Welcome to our new weekly roundup of Pittsburgh technology news by noted local tech writer David Radin. Got tech news? Email us. And check back every Thursday for more.
Amazon expands South Side offices; expects to hire 125
On Tuesday, Amazon announced a local expansion in Pittsburgh, securing 22,000 square feet of additional space in SouthSide Works so they can increase their tech team in town. Newly hired local workers are expected to work on machine translation and speech science. The company’s current team of engineers in Pittsburgh primarily focuses on building shopping and entertainment experiences in multiple languages. The expansion on the South Side will happen no matter where Amazon decides to put its HQ2. Pittsburgh, as we all know, is on the shortlist of 20 cities being considered.
The company followed up Tuesday’s announcement with a ribbon-cutting event on Thursday at the new facility, attended by Mayor Bill Peduto and U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle.
Community Health Services leverages Amazon Pittsburgh presence to get food to the poor in Pittsburgh
Also announced Thursday at Amazon’s South Side ribbon-cutting: Concurrent with their increased footprint in Pittsburgh, the company will donate $10,000 to Community Health Services (CHS), a local nonprofit that operates food pantries and provides access to stable housing. CHS Chief Operating Officer Jon Hoffman tells NEXTpittsburgh that the Amazon donation will be directly applied to logistics services that will more effectively help get food donations into the hands of the population that needs it.
Pgh in 360 wins prize; looks to empower teens with video skills
Pgh in 360 won the grand prize of $1,500 and got a full weekend to work with executive mentors during Social Justice Innovation Weekend, an East End event conducted by Repair the World: Pittsburgh in conjunction with AlphaLab Gear, WorkHardPittsburgh, Ascender and other business development groups. Although #SJIW2018 didn’t attract as many people as the 2017 introductory event, Zack Block, executive director of Repair the World: Pittsburgh and creator of the event, said it accomplished the main goal of creating several worthwhile socially responsible projects to help the community.
Idea Foundry, 3 other nonprofits win $50,000 Google Prize
Google announced four winners of its Google.org Impact Challenge Pittsburgh. Each of the four winners collects $50,000 toward a project that will benefit the community. And the four winners are now eligible for $50,000 more as they compete for the most votes from the public between February 28 and March 14 in the next phase of the Challenge. The four winners — Idea Foundry, Pittsburgh Conservation Corps, Pittsburgh Community Kitchen and Prototype PGH — were chosen out of more than 90 nonprofits that submitted entries. Pittsburgh is the first city in which Google has held this challenge. The company expects to hold similar competitions in other cities.