Cross-posted from the Google India Blog

Even the most ambitious, iron-willed traveler might find it taxing to explore India’s archaeological sites across the subcontinent all in one go. But starting today, visitors from around the world can virtually visit far-flung historical wonders such as the Ellora Caves and Kangra Fort, simply at the click of a button.

With the support of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Google is releasing new 360-degree online imagery of 76 iconic historical sites from across India. These immersive panoramas are available for viewing through the Google Cultural Institute site as well as on Google Maps. This launch brings the number of ASI locations now online to over 100, including the heritage sites that launched in February 2014 such as the Taj Mahal and Humayun's Tomb.
Safdarjung Tomb in New Delhi is now on Google Maps
We’re also bringing online several Indian arts and archival institutions onto the Google Cultural Institute for the first time ever. You can now explore new exhibits curated by Indian screenwriter and photographer Sooni Taraporevala at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, follow the journey of the Parsis from Persia to the present day at the Parzor Foundation, and experience India’s first ever Independence Day in 1947 through the eyes of its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, thanks to archival material from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.
Online exhibition of India’s first Independence Day Celebrations, from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library
Don’t forget that you can curate your own collection on the Google Cultural Institute with the User Galleries function. When browsing an individual exhibit, simply click on the + sign next to the exhibit’s name. It will be added to the drawer at the bottom of the page. For more information, click here.

There’s never an adequate substitute for seeing the real thing, but we hope that by putting these sights online and making them accessible for anyone with an Internet connection, these exhibits will inspire more people to visit, and in doing so, sustain India’s glorious heritage.

Posted by Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director, Google India

The rise of the mobile Internet in the U.S. was made clear by searches during the World Cup.
In the below chart, you can see that mobile searches (in blue) rose throughout the day of the final — and even spiked to exceed the searches from desktops and laptops during the match.
Google Search data, July 13 (U.S. PST)

Mobile’s on the rise in the U.S. but how is it doing in Asia?
Google Search data, July 13 (U.S. PST)

A completely different picture. More blue than grey.

The difference between Asia and the U.S. becomes even more stark when, instead of stacking the different searches, you subtract one from the other.

Over the day of the final, U.S. searches flipped to mobile for a brief span, rising above the line near the end of the game. In Asia, the desktops only had their moment of World-Cup-final glory as the game began.

The World Cup shows how, for many parts of Asian daily life, mobile devices make up the core. The desktop has its uses, but finds itself on the sidelines in Asia far more frequently than in the West.

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

Cross-posted from the Google Research Blog

Twice a year, Google’s Faculty Research Awards program seeks and reviews proposals in 23 research areas, assigning to each area a group of experienced Googlers who assess and deliberate over which proposals we should and can fund. With each call for proposals, we receive a wide array of research ideas in fields that fall within the realm of Internet policy.
We would like to share with you the areas of Internet policy in which we are particularly interested to see progress and stimulate further research:

  • Accessibility: Google is committed to supporting research that generates insights about what helps make technology a usable reality for everyone, regardless of cognitive, physical, sensory, or other form of impairment.
  • Access: What policies help bring open, robust, competitive and affordable Internet access to everyone in the world? What are the economic and social impacts of improved Internet access? In particular, what are the emerging impacts of gigabit access networks?
  • Intellectual property (IP) in the digital era: The growth of digital industries has meant that IP law is an increasingly important policy tool governing innovation and economic growth. We would like to better understand how IP legislation can enable new technologies, and what effect different national or regional IP regimes have on innovation, such as the effect of patent litigation on invention, and how copyright exceptions affect the creation of online technologies.
  • Freedom of Expression: As an advocate of freedom of expression on the Internet, Google is interested in research that produces insights into how discourse and expression in the global online (public) sphere happens, and how stakeholders best allow freedom of expression, balance it with other rights and resolve conflicts or interest/disputes.
  • Internet Governance: The Internet is a universal space that many expect to remain open, free, and borderless. Multiple stakeholders (internet companies, governments and civil society) work together to design the governance practices and institutions to maintain order and innovation in the global Internet ecosystem. We are interested in supporting top researchers who analyze and contribute insights into which practices and institutional structures work and which don’t.
  • Open Standards and Interoperability: Open Standards and interoperability of services are at the core of the Internet’s successful international propagation and usefulness. Google is interested in research that contributes analysis and best practices for standardization and interoperability. Among them we see resource management, access control and authorities for the Internet of Things, as well as questions regarding convergence and security. Also, cloud computing and storage could benefit from open standards that enable interoperability.

Additionally, there are several important research areas like Privacy, Economics and market algorithms, and Security, which have a significant policy component but are dealt with as research topics distinct from policy & standards.

Researchers who are interested in applying for a Faculty Research Award can do so twice a year following the instructions laid out on the Google Faculty Research Awards website. The next window for submissions is October 1 to 15. We look forward to your proposals.

Posted by Vint Cerf, VP & Chief Internet Evangelist, Google

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.

Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim of Markhor in Pakistan

How would you describe Markhor in one sentence?
Markhor is an online brand which makes premium handcrafted leather footwear and bespoke accessories for the modern gentlemen.

Where did inspiration for your business come from?
During a visit to his hometown, Waqas was struck by a conversation among village elders, questioning the Internet’s role in Pakistani society. A cobbler asked whether the Internet’s impact had been positive or negative. Waqas told the cobbler—who happened to be out of work because he had no customers—that he could use the Internet to get more orders and to build a new business. And so the idea to use the Internet to sell handmade shoes was born.

At that point, we didn’t have any money and had to turn to others for financing. We pitched our idea to Pashafund, a social innovation fund supported by, to help get the business off the ground. We secured US$10,000 which enabled us to buy raw materials, and to hire the village cobbler and other experienced shoemakers to design and create our first shoes.

What lessons have you learned along the way?
We’ve learned a lot about brand-building through the web. For example, the Internet has enabled us to better understand what our international customers look for, especially in terms of quality. So we’re now establishing a team that looks closely at quality control. Observing our global competition online, we also realized that we needed a brand that would appeal to an international audience. We hired the best designers in Pakistan to bring our vision for the brand to life. Today our brand is represented by the markhor, our national animal, expressing strength and pride in Pakistani craftsmanship.

Detail of Markhor’s products and brand development on Instagram

What has been your biggest challenge?
We’ve had a few challenges to overcome. First, it was difficult to get access to an online payments system that would allow us to conveniently accept international payments. Second, we've struggled with unpredictability in website access. Our site was blocked for three weeks for no clear reason when we were just getting started. And third, it wasn’t easy to find a reliable and affordable partner for international shipping. We finally found a local company that now helps us deliver our products all over the world.

There have been personal challenges too. It’s not common for a girl from a village to start a business, so Sidra didn’t get much support initially. But with some successes under our belts, our business has become a great story for people in our village to tell and they’re much more supportive now.

What’s next for Markhor?
In August we’ll launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise more capital and show the world how we’re making beautifully handcrafted shoes. We believe in ethically made custom products and this campaign will take our Kickstarter backers through the process of creating high quality custom-made leather goods — from concept, to when a customer ties the laces on our shoes for the first time.

Posted by Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim, co-founders of Markhor in Pakistan

Today’s doodle in South Korea celebrates Robot Taekwon V’s 38th birthday—a landmark animated film that was a smash hit among Korean youth in the late 1970s. This was one of Korea’s first home-grown animations that bore unmistakably Korean hallmarks, like a robot hero who could do complicated kicks from the traditional Korean martial art of Taekwondo.

To create a modern interpretation of Robot Taekwon V while remaining faithful to the original design, our doodler decided to recreate the robot using modern 3D software. We hope the doodle captures a bit of the excitement found in the film's animated action sequences and rekindles interest in Robot Taekwon V.

Posted by Heajin Lee, Marketing Manager, Google Korea

Today in Singapore, our homepage is dedicated to the 107th birthday of Zubir Said, a prolific songwriter of over 1,000 works. A self-taught musician, Zubir came to Singapore from Indonesia at the age of 21 to work as a composer, music teacher and part-time photographer. He is best known for composing our national anthem as well as the song for Children’s Day.

In 1958, a year before Singapore attained self-governance, the deputy mayor of the city council invited Zubir to compose a theme song for the council's official functions. The title, Majulah Singapura (“Onward Singapore”), was prescribed to Zubir, as this was the motto that was to be displayed at the re-opening of the city state’s famous Victoria Theater where the song would be performed for the first time.

Zubir spent a year working on the music and lyrics. He later used an old Malay proverb to describe his approach to the anthem: "Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung", which today translates into the saying that when in Rome, do as the Romans do. For Zubir, this meant coming up with an anthem that was simple and could easily be understood and adopted by all ethnicities in Singapore. The result was an inspiring anthem with a refrain that quickly became popular with locals:

Let us all unite
In a new spirit
Together we proclaim
Onward Singapore

Posted by Sana Rahman, Communications Manager, Google Singapore

Here are eight things about Asia's interest in the World Cup that you might not have known:

1. “But I’ve always supported Deutschland”

These countries in Asia suddenly wanted to know about German flags. Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia were searching for the topic of German flags more intensely than Germany.
Searches for “flag of Germany” over the past 12 months in Asia

2. Indonesia searches for (almost) everybody

Here’s a chart showing Asia’s search interest in Germany. Indonesia’s one of the top countries.

This is a chart showing Asia’s search interest in Argentina. Nepal and Bangladesh are searching for the Argentina team the most. But Indonesia’s number three.
Now note Asia’s search interest in the Netherlands. And note Indonesia again.
And here’s Asia’s search interest in Brazil, which is in general higher than for the other teams in the final four. Yes, there’s Indonesia in third place.

3. Asia’s just not that into Asian teams

Japan and South Korea have the most search interest for South Korea. The rest of Asia? Not so much.
Asia’s search interest in South Korea’s team in the past 90 days
The world’s search interest in Japan’s team over the past 90 days

4. India’s just not that into football

If you think the U.S. is the country that cares the least about football (sorry, soccer), think again. India takes the top spot for shrugging its shoulders at the world’s most popular sport.

5. When it comes to injuries, incurred beats inflicted

Both Suarez’s bite and Neymar’s vertebra injury triggered a swarm of searches, but there were more searches for the Brazilian star’s back-breaking incident than even Suarez’s toothy foul that inspired everything from memes to bottle openers.

6. Classiest meme? World-Cup Tang poetry parody

Poems supposedly written by Chinese Tang dynasty poets Li Bai and Du Pu are trending when netizens rewrote them to make an acrostic that spelled out “Brazil suffers huge defeat in 2014”. Actually the poems were not written by Tang poets at all, but by football fans online who are waxing lyrical.

The line in blue is for the name of the poem “Touring Sichuan”; the line in red is for “Brazil”.

Searches for this poem actually spiked above searches for Brazil at one point last week in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

7. J-Lo, watch out for J-Ro

Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez, the striker from Colombia, trended across Asia. Taiwan’s netizens named him J羅, pronounced “J-Luo.” We can call him J.Ro though. Popularity for J.Ro has shot up past that of J.Lo globally. But even the Taiwanese nickname for Rodriguez is suddenly beating the global nickname for Jennifer Lopez.

8. Causation? Correlation?

Paul the Octopus was credited with picking winners. Mick Jagger got blamed for backing losers. The country with the third-highest interest in Paul the Octopus was India (which is amazing, given 4).
We've put together a public spreadsheet of the charts and data in this blog post for you to create your own versions.

Posted by Robin Moroney, Communications Manager, Google Asia Pacific