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A shared responsibility for quality journalism

Today we are publishing a paper that draws from our decades-long experience working with news publishers and journalists. It offers some ideas for constructive paths forward to foster the sustainability of the quality journalism that informs and strengthens communities, and elevates the essential stories in our lives. This paper includes possible areas for public policy…

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Today we are publishing a paper that draws from our decades-long experience working with news publishers and journalists. It offers some ideas for constructive paths forward to foster the sustainability of the quality journalism that informs and strengthens communities, and elevates the essential stories in our lives. This paper includes possible areas for public policy support, such as incentive structures, innovation programs and projects to share best practices. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of ideas, we are publishing it to contribute to the wider discussion.

Supporting journalism has always been important to Google. As a company whose mission focuses on access to information, and whose success depends in large part on having a diverse open ecosystem of quality information, we are committed to helping find a path to a sustainable future for journalism. It’s why 20 years ago, we built Google News to help connect people to stories that impact their daily lives. We launched the Google News Initiative to support news publishers in their transition to a digital world; we do this through tools, technology and significant financial support for both existing newsrooms and new, diverse online news outlets and projects. More recently, we launched Google News Showcase, through which we pay publishers to create and curate quality content for a new online news experience. 

Quality journalism enables communities to learn and share essential information, establish shared, accurate understandings of key public developments, and hold elected officials and institutions to account. And in this information age it has never been more essential for democratic discourse and social well-being. But digitization has challenged the underlying commercial model. That said, ensuring a sustainable, vibrant future for quality journalism needs to be done thoughtfully, and as a collective endeavor. 

Sensible public policy can be a key component to addressing these challenges; such policy will work best if it is informed by a robust dialogue among a diverse range of stakeholders including publishers, journalists, policymakers, civil society and the private sector. We must identify the underlying challenges and consider novel solutions. 

In the paper we are publishing today, we discuss three foundational proposals that we believe could help inform public policy approaches to supporting the future of quality journalism:

  1. Convening cross-sector experts to identify focus areas and collaborate on shared solutions;
  2. Investing in newsroom innovation and experimentation to identify and support sustainable business models; and 
  3. Providing support for legacy institutions as they go through the digital transformation. 

There are no easy solutions to the complex set of challenges facing the news industry today, which is why we have been working for years to support legacy newsrooms and new entrants focused on providing local news and quality journalism.  The challenge is urgent – and across society we must work together to create sustainable solutions to these issues.

The experiences and lessons we describe in this paper would not have been possible without the valuable input we’ve received from the news partners we have worked with and learned from over the years. While there may be no simple solution, we are eager to listen, learn more and help drive innovation to support a successful public policy approach that results in a vibrant journalism ecosystem.

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Step into the Meroë pyramids with Google

When you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different.…

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When you think of pyramids does your mind wander to the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the Mayan Temples of Guatemala? Great civilizations built each of these pyramids and inscribed their stories onto the walls of them, offering glimpses into their daily life.

The Pyramids of Meroë in Sudan, while lesser known, are no different. Today, you can explore these stunning pyramids, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site, on Google Arts & Culture.

Over 200 pyramids were constructed in Meroë, the third and final capital of the Kushite Kingdom, an ancient African civilization that ruled the lands of Nubia for over 3000 years. Now you can take a virtual walk through the Pyramids of Meroë and explore the inscriptions using Street View’s panoramic imagery. You can also learn more about the Kushite Kingdom, their royalty and the architecture behind the pyramids in an immersive web experience that’s available in a range of languages including Arabic, English, French, German and Spanish.

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Bay View is open — the first campus built by Google

Taking green building to a new scaleTo deliver on our commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030, we prioritized renewable energy and maximized the solar potential of our buildings. Bay View’s first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power it on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.The…

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Taking green building to a new scale

To deliver on our commitment to operate every hour of every day on carbon-free energy by 2030, we prioritized renewable energy and maximized the solar potential of our buildings. Bay View’s first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power it on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.

The campus is also on track to be the largest project certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) under any of their programs, at any certification level. As part of ILFI’s Living Building Challenge, we’re targeting a Water Petal certification, meaning the site is net-positive with all non-potable water demands being met using the recycled water generated on site. Above-ground ponds that gather rainwater year round and a building wastewater treatment system serve as water sources for cooling towers, flushing toilets and irrigating the landscape. This is a big step toward delivering on our commitment to replenish 120% of the water we consume by 2030.

It doesn’t stop there. Bay View is an example of an all-electric campus and shows what’s possible in regenerative building. Here’s how:

  • The two kitchens that serve seven cafes are equipped with electric equipment rather than gas — a template for fully carbon-free cafes and kitchens.
  • There are 17.3 acres of high-value natural areas — including wet meadows, woodlands and a marsh — that are designed to reestablish native landscapes and rehabilitate Bay Area wetlands. Something that’s especially important as Bay View sits close to the San Francisco Bay.
  • The water retention ponds not only collect water for reuse, but also provide nature restoration, sea level rise protection, and access to the beauty of natural wetlands. New willow groves along the stormwater ponds provide resources for wildlife.
  • The integrated geothermal pile system will help heat and cool the campus. The massive geoexchange field is integrated into the structural system, reducing the amount of water typically used for cooling by 90% — that’s equal to five million gallons of water annually.

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Seniors search what they see, using a new Lens

“Often, when I go for a walk, I stumble upon an unknown flower or a tree. Now I can just take a picture to discover what kind of plant I am standing before,” Verner Madsen, one of the participants, remarked. “I don’t need to bring my encyclopedia. It is really smart and helpful.”Seniors in a…

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“Often, when I go for a walk, I stumble upon an unknown flower or a tree. Now I can just take a picture to discover what kind of plant I am standing before,” Verner Madsen, one of the participants, remarked. “I don’t need to bring my encyclopedia. It is really smart and helpful.”

Seniors in a country like Denmark are generally very tech savvy, but with digitization constantly advancing — accelerating even faster during two years of COVID-19 — some seniors risk being left behind, creating gaps between generations. During worldwide lockdowns, technological tools have helped seniors stay connected with their family and friends, and smartphone features have helped improve everyday life. One key element of that is delivering accurate and useful information when needed. And for that, typed words on a smartphone keyboard can often be substituted with a visual search, using a single tap on the screen.

Being able to “search what you see” in this way was an eye-opener to many. As the day ended, another avid participant, Henrik Rasmussen, declared he was heading straight home to continue his practice.

“I thought I was up to speed on digital developments, but after today I realize that I still have a lot to learn and discover,” he said.

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