Tag Archives: Google in Europe

Visit Anne Frank’s childhood home on Google Arts & Culture

“I hope I can entrust you with everything that I haven't been able to share with anyone, and I hope you will be a great support to me." These are the first words Anne Frank wrote in the diary she received on her thirteenth birthday. Three weeks later, the Frank family went into hiding. Since then, the story of Anne has moved people across the globe who want to learn more about her life.

Google Arts & Culture has worked with the Anne Frank House to shed a light on Anne’s life at Merwedeplein 37-2 in Amsterdam, where her family lived before they went into hiding. In honor of what would have been her 90th birthday, you can explore an online exhibit and indoor Street View imagery of Anne’s childhood home. For the first time it will be possible to view all rooms of the flat to get a unique insight into Anne Frank's home that has been restored to its original 1930s style, including the bedroom that she shared with her sister Margot.

The accompanying online exhibit  features precious insights and documents such as the only video of Anne known to exist—taken by pure coincidence at a wedding—as well as the only picture of her an her parents and sister.

The former home of the Frank family has been leased to the Dutch Foundation for Literature since 2005 and serves as a temporary home and workplace for refugee writers who cannot work freely in their own country. “It is a place where freedom, tolerance and freedom of expression are given the space to breathe,” says Ronald Leopold, general director of the Anne Foundation. The house was decorated in the style of the 1930s when the Frank family lived there.

Learn more about Anne Frank and discover of the treasures, stories and knowledge of over 2000 cultural institutions from 80 countries on Google Arts & Culture or via our iOS or Android app.

Preparing students and teachers for the jobs of the future

49-year-old primary school teacher Daiva Gaučytė is always looking for inspiration to make her computer science lessons more fun and relevant. But with minimal computer science knowledge, there was only so much she could do to teach her students this critical skill. When she heard about a course funded by Google and run by the Lithuanian Computer Society, she decided to give it a shot—now Daiva confidently uses CS Unplugged and engaging techniques to effectively teach her students.

It's becoming more important for teachers like Daiva to incorporate digital skills in the classroom. In fact, the European Commission predicts that in the next 10 to 15 years, 90 percent of all jobs will require some level of digital skills. In order to equip today's students for future jobs and opportunities, we’re giving €413,000 to 24 universities and nonprofits this year. With this funding, these institutions will deliver localized computer science professional development programs to 22,000 primary and secondary school teachers.

GwG EMEA 2019_Teachers.jpg

These grants are part of Grow with Google’s mission to create more economic opportunity for everyone and our commitment to helping an additional one million people in Europe find a job, grow their business or build their career by 2020.

Since 2009, our Computer Science Education grants have enabled nonprofits to provide professional development opportunities for teachers across the region. To date, we saw grant awardees provide professional learning opportunities for 34,500 teachers at all levels, which in turn reached more than 800,000 students.

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Students at Cheshire East Libraries UK, ECW awardee 2018

In addition to these professional development grants, we’re partnering with the European Commission for the sixth consecutive year to offer grants during the EU Code Week, which brings coding and digital literacy to 36,000 school children in Europe in a fun and engaging way. These grants amount to €186,000, given to 33 schools and nonprofits in Europe who will deliver computer science hands-on activities for 236,000 students.

In 2018 we funded 25 organizations in 21 countries, impacting 77,000 students. In the words of one such organization, Wesseling Digital from Germany, the grant "has helped us create three new courses for children and teens in our hometown of Wesseling. We are happy that we received the chance to develop new courses, which are now growing ever since we receive the initial grant. Every year we celebrate this by participating in the European Code of Week and will continue to deliver our part in improving the digital skills of kids in our region."

To encourage and help more organizations like Wesseling Digital, we’ll keep working with our partners—schools, research institutions, NGOs and more—to deliver training that helps create more opportunity for all. Here’s a full list of the 2019 awardees.

Tools to help you vote in the EU elections

You probably turn to the web to get information about an election before casting your vote—and you want to get to the important stuff quickly, like learning more about your candidates and understanding how to cast your ballot. To help you find the information you need about the European Parliamentary elections, we’ve introduced a set of useful features across Search in the European Union.  

Helping EU citizens find election information in Search

When you search for instructions for how to vote in your country, you now see those details right on the results page. We source this data directly fromthe European Parliament to ensure you get trusted information.

Example of voting requirements that appear in Search

Example of voting requirements that appear in Search

New ways for candidates and parties to reach voters

Supporting the electoral process also means helping voters learn more about their choices in the elections by providing accurate information about candidates, political parties, and their key priorities. The German Press Agency (dpa) provides us with information from electoral commissions in each EU country on candidates and parties running in the elections. This information appears within Knowledge Panels—dedicated spaces with key information about those parties and politicians when you search for their names.

Candidates who claim their Knowledge Panels have been able to submit a brief statement outlining their electoral platform, a set of top three policy priorities, and links to relevant social media profiles. All is visible right inside the Knowledge Panel in the local language of the candidate. Political parties running in the EU elections are also able to claim ownership of their panels and use Posts on Google to provide updates in the form of videos, text, or event listings, again available right on Search.

Bringing more transparency to election advertising online

To help people better understand the election ads they see online, earlier this year we outlined a new process to verify advertisers for the EU Parliamentary elections. These verified election ads also incorporate a clear “paid for by” disclosure. We recently launched our EU political advertising transparency report, which includes a library of election ads that appear across Google, YouTube and and partner properties. We’ve made this data downloadable, so researchers and journalists can easily use and analyze the content.

With these tools, we hope that it will be easier to get the information you need in order to vote in the EU elections.

Europe talks: helping Europeans get to know each other better

Starting tomorrow, Europeans will cast their votes to elect their members of the European Parliament. In an increasingly polarized world, Europeans are less likely to understand the points of view of someone from a different city or with opposite political views. But this understanding is essential to a healthy political discourse.

The German news website Zeit Online, with technical and financial support from Google, wanted to bridge the gap. Together with 15 other European media outlets like Der Standard (Austria), Efimerida Ton Syntakton (Greece), Financial Times (UK), Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), La Repubblica (Italy) and Politiken (Denmark), ZEIT ONLINE created “Europe talks,” a platform that brings together thousands of Europeans with diverse views to debate politics. The idea behind “Europe talks” is simple: diverse opinions make conversations more interesting and foster mutual understanding.

Europe Talks Map

Each circle on the map corresponds to a city. The size of the dot represents the size of the group who participated in Europe talks.

In total, almost 6,000 people held a cross-border debate in person or video conference on May 11. People of all ages traveled far and wide to participate: two debate partners traveled a combined distance of 4,000 kilometers for the debate, and the oldest participant was 91 years old. 500 participants met their debate partner in person at the kick-off event held at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. The event included prominent guests like ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti; Philippe Van Parijs, philosopher at the University of Louvain; or Yasmine Ouirhrane, “Young European of the Year 2019.“ ZEIT ONLINE wrapped up ten of the many interesting conversations.

Participants at Europe talks

Here are two participants at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels.

Europe talks stems from “My Country Talks,” a project initiated by ZEIT ONLINE. Since 2017, we provided funding to build the technology that powered My Country Talks, which matches people to debate, based on a questionnaire and the country they live in. Since then, nearly 80,000 people people with diverse political views have participated. Now when Europeans head to vote in the coming days, hopefully they’ll know their region and their neighbors a bit better than before.

Street View cars measure Amsterdam’s air quality

The quality of the air we breathe has a major impact on our health. Even in Amsterdam, a city where bikes make up 36 percent of the traffic, the average life span is cut short by a year as a result of polluted air. Information about air quality at the street level can help pinpoint areas where the quality is poor, which is useful for all types of people—whether you’re a bicyclist on your daily commute, a parent taking your children to a local park, or an urban planner designing new communities.

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A Street View car in Amsterdam.

Project Air View

Building on efforts in London and Copenhagen, Google and the municipality of Amsterdam are now working together to gain insight into the city’s air quality at the street level. Amsterdam already measures air quality at several points around the city. Information from two of our Street View cars in Project Air View will augment the measurements from these fixed locations, to yield a more detailed street-by-street picture of the city’s air quality.

To take the measurements, the Street View cars will be equipped with air sensors to measure nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, ultra-fine dust and soot (extremely small particles that are hardly ever measured). Scientists from Utrecht University are equipping the air sensors into the vehicles, and working with the municipality and Google to plan the routes for driving and lead the data validation and analysis. Once the data validation and analysis is complete, we’ll share helpful insights with the public, so that everyone—citizens, scientists, authorities and organizations—can make more informed decisions.

This research can spread awareness about air pollution and help people take action. For example, if the research shows differences in air quality between certain areas in the city, people could adjust their bike route or choose another time to exercise. Our hope is that small changes like this can help improve overall quality of life. For more information about Project Air View, visit g.co/earth/airquality.

A global hub for privacy engineering, in the heart of Europe

Last week at I/O, our annual developer conference in California, I shared how we’re working to build a more helpful Google for everyone. Keeping people safe online, and their information private and secure, is a big part of how we do this. We believe that privacy and safety must be equally available to everyone in the world, and we bring that to life with products that empower everyone with clear and meaningful choices around their data.

To build on that commitment, this week, we’re officially opening the Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) in Munich, Germany. We’re growing our operations and doubling the number of privacy engineers in Munich to more than 200 by the end of 2019, making Germany a global hub for Google’s cross-product privacy engineering efforts. The team will work hand-in-hand with privacy specialists in Google offices across Europe and globally, and the products built there will be used around the world.

It’s no accident that we’re building our privacy hub in the heart of Europe, and in a country that in many ways reflects how Europeans think about online safety, privacy and security. Many of our privacy products have been built in Munich, including Google Account, a central place where you can control your privacy when you use Google products. Today, more than 20 million people visit Google Account every day to review their settings, using tools like Privacy Checkup, which provides a quick and easy walk-through of your privacy settings.

Our Munich-based privacy engineers have also made it easier for you to make decisions about your data by making privacy controls easy to find, without ever leaving the app. This capability is already in Search, and we’re rolling it out to Maps, the Assistant and YouTube, too.  

Building privacy and security into the core of our products doesn’t just mean keeping people safe while using Google’s products—it also means keeping people safe when they browse the web. Munich is also home to engineering teams who have built our privacy and security features into the Chrome browser—like enhanced password management and tools and improvements for our cookie controls.

This is a major milestone in our investments in Europe. Since 2007, we’ve grown in Munich to more than 750 people, hailing from more than 60 countries. We’ll continue to invest in all parts of our operation, including the GSEC team. This year’s expansion will take us beyond 1,000 employees for the first time, making the office a true global hub not only for privacy engineering, but for research and product development, as well.

We’re also working to empower more organizations to do this important work with a new Google Impact Challenge on Safety. It’s a 10 million euro grant fund to support nonprofits, universities, academic research institutions, for-profit social enterprises and other organizations that are already working across Europe on a range of safety issues, from keeping young people safe online to addressing hate crimes in their communities.

These announcements mark a significant step forward in making privacy and security a reality for everyone, and we’re excited our teams in Munich are leading the way.

Supporting the vital work of European safety organizations

All of us have a responsibility to help keep people safe online. At Google that means doing all we can to make our products safe and combat abuse of our platforms. It also means thinking beyond just our corner of the internet and supporting the work of others in Europe.

That’s why we’re launching a €10 million European grant fund—the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety—to support nonprofits, universities, academic research institutions, for-profit social enterprises and other expert organisations across Europe working on safety issues. These organisations might be focused on tackling hate and extremism in their communities, or helping young people stay safe online. They’re working on topics that don’t necessarily start when you open a laptop or end when you close one, but where technology can still play a role.

Through a long partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), we’ve already started on this work. It’s crucial for us to support and partner with safety experts on the ground who are working to foster a safer online experience. These organizations might need funding to develop new ways to use technology to solve age-old problems. Other groups might need more resources to help deal with areas where technology has added a new dimension to an existing topic, like education. In both cases, we’ll open up access to funding and scope volunteer opportunities for Googlers to support expert organizations across Europe.

Learning from experts is key to our ongoing work to make our own products safer and help people enjoy all the web has to offer, safely and with confidence. Our partnership with ISD and our Google.org Innovation Fund in the U.K. led to the creation of new programs and technologies designed to keep people safer on and offline, and build empathy and tolerance. Take KO Racism by Limehouse Boxing Academy, which runs boxing workshops with a twist: each session includes an open discussion about racism and prejudice supplemented with impactful videos. Or Virtual Inclusion by The Open University, which uses virtual reality to immerse the viewer in a day in the life of a socially-discriminated young person, and ultimately builds trust and empathy. We’ve seen real impact with this fund and partnership on a U.K. level and now we want to achieve even more at the European level. Already our existing partnerships with expert safety organizations in Europe mean we’ve been able to train well over 1 million young people through our Be Internet Awesome and Be Internet Citizens safety programs in 2018.

So now, we’ll offer grants of up to €1,000,000 to selected applicants from across Europe, and we’ll consider both online and offline projects. We’ll be running events and workshops from May onwards in countries around Europe to engage with organizations and support their application processes. Applications are now open and grant applications will be reviewed by an expert board of European safety experts and thought-leaders, including Helle Thorning Schmidt, outgoing Save the Children CEO; Renske van der Veer, director of the Netherlands’ International Centre for Counter Terrorism; and Thomas Krüger, President of Germany’s Federal Agency for Civic Education. We understand our responsibility to drive a free, open and safer internet and we’re honored to support this important work to make meaningful progress together.

Grow with Google: ten million people trained, here’s what’s next

This year, we’re celebrating 30 years of the world wide web, at a moment when half the world's population is online. While the web creates more opportunity than ever before, it's also changing the way we work. In the next 10 to 15 years, 90 percent of all jobs will require some level of digital skills, leading to a skills gap. New jobs will be created from technology, but it’s also estimated that 14 percent could be replaced by automation and another 32 percent are set to change radically in terms of their scope and focus.  

That's why we launched Grow with Google: free training, products and tools designed to help people find a job, advance their career or grow their business. In 2015, I was excited (and nervous) to announce our goal of training one million Europeans by the end of 2016. At the time, we didn’t know if we could reach as many as one million people.

We’ve been blown away by the demand and and inspired by the achievements of so many of the people who took the training. Four years later, Grow with Google has reached job seekers, business owners, teachers, developers and students in more than 80 countries around the world. As of today, we've trained five million people in Europe and five million people across Africa and the Middle East, bringing us to a total of 10 million people who have participated in training across these regions alone.

Graphic 10 million

10 million people trained across Europe, the Middle East and Africa 

This training is making a difference. Since 2016, 45 percent of Digital Workshop trainees reported they’d found a job, accelerated their career or grown their business by hiring new staff or increasing revenue (from IPSOS research). In Europe, 48 percent of the people trained were women; a quarter were unemployed and 90 percent of business trainees came from small businesses. This scale of impact has led to recognition and awards from the European Commission and others.  

I’ve attended many training sessions and events in different countries over the last four years. I’ve heard from people like Segun Abodunrin from Nigeria, who went from being unemployed to founding his own agency as a result of our Digital Skills for Africa training. And we’ve seen success stories from people like Loubna, Donia and Youcef, three chefs who set up the catering company Meet my Mama with help from our French Grow with Google program Google Ateliers Numériques. They’ve now provided catering at more than 350 business events, creating work for 30 women.

So many of these stories show how anyone with internet access and the right set of skills can create a global business or start a new career. We want to do more for them. So we’ve committed to help an additional one million more people in Europe find a job, grow their business or build their career by 2020 as well as training an additional 10 million people in Africa.

To make that a reality, we need to do more to help people access training. Research tells us that people in jobs most at risk from automation do less training than those at low risk, so we’re expanding our programs and offerings to better reach those people. This includes partnering with Trade Unions in the Netherlands to reach workers in logistics and transportation, helping women build business confidence with IAmRemarkable and using AI to help people find jobs with our Recommendation Engine. We’re also continuing to build products that help people find a job, attract new customers, expand globally and harness the power of AI.

Nothing that Grow with Google aims to do in the coming years would be possible without the expertise of our many partners. We’re grateful to them all, from e-learning experts like FutureLearn and Udacity, to collaboration with many universities, governments, chambers of commerce, city authorities, unions and others. We’ll be working with our partners to develop new types of training to provide the right skills for tomorrow’s workforce. According to the latest World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, these skills range from technology design and programming to critical thinking and emotional intelligence.

Governments, businesses, educators and communities will need to work ever more closely to equip workers for success and to create new opportunities for work to benefit society. It’s our shared responsibility to help make technology and the web work for everyone. At Google, we’ve learned so much from training ten million bright and determined people and we’re inspired by their achievements to play our part for the long term.

EU Political Advertising Transparency Report 2019

To help people better understand the election ads they see online and support the integrity of elections, earlier this year we implemented a new process to verify advertisers for the EU Parliamentary election. We also require that these verified election ads incorporate a clear “paid for by” disclosure. Today, we are expanding our portfolio of transparency reports to include an EU Political Advertising on Google  Transparency Report to show voters who is purchasing election ads on Google in the EU and how much money is being spent. This report includes a searchable election Ad Library that provides valuable data such as which ad had the highest impressions, what the latest election ads running on the Google platform are, and how the ads are targeted in terms of age, gender, and location.

Anyone can access and use this information, which is searchable, so users can easily sort through the data. This report will be updated weekly to capture verified election ads that have one or more impression.

As with our U.S. and India election advertising Transparency Reports, the data from the EU election advertising Transparency Report and Ad Library will be available for anyone with an interest in transparency soon afterwards on Google Cloud's BigQuery. Using BigQuery’s API, researchers, political watchdogs and private citizens can write code and run their own unique queries on this data set to develop charts, graphs, tables or other visualizations of election advertising on Google platforms.

Supporting elections around the world is hugely important to us. We’ll continue to work in partnership with the EU through its Code of Practice on Disinformation, including by publishing regular reports about our work to prevent abuse, as well as with governments, law enforcement, others in our industry and the NGO community to strengthen protections around elections, protect users, and help combat disinformation. 

More ways to find authoritative information in Europe

Providing useful and trusted information online is a complex and important responsibility, especially around elections. Our aim is to build helpful tools that get you to the information you’re looking for. As we get closer to the EU Parliamentary elections, alongside our broader package of support, we’re making it easier to help you access quality content online. We’re also working in partnership with fact checking organizations to support a healthy news ecosystem online, as well as helping voters get the information they need more broadly.

Making quality count in more countries in Europe

On Google Search, we make algorithmic updates every day to ensure we surface authoritative content that’s useful to you. On YouTube, too, we’ve invested in new product features to make authoritative sources more prominent, including launching Top News and Breaking News in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and more. These features make it easier for you to find news from verified sources by highlighting videos in the Top News shelf, or showing the Breaking News shelf on the YouTube homepage for key news events.

We’re working on bringing these features to more European countries in the coming weeks and months. We’ll also be launching publisher transparency labels on YouTube in even more countries across Europe, including the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. These labels will appear on the YouTube videos from channels of news publishers who receive government or public funding. Our goal here is to equip you with more information to help you better understand the sources of news content that you choose to watch on YouTube.

A focus on the EU elections on Google News

For those hungry for EU election-related news, there’s a specific destination in Google News to get you to the top journalism on the election topics you care about, faster. You’ll see a dedicated “2019 European elections” topic for countries where Google News is available in Europe, pulling in the latest election news coverage in your country and across the European Union.

A screenshot of the “2019 European elections” tab in Google News.

Supporting elections news coverage with Google Trends

You can also stay close to the pulse of the EU elections through Google Trends—the tool that helps surface the top questions, issues and most-searched candidates running in the elections. We’re working closely with news partners across Europe to surface Google Trends data and support data-driven stories on the latest topics related to the election. We’ve also created a dedicated Google Trends EU Election hub for Germany, France and the U.K.

New tools for fact checkers

We recently launched two tools to help fact checkers work more efficiently and effectively. When publishers write a fact check article, they can tag the article with information about the fact check—for example, what was the claim being assessed, who made the claim, what was the verdict and more. Adding a tag, or “ClaimReview,” to a fact-check article allows search engines and social media platforms to easily recognize that it’s a fact-checking article, meaning it will show up that way in news and search results.

The Fact Check Markup tool makes the process of tagging fact checking content using the ClaimReview even easier for reporters. Similarly, the new Fact Check Explorer helps journalists find fact checking articles for various topics through a simple search function–it is also available to all interested members of the public. The APIs for these tools are open, so developers can build their own applications to assist fact checkers around the world.

Partnerships and support for fact check organizations

Driving a healthy news ecosystem online and combating misinformation means forging partnerships with industry organizations. We’re working with First Draft, an organization we’ve supported since they were founded in 2015. As part of the Google News Initiative, we’ve supported four verification training events—two-day intensive workshops—for hundreds of journalists in Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid and Milan. Journalists were provided with training on digital verification techniques and given access to use CrossCheck, a First Draft platform which helps journalists debunk misinformation and share their findings.

We’re also supporting the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to launch FactCheckEU, a collaborative effort with 19 European fact-checking outlets to tackle disinformation and hoaxes. Organizations from 13 countries will share their work ahead of the elections in May, making their analysis publicly available in 10 different languages, with everything repeated in English.

A grid of logos of 19 European news outlets.

19 European media outlets are participating in FactCheck EU.

We’re also providing digital tools and verification workshops across each of the 28 member states. In the last four years, the Google News Lab has trained 65,000 journalists in-person across Europe, and in the last four months alone we’ve supported 4,800 journalists to strengthen their newsgathering and research skills. Workshops have included tips on digital safety and security. For those unable to make the session in-person, the online training center is always available.

People seated in a classroom, in rows and in front of computers.

Journalists attending a Google News Lab workshop in Helsinki, Finland.

This is just a snapshot of our work around the EU Parliamentary elections. By partnering with trusted fact checking organizations, these new tools can help voters get and stay informed, better understand the political advertising they see and scrutinize and understand rival claims throughout the elections.