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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, 21 Jul 2017 19:00:00 +0000


Chatting with the National Spelling Bee champ on her success and what’s nextChatting with the National Spelling Bee champ on her success and what’s nextManaging Editor

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Last month, Ananya Vinay clinched the National Spelling Bee with the word “marocain.” (I’m guessing she has never needed to use the "Did you mean" feature in Google Search.) When we ascertained that Ananya endeavored to visit the Googleplex, we invited her for lunch and a peregrination around campus. I had the chance to confabulate with her about her alacrity for spelling, her multifarious approach to practicing a preponderance of words, how Google Hangouts helped her maintain equanimity at the Bee, and which venture she plans to vanquish next.


Keyword: What was your favorite part of the tour at Google?

Ananya: I really liked seeing the first server (known as the “corkboard server”) at the Visitors Center. Then I got to use Google Earth, and zoomed in on my grandmother’s house in Kerala, India.

If you could work at Google one day, what kind of job would you want to do?

I’d like to work in the division where they do research on AI and medicine. I’d want to diagnose diseases. This summer I went to a camp called “mini medical school” where I got to do a bunch of dissections—I really like that stuff.

We heard you used Google Hangouts to practice for the spelling bee, can you tell us more about that?

There’s a spellers chat on Hangouts, and when you make it to the National Spelling Bee, another speller will add you to the chat. People use the chat to share resources on how to study and quiz each other, which helped expand my knowledge of words. When we used Hangouts Chat (instead of video), autocorrect got in the way of spelling, which is really hilarious. The words are so strange that autocorrect doesn’t recognize them. I’ve beaten autocorrect a lot.

Is there a word that always trips you up? Or does that only happen to me?

When I was younger I always messed up “mozzarella.” Now it’s easier for me to guess words because I go off of language patterns and word rules, so I can figure out a word based on language of origin. There’s a lower chance I’ll miss a word because I have a larger word base.

What’s next? Are you going to keep doing spelling bees?

I can’t compete again because I already won the national competition, but next year I get to open up the Bee. Now I’m going deep into math and science. I’m going into seventh grade, and my new hobby is going to be debate.

If you could have a dress made of marocain, what color would it be?

I’m going to use a spelling bee word: cerulean* (which means sky blue).

*Editor’s Note: While I was taking notes during the interview, Ananya immediately called me out on my misspelling of cerulean (not cirulian, as I thought). She’s good.

(image) National Spelling Bee champion Ananya Vinay visited the Googleplex for a tour of campus. The Keyword team had the opportunity to ask her a few questions.

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The High Five: Live every week like you’ll discover a dinosaur fossilThe High Five: Live every week like you’ll discover a dinosaur fossilManaging Editor

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:00:00 +0000

This week a human races a shark, and a dinosaur was discovered a million years after it walked the Earth. It’s a whole new world out there. Here’s what people are searching for this week:


Phelps has the gold, now he’s going for the White

Shark Week returns Sunday night on the Discovery Channel, and this year it’s going to the next level with a “race” between Olympian Michael Phelps and a great white shark. So far Phelps is beating “great white shark” in search traffic, but all bets are off in the water. Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are the regions with the most searches for “Shark Week,” but people are also interested in Amity Island’s resident killer “Jaws,” which was the top searched shark movie of the week.

Stumbling on history

This week’s excavation of a million-year old Stegomastadon is making news after a boy tripped over its fossilized skull while hiking with his family in New Mexico. Search interest in Stegomastadon went up than 700 percent with queries like, “What does a stegomastodon look like?” and “How long ago did dinosaurs live?” Even with its moment in the limelight this week, Stegomastadon was searched less than Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor.

Get those people a croissant

After 23 days, 21 stages, and more than 2,000 miles, cyclists will cross the Tour de France finish line in Paris this weekend. Curious about how that is physically possible, people are searching: “How many rest days are there in the Tour de France?” and “How long is a stage in the Tour de France?” Search interest in “yellow jersey” (worn by the leader of the race and ultimately presented to the winner) spiked 200 percent this week.

O.J. stirs things up

After serving an eight-year prison sentence for armed robbery, O.J. Simpson was released on parole this week. Leading up to the hearing, people searched: “What did O.J. Simpson do?” “What time is OJ’s parole hearing?” and “What is a parole hearing?” Search interest in O.J. spiked 350 percent this week, and interest in his now-deceased attorney Robert Kardashian—yup that Kardashian, father of Kim, Khloe and Kourtney—went up 200 percent.

Harry goes in a new direction

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated movie about the World War II battle in which 300,000 troops were evacuated from a French beach, opened in theaters this week. This month search interest in “Dunkirk evacuation” reached its highest since 2004, and it spiked more than 200 percent this week alone. People are also looking for info on one cast member in particular: One Direction frontman Harry Styles, who makes his acting debut in the movie. Search interest in “Harry Styles Dunkirk” was searched 900 percent more than “Harry Styles songs.”

(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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Your swimming-with-the-sharks AssistantYour swimming-with-the-sharks AssistantThe Google Assistant Team

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:00:00 +0000

We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

I don’t know about you, but we’ve been hearing a lot about sharks this week. So grab your Assistant and let’s sink our teeth into summer—or at least learn some fun shark facts.

  • Let’s start with the basics: “Ok Google, tell me a shark fact.”
  • The more you know: “What’s the fastest shark?” And follow up with “how fast can it swim?” (That would be the shortfin mako shark at 60 MPH.)
  • Don’t forget your show! Just say “Ok Google, remind me to tune into my favorite show on Sunday” to your Assistant on your phone. 
  • Fish are friends … and sometimes food. To prepare for your watch party: say “Ok Google, add fish gummies to my shopping list.”
  • Look for the real thing: “Ok Google, where’s the closest beach?”

Duuunnnn dunnnn. Duuunnnnn duunnn… well, you get the point. 🦈

P.S. In case you missed it, the Assistant on Google Home is now available in Australia—home to 180 shark speciessaying G’Day to a whole new set of fins friends.

(image) Grab your Assistant and let’s sink our teeth into summer—or at least learn some fun shark facts.

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Around the world with #teampixelAround the world with #teampixelPixel Team

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:30:00 +0000

With vacation mode in full swing, #teampixel members are steadily trekking into the far corners of the globe. This week’s picks range from a peaceful afternoon in a Beijing temple to the windy roads of the Great St. Bernard Pass. Take a look at our summer faves in this week’s #pixelperfect slideshow, and don’t forget to pack the sunscreen. @zu.fuss - Great St. Bernard Pass in Switzerland Left: @chxtagram - Natural History Museum in London, England. Right: @jjthehoser - A bubble on the move in Canada @johnsocharlotte - Lakeside sunset in Chicog, Wisconsin Left: @doppiosogno - Colorful confetti at a Coldplay concert. Right: @rht_3 - Brooklyn Bridge in NYC @mrtroiano - Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, France Left: @vasuagarwal - Cube House in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Right: @suluhpandu - An airport tunnel in Indonesia Left: @audiphotography - A shadow cast seat in Haryana, India. Right: @bloganotherfeckintravel - Temple of Heaven in Bejiing, China Have a Pixel? Tag your photos with #teampixel, and you might get featured on the ‘gram. [...]See the sights with this week’s #teampixel photos.

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How we’re collaborating with Citrix to deliver cloud-based desktop appsHow we’re collaborating with Citrix to deliver cloud-based desktop appsHead of Global Technology Partners

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Businesses of all types are accelerating their transition to the cloud, and for many, desktop infrastructure and applications are part of this journey. Customers often tell us they want to be able to use their current desktop applications from any device and any place just as easily and securely as they can use G Suite.

That’s why today, we’re announcing a collaboration with Citrix to help deliver desktop applications running in a cloud-hosted environment.

Managing and delivering hosted desktop applications requires several pieces of technology: Google brings highly scalable and reliable infrastructure, a global network to reach customers and employees wherever they may be, and a team of security engineers who work to keep Google Cloud customers secure. Citrix brings the application management, backup and redundancy from XenApp, its desktop virtualization suite, and application delivery with Netscaler. Finally, Google Chromebooks and Android devices together with Citrix XenApp offer a highly secure, managed end-point that provide users a safe and user friendly experience on which to use applications.

All this requires close partnership and excellence in engineering. Google and Citrix have collaborated for years and we're expanding that relationship today in a few key ways:

  • Simplifying the path for customers to more securely transition to the cloud by bringing Citrix Cloud to Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

  • Bringing the application load balancing expertise of Netscaler to the world of containers via Netscaler CPX on GCP

  • Integrating Sharefile with G Suite to use Gmail and edit and store Google Docs natively.

  • Expanding use of secure devices with Citrix Receiver for Chrome and Android link

This collaboration helps address key challenges faced by enterprises moving to the cloud quickly and securely. Both Google and Citrix look forward to making our products work together and to delivering a great combined experience for our customers.

(image) Today, we’re announcing a collaboration with Citrix to help deliver desktop applications running in a cloud-hosted environment.

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Daydream Labs: Teaching Skills in VRDaydream Labs: Teaching Skills in VRSoftware Engineer

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:00:00 +0000

You can read every recipe, but to really learn how to cook, you need time in the kitchen. Wouldn't it be great if you could slip on a VR headset and have a famous chef walk you through the basics step by step? In the future, you might be able to learn how to cook a delicious five-course meal—all in VR. In fact, virtual reality could help people learn all kinds of skills. At Daydream Labs, we tried to better understand how interactive learning might work in VR. So we set up an experiment, which aimed at teaching coffee making. We built a training prototype featuring a 3D model of an espresso machine which reacts like a real one would when you press the buttons, turn the knobs or drop the milk. We also added a detailed tutorial. Then, we tasked one group of people to learn how to pull espresso shots by doing it in VR. (At the end, we gave people a detailed report on how they’d done, including an analysis of the quality of their coffee.) For the purpose of comparison, another group learned by watching YouTube videos. Both groups were able to train for as long as they liked before trying to make a coffee in the real world; people assigned to watch the YouTube tutorial normally did so three times, and people who took the VR training normally went through it twice. A scene from our coffee training prototype We were excited to find out that people learned faster and better in VR. Both the number of mistakes made and the time to complete an espresso were significantly lower for those trained in VR (although, in fairness, our tasting panel wasn't terribly impressed with the espressos made by either group!) It's impossible to tell from one experiment, of course, but these early results are promising. We also learned a lot of about how to design future experiments. Here's a glimpse at some of those insights. Another scene from our coffee training prototype First, milk coffee was a bad choice. The physical sensation of tamping simply can't be replicated with a haptic buzz. And no matter what warning we flashed if someone virtually touched a hot steam nozzle, they frequently got too close to it in the real world, and we needed a chaperone at the ready to grab their hand away. This suggests that VR technology isn’t quite there when it comes to learning some skills. Until gloves with much better tracking and haptics are mainstream, VR training will be limited to inputs like moving things around or pressing buttons. And if the digital analog is too far removed from the thing it's simulating, it probably won’t help all that much with actually learning the skill. We also learned that people don’t follow instructions. We see this in all of the prototypes made in Daydream Labs, but it was especially problematic in the trainer. Instructions on controllers? People left their hands by their sides. Written on a backboard? They were too busy with what was right in front of them. Delivered as a voiceover? They rushed ahead without waiting. We even added a “hint” button, but people thought that it was cheating—and forgot about it after a step or two anyways. We ended up needing to combine all of these methods and add in-scene markers, too. Large green arrows pointing at whatever the user was supposed to interact with next worked well enough to allow us to run the test. But we’ve by no means solved this problem, and we learned that lots more work needs to be done about incorporating instructions effectively. Scenes from our coffee training prototype [...]

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Applications now open for the Google Policy Fellowship in Europe and AfricaApplications now open for the Google Policy Fellowship in Europe and AfricaSenior Manager, Public Policy EMEA

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Are you an undergraduate, graduate or law student interested in internet and technology policy? Do you want to get involved in the public dialogue on these issues? If so, the new Google Policy Fellowship pilot programs in Italy, Belgium (Brussels), and three African countries may be for you.  Successful applicants to the program will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on internet policy issues. They will be assigned a mentor at their host organizations and will have the opportunity to work with senior staff members. Fellows will be expected to make substantive contributions to the work of their organization, including conducting policy research and analysis, drafting reports and white papers, attending government and industry meetings and conferences, and participating in other advocacy activities.The work of the fellows is decided between the individuals and the organizations. Google provides a small stipend during the period of the fellowship, but has no involvement in defining or conducting the research. Typically, the fellows are postgraduates and they work with the organization on an area of research or study. For example, in previous years, a fellow with the Strathmore Law School in Nairobi, Kenya, carried out a review of cyber-security conventions around the world, and a fellow at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT in Ghana helped to establish the Creative Commons chapter for Ghana before returning to university to finish her Ph.D. All work is carried out independently of Google. Who should apply?The organisations in the program are looking for students who are passionate about technology, and want to gain experience of working on public policy. Students from all majors and degree programs who possess the following qualities are encouraged to apply:Demonstrated or stated interest in Internet and technology policyExcellent academic record, professional/extracurricular/volunteer activities, subject matter expertiseFirst-rate analytical, communications, research, and writing skillsAbility to manage multiple projects simultaneously and efficiently, and to work smartly and resourcefully in a fast-paced environment Brussels pilotWe are pleased to offer three fellowships, starting in September 2017, at the organizations listed below. These placements will run for six months and the stipend will vary slightly from organization to organization. To apply, please use the link below and send a short email, together with a CV. Deadline for applications is July 31, 2017. European Disabilities Forum: Contact Alejandro Moledo alejandro.moledo@edf-feph.orgEuropean Women’s Lobby: Contact  Emily Usher Usher@womenlobby.orgEuropean Youth Forum: Contact John Lisney Italy pilotWe’re pleased to offer six fellowships, starting in October 2017, and lasting up to six months, at the organizations listed below. To apply, please send a short email to the address below, together with a CV. Deadline for applications is August 27, 2017. Accademia Italiana del Codice di Internet  Contact info@iaic.itAREL - Agenzia di Ricerche e Legislazione Contact mailto:arel@arel.itAssociazione Sole Luna - Un ponte tra le culture: Contact info@solelunadoc.orgFormiche: Contact - Istituto per la competitività Contact info@i-com.itIstituto Bruno Leoni: Contact info@brunoleoni.orgAfrica programWe’re pleased to offer eight fellowships, starting from late August 2017, across Sub-Saharan Africa. The program will run for six to twelve months, with exact duration varying by organization. Detailed job descriptions can be viewed here. To apply, please complete the form at 2017 Africa Google Policy Fellowship Application. Deadline for applications is August 5, 2017. Beneath is a list of organization and locations for the fellowships.CODE-IP Trust, K[...]

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Welcome to Outer Space ViewWelcome to Outer Space ViewAstronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note:  Starting today, you can now explore the International Space Station in Street View in Google Maps. Thomas Pesquet, Astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), spent six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight engineer. He returned to Earth in June 2017, and in this post he tells us about what it’s like to live on the ISS and his experience capturing Street View imagery in zero gravity.   In the six months that I spent on the International Space Station, it was difficult to find the words or take a picture that accurately describes the feeling of being in space. Working with Google on my latest mission, I captured Street View imagery to show what the ISS looks like from the inside, and share what it’s like to look down on Earth from outer space. Cupola Observation Module For 16 years, astronauts have been working and living on the ISS, a structure made up of 15 connected modules that floats 250 miles above Earth. The ISS acts as a base for space exploration—possible future missions to the Moon,Mars and asteroids—and gives us a unique perspective on Earth itself. We can collect data on the Earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and land surface. We can conduct experiments and studies that we wouldn’t be able to do from Earth, like monitoring how the human body reacts to microgravity, solving mysteries of the immune system, studying  cyclones in order to alert populations and governments when a storm is approaching, or monitoring marine litter—the rapidly increasing amount of waste found in our oceans. US Laboratory Module There were a few “firsts” on my mission. It was led by Peggy Whitson who, at age 56, became the oldest woman to fly into space and the first woman in history to command two expeditions. The mission was the first time Street View imagery was captured beyond planet Earth, and the first time annotations—helpful little notes that pop up as you explore the ISS—have been added to the imagery. They provide additional information or fun facts like where we work out to stay physically fit, what kind of food we eat, and where we conduct scientific experiments. Node 1 (Unity) Peggy Whitson and friends dining at the galley table - big enough for six astronauts. Because of the particular constraints of living and working in space, it wasn't possible to collect Street View using Google's usual methods. Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS. Then I collected still photos in space, that were sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create panoramic 360 degree imagery of the ISS. Node 2 (Harmony) Crew Quarters - Astronaut Sandra Magnus, Expedition 18 flight engineer, poses for a photo in her crew compartment. We did a lot of troubleshooting before collecting the final imagery that you see today in Street View. The ISS has technical equipment on all surfaces, with lots of cables and a complicated layout with modules shooting off in all dire[...]

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Find great apps and games on Google Play with the Editors' Choice updateFind great apps and games on Google Play with the Editors' Choice updateGlobal Head of Apps & Store EngagementProduct Manager

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Summer road trips are always a great way to unplug and enjoy time with friends and family. But how do you go about choosing the best app to navigate unfamiliar roads, edit your vacation photos and videos to post online, or find a fun game to pass time during the long drive? The Editors’ Choice section on Google Play has long been a fan favorite, but we’re kicking it up a notch by adding better curation to help you find high quality apps and games that you’ll love. With the introduction of new editorial pages in our revamped Editors’ Choice section, our Google Play editors hand-select apps and games with the best experiences on Android and compile them around popular themes, while offering context on why they love each individual app or game.Editors’ Choice helps you explore different game genres and app categories with reviews on each theme, such as fitness, selling & buying goods, epic role-playing games (RPGs) and top racing games.Here are some editorial pages we recently put together: AppsGo Face-to-Face With These Video Calling AppsMap It Out: Navigate Anywhere With These 5 AppsGet Motivated With These 5 Fitness AppsOh, Snap: 5 Photo Editing Apps to Make Your Pics PopTalk the Talk With These Language Learning AppsMake a Deal: 5 Apps for Buying & Selling Used GoodsTrack Your Spending With These 5 Budgeting AppsGamesPuzzle Games to Test Your LogicGet There Fast With These Great Runner Games5 Role-Playing Games for the Hero in YouPedal to the Metal: 5 Awesome Racing Games5 Arcade Games to Perfect Your Twitch SkillsChallenge Your Intellect With These Simulation GamesWinning Sports Games to Enjoy Any Season Available on mobile and desktop in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S., With expansion to more countries soon, our new editorial pages take out the guesswork so that you can quickly decide what apps and games fit best for your travel plans.[...]Updated Editors’ Choice section on Google Play offers more curated apps and games.

Adventures abound: Explore Google Expeditions on your ownAdventures abound: Explore Google Expeditions on your ownSoftware Engineer

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Google Expeditions makes it possible for teachers to take their classrooms on virtual reality field trips to amazing places like the Taj Mahal or Machu Picchu. Today, we’re starting to roll out a new solo mode of Expeditions for Android, so that anybody can explore more than 600 different tours on their own. Just download the Expeditions app (coming soon for iOS), drop your phone into Cardboard and get ready for an adventure. For the past two years, Expeditions has been a tool to extend learning inside the classroom, helping students to see and experience the world in new ways, visit college campuses, gain exposure to new career paths and role models, and learn about various social impact initiatives happening around the globe. During this time, we've heard from students, teachers, and even our friends, that they'd love to explore and learn from Expeditions outside the classroom . Self-Guided Expeditions let anyone explore anywhere. Students can go on tours at home and share the experience with their family. Teachers can assign tours as homework to complement in-class work. What better way to round out textbook reading about the Founding Fathers than an Expedition about the Hamilton-Burr duel narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda? And of course, anybody who loves to learn and explore can experience all the tours for themselves. It’s easy to use. All you need is your smartphone, Google Cardboard and the Expeditions app. If you have a Daydream-ready phone, it also works with Daydream View. Simply launch the app, pop your phone in your viewer and you’re ready to go. You can take tours as either an Explorer or a Guide. As an Explorer, you experience the tour on your own, and you’ll see points of interest highlighted with more information about the incredible sights you’re seeing. Guide mode is especially handy if you’re a teacher and you want to preview a tour before leading your students on it. We’ve also heard from teachers that they want more tools to help explain and highlight things within Expeditions panoramas and environments. The new “Annotations” tool lets a Guide draw within a scene using their finger or a stylus. Each of the connected Explorers will instantly see that same annotation in the scene. To get started with Self-Guided Expeditions, check out the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, or dive into the beautiful and fragile Great Barrier Reef. Or, if you love baseball, check out one of the game’s great cathedrals with a tour of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Wherever you choose to go, there’ll be something amazing to see.[...]Self-Guided Expeditions let anyone explore and learn in virtual reality with over 600 tours.

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Feed your need to knowFeed your need to knowVP, Engineering

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:05:00 +0000

As the late, great Dr Seuss once said, “there is no one alive who is you-er than you.” At Google, we know this statement is truer than true. Sure, we all have many things in common, but none of us has quite the same mix of passions, interests and goals as the next person. And, while we each keep up to date on the things that matter to us in different ways—social media, news apps, talking to friends—it’s hard to find one place to stay in the know about exactly what matters to you. Today that’s changing. People have long turned to Google to get answers, learn about the world, and dig deeper on topics they’re passionate about. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app, making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you—even when you don’t have a query in mind. A smart feed that changes with youSince introducing the feed in December, we’ve advanced our machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what’s interesting and important to you. You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be. As the world and your interests change, your feed will continue to grow and evolve along with you. You’ll notice that your feed will also reflect your interest level for various topics—for example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that. But if you see something that isn’t up your alley, unfollowing topics is easy too. Just tap on a given card in your feed or visit your Google app settings. Follow your favoritesWhile we’ve been getting better at understanding your interests, it hasn’t always been easy for you to choose new topics for your feed. To help you keep up with exactly what you care about, you’ll now be able to follow topics, right from Search results. Look out for a new “Follow” button next to certain types of search results—including movies, sports teams, your favorite bands or music artists, famous people, and more. A quick tap of the the follow button and you’ll start getting updates and stories about that topic in your feed. Broader context and deeper explorationTo provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources, as well as other related information and articles. And when available, you’ll be able to fact check and see other relevant information to help get a more holistic understanding about the topics in your feed. We’re also making it easier to dive deeper into any of the topics you see in your feed. At the top of every card, you’ll see a header that puts your interests front and center, letting you search that topic on Google with one tap. Get more of the stuff you care aboutWith these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you. You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them. Whether you’re a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head and burgeoning brewmaster; or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy. The new feed experience is[...]

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Empowering Indonesian entrepreneurs to take actionEmpowering Indonesian entrepreneurs to take actionChief Executive

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 06:15:00 +0000

Editor’s note: This post comes from Yansen Kamto, Chief Executive and Founder of KIBAR, which mentors and nurtures startups through tech incubator programs, and by building innovation hubs. Today, they’re officially joining the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network.Indonesia is home to 17,504 islands, 1,128 ethnic groups and 746 local languages. Half of our country is under 30 years old. These numbers are impressive, and they capture how we're a nation with big potential. There’s an Indonesian saying that comes to mind, though: Tong kosong nyaring bunyinya. Metaphorically speaking, all talk and no action won’t get us very far.That’s why I’m so inspired by entrepreneurs like Leonika Sari and Ray Rezky Ananda, who are taking action and making a real difference each day. Leonika is the founder and CEO of Reblood, an app that is saving lives daily by making blood donations in Indonesia easier than ever. Bantuternak founder Ray set up a peer-to-peer lending platform to help local farmers raise cows and increase the quality of cattle. Bantuternak empowers local economic growth by connecting potential investors to farmers and providing training on livestock farming.I’m especially proud of these inspiring entrepreneurs because they’re graduates of KIBAR’s incubation programs. They show us how technology, business and an entrepreneurial spirit can come together to lift up our society at home, and help support and encourage innovation in other communities around the world.I started KIBAR in 2011 to help make Indonesia the region’s tech leader, and ultimately, a place where we build meaningful technological solutions for the world. At KIBAR, our goal is to build an end-to-end ecosystem for young Indonesian entrepreneurs, equipping them with the best resources. That’s why I’m so excited we’re joining the global Google for Entrepreneurs partner network today. Google for Entrepreneurs fits right in with our colorful traditional Indonesian art motifs. Entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and innovators at work in the Google Lounge at the newly constructed KIBAR Menara Space Entrepreneurs are Indonesia’s greatest hope for the future, as our “Hope Wall” attests. KIBAR is the first member from Indonesia joining a worldwide community of more than 50 partners. Through this Google for Entrepreneurs partnership, KIBAR members can now participate in GFE Exchanges, a series of week-long, industry-specific global immersion programs aimed at helping startups gain access to new markets and insights. We’ll also have the opportunity to represent Indonesia at Google Demo Day, an event that brings together a diverse group of startups from around the world to showcas[...]

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Tilt Brush Artist in Residence: Meet Estella TseTilt Brush Artist in Residence: Meet Estella TseCommunity Manager

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality. Earlier this year, we launched the Artist in Residence (AiR) program to showcase what’s possible when creative artists experiment with this new medium. The resulting works of art have been amazing, and you can check some of them out on our website, or right in the Tilt Brush app itself.In this series, we go deeper into these artists’ process, explore their creative influences, hear about their experience using Tilt Brush and share any tips they have for aspiring VR artists. Want more? Check out our previous posts on Steve Teeps and Isaac Cohen. As an artist in residence, Estella Tse created Metamorphosis, which celebrates the beauty of our individual journeys of growth, transformation and self-discovery. We caught up with Estella to hear more.  Walk us through your creative process in Tilt Brush. How do you use it?I got comfortable with Tilt Brush immediately! I felt like I could summon light out of my fingertips. And it's so intuitive. Ideas flow out of me.My VR painting technique isn’t very different from designing an illustration on paper. I start with fast, loose and long lines. Then I tighten up and work on details, going from big to small and general to specific.I usually have an idea of the mood or aesthetic I want to create in VR. I like to design with intent. Everything from shape to scale to color, all elements serve the mood and feeling of my pieces. Every mark counts. I want my viewer to feel inspired when they step into my pieces. I want them to feel the magic.How is Tilt Brush different from working in other mediums?It's almost as if I'm working with a whole new dimension! The vastness of seemingly infinite space is exhilarating, and also too much at times. I've been making skyboxes to close off my space.Tilt Brush is not like any other art form. It's kind of a hybrid between drawing and sculpting. I liken it to sculpting with line. It's so easy to wireframe and plan out a scene, making it a great tool for quick prototyping. For the first time, we can sketch in 3D without having to use a complex modeling software. Thinking and working in 3D has never been more intuitive and natural.One of the most fascinating things about Tilt Brush is that this is the first time we as humans have ever been able to fully immerse ourselves in hand-drawn paintings—you can look around and through my paintings. From an art history point of view, this is incredible. What inspires you?On a high level, I'm really interested in exploring the potential of creating a new art form in VR, similar to how Walt Disney and his team iterated over and over to learn the balance of storytelling in animation. This is just the beginning for VR and AR. I'm excited to experiment with different techniques, and to explore the evolution of art with innovative technology.In my residence program with Tilt Brush, I used the “playback” feature when loading a sketch as an animation tool. Instead of having my final piece be the piece, the process is the piece. I painted a caterpillar going through the phases of metamorphosis, then blossoming into a butterfly in front of your eyes. I believe growth, process, and the journey are really important aspects of creativity, as well as life. Try everything. There’s no right or wrong way to do anything right now. There are no rules. Do you have any advice for other Tilt Brush creators?Try everything. There’s no right or wrong way to do anything right now. There are no rules[...]

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A new look for our Transparency ReportA new look for our Transparency ReportProduct Lead, Google Transparency Report

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 15:23:00 +0000

In 2010, we launched the government requests tool, a new way to publicly document government requests for user data and content removals. It was the first report of its kind and a natural extension of our mission to make information accessible and useful. In the years since, our simple tool evolved into the Transparency Report, a multifaceted snapshot of the ways governments and corporations affect online security, privacy, and the free flow of information.The web has evolved too, and has become central to people’s lives: 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, more than one billion people rely on Gmail and Chrome, every day. And this type reporting, once an anomaly, has become the norm across the tech industry and beyond. More than 40 companies now have transparency reports; that’s great news for people everywhere.But while the report itself expanded in scope and coverage, its design remained largely unchanged. Not only was it due for a little update, we heard from users it could be easier to navigate as well.So today we’re introducing the completely revamped Transparency Report. It features clearer data visualizations, more context for the data, a Recent Updates section so you can see what’s new, and a better way to download data from our most popular reports. And while the previous version was a patchwork of different reports, designed at different times in different styles, our new report is all one consistent design, making it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. We’re continuing to invest in this report because we’ve seen firsthand how it can help inform and shape the public debate about information online. The data also acts as a lens into significant moments in the history of the web, fundamental changes to security, and our efforts to be transparent about data and how it is used. Here are a few examples:Our Traffic and Disruptions report documents real-time disruptions to usage of our products. Here’s what the report looked like for search in Egypt in January of 2011 when internet access was restricted during the Arab Spring. As we say in the report, “when you send or receive emails from a provider that doesn’t encrypt messages in transit, they are as open to snoopers as a postcard in the mail.” In 2014, we started reporting on the state of email encryption across the industry and which providers offer this protection. It’s been really encouraging to see how these trends have changed. Since then, outbound email encryption has gone from 73 percent to 88 percent., and inbound email encryption has gone from 61 percent to 88 percent sinc[...]

Google introduces Hire, a new recruiting app that integrates with G SuiteGoogle introduces Hire, a new recruiting app that integrates with G SuiteSenior Product Manager, Google Cloud

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:00:00 +0000

It’s no secret that attracting top talent is a key driver of business success. But whether you’re looking to recruit a business analyst, bring on an assistant or hire an experienced auto mechanic, building the right teams with the right talent takes time and money.According to a study by Bersin by Deloitte, it takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position and costs about $4,000 to interview, schedule and assess each candidate. At the end of the day, that adds up. Now, Hire–an app designed to help small and medium businesses recruit more effectively–can help.Recruit better using Hire and G SuiteHire makes it easy for you to identify talent, build strong candidate relationships and efficiently manage the interview process end-to-end. It integrates seamlessly with G Suite apps like Gmail and Google Calendar, which more than 3 million businesses use, many of them to drive recruiting efforts. With the introduction of Hire, customers now have a hiring app alongside G Suite’s familiar, easy-to-use tools that can help them run an efficient recruiting process.Hire and G Suite are made to work well together so recruiting team members can focus on their top priorities instead of wasting time copy-pasting across tools. For example, you can:Communicate with candidates in Gmail or Hire and your emails will sync automatically in both.Schedule interviews in Hire with visibility into an interviewer's schedule from Calendar. Hire also automatically includes important details in Calendar invites, like contact information, the full interview schedule and what questions each interviewer should focus on.Track candidate pipeline in Hire, and then analyze and visualize the data in Sheets. Making intuitive recruiting software for your businessA lot of tools that employees rely on at work are clunky, unintuitive and hard to learn—endless configuration options, tables and lists and mind-numbing data entry. The Hire product team set out to change that. With a mindset of “less is more,” the team conducted hundreds of user-testing sessions and worked with early adopter customers for more than a year to simplify and optimize every aspect of the user experience.How Hire makes it easy for Brad’s Deals to recruitBrad’s Deals is a free service that compares online prices to help consumers find the best deals.  As a growing organization, recruiting is a top priority for the company. With more than 260 active candidates in their pipeline, Brad’s Deals uses Hire to share candidate information, capture feedback from the interviewing team in one place and track interview progress.“Hire’s intuitive and simple UI makes it easy for recruiters, hiring managers or even interviewers to take an active part in the recruiting process,” says Jessica Adams, vice president of Human Resources at Brad’s Deals. “The app’s integration with G Suite enables us to quickly access all candidate communications in one place, efficiently schedule interviews and collaborate to reach a hiring decision quickly."Try Hire todayHire is the latest product offering from Google to address the talent marketplace. In May, we unveiled Google for Jobs, our initiative that's focused on helping both job seekers and employers, across our products and through deep collaboration with the job matching industry. Google Search connects jobseekers to job opportunities from the open and broad ecosystem of providers, including employer listings as well as LinkedIn, Monster, WayUp, DirectEmployers, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor and Facebook[...]

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Since U Been BlobSince U Been BlobHeartbreaker

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 16:30:00 +0000

Editor’s note: On World Emoji Day, we’re taking the time to bid farewell to our old Android emoji, known fondly by fans as “blobs.” We’re rolling out a new set of emoji as part of Android O. They’re squishy and lovable—and designed for more consistent communication. Breaking up is hard to do, but we’ll find love in a blobless place.

Dear Blob,

I see it all now that you're gone.

We were both young when I first saw you… I said “it’s a love story, Blobby just say yes.”


Now, you lost that blobbin’ feeling. Blobversation has run dry—that’s what’s going on. Oh Blobbie, I couldn't have tried anymore. Blame it on the blob.

Once upon a time I was falling in blob, and now you’re just someblobby that I used to know.

It’s time we had the talk. Blob, bye.


Although we’ve come to the end of the blob, I want you to know you couldn't have loved me blobber. I’ve had the blob of my life… you’ll always be my Blobby.


Don’t you forget ablob me,


P.S. Nevermind, I’ll find someblob like you… You can blob your own way with new stickers in Google Allo.


(image) Breaking up is hard to do, but on World Emoji Day, we’re saying goodbye to our old Android emoji, known fondly by fans as “blobs.”

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Helping to fight the hunger crisis in Africa and YemenHelping to fight the hunger crisis in Africa and YemenProgram Manager

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:00:00 +0000

In South Sudan, Somalia, northeastern Nigeria and Yemen this spring, families hopefully watched the horizon for rain clouds. The rain never arrived—and after two years of severe drought, food and water continue to be desperately scarce. Twenty million people across the region are facing starvation due to a drought, as well as prolonged conflicts. The United Nations has called it the largest humanitarian crisis since its founding in 1945, and has called on the international community to act and Googlers have donated more than $1 million to support critical services like screening children for malnutrition, running feeding programs and treating malnourished children in specialized health centers, as well as providing clean water, food, and shelter. And soon, Google volunteers will work hand in hand with Save the Children to support the development of a Hunger Assessment Portal, an interactive tool that will help on-the-ground decision-makers, policymakers and donors use data to make better decisions about where and how to deploy their resources.This week, we’re helping to raise awareness for a first-of-its-kind coalition of major U.S.-based international nonprofit organizations that have joined together to help respond to the urgent hunger crisis. This Global Emergency Response Coalition will use donations to a new Hunger Relief Fund to bring much-needed food and supplies to those affected, and lay the groundwork for recovery. The coalition includes CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision. Together, these organizations are working in more than 100 countries to reach millions of the world’s most vulnerable people with urgent assistance such as food, water, shelter, education and medical care, as well as resources to build resilience to future food crises. We’ll be linking to their site from the homepage, and providing advertising credits to raise awareness about their efforts.This campaign runs through July 27, and we hope you’ll join us in providing support for the coalition at We’re raising awareness for a first-of-its-kind coalition of major nonprofit organizations that have joined together to help bring much-needed food and supplies to those affected by the famine.[...]

Ad X-Zyte’s story: All signs point to taking business onlineAd X-Zyte’s story: All signs point to taking business onlineProduct Manager

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 05:40:00 +0000

As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we spoke with Norachai Lappiam, the founder, CEO, and owner of Ad X-Zyte, to find out how he operates a creative sign-making business with global customers — all without a physical storefront.  Ad X-Zyte founder, CEO, and owner Norachai Lappiam Tell us about your journey to becoming an entrepreneur.Eleven years ago, I was just making ends meet as a normal salaryman for a small local company producing newsletters and some signs. With a growing family to take care of, poverty was a real and terrifying prospect for me. That’s what motivated me to start my own company. I started a sign-making company because I recognized that every business needs a sign for their storefront location if they want to attract customers. Now, I can support my family and give them a better life. We are fortunate to have enough money to send my son and daughter to university for higher education. What sets your business apart from other sign makers in Thailand and in the region?We’re completely online! Most sign makers in Thailand only have a walk-in shop. That means their business is limited to the town or city they are located in. As an online-only business, customers anywhere in the world can find us easily, using a search engine like Google Search. They can reach us by phone, tablet, or the laptop at their fingertips. I think convenience is the most important thing for attracting customers.What difference has the Internet made for your business?The Internet changed business for the better by growing our sales, connecting us to more customers, and keeping us ahead of our competitors. Before mastering AdWords, I was struggling to promote my products and to reach customers. We didn’t have enough social media, either. The change came when I started learning about AdWords. I’ve been working with the Google AdWords team for 4 years now. It’s been amazing.  Whenever I have a question, they immediately reply and even call me to ask if it’s been answered. I saw a big difference to the business as early as 2014, when we hit TBH 50 million ($1.4 million) in revenue. Ad X-Zyte makes signs for all kinds of businesses, including the Ayutthaya Park Mall in Thailand, Honda cars, and the Mahidol Medical Center. His fifty-person team has also exported its signs, including one that will light up the Hard Rock Cafe when it opens in Phnom Penh, Cambodia later this year. What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?Master your own trade. Be active in the core of your business, expand your personal and professional connections, and use as many online media channels as possible to promote your business! I also treat my employees’ families like they are my family too. I try to take good care of them as much as I can. It builds our relationship in the long-term. Finally, be adventurous, too. Being adventurous is a key characteristic of our company—we enjoy discovering what’s new, being open-minded, and ready to face new challenges. The Ad X-Zyte workshop floor What’s next for your business?We’re continuing to build our pres[...]

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Update on the Department of Labor LawsuitUpdate on the Department of Labor LawsuitVice President

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 00:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: On Friday, an administrative law judge for the United States Department of Labor issued a recommended decision and order regarding a demand for extensive data about Google employees made by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor. The decision concluded that the OFCCP demands were “over-broad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome and insufficiently focused on obtaining the relevant information.” We asked Eileen Naughton, our VP of People Operations (see her previous post on pay equity) to provide more detail. You may have read about a wide-ranging audit of Google being performed by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor.  We’ve complied with various past OFCCP audits in connection with federal contracts, and those audits have not resulted in challenges to our practices.  Over the last year, in connection with this audit alone, we've provided more than 329,000 documents and more than 1.7 million data points, including detailed compensation information, in response to OFCCP’s 18 different data requests.But ultimately we reached an impasse when OFCCP demanded even more: employees’ compensation and other job information dating back 15 years, as well as extensive personal employee data and contact information for more than 25,000 employees.  We were concerned that these requests went beyond the scope of what was relevant to this specific audit, and posed unnecessary risks to employees’ privacy.  Despite our repeated efforts to resolve this impasse informally, OFCCP issued a complaint against us demanding access to the information and asserting we had no right to challenge their requests.On Friday, an administrative law judge for the United States Department of Labor issued a recommended decision and order as to OFCCP’s demand for this data. The decision concluded that the demands were “over-broad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome and insufficiently focused on obtaining the relevant information.”In the course of the litigation around the scope of the audit, an OFCCP witness asserted that there are gender-related disparities in our compensation practices related to salary negotiations. The decision found that: “Despite having several investigators interview more than 20 Google executives and managers over two days and having reviewed over a million compensation-related data points and many hundreds of thousands of documents, OFCCP offered nothing credible or reliable to show that its theory ... is based ... on anything more than speculation.”Moreover, our own annual analysis shows no gender pay gap at Google. We’ve shared our methodology publicly. And we appreciate the decision’s recognition that our compensation policies and practices are “intricately designed to bring people on the same job with the same job performance rating to the same salary over time." The decision also notes that OFCCP has not taken sufficient steps to learn how our systems work and may not have ”accurately understood” them.We were also concerned that providing personal contact information for more than 25,000 Google employees could have privacy implications, and the judge agreed, citing the history of government data breaches and recent hacking of Department of Labor data. Assuming the recommended decision becomes final, we’ll comply with the remainder of the order, and provide the much more limited data set of information the judge approved, including the contact [...]

From morning to night your Assistant is ready to helpFrom morning to night your Assistant is ready to helpThe Google Assistant Team

Fri, 14 Jul 2017 18:00:00 +0000

You can get a lot done in 24 hours. And with your Google Assistant—on your Google Home, eligible Android phones, iPhone, Google Allo and Android Wear—you can do even more. Here are 24 ways your Assistant can help you get more done this weekend:  Your morning motivation1. Snoozing is okay on the weekends, right? When your alarm goes off and you need just 10 more minutes, you can say, “Hey Google, snooze my alarm” to your Assistant on Google Home.2.Now that you’re up, you can see what the day has in store: “Ok Google, tell me about my day” or “Ok Google, good morning” and you’ll hear a rundown of the weather, what’s on your calendar, your favorite news and more.3. Next up, it’s time to get some fresh air. If you’re wearing your Android Wear device, say “Ok Google, start my run,” and it will track your run using Google Fit. You can also ask for your heart rate, step count and to pep up your routine with some music.4. And when you’re back from your run, don’t forget to stretch: “Ok Google, set a timer for 30 seconds.”5. Now you’re warmed up (and down) and ready for your day. First up—prep for your afternoon picnic. In your Google Allo chat with your picnic buddies, you can plan who’s making what, chat through important logistics (don’t forget the picnic blankets!) and even make a backup plan if all else fails (“Ok Google, lunch spots nearby?”).Your baking buddy6. The picnic plans are in place and you’re in charge of dessert. “Ok Google, let’s make chocolate chip cookies” will give you step-by-step baking instructions.7.And don’t worry, your Assistant has your back if baking isn’t your thing. As you cook, you can ask for refreshers like, “Ok, Google, how much baking powder?” Even if you confuse ingredients, your Assistant can get you back on track by responding with “Did you mean baking soda?”8. The best part? While you’re baking, your Assistant continues to help out. If you need some music inspiration, just say, “Ok Google, play my party prep playlist.” You can also ask for conversions: “Ok Google, how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?”9. If the kitchen gets too warm while you’re baking, just ask your Assistant on Google Home: “Ok Google, turn down the thermostat to 65.”10. The cookies are almost done, so it’s time to start cleaning up: “Ok Google, ask Roomba to start cleaning.”Your on-the-go picnic pal11. Now you’re finally ready to head out to the picnic. Ask your Assistant: “Ok Google, how long will it take to bike to Prospect Park?”12. As you get your bike ready to go, ask your Assistant on your phone to “Text Thomas that I’ll be there in 20 minutes."13. You’ve made it to the park and can’t remember your bike lock combo. Just say “Ok Google, remember my bike combo is 1430.” Next time you need it, just say “What’s my bike combo?”14. After all that baking, biking and hanging out in the park, it’s time to relax. Before you head out from the park, just say: “Ok Google, change the lights to turquoise.” And when you step in your house your Phillips Hue lights will be ready to greet you.15. You can also set a shortcut with your Assistant (in your Google Home app or Assistant settings), so every time you say “Ok Google, honey, I’m home” your lights turn to whatever color feels right! And you can do this for any action—from turning on the lights to playing your favorite music.Your sit back and relax sidekick16. The mood is set, now with your Chromecast set up, you can ask your Assistant[...]

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