Author Archives: Ronan Harris

Google News Showcase continues to grow in the UK

At the beginning of last year, we brought Google News Showcase, our product experience and licensing programme for news publishers, to the U.K. It’s designed to help publishers engage more deeply with their readers – and to help readers find, follow and support the news organisations covering the issues that matter to them. We continue to learn, update and expand the product, and we’ve seen strong, steady numbers – both in terms of the number of publishers signing on for the product in the UK, and how readers are interacting with the content.

More publishers join News Showcase in the UK

We’ve negotiated and signed deals with almost 240 news titles in the U.K. since launching News Showcase. The most recent is The Guardian, building on our longstanding work together on digital innovation for the future of news.

Keith Underwood, CEO of The Guardian, commented: “We are pleased to have expanded our partnership with Google to make our journalism available in digital, video and other formats in ways that will engage even wider audiences. This new deal supports further investment in journalism and will bring a new audience back to our sites where we can build deeper relationships of enduring value.”

Local news publishers make up 93% of the titles who’ve signed up to News Showcase in the U.K. to curate news in new ways and deepen their engagement with online audiences. These include Grantham Journal,, Reach’s Belfast Live and Clear Sky’s North Devon Gazette.

As Mark Thompson, Editor of National World, says: "We believe it is vital that our stories, videos and images are given the value they deserve so that we can produce ever more insightful, reliable and relevant journalism for audiences all over the UK. News Showcase has enabled our teams based in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to display their impressive work on a great platform and in a meaningful way.”

Simon Bax, CEO of Clear Sky, also tells us: "Joining the Google News Showcase has had a dramatic and immediate effect as it has enabled us to hire an additional journalist, has elevated our standing within the community and has increased the team's self-assurance."

We recently announced that we’re making it easier to find local publishers in Google News Showcase by bringing their panels into the local section of Google News. Through our partnerships with local news publishers in the U.K., we’ve seen first-hand how local news is an essential way for readers to connect to their communities and ensure they get the news that impacts their day-to-day lives.

Supporting publishers and journalists in the UK

News Showcase is one element of our broader investment in news and journalism in the U.K. We spent more than $18 million on training, partnerships and programming with news organisations and other news industry partners between 2018 to 2020, and we’ve trained 16,500 journalists and journalism students since 2015.

We’re proud to fund the Journalism AI fellowship, organised by the media think-tank Polis at the London School of Economics, and to support organisations like Headlines Network who are providing essential mental health resources for journalists in England and Wales. We’re continuing our support for the University of Central Lancashire's Journalism innovation and Leadership (JIL) Programme for a third year and recently announced the Innovation Challenge for Europe, where small and medium-sized news organisations can apply for funding to stimulate innovation in news.

We’re dedicated to continuing our contribution to and collaboration with the news ecosystem, supporting the open web and continuing to provide access to information in the UK and elsewhere.

A milestone for King’s Cross: a local innovation hub

Over the last few years, King’s Cross has truly transformed, becoming a thriving hub of innovation and creativity. The transformation is a sign of the UK’s strengths, with its incredible local talent and strong history of leading technological and scientific progress. These strengths inspired us to invest here in King's Cross, in one of our most ambitious developments to date.

Today, together with local MP, Keir Starmer, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, leader of Camden Council Georgia Gould, and our building partners, we celebrated a major milestone in the construction of our new King’s Cross office – and in our long-standing commitment to the UK – as we placed the final beam on our new development.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Holborn and St Pancras said:

“It’s fantastic to attend not only as the leader of the Labour Party and local MP but as a proud local resident of more than 25 years. Congratulations to Google on your magnificent new building, and for all it represents – a seizing of opportunity, harnessing of talent, the creation of good, sustainable jobs and an immense contribution to our community. You’re showing what can be achieved when forward looking local government partners with the ingenuity of the private sector.”

We have long believed that creativity is spurred by environments that promote connection and wellbeing. This is more important than ever as we adapt to a future of flexible, hybrid working. Our new King’s Cross building will be equipped with new workplace technologies to help global and remote teams collaborate more effectively, build relationships, learn from colleagues and dream up new ways to solve complex challenges.

It will also bea place for community and connection thanks to the ground floor retail and community spaces, which are being curated with — and for — the local community. In the coming weeks, in partnership with more than 30 youth organisations in Camden, we’re excited to open our doors to 500 local young people for a week of taster sessions to inspire school students and job seekers with careers in technology, as well as more than 100 local work experience students.

Innovation extends to the design of the building itself, which is playing an important role in helping us to achieve our goal of going carbon free by 2030. We’re pioneering new technologies that will make our King’s Cross office our most ambitious smart building to date, including a system of 13,500 interconnected devices that will work together to improve energy efficiency in real time.

While the doors of our new King’s Cross development won’t open until 2024, incredible work is already underway nearby. The neighbourhood is home to thousands of our engineers working on products like Android, Wear OS, Search and Google Business Profiles, which are used the world over. In fact, many of the team behind some of our newest products – to be released later this year – are based right here in King’s Cross. We look forward to growing these teams and being a part of the local community’s future growth and development.

Sadiq Khan, London Mayor signing a whiteboard

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan commented:

“London has built a reputation as a world leader in technology and innovation, so I’m delighted to see Google reaffirming its commitment to London with the first wholly owned and designed Google building outside of the United States. I was lucky enough to be present for the original ground-breaking at this site back in 2017. So, it’s incredible to see the progress that’s been made since then on this hugely ambitious project.

"My ambition, as Mayor, is to build a better London for everyone – one that is fairer, greener and more prosperous for all. And this magnificent building is a shining example of confidence in our city.”

Search ranking is based on many things, British politics isn’t one

In my time at Google, UK publishers of every political leaning have asked me why they don't rank higher in Search. My answer is always the same: search ranking is based on many things, but British politics is not one of them.

We go to great lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in ways that don't take political leanings into account. People trust Google to deliver relevant results; distorting results for political purposes would undermine that trust and hurt our business.

This question comes down to the fundamentals of how Search works. When you type in a query, there could be thousands or even millions of webpages or other information that might be relevant. In a fraction of a second, Google’s Search automated systems sort through this to find the most relevant, useful results for what you’re looking for. There are hundreds of factors that determine which results are shown – from quality and freshness to the words of your query, expertise of sources, and the searcher’s location and settings.

We know Search can always be better. That’s why we conduct hundreds of thousands of experiments every year and get feedback from third-party Search Quality Raters, resulting in thousands of improvements, all of which are rigorously tested.

Along with our own testing, independent studies including by Stanford and The Economist have demonstrated there is no political bias in Search and News results. As the Economist concluded: “Google rewards reputable reporting, not left-wing politics”. Other UK publishers have also conducted their own research.

These questions come in from all sides and we’re always happy to explain how our systems work. As long as I keep getting these kinds of queries from every corner of the political spectrum, I'll know we’re doing our job.

Google and news in the UK: The facts

Recent events have reminded us of the role that journalists play in helping us understand important topics as they unfold. The UK has a long history of great journalism, which has enriched our society, economy and democracy.

When people use Google Search to look for information about what’s happening in the world around them, they want links to reliable news sources. Likewise, publishers want to reach and inform more readers, helping everyone make sense of events. This has real benefits for publishers. In fact, the overall value of web traffic is estimated to be worth more than £500 million a year to news publishers in the UK.

Beyond this simple value proposition, we invest heavily in news – making us one of the UK's biggest financial supporters of journalism. For instance, at the beginning of last year, we brought Google News Showcase to the UK, which licenses content from more than 200 UK news publications.

Sharing some facts about how we work with UK publishers

Publishers choose if and how links to their articles appear on Google

Like other types of web pages that appear on Google Search, we provide links to news content. News publishers remain in full control over whether or not links to their web pages are included in Search and how much of a preview of their articles we show. Most decide to be included because it helps readers find their stories. Each month, people click through from Google Search and Google News results to publishers' websites more than 24 billion times around the world. This traffic helps publishers increase their readership, build trust with readers and earn money through advertising and subscriptions.

Google does not make significant revenue from news-related searches

In 2020, news-related queries accounted for under 2% percent of total queries on Google Search in the UK. And we don’t run ads on Google News or the news results tab on Google Search. Nearly all of the ads people see on Google are on searches with commercial intent like “toasters,” or “electrician,” rather than from news-seeking queries.

Publishers that use our ad products keep the vast majority of the revenues

Many of the top news companies around the world use Google Ad Manager to manage their digital advertising business and on average they keep over 95% of the digital advertising revenue generated on their sites with this tool. Between 2018 and 2020, we paid out over £245m to the top five UK news publisher partners alone in our ad network.

Google invests in products and programmes to help publishers make money online

Almost half of the overall decline of newspaper revenue has come from the loss of newspaper classifieds to specialist online players like Rightmove or Yet innovative publishers are evolving, turning to new ways for distribution, analytics, advertising and subscriptions and the majority of publishers are optimistic about the growth of digital revenues. Google is providing support through products, programmes and funding, like investing £18m in training, partnerships and programming with news organisations in the UK.

We support new rules

Beyond our existing support for journalism, we have been engaging closely with the UK government and regulatory authorities over many months as they consider how to ensure a strong future for news and enable innovation. We support thoughtful regulation.

Addressing speculation on the value we gain from links to news

A few days ago, we saw new speculation about the value Google gains by providing links to news publishers on Google Search. However, this latest paper chose not to include any mention of the vast value that news publishers gain from reaching readers through our platform – leaving out half of the story.

Even setting this aside, the paper essentially alleges that links to news content are of vital importance to Google, and that their loss would have devastating consequences. In the framework of the paper (which is something of a black box), it is claimed that the quality contributed by these links enables Google to carry something like half of its ads. This is not just wholly implausible – it also flies in the face of the facts. In reality, Google does not make significant revenue from news-related searches. As we said earlier, in 2020, news-related queries accounted for under 2% percent of total queries on Google Search in the UK and we don’t show ads on the vast majority of searches.

The paper also features some fanciful estimations on the value of the “data” derived from the integration of links to news results in Search for Google’s revenues from YouTube and its ad tech products. Yet its calculation relies on something else – the impact on publisher revenues from the removal of third party cookies on non-Google sites. Confused? So are we.

Ultimately, both publishers and readers gain real value from the presence of links to news sources on Google Search. We must all work together to ensure that people have access to authoritative information online and we will continue to work with the government, publishers, journalists and readers on public policies that further strengthen journalism.

Supporting small businesses in a hybrid world

As we all moved online during the pandemic, businesses learnt how to adapt quickly to stay connected to customers and employees.

We grew accustomed to using QR codes in place of queueing, online workouts instead of visiting the gym and video calls replacing real-life conversations. It’s estimated that in 2020, the use of technology leapt forward five years in about five months.

Now, as we make the switch to hybrid working and welcome the return of face-to-face experiences, businesses — including Google — are having to adapt again. New research we commissioned shows 60% of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) owners believe they are operating in a post-pandemic “new normal,” with customer and employee expectations dramatically altered.

And while there has been much focus on post-pandemic return-to-office for big businesses, 60% of SME leaders say they need more support to help adapt to the permanent changes brought about over the past two years.

Over a third (35%) of SMEs say they have changed their business radically, and 63% say that digital skills and tools are now more important than they were pre-pandemic, as they look to grow in a hybrid and more digitally mature world.

In spite of that, a majority of SME leaders find that it’s harder now to recruit staff with the right digital skills. They are eager for the next phase of digital skills that will support them: almost three quarters (72%) of businesses say they would be interested in government or third party funded digital skills training, and in incentives for providing training (68%). But many of them don’t know where to get help.

That’s why today, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, we’re launching the next phase of our in-person digital skills training, along with new support via Google Career Certificates to help small businesses adapt to this post-pandemic ‘new normal.’

Delivering in-person digital skills training nationwide

Starting today in Ipswich, Suffolk, our in-person Google Digital Garage team will be visiting towns and cities nationwide, making stops in places like Leeds, Lincolnshire, Salisbury and Glasgow, to teach small businesses and individuals digital skills that can help them maximize their potential. As well as classes on topics like 'How to write a CV', 'Digital Marketing Strategy' or 'Coding,' we’re offering one-to-one mentoring with digital experts.

Small businesses are at the heart of our economy – creating jobs and prosperity across the UK. It’s been fantastic to meet so many SMEs in Suffolk today and to see Google’s digital workshop in action which is giving them the tools to grow. Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer

High-impact tech skills with Google Career Certificates

We’re also working alongside the Federation of Small Businesses to offer up to 500 Google Career Certificate Scholarships to SMEs, worth up to £87,000 per business, to help them grow and develop high-impact tech skills. The programmes, which are available on Coursera, offer flexible online training in high-demand areas such as project management, IT support, data analytics, UX design and digital marketing. We're proud these certificates are giving learners the opportunity to gain entry-level digital skills in competitive fields and helping businesses across the UK to fill their skills gaps.

Levi Roots

Entrepreneur Levi Roots on stage with two small business founders at today’s Google Digital Garage skills training event

When work moved from offices and studios to online, no one knew how we’d adapt to such sudden change. But adapt we did. Small businesses leaders looked for creative ways to bring their offline services online and many saw how powerful that could be. Like Zoe Chapman, founder of Kiddiwhizz, who used digital tools like online advertising and social media to supercharge growth, build brand awareness and increase profitability.

Going digital helped me to grow my new business at an incredible rate, despite launching mid-pandemic. Opportunities that may have otherwise taken years to materialise are already in the works. Zoe Chapman
Founder of Kiddiwhizz

Zoe added that, "Having access to a Google Digital Garage mentor was like having a hand to hold whilst learning."

The UK’s growing digital economy has created opportunities for record numbers of British small businesses to thrive. We’re committed to helping more businesses, and their employees, make the most of that opportunity to maximize their growth.

A space for connection in King’s Cross

Once at the heart of the industrial revolution, today London's King’s Cross is a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. We’re proud to be part of this community, where thousands of Googlers work on products like Android and Google Business Profile that people around the world use.

We believe in the area’s future growth and potential, which is why it’s so exciting to see our newest development take shape. We’re partnering on our first ground-up development in EMEA with British designer Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels Group. When finished, our new location will include more than one million square feet of office and ground-floor retail space, and it will be a resource not just for Googlers but Londoners, too. We want the spaces and experiences we offer to create opportunity for local people and businesses, and contribute to the culture of entrepreneurship and vibrancy of the area.

A space curated by — and for — the local community

One of the ways our ambition will come to life is via our office’s ground floor, which runs along King’s Boulevard. To ensure it meets the needs of our local area, we’re listening to residents’ and small businesses’ views and ideas through partnerships with organisations like Camden Giving, which works to end poverty and inequality in Camden, and local media startup Camdenist. We’ll continue this work to ensure the place we create is relevant and meaningful, and has a positive local impact, complementing our wider community outreach in the area.

A computer generated image showing the ground floor of Google’s new building on King’s Boulevard, with a mix of retail and office spaces, several people are pictured in the foreground.

A visualisation of King’s Boulevard featuring a mix of different shops and spaces

A mix of local makers and established and growing brands

We recently submitted plans for a redesigned ground-floor space that will include more than 250 metres of shop fronts and a flexible space for events and community use. Our ambition is to create a lively, welcoming boulevard that connects communities to an ecosystem of local makers, purpose-driven retailers, and public activities.

We plan to offer the shop units to a mix of established and growing brands, and provide support to help great ideas grow. Alongside the individual retail units, a market hall will offer a launchpad for small businesses, while a community, education and event space will host a changing programme of events all year round.

The new ground floor designs will create a more inviting, creative public space, with a series of playful tilting timber portals and varied shop fronts that each tenant can customise. The designs also incorporate more places for the public to come together — something we’ve heard is important to local residents.

A computer generated image showing the roof of Google’s new building on King’s Boulevard, workers are pictured on the terrace and the roof itself is lined with trees and plants.

Visualisation of the roof of our newest building in King’s Cross.

A sustainable and flexible workplace

We believe in the value of coming together in person to collaborate, which is why we’re continuing to invest in our offices around the world. As we transition to flexible, hybrid work, we’re introducing new workplace technologies and collaboration spaces to keep our teams connected wherever they’re working.

We’re also emphasising sustainability in all aspects of the building’s design as we work towards a carbon-free future. The kitchens and onsite equipment will be fully electric, which will allow us to track hourly energy usage and match this with local renewable energy. A system of 13,500 interconnected devices around the office will improve energy efficiency in real time, while solar shading will help regulate the building’s temperature by reducing glare from the sun. We’ve prioritised low-carbon, local materials in the construction and interior design to reduce the carbon impact of our building by 20%.

We’ll share the lessons we learn to help other businesses reduce their carbon impact too, building on our partnerships with Camden Clean Air, the Knowledge Quarter and other local groups.

As well as offering a quiet green space for breaks during the work day, a densely planted outdoor roof garden, with a rainwater irrigation system, will provide a habitat for protected species of bats and birds. We’re collaborating with the London Wildlife Trust and the borough of Camden as part of a wider initiative to protect our native species and improve local biodiversity.

How Google supports the local community today

We’re proud to partner with more than 60 grassroots charities across Camden, providing mentoring, skills training and funding to support their work. In the past two years we’ve provided virtual work experience for more than 200 students in Camden schools, and supported over a thousand local residents impacted by COVID with our Community Help Kit. We’ve built strong connections and gained incredible insights from these programmes which, together, bring the voice of local residents and businesses into our long-term plans.

Google’s community-led mentoring really had a profound effect on me and totally changed my approach to building the brand of Comic Mania. I honestly don't think I could have got better support even if I paid for it. Simone Haynes
Founder of ComicMania, a small NGO based in Camden

Our commitment to the U.K.

Our ongoing work on our King's Cross campus along with our $1 billion investment in our London Central Saint Giles office demonstrates our long-term commitment to the U.K. We‘ll keep working hard to ensure we play a meaningful role in the cities we call home.

Increasing Google’s investment in the UK

Image credit: Pollitt & Partners 2015

For almost two decades Google has been proud to have a home in the UK. Today, we have more than 6,400 employees and last year we added nearly 700 new people. We also strengthened our commitment to the UK in 2021 with the laying of a new subsea cable — Grace Hopper — which runs between the United States and the UK.

Building on our long-term commitment to the UK, we are purchasing the Central Saint Giles development — the site many Googlers have long called home — for $1 billion. Based in London’s thriving West End, our investment in this striking Renzo Piano-designed development represents our continued confidence in the office as a place for in-person collaboration and connection.

Across all our UK sites, Google will have capacity for 10,000 employees, as we continue to commit to the UK’s growth and success. This includes our new King’s Cross development, which is currently under construction.

Investing in the future flexible workplace

We believe that the future of work is flexibility. Whilst the majority of our UK employees want to be on-site some of the time, they also want the flexibility of working from home a couple of days a week. Some of our people will want to be fully remote. Our future UK workplace has room for all of those possibilities.

Over the next few years, we’ll be embarking on a multi-million pound refurbishment of our offices within Central Saint Giles to ensure that they are best equipped to meet the needs of our future workplace.

We'll be introducing new types of collaboration spaces for in-person teamwork, as well as creating more overall space to improve wellbeing. We’ll introduce team pods, which are flexible new space types that can be reconfigured in multiple ways, supporting focused work, collaboration or both, based on team needs. The new refurbishment will also feature outdoor covered working spaces to enable work in the fresh air.

Supporting digital growth across the UK

More than ever, technology is enabling people and businesses across the UK. In 2021, we achieved our target to help one million small British businesses stay open by helping them be found online.

It’s important that everyone is able to take advantage of the increasing innovation in the UK and grow skill sets to prepare for the jobs of the present and the future. Since we launched our Digital Garage programme in Leeds in 2015, we have provided free digital skills training to more than 700,000 people across the UK .

Thousands more UK jobseekers will also be helped to upgrade their digital skills in 2022 thanks to our expanded partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Nearly 10,000 job-seekers are able to gain access to free scholarships to earn a Google Careers Certificate in high-growth, high-demand career fields including IT support, data analysis, project management and UX design.

We’re optimistic about the potential of digital technology to drive an inclusive and sustainable future in the UK. We’re excited to be making this investment in January as a fitting way to start the new year.

A new training programme to help small businesses reduce their carbon emissions

The climate crisis is an urgent issue for everyone. The UK government has set an ambitious target to reach net zero by 2050 and all businesses of all sizes need to play a part if we’re to reach those goals. 

This is not just about doing the right thing — today’s consumers expect action: according to research from Edelman, 80% of people want brands to solve society’s problems. 

Small businesses make up 99% of the UK’s business community so they’ll play a crucial role in reaching net zero. Yet, understandably, small businesses don’t always have the time, resources or expertise to dedicate to this — especially as they focus on recovery from the pandemic. A study from the British Chambers of Commerce and O2 found that only one in 10 small businesses are measuring their carbon footprint, and a fifth of small businesses don't fully understand the term "net zero". Cost, and an ability to understand, measure and report emissions are cited as two of the main barriers to change. 

Sustainability training for small businesses

To help small businesses overcome these obstacles, we’re announcing a new free, simple and actionable training programme to help SMEs reduce their emissions. We developed the training in partnership with leading sustainability and net zero certification group, Planet Mark, as part of the UK Government’s Together for our Planet Business Climate Leaders campaign, which encourages small businesses to commit to cutting their emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. 

Our training is designed for small businesses starting their journey towards sustainability, with an emphasis on how a sustainability strategy can help drive business performance. It sets out the business case and imperative for cutting emissions, and explains practical, digitally-focused ways to decarbonize — from using paperless billing and Cloud-enabled technology, to renewable energy sourcing and supply chains. Since we know how much consumers care about this, it also covers how small businesses can use their sustainability credentials to differentiate. 

One business already doing this successfully is catering company, Fooditude. They made tangible changes to their business, like limiting their food waste, going paperless with admin systems and swapping to local suppliers, and reduced their emissions by over 30% per meal. Dean Kennett, Fooditude’s Managing Director, attributes £3 million in new revenue to their new sustainability credentials, as well as their ability to hire staff who share their values, and a shared purpose among employees. 

Swati Deshpande, part of the team at Fooditude

Swati Deshpande, part of the team at Fooditude

We’ll deliver the training through the Google Digital Garage, building on our experience of coaching more than 650,000 people and small businesses in the UK in digital and business skills. And we’ll lean on our expertise as leaders on climate change for over two decades, from becoming carbon neutral in 2007 to our latest and most ambitious commitment to become the first major company to operate on carbon-free energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

We’re encouraging companies who complete the training to make a commitment to going net zero by signing up to the SME Climate Commitment, which can be found on the UK Business Climate Hub. Businesses who sign up and share their commitments will be recognized by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign initiative and inspire other businesses to take action. 

Helping SMEs track carbon emissions

Measuring carbon emissions accurately is essential if small businesses are to know if their actions make a difference, but most small businesses can’t do this alone.  That’s why we’re supporting Normative, the software platform behind the SME Climate Commitment, to help businesses track and account for their carbon emissions, making climate mitigation easier and actionable. Over the next six months, as part of the Fellowship, we’ll provide a team of 11 Googlers to work full-time, pro bono, to assist Normative with building the technical infrastructure that underpins the free-to-access platform. Normative was one of the organisations to receive a €1M grant through the Impact Challenge on Climate, which funds bold ideas that aim to use technology to accelerate Europe’s progress toward a greener, more resilient future.

We’re optimistic that by supporting organisations and technologies like these we can help small businesses make the journey towards a carbon-free future. 

How to sign up

Small businesses can sign up to the training here

Further measures to help fight financial fraud in the UK

As part of ongoing cross-industry efforts to help tackle the issue of financial fraud, we recently announced that we were the first major technology firm to join Stop Scams UK. We also pledged $5 million in advertising credits to support public awareness campaigns in the UK, helping to ensure that consumers are better informed about how to spot the tactics of scammers both online and offline.

Today, we are announcing a significant additional measure to protect users and legitimate advertisers, and help prevent scammers exploiting our platforms. The Google Ads Financial Products and Services policy will be updated from 30th August to introduce new certification requirements for financial services advertisers targeting the UK.

Financial services advertisers will be required to demonstrate that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or qualify for one of the limited exemptions described in the UK Financial Services verification page. This new update builds on significant work in partnership with the FCA over the last 18 months to help tackle this issue.

Today’s announcement reflects significant progress in delivering a safer experience for users, publishers and advertisers. While we understand that this policy update will impact a range of advertisers in the financial services space, our utmost priority is to keep users safe on our platforms — particularly in an area so disproportionately targeted by fraudsters.

Here’s what you need to know about the policy update:

  • The policy will be updated on August 30, 2021, and enforcement will begin seven days later, on September 6, 2021.
  • Advertisers must successfully complete the updated verification process by the time enforcement begins in order to show financial services ads to UK users. This will include showing ads to UK users who appear to be seeking financial services.
  • As part of the verification process, advertisers must demonstrate that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority or qualify for one of the limited exemptions described in the UK Financial Services verification page. 
  • This requirement covers financial services products both regulated by and not regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

This new policy update is only the latest step in our commitment to tackling online financial crime in the UK. Our teams continue to use a mixture of machine learning and human review to analyse user experiences and take action. 

For the last 18 months, we have worked with the FCA to receive notifications when additions are made to the FCA warning list. Based on feedback from the FCA, we have also updated policies, such as our unreliable claims policy. This update restricted the rates of return a firm can advertise and banned the use of terms that make unrealistic promises of large financial return with minimal risk, effort or investment.

Globally, we have also introduced new advertiser identity verification which requires advertisers to submit personal legal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that proves who they are and the country in which they operate. 

We are committed to adapting and collaborating with industry and government organisations to lead on necessary changes to help fight evolving tactics by scammers.

Google Career Certificates launch in the UK

Today, we’re launching U.K.-wide Google Career Certificates in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

With people in the U.K. gaining the opportunity to explore new freedoms each week, we know that many people, through both necessity and personal drive, are looking for ways to grow skill sets to prepare for the jobs of the present and the future. 

Technology and automation were already fundamentally changing the way we work, a trend only accelerated by the additional upheaval of jobs markets due to the pandemic. In fact, research conducted by Google and The McKinsey Global Institute before COVID-19 shows that, to ensure job creation, more than 90 million workers may need to develop significant new skills by 2030.

Our Search data in the U.K. suggests we’re already looking to get ahead of this with an increase in Searches for ‘information technology online course’ up 780%, ‘business management course online’ up 296% and ‘online courses with certificates’ up 259% in just the last week alone. 

On top of this, people are turning to the internet to ask their most pressing questions about ‘skills' with some top-ranked questions in Search being ‘How to improve leadership skills?’ ‘How to improve problem solving skills?’ and ‘How to improve communication skills?’

To support the need to learn these new skills, we’re distributing 9,500 Google Career Certificate scholarships in the U.K. through government partnerships with the DWP (9,000) and Camden Council (500). We’re also providing grant funding to The Prince’s Trust and INCO Academy via to ensure that an additional 1,500 young people from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities across the U.K. can take advantage of the training opportunity.  

Those who sign up to Google Career Certificates can select any number of the four courses available to help grow the necessary skills to support a career in technology. The courses available include IT Support, Data Analyst, Project Manager and UX Designer. Typically learners take up to six months to complete the course, no degree level experience is needed and they’re recognised by industry experts and employers, including Google. 

We know that technology is only becoming more important for the U.K. economy. The amount technology contributes to the UK economy has grown on average by 7% year on year since 2016. And U.K.-based venture capital investment is third in the world, reaching a record high of $15 billion in 2020, despite the challenging conditions. 

As the U.K. embarks upon the biggest recovery challenge in recent history, technology must help everyone, no matter their location, race, age or education level. We must harness the opportunity to prepare people across the country for the jobs of the not-so-distant future. We hope that with these new efforts and the support of our public sector partners, even more people can develop the skills to thrive and continue growing their careers through technology.