Google: Here's how much we give to open source through our GitHub activity

Google's figures show its activity on open-source projects has doubled over the past five years.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google has given an update on its contributions to open-source software, revealing that its employees were active in over 70,000 repositories on GitHub in 2019. 

Google's new 'by the numbers' snapshot of its contributions to open source over the past five years to 2019 shows its growing activity on Microsoft-owned Git-based code-hosting site GitHub, as well as on Google's own Git service, git-on-borg, which hosts Android and Chromium. 

According to Google, more than 9% of Alphabet's full-time employees actively contributed to public repositories on git-on-borg and GitHub. It had just under 12,500 employees who contributed to repositories on both services in 2019, up from a little over 10,000 in 2018 and 5,000 contributors in 2015. 

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Google hosts over 8,000 public repositories on GitHub and more than 1,000 public repositories on git-on-borg and says it has doubled the number of public repositories over the past five years. 

Last year, it was also active in over 70,000 repositories on GitHub and pushed commits or opened pull requests on over 40,000 repositories. 

Google has also used different metrics to demonstrate its level of its activity on GitHub from the ones Microsoft employed when it announced its acquisition of GitHub in 2018. Microsoft claimed it was the most active organization on GitHub because it had made two million commits, or updates, to projects.

"For contribution volume on GitHub, we chose to focus on push events, opened, and merged pull requests instead of commits as this metric on its own is difficult to contextualize," said Sophia Vargas, a researcher at the Google Open Source Programs Office. 

"Note that push events and pull requests typically include one or more commits per event."

Last year, Google employees created over 570,000 issues, opened over 150,000 pull requests, and created more than 36,000 push events on GitHub, added Vargas. 

Again, it has doubled the number of issues created and push events since 2015 and tripled its number of open pulled requests in that time. And, to show how effective its contributions are, Vargas notes that more than 80% of pull requests opened by Google employees have been closed and merged into active repositories. 

Vargas also highlights how Google has spread its contributions across more repositories than it used to In 2015, about 40% of its opened pull requests targeted the top 25 repositories. By 2019 the top 25 repositories accounted for 20% of opened pull requests. 

"For us, this indicates a healthy expansion and diversification of interests, especially given that this activity represents both Google, as well as a community of contributors that happen to work at Google," said Vargas. 

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According to GitHub's 2019 State of the Octoverse report, published last November, the top project based on the number of contributors was Microsoft's cross-platform open source code editor Visual Studio Code (VS Code). It had 19,100 contributors. 

It was followed by Azure Docs with 14,000 contributors, and Google's Flutter UI framework was third with 13,000 contributors. Other popular projects included Google's Tensorflow, Facebook's React Native, and the Google-created container management system Kubernetes. 

Google's Vargas also highlights the contributions the company has made to open-source security through projects like its OSS-Fuzz, a tool that anyone on GitHub can download to find bugs in their software.


Google has set out the annual growth in activities initiated by Google employees on GitHub.

Image: Google
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