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Editors’ note: This is the last post in a series of guest entries by members of the XL Catlin Seaview Survey team, a group dedicated to recording, researching, and revealing the world’s coral reefs in high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic imagery.

The XL Catlin Seaview Survey has made underwater imagery available to over a billion monthly users of Google Street View. Statistically, 99.9% of people don’t dive underwater so this is the only way for them to see these sights for themselves. But our mission lies beyond producing pretty pictures. The 750,000 panoramic images we’ve taken in 26 countries allows us to track change underwater - a change occurring faster than the ocean has seen in millions of years. We want people to feel that change by seeing it.
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The SVII camera surveying bleached corals in the waters off Bermuda

Ocean change is as important as climate change, even if people aren’t aware of it. The ocean is the reason why we have life on Earth. Life evolved from it; it controls the weather; it determines how much water we have to drink; it produces 50% of the oxygen we breathe. And yet the ocean hasn’t even made it onto the main agenda of the climate-change discussions in Paris this year – which is surprising, as 93% of climate change heat is being absorbed by the ocean and is where the momentum of climate change is hidden from view.
The Great Barrier Reef has been severely hit by storms in recent years - 4 category 5 cyclones in the last 3 years.
These before and after images show the devastation caused by just one of these cyclones.

Fortunately we have a new weapon in the fight to win the public’s attention – Virtual Reality. We feel that going into next year virtual-reality products like Google Cardboard or Google’s Expeditions will help people see ocean change. They will see the Great Barrier Reef being smashed by a huge increase in high intensity cyclones and reefs that are literally turning white from the heat in locations such as American Samoa. The media, politician, business leaders, schools and the general public no longer have to rely on the word of diving enthusiasts about how sad these sights are, they will be be able to see and experience them for themselves. We’re looking forward to taking ocean change Virtual Reality to events such as Climate Week in New York in September and the climate talks in Paris in December before rolling out a global education program next year.

Posted by Richard Vevers, Executive Project Director of the XL Catlin Seaview Survey, sponsored by speciality insurance company XL Catlin.

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The following is a guest post from the Filipinas Heritage Library

Today marks the city of Manila’s 444th Foundation Day. With the addition of 54 images from the Filipinas Heritage Library to the Google Cultural Institute, you can now virtually explore the extraordinary history of this bustling city.

Manila Reborn” commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Battle for Manila — a 21-day combat between the joint Filipino and American forces and the Japanese Imperial Army that saw about 100,000 lives lost and much of the city destroyed — and illustrates the decades-long process of rebuilding the city.

“Manila Reborn” seeks to explore how World War II transformed not only the city’s geography, but a way of life and a people’s worldview. The exhibit includes prewar and postwar photos from pioneering street photographer Teodulo Protomartir and pictures from the US Army collection showing the Battle for Manila and the city it left in its wake.
Photos from 1931 and 1945 show the Battle of Manila's devastation.

Already in the 1750s Manila was described as the "Pearl of the Orient." Divided by the Pasig River, it mixed Asian, European, and American cultural influences.

Manila took 300 years to build, but was devastated in the 21 days of the Battle for Manila. The business district was completely razed:
The Legislative Building c.1945 (left) and 2015 (right)
Bureau of Posts Building in 1945 (left) and c. 1960 (right)
“Manila Reborn," which includes photos from John Tewell's collection, joins 1,400 rare and important images recently added to the Cultural Institute to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

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If you live in Myanmar and use the Internet, chances are you do so with a smartphone. In fact, if you’re chatting with friends, catching up on the news, snapping a selfie, shooting a video, or sharing the latest via social media, you’re probably using a smartphone for all of those things, too. As so many others do around the world, the people of Myanmar love the functionality and freedom that a smartphone provides.

Since they’re such an important part of our lives, the experience of a smartphone matters a lot. Last year, Google launched the Android One program to help put high-quality, up-to-date devices into the hands of as many people as possible. Following the launch in India nine months ago, Android One has expanded to six additional countries: Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Turkey  and today, we’re excited to add Myanmar to that list, working in partnership with Cherry Mobile. That makes eight.
The Cherry Mobile One, like all Android One phones, combines high-quality hardware that’s been tested by Google with the latest version of Android (Lollipop 5.1.1) and all of the features that come with it. These include Google’s new Material Design interface, up to 2x better performance, a battery-saver feature, smarter notifications, and quick access to data controls. Android One phones will also automatically receive an update to the next version of Android soon after it is released.

Starting June 26, the Cherry Mobile One will be available for purchase through retail stores across Myanmar, with prices starting at Ks109,000.

We hope the arrival of Android One helps put great smartphones into the hands of more people across Myanmar, and we look forward to working with our partners to launch more devices in more countries over the coming months.

Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management


အသင်ဟာ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံမှာနေပြီး အင်တာနက်အသုံးပြုတယ်ဆိုရင် စမတ်ဖုန်း သုံးတာ ဖြစ်ဖို့များပါတယ်။ တစ်နည်းအားဖြင့် သူငယ်ချင်းတွေနဲ့ ချတ်တာ ဖြစ်စေ၊ သတင်းဖတ်တာ ဖြစ်စေ၊ ဆယ်လ်ဖီ ရိုက်တာ ဖြစ်စေ၊ ဗီဒီယိုရိုက်တာ ဖြစ်စေ၊ ဆိုရှယ်မီဒီယာများတွင် အသစ်အဆန်းများ မျှဝေတာ ဖြစ်စေ စမတ်ဖုန်းကို သုံးပြီးလုပ်တာ ဖြစ်ပါလိမ့်မယ်။ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံသားများလည်း ကမ္ဘာ့အဝှမ်းက အခြားသူများကဲ့သို့  စမတ်ဖုန်းတွေရဲ့ လွတ်လပ်မှုနှင့် အသုံးဝင်မှုကို ကြိုက်နှစ်သက်ကြမှာပါ။


စမတ်ဖုန်းတွေဟာ ကျွန်တော်တို့ဘဝတွေရဲ့ တစ်စိတ်တစ်ပိုင်းမို့လို့ စမတ်ဖုန်းသုံးရတဲ့ အတွေ့အကြုံဟာ အင်မတန် အရေးပါပါတယ်။ မနှစ်ကစ၍ Google အနေဖြင့် လူတကာရဲ့ လက်ထဲကို အရည်အသွေးကောင်းမွန်ပြီး ဆန်းသစ်တဲ့ ဖုန်းတွေကို ထည့်ပေးဖို့  Android One ပရိုဂရမ်ကို စတင်ခဲ့ပါတယ်။ အိန္ဒိယမှာ ပထမဆုံး စတင်ဖြန့်ချိခဲ့ပြီး ကိုးလအကြာတွင် ဘင်္ဂလားဒေရှ့်၊ နီပေါ်၊ သီရိလင်္ကာ၊ အင်ဒိုနီးရှား၊ ဖိလစ်ပိုင်နှင့် တူရကီ ခြောက်နိုင်ငံတွင် ထပ်မံဖြန့်ချိခဲ့ပါတယ်။ ယနေ့မှာတော့ ကျွန်တော်တို့ ချယ်ရီမိုဘိုင်းနှင့် ပူးပေါင်းဆောင်ရွက်ပြီး Android One ရရှိနိုင်သော နိုင်ငံများ စာရင်းတွင် မြန်မာနိုင်ငံကို ထည့်နိုင်ပြီဖြစ်လို့ အားရမိပါတယ်။


ချယ်ရီမိုဘိုင်းဝမ်းဟာဆိုလျင် အခြားသော Android One ဖုန်းများနည်းတူ Google ကိုယ်တိုင် စမ်းသပ်ထားသော နောက်ဆုံးထွက် Android ဗားရှင်း (Lollipop 5.1.1) ရဲ့ စွမ်းဆောင်ရည် အစုံအလင် ပါဝင်ပြီး အရည်အသွေး ကောင်းမွန်သည့် ဟာဒ့်ဝဲအစိတ်အပိုင်းများ ပါဝင်ပါတယ်။ စွမ်းဆောင်ရည် အသစ်များထဲတွင် Google ရဲ့ Material မြင်ကွင်း ဒီဇိုင်းဆန်း၊ ၂ဆ ပိုကောင်းသော စွမ်းဆောင်ရည်၊ ဖုန်းဘက္ထရီ ပိုမို ချွေတာနိုင်ခြင်း၊ ပိုမို တိကျတဲ့ အသိပေးချက်များ  စသည်တို့ ပါဝင်ပါတယ်။ ထို့ပြင် Android One ဖုန်းတွေဟာ နောင် Android ဗားရှင်းအသစ် ထွက်ရှိလျှင်လည်း ယင်းဗားရှင်းသစ်များကို အလိုလို ရရှိသွားမှာ ဖြစ်ပါတယ်။


ဇွန်လ ၂၆ ရက်နေ့မှစပြီး ချယ်ရီမိုဘိုင်းဝမ်းကို မြန်မာနိုင်ငံ အနှံ့ရှိ ဖုန်းအရောင်းဆိုင်တွေမှာ ကျပ်ငွေ ၁၀၉,၀၀၀ နဲ့ ဝယ်ယူနိုင်ပါပြီ။

Android One ရောက်ရှိလာခြင်းနဲ့အတူ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံအဝှမ်းရှိ လူများရဲ့ လက်ထဲကို ကောင်းမွန်သော စမတ်ဖုန်းများကို ထည့်ပေးနိုင်မယ်လို့ ကျွန်တော်တို့ မျှော်လင့်ပါတယ်။ ရှေ့လများမှာလည်း ကျွန်တော်တို့ရဲ့ ပါတနာများနှင့်အတူ အခြားနိုင်ငံများမှာလည်း Android One ဖုန်းများကို ဖြန့်ချိထုတ်ဝေနိုင်ဖို့ ဆက်လက် ကြိုးစားသွားပါမယ်။

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According to new research from Google’s Consumer Barometer, Asia no longer “goes online,” it lives online. More than any other region, Asia’s smartphone users are more apt to shop online, watch videos, and solve most problems with a smartphone, rather than a PC. These findings have big implications for brands and marketers.

Mary Meeker cites research showing that smartphone owners reach for their devices an estimated 150 times a day. Often it’s for basic tasks like checking the time, or seeing what friends are up to on social media. But then there are those moments that really matter: the I want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I want-to-do, and I want-to-buy moments.

We call these “micro-moments,” and they’re absolutely key to the Asian Internet. These are times when people need to learn, discover, watch, find, or buy something, and reflexively turn to the closest device—usually a smartphone—to act on that need. The brands that will win in this new era of fast choices are those that have given consumers a compelling reason to choose them here and now. Asia especially will be the proving ground for how brands fare on capturing hearts and minds on mobile.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the Consumer Barometer research. Here are our top five Asia trends:

Asia is a global leader in mobile

Asia has 5 out of the global top 10 markets when it comes to smartphone penetration, including Singapore (#2) at 88%, followed by South Korea (83%) and Hong Kong (79%)
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Asia is a global leader in mobile. Asia has 5 out of the top 10 markets when it comes to smartphone penetration.

Mobile is Asia’s primary computing platform 

Most of the countries in the world where smartphone adoption is higher than PC adoption are in Asia. These include markets such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

More activities happen on smartphones in Asia than the West

Smartphone owners in Asia use their phones for searching, shopping, and maps more often than their Western counterparts. For instance, 31% of Thai smartphone owners shop on their phones — a rate far exceeding that of the US (10%) or UK (7%).

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Asia has more I-want-to-do moments than the West

In the Philippines, 55% of smartphone users watch online videos to learn something new: everything from how to curl their hair, to fixing a bike, or baking a cake. That number is just 22% in the US.

Asia has more I-want-to-buy moments than the West 

In South Korea, 51% of online consumers compared products on a smartphone prior to a purchase, compared to 36% in the US.

For years, marketers have made predictions about the shift to mobile, but until now, it’s been hard to see what it might mean in practice. Finally, in Asia, we can see the implications of all the power that mobile has put in consumers’ pockets — and what this means for the mobile future that awaits the rest of the world.

Editor’s note: This is just a short sample of some of the insights from an article by Karim Temsamani, VP Google Asia Pacific, published on Asia-Pacific’s Think with Google site.

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Editors’ note: This is the second post in a series of guest entries by members of the XL Catlin Seaview Survey team, a group dedicated to recording, researching, and revealing the world’s coral reefs in high-resolution, 360-degree panoramic imagery.

For researchers at XL Catlin Seaview Survey, the brilliant blues and reds of Asia’s rich coral reefs on Google Maps are more than pretty photographs. They’re scientific records, capturing the health and condition of coral reefs and allowing scientists to track their changes.

As we said in our previous blogpost, Asia is home to some of the world’s most stunning marine and coral ecosystems, such as the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s coast, and the Philippines’ Tubbataha Natural Marine Park. Reefs generally fall into two kinds: shallow and deep reefs, each one requiring different imagery-collection methods.

Our Shallow Reef Team collects imagery of coral that rest about 10 to 12 meters under the sea. This imagery can provide a highly detailed baseline image for monitoring coral health over time. The fact that these panoramas are pinned to exact GPS locations makes it easy for anyone to visit that site and assess change.
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Baseline image collected by the XL Catlin Seaview Survey showing automated analysis

The Deep Reef Team, on the other hand, are specialist divers who dive and collect imagery from up to and beyond 100m depths, using Remotely Operated Vehicles. The team collects coral samples from the deep reef to assess biodiversity in these little-explored areas and uses genetic tools to examine how corals living in shallow and deep waters may be related to each other.
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The XL Catlin Seaview Survey Deep Reef Team deploying the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle)

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The XL Catlin Seaview Survey Deep Reef Team reviewing coral samples
collected on the Great Barrier Reef expedition

Together, these two teams have collected more than 700,000 panoramas since 2012. After the collections, we analyze the images to understand the reef’s ecology and to make decisions about where to focus conservation efforts. Analysis used to be slow, painstaking work, but thanks to our partnership with Scripps Institution at UC San Diego we now use computers — based on methods similar to facial recognition technology — and have increased the speed of our work 10-30x. Thirty years of manual work can now be processed in a year.
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Example of data collected from Tubbataha Natural Marine Park, Philippines,
available in the XL Catlin Global Reef Record

Already, more than 300,000 of the images collected are available online, enabling scientists around the world to better understand changes to coral reefs and related marine environments.

By bringing this breadth of high-quality underwater imagery online, we hope to help scientists, policy makers, and the public to see and understand the issues facing coral reefs, and to work out what needs to be done to best protect reefs now and in the future.

Posted by Dr David Harris, Research and Special Projects Manager, Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia.

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On World Ocean Day on June 8, 2015, Google Malaysia again partnered with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) on their conservation efforts to capture coastal and inland imagery of Malaysia. This time, we shot imagery of Pulau Tioman, a stunning island famed for its beaches, coral reefs, and natural wildlife (and for being one of the filming locations for the 1958 classic musical, South Pacific).

Instead of using a kayak as we did on the recent ‘Paddle for Nature’ expedition, we strapped the Street View cameras onto a fierce-looking all-terrain vehicle. This marks the first time we have ever put Street View Trekker onto a vehicle of this sort.
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Vroom, vroom: Trekker on ATV revs around Tioman Island; a marine biologist speaks to students of Tekek Village public school
We gave the island’s locals a glimpse of this special ATV, and invited students from the Tekek Village public school to get up close and personal with the Street View set-up. Aside from our showcase, they attended a talk on coral conservation by two marine biologists from University Malaya, and also participated in a beach auditing activity.

Stay tuned for when we’re ready to unveil the imagery on Google Maps!

Posted by Zeffri Yusof, Communications Manager, Google Malaysia

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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, Jason Chen, a YouTube creator based in California., shares some highlights from his trips to Singapore and Thailand with YouTube FanFest.


How would you describe your channel in a sentence?
A land where music is both language blind and colorblind. Lol.

You started your channel nearly a decade ago in 2006. What was the inspiration that drove you to start uploading and why did you choose YouTube?
I started my YouTube channel in 2006, but didn't really post anything until 2008. My inspiration to start uploading onto YouTube was...fascination. It blew my mind that people were becoming overnight celebrities by posting videos shot on webcams in their dorm rooms. The barrier to entry was a laptop! I had one, so I put videos up for fun and wanted to see what would happen.

What was your breakthrough moment?
I feel like I could give many answers for this question, but I'll say it's the moment I stopped doing it for "fun." Things were very different in 2010, there wasn't a plethora of successful YouTuber careers like there is now. I grew up in a very traditional Asian household and got a job as an accountant during the peak of unemployment, so my decision to try to pursue music as a career was, in my mind, my breakthrough moment.

How has your community of fans evolved over the years?
I'd say it's branching out more and more toward Asia. Initially it was a lot of high school kids (it probably still is), but as YouTube's popularity spread into Southeast Asia I've definitely noticed significant spikes in fans out there.

Tell us about how you interact with fans. Any memorable fan meeting moments that you can share with us?
I'm a chameleon when it comes to interacting with fans. I feed off of their energy levels and attitude. Some people are super excited and want to chat, and some are quiet and just want a picture. I also have to be cautious of religious/cultural boundaries when it comes to interacting with fans. My ultimate goal is to make them feel comfortable! All fan moments are memorable in their own way, but what really gets to me is a loyal fan. This one girl I met in Malaysia had polaroids from every show she had watched me at, and she came out to every single show!

This was your first time joining YouTube FanFest and you performed at both Singapore and Thailand shows within a few days of each other. What did it feel like to be on stage in front of fans from these two countries for the first time?
Exciting! It's always such a rush when I travel to a new place for the first time. It was also a really different dynamic because I had the opportunity to share the stage with so many other international and local YouTubers. I was blown away, the response I got really exceeded my expectations. Sometimes things feel stagnant when I'm stuck in a studio, doing covers with writer's block. Events like these really rejuvenate me and give me a sense of accomplishment. Thanks YouTube and Branded!

What’s different about your fans in Asia?
As a whole they're way more excited and enthusiastic. The best crowds to perform to are always out in Asia (at least in my experience). And I feed off of their energy so I perform better as well!

What’s next?
That's the billion-dollar question. For now, I’m trying to do more Chinese content so I can do more stuff out in Asia. And obviously continuing to write songs for the next album and planning for music videos and collaborations. Hopefully some will be with local creators I met abroad this time around ;)