Google Ideas, a think tank started by Google in 2010, is morphing into Jigsaw, a tech incubator that will take on geopolitical challenges. The new name appears to follow the same format as other Google offshoots under the Alphabet umbrella, like Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) and X (previously known as Google X).
With the assistance of engineers, research scientists, and project managers, Jigsaw will build on the mission set forth by Google Ideas, which seeks to examine and solve “global issues at the intersection of technology and international security.” Jared Cohen, who has been at the helm of Google Ideas since its inception, will continue on as the president of Jigsaw.
“The creation of Jigsaw represents our commitment to addressing the world’s most timely and troubling issues, not just with research or policy but with technology,” Cohen said in a statement. “Jigsaw arrives in a world where technology and international security aren’t just related, they’re inseparable. Billions of people are coming online for the first time in the next decade. Many of these new Internet users will face threats of terrorism and violence, censorship, and repression. Jigsaw is creating tools with these people in mind.”
Jigsaw will focus on shielding people from digital attacks and preserving open access to the Internet. Its current projects include the Digital Attack Map, which points out online threats (specifically DDoS attacks) in real time, and Password Alert, which alerts users to phishing attacks.
“The world is asking what role technology companies should have in addressing global security challenges, many of which we are encountering for the first time,” Eric Schmidt, Google Ideas cofounder and Alphabet executive chairman, said in a statement. “Jigsaw is a model for how we approach these issues–collaboratively and with an eye toward solutions…. [M]aking the Internet more free and open is, for many citizens around the world, a matter of life and death. Jigsaw is a reflection of our commitment to helping people to address these threats.”