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Google CEO Sundar Pichai announces Project Shield in first visit to Europe

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai announces Project Shield in first visit to Europe

“The value of our services, like searches, is directly related to having a rich and sustainable knowledge ecosystem,” said Pichai to a packed audience at Sciences Po in Paris. “Put simply our [Google and publishers] futures are tied together, we ought to be good partners.”

Project Shield is an initiative to protect publisher websites from digital attacks such as distributed denial of service, which is an attack by overwhelming a site with compromised traffic. Many news websites can be susceptible to attacks by people who want to censor the news for as little as €100, said Pichai. Project Shield will intercept bad traffic before it gets to the website, thereby creating a shield for news organizations. 

Pichai announced that Project Shield will be free for all of the world’s independent news organizations. “We hope that in the future, even the smallest news organization will be able to report the news without the fear of being taken down by digital attacks,” said Pichai. 

Pichai also announced today that Google will be distributing €27 million to 128 projects in 23 countries around Europe in its first round of Digital News Initiative (DNI). Introduced last April, DNI is a €150 million fund to help stimulate digital journalism innovation in Europe over the next three years. 

Receiving organizations including startups and established organizations focusing in areas of robot journalism, social media verification and real-time reporting. WAN-IFRA is amongst the recipients of the fund and will focus on new revenue model for the media industry. Given the large interest in its first round of applications last October, Pichai said the next round of application will open before the summer. 

“We believe deeply in spreading knowledge to make life better for everyone,” said Pichai. “It is at the heart of Google’s mission and the mission of publishers and reporters.”

When asked about Google’s attitude towards user information in light of Apple’s refusal to the FBI request, Pichai said data privacy is at the center of Google’s work but that they will work with law enforcement. He also emphasized his opposition to having a backdoor to the system. 

As for his upcoming trip to meet with the European Commission’s competition policy chief, Margrethe Vestager, Pichai said he is “looking forward to the dialogue” and he is “here to listen.”

Pichai’s speech is available here and full video is accessible here


Chia Lun Huang


2016-02-24 19:47

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