Google BGN Hackathon 2021 – Review

Google hosted their first virtual hackathon run by the Black Googler Network (BGN) earlier this month. 

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event of any duration where people come together to solve problems.

The BGN is one of Google’s largest employee resource groups,  that focuses on empowering the Black community at Google and beyond.

The hackathon welcomed 70+ students from countries across the world to build an application in under 48 hours. The Googlers challenged participants to build a solution that:

  • educates and empowers people from under-represented groups
  • help and enable small businesses to utilise technology
  • have people can have fun by creating a game around the entertainment and leisure industry

The winning team, Oreo Shake built a mobile application that uses deep learning to help teach children sign language.

Here’s what some of our students had to say about their experience…


I recently participated in Google’s BGN Hackathon. We had three days to come together as a team to develop an application that either helps small businesses, educates or empowers a community or is targeted at the Entertainment or Leisure industry.

The event was intense but fulfilling. At the start of the event, we organised ourselves so that each team member could play to their strengths and spent the next three days developing our application and presentation. 

My biggest takeaway from the hackathon was realising how much can be achieved in a short period of time with teamwork and dedication.

Thanks to Google for running the event, and to everyone who volunteered to help run the event.


The BGN Hackathon was a really fun experience and a great opportunity to meet new people. The wariness and unfamiliarity between my team members and I dissipated seamlessly as we banded together over the common goal, to make the best product and presentation possible in the time available. Though we were located all over the globe, the lightweight voice channels we used made it feel as if we were sat right next to each other, with each person just one click away. Help was never far away either, as the Google university team created a slack workspace, held office hours, and offered drop-ins to assist us throughout the weekend.

Seeing everyone and their products during the closing ceremony was an exhilarating experience, as we got to marvel over the innovative ideas that each team presented while we proudly presented our own.

As my first hackathon, the BGN Hackathon left me wanting nothing but more, and I look forward to finding and taking part in more team events!

We would like to personally congratulate everyone that participated in the BGN Hackathon!

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