According to Bloomberg, tensions at Google are high thanks to a new tool that was developed internally.
Employees have said that they discovered an internal team working on this new tool for the custom Google Chrome browser that is used on workers’ computers, and for “search internal systems.” Employees feel like it is a ploy by Google’s leadership to monitor their attempts to protest and discuss labor rights. An employee memo reported that the “tool would automatically report staffers who create a calendar event with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants,” and that “this [tool] is an attempt of leadership to immediately learn about any workers organization attempts.”
The engineers who are responsible for developing the tool also informed employees that once it was installed on their computers, they wouldn’t be able to remove it, and that it would be “used for policy enforcement.”
However, the company claims the purpose of the tool is harmless: to curb the boost in spam involved with calendars and events. Google said the tool won’t collect employees’ personal information, and won’t stop employees’ use of calendars. Rather, it’s a “speed bump” when an employee starts sending invites to large groups of people, Bloomberg says; it is a reminder for employees to “be mindful” before automatically adding meetings to the calendars of a large number of people.
A Company’s True Colors?
This isn’t the first time employees have been unhappy with Google. On top of employees’ concerns surrounding this new tool, other branches of the company have had issues. For example, many Google workers in Zurich recently held an event on workers’ rights despite management’s efforts to cancel it; similarly, contract workers for Google in Pennsylvania voted to join the United Steelworkers, Bloomberg reports.
The last year and a half has also brought with it an uproar of unhappiness about how Google was handing sexual harassment complaints; employees have even launched internal campaigns again some of the tech giant’s internal projects. As a result, it appears that Google’s open, happy work culture isn’t as great as it’s chocked up to be.