All Articles Tagged "Google"
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.
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?
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.”
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?
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.
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 BlackVoices.com
Welcome back to “Behind the Click,” the column in which we profile Black women in STEM professions. Want to pitch this section? Email email@example.com.
Name: Jewel Burks
Favorite read: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. A short book, but has been incredibly impactful to my life.
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
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.
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.
Now that millennials are the largest demographic in the workforce, where exactly do they want to work? The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) most recent survey found that millennials are most seeking employment at Google, which came as no surprise. The tech giant is known for treating its employees well, offering perks on top of perks.
The survey also found that millennials are interested in working in the healthcare industry, specifically in pediatric treatment and research hospitals. The CEO of the NSHSS, James Lewis, says the reason millennials are interested in health care is because of this particular generation’s focus on serving others.
This survey was completed by NSHSS members: 49 percent of the members identify as non-white and the entire membership has a minimum grade point average of 3.5. Members are inducted in high school and receive a lifetime membership. NSHSS was created by Claes Nobel who is a relative of Alfred Nobel, creator of the laudable Nobel Peace Prize. In its top 25 list, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis ranked in third place, Health Care Service Corp., the nation’s largest customer-owned health insurer was placed in the ninth place and Mayo Clinic in 14th place.
As for technology companies, Microsoft jumped from 11th place to the 7th, Intel is now in the 24th place and Dell went up 38 ranks to the 27th placement for millennials. Surprisingly, federal government agencies such as the FBI, NSA and CIA made the list despite the historic stigma that surrounds each agency. Lewis reported on this new development: “These millennials want to protect our country. With an organization like the NSA, they’re not running from it but instead saying, ‘Let’s get in there and fix the problem.’”
Here is the top 10 list:
2. Walt Disney Company
3. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
6. Local hospital
9. Health Care Service Corp.
10. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
For the complete list, click to Forbes.
There are already services on the market such as Venmo (which is owned by PayPal) that let you pay for things using your smartphone. Now Google will give consumers more options as it plans to introduce an array of payment products, including a peer-to-peer service that will enable money transfers between people directly from their smartphones, The New York Times reports.
Android Pay will be a mobile payments API that allows third party apps to complete payments directly through their apps. Google already has its mobile payment product, Google Wallet, but experts say that can be integrated with apps that use Google Wallet. And in February, Google announced it would be separate from Google Wallet.
This move will give Google access to the mobile payments industry, one that is expected to reach $142 billion by 2019, according to a Forrester Research report cited by the NYT.
Google is showing that it is trying to work on its diversity problem. Google is giving its employees 20 percent free time to come up with ways to increase the diversity of its workforce. The free time concept isn’t anything new at the company. The company has given 20 percent free time to workers to allow them to work on innovative side projects. But the new version of this perk is a little different as Google has come up with a problem to solve–how to get more minority workers at Google.
“Diversity Core is a formal program in which Google employees contribute one-fifth of their time to initiatives aimed at attracting more women and minorities and creating a more welcoming culture for them — both at Google and in the tech industry,” reports USA Today.
Diversity Core seems to be in full swing as about 500 employees in 53 offices have participating. In all, Google plans on spending $150 million this year alone to make its workforce and the tech industry more diverse.
“We want all Googlers to care about diversity, not just the leadership or the diverse population,” Nancy Lee, Google’s vice president of people operations, says. “You have to figure out: Where’s the tipping point to changing the culture?”
“It institutionalizes this conversation about diversity so that it’s not just seen as an extra or as an after thought but something that is built into the company itself with senior leadership buy-in,” Brack says. “Google is not only leveraging the innovative thinking and brain power that it is known for, it’s allowing people to work on something they care about without having to stack it on top of everything else they do.”