Biden will sign an executive order cracking down on Big Tech firms buying up smaller companies and hoarding user data

President Biden
President Biden speaks to reporters on July 8

  • Joe Biden will sign a sweeping executive order on Friday, which includes a crackdown on Big Tech.
  • Biden’s order will tell agencies to scrutinize Big Tech mergers more closely.
  • It will also tell the FTC to draw up rules for how tech companies can gather and use consumer data.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden will on Friday sign an executive order cracking down on the power of Big Tech firms, as first reported by The New York Times.

The fact-sheet for the wide-ranging executive order focusing on “promoting competition in the American economy” was posted by the White House Friday morning. Technology makes up just one part of the order, which also targets sectors like the job market, healthcare, and transportation – but it takes specific aim at Big Tech platforms.

The order will, first, tell federal agencies to scrutinize mergers involving Big Tech firms more closely, especially when these firms try to buy smaller companies that could one day become their competitors.

Second, the order says Big Tech platforms are “gathering too much personal information,” and will instruct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to draw up rules and limitations on how Big Tech companies can hoover up consumer data.

The order also says Big Tech companies can use their troves of data to give themselves an advantage over smaller businesses, and asks the FTC to draw up rules “barring unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces.”

On top of the orders specifically targeting Big Tech companies, Biden will also reportedly ask the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create new rules for broadband internet providers, and encourage the FCC to readopt net neutrality rules.

Big Tech companies including Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google are already under intense antitrust scrutiny in Washington.

In June, Congress introduced a series of bills directed at these four companies, and Biden appointed renowned Big Tech critic Lina Khan as head of the FTC, a move that prompted Amazon to ask that Khan be removed from any enforcement decisions involving the company.

Read more: Amazon is finally terrified of someone in Washington. That’s great news for America.

Facebook faces lawsuits for its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014 respectively. In December 2020, the FTC and 46 states filed two lawsuits seeking to break off Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook. The lawsuits allege Facebook acquired the companies to stifle competition.

Facebook responded that the lawsuit was an attempt to revise history, and that the acquisitions had been cleared by agencies at the time. “We have operated and continue to operate in a highly competitive space. Our acquisitions have been good for competition, good for advertisers and good for people,” it said in a statement at the time.

Amazon has also been the target of criticism from lawmakers, who claim that it can use consumer data to get a competitive advantage over third-party sellers on its platform. Biden’s executive order specifically cites an October 2020 House Judiciary Committee report which alleged that Amazon used data from third-party sellers to develop its own competing products. Amazon has repeatedly denied this claim.

Google was hit with an antitrust suit from 36 attorneys general on Thursday over its control of the Android Play Store – six months after attorneys general filed a lawsuit claiming it abused its dominance in online ad sales. Google called the latest suit “meritless”, saying it was not about “helping the little guy.”

Apple is not the subject of any lawsuits from lawmakers, but pushed back against two of the five bills introduced by Congress in June, claiming they would damage the security of iPhones and, by extension, users’ privacy.

The New York Times reported CEO Tim Cook personally rang House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lobby against the bills.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Experts say it’ll take more than just breaking up Facebook to rein in Big Tech and protect your data

facebook mark zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2019.

  • If Facebook spun off Instagram and WhatsApp, it would still have all of your data.
  • Congress wants to force Facebook to share that data with other platforms to promote competition.
  • Experts say there needs to be a provision ensuring user rights are protected. Otherwise, expect “disaster.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A potential forced break up of Facebook has been discussed for years, and that conversation has only been re-ignited as Congress mulls five new bills designed to rein in Big Tech.

But what would that implosion mean for the mountain of personal data Facebook has already collected on its hundreds of millions of users? According to experts, not much.

Two of the five bills introduced last month would force Facebook to share that data with competing apps and platforms, a feature known as interoperability.

Experts told Insider this can be a good thing. It’s how tech companies work together to make services useful for you – like how you’re able to sign in to apps using your Facebook or Google credentials or send an email from Gmail to a Yahoo address. The practice encourages people to use multiple platforms, instead of getting siloed into one specific ecosystem.

The idea is to foster healthy online competition since tech giants would relinquish their dominant grip on hordes of data and would instead share them with rivals. That proposal also stipulates that Facebook share data with Instagram and WhatsApp if it did spin off the subsidiaries.

Herbert Hovenkamp, an antitrust law expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, told Insider it could be similar to when the Bell System telephone giant was broken up in 1984: all seven of the Bell branches still had access to certain information to maintain optimal operability.

But experts said simply forcing Facebook to divest its acquisitions wouldn’t mean better safeguarding user data.

Hovenkamp said that “a spinoff wouldn’t automatically take any data way” since who has what information has nothing to do with a potential breakup.

And it wouldn’t change how Facebook conducts its data-sharing business. Facebook can enter into a B2B “data-sharing agreement providing them with the exact same data they held prior to the spinout,” Tim Derdenger, an associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon, told Insider.

Instead, the experts said there would need to be some sort of provision included in the divestiture order to make sure that user data had adequate safety guards.

Otherwise, a plain and simple break-up could mean Facebook sharing your personal information with more entities to comply with interoperability requirements that are laid out in the proposed legislation.

“You’d need to have a mechanism so people could opt-out of sharing or specify what they do or don’t want shared,” Hovenkamp said.

Without that mechanism, user data would be shared more broadly – not exactly protected – in the name of healthy market competition.

“If there is no provision, it could be a disaster,” Hovenkamp said.

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Remote jobs in the US are becoming accessible to more people, with a growing number of postings not requiring a college degree

remote work
More workers are re-evaluating their careers following the pandemic.

  • 4% of US job postings in May were for remote roles not requiring a college education.
  • According to LinkedIn data, customer service and admin roles are going remote.
  • The uptick reflects greater desire for working remotely globally.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The number of remote roles that don’t require a college education has increased.

In May just under 4% of all US job postings were for remote roles that don’t require a college education. This figure is up from 0.6% of all roles for the same period last year, according to LinkedIn data.

Some of the roles that have proven most popular among applicants include customer service representative, salesperson as well as administrative and data entry roles.

The trend reflects a general rise in the availability of remote roles since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Adverts for roles requiring a college degree also rose in the US, from 2% last year to 7% in May, according to the findings.

On a global scale the share of remote jobs posts grew 2.4 times between May 2020 to May 2021, Mariano Mamertino, EMEA Economist at LinkedIn told Insider. Job posts labelled as remote or that include keywords such as “work from home” now represent 14% of all job posts.

“This comes as companies rethink how they operate in the future and increasingly look to offer employees greater flexibility which many crave after the past year and a half of working remotely,” said Mamertino.

More people want to work from home and it is easier for them to do so

The rise of services like Zoom and Slack has allowed people to easily adapt to working remotely.

There has also been a growing acceptance among employers that people are able to work remotely, and that many want more flexibility from their job roles.

A Microsoft survey from March found that 73% of employees wanted flexible remote options following their pandemic experience. Some 40% said they were considering changing roles, and 46% of those said they were planning to move now that remote work was a possibility – admittedly many of these respondents hold a college degree.

Some industries in the US – including hospitality and ride-hailing apps – have been struggling to fill vacancies for months, a situation the US Chamber of Commerce labelled as a “national economic emergency” in a June report.

According to latest figures from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, 3.6 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in May, a trend fueled by a mixture of stronger out-of-work benefits and the fact that people are reassessing their careers or retiring after the pandemic.

While it’s possible that some remote jobs will revert back to in-person roles, Mamertino says that for many the shift to remote will be permanent.

“With companies across every industry considering their future workplace policies, the changes implemented will impact workers at all levels, giving more people greater flexibility than they have ever had before.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

How much protection you get from one dose of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccines, according to the best available data

coronavirus vaccine eu
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Millions of people worldwide have had one shot of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are likely 80% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 after one dose.
  • A single AstraZeneca shot is probably at least 70% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More than 179 million Americans and more than 44 million Britons have received their first dose of a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine.

The US has authorized vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, while the UK has authorized Pfizer’s shot as well as one made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Both countries have authorized Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which is a single dose.

The UK is delaying the second dose of the vaccines for up to 12 weeks for most people to prioritize giving people their first shot because of an initial shortage of vaccines. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended giving second doses of Pfizer’s vaccine 21 days after the first, and 28 days after the first for Moderna, with an interval of up to six weeks in “unavoidable” situations.

The data for how well the vaccines work after one dose isn’t clear cut – it depends on what you’re measuring, and when you’re measuring it. Stephen Evans, a professor of medical statistics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a former drug-safety committee member at the European Medicines Agency, helped Insider break down the data.

Evans said the Food and Drug Administration presentation of the data from late-stage trials of each vaccine was generally the best data available. This is how much protection one shot of each vaccine gives you, based on that data.

Vaccine

Pfizer-BioNTech: at least 80%

Pfizer’s shot was 52.4% effective at protecting against COVID-19 with symptoms between the first and second dose, according to the FDA documents. But the 52.4% figure includes the 11 days before protection kicks in after the first dose, so the real percentage could well be higher.

The true value lies between 29.5% and 84.5%, according to the FDA documents. There was a wide range because not many people caught COVID-19 in the trial during this time period.

Professor Stephen Evans
Professor Stephen Evans.

Pfizer’s shot was 100% effective at protecting against hospitalization and death. This was based on a small number though – only four people got severe COVID-19 in the trial after receiving placebo rather than the vaccine.

Evans said there was “pretty clear evidence” that you get at least 80% protection – and “probably” better than 90% – for Pfizer’s vaccine against COVID-19 with symptoms after a single dose. He said you couldn’t be absolutely sure what happens after 21 days because it hadn’t been fully tested.

Evans said this was based on his overall reading of the trial data used by the FDA in their briefing document before authorization.

Moderna: at least 80%

Moderna’s vaccine was 69.5% effective at preventing COVID-19 with symptoms between the first and second dose, with a true value between 43.5% and 84.5%. There was a fairly wide range because the number of people that caught COVID-19 in the trial during this time period was low.

The 69.5% figure includes the 13 days before protection starts, so the real percentage could be higher.

There were a small number of people in Moderna’s trial – about 7% – that didn’t get their second dose for unknown reasons. In this group, the shot was 50.8% effective at preventing COVID-19 with symptoms for up to 14 days after the first dose and 92.1% effective after 14 days.

It is unclear how well one shot of the vaccine protects against hospitalization and death because not many people got severe COVID-19 – two in the vaccine group and four in placebo.

Evans said that you get at least 80% protection – and probably better than 90% – for Moderna’s vaccine against COVID-19 with symptoms after a single dose for 28 days. After 28 days it was unclear because it hadn’t been tested. Again, this was based on his overall reading of the FDA data, he said.

AstraZeneca: more than 70%

Evans said it was harder to ascertain a figure for AstraZeneca’s vaccine because late-stage trials used differing study designs, and a large US study was ongoing. The FDA also has not yet presented the data for the shot in the same way it has done for other vaccines.

A single dose of AstraZeneca’s shot was 76% effective at protecting against COVID-19 with symptoms for at least 90 days, according to late-stage-trial data published in The Lancet on February 19. The study authors also reported that one dose provided 100% protection against hospitalization, but the numbers were small.

Based on his reading of existing studies, Evans said the single-dose efficacy for AstraZeneca’s vaccine was probably at least 70% against COVID-19 with symptoms for the first 90 days. After this time period, it’s unclear, he said.

Johnson & Johnson: 66%

J&J looked at protection against moderate to severe COVID-19 in trials, rather than symptomatic COVID-19, like Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.

Protection kicked in at 14 days and was 66.1% effective at 28 days. The vaccine’s efficacy varied depending on the country it was used in – it was 72% effective in the US but 64% and 68% effective in South Africa and Brazil, respectively. These countries both have coronavirus variants circulating that could partially evade antibodies.

What percentage efficacy means

Percentage efficacy for vaccines refers to the proportion of people that get full protection after a vaccine. With 80% efficacy, 80% of people have full protection, and 20% don’t.

For those who get full protection the first time around, the second shot improves the quality of the immune response and its durability.

For the people who don’t get full protection with the first shot, some will get full protection after the second dose. Some people won’t ever get full protection from a vaccine because their immune system doesn’t respond at all.

The latest real-world data: One shot significantly reduces infections and transmission

  • A UK study found Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s vaccine cut COVID-19 infections with symptoms by 72% after one dose, and protection probably held up for 10 weeks. Protection from Pfizer’s vaccine rose to 90% after two doses. The study hasn’t been peer-reviewed.
  • A US study of essential workers found that a single dose of Pfizer of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines were 80% effective against all coronavirus infections from 14 days.
  • A Scottish study found that a single dose of Pfizer’s vaccine was 91% effective against hospitalization at 28 to 34 days following vaccination. One dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine was 88% effective against hospital admissions after the same time period.
  • A UK study found that a single dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s vaccine cut spread of symptomatic COVID-19 within a household by up to 50%.
  • A South Korean study found one dose of Pfizer’s vaccine was 89.7% effective at preventing COVID-19 in South Koreans aged over 60, at least two weeks after vaccination. AstraZeneca’s vaccine was 86% effective at preventing COVID-19 after one dose. The severity of illness that the shots protected against was unclear – generally they’re more effective at preventing COVID-19 infections that caused hospitalization or death.
  • An English study found that a single dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s vaccine was about 80% effective at preventing hospitalization in people over 70-years-old. Protection lasted for at least 6 weeks, including against the Alpha variant first identified in the UK.
  • An Israel study showed that Pfizer’s vaccine was 54% effective against symptomatic COVID-19, from 13 days to 24 days after vaccination, a figure comparable to the late stage trial data presented to the FDA.
  • A UK study estimated that a single dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s vaccine was between 56% and 62% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection caused by the Alpha variant in people over 75 years-old, four to seven weeks after the first dose. The severity of illness that the shots protected against was unclear, but probably included asymptomatic infections.
  • A UK study estimated that one dose of Pfizer vaccine was 79.3% effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 in people aged over 80. A single shot of AstraZeneca’s was 80.4% effective, the researchers said.

Newest data suggests second shot provides better protection against variants

Real-word data from the UK posted May 23 by Public Health England showed that Pfizer’s and AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines worked better against the variants when two doses were given rather than just one. Both vaccines were 30% effective against COVID-19 with symptoms caused by the Delta variant, first identified in India, three weeks after the first dose.

This was boosted to between 60% and 88% effectiveness two weeks after the second dose. The two vaccines were 50% effective against COVID-19 with symptoms against the variant first found in the UK, Alpha, three weeks after the first dose. This increased to between 66% and 93% two weeks after the second dose.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said on June 8 that getting two doses of COVID-19 vaccines would stop the Delta variant from spreading across the US. In the UK, Professor Deborah Dunn-Walters, chair of the British Society for Immunology COVID-19 Taskforce, said in a statement on June 4 that two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine were “critical for protection” against emerging strains of the virus.

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Leaders from Paycom and The Kraft Group explain how they use technology to improve the employee experience

Speakers at our Insider event, Transforming HR in the Digital Era
Insider’s Aman Kidwai speaks to Miranda Blaiklock (c) from Kraft, and Holly Faurot from Paycom

  • Employers have a responsibility to hollistically support employees.
  • Executives from Paycom and The Kraft Group shared their thoughts on the role of technology in improving the employee experience.
  • The conversation took place at the Insider event “Transforming HR in the Digital Era” on June 15, 2021.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the event.

Miranda Blaiklock knows HR teams didn’t have a playbook for handling the people and business challenges during the pandemic.

Chief among those challenges is the responsibility to holistically support employees, said Blaiklock who is the director of benefits, compensation, and HR information systems (HRIS) at The Kraft Group.

“The blur between working nine-to-five has really changed in this new model,” Blaiklock said, speaking at an Insider event on Tuesday.

This goal of holistically supporting workers taught HR teams to invest in technology that can help make employee’s lives easier. For example, Blaiklock said the company recently added a tool that allows employees to clock in for work or log PTO from their phones. It works just like consumer technology, she added.

Holly Faurot, chief sales officer at Paycom, noted this trend as well. Over the course of the pandemic, she said “employees had an increased amount of interaction with consumer technology. We were utilizing apps more than ever last year.”

This increased use of technology in their personal life may be changing expectations for the tech they use at work.

“Employees are coming back into the workplace now with that same type of expectation,” Faurot said. “They want to have the same type of experience that they’ve had with Amazon or maybe their local pizza place. That’s something that companies need to realize. There’s a very, very low tolerance of complexity for employees.”

Using data and feedback to make decisions

Another way The Kraft Group monitors employee satisfaction with technology is through a digital experience score provided through Paycom. The experience score is a measure of how their HRIS are performing, she explained.

“It is a little bit like a game, so just after each month we just take it just like the Patriots just won a game,” she said, referring to the NFL team whose operations are run by the Kraft Group. “We go and look at our game film and the DDX score and see how we could do it better next month, so it’s been a great tool for us and from a process improvement standpoint. It’s really been a game changer.”

Blaiklock also uses HRIS data to make the business case for different employee decisions, such as changing schedules or offering more flexibility. Data helps Blaiklock make the case to finance when they insitute a new workplace policy.

“I think that most HR teams really have to straddle that line of being both the employee, advocate, but also wearing the business hat and I think the challenge with that is being able to speak the same language,” she said.

From Faurot’s perspective, employee data provides plenty of feedback for business leaders to act on. She recommends employers take the time to look closely at how employees are using the technology and even run focus groups.

“Make it easy, lower the complexity and you’re going to see a huge return on that investment,” Faurot said.

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Europe has fined Google $10 billion in recent years. Now Germany is investigating whether its data slurping gives it an unfair advantage.

Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s chief executive, is facing up to another antitrust case.

  • German officials have launched a fresh antitrust investigation into Google’s business practices.
  • The tech giant has been fined more than $10 billion by European legislators in recent years.
  • Germany’s FCO said Google’s data collection practices gave it a ‘strategic advantage.’
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Google is facing yet another antitrust probe in Europe, after German authorities announced they were investigating whether the firm’s data collection practices give it an unfair advantage.

On Tuesday morning, the Federal Cartel Office (FCO) issued a statement saying it would investigate Google’s business practices in line with a recent amendment to German law, which enables it to “intervene earlier and more effectively … against the practices of large digital companies.”

The watchdog said that Google’s panoply of essential digital services, such as search, YouTube, Maps, Android, and Chrome, it “could be considered to be of paramount significance for competition across markets.”

FCO president Andreas Mundt added that the probes would take into account “whether consumers wishing to use Google’s services have sufficient choice as to how Google will use their data.”

The FCO is running two simultaneous investigations to that end, one against Google Germany, and one against its European HQ in Ireland.

Changes to German competition law has enabled authorities to be more proactive in their scrutiny of tech giants, with the FCO also launching probes into Facebook and Amazon’s business practices in recent months.

The European Union has hit the tech giant with more than $10 billion in fines over the past few years, and launched a further two probes into its advertising practices on the continent earlier this year.

The European Commission has previously fined Google for anti-competitive behaviour three times in as many years: first for $2.7 billion in 2017, again for $5 billion in 2018, and once more for $1.7 billion in 2019. The firm has repeatedly rejected the EU’s findings, however, and met officials in court to appeal the first fine in February 2020.

Insider approached Google for comment.

Are you a current or former Googler with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801985586) or email (mcoulter@businessinsider.com). Reach out using a nonwork device.

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Tim Cook reportedly told Mark Zuckerberg that Facebook should delete all data it collected after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and he was ‘stunned’ by the suggestion

Tim Cook Mark Zuckerberg
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly had an unpleasant meeting in 2019.
  • They discussed Facebook’s user privacy after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the NYT reported.
  • Zuckerberg was said to be “stunned” by Cook’s proposed solution to delete any data Facebook had collected.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In 2019, amidst a flock of billionaires gathered at the annual Sun Valley retreat in Idaho, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly had an ill-fated meeting.

Zuckerberg asked for Cook’s advice on dealing with user privacy issues in the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where data from over 50 million Facebook accounts was harvested, the New York Times reported on Monday, and Cook’s response “stunned” the young Facebook CEO.

Cook reportedly instructed Zuckerberg to delete all of the user data his company collects from outside of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

It was tantamount to Cook telling Zuckerberg that Facebook’s core business was “untenable,” according to the report.

Facebook notoriously tracks its users all over the web, even when they’re not using a Facebook service. That data is critical to Facebook advertising sales, which is core to how the social media giant makes money.

Read more: Apple is poised to rewrite its privacy rules for advertisers – here’s what’s at stake for all the players

Facebook and Apple have sparred publicly for years over privacy issues, going back to at least 2014 when Cook called out the business models of companies like Google and Facebook in an interview with Charlie Rose. “I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money,” he said. “And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried. And you should really understand what’s happening to that data.”

Most recently, Apple appeared to take a direct shot at Facebook and with its iOS 14.5 update, coming this week, that will allow iPhone users worldwide to opt-out of tracking. In short, the new update enables iPhone users to stop Facebook from tracking them outside of Facebook’s own apps: The same suggestion Cook is said to have given Zuckerberg back in 2019.

Neither Apple nor Facebook responded to a request for comment as of publishing.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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How to use the IMPORTRANGE function in Google Sheets to keep multiple spreadsheets in sync

Woman sitting on couch working on laptop
The IMPORTRANGE feature in Google Sheets is useful for managing several spreadsheets at once.

  • You can use the IMPORTRANGE function in Google Sheets to easily copy data from one spreadsheet to another.
  • To import data, you only need to know the URL and name of the original spreadsheet, and the range of cells to import.
  • Once imported, the data is automatically updated when it changes in the original Google Sheets spreadsheet.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you work with Google Sheets often enough, you’ll inevitably need to get data from one spreadsheet into another.

You could always simply copy and paste the cells in question, but if you do that, there’s no live connection between the two sheets – if the original data changes, your second spreadsheet will become outdated.

Instead, you can use the IMPORTRANGE function, which quickly and easily helps you import data from one spreadsheet into another and keeps the two spreadsheets in sync at all times.

How to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets

1. With only two arguments, using the IMPORTRANGE function is usually quite simple. Suppose you have a spreadsheet and you want to import the table into a new spreadsheet.

2. Click the URL in the address bar at the top of the browser and copy it. Alternately, you can copy just the spreadsheet key from within the URL.

How to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets 6
You can import any range of cells from a spreadsheet like this into another by copying the URL or spreadsheet key.

3. In the new spreadsheet, type “=IMPORTRANGE(” – without the quotes.

4. Paste the URL and add a closing quote (“).

5. Type a comma, add a quote (“) and enter the range of cells you want to include. It should look like this: “Sheet1!B1:C6” Here, we’re specifying that we want the spreadsheet named “Sheet1,” and want cells B1 through C6.

6. Add a closing parenthesis and press Enter.

7. The complete function should look something like this:

=IMPORTRANGE("https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Zoq0M0RG-RLYZ9HjOf01ff9eSPIYY3s/edit#gid=1027643093", "Sheet2!A1:C12")
How to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets 2
This example uses the spreadsheet key instead of the full URL.

8. You might have noticed, though, that the data didn’t import – there’s a #REF! error in the cell instead. Click this cell and you’ll see a message that you need to connect these sheets. Click “Allow access” and then, a moment later, the data should appear. You’ll only need to do this once for each spreadsheet you import data from.

How to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets 3
You only need to allow access to a spreadsheet once.

How to use the IMPORTRANGE function with a named range

If you prefer, you can use a named range instead of specifying the range in the manual way.

1. In the original spreadsheet, select the range and then right-click.

2. In the dropdown menu, choose “Define named range.”

How to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets 4
The option to name a range of cells is in the right-click menu.

3. In the Named ranges pane that appears, give the selection a name and then click “Done.”

How to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets 5
Name the range and it will include the name of the sheet, simplifying the task of importing cells.

4. Now when you add your range_string to the IMPORTRANGE function, you can just enter this name, which already includes the name of the sheet. It’s much easier than building the argument by hand.

How to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets 66
Just remember to enclose the name range in quotes, the same as if you specified a range manually.

Using the spreadsheet URL or spreadsheet key

There are a few nuances in the way this function works you should be aware of. Let’s start with the URL.

You have a choice: You can use the entire spreadsheet URL or you can use just the spreadsheet key, which is the part of the URL that follows the “d/.” For example, suppose you had a spreadsheet with this URL:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1K6Jy9BAUsNLYtbEIIxI3LONV9JQ0hTY/edit#gid=25213

You can use the entire URL, or just the part after the d/:

1K6Jy9BAUsNLYtbEIIxI3LONV9JQ0hTY

Both options work exactly the same; the only difference is convenience, so use whichever works best for you. Either way, always enclose this argument in quotes.

How to use IMPORTRANGE in Google Sheets 1
Every spreadsheet has a unique spreadsheet key.

Using the range_string

The range_string also has its own quirks. Specifically, when you enter the range in the IMPORTRANGE function, you need to clarify which sheet the cells are located in. Keep in mind that a spreadsheet might have many tabs, each being its own sheet. As a result, this argument takes this form:

Sheet1!A1:A12

In this example, Sheet1 is the name of the sheet, and the cells are indicated by the range A1:A12. You need to always include an exclamation mark between the sheet name and the range, and like the URL, always enclose it in quotes.

Is Google Drive secure? How Google uses encryption to protect your files and documents, and the risks that remainHow to convert an Excel spreadsheet to a Google Sheets document19 of the best Google Drive tips and tricks for getting the most out of the serviceHow to use VLOOKUP in Google Sheets to search for specific data and replicate it across spreadsheets

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How to format an SD card and erase all of its data

SD card being inserted into digital camera
There are multiple ways to format an SD card.

  • You can format an SD card using Windows, Mac, and Android devices, and likely your digital camera too.
  • Formatting an SD card will erase everything on it, including the junk or corrupted files you usually can’t see.
  • If your SD card won’t format correctly, make sure the write-protect switch isn’t turned on.
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If you’ve ever used an SD card before, you may have been prompted to “format” it before using it. But what does that mean?

Put simply, formatting an SD card erases every single file on it, including internal files that are usually hidden. This is the best way to reset or clear an SD card, and should be the first step you take when using a new card.

Here are four ways to format an SD card, depending on what sort of device you have available.

How to format an SD card on a Windows PC

If you use a Windows desktop or laptop computer, you’ll use the File Explorer to format your SD card.

Before you get started, back up all the data you want to keep. And if you’re on a laptop, make sure it’s plugged in or has enough battery to last a little while.

1. Insert your SD card into your computer’s SD card reader or an external USB reader.

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Not all computers will have an SD card reader.

2. Once you’ve inserted the SD card, open the File Explorer (in other words, open any folder). In the column on the left-hand side, click on either “This PC” or “My Computer” – these serve the same function, but appear under different names in different versions of Windows.

3. Click on the SD card in the device list. This will open it on your computer.

4. At the top of the File Explorer window, click the tab labeled “Manage,” then click “Format.” A pop-up window will appear.

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Once you’ve selected the SD card, click on the “Manage” tab, followed by “Format.”

5. In the pop-up window, click on the drop-down menu underneath “File System.” Here, you’ll see a few options – if you only plan to use this card on Windows computers, pick “NFTS.” If you’re going to use it on multiple kinds of devices, click “FAT32.”

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FAT32 is usually the best format to pick.

6. If you’re formatting the SD card for the very first time, make sure that the checkbox next to “Quick Format” remains unchecked. If you’ve formatted this particular SD card before, the Quick Format checkbox can remain checked.

7. When you’re ready to start formatting, click “Start.”

8. One or two more pop-up windows will appear. Click “OK” in each of these to proceed.

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Click “OK” to reassure Windows that you know exactly what you’re doing.

9. Once the process is done, you can eject the SD card and then remove it from your SD card reader.

How to format an SD card on a Mac

On a Mac, you’ll use the Finder to format your SD card. Make sure you’ve backed up and saved any data you want to keep from the card, and if you’re using a laptop, plugged it in.

1. If you haven’t already done so, insert the SD card into your Mac’s SD card slot or USB card reader and boot up the computer.

2. Open “Finder,” then click on the “Go” tab. In its sub-menu, click “Utilities.”

3. In the window that appears, double-click on “Disk Utility.” A new window will open.

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Open the Disk Utility app.

4. In the left-side column, click on the SD card. It should appear underneath the “External” header.

5. In the upper portion of the window, click the button labeled “Erase.”

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You can format an SD card from the Disk Utility app on your Mac.

6. Click “Format” to open a drop-down menu. If your SD card is 64 GB or larger, pick “ExFAT.” If it’s 32 GB or smaller, pick “MS-DOS (FAT).”

7. Click “Erase” to format the SD card.

How to format an SD card on an Android device

It might come as a surprise, but many Android phones and tablets can format SD cards too. In fact, a lot of Androids come with a microSD card included.

Once you’ve backed up the data you want to save and charged your Android, here’s how to format a card.

1. With the SD card inserted into your Android device, open “Settings.”

2. Tap on “Device care.”

3. Tap on “Storage,” then tap on “Advanced.”

4. Look for your SD card underneath the “Portable storage” header. Once you locate the SD card, tap on it.

5. Tap on “Format.” In the pop-up that appears, tap on “Format SD card.”

How to format an SD card using a DSLR camera

If you have a DSLR camera, there’s a good chance that you can format the SD card directly on the camera itself. Keep in mind that the specific steps will vary depending on the type of camera you have, but this guide covers the general process.

Again, make sure the camera is charged, and that you’ve backed up any files you want to save.

1. With the camera turned off, insert the SD card into its designated slot. Once the SD card is secure, turn the camera on.

2. Using either a button or an option on your camera’s screen, open the menu.

3. From the menu, access “Setup.” Look for an option that includes the word “format.” Once you’ve located it, select this option.

4. Select “OK” to begin the formatting process. Wait patiently while it does so, because it can take a few minutes.

5. Once the SD card finishes formatting, turn the camera off to complete the process.

What to do if your SD card won’t format

When you place your SD card into the reader, there’s a chance that the device won’t read it. If this happens, there’s a good chance that the write-protect switch is flipped on.

This switch makes it so nothing on the SD card can be changed. It’s good for protecting your data, but bad if you want to format.

To turn it off, simply take the SD card out of the reader and push the switch up towards the end that’s inserted into the computer or card reader.

SD Card write-protect
The write-protect tab is very small, but you can slide it to prevent files from being erased.

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