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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: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:30:00 -0000

 



Making an Impact in PittsburghMaking an Impact in PittsburghEngineering Director and Co-Site Lead

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 20:30:00 -0000

When we announced the Grow with Google initiative last October at our Pittsburgh office, we gave the city’s nonprofit organizations a challenge: come up with a bold idea to create lasting economic impact in your community, and Google.org will provide a grant to make that idea a reality.

Since then, more than 90 nonprofit organizations submitted proposals to spur economic opportunity right here in the Pittsburgh area. Ideas ranged from community-driven technology repair to mobile clothing deliveries for families in need, and we were impressed by the dedication to making a real difference  in the Pittsburgh area.

This week, our panel of advisors selected four nonprofits whose ideas were exceptionally impactful, innovative, scalable and feasible. Here are the winners of the Google.org Impact Challenge—Pittsburgh:

  • Idea Foundry: A nonprofit economic development organization and accelerator that aims to diversify entrepreneurship by offering hands-on, individualized business development support for young entrepreneurs and small business. With their grant, Idea Foundry will help establish up to 10 businesses led by underrepresented communities in Pittsburgh, each with the goal of creating five new jobs within five years.

  • Pittsburgh Conservation Corps: With their grant, PCC will scale Project Landforce to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to earn livable wages by training people for jobs in environmental restoration. Their project will help 150+ people previously on public assistance to earn over $10 million in income, and to facilitate almost 110,000 hours of restoration work.

  • Pittsburgh Community Kitchen: The Pittsburgh Community Kitchen works with neighborhoods that have average an unemployment rate of 18 percent, where residents do not have easy access to employment and training support. Through their grant, the Pittsburgh Community Kitchen will provide culinary training and sustainable employment opportunities for 100 people transitioning into the workforce from incarceration, homelessness, addiction or mental illness. 

  • Prototype PGH: Prototype PGH is a makerspace focused on women that seeks to build careers in technology and beyond by improving confidence and expertise. It equips its members with   access to a fully-stocked makerspace to experiment, an engaged community, and a growing series of workshops on a wide variety of skills.  With their grant, the organization aims to engage 1,000 women in 100 workshops with the goals of increasing each of the members’ salaries by at least $1,000, and incubate at least five women-owned start-ups. 

Each of the winners will receive $50,000 from Google.org and training from Google to make their proposal a reality.

Starting on February 28 and running through March 14, the the public is encouraged to vote for the idea they think holds the most promise, and the winner will get an extra $50,000 in grant funding.

In total, Pittsburgh nonprofits will receive $250,000 from Google.org, as part of Grow with Google’s continued commitment to create economic opportunity for individuals across the United States.

(image) Our panel of local advisors have selected the winners of the Pittsburgh Impact Challenge, soon you can vote to see who will get an additional grant


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Google Pixel earns Android enterprise seal of approvalGoogle Pixel earns Android enterprise seal of approvalVice President and General Manager

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 17:05:00 -0000

With Pixel 2, we set out to make a mobile experience that is smart, simple, and secure, with a great camera, the Google Assistant to help you get more done, long battery life, and much more. We’ve seen a great response from consumers, and we’ve also gotten fantastic reviews from businesses, employees, and industry analysts for the security and productivity features built into Pixel 2.


Today Pixel 2 and first generation Pixel phones have been recognized in the new Android Enterprise Recommended program, which means the phones are endorsed for the workplace. This new initiative from our colleagues on the Android team showcases enterprise devices and services that meet high standards for security, reliability, and productivity while also enabling the teams which deploy corporate devices to manage them easily and securely.
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Not only does Pixel meet the baseline requirements of the program, it exceeds many of them. For example, while all devices in the Android Enterprise Recommended program must receive a security update within 90 days, Pixel goes further by delivering security patches and feature updates every month. Pixel gets the yearly Android operating system upgrades first, directly from Google, so that users have the latest software. Pixel 2 also offers a tamper-resistant hardware security modulethat reinforces the lock screen, to better defend against malware and hardware attacks.


Alongside its security protections, Pixel has lots of features to help you out at work: you can use the Google Assistant to find out when your next meeting is and the best route to get there, multitask with split-screen which lets you have two apps open on the screen, or check notes while on a video call with picture-in-picture mode.


With Pixel recognized in the Android Enterprise Recommended program, we offer peace-of-mind to administrators who manage corporate devices, while always helping employees get more out of their phones at work and beyond. We look forward to seeing how Pixel will power mobile productivity at work.

(image) Pixel joins the Android Enterprise Recommended program.



Android Enterprise Recommended: Raising the bar of excellence for enterprise mobilityAndroid Enterprise Recommended: Raising the bar of excellence for enterprise mobilityDirector

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 17:00:00 -0000

With more than 2 billion active devices worldwide, Android provides great choice and diversity for users and businesses alike. But with so many options available, enterprise IT organizations around the world often ask: “Which Android devices are right for my organization?”Some of the top concerns we’ve heard from customers include the need for frequent security updates, reliable and consistent software experiences, and simplified device selection. To address these needs, we’re launching the Android Enterprise Recommended program, a Google-led global initiative that raises the bar of excellence for enterprise devices and services.Validated by GoogleAndroid Enterprise Recommended establishes best practices and common requirements for devices and services, backed by a thorough testing process conducted by Google. Devices in the program meet an elevated set of specifications for hardware, deployment, security updates, and user experience to help organizations handle the most challenging and diverse business environments. In addition, OEMs in the program receive an enhanced level of technical support and training from Google.  Some of the Android Enterprise Recommended requirements and best practices include:Minimum hardware specifications for Android 7.0+ devicesSupport for bulk deployment of Android devices including zero-touch enrollmentDelivery of Android security updates within 90 days of release from Google, for a minimum of three yearsAvailability of unlocked devices, direct from manufacturer or resellerConsistent application experience in managed profiles and on managed devices  The full list of Android Enterprise Recommended requirements can be found on our site.With each new Android platform release, we will update the Android Enterprise Recommended program requirements, and continue to raise the bar to ensure we are delivering the best experience for our enterprise customers.Android Enterprise Recommended devicesWe're pleased to announce a number of market-leading devices at launch, including:BlackBerry KEYone and MotionGoogle Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XLHuawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, P10 Lite, and P smartLG V30 and G6Motorola X4 and Z2Nokia 8Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ1 Compact, XZ Premium, XA2, and XA2 UltraYou can expect more Android Enterprise Recommended devices to be added in the coming weeks and months. Throughout 2018, we will also be applying the Android Enterprise Recommended framework to additional partner types, including OEMs of “dedicated” and rugged devices, mobile carriers, enterprise mobility management (EMM) providers and systems integrators.Mobility has been critical to digital transformation for enterprises. We have listened to our customers and partners, and believe that the Android Enterprise Recommended program will help simplify and add confidence to decision making, allowing global IT leaders to focus more on their core business. Together with our partners, we’ll continue to deliver devices and services to make our enterprise customers successful through enterprise mobility. We are excited to announce the start of this journey.Learn more about the Android Enterprise Recommended program and how it can benefit your organization on our site.[...]


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Google.org and StoryWeaver feed a hunger for readingGoogle.org and StoryWeaver feed a hunger for readingGoogle.org

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:20:00 -0000

Today is International Mother Language Day which celebrates languages from around the world. More than 40% of the world’s children don’t have access to education materials in a language they understand. So to help close those gaps, we’re continuing our support of nonprofit organizations like Pratham Books.

Since 2013, Google.org has given more than $4 million to Pratham Books to build and grow their StoryWeaver platform which today includes thousands of stories in over 100 languages. We’ve also supported their offline tools—making it easier for students without access in remote communities to read and learn—and hundreds of Googlers have volunteered their time to help add new stories and languages.

We’re proud to support organizations like Pratham Books who use technology to create more opportunities for students to learn in their own languages and contexts. We believe that no matter what language a child speaks, they should be able to learn, grow, and give back to their communities.

If you have 15 minutes to spare, commemorate this International Mother Language Day by translating or creating your own story.

(image) Since 2013, Google.org has given more than $4 million to Pratham Books to build and grow their StoryWeaver platform which today includes thousands of stories in over 100 languages.


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Say hello to a better way to pay, by GoogleSay hello to a better way to pay, by GoogleProduct Management DirectorEngineering Director

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:00:00 -0000

Fast, simple checkout. Easy access to rewards and offers. One spot for purchases, passes, and payment methods. All of these are ways we’ve been working to make paying safer and easier for everyone, everywhere. And you can make the most of these features with the new Google Pay app for Android.The app, which begins rolling out today, is just one part of everything we’ve got planned. We’re currently working on bringing Google Pay to all Google products, so whether you’re shopping on Chrome or with your Assistant, you’ll have a consistent checkout experience using the cards saved to your Google Account. We’re also working with partners online and in stores, so you’ll see Google Pay on sites, in apps, and at your favorite places around the world.As we continue to expand to even more devices and services, the new app offers an exciting glimpse of what’s to come. Here’s a closer look.Helpful info while you shopGoogle Pay’s new Home tab gives you the info you need, right when you need it. See your recent purchases, find nearby stores, enjoy easy access to rewards, and get helpful tips.A new spot for your stuffThe Cards tab is an easy way to keep everything you need at checkout organized and at the ready. It’s where you’ll store your credit and debit cards, loyalty programs, offers, and even that stack of gift cards from last year’s birthday.A faster way to pay your fareUse Google Pay on transit in cities such as Kiev, London, and Portland (with more coming soon), and stop worrying about your pass once and for all. Now all you need at the turnstile is the device that’s already in your hand. Google security and encryptionLike all Google products, Google Pay comes with strong security protections to safeguard your account and personal data from security threats. In other words, it’s got your back.All your favorite featuresLongtime Android Pay fans, fear not: the features you love aren’t going away. You’ll still get all your bank’s perks and protections, plus an extra layer of security, since Google Pay doesn’t share your actual card number when you pay in stores. And those online payment forms that take forever to fill out? Just choose Google Pay at checkout and pay with a few quick clicks instead. Learn more at pay.google.com/about/And more features are coming. If you live in the U.S. or the UK, you’ll be able to use it to send and request money within the next few months. In the meantime, the Wallet app is now called Google Pay Send, and we’re giving it a fresh coat of paint to go with the Google Pay brand.Want to accept Google Pay for your app, site or business? If you’re a developer, you can work with our processor partners and find all the tools you need on our developer site. And if you’re a business owner building a site for yourself, we’ve partnered with Shopify to make integration even easier.Ready to try the Google Pay app? Get it on Google Play today.[...]Fast, simple checkout. Easy access to rewards and offers. One spot for purchases, passes, and payment methods. All of these are ways we’ve been working to make paying safer and easier for everyone, everywhere. And you can make the most of these features with the new Google Pay app for Android.



New and expanding locations across AmericaNew and expanding locations across AmericaCEO

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 20:10:00 -0000

Our goal is to ensure that information serves everyone, not just a few. To do this, we want to hire people to develop our products in the widest possible range of locations, around the world and throughout the United States. We opened our first office outside California in 2000. Now Google has offices and data centers in 21 states in the U.S, and last year we grew faster outside the Bay Area than in it. This year we plan on hiring thousands more people. To support that growth, today we’re announcing new or expanded offices and data centers in 14 states across the country. This afternoon, I was at the groundbreaking for our new data center in Clarksville/Montgomery County in Tennessee. The Tennessee data center is part of a $2.5 billion dollar investment we’re making to open or expand data centers in Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia and Oklahoma. These data centers are what make Google services run for you or your business (in Tennessee alone, we answer millions of searches a day, and about 18,000 businesses and nonprofits use our search and advertising tools).TN2.jpgTN3.jpgTN1.jpgAnd our data centers also have a strong impact on the economies around them. People often discuss “the cloud” as if it’s built out of air. But it’s actually made up of buildings, machinery, and people who construct and manage it all. Today we employ an estimated 1,900 people directly on our data center campuses. We’ve created thousands of construction jobs—both for our data centers themselves, and for renewable energy generation. And our renewable energy purchasing commitments to date will result in energy infrastructure investments of more than $3.5 billion globally, about two-thirds of that in the United States.In addition to these five data centers, we’re investing in new or expanded offices in nine states: California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. Having talented people from different places, bringing diverse perspectives and backgrounds to work, is essential to the development of our products. In these locations, there will be jobs for thousands of people in a variety of roles—engineering, operations, sales and more.The launch of Google’s data center in Clarksville is great news for Montgomery County. These high-quality jobs will benefit families in a real way, and I applaud Google's mission to improve education and advance workforce development for Americans. Senator Bob Corker TennesseeIn addition to job opportunities at Google, our recently announced Grow with Google initiative continues to create opportunities for more people across the country. As part of our $1 billion commitment over the next five years, I was thrilled today to announce a $300,000 Google.org grant to Goodwill of Middle Tennessee, to incorporate new digital skills trainings into their workforce-development program—including new local scholarships for our IT Support Professional Certificate.  We’re proud to be a growing part of the Clarksville/Montgomery County community and others like it across the country. And we’re committed to helping more people participate in the opportunities that technology provides.[...]We’re announcing new or expanded offices and data centers in 14 states across the U.S. In total, Google now has a presence in 21 states.



Go behind the scenes of “Isle of Dogs” with PixelGo behind the scenes of “Isle of Dogs” with PixelExecutive Producer

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 19:00:00 -0000

"Isle of Dogs" tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies to Trash Island in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

The film isn’t out until March 23—but Pixel owners will get an exclusive sneak peek this week.

In “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality),” the audience is taken behind-the-scenes in a 360-degree VR experience featuring on-set interviews of the film’s cast (voiced by Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham and Bob Balaban). Get nose-to-nose with Chief, Boss, Rex and the rest of the cast while the crew works around you, for an inside look at the unique craft of stop-motion animation.


Pixel’s powerful front-firing stereo speakers and brilliant display make it perfect for watching immersive VR content like this. Presented in 4K video with interactive spatial audio that responds to where you’re looking, “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” is a collaboration between FoxNext VR Studio, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Felix & Paul Studios, the Isle of Dogs production team, and Google Spotlight Stories.

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“Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” is available today on the Google Spotlight Stories app, exclusively for Google Pixel phones (Pixel and Pixel 2) and best watched on the Daydream View headset. To watch, download the Spotlight Stories app.

On March 2, “Isle of Dogs Behind the Scenes (in Virtual Reality)” will become available in VR, 360 and 2D via YouTube VR and Fox Searchlight YouTube channel, and any platform that has the YouTube VR app, including Daydream and Sony PlayStation VR. “Isle of Dogs,” from Fox Searchlight, hits theaters on March 23.

(image) Pixel users get an exclusive preview of a new behind-the-scenes VR experience of Wes Anderson’s upcoming film “Isle of Dogs.”


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Happy Lunar New Year! Wag hello to the Year of the DogHappy Lunar New Year! Wag hello to the Year of the DogHowlidays Communications Manager

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 01:30:00 -0000

Today marks Lunar New Year. Across the world, people are celebrating the end of the year of the Rooster and the start of the Year of the Dog.Whether you're enjoying tteokguk with family or handing out red envelopes for good luck, there are many ways to celebrate the holiday. According to Google Trends, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries searching the most for “red envelopes.” Meanwhile, top searched foods are nian gao, dumplings, pineapple tart, rice cake and peanut cookies.Since we’re dog people here at Google, we sniffed out a few non-traditional ways to celebrate. Howl you be spending the Lunar New Year?Try your paw at drawingIn the last year, people have drawn more than 3 million doodles of dogs in Quick, Draw!—a fun game that uses neural networks to try to recognize your drawings. In honor of Lunar New Year, our team snuck in a special version of Quick, Draw! with-related items. Put your doodling skills to the test.If you’re more of a data breed, you can check out the pawsome dog doodles from around the world in a special Lunar New Year version of Facets Dive, a tool that visualizes large sets of data (in this case ruff-ly 140,000 dogs that people have drawn in Quick, Draw!).The dogs of Street ViewLunar Year of the Dog means dogs are everywhere–including on Google Street View! We’ve had a lot of fun finding furry friends all around, from this one strolling through New York’s Central Park to thishanging out in a small alley in San Sebastian, to our friend here enjoying the Coastal Walk in Sydney. Scroll through our favorites below, or find dogs on Street View in your own neighborhood.Japan, Shikaoi, Hokkaido.pngJapanMexico, State of Mexico, Villa Victoria.pngMexicoBelgium, Brussels, Zinneke pis dog statue.pngHet Zinneke statue, BelgiumPeru, Piura .pngPeruPhilippines, Palawan, Sabang Beach.pngPhilippinesPortugal, Funchal Madeira.pngPortugalNew Zealand, Lake Tekapo dog statue.pngStatue in Lake Tekapo, New ZealandUS, Oakland, Oak Crest Drive.pngU.S.Taiwan, Taipei, Temple of the Eighteen Lords.pngStatue at Temple of the 18 Lords, TaiwanSpain, Basque Country, San Sebastian.gifSpainPhotos of your pupIn Google Photos, you can create a movie of the dog in your life—select "Doggie Movie" among the movie themes and Google Photos will stitch together photos of the dog. Photos also lets you search for your dog using a dog emoji.All dogs go to the GamesWe couldn’t let the moment pass without a Doodle (or two!). This cheerful pup on our homepage in many countries around the world isn’t just welcoming the New Year—it’s also celebrating the Doodle Snow Games!In places not tuning into the Doodle Snow Games, you might see a different Doodle—also featured at the top of this post.No matter how you celebrate or what language you say it in, happy Lunar New Year![...]Today marks Lunar New Year and the start of the Year of the Dog. We sniffed out a few fun ways to celebrate.


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Google announces intent to acquire XivelyGoogle announces intent to acquire XivelyProduct Management

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 21:05:00 -0000

Today, Google has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquireXively, a division of LogMeIn, Inc.

By 2020, it’s estimated that about 20 billion connected things will come online, and analytics and data storage in the cloud are now the cornerstone of any successful IoT solution. This acquisition, subject to closing conditions, will complement Google Cloud's effort to provide a fully managed IoT service that easily and securely connects, manages, and ingests data from globally dispersed devices. With the addition of Xively’s robust, enterprise-ready IoT platform, we can accelerate our customers’ timeline from IoT vision to product, as they look to build their connected business.

Through this acquisition,Cloud IoT Core will gain deep IoT technology and engineering expertise, including Xively’s advanced device management, messaging, and dashboard capabilities. Our customers will benefit from Xively’s extensive feature set and flexible device management platform, paired with the security and scale of Google Cloud. With Google Cloud’s deep leadership in data analytics and machine learning, our customers will also be uniquely positioned to build turnkey IoT solutions and focus on business value creation.

We look forward to sharing more details after close—stay tuned!
(image) Google announces it has entered into an agreement to acquire Xively, a division of LogMeIn, Inc., to compliment its efforts to provide a fully managed IoT service that easily and securely connects, manages, and ingests data from globally dispersed devices.


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Now on iOS: one-tap access to real-time commute info and places around youNow on iOS: one-tap access to real-time commute info and places around youProduct Manager - Google Maps

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 18:53:00 -0000

Whether we like it or not, sometimes life just flies by. And in the moment, every minute counts. Just one minute can be the difference between catching the last train or walking home in the rain. Or getting to that new restaurant in time to snag the last table. Last year we updated Google Maps for Android to provide access to helpful everyday info–in real time–at the bottom of the home screen. Now we’ve rolled out that same useful update to Google Maps for iOS as well.


Just swipe up and you’ll see three tabs–the explore tab, driving tab and transit tab–that will help you find a nearby restaurant, beat traffic, or catch the next bus. No matter what iOS device you’re using, Google Maps can get you where you’re going and help you explore the world around you.

(image) You can now access real-time commute information and explore places around you, directly from your home screen on Google Maps for iOS.


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It's easier than ever to travel with Project FiIt's easier than ever to travel with Project FiProduct Manager

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:00:00 -0000

When it’s time to get ready for a trip, you want to focus on the adventures ahead, not the hassle of figuring out your phone coverage. Bill Protection already lets you use your data, including when you travel, without running up your bill, and today we’re giving travelers some extra peace of mind by expanding our international coverage and introducing a new way to figure out if you’ll be covered with Project Fi on your next trip.

Coverage from Argentina to Zambia

Starting today, you can enjoy data coverage in 170 countries and territories. Like always, the data you use abroad costs the same as the data you use at home. You’ll continue to enjoy the same high-speed international coverage, now in more places like Belize and Myanmar. And if you need some extra data when you travel, don’t sweat it—your data is still just $10 per GB or free with built-in Bill Protection.

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Here's what's new to our international coverage.

Know before you go

Project Fi will now let you know whether you’re covered on your next trip based on your upcoming international flights from Gmail. You’ll receive a notification in your Project Fi app shortly before your trip that allows you to easily see your coverage options and costs. These notifications will be enabled by default, but you can turn them off in your account settings.

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Know when you'll be covered on your upcoming trips.

If you’re already on Project Fi, you don’t have to do anything to activate your international coverage—it’s all part of your phone plan. If you’re considering joining Project Fi, for a limited time you’ll score $80 Fi service credit with the purchase of any new Fi-friendly phone. You can learn more about Project Fi on our site.

(image) Your Project Fi plan now travels with you to 170 countries and territories and lets you know if you’ll have coverage on upcoming trips.


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Two #teampixel photographers say "I do" to Pixel 2Two #teampixel photographers say "I do" to Pixel 2Google Editorial Team

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 19:15:00 -0000

Jenny and Colin Hayles are professional photographers (Jenny does weddings and Colin captures nature and wildlife) and proud #teampixel members. Knowing that a Pixel 2 can take high-quality photos, they wanted to see how their phones would fare in the most picture-worthy setting: a wedding. We spoke with Jenny and Colin about their experience using a Pixel 2 at an experimental wedding photo shoot.Tell us about your wedding experiment. How’d you come up with the idea?Colin: The concept developed when one of my shots was featured on #teampixel, and I realized just how amazing the Pixel camera was. At first, I wanted to show that wedding guests have no excuse for taking lousy pictures if you have a Pixel. But Jenny and her creative team (shout out to our planner from Jaqueline Rae Weddings) went to the next level—she wanted to shoot professional wedding photos with a Pixel. Before we tried it out at a real wedding, we had to see what the Pixel was capable of—from details, to portraits, to action shots. We simulated the details of a wedding day—the gown and tux, rings, stationery, cake and flowers—and recruited our friends Michele and Tom (a real-life couple) to be our models. We used only a Pixel 2 (no reflectors, lights, or tripods) for the entire photo shoot. The results were, I think, better than any of us dared to hope.teampixel_weddingshoot_2.jpgOur beautiful models Tom and Michele (@mishca_w). Special thanks to @somethingborrowedbeauty for taking care of the makeup and @jliaoo.hair for handling the hair!teampixel_weddingshoot_3.jpgMichele's gown came from from @madewithlovebridal, courtesy of bridal boutique @pearlanddot, and the jewelry came from @apostle_boutique.teampixel_weddingshoot_5.jpgThese blooms brought to you by @fallforflorals, and Tom's tux came from @ewmenswear.teampixel_weddingshoot_4.jpg@debbiewongdesign did the stationery and calligraphy.teampixel_weddingshoot_.jpgCake and sweets courtesy of @bakemydayyyc.Which Pixel features did you use most during the shoot?Jenny: We used the portrait feature the most—it’s pretty much like shooting with a high-end prime lens with a large aperture. In other words, it beautifully blurs the foreground and background to create that fine art look. Shooting macro shots without an extra lens is fantastic for the details that brides love to see (like shots of their wedding rings).Colin and the modelsWhat's the biggest pro of shooting a wedding with a phone?Jenny: I loved being able to send images to the couple right away. Often brides and grooms see poor-quality images first, as guests begin to post on social media, but shooting with a Pixel, I can share beautiful images right away.Did the couple feel more comfortable and natural when the photos were taken on a Pixel, rather than a big professional camera?Colin: Shooting with a Pixel 2 was a novel idea, so there was some curiosity. We shared images throughout the shoot with the team and bride and groom. There were comments that the next phone they get will be a Pixel 2! It made me think that it is an invaluable tool for non-photographers who work in the wedding industry—like florists—to take high-quality images of their work as well.Behind-the-scenes at the wedding shoot: here's Jenny with her Pixel 2 (decor and furniture came from @modernluxerental)What other big events you're going to tackle next?Colin: We’d love to use the Pixel 2 for a honeymoon or engagement shoot. The idea of not taking along a heavy and conspicuous camera bag and coming away with high-quality images is an exciting and back-saving idea. We traveled to Cuba last year and used our first-generation Pixels to capture the bulk of the photos we took and I was so impressed. I only brought my camera gear along on one day of the whole tri[...]


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Meet the couple that guides togetherMeet the couple that guides togetherLocal Guides Team

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 18:00:00 -0000

Local Guides come from all over the world, and they form a community of people who share their knowledge on Google Maps—everything from photos and reviews of local restaurants to accessibility information.And for one long-distance couple, the Local Guides community helped bridge the miles between Malaysia and Bangladesh. Sumaiya Zafrin Chowdhury and Pavel Sawar got married in 2013 and became Local Guides in 2015. Nine months ago, Pavel moved to Malaysia to study information technology, and Sumaiya stayed in Bangladesh to pursue her career as an entrepreneur, community leader and social worker.In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re spotlighting this Local Guides love story. We spoke to Sumaiya and Pavel about how they enjoy the community together, and how Local Guides helps them stay connected while they’re apart.Tell us where it all began: how did you meet?Pavel: I first saw Sumaiya at a social work event in 2012…first look, fell in love. One day I went to visit a slum, and saw her there serving underprivileged people. I am fascinated by her work.You’ve been apart for nine months. How do you make a long-distance relationship work?Sumaiya: I went to Malaysia twice and we had great fun together. We discovered many places. We try to meet every three months. We manage our relationship through social media, especially via video call and chatting through Google Hangouts. We share songs and pictures also.When you’re in the same place, what are your favorite things to do together?Pavel:Sumaiya and I love to travel very much. As Local Guides, we also love to arrange meet-ups together and do social work and community activities.zaf pvl (118).jpgPavel and Sumaiya's wedding in March 2013 in Dhaka, BangladeshNametags.jpgAt a Local Guides get-together in Dhaka, Bangladesh.Goat.jpgHaving some fun at Mohammed Ali Palace Museum & Park in Bogra, Bangladesh.Coconuts.jpgCelebrating the new year with coconut water at Inani Beach in Bangladesh.So you connect over Local Guides together?Sumaiya:Yes, we use Local Guides community and Maps to plan activities and date nights. Sometimes, we celebrate our special days through mapping. We plan to visit new places and compare our points. Mapping and meet-ups are our favorite part.Pavel: Every day we discuss Local Guides. When Sumaiya arranges a meet-up, I try to help her. When I arrange one Sumaiya helps me lot. We discuss our contributions, photo views, quality reviews, etc. Local Guides helps us to spend more time together. Local Guides makes our relationship closer.Why did you both decide to join Local Guides?Pavel:Personally I love traveling, taking photos, and eating at different restaurants. As a traveler and explorer, I use Google Maps almost every day. I love to discover new places and I love to take photos. With Local Guides, I can help any other travelers also. I feel I am helping people in my community. Local Guides are like my family. It’s now part of my life.Sumaiya: Pavel introduced me to Local Guides back in 2015. I joined in March 2015 because I love technology, traveling and photography. With Local Guides, I can do something positive for my society; that's why I was interested to join.We recently did a post about seven kinds of Local Guides. Which ones do you identify with?Pavel: The Visualist and the Trailblazer.Sumaiya: I identify as a Fact Hunter because I want all to know real information about a place…and Trailblazer because I love to discover and add new places.For those that are new to Local Guides, what advice do you have for someone just getting started?Pavel: First, spend some quality time on Local Guides Connect. See how others in the community are doing. Arrange meet-ups. Please contribute on Local Guides to be a good citizen. Don[...]


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Looking for Europe’s top entrepreneurs: The 2018 Digital Top 50 AwardsLooking for Europe’s top entrepreneurs: The 2018 Digital Top 50 AwardsVice President

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:00:00 -0000

Tech entrepreneurs are changing the world through their own creativity and passion. To celebrate Europe’s thriving entrepreneurial scene and honor the most promising tech companies, in 2016 we founded the Digital Top 50 Awards, in association with McKinsey and Rocket Internet. The 2018 edition of the awards are now open for applications.


Now in their second year, the awards are organized, once again, under the patronage of Mr. Carlos Moedas, Member of the European Commission, and supported by strategic partners INSEAD, Ashoka and Tech Open Air. Companies with a digital product or service from the EU and from EFTA countries can apply on the Digital Top 50 website until April 1, 2018.


All top 50 companies will receive free tickets and showcase space at Tech Open Berlin on June 20-21 2018, where the final winners in each category will be announced. The winner in the Tech for Social Impact category will be granted a cash prize of 50,000 euros, and all five winners will be provided with support from the founding partners to scale their businesses further—through leading professional advice, structured consulting and coaching programs, as well as access to a huge network of relevant industry contacts.

 

Helping people embrace new digital opportunities is at the heart of our Grow with Google initiative in Europe. With the DT50 awards, we hope to recognize a new generation of entrepreneurs, and help them grow further and realize their dreams.
(image) Companies with a digital product or service from the EU and from EFTA countries can apply for the Digital Top 50 Awards until April 1, 2018.


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Celebrating five years at Campus Tel Aviv (and many more to go)Celebrating five years at Campus Tel Aviv (and many more to go)Program Manager, Campus Tel Aviv

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 09:00:00 -0000

Five years ago Campus Tel Aviv opened its doors. It’s a hub to support Israel’s strong and growing startup community, where entrepreneurs from different walks of life and at different stages of their journey can come together to learn, share and connect.  And connect they have. Our members have hosted over 3,200 events with more than 250,000 participants, met with distinguished guests including the President and Prime Minister of Israel, and used Campus as a platform to empower their own communities and build ambitious new companies.Startups like Syte.AI, SaferVPN and Veed.me have come to Campus to learn from Googlers and get help taking their businesses global. Tal Gadot, Omer Kenet and Tomer Mesika of RapidUI joined Tel Aviv’s Campus Experts Summit in 2017. They sought help to launch their website builder and, after two weeks of working with Google mentors from the U.S., they decided to change their positioning and shift the focus of their go-to-market strategy, with great success.We've worked hard over the last five years to support underrepresented entrepreneurs and create a more inclusive startup ecosystem. For example, women make up around 40 percent of participants in our education programs and we heard from many women who were on maternity leave that they would love to fulfill their dream of starting a business. So we created Campus for Moms, where mothers can bring their babies to work. We’ve expanded this program to our fellow Campuses in London, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Madrid and Warsaw. We’ve also helped support other community programs through marketing, free space and mentoring, such as She Codes, a women’s coding bootcamp, which has grown from 10 members to over 16,000.A participant of the Campus for Moms program takes part in a mentoring session.We also created APPlicable, a program that helps startups make their mobile apps more accessible to people with disabilities. We connected more than 50 startups with groups of people with disabilities, who tested the app and provided feedback on the app’s accessibility. Through this program, a product lead at Fiverr realized how parts of their app were difficult to navigate using voice-over and incorporated recommendations from a tester. We’re looking forward to bringing the APPlicable program and our learnings to our other Campuses around the world in the coming months.Nearly every day we hear about Israeli entrepreneurs building exciting new technologies that can have a positive impact on the world. We’ll continue to support the startup community in Israel; later this year Campus Tel Aviv is moving to a larger location, and we’re also bringing on board a Head of Campus to lead our efforts there. I’m also excited to lead a number of new programs, both at our expanded space and globally.Thanks to everyone who has been a part of our journey so far! Here’s to the next five years, and the great stories and successful companies that we’ll create together.[...]Since Campus Tel Aviv opened its doors to entrepreneurs five years ago, our members have used Campus as a platform to empower their communities and build ambitious new companies.


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The next billion users are the future of the internetThe next billion users are the future of the internetVP, Next Billion Users Team

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:00:00 -0000

In the late 1990s, I moved from Delhi to Stanford for a master’s degree in computer science. Getting off the plane in San Francisco, I was ecstatic about the amazing computing power, lightning-fast internet and easy access to knowledge available at an American university. Back home, most people across Asia could only get online at an internet café or over dial-up modems, and internet speeds weren’t great. Computing power was still a luxury.Today more than 3 billion people, more than half of them in Asia, own smartphones—devices many times more powerful than those top-of-the-line workstations at Stanford I was so excited to use. But despite this huge shift, many of us in the tech industry often find ourselves stuck in a previous way of thinking, where we assume that “computing” is something that starts with the privileged few in places like Silicon Valley and trickles down slowly to everyone else.This isn’t just an old idea, but one that has become completely wrong.The future of the internet is in the hands of the next billion users—the latest generation of internet users to come online on smartphones in places like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria. As time goes on, the average internet user will be more like these “next billion users” than the first billion who started on PCs. That means we need to look not at Silicon Valley or London but to places like Sao Paulo, Bangalore, Shanghai, Jakarta and Lagos to truly understand where the internet is going.The next billion users are already changing the internet in three key ways: a mobile-only mindset, an instinct for ubiquitous computing, and a demand for localized content.First, let’s start with the mobile-only mindset. Most of the next billion users have never used a PC and may never use one. They don’t think of the internet as something you access with a mouse and a keyboard. A computer is not a terminal where you type in queries. A computer is a smartphone, and it also doubles up as a television, a wallet, a classroom, and a portal for government services. Their expectations on how mobile apps should work is also completely different. When building our India-first, mobile payment app Tez, for example, we focused the app around “people and conversations” rather than the financial features, to reflect familiarities with chat apps. All successful global apps in the future will need to speak the universal design language of people who grew up on mobile phones rather than PCs.This brings me to the second point: ubiquitous computing. This means having natural interactions with a computer that can hear, see and understand—for example, asking “Do I need an umbrella today in Delhi?” rather than typing “Delhi weather forecast.”Because the breakthroughs that make ubiquitous computing possible rely on cutting-edge work in artificial intelligence, we tend to think that advances will start in the most prosperous parts of the world and expand from there. But we’ve found with the Google Assistant, for example, that the next billion users adopt cutting-edge technology astonishingly quickly. Since we launched the Google Assistant on the first feature phone in December, the Reliance JioPhones, usage of the Assistant in India has grown six times over the past four weeks. This isn’t just due to many semi-literate or illiterate users, but also the fact that typing is difficult for people who never grew up with a computer keyboard. The next billion users will be the first to truly embrace ubiquitous computing, expecting apps to work in a natural way rather than having to learn all the artificial commands that we did on PCs.Which brings me to[...]



With love, from your Google AssistantWith love, from your Google AssistantThe Google Assistant Team

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:30:00 -0000

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No matter how you like to spend your Valentine’s Day—with romantic gestures or like any other Wednesday—the Google Assistant is here to help you celebrate and have some fun. Just say …

  • Hey Google, serenade me
  • Hey Google, will you be my Valentine?
  • Hey Google, tell me a love story
  • Hey Google, I’m single
  • Hey Google, I hate Valentine's Day

So happy Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or Wednesday to you and yours!

(image) No matter how you like to spend your Valentine’s Day, the Google Assistant is here to help you celebrate and have some fun.



Bringing the power of AMP to GmailBringing the power of AMP to GmailProduct Manager

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 14:00:00 -0000

For the past few years, we’ve worked to make mobile pages load faster through an open-source framework called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP started as an effort to help publishers, but as its capabilities have expanded over time, it’s now one of the best ways to build rich webpages. With this came the opportunity to modernize one of the most popular places where people spend their time: email.Today, we’re bringing the power of AMP to email through the Gmail Developer Preview of "AMP for Email." This new spec will be a powerful way for developers to create more engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences.For example, imagine you could complete tasks directly in email. With AMP for Email, you’ll be able to quickly take actions like submit an RSVP to an event, schedule an appointment, or fill out a questionnaire right from the email message. Many people rely on email for information about flights, events, news, purchases and beyond—more than 270 billion emails are sent each day! AMP for Email will also make it possible for information to easily kept up-to-date, so emails never get stale and the content is accurate when a user looks at it.Companies like Pinterest, Booking.com and Doodle are developing new experiences for consumers using AMP for Email, and we’re excited to see what others will do soon.GmailAMP-Pinterest-01.gifBrowse and save your favorite items in PinterestGMAIL_AMP_Booking_V02.gifView hotel rooms and up-to-date deals on Booking.comGMAIL_AMP_Doodle_V02.gifShare your availability with DoodleThe AMP for Email spec is available today and we’re planning for support in Gmail later this year. To get developer preview access to AMP for email in Gmail, sign up on our site.  By bringing AMP to email, we’re opening up new possibilities for companies to engage with their audiences, and we can’t wait to see what developers will build. Because AMP for Email is an open spec, we look forward to seeing how other email clients will adopt it, too. If you're a developer and curious about implementation details, check out this post to get an idea.[...]We’re bringing the power of AMP to email through the Gmail Developer Preview of AMP for Email—a new way for developers to make emails more interactive and engaging.


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The browser for a web worth protectingThe browser for a web worth protectingVice President

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 14:00:00 -0000

The web is an incredible asset. It’s an engine for innovation, a platform for sharing, and a universal gateway to information. When we built Chrome, we wanted to create a way for people to interact with the magic that is the web, without the browser getting in the way. We created a browser that took up minimal space on your screen, made the omnibar so you could quickly search or get directly to a website, and built our pop-up blocker to help you avoid unwanted content. Since then we’ve also added features such as Safe Browsing, pausing autoplay Flash and more—all aimed at protecting your experience of the web.


Your feedback has always played a critical part in the development of Chrome. This feedback has shown that a big source of frustration is annoying ads: video ads that play at full blast or giant pop-ups where you can’t seem to find the exit icon. These ads are designed to be disruptive and often stand in the way of people using their browsers for their intended purpose—connecting them to content and information. It’s clear that annoying ads degrade what we all love about the web. That’s why starting on February 15, Chrome will stop showing all ads on sites that repeatedly display these most disruptive ads after they’ve been flagged. More technical details about this change can be found on the Chromium blog.


To determine which ads not to show, we’re relying on the Better Ads Standards from the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving the experience of the ads we see on the web. It’s important to note that some sites affected by this change may also contain Google ads. To us, your experience on the web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate—even for us.


The web is an ecosystem composed of consumers, content producers, hosting providers, advertisers, web designers, and many others. It’s important that we work to maintain a balance—and if left unchecked, disruptive ads have the potential to derail the entire system. We’ve already seen more and more people express their discontent with annoying ads by installing ad blockers, but blocking all ads can hurt sites or advertisers who aren’t doing anything disruptive. By focusing on filtering out disruptive ad experiences, we can help keep the entire ecosystem of the web healthy, and give people a significantly better user experience than they have today.


We believe these changes will not only make Chrome better for you, but also improve the web for everyone. The web is a vital part of our day-to-day. And as new technologies push the web forward, we’ll continue working to build a better, more vibrant ecosystem dedicated to bringing you only the best experiences.

(image) Starting on February 15, Chrome will stop showing all ads on sites that repeatedly display disruptive ads after they’ve been flagged.



In our genes: How Google Cloud helps the Broad Institute slash the cost of researchIn our genes: How Google Cloud helps the Broad Institute slash the cost of researchProduct Manager

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:00:00 -0000

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the pioneering biomedical and genomics research center, has been a valued collaborator since the early days of Google Cloud Platform (GCP). We helped them move their genomics data storage and analysis from an on-premises data center to the cloud; they helped us make GCP a useful and cost-effective place to conduct some of the most important research that science has to offer.It’s been a privilege to support the Broad in their mission to advance our understanding of the biology and treatment of human disease, and to help lay the groundwork for a new generation of therapies. Today, we’re thrilled to be a part of an important milestone for Broad and the genomics community: On GCP, the cost of running Broad’s GATK Best Practices pipeline has been reduced to a little over $5 per genome.Broad is one of the largest genomic sequencing centers around; on average a human genome goes onto a sequencer every 10 minutes. To date, Broad has processed more than 76,000 genomes, generating 24TB of data per day, and stores more than 36PB of data on GCP.Once genomic data comes off a sequencer, processing and analysis is done in several steps. Those steps are strung together in an automated pipeline called GATK Best Practices.When Broad first brought the GATK Best Practices pipeline to GCP in 2015, the cost to run it was $45. Since then, Broad has steadily brought down the cost by twiddling a variety of GCP knobs and dials to arrive at a 90 percent cost reduction while maintaining (and even improving) the quality of the output. Here’s a sampling of what they did:Task splitting. In Broad’s on-premises environment, disk ate the lion’s share of its computing budget, so it strung together compute tasks so they could be performed by the same machine, minimizing disk access. However, any two tasks could have vastly different compute and memory usage profiles. In the cloud, Broad drove higher utilization and lower costs by appropriately sizing the machines to the task at hand (even though it involved more data transfers between machines). This resulted in a cost savings of approximately 30 percent.Preemptible VMs. Broad’s genomics pipeline is short-lived and fault-tolerant, so it can take advantage of Preemptible VMs without worrying about shutdowns due to demand spikes. Broad programmed the pipeline to use Preemptible VMs, which are 80 percent cheaper than non-preemptible instances, by default. This resulted in an extra 35 percent savings.Persistent Disk provides durable HDD and SSD storage to GCP instances, and allows Broad to match its workloads with appropriately-sized and performant storage. Behold another 15 percent savings.Data streaming. Verily Life Sciences contributed code to the HTSJDK, a library that underlies Broad’s GATK. HTSJDK lets algorithms read data directly from a Google Cloud Storage bucket, so the job requires less disk space. The cost of Broad’s production pipeline is now down to $5!  Most recently, Broad released the open-source version 4.0 of GATK, and researchers of all backgrounds, including those without computational training, can access the GATK Best Practices Pipeline through FireCloud, Broad’s cloud-based analysis portal. The pipeline includes all the cost optimizations that Broad has achieved with its production pipeline, and is ready to run on preloaded example datasets.And while all users can access FireCloud at no cost, cloud providers do charge their own fees for data storage and processing. To help make it easier for more researchers to leve[...]


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