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Sundar Pichai says Google employees need to get together in physical spaces to accomplish growth plans

Google CEO Sundar Pichai believes that we can never go back to the state of normality we were living in before this global pandemic. Know more.

twitter-logo India Today Tech   New Delhi     Last Updated: May 23, 2020  | 19:35 IST

Highlights

  • Sundar Pichai discusses on variety of topics in an interview.
  • Pichai talked about Google's response to the pandemic, WFH culture, contact tracing and more.
  • Google CEO says that employees will need to get together for company's growth plans.

When the two tech giants Facebook and Google announced remote work strategies throughout the year 2020, it was surely the word on the street for all the employees. We are not known how the companies will emerge from the coronavirus crunch, but yes, brands are still emphasising on the work-from-home culture.

In an interview with Wired, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai was asked the same question. As in, how Google is adapting to this kind of WFH model. Pichai in response to the question, says: "Once we realized this was going to be bigger than any of us imagined, two quick thoughts: First, how do we keep our employees safe?

So as early as we possibly could, we had to move the company to a distributed, global, work from home model. Second, in some ways Google and Alphabet were built for this moment. We are here to provide people information, help them in moments where they need help. So we realized it was important to step up our products and services but also the help we can give to communities and institutions."

Just to remind you, Google has been actively adding features to make work-from-home a better experience for its users. The G Suite users can now use Google Meet for video meetings by just logging into their Gmail accounts.

Pichai also thinks that we can never go back to the state of normality we were living in before this global pandemic. He says: "So I expect us to adapt but it's still too early to tell how much. Early on, I'm excited that some of this is working well. But it is based on a foundation of all of us knowing each other and having the regular interactions we already had. I'm curious to see what happens as we get into that three-to-six-month window and we get into things where we are doing something for the first time. How productive will we be when different teams who don't normally work together have to come together for brainstorming, the creative process? We are going to have research, surveys, learn from data, learn what works."

But to accomplish the growth plans of the company, Pichai says that in all the scenarios they would anyway need physical spaces to get people together. He states: "We have a lot of growth planned ahead. So even if there is some course correction I don't think our existing footprint is going to be the issue. I am positive we will put it to good use and I'm anxious to see some of those projects get done."

Another topic of discussion was the collaboration between Google and Apple. The two companies came together and shared their contact tracing technology with health agencies that can help combat COVID-19. Pichai says: "Both teams independently had started working on technology to support health agencies in their contact tracing work. Very quickly both sides realized that for this to work well it has to be available everywhere. So engineering teams across Android and iOS organically started reaching out. At some point, Tim and I decided to exchange notes and talk directly."

"You are right, opt-in is an important principle. We also realized we have to give users real privacy guarantees. I think we have struck the right balance. Even if only 10 to 20 percent of users opt in, this will have a real, meaningful impact. The more, the better."

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