Launching voices of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Sea is the cradle of Western civilization – but all too often today is seen as an area of conflict. Together with the Voces Fondation, we are today launching a project designed to promote the development of a Mediterranean as a common place of respect, peace and solidarity.

Our focus is engage young people between the ages of 14 and 22 from Spain in the West to Palestine in the East that are interested in photography and audiovisual arts. Voces Foundation already has created a G+ page (Voices of the Mediterranean) where people can share pictures and videos about what the Mediterranean means, highlighting those aspects that bring us together instead of those aspects that separate the different cultures and countries.

Specific topics that will be discussed include access to water and other natural resources and to access to Internet and new technologie. Other subjects range from education and culture; gastronomy; entrepreneurship with social impact – and above all, peace. Actors and singers including actress Elisa Mouliaá or the musician and composer Rash already are contributing. Participate using the hashtag #Nostrum.

At the end of the project, we will hold a contest to choose the most interesting photos, painting and videos. Please contribute!

P Esperanza Ibáñez Lozano, Public Policy Manager Continua a leggere

Hallo, hola, olá to a new powerful Google Translate app

Often the hardest part of traveling is navigating the local language. If you’ve ever asked for “pain” in Paris and gotten funny looks, confused “embarazada” with “embarrassed” in Mexico, or stumbled over pronunciation pretty much anywhere, you know the feeling. We’ve now updated the Translate app on Android and iOS to transform your mobile device into an even more powerful translation tool.

Instant translation with Word Lens
The Translate app already lets you use camera mode to snap a photo of text and get a translation for it in 36 languages. From today, you can instantly translate text. While using the Translate app, just point your camera at a sign or text and the translated text will overlaid on your screen—even if you don’t have an Internet or data connection.

This instant translation currently works for translation from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, and we’re working to expand to more languages.


Have an easier conversation using the Translate app

When talking with someone in an unfamiliar language, conversations can… get… sloowwww. While we’ve had real-time conversation mode on Android since 2013, our new update makes the conversation flow faster and more naturally.

Starting today, simply tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will recognize which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation. For the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again—it’ll be ready as you need it. Asking for directions to the Rive Gauche, ordering bacalhau in Lisbon, or chatting with your grandmother in her native Spanish just got a lot faster.

These updates will be coming to both Android and iOS, rolling out over the next few days. This is the first time some of these advanced features, like camera translations and conversation mode, will be available for iOS users.

More than 500 million people use Google Translate every month, making more than 1 billion translations a day to more easily communicate and access information across languages. Today’s updates take us one step closer to turning your phone into a universal translator and to a world where language is no longer a barrier to discovering information or connecting with each other.

Posted by Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate Continua a leggere

New numbers and a new look for our Transparency Report

We launched the Transparency Report in 2010 to show how laws and policies affect access to information online, including law enforcement orders for user data and government requests to remove information. Since then, many other companies have launched their own transparency reports, and we’ve been excited to see our industry come together around transparency.

After doing things the same way for nearly five years, we thought it was time to give the Transparency Report an update. So today, as we release data about requests from governments to remove content from our services for the ninth time, we’re doing it with a new look and some new features that we hope will make the information more meaningful, and continue to push the envelope on the story we can tell with this kind of information.

More about that shortly—first, the data highlights. From June to December 2013, we received 3,105 government requests to remove 14,637 pieces of content. You may notice that this total decreased slightly from the first half of 2013; this is due to a spike in requests from Turkey during that period, which has since returned to lower levels. Meanwhile, the number of requests from Russia increased by 25 percent compared to the last reporting period. Requests from Thailand and Italy are on the rise as well. In the second half of 2013, the top three products for which governments requested removals were Blogger (1,066 requests), Search (841 requests) and YouTube (765 requests). In the second half of 2013, 38 percent of government removal requests cited defamation as a reason for removal, 16 percent cited obscenity or nudity, and 11 percent cited privacy or security.

As for the redesign, we’ve worked with our friends at Blue State Digital on a more interactive Transparency Report that lets us include additional information—like explanations of our process—and highlight stats. We’ve also added examples of nearly 30 actual requests we’ve received from governments around the world. For example, we have an annotation that gives a bit of descriptive information about our first government request from Kosovo, when law enforcement requested the removal of two YouTube videos showing minors fighting. If you’re looking for details on the content types and reasons for removal, use the Country explorer to dig into those details for each of the listed countries.

Our Transparency Report is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online. However, it does provide a lens on the things that governments and courts ask us to remove, underscoring the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests. We hope that you’ll take the time to explore the new report to learn more about government removals across Google.

Posted by Trevor Callaghan, Director, Legal 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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Powering Italy’s exporters with the web

Before the Internet, almost all exporters were big, powerful companies. Exporting was expensive and time-consuming, requiring large sales, marketing and distribution networks. Today, thanks to the Net, almost any company, anywhere, and of any size, is able to reach a global market with a few clicks of a computer mouse. Italy represents a powerful case study and that’s why we are working with Unioncamere, Symbola Foundation and the Ca ‘Foscari University to expand our pathbreaking “Made in Italy Digital” program.

Italy needs to rediscover growth and increasing exports can help. The country’s powerful network of small and medium sized, family-owned companies are homes to craftsmen who produce niche products. Our program gives them tools to bring them online, aiming to help them export and reach global markets. Numerous studies have shown that companies that use the web to promote their business grow twice as fast as those who are not online.

On the program’s website,  a new section demonstrates how Google Trends, Global Market Finder, Consumer Barometer and Translate, allows companies to launch foreign subsidiaries. The Giovine family which has produced wines since 1850, recently started a blog and increased its social network activity – boosting sales by 5%. Galassia Ceramics gained 13,000 new visitors to its website, half from France and Spain. Ghirigoro T-Shirts & Accessories created a website – and boosted sales by 40 percent in 2014.

Along with the association of the Chambers of Commerce, Unioncamere, we have trained and supported with a scholarship 104 youthful “digitizers” and sent them in 51 chambers of commerce across Italy, where they provide face-to-face advice on how to approach and leverage the Internet. Our online portal offers another guide for companies wishing to meet the challenge of foreign markets. It is self-service. The eLearning path shows quick, easy solutions to selling online, launching social media marketing campaigns and much, much more, while the export toolkit to help SMBs understand their potential on several global markets and draft their export plan.

Despite these successes, much work remains to be done. According to Unioncamere, only 16 percent of its members have websites and engage in e-commerce. This means that the growth potential for Italy’s small and medium enterprises remains enormous. The task ahead is to embrace the opportunities offered by the Internet and spread global wings.

Posted by Claudio Monteverde, Communications Manager, Milan
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Explore the haunted corners of Europe….if you dare

Something wicked this way comes… Whether you’re a trio of witches back from the dead or just a trick-or-treater, chances are you’re hitting the streets (or riding a broom!) on Halloween night. For those looking for an extra fright, take a tour of spooky places from around the world on Google Maps.

Start in 19th century Paris. While cheery guests listen to the beautiful arias at the Opéra Garnier, a dreary lake lies beneath the streets. Floating above the silent water, a phantom lurks. Are your eyes playing tricks on you… or is that a cloaked figure looming in the shadows?

For the holiday, we’ve also just released some new imagery in Italy, Romania and Czech Republic. Start with Italy’s premier witchcraft museum, the Museo della Stregoneria di Triora.

Continue onto Slovakia and the Čachtický hrad, a castle where Elizabeth Báthory, a countess from the renowned Báthory family, lied. Stories describe her vampire-like tendencies (most famously the tale that she bathed in the blood of young servant girls who she killed – to retain her youth).

Conclude with the spookiest site of them all in Romania – Dracula’s own Bran Castle. The Dracula’s Castle was built on the edge of the Bran Pass and nowadays lures guests worldwide who wish to partake in the legend of the Count Dracula.

If these spooky spots whet your appetite for fear, get up close with some of the most frightful locations in Google Maps Gallery and find ghouls and goblins in haunted houses around the world. If you’re looking for a laugh instead of a scream, take a hayride through your local corn maze, find the perfect jack-o-lantern at your neighboring pumpkin patch, and scout the best trick-or-treat routes near you.

Now get your cauldrons bubbling and monsters mashing because after all, this is Halloween!

Posted by Valentina Frassi, Google Maps Zombie Bride
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Speeding up the Slow Food movement

Slow Food, founded in 1989 in Italy, has grown into a global, grassroots organization fighting the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. We agree with its philosophy that everyone should have access to good, clean and fair food and are delighted to help bring its tasty Ark of Taste project online in an exciting new set of Google Cultural Institute exhibitions.

The exhibits tell the story of the endangered foods around the globe, from Brazil’s Babacu fruit to Ethiopia’s Boke black salt to Japan’s Dojo Hachiyagaki dried persimmon fruit. So far, we look at 31 products. Each exhibit uses photos, videos and testimonials to explain the culture behind the food.

At this week’s launch event, Slow Food founder Carlin Petrini emphasized how technology and tradition go well together. “Farmers need to use the new technologies to make themselves and their products known worldwide,” he explained, adding that Google and Slow Food share a common vision that “digital networks need human networks and the human networks need digital networks”.

We hope this is just the beginning of a partnership that will help to protect and preserve the heritage of biodiversity in food. In coming months and years, Slow Food plans to add new products to the site. Take a tasty trip and see how technology is protecting our critical gastronomic heritage.

Posted by Diego Ciulli, Policy Manager, Rome
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Seeking advice on the Right to be Forgotten

Earlier this summer we announced the formation of an Advisory Council on the Right to be Forgotten. As the Council begins its work, it is seeking comment from experts on the issues raised by the CJEU ruling. Experts will be considered for selection to present to the Council in-person during public consultations held this fall, in the following cities:

  • September 9 in Madrid, Spain
  • September 10 in Rome, Italy
  • September 25 in Paris, France
  • September 30 in Warsaw, Poland
  • October 14 in Berlin, Germany
  • October 16 in London, UK
  • November 4 in Brussels, Belgium

The Council welcomes position papers, research, and surveys in addition to other comments. We accept submissions in any official EU language. Though the Council will review comments on a rolling basis throughout the fall, it may not be possible to invite authors who submit after August 11 to present evidence at the public consultations.

Stay tuned for details on the Council’s activity.

Posted by Betsy Masiello, Google Secretariat to the Council
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After a week in Brazil, here are the hot trends on the field

The 2014 FIFA World Cup™ is heating up, and it’s capturing the imagination of Europeans. Google Trends gives your real-time guide to the players, teams and moments that football lovers are interested in. Here’s a flavour of what Europeans have been searching for during the first week of action in Brazil.

During a match without national anthems due to a technical glitch, France searches for anthem La Marseillaise increased more than 3x
In a game that went all Germany’s way, Müller’s hat-trick scored 3x more local searches than Pepe’s head-butt.

We can show you what questions fans are most asking Google about the tournament, and we can give you a flavour of the national sentiment before or after a match, by analysing posts on Google+. Compare how Costa Rica and Italy are feeling before today’s game:

At google.com/worldcup you can explore these moments throughout the tournament, whether it’s insight on how a country is feeling ahead of a big match, or where fans stand on a controversial match-winning refereeing decision.

Posted by Gareth Evans, Communications, London
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Chromebooks come to five more European countries – in verse

Chromebooks are coming to nine more nations
to improve computing for all generations.

So we’d like to say our Hellos
to our new global Chromebook fellows:

Kia ora to our New Zealand mates,
where getting on-line will have shorter waits.

Kumusta to new friends in the Philippines,
a better way of computing is what this means.

Hallo to all the folks in Norway
Speed, simplicity and security are coming your way.

Hej Hej to the people in Denmark
Built-in virus protection will be your new computing benchmark.

To Mexico and Chile, Hola we say
Tons of apps and free automatic updates are starting today.

And in the coming weeks — very soon, you’ll see –
Chromebooks will be in Belgium, Spain and Italy.

Chromebooks are easy to share, manage and use,
With lots of shapes, colors and sizes to choose.

Stay safe with your data stored in the cloud,
A smart pick like Chromebook will make your mom proud.

When Chromebooks in these countries alight,
We hope our new global friends find some computing delight.

Posted by David Shapiro, Director of Chromebook Marketing and Occasional Versifier

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