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This Googler wants to ‘add every voice’ to AI

Early in his career, Laurence Moroney was working on an equation — not something related to his job in tech, but to his bank account. “At one point, I calculated I was about three weeks away from being homeless,” Laurence says. “My motivation was to put a meal on the table and keep a roof…

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Early in his career, Laurence Moroney was working on an equation — not something related to his job in tech, but to his bank account. “At one point, I calculated I was about three weeks away from being homeless,” Laurence says. “My motivation was to put a meal on the table and keep a roof over my head.”

Today Laurence is a developer advocate at Google focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). “It’s my goal to inform and inspire the world about what we can do with AI and ML, and help developers realize these possibilities.” Laurence applied at Google in 2013 after hearing then-CEO Larry Page talk about Google’s vision to make the world a better place. “I was hired on my third attempt — so yes, I failed twice!”

Now he focuses on inviting and introducing more people to roles in the AI and ML fields through coursework, workshops and bootcamps that help developers gain job skills through professional certificates. “I try to meet developers where they are, whether that’s on YouTube, social media or in-person events,” he says. He’s particularly motivated to reach out to groups who have been historically underrepresented in tech. “Often they look and see everyone is one ethnicity and one gender and they think they don’t belong, but that’s not the case: Everyone, all ages, disabilities, whatever your background is, you should be here,” he says. “It’s so important for AI and ML work to include the entire scope of people which is why I’m so motivated to try and make everyone feel like they belong in this work.”

But it wasn’t an easy or straightforward path: his early years were tumultuous. Originally from Cyprus, Laurence and his family were forced to leave their home when a civil war resulted in an invasion. Exposure to chemicals used in the war zone permanently stained Laurence’s teeth, and he was also left with shaky hands. After moving to four different countries before the age of 8 (and learning four different languages), they settled in Ireland. “When you’re young, you don’t notice how difficult these things are, you just think…this is your life and this is normal,” he says.

He didn’t have the luxury to find his “passion” at work. “I needed a job and I needed a career. And around that time, the internet was starting to open up all of these new possibilities and opportunities.” In 1992, while bouncing around between odd jobs after receiving his degree in physics, Laurence heard about a government AI training program in the U.K. — one that worked as a sort of fellowship helping participants earn their master’s degree while also working on ways that AI systems could benefit the country.

“Hundreds of people descended on the testing center, where they looked at things like IQ, reasoning skills and so on,” Laurence says. Laurence also went — and ended up with the highest score. “They signed me up without realizing my background or ethnicity, and I was glad for that because I had experinced a lot of discrimination for being Irish,” he notes. “By that time I had gotten in the habit of disguising my accent. I tried not to talk much when I spoke to the government official who was running the program.” Despite his nerves, Laurence was asked to be the first person to sign on…though, the program itself was short-lived.

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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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