Senior vice president Pichai becomes Google’s CEO. Page:
A key part of this is Sundar Pichai. Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations.
A user reports that Google’s Photos app, a default on many new Android devices, backs up new photos even if the app is disabled. The issue occurs when users enable the backup feature on their devices, then remove the app – new photos are still sent to Google’s servers, and are visible if the Photos app is reinstalled by the user at a later time. When he contacts the company they say:
The backup was as intended.
Google apologises for its photo recognition software mislabelling a black couple as being “gorillas”.
We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened, 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 labelling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future. [The Company is] also working on longer-term fixes around both linguistics – words to be careful about in photos of people – and image recognition itself – eg better recognition of dark-skinned faces.
At a shareholder’s meeting, Brin discloses that one of Google’s self-driving cars was rear-ended at a traffic signal during the past week. The cars have been involved in 12 accidents while covering more than 1.7 million miles over the past six years.
I’m very proud of the record of our cars. Our goal is to beat human drivers.
In response to a request by Consumer Watchdog’s Simpson that the company release the self-driving cars’ accident reports filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and other government agencies to give the public a better understanding of the risks posed by the vehicles, Brin says the documents wouldn’t disclose anything different from a summary that the company posted online three weeks ago. Google says its self-driving cars have been rear-ended eight times (including the most-recent accident), side-swiped twice and hit by another vehicle rolling through a stop sign. Simpson says the records would shed more light by at least revealing the dates, times and precise locations of each accident. Brin:
I suppose we could give more detail and we are open to that, but you are not going to learn anymore.
Fredinburg dies from head injuries after being hit by an avalanche. Other climbers with him are being treated at the Everest base camp. Google lawyer:
Dan Fredinburg, a long-time member of the Privacy organization in Mountain View, was in Nepal with three other Googlers, hiking Mount Everest. He has passed away. The other three Googlers with him are safe and we are working to get them home quickly. Google’s Crisis Response team has launched Person Finder for Nepal, and is working to get updated satellite imagery to aid in the recovery effort. Google.org is committing $1M to the response, and we’ll have gift-matching available soon.
Porat is hired as Google’s CFO, two weeks after the previous CFO, Patrick Pichette, announced his decision to retire from the role in a candid memo about work/life balance. She will start May 26. Page:
We’re tremendously fortunate to have found such a creative, experienced and operationally strong executive. I look forward to learning from Ruth as we continue to innovate in our core—from search and ads, to Android, Chrome and YouTube—as well as invest in a thoughtful, disciplined way in our next generation of big bets.
I’m delighted to be returning to my California roots and joining Google. Growing up in Silicon Valley, during my time at Morgan Stanley and as a member of Stanford’s Board, I’ve had the opportunity to experience first hand how tech companies can help people in their daily lives. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get started.
Wyler leaves Google to work with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. In his departure, he takes rights to certain radio spectrum that could be used to provide Internet access. This could hurt Google’s aspirations in this area in the short term, but there are many alternatives to spreading Internet connectivity globally.
Babak Parviz, Google X director and one of the creators of Google Glass, leaves to join Amazon. Amazon and Parviz both decline to comment about his role in the company.
Google pledges $50 million over the next three years into its Made With Code effort. The Company hopes to connect more girls to CS courses available through Khan Academy or Code academy. Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube says that less than 1% of high school girls expressed an interest in majoring in computer science.
Coding isn’t just a skill useful for working at a tech company; engineering isn’t just for engineers. Interior design. Medicine. Architecture. Music. No matter what a girl dreams of doing, learning how to code will help her get there.
Cook criticizes Google for not encouraging users to upgrade to a new version of Android. He says that nine out of ten iDevice users have upgraded to the latest version of iOS, but fewer than one out of ten Android users have the latest version, which introduces security risks:
This [upgrading] is particularly important for Android, which dominates the mobile malware market.
Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android Inc., decides to leave Android and work on other projects at Google. He is replaced by Sundar Pichar, one of the lead managers of Google Chrome’s development:
Having exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android—and with a really strong leadership team in place—Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google.