Google has announced that its think tank, Google Ideas, has now become a new technology incubator called Jigsaw.
Jigsaw’s mission will be to use and utilise technology to help tackle and solve the toughest geopolitical challenges the world currently faces such as countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks.
Google has said that Jigsaw’s President will be Jared Cohen, who ran Google Ideas and will continue to serve as a advisor to Eric Schmidt who is Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc (Google’s parent company, as well as Jigsaw’s).
In his blog post, Schmidt stated that the company created Google Ideas five years ago as an in-house think tank to explore how technology might help the next five billion people coming online and using the world wide web for the very first time and Schmidt has said that currently many of the newest Internet users are coming online in age where societies where censorship, corruption, or violence are daily realities.
Over its five years, Google Ideas has employed engineers, product managers, and research scientists to build tools that would help users in these societies get online and explore whats out there on the net.
Schmidt continued to say that many of the team’s current products aim to protect access to information, including Project Shield, which harnesses Google’s computing infrastructure to protect independent voices from DDoS attacks; contributions to open-source efforts like uProxy, which lets people share access to the free and open internet; and Password Alert, which helps protect against phishing.
Other products have also included initiatives which have been created to counter money laundering, organised crime, police brutality, human trafficking, and terrorism. Furthermore the team have also explored global challenges using data visualisations, such as the Digital Attack Map, which displays the top digital attacks in the world in real time, and the global arms visualisation, which illuminates the global arms trade.
Currently the Jigsaw team’s research is exploring hate and harassment online with the goal of substantially reducing it.
Schmidt has also taken the opportunity to explain why Alphabet Inc have decided to rename Google Ideas as Jigsaw, as it for one thing, acknowledges that the world is a complex puzzle of physical and digital challenges whilst also reflecting that the belief that collaborative problem-solving yields the best solutions.
As a think tank technology incubator, Jigsaw will be investing in and building technology to expand access to information for the world’s most vulnerable populations and to defend against the world’s most challenging security threats.
All employees currently employed with Google Ideas will be moving into Jigsaw and will be under the direction of Cohen going forward.