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

Street View reaches new heights

Street View cars, Trekkers and trikes are always striving to unveil new informative and entertaining views of the world, making Google Maps more useful and comprehensive. In recent weeks, we have launched two exciting European projects — one in Switzerland, the other in Russia — which literally take the images to a new velocity and a new height!

StreetView Trekker climbs the Swiss Alps

Together with the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) and the Swiss Tourism Board (MySwitzerland.com), we launched a contest called “Queen of the Alps.” High in the Swiss Alps, far from any road or other buildings, are picturesque huts used to spend a night by farmers and vacationers.

It often takes a full day hike to reach these out of the way huts. We ran online vote to find the favorite Swiss hut, promising to film the choice for Street View. The Swiss Alpine Club’s Lauteraarhütte-SAC in the canton of Berne (region “Grimselgebiet”) won. It took our Trekkers a five hour hike up the Grimsels Hospiz to capture this exciting imagery.

The interior of the winning alpine hut

In Russia, the site of our Street View shoot was much more accessible but just as exciting – the Winter Olympic venues in Sochi. Stroll around the Fischt stadium which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies. Walk on the Ice Palace “Iceberg” and visit the Olympic Village, where your favorite team stayed.

In particular, take a look at the new Formula 1 track in Sochi. It is located in the city’s Olympic Park and is the only Formula 1 track in Russia. From October 10-12, Russia will host its first World Championship race.

The new Sochi Formula 1 Track on StreetView

Before the event, we thought it would be cool for racing fans to test out the new track. The new Street View imagery allows anyone, anywhere to preview the route. Take a spin.

Posted by Marta Nowak-Przygodzka, Street View team
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2014 RISE Awards: Supporting computer science education

“We need more kids falling in love with science and math.” Our CEO Larry Page said this at last year’s Google Developers I/O event, and it’s a feeling shared by all of us. We want to inspire young people around the world, and so five years ago we created the Google RISE (Roots in Science and Engineering) Awards, which provides funding to organisations around the world that engage girls and underrepresented students in extracurricular computer science programs.

This year, the RISE Awards are providing $1.5 million to 42 organizations in 19 countries that provide students with the resources they need to succeed in the field.  Ten winners come from Europe. They range from Generating Genius in the U.K. which provides after-school computer science programs and mentoring to prepare high-achieving students from disadvantaged communities for admission into top universities to Mezon in Russia, which operates a learning center for educational robotics, developing curriculum for senior school teachers. Visit our site for a full list of our RISE Award recipients.

Created in 2007, the Children’s University Foundation has been carrying out educational programs for more than 20,000 children aged 6-13. Click on the photo to learn more about this and other RISE Awardees.

This year we’re also expanding the program with the RISE Partnership Awards. These awards aim to encourage collaboration across organizations in pursuit of a shared goal of increasing global participation in computer science. For example, more than 5,000 girls in sub-Saharan Africa will learn computer science as a result of a partnership between the Harlem based program ELITE and the WAAW Foundation in Nigeria.

We’re proud to help these organisations inspire the next generation of computer scientists.

Posted by Hai Hong, RISE Program Manager
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Before games, updating Street View imagery in Russia

With the eyes of winter sports fans turning to Russia, we thought this would be a good time to add more towns, cities and picturesque sights of this sprawling country to Google Maps. From today, Street View will be available in Vladivostok, Yakutsk, Irkutsk and, of course, Sochi.

Map of some of the newly available areas to explore in Russia

For the first time, Street View now reaches the far away corners of Russia. Users can take a walk around Yakutsk, the city with the greatest seasonal temperature swings on Earth (the lowest recorded winter temperature was −64.4°C with the highest summer peak hitting 38.4°C).

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Explore the city center of Yakutsk

In total, Street View cars covered 300,000 km in Russia in 2013, covering an area housing almost 60% of the population. We mapped the biggest Russian island of Sakhalin and covered the Russkiy Bridge, the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge. While snapping the M52 highway, also known as Chuya Highway or Chuysky Trakt, Street View met indigenous tribes.

The mapping team met unusual challenges. When taking imagery of the Tobolsk monastery the drivers spent two days praying with the Monastery Abbot. In order to get to some remote spots, Street View cars were transported in containers on tracks and boats. There was even place for romance: while shooting Sakhalin, one driver met his future wife!

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The Tobolsk Monastery in Tyumen Oblast

We also are laucnhing our first ever imagery in Slovenia. This gorgeous Central European country becomes our 56th country on Street View. Now virtual tourists can explore cities like Ljubljana, Maribor, Celje, Kranj, and Koper, as well as beautiful places like Bohinj Lake or the sea town of Piran.

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Congress Square, Ljubljana

Enjoy some of these amazing sights on StreetView’s journey eastward through Europe.

Posted by Carlos Reolid, Program Manager for Google Street View
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Transparency Report: Government removal requests rise

Cross-posted with Official Google Blog

We launched the Transparency Report in 2010 to provide hard evidence of how laws and policies affect access to information online. Today, for the eighth time, we’re releasing new numbers showing requests from governments to remove content from our services. From January to June 2013, we received 3,846 government requests to remove 24,737 pieces of content—a 68 percent increase over the second half of 2012.

Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content. Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes. These officials often cite defamation, privacy and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services. In this particular reporting period, we received 93 requests to take down government criticism and removed content in response to less than one third of them. Four of the requests were submitted as copyright claims.

You can read more about these requests in the Notes section of the Transparency Report. In addition, we saw a significant increase in the number of requests we received from two countries in the first half of 2013:

  • There was a sharp increase in requests from Turkey. We received 1,673 requests from Turkish authorities to remove content from our platforms, nearly a tenfold increase over the second half of last year. About two-thirds of the total requests—1,126 to be exact—called for the removal of 1,345 pieces of content related to alleged violations of law 5651.
  • Another place where we saw an increase was Russia, where there has been an uptick in requests since a blacklist law took effect last fall. We received 257 removal requests during this reporting period, which is more than double the number of requests we received throughout 2012.

While the information we present in our Transparency Report is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online, it does demonstrate a worrying upward trend in the number of government requests, and underscores the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests. As we continue to add data, we hope it will become increasingly useful and informative in policy debates and decisions around the world.

Posted by Susan Infantino, Legal Director
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Playing for online safety in Russia

Although educational topics such as child safety and digital literacy may appear to be studious, virtuous but perhaps even a little dull, we’re working hard to make them fun and interactive.

Our new Russian digital literacy project, developed with Moscow State University’s Department of Psychology, the Foundation for Internet Development, and the Russian Institute for Education Development of the Ministry of Education, puts teens in the futuristic world of an Internet laboratory inhabited by amiable robots. The robots give out helpful advice on how to tell facts from lies on the web, what copyright online is, what information should and should not be shared about yourself and others, and how to protect your data from fraudsters and phishing. At the end of their journey, students complete a test that evaluates their digital literacy skills and awards Google certificates. Those who score the most points gain the status of ‘Internet Legend’.

The Russian program is only one of efforts across the region to promote online child safety. In Germany, we have created Juki, combining video community, interactive lessons, an encyclopedia, and an animation studio, all designed with child safety in mind. In Israel, our Web Rangers transform traditional scouting.

We believe such educational efforts represent the best ways to increase online safety as many risks teens face online, such as bullying, are difficult if not impossible to combat through regulation or filtering technologies. This was also proven by the results of the first ever Russian study which measured the level of digital literacy skills of Russian school children aged 12-17. Key findings include:

  • 75% of kids learnt to use Internet on their own, without help from school or parents;
  • 55% of Russian kids agree to meet online strangers in real life without even letting grownups know (compared to the EU’s 9% average);
  • both teens and parents expressed strong willingness to receive additional training on online safety and hope schools would help to provide necessary literacy programmes; fewer than 20% of parents believe legislation will help keep their children safe online, despite the Russian Law on Protecting Children from Harmful Information which entered force in November 2012; parents claimed digital literacy programs and education are a key to family safety on the Internet.
Russian children have fun studying web safety
Creating a code of conduct for web surfing

At the same time, we recognize the need for companies to step up on protecting children. Our project in Russia arms teachers with a textbook and interactive exercises kit for the classroom. It gives useful tips for teachers and parents on how to turn on safety tools on Google Search, YouTube and Android based on the Good to Know educational portal, and includes advice from educators and psychologists on how to explain key online safety rules to teenagers through case studies, games and videos.

Teachers in Moscow and several other Russian regions have already received training through this programme and are now actively using it in their schools. One of the exercises encourages kids to create their own code of conduct on the web, then discuss and share their experiences with teachers and fellow students. We look forward to seeing the program spread in schools throughout the country.

Posted by Ksenia Karyakina, Senior Policy Analyst, Russia
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Music spreads across Europe with Google Play

Your music is supposed to be fun, but in reality it can be the exact opposite: a chore – moving files between computers, syncing across your phone and tablet, and lots and lots of wires. Google Play Music, an easier way to manage your music, offers a solution. It just has launched so you can listen to any song you want, whenever you want, on all of your devices. has just come to Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Russia and Switzerland.

All Access coverage is now spread pretty much across the entire continent. A first group of nine European countries last month received the service.

All Access is the first service of its kind that lets you store 20,000 songs from your personal music collection in the cloud for free; purchase new music from all the major record labels and thousands of indies to grow your collection; or get an unlimited pass to a huge library of music on all your devices with All Access, our monthly music subscription service. It’s all stored in the cloud so you never have to worry about losing songs or moving them again. You can add a new favorite track to your collection while you’re on your computer, and it will be instantly available on your phone and tablet. And you can “pin” all of this content to make it available on your phone or tablet when you’re offline without a connection.

All Access lets you search for and listen to any song from our library of millions of tracks, wherever and whenever you want. You can create an ad-free, interactive radio station from any song or artist you love. Or you can 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 so you can start listening the minute you open your library. You can try All Access for free for the first month and pay only a modest subscription service each month after that.

With this launch, Google Play moves one step closer to being your ultimate digital entertainment destination, where you can find, enjoy and share your favourite apps, games, books, movies, magazines and music on your Android phone or tablet. Good listening.

Posted by Posted by Sami Valkonen, Head of International Music Partnerships, Google Play
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Searching in Summer

For much of Europe, August is synonymous with holidays and we’ve been trolling through Google Trends’s new Hot Searches tool to see what is amusing, fascinating or titillating Europeans during the summer.

The clear winner – football.

Even before the Premier League kicked off, UK searchers went looking for game scores as lower Championship League swung back into action. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Manchester United Wayne Rooney’s transfer sagas scored high and Charlotte Green’s appointment as the first woman announcer of the BBC’s Saturday Football topped the ranking of the August 7 Hot Searches.

In Germany, results of the first round of the DFB Cup, particularly Bayern Munich’s crushing 5-0 victory, led the August 6 results. Russians searched for the fortunes of the Anzhi team’s financial issues and St. Petersburg’s Zenit’s purchase of two players, full-back “Rubin” and Argentinian Cristian Ansaldi.

Admittedly, some serious issues received serious attention. When Bavarian judges ordered the immediate release of 57-year old Gustl Mollath, from an institution for the criminally insane, the legal scandal surrounding the case soared to the top of Germany’s searches. Severe storms affecting German train traffic received wide attention, as did Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s purchase of the Washington Post. Russians searched for news about government’s decision to accept American leaker Edward Snowden’s asylum request and the mass protest against a new Internet anti-piracy law.

Take a look yourself at Google Trends and see for yourself what people, places and issues are making waves.

Posted by William Echikson, External Relations, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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Inspiring talented children in Northern Russia

The Northern Arctic Federal University in Archangelsk in Russia’s far north ranks among Google’s furthest flung outposts for RISE, our Roots in Science and Engineering programs.  Its summer camp recently brought 40 talented children to Moscow’s Institute of Mathematics, Informatics and Space Technology.

During five days, the teens learned about computing and ways to solve real world problems. They received hands-on lessons about how to build and program a robot to manage a computer without a keyboard or mouse.

Local Google engineers aimed to inspire the students to think big. Software engineer Anna Kondratieva from our Moscow office described Google’s self driving car and Google Glass. Via Hangout, engineer Gulnara Lastovetsky spoke about career opportunities in computing.

The visit to the Moscow provided students with an opportunity to test a future studying science and technology. As the Institute’s director Lyudmila Haymina said: Most of the students are keen to pursue IT studies and to come here as undergraduates.”

Plans are already underway for 2014, including creating an online version to reach more children. As this success from Russia’s far north demonstrated, science and technology stars can come from anywhere.

Posted by Alison Cutler, Pre-University Education Outreach, Europe, Middle East and Africa
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