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Google fires employee behind anti-diversity memo

Posted by pakin On August - 15 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Internet giant Google has fired the male engineer at the centre of an uproar in Silicon Valley over the past week after he authored an internal memo asserting there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the tech industry.

James Damore, the engineer who wrote the memo, confirmed his dismissal, saying in an email to Reuters on Monday that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”.

Mr Damore said he was exploring all possible legal remedies, and that before being fired, he had submitted a charge to the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Google upper management of trying to shame him into silence.

“It’s illegal to retaliate against an NLRB charge,” he wrote in the email.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc based in Mountain View, California, said it could not talk about individual employee cases.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in a note on Monday that portions of the anti-diversity memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace,” according to a copy of the note seen by Reuters.

It was not immediately clear what legal authority Mr Damore could try to invoke. Non-union or “at will” employees, such as most tech workers, can be fired in the United States for a wide array of reasons that have nothing to do with performance.

The US National Labor Relations Act guarantees workers, whether they are in a union or not, the right to engage in “concerted activities” for their “mutual aid or protection”.

Mr Damore, though, would likely face an uphill fight to seek that protection based on his memo, said Alison Morantz, a Stanford University law professor with expertise in labour law.

“It’s going to be a hard sell that this activity was either concerted or for mutual aid or protection, rather than simply venting or pitting one group of workers against the others, which does not sound very mutual,” Ms Morantz said.

Debate over the treatment of women in the male-dominated tech industry has raged for months. Claims of persistent sexual harassment in the ranks of Uber Technologies Inc and of several venture capital firms led to management shakeups.

Management at the largest tech firms, including Google, have publicly committed to diversifying their workforces, although the percentage of women in engineering and management roles remains low at many companies.

Mr Damore’s memo attacked the idea that gender diversity should be a goal.

“The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and … these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” Mr Damore wrote in the internal company memo last week.

Google’s vice-president of diversity, Danielle Brown, sent a memo in response to the furore over the weekend, saying the engineer’s essay “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender”.

 

Google Maps has added a new feature that will help you find where you parked your car.

The new feature is available on both iOS and Android, Google said in a blog post.

To enable the feature, Android users just need to tap on the blue do that reveals their location and then tap “save your parking”.

The location will then be saved and a label added to the map showing where the car is parked.

Users are then able to add additional info to the label and can even add an image of where the car is parked or send the location of the parking spot to friends.

For iOS users, they can follow similar steps to enable the feature on their iPhone. Start by tapping on the blue dot and select “set as parking location”.

“This is in addition to the automatic parking detection you might have already noticed in Google Maps for iOS. If you connect to your car using USB audio or bluetooth, your parking spot will be automatically added to the map when you disconnect and exit the vehicle,” Google said.

The news comes after Google has rolled a number of useful new features to its popular navigation app.

Earlier this year it began displaying real time traffic info that gives drivers information on how congested a road is.

Google also added a new feature that lets users share their location with their friends.

 

Santa tracked by Google, Microsoft

Posted by pakin On December - 25 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SAN FRANCISCO – Google and Microsoft had their virtual eyes on Santa Claus and his gift-laden sleigh on Thursday.

Each of the rival technology giants continued their separate Internet holiday traditions that allow children, no matter how grown up they might be, to track Santa online as he makes his way around the world on Christmas Eve.

“Google’s Santa Tracker launches today — And it’s time to follow the jolly man’s sleigh,” the California-based Internet firm said in a blog post playfully penned in rhyme.

“The elves have been working hard for this night, Santa’s village is abuzz — tonight’s the big flight.”

The santatracker.google.com website includes an animated map and a running tally of the number of gifts delivered.

Microsoft once again partnered with the North American Aerospace Defense Command on an interactive website at noradsanta.org where Santa’s reindeer-drawn sleigh can be seen making its way over countries around the world.

NORAD’s involvement began 60 years ago when a wrong telephone number printed in a newspaper advertisement resulted in children calling for Santa.

The commander on duty that day had staff provide callers with updates on Santa’s location and the tradition evolved into the NORAD Santa-tracking website.

“Throughout the year, we can be pretty cynical,” Matthew Quinlan, marketing director for Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, said in a blog post.

“But this is one moment where we can see things again through a child’s eyes, and it gives us a fresh sense of wonder.”

The NORAD Santa-tracking website includes games and allows people to ask Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant software, where Santa is at any given moment.

Google Thailand to go the extra mile

Posted by pakin On April - 27 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Pete Nuchanatanon, the new head of marketing at Google Thailand, has set a goal to help people, businesses and consumers get the most out of going online by using Google’s products and services.

Pete, 34, who assumed his position in January, is the second person to be in charge of marketing, following Pornthip Kongchun. He oversees and manages Google’s national marketing efforts across all products and brand campaigns.

He promotes all Google products and services to businesses and people so that they will use them to enhance their business’ competitiveness and their quality of life.

Pete has four main focuses: helping one-third of people to surf the Internet, helping people to benefit from Google’s innovations, increasing local contents and helping more local businesses to build a presence online.

Google offers 45 services here, but this year, he will emphasise two: Google Search and YouTube. He will also focus on Google Maps, Google Translate and Google Mobile.

“The four main tasks are correlated. Our role is to get the rest of Thais to go online and to recognise the benefit of the Internet, while getting Thai businesses to have an online presence.

“Especially, only 10 per cent of Thai small and medium enterprises are online. Our task is to help 90 per cent of them to be online and benefit from being online. How good it will be if 100 per cent of companies can reach 100 per cent of customers who are searching for their products and services,” he said.

Google Search will help people benefit more from Google AdWords, Google AdSense and Google Trends. About 20 per cent of searches are for new information for which people are looking.

Google’s services can help businesses and people learn the exact trends in information in which people are interested, what they are looking for and what they are talking about.

“Our teams are increasing. Our teams expanded 2.5 times in only three months. We have a head taking care of each of my four focuses.

“For example, Google Trends is an important tool for businesses to know exactly the online trends with in-depth information. Businesses can use this information for free to analyse data for serving their business.

“Google has dedicated teams and partners to provide assistance, help and consulting. Google’s partners have tripled,” he said.

Two trends are expected: Internet penetration is going to reach 100 per cent and advertising spending is continuing to grow from 5.5 per cent last year to nearly the same as China and the United Kingdom, where digital advertising spending is 20 per cent and 50 per cent of total advertising spending, respectively.

“We see the positive trends. Also, the government’s digital economy is accelerating this trend,” he said.

This year, Google will roll out a lot more marketing campaigns and activities to promote both focused products and services, and new services. Next month, it will hold marketing activities for YouTube to celebrate its first anniversary here.

Pete’s knowledge of Thai consumers may be the critical point in his selection as Google’s head of marketing in the Thai market. He said he went through six interviews in three months to get this job.

“They asked me what the opportunities for Google in Thailand are and what Thais need,” he said.

Pete has never been in the technology field before. His 12 years of work experience have been in the consumer business. He started his career in advertising and consulting for six years before joining P&G as the country marketing manager for all brands and categories for hair, skin, fabric and home, and grooming, for Thailand and Asean. Pete has also worked with Lowe and Brandscape and has a deep understanding of brands with over 10 years of leadership experience.

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