Saturday, July 27, 2013

Discontinuation rates high with type 2 diabetes drugs : Internal Medicine News

Discontinuation rates high with type 2 diabetes drugs : Internal Medicine News

CHICAGO – Only 31% of patients with type 2 diabetes who were placed on a glucagonlike peptide-1 agonist persisted on the medication for at least 6 months in a very large national retrospective cohort study.
That’s significantly lower than the 39% rate of 6-month treatment persistence in patients placed on a dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 inhibitor, Carol E. Koro, Ph.D., reported at the annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association.
The 12-month treatment discontinuation rate was 89% in patients placed on a GLP-1 agonist, compared with 82% for patients on a DPP-4 inhibitor and 84% among those placed on other antidiabetic agents, added Dr. Koro, an epidemiologist at GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
She presented a retrospective study examining treatment utilization patterns among 134,696 commercially insured type 2 diabetes patients placed on a GLP-1 agonist, 202,269 given a DPP-4 inhibitor, and 1,014,630 on other antidiabetic agents. The data source was the Truven Health Analytics MarketScan database for 2005-2011.
Nonadherence was defined by a prescription refill pattern indicating that less than 80% of a prescribed medication was being taken. The nonadherence rate was 9.6% in patients whose physicians prescribed a GLP-1 agonist, 5.4% in those placed on a DPP-4 inhibitor, and 4.4% in patients on other antidiabetic agents.
The median time to treatment discontinuation was 90 days in the GLP-1 agonist cohort, 120 days for the DPP-4 inhibitor cohort, and 90 days for patients assigned to other antidiabetic agents. The mean time to discontinuation was 178 days for the GLP-1 agonist group, 226 days for the DPP-4 inhibitor cohort, and 196 days for the group on other antidiabetic medications.
This was not a randomized trial, and the GLP-1 agonist cohort differed from the other two groups in important ways.
For example, they were more likely to be female: 57% of the GLP-1 agonist cohort were women, compared with 44% in the DPP-4 inhibitor cohort and 47% of patients on other antidiabetic agents. The GLP-1 agonist group also had a greater prevalence of obesity: 12%, compared with 8% in the DPP-4 inhibitor cohort and a similar figure among those on other antidiabetic agents. In addition, the GLP-1 agonist cohort had a higher baseline prevalence of microvascular complications.
Only 8% of patients placed on a GLP-1 agonist initiated the drug as new therapy; 78% started it as add-on therapy. In contrast, 17% of patients initiated a DPP-4 inhibitor as new therapy, while 59% employed the drug as add-on therapy.
The subgroup of the GLP-1 agonist cohort who initiated the drug as an add-on to basal insulin had a higher baseline prevalence of microvascular complications and greater use of antilipidemic drugs, antihypertensive agents, and antiplatelet agents than did those using the drug as an add-on to oral antidiabetic therapy. Nevertheless, the 6-month treatment persistence rates in the two subgroups were nearly identical.
The take-away message from this study is clear, Dr. Koro said: "These results demonstrate the need for improved persistence with GLP-1 agonist treatment."
She noted that other investigators have estimated that reducing the rate of nonadherence to antidiabetes medications could avoid 700,000 emergency department visits and 341,000 hospitalizations annually, with a resultant $4.7 billion annual savings in health care costs (Health Aff. [Millwood] 2012;31:1836-46).
GlaxoSmithKline funded Dr. Koro’s study. The company’s investigational GLP-1 agonist albiglutide is under review by the Food and Drug Administration.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

GoogleServe 2013: Giving back on a global scale

GoogleServe 2013: Giving back on a global scale
The Official Google Blog

Every year in June comes a week where Googlers around the world stop reviewing code, ignore their inboxes and leave their cubicles behind to participate in GoogleServe, our global week of service.

This year, more than 8,500 Googlers from 75+ offices participated in 500 projects. Not only was this our largest GoogleServe to date, but it was also one of the more unique, as many projects were designed to expand the notion of what it means to give back to the community. Here's a glimpse at some of what we were up to this year:

  • In Thimphu, Bhutan, Googlers led a workshop about media literacy at the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy helping youth prepare to participate in shaping the future of this young democracy.
  • Googlers in Mountain View, Calif., created a bone marrow donation drive and partnered with the Asian American Donor Program to raise awareness about the need for more donors from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Googlers from our Hyderabad, India office volunteered at Sri Vidhya's Centre for the Special Children, helping children who suffer from a wide range of cognitive disabilities to learn how to identify colors, write their own names, and prepare meals for themselves.
  • A team of Googlers walked the New York, N.Y., streets gathering information to improve AXS Map, a crowd-sourced platform for mapping wheelchair accessibility which is populated with data from Google Maps and Google Places APIs.
  • In Lagos, Nigeria, Googlers mentored entrepreneurs at Generation Enterprise, a small business incubator that equips at-risk youth to start sustainable businesses in slum communities.
  • In Randwick, Australia, Googlers taught computer and Internet skills with the Australian Red Cross Young Parents Program which aims to develop the capacities of young parents to live independently and to parent successfully.
  • A group of gourmet Googlers cooked a meal for families with children undergoing cancer treatment with Ronald McDonald House in London, U.K.
  • Googlers tutored and mentored youth in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the Dignity For Children Foundation.
  • Googlers partnered with Un Techo Para Mi País to help build a new house for a family living below the poverty line in Bogota, Colombia.
  • In Dublin, Ireland, Google engineers taught youth how to program interactive stories and games with Scratch in partnership with Coder Dojo.

Click for more photos from this year's GoogleServe

Over the past six years, GoogleServe has transformed from a single week of service into a week of celebration and inspiration for ongoing giving. Googlers also give back year-round through our GooglersGive programs which include 20 hours of work time annually to volunteer with an approved charitable organization. If you're inspired to join us, please check out All for Good or VolunteerMatch for opportunities to give back in your community.

Posted by Zanoon Nissar, on behalf of the GoogleServe Global Leadership Team

Original Article:

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New DCCT data: HbA1c matters today, tomorrow, and 20 years on |

New DCCT data: HbA1c matters today, tomorrow, and 20 years on | DCCT at 18 years: Intensive HbA1c control still yielding CV benefits

Chicago, IL - Dramatic reductions in type 1 diabetes complications, including cardiovascular events, achieved with intensive glycemic control in the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) are still being seen—although to a somewhat lesser degree—nearly two decades after the study's end [1].

After 18 years, the overall prevalence of diabetes complications is 50% lower among the type 1 diabetes patients in the DCCT who were randomized to intensive glucose control compared with those who received conventional treatment, despite the fact that HbA1c levels are no longer different between the two study groups.

The findings were presented here at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2013 Scientific Sessions. Even after so many years, "the message is exactly the same," DCCT/EDIC biostatistician Dr John M Lachin (George Washington University, Rockville, MD) said in an interview. "The HbA1c matters today, tomorrow, and for many, many years to come. It matters."

EDIC investigates "metabolic memory"

The new data come from the DCCT's long-term follow-up study Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC), which began in 1994, the year after DCCT ended. Glycemic control in the two groups became roughly the same soon after patients went back to their communities for care, so EDIC is measuring the ongoing impact of glycemic control in the initial study's 10 years, a phenomenon investigators have dubbed "metabolic memory."

Previously reported end points of retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, and cardiovascular disease continue to be reduced among those originally in the intensive-treatment group, albeit to a lesser degree than in previous EDIC analyses in 2000 [2].

The investigators are also looking at mortality in EDIC, with results under embargo, as they are due to be published soon. However, Lachin did divulge that there is no increased mortality among the intensive-treatment group, a phenomenon that has been seen in some trials involving patients with type 2 diabetes.

EDIC coordinating center principal investigator, Dr Rose Gubitosi-Klug (Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH), said: "In some ways, it's surprising how it's gone on this long. [The original DCCT investigators] expected the effect to wane after 10 or 12 years. But here we are at 18 years, and we still have significant risk reduction. Although it's starting to decrease over time, there's still a significant reduction. It's fantastic."

The lesson from all of it, said Gubitosi-Klug, is: "Start intensive diabetes management as soon as safely possible."

Clinically meaningful CVD reductions persist

The original DCCT involved 1441 patients with type 1 diabetes. After DCCT ended, patients who had been in the conventional-treatment group were instructed in intensive glycemic control. Their average HbA1c levels dropped to about 8%. At the same time, control worsened in the original intensive-control group to about 8%. That level has remained relatively unchanged during EDIC.

In the original DCCT study, intensive glycemic control—resulting in a mean HbA1c of about 7%—reduced the risk for retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy compared with the conventional-treatment group, whose HbA1c averaged about 9%. At the time DCCT ended, it was too soon to assess CVD outcomes in the still relatively young study population, Lachin explained.

As reported in 2005, however, nine years into EDIC, there was a 42% decrease in any cardiovascular event and a 57% reduced risk for nonfatal heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes. Extending those analyses through 2012, those same risk reductions are 33% and 35%, "both still statistically significant and of course clinically meaningful," Lachin observed.

Previously published EDIC analyses have shown benefits of intensive glycemic control in carotid intimal-medial thickness and cardiac function [3], he added.

All the currently monitored end points will continue to be followed, with cardiovascular end points expected to become more prevalent in the now middle-aged study population.

The intensive-treatment group has also enjoyed lasting benefits in terms of neurologic, renal, and retinopathy end points.

Both the DCCT and the EDIC are funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Lachin is a board member of Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, and Reata and is a consultant for Andromeda Biotech and Magellan Health Services.

Adapted from Medscape Medical News—a professional news service of WebMD

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Art, Copy & Code: sending kisses around the world

Art, Copy & Code: sending kisses around the world: Thanks to modern technology you can connect with your loved ones by sending a quick note, a photo of your cat, even a smile :) around the world in seconds. But one of humanity’s most iconic forms of communication—the kiss—has been left out in the cold. Now, though, you can send a kiss to anyone, anywhere in the world, through Burberry Kisses, a new campaign from Burberry and Google. And not just any kiss, but your kiss.

To get started, simply visit and pucker up in front of your webcam (this works best on Chrome). Using unique kiss-detection technology, the site will detect the outline of your actual lips, which you can choose to dress up with a Burberry lipstick color. If you’re using your touch screen mobile or tablet, you can actually kiss your screen (you might want to wipe it off first) and your lip outline will be taken from there. After that, write a short message and send it to someone from your Google+ friends list or via email. Then sit back and see the envelope with your message fly from your city to the receiver’s destination across a 3D landscape. The receiver gets an email, from which they can see the same journey, read your message and hopefully respond with a kiss of their own.

For an example, see this message I sent to my mom this morning. All the kisses being sent around the world can be seen in a real-time interactive map, capturing the story of the world’s love. You don’t have to kiss and tell: all kisses are private unless you choose to share.

Burberry Kisses is the latest campaign in our Art, Copy & Code project, an ongoing series of brand partnerships to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. With this project, we’ve tried to create a beautiful experience that comes to life across all screens, and helps connect you to the people who are important to you, wherever they are. For more details on the campaign, see our agency blog or visit our website.

Posted by Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Food for Thought: Malnutrition Hurts a Child's Ability to Learn, Earn | Impatient Optimists

Food for Thought: Malnutrition Hurts a Child's Ability to Learn, Earn | Impatient Optimists

Food for Thought: Malnutrition Hurts a Child's Ability to Learn, Earn

May 28, 2013

The effects of malnutrition on a child’s health and resistance to disease are well known. But what about how it affects a child’s ability to thrive?
A new report out today by Save the Children UK, Food for Thought, draws the links between malnutrition and a child’s potential to learn and thrive. A key finding of the report: Malnourished children aged 8 are 20% less likely to be able to read a simple sentence than their well-nourished peers.
This is the sad truth about malnutrition:  not only are malnourished kids more susceptible to disease and death, but those who survive learn and earn less than their peers.
The report finds that children who are malnourished go on to earn at least 20% less as adults. This not only affects children – but whole economies: the report finds that malnutrition could cost the global economy as much as $125 billion when today’s children reach working age in 2030.
We know that good nutrition in the first 1,000 Days is critical for children to grow up as empowered and productive members of society.
The good news is that there are proven interventions – including ensuring maternal health before and during pregnancy; exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of a child’s life;  and provision of appropriate, nutritious complementary foods after six months – that can help stop malnutrition in its tracks.
The report is well timed: it comes just ahead of a major summit on June 8 in London hosted by the UK government, the Government of Brazil, and the Childrens Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) to address malnutrition.  The foundation is participating in and supporting the summit’s aim, which is to “transform the life chances of millions of women and children and secure greater economic growth and prosperity for all.”
Donors, developing countries, the scientific community, and business will come together on the 8th to pledge to do more to addressing malnutrition. Not only will fighting malnutrition help save lives, it will also help children achieve their potential. 

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Helping passwords better protect you

Helping passwords better protect you: Knowing how to stay safe and secure online is important, which is why we created our Good to Know site with advice and tips for safe and savvy Internet use. Starting today, we'll also be posting regularly with privacy and security tips. We hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.

It could be your Gmail, your photos or your documents—whatever you have in your Google Account, we work hard to make sure it’s protected from would-be identity thieves, other bad guys, or any illegitimate attempts to access your information.

But you can also help keep your information safe. Think of how upset you would be if someone else got access to your Google Account without your permission, and then take five minutes to follow the steps below and help make it more secure. Let’s start with the key to unlocking your account—your password:

1. Use a different password for each important service

Make sure you have a different password for every important online account you have. Bad guys will steal your username and password from one site, and then use them to try to log into lots of other sites where you might have an account. Even large, reputable sites sometimes have their password databases stolen. If you use the same password across many different sites, there’s a greater chance it might end up on a list of stolen passwords. And the more accounts you have that use that password, the more data you might lose if that password is stolen.

Giving an account its own, strong password helps protect you and your information in that account. Start today by making sure your Google Account has a unique password.

2. Make your password hard to guess

“password.” “123456.” “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” These examples are terrible passwords because everyone knows them—including potential attackers. Making your passwords longer or more complicated makes them harder to guess for both bad guys and people who know you. We know it’s hard: the average password is shorter than 8 characters, and many just contain letters. In a database of 32 million real passwords that were made public in 2009, analysis showed (PDF) only 54 percent included numbers, and only 3.7 percent had special characters like & or $.

One way to build a strong password is to think of a phrase or sentence that other people wouldn’t know and then use that to build your password. For example, for your email you could think of a personal message like “I want to get better at responding to emails quickly and concisely” and then build your password from numbers, symbols, and the first letters of each word—“iw2gb@r2eq&c”. Don’t use popular phrases or lyrics to build your password—research suggests that people gravitate to the same phrases, and you want your password to be something only you know.

Google doesn’t restrict password length, so go wild!

3. Keep your password somewhere safe

Research shows (PDF) that worrying about remembering too many passwords is the chief reason people reuse certain passwords across multiple services. But don’t worry—if you’ve created so many passwords that it’s hard to remember them, it’s OK to make a list and write them down. Just make sure you keep your list in a safe place, where you won’t lose it and others won’t be able to find it. If you’d prefer to manage your passwords digitally, a trusted password manager might be a good option. Chrome and many web browsers have free password managers built into them, and there are many independent options as well—take a few minutes to read through reviews and see what would be best for your needs.

4. Set a recovery option

Have you ever forgotten your password? Has one of your friends ever been locked out of their account? Setting a recovery option, like an alternate email address or a telephone number, helps give the service provider another way to contact you if you are ever locked out of your account. Having an up-to-date recovery phone or email address is the best thing you can do to make sure you can get back into your account fast if there is ever a problem.

If you haven’t set a recovery option for your Google Account, add one now. If you have, just take a second to make sure it’s up to date.

We have more tips on how to pick a good password on our Help Center, and in the video below:

Your online safety and privacy is important to you, and it’s important to us, too. We’ve made a huge amount of progress to help protect your Google Account from people who want to break into it, but for the time being, creating a unique, strong password is still an important way to protect your online accounts. Please take five minutes today to reset your important passwords using the tips above, and stay tuned for more security tips throughout the summer.

Posted by Diana Smetters, Software Engineer

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A picture of Earth through time

A picture of Earth through time: Today, we're making it possible for you to go back in time and get a stunning historical perspective on the changes to the Earth’s surface over time. Working with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA and TIME, we're releasing more than a quarter-century of images of Earth taken from space, compiled for the first time into an interactive time-lapse experience. We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public.

Built from millions of satellite images and trillions of pixels, you can explore this global, zoomable time-lapse map as part of TIME's new Timelapse project. View stunning phenomena such as the sprouting of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon and urban growth in Las Vegas from 1984 to 2012:

Feel free to share these GIFs! More examples can be found on Google+.

The images were collected as part of an ongoing joint mission between the USGS and NASA called Landsat. Their satellites have been observing earth from space since the 1970s—with all of the images sent back to Earth and archived on USGS tape drives that look something like this example (courtesy of the USGS).

We started working with the USGS in 2009 to make this historic archive of earth imagery available online. Using Google Earth Engine technology, we sifted through 2,068,467 images—a total of 909 terabytes of data—to find the highest-quality pixels (e.g., those without clouds), for every year since 1984 and for every spot on Earth. We then compiled these into enormous planetary images, 1.78 terapixels each, one for each year.

As the final step, we worked with the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, recipients of a Google Focused Research Award, to convert these annual Earth images into a seamless, browsable HTML5 animation. Check it out on Google’s Timelapse website.

Much like the iconic image of Earth from the Apollo 17 mission—which had a profound effect on many of us—this time-lapse map is not only fascinating to explore, but we also hope it can inform the global community’s thinking about how we live on our planet and the policies that will guide us in the future. A special thanks to all our partners who helped us to make this happen.

Posted by Rebecca Moore, Engineering Manager, Google Earth Engine & Earth Outreach

Top Charts in Google Trends—The most searched people, places and things

Top Charts in Google Trends—The most searched people, places and things: Ever wonder what the world is searching for? With Google Trends, you can see what's hot right now, and also explore the history and geography of a topic as it evolves. Today you'll find new charts of the most-searched people, places and things in more than 40 categories, from movies to sports teams to tourist attractions. You'll also find a new colorful visualization of real-time Hot Searches.

Top Charts—a new monthly "spirit of the times"
Top Charts are lists of real-world people, places and things ranked by search interest. They show information similar to our Year-End Zeitgeist, but updated monthly and going back to 2004. To check them out, go to Google Trends and click "Top Charts" on the left-hand side. For example, you can see the 10 most-searched cities, movies and scientists in April:
Top Charts includes more than 40 top 10 lists and more than 140 time periods. Hover on a chart for links to embed the chart in your own page or share on social media.

Top Charts is built on the Knowledge Graph, so the data shows interest in real-world things, not just keywords. When you look at a chart of sports teams and you see the Golden State Warriors, those rankings are based on many different related searches, like [gs warriors], [golden state bball] and [warriors basketball]. That way you see which topics are most popular on Google Search, however people search for them. Top Charts provide our most accurate search volume rankings, but no algorithm is perfect, so on rare occasion you may find anomalies in the data. You can learn more about Top Charts in our Help Center.

Hot Searches, now in hot colors
In addition to Top Charts, now there's a vibrant new way to visualize trending searches as they happen. On the Trends homepage in the left-hand panel, you'll find a new link to "Visualize Hot Searches in full-screen." You’ll see the latest trending topics appear in a colorful display:

You can customize the layout by clicking the icon in the upper-left corner and expanding it to see as many as 25 searches at a time. You can also pick any region currently supported by Hot Searches. Use fullscreen mode in your browser for the biggest, purest eye candy.

...and a few design updates

We’re also continuing to spruce up our site. Among other things, now the homepage shows you more interesting stuff up front, and the search box is always available at the top:

The new Trends homepage shows a list of today's Hot Searches. Enter search terms at the top to see search interest over time and by geography.

We hope you enjoy bringing new stories to life with Google Trends. We love feedback, so please feel free to let us know what you think by posting online or by clicking "Send Feedback" at the bottom of any page in Google Trends.

Posted by Roni Rabin, Software Engineer

Capturing the beauty and wonder of the Galapagos on Google Maps

Capturing the beauty and wonder of the Galapagos on Google Maps: The Galapagos Islands are some of the most biologically unique ecosystems in the world. Explorers and scientists alike have long studied and marveled at these islands—made famous by Charles Darwin. The Ecuadorean Government, local conservation groups and scientists are working to protect the Galapagos from threats posed by invasive species, climate change and other human impacts.

It’s critical that we share images with the world of this place in order to continue to study and preserve the islands’ unique biodiversity. Today we’re honored to announce, in partnership with Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and the Galapagos National Parks Directorate (GNPD), that we’ve collected panoramic imagery of the islands with the Street View Trekker. These stunning images will be available on Google Maps later this year so people around the world can experience this remote archipelago.

Daniel Orellana of Charles Darwin Foundation crossing a field of ferns to reach Minas de Azufre (naturally-occurring sulfur mines) on the top of Sierra Negra, an active volcano on Isabela Island. The Google Maps team traveled for more than three hours, hiking and on horseback, to reach this remote location.

Images, like the one you see above, are also an important visual record that the CDF and GNPD will use to study and protect the islands by showing the world how these delicate environments have changed over time.

Daniel Orellana of the Charles Darwin Foundation climbs out of a lava tunnel where he was collecting imagery. The dramatic lava landscapes found on Isabela island tell the story of the formation of the Galapagos Islands.

Our 10-day adventure in the Galapagos was full of hiking, boating and diving around the islands (in hot and humid conditions) to capture 360-degree images of the unique wildlife and geological features of the islands with the Trekker. We captured imagery from 10 locations that were hand-selected by CDF and GNPD. We walked past giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies, navigated through steep trails and lava fields, and picked our way down the crater of an active volcano called Sierra Negra.

A Galapagos giant tortoise crawls along the path near Googler Karin Tuxen-Bettman while she collects imagery with the Street View Trekker in Galapaguera, a tortoise breeding center, which is managed by the Galapagos National Park Service.
Life underwater in the Galapagos is just as diverse as life on land. We knew our map of the islands wouldn’t be comprehensive without exploring the ocean that surrounds them. So for the second time we teamed up with the folks at the Catlin Seaview Survey to collect underwater panoramic imagery of areas being studied by CDF and GNPD. This imagery will be used by Catlin Seaview Survey to create a visual and scientific baseline record of the marine environment surrounding the islands, allowing for any future changes to be measured and evaluated by scientists around the world.

Christophe Bailhache navigates the SVII camera through a large group of Sea Lions at Champion Island in Galapagos. Image courtesy of the Catlin Seaview Survey.

We truly believe that in order to protect these Galapagos Islands, we must understand them. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” We hope this Street View imagery not only advances the important scientific research, but also inspires you to learn more about this special place. Stay tuned for updates on this collection—the first time we’ve captured imagery from both land and sea! We can’t wait to share this amazing imagery with you later this year.

Posted by Raleigh Seamster, Project Lead, Google Maps

Sunday, May 12, 2013

HORRIBLE! Richard Branson shaves legs, dons fishnet stockings and stewardess uniform

HORRIBLE! Richard Branson shaves legs, dons fishnet stockings and stewardess uniform

MELBOURNE - Aviation billionaire Sir Richard Branson will touch down in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon wearing make-up, high heels and stockings to make good a bet he lost to AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes at the Grand Prix two years ago.
He left Perth this morning on a charity fundraising flight to Kuala Lumpur, on which he trotted down the aisles in drag.
The Australian Associated Press reported that Branson dropped his pants at a bar in the Perth CBD on Saturday night, allowing AirAsia stewardesses to shave his legs.
There are reasons why it has taken him so long to honour his bet — he broke his leg; flying in a high-altitude hot air balloon and watching the second prototype of Virgin Galactic’s space-bound vehicle break the sound barrier.
“Yeah, it’s true. We both had Grand Prix teams and I was absolutely certain that I was going to win,” Branson was quoted by AAP as saying.
“Something went wrong. Of course the drivers of that race are no longer with us. I went to extreme lengths to avoid being here (for the charity flight), but knew that one day I had to get it over with.”
Meanwhile, Fernandes has been dared into his own promise, announcing he would become one of Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space tourists, taking a usually very expensive flight for a few moments of weightlessness.
“What he (Branson) doesn’t realise is once I go into space, there’ll be a low-cost version - AirAsia Galactica, about 10 per cent of the price he’s charging,” he said.
Funds from the flight will go to the Starlight Foundation for ill children. – Bernama

More than 70 of the world’s languages in the blink of an eye

More than 70 of the world’s languages in the blink of an eye: If you took a quick snapshot of content available on the web, you might think that everyone around the world spoke English, Chinese, French or Spanish. But in fact, millions of people around the world speak an incredible array of languages that currently have a small presence across the web.

Google Translate helps bridge the divide between the content available online and people’s ability to access that information. Starting today, you can translate another five languages using Google, which combined are spoken by more than 183 million people around the globe:
  • Bosnian is an official language in Bosnia and Herzegovina that’s also spoken in regions of neighboring countries and by diaspora communities around the world.
  • Cebuano is one of the languages spoken in the Philippines, predominantly in the middle (Visayas) and southern (Mindanao) regions of the nation.
  • You can hear the Hmong language spoken in many countries across the world, including China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and throughout the United States.
  • Javanese is the second most-spoken language in Indonesia (behind Indonesian), with 83 million native speakers.
  • Marathi is spoken in India and has 73 million native speakers. Google Translate already supports several other Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
With the exception of Bosnian, these new languages are “alpha,” meaning while the quality isn’t perfect, we will continue to test and improve them over time.

You can access Translate via the web at, on your Android or iOS device, or via Chrome and in Gmail. We're excited to reach the 70+ language milestone, and we look forward to continuing to add more languages.

Bosnian: Google Prevodilac sada podržava više od 70 jezika!

Cebuano: Google sa Translate misuporta na karon sa kapin sa 70 ka mga!

Hmong: Google Translate nim no txhawb nqa tshaj li 70 hom lus!

Javanese: Google Translate saiki ndhukung luwih saka 70 basa!

Marathi: Google भाषांतर आता 70 पेक्षा जास्त भाषांचे समर्थन करते!

Posted by Sveta Kelman, Program Manager, Google Translate

We’re going live from Google I/O

We’re going live from Google I/O: Developers today have the power to introduce powerful, breakthrough technologies to the world through their code. That’s why we look forward to bringing Google developers together year after year at Google I/O, our annual developer conference. In one week, we’ll welcome more than 6,000 developers to I/O through the doors of Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco, Calif.—and many more via our event’s live streams. If you’re looking for inspiration and want to learn more about the future of our products, we hope you’ll tune in to our live keynote and technical sessions.

Starting on May 15 at 9 a.m. PT (16:00 UTC), join us as Google Developers Live (GDL) powers multiple channels of live streamed content from Google I/O on On this page, you can:

  • Stream the keynote on your computer, tablet or phone. Get in on the action, and listen to product and technology announcements straight from our teams. Live streaming will run on from 9 a.m. PT (16:00 UTC) to 7 p.m. PT (2:00 UTC) on May 15 and 16.
  • Watch exclusive interviews with the Googlers behind the latest product announcements. This year, GDL will broadcast one-on-one product deep dives, executive interviews and Developer Sandbox walkthroughs from our onsite stage.
  • Get the latest news in real time. We’ll post official announcements during I/O. You’ll be able to see the feed on the Google I/O homepage, in the I/O mobile app (coming soon), and on +Google Developers.
  • Never miss a session. The keynote and all sessions will be recorded and made rapidly available on GDL and the Google Developers YouTube channel.

Whether you’re joining us from the comfort of home for Google Developers Live at I/O or at an I/O Extended event, tune into at 9 a.m. PT (16:00 UTC) on May 15 for the latest from Google product teams. Add +Google Developers to your circles and follow #io13 to stay updated on official conference announcements and connect with the community.

Posted by Mike Winton, Director of Developer Relations

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

You and I, Together, we can build a Better Malaysia

A simple message but full of meaning. Let's lay the card on the table and call an ace of spade an ace of spade...a joker a joker. Where are we after all these years, where will our children be...

How we decide on the 5th of May 2013 will determine not only our future but that of our children and of our nation.

Young and old, the power to decide is in your hands...cast your vote and make it count!


Dr Ronald McCoy
President, Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
Past-President, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)

Malaysia is at a critical crossroads, after fifty-six years of independence. Its historical struggle for freedom from British colonial rule has now morphed into a growing struggle to be free of the Barisan Nasional government, a neocolonial-like construct of racially structured political parties, cleverly dividing and ruling a nation.

Reeking with corruption, its abuse of power has gone on for too long. It has lost its way in a political jungle of its own creation by incessantly amending the Constitution; pushing through dubious laws to reinforce its power; crushing judicial independence; permitting arbitrary arrest and detention without trial; disregarding police brutality and custodial deaths; encouraging corrupt crony capitalism; allowing the flight of illicit money; ignoring the serious economic consequences of a ballooning national debt; and stifling dissent, freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and other fundamental human rights. Yes, the country needs a change of government. It’s the only way to genuine reform, rule of law and democratic governance.  

It was not always so in the first twelve years of independence, when the then Alliance coalition government was made up of the “Merdeka generation” of  leaders who had a broad, inclusive nation-state view and a value system, so different from the current ethnocentric Barisan Nasional regime.  

Malaysia is predominantly Malay, but it has one of the most diverse societies in the world. This ethnic diversity has enriched its cultural and social fabric and strengthened its economic footing. And yet, its very diversity has generated serious ethnic tensions and divided the population, owing to unfair policies. The Barisan Nasional (BN) government has increasingly infused ethnicity into national politics, based on an elastic interpretation of the meaning and status of the inter-ethnic “social contract” which emerged in 1957 when Malaysia became independent.

Dominated by the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO), the BN government continues to shore up its support among the Malay majority by implementing affirmative action for the Malays and insisting that the social contract and Ketuanan Melayu (Malay dominance) are immutable and literally carved in stone. In practice, this has translated into systemic corruption, nepotism and cronyism, which has enriched only the anointed few in UMNO.  

Such ethnocentric politics has polarised a multicultural society and subverted nation building. It has now reached a tipping point. The time has come to dismantle racial politics by voting out Barisan Nasional at the ballot box and eliminating outdated political pygmies, before the country is irreparably damaged politically, economically and environmentally.

The status quo must give way to twenty-first century political thinking and nation-building that will embrace a Malaysian Malaysia, free of ethnic bias, religious bigotry and impenetrable mindsets. Such an opportunity for nation-building will present itself on 5th May 2013 when the nation holds its thirteenth general elections, arguably the most anticipated and contentious elections ever.   

Nation-building requires a strong constitutional foundation which will support the many pillars of democracy: free and fair elections; judicial independence; the rule of just law; separation of powers; commitment to human rights, equity and social justice; honest, efficient, transparent and accountable governance; a free press; an ecologically sustainable economy; universal, equitable, quality health care; and a sound, progressive education system.   

Malaysia is a federation of fourteen states, with a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. The Constitution was designed to embody the supreme power of the land and provide for the rule of law and a judiciary, separate from and independent of control by parliament and the executive. It aims to limit arbitrary, excessive use of power by the temporary holders of political office and wielders of power. But the BN government has for decades subverted the Constitution by repeatedly amending it at will to serve its own political ends, exploiting its two-thirds majority in parliament. 

The benefits of elections are not always assured. Elections can strengthen democracy or undermine it. Credibility and legitimacy in elections will depend on whether they are conducted in a clean and fair manner on a level playing field. Opposition parties must be free to organise and campaign without fear. Politicians, election officials, the bureaucracy and institutions must be held accountable to the voting public. Voters must feel safe from intimidation and be confident that the ballot is secret. Only then will they enjoy equal opportunity to participate in and influence the democratic process. Only then will the result of the elections be accepted without protest. But if protests are made, they must be peaceful.

There is no doubt that political donations, particularly from corporate entities, will undermine and corrupt the electoral process. And yet in the period building up to the elections, the BN government and the Prime Minister himself, in desperation, have blatantly resorted to handouts to various groups, on the incredibly flimsy excuse that this represents government aid for the poor and needy, not bribery. Poverty and need have suddenly become more visible to the government just before a general election! The prime ministerial bargain, “You help me … I help you,” deserves a place in our history books!

Bersih, a coalition of concerned civil society groups, has made legitimate demands of the Elections Commission to secure clean and fair elections. The response has not been very encouraging, confirming the general perception that the Commission is manipulative and pro-government. The national mood before the impending general elections is understandably sombre and anxious, reflecting fears and suspicions that the electoral process leading up to the polls has not been  clean or fair, following reliable reports of irregularities, such as gerrymandering and the illegal registration of unqualified voters, including foreign workers and other phantom voters.  

In almost every country, people distrust their governments and are eager for change. The 2012 Trust Barometer study by Edelman, one of the world’s largest independent public relations companies, has pointed to a severe breakdown in government trust globally. In Europe, less than 50% of citizens in Ireland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, Poland, Italy, France and Spain trust their governments. Only 52% of Malaysians trust the Barisan Nasional government.

The study also shows that there is a growing public conviction worldwide that elected representatives have grown too remote, too arrogant, too corrupt and too closely associated with corporate interests to serve the common good. It confirms that incestuous cronyism between government and private enterprise increasingly raises suspicions of corruption.

People in most countries are increasingly aware of corrupt practices involving private enterprise and state bureaucracies. In its 2012 assessment of 176 countries, based on a new upgraded methodology, where the new Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) scores range from 0 to 100 (0 being most corruption and 100 being corruption-free), Transparency International  indicated that Malaysia’s score was 49 with a country ranking of 54, together with Czech Republic, Latvia and Turkey. One very telling indicator of corruption was the result of a question asked of companies in Malaysia: “During the last 12 months, do you think that your company has failed to win a contract or gain new business because a competitor has paid a bribe?” Fifty per cent answered “Yes”, the highest score among the 30 countries surveyed.

Transparency International Malaysia expressed the view that a 50% response may indicate that corruption in the public sector is systemic and in some areas institutionalised. It also indicated the need to reform the political arena to reduce monetisation of politics, strengthen law enforcement institutions, uphold the rule of law, overhaul the Official Secrets Act, introduce a Freedom of Information Act, enforce transparency and accountability in public procurement, and improve whistleblower legislation.

The BN government has politicised education and penalised and handicapped generations of schoolchildren because of their poor grasp of the English language, now a global language. Meritocracy has been abandoned and mediocrity or worse floods the country. The ambitious and talented flee across the causeway and Singapore thrives on our brain drain.  

Medical education has been hijacked by the Ministry of Higher Education and farmed out to third rate medical schools in distant lands. Such medical graduates frequently fail to qualify for professional registration, but will swell the ranks of government medical services. The profession of medicine has been betrayed by the government’s policy of privatising health care. Medicine is a vocation. When government policy makes medicine a business, doctors will be forced to become businessmen.

There is widespread discontent across the country, deep concern for the future, and a strong desire for change. The political bottom line is that the people of Malaysia can no longer tolerate a government that first serves itself and its cronies and is incapable of mustering the necessary political will to reform itself.

The rakyat wants change. Business as usual and political accommodation are no longer acceptable options. A fat, corrupt and arrogant Barisan Nasional government is eminently replaceable. Let’s do it. 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

For Malaysia: Bringing Google Apps and Chromebooks to the classroom

For Malaysia: Bringing Google Apps and Chromebooks to the classroom: As a parent of three kids, I have the same aspirations as many other parents and educators—to provide them with the best opportunities to learn and discover their passions. For many students, the web has become an incredible resource for the classroom, offering tools to work collaboratively, share and research. School systems of all sizes—from a single primary school to an entire country such as the Philippines—have “Gone Google” in their schools and embraced the web to transform education.

Today the country of Malaysia is going a step further by adopting Google Apps for 10 million students, teachers and parents. As part of this initiative they are also deploying Chromebooks to primary and secondary schools nationwide. These efforts to integrate the web are a central part of a national plan (PDF) to reform its educational system.

To deploy technology across a nationwide school system, computers need to be simple, manageable and secure. Chromebooks are ideal for learning and sharing in the classroom—there’s nothing complicated to learn, they boot up in seconds and have virus protection built in. They also offer easy setup and deployment, which means they’re ready to go the moment a student opens the lid and logs in. And with reduced overhead costs, Chromebooks are a cost-efficient option* to deploy technology at scale.

To date, more than 3,000 schools worldwide, from Edina, Minnesota to Point England, New Zealand, have deployed Chromebooks to improve attendance and graduation rates, make learning more fun and enable students to take more ownership for their learning.

The web gives our children and students new opportunities to access the world’s information and work collaboratively. We look forward to working with national and regional leaders to make the most of the web with Google Apps and Chromebooks and help them provide the best opportunities to every student.

Posted by Felix Lin, Director of Product Management

*In research sponsored by Google, research firm IDC found that Chromebooks yield three-year cost of ownership savings of $1,135 per device compared to traditional PCs or tablets, require 69% fewer hours to deploy and 92% fewer hours to manage. Learn more.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Become a public speaking pro: learning how to present the next great idea

Become a public speaking pro: learning how to present the next great idea: This is the third post in a series profiling Googlers who facilitate classes as part of our g2g program, in which Googlers teach, share and learn from each other. Regardless of role, level or location, g2g's community-based approach makes it possible for all Googlers to take advantage of a variety of learning opportunities. - Ed.

“[Public speaking] is quite simple, say what you have to say and
when you come to a sentence with a grammatical ending, sit down.” —Winston Churchill

If only public speaking were actually that easy. We’re often asked to present in front of a group, so good presentation skills are really important. Fear of public speaking is often ranked higher than fear of spiders, flying and heights. While spiders can make me jumpy, I not only enjoy public speaking, I also teach it.

In addition to my core role as Google Toronto’s agency team lead (helping to nurture relationships with some of the largest ad agencies in Canada), I help my colleagues amp up their public speaking skills as a g2g (Googler-to-Googler) facilitator for two classes, “Presenting with Confidence” and “Presenting with Charisma.” These two classes help my fellow Googlers erase anxiety and self-doubt and focus on the goal—communicating your message. I am actually a mechanical engineer by trade who, at one point, entered graduate school to study robotics. Not exactly the type that comes to mind when you think of great orators. But I’ve learned along the way, as an engineer turned “sales guy,” that a confident demeanor and a little charm can turn a snooze-fest into an engaging, lively meeting.

Here I am teaching one of our Presenting with Confidence classes in our New York City office. 
Photo by Jane Hu.

“Presenting with Confidence” goes beyond the “picture the audience in their underwear” adage. First, students are tasked with making brief presentations about themselves, whether it be about their most recent vacation or how they play in a jazz band. We videotape the students giving their presentations on their phones to review later as a part of the exercise and to keep for their own reference. This, as it turns out, is one of the most effective, eye-opening exercises in the class. Before we roll the tape, the participant comments on an area he/she believes will be pointed out by others, such as, “I always fidget with my hands” or, “I blush as red as a tomato.” The reality is often completely different, and provides an immediate boost of confidence, allowing the student to focus on the content of their presentation. Part of the confidence boost also stems from being surrounded by peers who are in the same boat, so there’s no judgment.

Sharing honest feedback with your peers is an important part of the learning process. 
Photo by Jane Hu.

“Presenting with Charisma” focuses on adding charm and magnetism to your speech. The more the audience wants to hear from a speaker, the more information they’ll absorb. In this class, Googlers nail down the right mix of tone, body language and delivery to better captivate their audience. We role play to learn how to conquer inevitable yet potentially disastrous moments, like when your technology demo crashes.

I experienced one such moment myself when I covered a presentation for a fellow Googler at the last minute. When I started getting asked questions that were beyond my ability to handle, I followed the advice I give my own students, which is to remain calm, upbeat and easy-going—no matter what. I decided to play off the audience’s own knowledge so that the Q&A became more of a dialogue rather than the spotlight shining solely on me.

Solid communication skills anchor any job function. Whether you are an engineer presenting new findings to your manager or a salesperson pitching a new business strategy to a client, a few tips and a lot of practice can make a significant impact on your presentations. If you’re one of the many, many professionals who feels uneasy about getting up in front of a room full of people, try the following tried-and-true techniques to start mastering the art of public speaking.

Tips and tricks to boost your public speaking confidence and charisma:

1) Pace yourself. To slow down and build momentum, try reciting a sentence then walking to the other side of the room. Pause, then walk back to the other side and deliver your next sentence.

2) Unfreeze. What to do if you totally freeze during your presentation? Look at your slide or notes and just describe what you see on the slide or page in front of you. The words will start flowing and come back to you.

3) Fidget and fiddle no more. Displacement tactic: if you find yourself always fiddling with your hands or keeping your hands in your pockets, try standing behind a chair or a podium and planting your hands on the podium so you appear confident. (Even political leaders use this trick.)

4) Get physical. Use the room to your advantage and keep your audience alert. Walk across the room or even among the audience to get people involved in your presentation.

5) Stop saying “Um.” To rid yourself of “umm”-ing your way through a presentation, use this physical displacement tactic: Every time you are transitioning from one point to another, do something small but physical, like moving your pen. Making a conscious effort to move the pen will turn your brain off from using a verbal filler instead.

Posted by Adam Green, Agency Lead and G2G Instructor

Monday, March 25, 2013

Global Impact Awards’ hunt for U.K.’s most innovative social entrepreneurs starts today

Global Impact Awards’ hunt for U.K.’s most innovative social entrepreneurs starts today: Global Impact Awards’ hunt for U.K.’s most innovative social entrepreneurs starts today

From cracking the human genome to advancing medical research through computer games, British social entrepreneurs have a proud history of using technology to make the world a better place.

Last year, we launched the Global Impact Awards to support nonprofits using technology to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. We gave $23 million to seven organizations working on projects ranging from aerial technology that protects wildlife to data algorithms that ensure more girls and minorities get placed in advanced math and science classes.

Today, as the next step in the Impact Awards, we’re kicking off our first Global Impact Challenge in the U.K., inviting British nonprofits to tell us how they would use technology to transform lives. Four nonprofits will each receive a £500,000 Global Impact Award, as well as Chromebooks and technical assistance from Googlers to help make their project a reality.

Applications open today, and registered British nonprofits are invited to apply online at We’ll review applications and announce 10 finalists on May 22. At that point, people across the U.K. can learn more about the projects of the top 10 finalists, donate to the ones they like and cast a vote for fan favorite. On June 3, the top 10 finalists will pitch their concepts to a judging panel that includes us (Matt Brittin and Jacquelline Fuller), Sir Richard Branson, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Jilly Forster. The three awardees and the fan favorite will be revealed at the event, which will take place at Google London.

Technology can help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges and we’re eager to back innovators who are finding new ways to make an impact. Today we’re starting the hunt in the U.K., but we also know that nonprofits all over the world are using techy approaches to develop new solutions in their sector. Who knows, the Global Impact Challenge might head your way next.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google Giving, and Matt Brittin, VP, sales and operations, Northern and Central Europe

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Google Keep—Save what’s on your mind

Google Keep—Save what’s on your mind: Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember. Usually we grab a pad of sticky-notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine. Unfortunately, if you’re like me you probably often discover that the desk, fridge or magazine wasn’t such a clever place to leave the note after’s rarely where you need it when you need it.

To solve this problem we’ve created Google Keep. With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.

If it’s more convenient to speak than to type that’s fine—Keep transcribes voice memos for you automatically. There’s super-fast search to find what you’re looking for and when you’re finished with a note you can archive or delete it.

Changing priorities isn’t a problem: just open Keep on your Android phone or tablet (there’s a widget so you can have Keep front and center all the time) and drag your notes around to reflect what matters. You can choose the color for each note too.

Pro tip: for adding thoughts quickly without unlocking your device there's a lock screen widget (on devices running Android 4.2+).

Google Keep is available on Google Play for devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and above. You can access, edit and create new notes on the web at and in the coming weeks you'll be able to do the same directly from Google Drive.

Posted by Katherine Kuan, Software Engineer

Friday, March 08, 2013

Art, Copy & Code: a series of experiments to re-imagine advertising

Art, Copy & Code: a series of experiments to re-imagine advertising: Last year, we started a program to partner with advertisers and agencies to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. Project Re: Brief set out to recreate some of the advertising industry’s most iconic, classic campaigns using the latest technology tools. This year we’re expanding that program to work with some of today’s most iconic brands and innovative marketers, in our new project: Art, Copy & Code.

Art, Copy & Code is a series of projects and experiments to show how creativity and technology can work hand in hand. Some of these will include familiar brands like Volkswagen, Burberry and adidas—projects developed in partnership with their creative teams and agencies. Others will be creative experiments with innovative filmmakers, creative directors and technologists to explore how brands can connect with consumers through a whole range of digital tools—including ads, mobile apps and social experiences. Our first partner project is a new social driving experience—Volkswagen Smileage.

Building off their 2012 campaign, “It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them,” Volkswagen Smileage is a mobile app and web service that aims to add a little bit of fun to every drive, from your daily commutes to holiday road trips. The app measures the fun factor of each trip using a metric called “smileage,” based on signals like weather, traffic, location, time and social interactions (e.g., a long drive on a sunny Saturday afternoon might accumulate more smileage than a morning commute in the snow). You can use it with any car, not just Volkswagens.

Powered by the new Google+ sign-in, you can choose to share Smileage experience with friends and family. For example, during a road trip, photos and videos taken by you and your co-passengers can be automatically added to a live interactive map. The inspiration for the service came from a recent study showing that every day, 144 million Americans on average spend 52 minutes in a car—76 percent of them alone. We wanted to make that time a more shareable experience. Volkswagen Smileage will be available soon in beta—you can sign up on this webpage for early access.

We’ll have many more experiments to share in the Art, Copy & Code project soon—subscribe for updates at We’re committed to investing in technology and tools over the long term to help brands and their agencies succeed not just today, but in a digital future that will look very different.

If you’re planning on attending SXSW, stop by the Google Playground on March 9 to see demos of these experiments, or attend our talk on March 10.

Posted by Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Public Alerts for Google Search, Google Now and Google Maps available in Japan

Public Alerts for Google Search, Google Now and Google Maps available in Japan: With nearly 5,000 earthquakes a year, it’s important for people in Japan to have crisis preparedness and response information available at their fingertips. And from our own research, we know that when a disaster strikes, people turn to the Internet for more information about what is happening.

With this in mind, we’re launching Google Public Alerts today in Japan—the first international expansion of a service we debuted last year in the United States. Google Public Alerts is a platform designed to provide accurate and relevant emergency alerts when and where you’re searching for them online.

Relevant earthquake and tsunami warnings for Japan will now appear on Google Search, Google Maps and Google Now when you search online during a time of crisis. If a major earthquake alert is issued in Kanagawa Prefecture, for example, the alert information will appear on your desktop and mobile screens when you search for relevant information on Google Search and Google Maps.

Example of a Google Search result on a tablet showing a tsunami warning

Example of a tsunami warning on Google Maps

If you click “詳細” (“More info”) right under the alert, you’ll see more details about the announcement, including the full description from the Japan Meteorological Agency, a link to their site, and other useful information like observed arrival times and wave heights for tsunamis.

Example of how a tsunami alert would work in Fukushima

And when you open Google Now on your Android device, recommended actions and information will be tailored to where you are. For example, if you happen to be in Tokyo at a time when a tsunami alert is issued, Google Now will show you a card containing information about the tsunami alert, as well as any available evacuation instructions:

Example of a tsunami warning card on Google Now

We’re able to provide Public Alerts in Japan thanks to the Japan Meteorological Agency, whose publication of data enables Google and others to make critical and life-saving information more widely available.

We hope our technology, including Public Alerts, will help people better prepare for future crises and create more far-reaching support for crisis recovery. This is why in Japan, Google has newly partnered with 14 Japanese prefectures and cities, including seven from the Tōhoku region, to make their government data available online and more easily accessible to users, both during a time of crisis and after. The devastating Tōhoku Earthquake struck Japan only two years ago, and the region is still slowly recovering from the tragedy.

We look forward to expanding Google Public Alerts to more countries and working with more warning providers soon. We also encourage potential partners to read our FAQ and to consider putting data in an open format, such as the Common Alerting Protocol. To learn more about Public Alerts, visit our Public Alerts homepage.

Posted by Yu Chen, Partner Technology Manager