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Tech Giant Google Sacks Dozens Over Sexual Harassment Claims

Shares in Alphabet, which owns Google, fell more than 3 per cent in New York after it reported revenues of $33.7 billion for the three months to September

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Google has sacked 48 people including 13 senior managers over sexual harassment claims since 2016.

In a letter to employees on Thursday, Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said the tech giant was taking a “hard line” on inappropriate conduct, reports the BBC.

The letter was in response to a New York Times report that Android creator Andy Rubin received a $90 million exit package despite facing misconduct allegations.

Sam Singer, a spokesman for Rubin, denied the allegations, the newspaper said.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Singer said Rubin decided to leave Google in 2014 to launch a venture capital firm and technology incubator called Playground.

Pichai’s letter said the New York Times story was “difficult to read” and that Google was “dead serious” about providing a “safe and inclusive workplace”.

“We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action,” he continued.

None of the employees dismissed in the past two years had received an exit package, Pichai added.

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Google sacks dozens over sexual harassment.
Wikimedia Commons

According to the New York Times report, two unnamed Google executives said then-Chief Executive Larry Page asked Rubin to resign after the company confirmed a complaint by a female employee about a sexual encounter in a hotel room in 2013.

A Google investigation found the woman’s complaint to be credible, the paper reported, but the company has not confirmed this.

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Rubin has said he did not engage in misconduct and left Google of his own accord.

Shares in Alphabet, which owns Google, fell more than 3 per cent in New York after it reported revenues of $33.7 billion for the three months to September.

However, net profit soared $2.5 billion to $9.2 billion. (IANS)

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Google Planning to Develop a New Publishing Platform For Local News Publishers

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age

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Google creating publishing platform for local news publishers. Pixabay

To help small newsrooms overcome challenges in their strive to go digital, Google is creating a new publishing platform for local news publishers.

Google News Initiative has partnered with web development company, Automattic and WordPress.com — home to 30 per cent of the world’s websites — and has invested $1.2 million in its effort to create “Newspack”.

“Newspack” is a fast, secure, low-cost publishing system tailor-made to the needs of small newsrooms, Google said in a statement on Monday.

The new publishing tool will be made available to publishers globally later in the year.

“Newspapers with long histories have had to cut back on staff and reduce coverage and reporters who try to start new digital publications face an interminable struggle with technical and business problems,” said Jim Albrecht, Product Management Director, Google Search.

“Journalists should be writing stories and covering their communities, not worrying about designing websites, configuring CMSs, or building commerce systems.”

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The Google name is displayed outside the company’s office in London, Britain. VOA

While “Newspack” publishers will have access to all the plugins created by the WordPress developer community, the core product is not trying to be all things to all publishers.

“It is trying to help small publishers succeed by building best practices into the product while removing distractions that may divert scarce resources. We like to call it aan opinionated CMS — it knows the right thing to do, even when you don’t,” explained Albrecht.

Google said it will also advise on the “Newspack” feature set, based on feedback from its extensive contact with local publishers, and provide technical support on the integration of Google products.

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Google News in November launched a new innovation challenge to help scribes and publishers in the Asia-Pacific region produce quality journalism in the digital age.

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age. (IANS)