Celebrating businesses giving back this RamadanCelebrating businesses giving back this RamadanVP of Marketing

In the heart of Istanbul, where I was born and raised, is the Hagia Sophia, a breathtakingly beautiful monument with a storied history. Over the centuries it has been a cathedral, a mosque, and a museum. When you stand inside, you see Arabic calligraphy alongside Christian relics. From afar you see its minarets surrounding a Byzantine church. While each visitor identifies in her own way with the Hagia Sophia, it gives everyone a sense of wonder.   

For me, the month of Ramadan is similar. It’s a month when Muslims take time to reflect on their own paths of personal and spiritual growth. While this experience is unique to each individual, the act of giving back to one’s community is shared by Muslims the world over. In Turkey there is an expression: “We are created equally, but our lots in life are given differently.” During Ramadan, Muslims from all walks of life help those in their own communities who are less fortunate.

In this spirit, I want to share the story of Russell Khan, the co-founder of Honest Chops, an organic butcher shop in New York. Honest Chops, like countless other Muslim-owned businesses this Ramadan, is giving back to its community by donating 10,000 pounds of meat to local nonprofits. Particularly heartwarming for me is that Google’s free online business listing—which allowed Honest Chops to be found on Search and Maps—helped Russell grow his business and his impact.

I’m proud that Google played a role in helping Russell grow his business. Digital skills—social media, building a website or putting a business on the map—empower people to bring their ideas to life in and for their communities. That’s why Google provides digital skills training in countries around the world. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where I work, we’ve trained 5 million people in digital skills since 2014, and 40 percent of those participants are women. Think of how many people could benefit from a Russell in their community. You can learn more about getting your business online at g.co/GetYourBusinessOnline.

As the month of Ramadan comes to an end, I encourage us all to reflect on the meaning of community. The values of this holiday transcend all religions and cultures, and I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me—and Russell.

Ramazan’ınız mübarek olsun. Happy Ramadan!

Charity is core to the spirit of Ramadan. Today, as the month-long holiday comes to a close, we‘re proud to recognize the businesses that are making a positive impact in their communities.

The world as you see it with VR180The world as you see it with VR180Product Manager, VR

Virtual reality helps creators bring their audiences to new, amazing, and even impossible-to-visit places. As a viewer, you get a whole new angle on shows, sports, and concerts you care about. You can walk around the Eiffel Tower, dive to the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef, or get a new perspective by meeting people face-to-face in a way that isn’t possible with a flat view of the world.

We know that virtual reality videos can be really powerful, which is why we have invested in supporting 360 and VR formats for over two years. And today, VR video is the most popular way to experience VR. But, we’ve heard from creators and viewers who want to make and see even more immersive videos on YouTube. So, we’ve been working with Google’s Daydream team on a brand new video format, called VR180, that we believe will make VR content even easier to create.

VR180 videos focus on what’s in front of you, are high resolution, and look great on desktop and on mobile. They transition seamlessly to a VR experience when viewed with Cardboard, Daydream, and PSVR, which allow you to view the images stereoscopically in 3-D, where near things look near, and far things appear far. VR180 also supports livestreaming videos so creators and fans can be together in real time.

Introducing VR180 GIF

For creators, you’ll be able to set up and film your videos the way you normally would with any other camera. And, soon, you’ll be able to edit using familiar tools like Adobe Premiere Pro. From vlogs, to makeup tutorials to music videos – your videos will work great in VR.

But supporting the format is just the beginning. We want to make cameras that are easy to work with too. The Daydream team is working with several manufacturers to build cameras from the ground up for VR180. These cameras are not only great for creators looking to easily make VR content, but also anyone who wants to capture life’s highlights in VR. They will be as easy to use as point-and-shoot cameras, for around the same price. Videos and livestreams will be easy to upload to YouTube. Cameras from YI, Lenovo, and LG are on the way, and the first ones will hit shelves this winter. For other manufacturers, we’re opening up a VR180 certification program and Z CAM will be one of our first partners. Learn more and sign up for updates at vr.google.com/vr180. If you can’t wait to try these out, eligible creators can apply to loan a VR180-enabled camera from one of our YouTube Spaces around the globe.

VR180 will unlock opportunities for anyone looking to easily make VR memories. We’re just starting to scratch the surface of what is possible and look forward to seeing your new videos!

Introducing VR180, a new video format for creating high-quality, immersive videos that everyone can watch.

Digital security and due process: A new legal framework for the cloud eraDigital security and due process: A new legal framework for the cloud eraSVP & General Counsel

Editor’s note: This is an abbreviated version of a speech Kent delivered today at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

For as long as we’ve had legal systems, prosecutors and police have needed to gather evidence. And for each new advance in communications, law enforcement has adapted. With the advent of the post office, police got warrants to search letters and packages. With the arrival of telephones, police served subpoenas for the call logs of suspects. Digital communications have now gone well beyond the Postal Service and Ma Bell. But the laws that govern evidence-gathering on the internet were written before the Information Revolution, and are now both hindering the flow of information to law enforcement and jeopardizing user privacy as a result.

These rules are due for a fundamental realignment in light of the rapid growth of technology that relies on the cloud, the very real security threats that face people and communities, and the expectations of privacy that internet users have in their communications.

Today, we’re proposing a new framework that allows countries that commit to baseline privacy, human rights, and due process principles to gather evidence more quickly and efficiently. We believe these reforms would not only help law enforcement conduct more effective investigations but also encourage countries to improve and align on privacy and due process standards. Further, reducing the amount of time countries have to wait to gather evidence means would reduce the pressure to pursue more problematic ways of trying to gather data.

Current laws hinder law enforcement and user privacy

The U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) governs requests for content from law enforcement. Under ECPA, foreign countries largely have to rely on diplomatic mechanisms such as Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) to obtain content that is held by a company in the United States. The last data we’ve seen suggests that the average wait to receive content through the MLAT process is 10 months, far too long for most criminal cases. While law enforcement waits for this data, crimes could remain unsolved or a trial might happen missing key evidence.

The current legal framework poses a threat to users’ privacy as well. Faced with the extended delays under the MLAT process, some countries are now asserting that their laws apply to companies and individuals outside of their borders. Countries asserting extraterritorial authority potentially put companies in an untenable situation where we risk violating either the law of the requesting country or the law of the country where we are headquartered.

We are also seeing various proposals to require companies to store data within local borders as a means to gain easier access. There are a host of problems with this: small, one-off data centers are easier targets for attackers and jeopardize data security and privacy. Further, requiring businesses to build these data-centers will raise the costs for cloud services, erecting significant barriers for smaller companies.

The legal ambiguity concerning cross-border law enforcement requests has also created complications for law enforcement in the United States. Last year, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to determine the reach of ECPA search warrants issued under the now out-of-date statute. The Court ruled that under existing law, an ECPA search warrant cannot be used to compel service providers to disclose user data that is stored outside of the U.S. But even those judges agreed that ECPA should be updated by Congress to reflect the new reality of today’s global networks.

Principles for reform

Our proposal to address these challenges for domestic and international law enforcement, for companies, and for users has two core principles:

First, countries that honor baseline principles of privacy, human rights, and due process should be able to make direct requests to service providers for user data that pertains to serious crimes that happen within their borders and users who are within their jurisdiction.  

While the U.S. cannot solve the problem on its own, and many countries have blocking regulations, policy reform in the US is a necessary first step. We’ve been pleased to see serious debate around ways to update digital evidence laws in Washington on this issue.

In May, the U.S. Department of Justice presented legislation that would amend ECPA and  authorize U.S. providers to disclose records and communications content to foreign governments that adhere to baseline due process, human rights, and privacy standards. This legislation would be the critical starting point for the new framework of direct requests.

ECPA should also be updated to address what data is available using an ECPA search warrant in a way that serves broader public policy objectives. Law enforcement requests for digital evidence should be based on the location and nationality of users, not the location of data. A key component of this reform is the International Communications Privacy Act (ICPA), which Google supports. ICPA provides a unique opportunity for Congress to update laws governing digital evidence both for investigations in the U.S. and abroad. While refinements to ICPA may be necessary, we believe the principles upon which ICPA is based are sound.

Second, provided that countries can meet baseline standards and the U.S. amends ECPA, the next step would be for the United States and foreign governments to sign new agreements that could provide an alternative to the MLAT process. The bilateral agreements that could be authorized by the legislation put forward by the Department of Justice provide a promising avenue to improve global privacy standards and create a pathway for foreign governments to obtain digital evidence for investigations.

We’re ready to do our part

We know that this will be an involved process. It’ll require action here in Washington and in capitals around the world. However, we can’t accept the complexity of action as a reason for inaction in addressing an important and growing problem.

Our proposal asks for a lot of movement from governments. But we recognize our role as well. Google is ready to work with legislators, regulators, civil society, academics, and other companies to progress these proposals and make sure that we get this right. And I look forward to conversations that we’ll have in Washington, D.C. and beyond in the months to come.

An abbreviated version of a speech Kent Walker, SVP and General Counsel, delivered at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Namaste from your Google AssistantNamaste from your Google AssistantThe Google Assistant Team

Ommmmmm, it’s International Yoga Day. While your Assistant might not be able to do an Eagle Pose, it can help you relax, learn about yoga poses and be the calming presence you’ve been looking for.

YOGA
  • If you’re an aspiring yogi, the first step is getting on the mat. Ask your Assistant on Google Home to “Add yoga mat to my shopping list.” 
  • Once you’ve got your mat, you can ask your Assistant on phones, “What’s a downward-facing dog pose?” or ““Show me videos of a downward-facing dog pose.”
  • Looking to set the mood? Ask your Assistant on Google Home to “Turn the temperature to 80 degrees,” or “Dim the lights,” when you’re ready for Savasana. 
  • Interested in learning about the history of yoga? Ask your Assistant on Google Home “How did yoga start?” or “What does yoga mean?”
  • Or maybe you want to meet other like-minded yogis: Ask your Assistant on phones to “Find yoga classes near me.”

For the love of yoga and whatever else makes you happy, go out there and find your zen! Namaste.

Today is International Yoga Day and while your Assistant might not be able to do an Eagle Pose, it can help you relax, learn and be the calming presence you’ve been looking for.

How The New York Times used the Google Sheets API to report congressional votes in real timeHow The New York Times used the Google Sheets API to report congressional votes in real timeG Suite Blog Editor

There’s a common phrase among reporters: “The news never sleeps.” This is why many news outlets rely on cloud-based productivity tools like Google Docs and Sheets to share information, check facts and collaborate in real time. And The New York Times is no exception.

In May 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a new health care law affecting millions of Americans. To report the news as fast as possible, The Times’ editorial team used Sheets to tally and display House votes in real time on NYTimes.com.

Engaging voters with the Sheets API

“People want to feel connected to the decisions their legislators make as soon as they make them,” said Tom Giratikanon,  a graphics editor at The Times. But rules in the House chamber make reporting on how every representative votes in real time difficult. Photography is restricted on the assembly floor, and there is a delay until all votes are displayed on the House website—a process that can sometimes take up to an hour.

To get around this lag, Giratikanon’s team used the Google Sheets API. The editorial team dispatched reporters to the chamber where they entered votes into a Google Sheet as they were shown on the vote boards. The sheet then auto-populated NYTimes.com using the Sheets API integration.

Says Giratikanon: “It’s easy to feel like decisions are veiled in the political process. Technology is a powerful way to bridge that gap. Sharing news immediately empowers our readers.”

It’s easy to feel like decisions are veiled in the political process. Technology is a powerful way to bridge that gap. Tom Giratikanon Graphics Editor, The New York Times

House votes

How it worked

To prep, Giratikanon tested the Sheets integration ahead of the House vote. He created a sheet listing the names of legislators in advance, so his team could avoid typos when entering data on the day of the vote. Next, he set up the Sheet to include qualifiers. A simple “Y” or “N” indicated “yes” and “no” votes.

After a few practice rounds, Giratikanon’s team realized they could add even more qualifiers to better inform readers–like flagging outlier votes and reporting on votes by party (i.e., Democrats vs. Republicans). The editorial team researched how each of the 431 legislators were expected to vote in advance. They created a rule in Sheets to automatically highlight surprises. If a legislator went against the grain, the sheet highlighted the cell in yellow and the editorial team fact-checked the original vote to reflect this in the article. Giratikanon also set up a rule to note votes by party.

As a result, The Times, which has roughly 2 million digital-only subscribers, beat the House website, reporting the new healthcare bill results and informing readers who were eager to follow how their legislator voted. 

NYT GIF

Try G Suite APIs today 

You can use Sheets and other G Suite products to help speed up real-time reporting, no matter the industry. Get started using the Sheets API today or check out other G Suite APIs, like the Slides API, Gmail API or Calendar API.

Call it even with Project Fi’s group repayCall it even with Project Fi’s group repayProduct Manager, Project Fi

More than 75% of adults share their wireless plans with at least one other person.1 And while it’s nice to share a plan with the people you love, splitting the bill can be tough. It takes work to calculate how much each person owes and can feel awkward to remind others to pay you back.

To take the headache out of sharing your wireless plan, today we’re introducing group repay—an easier way to split your Project Fi group plan bill. Each month, we’ll calculate participating members’ portion of the bill, send out payment reminders, and provide a simple way for members to repay plan owners directly through Project Fi.

Know what you owe—no math required

You shouldn’t have to pull out a calculator every month to figure out everyone’s share of the phone bill. There are many different ways to split the bill, but whatever you decide, Project Fi will do the math. Once you’ve selected the option that works best for you, Project Fi will automatically calculate the correct amount.

Fi manage repay

Easy setup, reminders, and payments

Any Project Fi plan owner or member can set up monthly repayment reminders with group repay. If you’re a plan owner, simply select a repayment amount for each member. When it’s time to pay the bill, Project Fi will send repayment notifications to group plan members.

Thanks to an integration with Google Wallet, sending and receiving payments is just as simple. Plan members can simply tap the notification and hit “Send Money” to complete the request. Owners can even cash out repayments automatically to a debit card or checking account.

Fi send money

One simple place to view, manage, and track payments

We know it’s hard to manage all of your monthly bills, so we’ll help you track your Project Fi payment history. With group repay, you can easily view your full payment history and payment statuses for the current month.

Fi Group Repay

Getting started with group repay is easy. If you are currently on a Project Fi group plan, simply navigate to your account billing section to manage your settings. We’re beginning to roll out this feature today, and it will be available to all Project Fi users by the end of the week.

Finally, for a limited time, when Project Fi plan owners add a new member to their group plan, both will receive a free month of Fi Basics. For more details, see our FAQ.

(1) Source: Google Consumer Survey, U.S. smartphone owners, May 2017 (n=500)

Group repay from Project Fi makes sharing a wireless plan easier than ever.

Standing with refugees and nonprofits that serve them on World Refugee DayStanding with refugees and nonprofits that serve them on World Refugee DayProgram Manager

The Syrian civil war has created the biggest humanitarian crisis in our lifetime. More than 5 million people have been forced to leave behind family, possessions, school and work—basically their entire lives. But Syrians aren’t alone in fleeing violence and persecution. Global displacement is at an all-time high, and refugees from Somalia, Afghanistan, and other countries affected by conflict and violence are seeking sanctuary throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa, Europe and other parts of the world.

Since September 2015, we’ve been working with humanitarian organizations to respond to the refugee crisis. These organizations are experts in the field, and have told us where Google can fill a gap—with funding, technology or expertise. We’ve donated more than $20 million in Google.org grants to nonprofits, providing more than 800,000 refugees access to the internet, vital information and educational resources. On World Refugee Day, we want to share an update on a few of our ongoing initiatives.

From the start, our nonprofit grantees told us that connectivity and information are essential forms of aid. One of our early efforts was to help refugees and first responders in Greece get internet access. We provided a grant and a dozen Googler volunteers to NetHope, which has enabled them to install free Wi-Fi in 76 refugee camps. As a result, hundreds of thousands of refugees have been able to communicate with their loved ones through text and voice messages.

NetHope: Providing Internet access to refugees

NetHope: Providing Internet access to refugees

We learned from the International Rescue Committee that clear and timely information is critical in a time of crisis. To help nonprofits quickly disseminate trustworthy information, we helped build Refugee.Info with IRC and Mercy Corps. Featuring information about the asylum process, translation tools and maps, the platform has become a vital resource for refugees in Greece and the Balkans. With the assistance of a new $1 million Google.org grant and technical volunteers from Google, IRC is now expanding the app to serve refugees in the Middle East.

Refugee.Info Hub: Providing vital information to refugees

Refugee.Info Hub: Providing vital information to refugees

The refugee journey is not only dangerous, but also long and frustrating; it interrupts careers, educations and dreams indefinitely. So a big focus of our support is on nonprofits that provide refugees access to educational resources while they’re in camps and once they’ve been resettled. We awarded a grant of $3 million grant to Queen Rania Foundation to help develop an online platform that provides access to educational resources for Arabic-speaking students and teachers across the Middle East and North Africa. And in Germany, libraries and nonprofits like AsylPlus are using Chromebooks from Project Reconnect to offer language learning and job-placement programs to more than 150,000 refugees to help them integrate into their new communities.  

In addition to directly serving refugees, our work with nonprofits has aimed to provide the global community with authentic and credible information about the crisis. Last month, we partnered with UNHCR to release Searching for Syria, a website with the goal of helping people everywhere better understand the Syrian refugee crisis through Google Trends data, personal stories and the rich information from the the UNHCR. We’re also shedding light on refugees’ experiences, like Maher’s, who came to the U.S. from Iraq.

The effects of the refugee crisis will be felt for years, and no single organization can solve it on its own—it requires a team effort. Nonprofits providing support and creating opportunities for communities affected by crises need our help now more than ever, and we’ll continue to support these heroes to help them make an even bigger impact.

Since September 2015, we’ve been working with humanitarian organizations to respond to the refugee crisis. On World Refugee Day, we want to share an update on a few of our ongoing initiatives.

Connecting more Americans with jobsConnecting more Americans with jobsProduct Manager

Whether you’re a student looking for a part-time job, an electrician seeking work closer to home, or a teacher moving to another state to be close to family, finding a job can be difficult. With job postings scattered across the web, newspapers and help wanted signs, it’s not always easy to find ones that are a good fit based on your unique needs and skills. As a result, many job seekers feel like they can’t find the job they’re looking for or apply to roles that aren’t the right fit. At the same time, 46 percent of U.S. employers face talent shortages and have issues filling open positions with the right candidate.

We have a long history of using our technology to connect people with crucial information. At I/O, we announced Google for Jobs, a company-wide initiative focused on helping both job seekers and employers, through deep collaboration with the job matching industry. This effort includes the Cloud Jobs API, announced last year, which provides access to Google’s machine learning capabilities to power smarter job search and recommendations within career sites, jobs boards, and other job matching sites and apps. Today, we’re taking the next step in the Google for Jobs initiative by putting the convenience and power of Search into the hands of job seekers. With this new experience, we aim to connect Americans to job opportunities across the U.S., so no matter who you are or what kind of job you’re looking for, you can find job postings that match your needs.

Find your next job, with Google

Starting today in English on desktop and mobile, when you search for “jobs near me,” “teaching jobs,” or similar job-seeking queries, you’ll see in-depth results that allow you to explore jobs from across the web. For many people, a job needs to satisfy some key criteria, like commute time, job specialties they’ve honed or the hours they have available to work. For many jobs, you’ll also see reviews and ratings of the employer from trusted sites, right alongside the job description, and if you’re signed in, for some jobs you’ll even see how long it would take to commute to the job from home. We’ll continue to add additional filters and information in the future. Looking for jobs is a personal and complex journey, and one that we’re trying to support in this new search experience.

jobs3

Searching for a job can take time. And keeping up with new jobs that are posted throughout the day can be impossible. Now, if you step away from your job search, you can pick up right where you left off and stay in the loop on opportunities that interest you. Just turn on alerts for your search to receive an email notification whenever new jobs arrive, keeping you up-to-date and on top of your job hunt.

We’re working with a number of organizations from across the industry to bring you the most comprehensive listing of jobs—including LinkedIn, Monster, WayUp, DirectEmployers, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor and Facebook. This means you’ll see job postings from these sites and many others from across the web as soon as they’re posted. To ensure even more jobs are listed over time, we’re publishing open documentation for all jobs providers, from third-party platforms or direct employers, big or small, detailing how to make their job openings discoverable in this new feature.

People from all walks of life, experiences and backgrounds have undergone a job hunt at some point in their lives. Whether you’re a young adult looking for your first job, a veteran hoping to leverage your leadership experience in civilian life, or a parent looking for a job with better pay to support a growing family, we hope this new experience on Google will help make the job search simpler and more effective.

Today, as part of our Google for Jobs initiative, we are introducing a new feature in Search to help better connect people to job opportunities across the US.

Remembering Stonewall, 1969Remembering Stonewall, 1969Head of External Affairs for New York and California

The park is not a big one. It’s a few thousand square-foot triangle in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, populated by a handful of trees and benches. Looking at it, you wouldn’t know that one night in June 1969, it hosted a crucial turning point in LGBTQ history. Across the street at the Stonewall Inn, a neighborhood gay bar, police broke down the door intending to haul the patrons off for a night in jail. Bar-goers resisted and a riot broke out in the park—it lasted several days and sparked what many recognize as the start of the modern day LGBTQ rights movement.

Google was founded on the idea that bringing more information to more people improves lives on a vast scale. The preservation of history is an essential way to make sure information lives on and reaches everyone. The Stonewall Riots were important to the ongoing road to civil rights for LGBT communities around the world — and their message is as resonant and necessary today as it was back then. To help preserve and amplify the story of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, Google.org is giving a $1 million grant to the LGBT Community Center of New York City.

The Center will use this grant to continue its work with the National Park Service, extending the reach of Stonewall National Monument beyond its physical location. Ahead of 2019, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the uprising, the Center will record the stories of those who raised their voices at Stonewall and the many others who were inspired by their brave defiance. These are the stories of transgender women of color who fought back; of queer youth, many of whom were homeless, who bravely refused to be silenced; of the poorest of the LGBTQ community. Those stories will be built into a digital memorial experience available to anyone who visits the park—both in person and online. The funding will also support the building of a curriculum on LGBTQ civil rights to be used in classrooms nationwide.

Google.org has provided grants and funding to groups across the world that challenge bias and exclusion by helping to share the stories and history of marginalized groups, from the Equal Justice Initiative to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. We are glad to continue that work today with the support of organizations like the LGBT Center, who provide so much to their community.

Remembering the people who spoke out against injustice, who fought for the basic right to “be,” is key to our universal quest for human rights. By remembering those who came before us, and all we have accomplished since, we ensure that their actions were not in vain. We hope that sharing these stories will help to empower and inspire us all to action.

To help preserve and amplify the story of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, Google.org is giving a $1 million grant to the LGBT Community Center of New York City.

Four steps we’re taking today to fight online terrorFour steps we’re taking today to fight online terrorGeneral Counsel

Editor’s Note: This post appeared as an op-ed in the Financial Times earlier today.

Terrorism is an attack on open societies, and addressing the threat posed by violence and hate is a critical challenge for us all. Google and YouTube are committed to being part of the solution. We are working with government, law enforcement and civil society groups to tackle the problem of violent extremism online. There should be no place for terrorist content on our services.

While we and others have worked for years to identify and remove content that violates our policies, the uncomfortable truth is that we, as an industry, must acknowledge that more needs to be done. Now.

We have thousands of people around the world who review and counter abuse of our platforms. Our engineers have developed technology to prevent re-uploads of known terrorist content using image-matching technology. We have invested in systems that use content-based signals to help identify new videos for removal. And we have developed partnerships with expert groups, counter-extremism agencies, and the other technology companies to help inform and strengthen our efforts.

Today, we are pledging to take four additional steps.

First, we are increasing our use of technology to help identify extremist and terrorism-related videos. This can be challenging: a video of a terrorist attack may be informative news reporting if broadcast by the BBC, or glorification of violence if uploaded in a different context by a different user. We have used video analysis models to find and assess more than 50 per cent of the terrorism-related content we have removed over the past six months. We will now devote more engineering resources to apply our most advanced machine learning research to train new “content classifiers” to help us more quickly identify and remove extremist and terrorism-related content.

Second, because technology alone is not a silver bullet, we will greatly increase the number of independent experts in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger programme. Machines can help identify problematic videos, but human experts still play a role in nuanced decisions about the line between violent propaganda and religious or newsworthy speech. While many user flags can be inaccurate, Trusted Flagger reports are accurate over 90 per cent of the time and help us scale our efforts and identify emerging areas of concern. We will expand this programme by adding 50 expert NGOs to the 63 organisations who are already part of the programme, and we will support them with operational grants. This allows us to benefit from the expertise of specialised organisations working on issues like hate speech, self-harm, and terrorism. We will also expand our work with counter-extremist groups to help identify content that may be being used to radicalise and recruit extremists.

Third, we will be taking a tougher stance on videos that do not clearly violate our policies — for example, videos that contain inflammatory religious or supremacist content. In future these will appear behind an interstitial warning and they will not be monetised, recommended or eligible for comments or user endorsements. That means these videos will have less engagement and be harder to find. We think this strikes the right balance between free expression and access to information without promoting extremely offensive viewpoints.

Finally, YouTube will expand its role in counter-radicalisation efforts. Building on our successful Creators for Change programme promoting YouTube voices against hate and radicalisation, we are working with Jigsaw to implement the “Redirect Method” more broadly across Europe. This promising approach harnesses the power of targeted online advertising to reach potential Isis recruits, and redirects them towards anti-terrorist videos that can change their minds about joining. In previous deployments of this system, potential recruits have clicked through on the ads at an unusually high rate, and watched over half a million minutes of video content that debunks terrorist recruiting messages.

We have also recently committed to working with industry colleagues—including Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter—to establish an international forum to share and develop technology and support smaller companies and accelerate our joint efforts to tackle terrorism online.

Collectively, these changes will make a difference. And we’ll keep working on the problem until we get the balance right. Extremists and terrorists seek to attack and erode not just our security, but also our values; the very things that make our societies open and free. We must not let them. Together, we can build lasting solutions that address the threats to our security and our freedoms. It is a sweeping and complex challenge. We are committed to playing our part.

Today, we are pledging to take four additional steps to tackle the problem of violent extremism online.

Making time for change: Indonesian watchmaker’s risk pays offMaking time for change: Indonesian watchmaker’s risk pays off

Editor’s note: As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow their business, we caught up with Lucky D. Aria, the founder of Matoa, to find out how he went from working in a cookie factory to starting his own watchmaking enterprise. Matoa now exports their watches made from reclaimed wood to Europe, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the U.S.

Lucky D Aria

Founder and CEO Lucky D. Aria at the Matoa workshop in Bandung, Indonesia

Tell us about your journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
Seven years ago, I was a high school graduate working at a small cookie company in Bandung. At the time I had a monthly salary of $75. I would get an extra commission during Hari Raya (Ramadan) and that was the only money I could save. It was tough to make ends meet, so I knew that something had to change. Starting my own company was a risky decision, and everyone advised against leaving a stable job. But I knew I had to take a risk and make a change.

How did you manage to successfully launch Matoa?
I reverse-engineered what others often do: I didn’t want to sell what I made, instead I wanted to make what people would buy. After a lot of research, I saw there was a niche for specialty watches. I started learning about consumer preferences and what they need and want before designing the end product. I had to borrow capital from family and friends because my family couldn’t secure a bank loan since we had nothing to offer as collateral. But that didn’t deter me. I was so happy when I sold my very first watch at a local exhibition in 2011, one year after leaving the cookie factory. And we grew from there.

How have the internet and Google’s tools helped transformed your business?
Last year, exports of Matoa watches made up a third of our sales, so about 3,500 units in total. The internet has changed our lives and how we do business. Now, I can sell my products in every corner of the world using the internet. I have many distributors outside of Indonesia, whom I have not had the chance to meet face-to-face, but we can develop our partnership because we’re online. I truly believe every company can use the Internet to grow their business.

Google AdWords increased my local sales in Indonesia by 160% year-on-year from 2015 to 2016. Prior to AdWords, I faced difficulty in expanding my business—even in Indonesia. Bringing our products to consumers would have required us to set up physical storefronts in every city in Indonesia and this would have been extremely expensive.

What inspires you to continue to grow as an entrepreneur and business owner?
My family’s economic conditions have improved a lot. I own my own house now. I have grown a lot personally. Now I focus on spreading this welfare to my 40 employees, many of whom rely on this company for their livelihood. I can’t afford to disappoint them, and I want to help them grow so one day they can start their own business doing something they are passionate about.

Matoa team
The Matoa team

What’s your advice to other entrepreneurs?
If you want to sustain your business, make sure you don’t create a product and push it to the market without first asking “why?”. Ask yourself, “why would consumers want to buy our products?” If you don’t have a good answer to that, you’re not likely to succeed.

What’s next for your business in 2017 and beyond?
In 2017, we launched accessories for smart watches to complement the traditional wooden products we provide, which reflect Indonesia’s cultural heritage. We aim to compete with global brands.

Beyond that, my big vision for Matoa is to continue to grow and develop the business so we can provide more job opportunities to people locally. So far, Matoa has also empowered the livelihoods of 35 families in Ciwidey, a small village in West Java. They help process raw wood materials and handcraft our wooden watches. I’m glad they have gained new skills and can generate a stable income by working with Matoa.

How the internet has enabled Lucky D. Aria to build a global watch brand that supports 40 employees and their families.

Make the most of Father’s Day with a little help from your AssistantMake the most of Father’s Day with a little help from your AssistantThe Google Assistant Team

This Sunday is Father’s Day—a day to surprise and spoil our favorite dads. With a little help from your friendly Assistant, you can plan the perfect day, share some stories and more.

father's day
  • One up your dad with your own dad jokes. Just ask your Assistant on phones to “tell me a joke.” You can even ask to “talk to Best Dad Jokes” to hear more!
  • Start a chat with your siblings in Google Allo and ask the Assistant for help planning the day, whether it’s finding  “best golf courses nearby” or “current movies in the theater.” 
  • Bust out old photos of your dad (perhaps he went through a bell bottoms and perm phase?) by asking your Assistant on phones to “show me photos of Dad.”
  • Get inspired by stories about dads from dads. Ask your Assistant on Android phones for “stories about fatherhood” to hear dads tell their tales at StoryCorps.
  • Most importantly, don’t forget! Tell your Assistant on your phone to “remind me to call dad on Sunday.” 

Happy Father’s Day!

Sunday is Father’s Day and with a little help from your friendly Assistant, you can plan the perfect day, share some stories and more.

The High Five: these shall be released, top search trends this weekThe High Five: these shall be released, top search trends this weekManaging Editor

Here’s a look a few of the most-searched topics from the week of June 12:

Rep. Steve Scalise

Earlier this week, a gunman opened fire on a Congressional baseball practice, wounding Rep. Steve Scalise and several others. The event prompted people to search about the details—Scalise’s age, his political party and identity of the gunman. “How is Steve Scalise doing?” was a top-searched question, search interest in “support Scalise” spiked 1000x, and interest in “Democrats prayspiked more than 600% following the shooting.

This is why you should floss

Daredevil Erendira Wallenda broke her husband Nik’s record for the “iron-jaw hang,” 300 feet above Niagara Falls (yes, she was hanging by her teeth!) People searched for the livestream to watch her complete the historic stunt, as well as “What time will Erendira Wallenda walk across Niagara Falls?” and “How old is Erendira Wallenda?”

Love is love

Let the parades begin! June is LGBT Pride Month, and celebratory parades are taking place across the country. Washington, D.C., Maryland, Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia are the top regions searching for Pride, with queries about where and when pride parades are occurring, as well as “what to wear to Pride.” Turns out many parade-goers are thinking about their outfits—search interest for “Love wins shirts” grew 250% this week.

It Ain’t Me Babe

Cramming for your high school English test and delivering a Nobel Prize lecture are the same thing, right? In his Nobel Prize lecture, Bob Dylan spoke of novels (including “Moby Dick”) that have inspired him—and he took a few lines from SparkNotes for the speech. Though this may not be the the first time Dylan has borrowed inspiration for his art, people searched for “Bob Dylan plagiarize Sparknotes,” “Bob Dylan Nobel Prize speech,” and “Bob Dylan Sparknotes Moby Dick.”

One small sandwich for man

KFC’s latest ad campaign, starring Rob Lowe, promised to launch a fried chicken sandwich into space. Now, it’s going to happen. An Arizona company plans to send the sandwich beyond Earth in a balloon, which left people wondering, “How is KFC going to space?” and “When is KFC sending a chicken sandwich to space?” The extraterrestrial news has led to search interest in “KFC sandwich” rising 300% above “McDonald’s sandwich.”

balloon

Check out what’s trending on Google with a look at a few of the top searches from this week.

Wonders of Malta and Google Street View to enrich Malta’s digital profileWonders of Malta and Google Street View to enrich Malta’s digital profilePublic Policy Manager

The reasons people travel haven’t changed much over the years. But how we look for information, about where we’ll go or what the local customs are has increasingly moved online. Google Trends tells us that the majority of tourism-related search queries are general–things like hotels or transportation options. But in Malta, called the “Gem of the Mediterranean,” as much as 43% of total tourism-related queries are focused on cultural attractions, historical sights, and famous buildings.

This kind of demand for information doesn’t just help Malta’s visitors find what they’re looking for–it has become a concrete opportunity for local tourism businesses and for cultural institutions to grow their audiences online.

There’s more. According to a soon-to-be-released report “The Impact of Online Content on European Tourism” carried out by Oxford Economics for Google in Southern European countries, clear and accessible online information can power growth in local economies. This in turn leads to new job creation and further GDP growth. This is particularly true and relevant for countries like Malta where tourism remains a significantly important economic sector, accounting for up 26% of the national GDP.

With this in mind we worked with Heritage Malta to create the “Wonders of Malta” project on Google Arts & Culture. This is a unique collection offering viewers from across the world the opportunity to experience the most spectacular collection of Maltese treasures all in one place, at g.co/wondersofmalta.

From your smartphone or PC you can now walk across the Ġgantija Temples, the oldest, free-standing monument in the world, or immerse yourself in the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, considered one of world’s most important prehistoric monuments. In a few taps on your smartphone you can move to Valletta and visit the National Museum of Archaeology and its rich collections. The Wonders of Malta project is made of more than 600 new assets, including photos, videos and other documents, 13 super-high resolution “gigapixel” images, more than 35 new exhibits, as well as 28 cardboard tours that will guide users through the diversity and richness of the Maltese culture.

That’s not all. After driving more than 2,500 kilometres across all of Malta and Gozo and taking thousands of 360 degree pictures of many locations, starting today we are also making Street View available in Malta. Users can get an immersive look at the maltese natural landscape, cultural and historic sites, including heritage and touristic attractions, from Valletta to St. Julian’s and Victoria as well as many others, through panoramic street-level images.  Organisations and businesses can also benefit from the Street View technology. The street-level imagery of the location in fact can help them promote and increase awareness of their business – whether it’s a restaurant, hotel, local attraction or any other point of interest.

Street View Malta
Street View in Malta

Whether you’re a student looking to improve your digital skills, or a visitor interested in knowing more about Malta, with the help of Google technologies and platform and the great contents provided by our partners we believe we are contributing positively not only to Malta’s digital profile but to the further development of its cultural and economic life. 

We worked with Heritage Malta to create the “Wonders of Malta” project on Google Arts & Culture. This collection offers viewers from across the world the opportunity to experience a spectacular collection of Maltese treasures all in one place.

How a PRI correspondent uses Pixel to capture stories from the fieldHow a PRI correspondent uses Pixel to capture stories from the fieldEditor-in-Chief

Richard Hall is the Middle East correspondent for Public Radio International, based in Beirut, Lebanon. He travels all over the region, reporting on the Syrian civil war, the refugee crisis, and everyday life. Recently he started using a Pixel to capture photographs for his stories—so we asked him to tell us a bit about his approach to reporting and how Pixel plays a role. Hear more from Richard and see some of his photos below. 

My job requires me to do a little bit of everything—radio, writing and photography. I used to lug around a big camera with me on stories, but it got in the way. Good radio requires a conversation and making a connection. Setting up a camera to take a shot can interrupt all that; it puts up a barrier between me and the subject. My aim is always to take the best shot with as little fuss as possible—to keep that conversation going.

Says Richard Hall: “My aim is always to take the best shot with as little fuss as possible—to keep that conversation going.”