Category Archives: Official Google Blog

Insights from Googlers into our topics, technology, and the Google culture

A training network to support diversity in journalism

Since 2015, Google and our partners have trained more than 400,000 journalists around the world. Last year in the United States through the Google News Initiative, our training was focused on giving journalists the tools necessary to cover the 2020 presidential election. This year, we’re continuing our training efforts with our trusted partners to train a diverse range of journalists across the U.S. in digital skills, media literacy and skills in covering marginalized communities.

In partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association, we’ll be training professional and student journalists on tools like Google Trends and Pinpoint, as well as relying on the expertise of our association partners to help connect journalists of color to valuable training resources. With the help of NAHJ, our training materials will also be translated into Spanish.

Cultural competency in reporting will be a key aspect of the trainings our partners lead, because true diversity needs to include not only who is telling the story, but also how the story is told. As part of our ongoing partnership, the Native American Journalists Association will also be creating an Indigenous Media Directory, which will connect journalists and readers to indigenous-led outlets. 

“As we shifted our approach from in-person to virtual during the pandemic, we were able to deliver training to more tribal media and mainstream newsrooms and connect with members and allies across Indian Country from Alaska to New York to Winnipeg,” says Rebecca Landsbury-Baker, Executive Director of NAJA. “We are grateful for the continued support of this important work under the NAJA Red Press Initiative.”

To learn more about our training network and resources and to request a newsroom training, visit our training center website.


Building for the future: Google Marketing Livestream May 27, 2021

Text says "Register now. Thursday, May 27 at 8 a.m. PT

Businesses play a critical role in helping our communities thrive. As the world around us continues to change, our commitment to you remains the same: helping you grow your business and meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Many of you — who run businesses large and small, around the world — have shared what you need from partners like Google to be successful. We heard you. So we’ve been busy building new solutions to help you be ready for what comes next. 

Join us on May 27 at 8 a.m. PT for Google Marketing Livestream 2021 — a virtual keynote where we’ll announce new products and share the latest trends and insights. You’ll also hear from industry leaders who have transformed their businesses to adapt to the new realities.

It’s a virtual experience like no other. 

Register now to get a front row seat. And join the conversation at #GML2021.

Gif says: Building for the future of digital marketing, measurement, commerce, privacy

News Brief: March updates from the Google News Initiative

Three years ago we created the Google News Initiative to build a stronger future for news. The upheaval of the last year has accelerated the demand for journalism, as well as the need for news businesses to transition to digital and sustainable businesses. As we continue to learn from our news partners around the world, we remain committed to working closely with the journalism community to build the constructive and sustainable news industry that’s necessary for our open societies to thrive. For March updates, keep reading.

Supporting the first diversity guide for German media 

Based on research in 2020, our partner Neue Deutsche Medienmacher*innen (NDM) launched the Diversity Guide for German Media, the first comprehensive handbook for German publishers and broadcasters that aims to provide diversity data, local and international best practices and checklists on team culture, recruiting and reporting. We announced the launch during a press conference with 150 journalists and on the Google Germany blog.

Gathering for a conference on diversity in journalism in Spanish-speaking Latin America

More than 2000 journalists from 18 countries attended the first Latin American Conference on diversity, gender and race in journalism, created in partnership with the Knight Center. A follow-up ebook with articles by the speakers will be published in May.
The Spanish website for disinformation trainings for journalists

Journalist trainings on disinformation, data verification and digital tools are available to Latin American newsrooms for free online

Training on disinformation in times of elections

In an election year throughout Latin America, we launched a series of journalist trainings on disinformation, data verification and digital tools. In partnership with First Draft, LatamChequea and local partners, we’ll provide training in seven countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. Registrations are free and open online.

Evaluating the health of local news ecosystems

We know that accurate, fact-based news and information is critical for individual, community and local government health. We, along with other funders of news in local communities, share a common challenge: how to assess the health of a given local community’s information ecosystem, and measure change over time.

In collaboration with the Knight Foundation and Democracy Fund, we supported Impact Architects to develop a playbook with a simple set of tools to help communities measure their local news industries, and measure them on an ongoing basis. This playbook was put to the test in nine U.S. communities of various sizes, and in March, we released a report with detailed findings from each of these assessments.

Growing news audiences through the Digital Growth Program

As part of the Digital Growth Program, which was designed to help small and medium publishers grow their online business, we launched new audience development resources including short guides, workshops and labs. The resources build on our analytics tool, News Consumer Insights. Workshops are free and available in English in North America and Asia Pacific, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Indonesian

The program aims to provide news organizations with practical tips and strategies to develop and grow their readers over time by better understanding their readers, using data analytics, establishing clear goals and building an organizational culture centered around audience. So far more than 1300 people have joined our workshops, which will continue throughout April and are also available on-demand. 

Bringing the GNI Startups Lab to North America

We kicked off the North American GNI Startups Lab, a six-month accelerator for 10 early-stage news businesses seeking financial sustainability and growth. The Lab is being run in partnership with LION Publishers, and builds on the work of Startups Lab Brazil, which launched last year. We plan to announce additional regions for future labs over the coming months.

Driving innovation around the world

Building on the €150 million Digital News Innovation Fund, GNI Innovation Challenges have supported more than 150 projects that inject new ideas into the news industry. Last month, we launched the second Innovation Challenge in Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese, focused on building sustainability and diversity. Q&As are available in Spanish and Portuguese, and applications are open until May 3. 

Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.

a photo of Sylvio Costa, founder of Congresso em Foco

Sylvio Costa, founder of Congresso em Foco

Through the first Latin America Innovation Challenge, Brazilian publisher Congresso em Foco has increased their site traffic by 67% year over year. It also generated enough revenue to build and maintain the largest database of federal parliamentarians in the country. This project helped them to grow their understanding of the Brazilian Congress and new business models for journalism.

A collage of the editors of Vibez

The editors of Vibez, accompanied by the text “Meet the editors” in Polish

In Poland, Wirtualna Polska developed a news service for Millennials and Generation Z readers called Vibez, which recently won the Mobile Trends Awards 2020 after receiving over 150,000 unique users per month and 96% of their traffic from mobile.

Using reader data to boost subscriptions for Finnish publisher Sanoma

riptions at Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s most-read daily newspaper. By feeding audience data to the BigQuery machine-learning platform, Sanoma determines which readers are most likely to pay and what content is most relevant to them. Another tool creates a personalized digital front page, offering relevant articles to likely subscribers. The program has pushed subscriptions to above 400,000 and from 23% to 60% of the publication’s sales.

Increasing user engagement for Jagran New Media with a data-driven content plan 

Through the GNI Data Lab in Asia Pacific, the Hindi news site Jagran.com created a tool for measuring content performance in real time. The dashboard helped editorial teams make more informed decisions, resulting in a 20% increase in article completion rate among the site’s most loyal readers and a 15% increase in the rate at which those readers clicked through to another article. 

Using AI to make Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s paywall smarter

The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.) now has a valuable aid when it comes to deciding which articles should sit behind the paywall. Using a tool powered by Google’s machine learning, F.A.Z. editors can analyze previous top performers and predict which current articles will produce similar results. The tool has proven accurate — about half of the predicted conversion rates are nearly 100% accurate — but editors still make the final decision.  

That’s all for March updates. To learn more, follow along on our newsletter and social.

The U.S. and Europe should launch a trade and technology council

Two decades ago, countries saw global trade in technology goods and services as an on-ramp to the economy of the 21st century. International agreements to eliminate barriers to trade in technology goods and services helped enable dramatic increases in technology trade, while countries looked to promote foreign investment in the cutting-edge technologies of the future.  Consumers everywhere got access to new, lower-priced technology, millions of jobs were created and businesses from Paris to Pittsburgh have been able to reach new customers around the world, generating trillions of dollars in sales.


Times have changed: We’re all using digital tools, and recognizing the risks of abuse and the need for responsible innovation. But while well-crafted regulation can help unlock the benefits of technology, an explosion in national policies is detering trade in technology. Those barriers include not just tariffs (which have also beset other sectors), but also trade controls, discriminatory taxes, investment restrictions and novel digital regulations aimed straight at foreign-headquartered companies. In short, we’re seeing the erosion of a carefully nurtured global trading system that has contributed to progress and prosperity in the U.S. and around the world.  


This erosion of trade norms isn’t limited to the U.S.-China relationship. Even more concerningly, the technology trade relationship between the U.S. and Europe — once one of the closest in the world — is fraying.  


In Washington, in recent years, “transatlantic tech policy” has been largely reduced to pressing Europe to follow U.S. supply chain initiatives. Meanwhile Europe has undertaken a broad series of unilateral initiatives in areas ranging from digital taxes to market regulation. Transatlantic coordination has largely become an afterthought, if it’s thought of at all. 


These policy trends hurt both the U.S. and European economies, risking the 16 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic linked to transatlantic trade and investment. They also make it harder for the U.S. and the EU to address new global technology challenges and partner with emerging economies in Asia.


But there’s a better path forward. Coming out of the pandemic, with new momentum behind bilateral cooperation, we have a chance to revitalize the transatlantic technology trade relationship.


The European Commission recently proposed an EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC).  The United States should accept the invitation — and build on it. An expedited high-level trade dialogue on technology issues is critical to avoid unilateral approaches on pressing issues like data flows that are essential to commerce, regulation of digital platforms that we all use every day, and other essential components of a modern economy. A TTC could also prevent divergence on emerging areas like artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies and promote cooperation on third-country technology challenges. 


Of course a TTC needs to be set up for success. When entering trade negotiations, each side typically avoids preemptive or unilateral actions that might foreclose meaningful alignment. In entering a TTC, both sides should commit to meaningful consultation before taking any further actions harming transatlantic tech trade. The U.S. should not enact new privacy or technology trade control regulations without consulting with the EU; the EU should pursue bilateral consultation to ensure technology initiatives like the Digital Markets Act reflect the EU-U.S. values-based alliance. Quickly forming a TTC can help drive a consistent and non-discriminatory approach on these challenging new areas of technology regulation.


The need for alignment has never been greater or more urgent. An aligned approach will promote more tech-enabled economic growth; tech-supported measures to tackle other shared challenges like climate change; and new norms to ensure that technology will — in the words of  U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken — “protect your privacy, make the world safer and healthier, and make democracies more resilient.” 


The historic partnership between Europe and the U.S. faces a profound challenge — but also an opportunity to re-build based on shared values of openness and connectivity. As European Commission Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis said recently: “The bottom line is simple: whatever challenges the EU and U.S. face, there is no stronger values-based alliance in the world … So, even if the current crisis feeds the temptation to look inward, this is not the answer.” We couldn’t agree more.

Cloud Covered: What was new in March on Google Cloud

Spring brings new growth and possibilities, and with COVID-19 vaccinations underway, this spring feels even more hopeful than usual. In the spirit of spring, the most popular Google Cloud blog posts from last month focused on the new: features, resources, innovations and awards. Here’s our recap.

Our popular cheat sheet helps you learn Google Cloud technologies in four words or less.
Back by popular demand, our developer’s cheat sheet summarizes Google Cloud products, each in four words or less, for a quick, handy reference. You can print the cheat sheet and post it by your desk, or make it your desktop wallpaper. If you see a product that piques your interest, learn more about it on our GitHub page. Or check out a couple of other resources mentioned in the same blog: GCP Sketchnotes describe each Google Cloud product in a format that combines art and technology. The video series Cloud Bytes summarizes individual Google Cloud products in less than two minutes. 

Google Workspace showed off new features.
A mantra that captures the last year of work might be “flexibility in the face of change.” Last month we announced new features in Google Workspace that will help in all the ways work gets done in an ever-changing world. Many features will contribute to what we call collaboration equity, or the ability to contribute equally, regardless of location, role, experience level, language or device preference. We also launched a new offering, Google Workspace Frontline, to open up safe and secure communication and collaboration channels between frontline workers and corporate teams. Finally, we shared that Google Assistant can now be used with Google Workspace for tasks like joining a meeting or sending a message. 

Users can now include carbon emissions in their app’s location choice.
We recently set a new sustainability goal: running our business on carbon-free energy 24/7, everywhere, by 2030. Decarbonizing our data center electricity supply is the critical next step in realizing that carbon-free future and providing Google Cloud customers with the cleanest cloud in the industry. Last month, we were excited to share news about our new Carbon Free Energy Percentage (CFE%), which will help our customers select Google Cloud regions based on the carbon-free energy supplying them. This way, our customers can incorporate carbon emissions into decisions on where to locate their services across our infrastructure. 

Undersea cables connect the world.
Speaking of infrastructure, Google works hard to build technologies that connect people, geographies and businesses. Last month, we announced our new investment in Echo, a subsea cable that will run from California to Singapore, with a stopover in Guam, with plans to also land in Indonesia. Additional landings are possible in the future. Echo will be the first-ever cable to connect the U.S. to Singapore with direct fiber pairs over an express route. It will help users connect even faster to applications running in Google Cloud regions in the area, home to some of the world’s most vibrant financial and technology centers. 

Google Cloud rode the Forrester Wave of recognition.
Google was named a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Cloud Data Warehouse, Q1 2021 report. Using feedback from our customers as one of their inputs, Forrester measured and scored BigQuery, our cloud data warehouse for analyzing lots of data quickly, and gave it a 5 out of 5 across 19 different criteria. Forrester said, “Customers like Google’s frequency of data warehouse releases, business value, future proof architecture, high-end scale, geospatial capabilities, strong AI/ML capabilities, good security capabilities, and broad analytical use cases.”  

That’s a wrap for March! Stay tuned to the Google Cloud blog for all things cloud.

Cloud Covered: What was new in March on Google Cloud

Spring brings new growth and possibilities, and with COVID-19 vaccinations underway, this spring feels even more hopeful than usual. In the spirit of spring, the most popular Google Cloud blog posts from last month focused on the new: features, resources, innovations and awards. Here’s our recap.

Our popular cheat sheet helps you learn Google Cloud technologies in four words or less.
Back by popular demand, our developer’s cheat sheet summarizes Google Cloud products, each in four words or less, for a quick, handy reference. You can print the cheat sheet and post it by your desk, or make it your desktop wallpaper. If you see a product that piques your interest, learn more about it on our GitHub page. Or check out a couple of other resources mentioned in the same blog: GCP Sketchnotes describe each Google Cloud product in a format that combines art and technology. The video series Cloud Bytes summarizes individual Google Cloud products in less than two minutes. 

Google Workspace showed off new features.
A mantra that captures the last year of work might be “flexibility in the face of change.” Last month we announced new features in Google Workspace that will help in all the ways work gets done in an ever-changing world. Many features will contribute to what we call collaboration equity, or the ability to contribute equally, regardless of location, role, experience level, language or device preference. We also launched a new offering, Google Workspace Frontline, to open up safe and secure communication and collaboration channels between frontline workers and corporate teams. Finally, we shared that Google Assistant can now be used with Google Workspace for tasks like joining a meeting or sending a message. 

Users can now include carbon emissions in their app’s location choice.
We recently set a new sustainability goal: running our business on carbon-free energy 24/7, everywhere, by 2030. Decarbonizing our data center electricity supply is the critical next step in realizing that carbon-free future and providing Google Cloud customers with the cleanest cloud in the industry. Last month, we were excited to share news about our new Carbon Free Energy Percentage (CFE%), which will help our customers select Google Cloud regions based on the carbon-free energy supplying them. This way, our customers can incorporate carbon emissions into decisions on where to locate their services across our infrastructure. 

Undersea cables connect the world.
Speaking of infrastructure, Google works hard to build technologies that connect people, geographies and businesses. Last month, we announced our new investment in Echo, a subsea cable that will run from California to Singapore, with a stopover in Guam, with plans to also land in Indonesia. Additional landings are possible in the future. Echo will be the first-ever cable to connect the U.S. to Singapore with direct fiber pairs over an express route. It will help users connect even faster to applications running in Google Cloud regions in the area, home to some of the world’s most vibrant financial and technology centers. 

Google Cloud rode the Forrester Wave of recognition.
Google was named a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Cloud Data Warehouse, Q1 2021 report. Using feedback from our customers as one of their inputs, Forrester measured and scored BigQuery, our cloud data warehouse for analyzing lots of data quickly, and gave it a 5 out of 5 across 19 different criteria. Forrester said, “Customers like Google’s frequency of data warehouse releases, business value, future proof architecture, high-end scale, geospatial capabilities, strong AI/ML capabilities, good security capabilities, and broad analytical use cases.”  

That’s a wrap for March! Stay tuned to the Google Cloud blog for all things cloud.

Ikumi Kobayashi on taking inclusion seriously

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Ikumi Kobayashi, a Search Optimization Specialist based out of Tokyo whose search for an inclusive and accessible workplace ultimately led her to her role at Google and a newfound confidence.


Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google? 

I have profound hearing loss in both ears and use hearing aids. I rely on lip-reading during conversations. As a person with a disability (PwD), I struggled during my job hunt in Japan because most of the companies I applied to had limited job postings for PwD, and the benefits for PwD were often unequal compared to people without a disability. 


I decided to apply to Google because I wanted to work in a company that takes diversity and inclusion seriously. I was nervous before applying to Google because teamwork can be difficult for a hard-of-hearing person like me, but I decided to give it a try because I had nothing to lose.


How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I studied communications in undergrad and joined Google right out of grad school, so Google is the first company I’ve worked at. I was an intern my first year at Google, and during that time my team supported me to overcome anxiety and build confidence as a Googler with a hearing disability. 


I started as a Google Ads Account Manager, but I found face-to-face conversations with many clients everyday difficult and I preferred working more with the product and with my teammates. After three months, I moved to my current team. My job title is now Search Optimization Specialist and my responsibility is to support Japanese companies in the entertainment industry as they run and optimize their Google Search Ads. It is very rewarding to see the companies I support grow and I am really thankful for the previous and current team who accommodated flexibly for me.

Ten people gathered around a table inside of a restaurant.

Ikumi and teammates out at dinner in 2019.

What does your typical day look like right now? 

After our Google Tokyo office completely shut down in March 2020, I have been working remotely in my apartment in Tokyo. I really miss meeting my teammates and friends in the office, but I keep myself energized by proactively setting up meetings as much as possible. Conversations with Googlers always help me to maximize my productivity. Outside of work, I'm a fashion enthusiast and go to a fashion design school three times a week after work. I love to watch fashion shows on YouTube during my free time.


What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day?

I am passionate about advocating for diversity, inclusion and accessibility so I joined the Disability Alliance — an employee resource group for Googlers. Right now, I am the only Japanese hard-of-hearing Googler on the Google Ads team and we can do more to diversify the Asia-Pacific Google community. I strive to do my best to make our community even more accessible for Googlers with disabilities.

Ikumi speaking into a microphone in front of a large group. A slide is projected behind her introducing herself.

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

I would love to tell my past self (and anyone else with a disability who is considering applying to Google) that Google will not let you down because of your disability. I was once a very unconfident person because I was always left behind during conversations and felt helpless. Google’s mission statement is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful, and that applies to the workplace as well. 


Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role? 

Before applying to Google as a grad student, I had little work experience so I spent lots of time revisiting my past challenges and thinking through how I tried to overcome them. Leadership doesn't only mean leading a group. If you have an experience challenging yourself to achieve a goal, that is also a leadership skill. My advice is to go to the interview fully prepared to share your strengths.


Do you have any other tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Be confident and embrace your uniqueness. Also, don't be afraid to share any accommodation needs during the application process. Bring all of yourself to the interview and tell us how amazing you are! 

Ikumi Kobayashi on taking inclusion seriously

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.


Today’s post is all about Ikumi Kobayashi, a Search Optimization Specialist based out of Tokyo whose search for an inclusive and accessible workplace ultimately led her to her role at Google and a newfound confidence.


Can you tell us about your decision to apply to Google? 

I have profound hearing loss in both ears and use hearing aids. I rely on lip-reading during conversations. As a person with a disability (PwD), I struggled during my job hunt in Japan because most of the companies I applied to had limited job postings for PwD, and the benefits for PwD were often unequal compared to people without a disability. 


I decided to apply to Google because I wanted to work in a company that takes diversity and inclusion seriously. I was nervous before applying to Google because teamwork can be difficult for a hard-of-hearing person like me, but I decided to give it a try because I had nothing to lose.


How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I studied communications in undergrad and joined Google right out of grad school, so Google is the first company I’ve worked at. I was an intern my first year at Google, and during that time my team supported me to overcome anxiety and build confidence as a Googler with a hearing disability. 


I started as a Google Ads Account Manager, but I found face-to-face conversations with many clients everyday difficult and I preferred working more with the product and with my teammates. After three months, I moved to my current team. My job title is now Search Optimization Specialist and my responsibility is to support Japanese companies in the entertainment industry as they run and optimize their Google Search Ads. It is very rewarding to see the companies I support grow and I am really thankful for the previous and current team who accommodated flexibly for me.

Ten people gathered around a table inside of a restaurant.

Ikumi and teammates out at dinner in 2019.

What does your typical day look like right now? 

After our Google Tokyo office completely shut down in March 2020, I have been working remotely in my apartment in Tokyo. I really miss meeting my teammates and friends in the office, but I keep myself energized by proactively setting up meetings as much as possible. Conversations with Googlers always help me to maximize my productivity. Outside of work, I'm a fashion enthusiast and go to a fashion design school three times a week after work. I love to watch fashion shows on YouTube during my free time.


What inspires you to come in (or log on) every day?

I am passionate about advocating for diversity, inclusion and accessibility so I joined the Disability Alliance — an employee resource group for Googlers. Right now, I am the only Japanese hard-of-hearing Googler on the Google Ads team and we can do more to diversify the Asia-Pacific Google community. I strive to do my best to make our community even more accessible for Googlers with disabilities.

Ikumi speaking into a microphone in front of a large group. A slide is projected behind her introducing herself.

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

I would love to tell my past self (and anyone else with a disability who is considering applying to Google) that Google will not let you down because of your disability. I was once a very unconfident person because I was always left behind during conversations and felt helpless. Google’s mission statement is to make the world's information universally accessible and useful, and that applies to the workplace as well. 


Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role? 

Before applying to Google as a grad student, I had little work experience so I spent lots of time revisiting my past challenges and thinking through how I tried to overcome them. Leadership doesn't only mean leading a group. If you have an experience challenging yourself to achieve a goal, that is also a leadership skill. My advice is to go to the interview fully prepared to share your strengths.


Do you have any other tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Be confident and embrace your uniqueness. Also, don't be afraid to share any accommodation needs during the application process. Bring all of yourself to the interview and tell us how amazing you are! 

Seeking aspiring designers looking to Change The Game

Though women are playing mobile games at record numbers and make up 45% of gamers, they are heavily underrepresented in the gaming industry and as protagonists in video games. At Google Play, we have a mission to make mobile gaming truly for everyone by enabling women to be celebrated and empowered as both players and creators.   

In 2017, we launched the Change The Game Design Challenge to inspire teens to turn their passion for gaming into careers. The Design Challenge has grown from just a five-winner program at its start, to now educating 100 students across the U.S. and Canada this year. Since our launch, we have been humbled by the creativity and drive of the teens who have participated in the program. Some have used their Design Challenge experience as a springboard to their gaming education in college. Others have taken the path of service, using their experience to mentor the next generation of young women in gaming. As the Design Challenge grows and reaches more applicants, what remains constant is the genuine interest and commitment our participants share for driving positive change for the industry. 

Starting today, we’ll be accepting submissions for our 2021 Change The Game Design Challenge. We’re calling on teens to become Game Changers by sharing an original game idea and a unique vision for the future of the gaming industry. With school being virtual for the past year, and with a lot of us spending more extra time at home than usual, we’re hoping applicants think of our challenge as a fun way to switch things up while learning something new.  

Much like last year, the 2021 Design Challenge will be virtual. Participants whose game ideas are chosen will be invited to an online game development workshop hosted by our partner, Girls Make Games. The workshop will consist of four sessions that will kick off in June and run through the end of the summer. At the end of the workshop, participants can expect to have made new friends and learned skills needed to create a playable game, no coding experience required. These Game Changers will also receive the materials from the workshop, a certificate of completion, custom swag and a brand-new Chromebook to help them continue to grow in their game development journey.

For a chance to participate in this workshop and join a group of innovators, applicants should fill out this entry form and share an original game idea. We’ll be reviewing entries on a rolling basis between now and July 31. The Change the Game Design Challenge is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only, subject to exceptions. For more details on submission guidelines and how to enter, please visit g.co/ctgdesignchallenge.  At Google Play, we are excited to invest in a new class of Game Changers.

Arts and culture activities for your health and wellbeing

Our collective health and wellbeing has taken center stage as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.  While extraordinary advances in science have delivered vaccines and new hope, for over a year we’ve had to consider what wellbeing means on a personal and global level. We’ve also asked ourselves how best to cope in an era of tremendous stress, grief and isolation.

Many of us intuitively turned to arts and cultural activities as a source of comfort and healing. To honor World Health Day and support our recovery and resilience, we are launching a new experience: Arts + Health & Wellbeing.

Artists have always deeply understood the healing power of the arts from music, poetry and painting to dance and design. Technological leaps in brain imagery and biomarkers are now helping scientists confirm what we’ve all sensed: art heals. Evidence shows that many forms of art can play an important role during treatment and recovery of people living with illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD. More broadly, the arts relieve stress, anxiety and depression, boost our mood and create stronger connections to ourselves and others.

Like regular exercise or a good night’s sleep, the arts are proving important to our health and wellbeing.

The best discovery is that the arts are for everyone. Regardless of experience or talent, you can enjoy their health benefits today. Take a moment to support your own health and wellbeing — start by doing “The Cultural 5” with the World Health Organization, or enjoy a daily dose of arts and culture activities below:


Opera singer Renée Fleming

1. Try these breathing exercises with Soprano singer Renée Fleming to help increase breath capacity — for many who have experienced COVID-19, breathing is a challenge, one that can remain difficult after they recover from the most acute phase of the illness. Renée Fleming shares breathing exercises with anyone trying to regain better breath after illness.

Dr. Adam Perlman and boxer Ryan Garcia talk about creativity

2. Talk about mental health - Dr. Adam Perlman from the Mayo Clinic and boxer Ryan Garcia explore creativity and the role it plays in mental health and wellbeing.

Art emotions map

3. Dive into a sea of images and explore which artworks represent your emotions. Scientists from The University of California, Berkeley conducted research on the emotions evoked by artworks through time, and across cultures. We asked 1,300 people to describe how certain images make them feel, and plotted these feelings on an interactive map for you to explore. Find how your emotions compare to others.

For the imperfect people image

4. Watch "For the imperfect people," a spoken word video on the topic of mental health, written by students of SocialWorks’ OpenMike program, and in collaboration with Johns Hopkins International Arts + Mind Lab. Learn about the science behind how spoken word and poetry can help people heal emotionally while creating community connections and reducing stress and isolation.

Slow your body down with Stille

5. Slow down your body tempo with Stille (Silence Film), an experimental film aimed at giving viewers a visceral and meditative experience of silence, viewed through the lens of the German film director Thomas Riedelsheimer.