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What does Malaysia mean to you? That’s what we asked kids in the first ever Doogle4Google competition held in Malaysia. Today, in celebration of Malaysia Day, we’re featuring the winning doodle on www.google.com.my.

Our winner, sixteen-year-old Lee Yee Run, a student of SMJK Yoke Kuan in Sekinchan, Selangor, says his doodle entitled “Beauty of Malaysia” was inspired by the true and unique colours of his country. It captures the diverse landscapes of Malaysia, from the mountains, to the seaside and Kuala Lumpur’s iconic buildings. He hopes his doodle will encourage others to take time to discover spots they’ve never visited.
Check out the doodles by all our finalists, which we hope will inspire you to explore more of the beauty that Malaysia has to offer.


From left to right: Ages 13 - 15 category winner — Mohammed Anoof Ibrahim of Mutiara International Grammar School, Ampang; Matthew Zaheen (Marketing Manager, Google Malaysia); Ages 10 - 12 category winner — Chin Joe Yi of SJK (C) Kwang Hwa, Penang; Grand Winner — Lee Yee Run of SMJK Yoke Kuan in Sekinchan, Selangor; Sajith Sivanandan (Managing Director, Google Malaysia); Ages 7 - 9 category winner — Vaisnawi Harulnathan of SJKG Vallambrosa, Klang

Posted by Sajith Sivanandan, Managing Director, Google Malaysia


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Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog

Knowledge is a game changer. I’ve long been inspired by the Internet and how it opens the doors to opportunity. It provides access to knowledge, no matter who you are or where you are. For instance, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Nobel Laureate at a world-class research center or a young student at a rural school in Indonesia, with Google Search, you have the same information at your fingertips as anyone else.

If we look at how people are getting online and accessing information today, increasingly it’s through a smartphone. While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population—over five billion more—do not. That means most people are only able to make simple voice calls, rather than connect with family through a live video chat, use mapping apps to find the closest hospital, or simply search the web. We want to bring these experiences to more people.

That’s where Android One comes in. At I/O, we first talked about this initiative to make high-quality smartphones accessible to as many people as possible. And today we’re introducing the first family of Android One phones in India.
Addressing key barriers—hardware, software and connectivity
There are three big reasons why it’s hard for people in countries such as India, Indonesia or the Philippines to get their hands on a high-quality smartphone. First, is the hardware itself. Even entry-level smartphones still remain out of reach for many (bear in mind that in some of these countries the average monthly income is around $250). Second, many people in these markets do not have access to the latest Android software and popular applications. Finally, even where 3G and 4G networks are available, not enough people have phones that can support data and the plans can be expensive.

Android One aims to help tackle these challenges. By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we’re making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable. They have lots of processing power, so you can get information quickly. They have high-quality front- and rear-facing cameras. And for all those pictures, along with your apps and videos, Android One phones will have expandable storage. We also added features that people in India will find particularly useful, like dual SIM cards, a replaceable battery and built-in FM radio.
To help ensure a consistent experience, Android One devices will receive the latest versions of Android directly from Google. So you’ll get all the latest features, up-to-date security patches, and peace of mind knowing your stuff is always backed up. It also means Android One devices will be some of the first to be updated to the Android L release later this year. For our hardware partners, they’ll be able to create customized experiences and differentiate their devices without having to change the core software.

In an effort to reduce data costs, if you have an Airtel SIM card, you’ll get these software updates for free for the first six months. As part of this same Airtel offer, you’ll also be able to download up to 200MB per month worth of your favorite apps (that’s about 50 apps overall) from Google Play—all without counting toward your mobile data usage.

More to come
This is just the beginning of the Android One journey. The first phones, from our hardware partners Micromax, Karbonn, Spice and chipmaker MediaTek, are available starting today in India from leading retailers starting at Rs 6,399. We’re also excited to welcome more partners to the program, including phone manufacturers Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm. We expect to see even more high-quality, affordable devices with different screen sizes, colors, hardware configurations and customized software experiences. Finally, we plan to expand the Android One program to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.

Access for access’s sake is not enough. With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the web holds for everyone.

Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps, Google

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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.

What inspired you to create Rick Hanes Guitars?
There’s a saying that you live only once so you have to make it meaningful. I thought about it and realized that today almost everything, even the smallest things like sandal jepit or hair dye, are imported, so why not create something myself, right here in Indonesia? That something was the guitar, which I’ve always been passionate about.

Why did you choose to go online?
The Internet helps us with every aspect of the business: reaching consumers and distributors, making information about our guitars easily accessible, and building our community of fans. After winning the Guitar of the Year Award in 2012, social media helped us get the word out. Global platforms like YouTube also help us to easily share information that can be difficult to capture in writing or through pictures, such as our artists’ stories.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Staying innovative. It’s hard work, but without constant innovation, we can’t compete. The Internet is an incredibly important source of information for product research and development. Plus it offers a way to easily and quickly seek input from people around the world. It’s effective because it’s available to anyone with a connection and the barriers to entry are low. We produce just 100 guitars a month, so we have room to iterate and create really great products with the right input.

For example, my first guitar, the Mr D Squirrel series, had a plug-in option for an iPod or iPhone, enabling guitarists to make use of the sound effects provided by Apple’s Garage Band app. I learned about this app online. This innovation means musicians can turn their electric guitars into nearly any other musical instrument with just a little piece of hardware. We are now researching the best way to bring the plug-in option to Android users as well.


The Rick Hanes Band (Doddy Hernanto, Taraz "Triad" Bistara, Donny Suhendra and Joenathan Amanta) playing at Jazz Traffic 2012

What does the future hold for Rick Hanes Guitars?
Rick Hanes is still a guest in this country. Above all, I want more Indonesian musicians to fall in love with our guitars and select Rick Hanes over international brands. It would be great to see “Cintai Produk Indonesia” (Love Indonesian Products, a campaign to promote local brands) turn into reality. I think the Internet can help make this happen. Indonesians love social media, so this is a great way for us to build a local following. With millions of young Indonesians coming online for the first time, the future looks bright not just for us, but for all music lovers.

Posted by Doddy 'Mr D' Hernanto, VP Artists Relationship & Business Development, Rick Hanes Guitars

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Update 12 September - Crisis Map:  To further aid rescue efforts in Jammu and Kashmir, we've just launched a Crisis Map with updated satellite imagery showing the incredible extent of the flooding.  Our hope is that this information will help rescue agencies, volunteers and others involved in rescue efforts respond to the crisis by identifying flood zones, evacuation routes and weather conditions.
This image from the Jammu and Kashmir Crisis Map shows a before and after cross section from the city of Srinagar
The map is available at: google.org/crisismap/2014-jammu-kashmir-floods, and can be embedded on any website using the 'share' link at the top of the page.



Originally Posted 10 September - Person Finder: We've launched Google Person Finder in India to help gather and relay information for those affected by the devastating floods in the state of Jammu and Kashmir - the worst in 60 years. It is available in English and Hindi, and can be accessed on the web or any mobile phone via SMS.

Person Finder can be accessed below or at: google.org/personfinder/2014-jammu-kashmir-floods


If you do not have web access, you can request information via SMS by sending the message “Search”, followed by the person’s name i.e. “Search <name>", to the number 9773300000. For example, if you are searching for Rohan Gupta, send the message “Search Rohan Gupta”.

The Person Finder tool can also be embedded on any website using the following HTML code:

<iframe src="http://google.org/personfinder/2014-jammu-kashmir-floods/?ui=small"
   width=400 height=300 frameborder=0
   style="border: dashed 2px #77c"></iframe>

We launched this tool, as we've done in other disasters, to allow individuals to post the details of, and search for the status of, family members or friends affected by this disaster. If you’re worried about someone in the disaster affected area, then click on “I’m Looking for Someone” and type in their name. If you want to let people know you’re safe, or if you have heard from someone in the disaster affected area, then click on “I have information about someone” and put in their names and details. As the number of names and records increases, the tool will make it easier for those who are safe to pass on their status to people worried about them.

Posted by the Google Crisis Response Team

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Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Faedzul Rahman, Marine Conservation Manager of the Malaysian Nature Society

A stunning diversity of marine life lives along Malaysia’s coastline. But as our economy grows, our coastal landscapes and jungles are being cleared, suffering vast deterioration. It isn’t easy to see how this coastal degradation is impacting nature, but the damage is immense. Our coral reefs are dying, turtles no longer lay eggs on our shores, and the mangrove forests are shrinking.

Our latest project, Paddle for Nature, is dedicated to helping people see all this. We’re creating a digital record of Peninsular Malaysia’s coastline as it stands today to benchmark how our actions affect the coastline tomorrow. We’ll be taking panoramic images along 2,000 kilometers of this coastline using a kayak specially outfitted with Google’s Street View Trekker. Hari Raju, our lone Malaysian Nature Society kayaker, hits the waters today in Pengkalan Kubor, Kelantan and will paddle onwards around the islands of Perhentian, Tioman and Penang, and all the way to Kuala Perlis before concluding the journey in Langkawi.
Using the Trekker camera system, we’ll gather comprehensive photographs and data about the coastline’s ecologically important sites, which may also be helpful to government agencies, other environmental organizations and interested parties in their efforts to protect Malaysia’s marine life. We are grateful to the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry for their endorsement.

Once the Street View imagery is ready to share, we hope it will help people take stock of what our landscapes look like now, and become more aware of the impact coastal destruction has on our economy and ecology, the livelihood of coastal communities and the variety of wildlife whose habitat is linked to these coastal areas. We also hope that through the Paddle for Nature journey, we here at the Malaysian Nature Society can learn more about what we can do next to help, whether from the many local heroes who are already taking action or through experiencing the open coast ourselves by kayak.


The 2,000 km route around Peninsular Malaysia

Posted by Faedzul Rahman, Marine Conservation Manager, Malaysian Nature Society

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Today is the Autumn Equinox, when the moon is said to be at its roundest and fullest, with millions of people here in Asia celebrating in various ways.

In Chinese tradition, Mid Autumn Festival, or 中秋節, is all about family, reunions, and of course, food. Children play with lanterns shaped like starfruit or rabbits, symbolizing the legendary jade rabbit which keeps the Chinese goddess Chang’e company on the moon, while families enjoy delicacies like mooncakes, persimmons, or dumplings that symbolize the sweetness of reunion. Today’s doodle running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore depicts these cute bunnies on their journey to the lunar surface.

In Hong Kong, a traditional way to celebrate is with the Fire Dragon dance. Pokfulam Village is a place where this time honored tradition is held dear: villagers construct a long dragon out of hay, and parade it through the route as villagers adorn it with sticks of incense in a bid for prosperity. The Google Cultural Institute recently launched an exhibit about Pokfulam Village’s Fire Dragon dance—let the video carry you into the midst of the celebration’s noise and smoke.
Wherever you are, we hope you have a wonderful Mid Autumn Festival!

Posted by Wei Jiang, Head of Marketing, Google Greater China

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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.

Tran Ba Luan of Ca Kho Tran Luan in Vietnam

How would you describe Ca Kho Tran Luan in one sentence?
We want to preserve our family tradition of making ca kho (braised fish baked in a clay pot) and bring it to food lovers nationwide, and hopefully in the future, introduce this signature Vietnamese dish to the rest of the world.

Why did you choose to go online?
Our village is well-known throughout Vietnam for its ca kho, and three generations of our family made this dish to earn a living. But more recently, we struggled to make ends meet as we relied on seasonal tourists and visitors from neighboring areas. My son, Tran Ba Nghiep, was exposed to technology at college and came home one day, saying technology—especially the Internet—would be the only way we could spread our tradition and reach customers across the country. This offered us our ticket out of poverty. With the Internet, all we needed to do was to build a website to be able to reach far more customers.

Tran Ba Luan’s business of bringing braised fish to the world — from claypot to cardboard box ready to be sent to and enjoyed by the customer. Source: cakhotranluan.com
What difference has the Internet made to Ca Kho Tran Luan?
The Internet has been our savior. We’ve been able to make our family’s rendition of this traditional dish easily accessible without the overhead associated with establishing a physical presence in other cities. Through online advertising, we are able to cost efficiently connect to people anywhere, anytime. Within the first year of using Google AdWords, sales grew by 50 percent and we’ve been able to sustain double digit growth ever since. This is turn has allowed us to reinvest in building our business. I feel especially honored when people tell me that we’re a startup inspiration success story for younger generations to follow.

What lessons have you learned along the way?
Gaining a customer is one thing, but retaining them is another, and brand building is just as important for this as creating a quality product. This is a constant work in progress. I’m not just talking about customer service; there’s also the matter of brand identity. We had a lot of trouble with copycats, which is why we spent time creating a more unique visual brand.

What’s next for Ca Kho Tran Luan?
We are building a tourist complex where visitors can experience making ca kho themselves. On the one hand, it’s supplementary to our existing business. On the other hand, it’s very much a complementary strategy as it allows us to bring more of our tradition and our culture to the rest of the world. Marketing guru Philip Kotler once said, “Vietnam can be the kitchen of the world”. We think so too, and this is just the beginning.

Posted by Tran Ba Luan, Founder, Ca Kho Tran Luan, Vietnam