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What made me want to fight for fair AI

My life has always involved centering the voices of those historically marginalized in order to foster equitable communities. Growing up, I lived in a small suburb just outside of Cleveland, Ohio and I was fortunate enough to attend Laurel School, an all-girls school focused on encouraging young women to think critically and solve difficult world…

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My life has always involved centering the voices of those historically marginalized in order to foster equitable communities. Growing up, I lived in a small suburb just outside of Cleveland, Ohio and I was fortunate enough to attend Laurel School, an all-girls school focused on encouraging young women to think critically and solve difficult world problems. But my lived experience at school was so different from kids who lived even on my same street. I was grappling with watching families around me contend with an economic recession, losing any financial security that they had and I wanted to do everything I could to change that. Even though my favorite courses at the time were engineering and African American literature, I was encouraged to pursue economics.

I was fortunate enough to continue my education at Princeton University, first starting in the economics department. Unfortunately, I struggled to find the connections between what I was learning and the challenges I saw my community and people of color in the United States facing through the economic crisis. Interestingly enough, it was through an art and social justice movements class in the School of Architecture that I found my fit. Everyday, I focused on building creative solutions to difficult community problems through qualitative research, received feedback and iterated. The deeper I went into my studies, the more I realized that my passion was working with locally-based researchers and organizations to center their voices in designing solutions to complex and large-scale problems. It wasn’t until I came to Google, that I realized this work directly translated to human-centered design and community-based participatory research. My undergraduate studies culminated in the creation of a social good startup focused on providing fresh produce to food deserts in central New Jersey, where our team interviewed over 100 community members and leaders, secured a $16,000 grant, and provided pounds of free fresh produce to local residents.

Already committed to a Ph.D. program in Social Policy at Brandeis University, I channeled my passion for social enterprise and solving complex problems into developing research skills. Knowing that I ultimately did not want to go into academia, I joked with my friends that the job I was searching for didn’t exist yet, but hopefully it would by the time I graduated. I knew that my heart was equal parts in understanding technology and in closing equity gaps, but I did not know how I would be able to do both.

Through Brandeis, I found language to the experiences of family and friends who had lost financial stability during the Great Recession and methodologies for how to research systematic inequalities across human identity. It was in this work that I witnessed Angela Glover-Blackwell, founder of PolicyLink speak for the first time. From her discussion on highlighting community-based equitable practices, I knew I had to support her work. Through their graduate internship program in Oakland, I was able to bridge the gap between research and application – I even found a research topic for my dissertation! And then Mike Brown was shot.

Mike was from the midwest, just like me. He reminded me of my cousins, friends from my block growing up. The experience of watching what happened to Mike Brown so publically, gave weight to the research and policies that I advocated for in my Ph.D. program and at work – it somehow made it more personal than my experience with the Great Recession. At Brandeis, I led a town hall interviewing the late Civil Rights activist and politician Julian Bond, where I still remember his admonishment to shift from talk to action, and to have clear and centralized values and priorities from which to guide equity. In the background of advocating for social justice, I used my work grading papers and teaching courses as a graduate teaching assistant to supplement my doctoral grant – including graduate courses on “Ethics, Rights, and Development” and “Critical Race Theory.”

The next summer I had the privilege of working at a think tank now known as Prosperity Now, supporting local practitioners and highlighting their findings at the national level. This amazing experience was coupled with meeting my now husband, who attended my aunt and uncle’s church. By the end of the summer, my work and personal experiences in DC had become so important that I decided to stay. Finished with my coursework at Brandeis, I wrote my dissertation in the evenings as I shifted to a more permanent position at the Center for Global Policy Solutions, led by Dr. Maya Rockeymoore. I managed national research projects and then brought the findings to the hill for policymakers to make a case for equitable policies like closing the racial wealth gap. Knocking on doors in Capitol buildings taught me the importance of finding shared language and translating research into measurable change.

By the end of 2016, I was a bit burned out by my work on the hill and welcomed the transition of marriage and moving to Los Angeles. The change of scenery allowed me to finally hone my technical skills as a Program Manager for the LA-based ed tech non profit, 9 Dots. I spent my days partnering with school districts, principals, teaching fellows and software developers to provide CS education to historically underserved students. The ability to be a part of a group that created a hybrid working space for new parents was icing on the cake. Soon after, I got a call from a recruiter at Google.

It had been almost a year since Google’s AI Principles had been publicly released and they were searching for candidates that had a deep understanding of socio-technical research and program management to operationalize the Principles. Every role and research pursuit that I’d followed led to my dream role – Senior Strategist focused on centering the voices of historically underrepresented and marginalized communities in machine learning through research and collaboration.

During my time at Google, I’ve had the opportunity to develop an internal workshop focused on equitable and inclusive language practices, which led to a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership; launch the Equitable AI Research Roundtable along with Jamila Smith-Loud and external experts focused on equitable cross-disciplinary research practices (including PolicyLink!); and present on Google’s work in Responsible AI at industry-wide conferences like MozFest. With all that I’ve learned, I’m still determined to bring more voices to the table. My work in Responsible AI has led me to building out globally-focused resources for machine learning engineers, analysts, and product decision makers. When we center the experiences of our users – the communities who faced the economic recession with grit and resilience, those who searched for insights from Civil Rights leaders, and developed shared language to inspire inclusion – all else will follow. I’m honored to be one of many at Google driving the future of responsible and equitable AI for all.

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The facts about the temporary Match Group agreement

No other mobile platform is as open as Android and Google Play, and no other platform has shown more willingness to champion user choice, invest in change, or collaborate with developers. We are currently defending these points in court against Match Group, and at the court’s request, on May 19 we reached a temporary agreement…

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No other mobile platform is as open as Android and Google Play, and no other platform has shown more willingness to champion user choice, invest in change, or collaborate with developers. We are currently defending these points in court against Match Group, and at the court’s request, on May 19 we reached a temporary agreement while the case is being heard and we prepare our planned countersuit.

On May 20, Match Group disregarded the stipulations it agreed to in court with a misleading press release that mischaracterizes what happened in the proceeding. We want to once again set the record straight to make sure the rest of the developer ecosystem is aware of the facts.

The court asked us temporarily not to remove Match Group’s apps from the Play Store on June 1 for its violation of our terms until a full trial in exchange for the following:

  • Match Group has to put up to $40 million in an escrow account to begin to account for the service fees it owes us.
  • Match Group must also provide Google with a monthly accounting of all in-app sales of digital goods and services from June 1 through trial so we can track what it owes for the immense benefit it receives from Google Play.
  • Match Group must work in good faith to further enable Google Play’s billing system as an option for users. Google agreed to work in good faith to continue to develop additional billing system features that are important to Match Group, as Google has already been doing for years with countless developers, including Match Group.

And Match Group’s claim that it can’t integrate Play’s billing system because it lacks key features contradicts the fact that Match Group has been proactively and successfully using Play’s billing in more than 10 of its apps. Match Group collected hundreds of millions in consumer revenue in over 50 countries through Google Play’s billing last year.

Not only are we confident we’ll succeed in defending against Match Group’s unfounded complaint, we will be filing a countersuit against Match Group for violating their obligations under the Developer Distribution Agreement and to ensure Google Play remains a trusted destination for users.

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NativeNonprofit.day highlights Native-led organizations

Native Americans/American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians make up 2% of the U.S. population, yet large philanthropic foundations allocate less than half a percent of their total annual grantmaking towards Native communities, according to Native Americans in Philanthropy.The Native Ways Federation (NWF) is working to change this disparity. Founded in 2008 by seven national,…

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Native Americans/American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians make up 2% of the U.S. population, yet large philanthropic foundations allocate less than half a percent of their total annual grantmaking towards Native communities, according to Native Americans in Philanthropy.

The Native Ways Federation (NWF) is working to change this disparity. Founded in 2008 by seven national, Native-led nonprofit organizations, the NWF unites the Native nonprofit sector, advocates for Native nonprofits and provides resources to educate people on the needs of Native communities. On May 20, NWF is launching their inaugural Native Nonprofit Day to drive awareness for Native-led nonprofits that are systematically underfunded. To help celebrate this initiative, they’ve partnered with the Google Registry team to register and use the domain NativeNonprofit.day, which anyone can visit to learn about and support Native nonprofits.

Initiatives like Native Nonprofit Day play an important role in building awareness and amplifying the voices of Native people. As a citizen of the Oneida (Onyota’a:ka) Nation of Wisconsin and a lead for the Google Aboriginal and Indigenous Network (GAIN), I see so many inspiring Indigenous organizations that are doing impactful work, but these groups and their efforts are sorely underrepresented in mainstream media. That’s why I hope everyone will take a moment today to visit NativeNonprofit.day to learn more about the NWF’s efforts, and other Native-led organizations that are doing critical work to support Native communities.

At Google, we’ve also launched several initiatives to support Native communities. Google.org recently announced a $10 million grant to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to provide vocational internet training to thousands of rural and tribal communities.

Grow with Google made a $1 million investment in Partnership with Native Americans to provide digital skills curriculum and career services to 10,000 students at more than 50 Native-serving organizations. This program will also reach high school students preparing for college and careers, as well as vocational and non-traditional students.

If there’s an initiative or special day you want to raise awareness for, you can get your own .day domain name by visiting new.day.

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Enjoy a warm cup of trends for International Tea Day

From bubble tea to tea ceremonies, tea has deep roots and profound cultural significance across Asia. Just ahead of the United Nations’ International Tea Day on Saturday, May 21, we looked at trends on Google Search around the world and found bags of insights into what the world is searching for when it comes to…

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From bubble tea to tea ceremonies, tea has deep roots and profound cultural significance across Asia. Just ahead of the United Nations’ International Tea Day on Saturday, May 21, we looked at trends on Google Search around the world and found bags of insights into what the world is searching for when it comes to this brew-tea-full beverage.

Worldwide populari-tea

Assam, green or bubble: tea is the world’s most-consumed drink apart from water, so even if Earl Grey isn’t your thing, there’s most likely a brew out there that fits you to a T. But which types of tea are the most popular?

  1. Bubble tea
  2. Green tea
  3. Matcha
  4. Black tea
  5. Milk tea
  6. Kombucha
  7. Masala chai
  8. Iced tea
  9. Hibiscus tea
  10. Ginger tea

Worldwide top-searched types of tea, past 12 months. Source: Google Trends.

Green tea used to be the most popular type of tea on Search — until last year, when bubble tea bubbled up to become the most-searched type of tea around the world. The rise has been remarkable, with search interest for bubble tea more than tripling in the last five years, an increase of +220% worldwide. We’ve seen a similar trend with matcha; the beverage is now the world’s third most popular type of tea after search interest went up by +70% in the last five years.

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