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It was a natural marriage. Our Google Cultural Institute based in Paris is devoted to partnering with European institutions to allow online access to art, archives and other, often previously hard-to-find culture. Europeana, launched in 2009, represents a bold European project bringing together more than 2,000 museums, archives, and other institutions, with their rich collections of millions of books, paintings, films and other objects.

Given these complementary missions, it is with great pleasure that we just have launched Europeana’s first exhibit on our Cultural Institute. Curated by the Austrian National Library, the new virtual exhibition is part of Europeana’s 1914-1918 project and represents the first Austrian contribution to our own Cultural Institute’s First World War channel.

The Austrian library exhibition guides visitors through the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph’s manifestos, from announcements for mobilisation, to administering shortages, to dealing with prisoners of war and refugees. “Putting the content online ensures that all of this history is preserved for future generations,” said Wiebe de Jager of Europeana. “Partnerships with prestigious platforms such as the Google Cultural Institute is one way to effectively share with people our common history that defined who we are and what we do.”

Online exhibition “To My Peoples!”, by Europeana in association with Austrian National Library
It’s a tremendous undertaking to bring Europe’s rich cultural heritage online, one that can only be achieved by both private and public effort. As this collaboration shows, both Europeana and Google share similar visions - allowing people around the world to explore Europe's cultural and scientific heritage from prehistory to the modern day.

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The group of European data protection agencies in the Article 29 Working Party last week invited three US-based search engines - Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!- to discuss “the practical implementation” of the Right to be Forgotten. Before the meeting, the working party sent us a questionnaire.

Today, in a move to support the working party’s goal of transparency, we are publishing our answers.



The European Court of Justice ruling has sparked a debate about privacy and access to information. We are actively complying with it. Our answers also make clear that many questions raised by the ruling remain unresolved - and will be the subject of a welcome public discussion over coming months.

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Earlier this summer we announced the formation of an Advisory Council on the Right to be Forgotten. As the Council begins its work, it is seeking comment from experts on the issues raised by the CJEU ruling. Experts will be considered for selection to present to the Council in-person during public consultations held this fall, in the following cities:
  • September 9 in Madrid, Spain
  • September 10 in Rome, Italy
  • September 25 in Paris, France
  • September 30 in Warsaw, Poland
  • October 14 in Berlin, Germany
  • October 16 in London, UK
  • November 4 in Brussels, Belgium
The Council welcomes position papers, research, and surveys in addition to other comments. We accept submissions in any official EU language. Though the Council will review comments on a rolling basis throughout the fall, it may not be possible to invite authors who submit after August 11 to present evidence at the public consultations.

Stay tuned for details on the Council’s activity.

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While the Tour de France may just have completed its final lap around the Champs Elysees, our Maps team continues to pedal ahead at top speed. Want to avoid that brutal Mountain Stage while you’re cycling to work? The latest version of Google Maps for Android update puts elevations in bike directions, so you can arrive with leg muscles intact.

We first added biking directions three years ago to our maps for a number of countries in Europe, from Austria to the United Kingdom. It proved to be a popular feature among cycling amateurs and enthusiasts and we’ve expanded the product to cover almost the entire continent. Enthusiastic users have added hundreds of kilometers of biking paths through Google Mapmaker.

We’re also innovating before you hop onto the bicycle. Do you sometimes get a sudden urge for a pizza or a banana split? The improved GoogleMaps for desktop lets you click and drag to measure your next road trip, bike ride or run—even if you’re taking a few sharp turns.

Oh, and what about the Tour de France? With the race over, you might want to relive its high moments, visiting the routes the riders took up the same mountains with StreetView, starting in Saint-Étienne and climbing into the Alps to finish at Chamrousse. And if you want to say au revoir to Le Tour de France, look below, or click on an EarthView on the Champs Élysées.


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Twenty five years ago, the historic World War II codebreaking center Bletchley Park faced demolition.  We have supported its restoration, culminating in last month’s opening of Block C by the Duchess of Cambridge. Her grandmother Valerie Glassborow worked as a duty officer and managed the interception of enemy signals for decryption at Bletchley.
Photos copyright Shaun Armstrong
Now reborn as one of England’s most evocative museums, Bletchley Park is a fitting place of pilgrimage for both history and technology fans alike. The extraordinary code-breaking feats that took place in its spartan wooden huts were crucial to the Allied victory, and helped lay the foundations for the computer age. We were honoured to have been invited to create this new film for the visitors centre:


Bletchley Park is where Alan Turing’s theories were first put into practice, in the Bombe machines used to break Enigma, operated by women like 93 year old veteran and grandmother of one of our colleagues in Google London, Jean Valentine. It was also home to Colossus, the world’s first electronic programmable computer.

As important as what was achieved at Bletchley Park are the lessons we can learn from the way it was done.

Bletchley Park was a melting pot of brilliant minds set free by an atmosphere of tolerance. Societal norms were swept aside because of extreme need and circumstances. What mattered was what a person could do — not their gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or any supposed eccentricity. By removing these artificial constraints, Bletchley Park brought out the best in the fullest range of talent.

In this sense, Bletchley’s codebreaking success came not in spite of people’s differences, but because of them. It’s a compelling role model for the power of diversity that resonates still today.

Overall, at Bletchley Park thousands of talented people, more than half women, made heroic contributions that were kept secret until the 1970s. To borrow Keira Knightley’s line playing code breaker Joan Clarke in upcoming movie “The Imitation Game”: “Sometimes it’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things no one can imagine.”

Google has long championed saving Bletchley Park together with Dr. Sue Black, Stephen Fry, Sir John Scarlett and many others. We’ve donated money, hosted events, created videos to help preserve and promote its story, including this . But nothing beats the experience of visiting this hallowed place in person — it’s just 45 minutes by train from London Euston — do go if you can. We promise you will be inspired by these technical heroes and early founders of our industry.

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Václav Havel was a playwright, essayist, poet, philosopher - and also a politician, first a leading anti-communist dissident and then president of Czechoslovakia. A new exhibit on this remarkable man just has been launched on our Cultural Institute. It shows the interior of his quirky, personalised office, full of brightly colored furniture and modern art, and recounts the trajectory of his remarkable life.
Vaclav Havel's quirky office
The new Havel exhibit is only one of a slew of new exhibitions celebrating Czech culture. Until now, the Culture Institute featured only two Czech galleries, the Kampa Museum and the National Gallery. Nine new Czech museums and organizations from all around the country have joined, bringing together up to 500 art works. Two new high definition gigapixel pictures are featured, including Jiri Sopko’s spectacular Dance. In addition to Havel, the life of the first Czechoslovak President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk is featured.
Tomas Garrigue Masaryk
Enjoy the exhibitions from the other Czech partner museums:


Along with the new Czech museum exhibits, we also launched new Street View imagery, including interiors of museums. Our launch event took place in the Decorative Arts Museum’s library.
The entrance to the Decorative Arts Museum Library
Launching the new exhibits
The venue will be closed soon due to reconstruction of its historical building - but it will remain visible and visitable online.

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At a time when racism is on the rise in Europe, reportedly reaching its worst level since the 1980s, it is more more important than ever to stand up against scapegoating of migrants and minorities. Two initiatives highlight our commitment to tolerance.

In Germany, we kicked off a new edition this month of the YouTube 361 Grad Respekt combating social exclusion and (cyber-)bullying. This YouTube youth competition runs five video camps across the country, helping students script and shoot videos. You can also participate from home using a webcam or make a video with your smartphone or tablet. Tell us all what makes you strong, talk about your experiences, give others courage, and inspire and motivate them to submit their own statement about showing more respect. Share the video and upload here.


Submissions from the five video camps will be presented one by one on www.youtube.de/361grad until September. Keep checking the channel. After only two days live, the site had received more than 500,000 views!

In Hungary, we’re well into our second year of an exciting program called WeAreOpen. It’s rallying cry is: "Being open is not only the right thing to do, but it's also worth it." To date, more than 750 companies, communities and organisations, big and small, have signed up in support. This year’s version launched in March with a social media campaign to counter hate speech. Musicians, actors, celebrities, and Internet users (including students, doctors and teachers) shared their own experiences, taking a stand against prejudice, showing support for Roma, lesbians, gays, Jews and handicapped. Their videos have received more than 200,000 views on YouTube.

At July’s Budapest Pride march, WeAreOpen supplied an army of colorful balloons and invited everyone to join. The march was live streamed the on YouTube and more than 20,000 watched it live.

This year's WeAreOpen 2014 features research from the Gemius consulting firm about diversity and tolerance at the workplace. It found that more than half of Hungarian employees have already encountered negative discrimination.

The virus of hatred, unfortunately, will not vanish. 361 Grad Respekt, WeAreOpen and many more initiatives promoting tolerance are urgently needed.