Tag Archives: Google in Europe

Five things you (maybe) didn’t know about AI

While there’s plenty of information out there on artificial intelligence, it’s not always easy to distinguish fact from fiction or find explanations that are easy to understand. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Google to create The A to Z of AI. It’s a series of simple, bite-sized explainers to help anyone understand what AI is, how it works and how it’s changing the world around us. Here are a few things you might learn:

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A is for Artificial Intelligence

1. AI is already in our everyday lives. 

You’ve probably interacted with AI without even realizing it. If you’ve ever searched for a specific image in Google Photos, asked a smart speaker about the weather or been rerouted by your car’s navigation system, you’ve been helped by AI. Those examples might feel obvious, but there are many other ways it plays a role in your life you might not realize. AI is also helping solve some bigger, global challenges. For example, there are apps that use AI to help farmers identify issues with crops. And there are now systems that can examine citywide traffic information in real time to help people efficiently planning their driving routes.

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C is for Climate

2. AI is being used to help tackle the global climate crisis. 

AI offers us the ability to process large volumes of data and uncover patterns—an invaluable aid when it comes to climate change. One common use case is AI-powered systems that help people regulate the amount of energy they use by turning off the heating and lights when they leave the house. AI is also helping to model glacier melt and predict rising sea levels so effective that action can be taken. Researchers are also considering the environmental impact of data centers and AI computing itself by exploring how to develop more energy efficient systems and infrastructures.

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D is for Datasets

3. AI learns from examples in the real world.

Just as a child learns through examples, the same is true of machine learning algorithms. And that’s what datasets are: large collections of examples, like weather data, photos or music, that we can use to train AI. Due to their scale and complexity (think of a dataset made up of extensive maps covering the whole of the known solar system), datasets can be very challenging to build and refine. For this reason, AI design teams often share datasets for the benefit of the wider scientific community, making it easier to collaborate and build on each other's research.

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F is for Fakes

4. AI can help our efforts to spot deepfakes.

“Deepfakes'' are AI-generated images, speech, music or videos that look real. They work by studying existing real-world imagery or audio, mapping them in detail, then manipulating them to create works of fiction that are disconcertingly true to life. However, there are often some telltale signs that distinguish them from reality; in a deepfake video, voices might sound a bit robotic, or characters may blink less or repeat their hand gestures. AI can help us spot these inconsistencies.

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Y is for You

5. It’s impossible to teach AI what it means to be human. 

As smart as AI is (and will be), it won’t be able to understand everything that humans can. In fact, you could give an AI system all the data in the world and it still wouldn’t reflect, or understand, every human being on the planet. That’s because we’re complex, multidimensional characters that sit outside the data that machines use to make sense of things. AI systems are trained and guided by humans. And it’s up to each person to choose how they interact with AI systems and what information they feel comfortable sharing. You decide how much AI gets to learn about you.

For 22 more bite-sized definitions, visit https://atozofai.withgoogle.com

Five things you (maybe) didn’t know about AI

While there’s plenty of information out there on artificial intelligence, it’s not always easy to distinguish fact from fiction or find explanations that are easy to understand. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Google to create The A to Z of AI. It’s a series of simple, bite-sized explainers to help anyone understand what AI is, how it works and how it’s changing the world around us. Here are a few things you might learn:

AI.jpg

A is for Artificial Intelligence

1. AI is already in our everyday lives. 

You’ve probably interacted with AI without even realizing it. If you’ve ever searched for a specific image in Google Photos, asked a smart speaker about the weather or been rerouted by your car’s navigation system, you’ve been helped by AI. Those examples might feel obvious, but there are many other ways it plays a role in your life you might not realize. AI is also helping solve some bigger, global challenges. For example, there are apps that use AI to help farmers identify issues with crops. And there are now systems that can examine citywide traffic information in real time to help people efficiently planning their driving routes.

Climate.jpg

C is for Climate

2. AI is being used to help tackle the global climate crisis. 

AI offers us the ability to process large volumes of data and uncover patterns—an invaluable aid when it comes to climate change. One common use case is AI-powered systems that help people regulate the amount of energy they use by turning off the heating and lights when they leave the house. AI is also helping to model glacier melt and predict rising sea levels so effective that action can be taken. Researchers are also considering the environmental impact of data centers and AI computing itself by exploring how to develop more energy efficient systems and infrastructures.

Datasets.jpg

D is for Datasets

3. AI learns from examples in the real world.

Just as a child learns through examples, the same is true of machine learning algorithms. And that’s what datasets are: large collections of examples, like weather data, photos or music, that we can use to train AI. Due to their scale and complexity (think of a dataset made up of extensive maps covering the whole of the known solar system), datasets can be very challenging to build and refine. For this reason, AI design teams often share datasets for the benefit of the wider scientific community, making it easier to collaborate and build on each other's research.

Fakes.jpg

F is for Fakes

4. AI can help our efforts to spot deepfakes.

“Deepfakes'' are AI-generated images, speech, music or videos that look real. They work by studying existing real-world imagery or audio, mapping them in detail, then manipulating them to create works of fiction that are disconcertingly true to life. However, there are often some telltale signs that distinguish them from reality; in a deepfake video, voices might sound a bit robotic, or characters may blink less or repeat their hand gestures. AI can help us spot these inconsistencies.

You.jpg

Y is for You

5. It’s impossible to teach AI what it means to be human. 

As smart as AI is (and will be), it won’t be able to understand everything that humans can. In fact, you could give an AI system all the data in the world and it still wouldn’t reflect, or understand, every human being on the planet. That’s because we’re complex, multidimensional characters that sit outside the data that machines use to make sense of things. AI systems are trained and guided by humans. And it’s up to each person to choose how they interact with AI systems and what information they feel comfortable sharing. You decide how much AI gets to learn about you.

For 22 more bite-sized definitions, visit https://atozofai.withgoogle.com

City of Antwerp and Google to digitize 100,000 books

The world of book publishing today is, in many ways, dignified and highbrow. But it was a different story in the 16th century, about a hundred years after the invention of the printing press. Publishing was a high-risk, high-reward proposition: With the right backing and enough capital investment, an entrepreneur could become wildly successful. But publishing the wrong thing in the wrong place could be disastrous—even fatal, with governments and religious authorities taking a very severe view of what content was fit to print.

No one knew this better than Christophe Plantin, who set up a publishing house in Antwerp, Belgium, in the mid-16th century. Facing religious intolerance and escaping persecution, he helped put the city on the map as a publishing powerhouse. His own printing operation continued in his family for generations. 

Today, Plantin’s home and business are preserved as the Plantin-Moretus Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to 25,000 early printed books. Visitors to Antwerp can walk through the rooms where the family lived and worked, and researchers can delve into the collection’s manuscripts, books, archives and original prints.

And now, thanks to a partnership between the City of Antwerp and Google, we will digitize more than 32,000 books from the museum, along with an additional 60,000 books held by the city’s Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library.

In total, more than 100,000 international works published from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century will be made freely accessible in the coming years via Google Books and the library catalogues of both institutions. The scanned volumes, which are no longer subject to copyright, will be full-text searchable, meaning that researchers—as well as members of the public—will be able to search them easily and quickly.

The digitization will start in early 2021, allowing time for both Google and the city to set up the project and establish logistics processes. We expect it will take at least three years, partly because we don’t want to cause too much disruption to library visitors who come to view the materials. The books will be transported securely in batches from Antwerp to our European digitization center. Shortly after each work is scanned, the digital copy will appear on books.google.com, and the libraries will also receive digital copies of their respective works to incorporate into their own catalogues. 

Google Books was launched 15 years ago, with the goal of making all books from around the world digitally available and searchable for everyone. This collaboration with the City of Antwerp adds an incredibly rich collection from the Dutch-speaking world to our collection, and brings us a crucial step closer to achieving our mission.

Get helpful health info from the NHS, right in Search

People come to Search for all types of information to navigate their lives and look after themselves and their families. When it comes to important topics like health, high-quality information is critical, and we aim to connect people with the most reliable sources on the web as quickly as possible.

Now, we’re making it even easier for people in the U.K. to find trusted information from the National Health Service (NHS). Beginning this week, when you search for health conditions like  chickenpox, back pain, or the common cold, you can find Knowledge Panels with information from the NHS website that help you understand more about common causes, treatments and more. 

Knowledge panel in Search

These Knowledge Panels aim to give people authoritative, locally trusted health information, based on open source content. The NHS has formatted their content so that it’s easy to find on the web and available publicly to anyone via the NHS website—Google is one of more than 2,000 organizations using NHS website content to provide trusted information to people looking for it. 

To start, these Knowledge Panels will be available for more than 250 health conditions. Of course, they’re not intended to provide medical advice, and we encourage anyone searching for health information to seek guidance from a doctor if they have a medical concern or, in an emergency, call local emergency services immediately. But we hope this feature will help people find reliable information and have more informed conversations with medical professionals to improve their care.

Source: Search


Meet humanity’s first artists through virtual reality

Editor’s Note: France’s Chauvet Cave contains some of the world’s oldest prehistoric drawings. It’s so delicate that it’s closed to the public, but thanks to our partner, the Syndicat Mixte de la Grotte Chauvet, you can now step into the world of our ancient ancestors through Google Search’s augmented reality feature as well as virtual reality. One of these ancient ancestors, who has asked to remain anonymous, has time-traveled 36,000 years to share what the cave was like back then. 

We began our journey to the big cave days ago. Today we arrive and settle near the stone arch that spans the river. We light a fire, signalling to our people up near the caves that we’re here. We’ve brought small stone tools with us to sew the arrowheads we use for hunting. Perhaps we’ll be able to trade them.

There’s plenty of moonlight, so once we’ve made camp I venture out, hiking up to the cave’s entrance to greet the others. The children are still awake, playing with their toys but also listening intently to the lions roaring in the distance. There used to be bears living here too, but they’re long gone.

The closer I get to its entrance, the more the dark cave seems to draw me in, so I light a torch and step inside. After a short walk, the fire illuminates where we—and those before us—have left our marks. Here, someone scraped the clay, exposed the limestone and painted their world, long before we arrived. My favorites are the horses—I think one is afraid, another is playing, and a third one, the curious one, has pricked up its ears inquiringly.

Near the familiar mammoth, a new image catches my eye—perhaps some of our young hunters have depicted this lion to celebrate their success.

The fresco is so enormous, it’s impossible to take it all in. I step back to try and comprehend its meaning. There are cave lions, reindeer and stags, all seeming to move in the play of light and shadow. Just a few lines, drawn by practiced hands, and somehow we have a masterpiece.

Then there are the handprints left by those who came before us. I stand on my toes and stretch to match my own hand to the imprints on the cold rock, and suddenly I feel compelled to leave my mark too. I’ve never been chosen as a painter, but I’m alone and feeling daring, so I dip my hand into the red paint that’s been left out, rise back to my toes, and add my handprint to the others on the wall. 

As it dries, I draw back and watch as the animals and the handprints fade into the darkness. Who knows how long they’ve all been here, and how long they’ll remain?

Another note from the editor: if you enjoyed hearing from our anonymous cave ancestor, check out the following images of the cave she described, or find out more in Google Arts & Culture’s latest exhibit “Chauvet: Meet our Ancestors.”


A home-grown news site for Peterborough

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post comes from John Baker, Chief Reporter, Peterborough Matters. 

I’ve worked in local news for 15 years and experienced how meaningful it is to a community. As I’ve walked through the city from my home in Woodston and visited local people in Cathedral Square, Bretton, Werrington and elsewhere, I’m reminded of what makes our city so vibrant and draws my friends to visit often. 

We love Cathedral Square with the iconic 17th century Guildhall, shops, and eateries, plus the Cathedral itself which is one of England’s finest Norman cathedrals. We love the many events that take place in Peterborough, like the Beer Festival, Heritage Festival, Queensgate, and the annual Perkins Great Eastern Run half marathon, to name a few. This strong sense of pride is why I’m proud to announce today’s launch of a digital news site for Peterborough. 

Peterborough Matters is the first of three local news sites launched by Archant’s Project Neon in partnership with the Google News Initiative’s Local News Experiments Project. The projects first partnered with American publisher McClatchy and launched Mahoning Matters in Youngstown, Ohio last year. These sites will test and build different editorial and business models as we work toward the goal of financial sustainability. 

Our team is proud of our Peterborough roots and eager to serve the community. I have lived in the Fens for 40 years and in Peterborough for a decade. Our reporter Shariqua Ahmed, who worked in newspapers in India before three years at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, will bring her broadcasting skills and knowledge of the city's diverse cultural heritage and communities into our newsroom. We’re also excited to introduce our other local reporter Carly Beech who grew up in Peterborough, attending Thomas Deacon Academy before studying journalism at university, followed by a stint at the Daily Star. Our content assistant Charlotte Moore was born and raised in Peterborough and worked as a library assistant for Vivacity for three years. She has a keen passion for the heritage of the city and its environmental issues. 

We will use our talents to make sure you know about important news like crime, road accidents, council meetings, and weather. We’ll also help connect the community more with compelling in-depth stories about the people, places, and events that make up the fabric of our community. You'll learn about people you don't know, stories you've not heard, and ideas you might not have considered.

This is an experiment and we will aim to earn your trust each day with each story. Our partnership with the Google News Initiative enables us to meld the best of our editorial minds with Google’s expertise in best product practices. We will work together in a transparent and experimental way and share our learnings publicly. 

Your feedback is of critical importance and we hope you will share more of what's important to you and why. We will have open-house events to engage with you where you can hear from those making the city tick.

Thank you to all of you who have helped us as we’ve prepared for this launch. Your support means a lot and we will work to be worthy of it. Join the conversation, contact us onFacebook, Twitter,or e-mail. Peterborough Matters to us and we look forward to building this together.

GNI Subscriptions Lab expands to Europe to help publishers grow revenue

The news industry continues to face tough challenges as the way people find and access information changes. At the same time, we’re seeing promising results from publishers who are developing new business models and ways of working to support high quality journalism in the digital age. Our Google News Initiative is designed to support this innovation and help journalism thrive. 

As part of this, we’re hosting our second Google News Initiative Summit in Amsterdam this week which brings together hundreds of publishers, news executives, editors and academics from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa to discuss the latest opportunities and challenges for the news industry. We’ll talk about the latest products and innovations, as well as important topics like the role of machine learning in publishing and new ways of growing reader revenue.  

One of the topics we hear a lot about is which products or technologies can help publishers grow revenue from their digital content. While many large publishers have seen great success from digital subscriptions, we are doing more to ensure smaller and local news publishers have the same opportunity to find out what works for their content. 

At this week’s event, we’ll announce the expansion of our GNI Subscriptions Labs program to Europe, building on the success of similar Labs in North America and Latin America. The European Lab has been developed in partnership with FT Strategies and the International News Media Association (INMA) and is designed to help European publishers strengthen digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue. The nine-month program includes in-person consultancy and coaching to help publishers understand, experiment and optimise their subscription models. Applications open today and the experience and learnings gained from the GNI Subscriptions Lab will be shared with publishers around the world to help them implement their own digital subscription strategies.

The GNI Subscriptions Lab in Europe is one of several efforts to help publishers' find new ways to grow revenue from their digital content. We also work with many European publishers on products like Subscribe with Google which creates a simple way for readers to subscribe to news publications and maintain access everywhere. Groupe Le Monde in France and Il Fatto Quotidiano in Italy announced their implementations just this month.

Another key topic at the event is how to equip publishers and journalists with the latest information and insights on digital news. In the-last five years, we've trained 370,000 journalists in Europe through the Google News Initiative and this year we'll host three major training summits with the European Journalism Centre (EJC). Together with the EJC we'll also support over 40 news organizations to host a journalism student for the summer months. 

Alongside this, we’ve renewed our support of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report for an additional three years. This is an independent report which looks at changing reader behaviour around the world, providing important insights to publishers. Our partnership enables the Reuters Institute to cover more countries in the report, provide further in-depth analysis of developments in news and media, and support fellowships for mid-career journalists. This year, the partnership will also provide off-site leadership development programs for senior editors and media executives. 

Google is committed to collaborating with publishers on their digital strategies and is investing more into programs and partnerships across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We look forward to an exciting event of discussions, insights and ideas from publishers across the region.


GNI Subscriptions Lab expands to Europe to help publishers grow revenue

The news industry continues to face tough challenges as the way people find and access information changes. At the same time, we’re seeing promising results from publishers who are developing new business models and ways of working to support high quality journalism in the digital age. Our Google News Initiative is designed to support this innovation and help journalism thrive. 

As part of this, we’re hosting our second Google News Initiative Summit in Amsterdam this week which brings together hundreds of publishers, news executives, editors and academics from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa to discuss the latest opportunities and challenges for the news industry. We’ll talk about the latest products and innovations, as well as important topics like the role of machine learning in publishing and new ways of growing reader revenue.  

One of the topics we hear a lot about is which products or technologies can help publishers grow revenue from their digital content. While many large publishers have seen great success from digital subscriptions, we are doing more to ensure smaller and local news publishers have the same opportunity to find out what works for their content. 

At this week’s event, we’ll announce the expansion of our GNI Subscriptions Labs program to Europe, building on the success of similar Labs in North America and Latin America. The European Lab has been developed in partnership with FT Strategies and the International News Media Association (INMA) and is designed to help European publishers strengthen digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue. The nine-month program includes in-person consultancy and coaching to help publishers understand, experiment and optimise their subscription models. Applications open today and the experience and learnings gained from the GNI Subscriptions Lab will be shared with publishers around the world to help them implement their own digital subscription strategies.

The GNI Subscriptions Lab in Europe is one of several efforts to help publishers' find new ways to grow revenue from their digital content. We also work with many European publishers on products like Subscribe with Google which creates a simple way for readers to subscribe to news publications and maintain access everywhere. Groupe Le Monde in France and Il Fatto Quotidiano in Italy announced their implementations just this month.

Another key topic at the event is how to equip publishers and journalists with the latest information and insights on digital news. In the-last five years, we've trained 370,000 journalists in Europe through the Google News Initiative and this year we'll host three major training summits with the European Journalism Centre (EJC). Together with the EJC we'll also support over 40 news organizations to host a journalism student for the summer months. 

Alongside this, we’ve renewed our support of the Reuters Institute Digital News Report for an additional three years. This is an independent report which looks at changing reader behaviour around the world, providing important insights to publishers. Our partnership enables the Reuters Institute to cover more countries in the report, provide further in-depth analysis of developments in news and media, and support fellowships for mid-career journalists. This year, the partnership will also provide off-site leadership development programs for senior editors and media executives. 

Google is committed to collaborating with publishers on their digital strategies and is investing more into programs and partnerships across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We look forward to an exciting event of discussions, insights and ideas from publishers across the region.


A safer internet for Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Chances are you’re reading this in a country that formally recognizes Safer Internet Day—an initiative that originated in the European Union two decades ago and is now observed in as many as 150 countries around the world. 

Whether you’re spurred into doing a Security Checkup, trying our Phishing Quiz, or setting digital ground rules through Family Link, you’ll know the importance of safety in your online life. We take your safety online seriously, and are investing heavily in building, developing and sharing tools and projects to help you and your family stay safer.

Last year, we opened the Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) in Germany as the center of that ongoing investment. At this hub of global privacy engineering, we’ve built products such as Password Manager, which scans hundreds of millions of passwords every day and warns you if any of your credentials have been compromised. More than 100 million users have run a Password Checkup since we launched the feature last year.

More than 1,000 employees now work at GSEC, combining the best in privacy and safety engineering, product development and user experience design to help make the digital world work for everyone more safely.

Helping children learn how to be safer online

Because you want your children to be able to make the most of the web safely, we developed Be Internet Awesome in 2017 to help make digital safety knowledge as accessible as possible. Since then, we have trained millions of children through the program in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. And today, we’re launching in four more countries: Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and the Netherlands. 

With Be Internet Awesome (InternetHelden in the Netherlands) Google works with non-governmental organizations to teach children how to be safer, more confident explorers of the online world. For example, we help children practice smart tactics for analyzing and evaluating information, sharing media with care, creating strong passwords, and handling bullying. 

We’re proud that the program has been awarded the Seal of Alignment by the International Society for Technology in Education, and pleased to make it available to many more children.

Helping experts make the online world safer

We know Google can’t tackle online safety alone, so we’re partnering with cross-sector experts and developers to address evolving challenges on the web. Just this month, we announced the 29 grant recipients of the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety, a €10 million fund to support organizations across Europe who are working to address hate, extremism and child safety. 

One of them—Mama Chat, from its headquarters in Italy—has built a chat service that gives free and anonymous support for women and girls in need. Another, the Fare Network, is working to fight racism in football. You can learn more about all the grantees on our Google.org Impact Challenge website

Helping protect your devices from attack

And of course we’re continuing to build improvements into the core of our products and services that help protect people from harm. 

For example, over the last year, we made our strongest security program more accessible than ever before, by enabling you to use your Android or iOS phone as a security key instead of a standard physical security key that you need to carry around. You shouldn’t need to be an expert in computer security to stay safe, which is why this year we’ll continue to build best-in-class security features to help keep you protected against evolving online threats wherever you are on the internet.

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

Helping Europeans succeed: Google’s impact in Europe

Europe’s economy continues to grow, helped in part by the growing digital economy which creates jobs, increases productivity and business opportunities. Yet technology is also changing the way we access information and the way we work. That's why Google partners with governments, industry, educators and others to provide the right tools and training to make sure everyone can benefit—people can learn new skills if their jobs are changing because of automation and businesses can access products and training to help them grow and compete at home and abroad. Take Borja Piedra, who went from being unemployed to starting a business selling tropical fruit grown in Granada, Spain. Or Rokka, a small village in Greece that used technology to create a festival, bringing people back to celebrate year after year.

A new report we commissioned from an independent consultancy estimates that Google’s free consumer products create €420 billion a year in value for Europeans who use tools like Google Search to access and analyse relevant information, be more productive and learn new skills. 72% of the people surveyed use Google Maps to find local businesses and 87% say they are more likely to look something up when they are unsure than before search engines existed. European workers are also more productive, with 2,800 million hours a year saved by using Google Search and Apps. The findings are based on market data and a poll of over 28,000 individuals and 6,000 businesses from across Europe.

Google’s tools also help businesses grow faster, export to other markets and be more productive, creating an estimated €177 billion in economic activity in 2019 for businesses, developers, creators and publishers right across Europe. More specifically, 72 percent of exporters agreed that online search and online advertising have made it significantly easier to find international customers, helping them to grow. Google data also shows that, on average, businesses receive €8 back in profit for every €1 they spend on Google Ads, ensuring their investments are efficient. Small businesses represent 99 percent of all businesses in Europe, and have created 85 percent of new jobs in the past five years—helping them grow faster and more efficiently boosts the whole economy.

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However, starting any business is risky. According to European figures, only 3 percent of startupsmake it past the critical early years or expand outside of their own country, so it’s crucial that industry and governments create the right conditions for European businesses to succeed. That includes helping businesses take advantage of new technology like AI and equipping people with the skills they need to succeed in the future workforce, which range from technology design and programming to critical thinking and emotional intelligence. To play our part, we’re rolling out our machine learning checkup tool across 11 European countries which helps businesses understand the applications of AI for them and practical ways to implement changes. 

We’re also providing future skills training for millions of people and providing entrepreneurs with opportunities to create new types of businesses. One of these new areas is Android which is estimated to support €11.7 billion in revenue for developers and over 1.4 million jobs in Europe, such as Denmark’s Too Good to Go, a marketplace for restaurants and supermarkets to sell their surplus food for a cheaper price.

There are still barriers that prevent everyone from accessing these opportunities—you may not have the resources, time or support to learn about new skills or technologies. Governments, industry, educators and communities must work together to ensure that people and businesses across Europe are able to grow, innovate and succeed in the future economy. At Google we’ll continue to invest in products and partnerships to be a helpful partner in Europe’s future success.