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Google boosts racial equity programme pledge to US$275m

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Google on Wednesday announced a US$175 million package to support black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers, along with an array of racial equity initiatives at the technology giant.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Google on Wednesday announced a US$175 million package to support black business owners, startup founders, job seekers and developers, along with an array of racial equity initiatives at the technology giant.

The moves come just days after Google-owned YouTube launched a US$100 million fund to "amplify and develop" voices of black creators at the popular video sharing platform.

"Listening to the personal accounts of members of our Black Leadership Advisory Group and our Black+ Googlers has only reinforced for me the reality our black communities face," chief executive Sundar Pichai said in a letter to employees.

"One where systemic racism permeates every aspect of life, from interactions with law enforcement, to access to housing and capital, to health care, education, and the workplace."

Mr Pichai outline "concrete commitments" being made by Google to promote racial equity in the company, its products and its programmes.

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Google set a goal of increasing "underrepresented" groups in leadership positions by 30 per cent during the coming five years. 

The internet giant established new "talent liaison" positions to advocate when it comes to keeping and promoting employees from minority groups.

Mr Pichai said Google is also creating a task force to come up with ways to improve recruiting, hiring, career progress and more in regards to Google's African-American employees.

An example of moves being made to promote unity in the Google community was a halt to having employees confront suspected "tailgaters" tagging along behind them as they pass through entryways requiring keycard access.

"We have realised this process is susceptible to bias," Mr Pichai said.

"Now, as we prepare to return to the office, we will end the practice of Googlers badge-checking each other and rely on our already robust security infrastructure."

Google will also establish a range of anti-racism educational programs and better support the mental health of black workers, according to Mr Pichai.

Google is building racial equality awareness into products, with features such as teaching its assistant digital aide to answer questions about Black Lives Matter or the Juneteenth celebration of the end of slavery in the US, he added.

AFP

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