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Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O. - The New York Times
“Which brings us to Pichai, the supposed grown-up in the room. He could have wrestled with the tension between population-level research and individual experience. He could have stood up for the free flow of information. Instead he joined the mob. He fired Damore and wrote, ‘To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not O.K.’

“That is a blatantly dishonest characterization of the memo. Damore wrote nothing like that about his Google colleagues. Either Pichai is unprepared to understand the research (unlikely), is not capable of handling complex data flows (a bad trait in a C.E.O.) or was simply too afraid to stand up to a mob.”
DavidBrooks  SundarPichai  GoogleMemo  JamesDamore 
5 days ago by cbearden
Let’s not let fear defeat our values – Sundar Pichai – Medium
I walk around the campus where I work and see a vibrant mix of races and cultures. Every one of those people has a different voice … a different perspective … a different story to tell. All of that makes our company an exciting and special place to be, and allows us to do great things together. We are urgently working to become much more diverse, because it’s so important to our future success. I firmly believe that whether you’re building a company or leading a country, a diverse mix of voices and backgrounds and experiences leads to better discussions, better decisions, and better outcomes for everyone.
google  diversity  sundar  sundarpichai 
7 days ago by mjs
Your Camera Wants to Kill the Keyboard | WIRED
"SNAPCHAT KNEW IT from the start, but in recent months Google and Facebook have all but confirmed it: The keyboard, slowly but surely, is fading into obscurity.

Last week at Google’s annual developer conference, the company presented its vision for how it expects its users—more than a billion people—to interact with technology in the coming years. And for the most part, it didn’t involve typing into a search box. Instead, Google’s brass spent its time onstage touting the company’s speech recognition skills and showing off Google Lens, a new computer vision technology that essentially turns your phone’s camera into a search engine.

Technology has once again reached an inflection point. For years, smartphones relied on hardware keyboards, a holdover from the early days of cell phones. Then came multitouch. Spurred by the wonders of the first smartphone screens, people swiped, typed, and pinched. Now, the way we engage with our phones is changing once again thanks to AI. Snapping a photo works as well, if not better, than writing a descriptive sentence in a search box. Casually chatting with Google Assistant, the company’s omnipresent virtual helper, gets results as fast, if not faster, than opening Chrome and navigating from there. The upshot, as Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained, is that we’re increasingly interacting with our computers in more natural and emotive ways, which could mean using your keyboard a lot less.

Ask the people who build your technology, and they’ll tell you: The camera is the new keyboard. The catchy phrase is becoming something of an industry-wide mantra to describe the constant march toward more visual forms of communication. Just look at Snapchat. The company bet its business on the fact that people would rather trade pictures than strings of words. The idea proved so compelling that Facebook and Instagram unabashedly developed their own versions of the feature. “The camera has already become a pervasive form of communication,” says Roman Kalantari, the head creative technologist at the design studio Fjord. “But what’s the next step after that?”

For Facebook and Snapchat, it was fun-house mirror effects and goofy augmented reality overlays—ways of building on top of photos that you simply can’t with text. Meanwhile, Google took a decidedly more utilitarian approach with Lens, turning the camera into an input device much like the keyboard itself. Point your camera at a tree, and it’ll tell you the variety. Snap a pic of the new restaurant on your block, and it’ll pull up the menu and hours, even help you book a reservation. Perhaps the single most effective demonstration of the technology was also its dullest—focus the lens on a router’s SKU and password, and Google’s image recognition will scan the information, pass it along to your Android phone, and automatically log you into the network.

This simplicity is a big deal. No longer does finding information require typing into a search box. Suddenly the world, in all its complexity, can be understood just by aiming your camera at something. Google isn’t the only company buying into this vision of the future. Amazon’s Fire Phone from 2014 enabled image-based search, which meant you could point the camera at a book or a box of cereal and have the item shipped to you instantly via Amazon Prime. Earlier this year, Pinterest launched the beta version of Lens, a tool that allows users to take a photo of an object in the real world and surface related objects on the Pinterest platform. “We’re getting to the point where using your camera to discover new ideas is as fast and easy as typing,” says Albert Pereta, a creative lead at Pinterest, who led the development at Lens.

Translation: Words can be hard, and it often works better to show than to tell. It’s easier to find the mid-century modern chair with a mahogany leather seat you’re looking for when you can share what it looks like, rather than typing a string of precise keywords. “With a camera, you can complete the task by taking a photo or video of the thing,” explains Gierad Laput, who studies human computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon. “Whereas with a keyboard, you complete this task by typing a description of the thing. You have to come up with the right description and type them accordingly.”

The caveat, of course, is that the image recognition needs to be accurate in order to work. You have agency when you type something into a search box—you can delete, revise, retype. But with a camera, the devices decides what you’re looking at and, even more crucially, assumes what information you want to see in return. The good (or potentially creepy) news is that with every photo taken, search query typed, and command spoken, Google learns more about you, which means over time your results grow increasingly accurate. With its deep trove of knowledge in hand, Google seems determined to smooth out the remaining rough edges of technology. It’ll probably still be a while before the keyboard goes extinct, but with every shot you take on your camera, it’s getting one step closer."
interface  ai  google  communication  images  cameras  2017  snapchat  facebook  smartphones  lizstinson  imagerecognition  pinterest  keyboards  input  romankalantari  technology  amazon  sundarpichai  albertpereta  gieradlaput 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
Ground Control To Silicon Valley - BuzzFeed News
Code Conference couldn’t have come at a weirder time in already strained relationship between Silicon Valley and its chroniclers. Media people are flabbergasted at tech investors defending Theranos; tech investors are appalled that anyone in the media could defend Gawker. Both sides also seem a bit chastened by what slipped past their attention (see again: Theranos). Tech investors seem certain that there’s a media conspiracy to hurt them. Media people got their Thiel conspiracy theory confirmed. And there’s a phalanx of public relations people in between. As “tech” progresses faster and faster and into new areas, the tech press becomes increasingly untrained to keep it in check. So, what better time to share some venture-backed meat and guarded small talk?
CodeConference  Recode  conference  ElonMusk  JeffBezos  SundarPichai  KaraSwisher  WalkMossberg  NickDenton  venturecapital  journalism  Buzzfeed  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Searching For Google CEO Sundar Pichai, The Most Powerful Tech Giant You've Never Heard Of
“We need to design systems so that we give people a very easy way to say, ‘I need to be off the grid, I need this to be private,’”

“My mom dropped out of high school for economic reasons, but she always was the one I turned to when I had difficulty with any of my schoolwork,” he says. “I could see the power of what she could contribute, but in some ways she couldn’t fully realize it because she didn’t have access to education. When you look at the internet, women account for less than one-third of the usage, and that number is much lower in rural areas, I think it’s an imperative for us to do that.”

This appears to be Pichai’s strategy at work as well. His even temperament and desire to see others succeed help explain Pichai’s steady, if sharp, rise at Google. His first job was running Google Toolbar — a browser extension that let you search Google from within Internet Explorer. From there, he embarked on what at the time seemed like a puzzling mission to help build a new web browser — Google Chrome — when it was completely unclear why the company would need one.

Android was something Google saw as vital to its future, yet it was also something of a rogue unit internally. Google had purchased Android early in its history, and Android founder Andy Rubin continued to run it after the acquisition. Under Rubin, Android had run almost as an entirely separate business within Google. Pichai brought it back into the fold and made sure that Android — the thing that for perhaps 1 billion people will be their first interaction with the Internet — was deeply, and profoundly, a part of Google.

“Over the long run, Google rejects assholes,” says Caesar Sengupta as we sit in the belly of the Pullman Hotel during a Google India conference in December. Sengupta runs Google’s “Next Billion Users” team and has worked under Pichai since 2007. “Sundar became CEO among his peers, and yet his peers are still with him.”
“I could see that Sundar was attracting very loyal people and they all really liked him and really liked each other. And they built this culture where you didn’t have to worry about politics. Sundar abstracted all the large company stuff away from you, and you could just focus on doing good work.”

Pichai is clearly in the product camp. Under him Android has bloomed, going from a customizable but clunky interface to something beautiful and fluid. Chrome redefined how fast and invisible a browser could be. Google Photos transformed the way photography can be organized and displayed in the smartphone era. Yet now he needs to not only focus on product, but manage Google’s massive advertising business as well.

Google Search, Gmail, Android, Chrome, Maps, VR, YouTube, advertising

“The thing within product that really appeals to me is when you can distill something complex to a reductionist, simple thing,” he says.” Google Search was that way for me. There’s so much complexity within Google Search but for most people it’s just a simple search box. Simplicity is hard to articulate, but anytime you can make anything simpler users respond to it.”

He never refused to answer a single question (although he did at a few points only answer off the record, or dodge)
SundarPichai  Google  Alphabet 
march 2016 by hakan
Searching For Google CEO Sundar Pichai, The Most Powerful Tech Giant You've Never Heard Of
You may not know him by name just yet, but he’s one of the most powerful people alive. Google’s new CEO Sundar Pichai wants to bring the internet to the rest of the world, all while winning back your trust.
SundarPichai  Google  management  India  profile  Buzzfeed  2016 
march 2016 by inspiral
Staff Exodus, Pressure From Microsoft, Apple Hit Google Now | Re/code
What went unannounced was that most of the original team that built Now had departed, many of them just before I/O, according to multiple sources. Some had grown frustrated that the product, born within Android, was shuttered into search inside of Google, they said. And Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP and incoming CEO, did not prioritize the product as much as Page.

Now escalated inside Google quickly, largely because it had the backing of Page. The product comports to his vision of a future with more intelligent, seamless computing. For several months after its launch, Page emphasized its importance to Google’s future. “He would open up every single all-hands [meeting] with Google Now,” said another former Googler who worked on the product.

Meanwhile, Google’s core business, search, continues to lose steam with a key metric, cost-per-click, falling as mobile app usage skyrocketed. At some point last year Amit Singhal, the SVP who heads search, requested that Now move from Android into his division, multiple sources said.

Several engineers objected. According to multiple sources, their initial vision of Now — as a mobile assistant tailored to particular users — works best living on the mobile operating system, not within search.

Pichai approved Singhal’s request. In part, perhaps, because Google must balance products like Now, which push information to users, with its central business problem: It makes less money from mobile searches. Google has started to deploy Now as a primary vehicle for indexing apps.

Another potential reason for the internal shift: Pichai is known as an executive who seeks consensus rather than conflict. A former Googler who worked on Now recalled Pichai’s response to their protests: “‘Look, I’ve got a lot on my plate. Chrome and Android are my top priorities. Google Now is not on that. I can’t fight that battle for you.’”

Apple, for its part, looks prepared to launch a competitor to Now on Tap. With its proactive assistant and spotlight search, the Apple entry could elbow Google out. Several people said it was unusual for Google to pre-announce a feature like Now on Tap before it is ready. That hurriedness may have been to preempt Apple’s announcement the following month.
Google  SundarPichai  LarryPage 
august 2015 by hakan
Sundar Pichai: Google's rising star reaches the top (like his teacher said he would) | Technology | The Guardian
Colin Gillis

"Pichai has said that he’s attracted to computing because of its ability to do cheaply things that are useful to everyone, irrespective of class or background. “The thing which attracted me to Google and to the internet in general is that it’s a great equalizer,” he said in a video interview last year. “I’ve always been struck by the fact that Google search worked the same, as long as you had access to a computer with connectivity, if you’re a rural kid anywhere or a professor at Stanford or Harvard.”

Pichai has said that it’s important “not to just build technology for a certain segment”. Now that he’s in the driver’s seat at Google, he has the authority to put that ambition to the test.

Google’s display advertising business – which includes ads served directly into Gmail accounts, as well as its AdSense networks – is worth about $5bn annually, according to estimates by Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser. Chrome helps generate some of the data that allows the company to serve those ads effectively; its speed is a function of its memory. If you visit a web page regularly, Google will grab the parts that don’t change and put them where it can find them quickly the next time you go there.

That, in turn, is useful information for the company’s ads; it can tell what you like to look at on the internet and suggest other things for you to buy. It follows you around the internet, but it gives you speed in exchange for targeting, and speed is the most important thing in a browser.
Konus  SundarPichai 
august 2015 by hakan
Google surprise shake-up: Android chief replaced by Sundar Pichai -
In a surprise shake-up, Google has put Sundar Pichai in charge of its Android division, replacing Andy Rubin, who guided the mobile software to become the world's most popular over Apple. "Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use -- and he loves a big bet," Chief Executive Officer Larry Page wrote in a blog post Wednesday. Rubin, the creator of Android and one of Page's top lieutenants, built Android into the top software used by handset manufacturers, most notably Samsung Electronics. Android has leaped ahead of Apple's software to command about 70% of operating systems on smartphones. Rubin will begin a "new chapter” at Google, Page said. Said Page: "Andy, more moonshots please!" A Google spokeswoman declined to comment further. Rubin co-founded Android in 2003. Google bought it in 2005.
SundarPichai  Android  2013  AndyRubin  CRO  Co-Founder  Spring  Google  notes  Chrome  March 
march 2013 by ahasteve
Google: Chrome OS laptops won't dual boot with Windows, live customer support for Cr-48 owners
We know there's a lot to digest after Google's Chrome OS event today, but following the shindig we caught a few minutes with Google VP of Product Management Sundar Pichai. While he wouldn't answer our questions about upcoming Chrome OS laptops -- you know, the ones coming from partners such as Acer and Samsung in mid-2011 -- he did tell us that those Atom-powered laptops won't dual boot Windows. In fact, he told us that "certified" Chrome OS laptops won't support dual boot environments at all. Of course, the Cr-48 has a root feature so it will likely be able to run Windows (assuming there's enough flash storage), but it's clear that major manufacturers won't be shipping laptops with Google and Microsoft operating systems living side by side.

With that said, we asked Sundar about one of the major concerns we've had about Chrome OS: customer support. (Some history here -- we've heard from a few laptop manufacturers that Google's lack of customer service for the computer OS is a major issue and a legitimate reservation). Sundar said that it's a valid concern, but that the OS is incredibly simple and that Google doesn't expect to have many confused or troubled customers when it's ready for primetime. Nevertheless, Google will provide live support for those that receive a Cr-48 and help with any and all issues. No word on if that aid will continue past this limited pilot program, but we're sure there will be more much more to come on all of this next year.Google: Chrome OS laptops won't dual boot with Windows, live customer support for Cr-48 owners originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 07 Dec 2010 21:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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chrome  chrome_os  ChromeOs  customer_support  CustomerSupport  dual_boot  DualBoot  google  laptop  laptops  Microsoft_Windows  MicrosoftWindows  service  Sundar_Pichai  SundarPichai  Windows  from google
december 2010 by sfarrar

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