Tag Archives: Europe

The Suffragettes and the Road to Equality on Google Arts & Culture

Following decades of organized campaigning led by charismatic and brilliant women from around the UK, in 1918, women of all classes, ages and professions came together in the triumph for voting rights for many women. Ten years later, this right was extended to all women over 21, giving women the vote on the same terms as men.

TheRoad to Equality has continued over the last century, with many brave women and men campaigning on a broad range of equal rights issues. In June this year, as a wave of Processionscelebrating women and their long struggle for political and social equality comes to the UK, Google Arts & Culture has collaborated with more than 20 partners to bring online archival collections, video footage, and in-depth, visual stories of those who have helped shape history.

For the first time, Google Arts & Culture is showcasing the work, lives and sacrifices of powerful figures like Emmeline Pankhurt, Milicent Fawcett, and Princess Sophia Duleep Singh. This online experience delves into the organizations they established, their revolutionary forms of protest, and the objects that represent their legacy—the iconic suffragette banners, their personal letters and writings, photographs, and hundreds of other artifacts.

Inspired by the historic unveiling of a statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, we partnered with the Mayor of London’s office on “Signs of Change,” a film project with the artist Gillian Wearing, and featuring the Mayor Sadiq Khan. The film shines a light on the achievements made by the women in history and contrasts them with contemporary figures. From teen activists and deputy mayors to local Londoners from all walks of life, the film highlights the diversity of ambitions for the future.

Learn more about The Road to Equality and the men and women who have supported this movement by exploring the exhibition on Google Arts & Culture and on our iOS and Android apps.

Our preparations for Europe’s new data protection law

Last year, we outlined Google’s commitment to comply with Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), across all of the services we provide in the European Union. We’ve been working on our compliance efforts for over eighteen months, and ahead of the new law coming into effect, here’s an update on some of the key steps we've taken.


Improved user transparency

We’re updating our current Privacy Policy to make it easier to understand what information we collect, and why we collect it. We’ve improved the navigation and organization of the policy to make it easier to find what you’re looking for; explained our practices in more detail and with clearer language; and added more detail about the options you have to manage, export, and delete data from our services. The policy now also includes explanatory videos and illustrations, because a visual description can be easier to understand than text alone. And we've made it easier to jump to your privacy settings directly from the policy, helping you make choices about your privacy.

Although we’re taking these steps to make our Privacy Policy easier to understand, it’s important to note that nothing is changing about your current settings or how your information is processed. You’ll continue to have granular control over the data you share with us when you use our services, but with clearer explanations. The updated policy is already available to read and we’ll be emailing all of our users about it individually.


Improved user controls

Every day, nearly 20 million people around the globe visit My Account, our central hub that brings together all the different ways you can review your Google security, privacy and ad settings. As part of our GDPR compliance efforts, we’ve improved both the controls and the clarity of information in My Account so that people are better informed about how and why their data is collected. Within My Account, you can: 


  • Use Activity Controls to choose what activity is saved to your Google Account. We provide simple on/off switches to control Location History, Web and App Activity, YouTube Search History and more, across all devices that are signed in to your account.
  • View or delete data—including search history, location history, browsing history—from our services using My Activity. To make it easier to browse your past online activity, we have given you tools to search by topic, date, and product. You can permanently delete specific activities, entire days or weeks of activity that you don’t want associated with your account.
  • Take a Security Checkup or Privacy Checkup to reassure yourself that your account is secure, and that your privacy settings work for you. We’ve recently added an option that allows you to subscribe to more frequent prompts to take the Privacy Checkup.
  • Manage or mute the ads you see on Google, on websites and in apps using the recently upgraded Ads Settings tool and Mute This Ad control. We have provided more information about how and why certain ads are personalized, and will also be further simplifying the look and feel of these tools in the coming months.
  • Get a clear overview of all the Google products that you use—and the data associated with them—via Google Dashboard. We’ve recently made the Dashboard more mobile-friendly so it's now easy to use across different devices.

Improved data portability

Since its launch in 2011, people around the world have used our Download Your Data tool to export data from products like Google Photos, Drive, Calendar, Google Play Music and Gmail, either to their own computer, or to storage services like OneDrive, Dropbox and Box. We are further improving and expanding this feature, adding more Google services, including more contextual data controls, and creating a new setting that helps people schedule regular downloads.
Download your Data

While we’ve enabled people to download data from our services for many years, the GDPR encourages companies to enable direct service-to-service data transfers where feasible, for example from Google Photos to another photo service. To support that aim, we've recently initiated the Data Transfer Project on GitHub, providing early-stage open source code that will, in time, be of use to any developer wanting to offer seamless transfer of data from one service directly into an alternative (or vice versa).


Parental consent and improved tools for children online

Under the new rules, companies must get consent from parents to process their children’s data in certain circumstances. To obtain that consent and to make sure that parents and children have the tools to manage their online experiences, we’re rolling out Family Link—already available in various countries around the world—throughout the EU.


Through Family Link, parents can create a Google Account for their child and are required to provide consent for certain processing of their child’s data. Family Link also allows parents to set certain digital ground rules on their child’s Android device—like approving or blocking apps, keeping an eye on screen time, or remotely locking their child’s device. We plan to evolve Family Link’s functionality over time, working closely with parents and advocacy groups.


Helping our business customers and partners

The GDPR places new obligations on Google, but also on any business providing services to people in the EU. That includes our partners around the globe: advertisers, publishers, developers and cloud customers. We’ve been working with them to prepare for May 25, consulting with regulators, civil society groups, academics, industry groups and others.


For our advertising partners, we’ve clarified how our advertising policies will change when the GDPR takes effect. We already ask publishers to get consent from their users for the use of our ad tech on their sites and apps under existing legislation, but we’ve now updated that requirement in line with GDPR guidance. We’re also working closely with our publisher partners to provide a range of tools to help them gather user consent, and have built a solution for publishers that want to show non-personalized ads, using only contextual information.


For our Google Cloud customers, we’ve updated our data processing terms for G Suite and Google Cloud Platform and provided detailed information to customers about our approach to data portability, data incident notifications, secure infrastructure and third party audits and certifications, among other features. For more information, see this post on Google Cloud.


Strengthening our privacy compliance program

Over the last decade, Google has built a strong global privacy compliance program, taking advice from regulators around the world. Across the company, we have dedicated teams of engineers and compliance experts who work in full-time privacy roles, ensuring that no Google product launches without a comprehensive privacy review. We’ve now further improved our privacy program, enhancing our product launch review processes, and more comprehensively documenting our processing of data, in line with the accountability requirements of the GDPR.


This is a snapshot of things we’ve done to date to be ready for May 25, 2018. But our commitment to compliance with the GDPR, and the rights it gives people, will continue long beyond this date. As we evolve our products over time, we’ll continue to improve our Privacy Program and the protections we offer to users. Our ambition is to have the highest possible standards of data security and privacy, and to put our users and partners in control.

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.

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.

Source: Google AI Blog


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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