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Two new pledges to reduce food loss and waste at Google

As food makes its way from farms and factories to store shelves and dining tables, nearly one-third of it ends up lost or wasted along the way. All that unused food negatively impacts the planet — it makes up eight percent of the world’s carbon footprint and is the food system’s largest source of carbon…

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As food makes its way from farms and factories to store shelves and dining tables, nearly one-third of it ends up lost or wasted along the way. All that unused food negatively impacts the planet — it makes up eight percent of the world’s carbon footprint and is the food system’s largest source of carbon emissions.

To protect our planet and keep it healthy, we need to collectively cut back on food waste — for us at Google, that means doubling down on our efforts to reduce waste in our kitchens and cafes. By 2025, we aim to cut food waste in half for each Googler and send zero food waste to the landfill. To do so, we’ll prevent waste during food sourcing and procurement, improve our kitchens and cafes, and make sure excess food is repurposed or disposed of properly.

Preventing waste before it happens

Our food team serves hundreds of thousands of meals each day to Googlers across 56 countries. To prevent food waste before those delicious ingredients ever reach our kitchens, we work closely with manufacturers, processors, suppliers and distributors.

One way we’ve done this is by sourcing produce from farms that is imperfect and would otherwise be tossed — like a misshapen carrot or an apple that is slightly blemished, but still delicious. We also buy from creative businesses that make food products from upcycled ingredients — like broth made from vegetable trimmings from a processing plant.

To help the entire food system reduce food waste in their own operations, Google is also working with agricultural and food service partners to improve supply chain transparency, traceability and data tracking. For example, an early-stage team from X, an Alphabet subsidiary, worked closely with Kroger and Feeding America®️ to explore and analyze supply chain datasets using Google Cloud technology. With more data and transparency into the supply chain we can make sure excess food goes toward a better use like feeding people who need it, instead of going to a landfill.

Rethinking our kitchens and cafes

Shutting down our offices and pausing food services at the beginning of the pandemic gave us the space to think bigger about how we can sustainably support a growing global workforce.

Now that food is back on the table at Google, we’re continuing to use technology to cut back on waste in our kitchen and cafe operations. For example, Leanpath is a tool that helps chefs track what food is going to waste. They can then use that data to make changes to how they prepare, cook and serve food in cafes.

Since we started measuring our kitchen food waste in 2014, these strategies have helped divert 10 million pounds of food from our kitchens and cafes from going into the landfill. That’s equivalent to eliminating 25,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere or taking 5,000 cars off the road for a year.

To work toward our food waste goals, we plan to get more innovative and develop new technologies. We’ll prioritize coming up with creative menu options that turn produce that would otherwise be wasted into tasty treats — like healthy slaw made from peeled and shredded broccoli stems.

And we’re working on technologies that can help us make changes not only in our kitchens but in commercial kitchens everywhere. For example, over at X we piloted a project that uses computer vision to automatically determine what is going into our compost bins. We need more projects like this to create a smarter food system that knows where excess food is and what state it’s in so we can make sure it gets used instead of ending up in a landfill.

Being responsible with how we dispose of food

The work doesn’t stop once the food is cooked and the meal is served. We have to think about what happens to the food next— whether it’s what we do with untouched components of our meals or what’s left on a Googler’s plate. We aim to donate the excess whenever possible or ensure that it is properly composted.

Part of managing our global food program requires having a network in place so that untouched, excess food can easily be shared with food rescue partners. We’re also sharing ways that everyone at Google can do their part to reach these goals — like each of us only taking what we know we can eat. For any food product that’s ready to be tossed, we’re working to improve our waste separation systems to make sure that composting works everywhere. We’re even piloting technology that can process organic waste onsite and smart waste collection containers that can better sort trash to divert waste from the landfill.

While we’re working hard to reduce waste in our own food operations and cafes, the biggest impact will come when the entire industry works together and adopts solutions to keep food out of landfills. That’s why last year we signed onto the Food Waste Action Plan — co-led by ReFED, the premier national nonprofit advancing data-driven solutions to end food waste — to urge the federal government to adopt ambitious food loss reduction goals. To further accelerate systems transformation, Google is providing $1M as an anchor funder to the upcoming ReFED Catalytic Grant Fund with the goal of accelerating and scaling food waste solutions in North America.

As we make progress toward our food loss and waste goals, we’ll keep sharing what we learn with others in the industry. Together, we can keep our planet healthy.

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Survey shows how people decide what to trust online

Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has trained hundreds of journalists from around the world in verification and digital investigative tools. We caught up with Alex to find out about a recent information literacy survey his organization…

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Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has trained hundreds of journalists from around the world in verification and digital investigative tools. We caught up with Alex to find out about a recent information literacy survey his organization conducted in partnership with YouGov, with support from Google. Learn more about how Google is working on information literacy and helping you spot misinformation online.

Why was this survey conducted?

Misinformation isn’t a new problem, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction, especially on the internet. We wanted to learn more about how people across generational lines verify information and decide what to trust and share online. And we knew this research would help us expand on the educational resources MediaWise has to offer.

What were the parameters for the survey?

We surveyed more than 8,500 respondents of various ages in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Nigeria, India and Japan. We asked a wide range of questions aimed at assessing information literacy skills and verification habits. Those include queries about everything from the tools and techniques someone uses to investigate a post they see online, to the reasons why they may have shared misleading information in the past.

What are some of the biggest takeaways?

The survey found that 62% of respondents think they see false or misleading information on at least a weekly basis – that’s a staggering number. And people are aware that it’s a serious issue. Roughly 50% of all Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z respondents (these are people ages 18 to 57) said they’re concerned about their family being exposed to it.

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New ways we’re helping you find high-quality information

AI models are also helping our systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most helpful way to present information. This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about…

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AI models are also helping our systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most helpful way to present information. This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about Lincoln’s assassination, but this clearly isn’t the most helpful way to display this result.

We’ve trained our systems to get better at detecting these sorts of false premises, which are not very common, but are cases where it’s not helpful to show a featured snippet. We’ve reduced the triggering of featured snippets in these cases by 40% with this update.

Information literacy

Beyond designing our systems to return high-quality information, we also build information literacy features in Google Search that help people evaluate information, whether they found it on social media or in conversations with family or friends. In fact, in a study this year, researchers found that people regularly use Google as a tool to validate information encountered on other platforms. We’ve invested in building a growing range of information literacy features — including Fact Check Explorer, Reverse image search, and About this result — and today, we’re announcing several updates to make these features even more helpful.

Expanding About this result to more places

About this result helps you see more context about any Search result before you ever visit a web page, just by tapping the three dots next to the result. Since launching last year, people have used About this result more than 2.4 billion times, and we’re bringing it to even more people and places – with eight more languages including Portuguese (PT), French (FR), Italian (IT), German (DE), Dutch (NL), Spanish (ES), Japanese (JP) and Indonesian (ID), coming later this year.

This week, we’re adding more context to About this result, such as how widely a source is circulated, online reviews about a source or company, whether a company is owned by another entity, or even when our systems can’t find much info about a source – all pieces of information that can provide important context.

And we’ve now launched About this page in the Google app, so you can get helpful context about websites as you’re browsing the web. Just swipe up from the navigation bar on any page to get more information about the source – helping you explore with confidence, no matter where you are online.

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Finding community and customers through Growth Academy: Women Founders

With thousands of highly-valued tech companies, a global-first market approach, and a strong economy dominated by entrepreneurship, it’s clear why Israel’s nickname is ‘The Startup Nation.’However, this thriving startup ecosystem isn’t equally supportive of all aspiring founders. According to the latest Israeli Tech Gender Distribution Report, spearheaded by Google for Startups and IVC Data and…

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With thousands of highly-valued tech companies, a global-first market approach, and a strong economy dominated by entrepreneurship, it’s clear why Israel’s nickname is ‘The Startup Nation.’

However, this thriving startup ecosystem isn’t equally supportive of all aspiring founders. According to the latest Israeli Tech Gender Distribution Report, spearheaded by Google for Startups and IVC Data and Insights, only 2% of startups with a woman founder raised above $50 million between 2018 and 2021. While the number of entirely women-led companies has doubled in the past decade, they still only comprise 6.3% of Israeli startups — and only 13.9% of startups had at least one woman co-founder in a mixed-gender founding team.

I fall into the latter category. My cofounder Gal Benbeniste and I met during college, where we bonded over how outdated the investment world is. What started with trying to figure out a simple way to automate became FinityX, a deep-tech startup that helps investors implement AI tools as part of their investment process to save time and resources, and improve quality.

While I have been humbled by FinityX’s rapid growth and recognition, as one of the very few women in the deep-tech space I’ve always wanted to be able to access the same capital, business networks, and mentorship readily available to my male cofounder.

So I was thrilled when Google for Startups launched a Growth Academy program tailored specifically for the needs of early-stage women founders. Based on the successful Startup Growth Lab curriculum, the program includes leadership workshops with Israeli VCs such as Entree Capital, Ibex and Viola, leadership sessions with top industry lecturers, and one-on-one Google product mentorship. “Ever since Google for Startups opened Campus Tel Aviv in 2012, diversity and inclusion has been an essential focus to our work,” said Marta Mozes, marketing manager of Google for Startups in Israel. “When we discovered this data about female founders in Israel, we knew we had to be part of the change.”

Meet the other Israeli entrepreneurs, representing industries from family vacation-planning to finance, who joined me at Google for Startups Growth Academy: Women Founders:

  • Miri Berger, Cofounder & CEO of 6Degrees
  • Kerri Kariti, Cofounder & CPO of Claritee
  • Vardit Legali, Cofounder & CEO of Clawdia
  • Ronny Schwartz Dgani, Cofounder & CMO of Expecting.ai
  • Inbal Glantser and Naama Yacobson, Cofounders of Homaze
  • Tamar Liberman, Tal Provizor Narkiss, and Lee Winfield, Cofounders of It’s July
  • Mika Kayt, Founder & CEO of Outgage
  • Danielle Shpigel and Yarden Kaufmann, Cofounders of Unika

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