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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, 07 Dec 2016 18:10:00 +0000

 



The nature of water: unveiling the most detailed view of water on EarthThe nature of water: unveiling the most detailed view of water on EarthChief Extraterrestrial Observer

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:10:00 +0000

In 1926, the Mississippi river flooded to its highest level in history, destroying towns and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Since then, dams and thousands of kilometers of levees have been built to control the mighty Mississippi. 60 years on, another effect of the historic flood is becoming apparent. As the river has become calmer, it now also carries a lot less of the sediment that created and replenished the delta. Without that, more than 13 thousand square kilometers of the delta -- an area 10 times the size of London -- is slowly slipping into the Gulf of Mexico. Once again the river is threatening to displace thousands and drown the fragile delta wetlands. Mississippi delta sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. Blue is water, white is land, red shows areas of transition. (Source: EC JRC / Google) The change of the Mississippi over decades is just one of the hundreds of stories of similarly dramatic change around the globe; from the draining of the Aral Sea in the Middle East for crops, to the effects of dam construction in China, or the impacts of the multi-year drought on the Western U.S.  Water has been shaping our planet since it was formed, and still plays a direct and crucial role in all of our lives. The Aral Sea, Kazakhstan Poyang Lake, Jiangxi China Lake Mead, Nevada Thanks to a partnership between the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and Google, we can now get a view into the past three decades of water on the surface of Earth and see how stories like these have shaped the world over time, in unprecedented detail.   This project has been a monumental undertaking and was made possible by new data processing methods, running the analysis on thousands of high performance computers at the same time. It took three years to download 1.8 petabytes of data from the USGS/NASA Landsat satellite program and prepare that for analysis. Each pixel in 3 million satellite images, going all the way back to 1984, was examined by a computer algorithm developed by the Joint Research Center running on the Google Earth Engine platform. More than 10 million hours of computing time was needed for this, roughly equivalent to a modern 2-core computer running day and night for 600 years.   Karkheh River in Iran backing up behind a dam from 1984 to 2015 (Source: EC JRC / Google) The results for the first time allow us to map and measure changes in the water surface over time with a 30-meter accuracy, month-by-month, over 32 years. Here are some of our findings:  90 thousand square kilometers of water - the equivalent of half of the lakes in Europe - have vanished altogether. Over 200 thousand square kilometers of new, mostly man-made water bodies came into existence. The continuing drying up of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan accounts for the biggest loss[...]



CSEdWeek 2016: Giving every student access to computer science skillsCSEdWeek 2016: Giving every student access to computer science skillsHead of Computer Science Education Programs

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

Editor’s Note: Every year during Computer Science Education Week, partners and educators come together to help encourage millions of students to try computer science (CS). This year, Google is focusing on improving perceptions of CS while making it more accessible for underrepresented students. Follow along here throughout this week (Dec 5 - 11) to find out what we've learned from the latest research about CS education, what we're doing for CSEdWeek and how each of us can help champion #CSForAll.In January, we announced our continued $23.5 million investment for 2016 on behalf of CS education, with the aim of reaching an additional 5 million students through our programs. We're committed to making #CSForAll a reality by making tools and programs that work for every student.Computer science (CS) isn’t just an optional subject — it's a life skill that's become as critical to student success as reading and math. These skills can be applied in fields as diverse as music and medicine (Careers with Code). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2022 there will be more than 1.3 million computer- and math-related jobs available, and 67 percent of these careers will be in industries outside of the tech sector. Every student should have access to the technical skills that will help them thrive and tackle future challenges, but research indicates that some students are less likely to receive this opportunity — especially girls and minorities. That's why we're excited to be part of #CSforall: the White House's national pledge to give every U.S. student an opportunity to learn CS. Empowering more educators to teach computer science As the need increases for students to explore and create with computer science, so does the need for qualified CS educators to teach them. We’re committed to increasing the CS teacher pipeline through CS4HS — an annual, application-based funding program for research institutions and education nonprofits to provide CS professional development and support to teachers in their local communities. These teachers apply what they’ve learned in the CS4HS workshops to their classrooms — inspiring the next generation of technologists.Applications for professional development practitioners are open now until March 19. Funding is available in the United States, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China, Australia and New Zealand. Learn more on our website. Empowering organizations around the world to provide equitable CS education Genesis and Gerard learn about microcontrollers to make this panda move at the South End Technology Center. CSforAll means everyone -- worldwide. So our annual RISE program supports organizations around the world to make CS education more equitable.Today we’re announcing the latest round of RISE recipients: 28 nonprofits in 16 countries who will receive support to continue their important work. From reaching youth in rural parts of the U.S. to encouraging young entrepreneurs in India, these organizations will join a community of past winners that are making measurable difference in the world. For example, South End Technology Center, which won a RISE award earlier this year, was started in Boston by social activist and community organizer Dr. Mel King. The Tech Center provides training for teens to become creators of technology by combining computer science with social justice and community service. We’re honored to support the program, which not only provides resources, but also mentoring skills so older students can pass on their tech and problem-solving skills to the younger students. Empowering kids to code through fun new projectsComputer science isn’t just about complicated programming. It's a chance for everyone to get creative and have fun coming up with new ways to do things. Since only 41 percent of U.S. schools actually teach programming or coding, we'd love your help [...]


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Google and Slack deepen partnership to help teams work better togetherGoogle and Slack deepen partnership to help teams work better togetherHead of Global Technology Partners

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

Google and Slack share the same vision for the future of work: that smart software can bring teams together and make all of their work and conversations seamlessly available in one place. The result is that teams can move faster and more efficiently. We’ve each been building towards this vision independently, and today we’re announcing a partnership that represents our intent to build towards this vision together.

We also share the same commitment with Slack to offer our customers choice through open platforms. We want our customers to use the tools they need to be successful and for many companies, including AOL, R/GA and Shopify, that's a combination of G Suite and Slack.

Through this partnership we’re increasing our joint product and engineering efforts to strengthen the link between the content in Google Drive and the communication in Slack.

“At R/GA, we’ve found that we create our best work when we can bring teams together in real time from different disciplines, and often different locations. Rolling out G Suite and Slack across the agency, we’ve been able to seamlessly collaborate, connect more easily with our clients, produce better work and reduce the time it takes to get the work done. We depend on smooth integrations to make the most of what both platforms can do for our teams and our clients,” says Nick Coronges, Chief Technology Officer at R/GA.

Google Docs and Drive were among the earliest Slack integrations and remain the most popular. In fact, a Drive file is imported in Slack approximately 60,000 times every weekday; that’s a file shared every 1.4 seconds.

Our partnership will focus on several new, richer features including:

  • Instant permissions: We’re smoothing out permissions so that files shared in Slack are immediately available to the right teammates. When a file from Google Drive is shared in a Slack channel, the system will automatically confirm that everyone in the channel has access to that file. You can easily add or remove file collaborators with a single click.
  • Previews and notifications: Files shared in Slack will preview the content you need at a glance. And you’ll never miss an update, since Google Drive and Docs notifications will be delivered to you in Slack.
  • Slack channels + Team Drives: Team Drives keep teams in sync by creating a central place for shared content, enabled by a new group-level ownership model. Announced in September, Team Drives is currently available to early adopter customers and slated for broader release in 2017. Customers will be able to pair Team Drives and Slack channels to keep content and conversations in sync. New files uploaded to the connected Slack channel will be automatically stored in the Team Drive; relevant Team Drive updates will be shared in Slack, and the set of people with access will stay in sync between the two products.
  • Provisioning Slack from G Suite: Companies that run on G Suite already run their organizations via the cloud, and soon with just a couple of clicks in the G Suite Admin console they can provision Slack for teams or the entire company.

Working with Slack, we’ll continue to explore how we can make our products work better together, but also ways Google products and technologies can help Slack scale and serve their customers. We look forward to the many ways we can work with Slack and to the enhanced experience we'll deliver together for our customers.

(image) Google and Slack increase joint product and engineering efforts to strengthen the link between the content in Google Drive and the communication in Slack.



For graduates, for guardians: expanding the boundaries of our toolsFor graduates, for guardians: expanding the boundaries of our toolsProduct Manager

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:00:00 +0000

Editor’s Note: On December 3rd at our global online conference, Education on Air, we announced exciting new features that expand the use of our tools. In case you missed it, check out the recording of the Education On Air Product Keynote.From students to teachers to admins, we are always thinking about how our education tools can meet the needs of our different users. Today, we’re excited to share updates for two groups of users in particular: the graduate and the guardian. For the graduates who are embarking on their next adventure, we’re launching a new tool to help ease their digital transition. And for the guardians, the always supportive cheerleaders at home, we’re rolling out a means to stay more connected to the classroom. For graduatesFor our graduating students, we know the transition to the next chapter of their lives can be an exciting time. However, leaving school is often stressful for reasons it shouldn’t be. Students run the risk of losing all their digital work if they don’t spend hours downloading, migrating or copying their emails and school work.We’re excited to share that early next year, we will be launching a new feature that will help graduating students with this transition. Students will be able to copy emails and Drive files from their G Suite for Education accounts into another Google account before they leave the domain. This will enable students to easily retain their email, essays, resumes, science projects and any other files stored on Google Drive if their school removes access to their old account. We know that protecting students’ privacy and data is critical for schools, so we are ensuring administrators have the right controls of this new feature. Although this feature will be available early next year, administrators can take action today by adjusting their Admin Console settings based on how this best meets the needs of their schools, like allowing access for just one grade level. For schools that have Takeout enabled, this feature will be enabled by default. Schools should also know that any document that has been marked as “No download or copy” cannot be copied to an outside account. Further, students at schools that have enabled Drive sharing domain limitations will not be able to copy any documents.For guardiansWe recognize how critical it is for students to have support both inside and outside of the classroom. Parent and guardian involvement is important for helping students keep up with their workload, grasp new concepts and feel supported as they progress through each new grade level. Today, we’re making it even easier for guardians to have access to email summaries of student work in Google Classroom. Guardians will no longer need to have a Google account in order to receive Classroom email summaries. We’ve heard from parents what a positive impact these email summaries have had on their students this school year. Anders Rian, a parent who has used the Classroom email summaries for his son, says “the daily update is really helpful, not only in following up on my son's homework, but also in having a dialogue with him around what he learns.” Whether preparing a graduate for their next adventure or a enabling a guardian to support their student at home, we hope that by expanding the boundaries of our tools, students are set up to succeed at every step of their education.[...]We’re excited to share updates for two of our Google for Education users in particular: the graduate and the guardian. For the graduates, we’re launching a new tool to help ease their digital transition and for the guardians, we’re rolling out a means to stay more connected to the classroom.


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Impact and adventure: revisiting France's Google Impact ChallengeImpact and adventure: revisiting France's Google Impact ChallengeManaging Director of Google France and Chairman of the Google Impact Challenge jury

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:30:00 +0000

Last year Google.org launched its first French Google Impact Challenge, a national competition for nonprofit organisations that use digital technologies to scale their work in the country.We received hundreds of ideas from non-profits across France and were blown away by the creativity, passion, and innovation we saw in the submissions. After public voting, ten French organisations stood out and were awarded at an emotional ceremony at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Each received funding (500,000 euros for each of the four big winners, 200,000 euros for each finalist) and a tailor-made mentoring program, supported by Googler volunteers, with the support of the Social Factory and Invest &+.A year later, we’re looking back at the progress of ten organisations with impressive goals and even more impressive results. We wondered: have they managed to change scale? Have their projects have come to fruition? What additional impact have they had? MakeSense: meeting with volunteers and social entrepreneurs We were not disappointed. Each organisation reported that their projects have taken off in three key areas with Google’s support: adding new staff members, benefiting from mentoring to build technical tools and building credibility to secure new funding or partners.Progress report...1001 Fontaines, an entrepreneur-driven network of water purification stations in rural areas to give people access to clean water, has opened 10 new water treatment plants, giving access to safe drinking water to an additional 20,000 peopleLibraries Without Borders has grown from 15 to 60 employees and will deploy 70 mobile media libraries in the field before the end of the year, compared to just four one year ago. This project will give access to the Internet, books and educational resources to populations around the globe in the greatest need.Jaccede, whose mission was to crowdsource accessibility ratings of public spaces for people with physical disabilities has designed, developed and launched a new simplified platform that lists more than 13,000 additional places.Ticket for Change was able to hire one person to disseminate its new online support program for entrepreneurship, and gained credibility with funders and partners.The donation agency, which allows Internet users to offer essential products to the most deprived persons during their online shopping, has established partnerships with major players in e-commerce.La Banque Alimentaire du Rhône, whose mission was to enable retailers to donate unsold food to nonprofits, has convinced 50 traders to join its ProxiDon platform, of which 255 baskets have been offered since last June. That’s nearly 10,000 meals distributed to people in precarious situations.MakeSense, which connects social entrepreneurs and volunteers, has seen its team grow from 35 to 65 employees and is in the process of raising funds in the United States.My Human Kit has grown from a team of volunteers to four full-time employees working to connect people with disabilities with low-cost, open-source prosthetics. Their growing community continues to offer solutions to people with disabilities who want to create their own technical assistance.Voxe.org’s mission to re-engage young people in politics now has two employees and launched the successful WhatTheVoxe newsletter.Y Generation Education, through Jackie, Y Generation’s sponsor at Google, the team met Renan, a data science expert, who joined the organisation in June as head of technology. They have concentrated their efforts on Brazil, where recruitment and training issues for "invisible" young people are key, and have adapted their platform by making it even more entertaining. [...]


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Take a virtual tour of New York City’s iconic holiday windowsTake a virtual tour of New York City’s iconic holiday windowsHead of Art, Copy & Code Projects

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

Ice skating bunny rabbits, Santa’s high tech command center, couture cotton candy dresses, the characters of “South Park” — these are just some of the wonders awaiting visitors to New York City’s magical holiday window displays.Each year, more than 5 million people travel to Manhattan during the holiday season. Many of them brave the icy weather and chaotic holiday traffic to take in the displays lining Madison, Fifth Avenue and beyond.Now for the first time, anyone from anywhere in the world can peer into New York City’s magical windows with Window Wonderland. Using your smartphone or computer, you can take a virtual tour of holiday windows from 18 stores, even if you can’t make the trip in person. We’ve taken hundreds of high-resolution photos of each window and stitched them together with a new technique that creates a rich, life-like panorama — you’ll feel like you’re standing on the streets of Manhattan during the holidays, gazing at the windows as if you were walking next to them. If you have a virtual reality headset like Google Cardboard or Daydream, you can even be surrounded by the sounds and sights of the city street, taking in the storefront view alongside other onlookers.   Barneys New York window at 660 Madison Ave, New York, NY Some windows let you enter a magical world: in Lord & Taylor’s Enchanted Forest, bunnies ice skate while raccoons fish on a frozen pond. Others are a chance to visit the museum — such as Barney’s, where artist Nick Cave takes on the issue of race and gender in sculpture. At Saks 5th Avenue, it’s runway meets holiday, where designers like Carolina Herrera, Marchesa and Jason Wu were commissioned to create bespoke couture gowns inspired by holiday treats like cotton candy, cake icing and peppermint sticks. We’ve captured displays from 17 stores in all: ABC Carpet and Home, American Girl, Barneys New York (two stores), Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Burberry, Cartier, Fendi, Henri Bendel, Lord & Taylor, Louis Vuitton, Macy's, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co. and Tory Burch. At any point in your virtual walk, you can zoom in to see the details on these intricate displays, like gorillas peering out from a lush green jungle embellished by beads and flowers at Bergdorf Goodman. You can also listen to audio guides from the stores’ creative directors, as they describe the process and painstaking detail that goes into the displays. Or head over to the special Google shopping gift window to find the perfect presents for the special people in your life.With all of the artistry and time that goes into creating these holiday windows, we want to open them up to the whole world. So go ahead, walk down the wide avenues of Manhattan, peer into Santa’s high-tech communications command center at Macy’s flagship store, imagine sitting atop the 9 ½ foot tall Jackalope at Bergdorf Goodman, take in all the sights and sounds — and enjoy the magic of a New York holiday. [...]Stroll the streets of Manhattan — past Santa’s high-tech command center, cotton candy couture gowns, ice skating bunny rabbits, and the gang from “South Park.”


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Android Pay Comes to IrelandAndroid Pay Comes to IrelandGlobal Head of Payment Products

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Whether you’re doing your daily shopping or heading for a night out, your Android phone is all you need as you walk out the door -- thanks to Android Pay. Starting today, Android Pay is available in Ireland, helping you pay simply and securely with your Android phone. You will be able to use Android Pay at thousands of retail locations throughout Ireland that accept contactless payments. This includes your favourite shops like Eason, McDonald’s, Tesco, SPAR, and much more -- take a look here for more places where you can use Android Pay. How does Android Pay work?Using Android Pay is simple. Just wake up your phone (you don’t even have to open an app or unlock it), hold it to the payment terminal, and voilà — your payment is done. After you check out, you’ll get helpful information on your phone about your recent transactions. Android Pay will also let you breeze through checkout when you shop in your favorite mobile apps. There’s no need to enter your payment or address details every time. Look for the Android Pay purchase button in apps like Adverts.ie, Deliveroo and Uber*, with many more to come. To get started, download Android Pay from the Play Store and add an eligible MasterCard or Visa card (credit or debit) from AIB and KBC with more banks being added in the coming months. Android Pay is available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled and running on KitKat 4.4 or higher. Because Android Pay doesn’t share your actual credit or debit card number with stores when you pay, it’s even safer than using a plastic card. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can simply use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password, or wipe it clean of your personal information. We've teamed up with many leading payment platforms, processors, and technology providers such as Braintree and Stripe to make it even easier to accept Android Pay. Visit the Android Pay API developer site to learn more. Get started with Android Pay in Ireland today: download the app on Google Play, add your card and start shopping. It’s as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.*In the latest version of the Uber app.[...]Android Pay is now available in Ireland, helping you pay simply and securely with your Android phone.



Happy Holidays from Project FiHappy Holidays from Project FiDirector of Celebrations

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

‘Twas four weeks before New Year’s, when all through the land,

Project Fi subscribers were chatting, Pixel or Nexus in hand


As they bustled about in their holiday scurry,

Multiple networks had them covered, there was no need to worry


With data credits racked up, bills charged very rationally,

There’s savings to fill stockings and take trips with Fi internationally.


From hot chocolate to ice skating, joyous time with their clans,

They looked forward to bonding — and maybe a new member for their group plans!


But before the celebrations begin, with friends far and near, 

Fi would like to say thanks, and help spread the cheer:


Four wonderlands scattered with treats and surprises, 

Holiday fun for Fi subscribers, of all shapes and all sizes.


Enjoy this small gift, wrapped under the tree,

Click below to get started — let us know what you see!

(image) A little something for Project Fi subscribers to help get in the spirit.



Even more ways to watch your favorite movies & TV shows on Google PlayEven more ways to watch your favorite movies & TV shows on Google PlayProduct Manager

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:30:00 +0000

When we first made movies available on Android (a little over five years ago), they were only available on Android devices in the U.S., and you could only rent movies from three major studios. Today, Google Play Movies & TV is the most broadly available digital seller of movies & TV shows, with movies now available in 117 countries. And whether you’re watching on your laptop, at home on your TV, or on the go on a phone or tablet, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also added support for watching on iOS devices, via Chromecast on just about any TV, on your Roku streaming box, and on select Smart TVs. Recently we’ve added even more ways to watch:4K Ultra HD - Starting today, Google Play Movies now offers more than 125 movies in 4K resolution, using VP9, so that you can enjoy them in the highest quality. Starting in the U.S. and Canada, you can purchase 4K movies on your Android device or on the web and stream them on your Chromecast Ultra, your Sony Bravia Android TV, or your Xiaomi Mi Box 3. And for anyone who buys a new Chromecast Ultra, your first 4K movie is on us! Choose from select titles, including Ghostbusters and Captain Phillips.*Google Play Movies & TV on VR - In October, we launched Google Play Movies & TV together with the Daydream VR platform, so you can now watch all the movies and TV shows in your Google Play library in a virtual cinema, even if you're offline. Still building your library? Take a virtual tour of our selection of new release movies, next day TV shows, and more than 10,000 catalog titles; or buy on your phone to watch later using your Daydream VR headset.2016 Samsung TVs - The Google Play Movies & TV app is now available on 2016 model Samsung Smart TVs, which means that movies and TV shows already in your library are immediately available to watch directly on your new Samsung Smart TV. Or use your Samsung TV remote to browse our selection of new release movies and next-day TV shows and start watching something new right away. With Google Play’s vast catalog of new releases and next day TV shows, you can explore the final frontier of space in Star Trek Beyond, fight zombies in The Walking Dead, or travel back in time to another age in Downton Abbey. And now with 4K streaming and VR viewing, you have even more ways to bring movies to life in ways you’ve never before experienced.*For a limited time. Terms and conditions apply.[...]



Hassle-free Wi-Fi with Network AssistHassle-free Wi-Fi with Network AssistProduct Manager

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

Wi-Fi has become an essential part of daily home life, and yet, for something that’s so critical, Wi-Fi is often forgotten. That is, until it stops working. We’ve all experienced a spinning buffering wheel when trying to stream a movie, or a room that just never quite seems to have a strong signal. And when something goes wrong, most of us are at a loss for how to fix it, crossing our fingers in hopes that turning the router off, then on again is the solution.You shouldn’t have to be a network engineer to have good, reliable Wi-Fi at home, which is why we built Google Wifi, available for sale today at retailers like the Google Store, Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.One of the ways Google Wifi is different from your traditional router is its Network Assist technology. Network Assist is based on Google intelligence that manages all the complexities of Wi-Fi behind the scenes to make sure you always have the best connection possible. Network Assist helps keep your Google Wifi system running smoothly in three key ways:Keeps your Wi-Fi network at peak performanceMost routers scan the environment for a clear channel when they are powered on, and never again (until you restart it, which is why it’s so common that “unplugging” seems to be the fix). Over time, Wi-Fi channels can get congested, slowing channel speeds to a crawl. But now, Google Wifi solves the congestion issue by performing a scan of the wireless spectrum every five minutes. Network Assist uses these results to build a predictive model to determine the best channel for your Wi-Fi to make sure you’re always on the clearest channel, which means less congestion and faster speeds.To ensure you always have strong coverage throughout your home, Network Assist continuously monitors the connection between all your Google Wifi points to make sure they have good signal with each other. It also conducts regular speed tests in the background, so you can review your history to see what speeds you’re getting from your internet service provider.Finds the best connection for your devicesThrough Network Assist, you'll always get the best Wi-Fi connectivity possible, but we take it a step further to make sure that each individual device always has the best connection.Your devices (like laptops, smartphones, connected light bulbs) connect to Wi-Fi using one of two bands: 2.4GHz or 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band has slower speeds but a longer range, while 5GHz is faster but with shorter range. Network Assist helps your devices connect to the best band, based on the device and its location relative to Wifi points to make sure you always have a strong, reliable Wi-Fi signal.Devices are getting smaller and more mobile — they move around with us. So Network Assist makes sure your devices seamlessly transition between Wifi points in your home as you move from room to room, so that you don’t get any drops in signal. Network Assist transitions you, while ensuring you continue to have a solid connection, so you can walk throughout the house on a video call. Keeps you in the know Traditional routers communicate through blinking lights, but Network Assist tells you about any issues in human language, right in the Google Wifi app. For example, it can let you know if you would get faster speeds by moving one of your Google Wifi points to another location in your home, or sends you a notification if you’ve lost connection to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Getting these insights and real-time optimizations is as simple as opening up your Google Wifi app. Wi-Fi should be easy to set up, provide great coverage for your entire house, and do all the heavy lifting for you. We built Google Wifi t[...]



Dutch datacenter is first for Google: powered by 100% renewable energy from day oneDutch datacenter is first for Google: powered by 100% renewable energy from day oneCommunications Manager

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:45:00 +0000

This afternoon we announced that in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations — including both our data centers and offices. This is a huge milestone for us globally and here in Europe, a region that’s truly leading the way for renewables. We’re quite proud that our commitments have reached 2.6 GW, making us the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world.In addition, today we celebrate the opening of our newest datacenter in Eemshaven, the Netherlands, which is the first Google datacenter to be powered by 100% renewable energy from day one.The latest addition to our fleet of energy-efficient cloud computing facilities is powered by 100% renewable energy through a wind farm in nearby Delfzijl. A second wind project was announced recently in Zeeland through a new community owned cooperative of 4,000 people called Windpark Krammer.Representing the very best of Google engineering, construction of the datacenter took two years to complete, and on average 1,500 people worked on-site each day during construction. Now that its operational, the data center will provide employment for up to 200 people in a range of roles including computer technicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, catering and security staff. Google's Joe Kava and Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Kamp with local students at the Eemshaven datacenter opening. After starting discussions starting in 2012, we chose to build a datacenter in the Groningen province because of the quality of the local infrastructure including a suitably sized plot of land, the capacity of the electrical grid, water for cooling, and high speed fibre connectivity. Since then, 6,000,000 work hours have gone into getting the datacenter ready for today’s opening and technicians have run enough computer cables--16000 km in total-- to reach from Eemshaven to Australia if laid end to end. We’ve worked to give back to the community of Groningen with initiatives like teaching kids coding at Hanze Hogeschool, several nature projects and training students and entrepreneurs in digital skills with the Digitale Werkplaats. The datacenter opening is about Google making a home in Groningen, about employing local talent, and us saying we’re here for the long term, and we look forward to being part of the community.Google datacenters are some of the most efficient in the world. Today, they get 3.5 times more  computing power out of the same amount of energy as 5 years ago. But as our SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle wrote earlier today, we’re only in the early stages of this work. As we look to the immediate future, we’ll continue to pursue power purchases like those in the Netherlands with an even greater focus on regional renewable energy purchases in places where we have data centers.[...]The latest addition to our fleet of energy-efficient cloud computing facilities is powered by 100% renewable energy through a wind farm in nearby Delfzijl.


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Google app update: making it easier to keep up with the things you need to knowGoogle app update: making it easier to keep up with the things you need to knowProduct Manager

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 16:00:00 +0000

With constant news updates, changing schedules, and traffic delays, staying on top of everything can be challenging. The Google app has useful cards ready to help you keep track of everything you care about — from sports scores to that package you ordered — and we’ve been thinking up ways to make the experience even more helpful. That’s why we’re rolling out an update to help you stay organized and in the know about the things that matter to you. Starting today, in the Google app on Android (and coming soon to iOS), your cards will be organized into two sections: a feed that keeps you current on your interests like sports, news, and entertainment, and a section for your upcoming personal info, like flights, appointments and more.

(image)

Feed - To stay current on topics you care about

The feed is an ongoing and updated look at the things you care about, keeping you updated with the freshest info on your sports teams, people of interest, music, and news stories. The more you use Google, the more tailored and relevant your feed will become. To update your interests and add others at any time, just tap “Customize” in the Google app’s settings menu.

For those in the U.S. — and rolling out to other countries in the coming months — we’re also giving you an additional way to tell Google what you care about. You’ll see a card in your feed that lets you select topics of interest that you’d like to see more info and stories on.

Upcoming - To keep up with your day

You can also toggle over to your upcoming dashboard for a dependable view of your personal info — keeping details of your daily schedule, travel time for your commute, package delivery info and more, all in one place. With the holiday travel season upon us, you’ll never need to dig through your email to find your boarding pass or flight info. Tap to ta-da!

With this latest refresh of the Google app, a single tap will load your life’s interests and updates. We hope these go-to guides will help you stay organized and on top of the things you care about.

(image) With the latest refresh of the Google app for Android, you can stay organized and in the know about the things that matter to you.



Exploring the significance of Pearl Harbor with Google ExpeditionsExploring the significance of Pearl Harbor with Google ExpeditionsEducation Architect Education Architect

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 15:30:00 +0000

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest author is Michael Fricano II, an Education Architect at The Janus Group. As a longtime educator and resident of Hawaii, Michael shares his experience of teaching students about Pearl Harbor with Google Expeditions.Many students learn about World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor by reading facts and figures from a history book, but today teachers are using technology to provide a richer understanding of Hawaii’s vital role in World War II. Having lived in Hawaii for many years, I’ll always hold Pearl Harbor and December 7th in a special place in my heart. This year, I’m particularly inspired to hear how teachers are using technology to explain the cultural and political significance of the Japanese attack. To honor the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ms. Marielle Beaudet, a fifth grade teacher at Pearl Harbor Elementary School, used one of our lesson plans that integrates Google Expeditions to show students important locations on Oahu, from the naval base to Punchbowl Cemetery to the USS Bowfin. Many students had already visited these places in person but hadn’t learned about their historical significance.As students virtually stood on top of Diamond Head overlooking the Pacific Ocean, they saw the 360 degree view that made it a vital defensive bunker, called Fort Ruger. One student commented, “I had no idea there was a bunker at the top of Diamond Head!” Another student said, “You can see all over the island from up here!” realizing why it was such an important location. Students explored inside one of the most famous American submarines from the war, USS Bowfin, using Google Expeditions to see the Torpedo Room, Control Room and the Galley. Using a lesson that incorporates different G Suite tools, students brainstormed questions they would want to ask a sailor aboard the submarine. This type of virtual reality experience encouraged students to think about day-to-day life aboard a submarine and made them curious about the sailors’ food, sleeping conditions and leisure activities. One student, who noticed a bed above one of the torpedos, yelled out, “I wouldn’t want to sleep on top of those. You’d have to be really brave!” Reading about the submarine is fascinating, but showing students the space helps paint a clearer picture of how sailors lived leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.Visiting these historical locations through Expeditions gave students a stronger connection to their homeland and sparked new curiosity about the places they pass every day. I was moved when I heard one student say, “[National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day] is meant for us to show our appreciation to those that fought for us. We have to show our respect and never forget what happened.” If you want to bring this experience to your class, check out one of the many Expeditions featuring Pearl Harbor — The Battleship USS Missouri, Onboard the USS Bowfin Submarine, World War II, and Pearl Harbor and Hawaii During World War II. To get started with Expeditions download the free app for iOS or Android, or look into Google Expeditions Kits.[...]Teachers are using technology to provide a richer understanding of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Hawaii’s vital role in World War II.


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We’re set to reach 100% renewable energy — and it’s just the beginningWe’re set to reach 100% renewable energy — and it’s just the beginningSenior Vice President

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:00:00 +0000

Every year people search on Google trillions of times; every minute people upload more than 400 hours of YouTube videos. All of that takes an incredible amount of processing power — which means energy. Our engineers have spent years perfecting Google's data centers, making them 50 percent more energy efficient than the industry average. But we still need a lot of energy to power the products and services that our users depend on. We began purchasing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change — but it also makes business sense.I’m thrilled to announce that in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations — including both our data centers and offices. We were one of the first corporations to create large-scale, long-term contracts to buy renewable energy directly; we signed our first agreement to purchase all the electricity from a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa, in 2010. Today, we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. That’s bigger than many large utilities and more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future. To reach this goal we’ll be directly buying enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally. And we're focusing on creating new energy from renewable sources, so we only buy from projects that are funded by our purchases.Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option. Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.Our 20 renewable energy projects also help support communities, from Grady County, OK, to Rutherford County, NC, to the Atacama Region of Chile to municipalities in Sweden. To date, our purchasing commitments will result in infrastructure investments of more than $3.5 billion globally, about two-thirds of that in the United States. These projects also generate tens of millions of dollars per year in revenue to local property owners, and tens of millions more to local and national governments in tax revenue.So, we’re on track to match our global energy consumption on an annual basis by next year. But this is just the first step. As we look to the immediate future, we’ll continue to pursue these direct contracts as we grow, with an even greater focus on regional renewable energy purchases in places where we have data centers and significant operations. Since the wind doesn’t blow 24 hours a day, we’ll also broaden our purchases to a variety of energy sources that can enable renewable power, every hour of every day. Our ultimate goal is to create a world where everyone — not just Google — has access to clean energy. For more on these next steps, read our white paper.    How Google purchases and uses renewable energy. Operating our business in an environmentally sustainable way has been a core value from the beginning, and we’re always working on new ideas to make sustainability a reality — like enabling the building of healthy workplaces and creati[...]


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Partnering to help curb the spread of terrorist content onlinePartnering to help curb the spread of terrorist content onlineCommunications Manager

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 23:00:00 +0000

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube are coming together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online. There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.

Starting today, we commit to the creation of a shared industry database of “hashes” — unique digital “fingerprints” — for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that we have removed from our services. By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms. We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.

Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services — content most likely to violate all of our respective companies' content policies. Participating companies can add hashes of terrorist images or videos that are identified on one of our platforms to the database. Other participating companies can then use those hashes to identify such content on their services, review against their respective policies and definitions, and remove matching content as appropriate.

As we continue to collaborate and share best practices, each company will independently determine what image and video hashes to contribute to the shared database. No personally identifiable information will be shared, and matching content will not be automatically removed. Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found. And each company will continue to apply its practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances. As part of this collaboration, we will all focus on how to involve additional companies in the future.

Throughout this collaboration, we are committed to protecting our users' privacy and their ability to express themselves freely and safely on our platforms. We also seek to engage with the wider community of interested stakeholders in a transparent, thoughtful and responsible way as we further our shared objective to prevent the spread of terrorist content online while respecting human rights.

(image) Starting today, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube are coming together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online through the creation of a shared industry database.



How teachers and students can develop learning skills for school – and beyondHow teachers and students can develop learning skills for school – and beyondAssistant Principal

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 21:30:00 +0000

Editor’s note: As part of the ExploreEDU event series, schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors and invite neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools to innovate and improve. To see if there is an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. For those who can’t join in person, we’ll also share the schools’ experiences here. Today’s guest author is Shanna Schwarzer, assistant principal from Jefferson City High School. The district is hosting an event on December 8 with Tierney Brothers.We use the word “professional” often when we talk to students about their performance and behavior. We want them to view classrooms as workplaces, and take their “jobs” as students just as seriously as employees in the corporate world do – that is, the job of learning. Today, technology plays a larger role in helping our students become enthusiastic and curious learners.  Now that we’re a 1:1 school, with every student using a device, we make sure every teacher is prepared for guiding students in using technology. Here’s what we’ve done to support students and teachers on this journey.1. Creating an in-house help desk staffed by studentsWe’ve created a class called “Help Desk,” in which students learn how to make basic repairs on our devices or help fix Wi-Fi networks. They also learn business communication skills, like how to greet fellow students and teachers who visit the help desk. Teachers use lesson plans from the nonprofit group GenYES, which promotes technology training for students. Not only does our help desk educate students on understanding technology, it saves time for our IT team, since students make minor repairs and solve simple tech issues in our classrooms. Students learn how to solve common IT issues in Jefferson City High School's "Help Desk" class. 2. Scheduling monthly “tech summits” for teachersWe help teachers keep their tech skills sharp with required monthly tech summits. These 45-minute sessions focus on a specific topic, such as how to organize files in Google Drive and the SAMR (substitution/augmentation/modification/redefinition) model for understanding how technology can impact teaching and learning. Some summits are roundtables, where teachers can discuss current tech and learning challenges. After one summit on blended learning and setting up station rotations, teachers felt confident to set up these rotations in their own classrooms, based on their lessons plans.3. Go all in and embrace occasional failuresNot all students will learn how to use technology at the same pace. We decided it was best for us to go all in because both students and teachers can reap the benefits right away. For example, some students may resist using Google Classroom at first, because they’re more comfortable with completing assignments on paper. If you allow their hesitation to delay implementation, students will miss out on the opportunity to get feedback from teachers or share ideas with classmates.When we try to change student learning and our efforts falter, we talk about it – we don’t cover it up. Teachers and students will learn from the failed attempts and improve next time. One big obstacle teachers have to overcome has been grading. When they are trying to use Classroom and grade electronically, it becomes a hurdle. Early on, we found many teachers weren’t using Classroom for grading, because they were used to paper. We r[...]


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A sweet update to Nougat: Android 7.1.1A sweet update to Nougat: Android 7.1.1Product Manager, Android

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:00:00 +0000

When we launched Android Nougat, we were excited to deliver even more ways to make Android your own. Today we’re rolling out Android 7.1.1, an update to Nougat that showcases more ways to express yourself, along with a handful of other sweet features and improvements to stability and performance. Android 7.1.1 brings many of the cool features of Pixel to everyone.More ways to communicateEarlier this year we announced a proposal to promote gender equality by adding new emoji that reflect the pivotal roles women play in the world, and represent a wider range of professions for both women and men. We included gender counterparts for emoji that previously only had male or female representation. Now there are female welders and men getting haircuts. Our new set of emoji launched with the Pixel phones and now are available to all devices running Android 7.1.1. So you can jam like a rock star or explore the galaxy like an astronaut. And if you’re looking for more ways to express yourself, you also can now send GIFs directly from your keyboard on supported apps such as Google Allo, Google Messenger and Hangouts. Send GIFs directly from your keyboard And for everyone looking for just one more way to make life easier, Android 7.1.1 brings you app shortcuts directly from your home screen. Launch actions on your favorite apps, such as Twitter or Google Maps, by simply long pressing the app icon. Jump directly into an existing conversation on Google Messenger or start an entirely new one - all straight from the app icon. Launch actions on your favorite apps by simply long pressing the app icon Today, and over the next several weeks, the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One) will get an over the air (OTA) software update to Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version.[...]When we launched Android Nougat, we were excited to deliver even more ways to make Android your own. Android 7.1.1, an update to Nougat that showcases more ways to express yourself, along with a handful of other sweet features and improvements to stability and performance. Android 7.1.1 brings many of the cool features of Pixel to everyone.


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CSEdWeek 2016: Changing the face of computer scienceCSEdWeek 2016: Changing the face of computer scienceDirector of K-12 Education Outreach

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:30:00 +0000

Editor’s Note: Every year during Computer Science Education Week, partners and educators come together to help encourage millions of students to try computer science (CS). This year, Google is focusing on improving perceptions of CS while making it more accessible for underrepresented students. Follow along here throughout this week (Dec 5 - 11) to find out what we've learned from the latest research about CS education, what we're doing for CSEdWeek and how each of us can help champion #CSForAll.Since Computer Science Education Week started in 2009, it’s become an important event we look forward to every year. And as one of the CSEdWeek founding partners, we're excited to help more students learn computer science (CS) principles, build confidence with technical skills, and have fun, too!From our research, we know that narrow perceptions and stereotypes about computer science and who can succeed in CS can create barriers to engaging all students.  For example, many girls today don’t think it’s relevant to their passions (and parents and teachers don’t think girls are interested), don’t think they would be good at it and don’t see other women and girls in the field.We want to break those stereotypes and help students reimagine who computer scientists are, what they look like, and what they can accomplish.   Here are a few fun ways you can you can encourage positive images of computer science during CSEdWeek: Explore the magic of coding with YouTube stars Coding is one of those things a lot of people hear about but not a lot of people actually know about. Karlie Kloss YouTube Kids has partnered with model Karlie Kloss to show that CS can be a superpower! Popular creators Grace’s World, ActOutGames, Talking Tom and Friends, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, and SciShow Kids have also made videos encouraging kids to explore CS. You can find the latest CS-inspired content on the YouTube Kids app homepage starting today to see how coding opens countless doors to creativity and fun. Check out YouTube Kids to find out all the cool things you can do with CS #CSforAll Code your own festive emoji To  help more girls try coding for the first time, Made with Code is inviting teens to create festive emoji that are as diverse and unique as they are—with variety of skin tones, hairstyles, and holiday and career accessories. Launched in 2014, Made with Code inspires teen girls to explore the things they love through code, while showing them cool careers with CS and positive role models. Diverse holiday emoji, coded on MadewithCode.com Learn about coding careers in sports, fashion and more To help students discover how CS can help them find a dream career in any field including sports, fashion, and social impact, we’ve partnered with Refraction Media to launch Careers with Code, a magazine for 14-18 year olds. For CSEdWeek, we’re debuting a new computational thinking activity with an educator guide so teachers can help their students see how their passions and computer science intersect. [...]


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Say olá and namaste to your Assistant in Google AlloSay olá and namaste to your Assistant in Google AlloGroup Product Manager

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000

When we launched Google Allo earlier this year, we started with a preview of our smart features in English to help you say more and do more, right in your chats. Today, we’re adding support for Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi for the Google Assistant and Smart Reply, bringing these features to even more people. The Google Assistant is ready to help in new languages With Google Allo, you can get help from your Assistant without ever leaving the conversation. Sharing sports scores, recipes, or travel plans is now easy to do right in your chats with friends. People are getting help from their Assistant every day — one in every 12 messages in group chats are messages to the Google Assistant.To start using the Assistant in Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi, just say “Talk to me in Hindi” or “Talk to me in Portuguese” when you’re chatting with your Assistant in Allo. You can also adjust the language setting on your device. So whether you’re chatting with friends about the latest cricket standing for the Mumbai Indians team, or looking into weather forecasts for your trip to the Barra da Tijuca beach, add @google to your chat and your Assistant is ready to help. Say it rápido with Smart Reply We’ve found that Smart Reply in English has been helpful in sending quick responses while you’re chatting on the go — in fact, every day more than half of people on Allo use Smart Reply. We’re now adding support for Smart Reply in Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi, so you can quickly send a “muito bem!” in response to a friend asking “Como você está?”Smart Reply will recognize the language you’re chatting in and begin to show suggested responses in that language. If you’re chatting in English, it will continue to show English responses. But if you start chatting in Hindi or Brazilian Portuguese, it will show you suggestions in that language. You can also adjust the language through your device settings. Sticker packs with Brazilian edge Lastly, we’ve added new local stickers for Brazil in Google Allo. Illustrator Daniel Semanas covers a typical day at the beach with "Mari by the Sea," while Florence Dagostini brings slang words to life with everyday objects in "There, I Said It." Additional stickers focus on Brazilian food, gamer culture, and city life. We’re beginning to roll out these new features in Hindi and Brazilian Portuguese for Google Allo on Android and iOS, and they will be available to all users in the next few days. We’ll continue to bring the Google Assistant and Smart Reply to more languages over time — for now they’re available in English, Hindi, Hinglish, German and Brazilian Portuguese.[...]Smart messaging features in Google Allo are now available in Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi.



Let your loved ones know you’re safe with our new personal safety appLet your loved ones know you’re safe with our new personal safety appSoftware Engineer

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:00:00 +0000

Whether it’s hiking alone or walking down a street after dark — sometimes you want to know someone's got your back. To help you feel safe and give your friends and family peace of mind, today we're launching Trusted Contacts. This new personal safety app lets you share your location with loved ones in everyday situations and when emergencies arise — even if your phone is offline or you can’t get to it. Here’s how it works: Once you install the Android app, you can assign “trusted” status to your closest friends and family. Your trusted contacts will be able to see your activity status — whether you’ve moved around recently and are online — to quickly know if you're OK. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, you can share your actual location with your trusted contacts. And if your trusted contacts are really worried about you, they can request to see your location. If everything’s fine, you can deny the request. But if you’re unable to respond within a reasonable timeframe, your location is shared automatically and your loved ones can determine the best way to help you out. Of course, you can stop sharing your location or change your trusted contacts whenever you want. Here’s a little more detail on how Trusted Contacts might work, starring Elliot and Thelma: Get help even if your phone’s offlineElliot heads out for a hike on his own, telling Thelma he’ll meet her for coffee later. About an hour in, Elliot realizes he’s strayed off the path and lost service. When Elliot doesn’t show up at the coffee shop, Thelma starts to worry. Because Trusted Contacts works even if a phone is offline, Thelma requests Elliot’s location and in five minutes can see that his last known location was in the middle of the canyon. Thelma calls the nearest ranger station, they send out a rescue party, and find Elliot in a few hours. Invite a trusted friend to virtually walk you home if you feel unsafeElliot stayed at the office later than normal and notices it’s awfully dark out. He opens Trusted Contacts and shares his location with Thelma. Now Thelma can walk him home — virtually. When Elliot gets home, he simply taps the banner at the top of the screen or from the lockscreen and stops sharing his location. Whether you just need a little reassurance or you’re actually in an emergency, Trusted Contacts helps connect you with the people you care about most — at the times you need them most. Download Trusted Contacts today from the Play Store and visit the help center for more info. If you're an iOS user, click here to get notified when the iOS app is available[...]