Tag Archives: Google in Europe

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.

We’re opening the final round of applications to the DNI Fund

Three years ago, we launched the Digital News Innovation Fund (DNI Fund) to stimulate innovation within the European news industry by providing no-strings-attached funding to companies or individuals looking for some room—and budget—to experiment. Since then, the DNI Fund has supported over 559 ambitious projects in digital journalism—whether it is to help investigative journalists with tools to collaborate at scale across borders, create open-source software that enables independent journalism business models to thrive or use VR to help others combat their own empathy-walls. In total, we have granted more than €115.2 million to news organizations across 30 countries. Today, we’re opening the sixth and final round of applications—the deadline to apply is December 3, 2018.


How can you effect change when no one is listening? This war correspondent created a VR platform, supported by the DNI Fund, so that people could experience the depth of the issues first-hand.

How the Fund works

The Fund is open to established publishers, online-only players, news startups, collaborative partnerships and individuals based in the EU and EFTA countries. We’re on the lookout for great ideas and welcome any brilliant plan for which applicants (especially new ones) need some time, space and budget to bring it to life. There are three categories of funding available: Prototype (up to €50k of funding), Medium (up to €300k of funding) and Large (between €300k and €1 million in funding). For more information on eligible projects, criteria and funding, see our website.

For this round, we’re looking for creative approaches that seek to build sustainable business models for news—whether that’s diversification of revenue streams, creative applications of technology to save costs, boosting all aspects of reader revenue (e.g. subscriptions, memberships, contributions, etc.) or designing new ways of thinking around monetisation through products and user engagement.

Applicants whose project falls under the medium and large categories will need to ensure their proposal comes with clearly identified monetisation opportunities. The prototype track does not have this requirement and can remain focused on innovation only.

Apply now

See the DNI Fund website for full details and application forms. Applications must be made in English by Dec 3, 2018 at 23.59 CEST. We’ll announce recipients in March 2019.

New approaches have never been more needed so it’s time to experiment and try something novel. We’re ready and waiting to help you bring your ideas to reality—submit your applications now.

Complying with the EC’s Android decision

In July, in our response to the European Commission’s competition decision against Android, we said that rapid innovation, wide choice and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition, and that Android has enabled all of them. We believe that Android has created more choice, not less. That’s why last week we filed our appeal of the Commission’s decision at the General Court of the European Union.

At the same time, we’ve been working on how to comply with the decision. We have now informed the European Commission of the changes we will make while the appeal is pending.

First, we’re updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA).

Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source.

Third, we will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome.

We’ll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours.

These new licensing options will come into effect on October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA. We’ll be working closely with our Android partners in the coming weeks and months to transition to the new agreements. And of course, we remain deeply committed to continued innovation for the Android ecosystem.

Grab your library card to learn digital skills in Europe

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from guest author, director of the Ilona Kish, Director of the Public Libraries 2020 Program in Europe.

When you think of your local library, you may recall the memory of getting lost in a good book , or even using a computer for the first time. Today people think of computers and smartphones as ubiquitous–always charged and at their fingertips. But for too many, computers are—to excuse a librarian’s pun—a closed book. For those unable to access or use a computer or smartphone–a whole world is shut off, limiting their access to information and opportunities.

Particularly in Europe, where 44 percent of Europeans lack basic digital skills, libraries are key to providing local tools and programs that teach those foundational skills. To help libraries provide welcoming spaces where people feel safe to learn, Public Libraries 2020 has partnered with Grow with Google in Europe, an initiative that has already helped over 4 million people Europeans grow their skills, and this year further pledged to help 1 million Europeans to find a job or grow their business by 2020.

Now, the Public Libraries 2020/Grow with Google partnership will help Europeans, from students to pensioners learn about digital skills, online safety and computer science. The digital toolkit titled “Libraries Lead with Digital” features ideas for how to run sessions on digital skills, online safety and computer science, and it’s currently in a pilot phase with ten libraries across the UK and Ireland. By helping librarians share ideas and resources with one another, public libraries will be able to run effective sessions that encourage participation from people who would be otherwise hard to reach.


From youngsters to pensioners: Stockton Central Library hosts sessions on digital skills, online safety and coding utilizing resources from the Libraries Lead with Digital toolkit.

Library staff members in the pilot are helping residents respond to their local challenges. For example, they’re delivering extra trainings in rural areas like Norfolk; while in South Dublin there’s a drive to get more young people into STEM careers, making resources on coding particularly useful. The toolkit will help librarians share their knowledge with their colleagues, taking inspiration from the Google partnership already running with the American Library Association.

We’ve already gotten some inspiring feedback from those ten libraries leading the way in the UK and Ireland. In Stockton, librarian Katherine McDonagh said, “We’re reaching people who wouldn’t usually attend our regular sessions and most importantly showing people that your public library is just as relevant as ever.”

Author Neil Gaiman once described libraries as the “gates to the future.” With this new toolkit, Google and Public Libraries 2020 can help more people learn the digital skills and knowledge to feel confident as they step into that future, whatever it holds for them.

The culture that connects Europe

Oktoberfest, stilettos or tea leaves—do Europeans have a common way to party, dress, or even look into the future? What hobbies, celebrations or beliefs do they share?

Google Arts & Culture has always been focused on making culture from all over the world accessible to people everywhere. Over the last seven years we’ve partnered with hundreds of European cultural institutions to bring their heritage online. Now we’ve brought together collections from across the continent—from masterpieces to iconic monuments to traditional costumes—all to celebrate the European Year of Cultural Heritage. This year-long initiative from the European Commission highlights European heritage and celebrates cultures across the continent.

Together we created “The culture that connects us,” a unique digital experience that lets everyone dive into centuries of European arts and culture, highlighting the stories, masterpieces and places that connect us beyond our national differences.

Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Youth and Sport, says of the exhibit: “The European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 is a celebration that has already captured the imagination of more than 3.6 million people in 36 countries. I am delighted to see the support, interest and enthusiasm that the Year is generating. Its purpose is to encourage more people to come together to discover and experience Europe's rich cultural heritage. I hope that the launch of this video and project page today will inspire even more people—especially young people—to preserve our cultural heritage and use it as a basis to express their own creativity. After all, the future of our shared heritage is in the hands of the younger generations, as they are the guardians of this exceptional and irreplaceable wealth.”    

Online exhibits from more than 800 cultural institutions, 2,900+ pieces of ultra-high resolution artwork, and 1,000 iconic locations captured in Street View offer a window into the diversity and richness of European culture. These exhibits reveal unexpected stories about street art festivals, fortune-telling and food in art history. Discover more Greek gods, the world's most famous kiss from Austria, and the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

The exhibit is not only a visual experience. We challenged seven European YouTube creators to hunt for sounds that expressed their culture and their heritage. While Polish Krzysztof Gonciarz went for the typical “beep” of public transport, Jonna Jinton from Sweden performed a mesmerizing traditional herding call. The pop of a wine bottle and the crackle of bread came from French Revues du Monde, while Cane Secco collected the sound of buzzing Italian Piazza di Trevi. We combined this collection of sounds to form a single music track that encapsulates the sound of Europe.
The sound of us | #EuropeForCulture

We’re proud to have worked with the European Commission and our partners to highlight European heritage and celebrate the many cultures that thrive in Europe today.  Find your connections during the European Year of Cultural Heritage at g.co/europeforculture.

A breath of fresh air: Measuring air quality in Copenhagen

Healthy cities are important to everyone. And from a mother of an asthmatic child looking for the best way to get to the playground, to bike commuters and outdoor athletes finding the healthiest route for their trip, to city planners working to reduce unhealthy emissions, air quality information is crucial to making decisions in our daily lives. More detailed air quality insights are the goal of Project Air View, which kicked off today in Copenhagen, Denmark, in a partnership between the City of Copenhagen and Google.

Denmark’s National Center for Environment and Energy has estimated that around 550 Copenhageners die prematurely every year from pollution, and an even larger number suffer from related diseases; the yearly societal cost is estimated around 600 million euros.

Project Air View can help Copenhagen tackle this problem. It uses Google Street View vehicles equipped with scientific instruments that measure air quality at the street level. This creates a dataset which can map hyperlocal, block-by-block emissions and particle pollution. These measurements will be shared with scientists, the City Council, and ultimately, the public via interactive maps, all in an effort to tackle this well-known—and harmful—problem in big cities.

Today, Copenhagen has three stationary measuring points for air quality. We hope to complement the measurements from these fixed locations with our mobile Street View cars, enabling the City to measure air pollution in the City in significantly more detail. The air quality sensors measure nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and ultrafine particulate matter.

We’ve enlisted the help of scientists from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands to equip the car with the air quality equipment. They will also play an integral part in data validation and analysis. Aarhus University in Denmark will also contribute.

air view copenhagen

Equipping Street View cars with sensors to measure air quality

This is the next phase of our efforts to map air quality, after first mapping the City of Oakland and other California cities since 2015. We’ve also mapped high-resolution air quality data in London, and recently announced that we’re expanding to more places around the globe.

Project Air View is an example of how we can extend Google’s mission to air quality information, helping to reduce pollution and meaningfully impact people’s quality of life. And it’s one of several efforts aimed at applying technology to the world’s most pressing problems. We’re thrilled that Copenhagen is one of the first cities in Europe with a Street View car on the road measuring air quality. It speaks to Copenhagen’s forward-thinking approach to climate and environment, and we’re happy to contribute to that effort.

Berlin and Babylon meet on an Island of Museums

Nearly 120 years ago, the excavation of Babylon led to the discovery of the 2,600-year-old Ishtar Gate. Today, visitors to Berlin can marvel at a reconstruction of the gate using its original blue bricks, on display in the Pergamon Museum.

Google Arts & Culture and the Staatliche Museen Berlin, in collaboration with CyArk and World Monuments Fund, have used modern technology to build a virtual bridge between Babylon and Berlin, virtually integrating Ishtar Gate into its original location in Iraq. Now anyone, anywhere can explore the story of its discovery and reconstruction in VR with Google Cardboard.

The Pergamon Museum is one of several institutions that makes up the unique ensemble of the Berlin Museum Island, and we’ve also worked with four other museums to add their collections to Google Arts & Culture. Their combined online exhibits contain more than 4,000 objects covering more than 6,000 years of art and cultural history—including such masterpieces as the Monk by the Sea by Caspar David Friedrich, the Golden hat and the bust of Nefertiti.

You can also explore Museum Island’s treasures through the lens of themes like wanderlust, vanity and body image, YOLO, modern romance, female empowerment, and rebellion.

Start your tour of Museum Island with Arts & Culture on the web, or with our free Arts & Culture app on your Android phone or iOS.

The new Google Safety Centre comes to Europe: Helping you stay safe online

Starting today, we’re rolling out our newly expanded Safety Centre in six countries across Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K.). You'll now be able to find even more tools, easy tips, and information about data security, privacy controls and how to use technology in a way that is right for your family, just in time for European Cyber Security Month. More countries and languages will be available in the coming weeks.

Helping people manage their privacy and security is integral to everything we do. Over the years we’ve created many tools and are always improving them so you’re in control: Google Account gives you access to all the settings to safeguard your data and privacy; Privacy Checkup helps you quickly review and adjust what data Google uses to personalize your experience; and My Activity helps you review the activity data connected to your account.

safety center - europe

Parents can also find information in the Safety Centre about how to use tools like Family Link and YouTube Kids to set digital ground rules, and get tips on how to talk with their children and teens about being considerate, setting boundaries, and staying safe online. You can also find links and advice on important issues like cyberbullying, screen time and oversharing from child online safety experts from organizations like FSM and fragFINN in Germany, e-Enfance and Génération Numérique in France, Parent Zone and Internet Matters in the United Kingdom, and Expertisebureau Online Kindermisbruik in the Netherlands.

The Google Safety Centre is part of our ongoing commitment to give you tools and information to control how your data is used in Google services. As technology keeps changing the way we live and work, you can expect our tools to continually evolve to fit your needs.

How Gboard is helping European languages in the digital age

Today is European Day of Languages, celebrating the many languages that are spoken every day across Europe, with events ranging from language-learning crash courses to multilingual concerts. And Europe's rich linguistic diversity is increasingly reflected online. For example, regional languages like Welsh and Frisian are more and more commonly used on social media.

We're committed to making technology work in the languages people want to use it in, for as many people across the world as possible. Our focus on bringing technology to as many languages as we can is borne out across many of our products. One example is our keyboard app Gboard, which offers smart keyboards for Android in more than 60 European language varieties, with machine learning smarts like auto-correction and predictive text. In many languages, Gboard also lets you type by voice using speech recognition.

Beyond the 24 official languages of the European Union, Gboard supports many other languages, like Welsh, Corsican, Luxembourgish, Sicilian, Scottish Gaelic, Upper Sorbian, Northern Sami, Manx, and more (see the full list on our help center). And for multilingual users, Gboard supports using multiple languages without changing keyboards, making it easy to use the right language at the right time.

Supporting such a rich array of languages poses its own technological challenges. For example, in some languages, nouns and verbs can have lots of inflectional forms. Learning the nuances of such a rich vocabulary required us to come up with a new approach to language modeling in our machine learning systems. As another example, some European language varieties, like Romansh and Austro-Bavarian, pose challenges to machine learning systems due to their relatively large degree of internal variation, with differences in the way the language is spoken from one valley to the next. For such languages, Gboard's on-device personalization can help you learn exactly your typing style.

Of course, lots of other Google products are available across many European languages. For example, Google Translate can help you break down language barriers across more than 30 languages of Europe. And the Google Assistant is available in 10 European languages, with more on the way. Wherever you are, and whatever language you speak, we wish you a happy European Day of Languages!

Working together to fight disinformation online

Today, the European Commission published a Code of Practice on Disinformation in Europe -- a code we helped create. The Code is the next step in the work we’re already doing with experts and publishers worldwide to elevate quality information online and support news literacy.

Today, people have more information at their fingertips than ever before, and a free and open web is a vital resource for web users and businesses the world over. But some seek to exploit the web’s freedoms for harm, including by spreading disinformation—verifiably false information deliberately intended to deceive. Here are five ways we're investing globally to connect people to quality information online:

1. Improving Search to connect people to quality information

People expect to get great results in Search, and we fail in our mission if we surface poor quality or misleading results. We’re constantly evolving our approach to get people to the best and most useful results and over the years, we've invested significantly in protections against ​spam, ​bots, ​and ​other ​attempts ​to game ​our ​search ​results. In 2017, we announced that we’d made improvements to our evaluation methods and algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content. Every year we make thousands of improvements to Search to improve the quality of results for the wide range of queries Google sees every day. In 2017, we ran more than 270,000 experiments, with trained external Search Quality Evaluators and live user tests, resulting in more than 2,400 improvements to Search. To better deal with inappropriate Autocomplete predictions, we launched a feedback tool last year to inform improvements to our systems. We also updated our Autocomplete policies to prevent poor or offensive predictions.

2. Cutting the flow of money to scammers and misrepresentative websites

In recent years we’ve seen a rise in scammers trying to take advantage of the growing popularity of online news to make money. So we prohibit websites in our ad network from serving ads on misrepresentative content. Essentially this means that you can’t serve ads if you’re pretending to be a legitimate news website based in London when you’re actually a content scammer in a different city. By cutting off the flow of money to this kind of activity, we hope to remove the incentive to create it.

3. Supporting the future of journalism with the Google News Initiative

High-quality reporting by journalists and news organizations is crucial in the fight against disinformation. We’re committed to helping publishers grow their traffic, their audience, their subscriptions and their revenue for the long haul—last year, we paid $12.6 billion to publisher partners and drove 10 billion clicks a month to publishers’ websites for free. In 2015, to sustain innovation in digital journalism, we created the Digital News Initiative (DNI) with a €150million fund. We’ve built products in partnership with publishers to directly address challenges faced by the news industry, from the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages to optimize content for the mobile web to Subscribe with Google and Player for Publishers, which make it easier for publishers to host and monetize their content. And most recently we launched the global Google News Initiative to help journalism thrive in the digital age, with a commitment of $300 million over the next three years. We believe this will help strengthen quality journalism, evolve business models to drive sustainable growth, and empower news organizations through technological innovation.

4. “Fact-check” labels in Google News and Search

We introduced fact-check labels to Google News and Google Search results to let publishers highlight fact-checked content and help people find and more easily consult articles that provide a critical outlook on claims made by others. Beyond its value to users, this feature helps support the work of the fact-checking community—a fast-growing field, with more than 150 organizations trying to tackle accuracy in the media as well as traditional publishers engaging in fact-checking work.

5. Funding innovation and research into disinformation

Newsrooms, researchers and civil society are also working to tackle this issue. To help these organizations, we’ve funded research; we’re partnering in industry initiatives like First Draft and Cross Check that help newsrooms fight misinformation; and we’re working with newsrooms and other platforms on standards for online credibility through the Trust Project.

We’re clear on our ultimate goal—to get people access to useful and relevant information from authoritative sources. We'll keep working with partners around the world to make it happen.