Tag Archives: Google in Europe

Find a better balance with our tips for Digital Wellbeing

A good tool should make your life easier. That’s as true in the digital world as it is anywhere else. Today, people use digital tools to simplify and speed up tasks from finding a playground for their children to checking the weather forecast, giving them more space to focus on what matters most to them. Technology is transforming the way we spend time, and our Digital Wellbeing efforts can help you make the most of that time—so that technology fits comfortably into your life, without the unwanted distractions. On Pixel, Android, YouTube, Family Link and Gmail, we’ve already released new tools and features to help people better balance their lives. But our products are only part of the story.

To get the word out about healthy habits, we created a new series of Digital Wellbeing videos as part of Google’s Digital Workshop. Each video encourages you to think about how you use technology and suggests ways to find the right balance for you. Because Digital Wellbeing means something different for each of us, we’ve partnered with a team of psychologists, anthropologists and mindfulness experts. There are medical professionals, like Mario Alonso Puig, recognized worldwide for his studies on brain activity, and educators like Greta Rossi, co-founder of Recipes for Wellbeing. By drawing on each of their perspectives, the series takes an honest look at the way we live with tech, from how smartphone notifications affect productivity, to exploring how to set physical boundaries for  technology use, and the ways you can become more self-aware of your online habits.

This course is just the beginning of a wide range of educational materials we’re working on, covering topics from how kids use technology to how to manage mobile phone usage. In the coming months, we’ll make the new course available in more than 30 languages across 64 countries.The next time you need to find a better balance–whether you want to disconnect on your vacation or reduce the number of distractions in your day—check out the videos.

Some changes to our service model in Europe

Today, we started notifying our users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland about some changes we’re making to how we provide our services.  These changes will be reflected in updates to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy that you can read now, but that will come into effect on January 22, 2019.

The first change we’re making is that for users based in the EEA and Switzerland, Google Ireland Limited—based in Dublin, where Google has its European headquarters—will become the “service provider” responsible for most of our consumer services, from Search to Gmail to Maps and beyond. These changes will be reflected in our general Terms of Service, where the “service provider” that offers these services is currently Google LLC, based in the U.S. We are also making similar changes in the separate terms for Drive, Play, YouTube, and YouTube Paid Service.

We’re also making a number of updates to Google’s Privacy Policy. The most important of these is that Google Ireland Limited will become the “data controller” legally responsible for EEA and Swiss users’ information. This means that Google Ireland Limited becomes responsible for responding to requests for its user data, including from EU law enforcement, consistent with Irish law. It is also responsible for compliance with applicable privacy laws, including Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We’re making the data controller change to facilitate engagement with EU data protection authorities via the GDPR’s “One Stop Shop” mechanism, which was created to ensure consistency of regulatory decisions for companies and EU citizens.

It’s important to note these changes do not in any way alter how our products work or how we collect or process user data within our services. Nothing changes about your current settings, and you will continue to have granular control over the data you share with us when you use our services. And of course, we remain fully committed to compliance with the GDPR across all of the services we provide in the European Union.

Proposed copyright rules: bad for small publishers, European consumers and online services

Copyright rules give news publishers rights over how their work is used. Europe is updating these rules for this digital age, and that’s a move Google supports. But the European Parliament’s version of a new copyright directive -specifically Article 11 and its recital 32- will have unintended consequences for smaller news publishers, limit innovation in journalism and reduce choice for European consumers. We urgently call on policymakers to fix this in the final text of the directive.


Let us be clear on one thing: Article 11 seeks to protect journalists and their work, and we agree with that goal. We care deeply about supporting the broader news industry because journalism is critical to the functioning of a free democracy. And we built Google to provide everyone with equal access to information.

However, Article 11 could change that principle and require online services to strike commercial deals with publishers to show hyperlinks and short snippets of news. This means that search engines, news aggregators, apps, and platforms would have to put commercial licences in place, and make decisions about which content to include on the basis of those licensing agreements and which to leave out.

Effectively, companies like Google will be put in the position of picking winners and losers. Online services, some of which generate no revenue (for instance, Google News) would have to make choices about which publishers they’d do deals with. Presently, more than 80,000 news publishers around the world can show up in Google News, but Article 11 would sharply reduce that number. And this is not just about Google, it’s unlikely any business will be able to license every single news publisher in the European Union, especially given the very broad definition being proposed.

This would mostly benefit larger players. One analysis hasforecast that in Germany, small publishers would receive less than 1% of the revenue generated by a so-called ancillary copyright -- whereas the largest publishing group alone would receive 64%. Smaller newsrooms and overall online news diversity will be impacted as a result.

Because so much of the conversation in Brussels is driven by larger publishing organizations, the small publishers who raise this concern are not heard. Why are large influential companies constraining how new and small publishers operate? Particularly at a time when news business models continue to evolve, new, small, and innovative publishers need flexibility. The proposed rules will undoubtedly hurt diversity of voices, with large publishers setting business models for the whole industry. This will not benefit all equally.

Not only might this harm individual news publishers, it also seriously risks reducing consumers’ ability to discover and access a diversity of views and opinions. Unlike people in other parts of the world, European citizens may no longer find the most relevant news across the web, but rather the news that online services have been able to commercially license. We believe the information we show should be based on quality, not on payment. And we believe it’s not in the interest of European citizens to change that.

Today we drive economic value to publishers by sending people to news sites over 10 billion times a month. That free traffic has enabled many smaller or emerging publishers to get discovered, grow a business, and find success online. A Deloitte study found that each user visit was worth on average between €0.04 and €0.08 to publishers. That means real business value to European publishers, every year.


We recognize the news industry is undergoing substantial change as publishers around the world transition to digital. We’ve been working with EU institutions to develop workable solutions that benefit journalists and publishers. We’ve invested in creating tools to help publishers increase subscription revenue and enable mobile sites to be much faster, so that they can grow their audiences and their revenue. Thousands of news publishers use Google advertising services where they retain 70% and more of the revenue that’s generated.


There is a way to avoid the unintended consequences of Article 11. The copyright directive should give all publishers the right to control their own business models and destiny by giving them the choice to waive the need for a commercial license for their content. Publishers – big and small – should continue to be able to make their own choices about how their content can be discovered and how they want to make money with that content. The exact language of the new rules is being determined in the next few weeks. Now is not the time to stifle innovation in news or limit access to quality journalism.

New partners and courses to develop tomorrow’s workforce

At Google, we’re committed to creating more opportunity for everyone. Through our Grow with Google initiative, we’ve trained 7.5 million people in Europe, the Middle East and Africa on digital skills since 2015. But we’re doing more than just training—we want to help people put these new skills to use, which is why we’ve also committed to helping 1 million Europeans find a job or grow their business by 2020.

To reach this commitment, we offer free online and offline courses through Google Digital Garage across 64 countries. Up until now, digital marketing has been the core of our training, but as the nature of work changes and the demand for a broader set of both technical and soft skills grows, we believe it’s critical to incorporate these skills into our programs.

New courses to help people succeed in the workplace

We're partnering with FutureLearn, The Open University, OpenClassrooms and Goodwill Community Foundation, leading providers of online education, to expand our current modules with new training on soft skills. These include social and emotional skills, such as communicating with others, motivating and influencing teams and colleagues, and making decisions under pressure; skills crucial for success in any career and increasingly valued by employers, according to the latest research from the World Economic Forum.

Here’s a closer look at the courses we're launching today:

  • Learn techniques for public speaking : Learn how to plan and deliver presentations that capture the attention of your listeners, whether it’s sharing a business plan or motivating your employees or colleagues.

  • Communicate your ideas through storytelling and design: Ideas become more powerful when they’re shared. This course will help you discover simple tools like mind maps, storyboards and storytelling to help you engage people with ideas.

  • Business communications: Learn how to craft clear, well-structured emails, presentations or reports.

  • Effective networking: Whether you’re running a business, looking for a job, or ready for that next career move, learning how to network is key. In this course, we will introduce you to the principles of networking, to help you develop your professional brand.

In the coming months, alongside our partners, we’ll make the new courses available on Google Digital Garage in more than 30 languages in 64 countries.

Get certified with Google Digital Garage

We know that when looking for a job, certifications are often essential in demonstrating acquired skills to potential employers. Today, The Open University, the largest academic institution in the UK, a leading European university, and a world leader in flexible distance learning, is adding their high-quality accreditation to our Google Digital Marketing Certificate. The certificate, already accredited by IAB Europe, provides jobseekers with a tangible way to demonstrate their skills, and is awarded to learners completing the free online training course available at Google Digital Garage.


By partnering with leading providers of online education, we are confident we will have a greater impact in helping learners and businesses gain new skills and training for the workplace. We look forward to expanding our collaboration with industry partners to help even more people grow their skills and see their careers or businesses thrive.

Supporting future computer scientists across Europe

Research shows that more than 65 percent of today’s students will work in jobs that don’t even exist yet—and those future roles will require a new set of digital skills. Over the past decade, the European Commission has made it a priority to increase access to learning programs that will help prepare people for these new jobs. Our Grow with Google initiative has been a part of that by helping 431,000 people across Europe learn new Computer Science (CS) skills.

But developing these new skills doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve caught up with a few of the teachers and students who have participated in Grow with Google’s efforts in Ireland, Romania and Germany to hear more about how these programs have impacted their computer science journeys.

Promoting learning in Ireland schools with Trinity Access 21 Program

Equipping teachers with better educational tools goes a long way to improve students’ digital skills. Since 2014, we’ve worked with Trinity College Dublin to design and launch a new postgraduate certificate in 21st Century Teaching and Learning for in-service teachers. The Trinity Access 21 Program provides workshops and hands-on sessions to help teachers deliver courses in beginner, intermediate and advanced level computer programming and computer systems. To date, more than 250 teachers have completed or are currently completing the postgraduate certificate, with more than 30 teachers progressing to Master’s and Ph.D. level studies.

Deirdre Brennan, a teacher who has been teaching science for over 17 years in Dublin, completed her 21st Century Teaching and Learning postgraduate certificate in 2017. She says: “The certificate gave me a framework and guidance for leading a tinkering-based coding club—which was teacher-facilitated and student-led—in my school at the time. This learning environment created an opportunity for my students to socialize and grow.”

Creating opportunities with Romania’s “Infoeducatie" CS contest

In Romania, we’ve worked with the Romanian Computer Science Teachers' Association (UPIR) for the past seven years to hold the annual Infoeducatie competition. Students across the country are invited to learn new skills and develop educational and utility software, web applications, multimedia projects and robots in order to win certificates and prizes. The final stage of the competition takes place every year at the Gălăciuc camp, where teams of contestants collaborate to design and build software applications.

romania

Students at the Infoeducatie competition in Romania.

Competitions like Gălăciuc camp provide an opportunity for young people to receive feedback and recognition for their learning, and many participate more than once. Robert Dolca, now a software engineer working at Uber, competed in the event three times while in high school. He says, "For me, InfoEducatie has been an opportunity to challenge myself and learn. We met passionate and talented people, and we received constructive feedback on our projects.”

Inspiring young people to learn computer science with BwInf in Germany

Since 2010, we’ve worked with Bundeswettbewerb Informatik (BwInf), Germany's national CS competition, to introduce young people to the subject and inspire them to use digital technologies creatively. Jochen Eisinger, for example, competed in BwInf contests numerous times at school before deciding computer science was what he wanted to pursue at university. Today, he manages a number of teams working on Google Chrome. He credits the program with sparking his passion for computer science and confirming his choice to study it: "I learned about BwInf from a poster somebody put up in my school. Over the years, I learned more about computer science and finally won the finals of the 18th BwInf—after five years of trying!"

BwInf

BwInf participants, visiting the Google office in Munich.

We're excited to see how these projects empower future generations of computer scientists. Interest in CS skills training continues to grow across the European continent, and by providing a combination of online and offline educational resources and supporting these long-term initiatives, Grow with Google is proud to work with partners to help students and teachers learn and grow.

Supporting the European Union Parliamentary Elections

In May 2019, up to 350 million voters across the European Union will take to the polls to elect 705 Members of European Parliament (MEPs). To support this democratic process, we’re rolling out products and programs to help people get the information they need to cast their votes. Here are three ways we’ll be providing support:


Getting voters the information they need

We know that in the build-up to elections, people need useful and relevant information to help them navigate the electoral process. You may have come across Google’s Search tools for past elections in countries like Germany and around the world, where we highlighted information that helped people understand and participate in those elections. For the EU Parliamentary elections in 2019, we’ll be working with data from Election Commissions across the member states to make authoritative electoral information available and help people find the info they need to get out and vote.


Helping voters better understand the political advertising they see

To bring people more information about the election ads they see across Google’s ad networks, we’ll require that ads that mention a political party, candidate or current officeholder make it clear to voters who’s paying for the advertising. We’ll also introduce a new process to verify EU election advertisers to make sure they are who they say they are. And there’s more to come: we’ll introduce an EU-specific Election Ads Transparency Report and searchable ad library to provide more information about who is purchasing election ads, whom they’re targeted to, and how much money is being spent. Our goal is to make this information as accessible and useful as possible to citizens, practitioners, and researchers.


Protecting election information online

In addition to new political advertising transparency tools, we’re continuing our critical investments in keeping our own platforms secure and are working with campaigns, elections officials, journalists, human rights organizations and others across the EU to ensure the security of the online platforms that they depend on.


For the EU 2019 Parliamentary elections, we’re offering in-person security training to the most vulnerable groups, who face increased risks of phishing attacks. We’ll be walking them through Google’s Advanced Protection Program, our strongest level of account security and Project Shield, a free service that uses Google technology to protect news sites and free expression from DDoS attacks on the web.


And because people rely on quality news content to navigate noisy election periods, Google News Lab will collaborate with news organizations across all 27 countries to support online fact checking. They’ll be offering a series of free verification workshops to point journalists to the latest tools and technology to tackle disinformation and support their coverage of the elections.  


Like others, we’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes around the world, including by bringing more transparency to political advertising online, by helping connect people to useful and relevant election-related information, and by working to protect election information online. Over the coming months you’ll hear more from us on each of these areas and our plans to inform, protect and support around the EU elections, building on our commitments made in the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation.

HRH The Prince of Wales’ 70th Birthday: Art, Culture, Heritage

Digital innovation has not only introduced new forms of art but is also a critical means to preserving society’s art and heritage for future generations to explore and enjoy. Now through a new online project on Google Arts & Culture, people all over the world can explore heritage, art, craftsmanship and architecture through the work of The Prince of Wales and the charities he supports.

On the occasion of The Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday on November 14th, Google Arts & Culture has partnered with Clarence House and ten charities connected to The Prince to unveil a new online initiative that documents The Prince’s extraordinary life and support for art and cultural heritage in Britain and around the world. With input and insights from The Royal Collection Trust, The Prince’s Foundation, Turquoise Mountain Trust and The Royal Drawing School among others, The Charities of The Prince of Wales provides unique and exclusive access to many of the curators, custodians and artists associated with The Prince of Wales.

Explore Prince Charles's art collection

Delving into the site, people all over the world can walk the halls of Clarence House in Street View imagery for the very first time, stroll the gardens of Highgrove (The Prince’s private residence) in 360 degrees, study hundreds of historical artworks belonging to The Royal Collection  and discover  Dumfries House, The Estate saved for the nation by The Prince of Wales. The tour of Dumfries House includes views of its priceless collection of Chippendale furniture and personal insights from the on-site curators. To allow access to people from around the world, there is also now a Clarence House Google Expedition designed especially for schoolchildren who can use Google’s Virtual Reality storytelling tool to walk through the explore Clarence House in detail.

Collaboration with The Princes’ Charities has also allowed Google Arts & Culture to share unique access to much of The Prince’s  own art collection and that of The Royal Collection Trust, handpicked for digitisation for this project. Over 40 artworks now can be seen in gigapixel resolution, including three of The Prince’s own watercolours, a portrait Queen Elizabeth II as a young girl (Philip de László), and eight masterpieces documenting Windsor Castle, by the British artist John Piper. In addition, the Royal Drawing School and School of Traditional Arts also come online to share a more contemporary set of artists’ stories and collections for visitors to explore.

Now, anyone anywhere can also enjoy a rarely seen family photo album including photographs of Prince Charles as a young boy with Queen Elizabeth, relaxed family photographs with his own grandchildren and children, and even one of a very young Princess Anne and Prince Charles meeting David Attenborough in the 1950s.

The Prince of Wales’ passion for heritage preservation is well known. Google Arts & Culture will also feature a new exhibit that offers a deep dive into the history of Afghan heritagethrough the lens of one of —The Turquoise Mountain Trust founded by The Prince. The exhibit explores the engaging stories of local Afghan culture, via new interactive 3D models of art, crafts and historical items, and virtual tours.

Learn more about The Charities of The Prince of Wales and the men and women around the world who work on projects in heritage, conservation, and the arts by exploring the exhibition on Google Arts & Culture and on our iOS and Android apps. For more information on The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visit: https://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/.

Celebrating 15 years of Google Ireland

Can you remember what you were doing in 2003? It was a special time of questionable fashion, Nokia game obsession (Snake 2, anyone?) and The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where Is the Love?” on repeat. “Finding Nemo” was popular on the silver screen, the Concorde took its final flight and Britney Spears became the youngest singer to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Over in Ireland, we were trying to create something special of our own. We opened our first office in Dublin with just five employees, later moving to the perfect home on Barrow Street in the heart of Docklands (which would later be known colloquially as “Silicon Docks”). We knew we were on the edge of something exciting in those early days, but didn’t know how it would grow.

We committed to keeping it scrappy, always bringing the “craic” (Irish for “fun”) to work and doing our best to connect with the people of Dublin. Over the years, they’ve given us so much—from working together to get computer science on the education curriculum, engaging startups, connecting something as Irish as agriculture with tech, and letting us be part of community-driven initiatives such as Dublin Pride and the South Docks Festival.

Ireland is the second largest Google site in Europe with the biggest Engineering workforce outside of Zurich and Mountain View. We have over 8,000 people from 70 countries, speaking more than 75 languages and serving more than 2 million customers. It’s a melting pot of cultures coming together to make a difference, far beyond our Irish shores. For many, it’s their first job away from home and they consistently say the thing that keeps them here is the people. It's the people who make this city unique—and the perfect home for Google.

We want to use our 15th birthday celebrations to give something back to Ireland. Today, we’re announcing the launch of a €1M Google.org Impact Challenge: an open call for local nonprofit and social enterprise innovators to tell us how they would make their community—and beyond—an even better place.

We’ve invested more than €1 billion in Ireland since 2003 and we’ll continue to contribute to Dublin as we grow our business and the economy. We’ll remain good neighbors; supporting local businesses, providing jobs and using technology to solve some of the biggest problems facing society.

We’ve been proud to call Dublin our home for 15 years, but for all that, we’re just getting started.

Meet Alex, the Spanish jobseeker whose app brought work to thousands

Alex Valero knew he could trust his instincts. Over the years, he had followed them to law school in Spain, then Afghanistan as a UN peacekeeper, then Zaragoza, where he was a successful graphic designer for a global sports brand. It was there he received the news that would change his life: his father had died from a sudden heart attack in Granada. An only child, Alex immediately crossed the country to be with his mother, and as the weeks passed, he decided to stay.

Granada is a small city, and Alex soon discovered that jobs were hard to find, despite his qualifications. He was hardly alone. At that time in 2016, 4.2 million people across Spain were looking for work, with levels of youth unemployment over 40 percent. Alex searched for a job for almost a year without success, so when his girlfriend suggested that he come along to a digital marketing course at the local university, Alex jumped at the chance. Together, they completed the Google Actívate program, part of the Grow with Google initiative offering free online and face-to-face courses in digital skills. More than 335,000 people have trained with Google Actívate so far, as Google pursues its commitment to help 1 million Europeans find work or grow their businesses by 2020.

As he worked through the course, Alex began recognizing a trend: many of his friends told familiar stories of fruitless job applications and the struggle to make ends meet. And while out cycling one day, Alex had a brainwave: bars and restaurants often need extra staff at short notice and struggle to find them in time. What if an app could connect his unemployed friends with restaurants that need help?

The idea had huge potential. Spain’s unemployed youth were an untapped workforce for the country’s huge hospitality industry, and an app that could streamline social security paperwork for employers could create opportunities for thousands of people. Alex asked his teachers at Google Actívate for advice and soon recognized the scale of the work involved in realizing the project. He had the skills to make it work, but it would be a major commitment. With no guarantee of success, was he ready to risk it?

I had the idea, but not the knowledge. That’s when I discovered Google Actívate. I learned a lot from the courses – like how to start your company, understand your audience, create digital marketing campaigns and how to turn users into clients. Alex Valero
CEO & Co-founder of BuscoExtra

Alex decided to trust his instincts once again. Dedicating 70 percent of his time to the new project, he applied for and won first prize in a national accelerator scheme for his new app, BuscoExtra. That’s when things really started to move fast, with awards from the University of Malaga and Vodafone quickly following.

As momentum grew, Alex put everything he'd learned from Google Activate into practice, setting up a digital marketing campaign and bringing in 20 percent of the company’s first clients with his newly-learned SEO skills.

Today, more than 15,300 people across the country use BuscoExtra to find work, and over 1,000 businesses use the app to advertise positions for employees to fill. BuscoExtra is also expanding, with the team set to grow from 14 to more than 25 employees. In 2019, Alex is aiming even higher, with the goal of facilitating one million hours of work through the app. Using the skills he's acquired with Activate, Alex has not only built a career for himself but is now also able to help others find work through BuscoExtra.

Opening up opportunities in the UK

Today alone, you may have used Search at home to check the weather; your kids may have used YouTube to help learn something new at school; and you may have used Google Ads to seek out new customers at work.


Millions of people across the UK choose to use Google tools every day, but traditional economic measures do not take their value into account since many of these products are free. We wanted to explore the real value people unlock by using Google tools. Research firm Public First investigated how Google helps people work more productively, learn more, and have more fun across the UK. Here are a few of their key findings:

  • At home.Families have fun with our products and use them to free up time. Every year, two thirds of adults use YouTube to figure out how to do DIY projects, and 60 percent use it to help them cook. People value online search so much that the average household would rather give up an hour of sleep each night than give up access to online search.
  • At school.Parents and teachers alike use our products to support learning as part of the British education system. Parents of more than half of the school kids in the country said they use Google and YouTube to help their kids with their homework. 
  • At work.Google services help enable the growth of startups and scaleups via Google for Startups Campus London. They also help a new generation of small businesses, like independent app developers and YouTube creators, reach new global audiences and be more productive. Public First found that 88 percent of British adults use a search engine at least once a day to help get things done, which creates a time saving equivalent to an extra bank holiday every year. 

The report uses a variety of methods to quantify the value of Google services to families throughout the UK. This includes looking at the value of time saved by using Google products and also what these free services are worth to those who use them. For consumers, the analysis shows that Google services provide at least £37 billion in consumer surplus.

Public First also calculated the business economic activity supported by Google services like Google Ads, Adsense, and Android. By combining third party estimates of the UK’s share of the revenue of these services with other work looking at the average Return on Investments they enable, the report estimates that Google’s services are conservatively supporting at least £55 billion in economic activity. And the combined value of all free internet services could boost GDP by 0.75 percentage points annually--or the equivalent of adding an industry the size of pharmaceuticals or agriculture every year.

Regardless of age, education, income or location, our products aim to benefit everyone. To make sure that everyone has access to these opportunities, all sorts of people, with various personal and professional ambitions, are attending Google Digital Garage sessions throughout the UK to up-skill in digital literacy. No matter what people want to do today or where they want to go next, Google is committed to helping open up possibilities for them.

We are proud of the findings in this report and invite you to read them in full here.