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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, 28 Apr 2017 21:00:00 +0000

 



Your twirling, dancing, arts-appreciating Google AssistantYour twirling, dancing, arts-appreciating Google AssistantThe Google Assistant Team

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:00:00 +0000

Ok Google, when is International Dance Day?

It’s tomorrow! So grab your dancing shoes—the Google Assistant is your new partner. Here’s how it can help you get in the spirit of International Dance Day:
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  • Practice makes perfect! Ask your Assistant on Android phones to “show me a video of a fouetté.”
  • Those who can’t dance can become dance history buffs. Ask your Assistant on Google Home “who was the founder of ballet?”
  • If you’re looking to learn new dance moves—ask your Assistant on Android phones “how do you do the Nae Nae?”
  • Get in the spirit with the right music—ask your Assistant on Google Home to “play some samba.”
  • Dust off your history books and ask your Assistant in Google Allo “when was the Lindy Hop popular?”
  • Or answer that burning question you’ve always been wondering about—ask your Assistant “can you dance?” (who wouldn’t want to be a part of the world’s longest conga line?)

Whether you want to hone your dancing skills with some practice or leave it to the experts by watching a video, your Google Assistant can help. We'll see you on the dance floor.

(image) Tomorrow is International Dance Day, so grab your dancing shoes—the Google Assistant is your new partner. Whether you want to hone your dancing skills with some practice or leave it to the experts by watching a video, your Google Assistant can help.


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The High Five: new discoveries in space and fashionThe High Five: new discoveries in space and fashionManaging Editor

Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:00:00 +0000

What did Saturn say to NASA this week? “High Five.” Here’s a look at a few of the top trending Google searches orbiting the week of April 24.

What have you done this week?

For the first time ever, a spacecraft cruised through the narrow gap between Saturn and its rings. Now NASA’s Cassini is beaming information back to the mothership, and telling NASA about all the cool stuff it saw. Science, FTW! After the feat, people searched on Google for more information: “How does Cassini communicate with Earth?” and “How long did it take for Cassini to reach Saturn?” Some were looking for a refresher astronomy course, asking “How far is Saturn from Earth?” and “How many rings does Saturn have?”

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Here comes the tour

Maybe we’re amazed that Paul McCartney is still touring—that guy is Here, There and Everywhere! It’ll be a Hard Day’s Night on the road, but fans twisted and shouted when he announced his 2017 tour dates this week. Though you can’t buy his love, you can buy a ticket to his show. And fans are itching to get those tickets, with questions like “How much are Paul McCartney tickets?” and “When do tickets for Paul McCartney go on sale?” Let it Be soon.

Centi-versary

This Saturday marks President Trump’s 100th day in office, and the first few months of his administration have prompted people to learn more about political concepts and processes. The five most-searched terms related to politics during Trump’s first 100 days are “recuse,” “filibuster,” “vetting,” “executive order” and “immigrant.” Another fun fact to bring to your political debates this weekend: the most-searched names alongside the phrase "Trump handshake”: Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel, Neil Gorsuch, Shinzo Abe and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Clear as mud

Remember when you were a kid and tracking mud in the house got you into trouble? Times have changed—go ahead and get mud all over yourself. Or pay $425 for jeans covered in fake mud. Perplexed (yet intrigued) shoppers have been searching, “What are mud jeans?” and “Where can I buy mud jeans?”

Shifting gears

NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr., is at the finish line—he announced he will retire after the 2017 season. Fans are curious about when and why he is retiring and “Who will replace Dale Earnhardt Jr.?” Though he’s known nationwide, southern regions in the U.S. searched most for Earnhardt this week. Top states included North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina.
(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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Our ongoing commitment to support computer science educatorsOur ongoing commitment to support computer science educatorsProgram Manager

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 17:30:00 +0000

Meet Daryl Detrick, a computer science (CS) teacher at Warren Hills High School in Washington, NJ. He’ll tell you that he doesn’t just teach “coding”—he helps students understand how to approach complex problems that will improve the world around them. He started teaching computer science in 2008, at a time where there were very few resources available to help support him. “The biggest thing I bring into the classroom is inspiration.” - Daryl Detrick Many CS teachers lack the resources to become skilled and confident in their roles. So today we're announcing new support for teachers like Mr. Detrick, starting with an additional $2 million in grants to support nonprofit organizations that provide support for teachers throughout their educational careers. Our goal to help increase access to CS skills by empowering more skilled and confident CS teachers globally.Supporting existing CS teachers and inspiring new onesMr. Detrick’s first CS professional development experience was through CS4HS, a Google program that funds educators with localized computer science professional development. Through these grants in 2017-2018, 79 organizations in Australia, New Zealand, U.S., Canada, China, Europe, the Middle East and Africa will receive funding to create pathways and content to foster local communities of educators.CS4HS focuses on teachers to increase the availability of quality computer science education, while many of Google’s other CS education programs, like Made with Code, focus on students. Over the past 10 years, CS4HS has contributed $10 million to professional development (PD) providers around the world to help train and empower teachers—like Western Wyoming Community College, which helped rural teachers integrate gaming into their CS classes, or Australian Catholic University, which trained 1,600 pre-service teachers in accordance with Australia’s Digital Technology curriculum, among others.Given the shortage of qualified teachers, it’s important not only to help the educators currently in the field, but also to inspire more teachers to join them. That’s why we’re also supporting pre-service teacher preparation programs developing new coursework that trains aspiring educators at the College of St. Scholastica, the University of California at Irvine, the University of Texas at Austin, and Huston-Tillotson University. We’re excited to work with these universities to help them share their resources with other higher education programs, equipping the next generation of educators with the knowledge and skills to teach CS and computational thinking (CT).Although we’ve seen a small increase of computer science teachers in recent years within the U.S.—6 percent since 2008—the subject is still largely regarded as an extracurricular activity, and one of the key barriers is a lack of qualified teachers. But research suggests that building training and local pathways are two key ways to retain and grow excellent educators. Today’s grants will help universities and nonprofits reach educators with PD opportunities that enhance their CS and technical skills development, improve their confidence in the classroom, and provide leadership training so that they can be advocates for CS education in their communities. Growing the community of computer science educatorsWith the help of his principal and faculty partners at Carnegie Mellon, Rutgers and Kean University, Mr. Detrick has grown his school’s CS program from 53 students to more than 200. He’s also a lead educator advocate for the CSTA New Jersey chapter, and works with the CSNJ advocacy group to influence State legislation that would require all high schools to offer computer science.We’re excited to support new and future CS educators around the world. Even though computer science is a relatively new discip[...]


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Discover more of the things you’re into with Topics on Google+Discover more of the things you’re into with Topics on Google+Product Manager

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:10:00 +0000

Millions of people use Google+ to connect around the things they’re interested in. To help you sort through the many Collections and Communities where people share, we’ve created a new feature called Topics. With Topics, you’ll see a high-quality stream of Collections, Communities and people related to things we think you’ll be interested in.

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See recommended Topics in your Home stream and discover Collections, Communities and people related to the Topics you're interested in

Today, there are already hundreds of Topics available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, covering everything from black-and-white photography to hiking and camping. So whether you’ve recently discovered the wonders of woodworking, love gardening, or can’t get enough street photography, there’s a stream of unique and interesting stuff waiting for you on Google+. 

To see the recommended Topics, head to your home stream and look for the “Topics to explore” cards. Topics will be rolling out over the next day or so, so don’t worry if you don’t see any suggestions right away.

Hope you enjoy it!

(image) Discover high quality streams of Collections, Communities and people related to what you’re into with Topics in Google+


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Google Demo Day: shining a light on European foundersGoogle Demo Day: shining a light on European foundersHead of Campus London

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:00:00 +0000

Yesterday, founders from across Europe took to the stage at our King’s Cross office to showcase problem-solving startups at our first-ever London Demo Day. From feedback tools for managers to fertility trackers for women, the diversity of companies and talent demonstrated something we already knew: The European startup scene is thriving and gaining global recognition, with nearly 300 venture-backed businesses going public or getting acquired just last year. But it’s often still hard for entrepreneurs to gain visibility and raise funds to support their growing ventures—which is why we brought Google Demo Day to London this year.For yesterday's event, 10 investment-ready startups were chosen from dozens of startups nominated by our Google for Entrepreneurs network of startup community partners and via our Campus spaces, and 100+ others who applied through an open call. The 10 startups each had four minutes to pitch their product, business and team to a room full of the region’s top investors, with hundreds more watching over live stream. Meet our line-up: AsaDuru, from Stockholm, creates self-sufficient green homes in Africa that incorporate solar energy, rainwater harvesting, and wastewater treatment.Connecterra (Amsterdam) combines machine learning with sensor data to increase productivity in the dairy farm industry.Divido (London) lets customers spread the cost of any purchase over a period of time while the merchant gets paid in full right away.Kenzen (Zurich) provides a new way to monitor the health of athletes and medical patients to through real-time analysis of sweat.Kompyte (Barcelona) provides marketers with real-time alerts when competitors make changes to their websites, products, and digital marketing campaigns.Motivii (London) allows managers to better understand their teams' performance through a feedback and tracking platform.Nordigen (Riga) uses big data to help banks make smarter decisions about credit scores.WOOM (Madrid) helps women maximize the chances of pregnancy with a data-driven digital platform.XapiX (Berlin) makes it easy for developers to discover, combine and consume data from multiple API providers.Zzish (London) provides tools for developers to create, distribute and monetize education apps for teachers and classrooms. After much deliberation, our audience of investors and European tech leaders crowned Connecterra, the machine learning technology for dairy farmers, as the People’s Choice. Kenzen won the Judges’ Favorite based on the strength of their business model, their team, and their products. Kenzen endeavors to transform healthcare. We’re thrilled to receive the Google Demo Day Judges’ Favorite award for our Echo Patch platform. Heidi Lehmann Chief Commercial Officer, Kenzen London’s Demo Day builds on our existing support for startups worldwide, beginning with the launch of Google for Entrepreneurs five years ago. In Europe, we support tech founders through our network of partners, our Campus spaces for startups in London, Madrid and Warsaw (our next location set to open in Berlin), accelerator programs like Google Developers Launchpad, and Digital Skills training programs. “London has become one of the world centers for startups; it was the first location for Google Campus. I’m excited by the innovation in the teams Google has uncovered,” said judge Saul Klein from LocalGlobe, who was joined on the judging panel by Fred Destin of EX-ACCEL and Aurore Belfrage from EQT Ventures. Left to Right: Sonia Sousa, CEO and co-founder, and Heidi Lehmann, CCO of Kenzen, took home the Judge's Favorite award. Startups who have pitched at previous Google Demo Days in S[...]


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Gboard for Android gets new languages and toolsGboard for Android gets new languages and toolsProduct Manager

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 23:00:00 +0000

Attention to our friends in India and fast typers everywhere: Gboard’s latest update might be the thing you never knew you were missing. We’ve added 22 Indic languages—with transliteration support—including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu and Gujarati. We’ve also dropped in a new text editing tool that makes it easier to select, copy and paste, plus new options for resizing and repositioning the keyboard so it fits to your hand and texting style. And to top it all off, this Gboard update comes with under-the-hood improvements for better accuracy and predictions while you type.   New Languages - वाहThe full list of Gboard’s new languages includes: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo (Devanagari, Bengali), Dogri (Devanagari, Arabic), Gujarati, Hindi (Devanagari, Hinglish), Kannada, Kashmiri (Devanagari, Arabic), Konkani (Devanagari, Latin), Maithili (Devanagari), Malayalam, Manipuri (Bengali), Marathi (Devanagari), Nepali (Devanagari), Odia, Punjabi (Gurmukhi, Arabic), Sanskrit (Devanagari), Santali (Ol chiki, Latin), Sindhi (Devanagari, Arabic), Tamil, Telugu, Urdu (Arabic). In addition to the 22 new Indic languages, Gboard added support for Kinyarwanda and Waray. Through Gboard’s internationalization through machine learning, glide typing and suggestions are now available in more than 185 language varieties. This list has all 11 Indic languages currently supported in the Google Indic Keyboard, plus 11 more languages, such as Urdu and Maithili. In addition to supporting each language’s native scripts, Gboard includes the QWERTY layout for transliteration, which lets you spell words phonetically. For example, type “aapko holi ki hardik shubhkamnay” and get “आपको होली की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें.” Some of these languages have a small presence on the web, so we worked closely with native speakers across India to collect data to train our advanced machine learning models, so people can start texting in their native script. Gboard also comes with some features that Google Indic Keyboard doesn’t, including Google Search and Google Translate right in your keyboard (just tap the “G” button to get started). And—as a reminder—Gboard already has a Hinglish language option for those of you who often switch back and forth between Hindi and English. If you’re a current Google Indic Keyboard user, we encourage you to download Gboard and give it a go. Edit text more easilyBesides new languages, Gboard now comes with a new text editing mode with buttons for easy cursor control and the ability to select text, cut, copy, and paste right from your keyboard. To access this feature, select the Text Editing icon in the quick features menu by pressing on the G button (or arrow) in the suggestion strip. Pro tip: if you’re trying to up your typing speed, you can also move the cursor by sliding your finger back and forth along the spacebar, or delete by swiping to the left from the delete key. New customization options: resize and reposition your keyboardNow you can resize the keyboard and move it to a position that feels the most comfortable for you. In the quick features menu (press on arrow or G in the suggestion strip), click “More” (the three-dots icon), and click the one-handed mode button, then you can adjust the size and position of the keyboard. To get these latest updates and improvements to your Gboard for Android, head to the Google Play Store and make sure you’re running the latest version of the app. That’s all for now, folks! [...]Announcing a new update to Gboard for Android that adds 22 Indic languages, better text editing and better predictions while you type.


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Fraikin’s road warriors work anywhere with Chrome devicesFraikin’s road warriors work anywhere with Chrome devicesDevelopment Manager

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: Today’s blog post comes from Franck Lerivrain, Development Manager at Fraikin, one of Europe’s largest commercial vehicle rental and fleet management companies. Fraikin uses Chromebooks, Chromebases and G Suite to enable mobile employee productivity and to reduce IT maintenance efforts.Every day, Fraikin’s 57,000 trucks travel thousands of miles across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, delivering everything from fresh produce to hospital supplies and newspapers. In France, where we operate 135 branch offices, we want our office employees to be as mobile as our drivers and trucks. They can do their best work when they can go on the road to meet with customers, maintain trucks, and travel between our truck rental locations. Now that we’re building workstations based on Chromebooks and Chromebases, we can give workers access to the applications they need, inside and outside the office.Before we began using G Suite and Chrome devices, employees used 1,500 PCs in our offices throughout France. The computers ran local versions of the software that employees needed to do their jobs, such as vehicle booking management tools, accounting solutions, and customer databases. Our IT team spent many hours updating and troubleshooting the machines, often traveling to branch offices to keep the PCs up and running. We can give workers access to the applications they need, inside and outside the office. Accessing legacy enterprise applications was difficult for employees. They could only use the applications on their own workstations, not on laptops or phones. We have 400 sales reps in France, and they’re usually traveling to meet customers at their own offices. The sales reps couldn’t log into our databases to update customer records until they arrived back at branch offices, nor could they look up information to answer questions from customers. We needed to swap out the PC workstations for tools that were more flexible, and didn’t demand as much attention from our IT team. These goals were part of our virtual device infrastructure (VDI) initiative, which we hoped would modernize our branch-office technology and allow employees to work even when not at their desks. We’re replacing all 1,500 PCs with all-in-one Chromebases, as well as Chromebooks for employees who need laptops.As we roll out Chromebooks and Chromebases to French branch offices, we’ll make it easy for employees to find the applications they need, like Google Docs and Google Drive, through the Chrome browser. We’re using Syspertec’s Virtel Web Access, installed on our mainframe computer system, to allow employees to access our legacy applications through Virtel’s thin client emulator. Virtel Web Access replaced software previously installed on each computer to connect people to applications hosted on the mainframe system. Now, anywhere there’s a Chrome browser – on Chromebooks, Chromebases, or Android phones – employees can find G Suite and other enterprise applications and start working. We expect that the cost of purchasing and maintaining Chromebooks and Chromebases will be only a fifth of the cost of the old PC workstations. Much of the savings will come from reduced maintenance. In addition, we’ll save on the cost of the old software we needed to connect to the mainframe. My IT staff won’t need to travel to branch offices as often, since we can update software from our home office. Employees can simply log in through Chrome and access the latest software, without any action on their end. G Suite is updated automatically, so that’s another maintenance task we can cross off our list. Our sales teams may benefit the most from flexible hardware and software. They now use Android phones, so if the[...]


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Google Classroom outside the classroomGoogle Classroom outside the classroomSoftware Engineer

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Technology makes learning possible anytime, anywhere. Learners aren’t always sitting in a classroom, and educators aren’t always lecturing at a chalkboard. That’s why last month we made Google Classroom available to users without G Suite for Education accounts. Now, using a personal Google account, teachers and learners in many different settings can teach or attend classes, manage assignments, and instantly collaborate.Starting today, users can do more than join classes—they can create them, too. Over the past few weeks, teachers and students have been piloting this new feature, and they’ve already created some great new classes for adult education, hobbies, and after school programs. Below we’ll share some of these classes with you. Teaching virtual adult education classesOn March 27th, educator Tony Vincent tweeted an invitation for a free online class teaching graphic design with Google Drawings. He quickly enrolled 75 enthusiastic educators across the U.S., Australia, Greece, and South Africa. Every week during the six-week class, Vincent would post instructional videos to Classroom. Then students would have a week to post their assignments, so they could get feedback from Vincent and other students. “I didn’t want to just publish a video tutorial and never see the end results. So when I heard that Google Classroom was open for personal accounts, I thought it would be a great place to gather a group of educators to learn, create, and share.” For Vincent, topics has been a key feature. “For a self-paced class like mine,” he says, “I really like the ability to use topics to label announcements, assignments, and questions. This feature will also be incredibly useful after the class concludes as I’ll be able to navigate the archive of posted work, questions, ideas, and inspiration.”In addition, Vincent likes how he can use Classroom to email students weekly summaries and reminders, and how he can refer students to previous posts, because every announcement, assignment, and question in Google Classroom has its own link. “I’m having a blast teaching in Google Classroom,” he says. “I’m seeing enlightening interactions and generous sharing from the educators who make up the class. I truly look forward to checking in on my class several times a day.”Running after school programsLinda Scarth, an elementary school STEM teacher, used Classroom in a Girl Scouts robotics club for 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Dubbed the “Turtle Scouts,” the group meets in person once a week. Scarth was inspired to use Classroom when her group found it hard to share ideas and YouTube videos over email. “We needed a better way to share and access resources and to comment and share ideas based on them. And with Classroom, the girls are able to share videos, build ideas, and work collaboratively.” she said. “It really helps facilitate the work we are doing at our meetings and between them too!”Managing school groups Brazilian student Khin Baptista and his classmates at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) created a school club called GameDev Society UFRGS that hosts weekly discussions on topics such as design, art, and programming.Baptista found Classroom when he was looking for an online tool to manage his growing group. “We have limited space available for our group meetings, but we have many more people interested in our activities. Google Classroom allows us to enroll participants who can easily access all the same resources we use in our meetings and get in touch with us and other group members,” he says.The group is now using Classroom to inform members about upcoming lectures, share resources, and ma[...]


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How British charity Comic Relief processed millions of UK pounds in seven hours on Red Nose DayHow British charity Comic Relief processed millions of UK pounds in seven hours on Red Nose DayDirector, Strategic Technology Partners

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:00:00 +0000

When you concentrate two years worth of fundraising into seven hours, every second counts. That’s the reality for Comic Relief, one of the U.K.’s most notable charities. Held every two years, Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day encourages the public to make the world a better place in the easiest way imaginable: by having a great time. For this year’s fundraising event, Comic Relief turned to Google Cloud’s technology partner Pivotal to host its donation-processing systems. The platform also automated management of the underlying cloud infrastructure. Cloud services from Google Cloud Platform (GCP) were used to run Pivotal Cloud Foundry during Red Nose Day. In advance of the 2017 event, the charity was forecasting peaks of several hundred transactions a second for its online donation system. The stakes couldn’t have been higher.We’re happy to report that Comic Relief raised over £73 million (and counting) for its marquee event! We caught up with David Laing, director of software engineering at Pivotal, to discuss running Pivotal Cloud Foundry on GCP for the 2017 event.What kind of scale were you expecting for Red Nose Day?Comic Relief does most of its two-year fundraising cycle in a seven-hour window. The donation system needed to scale with 100% uptime and reliability. It’s your classic elastic, spin-up/spin-down use case for the public cloud.There are more than 14,000 call center reps that take donations via phone. The reps log donation details in the system. We also expected up to 100,000 concurrent web sessions, where individuals donate online. We expected nearly a million donations in all, with up to 300 donations a second.What kind of apps did you run on Pivotal Cloud Foundry?These were cloud-native applications, authored by consultancy Armakuni, in conjunction with Comic Relief. The apps used horizontally scalable, stateless microservices. Capturing donor information and processing their donation immediately is critical. This core availability requirement drove the architecture to have layers upon layers of redundancy. We hosted three independent shards of the full system in different datacenters spread over four countries and two continents, balancing traffic between them using DNS. Each shard then load balanced donations to multiple payment providers. Choosing availability over consistency and an “eventually consistent” architecture like this prepared us to continue to take donations in the event of multiple system failures. An async background process collected all the donation information to a central reporting shard.What was it like working with GCP’s services?At Pivotal, we love the performance and rapid provisioning of Compute Engine. The automated usage discounts on Google Cloud are so refreshing. You don’t need engineers to parse through consumption data to minimize your bill.The load for Comic Relief is highly variable, with major consequences if performance suffers during traffic spikes. Unlike other clouds, GCP load balancers don't require a call to technical support to pre-warm. This saves our cloud admin's time and allows us to survive unexpected load increases. It gives us peace of mind knowing that GCP load balancers are built for scale, and backed up by the largest network of any cloud provider. In our experience, Google Cloud is able to handle traffic spikes that might stress other cloud providers. We used Stackdriver Logging in our weekly capacity tests. We really liked its tight integration with BigQuery and Google Cloud Storage. Having the telemetry data stored in a massively scalable data analysis system helped us to analyze and pinpoint problematic areas ahead of time.Identity management is another area where GCP shines. Since we already use G Suite for our corporate identity management, user management to all the GCP services was effortless.How was the deploy[...]


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Five ways Google Trips can help you enjoy your next vacationFive ways Google Trips can help you enjoy your next vacationProduct ManagerProduct Manager

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Everyone loves vacation, but the work that goes into planning one—well, can be a lot of work.That’s why last year we launched Google Trips on Android and iOS to help you experience more and plan less on vacation. All your travel info automatically organized in one place and available offline? Check. Activity suggestions based on what’s nearby and popular itineraries you can customize? Check.The exciting (and often challenging) part of traveling is that things can sometimes change last minute. You need to be able to easily track updates to your travel plans and share them with your travel buddies. That’s where Google Trips comes in. We’ve added three new features to make your summer travel easier to plan and enjoy—even as things change. Learn more, plus some travel tips: 1. Share and keep track of your reservations in one place. No need to dig up every individual hotel, flight and travel reservation and forward them from your inbox. Save yourself the headache and share all the reservations for your trip with just a tap of the arrow button in Google Trips. Anyone you share with will receive an email with all the reservation details, and see them in the app too. 2. Stay on top of last-minute changes. Trips already helps automatically organize your travel reservations from Gmail. For those last-minute or spontaneous changes, we built in a feature that lets you quickly update and add new details for flight, hotel, car, and restaurant reservations, even when you don’t have an email confirmation. Simply press the “+” button in the bottom right corner within the Reservations section. Enter your airline and flight number, or the name of your hotel, car rental or restaurant, and we’ll fill out the rest. There’s space for free-form notes, too, if you’d rather. 3. Catch a train or bus to your next adventure. Part of the fun of traveling to a new country is visiting the top sights in different cities, and often travel by train or bus is the most convenient way to get around (Rome to Florence by train in 1:30? Sign us up!). In fact, more than 3 million rail and bus reservations are booked weekly by travelers around the world. So starting now, all your past and upcoming train and bus reservations will automatically be organized in one place for you in Trips—along with your flight, hotel, car and restaurant reservations. 4. Follow the wisdom of the crowd for some travel inspiration. There are so many places in the world to visit, sometimes you need a little help to figure out where to go next.  Here are eight destinations we saw rise in popularity for travelers over the past year: 5. Download your trip before you go. No matter where you end up, you can find nearby spots to see, check hours and locations for attractions, and review your saved places. On average, nearly a quarter of Trips users are offline for more than seven hours at a time while traveling, and nearly 70 percent use the offline feature and download trips in advance. Even with Wi-Fi available at hotels or local cafes, you can’t always count on a steady connection to get the information you need when you’re out and about, but Google Trips has you covered. Going [...]


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Now we're cooking—the Assistant on Google Home is your secret ingredientNow we're cooking—the Assistant on Google Home is your secret ingredientSoftware Engineer

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:00:00 +0000

Cooking without burning the food can be hard enough. But before you even get there you have to prep your ingredients, all while trying not to get flour and eggs on, well, everything. Unless you’re a graceful TV chef, your favorite recipe book may end up covered in unbaked cookie.

But what if you could listen to a recipe and your favorite music, all at the same time? To help you perfect your kitchen skills, we’re introducing the ability to cook with the Google Assistant on Google Home.

Thanks to Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Food Network and more, you’ll be able to follow step-by-step cooking instructions for more than 5 million recipes. Creating your next banana bread masterpiece or stuffed chicken valentino for a dinner party feast will be easier than ever.

So here’s your recipe … for recipes on Google Home:

Step 1: Pick a recipe! Go to the Google Assistant on your Android phone or to Google Search (iOS or Android) and find a recipe. Once you pick your favorite, select the “Send to Google Home” button. Whether you’re at home or on the go, your recipe will be saved.

Step 2: Once you’re ready to cook, just say “Ok Google, start cooking" or "Ok Google, start recipe."

Step 3: Gather your ingredients, your apron and you’re halfway there.

And, for those times when you’re not sure if you missed a step or just need to repeat the directions, say “Ok Google, repeat” or “Ok Google, what’s step two?”

Step 4: While you stir and taste test, you can also continue to get things done with your Google Assistant on Google Home. All while you’re following the recipe, you can play your favorite music, ask about conversions (teaspoons to tablespoons, tablespoons to cups -- who can remember that stuff?) and set a timer or two.

Step 5: Enjoy your meal!

(image)

This feature will roll out over the coming week, so if you don't have it yet, try again in a few days! And if you’re looking for inspiration, you can also say “Ok Google, let's make macaroons” and we’ll give you a recipe to start.

There’s no set-up necessary—just send a recipe to your Google Home or start on the device and you’re ready to start cooking.

(image) Starting today, you’ll be able to follow step-by-step instructions for more than 5 million recipes with your Google Assistant on Google Home.


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Bringing Alexander Hamilton’s history to lifeBringing Alexander Hamilton’s history to life

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:00:00 +0000

In November 2009, the White House uploaded a video to YouTube of playwright and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda performing a piece called “The Hamilton Mixtape.” In the video, Miranda proclaims to then President Obama that he would use hip-hop and spoken word to tell the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton. The room erupts in curious laughter. Hip-hop and 18th century history? How could these seemingly different worlds come together?Nearly eight years later, Lin-Manuel’s Hamilton: An American Musical has blown us all away. The show is a cultural phenomenon, uniting history buffs, musical theater fans, political wonks and beyond. Through its innovative storytelling and deliberately diverse cast, the show remixes American history into a powerful lesson that resonates with society’s current challenges.Google.org supported the Hamilton Education Program with a $800,000 grant that today will bring 5,000 students from Title I schools in New York, Chicago and the Bay Area to see the musical, as the capstone of a six-week curriculum about the Founding Era. Through a combination of learning from primary source documents like original letters and newspapers, and musical performances, students from every background will be able to make American founding era history their own. Students will also perform their original, history-based works on the Hamilton stage across these three cities. Perhaps one of them might be a future Lin-Manuel!The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is also launching new digital content on Google platforms that enables students around the world to engage more deeply with Alexander Hamilton’s story. Six new virtual reality tours will transport students, teachers, and fans to important places in Hamilton’s life, no matter where they live. Using Google Expeditions, students can explore places like Alexander Hamilton’s home in Uptown Manhattan, Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, and the infamous site of Aaron Burr–Alexander Hamilton duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. U.S. history students at Golden State College Preparatory Academy in Oakland, CA explore the sites of Alexander Hamilton’s life In addition, using Google Arts and Culture, the Gilder Lehrman Institute is bringing online dozens of rare archives and artifacts related to Hamilton’s era including early printings of the U.S. Constitution and a letter to his wife expressing his love. There are 10 digital exhibits that will allow students and others around the world to learn about Hamilton’s life and legacy—from his private and political life to a virtual walking tour of Hamilton’s New York, to the creation of Modern America.Whether in virtual reality or on the theater stage, Alexander Hamilton has a lot to teach us about the history of our country, the Ame[...]


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Remember where you parked with Google MapsRemember where you parked with Google MapsProduct Manager, Google Maps

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:00:00 +0000

Some say it’s about the journey, not the destination—but we think it’s about a little of both. Now, Google Maps for Android and iOS will not only help you get where you’re going, but it’ll help you remember where you parked once you’ve arrived. Here’s how it works:For Android users, tap the blue dot and then tap “Save your parking” to add your parking location to the map. You’ll see a label on the map itself identifying where you parked your car. Tap on that label to open up your parking card, where you can add additional details about your parking spot. You can add a note like “level 3, spot 35,” add the amount of time left before the meter expires (and even get a reminder alert 15 minutes before it does), save an image of your parking spot, and send your parking location to friends. On iOS, the new experience is pretty similar. Tap on the blue dot and then tap on “Set as parking location” to add your parking spot to the map itself. Tap on the parking label on the map to open up your parking card and do things like share it with friends and view pictures of your parking area. This is in addition to the automatic parking detection you might have already noticed in Google Maps for iOS. If you connect to your car using USB audio or bluetooth, your parking spot will be automatically added to the map when you disconnect and exit the vehicle. With Google Maps, you get guidance far beyond arrival at your destination, with the ability to save your parking location, explore places you’ve saved to lists, easily find friends and family, and more.[...]When you get to your destination, tap the blue dot, then “Save your parking” to save your parking location on Google Maps


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Making the internet more inclusive in IndiaMaking the internet more inclusive in IndiaGroup Product Manager

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:30:00 +0000

More than 400 million people in India use the internet, and more are coming online every day. But the vast majority of India’s online content is in English, which only 20 percent of the country’s population speaks—meaning most Indians have a hard time finding content and services in their language.Building for everyone means first and foremost making things work in the languages people speak. That’s why we’ve now brought our new neural machine translation technology to translations between English and nine widely used Indian languages—Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.Neural machine translation translates full sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence, using this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation. The result is higher-quality, more human sounding translations.Just like it’s easier to learn a language when you already know a related language, our neural technology speaks each language better when it learns several at a time. For example, we have a whole lot more sample data for Hindi than its relatives Marathi and Bengali, but when we train them all together, the translations for all improve more than if we’d trained each individually. Left: Phrase-based translation; right: neural machine translation These improvements to Google Translate in India join several other updates we announced at an event in New Delhi today, including neutral machine translation in Chrome and bringing the Rajpal & Sons Hindi dictionary online so it’s easier for Hindi speakers to find word meanings right in search results. All these improvements help make the web more useful for hundreds of millions of Indians, and bring them closer to benefiting from the full value of the internet.[...]We’re bringing our neural machine translation technology to nine Indian languages—Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam and Kannada.


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Even better translations in Chrome, with one tapEven better translations in Chrome, with one tapChrome Product Manager

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 18:30:00 +0000

Half the world’s webpages are in English, but less than 15 percent of the global population speaks it as a primary or secondary language. It’s no surprise that Chrome’s built-in Translate functionality is one of the most beloved Chrome features. Every day Chrome users translate more than 150 million webpages with just one click or tap.Last year, Google Translate introduced neural machine translation, which uses deep neural networks to translate entire sentences, rather than just phrases, to figure out the most relevant translation. Since then we’ve been gradually making these improvements available for Chrome’s built-in translation for select language pairs. The result is higher-quality, full-page translations that are more accurate and easier to read.Today, neural machine translation improvement is coming to Translate in Chrome for nine more language pairs. Neural machine translation will be used for most pages to and from English for Indonesian and eight Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. This means higher quality translations on pages containing everything from song lyrics to news articles to cricket discussions. From left: A webpage in Indonesian; the page translated into English without neural machine translation; the page translated into English with neural machine translation. As you can see, the translations after neural machine translation are more fluid and natural. The addition of these nine languages brings the total number of languages enabled with neural machine translations in Chrome to more than 20. You can already translate to and from English for Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, and one-way from Spanish to English. We’ll bring neural machine translation to even more languages in the future. Until then, learn more about enabling Translate in Chrome in our help center.[...]We're adding neural machine translations to Chrome for nine more languages, for a total of more than 20. The result is higher-quality, full-page translations that are more accurate and easier to read.


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How maps and machine learning are helping to eliminate malariaHow maps and machine learning are helping to eliminate malariaProgram Manager

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:00:00 +0000

Today is World Malaria Day, a moment dedicated to raising awareness and improving access to tools to prevent malaria. The World Health Organization says nearly half of the world’s population is at risk for malaria, and estimates that in 2015 there were 212 million malaria cases resulting in 429,000 deaths. In places with high transmission rates, children under five account for 70 percent of malaria deaths.DiSARM (Disease Surveillance and Risk Monitoring), a project led by the Malaria Elimination Initiative and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Clinton Health Access Initiative, is fighting the spread of malaria by mapping the places where malaria could occur. With the help of Google Earth Engine, DiSARM creates high resolution “risk maps” that help malaria control programs identify the areas where they should direct resources for prevention and treatment.We sat down with Hugh Sturrock, who leads the DiSARM project and is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the University of California, San Francisco’s Global Health Group, to learn more about DiSARM’s fight against malaria, and how Google fits in.As an epidemiologist, why did you choose to focus your efforts on malaria?I first became interested in 2005, during my undergraduate days at the University of Edinburgh when I worked on a project examining the fungal control of mosquitoes with Professor Andrew Read. I suddenly realized that my research could have a positive impact on people’s lives and from that point on I was hooked. While malaria deaths have decreased dramatically since then, it’s still a huge public health problem.Which regions is DiSARM targeting first? We’re piloting DiSARM in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, two regions that are on the cusp of malaria elimination. Between 2000–2014, reported malaria cases in Swaziland decreased by 99 percent, and in 2015, Swaziland reported fewer than 400 local cases. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe achieved a 74 percent decline in reported cases from 2005–2015.When a small number of cases in a region remain, precise intervention is required to fully eliminate malaria, and DiSARM can help fully close the gap. By focusing our resources more strategically, we can shrink the malaria map and eliminate the disease entirely in these countries.How does DiSARM use Google Earth Engine to help fight malaria?If we map where malaria is most likely to occur, we can target those areas for action. Every time someone is diagnosed with malaria in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, a team goes to the village where the infection occurred and collects a GPS point with the precise infection location. Just looking at these points won’t allow you to accurately determine the risk of malaria, though. You also need satellite imagery of conditions like rainfall, temperature, slope and elevation, which affect mosquito breeding and parasite development. To determine the risk of malaria, DiSARM combines the precise location of the malaria infection,  with satellite data of conditions like rainfall, temperature, vegetation, elevation, which affect mosquito breeding. DiSARM’s mobile app can be used by the malaria programs and field teams to target interventions. Google Earth Engine collects and organizes the public satellite imagery data we need. In the past we had to obtain those images from a range of sources: NASA, USGS and different universities around the world. But with Google Earth Engine, it’s all in one place and can be processed using Google computers. We combine satellite imagery data from Google Earth Engine [...]


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Our latest quality improvements for SearchOur latest quality improvements for SearchVP, Engineering

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Search can always be improved. We knew it when I started working on Search in 1999, and it’s still true today. Back then, the Internet was expanding at an incredible rate. We had to make sense of this explosion of information, organize it, and present it in a way so that people could find what they were looking for, right on the Google results page. The work then was around PageRank, the core algorithm used to measure the importance of webpages so they could be ranked in results. In addition to trying to organize information, our algorithms have always had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to “game” our systems in order to appear higher in search results—using low-quality “content farms,” hidden text and other deceptive practices. We've tackled these problems, and others over the years, by making regular updates to our algorithms and introducing other features that prevent people from gaming the system. Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information. While this problem is different from issues in the past, our goal remains the same—to provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may not always get it right, we’re making good progress in tackling the problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed. With that longer-term effort in mind, today we’re taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web. This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works. Search rankingOur algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index. However, it’s become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.New Search Quality Rater guidelines: Developing changes to Search involves a process of experimentation. As part of that process, we have evaluators—real people who assess the quality of Google’s search results—give us feedback on our experiments. These ratings don’t determine individual page rankings, but are used to help us gather data on the quality of our results and identify areas where we need to improve. Last month, we updated our Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over time.Ranking changes: We combine hundreds of signals to determine which results we show for a given query—from the freshness of the content, to the number of times your search queries appear on the page. We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial res[...]


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Imperial Nepal Treks: An entrepreneur's journey to rebuild his tourism business after the great earthquakeImperial Nepal Treks: An entrepreneur's journey to rebuild his tourism business after the great earthquake 2015 Grand Prize winner

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:01:00 +0000

Two years ago, Nepal experienced its most devastating earthquake in more than 80 years. Thousands of lives were lost, and many more lost their homes and livelihoods. Slowly, the community has been able to recover and rebuild their lives and businesses. Today, we hear from Anz “Anuj” Bajracharya, Director of Treks, Tours & Mountaineering at Imperial Nepal Treks about what he remembers from the day the earthquake hit, the impact it had on his company, and how he has restored and grown the business with a little help from the Internet.  The Imperial Nepal Treks team. Anuj is sporting sunglasses in the front row.  Tell us, what do you remember from April 25, 2015? It was a quarter to noon on a Saturday, and my family and I were going to the movies. I was driving a car in the middle of the road. First there was just a shake, then there was another quake. Then there was panic. We couldn’t go back to our homes because walls were falling down, the roads were falling down. For four nights, we lived in the car on the road, cut off from communication. No mobile phones, no telephones, we didn’t have any contact or way to talk to my parents or our relatives. All that time we had no information about our families and friends. It was so sad to see the destruction around us. But we were the lucky ones. The Imperial Nepal Treks team didn’t lose anyone. Everyone in my family and my wife’s family was okay. Our house didn’t totally collapse, though we eventually had to demolish it.  The company assisted the W-Foundation and Black Yak in distributing supplies as a part of the rebuilding effort in the earthquake epicenter of Gorkha. What impact did the earthquake have on your business? Nepal’s economy heavily depends on tourism, so the earthquake affected all of us in the industry. Most of our guides were from Gorkha, the epicenter of the earthquake. And no tourist wanted to visit Nepal then, so we had to stop our business for a time. We almost gave up, but we didn’t. Slowly people from overseas started emailing us again, saying they wanted to visit Nepal. Many wanted to help with reconstruction efforts, so we helped with these campaigns.  Imperial Nepal Treks leads a group to the Annapurna base camp which has an altitude of 4,130 meters (13,549 feet). Imperial Nepal Treks' partners At the time of the earthquake, you had a team of nine people. Today, you employ 30 guides who are permanent employees. How did you rebuild and grow your business in this short time? Our business comes not from Nepal but from abroad—Singapore, the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries. I knew the best way to reach people was through the Internet. For many visitors, their first question is, "Is it safe to go up to the mountain [Everest]?" The online community helped us recover through word of mouth, recommendations, and reassuring reviews. What our guests tell us and share with others online after finishing their trek matters a lot. Being found on Google Search is also[...]


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NAB 2017: How AI is remaking HollywoodNAB 2017: How AI is remaking HollywoodPresident, Customer Team

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 23:00:00 +0000

Greetings from Las Vegas, where the National Association of Broadcasters is having its annual conference. At NAB, 1,700 exhibitors and more than 100,000 attendees take over the Las Vegas Convention Center, representing a dozen industries including TV, movies, radio—and now, virtual reality.And everybody here agrees. This is a big year for media.Media/entertainment and cloud technologies are coming together. This changes the economics of the business, the ways people make and distribute content and how they relate to their audience. As the NAB put it introducing this year’s show, “It’s redesigning the very nature of how we live, work and play.”Large-scale computing systems, next gen software and ubiquitous networks simplify and enable the recording, editing and transmission of content to billions of personal devices. Companies now broadcast more content than ever, in a direct relationship with each audience member. The quality of this relationship relies heavily on the seamlessness and personalization of the experience. The cost benefits and ease of use of the cloud-based model is driving change in all aspects of the business. As president of the customer team at Google Cloud, this is a familiar and exciting story. In media, our customers are seeing cost and time to market reductions of 90 percent or better, with substantial performance improvements, by taking advantage of Google Cloud. Spotify, has seen up to 35x improvement in analytic performance, allowing them to greatly improve their personalization experience. For example, on-premises, their algorithms to identify top tracks took five hours; on BigQuery in Google Cloud it takes eight minutes. Scripps Networks Interactive saw its livestream TV Everywhere video plays grow by 844 percent in 2016.  They use the cloud to not only run their multiscreen video experiences on mobile and connected devices, but also deliver personalized ads targeted to each and every user.What excites me most is not simply that our customers have new ways to create, personalize or monetize their content, or that they have a new level of agility in their business, with storage and network charges below what they're paying just for the real estate where they keep their own servers.These are both important, but most exciting is the way their digital assets are, like all data-rich businesses, coming into the age of artificial intelligence, particularly through machine learning. In the case of media, machine learning allows customers to greatly scale activities that have historically been time-consuming and hard — for example, high quality translation and captioning to make content accessible to more audiences everywhere. It also enables completely new experiences — for example, companies can automatically create and deliver highlight reels of multi-hour sports matches for consumption on mobile devices, and build recommendation systems to ensure that their vast unmonetized long tail of content gets discovered by eager fans.    This isn't science fict[...]


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Drumroll please! The nominees for the Google Play Awards are...Drumroll please! The nominees for the Google Play Awards are...Director, Apps and Games Business Development

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 17:00:00 +0000

The Google Play Awards are back! Today we’re announcing the 2017 nominees for outstanding app or game across 12 categories, including Best VR and AR Experiences, Best TV Experience, Best App for Kids, and Best Game. The winners of each category will be announced at Google I/O in May.Nominees were selected by a set of specific criteria, including high star rating, technical performance, requiring a launch or major update since April 2016. Take a look at the full list of categories and nominees below or visit g.co/play/gpa2017 to see if any of your favorite apps or games made the cut. Standout Indie Games from indie developers that focus on artistic design, gameplay mechanics and overall polish. And the nominees are… Standout Startup Apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong organic install growth. And the nominees are… Best Android Wear ExperienceNew wear 2.0 apps offering great design, user delight and functionality. And the nominees are… Best TV ExperienceApps or games using innovative features for the large-screen format to provide an immersive and intuitive experience. And the nominees are… Best VR ExperienceHighly engaging and immersive experience with optimal use of Daydream UI. And the nominees are… Best AR ExperienceApps or games harnessing the creative and imaginative technology of AR. And the nominees are… Best App for KidsApps or games with family friendly design that encourage creativity, exploration and education. And the nominees are… Best Multiplayer GameGames built to connect gamers in competitive and engaging multiplayer experiences. And the nominees are… Best AppA true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UX and high user appeal. And the nominees are… Best GameGames with strong mechanics, stellar graphics and strong engagement and retention tactics. And the nominees are… Best Accessibility Experience Apps or games enabling device interaction in an innovative way that ser[...]


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