Category Archives: Official Google Blog

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

Celebrating 10 years of Google for Startups in the UK

I remember clearly the palpable sense of excitement at the Google for Startups Campus in London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ when I first visited in 2012. My first startup, back in Krakow Poland, had shut down after three years of solid early traction, and I moved to London in pursuit of bigger opportunities, a community and capital to fuel growth. The UK quickly became home, and my London Campus experience was so positive I ended up joining Google six years later.

As we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Google for Startups UK, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the entrepreneurs and teams who have blazed a trail, and looking ahead to ensure we’re helping create the right conditions for future founders.

The industry has grown exponentially since Google for Startups UK launched 10 years ago – this year, we’ve already seen UK tech startups and scaleups cumulatively valued at more than $1 trillion (£794bn); up from $53.6 billion (£46bn), ten years ago.

One area of the UK tech startup community that has flourished in particular is impact tech - defined as . companies founded to help address global challenges like climate change and help transform health, education and financial inclusion. Our new report created in partnership with Tech Nation, A Decade of UK Tech, shows that funding for impact tech startups has soared. In fact, since 2011, funding for impact tech companies addressing UN Sustainable Development Goals has risen 43-fold from just $74 million (£59 million) to $3.5 billion (£2.8 billion).

Graph: Investment into impact tech scaleups (2011-2021)

Graph 1: Investment into impact tech scaleups (2011-2021)

Source: Tech Nation, Dealroom, 2022

Startups are helping to solve global challenges, like climate change, education, health, food and sanitation, with agility, innovation and determination. And at Google for Startups, we’re proud to be supporting these businesses along the way by connecting founders with the right people, products and practices to help them grow. Because their continued success is vital not just for the UK’s future, but that of the world.

Enduring market barriers and perceptions of high risk can slow private sector investment. But even such challenges create a multitude of new opportunities for tech startups to leverage the UK's position as a financial services powerhouse. Elizabeth Nyeko
Founder of Modularity Grid - A deep tech startup

Google for Startups was launched in the UK with a mission to support a thriving, diverse and inclusive startup community. Here’s where we are a decade later:

  • Startups in our community have created more than 24,000 jobs
  • Startups in our network have raised £358 million
  • We supported 20 UK-based Black-led startups with the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in Europe. Last year's European cohort went on to raise £64 million in subsequent funding and increase their headcount by 21%

Our work at Google for Startups is far from over. We’re committed to levelling the playing field for all founders, and closing the disproportionate gap in access to capital and support networks for underrepresented communities. For the impact tech sector to continue to grow and succeed, we must ensure funding is channeled towards the most innovative startups - no matter their valuation, funding stage or background.

Find out more at Google for Startups.

Apple Music is now available on Waze

For years, Waze has partnered with audio services to give you the best, safest and most fun driving experience. Starting today, Apple Music will seamlessly integrate with Waze, so you can keep your eyes on the road while enjoying the ride.

With a direct connection between the apps, you can now access Apple Music content directly from the Waze Audio Player. Enjoy more than 90 million songs, tens of thousands of curated playlists, Apple Music Radio and more while you navigate. We’re thrilled to join forces with Apple Music to bring Apple Music subscribers their tunes while driving with Waze on iPhone.

Humans Behind Search: Meet Catherine

Catherine is an Engineering Director for Search and a Tech Site Lead in the Google London office. She’s been managing software engineering teams since the early 90’s and joined Google in 2017 to lead the engineering team working on the Google mobile app.

What’s your favorite feature on mobile?

It’s got to be Hum to Search, without a doubt. If you go into the Google app on your phone and press the microphone button, you can hum a song and it will tell you what the song is. This has helped me quickly identify a tune so many times!

We do have a rigorous testing process, even for fun features like this, to make sure these things are something users can use and actually want. It’s a continuation of the Search premise, to keep answering the questions that niggle at you – but this time via audio.

What excites you about the future of Search?

Probably the fact that it simply keeps getting more helpful, as we combine our understanding of text, voice and images — so you’ll be able to find helpful information about whatever you see, hear and experience, in ways that are most intuitive to you. We’ve developed a helpful new function called multisearch, which means you can search with images and text at the same time. So even if you don’t have the words to describe what you’re looking for, you can get help. For example, you can search for similar products in a different color, or take a picture of wallpaper and ask for it on a blanket instead, or even how to look after the basil plant on your windowsill. We’re envisioning a future where you can search your whole world, any way and anywhere.

You’ve said before that software engineering is a very social thing. Can you expand on this?

We have an incredible team working on Search — people developing the machine learning models, the services, the software on the phone. How well those people communicate determines how well the software fits together, so it’s important people have psychological safety in the job. If they do, it means easy feedback mechanisms, good communication and tight team work.

It’s also down to leadership to make sure teams realize everyone has to succeed for the business to — that it’s really not a competition. When looking for our future Search stars, the whole person matters, not just their skills — so will you put users first, do the right thing, work well with others and create an inclusive environment? Those questions really help determine the right fit.

What do you think is a lesser known, but really useful fact about Search?

We’ve got a newish feature called ‘About this result’. When you’re searching for something, you can click an icon that then tells you more about how our systems determined a result might be a good match for your search. You can also find important context about a source or topic, before you visit a website. We’re trying to help people develop information literacy skills — so they can have more context about the sources of their information and understand how Search works. And it means they can be more savvy about what’s going on.

What do you enjoy most about working on a product like Search?

Just the impact. We have billions of users. Lots of people are relying on our information to help them in their daily lives, help them in extreme situations, help them always. It’s really nice to work on something you know people need and want. We are helpful — that’s it really. I rely on it – it’s how I live in my world. I worked in computers long before the internet, and I grew up spending hours in the library just looking things up – Search coming along changed all that. If you’d told me about this as a teenager I would have told you you were crazy!

Display & Video 360 brings Google audiences to connected TVs

Today at Google Marketing Live, we’re unveiling new products and features to help you build resilience for your business, drive results and prepare for the future of marketing.

As streaming continues to rise, that future includes more connected TV (CTV) advertising. That's why we’re unlocking even more CTV inventory in Display & Video 360 and extending Google audiences to CTV devices — helping you reach the right viewers as they watch top streaming content.

Connect with the right CTV audience

We’re committed to helping you deliver high quality ad experiences to all streamers by bringing the best of digital ad technology to the TV screen. One of the most effective digital strategies is creating relevant connections with your core audience. So we're introducing Google audiences for CTV inventory in Display & Video 360, which will work across Hulu, Peacock, YouTube and most other ad-supported CTV apps.

In a few months, you’ll be able to power your CTV campaigns with the same affinity, in-market and demographic audiences you’ve been using for your digital ads for years. Demographics and in-market segments will be available on CTV devices by the end of this quarter. Some affinity audiences are already available and more are coming later this summer.

GoDaddy has been using Google affinity audiences to reach the right people with their digital ads. Now, they can extend that strategy and reach audiences like “Business Professionals” or “Avid Investors” who are watching shows on Discovery’s HGTV Network or YouTube.

Google audiences on CTV gives us the opportunity to create ad campaigns that align directly with our prospective customers’ lifestyles. It's a great way to extend our digital best practices to the big screen. Jacob Jackson
Sr. Marketing Manager, GoDaddy

Reckitt has also found success using Google audiences on connected TV. Reckitt wanted Airborne, their immune support brand, to remain top of mind in the U.S. So they turned to Google’s custom audience segments to reach streamers interested in boosting their immune systems. Display & Video 360 analyzed the keywords Reckitt selected and automatically created tailored audiences that maximized the brand’s reach. This new audience strategy, combined with other digitally inspired approaches, resulted in over 18% more CTV reach for their Airborne campaign.

Our partnership with Display & Video 360 helped us reach CTV viewers in a much more data-driven way. James NT
Senior Performance Manager, Reckitt Benckiser

Access the biggest names in ad-supported streaming

Whether you’re looking for a good movie, the latest music video or a peaceful guided meditation — YouTube is the main stream. According to Nielsen, YouTube reached over 135 million people on connected TVs in the U.S. in December of last year.[d90432]For brands like Uber Eats, YouTube is fundamental to reaching younger demographics, who are lighter TV viewers. And Display & Video 360’s capacity to plan, manage ad frequency and measure performance across YouTube and other CTV buys saves these brands time and money.

Display & Video 360’s capacity to control ad frequency across YouTube and our other video buys makes it the ideal partner. Hanna El Hourani
Global Head of Programmatic, Uber

A majority of ad-supported CTV services — including broadcasters and cable network apps — also offer their inventory through Display & Video 360. According to comScore, Display & Video 360 now reaches 93% of ad-supported connected TV households in the U.S. and provides access to nine of the top ten most-watched ad-supported CTV apps in the U.S.[89917e]

Data visualization that reads “Display & Video 360 now reaches 93% of ad-supported connected TV households in the U.S.”

We’re also continuing to unlock top CTV inventory around the world. Peacock, NBCUniversal’s ad-supported streaming service, is the newest addition to available CTV publishers in the U.S. And you can now reach people watching Channel 4's programming in the UK.

Finally, we’re providing more innovative formats for brands to reach viewers the moment they turn on their TVs. Media and entertainment marketers in the U.S. have found success with the Google TV Masthead, which displays right on the home screen of Google TV devices. Today, in a new beta, we’re expanding the Google TV Masthead to allow more industry types to sponsor entertainment content. This cinematic teaser format can be tested using a Programmatic Guaranteed deal in Display & Video 360.

Check out the video below to learn more about new CTV solutions in Display & Video 360 and how to grow your business for the long run using enterprise ad tools.

An accelerator for early-stage Latino founders

After 10 years of working with early-stage founders at Google for Startups, I’ve seen time and time again how access activates potential. Access to capital is the fuel that makes startups go, access to community keeps them running, and access to mentorship helps them navigate the road to success.

But access to the resources needed to grow one's business are still not evenly distributed. Despite being the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., only 3% of Latino-owned companies ever reach $1 million in revenue. As part of our commitment to support the Latino founder community, today we're announcing a new partnership with Visible Hands, a Boston-based venture capital firm dedicated to investing in the potential of underrepresented founders.

During last year’s Google for Startups Founders Academy, I met Luis Suarez, a founder and fellow Chicagoan whose startup, Sanarai, addresses the massive gap in Spanish- speaking mental health providers in the U.S. Sanarai connects Latinos to therapists in Latin American countries for virtual sessions in their native language. When I asked Luis about the most helpful programs he had participated in, he highly recommended Visible Hands. The program gave Luis the opportunity to work alongside a community of diverse founders to grow his startup and have also helped him craft his early fundraising strategy. Visible Hands also supplies stipends to their participants, helping founders who might otherwise not be able to take the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.

Inspired by feedback from founders like Luis, Google for Startups is partnering with Visible Hands to run a 20-week fellowship program, VHLX, to better support the next wave of early-stage Latino founders across the U.S. and to create greater economic opportunity for the Latino community. In addition to hands-on support from Google and industry experts, we are providing $10,000 in cash for every VHLX participant to help kickstart their ideas. Following the program, founders will have the opportunity to receive additional investment from Visible Hands, up to $150,000.

Our work with Visible Hands and our recent partnership with eMerge Americas is part of a$7 million commitment to increase representation and support of the Latino startup community. I’m also looking forward to the Google for Startups Latino Leaders Summit in Miami this June, where in partnership with Inicio Ventures we’re bringing together around 30 top community leaders and investors from across the country to discuss how we can collectively support Latino founders in ways that will truly make a difference. And soon, we'll share the recipients Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund.

If you or someone you know would be a great fit for VHLX, encourage them to apply by June 24.

Street View turns 15 with a new camera and fresh features

Fifteen years ago, Street View began as a far-fetched idea from Google co-founder Larry Page to build a 360-degree map of the entire world. Fast forward to today: There are now over 220 billion Street View images from over 100 countries and territories — a new milestone — allowing people to fully experience what it’s like to be in these places right from their phone or computer. And Street View doesn't just help you virtually explore, it’s also critical to our mapping efforts — letting you see the most up-to-date information about the world, while laying the foundation for a more immersive, intuitive map.

While that’s all worth celebrating, we aren’t stopping there. Today, we’re unveiling Street View’s newest camera, giving you more ways to explore historical imagery, and taking a closer look at how Street View is powering the future of Google Maps.

Bringing Street View to more places with our newest camera

From the back of a camel in the Arabian desert to a snowmobile zipping through the Arctic, we’ve gotten creative with the ways we’ve used Street View cameras to capture imagery. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that our world changes at lightning speed. Our hardware is one way we’re able to keep up with the pace.

In addition to our Street View car and trekker, we’re piloting a new camera that will fully roll out next year to help us collect high-quality images in more places. This new camera takes all the power, resolution and processing capabilities that we’ve built into an entire Street View car, and shrinks it down into an ultra-transportable camera system that’s roughly the size of a house cat. But unlike house cats, it’s ready to be taken to remote islands, up to the tops of mountains or on a stroll through your local town square.

Street View’s newest camera featuring a blue top and two camera lenses and a metallic bottom with vents

Here’s a quick look at our new camera system:

  • It weighs less than 15 pounds. This means it can be shipped anywhere. This is especially handy when we work with partners around the world to capture imagery of traditionally under-mapped areas — like the Amazon jungle.
  • It’s extremely customizable. Previously, we needed to create an entirely new camera system whenever we wanted to collect different types of imagery. But now, we can add on to this modular camera with components like lidar — laser scanners — to collect imagery with even more helpful details, like lane markings or potholes. We can add these features when we need them, and remove them when we don’t.
  • It can fit on any car. Our new camera can be attached to any vehicle with a roof rack and operated right from a mobile device — no need for a specialized car or complex processing equipment. This flexibility will make collections easier for partners all over the world, and allow us to explore more sustainable solutions for our current fleet of cars — like plug-in hybrids or fully electric vehicles. You’ll start seeing our new camera in fun Google colors alongside our iconic Street View cars and trekkers next year.

Traveling back in time with Street View 🕰️

Street View is all about capturing the world as it changes, and it’s also a powerful way to reminisce about the past. Starting today on Android and iOS globally, it’s now easier than ever to travel back in time right from your phone. Here’s how it works:

When you’re viewing Street View imagery of a place, tap anywhere on the photo to see information about the location. Then tap "See more dates" to see the historical imagery we’ve published of that place, dating back to when Street View launched in 2007. Browse each of the images to see a digital time capsule that shows how a place has changed — like how the Vessel in New York City’s Hudson Yards grew from the ground up.

A gif of a mobile phone scrolling through historical Street View imagery of The Vessel in New York on Google Maps

Building a more helpful, immersive map 🗺️

Street View is also an essential part of how we map the world. Here’s a look at how imagery helps us do that:

  • Updates to business information that reflect your changing world. We use Street View imagery coupled with AI to make helpful updates to Google Maps — such as adding newly opened businesses, surfacing new hours at your favorite restaurants and updating speed limit information. In fact, over the last three years, AI has helped us make over 25 billion updates to Maps so you can be confident that the information you’re seeing is as fresh and up-to-date as possible.
  • Easier than ever navigation, indoors and out. Street View imagery powers popular features like Live View, which allows you to use your phone’s camera to overlay navigation instructions on top of the real world so you can walk to your destination in a snap.
  • Immersive view helps you know before you go. Thanks to advances in computer vision and AI over the last several years, we’re able to fuse together billions of Street View and aerial images to create a rich, digital model of places around the world. With our new immersive view launching later this year, you can easily glide down to street level on Maps and even check out the inside of a business as if you were walking around.

In celebration of Street View’s birthday, you’ll have the opportunity to make your navigation icon a celebratory Street View car – just tap the chevron when you’re in driving navigation. And on desktop, our beloved Pegman – who you can pick up and drop anywhere in Maps to see Street View – will be dressed up in a birthday hat and balloons for the celebration.

To keep the celebration going, check out our newest collections of places like The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan and Les Invalides in France, popular spots to explore with Street View and some of our all-time favorite Street View images to date. Oh the places you’ll go! 🎈

Helping Ukrainian teachers keep teaching

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a tragedy, not just for now but for generations to come. As the international community response evolves, we’ve continued to look for ways to help, whether by supporting the humanitarian effort, providing timely, trusted information and promoting cybersecurity.

With millions of people forced to leave their homes, and thousands of schools affected by bombings and shelling, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science predict more than 3.7 million students are learning remotely.

Providing Chromebooks to schools

For Ukraine’s teachers, creating and delivering content to their students has become increasingly difficult with the move to distance learning. To help teachers keep teaching, Google is working with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science, UNESCO, and partners from around the world to provide hardware, software, content and training.

To help education continue for both remaining and displaced students, Google is giving 43,000 Chromebooks to Ukrainian teachers - helping them to connect with their students, wherever they are now based.

To ensure those devices make the best possible impact, Google is partnering with local organisations to train around 50,000 teachers - and providing our Chrome Enterprise upgrade so that schools can set-up and manage devices remotely. Through a series of workshops and online material, educators will learn how to get the best use out of their devices, and the suite of Google Workspace for Education tools we’re providing.

Google for Education will also continue to update resources such as Teach From Anywhere, a central hub of information, tips, training and tools, that was developed during the pandemic.

In the coming weeks, we’re expanding to include the Ukrainian language so that Ukrainian students aged 13-17 can discover content that supports their curriculum - wherever they are. This will include a range of subjects, aligned to the national curriculum, from Ukrainian Literature and Language studies, to Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and more.

Supporting universities and their students

Of course, university students have been impacted by the war in Ukraine too - with many now unable to attend their classes in person or in real-time. To help support them to continue their education, we have made several of our premium Google Workspace for Education features available to Ukrainian universities free of cost until the end of the year. That will allow universities to host larger meetings for up to 250 participants, as well as to record them directly in Drive.

Continuing to help Ukrainian refugees and students

Google will continue to search for ways it can partner with Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science, and those of bordering countries, to help those impacted by the war in Ukraine - including supporting the millions of school-age refugees to access education in this difficult and trying time.

HBD to us! Let’s celebrate with Street View adventures

Street View is turning 15, and the birthday nostalgia is hitting us hard.

In 2007, we published our first Street View images of San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Miami and Denver. Since then, Street View cars equipped with cameras have captured and shared more than 220 billion Street View images and mapped 10 million miles — the equivalent of circling the globe more than 400 times! We’ve also captured Street View imagery inside cultural landmarks, high up in space and deep under the ocean.

To celebrate Street View’s 15th birthday, we’re sharing 15 amazing Street View collections — including three places the world’s been loving lately, four new collections (consider this our party favor to you), and Street View images that make us feel some kind of way. So raise your glasses — er, cursors — and let's cheers to exploring the world together.

Where you’ve been exploring and new places to go

With so many places and landmarks at your fingertips, three spots in particular piqued your interest over the past year. Here are the three most popular places to explore on Street View: head up to the 154th floor of the Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates, which was named the world’s tallest building; the iconic Eiffel Tower in France, complete with dazzling views of Paris from the top; and our special collection of imagery from the Taj Mahal in India.

And for your next Street View excursions, we’ve started rolling out four new collections that we think will become all-time favorites.

A Street View image of the Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan

The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan: Thanks to new panoramic imagery, explore the ancient pyramids that are home to tombs of the kings and queens of the Kushite Kingdom.

A Street View image of the Crypt in the Duomo in Milan

The Duomo in Milan: The Duomo is the largest cathedral in Italy and the third-largest cathedral in Europe. Not to mention, it boasts one of the best views of Milan. We’ve been working with Google Arts & Culture and the Duomo of Milan since 2019 to bring imagery from inside the Duomo to Street View so that everyone can get a behind-the-scenes look at this architectural and cultural gem — and it’s now live!

A Street View image of Paris from Les Invalides’ golden dome

Les Invalides in Paris: Before the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides’ golden dome was the highest point in Paris. New images of the historic Hôtel des Invalides buildings let you explore its museums and monuments. Learn more about French military history viaa virtual tour.

Sydney Ferries in Australia: The iconic Sydney Ferries will soon be digitally preserved as a result of our work with Transport for New South Wales and Transdev. Later this year, we’ll bring this collection onto Street View so that people around the world can take a virtual tour of Sydney Ferries and get a glimpse of the journey along Sydney’s stunning harbor.

8 Street View images we love

With endless places to explore, it’s difficult to pick favorites — really, you should have seen the list we narrowed this down from — but we gave it our best shot. Here are eight Street View images we love.

Street View image of the active Ambrym Volcano Marum Crater

Does the thought of visiting an active volcano scare you? Us too! A New Zealand-based Googler took a trekker into the active Ambrym Volcano Marum Crater in Vanuatu so you don’t have to.

Street View image of a Greek town next to the ocean

Monemvasia is a Greek town that’s name is derived from two Greek words meaning “single entry.” Fittingly, there is only one way into this rock fortress. Explore the town on Street View without the headache of getting there.

Street View image of an empty chamber with a large chandelier

The Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland is a UNESCO site with a chamber where all decorative elements are made of salt.

Street View image of a grassy hill overlooking the ocean

Calling all scary movie buffs! Can you guess which 1998 horror film this active volcano in Japan served as a backdrop for? (Hint: the title rhymes with “The Wing.”)

Street View image of two camels in front of a castle in the rocks

Does Petra, Jordan look familiar? How about here? The filming location has made cameos in a number of movies, including “Aladdin,” “The Mummy Returns,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

Street View image inside the International Space Station looking down at Earth.

Thanks to a collaboration with NASA, Street Viewers can get a taste of what it’s like to be an astronaut. Ditch the gravity and float through the International Space Station.

Street View image of sea lions swimming underwater.

Dive into the Pacific Ocean and swim with sea lions off the shore of the Galapagos Islands.

Street View image of a  person in a horse mask eating a banana next to a table on the side of the road

And if there’s one Street View image that lives in our heads rent free… it's this horse eating a banana on the side of the road in Canada.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done to capture so much of the world’s wonder, history and quirkiness in Street View. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout out to all of the Maps users around the world who have captured and shared their own Street View imagery. To help make exploring the world together even easier, we’re launching Street View Studio — a new platform with all the tools you need to publish 360 image sequences quickly and in bulk. Check out more ways we’re advancing Street View so we can explore together for another 15 years.

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.

Expanding research on digital wellbeing

Editor’s note: Dr. Nicholas Allenis a professor of psychology, the director of the Center for Digital Mental Health at the University of Oregonand a lead researcher for the latest study hosted on Google Health Studies.

In Australia, where I’m from, any topic so contentious that it interrupts whatever a group is doing and prompts loud debate is called a “BBQ stopper.” Discussing whether digital technology is good or bad for wellbeing and mental health is a classic BBQ stopper. And this issue has become even more urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic as so many people have turned to digital technology to maintain some semblance of their lifestyle.

This is a focus for our work at the Center for Digital Mental Health at the University of Oregon, where we conduct research and build tools to enhance mental health and wellbeing, especially among underserved and young people. Our goal is to provide people and their support networks with actionable feedback on their wellbeing.

We’re expanding our research using Google Health Studies with a study focused on how smartphone use impacts wellbeing. With this research, we hope to uncover insights that help us all build a future where digital products may support us in living healthier, happier lives.

Weighing benefits and risks

With today’s smartphones, social media and bottomless streams of content, many are quick to condemn technology based on their conviction that these products must be bad for mental health and wellbeing. But focusing only on these potentially harmful effects doesn't tell the full story. Nor does it help us reap the full benefits these tools have to offer, while also managing their risks.

Technological developments throughout history have had both benefits and risks. We urgently need high-quality research to identify which use patterns are associated with benefits versus risks, and who is likely to experience harmful versus beneficial outcomes. Answering these questions is necessary so that the research community and technology industry can pursue evidence-based product design, education and policy aimed at maximizing benefits and minimizing risks.

The need for new research

Not only do we need new research that focuses on both the benefits and risks of technology, we also need to rethink what we ask people, who we include in this research and how we work together to use the findings.

Most scientific research on digital wellbeing has relied on self-reported questionnaires, which are heavily subjective. Could you say how many hours or minutes you used your phone yesterday without checking your screen time metrics? Probably not!

Existing studies also typically have small or unrepresentative samples. To make sure research and potential solutions support everyone, it’s critical for new research methodologies to incorporate data from people historically underrepresented in health research.

Finally, many studies might miss certain patterns of behavior that reveal complex relationships between device use and wellbeing — like the relationship between screen time and sleep.

Understanding these relationships can inform insights and guidelines for developers and people to maximize wellbeing and minimize risks. Scientists around the globe are calling for greater transparency and collaboration between the technology sector and independent scientists to solve these problems and provide the answers we need.

Studying the impact of technology, with technology

We believe that technology can help bridge many of these gaps and improve research on digital wellbeing. That’s why the Center for Digital Mental Health at the University of Oregon is partnering with Google to launch this landmark study.

We’ll recruit a large representative sample and collect direct, objective measures of how people use their phones, with their informed consent. We’ll use passive and continuous sensing technology to do this, rather than relying only on self reports. The study will also use participants’ phones to directly measure many of the well-established building blocks of wellbeing, such as sleep and physical activity.

How to participate

The study takes four weeks to complete and is open to adults based in the U.S. who use an Android phone and can complete daily activities without assistance. Participants will also have the option to add relevant Fitbit data, including step count and physical activity.[f1908e]The data collected will be managed according to strict ethical standards and will only be used for research and to inform better products. The data will never be sold or used for advertising.

We hope you’ll join this important study so we can build a healthier digital future together for everyone. Download Google Health Studies, and sign up for the study starting Friday, May 27.