Tag Archives: Google

No, it’s not just you: Half of the internet is down, including Google, Amazon, and Reddit

No, it’s not just you: Half of the internet is down, including Google, Amazon, and RedditWhat better way to start off the week than by not being able to use virtually any online service or access half of the internet's most popular sites? That seems to be the case, as DownDetector (and many tweets) suggest that Google, Amazon, Reddit, and Spectrum — just to name a few — are experiencing issues this morning. Those issues appear to have begun around 6 or 7 AM ET, just as the East Coast was starting its day.Although some of these connection problems appear to be clearing up as of 8:40 AM (for example, Feedly is finally loading for me after being inaccessible since before 8:00 AM), it's likely going to take some time before everything is running smoothly again. Reports are still going up on DownDetector as of writing.It's unclear what is causing half of the internet to go down, but an ominous message from Discord refers to the issue as a "general internet outage," which doesn't sound like something that should be possible:https://twitter.com/ChrisGSeaton/status/1143136635153977345About an hour ago, internet service company Cloudflare says that it "identified a possible route leak impacting some Cloudflare IP ranges." [UPDATE: To be clear, Verizon was responsible for the outage, and Cloudflare was just keeping its customers informed during the recovery process.]Cloudflare followed up with another update about an hour later explaining that the leak "is impacting many internet services including Cloudflare," and moments later, announced that the network responsible for the leak had fixed the issues as of 8:42 AM ET. In theory, the worst of the outage is over.We'll be keeping an eye out for any residual issues that pop up in the hours to come, but we also hope to get a more detailed explanation for why this happened from the network responsible in the near future.UPDATE | 3:30 PM: After service was restored, Cloudflare issued the following statement (via TechCrunch):> Earlier today, a widespread BGP routing leak affected a number of Internet services and a portion of traffic to Cloudflare. All of Cloudflare's systems continued to run normally, but traffic wasn't getting to us for a portion of our domains. At this point, the network outage has been fixed and traffic levels are returning to normal.> > BGP acts as the backbone of the Internet, routing traffic through Internet transit providers and then to services like Cloudflare. There are more than 700k routes across the Internet. By nature, route leaks are localized and can be caused by error or through malicious intent. We've written extensively about BGP and how we've adopted RPKI to help further secure it.Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince also offered a biting take of his own on Twitter:https://twitter.com/eastdakota/status/1143182575680143361

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Demoted and sidelined: Google walkout organizers say company retaliated

Demoted and sidelined: Google walkout organizers say company retaliatedStaff who organized mass protests say in internal letter their roles were changed after November 2018 demonstration Workers protest against Google on 1 November 2019 in Mountain View, California. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP They helped to organize an unprecedented global protest that saw tens of thousands of Google employees walk off the job in November 2018. Now two Google employees, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, are alleging that Google is retaliating against them and other employee activists. “Google has a culture of retaliation, which too often works to silence women, people of color, and gender minorities,” reads a letter from Whittaker, Stapleton and 10 other employees that was published internally on Monday and seen by the Guardian. “Retaliation isn’t always obvious. It’s often confusing and drawn out, consisting of icy conversations, gaslighting, project cancellations, transition rejections, or demotions. Behavior that tells someone the problem isn’t that they stood up to the company, it’s that they’re not good enough and don’t belong.” Stapleton, a nearly 12-year veteran at Google, wrote that two months after the walkout, she was demoted, had a previously approved project cancelled, and was “told to go on medical leave, even though I’m not sick”. “Only after I hired a lawyer and had her contact Google did management conduct an investigation and walked back my demotion, at least on paper,” she wrote. “While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day.” Whittaker, who co-founded the AI Now Institute, wrote that after Google decided to scrap its AI ethics council, she was told that her “role would be changed dramatically”. “I’m told that to remain at the company, I will have to abandon my work on AI ethics and the AI Now Institute,” she wrote. Neither Whittaker nor Stapleton responded immediately to a request for comment. The letter was first reported by Wired. A Google spokeswoman said that the company has already investigated these cases and determined there was no retaliation. “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace, and investigate all allegations,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Employees and teams are regularly and commonly given new assignments, or reorganized, to keep pace with evolving business needs. There has been no retaliation here.” Google employees have been at the forefront of a wave of tech worker activism that has swept the industry over the past year. Employee-organized protests have taken aim both at the company’s business decisions – such as its work for a Department of Defense drone project or plans to build a censored search engine for China – and its treatment of employees and contractors. The November walkout was sparked by a New York Times report that revealed that a former executive, Andy Rubin, had received a $ 90m severance package despite being forced out over an allegation that he had forced a female employee to perform oral sex. The report unleashed a flood of anger and frustration among Google employees who had faced harassment or discrimination. In Monday’s letter, the organizers say that they “collected over 350 stories” during the walkout, and discovered a “sad pattern”: “People who stand up and report discrimination, abuse, and unethical conduct are punished, sidelined, and pushed out. Perpetrators often go unimpeded, or are even rewarded.” The organizers are planning to host a Retaliation Town Hall for workers on Friday. They have reserved conference rooms and plan to live stream the discussion internally.
Have you experienced retaliation for workplace activism in the tech industry? Contact the author: julia.wong@theguardian.com or julia.carrie.wong@protonmail.com

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Google goes big for April Fool's Day with pranks and games

Google goes big for April Fool's Day with pranks and gamesGoogle this weekend began announcing new products, application tools, and games far too absurd to be true but not too outrageous to be fun. To celebrate April Fool’s Day on Monday, Google brought Google Home users the ability to talk to tulips and Google Files users the ability to clean their phone screens from the inside out. Google announced on Monday that it had finally cracked the code on plant communication and can now translate Tulipish into various human languages.

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Cuba, Google move to improve island's connectivity

Cuba, Google move to improve island's connectivityHAVANA (AP) — Cuba and Google signed a deal Thursday moving the island one step closer to having a state-of-the-art connection to the modern internet.

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Google warns everyone to update their Chrome browser right now

Google warns everyone to update their Chrome browser right nowIt's always smart to keep all of your software up to date, but it's not too often that a developer goes out of its way to stress to all of its users that they should drop everything and apply the latest update as soon as possible. But that is exactly what Google has done this week, as Clement Lecigne of the company's Threat Analysis Group reveals in a blog post that two zero-day vulnerabilities have been discovered in Google Chrome.First reported on February 27th, Google was quick to release an update two days later on March 1st to address the issue. In all likelihood, your Chrome browser updated itself automatically, but if you want to check, go to Help > About Google Chrome, and make sure you're on version 72.0.3626.121. If not, update right away.As Chrome security engineer Justin Schuh explained in a series of tweets on Wednesday, this attack is different from previous attacks on Chrome because, rather than targeting Flash, it targets the Chrome code directly.When Flash was the first exploit in the chain, Google could silently update the Flash plugin behind the scenes, and Chrome would automatically switch over to the updated plugin without any user intervention. On the other hand, this zero-day exploit requires the user to manually restart the browser, so even if the update is installed on your system, you still have to close and reopen the browser for it to take effect.https://twitter.com/justinschuh/status/1103763265119707136The (relatively) good news is that, as of yesterday, Google has "only observed active exploitation against Windows 7 32-bit systems," so if you're on Windows 10 (or even Windows 8), you're probably in the clear. Nevertheless, there's no point in taking any risks, so be sure that your browser is up to date, and if it isn't, update today.

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Google compensates 'underpaid' male employees

Google compensates 'underpaid' male employeesGoogle has compensated many of its male workers after finding they received comparatively fewer bonuses and pay rises than women last year. The company, which has faced many accusations of failing its female employees, said it had automatically topped up men's pay to address a gender gap within its ranks of software developers. An analysis of pay across the company revealed that more women software engineers at a certain level had been handed bonuses or raises from managers throughout the year. Google said it paid $ 9.7m (£7.4m) to 10,667 employees to address last year's pay disparities. It did not disclose how much was spent topping up male software engineer salaries. The company uses algorithms to define an employee’s compensation based on the market rate, location, level and performance rating, but managers are given an extra budget which they can use for raises and bonuses if they believe a particular employee has excelled. The company's review found at a particular lower-level software engineering position - these had been disproportionately handed out to women, although it did not find a reason why. Google has repeatedly faced accusations of an unfair work environment. In 2017 it fired an employee who had written a viral "anti-diversity" memo arguing that a lack of women in senior positions was partially due to biological reasons. Former employees have sued the company claiming a pay bias against women, while a separate lawsuit claims its video website YouTube stopped hiring white men. Last year thousands of employees protested the company's alleged failures to deal with sexual harassment. To keep tabs on salaries, Google has conducted yearly pay equity reviews since 2012. If it finds any discrepancies, it will automatically pay adjustments. It said that it would be undertaking “a comprehensive review” of the system based on last years’ results. Lauren Barbato, Google’s human resources analytics chief said: “Our pay equity analysis ensures that compensation is fair for employees in the same job, at the same level, location and performance. But we know that’s only part of the story. "Because leveling, performance ratings, and promotion impact pay, this year, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of these processes to make sure the outcomes are fair and equitable for all employees.” Liz Fong-Jones, a former Google employee who recently quit the company, said the analysis "failed to control for under-promoting and under-levelling women". "If you have a group of women who are outperforming at level, of course they'll get given more manager discretion. This is not 'sexism against men'," Fong-Jones added.

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Google Study: Male Employees Are Underpaid More Often Than Females

Google Study: Male Employees Are Underpaid More Often Than FemalesGoogle released an internal analysis on Monday that indicates its male employees received less pay than other employees for doing the same work more often than their female counterparts.As a result of the findings, which were first reported by the New York Times, Google provided an additional $ 9.7 million to 10,677 employees, the majority of whom are men, to compensate them for unexplained discrepancies between their 2018 pay and that of co-workers who have the same responsibilities.Google conducts a pay-equity analysis on an annual basis in order to “look for unexplained differences in total compensation (salary, bonus, and equity) across demographic groups,” according to a blog post published Monday on the company website. The analysis included 91 percent of the company's total workforce, and excluded only those employees who work in a role with fewer than 30 other employees or employees representing fewer than five demographic groups.The study did not take into account other factors that might result in a gender-pay disparity, such as discrimination that leads to fewer women receiving promotions, or a phenomenon known as “leveling,” in which women may receive a lower starting salary than equally qualified men.“Our pay equity analysis ensures that compensation is fair for employees in the same job, at the same level, location and performance,” the blog post read. “But we know that’s only part of the story. Because leveling, performance ratings and promotion impact pay, this year, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of these processes to make sure the outcomes are fair and equitable for all employees.”Google is currently facing a class-action lawsuit in California that alleges widespread discrimination against female employees. The company is also facing a class-action lawsuit initially filed in 2017 by James Damore, a software engineer who was fired for circulating a memo that argued the disparity in gender representation and pay within the company may reflect biological differences between men and women that affect inherent interest levels in various fields.The Department of Labor opened an investigation into the company in April 2017 after finding “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.”

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Twitter rips PETA for criticizing Steve Irwin's Google doodle on the late conservationist's birthday

Twitter rips PETA for criticizing Steve Irwin's Google doodle on the late conservationist's birthdaySteve Irwin would have turned 57 on Friday, and to honor "The Crocodile Hunter" host, Google changed the logo its search page, which PETA criticized.

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Google improving Maps and Search to fight the opioid crisis

Google improving Maps and Search to fight the opioid crisisOn Thursday Google announced that it is making it easier to locate drug disposal locations year-round with enhanced opioid-related query results. Since 2017, the opioid crisis has been officially a public health emergency with Google queries for “medication disposal near me” reaching an all-time high on the platform just last month. In response, the company has improved Maps and Search results of queries like “drug drop off near me” or “medication disposal near me” to display permanent disposal locations, typically pharmacies (like Walgreens or CVS Health), hospitals, or government buildings, where you can discard unused and unneeded medications.

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Google hit with $57 million GDPR fine, the first for a US tech company

Google hit with $  57 million GDPR fine, the first for a US tech companyGoogle has kicked off 2019 by getting hit with yet another multimillion-dollar fine from a European regulator.

Stemming from an investigation that began in May — the day after Europe's strict new data privacy rules known as GDPR went into effect — France's data protection authority has announced a $ 57 million fine against Google in the first such GDPR penalty levied against a US technology company. In a statement explaining the action, the French agency known as the CNIL noted that the fine is a result of deficiencies that include Google not being clear enough about the way user data is handled to present personalized ads.

The CNIL's statement goes on to note that "the infringements observed deprive the users of essential guarantees regarding processing operations that can reveal important parts of their private life since they are based on a huge amount of data, a wide variety of services and almost unlimited possible combinations." The penalty is also connected to the way the French agency sees Google as not being clear enough in a broad sense about how user data is collected and how it's subsequently used.

Google released a statement saying it hasn't decided yet whether to appeal this punishment, which certainly didn't come as a surprise. Once the General Data Protection Regulation, known as GDPR for short, went into effect in Europe last year, it was regarded as only a matter of time before regulators there would use the stricter privacy framework to push back on tech giants in a way that's not happening in the US.

The CNIL statement goes on to provide context for the fine against Google by noting that "This is the first time that the CNIL applies the new sanction limits provided by the GDPR. The amount decided, and the publicity of the fine, are justified by the severity of the infringements observed regarding the essential principles of the GDPR — transparency, information and consent."

Google, for its part, acknowledged that "high standards" of transparency and control are expected of the company by the public and that Google is "committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR." The new fine, however, is yet another example of European-led pushback against the search giant, which has also come under fire from EU officials over antitrust concerns.

Along those lines, the EU hit Google with a record-setting $ 5 billion fine last year for antitrust issues related to its Android mobile operating system.

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