Tag Archives: Google in Europe

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. 

Google helps Switchboard support UK LGBT+ communities

Every February people across the UK celebrate LGBT+ History Month, raising awareness about  LGBT+ communities. Based in London, Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline has supported LGBT+ people since the 1970s, just a few years after the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK. Since then, they’ve witnessed and shaped many more milestones of UK LGBT+ history, helping millions of people. 

As an entirely volunteer-led organization, Switchboard keeps its phone lines open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (yes, even during the holidays!), and offers additional support on email and text. Volunteers are there to listen and assist callers, offering a safe space for anyone to discuss what’s on their mind, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health, and emotional wellbeing. No matter where you are, no matter how you identify, you can call Switchboard and speak openly, in confidence, without any judgment. 

Running an always-on program with more than 200 volunteers on a small budget requires the right tools. Volunteers need to be trained and prepared—calls can be emotionally challenging, and many topics require detailed, in-depth knowledge. For this reason, Switchboard consolidates all their training securely into Google Drive and gives every volunteer access via their own G Suite for Nonprofits account. “As an organization we try to move with the evolving nature of culture, education, and society, and G Suite for Nonprofits has really helped us to do that,'' says Tash Walker, Co-Chair. Watch the video to learn more about Switchboard’s impact and how they use G Suite and other Google for Nonprofits products to offer high quality, reliable services to the LGBT+ community. 

Announcing Google.org’s new safety grants in Europe

Whether you’re online searching for answers, creating something new, or just looking for a little help, you should be able to do so with confidence that you and your family will stay safe. 


That’s why last year we opened the Google Safety Engineering Centre, our global hub for privacy engineering, in the heart of Europe. It’s there where we build many of the tools that protect the privacy and security of our users all over the world—and where last year we also announced the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety, a fund to support organisations that are creating practical, real-world solutions when it comes to hate, extremism, and child safety, both online and offline. 


Today, we’re announcing the grant recipients: 29 organizations across 14 countries who are receiving grants totaling €10 million to fund their work in their home countries and across Europe. 


One of our grantees, the FARE Network, has developed tools to improve, understand and report extremist hate crime and discrimination in football. Another, Mama Chat, has built a chat service that gives free and anonymous support for women and girls in need. 


To see the full list of grantees, visit our website at g.co/safetyimpactchallenge.


Nearly 900 applications came in from all across the region. We would like to thank our panel of experts—including Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini, journalist Kübra Gümüşay, Executive Director of ILGA Europe Evelyne Paradis, and many more—as well as partners the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and Ashoka, the largest global social network for entrepreneurs, who were chosen for their expertise on these important issues.  


Our focus on safety doesn’t end with our development of tools for Google users. It extends to our support for the important work of civil society and cross-sector experts, developers, and collaborators—everyone, in other words, who is invested in making the internet a safer place.

Supporting AI skills training in Molenbeek, Belgium

MolenGeek started in 2015 in Molenbeek, Belgium, as a coding school for anyone to learn digital skills. But unlike many other schools, MolenGeek is driven by a social mission of fostering inclusion, integration and community development in this culturally diverse suburb of Brussels. 

In five years, it’s become a co-working space for young people from all backgrounds, enabling them to network and share their experiences. Out of Molengeek's community of 800 active members, 195 people from predominantly underprivileged backgrounds have gone through entrepreneurship skills training, and 35 new startups have been built and grown out of their incubator program. We’ve been proud to help support their mission since 2015.

Today, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, visited MolenGeek to announce an additional Google.org grant of $250,000—over EUR 200,000—to expand its coding school and increase the community’s access to new kinds of digital skills training. MolenGeek will use the funds to develop a new six-month content module focused on artificial intelligence and data analytics. This is part of MolenGeek’s longer-term plan to open a second hub in Brussels later this year, which will include an incubator dedicated to the needs of AI-focused startups, as well as a six-month AI training program. In addition to funding, Google AI experts will also provide MolenGeek with ongoing mentorship and opportunities for Googlers to volunteer.

“MolenGeek’s mission to make sure technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation is accessible to everyone is personal to me, and to the work we do at Google,” said Sundar. “Increasingly that means helping people get the skills they need to succeed in a digital world. We’re proud to support MolenGeek as it expands its digital trainings, including a new module focused on artificial intelligence, to give more people the tools for success.”

Sundar visits MolenGeek

“It’s important that we offer the younger generations a way to invest in themselves,” says Ibrahim Ouassari, co-founder of MolenGeek. “As the momentum is picking up, we are grateful that we can once again count on Google to lend their support and knowledge to the many potential entrepreneurs who look to MolenGeek as a gateway to the tech sector and a springboard for their future careers.”

And this grant support is especially important when it comes to AI, one of the most exciting technologies humanity is working on today. We’re already seeing its potential to change lives, from helping doctors better detect breast cancer, forecast floods in India, to supporting nonprofits applying AI tools to address issues like illegal logging and plastic waste reduction. To help more Belgian businesses make the most of this technology, we’ll be expanding our Machine Learning Checkup tool to small and medium businesses here in Belgium, as well as 10 other markets in Europe. 

With such a huge scope for positive change, countries must invest now in reskilling and education. It all starts in communities like Molenbeek, in organizations like this one, who believe not just in technology, but in the people creating it.

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.