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Every month, YouTube viewers watch four billion hours of video, allowing bloggers, campaigners, vloggers and entertainers ways to reach their audience on an unprecedented scale. Many of the most popular challenge conventional wisdom and shine a spotlight on otherwise forgotten issues. Perhaps the best example is Kony2012, shown below, which highlighted the plight of child soldiers in Central Africa. It has recorded more than 93 million views and pressured governments to take action.



Hunter Walk, one of YouTube’s most senior executives, will speak in Brussels this coming Tuesday about YouTube’s emergence as a platform for social good, activism and free expression.

When: Tuesday, October 16th 2012 @ 18.00
Where: Google Brussels, Chaussée D'Etterbeek 180 | 1040 Brussels
Registration: Please register here
Need another reason to come?: Enjoy some Googley refreshments!

About our Tech Talks: Ever wondered how exactly Google is tackling the big technology problems that the online world faces? Want to take a look behind the curtain of our engineering operations and learn from the people who actually work on the Google products and services day-in, day-out? Here's your chance: The Google Brussels TechTalks.

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At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January of this year, Commissioner Neelie Kroes stated that she would like to “make Europe not just “cloud-friendly” but “cloud-active”. Being active in the cloud basically means moving every-day information, tools and processes online and the benefits of that shift are hard to deny: reduced costs, faster innovation and the convenience of accessing information virtually anytime and from anywhere.

As with any new technology shift, movement to the cloud is a subject of lively debate, in particular on the questions of data security, data governance and privacy. As a company “born in the cloud” - and one of the biggest corporate users of our own products - Google has always had a strong focus on engineering cloud services that deliver the highest possible standards of security, availability and resilience.

On March 29th, our Senior Global Trust PM, John Collins, will be in Brussels to give a Tech Talk on the theme of cloud security and privacy at Google. He’ll discuss our overall approach, and highlight some of the security features and privacy controls available to users of our cloud applications.

John has spent the past 10 years building and operating some of the world's biggest and most popular Internet services, and at Google, he leads our Enterprise's global trust effort.

When: Tuesday, March 29th 12.30-14.30 CET
Where: Google Brussels | Chaussée d'Etterbeek 180 | 1040 Brussels
Registration: Please register here
Need another reason to come? There will be a delicious, Googley lunch (!)

About our Tech Talks: Ever wondered how exactly Google is tackling the big technology problems that the online world faces? Want to take a look behind the curtain of our engineering operations and learn from the people who actually work on the Google products and services day-in, day-out? Here's your chance: The Google Brussels TechTalks.

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First conceived in 1990 by CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee, HTML is the international standard used to create most of the websites and content that we enjoy online today. HTML has evolved and grown over the years and today, a new iteration - HTML5 - is approaching the final phase of the approvals process.

HTML5 is a radical departure from its predecessors and will enable web designers to create sites and applications that are more interactive and more graphically rich than ever before. It promises an end to websites and applications that only work in a particular browser or on a particular type of computer or cellphone.  And it will enable a whole new generation of innovative services for web users around the world.

At Google, we’ve been focusing heavily on HTML5 in our own research and development, even before the standard is fully approved. We firmly believe HTML5 will drive the web forward, help keep it open and equally accessible for all, and deliver great benefit to individuals, businesses and governments around the world.

Tab Atkins, a member of Google’s HTML5 development team, will talk about the importance of open standards for tomorrow’s web, show some cutting-edge demonstrations of HTML5 web technology, and explain what the new standard might mean for Europe.

When: Friday, 29th October 12.15-13.45 CET
Where: Google Brussels | Chaussée D'Etterbeek 180 | 1040 Brussels
Registration: Please register here
Need another reason to come? There will be a delicious, Googley lunch (!)

About our Tech Talks: Ever wondered how exactly Google is tackling the big technology problems that the online world faces? Want to take a look behind the curtain of our engineering operations and learn from the people who actually work on the Google products and services day-in, day-out? Here's your chance: The Google Brussels TechTalks.


Posted by Angela Steen, Policy Analyst, Google

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Google’s Search Quality team is responsible for the ranking of Google search results.Their job is clear: A few hundreds of millions of times a day people will ask Google questions, and within a fraction of a second Google needs to decide which among the billions of pages on the web to show them -- and in what order.

There’s a lot of work that goes into building a ranking system like ours - by some estimates, more than one thousand years of programming work have gone directly into the development of our algorithms. The pace of development and innovation is not slowing down either: because the web changes all the time, so our signals and our algorithms are constantly changing and improving too.

On Friday 28th of May, Matt Cutts, one of Google’s most distinguished engineers, will be giving a TechTalk for webmasters on what you can do to optimise your website and also increase the likelihood that web users looking for your particular product or service can find you in search engines.

As usual, the TechTalk will take place over lunchtime (there will be food available of course!), at the Google Brussels office.

We hope you can make it along. If you’d like to attend, please register here.

When: Friday, May 28, 12:15 - 13:45 hours CET (sandwich lunch provided).
Where: Google Brussels - Chaussée D'Etterbeek 180 - Steenweg op Etterbeek 180, 2nd floor, 1040 Brussels

Matt Cutts is a principal software engineer and joined Google in 2000. Within the Search Quality group he heads up the Web Spam team. He knows the ins and outs of Google Search and how to optimize your website for your users. Get a flavour of what Matt has to say on YouTube, or check out our site for webmasters, google.com/webmasters.

Posted by Alain Van Gaever, Policy Manager, Google

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It's fair to say that the most popular applications and services that exist today are all to be found in the internet cloud - rather than actually on your computer, as installed applications. Think social networks, email, photosharing, online documents, blogs - and much more of course.

These services are constantly being improved, and new services appear all the time. Users switch services or try out new ones all the time too, perhaps because their friends are using a different service, because there’s better functionality or faster performance elsewhere, or because they just want better service.

So let’s imagine you’ve been using a particular service for a while, and - for whatever reason - you decide to switch to a different provider. A lot of your data is now stored in the service - your photo collection maybe, your status updates, your contacts, your emails and so on. Which raises the question:

How on earth do I get all of my data out of this service and transfer it the new one?

At Google, that’s a question we take very seriously, so seriously, that we have a special team of engineers who spend their time doing nothing else but making sure that it is easy to stop using Google services, and easy to take your data with you, using open standards and formats.

The name of that team is the Data Liberation Front (and yes, for anyone who had spotted the oblique reference, they are Monty Python fans).

On Tuesday 20th of April, Brian Fitzpatrick, the founder of the Data Liberation Front, will be in Brussels to give a Google TechTalk. He’ll explain what "liberating data" actually means, why he thinks it's so important for internet users, for the future of the Internet, and for Europe.

As usual, the TechTalk will take place over lunchtime (there will be food available of course!), at the Google office.

We hope you can make it along. If you’d like to attend, please register here.

When: Tuesday, April 20, 12:15 - 13:45 hours CET (Sandwich lunch provided).
Where: Google Brussels - Chaussée D'Etterbeek 180 - Steenweg op Etterbeek 180, 2nd floor, 1040 Brussels

Brian Fitzpatrick started Google's Chicago engineering office in 2005. An open source contributor for over 10 years, Brian is the engineering manager for several Google products, a member of both the Apache Software Foundation and the Open Web Foundation, a former engineer at Apple and CollabNet, a Subversion developer, a co-author of "Version Control with Subversion", and a resident of Chicago.

Alain Van Gaever
Policy Manager - Google Europe

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A browser is that, just a browser. Nothing special. Right?
Ever thought about how much time you actually spent working 'inside' your browser? We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And like most of you, in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends - all using a browser. Hell, you spent probably more time inside your browser than inside your car !

Since Google engineers spend so much time online, they began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if you started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. They realized that what was needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications: and that is what Google has set out to build. The result: Google Chrome.

On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.

Under the hood, Google engineers were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today's complex web applications much better . By keeping each tab in an isolated "sandbox", we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. And we keep on adding stunning features to Google Chrome.

Want to have a peek under the hood? Google invites you to a Tech Talk by Chrome product manager Anders Sandholm; and you'll understand why a browser is so much more than a window on the Internet. Spend your lunchtime with us and you will be better informed when in a couple of weeks, you'll be asked to make a choice about which browser you want to spend your time in.

If you want to attend, please register here. While this event is primarily aimed at policy makers from EU institutions, we'll be happy to welcome a wider audience if we have enough chairs.

When: Thursday February 25, 12:15 - 13:45 hours CET (Sandwich lunch provided).
Where: Google Brussels - Chaussée D'Etterbeek 180 - Steenweg op Etterbeek 180, 2nd floor, 1040 Brussels

About our Tech Talks: Ever wondered how exactly Google is tackling the big technology problems that the online world faces ? Want to take a look behind the curtain of our engineering operations and learn from the people who actually work on the Google products and services day-in, day-out? Here's your chance: The Google Brussels TechTalks


Posted by Alain Van Gaever, Telecom Policy Manager and Matthias Graf, European Head of Engineering Communications

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Ever wondered what data Google's search engine collects and why we retain search logs for certain periods of time? Here's a hint: it's not to personalise advertising as many people wrongly assume.

Our first ever Brussels Tech Talk last week was about this and other questions on online privacy, given that it was Data Protection Day. Dr Alma Whitten, Google's engineering lead for privacy, addressed a full room of policy makers and other interested stakeholders. Alma demonstrated how we harness the power of data to "learn from the good guys, fight the bad guys, and invent the future." You can watch the video of the talk, and follow along with her presentation below:



While the technology is complicated, the explanation is simple: log data enable our engineers to refine algorithms for the benefit of all search users. If clicking on the top results occurs for any given query, it signals that we are doing something right. If people are hitting 'next page' or typing in another query, we learn something is wrong. Every time a user searches on the web, you benefit from what Google has learned from millions of previous searches. However, rather than a solved problem, the search science is still in its infancy. By launching hundreds of innovations in search just during the last year, we're constantly trying to improve search so you'll hopefully find among the first results the website that contains the answer you were looking for in midst of more than a trillion unique URLs.

We aim to always balance innovative product development with a serious respect for users' privacy. For us, this process starts with providing transparency and allowing users control. Alma explained the ways we're working to provide our users with more transparency and choice: things like the Ads Preferences Manager, Google Dashboard, and Data Liberation Front. And she referred to the challenges engineers face to achieve transparency and control with respect to different categories of data such as logged-in vs. unauthenticated data.

In the coming months, the Brussels office will be hosting more TechTalks, where other Google engineers will share what they're working on, how they approach solving some exciting challenges, and the opportunities they see coming up. We'll announce the talks on this blog. Keep tuned.

Posted by Sebastian Müller, European Policy Manager

P.S. The video's sound quality could be better - we're arranging for superior recording equipment for the next Brussels TechTalk.