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Celebrating businesses giving back this Ramadan

In the heart of Istanbul, where I was born and raised, is the Hagia Sophia, a breathtakingly beautiful monument with a storied history. Over the centuries it has been a cathedral, a mosque, and a museum. When you stand inside, you see Arabic calligraphy alongside Christian relics. From afar you see its minarets surrounding a Byzantine church. While each visitor identifies in her own way with the Hagia Sophia, it gives everyone a sense of wonder.   

For me, the month of Ramadan is similar. It’s a month when Muslims take time to reflect on their own paths of personal and spiritual growth. While this experience is unique to each individual, the act of giving back to one’s community is shared by Muslims the world over. In Turkey there is an expression: “We are created equally, but our lots in life are given differently.” During Ramadan, Muslims from all walks of life help those in their own communities who are less fortunate.

In this spirit, I want to share the story of Russell Khan, the co-founder of Honest Chops, an organic butcher shop in New York. Honest Chops, like countless other Muslim-owned businesses this Ramadan, is giving back to its community by donating 10,000 pounds of meat to local nonprofits. Particularly heartwarming for me is that Google’s free online business listing—which allowed Honest Chops to be found on Search and Maps—helped Russell grow his business and his impact.

I’m proud that Google played a role in helping Russell grow his business. Digital skills—social media, building a website or putting a business on the map—empower people to bring their ideas to life in and for their communities. That’s why Google provides digital skills training in countries around the world. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where I work, we’ve trained 5 million people in digital skills since 2014, and 40 percent of those participants are women. Think of how many people could benefit from a Russell in their community. You can learn more about getting your business online at g.co/GetYourBusinessOnline.

As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, I encourage us all to reflect on the meaning of community. The values of this holiday transcend all religions and cultures, and I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me—and Russell.

Ramazan’ınız mübarek olsun. Happy Ramadan!

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Causes & Community, Diversity, Holidays, Small Business

Empowering a new generation of localization professionals

When her grandmother Chadia turned 80, Christina Hayek—an Arabic Language Manager at Google—and her sisters wanted to give their beloved sitto a gift that would bring her closer to them. Chadia lives in Lebanon, but her children and grandchildren are spread across the world. To bridge this geographical gap, Christina and her siblings gave their grandmother an Android smartphone. Much to Chadia’s surprise, she was able to use her phone in Arabic straight out of the box.

This isn’t magic—it’s the work of a dedicated localization team at Google, whose mission is to create a diverse user experience that fits every language and every culture. Spread over more than 30 countries, our team of passionate translators and reviewers makes sure that all Google products are fun and easy to use in 70+ languages—and sound natural to people everywhere. Localization goes beyond translation. For example, while references to baseball and donuts work well in the U.S., these aren’t necessarily popular concepts in other cultures. So for we might change them to football in Italy and croissant in France.

With more and more people from around the world coming online every day, the localization industry keeps growing—and so does the demand for great translators, reviewers, and localization professionals. So, as part of Google’s mission to build products for everyone and make the web globally accessible, no matter where people are, we’re launching a massive open online course (MOOC) called Localization Essentials.

Localization Essentials was developed in collaboration with Udacity, and is free to access. It covers all localization basics needed to develop global products, from the types of software that we use to the jobs available in this industry. By sharing our knowledge, we hope that more culturally relevant products will become available to people everywhere, and provide opportunities to them that they didn’t have before.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Diversity, education, Internet Access
Our focus on pay equity

Our focus on pay equity

Pay equity is a huge issue, not just for Silicon Valley companies, but across every industry in every country.

It’s very important to us that men and women who join Google in the same role are compensated on a level playing field, when they start and throughout their careers here.

That’s why, in the hopes of encouraging a broader conversation around the pay gap – and how companies can fight it – we shared our top-level analysis publicly in 2016. Google conducts rigorous, annual analyses so that our pay practices remain aligned with our commitment to equal pay practices.

So we were quite surprised when a representative of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor (OFCCP) accused us of not compensating women fairly.  We were taken aback by this assertion, which came without any supporting data or methodology.  The OFCCP representative claimed to have reached this conclusion even as the OFCCP is seeking thousands of employee records, including contact details of our employees, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of documents we’ve already produced in response to 18 different document requests.

The fact is that our annual analysis is extremely scientific and robust. It relies on the same confidence interval that is used in medical testing (>95%).  And we have made the methodology available to other businesses who want to test their own compensation practices for equal pay.

So how does it work?
In short, each year, we suggest an amount for every employee’s new compensation (consisting of base salary, bonus and equity) based on role, job level, job location as well as current and recent performance ratings.  This suggested amount is “blind” to gender; the analysts who calculate the suggested amounts do not have access to employees’ gender data. An employee’s manager has limited discretion to adjust the suggested amount, providing they cite a legitimate adjustment rationale.

Our pay equity model then looks at employees in the same job categories, and analyzes their compensation to confirm that the adjusted amount shows no statistically significant differences between men’s and women’s compensation.


In late 2016, we performed our most recent analysis across 52 different, major job categories, and found no gender pay gap.  Nevertheless, if individual employees are concerned, or think there are unique factors at play, or want a more individualized assessment, we dive deeper and make any appropriate corrections.

Our analysis gives us confidence that there is no gender pay gap at Google.  In fact, we recently expanded the analysis to cover race in the US.

We hope to work with the OFCCP to resolve this issue, and to help in its mission to improve equal pay across federal contractors.  And we look forward to demonstrating the robustness of Google’s approach to equal pay.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Diversity
The She Word: Sapna Kalmadi, traveler, photographer and “Google Consultant”

The She Word: Sapna Kalmadi, traveler, photographer and “Google Consultant”

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.

Today, we’re speaking with Sapna Kalmadi, a Senior Analytical Lead in our Mumbai office, known for her “take no prisoners” attitude when playing table tennis and “leave no chocolate” attitude when eating desserts.

Sapna Kalmadi 2

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

I act as a “Google consultant” for businesses in India and help large clients connect with their consumers using Google solutions. Ad revenue is what helps drive the cool things that Google is best known for, including Search, YouTube and self-driving cars.

Why are you proud to be a woman at Google?

I’m proud to be a woman at Google because of the amazing people I work with every day.. I’ve worked at Google for five years, and I have learned something from every single Googler I’ve met.

I love the fact that diversity and inclusion at Google is not just an individual or HR initiative but rather there are employee resource groups like Women@Google, which actively works to connect and develop the women who work here. Thanks to Women@, I’ve had the opportunity to attend talks with women entrepreneurs and authors, have inclusion discussions with senior leaders and network with other women in tech.

If you could ask one woman from history a question … who would it be and what would you ask?

I would ask Mother Teresa about the key influences in her life and what drove her to devote her life to selfless service.

What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?

Take on as many challenging, diverse opportunities as you can. Work in multicultural offices and interact with as many people as you can. Invest in self development so that you can keep learning and growing!

How do you spend most of your time outside of work?

I am an avid traveler and photographer. One of my personal goals is to travel to 30 countries by the time I’m 30—29 down, one to go. Travel and photography go hand in hand, and taking photos while I’m traveling gives me so much joy. One of my travel photographs even got featured in “Lonely Planet!”

Lonely Planet picture
Sapna’s photograph in a “Lonely Planet” magazine

Who is your favorite fictional heroine?

Hermione Granger. Growing up, I loved the “Harry Potter” series. Hermione is not only an academic genius—she’s a courageous friend who proves herself in the most treacherous of situations. Never the damsel in distress, she’s always coming up with a way to save the day. I really liked the way her character progresses as she grows up—she starts out as the ever-too-keen student and grows into an intelligent young lady who helps overcome the final challenge.

What is your life motto?

I get my life motto from my family: “Que sera sera,” which means “whatever will be, will be.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Diversity, Inside Google