Tag Archives: Google in Asia

Career development for journalists-turned-parents in Korea

Managing work and home life is never an easy task, and parents around the world would agree that it doesn’t get any simpler with children. Now couple that with a career in journalism: if parenting is a full-time job, the news never stops either.

For reporters in Korea, the pursuit of worabael, or "work-life balance," means making a difficult choice between advancing their careers and spending time with their families. Taking parental leave can be a major career setback—so parents working in the news industry either don’t take leave, or suffer the consequences when they do. It’s a situation that disproportionately affects women, even as thenumber of female reporters in Korean newsrooms grows. 

To help overcome these barriers, the Google News Initiative (GNI) has partnered with the Journalists Association of Korea and HeyJoyce—Korea’s largest community for women—to create a leadership program that supports reporters’ career development while on parental leave, so they’re ready to return after a period away. The 10-week curriculum aims to develop the journalists’ understanding of newsroom operations and how to introduce new technologies and business models, with instruction and mentoring from senior editors and academics. 

What’s different is that all the participants are invited to bring their children along. While the first cohort of 18 journalists attend sessions, they don’t have to worry about childcare. Professionals from JARANDA—a childcare-matching platform led by Seojung Chang, a member of Google’s 2017 Campus for Moms initiative in Seoul—look after the kids. And catering company Unor, founded by a mother-daughter team, provides the food.


Korean startups provide child-minding and food for journalists taking part in the courses.


The classes help new parents keep up their skills and learn how to lead through change in the news industry.

The program aims to show a different, more positive approach to work-life balance in Korea. 

Naree Lee, the CEO of HeyJoyce, knows how critical this kind of support for new parents can be. “I worked for 20 years as a journalist and experienced serious difficulties keeping up with work and caring for my children at the same time; I considered quitting every day. I was also anxious about falling behind my colleagues in such an intensely competitive environment,” she said. “Programs like these will help build concrete skills, so the participants won’t have to go through what I did.”


“Throughout the decade I spent working at a newspaper, I had many concerns about the future of journalism,” said Sewon Yim, a reporter from the Seoul Economic Daily. “Through this program, we were able to express our worries and share possible solutions.”

The pilot program in Korea will conclude this spring and, together with our partners, we plan to expand it to returning parents in newsrooms across Asia-Pacific.

The new tool helping Asian newsrooms detect fake images

Journalists and fact-checkers face huge challenges in sorting accurate information from fast-spreading misinformation. But it’s not just about the words we read. Viral images and memes flood our feeds and chats, and often they’re out-of-context or fake. In Asia, where there are eight times more social media users than in North America, these issues are magnified.  

There are existing tools that Asian journalists can use to discover the origins and trustworthiness of news images, but they’re relatively old, inconsistent and for the most part only available on desktop. That’s a barrier for fact-checkers and journalists in countries where most people connect to the internet on their mobile. 

For the past two years, the Google News Initiative has worked with  journalists to identify manipulated images using technology. At the 2018 Trusted Media Summit in Singapore, a group of experts from Google, Storyful and the broader news industry joined a design sprint to develop a new tool, taking advantage of artificial intelligence and optimized for mobile. With support from the Google News Initiative, the GNI Cloud Program and volunteer Google engineers, the resulting prototype has now been developed into an app called Source, powered by Storyful

With the app now being used by journalists around the region, we asked Eamonn Kennedy, Storyful’s Chief Product Officer, to tell us a bit more. 

What does Storyful see as the challenges facing journalists and fact-checkers around the world and in Asia in particular?

[Eamonn Kennedy] Sharing on social often happens based on impulse rather than full analysis. Anybody can share a story with thousands of people before they even finish reading what is being said. Bad actors know this and bet on people’s emotions. They’re willing to exploit the free reach of social platforms and pollute conversations with false facts and narratives, including extremist content. For fact-checkers, that means any given conversation is vulnerable to lies and manipulation from anywhere in the world, at any time. 

Can you tell us a bit about the process for developing Source, and how AI helped solve some of the problems?

[EK] At Storyful, we see old, inaccurate or modified images being reshared to push a misleading narrative in news cycles big and small. 

The common way of tackling this for journalists is to use reverse image search to prove that the image is old and has been re-used—but that has a couple of challenges. First, these repurposed images are frequently tampered with and the journalist needs to have the ability to identify manipulation so they get the best chance of finding the original.Second, search results are ordered by the most recent, where journalists tend to be interested in older results, so that means a lot of scrolling to find the original. 

Source uses Google's AI technology to give instant access to an image's public history, allowing you to sort, analyze and understand its provenance, including any manipulation. That’s already useful but it goes a step further. Source helps detect and translate text in images too, which is especially useful for journalists cataloguing or analyzing memes online.

The Source app improves journalists’ ability to verify the origins or authenticity of a particular image and source how a meme evolved. 

How are newsrooms using Source and what are the plans for it in 2020?    

[EK] So far, 130 people from 17 different countries have used the app to check the provenance of images on social media, messaging apps and news sites. It’s been especially good to see that 30 percent of Source users are accessing the site on their mobile, and that our largest base of users is in India, where members of the Digital News Publishers Association—a coalition of leading media companies dedicated to fighting misinformation—have provided important feedback. 

Looking forward, we’ve been listening to fact-checkers as we think about how to build version two of the app. We know Source has been used to interrogate frames from a video, for example, which shows there’s potential to take it beyond just text and images. The ultimate aim would be to build a “toolbox” of public fact-checking resources, with Source at the center, using Google’s AI to support journalists around the world. 

“Parasite” searches ride an Oscars wave

It’s been over a week since “Parasite” made history, becoming the first non-English language film to win Best Picture. And people are still talking about (and searching for) it.

Surge in search interest

There was already global interest in “Parasite” before the Oscars (turns out a lot of people could find something to relate to in a dark, funny story about two very different Korean families). Parasite was the third-most-searched Best Picture nominee in the week before the awards ceremony, behind “1917” and “Jojo Rabbit.” 

Parasite map 1

But on the day of the Oscars, there was an 857 percent jump in the number of people searching for “Parasite” around the world, and that interest has continued since. In the week after the awards, it became the most-searched searched film worldwide—117 percent more searched than “1917” and 132 percent more searched than "Jojo Rabbit".

Parasite map 2

Focus on Bong Joon Ho (and his translator)

After being awarded Best Director, Bong Joon Ho won fans around the world with his gracious acceptance speech and promise to “drink until next morning.” Search interest for Bong increased by more than 2,000 percent on the day of the awards, while Korean-language searches for Martin Scorcese surged, too, after Bong quoted one of his lines (“the most personal is the most creative”).

Most queries were about Bong himself, but the fifth-most asked question was “who is Bong Joon Ho’s translator?” (The answer is Sharon Choi, a Korean-American and fellow filmmaker who gained her own following during awards season.)

A boost for Korean cinema

Interest in Korean cinema has been growing steadily over thepast decade—but the success of “Parasite” has sent people scrambling to find out more. Related searches for “Korea” and “film”  have increased by more than 47 percent in the past month and reached their highest peak for 12 months in the week after the Oscars.  

Ram-don fandom

We’ve also seen growing appetite for the Korean noodle dish ram-don (aka Jjapa Guri) which features in “Parasite”. Since the Oscars, searches for “ram-don recipe” have soared by more than 400 percent globally and searches for “Asian supermarket” are up more than 350 percent. Denmark, the United States, Canada, Singapore and Australia are the countries searching the most—suggesting there could be opportunities for enterprising Korean restaurateurs in places from Copenhagen to Canberra.

Source: Search

New skills for Indonesia’s next generation

As a teacher, Nur Ernawati believes in the value of lifelong learning—including for herself. Ernawati was one of 140 Indonesian teachers who signed up for a Bebras Indonesia course on computational thinking: a way of learning that stresses critical thinking and problem-solving rather than learning by rote. She’s since passed those lessons on to more than 400 of her students. Now she wants to see the program rolled out across Indonesia—and we’re ready to help make it happen. 

At an event in Jakarta today, we announced a $1 million Google.org grant that that will enable Bebras—a global education nonprofit—to launch Gerakan Pandai: a new program designed to train another 22,000 Indonesian teachers in computational thinking over the next two years. 

Why is this so important? With 64 million students, Indonesia has the fourth-largest education system in the world. But to give those students the best possible future, we need to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to handle changes in technology and solve the challenges they’re likely to face in the workplace. Bebras’ programs train teachers to help students break problems into smaller parts, assess data, prioritise information, and create solutions to complex issues: skills that are relevant to every career path, not just in the technology industry.


Announcing our $1 million Google.org grant with Awaluddin Tjalla from the Ministry of Education and Culture, Ibu Inge and Ibu Nur from Bebras Indonesia, and Scott Beaumont, Google’s APAC President.

So far, teachers trained by Bebras have taught computational thinking to more than 5,000 students—including 14-year old Nasha Rainy, one of Nur Ernawati’s students. ”Initially, I found the class very challenging, but Mrs. Erna was always there to support and inspire me to do my best,” Nasha said. “This experience has increased my self-confidence.” 

By 2023, with Google.org’s support, Bebras-trained teachers will have reached two million more students across 22 locations in Indonesia, reaching underprivileged communities which might not have had these kinds of opportunities in the past.  

Not only will Gerakan Pandai help young Indonesians shape their future with confidence, it will also contribute to closing Indonesia’s digital skills gap—one of our country’s most urgent priorities for the 2020s. 

The Google.org grant was one of several steps we announced today, at the launch of our Grow with Google skills program in Indonesia, as we work to help millions more people succeed in Indonesia’s $40 billion internet economy.  

Our skills training programs range from helping entrepreneurs use digital tools to supporting Indonesia’s most promising developers with courses in artificial intelligence and machine learning. But it all starts with education: what we teach our children and how well we prepare them for the opportunities that technology creates. With the support of Bebras—and brilliant teachers like Nur Ernawati—I’m confident the next generation will be ready to lead Indonesia forward.

Small ventures, big impact: celebrating inspiring entrepreneurs

One of the ways Google supports and partners with entrepreneurs is by convening Google Business Groups. These are communities of business owners and professionals—including Google experts—that share knowledge, host workshops, run meet-ups and provide mentors to help businesses use Google technologies.  

We love bringing these groups together to help entrepreneurs grow—and we love celebrating their success, too.  

Each year, through the Google Business Groups “Stories Search,” we put a call out for inspiring examples of business owners using the internet not just to build businesses, but to make a difference in their communities. 

We saw 152 great submissions come in during our most recent search. And while it’s always hard to pick winners from such a high-quality field, three ventures really stood out this time round.  We’re proud to share their stories with you here. 

  • AlterYouth, from Bangladesh, is a digital scholarship platform for financially struggling students in government primary schools.


  • Kok Bisa, from Indonesia, is a media startup that creates educational videos designed to make learning fun and engaging by answering questions that students submit.

Kok Bisa

  • Kul Techno Lab, from Nepal, provides free e-learning services for students in grades 6 to 12, giving them all the material they need to learn the national curriculum.

Kul Techno Lab

It was our pleasure to host these three businesses at our headquarters in Mountain View, where they spent time with their Google mentors and attended I/O, and we're looking forward to seeing them continue to grow, succeed and help others along the way.

Heritage on the Edge urges action on the climate crisis

Editor’s note: Guest author Dr. Toshiyuki Kono is President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites. Distinguished Professor Kono also teaches private international law and heritage law at Japan's Kyushu University.

Preserving and protecting the past is essential for our future. This belief is at the core of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a global non-government organization dedicated to the conservation of architectural and archaeological heritage.

Our 10,000 members across the globe—including architects, archeologists, geographers, planners and anthropologists—share the same vision: to protect and promote the world’s cultural heritage. The recent youth climate demonstrations shed a spotlight on the urgency of the climate crisis, which is having a devastating effect on our cultural monuments too. It is important to take action, and we must act now to save this part of our human legacy.

That’s why, in collaboration with CyArk and Google Arts & Culture, we’re launching Heritage on the Edge, a new online experience that stresses the gravity of the situation through the lens of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can join us and explore over 50 online exhibits, 3D models, Street View tours, and interviews with local professionals and communities about Rapa Nui’s (Easter Island) iconic statues, the great mosque city of Bagerhat in Bangladesh, the adobe metropolis of Chan Chan in Peru, Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle and the coastal city of Kilwa Kisiwani in Tanzania—all heritage sites that are affected by the climate crisis.

Above all, the project is a call to action. The effects of climate change on our cultural heritage mirror wider impacts on our planet, and require a strong and meaningful response. While actions at individual sites can prevent loss locally, the only sustainable solution is systemic change and the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Heritage on the Edge collects stories of loss, but also of hope and resilience. They remind us that all our cultural heritage, including these iconic World Heritage Sites, are more than just tourist destinations. They are places of great national, spiritual and cultural significance.

The Indian journalists fighting fake news

Indian journalist Bharat Nayak knows misinformation can have dangerous consequences. He’s witnessed it too often in his home state of Jharkhand, India. 

According to Bharat, “Indian society has been gravely affected by ‘fake news’, which has  contributed to a rise in hatred and violence, and horrific incidences of lynching.” Concern about misinformation was especially pronounced around last year’s Indian general election—where more than 600 million people voted in the biggest democratic exercise in history.  

The spread of misinformation is something the Google News Initiative (GNI) India Training Network—a group of 240 senior Indian reporters and journalism educators—has been working to counteract, in their newsrooms and beyond. 

In partnership with DataLeads and Internews, the Network has provided in-depth verification training for more than 15,000 journalists and students from more than 875 news organizations, in 10 Indian languages. Using a “train-the-trainer” approach, it’s also helped support nearly all of the fact-checking initiatives launched by  Indian media over the past year. 

But Network trainers wanted to do more than train their fellow journalists - they wanted to spread the message to their communities. Bharat traveled home to Jharkhand and held workshops, not only with fellow journalists, but with community groups and students—like those in the photo above.

Today, to build on the network’s progress since 2018, we’re announcing a $1 million Google.org grant that will help Internews launch a new initiative promoting news literacy among the Indian public. The funding support is part of Google.org’s broader, $10 million commitment to media literacy, in collaboration with the Google News Initiative.  

How will it work? First, Internews will select a team of 250 journalists, fact checkers, academics and NGO workers, who will be trained on a curriculum developed by global and Indian experts, adapted to local needs and available in seven Indian languages. The local leaders will then roll out the training to new internet users in non-metro cities in India, enabling them to better navigate the internet and assess the information they find.  

“To make journalism effective again, more than the improvements in media, what is needed is media literacy,” Bharat said. “I want to make the citizens aware of how to consume media, see news and how they can play an active role in changing things for the better.”

Starting today, Internews is putting the call out for journalists, educators, community workers and others to join the new program. We have no doubt there’ll be a strong response to the new program—and we look forward to continuing to support citizens and journalists like Bharat in the fight against misinformation in India.

5 tips for finding the best hotels in 2020

The sandy beaches in Da Nang, the night life of São Paulo, and Korean barbecue from Seoul are all top of mind for people planning vacations this year. According to global hotel search data, people from around the world are interested in traveling to these destinations in 2020.


When you’re ready to start planning your next vacation, here are five tips to help you pick the best hotel for your trip.

Know when to go

Have flexible travel dates? You can now find the best times to visit or typical hotel prices for specific dates right above the hotel results on desktop at google.com/travel. On the “When to visit” tab, you’ll see how weather, crowds and pricing vary across the year. Check out “What you’ll pay” to find out if prices are low, typical or high for the dates you’re considering (grouped by hotels’ star ratings). If you find out prices are much higher than usual due to a conference or sporting event, you may decide to change your dates.

Narrow down by neighborhood

Part of the fun of traveling is discovering a city’s different neighborhoods—but how do you choose one to  be your home base during a trip? Click on “Where to stay” to get a summary of top neighborhoods, including what each area is known for, its location score, and the average cost of hotels there. Select an area you’re interested in, and you’ll see it highlighted on the map. When you’ve decided which neighborhoods you’d like to narrow your search to, click “Apply” to update results to include only hotels in these areas. 

See personal results

In your hotel results, we’ll tell you if you’ve searched for or stayed at a hotel before or if there are similar options to places you’ve stayed in other cities. We’ll also call out hotels that are close to points of interest you’ve searched for. For example, if you’ve been researching Tokyo Tower, we’ll highlight how far it is from hotels nearby. These personalized results are only visible to you, and you can adjust your account settings to disable them at any time.

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Get the total cost for your stay

When you decide on a hotel and want to confirm the cost before booking, you can now see both the nightly and total price for your entire stay including taxes and fees. In the U.S. and Canada, you can also see the nightly price without taxes and fees. On the “Overview” or “Prices” tab you can choose to see either view when you check availability.


Resume planning your trip in seconds

Easily continue planning your trip by going to google.com/travel. If you’re signed into your Google account, you’ll see upcoming trips if you’ve received a booking confirmation in Gmail and potential trips you’re still researching. 

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Scroll down and tap “Add shortcut” to add the icon to your phone’s home screen so you can return to planning trips quickly in the future.

Young coders are shaping Singapore’s future

You’re never too young to take up coding—just ask 10-year-old Sephia Rindiani Binte Andi. Sephia only took up coding a year ago, and sharpened her skills so quickly she created an online game shortly after. The game challenges players to navigate their way out of a maze (I admittedly kept getting lost). Today, Sephia continues dabbling in code at home with the help of her mom, Kamzarini.  

Sephia is a graduate of Code in the Community, a program that brings coding classes to young Singaporeans from less affluent backgrounds. The grassroots initiative is run by local education organizations like Saturday Kids and 21C Girls, with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers and the backing of Google and Singapore's Infocomm and Media Development Authority (IMDA). 

Since 2017, Code in the Community has reached more than 2,000 Singaporean students. And this week, we’re proud to announce that Google will provide a new grantto help expand the program for another three years.   

Together with a matching grant from IMDA, the new funds mean two things: First, they’ll allow the program to bring basic coding classes to 6,700 more kids by 2022.  Second, they’ll support new courses for the 2,300 existing graduates—encouraging talented young students like Sephia to apply what they’ve learned and explore new concepts like design thinking.  

We hope Code in the Community will shape Singapore’s future as a smart nation, growing the city-state’s $12 billion internet economy—one of the most advanced in Southeast Asia—with new jobs and opportunities. 

As a Singaporean myself, I’ve found it incredibly inspiring to see the way local communities have come together to make technology real, accessible and fun for children. I can’t wait to see what the next generation of graduates do as they develop their skills and go wherever their imagination takes them. 

Digital skills for Indonesia’s internet economy

Since joining Google just over a year ago, I’ve heard so many inspirational stories about the ways Indonesians are using the internet to improve their lives and others’.  Entrepreneurs like Sherly Santa—who took her durian business online—have helped make Indonesia’s internet economy the largest in Southeast Asia.  And a new generation of young Indonesians is working on big ideas for the future—like the Developer Student Club that built a flood warning app for villages in Bojonegoro.  

The challenge for Indonesia isn’t a lack of ability or ambition. It’s giving more Indonesians the digital skills to take advantage of the opportunities technology creates, something that’s a priority for us and our Indonesian partners. Training programs like Gapura Digital and Women Will have helped 1.4 million Indonesians learn digital basics and business tools. But we also want to help Indonesians gain more advanced software skills, which are in high demand from Indonesian technology companies. 

Today, at the fourth Google for Indonesia event, we announced a new initiative aimed at meeting that need. Bangkit (meaning “rise up” in Indonesian) is an intensive, six-month training program for developers run in partnership with Gojek, Tokopedia, Traveloka and leading Indonesian universities in Jakarta, Bandung, Denpasar and Yogyakarta. The program will be free, but selective—open to cohorts of 300 of the most talented developers across the country, with workshops starting in January 2020. The goal is to teach developers both technical skills in machine learning, as well as more general “soft skills” that can help them advance their career in the technology sector. Our hope is that Bangkit helps expand the pool of talent in Indonesia, making it easier for even smaller startups to hire people with the skills they need—and supporting Indonesia's digital economy as it continues to grow. 

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Bangkit isn't the only way we're helping Indonesians get the most out of the internet. At Google for Indonesia we also announced a partnership with Telkom to expand Google Station, so it reaches more Indonesians with a network of fast, free and secure Wi-Fi points. We’ve launched Kormo, a career app that connects job seekers and employers to entry-level roles. And we’re deepening our commitment to protecting Indonesians online, announcing Stay Safer for Google Maps—a feature that lets people share their location with friends and family, and alerts them when their driver deviates from their chosen route by more than 500 meters.

With 152 million Indonesians online—and more joining them every day—there’s great potential for Indonesia to shape its future with new technologies, growing digital industries and jobs. It starts with expanding skills and opportunities more widely across the country—and we’re committed to playing our part.