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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: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0000

 



How Tring School creates a culture of student sharing that improves classroom resultsHow Tring School creates a culture of student sharing that improves classroom resultsDirector of Learning

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: Leading up to Bett, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world, we're highlighting teachers, students and administrators who are using educational technology to help schools flourish and make learning more interactive and impactful. In this post, Chris Lickfold, Director of Learning at Tring School in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, explains how technology has encouraged their school’s 1,500 students to become more curious, independent learners. Over the next few months, we'll be sharing more Impact Portraits on the blog. And check out @GoogleForEdu and #BETT2017 to learn what we're talking about at Bett. Chris Lickfold will be speaking at Google’s teaching theatre at 11 a.m. on Jan. 26. Traditional measures like attendance rates and grades are important benchmarks for a school’s performance, but they don’t paint a complete picture of student success. They don’t, for example, indicate whether students are engaged with their classwork or are inspired to discover knowledge.Last year we brought Chromebooks to Tring School and trained teachers and students to use G Suite for Education. We were fortunate to be in a school environment that was already reaching its goals, but we saw an opportunity to improve further by creating a culture of sharing and engagement.Shortly after bringing Google tools to students at Tring School, we saw students becoming more independent in their learning—and more curious about the world than we could have imagined. For example, when conducting primary research, we saw students collecting upwards of 300 data points using Google Forms, versus just a handful before the rollout of Google tools. Now, we're beginning to see the impact of student-led learning in more traditional performance benchmarks. In our science classes, 21 percent more students performed above their expected level in 2016 compared to 2015. And 20 percent more students reached average levels in 2016 compared to 2015. Students take ownership of learning—and ask teachers for support when they need itWith a few hundred Chromebooks and Google Classroom, we were able to fully appreciate our students’ proficiencies and challenges. Because Chromebooks allow for real-time collaboration, teachers can see school work in progress and offer support to students as they’re working on assignments instead of providing feedback after classwork was already completed. Students like the privacy of communicating within Classroom, and they’re less self-conscious about asking for help. Teachers are also able to direct students to specific resources they need. And the portability of Chromebooks lets teachers and students to share and respond to feedback even when they’re not in a classroom together.“The increased feedback and interaction with teachers improved my marks,” one of our Year 11 students told us. “We never had this level of detail or ability to ask specific questions back within the work.” Richer, more contextual learning environmentsChromebooks and G Suite have buttressed our flipped learning approach and given students more autonomy over how they learn and what they learn about. It’s easy to provision content on Chromebooks; teachers in our modern foreign languages department add tools like Google Maps so students can immerse themselves in the locations of the languages they’re studying. Students in our design and technology department can work on projects at their own pace. In other words: Students, not teachers, decide how they’ll meet learning goals.As students work with their chosen resources, such as digital textbooks, teachers can tailor feedback and guidance for individual students—something they wouldn’t have had the time or tools to do in the past. G Suite applications help increase students’ account[...]


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App Security Improvements: Looking back at 2016App Security Improvements: Looking back at 2016Android Security Program Manager

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:00:00 +0000

In April 2016, the Android Security team described how the Google Play App Security Improvement (ASI) program has helped developers fix security issues in 100,000 applications. Since then, we have detected and notified developers of 11 new security issues and provided developers with resources and guidance to update their apps. Because of this, over 90,000 developers have updated over 275,000 apps!

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ASI now notifies developers of 26 potential security issues. To make this process more transparent, we introduced a new page where developers can find information about all these security issues in one place. This page includes links to help center articles containing instructions and additional support contacts. Developers can use this page as a resource to learn about new issues and keep track of all past issues.

Developers can also refer to our security best practices documents and security checklist, which are aimed at improving the understanding of general security concepts and providing examples that can help tackle app-specific issues.

How you can help:

For feedback or questions, please reach out to us through the Google Play Developer Help Center. To report potential security issues in apps, email us at security+asi@android.com.

(image) Thanks to the Google Play App Security Improvement Program, over 90,000 developers have updated over 275,000 apps.


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See how G Suite and DocuSign help real estate brokers close deals fasterSee how G Suite and DocuSign help real estate brokers close deals fasterPartner Marketing Manager, Google Cloud

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 21:00:00 +0000

G Suite helps teams cut through clutter and get right down to business: accomplishing more with less rigmarole. In November, we welcomed DocuSign to the Recommended for G Suite Program to trim time businesses spend on e-signatures and approvals. This G Suite integration makes it easy to fast-track signatures with multiple signers, which is especially valuable for our customers in the real estate industry.

Sereno Group, a real estate brokerage firm in California, uses DocuSign and G Suite to schedule signings, maintain communication between agents and clients, and easily exchange paperwork. By using less complicated tools, agents can build their business and clientele faster.  

“When our tools are easier to use, agents can spend less time managing paperwork and devote more time to their clients,” said Tim Proschold, VP of Group Strategy & Success at Sereno Group.

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Sereno Group agents save time by using other G Suite integrations, like DocuSign for Google Drive and the DocuSign Gmail extension. Agents use Zipforms, online forms used by real estate agents, to store important deal information. Then others can go into these Zipforms, assemble important real estate, add in files or documents stored in Google Drive with the DocuSign for Google Drive integration and send materials to clients for them to sign. Tracking the status of signatures is easy with the DocuSign Gmail extension. Sereno Group agents can see the status of signatures directly in Gmail to know what’s pending and what’s complete. 

Other brokers are catching on too. Chris Lopez, broker with World Class Properties, is saving time with DocuSign and G Suite: “I sign between five and 10 documents every day and I save up to 10 minutes on each document. That frees up nearly eight hours a week for me to focus on what’s important for my clients.”

These real estate agents are clearly on to something. According to DocuSign, Sereno Group real estate agents are using DocuSign tools more and more — last year they used 18,000 envelope signatures up from 5,500 the year before. To learn more about how to use G Suite and DocuSign for your business, sign up for this webinar on February 7, 2017 at 10am PST / 1pm EST.
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How Devonport Boys High School is building the next generation of entrepreneursHow Devonport Boys High School is building the next generation of entrepreneursDirector of the Learning Commons

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: Leading up to Bett, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world, we're highlighting teachers, students and administrators who are using educational technology to make learning more interactive and impactful for their students. From our Impact Portraits series, Ben Forte shares how Devonport is creating a more collaborative, entrepreneurial environment for its 1,200 students using technology. Check out @GoogleForEdu and #BETT2017 to learn what we're talking about at Bett. To hear more from Ben, visit Google’s teaching theater at Bett on Thursday Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m. When you walk into a startup or big tech office, it’s not out of the ordinary to see ping pong tables, vending machines for gadgets or open spaces without walls or cubicles. But these environments aren’t standard in the education system. In fact, most schools think that this type of modern, open space would create chaos and limit the ability to learn.When I joined Devonport Boys High School, I set out to prove the opposite. I believed that by creating open spaces and giving students the technology and tools they need to think like entrepreneurs, they’d learn far more than in a rule-bound, confined environment. To support this idea, we created the Learning Commons: a dedicated space including a big room with an artificial lawn and bean bags, a separate room with whiteboard-ready desks, and small meeting rooms, custom built for collaboration and group discussions. At the same time, we overhauled our technology. Chromebooks and G Suite for Education were so affordable that each student was allotted a device, letting us distribute technology to more students and teachers than ever before. We replaced outdated systems with Google tools to personalize learning and encourage greater collaboration. The result was a measurable increase in student participation, including a 60 percent increase in students accessing their accounts outside of school. Empowering students to be digital ambassadorsOften when schools adopt new learning technology, teachers and administrators take responsibility for introducing the required resources and processes. At Devonport, we asked students to participate in the roll-out, and they embraced the opportunity. They created department- and subject-specific websites using Google Sites, and set up others for clubs and extracurriculars like Biology Society, Chess Club, Astronomy Club and Debate Club. This student-led project helped foster an entrepreneurial mindset and reorganize the departments and clubs. And now students, teachers and administrators can easily access shared event calendars, photos and resources with Google Drive.Students also use Hangouts and Chromebooks outside of the classroom to hold meetings for student-run clubs and extracurricular activities. During the meetings, they take notes in Google Docs for everyone to view, and to help those who missed the meeting get up to speed. The portability of Chromebooks allows students to collaborate regardless of their physical location. Meeting students where they are with personalized resources and parent involvementWith G Suite for Education, teachers can create a customized learning path by sharing videos, articles and additional assignments with each student based on their areas of improvement. By tracking their progress and giving every student one-on-one feedback during and after class, teachers are meeting students where they are, and challenging students to push themselves. [...]


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Showcase your art in new ways with Tilt Brush ToolkitShowcase your art in new ways with Tilt Brush ToolkitCreative Director

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Tilt Brush is a tool for creators of all backgrounds and styles to make art in virtual reality. Sketches made in Tilt Brush stand on their own — you can film your sketches, take 2D snapshots, export them as 3D objects. However there hasn't been an easy way to add animation, interactivity, or sequencing to your art. That is, until now.Today, we're introducing the Tilt Brush Toolkit, an open source library for bringing your Tilt Brush art to other creative projects. With the toolkit, the next generation of artists can create narrative, interactive, and immersive content using Tilt Brush sketches. The Tilt Brush Toolkit includes Python scripts and a Unity SDK with everything you need to make movies, interactive stories, video games, music videos, or other projects using assets created in Tilt Brush. We’re sharing all of our brush shaders, our audio reactive code, a streamlined Unity import pipeline, file format conversion utilities, and several great examples so hobbyists and professionals can showcase their Tilt Brush art in new places, on new platforms, and in new ways.   Share your projects using the #TiltBrush hashtag, and we’ll highlight our favorites from @googlevr.[...]Showcase your art in new places, on new platforms, and in new ways with the Tilt Brush Toolkit.


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A virtual trek through Petra with Google CardboardA virtual trek through Petra with Google CardboardInteractive Designer

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Last year, we launched a virtual tour of Petra and more than 30 historical sites across Jordan in Google Street View. The interactive Maps experience took visitors on an intimate journey into Jordan’s lost city of stone—and now, we’ve made this historic trek even more immersive with a 360º experience for Google Cardboard.   We’ve used 360º mapping, aerial imagery and millions of photos stitched together, to recreate six of Petra’s most beautiful and iconic panoramas for you to explore. Audio narration, interactive hotspots and sound effects guide you as you follow the footsteps of the ancient Nabataeans. This 2000-year-old civilization miraculously transformed the harshest of deserts into an oasis of life and culture.Wander through the winding pathway of Al Siq to the Treasury, Petra’s most famous landmark. Look all around in 360º to explore every detail of this elaborate carved facade recognizable from movies like “Indiana Jones” and “Transformers.” Make your way past Petra’s carved theatre and hidden tombs until you reach Al Deir, or the Monastery. No trip to Petra is complete without staring up in awe at its grandeur. The doorway alone is eight meters tall! Of course, nothing can compare to visiting Petra in real life. But now anyone with an internet connection can trek this remarkable UNESCO Heritage Site like never before—and we hope this 360º experience inspires a new generation of tourists to come to visit the rose-red city for themselves. Start your tour now on your mobile phone at g.co/PetraVR.[...]Take an immersive VR tour of Petra, the lost city of stone. Unearth its ancient tombs and hidden treasures in 360º with Google Cardboard.


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Don’t let a spotty connection stop you from searchingDon’t let a spotty connection stop you from searchingProduct Manager

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 00:05:00 +0000

Whether you’re a commuter reading the news with a spotty network, a farmer looking up crop prices with no service in the fields, or just driving through a tunnel, all is not lost when your search is interrupted by a bad connection. Now on the Google app for Android, even if your search fails, Google will deliver your results as soon as a connection is available—so you can keep searching with a single tap.

Mobile networks can sometimes be inconsistent or spotty, which means that even if you have a connection when you start your search, it might fail before you get your results back. With this change, search results are saved as soon as they are retrieved, even if you lose connection afterwards or go into airplane mode. So the next time you lose service, feel free to queue up your searches, put your phone away and carry on with your day. The Google app will work behind-the-scenes to detect when a connection is available again and deliver your search results once completed.

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And if you’re worried about data charges or preserving battery life, don’t fret. This feature won’t drain your battery, and by fetching streamlined search results pages, it minimally impacts data usage.

So before you head out the door, make sure the Google app is running the latest version for Android, and the next time you hit a spotty network, your results are covered.

(image) Now on the Google app for Android, if your search fails due to a spotty network, Google will deliver your results as soon as a connection is available so you can keep searching with a single tap.


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Silence speaks louder than words when finding malwareSilence speaks louder than words when finding malwareSoftware Engineer

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:00:00 +0000

In Android Security, we're constantly working to better understand how to make Android devices operate more smoothly and securely. One security solution included on all devices with Google Play is Verify apps. Verify apps checks if there are Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) on your device. If a PHA is found, Verify apps warns the user and enables them to uninstall the app.But, sometimes devices stop checking up with Verify apps. This may happen for a non-security related reason, like buying a new phone, or, it could mean something more concerning is going on. When a device stops checking up with Verify apps, it is considered Dead or Insecure (DOI). An app with a high enough percentage of DOI devices downloading it, is considered a DOI app. We use the DOI metric, along with the other security systems to help determine if an app is a PHA to protect Android users. Additionally, when we discover vulnerabilities, we patch Android devices with our security update system.This blog post explores the Android Security team’s research to identify the security-related reasons that devices stop working and prevent it from happening in the future.Flagging DOI AppsTo understand this problem more deeply, the Android Security team correlates app install attempts and DOI devices to find apps that harm the device in order to protect our users.With these factors in mind, we then focus on ‘retention’. A device is considered retained if it continues to perform periodic Verify apps security check ups after an app download. If it doesn’t, it’s considered potentially dead or insecure (DOI). An app’s retention rate is the percentage of all retained devices that downloaded the app in one day. Because retention is a strong indicator of device health, we work to maximize the ecosystem’s retention rate.Therefore, we use an app DOI scorer, which assumes that all apps should have a similar device retention rate. If an app’s retention rate is a couple of standard deviations lower than average, the DOI scorer flags it. A common way to calculate the number of standard deviations from the average is called a Z-score. The equation for the Z-score is below. N = Number of devices that downloaded the app.x = Number of retained devices that downloaded the app.p = Probability of a device downloading any app will be retained.In this context, we call the Z-score of an app’s retention rate a DOI score. The DOI score indicates an app has a statistically significant lower retention rate if the Z-score is much less than -3.7. This means that if the null hypothesis is true, there is much less than a 0.01% chance the magnitude of the Z-score being as high. In this case, the null hypothesis means the app accidently correlated with lower retention rate independent of what the app does.This allows for percolation of extreme apps (with low retention rate and high number of downloads) to the top of the DOI list. From there, we combine the DOI score with other information to determine whether to classify the app as a PHA. We then use Verify apps to remove existing installs of the app and prevent future installs of the app. Difference between a regular and DOI app download on the same device Results in the wildAmong others, the DOI score flagged many apps in three well known malware families— Hummingbad, Ghost Push, and Gooligan. Although they behave differently, the DOI scorer flagged over 25,000 apps in these three families of malware because they can degrade the Android experience to such an extent that a non-negligible amount of users factory reset or abandon the[...]


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Making Google+ work better for youMaking Google+ work better for youProduct Manager

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:22:00 +0000

For the past few years, we’ve been doing a lot of listening on the Google+ team, and we’ve learned a lot.Listening to your feedback inspired us to introduce a new Google+ focused on helping you connect around shared interests a little over a year ago. Your feedback led us to launch more than 50 updates across Android, iOS and web to ensure the new experience serves you even better than the previous one. Big changes like powerful tools for Community moderators, image comments and joining the G Suite family were all thanks to your input.After all of these updates, more people are discovering vibrant Communities and creating inspiring Collections than ever before. So it’s in this same spirit that we’re pleased to add three new much requested updates, rolling out over the next couple of weeks, to Google+.Hiding low-quality commentsWe’re making it easier to have good conversations by hiding lower quality comments on posts, so you can focus on the comments that matter most. If you’d like to see all the comments on a post, you can always click or tap “View more comments.” Showing you more of what mattersTo help you see more of the stuff you care about, we’ve adjusted Google+ to make the best use of your screen size and show you less white space and more posts. Photographers share big, beautiful images on Google+ every day, so we’ve also added zoom functionality to photos on Google+ web to let you get up close and personal with the images you’re interested in. Bringing back EventsFinally (drumroll please!), we’re bringing Events over to the new Google+. While there’s more to be done to improve the experience, beginning January 24th you’ll be able to create and join events on Google+ web as you have in the past. Please note that Events will not be available for G Suite at this time.With this latest round of updates, we believe the new Google+ is really your Google+— designed around your suggestions, requests and needs. It also means it’s time to say goodbye to classic Google+ on the web, which we’ll be turning down on January 24.Just because we’re bidding adieu to classic Google+ doesn’t mean we’re done working on the new one. Our aim is to make Google+ the best place to connect around the things you care about, so please use the “Send Feedback” link in the apps and on the web to keep the feedback coming. We’re listening.[...]From better commenting, to showing you more of what matters, to bringing back Events, we’re making a bunch of improvements to Google+ based on your feedback.


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Zurich calling – Expanding our European tech hubZurich calling – Expanding our European tech hubCountry Director, Switzerland

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:30:00 +0000

The future of research and development for Google in Europe may well lie in Zurich. Currently housing over 2,000 Googlers from 75 countries, this winter we’ve expanded our presence along the Limmat River, giving us room to expand to 5,000 people. Zurich, already the largest Google development centre outside of the U.S. and housing teams working on Google Search, Maps, Calendar, YouTube and Gmail, will now be the European homebase for our exploration of research and implementation of machine learning.Millions of people around the world are already using internet services developed and managed by the Google teams in Zurich--products used by individuals or, like many leading European companies do, to improve the efficiency of business processes. By adding new offices in Europaallee next to the Zurich train station, Google Switzerland is creating even more space for innovation.The new Google Europe Research Team has been based in Zurich since June 2016, working on the future issue of machine learning and focusing on natural speech recognition and reproduction. The work is used in services such as Google Assistant, Google Photos or Google Translate.“Google is now deeply rooted in Zurich. I am very pleased that Google has chosen to invest in Zurich – both in jobs and new offices. The opening of the new office shows that Zurich – with its high quality of life, close proximity to institutions of applied sciences and universities, and modern infrastructure – is an attractive location for ICT companies and businesses in general,” Zurich’s mayor Corine Mauch said, expressing her pleasure at Google’s additional investment in Zurich.In addition to fostering in-house talent, Google Switzerland is campaigning for stronger education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education in the country including partnerships designed to strengthen programming skills and media competency in Switzerland. Starting in autumn 2017, Google will begin training IT apprentices in the new offices, and together with the academic community, including ETH in Zurich and EPFL, we’re working on research partnerships on machine learning, machine perception, and computer systems.We’re also working to support Switzerland’s SME community via the exportdigital.ch platform, created in collaboration with Switzerland Global Enterprise. Through this online portal, part of Google’s Growth Engine efforts, companies and individuals can access digital know-how to open doors to potential export markets around the world. During the past three years, more than 30,000 people have taken these courses.And because Google itself started out in a garage--we believe that big ideas often start small--Google is a founding member of the digitalswitzerland association working to position Switzerland as an international digital hub.We believe that partnerships--in economics, research, and policy--are important factors in this success for Switzerland. That's why we're delighted for the opportunity to be at the heart of Zurich during such exciting times through research agreements, continuing education initiatives for SMEs, and initiatives like digitalswitzerland to promote innovation at and for the site. We're optimistic about the latest expansion and to continue working together with our partners to increase innovation in Switzerland and to shape the future.[...]Zurich, already the largest Google development centre outside of the U.S. and housing teams working on Google Search, Maps, Calendar, YouTube and Gmail, will now be the European home base for our exploration of research and implementation of machine learning.


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Five ways retailers can provide personal, convenient customer service using ChromeFive ways retailers can provide personal, convenient customer service using ChromeSenior Director of Product Management, Android and Chrome for Business and Education

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Successful retail outlets are always striving to improve customer service. Brick-and-mortar stores are borrowing a page from their online counterparts and turning to new technologies like Chrome to help make shopping easier and more fun for customers. Here are five ways retailers are using Chrome to personalize shopping, manage ad campaigns, offer local information and speed up the ordering process:Personalized shopping The best retail experience is personalized and relevant. Putting umbrellas and raincoats in front of a store during a rainstorm, for example, boosts inbound traffic and makes satisfied — and dry —  customers. But other than displaying umbrellas in the windows, how can a store advertise a spur of the moment promotion like that?  Chico’s, a women’s apparel and accessories chain, uses Chromeboxes to tailor promotions across its U.S. stores. While bikinis are featured in digital displays in Florida, coats might be featured in Chicago and cocktail dresses in Las Vegas. Chico’s is working on bringing personalized content to 5,000 screens in its stores.Express ordering Australia’s Famous Fish by Steve Costi restaurant chain is mixing the best of self-service technology with old-world aesthetics. They introduced kiosk-based interactive menu boards based on Chrome which let people place their orders. This means customers have shorter lines and they get their food faster too. Customers are pleased, and there’s been a noticeable boost to the bottom line. At the company’s Fountain Gate location, for example, average orders are 28.7% higher when customers use the kiosks. “Combining self-service touch screens with dynamic menu boards, the commercial Chrome technology is already providing a huge return on investment,” says Jon Sully, director of Famous Fish. “We’re seeing a noticeable increase in brand awareness and a large boost in customer spend.”Going local Where are the fish biting today? If you’re a sporting goods store and answer that for your customers, they’ll stay loyal for life. Scheels, a sporting-goods chain with 26 stores in 11 states, uses Chrome digital signs to display information about nearby river conditions and advice on the latest equipment and local fishing techniques. “They’re incredibly popular features that have helped build customer loyalty,” says Josh Diemert, lead systems administrator for Scheels.Scheels also lets customers place orders using in-store kiosks. That frees up staff to provide more specialized service to individual customers. “We’ve taken the in-store experience to a new level by leveraging technology to make shopping fun, while at the same time empowering our sales team to deliver a better quality of service,” says Diemert.Managing hundreds of campaignsStore managers have a lot on their plates, and managing in-store digital signage campaigns can distract them from their most important work of helping customers and supporting their staff. Compass Group Canada turned to Chrome digital signage for promoting in-store offers in its restaurants and coffee shops. One marketer can now manage dozens of campaigns using Chrome Device Management, saving hundreds of hours of work a week. And campaigns are carefully tracked to make sure they perform well, leading to a 2% to 4% sales boost, which adds up for a company with $2 billion in annual revenue.Bring more employees and processes onlineIf more retail employees have better access to computing, stores can move many of their processes online and make them more efficient. This includes everything from inventory checks, HR tasks, employee training on new store offerings, shif[...]


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New year, new look: ride services mode gets an updateNew year, new look: ride services mode gets an updateSenior Product Manager

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Last year, we introduced a new ride services mode to Google Maps as a convenient option for people to easily get where they need to go. Since then we’ve added a number of new ride service partners in the U.S. and worldwide. Today, we’re starting to roll out an updated ride services experience to make it even easier for you to book a ride directly from Google Maps, on both Android and iOS globally. A new look With today's updates, you'll now see more types of ride options and more actionable information. When you open ride services mode, instead of a long list of ride service providers and ride options, you’ll see the map you know and love, along with a carousel of ride service providers in your area. Just tap on your preferred provider to see a complete list of ride options and special offers or promotions.                        Past ride services experience (left), new ride services experience (right)Book an Uber ride directly within Google Maps We’re also trying out a new integration that lets you book, complete and pay for an Uber ride without ever leaving Google Maps—even if you don’t have the Uber app installed on your device. Once you sign into your existing Uber account (or create one), you can book an Uber ride, track your driver on the map, and connect with your driver—all from within the Google Maps app. Here’s how it works: You can even take a look at information about your destination while en route. So menus, hours and other helpful details are only a swipe away. From booking a ride to reserving a table at a local restaurant, booking your favorite fitness class to ordering delivery for a night in, Google Maps no longer just shows you the information you're looking for. It also makes it easier to get things done in the real world — all in one place.[...]You'll now see more types of ride options, on both Android and iOS. We’re also trying out a new integration that lets you book, complete and pay for an Uber ride without ever leaving Google Maps.


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Google Play Music’s “Ones to Watch” Artists in 2017Google Play Music’s “Ones to Watch” Artists in 2017Head of U.S. Music Curation

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Everyone loves to be one of the first to discover a new up-and-coming artist before they make it, but with thousands of thriving artists out there launching new music daily, discovering the next big musical breakthrough isn’t easy. Google Play Music has you covered! After hours of listening, analyzing and discussing who you should keep your eye (or ear) on this year, our team of music experts put together a list of the top 10 “Ones to Watch” in 2017—and a new playlist featuring top tracks from these rising stars.Google Play Music’s ‘Ones to Watch’ for 2017Lost KingsKodie ShaneBishop BriggsMidlandAllison CrutchfieldAminéMaggie RogersKamaiyahKehlaniRag'n'Bone ManSo, how did we select our “Ones to Watch” list? Our Google Play Music editorial team locked themselves in a room (well, sort of) and considered everything from track performance on Pop Before It Breaks and Blogged 50 to Google search counts and social media reach, to just pure, inalienable music expert gut instinct. Then, by way of committee, lots of strong coffee, some heated debates, and even more coffee, the final 10 artists were chosen.Listen now so that when one of their singles hits the radio, you can say with confidence that you heard it first.Learn more about the 2017 “Ones to Watch” Artists:Lost KingsEDM duo Lost Kings scored an Internet hit in 2015 with the Carl Carlton via Chris Brown “Bad.” Their latest single, “Phone Down,” with singer and hit songwriter Emily Warren shows how they could follow in the The Chainsmokers’ footsteps from the blogs onto the pop charts. For fans of: The Chainsmokers, Classixx, Matoma.Kodie ShaneAtlanta’s Kodie Shane opened her debut mixtape with “Drip In My Walk,” one of the best do-it-for-the-Vine,Travolta-in-white-polyester swagger anthems we heard in 2016. “Baby, you know I’m a star!” Here’s hoping 2017 is the year that becomes incontrovertible. For fans of Lil Yachty, Dreezy, D.R.A.M.Bishop BriggsBound to be a festival favorite this year, Bishop Briggs brings energy and an almost manic array of beats to her dark synth-pop. With a soulful voice that packs a punch, Briggs snagged an opening spot on Coldplay’s stadium tour, a long way from the karaoke bars she performed in growing up. For fans of: BANKS, Alessia Cara, St. Vincent.MidlandGracefully nodding to ’70s and ’80s country with a modern twist, Texas trio Midland are poised to bring back traditionalism to the country airwaves. Their harmonies and classic steel guitar evoke the Old West erasing the bro-country invasion of recent years. For fans of: George Strait, Dwight Yoakam, The Eagles.Allison CrutchfieldTwin sister and erstwhile bandmate of Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield, Allison Crutchfield is a powerful indie rock singer-songwriter in her own right. “Dean's Room” is a propulsive and buoyant power-pop number from forthcoming the album “Tourists in This Town,” which showcases Crutchfield's softer songwriting. For fans of: Angel Olsen, Mitski, Courtney Barnett.AminéIf Clipse and Pharrell wrote a love song, it would probably sound like “Caroline,” the off-kilter and impossibly catchy debut song from Portland, OR native Aminé. We’ll be eagerly anticipating his debut album this year. For fans of: Rae Sremmurd, The Neptunes, Tarantino movies.  Maggie RogersHand-picked and boosted to viral fame by no less powerful a taste-maker than Pharrell, young singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers is bound for big things in 2017 and beyond. "Alaska," the song that started it all, is an infectious, alternately frosty and thawed-out blend of electro-pop, R&B, and Rogers’ roots in indie folk. For fans of: BANKS, Tove Lo, Låpsley.KamaiyahThis Bay Area MC has already held her own against Drake[...]


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Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communicationUnlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communicationGoogle for NonprofitsGoogle for Nonprofits

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Whether you have a team of five or 500 a seamless, collaborative workflow is critical in the digital age. Our goal is to make sure that your nonprofit is able to focus on changing the world by using technology to save time -- not waste it. In the digital age though, information sharing can often be complex; your team might not work in the same office, or even the same timezone. Some team members might be in an office with computer access, while others are in the field on mobile devices. Who from your team should be able to access confidential documents? This brings us to a key question: How do you empower team members to work together towards a common goal, and use technology to enable it?Great question. We’d like to introduce you to G Suite - (formerly  Google Apps for Work ). G Suite aims to help teams work together in real-time -- no matter where they are in the world.Today, we’re spotlighting a few nonprofits to share how their teams  are using Google tools and apps to improve workflow and internal communication. Mercy Beyond Borders - Internal Communication with Sheets & SitesMercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is a U.S. nonprofit that aims to forge opportunities for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect, and lead. Utilizing a small office in the U.S. as home base, MBB targets rural areas in Haiti and South Sudan. In both of these areas, cultural norms and poverty prohibit full participation of women. In fact, these areas offer minimal education and opportunities for employment, which often  impedes the development of leadership skills or positions. Mercy Beyond Borders focuses its programs on providing trainings, scholarships, leadership camps, and business loans for women.To achieve their mission, Mercy Beyond Borders faces the challenge of balancing US-based operations with field work in remote areas like South Sudan and Haiti. Their nonprofit partners range from large organizations to local schools to individuals. So how does Mercy Beyond Borders ensure that all staff, vendors, and partners stay connected and working together in sync? MBB-trained nurse in South Sudan village. Photo credit: Mercy Beyond Borders Mercy Beyond Border began using G Suite to streamline its workflow, connecting their team across the globe. Using G Suite, MBB’s team is able to access, share, and collaborate together in real-time. Take a glimpse into how they do it:Track Finances: MBB manages their overseas program budget expenditures in Google Sheets. Using this tool, the domestic office tracks monthly vendor payments in Haiti. This enables the staff to wire more money as needed in order to ensure program success. Additionally, using Sheets enables the team to provide transparency in the organization, clarifying spending and creating a simple overview of total annual expenses. This standardized and collaborative approach to data enables better efficiency and communication between domestic and international offices.Store images: Mercy Beyond Borders regularly takes photos in the field to keep the domestic office up to date on progress and communicate stories to their donors. The team overseas is able to upload the pictures to Google Drive, which allows them to share or retrieve the images at any time. Share Information: It’s imperative that MBB shares frequent updates with the Board of Directors, highlighting current developments, areas for growth, and new opportunities. To keep the Board of Directors apprised of progress, the team created a MBB Board website with Google Sites as a way to provide updates outside of meeti[...]


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Introducing Toontastic 3D: a playful storytelling app for kidsIntroducing Toontastic 3D: a playful storytelling app for kidsProduct Manager

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Today’s digital devices and tools offer amazing opportunities for kids to imagine, invent and explore with technology—and perhaps most important of all, have fun! Over the years, we’ve worked closely with educators to build programs for kids to create through code, doodle their dreams, explore exotic locales with virtual reality, and even tour the Himalayas with a very friendly Yeti named Verne. Today, we’re unveiling our latest project for kids—one that will give voice to their imaginations and transform their devices into playful and powerful tools for learning creative skills. It’s called Toontastic 3D.

Toontastic 3D

With Toontastic 3D, kids can draw, animate and narrate their own adventures, news stories, school reports, and anything else they might dream up. All they need to do is move characters around on the screen and tell their story. It’s like a digital puppet theater… but with enormous interactive 3D worlds, dozens of customizable characters, 3D drawing tools, and an idea lab with sample stories to inspire new creations.

Like the original Toontastic (released in 2011 and widely praised by educators, kids, and parents around the globe), Toontastic 3D enables kids to build whatever they like—including book or science reports for school, design pitches, short stories and cartoons.

Toontastic 3D is available and free to download today for phones, tablets and select Chromebooks, on both the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. We hope the app will empower kids to imagine, invent and explore while developing skills for the creative jobs of tomorrow—whether they dream of becoming a filmmaker, a teacher, a designer, a cartoonist, or just want to explore the boundaries of their imaginations.

(image) Starting today, parents and teachers all over the world can download Toontastic 3D, a playful storytelling app for kids to draw, animate and narrate their own 3D cartoons.


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Saving you bandwidth through machine learningSaving you bandwidth through machine learningProduct Manager

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 21:00:00 +0000

Photographers of all specialities, skills and genres have long made their home on Google+, sharing their work with a supportive community. Whether it’s of toys, travel or street art, each photo has a unique story to tell, and deserves to be viewed at the best possible resolution.Traditionally, viewing images at high resolution has also meant using lots of bandwidth, leading to slower loading speeds and higher data costs. For many folks, especially those where data is pricey or the internet is spotty, this is a significant concern.To help everyone be able to see the beautiful photos that photographers share to Google+ in their full glory, we’ve turned to machine learning and a new technology called RAISR. RAISR, which was introduced in November, uses machine learning to produce great quality versions of low-resolution images, allowing you to see beautiful photos as the photographers intended them to be seen. By using RAISR to display some of the large images on Google+, we’ve been able to use up to 75 percent less bandwidth per image we’ve applied it to. While we’ve only begun to roll this out for high-resolution images when they appear in the streams of a subset of Android devices, we’re already applying RAISR to more than 1 billion images per week, reducing these users’ total bandwidth by about a third. In the coming weeks we plan to roll this technology out more broadly — and we’re excited to see what further time and data savings we can offer.[...]We’re putting machine learning to work on the hi-res images in Google+ Streams so they load using up to 75% less bandwidth per image, but display in their full glory.


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New Google Classroom features make it easier to learn, teach, manage and buildNew Google Classroom features make it easier to learn, teach, manage and buildSoftware Engineer

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Google Classroom is designed for everyone involved in a student’s education. More than 20 million educators and students use it to teach and learn together, as do administrators who oversee how this tool is used across classrooms, and developers who are building educational technology for the next generation. As everyone heads back to school to start the new semester, we’re releasing new Classroom updates designed specifically for each of these groups.For students: individualized work for differentiated learningWe know that one-size-fits-all teaching doesn’t always meet students’ needs, and we’ve been impressed with the workarounds Classroom teachers have found to differentiate their instruction. Starting today, Classroom makes it a lot easier for teachers to assign work to individual students and groups based on their unique needs. As they’re creating an assignment, post or question, teachers can choose whether to share it with the entire class or just with a subset of students.Juli Dalzell, a seventh-grade teacher at Thomas A. Blake Middle School in Medfield, MA, says she likes how the new feature lets her teach students who may grasp concepts at different paces. “I can assign different levels of questions or quantities of assignments,” says Dalzell. “Also, I can push out documents, such as answer keys, as students complete their assignments.” With this feature, students can also discreetly receive extra practice if they’re struggling with a new subject. Sara Enberg, a library media specialist at Willow River Elementary School in Hudson, WI, says that the new update creates “an easy way to assign a reteaching or extension activity for students who are struggling... Just a quick simple video for a couple of students and they were back on track.” For teachers: new notifications to manage student work We understand the information overload that teachers feel as they balance a busy class schedule, a sea of papers to grade, and after-school activities. To help them stay on top of it all, teachers will now receive two new types of Classroom notifications—one when students submit work after the due date, and one for when students re-submit work. Busy teachers can also continue to use Classroom’s other notifications—like updates on their scheduled posts and comments on student work—to help keep them organized throughout the school year. For administrators: metrics to make the most of ClassroomMany administrators rely on the Admin Console to see how Google technology is being used in their schools. Starting today, Classroom data will be included in the Admin Console Reports, letting administrators see metrics on overall Classroom usage and how many classes and posts are being created, both in aggregate and by user. With these reports, as well as new ones to be added in the future, we hope administrators will have the insights they need to provide the best support possible to their teachers and students. For developers: even more coursework integrationsFinally, we’ve added new capabilities to the Classroom API to make integrations with Classroom more seamless for developers. Integrated applications can now programmatically add materials to coursework or student submissions and can modify existing coursework they’ve created. Hundreds of educational applications have integrated with Classroom since the launch of the API, including tools like Flat.IO, Classcraft and Little SIS, and we’re eager to see what developer[...]


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The opening concert of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg live and in 360°The opening concert of the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg live and in 360°Program Manager

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 12:45:00 +0000

To mark Wednesday's opening of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie concert hall, Google Arts & Culture will bring viewers a celebratory performance streamed on YouTube starting at 6:30 pm CET.  Under the direction of Thomas Hengelbrock, the NDR Elbphilharmonie orchestra will perform with top-class soloists  Philippe Jaroussky and Camilla Tilling.In addition to the livestream the use of 360° cameras will bring the concert to life for anyone who was not able to get their hands on one of the much-sought-after tickets to the opening performance. These specialized cameras allow each and every viewer to customise their own perspective within the YouTube window in their browser. You can watch this on YouTube,  and for a fully immersive experience, you can put on a Google Cardboard headset too. We’re inviting anyone in Hamburg to grab a cardboard free of charge at the visitor center of the Elbphilharmonie! For a first glimpse of the Elbphilharmonie in 360 check out this video to see the Techno Marching Band “Meute“ , talented parkour-runners and the young German string player ensemble “ensemble reflektor“ explore the concert hall.In November the Elbphilharmonie welcomed viewers inside for the first time, offering a peek into the then-unopened concert hall and the Plaza’s panoramic view over the Hamburg harbour on Google Street View. Google Arts & Culture features a rich collection of photos, videos and historic documents including corresponding online exhibitions that offer a unique look into the history and architecture of Hamburg’s newest landmark. The collection has been updated for opening day at g.co/elbphilharmonie or via the mobile app of Google Arts & Culture available to download on iOS and Android. Capture of 360° material behind the scenes of Elbphilharmonie The online exhibition “Backstage at the Elbphilharmonie “ invites visitors into the rehearsal room of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra whilst another demonstrates the architectural beauty of the building through the lense of Iwan Baan. It was very important to us that we not only make the Elbphilharmonie center stage, but also its people. Elbphilharmonie Ensemble in Residence accompanies the “Ensemble Resonanz” on the way from its first artistic rehearsal the the Elbphilharmonie-Kaispeicher to its move into the smaller hall of the concert house. We wish our partner the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg a hearty congratulations on opening day and a successful start into the musical year of 2017. And to viewers everywhere: we hope you enjoy watching the YouTube livestream of the opening concert tonight and that you explore the many stories behind Hamburg’s new landmark on Google Arts & Culture.[...]To mark Wednesday's opening of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie concert hall, Google Arts & Culture will bring viewers a celebratory performance streamed on YouTube starting at 6:30 pm CET.


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Hash Code 2017: Calling all EMEA developersHash Code 2017: Calling all EMEA developersHash Code Team

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 08:30:00 +0000

The wait is over: our programming competition Hash Code is back for its fourth year of challenging developers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to solve a real Google engineering problem. Think you could optimize the layout of a Google Data Center?  Or how about scheduling a fleet of drones to make deliveries around the world?  If you’re up for the challenge, sign up to compete today at g.co/hashcode.Hash Code 2017 kicks off on February 23 with the Online Qualification Round. The top 50 teams from this round will then be invited to Google Paris, in the City of Light, to battle it out for the coveted title of Hash Code 2017 Champion on April 1.Whether you’ve just started coding or you’re a programming competition aficionado, Hash Code is a great chance to flex your programming muscles, get a glimpse into software engineering at Google and have some fun. Take a look at previous Hash Code problem statements to see the engineering challenges participants have tackled in the past. 52 teams from 22 countries competed side-by-side during the Hash Code 2016 Final Round at Google Paris. To make things even more exciting, students and professionals across the region are signing up to host Hash Code hubs where local teams can come together to compete for the Online Qualification Round. So far, more than 250 hubs are being organized across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Participating from a hub is a great way to meet new people and add a little extra fun and competition to the contest. Don’t see a hub near you? You can still sign up to host a hub in your university, office or city on our website.We can’t reveal this year’s problem statements, but we will have some other fun announcements leading up to the Online Qualification Round. Keep in touch with Hash Code by joining our Google+ community and Facebook event.Are you up for the challenge? Sign up today at g.co/hashcode and we’ll see you online on February 23![...]Whether you’ve just started coding or you’re a programming competition aficionado, Hash Code is a great chance to flex your programming muscles, get a glimpse into software engineering at Google and have some fun.


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Keep calm and collaborate on: how UK businesses connect remote workers with G Suite and GCPKeep calm and collaborate on: how UK businesses connect remote workers with G Suite and GCPDirector of Professional Services, Google Cloud

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 20:00:00 +0000

G Suite helps businesses stay connected from all over the globe. Here are a few examples of Google Cloud customers who are using G Suite to collaborate, increase productivity, and drive efficiency, no matter where they are. Customers stock their fridges easier with Morrisons, G Suite, and Google Cloud PlatformEleven million customers trust Morrisons, a leading UK supermarket, to provide quality food at affordable prices each week. With 120,000 staff nationwide across more than 500 sites, good communication is crucial.  G Suite helps Morrisons connect every member of their team affordably, whether they’re picking stock in a warehouse or serving customers in store.Morrisons used to print half a million sheets of paper every week and file them in over 3,000 filing cabinets in order to fulfill compliance requirements. Now, with collaboration in Docs and rapid information collection with Forms, they've reduced paperwork. Outside the office, staff have replaced clunky VPNs and outdated handheld devices with G Suite, which can work on any device. And with Google’s intuitive administrative tools, local managers can set up new accounts in three minutes instead of five to ten days.Instead of shared logins, all employees have a G Suite account, and Google+ brings these colleagues from across the company together to share tips and advice.  Morrisons also improves services based on customer feedback collected by shop floor staff that use apps on mobile devices. Remote researchers with the UK Department of Health collaborate with G Suite to solve global health concernsApproximately 600,000 patients between 2014-2015 participated in studies with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), a part of the the UK Government’s Department of Health. Whether NIHR researchers are investigating to see if nuts can cure nut allergies or testing the effectiveness of schizophrenia medication, every one of their projects is different in its size, duration, and location. This means they need to cater to a fluctuating roster of around 6,500 remote researchers on top of 2,000 core organizational staff.  With G Suite, NIHR has cut their IT system costs approximately in half compared to their previous system and have also saved an estimated several million pounds using Hangouts to replace travel.Each team member uses Gmail instead of disparate email addresses or aliases like before. They use Google+ as a corporate broadcast tool to reach all of their users with news and advice.They also can work from any device with peace of mind knowing that their data will stay secure with appropriate security permissions no matter where they designate their “lab” for a day. Since the team switched to G Suite four years ago, they’ve yet to experience a loss of service or data. NIHR researchers integrate G Suite with the vast array of systems. Some use Awesome Table to plan diaries and manage processes, and others use G Suite and Maps to create heat maps from source data to assist in research. Travis Perkins uses G Suite and Chromebooks to build the UK’s future infrastructureTravis Perkins plc is the UK’s leading building merchant and largest supplier to the construction market. The company’s IT team uses G Suite to help their 30,000 colleagues optim[...]


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