We first launched the Transparency Report in 2010 to help the public learn about the scope of government requests for user data. With recent revelations about government surveillance, calls for companies to make encryption keys available to police, and a wide range of proposals, both in and out of the U.S., to expand surveillance powers throughout the world, the issues today are more complicated than ever. Some issues, like ECPA reform, are less complex, and we’re encouraged by the broad support in Congress for legislation that would codify a standard requiring warrants for communications content.
From new moms to dads in disguise, here’s a look at the week on Google Search:
The princess and the Parliament
The Duke and Duchess welcomed their second child, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge, this week—setting off a wave of royal baby fervor worldwide. Searchers were quick to turn to Google to learn more about Princess Charlotte, who is fourth in line to the throne. Search interest in the “meaning of Charlotte” spiked 15X worldwide in the 24 hours following the reveal. In the U.S., Dallas and New York were the places searching the most for the baby’s name.
While U.K. citizens celebrated their new princess, they had something else on their minds: yesterday’s national election. Weeks of polling had predicted a close tie between the Conservatives and the Labour Party, but in the end David Cameron’s Conservative party walked away with the majority in a victory that surprised many. The election dominated search in the U.K.—all but one of the top 20 search terms Friday were election-related—and even in the U.S., it was the second-most trending term on Thursday.
When we released the composition of our workforce almost a year ago, it confirmed what many people suspected: the tech industry needs to do a lot more when it comes to diversity. Since then, the question I get asked most is—so what are you doing about it?
You may have heard about some of the work we’ve been doing: embedding engineers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities; partnering with Hollywood to inspire girls to pursue careers in computer science; building local initiatives to introduce coding to high school students from diverse communities; and expanding our employee unconscious bias training.
When I was in 5th grade, I complained to my teacher, Mr. Tomazewski, that there must be more to mathematics than simple arithmetic. He concurred and gave me a 7th grade algebra book because he believed in me. I spent the summer working through every problem! With that simple act, Mr. Tomazewski had set me off on a career path that eventually led to the invention of the Internet.
As students, we have the potential to be or do anything—whether and how we fulfill that potential is largely determined by the guidance and encouragement of our teachers.
In 1880, the Pittsburgh Dispatch published an article titled “What Girls Are Good For.” In dismissive terms, the column’s author wrote that women shouldn’t be allowed to work because their place was at home.
Days later, a pseudonymous rebuttal appeared in the paper. The response, by a 16-year-old girl whose real name was Elizabeth Jane Cochran, argued how important it was for women to be independent and self-reliant. Within a decade, the author of that response would become known worldwide as Nellie Bly: a hard-hitting young journalist who went undercover at a lunatic asylum and traveled around the world in a record-breaking 72 days.