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Google needs to do more on bridging gender gap: Report

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San Francisco, June 15: Although the percentage of women in leadership roles at Google has increased from 20.8 to 25.5 per cent in the last four years, women still make up only 30.9 per cent of its global workforce while men 69.1 per cent, the tech giant has revealed.

In its annual diversity report released on Thursday, Google said it has made some progress in leadership ranks by gender and ethnicity.

“The data in this report shows that despite significant effort, and some pockets of success, we need to do more to achieve our desired diversity and inclusion outcomes,” said Danielle Brown, VP-Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

In 2017, women hires in tech positions rose to 24.5 per cent, although overall hiring of women dropped from 31.4 per cent to 31.2 per cent.

“Since 2014, women hires in tech have increased from 20.8 per cent to 24.5 per cent, which shows that our focus on hiring more women into technical positions is having impact,” said Brown.

The diversity report came after a year when an employee named James Damore sent out a long anti-diversity memo and was later fired.

Damore’s memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”, claims that when it comes to technology, there is a biological difference between men and women.

In February this year, the US National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) said that Google did not violate labour laws when it fired Damore.

According to the new diversity report, in terms of race and ethnicity (US data only), 2.5 per cent of Google’s workforce is Black, 3.6 per cent is Hispanic/Latin, 36.3 per cent is Asian and 53.1 per cent is White.

“Our gains in women’s representation have largely been driven by White and Asian women. Representation of Asian women increased considerably to 12.5 per cent of Google’s workforce, up from 10 per cent overall in 2014,” the report noted.

This is lower than the increase for Asian men who make up 25.7 per cent of Google, up from 21.4 per cent in 2014.

Attrition rates in 2017 were highest for Black Googlers followed by Latin Googlers, and lowest for Asian Googlers.

“Black Googler attrition rates, while improving in recent years, have offset some of our hiring gains, which has led to smaller increases in representation than we would have seen otherwise.”

“We’re working hard to better understand what drives higher attrition and taking focused measures to improve it,” Brown added.

IANS

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India to launch imaging satellite Microsat-R on Jan 24

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ISRO Satellite Kalamsat MicrosatR
Photo Credit- ISRO/Twitter

Bengaluru, Jan 17: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch an imaging satellite Microsat-R along with a student payload ‘Kalamsat’ from its spaceport in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, on January 24, it announced on Thursday.

“The 46th flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44) will launch Microsat-R and Kalamsat from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on January 24,” the state-run space agency said in a statement on its website.

The country’s only spaceport is located at Sriharikota, about 90 km northeast of Chennai.

The four-stage launch vehicle which has alternating solid and liquid stages, with two strap-on configuration has been identified for the mission and configuration designated as PSLV-DL, the statement said.

“PSLV-C44 is the first mission of PSLV-DL and is a new variant of PSLV,” the agency said.

The fourth stage (PS4) of the vehicle will be moved to a higher circular orbit so as to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments, it added.

The student payload ‘Kalamsat’ will be the first to use PS4 as an orbital platform.

IANS

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YouTube bans dangerous, harmful pranks

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California, Jan 16: YouTube videos that depict dangerous or emotionally distressing “pranks” have been banned from the platform.

The move comes in response to the so-called “challenges” that have sometimes resulted in death or injury, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The Google-owned video sharing site said such material had “no place on YouTube”.

But enforcing its new rules on pranks may prove to be difficult, given ambiguity over what may or may not be considered harmful.

“YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks,” a message added to the site’s FAQ section read.

“That said, we’ve always had policies to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous.

“Our Community Guidelines prohibit content that encourages dangerous activities that are likely to result in serious harm.”

From now on, the site said it would not allow videos that featured “pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury”.

This includes pranks where someone is tricked into thinking they are in severe danger, even if no real threat existed.

The site added: “We also don’t allow pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatized for life.”

Recently, a challenge inspired by a scene in Netflix show Birdbox involved carrying out activities – such as driving – while blindfolded. At least one person is known to have crashed as a result.

IANS

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YouTube testing new video recommendation format: Report

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San Francisco, Jan 16 : Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube is testing a new video recommendation format that displays blue bubbles on the screen with relevant keywords and related topic suggestions, facilitating easier browsing, media reported.

“The screenshots obtained show these blue bubbles just underneath the video player showing more specific video recommendations,” The Verge reported on Tuesday.

The video-sharing platform is currently testing the feature with some users on its main desktop page as well as on the mobile app.

For sometime now users have been complaining that the videos recommended on the side on YouTube’s interface often have little to do with the current video, making recommendations a point of contention for the platform.

“It’s unclear if the videos that populate from the new recommendation bubbles will face similar algorithmic issues that YouTube’s recommendation feed currently suffers,” the report added.

There has not been any word from YouTube as of now on the working of these blue bubbles and whether or not they will roll out the test feature to a bigger group in the coming months.

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