Tag Archives: Google in Asia

Tea time with a touch of technology

Some of the world’s best tea is grown in the Darjeeling district of India, seen here against the backdrop of the Himalayas.

Editor’s Note: As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we spoke with Parvez Gupta, the co-founder of Udyan Tea in Siliguri, India, to find out how he uses technology to bring the best teas to tea lovers in India and beyond. 


After working for a multinational firm in Singapore, you returned home to start a business in India. Tell us about your motivations. 

I grew up in Siliguri, which is part of the Darjeeling district of West Bengal—where the world’s finest tea is grown. I love tea and I enjoyed savoring it from a young age. Being in Siliguri, I’m at the source of tea production, and I’ve been able to use the internet to bring fresher and better teas to people everywhere.

My father was also a huge inspiration. Growing up, I saw him build multiple businesses from the ground up and he inspired me to become an entrepreneur.

Parvez Gupta Udyan Tea
Udyan tea co-founder Parvez Gupta is passionate about sharing his Darjeeling tea culture with the rest of the country and the world.

Why tea and why Udyan?

My friend, Punit Poddar, and I started Udyan Tea in 2012. Punit is also deeply passionate about tea. He has been a tea taster for the past ten years and his family have been in the tea business for more than five decades. During our travels in India, we realized there was a severe lack of good quality tea in other parts of the country. As natives of Siliguri, we expect every cup of tea to be a great one. But we discovered that most good quality tea is exported to foreign markets.

We worked together to address the gap in the domestic market — too many firms catered to demand for fine teas abroad, but not at home. So Udyan Tea was born. Udyan means “garden” and that’s what we aim to provide, the finest tea from the garden to your cup. We select the best tea based on freshness, authenticity and quality. 

Punit Poddar Udyan
Udyan co-founder and tea taster Punit Poddar hails from a family that's been in the tea business for more than 50 years.

How do you find that Google helps your business?

The internet has opened up an entire new base of consumers to businesses of every kind. Before the internet, you could only transact with local communities. Today, with e-commerce, the possibilities are limitless. We are primarily focused on the Indian market, and close to 80% of our revenue is driven from within the country.  We depend entirely on the internet for selling our products, and we rely heavily on Google search to generate traffic to our business.

AdWords has been indispensable for generating new leads for us. We also use Search, Analytics, and Google My Business. We’ve also used Translate tools to close deals with customers who do not speak English at all, which is quite amazing if you think about it. So far, we have shipped products to over 25 countries!


Can you tell us about how your business has helped your community? 

We purchase teas from a number of small growers on an ongoing basis. This helps them fetch the best prices for their teas by eliminating middlemen and contributes to their sustainability. We also serve as consultants to other tea businesses and cafes, meaning we help other companies succeed in the tea business as well!

Tea tasting Udyan
"Udyan [उद्यान] means garden in Hindi, and that’s what we represent," explains Parvez Gupta, "tea fresh from the gardens".

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. 

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. 

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. 

Source: Education


A doodle celebrating Zhou Youguang and the ABCs of learning Mandarin

Mandarin Chinese is a tremendously rich logographic language, meaning every word is represented by a unique character or combination of characters. And there are a lot—the largest Chinese dictionaries contain more than 60,000 different ones.   


The sheer volume makes it challenging for non-native speakers to master Mandarin. As anyone who has studied the language knows, it’s difficult remembering the pronunciations of thousands of characters!


Thanks to Zhou Youguang’s work, it’s now a lot easier to learn Mandarin. An economist by training, in the 1950s, he was tasked by the Chinese government to turn Chinese characters into words with Roman letters. Over three years, Zhou developed pinyin, a phonetic alphabet for Mandarin. With the help of just 26 letters of the Roman alphabet and four tonal marks, pinyin allows for the accurate pronunciation of any of Mandarin’s 60,000 or so characters, no matter how obscure. It’s thanks to Zhou that we can learn “拼音” is pronounced “pīn yīn” by reading its phonetic spelling, instead of listening to someone else pronounce it first.


So today’s doodle in countries including Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden and the U.S. celebrates Zhou’s 112th birthday. Zhou passed away at the ripe old age of 111 last year. He lived long enough to see people using pinyin to type Mandarin characters on computers and mobile phones. By inventing pinyin, Zhou didn’t just help generations of students learn Mandarin. He also paved the way for a new generation of Mandarin speakers to communicate online.

News Lab in 2017: Our work around the world

This week we’re looking at how the Google News Lab is working with news organizations to build the future of journalism. So far, we shared how the News Lab works with newsrooms to address industry challenges and use emerging technologies. Today, we’ll take a look at the News Lab’s global footprint and its efforts to fuel innovation in newsrooms across the world.


Technology continues to change how journalists across the world report and tell stories. But how technology shapes journalism varies from region to region. This past year our team, the Google News Lab, conducted in-person trainings for journalists across 52 countries. Today, we take a look at the unique challenges of newsrooms in the regions we serve and how we’ve adapted our mission for each region to help build the future of journalism.

Europe

In Europe, it’s been another big year for politics with major general elections taking place in the Netherlands, France, UK, Germany and Norway. We wanted to ensure we were helping newsrooms cover these critical moments with the accuracy and depth they required. So, our efforts across these countries focused on helping newsrooms verify digital content in a timely fashion and providing training in digital skills for journalists.

  • We helped the First Draft Coalition pioneer new collaborative reporting models to combat misinformation and verify news stories during the UKFrench, and German elections. In France, we supported First Draft's launch of CrossCheck; a collaboration among 37 newsrooms to verify or debunk online stories during the election. In the build up to the elections in the UK and Germany, we also supported fact-checking organizations Full Fact and Correctiv to help newsrooms identify new sources of information. These initiatives helped more than 500 European journalists verify content online and debunk 267 inaccurate stories shared on social during the French and German elections. 
  • Journalists across Europe used Google Trends to help visualize big political stories—here’s a peek at what they did. 
_DSC0327 (1).jpg
Journalists attending the European Journalism Centre News Impact Summit in Manchester, UK.

  • We continued to ramp up our efforts to train European journalists digital skills. We worked with The European Journalism Centre on the latest series of the News Impact Summit, providing large-scale training events on news gathering and storytelling, combined with design-thinking workshops for journalists in Rome, Hamburg, Budapest, Manchester and Brussels. And our partnership with Netzwerk Medien-Trainer has provided over a thousand journalists across northern Europe with expert training on data journalism, verification and mapping.

Asia Pacific

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 5.13.30 PM.png
Journalists from across Asia attend a session at our first News Lab Summit in APAC.

This year, we expanded our training and programs to the  Asia Pacific, where we’ve tailored our approach to meet the specific needs of journalists across this diverse landscape. In a part of the world that is largely mobile-first (or mobile-only) and chat apps are the norm, there are a unique set of opportunities and challenges for newsrooms.

  • In July, our first News Lab APAC Summit welcomed 180 guests from 150 news organizations across 15 countries to our offices in Singapore. Product specialists and experts from newsrooms across the region came together to share best practices, learn about emerging technologies, and engage in open dialogue on challenges critical to the news industry.
  • In India, our Teaching Fellow has provided training and support to around 4K journalists and journalism students across the country. Our partnership with the Digital Identities team helped journalists in New Delhi experiment and engage new audiences with their stories.
  • Working in partnership with News Lab, the South China Morning Post released an immersive virtual reality project to depict the changing landscape of Hong Kong over 170 years of history.
  • We’re working to support research projects that tackle industry challenges - working with Media Diversity Australia to quantify issues of diversity and representation in the Australian news organizations, while in South Korea we’re supporting a study about the use of chat apps and their role in the news ecosystem.

Latin America

xx
Journalists from across Brazil gathered for an open conversation on the future of news at our first News Lab Summit in Brazil.

Working with journalists across Latin America, we elevated new voices beyond traditional newsrooms, and helped established journalists experiment with new technology and research. In Brazil alone there are an estimated 139 million Internet users, providing a huge opportunity for news organizations to experiment and test new formats.

  • We hosted the first Google News Lab Summit in LatAm Google’s HQ in São Paulo, which convened 115 journalists from across Brazil. Attendees from 71 organizations heard from product managers and industry experts about data journalism, immersive storytelling and verification.
  • Impacto.jo, an experimental project in Brazil supported by the News Lab, helps journalists track the social impact of their reporting. As a part of the project, six organizations including Nexo JornalFolha de S. PauloVejaGazeta do PovoNova Escola and Projor will each track the public response and social reaction to their stories. 
  • In Brazil, we brought 300 journalists to a first-of-its-kind independent journalism festival in Rio de Janeiro to share ideas on how to engage audiences online with original journalism.
  • Our Teaching Fellows based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City have travelled beyond Argentina and Mexico to provide 75 workshops in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay

Middle East & Africa

We are focused on the growing number of mobile phone users, providing trainings for journalists on digital integration, as it remains a challenge in this part of the world.

  • We’re working with Code for Africa and the World Bank to provide training to six thousand journalists across 12 major African cities. Their online learning course will provide self-paced lessons for journalists across Africa. They’re also working to support local Hacks/Hackers meetings to bring journalists and developers together to share new ideas.
  • In South Africa, we held a GEN Editors Lab hackathon, in association with Code for Africa, that brought together 35 developers and journalists to tackle a range of topics including misinformation. This builds on our support for previous events in Nigeria. We’ll be taking the hackathons to Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Taiwan.
Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 5.28.02 PM.png
Journalists in Africa going through digital skills training.

A bulk of our in-person training work has been made possible by the Google News Lab Teaching Fellowship, which launched this year and enlists industry professionals, academic experts and experienced journalists to help us provide practical, in-person workshops and presentations across the world. In total, we hosted workshops, hackathons, and in-person trainings for 48K journalists across 52 countries.


Since we can’t be everywhere in-person, our online training center offers a round-the-clock service in 13 languages including Arabic, Polish, Hebrew and Hindi. We’re continuing to collaborate with training organizations around the world, and our growing Training Network now includes expert trainers in Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia Pacific. There’s plenty more to do in 2018 and we’re looking forward to working with journalists and newsrooms across the world.


News Lab in 2017: Our work around the world

This week we’re looking at how the Google News Lab is working with news organizations to build the future of journalism. So far, we shared how the News Lab works with newsrooms to address industry challenges and use emerging technologies. Today, we’ll take a look at the News Lab’s global footprint and its efforts to fuel innovation in newsrooms across the world.


Technology continues to change how journalists across the world report and tell stories. But how technology shapes journalism varies from region to region. This past year our team, the Google News Lab, conducted in-person trainings for journalists across 52 countries. Today, we take a look at the unique challenges of newsrooms in the regions we serve and how we’ve adapted our mission for each region to help build the future of journalism.

Europe

In Europe, it’s been another big year for politics with major general elections taking place in the Netherlands, France, UK, Germany and Norway. We wanted to ensure we were helping newsrooms cover these critical moments with the accuracy and depth they required. So, our efforts across these countries focused on helping newsrooms verify digital content in a timely fashion and providing training in digital skills for journalists.

  • We helped the First Draft Coalition pioneer new collaborative reporting models to combat misinformation and verify news stories during the UKFrench, and German elections. In France, we supported First Draft's launch of CrossCheck; a collaboration among 37 newsrooms to verify or debunk online stories during the election. In the build up to the elections in the UK and Germany, we also supported fact-checking organizations Full Fact and Correctiv to help newsrooms identify new sources of information. These initiatives helped more than 500 European journalists verify content online and debunk 267 inaccurate stories shared on social during the French and German elections. 
  • Journalists across Europe used Google Trends to help visualize big political stories—here’s a peek at what they did. 
_DSC0327 (1).jpg
Journalists attending the European Journalism Centre News Impact Summit in Manchester, UK.

  • We continued to ramp up our efforts to train European journalists digital skills. We worked with The European Journalism Centre on the latest series of the News Impact Summit, providing large-scale training events on news gathering and storytelling, combined with design-thinking workshops for journalists in Rome, Hamburg, Budapest, Manchester and Brussels. And our partnership with Netzwerk Medien-Trainer has provided over a thousand journalists across northern Europe with expert training on data journalism, verification and mapping.

Asia Pacific

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 5.13.30 PM.png
Journalists from across Asia attend a session at our first News Lab Summit in APAC.

This year, we expanded our training and programs to the  Asia Pacific, where we’ve tailored our approach to meet the specific needs of journalists across this diverse landscape. In a part of the world that is largely mobile-first (or mobile-only) and chat apps are the norm, there are a unique set of opportunities and challenges for newsrooms.

  • In July, our first News Lab APAC Summit welcomed 180 guests from 150 news organizations across 15 countries to our offices in Singapore. Product specialists and experts from newsrooms across the region came together to share best practices, learn about emerging technologies, and engage in open dialogue on challenges critical to the news industry.
  • In India, our Teaching Fellow has provided training and support to around 4K journalists and journalism students across the country. Our partnership with the Digital Identities team helped journalists in New Delhi experiment and engage new audiences with their stories.
  • Working in partnership with News Lab, the South China Morning Post released an immersive virtual reality project to depict the changing landscape of Hong Kong over 170 years of history.
  • We’re working to support research projects that tackle industry challenges - working with Media Diversity Australia to quantify issues of diversity and representation in the Australian news organizations, while in South Korea we’re supporting a study about the use of chat apps and their role in the news ecosystem.

Latin America

xx
Journalists from across Brazil gathered for an open conversation on the future of news at our first News Lab Summit in Brazil.

Working with journalists across Latin America, we elevated new voices beyond traditional newsrooms, and helped established journalists experiment with new technology and research. In Brazil alone there are an estimated 139 million Internet users, providing a huge opportunity for news organizations to experiment and test new formats.

  • We hosted the first Google News Lab Summit in LatAm Google’s HQ in São Paulo, which convened 115 journalists from across Brazil. Attendees from 71 organizations heard from product managers and industry experts about data journalism, immersive storytelling and verification.
  • Impacto.jo, an experimental project in Brazil supported by the News Lab, helps journalists track the social impact of their reporting. As a part of the project, six organizations including Nexo JornalFolha de S. PauloVejaGazeta do PovoNova Escola and Projor will each track the public response and social reaction to their stories. 
  • In Brazil, we brought 300 journalists to a first-of-its-kind independent journalism festival in Rio de Janeiro to share ideas on how to engage audiences online with original journalism.
  • Our Teaching Fellows based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City have travelled beyond Argentina and Mexico to provide 75 workshops in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay

Middle East & Africa

We are focused on the growing number of mobile phone users, providing trainings for journalists on digital integration, as it remains a challenge in this part of the world.

  • We’re working with Code for Africa and the World Bank to provide training to six thousand journalists across 12 major African cities. Their online learning course will provide self-paced lessons for journalists across Africa. They’re also working to support local Hacks/Hackers meetings to bring journalists and developers together to share new ideas.
  • In South Africa, we held a GEN Editors Lab hackathon, in association with Code for Africa, that brought together 35 developers and journalists to tackle a range of topics including misinformation. This builds on our support for previous events in Nigeria. We’ll be taking the hackathons to Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Taiwan.
Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 5.28.02 PM.png
Journalists in Africa going through digital skills training.

A bulk of our in-person training work has been made possible by the Google News Lab Teaching Fellowship, which launched this year and enlists industry professionals, academic experts and experienced journalists to help us provide practical, in-person workshops and presentations across the world. In total, we hosted workshops, hackathons, and in-person trainings for 48K journalists across 52 countries.


Since we can’t be everywhere in-person, our online training center offers a round-the-clock service in 13 languages including Arabic, Polish, Hebrew and Hindi. We’re continuing to collaborate with training organizations around the world, and our growing Training Network now includes expert trainers in Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia Pacific. There’s plenty more to do in 2018 and we’re looking forward to working with journalists and newsrooms across the world.


Fostering a love for reading among Indonesian kids

Siti Arofa teaches a first grade class at SD Negeri Sidorukan in Gresik, East Java. Many of her students start the school year without foundational reading skills or even an awareness of how fun books can be. But she noticed that whenever she read out loud using different expressions and voices, the kids would sit up and their faces would light up with excitement. One 6-year-old student, Keyla, loves repeating the stories with a full imitation of Siti’s expressions. Developing this love for stories and storytelling has helped Keyla and her classmates improve their reading and speaking skills. She’s just one child. Imagine the impact that the availability of books and skilled teachers can have on generations of schoolchildren.


In Indonesia today, it's estimated that for every 100 children who enter school, only 25 exit meeting minimum international standards of literacy and numeracy. This poses a range of challenges for a relatively young country, where nearly one-third of the population—or approximately 90 million people—are below the age of 15.  


To help foster a habit of reading, Google.org, as part of its $50M commitment to close global learning gaps, is supporting Inibudi, Room to Read and Taman Bacaan Pelangi, to reach 200,000 children across Indonesia.


We’ve consistently heard from Indonesian educators and nonprofits that there’s a need for more high-quality storybooks. With $2.5 million in grants, the nonprofits will create a free digital library of children's stories that anyone can contribute to. Many Googlers based in our Jakarta office have already volunteered their time to translate existing children’s stories into Bahasa Indonesia to increase the diversity of reading resources that will live on this digital platform.


The nonprofits will develop teaching materials and carry out teacher training in eastern Indonesia to enhance teaching methods that improve literacy, and they’ll also help Indonesian authors and illustrators to create more engaging books for children.   


Through our support of this work, we hope we can inspire a lifelong love of reading for many more students like Keyla.

Fostering a love for reading among Indonesian kids

Siti Arofa teaches a first grade class at SD Negeri Sidorukan in Gresik, East Java. Many of her students start the school year without foundational reading skills or even an awareness of how fun books can be. But she noticed that whenever she read out loud using different expressions and voices, the kids would sit up and their faces would light up with excitement. One 6-year-old student, Keyla, loves repeating the stories with a full imitation of Siti’s expressions. Developing this love for stories and storytelling has helped Keyla and her classmates improve their reading and speaking skills. She’s just one child. Imagine the impact that the availability of books and skilled teachers can have on generations of schoolchildren.


In Indonesia today, it's estimated that for every 100 children who enter school, only 25 exit meeting minimum international standards of literacy and numeracy. This poses a range of challenges for a relatively young country, where nearly one-third of the population—or approximately 90 million people—are below the age of 15.  


To help foster a habit of reading, Google.org, as part of its $50M commitment to close global learning gaps, is supporting Inibudi, Room to Read and Taman Bacaan Pelangi, to reach 200,000 children across Indonesia.


We’ve consistently heard from Indonesian educators and nonprofits that there’s a need for more high-quality storybooks. With $2.5 million in grants, the nonprofits will create a free digital library of children's stories that anyone can contribute to. Many Googlers based in our Jakarta office have already volunteered their time to translate existing children’s stories into Bahasa Indonesia to increase the diversity of reading resources that will live on this digital platform.


The nonprofits will develop teaching materials and carry out teacher training in eastern Indonesia to enhance teaching methods that improve literacy, and they’ll also help Indonesian authors and illustrators to create more engaging books for children.   


Through our support of this work, we hope we can inspire a lifelong love of reading for many more students like Keyla.


Photo credit: Room to Read


Source: Education


Opening the Google AI China Center

Since becoming a professor 12 years ago and joining Google a year ago, I’ve had the good fortune to work with many talented Chinese engineers, researchers and technologists. China is home to many of the world's top experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. All three winning teams of the ImageNet Challenge in the past three years have been largely composed of Chinese researchers. Chinese authors contributed 43 percent of all content in the top 100 AI journals in 2015—and when the Association for the Advancement of AI discovered that their annual meeting overlapped with Chinese New Year this year, they rescheduled.

I believe AI and its benefits have no borders. Whether a breakthrough occurs in Silicon Valley, Beijing or anywhere else, it has the potential to make everyone’s life better for the entire world. As an AI first company, this is an important part of our collective mission. And we want to work with the best AI talent, wherever that talent is, to achieve it.

That’s why I am excited to launch the Google AI China Center, our first such center in Asia, at our Google Developer Days event in Shanghai today. This Center joins other AI research groups we have all over the world, including in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich, all contributing towards the same goal of finding ways to make AI work better for everyone.

Focused on basic AI research, the Center will consist of a team of AI researchers in Beijing, supported by Google China’s strong engineering teams. We’ve already hired some top experts, and will be working to build the team in the months ahead (check our jobs site for open roles!). Along with Dr. Jia Li, Head of Research and Development at Google Cloud AI, I’ll be leading and coordinating the research. Besides publishing its own work, the Google AI China Center will also support the AI research community by funding and sponsoring AI conferences and workshops, and working closely with the vibrant Chinese AI research community.

Humanity is going through a huge transformation thanks to the phenomenal growth of computing and digitization. In just a few years, automatic image classification in photo apps has become a standard feature. And we’re seeing rapid adoption of natural language as an interface with voice assistants like Google Home. At Cloud, we see our enterprise partners using AI to transform their businesses in fascinating ways at an astounding pace. As technology starts to shape human life in more profound ways, we will need to work together to ensure that the AI of tomorrow benefits all of us. 

The Google AI China Center is a small contribution to this goal. We look forward to working with the brightest AI researchers in China to help find solutions to the world’s problems. 

Once again, the science of AI has no borders, neither do its benefits.