By Reuters | Updated: 20 December 2021
California’s civil rights regulator is investigating Google’s treatment of Black female workers following alleged incidents of harassment and discrimination, according to two people familiar with the matter and emails from the agency seen by Reuters.
Attorneys and analysts at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) have repeatedly interviewed several Black women who have worked at the Alphabet-owned company about their experiences there, according to the documents and the sources. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing the work.
Questions have centred on alleged harassment and discrimination in the workplace, according to the emails. Conversations have taken place as recently as last month, one of the sources said.
The DFEH declined to comment.
Google said it is focused on “building sustainable equity” for its Black workers and that 2020 was its largest year for hiring what it calls “Black+” workers, a designation inclusive of people belonging to multiple races.
“Our goal is to ensure that every employee experiences Google as an inclusive workplace,” it said. “We’ll continue to focus on this important work and thoroughly investigate any concerns, to make sure our workplace is representative and equitable.”
The DFEH has interviewed workers who have filed formal complaints and those who have not, the people said, showing that the regulator has sought more examples of potential mistreatment.
The agency is involved in ongoing lawsuits against video game companies Tencent’s Riot Games and Activision Blizzard alleging widespread discrimination and harassment.
But its cases do not always result in charges.
For years Black men in the tech industry have said they have faced disparaging comments and discouraging experiences, such as being shut out of offices because security guards and colleagues questioned whether they actually worked there.
As more Black women have joined the workforce, such complaints have increased. Seven current and former Google employees told Reuters this year about being marginalized on projects as Black women and not taken as seriously as colleagues with different backgrounds.
Artificial intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru has said Google fired her a year ago for criticizing its lack of workforce diversity and for fighting managers who objected to publishing a critical paper she co-wrote. Erika Munro Kennerly, who oversaw diversity and strategy teams at Google before resigning last year, told magazine Corporate Counsel in January that “there’s an overall tone of being undervalued” as a Black woman at Google.
Workers identifying as “Black+ female” left Google at the highest rate of any racial-gender group other than “Native American+ female” last year, according to company data. Google last year said it planned to boost retention by increasing support staffing and programs.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
Big Basket May Soon Have a New Home Delivery Rival, as Big Bazaar Partners With Ercess Live
By ANI | Updated: 12 January 2022
Ercess Live, a Bangalore-based event marketing technology startup has signed a contract with Big Bazaar to help the company to market its new home delivery services across the South Indian market.
The brand will be leveraging its huge network of influencers in India and a variety of marketing strategies to help Big Bazaar take on the likes of Big Basket, and Jio Mart.
The contract was signed in December 2021 and is planned to bring into action around the middle of January 2022. Under this collaboration, Big Bazaar is preparing to provide its customers with exceptional shopping offers, benefits of which can be redeemed at the time of checkout.
Ercess Live will be handling the overall aspect of Influencer Marketing for this collaboration. The marketing technology startup is targeting a variety of influencers ranging from micro to macro including a lot of mompreneurs, mom-bloggers, and food bloggers especially as they are very relevant to the segment.
Talking about the current market situation, the founder of Ercess Live Vishal Jaiswal says, “we are seeing a rapid increase and adaption of influencer marketing among many big brands across the world. The entire industry is effectively making its transition from the processes of traditional marketing to influencer marketing to reach a larger and much broader audience. I believe that within this decade, influencer marketing will surpass the paid advertisement segment completely.” “We are glad to collaborate with Big Bazaar to launch their Q-commerce segment”, he added.
In an attempt to use their resources in helping to safeguard mother nature, Ercess Live is also working on their initiative where they are planting a tree for every subscription they sell.
Prior to this collaboration, Ercess Live has already worked with a large number of big companies across India and had even manifested a strong foothold in the International markets. According to their reports, they have worked with 700 brands and managed campaigns worth millions of dollars to date. It also has a wide range of marketing products that can be used by event organizers to promote and sell their event tickets. As a leading MarTech startup, Ercess Live is bringing very creative marketing strategies to the table to help brands and businesses manage their event marketing from a central system effectively.
Apple Plans to Allow Third-Party Payment Systems in South Korea’s App Store, Regulator Says
By Reuters | Updated: 11 January 2022
South Korea’s telecommunications regulator said on Tuesday that Apple had submitted plans to allow third-party payment systems on its app store, to comply with a law banning major app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payments systems.
The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) had requested Apple and Alphabet’s Google to submit compliance plans after the bill was passed in August last year. The law went into effect in September.
Google announced its plans to allow alternative payment systems in South Korea in November to comply with the amended Telecommunication Business Act, dubbed the “anti-Google law”.
“Apple has a great deal of respect for Korea’s laws and a strong history of collaboration with the country’s talented app developers … We look forward to working with the KCC and our developer community on a solution that benefits our Korean users,” Apple said in a statement.
The KCC said Apple plans to allow alternative payment systems for a lower service fee versus the current 30 percent commissions.
Apple did not provide details, such as timeline of when the change will take effect or commission fee rates, but it plans to discuss further details with the KCC, the regulator said.
© Thomson Reuters 2022
China’s Chang’e 5 Lunar Lander Finds First On-Site Evidence of Water on Moon
By Press Trust of India | Updated: 11 January 2022
China’s Chang’e 5 lunar lander has found the first-ever on-site evidence of water on the surface of the moon, lending new evidence to the dryness of the satellite.
The study published on Saturday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances revealed that the lunar soil at the landing site contains less than 120 parts-per-million (ppm) water or 120 grams water per ton, and a light, vesicular rock carries 180ppm, which are much drier than that on Earth.
The presence of water had been confirmed by remote observation but the lander has now detected signs of water in rocks and soil.
A device on-board the lunar lander measured the spectral reflectance of the regolith and the rock and detected water on the spot for the first time.
The water content can be estimated since the water molecule or hydroxyl absorbs at a frequency of about three micrometers, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
It was the solar wind that contributed to the most humidity of lunar soil as it brought hydrogen that makes up the water, the researchers said.
The additional 60ppm water in the rock may originate from the lunar interior, according to the researchers.
Therefore, the rock is estimated to hail from an older, more humid basaltic unit before being ejected onto the landing site to be picked up by the lunar lander.
The study revealed that the moon had turned drier within a certain period, owing probably to the degassing of its mantle reservoir.
The Chang’e-5 spacecraft landed on one of the youngest mare basalts located at a mid-high latitude on the moon. It measured water on the spot and retrieved samples weighing 1,731 grams.
“The returned samples are a mixture of granules both on the surface and beneath. But an in-situ probe can measure the outermost layer of the lunar surface,” Lin Honglei, a researcher with the Institute of Geology and Geophysics under CAS, told Xinhua.
Lin also said that to simulate authentic lunar surface conditions on Earth is challenging, thus making the in-situ measurement so essential.
The results are consistent with a preliminary analysis of the returned Chang’e-5 samples, according to the study.
The findings provide more clues to China’s Chang’e-6 and Chang’e-7 missions. The investigations of lunar water reserves come into the limelight as the building of manned lunar stations are in the pipeline in the next decades, the report said.
GTA Maker Take-Two Buys Zynga of Farmville Fame in $12.7 Billion Deal
By Associated Press | Updated: 10 January 2022
Take-Two Interactive, maker of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, is buying Zynga, maker of FarmVille and Words With Friends, in a cash-and-stock deal with an enterprise value of about $12.7 billion (roughly Rs. 94,030 crore).
Zynga shareholders will receive $3.50 (roughly Rs. 260) in cash and $6.36 (roughly Rs. 470) in shares of Take-Two common stock for each share of Zynga outstanding stock at closing.
Take-Two said Monday it anticipates $100 million (roughly Rs. 740 crore) in annual cost savings.
The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of Take-Two’s fiscal 2023, ending June 30. It still needs approval of both Take-Two and Zynga stockholders.
Shares of Zynga, based in San Francisco, jumped 52 percent to $9.14 (roughly Rs. 680). Shares of Take-Two Interactive Software, based in New York City, fell more than 8 percent to $150.66 (roughly Rs. 11,160).
“Combining Zynga’s expertise in mobile and next-generation platforms with Take-Two’s best-in-class capabilities and intellectual property will enable us to further advance our mission to connect the world through games while achieving significant growth and synergies together,” said a statement from Take-Two Interactive on the announcement.
The company said the transaction is expected to establish Take-Two as a leader in mobile gaming, with mobile expected to comprise over 50 percent of its net bookings in FY 2023 (as compared to an estimated 12 percent in Fiscal Year 2022).
5G Buffer Zones Will Be Set Up in 50 US Airports: Federal Aviation Administration
By Reuters | Updated: 8 January 2022
The FAA said it does not “not necessarily” mean that low-visibility flights cannot occur at airports that are not among the 50.
AT&T and Verizon, which won nearly all of the C-Band spectrum in an $80 billion (roughly Rs. 5,93,850 crore) auction last year, declined comment.
On Thursday, the FAA renewed warnings that despite the agreement 5G wireless service could still disrupt flights, saying “even with the temporary buffer around 50 airports, 5G deployment will increase the risk of disruption during low visibility” including “flight cancellations, diverted flights, and delays during periods of low visibility.”
Some major airports such as Denver, Atlanta, and Ronald Reagan Washington National are not on the list because 5G is not yet being deployed, while others are not on the list because “5G towers are far enough away that a natural buffer exists.”
Other airports not listed do not currently have the ability to allow low-visibility landings, the FAA said. It said the delay would allow it to evaluate ways to minimise disruptions, and also gives companies more time to prepare.
“If there’s the possibility of a risk to the flying public, we are obligated to pause the activity, until we can prove it is safe,” the FAA said.
ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin Burke, who heads the association representing US and Canadian airports, said on Friday the FAA list “is largely irrelevant because the entire aviation system is about to be adversely impacted by this poorly planned and coordinated expansion of 5G service in and around airports.” He said the “so-called fix will create winners and losers within the airport community, and the entire aviation system will suffer under the terms of this deal.”
Airlines for America, a trade group representing US passenger and cargo carriers, said it appreciated the “FAA’s efforts to implement mitigations for airports that may be most impacted by disruptions generated by the deployment of new 5G service.”
© Thomson Reuters 2021
CES 2022 Turnout Falls More Than 75 Percent Due to COVID
By Associated Press | Updated: 8 January 2022
Attendance at this week’s CES gadget show in Las Vegas fell more than 75 percent compared to its previous in-person event two years ago, its organiser said Friday.
The Consumer Technology Association said on the show’s closing day that more than 40,000 people attended the multi-day event on the Las Vegas Strip. That’s less than a quarter of the more than 170,000 the CTA said were there for its 2020 convention.
The COVID-19 pandemic led the CTA to take 2021’s conference online, but the trade group decided eight months ago to bring a physical CES 2022 back to Vegas. That proved challenging amid a global spike in infections caused by the fast-moving omicron coronavirus variant that emerged late last year.
Conference attendees were required to wear masks on the exhibition floors that opened Wednesday and show proof of vaccination before they arrived. But the rise in COVID-19 cases led a number of big tech companies to pull out of the conference in the weeks before the event.
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