From Manila to Yangon, women like Reina Reyes and Rita Nguyen are making waves and a real difference in science and technology. Reina is a Filipina astrophysicist who, at the age of 26, astounded scientists when the team she led at Princeton University showed that Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity held true beyond our solar system. Rita, a Vietnamese-Canadian entrepreneur, has settled in Yangon, where she created MySQUAR, the first Burmese-language social-media site aimed at the country’s youth.

Reina and Rita are just two of hundreds of women across Asia who joined us at over twenty Women Techmakers events since March. Led by Google Developer Groups (GDGs), Women Techmakers celebrates women’s contributions to technological breakthroughs. On top of panel discussions, career planning workshops and networking opportunities, women at some events brought their designs and creations to life -- and had a lot of fun -- using electronic construction kits.

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Women Techmakers events in Manila, Chennai, Tokyo and Zhuhai
By giving women who are interested in tech and computer science an opportunity to exchange their stories, we hope they gain strength from others and encourage more women to pursue careers in these fields.

To help more women succeed in tech, The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship supports tuition fees for undergraduates and graduates studying computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related technical field. Successful candidates will be invited to attend a Google retreat with other scholarship recipients in Asia Pacific. In 2013, we welcomed 92 scholars passionate about doing things that matter and developing technology to change the world. If you want to do the same in 2014, get your application in before May 18.

Posted by Xinmei Cai, Women@ Google APAC Tech Lead

This post is part of our regular series of interviews with people across Asia-Pacific who’ve caught our eye, using the Internet to create, connect and grow.

Ploysai Passornsiri of Pet Master in Bangkok

How would you describe your business in one sentence?
A full-service pet crematorium for pet lovers.

Why did you choose to go online?
I started Pet Master in 2010, when I realized that Thailand lacked the kind of pet cremation services that are found in Japan and the United Kingdom. I wanted to bring comfort to bereaved pet lovers by offering a dignified and eco-friendly funeral service for their animal friends. There is a large market for these services, and the Internet offers the best way of reaching them. The web has become a part of people’s life. It is fast and free.

What difference has the Internet made to your business?
Initially, I advertised through pet hospitals, offering them credits. But launching a website and promoting it through search advertising, as well as a Facebook page, is what made a real difference. Soon after that, I was logging 70-80 customers per month. The Internet provides low-cost public relations, getting Pet Master noticed by potential customers throughout the country, and enabling me to boost my profit. In turn, I’ve been able to expand to five branches, four in Bangkok and one in Pattaya.
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Thailand’s Pet Master provides eco-friendly funeral services for animals

Where’s the Internet going to take your business next?
Worldwide recognition! Originally, Pet Master served only customers in Bangkok but now I am starting to expand my business because the Internet has shown me that a lot of countries neighboring Thailand — for example, Malaysia — are very interested in what I have to offer.

Who’s your Internet idol?
Mark Zuckerberg. At a young age, he discovered the greatest thing that has changed the world. As I’m in my twenties, I’m inspired to believe I can do anything, with a little help from technology.

Ploysai Passornsiri
If you could change one thing about the Internet, what would it be?
I wouldn't want to change anything about the Internet. Let it change as time goes by.

Posted by Ploysai Passornsiri, Pet Master

What do Angry Birds and Snapchat have in common? They both run on Google Cloud Platform, which enables them to go global without losing focus on what they do best — creating great apps.

Japanese game maker Applibot is one of Asia’s earliest adopters of Google Cloud Platform. With millions of downloads on Google Play and iTunes, Cloud Platform has been critical to their success. They don’t need to worry about server maintenance or provisioning new hardware to serve millions of potential users when they ship their latest game.

We want more developers in Asia to experience the speed and scale of Google’s infrastructure, so starting today, we’re expanding Google Cloud Platform to include Asia Pacific zones and making the developer console available in Japanese and Traditional Chinese. Google Cloud Platform is a set of compute, storage and big data products that allow developers to build on top of the same technology that powers Google. This expansion means that local developers across Asia can now experience better performance and lower latency.

Developers interested in learning more about Google Cloud Platform can join one of the Google Cloud Platform Global Roadshow events coming up in Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul or Hong Kong. For more technical details, head over to the Cloud Platform blog.

Posted by Howard Wu, Head of Asia Pacific Marketing for Google Cloud Platform

Known as the godfather of Japanese animation or manga, Tezuka Osamu was a pioneer of hand-drawn cartoons, having created over 150,000 pages of these drawings. His works include the much-loved Astro Boy — a character that has endured in popularity since its creation in the 1960s.

His followers have long made pilgrimages to the Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum in Takarazuka, Japan to learn about his life and work. Starting today, fans can virtually walk through the whimsical interiors of the museum on the Google Cultural Institute. You can also explore over 170 items on view, including videos, high-res images, and text panels.
Hello Astro Boy! The Interiors of the Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum
A multimedia exhibit about the Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum

This marks the first-ever manga collection on the Google Cultural Institute, and is also the first time we have honored a Japanese cultural figure. With this launch, we hope to give more anime lovers around the world the opportunity to explore, appreciate, and learn about Tezuka Osamu’s work.

Posted by Shinobu Yamazaki, Strategic Partner Manager, Google Japan

Cross-posted from the Google Lat Long blog.

The sunrise at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, is one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic and breathtaking vistas. Dawn brings to light the many temples that are thousands of years old, nestled in a web of ancient roads and jungles. Today you’ll be one step closer to that view as we are making more than 100 of these historic sites available online with Street View on Google Maps. 

The temples at Angkor each have a unique story—whether it’s the way they were built, the ancient Khmer cities they sit on, or the artwork they contain. To give you the most complete picture, our team used all the tools available to us: Street View cars, Trekkers and tripods to carefully photograph the exteriors and interiors of Angkor’s temples as they stand today. 

With more than 90,000 new panoramic images views, we hope Cambodians and others around the world can experience these cultural and archaeological treasures in an entirely new way. Whether it’s revisiting iconic sites such as Bayon Temple in time for the Khmer New Year or studying the Ramayana’s Battle of Lanka bas relief carvings within Angkor Wat, Street View can help you more easily explore Angkor’s rich heritage.

After roaming the temples, you can also experience more of Angkor’s rich historical and artistic heritage through the Google Cultural Institute. From 12th-century sculpture and mid-20th century photography to modern-day renderings of medieval Angkor life, nearly 300 exhibits across the Google Cultural Institute can give you a look at Khmer culture through the ages.

We hope this new imagery will not only let people experience the scale and beauty of Angkor wherever they are, but also demonstrate how technology can change the way cultural treasures are preserved for generations to come.

You might think bespoke tailoring is not the kind of business that scales easily. But the digital evolution of the Crane Brothers shows just how the Internet has helped these experts in made-to-measure from New Zealand unlock greater potential. Whether through cloud-based solutions that allow them to better manage their client information, payment and accounting systems, or by providing new ways of reaching customers, the Internet has helped transform this traditional retailer with three brick-and-mortar stores into a ‘micro-multinational’ that sells to markets around the world. reaches customers around the world through its website

This is just one story that illustrates how the Internet can fundamentally transform how business is done in New Zealand. Research released by the Innovation Partnership* shows that everyday Kiwi businesses that extensively use Internet services are 6% more productive than average businesses in their industry. To put this in perspective, average productivity growth in New Zealand has been around 1.5% in recent years — meaning these Internet power users are four years ahead of their competitors.

The research — funded by Innovation Partnership members Internet New Zealand and Google, and conducted by Sapere Research Group — also showed that if all Kiwi businesses made more use of the Internet, it could add NZ$34 billion to the economy.

Taking a closer look at how businesses across a wide range of industries are getting on might inspire and give small business owners a few ideas on how to get started -- from tourism operators Martinborough Top 10 Holiday Park, to the Livestock Improvement Corporation in the agricultural sector, to services business Cloud Accountants.

It’s all very well to talk about making more use of the web, but it’s sometimes tough to know where to begin. Here's where the Digital Journey tool can help. It enables a small business manager to do a ‘digital health check’ of their business, and provides a digital action plan with clear steps to take to harness the potential of the Internet.
Run a digital health-check for your business at Digital Journey
We hope that the research, case studies, and tools will help more Kiwi businesses take their next steps in growing their own — and New Zealand’s — Internet-driven productivity.

Posted by Ross Young, Public Policy Manager, Google New Zealand

*The Innovation Partnership is a group of organisations dedicated to New Zealand becoming a world-leader in using the Internet to drive business growth, public sector excellence, and educational achievement. Google is a founding member.

Cross posted from the Google New Zealand blog 

The web is a great place for teens to explore, learn, connect and make new friends. But just like in the real world, there are sometimes people in the online world that behave badly and make that experience less fun. That’s why starting today, we’re asking Kiwi teens to sign up to become Web Rangers in New Zealand.

Web Rangers care about keeping the Internet a place where everyone can explore freely and confidently. They help stamp out bad behavior online by creatively spreading the word about safer and smarter Internet use. Best of all, they will do all of this while having fun, and exchanging ideas with other Web Rangers from across New Zealand during these Easter holidays.

Becoming one of NZ’s first ever Web Rangers is easy. You need to be between 14 and 17 years old to sign up, and be ready to take part in a workshop where you’ll learn about online safety and get practical tips from experts at Netsafe and Google to help you create your own safety campaign. Workshops will take place in Wellington on Tuesday, April 29, Christchurch on Wednesday, April 30, and Auckland on Thursday, May 1. You’ll then have six weeks to put together your own campaign on staying safe online. It can take any form -- a video, a game, an interactive classroom session. You name it!

The creators of the top Internet safety campaigns from each city will be flown to Sydney to present their campaign to the Google team. There are also other cool prizes up for grabs, including Chromebooks and Android smartphones.

We’re happy to have Jamie Curry from Jamie’s World throw her support behind this initiative. She’s uploaded a video on her YouTube channel on why cyber-bullying is serious and why we all need to do something about it.

What are you waiting for? Head to before April 14, 2014 and tell us why you think you’d make a great Web Ranger!

Posted by Annie Baxter, Google New Zealand