The Work Diary of Parisa Tabriz, Google’s ‘Security Princess’


11 a.m. Four-hour brainstorming and discussion session about Chrome’s road map for the next year.

3 p.m. I get a direct message on Twitter from @SwiftOnSecurity, a pseudonymous computer security expert and influencer who pretends to be Taylor Swift, with feedback about a new Chrome extension we launched earlier in the day that helps users report suspicious sites. I get a lot of suggestions about security for Chrome, and they come from everywhere: Twitter, work and personal email, Snap, Chrome bug reports, calls from family and friends. I sometimes even get physical mail! I also get a lot of hate mail, rants, job requests and solicitations for … weird things. I try to respond to as many of the respectful inquiries as I can, but I end up having to ignore a lot.

6 p.m. I drive to dinner, listening to a mix of NPR and Top 40 for when the news gets too depressing. I’m really digging anything by Billie Eilish right now. Dinner is with Chrome leaders from around the world, who are in town right now for a big planning session. As a geeky icebreaker, we go around the table and share our favorite guilty-pleasure website. I’ve been spending lots of time on houzz.com, swiping through modern architecture and interior design inspiration for my container house project.

7:30 a.m. Grab my iPhone and Windows laptop for the day. Neither is my primary device, but I like to use them on Wednesdays. Thursdays, I try to mostly use my Mac, and the rest of the week I’m on my Chromebook or my Pixel Android phone. I’m responsible for Chrome across every operating system, so I try to use all the different Chromes each week to catch the subtle and important differences, and give feedback or file bugs if something isn’t working right.

Noon. I see they’re serving Persian food for lunch, and I’m almost tempted to try it but stick to the salad bar. Persian food at work is always a disappointment compared with my mom’s cooking. She’s Polish-American, but she learned how to cook traditional Persian food from my grandma, who would visit from Iran. They didn’t share a common language outside of cooking, but after years of kitchen time, my mom makes an amazing ghormeh sabzi and kuku sabzi.

4:30 p.m. I block off private work time for myself so no one can schedule meetings with me, then work through two design docs, skim a project pitch deck and then walk around campus, snacking and thinking. I need to make a decision on a tricky escalation that will slightly increase security, but at the cost of a phone’s battery life.

Chrome runs on everything from a high-end desktop computer to low-end mobile phones, so a big part of my job is absorbing lots of technical details and input; thinking through subtle trade-offs in performance, security and usability; considering hundreds of people and billions of users that will be impacted by any decision; and then making and delivering a decision. Often under time pressure.

8 p.m. Cereal for dinner. My current favorite is Kashi’s Peanut Butter Crunch cereal. I’m not embarrassed to admit that many weekend and evening meals are cereal. I get plenty of vegetables and food diversity from Google lunches or snacks, and I don’t enjoy cooking.



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