Monday, 14 June 2021

Google Launches Platform To Help Croatia's Tourism Sector

June 14th, 2021 - Google has launched the "Travel Insights with Google" platform to support the recovery of Croatia's tourism sector and help it adapt to the current search trends and trends in travel conditions; Google Adriatic said last Tuesday.

The platform includes numerous tools, and Google presented it as part of the UNWTO & Google Acceleration Programme, which focuses on Croatia, Greece, Portugal, and Italy.

In the press release, Google recalled that the tourism sector was one of the largest in the global economy, accounting for 10% of the global GDP, and according to data from 2019, it accounts for one in ten jobs in the world.

Although the tourism industry has been facing great challenges since the start of the pandemic, there are signs of recovery. With the vaccination of an increasing number of people, many countries are starting to open up to international tourism, whose recovery and growth technology will be key. Digital tools represent a safety net for small and medium-sized tourism companies in Europe, enabling them to redirect resources, change business plans and develop continuously during the pandemic, said Google Adriatic.

It added that 86% of the companies in the tourism sector in Europe had increased their use of digital tools, having realized they needed new ways of finding customers and preparation for new tourism interests.

Google's country manager for the Adriatic region, Joško Mrndže, said that the "Travel Insights with Google" platform had localized tools 'Destination Insights' and 'Hotel Insights,' which once again proved Google's dedication to the recovery and development of the tourism sector in Croatia.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Google Data Centre California Covered by 120,000 Varazdin Solar Panels

January 16, 2021 – Just as the white stone of Croatia was once exported globally to help build some of our most iconic buildings, Varazdin solar panels will be used atop the domes of one of the contemporary world's biggest businesses - the Google Data Centre in California

From the statues of Ivan Meštrović to the white stone of Dalmatian mines (like the famous one that still works on the island of Brac), Croatia has a long history of exports within the fields of aesthetics and architecture. A whole new eco-friendly tag is now being added to that reputation as one Croatian company prepares to send 120,000 Varazdin solar panels to cover Google's Data Centre in California. The purchase is part of the company's drive towards relying on carbon-free energy solutions.

The 120,000 Varazdin solar panels will be provided by Croatian company Solvis, who have held a contract with the California-based global search engine for quite some time. The 120,000 Varazdin solar panels will cover newly constructed domes at their Data Collection Centre in California, just a short distance from the company's global headquarters in Silicon Valley.

The contract for the 120,000 Varazdin solar panels and continuing co-operation with Solvis is, according to a recent article in Croatia's Jutarnji List, worth in excess of 10 million Euros.

Search engine Google is currently the most popular of its kind. Although it is based in California in the United States of America, where the 120,000 solar panels from Varazdin will be situated, it has properties all over the world. The purchase of the 120,000 solar panels from Varazdin is part of a drive for Google to equip all its buildings in the world with solar panels. Therefore, if the business between Google and the Varazdin company is successful, it could lead to more orders and an extended collaboration with the northern Croatia company.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Google Search Croatia: What Did Croatia Google Search Most in 2020?

December 9, 2020 – It's been a funny old year. Funny as in unusual. Not so much funny haha. The extraordinary nature of the year is reflected in the most-popular Croatia Google search list for 2020, which has just been published. This year's searches hold a stark contrast to last year's.

In 2019, the end-of-year list for Croatia Google search was dominated by results for sporting fixtures, celebrities and entertainment. Although the EU election results and the long-running teacher's strike in Croatia also scored highly in 2019, this year has been dominated by searches of an even more serious and pressing nature.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the number one Croatia Google search for 2020 was Coronavirus. The global pandemic is likely to top lists all over the world. In this country, its ramifications also created several other high-ranking inclusions on the Croatia Google search list 2020.

Software Google Classroom and Office 365 za škole also feature in the top 10 Croatia Google search list 2020, as parents and students coped with the closure of teaching institutions and prepared to learn and receive lectures online. Another piece of online tech that features in the top 10 was ePropusnica, the travel pass required for inter-regional travel and international travel by car during the various stages of lockdown. If these results are anything to go by, Coronavirus has dominated the lives of Croatians in 2020.

Another big Croatia Google search term in 2020 was Zagreb earthquake. For anyone in Zagreb at the time of the first large tremor, this will also come as little surprise – it was the biggest earthquake experienced for 100 years in Croatia, and it came without warning. Though lasting just a few seconds, there was no reaction more immediate than that of city residents, who ran out into the streets partially clothed. Thousands must have searched the term to find out what was happening, and also after many of the hundreds of aftershocks that have followed.

Here's the list of biggest Croatia Google search terms in 2020

The most-popular Croatia Google search terms in 2020

1. Koronavirus
2. Google Classroom
3. Office 365 za škole
4. Potres Zagreb (Earthquake Zagreb)
5. Kobe Bryant
6. ePropusnica
7. Izbori SAD (US elections)
8. DIP
9. Joe Biden
10. Masoni (Masons)

The most-popular Croatia Google search apps in 2020

1. ePropusnice
2. Zoom
3. Andrija

The most-popular Croatia Google search events in 2020

1. Potres (Earthquake)
2. Izbori SAD (US elections)
3. Izbori (elections) 

Aside from the inclusion of the Masons (freemasons), the list is understandable on an international level. It perhaps tells us something about how Croatians use the search engine and how well they respect it as a source for delivering credible information. With Coronavirus vaccines now announced and, all hope, the biggest potential earthquake out of the way, for now, it's understandable for most Croatians to be looking forward to the return of more trivial matters dominating their Google searches in 2021.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Google Knows about New Exodus: Ireland and Germany No Longer Most Popular, Which Country Is?

ZAGREB, October 18, 2020 - Before we decide on an important step in life, we first Google it, and in short, this is the principle on which a new scientific discipline is based: digital migration - a model for monitoring emigration through social networks.

As reported by Dalmatinski portal, the result of extensive studies completely coincides with the official data on migration, and they also provide much more information on the trends according to which more exoduses from Croatia await us.

Bewerbung, or job application in German, was searched as often this year as in Croatian.

The new scientific discipline of digital demography predicts migration trends based on what is being searched. Ireland is no longer "in", but the coronavirus and the lifting of employment restrictions in some countries, such as Austria, are bringing new trends.

"Those counties that are geographically closest to Austria, such as Međimurje or Karlovac, are most often searched for in Austria, in general, living conditions in Austria, which is again a strong indication of a new wave of emigration, probably this time to Austria", said Tado Jurić. professor of history at the Croatian Catholic University.

Even though the search engine is not lying, few have admitted to us that they have googled outside of Croatia while looking for a job.

Every fifth job seeker in Croatia is looking for a job abroad, of which 80 percent of them googled jobs in Germany.

Ten days after major corruption scandals, job searches outside of Croatia intensified, and it is not only the unemployed who are looking for a job abroad.

"We saw that based on the time when these terms are searched, it is before the working day, somewhere around half past six and around 3 pm", Juric explained.

According to statistics from the German Central Bureau of Statistics, more than 400,000 Croats live and work there, and once they do, Croatian citizens search for language learning and divorce the most.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

 

Friday, 18 September 2020

VIDEOS: Amazing New Google Project Shows Croatian Culture to the World

September 18, 2020 - Incredible new video series explore Croatian culture, its natural assets, and the country's rich traditions, a collaboration with Google

Steeped in history and tradition, Croatian culture is incredibly diverse. Recognised as being of high value to the country's appeal and its understanding of itself, many items from this rich heritage appear on the protected UNESCO list.

The Croatian National Tourist Board has teamed up with Google Arts & Culture and partners The Museum of Arts and the Museum of the Sinjska alka to produce an incredible series of videos that explore this cultural heritage.

From arts & crafts to music and dance, natural assets and architecture, the new videos show off the rich menu of traditions assets that make Croatia such an incredible country. With so many items included on the protected UNESCO list, there's always something more you can learn about Croatia, no matter how many times you visit.

Lace-making, costumes of folklore, ancient instruments, time-honoured recipes, beloved festivities and distinct, regional styles of music are just some of the facets of Croatian culture explored in the videos. Now, people from all over the world can explore Croatian culture and heritage before they even arrive. The menu of videos and accompanying media is presented in both English and Croatian.

Some of the videos in the series are not new, but they have been selected by the Croatian National Tourist Board for inclusion as they are the best at showcasing their particular aspect of Croatian culture. Alongside the video presentations, there are a wealth of photographs and informative texts. You can view the whole new collaboration with Google Arts & Culture here

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Friday, 18 September 2020

Croatian Intangible Heritage: Google and Croatian Tourist Board Cooperate

As Novac/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 17th of September, 2020, the tourist champion of the Mediterranean has a new ace up its sleeve to attract tourists, but also to promote its very own culture. As of today, Croatian Intangible Heritage is available on Google on the pages "Croatia: Hearts & Crafts" in both Croatian and English.

Croatia is one of the countries with the largest number of intangible cultural heritage sites in the whole world. Croatian intangible heritage is under the protection of UNESCO, and is now available on the Internet through the cooperation of Google Arts & Culture and the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB/HTZ).

The Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Museum of the Sinj Alka participated in the project, thus becoming just some of more than 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries participating in the Google Arts & Culture project.

Kristjan Stanicic, the director of the CNTB, says that this is the first large and comprehensive project of the Croatian National Tourist Board and Google which promotes Croatian intangible heritage in an innovative way.

"As part of this project, we've revealed 25 Croatian intangible traditions to the world that will, I'm sure, contribute to further positioning our country as a tourist destination with a rich and diverse offer with emphasis placed on our cultural and historical heritage, which we're all very proud of,'' said Stanicic.

Intangible cultural heritage that refers to traditions or living expressions that are passed from one generation to another are being presented through this joint project in four sections, ie through the knowledge of crafts, folk songs and dances, and then festivities and food.

Amit Sood, director of Google Arts and Culture, says 2020 has been a challenging year for travellers around the world. He is convinced that this project to showcase Croatian intangible heritage through cooperation with Google will bring even more people closer the rich traditions and history of Croatia, which is already known for its natural beauty and picturesque cities.

"Using technology and innovative storytelling techniques, this project in cooperation and under the auspices of the Croatian National Tourist Board is aimed at preserving and promoting selected aspects of Croatian intangible heritage to a global audience. This is also the first global presentation of Croatian intangible heritage on Google Arts & Culture,'' stated Sood.

Some of the examples included in the project are the making of Agave lace, which according to tradition originates from the Canary Islands, and which today in Croatia is made only by nuns from the Benedictine monastery in Hvar Town on the island of the same name. The incredible Sinjska Alka, held every year in August on the anniversary of victory over Turkish invaders in 1715, when 700 Croatian soldiers from Sinj managed to repel the onslaught of 60,000 Turkish soldiers, as well as the traditional Tribunj donkey race, which is held every year on the first day of August.

The project also includes Nijemo kolo from the Dalmatian hinterland, which is unique in that it is performed in a circle or in pairs almost exclusively without any musical accompaniment, klapa singing, traditional polyphonic homophonic singing without the accompaniment of instruments dedicated to love or to the community in which the singers live, the art of preparing strukli, from Zagorje a salty or sweet dish made of dough stuffed with cheese, the most famous specialty of Hrvatsko Zagorje, and the folk singng, becarac, is also described, and much more.

It's also worth mentioning that by using the Google Street View feature, people around the world can virtually navigate through many places, and with just one click they can find out additional information about Croatian treasures or immerse themselves in high-resolution photos. They can visit the glittering coastline and dive into the crystal clear Adriatic sea, explore Korcula, the home of the Moreska sword dance, or travel to Omis, where the Festival of Dalmatian Klapa takes place. They're free to stop by the island of Lastovo, known for its natural beauty, Venetian architecture from the 16th century and a traditional events, and much more.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Google and Institute for Youth Development & Innovation Present Digital Citizen 2.0 Project

February 19, 2020 - Croatian Institute for Youth Development & Innovation (IRIM) received the second financial support from Google for their project Digital Citizen 2.0

The goal of the project Digital Citizen 2.0 is the further development of the digital skills in local communities in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. This project is the continuation of the previous project, also supported by Google, which took place in the last school year in the schools in the region. Over 170 schools received educational technology as a part of this project, including the Boson experimental starter kit for the micro:bit pocket-sized computer, as well as 3D printers. 

At the presentation, Joško Mrndže, manager of Google Adriatic, said that Google believes that the technology needs to find its way into the everyday life of the people. He added that they're constantly inspired by the way people and children use technology in the search for knowledge, to research their passions, and to make their life easier using the technology which already is all around us. He complimented Nenad Bakić and his team in IRIM for the impressive results they were able to achieve with the limited funds they've received. 

Liza Belozerova, Economic Opportunity EMEA & Africa Lead, presented Google.org's aim to promote those programs which use technology to tackle social challenges. The development of digital skills is one of the significant fields of interest for Google, and they're proud to be able to support IRIM and their programs, which remove the barriers of learning digital skills. 

Nenad Bakić, IRIM founder and a well-known Croatian businessman and philanthropist, highlighted that the citizens showed a lot of interest in the new digital content, which was provided in their local libraries. That interest was not only by the younger generation; the older citizens that visit the libraries, as hubs of learning and culture, also wanted to see the new technologies. During the project, IRIM organized 83 workshops, educating almost 400 librarians to work with the public on those new technologies. 1512 free workshops were held in the libraries all over Croatia, with over 13 thousand people participating. Two librarians and an advanced user of the technology provided through this project were also present at the promotion and spoke about their experiences. The new project, Digital Citizen 2.0 will further support the transformation of the public libraries into digital centers for innovation and digital skills development in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. That will be achieved through the development of new educational material, increasing the number of libraries included, as well as through the donations of new equipment. 

Croatian Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak and the US Ambassador to Croatia, Robert Kohorst, showed their support for the co-operation between Google and Institute for Youth Innovation by attending the event. 

Google attempts to assist the Croatian companies to take advantage of the potentials of the digital world, so in 2016 they started an online Digital Skills learning platform as a part of their program Grow with Google. They partnered with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Algebra, and Croatian Employers Association to further the initiative, and that lead to over 150 workshops being held all over Croatia, with more than 15,000 people learning new skills through Grow with Google program. Find out more at https://digitalnagaraza.withgoogle.com/.

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).

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Where is... Croatia?

Google offers insights into yearly search trends. You can look at global trends, and more importantly and more tellingly you can search by countries.

I looked first into Croatia's search trends and found that other than the World Cup the two most searched terms were Istanbul Convention and The Bride of Istanbul. A layer of sports, a layer of something that was supposed to be a simple continuation of human rights movement aimed at helping women to live a life free from violence turned into heavy ideological battle and layer of Turkish soap operas. Don't really know what to make of all of that.

Anyhow, turning to the search trends in 2018 in USA revealed that the most popular search terms were voting, how to vote, where to vote and hurricanes, as well as the World Cup. I assume that search trends for the USA are the most comprehensive, as I have not gone country by country to verify this claim and offer the most varied results. One of the categories is named “Where is…”. The number one, the most searched place in the USA is Villanova University, whose Men's Basketball team won the NCAA National Championship in 2018.

However, the number two, the second most searched place among the Google users, which is pretty much all the internet users in USA, is Croatia. That's right! Where is Croatia?

Now, what to make of this. We can assume that almost nobody in the USA knows where Croatia is. I would say that this is probably correct to an extent, but not entirely. Americans are generally not famous as the greatest connoisseurs of geography, but then again Croatia is a small country in South East Europe and they generally do not have loads of reasons to look up where it is on the map. Until this year. This year Croatia was a runner up in the World Cup, the second-best football team in world, in the greatest sporting event on the planet.

That prompted millions, tens of millions of Americans to search for Croatia and to learn a thing or two about Croatia. That is simply amazing. Single-handedly, Croatian football players have placed their country at the top of the world’s interest, in a very positive manner, and now we have a statistical proof of that.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article entitled “What is our famous?“, in which I've asked myself and the readers just that, what are we famous for? And besides the natural beauty, which is unarguably a very limited and perishable resource, and not unique by any stretch of the imagination, there was little evidence that others consider us famous for almost anything else. Until football, that is. We are now officially famous as a footballing nation.

I do not pertain to know exactly how to translate this into marketable content which will drive both investments and tourism into Croatia, but it must be one of leading stories, something akin to New Zealand’s All Blacks, which is also famous among other things for its natural beauty, that should be central to the branding of the country.

The message about Croatia’s Vatreni (national football team), and their success, alongside the visual of the checkered dress carries intrinsically within it all the promotion emotions of actualization, success, happiness, elation and has a true human connection. And the future is going to be about emotions, and this story has all the right elements to it. With some of the traditional tourist markets coming back to the scene, after a few years of turmoil, we can’t be relying anymore on the prevention emotions of safety and security and rather non-descript emotion of natural beauty.

People are looking for more, looking for ways to better themselves, to achieve the most out of their human potential, and what better way than to invite them to come to the most sporting country in the world, to the country that has written some of the most amazing sporting stories of the XXI century?

Fixing Croatia's overburdensome bureaucracy, easing one of the most heavily taxed systems in the world and increasing trust in the judiciary should happen alongside as well, but let’s focus now on the promotion of what is easy to promote - the greatest sporting nation in the world.

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 Poslovni.hr 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).

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