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

We value employees who are risk-taking and detail-oriented, have deep technical knowledge, and can navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures. It turns out that these skills have a lot in common with another profession—that of the Pokémon Master. With that in mind, we’ve worked with Pokémon and Nintendo to develop a new training tool to help people hone their Pokémon-capturing abilities using Google Maps.

Dozens of wild Pokémon have taken up residence on streets, amidst forests and atop mountains throughout Google Maps. To find and catch ‘em all, you’ll need to tap into your inner Pokémon Master.

If you think you’re up to the challenge, grab your Poké Ball and the newest version of Google Maps for iPhone or Android. Then tap the search bar, “press start,” and begin your quest.

Leave no stone unturned or city unzoomed as you seek out wild Charizards and Pikachus to add to your Pokédex. Be vigilant—you never know if a wild Steelix will appear in Tokyo, Japan or New York City, USA. And follow Google Maps on Google+, Facebook and Twitter for hints and tips.
Time is of the essence—in the words of Professor Oak, “The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the Pokémon.”

Posted by Tatsuo Nomura, Advanced Pokémon Trainer

(c) Google; Pokemon content (c) Pokemon/Nintendo/Creatures/GAME FREAK

The Internet has generated a series of new opportunities and issues for policymakers, impacting everything from copyright to competition. As a company that started out in academia, we’ve long supported some of the world’s best computer science researchers in universities. Our Google Research Awards grant program has been in operation since 2005 and has seen a number of leading academics from Asia participate, including Qingguo Zhou from Langzhou University and Haksoo Ko from the Seoul National University. Recently the program branched out into policy areas and we’re eager now to attract top notch researchers to submit applications on Internet policy matters.

Researchers can apply for up to USD$150,000. However most first time awards are funded at the amount needed to support basic expenses for one graduate student for one year, or around $50,000. Please see our FAQs for more details on eligibility and budgets.

Applications for the next funding round are due by April 15th.

Each funded project will be assigned a Googler as sponsor. The role of the sponsor is to support the project by discussing research directions, engaging with professors and students, and overseeing collaboration between the project team and Google.

The Research Awards program aims to stimulate public debate around the exciting challenges born in the Internet age. Please do apply and participate in this adventure.

Posted by Max Senges, Internet Policy & Innovation Manager, Google Germany