Category Archives: Google Europe Blog

Google’s views on the Internet and society Europe

Supporting retail through Comparison Shopping Services

In 2020, people around the globe benefited from digital services more than ever. Internet usage has increased by 60 percent. E-commerce trade across the European Union has posted double-digit percentage growth since last year. Searches for the phrase “how to buy online” have jumped 200 percent worldwide.

Retailers are trying to adapt and meet evolving customer demands amidst the challenges brought on by the pandemic. At Google, we care deeply about helping retailers and providing our users with the most relevant information when they search for products. This sector alone accounts for more than nine percent of jobs in the European Union and is set to play a pivotal role in the region’s economic recovery.

Google’s Accelerating Retail initiative provides a range of useful technology, relevant insights, tools and training to bring retailers closer to their customers. So far we’ve engaged with more than 13,000 retailers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

In Europe, our commitment to the retail sector extends to another group: Comparison Shopping Services (CSSs). These are websites that help retailers showcase their products online. They collect product offers from online retailers, surface them to shoppers and send prospective buyers directly to retailers’ websites to make their purchases. 

Shopping for home fragrances

A demonstration of how CSSs connect shoppers with retailers on the Google Search results page, using Shopping ads. In Europe, retailers participate in Shopping ads by partnering with one or several CSSs.

As part of our efforts to support and strengthen the overall retail ecosystem, we have also expanded our offerings for Comparison Shopping Services. Our free resources and tools available through the CSS Program assist them in several areas of their business operations, including: 

  • Managing product inventory from retailers at scale 

  • Receiving comprehensive support to optimize the performance of their Shopping ads

  • A bespoke online Google platform providing up-to-date training, market data, and product optimization tips.

The program currently helps 700 active participants, representing tens of thousands of retailers. Within our CSS Program, we have a Comparison Shopping Partners program, which gives  certified CSSs access to additional benefits. This includes direct collaboration with Google experts on the most advanced technical topics related to Shopping ads.

Merchants are seeing the value of these initiatives across the region. For example, Rituals Cosmetics, a luxury bath and body brand active in 28 countries, was looking for a partner to help them improve their performance marketing. They turned to their CSS, Producthero, for help. Together, Rituals and Producthero scaled Shopping ads with smart bidding and other advanced features. Combined with Producthero's own product feed optimization tool, Rituals achieved a triple-digit turnover increase in online sales within their spend targets.
Together with Producthero, we have completely changed our overall Shopping ads strategy. This was valuable not only for the performance marketing team but also for Rituals as a company. Martijn van der Zee, Chief Digital Officer, Ritual

We know that technology can help retailers reach a broad customer base as shoppers increasingly browse and buy online. Google is committed to continue investing in the retail industry through the CSS program and other tools and products designed especially for retailers. We want to help the industry adapt, grow, and achieve success with relevant ads that bring them closer to their customers. 

Our data centers support Europe’s green economic recovery

In 2020, families, schools and businesses moved online more than ever due to the pandemic. All the Google services you rely on are powered by our data centres, and we’ve had to ensure this infrastructure works for everyone as demand increased—for businesses using Google Cloud and Google Meet, and for anyone who asks a question on Search, watches a YouTube video, or uses Google Maps to get from A to B. 

In the last few weeks, we’ve added new infrastructure to Europe that supports the continent’s digital growth. Last month in Hamina, Finland, we were delighted to welcome Prime Minister Sanna Marin as she visited the construction site of our sixth data center building. Last week, we opened a new data center in Denmark in Fredericia. And just this week in the Netherlands, our second Dutch data center started its operation in Middenmeer.

A European green transition, powered by sustainable infrastructure

We’re proud that our data centers operate the cleanest cloud in the industry. They are on average twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center. Compared to five years ago, we now deliver around seven times as much computing power with the same amount of electrical power. 

Last week Europe announced its ambitious55 percent reduction target for CO2 emissions by 2030, in addition to its 32 percent renewable energy target. Google is helping to accelerate this transition, having supported nearly 1,700 megawatts of new renewable energy projects in Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. And we are committed to supporting the EU Climate Pact, as technology will have a critical role to play in making the EU Green Deal vision a reality.

Taking the world’s greenest data center fleet to the next level

Our AI technology helps reduce the energy we use to cool our data centers by 30 percent, and we make it available for use by airports, shopping malls, hospitals, data centers and other commercial buildings and industrial facilities. 
But we’re not stopping there. A few months ago, we announced our Third Decade of Climate Action: an ambitious plan to help build a carbon-free future and operate on clean energy around the clock. This is far more challenging than the traditional approach of matching energy usage with renewable energy, but we’re working to get this done in the next nine years.

Contributing to European growth with our (new) data centers

In addition to enabling the greenest, cleanest cloud, all these sites bring economic growth and employment to local communities and to Europe. In Finland, our data center has brought €1.2 billion in investment and supported 1700 jobs every year since 2009. During construction of our Denmark data center, we spent over €600 million and supported 2600 jobs. And in the Netherlands, we’ve directly invested €2.5 billion since 2014.

In the next five years, we expect to anchor €2 billion in new carbon-free energy generation projects and green infrastructure in Europe, helping to develop new technologies to make round-the-clock carbon-free energy cheaper and more widely available. 

Investing in our local communities

Partnerships at the local level make all the difference to communities. We have long worked with local NGOs in our data center communities and have donated millions to important initiatives in Europe, including skills training in cooperation with local colleges and universities. 

We have supported multiple education programmes focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), as well as environmental and cultural projects. For example, in Denmark we recently supported two projects with the Museum Fredericia that will promote local history through virtual experiences. In the Netherlands, we’ve helped with the preservation of local bee and butterfly populations. And in Ireland, during COVID-19, we’ve assisted vulnerable communities, and have given grants to local schools to provide students with laptops and enable home schooling.

We are proud to invest in Europe’s digital infrastructure, contribute to the local communities we operate in and support Europe’s green transition. This will be a decisive decade, and we are committed to leading by example.

Stadia arrives in eight new European countries

We created Stadia to make great games more accessible. You don’t need to buy new hardware because Stadia works with the things you already own: laptops, desktops, compatible phones and tablets, and popular game controllers. And Stadia works instantly, without waiting for your games to download or update.


Now millions more people can play games on Stadia as it becomes available in eight new European countries. If you’re in Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia or Switzerland, you can easily sign up at Stadia.com. Access to Stadia in all these countries rolls out over the next 24 hours. Stadia now works for anyone with a Gmail address in 22 countries: Once you’ve registered, you can play Destiny 2 and Super Bomberman R Online for free immediately. 


All new Stadia users can also get one free month of Stadia Pro, our premium subscription service that includes a ton of free games just waiting for you to grab and start playing. Every game you claim on Stadia Pro is yours as long as you remain a member, and more new free games are added every month. You can continue your Stadia Pro subscription for €9.99 a month and you can opt out at any time.


And you can buy even more games in the Stadia store. Whether you’re waiting to walk the streets of Night City in Cyberpunk 2077, or become a legendary Viking warrior raised on tales of battle and glory in Assassin's Creed Valhalla, there’s something for everyone.


Subscribe to Stadia’s YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more updates. See you on Stadia!

5 reasons to watch startups in Central and Eastern Europe

In 2015 we opened Google for Startups Campus Warsaw, a dedicated space in the middle of the city’s bustling Praga district, where startups can receive training and mentorship. We opened our doors to founders from across the region because we passionately believe they’re the ones shaping the future of their countries’ economies, and we have the resources and connections to help them grow. 

In the past five years, Campus Warsaw has become a hub for programs and events (welcoming 100,000 visitors in total), and a flourishing community of over 1,800 startups. And we’ve had the privilege of supporting founders in their endeavor to question the status quo. Working with these determined entrepreneurs has shown me that there are five key reasons to watch the startup ecosystem in Central and Eastern Europe.

1. Tech talent pool has real game—literally.

CEE startup career opportunities extend well beyond entrepreneurs: Startups in our community have hired 43,000+ employees to date across a variety of industries. There are about one million software developers in Central and Eastern Europe, 50 percent of whom are concentrated in Poland, Romania, and Czechia. Such a high concentration of highly skilled and educated tech workers led to the rapid development of sectors such as gaming. Poland boasts over 440 gaming development studios—launching more than 480 new games each year—and gaming is the second-largest sector in our CEE Google for Startups community.

People working on computers

Startups receive one-on-one Google mentoring at Campus Warsaw and via virtual programming.

2. The number of startups has doubled in the last five years. 

...and the total continues to grow rapidly. In Poland alone, there are now about 4,500 startups. More than half generate revenue and a quarter are scaling (aka growing their customer base, offerings, and the company itself). The profile of the average founder has also evolved: To a large extent, startups are founded by people who are over 30 years old and already have relevant experience and networks from previous stages of their careers.

A female startup founder

 35 percent of founders at Google for Startups Campus Warsaw are women

3. Foreign investments in CEE startups are at a record high.   

Venture capital investors are searching for new investment opportunities across Europe, and the CEE region is becoming increasingly attractive. According to the global startup data platform Dealroom, there’s five times more foreign VC investment in the ecosystem than there was in 2015. And it’s twice as easy to secure funding for a business: 69 percent of startups obtain financing, as stated in our “Five Years of Google for Startups in CEE” report, which we prepared together with Startup Poland and Kantar.
Two founders chatting on a couch

Founders find inspiration in coworking spaces at Campus Warsaw in 2018

4. The booming ecosystem offers support for founders at every step. 

Startups based in CEE have many organizations and resources to turn to when they need a helping hand in growing their business. In 2019, Poland alone boasted approximately 50 coworking spaces, totalling over 200,000 square meters. Since opening our Google for Startups Campus space, we’ve hosted over 1800 educational and inspirational events for founders to help them build, start, and grow their companies. "Here at Campus, I am surrounded by and have access to individuals who want to have an impact, solve tough problems, or challenge the status quo,” said Joanna Fedorowicz, founder and CEO of OvuFriend. “I have never been more motivated and prepared to take my startup to the next level.” 

Campus Warsaw building

Google for Startups Campus Warsaw in 2020C

5. CEE founders must have a global mindset.  

As the local CEE markets are relatively small, startups in our region need to think globally from day one. Those who design their products for an international scale are at the forefront of the European tech startup scene. So far, 12 unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion) have sprung out of the CEE region, with a combined value of €30 billion. Most were founded in Romania and Poland, with a promising batch of stars rising across the whole region. And we’re proud to support them every step of the way. “After our first successes, like many other startups, we reached a point when scaling up and entering another level of growth became a challenge,” said Iga Czubak, founder and CEO ofQurczak. “During the Google for Startups program, we reevaluated our whole business model and analyzed every aspect of our company's strategy, which enabled us to keep growing." 

People playing foosball.

Campus Warsaw founders celebrate successes—as well as crushing foosball defeats.

I promised a list of five, but I’m going to sneak in a sixth: The number one thing I’ve learned over the past five years is this: No matter if startup is just starting out or scaling to meet the needs of new consumers, businesses, and society, we will keep on connecting them—whether online or IRL—with the right products, skills and people to navigate the road ahead. Because when startups succeed, it’s good for all of us, in CEE and beyond.

The U.K.’s top nostalgic films: Access now on Pixel’s 5G

With so many countries now returning to various forms of lock down, and winter steadily drawing in, many of us are turning to our favorite films and movie moments to find some familiarity in a time of uncertainty. 

In other words, we’re embracing nostalgia.

And why not? The movies we love are usually steeped in happy memories, attached to dreamy locations or feature music that temporarily transports us out of the present moment. They bring us joy and a sense of change, breaking up some of the monotony of life in lock down.

We asked Dr. Wing Yee Cheung, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Winchester, about this, and learned that films are a great way to relive memories of happier times. “Movies are embedded with sensory memories of when we first watched them and whom we watched them with,” she writes. “Sensory inputs and social interactions aretwo key triggers of nostalgia. Watching these can be a way to walk down memory lane and reminisce [about] the way life used to be, what we used to do, and the people surrounding us.”

And because it’s the season of giving, we have our own gift for you: If you’re in the U.K., you can download classic films, such as "Four Weddings and a Funeral" or "Monty Python’s Life of Brian," all from a unique Google Map, now until Dec. 10. Transport yourself to a world of nostalgia by searching the map for symbols that represent the films in relevant locations. If you find one, you’ll receive a code to rediscover and enjoy the movie in Google Play*1

Image showing Four Weddings and a Funeral on a Pixel phone.

Anyone in the U.K. can take part, regardless of what type of phone you have—but of course if you do happen to own a new Pixel 5G-enabled device, you’ll be able to start your viewing party in a matter of seconds1. Thanks to movies on-demand combined with the technology of 5G networks2, you can choose your film, download1 it and settle in on the couch, all while the popcorn is still warm. Currently, 5G2 is one of the fastest ways to download a movie on any device. Both Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a with 5G2 enable you to download a film in seconds1. Whether you’re curled up on your sofa, pottering around the house, or outside on a walk, Pixel with 5G2 gives you access to the stories and characters you know and love, on the go; the speed of a 5G2 device immediately transports you to where you want to be.

So let’s lean into the nostalgia. As Dr. Cheung notes, it actually helps us cope with uncertainty: “Immersing ourselves in nostalgic moments is not about hiding our heads in the past. On the contrary, it can create new memories which can feed into future nostalgic experiences.”

It’s a great way to spend lock down with your family: Watching much-loved classics is a natural way for parents to share their experiences with their children and to make new memories together. And even if you’re physically on your own, you can use Google Duo on Pixel 5 to share your screen and watch your favorites with socially distant family and friends3

“An old movie that makes us feel nostalgia can inject us with a complex range of emotions,” concludes Dr. Cheung. “We feel sentimental, predominantly happy, but with a tinge of longing.” And that’s something we can probably all relate to right now. 


*Offer begins on 25th November 25, 2020 and ends 10th December 10, 2020.  Limited number of codes available. Subject to availability. Terms Apply. See here for full terms. 

1.  Testing based on download speeds for content file sizes between 449MB and 749MB at off-peak times. Average download time was twenty seconds or less. Download speed depends upon many factors, such as file size, content provider and carrier network connection and capabilities. Testing conducted by Google on pre-production hardware in the UK in August 2020. Actual download speeds may be slower.  

2. Requires a 5G data plan (sold separately).  5G service and roaming not available on all carrier networks or in all areas and may vary by country. Contact carrier for details about current 5G network performance, compatibility, and availability. Phone connects to 5G networks but, 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength and signal obstruction. Actual results may vary. Some features not available in all areas. Data rates may apply. See g.co/pixel/networkinfo for info.

3. Requires a Google Duo account. Screen sharing not available on group calls.  Requires Wi-Fi or 5G internet connection.Not available on all apps and content. Data rates may apply. 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength, and signal obstruction.

*Promotional code offer is provided by Google Commerce Limited (Google) for use on Google  Play Store UK only, and subject to the following terms. Offer begins on 25th November 2020 and ends 10th December, 2020 (‘Offer Period’). One (1) promotional code per user per film release, and up to a maximum of five (5) promotional codes per User during the Offer Period. Limited number of codes available. Subject to availability.

Available only to Users 18 or older with a delivery and billing address in the United Kingdom. Users must have internet access and must have or add a form of payment at checkout . Promotional codes cannot be used with Guest checkout, Users must be signed-in to their Google account to redeem the code. 

Promotional codes can be redeemed by visiting play.google.com/redeem or the Google Play Store app and entering the 16 digit code to receive a £5 or £10 discount for purchase or rental of any product on the Google Play Store UK. The discount will be applied at checkout. Promotional code must be redeemed by 31st December, 2021 or it will expire. Promotional codes may only be used once and may not be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. Any unused promotional balance will be applied to the associated Google account. Users may continue to use the unused promotional balance for Google Play purchases until such balance is £0, or any remaining promotional balance expires. Promotional codes are a discount off price for up to the promotional amount, are for one-time use only, cannot be transferred to other users, are not reloadable, cannot be exchanged for cash. Google and its third party partners if applicable, are not liable for lost or stolen promotional codes, or for expired promotional codes that are not redeemed within the redemption period. Terms subject to applicable laws. Void where prohibited.

The U.K.’s top nostalgic films: Access now on Pixel’s 5G

With so many countries now returning to various forms of lock down, and winter steadily drawing in, many of us are turning to our favorite films and movie moments to find some familiarity in a time of uncertainty. 

In other words, we’re embracing nostalgia.

And why not? The movies we love are usually steeped in happy memories, attached to dreamy locations or feature music that temporarily transports us out of the present moment. They bring us joy and a sense of change, breaking up some of the monotony of life in lock down.

We asked Dr. Wing Yee Cheung, a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Winchester, about this, and learned that films are a great way to relive memories of happier times. “Movies are embedded with sensory memories of when we first watched them and whom we watched them with,” she writes. “Sensory inputs and social interactions aretwo key triggers of nostalgia. Watching these can be a way to walk down memory lane and reminisce [about] the way life used to be, what we used to do, and the people surrounding us.”

And because it’s the season of giving, we have our own gift for you: If you’re in the U.K., you can download classic films, such as "Four Weddings and a Funeral" or "Monty Python’s Life of Brian," all from a unique Google Map, now until Dec. 10. Transport yourself to a world of nostalgia by searching the map for symbols that represent the films in relevant locations. If you find one, you’ll receive a code to rediscover and enjoy the movie in Google Play*1

Image showing Four Weddings and a Funeral on a Pixel phone.

Anyone in the U.K. can take part, regardless of what type of phone you have—but of course if you do happen to own a new Pixel 5G-enabled device, you’ll be able to start your viewing party in a matter of seconds1. Thanks to movies on-demand combined with the technology of 5G networks2, you can choose your film, download1 it and settle in on the couch, all while the popcorn is still warm. Currently, 5G2 is one of the fastest ways to download a movie on any device. Both Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a with 5G2 enable you to download a film in seconds1. Whether you’re curled up on your sofa, pottering around the house, or outside on a walk, Pixel with 5G2 gives you access to the stories and characters you know and love, on the go; the speed of a 5G2 device immediately transports you to where you want to be.

So let’s lean into the nostalgia. As Dr. Cheung notes, it actually helps us cope with uncertainty: “Immersing ourselves in nostalgic moments is not about hiding our heads in the past. On the contrary, it can create new memories which can feed into future nostalgic experiences.”

It’s a great way to spend lock down with your family: Watching much-loved classics is a natural way for parents to share their experiences with their children and to make new memories together. And even if you’re physically on your own, you can use Google Duo on Pixel 5 to share your screen and watch your favorites with socially distant family and friends3

“An old movie that makes us feel nostalgia can inject us with a complex range of emotions,” concludes Dr. Cheung. “We feel sentimental, predominantly happy, but with a tinge of longing.” And that’s something we can probably all relate to right now. 


*Offer begins on 25th November 25, 2020 and ends 10th December 10, 2020.  Limited number of codes available. Subject to availability. Terms Apply. See here for full terms. 

1.  Testing based on download speeds for content file sizes between 449MB and 749MB at off-peak times. Average download time was twenty seconds or less. Download speed depends upon many factors, such as file size, content provider and carrier network connection and capabilities. Testing conducted by Google on pre-production hardware in the UK in August 2020. Actual download speeds may be slower.  

2. Requires a 5G data plan (sold separately).  5G service and roaming not available on all carrier networks or in all areas and may vary by country. Contact carrier for details about current 5G network performance, compatibility, and availability. Phone connects to 5G networks but, 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength and signal obstruction. Actual results may vary. Some features not available in all areas. Data rates may apply. See g.co/pixel/networkinfo for info.

3. Requires a Google Duo account. Screen sharing not available on group calls.  Requires Wi-Fi or 5G internet connection.Not available on all apps and content. Data rates may apply. 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength, and signal obstruction.

*Promotional code offer is provided by Google Commerce Limited (Google) for use on Google  Play Store UK only, and subject to the following terms. Offer begins on 25th November 2020 and ends 10th December, 2020 (‘Offer Period’). One (1) promotional code per user per film release, and up to a maximum of five (5) promotional codes per User during the Offer Period. Limited number of codes available. Subject to availability.

Available only to Users 18 or older with a delivery and billing address in the United Kingdom. Users must have internet access and must have or add a form of payment at checkout . Promotional codes cannot be used with Guest checkout, Users must be signed-in to their Google account to redeem the code. 

Promotional codes can be redeemed by visiting play.google.com/redeem or the Google Play Store app and entering the 16 digit code to receive a £5 or £10 discount for purchase or rental of any product on the Google Play Store UK. The discount will be applied at checkout. Promotional code must be redeemed by 31st December, 2021 or it will expire. Promotional codes may only be used once and may not be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. Any unused promotional balance will be applied to the associated Google account. Users may continue to use the unused promotional balance for Google Play purchases until such balance is £0, or any remaining promotional balance expires. Promotional codes are a discount off price for up to the promotional amount, are for one-time use only, cannot be transferred to other users, are not reloadable, cannot be exchanged for cash. Google and its third party partners if applicable, are not liable for lost or stolen promotional codes, or for expired promotional codes that are not redeemed within the redemption period. Terms subject to applicable laws. Void where prohibited.

International Students’ Day: In pursuit of freedom

On November 17, 1939, in Prague, a chemistry student named Jaroslav Franc woke up to blasts of machine gun rounds and nearby shouting. His college building was being stormed by Nazi soldiers, who were retaliating against Czechoslovak students for their repeated revolts against the current Nazi occupation of their country. Jaroslav and 1200 other university students were soon arrested and transported to a concentration camp. Czechoslovak universities were ordered to shut down.

After being released by the Nazis in 1942, Jaroslav Franc (pictured here with his wife) became a manual worker in a dairy factory. When the war ended, he was finally able to finish his university studies. He then became a recognized chemist with several dozen scientific patents.

After being released by the Nazis in 1942, Jaroslav Franc (pictured here with his wife) became a manual worker in a dairy factory. When the war ended, he was finally able to finish his university studies. He then became a recognized chemist with several dozen scientific patents.

To commemorate these events, November 17 was declared International Students' Day in 1941 by the International Students' Council meeting in London. Today, 79 years later, students around the world still celebrate the day, one of many times throughout history when young people have been willing to stand up and defend freedom and democracy, sometimes risking, and even losing, their lives.

To honor the important role of students in history, Memory of Nations, one of Europe's most extensive archives of life stories, has partnered with Google Arts & Culture to create a new exhibition exploring the Czechoslovak roots of International Students' Day through the eyes of witnesses.

The International Students’ Council in London in 1941 decided to name November 17 International Students’ Day

The International Students’ Council in London in 1941 decided to name November 17 International Students’ Day.

Through newly digitized photographs, rare documents and, most importantly, interviews with the participants, the new exhibit tells the stories of the 1939 uprisings against the Nazis, as well as those that took place exactly 50 years later, on International Students’ Day 1989. That’s when Czechoslovak students again made history by organizing a march in protest of the oppressive Communist regime. Their peaceful demonstrations were met with violence from the state police. But the movement they started became known as the Velvet Revolution, and ultimately led to the transition to democracy. We hope that this new collection of their stories can inspire anyone, anywhere, on the value of freedom, as well as remind those who were born into it of its value.

The Digital Services Act must not harm Europe’s economic recovery

In this extraordinary year, people and businesses are asking more, not less, from technology and technology companies. For many of us, and for many businesses, digital tools have been a lifeline during lockdown, helping us work, shop, find customers, connect with loved ones and get the latest public health information.


Helpful digital tools that serve millions of people don’t happen by accident—they need investment and rules that encourage that investment and innovation.  Twenty years ago, the European Union created a regulatory environment to do just that. Now it's overhauling those rules, with a comprehensive reform called the Digital Services Act (DSA).  We fully support updating the rules, and think it’s more important than ever that this regulation delivers for European consumers and businesses. 


But a significant part of this reform will impact how digital tools can be built in the future, and by whom. That’s why, earlier this year, we shared our ideas with the European Commission, suggesting ways that existing legislation could be improved and warning of the risks if new rules are poorly designed.


Through the pandemic, people’s use of technology has jumped forward five years, with a 60 percent increase in internet usage. Searches for online shopping and how-to-buy online grew by 200 percent worldwide. Demand for the free digital skills courses that Google offers has increased by 300 percent. And many businesses—like restaurants, fashion designers, retailers and even hairdressers—have embraced digital to survive during painful lockdowns and restrictions. 


Now, just as in every economic downturn of the last 20 years, digital tools will be a vital catalyst for the economic recovery that must come after COVID-19. In rewriting the rules that govern the internet in Europe, the EU has an opportunity to rebuild the foundations so that everybody can thrive online and consumers can benefit from wide choice and lower prices. 


Yet reports suggest that some of the proposals being considered would do the opposite.  They would prevent global technology companies like Google from building innovative digital tools like the ones that people have used through lockdown—and that will help European businesses rebuild their operations. That would be a missed opportunity for Europe as it looks to the post-Covid future.


The DSA will not only affect a handful of global companies, but will also have broader impacts - including on the livelihoods of small business owners across Europe, who use digital services like ours to communicate with their customers, sell their products and services and fuel their growth. 


To take just one example, if you use Google Search to look for  “Thai food nearby,” —Google Maps shows you where the nearest restaurant is located and provides its contact details. And other links let you book a table directly (if local health restrictions allow) or see if you can pick up your meal to take away. 


The DSA could prevent Google from developing such user-centric features. That would clearly have an impact not just on how people use our services, but also on the thousands of restaurants which welcomed millions of diners in Europe using this free feature this year. 


At Google, we put innovation and continuous improvement at the heart of everything we do.  While we support the ambition of the DSA to create clear rules for the next 20 years that support economic growth, we worry that the new rules may instead slow economic recovery. We will advocate strongly for policies that will help ensure innovation and digital tools are at the heart of Europe's recovery and future success.  


Over the past few months, we’ve seen the power of technology as a tool to bring people together, keep them safe and help them get through difficult times. Now, more than ever, we need to focus not on how to limit innovation by a few companies, but on how the full range of digital tools available can contribute to Europe’s recovery and future economic success. The key to that success? Giving people more, not less. 


A new partnership with Spain’s public service media

Public service media organizations (PSMs) have long played a critical role in delivering trusted information, entertainment and education, and investing in local cultures and showcasing them to the world. In Europe alone there are 69 PSMs, which together invest €19.5 billion each year in local content and operate a combined 939 TV and radio stations.

 At Google we have long-standing partnerships with PSMs around the world, with one of the most recent being RTVE in Spain. Similar to the BBC or CBC, RTVE serves as the national public broadcaster for radio and television, and is the largest Spanish-language audiovisual group in Spain. We’ve joined forces with three goals in mind: to find new ways of engaging audiences, to develop machine learning tools to improve internationalization and scale, and to offer digital training to the next generation of content creators. 

 As we worked with RTVE to think through new ways of engaging with audiences and reaching new ones, we decided to start with the popular Operación Triunfo, a nationally beloved music talent show. Along with RTVE Digital and producer Gestmusic, we created OT Academy, a new action on Google Assistant: By saying, “OK Google, I want to talk to OT Academy,” fans got exclusive daily summaries, podcasts from the contestants and behind-the-scenes updates. Over 14 weeks, there were more than 678,000 listens for the exclusive daily bulletins.

 Spain is increasingly a hub for global TV and film production, so it’s the perfect moment to think about how to bring RTVE content to an international audience. Using machine learning in Google Cloud Platform, RTVE now has auto-translated subtitles for a portion of its vast online video library. Viewers can choose from Galician, Basque and Catalan, as well as English, Italian, French and German, which opens up new audiences both within and outside of Spain.

Finally, our YouTube team worked with the RTVE Institute to support their training program for video creators, in which audiovisual experts from Spain share tips on topics like “How to behave in front of a camera,” “How to communicate properly,” and “How to dress for every occasion.” As part of this collaboration several well-known Spanish YouTube creators contributed their expertise on topics such as “How to start on YouTube” and “How to grow on YouTube.” Anyone who wants to start out in content creation, or media professionals who are looking to expand their knowledge, can take inspiration from the pros. So far, the project is already benefiting thousands of potential future content creators.

 We look forward to continued opportunities to collaborate with RTVE. Our hope is that with these kinds of initiatives, we can help RTVE and other PSMs with their strategic goals and support their role as vehicles of information, entertainment and education.

Travel to Croatia with Google Arts & Culture

Croatia, the country of a thousand islands, is well known for its spectacular beaches and national parks, and as one of the sunniest places in Europe. But it also has a rich cultural history, with one of the highest counts of items on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Google Arts & Culture partnered with the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb and the Museum Alka of Sinjto let the world experience the colors and sounds of Croatia. Learn about the local crafts, dance like there is no music, join best-in-class festivals or learn about the national delicacy strukli.

1. The Crafts

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Decorating licitars Photo: Luka Smuk / Croatian National Tourist Board

Toy making from the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje Photo: Julien Duval / Croatian National Tourist Board

It’s the little things that give a place a distinct personality. In virtually every gift shop and souvenir stand in Croatia, the sweet biscuits called licitars are ubiquitous. The bright red, decorated hearts, birds and other shapes aren’t just colorful mementos—they’re part of Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage and a symbol of the country itself. Another tradition that survived centuries is the skill of handcrafting wooden toys. They are ubiquitous to the region, so much that in 2009, the traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region of Croatia was inscribed to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Check out the whole toy-making process.

2. The Fashion

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Ljelja singing Photo: Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Slavonika beret Photo: LFP Studio / Croatian National Tourist Board

When people think of the cultural heritage of Croatia, they often look to centuries-old traditions being kept alive by a small handful of practitioners. Croatia is vibrant with colors and traditional regional costumes, from Dalmatia’s floral handkerchiefs to Gorjani’s hats literally made out of flowers. Historical men’s fashion includes Alkar lancers, whose dark blue uniforms and plumes in their hats will take you back in time to the Ottoman Empire. And for an unforgettable celebration of color, there is nothing quite like the Rijeka Carnival.  A new wave of young Croatian designers is taking inspiration from the country’s rich history of folk arts and crafts and applying it to contemporary fashion and accessories. See herehow Croatian crafts are influencing today’s design and fashion.

3. The Festivals

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Lastovo Poklad festival with firecrackers: photographer: Stjepan Tafra / Croatian National Tourist Board

Bell ringers festival Photographer: Ivan Vranjić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Croatia is rich in music festivals, historic reenactments and religious festivities. Throughout the year, but especially in the spring and summer, annual festivities celebrate Croatia’s local, regional and national traditions. There is the loud and empowering Bell Ringers’ Pageant in Kastav, a historic Alka Tournament in Sinj, the beautifully costumed Spring Procession of Ljelje and the hilarious donkey race in Tribunj. On the opposite side of the country, on far-off Korčula Island, the locals cultivate the saber dance, a choreographed mock sword battle between two kings fighting for the love of a princess—quite a spectacle to see!

4. The Places

Drywall on Kaprije island _ Croatian National Tourist Board _ Photo_ Ivo Pervan.jpg

Dry stone wall on Kaprije island Photo: Ivo Pervan

Though Croatia is full of beautiful beaches and vibrant cities, the country’s foundations rest on dry stonewalls, which dates as far back as the 9th century BCE. That was when the ancient Liburnians began to erect defensive hill forts and walls using stone but no mortar or other binding material. They were such good builders that remnants of these constructions remain even today. Bavljenac Island has the densest concentration of dry stone walls, and when viewed from above it looks like a giant fingertip

Curious to see more? Stroll around these top five locations and immerse yourself in the lush naturescapes of the country. Alternatively, check out g.co/travelcroatia, download the Android or iOS app or visit Google Arts & Culture. Uživaj!