As part of an ongoing initiative to strip away the “Google” branding from Alphabet subsidiaries, Google Ideas is calling itself Jigsaw as it ascends from think tank to technology incubator. As part of Jigsaw’s evolution into a separate entity, Jared Cohen, the leader of Google Ideas, will step up as president of the company.
Word of these changes comes via a Medium post by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet, who took the opportunity to break down Jigsaw’s purpose and goals going forward. Google Ideas was an in-Google think tank designed half a decade ago that sought to wrestle with the big-picture problems the human race faces as it advances through the twenty-first century.
High on their list of priorities is protecting access to information for people in developing nations where content may be heavily censored. As a separate entity, Jigsaw will continue to develop solutions that keep the internet free and open, and they will also be investigating ways to mitigate such large-scale problems as police brutality, terrorism, human trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime.
In its larval form, the Jigsaw team saw success on a number of fronts and created some pretty cool tools, such as the Digital Attack Map, which displays DDOS attacks worldwide in real time, and the Global Arms Visualization, which showcases the workings of the modern global arms trade. Although their goals may seem vast, the team is also looking into issues as intimate as online bullying and harassment.
Now that Jigsaw is a technology incubator rather than an in-house think tank, they will be able to invest in and develop technology that helps them achieve their goals. What is your opinion of this Alphabet initiative? Is Jigsaw the hero we need or an unnecessarily controlling corporate entity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!