Creativity and ingenuity have made Korea what it is today. Around the world, innovations from Korea sit in living rooms, laundry rooms, garages and pockets. We would like to think Korea is just getting started, though, so we continue to invest in Korea’s innovators. A few weeks ago, we opened the doors to Campus Seoul, our first space for startups in Asia and third in the world.

Today, we’re so happy to announce that we’re working with the Gwacheon National Science Museum, Korea’s largest science museum, through a grant from, to build an indoor makerspace and large outdoor creative playground for kids. Our hope is that these spaces, which will open in October of this year and March of next, respectively, will help spark an interest and foster a lifelong love and passion for science, experimentation and innovation among Korea’s next generation of doers.

Plans are still coming together, but we’d like to share a little bit of the vision now, with more to come as the project moves ahead.

Creative playground
With a 2,000 square meter canvas to work from, the outdoor creative playground will be designed to encourage experimentation. Instead of swings and slides, it will feature a variety of objects and materials that children will be able use to create their own structures and effectors.
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An aerial view of the museum, the creative playground will occupy 2000 square meters by the rocketship
The space, which will open to the public in March 2016, will be built to support independent exploration – for families to bring their kids to for both fun and learning – as well as structured learning through various workshops and programs.

Children’s makerspace
Complementing the outdoor playground will be an indoor makerspace for kids, in the museum's ‘Idea Factory,’ a part of MIT’s Fab Lab program, which will open this October. Kitted out with all sorts of tools and materials, this will be a space where children (alongside their parents, if they’d like to join), will be able to participate in a range of workshop programs that we’ll also be supporting, ranging from building an electrical circuit with hairpins to learning the basics of coding with Scratch.

A big focus will be programs designed specifically for girls, to help get more young Korean women excited about science and technology. This is especially critical in Korea, where a study from 2013 showed that the number of Korean women working in science and technology is actually on the decline, making up less than 18% of IT workers, and less than 15% of students in relevant degree programs.
Just inside the entrance of the museum, the children’s makerspace will be just down the hall

We can’t wait to see this new creative play and learning space for kids open up in Korea. We hope it’ll help even a few Korean girls and boys discover the same passion for science and creativity that has made Korea (and Google) what it is today.

Posted by John Lee, Country Director, Google Korea

The Google Cultural Institute just added collections and exhibits from 19 new museums and cultural institutions from Korea, China, and Hong Kong. This brings the total amount of the Cultural Institute’s online works from Asian institutions to a staggering 23,000 pieces, from every genre imaginable: Chinese bronze-age bells, Korean dynastic robes, Hong Kong’s neon street signs, and more are all on the Cultural Institute in all their mind-bogglingly diverse array.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces, moving through history from ancient to modern:

A 2,300 year old coffin, skeletons not included

China’s Hubei Provincial Museum’s collection boasts this incredibly well preserved decorated lacquer coffin from the Eastern Zhou dynasty from 443 BC. You can practically see every bump in the wood grain as you zoom all the way into the gigapixel-resolution image.

Gigapixel images capture 1,000 times the information of a 1 megapixel digital camera, bringing artworks and artifacts alive in high-resolution with extraordinary detail, allowing the viewer to experience the work far beyond what is possible with the naked eye. In this round of launches, we added six gigapixels from Korea, seven from China, and one from Hong Kong.
The Dragon and Phoenix Coffin, Hubei Provincial Museum
Learn Korean cooking...from 340 years ago
Back then as it is today, Korea was known for its cuisine. Eumsikdimibang, or “recipes for tasty food,” is Korea’s oldest cookbook, written 340 years ago by a noblewoman in the late Joseon Dynasty. You won’t find any Korean Fried Chicken here though—this book includes recipes for traditional flour and rice cakes, fermented vegetables, and importantly, how to brew alcoholic beverages. This online exhibition from Korea’s Dimibang museum explains the history behind this important historic document, with videos that bring that culture and era to life.
The online exhibition Eumsikdimibang, and the book’s author Lady Jang Gye-hang, from Dimibang
Catch the action up close
Many traditional Chinese landscape paintings contained distinct narratives within the details—you might miss them if you don’t look closely. In this mid-18th century painting from the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, also rendered in gigapixel resolution, you can see the bewilderment on the locals’ faces on sampan boats as they look at the foreign ships encircling the port city of Canton, or modern-day Guangzhou.

This painting is the first gigapixel capture for a Hong Kong museum.
An Unglazed Painting of Canton (Guangzhou), Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Walk in a prince’s palace
Many of the museums coming onto the Cultural Institute are themselves architectural marvels, such as the Suzhou Museum in Suzhou, China, opened in 2006 by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, I.M. Pei, also known for designing the Grand Pyramid of the Louvre and the Bank of China building in Hong Kong. Learn more about Pei’s reimagining of a former prince’s palace from this online exhibition, and take a virtual stroll around the grounds thanks to Museum View technology.
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Admire I.M. Pei’s wing of the Suzhou Museum from both inside and out
All of the lights
The vibrant city of Hong Kong truly comes alive at night thanks to its iconic neon signs hanging higgeldy-piggeldy along every street. Sadly many of these signs are being phased out. Two new exhibitions by the West Kowloon Cultural District are preserving and celebrating Hong Kong’s neon lights. For a truly immersive experience, jump into one of the 12 Museum View panoramas of Hong Kong’s lit-up streets at night.
Take art with you 
The Cultural Institute has built a mobile platform to enable museums to put their exhibits on a mobile app, so that these institutions can easily enhance a visitor’s museum experience with audio guides or virtual tours. Partners from Korea and Hong Kong are the first in Asia to launch their mobile apps using the Cultural Institute’s platform—you can find them on Google Play.
Mobile apps of the Seokdang Museum of Dong-A University, Korea, and St. James Settlement, Hong Kong
Whether it’s learning about Korean cooking from three centuries years ago, or taking a stroll around the grounds of Chinese palaces, we hope you’ll expand your horizons with the Google Cultural Institute.

Posted by Amit Sood, Director, Google Cultural Institute

Sometimes when you use Google Trends data to settle a debate, it just opens up a whole new mystery.

Just as the noodle’s true origins have led to angry debate among the Chinese and Italians, the pavlova’s genesis is a constant cause of tension among Aussies and Kiwis. This cream-filled, strawberry-topped meringue dessert was created in honour of the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova on the occasion of her tour through Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Yet the exact birthplace of this dessert — a mainstay of Down Under cuisine — is as much a matter of national contention as a Wallabies v. All Blacks match.

Google Trends can’t settle the debate from a historical perspective, but it can at least help us see which country searches most for the dessert now. And the answer came (drumroll please): Norway. And then…Malaysia. Are you taking the mickey, mate?!
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The data from Norway hinted at one reason as to why the pavlova’s popularity pipped those Down Under. When you see spikes like that, it typically has to do with a holiday. And, sure enough, pavlova searches in Norway spike every year in May:
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​Pavlova spikes most dramatically in the week of May 11-17, leading up to Norwegian Constitution Day on May 17. What can explain the seasonal popularity of this dish in northern Europe? Speculation posits that the dessert’s colorful use of blueberries and strawberries makes it resemble the red-and-blue Norwegian flag.
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But what about Malaysia? Unlike Norway, searches for pavlova in Malaysia are fairly steady all year round, with the highest volume of searches in mid-November last year. Perhaps the love of the dessert Down Under hopped the straits to Malaysia, known also for its sweet treats?
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For most of the rest of the world, pavlova spikes around Christmas time.

But as for our original question of who wins between Australia and New Zealand: it’s New Zealand. The search interest in “pavlova recipes” is much higher in New Zealand too.
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So, while we may not be able to settle who first served Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova the first slice of pavlova almost 100 years ago, we can see that New Zealand has a sweeter tooth than Australia today.

Posted by Shane Treeves, Communications Senior Associate, Google Australia and New Zealand

Editors note: this blog is crossposted from the Google India Blog

20 children go missing every day in India’s capital, New Delhi. It’s heartbreaking.

Many in India and around the world are working very hard to fight against child exploitation in India - from governments to companies to civil society to inspiring individuals. Most of these efforts, rightly so, have been offline, boots on the ground, and they continue to make great progress.

Now, we’d like to see if smart applications of technology can help some of these initiatives reach more people, more efficiently. So we're working with three leading non-profits in India, including piloting smart new applications of technology, with $500,000 in grants through to see if they can make a difference:

  • Childline India Foundation - Childline provides a free phone service for children in need of help or protection. By dialing 1098 any time of day or night, children or concerned adults can access care from trained providers who can connect them to government or NGO services. Google’s grant will support the Childline and help them develop an online platform for its services.
  • Bachpan Bachao Andolan - BBA's mission is to protect and rescue children from slavery, trafficking, and forced labor. Google’s grant will contribute to BBA's campaign on child rights, with a specific focus on child sexual abuse, including the development of an online information site, an advocacy campaign and a national conference for experts and providers.
  • Tulir - Tulir works to prevent and heal child sexual abuse across India. It offers a school-based curriculum to help children stay safe, education for professionals who work with children, resources for healing victims, and does advocacy around the issues. This grant will allow them to work at a larger scale, using technology and innovation.

We know this is a big problem, without a simple solution. But our hope is that these three grants can help reach at least one of these kids in New Delhi or elsewhere.

Posted by Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director, Google India and Southeast Asia

Editor's note: This post comes from Angie Lau, President, Asian American Journalists Association-Asia

The core of good journalism has been, and always will be the same: tell a compelling story, and do it accurately and creatively. Technology has not changed this core, but what it has done is open up new ways for journalists to tell stories. To spotlight some of Asia's best digital journalism, the Asian American Journalists Association is proud to announce the winner and honorable mentions of the first ever AAJA-Google Digital Journalism Award.

These stories are as remarkable for their creativity as their technical prowess: they use everything from video, interactive maps, and even Google Glass to present powerful, thought-provoking, and empathetic stories.

Winner: Patrick Boehler, South China Morning Post: "Voices from Tiananmen"-
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In this interactive SCMP feature, Patrick Boehler and his team at the SCMP, ChinaFile, and Hong Kong University’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre take the reader on a journey through one of China's uglier pages of its history, spotlighting the voices and issues that remain. This submission is notable for its sheer breadth of perspectives as well as its seamless use of video, interactive maps, graphics, archival recordings, and photos. “Voices from Tiananmen” stands to be a canonical resource testifying to this contentious chapter in recent Chinese history.

Honorable mentions:
Josh Kim: "Google Glass Diaries" -
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This is an ambitious project that uses Google Glass in a rich and surprising way in order to "celebrate the uncelebrated." From a betel nut vendor in Myanmar to a barber in Laos, these first person point of view video vignettes give a remarkably intimate glimpse into these “average” lives — yet the result is anything but average. Josh aims to complete 100 vignettes of people across seven continents.

Cedric Sam, South China Morning Post: "Occupy Lapse" -
Occupy Hong Kong was a seminal moment in Hong Kong’s history. But keeping up with the sometimes chaotic protest was hard. Cedric Sam found a wonderfully innovative way to provide a snapshot of the protests in real-time, using tools that are available for free to anyone: archival traffic webcam images available as open data by the Hong Kong government, as well as Google Maps pinpointing the locations of the cameras. Cedric gives us an unfiltered glimpse into what happened during the days from October to December, 2014 when Hong Kong was in the grips of protest.

Congratulations to these award winners, and we hope to see more remarkable examples of outstanding digital journalism in the future.

Today, we officially opened the doors of Campus Seoul, our first Campus in Asia, and third in the world.
President Park stopped by to help us get things started, here she talks to a group of aspiring mom entrepreneurs

As we said when we announced the space last year, Seoul was the right place for a Campus for so many reasons. Startups here are already flourishing, and there’s an incredible growth of innovation in Seoul. With more than 7 in 10 Korean’s using a smartphone (not to mention connecting with the worlds fastest Internet speeds), startups here are also already living in and developing for a mobile-first world others will use in the future. There’s a Google office a few subway stops away, full of Googlers who can’t wait to help out as mentors and speakers.

So, what will you find at Campus Seoul?

Our space for entrepreneurs
Our goal with Campus Seoul is to create a space where entreprepreneurs can thrive. Where they can feel at home with the local community, yet have everything they need to build a global company. So, at Campus Cafe, founders and soon-to-be founders can get to work. They can use the device library to test apps across dozens of different devices and operating systems. If they need to host an event, they can apply to use our large event space and classroom (for free!). And, of course, there’s a beautiful collaborative coworking area with a mix of open desk space and private offices for entrepreneurs, growing startups, and community partners like 500 Startups’ recently launched fund, 500 Kimchi.

How about a quick tour?

A unique approach to education
Campus Seoul is more than just space. It’s a wealth of programs designed to educate, inspire and connect the local tech community. It’s a place for day-to-day learning through workshops on design, product development and customer acquisition, as well as one-on-one mentoring with Googlers and industry experts. It’s a place to connect with the rest of the world, for Korean startups to go global through programs like Campus Exchange, which brings international entrepreneurs to Seoul, and gives Korean entrepreneurs an opportunity to work out of one of our other Campuses around the world. It’s a place for everyone – with programs like Women @Campus and Campus for Moms, a nine-week baby-friendly startup school for new parents. And we’re really just getting started.

The startups are already at work
A few weeks ago, we started inviting the startup community to try out a beta version of Campus Seoul. We gave them early access to the space, brought in some great speakers from TechCrunch and 500 Startups, ran a sold-out event for women entrepreneurs, hosted an Android bootcamp and kicked off mentoring sessions. Already, more than 1,000 people have signed up to be members of Campus Seoul. And in the coworking space, we’ve welcomed some longer term residents, including Venticake, the company behind the camera app Retrica (with over 160 million downloads so far), and ChattingCat, a streamlined English writing assistant service.

A global vision for Korea
Just over three years ago, we launched our first Campus in London. At the time, we didn’t have global expansion in mind, we were just trying to see if we could make a meaningful impact in London, and help startups there grow. Campus Seoul is modeled after Campus London, because, three years on, the momentum we’ve seen is simply stunning. Since opening it’s doors in 2012, the community at Campus London has grown to more than 40,000 members, and startups there have created more than 1,800 new jobs, raising over $110 million in funding. We see the same potential in Seoul – and knowing Korea, we’re pretty sure the startups here are going to take the world by storm.

So what are you waiting for? Come start something with us at Campus Seoul.

Posted by Mary Grove, Director of Google for Entrepreneurs

This post is part of a regular series of interviews with people across Asia-Pacific who use the Internet to create, connect and grow. This week Mr. Kinoshita, the CEO of Tsujikura, from Japan shared his four customer-centric business principles.

1. Think deeply about what your customers need
Tsujikura of Kyoto was around well before the Internet was dreamed of, let alone the radio or television. A manufacturer of traditional Japanese lanterns and umbrellas established in 1690, Tsujikura takes pride in maintaining the tradition and culture passed down during its more-than-300-year history. Tsujikura might be steeped in Japanese history, but after many overseas tourists visited the store in Kyoto, Mr. Kinoshita, the CEO, said that he “felt that the business had a duty to deliver a small piece of Japanese culture to those who could not visit the store in person.” To answer this need, Tsujikura launched its website in 2012.
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2. Only promote to customers who are interested
After the site launched, Tsujikura started using Internet ads to promote the site. This was a big step for the company that had had never used newspaper or magazine adverts in the past, but Mr. Kinoshita explained his philosophy, “Internet ads allow for the kind of freedom of expression that I strongly believe in. Search ads can provide genuine information to those who are interested.” Once Tsujikura started using online ads, international sales saw a three-fold increase in 2014 and page views doubled. Since 2012, the company's combined national and international sales have grown by 160%.

3. Follow the customer, wherever they may lead you
Initially, Tsujikura concentrated its ads in the US, but after receiving orders from Spain and France, the company implemented ads in the two countries. In addition, following transactions with hotels based in Singapore and Maldives, it also continues showing ads in those two countries.
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4. Listen to customer demands, but maintain your standards
In many countries, Tsujikura’s umbrellas are used to make places look nice more than to keep off the rain, and some of them are also turned into lighting fixtures. Mr. Kinoshita is happy to meet the needs of his customers, but will not compromise on the centuries-long traditions of craftsmanship, “Because Tsujikura has a long history as an umbrella manufacturer,” Mr. Kinoshita explained, “we are happy to adapt the existing product to the new world of today, while maintaining our long-established traditions — without introducing any radical changes to the way they are made.”

What’s next for this traditional company? Mr. Kinoshita shared that in October 2014 40% of users accessed the site from mobile devices, so their next step is to follow them onto mobile with a new mobile-friendly website.

Posted by Mr. Kinoshita, CEO, Tsujikura