Tag Archives: Europe

Investing in France’s AI Ecosystem



Recently, we announced the launch of a new AI research team in our Paris office. And today DeepMind has also announced a new AI research presence in Paris. We are excited about expanding Google’s research presence in Europe, which bolsters the efforts of the existing groups in our Zürich and London offices. As strong supporters of academic research, we are also excited to foster collaborations with France’s vibrant academic ecosystem.

Our research teams in Paris will focus on fundamental AI research, as well as important applications of these ideas to areas such as Health, Science or Arts. They will publish and open-source their results to advance the state-of-the-art in core areas such as Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning.

Our approach to research is based on building a strong connection with the academic community; contributing to training the next generation of scientists and establishing a bridge between academic and industrial research. We believe that both objectives are key to fostering a healthy research ecosystem that will flourish in the long term. These ideas are very much aligned with some of the recommendations that Fields Medalist and member of French Parliament Cédric Villani is putting forward in his report on AI to the French government.

As we expand our teams in France, we have several initiatives that illustrate our commitment to these goals:
  • We are sponsoring “Artificial Intelligence and Visual Computing” Chair at École Polytechnique (one of the leading higher education institutions in France) which will support their education initiatives in AI
  • We just established a partnership with INRIA for conducting collaborative research projects
  • We are funding academic research with unrestricted grants mostly dedicated to the support of PhD and postdoc positions through our Faculty Research Awards and PhD Fellowship programs, as well as our Focused Research Awards. As one example, we have recently funded a project on large scale optimization of neural networks led by Francis Bach (INRIA and ENS) and Alexandre d’Aspremont (CNRS and ENS)
  • We are working on offering CIFRE PhD positions (joint PhD positions between Google and an academic lab) as well as internships for PhD students
Additionally, we are pleased to announce that one of the world’s leading experts in computer vision, Cordelia Schmid, will begin a dual appointment at INRIA and Google Paris. These kind of appointments, together with our Visiting Faculty program, are a great way to share ideas and research challenges, and utilize Google's world-class computing infrastructure to explore new projects at industrial scale.

France has a long tradition of research and educational excellence, and has a very dynamic and active machine learning community. This makes it a great place to pursue our goal of building AI-enabled technologies that can benefit everyone, through fundamental advances in machine learning and related fields.

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.

Looking for Europe’s top entrepreneurs: The 2018 Digital Top 50 Awards

Posted by Torsten Schuppe, Vice President, Marketing

Tech entrepreneurs are changing the world through their own creativity and passion. To celebrate Europe's thriving developers and the entrepreneurial scene and honor the most promising tech companies, in 2016 we founded the Digital Top 50 Awards, in association with McKinsey and Rocket Internet.

The 2018 edition of the awards are now open for applications and companies with a digital product or service from the EU and from EFTA countries can apply on the Digital Top 50 website until April 1, 2018.

All top 50 companies will receive free tickets and showcase space at Tech Open Berlin on June 20-21 2018, where the final winners in each category will be announced. The winner in the Tech for Social Impact category will be granted a cash prize of 50,000 euros, and all five winners will be provided with support from the founding partners to scale their businesses further—through leading professional advice, structured consulting and coaching programs, as well as access to a huge network of relevant industry contacts.

Helping people embrace new digital opportunities is at the heart of our Grow with Google initiative in Europe. With the DT50 awards, we hope to recognize a new generation of startups and scale-ups, and help them grow further and realize their dreams.

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.

Congratulations to the winners of the Google Play Indie Games Contest 2017 in Europe

Posted by Adriana Puchianu, Developer Marketing Google Play

We have just wrapped up the second edition of the Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe! The iconic Saatchi Gallery in London welcomed 20 developers, from 12 countries, who showcased their games to the audience of gamers, industry experts, and journalists.

The finalists' games were on show to the public, who spent three hours trying out their games and voting for their favourites, alongside the Google Play team. The top 10 finalists were then selected, and went on to pitch their games, and compete for the big prizes in front of our jury.

Please join us in congratulating the winners! They will be bringing home a well-deserved diploma, along with a prize package that will help them reach more gamers worldwide; including premium placement on the Google Play Store, marketing campaigns of up to 100,000 EUR and influencer campaigns of up to 50,000 EUR, the latest Google hardware, tickets to Google I/O, and much more.

It's really inspiring to see the excitement around this second edition, and great to see the new wave of indie games coming from Europe. We are already looking forward to playing the games that will be developed in 2018!

Check out the main winners and the other finalists on the Google Play Store!

Winner

Bury me, my love

Playdius

France

A reality-inspired interactive fiction designed for mobile phones. It tells the story of Nour, a Syrian woman trying to reach Europe in hope of a better life.

Runners up

Old Man's Journey

Broken Rules Interactive Media GmbH

Austria

A story game about life's precious moments, broken dreams, and changed plans.

Yellow

Bart Bonte

Belgium

A puzzle game for you! A love letter to a marvelous colour and to the little wonder called touchscreens. Warning: very yellow!

The other games that have made it into top 10 are:

Captain Tom Galactic Traveler

Picodongames

France

An open world platformer and space exploration game. Embark on an exploratory mission, discover planets, collect oxygen, play with gravity.

I Love Hue

Zut!

United Kingdom

A minimalist, ambient puzzle game influenced by mindfulness apps and abstract art. Players arrange shuffled mosaics of coloured tiles into perfectly ordered palettes.

Jodeo

Gamebra.in

Turkey

Jodeo is a 2D jelly critter. There's something it's curious about: what if 3D objects and 2D physics are in the same game? How can 2D objects interact with 3D objects?

Kami 2

State of Play

United Kingdom

The calming yet addictive puzzle game is back! With over 100 handcrafted puzzles, it takes you on a mind-twisting journey that combines logic and problem-solving.

Kenshō

FIFTYTWO

Russia

A tile sliding puzzle with a wonderful soundtrack. Mysterious things happen in a ruined room. Doors inside that room lead to different worlds and beautiful landscapes.

No More Buttons

Tommy Søreide Kjær

Norway

A hand-drawn platformer where the buttons are part of the environment.

The Big Journey

Catfishbox

Ukraine

Designed for kids and adults alike, this a beautiful, casual adventure. Tilt to roll around and explore a beautiful world with Mr. Whiskers.

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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.