Tag Archives: Public Policy

Google at the UN General Assembly

Next week, leaders from government, civil society and the business community will convene at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss how we can work together to solve the world’s biggest challenges. If the past two years have shown us anything, it’s that tackling global problems like pandemics, economic inequality and climate change demand global collaboration, across borders and across sectors. At Google, we’re committed to doing our part.


Earlier this year, I wrote about how we are accelerating our partnerships with international organizations in a number of areas. For example, since the start of the pandemic, we've launched more than 200 new products, provided over $150 million to public health officials to promote vaccine education, and enhanced existing products like Google Search and Maps to highlight authoritative information about COVID-19 and local vaccination sites. We’ve also continued to increase our support for the UN by providing over $250 million in Ad Grants, which has enabled it to serve over 1.6 billion ads and reach people in more than 200 countries with messages about COVID-19 prevention, vaccine safety and more. 


At UNGA this year, we will be deepening our collaboration with international organizations as we add our voice to critical policy discussions, share what we have learned from our partnerships, and seek out new ways to collaborate with multi-stakeholder groups.


Here are just a few events at which we’ll be participating next week around key issues.

Economic Recovery 

While the pandemic has exacerbated economic inequality around the world, the data shows that nations that adopt technology are poised to recover quicker. According to recent research, 16 emerging countries could generate as much as $3.4 trillion of economic value through digital transformation by 2030. 


On September 20, Google SVP of Global Affairs Kent Walker will join the Concordia Summit to discuss a new Future Readiness Index commissioned by Google and developed by the Portulans Institute. This interactive tool is designed to help governments use key metrics and data to make sound investments in technology, infrastructure and talent.


Later next week, Kent and I will join the Leaders on Purpose Summit for conversations about how the private sector and governments can work together to help more people prepare for jobs, and how sound digital policies can help governments drive economic opportunity and growth.

Sustainability and Climate Action

Technology has an important role to play in tackling climate change, and we’ve long been committed to advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and collaborating with UN entities like the Framework Convention on Climate Change to drive progress. We were the first major company to be carbon neutral and match 100% of our annual electricity use with renewables, and now we’re working to be the first major company to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030.

On September 24 at theUN High Level Dialogue on Energy, our CFO Ruth Porat will call on other companies and governments to join the Sustainable Energy for All-Google 24/7 Carbon Free Energy Compact. Ruth will also speak at the kickoff of Climate Week on September 20 to discuss how we are working to achieve sustainability at scale and fulfill our commitment to offer 1 billion people new ways to live more sustainably by 2022 via our core products.

Music and Culture

In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Google Arts & Culture and YouTube collaborated with other worldwide partners on the Global Ode To Joy project. Through this initiative, which is a fitting contribution to the UN’s International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, thousands of users, top-tier artists, and orchestras from more than 70 countries came together to create and share videos of Beethoven’s music. On September 22, Kent will host a panel during the Concordia Summit with participants from the Ode to Joy campaign to discuss how music is bringing people together during the pandemic.


To be sure, with many events this year again virtual, UNGA 2021 will be a little different from years past. But the opportunities it presents for engagement with partners from around the world remain rich, and the need for collaboration substantial. Whether in person or over a screen, Google is “all in” when it comes to supporting the UN’s vision of multilateral and multi-stakeholder approaches to confronting the world’s biggest challenges. 


Collaborating with the UN to accelerate crisis response

In remarks to the UN's High-Level Humanitarian Event on Anticipatory Action, Google SVP for Global Affairs, Kent Walker, discusses collaboration to accelerate crisis preparedness and predict crises before they happen. Read the full remarks below.


Mr. Secretary General, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen - it’s an honor to join you as we come together to discuss these critical humanitarian issues.

As you know, technology is already raising living standards around the world—leveraging science to double life spans over the last 100 years, helping a billion people emerge from poverty in the last 30 years alone. And innovation will help drive environmental sustainability, raise living standards, improve healthcare, and enhance crisis response.

But addressing global needs in a meaningful way requires strong collaborations between technologists, governments, humanitarian organizations, and those most directly affected.

That’s why we are pleased to announce a $1.5 million commitment to OCHA’s Center for Humanitarian Data. Over the next two years, Google.org will support the Center in scaling up the use of forecasts and predictive models to anticipate humanitarian crises and trigger the release of funds before conditions escalate.

From the earliest days of efforts like Hans Rosling’s GapMinder, it’s been a dream that rather than waiting for a crisis to occur, data and technology could help predict events like droughts or food shortages weeks ahead of time, allowing agencies to provide alerts and deliver supplies to avert the crisis. That technology exists now, today—and we need to put it to work.

With the signs of climate change all around us, it’s essential that we improve our collective preparedness, and protect our most vulnerable populations.

Google is honored to support the critical work led by OCHA and the Center for Humanitarian Data, and we’re committed to combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and expand opportunity for everyone.

We hope others will join us in the important work of getting ahead of crises before they happen.

Thank you.

Why we’re committing $10 billion to advance cybersecurity

We welcomed the opportunity to participate in President Biden’s White House Cyber Security Meeting today, and appreciated the chance to share our recommendations to advance this important agenda. The meeting comes at a timely moment, as widespread cyberattacks continue to exploit vulnerabilities targeting people, organizations, and governments around the world.


That’s why today, we are announcing that we will invest $10 billion over the next five years to strengthen cybersecurity, including expanding zero-trust programs, helping secure the software supply chain, and enhancing open-source security. We are also pledging, through the Google Career Certificate program, to train 100,000 Americans in fields like IT Support and Data Analytics, learning in-demand skills including data privacy and security. 


Governments and businesses are at a watershed moment in addressing cybersecurity. Cyber attacks are increasingly endangering valuable data and critical infrastructure. While we welcome increased measures to reinforce cybersecurity, governments and companies are both facing key challenges: 


First, organizations continue to depend on vulnerable legacy infrastructure and software, rather than adopting modern IT and security practices. Too many governments still rely on legacy vendor contracts that limit competition and choice, inflate costs, and create privacy and security risks. 


Second, nation-state actors, cybercriminals and other malicious actors continue to target weaknesses in software supply chains and many vendors don’t have the tools or expertise to stop them. 


Third, countries simply don’t have enough people trained to anticipate and deal with these threats. 


For the past two decades, Google has made security the cornerstone of our product strategy. We don’t just plug security holes, we work to eliminate entire classes of threats for consumers and businesses whose work depends on our services. We keep more users safe than anyone else in the world — blocking malware, phishing attempts, spam messages, and potential cyber attacks. We’ve published over 160 academic research papers on computer security, privacy, and abuse prevention, and we warn other software companies of weaknesses in their systems. And dedicated teams like our Threat Analysis Group work to counter government-backed hacking and attacks against Google and our users, making the internet safer for everyone.


Extending the zero-trust security model 

We’re one of the pioneers inzero-trust computing, in which no person, device, or network enjoys inherent trust.  Trust that allows access to information must be earned.  We’ve learned a lot about both the power and the challenges of running this model at scale. 


Implemented properly, zero-trust computing provides the highest level of security for organizations.  We support the White House effort to deploy this model across the federal government. 


As government and industry work together to develop and implement zero-trust solutions for employee access to corporate assets, we also need to apply the approach to production environments. This is necessary to address events like Solarwinds, where attackers used access to the production environment to compromise dozens of outside entities. The U.S. government can encourage adoption by expanding zero-trust guidelines and reference architecture language in the Executive Order implementation process to include production environments, which in addition to application segmentation substantially improves an organization’s defense in depth strategy. 


Securing the software supply chain 

Following the Solarwinds attack, the software world gained a deeper understanding of the real risks and ramifications of supply chain attacks. Today, the vast majority of modern software development makes use of open source software, including software incorporated in many aspects of critical infrastructure and national security systems. Despite this, there is no formal requirement or standard for maintaining the security of that software. Most of the work that is done to enhance the security of open source software, including fixing known vulnerabilities, is done on an ad hoc basis. 


That’s why we worked with the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) to develop and release Supply Chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA or “salsa”), a proven framework for securing the software supply chain. In our view, wide support for and adoption of the SLSA framework will raise the security bar for the entire software ecosystem. 


To further advance our work and the broader community’s work in this space, we committed to invest in the expansion of the application of our SLSA framework to protect the key components of open-source software widely used by many organizations. We also pledged to provide $100 million to support third-party foundations, like OpenSSF, that manage open source security priorities and help fix vulnerabilities.


Strengthening the digital security skills of the American workforce

Robust cybersecurity ultimately depends on having the people to implement it. That includes people with digital skills capable of designing and executing cybersecurity solutions, as well as promoting awareness of cybersecurity risks and protocols among the broader population. In short, we need more and better computer security education and training.  


Over the next three years, we're pledging to help 100,000 Americans earn Google Career Certificates in fields like IT Support and Data Analytics to learn in-demand skills including data privacy and security. The certificates are industry-recognized and supported credentials that equip Americans with the skills they need to get high-paying, high-growth jobs. To date, more than half of our graduates have come from backgrounds underserved in tech (Black, Latinx, veteran, or female). 46% of our graduates come from the lowest income tertile in the country. And the results are strong: 82% of our graduates report a positive career impact within six months of graduation. Additionally, we will train over 10 million Americans in digital skills from basic to advanced by 2023.


Leading the world in cybersecurity is critical to our national security. Today’s meeting at the White House was both an acknowledgment of the threats we face and a call to action to address them. It emphasized cybersecurity as a global imperative and encouraged new ways of thinking and partnering across government, industry and academia. We look forward to working with the Administration and others to define and drive a new era in cybersecurity. Our collective safety, economic growth, and future innovation depend on it.


Why we’re committing $10 billion to advance cybersecurity

We welcomed the opportunity to participate in President Biden’s White House Cyber Security Meeting today, and appreciated the chance to share our recommendations to advance this important agenda. The meeting comes at a timely moment, as widespread cyberattacks continue to exploit vulnerabilities targeting people, organizations, and governments around the world.


That’s why today, we are announcing that we will invest $10 billion over the next five years to strengthen cybersecurity, including expanding zero-trust programs, helping secure the software supply chain, and enhancing open-source security. We are also pledging, through the Google Career Certificate program, to train 100,000 Americans in fields like IT Support and Data Analytics, learning in-demand skills including data privacy and security. 


Governments and businesses are at a watershed moment in addressing cybersecurity. Cyber attacks are increasingly endangering valuable data and critical infrastructure. While we welcome increased measures to reinforce cybersecurity, governments and companies are both facing key challenges: 


First, organizations continue to depend on vulnerable legacy infrastructure and software, rather than adopting modern IT and security practices. Too many governments still rely on legacy vendor contracts that limit competition and choice, inflate costs, and create privacy and security risks. 


Second, nation-state actors, cybercriminals and other malicious actors continue to target weaknesses in software supply chains and many vendors don’t have the tools or expertise to stop them. 


Third, countries simply don’t have enough people trained to anticipate and deal with these threats. 


For the past two decades, Google has made security the cornerstone of our product strategy. We don’t just plug security holes, we work to eliminate entire classes of threats for consumers and businesses whose work depends on our services. We keep more users safe than anyone else in the world — blocking malware, phishing attempts, spam messages, and potential cyber attacks. We’ve published over 160 academic research papers on computer security, privacy, and abuse prevention, and we warn other software companies of weaknesses in their systems. And dedicated teams like our Threat Analysis Group work to counter government-backed hacking and attacks against Google and our users, making the internet safer for everyone.


Extending the zero-trust security model 

We’re one of the pioneers inzero-trust computing, in which no person, device, or network enjoys inherent trust.  Trust that allows access to information must be earned.  We’ve learned a lot about both the power and the challenges of running this model at scale. 


Implemented properly, zero-trust computing provides the highest level of security for organizations.  We support the White House effort to deploy this model across the federal government. 


As government and industry work together to develop and implement zero-trust solutions for employee access to corporate assets, we also need to apply the approach to production environments. This is necessary to address events like Solarwinds, where attackers used access to the production environment to compromise dozens of outside entities. The U.S. government can encourage adoption by expanding zero-trust guidelines and reference architecture language in the Executive Order implementation process to include production environments, which in addition to application segmentation substantially improves an organization’s defense in depth strategy. 


Securing the software supply chain 

Following the Solarwinds attack, the software world gained a deeper understanding of the real risks and ramifications of supply chain attacks. Today, the vast majority of modern software development makes use of open source software, including software incorporated in many aspects of critical infrastructure and national security systems. Despite this, there is no formal requirement or standard for maintaining the security of that software. Most of the work that is done to enhance the security of open source software, including fixing known vulnerabilities, is done on an ad hoc basis. 


That’s why we worked with the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) to develop and release Supply Chain Levels for Software Artifacts (SLSA or “salsa”), a proven framework for securing the software supply chain. In our view, wide support for and adoption of the SLSA framework will raise the security bar for the entire software ecosystem. 


To further advance our work and the broader community’s work in this space, we committed to invest in the expansion of the application of our SLSA framework to protect the key components of open-source software widely used by many organizations. We also pledged to provide $100 million to support third-party foundations, like OpenSSF, that manage open source security priorities and help fix vulnerabilities.


Strengthening the digital security skills of the American workforce

Robust cybersecurity ultimately depends on having the people to implement it. That includes people with digital skills capable of designing and executing cybersecurity solutions, as well as promoting awareness of cybersecurity risks and protocols among the broader population. In short, we need more and better computer security education and training.  


Over the next three years, we're pledging to help 100,000 Americans earn Google Career Certificates in fields like IT Support and Data Analytics to learn in-demand skills including data privacy and security. The certificates are industry-recognized and supported credentials that equip Americans with the skills they need to get high-paying, high-growth jobs. To date, more than half of our graduates have come from backgrounds underserved in tech (Black, Latinx, veteran, or female). 46% of our graduates come from the lowest income tertile in the country. And the results are strong: 82% of our graduates report a positive career impact within six months of graduation. Additionally, we will train over 10 million Americans in digital skills from basic to advanced by 2023.


Leading the world in cybersecurity is critical to our national security. Today’s meeting at the White House was both an acknowledgment of the threats we face and a call to action to address them. It emphasized cybersecurity as a global imperative and encouraged new ways of thinking and partnering across government, industry and academia. We look forward to working with the Administration and others to define and drive a new era in cybersecurity. Our collective safety, economic growth, and future innovation depend on it.


A lawsuit that ignores choice on Android and Google Play

We built Android to create more choices in mobile technology. Today, anyone, including our competitors, can customize and build devices with the Android operating system — for free. 

We also built an app store, Google Play, that helps people download apps on their devices. If you don’t find the app you’re looking for in Google Play, you can choose to download the app from a rival app store or directly from a developer’s website. We don’t impose the same restrictions as other mobile operating systems do.

So it’s strange that a group of state attorneys general chose to file a lawsuit attacking a system that provides more openness and choice than others. This complaint mimics a similarly meritless lawsuit filed by the large app developer Epic Games, which has benefitted from Android’s openness by distributing its Fortnite app outside of Google Play.

Here’s more detail on how this lawsuit gets it wrong:

Google Play competes vigorously and fairly

The complaint limits its definition of the app marketplace to Android devices only. This completely ignores the competition we face from other platforms such as Apple's incredibly successful app store, which accounts for the majority of mobile app store revenues according to third-party estimates. We compete for both developers and consumers, and if we’re not providing them with the best experience on Google Play, they have other alternatives to choose from.

Android increases competition and choice

This complaint alleges that consumers and developers have no option other than to use Google Play. But that’s not correct. Choice has always been a core tenet of Android. Device makers and carriers can preload competing app stores alongside Google Play on their devices. In fact, most Android devices ship with two or more app stores preloaded. And popular Android devices such as the Amazon Fire tablet come preloaded with a competitive app store and no Google Play Store.

An image of a Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone, showing a Galaxy Store and a Play Store. Text: Most Android phones come preloaded with more than one app store.


Consumers can also “sideload” apps, meaning they can download them from a developer’s website directly without going through Google Play at all. People sideload successful apps like Fortnite, as well as entire app stores like the Amazon Appstore, neither of which are distributed through Google Play.

Contributing to this openness and choice, we also give developers more ways to interact with their customers compared to other operating systems. For example, Google Play allows developers to communicate with their customers outside the app about subscription offers or a lower-cost offering on a rival app store or the developer’s website.

Google Play helps developers succeed

The complaint suggests that Google Play somehow inhibits developers’ ability to grow. Even though developers have a range of distribution options on Android, we’re proud that, as of February 2020, developers had earned over $80 billion through Google Play. And in 2020, the Android app economy, including Google Play, helped create nearly 2 million American jobs

An image of the United States in blue. Text: In 2020, the Android app economy, including Google Play, helped create 1.98 million American jobs

We provide resources to help developers build great apps, lower their costs and grow their businesses. This includes tools that help developers reduce testing burdens, run beta tests and monitor their app at scale. We also invest significantly in security. Google Play Protect, our security service, now scans more than 100 billion apps every day; in 2019, it prevented 1.9 billion malware installs.

The economic model of Play and Android benefits developers

The complaint is peppered with inflammatory language designed to distract from the fact that our rules on Android and Google Play benefit consumers. We stand behind apps distributed on Google Play, so we do have some rules to keep the store secure, protect privacy and prevent fraud. For example, we have rules around spam, app reviews and inappropriate content. These rules don't harm consumers; they help protect their safety and security. People want and expect this when using their phones. 

Under our Google Play billing policy, the 3% of developers who actually sell digital products or content use Google Play’s billing system and are subject to a progressive service fee: 15% on the first $1 million earned (99% of developers who pay any fee earn less than a million dollars), and then 30% for earnings above $1 million. Some large app developers, like Epic, want preferential rates and want to use their own payment processing system, but that would harm the ecosystem as a whole.

Two bar charts with a line from the first to the second. The first chart shows 97% and 3%, with text saying About 97% of developers will pay nothing. The second chart shows 99%, with text saying Of the 3% who do, 99% pay a reduced fee of 15%.

  • First, our current business model benefits the overwhelming majority of developers. About 97% of developers today don’t sell digital content on Google Play and therefore aren't subject to a service fee. Less than 0.1% of developers — who are the largest and most profitable on Google Play — are subject to a 30% service fee on some transactions. This lawsuit is essentially on behalf of that 0.1% of developers. Moreover, the complaint conspicuously fails to mention that our fee is comparable to other rival digital stores, including the Samsung Galaxy Store, Amazon Appstore, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Apple App Store. 

A comparison chart of four different app stores. Google Play charges a 15-30% transaction fee, the Amazon Appstore charges a 20-30% transaction fee, the Galaxy Store charges a 30% transaction fee and the Apple App Store charges a 15-30% transaction fee. Disclaimer: Fees may vary based on type of content, subscription, or otherwise agreed-upon values.

  • Second, a centralized billing system protects consumers from fraud and gives consumers an easy way to track purchases in one place. It also enables us to provide robust parental and safety controls and subscription management tools that are critical to consumer trust.

Even with these rules, it’s worth reiterating: Developers who don’t like our policies can still distribute their apps to Android users directly or through rival app stores without using our billing system or paying us a cent — and many do. 

A meritless lawsuit that ignores Android’s openness

We understand that scrutiny is appropriate, and we’re committed to engaging with regulators. But Android and Google Play provide openness and choice that other platforms simply don’t. This lawsuit isn’t about helping the little guy or protecting consumers. It’s about boosting a handful of major app developers who want the benefits of Google Play without paying for it. Doing so risks raising costs for small developers, impeding their ability to innovate and compete, and making apps across the Android ecosystem less secure for consumers. 

For more information on Google Play, please visit our Android developer blog. 

Connecting people to food support in their community

The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that followed exacerbated hunger for millions of people. Feeding America estimates that the number of those without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable food grew to 45 million people in 2020, including 15 million children. That equates to one in seven Americans and is a nearly 30% increase from 2019. 


Connecting people to community food services

We know people are looking for ways to get help, including on Google Search. Over the past year, searches for "food bank near me", "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)", "food stamps application" and "school lunch pick up" reached record highs. 

Starting today, you can find free food support all in one place on our new Find Food Support site. The site features a Google Maps locator tool to help you find the nearest food bank, food pantry or school lunch program pickup site in your community. We worked with No Kid Hungry, FoodFinder and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to capture 90,000 places with free food support across 50 states — with more locations to come.
A mobile device showing the new Find Food Support Google Maps locator tool where people can search for food banks, food pantries and school lunch pickup sites in their community.

Helping people know they aren’t alone

Food insecurity impacts people from all walks of life — especially since the start of the pandemic. Mass school closures made food insecurity five times worse for children who previously relied on free school lunch programs. Black and Latino communities, disabled Americans and those without a college degree have been disproportionately impacted. And according to a recent survey of military families from the Military Family Advisory Network, one in five families reported experiencing food insecurity.

Still, the stigma associated with getting help can be a barrier for many. We want people to know they’re not alone. Find Food Support features stigma-busting videos demonstrating that food insecurity impacts all kinds of people, and highlights volunteers and organizations from around the country who have stepped up to feed their communities.

The site also provides links to food support hotlines, state-by-state benefit guides, and information for specific communities, such as seniors, families and children, and military families. You can also find information about how you can donate food, time and money to support those in need.

There’s a long way to go to fully solving the hunger crisis in the U.S. and around the globe, but we hope Find Food Support helps connect people in the U.S. to free food and assistance in their time of need. 

Tracking data to advance health equity


Last year, I saw COVID-19 impact the lives of some of the strongest people I know because of their race, class and zip code — especially in my hard-hit hometown of Detroit. But I wasn’t the only one who witnessed this. We’ve all heard how the pandemic has affected vulnerable communities across the country due to structural and long-standing health inequities. Even so, there was no central resource to help consolidate, visualize and understand the data on a national scale. 


Over the past year a team of Google.org Fellows and I worked with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine and a multi-disciplinary Health Equity Taskforce to understand COVID-19 health inequities. Today, we released The Health Equity Tracker (HET), a publicly available data platform that visually displays and contextualizes the health disparities facing communities of color throughout the U.S.


With $1.5 million of Google.org grant funding and over 15,000 pro bono hours donated from 18 Google.org Fellows, the HET parses through a mountain of public health data to record COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations nationwide across race and ethnicity, sex and age, as well as state and county. The tracker also measures social and systemic factors — like poverty and lack of health insurance — that exacerbate these inequities and have resulted in higher COVID-19 death rates for people of color, especially Black and Latinx communities.  

The HET allows users to compare public health data on a local and national level.

The HET allows users to compare public health data on a local and national level. 

Collecting this data showed us where there are gaps in our knowledge. Public health data can be inconsistent, collected in silos or missing completely. Knowing where these blindspots are is valuable. When we’re aware of unknown or missing data, we’re able to take action toward improving data collection and reporting standards.


The tracker currently focuses on data analysis for COVID-19, but in the future we expect to be able to track additional conditions, like mental and behavioral health. And we’ll include analysis of health inequities for people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and those facing socio economic challenges. 


For me, the process of creating this during a time of devastation has helped me translate mourning into meaning. Future generations deserve more complete, accurate, and representative data that can advance health equity in times of crisis and beyond


Watch Satcher Health Leadership Institute’s YouTube series to learn more about health equity tracker and the Google.org fellows who worked on it. 

Technology can strengthen the U.S.-Korea alliance

Tomorrow, President Biden will hold his first bilateral summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington, DC. The visit comes nearly 15 years after the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) was signed, creating a historic economic and strategic partnership between our nations.

As a former trade negotiator for the U.S. government, I helped negotiate this agreement to further the United States’ and Korea’s shared goal of lowering trade barriers and strengthening our economic cooperation. In the years since KORUS was signed, I’m proud to see how much the U.S-Korea economic relationship has matured. Bilateral trade in goods and services has increased from $104 billion in 2007 to nearly $170 billion in 2019. U.S. exports to Korea today support an estimated 358,000 jobs. And KORUS has shown that government leadership can spur private sector collaboration, unlocking new opportunities for cooperation across the Pacific and benefiting consumers. 

Google’s experiences offer a great case in point. Over the past decade, we have partnered with great Korean companies to bring better products to consumers in Korea, the U.S. and the world. For example, we have closely collaborated with companies like Samsung and LG to expand access to innovative smartphones and devices for everyone. That, in turn, has nurtured a digital economy where developers are able to distribute their apps to global markets and grow their businesses. Just this week, we announced our newest initiative: Google and Samsung are unifying our wearable device operating systems, which will provide consumers with powerful health information and the ability to communicate on the go, while creating new opportunities for developers and device makers. We’ve similarly had great partnerships with other Korean technology leaders like SK, Hyundai Motor, Kakao, NCSoft, Nexon and NetMarble.

Today, the U.S. and Korea are at an important inflection point in our economic alliance, as our nations recover from the effects of COVID-19. We can reenergize our bilateral relationship by partnering even more closely on technology. The U.S. and Korea are among the world’s leaders in technology — in everything from smartphones and software to apps and artificial intelligence. These complementary strengths present an enormous opportunity for deeper collaboration. 

There is, however, still a great deal of work ahead to realize that opportunity. There remain a number of areas where collaboration would be strengthened by better alignment on technology and digital regulation and policy. As we have seen globally in recent years, unilateral attempts to regulate the digital economy deter trade and create obstacles for greater investment. Inconsistent regulations make it harder for companies to work together, increase costs for consumers, and risk fragmenting the global, open internet that both countries rely on.

That’s why we believe Presidents Biden and Moon should launch a high-level dialogue on technology issues. Such a dialogue would elevate the importance of technology cooperation, enhance supply chain resiliency and promote common rules of the road for the digital space that will preserve an open, free and secure global internet. This dialogue would also help the two countries jointly address challenges in the technology space that risk deterring trade in our sector and beyond.

An enhanced technology relationship would serve the two countries’ economic interests, including the thousands of American and Korean small and medium-sized businesses that rely on digital tools to reach customers and stay connected. And it's not just our economies that would benefit. Increasingly, technology cooperation is also at the core of our security alliance. A common approach to digital standards and mutual commitment to transparent, non-discriminatory, and interoperable regulatory frameworks would reinforce that alliance, while also enabling digital cooperation across the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. 

The U.S.-Korea alliance has endured because of our shared values and belief that we are best positioned to tackle future challenges working in partnership. Technology represents the future of both our economies. By putting digital cooperation high on the bilateral agenda and launching a technology dialogue, the U.S. and Korea can give new momentum to our economic and strategic alliance, propelling it for the next 15 years. 

Why we’re rallying support for immigration rights

The ability to recruit and retain the world’s best talent is crucial to America’s economic success  — and it has been from the beginning.

Whether by founding companies or developing life-saving vaccines, immigrants have pioneered many of the breakthroughs that fuel our economy and make the U.S. a technological leader — including sparking 30% of all U.S. innovation since 1974. That is why we have advocated for a fair and competitive immigration system. And that is why now — as the U.S. emerges from a pandemic only to face unprecedented global competition — we support a system that offers opportunities to highly-skilled workers and their families, and cements the citizenship of Dreamers, rather than miring immigrants in decade-long application backlogs.

A fair immigration system is necessary to preserve America’s laudable history of welcoming people from different places and to fuel a virtuous cycle of innovation. Unfortunately, an impending court case is putting both at risk at the most inopportune moment.

The case in question is an attempt to end the issuing of work authorization (H-4 EAD) for certain spouses of high-skilled talent who have come to this country on H-1B visas. In other words, it seeks to end the ability of highly-skilled immigrants’ partners from working in the United States. This H-4 EAD program provides work authorization to more than 90,000 H-4 visa-holders — more than 90% of whom are women. The pandemic has already disproportionately impacted women and ending this program would only make things worse, leading to disrupted careers and lost wages. Furthemore, if the program is lost, the practical effect is that we welcome a person to the U.S. to work but we make it harder for their spouse to work. That hurts their family, impacts our ability to compete for talent, and harms our economy.

To support this important program, we are leading an amicus brief with over 40 companies and organizations to preserve and protect the H-4 EAD program. This builds on an amicus brief we recently joined in support of a lawsuit filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association to expedite the delayed processing time of H-4 work authorizations.

As an immigrant myself, I have been the beneficiary of a welcoming America and I hope we can ensure that same welcome for future immigrants by preserving the H-4 EAD program. Ending this program would hurt families and undercut the US economy at a critical moment. To read the legal details of why we are urging the court to reject this attempt to end the H-4 EAD please click here.

Google’s partnerships with international organizations

Whether it’s a pandemic, climate change, or the health of the global economy, many of the problems of our era can only be effectively addressed by collaboration across borders. In an interconnected world, such collaboration depends on international organizations that bring together governments, the private sector and civil society. And we think technology can help.

We’ve recently seen how technology-enabled solutions like smartphone-based exposure notifications can support public health authorities in the fight against COVID-19, machine-learning models can reduce energy consumption, and AI can address cybersecurity challenges posed by hackers and spam.  We at Google are proud to be investing billions in R&D each year to innovate new technologies to help address the world’s biggest cross-border problems.

To be sure, our relationship with international institutions is a two-way street. Our development of new technologies is guided by multilateral frameworks like the United Nations (UN) Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. More broadly, we, like every company, benefit from the good work done by institutions ranging from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the World Bank in securing public health, strengthening the global economy and resolving conflict. And we value international organizations' ability to shape global agendas and drive multi-stakeholder consensus — like how the OECD is working to reform global tax regimes or the World Trade Organization is working to promote a framework for digital trade.

This year, Google’s plan is to accelerate our partnerships with international organizations on four fronts.

1. Slowing the pandemic and supporting economic recovery.At the beginning of the pandemic, we wanted to help people find answers by surfacing critical information and leading global initiatives like “Do the Five” and “Wear a Mask.” For the first time, we partnered with the WHO to run public service health announcements through Google Search and YouTube. This partnershiphas led to campaigns in more than 100 countries and has driven over 1 billion ads served (impressions, or views) and 115 million clicks to the WHO website, educating users about the disease and fighting the infodemic. In recent months, we’ve turned our focus to helping millions of people around the world acquire the necessary skills to participate in the post-pandemic digital economy, and we’ll continue to support digital transformation of economies and communities to ensure that we step back into a stronger, resilient and more inclusive world.

2. Artificial intelligence and innovation.Building off our longstanding support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we will continue to work with UN agencies to develop AI in a way that meaningfully improves people’s lives. For example, we’ve partnered with the UN World Food Programme to develop an AI-enabled tool to improve the delivery of disaster aid, and with UN-ESCAP and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities to launch an AI for Social Good report. We believe AI can be a transformational tool to support the goals of multilateral institutions.

3. Sustainability.Sustainability has been a core Google value since our founding. Now in our third decade of climate action, we’re working to help fulfill the vision of the UN SDGs and the Paris Agreement, becoming the largest annual corporate purchaser of renewable energy andcommitting to operate 24/7 on carbon-free energy by 2030. But we are also taking action far beyond our own operations, working with international organizations like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to create tools like the Environmental Insights Explorer and our breakthrough AI for building energy efficiency that help everyone move towards a carbon-free world.

4. Open internet and human rights. The advent of the internet a generation ago fast-tracked human rights around the world in a way history had never seen. Google's commitment to human rights, including to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, dates back to our earliest years. Cognizant of the alarming realities behind the gendered impact of the pandemic, we have had a particular focus on gender equality. That's why Google joined the Generation Equality Forum as a member of the Action Coalition for Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality; our Ad Grants partnership with UN Women has already enabled over seven million public service announcements in over 237 countries, raising awareness of the outsized impact of COVID-19 on women and girls. This year we also launched the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls, a first-of-its-kind program to empower women and girls to reach their full economic potential.

While we accelerate our work in these four areas, Google is committed to supporting international organizations to tackle the next generation of cross-border challenges that lay over the horizon. In an era of growing skepticism of government institutions, that starts by rebuilding trust and consensus in the value of working globally to solve problems.

As a technology company inspired by the power of human resilience, we can think of no better way to honor the setbacks, sacrifices and hardships of a battle-wearied world than to work with organizations committed to helping everyone — and doing our part by building the tools and technologies to make their vision possible.