Many of you may have stumbled here after seeing this:

How many of you guessed this Street View kayak was on an expedition around Peninsular Malaysia?

What gave it away? Was it the Malacca Straits Mosque, Langkawi’s Eagle Square or did you recognize one of Pahang's beautiful beaches?
Six months after setting out on a journey around Peninsular Malaysia, as part of the Malaysian Nature Society's Paddle for Nature project to document conditions along the coast, this lone kayaker and Trekker have just returned with imagery capturing the beauty and diversity of over 1,500km of coastline.

Here he is off the coast of Langkawi:
Starting today, you can paddle up, down and around Peninsular Malaysia, take in the sights, and experience a slice of local life, such as the Kongsi community on Penang's waterfront.
You can also see beaches and estuaries that are only accessible by water — like the remote inlets of Johor:
Or the secluded coves of Pahang:
With these images now online, it’s our hope that more people will discover the diversity and beauty of the Malaysian coastline, while also gaining awareness of some of the sadder scenes of coastal degradation and pollution (anyone interested in supporting the work of the Malaysian Nature Society can learn more about their efforts here).

If you want to retrace the kayak’s entire route, start here. Look close enough, and you’ll find a crowd to see you off on your journey.

Posted by Nhazlisham Hamdan, Street View Operations Lead Malaysia, Indonesia & Thailand

Yoga is the Sanskrit word for “union”. It’s also a handy metaphor for the 2,000 digital images and 70 online exhibits from cultural organizations across India that we’re bringing to the Google Cultural Institute today. From ancient artifacts to centuries-old arts and crafts and more contemporary yoga exhibits, join me on a short tour of this eclectic new imagery!

Just like in yoga, let’s begin in a comfortable sitting pose in the legendary Palace on Wheels. Rivaling Europe’s Orient Express, its splendid royal carriage, called the Jodphur Saloon, carried Indian royalty across Rajasthan. Thanks to 360 degree Street View indoor imagery, you can step inside and move around to explore the luxuriously decorated cabins.

Built in 1930 and in operation for over 60 years, the Jodhpur Saloon brings together many examples of India’s venerable tradition of craftsmanship — take a closer look at the embellished ceiling, the beautiful wooden flooring, and finely carved wooden furnishings.

Many of India’s traditional craft techniques are slowly disappearing, which makes wider access to these cultural legacies all the more important in contemporary India. Our exhibit from the National Museum in New Delhi spotlights over 170 applied arts and crafts treasures. Just one example is this century old head ornament, which was treated as more than just a functional tool, and was used as a canvas for intricate design work.

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South Indian head ornaments (suryan and chandran) (1900-1930), gold, diamonds, rubies, pearls (National Museum, Delhi)

There’s plenty to discover from modern day India, too. We’re pleased to feature the complete Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014 installation and works from the cutting-edge Devi Art Foundation.
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Museum View allows you to explore different aspects of works in the Devi Art Foundation, including “7 Yokings of Felicity” by Astha Butail, which uses a traditional Varanasi silk brocade woven with gold thread.

Our last stop takes us full circle. The ancient tradition of yoga is widely acknowledged as “India’s gift to the world”. Learn more about the life and times of one of India’s leading gurus, B.K. Iyengar, in the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute exhibit.

Iyengar: a Yoga's Life (collection: Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute)

Beyond welcoming 10 new partners to the Cultural Institute, we are pleased to be working with Dastkari Haat Samiti, Devi Art Foundation, Heritage Transport Museum and Kalakriti Archives on launching mobile apps that will make their exhibits even more accessible. These apps are just one example of the infinite opportunities that technology can create to preserve and expand the reach of art and culture.
Historic maps are more accessible to mobile users thanks to the Kalakriti Archives app built with Cultural Institute technology

We hope you’ll enjoy this visual feast!

Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute

A size 46 foot might not pose a problem in the U.S. or Europe but, in Indonesia, Yukka Harlanda, struggled to find a shoe that he liked—much less one that fit. In 2010, while studying to become an engineer, Yukka decided to make his own shoes. And that’s how Brodo got started. Brodo is just one example of an SME that’s using the Internet to grow, and in turn, help Indonesia meet its goal of becoming a middle income country by 2025.

Brodo began by leaving shoes on consignment in shops around the city of Bandung. But soon they discovered that they could run a more efficient business and reach more customers through the Internet. Three years after founding the company, Brodo became an online business with a website, an e-payment system, and it introduced data analytics and cloud tools for easier control over inventory that help to reduce lost sales. Two years on, Brodo now employs 118 people and generates around USD120,000 annually through a combination of online and offline sales—with 80% of sales originating from the webshop.

Brodo co-founders Yukka Harlanda (L) and Putera Dwi Karunia (R)

Brodo illustrates how going online opens tremendous opportunity for SMEs and for the wider economy. A report by Deloitte Access Economics shows how doubling broadband penetration rates and lifting digital engagement by SMEs could increase Indonesia’s annual economic growth by 2% – the additional growth it needs to achieve the 7% target required to be a middle-income country by 2025.

The report, which was supported by Google, also demonstrates other benefits of going online for Indonesian SMEs:

  • Up to 80% higher growth in revenue
  • One and half times more likely to increase employment
  • 17 times more likely to be innovative, and,
  • SMEs with higher digital engagement are more competitive internationally.

For any Indonesian business needing a leg (or shoe) up in the business world, increasing digital awareness and access has never been more important.

Posted by Shinto Nugroho, Head of Policy and Government Relations, Google Indonesia


The Fasting Buddha is among the world’s most delicate and prized Buddhist sculptures. The majority of Fasting Buddha sculptures date to the 1st through 3rd century CE and are made from fragile stone, which explains why nearly all known pieces are damaged or incomplete. Pakistan’s Lahore Museum houses a rare example of the piece in its entirety, and it’s now available for the entire world to see on the Google Cultural Institute along with other treasures and historic sites from across the country.
Dating to about 200 BC, the Fasting Buddha is one of the earliest and finest representations of the Buddha as a human being. It shows Siddhartha Gautama Buddha’s attempt to achieve a spiritual awakening by purifying body and mind through fasting and other ascetic practices of self-deprivation. From this physical ordeal, he realized that enlightenment (nirvana) could be achieved not by bodily suffering, but instead through acts of human compassion and meditation. 

Fast forward nearly 2,000 years, and you can explore Pakistan’s heritage sites such as Lahore Fort with the Google Street View special collect. The imagery captures the many contrasting landscapes of Pakistan today, and provides a historic snapshot for ongoing cultural preservation.
The Lahore Fort which dates back to the 16th-century Mughal era

Just one click away—or 15 minutes on foot—is the Wazir Khan mosque. Its incredible tile art makes it one of the finest examples of Mughal mosque architecture.
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Exhibition curated by Walled City of Lahore Authority

For those who want to dig a little bit deeper, you can view a side-by-side comparison of the mosque’s tile decoration and pages from rare and extremely fragile Islamic manuscripts from several international collections around the world.
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Compare the calligraphy tiles from Wazir Khan Mosque facade, Walled City of Lahore ca.1635 (left) and the Quranic manuscript,1640 from the Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, Germany (right)

And if you’re all about the detail, high-resolution digital imagery used by the Cultural Institute will get you up close to the tiny Portrait of Nawab Mumtaz Ali housed in the Fakir Khana Museum. During the Mughal era, Lahore’s artists were known for painting in miniature and this is one of those masterpieces, measuring just 13x19 cm. The artist painted this postcard-sized masterpiece over the course of 15 years with a brush of a single-strand of hair!
Portrait of Nawab Mumtaz Ali Khan, Fakir Khana Museum

Watch this video for a quick introduction to what you can expect to find on the Cultural Institute, and then head on over to to explore places in Pakistan that you might otherwise never be able to visit.

Posted by Ann Lavin, Head of Public Policy and Government Relations, Southeast Asia & China, Google

One of Sri Lanka’s most dramatic elections is now over. The suspense, twists and turns are reflected in this chart (also available here) showing how people searched for different parties and politicians over the past 10 weeks. The parties are ranked for each week and the lines, as they move across, show how they moved up and down the ranking. It should be remembered that a search isn’t the same thing as a vote; it might not even be a gesture of approval. These rankings reflect the shift in interest of Sri Lanka during the different twists of the campaign.

Posted by Sana Rahman, Communications Manager

Starting today, we’re taking a regular look at cool things YouTubers in Asia are doing. We’ll dive into the backstory behind their videos and explore the new ways these creators are using YouTube to excite their fans.

K-pop boy band INFINITE is making waves with “Bad”, their first 360 degree music video, and the first 360° video to make it to the list of most viewed K-pop videos in the world. Using mirrors and prism effects, their fancy footwork comes alive — making it the closest most of us will ever get to the INFINITE guys.

Want more? Check out our dedicated 360° Video YouTube channel and learn about what you need to consider during pre-production and production to create your own visual feast.

And if you’re looking for a quick intro on how to view 360° videos, check out 360 Boogie Indonesia:

Posted by Gautam Anand, Director of YouTube Partnerships & Operations, Asia Pacific

Have an idea on a video or creator we should feature next? Leave it in the comments below.

Did you know that corn cobs can be used to purify water? Or that you can tell if a bottle of gasoline has been tampered with by listening to the sound it makes when you tap it? These are just some of the unconventional and potentially life-changing discoveries that teens from Asia will be taking to the finals of this year’s Google Science Fair.

Of the 20 global finalists, six students from across Asia will head to our headquarters in California next month to pitch their projects to a panel of notable international scientists and scholars. Meet some of these young scientists and get to know their impressive projects, one of which will be awarded with a US$50,000 scholarship on September 21:

Purifying water with corn cobs
Lalita Srisai’s project came about after drilling a hole through a corn cob, pouring some dirty water into it, and discovering that the cob could absorb the pollutants and purify the water. After some more testing, 13-year-old Lalita learned that corn cobs can also absorb chemicals and detergents. She now wants to use corn cobs from agricultural waste to filter water for villages near her home in Odisha, India.
This isn’t the first time Lalita has been recognized for innovation with corn cobs. She won the Fancy Dress prize in nursery school for this excellent costume, and corn has been one of her favorite vegetables since.

Knocking over the underground gasoline market
After learning about the underground gasoline market at school, 14-year-old Monique Hsu and 13-year-old Gina Wang from Taiwan wanted to find a simple way to identify whether fuel had been tampered with. Once they discovered that different kinds of liquids produce distinct sound patterns, they created their “knock on fuel” prototype to help identify knock-off gasoline.
Monique Hsu and Gina Wang from Taiwan working on their "knock on fuel" prototype

Navigating 3D spaces more easily with magnets
Fellow Taiwanese student, 16-year-old Wei-Tung Chen, discovered a new way to calculate the position of an object in a 3D space quickly and with great accuracy, and by using a single source. You can learn more about the technology in his “magnetic positioning sphere” here, and how it has the potential to be used to develop future wearables and in applications which require instant and accurate 3D positioning, such as navigating firefighters in indoor rescue efforts.

Supercharging batteries…
18-year-old Singaporean Zhilin Wang has come up with a fast and affordable way to charge renewable energy batteries, making life easier for people who live in places without reliable electricity. 79% of families in third world countries do not have access to power. By making lighting more accessible to them, Zhilin hopes many more kids will be able to learn to read and do their homework at night.

... and study
Also from Singapore, 17-year-old Girish Kumar has developed “RevUp”, a tool that automatically generates multiple-choice questions out of online texts. The idea behind this is to help reinforce what students learn inside the classroom and to save teachers time preparing revision materials. Click on the video below to see how easy Girish has made it to start studying for your next exam:

Congratulations to our inspiring Asian finalists and good luck at the finals! You can read more about our finalists in our spotlight series.

Posted by Andrea Cohan, Google Science Fair Program Manager

The goal of Android One is to ensure that more people have high-quality, up-to-date smartphones, and starting this week we’re bringing the first Android One phone to Thailand with the arrival of i-mobile’s iQ II.

i-mobile’s iQ II features a 5” HD screen with an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel camera on the front — just perfect for a quick selfie. It is also 4G compatible and lets you use and switch seamlessly between two SIM cards.
As an Android One phone, the i-mobile iQ II combines hardware that’s been tested by Google with the latest version of Android (Lollipop 5.1.1). Android Lollipop offers Google’s new Material Design interface, up to 2x better performance, a battery saver feature, and smarter notifications.

It will also automatically receive an update to the next version of Android from i-mobile soon after it is released (subject to i-mobile’s schedule), so your phone stays fast and responsive over time.

The i-mobile iQ II is available at i-mobile shops, online and retail stores across Thailand for 4,444 THB. For more details please visit:

Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management

Right from the birth of penguin Pororo more than ten years ago, he's been a huge hit among Korean kids. As part of our series of interviews with people across Asia-Pacific who use the Internet to create, connect, and grow, we asked Joong-Ku Choi, Head of New Business Department at Pororo's parent company, ICONIX Co., to say how he turned his company’s animated characters' success in Korea into a global phenomenon. 

1. Pororo and Tayo are long-standing popular channels on YouTube. What’s the secret of their success?
The Pororo and Tayo series were created at a child’s eye view, to inspire them to solve life’s big problems — after all, 2 and 3 year olds deal with hardships just as much as adults. When we develop the storylines, we think about the difficulties in life that children tend to experience — and we actually interview them. That’s why children can relate to the stories and it makes them want to watch the same video over and over again. For this reason, our videos have a relatively long life cycle.
Pororo and Joong-Ku Choi posing for a photo. Pororo is the penguin on the left.

One thing that caught us by surprise was audience reaction outside of Korea. Initially, we only expected to get a response from English-speaking countries, but we were very pleased to get a lot of feedback from Turkey and countries from the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates telling us that the stories were beautiful. Viewers from the Middle East seem to really respond to the Korean sensibilities expressed in the videos. We were therefore inspired to create new content for a global audience.

2. What inspires you to create your stories?
The main inspiration is seeing children playing happily. We try to think about what elements make kids laugh. Once we find these elements, we combine them with our strong points and come up with new ideas. We recently launched a new nursery rhymes series and, although it only launched in June, Pororo and Tayo’s nursery rhymes have already attracted 3.4 million and 3.6 million views, respectively.

3. You’ve launched Pororo and Tayo game apps on Google Play as well. How is that going?
While viewers only watch videos on YouTube, they can do more through Google Play apps. Children can become the main characters of the story, and can even change the endings. We are also developing content for parents. So far, more than 70% of the downloads have come from outside of Korea, not just the USA, but Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Egypt.

4. What’s next for Pororo and Tayo?
We believe we can influence kids’ content on YouTube as much as Psy did for music videos. The videos will be dubbed in different languages and the timeless stories about growing up will make kids want to watch the videos many times over. Pororo and Tayo are all about “loving to play.” Children learn about leadership, rules, and social when they play. Our main goal is to help children to play all day and have fun by watching our videos on YouTube. Furthermore, we will make content that kids can engage in, to stimulate their creativity — and help them to go outside and play.