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Google creates €60m Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to support transformative French digital publishing initiatives

Category: Google | Feb 1, 2013

Google has worked with news publishers around the globe for years to help them make the most of the web. Our search engine generates billions of clicks each month, and our advertising solutions (in which we have invested billions of dollars) help them make money from that traffic. And last year, we launched Google Play, which offers new opportunities for publishers to make money—including through paid subscriptions. A healthy news industry is important for Google and our partners, and it is essential to a free society.

Today I announced with President Hollande of France two new initiatives to help stimulate innovation and increase revenues for French publishers. First, Google has agreed to create a €60 million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to help support transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers. Second, Google will deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology.

This exciting announcement builds on the commitments we made in 2011 to increase our investment in France—including our Cultural Institute in Paris to help preserve amazing cultural treasures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These agreements show that through business and technology partnerships we can help stimulate digital innovation for the benefit of consumers, our partners and the wider web.

Posted by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/k54_AKevGWc/google-creates-60m-digital-publishing.html

Exploring the Grand Canyon on Google Maps

Category: Google | Jan 31, 2013

Whether you’re planning an upcoming hike, or want to learn more about the Earth’s geological history, Google Maps can help. Today, we’re releasing panoramic imagery of one of the world’s most spectacular national monuments: the Grand Canyon. These beautiful, interactive images cover more than 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads, making our map of this area even more comprehensive, accurate and easy to use than ever before.

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A breathtaking 360-degree view from the famous Bright Angel Trail

Take a walk down the narrow trails and exposed paths of the Grand Canyon: hike down the famous Bright Angel Trail, gaze out at the mighty Colorado River, and explore scenic overlooks in full 360-degrees. You’ll be happy you’re virtually hiking once you get to the steep inclines of the South Kaibab Trail. And rather than drive a couple hours to see the nearby Meteor Crater, a click of your mouse or tap of your finger will transport you to the rim of this otherworldly site.

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The Colorado River, one of the many impressive scenes in the Grand Canyon

This breathtaking imagery collection was made possible with the Trekker. Our team strapped on the Android-operated 40-pound backpacks carrying the 15-lens camera system and wound along the rocky terrain on foot, enduring temperature swings and a few muscle cramps along the way. Together, more than 9,500 panoramas of this masterpiece of nature are now available on Google Maps.

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The Google Maps team crossing the Grand Canyon

So no matter where you are, you don’t have to travel far or wait for warmer weather to explore Grand Canyon National Park. Check out some of our favorite views on our World Wonders site where you can find more information, facts and figures about the Grand Canyon, or in the updated Street View gallery, and happy (virtual) hiking!

Posted by Ryan Falor, Product Manager, Google Maps

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/bVLV3alyhhk/exploring-grand-canyon-on-google-maps.html

Google Science Fair: Looking for the next generation of scientists and engineers to change the world

Category: Google | Jan 30, 2013

At age 16, Louis Braille invented an alphabet for the blind. When she was 13, Ada Lovelace became fascinated with math and went on to write the first computer program. And at 19, Alexander Graham Bell started experimenting with sound and went on to invent the telephone. Throughout history many great scientists developed their curiosity for science at an early age and went on to make groundbreaking discoveries that changed the way we live.

Today, we’re launching the third annual Google Science Fair in partnership with CERN, the LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American to find the next generation of scientists and engineers. We’re inviting students ages 13-18 to participate in the largest online science competition and submit their ideas to change the world.

For the past two years, thousands of students from more than 90 countries have submitted research projects that address some of the most challenging problems we face today. Previous winners tackled issues such as the early diagnosis of breast cancer, improving the experience of listening to music for people with hearing loss and cataloguing the ecosystem found in water. This year we hope to once again inspire scientific exploration among young people and receive even more entries for our third competition.

Here’s some key information for this year’s Science Fair:

  • Students can enter the Science Fair in 13 languages.
  • The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm PDT.
  • In June, we’ll recognize 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa).
  • Judges will then select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live, final event on September 23, 2013.
  • At the finals, a panel of distinguished international judges consisting of renowned scientists and tech innovators will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18). One will be selected as the Grand Prize winner.

Prizes for the 2013 Science Fair include a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a trip to the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions, experiences at CERN, Google or the LEGO Group and digital access to the Scientific American archives for the winner’s school for a year. Scientific American will also award a $50,000 Science in Action prize to one project that makes a practical difference by addressing a social, environmental or health issue. We’re also introducing two new prizes for 2013:

  • In August, the public will have the opportunity to get to know our 15 finalists through a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air and will then vote for the Inspired Idea Award—an award selected by the public for the project with the greatest potential to change the world.
  • We also recognize that behind every great student there’s often a great teacher and a supportive school, so this year we’ll award a $10,000 cash grant from Google and an exclusive Google+ Hangout with CERN to the Grand Prize winner’s school.

Lastly, we’ll also be hosting a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air. Taking place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, these Hangouts will feature renowned scientists including inventor Dean Kamen and oceanographic explorer Fabien Cousteau, showcase exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of cutting-edge labs and science facilities, and provide access to judges and the Google Science Fair team. We hope these Google+ Hangouts will help inspire, mentor and support students throughout the competition and beyond.

Visit www.googlesciencefair.com to get started now—your idea might just change the world.

Posted by Sam Peter, Google Science Fair Team

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/Qikj9J_1t3Q/google-science-fair-looking-for-next.html

Mapping creates jobs and drives global economic growth

Category: Google | Jan 30, 2013

Twenty years ago, we used paper maps and printed guides to help us navigate the world. Today, the most advanced digital mapping technologies—satellite imagery, GPS devices, location data and of course Google Maps—are much more accessible. This sea change in mapping technology is improving our lives and helping businesses realize untold efficiencies.

The transformation of the maps we use everyday is driven by a growing industry that creates jobs and economic growth globally. To present a clearer picture of the importance of the geo services industry, we commissioned studies from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Oxera. What we found is that maps make a big economic splash around the world.

In summary, the global geo services industry is valued at up to $270 billion per year and pays out $90 billion in wages. In the U.S., it employs more than 500,000 people and is worth $73 billion. The infographic below illustrates some examples of the many benefits of maps, whether it’s improving agriculture irrigation systems or helping emergency response teams save lives.

Click the image for a larger version

1.1 billion hours of travel time saved each year? That’s a lot of time. Also, consider UPS, which uses map technology to optimize delivery routes—saving 5.3 million miles and more than 650,000 gallons of fuel in 2011. And every eight seconds, a user hails a taxi with Hailo, which used maps and GPS to deliver more than 1 million journeys in London alone last year. Finally, Zipcar uses maps to connect more than 760,000 customers to a growing fleet of cars in locations around the world.

Because maps are such an integral part of how we live and do business, the list of examples goes on and on. That’s why it’s important we all understand the need to invest in the geo services industry so it continues to grow and drive the global economy. Investments can come from the public and private sectors in many forms—product innovation, support of open data policies, more geography education programs in schools and more.

We’re proud of the contributions that Google Maps and Earth, the Google Maps APIs and our Enterprise solutions have made to the geo services industry and to making maps more widely available, but there’s a long way to go. To learn more about the impact of the maps industry, see the full reports.

Posted by Brian McClendon, VP Google Geo

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/1ud7DHoOaWk/mapping-creates-jobs-and-drives-global.html

Google’s approach to government requests for user data

Category: Google | Jan 28, 2013

Today, January 28, is Data Privacy Day, when the world recognizes the importance of preserving your online privacy and security.

If it’s like most other days, Google—like many companies that provide online services to users—will receive dozens of letters, faxes and emails from government agencies and courts around the world requesting access to our users’ private account information. Typically this happens in connection with government investigations.

It’s important for law enforcement agencies to pursue illegal activity and keep the public safe. We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways. But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information.

To strike this balance, we’re focused on three initiatives that I’d like to share, so you know what Google is doing to protect your privacy and security.

First, for several years we have advocated for updating laws like the U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act, so the same protections that apply to your personal documents that you keep in your home also apply to your email and online documents. We’ll continue this effort strongly in 2013 through our membership in the Digital Due Process coalition and other initiatives.

Second, we’ll continue our long-standing strict process for handling these kinds of requests. When government agencies ask for our users’ personal information—like what you provide when you sign up for a Google Account, or the contents of an email—our team does several things:

  • We scrutinize the request carefully to make sure it satisfies the law and our policies. For us to consider complying, it generally must be made in writing, signed by an authorized official of the requesting agency and issued under an appropriate law.
  • We evaluate the scope of the request. If it’s overly broad, we may refuse to provide the information or seek to narrow the request. We do this frequently.
  • We notify users about legal demands when appropriate so that they can contact the entity requesting it or consult a lawyer. Sometimes we can’t, either because we’re legally prohibited (in which case we sometimes seek to lift gag orders or unseal search warrants) or we don’t have their verified contact information.
  • We require that government agencies conducting criminal investigations use a search warrant to compel us to provide a user’s search query information and private content stored in a Google Account—such as Gmail messages, documents, photos and YouTube videos. We believe a warrant is required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and overrides conflicting provisions in ECPA.

And third, we work hard to provide you with information about government requests. Today, for example, we’ve added a new section to our Transparency Report that answers many questions you might have. And last week we released data showing that government requests continue to rise, along with additional details on the U.S. legal processes—such as subpoenas, court orders and warrants—that government use to compel us to provide this information.

We’re proud of our approach, and we believe it’s the right way to make sure governments can pursue legitimate investigations while we do our best to protect your privacy and security.

Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/bROe78CRVZY/googles-approach-to-government-requests.html

Fireside Hangouts: Join Vice President Biden in a discussion about gun violence

Category: Google | Jan 23, 2013

As President Obama and his cabinet begin their second term in the White House, they’re renewing a series of conversations on Google+ with top administration officials. These “Fireside Hangouts,” a 21st-century spin on FDR’s famous radio addresses, bring top Administration officials to Google+ to discuss the most important issues in the country, face-to-face-to-face with fellow citizens in a hangout. The next hangout will take place Thursday, January 24 at 1:45 pm ET with Vice President Joe Biden on a topic that’s on everyone’s mind: reducing gun violence.

During his 30-minute hangout, Vice President Biden will discuss the White House policy recommendations on reducing gun violence with participants including Guy Kawasaki, Phil DeFranco and moderator Hari Sreenivasan from PBS NewsHour. If you’d like to suggest a question, just follow the participants on Google+, and look for posts about tomorrow’s Hangout. To view the broadcast live, just tune in to the White House’s Google+ page or YouTube channel on Thursday afternoon.

The White House will continue to host Hangouts with key members of the President’s cabinet on a range of second term priorities. Follow the White House on Google+ for more information about how you can join the conversation… or an upcoming Hangout.

Posted by Ramya Raghavan, Google+ Politics

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/-YDB56sfRsk/fireside-hangouts-join-vice-president.html

Transparency Report: What it takes for governments to access personal information

Category: Google | Jan 23, 2013

Today we’re releasing new data for the Transparency Report, showing that the steady increase in government requests for our users’ data continued in the second half of 2012, as usage of our services continued to grow. We’ve shared figures like this since 2010 because it’s important for people to understand how government actions affect them.

We’re always looking for ways to make the report even more informative. So for the first time we’re now including a breakdown of the kinds of legal process that government entities in the U.S. use when compelling communications and technology companies to hand over user data. From July through December 2012:

  • 68 percent of the requests Google received from government entities in the U.S. were through subpoenas. These are requests for user-identifying information, issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”), and are the easiest to get because they typically don’t involve judges.
  • 22 percent were through ECPA search warrants. These are, generally speaking, orders issued by judges under ECPA, based on a demonstration of “probable cause” to believe that certain information related to a crime is presently in the place to be searched.
  • The remaining 10 percent were mostly court orders issued under ECPA by judges or other processes that are difficult to categorize.

User data requests of all kinds have increased by more than 70 percent since 2009, as you can see in our new visualizations of overall trends. In total, we received 21,389 requests for information about 33,634 users from July through December 2012.

We’ll keep looking for more ways to inform you about government requests and how we handle them. We hope more companies and governments themselves join us in this effort by releasing similar kinds of data.

One last thing: You may have noticed that the latest Transparency Report doesn’t include new data on content removals. That’s because we’ve decided to release those numbers separately going forward. Stay tuned for that data.

Posted by Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/9CGTTWZozSw/transparency-report-what-it-takes-for.html

Responding to the severe flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia

Category: Google | Jan 17, 2013

The Google Crisis Response team has assembled a resource page to help track affected areas and provide updated emergency information for the millions affected by flooding in Jakarta. We also have a mobile page with emergency contact numbers and lists of shelters, and enhanced search results on google.co.id to provide information directly when people search. We’ve also included this information in our FreeZone service to reach affected users on feature phones.

On both the page and map, which are available in English and Bahasa Indonesia, you’ll see an update on flood locations and related data such as traffic conditions in areas affected by the flooding.

To share the page or embed these maps on your own site, click “Share” at the top of the page.

We’ll update the content as more information becomes available.

Posted by Alice Bonhomme-Biais, Software Engineer, Google Crisis Response

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/PQ_SBKQgOpY/responding-to-severe-flooding-in.html

Inviting kids to dream big: Doodle 4 Google 2013 is open for submission!

Category: Google | Jan 14, 2013

We’re always thinking about ways to make everyday life a little easier and a little more fun. But what would the perfect day look like? We thought we’d ask the most creative folks out there: today we’re announcing our 6th annual U.S. Doodle 4 Google competition, inviting K-12 students around the country to create their own “doodle” (one of the special Google logos you see on our homepage on various occasions). This year’s theme: “My Best Day Ever…” Breakdancing with aliens? Sure! Building a fortress of candy? Okay by us! Riding to school on a brontosaurus? You get the idea—but if you need more inspiration, take a look at our video here:

The winning artist will see their work on the Google homepage for a day, win a $30,000 college scholarship, and win a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school.

The judging starts with Googlers and a panel of guest judges. This year our judges include journalist and TV personality Katie Couric; music maestro Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson of The Roots; Chris Sanders, writer and director of Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon; and Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time; among other great creative minds.

On May 1 we’ll open up a public vote for the 50 State Winners. They’ll be flown to New York City for a national awards ceremony on May 22. There, we’ll announce the National Winner, whose doodle will appear on the Google homepage the following day. In addition, all the State Winners will have their artwork on display at the American Museum of Natural History from May 22 to July 14.

Participating is easier than ever. You can download the entry forms on our Doodle 4 Google site and send in completed doodles by mail or online. All entries must be received by March 22 with a parent or guardian’s signature. We encourage full classrooms to participate too. There’s no limit to the number of doodles that come from any one school or family… just remember, only one doodle per student.

For more details, check out google.com/doodle4google, where you’ll find full contest rules and entry forms. Happy doodling, and good luck!

Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/xHsgO9dzA78/inviting-kids-to-dream-big-doodle-4.html

A wind investment deep in the heart of Texas

Category: Google | Jan 9, 2013

In late December, while most of us were busy wrapping presents, our Treasury team was tying a bow on our most recent renewable energy deal: an approximately $200 million equity investment in a wind farm in west Texas that generates enough energy to power more than 60,000 average U.S. homes.

Spinning Spur Wind Project is located in Oldham County, a wide open, windy section of the Texas Panhandle located about 35 miles from Amarillo. The 161 megawatt facility was built by renewable energy developer EDF Renewable Energy, a veteran in the industry that has overseen more than 50 other clean energy projects. Spinning Spur’s 70 2.3 MW Siemens turbines started spinning full time just before the end of the year, and the energy they create has been contracted to SPS, a utility that primarily serves Texas and New Mexico.

We look for projects like Spinning Spur because, in addition to creating more renewable energy and strengthening the local economy, they also make for smart investments: they offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets. We’re also proud to be the first investor in an EDF Renewable Energy project that is not a financial institution, as we believe that corporations can be an important new source of capital for the renewable energy sector.

Spinning Spur joins 10 other renewable energy investments we’ve made since 2010, several of which hit significant milestones in the past year:

  • The Atlantic Wind Connection received permission to begin permitting, an important step in advancing the construction of the United States’ first offshore backbone electric transmission system (more in this new video).
  • Shepherds Flat, one of the world’s largest wind farms with a capacity of 845 MW, became fully operational in October.
  • The Ivanpah project, which is more than 75 percent complete and employs 2,000+ people, recently installed its 100,000th heliostat, a kind of mirror (more in this new video).
  • Just yesterday (PDF), the fourth and final phase of Recurrent Energy’s 88MW solar installation in Sacramento County, Calif., reached commercial operation.

Altogether, the renewable energy projects we’ve invested in are capable of generating 2 gigawatts of power. To give a better sense of what that really means, we came up with some comparisons (click to enlarge):

Here’s to a clean, renewable 2013!

Posted by Kojo Ako-Asare, Senior Manager, Corporate Finance

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/b2IEbHlnXd4/a-wind-investment-deep-in-heart-of-texas.html