Technology

Calling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-inCalling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-in

GoogleBlog - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 20:00

Yesterday marked the start of the 7th year of Google Code-in (GCI), our pre-university contest introducing students to open source development. GCI takes place entirely online and is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17 around the globe.

Open source software makes up the backbone of the internet, from servers and routers to the phone in your pocket, but it’s a community-driven effort. Google Code-in serves a dual purpose of encouraging young developers and ensuring that open source communities continue to grow.

The concept is simple: students complete bite-sized tasks created by 17 participating open source organizations on topic areas of their choice, including:

  • Coding

  • Documentation/Training

  • Outreach/Research

  • Quality Assurance

  • User Interface

Tasks take an average of 3-5 hours to complete and include the guidance of a mentor to help along the way. Complete one task? Get a digital certificate. Three tasks? Get a Google t-shirt. Mentor organizations pick finalists and grand prize winners from among the 10 students who contributed most to that organization. Finalists get a hoodie and Grand Prize winners get a trip to Google headquarters in California where they meet Googlers, mentors and fellow winners.  

Google Code-in began with 361 students from 45 countries and has grown to include, in 2015, 980 students from 65 countries. You can read about the experiences of past participants on the Google Open Source blog. Over the last 6 years, more than 3,000 students from 99 countries have successfully completed tasks in GCI.

Student Ahmed Sabie had this to say, “Overall, Google Code-in was the experience of a lifetime. It set me up for the future by teaching me relevant and critical skills necessary in software development.”

Know of a student who might be interested? Learn more about GCI by checking out our rules and FAQs. And please visit our contest site and read the Getting Started Guide. Teachers, you can find additional resources here to help get your students started.

The Google Code-in contest is now open! Students ages 13 to 17 gain real-world software development experience by building open source software with the support of mentors.
Categories: Technology

Calling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-inCalling all teens: join the latest round of Google Code-in

GoogleBlog - Wed, 11/28/2018 - 20:00

Yesterday marked the start of the 7th year of Google Code-in (GCI), our pre-university contest introducing students to open source development. GCI takes place entirely online and is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17 around the globe.

Open source software makes up the backbone of the internet, from servers and routers to the phone in your pocket, but it’s a community-driven effort. Google Code-in serves a dual purpose of encouraging young developers and ensuring that open source communities continue to grow.

The concept is simple: students complete bite-sized tasks created by 17 participating open source organizations on topic areas of their choice, including:

  • Coding

  • Documentation/Training

  • Outreach/Research

  • Quality Assurance

  • User Interface

Tasks take an average of 3-5 hours to complete and include the guidance of a mentor to help along the way. Complete one task? Get a digital certificate. Three tasks? Get a Google t-shirt. Mentor organizations pick finalists and grand prize winners from among the 10 students who contributed most to that organization. Finalists get a hoodie and Grand Prize winners get a trip to Google headquarters in California where they meet Googlers, mentors and fellow winners.  

Google Code-in began with 361 students from 45 countries and has grown to include, in 2015, 980 students from 65 countries. You can read about the experiences of past participants on the Google Open Source blog. Over the last 6 years, more than 3,000 students from 99 countries have successfully completed tasks in GCI.

Student Ahmed Sabie had this to say, “Overall, Google Code-in was the experience of a lifetime. It set me up for the future by teaching me relevant and critical skills necessary in software development.”

Know of a student who might be interested? Learn more about GCI by checking out our rules and FAQs. And please visit our contest site and read the Getting Started Guide. Teachers, you can find additional resources here to help get your students started.

The Google Code-in contest is now open! Students ages 13 to 17 gain real-world software development experience by building open source software with the support of mentors.
Categories: Technology

Helping more people in the U.K. find their next jobHelping more people in the U.K. find their next job

GoogleBlog - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 18:00

Like anyone who has searched for a job at some point in their lives, I know from experience how hard it can be to find the right role. You can spend days scouring job postings that are scattered across the web, flicking through newspapers or dropping into local employers, yet still struggle to find a job that suits you. Employers may be feeling the impact of this too: three quarters of U.K. employers face talent shortages and have issues filling open positions with the right candidate.

Today, more people are turning to Google to find information about their next role. We have a long history of using our technology to connect people with information, so we’re excited to bring a new job search experience to Google to connect people in the U.K. to job opportunities. This new feature in Search lets you more easily explore jobs from across the web and find job postings that suit your needs and skills.

Starting today, when you search for “jobs near me,” “teaching jobs,” or similar queries in English in the U.K., you’ll have the option to click through to a feature that lets you explore jobs from across the web that meet your unique needs. You can access salary information, reviews and ratings of the employer and different options to apply for a job, or use a location filter to see jobs in the areas that are convenient for you. Thanks to Google Maps, if you’re signed in, you’ll even be able to see how long it would take to commute to a job from your home.

Searching for a job can take time, and keeping up with new jobs that are posted throughout the day can be impossible. Now in Google Search you can save individual jobs with a single tap so that they are accessible across any of your devices. And if you step away from your job search, you can stay in the loop on opportunities that interest you by turning on alerts to receive an email notification whenever new jobs arrive.

The new jobs experience in Search is the result of deep collaboration with the job-matching industry, and benefits both employers and job seekers. We first introduced this experience in the U.S. last year, and it’s now live in several countries. Since launching it, we’ve seen 130 percent more companies showing jobs in Search and connected tens of millions of people around the world to new job opportunities.

In the U.K., we’re working with organizations from across the job-matching industry to bring you the most comprehensive listing of jobs, like The Guardian Jobs, Reed.co.uk, Haymarket, Gumtree, The Telegraph, Reach plc's totallylegal, CV-Library and totaljobs.com. This means anyone searching for jobs on Google will see postings from these sites and many others from across the web as soon as they’re posted. To ensure even more jobs are listed over time, we’re publishing open documentation for all jobs providers detailing how to make their job openings discoverable in this new feature.

This launch also builds on the commitment we made last year to help 100,000 people in the U.K.find a job or grow in their career by 2020. We’re doing that through our Google Digital Garage program, which gives anyone free training in digital skills and products to help grow their career, business or confidence. So far we’ve helped tens of thousands of people find their next job through free training at four city-center hubs and with partners across the U.K.

Whether you’re a recent graduate looking for your first job, a parent supporting a growing family, or simply hunting for your dream role, we hope this new experience on Google will help make the job search simpler and connect you with your next job.

We’re launching a new job search experience to help connect people to job opportunities in the U.K., so you can find job postings that match your unique needs.
Categories: Technology

Which iPhone Apps can Access the Microphone?

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 16:41

You’re right that Facebook has been a bit ambiguous about exactly what’s going on with it accessing your phone’s microphone. It’s darn troubling. Facebook insists it “does not use your phone’s microphone to inform ads or to change what you see in News Feed.” But even if Facebook is in the clear, can we trust that every single app and program that has access to the microphone is using it only when we think and only how we’re expecting?

Fortunately iOS, the operating system that runs on your Apple iPhone, is pretty locked down so it’s really, really hard for apps to gain access to the microphone other than through the official paths. And that means you have the ability to see a list of every program on your phone that’s requested microphone access, which you’ve granted, and even a way to easily turn off access if you just don’t really trust some of ’em.

Android’s a bit more of the wild west, but there’s a similar feature if you’re not an iPhone owner.

With an iPhone, however, just jump into Settings and swipe top-to-bottom to reveal the search box. Then type in “microphone”:

There’s one match, as you can see, and it’s exactly the right one, in Privacy!

Tap on it to jump straight to the correct spot. It will show you a list of every app that has requested access to your microphone and which you’ve granted that permission:

You can see that I’m pretty open with my permissions, allowing just about every program other than Instagram access to my microphone. I never post videos on Instagram so it doesn’t need access. But a closer look makes me wonder a bit why other apps are needing microphone access, like Nest and Nexia. Both part of my home security system, I really don’t need a voice interface to use them. Or SleepScore Max, a sleep analysis program. Why does it need access to my mic?

To revoke access is easy, just tap and drag to change the switch setting adjacent to the program:

While you’re here, by the way, tap on the “< Privacy” on the top left so you can see all the other privacy settings you have access to within iOS 11:

Quite a lot to pay attention to, isn’t it? Let’s have a glimpse at just one as a quick example: Camera. If you’re concerned about what apps can access your Microphone, I’m pretty sure you’d be curious about your camera too, right? Tap on “Camera” and you can see:

Lots and lots of apps need access to my camera. Why? Well, that’s on an app-by-app basis, of course, but as with anything else, if you’re uncomfortable with a specific app having access to your camera, you can disable it the same way you can disable microphone access.

Hope that helps you wrest back control of your privacy. It’s important.

Pro Tip: While you’re here, check out our extensive iPhone help area too, please. Thanks!

The post Which iPhone Apps can Access the Microphone? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Rip Those Blu-Ray Movies with Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 10:06

Computer manufacturers seem to have decided that DVD movies are good enough for computer screens, and it’s not easy to find a laptop or desktop computer with a Blu-Ray player. Which is rather weird since computer screens generally have far higher resolution screens than most non-4K televisions. Fortunately, you can pick up an external Blu-Ray drive for surprisingly cheap, units like the Mac and Windows compatible Pioneer BDR-XS06.

I’m a firm believer in the right to view purchased movies on the device of my choice too, so if I own a Blu-Ray copy of, say, Blade Runner 2049 or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, why should I be trapped having to watch it on my TV while at home if I’m heading out on a business or pleasure trip? Problem is, converting a physical copy of a movie into a digital copy that’s portable to whatever gear you own isn’t so easy. Unless you have a program like Blu-Ray Ripper from Leawo Software.

BD Ripper, as we’ll call it informally, is actually part of a much bigger software suite called Leawo Professional Media, a suite that lets you dupe Blu-Ray discs, rip DVDs and much more. For our purposes, however, it’s just making a digital copy of a Blu-Ray movie that’s of interest, and that’s BD Ripper.

Through some serendipity, Lionsgate just sent us a copy of the fun, somewhat campy horror film Beyond Re-Animator for review so that’ll be perfect for a demo. The film is the third in the Re-Animator series and again stars Jeffrey Combs as the creepy Dr. Herbert West. If you like zombies and creepy creatures, well, this is going to be a great addition to your movie library!

But I wanted a digital copy of the film so I could watch it on my MacBook (a computer without an optical drive) while on the road. It’s a perfect task for BD Ripper.

You can see that by applying the license for Blu-Ray Ripper it also unlocks DVD Ripper too, which means that I can make copies of just about every movie disc I own (with the exception of the dozen or so 4K UltraHD discs I have, but no computers can manage those yet).

A click on Blu-ray Ripper in the program, after plugging in the Pioneer external Blu-Ray drive and inserting the Beyond Re-Animator disc, and the program automatically analyzes the inserted media and figures out which of the many tracks is the actual movie…

I’ve jumped ahead a few minutes to get to the opening titles, as you can see above.

I can make a copy of the entire disc, including all extras, but it’s just the movie I’m interested in, so the tab “Main Movie” is the best option. A click on “OK” lets me proceed. The default output format and estimated file size are shown in a simple one-line queue entry:

Notice that at standard HD resolution (1920 x 1080) the resultant output file is anticipated to be 5.81GB. For a 96 minute movie. The benefit of Blu-Ray is that the movie is beautiful and in high resolution, so trying to compress the output into 500MB is a bit goofy, dontcha think?

Turns out that different output formats do produce different size results, however, so it is worth a bit of experimentation to figure out what’s going to work best for you. My recommendation is always to use the largest possible size you can work with – so the movie looks great – but your disk space might be a bit tighter so try a few different output formats to identify which works best for your  needs.

To change the output format, I’ll click on the default format. In this case, “MP4 Video“. A small window pops up with a bit more detail about this particular configuration:

From this point, a click on “Edit” lets you tweak things, but “Change” is more interesting, so click on that to see what options there are for output formats…

Wondering how to play all these different formats on your own devices? I am a huge fan of VLC, an open source video player that can handle every format I’ve ever tried to view, including MP4, MOV, AVI and MKV.

Look more closely because you can also choose by “Device” too, as a single click on that tab reveals:

There are also presets for Apple, Sony, HTC, Motorola and other devices if you don’t have a Samsung device. Very handy, I’ll say!

Once you’ve picked out the format desired, a click on “Convert” lets you identify the desired output folder:

Notice that I’m saving the image directly to OneDrive. It’s a handy way to have it ready to copy onto my other devices since Microsoft OneDrive is available for just about every device in the market. Also notice that the estimated file size went from 5.8GB to 6.10GB. The program is just guessing at this point, however, so I won’t know the final size until the rip is done.

Let’s get this movie copied already! To do that, simply click on “Convert“. Then you’ll see a progress indicator:

You might think that the process of reading a Blu-Ray movie, converting it to a digital version and writing that to disk is going to be slow but Leawo Prof. Media does a surprisingly fast job and the rip completed in just a bit over 45 minutes on a fairly middle-of-the-road HP Windows 10 laptop. On a high end, tricked out PC it would likely be significantly faster.

Finally, once done it’s just a .AVI digital file, so with a bit of help from VLC for the Mac, I can indeed watch Beyond Re-Animator on my MacBook as desired:

That’s it. I found Leawo Prof. Media Blu-Ray Ripper easy to work with and surprisingly fast with such a computational intensive task as video stream conversion. If you too want to gain portability from your Blu-Ray movies, it’s definitely one to check out.

Note: Please don’t rip off movies. I support portability of owned media, but sharing digital copies of movies is illegal, and it’s also uncool and ungood for the industry. So fly straight, be good and don’t veer into the dark side with your new found computer powers.

Leawo Prof. Media Blu-Ray Ripper, from Leawo Software. $44.95 for Windows or Mac. 

Disclosure: Leawo Software sent us a license for the software in return for this review.

The post Rip Those Blu-Ray Movies with Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

High Fry-ve: sundaes for everyone this weekendHigh Fry-ve: sundaes for everyone this weekend

GoogleBlog - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 13:15

I've been told I have a flair for the dramatic (see byline), but if I were you, I'd stay away from ladders and look out for black cats today. Friday the 13th inspired lots of searches this week, and here’s a look at a few of the other trending searches, with data from the Google News Lab.


It’s Fry Day Fry Day, gotta get down on Fry Day

Today is Friday but also National Fry Day, as if I need another excuse to shove fried potatoes down my throat. If search interest is any indication of America’s fav fry, McDonald’s would take the top spot, followed by Burger King, Wendy’s and Five Guys. If you’re waffling over the best type of fry, curly fries are a cut above—they’re searched 14 percent more than waffle fries. Oh but wait, there’s more healthy food to celebrate as Sunday (or shall I say Sundae) is National Ice Cream Day. Search interest in frozen treats always spikes each summer, but July 2018 has recorded the highest search interest ever for ice cream in the U.S., great work everyone! More of a fro-yo guy myself.

I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious

The planets are in retrograde, plus it’s Friday the 13th which explains my wild hormonal swings this week. Looks like Nevada is the most intrigued by this spooky day as it holds the top spot for all-time search interest in Friday the 13th. You do you, Nevada. Looking further into the data, one of the top-searched questions around this trend is, “Is today Friday the 13th?” (Might be quicker to glance at a calendar). If you’re really into Friday the 13th and you live in Arizona, you can get inked for $13, and people have been flocking to Google to figure out where they can get those services.

All about that cash 

You know what they say, mo money, mo problems, but my life is already pretty problematic so might as well sprinkle a few million on top. We’ve got a massive lotto drawing coming up, and people from New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts are searching the most for that $340 million cash prize. One of the top-searched questions about the lottery was, “What to do when you win the lottery?” Glad you asked. I’d buy an island, and plant a bunch of bushes, then trim those bushes to depict scenes from my favorite “Friends” episodes and run around on the island drinking mimosas listening to Taylor Swift. Ugh, one can dream.

A miraculous rescue

The world watched with intrigue and optimism as the Thai soccer team, trapped in an ocean cave, were rescued in a three-day operation involving 19 divers. Search interest in Thailand is at an all-time high in the U.S., having spiked by 600 percent this month, but Singapore, New Zealand and Australia had the most searches worldwide. Everyone made it out safely through the maze of rock and rope, complete with plastic cocoons and floating stretchers.

Blessed be the fruit

It’s been said that we’re living in the golden age of television, lucky us! Emmy noms are hot off the press, and one of this week’s top-searched questions about the awards was, “Who won the most Emmys?” We’ll have to wait until September to find out, but here are the winners for the week’s most-searched shows: of the nominees for Outstanding Drama, it’s “Game of Thrones.” And for a comedy series, it’s “Atlanta.” And for best show of all time, “Friends.” Okay made that one up, but man, that show is great.

Here’s a look at a few of the top trending searches this week, with data from the Google News Lab.
Categories: Technology

#teampixel’s cool inspiration on hot summer days#teampixel’s cool inspiration on hot summer days

GoogleBlog - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 12:45

Have you ever dreamed of the perfect summer vacation? If it includes endless blue skies, colorful cafes, or ancient cobblestone streets, check out the latest round of shots from #teampixel’s favorite summer spots.

When you go on your next adventure, remember to take us with you by tagging #teampixel. You might find yourself featured on The Keyword, @google or @madebygoogle the next time we’re looking for some cool inspiration on these hot summer days.

Categories: Technology

How do I use Incognito mode in YouTube for Android?

AskDaveTaylor - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 09:48

Until very recently, I would have said that you should set up a second Google account and use that when you were exploring YouTube and didn’t want any sort of history. In fact, that’s still a pretty good solution if you want to sidestep history, recent searches, recommendations and similar (even on sites as benign as Amazon.com). Google must have been paying attention to how people use YouTube, however, because the version of YouTube for Mobile that’s now available for Android users includes a simple but effective incognito mode!

By itself, any sort of incognito mode isn’t going to completely hide what you’re doing because there are still domain name lookups (if it’s Google Chrome incognito mode) and specific URL requests logged at a lower level of the interaction. For regular folk, however, it’s more than enough to ensure a reasonable level of privacy. Not enough? Then you might want to check out a VPN too, for your computer, mobile devices, etc. Here’s a video I made about it: Why You Need a VPN.

But let’s get back to that Android solution! Make sure you have the very latest version of the YouTube app on your Android device, then launch it.

That’s a pretty typical home screen, though hopefully your videos are a bit more interesting than these two that YouTube’s decided I would find fascinating.

Categories: Technology

Lifelong learning for everyone: What we’ve learned from our European social innovation partnersLifelong learning for everyone: What we’ve learned from our European social innovation partners

GoogleBlog - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 03:00

The skills needed in today's workplace are changing fast. A recent report from McKinsey forecasts that the demand for technological, cognitive, creative and interpersonal skills will accelerate by 2030.

Despite technology offering more learning options than ever before, we haven’t yet figured out a way that this can truly benefit everyone. Take, for example, the early enthusiasm for bringing university content online to democratize higher education—and the sobering reality that these online courses are overwhelmingly used by people who already have a higher education. We learned from a recent IPPR report that it is vital for digital skills programs to address a diverse audience and provide skills for the future as well as skills for immediate use. And as the labor market transforms, it's clear we need a more flexible model for facilitating reskilling and lifelong learning for both current and future workers.

So how can we make sure that technology supports lifelong learning for those who need it most? About a year ago, we launched the Google.org Work Initiative, a $50 million fund to support social innovators tackling this question. In addition, since 2015 our Grow with Google programs have been equipping people with the digital skills they need to succeed in the digital economy. What we’ve learned from our Google.org and Grow with Google collaboration with European partners and social entrepreneurs is that making lifelong learning a success requires four tactics: working with organizations who are on the frontline of serving the most disadvantaged, developing clearer signals about the pay-off of engaging in learning new skills, using technology to drive incentives to persevere throughout the learning experience, and developing better ways to signal skills to employers.  

Technology can make learning more accessible

First and foremost, learning must continue to become more accessible. The biggest opportunities for people to upgrade their skills are at work, but the options to retrain are few for those without a workplace. According to research from the European Commission, only 9 percent of people who are out of work have access to upskilling opportunities, compared to almost one in two people on permanent contracts.


To tackle this, public institutions and nonprofits must integrate skill-building opportunities into their programs. Google.org grantee Bayes Impact, a tech nonprofit in France, is an example of this approach in action. Bayes's machine learning-powered search assistant recommends training resources and learning opportunities for people who are out of work. With an unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent in France, Bayes helps millions of job seekers fill their skill gaps through smart technology and a partnership with the country's national unemployment agency.


The pay-off of learning needs to be clear

We know that time and financial investment are key considerations when people think about engaging with new learning opportunities. This means that the pay-off must be clear for learners from the outset. If people don't feel like training will lead them to a better life, there's little chance that they'll take advantage.

A practical way to address this is by helping learners clearly identify the benefits of engaging in a particular course at the beginning of their journey. OpenClassrooms, one of Europe's leading providers of vocational education online and another organization we’re supporting, does this by promising to reimburse course fees if learners haven't found a job six months after completing their certificate. They've also partnered with European government agencies to get official accreditation for several of their courses, further ensuring that the value of a commitment to learning is clear.

Targeting completion is key

The most effective learning experiences are those built with completion in mind. A couple of years ago, the online learning platform Coursera shared that only 4 percent of its users completed the course and earned a credential. When we built the Google IT Professional Support certificate—a Grow with Google program that enables anyone to become an IT support specialist in eight to 12 months without a college degree—we thought carefully about how to ensure as many people as possible complete a course.

One thing we found to be useful is to support blended learning experiences, where online learning is complemented by in-person coaching and meetings with other students. To achieve this, we've partnered with nonprofit organizations to bring an additional layer of support for students to the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. In Germany, we've piloted this approach with Kiron, a nonprofit that is supporting refugees to continue their education and provide access to employment opportunities.

We’ve also been experimenting with using machine learning to identify when students might be in need of support to help them keep going with a course. For example, we’ve rolled out machine learning prompts that show up at key moments as a means to motivate learners.

Capabilities must be expressed in new ways

The final piece of the puzzle is to enable people to showcase their abilities in a format that's convincing to employers. French social enterprise Chance, another one of our grantees, uses a semi-automated system to match companies with candidates who have the capabilities they require but don’t necessarily have access to the professional networks who can help their resume stand out of the pile, or don’t know what employers are looking for and therefore don’t know how to express their own abilities. Backed by AI, projects like these enable a wider pool of job seekers to find the right opportunities for their skill set.

The labor market will continue to evolve, and technology can ensure we keep pace with the growing demands of the future workplace. As our European partners show, it's possible to improve the access, design and experience of learning new skills—putting lifelong learning for everyone firmly within our grasp.

Technology has the potential to drive lifelong learning for everyone. Here's how our social innovation partners in Europe are making this vision a reality.
Categories: Technology

Google Measurement Partners: Trusted measurement solutions for the entire customer journeyGoogle Measurement Partners: Trusted measurement solutions for the entire customer journey

GoogleBlog - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:32

We believe that measurement you can trust is critical for brands trying to understand the impact of their marketing. But as the customer journey has become more complex, measurement has become increasingly challenging. And while Google strives to build great solutions, some marketers prefer to rely on third-party measurement solutions.

That’s why we’re announcing Google Measurement Partners, a program that brings together new and existing partnerships to offer brands a variety of options to measure their advertising media.

The program is launching with 20+ verified partners across seven specializations: viewability, reach, brand safety, brand lift, sales lift, app attribution, and marketing mix modeling. Partners offer various solutions that work across Google advertising products, including Google Marketing Platform (including Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360), Google Ads, YouTube, and more. Existing partner programs like App Attribution and Marketing Mix Modeling are now included in Google Measurement Partners.

Our launch partners are recognized leaders within their focus areas and provide solutions widely used by the industry. They meet rigorous standards for accuracy and use reliable methodologies to measure KPIs that matter for marketers. And we work closely with them to ensure the solutions respect user privacy.

With trust and transparency at its foundation, Measurement Partners continues our commitment to providing both quality and choice when it comes to measuring performance and helping marketers better understand their customers. Alongside our partners, we’ll keep working to establish commonly accepted standards and advanced measurement solutions that help raise the bar for the industry.

Announcing Google Measurement Partners, bringing together new and existing partnerships to offer brands a variety of options to measure their advertising media.
Categories: Technology

How can I block someone’s email on Gmail?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 09:50

Sorry to hear that your breakup wasn’t smooth, at least in your ex’s eyes. With the rise of digital media and social networks, staying connected even when the other party wishes otherwise is really incredibly easy. From Facebook to Twitter, SnapChat to Gmail, it’s so much easier to connect than disconnect. Most all of these services have slowly gotten the message, however, and just about all now have some variety of tools or features to help you out.

Google offers a variety of different ways you can try to block, ignore or mute your nutjob ex, ranging from complicated to really easy. You could, for example, set up an email filter that automatically trashes all of her email messages [see: How to set up a Gmail filter] or that even auto-responds with a canned message like “please stop emailing me.” or even a mock bounce message.

But let’s keep it easy. Gmail also has a “block sender” feature that automatically routes all email from that particular person direction into the Spam folder. Let’s have a look…

First off, here’s my designated blockee:

This is just a demo, of course: Chris is a great source of information that I rely on in real life. But as a guinea pig, he’s perfect too

Categories: Technology

How to prepare for the cloud worker eraHow to prepare for the cloud worker era

GoogleBlog - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 12:00

The cloud has fundamentally transformed the world around us. In our personal lives, we stream media, order food, schedule transportation, and stay in touch with friends and family across devices. At work, enterprise developers like Cisco, Adobe, Citrix and VMware have redefined how we get our jobs done, making data and apps easily accessible when and where they’re needed. We call this the era of the cloud worker.


Today, employees expect access to the information and services they need without the barriers of legacy tools. Managers and admins want to move away from administrative tasks, like managing devices, and focus more on what has the most potential for real value creation.


A recent study we commissioned with Forrester found that one in four workers in today’s enterprises are already cloud workers. They spend, on average, 4.6 hours working in browser-based business apps across multiple devices, and regard the freedom to access company resources from any location as fundamental to their work/life balance. Additionally, the quantity of cloud-based apps businesses rely on is only increasing. In 2018 about 53 percent of apps are in the cloud. However, by 2020 it’s estimated that figure will be above 80 percent.


This increase in cloud adoption has made many businesses rethink the technology and tools they need to ensure their workforce is effective. Office workers are no longer sitting exclusively behind desks. Field teams need real-time connectivity when they’re working remotely or interacting with customers. Employees are increasingly on the move, and they expect their apps and devices to be as mobile and flexible as their workstyle. In fact, 77 percent say they prefer technologies that give them the freedom to choose how and where to get their work done.


At the same time, IT organizations entrusted with managing devices, browsers, and apps are rethinking how to best serve the needs of a cloud-centric workforce. They need reliable and secure tools and devices that give their users the flexibility they need while at the same time being simple for IT to manage and maintain.


At Google, we’ve found that cloud-native devices like Chromebooks not only increase employee collaboration and productivity, but also decrease IT support hours and operational overhead. For example, take device deployment and provisioning. At Google, we’ve found that it takes about 33 minutes for an inventory tech to prepare a Chrome OS machine to be deployed to an end user. For Windows devices, we’ve found it typically takes 2 hours and 21 minutes, and for macOS it takes 2 hours and 23 minutes. 


We’ve also found that we receive two to four times more support requests with macOS and Windows devices than we do with Chrome OS. Using cloud-first tools like Chromebooks can translate into substantial support savings over time.

As the cloud-connected workplace continues to evolve, and an increasing number of employees transition from knowledge workers to cloud workers, selecting the right tools should be top of mind. The question to ask is, in the age of cloud worker, how can you best provide employees with technology that will improve their experience and create better results for your business?


To learn more about how you can prepare for the era of the cloud worker, register for Forrester’s Cloud Worker webinar, and explore resources on our website. For those of you attending NEXT ‘18, we’ll be hosting a Cloud Worker Showcase where you can meet with specialists, interact with demos, and explore the latest devices. Learn more on the Next ‘18 website.The cloud has fundamentally transformed the world around us. Today, employees expect access to the information and services they need without the barriers of legacy tools. Managers and admins want to move away from administrative tasks, like managing devices, and focus more on what has the most potential for real value creation.
Categories: Technology

Making Morse code available to more people on GboardMaking Morse code available to more people on Gboard

GoogleBlog - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:00

Earlier this year, we partnered with developer Tania Finlayson, an expert in Morse code assistive technology, to make Morse code more accessible. Today, we’re rolling out Morse code on Gboard for iOS and improvements to Morse code on Gboard for Android. To help you learn how to type in Morse code, we’ve created a game (on Android, iOS, and desktop) that can help you learn it in less than an hour! We’ve worked closely with Tania on these updates to the keyboard and more—here, she explains how Morse code changed her life:

My name is Tania Finlayson, and I was born with cerebral palsy. A few doctors told my parents that I probably would not amount to anything, and suggested my parents put me in an institution. Luckily, my parents did not take the advice, raised me like a normal child, and did not expect any less of me throughout my childhood. I had to eat my dinner first before I could have desserts, I had to go to bed at bedtime, and I got in trouble when I picked on my older brother.

The only difference was that I was not able to communicate very effectively; basically, I could only answer “yes” and “no” questions. When I was old enough to read, I used a communication word board with about 200 words on it. I used a head stick to point to the words. A couple of years later, my dad decided that I should try a typewriter and press the keys with the head stick. Amazingly, my vocabulary grew. My mom did not dress me in plaid any more, I could tell on my brother, and I finally had the chance to annoy my Dad with question after question about the world. I am quite sure that my Dad did not, in any way, regret letting me try a typewriter. Ha!

Several years later, I was one of four kids chosen to participate in a study for non-verbal children at the University of Washington. The study was led by Al Ross, who wrote a grant funding the creation of a Morse code communicator for disabled children. Morse code, which is a communication system that dates back to the 1800s, allowed us to spell out words and communicate just by using two buttons: a dot “.” and a dash “—”.

The device was revolutionary.  It would convert my Morse code into letters then speak out loud in English and had a small printer installed in it.  I could activate a light to “raise my hand in class.” At first I thought learning Morse code would be a waste of time, but soon learned that it gave me total freedom with my words, and for the first time, I could talk with ease, without breaking my neck. School became fun, instead of exhausting. I could focus on my studies, and have real conversations with my friends for the first time. Also, I did not need an adult figure with me every moment at school, and that was awesome.

My experience with the Morse code communicator led me to a partnership with Google on bringing Morse code to Gboard. Working closely with the team, I helped design the keyboard layout, added Morse sequences to the auto-suggestion strip above the keyboard, and developed settings that allow people to customize the keyboard to their unique needs. The Morse code keyboard on Gboard allows people to use Morse code (dots and dashes) to enter text, instead of the regular (QWERTY) keyboard. Gboard for Android lets you hook external switches to the device (check out the source code my husband Ken and I developed), so a person with limited mobility could operate the device.

I’m excited to see what people will build that integrates with Morse code—whether it’s a keyboard like Gboard, a game, or educational app, the possibilities are endless. Most technology today is designed for the mass market. Unfortunately, this can mean that people with disabilities can be left behind. Developing communication tools like this is important, because for many people, it simply makes life livable. Now, if anyone wants to try Morse code, they can use the phone in their pocket. Just by downloading an app, anyone anywhere can give communicating with Morse code a try.

When I was first able to communicate as a child, the first feeling that I had was “Wow! This is pretty far out!” The first thing I typed was “You’re an old fart, Dad!” That was the first time I saw him laugh with tears in his eyes; I still don’t know if I made him really laugh or if I made him really sad! Probably a little of both.

Today, we’re introducing Morse code on Gboard for iOS. Tania Finlayson shares more about working with Google and how Morse code changed her life.
Categories: Technology

Google Hotel Ads joins Google AdsGoogle Hotel Ads joins Google Ads

GoogleBlog - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:00

In 2010, we started showing hotel information in a more useful way with sponsored hotel prices in Google Maps. Since then, we’ve expanded Google Hotel ads to more than 150 countries on Google.com and Google Maps, helping travelers browse hotels on mobile devices and spot hotel deals. Our Hotel ad partners are happy with the volume of leads and bookings - in the first six months of 2018, the number of leads to partners grew 65 percent year over year. As Hotel ads has grown, we’ve heard feedback that some partners have a hard time managing their Hotel ads in a separate platform from their other Google Ads, like their search and display campaigns.

To help partners efficiently scale, Hotel ads will become a part of the Google Ads platform with a new campaign type. Hotel campaigns in Google Ads will launch later this year, enabling you to manage your Hotel campaigns alongside your other campaigns in a single platform. We’re also launching a new Hotel Center to simplify the management of your hotel price feeds.

Google Hotel Ads join Google Ads

Yesterday at Google Marketing Live, we introduced a new campaign type in Google Ads called Hotel campaigns. This campaign type will simplify campaign management and optimization. Specifically, the benefits include:

  • Hotel groups to organize hotels by important attributes like brand and class
  • Robust bidding controls that allow marketers to optimize for bidding dimensions unique to hotels like a traveler’s length of stay or check-in day and audience bidding
  • Smart bidding powered by machine learning to maximize bookings at your ROI goal
  • Rich reporting and familiar responsive interface available with the newly redesigned Google Ads

We’re testing this new Hotel campaign type with a few initial partners, and they are excited by the results.

"As the largest travel agent in Latin America we're focused on getting interested online leads to our site and Google Hotel ads have been a great channel for us thus far. As an alpha tester, we're excited by the promise of Hotel ads in Google Ads. We think it'll help us save time, scale our efforts and started to move more of our hotel inventory to the new Hotel campaign type."

- Andrés Patetta, Chief Marketing Officer, Despegar.com

"At Koddi, we have over 400,000 hotels in our global portfolio including large global advertisers. We're always looking for ways to drive more bookings, and Google Hotel ads are a central part of many of our partner's distribution strategy. We've seen Google Hotel ads traffic steadily grow, with our partners experiencing an average 31% increase every year. The upcoming Ads integration will uncover new insights that will allow us to scale our clients' reach and bookings further."

- Deep Kohli, Senior Director of Client Services, Koddi.

New Hotel Center for hotel price feed management

Hotel price feed management can be complex and time-consuming. With Hotel campaign management moving into Google Ads, we’re also redesigning how partners optimize and manage their hotel price feeds in a new Hotel Center. This Hotel Center will:

  • Simplify feed troubleshooting with faster and more intuitive in-product guidance
  • Quickly optimize your feed’s health with actionable opportunities and one-click fixes
  • Use a central hub to power other price feed-based hotel features in the future, like dynamic remarketing creatives.

The existing Hotel Ads Center will be replaced with the new Hotel Center in phases. We’re starting with the basics first, focusing on a better way to submit your hotel inventory and describe your hotel properties.

Learn more

Hotel Ads will launch as an open beta available to advertisers later this year. If you’d like to stay up to date on the Google Ads integration and Hotel Center launch, beta test Hotel ads in Google Ads or learn more about Hotel ads in general, please fill out this interest form.

Whether you’re a hotel owner trying to fill your rooms or an online travel agent wanting to drive more leads, we hope Hotel ads in Google Ads and the new Hotel Center will make it easier than ever to connect with travelers at scale.

Google Hotel Ads joins Google Ads and creates new Hotel Center
Categories: Technology

Must-see sessions on Android Enterprise at Next '18Must-see sessions on Android Enterprise at Next '18

GoogleBlog - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:00

Android continues to see success this year in enterprise, with several initiatives to help organizations enhance their mobility efforts. Android Enterprise Recommended, the improved work experience in Android P, and increased protections from Android security efforts are among the many investments we’ve made to enrich and strengthen the ecosystem.

At Google Cloud Next, July 24-26 in San Francisco, CA, we’ll be taking to the stage with key partners and customers to discuss the latest in Android’s solutions, best practices, and what they mean for enterprise mobility.

You can learn more about these sessions and register at the Google Cloud Next site. For those unable to attend the conference, you’ll be able to check out sessions on YouTube at a later date.

Categories: Technology

Better understand and reach your customers with new Cross Device capabilities in Google AnalyticsBetter understand and reach your customers with new Cross Device capabilities in Google Analytics

GoogleBlog - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 10:00

Today, we’re introducing new Cross Device features to Google Analytics. Analytics will now help you understand the journey your customers are taking across their devices as they interact with your website, giving you a complete view of the impact of your marketing so you can run smarter campaigns that deliver more tailored experiences to your customers.


Piecing together a more complete picture

Cross Device reporting in Analytics takes into account people who visit your website multiple times from different devices. Now, instead of seeing metrics in Analytics that show two separate sessions (e.g., one on desktop and the other on mobile), you’ll be able to see when users visited your website from two different devices. By understanding these device interactions as part of a broader customer experience, you can make more informed product and marketing decisions.


Say you’re a marketer for a travel company. With the new Acquisition Device report, you may find that a lot of your customers first come to your website on mobile to do their initial research before booking a trip later on desktop. Based on that insight, you might choose to prioritize mobile ad campaigns to reach people as they start to plan their trip.


In addition to the Acquisition Device report, you’ll soon have access to other Cross Device reports like Device Overlap, Device Paths and Channels. Our Cross Device reports only display aggregated and anonymized data from people who have opted in to personalized advertising (as always users can opt out at any time).

Reaching the right customers along the way

Analytics will also now help you create smarter audiences based on the actions people take on various devices. That way you can deliver more relevant and useful experiences.


Let’s say you’re a shoe retailer and you want to share a special promotion with your most loyal customers. You decide this means people who have purchased more than $500 in shoes on your website in the last 12 months using any of their devices. If a group of customers buy $300 worth of shoes on their phone and another $300 on their desktop, they’re just as valuable as another group who spend $600 on a single device, right?


Analytics now understands that these two groups of customers actually spent the same amount on your website, helping you create a more accurate audience list to reach the right customers. And spend isn’t the only way to segment and build audiences. You can also create remarketing campaigns to reach audiences based on how many times they visit your website across multiple devices.


Get started

To use these new Cross Device features, start by visiting the Admin section of your Analytics account and choose the setting to activate Google signals. (If you don’t see this setting, you will soon—we’ll roll it out to all Analytics accounts over the coming weeks.) There’s no need to update your website code or get additional assistance from a developer.


With these new beta features in Analytics, we hope you’ll quickly see that by better understanding the customer journey across devices, you can create more relevant and useful experiences for your customers.


Analytics now helps you understand your customers' journey across devices, letting you run smarter campaigns with tailored experiences.
Categories: Technology

Speed matters when providing assistive experiencesSpeed matters when providing assistive experiences

GoogleBlog - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 10:00

Getting better results from your online ads today requires more than just the right keywords or the right bids. You need to deliver the helpful and frictionless experiences consumers expect from brands. Yesterday at Google Marketing Live, we shared ad innovations powered by Google’s machine learning that help you do just that.

However, even the best ads struggle to deliver results if they’re sending people to slow landing pages, especially on mobile. In retail, we see that for every one second delay in page load time, conversions can fall by up to 20 percent.1 That’s why we’re making it easier to diagnose and improve your mobile site speed.

See if your mobile pages are slowing you down

Consider this: more than half of all web traffic now happens on mobile. Yet the average mobile webpage takes 15 seconds to load.2 And for many brands this equates to missed opportunity, especially when more than half of visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes more than three seconds to load.3 So where does your business land in all of this?

To help you understand how landing page speed affects your ad performance, we introduced the new mobile speed score. Evaluated on a 10-point scale, 1 being very slow and 10 being extremely fast, the mobile speed score lets you quickly see which pages are providing a fast mobile experience and which ones may require your attention.

See your mobile speed score on the Landing Pages page in Google Ads

Mobile speed scores are based on a number of factors, including the relationship between page speed and potential conversion rate. It starts rolling out to advertisers globally today.

Improve your mobile experience with AMP

Now that you know what’s slowing you down, how do you speed up? Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) provide a faster, smoother, and more engaging mobile experience. In fact, AMP pages typically load 85 percent faster than standard mobile pages.4 They’re so fast, they appear to load instantly.

Once you’ve sped up your site, you can direct your search ad clicks to those AMP pages and create the super-fast and delightful mobile experiences people expect. Brands like Greenweez, a leading French organic retailer, are using AMP to improve mobile site landing page speed and performance. Greenweez was able to increase its mobile page speed by 5X, resulting in an 80 percent increase in mobile conversions!

Build your case for a faster mobile site

When someone has a negative experience on mobile, they’re much less likely to purchase from you in the future. So if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to prioritize speed within your organization. To help you do that, we’ve built two free tools: the Speed Scorecard, which lets you see how your mobile site speed stacks up against your peers, and the Impact Calculator, which lets you estimate the revenue you’re potentially leaving on the table by having a slow mobile site.


You can learn more about these tools and best practices for speeding up your mobile site on Think with Google.


1. Google/SOASTA, “The State of Online Retail Performance,” April 2017

2. Google Research, Webpagetest.org, sampled 11M global mWeb domains loaded using a globally representative 4G connection, Jan. 2018.

3. Google Data, Aggregated, anonymized Google Analytics data from a sample of mWeb sites opted into sharing benchmark data, n=3.7K, Global, March 2016

4. Google Data, Global, April 2017

A summary of mobile-first innovations for practitioners, including the new mobile speed score that was announced at GML.
Categories: Technology

Enable Always On Display on LG Android Phone?

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 08:55

If you’re used to an Apple iPhone, the idea that your screen is always on and always showing useful information like time, temperature and related, is a bit disconcerting, but Android phone users have been enjoying Always On for many years, depending on device. Even better, the impact on your battery life has become less and less as companies have figured out ways to power the screen more efficiently.

Which leads to the question how the heck do you turn the darn thing on?

Categories: Technology

Driving results with video at every stage of the customer journeyDriving results with video at every stage of the customer journey

GoogleBlog - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 08:00

People increasingly visit YouTube to learn new things, in addition to entertaining themselves and connecting with others. In many ways, YouTube has become as much an information destination as an entertainment hub. And that quest for information certainly extends to brands, products and services. So what does that mean for marketers?

It means video has a role to play in every stage of your consumer’s journey. And in order for you to be effective during each and every interaction, you need options.

This week at Google Marketing Live, we shared the work we’re doing on new ad formats and bidding strategies for YouTube that are designed to align to your campaign objectives—whether you want to build awareness for your brand, shift perceptions or drive a specific action.

For brands with awareness or reach goals, we built TrueView for reach. It brings our primary in-stream format together with the simplicity of CPM buying. In an initial TrueView for reach test, used car retailer DriveTime drove 2,400 dealership visits at a CPM 40 percent below what they were paying for local TV, enabling them to reach 66 percent more people at the same budget.

Beyond reach, many brands rely on YouTube’s attentive audience to shift perception—be it consideration or purchase intent. To help you accomplish and measure this, we’re launching Maximize lift. This new bidding strategy uses Google’s machine learning and continuous brand lift measurement to help you efficiently reach people who are more likely to consider your brand after exposure to an ad. COVERGIRL recently used Maximize lift bidding with TrueView in-stream ads to influence consideration for a new mascara and drove an estimated 2x return on ad spend.

Increasingly, video is also leading people to take action. In fact, globally, conversions generated by YouTube ads are up 150 percent year over year.1 Using TrueView for action, you can drive any action on your website that’s important to your business, like booking a trip, scheduling a test drive or requesting more information.

Later this year, we'll introduce a new flavor of TrueView for action designed to help you generate high quality leads directly from your video ads. This new form feature enables people to submit their email address or phone number directly from your video ad, making it even easier for them to sign up for your service or learn more about your business. Additionally, you’ll soon be able to choose between Target CPA bidding and Maximize conversions bidding for TrueView for action campaigns, giving you more ways to drive even better results.

While effective on their own, these new ad options for YouTube truly shine when used in concert. That’s what DICK’S Sporting Goods did during last year’s holiday season.

To build awareness and reach a broad audience with an inspirational message showing the brand’s commitment to youth sports, the retailer used TrueView for reach. They built on this momentum with standard in-stream, TrueView in-stream and six-second bumper ads to deliver promotional messaging to in-market audiences. Then, they followed up with TrueView for action ads to drive people to their website to buy.


This strategy moved their customers seamlessly through the full purchase journey, achieving a return on ad spend of 10 to 1.


DICK’S Sporting Goods demonstrated one approach to a full-funnel YouTube strategy, but the possibilities are vast. We’re excited to see how you use YouTube to deliver results at every stage of your customer’s journey and we'll continue to build solutions that help you do so.

1  Google Internal Data, Global, 6/1/16 - 5/1/17 vs. 6/1/17 - 5/1/18

Categories: Technology

Service NSW empowers customers and reduces costs with Chrome EnterpriseService NSW empowers customers and reduces costs with Chrome Enterprise

GoogleBlog - Tue, 07/10/2018 - 11:00

Editor’s Note:Today’s post is from C-suite duo Colin Jones, CTO, and Ben McMullen, CIO, ofService NSW, an agency that helps residents of New South Wales, Australia, connect online and in person with government services. The agency uses Google Chrome Enterprise, Chromebooks and G Suite to reduce IT administration and costs, and to give employees more work flexibility.

When you replace inefficient technology with easy-to-manage tools, you become inspired to build on your success. That’s what we found after we adopted Chrome OS to run our government customer-service kiosks. Once we saw how easy it was to manage and use our kiosks, we started to look for ways to use Chrome OS more widely. By bringing Chrome Enterprise into our offices as well as our customer storefronts, we found we could reduce IT workload, trim network costs, and most importantly, help our employees work better together.

Our journey started with a goal to improve customer service. At 130 Service NSW locations across New South Wales, people can use self-service kiosks for 1,200 types of transactions, like obtaining driver’s licenses and ordering birth certificates. The kiosks offer a much faster way for people to request these services compared to standing in line. Our customers love using them, and since Service NSW launched in 2013, we’ve completed about 70 million transactions.

Before switching to Chrome OS in 2015, our kiosks ran on a legacy OS that lacked reliable remote service features. When kiosks needed repairs or upgrades, field support agents had to visit offices and spend a couple of hours rebuilding hard drives. This meant that kiosks could be out of service for as long as two days.

Once we purchased 800 Chromebase all-in-one desktop computers, we immediately found Chrome Enterprise reduced our costs, streamlined IT management and increased security. Over a six-month period in 2015, we estimated that Chromebases required only 5 percent of the support hours we were spending on the Microsoft devices previously in use.

Because our kiosks didn’t need as much maintenance and could often be repaired or upgraded remotely, their uptime improved, giving customers more kiosks to use. And with kiosks more readily available for users, Chrome OS is helping us meet our goal of performing 70 percent of all transactions digitally by 2019. As we moved resources to the cloud, we found we no longer needed costly private WAN networks for each service location, only broadband and Wi-Fi. Eliminating private networks is an enormous savings by itself. When you add in the savings on devices and IT management, we’re targeting reducing our operational costs by 46 percent per year.

As a result of our successes with Chrome OS in our service locations, we began replacing legacy desktops and software at our head office locations with Chromebooks and G Suite. We're actively rolling out Chromebooks and G Suite to all of our staff in the next 12 months.

In our offices, we see the same reduction in cost and IT administration that we experienced with the kiosks. We also realized that we can give employees much more flexibility in the ways that they work. Their applications and files are in the cloud, so they can do their jobs from any place that has internet connectivity, instead of being tied to an office. And G Suite helps employees save the time they used to spend traveling to other offices. Collaboration has increased now that our employees can work from any device, anywhere, and be productive.

As a result of all of this, Chrome OS has become our digital platform of choice at Service NSW. We’ve recently purchased 1,200 additional Chrome OS devices to replace the remaining Windows desktops at all of our service locations. We expect that we’ll continue to see the same dramatic savings in costs and admin time that we’ve already experienced with our kiosks—and our employees will get the benefits of working in the cloud.

What started as a journey to make our customer experience faster and easier became a solution that made our employee experience faster and easier as well. As we continue on this journey, we’re expecting to see even more positive effects on costs, IT workload, and worker flexibility in the future.

Today’s post is from C-suite duo Colin Jones, CTO, and Ben McMullen, CIO, of Service NSW, an agency that helps residents of New South Wales, Australia, connect online and in person with government services. The agency uses Google Chrome Enterprise, Chromebooks and G Suite to reduce IT administration and costs, and to give employees more work flexibility.
Categories: Technology
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