Tag Archives: Google in Asia

Google’s support of the news industry in Japan

Twenty years ago, Google opened its first office in Japan. Today, we are announcing new investments that will continue our support of the country’s vibrant news industry. These investments will help people find quality journalism and contribute to the sustainability of news organizations. They will also help newsrooms engage their readers in new ways, through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Launching Google News Showcase in Japan 

To support news organizations and readers in Japan, we’re introducing Google News Showcase, our new curated online experience and licensing program. 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 branding. The panels will appear across Google News on Android, iOS and the web, and in Discover on iOS and Android. They direct readers to the full articles on their websites, driving valuable traffic to those news organizations and enabling them to deepen their relationships with readers. 

Starting today, News Showcase is rolling out in Japan with more than 40 news publishers including national, regional and local news organizations like The Yomiuri Shimbun, The Asahi Shimbun Company, Nikkei Inc.,The Chunichi Shimbun, KAHOKU SHIMPO PUBLISHING CO. and The Kyoto Shimbun Co., Ltd., together with news agencies JIJI PRESS, LTD. and Kyodo News. This launch builds on News Showcase deals signed with nearly 1,000 news publications in more than a dozen countries, including India, Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, the U.K., Australia, Czechia, Italy, Colombia and Argentina,with discussions underway in several other countries. More than 90% of the publications that have joined News Showcase so far provide local or community news. 

The primary goal of News Showcase is to highlight news publishers that are invested in comprehensive current events journalism in the public interest. We are giving them a new way to curate their high-quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms, bringing essential news coverage to readers looking for it.

This GIF shows examples of how News Showcase panels will look with the content of some of our news partners in Japan

Examples of how News Showcase panels will look with the content of some of our news partners in Japan.

As part of our licensing agreements with publishers for News Showcase, 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, encouraging them to learn more about the publication — and potentially subscribe. 

An example of how some of the news from our partners in Japan will look using News Showcase panels

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

What our partners have to say about News Showcase 

"We are joining Google News Showcase to deliver high-quality news content in the Chunichi Shimbun and the Tokyo Shimbun to as many people as possible,” says Koji Hirata, Director and Editor-in-Chief of The Chunichi Shimbun, the top regional newspaper covering Tokai, Chubu and the Kanto/Tokyo Metropolitan region. “Apart from daily news, we will select unique stories that capture multiple perspectives and introduce them to users. Through Google News Showcase, we want readers to find a wide variety of information in the Chunichi Shimbun Web and the Tokyo Shimbun TOKYO Web that helps them make better choices for their life and future.” 

“By participating in Google News Showcase, we look forward to extending the accurate and useful news we provide for people in Kyoto and Shiga,” says Tokuyuki Enjo, the Chief Editor of the Kyoto Shimbun, a local newspaper company covering the Kyoto and Shiga area. “In addition, we will work to bring content that touches upon the deep traditional culture and history of Kyoto to a broader audience than ever before.”

“We are thrilled to provide news from Okinawa Times globally through Google News Showcase,” says Kazue Yonamine, Director, Editor-in-Chief of The Okinawa Times, a local newspaper covering the Okinawa area. “Google's cooperation has become indispensable for the development of journalism. We aim to cooperate with each other and deliver useful information for the creation of a sustainable society.” 

“As a local newspaper, our mission has been to deliver global and local news to the community in print. In the digital era, we need to expand our role to deliver local news to a broader global audience." said Seichiro Hanafusa, the webmaster of Shikoku Shimbun, the local newspaper covering the Shikoku region. "Google News Showcase is a tool for us to deliver our news articles across Japan as well as the world, and lets users easily subscribe to our content. With this opportunity, we will work even harder to create valuable content that motivates users to pay for."

Logos of our Japan news partners for Google News Showcase

Logos of our Japan news partners for Google News Showcase

Expanded support through the Google News Initiative

News Showcase is just one part of our overall commitment to Japan’s news industry. We are expanding our Google News Initiative (GNI) efforts in Japan as well.  

Women Will Leadership Program: To promote a more inclusive culture for the news industry, we are launching a news-specific track of Google’s Women Will Leadership Program. Through two months of leadership skills training and problem solving workshops, this program will help women working in news to advance their careers and support companies seeking to drive change in the work environment.   

GNI Local Lab:We’re expanding the GNI Local Lab to support local news publishers in Japan. We will train more than 40 news publishers across regional prefectures with workshops and knowledge-sharing sessions to help news organizations improve their site performance and provide hands-on implementation support to grow digital revenue streams for local publishers. 

Build New Local: We are also supporting Build New Local, a project led by local newspapers to help them use technology to connect and digitally transform so they can become more sustainable and reach new audiences. Through Grow with Google and Google News Lab, Google has provided skills training in areas such as digital marketing and audience development. We also supported an idea hackathon, where local newspapers gathered to solve common challenges by sharing tips on design thinking from CSI: Lab, and a new business idea contest will start later this year.

These programs build on our long-term support for Japanese news organizations of all sizes. Through News Lab we have trained more than 18,000 journalists on digital reporting tools, fighting misinformation and covering Japan's upcoming elections. We’ve provided digital transformation training to publishers on reader revenue, audience and digital ads via the GNI Digital Growth Program, and advanced audience engagement recommendations via the News Consumer Insights tool.  And throughout the pandemic, our Journalism Emergency Relief Fund and GNI Innovation Challenge projects have helped local news organisations to continue providing the information their communities need. 

Japan’s news industry has embraced technology to engage with readers and make data-driven decisions. We believe digital platforms can contribute to a sustainable, independent and diverse news industry, working with journalists, news outlets and news associations. We’re proud to be strengthening our commitment through News Showcase, along with our other News products and GNI programs, to support quality journalism.

Google in Asia Pacific: 10 proud moments from 20 years

Twenty years ago this month, Google opened the doors of its first overseas office — in Tokyo, with just a single employee. The office was rudimentary by today’s standards (the music system was a portable cassette deck). But our founders knew the Asia Pacific region would be central to Google’s mission of making information universally accessible. More importantly, Google also had an enormous amount to learn from the region.

Over the past 20 years, Google’s commitment to Asia Pacific has steadily deepened, and we’re proud to have helped support the region’s extraordinary growth. Today, 2.5 billion people are online here, almost all of them on mobile. We’re honored they use Google’s tools to improve their lives: finding jobs, learning new skills, building businesses, and pushing the boundaries of technology. It’s clear there remains huge, untapped potential for the future if we can continue to lay the foundations with the right investments and initiatives.  

To mark the occasion, we wanted to reflect on some of the moments and themes that have defined Google’s 20 years in Asia.


1. Silicon Valley to Shibuya

That first nondescript office in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood was a long way — in both scale and decor — from the current Google office down the street. But these humble digs served as our first Asia Pacific headquarters. The Googlers there did pioneering work — including steps to take emoji culture global (🎉). And the office laid the groundwork for today’s Google Japan team, helping the host nation continue its long tradition of forward-thinking in technology. Fast forward to today and we have offices full of Googlers throughout the region, with Singapore as our current Asia Pacific headquarters.
Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin alongside an employee at Google’s first Tokyo office. The Googler is demonstrating something on her phone.

Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, at our first overseas office in Shibuya, Tokyo. 

2. G'Day, Google Maps

In 2004, two Aussies and two Danes came together in Sydney to develop a new kind of mapping technology for the internet.  In February 2005, Google Maps was born — and it’s had quite a run since. As Maps got more sophisticated, Googlers in Asia Pacific went above and beyond to expand its reach, including Street View filming expeditions from Mongolia’s Lake Khövsgöl to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Australia’s Uluru

A woman with a camera attached to her backpack looks towards Uluru in the distance, as she films footage for Street View. The sun is setting behind Uluru.

Filming for Street View at Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park in Central Australia in accordance with Tjukurpa law

3. Map Maker and Asia’s influence on Google products

In 2008, two Indian engineers realized that there wasn’t enough commercial mapping data of India for a full national map in Google Maps, so they built a tool called Google MapMaker, where communities could make their own additions to the map. It went on to be useful for everywhere around the world, especially in times of disaster like typhoons in the Philippines. We learned a big lesson here: when we build for the newest users in Asia, we build better for the world. 


We’ve seen this now with Google Pay, created in India as Tez, and motorbike navigation mode, launched in India, which have both been expanded globally. YouTube and Maps offline modes were originally built to help people in Asia conserve data, but now help anyone driving through areas with spotty connections. An engineering center in Singapore — working with teams across the region — helps advance our efforts to make the internet more inclusive for the Next Billion Users set to come online for the first time.
A merchant standing next to a stall on the side of the road in India, with signs indicating that he accepts Google Pay as a payment method.

Google Pay has helped merchants across India accept digital payments.

4. Building blocks for Asia’s digital economy

In 2011, we opened our first data centers in Asia. The facilities in Singapore and Taiwan helped provide faster, more reliable access to our tools and services. Since then, we’ve kept increasing our investment in the physical infrastructure that supports the digital economy, adding more data centers and helping build subsea cables like Echo and Apricot. A study found that between 2010 and 2019, Google infrastructure investments like these contributed $430 billion in aggregate GDP and helped create 1.1 million jobs throughout the region. They’re crucial to Google Cloud’s growing presence in the region, helping companies like Japan’s Fast Retailing and Indonesia’s Tokopedia

A tall robot-like figurine standing on a plinth in front of the entrance to one of Google’s data centers in Singapore. Beanbags and a pool table are visible through the glass office walls.

The scene at Google’s data center in Singapore when it opened in 2013

5. Gangnam Style: the rise of YouTube in Asia

In the summer of 2014, Psy’s 2012 video “Gangnam Style” surpassed two billion views on YouTube.  That incredible success was a seminal moment in a bigger story: how Korean ‘K-Pop’ artists were some of the first to use YouTube to reach new audiences around the world. As of today, nine of the top 10 24-hour debuts on YouTube are by Korean artists. And beyond Korea, creators across Asia are using YouTube to share their voice, help others learn, and make a living.

The music video of Psy’s hit song “Gangnam Style”, hosted on YouTube.

Psy's Gangnam Style broke records on YouTube. 

6. “Flappy Bird” and Asia’s new mobile entrepreneurs

Flappy Bird” was another big online moment in 2014. Created by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, the game became a huge hit around the world. It summed up the new possibilities for entrepreneurs building and marketing their mobile apps through Google Play. Today, Asia Pacific is the number one region for mobile subscriptions, the app market and the source of half of all global online gaming revenue.  

Sundar Pichai in conversation with “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen. They are sitting on low stools in a street-side cafe in Hanoi, with motorcycles, pedestrians, trees and shops in the background. A smartphone is propped on a stool in front of them.

Sundar Pichai meets “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen in Hanoi in 2015.

7. New approaches to digital skills

One particular challenge we’ve faced is how to bring digital knowledge and skills to people with limited access to the internet or restrictions on data. In parts of India, that initially meant using a rickshaw equipped with internet-enabled devices, information on using the web and an operator to explain how. Over time, we recognized that to really make a difference, we needed training programs to be embedded in communities — leading to the Internet Saathi initiative where female trainers share their knowledge with other women in their village. Between 2015 and 2020, we provided skills training to 50 million people across Asia Pacific through Grow with Google. And we continue to tailor our skills and education programs to local needs, whether it’s our Bangkit initiative in Indonesia (working with local tech firms to nurture talented developers) or our Skills Ignition partnership in Singapore(offering training and work placements for thousands of people). 

A woman speaks into a phone to search for information. She’s sitting alongside another woman — an internet ‘saathi’, or trainer — a table with a sewing machine on top, in front of a house with walls painted blue and yellow. Another woman watches on in the background.

The Internet Saathi initiative helps women in rural India use the internet.

8. AlphaGo demonstrates the promise of AI

DeepMind’s go-playing AI AlphaGo made the cover of Nature in January 2016 for being the first AI to ever beat a master at the 3,000-year-old game. In 2017. AlphaGo beat the former world-champion Lee Sedol 4-1 in Seoul. From there, DeepMind traveled to Wuzhen, China, where AlphaGo Master beat world champion Ke Jie 3-0 at the Future of Go Summit — an extraordinary event involving the world’s best players. AlphaGo has since retired, but the role of AI in society is only increasing. Today, we’re working with partners throughout Asia Pacific on ways AI can help with challenges like flood prediction and disease diagnosis.  

Grandmaster Ke Jie, wearing a suit and sitting on a white chair to the left of a blue table, leans forward to make a move on the board in his match against AlphaGo.

Grandmaster Ke Jie locked in competition with AlphaGo in 2017

9. Investments in the digital future

In September 2017, we brought HTC’s engineering talent into Google — cementing a decade-long partnership with the Taiwanese company, and marking a big step forward in Google’s plans to build devices combining the best of Google software and hardware. Today, our Pixel phones and Nest devices are popular across the region. And we’ve continued to invest in Asian companies bringing the best of technology to hundreds of millions of people, from Indonesia’s Gojek to India’s Reliance Jio. Together with Jio, we’re working on an affordable smartphone that will enable more Indians to get online.

A room full of HTC colleagues looking towards a stage with a Google logo in the background, at their official welcome to Google Taiwan in 2018.

Welcoming new HTC colleagues to Google’s engineering workforce in Taiwan in 2018.

10. Giving voice to polyglot Asia

As of 2020, Google Translate supports more than 30 languages across Asia Pacific. Extending the reach of Google Translate — and improving it with AI — is vital in a region of such vast linguistic diversity. But there are other steps that can make the internet more accessible and helpful: for example, building technology that’s intuitive for people who find it more natural to speak to their device. The rise of ‘voice users’ will be a big theme for Google and the entire tech industry in the decade ahead, and we’ve developed a playbook to guide technology-makers’ efforts.

A woman in traditional dress in Indonesia sits facing the camera and talking to her phone. She’s surrounded by potted plants.

 A growing number of internet users in Asia prefer to speak to their phone, rather than type. 

Google in Asia Pacific: 10 proud moments from 20 years

Twenty years ago this month, Google opened the doors of its first overseas office — in Tokyo, with just a single employee. The office was rudimentary by today’s standards (the music system was a portable cassette deck). But our founders knew the Asia Pacific region would be central to Google’s mission of making information universally accessible. More importantly, Google also had an enormous amount to learn from the region.

Over the past 20 years, Google’s commitment to Asia Pacific has steadily deepened, and we’re proud to have helped support the region’s extraordinary growth. Today, 2.5 billion people are online here, almost all of them on mobile. We’re honored they use Google’s tools to improve their lives: finding jobs, learning new skills, building businesses, and pushing the boundaries of technology. It’s clear there remains huge, untapped potential for the future if we can continue to lay the foundations with the right investments and initiatives.  

To mark the occasion, we wanted to reflect on some of the moments and themes that have defined Google’s 20 years in Asia.


1. Silicon Valley to Shibuya

That first nondescript office in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood was a long way — in both scale and decor — from the current Google office down the street. But these humble digs served as our first Asia Pacific headquarters. The Googlers there did pioneering work — including steps to take emoji culture global (🎉). And the office laid the groundwork for today’s Google Japan team, helping the host nation continue its long tradition of forward-thinking in technology. Fast forward to today and we have offices full of Googlers throughout the region, with Singapore as our current Asia Pacific headquarters.
Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin alongside an employee at Google’s first Tokyo office. The Googler is demonstrating something on her phone.

Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, at our first overseas office in Shibuya, Tokyo. 

2. G'Day, Google Maps

In 2004, two Aussies and two Danes came together in Sydney to develop a new kind of mapping technology for the internet.  In February 2005, Google Maps was born — and it’s had quite a run since. As Maps got more sophisticated, Googlers in Asia Pacific went above and beyond to expand its reach, including Street View filming expeditions from Mongolia’s Lake Khövsgöl to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Australia’s Uluru

A woman with a camera attached to her backpack looks towards Uluru in the distance, as she films footage for Street View. The sun is setting behind Uluru.

Filming for Street View at Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park in Central Australia in accordance with Tjukurpa law

3. Map Maker and Asia’s influence on Google products

In 2008, two Indian engineers realized that there wasn’t enough commercial mapping data of India for a full national map in Google Maps, so they built a tool called Google MapMaker, where communities could make their own additions to the map. It went on to be useful for everywhere around the world, especially in times of disaster like typhoons in the Philippines. We learned a big lesson here: when we build for the newest users in Asia, we build better for the world. 


We’ve seen this now with Google Pay, created in India as Tez, and motorbike navigation mode, launched in India, which have both been expanded globally. YouTube and Maps offline modes were originally built to help people in Asia conserve data, but now help anyone driving through areas with spotty connections. An engineering center in Singapore — working with teams across the region — helps advance our efforts to make the internet more inclusive for the Next Billion Users set to come online for the first time.
A merchant standing next to a stall on the side of the road in India, with signs indicating that he accepts Google Pay as a payment method.

Google Pay has helped merchants across India accept digital payments.

4. Building blocks for Asia’s digital economy

In 2011, we opened our first data centers in Asia. The facilities in Singapore and Taiwan helped provide faster, more reliable access to our tools and services. Since then, we’ve kept increasing our investment in the physical infrastructure that supports the digital economy, adding more data centers and helping build subsea cables like Echo and Apricot. A study found that between 2010 and 2019, Google infrastructure investments like these contributed $430 billion in aggregate GDP and helped create 1.1 million jobs throughout the region. They’re crucial to Google Cloud’s growing presence in the region, helping companies like Japan’s Fast Retailing and Indonesia’s Tokopedia

A tall robot-like figurine standing on a plinth in front of the entrance to one of Google’s data centers in Singapore. Beanbags and a pool table are visible through the glass office walls.

The scene at Google’s data center in Singapore when it opened in 2013

5. Gangnam Style: the rise of YouTube in Asia

In the summer of 2014, Psy’s 2012 video “Gangnam Style” surpassed two billion views on YouTube.  That incredible success was a seminal moment in a bigger story: how Korean ‘K-Pop’ artists were some of the first to use YouTube to reach new audiences around the world. As of today, nine of the top 10 24-hour debuts on YouTube are by Korean artists. And beyond Korea, creators across Asia are using YouTube to share their voice, help others learn, and make a living.

The music video of Psy’s hit song “Gangnam Style”, hosted on YouTube.

Psy's Gangnam Style broke records on YouTube. 

6. “Flappy Bird” and Asia’s new mobile entrepreneurs

Flappy Bird” was another big online moment in 2014. Created by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, the game became a huge hit around the world. It summed up the new possibilities for entrepreneurs building and marketing their mobile apps through Google Play. Today, Asia Pacific is the number one region for mobile subscriptions, the app market and the source of half of all global online gaming revenue.  

Sundar Pichai in conversation with “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen. They are sitting on low stools in a street-side cafe in Hanoi, with motorcycles, pedestrians, trees and shops in the background. A smartphone is propped on a stool in front of them.

Sundar Pichai meets “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen in Hanoi in 2015.

7. New approaches to digital skills

One particular challenge we’ve faced is how to bring digital knowledge and skills to people with limited access to the internet or restrictions on data. In parts of India, that initially meant using a rickshaw equipped with internet-enabled devices, information on using the web and an operator to explain how. Over time, we recognized that to really make a difference, we needed training programs to be embedded in communities — leading to the Internet Saathi initiative where female trainers share their knowledge with other women in their village. Between 2015 and 2020, we provided skills training to 50 million people across Asia Pacific through Grow with Google. And we continue to tailor our skills and education programs to local needs, whether it’s our Bangkit initiative in Indonesia (working with local tech firms to nurture talented developers) or our Skills Ignition partnership in Singapore(offering training and work placements for thousands of people). 

A woman speaks into a phone to search for information. She’s sitting alongside another woman — an internet ‘saathi’, or trainer — a table with a sewing machine on top, in front of a house with walls painted blue and yellow. Another woman watches on in the background.

The Internet Saathi initiative helps women in rural India use the internet.

8. AlphaGo demonstrates the promise of AI

DeepMind’s go-playing AI AlphaGo made the cover of Nature in January 2016 for being the first AI to ever beat a master at the 3,000-year-old game. In 2017. AlphaGo beat the former world-champion Lee Sedol 4-1 in Seoul. From there, DeepMind traveled to Wuzhen, China, where AlphaGo Master beat world champion Ke Jie 3-0 at the Future of Go Summit — an extraordinary event involving the world’s best players. AlphaGo has since retired, but the role of AI in society is only increasing. Today, we’re working with partners throughout Asia Pacific on ways AI can help with challenges like flood prediction and disease diagnosis.  

Grandmaster Ke Jie, wearing a suit and sitting on a white chair to the left of a blue table, leans forward to make a move on the board in his match against AlphaGo.

Grandmaster Ke Jie locked in competition with AlphaGo in 2017

9. Investments in the digital future

In September 2017, we brought HTC’s engineering talent into Google — cementing a decade-long partnership with the Taiwanese company, and marking a big step forward in Google’s plans to build devices combining the best of Google software and hardware. Today, our Pixel phones and Nest devices are popular across the region. And we’ve continued to invest in Asian companies bringing the best of technology to hundreds of millions of people, from Indonesia’s Gojek to India’s Reliance Jio. Together with Jio, we’re working on an affordable smartphone that will enable more Indians to get online.

A room full of HTC colleagues looking towards a stage with a Google logo in the background, at their official welcome to Google Taiwan in 2018.

Welcoming new HTC colleagues to Google’s engineering workforce in Taiwan in 2018.

10. Giving voice to polyglot Asia

As of 2020, Google Translate supports more than 30 languages across Asia Pacific. Extending the reach of Google Translate — and improving it with AI — is vital in a region of such vast linguistic diversity. But there are other steps that can make the internet more accessible and helpful: for example, building technology that’s intuitive for people who find it more natural to speak to their device. The rise of ‘voice users’ will be a big theme for Google and the entire tech industry in the decade ahead, and we’ve developed a playbook to guide technology-makers’ efforts.

A woman in traditional dress in Indonesia sits facing the camera and talking to her phone. She’s surrounded by potted plants.

 A growing number of internet users in Asia prefer to speak to their phone, rather than type. 

Google in Asia Pacific: 10 proud moments from 20 years

Twenty years ago this month, Google opened the doors of its first overseas office — in Tokyo, with just a single employee. The office was rudimentary by today’s standards (the music system was a portable cassette deck). But our founders knew the Asia Pacific region would be central to Google’s mission of making information universally accessible. More importantly, Google also had an enormous amount to learn from the region.

Over the past 20 years, Google’s commitment to Asia Pacific has steadily deepened, and we’re proud to have helped support the region’s extraordinary growth. Today, 2.5 billion people are online here, almost all of them on mobile. We’re honored they use Google’s tools to improve their lives: finding jobs, learning new skills, building businesses, and pushing the boundaries of technology. It’s clear there remains huge, untapped potential for the future if we can continue to lay the foundations with the right investments and initiatives.  

To mark the occasion, we wanted to reflect on some of the moments and themes that have defined Google’s 20 years in Asia.


1. Silicon Valley to Shibuya

That first nondescript office in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood was a long way — in both scale and decor — from the current Google office down the street. But these humble digs served as our first Asia Pacific headquarters. The Googlers there did pioneering work — including steps to take emoji culture global (🎉). And the office laid the groundwork for today’s Google Japan team, helping the host nation continue its long tradition of forward-thinking in technology. Fast forward to today and we have offices full of Googlers throughout the region, with Singapore as our current Asia Pacific headquarters.
Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin alongside an employee at Google’s first Tokyo office. The Googler is demonstrating something on her phone.

Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, at our first overseas office in Shibuya, Tokyo. 

2. G'Day, Google Maps

In 2004, two Aussies and two Danes came together in Sydney to develop a new kind of mapping technology for the internet.  In February 2005, Google Maps was born — and it’s had quite a run since. As Maps got more sophisticated, Googlers in Asia Pacific went above and beyond to expand its reach, including Street View filming expeditions from Mongolia’s Lake Khövsgöl to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Australia’s Uluru

A woman with a camera attached to her backpack looks towards Uluru in the distance, as she films footage for Street View. The sun is setting behind Uluru.

Filming for Street View at Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park in Central Australia in accordance with Tjukurpa law

3. Map Maker and Asia’s influence on Google products

In 2008, two Indian engineers realized that there wasn’t enough commercial mapping data of India for a full national map in Google Maps, so they built a tool called Google MapMaker, where communities could make their own additions to the map. It went on to be useful for everywhere around the world, especially in times of disaster like typhoons in the Philippines. We learned a big lesson here: when we build for the newest users in Asia, we build better for the world. 


We’ve seen this now with Google Pay, created in India as Tez, and motorbike navigation mode, launched in India, which have both been expanded globally. YouTube and Maps offline modes were originally built to help people in Asia conserve data, but now help anyone driving through areas with spotty connections. An engineering center in Singapore — working with teams across the region — helps advance our efforts to make the internet more inclusive for the Next Billion Users set to come online for the first time.
A merchant standing next to a stall on the side of the road in India, with signs indicating that he accepts Google Pay as a payment method.

Google Pay has helped merchants across India accept digital payments.

4. Building blocks for Asia’s digital economy

In 2011, we opened our first data centers in Asia. The facilities in Singapore and Taiwan helped provide faster, more reliable access to our tools and services. Since then, we’ve kept increasing our investment in the physical infrastructure that supports the digital economy, adding more data centers and helping build subsea cables like Echo and Apricot. A study found that between 2010 and 2019, Google infrastructure investments like these contributed $430 billion in aggregate GDP and helped create 1.1 million jobs throughout the region. They’re crucial to Google Cloud’s growing presence in the region, helping companies like Japan’s Fast Retailing and Indonesia’s Tokopedia

A tall robot-like figurine standing on a plinth in front of the entrance to one of Google’s data centers in Singapore. Beanbags and a pool table are visible through the glass office walls.

The scene at Google’s data center in Singapore when it opened in 2013

5. Gangnam Style: the rise of YouTube in Asia

In the summer of 2014, Psy’s 2012 video “Gangnam Style” surpassed two billion views on YouTube.  That incredible success was a seminal moment in a bigger story: how Korean ‘K-Pop’ artists were some of the first to use YouTube to reach new audiences around the world. As of today, nine of the top 10 24-hour debuts on YouTube are by Korean artists. And beyond Korea, creators across Asia are using YouTube to share their voice, help others learn, and make a living.

The music video of Psy’s hit song “Gangnam Style”, hosted on YouTube.

Psy's Gangnam Style broke records on YouTube. 

6. “Flappy Bird” and Asia’s new mobile entrepreneurs

Flappy Bird” was another big online moment in 2014. Created by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, the game became a huge hit around the world. It summed up the new possibilities for entrepreneurs building and marketing their mobile apps through Google Play. Today, Asia Pacific is the number one region for mobile subscriptions, the app market and the source of half of all global online gaming revenue.  

Sundar Pichai in conversation with “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen. They are sitting on low stools in a street-side cafe in Hanoi, with motorcycles, pedestrians, trees and shops in the background. A smartphone is propped on a stool in front of them.

Sundar Pichai meets “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen in Hanoi in 2015.

7. New approaches to digital skills

One particular challenge we’ve faced is how to bring digital knowledge and skills to people with limited access to the internet or restrictions on data. In parts of India, that initially meant using a rickshaw equipped with internet-enabled devices, information on using the web and an operator to explain how. Over time, we recognized that to really make a difference, we needed training programs to be embedded in communities — leading to the Internet Saathi initiative where female trainers share their knowledge with other women in their village. Between 2015 and 2020, we provided skills training to 50 million people across Asia Pacific through Grow with Google. And we continue to tailor our skills and education programs to local needs, whether it’s our Bangkit initiative in Indonesia (working with local tech firms to nurture talented developers) or our Skills Ignition partnership in Singapore(offering training and work placements for thousands of people). 

A woman speaks into a phone to search for information. She’s sitting alongside another woman — an internet ‘saathi’, or trainer — a table with a sewing machine on top, in front of a house with walls painted blue and yellow. Another woman watches on in the background.

The Internet Saathi initiative helps women in rural India use the internet.

8. AlphaGo demonstrates the promise of AI

DeepMind’s go-playing AI AlphaGo made the cover of Nature in January 2016 for being the first AI to ever beat a master at the 3,000-year-old game. In 2017. AlphaGo beat the former world-champion Lee Sedol 4-1 in Seoul. From there, DeepMind traveled to Wuzhen, China, where AlphaGo Master beat world champion Ke Jie 3-0 at the Future of Go Summit — an extraordinary event involving the world’s best players. AlphaGo has since retired, but the role of AI in society is only increasing. Today, we’re working with partners throughout Asia Pacific on ways AI can help with challenges like flood prediction and disease diagnosis.  

Grandmaster Ke Jie, wearing a suit and sitting on a white chair to the left of a blue table, leans forward to make a move on the board in his match against AlphaGo.

Grandmaster Ke Jie locked in competition with AlphaGo in 2017

9. Investments in the digital future

In September 2017, we brought HTC’s engineering talent into Google — cementing a decade-long partnership with the Taiwanese company, and marking a big step forward in Google’s plans to build devices combining the best of Google software and hardware. Today, our Pixel phones and Nest devices are popular across the region. And we’ve continued to invest in Asian companies bringing the best of technology to hundreds of millions of people, from Indonesia’s Gojek to India’s Reliance Jio. Together with Jio, we’re working on an affordable smartphone that will enable more Indians to get online.

A room full of HTC colleagues looking towards a stage with a Google logo in the background, at their official welcome to Google Taiwan in 2018.

Welcoming new HTC colleagues to Google’s engineering workforce in Taiwan in 2018.

10. Giving voice to polyglot Asia

As of 2020, Google Translate supports more than 30 languages across Asia Pacific. Extending the reach of Google Translate — and improving it with AI — is vital in a region of such vast linguistic diversity. But there are other steps that can make the internet more accessible and helpful: for example, building technology that’s intuitive for people who find it more natural to speak to their device. The rise of ‘voice users’ will be a big theme for Google and the entire tech industry in the decade ahead, and we’ve developed a playbook to guide technology-makers’ efforts.

A woman in traditional dress in Indonesia sits facing the camera and talking to her phone. She’s surrounded by potted plants.

 A growing number of internet users in Asia prefer to speak to their phone, rather than type. 

More support for women founders in Asia

Ketty Lie remembers her college graduation like it was yesterday. Her mother held her hand tightly as they walked across the lawn to the ceremony and told her how proud she was that Ketty had achieved the dream she never got to fulfill herself.


That investment in education led Ketty to become an entrepreneur. Today, her company ErudiFi is focused on expanding access to education for young people across Southeast Asia. And Ketty is getting ready to start the twelve-week Women Founders Academy with Google for Startups.
Ketty Lie, the founder of ErudiFi, in a black t-shirt looking directly at the camera

Ketty Lie is excited to join the program and meet her fellow women entrepreneurs.

Following a successful first year in 2020, the Women Founders Academy 2021 will offer a new group of founders training to sharpen their leadership skills, build strong teams and address their unique growth needs, including funding. They will take part in workshops, connect with a community of Google advisors, venture capitalists and business executives and receive mentoring from dedicated subject matter experts. The 10 participants, from five countries in Asia Pacific, are:

  • Dorothy Yio, (Singapore). Engage Rocket is a cloud-based software company that helps organizations improve their employee experience.
  • Sophie Jokelson, (Singapore). Cove is a co-living company that makes it easier, faster and more flexible to rent comfortable homes at honest prices.
  • Vanessa Geraldine, (Indonesia). Prieds Technology offers an all-in-one business and technology solution to improve business efficiency.
  • Utari Octavianty, (Indonesia). Aruna is a fisheries platform that connects small-scale fishermen to the global market through technology.
  • Ketty Lie, (Indonesia). ErudiFi is a technology company focused on expanding access to education in Southeast Asia.
  • Angela Jihee Park, (Korea). Kokozi offers an audio content platform and device that provides children with unique audio experiences. 
  • Ji Eun Chung, (Korea). CODIT runs an AI data intelligence platform that helps companies manage legal, regulatory and policy risks and opportunities.
  • Monika Mehta, (India). Zealth-AI is a platform that helps manage cancer through digital remote monitoring and patient engagement.
  • Laina Emmanuel, (India). BrainSightAI is building a neuroinformatics platform that uses technology to help answer questions about neuro-oncological and neuro-psychiatric disorders.
  • Yugari Nagata, (Japan)DATA VIZ LAB is a data analytics and visualization consulting company that builds on cloud technology.

Ketty is ready to meet her fellow founders and excited about the opportunity to share lessons and experiences. “Sometimes it’s lonely being a woman founder in the tech startup world,” she says. “Finding a community of like-minded women who are building tech-based businesses in Asia hasn’t been easy and this program provides a unique platform that I wouldn’t otherwise have.”


The Women Founders Academy class of 2021 will celebrate its graduation in November. We’re looking forward to helping these founders take their next steps as entrepreneurs and business leaders.

More support for women founders in Asia

Ketty Lie remembers her college graduation like it was yesterday. Her mother held her hand tightly as they walked across the lawn to the ceremony and told her how proud she was that Ketty had achieved the dream she never got to fulfill herself.


That investment in education led Ketty to become an entrepreneur. Today, her company ErudiFi is focused on expanding access to education for young people across Southeast Asia. And Ketty is getting ready to start the twelve-week Women Founders Academy with Google for Startups.
Ketty Lie, the founder of ErudiFi, in a black t-shirt looking directly at the camera

Ketty Lie is excited to join the program and meet her fellow women entrepreneurs.

Following a successful first year in 2020, the Women Founders Academy 2021 will offer a new group of founders training to sharpen their leadership skills, build strong teams and address their unique growth needs, including funding. They will take part in workshops, connect with a community of Google advisors, venture capitalists and business executives and receive mentoring from dedicated subject matter experts. The 10 participants, from five countries in Asia Pacific, are:

  • Dorothy Yio, (Singapore). Engage Rocket is a cloud-based software company that helps organizations improve their employee experience.
  • Sophie Jokelson, (Singapore). Cove is a co-living company that makes it easier, faster and more flexible to rent comfortable homes at honest prices.
  • Vanessa Geraldine, (Indonesia). Prieds Technology offers an all-in-one business and technology solution to improve business efficiency.
  • Utari Octavianty, (Indonesia). Aruna is a fisheries platform that connects small-scale fishermen to the global market through technology.
  • Ketty Lie, (Indonesia). ErudiFi is a technology company focused on expanding access to education in Southeast Asia.
  • Angela Jihee Park, (Korea). Kokozi offers an audio content platform and device that provides children with unique audio experiences. 
  • Ji Eun Chung, (Korea). CODIT runs an AI data intelligence platform that helps companies manage legal, regulatory and policy risks and opportunities.
  • Monika Mehta, (India). Zealth-AI is a platform that helps manage cancer through digital remote monitoring and patient engagement.
  • Laina Emmanuel, (India). BrainSightAI is building a neuroinformatics platform that uses technology to help answer questions about neuro-oncological and neuro-psychiatric disorders.
  • Yugari Nagata, (Japan)DATA VIZ LAB is a data analytics and visualization consulting company that builds on cloud technology.

Ketty is ready to meet her fellow founders and excited about the opportunity to share lessons and experiences. “Sometimes it’s lonely being a woman founder in the tech startup world,” she says. “Finding a community of like-minded women who are building tech-based businesses in Asia hasn’t been easy and this program provides a unique platform that I wouldn’t otherwise have.”


The Women Founders Academy class of 2021 will celebrate its graduation in November. We’re looking forward to helping these founders take their next steps as entrepreneurs and business leaders.

News Brief: July updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month, we explored mental health resources for journalists in the U.K., inclusive news coverage and innovation in Latin America, leadership training for reporters in Asia Pacific and more. Keep reading for July updates.

Promoting mental health in the media industry 

Many of the challenges that impacted the mental health of journalists in the months and years before the global pandemic have been exacerbated by COVID-19. We’re supporting the Headlines Network to test out a new form of training in the United Kingdom to strengthen and promote mental health in the media industry. Independent industry experts will offer a safe space for early career journalists, new managers, mid-career journalists and senior leadership.

Reflecting on diversity in Latin American Journalism

We partnered with The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to publish the ebook “Diversity in Latin American Journalism,” which was announced at the annual conference of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In the book, 16 journalists from seven countries reflect on how to make newsrooms and news coverage more inclusive across gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic issues and disability. The ebook is available for free in Spanish.

Celebrating Innovation Challenge recipients

Building on the Digital News Innovation Fund in Europe, Google News Initiative Innovation Challenges have supported more than 180 projects that bring new ideas to the news industry. Around the world, we’re learning from former Innovation Challenge recipients who are using their funding to drive innovation in news.


A group of four women and two men stand in front of a painting posing for the picture

Latin America Innovation Challenge recipients from Editora del Mar S.A. in Colombia

We recently supported 21 projects from nine countries in Spanish-speaking Latin America and Brazil. This year, we asked for new news projects and business models, with a strong focus on underrepresented publishers and diversity, equity and Inclusion as part of the selection criteria. Recipients included an analytics platform from La Gacetain Argentina, a transparency platform from Associação Fiquem Sabendo in Brazil, an open-source data platform fromEditora del Marin Colombia (pictured) and more.

A group of 7 people standing and posing for a picture

The membership team from the Daily Maverick

Innovation Challenge recipients were awarded across six categories in the WAN-IFRA Digital Media Africa awards. South Africa’s Daily Maverick, whose Innovation Challenge project created a relevancy engine for data-driven customer insights, took both the Best Paid Content Strategy award and the newly introduced Best Trust Initiative award.

A screenshot of the Bytecast app recording an audio clip

Reporters in the U.K. are using an audio collection tool developed in the U.S.

Audio tool Bytecast, created as part of the Innovation Challenge in North America, has crossed the Atlantic and is now rolling out to local news organizations in the United Kingdom. Newsquest, which has more than 120 news brands, is using the app to help reporters record, edit and upload audio clips from the field. The content supported by the tool is encouraging new and existing readers to pay for their local news.

Advancing parents and caregivers in Asia Pacific newsrooms

We launched the second iteration of our leadership training pilot in Korea in partnership with the Journalists Association of Korea and HeyJoyce — Korea’s largest community for women — to help equip reporters on parental leave for leadership roles when they return to work. Inspired by what we’ve learned in Korea, we’ve also launched a back-to-work program for the APAC region with WAN-IFRA, and a new program in Australia in partnership with Women in Media.

That’s all for July. Stay in touch on social and the Keyword blog for more updates.


New investment in Aotearoa New Zealand

New Zealand is often described as an ‘island of innovation’, and when it comes to technology, it’s true that we Kiwis regularly punch above our weight. At the same time, there’s always more progress to be made, and greater opportunities ahead


As we approach 15 years on the ground in New Zealand, Google is investing to put down stronger roots here — including by establishing an engineering presence in Auckland.


This week, our teams move into the first purpose-built Google office in Auckland, a space that has been designed to bring the best of Aotearoa to Google — giving visitors a taste of the diverse landscapes that New Zealand is known for around the world. We have kayaks for a reception desk, the largest digital ceiling in New Zealand and a cafe that takes its likeness from a chilly bin (or a ‘cooler’, as some people call them 😉). Teams will use our new “Pāua” event space to host business leaders, technologists and the wider community. And the space as a whole has been designed to suit our new hybrid approach to work.

With space to grow, we'll also start recruiting Google’s first New Zealand-based engineers. We hope to attract local software talent, engage research institutions and contribute to the understanding and application of machine learning and artificial intelligence in Aotearoa.


In addition to our new office and engineering presence, we’ve launched a new Google Cloud Dedicated Interconnect location in Auckland and our second Australia-New Zealand Google Cloud region, in Melbourne. This investment will help us better serve our local Cloud customers, connecting New Zealand to Google’s private secure network and ensuring customer data never traverses the public internet. 


Kiwi organisations like Trade Me and ANZ are already using Google’s Cloud capabilities, and our expanded footprint means we can help more businesses take advantage of the cleanest cloud in the industry.   


I’m so proud of the work our teams do to support New Zealand’s businesses, communities, nonprofits and governments. With these new commitments, we’re more focused than ever on building a better future for all Kiwis.

New investment in Aotearoa New Zealand

New Zealand is often described as an ‘island of innovation’, and when it comes to technology, it’s true that we Kiwis regularly punch above our weight. At the same time, there’s always more progress to be made, and greater opportunities ahead


As we approach 15 years on the ground in New Zealand, Google is investing to put down stronger roots here — including by establishing an engineering presence in Auckland.


This week, our teams move into the first purpose-built Google office in Auckland, a space that has been designed to bring the best of Aotearoa to Google — giving visitors a taste of the diverse landscapes that New Zealand is known for around the world. We have kayaks for a reception desk, the largest digital ceiling in New Zealand and a cafe that takes its likeness from a chilly bin (or a ‘cooler’, as some people call them 😉). Teams will use our new “Pāua” event space to host business leaders, technologists and the wider community. And the space as a whole has been designed to suit our new hybrid approach to work.

With space to grow, we'll also start recruiting Google’s first New Zealand-based engineers. We hope to attract local software talent, engage research institutions and contribute to the understanding and application of machine learning and artificial intelligence in Aotearoa.


In addition to our new office and engineering presence, we’ve launched a new Google Cloud Dedicated Interconnect location in Auckland and our second Australia-New Zealand Google Cloud region, in Melbourne. This investment will help us better serve our local Cloud customers, connecting New Zealand to Google’s private secure network and ensuring customer data never traverses the public internet. 


Kiwi organisations like Trade Me and ANZ are already using Google’s Cloud capabilities, and our expanded footprint means we can help more businesses take advantage of the cleanest cloud in the industry.   


I’m so proud of the work our teams do to support New Zealand’s businesses, communities, nonprofits and governments. With these new commitments, we’re more focused than ever on building a better future for all Kiwis.

New support for Southeast Asia’s COVID-19 response

In many parts of Southeast Asia and beyond, the impact of COVID-19 remains severe. More than 18 months after the virus first began spreading, high caseloads and new variants are putting pressure on health systems. It’s a difficult time for people across the region, and heartbreaking for those who’ve lost loved ones.  


Vaccines offer a path to stability and recovery, and Google is working closely with governments, health authorities and nonprofits as inoculation programs roll out. But there’s also an urgent need for the equipment that health workers depend on as they battle the pandemic and care for patients on the front lines. 


Today, through our philanthropic arm, Google.org, we’re announcing a new, $2.5 million grant to help UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) — as well as partners on the ground — scale up the COVID-19 response in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Pakistan.This will provide critical, life-saving support to the people who need it most.


In addition to funding this immediate medical response, Google.org will provide a further $5 million in ad grants so local government agencies and organizations like UNICEF can run public information campaigns — ensuring important health messages reach the widest possible audience.   


The new Google.org funds are part of Google’s broader contribution to the response to COVID across Asia-Pacific, including in Southeast Asia. In partnership with health authorities, we’re sharing the latest health information and supporting news sources people can trust. We’re also contributing in every way we can to Southeast Asia’s economic recovery, from providing small business owners and workers with digital skills training to fostering the next generation of startup founders. Through a separate Google.org grant, we’re helping ASEAN, the Asia Foundation and local nonprofits close digital divides in marginalized communities


And we continue to be humbled and inspired by the generosity of Googlers. Our global employee giving campaign — matched by Google.org and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — has helped fully vaccinate more than 1 million people globally. Here in Southeast Asia, Googlers have donated $80,000 and counting for local nonprofits’ COVID response efforts in Indonesia and Vietnam.  


We’re sending our best wishes for safety and wellbeing to everyone affected by the pandemic throughout the region. Looking ahead, we’ll keep standing with the communities we serve — and working with our partners to shape a sustainable recovery for the long term.