January 9

With several billion-user products and the continued pursuit of the next billion, it’s particularly important for Google to build inclusive products that reflect everyone. Google today discussed building inclusive products.

Head Annie Jean-Baptiste talked about how a product inclusion team is tasked with helping “Google create products that reflect all of our users—no matter who they are or where they live.”

It starts at the product development process to ensure underrepresented voices can provide input during and throughout product ideation, prototyping, user research, UX design, and marketing. Such an approach was taken when developing Google Assistant to make sure insensitive language wasn’t used, and Google notes how often feedback is provided on a daily basis.

We worked closely with Googlers to stress-test the product before it launched, and came up with a list of words to proactively exclude. As a result, today, less than .0002 percent of the daily queries are marked as offensive.

Meanwhile, the company has an inclusion champion group with 2,000 employees to provide the “broadest perspective when developing products.”

They regularly provide feedback and lend their perspectives as the product is built over time. When we built the camera sensors on the Google Pixel, we consulted employees to make sure the product was more inclusive and captured a wider variety of skin tones accurately.

In addition to considerations, testing before a public launch is a key step. For Google Duo’s Low Light mode, employees of various skin tones volunteered to test in different environments.

This is just one example—every year, thousands of Googlers volunteer to help test products. We also regularly conduct external volunteer research studies in the field as part of product development.

Lastly, Google notes how “leaders across product areas” received product inclusion training last year. New engineers are trained on inclusive product design from the start with 12,000 Googlers taking the class, with plans to expand in 2020.

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