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Preview: The Official Google Blog

The Official Google Blog

Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture.

Last Build Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2018 21:45:00 -0000


A new year for Chrome videoA new year for Chrome videoDirector, Chrome Media

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 21:45:00 -0000

Every day, people watch 30,000 years worth of video in Chrome. That’s a lot of video! Watch time grew significantly over the last year—not only because of viral YouTube hits, but also because of the creation of new video experiences around the world.For example, Jio Cinema and Forbes give people high-quality video without requiring them to install an app. In India, Voot Go allows bus riders to watch web video on their devices without an internet connection. And sites like WITHIN let people explore 360-degree videos not just from their mobile device or laptop, but also in virtual reality.Web videos are pretty amazing, and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in Chrome to make them pop. For example, Chrome’s Data Saver helps you enjoy high quality video without racking up a huge bill—last year alone, it saved people more than 200 petabytes of mobile video data, enough to store 1,000 copies of all the books ever written, in every language. These data savings let you watch high-quality video, even on poor networks. And we’re going to save even more — Google as part of the Alliance for Open Media is working on a new way to deliver even higher quality video while using less data.Because people are using Chrome to watch videos in new formats and in new places, they need an easy way to hit play or pause, rewind or fast forward. That’s why last year, we added picture-in-picture playback to Chrome on Android, and better video and audio controls from both the lock screen and notifications. These changes let you enjoy your media while doing other things, makes it easier to know what’s playing, and helps resolve the “Where’s the stop button!?” panic when you forget to plug in your headphones at the library. Chrome also now helps you avoid unwanted noises by letting you mute sites, and later this year, we’ll give you even more control by letting you choose which sites can autoplay.Looking forward, to support the next generation of video experiences, we’ve begun adding support for High Dynamic Range (HDR). This means you can get vibrant colors, darker blacks, and brighter whites from the latest HDR displays. HDR support is now available on Windows 10, and more platforms are coming soon. Also coming soon is the official release of VR on the web, and after enjoying the first immersive web experiments we’re looking forward to what sites do in the coming year.The Chrome media team’s mission is to help the world enjoy the best quality video experience on the web, and 2017 was a big year for us. We have even more exciting improvements in the works for 2018, and we can’t wait for you to try them out! [...]Chrome is playing more videos now than a year ago. Let’s look at how media has improved in Chrome over the last year and what’s coming in 2018.

Tools for every school: G Suite for Education updatesTools for every school: G Suite for Education updatesDirector of Product Management

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:45:00 -0000

Editor's note:This week our Google for Education team will be joining thousands of educators at the BETT educational technology conference in London. Follow along on The Keyword and Twitter for the latest news and updates.Education is evolving, and G Suite for Education is too. Today, we’re announcing two exciting updates: a new set of free features designed to strengthen security for all G Suite for Education users, as well as a new edition called G Suite Enterprise for Education. The tools in this new edition offer large educational institutions some of the same capabilities used by enterprises to meet their more complex technology needs.New security features coming to G Suite for EducationThese new features will bring valuable security tools to the 80 million teachers and students who rely on G Suite for Education, at no additional cost:Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Drive and Gmail gives admins greater control and visibility in protecting their sensitive school data, and the ability to protect users from accidentally sharing confidential information externally. G Suite’s DLP protections include a library of predefined content detections to make setup easy and advanced capabilities such as OCR recognition of content stored in images. Security key management and enforcement offers an additional layer of security for user accounts by requiring a physical key. Admins can now require their institution to log in using security keys to further secure the organization against phishing attacks. Security Keys plug directly into a laptop or pair with a mobile device using Bluetooth or NFC, instead of receiving a code via text. Admins will also be able to manage the deployment of Security Keys and view usage reports, keeping data security all in one place.Hosted Gmail S/MIMEgives institutions working with sensitive information an option to digitally sign and encrypt emails. It’s easy to manage for administrators and seamless for end users. It also adds verifiable account-level signatures authentication to better protect against email spoofing. And with Hosted S/MIME, incoming encrypted mail still benefits from Gmail’s extensive protections against spam/phishing/malware.Meet G Suite Enterprise for EducationWe’ve heard from dozens of large institutions—from private and public colleges and universities, to school districts across the country— that they want access to more advanced tools to meet their technology needs. Whether it’s advanced data and device controls or enterprise-grade communication capabilities, we are excited to be offering an entirely new solution for these customers. G Suite Enterprise for Education will offer many of the same capabilities available to G Suite business customers in addition to future features geared towards the specific needs of educational institutions.Here’s a closer look at the capabilities available in G Suite Enterprise for Education. Over time, we expect to add more tools that are geared towards the needs of larger institutions:Advanced mobile device managementhelps large organizations enable proactive management of mobile BYOD devices. With new device rules for Mobile Management, G Suite admins can now define custom rules that trigger on device events, like device updates or ownership changes, and have associated actions. Additionally, admins can review audits and reports of activities on these devices, as well as securely managework apps on a user’s device while leaving personal apps under the user’s control. Cloud Searchprovides a unified search experience across G Suite, helping users spend less time searching for information and more time deriving insights. Powered by machine intelligence, Cloud Search surfaces personalized information that helps users stay on top of important work, prepare for upcoming meetings or even suggest files that need attention.Gmail logs analysis in BigQuerycontain information that can help education administrators diagnose issues or unlock insights. Admins will be able to run sophisticated, high-performing c[...]

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“Ok Google, read my book”... Introducing audiobooks on Google Play“Ok Google, read my book”... Introducing audiobooks on Google PlayHead of Product Management, Google Play Books

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:30:00 -0000

"Read more." Every year it’s one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. But with all the time spent battling traffic, working out, or picking up groceries, there often doesn’t seem to be a minute to simply sit down with a book.

With audiobooks on Google Play, rolling out today in 45 countries and nine languages, you can turn your time stuck in traffic, on the treadmill, or waiting in line into reading time. Find your next great read at an affordable price, and enjoy it across Android, iOS and the web with Google Play Books, as well as on devices that include the Google Assistant, like Google Home and many others. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Listen without a subscription. On Google Play, you can buy a single audiobook at an affordable price, with no commitments. You can also get a free preview of the book to make sure you’re hooked by the story and enjoy listening to the narrator’s voice. And share your favorite audiobook with everyone in the family through Family Library for no additional fee—even if they’re using a different device.
  • Enjoy your audiobook with your Google Assistant.Just say “Ok Google, read my book” to listen to your favorite audiobook hands free with the Google Assistant on your phone or speaker, like Google Home. Try “Ok Google, who is the author?” if you need a refresher, or “Ok Google, stop playing in 20 minutes” to set a timer for bedtime reading. For now, the Google Assistant integration with audiobooks is available on Android phones and smart speakers globally in English. It will be coming soon to the Assistant on Android Auto in the U.S.
  • Weave reading into your day across multiple devices. Start your morning by listening to “Ready Player One” with the Assistant on Google Home, and continue listening with the Google Play Books app on your Pixel. You can pick up where you left off no matter what device you're using, with the Assistant or the Google Play Books app—on Android, iOS, Chromecast, Android Wear, Android Auto or even your laptop. 
Now when you want to solve the mystery with “Magpie Murders,” learn “Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” from Neil Degrasse Tyson or spend a Sunday with Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle and friends in “The Wisdom of Sundays,” all you have to do is select and settle into the sounds of your new favorite book.
(image) Find your next great audiobook at an affordable price, on Google Play across Android, iOS, the web and on devices that include the Google Assistant

Artists and entrepreneurs ignite creativity at Campus MadridArtists and entrepreneurs ignite creativity at Campus MadridArtrepreneur in Residence, Google for EntrepreneursHead of Campus Madrid, Spain

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 09:00:00 -0000

Last week, we hosted the first Campus Creativity Week at Campus Madrid, one of Google for Entrepreneurs’ six spaces for entrepreneurs to learn, share ideas, and launch startups. Over 100 artists and entrepreneurs gathered from across Spain to explore how creative minds can use technology and inspire one another as they create art and build businesses.Artists and entrepreneurs share a similar challenge—to create something new with limited resources, no instruction manual, and the power of their creative thinking. For seven days, we celebrated unique approaches to this challenge, with a a mind-bending series of artist exhibitions, creative thinking workshops, and community-inspired artwork. We’re grateful to each one of the participating artists and entrepreneurs for sharing their time, expertise and talents with our Campus Madrid community. Campus_Madrid_14.jpgArtist Carla Fuentes painted a mural in the Campus Residency working area. “We need more women in the world of programming. And the world needs more women in management positions. This mural represents all the women who fight in this world.”Campus_Madrid_3.jpgIllustrator Celia You from Mumablue, a Campus Madrid resident startup that promotes reading among children by letting them be heroes in their own storybook. Celia’s teammate Eduardo Gilsanz remarked on his first experience with Tilt Brush, “Campus Creativity Week changed my perception of the art-technology relationship, and how to apply these new advances to our startup.”Campus_Madrid_4.jpgArtist Maria del Prado and photographer Juan Herrero collaborated on a daily series titled “Crystal Startups.” To represent that ideas take time to crystallize, each day they created installations of objects (inspired by Campus Residency startups) undergoing crystallization. Valeet, the startup represented by the red car above, is a resident company building an on-demand valet parking and car services app.Campus_Madrid_.jpgCampus Madrid members interact with a temporary installation of the Google Arts & Culture’s X Degrees of Separation, which uses machine learning to find visual patterns between any two artifacts, connecting the two through a chain of artworks. For example, it could connect a 4,000 year old clay figure and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”Campus_Madrid_8.jpgA Gaudi-inspired weekend design-thinking workshop engaged artists and entrepreneurs in small working groups and challenged them to address two prompts: “How can entrepreneurs be more creative?” and “How can artists be more entrepreneurial?”Campus_Madrid_10.jpgMuralist Antonyo Marest creates artwork inspired by the ongoing talks at the Gaudi-inspired workshop.Campus_Madrid_6.jpgSculptor Juan Garaizabal has been commissioned to create many monuments around the world. On stage at Campus Creativity Week, he demonstrates how Tilt Brush enables him to push his artistic limits and prototype even more rapidly than with his typical steel tools.Campus_Madrid_2.jpgCreative mind Eduardo Santamaria adds some flair to Campus Madrid’s community stairs using artist Antonyo Marest’s patterns.Campus_Madrid_7.jpgParticipants of the Gaudi Inspired Design Thinking Challenge in front of Campus Madrid. Artist Guillermo Fornes used the walls to project his video ORIGEN, which shows biodegradable ink flowing through a river, referencing what it’s like for entrepreneurs to pour their energy into a startup idea and grow their business into something bigger.Campus_Madrid_5.jpgMasaaki Hasegawa Campus Madrid’s external windows as his canvas with his calligraphic script.Since we launched Campus Madrid in 2015, we’ve welcomed over 38,000 members, with startups working in fieldsas diverse as ecommerce, education, data analytics, and health. Six Madrid-based startups participate in Campus Residency, a six-month growth program for dozens of startups across our network that offers personalized support and unique access to Google resour[...]

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Wisconsin Cheese Mart makes a comeback—online and on the blockWisconsin Cheese Mart makes a comeback—online and on the block

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 18:00:00 -0000

In 2003, Wisconsin Cheese Mart was up for sale and in danger of closing. When Ken McNulty, an Air Force veteran and native Wisconsinite, heard the news, he and his family decided to take a big risk. They purchased the small shop, which has been a Milwaukee cornerstone since 1938, and set out to revitalize it.

At the time, only a fraction of sales were online. After investing in their online presence, Wisconsin Cheese Mart now generates over 75 percent of its business through online sales and provides cheese lovers across the United States with the largest selection of Wisconsin cheese in the world.

Watch the video above to learn more about how Wisconsin Cheese Mart collaborates with local farmers and factories, and connects with customers on the web.

(image) Ken McNulty revitalized a beloved cheese shop with some help from his neighbors and the web.

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Making France’s digital potential work for everyoneMaking France’s digital potential work for everyoneCEO

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:35:00 -0000

When people think of “digital champions,” it’s natural to think of a highly trained computer scientist creating new technology.  There are many other kinds of digital champions, however. They can be small business owners accelerating their growth online or people finding better ways to do their jobs. To do this, people now need to easily learn digital skills throughout their lives.  That’s important for countries as well as individuals. According to the European Commission, France ranks just 16th in the EU’s Digital Economy and Society Index. Yet France has all the assets to succeed. It has top engineers, great entrepreneurs, one of the best education systems in the world, great infrastructure, and successful global companies. Studies suggest that if France fully seized its digital potential, it could earn up to 10 percent of GDP from digital technology by 2025, creating 200-250 billion euros’ worth of additional value per year.Achieving this will take significant digital transformation for both France’s citizens and its businesses. With the right approach and infrastructure, that transformation doesn’t need to be hard. Over the last three years, we’ve trained more than 3 million Europeans in digital skills. In France alone, more than 230,000 French students and professionals have attended digital-skills training sessions given by our teams and partners. We now want to do more.  Grow with Google in France—“Les Ateliers Numériques Google”We will open four local Google Hubs called “Les Ateliers Numériques” across France, run by a network of local partners from the digital sector. These physical spaces will provide a long-term Google presence in French cities, with a dedicated team setting up free trainings in online skills and digital literacy. With our partners, we intend to help people find better jobs, keep their families safe online, and develop their businesses or careers.  Brittany will be our pilot region, with the opening of a Google Hub in Rennes during first half of 2018; three other hubs will follow. This will bring the best digital training within easy reach of more than 100,000 people every year.A new research center dedicated to AIFrance has produced some truly heroic figures of science—like Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Blaise Pascal and Sophie Germain—and its educational system still produces amazing researchers. So it’s only natural that we set up a new research team in Google France around the age’s defining technology: artificial intelligence. Our new research team will work closely with the AI research community in France on issues like health, science, art and the environment. They will publish their research and open-source the code they  produce, so that everyone can use these insights to solve their own problems, in their own way.Oh, and we’re going to need a bigger office, too.To keep pace with this digital growth, we need to expand our presence in France. We announced recently that our staff in France will increase by 50 percent, bringing our total workforce to more than 1,000 Googlers. Our offices will also grow by 6,000 m2, via new buildings connected to our office today.More than ever, we’re committed to help France find new ways to grow in this digital era—whether through helping people retrain, or growing a business, or using amazing talent to research and build new products for the world. We hope these new investments will help the country, academia and local businesses turn France into a true digital champion.[...]

Augmented reality on the web, for everyoneAugmented reality on the web, for everyoneUX Engineer, Daydream WebXR TeamUX Lead, Daydream WebXR Team

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 17:00:00 -0000

In the next few months, there will be hundreds of millions of Android and iOS devices that are able to provide augmented reality experiences - meaning you'll be able to look at the world through your phone, and place digital objects wherever you look. To help bring this to as many users as possible, we've been exploring how to bring augmented reality to the web platform, so someday anyone with a browser can access this new technology. In this post, we’ll take a look at a recent prototype we built to explore how AR content could work across the web, from today’s mobile and desktop browsers, to future AR-enabled browsers. Techies, take note: the last section of the post focuses on technical details, so stick around if you want to dig deeper.How the prototype worksArticle is a 3D model viewer that works for all browsers. On desktop, users can check out a 3D model—in this case a space suit—by dragging to rotate, or scrolling to zoom. On mobile the experience is similar: users touch and drag to rotate the model, or drag with two fingers to zoom in.The desktop model viewing experienceTo help convey that the model is 3D and interactive—and not just a static image—the model rotates slightly in response to the user scrolling.With augmented reality, the model comes alive. The unique power of AR is to blend digital content with the real world. So we can, for example, surf the web, find a model, place it in our room to see just how large it truly is, and physically walk around it.When Article is loaded on an AR-capable device and browser, an AR button appears in the bottom right. Tapping on it activates the device camera, and renders a reticle on the ground in front of the user. When the user taps the screen, the model sprouts from the reticle, fixed to the ground and rendered at its physical size. The user can walk around the object and get a sense of scale and immediacy that images and video alone cannot convey.Article’s AR interface as viewed on an AR-capable tabletTo reposition the model, users can tap-and-drag, or drag with two fingers to rotate it. Subtle features such as shadows and even lighting help to blend the model with its surroundings.Moving and rotating the modelSmall touches make it easy to learn how to use AR. User testing has taught us that clear interface cues are key to helping users learn how AR works. For example, while the user waits momentarily for the system to identify a surface that the model can be placed upon, a circle appears on the floor, tilting with the movement of the device. This helps introduce the concept of an AR interface, with digital objects that intersect with the physical environment (also known as diagetic UI).Diagetic activity indicators hint at the AR nature of the experienceUnder the hood (and on to the technical stuff!)We built our responsive model viewer with Three. Three makes the low-level power of WebGL more accessible to developers, and it has a large community of examples, documentation and Stack Overflow answers to help ease learning curves.To ensure smooth interactions and animations, we finessed factors that contribute to performance:Using a low polygon-count model;Carefully controlling the number of lights in the scene;Decreasing shadow resolution when on mobile devices;Rendering the emulator UI (discussed below) using shaders that utilize signed distance functions to render their effects at infinite resolution in an efficient manner.To accelerate iteration times, we created a desktop AR emulator that enables us to test UX changes on desktop Chrome. This makes previewing changes nearly instant. Before the emulator, each change—no matter how minor—had to be loaded onto a connected mobile device, taking upwards of 10 seconds for each build-push-reload cycle. With the emulator we can instead preview these tweaks on desktop almost instantly, and then push to device only when needed.The emulator is b[...]

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Searches up: Beach Boy gets the grade and other trends from this weekSearches up: Beach Boy gets the grade and other trends from this weekManaging Editor

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:00:00 -0000

Wouldn’t It Be Nice to get an A? Don’t Worry Baby, you’ll always have a chance to change that F.

That’s what Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys did this week when he went back to his high school for extra credit, turning an “F” he received in songwriting into an “A” …  58 years later later. A wave of searches about Wilson’s academic endeavors ensued: “Brian Wilson grade change,” “Brian Wilson back to school,” and “Where did Beach Boy Brian Wilson attend high school?” People are curious about where other well-known figures went to school as well. The most searched famous people and “high school” are Donald Trump, Kylie Jenner, James Franco, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian.

Here’s a peek at a few other top searches from this week, with data from Google News Lab.

  • Ballistic missile threat in Hawaii: On the day of the accidental false alarm, search interest for “fallout shelters” in Hawaii increased by nearly 10,000 percent. 
  • Counting down to the Winter Olympics: Searches for Katie Couric were 900 percent higher than her co-host Mike Tirico, and as of this week, the top-searched Olympic sports are ice hockey, snowboarding and figure skating. 
  • Shaking things up in Michigan: An unusual earthquake in Michigan turned out to be caused by a meteor. Searches for "meteor" were on a streak—in fact, they were 30 times higher than “Michigan earthquake.”
  • When life gives you snow, make snow cream: A mixture of snow and a dairy-based liquid makes this winter sweet treat, and search interest is on the rise. In the U.S., searches for “how to make snow cream” were 290 percent higher than “how to make ice cream.”
That’s it for this week, God Only Knows what trends will emerge next week.

(image) Check out what’s trending on Google with a look at a few of the top searches from this week.

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Looking beyond code to make the future work for everyoneLooking beyond code to make the future work for everyoneCEO

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:30:00 -0000

It’s clear that people need more options to thrive in the digital world. The next generation of workers will depend on how we evolve education and tech in the coming years.When you think of how to help our workforce thrive and find opportunities in the digital world, the first word that often comes to mind is “code.” Nearly every digital-skills program over the past decade has focused on computer science, with a lot of emphasis on young students. Coding, of course, is vital and a core skill for America to invest in. Google has focused resources and employee time helping people from all backgrounds to code—from helping introduce students to the basics, to offering 10,000 free Udacity courses in coding for apps, to training other businesses in how to become experts in programming artificial intelligence. All of this will help meet the growing need for workers who can write the software that will power everyone’s businesses. And it will help countless people more move into in-demand, high paying careers.But the focus on code has left a potentially bigger opportunity largely unexplored. In the past, people were educated, and learned job skills, and that was enough for a lifetime. Now, with technology changing rapidly and new job areas emerging and transforming constantly, that’s no longer the case. We need to focus on making lightweight, continuous education widely available. This is just as crucial to making sure that everyone can find opportunities in the future workplace. There are two areas that are relevant here. The first is around basic digital skills training. An office admin, for example, now needs to use online programs to run budgets, scheduling, accounting and more. While digital technology should be empowering people, it can often alienate them from their own jobs.Some of these skills didn’t exist five years ago, yet workers are today expected to have them. A recent report by the Brookings Institute says that jobs in the U.S. requiring “medium-digital” skills in America have grown from 40 percent of jobs in 2002 to 48 percent of jobs in 2016.The digital skills necessary to do these jobs are far easier to learn than code, and should be easier to deliver at scale. For example, we rolled out a “Grow with Google” program, and partnered with Goodwill last year to incorporate digital skills training into its already amazing training infrastructure for job seekers. One trainee spoke of the value of her own experiences. “Before I learned digital skills, I felt unsure of myself,” she says. “Now I feel confident. You have to feel confident in what you do in order to be successful and move on in life.”Through these trainings, people learn about using technology to research, to plan events, analyze data and more. They don’t require a formal degree or certificate. We think there’s great scope to expand this model, and teach hard and soft skills that can empower a workforce that has access to constant, accredited learning opportunities as job requirements change.Second, we have a huge opportunity to rethink training for jobs that are core to the digital economy, but that don’t require coding. IT support is a clear opportunity, here. Just as anyone has a clear path to becoming an auto-mechanic, we need a similar path to the 150,000 open positions for IT support, in which people maintain the machines and software that underpin technology services. Yet no training today efficiently connects people to that opportunity. We learned this ourselves through an IT-support apprenticeship program we offered, with the Bay Area’s Year Up job-training program. Over 90 percent of the young adults met or exceed Google’s expectations as apprentices, but we noticed they didn’t return to apply for full-time jobs. It turned out that the standard, two-year computer science degree cost too [...]

Tea time with a touch of technologyTea time with a touch of technologyManaging Editor

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 02:00:00 -0000

Some of the world’s best tea is grown in the Darjeeling district of India, seen here against the backdrop of the Himalayas.Editor’s Note: As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we spoke with Parvez Gupta, the co-founder of Udyan Tea in Siliguri, India, to find out how he uses technology to bring the best teas to tea lovers in India and beyond. After working for a multinational firm in Singapore, you returned home to start a business in India. Tell us about your motivations. I grew up in Siliguri, which is part of the Darjeeling district of West Bengal—where the world’s finest tea is grown. I love tea and I enjoyed savoring it from a young age. Being in Siliguri, I’m at the source of tea production, and I’ve been able to use the internet to bring fresher and better teas to people everywhere.My father was also a huge inspiration. Growing up, I saw him build multiple businesses from the ground up and he inspired me to become an entrepreneur.Udyan tea co-founder Parvez Gupta is passionate about sharing his Darjeeling tea culture with the rest of the country and the world.Why tea and why Udyan?My friend, Punit Poddar, and I started Udyan Tea in 2012. Punit is also deeply passionate about tea. He has been a tea taster for the past ten years and his family have been in the tea business for more than five decades. During our travels in India, we realized there was a severe lack of good quality tea in other parts of the country. As natives of Siliguri, we expect every cup of tea to be a great one. But we discovered that most good quality tea is exported to foreign markets.We worked together to address the gap in the domestic market — too many firms catered to demand for fine teas abroad, but not at home. So Udyan Tea was born. Udyan means “garden” and that’s what we aim to provide, the finest tea from the garden to your cup. We select the best tea based on freshness, authenticity and quality. Udyan co-founder and tea taster Punit Poddar hails from a family that's been in the tea business for more than 50 years.How do you find that Google helps your business?The internet has opened up an entire new base of consumers to businesses of every kind. Before the internet, you could only transact with local communities. Today, with e-commerce, the possibilities are limitless. We are primarily focused on the Indian market, and close to 80% of our revenue is driven from within the country.  We depend entirely on the internet for selling our products, and we rely heavily on Google search to generate traffic to our business.AdWords has been indispensable for generating new leads for us. We also use Search, Analytics, and Google My Business. We’ve also used Translate tools to close deals with customers who do not speak English at all, which is quite amazing if you think about it. So far, we have shipped products to over 25 countries!Can you tell us about how your business has helped your community? We purchase teas from a number of small growers on an ongoing basis. This helps them fetch the best prices for their teas by eliminating middlemen and contributes to their sustainability. We also serve as consultants to other tea businesses and cafes, meaning we help other companies succeed in the tea business as well!"Udyan [उद्यान] means garden in Hindi, and that’s what we represent," explains Parvez Gupta, "tea fresh from the gardens".[...]Find out how Udyan Tea makes use of modern technology to help bring the best teas to customers across the world.

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Using TensorFlow to keep farmers happy and cows healthyUsing TensorFlow to keep farmers happy and cows healthyCTOCEO

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 20:20:00 -0000

Editor’s Note: TensorFlow, our open source machine learning library, is just that—open to anyone. Companies, nonprofits, researchers and developers have used TensorFlow in some pretty cool ways, and we’re sharing those stories here on Keyword. Today we hear from Yasir Khokhar and Saad Ansari, founders of Connecterra, who are applying machine learning to an unexpected field: dairy farming.

Connecterra means “connected earth.” We formed the company based on a simple thesis: if we could use technology to make sense of data from the natural world, then we could make a real impact in solving the pressing problems of our time.

It all started when Yasir moved to a farm in the Netherlands, near Amsterdam. We had both spent many years working in the technology industry, and realized that the dairy industry was a sector where technology could make a dramatic impact. For instance, we saw that the only difference between cows that produce 30 liters of milk a day and those that produce 10 liters was the animal’s health. We wondered—could technology make cows healthier, and in doing so, help farmers grow their businesses?

That thinking spurred us to start working weekends and evenings on what would eventually become Ida—a product that uses TensorFlow, Google’s machine learning framework, to understand and interpret the behavior of cows and give farmers insights about their herds’ health.

Ida learns patterns about a cow’s movements from a wearable sensor. We use this data to train machine learning models in TensorFlow, and ultimately, Ida can detect activities from eating, drinking, resting, fertility, temperature and more. It’s not just tracking this information, though. We use Ida to predict problems early, detecting cases like lameness or digestive disorders, and provide recommendations to farmers on how to keep their cows healthy and improve the efficiency of their farms. Using these insights, we're already seeing a 30 percent increase in dairy production on our customers’ farms.

By 2050, the world will have 9 billion people, and we need a 60 percent increase in food production to feed them. Dairy farmer assistance is just one example of how AI could be used to help solve important issues like this. And at Connecterra, by using AI to create solutions to big problems, we think technology can make a real impact.

(image) Connecterra is using TensorFlow to help dairy farmers keep their cows healthy and farms running efficiently.

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VMware puts its focus on Android enterpriseVMware puts its focus on Android enterpriseDirector

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 16:00:00 -0000

Over the last year, we’ve added a number of new features to Android's modern management modes to enhance security and simplify deployment for IT admins.

Our partners—leaders in the enterprise mobility ecosystem—haven’t been standing still either. We love to support and recognize the great work they’re doing to help customers adopt Android's latest capabilities.

For example, enterprise mobility management (EMM) partner VMware recently announced it’s shifting the default deployment model in the next major release of the VMware AirWatch console to Android enterprise. Customers that use AirWatch to manage their organization’s Android devices will benefit from our modern APIs that support the work profile and device owner mode.

As VMware notes on its blog, admins can trust the work profile to keep company data separate and secure on employees’ devices. Team members can turn off work apps for those times they want some work-life balance, while also gaining the assurance their personal data remains private. For companies that deploy their own devices, VMware and other partners support our strong and flexible tools for management.

We're excited to see partners like VMware help customers embrace the latest Android has to offer. For those interested, VMware has released a walkthrough guide, which is available in VMware TestDrive, that's a good place for customers to get started.

VMware’s transition to Android enterprise is a great example of how one of our partners is embracing the modern APIs and latest capabilities of our secure and flexible platform. We’re looking forward to seeing further innovations from our partners that will accelerate what businesses can accomplish with enterprise mobility.


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Huawei to integrate Android Messages across their Android smartphone portfolioHuawei to integrate Android Messages across their Android smartphone portfolioHead of RCS

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 03:00:00 -0000

Over the coming months, Huawei will make it even easier for hundreds of millions of people to express themselves via mobile messaging by integrating Android Messages, powered by RCS, across their Android smartphone portfolio.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, Huawei devices will now offer a richer native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over Wi-Fi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on Huawei’s devices through RCS business messaging. And Huawei users will be able to make video calls directly from Android Messages through carrier ViLTE and Google Duo.

In addition, to help carriers accelerate deployment of RCS messaging across their networks, we’re collaborating with Huawei to offer theJibe RCS cloud and hub solution to current and prospective carrier partners, as part of an integrated solution with Huawei's current infrastructure. This will enable a faster process for RCS services so more subscribers can get access to RCS messaging.

Huawei will begin integrating Android Messages across their portfolio in the coming months. For more information, see the following release.

(image) Huawei devices will now offer a richer native messaging and communications experience, powered by RCS and Android Messages

The She Word: going behind hardware design with Ivy RossThe She Word: going behind hardware design with Ivy RossManaging Editor

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 20:35:00 -0000

Editor’s Note: The She Word is a Keyword series all about powerful, dynamic and creative women at Google. Intrigued by the unique aesthetic of Google’s new family of hardware devices released in October, we sat down with the woman who leads the design team: Ivy Ross. In the interview below, she shares with us how she approaches design at work, and life outside of work.How do you explain your job at a dinner party?I lead a team that creates how a Google product—including Google Home, the Pixel laptop and wearables—looks, feels and acts when you hold it in your hands.What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?Be fearless in using your heart and mind in what you do, and bring more beauty into the world.Who has been a strong female influence in your life?My daughter. Seeing the world through her eyes at various stages of her life has given me a “beginner’s mind” in much of what I do.What did you want to be when you grew up?I’ve always wanted to be a designer/maker. My dad, who had a big influence on me, was an industrial designer and built the house I grew up in—the house was so ahead of its time that Andy Warhol used it to shoot a movie back in the late 70’s.When I was 12 years old, I made a dress out of chain mail metal and wore it to a bar mitzvah. I linked together thousands of metal squares that made up the dress, designed a necklace that attached to the dress, and made a purse out of the chain mail to match. Even back then, I was designing for efficiency! Instead of bringing needle and thread in case the dress ripped, I carried a screwdriver.Ivy in her homemade dress (screwdriver not pictured).What is one habit that makes you successful?Trusting my instincts on both people and ideas.How is designing hardware different than designing software?Unlike software, you can’t fix hardware through a new release or update. You need more time up front because once something is tooled, you can make very few adjustments.What is the most important design principle for Google’s hardware?Human. By that I mean friendly, emotionally-appealing and easy to fit into your life and your home. I believe more time we spend in front of flat screens, the more we’ll crave soft and tactile three-dimensional shapes. This is reflected in the fabric in Home Mini, Home Max and Daydream View, the texture of Pixel phones and Pixel Books, and the soft silicon pad where you rest your wrist while typing on the PixelBook.Shot_4_0168_FPO1 (1).jpgColor swatches for Google Home MiniDesignStory_Phone_Table_T_034_FPO1_retouched (1).jpgIterations of Pixel 2DesignStory_Phone_Cases_T_073_FPO1_SIMP_retouched (1).jpgTesting fabrics for Pixel casesDesignStory_Eve_Table_T_030_FPO1_SIMP_retouched (1).jpgIterations of Pixelbook and Pixelbook Penimg7.jpgDesigning the new Daydream ViewAre there any design innovations you’re especially proud of in this year’s hardware lineup?The way we used fabric for Home Mini was not an easy path. It required special construction to accomplish the simplicity of the form with great acoustics. Some of the things that look the simplest can actually be the hardest to construct! I’m proud that we created a beautiful group of products without sacrificing their function.I’m proud that we created a beautiful group of products without sacrificing their function.Where do you find inspiration for your work?I don’t spend much time looking at other electronics beyond what I need to understand about the market. You can’t create anything new by only looking within your own category so I draw inspiration from art, materials, furniture, music, nature and people. My dad taught how to look at something and see more than what appears on the surface.[...]

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Exploring art (through selfies) with Google Arts & CultureExploring art (through selfies) with Google Arts & CultureProduct Manager

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 18:50:00 -0000

The Google Arts & Culture platform hosts millions of artifacts and pieces of art, ranging from prehistory to the contemporary, shared by museums across the world. But the prospect of exploring all that art can be daunting. To make it easier, we dreamt up a fun solution: connect people to art by way of a fundamental artistic pursuit, the search for the self … or, in this case, the selfie.We created an experiment that matches your selfie with art from the collections of museums on Google Arts & Culture—and over the past few days, people have taken more than 30 million selfies. Even if your art look-alike is a surprise, we hope you discover something new in the process. (By the way, Google doesn't use your selfie for anything else and only keeps it for the time it takes to search for matches.)That’s me, Michelle, the product manager for this feature taking the last selfie in the video!We're so happy people are enjoying their selfie matches, but we're even happier that people haven't stopped with the selfie. They’ve jumped—face first—into the 6,000 exhibitions hosted on Google Arts & Culture, from more than 1,500 museum partners from 70 countries, to explore their artwork and learn about their stories.Here are some of the most-visited works of art people explored while searching with their selfies:Capture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.04.45.pngStreet Art painting by BToy from Street Art 13, painted in Paris, FranceCapture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.05.14.pngSimplon Pass by John Singer Sargent from Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, U.S.Capture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.05.42.pngBy the Table by Henri Fantin-Latour from Musée d’Orsay, ParisCapture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.06.09.pngPeasants by David Alfaro Siqueiros from Museo Nacional de Arte, MexicoCapture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.06.35.pngFemale Figure by Santiago Rusiñol from Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya - MNAC, BarcelonaCapture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.07.18.pngFour Figures on a Step by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo from Kimbell Art MuseumCapture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.07.40.pngStrolling along the Seashore by Joaquín Sorolla from Museo SorollaCapture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.08.11.pngSelf Portrait by Amrita Sher-Gil from National Gallery of Modern Art, New DelhiCapture d’écran 2018-01-16 à 20.08.37.pngSelf-Portrait by Cecilia Beaux from National Academy Museum & School, New YorkCapture d’écran 2018-01-17 à 12.26.10.pngStreet Art painting by BToy from Street Art 13, painted in Paris, FranceAnd we hope you’ll keep exploring. There’s so much to see on Google Arts & Culture, from the annals of American Democracyand the rich history of Latino cultures in the U.S., to the wide world of Street Art and the intricacies of Japanese crafts and traditions. You can visit the rooftop of the Taj Mahal or the famous castles of France's Loire Valley or even tour the United States’ National Parks, all from a mobile device. We also recommend checking out the stories behind what you wear—this collection lets you browse more than 30,000 pieces from 3,000 years fashion history: try searching for hats and sort them by color or sort shoes by time. So cool.At Google Arts & Culture, our software engineers are always experimenting with new and creative ways to connect you with art and culture. That’s how this selfie feature came about, too. We know there’s great demand to improve and expand the selfie-matching feature to more locations and we’ll share more news as soon as we have it. Currently it’s available for users in parts of the U.S. and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India. We’ll continue to partner with more mu[...]There’s more to explore beyond the selfies at Google Arts & Culture.

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Bill Protection on Project Fi: data when you need it, and savings when you don’tBill Protection on Project Fi: data when you need it, and savings when you don’tProduct Manager, Project Fi

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:00:00 -0000

With Project Fi, we built our $10/GB “pay for what you use” pricing to put you in control of your phone plan and how much you pay for it. Today, we’re taking the next step in that journey with Bill Protection: a new take on a phone plan that combines the simplicity of our existing pricing with the flexibility of an unlimited plan.Data when you need itBill Protection gives you the peace of mind to use extra data when you need it. In months when you use more than 6 GB of data, we’ll cap your charges for calls & texts plus data at $80, and allow you to continue using high speed data for free—similar to an unlimited plan. Bill Protection kicks in at different usage points based on the number of people on your plan, and you can see how it would work for your group here.If you’re a super heavy data user, you’ll experience slower data speeds in months when you’ve consumed more than 15 GB of data (less than 1% of current Fi users today). But as always, you’ll have the power to customize your plan, and you can opt out of slower speeds by paying $10/GB for your individual data usage above 15 GB.Never pay for data you don’t useAnd here’s the kicker: with Bill Protection you’ll never have to pay for unlimited data in months when you don’t actually need it. If you only use 1.4 GB of data, at the end of the month you’ll pay just $34 instead of $80. So no matter how much data you use, you can save money with Bill Protection every month. All the data you need for the Project Fi perksFinally, Bill Protection still applies to all of the Project Fi goodies you love, including high speed data in 135+ countries, and data-only SIM cards to use in your laptop, tablet or car. If you’re traveling abroad, that means you can use all of the apps you need—there’s no need to stress about the extra data.Bill Protection begins rolling out today to individual subscribers and group plans. If you’re a current Fi subscriber, you’ll see it appear on your next billing cycle. For those not yet signed up for Fi, we’re making it easier to try it out by offering up to $120 off some of our Fi-ready phones for a limited time.[...]Introducing a phone plan that saves you money no matter how you use your data.

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Introducing the security center for G Suite—security analytics and best practices from GoogleIntroducing the security center for G Suite—security analytics and best practices from GoogleProduct Manager, G SuiteGroup Product Manager, G Suite

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:00:00 -0000

We want to make it easy for you to manage your organization’s data security. A big part of this is making sure you and your admins can access a bird’s eye view of your security—and, more importantly, that you can take action based on timely insights.Today, we’re introducing the security center for G Suite, a tool that brings together security analytics, actionable insights and best practice recommendations from Google to empower you to protect your organization, data and users.With the security center, key executives and admins can do things like:1. See a snapshot of important security metrics in one place. Get insights into suspicious device activity, visibility into how spam and malware are targeting users within your organization and metrics to demonstrate security effectiveness—all in a unified dashboard.2. Stay ahead of potential threats. Admins can now examine security analytics to flag threats. For example, your team can have visibility into which users are being targeted by phishing so that you can head off potential attacks, or when Google Drive files trigger DLP rules, you have a heads up to avoid risking data exfiltration.3. Reduce risk by adopting security health recommendations.Security health analyzes your existing security posture and gives you customized advice to secure your users and data. These recommendations cover issues ranging from how your data is stored, to how your files are shared, as well as recommendations on mobility and communications settings.  Get startedMore than 3.5 million organizations rely on G Suite to collaborate securely. If you’re a G Suite Enterprise customer, you’ll be able to access the security center within the Admin console automatically in the next few days. These instructions can help admins get started and here are some security best practices to keep in mind.If you’re new to G Suite, learn more about about how you can collaborate, store and communicate securely.[...]A new way to keep track of your data security.

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Cloud AutoML: Making AI accessible to every businessCloud AutoML: Making AI accessible to every businessChief ScientistHead of R&D

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 14:00:00 -0000

When we both joined Google Cloud just over a year ago, we embarked on a mission to democratize AI. Our goal was to lower the barrier of entry and make AI available to the largest possible community of developers, researchers and businesses.Our Google Cloud AI team has been making good progress towards this goal. In 2017, we introduced Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine, to help developers with machine learning expertise easily build ML models that work on any type of data, of any size. We showed how modern machine learning services, i.e., APIs—including Vision, Speech, NLP, Translation and Dialogflow—could be built upon pre-trained models to bring unmatched scale and speed to business applications. Kaggle, our community of data scientists and ML researchers, has grown to more than one million members. And today, more than 10,000 businesses are using Google Cloud AI services, including companies like Box, Rolls Royce Marine, Kewpie and Ocado.But there’s much more we can do. Currently, only a handful of businesses in the world have access to the talent and budgets needed to fully appreciate the advancements of ML and AI. There’s a very limited number of people that can create advanced machine learning models. And if you’re one of the companies that has access to ML/AI engineers, you still have to manage the time-intensive and complicated process of building your own custom ML model. While Google has offered pre-trained machine learning models via APIs that perform specific tasks, there's still a long road ahead if we want to bring AI to everyone.To close this gap, and to make AI accessible to every business, we’re introducing Cloud AutoML. Cloud AutoML helps businesses with limited ML expertise start building their own high-quality custom models by using advanced techniques like learning2learn and transfer learning from Google. We believe Cloud AutoML will make AI experts even more productive, advance new fields in AI and help less-skilled engineers build powerful AI systems they previously only dreamed of.Our first Cloud AutoML release will be CloudAutoML Vision, a service that makes it faster and easier to create custom ML models for image recognition. Its drag-and-drop interface lets you easily upload images, train and manage models, and then deploy those trained models directly on Google Cloud. Early results using Cloud AutoML Vision to classify popular public datasets likeImageNet andCIFAR have shown more accurate results with fewer misclassifications than generic ML APIs.Here’s a little more on what Cloud AutoML Vision has to offer:Increased accuracy: Cloud AutoML Vision is built on Google’s leading image recognition approaches, includingtransfer learning andneural architecture search technologies. This means you’ll get a more accurate model even if your business has limited machine learning expertise.Faster turnaround time to production-ready models: With Cloud AutoML, you can create a simple model in minutes to pilot your AI-enabled application, or build out a full, production-ready model in as little as a day.Easy to use: AutoML Vision provides a simple graphical user interface that lets you specify data, then turns that data into a high quality model customized for your specific needs.AutoML“Urban Outfitters is constantly looking for new ways to enhance our customers’ shopping experience," says Alan Rosenwinkel, Data Scientist at URBN. "Creating and maintaining a comprehensive set of product attributes is critical to providing our customers relevant product recommendations, accurate search results and helpful product filters; howeve[...]

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A new pathway to roles in IT SupportA new pathway to roles in IT SupportProduct Lead

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:00:00 -0000

Today, we’re launching the Google IT Support Professional Certificate hosted on Coursera—a first-of-its-kind online program to prepare people for roles in IT support. With no previous experience required, beginning learners can become entry-level job ready in eight to 12 months. This program is part of Grow with Google, our initiative to help people get the skills they need to find a job.There’s no better example of a dynamic, fast-growing field than IT support. With more and more people relying on computers for some part of their work, growth in IT support is outpacing the average rate for all other occupations. In the United States alone, there are currently 150,000 open IT support jobs (according to Burning Glass), and the average starting salary is $52,000 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  I helped hire Google’s IT staff for several years when I led our internal IT support program; it was often challenging to find qualified candidates. But I knew that candidates didn't need traditional four-year college degrees to be qualified—and also found that IT was very teachable. So in 2014 we partnered with the nonprofit organization Year Up to create a program aimed at training and hiring non-traditional talent for IT support internships and full-time roles. The program was a success, and its graduates inspired us to think about how we could make a bigger impact beyond Google. Watch the story of one of our program graduates, Edgar Barragan:Edgar Barragan: IT Support SpecialistNow we’re using the training we implemented at Google as the basis of a new program available to anyone, anywhere, as part of the Grow with Google initiative. No tech experience or college degree is necessary.With over 64 hours of video lessons and a dynamic mix of hands-on labs and other interactive assessments, all developed by Googlers, this certificate program introduces people to troubleshooting and customer service, networking, operating systems, system administration, automation, and security—all the fundamentals of IT support. Throughout the program, people will hear directly from Googlers whose own foundation in IT support served as a jumping-off point for their careers.Since we know training is just the first step, we also want to help with the next one—the job search. Once people complete the certificate, they can opt in to share their information directly with top employers, including Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, PNC Bank, Infosys, TEKsystems, UPMC, and of course, Google, all who are looking to hire IT support talent.To ensure job seekers from all backgrounds have access to the program, we’re subsidizing the cost of the certificate on Coursera to $49/month and providing financial support to more than 10,000 learners in the United States. Need-based scholarships, funded by grants, will be offered through leading nonprofits focused on underrepresented communities including Year Up, Per Scholas, Goodwill, Student Veterans of America, and Upwardly Global. Full financial assistance is also available to those who qualify.  You can find out more and enroll at the Google IT Support page on Coursera.I’ve seen firsthand how educational opportunities can transform people’s careers and lives. By making the Google IT Support Professional Certificate accessible on Coursera, we hope to open the door for everyone to begin a career in technology.[...]The IT Support Professional Certificate program on Coursera helps prepare people for roles in IT support.

Expanding our global infrastructure with new regions and subsea cablesExpanding our global infrastructure with new regions and subsea cablesVP, 24x7

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:00:00 -0000

At Google, we've spent $30 billion improving our infrastructure over three years, and we’re not done yet. From data centers to subsea cables, Google is committed to connecting the world and serving our Cloud customers, and today we’re excited to announce that we’re adding three new submarine cables, and five new regions.We’ll open our Netherlands and Montreal regions in the first quarter of 2018, followed by Los Angeles, Finland, and Hong Kong – with more to come. Then, in 2019 we’ll commission three subsea cables: Curie, a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles; Havfrue, a consortium cable connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam Cable system (HK-G), a consortium cable interconnecting major subsea communication hubs in Asia.  Together, these investments further improve our network—the world’s largest—which by some accounts delivers 25% of worldwide internet traffic. Companies like PayPal leverage our network and infrastructure to run their businesses effectively.“At PayPal, we process billions of transactions across the globe, and need to do so securely, instantaneously and economically. As a result, security, networking and infrastructure were key considerations for us when choosing a cloud provider,” said Sri Shivananda, PayPal’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “With Google Cloud, we have access to the world’s largest network, which helps us reach our infrastructure goals and best serve our millions of users.”Figure 1. Diagram shows existing GCP regions and upcoming GCP regionsFigure 2. Diagram shows three new subsea cable investments, expanding capacity to Chile, Asia Pacific and across the AtlanticCurie cableOur investment in the Curie cable (named after renowned scientist Marie Curie) is part of our ongoing commitment to improve global infrastructure. In 2008, we were the first tech company to invest in a subsea cable as a part of a consortium. With Curie, we become the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable.By deploying our own private subsea cable, we help improve global connectivity while providing value to our customers. Owning the cable ourselves has some distinct benefits. Since we control the design and construction process, we can fully define the cable’s technical specifications, streamline deployment and deliver service to users and customers faster. Also, once the cable is deployed, we can make routing decisions that optimize for latency and availability.Curie will be the first subsea cable to land in Chile in almost 20 years. Once deployed, Curie will be Chile’s largest single data pipe. It will serve Google users and customers across Latin America.Havfrue cableTo increase capacity and resiliency in our North Atlantic systems, we’re working with Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure to build a direct submarine cable system connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland. This cable, called Havfrue (Danish for “mermaid”), will be built by TE SubCom and is expected to come online by the end of 2019. The marine route survey, during which the supplier determines the specific route the cable will take, is already underway.HK-G cableIn the Pacific, we’re working with RTI-C and NEC on the Hong Kong-Guam cable system. Together with Indigo and other existing subsea systems, this cable creates multiple scalable, diverse paths to Australia, increasing our resilience in the Pacific. As a result, customers will experience improved capacity and latency from Australia to major [...]

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