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Updated: 1 hour 23 min ago

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

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

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

Searches up: Beach Boy gets the grade and other trends from this weekSearches up: Beach Boy gets the grade and other trends from this week

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:00

Wouldn’t It Be Nice to get an A? Don’t Worry Baby, you’ll always have a chance to change that F.


That’s what Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys did this week when he went back to his high school for extra credit, turning an “F” he received in songwriting into an “A” …  58 years later later. A wave of searches about Wilson’s academic endeavors ensued: “Brian Wilson grade change,” “Brian Wilson back to school,” and “Where did Beach Boy Brian Wilson attend high school?” People are curious about where other well-known figures went to school as well. The most searched famous people and “high school” are Donald Trump, Kylie Jenner, James Franco, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian.


Here’s a peek at a few other top searches from this week, with data from Google News Lab.

  • Ballistic missile threat in Hawaii: On the day of the accidental false alarm, search interest for “fallout shelters” in Hawaii increased by nearly 10,000 percent. 
  • Counting down to the Winter Olympics: Searches for Katie Couric were 900 percent higher than her co-host Mike Tirico, and as of this week, the top-searched Olympic sports are ice hockey, snowboarding and figure skating. 
  • Shaking things up in Michigan: An unusual earthquake in Michigan turned out to be caused by a meteor. Searches for "meteor" were on a streak—in fact, they were 30 times higher than “Michigan earthquake.”
  • When life gives you snow, make snow cream: A mixture of snow and a dairy-based liquid makes this winter sweet treat, and search interest is on the rise. In the U.S., searches for “how to make snow cream” were 290 percent higher than “how to make ice cream.”
That’s it for this week, God Only Knows what trends will emerge next week.


Check out what’s trending on Google with a look at a few of the top searches from this week.
Categories: Technology

Looking beyond code to make the future work for everyoneLooking beyond code to make the future work for everyoneCEO

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:30

It’s clear that people need more options to thrive in the digital world. The next generation of workers will depend on how we evolve education and tech in the coming years.

When you think of how to help our workforce thrive and find opportunities in the digital world, the first word that often comes to mind is “code.” Nearly every digital-skills program over the past decade has focused on computer science, with a lot of emphasis on young students. Coding, of course, is vital and a core skill for America to invest in. Google has focused resources and employee time helping people from all backgrounds to code—from helping introduce students to the basics, to offering 10,000 free Udacity courses in coding for apps, to training other businesses in how to become experts in programming artificial intelligence. All of this will help meet the growing need for workers who can write the software that will power everyone’s businesses. And it will help countless people more move into in-demand, high paying careers.

But the focus on code has left a potentially bigger opportunity largely unexplored. In the past, people were educated, and learned job skills, and that was enough for a lifetime. Now, with technology changing rapidly and new job areas emerging and transforming constantly, that’s no longer the case. We need to focus on making lightweight, continuous education widely available. This is just as crucial to making sure that everyone can find opportunities in the future workplace. 

There are two areas that are relevant here. The first is around basic digital skills training. An office admin, for example, now needs to use online programs to run budgets, scheduling, accounting and more. While digital technology should be empowering people, it can often alienate them from their own jobs.

Some of these skills didn’t exist five years ago, yet workers are today expected to have them. A recent report by the Brookings Institute says that jobs in the U.S. requiring “medium-digital” skills in America have grown from 40 percent of jobs in 2002 to 48 percent of jobs in 2016.

The digital skills necessary to do these jobs are far easier to learn than code, and should be easier to deliver at scale. For example, we rolled out a “Grow with Google” program, and partnered with Goodwill last year to incorporate digital skills training into its already amazing training infrastructure for job seekers. One trainee spoke of the value of her own experiences. “Before I learned digital skills, I felt unsure of myself,” she says. “Now I feel confident. You have to feel confident in what you do in order to be successful and move on in life.”

Through these trainings, people learn about using technology to research, to plan events, analyze data and more. They don’t require a formal degree or certificate. We think there’s great scope to expand this model, and teach hard and soft skills that can empower a workforce that has access to constant, accredited learning opportunities as job requirements change.

Second, we have a huge opportunity to rethink training for jobs that are core to the digital economy, but that don’t require coding. IT support is a clear opportunity, here. Just as anyone has a clear path to becoming an auto-mechanic, we need a similar path to the 150,000 open positions for IT support, in which people maintain the machines and software that underpin technology services. Yet no training today efficiently connects people to that opportunity. 

We learned this ourselves through an IT-support apprenticeship program we offered, with the Bay Area’s Year Up job-training program. Over 90 percent of the young adults met or exceed Google’s expectations as apprentices, but we noticed they didn’t return to apply for full-time jobs. It turned out that the standard, two-year computer science degree cost too much time and money, teaching skills that those former apprentices simply didn’t need to start their careers.

We should make sure that the next generation of jobs are good jobs, in every sense.

So we developed, and just announced, a new IT certificate program alongside Coursera that’s far more focused and flexible. We believe in just 8 to 12 months, it teaches everything you need to be an IT support technician. IT support jobs are predicted to grow by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than most other occupations the government tracks. We’re giving 10,000 people free access to the course and will connect graduates to job opportunities at places like Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, Infosys, TEKSystems, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center—as well as Google. If the program works, the payoff will be substantial. The median annual wage for IT support is close to the median salary in America.

You can imagine this lightweight, focused model being applied to other tech-related jobs of the future: robust certification programs for project management, delivery fleet operation, and other jobs no one can imagine today, but that will be obvious—and ubiquitous—in five years’ time. 

Moving beyond code and intensive degrees to these constant, lightweight and ubiquitous forms of education will take resources and experimentation. But that effort should help close today’s skills gaps, while making sure future skills gaps don’t open. That’s part of the reason Google has invested $1 billion over five years to help find new approaches to connect people to opportunities at work and help small and medium businesses everywhere grow in the digital economy. We should make sure that the next generation of jobs are good jobs, in every sense. Rather than thinking of education as the opening act, we need to make sure it’s a constant, natural and simple act across life—with lightweight, flexible courses, skills and programs available to everyone.

This essay also appeared on NBC News Think.

Lightweight, continuous education is crucial to making sure that everyone can find opportunities in the future workplace.
Categories: Technology

Tea time with a touch of technologyTea time with a touch of technology

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 21:00

Some of the world’s best tea is grown in the Darjeeling district of India, seen here against the backdrop of the Himalayas.

Editor’s Note: As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we spoke with Parvez Gupta, the co-founder of Udyan Tea in Siliguri, India, to find out how he uses technology to bring the best teas to tea lovers in India and beyond. 


After working for a multinational firm in Singapore, you returned home to start a business in India. Tell us about your motivations. 

I grew up in Siliguri, which is part of the Darjeeling district of West Bengal—where the world’s finest tea is grown. I love tea and I enjoyed savoring it from a young age. Being in Siliguri, I’m at the source of tea production, and I’ve been able to use the internet to bring fresher and better teas to people everywhere.

My father was also a huge inspiration. Growing up, I saw him build multiple businesses from the ground up and he inspired me to become an entrepreneur.

Udyan tea co-founder Parvez Gupta is passionate about sharing his Darjeeling tea culture with the rest of the country and the world.

Why tea and why Udyan?

My friend, Punit Poddar, and I started Udyan Tea in 2012. Punit is also deeply passionate about tea. He has been a tea taster for the past ten years and his family have been in the tea business for more than five decades. During our travels in India, we realized there was a severe lack of good quality tea in other parts of the country. As natives of Siliguri, we expect every cup of tea to be a great one. But we discovered that most good quality tea is exported to foreign markets.

We worked together to address the gap in the domestic market — too many firms catered to demand for fine teas abroad, but not at home. So Udyan Tea was born. Udyan means “garden” and that’s what we aim to provide, the finest tea from the garden to your cup. We select the best tea based on freshness, authenticity and quality. 

Udyan co-founder and tea taster Punit Poddar hails from a family that's been in the tea business for more than 50 years.

How do you find that Google helps your business?

The internet has opened up an entire new base of consumers to businesses of every kind. Before the internet, you could only transact with local communities. Today, with e-commerce, the possibilities are limitless. We are primarily focused on the Indian market, and close to 80% of our revenue is driven from within the country.  We depend entirely on the internet for selling our products, and we rely heavily on Google search to generate traffic to our business.

AdWords has been indispensable for generating new leads for us. We also use Search, Analytics, and Google My Business. We’ve also used Translate tools to close deals with customers who do not speak English at all, which is quite amazing if you think about it. So far, we have shipped products to over 25 countries!


Can you tell us about how your business has helped your community? 

We purchase teas from a number of small growers on an ongoing basis. This helps them fetch the best prices for their teas by eliminating middlemen and contributes to their sustainability. We also serve as consultants to other tea businesses and cafes, meaning we help other companies succeed in the tea business as well!

"Udyan [उद्यान] means garden in Hindi, and that’s what we represent," explains Parvez Gupta, "tea fresh from the gardens". Find out how Udyan Tea makes use of modern technology to help bring the best teas to customers across the world.
Categories: Technology

Using TensorFlow to keep farmers happy and cows healthyUsing TensorFlow to keep farmers happy and cows healthy

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 15:20

Editor’s Note: TensorFlow, our open source machine learning library, is just that—open to anyone. Companies, nonprofits, researchers and developers have used TensorFlow in some pretty cool ways, and we’re sharing those stories here on Keyword. Today we hear from Yasir Khokhar and Saad Ansari, founders of Connecterra, who are applying machine learning to an unexpected field: dairy farming.


Connecterra means “connected earth.” We formed the company based on a simple thesis: if we could use technology to make sense of data from the natural world, then we could make a real impact in solving the pressing problems of our time.


It all started when Yasir moved to a farm in the Netherlands, near Amsterdam. We had both spent many years working in the technology industry, and realized that the dairy industry was a sector where technology could make a dramatic impact. For instance, we saw that the only difference between cows that produce 30 liters of milk a day and those that produce 10 liters was the animal’s health. We wondered—could technology make cows healthier, and in doing so, help farmers grow their businesses?


That thinking spurred us to start working weekends and evenings on what would eventually become Ida—a product that uses TensorFlow, Google’s machine learning framework, to understand and interpret the behavior of cows and give farmers insights about their herds’ health.


Ida learns patterns about a cow’s movements from a wearable sensor. We use this data to train machine learning models in TensorFlow, and ultimately, Ida can detect activities from eating, drinking, resting, fertility, temperature and more. It’s not just tracking this information, though. We use Ida to predict problems early, detecting cases like lameness or digestive disorders, and provide recommendations to farmers on how to keep their cows healthy and improve the efficiency of their farms. Using these insights, we're already seeing a 30 percent increase in dairy production on our customers’ farms.


By 2050, the world will have 9 billion people, and we need a 60 percent increase in food production to feed them. Dairy farmer assistance is just one example of how AI could be used to help solve important issues like this. And at Connecterra, by using AI to create solutions to big problems, we think technology can make a real impact.


Connecterra is using TensorFlow to help dairy farmers keep their cows healthy and farms running efficiently.
Categories: Technology

VMware puts its focus on Android enterpriseVMware puts its focus on Android enterprise

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 11:00

Over the last year, we’ve added a number of new features to Android's modern management modes to enhance security and simplify deployment for IT admins.

Our partners—leaders in the enterprise mobility ecosystem—haven’t been standing still either. We love to support and recognize the great work they’re doing to help customers adopt Android's latest capabilities.

For example, enterprise mobility management (EMM) partner VMware recently announced it’s shifting the default deployment model in the next major release of the VMware AirWatch console to Android enterprise. Customers that use AirWatch to manage their organization’s Android devices will benefit from our modern APIs that support the work profile and device owner mode.

As VMware notes on its blog, admins can trust the work profile to keep company data separate and secure on employees’ devices. Team members can turn off work apps for those times they want some work-life balance, while also gaining the assurance their personal data remains private. For companies that deploy their own devices, VMware and other partners support our strong and flexible tools for management.

We're excited to see partners like VMware help customers embrace the latest Android has to offer. For those interested, VMware has released a walkthrough guide, which is available in VMware TestDrive, that's a good place for customers to get started.

VMware’s transition to Android enterprise is a great example of how one of our partners is embracing the modern APIs and latest capabilities of our secure and flexible platform. We’re looking forward to seeing further innovations from our partners that will accelerate what businesses can accomplish with enterprise mobility.

Categories: Technology

Huawei to integrate Android Messages across their Android smartphone portfolioHuawei to integrate Android Messages across their Android smartphone portfolioHead of RCS

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 22:00

Over the coming months, Huawei will make it even easier for hundreds of millions of people to express themselves via mobile messaging by integrating Android Messages, powered by RCS, across their Android smartphone portfolio.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, Huawei devices will now offer a richer native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over Wi-Fi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on Huawei’s devices through RCS business messaging. And Huawei users will be able to make video calls directly from Android Messages through carrier ViLTE and Google Duo.

In addition, to help carriers accelerate deployment of RCS messaging across their networks, we’re collaborating with Huawei to offer the Jibe RCS cloud and hub solution to current and prospective carrier partners, as part of an integrated solution with Huawei's current infrastructure. This will enable a faster process for RCS services so more subscribers can get access to RCS messaging.

Huawei will begin integrating Android Messages across their portfolio in the coming months. For more information, see the following release.

Huawei devices will now offer a richer native messaging and communications experience, powered by RCS and Android Messages
Categories: Technology

The She Word: going behind hardware design with Ivy RossThe She Word: going behind hardware design with Ivy Ross

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 15:35

Editor’s Note: The She Word is a Keyword series all about powerful, dynamic and creative women at Google. Intrigued by the unique aesthetic of Google’s new family of hardware devices released in October, we sat down with the woman who leads the design team: Ivy Ross. In the interview below, she shares with us how she approaches design at work, and life outside of work.

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

I lead a team that creates how a Google product—including Google Home, the Pixel laptop and wearables—looks, feels and acts when you hold it in your hands.

What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?

Be fearless in using your heart and mind in what you do, and bring more beauty into the world.

Who has been a strong female influence in your life?

My daughter. Seeing the world through her eyes at various stages of her life has given me a “beginner’s mind” in much of what I do.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve always wanted to be a designer/maker. My dad, who had a big influence on me, was an industrial designer and built the house I grew up in—the house was so ahead of its time that Andy Warhol used it to shoot a movie back in the late 70’s.

When I was 12 years old, I made a dress out of chain mail metal and wore it to a bar mitzvah. I linked together thousands of metal squares that made up the dress, designed a necklace that attached to the dress, and made a purse out of the chain mail to match. Even back then, I was designing for efficiency! Instead of bringing needle and thread in case the dress ripped, I carried a screwdriver.

Ivy in her homemade dress (screwdriver not pictured). What is one habit that makes you successful?

Trusting my instincts on both people and ideas.

How is designing hardware different than designing software?

Unlike software, you can’t fix hardware through a new release or update. You need more time up front because once something is tooled, you can make very few adjustments.

What is the most important design principle for Google’s hardware?

Human. By that I mean friendly, emotionally-appealing and easy to fit into your life and your home. I believe more time we spend in front of flat screens, the more we’ll crave soft and tactile three-dimensional shapes. This is reflected in the fabric in Home Mini, Home Max and Daydream View, the texture of Pixel phones and Pixel Books, and the soft silicon pad where you rest your wrist while typing on the PixelBook.

Are there any design innovations you’re especially proud of in this year’s hardware lineup?

The way we used fabric for Home Mini was not an easy path. It required special construction to accomplish the simplicity of the form with great acoustics. Some of the things that look the simplest can actually be the hardest to construct! I’m proud that we created a beautiful group of products without sacrificing their function.

I’m proud that we created a beautiful group of products without sacrificing their function. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I don’t spend much time looking at other electronics beyond what I need to understand about the market. You can’t create anything new by only looking within your own category so I draw inspiration from art, materials, furniture, music, nature and people. My dad taught how to look at something and see more than what appears on the surface.

You're also a jewelry designer with big accomplishments at a young age. What did you learn from that?

Having gotten my work in museums around the world by age 25, I realized that life is not about the end goal, it’s about the journey and the adventure along the way with others.

Q&A with Ivy Ross, VP of Hardware Design, UX and Research.
Categories: Technology

Exploring art (through selfies) with Google Arts & CultureExploring art (through selfies) with Google Arts & Culture

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 13:50

The Google Arts & Culture platform hosts millions of artifacts and pieces of art, ranging from prehistory to the contemporary, shared by museums across the world. But the prospect of exploring all that art can be daunting. To make it easier, we dreamt up a fun solution: connect people to art by way of a fundamental artistic pursuit, the search for the self … or, in this case, the selfie.

We created an experiment that matches your selfie with art from the collections of museums on Google Arts & Culture—and over the past few days, people have taken more than 30 million selfies. Even if your art look-alike is a surprise, we hope you discover something new in the process. (By the way, Google doesn't use your selfie for anything else and only keeps it for the time it takes to search for matches.)

That’s me, Michelle, the product manager for this feature taking the last selfie in the video!

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We're so happy people are enjoying their selfie matches, but we're even happier that people haven't stopped with the selfie. They’ve jumped—face first—into the 6,000 exhibitions hosted on Google Arts & Culture, from more than 1,500 museum partners from 70 countries, to explore their artwork and learn about their stories.

Here are some of the most-visited works of art people explored while searching with their selfies:

And we hope you’ll keep exploring. There’s so much to see on Google Arts & Culture, from the annals of American Democracy and the rich history of Latino cultures in the U.S., to the wide world of Street Art and the intricacies of Japanese crafts and traditions. You can visit the rooftop of the Taj Mahal or the famous castles of France's Loire Valley or even tour the United States’ National Parks, all from a mobile device. We also recommend checking out the stories behind what you wear—this collection lets you browse more than 30,000 pieces from 3,000 years fashion history: try searching for hats and sort them by color or sort shoes by time. So cool.

At Google Arts & Culture, our software engineers are always experimenting with new and creative ways to connect you with art and culture. That’s how this selfie feature came about, too. We know there’s great demand to improve and expand the selfie-matching feature to more locations and we’ll share more news as soon as we have it. Currently it’s available for users in parts of the U.S. and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India. We’ll continue to partner with more museums to bring diverse cultures from every part of the world online (any museum can join!), so you can explore their stories and find even more portraits.

In the meantime, you can download the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS or Android and get face to face with art!

There’s more to explore beyond the selfies at Google Arts & Culture.
Categories: Technology

Bill Protection on Project Fi: data when you need it, and savings when you don’tBill Protection on Project Fi: data when you need it, and savings when you don’t

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:00

With Project Fi, we built our $10/GB “pay for what you use” pricing to put you in control of your phone plan and how much you pay for it. Today, we’re taking the next step in that journey with Bill Protection: a new take on a phone plan that combines the simplicity of our existing pricing with the flexibility of an unlimited plan.

Data when you need it

Bill Protection gives you the peace of mind to use extra data when you need it. In months when you use more than 6 GB of data, we’ll cap your charges for calls & texts plus data at $80, and allow you to continue using high speed data for free—similar to an unlimited plan. Bill Protection kicks in at different usage points based on the number of people on your plan, and you can see how it would work for your group here.

If you’re a super heavy data user, you’ll experience slower data speeds in months when you’ve consumed more than 15 GB of data (less than 1% of current Fi users today). But as always, you’ll have the power to customize your plan, and you can opt out of slower speeds by paying $10/GB for your individual data usage above 15 GB.

Never pay for data you don’t use

And here’s the kicker: with Bill Protection you’ll never have to pay for unlimited data in months when you don’t actually need it. If you only use 1.4 GB of data, at the end of the month you’ll pay just $34 instead of $80. So no matter how much data you use, you can save money with Bill Protection every month. 

All the data you need for the Project Fi perks

Finally, Bill Protection still applies to all of the Project Fi goodies you love, including high speed data in 135+ countries, and data-only SIM cards to use in your laptop, tablet or car. If you’re traveling abroad, that means you can use all of the apps you need—there’s no need to stress about the extra data.

Bill Protection begins rolling out today to individual subscribers and group plans. If you’re a current Fi subscriber, you’ll see it appear on your next billing cycle. For those not yet signed up for Fi, we’re making it easier to try it out by offering up to $120 off some of our Fi-ready phones for a limited time.

Introducing a phone plan that saves you money no matter how you use your data.
Categories: Technology

Introducing the security center for G Suite—security analytics and best practices from GoogleIntroducing the security center for G Suite—security analytics and best practices from Google

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:00

We want to make it easy for you to manage your organization’s data security. A big part of this is making sure you and your admins can access a bird’s eye view of your security—and, more importantly, that you can take action based on timely insights.

Today, we’re introducing the security center for G Suite, a tool that brings together security analytics, actionable insights and best practice recommendations from Google to empower you to protect your organization, data and users.

With the security center, key executives and admins can do things like:

1. See a snapshot of important security metrics in one place. 

Get insights into suspicious device activity, visibility into how spam and malware are targeting users within your organization and metrics to demonstrate security effectiveness—all in a unified dashboard.

2. Stay ahead of potential threats. 

Admins can now examine security analytics to flag threats. For example, your team can have visibility into which users are being targeted by phishing so that you can head off potential attacks, or when Google Drive files trigger DLP rules, you have a heads up to avoid risking data exfiltration.

3. Reduce risk by adopting security health recommendations.

Security health analyzes your existing security posture and gives you customized advice to secure your users and data. These recommendations cover issues ranging from how your data is stored, to how your files are shared, as well as recommendations on mobility and communications settings.  

Get started

More than 3.5 million organizations rely on G Suite to collaborate securely. If you’re a G Suite Enterprise customer, you’ll be able to access the security center within the Admin console automatically in the next few days. These instructions can help admins get started and here are some security best practices to keep in mind.

If you’re new to G Suite, learn more about about how you can collaborate, store and communicate securely.

A new way to keep track of your data security.
Categories: Technology

Cloud AutoML: Making AI accessible to every businessCloud AutoML: Making AI accessible to every business

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:00

When we both joined Google Cloud just over a year ago, we embarked on a mission to democratize AI. Our goal was to lower the barrier of entry and make AI available to the largest possible community of developers, researchers and businesses.

Our Google Cloud AI team has been making good progress towards this goal. In 2017, we introduced Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine, to help developers with machine learning expertise easily build ML models that work on any type of data, of any size. We showed how modern machine learning services, i.e., APIs—including Vision, Speech, NLP, Translation and Dialogflow—could be built upon pre-trained models to bring unmatched scale and speed to business applications. Kaggle, our community of data scientists and ML researchers, has grown to more than one million members. And today, more than 10,000 businesses are using Google Cloud AI services, including companies like Box, Rolls Royce Marine, Kewpie and Ocado.

But there’s much more we can do. Currently, only a handful of businesses in the world have access to the talent and budgets needed to fully appreciate the advancements of ML and AI. There’s a very limited number of people that can create advanced machine learning models. And if you’re one of the companies that has access to ML/AI engineers, you still have to manage the time-intensive and complicated process of building your own custom ML model. While Google has offered pre-trained machine learning models via APIs that perform specific tasks, there's still a long road ahead if we want to bring AI to everyone.

To close this gap, and to make AI accessible to every business, we’re introducing Cloud AutoML. Cloud AutoML helps businesses with limited ML expertise start building their own high-quality custom models by using advanced techniques like learning2learn and transfer learning from Google. We believe Cloud AutoML will make AI experts even more productive, advance new fields in AI and help less-skilled engineers build powerful AI systems they previously only dreamed of.

Our first Cloud AutoML release will be Cloud AutoML Vision, a service that makes it faster and easier to create custom ML models for image recognition. Its drag-and-drop interface lets you easily upload images, train and manage models, and then deploy those trained models directly on Google Cloud. Early results using Cloud AutoML Vision to classify popular public datasets like ImageNet and CIFAR have shown more accurate results with fewer misclassifications than generic ML APIs.

Here’s a little more on what Cloud AutoML Vision has to offer:

  • Increased accuracy: Cloud AutoML Vision is built on Google’s leading image recognition approaches, including transfer learning and neural architecture search technologies. This means you’ll get a more accurate model even if your business has limited machine learning expertise.

  • Faster turnaround time to production-ready models: With Cloud AutoML, you can create a simple model in minutes to pilot your AI-enabled application, or build out a full, production-ready model in as little as a day.

  • Easy to use: AutoML Vision provides a simple graphical user interface that lets you specify data, then turns that data into a high quality model customized for your specific needs.

AutoML ×

Urban Outfitters is constantly looking for new ways to enhance our customers’ shopping experience," says Alan Rosenwinkel, Data Scientist at URBN. "Creating and maintaining a comprehensive set of product attributes is critical to providing our customers relevant product recommendations, accurate search results and helpful product filters; however, manually creating product attributes is arduous and time-consuming. To address this, our team has been evaluating Cloud AutoML to automate the product attribution process by recognizing nuanced product characteristics like patterns and neckline styles. Cloud AutoML has great promise to help our customers with better discovery, recommendation and search experiences."

Mike White, CTO and SVP, for Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, says: “Cloud AutoML’s technology is helping us build vision models to annotate our products with Disney characters, product categories and colors. These annotations are being integrated into our search engine to enhance the impact on Guest experience through more relevant search results, expedited discovery and product recommendations on shopDisney.”

And Sophie Maxwell, Conservation Technology Lead at the Zoological Society of London, tells us: "ZSL is an international conservation charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. A key requirement to deliver on this mission is to track wildlife populations to learn more about their distribution and better understand the impact humans are having on these species. In order to achieve this, ZSL has deployed a series of camera traps in the wild that take pictures of passing animals when triggered by heat or motion. The millions of images captured by these devices are then manually analysed and annotated with the relevant species, such as elephants, lions and giraffes, etc., which is a labour-intensive and expensive process. ZSL’s dedicated Conservation Technology Unit has been collaborating closely with Google’s Cloud ML team to help shape the development of this exciting technology, which ZSL aims to use to automate the tagging of these images—cutting costs, enabling wider-scale deployments and gaining a deeper understanding of how to conserve the world’s wildlife effectively."

If you’re interested in trying out AutoML Vision, you can request access via this form.

AutoML Vision is the result of our close collaboration with Google Brain and other Google AI teams, and is the first of several Cloud AutoML products in development. While we’re still at the beginning of our journey to make AI more accessible, we’ve been deeply inspired by what our 10,000+ customers using Cloud AI products have been able to achieve. We hope the release of Cloud AutoML will help even more businesses discover what’s possible through AI.

ReferencesTo make AI accessible to every business, we’re introducing Cloud AutoML, which helps businesses with limited ML expertise start building their own high-quality custom models with advanced techniques like learning2learn and transfer learning from Google.
Categories: Technology

A new pathway to roles in IT SupportA new pathway to roles in IT SupportProduct Lead

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 09:00

Today, we’re launching the Google IT Support Professional Certificate hosted on Coursera—a first-of-its-kind online program to prepare people for roles in IT support. With no previous experience required, beginning learners can become entry-level job ready in eight to 12 months. This program is part of Grow with Google, our initiative to help people get the skills they need to find a job.


There’s no better example of a dynamic, fast-growing field than IT support. With more and more people relying on computers for some part of their work, growth in IT support is outpacing the average rate for all other occupations. In the United States alone, there are currently 150,000 open IT support jobs (according to Burning Glass), and the average starting salary is $52,000 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  

I helped hire Google’s IT staff for several years when I led our internal IT support program; it was often challenging to find qualified candidates. But I knew that candidates didn't need traditional four-year college degrees to be qualified—and also found that IT was very teachable. So in 2014 we partnered with the nonprofit organization Year Up to create a program aimed at training and hiring non-traditional talent for IT support internships and full-time roles. The program was a success, and its graduates inspired us to think about how we could make a bigger impact beyond Google. Watch the story of one of our program graduates, Edgar Barragan:

Edgar Barragan: IT Support Specialist ×

Now we’re using the training we implemented at Google as the basis of a new program available to anyone, anywhere, as part of the Grow with Google initiative. No tech experience or college degree is necessary.


With over 64 hours of video lessons and a dynamic mix of hands-on labs and other interactive assessments, all developed by Googlers, this certificate program introduces people to troubleshooting and customer service, networking, operating systems, system administration, automation, and security—all the fundamentals of IT support. Throughout the program, people will hear directly from Googlers whose own foundation in IT support served as a jumping-off point for their careers.


Since we know training is just the first step, we also want to help with the next one—the job search. Once people complete the certificate, they can opt in to share their information directly with top employers, including Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, PNC Bank, Infosys, TEKsystems, UPMC, and of course, Google, all who are looking to hire IT support talent.


To ensure job seekers from all backgrounds have access to the program, we’re subsidizing the cost of the certificate on Coursera to $49/month and providing financial support to more than 10,000 learners in the United States. Need-based scholarships, funded by Google.org grants, will be offered through leading nonprofits focused on underrepresented communities including Year Up, Per Scholas, Goodwill, Student Veterans of America, and Upwardly Global. Full financial assistance is also available to those who qualify.  


You can find out more and enroll at the Google IT Support page on Coursera.


I’ve seen firsthand how educational opportunities can transform people’s careers and lives. By making the Google IT Support Professional Certificate accessible on Coursera, we hope to open the door for everyone to begin a career in technology.

The IT Support Professional Certificate program on Coursera helps prepare people for roles in IT support.
Categories: Technology

Expanding our global infrastructure with new regions and subsea cablesExpanding our global infrastructure with new regions and subsea cablesVP, 24x7

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 08:00

At Google, we've spent $30 billion improving our infrastructure over three years, and we’re not done yet. From data centers to subsea cables, Google is committed to connecting the world and serving our Cloud customers, and today we’re excited to announce that we’re adding three new submarine cables, and five new regions.

We’ll open our Netherlands and Montreal regions in the first quarter of 2018, followed by Los Angeles, Finland, and Hong Kong – with more to come. Then, in 2019 we’ll commission three subsea cables: Curie, a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles; Havfrue, a consortium cable connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam Cable system (HK-G), a consortium cable interconnecting major subsea communication hubs in Asia.  

Together, these investments further improve our network—the world’s largest—which by some accounts delivers 25% of worldwide internet traffic. Companies like PayPal leverage our network and infrastructure to run their businesses effectively.

“At PayPal, we process billions of transactions across the globe, and need to do so securely, instantaneously and economically. As a result, security, networking and infrastructure were key considerations for us when choosing a cloud provider,” said Sri Shivananda, PayPal’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “With Google Cloud, we have access to the world’s largest network, which helps us reach our infrastructure goals and best serve our millions of users.”

Figure 1. Diagram shows existing GCP regions and upcoming GCP regions Figure 2. Diagram shows three new subsea cable investments, expanding capacity to Chile, Asia Pacific and across the Atlantic Curie cable

Our investment in the Curie cable (named after renowned scientist Marie Curie) is part of our ongoing commitment to improve global infrastructure. In 2008, we were the first tech company to invest in a subsea cable as a part of a consortium. With Curie, we become the first major non-telecom company to build a private intercontinental cable.

By deploying our own private subsea cable, we help improve global connectivity while providing value to our customers. Owning the cable ourselves has some distinct benefits. Since we control the design and construction process, we can fully define the cable’s technical specifications, streamline deployment and deliver service to users and customers faster. Also, once the cable is deployed, we can make routing decisions that optimize for latency and availability.

Curie will be the first subsea cable to land in Chile in almost 20 years. Once deployed, Curie will be Chile’s largest single data pipe. It will serve Google users and customers across Latin America.

Havfrue cable

To increase capacity and resiliency in our North Atlantic systems, we’re working with Facebook, Aqua Comms and Bulk Infrastructure to build a direct submarine cable system connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland. This cable, called Havfrue (Danish for “mermaid”), will be built by TE SubCom and is expected to come online by the end of 2019. The marine route survey, during which the supplier determines the specific route the cable will take, is already underway.

HK-G cableIn the Pacific, we’re working with RTI-C and NEC on the Hong Kong-Guam cable system. Together with Indigo and other existing subsea systems, this cable creates multiple scalable, diverse paths to Australia, increasing our resilience in the Pacific. As a result, customers will experience improved capacity and latency from Australia to major hubs in Asia. It will also increase our network capacity at our new Hong Kong region.

Figure 3. A complete list of Google’s subsea cable investments. New cables in this announcement are highlighted yellow. Google subsea cables provide reliability, speed and security not available from any other cloud.

Google has direct investment in 11 cables, including those planned or under construction. The three cables highlighted in yellow are being announced in this blog post. (In addition to these 11 cables where Google has direct ownership, we also lease capacity on numerous additional submarine cables.)

What does this mean for our customers?

These new investments expand our existing cloud network. The Google network has over 100 points of presence (map) and over 7,500 edge caching nodes (map). This investment means faster and more reliable connectivity for all our users.

Simply put, it wouldn’t be possible to deliver products like Machine Learning Engine, Spanner, BigQuery and other Google Cloud Platform and G Suite services at the quality of service users expect without the Google network. Our cable systems provide the speed, capacity and reliability Google is known for worldwide, and at Google Cloud, our customers are able to to make use of the same network infrastructure that powers Google’s own services.

While we haven’t hastened the speed of light, we have built a superior cloud network as a result of the well-provisioned direct paths between our cloud and end-users, as shown in the figure below.

Figure 4. The Google network offers better reliability, speed and security performance as compared with the nondeterministic performance of the public internet, or other cloud networks. The Google network consists of fiber optic links and subsea cables between 100+ points of presence, 7500+ edge node locations, 90+ Cloud CDN  locations, 47 dedicated interconnect locations and 15 GCP regions.

We’re excited about these improvements. We're increasing our commitment to ensure users have the best connections in this increasingly connected world.

Today we’re excited to announce that Google Cloud is adding three new submarine cables, and five new regions.
Categories: Technology

Eight things you need to know about Hash Code 2018Eight things you need to know about Hash Code 2018

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 04:00

Are you up for a coding challenge? Team up to solve an engineering problem from Google—registration for Hash Code 2018 is now open.  

Hash Code is Google’s flagship team programming competition for students and professionals in  Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. You pick your team and programming language, we pick a Google engineering problem for you to solve. Thinking about competing in Hash Code? Here’s what you need to know before you sign up:

1. This is the fifth edition of Hash Code. Hash Code started in 2014 with just 200 participants. We’ve grown a bit since the early days—last year more than 26,000 developers teamed up to compete from 100+ countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

2. Problems are modeled after Google engineering challenges. We want participants to experience what software engineering is like at Google, so we model Hash Code problems after challenges faced by Google engineering teams. Past problems have included optimizing video serving on YouTube, routing Street View cars through a busy city, and optimizing the layout of a Google data center.  

3. You compete in a small team (just like engineers at Google!). To compete in Hash Code, you need to form a team of two to four people. This means it’s not just about what you know individually, but about how you and your team can work together to tackle the problem.

4. Hash Code kicks off with an Online Qualification Round on Thursday, March 1. It all starts with a YouTube livestream at 18:30 CET sharp, after which the problem is released and teams have four hours to code. 

5. Hubs add extra excitement to the Online Qualification Round. Hubs are meetups where teams in the same area can come together to compete in the Online Qualification Round. They’re also a great opportunity for you to connect with other developers in your community. More than 300 hubs have been registered so far, and it’s not too late to organize a hub if there isn’t one near you already.

Some competitors having fun at a few of the hubs during the 2017 Hash Code Online Qualification Round. 6. The Final Round will be held at Google Dublin. Top teams from the Online Qualification Round will be invited to our European Headquarters in April to vie for the title of Hash Code 2018 Champion.

7. It's a competition—but it's also about having fun! As Ingrid von Glehn, a software engineer at Google London who is part of the Hash Code organizing team, puts it: “We design the problems to be challenging, but not intimidating. It’s important to us that everyone has fun while taking part.” 

Join in on all the fun online through our Facebook event and G+ community, using the #hashcode tag. These channels are also great spaces to connect with other engineers and find team members.

8. You can register todayReady to accept the challenge? Be sure to sign up before registration closes on February 26.

*Featured image: Teams hard at work tackling our wireless router placement problem during 2017’s Final Round in Paris. 

Are you up for a coding challenge? Team up to solve an engineering problem from Google. Registration for Hash Code 2018 is now open at g.co/hashcode.
Categories: Technology
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