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It’s hackathon time in Brussels. Applications are open now here for the fourth annual EUhackathon. Apply before October 2. This year’s event, scheduled for December 2 and 3, 2014, focuses on increasing democratic participation and how to increase European citizens’ involvement in the European Union policy-making process.



Previous EUhackathons also addressed pressing policy issues and built bridges between policymakers and the world of coders. The 2011 edition aimed to enhance transparency around broadband Internet access; the 2012 edition created child safety solutions; and the 2013 edition promoted transparency around government surveillance of online communications.



This year’s Hackathon entrants will be asked to produce apps that increase democratic participation. They might allow citizens to participate in public consultations or in policy-making debates held at EU (and possibly national) level. They might promote transparency, enable the mining and analysis of responses and positions published in the public consultation process or legislative debate.

Selected applicants will be invited to Brussels for the two day event. Sponsors will cover their travel and accommodation costs. The winner will receive EUR 5,000. European Parliamentarians Eva Paunova (EPP, Bulgaria), Julia Reda (Greens/EFA, Germany) and Marietje Schaake (ALDE, Netherlands) will host the award ceremony.

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In just under two weeks, the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten will start its public consultations in cities across Europe to gather views from a wide spectrum of experts. The first meeting will be in Madrid on September 9, and the Council will then head to Rome on September 10.

A limited number of seats will be available for members of the public at each Council meeting. We’re opening up the online registration process today — and you can sign up for the Madrid meeting and the Rome meeting. Registration will remain open until five days before the event. There is no charge to attend.

After Madrid and Rome, the Council heads to Paris (September 25), Warsaw (September 30), Berlin (October 14), London (October 16) and Brussels (November 4). Registration for these meetings will start approximately two weeks before each event, and we’ll post details on this blog and on the Advisory Council website in due course.

At each meeting, the Council will listen to statements from invited experts, ask questions of the experts and discuss matters of law, technology, and ethics. The public portion of each Advisory Council meeting will last around two and a half hours, with an intermission and the whole meeting will also be live-streamed on the Advisory Council’s website.

During the event, members of the audience can submit questions to the Council and invited experts. The Council invites members of the public to share their thoughts on the Right to be Forgotten via the form at www.google.com/advisorycouncil - all contributions will be read and discussed. Individuals or organizations with subject matter expertise can submit attachments such as research papers at www.google.com/advisorycouncil/comments on an ongoing basis.

We look forward to seeing you at one of the meetings.

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Alvar Aalto changed the way we see the world. Finland’s famed architect and designer not only built path-breaking buildings - during his long, fruitful life, he also designed some of the 20th century’s most innovative furniture, textiles and glassware. Today, we’re proud to announce a partnership with the Alvar Aalto Foundation to bring much of this genius’s important work online - allowing anyone, anywhere to virtually visit many of his his most important buildings and learn about his design breakthroughs.

This project means something special to many of us at Google. We have built one of our two largest data centers in Finland - and the architect of our data center building was none other than Aalto. The Finnish master originally designed our data center in Hamina as a paper mill. The mill closed in 2007. We took over the empty building, transformed and expanded it, investing so far almost a billion euros and creating hundreds of jobs in the region, while attempting to keep intact as much as possible of the Aalto heritage. Take a look. We’re publishing new Street View images of the renovated exterior and interior today on our main data center page.

Aalto designed many other buildings in the area around our data center - including the world-famed Sunila worker housing in Kotka. We long have shown the outsides of these buildings on StreetView. We’re now adding the interiors.

Many of Aalto’s most famous buildings are located hundreds of kilometers apart, making them difficult to visit. We toured the entire country to photograph his most important masterpieces. We went to his hometown Jyvaskyla in central Finland and photographed the Alvar Aalto Museum and Säynätsalo Town Hall.


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We went to Imatra and are presenting the famed Church of the Three Crosses.


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In the Finnish capital Helsinki, we captured not only Aalto’s own studio but also two important cultural buildings, Finlandia Hall and the House of Culture. At the Restaurant Savoy, Aalto brought Finnish nature into the center of Helsinki, designing still-in-production door knobs, clean-lined lighting fixtures, club chairs, and the famed Savoy vase, mirroring the outlines of a Finnish lake.


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The cooperation with Finland’s Aalto Foundation includes two new online exhibitions on our Google Cultural Institute platform. The first focuses on Aalto’s famed three legged stool 60. This much imitated model relied on one of Aalto’s most important innovations - a new process for bending wood that he applied to create organic shapes. The stool was designed in 1933 and was first used in two major early works of Aalto: Paimio Sanatorium and Vyborg Library before becoming an iconic piece of modernist furniture for people to furnish their homes with.

A second exhibition describes the renovation of the Vyborg Library. The building was immediately considered a modernist chef d’oeuvre, softening and humanizing the hard edges of German Bauhaus strictures into a new original, organic style, replacing steel with wood, and creating a warm, cosy atmosphere for the reader. When the Library was constructed, the city of Viipuri was in Finland. After World War II, Finland was forced to hand it over to the Soviet Union and it became Vyborg. The library survived the war but remained unused for twenty years and fell into disrepair. Finally in 2013 the renovation was completed.

Together, these initiatives demonstrate our commitment and confidence in Finland. This is a hard time for the country, with growth slowing and unemployment rising. At the same time, our Hamina data centre keeps expanding and Internet infrastructure represent an important ray of economic hope. As this project demonstrates, we are committed to the country and are delighted to use the Internet to promote Finnish culture.

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Technology has the power to change the world for the better, but today far too few have access to the education or encouragement they need to become creators, not just consumers. We know that pre-university exposure to Computer Science education is critically important for inspiring kids to pursue a career in computing.

That’s why Google offers the RISE Awards -- grants of $15,000 to $50,000 USD -- to organisations across the globe working to promote access to Computer Science education for girls and underrepresented minorities. Our RISE partners are changemakers: they engage, educate, and excite students about computing through extracurricular outreach.

In 2014, 42 organisations received RISE Awards—with projects ranging from coding clubs in Europe to web development camps in Sub-Saharan Africa. In April, we brought all of our partners together for a Global Summit that sparked resource sharing and collaboration amongst organisations.

We’re looking for more partners in 2015. Submit your application by September 30, 2014 in English, French, Japanese, Russian or Spanish. All eligibility information is listed on our website.



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At Google, we like to experiment. Today we are experimenting with a guest blogpost from the Germany’s Open Knowledge Foundation.

Many in Europe believe that computer science and the Internet is an American invention. This summer, we decided to prove this idea wrong, launching our program, launching our program Code for Germany.
The feedback so far has been amazing. In the past few months, fourteen labs have sprouted up all across the country, bringing together more than 150 people on a regular basis to work on civic tech, use open data, and make the most of their skills to better their cities.

All told, more than 4000 hours of civic hacking has produced multiple apps and projects. The OK Lab in Hamburg has a strong focus on urban development, and have created a map which shows the distribution of playgrounds in the city. An app from the OK Lab Heilbronn depicts the quality of tap water according to the region, and another from the OK Lab Cologne helps users find the closest defibrillator in their area. One of my favourite developments is called “Kleiner Spatz”, which translates to “Little Sparrow” and helps parents find available child care spaces in their city. Check out the list for yourself to see what amazing things can be built with technology.

This is just the beginning. In the coming months we want to strengthen the various communities and establish ties with officials, governments and administrations. We want to foster innovation in the field of Open Data, Civic Innovation and Public Services and create fertile collaborations between citizens and governments. Our OK Labs offer this possibility.

So far, Code for Germany has been a blast! Let me express my most heartfelt gratitude towards the community of developers and designers who have contributed so much already. Let’s rock and stay awesome!

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Samuel Burrow, 16,from the U.K., wants to improve the environment by reducing pollution. Taking inspiration from the chemical used in sunscreen, Samuel created a special coating that reduces waste chemicals in the air when subjected to ambient light. Guillaume Rolland,17, from France, aims to revolutionize mornings by creating a scent which will wake you up with maximum energy at a prescribed time.

These are just a few of the European examples of the 15 incredible projects we’ve named as the global finalists for 2014 Google Science Fair. This is our fourth time hosting the competition as a way to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers. From Russia to Australia, India to Canada, this year’s finalists (ages 13-18) are already well on their way to greatness. Europe accounts for a full third of the finalists. Read about them - and about all 15 finalist projects - on the Google Science Fair website.



What’s next for our young scientists? Well, next month, they’ll be California-bound to compete at Google HQ for the three Age Category Awards (ages 13-14, 15-16, 17-18) and of course, the overall Google Science Fair Grand Prize Award. The competition will end in style with an awards ceremony, which will be live streamed on the Science Fair YouTube channel and on our website. Tune in to be one of the first to find out this year’s winners!

But first, you get to have your say! We need you to pick your favorite project for the 2014 Voter’s Choice Award. Show your support for the finalists and cast a vote on the Google Science Fair website beginning September 1. Every year, we are blown away by the projects and ideas these young people come up with, and you will be too.

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It was a natural marriage. Our Google Cultural Institute based in Paris is devoted to partnering with institutions around the world 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.