All Articles Tagged "Google"
Following Settlement Rejection, Apple & Google Return To Talks With Disgruntled Tech Workers In Hiring Class Action
Apple’s already getting enough bad press over the celebrity nude photo hack. Maybe by settling a mega class action lawsuit, they can help redeem themselves.
Tech companies have finally returned to the table to resume talks with suing workers over a hiring lawsuit. The companies — Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe — have returned to mediation talks with tech workers in a high-profile lawsuit over Silicon Valley hiring practices, according to a court filing.
The companies were accused of conspiring with each other to avoid hiring each other’s employees. The talks are continuing following a rejection by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, of a proposed $324.5 million settlement in the class action case. Koh said it was too low, and that due to the strength of the case the plaintiffs deserve more.
“Tech employees alleged that the conspiracy limited their job mobility and, as a result, kept a lid on salaries,” reports The Chicago Tribune. The case has been going on since 2011 and it has been followed closely because it could open the gate for other lawsuits. A class-action lawsuit over the lack of diversity in hiring the tech sector should probably have been expected given the industry’s acknowledged issues with hiring women and minorities.
The current case is based mainly on emails in which Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, former Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt, and some of their rivals came up with a scheme to avoid poaching each other’s prized employees, especially the engineers.
According to Koh, Jobs was probably the mastermind of the plan. She said when she rejected the settlement, that there was “substantial and compelling evidence” that Jobs “was a, if not the, central figure in the alleged conspiracy.”
A hearing is set for Sept. 10.
It is hard to keep Jesse Jackson quiet, especially when he is pushing a cause. And while a majority of Americans wishes he would just shut up, for the better part of this year Jackson has been talking nonstop about the lack of diversity in the tech sector. He has taken up an issue that many of the major tech companies — most notably Google, Yahoo, and Facebook — are now focused on as well, with Google and FB revealing their depressing diversity numbers. These revelations only blatantly illustrate the need for more people of color in Silicon Valley.
Earlier in the year, Jackson visited shareholder and executive meetings for Facebook, Google, and other firms during which he urged the companies to publicly release their EEO-1 documents. “The federally mandated forms require firms to disclose the breakdown of their workforce by race, ethnicity and gender. Intel and H-P had been in the practice of sharing their data,” reports Target Market News.
Recently, Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition wrapped up its 43rd annual conference in Chicago by announcing it plans to continue its current drive to increase diversity among technology firms.
David C. Drummond, Google Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, attended the PUSH conference, and he introduced Google’s initiatives to address the company’s commitment diversity.
Rainbow Push and Google disclosed they will use the new Rainbow PUSH video as part of an upcoming joint PUSH-Google Community Empowerment and Education event in Atlanta in mid-August. The focus of the event will be to gather community and educational leaders, and create a pipeline to the technology industry.
“We have a lot of work to do when it comes to diversity in our workforce,” said Google’s Drummond, who is African American. “We’re committed to working with civic, community and education groups and leaders like Rev. Jackson to turn these gaps into new bridges of opportunity.”
“Google prides themselves on moonshot thinking,” said Rev. Jackson. “And the technology industry writ large prides themselves on innovation. It’s time to harness that moonshot thinking and innovation towards closing the gap when it comes to minorities and technology. We look forward to working together with Google and other tech companies across America to raise the employment of African Americans in technology to achieve parity with their consumer market and population.”
Google really wants to pull users away from Apple and Amazon and it’s beefed up its effort to do so by buying Songza, an online radio service that predicts the kinds of songs users may want to hear next.
“Today, Songza is the latest example of the escalation of the race among the world’s largest tech companies to dominate the streaming space: Google purchased the company for an undisclosed sum. The total is said to be significantly more than the $15 million number reported last month before the deal was finalized,” reports Forbes.
Google wanted Songza mainly for its focus on context service.
“We’re moving to a time when context is king, when people don’t have to find things,” Songza Chief Executive Elias Roman said in an interview with CNET News. Google’s takeover comes at an important time in that shift, he said. “Technology is about to work a lot harder for us. It’s a cool thing to be a small part of that.”
Based in New York, Songza is a free service with a focus on delivering music appropriate for the particular listener at the time of listening. Other music-on demand services from Beats and Spotify only offer already curated playlists but they promise paying subscribers large, on-demand catalogs of songs without ads.
Here’s how Songza works differently: While it focuses on curated playlists, these playlists are crafted for specific activities or occasions, “which Songza then suggests to specific listeners based on seven points of context: day of week, time of day, the device used being used, weather, location, what the particular listener has done before considering those previous five points, and then what all other Songza listeners have done before given those five points,” reports CNet. So Songza collects data about future habits and then anticipate what songs listeners want.
“There are very few services that people want to tell exactly what they’re doing at any given moment,” Roman said. “The thing that’s really important is the ability to use data in a way that makes people’s lives better.”
Google isn’t the only company revving up its streaming-music offerings. Apple bought Beats Electronics, including the subscription streaming service Beats Music, then Amazon launched a streaming-music service called Prime Music as part of its $99-a-year Prime membership program.
There are moves even within the Google organization–YouTube is expected to launch its own streaming service this summer.
The latest diversity numbers out of Silicon Valley prove just the opposite — a lack of diversity. There is a lack of people of color and a lack of women. But according to U.S. Department of Labor projects by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. And in order to achieve gender parity by 2020, the tech sector must fill half of these positions, or 700,000 computing jobs, with women.
To do this, young women must be trained. And Google, whose ranks sorely need women and techies of color, has launched Made with Code, an initiative to help boost the numbers of women in tech.
And Google posted the announcement on its official blog. On which YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki shared a common concern of many women in tech: that there are “far too few young girls” pursuing such careers. And in fact, less than one percent of high school girls, she said, are interested in majoring in computer science. (YouTube is a division of Google.)
“This is an issue that hits home for me,” Wojcicki said. “My school-age daughter instinctively knows how to play games, watch videos and chat with friends online. She understands technology. And she likes using technology. But she never expressed any interest in creating it herself.”
Made with Code aims to inspire girls to code and offers introductory coding projects. The company has committed $50 million over three years to support programs push to get more women into computer science.
Made with Code was launched with partners Chelsea Clinton, Mindy Kaling, MIT Media Lab and the National Center for Women & Information Technology, among others, reports The Los Angeles Times. The program will also collaborate with organizations such as the Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls Inc.
Update: Google has released its diversity numbers and… well… they’re not so diverse. Only two percent of the company’s staff are black, three percent are Hispanic and 30 percent are women. A third of the workforce is Asian. The gender data is based on the 44,000 global Google staffers, not including the Motorola Mobility staff in China. The racial information is based on the 26,600 workers here in the US.
The numbers are part of a report that Google files with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, however the numbers don’t have to be made public. Google is doing so in an effort to be more transparent about diversity at the company and, ultimately, change. Not only does the company say that it wants to become more diverse internally, but it has donated $40 million to bring computer science to women and girls more broadly since 2010. They’re also taking their efforts to HBCUs to raise the level of computer science education on campus. And they’re partnering with the Kapor Center for Social Impact, a group dedicated to gender and ethnic diversity in Silicon Valley, for a conference focused on the topic.
“But we’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” said SVP Lazlo Block in a blog entry.
“Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world. Inclusion is a complex problem — if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has made diversity in Silicon Valley a touch point in his activism of late.
Apple, Twitter and Microsoft did not respond with a comment to the AP when asked whether they would also disclose this information. HP has made this info public since 2001, with its most recent Global Citizenship Report saying that seven percent of its US workforce is black. (The company has 331,800 staffers globally.) About the same percentage of tech workers nationally are black or Hispanic.
Update by Tonya Garcia
Original story posted May 18, 2014
Google wants you to know just how diverse its workforce is. It is set to release statistics proving the diversity of its workforce for the first time. This comes during an increased pressure on the technology sector to be more inclusive.
It’s not that Google is doing anything different. The documentation is all part of a report that major U.S. employers are required to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They aren’t required, however, to make the info publicly available, which Google plans on doing.
In the past the company has failed to share the diversity data, but it has had a change of heart. The news of the data release came from David Drummond, an African-American executive who oversees Google’s public policies, during the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting at its headquarters in Mountain View.
“Many companies in [Silicon Valley] have been reluctant to divulge that data, including Google, and, quite frankly, we are wrong about that,” Drummond said. The information will be made public next month.
As we reported, the Rev. Jesse Jackson has been targeting tech firms to increase diversity in their ranks. And at Google’s annual meeting he urged Google to spearhead the effort to employ more African-Americans, Latinos and women in technology. Jackson is praising Google, which employs nearly 50,000 people, for its transparency.
Much still needs to be done to increase diversity in tech. Only about seven percent of tech workers are black or Latino, both in Silicon Valley and nationally even though blacks and Hispanics make up 13.1 and 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, according to the most recent Census data.
Drummond assured Jackson that Google will do its part. “We are not doing enough and we can do a lot better,” he said.
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt also announced they will look for women and minority candidates when there is another opening on its board of directors, reports The Huffington Post. Currently there are three women and a native of India on Google’s 10-member board.
Google brand value jumped 40 percent to $159 billion, pushing it above Apple and making it the most valuable brand in the world according to the BrandZ ranking. This breaks a three-year streak for Apple, which is now the second most valuable brand around.
Apple’s brand value slipped 20 percent to $148 billion.
“Google has been hugely innovative in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars,” Nick Cooper, managing director of Millward Brown Optimor, told Ad Age. Millward Brown Optimor compiled the list.
Basically, Google has been out there inventing new things, applying its technology in new and novel ways and Apple has seemed stagnant. Sure, there’s a new iPhone on the horizon, but there’s been nothing game-changing for some time. They can use some fresh ideas and a brand boost, which is why some suspect the Apple/Beats deal came to be.
Rounding out the top five most valuable brands in order are:
-IBM, down from last year by four percent and valued at $107.5 billion
-Microsoft, up 29 percent and valued at $90.2 billion
-McDonald’s, down five percent and with a brand value of $87.5 billion
The BrandZ ranking, which is commissioned by marketing powerhouse WPP, is in its ninth year. The full list is available here.
The tech and music worlds collided last week with news that Apple was pursuing an acquisition of Beats Electronics (commonly referred to as “Beats by Dre”) for $3.2 billion. Neither party has confirmed the deal, despite a video “confirmation” that surfaced of rapper-turned-headphone maker Dr. Dre with his friend and R&B crooner Tyrese Gibson. (The video has been removed, but you can still see it here.)
“First billionaire in hip-hop, right here on the m****rf***** west coast,” the mogul says to the camera. While this is a landmark deal, which will bump Dre up from the second richest hip-hop artist in the world to the first, the acquisition may not be enough to land the artist in the billionaire boys club. According to Forbes, Dre owns approximately 20 to 25 percent of Beats shares, placing his stake at $2 billion. A $3.2 billion sale would double his stake and increase his net worth by $800 million after capital gains taxes, according to Tech Times. That’s $200 million short of billionaire status.
While we’re only in May, this is panning out to be a great year in tech acquisitions. Here, we highlight several noteworthy tech deals that kicked off 2014.
Tech giant Google could be going lo-fi with their first brick-and-mortar retail shop in New York City, Entrepreneur reports. How cool would it be to buy a t-shirt with the Chrome logo? Actually… don’t answer that.
Rumor has it that Google will be settling down near the Apple Store located in SoHo, a neighborhood located in lower Manhattan. If this were true, it would be a perfect way for Google to gain ground on Apple’s competitive edge. “Apple has had a long history of pulling in revenue due to tangible goods: iPods, iPads, MacBooks, Apple computers etc. Google, on the other hand, has made its fortunes through digital advertising. So this makes it hard for “consumers to picture what exactly Google wants to plug beyond its much-hyped Glass,” SFGate says.
“Twenty percent off all search algorithms, this weekend only!” SFGate joked, mocking Google’s rumored move to retail.
Google’s got a pretty impressive product inventory: Wallet, Nexus line, Chromebooks, Chromecast, Google TV. Plus, Google Glass and a smartwatch are in the works — Google is strategically trying to reposition itself as a company that has stuff to sell to shoppers. So why not create a physical space for customers to engage with the devices and inquire about the specs?
“Being associated with retail is very important to Google’s growth,” said Carol Spieckerman, president of Newmarketbuilders retail consulting firm. “The company needs to accelerate the shift in consumer perceptions that it is more than just a search engine.”
And Google is taking it’s sweet ol’ time with its possible transition into retail, a good thing because retail ain’t easy. These tech experts, while they may be top-of-the-line engineers, need to have a good grasp of “real estate, merchandising, inventory management, and hiring and training salespeople,” SFGate says.
Last week, Crain’s New York reported that Google has already leased an 8,000-square-foot space, located on 131 Greene Street, for their first store, but the Wall Street Journal squashed that rumor calling it “absolutely false.”
That’s too bad. “Greene Street would be an auspicious place to open a store,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairwoman at New York’s Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Because the running joke among NYC real estate circles is that Greene Street ““is where the green is found.”
Wouldn’t you like to work at Google?! Executives there were given $9.5 million in cash bonuses for 2013, according to a Google filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Of course, the bonuses didn’t go to everyone. Google’s chief financial officer, Patrick Pichette, had his bonus increased to $3 million from $2.8 million, reports The Wall Street Journal. Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora got a $3.5 million bonus, an increase from last year’s $2.8 million, and Chief Legal Officer David C. Drummond received a bonus of $3 million. The African-American exec saw his bonus drop from down from $3.3 million in the prior year.
Chief Executive and co-founder Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin didn’t receive cash bonuses.
“Last month, Google disclosed in a regulatory filing that it awarded $100 million in restricted stock to Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt, as well as a cash bonus of $6 million,” reports WSJ. He had also earned a $6 million cash bonus last year that was tied to the company’s fiscal 2012 performance.
Bonuses will be issued on March 14, according to the filing.
Google is doling out bonuses even though many in the industry say the move toward using mobile devices to access the in Internet instead of desktop computers will hurt the firm’s money-making search business.
Despite concerns, Google’s doing well for the time being. Its shares rose 46 percent in the last 12 months.
Separately but related, Google is rolling out a new look for its searches and ads, as you may have noticed. This desktop redesign catches up with the look that was introduced for the mobile platform a few months back. Mashable says it’s an effort to make things uniform across platforms.
If you are like most people, spam is one of the most annoying aspects of emails. Google has just made it easier for its Gmail users to go nearly spam free. The tech giant has introduced an unsubscribe button.
The new button will be at the top of promotional messages users receive. Click the button and Gmail will try to make sure you no longer receive material from that sender, according to Google.
This way users don’t have to search through the email for a way to “unsubscribe” or to go to the companies’ websites to fill out forms to unsubscribe, reports The Los Angeles Times.
But Google does warn users that the process might not be immediate. “Keep in mind that mailing lists may take up to three days to process your unsubscription request, so it may take a few days for you to stop receiving mail from the list,” Google said.
But the process will be easier. “Google will do all the dirty work for you of contacting the email list curator and telling that person or robot to please stop sending emails to this address immediately,” reports Tech Times.
Also, the unsubscribe option won’t be available for every list.
How many lists are you unsubscribing to?