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Since uniting 17 world famous art museums on its platform in 2011, Google Cultural Institute has come a long way and today brings together more than 700 cultural organizations from over 60 countries.

To understand how museums and archives are changing their relationships with an audience that consumes as much art on a screen as they do on a wall, we asked a researcher to speak with and develop case studies on several partners of the Google Cultural Institute in Australia, China, Korea and Russia.

Here's the full report and, below it, some key findings that caught our eye from the Asia-Pacific region.

Reaching new audiences
A museum can’t travel at the speed of light, but digital versions of its collections can. Museums are beginning to hunt for new international audiences for their Web sites and appeal to a wider range of people who might be willing to travel to the museum.

For example, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia saw its website traffic grow after it joined Google Cultural Institute in 2012, to the point that it has now received over a million views.
And the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Russia saw a 30% increase in the museum’s website traffic within just a few days of joining the Google Cultural Institute back in 2011, with new audiences coming from Europe and America.

Museums are also convinced that these virtual visitors will be inspired to travel and explore their collections in real life. According to the Chinese Nanyue King Mausoleum Museum, the main goal of their participation in the project is to promote tourism in the country.

Revealing the unseen
Few museums can boast a huge physical space able to host thousands of visitors at once. Moreover, many valuable artifacts remain largely unseen by the public in hidden vaults and archives. But, there are no boundaries like this in a virtual display. After joining the Google Cultural Institute in 2014, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in South Korea was able to open up their great hidden collections, installations and virtual performances to a global Internet audience, thus circumventing the problem of a restricted physical space.

Bringing local heritage to an international audience
Many museums have found new ways of exporting local culture through Internet to communicate their values to the global art lover community on Google Cultural Institute. The Korean Film Archive has sought new ways of telling the world about classic Korean movies. Together with Google, the archive was able to extend their brand and the accessibility of Korean films to a global audience.

These are just a few stories that we found inspiring about the groundbreaking new ways of exploring Art and Culture online. To learn more, take a look at the full brochure or watch museums share their own experiences of going digital on the Google Cultural Institute YouTube channel.

Posted by Luisella Mazza, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute

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We all know that cricket is very important to India. But here’s a chart that shows why India’s love of cricket is important to our understanding of the world’s Internet and, also, how the Internet is changing.

It shows what devices Indians used to make cricket-related searches during a single match from this year’s two-month-long tournament — India vs. Pakistan on February 15:
Over the space of the chart an average of 78% of cricket-related queries came from mobile. In comparison, 48% of searches from Australia during the Australia v. England match came from mobile.

This reflects two things.  First, it shows just how hungry Indian cricket fans are for in-the-moment, on-the-spot information on everything from their favorite players' hairstyle to where they can get fireworks to celebrate a win. Second, this shows just how much the world's Internet is changing as more people in India and other emerging economies come online for the first time through their smartphones, setting new trends on how to use the Internet and in some senses leaving more developed markets, and their old desktop-based habits, behind.

If you want to read more insights from the world cup, please take a look at the larger study on our Asian edition of Think With Google, aimed at giving marketers and businesses better insights into how to reach and serve people in the world’s fastest growing region.

Posted by Simon Kahn, Chief Marketing Officer, Google Asia Pacific

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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.  This week we spoke with Michelle and Deric Bartolome, the husband and wife co-founders of Nursingcrib.com from the Philippines.

What is Nursingcrib.com?
MichelleNursingcrib.com provides extra study materials for student nurses, an idea that came to me in 2007 when I got frustrated with textbooks and in-person lessons. We thought the Internet must have a better solution, and it did.

Creating an online startup like this can't be easy, how'd you get started?
Michelle: I took up Nursing as a second course from 2004 to 2006. At the time, Nursing was an in-demand course. Almost 90% of college students were taking it up. First, I just wanted to have a blog where I could share my notes with other aspiring nurses like me. I uploaded several care plans, modules, and diagrams, and instantly it became a hit. It became even more popular when I published the names of nursing board passers, which happens twice a year.

You've come a long way since then – what's changed for you along the way?
Michelle: Back in November 2007, when we first hit the $100 minimum AdSense payout, Deric and I were so happy because the dream of having another source of income opened up. By 2008, we were earning enough so that Deric could quit his call center job and go full time with our websites. People thought we were unemployed because we were always at home in front of the computer. They said we could not do it because we were young. They said it was impossible because we were not working abroad. Well, all I can say is that they were all wrong.

Deric: It's really changed everything for us. Today the site receives visitors from across the globe, and with the ad revenue from Nursingcrib, we've been able to build our dream home, support our family and work full time on our website.


How have you made it through some of these challenges?
Deric: The biggest challenge was getting the site recognized. At first, I thought it would be easy. But with the internet being so big, you have to compete with established websites. Learning how to market our new site was the key to overcome every obstacle that came our way. Online business requires fewer people, but it’s still not easy. The main lesson we've learned is that success doesn't happen overnight, it takes time and effort to build your dreams.

Posted by Michelle and Deric Bartolome, co-founders of Nursingcrib.com

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This post is part of our regular series of discussions with people across Asia-Pacific who’ve caught our eye, using the Internet to create, connect and grow. This week we spoke to Diajeng Lestari, CEO of HiJup.com, who helped up put together this handy list of highlights about her fast growing online fashion business. 

1. HiJup.com was born to help “hijabers” rethink corporate fashion
When Diajeng Lestari, known to her friends as Ajeng, was working nine-to-five as a market researcher she wanted to look professional, yet fashionable — a challenging look to pull off for “hijabers”, a term that Ajeng uses to refer to Muslim women like herself. With this as her inspiration, Ajeng created HiJup.com in 2011 as a curated store with collections from local designers and brands, designed to help “hijabers” dress and feel fashionable, confident and happy.
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2. The key to a good HiJup.com “How-to” is a silent video
Presentation is key, and in the case of HiJup.com, it is also video. Ajeng turned to YouTube as her choice of a low budget but high impact marketing platform. The first thing she did was launch HiJup.com with a simple series of “how-to” videos on YouTube teaching women how to get creative with their hijab fashion. The series was silent, with the intentional absence of language in the videos making the content ready for an international audience.

By paying close attention to her viewers’ comments, Ajeng carefully developed the channel’s video content over the past four years, working with other content creators like bloggers, vloggers and make-up artists to add more tutorials and fashion-related content. Today, the YouTube channel has nearly 130,000 subscribers, and with over 16 million combined views is attracting brands like Unilever and telco provider, XL, who are interested in collaborating on video production.

3. From one video to the world: Global audiences are tuning in to HiJup.com
It’s not just Indonesians watching HiJup.com’s YouTube videos — more than 30% of her viewers are from outside Indonesia, with thousands watching in Malaysia, Dubai and Morocco. In fact, the Hijup.com content on her YouTube channel has generated 20% of Hijup.com traffic.

4. From 2 to 48 employees in three years
From a two-woman venture (including Ajeng) in 2011, Hijup.com has grown to a team of 48 employees.

5. HiJup.com is now an online mall for Indonesian designers
More than 120 individual Indonesian designers and brands now use Hijup.com. The website and YouTube channel have helped connect millions of women in Indonesia and the region looking for fashionable wardrobe solutions with local brands and designers from across Indonesia through one convenient shop.

Posted by Diajeng Lestari, CEO of HiJup.com and a member of the Gapura community helping Indonesian businesses go online

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Have you ever slashed the wind with your friends? Attached a gold leaf to the back of a Buddha statue? Or caught the moon in your hands?

You probably have, but if you don’t speak Vietnamese, Thai or Bengali you probably called it something else. These are some phrases Google Translate learned to understand a little better during the first of a series of translate-a-thons held over the last month in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, part of a “Love your Language” project to get languages better represented on the Web. (For those playing at home, the Vietnamese call it slashing the wind when they gossip, the Thais say they attach a gold leaf to the back of a Buddha statue when they do something selfless, and Bengalis say they’ve caught the moon in their hand when they receive something rare).

Google Translate provides free translation in 90 languages, but for those that don’t have much presence on the Web - like Myanmar, Bengali, Vietnamese and Thai - it could use a little help.

This is where the Translate Community tool and passionate language speakers can make a difference. By letting people validate, match, rate and supply translations, it can boost the translation of these languages online for millions of people.
Try it out yourself at translate.google.com/community
Since kicking off on International Mother Tongue Day (21 Feb), more than 50,000 people have come together, online and off, to use this tool to improve translations for Bengali, Myanmar, Vietnamese and Thai. They gathered at startup hubs in Yangon and university campuses in Vietnam, Bangladesh and Thailand.
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This gentleman showed up at Phandeeyar Innovation Hub in Yangon with a handwritten list of phrases he wanted Google to get right.

So far, more than 100 translate-a-thons have been held and more than 10 million words have been added.  That's 17 times more words than Tolstoy used for War and Peace, 12 times the number of words in the English version of the Bible.

It's made a huge difference. The quality of Bengali translations are now twice as good as they were before human review. While in Thailand, Google Translate learned more Thai in seven days with the help of volunteers than in all of 2014.

The following graph show the spike in Translate Community inputs over the last month, March 26 saw a major spike for Bangladesh Independence day, setting a new record for the largest volume of translations contributed in 24 hours.
Google Translate Community surfaces a random selection of popular words and phrases that users are asking Google Translate to explain in their language — from music lyrics, to local recipes, to human rights.
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Teaching Google Vietnamese at the University of Technology in Ho Chi Minh City
We sometimes think the offline world and online world are separate. They're not. A huge thank you to all the people that joined us for the Love your Language series of events. Your efforts have made it easier for people from downtown Dhaka to upcountry Thailand to access the web in a language they understand.
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Teaching Thai at Siam University International College
And the improvements don’t need to stop. By joining the Translate Community you can join us in making the web work better for everyone — no matter what language you speak.

Posted by Svetlana Kelman, Program Manager, Google Translate

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You know something a little different is happening when a press event is interrupted by ninja attack:

Since the 1908 debut of “The Battle of Honnoji”, samurai stories have a been a staple of Japanese cinema. These samurai period dramas, known as Jidaigeki, were among the very first kinds of films made in Japan, and can be thought of as the Japanese equivalent of Westerns ... just replace the cowboy hat with a chonmage, and the Colt 45 with a Masamune.

Now, YouTube Space Tokyo and Toei Company are teaming up to give Jidaigeki a modern twist with “The Jidaigeki: Samurai Tales with Toei at YouTube Space Tokyo,” a program designed to help Japanese content creators produce new Samurai-inspired content for the web.

Toei Company, founded in 1951, has produced some of Japan’s most iconic samurai period films - from “Miyamoto Musashi” (1961) to “13 Assassins” (1963). To help bring the genre to a new generation, this is the Jidaigeki-style set, they’ve set up at the YouTube Space Tokyo:

Using this set, select YouTube creators will have the opportunity to create high-quality videos, and can apply to join to a series of production tutorials, including classes dedicated to Jidaigeki wardrobe styling, classic sword-fighting and special effects. In fact, 10 YouTube creators have already been selected to receive pre-production consultations with Japanese director and producer Toshio Lee.

We hope this will help Japanese creators experiment, learn and create great new content, while also sharing more of Japan’s well-loved Samurai period film culture with the rest of the world.

Posted by David Macdonald, Head of YouTube Spaces Asia-Pacific, who recently watched How are Samurai Films Responsible for Star Wars?!? Film School’d

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Haven’t we all yearned for a friend who could answer any question, while always being there for a snuggle?  Today, the wait is over — Google Panda is here.
With state of the art emotional and conversational intelligence, Google Panda changes the face of search. From the smallest child to the grandparent who’s never used a computer, anyone who can ask a question can own and love a Google Panda.

Now available in Japan, Google Panda comes in classic black and white, offering answers and hugs in two sizes: Panda 5 and Panda 6.

To learn more about Google Panda, here’s a video from our announcement event today with VP of Engineering, Chris Yerga:

It’s a product so brilliant you can ask it anything, but so cute, you’re gonna want to hug it.

Posted by Hiroto Tokusei, Product Manager, Google Search