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- 07/31/18--16:57: _Larry Page and Serg...
- 08/16/18--14:52: _Over 1,400 Googlers...
- 08/16/18--19:36: _A tense internal me...
- 08/17/18--08:05: _'F--- You!': Press ...
- 09/23/18--05:00: _As the controversie...
- 09/27/18--04:56: _Google is letting p...
- 10/08/18--20:06: _In the Google+ case...
- 10/09/18--03:57: _The biggest clue th...
- 10/12/18--11:50: _Google cofounders L...
- 11/02/18--11:51: _Sundar Pichai's 11-...
- 11/21/18--07:17: _A Googler vividly d...
- 11/28/18--07:41: _Here's what Sergey ...
- 12/03/18--15:34: _There's another fam...
- 12/30/18--10:33: _The career rise of ...
- Celebrities from entertainment and sports are guests of Google Camp 2018
- The annual event, organized by Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, is taking place in Sicily.
- Basketball legend Michael Jordan is rumored to be attending this year.
- A letter is circulating among Google employees that calls for the creation of an "ethics review structure" that includes representatives from rank-and-file workers.
- Over 1,400 Google employees have signed the letter, and counting.
- This comes after news leaked that Google planned to build a search engine that censored information in an effort to comply with China's communist government and begin once again operating there.
- Sources who spoke to Business Insider say that part of the problem is that Google's managers have yet to address the plan to re-enter China, and the associated ethical quandaries, with employees.
- Google CEO Sundar Pichai and cofounder Sergey Brin met with employees during an all-hands meeting on Thursday and discussed reports that Google planned to launch a censored search engine in China.
- Pichai said the company was not close to launching a search product in China.
- The meeting grew tense as Pichai and Brin discovered someone was providing real-time reports on the meeting to a reporter.
- Many Google employees were shocked to learn in real time that at least one of their own was leaking information to reporters during a company all-hands meeting on Thursday.
- Google managers and employees have a long tradition of not sharing what is said in all-hands meetings, known as TGIFs, but that changed Thursday.
- When tweets from a New York Times reporter indicated that at least one Googler was providing the reporter with details from the internal discussion, many within the company appeared to react with anger, according to sources at the company.
- People who were at the meeting said the result was that Google managers were handed a reason not to disclose any more information about the company's controversial plans to restart its operations in China, and cofounder Sergey Brin was made to look like a victim.
- Since Eric Schmidt stepped down as executive chairman in December, Google has been without its most seasoned and effective spokesman.
- When Schmidt was running Google, he reveled in the spotlight.
- None of Google's current leaders seem interested or capable of taking over for Schmidt in that regard.
- That's too bad, because with Donald Trump and the far right bearing down, Google needs someone to make its case.
- Google has recreated the modest garage that served as its first headquarters to celebrate 20 years of Google Search.
- The virtual tour can be found through Google Street View, and allows users to peer into the cluttered space that gave rise to the most popular search engine in the world.
- You can also find easter eggs within the map by turning on a neon light and opening a trap door.
- The Wall Street Journal's bombshell report that Google decided not to disclose a security lapse at Google+ dominated technology news on Monday.
- The lack of transparency in Google's handling of the situation is exactly why the European Union implemented tough privacy regulations this year, say legal and security experts.
- They added that following the Cambridge Analytica case at Facebook, the new issue with Google+ gives US lawmakers more reason to adopt rules similar to those in Europe.
- Google's explanation that it didn't report the security lapse because it could find no sign the information was misused doesn't appear consistent with a memo reviewed by the Journal's reporters.
- They suggested that Google wanted to avoid scrutiny by regulators.
- Google announced it would shut down Google+ following a Wall Street Journal report that it left users' data exposed.
- Some observers online were surprised to hear the social network still existed at all.
- You need only look at how Google's top executives have stopped using Google+ to see it was an unloved child.
- With a reported net worth of $53.5 billion, Alphabet CEO Larry Page is the eighth-richest person in the world.
- Alphabet president Sergey Brin is No. 9, with a reported net worth of $52.1 billion.
- See how the two Google founders spend their fortune.
- At the New York Times DealBook conference on Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said his 11-year-old son was using the family's home PC to mine ether, the cryptocurrency tied to the Ethereum blockchain.
- Pichai explained that his son had to correct him recently, saying: "I was talking about something about bitcoin, and my son clarified what I was talking about was Ethereum."
- The Google CEO said he did have to explain to his son how paper money works and why existing banking systems are important.
- In July, the Google cofounder Sergey Brin said he and his son had been mining ether too.
- The interview with Pichai came on the same day that thousands of Google employees around the world walked out to protest the company's handling of sexual-misconduct allegations.
- The Google Walkout organizers told Recode's Kara Swisher about the "disastrous" internal meeting which sparked the mass protest over sexual harassment.
- The so-called TGIF meetings are hosted by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, where any employee can ask any question.
- YouTube exec Claire Stapleton said management's "dismissive" approach to questions about a New York Times exposé on sexual misconduct at Google was a turning point.
- "It was a very awkward, hollow, somewhat disastrous TGIF," she said.
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin isn't the only duo at Google that played a crucial part in the company's history.
- A new profile by The New Yorker tells the story of how early engineers Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat saved the company from disaster.
- Coding together side by side-for-days, the pair of engineers resolved a flaw that was causing Google to serve five-month old search results at the worst possible time.
- If you've got some time to spare, it's worth tucking into the fascinating 6500+ word story.
- In 1998, Susan Wojcicki rented her garage in Menlo Park, California, to Sergey Brin and Larry Page for $1,700 a month.
- The next year, she would join Google as its 16th employee.
- Here's a glimpse at Wojcicki's life and her rise at Google from an early employee to YouTube's chief exec.
The “conference” known as Google Camp is not your typical sleep away. This is not the Catskills.
Few campers are likely to careen down any ziplines or go tubing.
This is an ultra-exclusive, super-secret, three-day gathering in Sicily of elite actors, fashion designers, media tycoons, models, pop stars and athletes hosted by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Certainly, the name can be misleading.
“My dumbass thought it was an actual summer camp sponsored by Google for really, really smart kids,” one person posted to Twitter on Tuesday.
What actually is accomplished at these annual events, typically held in sunny and sandy locals, is not altogether clear. In past years, attendees have toured local ruins, enjoyed sumptuous meals and attended discussions on various topics.
It’s fun to imagine attendees laughing derisively at the plebeians who frequent other conferences, like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Financial Times identified the guests at Google's event as the ".0001 percent."
This year's event is being held at the Verdura Resort in Sicily. According to some tabloids and British newspapers, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Matthew McConaughey Bradley Cooper, and Leo DiCaprio are all in attendance this year. Former Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan is rumored to be on his way.
Last year, campers included Snapchat cofounder Evan Spiegel, Pharrell Williams and Prince Harry.
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Google faces yet another showdown with employees following news reports earlier this month that the company wants to offer a search engine in China — one that would censor information in accordance with governmental requirements.
A letter is circulating among Google's staff that calls for the creation of an "ethics review structure," which would make ethical assessments of the company's projects. Representatives chosen by the staff and "ombudspeople" would take part in those assessments, according to the letter.
A source close to the situation said more than 1,400 employees have so far signed the letter, the existence of which was first reported by The New York Times. Google did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
You can read the full letter below.
According to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider, such a structure would provide enough transparency to enable individual workers to determine whether projects they contribute to are in line with their ethical standards. The letter also demands that rank-and-file workers be part of the review structure.
"We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes," the workers wrote in the letter. "Google employees need to know what we're building."
The letter also calls for a "Code Yellow" at Google — internal lingo for a serious situation that bears immediate attention.
A lot has happened to get Google to this point.
Google's management hasn't addressed the censored search engine yet
The news that Google was building a censored search engine, as part of an effort --codenamed Project Dragonfly-- to once again operate in China, first broke in The Intercept on August 1. Google pulled its search engine from China in 2010 after refusing to filter out web sites and information that the Chinese government found objectionable.
This kind of censorship is widely regarded as a human rights violation. When Google cofounder Sergey Brin explained the reasoning for the move said management objected to the “forces of totalitarianism,” in China.
The unanswered question now is why Google believes that the time has come to return to the country.
Some Google employees would like to hear Brin and cofounder Larry Page explain, but management has said nothing. It has not gone unnoticed by employees that Google's leaders have yet to address the censored search-engine reports internally, two weeks after the news first came out. This contrasts with the much more immediate internal response when news leaked that Google was providing artificial intelligence tools to the military.
Last year, word began to spread inside Google that the company had helped the Pentagon analyze drove video-footage using AI. In that case, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene took to the company's internal communications tools within 24 hours of the leak to inform staff what was going on and the company's position.
In that case, more than 4,000 Google employees signed a letter addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai that demanded Google never make AI-enhanced weapons. Pichai responded by releasing a set of principles designed to govern the company's future decisions on AI. The principles included never creating AI weapons or using AI to harm.
On Thursday, Google spokespeople suggested that the lack of response from Google's leaders was due to summer vacations, but that stance doesn't appear to have convinced the workers who signed the letter.
"To make ethical choices, Googlers need to know what we're building," said the letter. "Right now we don't."
Below is a transcription of the letter. Some of the names were removed and identifying information was removed.
To make ethical choices, Googlers need to know what we're building. Right now we don't. So we, the undersigned, are calling for a Code Yellow on Ethics & Transparency at Google.
Our industry has entered a new era of ethical responsibility: the choices we make matter on a global scale. Yet most of us only learned about project Dragonfly through news reports early August. Dragonfly is reported to be an effort to provide Search and personalized mobile news to China, in compliance with Chinese government censorship and surveillance requirements. Eight years ago, as Google pulled censored web search out of China, Sergey Brin explained the decision, saying: "in some aspects of [government] policy, particularly with respect to censorship, with respect to surveillance of dissidents, I see some earmarks of totalitarianism." Dragonfly and Google's return to China raise urgent moral and ethical issues, the substance of which we are discussing elsewhere.
Here, we address an underlying structural problem: currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment. That the decision to build Dragonfly was made in secret, and progressed even with the AI Principles in place makes clear that the Principles alone are not enough. We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table, and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we're building.
In the face of these significant issues, we, the undersigned are calling for a Code Yellow addressing Ethics and Transparency, asking leadership to work with employees to implement concrete transparency and oversight processes, including the following:
1. An ethics review structure that included rank and file employee representatives;
2. The appointment of ombudspeople, with meaningful employee input into their selection:
3. A clear plan for transparency sufficient to enable Googlers an individual ethical choice about what they work on; and
4. the publication of "ethical test cases"; an ethical assessment of Dragonfly, Maven, and Airgap GCP with respect to the AI Principles; and regular, official internally visible communications and assessments regarding any new areas of substantial ethical concern.
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In a meeting with employees on Thursday, Google's leadership addressed reports from early this month that the company was building a censored search engine that would allow it to resume operations in China, according to Twitter posts from multiple reporters.
Kate Conger, a New York Times reporter, posted to Twitter what she said were comments made during the meeting by Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Sergey Brin, one of the company's cofounders.
"If we were to do our mission well, we are to think seriously about how to do more in China," Pichai told employees, according to The Times. "That said, we are not close to launching a search product in China."
Brin reportedly denied having knowledge of the program until after news leaked and what Brin described as "this kerfuffle" erupted.
A Google representative was not immediately available for comment.
Google pulled out of China in 2010 over objections to government demands that it filter out websites and information that China's leaders found objectionable.
Two sources who were privy to what occurred in Thursday's meeting told Business Insider that Pichai only briefly addressed — and not in any detailed way — the big question on the minds of many at the company: Why is Google considering a return to China? The CEO apparently described the moves being made by the company in that country as "exploratory."
When the news of a censored search engine was first made public, some Google employees were critical of their company. And earlier Thursday, a letter began circulating among staff members that called on the company's leaders to create an "ethics review structure" to ensure transparency on issues involving ethics.
Some of the tension that has lingered at the company — including an earlier controversy regarding Google's work with the military — resurfaced at Thursday's meeting.
The discussions became tense when Google's leaders discovered that someone attending the meeting or listening in remotely was supplying live information to Conger, the Times reporter. Brin said he would not continue discussing China because of the leaks, according to the sources who spoke with Business Insider.
It is unusual at Google for someone to live-tweet about all-hands meetings
The sources said images of Conger's tweets were displayed on a large screen in the room with Pichai and Brin. One Google employee who had stood to ask a question suddenly addressed whoever was surreptitiously leaking information.
"F--- you," he said. He then demanded that the person leave.
The sources said the epithet received some applause.
Brin and Pichai stopped taking questions about China for a while but later took up the subject again after it was clear the leaks had stopped. Google management and employees have long shared ideas and information without it showing up in news publications, which makes the Thursday incident unusual.
The fact that someone within Google was sharing info in real time appeared to anger some workers, one source said.
But according to two sources, when the meeting finally ended, it didn't go unnoticed that many details regarding Google's plans for China were still unknown.
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"F--- you," said the male Google employee standing at the microphone during a pivotal moment at the company all-hands meeting on Thursday night.
According to three sources in attendance who spoke with Business Insider, the man was addressing whomever within Google was relaying in real time what was said at the gathering to a New York Times reporter. The reporter had posted statements to Twitter that had been made just minutes before by Google's cofounder Sergey Brin and its CEO, Sundar Pichai, and her tweets were displayed on a large screen before the gathering.
Sharing what is said during these discussions — known internally as TGIFs — between leaders and employees has long been considered a no-no at Google. Few companies have as much regular open and frank communication about sensitive subjects with their staff, and the general consensus at the company is that leaks would make them impossible.
Sundar speaking to Googlers now at all-hands about Dragonfly: "If we were to do our mission well, we are to think seriously about how to do more in China. That said, we are not close to launching a search product in China."— kate conger (@kateconger) August 17, 2018
And that is probably why many inside Google appeared sympathetic to the sentiment expressed by their colleague at the mic. After he said the profanity and exhorted the leaker to leave, some in the audience applauded, the sources said. The man also received praise on Google's internal communications systems.
The man at the mic spoke for many at Google
For Googlers, their colleague's exhortation was an extraordinary event, and it came amid an exceptionally fractious period at the company.
Brin and Pichai were expected to discuss media reports from two weeks ago that Google planned to restart its operations in China, the sources said. In 2010, Google pulled out of that country rather than censor its search results to exclude information the Chinese government found objectionable. Many people inside and outside the company consider government censorship to be a human-rights violation.
A Google spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
According to an August 2 report in The Intercept, Google has experienced a change of heart about China and has built a search application that, if launched, would filter out websites and other data banned by the Chinese government. The news angered and saddened many Google employees, who thought Brin and other leaders had abandoned at least some of the company's stated ethical values.
Google has long been known as a hippie haven, a workplace whose leadership and employees largely possessed and encouraged left-leaning political views.
That reputation was shaken, however, when news leaked earlier this year that Google had agreed to allow the Pentagon to use its artificial intelligence technology to help analyze drone video footage. Some experts argued the technology could also improve the accuracy of drone missile strikes. Thousands of Google workers signed a petition demanding leaders put an end to the relationship and promise to never produce AI-enhanced weapons. At least a dozen people quit in protest.
The protesters appeared to triumph. Google's management released a set of governing principles for AI that included a promise never to build AI weapons and said the company would let its AI contract with the Pentagon expire.
The press leaks backfired this time
The Googlers' success sparked similar protests by like-minded tech workers at Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce. It helped give many tech workers the feeling they have the power to influence the ways their companies approach ethical questions.
As they've pushed their companies on ethics, the workers have discoverd that press leaks can make for potent weapons. But at Google on Thursday, that weapon backfired, according to the sources.
The person or people who shared the information with The Times gave Pichai and Brin an excuse to stop discussing anything substantive about China at the meeting, said the sources, two of whom strongly oppose the building of a censored search engine by Google. What's more, the executives were made to look like victims of a breach of trust, the sources said.
All of the sources who talked to Business Insider agreed that the display of the reporters' tweets at the meeting stunned the audience and marked a turning point. All the momentum and sympathy swung in the direction of management. Some of the sources said they feared the leaks might have a chilling effect on the willingness of employees sympathetic to the protests to share information.
The leaker and The Times "overplayed their hand," one source said.
It was a "stupid mistake" to tweet during the meeting, another source said.
"It shocked Googlers, and it was so unnecessary," that person said. "Why didn't they just wait until after the meeting to publish a full story?"
When Google’s business practices came under scrutiny earlier this summer and members of the Senate wanted to hear from one of the company’s top leaders, Google declined.
The Senate Intelligence Committee voiced its displeasure by placing a card bearing Google's name at the same table where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testified, even though no one from Google showed up.
But back on Sept 21, 2011, at a previous Congressional hearing, Google wasn’t satisfied to be represented by an empty chair.
Instead, the company's managers dispatched Eric Schmidt to Capitol Hill. Lawmakers grilled Schmidt, Google's then executive chairman, about whether the company was using its search engine to promote its own products over rivals. Schmidt strode into the hearing room that day grinning. While he didn’t convince every lawmaker that Google wasn’t “cooking” search results, the pundits said he more than held his own.
“You had to know going into this that Eric Schmidt was too smart and too practiced an operator to let himself get cornered,” Charles Cooper, a columnist with CBS Interactive, wrote at the time. “Schmidt didn't come close to breaking a sweat.”
Compare that with how Google responded to the Senate's questions two weeks ago. Dorsey and Sandberg appeared at the Sept. 5 hearing called by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and answered queries about the role social networks play in US elections.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai or Chairman Larry Page, were no shows, and Google was criticized from all sides. The imagery of the empty chair during the hearing was a constant reminder of the company's absence. Tom Wheeler, the former FCC chairman, summed it up this way: Google’s decision not to appear was “a strategic mistake of virtually incalculable proportions.”
The stark differences in the two responses to near-similar situations highlights the huge hole that Google has yet to fill since Schmidt stepped down as chairman in December. Schmidt, who was Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, was a leader who thrived in the spotlight, and reveled as Google’s point man anytime the company drew fire.
He was equal parts salesman, statesman, and technologist.
And now, more than ever, Google is missing that kind of frontman, someone in authority who can stand before the cameras during a crisis, and effectively make the company’s case.
Google misses Schmidt, historically its best spokesman
The President of the United States and his allies have targeted Google.
Without providing much proof, Donald Trump has accused Google’s leaders of “rigging” its search platform to muffle the voices of political conservatives and to deliver only bad news about his administration.
More recently, the far right has claimed that a recent series of rather banal news leaks at Google supports their claim that the company is using its influence to wage war on Republicans. Google has continually denied these allegations, but the controversies keep cropping up.
On Thursday evening, The Wall Street Journal reported that it had seen an email exchange from last year between Google employees in which they discussed potential ways to tweak Google’s search results to help those protesting Trump’s travel ban on people from Muslim countries.
Google said the email chain only contained proposals, and that they were never implemented, reiterating that the company does not bias Google search for political reasons.
At this rate, one has to wonder how long before lawmakers compel Google to testify.
In the three years since being named CEO, Pichai has proven himself capable enough of addressing the Google I/O developer conferences, speaking to friendly crowds with the aid of teleprompters and rehearsals.
It remains to be seen, however, whether he’s as effective a spokesman when faced with a hostile audience in impromptu situations that are high stakes.
“Unlike the CEOs of the other large tech companies, Pichai has kept a much lower profile,” said Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and author of the book How to Wash a Chicken: Mastering the Business Presentation. “Most people know the CEOs of the other big companies, but I’m not sure anyone knows Pichai. I think it’s important for an individual to become the recognizable leader of a company. It puts a human face on what would otherwise be faceless.”
As for the company’s other top leaders, Page and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, neither has shown much interest of late in addressing the public on Google’s behalf, which should leave Google pining for Schmidt — and not just for his communication skills.
In 2007, Schmidt was interviewed on stage at the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference. At the time, Google was attempting to acquire DoubleClick, the web-ad services company.
The interviewer noted that Microsoft had complained loudly to US regulators that the deal would kill competition and that they should fear Google’s growing size.
“Microsoft?” Schmidt deadpanned.
With one word, expressed with faux surprise, Schmidt instantly cast doubt on Google's accuser. A decade before, the US government had famously brought a massive antitrust case against Microsoft. To much of the public, Microsoft was still the symbol of anti-competitive practices.
The audience laughed and applauded. Just off stage, the faces of Schmidt's assistants lit up.
Schmidt’s swagger, quick wit, and sense of theater are character traits that can inspire employees, as well as win over the public. Sometimes, those are the kinds of traits that can even help sway skeptical lawmakers.
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To celebrate 20 years of Google Search, Google is taking users inside the place where it was born — a garage.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page used Susan Wojcicki's garage in Menlo Park, California, as Google's original headquarters in 1998.
As well as the usual birthday doodle, Google has done up the garage to take it back in time, letting users explore Brin and Page's original base of operations. You can find the map on Google Street View, or via this blog post.
As you enter the garage, you can find a desktop computer displaying Google's beta version, complete with the exclamation mark.
The garage is pretty cluttered, but in a blog post, Google said Brin and Page were particularly happy to get a washing machine and dryer included in their rent.
While exploring the garage Business Insider also spotted a fluffy elephant and hippo among the items strewn around the boxes and computers.
You can explore a bit further down the hallway to find a bedroom-turned-main-office with "Google Worldwide Headquarters" written on a whiteboard.
Inside the headquarters you can see an allusion to the 1998 logo change, which removed the exclamation mark.
There are easter eggs to be found if, as you explore, you turn on a neon "Google" sign and open a trapdoor.
Upon returning to the garage after doing this, Business Insider found a pair of modded glasses sitting on the table, which could be a nod to Brin's Google Glass project.
We also found a reference to Google's first office dog Yoshka, as a cushion appeared on a chair complete with a lead and staff ID.
There are doubtless plenty more in-jokes to be found by roving around Susan's garage.
Google erred by not disclosing to users of Google+, the long struggling social network, that their personal data was left exposed to third-party developers, say legal and security experts.
And now, Google could pay serious consequences for not being more forthcoming, the experts said.
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that a software glitch led to the sharing of personal-profile information belonging to 500,000 Google+ users with third-party developers. In addition, the Journal wrote that Google managers chose not to disclose the security lapse to the public for fear that it might draw the attention of regulators.
Not revealing what happened much earlier was a mistake, according to Joseph Moreno, a former federal prosecutor who now oversees cybersecurity cases at the law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.
"You get out in front of these things," Moreno said. "The worst thing is to downplay it or stall or pretend that it didn’t happen. Now, you run the risk of walking into the type of government oversight that you said you were afraid of."
'Get out in front'
Moreno and other legal and security experts who spoke to Business Insider said the situation at Google+ could give US lawmakers one more reason to adopt the kind of increased oversight that the European Union implemented this year. It's safe to say that nobody in tech wants more government regulation.
Google responded to the Journal's story by downplaying the impacts of the security lapse. Managers could find no sign that anyone did anything nefarious with the exposed information, which in itself was little more than names, email addresses and occupations.
One fact not brought up in the blog post but might have worked in Google's favor is that Google+ had only limped a long for years and never seriously challenged Facebook.
The service, launched in 2011, was once compared to a digital ghost town. All this would seem to suggest that there wasn't much at stake.
But one of the problems with Google's explanation is the internal memo that the Journal's reporters said they reviewed. According to them, Google's lawyers and policy experts warned managers that if they disclosed the security lapse at Google+, it would potentially harm the company's reputation and invite "immediate regulatory interest."
If the security lapse resulted in so little harm, as Google says now, how come the company's own lawyers feared the lapse might be made public?
'The heart of the trust issue'
Whatever happened, it is this kind of tendency to withhold information that has led regulators in the US and Europe to distrust big US tech companies, says Cory Cowgill, chief technology officer at Fusion Risk Management, which sells enterprise risk-management software.
"When this kind of thing happens," said Cowgill, "it validates the people who say, 'We need more transparency and more regulation.'"
Margrethe Vestager, the Danish politician as well as the European Commissioner for Competition, could be among the people who feel validated. In May, the European Union implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new and stricter set of regulations designed to protect data and privacy.
It's hard to know how the EU might respond to the Journal story, says Cowgill. He said that for starters, GDPR went into effect in May and Google fixed the software bug two months before that. He also said GDPR requires site owners to disclose a security breach to users who are impacted within 72 hours. In this case, there's no proof that Google+ suffered a breach.
But Cowgill says a lack of transparency goes to the heart of what GDPR and the EU are trying to snuff out.
"What happened at Google+," said Cowgill, "goes straight to the heart of the trust issue."
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The tech world was rocked by another privacy scandal on Monday — this time on an unexpected platform.
Google dominates many areas of our online lives, and Google+ was its attempt to break into social media. But it was seen as one of Google's biggest failures, and now it has an unhappy ending.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the data of hundreds of thousands of Google+ users had been left exposed over three years, from 2015 to this March. Not only that, but Google decided against informing the public about the vulnerability, the report said.
In the wake of The Journal's story, Google announced it would shut down Google+ as a consumer proposition for good. Some observers online were surprised to hear it still existed at all.
Google+ is shutting down.— I Am Devloper (@iamdevloper) October 9, 2018
This is like when a band announces they’re splitting up and your first reaction is, “oh, didn’t realise they were still going”
But the writing has been on the wall for some time. You need only look at how Google's top executives have stopped using Google+ to see it was an unloved child.
Google+ was once the go-to platform for the latest pronouncements of Google's senior managers, but some went silent on the social network about three years ago. Here's when Google's top team stopped using it.
Google cofounder Larry Page last posted in August 2015
Page does not appear to have posted on his Google+ page since August 21, 2015.
Page shared a post from his Google cofounder, Sergey Brin, announcing "a project to put computing inside a contact lens."
"Very excited about these health efforts also!" Page added.
Page does have a reputation as something of a recluse and does not have an official Facebook or Twitter page.
CEO Sundar Pichai last posted in March 2016
Pichai's last post on Google+ was an article from CNN about Google's DeepMind challenge, which pitted artificial intelligence against a human in the game Go.
Pichai's latest tweet was posted just over a week ago. In it, he announced that Google and Google staff members were donating $1 million to support relief efforts in Indonesia following a deadly earthquake.
We’re deeply saddened about the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia - @googleorg and Googlers are donating $1M to support relief efforts, and we’ve activated our SOS Alerts to provide emergency info to those impacted— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) October 1, 2018
Eric Schmidt, the former CEO and executive chairman, last posted in February 2017
Schmidt stepped down as chairman of Google's parent company, Alphabet, in December, many months after he'd given up posting on Google+.
His swan-song post was an article about the writer Jane Jacobs and urban planning.
"My Friday long read: Jane Jacobs's Radical Vision of Humanity, a fascinating read on importance of urban planning," Schmidt wrote.
Schmidt's latest tweet was posted on Wednesday, about a children's picture book aimed at busting the myth that engineering is for boys.
Ara and her friends are more than just characters; they are models for girls and boys to follow if they are curious about the world--and want to build a better one https://t.co/OsosStVN6f— Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) October 4, 2018
Cofounder Sergey Brin last posted in September 2017
Of all the big Google cheeses, Brin seems to be the last to have abandoned Google+, posting just over a year ago about the Ragged Islands in the Bahamas taking the brunt of Hurricane Irma. Like Page, Brin is relatively quiet on social media.
The founders of Google have a salary of $1. But they're still among the wealthiest people in the world.
With Bloomberg reporting his worth at $53.5 billion, Alphabet CEO Larry Page is the eighth-richest person in the world. Alphabet president Sergey Brin is just behind at No. 9, with a reported net worth of $52.1 billion.
Here's a look at how both Page and Brin spend their fortunes:
Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google (now owned by parent company Alphabet) in 1998 in a garage in Menlo Park, California.
Source: Business Insider
Page was born in 1973 to two computer science professors at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. Even at a young age, he enjoyed taking machines apart and trying to put them back together to understand how they functioned.
Page went to the University of Michigan for undergrad. While there, he was a member of the solar car team, proposed an overhaul of the school's bus system, and developed other business plans.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
At the New York Times DealBook conference on Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said his 11-year-old son was using the family's home PC to mine ether.
Pichai had been asked about how he thinks about screen time for his children. A recent New York Times article described parents living in Silicon Valley and working in tech as saying they were often most concerned about excess screen time and tech addiction among children.
"I'm like every other parent I guess," Pichai said. "I do test a lot of gadgets at home, so I have vulnerabilities in terms of how my kids get access to stuff."
Pichai then said his son had been mining ether, the cryptocurrency tied to the Ethereum blockchain.
"Last week I was at dinner with my son, and I was talking about something about bitcoin, and my son clarified what I was talking about was Ethereum, which is slightly different," Pichai said. "He's 11 years old. And he told me he's mining it."
The Google CEO was asked whether he had a server in his home to assist in his son's mining efforts, to which he said his family had only a simple computer, one that Pichai built himself.
Pichai said he did have to explain to his crypto-minded son the nation's monetary system "and how paper money actually works."
"I realized he understood Ethereum better than how paper money works," Pichai said. "I had to talk to him about the banking system, the importance of it. It was a good conversation."
Pichai's son isn't the only child of a Google executive who's mining cryptocurrency.
At a blockchain conference hosted by Sir Richard Branson in Morocco in July, the Google cofounder Sergey Brin also said he and his son had been mining ether.
"A year or two ago, my son insisted that we needed to get a gaming PC," Brin said. "I told him, 'OK, if we get a gaming PC, we have to mine cryptocurrency.' So we set up an Ethereum miner on there, and we've made a few pennies, a few dollars since."
The interview with Pichai came on the same day as thousands of Google employees around the world walked out in protest of the company's handling of sexual-misconduct allegations.
"This anger and frustration within the company, we all feel it," Pichai said when asked about the protests. "I feel it too."
An organizer behind the mass Google staff walkout over sexual misconduct has vividly described the disastrous all-hands meeting which prompted the protest.
Googlers Claire Stapleton, Meredith Whittaker, Erica Anderson, Celie O'Neil-Hart, Stephanie Parker, and Amr Gaber told Kara Swisher's Recode Decode podcast about the events leading up to the Google Walkout, in which 20,000 employees left their desk in protest at sexual harassment.
The protest related to a New York Times exposé, which revealed that Android inventor Andy Rubin was among a number of senior executives to be accused of sexual misconduct. Rubin, who reportedly left Google with a $90 million exit package, denies any wrongdoing.
But according to the Google Walkout organizer Stapleton, it wasn't necessarily the story itself that sparked the protest, so much as management's response to it.
Google held its so-called TGIF meeting — in which founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin field questions from staff — the day after the New York Times report was published.
According to YouTube marketing executive Stapleton, the atmosphere at recent TGIF meetings had become increasingly tense, and the New York Times report was "a major reckoning moment for the culture building upon all this anxiety."
"The real turning point for me was the way that the execs handled it that day at the TGIF that followed," she said.
"Googlers, as always, showed up. I mean, they had really smart thoughts. They brought their outrage, but it was also constructive ideas and questions.
"I think that it was a very awkward, hollow, somewhat disastrous TGIF which, you know, has been much-reported, but we needed to see accountability and commitment, and neither happened."
"There was a kind of dismissiveness to it"
Stapleton added that to begin with, the presentation didn't even address the New York Times story, but rather carried on as previously planned by discussing Google Photos.
She said: "The optics were really tough because like I said, the community was gripped by this. And I think it was the sort of moment where we needed to hear that the system needs to change.
"We needed to see a genuine commitment to that, and I think it was ... There was a kind of dismissiveness to it. There was a sort of, 'we care. We’re going to follow up on this.' It did not at all match the urgency and intensity of what happened."
In the end, 20,000 Googlers left their desks in protest, with five demands to change Google's management of sexual misconduct and discrimination claims. While Google acquiesced to some of the demands, the organizers said they feel there is still work to do — and that senior management needs to re-engage.
When asked who she'd like to see take the reins, Stapleton said: "Larry and Sergey, where are they?"
Business Insider has contacted Google for comment.
These days, Sergey Brin is one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in tech.
But back in 1996, Brin was a lot like any other Ph.D. candidate — on paper, at least.
Brin's resume, which was last updated more than 20 years ago, is still available online. At the time Brin made it, he was working toward completing his Ph.D. at Stanford University.
Brin is now worth $43.6 billion and serves as president of Google parent company Alphabet, but in the early days, he was more focused on making an algorithm for personalized movie recommendations, or finding a way to automatically detect cases of copyright infringements.
Here's Brin's resume:
Brin was no slacker — he had five internships in three years and had already been published twice — but is somewhat lacking in the style department. Plus, there's a grammatical error in the "Movie Ratings" section:
But perhaps more interesting than the resume itself is Brin's objective, which he hid in the document's HTML coding. You can see it for yourself by right-clicking on the webpage itself and selecting "View Page Source."
Brin more than delivered on the objective. He got married to his former wife, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, on a sandbar in the Bahamas; collectively purchased eight private jets with former Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt and Google cofounder Larry Page; employs a yacht captain and personal shopper; and is currently working on a secret quest to build a giant airship.
Lisa Eadicicco contributed to an earlier version of this post.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin may have conceived the idea for Google's original search engine, but another duo within the company — Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat — turned that theory into a reality, and then some.
A profile by The New Yorker in its December 10th issue tells the story of these two early engineers who — back in 2000 when there was no supercomputer big enough to process Google’s index of the Web — saved the company from going broke.
The piece describes a deal negotiated by Page and Brin to power Yahoo's search engine. It was a deal needed to keep the company funded. The problem, however, was that a bug on google.com was causing five-month-old search results to surface and Google's top engineers were stumped.
“None of the analysis we were doing made any sense,” Craig Silverstein, Google's first employee, told The New Yorker. “Everything was broken, and we didn’t know why.”
Coding together side-by-side for days, Dean and Ghemawat started noticing some words were missing from Google's index of search terms, like "mailbox," and others were out of order. According to the report, the two decided to convert Google's index into a binary code (a series of 0's and 1's) to better understand what their computers were seeing. From there, Dean and Ghemawat were able to spot and fix the issue.
The deal — and the company — had been saved.
The duo went on to build hugely important projects at Google, like MapReduce in 2003 which was a new way for the company to crawl and index the Internet. A free clone of MapReduce would eventually enable platforms like LinkedIn, Netﬂix, and Facebook to run.
Today, Dean is the head of AI projects at Google, while Ghemawat is continuing to innovate on search.
"If Google were a house, Jeff would be building an addition. Sanjay is shoring up the structure, reinforcing the beams, tightening the bolts," James Somers of The New Yorker writes.
Inside Google, Dean, at least, is known as a bit of a rock star. He even has a Chuck Norris-like Quora page dedicated to"Jeff Dean facts," like: "Cricket matches used to take 5 days, until Jeff optimized them" and "Google Search was Jeff Dean's Noogler Project."
Outside the Googleplex walls, however, knowledge of just how much Dean and Ghemawat influenced the course of Google (and the Internet) are less known and worth cozying up for the 6500+ word read.
Most landlords only hope their renters pay on time, keep a tidy space, and don't disturb the neighbors.
But Susan Wojcicki's renters ended up offering up a bit more: the chance to become employee No. 16 at a young search-engine startup called Google.
Of course, it's taken more than this incredible circumstance for Wojcicki to rise in the ranks at Google. From expanding the company's ad business to persuading its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, to purchase an up-and-coming video-sharing service called YouTube, Wojcicki has played a vital role in Google's becoming one of the world's most valuable companies.
Here's a glimpse at Wojcicki's life and her rise at Google from employee No. 16 to YouTube's chief exec:
Susan Wojcicki (pronounced whoa-jit-ski), 50, is a Silicon Valley native.
Wojcicki grew up on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, where her father, Stanley Wojcicki, was chair of the physics department.
Source: USA Today
Wojcicki's mother, Esther Wojcicki, has taught journalism for more than two decades at Palo Alto High School, where she has mentored notable students like Steve Jobs' daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs and the actor James Franco.
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