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Google Philippines opens new home

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Google Philippines is supporting the growth of the country’s digital economy with a Google.org grant to DigiBayanihan, a nationwide digital literacy program that promotes digital inclusion among Filipinos.

This was announced on Thursday when Google Philippines opened its new home, four years after it launched its first office in the country in 2013. The support from Google.org is expected to extend DigiBayanihan’s program to one million Filipinos in Visayas and Mindanao.

Google.org is the philanthropic arm of Google that supports and champions people and projects that are combatting some of the biggest human challenges of the 21st century.

Google also highlighted the importance of developers in the digital economy of the country with the launch of the Launchpad Accelerator program in the Philippines. The program provides equity-free support to help start-ups scale into thriving companies.

Innovative real-estate start-up Zipmatch, which uses 360° technology to differentiate its online portal, is the first Filipino participant in Google’s Launchpad Accelerator. Secretary Lopez recognized the program as a potential boost in the e-commerce industry, and encouraged micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of the digital space and digital training provided by Google and DTI agencies nationwide.

Google Philippines also announced that they’ve released 188 new local sites on Street View, including key attractions and landmarks from Batanes to Palawan to Guimaras. Street View users can now also navigate LRT-1 Green Line stations online — from United Nations station, to Central Terminal station all the way to Baclaran station. This helps commuters view station accessibility and plan their trip ahead of time.

In addition, through an expanded partnership with the Intramuros Administration, its historic collection of religious sculptures is now online on the Google Arts & Culture platform, along with 360° virtual reality tours accompanied by an audio guide of 17 locations within Intramuros that can be viewed on a simple VR viewer like Google Cardboard. Bringing more meaningful content online is one of Google Philippines’ way of helping to unlock the Internet for Filipino Internet users, according to country manager Ken Lingan.

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