No company wants to be sued. Since lawsuits can be common for large companies, especially large tech companies, it makes sense that these organizations create strategies to reduce their chances of being sued in the first place. But when those tactics are subtle, scummy, and anti-consumer, as is apparently the case with Google, you need to call it out.
Google’s arbitration agreement
As noted by Reddit user AldenB, Google essentially forces you to agree to an arbitration agreement when setting up a new Pixel device in the US. In this agreement, you waive your right to join a class-action lawsuit against Google regarding the device, should one exist in the future. In exchange, Google agrees to waive its right to join a class-action lawsuit against you. You know, because Google is constantly filing class-action lawsuits against its users.
This “agreement” is limited in scope: It only covers your right to join a class-action suit over the Pixel you’re registering, and not all future class action suits against the company. Even still: This tactic is bullshit.
Google is not going to file a class-action lawsuit against you. There is a much greater chance you might feel the need to file or join one against the company. Imagine if the company sold you this Pixel device, knowing there was a fatal flaw in the tech. A class-action lawsuit is filed, since so many users were affected by this deceitful business practice. But, wait! You all agreed not to join such a lawsuit when you set up your phone, so you can’t hop on. Bummer! Hey, at least Google can’t sue you, either.
If you’ve never had to join a class-action lawsuit against a company before, it might not seem like a pressing issue. But these things do happen. Take Apple’s butterfly keyboard disaster; the company knew these keyboards were doomed to fail, and yet sold them to customers for years. That case is on-going, but it’s a situation you’d want to be available to join if you bought a MacBook with a butterfly keyboard.
I haven’t set up a new Pixel device in a few years, so I can’t personally comment on what that part of the setup process looks like. But there is a way to opt-out of this shady clause, albeit with some steep limitations.
How to regain your right to join a class-action lawsuit against Google
There’s good news and bad news here. The good news is you can opt out of the arbitration agreement via this link; just make sure you’re logged into the same Google Account as your device, choose your specific device from the list, enter its serial number, then hit Submit.
The bad news, unfortunately, is you lose the ability to opt out of this agreement 30 days after setting up your phone. If you recently bought a new Pixel device, or any other device covered in this agreement, it’s a great time to check if you can opt-out of the agreement.
This agreement only concerns individual products, and not your entire Google Account. If you miss the 30-day window, you don’t lose your right to join a class-action suit against Google for some other reason. Google Home, Pixel Buds, and other devices have their own agreements you can opt-out of within 30 days.
And worth noting: This agreement only concerns Google users in the US. If you’re outside the States, you don’t need to worry about it.
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This is a dope concept!
Can people be enlightened about housing inequality through a video game? That’s the purpose of Dot’s Home — a video game whose purpose is just that.
The narrative-driven game centers around Dorothea “Dot” Hawkins, a 20-year-old Black woman who goes back in time to help different generations of her family make decisions about housing. Dot time travels via a magic key to the ‘50s, ‘90s, 2010s, and then 2021, Input Magazine reported.
Dot is living in her grandma’s rundown house, located in a disinvested Black neighborhood in Detroit. Dot travels back in time to help; for example, her grandparents decide if they should invest in a fixer-upper as their first home. In another scene, Dot must help her parents decide if they should move away from their community to the suburbs after their public housing home is set for demolition, Bloomberg reported.
Dot travels through different decades, each highlighting “a defining moment in history for Black homeownership: the Great Migration of the 20th century, urban renewal efforts in the 1990s, and finally, the 2010 foreclosure crisis that helped spur gentrification,” Bloomberg reports, At each stop Dot must transverse racist housing policies and predatory lending practices. Ultimately, the game proves the odds are stacked up against Dot from creating generational wealth, no matter what decade she is in and the decisions she makes.
The American dream myth is that wealth and prosperity is out there for everyone’s taking, and that the house with the white picket fence is accessible to all. But players in Dot’s Game are shown the obstacles faced by Black homebuyers in the U.S.
“We wanted players to play the game and not necessarily empathize with Dot’s family but just to bear witness to, and accompany them through, these very intimate but consequential moments,” Christina Rosales, housing and land director at the community organizing nonprofit PowerSwitch Action and a co-producer of the game, told Bloomberg.
“As a player, you might feel like you have the choice to change the course of the future for this family, but ultimately, you don’t. It’s very much a rigged game. You get what you get,” Rosales told Kotaku.
The focus of Dot’s Home is to illustrate how Blacks, as well as other minorities, have to deal with housing issues, food insecurity and environmental risks, among other issues.
The concept for the game was developed through the Rise-Home Stories Project, an organization composed of Black and minority organizers that includes game designers, writers, activists and others. The group’s mission is to “change our [the] relationship to land, home, and race, by transforming the stories we tell about them,” according to its website.
Dot’s Home, which was released in late-October, and is free to play on Steam, Itch.io, Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
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Interested in creating and selling NFTs? We’re going to show you how.
Non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs, have created quite a buzz in the crypto markets across the globe. People are spending millions of dollars to buy and sell NFTs, making it a fantastic way for artists to sell their work.
Beeple (Mike Winkelmann), a digital artist, created Beeple’s Everydays, a digital artwork that sold for $69.3 million. As an artist, creating NFTs and putting them up for sale is a great way to jump on the bandwagon!
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