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Secretary of State John Kerry kicks off “Hangouts at State” series on Google+

Category: Google | Apr 15, 2013

Over the past year, Google+ has been used across the globe to connect people and enable free expression—from Syria Deeply, an independent news site which regularly uses Google+ and Hangouts to report about the crisis in Syria to Tom Fletcher, the British Ambassador to Lebanon, who issues dispatches from one country to another via Hangout.

Today, the U.S. Department of State is building on this trend by announcing a new series of discussions called “Hangouts at State.” Each month, these conversations will bring people together across global boundaries to discuss the most pressing U.S. foreign policy issues, like democracy promotion, human rights, counterterrorism efforts, economic development, climate change and drug interdiction.

The series kicks off on Friday, April 19 with a Hangout with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, entitled “The U.S. in the World: What’s In It for Us” and moderated by NBC’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell. The Secretary will be joined by a group of Americans to discuss the impact of U.S. foreign policy on people at home.

Tune in on Friday at 1 p.m. E.T. to watch the conversation unfold, and keep your eye on the Google Politics and Elections page for news about the next “Hangout at State.”

Posted by Ramya Raghavan, Google+ Politics and Causes

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/ncAUdDvdr6A/secretary-of-state-john-kerry-kicks-off.html

Taking a minute to enjoy some art on World Art Day

Category: Google | Apr 15, 2013

Today is World Art Day and it’s around two years since we launched Google Art Project. In honour of this and all our partners, large and small, traditional and modern, let’s take a quick look at how people are interacting with art online.

The Internet brings paintings to life and it seems that The Starry Night by van Gogh is the one that visitors to Art Project admire the most. In the past six months, this was the most viewed painting in gigapixel—an extremely high resolution painting which allows viewers to zoom in to brushstroke level. While nothing beats seeing a painting in real life, the ability to examine a work of art in this level of detail seems to be encouraging viewers to linger. One minute is the average time spent looking at any given painting on the Art Project website, compared to under 20 seconds (according to several studies) in a museum.

The Starry Night is also the most frequently included painting in user galleries, where individuals create and share their own virtual art collections. We have 40,000 works of art on the platform but some remain perennial favourites. The other most popular inclusions in user galleries (in order) are :

The Starry Night on Art Project

Viewings of user galleries were in fact higher than any individual artist or painting. To date, 360,000 galleries have been created, 14,000 of which are public on the web. To mark World Art Day, we asked some of our partners to curate user galleries of their own. Take a look through the selections of eight museum directors here.

Given the list above, it’s clear the classics remain popular with viewers, but there is increasing interest in modern art as well, with Dali and Klimt featuring among the most searched for artists. The Internet has also allowed users to explore multiple genres in a single destination. More than 30 different mediums co-exist on Art Project with oil on canvas next to over 5,000 objects including silk textiles, sculptures and furniture. There can’t be many places where you can find Brazilian street art alongside Botticelli.

Many partners who have contributed an art collection have also opted to put their museums on Street View. On average, visitors spend around two minutes exploring the interior of the buildings and viewing the paintings on display. The most-visited Street View destination on Art Project is The White House. As the majority of us will never get the opportunity to go inside, the Internet allows a rare glimpse into a global institution that also houses an extensive art collection.

With over 200 partners from 43 countries, we continue our quest to open up access to art to millions of professionals, students, beginners and amateur enthusiasts. At 1pm ET today, we’ll be holding the latest in our Art Talks series on our G+ page, which aims to put art lovers in touch with art experts online. Sign up here to hangout with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to chat about multimedia in the arts from the comfort of your armchair on World Art Day.

Posted by Amit Sood, Google Cultural Institute

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/-LeVzHHpXsM/taking-minute-to-enjoy-some-art-on.html

Introducing the Glass Collective

Category: Google | Apr 10, 2013

Glass is a potentially transformative technology. It’s a window into the world’s information, and a new way to share experiences with those you care about.

Here at Google Ventures, my partners and I thought the potential for Glass was significant enough to invite our friends at Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to join us in exploring this big opportunity. We’ve formed the Glass Collective, an investment syndicate between our three firms, to provide seed funding to entrepreneurs in the Glass ecosystem to help jumpstart their ideas.

Smart entrepreneurs and engineers are going to develop amazing experiences through Glass. If you’ve been mulling over a brilliant idea for Glass, let us know.

Posted by Bill Maris, VP, Google Ventures

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/SOJmEuvGeTc/introducing-glass-collective.html

For Malaysia: Bringing Google Apps and Chromebooks to the classroom

Category: Google | Apr 10, 2013

As a parent of three kids, I have the same aspirations as many other parents and educators—to provide them with the best opportunities to learn and discover their passions. For many students, the web has become an incredible resource for the classroom, offering tools to work collaboratively, share and research. School systems of all sizes—from a single primary school to an entire country such as the Philippines—have “Gone Google” in their schools and embraced the web to transform education.

Today the country of Malaysia is going a step further by adopting Google Apps for 10 million students, teachers and parents. As part of this initiative they are also deploying Chromebooks to primary and secondary schools nationwide. These efforts to integrate the web are a central part of a national plan (PDF) to reform its educational system.

To deploy technology across a nationwide school system, computers need to be simple, manageable and secure. Chromebooks are ideal for learning and sharing in the classroom—there’s nothing complicated to learn, they boot up in seconds and have virus protection built in. They also offer easy setup and deployment, which means they’re ready to go the moment a student opens the lid and logs in. And with reduced overhead costs, Chromebooks are a cost-efficient option* to deploy technology at scale.

To date, more than 3,000 schools worldwide, from Edina, Minnesota to Point England, New Zealand, have deployed Chromebooks to improve attendance and graduation rates, make learning more fun and enable students to take more ownership for their learning.

The web gives our children and students new opportunities to access the world’s information and work collaboratively. We look forward to working with national and regional leaders to make the most of the web with Google Apps and Chromebooks and help them provide the best opportunities to every student.

Posted by Felix Lin, Director of Product Management

*In research sponsored by Google, research firm IDC found that Chromebooks yield three-year cost of ownership savings of $1,135 per device compared to traditional PCs or tablets, require 69% fewer hours to deploy and 92% fewer hours to manage. Learn more.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/dycrjBiwPbk/for-malaysia-bringing-google-apps-and.html

Fighting human trafficking

Category: Google | Apr 9, 2013

Human trafficking, the narcotics trade and weapons smuggling all have one major thing in common: Their ill-gotten proceeds feed conflict, instability and repression worldwide. Out of all of these, human trafficking is perhaps the most devastating, enslaving nearly 21 million people and generating at least $32 billion of illicit profits every year. At last summer’s Google Ideas summit on mapping, disrupting and exposing illicit networks, it became clear that connecting anti-trafficking helplines in a global data sharing collaboration could help identify illicit patterns and provide victims anywhere in the world with more effective support. Today, Polaris Project, Liberty Asia, and La Strada International are receiving a $3 million Global Impact Award from Google to do just that. Building on our 2011 grants, this brings our total commitment to anti-trafficking efforts to $14.5 million.

Global Impact Awards support nonprofits that use technology to launch disruptive solutions in their sector. We launched the Global Impact Awards program last December to fund new ideas with a potential for huge scale. And at the Google Ideas INFO summit over the summer, we brought together technologists, leaders, and those with unique personal experiences — including former weapons brokers and survivors of domestic and international human trafficking — to look at illicit networks and their defining obstacles. By connecting technologists and experts with those who understand and have lived through trafficking situations, our discussion centered around a fundamental question: What if local, national, and regional anti-trafficking helplines across the globe were all connected in a data-driven network that helped disrupt the web of human trafficking?

Since the summit, we’ve worked with Polaris Project, Liberty Asia and La Strada International to make this concept a reality. These organizations exist to provide vital help to victims in need across the United States, the Mekong Delta region and Europe. Now, working across borders, this new Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network will collect data from local hotline efforts, share promising practices and create anti-trafficking strategies that build on common patterns and focus on eradication, prevention and victim protection. To enhance the participating organizations’ ability to better share, analyze and act upon their data in real time, Palantir Technologies will expand on its existing relationship with Polaris Project by donating its data integration and analytics platform for this project. In addition, Salesforce.com supports Polaris Project’s hotline center and is helping scale their call tracking infrastructure internationally.

Together, these partners will not only be able to help more trafficking survivors, but will also move the global conversation forward by dramatically increasing the amount of useful data being shared. Appropriate data can tell the anti-trafficking community which campaigns are most effective at reducing slavery, what sectors are undergoing global spikes in slavery, or if the reduction of slavery in one country coincides with an increase right across the border.

In the U.S., Polaris Project has collected data from over 72,000 hotline calls, helping local and national anti-trafficking communities better understand the dynamics of the crime. No such actionable hotline database has existed globally — but it doesn’t need to be that way. Clear international strategies, increased cooperation, and appropriate data sharing amongst anti-trafficking organizations will help victims, prevention efforts, and sound policymaking. Slavery can be stopped. Let’s get to it.

Posted by Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas and Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google Giving

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/YkVMCL9wUxA/fighting-human-trafficking.html

Google Fiber’s Next Stop: Austin, Texas

Category: Google | Apr 9, 2013

We know that your time is valuable and so we’ve always focused on speed — from search to Gmail, Chrome to Android. Two years ago, we announced that we’d be bringing Google Fiber to Kansas City to show what’s possible with super fast Internet access, and since November we’ve been connecting homes there to gigabit Internet that’s 100 times faster than today’s average broadband performance.

Today, we’re pleased to announce with Mayor Lee Leffingwell that Austin, Texas is becoming a Google Fiber city. It’s a mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities, as well as the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital. We’re sure these folks will do amazing things with gigabit access, and we feel very privileged to have been welcomed to their community.

Our goal is to start connecting homes in Austin by mid-2014. Customers there will have a similar choice of products as our customers in Kansas City: Gigabit Internet or Gigabit Internet plus our Google Fiber TV service with nearly 200 HD TV channels. We’re still working out pricing details, but we expect them to be roughly similar to Kansas City. Also, as in Kansas City, we’re going to offer customers a free Internet connection at 5 mbps for 7 years, provided they pay a one-time construction fee. We’re also planning to connect many public institutions as we build in Austin— schools, hospitals, community centers, etc. — at a gigabit for no charge. If you live in Austin and want to sign up for more information, please visit our website.

The Internet is still in its early days and has so much more potential to improve our lives. The web helps students and families access essential resources, from information about jobs and healthcare to banking and educational services. Communities that are connected to the Internet grow stronger because there’s greater potential to create jobs, drive economic growth, and help businesses succeed. We believe the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, and we hope this new Google Fiber city will inspire communities across America to think about what ultrafast connectivity could mean for them. If you’re a city leader and you’re looking for some help making your city gigabit-friendly, have a look at this video from the FCC’s March 2013 Workshop on Gigabit Community Broadband Networks for steps you can take towards your own gigabit-powered future.

Posted by Posted by Milo Medin, Vice President, Access Services

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/jpHvkn5VZUE/google-fibers-next-stop-austin-texas.html

Become a public speaking pro: learning how to present the next great idea

Category: Google | Apr 4, 2013

This is the third post in a series profiling Googlers who facilitate classes as part of our g2g program, in which Googlers teach, share and learn from each other. Regardless of role, level or location, g2g’s community-based approach makes it possible for all Googlers to take advantage of a variety of learning opportunities. – Ed.

“[Public speaking] is quite simple, say what you have to say and
when you come to a sentence with a grammatical ending, sit down.” —Winston Churchill

If only public speaking were actually that easy. We’re often asked to present in front of a group, so good presentation skills are really important. Fear of public speaking is often ranked higher than fear of spiders, flying and heights. While spiders can make me jumpy, I not only enjoy public speaking, I also teach it.

In addition to my core role as Google Toronto’s agency team lead (helping to nurture relationships with some of the largest ad agencies in Canada), I help my colleagues amp up their public speaking skills as a g2g (Googler-to-Googler) facilitator for two classes, “Presenting with Confidence” and “Presenting with Charisma.” These two classes help my fellow Googlers erase anxiety and self-doubt and focus on the goal—communicating your message. I am actually a mechanical engineer by trade who, at one point, entered graduate school to study robotics. Not exactly the type that comes to mind when you think of great orators. But I’ve learned along the way, as an engineer turned “sales guy,” that a confident demeanor and a little charm can turn a snooze-fest into an engaging, lively meeting.

Here I am teaching one of our Presenting with Confidence classes in our New York City office. 
Photo by Jane Hu.

“Presenting with Confidence” goes beyond the “picture the audience in their underwear” adage. First, students are tasked with making brief presentations about themselves, whether it be about their most recent vacation or how they play in a jazz band. We videotape the students giving their presentations on their phones to review later as a part of the exercise and to keep for their own reference. This, as it turns out, is one of the most effective, eye-opening exercises in the class. Before we roll the tape, the participant comments on an area he/she believes will be pointed out by others, such as, “I always fidget with my hands” or, “I blush as red as a tomato.” The reality is often completely different, and provides an immediate boost of confidence, allowing the student to focus on the content of their presentation. Part of the confidence boost also stems from being surrounded by peers who are in the same boat, so there’s no judgment.

Sharing honest feedback with your peers is an important part of the learning process. 
Photo by Jane Hu.

“Presenting with Charisma” focuses on adding charm and magnetism to your speech. The more the audience wants to hear from a speaker, the more information they’ll absorb. In this class, Googlers nail down the right mix of tone, body language and delivery to better captivate their audience. We role play to learn how to conquer inevitable yet potentially disastrous moments, like when your technology demo crashes.

I experienced one such moment myself when I covered a presentation for a fellow Googler at the last minute. When I started getting asked questions that were beyond my ability to handle, I followed the advice I give my own students, which is to remain calm, upbeat and easy-going—no matter what. I decided to play off the audience’s own knowledge so that the Q&A became more of a dialogue rather than the spotlight shining solely on me.

Solid communication skills anchor any job function. Whether you are an engineer presenting new findings to your manager or a salesperson pitching a new business strategy to a client, a few tips and a lot of practice can make a significant impact on your presentations. If you’re one of the many, many professionals who feels uneasy about getting up in front of a room full of people, try the following tried-and-true techniques to start mastering the art of public speaking.

Tips and tricks to boost your public speaking confidence and charisma:

1) Pace yourself. To slow down and build momentum, try reciting a sentence then walking to the other side of the room. Pause, then walk back to the other side and deliver your next sentence.

2) Unfreeze. What to do if you totally freeze during your presentation? Look at your slide or notes and just describe what you see on the slide or page in front of you. The words will start flowing and come back to you.

3) Fidget and fiddle no more. Displacement tactic: if you find yourself always fiddling with your hands or keeping your hands in your pockets, try standing behind a chair or a podium and planting your hands on the podium so you appear confident. (Even political leaders use this trick.)

4) Get physical. Use the room to your advantage and keep your audience alert. Walk across the room or even among the audience to get people involved in your presentation.

5) Stop saying “Um.” To rid yourself of “umm”-ing your way through a presentation, use this physical displacement tactic: Every time you are transitioning from one point to another, do something small but physical, like moving your pen. Making a conscious effort to move the pen will turn your brain off from using a verbal filler instead.

Posted by Adam Green, Agency Lead and G2G Instructor

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/l8xwi47gC2w/become-public-speaking-pro-learning-how.html

Imagery on Google Maps of Fukushima Exclusion Zone Town Namie-machi

Category: Google | Mar 27, 2013

From time to time we invite guests to post about items or interest and are pleased to have Mister Tamotsu Baba, Mayor of Namie-machi, Fukushima, Japan, join us here. – Ed.

Namie-machi is a small city in Fukushima Prefecture sitting along the coast of the Pacific. We are blessed with both ocean and mountains, and known as a place where you can experience both the beauty of the sea and the forests. Tragically, however, since the nuclear accident caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, all of Namie-machi’s 21,000 townspeople have had to flee their homes.

Two years have passed since the disaster, but people still aren’t allowed to enter Namie-machi. Many of the displaced townspeople have asked to see the current state of their city, and there are surely many people around the world who want a better sense of how the nuclear incident affected surrounding communities.

Working with Google, we were able to drive Street View cars through Namie-machi to capture panoramic images of the abandoned city exactly as it stands today. Starting today, this Street View imagery is available on Google Maps and the Memories for the Future site, so anyone from Namie or around the world can view it.

View Larger Map

Here is one of Namie-machi’s main streets, which we often used for outdoor events like our big Ten Days of Autumn festival that saw 300 street stalls and 100,000 visitors.

View Larger Map

Many buildings, like this one in the foreground, collapsed during the earthquake, and we still have not been able to remove them. We are also unable to repair damaged buildings and shops nor prepare them for the potential impact of further aftershocks.

View Larger Map

This image shows an area located one kilometer inland from the Pacific Ocean. In the distance you can see Ukedo Elementary School. Nearby Ukedo Harbor once proudly boasted 140 fishing boats and 500 buildings, but suffered some of the worst tsunami damage. After being set off-limits, we have not been able to clean up the wreckage on the side of the road, including the many fishing boats that were washed several kilometers inland.

Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still. With the lingering nuclear hazard, we have only been able to do cursory work for two whole years. We would greatly appreciate it if you viewed this Street View imagery to understand the current state of Namie-machi and the tremendous gravity of the situation.

Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebearers, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children. It has become our generation’s duty to make sure future generations understand the city’s history and culture—maybe even those who will not remember the Fukushima nuclear accident. We want this Street View imagery to become a permanent record of what happened to Namie-machi in the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.

Finally, I want to make a renewed commitment to recovering from the nuclear hazard. It may take many years and many people’s help, but we will never give up taking back our hometown.

(Cross-posted and translated from the Google Japan Blog)

Posted by Mr. Tamotsu Baba, Mayor of Namie-machi, Fukushima, Japan

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/k84LwkiTyXg/imagery-on-google-maps-of-fukushima.html

Enabling the next generation of computer scientists with CS4HS

Category: Google | Mar 27, 2013

For the past four years, Google has sponsored an initiative called Computer Science for High School (CS4HS). The mission of this aptly named collaboration is simple: to bring computer science professional development to educators through hands-on workshops. In collaboration with universities, colleges and technical schools, we have helped K-12 educators bring CS into their classrooms around the world; to date, we have helped train more than 6,000 teachers worldwide—from Canada to China, Germany to New Zealand, our programs reach more and more countries with every iteration.

Today, we are pleased to announce the recipients of the 5th annual CS4HS Google grant. (To see the full list, visit our site.) As our program grows, we are working to engage as many teachers as possible in our CS efforts. To that end, this year we are offering four free MOOC courses for educators who may not be physically close to one of our workshops, but who are eager to learn the basics of computer science. In addition, we are launching our new CS4HS Community page; join the conversation and help shape the next generation of computer scientists!

Posted by Erin Mindell, Program Manager, EngEDU

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/bxAcy49FEAw/enabling-next-generation-of-computer.html

Global Impact Awards’ hunt for U.K.’s most innovative social entrepreneurs starts today

Category: Google | Mar 24, 2013

From cracking the human genome to advancing medical research through computer games, British social entrepreneurs have a proud history of using technology to make the world a better place.

Last year, we launched the Global Impact Awards to support nonprofits using technology to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. We gave $23 million to seven organizations working on projects ranging from aerial technology that protects wildlife to data algorithms that ensure more girls and minorities get placed in advanced math and science classes.

Today, as the next step in the Impact Awards, we’re kicking off our first Global Impact Challenge in the U.K., inviting British nonprofits to tell us how they would use technology to transform lives. Four nonprofits will each receive a £500,000 Global Impact Award, as well as Chromebooks and technical assistance from Googlers to help make their project a reality.

Applications open today, and registered British nonprofits are invited to apply online at g.co/impactchallenge. We’ll review applications and announce 10 finalists on May 22. At that point, people across the U.K. can learn more about the projects of the top 10 finalists, donate to the ones they like and cast a vote for fan favorite. On June 3, the top 10 finalists will pitch their concepts to a judging panel that includes us (Matt Brittin and Jacquelline Fuller), Sir Richard Branson, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Jilly Forster. The three awardees and the fan favorite will be revealed at the event, which will take place at Google London.

Technology can help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges and we’re eager to back innovators who are finding new ways to make an impact. Today we’re starting the hunt in the U.K., but we also know that nonprofits all over the world are using techy approaches to develop new solutions in their sector. Who knows, the Global Impact Challenge might head your way next.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google Giving, and Matt Brittin, VP, sales and operations, Northern and Central Europe

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/BwXM-OPPgQI/global-impact-awards-hunt-for-uks-most_24.html