Tag Archives: small business

Google for Chile: Supporting development through tech

Over the last decade, Chile has become known as one of the most connected countries in Latin America, and its population has been an early adopter of new technologies. But the country still has important challenges and opportunities to connect and bring all Chileans closer to technology that can make both their work and home lives easier.

Today we hosted our first Google for Chile, with a group of more than 300 people in Santiago. There, we discussed our ongoing commitment to the digital growth of Chile and Latin America, improving connectivity and creating a safer public cloud. 

Connecting Chile's entrepreneurial force

In Chile and around the world, small and medium businesses increasingly need to be online in order to grow. Google My Business has become one of the best allies for entrepreneurs who want to see their businesses "on the map" and for their customers to find them. The number of verified companies on the platform in Chile has grown by 76% over the past year.

More efficient cities, in the cloud

In Chile, almost 50 percent of drivers use Waze to drive around all types of streets. That means users can serve as a kind of “sensor” in addition to stationary ones like radar and cameras, and cities can learn a lot from their drivers. Now, all the information from the Waze for Cities program will be stored for free for its members on Google Cloud, making it even easier for cities to see movement patterns and measure the effects of interventions. Currently, more than 190 partners across Latin America have joined the program.  

Partners like the Subsecretaría de Transportes de Chile have been using Waze data to improve traffic. They monitor more than 400 road segments to determine the periods with the most traffic. This information is used to program traffic lights, and whenever patterns change (like when traffic piles up or there’s an accident on the road), they can adapt the lights accordingly. 

Keeping Chilean children, teachers and parents safe online

In 2018, we launched Be Internet Awesome, which teaches children to be safe explorers of the online world. In Chile, we have been working with the Education Ministry so teachers and administrators can use our program’s tools. In the coming weeks, teachers using Be Internet Awesome will be able to find a new module—in Spanish—to teach students to think critically about the information they consume online, avoiding misinformation. 

Privacy for all 

New privacy tools are now officially available in Chile. People can now use Android phones as security keys, adding an extra layer of protection to their information. They can also check how data is being used in Maps, Search and the Assistant, by accessing the apps menu and choosing the option “Your data in …” There, you can review and delete your location activity in Maps or your search activity in Search. Soon, the same feature will be accessible on YouTube.

Auto-delete controls for Web and Apps Activity are also now available globally, allowing people to easily manage the amount of time their data is saved. Choose a limit—3 or 18 months—and anything older than that will be automatically deleted on an ongoing basis.

The cloud in Quilicura

The first and only Google data center in Latin America is located in Chile, in the city of Quilicura. Announced in 2012, the data center allows us to provide support to and guarantee the operation of all of our products, not just for Chile but for all of Latin America. 

In September 2018, we announced the expansion of our data center, with an additional investment of US$140 million that will triple the size of the initial structure. And last April we announced the arrival of Curie on the coasts of the Valparaiso Region: Curie is the first submarine fiber optic cable to reach Chile in about 20 years.

How AI is transforming industries in Chile 

At Google, we use artificial intelligence to make our products more useful, from email that is spam-free and easier to write to a digital assistant that understands you when you ask it questions.

Much of the progress made with AI is based on our open source machine learning platform, TensorFlow. In Chile, machine learning is opening up new opportunities in several industries like food, construction and astronomy. Local technology company Odd Industries found potential in using AI with camera footage in the construction sector, letting data reveal what humans can’t see. Artificial intelligence processes images from construction sites and converts them into concrete data, allowing companies to build responsibly and intelligently. 

Working together with industry associations, academic institutions, government officials and our users, I’m excited to find new ways to use technology to help everyone succeed. 

A new way to discover Google tools to grow your small business

Small businesses make a big impact on our communities–creating jobs, treating customers like family, and often defining what makes a town unique. Over the years, we’ve built a range of tools to help these businesses use the web to grow and thrive. In 2018, our Search and Advertising tools helped create $335 billion in economic activity for millions of businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits across the United States. These tools make it easier for small business owners to find and connect with customers and run their businesses. 


I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many small business owners and the challenges they face. Most of them tell me that they need help saving time at work, or that they need easy tools to help them promote their business. The internet has created new opportunities for small businesses, but it can be hard to know where to start.


Today is International Small Business Day—and many of us are supporting small businesses in our communities by paying a special visit to a local coffee shop or neighborhood restaurant. For my team, we’re doing our part to help small business owners with the launch of Google for Small Business, a new Grow with Google initiative to help you find the right Google tools and services to reach your business goals. On this website you can find:

  • Personalized plans: Tell us your business name, answer a few questions about your business, and select a goal. You’ll then receive a step-by-step, tailored plan of recommended products to help you stand out online, reach more customers, and work more efficiently. The recommendations will include products to help with all three, but with a special focus on the goal that’s most important to you.

  • In-person workshops: Locate free Grow with Google workshops happening near you for hands-on help.  

  • Latest news: Stay updated on Google’s small business-focused tools and services.

Google for Small Business website

Get started at google.com/smallbusiness today. 


Helping businesses capture their identity with Google My Business

Since launching Google My Business five years ago, we’ve helped more than 150 million local businesses connect with people who are looking for them online. Today, when people search for businesses, they’re on the hunt for something more specific--like “late night restaurants near Washington Square Park” or “rooftop happy hour with great cocktails.” And they’re  looking to get more things done--whether that’s booking, a reservation, or asking what products a store offers. 

We’ve evolved Google My Business to better meet these needs--from redesigned, easier-to-use mobile apps to making restaurant reservations directly from Google. Today, we’re rolling out more features to help businesses make their Profiles as unique as they are and as descriptive as the queries that get customers there.  

  • Attract people with welcome offers: Did someone say deal? We’ve found that more than half of online customers are looking for an offer or discount.  Starting today, businesses can reward customers who follow their business on Google with welcome offers , turning happy first time customers into loyal, repeat ones.

Welcome Offers

You can receive a Welcome Offer by following some of your favorite businesses on Maps

  • Find businesses quicker with short names and URLs:Business owners can now claim a short name and URL for their business. With this URL, businesses can easily refer customers back to their Profile - to catch up on latest updates, to make a booking or to write a review after a visit. In the coming months, people will also be able to search short names in Maps.  

  • Show personality with cover photos: Businesses can easily set their preferred profile cover photo, putting their best foot forward.

  • Identify companies with more prominent logos:Businesses have an additional branding opportunity with the logo feature. Those that have completed their core information (phone number, hours, etc) will have their logo displayed at the top right-hand side of their profile.

  • Get visual with photo displays:Photos uploaded by a business will appear instantly and prominently on a new dynamic module on the Profile. Photo captions, which are coming, will let businesses tell the stories behind the pictures. 

  • Create offline materials:We’re also launching a website where businesses can easily download and order custom assets for their place--like stickers--to help promote bookings on the profile, adding reviews and customer following.

Busiiness Profile

The new features can help a Business Profile be as descriptive as possible.

Finally, we want to recognize those businesses that consistently deliver a great experience for people. We’ll be highlighting the top five percent of businesses in a particular category with the “Local Favorite” designation. To help people easily find and engage with these businesses, we’re also creating digital and physical badges of honors. Stay tuned for more details on these recognition categories coming later this summer.

More descriptive profiles not only help consumers quickly find the business that best suits their needs, but also help businesses stand out and express what is unique about them. We’re excited to keep improving Maps and Search for everyone, and help businesses succeed on Google. 

A father-son team uses technology to grow a 144-year-old business

Founded in 1875, Merz Apothecary is considered a Chicago landmark. For five generations, the pharmacy has been home to a collection of unique, hard-to-find goods from all over the world. Abdul Qaiyum bought the business in 1972, managing to grow the business during a time when most independent pharmacies were giving way to large chain drug stores. Abdul’s three sons worked there growing up and today, Merz Apothecary is run by Abdul and his son, Anthony. “We’re not your traditional pharmacy,” says Anthony. “We carry everything from natural remedies to grooming products to home fragrances.”


One of the secrets to their continued success? Quickly embracing the power of technology. They turned to the internet while it was still in its early days, taking their first online order in 1997 and starting an e-commerce site, smallflower.com, in 1998. In 2001 they started using Google Ads to reach customers searching for their specialty products and their business began to double. They now have 60 employees and the web continues to play a critical role in their business. A YouTube channel has expanded their reach—videos sharing fun and informative product reviews have garnered over 1.5 million views. “I view the web as a way that we can deliver what we do, to everybody,” says Anthony. “Everyone is going online searching for information all the time. Google is the place where most of that gets done, so I want to be there and I want to be seen.”
Merz Apothecary

Abdul & Anthony in 1973 and in 2018


Check out their video to learn more about how this father-son duo continues to grow a business and preserve an American landmark.

Sharing Hawaiian food and tradition with generations to come

Highway Inn is an Oahu-based restaurant founded by Hawaii-born Japanese-American Seiichi Toguchi. At the start of World War II, Seiichi was taken from his home to an internment camp in California and assigned to work in the mess halls. There, Japanese-American chefs from around the country taught him how to cook, eventually inspiring him to open Highway Inn to share the foods he loved growing up. Seiichi passed the restaurant down to his son Bobby Toguchi, who has since passed it to his daughter, Monica Toguchi Ryan. Their family has been proudly serving authentic Hawaiian food for over 70 years.


As the third generation owner, Monica was determined to not just honor her family traditions and legacy, but also to share with younger generations the kinds of food that keep them connected to Hawaiian and local food culture. When her grandfather started the restaurant, he relied on word of mouth to reach new customers. Now, Monica uses Google Ads and their Business Profile on Google to connect with customers, helping them to grow from one location to three across Oahu. She and her family hope to continue preserving the beauty and tradition of Hawaiian food for generations to come.


This Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we're telling this and other stories, like Kruti Dance Academy from Atlanta, Georgia. They are two of the many Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned small businesses having an impact on their local communities.

.App: bringing more people online securely

Posted by Ben Fried, VP, CIO, & Chief Domains Enthusiast

Celebrating 100 of our favorite .app websites. See the list here.

A year ago, we launched .app, the first open top-level domain (TLD) with built-in security through HSTS preloading. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have registered .app domains, and we want to take a moment to celebrate them.

People are making more websites and apps than ever before. A recent survey we conducted with The Harris Poll found that nearly half (48%) of U.S. respondents plan to create a website in the near future. And a lot of people, especially students, are already building on the web. Over a third (34%) of 16-24 year olds who’ve already created a website did so for a class project.

Having a meaningful domain name helps students turn their projects into reality. Take Ludwik Trammer, creator of shrew.app, who said: “The site started as a project for my graduate Educational Technology class at Georgia Tech. Getting the perfect domain gave me the initial push to turn it into the real deal (instead of making a prototype, publishing a scientific paper on it, and forgetting it).”

Helping creators launch their sites securely

With so many new creators, it’s essential that everyone does their part to make the internet safer. That’s why Google Registry designed .app to be secure by default, meaning every website on .app requires a HTTPS connection to ensure a secure connection to the internet.

HTTPS helps keep you and your website visitors safe from bad actors, who may exploit connections that aren’t secure by:

  • intercepting or altering the site’s content
  • misdirecting traffic
  • spying on open Wi-Fi networks
  • injecting ad malware or tracking


“As a social application, data protection is paramount. As cyber attacks increase, the security benefits a .app domain brings was a key factor for us. We also believe that a .app domain is significantly more descriptive than a .com domain, meaning users can find us more easily! All in all it was a no brainer for us switching to .app.”

-Daneh Westropp, Founder, pickle.app


There's still work to be done. One out of two people don’t know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Many major browsers (like Chrome) warn users in the URL bar when content is "not secure," but there’s every website creator still has a shared responsibility to keep their users safe.

.App is year in, and we’re happy to see so many people using it to build secure websites and connect with the world. You can read more stories from .app owners here and get your own .app name at get.app. If you’re one of the millions of people planning to build a website, we hope you’ll join us in making the internet safer and take the steps to securely launch your website.

Helping businesses grow across all 50 U.S. states

Small businesses play a vital role in American life. From the restaurants that serve as places to gather over a meal, to the bookshops and hardware stores that treat customers like family and sponsor local soccer teams, small businesses are the backbone of our communities.

So I’m really proud of the work Google does to help local businesses across the United States use the power of the web to grow and thrive. Our U.S. Economic Impact Report, released today, shows that in 2018, our Search and Advertising tools helped create $335 billion in economic activity for millions of businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits across the country—up from $283 billion in 2017. Each month, we drive over 1 billion connections for businesses nationwide, like phone calls or online reservations. We’re also connecting businesses with customers overseas: in fact, in 2018 more than 35 percent of clicks for U.S. business advertising on Google came from places outside the U.S.

We’re also working with business owners in their own hometowns through Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity for everyone. Since 2017, Googlers have traveled to more than 50 cities around the country, training over 3 million Americans in digital skills to help them prepare for work, find jobs and grow their businesses. Digital skills are a must-have in today’s economy, and our goal is to ensure that every business owner has the skills they need to succeed.

One of those business owners is Sara Irvani, who runs Okabashi, an American footwear company her family founded after arriving to the U.S. during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Okabashi is located in Buford, Georgia, a small town that was once a major American shoemaking hub. While other American shoe manufacturers have moved their operations abroad, Sara is committed to keeping her business in Buford and bringing economic opportunity to her hometown and her 200 employees.

To make this possible, Sara has made a big investment in bolstering the company’s digital presence. It’s a smart decision—data shows that small businesses that use advanced digital tools, such as online advertising and data analytics, experienced revenue growth in the previous year that was nearly four times as high. In Sara’s case, she uses Google Analytics to better understand the kind of shoe designs her customers are most excited about, and those insights help her team design new products that keep people coming back to purchase Okabashi shoes. She’s also able to reach customers—both here and abroad—by using Google Ads. Now, 64 percent of the company’s online sales come in through the platform. To date, her company has sold 35 million pairs of shoes to customers in 11 countries.

Some of my other favorite stories from the 2018 report include how Google employees have  helped Amini’s, a specialty furniture store in St. Louis build a new website and a robust e-commerce strategy. In rural New Hampshire, Fuller’s Sugarhouse was able to share its maple syrup with customers in Switzerland, France, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. We’ve also helped many veteran-owned businesses, nonprofits, and digital businesses to make Google products and programs work for them.

While the U.S. Economic Impact Report only focuses on activity in the U.S., we’re working with partners to expand economic opportunity all over the world. Last week we announced that Grow with Google has helped to train more than 10 million with digital skills in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and earlier this year, we released a report detailing our impact in Brazil, with more reports to come in other countries later this year.

Supporting the success of businesses, partners, and communities is an important part of our overall vision of building a more helpful Google for everyone. To learn more about how Google can help businesses, go to google.com/economicimpact.

How a small business shares Indian culture, one dancer at a time

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a month-long celebration of the achievements and contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. We’re highlighting Asian and Pacific Islander-owned small businesses and the important role they play in sharing their cultures and impacting local communities.


These are businesses like Kruti Dance Academy, in Atlanta, Georgia. Its founder, Dina Sheth, is a former microbiologist and trained classical Indian dancer. She wanted her daughter, Shemoni, to know the beauty of their culture, so she started teaching her dance in the basement of their home. As other parents in the community learned what Dina was doing, her classes started to grow, and Kruti Dance Academy officially came to life in 1995. What started as a basement class with four students is now a 9,000-square-foot facility with hundreds of dancers, and Shemoni is Kruti’s Artistic Director.


With the help of digital tools, they continue to expand Kruti Dance Academy’s reach. For example, YouTube has allowed them to connect with people across the world: their channel has over 27,000 subscribers and eight million views. Closer to home, the photos and reviews on their Business Profile on Google provide a way for those unfamiliar with Indian dance to catch a glimpse of what Kruti Dance Academy is all about.


Dina and Shemoni have received wide acclaim for their commitment to the advancement of the arts and their community. Watch this video to learn more about how Kruti Dance Academy is sharing the richness of Indian culture and heritage through dance in their community and around the world.

Building a safer internet, one secure domain at a time

Do you lock your doors when you're not home or when you’re sleeping at night? Your home protects everything and everyone that lies within it—whether that’s your family, pets or belongings—and a door is the most direct way for a criminal to access your home. Locking your door is the simplest thing you can do to keep safe. Similarly, when you’re browsing the web, there’s one key thing that helps keep you and your information safe and “locked” up.


HTTPS is a certificate that works just like the lock on your front door at home. By “locking” your connection to a website, it helps prevent interception or alteration of content on the site you’re visiting. We want every website to have a lock on it. That’s why Google Registry created safe.page: so you can understand the most direct steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe while browsing the internet.

Visit safe.page to learn how to read a URL (to avoid phishing attacks) and the importance of a secure connection (especially when sharing sensitive info like credit cards and passwords).

Build safely, get rewarded

That’s not all we’re doing to support HTTPS. We're also teaming up with WordPress to make it easy for anyone to build a secure website. They make building secure websites a snap by automatically installing SSL certificates at no cost for domains they host. If HTTPS is locking your online information safely, an SSL certificate acts like the actual lock on the door.


If you’ve been thinking of building a website, now’s a good time to get started: We're running a contest for the best sites created through April 30, 2019. Nine winners will be selected based on their website’s user experience, user interface, originality, design and content clarity. Winners will receive a Pixel 3 phone or equivalent prize and the opportunity to be featured on one of Google Registry's websites (get.page, get.app and get.dev). Entering the competition is simple:

  1. Register your .page, .app or .dev domain. All three extensions are secure by default (registered domains only work with an SSL certificate). You can register your domain through your preferred registrar.
  2. Build your website. You can get started building your site on WordPress.com and save 25 percent using the promo code SAFE_A24F at checkout. (The offer is valid until April 30, 2019.) Websites created in other ways on .app, .page and .dev are also eligible for the contest.
  3. Learn more about the contest rules here, including eligibility restrictions, prize details and entry deadlines. Submit your website to the contest at safe.page.

That’s it! Regardless of whether you create your own secure website, we encourage everyone to visit safe.page to learn the fundamentals of keeping your information safe. Good luck and thanks for doing your part to build a safer internet!

How to use the new Offers view on your Business Profile

From discounts to deals, everyone loves a good offer. Whether they’re shopping at a favorite clothing boutique or trying a local coffee shop for the first time, an offer can attract people to businesses. To help people find these promotions, we’re making offers more prominent on Business Profiles on Google. The new layout introduces a dedicated space for business owners to feature their most recent offers—making a quick decision for their potential customers even easier.

offerscarousel

For businesses, adding an offer is easy. When creating a post in the Google My Business App, you’ll see an option to categorize it as an offer. From there, you can tailor the details to your specific needs. An offer can include a description of the promotion, a coupon code or any terms and conditions useful to your audience. You can surface up to 10 unique offers in the carousel, providing a list of choices.

offerspost

With this update, we want to make it easier for people to make decisions about where they want to go and simpler for businesses to attract customers. Sign up for Google My Business on the web or download the app on Google Play or the App Store.