Tag Archives: Company announcements

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.

Supporting small businesses around the world

Small businesses are the backbone of the global economy and at the core of many of Google’s tools, services and products. So when the pandemic hit last year, we announced a $200 million investment fund as part of our $800+ million commitment to support small businesses in the face of COVID-19.

We set out to partner with organizations who share our desire to empower small businesses in underserved communities, which are often overlooked by traditional lenders.  

In the U.S. we are partnering with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). To date, OFN has helped us provide over $90 million in low-interest loans from the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org grants to over thirty Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the country. CDFIs in turn finance hundreds of small businesses, like Gem City Market, a new grocery cooperative that secured funding from Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP) to help them provide affordable, quality kitchen staples to the Dayton, Ohio, community. 

A group of people holding a sign advertising Gem City Market in Ohio

Today, we are announcing our international partners who will help fulfill our $75 million commitment to small businesses outside of the U.S. We've partnered with two innovative government-sponsored investment initiatives, with the belief that public-private partnerships can provide creative solutions to meet the needs of small businesses in this critical time:

  • In Europe, we are proud to be partnering with the European Investment Fund (EIF), an EU body supporting Europe’s small and medium-size businesses. We will be the first company investing in two EIF funds: $15 million in loan capital that will support more than 1000 European small businesses and $10 million in EIF’s Life Sciences Fund, a venture capital fund that will help support approximately 200 life sciences companies, many of which are helping with the COVID-19 crisis. This Life Sciences Fund is also supported by the European Commission’s European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

  • In Latin America, with the help of a long-term partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank through its innovation lab, we are allocating $8 million to increase the capital available in the region for small businesses. Two out of three workers in Latin America are employed by a small business, which makes their success one of the most essential elements for economic recovery in the region.

In addition, we’re working with non-government partners who have a long track record of providing resources to businesses that are generally overlooked by traditional lenders:

  • In Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia, we’ve established a $26 million loan initiative with Kiva, an organization which crowdfunds loans to unlock capital for the underserved around the world. Kiva’s global reach, local relationships and mission-driven approach make them an ideal partner to scale across several regions. Over the coming months, Google and Kiva will work together to create financial solutions that will support thousands of small businesses spanning 10 countries. Google.org is also providing a separate $1 million grant to help Kiva build capacity for their local partnerships and research the impact of this program.

  • In India, we will invest $15 million to support small and micro enterprises across the country and are in discussions with local partners. And in Israel, we will provide $1 million to the Ogen-Israel Social Loan Fund, which is designed to provide accessible, low-interest loans to micro and small businesses as well as non-profit organizations.

From our inception, Google has had a special relationship with small businesses around the world – helping them scale, innovate and reach new customers.  With today’s announcement, we’re proud to help them meet a new challenge — accessing capital needed to recover and build resiliency for the future. 

Progress on our racial equity commitments

Editor’s note: In June, our CEO Sundar Pichai shared the company’s commitments to advance racial equity. The following note was sent to employees today, and sets out the progress we’ve made over the last 100+ days.  

Hi everyone, 


In June, we committed to continue building sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community and making our products and programs helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users. Thanks to the work of hundreds of Googlers, I’m glad to share some of the progress we’ve made over the last 100+ days. I want to acknowledge two things up front: first, this is only a progress report—systems-level change takes time, and we’re invested for the long term. Second, while much of our initial work has been focused on the U.S., we are deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion globally, and will continue to work with local leaders to make sure these approaches can benefit Black+ Googlers everywhere.

Increasing supplier diversity 

We rely on thousands of suppliers to help us run our business—from marketing agencies and construction to food and professional services. Today we are setting a goal to spend $100 million with Black-owned businesses, as part of our broader commitment to spend a minimum of $1 billion with diverse-owned suppliers in the U.S., every year starting in 2021. This commitment will bring more business to a diverse set of suppliers, and more importantly, create sustained economic impact for these communities.

Supporting small business, job seekers and students

Increasing the diversity of our suppliers is one example of how we are helping to create economic opportunity for Black communities. Our partnership with Opportunity Finance Network is another: over $9 million in loans and grants for Black-owned businesses have been allocated to local partners out of the $50 million we pledged in June. We’ve also selected 76 founders to receive funding from the $5 million U.S. Black Founders Fund, and we’ve established a $1 million fund in Brazil and a $2 million fund in Europeto support Black founders outside the U.S.


In education, welaunched the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to help equip Historically Black College and University students with digital skills. And, we’ll grant 50 universities an exploreCSR award for the 2020-2021 academic year to help attract and retain underrepresented students in computer science. 

Supporting racial justice organizations

In June, we committed $12 million to support racial justice organizations—almost all of which has been distributed. We’ve also embedded a team of pro-bono engineers in the Center for Policing Equity to help expand its National Justice Database. Globally, Google.org has committed $1 million to support local organizations in Brazil, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Today, we’re committing another $1.5 million to support racial justice organizations and empower Black communities across Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs and job skilling for Black youth.

Building helpful products

On the product side, we’re continuing to make our products more helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users. Recent activations include a new Black-owned business attribute on Maps, Assistant responses on Black Lives Matter, and new ways marketers can support Black-owned publishers in Display & Video 360—with more to come. We’ve also announced thefirst YouTube Originals to come from our #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a $100 million global commitment to acquire and produce programming focused on Black experiences and racial justice education, as well as support Black YouTube creators and artists.

Supporting Black+ Googlers throughout their careers

Meaningful, lasting change needs to come from within our own walls. That means looking across the experience of underrepresented Googlers, including Black+, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, and at all of our internal processes, including recruiting, leveling, performance, promotion, talent assessment and retention practices.


We’ve laid some good groundwork here. Since June, we’ve doubled the Retention & Progression team so that each organization has a designated consultant to support underrepresented Googlers, and we plan to triple our investment in this program by 2022. Meanwhile, we continue to roll out more robust checks for fairness and equity in our Perf process, including this cycle. 


We’ve also taken steps to create a deeper sense of belonging for our Black+ community, from offering relevant and useful benefits to fostering supportive internal communities. For example, last month we introduced a student loan repayment program to address the debt that hinders economic progress for many communities of color. We also increased the percentage of Black+ mental health counselors available to Googlers in the U.S. and are partnering with healthcare providers to create new programs for concerns that disproportionately affect our Black+ community, to be in place by 2022. In EMEA, we've launched a new speaker series—RE:EMEA—to localize the conversation on racial equity and increase our understanding of the region’s unique history. And to create community globally, next year we’ll roll out a six-month onboarding program for Black+ Nooglers to help build networks during those first few months at Google.

Attracting new talent and investing in long-term growth of sites 

In June, we committed to improving representation of underrepresented groups at senior levels by 30 percent by 2025. Today, we’re adding a goal to more than double the number of Black+ Googlers at all other levels by 2025. 


We’ll also invest in the long-term growth of U.S. locations that contribute to a high quality of life for Black+ Googlers. Across our sites in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago and New York we’ll aim to add an additional 10,000 Googlers by 2025, including 1,000 new roles by 2021. In global sites, including London, we will continue to focus on recruiting and hiring Black+ Googlers.

Holding ourselves accountable

We’ll hold ourselves accountable for creating an inclusive workplace. As part of our commitment to anti-racism educational programs, we will integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into all of our flagship employee and manager trainings. And moving forward, all VP+ performance reviews will include an evaluation of leadership in support of diversity, equity and inclusion. 


I’ll be sharing progress with Alphabet’s board regularly through transparency reports covering representation, hiring, retention, performance and promotion equity, and we’ll continue to publish our Diversity Annual Report to share this progress with all of you.

Thank you

These efforts represent a significant body of work to address systemic racism and build equity for Black+ Googlers and users for years to come. They would not have happened without the leadership and guidance of hundreds of Googlers, including Melonie and members of our Black Leadership Advisory Group and Black Googler Network—my deepest thanks to all of you. 


The equity we’re working towards internally will help us build better products and continue to support our users, businesses, and communities. This effort is at the heart of our mission to make information accessible to everyone. 


Thanks for the work thus far; we’ll continue to share progress updates.


- Sundar

Progress on our racial equity commitments

Editor’s note: In June, our CEO Sundar Pichai shared the company’s commitments to advance racial equity. The following note was sent to employees today, and sets out the progress we’ve made over the last 100+ days.  

Hi everyone, 


In June, we committed to continue building sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community and making our products and programs helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users. Thanks to the work of hundreds of Googlers, I’m glad to share some of the progress we’ve made over the last 100+ days. I want to acknowledge two things up front: first, this is only a progress report—systems-level change takes time, and we’re invested for the long term. Second, while much of our initial work has been focused on the U.S., we are deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion globally, and will continue to work with local leaders to make sure these approaches can benefit Black+ Googlers everywhere.

Increasing supplier diversity 

We rely on thousands of suppliers to help us run our business—from marketing agencies and construction to food and professional services. Today we are setting a goal to spend $100 million with Black-owned businesses, as part of our broader commitment to spend a minimum of $1 billion with diverse-owned suppliers in the U.S., every year starting in 2021. This commitment will bring more business to a diverse set of suppliers, and more importantly, create sustained economic impact for these communities.

Supporting small business, job seekers and students

Increasing the diversity of our suppliers is one example of how we are helping to create economic opportunity for Black communities. Our partnership with Opportunity Finance Network is another: over $9 million in loans and grants for Black-owned businesses have been allocated to local partners out of the $50 million we pledged in June. We’ve also selected 76 founders to receive funding from the $5 million U.S. Black Founders Fund, and we’ve established a $1 million fund in Brazil and a $2 million fund in Europeto support Black founders outside the U.S.


In education, welaunched the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to help equip Historically Black College and University students with digital skills. And, we’ll grant 50 universities an exploreCSR award for the 2020-2021 academic year to help attract and retain underrepresented students in computer science. 

Supporting racial justice organizations

In June, we committed $12 million to support racial justice organizations—almost all of which has been distributed. We’ve also embedded a team of pro-bono engineers in the Center for Policing Equity to help expand its National Justice Database. Globally, Google.org has committed $1 million to support local organizations in Brazil, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Today, we’re committing another $1.5 million to support racial justice organizations and empower Black communities across Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs and job skilling for Black youth.

Building helpful products

On the product side, we’re continuing to make our products more helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users. Recent activations include a new Black-owned business attribute on Maps, Assistant responses on Black Lives Matter, and new ways marketers can support Black-owned publishers in Display & Video 360—with more to come. We’ve also announced thefirst YouTube Originals to come from our #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a $100 million global commitment to acquire and produce programming focused on Black experiences and racial justice education, as well as support Black YouTube creators and artists.

Supporting Black+ Googlers throughout their careers

Meaningful, lasting change needs to come from within our own walls. That means looking across the experience of underrepresented Googlers, including Black+, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, and at all of our internal processes, including recruiting, leveling, performance, promotion, talent assessment and retention practices.


We’ve laid some good groundwork here. Since June, we’ve doubled the Retention & Progression team so that each organization has a designated consultant to support underrepresented Googlers, and we plan to triple our investment in this program by 2022. Meanwhile, we continue to roll out more robust checks for fairness and equity in our Perf process, including this cycle. 


We’ve also taken steps to create a deeper sense of belonging for our Black+ community, from offering relevant and useful benefits to fostering supportive internal communities. For example, last month we introduced a student loan repayment program to address the debt that hinders economic progress for many communities of color. We also increased the percentage of Black+ mental health counselors available to Googlers in the U.S. and are partnering with healthcare providers to create new programs for concerns that disproportionately affect our Black+ community, to be in place by 2022. In EMEA, we've launched a new speaker series—RE:EMEA—to localize the conversation on racial equity and increase our understanding of the region’s unique history. And to create community globally, next year we’ll roll out a six-month onboarding program for Black+ Nooglers to help build networks during those first few months at Google.

Attracting new talent and investing in long-term growth of sites 

In June, we committed to improving representation of underrepresented groups at senior levels by 30 percent by 2025. Today, we’re adding a goal to more than double the number of Black+ Googlers at all other levels by 2025. 


We’ll also invest in the long-term growth of U.S. locations that contribute to a high quality of life for Black+ Googlers. Across our sites in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago and New York we’ll aim to add an additional 10,000 Googlers by 2025, including 1,000 new roles by 2021. In global sites, including London, we will continue to focus on recruiting and hiring Black+ Googlers.

Holding ourselves accountable

We’ll hold ourselves accountable for creating an inclusive workplace. As part of our commitment to anti-racism educational programs, we will integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into all of our flagship employee and manager trainings. And moving forward, all VP+ performance reviews will include an evaluation of leadership in support of diversity, equity and inclusion. 


I’ll be sharing progress with Alphabet’s board regularly through transparency reports covering representation, hiring, retention, performance and promotion equity, and we’ll continue to publish our Diversity Annual Report to share this progress with all of you.

Thank you

These efforts represent a significant body of work to address systemic racism and build equity for Black+ Googlers and users for years to come. They would not have happened without the leadership and guidance of hundreds of Googlers, including Melonie and members of our Black Leadership Advisory Group and Black Googler Network—my deepest thanks to all of you. 


The equity we’re working towards internally will help us build better products and continue to support our users, businesses, and communities. This effort is at the heart of our mission to make information accessible to everyone. 


Thanks for the work thus far; we’ll continue to share progress updates.


- Sundar

Progress on our racial equity commitments

Editor’s note: In June, our CEO Sundar Pichai shared the company’s commitments to advance racial equity. The following note was sent to employees today, and sets out the progress we’ve made over the last 100+ days.  

Hi everyone, 


In June, we committed to continue building sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community and making our products and programs helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users. Thanks to the work of hundreds of Googlers, I’m glad to share some of the progress we’ve made over the last 100+ days. I want to acknowledge two things up front: first, this is only a progress report—systems-level change takes time, and we’re invested for the long term. Second, while much of our initial work has been focused on the U.S., we are deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion globally, and will continue to work with local leaders to make sure these approaches can benefit Black+ Googlers everywhere.

Increasing supplier diversity 

We rely on thousands of suppliers to help us run our business—from marketing agencies and construction to food and professional services. Today we are setting a goal to spend $100 million with Black-owned businesses, as part of our broader commitment to spend a minimum of $1 billion with diverse-owned suppliers in the U.S., every year starting in 2021. This commitment will bring more business to a diverse set of suppliers, and more importantly, create sustained economic impact for these communities.

Supporting small business, job seekers and students

Increasing the diversity of our suppliers is one example of how we are helping to create economic opportunity for Black communities. Our partnership with Opportunity Finance Network is another: over $9 million in loans and grants for Black-owned businesses have been allocated to local partners out of the $50 million we pledged in June. We’ve also selected 76 founders to receive funding from the $5 million U.S. Black Founders Fund, and we’ve established a $1 million fund in Brazil and a $2 million fund in Europeto support Black founders outside the U.S.


In education, welaunched the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to help equip Historically Black College and University students with digital skills. And, we’ll grant 50 universities an exploreCSR award for the 2020-2021 academic year to help attract and retain underrepresented students in computer science. 

Supporting racial justice organizations

In June, we committed $12 million to support racial justice organizations—almost all of which has been distributed. We’ve also embedded a team of pro-bono engineers in the Center for Policing Equity to help expand its National Justice Database. Globally, Google.org has committed $1 million to support local organizations in Brazil, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Today, we’re committing another $1.5 million to support racial justice organizations and empower Black communities across Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs and job skilling for Black youth.

Building helpful products

On the product side, we’re continuing to make our products more helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users. Recent activations include a new Black-owned business attribute on Maps, Assistant responses on Black Lives Matter, and new ways marketers can support Black-owned publishers in Display & Video 360—with more to come. We’ve also announced thefirst YouTube Originals to come from our #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a $100 million global commitment to acquire and produce programming focused on Black experiences and racial justice education, as well as support Black YouTube creators and artists.

Supporting Black+ Googlers throughout their careers

Meaningful, lasting change needs to come from within our own walls. That means looking across the experience of underrepresented Googlers, including Black+, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, and at all of our internal processes, including recruiting, leveling, performance, promotion, talent assessment and retention practices.


We’ve laid some good groundwork here. Since June, we’ve doubled the Retention & Progression team so that each organization has a designated consultant to support underrepresented Googlers, and we plan to triple our investment in this program by 2022. Meanwhile, we continue to roll out more robust checks for fairness and equity in our Perf process, including this cycle. 


We’ve also taken steps to create a deeper sense of belonging for our Black+ community, from offering relevant and useful benefits to fostering supportive internal communities. For example, last month we introduced a student loan repayment program to address the debt that hinders economic progress for many communities of color. We also increased the percentage of Black+ mental health counselors available to Googlers in the U.S. and are partnering with healthcare providers to create new programs for concerns that disproportionately affect our Black+ community, to be in place by 2022. In EMEA, we've launched a new speaker series—RE:EMEA—to localize the conversation on racial equity and increase our understanding of the region’s unique history. And to create community globally, next year we’ll roll out a six-month onboarding program for Black+ Nooglers to help build networks during those first few months at Google.

Attracting new talent and investing in long-term growth of sites 

In June, we committed to improving representation of underrepresented groups at senior levels by 30 percent by 2025. Today, we’re adding a goal to more than double the number of Black+ Googlers at all other levels by 2025. 


We’ll also invest in the long-term growth of U.S. locations that contribute to a high quality of life for Black+ Googlers. Across our sites in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago and New York we’ll aim to add an additional 10,000 Googlers by 2025, including 1,000 new roles by 2021. In global sites, including London, we will continue to focus on recruiting and hiring Black+ Googlers.

Holding ourselves accountable

We’ll hold ourselves accountable for creating an inclusive workplace. As part of our commitment to anti-racism educational programs, we will integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into all of our flagship employee and manager trainings. And moving forward, all VP+ performance reviews will include an evaluation of leadership in support of diversity, equity and inclusion. 


I’ll be sharing progress with Alphabet’s board regularly through transparency reports covering representation, hiring, retention, performance and promotion equity, and we’ll continue to publish our Diversity Annual Report to share this progress with all of you.

Thank you

These efforts represent a significant body of work to address systemic racism and build equity for Black+ Googlers and users for years to come. They would not have happened without the leadership and guidance of hundreds of Googlers, including Melonie and members of our Black Leadership Advisory Group and Black Googler Network—my deepest thanks to all of you. 


The equity we’re working towards internally will help us build better products and continue to support our users, businesses, and communities. This effort is at the heart of our mission to make information accessible to everyone. 


Thanks for the work thus far; we’ll continue to share progress updates.


- Sundar

Building on our workplace commitments

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.

Eileen

How we’re supporting the news with our marketing

As every marketing team knows, staying on top of the news is critical to developing campaigns that are thoughtful, relevant and helpful to people’s lives. Not only do we depend on news publishers to inform our marketing, but we also have a deep respect for the important work journalists do to keep everyone informed and safe.

But in the wake of the coronavirus, many publishers have been facing challenges funding the journalism we all rely on. While Google has long spent its marketing dollars with news organizations, a few months ago, we set out to think about how we could do even more to help the news industry through this challenging time. 

Building on ongoing efforts across our company, we've made four commitments to better support high-quality journalism with our marketing. Here's more about the steps we’ve taken and what we've learned.

1. Invest more with news organizations

News publishers provide an effective platform for advertisers to engage audiences. We also think it’s important to support journalism financially with our marketing.


For the first time, we’re holding ourselves to a marketing spend goal with the news category. Back in March, we committed to invest over $100 million with news organizations around the world by the end of the year. We’re well on our way to hitting this goal.

2. Revisit brand safety settings

Like many marketers, we added “coronavirus” to our negative keyword list when COVID-19 first hit as a brand safety precaution. These lists are intended to prevent ads from showing up next to unsuitable content.


As COVID-19 became a mainstream topic that dominated the news cycle, we realized that we were being too conservative in our approach. We decided to remove “coronavirus” from our negative keyword list, which led to a 25 percent increase in the placement of our ads on news content, more effective campaigns, and more of our marketing dollars going to high-quality news publishers. To help other marketers support news organizations too, our colleagues working on Google Ads and Display & Video 360 added alerts within the product, prompting brands using “coronavirus” negative keywords to consider removing these phrases, so their campaigns could similarly reach news sites.


This inspired us to do a broader audit of our brand safety strategies to make sure we weren’t inadvertently preventing our marketing campaigns from appearing on news content, and we continue to review our settings in the face of important news cycles. For example, while we’ve never excluded “Black Lives Matter,” we recently reassessed our settings to make sure our ads are set up to run alongside reporting on the racial justice movement. We encourage other marketers to do the same.

3. Support Black- and Latino-owned publishers

In June, we announced a set of commitments to improve racial equity inside and outside of Google. As a marketing team, one of many questions we asked ourselves was, how can we put more of our campaign dollars towards Black- and Latino-owned publishers in a meaningful way? 


So as part of our ongoing conversations with Black- and Latino-owned newspapers, we’ve been working to identify a more systematic way to spend our marketing dollars with them. These conversations raised a common challenge that many of these publishers face: their businesses are not set up to take advantage of digital advertising at scale. 


We’re taking three immediate steps to help address this. First, we’re working with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, representing Black-owned newspapers, and the National Association of Hispanic Publications to spend more with their member publications in the U.S. Second, we’re creating a Google News Initiative program with these same organizations and others to help Black- and Latino-owned publishers advance their digital maturity and build digital advertising capabilities, so they can attract more advertisers and grow revenue. Finally, Display & Video 360 is highlighting publications owned by multicultural groups within the product to help marketers who similarly want to spend more with these businesses.

4. Elevate local news

From stay-at-home orders to natural disasters, every day people turn to local news to stay informed and safe. In partnership with the Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium, we launched a marketing campaign in June to “Support Local News.” This program delivered funding to thousands of local news outlets in the U.S. and Canada, including Black- and Latino-owned publishers, and reached tens of millions of people with our call to action to subscribe, donate and advertise. 

Better support for news publishers will remain a priority across all of our marketing campaigns for Google's products. While there is more work to be done, we hope these steps inspire marketers to think differently about their campaigns and support news organizations in similar ways.


An update on Fitbit

Last year, we announced that Google entered into an agreement to acquire Fitbit to help spur innovation in wearable devices and build products that help people lead healthier lives. As we continue to work with regulators to answer their questions, we wanted to share more about how we believe this deal will increase choice, and create engaging products and helpful experiences for consumers.

There's vibrant competition when it comes to smartwatches and fitness trackers, with Apple, Samsung, Garmin, Fossil, Huawei, Xiaomi and many others offering numerous products at a range of prices. We don’t currently make or sell wearable devices like these today. We believe the combination of Google and Fitbit's hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector, making the next generation of devices better and more affordable. 

This deal is about devices, not data. We’ve been clear from the beginning that we will not use Fitbit health and wellness data for Google ads. We recently offered to make a legally binding commitment to the European Commission regarding our use of Fitbit data. As we do with all our products, we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move or delete their data. And we’ll continue to support wide connectivity and interoperability across our and other companies’ products. 

We appreciate the opportunity to work with the European Commission on an approach that addresses consumers' expectations of their wearable devices. We’re confident that by working closely with Fitbit’s team of experts, and bringing together our experience in AI, software and hardware, we can build compelling devices for people around the world.

Alphabet issues sustainability bonds to support environmental and social initiatives

For more than 20 years, Google's products have improved the lives of people all over the world. Operating our business in an environmentally and socially responsible way has been a core value since our founding in 1998. Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 and we’ve matched our entire electricity consumption with renewables for the past three years. We continue to make major investments in affordable housing and have made a number of significant commitments to promote racial equity

Today, as part of a $10 billion debt offering, we have issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds, the largest sustainability or green bond by any company in history. Although a number of companies have issued green bonds (directed solely to environmental uses), sustainability bonds differ in that their proceeds support investment in both environmental and social initiatives. Such bonds are an emerging asset class and we hope this transaction will help develop this new market. We’re encouraged that there was such strong demand for these bonds from investors—they were significantly oversubscribed.


The proceeds from these sustainability bonds will fund ongoing and new projects that are environmentally or socially responsible and enable investors to join us in tackling critical issues. We believe that these investments benefit our communities, employees and stakeholders, and are an important part of fulfilling Google’s  mission and goal of creating value over the long term. 


Consistent with the Green Bond Principles and the Social Bond Principles, eligible projects for use of proceeds are within the following eight areas that build on significant investments we have previously made and will not be allocated to any Google.org activities.

Energy efficiency

For more than a decade, we’ve worked to make Google data centers some of the most efficient in the world by optimizing our use of energy, water, and materials. Today, on average, a Google data center is twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center. Compared with five years ago, we now deliver around seven times as much computing power with the same amount of electricity.  

Clean energy

Combating climate change requires transitioning to a clean energy economy. To date, we have committed approximately $4 billion to purchase clean energy from more than 50 wind and solar projects globally through 2034. Next, we are focused on our longer term vision to source carbon-free energy for our operations 24 hours a day, seven days a week; this means matching our energy consumption with clean energy for each of our data centers around the world on an hour-by-hour basis.

Green buildings

Since the beginning, we've focused on the impact of our workplaces: from how we build our offices to preventing food waste in our cafes. Today, more than 13 million square feet of Google offices are LEED certified.

Clean transportation 

We’re working to mitigate carbon emissions and take cars off the road by promoting the use of EVs and bicycles. By using Google shuttles in the Bay Area, we saved 40,000+ metric tons of CO2 emissions—equivalent to taking 8,760 cars off the road every work day. 

Circular economy and design

We are committed to maximizing the reuse of finite resources across our operations, products, and supply chains and to enable others to do the same. To date, we’ve shipped millions of devices made with post-consumer recycled plastic and 100% of Nest products launched in 2019 include recycled plastics.

Affordable housing

We strive to be a good neighbor in the places we call home. To address the lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area, we made a $1 billion commitment to invest in housing and expect to help build 20,000 residential units, of which at least 5,000 will be affordable. 

Commitment to racial equity 

Because racial equity is inextricably linked to economic opportunity, we will continue to support Black businesses. Recent efforts include a $175+ million economic opportunity initiative, including financing for small businesses in Black communities, and a $100 million YouTube fund to amplify the voices of Black creators and artists.

Support for small business and COVID-19 response

COVID-19 has taken a devastating toll on many businesses. To help we made an $800+ million commitment to small- and medium-sized businesses, health organizations, governments, and health workers on the frontlines. We’ve also partnered with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to provide low-interest loans to community development financial institutions, who in turn provide loans to small businesses in underserved communities in the U.S., and are working with the American Library Association to create entrepreneurship centers across the U.S. 

Our Sustainability Bond Framework will guide our investments. To ensure transparency and alignment with the framework, we'll report back annually on which projects have been funded from the bonds' proceeds and their expected impact.

This is the next chapter in our commitment to a more sustainable future for everyone. 

An update on Exposure Notifications

In May, we partnered with Apple to launch the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) and made it available to public health authorities around the world in their fight against COVID-19. The ENS allows public health authorities to develop apps that augment manual contact tracing efforts while preserving the privacy of their citizens. As of today, public health authorities have used ENS to launch in 16 countries and regions across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, with more apps currently under development.  

In the United States, 20 states and territories—representing approximately 45 percent of the U.S. population—are exploring apps based on ENS. We expect to see the first set of these apps roll out over the coming weeks. The Association of Public Health Laboratories also announced recently that it will host a national key server to support all U.S. states, which will allow people with Exposure Notification apps to receive alerts even if they travel across state borders.

We’ve continued to improve the technology and provide more transparency based on feedback we’ve received from public health authorities and other experts. Public health authorities will continue to make their own decisions about how exposure notifications become part of their plans in controlling COVID-19, and we will work to improve the technology in response to their feedback. Here are some of the changes we’ve already made, as well as some upcoming additional changes.

Improvements to the Exposure Notification API

Since the Exposure Notification API was publicly released in May, we’ve spoken with dozens of public health authorities to understand how the API could be improved to help them better manage the COVID-19 pandemic while preserving privacy. Based on this feedback, we recently launched an update to the API, which includes the following changes:

  • When an exposure is detected, public health authorities now have more flexibility in determining the level of risk associated with that exposure based on technical information from the API.

  • Bluetooth calibration values for hundreds of devices have been updated to improve the detection of nearby devices.

  • The API now supports interoperability between countries, following feedback from governments that have launched Exposure Notification apps.

  • To help public health authorities build apps more efficiently, we’ve added reliability improvements for apps and developer debug tools. 

  • We’ve improved clarity, transparency and control for users. For example, the Exposure Notifications settings on Android now include a simple on/off toggle at the top of the page. In addition, users will also see a periodic reminder if ENS is turned on.

Technical guidance and transparency

We’ve heard feedback that public health authorities and developers want more technical guidance about how ENS works. In response, we’ve published the following resources over the last few weeks:

  • Reference verification server to help guide public health authorities in building a server that allows verification of test results when users report themselves as positive for COVID-19.

  • Implementation code showing how the Exposure Notification API works underneath the hood.

  • Telemetry design explaining what de-identified diagnostics data is collected to ensure that ENS is functioning properly and securely.

Additional technical resources will be publicly shared as we continue to improve ENS.

Education and privacy protections 

The Exposure Notifications website has more information about ENS, and offers educational and technical resources, as well as the latest updates. 

As a quick reminder, here are some of the core privacy protections that were built into ENS: 

  • You decide whether you want to use Exposure Notifications—it’s off unless you turn it on.

  • ENS doesn’t use location data from your device.

  • Your identity is not shared with Google, Apple or other users.

  • Only public health authorities can use this system.

Finally, we’ve received questions about why your Android device location setting has to be turned on if you want to use an Exposure Notification app. We want to explain why this particular setting needs to be on, and how you can control your location settings on Android.  

To be absolutely clear, ENS does not use device location, and the policies for using ENS prohibit public health authority apps from requesting or collecting device location. Instead, ENS uses Bluetooth technology to detect when two devices are near each other, without revealing the location of either device. While Bluetooth scanning doesn’t necessarily reveal location, it can in some cases be used to infer your device’s location. For example, if a shopping app scans for the Bluetooth signals of a stationary Bluetooth beacon located inside a store, then the app could infer that you went to that store. So in 2015, with privacy in mind, we designed the Android operating system to prevent Bluetooth scanning unless the device location setting is on. At that time no one could have anticipated that Bluetooth scanning might one day be helpful in controlling a global pandemic like COVID-19. 

Our engineering teams have been working to update the next version of Android with Exposure Notifications in mind. On Android 11, which will soon be released, users will be able to use Exposure Notification apps without turning on the device location setting. We’re making this update for Exposure Notifications only, given that ENS has been designed in such a way that neither the system nor the apps using it can infer device location through Bluetooth scanning, and apps that are allowed to use ENS are subject to additional policies that disallow automatic collection of location. All other apps and services will still be prohibited from performing Bluetooth scanning unless the device location setting is on. 

But even in current versions of Android, when you turn on the device location setting, your phone continues to prohibit access to any apps, including Google apps, that don’t have permission to use device location. The device location setting is like a circuit breaker in a house: When it’s on, power is flowing to the house, but you can turn the lights on or off in each room. If you turn on the device location setting to use ENS, it won’t affect the decisions you’ve already made about specific apps. You can always view and change which apps have access to your device location by going to Settings > Location > App permissions.

We’re committed to supporting public health authorities as they build tools to fight COVID-19. We’ll continue to improve ENS based on feedback, while ensuring that people can trust in the privacy-preserving design of this technology.