3 ways Google fought racial inequality and 3 ways it failed to

by Emma

2020 was a challenging year for more than one reason. The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world while issues around racial inequality seemed to come to a head. As one of the largest tech companies globally, Google has put a lot of time and effort into adjusting its apps, services, and business to accommodate for the global pandemic, but how has Google taken the time to adapt to racial inequality? Black History Month may have ended for this year, but racial issues have long existed and will continue to exist for some time, so we’ve taken a moment to look at the ways that Google has both helped and hurt the cause.

How Google Tried to tackle Racial Inequality

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Supporting Black-owned businesses

Google has worked to support Black-owned businesses through its most used services. In 2020 and this year, Google highlighted a series of tools it was rolling across Search, Shopping, and even Maps aimed at helping people support Black-owned businesses. Rolling out an update to the “attributes” feature in business profiles, U.S.-based business owners could now indicate they were “Black-owned.” If someone wanted to support a bookshop or a local cafe, they would quickly identify them via a search.

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It’s worth pointing out that the mere fact that a Black-owned business isn’t a symbol of segregation. Instead, such companies contribute to the local community and economy, further reinvigorating historically deprived areas.

Google had quoted Janet Jones, founder, and co-owner of the Detroit-based Source Booksellers, as saying, “Everyone who comes into this store is welcome. For us, being Black-owned means serving the community we’re in.” But such a sentiment is wildly accepted in social discourse.

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