Tag Archives: COVID-19

An update on Exposure Notifications

In May, we partnered with Apple to launch the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) and made it available to public health authorities around the world in their fight against COVID-19. The ENS allows public health authorities to develop apps that augment manual contact tracing efforts while preserving the privacy of their citizens. As of today, public health authorities have used ENS to launch in 16 countries and regions across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, with more apps currently under development.  

In the United States, 20 states and territories—representing approximately 45 percent of the U.S. population—are exploring apps based on ENS. We expect to see the first set of these apps roll out over the coming weeks. The Association of Public Health Laboratories also announced recently that it will host a national key server to support all U.S. states, which will allow people with Exposure Notification apps to receive alerts even if they travel across state borders.

We’ve continued to improve the technology and provide more transparency based on feedback we’ve received from public health authorities and other experts. Public health authorities will continue to make their own decisions about how exposure notifications become part of their plans in controlling COVID-19, and we will work to improve the technology in response to their feedback. Here are some of the changes we’ve already made, as well as some upcoming additional changes.

Improvements to the Exposure Notification API

Since the Exposure Notification API was publicly released in May, we’ve spoken with dozens of public health authorities to understand how the API could be improved to help them better manage the COVID-19 pandemic while preserving privacy. Based on this feedback, we recently launched an update to the API, which includes the following changes:

  • When an exposure is detected, public health authorities now have more flexibility in determining the level of risk associated with that exposure based on technical information from the API.

  • Bluetooth calibration values for hundreds of devices have been updated to improve the detection of nearby devices.

  • The API now supports interoperability between countries, following feedback from governments that have launched Exposure Notification apps.

  • To help public health authorities build apps more efficiently, we’ve added reliability improvements for apps and developer debug tools. 

  • We’ve improved clarity, transparency and control for users. For example, the Exposure Notifications settings on Android now include a simple on/off toggle at the top of the page. In addition, users will also see a periodic reminder if ENS is turned on.

Technical guidance and transparency

We’ve heard feedback that public health authorities and developers want more technical guidance about how ENS works. In response, we’ve published the following resources over the last few weeks:

  • Reference verification server to help guide public health authorities in building a server that allows verification of test results when users report themselves as positive for COVID-19.

  • Implementation code showing how the Exposure Notification API works underneath the hood.

  • Telemetry design explaining what de-identified diagnostics data is collected to ensure that ENS is functioning properly and securely.

Additional technical resources will be publicly shared as we continue to improve ENS.

Education and privacy protections 

The Exposure Notifications website has more information about ENS, and offers educational and technical resources, as well as the latest updates. 

As a quick reminder, here are some of the core privacy protections that were built into ENS: 

  • You decide whether you want to use Exposure Notifications—it’s off unless you turn it on.

  • ENS doesn’t use location data from your device.

  • Your identity is not shared with Google, Apple or other users.

  • Only public health authorities can use this system.

Finally, we’ve received questions about why your Android device location setting has to be turned on if you want to use an Exposure Notification app. We want to explain why this particular setting needs to be on, and how you can control your location settings on Android.  

To be absolutely clear, ENS does not use device location, and the policies for using ENS prohibit public health authority apps from requesting or collecting device location. Instead, ENS uses Bluetooth technology to detect when two devices are near each other, without revealing the location of either device. While Bluetooth scanning doesn’t necessarily reveal location, it can in some cases be used to infer your device’s location. For example, if a shopping app scans for the Bluetooth signals of a stationary Bluetooth beacon located inside a store, then the app could infer that you went to that store. So in 2015, with privacy in mind, we designed the Android operating system to prevent Bluetooth scanning unless the device location setting is on. At that time no one could have anticipated that Bluetooth scanning might one day be helpful in controlling a global pandemic like COVID-19. 

Our engineering teams have been working to update the next version of Android with Exposure Notifications in mind. On Android 11, which will soon be released, users will be able to use Exposure Notification apps without turning on the device location setting. We’re making this update for Exposure Notifications only, given that ENS has been designed in such a way that neither the system nor the apps using it can infer device location through Bluetooth scanning, and apps that are allowed to use ENS are subject to additional policies that disallow automatic collection of location. All other apps and services will still be prohibited from performing Bluetooth scanning unless the device location setting is on. 

But even in current versions of Android, when you turn on the device location setting, your phone continues to prohibit access to any apps, including Google apps, that don’t have permission to use device location. The device location setting is like a circuit breaker in a house: When it’s on, power is flowing to the house, but you can turn the lights on or off in each room. If you turn on the device location setting to use ENS, it won’t affect the decisions you’ve already made about specific apps. You can always view and change which apps have access to your device location by going to Settings > Location > App permissions.

We’re committed to supporting public health authorities as they build tools to fight COVID-19. We’ll continue to improve ENS based on feedback, while ensuring that people can trust in the privacy-preserving design of this technology.

When a crisis happens, Google.org’s Alex Diaz steps up

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After Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas last year, Alex Diaz and his colleagues at Google.org took action. A team of Google volunteers on the Google.org Crisis Connectivity team spent 80 days in the field, helping to bring back Internet connectivity in dozens of locations. Residents were able to access critical information, connect with family members and simply de-stress by going online. 

More recently, Alex and his team worked with GiveDirectly for their Project 100 cash transfer project for COVID-19 relief. This time, the work he did was personal. “For many of my early years I was supported by my biological mother while my father was incarcerated,” he says. “We were often cash-strapped. Unplanned sudden financial shocks always had long-term ramifications.” During this ongoing crisis, he saw the immediate benefits of giving cash directly to families in need. 

Alex leads the Crisis Response and Humanitarian Aid portfolio at Google.org. He manages Google’s philanthropic response to global crises, such as natural disasters and public health emergencies, providing nonprofits on the frontlines with funding, volunteers, and other support. Here’s how he explains the work he does, and how tech and philanthropy can work together.

What does “crisis response” philanthropy mean at Google.org?

At our core, we back tech-enabled projects that help communities better prepare, respond and recover from crises. We make grants, encourage Googlers to donate (with a company match) and send our skilled volunteers to the communities that need it most. To have the greatest impact, we rely on strong partnerships with nonprofit organizations around the world which are preparing communities for disasters or delivering relief and recovery efforts. These organizations are the experts; we learn about their needs and search for where our philanthropic capital, coupled with technology, can help make the biggest difference. 

How does Google.org approach a crisis? 

We dedicate resources to stand with communities along the disaster cycle, from preparedness ahead of crises, to immediate relief after a crisis strikes, all the way through long-term recovery. Research continues to show that long-term support, particularly to local NGOs, is vital to a community’s recovery. Long after the media attention goes away, communities require ongoing, flexible funding to rebuild and to heal.

While philanthropy is important to support the efforts of frontline organizations, Google.org’s greatest asset is our technical talent. We often pair our grants with technical volunteers or pro bono support. One example is a project with GiveDirectly, in which we paired a $3 million grant with full-time support from Google engineers through the Google.org Fellowship program. That work supported a tool that will help target direct cash transfers to low-income families after a future U.S.-based natural disaster. The Google.org Fellows created a data-mapping tool that layers socioeconomic vulnerability data with disaster damage data to more quickly locate the pockets of highest need in an affected area. 

We also help manage a team of volunteers under our Google.org Crisis Connectivity program, who go to disaster-affected places with partners like NetHope and ITDRC to install temporary internet connectivity in critical locations such as shelters, clinics and schools.

That sounds challenging. What’s the hardest part about your job?

My job can take a personal toll. Reading about and working on crises 24/7 can add up. In some form or another I’ve worked on crises since starting at Google in 2016, and while I’ve learned to process complex emotions on the job, I would be lying if I said there were not moments where crises got the best of me. Thankfully, our company provides employees with great resources to help, and our team has created a culture of support to navigate these moments effectively. 

Another difficult aspect of the job is that even at a large company like Google, our resources will still never be enough to match the scale of global need every year. We can’t respond to every crisis, although we’d love to. So we look for the sweet spot where our philanthropy and technical expertise can make the most impact.

Everyone can do something. I think that's really the underlying message of this COVID-19 response—we're in this together.

How has responding to COVID-19 been different from past crises?

For all disasters, the needs are normally greater than the resources we have at hand. This is especially true with COVID-19, and it is affecting everyone in every corner of the globe simultaneously. During “normal” crises such as natural disasters, responding organizations or governments often reallocate resources to different parts of the world or country to support affected areas. That isn't possible with a global pandemic. The needs are so vast, diverse and geographically diffuse. We’ve tried to stick to areas where we can use our expertise: health and science, distance learning and economic relief and recovery.

What’s your advice to people who are looking to donate money in a crisis? How about during the pandemic?


Ask yourself: Is the solution you want to support better, however you define better, than simply giving people the equivalent in cash? Direct cash transfers are efficient and effective. Research shows that cash has a strong track record in effectively supporting some of the most vulnerable communities, and recipients largely prefer it over traditional forms of aid. GiveDirectly led the way in testing the efficacy of direct cash transfers in the humanitarian sector and as a disaster relief tool


With respect to COVID-19 relief, the needs are enormous. I’d encourage potential donors to pick their area of concern or passion, whether that is food assistance or support for our frontline healthcare workers, and to channel support locally or to the nearest area of greatest need.  Everyone can do something. I think that's really the underlying message of this COVID-19 response—we're in this together. 

We’ve learned from the way COVID-19 disproportionately affects Black and brown Americans that we’re really dealing with intersecting crises involving both health and race. How do you think about centering equity in your work?


I am Afro-Latinx. I have been the target of racial profiling by police. Even still, I am protected by my privilege of being lighter skinned. My heart goes out to my Black sisters and brothers who have endured so much pain through several difficult weeks, after several difficult months, after several horrifying centuries. What the world witnessed in an eight-minute video of George Floyd’s murder is the community’s everyday experience. Everyone needs to step up to ensure that equal justice under the law is more than just a value, but a reality. As Cornel West says, “justice is what love looks like in public.”


Equity is at the core of grantmaking at Google.org, and crisis grantmaking is no exception. To effectively respond to intersecting crises, we first need to acknowledge that race is a critical intersection. After we’ve acknowledged this reality, it is imperative to understand what it means and why, and to do this, we need data. Data that informs not only our understanding of the problem, but also what can be done to promote more equitable solutions. This is the primary motivation behind our recent $1 million grant and Google.org Fellowship to the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine. 

The Morehouse team, with support from Google.org Fellows, is planning to assemble a data consortium and develop a platform to map data related to racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic status, medical conditions and health system access at the county level in order to examine the trajectory of COVID-19 cases and deaths across the United States. This work will hopefully allow researchers and policymakers to understand the impact of the virus on communities of color and inform effective and equitable policymaking in government response efforts. This is just a tiny step of the many steps we as a society need to take to move our country closer to the ideals that bind us.

A year of work on the Bay Area’s housing and homeless crises

Today, we’re marking the one-year anniversary of our Bay Area housing commitment. Since last year, we’ve met with hundreds of advocates, developers and community leaders to understand how to quickly create affordable housing and support solutions to homelessness. In the Bay area, there’s a severe housing shortage of nearly 500,000 affordable units and the  homelessness crisis affects around 35,000 people. So we focused our efforts on two areas: grants to assist people experiencing homelessness and investments to produce more affordable housing. 

With last year’s commitments and the announcements below, we’ve allocated a total of $115 million from our $250 million investment fund, which we expect will help create around 24,000 new affordable housing units—both conventional and modular—by 2029. In addition, Google.org has granted $7.75 million to nonprofits on the front lines of homelessness. 

Google.org’s $50 million pledge 

Google.org’s grants to Bay Area nonprofits are projected to support more than 33,000 people with services like food distribution, job training, case management, and house 9,000 of those individuals over the span of four years. Google.org has supported solutions to homelessnessfor years and learned that the “Housing First” approach is the best way to help the homeless community. They will continue to support this approach with their new grants. 

Our $250 million investment fund

This past year we provided early and reliable capital to affordable housing projects, like The Kelsey Ayer Station, from our $250 million investment fund. Based in San José, The Kelsey Ayer Station will offer 115 homes for people with a range of incomes and 25 percent of the community is specifically reserved for people with disabilities. 

A rendering of The Kelsey Ayer Station in San José, California

A rendering of The Kelsey Ayer Station in San José, California. Image credit: The Kelsey.

We also committed $50 million to Housing Trust Silicon Valley’s TECH Fund to help build more affordable units quickly. So far, Housing Trust has invested these funds in six projects throughout the Bay Area with more to come. We’re encouraged that some housing developments that we invested in are already expected to break ground in 2021. 

As we focus on helping the Bay Area build more homes, we’re making two more commitments from our $250 million investment fund. 

Reinvesting in Housing Trust 

We’ve committed another $50 million to Housing Trust to establish the Launch Initiative. Funded 90 percent by Google, the initiative will give us—along with Housing Trust—opportunities to invest in a broader range of affordable housing projects. We’ve already seen progress with investments in two developments that are expected to create 150 homes: Alum Rock by Charities Housing in San Jose and Newark Timber by Eden Housing in Alameda County. In total, we’re estimating that this initiative will create 4,000 affordable units.

Supporting modular technology 

Modular housing is another opportunity to greatly increase the Bay Area’s housing supply. It’s faster and less expensive than conventional construction, two characteristics that are often unheard of in California’s housing industry. So, we’re looking into modular housing options for our investments. 

Workers are manufacturing a modular home.

Inside Factory_OS’ facility where workers are manufacturing a modular home. Image credit: Nancy Holliday.

As one example, we’ve been working with modular housing companies like Factory_OS. With our support, Factory_OS expects to double its production capacity by building a second factory, with a goal of creating tens of thousands affordable housing units over the next decade, including around 700 multi-family modular homes in Oakland and San Francisco by early 2021. 

Looking ahead

Over the last year, we’ve made progress proposing plans where residential units, offices, retail, and parks will coexist on our land. We’re working closely with elected officials and residents on proposals in Mountain View and have submitted our San José Downtown West mixed-use plan

We’ll continue working with our communities, local leaders, and elected officials like Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA 18th District) on solutions for the Bay Area. As she’s said, “We need an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to the homelessness and housing crises, particularly as COVID-19 continues to create long-term economic uncertainty and expose the dramatic inequities in our society. I look forward to continuing to work with Google to invest in our local communities and build a better future for our region.”


Header image credit: Affirmed Housing 

What emergency funding means for publishers around the world

Established in 1904 in Oklahoma, the Lawton Constitution is one of more than 5,600 recipients of the Google News Initiative Journalism Emergency Relief Fund (JERF). Committed to serving local community journalism, the newspaper’s publisher, David Stringer, knows how difficult it is to fulfill its mission even with best intentions. “No matter how low the cost, we know that some residents want to read the paper but simply can’t afford it,” he says. So the Lawton Constitution has used JERF funds to subsidize half the cost of a subscription for those in need who want to stay informed, giving the community access to important information and building relationships for the future.

In South Korea, Kim Hong-tak from the Jeonnam Ilbo is using JERF funds to highlight the resilience of the local businesses affected by COVID-19. The publication has created a designated column focused on local small and medium sized businesses to highlight their strengths and values and serve as a bridge to connect them to the right government agencies for further support.

In the United Kingdom, DC Thomson used the funding to support new content teams to help generate 10,000 subscribers during lockdown. In Argentina, El Diario published an editorialdescribing how the funding will allow them “to continue..to keep the voices of the city and the region alive”. And, In Canada, Narcity Media will use the funds to increase their staff by hiring at least 1-2 new reporters. 

These are a handful of stories among many we received since launching JERF in April. When COVID-19 was turning the world upside down, we didn’t know what to expect. The intent was simple: help address a very real need from local publishers and news sites globally that are facing financial hardship as a result of the economic and advertising downturn. 

In the last few months, we have provided $39.5 million in funding to more than 5600 publishers in 115 countries. The money is being applied in diverse and creative ways, from ensuring basic reporting needs and giving emergency stipends to allow reporters to cover the crisis, to driving audience engagement and generating subscriptions.

Journalism Emergency Relief Fund infographic 1.jpg

Within two weeks of our announcement, we received more than 12,000 applications. The massive response gave us the opportunity to understand what “local” means in different parts of the world, and how dynamics ranging from newsroom size to ownership structure can differ depending on the region and the kinds of communities served. For instance, the average newsroom size varied from 20 in Asia Pacific to eight in North America. 

Journalism Emergency Relief Fund infographic 2.jpg

We learned from publishers that advertising continues to be the sole source of revenue for most JERF recipients, with 50 percent claiming to be totally advertising dependent. A survey we carried out also showed that less than 30 percent of recipients operate some form of a paywall, while less than 18 percent rely on community contributions or memberships to support their journalism. That situation is changing, though, with 60 percent of the recipients planning to diversify their revenue streams by developing subscription, membership or contribution models. 


Additionally, around 20 percent of publishers told us they are prioritizing a need for cultural change that includes a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion as well as organizational and business management.


The pandemic has affected everyone, and local news organizations have been at the forefront in helping their communities navigate COVID-19. At the Google News Initiative, we are trying to play our part with this funding and other initiatives as we all work towards the common goal of a sustainable, innovative and diverse news industry globally.

Ride easy with new biking features in Google Maps

People across the world are opting to hop on their bikes—especially with summer arriving in many parts of the world and more people looking for safer ways to get around. Since February, requests for cycling directions in Google Maps have jumped by 69 percent—hitting an all-time high last month. Whether people are hitting the road to get their heart pumping or commute safely during COVID-19, we’re making it easier for cyclists everywhere to get on their own bike or a shared one. 

 Ten years ago, we introduced biking directions in Google Maps. Now it’s available in nearly 30 countries around the world and millions of people use it every day. As biking habits change, especially as things evolve with COVID-19, we’re constantly updating this information to help you uncover the most reliable bike route.


Raise the (handle)bar on biking routes  

To give you the most up-to-date bike route, we use a combination of machine learning, complex algorithms and our understanding of real-world conditions based on imagery and data from government authorities and community contributions. We also consider various forms of bike lanes and nearby streets that might be less friendly for your two wheels (like tunnels, stairs and poor surface conditions) so you can have the best and smoothest biking route. You can also see how flat or steep your route will be, so you’ll know if you’re in for an easy breezy ride or one that will really get the heart pumping. 

However, the best route can always change and we are hard at work to reflect new information. For instance, due to COVID-19, many cities are adding and widening bike lanes to encourage cycling and accommodate more riders. We’re already working to integrate hundreds of thousands of new bike lanes in the coming months. Local government agencies can provide this data through our Geo Data Upload tool to have their latest bike lane information reflected in Google Maps. 


Gear up for new docked bikeshare directions in 10 cities

As more people choose to cycle, they’re buying new bikes, fixing up old ones and turning to bike sharing options. In fact, worldwide search interest for “bike repair near me” hit an all-time high this month—more than double what it was last year. 

For riders opting to use bike sharing, we’re rolling out more detailed information. Over the last several years, we’ve launched a dockless bike and scooter integration with Lime in more than 100 cities and introduced real-time docked bikeshare information to help travellers in select cities locate bike sharing stations and real-time availability. With bikeshare providers seeing sharp increases in usage during COVID-19, it’s even more important to quickly and easily check how many bikes are available at the station you’re headed toward and if there are docks available to drop off your bike near your destination. 

Starting today, when you look up biking directions, you’ll see end-to-end directions that include docked bikeshare information. Steps will include detailed walking directions to bikeshare stations near your starting point along with live bike availability, turn-by-turn cycling directions to the bikeshare station closest to your destination with live dock availability, and, finally, walking directions from there to your final destination. And, for some cities, Maps will show you links to open the relevant bikeshare app to book and unlock the bike.

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New docked bikeshare directions coming to 10 cities.

Rolling out over the coming weeks, you’ll find docked bikeshare directions in these 10 cities, thanks to our partnership with Ito Worldand bikeshare partners around the world. We’re actively working with additional partners to bring this functionality to more cities in the coming months. 

  • Chicago, U.S. (Divvy/Lyft)
  • New York City, U.S. (Citi Bike/Lyft)
  • San Francisco Bay Area, U.S. (Bay Wheels/Lyft)
  • Washington, DC, U.S. (Capital Bikeshare/Lyft)
  • London, England (Santander Cycles/TfL)
  • Mexico City, Mexico (Ecobici)
  • Montreal, Canada (BIXI/Lyft)
  • Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (Bike Itaú)
  • São Paulo, Brazil (Bike Itaú)
  • Taipei and New Taipei City, Taiwan (YouBike)

As with any mode of transportation right now, cleanliness and safety are top of mind. All of our bikeshare partners have taken steps to increase their cleaning protocols during COVID-19. Please check with your local partner to learn about their latest safety measures. And as always, we encourage you to follow local health and safety guidelines—no matter how you’re getting around. 

A new skills partnership for Singaporeans

Singaporeans have built one of the most competitive economies in the world. But right now, the country’s workers are facing a challenging outlook. There are fewer jobs available, while the jobs that are available require different skills. COVID-19 means more people are working from home, more roles are reliant on technology, and more small businesses are adopting digital tools—trends that we know will continue beyond the pandemic.  

Today, in partnership with several government agencies, we’re launching Skills Ignition SG: a Grow with Google program that will help 3,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents get the skills they need for changing technology and a shifting job market. 


Learning skills, building experience


Skills Ingition SG has two elements. One is a six-month vocational course for mid-career job seekers, designed to teach them skills in digital marketing and cloud technology and give them the chance to earn professional certificates recognised around the world. 


The second element is a ‘place and train’ program, where participants will do three months of online training before moving on to six months of work experience with employers. 

To kick off the placement program, we’ll be offering 100 Singaporeans work experience with Google, across a range of different roles. The remaining 500  placements will be offered in batches by our agency partners, including Dentsu Aegis Network, Publicis and Omnicom Media Group, and we’ve also secured commitments from Sephora, financial technology company FNZ, travel start-up RedDoorz and local furniture retailer Castlery. We’ll continue to open up new opportunities, and we’re asking more companies to join the program and create job placements in their own workforce.  

Skills Ignition SG_Infographics V7-01.jpg

For Google, Skills Ignition SG is the next step in our long-standing commitment to Singapore, a commitment we’re deepening in response to the pandemic. 

Empowering Singaporeans today, for tomorrow


In January, we renewed our Code in the Community program with the Infocomm Media Development Authority, bringing free coding classes to 6,700 students aged eight to 16, and in April, together with UOB, we expanded our SME Leadership Academy to help 4,000 small businesses from the retail, tourism and food and beverage sectors. We’re also working with nonprofits to support SMEs, seniors, migrant workers and the most disadvantaged in society. Over the past few months, we’ve given about US$760,000 in Google.org and data center grants to local charities and NGOs, as well as providing $1.6M in ads credits to small businesses and government agencies. 


Looking ahead, we feel a responsibility not just to help Singaporeans get through COVID-19, but to empower them for the longer term—so that when the job market recovers and opportunities are available, they have the ability to transition into new kinds of jobs. 


Singapore was the first office we opened in Southeast Asia, back in 2007. Today, it’s our headquarters in Asia Pacific, and a community we love being part of. We’re going to do all we can to help Singaporeans rebuild and emerge stronger from this crisis.


Tools for language access during COVID-19

Translation services make it easier to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language, whether you’re traveling abroad or living in a new country. But in the context of a global pandemic, government and health officials urgently need to deliver vital information to their communities, and every member of the community needs access to information in a language they understand. In the U.S. alone, that means reaching 51 million migrants in at least 350 languages, with information ranging from how to keep people and their families safe, to financial, employment or food resources.

To better understand the challenges in addressing these translation needs, we conducted a research study, and interviewed health and government officials responsible for disseminating critical information. We assessed the current shortcomings in providing this information in the relevant languages, and how translation tools could help mitigate them.

The struggle for language access 

When organizations—from health departments to government agencies—update information on a website, it needs to be quickly accessible in a wide variety of languages. We learned that these organizations are struggling to keep up with the high volume of rapidly-changing content and lack the resources to translate this content into the needed languages. 


Officials, who are already spread thin, can barely keep up with the many updates surrounding COVID-19—from the evolving scientific understanding, to daily policy amendments, to new resources for the public. Nearly all new information is coming in as PDFs several times a day, and many officials report not being able to offer professional translation for all needed languages. This is where machine translation can serve as a useful tool.  

How machine translation can help

Machine translation is an automated way to translate text or speech from one language to another. It can take volumes of data and provide translations into a large number of supported languages. Although not intended to fully replace human translators, it can provide value when immediate translations are needed for a wide variety of languages.

If you're looking to translate content on the web, you have several options.


Use your browser

Many popular browsers offer translation capabilities, which are either built in (e.g. Chrome) or require installing an add-on or extension (e.g. Microsoft Edge or Firefox). To translate web content in Chrome, all you have to do is go to a webpage in another language, then click “Translate” at the top.

Use a website translation widget

If you are a webmaster of a government, non-profit, and/or non-commercial website (e.g. academic institutions), you may be eligible to sign up for the Google Translate Website Translator widget. This tool translates web page content into 100+ different languages. To find out more, please visit the webmasters blog.


Upload PDFs and documents

Google Translate supports translating many different document formats (.doc, .docx, .odf, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .ps, .rtf, .txt, .xls, .xlsx). By simply uploading the document, you can get a translated version in the language that you choose.


Millions of people need translations of resources at this time. Google’s researchers, designers and product developers are listening. We are continuously looking for ways to improve our products and come to people’s aid as we navigate the pandemic. 

The show goes on: Australia’s theaters go digital

Griffin Theatre Company, in Sydney’s bustling Kings Cross, has  produced new Australian plays and welcomed theater-goers since 1978. In March, like many performing arts organizations in Australia, Griffin had to close its doors—but it was determined to figure out a way for the show to go on. 


With help from Google’s Creative Lab, Griffin Theatre Company created what their Artistic Director Declan Greene calls “theater, but not as you’ve seen it before.” Their piece, “Thirsty!” is an interactive techno-noir detective thriller, streamed on YouTube, which requires the audience to look for clues to assist the actors. We partnered with Declan and his team to develop #Poll, a Chrome Extension that asked viewers to participate and help shape the narrative inside the live comments stream.


Across three nights in May, this “made for digital” performance was streamed live alongside equally experimental works from The Last Great Hunt and Sandpit. The Last Great Hunt’s show refashioned a living room as a live production space—complete with cardboard props and wall-mounted projection, while Sandpit responded directly to audience comments.

In a world where people can no longer always gather in large groups, Griffin Theatre Company is one of several partners that Creative Lab has helped as they adapt theater experiences, explore new kinds of live performance, and use digital tools to get audiences more involved. Working with organizations right across Australia, including Opera Queensland, we’ve developed a first-of-its-kind Performance Guide to support the broader arts community, with guidelines on how organizations can create works for online audiences, including information on live streaming, ticketing, promotion and more. The guide also shows arts organizations how to add donation links to their business profile on Google, letting people know how to help them with their rebuilding efforts. 


In addition to the Performance Guide, we’ve provided general support to cultural organizations to help them stay in touch with audiences around the world. Last month, Google Arts & Culture announced the launch of “Connected to Culture”—a multi-language digital toolkit to help organizations keep their cultural programs going online. We’ve hosted training for organizations like the Australia Counciland Create NSW, walking them through the process of creating ‘made for digital’ work and sharing what we’ve learned so far. 


It’s been a privilege to work with partners like Griffin Theatre Company, and inspiring to see their creativity shine even in adversity. As theater doors slowly open again, we’re looking forward to continuing to work with Australian cultural organizations on new possibilities for their work and their audiences. 


The show goes on: Australia’s theaters go digital

Griffin Theatre Company, in Sydney’s bustling Kings Cross, has  produced new Australian plays and welcomed theater-goers since 1978. In March, like many performing arts organizations in Australia, Griffin had to close its doors—but it was determined to figure out a way for the show to go on. 


With help from Google’s Creative Lab, Griffin Theatre Company created what their Artistic Director Declan Greene calls “theater, but not as you’ve seen it before.” Their piece, “Thirsty!” is an interactive techno-noir detective thriller, streamed on YouTube, which requires the audience to look for clues to assist the actors. We partnered with Declan and his team to develop #Poll, a Chrome Extension that asked viewers to participate and help shape the narrative inside the live comments stream.


Across three nights in May, this “made for digital” performance was streamed live alongside equally experimental works from The Last Great Hunt and Sandpit. The Last Great Hunt’s show refashioned a living room as a live production space—complete with cardboard props and wall-mounted projection, while Sandpit responded directly to audience comments.

In a world where people can no longer always gather in large groups, Griffin Theatre Company is one of several partners that Creative Lab has helped as they adapt theater experiences, explore new kinds of live performance, and use digital tools to get audiences more involved. Working with organizations right across Australia, including Opera Queensland, we’ve developed a first-of-its-kind Performance Guide to support the broader arts community, with guidelines on how organizations can create works for online audiences, including information on live streaming, ticketing, promotion and more. The guide also shows arts organizations how to add donation links to their business profile on Google, letting people know how to help them with their rebuilding efforts. 


In addition to the Performance Guide, we’ve provided general support to cultural organizations to help them stay in touch with audiences around the world. Last month, Google Arts & Culture announced the launch of “Connected to Culture”—a multi-language digital toolkit to help organizations keep their cultural programs going online. We’ve hosted training for organizations like the Australia Counciland Create NSW, walking them through the process of creating ‘made for digital’ work and sharing what we’ve learned so far. 


It’s been a privilege to work with partners like Griffin Theatre Company, and inspiring to see their creativity shine even in adversity. As theater doors slowly open again, we’re looking forward to continuing to work with Australian cultural organizations on new possibilities for their work and their audiences. 


Our role in Asia’s economic recovery

Krishne Tassels—an ornamental tassels company led by a husband and wife from India—typifies the way Asia Pacific’s small businesses have responded to COVID-19. When the pandemic began to affect their operations, owners Raghu and Amita developed a new kind of lace that customers can stitch themselves, then uploaded YouTube tutorials to show them what to do, keeping sales up and building a sense of community at the same time. 

Every day, I hear more stories like this one, testifying to the resilience and ingenuity of family business owners across the region. We want to help them adjust and succeed as Asia’s economies reopen. At the same time, we want to help Asia rebuild for the longer term changes that the pandemic has brought about. 

From here, we’ll be focusing our COVID-19 recovery efforts on three areas: expanding our direct support for small businesses; helping people get digital skills for the economic recovery; and working to make the recovery inclusive. 

Direct support for small business

Later this week, we’ll mark the UN’s Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, and our immediate priority continues to be supporting Asia Pacific business owners in as many ways as possible. That includes:

  • Working with businesses as they adjust their operations—like Malaysian logistics company The Lorry, which used Google search trends to launch a new grocery delivery service.

  • Sharing research to help businesses take new opportunities—such as the report we prepared with Taiwan’s Export Trade Development Council on openings for small business exporters

  • Helping YouTube creators diversify their opportunities to earn revenue—so they can follow the example of Korean gamers Yangdding, who’ve used features like channel memberships to boost their income. 

  • Making sure our apps support the regional recovery—for example, by expanding Google Pay (first created in India) to highlight local hawkers and restaurants in Singapore, or adding remote jobs and interview features to our job-seeker app Kormo (first created in Bangladesh and Indonesia). 

  • Helping Asian businesses become more visible on Google Search and Maps—like Indonesian snack retailer Bengke Puruik, whose owner Arni used Google My Business to let her customers know she was still selling products online, even though her physical stores are temporarily closed.

  • Continuing to make ad credits available to small businesses in Asia Pacific, as part of a broader, $340 million global commitment

We’ll keep adding new forms of support across all our tools and platforms. But where we believe we can make the biggest, most sustained impact is in digital skills. 

Digital skills for the economic recovery

After moving our Grow with Google digital training courses online earlier this year, the number of people taking the courses soared—including a 300 percent increase in Australia alone. And we know this isn’t a temporary change. With work, education, healthcare and other services now taking place online on a scale we haven’t seen before, digital skills are going to become even more vital to people’s lives and careers. 


Since 2015, we’ve trained 50 million people in Asia Pacific through Grow with Google. Now, building on what we’ve learned so far, we’re ready to expand that commitment—making our programs part of bigger economic recovery plans across the region.


In Taiwan, we’re helping launch a Digital Talent Discovery program, connecting students and other job seekers to employers looking for talent. In Indonesia, we’re providing thousands of training sessions and scholarships to help people use cloud tools in their work. In Korea, we’re expanding our Changoo program for developers, with the government’s backing. And in India, Southeast Asia and Pakistan, we’re sharing resources for startups and running Google for Startups Accelerator programs for founders working to solve social or economic problems. 

Making the recovery inclusive


While its economic impacts have been widespread, COVID-19 has cast an especially harsh light on entrenched inequalities around the world—including in Asia Pacific. Not everyone in the region has the same access to the opportunities the internet creates, and we’re determined to help change that. 


Earlier this week, backed by funding from Google.org and support from ASEAN, The Asia Foundation announced a new grassroots program that will bring skills training to 200,000 people in marginalized communities across Southeast Asia. This partnership builds on Google.org’s earlier grant helping Youth Business International support vulnerable enterprises in 16 Asian countries, as well as the efforts and advocacy of our Women Will program. Over the coming months, we’ll be launching more initiatives to advance digital inclusion and spread opportunities more widely across the region.  


A path beyond the pandemic


While the health threat of COVID-19 is far from over, the economic reopening is underway—and just as Asia Pacific led the immediate response, now it has a chance to lead beyond the pandemic. We’re ready to stand with the region’s people and communities as they shape the recovery and rebuild.