Thursday, 10 January 2019

St. Mark's Church in Zagreb is Orthodox, Google Mistakenly Says

A monumental Serbian Orthodox church in medieval style built between 1931 and 1940 – this is how the St. Mark’s church in Zagreb’s the Upper Town, the oldest church in Zagreb and one of the symbols of the Croatian capital, is described by Google Maps, a digital network of maps used by virtually all Internet users, including many of the tourists who visit Zagreb, reports Večernji List on January 10, 2019.

Not surprisingly, many of those who decide to look for St. Mark's church have been angered by this somewhat inaccurate sentence. Some of them have left their comments, accusing Google of provocation and ignorance. Some have reported the problem, others wrote to the company’s headquarters, and some even concluded that this is someone’s joke.

However, despite numerous critical comments, Google has not yet corrected the misinformation. Comments show that it is at least several months old, and the number of angry users is getting larger. Almost not a day passes without someone writing a comment. “You can clearly see the Croatian coat of arms on the roof of the church which has great significance for the Croatian people. It is strange that Google did not check this claim, and they say they check and remove fake reviews,” says one of the comments.

Google knows about the problem and is working on it, says Grayling, a PR agency which provides services to Google in Croatia. Its employees have also reported inaccurate information.

 100119 St. Mark's Church2

“Different types of data found on Google Maps come from different sources. Our basic map data, such as site names, boundaries and road networks, are a combination of information obtained from third parties, public sources and users themselves. All in all, this allows for very comprehensive and updated maps, but we realise that occasional irregularities may occur. While we regularly update the map, the time it takes to update can vary,” says Google, adding that users can also edit the content. But this is not the case with the sentence related to the St. Mark’s church.

Many have attempted to correct the inaccurate information, but when they clicked on the suggestion option, they could change the location, category, object name, contact and Web address associated with St. Mark's church, but not the description of the building.

“This is an option that must have been set up by someone who has placed this information on Google Maps. But Google knows who wrote it since they trace IP addresses from which the information is written,” said IT expert Nikola Protrka.

The description is accompanied by the correct Zagreb Archdiocese website, which said that they had contacted customer support in London and started solving the problem. The Zagreb Tourist Board agrees that the inaccurate information should be corrected as soon as possible, especially since St. Mark's church is one of the most popular attractions that tourists always visit during the Upper Town tours. They are fascinated that the church has been standing there since the 13th century. It received its well-known roof in the 19th century.

More news on Zagreb can be found in our special section.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Petra Balija).

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Google in Croatia: Five Years Later, a Change in Course

Five years after entering the Croatian market, Google in Croatia is preparing for a big turnaround. So far, the American company has only imported into Croatia. It started by selling its advertising services to the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) and marketing agencies, continued by selling its office services in the cloud, and selling content from the Google Play store, enabling us to buy Android apps, games, movies and music. This year, Google established co-operation with PBZ and thus entered the Croatian payment market. In the meantime, Google has also collected a lot of information about Croatia, from creating digital maps to offering bus and trams schedules in Zagreb in real time via Google Maps, reports on December 19, 2018.

In these cases, Google in Croatia has only sold services and products that were developed outside. However, no later than the end of next year, the IT giant will support Croatian exports for the first time. Joško Mrndže, the director of Google for the Adriatic region, who was also the first director of Google's office in Croatia, said the next service they would launch in the Croatian market would be Merchant account.

He did not specify when exactly the service would be presented in Croatia. However, given the pace at which Google is expanding in the Croatian market, it is expected that this will happen no later than the end of next year. Having a Merchant account is a prerequisite for Croatian software producers to make money on Android apps, and to be able to sell their apps in the Google Play store directly from Croatia. For now, businesses and companies from Croatia can only give their apps for free; they cannot charge for them directly from Croatia.

Google Play is the largest software store in the world. Apps are being purchased there for Android mobile phones which, according to the Global Report Mobile Market for 2017, are used by more than 2.3 billion users. This year, it is expected that Android will get 300 million new users. This is one of the main reasons why high-tech players from Croatia are currently opening companies abroad.

The fact that they cannot use the Google Merchant account from Croatia is one of the reasons why the company behind the most popular Croatian mobile app with 100 million users, Photomath, has its HQ abroad. That is why the largest Croatian developer of mobile games, Nanobit, was forced to open a company in Budapest three years ago.

Damir Sabol, the founder of Photomath, points out that this used to be a significant problem. "It does not mean so much to us now because we are selling it through our US company, but it was a major obstacle because we could not sell it from Croatia," he says. He adds that others from the IT industry were also forced to set up companies outside of Croatia and says he does not know what prevented Google from enabling Merchant Accounts for companies from Croatia previously.

Luka Abrus, CEO of Five, one of the largest Croatian mobile app producers, says that they mostly work for international clients, so the issue is not a problem for them. “When we do projects for ourselves, we do it through an American company," says Abrus. Tomislav Car, director of Infinum, the largest mobile app company in Croatia, says that the Google service will help a lot when it becomes available. "Until now, people mostly opened companies in Hungary and the United States. I do not know why Google did not make Merchant accounts available to companies in Croatia. I guess we are not large enough market, so it took time for them to come here," says Car.

Tomislav Gojević, the head of development at Nanobit, says that the growth of companies such as Nanobit and Photomath shows that this is no longer the case. "It would make it easier for Nanobit to do business because it would cost us less if we did not have to open a business abroad to work with Google. We will have to consider another factor – avoiding double taxation with the US. If that were to happen, we would probably bring the Google Play business back to the parent company," Gojević concludes.

More news on the IT industry in Croatia can be found in our Business section.

Translated from Poslovni List (reported by Bernard Ivezić).

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Google Trends: A Snapshot of Interest in Croatia, 2004-2018

October 21, 2018 - Google has been collecting data about its users for more than a decade. What are the trends and interest in Croatia since the launch of Google Trends in 2004?

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Google Pay Becomes Available in Croatia

Croatia is the first country in the region to offer the service.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Čevapi And Viral Vids: Can Croatia's World Cup Economic Boom Last?

July 20, 2018 — Croatia’s spectacular showing at the World Cup has ended. The squad dispersed to brief holidays amid transfer rumors and big-money contracts.

Can second place in the World Cup turn around a second-rate economy?

Saturday, 30 June 2018

How Does Google View Croatia? Rather Nicely, It Seems

June 30, 2018 - A nice little Croatian promotion from the biggest website of them all.