Nov 26, 2019

Google fires 4 as internal tensions mount

Google's logo on an escalator on Sept. 11. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Google confirmed Monday that it has fired four workers for violating company policies on data access. Google had earlier put two of the employees on leave over the issue.

Why it matters: It's the latest salvo in an increasingly fierce battle between the company and employee activists.

  • Google grew up with a culture that famously promoted internal debate, but more recently its management has responded to leaks from company meetings with stricter policies.

What they're saying:

  • Google memo (per Bloomberg): "We've seen a recent increase in information being shared outside the company, including the names and details of our employees. Our teams are committed to investigating these issues, and today we've dismissed four employees for clear and repeated violations of our data security policies."
  • Google employee activists (via Medium): "With these firings, Google is ramping up its illegal retaliation against workers engaging in protected organizing. This is classic union busting dressed up in tech industry jargon, and we won't stand for it."

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Fired Google workers plan federal complaint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Four employees fired by Google right before Thanksgiving plan to file an unfair labor practices complaint this week with the National Labor Relations Board, charging that the company fired them for engaging in protected labor organizing.

Why it matters: The prospect of engineers challenging an iconic Silicon Valley firm under well-established labor laws could mark a sea change for the largely non-unionized tech industry.

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Google builds data tool to help publishers see what's going viral

Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Google has created a new tool to help newsrooms make coverage decisions based on real-time data of what’s being searched on Google and talked about on Twitter.

Why it matters: It’s the latest effort by a tech giant to help give newsrooms access to data that could help their businesses. Google argues newsrooms can boost user loyalty by using the tool to cover the topics they are most interested in.

Go deeperArrowDec 5, 2019

Investors cheer Sundar Pichai as Alphabet's CEO

Data: Factset; Chart: Axios Visuals

The market responded positively in after-hours trading to the announcement that Sundar Pichai will take over as CEO of Alphabet in addition to his current role as head of the core Google unit.

The state of play: Pichai will replace Larry Page, who, along with Google co-founder Sergey Brin, will remain "actively involved as shareholders and co-founders."

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019