Google has announced an effort to batten the hatches and dam the leaks in a company-wide email, which has also been leaked to the Verge.
In the email, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announces that the company will be scaling back its weekly “TGIF” town halls to a once-monthly, strictly-business meeting, due, in part, to “a coordinated effort to share our conversations outside of the company after every TGIF.” Pichai writes that he knows the coordinated leakage “is new information to many of you.”
Except, the Washington Post wrote about the leaks in last month’s leak of another TGIF meeting in which Pichai reportedly remarked: “you’ve clearly seen the amount of leaks we are seeing.” In 2017, another leaked email titled “the recent leaks” from the head of Google’s “stop leaks” team announced that Google had fired an employee for leaking. Last year, a former employee told the New York Times that stopping leaks was Googles “number one priority.”
The rest of the letter kind of couches this as an effort to restructure to better prioritise time, separating out business from “other” topics, while Google finds “new ways to communicate at scale.”
Google’s been big on the meetings lately. Last month, a Google staffer reported that a new internal Chrome extension flagged all employee meetings booking over 10 rooms or inviting over 100 employees. Google insisted this was a “reminder” to “be mindful” of auto-adding people to meetings—but days earlier, Recode reported that Google had attempted to kill a union-organising meeting by employees in Zurich.
Leaks are leaking because Google’s inner workings are pretty leak-worthy. There were the protests and resignations over Google’s decision to contract with the Department of Defence (which it did not renew). The open letter from 1,400 workers asking for transparency around the China-targeted censored search tool “Dragonfly.” The global employee walkout over sexual misconduct. The report that two organisers of the walkout were demoted and reassigned. The open letter in which over 900 employees demanded equitable treatment for contracted workers. The Google memo prohibiting political speech at work. The spurious claims of listening and learning while leaving its shadow industry of 100,000 contractors in the dark. And, of course, there’s the 2017 anti-diversity memo, first leaked to Gizmodo, in which now-former Google engineer James Damore lamented the company’s diversity initiatives.
This week’s letter, which a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo is authentic, also states that Google will “keep holding regular Social TGIFs in offices around the world” and will hold town halls “on important workplace issues.”
Read the full letter on the Verge here.