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Bay View is open — the first campus built by Google

After breaking ground in 2017, our Bay View campus officially opened to Googlers and our Charleston East project is in the final phase of construction. This marks the first time we developed one of our own major campuses, and the process gave us the chance to rethink the very idea of an office.

As we celebrate the opening of Bay View — an all-electric, net water positive campus with the largest geothermal installation in North America — here’s a look at how we applied human-centered and sustainable design to the workplace.

Designing an adaptable and healthy workplace

The design of both projects began with a deep dive into what powers Google: our people. We then designed out from there, prioritizing the experience of the people in the building over the exterior form.

After talking to Googlers about what they need from a workplace, we found that they’re happy, productive and creative when they come together in teams, but need spaces that are buffered from sound and movement to get deep-focus work done. So we designed team spaces on the upper level and gathering spaces below to separate focus and collaboration areas — with easy access between both. The upper floor is broken down into smaller neighborhoods separated by courtyards and connected via ramps that gradually rise as you move to the center of the building. This variation in the floor plate gives teams a designated area that changes with their needs, while keeping them close to their larger work community. The result is a building where you can feel connected to people — whether they’re in your larger organization of 2,000 people, your team of 50 people or your immediate working group of 10 people.

The focus on people carried into the careful attention we paid to elements you can see and feel — like materials, daylight, air quality, thermal comfort and acoustics. Here’s how this shows up throughout the campus:

  • The campus incorporates biophilic design principles — like greenery, natural daylight and outdoor views from every desk — to improve the health and wellbeing of those inside. Clerestory windows modulate direct light onto desks with automated window shades that open and close throughout the day.
  • The ventilation system uses 100% outside air — a remarkable achievement when you consider that a typical system only uses around 20-30% of outside air.
  • To create the healthiest environment possible, we vetted thousands of building products and materials to remove toxins. Everything from carpet tiles, paints, piping, plywood and furniture were evaluated using the Living Building Challenge Red List as a framework.
  • Artwork from local artists through Google's Artist In Residence program are a part of the courtyards. The artwork relates to Bay Area ecology and helps with wayfinding in the building.

Finally, we designed a building that can evolve as the way we work changes. With a distributed workforce, an office needs to create harmony between those who are in the office and those who are elsewhere. The flexible nature of the focus and collaboration spaces at Bay View is just one way to accommodate these changes. I truly believe these buildings will keep up as we introduce new spaces to improve hybrid work.

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.

Sharing what we’ve learned

Our goal was to push the limits on what an office building could be — not just for the benefit of Googlers, but for the wider community and industry. The Bay View campus can adapt to changing workplace needs so our offices remain vibrant for decades to come. We even wrote a book about these projects that we hope inspires others to build more sustainable places that can benefit people and the planet. You can learn more about our journey at g.co/realestate/bayview.


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. 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.

If you want to get even more up close and personal, you can visualize the pyramids using augmented reality — no matter where you are. You can also listen to acclaimed Sudanese-American poet Emi Mahmood share evocative rhymes that are a beautiful ode to her homeland and to this project that shares Sudan’s rich heritage with others.

We’ve also partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) to bring you more information about Meroë, Gebel Barkal and Napatan region and Sudan’s Sanganeb Marine National Park.


Seniors search what they see, using a new Lens

Technology shines when it helps us get things done in our daily lives, and that’s exactly why a group of around 100 very eager seniors gathered in Odense, Denmark. All older than 65, many up to 85, they decided to stay on top of the latest technological tricks and tools. On this March day, the eye-opener was the often overlooked potential in searching for information using visual tools, like Google Lens.

So now the seniors searched their surroundings directly: Scanned trees, plants, animals and buildings, used Translate to get hold of Turkish language menu cards or Japanese sayings, and found product declarations through barcode scanning.

The group was taking part in a training set up by Faglige Seniorer, which organizes 300,000 seniors in total. They first partnered with Google back in 2019 to train seniors in using voice to search, and now the time had come to use live images.

“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.


Meet the entrepreneur connecting Kenyans to healthy food

When Binti Mwallau started Hasanat Ventures, her dairy processing company in Kenya, she expected some resistance from her peers in an industry dominated by men. But she was surprised to run into more skepticism from her customers. Despite her background in finance and biochemistry, many of them questioned her credibility as a woman entrepreneur.

Worried that her gender would affect Hasanat Ventures’ reputation, Binti considered hiring a man as the face of the business. But she eventually decided against it, standing firm in her pride as a solo founder and committed to tearing down the perception that women-run businesses in Africa aren't as successful as those run by men.

“I think we should be challenging the outdated narrative that businesses run by men are guaranteed to be more successful,” Binti says. “Based on research, we've seen that businesses run by women actually perform better. We should use this as an opportunity to prove that as a woman, you do stand a chance to succeed in everything that you do.”

Just as important to Binti as breaking this bias was giving Kenyans more access to affordable nutrition. “I realized that many people couldn’t afford premium yogurt. So we entered the market with a high-quality product that’s affordable for lower and middle-income earners who have become more health-conscious,” she says.

Binti knew she had to drive awareness for her brand, particularly to reach Kenyans who needed convincing about yogurt’s health benefits. So she turned to Google Digital Skills for Africa, which offers virtual classes to help entrepreneurs grow their skills and businesses, and completed a digital marketing course to help her get Hasanat Ventures online.

“After participating in the course, we knew our online presence had to be bigger than just social media,” Binti says. “Now that we have a fully functional website, we are actually getting leads from outside Kenya.”

As part of the course, Binti learned how to use Google Analytics to measure her website’s performance. She could now monitor traffic insights, analyze pageviews and better understand who was visiting her site.

Binti’s determination and passion for her business are showing up in the results. In its first year, Hasanat Ventures supplied over 300 retailers with affordable dairy products. Three years later, it’s grown to support more than 50 farmers and even built its own production facility to keep up with demand.

“I really want to make sure that I am visible and speaking up in spaces women don’t usually have access to,” Binti says. “As Hasanat Ventures continues to grow, I am confident I can help change the perception of African women in business.”

58% of Africa’s entrepreneurs are women. That’s why we’re empowering them with the platform and tools to grow their businesses. Learn more about our #LookMeUp campaign, highlighting Africa’s women entrepreneurs like Binti who are working to break the bias.


Stadia Savepoint: April updates

It’s time for another round of our Savepoint series, where we recap the new games, features and updates available on Stadia.

10:25

In April, players took a swing at the leaderboard in Golf With Your Friends. Meanwhile, those who wanted a bit more action fought the undead in House of the Dead: REMAKE, a callback to the original 1997 arcade classic. Like any game on Stadia, players could jump into these titles right away, without waiting for downloads or installs.

Active Stadia Pro subscribers enjoyed four additions to the Pro games library, including two new titles that launched on Stadia — World War Z: Aftermath and City Legends - The Curse of the Crimson Shadow. Pro subscribers could also claim Chicken Police - Paint it RED! and Ys IX: Monstrum Nox at no cost to add to their growing library of titles. It’s easy to try out new games like these in the Pro library, especially since creating a new Stadia account includes a one-month trial of Stadia Pro.

We’re continuing to make it easier for players to try Stadia in seconds, without having to create an account. In April, we doubled the number of timed trials for full games on Stadia, adding seven new trials — including World War Z: Aftermath, HUMANKIND and DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age. You can now choose from 13 trials to play, all at no cost.

Stadia feature updates

  • Store game page refresh: Check out all content bundles, sales, available trials and add-on content for Stadia store games with an updated look on web and mobile web.
  • Public parties game search: Create a public party for any multiplayer game when playing with a new game search bar on web.

Stadia Pro updates

April content launches on Stadia:

Stadia announcements in April:

  • DEATHRUN TV
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach

As always, we’ll be back next month to share another recap. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Stadia Community Blog, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for the latest on new games, features and updates.


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