Tag Archives: Israel

Launching voices of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Sea is the cradle of Western civilization - but all too often today is seen as an area of conflict. Together with the Voces Fondation, we are today launching a project designed to promote the development of a Mediterranean as a common place of respect, peace and solidarity.

Our focus is engage young people between the ages of 14 and 22 from Spain in the West to Palestine in the East that are interested in photography and audiovisual arts. Voces Foundation already has created a G+ page (Voices of the Mediterranean) where people can share pictures and videos about what the Mediterranean means, highlighting those aspects that bring us together instead of those aspects that separate the different cultures and countries.

Specific topics that will be discussed include access to water and other natural resources and to access to Internet and new technologie. Other subjects range from education and culture; gastronomy; entrepreneurship with social impact - and above all, peace. Actors and singers including actress Elisa Mouliaá or the musician and composer Rash already are contributing. Participate using the hashtag #Nostrum.

At the end of the project, we will hold a contest to choose the most interesting photos, painting and videos. Please contribute!

Encouraging Online Video Content in Israel

Many countries, particularly small ones, face a similar dilemma - how to encourage local production in their own languages. Governments might suggest that the best response is regulation, to artificially require local language video content production. We believe this is neither justified nor effective.

The Internet encourages local content creation. In Israel, the creators of Tu-Ti-Tu, an Israeli animation studio specializing in shows for toddlers, tried to make it on TV for years without much success. Today, Tu-Ti-Tu is among the 100 most viewed channels globally on YouTube, and one of the 10 leading channels for family entertainment.

All told, YouTube captures more than a billion views each day. For content creators in a small country like Israel, the internet connects them to a global audience, overcoming physical barriers.

Here, we’ve partnered with the Israeli Film and TV Producers Association and with the Ministry of Economy to run Made for Web - a celebration of Israeli content online.

It’s a competition for online video content. Winners are rewarded with cash prizes and a trip to the YouTube Space in London. Last year, there were more than 150 innovative, funny and serious submissions, ranging from travel advice by a three year old child, to an action series for gamers. Winners took a visit to the YouTube space in London, which they later described as “heaven for video creators.”

This year, we’re going to be running a workshop on October 29 in Tel Aviv, where Israeli creators can meet international and local speakers and share best practices. Matthew Clarke of Maker Studio and Jake Roper from Vsauce will be there. Most important, Made for Web II is now open for submissions. Apply by October 31st - and create some more great Hebrew language video.

Encouraging schools to teach computer science

We recently told you about CS4HS, our program for high school and middle school computer science teachers. Today, there’s some additional news to share: the winners of our 2014 Europe, the Middle East and Africa CS4HS awards.

Twenty-six computer science education projects, from across 20 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa, were chosen. All address training of computer science teachers in secondary schools and aim to spread best practice amongst educators.

Among the winners, the University of Stuttgart will host a teacher training workshop introducing computer science topics. Technion – Israel’s leading Institute of Technology — will give teachers access to a collaborative educational site featuring successful lesson plans and classroom idea. Kenya's Maseno University will offer sessions on mobile application development and IT leaders will be invited to discuss the value of a computer science degree and potential career paths.

Visit www.cs4hs.com to find out more and to access teacher resources such as online workshops, tutorials and information on computational thinking. Ongoing, year-round help is available by joining our Google+ Community which hosts Hangouts on Air with CS industry leaders, Googlers, and top educators. Our ultimate goal is ambitious — to “train the trainer,” develop a thriving community of high school Computer Science teachers, and above all, engage pre-university students about the awe and beauty of computing.

Boosting innovative government in an innovative country

Israel is known as the ‘start-up nation’. Its private sector is one of the world’s most innovative and Internet-savvy. We’ve recently signed an agreement with the Israeli government to encourage adoption of pro-innovation public policies, from opening up public data sets to curbing unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. The initiative aims to find ways that the Internet can improve public services and help consumers.

As part of these initiatives, Internet developers and government officials will come together regularly at our Tel Aviv Campus. At the first meeting, the two sides examined how technology can help to reduce the high cost of living in Israel. Government officials explained that they are advancing a new law to open up public data on retail prices and called on developers to create price comparison apps.

Amit Lang, Director General of the Ministry of Economy, talking at “Meet the Gov” event at Campus Tel Aviv

Five local startups presented their services and insights. Feex uses crowdsourcing to reduce management fees on financial products such as pension funds. My Supermarket lets consumers choose the cheapest option to order groceries online. Eloan encourages peer to peer loans. Madlan helps home buyers by showing how much an apartment was sold for, the average cost per meter in each neighborhood. Noknok gives people free calls anywhere with the same number even abroad.

These sessions were inspired by a Google-finance study called E-nnovate Israel. Researchers conducted 100 interviews with leading figures in the public, business, non-profit and academic sectors and concluded that government and private business need to work more closely together in order to promote innovation and economic growth.

Israel’s country manager, Meir Brand and Minister of Finance, Yair Lapid, sign the agreement
We hope that future sessions will be just as informative and useful for both the technology entrepreneurs and for officials. Both sides share the same ultimate goal - to use technology to ease interactions with government and improve lives.

Participating in Safer Internet Day

In time for Safer Internet Day this week, we revamped our Family Safety Centre. The new version aims to be a one-stop shop that provides step-by-step instructions for using safety tools built into Google products. We attempt to answer questions about specific topics that are most concerning to parents, such as accessing inappropriate content and meeting strangers online.

Throughout Europe, we promoted Safer Internet Day on Google home pages and our teams got into action. In Spain, for example, we participated in a presentation with local partner Protegeles bringing together kids, parents and teachers. In Israel, the Children’s Rights Committee at the Parliament met with our Web-Rangers, to discuss how teenagers can promote online safety.

Here in Brussels, we hosted for lunch in our office with the winners of the European Award for Best Content for Kids, a European wide contest highlighting content allowing young people online opportunities to learn, play, discover and invent. Winning entries such as the from the UK (see below) touch important topics like the issue of cyberbullying.

European Commissioner Neelie Kroes received the winners later in the day at the Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters and posted its “Let’s Create a Better Internet Together” video on YouTube.

The Internet and social platforms offer tremendous opportunities for youth: self-expression, civil engagement, and collaboration with communities. At the same time, like any tool, the web can be abused. We are proud to build powerful safety tools into our products, ranging from SafeSearch to Safety Mode. In the end, its up to all of us to stand up for for a safe and secure internet, not just on the annual Safer Internet day - but every day!