 30%?
Epic Games was reluctant to pay a 30% share. It said that Google and Apple are earning money from various sources and still charging a high commission. In 2018, Epic Game launched a mobile version of Fortnite on the Android platform. To avoid paying a 30% commission to Google, it launched its private server to download the installation file (APK file). However in 2020, due to people’s preference to download apps from the play store on Android, the company launched the game on Android’s Play Store.

Beginning Of Saga
On August 13, Epic Games updated “Fortnite” and introduced an option to buy in-app items at a 20% discount directly from Epic Games. Thus, Google and Apple removed the app from their stores saying the company violated terms-of-service, and Epic Game sued both the companies in retaliation. As per the update, the revenue distribution would be as follows:

Escalation
Epic Games has said that Apple’s App Store is a monopoly. It has launched a campaign called “Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming 1984”. Unreal Engine is a game engine developed by Epic Game, which many companies and developers use to develop games. Apple has threatened to ban unreal engine access to all iOS and Mac developer tools. When Apple threatened to ban the engine, many companies extended their support against the move.

Special Treatment To Amazon?
Last month, during the antitrust law case hearing in the US, an email showed that Apple allowed Amazon to bypass Apple’s inbuilt payment system. Controversy arose when Apple took no action against Amazon. So far Apple has not allowed any company to bypass its payment system. Experts say that Apple controls small companies to maintain supremacy in the market. There is also speculation that Apple did not take any action against Amazon because the latter has an equal muscle to counter.

Also Read: On Apple’s Tax Case & Tax Havens Of The World

Curiopedia
  • The Fortnite World Cup 2019 was an esports competition based on the Fortnite, which took place in July 2019. An estimated 2.3 concurrent million viewers on Twitch and YouTube streaming services watched the World Cup finales
  • “1984” is an American television commercial that introduced the Apple Macintosh personal computer. Originally a subject of contention within Apple, it has subsequently been called a watershed event and a masterpiece in advertising.
  • Since the removal of Fortnite from the App Store, iPhones with Fortnite pre-installed are listed on eBay for as much as $10,000. Apple removed the game citing policy infractions, but those who already had the game installed still have access to it.

Shortcut To Success With Google Career Certificates

Shortcut To Success With Google Career Certificates

Google recently made an official announcement of launching a selection of professional courses called Google Career Certificates. As opposed to traditional college degrees, these courses can be finished in 6 months. So will bagging high-end jobs be easier? Can it take on the higher education industry in the US first? Is the trend of taking online courses here to stay?

Crux of the Matter

Google Courses v/s Tradional College Degrees
These courses will teach job seekers the foundational skills, that shall help them find employment immediately. The biggest USP is that instead of taking years to complete, like a traditional university degree, these certificates are designed to be completed in about six months.

Everything Comes At A Price Right?
Although the exact cost of the new Google Career courses is not known, but a similar program called the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, is offered by them on online learning platform Coursera at $49 each month per student. So at this price, a 6 month course would cost around $300 (~₹22,000). Moreover, Google plans to fund 100,000 need-based scholarships in support of these new programs.

What All Courses Are Available?
3 new Google Career programs have been designed, along with the estimated median annual wage quoted for each position:

1. Project manager ($93,000)
2. Data analyst ($66,000)
3. UX designer ($75,000)

Each course will be taught by Google employees themselves, who are experts in their respective fields.

Job Hunt Set To Become Easier
When a program would be completed, Google promises to support in the job search as well. The participants can opt in to share their information directly with top employers hiring for jobs in these fields, some of which include Walmart, Best Buy, Intel, Bank of America, Hulu, and Google.

Additionally, there will be hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities, that trains a worker to become skilled in a particular trade by combining hands-on work with classroom learning to train the ‘apprentice‘ or a future full time worker.

Other Big Companies That Don’t Want You To Go To College

  • Apple
  • IBM
  • Starbucks
  • Home Depot
  • Penguin Random House
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Hilton
  • Ernst and Young (EY)
  • Bank of America
  • Chipotle
  • Lowe’s

Can They Take On The Higher Education Industry In The US First?
Famous US Universities are already fighting soaring costs, grade inflation, diminishing degree value, politicization of campuses amongst other issues.

Kent Walker, Google’s Senior VP for Global Affairs & Chief Legal Officer, says rolling out such comprehensive digital programs and not making traditional degrees mandatory will definitely start a change in the $600 billion dollar education industry. It will break down educational barriers by prioritizing skills and support US’ economic recovery.

This ‘Trend’ Is Here To Stay In The New Normal?
E-learning is becoming an even more necessary choice in digital workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. LinkedIn reported that earlier this year in April, how people watched 1.7 million hours of video content on LinkedIn Learning compared to 560,000 hours in the first week of January.

You might think it’s just a way to pass time in the new normal, with 10-minute video summaries of completed courses on Linkedin and the badges earned that are proudly ‘pinned’ to their profiles thereafter. But companies are busy designing online ecosystems to support long-term remote work practices and building portals that are filled with useful courses and training packages, that work for them in the new normal too.

Curiopedia
  • A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. MOOCs are a recent and widely researched development in distance education, first introduced in 2008 and emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.
  • Udemy is an online learning platform aimed at professional adults and students. As of Jan 2020, the platform has more than 50 million students, 57,000 instructors and 150,000 courses on the website.
  • Moodle is a free and open-source learning management system (LMS). With customizable management features, it is used to create private websites with online courses for educators and trainers to achieve learning goals.

Google Facing Flak For Not Respecting Customers’ Voice

Google facing flak from users

Google has attracted dissatisfying responses from users, especially from the Indian userbase as it revived TikTok’s rating and removed Indian apps Mitron and Remove China Apps. Moreover, a lawsuit has been filed against it in the US for peeping into user’s using Incognito mode.

Crux of the Matter

Peeping Google Sued
A $5 billion lawsuit has been filed against Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. It is accused of collecting information about what people are browsing in Incognito mode. The complaint has been filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, for violations of federal wiretapping and California privacy laws. In the report, it is claimed that the company uses Google Analytics, Google Ad Manager, website plugins and smartphone apps to gather users’ data.

Collected data could be on users’ friends, hobbies, favorite foods, shopping habits, and even the “most intimate and potentially embarrassing things” they search for online. As per the lawsuit, data of Incognito mode since June 1, 2016, has been gathered. It demanded $5000 compensation for each user.

Incognito mode

  • No person using the same device will be able to find out what you have searched
  • Doesn’t save cookies and browsing history
  • Files do not appear in download manager
  • Websites can collect information about your browsing activity
  • Downloaded files from websites remain on your computer
  • Bookmarked sites remain in the bookmark list


Summachar’s Coverage: Indian Youtubers Show Their Muscle As They Take Down TikTok

Google Play Store Facing Backlash
Recently, Google play store has removed India’s Mitron and Remove China Apps from the Play Store. As per the Cybersecurity experts and researchers, Mitron app had some security related issues and was not safe to use. Mitron app was developed by Shivank Agarwal, a student of IIT Roorkee. The source code of the app was purchased from Pakistani coding company Qboxus. Agarwal launched it after customizing the coding and changing the privacy policy. But it was found out that the app had software security and weak privacy policy issues.

According to the cybersecurity experts, Remove China Apps was safe to use as it scanned only installed android application package (APK) and searched for its developer’s country to match it with its repository. OneTouch AppLabs developed Remove China Apps violated Google’s ‘spam and minimum functionality’ policy, as per experts.

Curiopedia
  • Larry Page is an American software engineer and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known as one of the co-founders of Google along with Sergey Brin. As of March 2020, Page is the 13th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $62.6 billion, according to Forbes.
  • In December 2018, Sundar Pichai (then Google CEO) was testified before the House Judiciary Committee for 3.5 hours due to wide range of issues, including potential political bias on the company’s platforms, Google’s plans for a censored search app in China and Google’s privacy practices.
  • Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai encouraged employees to take a moment of silence to honor black lives lost. As a result, Google employees globally observed silence of 8min 49sec at 1 PM PDT on Wednesday. The silence lasted for the same amount of time that George Floyd was held under the knee for.

Advertisers on Google will need to verify ID

Google has introduced changes in its advertising policy. Now as a part of the compliance procedure, advertisers will have to get their documents verified to get access of posting advertisements on any Google platform.

Crux of the Matter

New Policy in Place
Earlier Google used to collect only the basic information of the advertiser but verification of documents was not needed. However, in 2018 Google made it mandatory to get ID proofs and documents verified to publish political advertisements. It has now extended the verification process to all types of advertisers.

  • The new documentation required is as follows:
    • Mandatory documents are identity proof and the address of the advertiser
    • Individual advertisers will have to provide legal Government IDs and business incorporation documents
    • Organizations will have to give documents like W9 or IRS documents showing the organization’s name, address, and employer identification number

This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls.

John Canfield, Director of Product Management for Ads Integrity, Google

What will Change?

  • Viewers will be able to see the advertiser’s information by clicking on ‘Why this ad?’
  • It will give a clear idea to viewers about the advertisement and can avoid any fake ads


Google said that current advertisers will get the time of 30 days to get their documents verified. The company will approve or reject the documents within 3 to 5 working days. The spokesperson of google informed that the company will use the combination of human and tech review to approve the documents. After the submission of documents, advertisers will have to enable “in-identity check” to confirm their legitimacy. 

Curiopedia
  • Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) is an online advertising platform by Google. Google Advertising has evolved into Alphabet Inc’s main source of revenue, contributing US$134.8 billion in 2019 to Alphabet Inc’s total revenues.
  • During this time of Coronavirus pandemic, Google said it will ban ads from companies that attempt to profit off of panic surrounding the novel Coronavirus. Although, Google relaxed the policies later. The policy change is due to a possible decrease in ad revenue in future, is what the analysts say.
  • As of December 2010, Google AdWords decreased restrictions over sales of hard alcohol. It now allows ads that promote the sale of hard alcohol and liquor. This is an extension of a policy change that was made in December 2008, which permitted ads that promote the branding of hard alcohol and liquor.