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Google and Snap want teens to make the next Snapchat filter

The two tech giants already have a close relationship. Here’s one more way they’re working together.

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Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (left) and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel (second from left) with California Gov. Jerry Brown (second from right). 

Vivien Killilea, Getty

The cozy relationship between Google and Snap, parent company of Snapchat, rolls on.

The two tech giants on Tuesday said they are teaming up for a coding competition inviting young people to create a new filter for Snapchat, the wildly popular social app. The finalists will compete in an event at the TEDWomen conference in November in New Orleans, judged by Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez, actress Victoria Justice and others. Then the winners will work with the two companies' engineers to bring the filter to Snapchat's app in the US.

The tie-up between the two companies is notable because they share a close bond. Snap has a five-year, $2 billion deal to host its services on Google's cloud. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet, is a longtime friend of Spiegel.

And there are perpetual rumors about Google -- which has had a rough time trying to gain traction in social media -- trying to snap up Snap. The latest is that Google showed interest in buying Snap for $30 billion last year. When it was reported in August, Snap denied the rumors and Google declined to comment.

The competition also comes as Google faces scrutiny over diversity issues. The competition falls under Google's Made with Code program, an initiative that aims to get more teen girls into coding. Google, meanwhile, has faced controversy over a US Department of Labor investigation into gender pay discrimination, as well as a lawsuit filed earlier this month that alleges gender discrimination from three former Googlers.

The company was also rocked by the now-infamous "Google memo," a 3,300-word manifesto written by then-Google engineer James Damore that argues a gender gap exists in tech, partly, because of "biological" differences between men and women. In the wake of the memo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai fired Damore.

Pichai's first public appearance after the incident was at a Made with Code event right outside Google's campus, a few days after Damore's firing in August.

"I want you to know there's a place for you in this industry," Pichai said at the time to the young women in the audience. "There's a place for you at Google. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here, and we need you."

Solving for XX: The industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about "women in tech."

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