Our views on the Internet and society
Android’s Model of Open Innovation
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
We released the Android operating system in 2007. A free and open-source operating system, supported by numerous hardware partners, the model was unlike any other that had come before it. The first device didn’t foretell Android’s future success. It was
” …. having “
a kind of charming, retro-future look; like a gadget in a 1970's sci-fi movie set in the year 2038.”
But we (and the thousands of other companies working on Android devices and apps) kept at it.
Since that time, Android has emerged as an engine for mobile software and hardware innovation. It has empowered hundreds of manufacturers to build great phones, tablets, and other devices. And it has let developers of all sizes easily reach huge audiences. The result? Users enjoy extraordinary choices of apps and devices at ever-lower prices.
The European Commission has been investigating our approach, and today issued a Statement of Objections, raising questions about its impact on competition. We take these concerns seriously, but we also believe that
our business model keeps manufacturers’ costs low and their flexibility high, while giving consumers unprecedented control of their mobile devices. That’s how we designed the model
Our partner agreements are entirely voluntary --
anyone can use Android without Google.
Try it—you can
the entire operating system for free, modify it how you want, and build a phone.
And major companies like Amazon do just that.
Manufacturers who want to participate in the Android ecosystem commit to test and certify that their devices will support Android apps. Without this system, apps wouldn’t work from one Android device to the next. Imagine how frustrating it would be if an app you downloaded on one Android phone didn’t also work on your replacement Android phone from the same manufacturer.
Any manufacturer can then choose to load the suite of Google apps to their device and freely add other apps as well. For example, phones today come loaded with scores of pre-installed apps (from Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google, mobile carriers, and more).
Of course while Android is free for manufacturers to use, it’s costly to develop, improve, keep secure, and defend against patent suits. We provide Android for free, and offset our costs through the revenue we generate on our Google apps and services we distribute via Android.
And it’s simple and easy for users to personalize their devices and download apps on their own -- including apps that directly compete with ours. The popularity of apps like Spotify, WhatsApp, Angry Birds, Instagram, Snapchat and many more show how easy it is for consumers to use new apps they like. Over 50 billion apps have been downloaded on Android.
Our partner agreements have helped foster a remarkable -- and, importantly, sustainable -- ecosystem, based on open-source software and open innovation.
We look forward to working with the European Commission to demonstrate the careful way we’ve designed the Android model in a way that’s good for competition and for consumers.
Posted by Kent Walker, Senior Vice President & General Counsel
Working together to better protect children online
Thursday, April 14, 2016
At Google we know that collaboration has been key to ensuring that our products and services offer families a safe and secure experience online, which is why we regularly work with NGOs, government and industry partners to empower parents and children with the tools and skills they need to make the most of the Internet. In previous years, we’ve held events bringing together NGOs from around Europe to discuss these important issues and explore opportunities for better partnership.
This year, we are hosting our third Child Safety Summit in collaboration with Facebook. On April 14-15 in Dublin NGOs from 18 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa will join us to exchange best practices, discuss how we all can better protect children online, and work together to ensure that we anticipate and respond to the ever-changing needs that children have on the web.
Since Google believes deeply in technology’s ability to unlock creativity, we work hard to ensure that parents and children have the tools and knowledge they need to make smart and responsible choices on online. Google’s work falls into three distinct areas, all of which will be addressed at this year’s summit:
product and feature launches
that help ensure we provide offer families a safe and secure experience online,
commitment and investment
in the fight against child sexual abuse and exploitation online, and
partnerships with NGO
s on digital literacy in order to help build an informed and responsible generation of digital citizens.
Our ongoing partnerships with NGOs respond to local challenges and aim to have a lasting impact.
In the UK, we have launched Internet Legends, an interactive, in-school assembly for 8-11 year olds. In partnership with Parentzone, we are aiming to educate 10,000 primary school children from 40 schools across the country on online safety. Using the powerful and memorable
Internet Legends code
, we are working together to empower children with the tools they need to stay safe and act responsibly online.
In Spain, we partnered with
to launch an
to promote safe and responsible use of the Internet by teens. The game focuses on building skills and fostering deeper understanding around privacy, security, copyright and best practices for safe & responsible behavior online. 12,000 Spanish students have participated so far, and we held an initial awards ceremony in the European Parliament to celebrate winners.
In France, we worked alongside
and YouTube creators
to launch a campaign, #NonAuHarcèlement. The
was filmed in our YouTube Space in Paris and aims to facilitate a movement for teens to unite against online bullying and harassment.
In Italy, we launched a web safety and digital empowerment campaign with Altroconsumo, the largest consumer association in the country.
Love the internet, safely
offers practical, educational material to encourage users to create stronger passwords, enable features like
, and take the
Google Privacy Checkup
We believe that companies like Google have a responsibility to not only ensure that our products and services offer the safest and most secure experiences possible, but that we also work alongside a wide range of stakeholders and industry partners to creatively and effectively raise awareness and offer support on these important issues.
Posted by Brittany Smith, Online Safety Lead, Public Policy, EMEA
Supporting digital inclusion for 1M French citizens
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
It’s an unfortunate truth that five million French residents are both economically disadvantaged and lack the skills needed to find work and access information in today’s digital world. At Google.org we see everyday how new technologies can transform lives and generate new opportunities for people. That’s why we support
around the globe that leverage technology to address social challenges--and why this week we’re supporting a new initiative in France with
to meet these increasing needs.
Some time ago, a
small entrepreneurial team within the large and historic NGO
came to us with an idea, and we were inspired by their vision. They asked us: ‘What if we could help a million French citizens to find jobs and gain crucial skills needed in a digital world?’
This week, with a €1M Google.org grant and technical expertise from Google volunteers, Emmanaus is launching
. This social startup will teach the basics of looking for a job online and help people to access social benefits on the web with an ambitious goal of supporting one million French citizens by 2020.
Two key platforms supporting the WeTechCare mission will be launched in the coming months. The first, called “Clic’n’Job” will coach young unemployed people through the process of finding a job. The second, called “Les Bons Clics” will help people lacking basic digital skills to access government social rights and benefits which will soon, in France, will be exclusively accessible online--a significant barrier to entry.
is committed to making sure everyone can participate in and benefit from the digital future and the team at Google France and Google.org look forward working with them on this ambitious new project. From startups to enterprises, creators to
communities, Google continues to work towards ensuring that the opportunities of the Internet benefit everyone in society and towards our
goal of training Europeans in digital skills
Posted by Florian Maganza, Google.org
A world that works for everyone: $20M in global funding from Google Impact Challenge Disabilities
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Last spring we
kicked off our Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities
with an open call to global nonprofits building transformative technologies for the billion people around the world with disabilities. In the past year, we’ve been amazed by the innovative ideas submitted by over 1,000+ organisations spanning 88 countries. Throughout this work, the Google.org team has had the opportunity to meet some incredible people who are working hard to create a world that works for everyone.
Through this Impact Challenge, we committed $20 Million in Google.org grants. We’ve shared a
of the organisations we’re supporting already—and today we’re excited to share the
full list of 30 winners
. From employment to education, communication to mobility, each of our grantees is pushing innovation for people with disabilities forward.
The organisations we’re supporting all have big ideas for how technology can help create new solutions and each of their ideas has the potential to scale. Each organisation has also committed to open sourcing their technology—which helps encourage and speed up innovation in a sector that has historically been siloe
Meet some of our incredible grantees, from among the 12 EMEA winners, below. You can learn more about all 30 organisations working to improve mobility, communication, and independence for people living with disabilities at
For more than half of wheelchair users, postural support devices (PSDs) are necessary to ensure their health and safety, while also making it easier for them to get around. In developing countries, low-income individuals in need of a wheelchair often don't have access to PSDs, w
hich can severely impact their health and
lead to a less independent lifestyle. With a $866,813 grant from Google.org, British organisation Motivation is using 3D printing to test designs for customizable PSDs—sharing designs that perform well with other service providers through an an open database.
Foundation, based in The Netherlands, is working with a $1 million grant from Google.org to expand the development and distribution of Majicast, a
fully automated, easy-to-use device that produces high-quality prosthetic sockets in developing countries where access to prosthetics can be an enormous challenge.
Despite efforts to rate the accessibility of the world’s public places, barriers in data collection have made it difficult to map, making planning even the simplest of outings a challenge for people with disabilities. With a $939,262 grant, Germany’s Wheelmap, a project of Sozialhelden, is developing the common standards and technology backend needed to bring this data together and make it available for use by the many apps and websites that help people with disabilities route, plan, and enjoy exploring the world.
Beit Issie Shapiro
The range of accessibility challenges people face around the world make it nearly impossible to build cost-effective, customized solutions for each one—meaning many go unaddressed. With $700,000 from Google.org, Israeli organisation Beit Issie Shapiro is partnering with TOM to empower a growing army of makers to help their communities. Their “Makeathon-in-a-box” is a template for community Makeathons that bring makers and people with disabilities together to prototype new solutions for “orphan” accessibility challenges.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, it’s estimated that 85-95% of people with disabilities who need assistive technology do not have access to it--largely because they don’t know of its existence. With a $717,728 grant from Google.org, the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) is working with with the University of Washington and AfriNEAD to establish AT-Info-Map, a system that will map the location and availability of assistive technology in Sub-Saharan Africa—providing critical information and increasing access to life-changing technology.
With a mission that is to make the world’s information accessible to everyone, accessibility is something we care deeply about at Google. The Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities set out to accelerate the use of technology to create meaningful change in the lives of the one billion people in the world with a disability. We’re eager to watch as all of the fund’s grantees, selected from over 1,000 submissions from around the world, build new solutions that will transform lives and make the world more accessible for all.
Posted by Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Google Impact Challenge Disabilities Project Lead for Google.org
When Bruegel met Google: immerse yourself in a masterpiece
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Bruegel the Elder's vibrant, detailed paintings are instantly recognisable, and attract visitors to museums worldwide. But Bruegel fans have to travel, because the pictures can’t: his centuries-old oil paintings on wooden panels are fragile. Now, however, at the initiative of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels, and together with eight major museums around the world, we’ve blended art, virtual reality and our newest technologies to create the
Bruegel / Unseen Masterpieces project
The project brings together a wealth of previously unexplored material online, an exhibition
, and fascinating new details for audiences worldwide to discover:
Since we started the Google Cultural Institute five years ago, Bruegel has been a star amongst the millions of artefacts available. The lively scenes of everything from rural life to the book of revelation contain many details invisible to the naked eye, which is why you see crowds leaning in towards his paintings in museums. We’re thrilled to be part of a international, collaborative effort with some of the world’s top museums, showing these artworks together, in unprecedented detail, for the first time.
Many of these works haven’t travelled for over 100 years. This collaboration was an opportunity to work with museums from Budapest to New York including galleries in Berlin, London and Copenhagen. Working with them to create ultra-high resolution gigapixel images of their Bruegel paintings has effectively created a new, online gallery dedicated to the Flemish master.
On top of that, when Bruegel died in 1569, he left countless playful, almost-hidden scenes in his works. Every composition depicts a whole host of characters - some familiar, others new - and narrative vignettes that provide a fascinating footnote to history. Think of them as masterpieces within a masterpiece. From today, you can explore them in just a few clicks, with a personal art historian guide by your side.
Expert curators from the participating museums have created
19 online exhibitions
exploring Bruegel's life and work, which are available to all on the Google Cultural Institute website. It's a new way to experience them -- through their computer or smartphone, users are transported to a Flemish wedding feast, a skating party, or a harvest festival five centuries ago.
Users can also be plunged into a 360-degree virtual reality universe. Google Cardboard is an affordable virtual reality viewer made of cardboard. For the project, we developed a virtual reality experience, where the Bruegel's Fall of the Rebel Angels comes to life and where viewers can step into the world of its creatures. It's also available on the YouTube channel and mobile application of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.
Together with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, this project is also an experiment to explore how modern technology can supercharge the museum experience. The virtual exhibitions can be viewed through special terminals, and the museum is also hosting the immersive Bruegel Box. With state of the art projectors,
of three iconic Bruegel images, and support from energy company Engie, one room of the museum has been transformed. Spectators walk in to find themselves literally in the picture, shoulder-to-shoulder with villagers, preachers and mystical creatures.
The cutting-edge technology we've used in the Bruegel / Unseen Masterpieces / project means our partner museums can share the Flemish master's paintings worldwide. While there's no substitute for seeing the original, with works as old and fragile as these, moving them is not an option. Digital technology offers new solutions to tackle this. It preserves this irreplaceable heritage, provides a new way of seeing the works and give everyone access to culture. The works in the Bruegel Box are physically on display in Brussels, Berlin and Budapest: we're proud to be a part of showing them in one place, in a new way. We’re absolutely delighted that they’re also online, available to view everywhere, at any time -- and we hope you'll enjoy them too.
You can explore all this and more on your mobile and can download the Google Art app for your daily dose of culture - on
Posted by: Pierre Caessa, program manager at Google Cultural Institute
Awarding the world’s best data journalism
Thursday, March 10, 2016
For the fifth consecutive year, as a part of our commitment to
supporting innovative journalism
both in Europe and around the world, Google is proud to support the 2016
Data Journalism Awards
deadline is fast approaching
for the only global awards recognising work that brings together data, visualisation and storytelling to produce some of the most innovative journalism out in the world today.
Past winners of the €1,000 prizes include the New York Times, ProPublica, The Guardian and Argentina’s La Nación. 2016 hopefuls don’t have long: the deadline for the 2016 Awards is
April 10, 2016 at midnight GMT.
Aimed at newsrooms and journalists in organisations of all sizes — big and small — the #DJA2016 awards will recognise the best work in
Data visualisation of the year
Investigation of the year
News data app of the year
Data journalism website of the year
Best individual portfolio
Best use of data in a breaking news story
Open data award
General excellence (jurors’ choice and public choice).
The competition is organised by the
Global Editors Network
: a cross-platform community of editors-in-chief and media innovators committed to high-quality journalism, with the support of Google and the Knight Foundation. For Google, the Data Journalism Awards offer another way for foster innovation through partnership with the news industry, in addition to our efforts through the
Digital News Initiative
and the work of the
Google News Lab
teams around the world.
Data journalists, editors and publishers are encouraged to submit their work for consideration by joining the GEN community via
10 April at midnight GMT.
jury of peers
from the publishing community, including new jury members Wolfgang Blau from Condé Nast International and Kenneth Cukier from The Economist, will choose the winners, which will be announced during a gala dinner at the Global Editors Network Summit in Vienna on June 16.
We wish you all the best of luck!
Posted by Simon Rogers, Data Editor, News Lab at Google and Director of the Data Journalism Awards
Adapting our approach to the European right to be forgotten
Friday, March 4, 2016
In the last few weeks, it has been
that we will adapt our approach to delisting search results under the “right to be forgotten” in Europe, in response to discussions with regulators. We’ll be implementing the change next week.
The right to be forgotten — or, more accurately, the “right to delist” — was
by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2014. It allows Europeans to ask search engines to delist certain links from the set of search results generated by a search query for their name.
At the moment, if someone submits a URL for delisting via our
and we determine that their request meets the criteria set by the Court (the information to be delisted must be
inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive, and not in the public interest
), then we will delist the URL from the search results generated in response to a search for their name. Our current practice is to delist from
all European versions of Google Search
(like google.de, google.fr, google.co.uk, etc) simultaneously.
Starting next week, in addition to our existing practice, we will also use geolocation signals (like IP addresses) to restrict access to the delisted URL
on all Google Search domains, including google.com, when accessed from the country of the person requesting the removal
. We’ll apply the change retrospectively, to all delistings that we have already done under the European Court ruling.
So for example, let’s say we delist a URL as a result of a request from John Smith in the United Kingdom. Users in the UK would not see the URL in search results for queries containing [john smith] when searching on any Google Search domain, including google.com. Users outside of the UK could see the URL in search results when they search for [john smith] on any non-European Google Search domain.
We’re changing our approach as a result of specific discussions that we’ve had with EU data protection regulators in recent months. We believe that this additional layer of delisting enables us to provide the enhanced protections that European regulators ask us for, while also upholding the rights of people in other countries to access lawfully published information.
Since May 2014, we’ve worked hard to find the right
as we implement the European Court’s ruling. Despite occasional disagreements, we’ve maintained a collaborative dialogue with data protection authorities throughout. We’re committed to continuing to work in this way.
Posted by Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel
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