Since growing up near Ulm, Germany, close to where the Danube begins its epic journey from The Black Forest southeast to the Black Sea, I’ve been captivated by the majesty of the river we knew as Donau. The Danube has woven countries and cultures together for thousands of years; it has been a catalyst for economic development, a pathway for migration, and an inspiration for works of art and classical music.

Starting today, you can cruise this international waterway with Street View in Google Maps, sailing through six countries, three capitals, and enjoying many arresting landscapes along the way. To capture the imagery, the Trekker was mounted on the riverboat ms Treasures, operated by Tauck, and Scylla, its maritime partner, for cruises along the Danube and other European rivers.

Your virtual boat ride begins in Bratislava, Slovakia, where at the top of the hill, you can see Bratislava Castle. Originally settled during the Bronze Age (around 3500 BC), the castle remains a dominant sight in the area, fixed at a crucial trade point on the Danube.

Steering the ship through Hungary, the shoreline is crowded with sights of downtown Budapest. Whether you’re gazing at the famous Chain Bridge by night or the Hungarian parliament by day, the views from the boat dock will not disappoint.

On the riverbank of Croatia sits Vukovar, an old baroque city with breathtaking architecture. The Franciscan Monastery and the Church of St. Philip and Jacob overlook the city, peering down at the waters of the Danube.

The natural landscapes along the Danube and the views of the river itself may be the real highlight of the journey—try drifting through the Cazanele Mari area in Romania, where more than a third of the Danube’s waterways weave, or the Krcedinska Ada area in Serbia, where the water seems to come alive with reflections from the sky above and the terrain on either side of the riverway.

Then onwards to Bulgaria, where the Danube acts as a bordering line with neighboring Romania. The bridges that connect Bulgaria and Romania are believed to be among the shortest ways to reach Western Europe from the East.

Growing up close to the drainage basin of this great river, whenever I visit a city along the Danube it’s easy to feel connected not just to my hometown but also to everything in between. That’s why I find it even more exciting to connect all the pieces on Street View, follow the river all the way, and see what a grown-up and majestic river “my” little Danube from Ulm becomes when it flows into the Black Sea.

Hopefully you too will enjoy this journey down the Danube on Street View in Google Maps.

When we opened Campus London in 2012, right in the heart of Tech City, we wanted to offer founders and startups a support network, education, mentoring and more. And most of all, we wanted to provide a physical space so that the startup community could gather, work together and grow.

So we’re delighted that in just three short years, 41,000 people have joined our community, from old hands to first timers, investors to founders, designers to developers and doers. As the London startup scene accelerates in pace, so does the community; in 2014 alone, startups within the Campus London network created over 1,200 jobs and raised over £41 million in capital, doubling the growth from 2013 and demonstrating strong ecosystem health.
Campus London’s meeting spaces have had a clear impact too. For example, Give Me Tap, a recent Y Combinator graduate, was conceived in the Campus Cafe because founder Edwin was trying to drink enough water to hone his stomach into a rippling six-pack. Coffee Labs, a connection platform built around coffee, aims to help others have the same kind of serendipitous encounters that its founders were having inside Campus. And Code Club has now outgrown the Campus cafe and become a nationwide network that’s inspiring thousands of kids to create through code.

The Campus Community is increasingly diverse and inclusive - in London it now includes 29% women - that’s a 9% increase in just one year. There’s more to be done but, with Women @ Campus providing networking and inspirational talks, and 110 graduates of baby-friendly startup school Campus for Mums, we hope to inspire even more women to become entrepreneurs.
Our education programmes, including mentoring from Google staff, are a key part of the Campus offering. In 2014, we provided over 1,100 hours of mentoring; enabling our startups to get one-to-one advice on anything from marketing to software development, and training on Google products like Analytics.

Campus London is part of a growing global network of startup communities. Campus Tel Aviv launched in 2012, and in coming months, we’re launching four more, with Campus Seoul opening in a few weeks and Madrid, Sao Paulo and Warsaw coming later this year.

The opportunities for startups in our network are not limited to Campus buildings. As part of our wider Google for Entrepreneurs network, founders and entrepreneurs are able to tap into a broad range of programs and networks. Our Campus Exchange program brings together six startups from around the world for an intensive week of mentoring and networking.

As we launch new Campus sites, we want to connect the dots and empower founders in these locations to inspire each other and grow - locally, and globally.

Here’s to year four!

Just in time for spring vacation planning, Street View imagery of Greece has arrived in Google Maps. Starting today, travelers can get an immersive look at the Greek landscape, unveiling some of the country’s major cities, tourist destinations, cultural and historic sites, and natural landscapes. Collected with the the Street View Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera system on top, this imagery allows potential tourists to virtually walk through the mountainous and winding pathways of Greece, enticing them to visit in person.

This imagery update is part of Google’s commitment to help the Greek tourism sector grow, bringing more local content online as part of the Grow Greek Tourism Online initiative, which provides Greek tourism entrepreneurs free trainings and online tools to grow their business throughout the year.

To get a glimpse of some of the country’s highlights, travelers can begin their Greek journey at Meteora, which literally translates to “middle of the sky.” This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.

Then tourists can enjoy the view of Athens from Lycabettus hill. According to Greek mythology, the Goddess Athena dropped this mountain in surprise after hearing bad news from a raven. No matter its origin, the vistas are a beautiful place to enjoy the warm, Greek sun above and the urban landscape below.

Next, travelers can cruise to a lagoon called Balos off the coast of Crete. This islet forms part of a cape through the lagoon called Cap Tigani (which means "frying pan" in Greek).

Continuing their exploration of Crete, tourists can also traverse the Samaria Gorge, a National Park and a World's Biosphere Reserve, with a length of 18 km.

This is just a sample of all the wonderful views available now in Street View in Google Maps. To explore more of the collection, view this Greek gallery.

And businesses can also benefit from Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their website for free, helping to promote these locations -- whether it’s a hotel chain, tourist destinations or a local library, museum or restaurant.

Digital skills are crucial to Europe’s future growth and success. We know that the current skills gap will only grow with up to 900,000 jobs going unfilled in 2020. This matters because it prevents businesses from taking new orders, building new products and offering additional services to their customers. It is a real dampener to growth.

That’s why Google is committed to helping more Europeans acquire these essential digital skills. And it’s why we’re proud to be part of the European Commission’s Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. Today, at the Net Futures 2015 event, we updated our pledge to the Coalition, and included our recent commitment to train up to 1 million Europeans by 2016.

In 2013 when we signed up, we committed to help 20,000 entrepreneurs, train up to 100,000 school children in computer science and build links with universities. We have already outgrown our ambitions. We organized hundreds of events, reaching tens of thousands of entrepreneurs. By the end of 2014, we had reached over a million school children. Finally, we launched 25+ open online courses in collaboration with universities across Europe, focusing on the themes of maths, computer science, entrepreneurship, digital marketing and law.

And we’re continuing to train Europeans and their businesses. This year for instance, we expect to reach 50,000 entrepreneurs directly in our three Google campuses - in London, Warsaw and Madrid - and through our partnerships with The Factory in Berlin and NUMA in Paris. Also, we want to grow our partnerships. Last year, our partners Startup Weekend and Startup Grind held events in 32 and 20 countries in Europe respectively and our Google for Entrepreneurs Week took place in 14 countries. This is a huge testament to the enthusiasm that is out there. We’re excited to see what this year will bring. 

As we announced last month, we are also doubling down on our investment in helping small and medium sized businesses through our Growth Engine campaigns. Our initiatives already include Weltweit Wachsen in Germany, focusing on exports; Activate in Spain, where we are helping unemployed people get back to work by training them on web development, digital marketing and e-commerce; Made in Italy, where we are supporting Italian craftsmanship by showing them how to trade their wares online; Google Pour les Pros in France where we support SMEs via meetings at their shops, train them on digital skills and match them with young graduates, and Digital Garage, where we will offer face to face training to small businesses in five UK cities.

We believe in young people too. Our computer science education programme will work with seven STEM and computer science education organisations this year, to deliver training to 100,000 young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnic minorities as well as girls in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Romania.

Working together to ensure entrepreneurial minds are equipped with the skills they need, remains central to our commitment to Europe.

Posted by: Matt Brittin, President, EMEA Business and Operations, Google

A free and robust press is a fundamental pillar of an open and democratic society. Ever since the earliest newspapers, journalists have worked hard to give the public the information they need to bring about better communities. In today’s world, new technologies offer new opportunities for great journalism focused on the public good.

In that spirit, the News Lab at Google is teaming up with The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2015 for a series of events that will connect journalists, technologists and designers and develop transformative solutions to some of the challenges faced by communities around the world.

The name of the series is TechRaking - a modern twist on an early twentieth century term for investigative journalism, “muckraking” - and our first event will be in London on March 25th.

Each TechRaking event will focus on a specific design challenge. The focus of TechRaking London will be climate change. Participants will be asked to design a product or service that engages audiences and inspires them to tackle climate change, while also revealing the scale of the issue in new and insightful ways. Additional TechRaking events, on other themes, will follow in Berlin and Paris, as well as in the US and Canada.

The best ideas from TechRaking, as judged by an independent panel, will come to life as services, products and practices in journalism, thanks to our partnership with TWG, who will be providing design and development time to turn top ideas into working prototypes. We hope these collaborations will result in new public tools to help us all ensure journalism, through technology, ensures access to critical information for everyone.

For hundreds of years, street art has transformed our public spaces into open-air galleries, adding vibrancy to urban landscapes. But using the city as a canvas often means these artworks are here today, gone tomorrow. With the Google Art Project, we’re working to preserve this ephemeral art form and make it available to fans around the world, anywhere and anytime.

Last June, as a first step, we added more than 5,000 images of street art and around 100 exhibitions, curated by galleries around the world, to the Google Art Project. Today, we’re more than doubling the number of street artworks available in high resolution to over 10.000, working in tandem with 86 art organizations from 34 countries.

New immersive experiences
From stencil to sculpture installations, mosaic and collage, a great variety of styles from around the world are now represented on the Google Art Project.

Are you ready for an urban art safari around the world? Hit the streets with Street View and listen to the stories behind the art: travel from Sweden’s most famous street festival to New York city’s rooftops where you will discover water tanks wrapped with art. Or enjoy a break in Buenos Aires, where abandoned walls in the northern neighborhoods of the city became a source of inspiration for street artists from all over the world.

If you want to know more about local street art scenes, places and practitioners, don't worry - we’ve put 260 digital exhibits online [link] for you to explore and a dozen immersive street view tours! For example you can now take a virtual tour of London’s trendy East End, home to some the world’s finest artworks, enjoy the colourful murals of Los Angeles’ Winston Street (aka Indian Alley), learn more about the longest open air gallery in the world in Berlin and see how street artists get inspired by 17th and 18th century paintings.

When the web and street art meet, the walls can come to life: discover the mesmerizing work of artists like INSA or Checko who painted, photographed, re-painted and then re-photographed a wall to create animated street art: the so-called GIF-iti.

Bringing street art into our daily lives 
We're also excited to offer new ways of experiencing street art in your daily life - at home, at work, on the go - with the introduction of street art to Chrome, Chromecast, Android Wear and to your mobile devices.

Turn your TV screen into a vibrant backdrop of street artworks, download new partner apps on your phone or tablet for a tour of Melbourne's famous laneways, an art safari in Portugal, or a glimpse of the multicoloured murals that are covering Delhi, Lima and Honolulu. Finally, turn your smartwatch into a colourful artwork with our new Street Art Watch Faces! And if you want, you can discover a new artwork every time you open a browser tab in Chrome with the new Google Art Project Chrome extension.

So much goes into making a piece of street art. Yet its transient nature puts it at risk of being scrubbed out and lost forever. The Google Art Project allows these works of art to transcend the walls, be transported to your screen and live on. Visit the Google Cultural Institute and follow @googleart to discover more.


How does a company founded in a Silicon Valley get to Leeds Dock? We arrived there this week by understanding that the benefits of the Internet and digital technology are not the privilege of a select few, but are transforming businesses from all parts of the economy and all parts of the country.

Google has long been committed to getting British businesses online. So much so that our programmes, Getting British Business Online and Google Juice Bars have already helped 250,000 UK SMEs become digital businesses. Today we are announcing that we will do even more in the UK by committing to digital skills training for 200,000 small businesses by 2016 through Google’s Digital Garages.  

Google’s search engine helps businesses connect with customers, and is an engine of growth for UK businesses. For instance, Roy Powell from Blinds R Us started his business in Leeds back in 1986. It supplies and fits made-to-measure blinds. He told us that without Google+ and Google Maps, customers would not know about him and his business. Google has helped Roy grow his customer base well beyond his traditional reach of Leeds.

Blinds R Us is an example of the power of the Internet for small businesses. In his report, Growing Your Business, Lord Young reported that small businesses with a strong web presence grow more than twice as quickly as those without. But we know that many businesses have yet to reach the full potential that digital offers and that any need a turbo charge.

To address this, Google is launching The Digital Garage, a multi-million pound programme that will provide digital skills training to 200,000 SMEs both online and in person at pop-up training venues across the UK.

Digital Garages will be based in the heart of local communities, where residents will be able to learn how to use the power of the Internet to reach beyond their traditional markets and find new customers well beyond their traditional boundaries.

Google cannot deliver a programme of this scale alone. So to reach the widest number of participants, we have been working nationally and locally with organisations including the CBI, FSB, Chamber of Commerce and LEPs. Our first Digital Garage, The Leeds Garage will open to the public for six months beginning March 30th offering courses, one-to-one mentoring sessions, Code Clubs and much more.  

In addition to skilling the businesses of today, we’re keen to nurture future talent. With funding from we are investing in computer science training for more than 25,000 Leeds teachers in partnership with Code Club Pro, Computing at Schools (CAS) and Raspberry Pi. Workshops and events for teachers will be held at Digital Garages and in local schools. Google will likewise offer online training resources and donate Raspberry Pis for use in classrooms.

Our vision is simple: businesses of all sizes stand to benefit from the transformative power of the digital era. It is Google’s responsibility, as both a catalyst and an engine for growth, to help individual businesses prosper, and the UK economy grow.  

Posted by Eileen Naughton, Managing Director of Google UK and Ireland