Google’s former internet think tank, Google Ideas, has been transformed into a separate technology incubator called Jigsaw.
Google Ideas was a New York-based think tank that tackled various web-related issues, such as ISIS’s use of the web for its own nefarious ends.
In a recent Medium post, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc. Eric Schmidt has revealed that the Google Ideas team is splitting off into a separate entity under Google’s holding company, Alphabet.
Jigsaw is being described as an “expansion” of Google Ideas, and as a “technology incubator.” But it looks like it will be handling many of the same issues as it did under its Google Ideas guise.
“The team’s mission is to use technology to tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges, from countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks,” says Schmidt. Which is pretty much what Google Ideas did.
Jigsaw will be run by Jared Cohen, who also ran Google Ideas. Cohen will also continue as an advisor to Schmidt.
The Jigsaw name “acknowledges that the world is a complex puzzle of physical and digital challenges,” explains Schmidt. It also reflects the company’s belief that “collaborative problem-solving yields the best solutions.”
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Google Ideas was set up to help the next five billion internet users coming online for the first time. “Many of the newest Internet users are coming online in societies where censorship, corruption, or violence are daily realities,” says Schmidt.
To that end, the team has come up with things like Project Shield, which helps protect independent voices from DDoS attacks by oppressive regimes. It has also contributed to open source projects like uProxy and Password Alert.