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Diversity Issues Take Centre Stage at Google Shareholders’ Meet

Google CEO Sundar Pichai eventually fired the author of the 3,000-word memo James Damore - a move that attracted criticism from conservatives

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Google releases Chrome 71, takes aim at deceptive websites. Pixabay

Issues regarding representation and treatment of marginalised communities took the centre stage at Google’s parent company Alphabet’s annual shareholders meeting, the media reported.

Even Google employees themselves stepped up on Wednesday to challenge management on diversity issues — a rarity for a company’s rank and file in such a public and formal corporate setting, CNET reported.

Google last year was rocked by the now infamous “Damore memo”, which argued that the gender gap in the tech industry is due mainly to “biological” differences between men and women, not because of sexism.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (Wikimedia Commons)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai eventually fired the author of the 3,000-word memo James Damore – a move that attracted criticism from conservatives.

On Wednesday, Irene Knapp, a Google engineer, teamed up with Zevin Asset Management to present a proposal that advocated tying executive pay with improvement in diversity metrics at Alphabet.

Also Read: Google’s Experimental AI-powered Terrarium can Simulate Real-World Weather

“The lack of clear communicated policies and actions to advance diversity and inclusion with concrete accountability and leadership from senior executives has left many of us feeling unsafe and unable to do our work,” Knapp was quoted as saying.

Like many other tech giants, Alphabet has been criticised for not having enough diversity on its board, said the CNET report, adding that of the 11 board members at the company, only two are women. (IANS)

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Google Will Start Giving EU Smartphone Users a Choice of Browsers and Search Apps on Android

Android users who open the Google Play store after the update will be given the option to install up to five search apps and five browsers, Gennai said

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FILE - A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

Google said Thursday it will start giving European Union smartphone users a choice of browsers and search apps on its Android operating system, in changes designed to comply with an EU antitrust ruling.

Following an Android update, users will be shown two new screens giving them the new options, Google product management director Paul Gennai said in a blog post.

The EU’s executive Commission slapped the Silicon Valley giant with a record 4.34 billion euro (then $5 billion) antitrust fine in July after finding that it abused the dominance of Android by forcing handset and tablet makers to install Google apps, reducing consumer choice.

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Android users who open the Google Play store after the update will be given the option to install up to five search apps and five browsers, Gennai said. Pixabay

The commission had ordered Google to come up with a remedy or face further fines. The company, which is appealing the ruling, said the changes are being rolled out over the next few weeks to both new and existing Android phones in Europe.

ALSO READ: Measles Spread in Google’s Headquarters, Employees Discussing Ways To Protect Themselves

Android users who open the Google Play store after the update will be given the option to install up to five search apps and five browsers, Gennai said. Apps will be included based on their popularity and shown in random order. Users who choose a search app will also be asked if they want to change the default search engine in the phone’s Chrome browser.

Android is the most widely used mobile operating system, beating even Apple’s iOS. (VOA)