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The Netherlands is famous for its windmills, which over the years have been used to saw wood, mill corn, pump water and much more. Now, a new generation of Dutch windmill - wind turbines - will power a very 21st century facility: our new EUR 600m data centre, currently under construction in the north of the Netherlands.

Thanks to a new long-term agreement signed this week with Dutch power company Eneco, our Eemshaven datacenter will be 100% powered by renewable energy from its first day of operation, scheduled for the first half of 2016. We’ve agreed to buy the entire output of a new Eneco windfarm -- currently under construction at Delfzijl, near Eemshaven -- for the next ten years.

By entering into long-term agreements like this one with wind farm developers, we’ve been able to increase the amount of renewable energy we consume while helping enable the construction of new renewable energy facilities.

This is the third such power purchase agreement (PPA) we’ve signed in Europe in the last 18 months - the other two were with wind farm developers in Sweden and will power our Hamina, Finland datacenter with renewable energy.

Eneco’s new windfarm is an onshore-offshore development, which will use 19 turbines to generate 62 MW of renewable energy. Eneco expects the construction of the windfarm to provide employment for 80 people over the next 18 months.



This marks our eighth long-term agreement to purchase renewable energy around the globe. We sign these contracts for a few reasons: they make great financial sense for us by guaranteeing a long term source of clean energy for our data center and they also increase the amount of renewable energy available in the grid, which is great for the environment.

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A quarter century ago, the people of Central Europe liberated themselves, bringing down the Iron Curtain, choosing capitalism over communism, and democracy over dictatorship. This week, at an event in Prague, we unveiled ten online Google Cultural Institute exhibitions recounting the amazing and thrilling events from Poland in the north to Hungary in the south.



Communism represented an artificial transplant in Central Europe. Throughout history, the region enjoyed strong religious, economic and political ties with the West. The Museum Masaryk T.G. Lany brings its readers back to the founding ideas of democracy and freedom on which the Czechoslovak Republic was built through the legacy of the first Czechoslovak president.

All through the 1980s, pressure for change mounted. An independent free trade union called Solidarity swept through Poland at the beginning of the decade. Even though the government declared martial law to crush it, the light of freedom would only be dimmed temporarily. Dissidents appeared. Priests protested. Musicians revolted. The Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel Library’s exhibition of black and white photographs captures not only the period of mass demonstrations in 1989 and the subsequent revolution, but also the visits and performances of cultural icons such as Frank Zappa and the US alternative troupe The Bread and Puppet Theater. For the citizens of Czechoslovakia, these first tastes of the Western world represented “the first free steps of a society.”

Starting in the spring of 1989, East Germans began fleeing to other Soviet bloc countries. The Hungarian government opened its border with Austria in May and the rush to escape was on. The Vaclav Havel Library exhibit captures the wave of citizens of the German Democratic Republic in September who inundated the surroundings of the embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Prague, waiting in anticipation for longed permission to travel to the West.

In June, the Polish government legalized Solidarity and held partially free elections. Solidarity won a landslide and formed the Soviet bloc’s first non-communist led government. The Polish History Museum has created an exhibit called "Tearing the Iron Curtain apart.” It includes a photo of the symbolic meeting between Poland's first non-communist Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and the German Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Another exhibition from the Julian Antonisz Foundation shows experimental art from the communist era.

In November, the Berlin Wall crumbled and millions of Czechs crowded the streets. The Muzeum umění Olomouc has prepared a selection of images from photographer Petr Zatloukal, showing a behind-the-scenes look at the November events. The Muzeum policie České republiky showcases photographs of the uniforms of the riot police on 17th November 1989, as they watched, powerless, while millions of Czechs marched for their freedom. Dissident playwright Vaclav Havel emerged from prison to become president. The photographs from the Nadace Dagmar a Václava Havlových VIZE 97 exhibit maps Havel’s extraordinary journey from 1989 to 2011.

Slovakia also won its freedom and soon broke away from Prague to achieve full independence. Its the Museum of Crimes and Victims of Communism illustrates the path to freedom through photographs of unknown heroes who participated in country's Candle Demonstration.

The sweep of the events accelerated and the shackles of communism were gone by the end of 1989, not only throughout Central Europe, but also in the Balkan countries of Romania and Bulgaria. The Balts, within the Soviet Union itself, soon would form a human chain hundreds of miles long and win back their freedom. In Hungary, the Open Society Archives, is bringing online one of the world's largest archives from the Cold War, including propaganda films and surveillance documents, samizdat and opposition activist videos, publications and posters.

Take time to browse and learn. We believe putting historical material on the Internet and organizing it in a way that allows visitors to read and understand what it felt like to be in the midst of events not only gives more people access to important material but also preserves these perspectives for future generations. Today, memories of the Cold War may be fading and it is our duty to keep them alive as a reminder of the tremendous achievements of the courageous people of Central Europe.

Poste

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You watched the Belgian singer Stromae perform Papaoutai 200+ million times on YouTube, helping propel the song about his father to the top of the charts in France and into a global success. 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 them 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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Last summer’s Snowden revelations not only highlighted the urgent need for surveillance reform but also severely damaged relations between the US and Europe.

Google and many other technology companies have urged the US to take the lead and introduce reforms that ensure government surveillance activity is clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. Sadly, we’ve seen little serious reform to date.

However, the US Government can signal a new attitude when representatives of the European Commission visit Washington DC tomorrow. Right now, European citizens do not have the right to challenge misuse of their data by the US government in US courts -- even though American citizens already enjoy this right in most European countries. It’s why Google supports legislation to extend the US Privacy Act to EU citizens. The Obama Administration has already pledged its support for this change and we look forward to to working with Congress to try and make this happen.

We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. The emergence of ISIS and other new threats have reminded us all of the dangers we face. But the balance in the US and many other countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As President Obama recently instructed his Intelligence agencies: “All persons should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their nationality or wherever they might reside, and that all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information.”

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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.

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Today, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the brave people who tore down the Iron Curtain. Courtesy of the German Federal Archives, we have produced a special Doodle featuring unique photos from Berlin in 1989. Berlin composer Nils Frahm created the music.



We also have launched a platform called #Deutschland25. It shares the stories of 25 extraordinary personalities who were born in Germany around 1989. Julia and Natalie come from Leipzig, the city which saw peaceful demonstrations spark the movement to bring down East German communism. These young women started Code Girls, helping young women feel comfortable to learn programming.



Philipp from Berlin helps children with his skateboarding culture, while Lisa and Christian from Munich launched Hemdless, creating shirts for people with Down’s syndrome. “The stories tell of a generation who have so many great ideas which have already been put into action," says director Bettina Blümner.



These young Germans embrace change and stand for openness, sustainability and tolerance. We at Google share these values. By making these stories accessible online, we hope to spark a conversation, allowing anybody to participate in creating our interactive portrait of today's Germany.

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"Programming is child’s play." That’s the motto of our new German cloud platform Open Roberta which simplifies programming for small robots for both teachers and students.

Its a priority to encourage students to program  - and indeed in the rest of Europe. Every year, the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media estimates that Germany lacks 39,000 trained IT experts. Initiatives like Open Roberta are designed to fill this gap, allowing students and teachers to start programming with ease - and enjoy it by making learning into a fun game.

This Open Roberta cloud-based platform allows school kids to program LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robots and control them using mobile devices. The cloud-based approach makes it simple to open the Open Roberta website and get started right away, eliminating the need for any installation or regular updating of PC software.





Researchers at Google and Fraunhofer IAIS have been collaborating since the spring of 2013 on ways to simplify programming of these little robots. The aim was to minimize technical hurdles for both students and the 1,000 certified 'Roberta Teachers'. Our solution with Open Roberta is to put the software in the cloud and open source it. Google.org provided Fraunhofer IAIS the necessary EUR1 million in funding to develop the new program. In parallel with the launch of the platform, LEGO Education introduced 160 all-new kits to be given in ten-packs to schools in the 16 German states.

Open Roberta makes it possible for kids to work on their programming projects both at school and at home, share them with others, and tinker away on them together – anywhere and anytime. At the same time, this approach is of particular advantage to schools, which often do not have enough computers for all their students.


Tutorials soon will be available for teachers on using Open Roberta in ways that meet the diverging interests of girls and boys. We at Google are proud to be supporting this initiative. Additional information is posted at open-roberta.org. To get started with programming, just visit the Open Roberta Lab at lab.open-roberta.org ... and unleash the robots!