Author Archives: Sundar Pichai

Extending our voluntary return to office

Our CEO, Sundar Pichai, sent the following email to Google employees earlier this morning. The email has been edited to remove internal links.

Hi Googlers,

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a humbling challenge for all of us and I continue to be impressed by the way our teams are navigating through it. In spite of these challenges, I’m happy to say that a large number of offices globally are already open for business, and we are welcoming back tens of thousands of Googlers on a voluntary basis. Given that conditions around the world are still highly variable, I wanted to share how we’re planning to approach the next few months:

  • First, as offices continue to reopen, we hope to see more teams coming together where possible, whether it be for regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions around a whiteboard, or outdoor socials. For some locations, conditions are starting to improve, yet in many parts of the world the pandemic continues to create uncertainty. Acknowledging that, we’ll extend our global voluntary return-to-office policy through January 10, 2022 to give more Googlers flexibility and choice as they ramp back. 

  • Beyond January 10, we will enable countries and locations to make determinations on when to end voluntary work-from-home based on local conditions, which vary greatly across our offices. To make sure everyone has ample time to plan, you’ll have a 30-day heads-up before you’re expected back in the office.

  • Finally, encouraging Googlers to rest and recharge during this time remains a big priority so we will plan two more global reset days next quarter: Oct 22 and Dec 17. 

The road ahead may be a little longer and bumpier than we hoped, yet I remain optimistic that we will get through it together. It’s heartening to see Googlers starting to come back to more offices globally. The ability to reconnect in person has been re-energizing for many of us, and will make us even more effective in the weeks and months ahead. Thanks for all the great work thus far; look forward to a busy Q4 as we continue to find new ways to be helpful to people everywhere. 

-Sundar

Vaccines and our return-to-office plans

Sundar sent the following email to Google employees earlier this morning. The email has been edited to remove internal links. 

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all taking good care. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve put the wellbeing of our Google community front and center. We’ve done this while also taking care of our customers and partners, launching over 200 new products and features to help people and businesses navigate this difficult time. 

In March of 2020, we made the early decision to send employees home to slow down the spread of COVID. Since then, we’ve extended our Carer’s Leave coverage to help employees care for loved ones. We’ve continued to cover the full wages of on campus workers who couldn't perform their jobs because of office closures. And, we’ve made sure that Googlers and our extended workforce have access to vaccines as soon as they are available locally. Additionally, thanks to the generosity of Googlers and support from Google.org, we've helped Gavi to fully vaccinate over 1 million people in low-and middle-income countries globally. 

Even as the virus continues to surge in many parts of the world, it’s encouraging to see very high vaccination rates for our Google community in areas where vaccines are widely available. This is a big reason why we felt comfortable opening some of our offices to employees who wanted to return early. And I have to say it’s been great to see Googlers brainstorming around whiteboards and enjoying meals in cafes again in the many offices that have already re-opened globally. 

Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead. As we look toward a global return to our offices, I wanted to share two key updates:

  • First, anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated. We’re rolling this policy out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months. The implementation will vary according to local conditions and regulations, and will not apply until vaccines are widely available in your area. You’ll get guidance from your local leads about how this will affect you, and we’ll also share more details on an exceptions process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other protected reasons.

  • Second, we are extending our global voluntary work-from-home policy through October 18.We are excited that we’ve started to re-open our campuses and encourage Googlers who feel safe coming to sites that have already opened to continue doing so. At the same time, we recognize that many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office. This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it. We’ll continue watching the data carefully and let you know at least 30 days in advance before transitioning into our full return to office plans. For those of you with special circumstances, we will soon be sharing expanded temporary work options that will allow you to apply to work from home through the end of 2021. We’re also extending Expanded Carer’s Leave through the end of the year for parents and caregivers.

I know that many of you continue to deal with very challenging circumstances related to the pandemic. While there is much that remains outside of our control, I’m proud of the way we continue to take care of each other while helping people, businesses and communities through these difficult times.  

I hope these steps will give everyone greater peace of mind as offices reopen. Seeing Googlers together in the offices these past few weeks filled me with optimism, and I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead. 

-Sundar

A new Android smartphone and 5G partnership with Jio

Editor’s note: Today, we announced the next steps in our partnership with Jio Platforms, including a new, affordable Jio smartphone built with an optimized version of Android OS and a new 5G collaboration powered by Google Cloud. The following is adapted from remarks delivered by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, at Reliance Industries’ Annual General Meeting today.


Thank you to everyone at Reliance Industries for all you do for India — from investing in infrastructure and technology to creating jobs and expanding opportunity to supporting communities in need, especially in this difficult moment for the country.


It’s been devastating to see the country hit so hard by COVID-19. Yet it’s heartening to see how Reliance has stepped up to contribute to the national response and get support to the communities that need it most. On behalf of all of us at Google: We hope you are taking care and we are wishing for better days ahead.


For Google, the past year has brought renewed purpose and greater urgency to our mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. At a time when so many aspects of our lives and work are moving online, it’s even more important to make technology accessible and helpful for everyone. 


This goal is at the heart of our partnership with Reliance Jio. I was proud to help launch this partnership last year. It was the first and biggest equity investment from the ₹75,000 crore ($10 billion) Google for India Digitization Fund.


Our vision was to bring affordable access to information for Indians in their own language, to build new products and services for India’s unique needs, and to empower businesses with technology.


I’m excited that today, we can announce the next steps in this vision, starting with a new, affordable Jio smartphone, created with Google. Our teams have optimized a version of our Android OS especially for this device. It will offer language and translation features, a great camera, and support for the latest Android updates.


It is built for India and it will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the very first time. And we can’t wait to show you the device later this year.


I’m also proud to announce that we are taking our collaboration further with a new 5G partnership between Google Cloud and Jio.


It will help more than a billion Indians connect to a faster and better internet, support businesses in their digital transformation, and help Jio build new services in sectors like health, education and more — laying a foundation for the next phase of India’s digitization.  

As part of this collaboration, Reliance will also shift its core retail businesses to Google Cloud’s infrastructure. They will be able take advantage of Google’s AI and machine learning, e-commerce, and demand forecasting offerings. Harnessing the reliability and performance of Google Cloud will enable these businesses to scale up as needed to respond to customer demand. 

Empowering businesses as they embark on their digital transformation is a key part of our mission in India, and I’m excited for the innovations this partnership will help unleash. We are proud to play a part in India’s next wave of technological innovation. 


Helping to connect 1.3 billion Indians to the opportunities the internet creates is meaningful to all of us at Google — and certainly to me personally. I know that with greater access to smartphones and improved connectivity, there’s no limit to what India’s people can do. 


We look forward to getting technology into the hands of more people and to exploring what more we can achieve together in the years ahead. 

Source: Android


Google I/O 2021: Being helpful in moments that matter

It’s great to be back hosting our I/O Developers Conference this year. Pulling up to our Mountain View campus this morning, I felt a sense of normalcy for the first time in a long while. Of course, it’s not the same without our developer community here in person. COVID-19 has deeply affected our entire global community over the past year and continues to take a toll. Places such as Brazil, and my home country of India, are now going through their most difficult moments of the pandemic yet. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by COVID and we are all hoping for better days ahead.

The last year has put a lot into perspective. At Google, it’s also given renewed purpose to our mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. We continue to approach that mission with a singular goal: building a more helpful Google, for everyone. That means being helpful to people in the moments that matter and giving everyone the tools to increase their knowledge, success, health and happiness. 

Helping in moments that matter

Sometimes it’s about helping in big moments, like keeping 150 million students and educators learning virtually over the last year with Google Classroom. Other times it’s about helping in little moments that add up to big changes for everyone. For example, we’re introducing safer routing in Maps. This AI-powered capability in Maps can identify road, weather and traffic conditions where you are likely to brake suddenly; our aim is to reduce up to 100 million events like this every year. 

Reimagining the future of work

One of the biggest ways we can help is by reimagining the future of work. Over the last year, we’ve seen work transform in unprecedented ways, as offices and coworkers have been replaced by kitchen countertops and pets. Many companies, including ours, will continue to offer flexibility even when it’s safe to be in the same office again. Collaboration tools have never been more critical, and today we announced a new smart canvas experience in Google Workspace that enables even richer collaboration. 

GIF of Smart Canvas integration with Google Meet

 Smart Canvas integration with Google Meet

Responsible next-generation AI

We’ve made remarkable advances over the past 22 years, thanks to our progress in some of the most challenging areas of AI, including translation, images and voice. These advances have powered improvements across Google products, making it possible to talk to someone in another language using Assistant’s interpreter mode, view cherished memories on Photos or use Google Lens to solve a tricky math problem. 

We’ve also used AI to improve the core Search experience for billions of people by taking a huge leap forward in a computer’s ability to process natural language. Yet, there are still moments when computers just don’t understand us. That’s because language is endlessly complex: We use it to tell stories, crack jokes and share ideas — weaving in concepts we’ve learned over the course of our lives. The richness and flexibility of language make it one of humanity’s greatest tools and one of computer science’s greatest challenges. 

Today I am excited to share our latest research in natural language understanding: LaMDA. LaMDA is a language model for dialogue applications. It’s open domain, which means it is designed to converse on any topic. For example, LaMDA understands quite a bit about the planet Pluto. So if a student wanted to discover more about space, they could ask about Pluto and the model would give sensible responses, making learning even more fun and engaging. If that student then wanted to switch over to a different topic — say, how to make a good paper airplane — LaMDA could continue the conversation without any retraining.

This is one of the ways we believe LaMDA can make information and computing radically more accessible and easier to use (and you can learn more about that here). 

We have been researching and developing language models for many years. We’re focused on ensuring LaMDA meets our incredibly high standards on fairness, accuracy, safety and privacy, and that it is developed consistently with our AI Principles. And we look forward to incorporating conversation features into products like Google Assistant, Search and Workspace, as well as exploring how to give capabilities to developers and enterprise customers.

LaMDA is a huge step forward in natural conversation, but it’s still only trained on text. When people communicate with each other they do it across images, text, audio and video. So we need to build multimodal models (MUM) to allow people to naturally ask questions across different types of information. With MUM you could one day plan a road trip by asking Google to “find a route with beautiful mountain views.” This is one example of how we’re making progress towards more natural and intuitive ways of interacting with Search.

Pushing the frontier of computing

Translation, image recognition and voice recognition laid the foundation for complex models like LaMDA and multimodal models. Our compute infrastructure is how we drive and sustain these advances, and TPUs, our custom-built machine learning processes, are a big part of that. Today we announced our next generation of TPUs: the TPU v4. These are powered by the v4 chip, which is more than twice as fast as the previous generation. One pod can deliver more than one exaflop, equivalent to the computing power of 10 million laptops combined. This is the fastest system we’ve ever deployed, and a historic milestone for us. Previously to get to an exaflop, you needed to build a custom supercomputer. And we'll soon have dozens of TPUv4 pods in our data centers, many of which will be operating at or near 90% carbon-free energy. They’ll be available to our Cloud customers later this year.

Images of a TPU v4 chip tray, and of TPU v4 pods at our Oklahoma data center

Left: TPU v4 chip tray; Right: TPU v4 pods at our Oklahoma data center 

It’s tremendously exciting to see this pace of innovation. As we look further into the future, there are types of problems that classical computing will not be able to solve in reasonable time. Quantum computing can help. Achieving our quantum milestone was a tremendous accomplishment, but we’re still at the beginning of a multiyear journey. We continue to work to get to our next big milestone in quantum computing: building an error-corrected quantum computer, which could help us increase battery efficiency, create more sustainable energy and improve drug discovery. To help us get there, we’ve opened a new state of the art Quantum AI campus with our first quantum data center and quantum processor chip fabrication facilities.

A photo of the interior of our new Quantum AI campus

Inside our new Quantum AI campus.

Safer with Google

At Google we know that our products can only be as helpful as they are safe. And advances in computer science and AI are how we continue to make them better. We keep more users safe by blocking malware, phishing attempts, spam messages and potential cyber attacks than anyone else in the world.

Our focus on data minimization pushes us to do more, with less data. Two years ago at I/O, I announced Auto-Delete, which encourages users to have their activity data automatically and continuously deleted. We’ve since made Auto-Delete the default for all new Google Accounts. Now, after 18 months we automatically delete your activity data, unless you tell us to do it sooner. It’s now active for over 2 billion accounts.

All of our products are guided by three important principles: With one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures, our products are secure by default. We strictly uphold responsible data practices so every product we build is private by design. And we create easy to use privacy and security settings so you’re in control.

Long-term research: Project Starline

We were all grateful to have video conferencing over the last year to stay in touch with family and friends, and keep schools and businesses going. But there is no substitute for being together in the room with someone. 

Several years ago we kicked off a project called Project Starline to use technology to explore what’s possible. Using high-resolution cameras and custom-built depth sensors, it captures your shape and appearance from multiple perspectives, and then fuses them together to create an extremely detailed, real-time 3D model. The resulting data is many gigabits per second, so to send an image this size over existing networks, we developed novel compression and streaming algorithms that reduce the data by a factor of more than 100. We also developed a breakthrough light-field display that shows you the realistic representation of someone sitting in front of you. As sophisticated as the technology is, it vanishes, so you can focus on what’s most important. 

We’ve spent thousands of hours testing it at our own offices, and the results are promising. There’s also excitement from our lead enterprise partners, and we’re working with partners in health care and media to get early feedback. In pushing the boundaries of remote collaboration, we've made technical advances that will improve our entire suite of communications products. We look forward to sharing more in the months ahead.

A person in a booth talking to someone over Project Starline

A person having a conversation with someone over Project Starline.

Solving complex sustainability challenges

Another area of research is our work to drive forward sustainability. Sustainability has been a core value for us for more than 20 years. We were the first major company to become carbon neutral in 2007. We were the first to match our operations with 100% renewable energy in 2017, and we’ve been doing it ever since. Last year we eliminated our entire carbon legacy. 

Our next ambition is our biggest yet: operating on carbon free energy by the year 2030. This represents a significant step change from current approaches and is a moonshot on the same scale as quantum computing. It presents equally hard problems to solve, from sourcing carbon-free energy in every place we operate to ensuring it can run every hour of every day. 

Building on the first carbon-intelligent computing platform that we rolled out last year, we’ll soon be the first company to implement carbon-intelligent load shifting across both time and place within our data center network. By this time next year we’ll be shifting more than a third of non-production compute to times and places with greater availability of carbon-free energy. And we are working to apply our Cloud AI with novel drilling techniques and fiber optic sensing to deliver geothermal power in more places, starting in our Nevada data centers next year.

Investments like these are needed to get to 24/7 carbon-free energy, and it’s happening in Mountain View, California, too. We’re building our new campus to the highest sustainability standards. When completed, these buildings will feature a first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin, equipped with 90,000 silver solar panels and the capacity to generate nearly 7 megawatts. They will house the largest geothermal pile system in North America to help heat buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer. It’s been amazing to see it come to life.

Images with a rendering of the new Charleston East campus in Mountain View, California; and a model view with dragon scale solar skin.

Left: Rendering of the new Charleston East campus in Mountain View, California; Right: Model view with dragon scale solar skin.

A celebration of technology

I/O isn’t just a celebration of technology but of the people who use it, and build it — including the millions of developers around the world who joined us virtually today. Over the past year we’ve seen people use technology in profound ways: To keep themselves healthy and safe, to learn and grow, to connect and to help one another through really difficult times. It’s been inspiring to see and has made us more committed than ever to being helpful in the moments that matter. 

I look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s I/O — in person, I hope. Until then, be safe and well.

Google I/O 2021: Being helpful in moments that matter

It’s great to be back hosting our I/O Developers Conference this year. Pulling up to our Mountain View campus this morning, I felt a sense of normalcy for the first time in a long while. Of course, it’s not the same without our developer community here in person. COVID-19 has deeply affected our entire global community over the past year and continues to take a toll. Places such as Brazil, and my home country of India, are now going through their most difficult moments of the pandemic yet. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by COVID and we are all hoping for better days ahead.

The last year has put a lot into perspective. At Google, it’s also given renewed purpose to our mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. We continue to approach that mission with a singular goal: building a more helpful Google, for everyone. That means being helpful to people in the moments that matter and giving everyone the tools to increase their knowledge, success, health and happiness. 

Helping in moments that matter

Sometimes it’s about helping in big moments, like keeping 150 million students and educators learning virtually over the last year with Google Classroom. Other times it’s about helping in little moments that add up to big changes for everyone. For example, we’re introducing safer routing in Maps. This AI-powered capability in Maps can identify road, weather and traffic conditions where you are likely to brake suddenly; our aim is to reduce up to 100 million events like this every year. 

Reimagining the future of work

One of the biggest ways we can help is by reimagining the future of work. Over the last year, we’ve seen work transform in unprecedented ways, as offices and coworkers have been replaced by kitchen countertops and pets. Many companies, including ours, will continue to offer flexibility even when it’s safe to be in the same office again. Collaboration tools have never been more critical, and today we announced a new smart canvas experience in Google Workspace that enables even richer collaboration. 

GIF of Smart Canvas integration with Google Meet

 Smart Canvas integration with Google Meet

Responsible next-generation AI

We’ve made remarkable advances over the past 22 years, thanks to our progress in some of the most challenging areas of AI, including translation, images and voice. These advances have powered improvements across Google products, making it possible to talk to someone in another language using Assistant’s interpreter mode, view cherished memories on Photos or use Google Lens to solve a tricky math problem. 

We’ve also used AI to improve the core Search experience for billions of people by taking a huge leap forward in a computer’s ability to process natural language. Yet, there are still moments when computers just don’t understand us. That’s because language is endlessly complex: We use it to tell stories, crack jokes and share ideas — weaving in concepts we’ve learned over the course of our lives. The richness and flexibility of language make it one of humanity’s greatest tools and one of computer science’s greatest challenges. 

Today I am excited to share our latest research in natural language understanding: LaMDA. LaMDA is a language model for dialogue applications. It’s open domain, which means it is designed to converse on any topic. For example, LaMDA understands quite a bit about the planet Pluto. So if a student wanted to discover more about space, they could ask about Pluto and the model would give sensible responses, making learning even more fun and engaging. If that student then wanted to switch over to a different topic — say, how to make a good paper airplane — LaMDA could continue the conversation without any retraining.

This is one of the ways we believe LaMDA can make information and computing radically more accessible and easier to use (and you can learn more about that here). 

We have been researching and developing language models for many years. We’re focused on ensuring LaMDA meets our incredibly high standards on fairness, accuracy, safety and privacy, and that it is developed consistently with our AI Principles. And we look forward to incorporating conversation features into products like Google Assistant, Search and Workspace, as well as exploring how to give capabilities to developers and enterprise customers.

LaMDA is a huge step forward in natural conversation, but it’s still only trained on text. When people communicate with each other they do it across images, text, audio and video. So we need to build multimodal models (MUM) to allow people to naturally ask questions across different types of information. With MUM you could one day plan a road trip by asking Google to “find a route with beautiful mountain views.” This is one example of how we’re making progress towards more natural and intuitive ways of interacting with Search.

Pushing the frontier of computing

Translation, image recognition and voice recognition laid the foundation for complex models like LaMDA and multimodal models. Our compute infrastructure is how we drive and sustain these advances, and TPUs, our custom-built machine learning processes, are a big part of that. Today we announced our next generation of TPUs: the TPU v4. These are powered by the v4 chip, which is more than twice as fast as the previous generation. One pod can deliver more than one exaflop, equivalent to the computing power of 10 million laptops combined. This is the fastest system we’ve ever deployed, and a historic milestone for us. Previously to get to an exaflop, you needed to build a custom supercomputer. And we'll soon have dozens of TPUv4 pods in our data centers, many of which will be operating at or near 90% carbon-free energy. They’ll be available to our Cloud customers later this year.

Images of a TPU v4 chip tray, and of TPU v4 pods at our Oklahoma data center

Left: TPU v4 chip tray; Right: TPU v4 pods at our Oklahoma data center 

It’s tremendously exciting to see this pace of innovation. As we look further into the future, there are types of problems that classical computing will not be able to solve in reasonable time. Quantum computing can help. Achieving our quantum milestone was a tremendous accomplishment, but we’re still at the beginning of a multiyear journey. We continue to work to get to our next big milestone in quantum computing: building an error-corrected quantum computer, which could help us increase battery efficiency, create more sustainable energy and improve drug discovery. To help us get there, we’ve opened a new state of the art Quantum AI campus with our first quantum data center and quantum processor chip fabrication facilities.

A photo of the interior of our new Quantum AI campus

Inside our new Quantum AI campus.

Safer with Google

At Google we know that our products can only be as helpful as they are safe. And advances in computer science and AI are how we continue to make them better. We keep more users safe by blocking malware, phishing attempts, spam messages and potential cyber attacks than anyone else in the world.

Our focus on data minimization pushes us to do more, with less data. Two years ago at I/O, I announced Auto-Delete, which encourages users to have their activity data automatically and continuously deleted. We’ve since made Auto-Delete the default for all new Google Accounts. Now, after 18 months we automatically delete your activity data, unless you tell us to do it sooner. It’s now active for over 2 billion accounts.

All of our products are guided by three important principles: With one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures, our products are secure by default. We strictly uphold responsible data practices so every product we build is private by design. And we create easy to use privacy and security settings so you’re in control.

Long-term research: Project Starline

We were all grateful to have video conferencing over the last year to stay in touch with family and friends, and keep schools and businesses going. But there is no substitute for being together in the room with someone. 

Several years ago we kicked off a project called Project Starline to use technology to explore what’s possible. Using high-resolution cameras and custom-built depth sensors, it captures your shape and appearance from multiple perspectives, and then fuses them together to create an extremely detailed, real-time 3D model. The resulting data is many gigabits per second, so to send an image this size over existing networks, we developed novel compression and streaming algorithms that reduce the data by a factor of more than 100. We also developed a breakthrough light-field display that shows you the realistic representation of someone sitting in front of you. As sophisticated as the technology is, it vanishes, so you can focus on what’s most important. 

We’ve spent thousands of hours testing it at our own offices, and the results are promising. There’s also excitement from our lead enterprise partners, and we’re working with partners in health care and media to get early feedback. In pushing the boundaries of remote collaboration, we've made technical advances that will improve our entire suite of communications products. We look forward to sharing more in the months ahead.

A person in a booth talking to someone over Project Starline

A person having a conversation with someone over Project Starline.

Solving complex sustainability challenges

Another area of research is our work to drive forward sustainability. Sustainability has been a core value for us for more than 20 years. We were the first major company to become carbon neutral in 2007. We were the first to match our operations with 100% renewable energy in 2017, and we’ve been doing it ever since. Last year we eliminated our entire carbon legacy. 

Our next ambition is our biggest yet: operating on carbon free energy by the year 2030. This represents a significant step change from current approaches and is a moonshot on the same scale as quantum computing. It presents equally hard problems to solve, from sourcing carbon-free energy in every place we operate to ensuring it can run every hour of every day. 

Building on the first carbon-intelligent computing platform that we rolled out last year, we’ll soon be the first company to implement carbon-intelligent load shifting across both time and place within our data center network. By this time next year we’ll be shifting more than a third of non-production compute to times and places with greater availability of carbon-free energy. And we are working to apply our Cloud AI with novel drilling techniques and fiber optic sensing to deliver geothermal power in more places, starting in our Nevada data centers next year.

Investments like these are needed to get to 24/7 carbon-free energy, and it’s happening in Mountain View, California, too. We’re building our new campus to the highest sustainability standards. When completed, these buildings will feature a first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin, equipped with 90,000 silver solar panels and the capacity to generate nearly 7 megawatts. They will house the largest geothermal pile system in North America to help heat buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer. It’s been amazing to see it come to life.

Images with a rendering of the new Charleston East campus in Mountain View, California; and a model view with dragon scale solar skin.

Left: Rendering of the new Charleston East campus in Mountain View, California; Right: Model view with dragon scale solar skin.

A celebration of technology

I/O isn’t just a celebration of technology but of the people who use it, and build it — including the millions of developers around the world who joined us virtually today. Over the past year we’ve seen people use technology in profound ways: To keep themselves healthy and safe, to learn and grow, to connect and to help one another through really difficult times. It’s been inspiring to see and has made us more committed than ever to being helpful in the moments that matter. 

I look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s I/O — in person, I hope. Until then, be safe and well.

A hybrid approach to work

Sundar sent the following email to Google employees earlier today. 

Hi Googlers,

We’ve spent the last year focused on supporting employees during the pandemic. I hope the extra benefits such as Carer’s Leave, the work-from-home allowance, the extra reset days, and the ability to work from wherever you need have been helpful in getting through this tough time.

And we’re not through it yet. It’s heartbreaking to see COVID surging in places like  India, Brazil, and many others around the world. If you live in one of these places, please focus on taking care of yourselves and your loved ones right now. We are here to support however we can. 

In other areas, conditions are less dire and people are beginning to open up their lives and think about returning to the office. In fact, in places where we’ve been able to reopen Google offices in a voluntary capacity, we’ve seen nearly 60% of Googlers choosing to come back to the office. 

For more than 20 years, our employees have been coming to the office to solve interesting problems — in a cafe, around a whiteboard, or during a pickup game of beach volleyball or cricket. Our campuses have been at the heart of our Google community and the majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time. Yet many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days of week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities. 

Over the last year, a team within REWS has been reimagining a hybrid workplace to help us collaborate effectively across many work environments. They’re testing new multi-purpose offices and private workspaces, and working with teams to develop advanced video technology that creates greater equity between employees in the office and those joining virtually. All of these efforts will help us work with greater flexibility and choice once we’re able to return to our offices globally. 



That flexibility will come in a few different forms — and your product areas and functions will share more details on all of these changes by mid-June. Here are the key principles: 


A more flexible work week: 

  • We’ll move to a hybrid work week where most Googlers spend approximately three days in the office and two days wherever they work best. Since in-office time will be focused on collaboration, your product areas and functions will help decide which days teams will come together in the office. There will also be roles that may need to be on site more than three days a week due to the nature of the work. 

More choice around where you work: 

  • More locations globally: One of Google's biggest advantages is our global footprint. We are investing in many great communities globally — which creates more opportunity for employees to move around throughout their careers. By mid-June your PAs and functions will come back with a process by which you can apply to move to another office. In granting approvals, they’ll take into account whether business goals can be met in the new location and whether your team has the right infrastructure in the site to support your work. 

  • Remote work: We’ll also offer opportunities for you to apply for completely remote work (away from your team or office) based on your role and team needs. Before the pandemic, we had thousands of people working in locations separate from their core teams. I fully expect those numbers to increase in the coming months as we develop more remote roles, including fully all-remote sub teams. You’ll be able to apply for remote work within your product area or function. As with location transfers, your leads will evaluate whether remote work can support the goals of the team and business. Whether you choose to transfer to a different office or opt for completely remote work, your compensation will be adjusted according to your new location. 

  • Taken together these changes will result in a workforce where around 60% of Googlers are coming together in the office a few days a week, another 20% are working in new office locations, and 20% are working from home. 

More flexibility for your life: 

  • Work-from-anywhere weeks: Going forward, Googlers will be able to temporarily work from a location other than their main office for up to 4 weeks per year (with manager approval). The goal here is to give everyone more flexibility around summer and holiday travel. 

  • Focus time: Product areas and functions will also offer focus hours so we limit internal meetings during times when people need to be heads down on projects.

  • Reset days: We’ll continue offering extra “reset” days to help employees recharge during the pandemic in 2021. Our next global day off will be on Friday, May 28 (or the following work day if you’re already not working on the 28th). Please enjoy it!

GIF showing the text: More flexibility for your work week, More choice around where you work, More flexibility for your life

I know this past year hasn’t been easy for anyone and many Googlers are still suffering as the pandemic wears on. We will get through it — together — as a Google community. 

I am profoundly optimistic that once we do, we will be able to come back together in our offices to see all the people we have missed. And we’ll be able to work together in entirely new ways that improve both our work and our lives. 

The future of work is flexibility. The changes above are a starting point to help us do our very best work and have fun doing it. 

 Look forward to continuing the conversation with all of you. 

-Sundar

A hybrid approach to work

Sundar sent the following email to Google employees earlier today. 

Hi Googlers,

We’ve spent the last year focused on supporting employees during the pandemic. I hope the extra benefits such as Carer’s Leave, the work-from-home allowance, the extra reset days, and the ability to work from wherever you need have been helpful in getting through this tough time.

And we’re not through it yet. It’s heartbreaking to see COVID surging in places like  India, Brazil, and many others around the world. If you live in one of these places, please focus on taking care of yourselves and your loved ones right now. We are here to support however we can. 

In other areas, conditions are less dire and people are beginning to open up their lives and think about returning to the office. In fact, in places where we’ve been able to reopen Google offices in a voluntary capacity, we’ve seen nearly 60% of Googlers choosing to come back to the office. 

For more than 20 years, our employees have been coming to the office to solve interesting problems — in a cafe, around a whiteboard, or during a pickup game of beach volleyball or cricket. Our campuses have been at the heart of our Google community and the majority of our employees still want to be on campus some of the time. Yet many of us would also enjoy the flexibility of working from home a couple days of week, spending time in another city for part of the year, or even moving there permanently. Google’s future workplace will have room for all of these possibilities. 

Over the last year, a team within REWS has been reimagining a hybrid workplace to help us collaborate effectively across many work environments. They’re testing new multi-purpose offices and private workspaces, and working with teams to develop advanced video technology that creates greater equity between employees in the office and those joining virtually. All of these efforts will help us work with greater flexibility and choice once we’re able to return to our offices globally. 



That flexibility will come in a few different forms — and your product areas and functions will share more details on all of these changes by mid-June. Here are the key principles: 


A more flexible work week: 

  • We’ll move to a hybrid work week where most Googlers spend approximately three days in the office and two days wherever they work best. Since in-office time will be focused on collaboration, your product areas and functions will help decide which days teams will come together in the office. There will also be roles that may need to be on site more than three days a week due to the nature of the work. 

More choice around where you work: 

  • More locations globally: One of Google's biggest advantages is our global footprint. We are investing in many great communities globally — which creates more opportunity for employees to move around throughout their careers. By mid-June your PAs and functions will come back with a process by which you can apply to move to another office. In granting approvals, they’ll take into account whether business goals can be met in the new location and whether your team has the right infrastructure in the site to support your work. 

  • Remote work: We’ll also offer opportunities for you to apply for completely remote work (away from your team or office) based on your role and team needs. Before the pandemic, we had thousands of people working in locations separate from their core teams. I fully expect those numbers to increase in the coming months as we develop more remote roles, including fully all-remote sub teams. You’ll be able to apply for remote work within your product area or function. As with location transfers, your leads will evaluate whether remote work can support the goals of the team and business. Whether you choose to transfer to a different office or opt for completely remote work, your compensation will be adjusted according to your new location. 

  • Taken together these changes will result in a workforce where around 60% of Googlers are coming together in the office a few days a week, another 20% are working in new office locations, and 20% are working from home. 

More flexibility for your life: 

  • Work-from-anywhere weeks: Going forward, Googlers will be able to temporarily work from a location other than their main office for up to 4 weeks per year (with manager approval). The goal here is to give everyone more flexibility around summer and holiday travel. 

  • Focus time: Product areas and functions will also offer focus hours so we limit internal meetings during times when people need to be heads down on projects.

  • Reset days: We’ll continue offering extra “reset” days to help employees recharge during the pandemic in 2021. Our next global day off will be on Friday, May 28 (or the following work day if you’re already not working on the 28th). Please enjoy it!

GIF showing the text: More flexibility for your work week, More choice around where you work, More flexibility for your life

I know this past year hasn’t been easy for anyone and many Googlers are still suffering as the pandemic wears on. We will get through it — together — as a Google community. 

I am profoundly optimistic that once we do, we will be able to come back together in our offices to see all the people we have missed. And we’ll be able to work together in entirely new ways that improve both our work and our lives. 

The future of work is flexibility. The changes above are a starting point to help us do our very best work and have fun doing it. 

 Look forward to continuing the conversation with all of you. 

-Sundar

New progress toward our 24/7 carbon-free energy goal

Like so many, I’ve been spending more time outdoors this year, whether it’s taking walks with my dog or hiking with my family. This extra time in nature has given me a deeper appreciation for the work being done to preserve our planet for future generations. At the same time, wildfires and other climate disasters around the world remind us of how urgent that work really is.

That’s why, with Earth Day this week, I’m so excited about the progress we’re making at Google towards our goal to operate entirely on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. This commitment goes beyond being carbon neutral (which we’ve been since 2007) and matching our operations with 100% renewable energy, which we’ve now done over four consecutive years. (See below for an explainer on why carbon-free energy is our most ambitious sustainability goal yet.)

Chart showing the difference between carbon neutrality (offsets emissions), 100% renewable (reduces emissions), and 24/7 carbon free goals (eliminates emissions).

Within a decade we aim for every Google data center, cloud region, and office campus to run on clean electricity every hour of every day. And today I’m proud to announce that five of our data center sites — in Denmark, Finland, Iowa, Oklahoma and Oregon — are now operating near or at 90% carbon-free energy. 

Progress on round-the-clock clean energy

We’re seeing an increase in carbon-free energy across many of our sites due in large part to new renewable energy projects. To date, we have committed approximately $4 billion to purchase clean energy from more than 50 wind and solar projects globally through 2034. Last year, many of those projects came online, including hundreds of new wind turbines and hundreds of thousands of solar panels, which are helping to improve carbon-free energy performance at several Google data centers.   


For example, a new offshore wind farm is helping to supply electricity to our Belgium data center, and new solar projects helped pave the way for a nearly 17 percentage-point increase in carbon-free performance at our data center in the state of Georgia. Beyond renewable energy procurement, we are making good progress on 24/7 carbon-free energy in other ways, including shifting data center backup generation to batteries, advancing time-based clean energy tracking, and enabling Cloud customers to select the lowest carbon regions.

Helping everyone make more sustainable choices

In September we also committed to finding more ways our products can help 1 billion people make sustainable choices by 2022. Soon, Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint and let you compare the relative carbon impact between routes. Nest thermostats are helping U.S. customers save billions kWh of energy. And with nearly four decades of planetary imagery, Timelapse in Google Earth, released last week, can help everyone better understand climate change.
GIF showing Timelapse in Google Earth of the Columbia Glacier

Our carbon-free goal is as ambitious as other moonshots like building a quantum computer or developing a self-driving car. I’ve never been more optimistic about our collective ability — as governments, companies and individuals — to come together and chart a more sustainable path forward for our planet. We’ll continue to lead by example in our operations, support our partners, and build helpful products to build a carbon-free future for all.

Sundar Pichai’s testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce

Editor’s Note: Today our CEO Sundar Pichai testified along with the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter at a hearing hosted by the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce focused on social media’s role in promoting misinformation. In his opening written statement, Sundar highlighted Google and YouTube’s efforts to provide trustworthy content and opportunities for free expression across our platforms, while combating harmful misinformation around the U.S. 2020 elections, the COVID-19 pandemic and more. Read it in full below.

Chairman Doyle, Ranking Member Latta, Chairwoman Schakowsky, Ranking Member Bilirakis, Full Committee Chair Pallone and Full Committee Ranking Member McMorris Rodgers, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.


This month, the worldwide web turned 32. Over the past three decades, we’ve seen the web inspire the best in society, by expanding knowledge, powering businesses, and providing opportunities for expression, discovery, and connection — no matter who you are, or where you live.


I joined Google in 2004 because I believed the internet was the best way to bring the benefits of technology to more people, and I believe that still today. 


I am proud that Americans can turn to Google for help in moments that matter, whether they’re looking for COVID vaccine information on Search and Maps, working and learning from home using Google Workspace or Google Classroom, learning new skills on YouTube, or using our digital tools to grow their businesses. In 2020, our products helped 2 million U.S. businesses, publishers, and others generate $426 billion in economic activity. And we helped billions of people find comfort and connection in an otherwise awful year. 


Beyond our products, we were proud to announce last week our plans to invest over $7 billion in data centers and offices across 19 states, and create at least 10,000 full-time Google jobs in the U.S. That’s in addition to the 84,000 employees we currently employ across the country. And according to an Oxford Economics report, YouTube's creative ecosystem supported the equivalent of 345,000 full time jobs in 2019. 


We are energized by the opportunity to help people at scale, and we are humbled by the responsibility that comes with it. We have thousands of people focused on everything from cyber attacks, to data privacy, to today’s topic: misinformation. 


Our mission at Google is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Core to that mission is providing trustworthy content and opportunities for free expression across our platforms, while limiting the reach of harmful misinformation.


It’s a large, dynamic challenge without easy answers. More than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and approximately 15% of the searches on Google each day are new to us. Eighteen months ago most people hadn’t heard of COVID-19; sadly, coronavirus was the top trending search of 2020.

Responding to the events of January 6

Staying ahead of these challenges and keeping users safe and secure on our platforms is a top priority. We saw how high those stakes can be on January 6, 2021, when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. This was an unprecedented and tragic event, and Google strongly condemns these violent attacks on our democracy, and mourns the lives lost. 


In response, our teams worked to raise up authoritative news sources across our products. Teams at YouTube quickly took down any live streams or videos that violated our incitement to violence policies, and on January 7, we began issuing strikes to those in violation of our presidential election integrity policy. In the Play Store, we removed apps for violating our policies on inciting violence. We also prohibited advertisers from running ads that referenced the 2020 election or topics related to the Capitol riots in the scope of our Sensitive Events policy. 

Doing our part to contribute to the integrity of the U.S. 2020 election

We were able to act quickly because of the investments we made to prepare for the 2020 elections. Last year, teams across Google and YouTube worked around the clock to contribute to election preparedness, by helping voters find authoritative information about the election; by working with campaigns to equip them with best-in-class security features and helping them connect with voters; and by protecting our platforms from abuse. 


Helping voters find authoritative information on our services

This U.S. election cycle saw all-time highs in searches on Google for civics-related topics. Anticipating that need, we worked to launch features that would help people find the information to participate in the democratic process, including how to register and how to vote in their states. 


Consistent with our approach to prior election cycles, we showed “how to register” and “how to vote” reminders to all our U.S. users directly on Google Search, Maps and YouTube. These reminders were seen over 2 billion times across our products. As the election neared, we helped people find polling and ballot drop off locations: From mid-October through Election Day, we added more than 125,000 voting locations in Google Maps. Across our products, these features were seen nearly 500 million times. 


Finally, starting on Election Day, we worked with the Associated Press to provide real-time election results for relevant searches on Google. These results had over six times more views in 2020 than in 2016. Similarly, on YouTube, we launched an election results information panel that showed on top of search results and under videos with election-related content. It pointed to our election results page on Google, and over time, we expanded it to include an additional link pointing to a page on the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website that debunked incorrect claims made about the integrity of the elections. Once the safe harbor deadline for state certification passed, we updated this YouTube Election Results Information Panel again to point to the National Archives Office of the Federal Register page of record for the 2020 electoral college vote. Collectively, our election information panels on YouTube have been shown over 8 billion times. 


Working with campaigns

We also helped campaigns and elected officials effectively use Google and YouTube products to reach voters and enhance their election security. As part of our Civics Outreach Virtual Training Series, Google held 21 training sessions for over 900 candidates, campaigns, public officials, and nonprofit leaders. Overall, we held 45 group and individual trainings to help more than 2,900 election workers learn to use Google tools to amplify their message and better connect with voters through events like digital town halls, debates and virtual campaign rallies.


In addition, as a part of our Election Cybersecurity Initiative with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, nearly 4,000 elected officials, secretaries of state, campaign staffers, political party representatives, and state election directors in all 50 states received training on ways to secure their information and protect their campaigns against cyberattacks. 


At the start of the 2020 election season, we partnered with Defending Digital Campaigns (DDC), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, to give any eligible federal campaign access to free Titan Security Keys — the strongest form of two-factor authentication. This collaboration is a part of our Advanced Protection Program, which protects high-risk individuals, such as election officials, campaigns, and journalists, who have access to high visibility and sensitive information. In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, DDC distributed more than 10,000 Titan Security key bundles to more than 140 U.S. federal campaigns. We recently expanded our support for DDC to provide eligible campaigns and political parties, committees, and related organizations, at both the federal and state levels, with knowledge, training and resources to defend themselves from security threats.


Protecting our platforms from abuse

In the years leading up to the 2020 election, we made numerous enhancements to protect the integrity of elections around the world and better secure our platforms. Among them, we introduced strict policies and processes for identity verification for advertisers who run election-related advertising on our platform; we launched comprehensive political ad libraries in the U.S. and in other countries around the world; we developed and implemented policies to prohibit election-related abuse such as voter suppression and deceptive practices on platforms like YouTube, Google Ads, Google Maps and Google Play; our Threat Analysis Group (TAG) launched a quarterly bulletin to provide regular updates on our work to combat coordinated influence operations across our platforms and flagged phishing attempts against the presidential campaigns; and we worked closely with government agencies, including the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, and other companies to share information around suspected election interference campaigns. 


On YouTube, throughout 2020, we identified and removed content that was misleading voters about where or how to vote, to help ensure viewers saw accurate information about the upcoming election. After December 8, which marked the "safe harbor" deadline for states to certify their election, in accordance with our Presidential Election Integrity policy we began to remove content uploaded on or after December 9 that misled people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. In addition, we continued to enforce our broader policies — for instance, from October to December 2020, we removed 13,000 YouTube channels for promoting violence and violent extremism; 89% of videos removed for violating our violent extremism policy were taken down before they had 10 views. 


This work was in addition to improvements in the ranking systems we use to reduce the spread of harmful misinformation on YouTube: In January 2019, we announced that we would begin reducing recommendations of borderline content or videos that could misinform viewers in harmful ways but that do not violate YouTube Community Guidelines. Since then, we've launched numerous changes to reduce recommendations of borderline content and harmful misinformation, and we continue to invest in this work: Our models review more than 100,000 hours of videos every day to find and limit the spread of borderline content.


Our work is never done, and we continue to learn and improve from one election cycle to the next, and continue to evolve our policies. That principle has guided our approach to new and evolving challenges, including COVID-19 misinformation.

Addressing the challenge of COVID-19 misinformation

This past year we’ve also focused on providing quality information during the pandemic. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, teams across Google have worked to provide quality information and resources to help keep people safe, and to provide public health, scientists and medical professionals with tools to combat the pandemic. We’ve launched more than 200 new products, features and initiatives — including the Exposure Notification API to assist contact tracing — and have pledged over $1 billion to assist our users, customers and partners around the world. 


Today, when people search on Google for information for COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, we present them with a list of authorized vaccines in their location, with information on each individual vaccine from the FDA or CDC, as relevant. We also provide them with information about vaccination locations near them in Google Search and Google Maps, when that information is available. On YouTube, we launched COVID-19 information panels directing viewers to the CDC’s information about the virus and, later on, about vaccines. These information panels are featured on the YouTube homepage, and on videos and in search results about the pandemic. Since March 2020, they have been viewed over 400 billion times. And we continue to work with YouTube creators to pair them with health experts who can get the facts to a wide range of audiences — we promote this content in our “ask the experts” feature.


Another way we’ve been helping is by offering over $350 million in Ad Grants to help more than 100 government agencies and non-profit organizations around the world run critical public service announcements (PSAs) about COVID-19. Grantees can use these funds throughout 2021 for things like vaccine education and outreach campaigns. 


In parallel to our efforts to elevate authoritative information about the pandemic and vaccines, we have worked across our services to combat harmful misinformation about these topics. Across our products, we’ve had long-standing policies prohibiting harmful and misleading medical or health-related content. When COVID-19 hit, our Trust and Safety team worked to stop a variety of abuses stemming from the pandemic, including phishing attempts, malware, dangerous conspiracy theories, and fraud schemes. We took quick action to remove content that promoted inaccurate or misleading claims about cures, masks, and vaccines; our teams have removed 850,000 videos related to dangerous or misleading COVID-19 medical information, and in total, we blocked nearly 100 million COVID-related ads throughout 2020. Our teams have also been planning for new threats and abuse patterns related specifically to COVID-19 vaccines. For example, in October, we expanded our COVID-19 medical misinformation policy on YouTube to remove content about vaccines that contradicts consensus from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Developing clear and transparent policies

We were able to act quickly and decisively because of the significant investments we have made over years, not only to make information useful and accessible, but also to remove and reduce the spread of harmful misinformation. Across all of this work, we strive to have clear and transparent policies and enforce them without regard to political party or point of view. We work to raise up authoritative sources, and reduce the spread of misinformation in recommendations and elsewhere. Teams across the company work in a variety of roles to help develop and enforce our policies, monitor our platforms for abuse, and protect users from everything from account hijackings and disinformation campaigns to misleading content and inauthentic activity. And we don’t do this work alone; we work closely with experts to stay ahead of emerging threats.

Supporting innovation in journalism and the development of new business models

At Google, we believe that a vibrant news industry is vital to tackling misinformation on a societal scale. We invested millions to support COVID-19 related fact checking initiatives, providing training or resources to nearly 10,000 journalists. In addition to helping journalists tackle misinformation, we have long been committed to supporting newsrooms and journalists in the United States and abroad. Over the past 20 years, we have collaborated closely with the news industry and provided billions of dollars to support the creation of quality journalism in the digital age. 


We share a strong interest in supporting a diverse and sustainable ecosystem of quality news providers. Our products are designed to elevate high quality journalism and connect consumers to diverse news sites — from global media companies to smaller digital startups. 


We are proud that our services help people all over the world find relevant, authoritative news about issues that matter to them. Each month, people click through from Google Search and Google News results to publishers' websites more than 24 billion times — that’s over 9,000 clicks per second. This free traffic helps new publishers increase their readership, build trust with readers and earn money through advertising and subscriptions. We also recently announced a new investment in Google News Showcase and committed $1 billion over the next three years to pay publishers to produce editorially curated content experiences and for limited free user access to paywalled content. In less than one year, we have been able to partner with over 500 publications across more than a dozen countries, spanning global, national, regional, metro and local publications.


Our commitment to the future of news extends beyond our products and services. We launched the Google News Initiative to support journalistic innovation and the emergence of new business models. Since 2018, we have committed $61 million in funding to support more than 2,000 news partners across the United States and Canada. As part of this initiative, we have also helped more than 447,200 journalists develop knowledge and skills in digital journalism through in person and online trainings through the Google News Lab. And when the pandemic hit, we turned our resources to support local news organizations and fact-checkers — contributing $10.6 million to over 1,800 local newsrooms across the U.S. and Canada through our Journalism Emergency Relief Fund and committing $6.5 million to combat Covid-19 misinformation. We look forward to continuing this work with our partners in the news industry to ensure a thriving and healthy future for journalism.

The role of Section 230 in fighting misinformation

These are just some of the tangible steps we’ve taken to support high-quality journalism and protect our users online, while preserving people’s right to express themselves freely. Our ability to provide access to a wide range of information and viewpoints, while also being able to remove harmful content like misinformation, is made possible because of legal frameworks like Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. 


Section 230 is foundational to the open web: It allows platforms and websites, big and small, across the entire internet, to responsibly manage content to keep users safe and promote access to information and free expression. Without Section 230, platforms would either over-filter content or not be able to filter content at all. In the fight against misinformation, Section 230 allows companies to take decisive action on harmful misinformation and keep up with bad actors who work hard to circumvent their policies.


Thanks to Section 230, consumers and businesses of all kinds benefit from unprecedented access to information and a vibrant digital economy. Today, more people have the opportunity to create content, start a business online, and have a voice than ever before. At the same time, it is clear that there is so much more work to be done to address harmful content and behavior, both online and offline.


Regulation has an important role to play in ensuring that we protect what is great about the open web, while addressing harm and improving accountability. We are, however, concerned that many recent proposals to change Section 230 — including calls to repeal it altogether — would not serve that objective well. In fact, they would have unintended consequences — harming both free expression and the ability of platforms to take responsible action to protect users in the face of constantly evolving challenges. 


We might better achieve our shared objectives by focusing on ensuring transparent, fair, and effective processes for addressing harmful content and behavior. Solutions might include developing content policies that are clear and accessible, notifying people when their content is removed and giving them ways to appeal content decisions, and sharing how systems designed for addressing harmful content are working over time. With this in mind, we are committed not only to doing our part on our services, but also to improving transparency across our industry.


I look forward to sharing more about our approach with you today, and working together to create a path forward for the web’s next three decades.

Investing in America in 2021

One of the best parts of my job is getting the opportunity to visit the communities that Google is a part of across the U.S. Whether it’s meeting small business owners in Pittsburgh, congratulating graduates of our Google Career Certificates in Dallas, or visiting a classroom of kids learning to code in Oklahoma, these trips have always filled me with optimism and insight.

Obviously in-person visits haven’t been possible over the past year. Yet I continue to be inspired by the stories I’ve read of teachers moving to virtual classrooms, local shops taking digital orders, and job seekers enrolling in online courses to sharpen their skills. It’s why I believe a lasting economic recovery will come from local communities, and the people and small businesses that give them life. 

Google wants to be a part of that recovery. That’s why we plan to invest over $7 billion in offices and data centers across the U.S. and create at least 10,000 new full-time Google jobs in the U.S. this year. This includes investing in communities that are new to Google and expanding in others across 19 states.

A map with pins showing the locations of Google's data centers and offices. 19 states are shaded to indicate new 2021 investments.

Investing in our offices

Coming together in person to collaborate and build community is core to Google’s culture, and it will be an important part of our future. So we continue to make significant investments in our offices around the country, as well as our home state of California, where we will be investing over $1 billion this year. Outside of the Bay Area, we’ll keep growing our offices across the U.S., including plans to add thousands of roles in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York. This will help bring more jobs and investment to diverse communities as part of our previously announced racial equity commitments. We’re already making progress: 2020 was our largest year ever for hiring Black and Latinx Googlers in the U.S., both overall and in tech roles.

Expanding our data centers 

In addition to Google offices, we’re investing in data center expansions in Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Texas. Our existing data center sites in Nebraska, Ohio, Texas and Nevada will be fully up and running in 2021. Our data centers are what powers your searches, emails, photos and the maps that help you find the fastest way home; they’re also important to the fabric of local communities, from providing opportunities for supply chain partners and small businesses to supporting distance learning in South Carolina and Nevada.

Creating more economic impact 

Not only will these investments enable us to create new opportunities in the places where we operate; they’ll also make it possible to provide products and services that help boost economic recovery. In 2020, Google Search, Google Play, YouTube and Google advertising tools helped provide $426 billion of economic activity for more than 2 million American businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers, according to our2020 U.S. Economic Impact Report, released today. For example, Corinna relies on the reviews on her Business Profile to attract new customers to Celsious, an eco-friendly laundry service and public space in Brooklyn, NY. In South Carolina, Tay and Sarah use YouTube for business tips and inspiration daily, helping Bobby’s BBQ draw lines around the block for its famous all-purpose seasoning.

In addition to helping businesses adapt and recover during the pandemic, the Android app ecosystem, including Google Play, helped support 1.9 million jobs in 2020—from software engineers and mobile applications developers, to marketing and human resources teams. And YouTube creators started and grew their businesses on the YouTube platform, creating over 345,000 jobs for Americans last year. That’s in addition to the more than 84,000 Googlers we employ full-time throughout the U.S.

Where we’re investing in 2021

Across offices and data centers, here are more details on where our investments will be focused in 2021.

South


We’re increasing our investment in our South Carolina data center, establishing our newest Cloud engineering site in Durham, North Carolina, and opening the first U.S. Google Operations Center in Southaven, Mississippi. In Virginia, we’ll open our new Reston office building and expand our Loudoun County data center. In Texas, the new data center in Midlothian is now operational, we’re opening our first Houston office and continue to invest in our campuses in Austin. We’re continuing to invest in our Atlanta campus as well.


Midwest


Earlier this year, we established Google’s first Minnesota office in Rochester, and our data centers in New Albany, Ohio and Papillion, Nebraska, are now operational. We’ll expand our data center footprint in Nebraska with an additional investment, and make further improvements to our Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Chicago offices. 

East


In 2018 we made a commitment to double our workforce in New York by 2028, and this year, we will continue to invest in building out our campus presence to meet that goal. We’ll continue to invest  in our Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania offices, as well as increase our workforce in Washington, D.C.


Central + West


Our growth continues in Boulder, Colorado, and we will open our new office in Portland, Oregon, this year. We continue to invest in our Kirkland and Seattle campuses in Washington State. In California, we will continue to invest in our offices in the state and support affordable housing initiatives in the Bay Area as part of our $1 billion housing commitment. We project that our $250 million investment fund will help create 24,000 housing units by 2029. In Nevada, our data center in Henderson is now operational, with plans to expand it, along with our Storey County data center, in 2021.