Jigsaw (company)

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Think tank
Predecessor Google Ideas
Founded 2010
Founders Eric Schmidt
Headquarters New York, United States
Key people
Jared Cohen
Parent Alphabet
Website jigsaw.google.com

Jigsaw, formerly Google Ideas,[1] is a technology incubator created by Google, and now operated as a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.[2] Based in New York City, Jigsaw is dedicated to understanding global challenges and applying technological solutions, from countering extremism, online censorship and cyberattacks, to protecting access to information.[3] Jared Cohen, formerly with the Policy Planning Committee at the US State Department, is the founder and president of Jigsaw, and was formerly founder and director of Google Ideas.[4]

In 2010, Eric Schmidt approached Jared Cohen to lead Google Ideas, as a think tank to research issues at the intersection of technology and geopolitics, and has worked on projects meant to protect activists and independent media from cyberattacks.[2] The team's most recent conference was the Conflict in a Connected World Roundtable Series, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations’ Center of Preventative Action.[5][6] Under the leadership of Jared Cohen, Jigsaw brings together a team of Google engineers, research scientists, product managers, and policy experts.[7] In May 2016, Jigsaw announced it had partnered with VICE NEWS on a five-part documentary series, called BLACKOUT, examining free expression around the world.[8]

Jigsaw has come under scrutiny for its links with the US State Department and its 'regime change' activities.[9][10]


Google launched an early pilot of a new anti-DDoS initiative called Project Shield in early 2013.[11] Project Shield aims to mitigate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks by leveraging Google's infrastructure, helping small-scale websites, like those of activists serving "media, elections, and human rights related content" around the world. In October 2013, Google Ideas formerly announced an invite-only beta phase of Project Shield at a conference held in New York.[11][12]

In February 2016, Jigsaw announced that it would open Project Shield to applications from any independent news website, with the aim of assisting small, under-resourced sites that are vulnerable to DDOS attacks.[11]

Other Jigsaw projects include uProxy, Password Alert and the Digital Attack Map. uProxy is an extension for Chrome and Firefox web browsers which allows users to access the Internet via a web proxy. The extension works by enabling a user to share their Internet connection with someone else. Google Ideas provided funding for the development which was carried out by the University of Washington and Brave New Software — the same organization behind the anti-censorship tool Lantern. The extension is intended to allow users to get more secure access to the Internet without being monitored. It is free/libre software under Apache license 2.0. Password Alert protects against phishing attacks. The Digital Attack Map displays the top digital attacks in the world in real time;[3] and the global arms visualization maps the global arms trade.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schmidt, Eric (2016-02-16). "GOOGLE IDEAS BECOMES JIGSAW". Medium. Retrieved 2016-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b "Google Ideas Think Tank To Become Tech Incubator Called Jigsaw". Fast Company. 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Google Ideas to become Jigsaw tech incubator". USA Today. 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  4. ^ "Google's Jigsaw will 'tackle toughest geopolitical challenges'". CNN Money. 2016-02-17. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Conflict in a Connected World Roundtable Series". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  6. ^ Shawn Donnan (9 July 2011). "Google Ideas: The company's latest venture into the world of philanthropy.". Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Google spins off, rebrands think tank". The Hill. 2016-02-17. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  8. ^ "Vice teams with Alphabet incubator Jigsaw on doc series ‘Blackout’". Politico. 2016-05-13. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  9. ^ Yazan al-Saadi (14 March 2012). "StratforLeaks: Google Ideas Director Involved in 'Regime Change'". Al-Akhbar. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Julian Assange (10 October 2014). "Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems". Newsweek. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "Google Wants to Save News Sites From Cyberattacks — For Free". Wired. 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2016-02-24. 
  12. ^ "Google launches new anti-DDoS service called 'Project Shield'". The Verge. Retrieved 2015-06-08. 
  13. ^ "Google Ideas think tank becomes Jigsaw, Alphabet's new technology incubator". Boing Boing. 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 

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