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Report: Google Needs to do More on Bridging Gender Gap

In February this year, the US National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) said that Google did not violate labour laws when it fired Damore

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Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay
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Although the percentage of women in leadership roles at Google has increased from 20.8 to 25.5 per cent in the last four years, women still make up only 30.9 per cent of its global workforce while men 69.1 per cent, the tech giant has revealed.

In its annual diversity report released on Thursday, Google said it has made some progress in leadership ranks by gender and ethnicity.

“The data in this report shows that despite significant effort, and some pockets of success, we need to do more to achieve our desired diversity and inclusion outcomes,” said Danielle Brown, VP-Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

In 2017, women hires in tech positions rose to 24.5 per cent, although overall hiring of women dropped from 31.4 per cent to 31.2 per cent.

“Since 2014, women hires in tech have increased from 20.8 per cent to 24.5 per cent, which shows that our focus on hiring more women into technical positions is having impact,” said Brown.

The diversity report came after a year when an employee named James Damore sent out a long anti-diversity memo and was later fired.

Damore’s memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”, claims that when it comes to technology, there is a biological difference between men and women.

Representational image.
Google on a smartphone device, Pixabay

In February this year, the US National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) said that Google did not violate labour laws when it fired Damore.

According to the new diversity report, in terms of race and ethnicity (US data only), 2.5 per cent of Google’s workforce is Black, 3.6 per cent is Hispanic/Latin, 36.3 per cent is Asian and 53.1 per cent is White.

“Our gains in women’s representation have largely been driven by White and Asian women. Representation of Asian women increased considerably to 12.5 per cent of Google’s workforce, up from 10 per cent overall in 2014,” the report noted.

This is lower than the increase for Asian men who make up 25.7 per cent of Google, up from 21.4 per cent in 2014.

Also Read: Google: Fully Responsible For Securing Customers’ Data

Attrition rates in 2017 were highest for Black Googlers followed by Latin Googlers, and lowest for Asian Googlers.

“Black Googler attrition rates, while improving in recent years, have offset some of our hiring gains, which has led to smaller increases in representation than we would have seen otherwise.”

“We’re working hard to better understand what drives higher attrition and taking focused measures to improve it,” Brown added. (IANS)

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Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia -- 68 per cent of its population -- while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users - which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users

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Australia recommends strengthening regulation of Facebook, Google. Pixabay

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Monday proposed measures to counter the dominant market positions of Google and Facebook and strengthen monitoring on their access to information, advertising and consumers personal data.

The regulatory body, which recommended 11 preliminary measures in the report, was directed to conduct a public inquiry into the impact of digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content in 2017 by then treasurer and current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Acting as an intermediary between consumers and news outlets, platforms are inherently influential in shaping consumers’ choices of digital journalism,” said the report cited by Efe news.

This influential position and filtration of news items could place the consumer in a so-called filter bubble, increasing the risk of consumers being exposed to unreliable news, according to the report.

“The algorithms operated by each of Google and Facebook, as well as other policies, determine which content is surfaced and displayed to consumers in news feed and search results,” it said.

“The ACCC considers that the strong market position of digital platforms like Google and Facebook justifies a greater level of regulatory oversight,” Chair Rod Sims said.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The commission called for the creation of a regulatory authority with powers to monitor these digital platforms and recommended establishing an automatic mechanism to take down content that violates copyright.

The ACCC said consumers should be informed about the manner in which these platforms collect and use their data to create personalized advertising.

This would include a reform of privacy laws to require the user’s express consent to data collection and “enable consumers to require erasure of their personal information where they have withdrawn their consent”.

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ACCC said that it found that “competition may have been distorted in multiple sectors where consumer data is used”.

Facebook has 17 million monthly users in Australia — 68 per cent of its population — while Instagram, second most popular site in terms of users – which is owned by Facebook, has 11 million users.

In 2017, Google registered 90 per cent of search traffic originating from Australian desktops and 98 per cent from mobile phones. (IANS)