So Google (I Mean Alphabet) Is Now the Most Valuable Company. So What?

Alphabet – the company formerly knows as Google – has surpassed Apple as the company with the largest market capitalization in the world. So what? Why all the score-keeping about this stuff?

Yesterday, I linked to an article explains why “shareholder value” is a dumb idea. Looking at market capitalization to create a table of the most valuable companies is just as dumb. Since share price is often based on caprices, and share price doesn’t ever correlate realistically to shareholder value, this is just a way of fabricating news.

Market capitalization is a chimera. It’s based on the value of shares now, and it looks good when it’s high, but not so good when it’s low. But shares only really have value when you sell them. When the stock market is in a bubble, the financial news organs will tell you how much your shares are worth, but when there’s a “correction,” they claim that “X billion dollars have been wiped off the value of a company.” Neither of these are realistic, since that value is fictitious.

All that counts is whether a company’s share trend up or down, and how much it’s worth when you sell it. And of course, that’s all relative. Here’s Apple’s share price over the past three months:

Aapl 3 months

And here’s the company’s share price over two years:

Aapl 2 years

Sure, it’s been trending downward in the past six months, but it’s still up over the past two years. Unless you’re a short-term trader, the day-to-day price doesn’t make much of a difference.

So, this week, Alphabet is bigger than Apple. Next week it may be different. Big deal.

How to Manage Gmail and Google Security and Privacy Settings

Lots of people use Gmail for their email, either using Google’s website in a web browser, or through an email client. You may use a @gmail address, or you may have a domain hosted on Google Apps for Work. When you use Google for your email–as well as for search, maps, and more–you have a number of security and privacy options you can set.

Google has a good set of tools for checking and tweaking your security settings, for both Gmail and for the rest of its services. In this article, you will discover how to run a Google Security Checkup, a Privacy Checkup, and how to tweak Google’s settings, so your account is secure. And I’ll walk you through Google’s Gmail Security Checklist.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Remove the Chrome Bell Icon from the OS X Menu Bar

I’ve got a lot of icons in my menu bar; too many, in fact. One icon showed up recently, and I couldn’t figure out where it came from. If I clicked it, the only thing that happened was that its background become highlighted. I couldn’t drag it off the menu bar. So what was it? How could I get rid of it?

Bell icon menu bar

You can see it above; it’s third from the right. It’s dimmed in the screenshot, and when I click it, it just adds a blue background.

It turns out that it’s something added by Google Chrome, a browser I use for some sites.

In searching for a solution, it seemed that there were some arcane hidden settings that you’d need to access to turn it off. But then I found that there is a simply menu command, in the Chrome menu, that turns it off too.

Chrome notifications menu

So, just choose Chrome > Hide Notifications Icon, and it’ll go away.

Google’s Dominance in Search

It’s only anecdotal evidence, but these stats show just how powerful Google is. My site is indexed by all the major search engines – and, as you can see, a number of minor ones too – but Google represents 98% of the visits to my website that come from searches. (The graphic below shows yesterday’s traffic that come from search engines.)

Search engine stats

It may be that people using other search engines go to other websites; that, for some reason, I have a higher ranking with Google. I don’t know, but I know that Google owns searches to Kirkville.