At Google, we like to experiment. Today we are experimenting with a guest blogpost from the UK innovation charity Nesta. Although we had no involvement in this study of how companies best can benefit from the information age, we think it offers a valuable contribution on Europe’s skills debate and wanted to share the conclusions.

We are living in the middle of a data explosion – a rich opportunity, but also a much
misunderstood one. In previous research, we showed that businesses which analyse their data intensively become 10% more productive than their average competitor. By contrast, collecting data on its own has little impact on performance.

Our newly published research, ModelWorkers, the first report in a project in collaboration with Creative Skillset and The Royal Statistical Society, looks at the data skills that businesses need to produce these impacts.

Model Workers
Interviews with 45 experts in UK data-driven companies reveal that all types of companies are converging into the ‘big data’ space. from pharmaceutical giants to small retailers and manufacturers. All are all experimenting with bigger, messier and faster data, and catching up with leading players in software, advertising, games and finance.

As a result, everyone is looking for the same ‘perfect data analyst’, or ‘data scientist’: a creative worker with analytical, coding and business skills, team working and charisma. These people are hard to find. Four out of five of the companies we interviewed say they struggle to find data scientists.

In Model Workers we identify interventions to remove these shortages. They include up-skilling established professionals such as statisticians, programmers and social scientists, developing vocational training in universities and encouraging more crossover between computer science, statistics and business disciplines. We also need to build up communities of data practice, and develop training and professional standards. Policymakers should make it easier for foreign students to work in Europe after completing data analysis courses.

In the longer term we need to improve the teaching of maths at schools, and change false perceptions of data work as boring and dull. Some of the most exciting and creative jobs across the economy today – from developing new games to discovering new drugs – are based on data, and we need to make sure everyone is aware of this crucial trend.

On 25th September, the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten visits Paris for its public consultation with French experts and the general public. On 30th September, the Council will visit Warsaw.

A limited number of seats are available for members of the public at each Council meeting, and we’re opening up the online registration process today. Registration will remain open until five days before the event. There is no charge to attend.

  • Register to attend the Paris meeting public session here. Members of the press can register here.
  • Register to attend the Warsaw meeting public session here. Members of the press should register here.

After Paris and Warsaw, the Council heads to Berlin (14th October), London (16th October) and Brussels (4th November). Registration for these meetings will start approximately ten days 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 three hours, with a short intermission. 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 also invites members of the public to share their thoughts on the Right to be Forgotten via the form at - all contributions will be read and discussed. Individuals or organizations with subject matter expertise can submit attachments such as research papers at on an ongoing basis.

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

Fewer than one in ten computer science graduates in Europe are female. In order to improve on this dismal rate, we are sponsoring the 2014 European Ada Awards.

The Awards, affectionately known as the “Adas,” are named in honor of Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century English mathematician, considered by many to be the world’s first computer programmer and the first to envisage computing’s true potential.

It’s the second edition of the awards. The European Commission launched the Ada Awards in June, 2013 as part of its pledge to improve Digital Skills and Jobs in Europe. Three awards are given out - the Digital Girl of the Year, the Digital Woman of the Year , and the Digital Impact Organisation of the Year. Nominations are valid from across the European Union and reflect a broad spectrum of digital fields – academia, research, industry, enterprise and creative.

“Tomorrow's world will be driven by digital technology, and having digital skills will
open a goldmine of opportunities. I want women to be in the goldmine,” Neelie Kroes European Commission Vice President responsible for the Digital Agenda, said at last year’s award ceremonies.

Please note the award agenda:

Deadline for Nominations: September 16, 2014
Finalist Announcement: October 6, 2014
Rome Award Ceremony: October 30, 2014

Additional information and nomination forms are available at

At a time when racism and hate speech is rising, it is urgent to unite and act to preserve it as a space of tolerance.

This week, we joined with leading French anti-racism organizations SOS Racisme, UEJF, LICRA and MRAP to launch “Pousse Ton Cri”, an online platform allowing people to voice their opposition to discriminations by recording a short “shout” via video.

The campaign aims to raise awareness amongst young internet users by mobilising them around a symbolic and collective act against the voices of intolerance on the web. Users will also learn more about how to report hate speech online.

Over the next six weeks, we will help organize three Hangouts on Air to debate racism in various fields. On September 17, we will look at racism in sports. The following week, on September 24, will investigate racism in music and the final one, on October 3, will focus on hate speech on the Net.

Each Hangouts will give young people the opportunity to ask their questions to famous figures in these different fields. Among others, French YouTuber “Jigmé”, who now has more than half a million subscribers, will share his story of how he uses humor to highlight prejudices.

You can register to participate to one of these debates via this link.

This weekend some of Europe’s biggest publishers are running a newspaper ad arguing that Google is too dominant and that we favour our own products - like Maps, YouTube and Google Shopping - in our search results. Given the serious nature of these allegations, I wanted to ensure that people have the facts so they can judge the merits of the case themselves.

While we’re fortunate to have been very successful in Europe, it’s not the case that Google is “the gateway to the Internet” as the publishers suggest. Think about how people use the web today:
  • To get news, you’ll probably go direct to your favorite news site. It’s why newspapers like Bild, Le Monde and the Financial Times get most of their online traffic directly (less than 15% comes from Google). Or you might follow what other people are reading on Twitter.
  • To book a flight or buy a camera for your next holiday, you’re as likely go to a site like Expedia or Amazon as you are Google.
  • If you’re after reviews for restaurants or local services, chances are you’ll check out Yelp or TripAdvisor
  • And if you are on a mobile phone -- which most people increasingly are -- you’ll go straight to a dedicated app to check the sports scores, share your photos or look for recommendations. The most downloaded app in Europe is not Google, it is Facebook Messenger.

Nor is it true to say that we are promoting our own products at the expense of the competition. We show the results at the top that answer the user’s queries directly (after all we built Google for users, not websites). Let me give you some real-life examples.
  • Ask for the weather and we give you the local weather right at the top. This means weather sites rank lower, and get less traffic. But because it’s good for users, we think that’s OK.
  • It’s the same if you want to buy something (whether it’s shoes or insurance). We try to show you different offers and websites where you can actually purchase stuff -- not links to specialized search engines (which rank lower) where you have to repeat your query.
  • If you’re after directions to the nearest pharmacy, you get a Google Map with the closest stores and information to get you there. Again we think that’s a great result for users.

In each case we’re trying to get you direct answers to your queries because it’s quicker and less hassle than the ten blue links Google used to show. This is especially important on mobile where screens are smaller and typing is harder. Many specialized search services don't like these improvements because they mean less traffic for them. But as European Commissioner Almunia has said: “Imposing strict equal treatment … could mean returning to the old world of Google displaying only ten undifferentiated search results - the so-called ten blue links. This would deprive European users of the search innovations that Google has introduced.”

We agree. In fact, the allegations now being made by publishers have been extensively investigated by regulators in Europe and America over more than seven years. To date, no regulator has objected to Google giving people direct answers to their questions for the simple reason that it is better for users.

Finally, it is said that Google’s success reduces our rivals’ incentives to innovate and invest, which is bad for consumers. But as the Financial Times recently reported, European media companies – including some of those behind today’s ads -- are investing heavily in specialized search engines. As Axel Springer explained in a press release announcing their most recent investments: “there’s a lot of innovation on the search market”. Economists will tell you that innovation is typically the sign of a healthy, competitive marketplace.

Posted by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google

As a bishop in his native Buenos Aires, Pope Francis founded "Escuela de Vecinos" (Neighbor Schools) and "Escuelas Hermanas" (Sister Schools) to allow students in richer and poorer neighborhoods to share their concerns. Today, at the Vatican, a new project was announced, using the Internet and Google tools, allowing students from around the world to communicate. The Pope himself tomorrow will publicly present the new platform.

The initiative, Scholas, seeks to connect schools all over the globe, so that they may learn from one another, share projects and find volunteers to make these projects a reality. Scholas Occurrentes integrates Google Apps for Education.

“Technology and Education are key in tackling the roots of violence”, said Jose María del Corral, Scholas's CoFounder at the press conference held this morning. We are helping "take down the physical barriers and prejudices that stand in the way of peace." Google's Managing Director for Spanish-speaking Latin America Adriana Noreña and representatives of Globant and Line64, responsible for the site´s design and programming, joined him at the Vatican launch.

The initiative comes after a Vatican-sponsored education congress and a soccer match for World Peace held earlier this week, for which Pope Francis I personally invited some of the best soccer players.

Twenty-five years ago, on this week, two million people in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined hands to form a human chain for freedom. We’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Baltic Way with a customized logo our 'doodles made specially for the three countries.

The Baltic Way was a remarkable non-violent protest. It brought together almost a third of the three Baltic nations population seeking independence. ’The demonstrators created a 600km long human chain, starting from Tallinn in Estonia, going through Riga in Latvia and finishing in Vilnius in Lithuania.

Baltic Googlers themselves came up with the idea for the Baltic Way doodle. Many have very vivid and strong memories about the Baltic Way. Although Vytautas was only eight years old, he remembers his grandparents bringing him to the human chain near Vilnius Cathedral. "I joined hands with my grandma and a stranger. The real magic moment for me was when the light airplanes flew over the heads and dispersed a huge cloud of flowers - way better than any firework I've seen before! I'm proud I can say "I was also part of it!”

In Latvia, Laura remembers people singing songs, and "many of them, including me and my parents, were crying - all for the freedom of Baltics. Regimantas was six years old and still remembers how "we had to wait for instructions through an old radio on when we should all stand together, holding each other hand.” Gabriele says her parents were in Germany. During the event, they stopped on a freeway near Berlin -and joined their hands and sang the national anthem of Lithuania. "Germans stopped their cars to find out what was happening and joined hands together once they got to know about the Baltic Way. It was a unique sense of brotherhood of nations.”

Many of our Baltic team work from our European headquarters in Dublin. They met up this week to share and enjoy songs, dance performances, sport games and just have a good time together. Together with the Lord Mayor of Dublin and diplomatic and community representatives, they joined hands with participants to form a human chain through the heart of Dublin.