In working with journalists and publishers around the world for many years, the question that I’m continually asked is why Google works with the media? The answer is found in our mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Our mission is inextricably linked with the essence of journalism, aiming to provide citizens around the world with access to the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives. We all need and want a sustainable and diverse news industry that provides us, and our communities, with high-quality news.
In 2018 we created the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenges, with the goal of empowering news organizations to pioneer new thinking in online journalism, develop new business models and better understand their communities. Since then, we’ve worked with and funded 338 projects in 75 countries. And today, I’m thrilled to share that 30 more media organizations from 12 countries in Latin America are the new recipients in our third iteration of the Challenge in the region.
The third edition in Latin America
This Innovation Challenge in Latin America was open to the entire ecosystem from news publishers to digital-only outlets, news startups, associations or NGOs, academics and independent journalists. Applications ranged from projects focused on increasing reader engagement and/or revenue from readers, developing and diversifying business models, combating misinformation, increasing trust in journalism, reaching new audiences, improving workflow efficiency and exploring new technologies.
We received 353 applicants from 21 countries in the region. All projects were evaluated by a team of experts and a final jury that were impressed by the diversity and the quality of the proposed projects. We saw creative solutions by regional media focusing on the development of inclusive membership models and content distribution for younger people. Others seek to generate resources through technology and collaboration with readers by developing new subscription platforms, capitalizing on the power of blockchain technology, and betting on artificial intelligence to help fight misinformation or increase engagement.
Of the applications we received, more than 31% percent were from regional and local publishers, while 23% were from online-only publishers.
Some highlights include:
- Abril Editorial Match: This project from Brazil seeks to use artificial intelligence to better understand their readers’ behavior across Abril's brands, engaging them through a predictive experience of relevant articles.
- El Colombiano: This Colombian project, “Loyalty Wall,” seeks to implement a platform for digital subscriptions, which includes a dynamic paywall and loyalty rewards for audiences.
- Promoting information access in Latin America (PIALA): This Mexican platform will enable journalists and researchers to make the most of the freedom of information acts (FOIAs) across the region. Users will be able to create, submit, manage, organize and follow up on all their FOIA requests at the same time in a quick and easy way.
This photo collage shows images of some of the 2022 recipients of the Innovation Challenge in Latin America.
Congratulations to the 2022 Latin America recipients!
- TeleNueve (Argentina)
- Editorial Jornada (Argentina)
- La Gaceta (Argentina)
- El Litoral (Argentina)
- Agencia de Noticias Fides (Bolivia)
- Plural (Brazil)
- Lupa (Brazil)
- A Gazeta (Brazil)
- Poder360 (Brazil)
- Sumaúma (Brazil)
- Mídia Ninja (Brazil)
- Carla Beraldo (Brazil - freelance journalist and researcher)
- Grupo Matinal Jornalismo and Headline News (Brazil)
- Abril (Brazil)
- Ambiental Media (Brazil)
- Diário do Nordeste (Brazil)
- Grupo Copesa (La Tercera) (Chile)
- BioBioChile (Chile)
- Súbela Radio (Chile)
- El Colombiano (Colombia)
- Baudó Agencia Pública (Colombia)
- Confidencial (Costa Rica)
- Fundación El Churo - Wambra Medio Digital Comunitario (Ecuador)
- PIALA (México)
- Grupo Milenio (México)
- Empresa Editora Milenio (Peru)
- Asociación de Periodismo de Investigación Ojo Público (Peru)
- El Faro (El Salvador)
- La Diaria (Uruguay)
- A.C. Contenidos para la información y formación (Cofein) (Venezuela)
Thanks to all who applied and congratulations to all of the selected projects. We hope media initiatives in the region continue their efforts to maintain a sustainable and diverse news ecosystem in Latin America. Only through collaboration is it possible to build new business models that will benefit us all. Our commitment to the news industry stems from our founding mission to build a better-informed world, and quality journalism is as essential today as it’s ever been to democracies around the world.
More information about all the selected projects can be found on our website.
During the pandemic, different technological tools allowed us to stay connected, collaborate and find the best responses to overcome the challenges in front of us.
As we move forward, we want to become Mexico's trusted technology ally and contribute to the country with programs, products and initiatives that promote economic, social and cultural development. Today, at our second Google for Mexico event, we aim to accelerate the country's economic recovery, helping people find more and better jobs, making it easier for businesses to grow, reduce the gender gap and promote financial inclusion.
Improving Mexicans’ lives through technology
In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Education, we helped students across the country to continue their school year by providing more than 20 million free Google for Education accounts. We have trained more than 1.9 million people in Mexico through Grow with Google and Google.org grants. And we have worked together with the Ministry of Tourism to create a joint strategy to digitize the travel sector, and partnered with the Ministry of Economy on gender gap reduction projects and a technological innovation program for manufacturing companies in the southeast region of the country.
According to a study we conducted with AlphaBeta, in 2021 we estimated that companies in the country obtained annual economic benefits worth more than $7.7 billion dollars from Google products (Google Search & Ads, AdSense, Google Play and YouTube), approximately three times the impact in 2018 ($2.3 billion dollars).
Today, more people in the world are using their smartphones to save credit and debit cards and to buy new things. Over the last few years, we have seen rapid digitization of essentials that we carry with us every day, such as car keys, digital IDs and vaccine records.
That’s why we are announcing that Mexico is part of the global launch of Google Wallet on Android and Wear OS. Google Wallet will initially launch with support for payment cards and loyalty passes and eventually expand to new experiences like transit and event tickets, boarding passes, car keys and digital IDs.
$10 million from Google.org
Mexico's Southeast region is home to more than 50% of the country's indigenous population; it is also a place affected by poverty and with big social vulnerability. Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, is allocating $10 million — the largest amount of funding provided by the organization in the country — to this region’s transformation. This initiative will mostly benefit women during the upcoming three years, supporting programs focused on promoting economic opportunities that accelerate financial inclusion, reducing the gender gap.
Women from Mexico's Southeast region will benefit from Google.org 10 million dollars fund through local and regional NGOs.
Technology as a booster for jobs
In 2019, during the first edition of Google for Mexico, we announced the launch of Google Career Certificates alongside a grant of $1.1 million for International Youth Foundation Mexico (IYF). Through this grant, IYF has trained 1,200 young people. Seventy percent of the graduates managed to get a new job, while the participants who were already employed raised their income by more than 30%. To expand this initiative, and as part of the $10M fund to support Mexico’s Southeast region, we are announcing a $2 million grant to support IYF to take their project into the region and train 2300 women from the community.
Supporting the news industry
In late 2020, we launched Google News Showcase, an initiative that offers a better experience for readers and news editors. Google News Showcase is a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content. This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories and stay informed about different issues and interests.
Today we are announcing the beginning of negotiations with local media to soon launch a News Showcase in México. We are excited to continue contributing to the country’s media ecosystem, and offer our users relevant, truthful and quality information on local, national and international news.
Google News Showcase will bring a better experience for readers and news publishers in Mexico.
Preserving and promoting native languages
Every 14 days, a language becomes extinct. This means that out of the 7,000 existing tongues in the world, more than 3,000 are in danger of vanishing. To support the efforts of groups dedicated to language preservation, Google Arts & Culture is collaborating with partners around the world to launch Woolaroo, an experiment that uses machine learning to identify objects and show them in native languages.
Through their mobile cameras, users can take a photo or check their surroundings to receive a translation, and its correct pronunciation. In the beginning, Woolaroo could do this in 10 languages, and today seven more have been added, including Maya and Tepehua.
Woolaroo, a language preservation experiment powered by machine learning, will include ancestral languages Maya and Tepehua.
At Google, we believe technology is the fuel to be helpful for Mexicans across the country, providing intelligent solutions for millions of people.
New technology advancements during the pandemic have reshaped the way we connect, work and run businesses around the world. Today, we gathered Googlers, journalists, business leaders, civil society representatives and public figures for our Google for Brazil event in São Paulo to demonstrate how we’ll contribute to Brazil’s continued digital transformation.
Reinforcing Brazil as an innovation hub
In January, we announced our goal to increase our engineering workforce in the country. At today’s event, we shared our plans to open a new multidisciplinary engineering center in São Paulo. Located on the São Paulo University campus, the new center will be part of the IPT Open Experience, a program created by the Technological Research Institute (IPT) of the State of São Paulo to promote innovation.
A 3D render of the new multidisciplinary engineering center in São Paulo
The Google São Paulo Engineering Center, which should be complete at the end of 2024, will accommodate up to 400 Googlers from various technical areas. Initially, this new hub will host Google engineers working on areas like privacy, security and safety. They will join teams focused on delivering simple user protection and controls to help people stay safe online.
This important work happens both inside and outside of Google. So in partnership with our Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC), we're launching a dedicated outreach program for content responsibility in Brazil — engaging with tech experts, educators, regulators and key opinion formers to discuss our approach to content responsibility and online safety, and provide more transparency into our work.
Using technology in service of recovery
Being online is essential for any business to grow, and even more so to recover from the pandemic. According to our most recent Economic Impact Report from consulting firm AlphaBeta, thousands of businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers relied on Google Search, Google Ads, Google AdSense, Google Play and YouTube to generate US$19.4 billion in economic impact in Brazil in 2021.
When it comes to selling products or services in physical stores, it's important for businesses to keep their online information up to date. We’re continuing to experiment with Duplex, our AI technology for natural voice conversations, to call Brazilian businesses and update their hours in their business profile on Maps. All calls are conducted respecting local privacy laws.
Another way to help people in times of recovery is to connect them with the information they need. According to the latest report by research network Rede Penssan, hunger affects more than 33 million Brazilians today. So we partnered with Ação Cidadania to make it easier for Brazilians to find reliable information about soup kitchens and food banks on Search and Maps, with 1,000 currently pinned across the country.
Brazilians can now find soup kitchens and food banks on Search and Maps
Supporting digital inclusion
Since 2017, we’ve invested over 1.6 billion reais to strengthen our technical infrastructure in Brazil, including our subsea cables and cloud region in São Paulo. All these projects aim to improve the quality of digital services for Brazilians and support the growth of our Cloud business. And as our employee base grows, our local Cloud team will move to a new office in São Paulo city in 2023.
To help people and entrepreneurs make the most of this infrastructure, we need to equip them with knowledge and skills. This is especially important for job seekers, as Brazil currently has 11.9 million unemployed people. Today, we announced a commitment to provide 500,000 Google Career Certificate scholarships over the next four years. This year, we’ll offer 30,000 of them in partnership with Centro de Integração Empresa-Escola (CIEE), helping Brazilians get access to jobs in high-growth fields like data analysis and UX design. We’ve also expanded Capacita+, our educational content hub for cloud computing.
This builds on the work Google.org and the InterAmerican Development Bank have been supporting since 2019 with JA Brazil to bring Google Career Certificates to over 2,000 young Brazilians across the country. Additionally, we recently renewed our commitment with Instituto Rede Mulher Empreendedora (RME) through a new $2 million Google.org grant to train 200,000 women all over the country on entrepreneurship, with a focus on Northern Brazil. This complements our new Google for Startups scholarship program in partnership with Instituto Vamo Que Vamo to train 200 young Black people, mostly women, in software development.
Promoting a more sustainable planet
Each day, more people ask themselves what they can do to help protect our planet from environmental threats like climate change. Many of these questions start in Google Search. So in partnership with the United Nations, we’ve released an information panel that appears above results for climate change-related queries. In addition to sharing basic facts about the topic, the panel also offers tips for living a more sustainable life.
As a technology company, we can also help others use digital solutions to increase the scale and impact of their work. Through a $500,000 Google.org commitment ($250,000 in cash grants and $250,000 in Ad Grants), we’ll support The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to develop solutions to protect biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest.
Reaffirming our mission
Our Google for Brazil event was a special moment to demonstrate our long-term commitment to the country and celebrate Brazil's unique contributions to the world. In fact, to cap off the day, we revealed a new Google Arts & Culture collection dedicated to Gilberto Gil, one of Brazil's best-known musicians. It's the platform’s first large retrospective dedicated to a living artist, unpacking Gil’s life, career and influences on Brazilian and global culture on the month of his 80th birthday.
Through all of these initiatives, we are reaffirming our mission to help Brazilians use technology to build a more inclusive, innovative, sustainable, democratic and equitable future.
“From yellow corn and white corn their flesh was made; from corn dough the arms and legs of man were made,” reads the ancient pre-Hispanic legend written in the sacred Mayan book, the Popol Vuh.
The connection between food and cultural heritage couldn’t be stronger. And according to Mexican chef Martha Ortiz, Mexican food is identity. “It’s such a strong gastronomy that it makes us believe why the Popol Vuh said that we’re made of corn,” she says. “And even Mexico’s flag is quite gastronomic, with the eagle devouring a snake while standing on prickly pears and nopales (prickly pear cacti).”
Martha is one of the chefs who participated in Google Arts & Culture’s latest program, Taste Mexico. It showcases the deep connection between food, culture, legacy and art represented in Mexican food with more than 220 stories, 6000 images and 200 videos from 31 partner institutions. Subjects range from the traditional Mexican female cooks, called mayoras, to internationally known chefs like Martha and Enrique Olvera.
A spoonful of Hispanic legacyMartha says Mexican food represents Hispanic heritage in its inclusivity, capturing the fusion of beliefs and traditions that created the mestizo culture. “Nowadays there’s a big discussion on the past, the indigenous peoples and colonization. The way I see it, is that in gastronomy there wasn’t violence,” she says. “The earth was fertile, and in the clay pots and wooden spoons were mixed local ingredients like chili peppers with new ones, like the sesame seeds brought by the Spaniards, who were introduced to it by the Moors.” The Taste Mexico virtual exhibit includes topics like the fusion of Mexican cuisine and the blend of cultures in new creations, like chocolate.
For Martha, Mexican gastronomy is more than just food — it’s art. It’s a mix of narratives, sounds, images and senses. She thinks about the sound and the feel of the chilli peppers breaking against the stone when preparing a traditional mole, or the clapping sounds of the women making tortillas in a market, which she refers to as a tortilla symphony. “It’s a mise-en-scène. There’s theatricality, a plot, a lyric, beauty and taste.” Through Taste of Mexico, experience that theatricality through iconic markets like Melchor Ocampo or the ones in Puebla.
Martha remembers the colorful paintings of the Oaxacan artist Rufino Tamayo, and it makes her think about the colors of that state where you can have a black mole with red rice served on a blue plate at a deep green “fonda.” That’s why she doesn't refer to the people who visit her restaurants as dinner guests, but as dish collectors.
A flavorful concert
With this in mind, Martha organized an art and food physical exhibition and event in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Querétaro, “We Eat Color” — which is now part of Taste Mexico — that offered a fusion of art, gastronomy and music. Martha prepared surprising dishes in six colors — white, yellow, green, red, black and psychedelia, which represents the combination of all the colors. — that merged with the music from the State of Querétaro Philharmonic and with the plastic work of five local artists.
Creating narratives is the base of Martha’s cooking style. It’s not just about preparing a dish, but about telling a story based on Mexican history and culture. From the way pink mole connects a wedding tradition in Taxco and the local religious beliefs of Santa Prisca, to the way the national dish, Chile en Nogada, represents hope and freedom, or how eating a black mole with a tortilla is like having a dish of night and day, since pre-hispanic tradition dictates that tortillas are the communion with the sun. “Mexican cuisine is a cultural manifestation that has a powerful legacy, and thus a powerful future,” she says.“Life is meant to offer beauty, and Mexican gastronomy is beautiful.”
An inspiring song here in Brazil goes: “Um passo à frente e você não está mais no mesmo lugar”— a step forward, and you’re not in the same place anymore. While singer Chico Science passed away before the tech boom, his words predicted the rapid transformation of the Brazilian startup world over the past half-decade.
When we opened Google for Startups Campus Sao Paulo in 2016, Brazil was in a deep recession. Only slightly more than half of the population had access to the Internet, let alone used it daily. International funds were skeptical of the growth of our mere 5,000 startups, none of which were “unicorns” (companies valued at over $1 billion).
Just five years later, there are now 141.6 million internet users in Brazil, now the world’sfifth-largest online population. The 250+ startups in our network have created more than 15,000 jobs and raised more than BRL 35 billion (USD $7 billion). Google for Startups Brazil has trained more than 30,000 entrepreneurs at more than 1,500 in-person and virtual events. The local startup ecosystem is growing so rapidly that in the three months since we finalized our five-year impact report the number of Brazilian unicorn startups has grown from 15 to 17, including six companies that graduated from Google for Startups programs.
The story of Google in Brazil is deeply connected to this tech transformation. Our presence in the country kickstarted with theacquisition of local search engine startup Akwan. Ever since, Google for Startups’ mission has been very intentional: to help founders solve Brazil’s biggest challenges. Startups like fintech giant Nubank, which became the biggest digital bank in the worldby offering underbanked Brazilians fee-free credit cards; health-tech gamechangers like Vittude, which is making mental health care accessible to all; resources likeContabilizei that empower Brazilians to tackle bureaucracy; and digital platforms like Trakto that have reignited regional economies by helping local entrepreneurs learn digital skills.
And who becomes a founder is changing, too. 88% of the startups in our network have women in leadership positions, 53% have a leader who identifies as LGBTQIA+, and 58% counted at least one Black leader. While these are steps in the right direction, we still have a long way to go to level the playing field for aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. Over 56% of Brazilians self-identify as Black, but one-third of Black entrepreneurs in Brazil report being denied funding. So last year we launched the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund—the first of its kind in Brazil—to not only boost racial diversity in the startup ecosystem but also create economic opportunity for all Brazilians by supporting high-growth, Black-led companies.
The past year also brought unprecedented devastation — and digital transformation — across our country. There have been more than 20 million cases of COVID-19 and over 570,000 deaths in Brazil, and unemployment hit an all-time high in March. Startups from the Campus Sao Paulo community fueled economic recovery by creating 2,000 jobs in 2020, a 33% increase over 2019. “The Google brand helped us forge relationships of trust,” said Lincoln Ando, CEO of idwall, a security tech startup that graduated from Google for Startups Residency and Accelerator programs and raised $38M during the pandemic. “We still have a lot to achieve in Brazil, but we see a big opportunity to take our mission even further.”
Each step forward presents new challenges, but reinventing the day-to-day is what startups do best. While I am incredibly proud of what Google for Startups has accomplished over the past five years, the real privilege is helping founders start, build, and grow the companies that will take Brazil—and the world—into the future.