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Google CEO Sundar Pichai in May 2019. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees at an all-staff meeting this week that "it's definitely gotten harder" to see how to make improvements after breaking employees' trust at the company's current scale, the Washington Post reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Ina Fried: Google has prided itself on having a vocal employee base. In recent months, the tech giant has struggled with handling workers who question its every move and want a say in everything from who is hired or retained to who the company does business with.

Driving the news: In early October, Google employees reportedly discovered a previously unknown team within the company that is building a surveillance tool to "monitor workers' attempts to organize protests and discuss labor rights," Bloomberg reports.

  • On Thursday, Pichai and Google's Global Head of Policy Karan Bhatia defended he company's hiring of former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor.
  • Google management deleted two employee questions about Taylor ahead of the all-hands meeting on Thursday, Buzzfeed reports.

What they're saying: “We are genuinely struggling with some issues — transparency at scale,” Pichai said at the closed-door meeting, the Post reports. He said trust is "one of the most foundational things for the company."

  • "[H]e wasn't involved in the ban, and he was also not involved in the family separation policy," Bhatia said of Taylor at the all-hands.
  • Taylor served as counselor to former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the implementation of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" or family separation policy.

Background: Google employees have protested the company's work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the its policies on sexual harassment — the latter of which resulted in a walkout of 20,000 Google staff.

  • Google has moved to more comprehensive e-learning format as part of its updated mandatory sexual harassment training, which is available only in the U.S. until it goes global in 2020, a Google spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Go deeper: Google's restlessness for better company culture

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

3 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.