Google Ideas Think Tank Becomes Alphabet Jigsaw Tech Incubator To Counter Geopolitical Challenges


"Don't be evil," was the corporate motto of Google. The company eventually dropped the mantra when it became Alphabet.

Nonetheless, old Google's manifesto declaring that it will be a company that does good things for the world even if it passes on a few short term gains still lives on in new Alphabet's Jigsaw division.

According to a Medium post written by Alphabet Chairman, Eric Schmidt, what was once Google Ideas, the internal think tank and policy organization of Google, will now be Jigsaw. It will take over the same functions as Ideas with a few added initiatives.

Moreover, however, Jigsaw will also serve as an incubator to "use technology to tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges, from countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks," shares Schmidt.

Along with Google itself, Jigsaw will now be the 10th business unit housed under Alphabet. In addition, the same man who headed Google Ideas will continue to head Jigsaw, Jared Cohen.

He's still certainly the man for the job especially with his proven track record. Cohen has worked with the U.S. State Department under both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, and even convinced Twitter to stay online during the tumultuous 2009 Iranian presidential elections.

Regardless of the name change, the division's focus remains the same. It's more of a rebranding instead of substantial change in direction or focus. Initiatives like Project Shield (a tool used to prevent DDoS attacks) and Digital Attack Map (which helps track cyberattacks around the world) from Google Ideas will continue to move forward at Jigsaw, for example. But why the name "Jigsaw"?

"For one thing, the new name acknowledges that the world is a complex puzzle of physical and digital challenges. For another, it reflects our belief that collaborative problem-solving yields the best solutions," describes Schmidt.

Moving forward as a technology incubator, Jigsaw will now also be making investments and will help in building companies that will connect the last few billion of the world's population. At the same time, Jigsaw sees itself as the protector of those coming to the Internet for the first time by helping defend them against censorship, corruption and other security threats online.

Photo : R. Nial Bradshaw | Flickr

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