Asia Pacific Blog
Google and the Internet from .in to .au
All aboard! Now Jakarta commuters will know when their bus is actually arriving
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Starting today, commuters in Jakarta will be able to get real-time bus information. We’ve teamed up with Transjakarta to add real-time information about routes and schedules for corridors
1 through to 12
on Google Maps, so it’s easier for people in Jakarta to plan their trips.
For example, the next time you’re planning a trip between Bintaro and Sudirman, you can simply type in the two locations to get information about which bus to catch. In addition to bus routes and numbers, you’ll be able to see when the next bus is arriving at your stop and an estimation of how long your trip is going to take. If your bus is delayed, Google Transit will automatically update the times. Routes that have real-time information available are marked in Google Maps in green.
Google Transit is also available on Google Maps for Android and iPhone. Simply search for where you want go and Google Maps will show you how to get there via bus from your current location. With the new version of Google Maps, you can also compare different public transport options to work out when you need to leave to arrive at your destination on time.
We’re working to bring real time information to more routes and more cities soon. We hope that the launch of real time updates to Transjakarta buses will make it easier for Jakartans to plan their next bus trip and enjoy more of what the city has to offer.
Posted by Suren Ruhela, Director, Google Maps
Summer road tripping in Japan with Android Auto
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
School’s out for the summer and while some plan way in advance, others are still thinking about ways to entertain the family during the holiday months. If you’re in or headed to Japan, you're in luck. The good ol’ family road trip just got a lot more exciting now that
has come to Japan.
like Audi, Honda and VW, sold in Japan are already equipped to run Android Auto in country. With Android Auto you get the best of the Google services you love like Search, Maps and Google Play Music straight to your dashboard. When you connect your Android smartphone to the car navigation system or display audio, the app will be displayed on the vehicle’s screen. All you have to do is install the
Android Auto app
on your phone running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later, and voilà, you’re off!
Gone are the days when you switched between your phone screen and your dashboard
While the kids might be
in the back seat, you can access the best of your apps safely within the comfort of the Google experience—including music and navigation—without taking a finger off the steering wheel.
The journey begins now. Use Google voice to dial-up your friends hands-free and let them know you are on your way to pick them up.
Let your friend know you’re on your way to pick her up without touching your phone!
As any experienced road-tripper will know, once you’re in the car you will need a soundtrack to get you wherever you’re going. Being able to listen to the hits through music services such as
Google Play Music
without having to DJ by hand will bring a whole new level of fun to any road trip experience.
Stream your favorite tunes while you ride with Android Auto
Most importantly, safety is at the heart of every journey with Android Auto. Eyes-free technology like Google Voice and spoken directions combined with integrated controls (like steering wheel buttons) reduce interruption to your drive. It also means you can keep your eyes on the road without missing any of
Japan’s best carscapes
With your smartphone connected, you can use navigation apps, send messages, and phone contacts without having to fumble with your phone.
Hands-free navigation and voice controls with Google Maps
Android Auto first launched in the U.S. in 2015 and since then it has expanded to over 30 countries including Australia, New Zealand, India and now Japan with more than 100 car models supporting it.
Posted by Shinobu Nakao, Android Auto, Strategic Partner Development Manager
“The Searching Planet” exhibition at Japan’s Miraikan
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Opening today at the
National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
in Tokyo — known locally as the Miraikan — is a new exhibit called “
The Searching Planet
.” Using the museum’s famed “
” earth-shaped display, this video art uses icons and graphs to show how people are searching the Internet all around the world. Geo-Cosmos normally shows scientific data about the earth, but “The Searching Planet” will provide a window into human behavior — our hopes, curiosities, and moments of surprise.
Most of all, the exhibit shows that despite our differences, the globe is often united in the same hobbies, interest in major news moments — and surprisingly, the same foods.
Pizza is the most widely searched food across the planet
Searches for [brexit]
If you can’t make it to the Miraikan, you can explore “
The Searching Planet
” as a Chrome Experiment on your phone or computer. For the next 10 days, we are giving away special Google Cardboards at the Miraikan as gifts, but if you have one, you can use your phone to view the site in 360-degrees.
Posted by Mai Fukue, Product Marketing Manager, Google Japan
Google Science Fair 2016: Meet the Community Impact Award finalists from Asia Pacific
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Update 19 July:
We're pleased to announce that
has won the Community Impact Award, Asia for his mobile GPS that helps keep fishermen safe from invisible maritime boundary lines. You can read more about his project below.
In addition, we're excited to share the Top 100 ideas selected by the judges, which are now in the running to become one of 16 Global Finalists later this year. These include
submissions from students in Australia, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. Check out the full list of the 100 Google Science Fair Regional Finalists
Editor's note: This year, we're celebrating 25 innovative Community Impact student projects across the globe that solve community and health resource challenges with science. While we're featuring the finalists from Asia Pacific below, you can read more about all the finalists' projects on the
Google for Education blog
Google Science Fair
, we've invited today's brightest young minds to answer an important question: how can they make the world better through science, math, and engineering? We received thousands of extremely impressive answers to this question from over 107 countries this year, and we can’t wait to announce the winners later in September.
Before that happens, though, we want to recognize the projects that aim to solve tough community challenges like providing clean drinking water, keeping people safe from natural disasters, and fighting droughts. This year, we'll be giving not just one, but
regional Community Impact Awards: one for each top project that focuses on fixing a difficult resource problem across Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East & Africa.
Please join us and our partners — LEGO Education, Scientific American, National Geographic and Virgin Galactic — in celebrating the Asia Pacific region Community Impact Award finalists below:
Keeping Fishermen Safe at Sea
In Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India,
was dismayed to hear how often local Rameswaram fishermen were captured and arrested for long periods of time due to making a simple mistake: crossing an International Maritime Boundary line it was impossible for them to see. Given the high penalties and impact to fishermen's livelihoods, Advay wanted to create an easy-to-use GPS system to send alerts when sailors approached maritime borders or when better fishing was available in another area. The system can also alert fishermen to dangerous weather conditions, so they can steer clear. Advay's invention is designed to work on any type of handheld mobile device, and he hopes that with it more local fishermen can avoid financial hardship and stay safe at sea.
Congo-ing Nuts: Making Dirty Water Clean
Like others in their local community in Singapore
Tushmitha (15), Nagajothi (15),
come from diverse backgrounds. All too aware of how difficult it can be for people across India and Southeast Asia to access clean water, the trio wanted to create a safe, economical water filter. The students realized that while textile mills are a significant source of revenue for new economies in many developing countries in the region, they can also leave behind water contaminated with chemical dyes used to color fabrics. For their project, the group created a filter using the porous walnut shell to extract Congo Red dye, a common fabric dye, from polluted water. To their delight, their filter worked, proving that this biodegradable and common agricultural waste product just might be the perfect material to make local water safe to drink.
Avoiding Landfills with Shresto Pads
Growing up in Pakistan and Bangladesh opened
eyes to the sheer volume of waste being generated by these densely populated areas, leading her community to host some of the world's largest landfills. Determined to find a solution to cut down on non-biodegradable waste, Saliha turned to a common personal hygiene item: sanitary pads. With the local economy booming with the sanitary industry, she knew it was only a matter of time before landfills would become overwhelmed with these products, which contain plastics and harmful chemicals. So, Saliha created a safer, chemical-free option made entirely of plant materials that will degrade in just two year's time. She hopes her new "Shresto" pads will help more local women feel comfortable while also making the environment safer for everyone.
The Next-Gen Greenhouse
hails from Kerala, India, a region known for beautiful tropical beaches and agriculture, specifically tea, coffee, and spice plantations. Given his community's dependence on farming, Airin was intrigued by a question: could he create a better greenhouse that could produce extra crops sustainably and remain safe for the environment? For his project, he created a greenhouse that recycles 100% of the carbon dioxide it produces. His design proved successful, quadrupling crop yields while also using less power, water, and money. Airin believes his greenhouse can help Kerala farmers increase their harvests and income while sparing the local air from pollution.
Forget Those Frozen Pipes!
In Shanghai, where temperatures can drop severely in winter due to Siberian winds, pipes can often freeze and burst, disrupting the community's access to water for hours or days at a time. While identifying a frozen pipe before it bursts is one path to solving the problem,
realized it was more important to identify a pipe that was about to freeze and adjust water temperatures before thet become critical. She set herself the task of creating an engineering solution to monitor local pipes that can automatically send electrical currents to adjust water temperatures as needed. Ying hopes her design will help her local community avoid plumbing disasters during the coldest time of year.
Tune into the Google Science Fair
on July 18th to find out which five young scientists will win their regional Community Impact Award! With the generous support of our partners, winners will receive mentors and scholarships to help them further their education and inspiring projects.
To keep an eye on the competition, follow along on
Posted by Andrea Cohan, Program Lead, Google Science Fair
Education and research
Next Journalism School 2015 winners: Meet Korea’s next generation of data journalists
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Editor’s note: We invited three participants of the Next Journalism School 2015 to share some of the highlights from their visit to the Google campus in Mountain View, California. The Next Journalism School is an annual program that was set up in 2014 to nurture our next generation of journalists and equip them with the skills they need in a digital era. If you’re studying journalism in Korea and are interested in joining the next cohort, applications open
today and close on July 24, 2016.
We were welcomed to Google’s Mountain View campus by the warm California sunshine, Korean Googlers and of course the green Android robot.
Successful news gathering and reporting today relies a lot on advanced technology and data analysis. This year, there were 60 graduates from the Next Journalism School, and three of us were fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, where we got a first-hand look at some of the latest innovations in this field.
As 360 degree technology becomes more and more accessible, Google’s tools have made it easy to utilize VR imagery in journalism for a more immersive experience.
show patterns in search across topics and over time, enabling a new form of storytelling based on real-time data. While most of us turn to Google Search for answers, it’s also a great tool to give journalists answers and insight into what is top of mind for people around the world.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
optimizes content for mobile phones so pages load faster, making it more compelling for people to consume content on their handheld devices. Research has shown that readers will click away from a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. So AMP is incredibly important for engaging readers with news content, particularly in countries like Korea, where
48% of news is consumed on mobile--the highest in the world
We met with Googlers who are passionate about tools that are making data journalism more accessible. From left to right: Inhyuk Seok and Donghwi Lee (software engineers on Google Search), Otavio Good (software engineer on Google Translate), Richard Gingras (Head of News), Brian Sullivan (Program Manager with Google Earth Outreach)
Along with getting first hand exposure to the many media tools available, the real highlight of our trip was meeting and speaking with Googlers who are passionate about the future of journalism. It was exciting to hear how Google nurtures innovation and innovative-thinking in their own workplace. It’s an environment where people are encouraged to try new things, with one guiding principle: focus on the user. We look forward to replicating a lot of this thinking as we return to our own day jobs, and bring some of the innovations that we learned about to our readers.
Posted by Lee Min-gyeong, Kim Hye-in and Yeon Da-hye
Mobile First World
Vietnam’s Divmob takes its games global
Friday, July 1, 2016
As part of our
of interviews with people across Asia-Pacific who use the Internet to create, connect, and grow, we spoke to Ngo Van Luyen, CEO of
, to find out how he grew his small Vietnam-based startup into a company that is now a global name in gaming. From a team of just five people in Ho Chi Minh City just four years ago, DivMob has grown to 40 employees and has over 40 million downloads across its various games, including the popular
Epic Heroes War
Where did inspiration to start Divmob come from?
I was working in France in 2011 when the Android platform was starting to become popular. I began to experiment and play around with building apps, and one of the apps I created went straight to the top of the U.S. downloads chart.
It might have been luck, but this is what inspired me: I saw with my own eyes how a single person like myself, or even a really small, independent company could create something that’s capable of becoming so popular online. It was simply amazing to realize that one seemingly small idea could gain such global reach. I knew when I returned home to Vietnam that there was so much more that could be done, and that’s why I set up Divmob in 2012.
What was your dream for Divmob?
Our goal has always been to have a great team that works together to make products which consumers all around the world will love and share.
What are some of the things that have helped you reach this goal?
Initially, most of our paid downloads were coming from the U.S. and Europe. People in those regions could easily afford the price of around one dollar for games they loved. But in places like Vietnam, a dollar is a lot of money — a dollar can buy you lunch!
When Google Play introduced a way to localize pricing, we were very excited. We’ve always wanted people in developing countries to be able to access our products at prices that work for them.
Through the Google Play Developer Console, developers like us can now easily offer their apps and games at prices that meet the needs of people at different price points in different countries. We had instant success because of this feature. In fact, we saw a 300% growth in daily transactions!
What has your biggest challenge has been?
Building a good team to build great products.
We started with apps for kids, then we branched out into gaming. This was an area we didn’t have much experience in, so we had to learn lessons hard and fast about recruiting the right team to reach that goal. It was tough in the early days as we didn’t have a very established name in the business.
We may have grown a lot since our early days, but our team still works together, eats together and even plays football together: we believe a great team is the best place to start.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
There are two key lessons that have stuck with me the most: work hard and be honest. To me, that’s the key to a successful, sustainable business.
Tap. Pay. Islandwide: Android Pay arrives in Singapore
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Update July 14, 2016: G’day. We’re pleased to announce that Android Pay is now available Down Under. Find out more
What’s the one thing we can’t leave home without? Our smartphones. And starting today, with
, that’s all Singaporeans will need to pay for their morning
lunches or even their groceries at the end of the day.
How does Android Pay work?
Using Android Pay is simple. Just wake your phone (you don’t even have to open an app), hold it to the payment terminal, and voilà — your payment is done. You’ll get a notification on your phone telling you how much you spent where.
To get started,
download the app from the Play Store
. It’s available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled and running on
Because Android Pay doesn’t share your actual credit or debit card number with the merchant when you pay, it’s even safer than using a plastic card. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can simply use
Android Device Manager
to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password, or even wipe it clean of your personal information.
Android Pay works with MasterCard® and Visa cards from DBS, OCBC Bank, POSB, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB. You can add multiple cards (there’s no limit to how many cards you can add) and select which card to charge the amount to, so you can always enjoy the best deals available.
Shop (and save) at your favorite stores
Singaporeans can now use Android Pay at thousands of retail locations islandwide that accept NFC contactless payments, including 7-11, BreadTalk, Cold Storage, McDonald’s, NTUC FairPrice, StarHub, Toast Box, Uniqlo, and Watsons. Take a look
for more places where you can use Android Pay.
Android Pay also stores your gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers right on your phone. You’ll no longer need to worry about leaving them at home, plus you’ll get special offers as an Android Pay user. We are also working closely with leading loyalty programmes such as NTUC Link’s Plus! Rewards Programme and CapitaLand's CAPITASTAR. Users will be able to earn reward points and enjoy special offers across multiple retail outlets soon with just a tap.
Pay in apps
Android Pay will also let you breeze through checkout when you shop in your favorite mobile apps. There’s no need to enter your payment or address details every time. Look for the Android Pay purchase button when the feature launches later in the year in apps like Deliveroo, Grab, Shopee, Singapore Airlines, Uber, Zalora, with many more to come.
Merchants, want to accept Android Pay?
As an open platform, Android Pay is available to any merchant that wants to push mobile payments forward. Just visit the
Android Pay API developer site
to learn how to accept Android Pay in your app. By working closely not just with banks and retailers, but also payment processors such as Braintree, Stripe, and FirstData, we’re making using Android Pay across apps simple and easy.
Singapore is the first country in Asia to get Android Pay, but this is only the start, so stay tuned!
Posted by Pali Bhat, Senior Director, Product Management, Google
Mobile First World
Now you can find the butcher, the baker and the yukata maker with Google Maps
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Tourists from around the world are flocking to Japan in increasing numbers. According to the
Japan National Tourism Organization
, over 2 million tourists came to Japan in April, which is the highest number on record. If you’re one of the many visitors who doesn’t speak or read Japanese, it can be tricky to find your way around.
Say you’re shopping in downtown Tokyo. Although Google Maps can you tell you the English and Japanese names of stores like Matsumoto Kiyoshi or Lawson, these don’t tell you what kind of stores these are. Are they cosmetics stores, fashion boutiques, ramen restaurants or stationery stores? The list of possibilities is endless. (Which is how long it can feel to switch between apps to look things up too!)
From today it’s easier to see what kind of store you’re looking at in Google Maps. Now you’ll be able to see if you’re looking at a bookstore, laundromat, pizza restaurant or toy store in Google Maps. This way you’ll know that you can pick up a late night snack at Lawsons or some cosmetics at Matsumoto Kiyoshi.
There are more than 1,000 types of businesses available and this feature will be available in 19 languages. These include Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Dutch, English, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.
These categories are rolling out over time and will appear in Google Maps when you arrive in Japan. We hope this new feature makes exploring Japan easier with Google Maps
and good luck finding that
Posted by Herman Sheremetyev, Software Engineer, Google Maps
India’s saathis bring the Internet to life for thousands of women across rural India
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Usha is an Internet Saathi in
, in the easternmost part of Rajasthan. She’s been trained to teach other women in her community, like Munni, how to get online. With Usha’s help, Munni has learned how to research sari blouse and bag designs on the Internet, finding inspiration and new techniques to create better products. Munni is now able to charge more for her work, and she uses the extra money she earns to pay for her education, to support her mother, and she hopes to treat herself to a gold ring soon.
Clockwise from left: Usha takes her bike, equipped with Internet-enabled devices to women in neighboring villages; showing Munni how to do a voice search to research designs on the Internet; Munni’s family looking on
Usha is just one of many Internet
—or “Internet companions”—who have helped over 200,000 women across India take their first steps online since we started this program with Tata Trusts back in July.
In a country where only a third of Internet users are women, and where just one in ten Internet users is a women in rural India, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to bridge the digital gender divide. Women living in rural areas often lack not only access to Internet-enabled devices, but many are also
of how the Internet can help them in their daily lives.
Our efforts to provide training on basic Internet skills to women across the country began with an
nearly two years ago. Built on the back of a bike, the rickshaw was equipped with an Internet-enabled devices, information on using the web and an operator to explain. Over time, we recognized that to make a difference, we needed to be embedded within the communities we were working in. Having local women trainers, or companions, at the village level as trainers today is what makes Internet Saathis scalable, sustainable and truly impactful.
] program is a collaboration between Google and
, with Google helping to train the trainers and providing data-enabled devices. Once the
are trained, they are introduced into the communities through Tata Trust’s vast network which they built over many years through active community work in villages across India.
like Usha show women—many of whom are illiterate—how to perform basic tasks online, for example, using voice search to find information that can help them with everything from farming techniques to medical advice. If they want to know how to solve a problem, all they need to do is ask.
Munni performs a voice search to find information easily
Since launching Internet Saathi in July last year, we’ve been active across five states—
. By expanding the program to four new states, including
, we hope to see many more inspiring stories like Usha’s and Munni’s in the months and years ahead. As we work towards helping India close its digital gender divide, we are hopeful that through the use of technology and access to information, many more women will be able to build better lives for themselves and their families.
Posted by Neha Barjatya, Head of Digitizing India programs, Google India
Mobile First World
“I realized the greatest pain in life is to be invisible, to be forgotten”
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Posted by Angie Lau, anchor at Bloomberg Television Asia and President, Asian American Journalists Association, AAJA-Asia Chapter
The phrase in the headline is what motivated this year’s winner of the AAJA Asia Google Digital Journalism Student Award:
Bobby C. Chan
It’s the second year for AAJA Asia’s awards for innovative mobile and digital storytelling in our region. This year, we wanted to support the work of journalists-to-be, encourage and provide a platform to help these young future professionals find an audience. We didn’t impose any specific parameters, we simply encouraged undergraduate students to unleash their creativity. The AAJA Asia’s panel of veteran journalists from across Asia and the U.S. chose Bobby and his team for
Its text, photos, videos, infographics, illustration and podcasts all shed light from different angles on the challenges facing underprivileged children in a Hong Kong neighborhood notorious for its sex trade and drug trafficking.
“Spending 40 days with these street children, I realized that the greatest pain in life is to be invisible, is to be forgotten,” said Bobby. “Winning this award reminds me what a privilege it is, as a journalist, to be heard, and to have a voice that reflects the truth. I want to thank all the children and families who welcomed me into their world.”
Bobby C. Chan
accepts the award from Angie Lau and Google’s Ksenia Duxfield-Karyakina
Two months after Street Wonder began circulating online, Bobby’s team received a phone call from Disneyland Hong Kong, saying it would give hundreds of VIP tickets for the street children in Yau Tsim Mong district to visit the theme park for a weekend in March 2016.
Street kids and the team behind Streetwonder.org go on a trip to Disneyland Hong Kong
Shortly after that, a Hong-Kong-based angel investor shared with Bobby her wish to set up a foundation and campaign for the street children. Later, she revealed that she too had once been a street child in Mongkok.
"It was never our goal to have these stories to reach this level of impact," says Bobby, "rather, it is a simple mission we embody as aspiring journalists to shed light into the dark. We are beyond grateful that this digital story has come to light in the AAJA-Asia Google Digital Journalism Award."
As part of his award, Bobby will attend this year’s Society of Publishers Award (SPOA) Gala Dinner and represent his region at a Global Editors Network summit in Vienna next year. Bobby will also join this year’s Google News Lab Asia Summit in Tokyo in the end of June to share his experience on digital skills and education for young journalist professionals across the region.
Education and research
Mobile First World
All aboard! Now Jakarta commuters will know when t...
Summer road tripping in Japan with Android Auto
“The Searching Planet” exhibition at Japan’s Mirai...
Google Science Fair 2016: Meet the Community Impac...
Next Journalism School 2015 winners: Meet Korea’s ...
Vietnam’s Divmob takes its games global
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