Tag Archives: Google in Latin America

Google for Mexico: Economic recovery through technology

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.

A Mexican woman wearing a red dress with a white ruffle stands in front of hills, looking slightly away from the camera.

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.

Illustration of a finger swiping through Google News panels on a screen

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.

Animated GIF of a hand holding a phone that shows nature pictures that reflect the background.

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.

Renewing our commitment to Brazil

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.

The event happened on the heels of the IX Summit of the Americas, where our CEO Sundar Pichai announced a five-year, $1.2 billion commitment to Latin America. Here’s how that will unfold in Brazil:

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 rendering of an office building with three floors, a large staircase and various outdoor spaces

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.

A video of Patricia Alves talking about her professional journey

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.

Our commitment to Latin America’s digital future

Editor’s note: You can also read this blog inSpanishandPortuguese.

I’ve always believed technology is a powerful enabler for businesses and communities. During the pandemic, we’ve seen how digital tools have helped create jobs and make economies more resilient and sustainable. This is especially true in emerging markets, where an entrepreneurial spirit and new pathways for innovation can unleash enormous economic opportunity.

At Google, we see that potential today in Latin America. Communities have been hit hard by the pandemic, and closing digital access gaps will be vital to an inclusive recovery. At the same time, according to a new report from the Economist, increased investment and a policy focus on AI technologies can unlock new opportunities, from health care and sustainable agriculture to financial services and more.

As we shared in our Digital Sprinters report, digital transformation will require investment by governments and the private sector in infrastructure, people, technological innovation and public policies. In Latin America, realizing the full potential of digital technologies could generate an annual economic impact of up to $1.37 trillion by 2030 in six of the region’s largest economies, or 23% of these countries’ combined GDPs.

We’ve been investing in Latin America over the last 17 years, and today we’re announcing a five-year, $1.2 billion commitment to the region. We will focus on four areas where we believe we can best help the region to thrive: digital infrastructure, digital skills, entrepreneurship and inclusive, sustainable communities.

Investing in digital infrastructure

A subsea cable runs across the beach and into the ocean in Chile.

Curie landed in Valparaíso, Chile in 2019 and was the first subsea cable to connect to Chile in 19 years.

We’ve been investing to improve connectivity and increase Latin America’s access to digital services, including Google products like Search, Gmail and YouTube, as well as Google Cloud. The Firmina subsea cable, named after Brazilian abolitionist Maria Firmina dos Reis, will be the world's largest subsea cable, capable of operating from a single power source at one end of the cable if needed. When completed in 2023, it will run from the U.S. to Argentina, with additional landings in Brazil and Uruguay. Firmina follows three other significant cable investments in Latin America — Monet, Tannat and Curie — which together bring more reliable connectivity to the region.

Our Google Cloud Regions in Santiago, Chile, and São Paulo, Brazil, are giving businesses access to compute power and services that enable them to succeed in the digital economy. For example, Tembici, a Brazilian startup that offers bike sharing services in major cities across Latin America, runs its operations on Google Cloud — supporting its regional expansion.

Looking ahead, our Cloud Regions will continue to help more organizations accelerate their digital transformation and build towards long-term growth. We will also increase our engineering footprint in Brazil. These new roles — with a focus on essential areas like privacy and security — will help us create better products for the region and the world.

Expanding opportunity through digital skills

Digital skills are key to unlocking opportunities for the next generation. Through our Grow with Google program and Google.org grantees, we’ve trained nearly eight million people across Latin America in digital skills since 2017.

To build on this momentum, today we’re announcing that we’ll provide Google Career Certificate scholarships to one million people in Latin America. This training will help people access well-paying jobs in high-growth fields.

In photo on left, women look at the camera at a Grow with Google event. On photo on right, a large crowd attends an event in a conference room as a person speaks on stage.

Our Grow with Google program has trained nearly eight million people in Latin American in digital skills since 2017.

Supporting startups and small businesses

There is huge momentum behind tech entrepreneurship throughout Latin America. When we opened our Google for Startups campus in Brazil in 2016, there were no “unicorns,” startups valued at $1 billion or more, in the region. Today, there are 35, including 13 unicorns that have been part of Google for Startups programs. With investment, resources and training from Google for Startups, we have supported more than 450 startups in the region. These startups have gone on to raise more than $9 billion in investments, creating 25,000 jobs.

One example is Oliver Pets, an Argentinian startup that, with support from Google for Startups, was able to launch virtual veterinary care through their app and expand to Mexico and other parts of Latin America.

We’re also seeing how our products and services are helping small businesses thrive in difficult times. When Fátima Álvarez, the co-founder of Mexican startup Someone Somewhere, closed her retail shops during the pandemic, she turned to digital tools like Google Workspace and Google Ads to keep her clothing business running online.

Building more inclusive and sustainable communities

Through our philanthropic arm, Google.org, we’ve been supporting organizations like Laboratoria in Peru, Asociación Colnodo in Colombia and Instituto Rede Mulher Empreendedora in Brazil to make sure underserved communities also benefit from digital transformation.

Today Google.org is announcing $300 million over the next five years, comprised of $50 million in cash grants and $250 million in donated ads, to support nonprofits focused on areas like sustainability and economic opportunity for women and young people. For example, a $2 million Google.org grant to Pro Mujer will help Indigenous women-led businesses in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras access microloans and digital skills training.

In photo on left two people with laptops smile at the camera. In photo on right, people attend a graduation ceremony and are raising their arms as they cheer.

Through Google.org, we’ve supported Laboratoria, a nonprofit in Peru, to help women access digital skills training.

Across these commitments, we are partnering with governments, entrepreneurs and businesses to support sustainable, resilient and equitable growth. It’s exciting to see Latin America emerge as a hub of innovation, and we look forward to creating even more economic opportunities for those who call it home.

Taste Mexico: Sampling centuries of Mexican heritage

“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 legacy

Martha 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.”

Celebrating five years of Google for Startups in Brazil

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.

Google News Showcase launches in Colombia

On the 10th anniversary of Google’s presence in Colombia, we’re investing in the future of news in the country with the launch of Google News Showcase, our new product experience and licensing program for news. Colombia is now the third country in Latin America, alongside Argentina and Brazil, to provide News Showcase for readers.

Nearly 1,000 news publications globally have signed deals for News Showcase since last year. These span more than a dozen countries, including India, Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Australia, Czechia, Japan, the U.K, Austria and Argentina, with discussions underway in a number of other countries. Over 90% of the publications signed up around the world represent local, regional or community news.  

When Google came to Colombia a decade ago, the tech industry was facing an important moment of evolution in the country. Internet access and mobile penetration were increasing exponentially, marking a tipping point for Colombians. We’ve been a part of that growth ever since by partnering with the news industry, the government, industry associations, advertisers and users. With News Showcase launching in Colombia today, we’re looking forward to continuing to collaborate with the news industry over the next 10 years and more.   

News Showcase is backed by our recent $1 billion global investment in news. The primary goal of News Showcase is to support news publishers that are invested in comprehensive current events journalism in the public interest by giving them a new way to curate their high-quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms. Through News Showcase, these publishers can help connect their readers with the news that matters to them. As part of our licensing deals with publishers, we're also launching the ability for readers to access select paywall content. This feature will give people the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s content than they would otherwise have access to, while enabling publishers to incentivize more readers to become subscribers. 

Today’s News Showcase announcement includes 24 regional and national news publications well known to the people of Colombia: BLU Radio, Caracol Radio,El Colombiano, El Diario,, El Espectador, El Heraldo, El Nuevo Día, El Nuevo Siglo, El País, El Pilón, El Universal, Hoy Diario del Magdalena, La Crónica del Quindío, La Opinión, La Patria, Noticias Caracol, Publimetro, Q'Hubo Bogotá, Q’Hubo Bucaramanga, QHubo Cali, QHubo Medellín, Semana, Vanguardia and W Radio. Over the coming months we plan to add more publications. 

Logos of some of our News Showcase partners in Colombia including: BLU radio, Caracol Radio, El Colombiano, El Diario, El Espectador, El Heraldo, El Nuevo Día, El Nuevo Siglo, El País, El Pilón, El Universal, Hoy Diario del Magdalena, La Crónica del Quindío, La Opinión, La Patria, Noticias Caracol, Publimetro, Q'Hubo Bogotá, Q’Hubo Bucaramanga, QHubo Cali, QHubo Medellín, Semana, Vanguardia and W Radio

News Showcase panels display an enhanced view of an article or articles, giving participating publishers in Colombia more ways to bring important news to readers and explain it in their own voice, along with more direct control of presentation and their branding. Readers who click on a News Showcase panel are directed to the full articles on the publisher’s website. This drives valuable traffic to news organizations and enables them to grow their businesses and their audience while deepening relationships with readers.

Example of how News Showcase shows up for readers in Colombia

Starting today, News Showcase panels from our participating publishers in Colombia will automatically start to appear in Google News and on Discover. Readers will see panels from publishers they follow in their personalized feeds, and they might also find panels from publishers they’re less familiar with presented as suggestions in the Google News “For You” feed and inside “Newsstand,” the discovery area of Google News.

Examples of what story panels look like for people using News Showcase in Colombia.

More support for the Colombian news industry

News Showcase is part of a broader set of Google’s efforts to help the news industry in Colombia thrive and builds on the work we have been doing with the Google News Initiative (GNI) through training, scholarships and funding. Some examples include digital skills training with publishers like El Tiempo, and a program with AMI, an association that represents Colombian news organizations, to promote responsible, objective and independent journalism. We've provided support for Colombian news organizations to accelerate the growth of their businesses online through the Digital Growth Program, as well as Labs like the 2020 LATAM Contributions Lab that included 5 Colombian publishers.

We all know the importance of trustworthy journalism in helping us make informed decisions that affect our lives, work and family.  That’s why we have collaborated closely with a number of fact check organizations in Colombia. For example, since 2019, we’ve provided support for workshops and training on fact checking tools with RedCheq, a network of fact checkers.  And we’ve worked on initiatives to promote the use of digital tools to combat misinformation, such as Verificracks

Additionally we’ve partnered with journalism organizations such as Fundación Gabo to support innovation in newsrooms and their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Covid-19 hit all sectors of society hard, including newsrooms.  We responded by funding 83 small and medium local newsrooms across Colombia in 2020 through our Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. And in the last year alone we have trained +1800 journalists with our News Lab programs. 

Over the coming months we’ll continue to work with our news partners in Colombia to incorporate their feedback as we build new features for News Showcase and include more publishers in the program for the future.

Enabling a robust and healthy landscape for news should be a shared responsibility across industries, governments and private and public interest groups.  News Showcase along with our other News products and GNI programs are a clear demonstration of Google’s commitment to support quality journalism for the people of Colombia for the next decade and beyond.  

News Brief: July updates from the Google News Initiative

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

Promoting mental health in the media industry 

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

Reflecting on diversity in Latin American Journalism

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

Celebrating Innovation Challenge recipients

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

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

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

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

A group of 7 people standing and posing for a picture

The membership team from the Daily Maverick

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

A screenshot of the Bytecast app recording an audio clip

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

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

Advancing parents and caregivers in Asia Pacific newsrooms

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

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

How Vicky Fernandez found her passion for leading teams

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Vicky Fernandez, who shares how she went from one of the very first employees at our office in Buenos Aires to a leader who manages multiple teams.

What’s your role at Google? 

I work within Google’s ad sales business, where I manage the analysis, insights and optimization team for Spanish-speaking Latin America’s largest customers. The team brings together industry experts with specialists on performance, data and measurement solutions. I get to work with very talented people from all across the continent, taking best practices from one market to the other so that our clients thrive.

What does your typical workday look like right now? 

As a manager, I spend a lot of time meeting with my team, as well as collaborating with other project leaders. When meeting one-on-one with my direct reports, we speak about their current challenges and how I can help them. We also follow up on their objectives, projects, careers and check in on their well-being. 

Why did you decide to apply to work at Google? 

I was working for a TV company and looking for a change. I had heard that Google was opening offices in Buenos Aires (this was 15 years ago), so I decided to send them my resume. I knew nothing about digital marketing, so when they called me for interviews, I locked myself at home for a whole weekend and studied. Still,  I was not very confident after my interviews, but I was happy to participate in the process because I met really nice people and had a good time. 

Surprisingly, they called me back to join Google. I feel very proud to be part of this company, and I also feel proud to be part of our customer´s teams. At Google you belong to not only this company, but also thousands of companies that trust us to grow their businesses.

How did the application and interview process go for you?

After sending my resume, I got a phone call with a recruiter and then four on-site interviews, all together the same day. At that time (15 years ago) Google had no offices in Buenos Aires yet, so many people from the U.S. and Mexico came for a week to do interviews in a temporary office they rented. I had no idea who they were, but they were all very nice and approachable. I´m glad I didn't know how important they were because I think I would have been a lot more nervous. 

How would you describe your path to your current role at Google? 

I started at Google supporting small businesses in Spanish-speaking Latin America. After a year or so I moved to support bigger companies in Mexico. (I did this remotely from Argentina, and I used to travel to Mexico a few times a year.)

Then I got the chance to take my first formal leadership role, leading a team dedicated to helping small businesses that use Google Ads solve technical, billing and optimization issues. I loved being a manager and decided that it was my path. After a couple of years growing that team, I moved to a new role to build a different team for big customers. After gaining experience growing the team and improving service levels and efficiency, I recently got the opportunity to manage these three teams together as one team. I feel really excited about it!

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Think about the experiences that you would like to share during the interviews related to leadership, teamwork and process improvements. When questions come up, you can share those experiences. If you have success stories to show, try to have some numbers in mind (like growth on sales, efficiency gains, cost reduction, etc.)

What's one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself before applying? 

Googlers are all very nice! You will have a great time, so focus on enjoying the interviews.

Partnering with Google for Startups helped us redefine community

It seems like yesterday when I launched Centraal to serve as a meeting point for the Mexico City startup world: a place where people from different walks of life meet, collaborate and facilitate the flow of ideas and innovation. Eight years in, we are proud to be one of the leading tech hubs in Latin America, having helped more than 25,000 entrepreneurs — more than 40% of whom identify as women — through our coding school, corporate innovation programs, Google for Startups Accelerators and coworking spaces. 

Centraal is an active member of an international network of 75 Google for Startups partners that foster the development of entrepreneurship around the world. We provide access to exclusive Google programming, insights and support for underrepresented founders in our area. Today, thanks to Google for Startups’ support, our work at Centraal is more vital than ever as founders, developers, startups and organizations of all types and sizes throughout Mexico and Latin America require support to bounce back from COVID-19.

Over 1.01 million startups and small businesses folded last year because of the pandemic. As a company whose signature offering is physical space, the need to close our doors during the pandemic not only affected our resident entrepreneurs but also challenged our own business model. How could we define and build community in a COVID-19 — and, hopefully soon, post-COVID-19 — era? Last week, we virtually assembled 24 startup organizations from across Canada, the U.S. and Latin America to answer this very question during our annual Google for Startups Americas Partner Summit. 

Local leaders, including myself, facilitated 12 breakout discussions over two days, discussing subjects like how to develop team culture virtually and the evolving norms of physical coworking spaces. Google guest speakers, like Fionnuala Bryne, director of facilities, and Candice Morgan, GV’s diversity, equity and inclusion partner, discussed the future of work and equity in our startup environments. Google for Startups Black Founders Fund recipient Viledge hosted a virtual “happy hour” that highlighted products made by Black-owned businesses. 

While this year’s experience looked different than the inaugural Americas Partner Summit we hosted here in Mexico City back in 2017, the takeaways remained the same: shared best practices, friendly smiles and advice and incredible encouragement to go on. 

Three men smile at the camera with a city skyline backdrop behind them.

Centraal CEO Rogelio Cuevas (far left) in Mexico City in 2019 with fellow Google for Startups partners Martin Frankel and Pablo Cardozo from AreaTres.

Google for Startups has not only helped redefine my idea of community, but also connected me to a community of ideas. These ideas are what will allow us, sooner rather than later, to redefine our goals for a post-pandemic world. At times, the pressure to help startups as well as my own team adapt to a constantly evolving situation has felt exhausting. But virtually collaborating with my peers has given me the energy I need to push through for the entrepreneurs who depend on us.  In 2020, Centraal supported 24 startups from across Latin America via the fully-remote Google for Startups Accelerator LATAM, and Google for Startups partners around the world  helped more than 66,000 founders adapt to the new normal with virtual resources and trainings.

While there is no substitute for finally seeing an old friend in person, knowing I can connect with my fellow Google for Startups partners from Montreal to Buenos Aires through our annual summit or our monthly calls makes me feel like I am not going through this alone. I am grateful to Google for Startups for keeping the dialogue open to sustain those meaningful relationships on a personal and professional level, and build new ones, especially in times like these. 

While the day-to-day nature of coworking will continue to evolve to fit the changing needs of entrepreneurs, our mission — and community — remain steadfast. Startups will continue to solve the world’s problems with agility and grace, and it is a privilege to support them along the way. 

More support for the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Latin America especially hard. Even as vaccines begin to slowly become available around the region, infection and death rates remain alarmingly high and several countries are grappling with a severe humanitarian crisis.

As the situation has taken a turn for the worse, we at Google have asked ourselves what more we can do as a company to help COVID-19 relief efforts throughout Latin America. Whether it’s ensuring that people get the reliable information they need to keep their families healthy and safe, or providing financial support for the hardest-hit communities, we know there is always more we can do.

Today we're announcing that Google is providing $33 million in new funding for Latin America, including $3 million in grants from Google.org, our philanthropic arm. The first is a $1.5 million grant for UNICEF, to support the urgent needs in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru  for more than 580,000 people through health, nutrition and water, hygiene and sanitation programs. The second is a $1 million grant for Amigos do Bem in Brazil to help get food supplies and clean drinking water to more than 8,500 families in need. In addition, we're distributing $500,000 among other nonprofits across Latin America to get aid to communities in need. 

Today's announcement also includes increased Ad Grants support for public health information campaigns in Latin America. We’re making available an additional $30 million in Ad Grants to the Pan American Health Organization through the WHO, local health authorities and nonprofits to help spread accurate and useful information on vaccines and how to stay safe.

This support builds on over $6 million in Google.org grants for education, economic recovery and relief efforts across Latin America since the pandemic began, including a recent $1 million grant for Gerando Falcões in Brazil to provide families in need with food supplies. More than 1,000 Googlers have also contributed over $380,000 in donations and company match to support the Gerando Falcões initiative. 

We know that one of the biggest ways we can help is through our core information products like Search, Maps and YouTube. Our COVID-19 information panels on Search and YouTube are available throughout Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese, providing reliable and timely content for our users. We also recently announced vaccination sites in Search and Maps in Brazil, Chile and Mexico, and we're working to do the same in other countries in the region as well.

On YouTube, we're taking steps to raise up authoritative information and reduce coronavirus misinformation, while also teaming up with creators and health experts to clarify facts and dispel myths about COVID-19. And throughout the pandemic Google for Education has provided online education solutions to some 37 million monthly active teachers and students in Latin America.

Google will continue to work with local governments, partners and communities to give everyone the tools they need to stay healthy and safe, and fight for a better tomorrow. We’re inspired by these organizations on the front lines, and are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their efforts.