Internet giants to staff: Plan to work from home for 2020


Google exec says science drives decision to return to offices

Elon Musk wants people to return to work. Google and Facebook Inc. have another message for their staff: get ready to stay home for all of 2020.

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google and its parent, Alphabet Inc., told employees on Thursday to prepare to work remotely through October and possibly to the end of the year, according to people familiar with the decision. A spokeswoman confirmed that the majority of staff is expected to work from home until 2021.

Two weeks ago, Pichai wrote an email to his workforce that said some offices would open as soon as June. On Friday, Pichai told employees only about 10% to 15% of the workers would be on-site in June, with more returns varying by division and location, according to an internal memo. About 5% of employees now are working in Google offices, Pichai said. CNBC reported earlier on the memo. Most of the workforce won’t return until at least the end of October, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

On Thursday, Facebook told employees that they can work remotely through 2020 if they like. The social media company doesn’t expect to open most offices until July 6 at the earliest.

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Silicon Valley is forced to reset its moral compass for the pandemic


The tech industry is rushing to offer remedies to the crisis and, in the process, trying to rehabilitate its image.

 Before the pandemic, Yiying Lu was known for her work designing the Twitter Fail Whale and the dumpling and boba tea emojis. In the past few weeks, Lu said she was called to a higher purpose. From her apartment in San Francisco, she toiled away in a Slack channel with two dozen people she has never met to create a free website called Corona Carecard. It asks Americans to buy gift cards to their favorite local shops, providing a much-needed source of income while stores are shuttered.

Lu is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of workers across Silicon Valley trying to, in their words, hack the virus. The pandemic has stirred up a missionary zeal throughout Silicon Valley. Apple Inc. and Google put aside a decade-long rivalry to form an alliance to track the spread of infections. Facebook Inc. and Inc. are procuring millions of masks for health-care workers. Jeff Bezos is donating $100 million and Jack Dorsey $1 billion.

In other corners of the Valley, people are developing test kits and possible vaccines, as well as software to treat the social and economic maladies of the pandemic. Smaller companies have created entirely new business models in response to the virus. The projects can be as simple as an app reminding people to wash their hands or one that connects users with barbers in Brooklyn for lessons on how to cut their hair at home.

There’s a feeling among some technologists that some of their work in recent years had become mercenary or frivolous—attempts to capitalize on a prolonged tech boom with apps that cater to the whims of wealthy coastal elites, rather than meeting the urgent needs of the rest of the world. “Facebook, Snapchat and the last decade of tech has brought us together in some ways but has also pushed us further away from real life,” said Lu, a former creative director at venture capital firm 500 Startups. “The virus is a warning for people in the Bay Area that we can’t just come here and take and take. We have to give, too.”

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Why Canada is becoming a start-up mecca rivaling Silicon Valley



Five Canadian companies made CNBC’s 2019 Upstart 100 list unveiled on Tuesday: Attabotics, Calgary; Cmd, Vancouver; Deep Genomics and Nobul, Toronto; and RenoRun, Montreal.

Collectively, these promising start-ups raised more than $77 million in venture capital.

The entrepreneurial ecosystem is booming in major cities in Canada, thanks to government incentives, a growing tech talent pool and access to venture capital.

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What makes Silicon Valley different?

Google, Larry Page, Sergey Brin

The home in Menlo Park, California, where Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google in 1998. Paul Sakuma/AP

Like Detroit with automobiles or Pittsburgh with steel, Silicon Valley is synonymous with technology. In her new book The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America, Margaret O’Mara casts a historian’s eye on the contradictions of this pivotal place in modern American history.

Although it is known as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, O’Mara shows the important role played in Silicon Valley by government spending, funneled through research universities such as Stanford or dispensed as federal contracts to tech firms. She charts how the Valley continually remakes itself, creating cutting-edge industry after industry—from semiconductor chips and personal computers to biotech, mobile devices, the Internet, and social media. She traces it from its birth in the military buildup of the 1940s and the Cold War, to the rise of entrepreneurs steeped in the Bay Area counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s, to now, and the backlash against tech.

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Silicon Valley isn’t just disrupting democracy—it’s replacing it


If you want to understand the threat that Silicon Valley poses to culture at large, consider Apple’s $5 billion headquarters. The Cupertino, California, building may seem like paradise to some, with striking architecture—a donut-shaped building featuring the world’s largest piece of curved glass—and lavish details like iPhone-inspired elevator buttons and patented pizza boxes that prevent soggy crusts. Writing for Wired, Stephen Levy quotes one of the architects of the project: “The idea that a beautiful object descended on this verdant, luxurious landscape and that it will be inhabited by 12,000 people: That is a true utopian vision.” (Never mind the lack of onsite childcare in this revolutionary building.)

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Why Denver needs to be on your tech radar next year

Denver, Colorado

Denver will become one of the few American cities that allows its residents to purchase and recreationally consume marijuana starting in January. It’s a move that is expected to create jobs and generate tax revenue. Denver is roughly 1,200 miles away from the heart of Silicon Valley, where San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is pushing for restrictions that will shutter many of the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

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Salaries for engineers in Silicon Valley are starting at $165,000

Silicon Valley salaries for programmers have hit record-levels in 2013.

Talented tech folks in Silicon Valley have always been paid huge salaries, but according to division manager for Jobspring Silicon Valley, recruiter Scott Purcell says 2013 is shaping up to be a record-breaker.



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Facebook’s power footprint growing and moving east

A breakdown of power usage at Facebook’s data centers during 2012, from the company’s annual sustainability report.

In 2012, Facebook’s data center energy use grew 33 percent, as the company installed tens of thousands of servers in its new company-built data centers. The growth of the company’s power usage is disclosed in the company’s latest sustainability report, which also documents the company’s move to reduce its computing footprint in Silicon Valley, even as it boosts its reliance on leased space in northern Virginia.



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Entrepreneurs in Colorado say they are doing awesome and now have data to prove it

“Colorado has developed into a state that every investor should watch.”

Silicon Valley is no longer the only option for entrepreneurs. Burgeoning tech hubs like Seattle, Boulder, Austin and Denver offer a strong community, tax breaks, and a lower cost of living.



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“Show me the money!” Top programmers can now get agents

If you are a good coder in Silicon Valley, you are among the pampered elite. You get big paychecks, people bring you free gourmet food, drivers shuttle you around town. Coders in Silicon Valley are treated a lot like talented entertainers would be in Hollywood. It’s a thought not lost on Altay Guvench, a coder himself who has become one of the first agents for software developers.



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