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Linux.Slashdot.org - 34 min 1 sec ago
Categories: Linux

Building on our workplace commitmentsBuilding on our workplace commitmentsVP

GoogleBlog - 58 min 13 sec ago

Editor’s Note: The following email was sent to the company today from Eileen Naughton, VP of People Operations. 

Hi Googlers,

Over the past several years, we have been taking a harder line on inappropriate conduct, and have worked to provide better support to the people who report it. Protecting our workplace and culture means getting both of these things right, and in recent years we’ve worked hard to set and uphold higher standards for the whole company. Thank you for your clear feedback as we’ve advanced this work.

The changes we’ve made to build a more equitable and respectful workplace include overhauling the way we handle and investigate employee concerns, introducing new care programs for employees who report concerns, and making arbitration optional for Google employees.

In late 2018, Alphabet’s Board responded to employee concerns by overseeing a comprehensive review of policies and practices related to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation. An independent committee of the Board also reviewed claims raised by shareholders in early 2019 about past workplace misconduct issues. Today we’re committing to five guiding principles and a list of detailed changes to our workplace policies and practices agreed to by the committee. These principles and improvements incorporate input from both employees and shareholders. 

Below are some of the key changes we’re making.

  • We’re setting up a new DEI Advisory Council to advise on and oversee these efforts, with experts Judge Nancy Gertner (retired), Grace Speights, and Fred Alvarez joining Sundar, Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker, SVP of Global Affairs Kent Walker, and SVP of Core Jen Fitzpatrick. They will report to the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee of the Board (LDCC) on a quarterly basis on the company’s progress against these commitments.

  • We’re building on our current practice of prohibiting severance for anyone terminated for any form of misconduct, and expanding the prohibition to anyone who is the subject of a pending investigation for sexual misconduct or retaliation. Managers will also receive guidance instructing them on how misconduct should impact an employee's performance evaluation, compensation decisions, and promotion outcomes. 

  • If there are allegations against any executives, a specialist team will be assigned and the results of any case will be reported to the Board’s Audit Committee.

  • We’ll ensure that $310 million in funding goes toward diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programs focused on increasing access to computer science education and careers; continuing to build a more representative workforce; fostering a respectful, equitable and inclusive workplace culture; and helping businesses from underrepresented groups to succeed in the digital economy and tech industry.

Other Bets are required to adhere to our new principles too. Changes they are making now include making arbitration optional for all employees, temporary staff, vendors, and independent contractors for individual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation disputes with Alphabet; as well as following the new Alphabet model for executive investigations. Every Alphabet company (including Google and all Other Bets) will be required to undertake an annual review of their own individual policies and practices to ensure they are consistent with Alphabet’s guiding principles in this area.

Together, Sundar, the DEI Advisory Council, and the Board will uphold Alphabet’s unwavering commitment to prohibit and respond effectively to complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Recent years have involved a lot of introspection and work to make sure we’re providing a safe and inclusive workplace for every employee. That doesn’t stop here and you’ll receive reports on our progress as we move forward. I’m grateful to everyone, especially our employees and shareholders, for providing us with feedback, and for making sure that the way we tackle these vital issues is better today than it was in the past.


We’re committing to five guiding principles and a list of detailed changes to our workplace policies and practices agreed to an independent committee of the Board.
Categories: Technology

The rise and fall and rise again of “now more than ever”The rise and fall and rise again of “now more than ever”

GoogleBlog - 1 hour 9 min ago

One of my favorite Google tools is the Google Books Ngram Viewer, or “Ngrams.” Originally created in 2009 by part of the Google Books team, Ngrams shows how books and other pieces of literature have used certain words or phrases over time. You can chart the rise (and fall) of colloquialisms like “sockdollager” or “take the egg”—or even “that slaps.” 

“Ngrams simply aggregates the use of words or phrases across the entire Google Books dataset,” says Michael Ballbach, a software engineer who works on Google Books. “It then allows users to graph the usage of those words or phrases through time.” Each word being searched is a “gram” that the tool searches across its database. 

Ngrams’s capabilities have grown recently, thanks to an update in 2019 that added approximately 19 million more books to its dataset. “For the English language corpus, that adds trillions of words,” Michael says. For context, that’s roughly the equivalent of three million copies of “War and Peace!”

But there’s one phrase—er, four grams—that’s been surfacing more and more during these...challenging, unprecedented, uncertain, unusual times that I’m particularly interested in: “Now more than ever.” 

Perhaps you’ve even noticed it? “Now more than ever” has invaded our vernacular; in fact, I’m sure you’ve read it (or a similar phrase) in a Keyword post or two. So I decided to dive into Ngrams to see if “now more than ever” is showing up...now more than ever. While we’re currently experiencing a spike, there have been others: In the early 1940s, around 1915-1920 and in 1866. Between 1805-1809 it was particularly high—nearly as high as it is today.  

And then of course there was the banner year of 1752, when things peaked for “now more than ever.” 

Today, as we’re living through a pandemic, wildfires, racial injustice and so, so much more, it feels obvious why we’re increasingly saying and hearing “now more than ever,” but what about back then? What things made people feel like everything had a certain crucialness? 

While the Ngrams team doesn’t investigate the causes of the booms and busts of words and phrases, for this particular exercise, I thought a little about what could have possibly been happening during these periods of “now more than ever.” I can imagine in the 1940s, World War II changed the lives of people everwhere. 1915-1920 was marked by World War I—and of course, the influenza pandemic of 1918. In 1866, the United States was emerging from civil war. 1805 to 1809 was a heady time for the young U.S. government.

“If you have the time or inclination, you can use Books Search to try and get some insights,” Michael explains. So I plugged in “now more than ever,” searched under Books, and toggled the time settings for 1751 to 1753 to try and see if I could glean anything about the peak year of 1752. And while I can’t say I know what about that time really pushed the “now more than everness,” a handful of British literary journals were definitely using the phrase. 

But things don’t stay at a “now more than ever” pitch. From 1955 to 1996, “now more than ever” was relatively uncommon, before climbing steeply up through the late 90s and early aughts to today. 

Maybe you, like me, may find some comfort in knowing that this moment in time—as unprecedented, challenging and uncertain as it may be—is not the only one in which everything is “now more than ever.” Maybe you, too, can appreciate the light Ngrams sheds on the lives of the words we choose. 

“I think that language is evolving just like society is evolving. That is, language is a reflection of the society that used it, and vice versa,” Michael says. “How the use of language changes over time reflects at least some of the changes taking place in the wider world. Having better tools to look at one can hopefully lead to insights in the other.” 

And if you’re feeling very “now more than ever,” just remember: This too shall pass

Feel like you’re hearing now more than ever now...more than ever? We used Google Books Ngram Viewer to chart the phrase.
Categories: Technology

Google To Increase Push for Apps To Give Cut of In-App Purchases

Slashdot.org - 1 hour 43 min ago
Google plans to push harder for developers to give the company a cut of in-app purchases through its Play app store, according to people with knowledge of the move. From a report: The Alphabet unit plans to issue updated guidelines as early as next week that clarify a requirement for most apps to use Google's billing service for in-app content downloads, game upgrades and subscriptions. This system gives the company a 30% cut of purchases inside of apps on Android. While this requirement has existed for years, some major developers including Netflix, Spotify, Match Group and Epic Games, have circumvented the rule. Netflix and Spotify apps prompt consumers to pay using a credit card, rather than their Play app store account, bypassing Google's fee. Last year, Match Group's Tinder dating app launched a similar payment process. More recently, Epic Games started letting players buy in-game upgrades for its Fortnite video game via a method that paid Epic directly. In response, Google and Apple pulled Fortnite from their app stores and Epic sued both tech giants.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Windows XP Source Code Leaked

Slashdot.org - 2 hours 23 min ago
Artem S. Tashkinov writes: Gizmodo Australia reports: On Thursday, users on 4chan posted what they claimed was the source code of Windows XP. Posting an image of a screenshot allegedly of the source code in front of Window's XP iconic Bliss background, one user wrote 'sooooo Windows XP Source code leaked'. Another Redditor helpfully has uploaded the code as a torrent, assisting in its spread. While there is no confirmation that this code is definitely Windows XP, independent researchers have begun to pick through the source code and believe it stands up to scrutiny. The Windows XP source code is not the only code which might have leaked. A screenshot of the torrent files contains files and folders named, Xbox, Windows Research Kernel, MS DOS 6.0, Windows NT 3.5 and 4 source code, Windows Embedded and CE and many others. If true, that could spell a disaster for Microsoft because large chunks of Windows XP source code are still used in Windows 10, and as for Open Source, this leak could become a boom for Wine development because Microsoft is notorious for having a great number of internal APIs and various hacks in their APIs which make it difficult to reimplement them properly.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

EU's Vestager Appeals Court Veto of $15 Billion Apple Tax Order

Slashdot.org - 2 hours 57 min ago
EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Friday appealed a court ruling dismissing her order to iPhone maker Apple to pay 13 billion euros ($15 billion) in Irish back taxes, a landmark case in the European Commission's crackdown against sweetheart tax deals. From a report: The Luxembourg-based General Court in July scrapped the Commission's 2016 ruling, saying that EU competition enforcers had not met the requisite legal standard to show that Apple had enjoyed an unfair advantage. Vestager said the case was important, a sign that her drive to get multinationals pay their fair share of taxes would continue unabated. "The General Court judgment raises important legal issues that are of relevance to the Commission in its application of State aid rules to tax planning cases," she said in a statement.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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