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Transparency Report: More government removal requests than ever before

Category: Google | Apr 25, 2013

Three years ago when we launched the Transparency Report, we said we hoped it would shine some light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe. Today, for the seventh time, we’re releasing new numbers showing requests from governments to remove content from our services. From July to December 2012, we received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content—an increase from the 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content that we received during the first half of 2012.

As we’ve gathered and released more data over time, it’s become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown. In more places than ever, we’ve been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services. In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates.

You can read more about these requests by looking at the annotations section of the Transparency Report. Of particular note were three occurrences that took place in the second half of 2012:

  • There was a sharp increase in requests from Brazil, where we received 697 requests to remove content from our platforms (of which 640 were court orders—meaning we received an average of 3.5 court orders per day during this time period), up from 191 during the first half of the year. The big reason for the spike was the municipal elections, which took place last fall. Nearly half of the total requests—316 to be exact—called for the removal of 756 pieces of content related to alleged violations of the Brazilian Electoral Code, which forbids defamation and commentary that offends candidates. We’re appealing many of these cases, on the basis that the content is protected by freedom of expression under the Brazilian Constitution.
  • Another place where we saw an increase was from Russia, where a new law took effect last fall. In the first half of 2012, we received six requests, the most we had ever received in any given six-month period from Russia. But in the second half of the year, we received 114 requests to remove content—107 of them citing this new law.
  • During this period, we received inquiries from 20 countries regarding YouTube videos containing clips of the movie “Innocence of Muslims.” While the videos were within our Community Guidelines, we restricted videos from view in several countries in accordance with local law after receiving formal legal complaints. We also temporarily restricted videos from view in Egypt and Libya due to the particularly difficult circumstances there.

We’ve also made a couple of improvements to the Transparency Report since our last update:

  • We’re now breaking down government requests about YouTube videos to clarify whether we removed videos in response to government requests for violating Community Guidelines, or whether we restricted videos from view due to local laws. You can see the details by scrolling to the bottom of each country-specific page.
  • We’ve also refreshed the look of the Traffic section, making it easier to see where and when disruptions have occurred to Google services. You can see a map where our services are currently disrupted; you can see a map of all known disruptions since 2009; and you can more easily navigate between time periods and regions.

The information we share on the Transparency Report is just a sliver of what happens on the Internet. But as we disclose more data and continue to expand it over time, we hope it helps draw attention to the laws around the world that govern the free flow of information online.

Posted by Susan Infantino, Legal Director

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/GK6YhRoL7qA/transparency-report-more-government.html

Celebrating the 50th country on Street View

Category: Google | Apr 23, 2013

Whether you’re planning a summer vacation to visit the Colosseum or exploring potential neighborhoods for your next move, Street View gives you instant access to the places you want to see—even before you leave the house. We launched Street View in 2007 in five U.S. cities to give you what we called a “feet on the ground” experience and have since been growing the program to make it more comprehensive, accurate and useful for everyone.

Today, we’ve reached 50 countries with the launch of Street View in Hungary and Lesotho and are significantly expanding our coverage in Poland and Romania, among other locations around the world. This is also the largest single update of Street View imagery we’ve ever pushed, including new and updated imagery for nearly 350,000 miles of roads across 14 countries.

Now you can take a virtual stroll through the historic center of Budapest, right along the Danube (the river that carves the city in two). See the Hungarian Parliament building or the famous Chain bridge.

View Larger Map
Budapest, Lánchíd (Chain bridge)

Other Hungarian treasures to be discovered include the Széchenyi thermal bath, the largest medicinal bath in Europe, as well as the wonders of Buda castle.

Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South Africa, is the only independent state that sits entirely 1,000m or more above sea level. Explore some of the mountainous imagery captured by our Street View cars, including the winding roads and lakes.

View Larger Map
Leribe District, Lesotho

Other sights include the Lesotho Evangelical Church, which is one of Africa’s oldest Protestant churches, founded in 1833 by missionaries from Paris, and the traditional architecture in Nkesi, Maseru.

We’re also refreshing and expanding existing Street View coverage in France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore and Thailand. And, we’ve added new special collections of a host of picturesque spots—using our Street View Trike technology—including Portugal’s Pena National Palace, or the Sha Tin Che Kung Temple in Hong Kong or the Kilkenny Castle in Ireland.

View Larger Map
Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

From the first handful of U.S. cities, to the now thousands of cities and villages worldwide, we’ve spent the past six years updating Google Maps for you. From Antarctica to Australia, from South Korea to South Africa, from the snow-capped peaks of Everest to the Great Barrier Reef, you can navigate more than 5 million miles of the world, without ever leaving home. So spin the globe and take a walk through any one of the 50 countries now on Street View.

Posted by Ulf Spitzer, Program Manager, Google Street View

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/hpvhRCPMBsM/celebrating-50th-country-on-street-view.html

A new kind of summer job: open source coding with Google Summer of Code

Category: Google | Apr 22, 2013

If you’re a university student with CS chops looking to earn real-world experience this summer, consider writing code for a cool open source project with the Google Summer of Code program.

Over the past eight years more than 6,000 students have “graduated” from this global program, working with almost 400 different open source projects. Students who are accepted into the program will put the skills they have learned in university to good use by working on an actual software project over the summer. Students are paired with mentors to help address technical questions and concerns throughout the course of the project. With the knowledge and hands-on experience students gain during the summer they strengthen their future employment opportunities in fields related to their academic pursuits. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.

Interested students can submit proposals on the website starting now through Friday, May 3 at 12:00pm PDT. Get started by reviewing the ideas pages of the 177 open source projects in this year’s program, and decide which projects you’re interested in. Because Google Summer of Code has a limited number of spots for students, writing a great project proposal is essential to being selected to the program—be sure to check out the Student Manual for advice.

For ongoing information throughout the application period and beyond, see the Google Open Source blog, join our Summer of Code mailing lists or join us on Internet relay chat at #gsoc on Freenode.

Good luck to all the open source coders out there, and remember to submit your proposals early—you only have until May 3 to apply!

Posted by Stephanie Taylor, Open Source team

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/dYL9LUuLV3M/a-new-kind-of-summer-job-open-source.html

In support of a national STEM Teacher Corps

Category: Google | Apr 22, 2013

Last year, while hosting the White House Science Fair, President Obama said, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.” We agree—and we think the best science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers who inspire those young people should be honored and supported as well.

That’s why Google and our partner organizations support a national STEM Teacher Corps to acknowledge the great teachers who help students achieve amazing things in the fields of science and technology. We’re excited that the President has recommended funding for a STEM Teacher Corps in his budget (PDF).

Today we’re co-publishing a white paper (PDF) with Math For America and the Broad Institute that outlines some of the key features of such a corps. We gathered input from more than 80 organizations to make recommendations for a program that will reward teachers and schools with significant stipends, foster a community of teachers empowered to make broad improvements in STEM education, and recognize a larger percentage of teachers than any existing recognition program.

We must do more to retain the best teachers so our students have the opportunity to succeed in these growing fields, and we applaud the many organizations already working to elevate and celebrate the top STEM teachers nationwide. We look forward to continuing to support the development of the STEM Teacher Corps and doing our part to ensure that every student has access to truly great STEM teachers.

Posted by Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Head of K-12 Education Outreach and Nancy Lee, Director of People Operations

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/fWljvS3mOtk/in-support-of-national-stem-teacher.html

Following the lead of nature’s engineers

Category: Google | Apr 22, 2013

It’s no surprise that Google appreciates engineers. And this Earth Day, we’re looking at some of our favorite engineers from nature to see how they can teach us to treat the environment better. We’ve created a website where we can see the beauty and ingenuity of the natural world through photos from National Geographic. We also want to provide easy ways to be greener in our own lives, so this site shows us how we can all be like those organisms by taking simple actions to care for the environment.

For instance, until recently I’d never heard of a remora. Turns out that these fish latch on to other ocean creatures such as whales and turtles to catch rides. In a way, these fish are using their own form of mass transit. To be like the remora and travel with a lighter footprint, we can plan trips using rapid transit. Or we can be inspired by bears—the true experts on “sleep mode”—to save energy in our own lives by adjusting our home thermostat and using energy efficient appliances.

Our doodle today also acknowledges the interconnections of the natural world. You can interact with elements of the environment to affect the seasons, weather and wildlife.

As another way to move from awareness to action, we’re hosting a Google+ Hangout On Air series focused on pressing environmental issues. We’ll kick it off today at 12pm ET with a Hangout on Air connecting NASA (live from Greenland), National Geographic explorers from around the world, and Underwater Earth (live from the Great Barrier reef). Throughout the week, we’ll hold daily Hangouts on Air covering topics such as clean water and animal conservation.

This Earth Day and every day, let’s take a moment to marvel at the wonder of nature and do our part to protect the natural ecosystem we all depend on. A salute to nature’s engineers!

Posted by Erin Reilly, Google Green team

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/1u8c0zNHa84/following-lead-of-natures-engineers.html

Happy birthday Campus London. You’ve grown up so fast.

Category: Google | Apr 22, 2013

Just over 12 months ago, Campus London opened its doors to the young, upcoming London tech startup community. I’d like to think we always knew it would succeed, but I don’t think any of us expected the level of engagement and enthusiasm we’ve seen in year one.

In just 365 days of operation, Campus now has more than 10,000 members, permanently houses more than 100 young companies and has hosted more than 850 events, attracting more than 60,000 guests through the door. From individual entrepreneurs looking to explore their back-of-a-napkin idea to global venture fund managers, there’s something for everyone in the London tech scene at Campus, and the vibe is electric.

We asked Campus members to provide their feedback and outlook on year one, and their response has been overwhelmingly positive. Campus-based companies are growing and creating jobs. One in four are already looking to find bigger office spaces to house their growing teams. We’ve also seen that the success of the London technology startup community as a whole has mirrored that of Campus.

Campus members are younger than the average Tech City entrepreneur, and with initiatives like Women@Campus, increasingly more female entrepreneurs are signing up. Campus is also truly international, with 22 nationalities working, interacting and attending the many mentoring sessions and classes we and our Google volunteers run every day.

Looking ahead to the next year and beyond, we’re offering even more: more globally-acclaimed speakers, a new Campus EDU education programme offering mentorship from Googlers, inspirational talks from thought leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Eric Schmidt and Jimmy Wales, and a curriculum of classes to develop the skills young startups need to build successful businesses.

Google started as a two-person startup in a garage in California. We’re looking to provide the best possible garage to our 10,000 members every day. And so far, all indicators show that Campus is one of the most exciting places in the world for technological innovation.

Posted by Eze Vidra, Head of Campus

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/rQKQILsgoOo/happy-birthday-campus-london-youve.html

Expanding options for companies to buy renewable energy

Category: Google | Apr 19, 2013

We’re always looking for ways to expand the use of renewable energy. To date we’ve committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy project investments, signed agreements to procure wind power near our data centers, and installed solar panels at our corporate headquarters.

It’s also important to work directly with our utility partners to find solutions that will make more renewable energy available for us and for others. The most straightforward way to do this is for utilities to offer a renewable power option for companies that request it—something that’s not currently offered by most utilities. We’ve just published a white paper (PDF) laying out our thoughts on how and why such programs might work.

We’re also announcing our first effort to put this idea into practice. We’re expanding our Lenoir, N.C. data center, and our local electricity provider, Duke Energy, has pledged to develop a new program for large companies like Google who want to buy renewable power for their operations. Duke will file the plan with their state commission within 90 days.

Our Lenoir, N.C. data center

Offering companies like Google a renewable energy option has many advantages. Because the service is made available to a wide range of customers, companies that don’t have the ability or resources to pursue alternative approaches can participate. And by tapping utilities’ strengths in power generation and delivery, it makes it easier for companies to buy renewable energy on a larger scale. Of course, the approach is not without its challenges: utilities will need to work out the mechanics of the service within their local regulatory structure, and in many cases state utility commissions will need to approve the programs. There’s also the challenge of finding cost-effective renewable projects.

We’ll continue to find creative ways to supply our facilities with renewable energy, but we think this solution can provide an important new way to increase the use of renewable energy nationwide. We look forward to working with utilities, state utility commissions, companies and other stakeholders to make it a reality.

Posted by Gary Demasi, Director, Global Infrastructure

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/CfkFgZgYZ-I/expanding-options-for-companies-to-buy.html

Bringing Google+ Comments to Blogger

Category: Google | Apr 18, 2013

Reading and responding to comments can be one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging. Not only do they help you connect with your readers, they can also inspire later blog entries. The challenge, oftentimes, is following all the conversations around your content—on Google+, for instance, as well as on your website. So we’re making things a lot simpler.

Starting today, you can bring Google+ Comments to your Blogger blog. Once you’ve enabled the feature through your Blogger Dashboard, you’ll enjoy a number of important benefits:

View your blog and Google+ comments, all in one place
Now when you’re browsing your blog’s comment threads, you’ll see activity from direct visitors, and from people talking about your content on Google+. For example, if there’s a public Google+ discussion about one of your blog entries, those comments and replies will also appear on your Blogger blog. This way you can engage with more of your readers, all in one place.

Help readers comment and connect with their circles
Your blog readers will now have the option to comment publicly, or privately to their circles on Google+. And when they’re browsing blog comments, they can view all of them, just the top ones, or only those from the people in their circles.

In all cases, you and your readers will only see the comments you have permission to see. Giving people these kinds of controls not only encourages more meaningful sharing—it can lead to more blog traffic.

To get started with Google+ Comments, just visit the Google+ tab of your Blogger Dashboard, and check “Use Google+ Comments.” (Older comments will continue to appear in the new widget.) You can also visit any post on the Official Google Blog (like this one), or on Blogger Buzz (like this one), to see Google+ Comments in action.

Happy commenting!

Posted by +Yonatan Zunger, Principal Engineer

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/jJvk7i4Usgw/bringing-google-comments-to-blogger.html

Google Fiber—on the Silicon Prairie, the Silicon Hills and now the Silicon Slopes

Category: Google | Apr 17, 2013

Today the Google Fiber team is in Provo, Utah, where Mayor John Curtis just announced that we intend to make Provo our third Google Fiber City.

Utah is already home to hundreds of tech companies and startups, and many of them are based in Provo. In fact, the Provo area ranks second in the nation in patent growth, and is consistently ranked as one of the top places to live and do business in the U.S. We believe the future of the Internet will be built on gigabit speeds, and we’re sure the businesses and residents of Provo already have some good ideas for what they’d build with a gig.

In order to bring Fiber to Provo, we’ve signed an agreement to purchase iProvo, an existing fiber-optic network owned by the city. As a part of the acquisition, we would commit to upgrade the network to gigabit technology and finish network construction so that every home along the existing iProvo network would have the opportunity to connect to Google Fiber. Our agreement with Provo isn’t approved yet—it’s pending a vote by the City Council scheduled for next Tuesday, April 23. We intend to begin the network upgrades as soon as the closing conditions are satisfied and the deal is closed.

Provo started building their own municipal network in 2004 because they decided that providing access to high speed connectivity was important to their community’s future. In 2011, they started looking for a partner that could acquire their network and deliver an affordable service for Provoans. We’re committed to keeping their vision alive, and, if the deal is approved and the acquisition closes, we’d offer our Free Internet service (5 Mbps speeds) to every home along the existing Provo network, for a $30 activation fee and no monthly charge for at least seven years. We would also offer Google Fiber Gigabit Internet—up to 100x faster Internet than today’s average broadband speeds—and the option for Google Fiber TV service with hundreds of your favorite channels. We’d also provide free Gigabit Internet service to 25 local public institutions like schools, hospitals and libraries.

Over the next few days, we’ll be in and around Provo with Mayor Curtis, attending community meetings and talking to residents about what widespread gigabit connectivity could mean for their community, and the ways in which we’d invest in their iProvo network. If you are a Provoan, we hope to see you there!

Posted by Kevin Lo, GM, Google Fiber

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/YUG53-47_Ow/google-fiberon-silicon-prairie-silicon.html

Helping entrepreneurs take the “NEXT” step

Category: Google | Apr 17, 2013

Entrepreneurs around the world tell us that they want to launch new businesses—but that before they do, they need to make sure they have the skills to make those companies as successful as possible. Starting today, a new partnership with our friends at Startup Weekend will help these entrepreneurs realize that dream.

Startup Weekend NEXT, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, will enable any entrepreneur to register for a comprehensive, five-week course developed by renowned entrepreneur and educator Steve Blank. The curriculum, built around customer development and in-person interaction, helps entrepreneurs validate and modify their business models. And it lets them sit next to and work with established entrepreneurs and peers who’ve experienced the exact same challenges they face.

Active in a number of cities now, Startup Weekend NEXT will expand globally over the course of 2013. Using Google+ Hangouts, NEXT experts will train local instructors from Reykjavik to Ramallah, enabling entrepreneurs all over the world to launch and build their businesses.

We were excited to officially launch this partnership at Campus London, with Steve Blank joining us live over Google+ Hangout to kick things off. Campus opened a year ago this month and now has 10,000 members, is home to more than 100 young businesses and has hosted more than 800 entrepreneurship events.

We’ve been energized by the incredible momentum and connections that are happening within Campus’ walls and through our partners’ programs—including Startup Weekend’s, which runs its European operations from Campus London. Together, we look forward to equipping entrepreneurs with the skills they need to start and scale great companies.

Posted by John Lyman, Google for Entrepreneurs

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/Z4FFhUdk7EU/helping-entrepreneurs-take-next-step.html