Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote the annual Founders' Letter for its parent company Alphabet this week, and he sounded a theme familiar from his on-stage appearance at the company's Google I/O conference in May: Google wants to help you.
But Pichai is clearly the public face of the company these days, and was the top Alphabet exec present to answer questions from shareholders on Wednesday as well.
His note reads like a response to growing scrutiny from regulators, press and employees. Over the last two years, Pichai has testified before Congress about political bias and privacy and faced a walkout from employees angry over reports that the company had paid big payments to departing execs accused of sexual misconduct. He has also faced criticism over reported plans to re-enter China with a censored search engine and to sell artificial intelligence technology to the U.S. military.
The affable CEO has handled this pressure with calm grace — as Page and Brin stayed out of the spotlight. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly gearing up for a possible antitrust investigation.
In his letter, which appeared in an Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday, Pichai sounded a consistently sunny theme:
The letter continues, highlighting how Google is helping people in developing countries with cheaper options to get online, helping local communities by investing in housing, helping save journalism with the $300 million Google News Initiative and so on.
Look for this theme of helpfulness to continue to be a big part of Google's messaging as scrutiny of the company continues to grow.
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