Google employees are on guard that the company can build "an internal monitoring tool" for the purpose of crushing employee dissent, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
Bloomberg cited an internal note from a Google employee that the extension running on a workplace version of Google Chrome documenting company activity would automatically flag all employees who create a calendar event "with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants. "The note stated that this functionality is a" management effort to immediately learn about any employee organization attempt "; three Google employees also spoke anonymously to Bloomberg about the case. Engineers working on the expansion also characterized the purpose as "policy enforcement", while other employees were blocked from seeing design documents related to the project.
Google, for its part, has made the case as much about basic spam prevention, telling Bloomberg in a statement that "These claims about the operation and purpose of this extension are categorically untrue. This is a popup reminder that asks people to be alert before automatically adding a meeting to the calendars of large numbers of employees. "
Google employees raised concerns about the company's Project Maven contract to build the drone AI for the Pentagon, which was later discontinued, and voiced its rumors of plans to build a censored search engine in China. They have also objected to the company's handling of top executives accused of sexual harassment and abuse, and launched a high profile walkout last year . Organizers involved in the walkout effort later claimed that they were retaliated against, which Google denied . Google entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have united while Switzerland employees allegedly defied management to discuss doing the same .
This internal tension in recent years also coincided with a number of conservative Google employees who claimed that liberal corporations discriminated against their views. It included ex-engineers James Damore and Kevin Cernekee who both tried to become kind of celebrities on right media circle . While finding only limited success in their attempts to do so the claims fueled unfounded claims by Republican politicians who Google systematically suppress conservative speech .
All of these factors seem to have become a major headache for Google, known for its free-spirited "open communication culture" and maze in employee message boards. In August, the company issued new Community Guidelines to employees who seemed intent on defying rank and file from discussing policies at work or challenging Google's management decisions . These directives included "Avoid conversations that are disruptive to the workplace or otherwise violate Google's workplace guidelines" and "Be careful not to make false or misleading statements about Google's products or business that may undermine trust in our products and work we do." Google also said it hired new moderators and to build a tool to flag problematic internal posts although it is not clear whether the Chrome extension is currently installed.
According to Bloomberg, the note on the supposed internal monitoring tool suggested that it was intended to help Google enforce these policies. Bloomberg reported that the tool is scheduled to roll out by the end of October, though two employees said it was already installed on their work computers. Another source told Bloomberg that the tool now was the most sought-after topic for Google's weekly meetings with all employees .
[ Bloomberg ]