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Free weblog publishing tool from Google, for sharing text, photos and video and more.
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There’s already a huge amount of innovation in virtual reality and immersive storytelling—with many newsrooms experimenting and succeeding in the field—but for some, the ability to create 360 content can still be limited.
Perhaps predicting the rise of 360 technology, in 2014 Australian creative agency Grumpy Sailor worked with Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney on an experiment called Story Spheres, which stitches together photos and audio. It allows journalists, documentary makers and educators to tell powerful stories if they don’t have access to video.
Working with the same team behind the first prototype, the Google News Lab is now supporting the next iteration of the project. Today new features will help publishers—from individual journalists to large newsrooms—create and brand their immersive audio experiences. A new website will help journalists brand their creations with their own logos, help them credit their work and embed it on their own website. It’s now even simpler to upload a 360 image, edit the imagery, add an audio layer and navigate from one experience to another.
In the UK, Trinity Mirror has already experimented with the new tool: The Liverpool Echo took their readers through the famous dockyards of the city, and the Manchester Evening News provided a snapshot of the flowers and balloons placed in St Ann’s Square as a tribute for the Manchester terrorist attacks. In Norway, Nettavisen has been experimenting with the tool by giving their readers a glimpse at the best podcasts for their readers this summer.
Emily McCartney, a coder and “techxplorer” at Grumpy Sailor, says the improved tool will help users, too: "There's so much news to consume, and people want to be able to jump between stories without losing any time, and Story Spheres help you do that."
Discover the tool for yourself, made by Grumpy Sailor with the support of Creative Lab in Sydney and the Google News Lab.
In times of crisis, access to timely, actionable information is crucial. Working alongside trained responders and volunteers on the ground, technology plays a vital role in providing information to help keep you and loved ones safe and informed. SOS alerts is a new set of features in Google Search and Maps to help you quickly understand what’s going on and decide what to do during a crisis.
How SOS Alerts WorkDuring a crisis, you may see an SOS Alert at the top of search results when searching for the incident or location. You’ll see maps, top stories and—when available—authoritative local information such as emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases. Depending on how close you are to the affected area, you may also get a notification on your mobile device that directs you to this information.
If you’re outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis. Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.
Google Maps on mobile can also show SOS Alerts. In Maps, you’ll see a specific icon on the map and a tappable card with more information about the crisis, such as helpful phone numbers and websites. The map will also include real-time updates, like road closures and traffic and transit updates.
As we’ve developed our crisis response products, we’ve worked closely with organizations and government agencies that are on the front lines of relief efforts, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and many others. "Radio and television were once the only channels to quickly provide information in an emergency, but the internet and mobile phones have become increasingly important,” said Robert Glenn, Director at FEMA.
In addition to SOS Alerts and other crisis response features—including Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts—our philanthropic arm Google.org provides grants and volunteers for communities impacted by crises. We hope you never need to use crisis response features, but if you do, they’re designed to help keep you, and those you love, safe and informed.
Every dollar and minute count to further your cause and focus on your mission. We’re pleased to highlight nonprofits who were able to make greater impact with fewer resources by using Google tools—from G Suite to Google Ad Grants–made available through Google for Nonprofits (G4NP) at no charge.
Varying in size, scope, and timezones, these nonprofits from around the world share one thing in common: utilizing the G4NP suite of tools to help their specific needs. G4NP offers nonprofit organizations across 50 countries access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ad Grants and more at no cost. This week, we’ll take a look at how the nonprofit Action Against Hunger utilizes these tools to increase productivity, visibility, and donations, in order to improve lives in the communities they serve.
Action Against Hunger
In 2016 alone, Action Against Hunger provided nourishment to over 1.5 million starving children(1). In order to save lives with nutritional programs, Action Against Hunger looked to Google for aid—not for food, but for technology. Action Against Hunger now utilizes five Google technologies that have drastically improved their ability to save lives around the globe.
Raising Awareness with Google Ad Grants & Analytics
For major international emergencies, like the Ebola outbreak or the South Sudan famine, Action Against Hunger needs a way to inform people and recommend ways to get involved. With Ad Grants, the nonprofit activates targeted keywords relating to the crises to drive people to their page and empower them to take action. Google Analytics then allows them to track their effectiveness and adjust accordingly to increase engagement and improve their fundraising techniques. With this data-driven strategy and the tools’ ability to optimize campaigns, Action Against Hunger has nearly doubled funding year-over-year. In fact, Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children.
Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children.
Increasing Productivity with G Suite
When working with a global network and managing hundreds of programs abroad, collaboration and communication are key. After experiencing unnecessary latencies in their operations, Action Against Hunger has since adopted G Suite which streamlined their workflow. The nonprofit is especially fond of Gmail, Hangouts, and Drive where Action Against Hunger employees can message each other quickly, share files securely, and collaborate on Docs in real-time—avoiding duplication of efforts and saving time.
Fundraising with One Today & YouTube
To drive donations and expand awareness to broad audiences, Action Against Hunger uses One Today, a Google app that allows users to easily donate $1 or more towards causes they care about. Campaigning on One Today on World Food Day in 2016, Action Against Hunger raised more than $1,200 in support of their cause with each dollar going directly helping those in need—the equivalent of feeding 1,000 hungry children. Additionally, Action Against Hunger creates and shares content on YouTube to reach their global audience, and is beginning to use the YouTube donation cards to further increase donations. The large exposure and website referrals from both YouTube and Google+ helped Action Against Hunger raise over $20,000.
Using Google products Action Against Hunger gained extra time and energy to focus on what really matters: feeding the hungry.
To read more about Action Against Hunger’s story and learn how they used Google tools so effectively, visit our Google for Nonprofits Community Stories page. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more inspirational stories about nonprofits using technology to help their cause.
To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.
Footnote: Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.
My Street View journey took me to Tunisia, home to beautiful sun soaked beaches, ancient Roman ruins, and Islamic monuments. And now you can explore Tunisia on Street view too.
The first stop is the Amphitheatre of El Djem, the largest Roman amphitheatre in North Africa, located in the heart of Tunisia. This beautiful monument stands in the midst of a lively and vibrant town—El Djem—-previously known as “Thysdrus,” a prosperous town during the reign of the Roman Empire.
As you walk through the arena, imagine 35,000 cheering spectators gathered in the auditorium to watch gladiators and lions raised and lowered from cells to meet their fate. As the cheering crowd fades, you are brought back to the present, and the crowd’s roars are replaced with sound of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the cornerstone of El Djem.
Then I went on to explore the massive city of Carthage, founded in the 9th Century B.C and home to an iconic civilization. It is also the hometown of the famed warrior and military leader, Hannibal, who grew to lead victorious battles. Today, Tunisians regard Carthage and the memory of Hannibal with a strong sense of pride. Use Street View to take a stroll through the Theatre of Carthage, Cisterns of La Malaga, Basilica of Damus al-Karita and the Baths of Antoninus which face the stunning view of the Mediterranean.
Next we visited Dougga, an ancient Roman Town that was built on a hill and flourished during the Roman and Byzantine times. Take a walk through its beautiful ruins which have been around for more than six centuries, and envision the daily life of people in a typical Roman town. Let the monuments left behind give you a glimpse into the Numidian, Punic, Hellenistic, and Roman cultures. Stroll around the site with Street View and stop to gaze up at The Capitol, a Roman Temple dedicated to Rome’s protective triad; Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.
To delve into some of Tunisia’s beautiful Islamic architecture during the early centuries, we stopped by Sousse. This gorgeous city lies on the Tunisian Sahel with monuments to admire such as the Ribat of Sousse as well as the city’s Great Mosque. Take a walk through the vast courtyard of the mosque, the stairs will lead you to the watchtowers where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the mosque and its surroundings.
Finally, my favorite part of the journey was going to the different Museums spread across Tunisia. Some of these include The National Bardo Museum, Sbeïtla Archaeological Museum, Utique Museum and The National Museum of Carthage. The rich collection of artifacts displayed tell their own stories, especially the beautiful collection of Roman Mosaics in The Bardo. Make sure to take a tour of your own.
We hope that we have inspired you to take a moment to step into the wonder that is Tunisia. For more highlights from Tunisia Street View collection, visit Tunisia Highlights
Last month, Ananya Vinay clinched the National Spelling Bee with the word “marocain.” (I’m guessing she has never needed to use the "Did you mean" feature in Google Search.) When we ascertained that Ananya endeavored to visit the Googleplex, we invited her for lunch and a peregrination around campus. I had the chance to confabulate with her about her predilection for spelling, her multifarious approach to practicing a preponderance of words, how Google Hangouts helped her maintain equanimity at the Bee, and which venture she plans to vanquish next.
Keyword: What was your favorite part of the tour at Google?
Ananya: I really liked seeing the first server (known as the “corkboard server”) at the Visitors Center. Then I got to use Google Earth, and zoomed in on my grandmother’s house in Kerala, India.
If you could work at Google one day, what kind of job would you want to do?
I’d like to work in the division where they do research on AI and medicine. I’d want to diagnose diseases. This summer I went to a camp called “mini medical school” where I got to do a bunch of dissections—I really like that stuff.
We heard you used Google Hangouts to practice for the spelling bee, can you tell us more about that?
There’s a spellers chat on Hangouts, and when you make it to the National Spelling Bee, another speller will add you to the chat. People use the chat to share resources on how to study and quiz each other, which helped expand my knowledge of words. When we used Hangouts Chat (instead of video), autocorrect got in the way of spelling, which is really hilarious. The words are so strange that autocorrect doesn’t recognize them. I’ve beaten autocorrect a lot.
Is there a word that always trips you up? Or does that only happen to me?
When I was younger I always messed up “mozzarella.” Now it’s easier for me to guess words because I go off of language patterns and word rules, so I can figure out a word based on language of origin. There’s a lower chance I’ll miss a word because I have a larger word base.
What’s next? Are you going to keep doing spelling bees?
I can’t compete again because I already won the national competition, but next year I get to open up the Bee. Now I’m going deep into math and science. I’m going into seventh grade, and my new hobby is going to be debate.
If you could have a dress made of marocain, what color would it be?
I’m going to use a spelling bee word: cerulean* (which means sky blue).
*Editor’s Note: While I was taking notes during the interview, Ananya immediately called me out on my misspelling of cerulean (not cirulian, as I thought). She’s good.