On the occasion of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, we invite you to explore Baltic cultural heritage anytime, anywhere with new collections and exhibitions on the Google Cultural Institute platform.

Today the collection is being enriched with curated stories from new partners: the National Library of Latvia, Museum of the Occupation of Latvia 1940-1991, Art Museum Riga Bourse, Museum of Romans Suta and Aleksandra Belcova, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design and Latvian National Museum of Art. Showcasing Baltic history and art in the rest of the region, new collections from the National Archives of Estonia and Lithuanian Art Museum are now also available on the site. Many cultural events are held in Riga this year and Latvian institutions are embracing new responsibilities that come with the digital age.

Artis Pabriks, Member of the European Parliament said: I am proud to see that digital priorities are truly translated in 2015 thanks to cultural stories emerging from the partnerships between Google and Latvian institutions.

The National Library of Latvia presents a unique exhibition “My, Your, Our Riga 100 Years Ago” which literally transports you to the city of Riga through maps, documents and pictures during the 18th century until the beginning of World War I in 1914. The story of the city is told in five theme based branches and concludes with an image of a diary by a German schoolgirl, E. Urdewitsch, with one laconic entry on the 78th page of her diary stating, “Germany has declared war on Russia,” which marks the end of her childhood as well as of the 19th-century Riga."
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The Museum of Occupation of Latvia 1940-1991 on the other hand provides extraordinary pictures of the Berlin Wall graffitis depicting the Latvian 1989 related movements. The project is a historical documentation of rebellious inscriptions, among others entitled “Freedom for Baltic States”. It offers a sneak peak of street art and paintings on the West Berlin side directed against the Soviet regime, and some of them were created by Latvians in exile.
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With its main historical building currently closed to visitors, discover Latvian art heritage further from the Latvian National Museum of Art with a selection of works and insight into the past of Latvian painting. The online exhibition, “An Insight Into Latvian Culture Canon. Visual Art” features most outstanding works by the classics of several generations including Kārlis Hūns, Jūlijs Feders and more.

The Secret of Art is in the Details exhibit brings you to look into details of art pieces in the collection of The Art Museum Riga Bourse. Dive into Latvian modernism, paintings and graphics thanks to the Art of Roman Suta exhibition curated by the Museum of Romans Suta and Aleksandra Beļcova. Or explore Porcelain Art from the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design.

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From Lithuania and Estonia, respectively, the Lithuanian Art Museum shares its network of museums in Vilnius, Klaipėda, Palanga, Juodkrantė, which contain more than 200,000 pieces in fine arts, applied art and folk art. The National Archives of Estonia’s online exhibit, "Tartu 1914-1918,” shows how everyday life in Tartu and its surrounding areas were affected by the first World War in Estonia.

Take time to browse and learn more about the history and art from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia thanks to new technologies and the open web. We believe putting historical material on the Internet and organizing it in a comprehensive way not only gives more people access but also preserves these diverse perspectives for future generations.

Posted by Agata Wacławik-Wejman, Head of Public Policy, Central and Eastern Europe

We believe technology can contribute to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges and we want to support innovators who are finding new ways to make an impact. This is why we’re announcing the third European edition of the Google Impact Challenge in France, a program supporting non-profits who are using technology to have a positive impact.

French non-profits can submit their ideas via until 4 June and in September, ten finalists will be chosen by Google experts based on the project's potential impact, feasibility, scalability and degree of innovation

Four winners will each receive a €500,000 grant, as well as mentoring from Google employees, to help make each project a reality.

One winner will be chosen by public vote, and the other three by a judging panel made up of Bernard Kouchner, former French Minister of Foreign Affairs; Nadia Bellaoui, President of Le Mouvement Associatif; Ismaël Le Mouel, founder of HelloAsso; Anne-Cécile Mailfert, President of Osez le Féminisme; Alain Deloche, Co-Founder of La Chaine du Coeur; Nick Leeder, Managing Director of Google France; and Jacquelline Fuller, Director of

Other Google Impact Challenges around the world have supported ideas ranging from smart cameras for wildlife conservation to solar lights for off-grid communities to a mobile application that helps protect women from domestic violence.

Technology can make a real difference in tackling some of the world’s biggest social challenges. We can’t wait to see what French non-profits will come up with.


Thank you Richard for that introduction and for inviting me to speak today.

Now, you might have seen in today’s papers that we’ve launched the Digital News Initiative together with leading European publishers.

If you did see that story it’s worth spending a moment thinking about how you read it. Maybe you bought a newspaper. Many of you will have read it on your tablet or mobile. Maybe it was in your Facebook feed, or you saw it on Twitter or via Google News. If you haven’t read the story yet, don’t worry - I’m about to tell you all about it using the most ancient form of media - the spoken word. Indeed, it’s interesting that today the spoken word - events such as this one - has itself become an important part of the business mix for modern news organisations.

The aim of today’s conference is to explore the radical changes the media industry is experiencing and to talk about new opportunities for growth.

No-one doubts that the changes are truly radical and challenging. But as we will see today, the opportunities in digital media are practically limitless.

The tools available to journalists today, to access information, to gather and create content and disseminate it to a global audience, represent extraordinary advances compared with what was available just a few years ago. And the quality and ambition of news journalism seems to grow year after year.

The way we consume news is changing dramatically too. More people are accessing more information than ever in history. The number of smartphone users will soon exceed 2 billion. According to Mary Meeker the typical smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times a day.

This represents an opportunity to reach an audience far beyond the morning paper or evening news show of the past. The Reuters Digital News Report found that in Europe in 2014, 37% of us consumed news on a mobile device each week.

Everyone recognises the opportunities the internet offers for the creation and dissemination of journalism. But the “new opportunities for growth” remain elusive. When I talk to publishers in Europe I hear deep concern about their ongoing ability to fund great journalism.

This is felt particularly on the continent. Perhaps the British and the Americans have it easier. In English it is possible to build huge global audiences - the New York Times, the Daily Mail and the Guardian have all proved this. But I’m from Italy, and it is much more difficult for Italian newspapers - and those from other countries with a smaller language base.

So, the challenge for European publishers is clear, but what is Google’s role?

First of all:

Google recognises and admires high quality journalism. As a strong advocate for the free flow of information we know the crucial role it plays in democratic societies.

We recognise that technology companies and news organisations are part of the same information ecosystem. We want to play our part in the common fight to find more sustainable models for news.

I firmly believe that Google has always wanted to be a friend and partner to the news industry, but I also accept we’ve made some mistakes along the way. We are a teenage “tech” company after all!

Over the years, Google’s relationship with news and the news industry has often been misunderstood and - dare I say it - sometimes misreported. So let me take a moment or two to set out how we work with the news industry.
Through Search and News, we send over 10 billion visits, for free, to publishers globally each month. We’re proud of that, and those readers represent real revenue opportunities for the publishers.

And through our advertising platforms, such as AdSense, we shared 10 billion dollars with publishers around the world in 2014.

Today we have more than 65,000 publishers in Google News, and Iet me be clear that those publishers are in control. They apply to be part of Google News. And if at any point they don't want any of their content to appear in Google News or in our Search results, they can opt out by inserting a simple piece of code that instructs us not to index it.

We also work with an increasing number of publishers who want to sell their content directly to consumers, especially on tablets and mobile. Google Play - our app store for the Android operating system - allows news and magazine publishers to offer their content to readers on subscription - whether paid or for free. We are working closely with publishers to improve the visibility and monetisation of their news apps. And today news sources are making their content available on Google Play Newsstand across 19 countries.

We provide publishers with free technology tools to build and engage their audience - whether through YouTube, live broadcasting with Hangouts on Air, or data journalism.

We work with news organisations to make the most of this technology, using it to build an engaged audience. And an engaged audience is essential for successful and sustainable monetisation.

But we think we can do more and better, particularly in Europe. I’m happy to announce here today - alongside a number of European publishers and journalism organisations - the Digital News Initiative to promote high-quality journalism through technology and innovation.

What are we going to do together?

A few months back we held an “unconference” called Newsgeist in Phoenix Arizona, bringing together a wide range of publishers, editors and reporters alongside engineers and developers. The idea of an “unconference” is that the audience chooses the agenda, and the title of one of the sessions they chose was: “What should Google do?”.

Several major European publishers were there, and their message was loud and clear: MORE COLLABORATION. So, we started a detailed conversation with a number of key European publishers, which has brought us to today.

Our joint efforts will be in three key areas.

First, product development. We will create a publishers’ working group from across Europe to explore product developments aimed at increasing revenue, traffic and audience engagement. Over the years we have worked on a range of news-related initiatives, but we tended to work in isolation, and the feedback has been that Google can be complicated to work with, and at times unpredictable!

We intend to change that - indeed it is my job to change that!

Second, we will significantly increase our investment in training and research. Through our newly established News Lab team we will bring dedicated training resources to European newsrooms for the first time. We are creating training programmes with a number of journalism organisations, including the European Journalism Centre, the Global Editors Network and the International News Media Association.

We will also invest in research into the fast changing media landscape. We are partnering with the Reuters Institute in Oxford to create the deepest and most comprehensive picture of how the consumption of news is evolving in Europe. For 2016 the Reuters Institute Digital News Report will be expanded to cover 20 European countries - an essential guide to the changing news landscape.

We will set up a grants programme for academic institutions who wish to carry out research into the growing field of computational journalism. And we will extend our successful Google Journalism Fellowships programme to Europe, aimed at students interested in using technology to tell stories in new and dynamic ways.

And thirdly, we have allocated 150 million euros to stimulating and supporting innovation in digital journalism within the news industry in Europe, over the next three years. In the feedback we hear from publishers and editors, it is clear that there is a great desire to experiment more freely, but risk-taking comes at a cost. The purpose of this is to make grants available to projects which demonstrate new thinking in digital journalism. No-one knows where the next great idea will come from - but we want to stimulate and nurture ideas that come from those who are closest to the action, from those who know best how journalism is changing. Anyone working on innovation in online news in Europe will be able to apply, including national and regional publishers, new players and pure players.

As someone who has been closely involved in the French digital news innovation fund over the past three years I can say with certainty that the initiative has led to some really inspiring and innovative projects.

  • Le Monde has built a complete new offering for mobile and tablet that significantly improved engagement with their app, increasing page views and time spent
  • built a new kind of newsreader, funded by native ads, that surfaces and curates trending content on social networks. It’s a powerful tool for reporters and great for consumers too.

These are just two of the more than 50 projects funded in France, demonstrating how much can be achieved when we talk and work together.

So I’m delighted to say that joining us in announcing the Digital News Initiative are some of the biggest names in European news publishing.
And we all agreed this is not intended to be an exclusive club - any European publisher, big or small, traditional or newcomer, who wishes to take part in any of the elements of the initiative will be welcome.

Journalism organisations - who play such an important role in helping the news industry navigate the transition to digital - are also welcome, and I am pleased to say that we will be partnering with the European Journalism Center, the Global Editors Network and the International News Media Association. And this is just the beginning - we invite others to join us. You can find details on the website: - or use any good search engine

To conclude:

It would be wonderful if there was one big idea which could fix everything for the news industry. So let me say this - this initiative is not about Google trying to reinvent journalism or to fix the news industry once and for all. That is neither our responsibility nor something we could hope to achieve.

I should also make it clear that much as we admire quality journalism we have no plans to get involved in creating or commissioning news. Although we seem to be quite good at generating it!

But I can’t promise it will be smooth. At Google we know that innovation is never a linear process. It’s always messy and often happens in random ways. Sometimes - often - we fail.

But I am convinced we will achieve much more if journalism and technology work together rather than apart.

Thank you

Greetings from Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy! Today, we’re excited to announce that we‘re expanding Google for Nonprofits in Europe. In partnership with TechSoup, Google for Nonprofits is now available in these countries, servicing tens of thousands of organizations in the region.

Google for Nonprofits offers nonprofits discounted and free access to Google products. These tools can help your organization go further, faster, whether it’s working more efficiently, finding new donors and volunteers, or getting supporters to take action.

Nonprofits can now apply to join the program (in Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy), which provides access to a suite of free products and tools, including:

  • Google Apps: Free version of the Google Apps business productivity suite, including Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and more.
  • Google Ad Grants: Free AdWords advertising to promote your website on Google through keyword targeting.
  • YouTube Nonprofit Program: Premium branding capabilities on YouTube channels

Many nonprofits around the world are already taking advantage of these programs to recruit new volunteers, fundraise and raise awareness about their work.

Het Vlaamse Kruis (The Flemish Cross), a Belgian nonprofit that has been active since 1927, aims to ensure that first aid is offered in the most efficient way throughout the Flemish region. Recently, they have been using Google AdGrants to support their outreach efforts.

"Creating visibility and promoting our goals is an important part of our mission since we need a continuous influx of new volunteers, financial gifts and other forms of assistance. By using Google AdWords we’ve been able to increase our visibility enormously resulting in a significant increase in website visits and requests for information via our website. Google AdWords for Non-Profits has enabled us to use a world-class service at zero cost to our organization," said Peter Jensen, a representative from Het Vlaamse Kruis.

Using the momentum that has been established by organizations such as Het Vlaamse Kruis, we can’t wait to continue partnering with organizations in Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy starting with today’s launch.

It's hard to believe, but smartphones barely existed ten years ago. People used feature phones, which had very basic functionality, and were a nightmare for developers. The only way to build apps was device by device and platform by platform—Google had a closet full of hundreds of phones that we tested one by one each time we wanted to launch new software.

Android was born from this frustration. We hoped that by offering a great, free open-source operating system, we could turbocharge innovation by allowing manufacturers and developers to focus on what they do best. At the time, most people thought this plan was nuts.

Fast forward to today. The pace of mobile innovation has never been greater. Smartphones are being adopted globally at an increasingly fast pace, with over hundreds of millions shipped each quarter, and the average smartphone price fell 23% between 2012 and 2014. It’s now possible to purchase a powerful smartphone, without subsidies or contracts, for under $100. And the app ecosystem has exploded, giving consumers more choice than ever before.

Android has been a key player in spurring this competition and choice, lowering prices and increasing choice for everyone (there are over 18,000 different devices available today);
  • It’s an open-source operating system that can be used free-of-charge by anyone—that’s right, literally anyone. And it’s not just phones. Today people are building almost anything with Android—including tablets, watches, TVs, cars, and more. Some Android devices use Google services, and others do not.
  • Our Google Play store contains over one million apps and we paid out over $7 billion in revenue over the past year to developers and content publishers.
  • Apps that compete directly with Google such as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft Office, and Expedia are easily available to Android users. Indeed many of these apps come pre-loaded onto Android devices in addition to Google apps. The recent Samsung S6 is a great example of this, including pre-installed apps from Facebook, Microsoft, and Google.
  • Developers have a choice of platforms and over 80% of developers are building apps for several different mobile operating systems.
The European Commission has asked questions about our partner agreements. It's important to remember that these are voluntary—again, you can use Android without Google—but provide real benefits to Android users, developers and the broader ecosystem.

Anti-fragmentation agreements, for example, ensure apps work across all sorts of different Android devices. (After all, it would be pretty frustrating if an app you downloaded on one phone didn’t also work on your eventual replacement phone.) And our app distribution agreements make sure that people get a great "out of the box" experience with useful apps right there on the home screen (how many of us could get through our day without maps or email?). This also helps manufacturers of Android devices compete with Apple, Microsoft and other mobile ecosystems that come preloaded with similar baseline apps. And remember that these distribution agreements are not exclusive, and Android manufacturers install their own apps and apps from other companies as well. And in comparison to Apple—the world’s most profitable (mobile) phone company—there are far fewer Google apps pre-installed on Android phones than Apple apps on iOS devices.

We are thankful for Android’s success and we understand that with success comes scrutiny. But it's not just Google that has benefited from Android's success. The Android model has let manufacturers compete on their unique innovations. Developers can reach huge audiences and build strong businesses. And consumers now have unprecedented choice at ever-lower prices. We look forward to discussing these issues in more detail with the European Commission over the months ahead.

In the summer of 2010, Google announced plans to acquire the flight search provider, ITA. As we said at the time, while many people buy their airline tickets online, finding the right flight at the best price can be a real hassle. Today Google Flight Search has made that much easier. Search for "Flight CDG to SFO" and you get the different options right there on the results page. It’s a great example of Google’s increasing ability to answer queries directly, saving people a lot of time and effort—because as Larry Page said over a decade ago “the perfect search engine should understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want."

At the time of the ITA acquisition, several online travel companies—Expedia, Kayak, and Travelocity--unsuccessfully lobbied regulators in the US and the European Union to block the deal, arguing that our ability to show flight options directly would siphon off their traffic and harm competition online. Four years later it’s clear their allegations of harm turned out to be untrue. As the Washington Post recently pointed out (in an article headed “Google Flight Search, four years in: not the competition-killer critics feared”) Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity account for 95% of the US online travel market today. It’s a similar situation in Europe too, as this graph for Germany neatly shows:

Travel sites in Germany
Source: ComScore MMX and Google data (for Google), desktop traffic, unique visitors (‘000s)

We’ve seen similar allegations of harm from competitors in other areas. And the European Commission today confirmed that it is sending Google a Statement of Objections (SO) regarding the display and ranking of shopping results.

While Google may be the most used search engine, people can now find and access information in numerous different ways—and allegations of harm, for consumers and competitors, have proved to be wide of the mark.

More choice than ever before
In fact, people have more choice than ever before.

  • There are numerous other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Quora, DuckDuckGo and a new wave of search assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.
  • In addition, there are a ton of specialized services like Amazon, Idealo, Le Guide, Expedia or eBay. For example, Amazon, eBay, and Axel Springer’s Idealo are the three most popular shopping services in Germany.
  • People are increasingly using social sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to find recommendations, such as where to eat, which movies to watch or how to decorate their homes.
  • When it comes to news, users have many ways to reach their favorite sites. For example, Bild gets more than 85% of its traffic from sources other than Google and other search engines.*

Of course mobile is changing things as well. Today 7 out of every 8 minutes on mobile devices is spent within apps—in other words consumers are going to whichever websites or apps serve them best. And they face no friction or costs in switching between them. Yelp, for example, has told investors they get over 40% of their searches direct from their mobile apps.* So while in many ways it’s flattering to be described as a gatekeeper, the facts don’t actually bear that out.

Thriving competition online
Which brings me to the competition. Companies like Axel Springer, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Yelp (all vociferous complainants in this process) have alleged that Google’s practice of including our specialized results (Flight Search, Maps, Local results, etc.) in search has significantly harmed their businesses. But their traffic, revenues and profits (as well as the pitch they make to investors) tell a very different story.

  • Yelp calls itself the “de facto local search engine” and has seen revenue growth of over 350% in the last four years.
  • TripAdvisor claims to be the Web’s largest travel brand and has nearly doubled its revenues in the last four years.
  • Expedia has grown its revenues by more than 67% over the same period—and recently told investors: “We're seeing increased traffic coming through Google Hotel Finder. It is ­clearly getting more exposure. And in general … the product continues to improve. And Google has invested in it, we'll continue to invest in it … From our standpoint, we're happy to play in any market that Google puts out there and over a long period of time, we have proven an ability to get our fair share in the Google marketplaces.” (Remarkable given their complaints.)
  • Axel Springer continues to invest in search, including the French search engine Qwant, because as the company told investors, “there is a lot of innovation on the search market.”

Indeed if you look at shopping—an area where we have seen a lot of complaints and where the European Commission has focused in its Statement of Objections—it’s clear that (a) there’s a ton of competition (including from Amazon and eBay, two of the biggest shopping sites in the world) and (b) Google’s shopping results have not harmed the competition. Take a look at these graphs:

Shopping Sites in Germany (unique visitors, ‘000s)

Shopping Sites in France (unique visitors, ‘000s)

Shopping Sites in the UK (unique visitors, ‘000s)

Any economist would say that you typically do not see a ton of innovation, new entrants or investment in sectors where competition is stagnating—or dominated by one player. Yet that is exactly what’s happening in our world. Zalando, the German shopping site, went public in 2014 in one of Europe’s biggest-ever tech IPOs. Companies like Facebook, Pinterest and Amazon have been investing in their own search services and search engines like Quixey, DuckDuckGo and Qwant have attracted new funding. We’re seeing innovation in voice search and the rise of search assistants—with even more to come.

It’s why we respectfully but strongly disagree with the need to issue a Statement of Objections and look forward to making our case over the weeks ahead.

*Update: An earlier version of this post quoted traffic figures for Bild and The Guardian, researched on a third-party site. The Guardian data were for the domain, which is no longer the main domain for the paper. We’ve removed these references and we’re sorry for the error. Yelp has pointed out that they get 40% of their searches (not their traffic) direct from their mobile apps. They don’t appear to disclose their traffic numbers. We’re happy to correct the record.

Data journalists from all over the world have until midnight BST tomorrow (10 April) to submit their work to the Data Journalism Awards: the largest international competition recognising excellence in the field. The competition is organised by the Global Editors Network: a cross-platform community of editors-in-chief and media innovators committed to high-quality journalism.

Supported by Google and Knight Foundation, the Data Journalism Awards are a fantastic opportunity for media innovators to showcase their work, and the prizes are worth €1,500 each. Previous winners include The New York Times, La Nacion, Kiln and, as well as individuals such as Chad Skelton:

The #DJA2015 awards will recognise the best work in 10 categories:
  • Data visualisation of the year
  • Investigation of the year
  • News data app of the year
  • Data journalism website of the year
  • Best individual portfolio
  • Best use of data in a breaking news story
  • Open data award
  • Best entry from a small newsroom
  • General excellence (jurors’ choice and public choice).

It’s easy to enter on the GEN Community website, where can explore last year’s winners and short-listed projects, as well as this year’s entrants

The winners will be announced during a gala dinner at the Global Editors Network Summit in Barcelona on June 18. Good luck!