The words of women artists, in the museum and online

And finally, there’s the exhibition “Io dico Io — I say I,” which opens today at the National Gallery and on Google Arts & Culture and features the work of over 40 Italian women artists. Eleven of them turned the camera on themselves, from their homes, and talked about their work and participation in the display. As they speak, the digital exhibitions of their works allow us to enter their world and get up close to every detail.

For Rich Jones, starting a finance podcast just made cents

Several years ago, Rich Jones was on the hunt for personal finance podcasts. But none were right for him. “It felt like every podcast that I listened to either made me feel dumb, or made me feel like I was being lectured by an old white guy in a suit,” he says. “Or it just was really boring.” So he decided to create his own. 

These days, his podcast, “Paychecks & Balances,” has been downloaded more than two million times and recently won an award from the Plutus Foundation, which highlights excellence in financial media. He often records episodes from his Mountain View home in the early-morning hours, then logs on for his job working in People Operations at Google. 

For years, Rich has turned to the internet to express himself. But even though his name is, well, Rich, he didn’t first think of money as a topic to talk about. In fact, he had first blogged about relationships for several years, and then co-hosted a podcast called “2 Guys, 1 Show,” that was about more general topics, including money. 

Rich realized that if he felt lectured by finance podcasters, other people like him — and possibly younger people learning about money for the first time — likely felt the same way. So he and his co-host decided to focus on finances and rename the podcast “Paychecks & Balances.”  They wanted to reach out to younger versions of themselves — and Rich also wanted to represent people like him as well as reach them. “Even now, you won’t find a whole lot of Black men in the personal finance space in particular,” he says. “I think it’s important to be out there as a Black male and show a perspective that you might not be getting elsewhere.” 

For the current season of the show, Rich is hosting the show solo, and he’s continuing to share his own financial progress while also teaching others. When he started the show, he was grappling with credit-card debt after treating his cards like “free money.” Because of his experience, he knows to talk about money in a way that’s relatable and simple, for people just starting to manage their finances. “I don’t call myself an expert,” he says. “Podcasting is a medium for me to talk about my experience. And not just my successes, but the mistakes I’ve made along the way as well.”

Furthering our work with HBCUs

Helping to build equity for HBCU computing education 

We’ll continue to invest in programs that help students develop skills and immerse themselves in tech, and help universities and faculty establish the infrastructure and tools they need to support these students. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that when HBCU students graduate, they’ll have the skills they need to succeed in tech. 

This year, our Tech Exchange program will host 114 computer science majors, providing them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in coding classes at Google. This first-of-its-kind program is now in its fourth year, and we’ve continued to update, broaden and improve the program over the years. Through our Google in Residence program, which sends experienced Google Software Engineers to HBCU campuses for a semester to teach introductory computer science classes, we’ve reached more than 4,000 students. Through this initiative, students gain practical knowledge about what it’s like to work in the tech industry. 

Our Faculty in Residence program is an immersive professional development program that brings CS faculty from HBCUs and HSIs to Google for a four week summer residency, where they design project-based, industry-informed content and implement that content back in their classrooms.

Since 2017, we’ve invited more than 50 faculty members from 30 HBCUs to join the program.

A Matter of Impact: February updates from Google.org

It didn’t take long for the effects of COVID-19 to reveal a devastating, but predictable, truth: the pandemic has had an outsized impact on marginalized groups, especially people of color. At Google.org, we aim to bring the best of Google to support underserved communities. So when we made a $100 million grant and 50,000 pro bono hour commitment to support COVID-19 relief, we focused our efforts on addressing the compounding racial and social inequities of this crisis. 

As we join forces to fight this pandemic, we must put equity at the center of our response and lift up our most vulnerable communities. Here you’ll find updates about our work that’s at the intersection of COVID-19 relief and equity and two themes that remain top priorities for us.

Using AI to explore the future of news audio

Radio reaches more Americans every week than any other platform. Public radio stations in the United States have over 3,000 local journalists and each day they create audio news reports about the communities they serve. But news audio is in a similar place as newspaper articles were in the 1990s: hard to find, and difficult to sort by topic, source, relevance or recency. News audio can not delay in improving its discoverability. 

KQED is the most listened to public radio station in the United States, and one of the largest news organizations in the Bay Area. In partnership with Google, KQED and KUNGFU.AI, an AI services provider and leader in applied machine learning, ran a series of tests on KQED’s audio to determine how we might reduce the errors and time to publish our news audio transcripts, and ultimately, make radio news audio more findable. 

“One of the pillars of the Google New Initiative is incubating new approaches to difficult problems,” said David Stoller, Partner Lead for News & Publishing at Google “Once complete, this technology and associated best practices will be openly shared, greatly expanding the anticipated impact.” 

What makes finding audio so much harder?

In order for news audio to be searched or sorted, the speech must first be converted to text.  This added step is trickier than it seems, and currently puts news audio at a disadvantage for being found quickly and accurately. Transcription takes time, effort and bandwidth from newsrooms — not something that is in abundance these days. Even though there have been great advances in speech to text, when it comes to news, the bar for accuracy is very high. As someone who works to make KQED’s reporting widely available, it is frustrating when KQED’s audio isn’t prominent in search engines and news aggregators.

The challenge of correctly identifying who, what and where

For our tests, KQED and KUNGFU.AI, applied the latest speech-to-text tools to a collection of KQED’s news audio. News stories try to address the “five Ws:” who, what, when, where and why. Unfortunately, because AI typically lacks the context in which the speech was made (i.e. identity of the speaker, location of the story), one of the most difficult challenges of automated speech-to-text is correctly identifying these types of proper nouns, known as named entities. KQED’s local news audio is rich in references of named entities related to topics, people, places, and organizations that are contextual to the Bay Area region. Speakers use acronyms like “CHP” for California Highway Patrol and “the Peninsula” for the area spanning San Francisco to San Jose. These are more difficult for artificial intelligence to identify.

When named entities aren’t understood, machine learning models make their best estimation of what was said. For example, in our test, “The Asia Foundation” was incorrectly transcribed as “age of Foundations” and “misgendered” was incorrectly transcribed as “Miss Gendered.”  For news publishers, these are not just transcription errors, but editorial problems that change the meaning of a topic and can cause embarrassment for the news outlet. This means people have to go in and correct these transcriptions, which is expensive to do for every audio segment. Without transcriptions, search engines can’t find these stories, limiting the amount of quality local news people can find online.

Using artificial intelligence in breast cancer screening

Every year, approximately 40 million women undergo breast-cancer screening in the U.S. using a procedure called mammography. For some, this can be a nerve-wracking experience; many wait days or weeks before a radiologist can review their scan and provide initial screening results. Between 10 and 15 percent of women must return for a second visit and undergo more scans before receiving a final diagnostic assessment – drawing out the process further. 

Together with Northwestern Medicine, Google Health is working on a new clinical research study to explore whether artificial intelligence (AI) models can help reduce the time to diagnosis, narrowing the assessment gap and improving the patient experience. 

Women who choose to take part in the study may have their mammograms reviewed by an investigational AI model that flags scans for immediate review by a radiologist if they show a higher likelihood of breast cancer. If a radiologist determines that further imaging is required, the woman will have the option to undergo this imaging on the same day. This study will evaluate whether this prioritization could reduce the amount of time that women spend waiting for a diagnostic assessment.  Women whose mammograms are not flagged will continue to have their images reviewed within regular timeframes. 

“Through this study, Northwestern Medicine aims to improve the excellent care we deliver to our patients every day. With the use of artificial intelligence, we hope to expedite the process to diagnosis of breast cancer by identifying suspicious findings on patients’ screening examinations earlier than the standard of care,” says study principal investigator Dr. Sarah Friedewald, chief of breast imaging at Northwestern Medicine and vice chair for women’s imaging in radiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “Every patient in the study will continue to have their mammograms interpreted by a radiologist, but the artificial intelligence will flag and prioritize patients that need additional imaging, facilitating the flow of care.”

This research study with Northwestern Medicine builds on previous research which demonstrated the potential of AI models to analyze de-identified retrospectively collected screening mammograms with similar or better accuracy than clinicians. 

Artificial intelligence has shown great potential to improve health care outcomes; the next challenge is to demonstrate how AI can be applied in the real-world. At Google Health, we’re committed to working with clinicians, patients and others to harness advances in research and ultimately bring about better and more accessible care. 

Three easy ways to support Black-owned businesses

Marcus Davis, owner of The Breakfast Klub.

As a Black businessman and owner of The Breakfast Klub for nearly 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of things and overcome a breadth of adversity —  from the 2007 recession and Hurricane Harvey to, most recently, the snowstorms in Texas and the pandemic. It should come as a surprise to no one that 2020 dealt an entirely new set of challenges. Challenges that, unfortunately, have affected the Black community disproportionately. 

Through said challenges, we’ve also heard a rallying cry. Many Americans have come together to lift us up and support our businesses. As we continue to reflect, teach, learn and grow together throughout 2021, I am offering three easy steps you can take to help support the Black-owned businesses in your community beyond the end of Black History Month:

Let’s finalize an international tax deal

Tomorrow’s meeting of G20 finance ministers represents an important opportunity to give this process new momentum. For the new Biden Administration, the meeting represents a chance to underscore its commitment to the OECD-led multilateral process and to fair, comprehensive, and coordinated changes to corporate tax policies. And it represents an equally important opportunity for finance ministers from France, the UK, India, Indonesia, and other leading economies to commit to end the headlong rush to discriminatory tax measures that we’ve seen in recent years and work with the U.S. on a durable agreement.

From managing Google Poland to leading Google for Startups

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, the Global Director of Google for Startups. She shares what it was like to first join the company as Country Manager for Google Poland and eventually move to a new team focused on supporting startups in the region and around the world.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, but please call me Agni. During my first 11 years at Google, I first managed a sales team for a few years before going on to serve as the Country Manager. Later, I was promoted to Country Director for Poland, a position I held for nearly six years. Then, I led Google for Startups in the region as the Head of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) prior to my current role as the Global Director of Google for Startups. I like to say that I used to represent my country in Google, and now I advocate for startups around the world within Google.

While my non-linear career path has spanned fast-moving consumer goods, telecommunications, banking, publishing, entertainment and technology, two things have remained constant: I love applying my knowledge from one industry to another to learn and discover new perspectives, and I thrive when helping other entrepreneurs pursue their dreams.

What was it like transitioning from Country Director for Google Poland to the Google for Startups team?

My transition came naturally because, for a long time, Google Poland felt like a startup itself. When I started in 2008, we had a team of only 10 people. By the time I left, Google Poland had more than 500 employees and had just signed a deal in Poland to build a local Google Cloud region to ensure that all Polish companies have access to Cloud technology. 

I still love leading small, agile teams in big organizations to drive high impact — and Google for Startups is exactly that. Managing such a multicultural and international team is a unique opportunity to hone my own skills while supporting startups in over 125 countries around the world. 

VaxCare simplifies vaccine management with Android Enterprise

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Evan Landis, Chief Product Officer with VaxCare. The company aims to simplify vaccination for healthcare providers. VaxCare partnered with Social Mobile to create custom devices managed with Android Enterprise for its customers. 

The intense worldwide effort to vaccinate against COVID-19 has highlighted some of the core challenges that have always existed in expanding protections against preventable diseases.  

At VaxCare, our mission for more than 10 years has been to simplify vaccination programs, easing the logistical barriers to increasing vaccination rates. Our digital platform is designed to help healthcare professionals modernize their vaccination programs, reduce costs and focus on their patients. 

Android devices are central to this strategy. Recently, we partnered with Social Mobile who designed and built bespoke, Google Mobile Services-certified devices that interface with our digital platform. The flexibility of Android Enterprise enabled us to build solutions aligned to our customer needs with simple, flexible management and security tools.

A better customer experience with Android

Social Mobile helped us create custom devices that are simple to set up, use and update, while still meeting HIPAA and HITRUST certification compliance. We were inspired by consumer-facing, point-of-sale devices and the flexibility of the Android platform to create an ideal hardware solution for our customers. 

The VaxCare Hub is our stationary, in-practice integrated device with a 13-inch touchscreen, a camera and a scanner that is the main gateway to our platform. When vaccinating patients, healthcare providers scan the dose and view the vaccine and patient information, ensuring accuracy before administering the vaccine. 

As a dedicated device tied to our service, healthcare providers always have access to quickly look up the status of their inventory and get updates on new vaccine shipments.