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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, 22 Mar 2017 17:00:00 +0000

 



Diverse protections for a diverse ecosystem: Android Security 2016 Year in ReviewDiverse protections for a diverse ecosystem: Android Security 2016 Year in ReviewProgram ManagerDirector

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Today, we’re sharing the third annual Android Security Year In Review, a comprehensive look at our work to protect more than 1.4 billion Android users and their data.Our goal is simple: keep our users safe. In 2016, we improved our abilities to stop dangerous apps, built new security features into Android 7.0 Nougat, and collaborated with device manufacturers, researchers, and other members of the Android ecosystem. For more details, you can read the full Year in Review report or watch our webinar. Protecting you from PHAsIt’s critical to keep people safe from Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) that may put their data or devices at risk. Our ongoing work in this area requires us to find ways to track and stop existing PHAs, and anticipate new ones that haven’t even emerged yet. Over the years, we’ve built a variety of systems to address these threats, such as application analyzers that constantly review apps for unsafe behavior, and Verify Apps which regularly checks users’ devices for PHAs. When these systems detect PHAs, we warn users, suggest they think twice about downloading a particular app, or even remove the app from their devices entirely.We constantly monitor threats and improve our systems over time. Last year’s data reflected those improvements: Verify Apps conducted 750 million daily checks in 2016, up from 450 million the previous year, enabling us to reduce the PHA installation rate in the top 50 countries for Android usage.Google Play continues to be the safest place for Android users to download their apps. Installs of PHAs from Google Play decreased in nearly every category:Now 0.016 percent of installs, trojans dropped by 51.5 percent compared to 2015Now 0.003 percent of installs, hostile downloaders dropped by 54.6 percent compared to 2015Now 0.003 percent of installs, backdoors dropped by 30.5 percent compared to 2015Now 0.0018 percent of installs, phishing apps dropped by 73.4 percent compared to 2015By the end of 2016, only 0.05 percent of devices that downloaded apps exclusively from Play contained a PHA; down from 0.15 percent in 2015.Still, there’s more work to do for devices overall, especially those that install apps from multiple sources. While only 0.71 percent of all Android devices had PHAs installed at the end of 2016, that was a slight increase from about 0.5 percent in the beginning of 2015. Using improved tools and the knowledge we gained in 2016, we think we can reduce the number of devices affected by PHAs in 2017, no matter where people get their apps. Working together to secure the Android ecosystem Sharing information about security threats between Google, device manufacturers, the research community, and others helps keep all Android users safer. In 2016, our biggest collaborations were via our monthly security updates program and ongoing partnership with the security research community.Security updates are regularly highlighted as a pillar of mobile security—and rightly so. We launched our monthly security updates program in 2015, following the public disclosure of a bug in Stagefright, to help accelerate patching security vulnerabilities across devices from many different device makers. This program expanded significantly in 2016:More than 735 million devices from 200+ manufacturers received a platform security update in 2016.We released monthly Android security updates throughout the year for devices running Android 4.4.4 and up—that accounts for 86.3 percent of all active Android devices worldwide.Our carrier and hardware partners helped expand deployment of these updates, releasing updates for over half of the top 50 devices worldwide in the last quarter of 2016.We provided monthly secur[...]


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Securing your devices: Android Security Year in ReviewSecuring your devices: Android Security Year in Review

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Security is critical for every single one of our 1.4 billion Android users — from consumers to enterprise users in highly regulated industries. That’s why, in addition to all the work we do to make Android devices secure out of the box, we also provide additional features for enterprises that want to control their own security protocols.

Today, we released the third annual Android Security Year in Review, which details the measures taken to protect Android users and their data over the last year, as well as the results of those efforts.

In 2016, we released many enterprise capabilities to strengthen Android security, such as “always-on” VPN, security policy transparency, process logging, improved WiFi certification handling and client certification improvements. Android’s security and management features are simple to use for businesses of any size, with powerful tools for admins.

Overall, we improved our abilities to stop dangerous apps, built new security features into Android 7.0 Nougat and collaborated with device manufacturers, researchers and other members of the Android ecosystem.

The results have been tangible. We saw dramatic decreases in Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) that may put users’ data or devices at risk, worked with partners to improve security device update rates and grew our Android Security Rewards program.

Whether talking about consumers or enterprises, our goal is simple: keep our users safe. For more details about our findings, read the full Year in Review report or watch our webinar.

(image) Because security is critical to our Android users, in addition to all the work we do to make Android devices secure out of the box, we also provide additional features for enterprises that want to control their own security protocols.


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Google for Brazil: Building a more inclusive internet for everyone, everywhereGoogle for Brazil: Building a more inclusive internet for everyone, everywhereVice President

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 15:00:00 +0000

Google for Brazil: Building a more inclusive internet for everyone, everywhereBrazilians love the internet. With more than 139 million people online, Brazil ranks among the top five internet populations in the world. Brazilians are also heavy users of Google products, from Search and Android to YouTube and Maps to Photos and Waze. And Brazil is an innovation hub for Google. Our engineering team in Belo Horizonte has made remarkable contributions to our products globally, such as improving health-related searches.But we know there is still a lot of work to do in Brazil and elsewhere to make technology work better for more people. So today at our Google for Brazil event in São Paulo, we made several announcements about how we're working to make the internet more inclusive and to make our products work better for people in Brazil—and around the world. Google Duo audio callingLast year we created Google Duo to bring simple, high-quality video calling to users on Android and iOS. Now we’re adding audio-only calling in Duo. So in those moments when video calling isn't an option—like when you’re about to hop on a crowded bus or have a poor network connection—you can stay connected with family and friends through audio calling. Duo audio calls work well on all connection speeds and won't eat up your data. This feature will be available starting today first in Brazil, and we'll be rolling it out to users around the world in the coming days. Google Allo file sharing and Smart Smiley in Brazilian PortugueseSince launching Google Allo last September, users in countries like Brazil have requested the ability to share documents in group chats. Starting today, Android users everywhere will be able to share documents and other files (.pdf, .docs, .apk, .zip, and mp3) with friends on Allo. And for users in Brazil, we're also rolling out Smart Smiley in Portuguese, which uses machine learning to help you find the right emoji faster. Tap the Smart Smiley icon on the compose bar, and the app will suggest relevant emojis and stickers to help you finish your thought. Google Photos: Faster backup and sharing, no matter the connectionWe built Google Photos to help people store, organize and share photos and videos in a hassle-free way. But it can sometimes be difficult to back up and share photos and videos , especially when you're on the go and don't have an internet connection. So today we're rolling out two new features on Android and iOS to make backup and sharing easier on low connectivity. Now your photos will back up automatically in a lightweight preview quality that's fast  on 2G connections and still looks great on a smartphone. And when a good Wi-Fi connection becomes available, your backed up photos will be replaced with high-quality versions. We’re also making it easier to share many photos at once even on low connectivity. Never mind if you're at the beach or hiking in the mountains, with Google Photos you can now share pictures quickly even with a spotty connection by sending first in low resolution so friends and family can view them right away. They'll later update in higher resolution when connectivity permits.It can be hard to find time to organize your pictures, so Google Photos automatically creates animations, movies, collages, and albums. For movies, Google Photos will select the best moments, put them together with professional-style transitions, and set it all to music. With Brazil in mind, we recently rolled out a great example of these kinds of movies—your best photos from Carnival, set to a soundtrack of samba. Maps location sharingWe're adding a new location sharing feature in Google Maps that lets you tell your friends and family where you are and when you’ll arrive at your destination. You have complete control over whether you share your location, who you share it with, and how long you share it. You can stop sharing at any time. No more "where are you now?" messages [...]


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Share your trips and real-time location from Google MapsShare your trips and real-time location from Google MapsEngineering Manager, Google Maps

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:00:00 +0000

“Where are you now?” and “What's your ETA?” Whether you’re heading to a party or meeting up for dinner, you probably hear questions like this pretty often from family and friends. Soon Google Maps users worldwide will be able to answer those questions in just a few taps, without ever leaving the app. On both Android and iOS, you’ll be able to share your real-time location with anyone. And the people you share with will be able to see your location on Android, iPhone, mobile web, and even desktop. Here’s how it works in a real-world scenario:

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Whenever you want to let someone know where you are, just open the side menu or tap the blue dot that represents where you are. Tap “Share location” and then select who to share with and how long to share—and you're done! You can share your real-time location with your Google contacts, or even share with friends and family by sending a link on your favorite messenger apps. When you’re sharing your location, the people you’ve chosen to share with will see you on their map. And you’ll see an icon above the compass on your own map reminding you that you’re actively sharing your location. You can change your mind and stop sharing at any time—it’s entirely up to you.

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Next time you’re on your way or running late, you can share your real-time location and trip progress from navigation as well. During your next trip, tap the “More” button on the bottom on the navigation screen, and then tap “Share trip.” When you share your trip with people, they’ll see your expected arrival time and can follow your journey as you head toward your destination. Sharing automatically ends when you arrive.

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Location sharing on Google Maps is rolling out soon worldwide, and you’ll be able to quickly let your friends and family know where you are and when you’ll get where you’re going. The answer to “where are you?” is only a tap away.

(image) Soon you’ll be able to share your real-time location with anyone, in Google Maps on both Android and iOS


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Google Business Group is helping entrepreneurs around the world—vote for your favoriteGoogle Business Group is helping entrepreneurs around the world—vote for your favoriteGlobal Community Manager

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 01:00:00 +0000

As a part of our effort to inspire entrepreneurs to take their businesses online, we invited members of our global Google Business Group (GBG) to participate in a competition and share how the internet and technology empower them to do extraordinary things. We received 469 submissions from GBG members and independent entrepreneurs in 26 countries. These entries presented the big ideas of intrepid entrepreneurs from all around the world, including Brazil, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and Uganda.

Google selected nine global finalists, including an app working to ease the supply shortage in Indonesia’s blood banks, an online pet food social enterprise, and a digital platform matching qualified entry-level job seekers with employers in India. These enterprises demonstrate how bringing businesses online can increase a business’s positive social contributions–locally, nationally, and even globally.

Now it’s your turn to get involved. Tell us which story inspires you most by casting a vote by next Tuesday, March 28th by 11:59 pm PST. The top winners will get an all-expenses paid trip to Mountain View, California and a much-coveted access pass to the annual Google I/O conference in April 2017. While there, the winners will have the opportunity to meet with other tech thinkers, innovators, and business leaders.

We hope you’ll feel as inspired as we are after seeing these stories. On March 30th, we’ll update this post with the winners!

(image) As a part of our effort to inspire entrepreneurs to take their businesses online, we invited members of our global Google Business Groups (GBG) to participate in a competition and share how the Internet and technology empower them to do extraordinary things.


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More news in Google News & WeatherMore news in Google News & WeatherProduct Manager

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 18:00:00 +0000

The world of news is broad, deep and ever-changing. The News & Weather app shows the top three stories from various sections on its Home page, but beneath this surface lie many more informative and engaging stories. In fact, we find that many people regularly hit the bottom of our Home page looking for more to read. To offer you further opportunities to discover great content, we’ve added over 200 news stories to the Home screen in a browsable stream called More Headlines

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Get a deeper view into the latest from Business, Tech, Entertainment, Sports and various other sections, ranked and classified for easy reading. The More Headlines section loads stories on demand as you keep scrolling, quenching your thirst for news.

You’ll also enjoy fast-loading AMP articles, as an increasing number of publishers adopt the AMP format. As usual, each story retains the goodness of a comprehensive perspective—expand a card to gain insight from different articles such as Highly Cited, Local Source and Fact Check. Everything stays algorithmic—from clustering articles to classifying stories to ranking the stream.

More Headlines will be rolled out over the coming days to News & Weather users on iOS and Android. To see it in action, read through the Home sections and simply keep going.

(image) We've added more than 200 news stories to the Home screen of Google News & Weather in a nice, browsable stream called More Headlines.


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Helping to close the education gapHelping to close the education gapEducation Lead

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:30:00 +0000

Even after four years of primary education, 130 million students around the world haven’t mastered basic subjects like reading and math. Limited access to quality materials, under-resourced teachers, and barriers to learning outside the classroom present challenges for many children.Through Google.org, we’ve given more than $110 million over the past five years to help close gaps in education—whether globally through early and ongoing support for innovators like Khan Academy or focused specifically on how we can support future technologists through our support for CS education organizations. Today, we’re expanding on those commitments with our largest dedicated portfolio of $50 million over the next two years to support nonprofits who are building tech-based learning solutions that tackle these challenges. To start, we’re funding nine organizations around the world that we will also support with Googler volunteers in areas like user experience design, translation, offline functionality and data analytics. By the end of 2017, our goal is to give grants to education nonprofits in 20 countries. And later this year, we’ll be looking for the next round of innovators to join them. Our education grants will focus on three areas where technology can help: giving more students access to quality learning materials, supporting teacher development, and reaching students in conflict zones. Get to know some of our grantees below, and learn about the ways they’re using technology to help close the education gap. Giving kids the right materialsAround the world, students in low-income communities have to learn with fewer books, out-of-date texts, and materials that are culturally irrelevant or even in the wrong language. Technology can bypass the geographic and financial boundaries that block educational resources from reaching students, while also making those resources more engaging, interactive and effective. One of our first grantees in this area is the Foundation for Learning Equality, which builds free open-source software to bring online materials—including books, video tutorials and quizzes—to the 4.3 billion people who lack consistent access to the internet. Their new platform, Kolibri, runs on numerous devices and helps educators access, organize and customize digital content, even in the most remote locations. So far they’ve brought 7,000 videos and 26,000 interactive exercises offline for students in about 160 countries.Our funding, along with Google volunteers providing technical support, will help Learning Equality build a bigger content library and scale their reach to hundreds of thousands of new students. This summer, Google engineers and product experts are volunteering to spend four weeks working side-by-side with Learning Equality’s product team in areas such as UX/UI, content integration, and video compression technology. Keeping teachers trained and engaged Having a great teacher is one of the best predictors of a student’s academic success, but in many countries there simply aren’t enough of them. By 2030, India alone will need 3 million new primary school teachers just to keep up with its growing population of students.Google.org is helping local leaders invest in digital tools that offer teachers quality training and confidence-building tools that encourage creativity in the classroom. The first of these grants goes to Million Sparks Foundation's ChalkLit, an app-based platform that combines bite-sized, curriculum-aligned content with an online community to support first-rate teaching. Google engineers volunteering their time and skills will ad[...]


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New shortcuts in Search help keep you in the knowNew shortcuts in Search help keep you in the knowVP of Product Management

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:00:00 +0000

These days, you expect information at your fingertips. Starting today, we’re making it easier than ever to stay in the know and get the information you need quickly and easily. Starting today in the U.S., we’re introducing tappable shortcuts on the Google app for Android and iOS and Google.com on the mobile web that give you easy access to great tools and the ability to explore deeper within topics you care about. Shortcuts for quick access to answers you needGetting up-to-the-minute info is as easy as a single tap. With shortcuts right on the home screen, you now have access to in-depth experiences across sports, eat & drink, entertainment and weather. Need to know whether to bring a raincoat tomorrow? Want the score to last night’s basketball game? Looking for what’s on TV tonight or who’s nominated for best supporting actress? Shortcuts on Google will get you there. Android users will find dozens of other useful shortcuts too—translate, nearby attractions, flights, hotels, internet speed test, currency converter, and more. Plus, if you’re looking for fun, there are shortcuts like tic-tac-toe, roll a die, animal sounds, solitaire, and always a Google favorite: I'm feeling curious. Shortcuts to explore and keep up with your areas of interestThe Google search box is great when you’re looking for a specific answer, but there are also moments when you just want to catch up on the latest for topics of interest. Now with a tap on the entertainment shortcut, you can see what’s playing this weekend at your local theater or what to watch on TV. You can also get the latest news from both the small and silver screens. You can tap into news, trailers and reviews that are relevant for you or swipe through listings to catch up on your favorite show. When you’re curious about nearby lunch options or outdoor dining for your weekend getaway, the eat & drink shortcut is your local scout. Access nearby dining options, explore recommendations and stay updated on the dining scene in your neighborhood. It’s the easiest way to uncover nearby must-try spots while you’re out and about. Similarly on sports, whether you love basketball, hockey or football, now you don’t need to type anything when you want the latest scores. Just tap into game times, scores and team news, so you never miss a play. You can customize your experience for the teams you cheer for—or against—whether it’s the playoffs or a regular season game. Don’t let bad weather rain on your parade. Tap the weather shortcut and be ready for the day before you walk out the door. You’ll have access to updated information every time you tap—from hourly sky conditions and chance of rain, severe weather alerts, a detailed 10-day forecast, and more. To find the most timely and recently used shortcuts, make sure your Google app is updated to the latest version and then look for your shortcuts right underneath the search box. You’ll see new shortcuts appear for big moments and events moving forward. Search on![...]Google Search is taking the next step forward: providing in-depth, tappable search experiences within the Google app, keeping you in the know about the things that matter to you.


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Expanded safeguards for advertisersExpanded safeguards for advertisersChief Business Officer

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 06:00:00 +0000

The web has opened a door for new communities and platforms that help people find diverse views and have a voice. Today, anyone with a smartphone can be a content creator, app developer or entrepreneur. And Google has enabled millions of content creators and publishers to be heard, find an audience, earn a living, or even build a business. Much of this is made possible through advertising. Thousands of sites are added every day to our ad network, and more than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. We have a responsibility to protect this vibrant, creative world—from emerging creators to established publishers—even when we don’t always agree with the views being expressed.But we also have a responsibility to our advertisers who help these publishers and creators thrive. We have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear, and in the vast majority of cases, our policies and tools work as intended. But at times we don’t get it right.Recently, we had a number of cases where brands’ ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values. For this, we deeply apologize. We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us. That’s why we've been conducting an extensive review of our advertising policies and tools, and why we made a public commitment last week to put in place changes that would give brands more control over where their ads appear.I wanted to share that we've already begun ramping up changes around three areas: our ad policies, our enforcement of these policies and new controls for advertisers.Raising the bar for our ad policiesWe know advertisers don't want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values. So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. This includes removing ads more effectively from content that is attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories. This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites.We’ll also tighten safeguards to ensure that ads show up only against legitimate creators in our YouTube Partner Program—as opposed to those who impersonate other channels or violate our community guidelines. Finally, we won’t stop at taking down ads. The YouTube team is taking a hard look at our existing community guidelines to determine what content is allowed on the platform—not just what content can be monetized.Increased brand safety levels and controls for advertisersEvery company has brand guidelines that inform where and when they want their ads to appear. We already offer some controls for advertisers that respond to these needs. In the coming days and months, we’re introducing new tools for advertisers to more easily and consistently manage where their ads appear across YouTube and the web.  Safer default for brands. We’re changing the default settings for ads so that they show on content that meets a higher level of brand safety and excludes potentially objectionable content that advertisers may prefer not to advertise against. Brands can opt in to advertise on broader types of content if they choose. Simplified management of exclusions. We’ll introduce new account-level controls to make it easier for advertisers to exclude specific sites and channels from all of their AdWords for Video and Google Display Network campaigns, and manage brand safety settings across all their campaigns with a push of a button. More fine-tuned controls. In addition, we’ll introduce new controls to make it easier for brands to exclude higher risk content and fine-tune where they want their ads to appear.Increasing resources, accelerating reviews and improving transparency We’ll offer advertisers and agencies more transparency and visibility[...]


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See how companies are using G Suite and Xero to keep their finances on trackSee how companies are using G Suite and Xero to keep their finances on trackPartner Marketing Manager, Google Cloud

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 17:00:00 +0000

As a business leader, whether you’re keeping books up-to-date, sharing data with investors, or connecting with advisors in real-time, combining cloud-based technologies like G Suite and Xero can help you collaborate quickly and securely to keep company financials on target.

Gimme Vending is a great example of a company that’s taking advantage of real-time collaboration. The company specializes in hardware that retrofits dated vending machines to communicate wirelessly with a mobile app. It partners with Acuity Accounting to drive growth. Together, the two use G Suite and Xero to manage Gimme Vending’s financials in the cloud. 

Xero’s deep integrations with G Suite lets you connect directly to Gmail to manage invoices and quotes. And with Xero’s “Smart Lists,” you can filter contacts based on purchase history and location for targeted emails and sales campaigns, or check in on overdue items. You can also more securely export financial reports straight to Sheets and Docs to collaborate and analyze in real-time.

With these integrations Gimme Vending and Acuity Accounting can:

  • Send messages in Gmail directly from Xero to stay up-to-date on the status of documents
  • Push accounting files out of Xero into Sheets and Docs to generate reports quickly
  • Sign in to G Suite through Xero using single sign-on to speed up productivity
  • Use Hangouts to serve clients nationwide

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Now, Gimme Vending can more securely manage their books and speed up investor reporting. “Thanks to Google Docs, we’ve been able to provide confidential data and financial reports to investors almost immediately, and manage who has access just as quickly,” says Cory Hewett, CEO of Gimme Vending.

To learn more about how your business can use Xero and G Suite to track and improve your bottom line, sign up for this free webinar on March 29, 2017 at 1pm ET / 10am PT.

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The High Five: bring back the bees and beware the IdesThe High Five: bring back the bees and beware the IdesManaging Editor

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 20:20:00 +0000

You made it to Friday. Can we get a High Five? In this new series, we’ll show you what’s trending on Google with a look at a few of the top searches from the week of March 13.

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Cheerios

Where have all the bumble-bees gone? People are buzzing about Cheerios this week, as the brand dropped its bee mascot to raise awareness for the alarming decline of the world’s bee population. They’ve pledged to give away 100 million wildflower seeds to bring back the bees.

Luck of the Irish 

People aren’t just searching for pots of gold, they’re turning to Google for more information about the history of St. Patrick’s Day, the luck of the Irish, and local parades and pubs.

Beware the Ides of March

If you’ve always wondered why we should beware the Ides of March, which occurred this Wednesday, you’re not alone. Many searched about the meaning of Ides of March and who was famously killed on that day.

Did someone say free food?

Searches for American Airlines took off after the airline announced plans to offer free meals to passengers seated in economy on cross-country flights.

This is you searching “This is Us”

Fans of NBC’s hit show “This is Us” had a big week. The season finale aired on Tuesday, and many turned to Google to learn more about the show’s actors and surprising season finale.

(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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Improving our brand safety controlsImproving our brand safety controlsManaging Director, Google U.K.

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 09:30:00 +0000

From our founding days at Google, our mission has always been to make information universally accessible and useful. We believe strongly in the freedom of speech and expression on the web—even when that means we don’t agree with the views expressed.

At the same time, we recognize the need to have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear. The intention of these policies is to prohibit ads from appearing on pages or videos with hate speech, gory or offensive content. In the vast majority of cases, our policies work as intended. We invest millions of dollars every year and employ thousands of people to stop bad advertising practices. Just last year, we removed nearly 2 billion bad ads from our systems, removed over 100,000 publishers from our AdSense program, and prevented ads from serving on over 300 million YouTube videos.

However, with millions of sites in our network and 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, we recognize that we don't always get it right. In a very small percentage of cases, ads appear against content that violates our monetization policies. We promptly remove the ads in those instances, but we know we can and must do more.

We’ve heard from our advertisers and agencies loud and clear that we can provide simpler, more robust ways to stop their ads from showing against controversial content. While we have a wide variety of tools to give advertisers and agencies control over where their ads appear, such as topic exclusions and site category exclusions, we can do a better job of addressing the small number of inappropriately monetized videos and content. We’ve begun a thorough review of our ads policies and brand controls, and we will be making changes in the coming weeks to give brands more control over where their ads appear across YouTube and the Google Display Network.

We are committed to working with publishers, advertisers and agencies to address these issues and earn their trust every day so that they can use our services both successfully and safely.
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The She Word: Monique Vaz Vieira, keeping the “bad guys” awayThe She Word: Monique Vaz Vieira, keeping the “bad guys” awayManaging Editor

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 21:40:00 +0000

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.In today’s installment of the “She Word” series, we talked to Monique Vaz Vieira, a 10-year Googler and software engineer in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Why are you proud to be a woman at Google?As a senior female engineer, I'm proud to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. I’m also proud to be the Latin America regional tech lead for Women@Google, an internal community that empowers female Googlers with professional development and networking. I've been a Googler for more than 10 years (55 percent of its existence as a company!), and I’ve felt supported to pursue my professional and personal goals throughout all of those years. Monique adventuring with her two kids. How do you explain your job at a dinner party?My team keeps the bad guys away—our mission is to keep users safe and our products free of spam and abuse. What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?I enjoy all things related to food—I love trying out new recipes (my current favorite is paella) and I grow my own vegetables, herbs and fruit. I've recently rediscovered my passion for off-road adventures after a family trip to Lavras Novas (about 70 miles outside of Belo Horizonte), where we explored waterfalls and dirt trails.What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?When I started out in my career, I wish someone would have told me, “don’t be afraid to be yourself.” People are different and won’t necessarily take the same path to succeed, so you need to find your own. What did you want to be when you grew up?When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut or a ballet dancer, but when I was a bit older, I wanted to be an architect. I crossed astronaut and dancer from my list, but I still consider studying architecture.What’s your life motto?I constantly remind myself that life should be enjoyed every single day. It's easy to fall into the trap of making great plans for the weekend or even for when you retire, but you forget to take advantage of all the opportunities you have right now and really enjoy the present. [...]We’re talking with dynamic female Googlers about who they are, what they do and why they inspire us.


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Google Cloud partner awards: recognizing customer success and solution innovationGoogle Cloud partner awards: recognizing customer success and solution innovationHead of Global Technology PartnersVice President of Global Partner Sales and Strategic Alliances

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Last week at Google Cloud Next ‘17, we recognized 12 partners for their strong customer success and solution innovation over the past year. These partners—our 2016 Global Partner Award winners—exemplify the dedication, expertise and innovation that our customers count on. Recognizing solution innovationFive technology partners were recognized for their technology expertise and commitment to delivering valuable products and solutions for customers. Our 2016 Global Partner Award winners for Solution Innovation are: LumAppsSlackLookerPalo Alto NetworksVirtru LumApps team celebrating their Solution Innovation Award presented by Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners for Google Cloud Recognizing customer successSales and services partners nurture and support customer transformation and innovation. We recognized four sales and services partners that demonstrate outstanding sales, marketing and technical expertise to help businesses of all sizes transform with Google Cloud. Our 2016 Global Partner Awards winners for Customer Success are: G Suite Customer Success: SoftBankGCP Customer Success: DoITMaps Customer Success: Snowdrop SolutionsEducation Customer Success: CDW CorporationOn the devices side, we recognized SYNNEX Corporation for its built services, technologies and support to augment and enhance the Google device ecosystem.In addition to our global winners, we also recognized partners by region: Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA): Wix, Reply, Ubilabs, g-company, CloudwiseAmericas: Onix, Xertica Labs, SADA Systems, Agosto, Promevo, Amplified IT, MaplinkAsia Pacific (APAC): KDDI, Searce, Mitac, Cloud Ace, Onigroup, SYNNEX Infotec, Learning with Technologies (LWT)2016 partners of the yearThe Global Partner of the Year award recognizes organizations that are deeply committed to delivering value to Google Cloud customers, working with our teams at every level to push the boundaries of what we deliver to our joint customers.Global Technology Partner of the Year: PivotalGlobal Sales and Services Partner of the Year: Accenture Bertrand Yansouni, VP of Global Partner Sales and Strategic Alliances for Google Cloud presenting Global Sales and Services Partner of the Year Award to Lisa Noon, Global Managing Director at Accenture. Thank you to the Google Cloud ecosystemThese partners are a representation of the many partners doing incredible work across the Google Cloud ecosystem. Thank you to every partner helping our customers innovate faster, scale smarter and stay secure—and congratulations to the 2016 Google Cloud partner award winners. Award recipients received a baseball bat customized with their award designation at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners for Google Cloud and Andy Horwitz, S[...]


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See our latest data center muralsSee our latest data center muralsVP

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 16:15:00 +0000

Last May, we announced the Data Center Mural Project, a partnership with artists to bring a bit of the magic from the inside of our data centers to the outside. Two artists in Oklahoma and Belgium created murals that celebrate both the work that happens inside the buildings and the communities where the data centers reside.Today, we’re excited to unveil our next two data center murals.In Council Bluffs, Iowa, painter Gary Kelley’s mural shows how Council Bluffs has served as a hub of information for centuries. Ideas have always flowed through the region, from Lewis and Clark to the Transcontinental Railroad, and now the data center in Council Bluffs is helping bring the internet to people all over the world. In Dublin, Ireland, illustrator Fuchsia MacAree was inspired by how Ireland’s unique climate and fresh air, rather than mechanical cooling, regulates the temperature of Google’s data center. She’s created a series of whimsical murals depicting a windy day in Dublin, including scenes from local landmarks like Grand Canal Square, Phoenix Park and Moore Street Market.Check out photos and videos of all the data center murals at g.co/datacentermurals. The panels of the mural in Council Bluffs chronicle its people and history. From right to left: Lewis and Clark in their first council with the native people of the region, a telegrapher and the first transcontinental telegraph, a member of the Otoe tribe, a surveyor for the transcontinental railroad, and Googlers working at the data center. The largest of the murals created for the Dublin data center is placed on one of the louvered walls that allow fresh Irish air to pass freely into the building and efficiently cool the servers inside. On this wall, Fuchsia illustrates Phoenix Park in Dublin. You can see the park’s free roaming deer and Tea Rooms. [...]As part of The Data Center Mural Project, two artists transformed the exteriors of Google data centers in Council Bluffs, Iowa and Dublin, Ireland.


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Introducing the Family Link app: Helping families navigate technology togetherIntroducing the Family Link app: Helping families navigate technology togetherVP, Engineering

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000

The devices we carry every day open up a world of information for us to explore, sparking our curiosity and creativity. But when it comes to our kids using those same devices, it’s tricky. We want them to explore and be inspired as they embark on their digital adventure, but every family feels differently about what their kids should and shouldn't be able to do on their device. That’s why we developed the Family Link app. When your child is ready for their first Android device, Family Link lets you create a Google Account for them, which is like your own account, and also helps you set certain digital ground rules that work for your family - like managing the apps your kid can use, keeping an eye on screen time, and setting a bedtime on your kid’s device. Here’s how it works: First, your kid will need a new device that runs Android Nougat (7.0)* or higher. Then, download Family Link onto your device and create a Google Account for them through the app. Finally, sign them into their new device, and you can then use Family Link to: Manage the apps your kid can useApprove or block the apps your kid wants to download from the Google Play Store. Keep an eye on screen timeSee how much time your kid spends on their favorite apps with weekly or monthly activity reports, and set daily screen time limits for their device. Set device bedtimeRemotely lock your kid’s device when it’s time to play, study, or sleep. Starting today, parents across the U.S. can request an invite to the Family Link early access program. After receiving an invite, parents with kids under 13 years old can download and try the Family Link app. We’re just getting started, and we’ll be asking parents using Family Link for feedback about how to improve the experience before we make the app broadly available. While Family Link can help you set certain ground rules around how your child uses their device, it can't make the apps or services on their phone that were designed for adults kid-safe; it's up to parents to choose what's right for their kid. When you make the decision to give your child their own device, Family Link can serve as a tool that keeps you in the loop as they begin to explore. To learn more about the Family Link early access program and request an invitation, visit our Family Link website. *Kids can use Family Link with certain Android Marshmallow devices. Visit our FAQ to learn more.[...]Navigating technology can be particularly tricky for families with kids. That’s why we developed the Family Link app—to help you stay in the loop while your kid explores on their Android device.


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Google Classroom: Now open to even more learnersGoogle Classroom: Now open to even more learnersSoftware Engineer

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 16:00:00 +0000

When you picture a “typical” classroom, what do you see? A chalkboard, desks in neat rows, and kids with backpacks? In today’s world, we know that learning can happen almost anywhere, both in and outside of school. A kitchen table might be the go-to desk for a homeschooled student, a community center might host an after-school program for coding, and a nonprofit organization might hold a workshop for adults on resume writing and job skills.We see value in bringing technology to people who want to learn, no matter the setting. That’s why we’re opening up Google Classroom to users without G Suite for Education accounts. Now, teachers and students in many different environments can teach or attend classes, manage assignments and instantly collaborate—all with their personal Google accounts. Starting today, these new Classroom users will be able to join existing classes and over the coming weeks, they’ll have the ability to create their own classes as well. Schools interested in using Google Classroom should still sign up for G Suite for Education. Starting today, G Suite for Education administrators will see updated Classroom settings that give them new controls over who can join their classes from personal Google accounts or from other G Suite for Education domains. This update gives schools more flexibility in how they collaborate with other organizations and students: For example, student teachers or visiting students can now easily integrate into their host school or university’s Classroom set-up.Over the past few months, we’ve worked with a number of organizations to understand how a more open Classroom can meet their needs. Youth For Understanding (YFU) is an organization that hosts virtual exchange programs for students who could not otherwise study abroad. YFU piloted Classroom during a 15-week virtual exchange among students from 5 countries, with 700 students and 24 facilitators.YFU found Classroom valuable because it worked across devices and needed nothing more than an Internet connection. Using Classroom, YFU reported that “the ‘technological intimidation factor’ was no longer the primary challenge in running virtual exchanges.” Instead, the organization can put their focus where it belongs—on the program’s intercultural content.We believe that Classroom can make technology work effectively in any learning relationship between an instructor and student, no matter what shape that takes. We’re excited to see new educators and learners join the Classroom community, and are looking forward to seeing how they’ll use it to meet their needs. Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or an instructor at a tutoring center, we’d love to hear your stories about how Classroom helps foster teaching and learning as you try it with your students. You can also continue to share feedback with us directly in Classroom. And if you have further questions, check out our FAQ to learn more about these changes.[...]Today, we will begin opening up Google Classroom to users without a G Suite for Education account. From homeschools to tutoring centers to adult education, teachers and learners in many different environments will soon be able to use Classroom.


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Code Jam returns: Do you have what it takes?Code Jam returns: Do you have what it takes?EngineerProgram Manager

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Today we invite anyone with a passion for coding—from students to professionals, and newbies to pros—to sign up for Code Jam, Google's largest, most challenging programming competition.Last year, Code Jam welcomed 60,000 Code Jammers from more than 130 countries. The competition features multiple online rounds of intense, algorithmic problems, a track for coding in a distributed environment, an on-site World Finals and the opportunity to win a cash prize of up to $15,000. While we’ve changed and grown from our humble beginnings in 2007, much of the essential ingredients that make Code Jam beloved by so many remain the same. Here’s what you need to know:The languages are many. Code Jam allows competitors to use any coding language throughout the competition—everything from C++ to JavaScript to INTERCAL, LOLCODE, and Whitespace. We’ve even heard of a competitor who solved the 2015 Dijkstra problem using only a spreadsheet. Whatever language you speak, you’re part of a broader Code Jam community. This global community of current and former participants (and fans of the competition) has grown to more than 200,000 across our Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Facebook channels. And on any given day, you can participate in discussions about competition puzzles or get tips and tricks from past competitors.The problems are memorable. The quality of the problems keeps many of the world’s best programmers coming back each year. All Code Jam problems are written by Google engineers. Hundreds have dedicated their time over the years to make every problem rewarding and fun for Code Jammers, from the easiest Qualification Round problem to the most fiendish challenge in the World Finals. You can check out past problems here and try your hand at them for practice. A lesser known fact is that the engineers who authored the problems in last year’s World Finals were actually competitors before they were teammates: all four were finalists in Code Jam 2005.The stakes are high. In addition to receiving the limited edition Code Jam t-shirt (given to the top 1,500  performers), the top 26 finalists will be invited to compete in the World Finals at Google’s office in Dublin, Ireland for the chance become the Code Jam Champion and a cash prize of up to $15,000. As always, we’ll livestream the World Finals on YouTube so that thousands of fans can experience the magic from home. Can’t wait until then? Check out this behind-the-scenes look at Code Jam in the meantime.Register today. We hope to see you jamming with us in Code Jam’s Online Qualification Round on April 7 — you can register here. Join our community on social media, follow us at #CodeJam2017 and help us spread the word.Visit our website g.co/codejam to learn more about Code Jam spin-offs and other opportunities to test your coding skills while having fun with Google.[...]We’re inviting those with a passion for coding to join us for Code Jam, one of the most challenging programming competitions in the world.


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One million trained! But the task of getting Africa digital is just beginning.One million trained! But the task of getting Africa digital is just beginning.Growth Engine & Brand Lead

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 09:00:00 +0000

"It's all about helping young people start new careers and create opportunities for themselves," says Segun Abodunrin. He’s one of 1 million young Africans who have taken advantage of Google’s digital skills training program, and who are finding their way in the world of digital.Last April, we set out to help bridge the digital skills gap in Africa when we pledged to train 1 million young people in the region. Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve met that target. One million Africans have now been trained and equipped with the skills they need to navigate and take advantage of the opportunities of the web.But that’s not the best part of the story. Through these new digital experts, the continent is seeing an increase in the number of young people equipped with digital skills—a domino effect of sorts.In 2016, Segun Abodunrin hired his first two employees in Lagos. Just a year before Segun had never thought about opening his own business. But after taking our digital skills training program, he went on to start Tway Media, a digital consulting and training company credited to have trained 5,000 young Africans in 2016 alone. Segun Abodunrin at one of his trainings When we announced our commitment to provide digital skills training, we believed that more needed to be done to empower more young people in Africa to succeed. The web is at the heart of economic growth across the world, and it presents opportunities for anyone to create connections and access opportunities that will positively change their lives and boost economies.As a result of this training and other similar initiatives, we’ve discovered a new generation of Africans who are eager to explore how to take better advantage of the internet and the opportunities it offers. But the task of helping more Africans to leverage the growing digital market is one that requires continuous support from organizations, companies and also from governments. We’ve been glad to see the rising number of government-led initiatives focused on helping to train more young Africans on how to use online tools.But there’s more to be done by governments—policies and laws still need to be passed to create the right conditions for digital entrepreneurs and businesses. Everyone needs to play a part.So what’s next for us?We’re now extending our commitment to help more communities outside urban centers of Africa acquire digital skills. We’ll focus on relationships at the regional, country and local community levels through partnerships that lead to jobs and business growth. We’ll do this in a variety of ways:We will  provide offline versions of our online training materials to reach individuals and businesses in low access areas where we were unable to hold physical trainings. Our goal is to ensure that everyone, regardless of location and online status, is able to access these trainings.We will  deliver our offline trainings in Swahili, IsiZulu and Hausa. We understand the role of local languages in communicating with rural communities of Africa and want to ensure that more non-English speaking Africans get an opportunity to take these trainings.Our offline training effort to reach students, job seekers and business owners will continue through face-to-face trainings managed by our partners.We will hold regular meet-ups to drive engagement around the value of the web at the community level with those trained, Policy makers and [...]


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Journey under the Earth’s surface in Street ViewJourney under the Earth’s surface in Street ViewStreet View Program Manager

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 04:00:00 +0000

More than a thousand miles off the coast of Australia is the remote country of Vanuatu, an archipelago of 80 tiny islands—brimming with lush green jungles, pristine black sand beaches, and nine erupting volcanoes. Walk the beaches of Ambrym  Starting today in Google Maps, we invite you to join us on a journey to the edge of one of the largest boiling lava lakes in the world on the Vanuatuan island of Ambrym. To get  inside  the active volcano, we partnered with explorers Geoff Mackley and Chris Horsley, who rappelled 400 meters into the Marum crater with a Street View Trekker collecting 360-degree imagery of the journey down to the molten lava lake, which is roughly the size of two football fields.  You only realize how insignificant humans are when you’re standing next to a giant lake of fiery boiling rock. Geoff Mackley Marum Lava Lake  “Standing at the edge and feeling the heat lick your skin is phenomenal,” said Chris Horsley after returning from his descent into the crater. “I hope that by putting this place on the map people will realize what a beautiful world we live in.” Marum Lava Lake  Ambrym is defined by the desolate 39 square mile volcanic caldera hosting two active volcanic cones called Benbow and Marum. But the tropical island is also home to more than 7,000 people who live in the rainforest down the mountain. While the volcano has played a significant role in defining their history due to unpredictable eruptions and influence on agriculture and environment, they’ve learned to live in harmony with this beautiful yet deadly natural phenomena. Chief Moses in the local village of Endu explains, “We believe that the volcanoes Marum and Benbow are devils. If you go up to a volcano you have to be very careful because the two volcanoes could get angry at any time. We believe that Benbo is the husband and Marum is the wife. Sometimes when they don’t agree there’s an eruption which means the spirit is angry so we sacrifice a pig or fawel to the volcano.” As part of the Google Maps journey, Chief Moses of Endu invites you to take a walk through his village and hopes you’ll be inspired to visit this sacred place he calls home. Following Cyclone Pam a few years ago, the country has been rebuilding its infrastructure. Now Chief Moses and his village are ready to welcome travelers back to Vanuatu to experience its stunning beauty and learn about its cultural traditions. He believes making Vanuatu more accessible to the world is a key step in the island’s recovery and ability to  establish a sustainable economy and preserve its culture. [...]


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