Tag Archives: France

The creative coder adding color to machine learning

Machine learning is already revolutionizing the way we solve problems across almost every industry and walk of life, from photo organization to cancer detection and flood prediction. But outside the tech world, most people don’t know what an algorithm is or how it works, let alone how they might start training one of their own.

Parisian coder Emil Wallner wants to change that. Passionate about making machine learning easier to get into, he came up with an idea that fused his fascination with machine learning with a love of art. He built a simple, playful program that learns how to add color to black-and-white photos.

Emil ML

Emil used TensorFlow, Google’s open-source machine learning platform, to build the simplest algorithm he could, forcing himself to simplify it until it was less than 100 lines of code.

The algorithm is programmed to study millions of color photos and use them to learn what color the objects of the world should be. It then hunts for similar patterns in a black-and-white photo. Over time, it learns that a black-and-white object shaped like a goldfish should very likely be gold.

The more distinctive the object, the easier the task. For example, bananas are easy because they’re almost always yellow and have a unique shape. Moons and planets can be more confusing because of similarities they share with each other, such as their shape and dark surroundings. In these instances, just like a child learning about the world for the first time, the algorithm needs a little more information and training.

ML banana moon

Emil’s algorithm brings the machine learning process to life in a way that makes it fun and visual. It helps us to understand what machines find easy, what they find tricky and how tweaks to the code or dataset affect results.

Thousands of budding coders and artists have now downloaded Emil’s code and are using it to understand the fundamentals of machine learning, without feeling like they’re in a classroom.

“Even the mistakes are beautiful, so it’s a satisfying algorithm to learn with,” Emil says.

YouTube Space Paris: a new home for French creators

In France, just like in other cultural centres in Europe, the YouTube creative community is booming. French creators like Poisson Fecond (a psychology student who delights and educates 700,000 fans every week) and Cyprien (a comedian whose videos have been viewed nearly a 1 billion times) are building global audiences on YouTube. And well-established cultural organisations like the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel are using YouTube to share French history and culture with viewers around the world.

With all the creativity coming out of the French capital, it was obvious that we should open a YouTube Space -- a collaborative space with state-of-the-art equipment that can be used for free by anyone with a growing YouTube channel -- to help the local YouTube community find even more success.

The Paris YouTube Space is our third in Europe - the others are in London and Berlin. Since 2012, more than 25,000 creators, from emerging comedians to established TV stations, have visited London and Berlin Spaces to produce over 1,500 high quality, highly original videos. Collectively, they’ve garnered over 225 million views and 16 million hours of watchtime from their fans.

We’re happy to invest in our European YouTube Spaces because European creators are… well… talented and prolific! A quarter of videos watched on YouTube worldwide are created by Europeans, helping propel European culture onto the global stage.

At the same time, YouTube has become a vehicle for Europeans to build businesses—more than 3 million creators and partners in Europe make money on YouTube from advertising and we’re looking at new ways to send even more revenue to our creators.

Back at the YouTube Space Paris, as we officially open the doors for the first time, the first month of workshops are already fully booked, and the excitment is palpable. It’s impossible to predict what the French communauté de créateurs are going to create here, but I can’t wait to see. And nor can the billion people out there on YouTube, waiting to press play.

Vote now open in France’s Google Impact Challenge

In April we launched the Google Impact Challenge in France, inviting all French non-profits and foundations to share their ideas for how they would use technology and grant funding from Google.org to make a better world, faster.

We received hundreds of ideas from non-profits across France and were blown away by the creativity, passion, and innovation we saw in the submissions. It was tough to narrow the field, but today we’re happy to share the 10 finalists and ask for your help in choosing which non-profit should receive a €500,000 grant and mentoring from Google to help bring their project to life. Cast your vote now at g.co/impactchallengefrance.

The 10 finalists are:

  • 1001fontaines is developing an entrepreneur-driven network of water purification stations in rural areas to give people access to clean water.
  • Agence du Don en Nature is enabling consumer product donations directly on e-commerce sites and redistributing them to populations in need.
  • Banque Alimentaire du Rhône is building a matching platform for retailers to share unsold food directly with nonprofits to fight against hunger and food waste.
  • Libraries without Borders is rolling out the Ideas Box, a portable media center that provides access to information, education and culture for refugees emerging from humanitarian crisis situations.
  • My Human Kit is enabling people in need of prosthetics to have access to low-cost, open-source 3D printed models.
  • Jaccede.com is crowdsourcing accessibility ratings of public places to empower people living with a physical disability.
  • MakeSense is building a platform to enable social entrepreneurs to tap into the skills and talent of the community to help them scale their ideas.
  • Ticket For Change is developing a unique online curriculum to help social entrepreneurs more quickly realise their ideas.
  • Voxe.org is developing an app that will reengage citizens in politics by providing tailored political information.
  • Y Generation Education is creating a unique online vocational education training curriculum for underprivileged youth.

Your votes will help decide which of these projects gets up and running in a big way. Vote now for the ideas that most inspire you, and stay tuned for the announcement of the winners on October 8th. Good luck to all of the finalists!

Launching the Google Impact Challenge in France

We believe technology can contribute to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges and we want to support innovators who are finding new ways to make an impact. This is why we’re announcing the third European edition of the Google Impact Challenge in France, a program supporting non-profits who are using technology to have a positive impact.

French non-profits can submit their ideas via g.co/impactchallengefrance until 4 June and in September, ten finalists will be chosen by Google experts based on the project's potential impact, feasibility, scalability and degree of innovation

Four winners will each receive a €500,000 grant, as well as mentoring from Google employees, to help make each project a reality.

One winner will be chosen by public vote, and the other three by a judging panel made up of Bernard Kouchner, former French Minister of Foreign Affairs; Nadia Bellaoui, President of Le Mouvement Associatif; Ismaël Le Mouel, founder of HelloAsso; Anne-Cécile Mailfert, President of Osez le Féminisme; Alain Deloche, Co-Founder of La Chaine du Coeur; Nick Leeder, Managing Director of Google France; and Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google.org.

Other Google Impact Challenges around the world have supported ideas ranging from smart cameras for wildlife conservation to solar lights for off-grid communities to a mobile application that helps protect women from domestic violence.

Technology can make a real difference in tackling some of the world’s biggest social challenges. We can’t wait to see what French non-profits will come up with.

Hallo, hola, olá to a new powerful Google Translate app

Often the hardest part of traveling is navigating the local language. If you've ever asked for "pain" in Paris and gotten funny looks, confused "embarazada" with "embarrassed" in Mexico, or stumbled over pronunciation pretty much anywhere, you know the feeling. We’ve now updated the Translate app on Android and iOS to transform your mobile device into an even more powerful translation tool.

Instant translation with Word Lens
The Translate app already lets you use camera mode to snap a photo of text and get a translation for it in 36 languages. From today, you can instantly translate text. While using the Translate app, just point your camera at a sign or text and the translated text will overlaid on your screen—even if you don't have an Internet or data connection.

This instant translation currently works for translation from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, and we’re working to expand to more languages.

Have an easier conversation using the Translate app

When talking with someone in an unfamiliar language, conversations can... get... sloowwww. While we’ve had real-time conversation mode on Android since 2013, our new update makes the conversation flow faster and more naturally.

Starting today, simply tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will recognize which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation. For the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again—it'll be ready as you need it. Asking for directions to the Rive Gauche, ordering bacalhau in Lisbon, or chatting with your grandmother in her native Spanish just got a lot faster.

These updates will be coming to both Android and iOS, rolling out over the next few days. This is the first time some of these advanced features, like camera translations and conversation mode, will be available for iOS users.

More than 500 million people use Google Translate every month, making more than 1 billion translations a day to more easily communicate and access information across languages. Today’s updates take us one step closer to turning your phone into a universal translator and to a world where language is no longer a barrier to discovering information or connecting with each other.

Explore the haunted corners of Europe….if you dare

Something wicked this way comes… Whether you’re a trio of witches back from the dead or just a trick-or-treater, chances are you’re hitting the streets (or riding a broom!) on Halloween night. For those looking for an extra fright, take a tour of spooky places from around the world on Google Maps.

Start in 19th century Paris. While cheery guests listen to the beautiful arias at the Opéra Garnier, a dreary lake lies beneath the streets. Floating above the silent water, a phantom lurks. Are your eyes playing tricks on you... or is that a cloaked figure looming in the shadows?

For the holiday, we've also just released some new imagery in Italy, Romania and Czech Republic. Start with Italy's premier witchcraft museum, the Museo della Stregoneria di Triora.

Continue onto Slovakia and the Čachtický hrad, a castle where Elizabeth Báthory, a countess from the renowned Báthory family, lied. Stories describe her vampire-like tendencies (most famously the tale that she bathed in the blood of young servant girls who she killed - to retain her youth).

Conclude with the spookiest site of them all in Romania - Dracula's own Bran Castle. The Dracula's Castle was built on the edge of the Bran Pass and nowadays lures guests worldwide who wish to partake in the legend of the Count Dracula.

If these spooky spots whet your appetite for fear, get up close with some of the most frightful locations in Google Maps Gallery and find ghouls and goblins in haunted houses around the world. If you’re looking for a laugh instead of a scream, take a hayride through your local corn maze, find the perfect jack-o-lantern at your neighboring pumpkin patch, and scout the best trick-or-treat routes near you.

Now get your cauldrons bubbling and monsters mashing because after all, this is Halloween!

Launching youtube.com/government 101

When the French Foreign Ministry wanted to engage with citizens, it chose to launch a special YouTube channel. From live streams of award ceremonies, to press conferences on important issues and Hangouts with constituents, YouTube has become an important platform where citizens engage with their governments around the world and elected officials. The Foreign Ministry uploads on average more than one video each day.

In order to help government officials get a better idea of what YouTube can do, we are launching youtube.com/government101, a one-stop shop where government officials can learn how to get the most out of YouTube as a communication tool.

The site offers a broad range of YouTube advice, from the basics of creating a channel to in-depth guidance on features like live streaming, annotations, playlists and more. We’ve also featured case studies from government offices around the world that are using YouTube in innovative ways.

If you're a government official, whether you are looking for an answer to a quick question or need a full training on YouTube best practices, we hope this resource will help you engage in a rich dialogue with your constituents and increase transparency within your community.

Seizing the digital opportunity in France

All too often, fast-moving, disruptive digital innovation is presented as the enemy of Europe’s enviable social system. The reality, according to a new study published this week in Paris by consultants Roland Berger, is that digital companies not only boost economic growth - they also increase worker satisfaction.

Launching the new Roland Berger Internet report
Berger studied 505 companies, all with more than 50 employees, classifying them in four categories by how much they use the Internet. Its study focused not on sexy Internet startups, but on traditional industries such as chemistry, energy or manufacturing. The conclusion was striking: new digital technologies are just as important in these traditional sectors as for high tech startups. The most “digital” grow six times faster than the “least digital”.

Given this finding, it is unsurprising that French companies sense the opportunity: some 57% interviewed put digital transformation as one of their medium term strategic priorities. Unfortunately, actions do not follow these intentions. Only 36% of French companies have a formal digital strategy and French corporate Internet engagement lags far behind French consumer use. While nearly six in 10 French people shopped online in 2013, only one French company in 10 sold online.

If more French companies embarked on the digital journey, Berger argues they would not only improve their performance - they also would please workers. Employees of the most digitally mature companies feel at least 50 percent more involved and happier in their professional life than those of the least matures ones. In a country famed for its quality of life, this is indeed an impressive finding!

Fighting against hate speech

At a time when racism and hate speech is rising, it is urgent to unite and act to preserve it as a space of tolerance.

This week, we joined with leading French anti-racism organizations SOS Racisme, UEJF, LICRA and MRAP to launch “Pousse Ton Cri”, an online platform allowing people to voice their opposition to discriminations by recording a short “shout” via video.

The campaign aims to raise awareness amongst young internet users by mobilising them around a symbolic and collective act against the voices of intolerance on the web. Users will also learn more about how to report hate speech online.

Over the next six weeks, we will help organize three Hangouts on Air to debate racism in various fields. On September 17, we will look at racism in sports. The following week, on September 24, will investigate racism in music and the final one, on October 3, will focus on hate speech on the Net.

Each Hangouts will give young people the opportunity to ask their questions to famous figures in these different fields. Among others, French YouTuber “Jigmé”, who now has more than half a million subscribers, will share his story of how he uses humor to highlight prejudices.

You can register to participate to one of these debates via this link.

Change the world: the 2014 Google Science Fair Global Finalists

Samuel Burrow, 16,from the U.K., wants to improve the environment by reducing pollution. Taking inspiration from the chemical used in sunscreen, Samuel created a special coating that reduces waste chemicals in the air when subjected to ambient light. Guillaume Rolland,17, from France, aims to revolutionize mornings by creating a scent which will wake you up with maximum energy at a prescribed time.

These are just a few of the European examples of the 15 incredible projects we’ve named as the global finalists for 2014 Google Science Fair. This is our fourth time hosting the competition as a way to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers. From Russia to Australia, India to Canada, this year’s finalists (ages 13-18) are already well on their way to greatness. Europe accounts for a full third of the finalists. Read about them - and about all 15 finalist projects - on the Google Science Fair website.

What’s next for our young scientists? Well, next month, they’ll be California-bound to compete at Google HQ for the three Age Category Awards (ages 13-14, 15-16, 17-18) and of course, the overall Google Science Fair Grand Prize Award. The competition will end in style with an awards ceremony, which will be live streamed on the Science Fair YouTube channel and on our website. Tune in to be one of the first to find out this year’s winners!

But first, you get to have your say! We need you to pick your favorite project for the 2014 Voter’s Choice Award. Show your support for the finalists and cast a vote on the Google Science Fair website beginning September 1. Every year, we are blown away by the projects and ideas these young people come up with, and you will be too.