All Articles Tagged "Google"

Accelerate With Google Academy Offers Free Tech Program For Entrepreneurs

May 25th, 2016 - By Ann Brown
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Tina Harmon

Tina Harmon

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Even when a businesswoman has the best-laid plans, she can be derailed by unseen problems and lack of experience.

Thankfully, Google is offering much-needed help for entrepreneurs–and it’s free. The tech giant has created the Google Academy which offers a free 12-week program, Accelerate with Google Academy, that trains entrepreneurs on a variety of important business tech issues such as creating a website landing page, using marketing techniques to attract leads to their site, and maximizing their online presence. So far, more 1,400 businesses have gone through the program.

And it’s pretty extensive, said former participant Tina Harmon. “We were using a lot of Google apps before we started working with Google,” said the founder of the marketing solutions enterprise, The Harmon Group, LLC, who was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Michigan Business Women” by the Greater Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2013. “We found the program very crucial. It is just part of our culture today that you have an online presence, no one’s handing out brochures these days, no one’s looking in the phone book for you. You have to have a website, be on social media. The program helps you put all these tools in use.”


Participants are handpicked and get the tools and training they need via live help and private consultations with experts who show them how to use Google AdWords, manage marketing campaigns, and overcome any aversion to the technical aspects of running a business. The latter was a particular need for Harmon.

“I have to admit it was kind of a struggle for me because I like to look people in the eye. I’m old fashioned that way. I like to do business face to face. But once I went through the program, I saw the importance of using online tools, such as Google Docs. It’s such an easy way to share information with others. Now I use Google tools without a second thought. We’re using the Google apps for email, docs, storing information in the clouds. Now I cannot even imagine doing business any other way because we do business all over the globe so it’s awesome I can can take my office anywhere I go.”

Google has specifically been reaching out to get minority-owned businesses to join its Accelerate with Google Academy, shared Google’s Head of Diversity Markets Chris Genteel who developed the Academy. “I joined Google’s Sales team in Michigan eight years ago. I quickly saw that Google represented technology’s ability to remove barriers and create opportunities for people. But I also came to realize through my work locally in Detroit that many of the barriers to success in our society–related to race and gender and other economically marginalized groups–were now manifesting at digital speed. We know this phenomenon commonly as the digital divide,” said Genteel. “Our programs and advocacy help ensure that Google reaches those who have the most to benefit from tech, with a strong focus on underrepresented minorities, women and LGBT individuals.”

The company’s diversity efforts are focused on three main issues: integrating inclusion across its products and business operations, which means working with leaders around Google to help solve business inclusion challenges; helping diverse, small businesses grow on the web; and growing Google’s business with diverse suppliers.

“Google is making this commitment to these communities in part because leveling the playing field is the right thing to do, and Googlers are passionate about coming to work to solve the world’s biggest challenges – challenges like sexism, and racism,” Genteel said. “But inclusion is also a critical business imperative of our time. When we miss out on the talent we need to tackle the business problems we face – whether that’s hiring the right people, getting the right customer insights or working with the right business partners – our products can’t succeed.”

Genteel said Google diversity outreach has resulted in great partnerships for the company. “Tina Harmon is a perfect example of this. We first met Tina at the Michigan Minority Procurement Fair. As newcomers to supplier diversity she said ‘I can do a much better job representing the Google brand than your other supplier is doing.’ Given how important our brand is, we were listening. And after Tina demonstrated her company’s commitment and competency, they were selected to drive all promotional collateral for Google’s ‘Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map’ program, which has been distributed to thousands of municipal governments and their partner organizations. Tina is helping Google connect to people all over the U.S. But she’s not someone we would have found without a commitment to finding more talented women-owned businesses.”

Google’s push to help small business seems to be a win-win for all, especially in the area of minority supplier partnerships, and Harmon agreed. “It has really driven our business. Our partnership with Google has been amazing. It has increased staff by 10 percent, this trickles down to the community and helps even more people.”

Google #LoveLetters From Kids Of Imprisoned Parents

May 16th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Google #LoveLetters From Kids

Aliyah – Google #LoveLetters From Kids

On Mother’s Day, ran a campaign called Google #LoveLetters From Kids. While it launched a few weeks ago, it’s a national ongoing campaign to uplift the voices of young people who have an incarcerated parent. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Youtube (owned by Google) asked many of the 2.7 million children living in the United States who have at least one parent incarcerated to share letters they have written to their mother and father.  The videos will tear at your heartstrings.

Their hope is #Loveletters From Kids help us all to remember parents behind bars and the devastating human cost of mass incarceration.

Below letter is from Malika Saada Saar Google’s Public Policy and Government Relations Senior Counsel – Civil and Human Rights

Back in February, we announced a new effort from focused on racial justice, including support for organizations working to end mass incarceration. This is a critical issue in the United States, which represents 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prison population. And Blacks are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites—in fact, the United States imprisons a larger percentage of its Black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid.

An often overlooked fact of mass incarceration is that many first-time, nonviolent offenders who receive prison sentences are parents. There are 2.7 million American children with a parent behind bars, and Black children are 7.5 times more likely to have a parent behind bars than their white counterparts. The experience of having a parent in prison is traumatizing to a child: a new study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that the incarceration of a parent can have as much impact on a child’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence.

So this Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, in an effort to raise awareness of the impact of mass incarceration, we’ve partnered with NGOs on Love Letters: a series of videos that contain children’s messages of love for a mother or father in prison. These digital love letters are demonstrations of the unbreakable love between parent and child, but also of the pain of growing up without a parent present.

The videos reveal a side of mass incarceration that many people don’t get a chance to see. They allow us to bear witness, to be proximate to the very human costs of incarceration. Before I joined Google, I spent years as a human rights lawyer working on criminal justice reform. When I visited women’s prisons, I saw how broken women prisoners were because almost all were mothers to small children. Few received visits from family or children because of how remote women’s prisons usually are. When children did visit, some weren’t allowed to hug or touch their mothers. I also visited detention centers for girls, where many were the daughters of incarcerated mothers. The girls had been trafficked or arrested for running away from group homes or abusive foster placements, and they shared with me the pain of not having a mother there to teach them and protect them.

The impact of mass incarceration is generational and devastating. I hope that after watching these videos, you’ll choose to learn more about the critical work organizations like The Osborne Association, Hour Children, and grantees Essie Justice, the Ella Baker Center and the Equal Justice Initiative are doing to support children affected by incarceration and to advance criminal justice reform. You can also learn more about mass incarceration on and contribute to the conversation with #LoveLetters on social media.

Please join Google in supporting organizations that keep parents connected to their children:

Hour Children:

In Arm’s Reach:

The Osborne Association:

Essie Justice Group:

The Messages Project:

POPS The Club:

If you would like to share your “love letter” to your incarcerated parent, please upload to YouTube on your own page and tag it: Love Letters.

Have Travel Guides Plan Your Next Vacation For Free, Thanks To Google

March 9th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Planning a vacation by yourself or with friends can become as challenging as trying to solve trigonometry. However, thanks to Google and their newest feature, Destinations, which was just released today, planning trips is now a whole lot easier.

When searching vacation options, Destinations will help you to find cheap flights and hotels once you choose  your destination, and offer up advice for how you should prepare for your trip. The Verge reports: “Search for travel to a specific country or city, and you’ll see an option to open up Google’s new “travel guide.” Regardless of which way you get to it, these searches will lead you into Google’s new Destinations feature, which is where you’ll find more info on the location and details on the cost of getting and staying there.”

Aside from offering generic advice, the Destination tab on Google will also allow consumers to explore their prospective destination by giving a description, photos and even videos of its landscape. This also informs you of what to pack and the activities you can participate in in the local area.

To further help you, the Destination page provides editorial reviews from bloggers and journalists so travelers can know how long they should stay in a particular location and what the social climate is like. Radhika Malpani, Google’s Travel engineering director, told The Verge, the purpose of Destinations is to “let people explore when they don’t know when and where they want to go.”

Destinations exclusively works on mobile devices and not on desktops, although this may change in the future. The platform was specifically designed for the traveler on the go and since travel searches receive the highest traffic on mobile, Google is making smartphone access a priority.

Learn how you can plan your next trip with Destinations on Google, below.

Get Connected: Google Offers Affordable Smart Phones In 6 African Countries

August 19th, 2015 - By Chelcee Johns
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OlegDoroshin /


Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Egypt will soon get access to affordable smartphones with Google’s new “Hot 2” phone announced Tuesday. The new phone will be sold in Nigeria’s brick-and-mortar stores and made available online to the other five countries.

In an attempt to lower the price of smartphones in lesser developed parts of the world, Google is working with software company Infinix to construct phones that are cheap to build, but still access Google’s latest Android software.

The affordable program, “Android One,” first launched in India last year and now hopes to bring better communication systems to Africa as well.  According to AP, the phone has a suggested retail price of $88, yet retailers are selling out even at $98.

Coming in at just under $100, the new phone is a steal compared to other smartphones on the market. What’s even better than the price is the technology it will offer. The new phones solve the problem of access in these countries that rarely have internet-connected devices available and certainly not at a price worth buying.

Samsung currently offers phones in many of these lesser developed parts of the world. However, the price for their newest Android phone hits a high of $800 without a wireless contract – the add-on that makes the device even worth having.

But the new expansion of affordable, internet-connected phones are not being sold to solely benefit these lesser developed populations. Many companies are hoping to gain a wider reach with more devices on the market.

“Google, Facebook and other Internet companies are trying to get more people online in places like Africa so they can expand their audiences and eventually sell more digital advertising.” wrote AP.

Either way, more people with more affordable internet access could be a win-win for all.



Google+ Profile Is No Longer Needed To Access All Of Google

July 28th, 2015 - By Chelcee Johns
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Since Google introduced its Google+ social networking platform, one had to have a Google+ profile in order to engage in its other platforms such as YouTube. But not anymore.

The search guru company has decided to change how it handles the still fairly new platform to better serve its users.

“When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink,” said the company on its official blog.

After receiving complaints from users who did not want to use their Google+ profile in order to access other Google related accounts and platforms, the company is restructuring the network.

In a few months, a Google account will be all you need to communicate with contacts, access YouTube, or share content. YouTube will be the first Google product to undergo these changes.

“As always, your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles. And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles,” said Google.

But the company has no plans of getting rid of Google+, instead they seem to be making logical upgrades to the platform. These upgrades include Google+ Collections which will allow users to  share and participate in topics based on the users’ interests. The company will be moving Google+ photos into its Google Photos app and adding location sharing into its hangouts instead of the social platform.

“We think changes like these will lead to a more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+.”

Are you a Google+ user? What other changes would you like to see the company make?

Former Google Employee Creates Spreadsheet Of Its Racial And Gender Disparities

July 24th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Erica Baker, an ex-employee of Google, shed light this week on the racial and gender wage disparities occurring at the tech giant. Through a series of tweets, Baker spoke of a day when employees, who were bored, began speaking to one another about their salaries. As the conversation proceeded, Baker then spearheaded the creation of a spreadsheet that documented 5 percent of the Google’s workforce salaries.

Although Baker was promoted regularly at Google, from IT field technician, executive support technician, trial programs manager, corporate operations engineer, to, lastly, site-reliability engineer in her final months of working Google, her manager rejected several $150 Peer Bonuses because Google executives found out about her spreadsheet. In a series of tweets, Baker tells her story:

Google says the spreadsheet was not representative of the salaries their employees receive and “lack in context” in regards performance, experience, tenure and gender. Despite this Baker revealed the spreadsheet has helped her former Google employees to negotiate better salaries.

Diversity consultant Joelle Emerson, founder and CEO of Paradigm, told USA Today, “A lot of employees are seeking more transparency in promotions and pay because they suspect there are disparities. Without transparency, it can be impossible to discover if those disparities exist.”

3 Google Employees Suffer Whiplash After Collision Involving Self-Driving Car

July 17th, 2015 - By Tonya Garcia
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Google self-driving car

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt in a self-driving car in March. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Three Google employees suffered mild whiplash when the self-driving Lexus SUV they were in was rear-ended. The person who hit the Google car also says they had neck and back pain.

In Google’s home base of Mountain View, CA, 20 prototypes of the self-driving car have been motoring around in the testing phase, manned by staffers who can intervene in the case of an emergency and take notes about the car’s operation. The idea is that these cars will ultimately “be safer and more efficient than human drivers,” ABC News reports.

In this case, a report says the Google car approached a green light at an intersection where there was a traffic jam. A car hit the Google Lexus at about 17 miles per hour. Chris Urmson, who is Google’s director of the self-driving car project and wrote about the July 1 accident on Medium, says the driver of the other car never even hit the brake.

“Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road. That’s a big motivator for us,” writes Urmson. Here’s a reenactment of the accident.

There was no police report filed, which Urmson said is the case for 55 percent of all crashes. He says their cars have been hit 14 times since they started testing them in 2009, 11 times in rear-end collisions such as this one. “Our self-driving cars can pay attention to hundreds of objects at once, 360 degrees in all directions, and they never get tired, irritable or distracted,” he says.

On the other hand, we’re seeing more media reports about the attempts to crack down on distracted driving, particularly as a result of our preoccupation with our mobile devices, which can lead to damage, injury and death

So, would you trust a self-driving vehicle enough to ride in one? Or knowingly be on the road with them?

h/t Time

Who’s A Gorilla? 15 Times Google Really Messed Up

July 6th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Mistaking Black people for gorillas through its recognition app is just the most recent of Google fails. Check out some of the other times Google has had some serious explaining to do.

Google Apologizes For Tagging Pictures Of Black People As Gorillas

July 3rd, 2015 - By Madame Noire
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Ken Wolter /

Ken Wolter /

From BlackVoices

When Jacky Alciné checked his Google Photos app earlier this week, he noticed it labeled photos of himself and a friend, both black, as “gorillas.”

Yonatan Zunger, Google’s chief architect of social, responded on Twitter with a promise to fix the tag. The next day, USA Today reports, Google removed the “gorilla” tag completely.

“We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened,” Google spokeswoman Katie Watson said in a statement to BBC. “We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing. There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labeling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future.”

Read and see more about Google’s offense on

Behind The Click UPDATE: Partpic CEO Jewel Burks Wins $36,000 At 36|86 Pitch Contest

June 12th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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Welcome back to “Behind the Click,” the column in which we profile Black women in STEM professions. Want to pitch this section? Email

jewel burks



Name: Jewel Burks

Favorite read: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. A short book, but has been incredibly impactful to my life.

Recent read: The Innovators by Walter Isaacson. I’m reading Startup CEO by Matt Blumberg right now.

Favorite apps: Google Maps (because I’d be lost without it!), Venmo, Slack, Shazam, Twitter and Instagram.

Ultimate goal for 2015: My ultimate goal is for Partpic to reach $2 million in revenue.

Most inspired by: My family.

One quote that inspires you: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” – Prov. 3:5-6

Twitter handle: @jewelmelanie / @Partpic

Well-known technology website TechCrunch hosted its annual Disrupt competition last September. Among the 26 startups selected to participate in its San Francisco Battlefield was Partpic, an Atlanta-based visual recognition startup helps enterprise clients save time and money to find replacement parts. The co-founder and CEO Jewel Burks blazed the stage, garnering widespread support as the only African-American-led company pitching the panel of judges. [Update: PartPic won the 36|86 contest’s $36,000 grand prize, an award given from a public-private economic development group.]

“The judges were giving us great feedback and it went really well, so we had a good feeling about making it to the finals,” says Burks. “We didn’t win the Disrupt cup, but we did win an award [Best Enterprise Disrupter] from Accenture, which turned out to be another amazing thing for us because now we’re actually partnering with Accenture to work with some of their large clients, so that’s awesome.”

Here, we caught up with the Howard University grad to discuss tech entrepreneurship and diversity in tech.

MadameNoire: How did you get your start in the technology space?
Jewel Burks: I interned at Google in 2009 and fell in love with the tech industry.

MN: As a startup founder and CEO, what’s a day in the life for you?
JB: I wake up, I pray, check email and write a to-do list for the day. Then I get dressed, go to the office, eat breakfast, and usually alternate between meetings with potential investors/customers/team members and working through the items on my list. Typically in the evenings if I’m in Atlanta I’ll cook dinner, talk to family on the phone and continue to work. When I’m traveling, I’ll usually have events or dinners in the evenings, then I go to sleep. For some reason I can sleep much better when I’m on the road. When I’m at home, I usually stay up and work and have a hard time sleeping.

MN: There’s been a lot of conversation around diversity in technology throughout the year given big name tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter releasing their diversity data. As an African-American woman in tech, how has your experience been in maneuvering through the space?
JB: It wasn’t easy when I first started my career, because I had a hard time adjusting to living in Silicon Valley and honestly wasn’t mature enough (I was 21, 22 at the time) to battle through it. I ended up leaving and moving to Atlanta to be closer to family and friends.

Now I have grown up and have much tougher skin. It is still frustrating knowing that Partpic has defensible technology, huge market potential, a qualified team and we have had such a hard time with fundraising, but I don’t get discouraged because I have faith we will make it. I’m also fortunate because I’m in a unique position to participate in and change the narrative about diversity in tech so that it won’t be as hard for the people of color coming up next.

A shot of Burks at TechCrunch Disrupt

A shot of Burks at TechCrunch Disrupt

MN: What will it take to bridge the current tech-talent pipeline issue?
JB: There are a lot of things that have to be done but here are my top three:

1) Early exposure to tech — I love the work Kimberly Bryant and others are doing to expose kids to coding at a young age and I have no doubt there will be more talented innovators and creators in the next generation.

2) Culture shift in the industry — Google has done some great work to bring ideas around unconscious bias to the forefront and this has to continue and expand. It’s great that more innovators will be prepared for roles in tech in the next generation but if they are subject to the biases that do exist and play a role in the lack of people of color in management then we’ll never see a real shift in the numbers.

3) More investment in people of color/women led startups — I’m seeing a lot of innovative startups (including my own) be denied investment while stupid copycat startups founded by people with no industry experience but the right “pedigree” get funded. More wealthy Black and Hispanic people need to become tech investors and actively write checks, and more White investors need to invest in women and people of color.

MN: Your startup is based in Atlanta, which has a burgeoning tech scene. What does the Atlanta tech scene offer tech entrepreneurs that San Francisco or New York City may not offer?
JB: Atlanta is a more supportive community. Since its still a relatively small scene, you can get to know the players and root for each other. For example, Mayor Kasim Reed sent out a tweet to cheer us on when we competed at TechCrunch Disrupt. I thought that was amazing and I doubt we’d get that type of love if we were in SF or NYC.

MN: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received or given?
JB: The most important part of your company will forever be the people. Your ability to execute will be tied to your ability to build a great team. Choose wisely, and don’t be afraid to fire when you’ve made selection mistake.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites