08:59 GMT02 August 2021
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    Google’s weekly town halls, internally known as “TGIF” meetings, where staff can communicate with upper management, have been cut short after a series of leaks regarding the corporation’s technology.

    Today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to staff, obtained by The Verge, that the formerly weekly TGIF meetings will now be held monthly and will focus only “on product and business strategy.”

     “TGIF has traditionally provided a place to come together, share progress, and ask questions, but it’s not working in its current form,” Pichai wrote.

    The Google CEO added that employees “come to TGIF with different expectations,” with some looking to hear about “product launches and business strategies” and others looking for “answers on other topics.” Only about 25 percent of the company watches the meeting each week, according to the memo.

    Another point of concern mentioned in the email was leaked information. Pichai said that there has been “a coordinated effort to share our conversations outside of the company after every TGIF” and that those efforts have “affected our ability to use TGIF as a forum for candid conversations on important topics.”

    The email didn’t mention any leaks specifically, yet the company has been roiled by employee activism in recent years, as workers have protested issues like Google’s work with the Pentagon and plans for a censored Chinese search engine. Last year Breitbart also published a leaked video of the first TGIF meeting after the 2016 presidential election, showing some Googlers coming to terms with the idea of a Trump presidency.

    Google has, for years, taken stern action against leaks, even going so far as to set up a dedicated email address for employees to report on other workers who may be sending information externally. But the crackdown seems to have escalated even further recently: earlier this week, Bloomberg News reported that an employee was fired for sending names and details of other employees to the media.

    “We now have the opportunity to shape the kind of company we want to be in the future by investing in better ways to communicate at scale,” Pichai’s note concludes. “Look forward to working with you all to do this.”


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