Tag Archives: Google in the Middle East

News Brief: August updates from the Google News Initiative

Last month, we focused on a number of strategies to empower journalists. Our projects included increasing access to technology, enabling press freedom, supporting prospective and emerging digital journalism founders and sustaining learning opportunities. Read on for August updates.

Supporting journalists in Afghanistan

Google and Googlers are providing more than $4 million in support to front line organizations aiding those who are particularly impacted by the crisis in Afghanistan. As part of these efforts, the Google News Initiative has donated $250,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists to aid Afghan journalists.

Training aspiring journalists through the GNI Fellowship in Europe


The Google News Initiative Fellowship logo, along with the Google News Initiative and European Journalism Centre logos, on an abstract colored background.

Illustration by Roselyne Min

In partnership with the European Journalism Centre, we announced the 2021 class of the Google News Initiative Fellowship in Europe. Through the fellowship, 30 aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds will be placed at participating newsrooms across 14 countries. During a period of eight weeks, these young professionals will develop skills in areas ranging from technology, multimedia and design to data, audience development and fact-checking.

Teaching small news organizations about artificial intelligence

Twenty journalists and media professionals from Africa, Europe and the Middle East have been selected for JournalismAI’s first-everAI academy for small newsrooms. Selected participants come from 16 different countries, including Nigeria, Lebanon, Denmark, Kenya, Turkey and Spain. They work for investigative journalism organizations, newspapers, news podcasts, financial news outlets and more. The academy was developed in partnership with POLIS, the journalism think tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Celebrating innovation in journalism around the world

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 screenshot of Tiempo Argentino's open-source membership platform, which gives readers the option to become members through different contributions amounts.

Innovation Challenge recipient Tiempo Argentino, the biggest cooperative media outlet in Argentina, has launched an open-source membership platform. It is also sharing instructions so that any nonprofit news organization can take the tools and do the same. Each component of their GitHub repository includes a tutorial with screenshots, pictures and FAQ guide for developers on how to use the tools. 


Lighthouse Journalism: Shine a light on stories that matter! www.lighthousejournalism.com

TheIndian Express has launched Lighthouse Journalism, a crowdfunding platform to showcase and bring to light stories that are otherwise ignored or under-reported in mainstream media. Users can suggest topics for a journalist to cover and can raise money and support by campaigning through social media. The launch was coordinated to mark India’s 75th Independence Day.

Breaking down the basics for news entrepreneurs


We launched a live and on-demand video workshop series in North America to support prospective and emerging digital journalism founders. The Startups Workshop series demystifies the process of launching a startup, breaks down the business basics of running an organization and showcases available resources from the GNI, like the Startups Playbook, GNI Startups Boot Camp and News Entrepreneur Slack Community. More than 500 publishers have tuned in so far for presentations led by founders like Candice Fortman ofOutlier Media, Kara Meyburg Guzman ofSanta Cruz Local and Megan Raposa ofSioux Falls Simplified.

Enabling the development of news products

We launched a series of product development through the Google News Initiative Digital Growth Program. More than 500 news organizations joined the first week of workshops across North America and Latin America. The workshops will expand to other regions and continue through October, covering topics such as “Executing your Product Vision” and “Best Practices in Product Thinking.” News organizations can also apply to participate in our Product Labs, which provide hands-on guidance over several months on developing new products, with support from the Google News Initiative and industry experts.

Backing the next generation of journalists on YouTube

In April, we opened applications for two new YouTube programs focused on supporting the next generation of reporters and newsrooms: a creator program for independent journalists, which aims to help independent reporters succeed on YouTube, and the Sustainability Lab for digital-first newsrooms, which provides support for digital native news organizations to start and expand their video operations. Last month, we announced the selection of nearly 50 independent journalists and 40 digital-first newsrooms across both programs.

That’s a wrap for August. For more updates, stay in touch on social and through our newsletter.


Discover Dubai’s Culture & Heritage with Google Arts & Culture

In Dubai, we believe our future is derived from our past.  While my hometown has become renowned for its fast-paced development and soaring skyscrapers, many people still don’t know about the rich culture and heritage this city holds. 


Today, I’m proud to unveil ‘Dubai’s Culture and Heritage’, launched in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, which will help you discover my hometown's story and its vibrant art scene through more than 80 expertly curated stories, 5 audio stories, 25 videos, and over 800 high-resolution images of arts, crafts, heritage sites and much more. 

Did you know Dubai was a trading port?

Some people wonder what it was like to live in Dubai before the city became a bustling metropolis. What better way to learn than to hear firsthand from some of Dubai’s residents, from pearl merchants, boat builders and craftspersons to hearing about childhood memories of swimming in the Dubai Creek.

For many of us, the traditional Emirati Majlis, a cultural and social space where members of the community come together for discussions, was and remains a staple feature of our social lives. 

To get a sense of traditional life in Dubai, take a virtual walk through alleyways and witness traditional architecture such as buildings with high air towers called Barajeel, in the Al-Fahidi district. You can also learn more about traditional embroidery, palm weaving and, for the coffee lovers, the history and culture of coffee in the UAE.

Modern Dubai, Zaha Hadid and the art scene

Fast-forward with the click of a button to see some of modern-day Dubai’s iconic architecturallandmarks, from towers with 90 degree rotation from top to bottom to torus-shaped structures with Arabic calligraphy and the first hotel to have its interiors and exteriors designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. 


Dubai’s art scene has also evolved over the years, reflecting the diversity of its social fabric. Learn about one of the city’s first cinemas, learn more about the Sikka Arts Festivaland Art Dubai — two important artistic events held in the heart of the city —  and hear from emerging artists from around the world who are using Dubai as a hub to share their work with the world. 

Ready to take the tour?

We’re excited to be able to help people, wherever they may be, discover our culture and heritage through our work with Google Arts & Culture. To learn more, visit g.co/dubaiculture or download the Google Arts & Culture app for Android or iOS.


Growing Cloud in the Middle East with Dina Amin

Welcome to the latest installment of our blog series “My Path to Google.” These are real stories from Googlers, interns and alumni highlighting 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 Dina Amin, the Head Of Cloud Marketing for the Middle East,Turkey and Africa. Dina is based out of our Dubai office, and has spent the past 15 years in the city after falling in love with it during a three-month stay. The Middle East is not only deeply rooted in her present but also in Dina’s past, growing up between the U.K., Jordan and Iraq. 

How would you describe your role at Google?

From a day-to-day perspective, my team and I are responsible for generating awareness of Google Cloud and Google Workspace products among existing and new customers. Our products help companies with their digital transformation ambitions so this is a particularly interesting challenge during a time when many companies are transitioning online! 

As part of my role, I have also been fortunate to be on the team responsible for some of the largest and most exciting geographic expansion projects that we are working on in Google Cloud.

What else are you involved with at Google outside of your core role?

I’m very involved with (and previously led) the [email protected] Chapter in the Middle East and North Africa. This role is one that I was very proud to hold because of the opportunity to help drive positive change in the company and our communities.

Outside of work, one of my favorite interests is being out at sea. My most recent adventure was getting my skipper license last year. Another way I make sure to get out to sea regularly is through wakesurfing, which Dubai’s weather makes possible all year round.

Dina on a Google bike outdoors.

What inspires you to log in every day?

I’m inspired by the  feeling of delivering moments for our sales team to connect with their customers. These moments truly bring the whole team together in a bonding experience.

One of my favorite and most powerful examples of this is Cloud Day, which is a one-day immersive event where Google Cloud executives, partners and customers share how the cloud is transforming business and improving the lives of people around the world. My team was able to deliver this format in two main hubs — Dubai and Istanbul, where more than 2,000 people joined us both in-person and digitally. Given we are a small team, it was a huge mission for us to achieve, and we are so proud to have done it!

What made you decide to apply to Google?

At the time, I was completing my masters in business and had heard that a guest speaker from Google was coming for a talk on campus. I was interested in learning more about the company and different opportunities, so I decided to attend. I showed up early to the talk, and saw that the speaker, who turned out to be the Managing Director of Google in the Middle East and North Africa, needed some help setting up. We  started talking, and I quickly realized how exciting this line of work sounded. The guest speaker encouraged me to apply, and I really got inspired after the talk so I decided Google could be a good fit for me.  

Almost six years later and two different job paths at Google, I definitely feel I made the right choice joining that talk and applying to Google. It truly shows you that you never know where any opportunity may lie.

Dina in a Noogler hat indoors.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interview?

I used a lot of different resources when preparing for my interview, but I think there are three that were the most useful. The first was reaching out to Googlers and meeting them to learn more about their experiences. This helped me understand more about the company and the Googlers, in their usual fashion, were very open to help! 

The second was utilizing my business school’s career counseling services. It’s a service that may be undervalued, but it makes all the difference to get guidance from counselors who have witnessed a variety of different career paths. 

The final resource was prepping with common interview questions to get more comfortable with these types of questions. Here’s a list of best practices, advice, and tips for interviewing at Google.

Any tips you’d like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Always keep in mind that a career path does not have to be linear. Each person has their own path to take that may have twists and turns. The key is to stick with it and keep searching for the path that sparks passion within you.

I was a computer science major, but I’ve experienced sales, marketing, operations, technology and strategy jobs while traveling or living in at least 15 countries. I loved these experiences as they helped me become a lot more comfortable and confident in knowing myself as a professional and knowing what I bring to the table.

22 news innovators from the Middle East, Turkey and Africa

During a 14-year career as a journalist, Dina Aboughazala reported on issues impacting people's lives across the Middle East. But she found that many existing news services concentrated on what was happening in big cities, while lesser-known areas were often ignored. To highlight undiscovered voices with interesting stories to tell, last year Aboughazala started the journalism platform Egab.

Egab, which connects journalists from the Middle East and Africa to international media outlets, is one of 22 successful recipients for the Google News Initiative’s second Middle East, Turkey and Africa Innovation Challenge.

It will use the funding to build a platform for contributions. “This means we can empower more local journalists across the Middle East and Africa to tell diverse stories about their communities to global audiences: stories that defy stereotypes, represent our part of the world more fairly and engage more audiences,” Aboughazala says. “We will now be able to do that at a larger scale through the online platform we will be building.”

We launched an open call for applications in February and received 329 applications from 35 countries. A rigorous review, a round of interviews and a final jury selection process followed.

Today, we’re announcing $2.1 million in funding to projects and initiatives in 14 different countries. Recipients include startups and online-only media platforms alongside some of the bigger names in news across the region, and cover topics ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling. We placed an emphasis on projects that reflect and demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the news industry.

Here are just a few of the recipients (you can find the full list on our website):

  • Messenger Reader Revenue: The Standard Group in Kenya is going to integrate bots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) onto a WhatsApp number so that its audience can prompt and interact with it to access news. Via a subscription, the uniquely curated content will feature categories such as farming and investigations.

  • Dreamcatcher: A blockchain-based micro-licensing platform for news articles comes from Aposto, a technology and new media startup in Turkey. This will mean news outlets can tap into a new market of unsubscribed users. For users, this allows them to access premium content without having to buy multiple subscriptions. 

  • Virtual Reality (VR) tours: Frontline in Focus in Syria will bring VR Tours by local journalists for international media and NGOs to help international reporters tell stories from the conflict zone with the help of more seasoned local reporters.

  • Growing through innovation: An audience engagement and membership project from Raseef22 in Lebanon targets Arab youth. The team plans to enhance audience engagement with dynamic story formats, podcasts and a membership program to explore new reader revenue.

  • Data for Morocco: A public platform to collect economic and financial data comes from online-only publisher Société des Nouveaux Médias. This will make basic datasets accessible to all readers as well as create specific offers to subscribers and clients through personalized dashboards, real time updates and market analysis.

We’ll be following their progress alongside the previous recipients who are already impacting the news ecosystem with initiatives that increase reader engagement and make for a more sustainable future of news.


22 news innovators from the Middle East, Turkey and Africa

During a 14-year career as a journalist, Dina Aboughazala reported on issues impacting people's lives across the Middle East. But she found that many existing news services concentrated on what was happening in big cities, while lesser-known areas were often ignored. To highlight undiscovered voices with interesting stories to tell, last year Aboughazala started the journalism platform Egab.

Egab, which connects journalists from the Middle East and Africa to international media outlets, is one of 22 successful recipients for the Google News Initiative’s second Middle East, Turkey and Africa Innovation Challenge.

It will use the funding to build a platform for contributions. “This means we can empower more local journalists across the Middle East and Africa to tell diverse stories about their communities to global audiences: stories that defy stereotypes, represent our part of the world more fairly and engage more audiences,” Aboughazala says. “We will now be able to do that at a larger scale through the online platform we will be building.”

We launched an open call for applications in February and received 329 applications from 35 countries. A rigorous review, a round of interviews and a final jury selection process followed.

Today, we’re announcing $2.1 million in funding to projects and initiatives in 14 different countries. Recipients include startups and online-only media platforms alongside some of the bigger names in news across the region, and cover topics ranging from audience development to virtual reality storytelling. We placed an emphasis on projects that reflect and demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the news industry.

Here are just a few of the recipients (you can find the full list on our website):

  • Messenger Reader Revenue: The Standard Group in Kenya is going to integrate bots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) onto a WhatsApp number so that its audience can prompt and interact with it to access news. Via a subscription, the uniquely curated content will feature categories such as farming and investigations.

  • Dreamcatcher: A blockchain-based micro-licensing platform for news articles comes from Aposto, a technology and new media startup in Turkey. This will mean news outlets can tap into a new market of unsubscribed users. For users, this allows them to access premium content without having to buy multiple subscriptions. 

  • Virtual Reality (VR) tours: Frontline in Focus in Syria will bring VR Tours by local journalists for international media and NGOs to help international reporters tell stories from the conflict zone with the help of more seasoned local reporters.

  • Growing through innovation: An audience engagement and membership project from Raseef22 in Lebanon targets Arab youth. The team plans to enhance audience engagement with dynamic story formats, podcasts and a membership program to explore new reader revenue.

  • Data for Morocco: A public platform to collect economic and financial data comes from online-only publisher Société des Nouveaux Médias. This will make basic datasets accessible to all readers as well as create specific offers to subscribers and clients through personalized dashboards, real time updates and market analysis.

We’ll be following their progress alongside the previous recipients who are already impacting the news ecosystem with initiatives that increase reader engagement and make for a more sustainable future of news.


Join the Women of AdSense summit

Google AdSense is proud to partner with so many inspiring and successful businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We believe that the uniqueness of the people running these businesses is integral to what we do, and we love to see this diversity shining through the content you produce. 

We’d like to show our support by inviting you to the Women of AdSense summit, which fosters leadership, inclusion and connection in the AdSense community. March is Women's History Month, a time to highlight the contributions of women throughout history and in contemporary society. We’d love to celebrate with you at the summit, which will take place on Wednesday, March 31 and is free to registered participants.

During the event you will: 

  • Discover opportunities to grow your publishing business through monetization and content development.

  • Hear stories from your fellow women publishers.

  • Learn more about balance and resilience from our guest keynote speaker.

This virtual event is aimed at empowering Women of AdSense across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. However, we welcome anyone who's interested in attending as an ally and supporting women in the workplace and beyond.

Applications will be accepted until Sunday, March 21. Apply to participate in the event and get ready to be inspired!


Source: Inside AdSense


Fostering innovation in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa

As part of our continuous effort to support the news industry around the world, we are launching our second Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. It’s an open call for projects that increase reader engagement and explore new business models to build a stronger future for journalism.

Last year, we selected 21 projects from 13 countries: Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, UAE, Iraq, Turkey, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana. In South Africa, online news publisher Daily Maverick developed a “relevancy engine” for small and medium publishers to help them better understand reader insights and increase relevancy and increase subscriptions. In Jordan, podcast startup Sowt developed a new hosting platform for Arabic news podcasts. You can find out more about all of last year's recipients in this Keyword post.

Round 1 recipients Food for Mzansi showing their support

Round 1 recipients Food for Mzansi showing their support

Applications are open from now until April 12. Established publishers, online-only players, news startups, publisher consortia and local industry associations are all eligible to apply. Projects will be evaluated against five criteria: impact on the news ecosystem, innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion; inspiration; and feasibility. The selected projects will be eligible to receive up to $150,000, not to exceed70%of the total project cost. We will not be funding any editorial-only projects, but instead are focusing on projects aimed at increasing reader engagement and exploring new business models. 

How to apply

Applications, in English only, must be made online via our website and are open until Monday, April 12 at 23:59 GMT. We will also be holding an online town hallon March 3 at 13.00 GMT with a live presentation and the opportunity to ask questions. (Please note that Google does not take any equity or IP in any projects or submissions.) 

We are looking forward to seeing new ideas, projects and big bets come out of the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, a region rich with talent, potential and opportunity. For more information about the challenge, visit g.co/newsinnovation

Celebrating Fredy Hirsch’s queer legacy of bravery

The day I first learned about Fredy Hirsch was a normal workday in 2017. I’d just gotten off the bus and was walking to my home in south Tel Aviv. I’d recently been spending my commutes listening to the six-hour testimony of Dina Gottliebová Babbitt, an artist and Holocaust survivor, on the USC Shoah Foundation’s YouTube channel

I was absorbed in the story of her heroic and traumatic experiences as a young woman in the Theresienstadt ghetto and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Then she started talking about a fellow prisoner in Theresienstadt, Alfred “Fredy” Hirsch. “He looked like a toothpaste advertisement. He had this shiny, slicked-back hair, very handsome face and an incredible grin, white-white teeth. He was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome.”

And then, in what would be a deeply meaningful moment of affirmation of my own queer and Jewish identity, she casually mentioned that Fredy was gay. “It was an open thing, we all knew that he was gay…. We didn’t make anything out of it at that time. He was just one of us.” 

Her tone was so nonchalant it was hard to believe her words had been recorded almost two decades earlier, in 1998. And it made me very emotional. It was the first time in my life I’d heard a Holocaust survivor referring to the existence of an LGBTQ prisoner. 

Before I could process my reaction, she added, “Very often gays are maligned, spoken of badly. I think it’s important that if we know somebody that great — and he was great — who happened to be gay, that we say so. It should be known.”

So I set out to do just that: learn everything I could know about him. I searched for more information on Fredy Hirsch but, at the time, was disappointed that there wasn’t much to find.

Eventually I learned that he was a gay German-Jewish refugee to Czechoslovakia and a gymnastics teacher. As Jews were marginalized, incarcerated and ultimately systematically murdered, he took on an increasingly important role as a community leader and youth counselor to many children — first in the Zionist youth movement Maccabee Hatzair and later in Theresienstadt. When he was deported to Auschwitz he created and managed two children’s barracks, making them a relatively safe haven for hundreds and brightening their final months. They had heat during the winter, enjoyed bigger portions of food and received an education that included Hebrew and English classes, sports, arts and a strict hygiene protocol. Many Holocaust survivors have said that they owe their lives to Hirsch.

Somehow, under horrific and brutal circumstances, he was able to achieve the unthinkable — and this in spite of being Jewish and homosexual, which put him at the bottom of the camp’s cruel hierarchy. Survivors who knew him testified that SS officers treated him relatively well since he was a native German who managed to keep clean, maintain a neat appearance and practice sports. He eventually died at Auschwitz in March 1944.

I reached out to some LGBTQ and educational organizations, hoping they might consider introducing Hirsch’s story into their educational activities for teenagers, but nothing really came of it. It felt like a great injustice that his legacy and contribution were not being acknowledged.

Today Google is commemorating Hirsch with a Doodle appearing in Germany, Israel and several other countries on what would have been his 105th birthday.

It’s a step towards greater recognition of an important story that isn’t widely known. According to Rubi Gat, who created the documentary “Dear Fredy,” Czechoslovakia’s communist regime quashed Fredy’s story because he was a Jew and because his homosexuality didn’t fit into their narrative about who qualified to be a hero. 

Dr. Michal Aharony, editor of The Journal of Holocaust Research and author of the article “The Unknown Hero Who Saved Children at Auschwitz,” says that while Holocaust survivors who knew Hirsch spoke of him fondly and mentioned that he was openly gay, academic texts only started mentioning his sexual orientation in the past couple of decades.

I'm full of hope that Hirsch’s story will inspire others to commemorate the many LGBTQ historical figures who have never been properly acknowledged, and that future generations will benefit from their legacy. 

Above all, we should remember Hirsch as a symbol of solidarity and generosity, as a great believer in the power of a healthy lifestyle and mindset to deal with terrible circumstances, and as a hero who chose to help those who were most in need rather than to save himself. 

Mosul’s Art & Soul comes to life

Some of us only know of the Iraqi city of Mosul as a place where many have suffered. But there is much more to the city than its recent history. Once a thriving trade centre, Mosul endured years of conflict but also renewal. Mosul, which is nestled in the “cradle of civilization,” has a heritage that dates back to the 25th century BCE, and includes the breathtaking Great Mosque of Al-Nuri.


To shed light on its art and history while supporting contemporary Mosulian artists, we’re launching The Art & Soul of Mosul on Google Arts & Culture, in partnership with Iraqi community radio station Al-Ghad Radio.

The collection helps people immerse themselves in the world of Mosul’s artists through features like detailed in-painting tours and videos detailing the artist’s experience living through occupation. At the heart of the project is the incredible artwork depicting the stories of the city and the people, including the lives of women and children during and after the war. Some of the artwork was displayed during the 2019 exhibition “Return to Mosul,” hosted at the Mosul Cultural Museum. With this new digital exhibition, the pieces now have a permanent online home.


Marwan Tariq, an artist who participated in the 2019 exhibition, said, "The message of the workshop to the world is that the city of Mosul, the city of art, is still alive despite the destruction and grinding war that destroyed people and the infrastructure…it is full of life and peace." Our new online exhibition also includes personal stories of perseverance from Marwan and many other artists and residents of Mosul, including how one community worked together to rebuild their neighborhood.

As part of our efforts to support digital documentation and preservation of local heritage sites across the Middle East, you can also discover Mosul’s Old City using Street View and view 3D models of heritage sites at risk, such as Mosul’s first mosque and one of its oldest churches


The Art & Soul of Mosul is Google Arts & Culture’s latest project showcasing contemporary culture and the ancient heritage of the Middle East. To discover more of the region’s art, culture as well as more stories from around the world visit us online or through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android.

Powering economic recovery through retail

Progetto Quid is a small fashion business in Verona, Italy that provides employment opportunities for women coming out of difficult situations. When the company closed its stores during the lockdown, it  started making non-medical masks,  safeguarding its business and the future of its workers. Within two months they’d sold 700,000 masks, using Google Ads to reach their customers. As a result of switching production they were able to retain their entire staff.


This is just one of many stories of resilience we’ve heard from businesses small and large as they look to sustain themselves and support their communities. At Google, we’re helping retailers accelerate recovery with training, tools and insights to help them adapt fast. Through September we ran Accelerating Retail, a month of training and collaboration, directly engaging with more than 7,500 retailers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and many more in partnership with industry bodies such as HDE in Germany and One to One Monaco in France. Listening to retailers of all types across so many countries has helped us to adapt and develop the products and services that we’re now launching to support economic recovery around the world. 


Helping retailers find more customers with free listings on the Shopping tab 

We’re now making it free for retailers to list their products on the Shopping tab throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Available globally in mid-October, search results on the Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping retailers to connect with more customers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. Shoppers will be able to find more products from more stores, just in time for peak shopping season across the region. 


For retailers who already use Google Ads to reach potential customers, free product listings in the Shopping tab are a boost to your paid campaigns. In the U.S., where we launched successfully earlier this year, retailers running free listings and ads got an average of twice as many views and 50 percent more visits. Small and medium-sized businesses saw the biggest increases since the free listings launched there.
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If you already use Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don't have to do anything to take advantage of this change; your listings will automatically show up at no cost. And we are making the onboarding process as easy as possible for retailers who are new to this over the next weeks and months. In Europe, you can also choose any Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) to work with free listings.


Connecting people with trusted local professionals

Many people are shopping locally as they spend more time at home, and searches containing "available near me" have doubled around the world. In the first half of 2020, searches for local services, like home improvement or maintenance, increased by over 25 percent in a year across a  range of European countries.


To help trusted businesses reach local customers, we’re announcing the launch of Local Services Ads in 10 European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.


Local Services Ads help people discover and connect with trustworthy local professionals—such as plumbers, house cleaners and electricians—backed by the Google Guaranteebadge. Potential customers can see license information and reviews from previous customers, and they can compare and contact providers. You don’t even need a website to use these ads, and you only pay when contacted by a customer—there’s no charge for people clicking on the ad. People can book services directly with a simple phone call. If you're a platform that's already connecting customers with professionals you can expandyour offering to include Local Services Ads.
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Local Services Ads in Germany and the UK

Getting small businesses online

An online presence has never been more critical for a business’s success. But, according to 2019 YouGov research, around a third of small businesses in six European countries surveyed don’t even have a website. 


To help small business owners take their first steps online, this month we launched Google for Small Business in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. It provides personalized plans including guidance on which tools are right for your business. We’ve also recently expanded Grow My Store, which helps local retailers drive customer traffic and improve their online shopping experience, to Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Spain. We plan to roll out both Google for Small Business and Grow My Store to more countries before the end of the year.  


Digital tools and skills have been a lifeline in lockdown. By working together, they can be a catalyst for accelerating recovery —for retailers, their staff, customers, and the wider economy.