Last month I got an email from a proud daughter in the UK whose mother Tricia Cusden used Google tools to launch a makeup business called Look Fabulous Forever. She used Search to find suppliers; she built a following using YouTube to show older women makeup tips; and she’s using Google Adwords to find customers online. To date, her YouTube channel has racked up over half-a-million views, and her company now exports products to 24 countries around the world.

Today we are launching an initiative spotlighting hundreds of European entrepreneurs like Tricia who have used Google products as a growth engine for their businesses. We’re also announcing that Google will train 1 million Europeans to learn crucial digital skills by 2016. Not long ago, small businesses could only afford to source and sell locally. Global marketing and distribution were out of reach for all but the biggest. Today, any business can reach a global market using the Internet, allowing even the smallest businesses to be a multinational.

If you have a product or service, Google AdWords can connect your business with potential customers. Take Berto Salotti, a furniture-maker who has shared his story as part of our project. In 2002, after 30 years of production, Berto had six employees based in Meda, Italy, where they sold most of their furniture. Today, after marketing online through Adwords, they’ve quadrupled in both size and revenue and have customers worldwide.

Eumelia is an ecotourism farm and guesthouse based in rural Greece that uses Google tools to reach out to prospective visitors as far away as Japan and Australia. The company’s founder, Frangiskos, said AdWords is “the best way for a small, local business to have global impact.” And Dutch office supply company DiscountOffice said Adwords "levels the playing field", allowing them "to compete with big multinationals from the beginning.”

But it’s not just online marketing through AdWords that helps businesses grow; YouTube has helped European creators and entrepreneurs attract fans and customers using the power of video. Marie Lopez is like many 19-year-old Parisians. She loves fashion, design and makeup. But what makes Marie different is that she has more than one million people around the world who subscribe to her YouTube channel, EnjoyPhoenix. Having amassed over 120 million views, Marie is now developing her own line of products and working with top brands like L’Oreal. Today, thousands of YouTube channels are making six figures annually and total revenue amongst our YouTubers has grown by 50 percent in each of the last two years.

Google Play is also a huge growth engine for European developers, connecting them to a booming global app economy. Launched in Spain, WePlan is a free Android app that looks at how people use their phones, and recommends the best carriers for their needs. Today it has more than 100,000 users in 24 countries. And WePlan has gone from five to 18 employees in just two years. Last year, Google paid out more than €4.4 billion to developers like WePlan.

We are excited that businesses all around Europe are using the technology we provide as an engine for their growth. To see more of these stories, check out this video:

It’s clear that the opportunities for businesses in the digital age are immense--there are many more ways to reach customers than anyone could have imagined not that long ago. But, for Europe to reach its full potential, we need to clear the way for companies online. We need a single market in the digital world that reflects the single market we enjoy in the physical world already. With over two dozen regulatory and frameworks to contend with, businesses stumble when they seek to sell, grow or hire across borders. The European Commission has rightly identified the digital single market as one of Europe’s top priorities.

Of course, the opportunities afforded by the digital economy are still limited if people don’t have the right skills. At current rates, the EU predicts a shortfall of 900,000 jobs by 2020 due to a lack of digital skills, and there are many businesses that want to get online but don’t know where to start. At Google we’re playing our part. Over the last year we have have helped tens of thousands of German entrepreneurs export through partnerships with DHL, PayPal and Commerzbank. We have trained tens of thousands of young, unemployed people in Spain with free courses on subjects like web development, digital marketing, and ecommerce. And, we have shown thousands of traditional Italian craftspeople how to sell and market their wares online.

But we want to do more. So, today we’ve announced that Google will train 1 million Europeans in crucial digital skills by 2016. We will invest an additional €25M to broaden our current programs and take them to new markets across Europe to train more small businesses on the digital skills they so need. We’ll build a Europe-wide training hub to support businesses anywhere in Europe to get training online.

Some people look at the state of the economy in Europe and are pessimistic. We see something else: a huge diversity of businesses and entrepreneurs with creativity, ambition, and talent -- all using digital tools to create jobs and boost the economy.

From the carved stone tablet to today’s touchscreen devices, the ways in which people consume journalism have evolved as technology has advanced. So too have the ways in which journalists practice their craft - a mobile device can be used to conduct interviews, record video, write and file copy. There are myriad exciting ways for reporters to get the story, and enrich it for readers with deep research and interactive tools.

To further empower journalists and grow their digital skills, the News Lab at Google has partnered with the non-profit European Journalism Centre (EJC) to produce a series of eight News Impact Summits across Europe in 2015. The daylong events are free and will feature local practitioners, debates, insights into how stories are produced and hands-on workshops to train on a variety of tools and techniques. Our hope is to equip journalists with new digital skills and to inspire by featuring excellence in journalism from within the community.

The first summit is on February 24 in Brussels and features speakers from the worlds of media and technology including Datawrapper, L’Echo, De Tijd, International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ),, Euractiv, the Dutch-Flemish Association for Investigative Journalism (VVOJ), Storycode, the Association of European Journalists, The Financial Times, the PressClub Brussels-Europe and Gruppo L’Espresso.

The Brussels event will have a decidedly EU flavor but others will be centered around the host country. Future summits include March 31 in Hamburg and April 28 in Paris with additional ones to follow in Madrid, London, Amsterdam, Warsaw and Prague.

To register for any of the events, and for program details, please visit

Our mission at the News Lab at Google is to collaborate with journalists, entrepreneurs and publishers everywhere through product partnerships, digital tools training, and other initiatives that support the industry as a whole. We’re thrilled to work with the EJC, which fosters both quality journalism and a free press, to help create this opportunity.

From farmers to florists, clockmakers to cheesemakers, accountants to antique shops, the web is powering the growth of small businesses across Europe. Entrepreneurs today find their customers online and export their products and services around the globe thanks to the web. Businesses that use the web intensively grow up to four times faster than those that don’t, creating new jobs and opportunities across all sectors.

On February 26th, together with DIGITAL EUROPE and the Lisbon Council, we’re hosting an event in Brussels to celebrate the success of small, web-savvy European businesses, and we hope you’ll join us.
At SMEs in the Digital Single Market: Creating Growth in Europe, you can:

  • Meet 20 small business owners from 10 countries that are using the web to get ahead. They’ll explain their journey from bright idea to thriving business - and how Europe’s Digital Single Market will help them grow further and faster.
  • Hear a keynote speech from Matt Brittin, Google’s President, Business and Operations, EMEA, who will outline how every day, small businesses across Europe are using Google’s online tools as a growth engine to help them compete on the global stage
  • Listen to Internet entrepreneurs including the UK’s Look Fabulous Forever, Germany’s Book A Tiger and Sweden’s Happy Socks, who will share their experiences and hopes for Europe’s Digital Single Market in a panel session
  • Debate the policies required to advance Europe’s Digital Single Market with Kristian Hedberg, from Internal Market Commissioner Bienkowska’s cabinet, MEP Eva Paunova and John Higgins, Director-General of Digital Europe.
  • Join us afterwards for a delicious bite of lunch and networking.

A limited number of places are still available, to register, please get in touch via


Thank you for inviting me here today. It’s a great honor to be with you this afternoon: in a state with such a long history of invention--numerous Mittelstand champions as well as Siemens, Audi, BMW, Adidas; and in a city that has been such a wonderful partner to Google.

Just down the road, we signed our first major books digitization project with the Bavarian State Library. Oberstaufen was our first Street View launch in Germany. Minister-President Seehofer was the first German politician to do a live interview on YouTube. Even the model locomotive in your Stone Hall represents a shared love of technology and excitement about the future.

Happily, it’s a future with more investment in Munich. Our new engineering center here will be home to several hundred employees--in addition to the three hundred who already live here. It happens to be located, appropriately enough, next to the Hacker Bridge--though, we don’t plan to hire any additional security. And we're working with local chambers of commerce across Bavaria to help promote German exports online.

Now I must admit to being a little bit nervous. US tech companies are front and center of the European political debate today: not always for the right reasons. And frankly some of the criticism is fair. As an industry we have sometimes been a little too high on our own success.

With that as my starting point, I wanted to talk about three important issues facing us all today:
  • First, government surveillance and the role technology companies have in the fight against crime and terrorism;
  • Second, the growing need to keep people’s information safe and secure online; and
  • And third, privacy in the digital age.

These are complex issues and I want to address them in a meaningful way, so forgive me for digging into the details a bit!

Government surveillance

One of the most basic duties of any government is to protect its citizens. It’s always been true that technology can be used for good, and bad. Since humankind discovered fire, there’s been arson. And today, the technologies we all use to find information or chat with loved ones, are also being co-opted by the criminal minority for their own purposes.

It’s why companies like Google have a responsibility to work with law enforcement. And we do--regularly providing account details, as well as the contents of private communications, like email, to the authorities as they investigate crime and terrorism.

  • For example, in the first six months of 2010, Google received almost 15,000 government requests for user data. By 2014, that number had risen to just under 35,000.
  • We look carefully at every request and provide information in the majority of these cases--over 65 percent.

Why, you may ask, didn’t we comply in every case? Well, we have a duty to our users, as well. When people sign-up for an email account, they trust Google to keep that information private. So we need to be certain the law enforcement requests we receive--and remember they come from all around the world--are legitimate, not targeted at political activists or incredibly broad in their scope. And we never let governments just help themselves to our users' data. No government--including the US government--has backdoor access to Google or surveillance equipment on our networks. Let me repeat that. The United States Government does not have backdoor access to Google.

This is why encryption is also important--because it requires governments to go through the proper legal channels. There’s simply no other way for them to get encrypted data, save hacking into our systems or by targeting individual users--issues I’ll touch on later. In fact, Gmail was the first email service to be encrypted by default, and we now encrypt Google Search, Maps, and Drive (our cloud-based storage service).

In the last few months, a number of governments have voiced their concern about the time it takes to process requests for user data when investigating crime, encryption and the storage of data, as well as the use of the Internet by terrorists. These concerns are entirely understandable, especially after last month’s horrific attacks in Paris and the barbaric murders of hostages by ISIS. So let me address each one in turn, starting with the time taken to process requests for user data.

When it’s a threat to life situation, Google is able to provide information to the authorities within hours--this is incredibly important given the increased terrorist threat many governments face today. But in most other situations, law enforcement requests--especially for private communications, such as Gmail--must be made through diplomatic channels, typically Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, or MLATs for short.

For example, if the US Government wants user information from a company based in Germany--say GMX or Xing--it works through the German government. It’s the same when the German government wants information from a US company, like Google. This creates checks and balances, preventing potential abuse.

That said, the MLAT process is too slow, too complicated and in need of reform. For example, it would save everyone time if we moved beyond paper, fax machines and diplomatic pouches to web forms that are quick and easy to process. Europe is leading the way here. We now need the US to follow suit.

However, even with reform, some intergovernmental oversight will always be necessary. If government X wants information on its own citizens, that’s one thing. But when it’s asking for information about country Y’s citizens, surely that country should have a say in the decision as well. This takes time.

Next: concerns that encryption and the deletion of data make it harder for law enforcement to investigate crime. It is absolutely true that encryption means law enforcement must come to Google with their requests--they cannot go through a third party, for example a telecommunications provider.

And when it comes to data stored on phones and laptops, it’s the users who have the encryption keys--not Google. But people do keep sensitive stuff on these devices so it’s important to keep them secure. It’s the modern-day equivalent of putting sensitive documents in a safe with a combination lock.

Which brings me to the bigger point about encryption: It helps keep everyone safe and secure on the web by preventing the theft of sensitive information such as bank details or credit cards. Given most people use the Internet for the reasons it was intended, we shouldn’t weaken security and privacy protections for the majority to deal with the minority who don’t.

It’s the same with the deletion of data. One example is Snapchat, a popular new messaging app. Snapchat automatically deletes photos and videos once they have been shared. It’s the ultimate right to be forgotten for the millions of young people using the service every day. That’s a good thing.

Finally, terrorism. All of us have been horrified by ISIS and their use of the media to spread propaganda. At YouTube, the world’s most popular video sharing platform, we’re acutely aware of our responsibilities.

  • Last year alone we removed 14 million videos because they broke YouTube’s policies prohibiting gratuitous violence, incitement to violence and hate speech.
  • We automatically terminate the accounts of any terror group, and hand over the account information to the authorities.
  • We allow law enforcement, for example the UK Home Office, to flag videos containing terrorist content, which we review and remove as a priority. We hope to work with law enforcement in other countries on similar efforts.
  • And we partner with dozens of non-governmental organizations on counter-speech--helping provide an alternative viewpoint to vulnerable young people.

Of course there is always more to be done and we welcome your ideas and feedback.

Over the last three years, first with Edward Snowden and now ISIS, we’ve seen the political debate about government access to information swing from one end of the spectrum to the other. Indeed, the race to encrypt was driven in large part by Snowden’s revelations, which uncovered some pretty outrageous behavior on the part of the US Government. The emergence of ISIS is now leading some governments to question encryption entirely, as well as to call for increased data retention. The solution, we believe, lies in a principled yet practical approach: one that restricts indiscriminate surveillance and supports valid law enforcement efforts while also protecting people’s privacy and security.

Privacy and security of personal information

Which brings me to my next subject: keeping people’s information safe and secure. In many ways, privacy and security are two sides of the same coin--if your data is not secure it’s not private, as last year’s celebrity hacks showed. While the target that time was Hollywood, it could just as easily have been you or me. So it’s not surprising that a recent Gallup poll showed people are more concerned with theft online than having their house broken into.

In the last four years, we’ve been able to cut in half the number of Google accounts that are hijacked. For example, we block suspicious attempts to log into accounts--perhaps because they come from an unusual device or location. If you’ve ever traveled abroad and got an email questioning a recent login, that’s Google working to keep you safe. And we also offer two-factor authentication so people are no longer rely only on their passwords for protection. Instead people confirm their identity not just with a password but also a code generated by their phone or by a USB device.

If you’re at this conference and you’re not using two-factor authentication, you really should be--please talk to Dr Wieland Holfeder, the head of our Munich R&D Center, afterwards!

Now, we’re under a lot of scrutiny in Europe because of our size. But it is precisely our size that enables us to invest a lot in security, which helps our users as well as the wider web. For example, our Safe Browsing technology identifies sites that steal passwords or contain malware. If you’re using the Chrome browser, we show very visible warnings--20 million per week--when you try to visit a malicious webpage. And because we make this data publicly available, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers can use it as well. This helps protect over one billion people all around the world.

We can also help move things forward in other ways: for instance, we now rank encrypted websites slightly higher in our search results, encouraging everyone to encrypt their services. And any company can take advantage of Google’s security expertise by using our corporate versions of Gmail and Drive. The fact that we employ 500 security and privacy experts means they don’t have to.

Corporate attacks are on the increase--and they highlight the interconnected nature of the web. The Sony hack, for example, not only exposed their own employees, but also the business plans of a high-profile tech CEO. These kinds of complexities are why security should be a team effort--companies working together, and governments working with companies.

In 2010, Google disclosed that we had been subject to a significant cyberattack from China. At the time we were surprised that so few of the other companies targeted were willing to talk publicly. They were understandably afraid that doing so would frighten customers, provoke lawsuits, or worry investors. This is still the case for many corporations today.

When individual companies keep attacks under wraps, it can make it harder for other companies to improve our defenses. It’s why we should all share with each other best practices and the threats we see. We also believe that governments could be more forthcoming about the cybersecurity intelligence they have, so everyone can better protect themselves. This information often seeps out slowly, not least because it tends to get over-classified. We’re all stronger when security is a shared responsibility.

Privacy and trust

Finally, let me turn to privacy. I want to start by making clear Google hasn’t always got this right. It’s not just about the errors we have made--with products like Buzz or the mistaken collection of WiFi data--but about our attitude too. These have been lessons learned the hard way. But as our swift implementation of the Right to be Forgotten has shown, they are indeed lessons we have learned.

Now privacy means different things for different people, in different situations. For example, I may share photos only with my loved ones--others may feel comfortable posting them on the web. I may be happy for my friends to keep my shared photos forever--others may want them to disappear soon after they are shared.

In the end, privacy is closely tied to our sense of personal identity: it’s not “one size fits all”. That’s why people want to be in control of the information they share and have real choices about the services they use. And that’s what we focus on at Google.

Keeping a record of what people search for can improve the quality of their results over time. But if you want to search without your queries being stored, turn off Search History. It’s really easy. If Google has someone’s location, we can give directions without them having to type in their start point each time. That’s great for people like me with fat fingers on a mobile phone. But you can always turn location off too.

In addition, you can see all the information stored by Google and access all your privacy settings from one place, your Dashboard--which by the way was developed right here in Munich by our German engineers. Just type "Dashboard" into Google and it's right there. You can see who you have shared documents with, the apps you have downloaded to your phone and much more. People are using these tools and understand the choices they make. Ten million people check out their Account History settings each week--and make over 2.5 million changes. These are split evenly between people turning settings off and turning them on.

We also take pride in letting people leave Google easily. Data portability matters. So we’ve built a Takeout tool that enables you remove data stored by Google and put it elsewhere. We want people using our services because they love them, not because we hold their data hostage.

Now some of you are doubtless thinking: wait a minute--Google still collects all that information to serve me ads. Well actually no. Most of the data we collect is used to provide and improve our services. For example we store hundreds of billions of emails because hundreds of millions of people globally want unlimited storage. Gmail has become their digital filing cabinet. In fact, the core of our business--our Google search ads--actually requires almost no personal information. If you type flowers into Google search--the chances are you want … well … flowers! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a ton of data to work that one out.

Of course it is true that most of our services today are supported by advertising. But we view that as a positive because ads enable us to offer our products for free to everyone. Without ads, the poorest would not have access to the same search results, the same maps, the same translation tools, the same email service as everyone here today. And it’s important to remember that even though we are in the advertising business, Google does not sell your personal information. Let me repeat that. Google does not sell your personal information. Nor do we share it without your permission except in very limited circumstances, like government requests for data.

Now some people argue that Google’s collection of data is no different than government surveillance. “Google has the data so why shouldn’t we” is an argument used by many intelligence services in the press. But we believe there is a significant difference. Government surveillance uses data that was collected for an entirely separate purpose; it’s conducted in secret; its targets are unaware their data is being collected, and they are unable to stop or control it.

Google, by contrast, collects data to provide and improve our products. And we give our users the ability to control or stop the collection of their data, or leave entirely.

The potential of science and technology

I was reading about the history of this building. I was amazed to see how long the project took: King Maximilian first started construction in 1857. It wasn’t completed until 1874, 17 years later. They actually had to change the style of architecture, mid-build, to keep up with the times.

In those 17 years, though, we saw the invention of the gasoline engine, the sewing machine and the typewriter. Darwin wrote the Origin of Species, and Mendeleev created the periodic table. That’s a pretty good 17 years. Technology was moving fast--probably faster than people wanted it to.

Similarly, just 17 years ago, you couldn’t instantly share photos of your children with friends… or talk to anyone, wherever they are in the world. The idea of not having a landline telephone seemed absurd.

The point is, just as in the 1850s, technology is moving fast. It’s changing the way we live. It’s raising new questions all the time. And, just as in the past, it’ll take many of us working together to come up with the right answers. At Google, we look forward to working with all of you on that. This building was constructed from a profound optimism about the potential for science and technology to improve lives. That optimism is in your history. It’s in your DNA. And it’s an optimism that Google shares with you.

Vielen Dank.

Wondering how to share your love tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day? Sometimes an image speaks louder than a thousand words...

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this weekend, the Google Cultural Institute team have gathered dozens of masterpieces on the theme of love and romance in a unique collection. Join us as we journey across countries, cultures and time and through love’s many manifestations, and share your favourite pieces with your loved ones. From Banksy to Van Gogh to Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, you’ll see a wide range of artwork in our collection.

For this special day, we’ve even digitised in ultra-high resolution one of the most famous kisses in the history of art: Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. The two figures are are on a flower-strewn meadow, gently ascending from the abyss and protected by a halo of shimmering gold. Now, you can zoom in to brushstroke level and discover the painting’s delicate layers of gold leaf and the details of the meadow.
For other smooching styles, take a minute to enjoy Renoir’s Country Dance, or kisses by Anh Chang Hong, Edvard Munch and Giovanni Giuliani!
Explore the collection to find the masterpiece that best expresses your mood. Why not invite your love for a walk in the fields or an afternoon in the park, or to share a meal? Don’t just stand there day-dreaming or writing love letters - let your hair down at a wedding or a party! And if you are looking for a nice topic of conversation for dinner, explore how people have sent Valentines wishes over the years, from handwritten letters to telegrams to Twitter and Instagram.
Still not had your fix of romance? Escape to The Museum of Innocence in Turkey to discover the deeply moving love story of Kémal and Füsun. Orhan Pamuk conceived The Museum of Innocence, a love story set between 1974 and the early 2000s, as both a book and a museum. Combined, the two paint a picture of life in Istanbul through the memories and flashbacks of two families.
And there are plenty more masterpieces that could help you express your feelings. Explore the thousands of documents and artworks put online by our 600 global Cultural Institute partners.

In the words of Leo Tolstoy: "There are as many kinds of love as there are hearts”. So enjoy the visit and spread the love… and the art at

Every year, thousands of people from around the world visit Moscow’s historic Bolshoi Theatre to see a performance by the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet, or watch an opera by composers like Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev.

Now, thanks to a new partnership between the Bolshoi Theatre and the Google Cultural Institute, you can take a virtual tour of this iconic building and learn about its rich history through new online exhibitions.

Using Street View technology, you can follow in the footsteps of greats like opera singer Feodor Chaliapin or prima ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. Feel the hairs on your neck rise as you look out from the stage, over the orchestra pit, to the imposing gilded auditorium. Don't forget to look up to see the famous crystal chandelier and painted ceiling.

Navigate your way up through the building’s corridors to the 9th floor rehearsal rooms. And as you tour the richly decorated foyers, zoom in on the magnificent paintings to examine them in minute detail (and see if you can spot the Romanov family crest too.)

New exhibitions, hosted on the Cultural Institute website, help you understand the Bolshoi Theatre’s rich history. View vintage photos from the theatre’s early years (1860-1911). Wonder at the beauty and artistry of the traditional Russian costumes worn in productions between 1942 and 1999.
And don’t miss the exhibition dedicated to the outstanding Bolshoi stage designer and artist Fyodor Fedorovsky. As well as creating the beautiful golden curtain that veiled the stage between between 1955 and 2005, his creativity and imagination were responsible for the sets used in some of the Theatre’s best-known productions. Even today, the operas Boris Godunov and The Tsar's Bride are still performed using his original set designs.

Online security is on everyone’s mind these days. According to a recent Gallup poll, more people are worried about their online accounts being hacked than having their home broken into.

Security has always been a top priority for Google. Our Safe Browsing technology identifies unsafe websites and warns people before they visit them, protecting more than one billion Chrome, Firefox, and Safari users everyday. 2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security, beyond your password, to your Google account; it’s like a second padlock on your account’s door. And our research teams regularly release new findings about nefarious online activity, like Gmail account hijacking attempts, so people can stay informed.

We have many protections in place to keep people, and their information, secure, but there's also a lot that you can do to protect yourself. Today, on Safer Internet Day, take a quick Security Checkup, an easy way to review and manage your Google Account’s security settings.
Here are some of the important items you can review during your Security Checkup:
  • Recovery information: Adding a phone number can help us get in touch if you’re locked out of your account. We’ll only use your phone number to protect your account, unless you say otherwise.
  • Recent activity: This is a quick overview of your recent sign-ins to Google. If you see any activity from a location or device you don’t recognize, change your password immediately.
  • Account permissions: These are the apps, websites and devices connected to your Google account. Take a look and make sure you trust—and actually use—all of them. You might want to remove an old phone, or that dusty app you never use.
It takes just a few minutes to make sure your information is accurate and up to date. Visit your Account Settings and take your Security Checkup today.

Update: As an extra thank you, we’ll add 2GB to your Drive storage plan if you complete the Security Checkup by February 17. We’ll be granting the storage automatically to everyone around 28 February 2015 and we’ll send you an email when your adjustment is complete..