GOOGLE LAUNCHED its first Digital Garage in the UK at an event this morning in West Yorkshire.
The scheme is part of a wider initiative which it is hoped will help 200,000 British businesses learn digital skills, from coding good practice to using the internet to grow.
Google also plans to invest in computer science training for 25,000 teachers. The scheme, in partnership with Code Club Pro, Computing at Schools and Raspberry Pi, will be held at the Garage and local schools. Also included will be development of training resources and a donation of Raspberry Pi computers.
This comes a day after the BBC announced the Make It Digital initiative to bring its own BBC Micro Bit machine to one million school children.
This echoes the rollout of the BBC Micro in 1982, which was designed and built by Acorn, the company that became ARM, which is once again partnering the BBC initiative.
The Digital Garage event, attended by shadow chancellor Ed Balls, himself a Leeds constituency MP, and Eileen Naughton, Google's UK & Ireland boss, forms part of a Google commitment to train one million Europeans in crucial digital skills by 2016, which includes a European Online Training Hub.
Naughton said: "While the majority of UK small businesses recognise the importance of having a website and using basic digital tools, less than 30 percent of SMEs have an effective online presence. We want to help jumpstart the other 70 percent.
"We believe that giving small business owners access to expert advice will help strengthen the UK’s reputation as one of the most advanced digital economies, and cement its place as the most advanced e-commerce market in the world."
Naughton went on to emphasise the importance of the next generation learning the skills associated with the digital age, but pointed out that primary age pupils doing computer science are only as good as the teachers teaching them.
Balls added: “It’s really important that small businesses here in West Yorkshire can compete in the digital age. So it’s fantastic to see a project like the Digital Garage bringing digital skills to small businesses across our region.
"All the evidence shows that businesses with a strong online presence grow faster and generate new jobs more quickly. So this programme is not only good for local businesses individually but will be a real benefit for the local and regional economy."
The Google Garage at Leeds Docks is the first of what will be five such spaces around the UK as part of an initial six-month pilot.
But as one door opens, ironically, another one closes. Google is to close its Google Code hosting service, acknowledging that most of its projects had already been migrated to GitHub.
The final closure came as a result of concerns that the remaining code on the site was mostly spam and abuse. So a bit like MySpace, really.
"As developers migrated away from Google Code, a growing share of the remaining projects were spam or abuse. Lately, the administrative load has consisted almost exclusively of abuse management," said Google.
"After profiling non-abusive activity on Google Code, it has become clear to us that the service simply isn’t needed anymore."
From today, no new projects can be created. The site becomes read-only on 24 August and will close on 25 January 2016, although downloading tarballs will still be available for the rest of 2016.
Google Universal Music App (sound familiar?) is designed as a proof-of-concept that demonstrates how a single codebase can be used to create apps that work across Android, Android Wear, Android Auto and Google Cast.
The app is certainly not designed for primetime, but rather as a teardown opportunity for developers to learn how to save themselves a whole bunch of time and effort as the Android ecosystem grows. µ
Upcoming flagships might not switch to USB-C after all
Netflix without the chill
The best things come in the same sized package as last time
'Open source' and 'Microsoft' in same sentence shock