Tag Archives: Google in Europe

5 tips for finding the best hotels in 2020

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

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

Know when to go

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

Narrow down by neighborhood

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


See personal results

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

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Get the total cost for your stay

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

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Resume planning your trip in seconds

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

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

Using AI to improve breast cancer screening

Breast cancer is a condition that affects far too many women across the globe. More than 55,000 people in the U.K. are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, and about 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop the disease in their lifetime. 

Digital mammography, or X-ray imaging of the breast, is the most common method to screen for breast cancer, with over 42 million exams performed each year in the U.S. and U.K. combined. But despite the wide usage of digital mammography, spotting and diagnosing breast cancer early remains a challenge. 

Reading these X-ray images is a difficult task, even for experts, and can often result in both false positives and false negatives. In turn, these inaccuracies can lead to delays in detection and treatment, unnecessary stress for patients and a higher workload for radiologists who are already in short supply.

Over the last two years, we’ve been working with leading clinical research partners in the U.K. and U.S. to see if artificial intelligence could improve the detection of breast cancer. Today, we’re sharing our initial findings, which have been published in Nature. These findings show that our AI model spotted breast cancer in de-identified screening mammograms (where identifiable information has been removed) with greater accuracy, fewer false positives, and fewer false negatives than experts. This sets the stage for future applications where the model could potentially support radiologists performing breast cancer screenings.

Our research

In collaboration with colleagues at DeepMind, Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre, Northwestern University and Royal Surrey County Hospital, we set out to see if artificial intelligence could support radiologists to spot the signs of breast cancer more accurately. 

The model was trained and tuned on a representative data set comprised of de-identified mammograms from more than 76,000 women in the U.K. and more than 15,000 women in the U.S., to see if it could learn to spot signs of breast cancer in the scans. The model was then evaluated on a separate de-identified data set of more than 25,000 women in the U.K. and over 3,000 women in the U.S. In this evaluation, our system produced a 5.7 percent reduction of false positives in the U.S, and a 1.2 percent reduction in the U.K. It produced a 9.4 percent reduction in false negatives in the U.S., and a 2.7 percent reduction in the U.K.

We also wanted to see if the model could generalize to other healthcare systems. To do this, we trained the model only on the data from the women in the U.K. and then evaluated it on the data set from women in the U.S. In this separate experiment, there was a 3.5 percent reduction in false positives and an 8.1 percent reduction in false negatives, showing the model’s potential to generalize to new clinical settings while still performing at a higher level than experts. 

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This is a visualization of tumor growth and metastatic spread in breast cancer. Screening aims to detect breast cancer early, before symptoms develop.

Notably, when making its decisions, the model received less information than human experts did. The human experts (in line with routine practice) had access to patient histories and prior mammograms, while the model only processed the most recent anonymized mammogram with no extra information. Despite working from these X-ray images alone, the model surpassed individual experts in accurately identifying breast cancer.

Next steps

Looking forward to future applications, there are some promising signs that the model could potentially increase the accuracy and efficiency of screening programs, as well as reduce wait times and stress for patients. Google’s Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat shared her optimism around potential technological breakthroughs in this area in a post in October reflecting on her personal experience with breast cancer.

But getting there will require continued research, prospective clinical studies and regulatory approval to understand and prove how software systems inspired by this research could improve patient care.

This work is the latest strand of our research looking into detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, not just within the scope of radiology, but also pathology. In 2017, we published early findings showing how our models can accurately detect metastatic breast cancer from lymph node specimens. Last year, we also developed a deep learning algorithm that could help doctors spot breast cancer more quickly and accurately in pathology slides.

We’re looking forward to working with our partners in the coming years to translate our machine learning research into tools that benefit clinicians and patients.

My doctor’s advice turned me into a Local Guide

A couple of years ago I turned 50, which seemed like the perfect time to visit our family doctor for a checkup. The verdict was: "You need more exercise, Jan." (Not really surprising for someone who has a desk job.)

At first, I bought a decent bicycle and used it occasionally, but pretty soon those occasions started to decrease significantly. I also enjoy hiking in the countryside with my wife, but with two busy schedules to manage, that isn’t always possible. 

Jan taking a photo on a city street

During one of those hikes, however, I was testing the camera on my new smartphone. All of a sudden, a pop-up appeared asking me if I would like to upload the picture I had just taken to Google Maps. I tapped “Yes,” a decision that would change my life. 

After about a week, another notification popped up to tell me that my photo had already been viewed 70 times, which came as a total surprise. Digging a bit deeper, I discovered that this was the result of a program called Local Guides, where people add their own information to Google Maps. It was open to anyone 18 and over with a Google account: All I had to do was sign up and start adding information, and I became a Level 1 Local Guide. Not only could Local Guides upload pictures, but they could also write reviews of local businesses and edit information (like opening hours or telephone numbers). They could even add missing places to Google Maps.

Pretty soon I was making Local Guide trips. I strolled through nearby cities, smartphone in hand (I quickly added a spare battery pack to my shopping list), taking a picture here, adding a newly opened bakery there.

Jan at the Connect Live conference in California

Jan at the Connect Live conference in California

A few weeks into it, I discovered exactly how helpful my new hobby could be when my stepdaughter got completely lost during a trip to a nearby town. Her destination was an office that had recently moved to a new location. And although the street address had technically been updated on Maps, the map marker (the red pin showing the exact location on the map) hadn’t been moved. It led her to the old address (with 5% battery life and 95% anxiety). Now that I’d been a Local Guide for a little while, I could simply drag and drop the pin to the new location. Within seconds, it was available to anyone searching for it.

And thus a passion and a mission were born. In fact, I now host a podcast dedicated to helping fellow Local Guides develop their skills, and post regular tips on my blog.

Thanks to all those health-conscious walking trips, I’ve made thousands of contributions (it helps that you get points for each contribution and thereby rise to higher Local Guide levels). And I’ve discovered a vibrant community of Local Guides who come together online and at occasional meetups in real life. I was recently invited to attend the biggest meetup of them all, Connect Live at Google’s headquarters in California. I had the opportunity to talk with some of the Maps team members in Mountain View, and meet 199 other Guides who are as passionate about this hobby as I am. 

Looking back on that doctor’s visit now, it’s possibly the best advice I ever received.

Helping women grow professionally across France

For many of us, the word “entrepreneur” brings to mind a certain type of person: someone young, assertive and probably male. But plenty of entrepreneurs don’t identify with any of those descriptions. 

Anne-Cécile, a middle-aged woman from Rennes, France, has always been a creative type, with a passion for handcrafting bracelets made of miyuki pearls. When she found herself unemployed at 52, she wanted to try something completely different: selling her products online. But she didn’t know where to start with getting her business off the ground. So she visited the Grow with Google hub in her hometown and signed up for ten free digital skills courses through the Ateliers Numériques (French for “digital workshop”) program. After learning the basics of search engine optimization and online communication, Anne-Cécile not only launched her online jewelry business, but also landed a job in marketing a few months later

Launched in 2012, Google Ateliers Numériques is a French training program that provides small businesses, students and job seekers with relevant skills and digital tools training for free. More than 400,000 people have been trained through the program, with 25 percent having found a job, grown their career or expanded their business as a result of the training. And in the past 18 months, four physical Grow with Google hubs have opened in NancyRennesMontpellier and Saint-Etienne, France. The people who visit are from all walks of life, but they have the same goal in mind: to increase their digital skills to create new opportunities.

Another one of those participants is Karine, an ethnologist, reporter, speaker and founder of the company Terres Indigènes. Karine was planning a trip and cultural exchange with indigenous people in Southeast Asia. She had a hunch that she needed a digital crowdfunding campaign, but didn’t know where to start. She took advantage of the resources available at the Grow with Google hub in Montpellier, attending ten one-on-one coaching sessions and trainings on using YouTube and social networks. She then successfully ran a €20,000 crowdfunding campaign funded by hundreds of contributors. 

The Ateliers Numériques program isn’t just for helping established professionals expand their skills. Twenty-three-year-old Océane, who was unemployed in Nancy, wanted to work in digital marketing but felt she lacked the hard skills she’d need to secure a role. To upskill and increase her knowledge, she completed every training on digital marketing at Google Atelier Numérique of Nancy and took private sessions with coaches. During her time at the hub, she met with a recruiter and, after making that connection, is now employed full time as a web marketing manager.

To date, 49 percent of the more than six million people we’ve trained across Europe are women, and we aim to keep growing our programs with dedicated initiatives such as IamRemarkable and Women Will. Everyone should have the opportunity to live, work, learn and participate in the digital world. We look forward to helping many more people like Anne-Cécile, Karine and Océane by giving them access to the tools and training they need to confidently pursue their ambitions.

Meet Kwara, a startup in the new Africa Immersion program

At Google for Startups, we look for ways to support promising new companies around the world. But those companies usually stay put in their home regions, which can be limiting—it means a smaller network of expertise to draw on, and a restricted pool of venture capital investors. We wanted to see what might happen if we expanded the geographical horizon, and connected up-and-coming businesses in one region with well-honed resources from a different region.


So in September, Google for Startups UK launched our first-ever Africa Immersion cohort, a 12-week program to bring expertise from Google and London startups to tech startups from Africa. We chose ten startups from our Launchpad Africa program, a network of tech startups around the world, who can share learnings, support and do business with each other. We wrapped up last week in Lagos, where we brought key investors from the UK to meet with the founders. 


To get a behind-the-scenes view of the Africa Immersion cohort, we chatted with Cynthia Wandia, co-founder and CEO of Kwara, an online and mobile banking platform for financial cooperatives (also known as credit unions and community banks).

First, what does Kwara do?


We provide secure, simple and affordable online and mobile banking for cooperative financial institutions and their members, who are often excluded by traditional banks. Starting in Kenya, our mission is to make sure that these institutions can meet their members’ financial needs instantly, helping them avoid expensive predatory alternatives.

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Team Kwara: Austin Kabiru, Software Engineer, and Cynthia Wandia, Cofounder & CEO

How did you get started—where did the idea come from?

The idea started from the view that small-scale cash crop farmers should be able to command more value for their produce. As most farmers rely on the cooperative for their primary financial needs, we decided to strengthen the cooperatives by making them more secure, transparent and investible.

Who are your customers? What does your company do for them?

Our first sector is financial cooperatives, also known as credit unions and community banks. Our technology helps them acquire and retain more members, secure their members’ funds, and increase their own revenues. Members in turn benefit from increased convenience, transparency, peace of mind and more complete credit profiles. And since we link our banking platform to the formal financial sector, the members can also access shared channels such as ATM networks and widespread agent infrastructure.

Why did you decide to participate in the Africa Immersion program?

We were first connected to Google through Launchpad, a three-month accelerator program that provides early-stage startups with access to Google technology, mentorship and workshops on growing their businesses. Before Launchpad, we had acquired some customers who were willing to try out our product while it was still in an early testing stage, and we were making sure that we really could solve all the problems we wanted to address. Launchpad helped us focus on a single product and user, and define our tech team responsibilities. And the Google brand gave us added credibility with potential customers. We also benefited immensely from the lessons and experiences that other startups shared with us. So we were keen to participate in another Google program, specifically one that sought to open up new investor networks to us, as well as continue to introduce us to a peer group of admirable startups from all over the continent. 

Is there a moment or event from the program that particularly stands out to you?

Access to the Google for Startups UK team who have an extensive network and are very open to share has been the highlight. We have been linked with experts in product, fundraising and marketing, both from within Google and from leading startups in the UK.

What do you hope will come out of the program?

We hope to align with a few like-minded investors to start conversations about our next funding round. We also hope to continue our mentorship with the Google for Startups team, and hopefully speed up our marketing efforts.

Better password protections in Chrome

Many of us have encountered malware, heard of data breaches, or even been a victim of phishing, where a site tries to scam you into entering your passwords and other sensitive information. With all this considered, data security has become a top concern for many people worldwide. Chrome has safety protections built in, and now we're expanding those protections further. 

Chrome warns when your password has been stolen

When you type your credentials into a website, Chrome will now warn you if your username and password have been compromised in a data breach on some site or app. It will suggest that you change them everywhere they were used.

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If your credentials were compromised, we recommend to change them immediately.

Google first introduced this technology early this year as the Password Checkup extension. In October it became a part of the Password Checkup in your Google Account, where you can conduct a scan of your saved passwords anytime. And now it has evolved to offer warnings as you browse the web in Chrome. 

You can control it in Chrome Settings under Sync and Google Services. For now, we’re gradually rolling this out for everyone signed in to Chrome as a part of our Safe Browsing protections.

Phishing protection in real time

Google’s Safe Browsing maintains an ever-growing list of unsafe sites on the web and shares this information with webmasters, or other browsers, to make the web more secure. The list refreshes every 30 minutes, protecting 4 billion devices every day against all kinds of security threats, including phishing.

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Safe Browsing list has been capturing an increasing number of phishing sites.

However, some phishing sites slip through that 30-minute window, either by quickly switching domains or by hiding from our crawlers. Chrome now offers real-time phishing protections on desktop, which warn you when visiting malicious sites in 30 percent more cases. Initially we will roll out this protection to everyone with the “Make searches and browsing better” setting enabled in Chrome. 

Expanding predictive phishing protections

If you're signed in to Chrome and have Sync enabled, predictive phishing protection warns you if you enter your Google Account password into a site that we suspect of phishing. This protection has been in place since 2017, and today we’re expanding the feature further.

Now we'll be protecting your Google Account password when you sign in to Chrome, even if Sync is not enabled. In addition, this feature will now work for all the passwords you store in Chrome’s password manager. Hundreds of millions more users will now benefit from the new warnings.

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Chrome will show this warning when a user enters their Google Account password into a phishing page.

Sharing your device? Now it’s easier to tell whose Chrome profile you’re using 

We realize that many people share their computers or use multiple profiles. To make sure you always know which profile you’re currently using—for example, when creating and saving passwords with Chrome’s password manager—we’ve improved the way your profile is featured.

On desktop, you’ll see a new visual representation of the profile you’re currently using, so you can be sure you are saving your passwords to the right profile. This is a visual update and won’t change your current Sync settings. We’ve also updated the look of the profile menu itself: it now allows for easier switching and clearly shows if you are signed in to Chrome or not.

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The new sign-in indicator.

From Munich with love

Many of these technologies were developed at the Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC), a hub of privacy and security product experts and engineers based in Munich, which opened last May. GSEC is home to the engineering teams who build many of the safety features into the Chrome browser. We’ll continue to invest in our teams worldwide to deliver the safest personal browser experience to everyone, and we look forward to bringing more new features to strengthen the privacy and security of Chrome in 2020. 

All these features will be rolled out gradually over the next few weeks. Interested in how they work? You can learn more on Google Security blog.


Europe and Africa code weeks: 136,000 students learn to code

Within the next 10 to 15 years, 90 percent of all jobs in Europe will require some level of technology education, and now is the time for the future workforce to start acquiring these skills. Computer Science (CS) programs all over the world are helping prepare students for the new global economy and helping them channel their excitement and passion into real world creations.

This October, we supported Europe Code Week,a movement started by the European Commission,for the sixth consecutive year, and Africa Code Week for the fourth consecutive year. In total, Google funded 88 education organizations in 41 countries, reaching a grand total of 136,000 students. 

This is part of our commitment to help one million Europeans grow their careers by the end of 2020 and to train 10 million Africans in digital skills by 2022 as part of Grow with Google. 

As our work with Europe Code Week shows, this support is making a difference. Here are just a few stories from among the 33 organizations we funded in 23 countries and through which 21,291 students learned CS.

Europe Code Week

Africa Code Week 

In Africa, we joined forces with SAP and Africa Code Week to fund 55 organizations and grassroots groups across 18 countries. Over 115,000 students were able to explore CS through a variety of fun and interactive workshops. See some of their stories below.

We’re thrilled to help these students and teachers gain coding experience in Europe and Africa and look forward to inspiring even more students in 2020.

International Volunteer Day: a spotlight on GoVolunteer

In 2015, more than 1 million people sought asylum in Germany. Faced with this overwhelming humanitarian crisis, many Germans wanted to help but didn’t know how. Inspired by his fellow citizens’ willingness to lend a hand, Malte Bedürftig founded GoVolunteer, an online platform connecting people and corporations to volunteering opportunities and social initiatives. After GoVolunteer joined the Google for Nonprofits program, they gained more online visibility through Ad Grants and more team structure and efficiency through G Suite for Nonprofits. 

“We were a group of people who wanted to help others, inspired by the dream of changing things,” says Malte. Since then, Malte and his friends have built GoVolunteer into a full-fledged nonprofit, connecting 250,000 people to more than 3,500 volunteer opportunities in 250 cities across Germany. 

Today, in honor of the UN’s International Volunteer Day, we’re recognizing GoVolunteer and everyone else who makes time to help others. Watch the video to learn more about GoVolunteer’s journey and how Google for Nonprofits has supported their growth.

Share your own volunteer story with #IVD2019 and #InternationalVolunteerDay.

100 Years of Bauhaus on Google Arts & Culture

Even if you’ve never heard of the Bauhaus movement, you’ve probably seen its influence all around you. From traffic signs to office furniture, the legendary design school changed the way our world looks and functions.  

One hundred years after the movement began in Germany, we’re still surrounded by Bauhaus ideas about art, technology and craftsmanship, which are reflected in Google Arts & Culture's newest collection—"Bauhaus Everywhere". The collection came together in partnership with the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Germany—as part of our multi-year digitization collaboration—and six other partners including the IIT Institute of Design or the Guggenheim Museum.

Bauhaus design aimed to improve people's lives through functional design. Well-known members of the school, such as its founder Walter Gropius, the controversial Hannes Meyer or Gunta Stölzl, as one of many female designers and artists, have a lasting influence on architecture, furniture design and even typefaces

This project digitizes over 10,000 objects, offers virtual tours of iconic buildings and exhibits over 400 artworks captured with our Art Camera. The result is over 45 online exhibitions curated by our seven partners featuring icons like the world known tubular steel armchair or imagery of “Africa's Finest Campus” and the (perhaps unexpectedly) best selling bauhaus design, wallpaper

There are also unique insights into the everyday student life of Bauhaus including the renowned Bauhaus parties and the forward thinking empowerment of women. And, because the school’s design principles spread far beyond Germany and Europe, we’ve created a Google Earth Voyager Tour to show how people as far away as Japan, India or Brazil were inspired by Bauhaus. 

New shapes, materials and approaches to construction made Bauhaus proposals stand out. Its architectural designs  were especially known for their avantgarde approach. But many of these bold building plans stayed just that, and were never actually constructed. In collaboration with experts from the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, the collection contains buildings that had only ever existed on paper and in the minds of their creators. 

Together we assembled archival sketches, scribbles and vague descriptions to create augmented reality models of three visionary structures. In the Google Arts & Culture app anyone can now explore “Round House” by Carl Fieger, “BAMBOS” by Marcel Breuer and “Court House” by Eduard Ludwig from inside and outside. 

László Moholy-Nagy, a teacher at the Bauhaus, put it this way: "Design is not a profession, design is an attitude." We hope you’ll see that the Bauhaus attitude is not just everywhere but, through this exhibit, also for everyone. 


Google for Startups Accelerator empowers AI startups in Europe

With access to the world's largest economy, a growing number of companies valued at a billion dollars, and a tech industry growing five times faster than the rest of the world, startups play a critical role in the future of Europe.

We’ve been working with startups in Europe for many years at our Google for Startups Campuses in the UK, Spain and Poland, as well as through partner organizations in 13 European countries. Startups at our Campuses and in our partner network are drivers of economic growth, having created more than 19,000 jobs and raised $1.7 billion since 2015.

To support startups to do great work, we’re bringing our Google for Startups Acceleratorprogram to Europe. The program is open to startups across Europe and each one will focus on a particular sector—with our current programs supporting startups in cybersecurity, entertainment, and social impact. Our accelerator selects startups focused on AI and, for three months, provides intense support on the teams' biggest challenges. We bring experts from Google and the industry to give these founders mentorship and tailored technical expertise. The program also includes workshops focused on machine learning, product design, customer acquisition, and leadership development for founders.

Our first Google for Startups Accelerator kicked off last month in Malaga, Spain. With a focus on cybersecurity startups, it includes companies like SecureKids, a team working to help parents and teachers keep their children safe when using tablets and mobile devices.

This month at our Google for Startups Campus in Warsaw, we welcome our second Google for Startups Accelerator cohort, made up of top entertainment startups from across Europe. Recent research showed that investment from Asia, USA, and Canada into the Central and Eastern Europe region has doubled since 2015; it is an exciting and fast-growing area now home to 12 companies valued at 1 billion dollars or more.

Also this month we announced the Google for Startups Accelerator: Sustainable Development Goals, focused on social impact startups that are building a healthier and more sustainable future. Startups will be selected based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty, inequality, climate, prosperity, and peace and justice.

We also have plans to further expand across Europe in 2020 to continue to support the continent’s growing startup communities. Want to learn more about Google for Startups Accelerator or apply for future cohorts? Learn more at our website.