Field Trips to our National ParksField Trips to our National Parks

GoogleBlog - 3 hours 35 min ago

The national parks are our shared cultural inheritance, passed on from generation to generation for all Americans to enjoy. We believe everyone should have access to these national treasures, which is why we’ve worked to bring the National Parks online with Google Maps, make National Park Service historical artifacts accessible via Google Arts & Culture and created a National Parks immersive documentary.

Today we’re also announcing our sponsorship of the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids Initiative, providing funding to enable roughly 1,700 children  to attend immersive education programming at national parks across the country - many experiencing a national park for the first time. Through our Field Trip Days program, we’ve sent more than 150,000 under-resourced students to museums, science centers, planetariums, and aquariums.

We’ve made it a priority to help students discover the world using technology like Google Expeditions that enable classrooms to travel to places a school bus can’t reach via virtual reality. And through this sponsorship, we take an additional step forward in supporting outdoor education by helping students experience parks in person across the country. We’re proud to support the National Park Service, especially during this centennial anniversary year and give students the opportunity to explore their cultural inheritance online and in person.

The sponsorship was announced by Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of Interior over the weekend at a “Campout” on the Google Kirkland campus, hosted in partnership with the  Department of Interior as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative and the YMCA. The campout was complete with s’mores and outdoor educational programing from the Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, REI and former grantee NatureBridge, who will help us to facilitate many of the Field Trip Days across the country.

We hope that programs like these inspire more students to visit our parks in the future and protect them for years to come.

Our latest effort to provide field trips to National Parks for students from underserved communities in partnership with the Open Outdoors for Kids initiative.
Categories: Technology

Android Pay partners with Visa and Mastercard to bring simple checkout to more places onlineAndroid Pay partners with Visa and Mastercard to bring simple checkout to more places onlineGlobal Head of Payment Products

GoogleBlog - 6 hours 5 min ago

Today, Google announces strategic partnerships with Visa and Mastercard to bring Android Pay to more places on the mobile web.

Android Pay users will soon be able to pay on hundreds of thousands of new sites where Visa Checkout or Masterpass are accepted using their preferred device authentication method - like fingerprint recognition. No longer will users have to remember multiple usernames and passwords in order to checkout, saving them time and hassle.

Visa Checkout and Masterpass users who link their accounts with Android Pay can look forward to easy and secure payments in stores and online with a simple tap.

Android Pay’s open platform also makes the payment integration easy for merchants and developers. Merchants who have enabled Visa Checkout or Masterpass on their sites will instantly benefit from these enhanced payment experiences as the buttons will update automatically. And just as apps such as Fancy and Luxe have seen with Android Pay, these merchants can look forward to faster checkout times, fewer abandoned carts, higher conversions and increased sales.

This latest partnership with Visa and Mastercard is an example of how Android Pay can work with partners’ existing solutions to improve the payments experience for users and merchants alike.

Look for the new integrations with Visa Checkout and Masterpass within the Android Pay app in early 2017.

Google announces strategic partnerships with Visa and Mastercard to bring Android Pay to more places on the mobile web.
Categories: Technology

Disable Comments for a Single WordPress Entry?

AskDaveTaylor - 7 hours 3 min ago

Let’s start with the good news. Yes, you can disable comments on an individual article in WordPress. The wrinkle is that in the world of WordPress your question is actually asking about two very different things: A “page” in WordPress is a post that’s generally not one that has comments anyway and is more akin to your About page or similar. An “entry” is what I think you’re talking about, and that’s a regular web page, uh, blog entry where you write your piece, post it, and then people can leave comments. (and see, even in that sentence it’s hard not to mix up “page” and “entry”)

What I’m going to demonstrate is how you can both disable comments entirely so that they don’t even show up or you can simply stop new comments from being posted even as any existing comments remain displayed on the page, umm, entry in question.

To start, here’s a typical comment field from this WordPress blog entry here at AskDaveTaylor. Pretty standard stuff:

If an entry has comments, this appears after the comments other people have left. If there are none, it appears standalone.

To disable or prevent future comments, you’ll need to log in to the administrative backend of your WordPress blog. Find the blog post entry in question, then click on “Screen Options” near the very top of the screen. It’ll open up and show you all the different sections you can have included in the edit view:

Here’s where you’ll need to decide whether you want all comments + comment entry box to vanish or whether you want to simply hide the new comment box. In the first case, make sure that the “Comments” box is checked, but in the latter case, it’s “Discussion” that you need to make visible (as highlighted). Why are these two different boxes? Not sure, actually. But so it goes…

Click on “Screen Options” to close this panel and scroll down: the new box or boxes should already have shown up. Here’s “Comments”:

Want to get rid of all comments and prevent future comments? Check “Hide comments.” and it’ll be done as soon as you click “Update” on this entry.

But on the page I’m looking at, I want to keep the comments people have left, I just don’t want any new comments added. That’s where “Discussion” is more appropriate, as you can see:

Easy enough, uncheck “Allow comments” and when you click “Update” the entry will be updated so that any comments added to date are shown, but the new comment box is just mysteriously missing in action:

Notice in the above that it goes straight from comments posted to the copyright at the very bottom of the page. No comment entry box = no additional comments on this page.

Surprisingly, it’s easily done once you know the difference in WordPress between “Comments” and “Discussion”.

The post Disable Comments for a Single WordPress Entry? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

High heels, high culture and high ambitions: YouTube Stars in BrusselsHigh heels, high culture and high ambitions: YouTube Stars in Brussels

GoogleBlog - 10 hours 5 min ago

For over a decade now, people around the world have been using YouTube to tell their own stories, in their own words. It’s the perfect medium for passion and performance.

Cirque du Soleil demonstrated their skills on stage

So, to celebrate our YouTube stars across Europe, we invited them to participate in Europe on Stage — a talent-show-meets-viral-video mashup. YouTubers came together last Wednesday at Brussels’ BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, where France’s Yanis Marshall — who got his first big break through YouTube — got the evening off to a high-octane start with one of his dance team’s legendary high-heel routines. Cirque du Soleil enthralled the audience with contortionism, juggling and beat-boxing: It’s no surprise that their channel has over 34 million views.

Louise Pentland — aka SprinkleofGlitter — told her stories about meeting the Pope and becoming a UN Gender Equality Ambassador. The Chopin Institute’s Artur Szklener explained how, thanks to YouTube, Chopin beat shopping in searches in Asia during the international piano competition.

And Italy’s Rockin’ 1000 nearly brought the house down. A 1000-person ensemble that began as a joke to convince the Foo Fighters to play in Fabio Zaffagnini’s hometown Cesena, they took the stage with their loud and proud version of “Rebel Rebel”.

Commissioner Christos Stylianides spoke about the power of arts and culture

There were some quieter, more reflective moments as well. European Commissioner Christos Stylianides spoke about the EU’s response to the refugee crisis, and the vital importance of culture for Europe’s future. His words were followed by a deeply moving musical performance from members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians. Earlier this year, YouTube livestreamed a performance by this talented group, who’d been working with Damon Albarn and Africa Express before being scattered by war. By coming together to perform, they celebrated a proud culture that refuses to be silenced, sharing their stories of exile and loss.

Europe’s diversity is its strength, and the evening’s range of acts highlighted that. Europeans use the platform to speak to audiences both at home and abroad. There are hundreds of European creators earning six figures a year from their videos, and this revenue is increasing over 50% year-on-year. Around a quarter of YouTube’s global watch time is of European channels, which makes it a powerful tool for exporting the continent’s culture.

YouTube is also a powerful tool for bringing out the best in people. We’ve launched the Creators for Change initiative, offering new resources and grants to help counter hate speech. And YouTubers have joined forces under #NichtEgal, a movement dedicated to unite Germans in countering hate online.

We are proud to celebrate the creativity that brings together diverse cultures, identities and languages on our platform. A huge thank you to everyone who celebrated with us at last week’s event.To celebrate our YouTube stars across Europe, we invited them to participate in Europe on Stage — a talent-show-meets-viral-video mashup.
Categories: Technology

Bring developers together for Hash Code 2017Bring developers together for Hash Code 2017

GoogleBlog - 15 hours 5 min ago

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an engineer at Google?

Now’s your chance to satisfy your curiosity by volunteering to host a Hash Code hub at your university, office or any local co-working space. Hash Code, a team-based programming competition, tasks university students and professionals across Europe, the Middle East and Africa with solving a real Google engineering problem. And we’re looking for developers to help bring the excitement to their own communities in February 2017. Are you up for the challenge?

Last year, 17,000 students and professionals from more than 90 countries teamed up to optimize drone delivery schedules for Hash Code’s Online Qualification Round. While teams can compete from wherever they’d like to, many opted to join in from one of the 300+ hubs organized by fellow developers (where, it’s safe to say, they had even more fun).

Teams work together to schedule satellite operations during the 2016 Final Round at Google Paris.

Laco Pápay organized the hub at his university in Bratislava last year (and is now a Googler based in Zurich). “Before the competition started, we had a lot of fun with set-up: decorating the room, taking pictures for the hub photo contest,” he said. “When the problem was announced and people sat down to work, the fun continued. Competing against teams on a scoreboard is great, but it’s even more exciting if the teams you’re up against are sitting just one desk over.”

The Online Qualification Round for 2017 will take place on February 23, 2017. From there, the top 50 teams will be invited to Google Paris for the Final Round on April 1.

If you think you might want to host a hub, find out more and sign up on our site. If you’re not able to host but would like to compete, you can be among the first to know when registration opens in December.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an engineer at Google? Now’s your chance to satisfy your curiosity by volunteering to host a Hash Code hub at your university, office or any local co-working space.
Categories: Technology

Up To Speed with the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM Wi-Fi Router

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 11:35

Most companies that make routers and wi-fi base stations seem to think that everyone who installs it is a closet geek, eager to figure out network masks, DNS server IP addresses and lots of other weird, obscure bits of data. And the risks are high: enter any of them incorrectly and you’ll be offline and scratching your head as to what’s wrong. Linksys, however, has been delivering consumer level routers for years that offer easy setup, and this latest device might have a barrel full of acronyms associated with it, but the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router is pretty astonishing, both in how super easy it is to set up, and how all different techs work together to deliver a faster home network with zero effort.

As Linksys explains it: “The WRT3200ACM Router is powered by Tri-Stream 160 technology, which doubles the bandwidth on all spatial streams for the fastest dual-band router on the market.”

There’s a lot of smarts inside the device too, including an impressive 1.8Ghz CPU for super fast performance, along with 512MB of RAM and 256MB of flash memory. Heck, that’s not a bad computer configuration.

Here’s a closeup of the front of this unit, a standard Linksys “blade” design in black and blue:

As you can see, there are four antenna to ensure you can fine tune the coverage “bubble” for your own home setup to ensure that you have the best possible coverage. In my house, this signal was super strong even in the furthest reaches of the basement and backyard.

The back shows the solid compliment of ports available:

Notice that in addition to four Ethernet plugs there’s also a USB 3.0 port and another eSATA plug. Why? Because you can easily hook up an external hard drive and use it as a Network Access Storage (NAS) server for network backups. Using a network backup device on your home network is not just super helpful, it’s smart insurance too, and I highly recommend you get one up and running ASAP.

But what about setup? The unit comes with a small card that lists its default name (once plugged in) and default password. Plug it in, power it up, and after a moment or two it’ll show up as a Wi-Fi option. Select it and you’ll be prompted for a password, as always:

Now, as the card instructs, open your browser and go to and you’ve done all the hard work. Really. Here’s what you see:

Not too difficult. If you are a geek, notice the “Manual configuration” option on the lower left. But for the rest of us? Click on “Next” to proceed.

The next screen has something that’s quite important:

You most definitely want to keep that box checked. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly important that you make sure that you have good passwords on your router and other network access points to thwart hackers adding you to what’s called a botnet, and an important piece of this is to also ensure that your router software is always up-to-date.

Next you can change the name of your router (e.g., your network) and set up a password for your network:

I’m just using demo passwords for these screen captures, but you get the idea. Make your network name fun or interesting or memorable, then make sure you have a complex password that’s easy to share with friends but impossible to guess or crack. Always include upper and lower case letters, a digit or two and some punctuation. (my example above is missing a digit).

Once you’ve renamed your network, you’ll have to reconnect to it on your computer, but that’s easy enough. And you do remember the password you just specified, right?

Categories: Technology

Can I turn off or ignore Facebook photo updates?

AskDaveTaylor - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:39

First off, good on you for continuing to read and comment on political posts on Facebook. Quite honestly, I suspect that the number of people who are unfriending each other is skyrocketing as we come into the last few weeks before the presidential election. Will everyone re-friend each other afterwards? Maybe, maybe not. I know I have at least one friend who swears that he has no interest in being friends with anyone who can support the “other” candidate, so maybe we’re just seeing a massive redefinition of the social graph around politics?

In any case, yes, you can definitely control what you get notifications about, whether you like, comment or even have posted a particular photo or status update. Facebook isn’t quite that aggressive that it forces updates into your newsfeed, like ’em or not!

What’s surprising is that the process is pretty darn similar whether you’re using Facebook through a Web browser or a mobile app. I’ll show you the process with both so you can see what I mean.

To start, the iPhone-based Facebook app has a Notifications view that’s the easiest place to turn off notifications for a photo or update you’ve been tagged in, have commented upon, or even posted originally. Here’s my Notifications view in the Facebook app on my Apple iPhone 7:

Obviously, it’s just the first one we want to pay attention to, so read it closely and you’ll see that it’s notifying me that other people have commented on a photo I was tagged in. I haven’t commented, it’s not even my photo. Uh, no thanks.

To disable notifications for this photo — and know that the person posting never gets any indication you’ve muted them! — swipe the notification in question to the left…

Two buttons show up! It’s a miracle!

Ah, well, not really. But tap on “More” to see what’s revealed in the Facebook app:

Well there ya go! Tap on “Turn off notifications about this photo” (or however it’s worded for your specific scenario) and you’re done!

That’s how you solve the problem on your mobile smartphone device, but Facebook on your computer is a separate world, so you’ll need to turn it off on the Web interface too, believe it or not!

On the Web interface, there’s a pop-up menu that shows you all the notifications on Facebook. In that, you’ll see entries like the following notification associated with others commenting on the photo I’m tagged in:

Again, there’s a secret to this! Move your cursor over an entry in the Notifications window and two buttons magically appear:

See ’em? The downward triangle and the dot. Click on the downward triangle icon…

There it is, that “Turn off notifications about this photo” choice. Choose it. Done.

Now, while we’re talking about Facebook, have you “liked” me there? Please do: Ask Dave Taylor on Facebook.

The post Can I turn off or ignore Facebook photo updates? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

San Diego Unified School District designs today’s classroom for tomorrow’s workplaceSan Diego Unified School District designs today’s classroom for tomorrow’s workplace

GoogleBlog - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 11:30

Editor’s note: San Diego Unified School District has more than 132,000 students across 226 schools. They’re about to embark on what will soon be one of the largest 1:1 Chromebook programs for a school district. Leading the charge is Cindy Marten, superintendent of San Diego Unified School District. We’re proud to work with San Diego Unified School District  on this journey and excited about what’s to come.

At San Diego Unified School District  it’s our mission to prepare our students, who represent more than 180 countries and 60 spoken languages, for the competitive global economy, and we believe that integrating technology into the classroom is a core part of these efforts. To ensure students graduate with the skills, motivation and curiosity to thrive in the workplace of the future we’ve launched a over 47,000 Chromebooks and G Suite for Education, including Google Classroom, district-wide to give all students access to collaborative technology both in the classroom and at home.

A new way to evaluate classroom tech

The innovation technology team at San Diego Unified School District, lead by Dan Stoneman, our chief innovation officer, created a 178-point rubric for evaluating classroom technology. The team created the rubric with careful attention to the skills we believe will be important in the future workplace — namely, the skills to collaborate effectively and work in the cloud. It’s crucial to reinforce these skills by providing access to technology in the classroom. Many of our students don’t have computers or internet at home. We believe that this program will level the playing field and prepare all of our students for the future workplace. This is why a total of 43 of our schools will be 1:1 with Chromebooks by the end of the year, giving over 16,000 students the ability to use them at home and in the classroom.

Our district saved nearly $10 million by choosing Chromebooks for our 1:1 roll-out. Chromebooks are less expensive than other devices on the market, but they are much more reliable. This has made it possible for us to both save money on purchasing new devices as well as invest in devices that will last longer. The money we’ve spent goes much further now that we’re using more affordable devices. This enables us to ensure that every student has a working device that’s up to date with the latest software.

Our district saved nearly $10 million by choosing Chromebooks for our 1:1 roll-out. Cindy Marten Superintendent, San Diego Unified School An elementary school student shows her father a class project on her Chromebook Building skills for the future

We’re seeing the impact of Chromebooks and G Suite for Education at schools like Jefferson Elementary, which launched 147 Chromebooks for use in the classroom at the start of this school year. We wanted to see students learning to collaborate in the cloud, socialize online and work simultaneously on projects in Google Docs. These tasks require a great amount of critical thinking and communication skills and even though we’re only a month into the school year, we’re starting to see positive results.

For example, in Lisa Martin’s fourth grade class students are using Chromebooks to work together on projects that teach communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills. At the beginning of the school year, students interviewed their peers, wrote profiles in Docs, and worked in group settings to share and edit their drafts.

Lisa is now seeing students learn how to relate to others both personally and professionally. In her own words, “The students aren’t just learning from me, they’re learning from each other. I have been able to step back and become a better facilitator,” she says.

Inspiring more confident, engaged students

Teachers report that students are showing more confidence in the classroom. This is especially true for students who struggle with reading and writing and those who speak English as a second language. “Many students struggle with handwriting assignments, but when you give them a computer, they can focus on the work and show their thinking,” says Jon Kevorkian, a fourth grade teacher at Jefferson.

We’re particularly thrilled by students’ enthusiasm about using technology. “I run the after school Maker club, and the students often bring their Chromebooks to show me the work they’re doing in class” says Dorothy Dunham, a fourth grade teacher at Jefferson. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. The students would rather work on Chromebooks than play with legos after school.”

Our administrative team is excited about these early results and we’re looking forward to seeing the overall impact across the district. Our Chromebook program is helping us achieve our mission: for all students in our diverse community to graduate with the skills, motivation and curiosity to thrive in the workplace of the future.

San Diego Unified School District in California is launching one of the largest 1:1 Chromebook programs in the U.S. The superintendent of the district, Cindy Marten, discusses why her team of educators sees investing in technology as an investment in their students.
Categories: Technology

How do I transfer Google Maps directions to my phone?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 10/20/2016 - 10:29

You’re spot on, and transferring directions – whether driving, walking or taking the bus – is a feature that works with both Apple Maps to iPhones and Google Maps to either iPhones or Android phones. And the great bonus? It’s really easy to do. Let’s focus on Google Maps and the iPhone, since that’s the specific configuration you ask about. The first step is to ensure that you have the Google Maps app on your iPhone: without it, you’re going to be out of luck!

Then you’ll want to go to Google Maps and create some sort of driving, walking, or public transport directions. Or, I suppose, bicycle directions if you’re so inclined. Since I’m on the road this week, the timing’s good since I need some directions too, from Bozeman, Montana to Kalispell, Montana.

As you undoubtedly know, a click on the blue diamond icon to the right of the search box brings up the directions box:

Click in the starting point box you can choose “My location” for your current location.

Then for the destination, just start typing and Google will offer hints and suggestions:

In this instance, there are actually three different routes between the two cities, as Google shows:

Once a specific path is selected (I’ll use the first one, via MT-83 N since it’s shortest) details of the route are shown:

305 miles. A fair amount of driving! Now, to get it to your iPhone — or whatever kind of phone you have — simply click on the tiny phone icon with the arrow just to the right of the directions summary. Here’s a close-up:

Bit easier to see, yes?

Categories: Technology

Android Pay says “Nei hou” to Hong KongAndroid Pay says “Nei hou” to Hong KongGlobal Head of Payment Products

GoogleBlog - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 16:00

Whether you’re heading out to buy groceries, grabbing a cup of coffee, or picking up some egg tarts for your family and friends, now your Android phone is all you need as you walk out the door. Starting today, Android Pay is available in Hong Kong to help you speed through purchases in stores and in apps. 

Hongkongers can now use Android Pay at over 5,000 locations in Hong Kong where contactless payments are accepted, including stores such as at 7-Eleven, Circle K, Fortress, Mannings, Maxim’s Cakes, MX, McDonald’s, Pacific Coffee, PARKnSHOP, SmarTone, Watsons, Wellcome and more. Android Pay also stores your gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers right on your phone.

Android Pay can also help you breeze through checkout in your favorite apps, including Boutir Collect, Deliveroo, Kaligo, Klook, Snaptee, and coming soon, Uber and more. Just look for the Android Pay button, and say goodbye to entering your payment and address details each time you buy.

To get started, download the app from Google Play. It’s available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled, supporting Google Play Services, and running on KitKat 4.4 or higher. Android Pay works with MasterCard and Visa cards from BEA, DBS, Dah Sing Bank, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong. You can add multiple cards (there’s no limit to how many you can add) and select which card you want to use before you pay, so you can always enjoy the best deals available.

Merchants, want to accept Android Pay?

As an open platform, Android Pay is available to merchants that want to push mobile payments forward. In-store merchants can access the Android Pay Merchant Help Centre or reach out to acquirer partners such as DBS, First Data and Hang Seng to learn more about accepting contactless payments.

For online merchants, just visit the Android Pay API developer site to learn how to accept Android Pay in your app. We’re working with payment processors such as: Adyen, Braintree, First Data, Global Payments, Stripe and Worldpay to make enabling Android Pay in Hong Kong simple and easy.

Get started with Android Pay in Hong Kong today: Download from Google Play, add your card and start tapping and shopping!

Starting today, Android Pay is available in Hong Kong to help you speed through purchases in stores and in apps.
Categories: Technology

New time-saving features in G Suite for EducationNew time-saving features in G Suite for EducationProduct Manager

GoogleBlog - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 13:00

G Suite for Education helps students move from collecting ideas to creating projects and papers as quickly and easily as possible. Google Docs achieves this by facilitating collaboration, making it easy to work on any device, and weaving in machine intelligence to handle the more mundane elements of getting work done.

Today we’re introducing new time-saving features to Docs, Sheets and Slides designed to speed up and simplify the way teachers and students work, so they can focus on what’s really important—teaching and learning. These apps still have all of the same functionality that students and teachers love, with the addition of these new features.

1. Less time spent organizing next steps with Action Items

When reviewing a student’s assignment, it's helpful for teachers to give them clear guidance on the next step they should take, like which specific paragraphs need to be reworked in their essay. Now, when teachers type phrases like “AI: Ryan to show work on the answer to this problem,” or “Todo: Andrea to fix punctuation in this paragraph” on desktop, Docs will intelligently suggest an Action Item to assign to the right person, thanks to natural language processing (NLP).

Teachers can also manually assign an action item to a student in the Docs, Sheets, and Slides desktop and mobile apps by mentioning them in a comment and checking the new action item box. To help the student stay on track, they will get an email notification and see the action item(s) clearly highlighted with a blue bar when they open the file.

2. Less time spent searching for the files that need attention

Once action items have been assigned, it’s now easy for students to identify documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that need their attention. The next time they visit Docs, Sheets, Slides (or Drive) from their laptops or mobile apps, they’ll see a badge on files with action items assigned to them, plus any unresolved suggestions that others have made to their files.

3. Less time spent building questions with smarter Forms

Since its launch in 2008, over a billion questions have been asked in Forms. With the help of neural networks, our tools reviewed anonymized data and identified many common patterns in Forms. As a result, Forms can now predict the type of question that is being asked and suggest response options based on what is typed, resulting in 25% faster form creation.

For example, a teacher can collect information for the marching band’s upcoming trip. When she types “What day of the week are you and your parent/guardian available?”, Forms will intelligently determine that “Checkbox” is the ideal question type, and generate the days of the week as the appropriate response options that can be added one by one or all together.

Also debuting today, is a top-requested feature from our education customers — the new “File upload” question type. Students can now upload files from their computer or Drive — all of which are neatly collected in a folder in the teacher’s Drive. This means students can now add files—from a photo for the marching band program to videos of French dialogue practice—directly to Google Forms. Note: This feature is currently only available for intra-domain use.

4. Less time spent typing with a set of new voice typing commands

Last year, we launched Voice typing in Docs on the web helping to capture ideas, big and small, without lifting a finger. Today, we’re adding new ways for teachers and students to format and customize content with voice commands for changing text color, deleting words, inserting links and comments, plus a number of other ways to format, hands-free.

With the combination of today’s updates and last month’s Explore launch, we’re channeling machine intelligence to help students stay on track with their assignments and give them time to focus on the things that will help them succeed.

Introducing new time-saving features to Docs, Sheets and Slides designed to speed up and simplify the way teachers and students work, so they can focus on what’s really important—teaching and learning.
Categories: Technology

Five new ways to reach your goals faster with G SuiteFive new ways to reach your goals faster with G Suite

GoogleBlog - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 12:00

One of the core promises of Google Docs is to help you and your team go from collecting ideas to achieving your goals as quickly and easily as possible. That’s why last month we launched Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides — with machine intelligence built right in — to help your team create amazing presentations, spreadsheets and documents in a fraction of the time it used to take.

Today, we’re introducing five new time-saving features designed to speed up and simplify the way you work, so you can focus on bringing your team’s ideas to life.

1. Spend less time figuring out who owns what with Action Items

According to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, employees spend about 20 percent of their work week — nearly an entire day — searching for details internally and tracking down colleagues for answers.  This can be especially true when a document is full of ideas, requests and comments, making it difficult to get a clear sense of who’s responsible for what.

To help keep your projects moving, when you type phrases like “Ryan to follow up on the keynote script,” or “Andrea to schedule a weekly check in” on desktop, Docs will intelligently suggest an Action Item to assign to the right person, thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP).

You can also manually assign an Action Item to someone in the Docs, Sheets and Slides desktop and mobile apps by mentioning their name in a comment and checking the new Action Item box. The assignee will get an email notification and see the Action Item(s) clearly highlighted with a blue bar when they open the file.

2. Spend less time searching for the files that need attention

Once Action Items have been assigned, it’s easy for team members to identify documents, spreadsheets and presentations that need their attention. The next time they visit Docs, Sheets, Slides (or Drive) from their laptops or mobile apps, they’ll see a badge on any files with Action Items assigned to them, plus any unresolved suggestions that others have made to their files.

3. Spend less time building questions with smarter Forms

Since its launch in 2008, more than a billion questions have been asked in Forms, allowing us to identify common patterns, like question types and the response options that usually go with them. With the help of neural networks, we can now predict the type of question you’re asking and suggest potential responses for you to choose from, giving you back about 25 percent of the time you used to spend creating a Form.

Let’s say you’re planning an all-day event at the office and need to know which day works best for your team. When you type “What days are you available next week?” Forms will intelligently determine that “Checkbox” is the ideal question type, and generate related response options that you can add one by one or all together.

Also debuting today is a top-requested feature from our business and education customers — the new “File upload” question type. Your respondents can now upload files from their computer or Drive — all of which are neatly collected for you in a new Drive folder.  Note: This feature is only available for G Suite customers in Forms shared within their organization.

4. Spend less time typing with a set of new voice commands

Last year, we launched Voice typing in Docs on the web to help you capture ideas, big and small, without lifting a finger. Today, we’re adding more ways to format and customize content with commands for changing text color, deleting words, inserting links and comments, plus a number of other ways to format, hands-free.

5. Spend less time switching between apps to get things done

We want you to be as productive and collaborative as possible, regardless of the tools you choose to work with, so we’ve partnered with Slack to make it even easier to work with Google Docs files.

With a click of the "+" button in Slack, you can bring files from Drive directly into a conversation with your team, or create new Docs, Sheets and Slides files right from Slack. You can check out more details on Slack’s blog.

With the  introduction of Explore, and more and more updates to products that build in machine intelligence, taking back time spent on mundane, repetitive tasks will only get easier with G Suite. Now, you can focus your energy on creative and strategic work, not busy work.

These 5 new Google Docs features are designed to speed up and simplify the way you work, so you can focus on bringing your ideas to life and reaching your goals.
Categories: Technology

How to Check a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 10:51

You bet! In fact I think few people realize just how much information is encoded in that sequence of characters and digits that all vehicles have on their dashboard and the door of their cars! With just a VIN you can figure out model, year, style, and even what country the vehicle was manufactured in, along with checking for recalls, any record of it being stolen, accident data, and a history of its ownership from the day it left the factory. Pretty cool, actually.

The problem is, most of this you’ll have to do yourself unless you use one of the online VIN analysis tools. You might have seen some ads on TV, but for this article, I’m going to look at VIN Check Pro, as they do a good job of making the entire process super easy and understandable.

To test it, I’m going to use the VIN from a Mazda CX-5 compact SUV that I happen to be driving this week.

In general, VIN numbers look like this: JHLRD77874C026456 and the easiest place to find it on a car is to imagine you’re standing in front of the car looking at the front windshield. The VIN tag will be at the lower right corner of where the windshield meets the vehicle itself, positioned just behind the glass.

If you want to decode it yourself, the basic formula for a VIN looks like this:

Each value has a decoding table too, as you can find online, but suffice to say, it’s complicated!

That’s why VINCheckPro is a smart alternative, and they offer a free VIN check for your first lookup, so you can definitely use it to check your neighbor’s car out without having to pay. I’ll step through the process with the Mazda…

As you can see, it’s as simple as typing in the VIN. Now typing it in correctly might be a bit tricky, but go slowly and double check your entry, then click on “Check This VIN“.

Kind of amazing all that information is coded into the VIN, isn’t it? Before I click on the full report, I can already see something of great interest just below the vehicle specs area:

Recall database? That sounds important! A click on either “View Report” or “View Recalls & Defects” takes me to the next step on the site, where it’s time to register and get an account set up. No worries, no street address, no payment data, just your name and email address:

Easy enough. Fill in your name and email and you’ll get an email from the system a minute or two later just like this:

A click on the link that ingeniously says “Click Here” and I’m back on the VINCheckPro site, just a tiny step away from seeing the rest of the free VIN report:

Again, no payment info, no street address, and the name and email address are pre-filled from what you entered earlier. And that’s it! No more steps, just a click on “Create Account & View Report” and VINCheckPro will assemble a comprehensive report…

Doesn’t take long and once it’s done, I have a report that covers the following categories of information: vehicle specifications, junk / salvage / loss, title info & problems, odometer, true cost of ownership, similar vehicles, insurance comparison, state documentation, safety, recalls & defects and environment, among many others. And now I can find out about the recall or recalls on the Mazda CX-5:

Four recalls on a car from this year. If you were to see something similar for the car you’re considering, it’s a great opportunity for you to check with the current owner to see if they’ve had all the recalls (and potential service bulletins) taken care of.

There’s more info on the VIN report, but I hope this gives you a taste of how much you can glean by just getting that one number off a vehicle. It’s invaluable for any car buyer and definitely worth checking out VIN Check Pro for a free report.

The post How to Check a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Supporting women in tech at GHC 16Supporting women in tech at GHC 16Editor-in-Chief

GoogleBlog - Wed, 10/19/2016 - 09:00

The 2016 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) begins today, and we’re thrilled to join the 15,000 women and allies convening in Houston for three days of learning, inspiration and community building. Thousands of women at Google are building tools and products that organize the world’s information, help businesses get online and prosper, and forge connections across a growing digital community of 3.5 billion people. So it only makes sense that Google would be part of the world's largest gathering of women technologists. We see GHC as a critical way to connect women in tech and help clear hurdles to their professional development.

We know that there’s much more work to do to help level the playing field — and that’s why the mission of the Grace Hopper Celebration is so important. Just yesterday we reported new U.S. research from Gallup and Google that suggests girls are less likely than boys to be told by parents and teachers that they would be good at computer science. We also found that girls are less likely than boys to be aware of computer science learning opportunities outside of school.

We’ve worked hard to recruit and support amazing women leaders since the very beginning of Google, but we also want to support efforts to improve women’s representation across the entire tech ecosystem. That's why we've been part of of GHC since 2004. For the past 12 years, we’ve also worked with the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), which produces GHC, to bring more women into computer science careers. Google’s Alan Eustace is a founding member of the ABI Board of Trustees, and his friendship with Anita Borg herself gave rise to the Women Techmakers Scholars Program (formerly known as the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program). To date, the program has awarded more than 1,000 scholarships globally, and we've been very happy to hire many of them to come work here.

If you’re planning to attend the conference, don’t be a stranger. If you see one of us sporting a Google T-shirt, we’d love to meet you. Stop by our booth (#1730), or come to one of our 25 presentations. Some of the highlights include our VP of Engineering and Machine Learning Anna Patterson, who will deliver a keynote on entrepreneurism and receive the 2016 ABI Excellence Award; and Captain of Moonshots Astro Teller, who will discuss how to embrace failure in the name of breakthrough. Follow us on Twitter for updates from the show floor and definitely visit our Careers site to find your place with us.We’re thrilled to join 15,000 women and allies at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing for three days of learning, inspiration and community building.
Categories: Technology

It takes a teacher to create a family-like community at schoolIt takes a teacher to create a family-like community at school

GoogleBlog - Tue, 10/18/2016 - 16:30

Editor’s Note: Over the next few months, we'll be shining light on the creative power of teachers worldwide. We’ll share a series of teacher stories, building towards a global online gathering of educators on December 3: Education on Air. Join the movement by sharing what teachers mean to you with #ItTakesATeacher.

Beatriz Porro’s mom was a teacher in Argentina, but she never thought she’d follow in her mother’s footsteps until she saw the impact teaching had on students’ lives. Today, after 27 years of inspiring children in the classroom, Porro continues to create strong connections with students, empowering them to reach their potential. She teaches Spanish 3, Spanish V AP Language and Culture and Spanish VI AP Literature and Culture at East Leyden High School in Illinois. We talked to Porro to hear how she creates a community in and outside the classroom:

It takes a teacher to listen and empower students to speak up

For Porro, teaching isn’t just a way to pay the bills and keep the heat running. It’s her passion. In her classroom students have equal input into the curriculum, are comfortable coming to Porro for help and know she’ll always push them to achieve more. “Students see that I love teaching them, and they know they can tell me when they’re having trouble with an assignment or concept,” she says.

After a career spanning three decades, Porro is retiring this year, and principal Jason Markey wanted to know her secret for connecting with students. Her answer: listening. Some teachers simply instruct and don’t take the time to understand what students are interested in learning or what topics they’re struggling with. Porro believes listening to students is the key to engaging them in the classroom and encouraging them to study and pass the AP exam. She asks students for ideas and modifies the curriculum based on their feedback, designing classes that everybody can get excited about.

For example, Hilda, a senior at East Leyden who previously lived in Mexico, suggested that her class discuss their thoughts about the book Letters from Hernan Cortes, and share their ideas with her former classmates in Mexico. The two classes are planning to talk via Skype about Cortes’ conquests and why the U.S. celebrates Columbus Day. Porro welcomed the opportunity to give her students a culturally-rich perspective of Hernan Cortes. Hilda and her classmates are also interested in talking about the U.S. election and Donald Trump’s relations with Mexico. Porro and East Leyden’s principal recognize that these are going to be controversial discussions, but engaging with students in Mexico will give them with a new point of view of Mexico’s history and a different perspective on U.S. politics.

“I love the fact that we can express our perspective toward both current and past events that affect our community today,” says Hilda. “The best conversations were initiated by someone in the class bringing up a controversial thought and Señora Porro encouraging us to continue the conversation by stating our point of view towards that specific topic.”

Porro ensures that students have a well-rounded Spanish education and learn about current events in addition to history and culture. Once a week, students in her Spanish 3 class find an article from one of 28 Spanish-speaking newspapers and present what they’ve read to the class. This exposes them to international news that impacts the U.S. and other Spanish-speaking countries.  

It takes a teacher to support students in their personal and school lives

Some students don’t have the support they need at home, so Porro opens her arms to students whether they need help with Spanish literature or personal troubles. “Last week two students who are going through tough times came to me and said they needed to talk. They didn’t have an adult to confide in, and I was there for them,” she says. Earlier this year, assistant  principal Karen Ritter wrote Porro a letter telling her that many students see her as their second mom.

“Señora Porro has a passionate, understanding, open, warm heart that welcomes all people regardless of who they are,” says Ronahy, a freshman in college who took three classes with Porro. “She makes students feel like they’re part of her own family. She is always there to vent to when you need someone to listen. I was very fortunate to have a teacher that accepted me and really loved the presence of her students.” It takes a teacher to create authentic cultural experiences beyond the classroom

Porro gives students the opportunity to experience rich Latin American culture by hosting class dinners and creating a reciprocal relationship outside school hours. The day before the AP exam, Porro invited her 16 students and the school principal to her house to study and enjoy a home-cooked Argentinian BBQ. When Porro gets the AP exam results in July, she rewards her students by treating them to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

Porro tells her students that when they graduate college, they can return the favor. Earlier this month, one of Porro’s former students who is now in college invited Porro and her husband for a home-cooked meal at her parents’ house. The student’s mom cooked mole to show her appreciation for the support shown to her daughter through high school and into college.

“Señora Porro encourages us to find the connection between the didactic material and how we interact with each other as a society,” Hilda says. “She always has the objective to not only teach Spanish literature and culture but also to teach life lessons.”

To connect with and learn from teachers like Beatriz, join us for Education on Air on December 3rd.

We also invite you to join this movement by sharing what teachers mean to you with #ItTakesATeacher and seeing your own and others’ stories re-shared at

A profile of Beatriz Porro, a Spanish teacher at East Leyden High School, who shares how during her 27 years of teaching, she’s created a community in and outside the classroom. This profile is part of the #ItTakesATeacher series that celebrates the creative power of educators worldwide.
Categories: Technology

¡Oye! Discover even more Latin music on Google Play Music¡Oye! Discover even more Latin music on Google Play MusicProduct Manager

GoogleBlog - Tue, 10/18/2016 - 12:00

¡Hola! Desplazarse hacia abajo para leer este mensaje en español -Ed.

Google Play Music makes it easy for you to listen to the right music at the right moment. Instead of digging through our catalog of 40 million songs on your own, our concierge of playlists helps you find the perfect, expertly curated soundtrack for any mood, activity or time of day. Enjoy music for watching the sunset, cooking or working out.

Starting this week in the U.S., if you’re an avid listener of Latin music, when you open Google Play Music you’ll see many more Latin playlists alongside your other recommendations. We’ve added 10 times the number of Latin playlists to Google Play Music with more to come. Each station has been handcrafted — song by song — by our team of Latin music experts (a mix of DJs, musicians and music critics). You can now choose one of our new Latin playlists to make whatever you’re doing even better — whether it’s Rock en español para sudar during your morning workout, banda sing-alongs to make your commute whiz by, or an abuela-approved reggaeton mix for your next family gathering.

If you already have playlists and artists you like listening to, Latin music won't replace them. We still want to give you the right music at the right time — whether that's Britney or Romeo Santos. Now, you'll just see even more Latin music playlists to make each of your moments better.

¡Oye! Descubre más música Latina en Google Play Música

Con Google Play Música puedes disfrutar fácilmente de la mejor música en el momento adecuado. En lugar de buscar a través de nuestro catálogo de 40 millones de canciones, nuestras listas musicales personalizadas te permiten escuchar canciones y estaciones de radio basadas en lo que estés haciendo, tu estado de ánimo u hora del dia. Encuentra música para cuando estes viendo el atardecer, cocinando o haciendo ejercicio.

A partir de esta semana en los EE.UU., si eres un fanático de la música Latina, al usar Google Play Música verás más listas y estaciones de música Latina junto a otras recomendaciones basadas en tus preferencias musicales. Hemos añadido 10 veces el número de listas de música Latina a Google Play Música, y esto es solo el principio!. Cada estación ha sido diseñada a mano - canción por canción - por nuestro equipo de expertos en música Latina (una mezcla de DJs, músicos y críticos musicales). Ahora puedes elegir una de nuestras nuevas listas para hacer lo que estás haciendo aún mejor. Escucha "Rock en español para sudar" cuando estés haciendo ejercicio por la mañana, banda sing-alongs cuando estés manejando, o un reggaeton mix aprobado por la abuela durante tu próxima reunión familiar.

Si ya tienes listas de canciones y artistas que te gustan escuchar, nuestras listas de música Latina no las reemplazan. Queremos brindarte la mejor música en el momento adecuado — ya sea Britney o Romeo Santos. Ahora veras mas listas y estaciones de radio con música Latina para hacer de cada momento uno mejor.

Categories: Technology

How do I change my iPhone lock screen wallpaper?

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 10/18/2016 - 10:31

There’s not only a way to change the lock screen wallpaper on your Apple iPhone, you can also change the wallpaper image that’s behind (underneath? depends how you look at it) all of your app icons on your various app screens! Not only that, Apple actually includes a nice selection of a dozen or two different types of images, including some that are subtly animated. And you can of course choose your own photos or even find photos you like from the Internet, download those and use those too. That’s why there are lots of iPhone wallpaper archive sites, and, of course, you can also just use Google Image Search. Check out this page of “iphone nature wallpaper“.

If you’re like me, however, you prefer using your own photos and images for your wallpaper. I know that I like to see pics of my children when my iPhone 7 wakes up or turns on the screen.

To start, here’s my default Apple iOS 10 lock screen “wave”:

Very cool photo (from a helicopter? How did they capture this photograph?) but let’s change it!

First, we’ll go through the path that lets you choose a different Apple image. That’s accessible through the Settings app in iOS 9, iOS 10, etc. Go there, and swipe down just a bit until you can see “Wallpaper“:

A tap on “Wallpaper” and you’ll see that there are two places you can set the wallpaper, though it doesn’t really explain it very well:

The image on the left is the lock screen photo wallpaper, while that on the right shows the home screen wallpaper. To change either, tap on the “Choose a New Wallpaper” option.

You can see that there are three types of wallpapers from Apple — Dynamic, Stills and Live — and you can also get to your own Camera Roll, Favorites, Selfies (116 of the 116 selfies on my phone are my daughter, in case you’re curious!).

I would encourage you to check out what Apple includes as they’re quite stunning, but me? I’m going to go into Camera Roll with a tap…

The photo of the tree-lined street near the bottom looks like it’d be a great choice. A tap and it’s full screen:

But how do you turn this into wallpaper? A fair question! Tap on the box with the arrow coming out of it (in fact, you can do this any time you’re looking at your Camera Roll, so you can get to it by tapping on “Photos” too, cutting out all the Settings stuff) and you’ll see a bunch of interesting options.

A lot, actually. You’ll want to swipe right-to-left on the lower row of buttons to have “Use as Wallpaper” revealed:

Lots to explore in this area, actually, lots you can do with a photo (or set of photos) in iOS10. Again, though, let’s stay focused!

Tap on “Use as Wallpaper” to proceed.

Experiment with pinch, zoom, and just dragging your finger around to tweak the photo so it’s just so for your lock screen or home screen wallpaper. The above looks good to me, so I tap on “Set” and am offered the choice of either using it as the lock screen or home screen wallpaper, or both!

I’m going to just use this image for my lock screen, so I’ll tap “Set Lock Screen“. My preference for home screen images is something that’s very subtle so it doesn’t make app pages too bewildering.

Once it’s set, I lock my iPhone 7 and tap on it once to see the new wallpaper in all its autumn glory:

Very nice! And now you know how to do it yourself too.

The post How do I change my iPhone lock screen wallpaper? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Racial and gender gaps in computer science learning: New Google-Gallup researchRacial and gender gaps in computer science learning: New Google-Gallup research

GoogleBlog - Tue, 10/18/2016 - 03:00

Today, we’re releasing new research from our partnership with Gallup that investigates the demographic inequities in K-12 computer science (CS) education in two reports, Diversity Gaps in Computer Science: Exploring the Underrepresentation of Girls, Blacks and Hispanics and Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools. We surveyed 16,000 nationally representative groups of students, parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents in the U.S.  Our findings explore the CS learning gap between white students and their Black and Hispanic peers as well as between boys and girls and confirm just how much demographic differences matter.  We’re excited to share this data to bring awareness to issues on the ground in order to help expand CS education in meaningful ways.

Progress around access has been made in K-12 CS education. We found that 40 percent of K-12 principals say they offer CS classes with programming/coding, up from 25 percent the year before, an increase that may be explained by the tremendous increase in support and awareness of CS education. However, a great deal of work still remains, as access for students is not universal, and disparities exist particularly for underrepresented groups:

  • Black students are less likely to have access to CS in classes at school compared to white or Hispanic students. Specifically, 47 percent say they have dedicated CS classes, compared to 58 percent of white students and 59 percent of Hispanic students.  

  • Black and Hispanic students are less likely than white students to use computers at home and/or at school frequently. Only 58 percent of Black and 50 percent of Hispanic students say they use a computer at least most days at home, compared to 68 percent of white students.

Although structural barriers and lack of access and exposure for Black and Hispanic students are prevalent, their interest is disproportionately higher:

  • Black and Hispanic students are more likely than their white counterparts to be interested in learning CS. Black students are 1.5 times and Hispanic students are 1.7 times as likely as white students to be interested in learning CS.

  • Black and Hispanic parents want their child to learn CS. Of parents whose child has not learned CS, 92 percent of Black and Hispanic parents want their child to learn CS compared to 84 percent of white parents.

To help broaden participation in CS learning, we also need to understand barriers beyond access.  The quality of offerings should be rigorous and social perceptions should support all students. We found:

  • Hispanic students have less exposure to role models — just 49 percent of Hispanic students say an adult in their lives works with computers or technology compared to 58 percent of white and 65 percent of Black students.

  • Hispanic students and girls are less likely to see media images of CS reflect themselves and, of students who see those in the media engaged in CS, girls are about half as likely as boys to say that they often see someone like themselves.

  • Girls are less likely than boys to report being told by parents or teachers that they would be good at CS (39 percent versus 56 percent of boys) and are less likely than boys to be aware of CS learning opportunities outside of school.

  • Not surprisingly, both Hispanics and girls have lower confidence to learn CS and are less likely to have learned CS.

As our research and decades of work have uncovered, CS education is a complex space. We must work together to catalyze the changes needed to challenge narrow social images of CS, while simultaneously working to bring about universal access to quality CS education. Yesterday’s announcement of the K-12 Computer Science Framework, which Google supports, represents a momentous step toward guiding schools on high quality, rigorous CS education. We hope that our research continues to support collaboration efforts like the framework to increase equitable opportunities for all students to learn CS.

Today we’re releasing new research from our partnership with Gallup that investigates the demographic inequities in K-12 computer science (CS) education.
Categories: Technology

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 19:00

Syndicate content