Tag: Google Play

Diversifying Google: Meet Black Google Engineers Clennita Justice, Aggrey Jacobs and Travis McPhail

As tech companies continue to share diversity statistics with the public, it’s clear there is still a lot of work to do to boost inclusion in tech. Yet, people of color are working at some of the largest companies in technology even though their numbers are few.

Google’s latest diversity stats from January 2015  show that 2% of its workforce is black. Meet three successful Google engineers:

Clennita Justice
Clennita Justice, Senior Engineering Program Manager, Google (Image: Google)

Clennita Justice is a Social Engineering program manager. She’s been at Google more than half a decade.

She was hired to launch Google e-books, which became Google Play Books. Now, she does user research and Product Excellence—a focus on making the right product for the right user—part of Google’s shift in culture from launching to adopting. Justice’s particular area of focus is infrastructure.

Originally from Los Angeles, Justice has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Howard University. She pursued a degree in Computer Science before the Internet was ubiquitous and before the big push to get women and girls interested in STEM, and despite the insistence of her uncle (who worked for IBM) that she study business.

She actually studied business for a year at Denver University as a business major. When she took a course in DOS programming and received an “A”, she was hooked and switched her major to Computer Science. She eventually taught herself HTML and JavaScript as the Internet took off.

A pivotal moment in her life was when someone in the Computer Science department at her university said he didn’t think she would stay in Computer Science. Not only did she stay and complete her degree, but she received the best job offer of anyone in her class.

Justice is a strong believer in self-educating. She also advises, “Anyone who gets into tech has to be a constant learner. That’s how you stay relevant.”

Aggrey Jacobs
Aggress Jacobs, Software Engineer on Google Play, Google; (Image: Google)

Aggrey Jacobs is a software engineer for Google Play; specifically, he works on Google Play Books for iPhone and iPad applications. His typical day is spent mostly coding, although he also engages in general problem solving for iOS at Google and also helps bring more users on board.

Prior to Google, Jacobs worked as an iOS developer at Western Digital. How the 28-year-old ended up working for two of the most prestigious technology companies is interesting. Jacobs says he never really knew what he wanted to do, and that his father was the one who suggested he study computer engineering. Jacobs’ father’s own computer experience is limited to playing Solitaire on the computer, according to Jacobs, who says, “Who knows?” how his father had the knowledge to direct him to that career.

During his first semester in school, Jacobs learned Java programming. He ended up double-majoring in both computer and electrical engineering.

The Brooklyn native says a pivotal point in his life was when he was contemplating graduate school. He went, but dropped out, because he was “trying to figure out what to do.”

Jacobs relocated to California to search for a job. It was there that Google reached out to him and he was hired, although he didn’t see himself getting through the interview process.

He now encourages other people of color to apply at Google. He says lack of exposure and intimidation can prevent some from applying at the company. By the way, he still speaks often with his father.

Travis McPhail
Travis McPhail, Software Engineer, Tech Lead within Geo (Image: Google)

Travis McPhail is a software engineer and tech lead who works with Google Maps.

He is currently leading an effort to create one library that performs all of Google’s renderings across Maps, Google Earth, and Google Street View data.

McPhail believes the future of Google is through geospatial rendering applications that will allow people to be informed of the world around them.

He credits his career in software engineering to being “a bad kid” who “used to break a lot of things at home.” Fortunately, instead of “strangling him,” his father bought him a Commodore 64 computer when he was just five years old.

He had a natural affinity for technology from the start. His father challenged him to learn to use the computer, and McPhail says he started to “bang away on it.”

article by Samara Lynn via blackenterprise.com

Dove Embraces Diversity With “Love Your Curls” Campaign and New Curly-Haired Emojis

Dove has been receiving all the praise lately after the launch of its “Love Your Curls” campaign that was released earlier this year in an effort to get women to love their curly hair textures.

Now, the beauty brand is expanding on that campaign and bringing its love for diversity to your fingertips. As of Nov. 4, in the App Store and on Google Play, emoji lovers can download the 27 new curly-haired emojis that come in various skin tones and hair lengths. According to Dove’s commercial, only four out of 10 curly-hair girls feel they are beautiful. Recognizing the power in representation, Dove’s VP of Marketing Rob Candelino knew it was up to the company to fill the void.

“Knowing how prevalent and widely used emojis have become, it was saddening to us [that] there remained no reflection of curly hair in the official keyboard, even after recent updates,” Candelino tells MashableThe best part about using emojis is being able to express a feeling, thought or sentiment with an icon that is representative of you.”

In addition to the new emojis, Dove has partnered with Twitter to ensure that every time someone tweets #LoveYourCurls, a curly-haired emoji will appear.

Dove’s digital communication updates are among many new additions added to the campaign, as the brand has also launched empowering videos and a children’s book full of poems and stories that encourage women to celebrate their natural curls.

article via Courtney Connley via blackenterprise.com

Samsung Buys a Million Copies of Jay-Z’s Album for Galaxy Smartphone Owners

Jay-Z Samsung

On July 4, Jay-Z’s new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail” will be released, but not through the usual online and physical music stores. It will be released to a million people who didn’t even know they had bought the album — that’s because Samsung has bought it for them.

One million Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and Galaxy Note II owners will get the album 72 hours before it is available to everyone else. Starting on June 24 users will be able to download the “Magna Carta Holy Grail” app via the Android Google Play Store then on July 4 if you were among the million chosen the free album will appear in the app for your listening pleasure.

Samsung says that the million chosen will have to have already downloaded the app. The app will only be compatable on the select Galaxy S3, S4 and Note II phones and won’t work on other Android phones, says Samsung. The company hasn’t released numbers on how many of those three phone models have been sold, but in May it announced it had sold 10 million of its new Galaxy S4. For those who aren’t selected to get the full album, the app will also have an “unprecedented inside look into the album, personal stories and inspiration.”

Samsung has reportedly paid $5 for each album, totaling $5 million for the exclusive. It also means Jay-Z has sold a million copies before the public has heard a note of it.

But since the Samsung marketing deal was announced on Sunday night during the NBA Finals over 5 million people have heard a teaser of the album. A video which ran first during the basketball event and then was posted to Samsung’s YouTube channel, which shows Jay-Z collaborating with others in the studio, has made its way across the Facebook and Twitter. As of today, 10.5 million people had watched the above via YouTube.

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