Technology

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

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

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

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

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

  • Coding

  • Documentation/Training

  • Outreach/Research

  • Quality Assurance

  • User Interface

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Coding

  • Documentation/Training

  • Outreach/Research

  • Quality Assurance

  • User Interface

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

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

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

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

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

Unknown Person Sharing Dropbox File: Scam?

AskDaveTaylor - 2 hours 3 min ago

My general rule of thumb for all online communication is that if there’s anything at all that makes you suspicious, anything that seems wrong or any voice in your head that says “whoah, what’s with that typo?” or “that’s not the right URL”, then delete the email. If it’s ostensibly from an institution or organization you use or associate with, pick up the phone and call them to verify the email — or just log in to their Web site by typing in the URL (not clicking in an email message!) and seeing if there are any notices or notifications.

The fact is, there’s no limit to the ingenuity of hackers who are trying to steal your site credentials, whether it’s a bank, an online store, or just about any other Web site. Heck, if they can then log in and get your address, phone number and something like a social security number or credit card, they can sell that in the dark web and never even have to test and try things to see if they’re accurate. Definitely not good.

So you’re spot on with your skepticism and default reaction of rejecting anything you receive that doesn’t pass your “sniff test”.

But let’s have a closer look at this Dropbox scam because it should trigger all sorts of warnings if you’re paying attention anyway! First off, here’s the email that you’d receive:

Looks reasonably legit, coming from “DropboxMail” and with the subject of “Notification of new document”. Then there’s that big blue “View shared document here” button, who wouldn’t want to click it?

If you have a decent email program like Apple Mail, however, just move the cursor over the button and hover for a second or two. It’ll pop up a tip window that shows the destination URL:

“smkn2ponorogo.sch.id”? That’s definitely not “dropbox.com” as you would expect. In fact, .id is the domain name for Indonesia, as it happens. But let’s say you do actually click on the link. Instead of it prompting for your Dropbox account credentials (which would make sense) it prompts for something quite different:

That right there should be enough for you to reject this site: Why would reading a shared Dropbox file require you to log in to Office 365?? And then there’s what’s actually shown on the address bar:

They have a security certificate on the site – which is pretty impressive – but that’s clearly neither Dropbox or Office 365, so shut it down, delete the message and walk away.

Curious about the hosting company? Here’s the home page for smkn2ponorogo.sch.id:

Quite likely a completely legit site that hackers have snuck onto for this phishing attack.

One way or the other, continue to be skeptical and don’t click on Web site URLs in suspicious email messages, however dire they may make it sound. You’ll stay safer that way.

The post Unknown Person Sharing Dropbox File: Scam? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Meet the fifth grader turning water bottles into light bulbs to brighten communitiesMeet the fifth grader turning water bottles into light bulbs to brighten communities

GoogleBlog - 3 hours 11 min ago

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

Twelve-year-old Bryan Gonzalez was traveling through a neighborhood near his school when the unlit windows of several homes caught his attention. When his parents and teachers explained to him that those homes lacked electricity, he started to search for information about access to lighting in communities in Mexico and around the globe. His research led him to discover that nearly 15 percent of the world’s population lives without light.

Believing that every community deserves access to commodities as basic as lighting, Bryan decided to turn his annual school science project into a mission to defeat darkness. With the support of his peers, teachers and parents, Bryan began to brainstorm sustainable, affordable methods to illuminate the world around him.

His solution? Converting water bottles into light bulbs!

Bryan recently implemented his prototype in the field for the first time, and we captured the experience as he began to install his homemade light bulbs in the very houses that had initially inspired him to take on his project. In the moments after Bryan installed his lightbulbs, community members began to process the impact of Bryan’s invention. Families reflected on the difficulties inherent in relying on candlelight to assist kids with homework, the daily pressure to finish working by sunset because no work could get done in the dark, and what unlit houses and streets meant for the physical safety of children and parents alike. “Things are going to be different now. This 12-year-old boy has changed this family’s life,” said Doña Sofía, a mother and grandmother, as she embraced him.

This image was captured just moments after Doña Sofía’s house had lighting for the very first time, thanks to Bryan’s efforts.

Seeing his efforts materialize into real-world impact has been extremely gratifying for Bryan, but he knows this is just the beginning. As Bryan sets his eyes on new horizons, he hopes to start inspiring other young people around the world to implement the prototype in homes that lack electricity in their own communities.

Your age doesn’t matter. Your idea does. Bryan

Bryan’s definition of innovation is “finding creative ways to help a community solve their problems.” Follow the hashtag #innovarparami to see how other people are defining—and cultivating—innovation.

Believing that every community deserves access to commodities as basic as lighting, 12-year-old Bryan decided to turn his annual school science project into a mission to defeat darkness.
Categories: Technology

There’s no place like home, in Google EarthThere’s no place like home, in Google Earth

GoogleBlog - 3 hours 11 min ago

When you opened Google Earth for the very first time, where did you go? For most people there's a common destination: Home. The definition of "home" changes by country, culture and climate. So as part of the relaunch of Google Earth back in April, we introduced This is Home, an interactive tour to five traditional homes around the world. You could step inside the colorful home of Kancha Sherpa in Nepal, or head to the desert and learn how an extended drought changed the lives of the Bedouin people.


Since then, we’ve traveled to dozens more homes across six continents and today we’re bringing 22 new homes and cultures to explore in Google Earth. This is Ngaramat Loongito, Kenya, home to a Maasai community. Photo courtesy of Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust

Start with a Torajan home, built to withstand Indonesia’s wet season. Then head to Fujian Province, China, to peek inside the immense walls the Hakka people built to keep away bandits, beasts and warlords. See the shape-shifting yurt homes Mongolian country-dwellers use to move where their herds roam. Visit a village on Madagascar’s southwest coast where the Vezo people live off the third largest coral reef system in the world. Finally, see how a Paiwan shaman has integrated her spirituality into the walls of her home in Taiwan.


To tell these stories, we worked with partners and communities to digitally preserve homes of different cultures in Street View. Many of these homes belong to indigenous people, such as The Garasia people of India, the Chatino people of Mexico, the Torajan people of Indonesia, and the Māori people of New Zealand. Their homes represent their unique cultural identity and ways of relating to the environment.

This is Emchiin Uveljee, Mongolia. Family member Buyansanaa stands amidst a sea of livestock outside their yurt home, built to fit with their nomadic lifestyle. This is Sanikiluaq, Canada. Inuit educator, Lisi Kavik, stands outside the community’s learning igloo, where she shares stories and traditions from her ancestors. When built correctly, an igloo can support the weight of a person standing on the roof. This is Tjuvecekadan, Taiwan: Tjuku, the community’s shaman, stands outside her home made from the local slate stones. This is Chengqilou, Fujian Province, China: Jiang Youyu is one of a dwindling number of people to live inside the immense, circular walls the Hakka people built to keep bandits, beasts and warlords out of their homes. This is Igaliku, Greenland, home to Malene Egede and her trusty farm helper, Qooqa. This is Manutuke, New Zealand. Ngati Maru member Albert Stewart stands outside the marae that represents this Māori subtribe’s communal meeting place. Here, the Ngati Maru can meet, eat & sleep while celebrating Māori culture and ceremonies such as tribal meetings, family reunions and Kapa haka (Māori performing arts).

This is Namche Bazaar, Nepal. Kancha Sherpa and his wife, the late Tashi Tshering Sherpa, sit in their “khangpa ma” or main room where the family eats, entertains and sleeps.


This is Lamboara, Madagascar. Madame Kokoly lives in a Vezo community, where they depend on sea for their survival. Photo courtesy of Blue Ventures. This is North Toraja Regency, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Marla's family has lived in a traditional tongkonan home known for their soaring rooflines for five generations.

Some of the images and stories provide a snapshot in time of cultures, who face economic, environmental and population pressures. For example, the Inuit people of Sanikiluaq have been building igloos for schoolchildren to learn in for decades, but in recent winters, conditions haven’t been cold enough to create the right type of snow. It’s important to document these lifestyles now, because some may be disappearing.

Thank you to the families who shared their homes, their customs and their culture with the world!


Step inside 22 traditional homes and learn about cultures around the world.
Categories: Technology

Achoo! Watch out for seasonal sniffles with pollen forecasts on GoogleAchoo! Watch out for seasonal sniffles with pollen forecasts on Google

GoogleBlog - 7 hours 11 min ago

While most of you out there are enjoying the dog days of summer, some are bracing themselves for the fall allergy season that’s right around the corner. In fact, one in five Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Across the U.S., we see that search interest for allergies spikes each year in April and May and then again in September. To help you get ahead of your seasonal allergies symptoms, now when you search on mobile for pollen or allergy information on Google, you’ll see useful at-a-glance details on pollen levels in your area.

To make the most up-to-date and accurate information available, we’ve worked with The Weather Channel to integrate their pollen index and forecast data information directly into Google. To see more pollen and allergy details, you can tap the link within the pollen experience.

In addition, when the pollen count in your area is particularly high, you can receive reminders in the Google app. To opt in to these notifications, just search for pollen levels, pollen forecast or a similar query on Google, then tap “turn on” when prompted.

With this pollen info, you can better understand and prepare your seasonal allergy symptoms. Stop sneezing and go out and enjoy those fall colors!

Now when you search for pollen or allergy information on Google, you’ll see useful at-a-glance details on pollen levels in your area to help you better manage your seasonal allergies.
Categories: Technology

Review: PodStraps for your Apple AirPods

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 14:44

Unexpected consequences are a fact of life if you’re on the cutting edge of technology. It seems that there are just lots of use cases, lots of ways people use products that escape the imagination of product designers. Every parent knows this as they watch apps released for their children that demonstrate time and again how privacy just isn’t on the radar at software development companies. Case in point: Ghost Mode in Snapchat, as I’ve written about before.

Which brings us the beautifully designed Apple AirPods. Tiny wireless earbuds that live in their own charging case, they’re a typically Apple elegant solution to the problem of wanting good sounding earbuds without the hassles and tangles of earbud or headphone wires. Bluetooth, but tiny, just barely bigger than the “buds” themselves. And somehow they do manage to stay in your ears, even as you jog or move around doing chores.

Except when they don’t. Most AirPod owners live with a constant level of anxiety that they’re going to lose one of their AirPods and be unable to find it. Apple acknowledges the problem and added AirPods to Find My iPhone, the geomapping program that tracks the location of your Apple devices.

But there’s a simpler solution that third party companies have identified: A leash for your AirPods. And that’s what BudStraps is offering with the simple, effective PodStraps for the Apple AirPods.

Here’s what they look like:

As you can see, it’s basically a sunglasses leash with a custom end that perfectly fits on the AirPods, keeping them secure even while they sit comfortably in your ear. My daughter models them in use:

A simple, straightforward solution, and the PodStraps also comes with a small drawstring bag just perfect for both the AirPods carrying box (which, yes, looks like a dental floss container) and the PodStraps themselves:

Which brings us to the fundamental problem with PodStraps and every other solution for the Apple AirPods: You have to take them off to charge the AirPods. Every single time. And given that the AirPods are designed to only run on a charge for 4-5 hours, you can foreseeably be doing this multiple times a day.

And that makes them far less than desireable, certainly not something you’ll want to permanently have connected to your AirPods throughout your day. Still, the PodStraps are a nice, simple solution and at $159/pair you don’t want to have to purchase replacement AirPods after a quick morning workout or commute.

With a modest price tag of $14.99, my recommendation is that you pick up some PodStraps and then simply save them for when you are going to be doing something where the chance of losing – and being unable to subsequently find – your AirPods is high. Otherwise just leave them tucked in the bottom of your kit, ready for use.

Podstraps for Apple AirPods, in charcoal or yellow. $14.99 with carrying case included. At Budstraps.com.

Disclosure: BudStraps sent us a PodStraps for the purposes of this review.

The post Review: PodStraps for your Apple AirPods appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Around the Globe - Improved Operations for Girl Scouts JapanAround the Globe - Improved Operations for Girl Scouts Japan

GoogleBlog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 13:00

For this segment of G4NP Around the Globe, we’re highlighting Girl Scouts of Japan: a nonprofit that supports more than 30,000 young women across the country with its vibrant community and empowering programs. With such a large network of members, the nonprofit needed technology to effectively keep members updated on events, ensure personal information stays secure, and manage their Local Council’s communications. The suite of tools provided by Google for Nonprofits has allowed Girl Scouts of Japan to improve their productivity and increase their member base, giving them more time to focus on supporting young women.  

Operations - G Suite

GSuite has helped Girl Scouts of Japan operate more efficiently and provide a positive experience for their members. More than 7,000 attendees signed up through Google Forms for e-learning programs about safety procedures before they headed off on a scouting adventure. Google Sheets helped the chapter to quickly access and organize this data. And by migrating to Gmail, the nonprofit feels secure with their custom Google privacy settings and the tool’s ability to weed out spam and malware.

Girl Scouts of Japan has also used technology to revolutionize a central component of the global Girl Scout organization: badges. Typically, Girl Scouts can earn woven badges for their vests by completing tasks or trainings. With the help of Google tools, Girl Scouts of Japan has created an interesting twist to this tradition: using Forms to create quizzes on their Google Site and reward women with digital badges.  

Furthermore, the nonprofit creates engaging content with Google Sites and shares their manuals and materials on Google Drive so each Local Council can always access the most updated trainings. With G Suite scaled to the entire organization, the nonprofit seamlessly keeps all communications and information safely stored in one place—allowing them to spend less time handling administrative tasks, and more freedom to plan engaging events.

Girl Scouts Japan - Virtual Tour of WAGGGS World Centers Visibility - Google AdGrants, YouTube, Google Maps

Girl Scouts of Japan recognized an opportunity to connect with their young target audience by building a strong online presence. Ad Grants helps them reach new members with over 3,000 monthly visitors to their site—a 500% increase in just two months. To further enhance their online engagement, the nonprofit created a YouTube channel to showcase their thriving community and impactful programs with original content. Their videos showcase the strength of their community and the empowering programs they provide. And with Google Maps, members can easily find events happening nearby, resulting in over 18,000 views about event information.

Lastly, to spread awareness and encourage women to get involved, Girl Scouts of Japan uses Google Earth to provide a global view of their expansive network. Using instructions from Earth Outreach tutorials, they created this Virtual Tour to share with members to encourage a global perspective and community of Girl Scouts.

From G Suite to YouTube, Girl Scouts of Japan has successfully harnessed the power of technology to cultivate a strong community of women who support each other and grow together. Read the full story by visiting our Community Stories page on our Google for Nonprofits site.

//

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.

highlighting nonprofit Girl Scouts of Japan who were able to make greater impact with fewer resources by using free Google tools, made available through Google for Nonprofits.
Categories: Technology

Make An Online Appointment at the AT&T Store?

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 10:16

My son and I were standing in the local AT&T Wireless store in Boulder, Colorado, looking at five walk-in names ahead of us on the chart, and wondered the same thing, just before we left after deciding to go back an hour later. Why would it say “walk-in” if there weren’t other types of appointments that were scheduled?

While sitting at dinner that evening, we did a few Google searches and found out that yes, just like the Apple Store, you can indeed make an appointment at an AT&T store anywhere in the United States online, either through your Web browser on your desktop computer or with a mobile device. Not sure that there’s the ability to make an appointment within an hour or two of the current time, but if you have a bit of patience – or your children do! – then it’s a great alternative.

What’s odd is that AT&T doesn’t make it easy for you to find the appointment scheduler on the Web site…

Look along the top bar when you’re at wireless.att.com and there’s no indication you can make an appointment:

Scroll down to the very bottom of the home page, however, and in the “small print” there’s the link you want:

Click on “Make a store appointment” and you’ll end up here:

The whole process from here is quite easy now that you know where to look, but let’s step through the process anyway. To proceed, click on “Make an Appointment” under the calendar icon.

You’ll need to specify consumer/business, then choose why you want to come in and get help. I imagine it’s not that big a deal which you choose, but for their benefit, choosing something that’s close to your reason is obviously beneficial:

All looks good? Click on “Continue” to, well, continue.

The next step is to find an AT&T Wireless store near you. This is most easily accomplished by zipcode:

I’ll search New York City with zipcode 10023, and it finds stores in my zipcode!

The first store, at 2066 Broadway, looks good so I’ll choose it for my upcoming appointment with “Select this store”.

Now the fun part, choosing a specific appointment:

There are appointments today, Aug 13, but none until 1pm. Still, let’s grab that first available time! Simply click on it and it’ll be time to finally identify yourself (if you haven’t already logged in to the system):

You’re done and ready for your appointment. In fact, AT&T will now send you a text message confirming the appointment, which is darn handy of them:

And now you know the secret to making appointments at the AT&T Wireless store before you walk in the door!

The post Make An Online Appointment at the AT&T Store? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Chillax, it’s National Relaxation Day!Chillax, it’s National Relaxation Day!Chief Relaxation Officer

GoogleBlog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 10:00

Even though the calendar says it’s only Tuesday, we say it’s time to kick back and relax. After all, National Relaxation Day comes but once a year! And if you’re like the 44% of Americans who feel more stressed than they did five years ago, you may be in need of a break. To help you unwind, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to calm down, free up your mind, and release the stress.

Starting off in Google Search, we have some go-to guides to help you chill out. First, try typing “breathing exercises” into Google, and you’ll see a nice guided exercise right at the top of search results. Cue exhale...and inhale! For the established (or aspiring) yogis out there, you may also want to check out some of the yoga positions that are just a tap away. And don’t worry, if you’re not up for the Chakrasana, Bālāsana still counts. Namaste.

More of a video viewer? You’re not alone. Guided meditation videos on YouTube are on the rise, with an 84% increase in views since last year. Some popular picks include Blissful Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys and Guided Meditation for Sleep... Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson. Oooohhhmmmmm.

If you want to pamper yourself on National Relaxation Day, head over to Google Maps. You can now book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. To get started, do a quick look for a nearby salon, barbershop or spa and look for the “book” button on the business listing. You can also visit the Reserve with Google site to browse recommendations or find serene spots you never knew existed.

This is just a sample of the serenity that awaits. And if you’re stuck at  your computer, here’s a pro tip: take a breather with the Mindful Break Chrome extension that gives you tips and guides you through some short breathing exercises. Ready, set, chillax!  

Chill out in honor of National Relaxation Day with some of Google’s most calming tips and tricks.
Categories: Technology

Meet a teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get onlineMeet a teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get online

GoogleBlog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 09:00

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

Miroslava Silva is a teacher, social scientist and activist who has dedicated much of her career to studying the digital literacy gap and its ramifications. Across cultures, women often lack access to technology and digital education—and in Miroslava’s native Mexico, communities of indigenous women are the most affected by the digital literacy gap. Determined to change this, she founded a technology class specifically for Otomí women at the University of Querétaro.

Since the class’s inception two years ago, Miroslava’s students have engaged in activities that range from learning to search for information, to building slide decks and documents, to designing personal websites. Miroslava’s only rule? All content must be relevant and useful in her students’ unique contexts and lives. To this end, she enlists her students to help craft their own curricula, and the class looks different for every student as a result. Some of her students are working on launching sites for their businesses. Others are conducting individual research projects on topics that interest them. And some even co-founded a movement to digitize and preserve the indigenous language Otomí.

Angélica Ruiz, who has taken Miroslava’s digital literacy class for two years, had never used a computer before enrolling. Now, she has launched and manages her own website to promote her handmade doll business, connect other women to education technology resources, and foment interest in the Otomí language. Recently, she built an online campaign to raise awareness about violence against women. Miroslava and Angélica One of the projects Ángelica worked on in Miroslava’s class was to incorporate her handmade doll designs onto Google Cardboard, through which she passes on her own learnings to other women of the Otomí community. Angélica sets up booths in public spaces where she gives technology workshops to the Otomí community.

Pursuing a digital education has been no small feat for Angélica. A mother of five, she travels two hours from her home to the University of Querétaro each week, but says that the sheer empowerment she feels makes her efforts worth it. Indeed, the ability to design websites and to use the internet for social activism is the tip of the iceberg when Angélica thinks about what she gets out of the class. What she values most is being able to serve as a role model for other women striving to overcome institutional barriers and access education. Dozens of Otomí women have begun to pursue the digital literacy classes, following her lead.

I want every other woman to know that if I can do it, so can you. If somebody’s cut your wings off, put them back on so they can keep growing. Angélica Miroslava’s student

For Miroslava and her student Angélica, innovation means breaking down barriers and forging the path for others to do the same. We’d love to hear what innovation means to you—tell us with the hashtag #innovarparami.

Miroslava Silva founded a technology class specifically for Otomí women at the University of Querétaro in Mexico.
Categories: Technology

Daydream brings you inside Vogue Supermodel ClosetsDaydream brings you inside Vogue Supermodel Closets

GoogleBlog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 08:00

Everyone has items of clothing that hold sentimental value. For Kendall Jenner, it could be that pair of boots that Kanye got for her or the matching snuggies that the Jenner/Kardashian clan wore on Christmas morning. Supermodels, they’re just like us! (Minus the boots gifted by Kanye part).

In partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment and Vogue, we created a VR series to give you a peek into the closets of models and hear about the stories (and sentimental value) behind their favorite articles of clothing. “Supermodel Closets” was created to celebrate Vogue’s 125th anniversary and their upcoming September issue. In the first of five episodes, you’ll hear from Kendall Jenner and see the Christmas snuggies for yourself.

This is one of the first productions to use YI HALO cameras, which are the next generation of Jump cameras for high quality, professional VR capture. You can look around (and even up!) thanks to the up camera and immersive 4k stereoscopic capture. Julina Tatlock, executive producer for 30 Ninjas, was able to easily use Jump even in tight spaces in each closet. Combined with unique graphics and post-production elements, this brings you even closer to the clothes.

If you’ve got Cardboard or Daydream View at home, check out the first episode of Supermodel Closet Secrets on Vogue’s YouTube channel, with more episodes available in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more Daydream and Jump productions coming this fall.

In partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment and Vogue, we created a VR series to give you a peek into the closets of models and hear about the stories (and sentimental value) behind their favorite articles of clothing.
Categories: Technology

Code Jam 2017 wraps up with the World Finals in DublinCode Jam 2017 wraps up with the World Finals in DublinProgram ManagerEngineer

GoogleBlog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 08:00

The results from this year's Code Jam, Google's largest and toughest programming competition, are in! The contest wrapped up with a two-day World Finals event from August 10-11. After a record-breaking season with more than 60,000 registrants, finalists representing 16 countries traveled to Dublin, Ireland to compete for cash prizes and the title of 2017 World Champion.

The event kicked off with Distributed Code Jam, in which contestants are required to program in a distributed environment (much like the day-to-day of a Google software engineer). While our returning 2015 and 2016 champion, bmerry (Bruce Merry), endeavored to hold onto his spot for another year, the other top 20 Distributed finalists, including Code Jam's reigning three-year champion Gennady.Korotkevich (Gennady Korotkevich), battled for a chance at the $10,000 grand prize. The contest was so tough that no contestant submitted more than six out of the eight possible datasets. In a scintillating finale with numerous close scores, ecnerwala (Andrew He) of the United States swooped in to steal first place, becoming our second-ever Distributed Code Jam Champion.

The action continued the next day with Gennady.Korotkevich and 25 other Code Jammers competing for a $15,000 grand prize and the coveted title of Code Jam Champion. Finalists approached the problem set using techniques such as max flow, dynamic programming, and randomized algorithms; the problems required challenging original insights in addition to algorithmic knowledge, and two of them were so difficult that no contestant solved them completely. After four hours of ferocious coding, during which the leader on the scoreboard changed several times, Gennady.Korotkevich stole the show and took the World Championship for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year in a row! Once the official results were announced, fans of Gennady (or "tourist" as he is known in other programming contests) enthusiastically took to social media to celebrate this record-breaking moment in Code Jam history. You can learn more about this year's problems and analyses, and see other past contests, on our website.

In addition to exclusive competition coverage and features with Code Jam Googlers, the live stream showcased the diversity of teams and people at Google working to make great products across the globe. Whether you've been following since the Qualification Round in April, or are a newcomer to the arena, we hope you'll check out the full recording of the World Finals live stream. We also hope to see you in the 2018 Code Jam and Distributed Code Jam competitions; it's never too early to start practicing for next year!Code Jam 2017 wrapped up with an exciting two-day event for the World Finals in Dublin, Ireland. Competitors from across the globe battled their way to victory for Code Jam, and the Distributed track.
Categories: Technology

It must be nice to have Hamilton on your phoneIt must be nice to have Hamilton on your phone

GoogleBlog - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 15:00

HAMILTON fans got a treat last Friday when the team behind the broadway hit released … Wait for It … an app! Available on Android and iOS, the app lets you enter the #Ham4Ham lottery more easily and has fun features for the biggest HAMILTON fans out there. It was also one of the first apps to be built with Firebase, Google’s mobile development platform to handle the backend and infrastructure, as well as Flutter, a new UI toolkit to make it easy and fast to build high-performance, modern, beautiful apps for iOS and Android.

To learn more about how the app was built, and why the HAMILTON team chose to use Flutter and Firebase, we sat down fan to fan with Mike Karns, HAMILTON’s director of social media, and David DeRemer from POSSE, who helped build the HAMILTON app.

Seth: What made you decide to build and launch a mobile app?

Mike: We’re always looking for opportunities to create a unique experience for the HAMILTON community, whether or not they’re able to be in the theatre each night. This app expands our presence in digital space and brings fans closer to HAMILTON.

How did you decide which features to include?

Mike: It started as a way for people to enter the HAMILTON lottery, and we brainstormed more ideas from there. Because HAMILTON has broken the confines of normal Broadway scope and audience, we’ve been able to build a really diverse fanbase in terms of age, location, etc. So all of our ideas served the purpose of giving those fans ways to connect with HAMILTON in more real ways.

David: It was all about providing access. HAMILTON is in such high demand, yet so many people love it and it’s so important from a historical and artistic perspective. How do make sure the HAMILTON community doesn’t feel like an exclusive club that requires thousands of dollars to be in? That’s ultimately what the lottery is for, and we’re improving the experience. Before you had to go the website every day and re-enter your info—now you can get a reminder and then enter in one tap.

Then there are the other features like shareable stickers with lyrics and HAMILTON emojis, #HamCams (HAMILTON-themed photo filters), a merch store, and exclusive content from cast members that make it even more fun. We wanted to go beyond the lottery and keep things interesting for someone who might have tickets to see the show a year from now. And we’ve got a lot of ideas for more features to make sure it’s still compelling even in five or seven years.

How did you decide to use Flutter to build and manage your app?

Mike: We knew we’d have to build this app quickly, while also making sure that HAMILTON was accessible to everyone. To democratize the brand, there was never any question that we’d have to build an app that was available on both Android and iOS.

David: That’s why we decided to use Flutter, a new modern, reactive UI toolkit that is portable across iOS and Android. Flutter allows us to have a less complicated codebase, which means we can be more efficient and keep parity between platforms.

Because Flutter is new, this was also a unique opportunity to collaborate with Google to improve the Flutter SDK. We provided a lot of feedback and bug reports throughout the development process! The result is something really unique—I don't think there are many other apps that use this technology yet. And not too many companies would have had the willingness to work with us and take a risk like that. It really ties into the HAMILTON idea of not throwing away your shot! By the way, developers can even find some HAMILTON easter eggs in the Flutter documentation.

And what about Firebase?

David: Firebase was also a critical component building a great app for our fans. With Firebase, we didn’t have to worry about setting up and maintaining servers. Instead, we were able to spend more time designing beautiful UIs and testing new interactions. In addition, a key feature of the app is the ticket lottery, which offers fans a chance to get tickets to the constantly sold-out HAMILTON show. We used Cloud Functions for Firebase to help coordinate the lottery workflow between the mobile app, custom business logic, and partner services.

What does success look like for you?

David: The lottery is the number one feature, so if the lottery works better, that will be a success. Success is also determined by the percentage of people have an issue and how many bugs are there, and if it scales. And I just hope that it helps fans connect to HAMILTON.

Mike: Lin-Manuel Miranda frequently says to his fans, "Here, I made this for you...". We’ll feel that we've accomplished our goal when fans everywhere are using this app to share their passion for the show in a different ways.

Finally, we couldn’t let you go without asking. What is your favorite HAMILTON character, song or quote?

David: One of my favorite characters is the King of England, he he cracks me up. I know it’s a weird choice, but the way they portray him is incredibly clever and funny. His “awesome, wow” line is my favorite.

Mike: Aaron Burr's line "I am inimitable, I am an original," most exemplifies the work my team and I try to do every day with HAMILTON. Our challenge is to create content and products that live up to the level of what Lin has created.

The official app for HAMILTON is now available for all iOS and Android devices. We interviewed the team behind the app.
Categories: Technology

A Megamovie volunteer on snapping photos and contributing to scienceA Megamovie volunteer on snapping photos and contributing to science

GoogleBlog - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:00

On August 21—for the first time in 100 years—a total solar eclipse will cross the the United States.

Last week we shared an interview with Vivian White, who is coordinating a mighty team of volunteers capturing photos of the eclipse. In collaboration with UC Berkeley, the Eclipse Megamovie project will take these photos and algorithmically align and stitch them together to create a continuous view of the eclipse: the Eclipse Megamovie.

Today we’ll hear from a volunteer whose contributions will make Megamovie possible. By day, Steven Madow works as a product analyst for Shop Disney Parks (the app and website that let you buy as much Disney swag as your heart desires), and for the last 12 years, videography and photography have been his passion projects. Now he’s bringing his passion to Megamovie.

Keyword: How did you hear about this project, and how did you get involved?

Steven: I listen to NPR a lot, and they talked about Megamovie on two of my favorite shows—Planetary Radio and Science Friday—which got me interested. According to my fiancée, I’ve been talking about this eclipse since 2015, so I guess I’ve been excited for it for a while!

Steven and his telescope Where are you going to watch? And what will you do when you get there?

I’m heading to Madras, OR, where there’s the lowest probability of cloud cover on the path of totality. It seemed like a good excuse for a trip! I’m bringing two cameras—a Panasonic and a Nikon—to capture photos for Megamovie, as well as a couple other cameras I'm planning to use just for my own photos. I can connect these cameras to a telescope (which tracks the sun), and it’s all automated. I’ve heard that watching the eclipse is like being in 360 degrees of a sunset, so the automation will allow me to actually watch and enjoy the eclipse.

How long have you been interested in astronomy?

I like outdoorsy things and have always been interested in natural events. I’m from Baltimore but went to college in Florida, and when I first saw a rocket launch from a balcony 60 miles away, I thought, “Wow, that’s so cool. I have to learn more about this.” Since then I’ve seen dozens of rocket launches up close, as well as amazing shots of night launches, which inspired me to make the jump to more serious camera gear. I got into drones before they were called drones—they were called “quadcopters” then—and I started making videos as a side project. People saw my work and started hiring me to make more videos.

What kind of prep work do Megamovie volunteers have to do?

Volunteers attend webinars and need a certain level of photography gear. We’ve been doing practice tests—shooting the moon and sun—and testing out a special uploader that was created for this project. It was created for different camera types and allows for uploading with very low bandwidth, which is key since most of us will be using heavily overloaded cell networks.

Have you been able to connect and create a community with other citizen scientists through this project?

There are volunteer forums where you can ask questions about all aspects of planning—traveling with equipment, traffic predictions, image uploading and everything else imaginable.

Through a forum I met Xavier Jubier, the creator of Solar Eclipse Maestro, an eclipse photography automation program, and worked with him to add support for Panasonic cameras (which I’m using during the eclipse). There were a lot of tests and back-and-forth on email, but now a few of the Panasonic cameras are supported and I’ve been able to teach other volunteers how to use the software.

So people share expertise but they also get to know each other. I started a thread called "Introductions,” asking people to reply with a few simple things about themselves including why they are interested in the project. It has 114 replies (114 new people I’ve gotten to know!), and most of them—like me—are psyched to contribute to a larger scientific cause.

Megamovie volunteer Steven Madow talks to Keyword about volunteering for Megamovie and getting ready for the solar eclipse.
Categories: Technology

Customize Apple AirPods Double-Tap Action?

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:01

While there are a lot of new control features coming in iOS 11 (at least according to rumor sites) there’s already a limited set of changes you can make with your new Apple AirPods on the existing iOS 10 system on your iPhone, iPad or other iOS device.

Before I show you that, however, allow me to show you a few nifty little tricks in terms of how to access AirPods, see their charge level, and generally have them fit into your iCloud-based account. A lot of these features just magically show up because of the tight integration between iOS 10 and the AirPods themselves, so some things are just “ooh, okay, that’s new!” sort of features.

For example, when you’re listening to music, you can always swipe up to get the control pane. Swipe to the right and you’ll then see what’s playing and be able to control it, like this:

Look at the bottom and you’ll see that your AirPods show up as the output device. Here’s the cool thing, though: tap on the listing and it’ll show all the possible output devices:

Look closely and you’ll see that the AirPods charge level is also shown here! Mine are at 95% charge. (yeah, it’s a bit small so you have to look closely). Also note that if you have an Apple TV you can use that as an output device for your iPhone or iPad too, making it really easy to have your mobile device as a remote control for whatever music or other audio content you enjoy.

Now let’s jump into Settings and move to Bluetooth. Your list will look like this (though your AirPods might have a different name):

Find your AirPods, then tap on the “i” in the circle to the right of that entry. You’ll move to a Bluetooth configuration screen that has a lot more options than you’re used to seeing:

Here you can change the name of your device if you want (tip: Mine are called “AirPods ” with a trailing space, which is why iOS doesn’t rename them each time I reconnect), change what happens if you double-tap on your AirPods and even enable/disable automatic ear detection.

What’s automatic ear detection? It’s the feature that turns on your music once both are in your ear, pauses your music if you remove one, and stops your music if you remove both. All automatically. Quite slick and intuitive with practice!

That’s it for now. Hope it helps you get more enjoyment out of your new Apple AirPods. iOS 11 will have more options as Apple integrates more features and controls into the system, so stay tuned for that too!

The post Customize Apple AirPods Double-Tap Action? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Type less, talk moreType less, talk moreTechnical Program Manager, Speech

GoogleBlog - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 02:05

Using your voice to dictate a message can be up to three times faster than typing. With this in mind, today we’re bringing voice typing (aka talking to your phone instead of typing) to 30 new languages and locales around the world, covering more than a billion people. With this update, Google’s speech recognition supports 119 language varieties, in Gboard on Android, Voice Search and more. And now in the U.S. in English, you can use use voice dictation to express yourself with emoji.

Bringing voice input to more global users

To honor languages around the world, speech recognition will support ancient languages such as Georgian, which has an alphabet that dates back to the 10th century. We’re also adding Swahili and Amharic, two of Africa's largest languages, as well as many Indian languages on our quest to make the internet more inclusive.

For your reference, here's the full list of newly supported languages and locales:

  • Amharic (Ethiopia)
  • Armenian (Armenia)
  • Azerbaijani (Azerbaijan)
  • Bengali (Bangladesh, India)
  • English (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania)
  • Georgian (Georgia)
  • Gujarati (India)
  • Javanese (Indonesia)
  • Kannada (India)
  • Khmer (Cambodia)
  • Lao (Laos)
  • Latvian (Latvia)
  • Malayalam (India)
  • Marathi (India)
  • Nepali (Nepal)
  • Sinhala (Sri Lanka)
  • Sundanese (Indonesia)
  • Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya)
  • Tamil (India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia)
  • Telugu (India)
  • Urdu (Pakistan, India)

To incorporate 30 new language varieties, we worked with native speakers to collect speech samples, asking them to read common phrases. This process trained our machine learning models to understand the sounds and words of the new languages and to improve their accuracy when exposed to more examples over time.

These new languages are also available starting today in Cloud Speech API and will soon be available across other Google apps and products, including the Translate app. To enable Voice Typing in your keyboard, install Gboard from the Play Store and pick your language (press the G in the suggestion strip and select the Settings wheel). Then just tap the microphone to start speaking. To enable Voice Search, open the Google app and pick your language in the Voice settings menu (tap the top-left menu and go to Settings, then pick Voice and select your language).

Speak your emoji

In addition to drawing or searching for your favorite emoji, in English in the U.S. you can now say something like “winky face emoji” to express yourself  
Categories: Technology

Windows 10 Change Default Music Player Program?

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 08/12/2017 - 10:49

It used to be that the default applications associated with different types of files was a setting buried deep in the configuration settings for Microsoft Windows, but with Windows 10, it’s a breeze to get to the settings and fine-tune it as you desire. The bigger challenge is to figure out what app you want associated with the different types of media, from music to movies, photos to Web addresses!

What’s interesting is that Windows 10 now makes it easy to search for additional programs through the Microsoft Store if you’re curious about different photo editors, music players, etc. The real win, though, is that as you add programs, they register what file types they can handle, so your list magically and automatically has additional programs as available. I use – and really like – VLC, a free open-source video format player, and you’ll see it shows up automatically.

Enough chat, however. Let’s see how it works!

As always, start with a Cortana search. This time for “default”:

You can see all the different choices for “default”, but what’s most impressive is that the top choice is exactly what you want: Default app settings.

That’s the one, click or tap on it and you’ll see a list of all your default apps:

You can see that Google Chrome is my default for email, but Microsoft Edge is my default Web browser. Slightly confusing, I suppose! Photos for photos, Maps for maps and… iTunes for my default music player.

Click on the default that you’d like to change and a menu pops up with all your valid choices:

As you can see, the recommended default for music is indeed “Groove Music” so you can change that here and you’re done. Notice also the last option: “Look for an app in the Store”. Cool.

Now, what about the Video player? A click on “Movies & TV” shows the options:

Here you can see that I can choose the old school Windows Media Player, Photos, or my suggestion, VLC media player. All very civilized and straightforward.

Want to change your default Web browser? Heck, you can do that too:

Please, though, don’t choose Internet Explorer. It’s just not worth the security risk…

The post Windows 10 Change Default Music Player Program? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Helping 4-H equip students with skills they’ll need for the futureHelping 4-H equip students with skills they’ll need for the future

GoogleBlog - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 11:45

The world is changing rapidly, creating new opportunities and careers we can’t yet predict. But even with a lot of unknowns, skills like collaboration, problem solving and technical know-how can be the tools students need to adapt and thrive, no matter what the future holds.

Today, at the Illinois State Fair, where hundreds of 4-H youth are exhibiting projects, we announced our support of 4-H with a $1.5 million Google.org grant to provide students around the country the opportunity to grow future skills through computer science programming like CS First and virtual field trips via Expeditions. 4-H is the United States’ largest youth development organization, with more than 6 million students participating. By supporting this work, we’re excited to see how more kids across the country use technology to achieve their goals and improve their communities.

4-H CEO Jennifer Sirangelo and Illinois state fair goers exploring CS First, our video-based coding activities for 4th-8th graders. 4-H club educators will receive training to help apply these coding skills to everyday problems and challenges. Illinois 4-Her on a virtual reality Expedition to Minnesota to see how students coded an ear tag for farmers to keep track of their wandering cattle Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner at the Illinois State Fair

While there are thousands of 4-H’ers at any state fair this summer, you can find hundreds of 4-H alums within Google—and I had the opportunity to chat with one. Julie Eddleman grew up in Indianapolis, spent 10 years in 4-H, and is now a Senior Director at Google working with some of our largest corporate partners. I talked with Julie about her experience in 4-H and how the skills she learned there continue to help her at Google.  

Jacquelline Fuller: How were you personally involved in 4-H and what did that look like? Julie at the Illinois State Fair Demonstration competition in 1981 showing judges how to build a terrarium

Julie Eddleman: I started going to 4-H meetings as early as two years old, tagging along with my older sisters. Through 10 years of hands-on projects, we learned anything you can imagine, from rocketry to water conservation. I was a very curious child and couldn’t choose just one subject! When I think back to why I stayed in 4-H so long, I think it was because of the variety of the education styles—there was reading, workshops, hands-on projects, team events and, of course, the competitions filled with ribbons and trophies.

JF: Can you tell us what skills you developed during your time in 4-H and how they’re still helping you in this chapter of your life?

JE: Where do I even start? I think I’d have to point to the skills I didn’t even realize I was learning like leadership, public speaking and problem-solving. When I’m talking to students visiting Google’s campus, my team at work, or even just my kids at home, I always talk about about developing these skills, and remember 4-H as being the first place I practiced them. 4-H even taught me how to write a check, pay our 4-H Club’s bills and balance a checkbook at the age of 11!

JF: Let’s talk more about the technical skills you learned; you mentioned rocketry and computer classes. Why do you think these are important skills for students?

JE: Coding and basic technology skills are a must for the next generation. I have five children, ages 11-31, and they all use technology every day—from video games to social media to coding puzzles. The combination of understanding tech, and working with diverse people has helped me find different ways to approach or solve a problem. These skills are critically important in any career, from agriculture to computer programming to fashion design.

Looking ahead

It’s hard to imagine that there are 6 million students around the U.S. with stories similar to Julie. And regardless of where they come from, 97 percent (across urban, suburban, rural, small city communities) think computer science can be used in many kinds of jobs—from agricultural science to fashion to engineers. We’re excited to support 4-H to help make sure that students across the country have more opportunities to build their technical skills, confidence and leadership.

We’re supporting 4-H to lay the groundwork for more than 6 million students across the country to learn skills they’ll need to be prepared for their future.
Categories: Technology

#teampixel becomes one with nature#teampixel becomes one with nature

GoogleBlog - Fri, 08/11/2017 - 11:45

Looking for a breath of fresh air? You came to the right place. This week #teampixel is becoming one with nature and capturing everything from surreal sunrises to the scenic views outside their tents. Check out another round of stellar contributions, pitch a tent and celebrate the final weeks of summer with us.

Sunrise at the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk by @morningbondi 
Spiraled succulents in Border Ranges, Australia by @drewhopper and a bumblebee buzzing around in Canada by @haylescolin

Mammoth Lakes, California by @jennnnnnnng and Sunset in Jordan by @rebirthdna

https://www.instagram.com/p/BS-pYhYDt0N/


https://www.instagram.com/p/BS-pYhYDt0N

Camping in Tunnel Bluffs, Canada by @canoman19 Still life at Badlands National Park by @theallamericanwanderlust Lakeside in Hearst, Ontario by @bpolnicky  Grab the bug spray and explore the world’s wide open spaces with #teampixel.
Categories: Technology

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