Category Archives: Google Europe Blog

Google’s views on the Internet and society Europe

Newsroom placements for students across Europe

Calling journalism students across Europe. If you have a passion for news, want to make and break stories and love technology, we have a program that brings all those skills together—the 2018 Google News Lab Fellowship.

This year we’re offering placements across 10 countries. For the first time, news publishers in Belgium and the Netherlands will be taking part—the Fellowship will open here soon—and each of will offer new opportunities for students to gain valuable experience. 

Applications are open in the following european countries: Austria, Ireland, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Country-specific applications can be found on the News Lab website

In the coming weeks, the participating newsrooms will select their preferred candidates and identify a Fellow by the end of May. The Fellow will then join the newsroom for a two-month summer placement, and Google provides a €5,500 stipend for each publisher to allocate. Fellows who have completed their placement in previous years say it was a “golden opportunity to get full-time work experience” and an invaluable start to their career in journalism.

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Attending a workshop in London, here are the 2017 News Lab Fellows, and one Googler—me on the far right!

During their placement, the Fellows are invited to contribute their ideas to stories and new projects. From fact-checking to data journalism, video to audio, each newsroom offers a unique opportunity. In previous years, we’ve seen Fellows secure a frontpage story, bring new thinking to analytics and introduce emerging 360 technology to their newsroom.

In 2017, selected Fellows from parts of northern Europe traveled to Google in London to take part in a training and innovation workshop. While here, they heard product experts from the YouTube Space and the News Lab and received practical tips to help strengthen their digital newsgathering and visualization skills.

While the program isn’t available on an annual basis everywhere, there are currently Fellowships taking place in Australia, South Korea and the U.S., and we’re always thinking of how to expand and test the program in other countries.

Thank you to all of the news organizations that are taking part this year—for example, Agence France-Presse, Wirtschaftswoche, The Telegraph and LCI—and those who’ve taken part in previous years. Good luck to everyone who wishes to apply!

Applications for Round 5 of DNI Innovation Fund are now open

Since its introduction in 2015, the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund has offered more than €90 million to more than 460 ambitious projects in digital journalism, across 29 countries. The fund, our €150 million commitment to supporting innovation in the European news industry, is designed to provide no-strings-attached funding to those in the news industry looking for some room—and budget—to experiment. Today the DNI Innovation Fund is open for a fifth round of applications—the deadline to apply is April 9, 2018.


How the Fund works

The Fund is open to established publishers, online-only players, news startups, collaborative partnerships and individuals based in the EU and EFTA countries. There are three categories of funding available: Prototype (up to €50k of funding), Medium (up to €300k of funding) and Large (between €300k and €1 million in funding). For more information on eligible projects, criteria and funding, see our website.


We’re looking for projects that demonstrate new thinking in the practice of digital journalism, support the development of new business models, or even change the way people consume digital news. Projects can be highly experimental, but must have well-defined goals and have a significant digital component. Successful projects will show innovation and have a positive impact on the production of original digital journalism and on the long-term sustainability of the news business.


New for Round 5: Diversifying revenue streams

As with Round 4, all Medium and Large track applications will need to demonstrate that they have a monetisation component within the idea to be eligible. This year, we’re also looking for ideas outside of the well-known approaches around paywalls. So in Round 5 we welcome a range of experimental and innovative approaches which diversify revenue streams.


Apply now

See the DNI Innovation Fund website for full details and and application forms. Applications must be made in English by April 9, 2018 at 23.59 CEST. We’ll announce recipients by mid July.


New approaches have never been more needed so it’s time to experiment, innovate and try something new. We’re ready and waiting to help you bring your ideas to reality—submit your applications now!

With just a flick of a wand, “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” is on Google Arts & Culture

For Harry Potter’s fellow students at Hogwarts, “A History of Magic” is historian Bathilda Bagshot’s legendary chronicle of Wizarding history. And last year, we mere Muggles got our own version. “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” is an exhibition from the British Library containing rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic from across the world, which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories.


Turns out, the exhibition was more popular than the Three Broomsticks on a cold day … it quickly sold out. To bring the Harry Potter magic to more fans around the world, hundreds of the exhibition’s treasures from London as well as 15 online exhibits are now available in six languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Hindi and Brazilian Portuguese, and more coming soon) on Google Arts & Culture.

These examples shed light on what you’ll see in the exhibit. Lumos!

The British Library exhibit has proven that “interest in magic is a real global phenomenon, and has fascinated people for thousands of years,” says Julian Harrison, Lead Curator for Medieval Historical Manuscripts and “Harry Potter: A History of Magic.”

“The British Library is thrilled that our blockbuster ‘Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ exhibition can now be viewed on Google Arts & Culture. We’ve used medieval manuscripts, precious printed books and Chinese oracle bones to explore magical traditions, from the making of potions to the harvesting of poisonous plants, and from the study of the night sky to the uses of unicorns.”

To explore these magical traditions for yourself, check out The British Library collections online with Google Arts & Culture and on our iOS and Android apps.

New data on data centers: How Google helps regions grow

Regions across Europe have changed throughout the decades, and so has the local job market. Technology companies can help address the challenges brought on by this change: through training people in digital skills, improving connectivity and by continuing to build large-scale data center facilities across Europe. To explore the impact of these data centers, we hosted an event, “Global technology, local jobs,” along with Debating Europe, today in Brussels.

At this event we heard from EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu, regional development experts, and the consultancy Copenhagen Economics, who just published new research (commissioned by Google) on how investment in data centers, renewable energy and fiber is impacting Europe's regions.

Since 2007, Google has spent EUR 3.2 billion on constructing and operating data centers in Saint-Ghislain-Mons, Belgium; Hamina-Kotka, Finland; Dublin, Ireland; and Eemshaven, Netherlands. We’ve also spent  EUR 1.1 billion on European fiber networks to connect them, and thanks to signing power purchase agreements, enabled EUR 1 billion investment in renewable energy projects.

Copenhagen Economics crunched the numbers on what this means for citizens, and found that Google’s data center and fiber investments have supported economic activity in Europe by EUR 5.4 billion in gross domestic product in total for the 10-year period from 2007 to 2017. Those same investments supported full-time 6,600 jobs per year on average over the decade, with a significant number of those jobs related to construction, with at peak moments more than 1,500 workers a day working on building one site. You can read the whole report on our data center site.

Moreover, when Google grows, these communities grow—we support and work with local business, education, social enterprises and culture. At today’s event, Matt Brittin, Google’s president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, shared the story of Frederic, who works in our Saint-Ghislain-Mons data center in Belgium. He grew up in Quievrain, studied in Mons, lives with his wife and children nearby and recently oversaw the construction of a new solar facility at the site—the second largest in Wallonia—which was built by a local firm.

“I’m sharing Frederick’s story because it demonstrates one of the things that make me proudest about our data centers,” Matt told attendees. “The impact they have on the people who work in and around them. This is about investing in real people and communities to help build a better future for everyone.”

Frederic’s story is far from unique. Google currently employs thousands of people across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in 35 countries, 56 offices and speaking 67 different languages. And that local presence makes all the difference, as Copenhagen Economics discovered. "A large and well-known company like Google investing in a region can influence others to to do so as well, as they can tap into existing talent, suppliers and resources. As European Commissioner Corina Crețu said at the event, "It's not true that automation only causes job losses—it is also important to highlight that tech can bring jobs and help local communities.”

Google is committed to Europe, and we want to do more support communities like the 4,400 children who have received coding and robotics lessons through Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, near our Eemshaven data center, thanks to our community grants program. And there are many more stories from community members near our data centers about their experiences of having Google in their backyard.

Google's EU data center community: Stories from Belgium

Google's EU data center community: Stories from Belgium

The Digital Single Market is essential in order for everyone in Europe to harness the benefits of tech. We look forward to the innovations that will be encouraged by its completion, and will continue our work to reinvigorate and invest in regions across the continent.

It’s Safer Internet Day: key tools to protect yourself online

We are committed to making the internet a better, safe place for everyone. Whether it’s Google Play Protect automatically checking apps to keep your data and device safe, machine learning detecting harmful content on YouTube, or privacy controls in My Account allowing you to manage your data, we want you to feel safe while exploring Google.

Keeping you safe, however, means thinking beyond just our products, which is why we partner across the industry to share technology like Safe Browsing that protects over half of the world’s online population from dangerous websites. We are also working with partners to establish  reliability standards for publishers to use on their articles that help you assess the credibility of the information you discover.

In honor of Safer Internet Day—an opportunity to come together to talk about online safety—we wanted to remind you of the new tools that we’ve launched in recent months that give you extra protection online. We’ll never stop improving our tools to help ensure your information stays safe with us.

Tailored for you: the new Security Checkup

We recently rolled out a new version of our Security Checkup, which now provides personalized guidance to help you improve the security of your account. Instead of the same checklist for everyone, the Security Checkup is now a tailored guide to securing your data—your own personal security advisor.

security checkup.png
The Security Checkup provides a clear security status and personalized recommendations to strengthen your account security

When you visit the checkup, you’ll automatically see your security status: a green check mark icon means you’re good to go, and a yellow or red exclamation point icon means there’s at least one issue for you to take care of.

The new Security Checkup will keep evolving as new threats arise. You can count on it to provide you with relevant, up-to-date security advice that you can use to help keep your account safe. Take the new Security Checkup at g.co/securitycheckup.

Google’s strongest security, for those who need it most

When operating at the scale of Google, we strive to build products that serve the needs of billions of people. But when it comes to online safety, we know needs differ among our users.

That’s why back in October we introduced our Advanced Protection Program, which provides Google’s strongest security. Anyone can use Advanced Protection, but its design makes it of special interest to those who are at an elevated risk of attack and are willing to trade off a bit of convenience for more protection of their personal Google Accounts.

For example, these might be campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists who need to protect the confidentiality of their sources, or people in abusive relationships seeking safety. Sometimes even the most careful and security-minded users are successfully attacked through phishing scams, especially if those phishing scams were individually targeted at the user in question.

Once you enroll in Advanced Protection, we’ll continually update the security of your account to meet emerging threats—meaning Advanced Protection will always use the strongest protections that Google has to offer.

At the start, the program focuses on three core defenses.

  • The strongest defense against phishing:Advanced Protection requires the use of Security Keys to sign into your account. Security Keys are small USB or wireless devices and have long been considered the most secure version of 2-Step Verification, and the best protection against phishing. An attacker who doesn’t have your Security Key is automatically blocked, even if they have your password. 
  • Protecting your most sensitive data from accidental sharing:Sometimes people inadvertently grant malicious applications access to their Google data. Advanced Protection prevents this by automatically limiting full access to your Gmail and Drive to specific apps. For now, these will only be Google apps, but we expect to expand these in the future.
  • Blocking fraudulent account access:Another common way hackers try to access your account is by impersonating you and pretending they have been locked out. With APP,  extra steps will be put in place to prevent this.
benefits.gif

Anyone with a personal Google Account can enroll in Advanced Protection. It’s compatible with Android and iOS, but you’ll need Chrome to sign up for Advanced Protection because it supports the U2F standard for Security Keys. We expect other browsers to incorporate this soon.

For now, Advanced Protection is only available for consumer Google Accounts. To provide comparable protections on G Suite Accounts, G Suite admins can look into Security Key Enforcement and OAuth apps whitelisting.

Sign up for Advanced Protection at g.co/advancedprotection.

It’s Safer Internet Day: key tools to protect yourself online

We are committed to making the internet a better, safe place for everyone. Whether it’s Google Play Protect automatically checking apps to keep your data and device safe, machine learning detecting harmful content on YouTube, or privacy controls in My Account allowing you to manage your data, we want you to feel safe while exploring Google.    

Keeping you safe, however, means thinking beyond just our products, which is why we partner across the industry to share technology like Safe Browsing that protects over half of the world’s online population from dangerous websites. We are also working with partners to establish  reliability standards for publishers to use on their articles that help you assess the credibility of the information you discover.

In honor of Safer Internet Day—an opportunity to come together to talk about online safety—we wanted to remind you of the new tools that we’ve launched in recent months that give you extra protection online. We’ll never stop improving our tools to help ensure your information stays safe with us.

Tailored for you: the new Security Checkup

We recently rolled out a new version of our Security Checkup, which now provides personalized guidance to help you improve the security of your account. Instead of the same checklist for everyone, the Security Checkup is now a tailored guide to securing your data—your own personal security advisor.

Security check up
The Security Checkup provides a clear security status and personalized recommendations to strengthen your account security

When you visit the checkup, you’ll automatically see your security status: a green check mark icon means you’re good to go, and a yellow or red exclamation point icon means there’s at least one issue for you to take care of.

The new Security Checkup will keep evolving as new threats arise. You can count on it to provide you with relevant, up-to-date security advice that you can use to help keep your account safe. Take the new Security Checkup at g.co/securitycheckup.

Google’s strongest security, for those who need it most

When operating at the scale of Google, we strive to build products that serve the needs of billions of people. But when it comes to online safety, we know needs differ among our users.

That’s why back in October we introduced our Advanced Protection Program, which provides Google’s strongest security. Anyone can use Advanced Protection, but its design makes it of special interest to those who are at an elevated risk of attack and are willing to trade off a bit of convenience for more protection of their personal Google Accounts.

For example, these might be campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists who need to protect the confidentiality of their sources, or people in abusive relationships seeking safety. Sometimes even the most careful and security-minded users are successfully attacked through phishing scams, especially if those phishing scams were individually targeted at the user in question.

Once you enroll in Advanced Protection, we’ll continually update the security of your account to meet emerging threats—meaning Advanced Protection will always use the strongest protections that Google has to offer.

At the start, the program focuses on three core defenses.


  • The strongest defense against phishing: Advanced Protection requires the use of Security Keys to sign into your account. Security Keys are small USB or wireless devices and have long been considered the most secure version of 2-Step Verification, and the best protection against phishing. An attacker who doesn’t have your Security Key is automatically blocked, even if they have your password.

  • Protecting your most sensitive data from accidental sharing: Sometimes people inadvertently grant malicious applications access to their Google data. Advanced Protection prevents this by automatically limiting full access to your Gmail and Drive to specific apps. For now, these will only be Google apps, but we expect to expand these in the future.

  • Blocking fraudulent account access: Another common way hackers try to access your account is by impersonating you and pretending they have been locked out. With APP,  extra steps will be put in place to prevent this.

App gif

Anyone with a personal Google Account can enroll in Advanced Protection. It’s compatible with Android and iOS, but you’ll need Chrome to sign up for Advanced Protection because it supports the U2F standard for Security Keys. We expect other browsers to incorporate this soon.

For now, Advanced Protection is only available for consumer Google Accounts. To provide comparable protections on G Suite Accounts, G Suite admins can look into Security Key Enforcement and OAuth apps whitelisting.

Sign up for Advanced Protection at g.co/advancedprotection.

Time to shine: New solar facility and an additional data center in Belgium

Data centers are the backbone of the internet, housing the systems and equipment that make our connected world possible. We opened our first European data center in Belgium back in 2009, and now we’re announcing plans to build a third building on the same site. We’re also announcing a new solar plant—the first solar facility we’ve built on a data center facility site.


We will invest approximately EUR 250 million to build the additional data center building in Saint-Ghislain, bringing our total investment in Belgium to EUR 1 billion. It’s due to be completed and operational by mid-2019.


The new solar plant, which is already up and running, represents a previous investment of EUR 3 million. And we’ve learned that it is the second-largest solar plant in the region!


Reaching 100 percent renewable energy for global operations

The photovoltaic installations will feature 10,665 solar panels and will generate 2.9 Gigawatt hour of clean, reliable, renewable energy every year. Construction began in March 2017, using a local company to install the solar farm on four hectares of land in our data center. Ultimately, the solar project will contribute to a greener footprint on our data center campus, already one of the most energy-efficient sites globally.


It’s not the first time we’ve acted on our sustainability goals in Belgium. Saint-Ghislain was the very first Google data center to run entirely without refrigeration, using instead an advanced cooling system that draws grey water from the nearby industrial canal.


It also fits in with our wider goal of ensuring a positive impact on the environment. We are calculating our final energy bills and expect that we reached our target of 100 percent renewable energy for our global operations in 2017, including data centers and offices. This means we’re directly buying enough wind and solar electricity to account for every unit of electricity we use—and it makes Google the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy worldwide.


Enhancing connectivity and creating jobs in Europe

Demand for Google services grows every day, and the steady expansion of our network across Europe reflects this. Along with Saint-Ghislain, we have data centers at Eemshaven in The Netherlands, Dublin, Ireland, and Hamina in Finland. Each investment enhances connectivity.


Data centers also benefit communities through job creation. The whole Saint-Ghislain site currently employs around 350 people in full-time and contractor roles—from computer technicians to electrical and mechanical engineers, to security, catering and facilities management. With this investment of EUR 250 million, we’ll create more construction jobs, and more full-time roles in Google once the third building is complete and operational.


Belgium: a digital frontrunner in Europe

Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Belgium, joined us for an event this week announcing these projects, where he celebrated Belgium’s investment and ambitions as a digital pioneer. "The digital world is constantly changing, and Belgium is becoming more and more attractive for big investors like Google. This new investment is excellent news for the Walloon region and Belgium in terms of job creation."


We’re grateful to the local and national government, local suppliers and community for their continued support of our data center presence in Belgium. We hope it contributes to make Belgium a digital frontrunner in Europe, creating jobs, skills development and economic opportunities.

Artists and entrepreneurs ignite creativity at Campus Madrid

Last week, we hosted the first Campus Creativity Week at Campus Madrid, one of Google for Entrepreneurs’ six spaces for entrepreneurs to learn, share ideas, and launch startups. Over 100 artists and entrepreneurs gathered from across Spain to explore how creative minds can use technology and inspire one another as they create art and build businesses.


Artists and entrepreneurs share a similar challenge—to create something new with limited resources, no instruction manual, and the power of their creative thinking. For seven days, we celebrated unique approaches to this challenge, with a a mind-bending series of artist exhibitions, creative thinking workshops, and community-inspired artwork. We’re grateful to each one of the participating artists and entrepreneurs for sharing their time, expertise and talents with our Campus Madrid community. 

Since we launched Campus Madrid in 2015, we’ve welcomed over 38,000 members, with startups working in fields as diverse as ecommerce, education, data analytics, and health. Six Madrid-based startups participate in Campus Residency, a six-month growth program for dozens of startups across our network that offers personalized support and unique access to Google resources, experts, and global connections. Startups in the Campus community worldwide have created more than 11,000 jobs and raised more than $537 million in funding.


We hope you’re as inspired as we are by all of this progress, and by our Campus Creativity Week with these talented entrepreneurs and artists.


Making France’s digital potential work for everyone

When people think of “digital champions,” it’s natural to think of a highly trained computer scientist creating new technology.  There are many other kinds of digital champions, however. They can be small business owners accelerating their growth online or people finding better ways to do their jobs. To do this, people now need to easily learn digital skills throughout their lives.  


That’s important for countries as well as individuals. According to the European Commission, France ranks just 16th in the EU’s Digital Economy and Society Index. Yet France has all the assets to succeed. It has top engineers, great entrepreneurs, one of the best education systems in the world, great infrastructure, and successful global companies. Studies suggest that if France fully seized its digital potential, it could earn up to 10 percent of GDP from digital technology by 2025, creating 200-250 billion euros’ worth of additional value per year.


Achieving this will take significant digital transformation for both France’s citizens and its businesses. With the right approach and infrastructure, that transformation doesn’t need to be hard. Over the last three years, we’ve trained more than 3 million Europeans in digital skills. In France alone, more than 230,000 French students and professionals have attended digital-skills training sessions given by our teams and partners. We now want to do more.  


Grow with Google in France—“Les Ateliers Numériques Google”

We will open four local Google Hubs called “Les Ateliers Numériques” across France, run by a network of local partners from the digital sector. These physical spaces will provide a long-term Google presence in French cities, with a dedicated team setting up free trainings in online skills and digital literacy. With our partners, we intend to help people find better jobs, keep their families safe online, and develop their businesses or careers.  Brittany will be our pilot region, with the opening of a Google Hub in Rennes during first half of 2018; three other hubs will follow. This will bring the best digital training within easy reach of more than 100,000 people every year.


A new research center dedicated to AI

France has produced some truly heroic figures of science—like Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Blaise Pascal and Sophie Germain—and its educational system still produces amazing researchers. So it’s only natural that we set up a new research team in Google France around the age’s defining technology: artificial intelligence. Our new research team will work closely with the AI research community in France on issues like health, science, art and the environment. They will publish their research and open-source the code they  produce, so that everyone can use these insights to solve their own problems, in their own way.


Oh, and we’re going to need a bigger office, too.

To keep pace with this digital growth, we need to expand our presence in France. We announced recently that our staff in France will increase by 50 percent, bringing our total workforce to more than 1,000 Googlers. Our offices will also grow by 6,000 m2, via new buildings connected to our office today.


More than ever, we’re committed to help France find new ways to grow in this digital era—whether through helping people retrain, or growing a business, or using amazing talent to research and build new products for the world. We hope these new investments will help the country, academia and local businesses turn France into a true digital champion.

Eight things you need to know about Hash Code 2018

Are you up for a coding challenge? Team up to solve an engineering problem from Google—registration for Hash Code 2018 is now open.  

Hash Code is Google’s flagship team programming competition for students and professionals in  Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. You pick your team and programming language, we pick a Google engineering problem for you to solve. Thinking about competing in Hash Code? Here’s what you need to know before you sign up:

1. This is the fifth edition of Hash Code. Hash Code started in 2014 with just 200 participants. We’ve grown a bit since the early days—last year more than 26,000 developers teamed up to compete from 100+ countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

2. Problems are modeled after Google engineering challenges. We want participants to experience what software engineering is like at Google, so we model Hash Code problems after challenges faced by Google engineering teams. Past problems have included optimizing video serving on YouTube, routing Street View cars through a busy city, and optimizing the layout of a Google data center.  

3. You compete in a small team (just like engineers at Google!). To compete in Hash Code, you need to form a team of two to four people. This means it’s not just about what you know individually, but about how you and your team can work together to tackle the problem.

4. Hash Code kicks off with an Online Qualification Round on Thursday, March 1. It all starts with a YouTube livestream at 18:30 CET sharp, after which the problem is released and teams have four hours to code. 

5. Hubs add extra excitement to the Online Qualification Round. Hubs are meetups where teams in the same area can come together to compete in the Online Qualification Round. They’re also a great opportunity for you to connect with other developers in your community. More than 300 hubs have been registered so far, and it’s not too late to organize a hub if there isn’t one near you already.

Some competitors in the 2017 Hash Code Online Qualification Round
Some competitors having fun at a few of the hubs during the 2017 Hash Code Online Qualification Round.
6. The Final Round will be held at Google Dublin. Top teams from the Online Qualification Round will be invited to our European Headquarters in April to vie for the title of Hash Code 2018 Champion.

7. It's a competition—but it's also about having fun! As Ingrid von Glehn, a software engineer at Google London who is part of the Hash Code organizing team, puts it: “We design the problems to be challenging, but not intimidating. It’s important to us that everyone has fun while taking part.” 

Join in on all the fun online through our Facebook event and G+ community, using the #hashcode tag. These channels are also great spaces to connect with other engineers and find team members.

Hash Code 2018

8. You can register todayReady to accept the challenge? Be sure to sign up before registration closes on February 26.

*Featured image: Teams hard at work tackling our wireless router placement problem during 2017’s Final Round in Paris.