Tag Archives: Google in Asia

A path to growth for Asia’s women founders

After Khushboo Aggarwal’s dad suffered a cardiac event brought on by complications from diabetes while she was traveling abroad, she realized there was a need for a better support system for Indian patients and their worried loved ones. 

Khushboo co-founded Zyla Health: a digital care management platform, providing personalized care to patients with chronic illnesses. Zyla offers services like live chat support and algorithms that can issue alerts when there are causes for concern in patient data. It also recently extended its services to help COVID-19 patients  recover at home.

For Khushboo, turning her original idea into a fully-fledged health management platform wasn’t easy. In 2020, Khushboo was part of the inaugural class of the Google for Startups Women Founders Academy in APAC, where she was able to gain valuable skills and tap into the advice of mentors — enabling her to take Zyla to the next level. 

Today, we’re opening applications for this year’s class, focused on women founders leading startups at an early stage of their growth. We will be accepting applications until June 25. 

The Google for Startups Women Founders Academy: APAC is a twelve-week program designed to help founders improve their leadership skills, build strong teams and address their unique growth needs, including funding. Participants will take part in workshops where we’ll share lessons from Google’s experiences to help them tackle some of the key challenges they might face. To connect founders to a wider network, we’ll bring together a community of Google advisors, venture capitalists and business executives. And selected startups will work with a dedicated mentor.

There are women like Khushboo across APAC and around the world, motivated to solve problems they see in their everyday lives. We are dedicated to supporting these women entrepreneurs, because we know their solutions build up our communities and help local economies grow. We look forward to helping the class of 2021 take their ideas forward.

How accessible tech helps Inho Seo explore the world

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

We spoke to Inho Seo, a software engineer intern with a visual impairment working at Google Korea. Inho told us how accessibility technology helps him explore the world and connect with people.

What are you working on right now? 

I'm a software engineering intern in a team working to make Google's products as usable as possible. Currently, I'm working with my team to develop a program that can detect and verify errors made by developers, and improve the end product. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

When I took the Korean SAT in 2015, I was pleasantly surprised that the first Braille terminal was introduced. This led me to become interested in public administration and I decided to major in political science in college, so I could become a public officer or a politician who would implement human rights policies for minorities. 

But in my sophomore year in college, I had the opportunity to live in the U.S. as an exchange student for a year. While I was there, I started using many amazing accessibility apps that helped me do things that I couldn’t do back home, like traveling alone, and I realized the benefits of assistive technology. Traveling solo was my longtime dream back then and these apps enabled me to travel to 10 different cities across the U.S. independently while using a cane. 

It made me realize how technology can change the way we live, and if we had similar accessibility apps in Korea, how helpful it would be for Korean people with disabilities. When I returned to Korea, I decided to pursue computer programming with the goal of becoming a software engineer so I could make a difference too. 

What made you decide to apply to Google? 

When I was introduced to a Google recruiter at a campus recruiting event in Seoul, I handed over my resume on the spot. I was really excited about the opportunity after learning more about Google’s workplace culture, the people and the type of work I could do. I had a call back almost immediately and that was the start of my interview process. 

How did the application and interview process go for you? 

I was surprised when Google asked if I needed any accommodations before setting up my interviews, as I’ve not experienced this with other companies before. Both the HR and staffing operations teams were very supportive in providing me a convenient environment for every round in the interview process. 

I was especially touched after receiving Google’s notification email saying, “Google wants to ensure that you are able to perform to the best of your ability.” It made such a huge difference to me, knowing that Google cared about a potential candidate and would make me feel supported throughout the whole process. 

Inho stands in front of a building with the Google logo. In between are multicolored bike racks, some shrubs and a tree.

Inho at Google’s global headquarters in Mountain View, California

Can you tell us about the resources you used to prepare for your interview or role?

I found the site Leetcode really helpful when I was preparing for the algorithm interview rounds. I had solved over 300 problems before the actual interview! 

What advice would you give others who are interested in being an intern at Google? 

Google’s internship program gives you a lot of opportunities to grow your career. Don’t be afraid to try as many projects or roles as you can. There’s room to grow, and you won’t fail if you continue challenging yourself and reflecting on the feedback you receive. Do your best, and enjoy the experience! 

Complete the following: "I [choose one: code/create/design/build] for..." 

I code for good. A friend of mine once asked me how I would like to be remembered if I pass away. I wasn’t sure how to respond back then, but now, I would like to be remembered as a person who helps others and creates positive change. To achieve this goal, I choose to be a software engineer, developing useful technologies that are universally accessible to everyone around the world.

Google’s support of the news industry in India

At a time when the need for access to trustworthy information is critical, we are announcing a slew of investments to support India’s large and diverse news industry. These investments will help people find quality journalism, contribute to the sustainability of news organizations, and expand our programs under the Google News Initiative — enabling newsrooms to engage their readers in new and compelling ways through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Launching Google News Showcase in India 

Today’s announcement comes at a particularly challenging moment in India, with Indians seeking out authoritative news and information as the COVID-19 crisis deepens. To support news organizations and readers, we’re introducing Google News Showcase, our new online experience and licensing program. This program incentivizes and supports news publishers to curate high quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms, connecting readers with the news they need.

Starting today, Google News Showcase is rolling out in India with 30 news publishers including national, regional and local news organizations like The Hindu Group, HT Digital Streams Ltd, Indian Express Group, ABP LIVE, India TV, NDTV, Zee News, Amar Ujala, Deccan Herald, Punjab Kesari, The Telegraph India, IANS (Indo Asian News Service) and ANI.  This builds on News Showcase deals signed by 700 news publications in more than a dozen countries, including Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the U.K. Australia, Czechia, Italy and Argentina,more than 90% of them representing local or community news — with discussions underway in several other countries. 

A GIF that is scrolling through examples of how News Showcase will look for some of our news partners in India

Examples of how News Showcase will look with the content of some of our news partners in India

Content from our Indian publisher partners in English and Hindi will begin to appear in dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover. We’re committed to launching in additional Indic languages this year and we’ll continue to incorporate more languages in the future. As part of our licensing agreements with publishers, we're also paying participating news organizations to give readers access to a limited amount of paywalled content. This feature means readers will have the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s articles than they would otherwise be able to, while deepening readers’ relationships with publishers and encouraging them to subscribe. 

This image shows a selection of different News Showcase panels and how they might look for some of our news partners in India

Example of how some of the content from our News Showcase partners in India will look.

What our partners have to say about News Showcase 

“Google News Showcase is an excellent initiative by Google that lets publishers curate and surface factual and credible news content. It will enable serious publishers and news-seeking audiences to connect and engage in a meaningful way, taking a step closer towards sustainable growth models,” says Bharat Gupta, CEO of Jagran New Media, one of India’s largest media conglomerates.

“We are looking forward to working with Google on News Showcase. This, we believe, is one of many significant steps by Google towards creating a sustainable, mutually beneficial environment for both Google and independent journalism to thrive,” says Sanjay Sindhwani, CEO of Indian Express Online, one of largest print publishers in India.

A image showing logos for our current partners for News Showcase in India

Logos of our current Indian news partners for Google News Showcase.

“We are delighted to be a launch partner for Google News Showcase in India. The product comes at an opportune time for The India Today Group as we work to reach new readers and further engage our current readers with the stories that matter most to them,” says Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group, one of the largest national broadcaster and magazine publishers in India. “Over 45 years, The India Today Group has created a deep legacy of credibility, excellence, trust, and bi-partisanship. We want to be constantly innovating in the ways that we approach how our content is featured across the web. We look forward to working closely with Google and reaching a much wider audience for our brand of journalism."

“As an established media house, engaging with our audiences through quality content in convenient and innovative ways is a huge area of focus for us. We are pleased to partner with Showcase to build on the same and help us access new users”, says Paras Sharma, Head of News Partnerships, HT Digital Streams Ltd, one of the largest print publishers in India.

"This is a wonderful product from Google that signals a positive shift in the thought process benefitting both publishers and readers. This interesting new partnership with Google will give an opportunity to the publishers to showcase the best of their content in a specially designed window apart from getting it discovered through traditional search engine approach. Publishers get an opportunity to find new audiences for their premium content and users get an enhanced news experience", says Vikas Handu, Vice President Digital Strategy, India TV, a leading news broadcaster in India.

Expanded support through Google News Initiative

News Showcase is just one part of our overall commitment to the Indian newsecosystem. Today we’re announcing that we are expanding our Google News Initiative efforts in India as well.  

First, we’re stepping up our work to strengthen digital skills in newsrooms and journalism schools across India. Over the next three years, with increased support from the News Lab, we’ll train 50,000 journalists and journalism students. We’ll focus on digital tools to aid verification and combat misinformation online, and we’ll expand our programs to connect Indian journalists and fact-checkers.

Second, we are introducing several new programs to help small and mid-sized publications achieve financial sustainability – all part of the GNI Digital Growth Program, which has already trained executives at 100 Indian news organizations since launching last year. The new programs include: 

  • New business training workshops, delivered virtually, to help news organizations address the needs of their audiences, grow their readership and deepen reader engagement. These workshops will be available for free to Indian publishers, alongside our existing workshops to support business success for news organizations. 

  • The GNI Advertising Lab, which includes training sessions and implementation support to help more than 800 smasized Indian news organizations grow their digital ad revenue. 

  • The GNI Transformation Lab, a more comprehensive program for 20 local small and mid-sized Indian news organizations to help them succeed online.

"The insights and business direction provided through the interactive sessions as part of the Google News Initiative [Digital Growth Program] were eye opening for the team. We are excited and thankful that a similar scaled program is being launched to further help us keep pace with the changes in the publishing landscape,” said Harisha Bhat, CTO of Udayavani, a regional news organization in Karnataka in South West India.

These new and expanded programs build on years of investment in India. In 2018, we launched the GNI India Training Network in partnership with BoomLive, DataLeads and Internews. To date, it has trained over25,000 Indian journalists in 10 languages, touching more than 1,000 news organizations and more than 700 universities. In response to COVID-19, we provided financial support to 228 news organizations in India through the GNI Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. And Indian publishers including The Hindu, Bloomberg Quint and Chambal Media have benefited from GNI programs like the GNI Innovation Challenges, YouTube Innovation funding and the GNI Subscriptions Labs.   

The Indian news industry and its journalists have embraced technology to engage with readers and make data-driven decisions to improve their business and reporting efforts. We believe it’s important that digital platforms contribute to a sustainable, independent and diverse news ecosystem, working with journalists, news outlets and news associations. We’re proud to be strengthening our commitment at this critical time.  

Supporting India during the current COVID crisis

Right now India is going through our most difficult moment in the pandemic thus far. Daily COVID-19 cases continue to set record highs, with hospitals filled to capacity and in need of urgent supplies to cope with the increasing number of patients. 

Our Google community and their families are feeling the devastating impact, too. We’re asking ourselves what more we can do as a company to ensure people get the information and support they need to keep their families and communities healthy and safe.

Today we’re announcing 135 Crore INR ($18 million USD) in new funding for India. This includes two grants from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, totalling 20 Crore INR ($2.6 million USD). The first is to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses. The second will go to UNICEFto help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, to where it’s needed most in India. It also includes donations from our ongoing employee giving campaign — so far more than 900 Googlers have contributed 3.7 Crore INR ($500,000 USD) for organizations supporting high-risk and marginalized communities. 

This funding also includes increased Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns. Since last year, we’ve helped MyGov and the World Health Organization reach audiences with messages focused on how to stay safe and facts about vaccines. We’re increasing our support today with an additional 112 Crore INR ($15 million) in Ad Grants to local health authorities and nonprofits for more language coverage options.

Three phones displaying COVID-19 information in Search in three different languages

COVID-19 vaccine information on Search is available in English and eight Indian languages

We know the biggest way we can help is through our core information products like Search and Maps, YouTube and Ads. Our COVID features on Search are available in India, in English and eight Indian languages, and we continue to improve localization and highlight authoritative information. That includes information on where to get testing and vaccines; so far, Maps and Search surface thousands of vaccine sites, and we are working to add tens of thousands more. We’re also collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and with organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to support vaccine awareness initiatives. 

On YouTube, we are supporting the government in their vaccine communication strategy, as well as working to raise up authoritative information and reduce misinformation. We recently ran a workshop for 200+ health officials to learn how they can use YouTube to reach audiences across Indian languages with vaccine information. And we’ve added support for public donations for several nongovernmental organizations on Google Pay.

I am hopeful that the situation will turn around for our country soon, but as we have learned over the course of this pandemic, hope is not enough. At Google we’ll continue to work with local governments, partners and communities to give people the tools to stay healthy and safe. We’ll get through this tough time together.

Discover the people behind Japanese gastronomy

Last year, we introduced the ‘Meshiagare!’ exhibition, showcasing thousands of photos and videos exploring Japanese cuisine. Today, we’re revealing the second installation of this mouth-watering project, with a focus on the people putting food on the table

In partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Google Arts & Culture is launching a new projectabout the incredible people behind the uniqueness of Japanese cuisine. You can check out their stories through 48 new exhibitions and more than a thousand unique images and videos.  

Here’s just a taste of what you might find.

Building up small businesses, generation after generation

Discover the stories of small family-run businesses and how over generations they’ve used traditional methods of making typical Japanese dishes, such as harvesting special products from very specific areas. Begin by exploring the history of soba noodles, where you’ll learn about Eiichi Kaneko, the 7th generation owner of Sarashina Nunoya — a shining example of Tokyo's classic soba stores.

A photograph of seventh generation soba maker, Eiichi Kaneko

Innovation and Japanese gastronomy

Discover how technology is used to create new types of food, incorporating tastes and methods from other countries. Stop by the Okaki Farm, where they’re working on the Taste and Beauty of Japanese Shine Muscat by introducing new technologies, as well as researching and developing new cultivation methods like renewable solar power.

A farmer at Okaki Farm carefully checks on the Shine Muscat grapes

Making the food industry more sustainable

More and more agricultural businesses are addressing environmental concerns, and many are changing their methods to reduce their use of chemicals. One example is Yamashita Fruit Garden CEO, Eri Yamashita (pictured at the top of the blog), who shares how Apples Make Us Think About The Environment and Consumerism.

Helping tourists learn about Japanese food culture

Discover how green tourism, traditional guest houses in farms, and teaching courses on traditional Japanese food and manners are more and more used to promote the stunning treasures of the culture of gastronomy — check out how the staff at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Ryotei Kinsui teaches the Beauty of Japanese Dining Etiquette.

A Japanese culinary appreciation and etiquette class at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Ryotei Kinsui

Still hungry for more? Check out the video of the passionate food influencer Sakiko Hirano receiving Professor Toru Fushiki to teach how to make the famous broth Dashi and Marie Chiba to expound on how to pair sake with Japanese food

This dive into the secrets of Japanese food-making will inspire you to learn more about the unique origins and transformation of incredible ingredients — and the people and businesses that make it all happen. 

Discover more online on Google Arts & Culture, available on iOS and Android.

An update on our support for Asia’s news industry

For the news industry, COVID-19 has intensified the existing challenges that have come with evolving news consumption patterns and changing technology. In the Asia-Pacific region, publishers are reassessing their business models while remaining committed to quality journalism — at a time when more people around the region are seeking out trustworthy information online.

The Google News Initiative (GNI) is working with many of these news organizations as they work to become digital businesses, from publishers focused on using data to shift their strategy to those looking to adopt new revenue models, and from grassroots publications to groups that represent the industry as a whole. 

Across Asia-Pacific, where we've invested $33 million in GNI — and supported more than 1,000 news organizations — we’ve been helping publishers with emergency funds and working with newsrooms to build resilience. And we’ve expanded programs and partnerships aimed at ensuring organizations across the region can make the most of digital technology. 

Digital growth trainings and data management tools

News publishers that want to better manage data are using our News Consumer Insights and Realtime Content Insights tools, including Korean and Japanese publishers. We’ve also brought the Digital Growth Program to Asia-Pacific, rolling out localized content on audience engagement, reader revenue and data in Indonesia, Japan and Korea, as well as in English-speaking countries. So far, more than 1,600 practitioners from 260 news organizations across the region have registered for the training.

A graphic summarizing the key parts of the Google News Initiative’s Digital Growth Program, including audience development, reader revenue, data and product.

Helping publishers boost digital subscriptions

In partnership with the World Association of News Publishers, we’ve launched the Asia-Pacific Subscriptions Lab, which aims to help publishers improve how they attract, retain and earn revenue from subscribers. Eight publishers— BloombergQuint, Business Insider Japan, CommonWealth Magazine, The Hindu, The Jakarta Post, Kompas, Malaysiakini and Southeast Asia Globe—participated in the intensive four-month program.

A graphic with the logos of news organizations that took part in the Google News Initiative’s APAC Subscriptions lab.

As our report on the Subscriptions Lab shows, publishers are already seeing positive results. The Hindu, for example, achieved a 50% increase in sign-ups by removing sign-up barriers and making offers more visible and easier to compare. Pradeep Gairola, The Hindu’s Vice President and Business Head, said the experience “brought clarity on the possibilities and the way ahead… and gave us insights into strategies adopted by other publishers.”

Elevating quality journalism and fact-checking

We continue to support newsroom talent across the region with a range of verification programs. And as vaccination programs pick up pace, we’re backing organizations working to combat pandemic-related misinformation with stringent fact-checking. Through GNI’s global COVID-19 Vaccine Counter-Misinformation Open Fund, we’re providing grants to three important fact-checking projects in the region. 

One recipient, Katadata from Indonesia, is working with the Indonesia Traditional Wet Market Merchants Association. Another recipient, Stuff from New Zealand, has joined up with Māori Television and the Pacific Media Network. And India’s The Quint is leading a broad collaborative project to source hyper-local misinformation and distribute fact-checks through a grassroots network of rural women.

With an eye on the next generation of news leaders in Asia-Pacific, we’ve also kicked off the first GNI University Verification Campaign designed to train tertiary students in fact-checking, including quizzes and video tutorials

These are just a few examples of our ongoing efforts to support the news industry. We’re learning from our partners all the time, and we look forward to continuing to work with publishers, industry associations and journalism schools as the industry prepares for the post-pandemic future.

Bring iconic Japanese characters to life with AR in Search

We all need a bit of escapism sometimes, and there’s nothing like a blast from the pop-culture past to do the trick. Today, we’re bringing characters from classic Japanese anime, games and TV shows to life — from Pac-Man to Hello Kitty — with augmented reality (AR) in Search. 

Japan’s anime and video game culture emerged between the 1950s and the 1980s, as comic books, gaming arcades and home TVs and consoles boomed. But it wasn’t just a Japanese phenomenon. The most iconic characters caught people’s imaginations around the world, and they’re still hugely popular today. 

Which animated icon is most searched on Google? Pac-Man leads the pack by a long way: worldwide search interest in the hungry dot-gobbler is more than double the next most-searched character, Hello Kitty. What might surprise you is that the top country for search interest in Pac-Man over the past five years was...Peru. Hello Kitty is most searched in the Philippines. 

When it comes to the broader trends, anime wins out. It’s more popular than video games worldwide, with interest for anime climbing to its highest peak on record in the past month. That’s pretty amazing — and in fact, search interest for “anime sugoi” (or “anime is amazing”) has spiked 2,300% in the past five years globally.
An animated world map showing search interest in anime characters over the past five years

Now, you can have these characters do their cute thing right in front of your eyes. Take a break to watch ghosts chasing after Pac-Man or Gundam swoop in your living room! Characters that are viewable in AR include Evangelion, Hello Kitty, Gomora, Gundam, Pac-Man and Ultraman. (For die-hard otaku who can read Japanese, check out our Japanese blog with the full list.)

An animation showing how the Japanese anime characters will look in augmented reality on Google Search

How to access and share:

Search for one of the characters on Google using a mobile device and tap “View in 3D” to rotate or zoom in and see it up close. You can then bring the characters from outer space into your space with AR and turn up your volume to hear Hello Kitty deliver a cute message, or Pac-man's retro sound effects.

  • Android: Search for “Hello Kitty” or one of the 14 characters on the Google app or any Android browser and tap “View in 3D.” You can see 3D content on devices with Android 7 Plus and you can see AR content on ARCore-enabled devices.
  • iOS:  Search for “Hello Kitty” or one of the 14 characters on the Google app. 3D and AR content is available on iOS 11.0+ devices.
You can also create AR videos — or recreate your favorite scenes — with the recording option. Don’t forget to tag your photos and videos on social with #Google3D.

Source: Search

Wear a mask, wash your hands, don’t reuse your password!

Parenting was especially challenging in 2020. Our families needed to learn new habits like social distancing, wearing masks and frequently washing our hands. As a large part of our everyday lives moved online, it was necessary to teach our children to take extra precautions as well.

I am part of a team at Google that teaches online safety habits to people from all walks of life. Parents have always been concerned for the digital safety of their families, and with online learning becoming the main mode of school for many, this might be even more of a concern.

We worked with our Trust Research team to survey parents all over Asia-Pacific (Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) and Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico) and found that parents with children attending school online were more concerned about online safety than ones whose children attended school in-person.

As a father of three kids who use the internet in very different ways, instilling safe habits can be a challenge. So today, on Safer Internet Day, I would like to share some tips to address the top three parental concerns when it comes to keeping our children safe online. 

1. Protect their digital identities.

The privacy and security of their children’s information was the top concern of parents we surveyed. Parents cited concerns around scams or hacking of their child’s accounts. Here are some simple ways to safeguard your kids’ information: 

  • Teach your children how to choose strong passwords that cannot be easily guessed. Avoid simple passwords that use names, birthdates or even favourite cartoon characters. 

  • It is also useful to stick to platforms that have a strong reputation for user safety. For instance, using an email service like Gmail comes with built-in safety filters to detect phishing emails, blocking 99.9% of phishing attacks from ever reaching your inbox.

Infographic explaining top concerns of parents in APAC when it comes to online safety, which are: safety of their children's information, children receiving unwanted attention from strangers and children seeing inappropriate content online.

2. Know who they talk to.

Social isolation is a difficult outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our children connect with their friends online, whether through messaging apps or voice chat while playing games. It is important for parents to be aware that these channels can also be used by ill-intentioned strangers to reach out to our children. Just as in real life, it is important to be aware of who our children talk to online. 

  • Try to talk to your kids about the games they play or the videos they watch, and also the people they play with online. I always remind my kids to come to me immediately if they face any situation online that makes them feel uncomfortable. More than 70% of parents in Asia-Pacific were not very confident that their children would come to them if they encountered unsafe situations online. In fact, more than a third of the parents we interviewed had never spoken to their children about online safety. We need to work hard to reassure our children that we are here to guide and protect them. 

  • When assessing if a game is suitable for your child, it is important to check not only the content of the game, but also whether the app allows online communications with others. Some multiplayer games allow only a few options for social interaction, like a thumbs up rather than a text chat. This reduces risks of unwanted social interactions by quite a lot.

3. Offer appropriate content at the appropriate age.

The fear of children encountering inappropriate content has long been among the top concerns of parents in surveys. There are family safety features that parents can use to help guard their children from content that may not be suitable for their age. However, we learned that only about half (52%) of parents we surveyed are using these features. Here are some features that you can start using today: 

  • Turning on SafeSearch on Google helps filter out explicit content in Google’s search results for all searches, including images, videos and websites. SafeSearch is designed to help block explicit results like pornography from Google search results.

  • Manage your child’s device by creating a Google account for your child and using Family Link. This allows you to add filters on Google Search, block websites or only give access to the ones you allow or track the location of your child if they have their own device.

  • Many parental controls are available on YouTube Kids. You are able to limit screen time, only show videos that you approve or select suitable content based on the age of your child.

Some other time-tested tips include allowing children to use the internet only in common areas in the home such as the living room. But the tough part is leading by example!

I hope these tips are helpful for you and your families. If you are interested in learning more about online safety, you can also check out a new resource that we’ve launched together with the ASEAN Foundation: the ASEAN Online Safety Academy, where we have tips for parents and kids, as well as learning sessions on navigating topics such as misinformation or cyberbullying. 

At the end of the day, the core of our parenting journey lies in the relationships we build with our children. They require our guidance on the internet as much as they do in the real world. Tiring as 2020, and now 2021, has been, I am grateful that I have had more time with my family and to appreciate what each of them brings to my life.

Let’s work together to make the internet a safe place for our children to learn, create and explore.

Sharpen your founder skills at Startup School

Last year, Hanna Kim, the founder of Grip, a live-streaming e-commerce platform in Korea, graduated from our Google for Startups’ Immersion: Women Founders program. This was an eight-week mentorship program for female founders across the Asia Pacific region. “It’s been really helpful to get insights about business and HR,” Hannah says. “The program made me dream even bigger.” Using her new skills, she is now gearing up to take her startup global. 

I work on a team that connects startups with the right people, products and best practices to help them thrive and grow. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to meet many inspiring founders like Hanna, who are eager to learn, and ready to take their startups to the next level. Especially in the last year, I’ve heard from founders that they’re looking for more tools and skills to pivot and scale their startups to face today’s challenges. 

Today, we’re launching Startup School — a series of free, hands-on virtual courses for startup founders and their teams across Asia Pacific. We’ve provided training programs for startups for years, but last year was the first time we fully went digital. Though it had its challenges, I was excited to still be able to connect with and support startups, especially as many of them navigated new obstacles brought about by the global pandemic. Startup School expands on that experience. With this new program, we hope to arm startups to help them tackle the major issues of our region.

The interactive sessions will cover a range of topics, from digital marketing and product knowledge to business strategy. The sessions will be led by Googlers, entrepreneurs and industry leaders from around the world. We will host one training per week for the next 12 weeks, with the first one happening this Thursday. Participants can choose from a variety of topics, and register for the courses that will best support their goals.  

Around the world, I’ve seen startups stepping up to solve new and unforeseen challenges, from an app that provides online sign language to a chatbot servicethat assists online sellers. This kind of agility and innovative thinking is precisely what we need to face today’s challenges. We are committed to helping startups succeed, and know that their success will help solve community problems and bolster our local economies. If you’re a founder or part of a startup in the Asia Pacific region, we hope you’ll register for Startup Schoolnow. See you in class! 

Google Taiwan turns 15 with a new engineering hub

As a Taiwanese and an engineer, it's extremely heartwarming to see how Taiwan has grown to be a critical hub for global innovation and hardware manufacturing. Not everyone knows that Taiwan has contributed to the development of many Google products, including Pixel phones, Nest devices, Chromebooks, and Chromecast. 

We first opened our Taipei 101 office in 2006 with just one employee. Today, we have offices across six cities in Taiwan, and our workforce has grown ten times in the last five years. We plan to keep the momentum going in order to build helpful products for Taiwan and the world. 

Today, on Google’s 15th anniversary in Taiwan, and the third anniversary of bringing in the HTC family (including myself!), I’d like to share the five things I’m excited about as we look to the future of Google in Taiwan. 

1. New spaces for our teams to innovate in:We first shared our plans to build a new engineering hub in New Taipei City, an emerging hub for innovation, in 2019. Today, we’re opening the new campus, with its very own hardware engineering facility—the first and biggest outside the U.S. This facility will enable our teams to collaborate, brainstorm and experiment with hardware prototypes. The space will also be used to develop our hardware products including Next devices, Pixel phones, Chromecast and more. 

2. Continued growth and expansion:We are already working towards our next milestone, where we plan to open another building in the same compound in 2023 to accommodate our future growth. We look forward to sharing more about these plans down the road. 

3. Recruiting the next generation of tech talent:We will provide more opportunities for students interested in a career in tech by offering new internship roles in manufacturing engineering, Google Cloud and Technical Program Management. This is in addition to our current offerings in software and hardware engineering, data centers, sales and business operations and marketing. Interested candidates can find out more through our careers site, or join us at one of our virtual recruitment visits that we’re holding at 50 universities throughout the year.

4. Building a more diverse workforce:We care deeply about making Google a workplace that's inclusive and diverse. In 2019, we launched our Google Taiwan Student Associate program, the first pilot program in the region to provide opportunities for students with disabilities to develop skills and on-the-job experience. We plan to extend this program and increase the number of Google scholarships offered this year. 

5. Offering free technical courses for Taiwanese talent:We plan to introduce free online development courses related to Hardware, Software and Cloud, so potential candidates and interested individuals can gain practical skills and prepare themselves when interviewing for technical roles.

I’m energized about our long-term growth plans here in Taiwan. Together with our expanding teams, we look forward to building more helpful and innovative products for Taiwan and the world.