Tag Archives: Europe

Google News Showcase is launching in Italy

Google News Showcase, our new product experience and licensing program for news, will begin rolling out with local, national and independent publishers in Italy starting today. News Showcase is backed by our recent $1 billion investment in news around the world. Globally, there are now close to 600 news publications in News Showcase in over a dozen countries including Australia, Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the U.K. and Argentina, with discussions underway in a number of other countries. Over 90% of our publication partners are considered local, regional or community newspapers.

In Italy, this experience is powered by a series of licensing agreements covering more than 70 national and local publications from publishers including Caltagirone Editore, Ciaopeople, CityNews, Edinet, il Fatto Quotidiano, Il Foglio, Il Giornale Online, Monrif, RCS Media Group, ilSole24Ore, TMS Edizioni, Varese web. These agreements for News Showcase take into account the rights outlined in Article 15 of the European Copyright Directive for specific online uses of press publications, which do not apply to hyperlinks and very short excerpts.

“We are pleased to have signed this agreement, which governs the issue of related rights and acknowledges the importance of quality news and the prestige of our titles,”says Urbano Cairo, Chairman and CEO of RCS MediaGroup, international multimedia publishing group based in Milan. “A new piece in the partnership with Google that enhances the RCS newspapers and offers a further boost to the growth of our customer base, supporting it with an increasingly broad news coverage.”

“The agreement with Google is a further recognition of the value of quality information such as that of Il Sole 24 Ore,”says Giuseppe Cerbone, CEO of Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian leading newspaper in business, financial and regulatory information. “The remuneration of information, including the rights related to the distribution of digital content, is a front on which our publishing group is committed at the forefront with the aim of protecting our heritage of high added value content.”

An image showing the logos of some of the Italian News Showcase publisher partners

With News Showcase, news organizations can curate their content to help readers get more context about a story and direct them to the full articles on their websites. This drives valuable traffic to publishers’ websites, enabling them to grow their audiences and deepen their relationships with readers. News Showcase panels display an enhanced view of an article or articles, giving participating publishers more ways to bring important news to readers and explain it in their own voice, along with more direct control of presentation and their branding. 


A GIF that shows some of the News Showcase partner panels

An example of how News Showcase story panels will look with some of our publishing partners in Italy.

News Showcase content from our publisher partners will automatically start to appear in panels in Google News and on Discover starting today. People will see panels from publishers they follow in their personalized feeds, and they might also see panels from publishers they’re less familiar with, presented as suggestions in the Google News “For You” feed and inside “Newsstand,” the discovery area of Google News. 

As part of our licensing agreements with publishers, we're also paying participating publishers to give readers access to a limited amount of paywalled content. This feature gives readers the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s content than they would otherwise have access to, while enabling publishers to encourage readers to become a subscriber.

“The agreement we have reached, also on the subject of neighbouring rights, is important for the authoritativeness and quality of Varesenews editorial project and for the recognition of the value of local journalism,”says Marco Giovannelli, Director of Varesenews, hyperlocal online publisher founded in 1997.

“The Showcase program opens a new season of relationships with Google, because it addresses the issue of rights connected to the distribution of digital content,”says Michela Colamussi, Director of Transition to Digital and Innovation of Gruppo Monrif, publisher of national and regional newspapers. “It allows us to promote the quality journalism of our publications and to accelerate the digital transformation of editorial processes and the development of revenues by subscription.”

“The agreement reached with Google is part of the digital strategies of our publications,” says Azzurra Caltagirone, Vice President of Caltagirone Editore, publisher of national and regional newspapers. “The initiative is an important step that will allow publishing companies to identify new sources of remuneration for quality content while ensuring the independence of a vital sector for contemporary society.”

An image showing examples of different New Showcase panel layouts from our publishing partners in Italy.

An example of New Showcase panel layouts from our publishing partners in Italy. 

News Showcase is part of a broader set of initiatives that represent Google’s long-term commitment to supporting journalism. Since 2015, Google has invested 11 million euros in Italian journalism projects through the Innovation Fund of the Digital News Initiative. For example, SESAAB, the Italian publisher of L’Eco di Bergamo newspaper, used artificial intelligence to create personalized newsletters and online content recommendations. In 2016, Google signed a three-year agreement with Italian news association FIEG that led the company to invest over 16 million euros on a number of strategic sectors for digital publishing. And in 2020, with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Google News Initiative offered financial support to over 300 Italian newsrooms through its Global Emergency Fund for Local Journalism

News Showcase underlines our larger commitment to journalism. Through the Google News Initiative, which includes $300 million in funding, we’ve supported more than 6,250 news partners in 118 countries. Our ad technologies enable news organizations to sell their ad space to millions of advertisers globally — including advertisers they wouldn’t have access to without these services. Google also sends 24 billion free visits each month to publishers' sites around the world through its platforms, which publishers can monetize with online advertising and subscriptions on their websites and apps.

Our new News Showcase agreements represent an important step forward in how Google is supporting Italian journalism and publishing. We are happy to contribute to the development of the digital ecosystem for the publishing world and to strengthen our commitment to quality journalism.

Say “Hey Google…” to the new Fiat 500 Family

For me, having a car has always been about more than driving. I like the way a car can reflect my style, and make my life easier. That’s why I was personally very intrigued when the Fiat team approached us. They wanted to see if we could work together to make the iconic Fiat 500 respond to people’s needs even better, even when they aren’t behind the wheel. The result of that work is the new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google, a special edition of the historic, yet very modern Fiat 500.

Image shows three Fiats from the Fiat 500 family driving on a bridge.

Anyone can ask Google Assistant for useful everyday information, like directions or weather updates. But thanks to the My Fiat Action, which integrates Fiat's Mopar Connect service and Google Assistant, owners of the new 500 Family Hey Google can access special features even when they aren't driving.

If you’re at home but want to check your fuel level, see if your car is locked, find the closest Fiat service station or even switch on the emergency lights, all you have to say is “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…”. Since I share my car with my partner, I know I’d be checking how full the fuel is pretty often! (Some commands aren’t available in the U.K.).

Image showing a Nest Hub with "Hey Google, ask my Fiat..." questions on the screen.

If you’re a new 500, 500X or 500L Hey Google owner, you can activate the service upon car delivery and follow the procedures from Fiat. From that moment on, you can use the My Fiat Action for Google Assistant to interact with your car by simply saying “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…” and the rest is up to you.

The new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google will soon be available in three models — 500, 500X and 500L —  in 10 European countries, including Italy, the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland. Enjoy the ride!

Say “Hey Google…” to the new Fiat 500 Family

For me, having a car has always been about more than driving. I like the way a car can reflect my style, and make my life easier. That’s why I was personally very intrigued when the Fiat team approached us. They wanted to see if we could work together to make the iconic Fiat 500 respond to people’s needs even better, even when they aren’t behind the wheel. The result of that work is the new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google, a special edition of the historic, yet very modern Fiat 500.

Image shows three Fiats from the Fiat 500 family driving on a bridge.

Anyone can ask Google Assistant for useful everyday information, like directions or weather updates. But thanks to the My Fiat Action, which integrates Fiat's Mopar Connect service and Google Assistant, owners of the new 500 Family Hey Google can access special features even when they aren't driving.

If you’re at home but want to check your fuel level, see if your car is locked, find the closest Fiat service station or even switch on the emergency lights, all you have to say is “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…”. Since I share my car with my partner, I know I’d be checking how full the fuel is pretty often! (Some commands aren’t available in the U.K.).

Image showing a Nest Hub with "Hey Google, ask my Fiat..." questions on the screen.

If you’re a new 500, 500X or 500L Hey Google owner, you can activate the service upon car delivery and follow the procedures from Fiat. From that moment on, you can use the My Fiat Action for Google Assistant to interact with your car by simply saying “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…” and the rest is up to you.

The new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google will soon be available in three models — 500, 500X and 500L —  in 10 European countries, including Italy, the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland. Enjoy the ride!

A subscriptions lab for European publishers

As more news outlets turn to online subscriptions to make money from their digital content, we’re working with publishers to strengthen their capabilities and grow reader revenue. That’s why we’re kicking off the second edition of the Google News Initiative Subscriptions Lab program in Europe, developed in partnership with FT Strategies and the International News Media Association (INMA). 


The Lab is an eight-month program designed to strengthen and accelerate growth of a publisher’s subscription business and help them develop new monetization strategies. It will focus on every step of the process, from how readers discover news content to how publishers convert those readers into subscribers and retain them over the long term.  

The Subscriptions Lab is a part of the Google News Initiative’s Digital Growth Programme, which was created to provide European news publishers with training and other resources to grow their digital business.

Building on the success of last year’s edition, the 2021 program attracted more than 50 applicants from 22 European countries. The eight publishers who have been selected, following a rigorous selection process, are:

  • The Courier (DC Thomson Media), United Kingdom
  • Denik (Vltava Labe Media), Czech Republic 
  • Irish Independent (Independent News & Media), Ireland 
  • Le Journal du Dimanche (Lagardère Media News), France 
  • OÖNachrichten (Wimmer Medien), Austria 
  • El País (Prisa), Spain 
  • Público (Público Comunicação Social), Portugal 
  • Ruhr Nachrichten (Lensing Media), Germany

The selection criteria includes a publisher having senior management support and commitment, digital subscriptions as a top strategic priority and a willingness to share knowledge and lessons with the rest of the group and the wider industry. The selection panel also ensured that the final group of eight publishers represented a broad cross-section of the industry: a mix of local, regional and national publishers of varying sizes, plus participants at different stages of their subscriptions journey.

The program draws on the expertise of each of the partners: the analytical tools developed by the Google News Initiative, FT Strategies’ experience of developing a successful subscriptions business — something they term the “North Star” methodology — and expertise from INMA’s Readers First Initiative

Eight publishers took part in last year’s inaugural edition of the European Subscriptions Lab: La Croix (France), Dennik N (Slovakia), Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), The Independent (UK), Kurier (Austria), El Mundo (Spain), RP Online (Germany) and VLT (Sweden). The publishers, who took a survey rating their satisfaction, rated it a 4.9 out of 5 upon completing the Lab. Their experience and lessons were shared during last year’s INMA virtual town hall, moderated by Researcher-in-Residence Grzegorz Piechota. 

For each participating publisher, the 2020 Lab executed an in-depth diagnostic analysis of their performance and built a strategy around a clear goal, like reaching a certain number of subscribers. We conducted more than 20 experiments during last year’s Labs, with goals like growing readership, retaining readers, testing article quality and testing various subscription and payment models. When conducting these experiments, one participating publisher saw daily registrations increase by ten times by creating a new registration wall, while another had a more than 10 percent increase in conversions on the paywall by changing the position of page roadblocks.  


If you’re interested in seeing more experiment results from last year’s cohort as well as detailed learnings, you can watch the recording of INMA’s virtual Town Hall, or read the new report by FT Strategies, called “Towards your North Star.”  


Job-training solutions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

As the pandemic accelerates changes in how and where we work, many of us will need to upgrade our skills or even change careers. Today we’re announcing more help, in partnership with expert organizations and with the public sector, building on our experience in training over 17 million people in Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the last six years through Grow with Google.

Even before COVID-19, research by Google and McKinsey showed that more than 90 million European workers may need to develop significant new skills within their current roles, while up to 21 million may have to leave occupations with declining labor needs like agriculture or in-person retail. The global crisis has sped up many of these predicted changes: McKinsey now estimates that 25% more people in Europe may need to transition to new jobs after the pandemic. Many people will need to learn new skills, as almost all growth in labor demand will continue to be for higher skill, higher wage jobs. 

Today, we are announcing three new Google Career Certificates available online on Coursera, which enable people to become job-ready for growing career areas such as IT Support, Project Management, UX Design and Data Analytics. These low-cost programs help people who want to learn online at their own pace, or who may want to change careers and don't have the time or means to access traditional education. They can be completed in under six months, do not require relevant experience or a degree, and are recognized by industry experts and employers. 

These certificates help meet surging demand by workers to get the skills they need to secure good jobs. At the start of the lockdowns, we saw atripling of demandfor online learning, and the interest has been mostly sustained throughout the year, as people need to find new jobs or learn new skills that employers are looking for today — and in the years ahead.

These certificates help meet surging demand by workers to get the skills they need to secure good jobs. In the last year, we've seen increased interest in online learning as more workers lose their jobs or as they seek the skills employers are looking for today — and in the years ahead.

Addressing the challenges of the future of work requires collaboration between governments, companies and community organizations. We are proud to support the European Commission’s Pact for Skills, and, as part of our commitment to help people overcome barriers to learning, we will provide scholarships for the certificates for 100,000 people in EMEA. Scholarships will be distributed through local organizations like Fundae and SEPE in Spain, APDC and IEFP in Portugal, the London Borough of Camden in the UK, OAED in Greece, Czechitas in Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Agency for Digital Development (ADD) in Morocco and RootHub in Nigeria. Additional local collaborations will be announced soon. 

We’re also focused on ways to address gender and economic inequalities, which have been further widened by the pandemic. Underrepresented groups, low-income workers and women are more exposed to hard-hit sectors, like food service or hospitality, and are therefore more at risk of losing their jobs. Older workers without computer experience also face unique challenges as they struggle more to get back into work. Google.org will allocate 50,000 of these scholarships for people from underserved communities, providing access to people from all backgrounds.

Google.org through an initial €5 million grant to INCO, a global nonprofit organisation, will work with over 50 local nonprofits to provide services like career advice, interview preparation, childcare vouchers and language support. These organisations include Riga Tech Girls, a woman-led nonprofit in Latvia that will distribute scholarships to underprivileged women to help get more women into tech jobs.

While there are people that cannot find a job because they don't have the right skills, 40% of employers in Europe also struggled to find qualified people. Joining policy efforts led by the European Commission and others to help bridge the skills gap between employers and workers, we’re committed to gathering companies and organizations who, like us, recognize the Google Career Certificates and openly express their interest in receiving applications from graduates. Certificate graduates can also apply for our apprenticeship programs

Technology must help everyone, no matter their location, race, age or education level. Governments and companies must rethink how we equip people with new skills by removing barriers to learning and investing in innovative partnerships — otherwise these inequalities will only grow.  We hope that with these new efforts and the support of our public sector partners, even more people can develop the skills to thrive and continue growing their careers through technology.

Irish retailers can build an online presence with Pointy

As a Dublin native who started a company to help small retailers get online, I’ve seen local retailers adapt to many situations. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has brought challenges unlike any other, and we’ve seen it directly affect many of our favorite local shops.

Due to lockdown restrictions, it’s become critical for brick-and-mortar retailers to be visible online. I also know firsthand how helpful it is to be able to search online and see what a store has in stock prior to heading out of the house. 

But sharing in-store inventory online can be challenging for smaller businesses, as they may not have the resources to build and maintain an e-commerce platform. Pointy from Google meets that need by creating an online presence for these retailers to help them showcase their product offering and potentially reach new customers. 

Starting today for a limited time, Pointy from Google will offer free Pointy devices to qualifying small and medium retailers in Ireland, enabling them to display their in-store products online. Irish retailers who connect with Pointy within the next six months will also get €100 ad credit to trial Pointy’s Product Ads feature.  

Pointy works by creating a connection between physical stores and Google so that their products can appear in local Google search results, which can help attract shoppers in the surrounding area to the store. Retailers don’t have to do any extra work: As they scan items to be sold, the products are added to their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps so that potential customers can easily see them.

Infographic showing how to use a Pointy device: Scan your products, display products on Google, help shoppers find you

Shoppers are actively supporting local retailers: 66% of people who shop local say they are doing so in a conscious effort to support local businesses. Displaying products on their stores’ Business Profiles will help Irish retailers tap into that sentiment as consumers can see that the products they are searching for online can be bought locally.

Quote from John Feely, Feely's Total Health Pharmacy, Galway: "Pointy has put us in reach of an audience online that would often pass us by."

COVID-19 continues to challenge retailers, and the economic impact on small and medium businesses has been severe. Google is committed to helping these businesses recover. With a 100% increase in  searches for “available near me” since last year, this new tool will help Irish retailers reach more customers and drive footfall to local stores and shops. 

Pointy can be used via a device that is plugged into a business’s point-of-sale (POS) system, or through the Pointy app, depending on the system. Pointy will be offering free devices to qualifying Irish businesses up until September 31, 2021. To find out more and sign up, retailers should visit: pointy.com/ireland.

Irish retailers can build an online presence with Pointy

As a Dublin native who started a company to help small retailers get online, I’ve seen local retailers adapt to many situations. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has brought challenges unlike any other, and we’ve seen it directly affect many of our favorite local shops.

Due to lockdown restrictions, it’s become critical for brick-and-mortar retailers to be visible online. I also know firsthand how helpful it is to be able to search online and see what a store has in stock prior to heading out of the house. 

But sharing in-store inventory online can be challenging for smaller businesses, as they may not have the resources to build and maintain an e-commerce platform. Pointy from Google meets that need by creating an online presence for these retailers to help them showcase their product offering and potentially reach new customers. 

Starting today for a limited time, Pointy from Google will offer free Pointy devices to qualifying small and medium retailers in Ireland, enabling them to display their in-store products online. Irish retailers who connect with Pointy within the next six months will also get €100 ad credit to trial Pointy’s Product Ads feature.  

Pointy works by creating a connection between physical stores and Google so that their products can appear in local Google search results, which can help attract shoppers in the surrounding area to the store. Retailers don’t have to do any extra work: As they scan items to be sold, the products are added to their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps so that potential customers can easily see them.

Infographic showing how to use a Pointy device: Scan your products, display products on Google, help shoppers find you

Shoppers are actively supporting local retailers: 66% of people who shop local say they are doing so in a conscious effort to support local businesses. Displaying products on their stores’ Business Profiles will help Irish retailers tap into that sentiment as consumers can see that the products they are searching for online can be bought locally.

Quote from John Feely, Feely's Total Health Pharmacy, Galway: "Pointy has put us in reach of an audience online that would often pass us by."

COVID-19 continues to challenge retailers, and the economic impact on small and medium businesses has been severe. Google is committed to helping these businesses recover. With a 100% increase in  searches for “available near me” since last year, this new tool will help Irish retailers reach more customers and drive footfall to local stores and shops. 

Pointy can be used via a device that is plugged into a business’s point-of-sale (POS) system, or through the Pointy app, depending on the system. Pointy will be offering free devices to qualifying Irish businesses up until September 31, 2021. To find out more and sign up, retailers should visit: pointy.com/ireland.

These women-led businesses are finding new ways to thrive

The past year has been difficult for all kinds of small businesses. But it’s been disproportionately tough for women-led businesses, with women’s jobs nearly twice as vulnerable due to the fallout of the pandemic. On this International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate the achievements of three European entrepreneurs who have adapted and thrived in the face of economic uncertainty.

Portrait of Syreeta Levy, barbershop owner, alongside a screenshot of her Business Profile listing

In London, Lyon and Barcelona

Syreeta Levy runs Levy & Co, a men’s barbershop in North London. As a gay Black woman, Syreeta’s intention has always been for her business to attract and appeal to a diverse audience. Levy & Co’s success is a testament to the strong personal connection she forges with her customers, regardless of their background. “It comes down to two core things: haircuts and counseling,” she explains. Her brand’s distinct personality figures in as well, and Syreeta features it in her marketing.  Syreeta has also added the “women-led” and “LGBTQ-friendly” business attributes to her Business Profile, which potential customers can now see directly on Google Search and Maps. She believes this helps her business stand out in search results and they’re a big part of her shop’s appeal.

It’s a similar story for Allison Denis from Lyon, France. In 2016, she launched her “self-garage” business, Mabagnol, which gives drivers the space and the tools to fix their own cars. Allison’s biggest challenge has been establishing her place in the male-overrepresented industry of automotive repair, and like Syreeta, she's proud to identify as a women-led business online.

And in Barcelona, there’s Berta Font Amor, Monse González Yebra and Mavi Calabrese, who started Fit Lovas, a fitness community where women feel confident to be themselves. Promoting their venture online as a women-led business has helped Fit Lovas attract new members from around the world. As well as serving their local community, the growing business now regularly welcomes women from Mexico, Argentina, and other Spanish-speaking countries to their online classes.

Screenshot of the Business Profile for Mabagnol, alongside a photo of the garage

Finding new ways to thrive

Even in the midst of the pandemic, all three businesses have found ways to stay afloat, adapt and keep communicating with customers.

In Lyon, lockdown restrictions have made Allison reliant on her online channels to attract customers and generate bookings as customers needed an appointment before visiting. As a result, she updates her Google Business Profile each day and adds new photos of her garage to help it stand out. Despite a fiercely competitive sector, Allison’s website attracts over 12,000 people each quarter, and a big slice of new inquiries are first-time visitors. 

Over in Barcelona, Fit Lovas has gone virtual, using their Business Profile to indicate that they now offeronline classes — which means they can also reach new international audiences. “Offering an online service allowed us to keep growing, thanks to women from all over the world,” says Mavi. They've since seen their membership grow, and the traffic coming to their website via their Business Profile has more than doubled between February 2020 and January 2021. Looking ahead, Fit Lovas are excited to build on this new hybrid business model and grow their membership even further.

photo of two of the owners of Fit Lovas, alongside a screenshot of their Business Profile

Back in London, Syreeta has become 100% reliant on her online presence. "Because of lockdown, a lot of people at home are looking online to find barbers in the local area — and our Business Profile on Google is one of the first things they see,” she says. When lockdown restrictions were lifted in 2020, Syreeta saw a 70% increase in bookings, all via her website. “The number of people that came through the Business Profile to the website was off the scale,” recalls Syreeta. ”I'm not kidding you, last July I worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week.”

It's inspiring to see how these entrepreneurs have adapted their business models and taken advantage of online tools. A lot is uncertain right now, but we do know that small businesses are the backbone of our economies. That’s why Google renewed its efforts last year and pledged to help 10 million people and businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa find jobs, digitize and grow over the next 18 months through easy-to-use tools and training. We’re excited to see what they’ll come up with.

Discover the artist who could hear colors

If you’ve ever tried to describe colors with words, chances are you struggled to find the exact terms to convey what your eyes perceive, and you end up resorting to metaphors. In the dictionary, red is described as resembling the color of blood. Blue gets compared to  a clear sky. Green almost always finds itself aligned with grass and growing foliage. 


But what if you could use other senses to draw parallels between colors and sounds? That’s the creative endeavour that Vassily Kandinsky set to pursue in some of his artworks. Thanks to his gift of synesthesia, an ability for multi-sensory perception, he was able to explore the relationship between sounds, colors and shapes, and to translate music to paintings. 


The Centre Pompidou and Google Arts & Culture have partnered to pay tribute to the artist, who is considered an initiator of the abstract art movement. “Sounds like Kandinsky” brings together his most emblematic artworks, opens up some rare personal archives, and introduces a Machine Learning experiment that lets everyone “Play a Kandinsky”. 


Though many people will be able to recognize some of Kandinsky’s most famous artworks, the man behind the canvas is less known. We have digitized 3,700  artworks, personal photographs, and documents with Google Arts & Culture’s tabletop scanner - such as childhood memories, pictures of holidays with Paul Klee, or Kandinksy’s studio in Neuilly  - contributed by the Kandinsky collection bequeathed by Nina Kandinsky. This allows everyone to enter the universe of the artist's life and work.

Trace the life and work of Kandinsky from his debut in Russia to his time teaching at the Bauhaus school. Discover his studio during his Parisian years and lose yourself in Sky Blue through an in-painting tour which allows you to zoom in on the details of his artwork. 


But to truly understand Kandinsky's legacy and unravel one of the defining mysteries behind his artistic style, it’s essential to understand the distinctive creative process that went into his canvases: Synesthesia. This neurological condition - which is also shared by other artists such as Rimbaud, Billie Eilish and Pharrell Williams - allowed him to associate colors with certain sounds and moods. When Kandinsky painted, two senses worked systematically together: hearing and sight. Colors and shapes translated into sounds, harmonies, and vibrations made up lines and patterns. 

Play a Kandinsky experiment

To unlock the “Sound” of a Kandinsky we teamed up with experimental music artists Antoine Bertin and NSDOSto create “Play a Kandinsky,”  an interactive experimentation that for the first time enables everyone to experience what Kandinsky might have heard when he was painting. Together, we analyzed Kandinsky's writings outlining his synesthetic experience and applied machine learning to create a tool that simulates what Kandinsky may have heard when he painted his masterwork  “Yellow Red Blue” in 1925.

By zooming in and clicking on various areas of the painting, you are invited to play the painting, exploring the sounds and emotions associated with colors and shapes. You can even create your own mix and share the result of your creation, as inspired by Kandinsky.

Pocket Gallery

And thanks to Pocket Gallery, you can wander through a bespoke exhibition in augmented reality and get a close look of some of Kandinsky’s most renowned artworks. 

While this exploration will never replace the unique experience of seeing these artworks in the museum, it nevertheless enables a true immersion in each of the compositions, certainly virtual, but just as intimate, of the artist who could hear colors.

Building a safer internet, from Europe to Africa

Whether searching for answers in Antwerp or Abidjan, people expect Google services to be designed with their safety in mind. And that’s especially true for the one third of the world’s internet-connected population who reside in the countries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 


That’s why the region is also home to a steadily growing number of Google investments in digital safety, and teams who specialize in keeping the internet more secure.

A second global safety hub in Europe

In 2019, we opened the first Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) in Munich, acknowledging Europe’s role as a global hub of privacy and security engineering at Google. There, we’ve developed popular privacy tools like Privacy Checkup, a raft of security protections in our Chrome browser and techniques, such as differential privacy, which help add state-of-the-art anonymization into core Google products. 


Last month, we opened another GSEC, this time in Dublin, which will be a hub for Google experts tackling the spread of illegal and harmful content, and a place where we can share this work with policymakers, researchers and regulators. Like our work on privacy, content safety is a priority that we reinforce with concrete action, led by experts in the field.

Keeping people’s information safe

When people trust us with their personal information, it’s our responsibility to keep it safe. And we know people are worried about threats like hacking and COVID-19-related scams, and increasingly demanding that companies keep their private information private. Searches for “phishing” reached record levels in the UK, Italy and Spain last year, and in Germany, searches for “how secure is my password” doubled from 2019 to 2020.

It’s clear that in order for the open web to sustain its continued growth as the most important place for independent creation and commerce, its privacy and security practices must keep up with changing expectations. That’s why we recently joined outside experts from Euroconsumers, a group of five national consumer organizations representing more than 1.5 million people, in releasing a new joint report that spotlighted related concerns among internet users in Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. As many as 69% of respondents told us they think the amount of personal data collected online makes it difficult for them to protect their privacy, with 21% feeling in control of what personal data is collected about them.

In initiatives like our partnership with Euroconsumers and our brick-and-mortar investments in GSEC, our goal is both understanding and follow-through: informing improvements that we actually build. Our teams at GSEC Munich have already rolled out new tools and a redesign of Chrome’s privacy and security settings, making it easier to manage cookies and the most sensitive website permissions. And, like many, we are encouraged by promising progress so far in the Privacy Sandbox, an open initiative introduced by Chrome to support a privacy-first future for web advertising — one that can promote growth in the web in Europe and beyond.

Helping people with knowledge and trainings

But safety and privacy tools also aren’t worth anything without supporting people in using them, which is why we back our safety engineering efforts with significant funding for local and grassroots programs to promote safety best practices. 

So, today we are announcing a new partnership with Injaz Al-Arab, a non-profit organization that aims to empower young people with digital skills, so that we can deliver safety trainings at scale to students across the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Morocco.

Helping innovative nonprofits and social enterprises with Google’s resources has long been the focus of Google.org, which last year used the occasion of Safer Internet Day to announce the $1,000,000 Africa Online Safety Fund. Today, we’re announcing the recipients: 26 groups across nine countries in Africa who have been selected to develop and scale new and existing projects combating online vulnerabilities, disinformation and extremism. 

We know these kinds of efforts can bear fruit. Take a look at some of the stories we’ve shared today of the 29 grant recipients of the Google.org Impact Challenge for Safety in Europe. We’re proud of these efforts and see it as core to our safety mission to support brilliant organizations in all regions of the world.  

To learn more about our resources to help keep you and your family safer, please visit the Google Safety Center.