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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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16-year-old Apple fan hacks into its secure systems

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Sydney, Aug 17: An Australian teenager pleaded guilty to charges of hacking into Apple’s secure systems and said that he was a fan of the technology giant and hoped to work there one day, the media reported.

The 16-year-old boy is facing criminal charges after the technology giant called in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke into Apple’s mainframe from his suburban home on multiple occasions over a year because he was such a fan of the company, according to his lawyer,” The Age reported late on Thursday.

The teenager, who studies in a private school, reportedly stored the saved information in a folder titled “hacky hack hack”.

He was able to access authorized keys, view customer accounts and download 90GB of secure files before being caught.

“The teen’s defence lawyer said his client had become so well known in the international hacking community that even mentioning the case in detail could expose him to risk,” the report added.

The magistrate has acknowledged the teenager’s guilty plea and he is set to be sentenced next month due to the “complexities” of the case.

IANS

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Google justifies tracking users even if location data is turned off

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San Francisco, Aug 17: After witnessing flak over tracking users even if location data is turned off in users setting, the tech giant has madder changes in its Help Page. 

Earlier, the Help Page said “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

After editing, it stated “This setting does not affect other location services on your device, like Google Location Services and Find My Device.

“Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps”.

The new language confirms that location data is, indeed, being tracked by only certain  Google apps.

“We have been updating the explanatory language about Location History to make it more consistent and clear across our platforms and help centres,” CNET reported on Friday, quoting a Google spokesperson.

The Associated Press earlier this week ran a story saying an investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store users’ location data even if the users explicitly used a privacy setting forbidding that.

Researchers from Princeton University confirmed the findings.

In an earlier statement, Google had said: “Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete or turn it off at any time.

“As the (AP) story notes, we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions.”

But just turning off Location History doesn’t solve the purpose. In Google Settings, pausing “Web and App Activity” may do the trick.

However, according to the information on Google’s Activity Control page, “Even when this setting is paused, Google may temporarily use information from recent searches in order to improve the quality of the active search session”.

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Twitter removes key features in third-party apps

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San Francisco, Aug 17: Aiming to deliver better experiences for its users, Mirco blogging platform Twitter has removed support for some outdated but key featured in third-party applications. 

In a blog post yesterday, Twitter said it will remove access to application programme interfaces (APIs) needed to power push notifications and an auto-refreshing timeline.

“We’ve chosen to stop investing in other products a” including two legacy developer tools used by about 1 per cent of third-party developers. This means that some Twitter-like apps will not be able to function the exact same way as before,” asserted  Rob Johnson, Director of Product at Twitter.

Third-party Twitter apps such as Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Talon and Tweetings will be affected by the recent development.

Now instead of tweets automatically streaming in like they once did in some third-party applications, users will now need to pull to refresh like they do in Twitter-owned apps and sites.

“We’ve removed support for Twitter for Apple Watch and Twitter for Mac, wea¿ve replaced our previous Twitter for Windows app with our Progressive Web App, and now, we’re removing support for some outdated developer tools,” Johnson further said.

WeForNews 

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