Launching Code for Germany

At Google, we like to experiment. Today we are experimenting with a guest blogpost from the Germany’s Open Knowledge Foundation.

Many in Europe believe that computer science and the Internet is an American invention. This summer, we decided to prove this idea wrong, launching our program, launching our program Code for Germany.
The feedback so far has been amazing. In the past few months, fourteen labs have sprouted up all across the country, bringing together more than 150 people on a regular basis to work on civic tech, use open data, and make the most of their skills to better their cities.

All told, more than 4000 hours of civic hacking has produced multiple apps and projects. The OK Lab in Hamburg has a strong focus on urban development, and have created a map which shows the distribution of playgrounds in the city. An app from the OK Lab Heilbronn depicts the quality of tap water according to the region, and another from the OK Lab Cologne helps users find the closest defibrillator in their area. One of my favourite developments is called “Kleiner Spatz”, which translates to “Little Sparrow” and helps parents find available child care spaces in their city. Check out the list for yourself to see what amazing things can be built with technology.

This is just the beginning. In the coming months we want to strengthen the various communities and establish ties with officials, governments and administrations. We want to foster innovation in the field of Open Data, Civic Innovation and Public Services and create fertile collaborations between citizens and governments. Our OK Labs offer this possibility.

So far, Code for Germany has been a blast! Let me express my most heartfelt gratitude towards the community of developers and designers who have contributed so much already. Let’s rock and stay awesome!