The Google Magic Editor: Mom Knows Best and Will Ground You, You Goof Off

November 13, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

What’s better at enforcing rules? The US government and its Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and regulatory authority or Mother Google? If you think the US government legal process into Google’s alleged fancy dancing with mere users is opaque, you are correct. The US government needs the Google more than Google Land needs the world’s governments. Who’s in charge of Google? The real authority is Mother Google, a ghost like iron maiden creating and enforcing with smart software many rules and regulations. Think of Mother Google operating from a digital Star Chamber. Banned from YouTube? Mother Google did it. Lost Web site traffic overnight? Mother Google did it? Lost control of your user data? Mother Google did not do that, of course.


A stern mother says, “You cannot make deep fakes involving your gym teacher and your fifth grade teacher. Do you hear me?” Thanks, Microsoft Bing. Great art.

The author of “Google Photos’ Magic Editor Will Refuse to Make These Edits.” The write up states:

Code within the latest version of Google Photos includes specific error messages that highlight the edits that Magic Editor will refuse to do. Magic Editor will refuse to edit photos of ID cards, receipts, images with personally identifiable information, human faces, and body parts. Magic Editor already avoids many of these edits but without specific error messages, leaving users guessing on what is allowed and what is not.

What’s interesting is that user have to discover that which is forbidden by experimenting. My reaction to this assertion is that Google does not want to get in trouble when a crafty teen cranks out fake IDs in order to visit some of the more interesting establishments in town.

I have a nagging suspicion or two  I would like to share:

  1. The log files identifying which user tried to create what with which prompt would be interesting to review
  2. The list of don’ts is not published because it is adjusted to meet Google’s needs, not the users’
  3. Google wants to be able to say, “See, we are trying to keep the Internet safe, pure, and tidy.”

Net net: What happens when smart software enforces more potent and more subtle controls over the framing and presenting of information? Right, mom?

Stephen E Arnold, November 13, 2023

For Google Management No Hurdle Is Too High

November 10, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

I read “Google’s Open Culture Collides With the Israel-Hamas War.” Note, gentle reader, that the Gray Lady charges for you to read her golden words of wisdom.

The main point of the write up is myth debunking. Google, as you may recall, is a wondrous place. The smartest people in the world (sorry, McKinsey, Booz Allen, JPMorgan Chase, et al, your employees are not Google grade. The proof? Those employees are not working at Google; therefore, the fentanyl thing, the Charlie Javice matter, the original BART mishap, etc.).


The young Googler looks at the high jump and says, “I am a Googler. I can jump over any hurdle. Logic and data will prevail.” Thanks, Microsoft Bing. With some Photoshop work, the image is a C+, not high school science club grade but “goog” enough.

The NYT reports as actual factual the following:

Google has long been a hub for employee activism, including over the company’s business with Israel. But workers looking to express support for Palestinians say they face hostility.

Is this a long-winded way to say, “Bias” or religious “persecution”? Yikes. At the Google, where data is the driver of decisions?

The news story offers:

Pro-Palestinian employees say the company has allowed supporters of Israel to speak freely about their opinions on the topic, while taking a heavy hand with Muslim employees who have criticized Israel’s retaliation in Gaza.

Interesting, but where’s the data, the objective information that comprises an intelligible signal?

The article continues:

But at Google, the issue has a unique meaning. Even compared with its Silicon Valley peers, Google has become a hub for employee activism, a legacy of the company’s open and informal founding culture.

I noted this somewhat downbeat sentence in the Gray Lady’s intentional or unintentional Google myth busting write up:

But now, he [a Google software engineer named Mr. Gilani] said, he’s worried that retaliation against Muslim employees is having a chilling effect on speech at Google, and he has developed a playbook for how to speak on the subject at work: Condemn Hamas and move on.

My view remains that Google is operating under the precepts of a high school science club. High school organizations like a science or math club do not want people in the meetings who cannot solder a defective LED bulb or who cannot talk about matrix multiplication. Is that discriminatory or a type of social barb wire fence to separate the good cattle from the bad sheep?

Several observations:

  1. Google management is confident it can jump over high hurdles. Google has management athletes in abundance
  2. The social issues within Google seem to clump like iron filings around a high school science club electro-magnet charged with race, religion, and gender. Note that I said “seem” because reality at Google may be a digital Utopia I am unable to perceive from rural Kentucky
  3. The article in the New York Times does little to keep the myth of Google and its happy logo from the dents and dings of culture.

I suppose there are data to prove that Google’s approach to management is on the money. What’s on the money is Google’s effort to generate advertising revenue, but that’s just the view of an old dinobaby.

Stephen E Arnold, November 10, 2023

Mommy, Mommy, He Will Not Share the Toys (The Rat!)

November 8, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

In your past, did someone take your toy dump truck or walk up to you in the lunch room in full view of the other nine year olds and take your chocolate chip cookie? What an inappropriate action. What does the aggrieved nine year old do if he or she comes from an upper economic class? Call the family lawyer? Of course. That is a logical action. The cookie is not a cookie; it is a principle.

11 8 kid and mommy

“That’s right, mommy. The big kid at school took my lunch and won’t let me play on the teeter totter. Please, help me, mommy. That big kid is not behaving right,” says the petulant child. The mommy is sympathetic. An injustice has been wrought upon her flesh and blood. Thanks, MidJourney. I learned that “nasty” is a forbidden word. It is a “nasty blow” that you dealt me.

Google and Prominent Telecom Groups Call on Brussels to Act Over Apple’s Imessage” strikes me as a similar situation. A bigger child has taken the cookies. The aggrieved children want those cookies back. They also want retribution. Taking the cookies. That’s unjust from the petulant kids’ point of view.

The Financial Times’s article takes a different approach, using more mature language. Here’s a snippet of what’s shakin’ in the kindergarten mind:

Currently, only Apple users are able to communicate via iMessage, making its signature “blue bubble” texts a key factor in retaining iPhone owners’ loyalty, especially among younger consumers. When customers using smartphones running Google’s Android software join an iMessage chat group all the messages change color, indicating it has defaulted to standard SMS.

So what’s up? The FT reports:

Rivals have long sought to break iMessage’s exclusivity to Apple’s hardware, in the hope that it might encourage customers to switch to its devices. In a letter sent to the commission and seen by the Financial Times, the signatories, which include a Google senior vice-president and the chief executives of Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Orange, claimed Apple’s service meets the qualitative thresholds of the act. It therefore should be captured by the rules to “benefit European consumers and businesses”, they wrote.

I wonder if these giant corporations realize that some perceive many of their business actions as somewhat similar; specifically, the fences constructed so that competitors cannot encroach on their products and services.

I read the FT’s article as the equivalent of the child who had his cookie taken away. The parent — in this case — is the legal system of the European Union.

Those blue and green bubbles are to be shared. What will mommy decide? In the US, some mommies call their attorneys and threaten or take legal action. That’s right and just. I want those darned cookies and my mommy is going to get them, get the wrongdoers put in jail, and do significant reputational damage.

“Take my cookies; you pay,” some say in a most Googley way.

Stephen E Arnold, November 8, 2023

Microsoft at Davos: Is Your Hair on Fire, Google?

November 2, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

Microsoft said at the January 2023 Davos, AI is the next big thing. The result? Google shifted into Code Red and delivered a wild and crazy demonstration of a deeply flawed AI system in February 2023. I think the phrase “Code Red” became associated to the state of panic within the comfy confines of Googzilla’s executive suites, real and virtual.

Sam AI-man made appearances speaking to anyone who would listen words like “billion dollar investment,” efficiency, and work processes. The result? Googzilla itself  found out that whether Microsoft’s brilliant marketing of AI worked or not, the Softies had just demonstrated that it — not the Google — was a “leader”. The new Microsoft could create revenue  and credibility problems for the Versailles of technology companies.

Therefore, the Google tried to try and be nimble and make the myth of engineering prowess into reality, not a CGI version of Camelot. The PR Camelot featured Google as the Big Dog in the AI world. After all, Google had done the protein thing, an achievement which made absolutely no sense to 99 percent of the earth’s population. Some asked, “What the heck is a protein folder?” I want a Google Waze service that shows me where traffic cameras are.

The Google executives apparently went to meetings with their hair on fire.

11 2 code red at google

A group of Google executives in a meeting with their hair on fire after Microsoft’s Davos AI announcement. Google wanted teams to manifest AI prowess everywhere, lickity split. Google reorganized. Google probed Anthropic and one Googler invested in the company. Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan demonstrated peculiar communication skills.

I had these thoughts after I read “Google Didn’t Rush Bard Chatbot to Beat Microsoft, Executive Says.” So what was this Code Red thing? Why has Google — the quantum supremacy and global leader in online advertising and protein folding — be lagging behind Microsoft? What is it now? Oh, yeah. Almost a year, a reorganization of the Google’s smart software group, and one of Google’s own employees explaining that AI could have a negative impact on the world. Oh, yeah, that guy is one of the founders of Google’s DeepMind AI group. I won’t mention the Googler who thought his chatbot was alive and ended up with an opportunity to find his future elsewhere. Right. Code Red. I want to note Timnit Gebru and the stochastic parrot, the Jeff Dean lateral arabesque, and the significant investment in a competitor’s AI technology. Right. Standard operating procedure for an online advertising company with a fairly healthy self concept about its excellence and droit du seigneur.

The Bloomberg article reports which I am assuming is “real”, actual factual information:

A senior Google executive disputed suggestions that the company rushed to release its artificial intelligence-based chatbot Bard earlier this year to beat a similar offering from rival Microsoft Corp. Testifying in Google’s defense at the Justice Department’s antitrust trial against the search giant, Elizabeth Reid, a vice president of search, acknowledged that Bard gave “a wrong answer” during its public unveiling in February. But she rejected the contention by government lawyer David Dahlquist that Bard was “rushed” out after Microsoft announced it was integrating generative AI into its own Bing search engine.

The real news story pointed out:

Google’s public demonstration of Bard underwhelmed investors. In one instance, Bard was asked about new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope. The chatbot incorrectly stated the telescope was used to take the first pictures of a planet outside the Earth’s solar system. While the Webb telescope was the first to photograph one particular planet outside the Earth’s solar system, NASA first photographed a so-called exoplanet in 2004. The mistake led to a sharp fall in Alphabet’s stock. “It’s a very subtle language difference,” Reid said in explaining the error in her testimony Wednesday. “The amount of effort to ensure that a paragraph is correct is quite a lot of work.” “The challenges of fact-checking are hard,” she added.

Yes, facts are hard in Hallucinationville? I think the concept I take away from this statement is that PR is easier than making technology work. But today Google and similar firms are caught in what I call a “close enough for horseshoes” mind set. Smart software, in my experience, is like my dear, departed mother’s  not-quite-done pineapple upside down cakes. Yikes, those were a mess. I could eat the maraschino cherries but nothing else. The rest was deposited in the trash bin.

And where are the “experts” in smart search? Prabhakar? Danny? I wonder if they are embarrassed by their loss of their thick lustrous hair. I think some of it may have been singed after the outstanding Paris demonstration and subsequent Mountain View baloney festivals. Was Google behaving like a child frantically searching for his mom at the AI carnival? I suppose when one is swathed in entitlements, cashing huge paychecks, and obfuscating exactly how the money is extracted from advertisers, reality is distorted.

Net net: Microsoft at Davos caused Google’s February 2023 Paris presentation. That mad scramble has caused to conclude that talking about AI is a heck of a lot easier than delivering reliable, functional, and thought out products. Is it possible to deliver such products when one’s hair is on fire? Some data say, “Nope.”

Stephen E Arnold, November 2, 2023

Google Pays Apple to Be More Secure? Petulant, Parental, or Indifferent?

October 31, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

I am fascinated by the allegedly “real” information in this Fortune Magazine write up: “Google CEO Sundar Pichai Swears Under Oath That $26 Billion Payment to Device Makers Was Partly to Nudge Them to Make Security Upgrades and Other Improvements.”

As I read the article, this passage pokes me in the nose:

Pichai, the star witness in Google’s defense, testified Monday that Google’s payments to phone manufacturers and wireless phone companies were partly meant to nudge them into making costly security upgrades and other improvements to their devices, not just to ensure Google was the first search engine users encounter when they open their smartphones or computers. Google makes money when users click on advertisements that pop up in its searches and shares the revenue with Apple and other companies that make Google their default search engine.

First, I like the “star witness” characterization. It is good to know where the buck stops at the Alphabet Google YouTube et al enterprise fruit basket.

10 31 buy wisely

The driver and passengers shout to the kids, “Use this money to improve your security. If you need more, just call 1 800 P A Y O F F S. Thanks, MidJourney, you do money reasonably well. By the way, where did the cash come from?

Second, I like the notion of paying billions to nudge someone to do something. I know that getting action from DC lobbyists, hiring people from competitors, pushing out people who disagree with Google management, and buying clicks costs less than billions. In some cases, the fees are considerably lower. Some non US law enforcement entities collection several thousand dollars from wives who want to have their husbands killed by an Albanian or Mexican hit man. Billions does more than nudge. Billions means business.

Third, I liked the reminder that no ruling will result in 2023. Then once a ruling is revealed, “another trial will determine how to rein in its [the Google construct’s] market power.”

Several questions popped into my mind:

  1. Is the “nudge” thing serious? My dinobaby mind interprets the statement as either a bit of insider humor, a disconnect between the Googley world and most people’s everyday reality, or a bit dismissive. I can hear one of my high school science club member’s saying to a teacher perceived as dull normal, “You would not understand the real reason so I am pointing the finger at Plato’s philosophy.”
  2. The “billions” is the giveaway. That is more than the average pay-to-play shyster of charges. Why such a premium For billions, I can think of several lobbying outfits who would do some pretty wild and crazy things for a couple of hundred million in cash.
  3. Why is the already glacier-like legal process moving slowly with the prospect of yet another trial to come? With a substantial footprint in search and online advertising, are some billions being used to create the world’s most effective brake on a legal process?
  4. Why is so much of the information redacted and otherwise difficult or almost impossible to review? I thought the idea of a public trial involving a publicly traded company in a democratic society was supposed to be done in the sunshine?

Fortune Magazine sees nothing amiss. I wonder if I am the only dinobaby wondering what’s beneath the surface of what seems to be a trial which is showing some indications of being quite Googley. I am not sure if that is a positive thing.

I also wonder why a large outfit like Apple needs to be nudged with Google billions? That strikes me as something worth thinking about. The fake Albanian and Mexican hitmen may learn something new by answering that question. Hey, Fortune Magazine, why not take another shot at covering this story?

Stephen E Arnold, October 31, 2023

Google Loves Up Search Engine Optimization

October 31, 2023

green-dino_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

Alphabet, Google, YouTube is definitely a believer in search engine optimization or SEO. How do I know? Consider the reports that relay this allegedly accurate number: $26 billion. Yep, $26 billion paid out to other companies to buy click love.

Google Paid a Whopping $26.3 Billion in 2021 to Be the Default Search Engine Everywhere” asserts:

Google obviously agrees and has paid a staggering amount to make sure it is the default: testimony in the trial revealed that Google spent a total of $26.3 billion in 2021 to be the default search engine in multiple browsers, phones, and platforms.

The article shares some napkin math and says:

Just to put that $26.3 billion in context: Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced in its recent earnings report that Google Search ad business brought in about $44 billion over the last three months and about $165 billion in the last year. Its entire ad business — which also includes YouTube ads — made a bit under $90 billion in profit. This is all back-of-the-napkin math, but essentially, Google is giving up about 16 percent of its search revenue and about 29 percent of its profit to those distribution deals.

It appears that Google does its own big money SEO. It pays to be the search system and, therefore, is artificially boosted to be the winner. Yes, SEO, but not the penny ante silliness of an art history major working at a Google optimization company. The billions deliver the big school of fish: Advertisers.

Is this good or bad? From my point of view, Google is doing what good optimization wizards do: Maximize return and reduce risk. Big money deals facilitated some important milestones in the American economy; for example, the steel monopoly, the railroad that made Stanford the exemplar of integrity, and everyone’s friend with the jingle Luckies taste better.


Maybe money can buy happiness or $150 billion in revenue for those offering free online search? Thanks, Microsoft Bing.

Google is little more than a clever construct. What’s fascinating is that the baloney about Google search being better has a shelf life of more than 25 years. What’s troubling is that it has taken Google, the US legal system, and users a long time to think about the company’s mechanisms of control.

Perhaps it is helpful to think about Google’s entanglement with certain government activities? Perhaps some thinking about the data collection, retention, and mining capabilities of the company? Perhaps some analysis abut the use of YouTube to shape thinking or distort thinking about certain issues?

I love the Google. I have a Christmas card from a long gone Googler. That shows something. Nevertheless, the gravitational “force” of an outfit like Google seems so right. The company is the environment of online.

But 25 years of Google love? That’s a bit much. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 showed more awareness than the governmental officials beavering away in Washington, DC, today. Oh, I forgot. Many of those tireless workers have Google mouse pads and a Google T shirt to wear to a frisbee session at the reflecting pool.

Stephen E Arnold, October 31, 2023

Nice Work YouTube: Salacious Accident?

October 31, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

Oops. If this piece from Bang Premier is to be believed, “YouTube Accidentally Allows Users to Upload Unremovable Adult Content.” Of course YouTube doesn’t normally allow porn on the site. However, according to reporting by 404 Media, hidden tags enabled some users to upload it. Permanently. The write-up states:

“A user explained to the outlet: ‘The way the bug worked was by using something called a newline, which YouTube very rarely counts as an actual character. It’s basically what is written when you type the return key on your keyboard. By spamming millions of these characters in the videos tags, using a proxy, it would prevent visibility changes on the video, such as setting it from public to private, or deleting it all together. [I] initially discovered the bug by just messing around with new lines video settings. It’s been well known inside of the little YouTube community we have—not the porn one in [404 Media’s] article, that type of crap is vile and weird—that new lines could be used for getting certain things over the character limit, such as channel descriptions and sometimes names. I tried video descriptions titles and it didn’t work. But for video tags, it did.’”

When contacted, Google said it was working to fix the bug and to expel the content. Can it catch it all? Exciting stuff.

Cynthia Murrell, October 31, 2023

The GOOG and MSFT Tried to Be Pals… But

October 30, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

Here is an interesting tangent to the DOJ’s case against Google. Yahoo Finance shares reporting from Bloomberg in, “Microsoft-Google Peace Deal Broke Down Over Search Competition.” The two companies pledged to stop fighting like cats and dogs in 2016. Sadly, the peace would last but three short years, testified Microsoft’s Jonathan Tinter.

In a spirit of cooperation and profits for all, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet tried to work together. For example, in 2020 they made a deal for Microsoft’s Surface Duo: a Google search widget would appear on its main screen (instead of MS Bing) in exchange for running on the Android operating system. The device’s default browser, MS Edge, would still default to Bing. Seemed like a win-win. Alas, the Duo turned out to be a resounding flop. That disappointment was not the largest source of friction, however. We learn:

“In March 2020, Microsoft formally complained to Google that its Search Ads 360, which lets marketers manage advertising campaigns across multiple search engines, wasn’t keeping up with new features and ad types in Bing. … Tinter said that in response to Microsoft’s escalation, Google officially complained about a problem with the terms of Microsoft’s cloud program that barred participation of the Google Drive products — rival productivity software for word processing, email and spreadsheets. In response to questions by the Justice Department, Tinter said Microsoft had informally agreed to pay for Google to make the changes to SA360. ‘It was half a negotiating strategy,’ Tinter said. Harrison ‘said, ‘This is too expensive.’ I said, ‘Great let me pay for it.’’ The two companies eventually negotiated a resolution about cloud, but couldn’t resolve the problems with the search advertising tool, he said. As a result, nothing was ever signed on either issue, Tinter said. ‘We ultimately walked away and did not reach an agreement,’ he said. Microsoft and Google also let their peace deal expire in 2021.”

Oh well, at least they tried to get along, we suppose. We just love dances between killer robots with money at stake.

Cynthia Murrell, October 30, 2023

Google Giggles: Late October 2023 Edition

October 25, 2023

green-dino_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

The Google Giggles is nothing more than items reported in the “real” news about the antics, foibles, and fancy dancing of the world’s most beloved online advertising system.

10 25 google giggles

Googzilla gets a kick out of these antics. Thanks, MidJourney. You do nice but repetitive dinosaur illustrations.

Giggle 1: Liking sushi is not the same as sushi liking you. The JFTC Opens an Investigation and Seeks Information from Third Parties Concerning the Suspected Violation of the Antimonopoly Act by Google LLC, Etc.” Now that’s a Googley headline from the government of Japan. Why? Many items are mentioned in the cited document; for example, mobile devices, the Google Play Store, and sharing of search advertising. Would our beloved Google exploit its position to its advantage? Japan wants to know more. Many people do because the public trial in the US is not exactly outputting public information in a comprehensive, unredacted way, is it?

Giggle 2: Just a minor change in the Internet. Google wants to protect content, respect privacy, and help out its users. Listen up, publishers, creators, and authors. “Google Chrome’s New IP Protection Will Hide Users’ IP Addresses” states:

As the traffic will be proxied through Google’s servers, it may make it difficult for security and fraud protection services to block DDoS attacks or detect invalid traffic. Furthermore, if one of Google’s proxy servers is compromised, the threat actor can see and manipulate the traffic going through it. To mitigate this, Google is considering requiring users of the feature to authenticate with the proxy, preventing proxies from linking web requests to particular accounts, and introducing rate-limiting to prevent DDoS attacks.

Hmmm. Can Google see the traffic, gather data, and make informed decisions? Would Google do that?

Giggle 3: A New Language. Google’s interpretation of privacy is very, very Googley. “When Is a Privacy Button Not a Privacy Button? When Google Runs It, Claims Lawsuit” explains via a quote from a legal document:

"Google had promised that by turning off this [saving a user’s activity] feature, users would stop Google from saving their web and app activity data, including their app-browsing histories," the fourth amended complaint [PDF] says. "Google’s promise was false."

When Google goes to court, Google seems to come out unscathed and able to continue its fine work. In this case, Google is simply creating its own language which I think could be called Googlegrok. One has to speak it to be truly Googley. Now what does “trust” mean?

Giggle 4: Inventing AI and Crawfishing from Responsibility. I read “AI Risk Must Be Treated As Seriously As Climate Crisis, Says Google DeepMind Chief.” What a hoot! The write up’s subtitle is amazing:

Demis Hassabis calls for grater regulation to quell existential fears over tech with above human levels of intelligence.

Does this Google posture suggest that the firm is not responsible for the problems it is creating and diffusing because “government” is not regulating a technology? Very clever. Perhaps a bit of self control is more appropriate? But I am no longer Googley. The characteristic goes away with age and the end of checks.

Giggle 5: A Dark Cloud. Google reported strong financial results. With online ads in Google search and, how could the firm fail its faithful? “Google Cloud Misses Revenue Estimates — And It’s Your Fault, Wanting Smaller Bills” reports that not all is gold in the financial results. I noted this statement:

Another concerning outcome for the Google cloud was that its $266 million operating income number was down from $395 million in the previous quarter – when revenue was $370 million lower.

Does this mean that the Google Cloud is an issue? In my lingo, “issue” means, “Is it time for the Google to do some clever market adaptation?” Google once was good at clever. Now? Hmmm.

Are you giggling? I am.

Stephen E Arnold, October 25, 2023

The Google Experience: Personnel Management and Being Fair

October 23, 2023

green-dino_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb humanoid. No smart software required.

The Google has been busy explaining to those who are not Googley that it is nothing more than a simple online search engine. Heck, anyone can use another Web search system with just a click. Google is just delivering a service and doing good.

I believe this because I believe everything a big high-technology outfit says about the Internet. But there is one facet of this company I find fascinating; namely, it’s brilliant management of people or humanoids of a particular stripe.


The Backstory

Google employees staged a walkout in 2018, demanding a safer and fairer workplace for women when information about sexual discrimination and pay discrepancies leaked. Google punished the walkout organizers and other employees, but they succeed in ending the forced arbitration policy that required employees to settle disputes privately. Wired’s article digs into the details: “This Exec Is Forcing Google Into Its First Trial over Sexist Pay Discrimination.”

Google’s first pay discrimination case will be argued in New York. Google cloud unit executive Ulku Rowe alleges she was hired at a lower salary than her male co-workers. When she complained, she claims Google denied her promotions and demoted her. Rowe’s case exposed Google’s executive underbelly.

The case is also a direct result of the walkout:

“The costs and uncertainty of a trial combined with a fear of airing dirty laundry cause companies to settle most pay discrimination lawsuits, says Alex Colvin, dean of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Last year, the US government outlawed forced arbitration in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases, but half of US employers still mandate it for other disputes. Rowe would not be scheduled to have her day in court if the walkout had not forced Google to end the practice. “I think that’s a good illustration of why there’s still a push to extend that law to other kinds of cases, including other kinds of gender discrimination,” Colvin says.”

The Outcome

Google Ordered to Pay $1 Million to Female Exec Who Sued over Gender Discrimination” reported:

A New York jury on Friday decided that Google did commit gender-based discrimination, and now owes Rowe a combined $1.15 million for punitive damages and the pain and suffering it caused. Rowe had 23 years of experience when she started at Google in 2017, and the lawsuit claims she was lowballed at hiring to place her at a level that paid significantly less than what men were being offered.


It appears that the Googley methods at the Google are neither understood nor appreciated by some people.

Whitney Grace, October 23, 2023

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