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Google shareholders file lawsuit over sexual misconduct payouts (Update: Response)

The Google logo on a building. Shutterstock

Update, January 11, 2019 (3:42PM EST): In a statement sent to Android Central, Andy Rubin’s lawyer said the lawsuit “mischaracterizes” Rubin’s departure from Google.

Here’s the statement from Rubin’s lawyer, Ellen Winick Stross, in full:

“This lawsuit, like much of the recent media coverage, mischaracterizes Andy’s departure from Google and sensationalizes claims made about Andy by his ex-wife. Andy left Google voluntarily. Andy denies any misconduct, and we look forward to telling his story in court.”

Original article, January 11, 2019 (2:46AM EST): Shareholders have filed a lawsuit against Google’s parent company Alphabet after Google allegedly green-lit generous exit packages to executives accused of sexual misconduct.

According to The Verge, citing legal filings, the suit is calling for three new, independent directors to join the parent company’s board. It’s also urging an end to so-called “dual class voting structure,” which would reduce the power of Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Additionally, the filing is calling for the accused executives to return their exit packages.

Read: Weird CES — The bizarre things we didn’t expect to see

The suit also proposes several actions to better tackle sexual harassment and discrimination cases. These proposed actions include tighter internal controls against harassment, the elimination of non-disclosure agreements in these cases, and an end to forced arbitration.

The filing comes following allegations made against former Android bigwig Andy Rubin last October. Google reportedly allowed Rubin to resign with a $90 million exit package, despite that he’d been accused of sexual misconduct.

The New York Times reported that Rubin was one of two male executives who received generous exit packages despite having “credible” claims of sexual misconduct against them. A third male executive credibly accused of sexual misconduct was purportedly allowed to stay at the company.

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“The rational and reasonable inference from these facts is that Larry Page and Google’s directors wanted to make sure Rubin was paid handsomely to ensure his silence, since they apparently feared that if they fired Rubin for cause, he would sue Google for wrongful termination and all the tawdry details of sexual harassment by senior executives at Google would become public,” reads an excerpt of the filing.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai issued a letter to staff at the time Rubin’s payout was made public, claiming the company fired 48 employees in the past two years for sexual misconduct. He added that none of the 48 employees had received an exit package. But of course, this still doesn’t explain Rubin and the other two executives.

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Have a low-end phone or tiny data cap? Uber Lite might be for you

Screenshots of the Uber Lite app. Uber

  • Uber has announced Uber Lite, a lightweight app that’s coming to India.
  • The app makes the map optional and introduces several offline features as well.
  • Uber Lite will be coming to other countries later this year, but no specific markets were mentioned.

Uber has revealed Uber Lite for the Indian market, marking the latest Lite app to hit Android in the past year.

The company says Uber Lite is a native app designed for people with low-end Android phones, limited data plans and/or spotty connectivity. In fact, the new app weighs in at 5MB, which is equivalent to just three selfies, according to the smart cab service.

The core functionality is still here though, such as booking rides (you can still pay in cash if you want) and sharing trips with loved ones. We do see a few tweaks, however. The map is now optional rather than front and center, though you can pull it up with just a tap if you need it. The app will also display a progress bar if you’d prefer to conserve your data by not loading the map.

What else makes it stand out?

Uber says it also caches the top places in your city so you can quickly get suggestions for pickup/drop-off points while offline. The company claims the suggestions will get smarter as you use the app, leading us to wonder whether the app size will balloon after a few months of use. Nevertheless, an Uber representative told Android Authority the plan was to “always keep it under 5MB.”

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Upcoming updates will add more languages and the ability to request rides when offline. The latter would presumably work in a similar fashion to Gmail’s offline mode, actually sending the request once you’re online again.

Not in India? Uber says the app is coming to other countries later this year, but refused to name specific markets. However, the company told us it’ll be targeting countries that are similar to India (i.e. similar network conditions and users with low-end Android phones).

You can sign up for the Uber Lite Indian pilot by clicking the button below.