100 years on: explore Ireland’s Easter Rising with Google

Editor’s note: To mark the centenary of the Easter Rising in Ireland, we have launched ‘Dublin Rising 1916-2016’, an interactive Google Street View tour which lets visitors virtually explore the city streets, events and people that shaped history 100 years ago. We’ve invited the Irish Minister for Arts and Heritage Heather Humphreys TD to write a guest post for the Google Europe blog, explaining the partnership.

In 2016 Irish people at home and abroad will mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, when Irish people fought for their right to self governance. The Rising had a transformative impact and is recognised as the catalyst that ultimately led to the modern Ireland we have today.

The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme includes more than 2,000 events in Ireland and another 1,000 internationally. Throughout we will remember our shared history on the island of Ireland; reflect on our achievements over the last 100 years and look ambitiously to our future.

In Dublin Rising 1916-2016, which has been launched by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland Enda Kenny, TD, today, Google is using its technologies to creatively enable millions of people around the world to share in Ireland’s 2016 commemorations and learn more about the events of 1916 right from their phone, tablet or computer.

This interactive Google Street View tour will allow visitors to virtually explore the city streets, events and people who shaped history 100 years ago. The tour, which is narrated by actor Colin Farrell, will bring visitors on a virtual tour around the Dublin of today, with the Dublin of 1916 overlaid.

Throughout the tour, visitors can stop at city centre locations in Dublin as they are today, hear what happened there and click to explore photos, videos and witness statements from the people of 1916. As a person stands looking at the General Post Office of today, for example, they’ll be able to see the General Post Office as it was 100 years ago, destroyed by shell fire. They’ll hear witness statements from rebels who fought there and hear the stories of all the different people involved.

President Michael D. Higgins recently said that the centenary offers all of us an opportunity to reflect on events of the past, so that we can build a future that honours the promise of equality and inclusiveness contained in the 1916 Proclamation. I want to thank the Google team, together with the historians and experts from Ireland 2016 and Century Ireland who through Dublin Rising 1916-2016 have made our history accessible and are providing everyone with the opportunity to remember our past while celebrating our present and looking forward to the future.

You can explore Dublin Rising 1916-2016 here: https://dublinrising.withgoogle.com/

Posted by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD Continua a leggere

YouTube music hits the right note

You watched Meghan Trainor perform “All About That Bass” 200+ million times on YouTube, sing it live for the first time ever and later with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots.  Your views helped put the song at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for weeks. And that’s all just for one song.

This week, we’re making it easier to find new music on YouTube and rock out to old favorites by launching a new paid subscription service called Music Key. It lets you watch and listen to music without ads, in the background or offline and is available already in the United Kingdom, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, with more countries to come soon. If you’re interested in getting more info on the beta, you can let us know at youtube.com/musickey.

Music Key represents a big step forward in our blossoming partnership with the music industry. We’ve struck new deals with the major producers, thousands of independent record labels, collecting societies and music publishers.  Thanks to your music videos, remixes, covers, and more, you’ve made YouTube the place to go for the music fan.

YouTube benefits both the established musicians as well as newcomers, sending more than $1 billion.

Of course, YouTube is much more than music. Other types of content creators – from educational to comedy shows – also are finding an audience earning money in our partnership programs.  More  -one million channels today earn revenue through the YouTube Partner Program. Thousands of channels make six figures annually. We look forward to continuing to develop new online opportunities for Europe’s creators. 

Posted by the YouTube Music team, which recently watched “Michael Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ – YouTube Mix.”
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Remembering Irish participation in World War I

Earlier this year in our Dublin headquarters, we hosted the launch of an online tool to search the names and biographies of up to 50,000 Irish soldiers who died fighting in the British army during World War I. Today, we travelled with Irish Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltecht Heather Humphries to the site of the Ypres battlefield in Belgium and took two important new steps to increase the project’s impact.

The In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres has joined our Google Cultural Institute and posted an online exhibition about Irish World War I commemoration.

The new Cultural Institute Irish World War I exhibit

We also are joining with the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in creating a new fellowship program to send students from Dublin on internships to Ypres. During its research, the museum discovered that the records were neither fully correct nor complete. So far, the museum has checked 11,060 out of the 49,000 names. Irish students will now come to Belgium to verify and update information on the rest of the list.

Today’s presentation in Ypres
Minister Humphreys, right, discovers the new Cultural Insititute exhibtion

This is a big day in Flanders. Belgium is commemorating the centenary of the Battle of Ypres. The Allies stopped the German advance in the battle, and the two sides settled into four years of deadly, protracted trench warfare, with Ypres the site of some of the war’s bitterest and most brutal struggles. A total of 83 countries are participating in the commemorations, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

For some, the Irish role in these hostilities has been controversial because the soldiers fought in the British army, but returned to a changed Ireland following the 1916 uprising. At the project’s Dublin launch, Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore T.D., hosted Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. All three spoke movingly about how the project should help heal wounds.

Our idea is to engage the public and increase knowledge about these casualties. If you find an ancestor or locate a long-lost relative in the list send, documents, pictures, letters or any other relevant information, email [email protected] The information will be verified and added to the website.

Other organizations provided invaluable assistance to make this project come to life. The Irish genealogical history and heritage company Eneclann contributed important images and research. And the Irish Embassy in Belgium led by Ambassador Éamonn Mac Aodha played a crucial role in promoting and facilitating. Google is proud to play a part in this exciting project helping to make sure that the memory of the names of those who died in World War 1 remain alive.

Posted by William Echikson, Head of Community Relations, Europe
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Expanding our data centres in Europe

The Internet is growing fast and so is demand for our services, from search to Gmail and YouTube. In order to keep up with this growth, we are announcing a new EUR600 million investment over the next four years to build a new data centre in Eemshaven, the Netherlands.

At a time of high unemployment throughout Europe, the project promises a welcome infusion of jobs. Construction will provide work for more than 1000 workers. We expect to start initial operations in the first half of 2016 and to be fully operational by the end of 2017. By then, the centre will create employment for more than 150 people in a range of full-time and contractor roles. The jobs do not require phds in computer science; they include IT technicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, catering, facilities and security staff.

The new Dutch data centre will benefit from the latest designs in cooling and electrical technology. It will be free-cooled – taking advantage of natural assets like cool air and grey water to keep our servers cool. Our data centers use 50% less energy than a typical datacenter – and our intention is to run this new facility on renewable energy.

This will be Google’s fourth hyper efficient facility in Europe. Importantly, demand for Internet services remains so strong that the new building does not mean a reduction in expansion elsewhere. Our expansion will continue in Dublin in Ireland, in Hamina in Finland, and in St. Ghislain in Belgium. Our existing rented datacenter facility in Eemshaven also will continue to operate.

Since our investment in our first European datacenter back in 2007, we have been on the lookout for supportive communities with the necessary resources to support large data centers. The required ingredients are land, workforce, networking, a choice of power and other utilities including renewable energy supplies.

It’s much more efficient to build a few large facilities than many small ones. Eemshaven enjoys a direct cable connection to two major European Internet hubs, London and Amsterdam. In the Eemshaven, we’ve found a great community in a great location that meets the needs to become a backbone for the expanding Internet.

Posted by William Echikson, Head of Data Centre Community Relations, Europe
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Irish students win the 2014 Google Science Fair

Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow became interested in addressing the global food crisis after learning about the Horn of Africa famine in 2011. When a gardening project went awry, they discovered a naturally occurring bacteria in soil called Diazotroph. The girls determined that the bacteria could be used to speed up the the germination process of certain crops, like barley and oats, by 50 percent, potentially helping fulfill the rising demand for food worldwide. Oh—and they’re 16 years old.

Today, Ciara, Émer and Sophie were named the Grand Prize Winner and the 15-16 age category winners of our fourth annual Google Science Fair. They are some of thousands of students ages 13-18 who dared to ask tough questions like: How can we stop cyberbullying? How can I help my grandfather who has Alzheimer’s from wandering out of bed at night? How can we protect the environment? And then they actually went out and answered them.

From thousands of submissions from 90+ countries, our panel of esteemed judges selected 18 finalists representing nine countries—Australia, Canada, France, India, Russia, U.K., Ukraine and the U.S.—who spent today impressing Googlers and local school students at our Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. In addition to our Grand Prize Winners, the winners of the 2014 Google Science Fair are:

  • 13-14 age category: Mihir Garimella (Pennsylvania, USA) for his project FlyBot: Mimicking Fruit Fly Response Patterns for Threat Evasion. Like many boys his age, Mihir is fascinated with robots. But he took it to the next level and actually built a flying robot, much like the ones used in search and rescue missions, that was inspired by the way fruit flies detect and respond to threats. Mihir is also the winner of the very first Computer Science award, sponsored by Google.
  • 17-18 age category: Hayley Todesco (Alberta, Canada) for her project Waste to Water: Biodegrading Naphthenic Acids using Novel Sand Bioreactors. Hayley became deeply interested in the environment after watching Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Her project uses a sustainable and efficient method to break down pollutant substances and toxins found in tailing ponds water in her hometown, a hub of the oil sands industry.
  • The Scientific American Science in Action award: Kenneth Shinozuka (Brooklyn, New York) for his wearable sensors project. Kenneth was inspired by his grandfather and hopes to help others around the world dealing with Alzheimer’s. The Scientific American award is given to a project that addresses a health, resource or environmental challenge.
  • Voter’s Choice award: Arsh Dilbagi (India) for his project Talk, which enables people with speech difficulties to communicate by simply exhaling.

As the Grand Prize winners, Ciara, Émer and Sophie receive a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands provided by National Geographic, a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a personalized LEGO prize provided by LEGO Education and the chance to participate in astronaut training at the Virgin Galactic Spaceport in the Mojave desert.

Thanks to all of our young finalists and to everyone who participated in this year’s Google Science Fair. We started the Science Fair to inspire scientific exploration among young people and celebrate the next generation of scientist and engineers. And every year we end up amazed by how much you inspire us. So, keep dreaming, creating and asking questions. We look forward to hearing the answers.

Posted by Clare Conway, on behalf of the Google Science Fair team
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Improving our data centre energy performance

At Google we’re obsessed with building energy efficient data centers. Our facilities use 50% less energy than most other data centers, and we’re pushing ourselves to become even more efficient.

As part of this effort, our main European data centres, in St. Ghislain, Belgium, Hamina, Finland, and Dublin, Ireland recently were added to our ISO 50001 certification. Much like the environmental and workforce safety management certifications, ISO 50001 ensures we have a strong energy policy, build a robust auditing program, continually monitor, assess, and respond to our energy efficiency results.

Google Data Centere in Finland

Last year, we became the first company in North America to obtain a multi-site ISO 50001 certification for that system, covering our corporate data center operations and six U.S. data centers.

Another green priority for us is energy. Over the past year, we have signed two major contracts to buy all the electricity generated by Swedish wind farms for 10 years. By entering into long-term agreements with wind farm developers over the past few years, we’ve been able to increase the amount of renewable energy we consume while helping enable the construction of new facilities. Once completed, the wind farms will provide Google’s Hamina, Finland, data center with additional renewable energy as the facility expands in coming years.

Overall, we’re focused on reducing our energy use while serving the explosive growth of the Internet. Most data centers use just as much non-computing or “overhead” energy (like cooling and power conversion) as they do to power their servers. At Google we’ve reduced this overhead to only 12%. That way, most of the energy we use powers the machines directly serving Google searches and products. We will continually push toward doing more with less—serving more users while consuming less energy.

Posted by Joe Kava, Vice President, Data Centres Operations
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Honoring Irish casualties from World War I

During World War I, about 50,000 Irish soldiers died fighting in the British army. Until now, these records were located only in a book released in 1923 and published in a mere 100 copies. Google has worked with the Irish genealogical history and heritage company Eneclann and the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium to build a new Irish memorial website, bringing a list of Irish war dead available online and making it searchable with this simple tool.

Today, Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore T.D., launched the new website with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at our Dublin headquarters.  “While the digitisation and online access to this record will be a rich resource for genealogy, most significant is its value in facilitating the simple and important act of remembering the individuals, Irish men and women, who lost their lives in the First World War,” Tánaiste Gilmore said.

Head of Google Ireland John Herlihy shows deputy First Minister McGuiness, center, and Tánaiste Gilmore, right, the new World War I archive search

The two Northern Irish leaders spoke movingly about the project. “My presence is a clear indication of the maturity in confronting history on this island. For many years, this as something that people were not prepared to talk about, to face up to, to acknowledge,” said deputy First Minister McGuinness.  First Minister Peter Robinson agreed, saying: “As we enter an important decade of commemorations in both our countries, it is my hope that what has been established here today will keep alive the history and the stories of those who did not return from war.”

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson speaks

Work on the archive dates back to July 2012 when the Irish ambassador to Belgium, Éamonn Mac Aodha approached Google and In Flanders Fields Museum. During the research, the museum discovered that the records for Irish casualties of the First World War were neither fully correct nor complete. More records simply list France as place of death. Many probably instead died in Flanders – in all some 11,060 out of the 49,000 have now been identified as being killed or commemorated or buried in Belgium.

More than 100 guests attended today’s launch. These included family members who had researched relatives who died in World War One; members of the diplomatic corps; political representatives and historians and academics, and members of commemorative organisations. Our idea is to engage the public and increase knowledge about these casualties. If you find an ancestor or locate a long-lost relative in the list send, documents, pictures, letters or any other relevant information, email [email protected] The information will be verified and added to the website.

The new Irish World War I records search tool

This event marks the opening of the ceremonies for the 100th year of the outbreak of World War I. We’re proud to play a part in this project as a sign of our commitment to Ireland, our European headquarters, and to using technology to fill in holes left by history.

Posted by William Echikson, External Relations, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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Get an All Access music pass on Google Play

With millions upon millions of songs out there, it can be a daunting task to figure out what to choose. Sometimes you just want to sit back, press play and hear something new. Starting today, you can do just that. All Access, our new monthly music subscription service in Google Play, is now available in Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and the UK.

All Access provides an unlimited pass to a huge library of music on all your devices — from all the major record companies, as well as top local and independent labels.

The new service lets you create an ad-free, interactive radio station from any song or artist. You can add, remove or re-order your station and see what’s coming next. Or browse recommendations from our expert music team and explore songs by genre. The “Listen Now” tab puts artists and radio stations we think you’ll like front and center allowing you to start listening the minute you open your library.

When millions of songs just aren’t enough, Google Play Music lets you combine our collection with your own collection. You can store 20,000 songs for free online, and listen to them alongside the All Access catalogue on any Android device, or via the web at play.google.com. You can even ‘pin’ specific albums and playlists songs so they’re available offline.

Try it today for free for the first month and — as a special introductory offer — pay only EUR7.99 each month after that. Regular pricing for those who sign up after September 15 will be EUR9.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial.

With today’s launch, Google Play moves one step closer to your ultimate digital entertainment destination, where you can find, enjoy and share your favourite apps, games, books, movies, magazines, TV shows and music on your Android phone or tablet. Go ahead and start discovering a whole new world of music.

Posted by Paul Joyce, product manager for Google Play Music
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Bringing bike directions to more of Europe

Back in 2012, we added biking directions to our maps for a number of countries in Europe. It proved to be a popular feature among cycling amateurs and enthusiasts. We’re now delighted to announce that we are now enabling biking directions in Google Maps for Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.

Like in other countries, we’ve added information about bike trails, lanes and recommended roads directly to the map. In some countries we’ve worked with partner organisations. In others users have added hundreds of kilometers of biking paths through Google Mapmaker.

How does it work? I am a big tennis fan, so lets say I live in Hamburg and want to head over from my house in the suburbs to a tournament. I am able to grab my Android phone and ask Google Maps for the directions to the stadium. Google Maps will return a route that avoids busy streets and uses suitable bike paths. Time estimates for the route will be based on a complex set of variables accounting for the type of road, terrain and turns over the course of my ride. I also am able to turn by turn Navigation for my bike. I just plug earphones into my phone, switch over to Navigation and let Google Maps guide me through the city – just as from the car.

Of course, you can also use biking directions for a more challenging trip. As the season of big bike races in Europe has started, why not check what route Google suggests for a historical stage of the Tour de France? Our bicycle route for the classic stage from Biarritz to Bordeaux navigates on 206 beautiful, often car-free kilometers close to the Atlantic Ocean, compared to the rather boring 206 kilometers on the N10/A63 which is suggested for cars.

Regardless of the scope of your trip, roads and paths suitable for a bicycle are available by switching on the biking directions legend. This is designed to make it easy to find nearby trails for a recreational ride. Click on the widget at the top right of the map to turn on the “Bicycling” layer.

Suitable roads for riding your bicycle in Dublin, Ireland

One group of people who know where the best cycle paths are cyclists themselves! If you know about a new bike trail, please tell us. Either use the “Report a problem” link at the bottom right of the maps screen or jump into Google MapMaker and add the information to our maps.

A bike path on Google Mapmaker in Poland

We know that many avid cyclists have been awaiting this feature y, so head over to Google Maps and click ‘Get directions’ to try it. Then hop on your bike!

Posted by Kai Hansen, Product Manager, Geo, Zurich
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Music to your ears! Five more countries get Google Play Music

Today music lovers in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal can join their European neighbours in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, and buy their favourite songs and albums on Google Play, our digital entertainment destination for Android devices and the web.

Music first launched on Google Play in Europe in November 2012, and the fast rollout to more countries today is due to the multi-territorial licensing process, as recommended by the European Commission last year. We have 14 multi-territorial licenses for composition rights covering Europe and representing the vast majority of the world’s music, and have recently welcomed the members of AKM/AUME in Austria, SABAM in Belgium, SPA in Portugal, and IMRO in Ireland into our growing list of author’s society partners.

Google Play makes it easy for you to buy your favourite songs and albums, and instantly add them to your music library. You can add up to 20,000 songs from your existing music collection to Google Play instantly, and listen to your music from any computer or Android phone or tablet, even when you’re offline.

To coincide with Google Play Music’s launch in these five new countries, we’re also launching artist hub – a platform for independent artists to sell their music directly to fans. In the artist hub, self-published artists can create a profile, upload their music files, suggest a retail price, and sell their music on Google Play.

According to a Nielsen/Billboard’s recent Music Industry Report, overall music purchases are at a record high, driven by digital sales. Sales of digital albums were up 14 per cent in 2012, while sales of digital tracks grew by five per cent last year, meaning overall music sales were up more than three per cent compared to 2011.

As people’s love affair with great music continues, so too will our commitment to bringing Google Play to more countries around the world.

Posted by Sami Valkonen, head of international music partnerships, Google Play
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