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Google is stretching its educational arm to include a digital academy

(BUSINESS NEWS) Google is aiming to shake up online education by using their Squared Online system to merge online and classroom learning.

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Last week Google unveiled Squared Online, a new course that’s part of its Digital Academy.

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But wait, what even is the Google Digital Academy?

One for all, all for one

In 2014, Google launched digital training programs for employees and customers alike. According to Google designer Jack W. Morgan, these programs ended up with too many different objectives and brand identities that began to “compete with and cannibalize one another.”

A single umbrella organization was proposed to unite the programs as a uniform education initiative.

The Digital Academy is Google’s way of bridging in-person and online education.

It was established to resolve division within Google’s rapidly growing education sector.

Google Digital Academy offers a wide range of programs with varying lengths, skill levels, and intensity.

Their goal is to help marketers become more digitally savvy, transforming how businesses and people operate in a rapidly changing world.

Their latest offering focuses on five modules of digital marketing: disruption, how tech is changing business, rise of social and mobile, data analytics, and insights. It started as an in-person class, but Google soon realized they needed to expand the scale.

New possibilities

Collaborating with professional coaching company Avado, the class can now accommodate up to 400 people at a time. The face-to-face class only accommodated around 30 people three to four times a year.

It’s not meant to replace traditional degrees, but rather to supplement or provide other options for those looking to learn.

Director of Google Digital Academy Shuvo Saha noted, “there are a lot of questions right now given the reality of the job market and what young people need to be able to do to get different roles. It’s a tricky one for education as a whole.”

Google says unlike their competitors, the Digital Academy is successfully merging online and classroom learning styles. The course allows students to virtually meet up in groups using Google hangouts. Saha explains that Squared Online “bridges the gap between the classic classroom experience, where you can’t get scale, and e-learning that can sometimes be a bit dry.”

Instead, he says the course “offers a more experiential learning experience,” for curious, collaborative individuals.Click To Tweet

Google Digital Academy hopes to target marketing leaders of the future and encourage students to make proactive decisions and work outside boundaries.

For more information on the course or to enroll, check out the Squared Online page.

#GoogleDigitalAcademy

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

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Business News

The final nail has been put in the Jet.com coffin by Walmart

(BUSINESS NEWS) Walmart is shutting down their main Amazon competing idea, Jet.com didn’t meet Walmart’s expectations even with COVID ramping up home deliveries.

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Walmart announced it will discontinue Jet.com, its online-only marketplace, after a poor showing in their Q1 earnings report. Once promising to tackle Amazon competition head-on, Walmart acquired Jet for $3 billion in 2016 and championed its potential to strengthen company e-commerce. Last year, Walmart saw a $2 billion loss in the division despite the efforts to compete as a digital-facing store.

The earnings report showed Jet.com saw a growth of less than 10% in its main US market. Thus, Walmart will withdraw guidance entering the 2021 fiscal year. Jet.com has seen its fair share of trials since Walmart took over and has faced multiple reorganizing attempts such as the full integration of Jet’s teams into Walmart’s, the shutdown of experimental shopping service, Jet black, and a site relaunch.

Although consumers are turning to online shopping and deliveries in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, digital marketplaces face their own challenges in a changing retail landscape. Intuitively, e-commerce should be thriving, however, the pandemic has increased overhead costs for companies like Ebay and Amazon. This is setting aside what the broader effects may follow in the wake of a collapsing economy.

A statement by CFO Brett Briggs highlighted these broader concerns and the decision to remove guidance from Jet.com. “The decision to withdraw guidance reflects significant uncertainty around several key external variables and their potential impact on our business and the global economy, including: the duration and intensity of the COVID- 19 health crisis globally, the length and impact of stay-at-home orders, the scale and duration of economic stimulus, employment trends and consumer confidence,” he noted. “Our business fundamentals are strong, and our financial position is excellent. Customers trust us to deliver on our brand promise, and I’m confident in our ability to perform well in most any environment. While the short-term environment will be challenging, we’re positioned well for long-term success in an increasingly omni world.”

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Amazon may take advantage of COVID-19 decimated AMC and acquire them

(BUSINESS NEWS) Amazon is eyeing AMC as a possible purchase because of the how COVID-19 has affect theaters, but some worry that the industry won’t bounce back.

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AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. increased 56% (to $6.41) after reportedly in talks with Amazon regarding a potential takeover. The report, made by U.K.’s Daily Mail, is yet to receive confirmation by other company. However, the market has clearly responded to the spicy rumor. If seriously considered, the move could easily solidify Amazon’s ambitions to compete with major Hollywood studios by creating another avenue for their movies and television series.

Chinese real estate billionaire Wang Jianlin acquired AMC in 2012 for $2.6 billion as part of his conglomerate, Wanda Group’s expansion into the entertainment realm. AMC shares rose 12% to a two-month high this week after the reported talks with Amazon. However, it’s been far from sunshine and rainbows for AMC. The coronavirus pandemic has hit the company hard. In mid-April, their stock was down 70% year to date. Past reports have also speculated the when AMC may announce bankruptcy rather than if.

Last month’s straight-to-streaming release of “Trolls World Tour” offers a glimpse of the entertainment market in a post-COVID world. The movie’s success offers a glimpse of an future where physical theaters are obsolete. Taking x-amount of months of social distancing into account and Amazon’s takeover makes less sense.

Amazon has carved out space on the streaming market over the past several years with Prime originals like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Fleabag having racked up Emmy awards. With other great shows like Undone, Bosch, and their recent grab of The Expanse, along with new shows like Upload I would say Amazon knows a thing or two about good content.

Eric Wold, an analyst at B. Riley FBR wrote this week that since AMC is projected to see its fourth consecutive year of stock declines, the company wouldn’t appeal from an investor standpoint. If the acquisition talks are active, a cash offer for AMC is more likely.

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Business News

One big brand got $10M in PPP funding, refuses to return it

(BUSINESS NEWS) Quantum has been asked to give back its $10 million portion of the PPP loans given out, but they refuse. As if small businesses have it hard enough.

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Quantum, a data storage company, is getting pressured by Congress to return its loan from the federal Payment Protection Program, however, the company is refusing to back down and announced it is keeping the money.

Last week a House panel asked five public companies, including Quantum, to return their loans immediately. All five companies received $10 million from the program. Quantum told CBS MoneyWatch they intend to respond to lawmakers but will be keeping the funding. They are required to explain in writing why they are still eligible for the PPP loan and submit supporting documents by Friday, May 15th.

Likewise, banks have come under criticism for prioritizing PPP loan approvals for larger companies rather than small businesses where they were intended to offer much-needed aid. The program offers low-interest, government-funded loans, targeting businesses with 500 or fewer employees. The best part is the loans can be forgiven if businesses keep their workers and use those funds towards payroll. Larger public companies have jumped on the opportunity while the local mom-and-pop shops are unable to receive the highly-sought after loans before funds run out.

The congressional committee wrote in a letter to Quantum that the company currently employs 800 workers and has the option to raise funds from investors. Quantum’s largest shareholder is B. Riley Capital Management, an investment fund valued at $500 million owning 21% of company shares. As of May 11th, Quantum’s market capitalization was $173 million.

In a statement by a Quantum spokesperson, the company said “Quantum believes it owes a duty to its American employees who would lose their jobs if Quantum returned its PPP loan to demonstrate why Quantum not only falls within the technical eligibility requirements of the PPP loan program, but also falls squarely within the spirit of what was intended by the [Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act].”

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