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Google Data APIs Frequently Asked Questions

The questions below are general questions and answers for all Google Data APIs. These may not be the most specific or correct for the Google Documents and Spreadsheets Data APIs. For more specific questions visit the Google Documents and Spreadsheets Data API.

Overview

Authentication

Client Libraries

Troubleshooting

Overview

A Google Data API is an API based upon the Google Data protocol. The Google Data protocol is based on the Atom 1.0 and RSS 2.0 syndication formats, plus the Atom Publishing Protocol (APP).

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The Google Data protocol extends those standards in various ways, using the extension mechanisms built into the standards. Feeds conform to either the Atom or RSS syndication formats. The publishing model conforms to the Atom Publishing Protocol.

The protocol also provides a general model for feeds, queries, and results. You can use it to send queries and updates to any Data API.

I have a feature request or a bug report. Where should I post? Check out our issue tracker. Look for your feature request and star it to add your support and receive updates on its status. Where should I ask a question on a particular API? If your issue isn’t listed here or you want further clarification, there are discussion groups specific to each Google Data API:

  • G Suite (See individual APIs within the G Suite family)
  • Base
  • Blogger
  • Calendar
  • Code Search
  • Contacts
  • Google Sites
  • Spreadsheets
  • Documents List
  • Federated Login / OpenID
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Picasa Web Albums
  • Webmaster Tools
  • YouTube

What is JSON?

JSON is a lightweight data interchange format whose simplicity has resulted in widespread use among web developers. It is easy to read and write; you can parse it using any programming language, and its structures map directly to data structures used in most programming languages.

Do I have to use XML? Are other data formats available? The default data format for the Google Data APIs is XML, in the form of an Atom feed. However, when requesting a feed you can specify an alternative format using the alt query parameter.

  • alt=rss
    The response data is formatted as an RSS feed.
  • alt=json or alt=json-in-script
    Returns a JSON representation of the Atom feed’s XML structure. The added benefit of JSON is that it is easier to „parse“ in JavaScript client code. At this time, using JSON is only available as read-only option. However, using the JavaScript client library with Blogger, Contacts, or Calendar services allows for both reading and writing data.
  • alt=atom-in-script
    Similar to alt=json-in-script , but results are returned as an Atom XML string rather than JSON.
  • alt=rss-in-script
    Similar to alt=atom-in-script , but results are returned as an RSS XML string rather than Atom.
  • Read more about the alternate formats in the Google Data Reference Guide.

    Why are you using REST? REST is simple, lightweight, scalable, and maps very well to representing and exposing data. Do you have any tips or short sample code for common issues? You should browse the Google Data API Tips Blog for help with both our client libraries and making raw requests. Does Gmail have a Data API?

    No, but you can use Gmail’s Atom feed with AuthSub or OAuth 1 to request read-only access to a user’s unread messages. The scope should be set to https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom/ . An example query would be:

    If you’re interested in managing your mail, Gmail also has IMAP/POP support.

    Authentication

    In the Google Data APIs documentation, „OAuth“ refers to OAuth 1; for OAuth 2.0 details, see the documentation for your individual API.

    What is the service name in ClientLogin for each Data API? A „service name“ is a brief string that the ClientLogin authentication system uses to identify a Google service.

    Google API Service name
    Google Analytics Data APIs analytics
    G Suite APIs
    (Domain Information & Management)
    apps
    Google Sites Data API jotspot
    Blogger Data API blogger
    Book Search Data API print
    Calendar Data API cl
    Google Code Search Data API codesearch
    Contacts Data API cp
    Content API for Shopping structuredcontent
    Documents List Data API writely
    Finance Data API finance
    Gmail Atom feed mail
    Health Data API health
    weaver (H9 sandbox)
    Maps Data APIs local
    Picasa Web Albums Data API lh2
    Sidewiki Data API annotateweb
    Spreadsheets Data API wise
    Webmaster Tools API sitemaps
    YouTube Data API youtube

    For more information on the other parameters used in a ClientLogin request, see the ClientLogin documentation.

    When a user logs out of an application, is it necessary to inform the API servers? No, it is not necessary to inform the Google Data API when a user logs out of an application. However, if your application no longer needs to use an issued AuthSub token, it should revoke the token. Does a ClientLogin authentication token have an expiration date? A ClientLogin token can last for 2 weeks from the issue date, but this limit is service-specific and can be shorter. I have a general question about Google Accounts. Where should I go? Visit the Google Accounts Help Center. How do I authenticate to an API? Your HTTP request must include an Authorization header that contains a token obtained by using either ClientLogin, AuthSub, or OAuth 1. What value should I use for the AuthSub/Oauth 1 scope parameter? A scope parameter is required by AuthSub and OAuth 1 to identify which Google service(s) your application will have access to. For OAuth 2.0 details, see the documentation for your specific API.

    Google API ClientLogin Service Name
    Google Analytics Data API https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/
    Google Sites Data API http(s)://sites.google.com/feeds/
    Blogger Data API http://www.blogger.com/feeds/
    Book Search Data API http://www.google.com/books/feeds/
    Calendar Data API http(s)://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/
    Contacts Data API http(s)://www.google.com/m8/feeds/
    Content API for Shopping https://www.googleapis.com/auth/structuredcontent
    Documents List Data API http(s)://docs.google.com/feeds/
    Finance Data API http://finance.google.com/finance/feeds/
    Gmail Atom feed https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom/
    Health Data API https://www.google.com/health/feeds/
    https://www.google.com/h9/feeds/ (H9 sandbox)
    Maps Data API http://maps.google.com/maps/feeds/
    Picasa Web Albums Data API http://picasaweb.google.com/data/
    Portable Contacts API http://www-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/api/people
    Sidewiki Data API http://www.google.com/sidewiki/feeds/
    Spreadsheets Data API http(s)://spreadsheets.google.com/feeds/
    Webmaster Tools API http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/feeds/
    YouTube Data API http://gdata.youtube.com

    Are there different types of AuthSub tokens? Do the tokens expire? There are two types of AuthSub tokens. The first is a single use token that is presented to your web application via the ‚token‘ query parameter. This token expires the first time it is used with the service for which it was issued or when it is exchanged for a session token.

    Session tokens do not expire unless the token is explicitly revoked via the user or the AuthSubRevokeToken API call. A single use token can only be exchanged for a session token if the original AuthSubRequest URL specified session=1 as a query parameter. What is the main difference between ClientLogin and AuthSub/OAuth 1?

    AuthSub is designed for web applications. It ensures that user credentials are securely sent directly from a user’s web browser to Google’s servers rather than through a 3rd party web site.

    ClientLogin is for installed desktop applications. It requires the requesting application to transmit user credentials to Google on behalf of the user.

    Can I use ClientLogin authentication in third party web applications? Using ClientLogin in third party web applications is acceptable, but strongly discouraged. As a best practice, the web application should never ask a user for their login credentials (this may be susceptible to snooping). Instead, an application should store user credentials server-side, and have a single „service-account“ which is always used to authenticate with Google. What is a CAPTCHA? A CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is a type of challenge-response test used to determine whether or not the user is human. The term is trademarked by Carnegie Mellon University. See more details on Wikipedia. We have implemented CAPTCHA in ClientLogin. How do I generate a CAPTCHA challenge? A proprietary algorithm is used to determine when a CAPTCHA challenge is required during authentication. Repeated authentication attempts with bad credentials will often generate a CAPTCHA challenge. Should I use ClientLogin in my web application? No, ClientLogin should be used by installed applications on user-owned hardware. Usage of the ClientLogin API in web applications is insecure and strongly discouraged. How do I find out the user’s username when using AuthSub/OAuth 1? Since you are only given a token from Google that grants access to the user’s feeds, you may not know what their username is. This can pose a problem if the feed URL you want to use contains the username as part of it. In this case you can use the special username default to mean „the user whose authentication token I am using.“ How do I use OAuth 1 with the Google Data API client libraries? See the article Using OAuth 1 with the Google Data API Client Libraries. How do I use AuthSub with the Google Data API client libraries? See the article Using AuthSub with the Google Data API Client Libraries. How do I use ClientLogin with the Google Data API client libraries? See the article Using ClientLogin with the Google Data API Client Libraries.

    Client Libraries

    The Java, .NET, Python and Objective-C client libraries are officially supported by Google. In addition, our partner Zend has written a PHP client library. Using these libraries, you can construct Google Data protocol requests, send them to a service, and process server responses. There is also a JavaScript client library that currently only supports Blogger, Calendar, and Google Contacts.

    If you write a client library in a language other than Java, .Net, Python or Objective-C, and would like to share with the Data API developer community, post in the Google Data APIs discussion group. We would love to hear from you!

    How do I report a bug or feature request for one of the client libraries?

    Bugs or feature requests for the client libraries can be reported at the following locations:

    After posting your bug, create a thread in the developer forum for the appropriate API.

    How do I enable debugging options in the Google Data API client libraries? Please see the following article for information on enabling debugging with some of the client libraries: Debugging Google Data API Clients: Exploring Traffic from Within your Program Where can I find reference documents for the client library classes?

    Client Library Reference Guide
    Java Javadoc
    JavaScript JSdoc
    .NET NDoc
    PHP phpDoc
    Python PyDoc

    Troubleshooting

    There are a number of tools listed below, but you may also want to read the article On the Wire: Network Capture Tools for API Developers which describes in depth examples of both WireShark and Fiddler.

    Wireshark Wireshark is a „network protocol analyzer.“ It provides the ability to capture network traffic and analyze the content. It is very useful in debugging the traffic occurring in libraries where you don’t have direct access to the HTTP request and response streams. Traffic between your application and the authentication services cannot be analyzed using Wireshark as the communication is encrypted using SSL. Wireshark can also be used to analyze traffic captured using tools such as tcpdump. Wireshark is available from the developers as both source code and a Windows installer. Third-party packages are available for many platforms. Fiddler Fiddler is an „HTTP debugging proxy“. If you can configure your code or runtime environment to use a proxy server for HTTP traffic, Fiddler will sit between your application and Google Data services where it will allow you to inspect the traffic. Fiddler 2 includes support for SSL. Fiddler is currently available only for Windows. cURL cURL is a command-line tool which can perform HTTP/HTTPS requests. It is very useful for quick testing of interactions with a service without having to first build HTTP support in your client. How do I get HTTP logging information in the Java client library?

    The Java client libraries use the java.util.logging package to enable logging of HTTP requests. This will allow you to enable logging of headers for requests and responses, as well as status codes and request URLs. It does not currently log the full request and response streams. The logger name used for these logs is com.google.gdata.client.http.HttpGDataRequest .

    In the case that an error code is returned from the servers, an Exception is thrown. The exception classes inherit from com.google.gdata.util.ServiceException and include a public method called getResponseBody() . Look at the Javadoc for more information.

    How do I get HTTP logging information in the .NET client library? The .NET library uses the System.Diagnostics tracing methods to log the path of execution, if tracing is enabled. Also, in the case of an error, a GDataRequestException is thrown. The exception contains a ResponseString which allows you to access the body of the HTTP response. How can I enable gzip encoding from Google Data feeds?

    In order to receive a gzip encoded response from one of the Google Data APIs you must do two things: set an „Accept-Encoding“ header and modify your user agent to contain the string „gzip“. An example of properly formed headers:

    Why am I seeing an „Unable to Connect to sslv2“ error when using the PHP client?

    Beginning July 2009, we began to disable SSLv2 on our servers as a precautionary measure to improve security. Unfortunately, there is a bug in early versions of the PHP client library released before July 2007 (version 1.0.0 and earlier) that forces connections to use SSLv2. When connecting to a server that has SSLv2 disabled, this results in the following error:

    To correct this error, upgrade to a newer release of the PHP client library, available from http://framework.zend.com/download.

    If you are unable to upgrade to a newer release, you can fix this by adding the following code to your application, where $gdata is your existing instance of Zend_Gdata (or appropriate subclass):

    How do I get the Atom service document that describes a feed?

    You can get the Atom service document by passing the alt=atom-service parameter in the request. Note: Only version 2 of the Google Data APIs will return a service document that conforms to the AtomPub service document syntax. The version 1 of the Google Data APIs will still return a service document but it is based upon an earlier AtomPub draft specification (there are syntax and namespace changes between the two versions).

    Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, and code samples are licensed under the Apache 2.0 License. For details, see the Google Developers Site Policies. Java is a registered trademark of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

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    Put Americans Back to Work Fighting the Coronavirus

    (Bloomberg Opinion) — Nearly 17 million Americans have lost their jobs since mid-March, when the coronavirus started spreading around the country. Many won’t be able to return to work until the outbreak is contained. Meanwhile, there’s a proven strategy for containing infectious diseases, which is notoriously difficult to carry out because it’s so labor-intensive.Why don’t we solve both problems at once?With “contact tracing,” a mainstay of infectious disease control, health workers identify people who have been infected, contact them, learn who they may have exposed, and reach out to those people to limit the spread. Right now, the coronavirus is too widespread and testing too limited for such a targeted approach to work. But once case numbers become more manageable, the U.S. will move away from what epidemiologists call the “population-based” approach, which requires everybody to self-isolate, and toward one focused on containing individual cases. This will be the only way most of us can get back to normal life without risking devastating new outbreaks.It’s a strategy that’s been shown to work against Covid-19 in New Zealand and Iceland. In the U.S., health officials use it to contain mumps and other diseases. But in the current crisis, the U.S. doesn’t have enough public-health workers to do the job. Contact tracing helped snuff out Liberia’s Ebola outbreak in 2020, but it took 4,000 workers to protect the country’s 5 million citizens. Wuhan, a city of 11 million, reportedly needed 9,000 contact tracers to suppress Covid-19. Estimates vary, but the U.S. will need 100,000 to 300,000 contact tracers to contain the coronavirus. That’s a lot of manpower.Digital tools, such as apps used in Singapore and South Korea to automatically alert people who have been exposed to the coronavirus, can augment human labor — but they can’t replace it. This is especially true in the U.S., where stronger privacy protections and weaker quarantine authority limit technology’s reach. The high-profile contact-tracing program under development by Apple and Google will operate on an opt-in basis — which could limit its use substantially. As Dr. Farzad Mostashari put it on Twitter, “How do you get virtually everyone to put an always-on app on their phones that tracks their contacts, eats battery, and doesn’t do anything to delight them?”So state and local health departments should start thinking about how they can scale up their work forces. A pilot program in Massachusetts could serve as a model for others. The state is working with Partners in Health — the Boston-based nonprofit best known for its work in Haiti — to some hire some 1,000 contact tracers. Since training will be provided, these entry-level jobs are open to anyone with a high school education. The workers will track the ill and exposed using a web-based contact-management system, and ultimately connect them with testing and other services needed for quarantine, such as food delivery and even housing.In return, entry-level contact tracers will earn $27 per hour. That’s considerably more than the state minimum wage, but given the importance of fighting the virus — and relieving workers’ distress during this stunning economic crisis — it will be money well spent. Epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves recently called for “a WPA for public health,” referring to the Depression-era program that employed millions to build roads, parks and other projects that endure to this day. Eradicating the coronavirus would require fewer workers, but the employment situation is, for now, no less dire. And importantly, containing the virus would allow the U.S. economy to return to normal as scientists work on a vaccine. Many temporary contact tracers could return to their jobs once the crisis abates. For others, contact tracing could be a stepping stone to a career in public health, where workers are desperately needed, because more than 50,000 public-health jobs evaporated during the Great Recession. By one estimate U.S. is short a quarter-million such workers — who will need to be hired if we want to avoid future pandemics.Expanding contact tracing is one of many ways to shore up the public-health workforce. Lawmakers from both parties have called for a Public Health Infrastructure Fund, which would raise $13 per person to ensure that the public-health system can meet its “foundational capacities.” That would amount to $4.5 billion, a tiny fraction of the money allocated for coronavirus relief so far. 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Nursing homes, too, will have to implement changes that make it less likely for the virus to spread among residents.Testing 5–10 million people every single day is the crux of a similar plan devised by a group of academics headed by Harvard political science and ethics professor Danielle Allen. It’s expensive for sure, but less expensive than staying confined to our homes or allowing the virus to ravage the country, Allen and her collaborators say. Economist Rajiv Sethi, one of the architects of that plan, said that regular testing should start with health care workers, people in the food industry and sanitation workers before being extended to the general population.Testing would be combined with contact tracing — done at least partly through smartphone tracking, says Sethi, who is a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Singapore and several other countries are already doing this, and last week Apple and Google announced plans to create a Bluetooth-based contact tracing app. In theory, once a person tests positive, the system could alert everyone that person recently came into close contact with. Those people could then quickly get tested.With all of these plans, the timing depends on how much the federal government can commit to them. Another possibility, without such a massive investment in testing and contact tracing, is intermittent social distancing. In a paper published Tuesday in Science, Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch and colleagues examined how that might play out. If we’re lucky and people who’ve had the infection remain immune for a year or more, relaxing social distancing over the summer would have the advantage of building up some herd immunity — lessening future spread by reducing the number of susceptible hosts. Still, another big peak would probably appear in the fall, especially if there is some seasonal variation, and so we’d need good surveillance to start the next phase of social distancing early. Such intermittent periods of social distancing might go on until 2022 barring a vaccine or big advances in treatment. Peter Sandman, a risk communication consultant who showed foresight in early February, says in an email that we also need better public understanding. Many people don’t really understand why we’re sheltering in place. If you ask them, they’ll say something about flattening the curve, but when you press on what that means, he said, “they get hazy.”They think they’re unlikely to get sick if we re-open at the right time and they follow the expert advice on hand washing. “That would be mistaken,” he says. Scientific advances may help future infection and death rates, as we learn more about how the disease is spread, how much immunity people retain after infection, and which treatment options work best for the severely ill. But people will get infected no matter when we re-open the country, and some of them will die. That needs to be understood. Keeping the economy locked down isn’t “safe” either, says Sandman. Somewhere, someone is not getting a malignant breast tumor checked, and someone who lost a job will commit suicide.Conversely, reopening the economy doesn’t mean going back to business as usual. There will be businesses that don’t exist anymore, warns economist Sethi. People will have to retrain for different kinds of jobs. We’ll be restarting an economy, but it won’t be the same economy.Frieden, in unveiling his science-based plan, quipped that it had to be about data, not dates. But Allen’s group, informed by ethics and economics, points out that it’s bad for morale and businesses to quarantine people indefinitely.Ultimately, the choice of when to reopen one is not a scientific question, but a moral one informed by science: how much coronavirus risk are we willing to accept?This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Faye Flam is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. She has written for the Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Psychology Today, Science and other publications. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    World Economy Working From Home Gets a Glimpse of the Virtual Future

    (Bloomberg) — The lockdown gripping much of the world economy has spurred a real-time stress test of the long-heralded digital future.Virtual brown bag lunches have replaced office gatherings; schools have rushed out internet-based learning; the International Monetary Fund will this week hold its Spring meetings online; and the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time will hear arguments by telephone and allow live audio broadcasts.Virus lockdowns have seen millions lose their jobs as waiters, flight attendants, Pilates instructors and other service providers are shuttered. That means sustaining those sectors that can function online has never been more important for a global economy facing one of its darkest periods since the Great Depression.Guaging the exact size of the digital economy isn’t easy: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates a range of 4.5% to 15.5% of global gross domestic product. While that varies by country, it’s clear the companies and nations which can migrate the most commerce online will go some way to cushioning the damage.“The futurists are going to have a field day,” said Mark Herlach an international lawyer at Eversheds Sutherland LLP in Washington D.C. “It will change the way we build our cities, the way we move around in those cities and that in turn changes our energy use. A whole series of knock on effects are coming.”Herlach — who has had to steer negotiations between clients and government from his home and has used video happy hours and dinner parties to stay in touch with colleagues and friends — is positive on the experience so far, but worries about a lingering sense of isolation if more opt to work remotely once the lockdowns ease.Cheaper internet connectivity has enabled explosive growth in online tools, allowing many white collar roles to be done at home and keeping managers and business owners in touch with their staff.Users of Microsoft Teams soared to a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day, a 200% increase from 900 million on March 16, the company said on April 9. Even amid security concerns, Zoom has gone from being used by 10 million office workers a day to more than 200 million people.“‘Zooming’ has become a new verb,” said Michael Bowes, a barrister and joint head of Outer Temple Chambers in London. He and his colleagues hold a ‘Virtual Tea Zoom Group’ at 4pm every Wednesday, where everyone brings their own tea and cake for a general chat about non-work issues.Already, some companies have an eye on how they’ll change operations even when the virus dissipates. Some are looking at cutting expensive travel and real estate budgets in favor of investing in better technology and home office set ups, said Satish Shankar, regional managing partner of Bain & Company Asia-Pacific.“We are poised for a dramatic wanton increase of the digitalization of our economies,” he said.Viewed through metrics such as online government services, fiber internet connection and the share of people who already work from home, Scandinavian nations score highly in terms of online readiness. In tech rich economies such as Japan and South Korea, the sectors most impacted can’t readily switch to a remote stance, according to London based HSBC economist James Pomeroy.Ed Yardeni, who coined the term “bond vigilantes” in the 1980s, dedicated a recent research note to clients on how he has adjusted to a world of meetings and cocktails over video link during what he calls the great virus crisis, or GVC.“Technology has become a GVC staple, right up there with food and toilet paper,” wrote the president and chief investment strategist of Yardeni Research Inc.Perhaps no sector has been as upended as education, with school closures affecting 90% of the world’s students, or more than 1.5 billion people according to UNESCO. That has forced teachers to scramble online courses with little warning, with knock on consequences for the wider economy as parents are forced to adapt their working schedule around their children’s needs.Exam timetables have been threatened as authorities grapple with canceling or postponing critical final year exams, or basing grades on past performance.Wong Mo Yee, a primary school teacher and a member of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union executive committee where schools have been shut for months, said the crisis highlighted the need for clear goals about what should be taught at home instead of rigidly sticking with the in-class room curriculum. She also flagged dangers of too much screen time.“Home learning is completely different, the interaction is different, the dynamic in the so-called video classes is also different,” Wong said. “It’s not so easy to engage students in video teaching.”Poorer children have been hardest hit, where families either have to share devices or don’t have them at all. Families where parents have to leave home for work and cannot supervise their child’s learning have had it tougher still.“The longer children are out of school and not learning, the increased likelihood they will never return to school,” said Heather Simpson, chief program officer of Room to Read.Tech LimitsManufacturers have also discovered the limitations of tech. One of them is Colin Ng, who is co-founder of Hong Kong-based Lincogn Technology Co. that designs and makes smart home appliances such as facial recognition door locks and mobile phone controlled lights for the Hong Kong, China, U.S. and European markets.Travel restrictions on the border between Hong Kong and mainland China have disrupted the main artery between Ng’s small R&D team in Hong Kong and the company’s manufacturing staff in neighboring Guangdong. That’s complicated the process for when a product is meant to move from the R&D laboratory to the factory floor.“Video conferencing the discussion is very difficult,” Ng said. “It is difficult to explain a lot of the detail through the camera, the conversation becomes very inefficient.”Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China and a veteran of doing business in the world’s second-biggest economy, said remote working can only do so much for those in due diligence, sales or manufacturing.“Companies are pushing the envelope,” Wuttke said. “But at the end of the day someone still has to get the coal and oil out of the ground and put solar panels together.”There have been other strains too.Surging web usage prompted President Donald Trump to hold talks with telecom giants to ensure the networks could cope. In Europe, Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and YouTube had to reduce the quality of their video streams to ensure networks can handle increased usage.In China, mobile broadband downloading speed slumped between mid-January and early February before gradually recovering by mid-March, according to network speed testing platform Ookla. Downloading speed in India and Malaysia has started to dip since early March as the pandemic outbreak spread.The shift online has been a crucial safety net for a collapsing world economy and will change how we study, work and play even when the virus passes, said Chua Hak Bin, senior economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research Pte. in Singapore.“Quarantines and lockdowns for such long periods would have been near impossible to impose and bear without the tech devices available today,” he said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Coronavirus Has Us Wondering Who’s in Charge Here

    (Bloomberg Opinion) — This is Bloomberg Opinion Today, an Articles of Confederation of Bloomberg Opinion’s opinions. Sign up here.Today’s AgendaTrump doesn’t have total authority over states, which are going their own way … for better or worse. Quarantine’s a mixed bag even for companies selling media or alcohol. Don’t kill the Postal Service.States’ Rights and WrongsSome day in, say, 2023, when California is an independent nation and New Yorkers are citizens of the Free Republic of Cuomostan, we might look back at this pandemic as the moment when the whole “United States” thing went kablooey.OK, probably not. But this is certainly a time to consider the tensile strength of the national fabric, with 50 different states mostly just doing their own thing on the pandemic. President Donald Trump insists he has “total” authority over all, despite contrary evidence and his own refusal to coordinate action so far. Oh, and the Constitution. Sure, predecessors such as FDR have taken the reins of national functions during crises, but only in concert with Congress, the judicial system and others to lay the groundwork and check that power, writes Jonathan Bernstein. That’s how the system was designed, because the founders had this weird thing about total authority being vested in one person.The kind of team-building skills and foresight needed to become the next FDR aren’t in this particular president’s toolkit, notes Ramesh Ponnuru. In fact, he hasn’t even managed to do replacement-level presidenting with the powers he does have: He doesn’t effectively run the bureaucracy, cut deals, push legislation or influence people. He’s got complaining on Twitter on lock, of course, but even Republicans generally ignore him.Meanwhile, absent strong federal leadership, states are giving new meaning to the phrase “laboratories of democracy,” writes Noah Smith. Governors are planning their own pandemic reopenings, some wisely and others not so much. Some, including California’s Gavin Newsom, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, Ohio’s Mike DeWine and Washington’s Jay Inslee, have handled the crisis better than Trump and their less-aggressive counterparts. Now they can test escape routes from this nightmare.A coordinated federal pandemic plan would be preferable, so coronavirus-skeptical governors don’t put their citizens and neighbors at risk, writes Max Nisen. In the meantime, we seem to be entering a new phase of federalism, one in which states increasingly go their own ways and butt heads, writes Tyler Cowen. It may not lead to the Free Republic of Cuomostan, but it could be a throwback to the pre-constitutional days of the Articles of Confederation.Further Economic-Reopening Reading:Basing reopening plans on virus data is dicey because the current tallies are so badly flawed. — Cathy O’Neil But we’ll have to reopen even without adequate data because people just won’t do this for 18 months. — Michael R. StrainThings Are Tough All Over: Corporate EditionYou’d think this would be a boom time for companies catering to a nation desperately craving distraction. But they’ve got problems, too. The media industry, for example, needs a steady flow of new content, which has dried up in the pandemic, along with amusement-park attendance and other lucrative business lines, writes Tara Lachapelle. Meanwhile, with unemployment possibly at 20%, people aren’t exactly rushing to pay for new streaming services, much less existing cable bills.Roku Inc., which makes little boxes that funnel content to people, relies on ad revenue that is being slashed in the crisis, writes Tae Kim.We may be drinking more at home to kill the time and the pain, but we’re drinking cheaper beer than when we go out with friends, notes Andrea Felsted. This is a problem for such brewers as Anheuser-Busch InBev.Even the roaring success of Netflix Inc. is not a great sign for the future, writes John Authers: It makes sense if we’re all going to be inside for months to come, but in that case maybe the stock market shouldn’t be quite so exuberant.And growing labor unrest at quarantine overlord Amazon.com Inc. is a hint the economic recovery could be profitless, as companies have to maintain a higher-paid staff but accept lower revenue, writes Conor Sen.Further Corporate Problem Reading: Companies aren’t being smart about layoffs. — Roy Bahat in conversation with Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfeeFree the Post OfficeThe U.S. Postal Service is something of a miracle. For just 55 cents, you can send a letter anywhere in the country in a reasonably short time, and mailing packages isn’t all that much more expensive. The service is critical for rural communities — especially now, when quarantined people need mail carriers to deliver prescription drugs and other necessities. Conservatives have spent decades tying its hands in Congress and trying to destroy it, and the pandemic may finally help them realize their dream. The service will go under in a matter of months without a government bailout Trump has refused to extend. There’s a better way, writes Tim O’Brien: Instead of killing the Postal Service, we should reinvent it and give it control of its own finances. It still has much more work to do.Telltale ChartsIt’s Zoom’s world now, writes Ben Schott. Skype and Google Hangouts just live in it.JPMorgan Chase & Co. recorded an eye-watering loan-loss provision in the latest quarter, but also showed signs it can withstand even a prolonged and deep downturn, writes Brian Chappatta.Further ReadingPutin had no choice but to join the OPEC+ deal; sticking to it won’t be easy or cost-free. — Clara Ferreira MarquesThere’s really no good reason for the Fed to buy junk-bond ETFs. — Brian ChappattaEurope needs more than just a shared pool of money; it needs shared health resources. — Lionel LaurentThis is the IMF’s chance to become the world’s lender of last resort. — Clive CrookThe IMF expects the worst global recession since the Depression; Bloomberg Opinion columnists are split on whether it’s too pessimistic or too optimistic. — Mohamed El-Erian, Bill Dudley, Narayana Kocherlakota, John Authers, Tim Duy, Conor Sen, Noah SmithICYMIHedge-fund managers are claiming small-business bailouts.Who knew? Americans are great at social distancing.Bad Bunny is the world’s biggest pop star.KickersDeclassified CIA documents apparently discuss Soviet paranormal experiments.For $100, you can have a goat bomb your next Zoom meeting. (h/t Scott Kominers for the first two kickers)William Gibson didn’t expect the Internet to turn out like this.At 20, “American Psycho” is timelier than ever.Note: Please send goats and complaints to Mark Gongloff at [email protected] up here and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mark Gongloff is an editor with Bloomberg Opinion. He previously was a managing editor of Fortune.com, ran the Huffington Post’s business and technology coverage, and was a columnist, reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Amazon Stock Hits All-Time High, Up 24% This Year, as Shopping Moves Online

    Investors have largely turned bullish on megacap tech names, even in the face of terrible economic and jobless data and a looming recession.

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