Google Ideas think tank becomes Jigsaw, Alphabet's new technology incubator

REUTERS

Google's Eric Schmidt today broke the news that the 'Google Ideas' thinktank will become a technology incubator to be called Jigsaw.

On Facebook, the former Google CEO and current Alphabet Chairman writes:

Today, we’re announcing the expansion of Google Ideas, Google’s think tank, as a technology incubator called Jigsaw. The team’s mission is 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.

Jared Cohen, who ran Google Ideas, will serve as President of Jigsaw. We 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 for the first time. Many of the newest Internet users are coming online in societies where censorship, corruption, or violence are daily realities.

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.

Staying true to its think tank roots, the team has also explored global challenges using data visualizations, such as the Digital Attack Map, which displays the top digital attacks in the world in real time, and the global arms visualization, which illuminates the global arms trade. Currently some of the team’s research is exploring hate and harassment online with the goal of substantially reducing it.
And we’re just getting started.

Why 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.

The world is as complex as ever, but we believe that a unique combination of principled research and technology expertise can help put the puzzle together—one piece at a time.

As Recode notes, Jigsaw now becomes the 10th unit inside of Google’s holding company, Alphabet. “Jared Cohen, the guy who ran Google Ideas, will serve as president of Jigsaw,” they report.