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

App Security Improvements: Looking back at 2016App Security Improvements: Looking back at 2016

GoogleBlog - 5 hours 47 min ago

In April 2016, the Android Security team described how the Google Play App Security Improvement (ASI) program has helped developers fix security issues in 100,000 applications. Since then, we have detected and notified developers of 11 new security issues and provided developers with resources and guidance to update their apps. Because of this, over 90,000 developers have updated over 275,000 apps!

ASI now notifies developers of 26 potential security issues. To make this process more transparent, we introduced a new page where developers can find information about all these security issues in one place. This page includes links to help center articles containing instructions and additional support contacts. Developers can use this page as a resource to learn about new issues and keep track of all past issues.

Developers can also refer to our security best practices documents and security checklist, which are aimed at improving the understanding of general security concepts and providing examples that can help tackle app-specific issues.

How you can help:

For feedback or questions, please reach out to us through the Google Play Developer Help Center. To report potential security issues in apps, email us at security+asi@android.com.

Thanks to the Google Play App Security Improvement Program, over 90,000 developers have updated over 275,000 apps.
Categories: Technology

See how G Suite and DocuSign help real estate brokers close deals fasterSee how G Suite and DocuSign help real estate brokers close deals faster

GoogleBlog - 6 hours 47 min ago

G Suite helps teams cut through clutter and get right down to business: accomplishing more with less rigmarole. In November, we welcomed DocuSign to the Recommended for G Suite Program to trim time businesses spend on e-signatures and approvals. This G Suite integration makes it easy to fast-track signatures with multiple signers, which is especially valuable for our customers in the real estate industry.

Sereno Group, a real estate brokerage firm in California, uses DocuSign and G Suite to schedule signings, maintain communication between agents and clients, and easily exchange paperwork. By using less complicated tools, agents can build their business and clientele faster.  

“When our tools are easier to use, agents can spend less time managing paperwork and devote more time to their clients,” said Tim Proschold, VP of Group Strategy & Success at Sereno Group.

Sereno Group agents save time by using other G Suite integrations, like DocuSign for Google Drive and the DocuSign Gmail extension. Agents use Zipforms, online forms used by real estate agents, to store important deal information. Then others can go into these Zipforms, assemble important real estate, add in files or documents stored in Google Drive with the DocuSign for Google Drive integration and send materials to clients for them to sign. Tracking the status of signatures is easy with the DocuSign Gmail extension. Sereno Group agents can see the status of signatures directly in Gmail to know what’s pending and what’s complete. 

Other brokers are catching on too. Chris Lopez, broker with World Class Properties, is saving time with DocuSign and G Suite: “I sign between five and 10 documents every day and I save up to 10 minutes on each document. That frees up nearly eight hours a week for me to focus on what’s important for my clients.”

These real estate agents are clearly on to something. According to DocuSign, Sereno Group real estate agents are using DocuSign tools more and more — last year they used 18,000 envelope signatures up from 5,500 the year before. To learn more about how to use G Suite and DocuSign for your business, sign up for this webinar on February 7, 2017 at 10am PST / 1pm EST.
Categories: Technology

How Devonport Boys High School is building the next generation of entrepreneursHow Devonport Boys High School is building the next generation of entrepreneurs

GoogleBlog - 10 hours 47 min ago

Editor’s note: Leading up to Bett, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world, we're highlighting teachers, students and administrators who are using educational technology to make learning more interactive and impactful for their students. From our Impact Portraits series, Ben Forte shares how Devonport is creating a more collaborative, entrepreneurial environment for its 1,200 students using technology. Check out @GoogleForEdu and #BETT2017 to learn what we're talking about at Bett. To hear more from Ben, visit Google’s teaching theater at Bett on Thursday Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m.

When you walk into a startup or big tech office, it’s not out of the ordinary to see ping pong tables, vending machines for gadgets or open spaces without walls or cubicles. But these environments aren’t standard in the education system. In fact, most schools think that this type of modern, open space would create chaos and limit the ability to learn.

When I joined Devonport Boys High School, I set out to prove the opposite. I believed that by creating open spaces and giving students the technology and tools they need to think like entrepreneurs, they’d learn far more than in a rule-bound, confined environment. To support this idea, we created the Learning Commons: a dedicated space including a big room with an artificial lawn and bean bags, a separate room with whiteboard-ready desks, and small meeting rooms, custom built for collaboration and group discussions.

At the same time, we overhauled our technology. Chromebooks and G Suite for Education were so affordable that each student was allotted a device, letting us distribute technology to more students and teachers than ever before. We replaced outdated systems with Google tools to personalize learning and encourage greater collaboration. The result was a measurable increase in student participation, including a 60 percent increase in students accessing their accounts outside of school.

Empowering students to be digital ambassadors

Often when schools adopt new learning technology, teachers and administrators take responsibility for introducing the required resources and processes. At Devonport, we asked students to participate in the roll-out, and they embraced the opportunity. They created department- and subject-specific websites using Google Sites, and set up others for clubs and extracurriculars like Biology Society, Chess Club, Astronomy Club and Debate Club. This student-led project helped foster an entrepreneurial mindset and reorganize the departments and clubs. And now students, teachers and administrators can easily access shared event calendars, photos and resources with Google Drive.

Students also use Hangouts and Chromebooks outside of the classroom to hold meetings for student-run clubs and extracurricular activities. During the meetings, they take notes in Google Docs for everyone to view, and to help those who missed the meeting get up to speed. The portability of Chromebooks allows students to collaborate regardless of their physical location.

Meeting students where they are with personalized resources and parent involvement

With G Suite for Education, teachers can create a customized learning path by sharing videos, articles and additional assignments with each student based on their areas of improvement. By tracking their progress and giving every student one-on-one feedback during and after class, teachers are meeting students where they are, and challenging students to push themselves.

Collaborative spaces and tools allow students and teachers to work closely together.

Parents are a big part of students’ education, and we wanted to create a better communication channel between parents and teachers. We created a Parent Portal on Google Sites, which lets teachers share updates and feedback with parents about their child’s learning. This not only creates a positive relationship for the school and parents, but also helps parents identify how they can help their children at home and outside of the classroom.

Teachers are also making learning content more dynamic by incorporating videos and online activities. Our psychology department truly adopted the digital mindset and replaced the textbook with Google Sites, including online videos, links to articles and recorded lesson plans.

We want our students to be inspired to think creatively, to become the next generation of digital entrepreneurs, inventing ways to improve our schools, their lives and the world through technology. With the help of G Suite and Chromebooks, we’re on our way.

Read the full Devonport Impact Portrait and check out g.co/EduImpact for stories of impact from around the world.

Ben Forte, Director of the Learning Commons at Devonport Boys High School, shares how his school used technology to create an environment ripe for entrepreneurship.
Categories: Technology

How do I add a banner ad to my site?

AskDaveTaylor - 11 hours 8 min ago

First off, congrats on getting an advertiser or sponsor for your Web site. That’s always a nice thing and based on what you said there aren’t any metrics to achieve either so there’s no worry about having your traffic fluctuate over the advertising period. On the down side, now you need to figure out how to add the advertisement to the site!

There are a zillion plugins for WordPress and some of them will accomplish what you seek, but since I’m generally plugin averse (for security and reliability of your site) let’s look at a more direct path by using what’s know as a widget. Widgets are like little boxes of content that add all sorts of functionality to your site, including latest posts, a list of categories, and more. On my site, widgets help me manage the sidebar, the text at the very bottom of the page, etc.

This process is a bit complicated, so bear with me on this. The first step is to upload the banner graphic to your WordPress blog. To do that, choose “Add New” from the “Media” tab:

Now you can just drag and drop your image onto the page. Once it’s uploaded, you’ll see an “Edit” button adjacent:

Click on “Edit” and you’ll see the detailed view of your image. In my case, this would make a bad banner; your image will have different dimensions!

What you care about is the File URL in the grey box. But we’ll come back to that.

Now let’s pop into your Widget area. That’s done by choosing Widgets from the Appearance menu:

Now the screen will be split into two areas. On the left will be the type of widget elements you can work with, and the right side will show which widgets you current have active. On my site, for example, the set of widget areas looks like this:

Notice the conveniently labelled “Ads Above Header“. Hopefully you have a similar widget on your site too!

Armed with that, click the tiny arrow adjacent to open it, and if it’s empty, you can drag a TEXT widget area onto it to create a block of text where you can drop HTML code. The Widget areas on my site include these:

You can see the “Text” widget area. Once I drag that onto the “Ads Above Header” widget, it looks like this:

Good. All the hard part’s done. Now let’s assemble what you need, all of which you’ll type directly into the Content box on your new widget. You’ll want to know the destination URL for people’s clicks on the banner, the File URL from the banner graphic you already uploaded, and the height and width of the image. 728 x 90 is a common banner dimension, for example.

Here’s the HTML code you can use to add it to your site:

<center>
<a href=”URL“><img src=”File URL” alt=”companyname” height=”X” width=”Y” /></a>
</center>

In this example, you’ll need to replace everything in red. Pay super close attention to the quotes too: if the destination URL is quoted, don’t add a second set of quotes as that’ll break things. You should also have no spaces within quotes. Height and width should end up looking something like height=”90″ width=”728″.

Click on the blue “Save” button and reload your home page in a different browser tab. The ad should show up and if you click on it, you should go to the destination page! Not too bad, you hacker, you!

Now, if it doesn’t work, if you don’t have an “Ads Above Header” widget, or if you don’t have permission to access this area on your blog, then you’ll need to have your Web admin or webmaster help with this task. They’ll want the exact same information, however, so you can still upload the banner graphic and then send them the target URL, image file URL, company name info and height & width numbers.

Good luck and be careful! If things go super wonky, you can always delete the new widget area with the “Delete” link on the bottom too!

Disclaimer: You’re on your own with this tutorial. If you aren’t confident, don’t try what I outline above. If you do these steps and it doesn’t work, it’s your webmaster who will need to help you fix it, not me. This is just for entertainment and educational purposes, natch.

The post How do I add a banner ad to my site? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Showcase your art in new ways with Tilt Brush ToolkitShowcase your art in new ways with Tilt Brush Toolkit

GoogleBlog - 11 hours 47 min ago

Tilt Brush is a tool for creators of all backgrounds and styles to make art in virtual reality. Sketches made in Tilt Brush stand on their own — you can film your sketches, take 2D snapshots, export them as 3D objects. However there hasn't been an easy way to add animation, interactivity, or sequencing to your art. That is, until now.

Today, we're introducing the Tilt Brush Toolkit, an open source library for bringing your Tilt Brush art to other creative projects. With the toolkit, the next generation of artists can create narrative, interactive, and immersive content using Tilt Brush sketches.

The Tilt Brush Toolkit includes Python scripts and a Unity SDK with everything you need to make movies, interactive stories, video games, music videos, or other projects using assets created in Tilt Brush. We’re sharing all of our brush shaders, our audio reactive code, a streamlined Unity import pipeline, file format conversion utilities, and several great examples so hobbyists and professionals can showcase their Tilt Brush art in new places, on new platforms, and in new ways.  

Share your projects using the #TiltBrush hashtag, and we’ll highlight our favorites from @googlevr.

Showcase your art in new places, on new platforms, and in new ways with the Tilt Brush Toolkit.
Categories: Technology

Review: Humanscale Float Table / Desk

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 16:27

Being able to sit for certain conversations, but work while standing has changed the way I engage with my work. I’ve always had a more traditional workspace, one where I sat all day behind a big wooden desk, with giant drawers and plenty of room to lose all sorts of things to what inevitably becomes the junk drawer. When I was younger, I believed a messy desk meant I was working harder, but I’ve realized it was just an excuse to not bother keeping a clean desk. The Float makes that organization simple to achieve, as there is nowhere to leave papers or other items where they do not become clutter. It’s sleek, modern design has led to a more organized workspace, which for me leads to a much better workflow.

The only issue I’ve had with the desk was setting it up, I was able to easily build it, but getting it to float up or down was more tricky. Unfortunately, Humanscale’s customer service is only available during the work day and it was nearly impossible for me to engage with them between 9-5 during my work week. Eventually, my son had some time and was able to figure it out. Since then, the desk has been an amazingly positive addition to my office.

Here’s what it looks like (company photo, not me standing at the desk!):

At the same time, I reviewed the Humanscale Freedom Headrest chair, which is a perfect addition to the Float Table. Since I began using the Float desk, I’m sitting less. So, when I do sit, I want to feel comfortable. I want to feel like my chair is my chair and the Freedom makes me feel that way. The chair uses body weight and gravity the “laws of physics” to adjust while reclining and adapt to anyone who takes a seat.

The contoured cushion is perfect for sitting all day. My one complaint about the chair is the mechanism for the arms: I just don’t think the arms go high enough on the chair. It may be because I’m using a standing desk, so the height of everything is in flux, but I do wish the design of the chair allowed the arms to float a bit higher. That said, the armrests are comfortable and easy to adjust.

Once again, Humanscale takes design simplicity to the next level, as this chair is not only comfortable, but fits into almost any environment, from office to kitchen, this chair would both blend in and enhance the space

Overall, I think the Humanscale Freedom Headrest chair is both comfortable and has an overall sleek design. It’s been a welcomed addition to my office and while it is not perfect, it comes close. I am happy to trust the health of my back and shoulders to this well designed chair.

The Humanscale Float Table Desk is $1749.00 and the Freedom Task Chair with Headrest is $1,169.00.

Disclaimer: Humanscale sent both a desk and chair along for the purposes of this review.

Review author Gary Moskoff is a contributing editor to Ask Dave Taylor and the Managing Director of Sleeping Giant. He specializes in understanding consumers needs and developing experiences that compliment to their lifestyles.

The post Review: Humanscale Float Table / Desk appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Update my Twitter Profile Picture on my iPhone?

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 13:21

Not sure why you “really need” an updated photo but perhaps you have a stylish new hairstyle or it’s one of those cloying photos that’s you and your significant other (or that’s what you want to use and you’re now frowning at my comment!!) In all cases, Twitter makes it pretty easy for you to update your profile photo or picture, whether you’re on a Desktop app, Web interface or are using the mobile app. Better yet, Android users will find that there’s a whole lotta similarity between the iOS / iPhone version of Twitter and the Android version, so this process should be just about identical.

To start, pull out your iPhone and launch the Twitter app. Tap on the “Me” button on the lower right. You’ll see something like this:

See on the top right the button labeled “Edit profile“? That’s what you want. Tap on it.

The result will be a spot where you can fine tune what’s shown on your Twitter profile:

You can sidetrack and update other things if you want, but for now, focus on your profile photo!

Notice that there’s a camera icon with a “+” superimposed over the thumbnail. Tap on it.

Now you’ll have to decide if you want to get your new photo from your camera roll or library, or take the shot live:

I’m going to take a profile photo for this demo, even though I look, um, just a bit tired and the lighting is mediocre. I choose that by tapping on “Take profile photo“.

Hey! It’s me! Notice there’s a tiny grid superimposed over the image. Probably not useful in this instance, but it can help you make sure the horizon is level as needed…

Got it framed, like your smile? Look at the camera lens itself on your iPhone (top of the screen) and tap on the camera icon on the bottom.

It’ll now show you the photo — flipped horizontally, which can be weird — and let you zoom and crop to perfect what you use:

Here’s where you can just pinch, zoom, and drag your finger around to move the crop box.

Done? Tap on “Use“.

You can easily update or modify other information, but you’re not done yet! Once you have everything just so, then tap on “Save” on the top right.

It’s okay if you tap on “New Tweet” to share your lovely new photo with everyone! In fact, I’ll do the same thing by tapping on “New Tweet” here. A quick description and a location tag because, well, Twitter. Here’s what I see:

A tap on the blue “Tweet” button and it’s sent. And in the Web version, it shows up, just as I’d hope:

And that’s how you update your Twitter profile picture or photo on your iPhone! And if you’d like, why not follow me on Twitter? Just follow @DaveTaylor and I promise, I post a lot more than just pictures of myself.

Categories: Technology

A virtual trek through Petra with Google CardboardA virtual trek through Petra with Google Cardboard

GoogleBlog - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 11:00

Last year, we launched a virtual tour of Petra and more than 30 historical sites across Jordan in Google Street View. The interactive Maps experience took visitors on an intimate journey into Jordan’s lost city of stone—and now, we’ve made this historic trek even more immersive with a 360º experience for Google Cardboard.  

We’ve used 360º mapping, aerial imagery and millions of photos stitched together, to recreate six of Petra’s most beautiful and iconic panoramas for you to explore. Audio narration, interactive hotspots and sound effects guide you as you follow the footsteps of the ancient Nabataeans. This 2000-year-old civilization miraculously transformed the harshest of deserts into an oasis of life and culture.

Wander through the winding pathway of Al Siq to the Treasury, Petra’s most famous landmark. Look all around in 360º to explore every detail of this elaborate carved facade recognizable from movies like “Indiana Jones” and “Transformers.”

Make your way past Petra’s carved theatre and hidden tombs until you reach Al Deir, or the Monastery. No trip to Petra is complete without staring up in awe at its grandeur. The doorway alone is eight meters tall!

Of course, nothing can compare to visiting Petra in real life. But now anyone with an internet connection can trek this remarkable UNESCO Heritage Site like never before—and we hope this 360º experience inspires a new generation of tourists to come to visit the rose-red city for themselves. Start your tour now on your mobile phone at g.co/PetraVR.

Take an immersive VR tour of Petra, the lost city of stone. Unearth its ancient tombs and hidden treasures in 360º with Google Cardboard.
Categories: Technology

Don’t let a spotty connection stop you from searchingDon’t let a spotty connection stop you from searching

GoogleBlog - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 19:05

Whether you’re a commuter reading the news with a spotty network, a farmer looking up crop prices with no service in the fields, or just driving through a tunnel, all is not lost when your search is interrupted by a bad connection. Now on the Google app for Android, even if your search fails, Google will deliver your results as soon as a connection is available—so you can keep searching with a single tap.

Mobile networks can sometimes be inconsistent or spotty, which means that even if you have a connection when you start your search, it might fail before you get your results back. With this change, search results are saved as soon as they are retrieved, even if you lose connection afterwards or go into airplane mode. So the next time you lose service, feel free to queue up your searches, put your phone away and carry on with your day. The Google app will work behind-the-scenes to detect when a connection is available again and deliver your search results once completed.

And if you’re worried about data charges or preserving battery life, don’t fret. This feature won’t drain your battery, and by fetching streamlined search results pages, it minimally impacts data usage.

So before you head out the door, make sure the Google app is running the latest version for Android, and the next time you hit a spotty network, your results are covered.

Now on the Google app for Android, if your search fails due to a spotty network, Google will deliver your results as soon as a connection is available so you can keep searching with a single tap.
Categories: Technology

Silence speaks louder than words when finding malwareSilence speaks louder than words when finding malware

GoogleBlog - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 17:00

In Android Security, we're constantly working to better understand how to make Android devices operate more smoothly and securely. One security solution included on all devices with Google Play is Verify apps. Verify apps checks if there are Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) on your device. If a PHA is found, Verify apps warns the user and enables them to uninstall the app.

But, sometimes devices stop checking up with Verify apps. This may happen for a non-security related reason, like buying a new phone, or, it could mean something more concerning is going on. When a device stops checking up with Verify apps, it is considered Dead or Insecure (DOI). An app with a high enough percentage of DOI devices downloading it, is considered a DOI app. We use the DOI metric, along with the other security systems to help determine if an app is a PHA to protect Android users. Additionally, when we discover vulnerabilities, we patch Android devices with our security update system.

This blog post explores the Android Security team’s research to identify the security-related reasons that devices stop working and prevent it from happening in the future.

Flagging DOI Apps

To understand this problem more deeply, the Android Security team correlates app install attempts and DOI devices to find apps that harm the device in order to protect our users.

With these factors in mind, we then focus on ‘retention’. A device is considered retained if it continues to perform periodic Verify apps security check ups after an app download. If it doesn’t, it’s considered potentially dead or insecure (DOI). An app’s retention rate is the percentage of all retained devices that downloaded the app in one day. Because retention is a strong indicator of device health, we work to maximize the ecosystem’s retention rate.

Therefore, we use an app DOI scorer, which assumes that all apps should have a similar device retention rate. If an app’s retention rate is a couple of standard deviations lower than average, the DOI scorer flags it. A common way to calculate the number of standard deviations from the average is called a Z-score. The equation for the Z-score is below.

  • N = Number of devices that downloaded the app.
  • x = Number of retained devices that downloaded the app.
  • p = Probability of a device downloading any app will be retained.

In this context, we call the Z-score of an app’s retention rate a DOI score. The DOI score indicates an app has a statistically significant lower retention rate if the Z-score is much less than -3.7. This means that if the null hypothesis is true, there is much less than a 0.01% chance the magnitude of the Z-score being as high. In this case, the null hypothesis means the app accidently correlated with lower retention rate independent of what the app does.

This allows for percolation of extreme apps (with low retention rate and high number of downloads) to the top of the DOI list. From there, we combine the DOI score with other information to determine whether to classify the app as a PHA. We then use Verify apps to remove existing installs of the app and prevent future installs of the app. Difference between a regular and DOI app download on the same device Results in the wild

Among others, the DOI score flagged many apps in three well known malware families— Hummingbad, Ghost Push, and Gooligan. Although they behave differently, the DOI scorer flagged over 25,000 apps in these three families of malware because they can degrade the Android experience to such an extent that a non-negligible amount of users factory reset or abandon their devices. This approach provides us with another perspective to discover PHAs and block them before they gain popularity. Without the DOI scorer, many of these apps would have escaped the extra scrutiny of a manual review.

The DOI scorer and all of Android's anti-malware work is one of multiple layers protecting users and developers on Android. For an overview of Android's security and transparency efforts, check out our page.

How Verify apps on Android provides another perspective to discover potentially harmful apps and block them before they gain popularity, even if a device stops checking in.
Categories: Technology

Making Google+ work better for youMaking Google+ work better for you

GoogleBlog - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 12:22

For the past few years, we’ve been doing a lot of listening on the Google+ team, and we’ve learned a lot.

Listening to your feedback inspired us to introduce a new Google+ focused on helping you connect around shared interests a little over a year ago. Your feedback led us to launch more than 50 updates across Android, iOS and web to ensure the new experience serves you even better than the previous one. Big changes like powerful tools for Community moderators, image comments and joining the G Suite family were all thanks to your input.

After all of these updates, more people are discovering vibrant Communities and creating inspiring Collections than ever before. So it’s in this same spirit that we’re pleased to add three new much requested updates, rolling out over the next couple of weeks, to Google+.

Hiding low-quality commentsWe’re making it easier to have good conversations by hiding lower quality comments on posts, so you can focus on the comments that matter most. If you’d like to see all the comments on a post, you can always click or tap “View more comments.”

Showing you more of what matters

To help you see more of the stuff you care about, we’ve adjusted Google+ to make the best use of your screen size and show you less white space and more posts. Photographers share big, beautiful images on Google+ every day, so we’ve also added zoom functionality to photos on Google+ web to let you get up close and personal with the images you’re interested in.

Bringing back Events

Finally (drumroll please!), we’re bringing Events over to the new Google+. While there’s more to be done to improve the experience, beginning January 24th you’ll be able to create and join events on Google+ web as you have in the past. Please note that Events will not be available for G Suite at this time.

With this latest round of updates, we believe the new Google+ is really your Google+— designed around your suggestions, requests and needs. It also means it’s time to say goodbye to classic Google+ on the web, which we’ll be turning down on January 24.

Just because we’re bidding adieu to classic Google+ doesn’t mean we’re done working on the new one. Our aim is to make Google+ the best place to connect around the things you care about, so please use the “Send Feedback” link in the apps and on the web to keep the feedback coming. We’re listening.

From better commenting, to showing you more of what matters, to bringing back Events, we’re making a bunch of improvements to Google+ based on your feedback.
Categories: Technology

Automatically Add YouTube Videos to my Playlist Channel?

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 11:34

Glad to hear you’re exploring the capabilities of YouTube. As a creator, there’s really quite a lot you can do to make your videos and channel stand out from the crowd and more visibility translates to more views, which is always good, right? Playlists are an area that most people ignore, figuring that they upload the video, add a cute title, publish it, and they’re done. Yet there’s so much more you can do…

As you say, playlists are a great organizational tool that benefits both the creator and your viewers, and heck, if you have a playlist that matches one of my interests, I might well watch a series of 5-10 or more videos you’ve uploaded without pause. And that’s good news! Being owned by Google, it should be no surprise that is indeed an auto-add feature for playlists once you make them. It’s not super powerful, but if you’re using YouTube right, it’s plenty capable enough for what you seek.

Let’s have a look! First off, my YouTube channel includes a Playlist tab:

Click on it and you’ll see I have three playlists at this point, organized by year:

Obviously, the 2017 videos playlist is smallest with its modest 2 videos. So far!

To edit the playlist and add the auto-add video to playlist feature, I’ll need to get into Creator Studio. Easiest way to do that is from the button on the pop-up under my icon on the top right:

Once you’re there, you’ll see the usual menu of options on the left side. You want to click on… can you guess?… you can do itplaylists!

Categories: Technology

Zurich calling – Expanding our European tech hubZurich calling – Expanding our European tech hub

GoogleBlog - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 07:30

The future of research and development for Google in Europe may well lie in Zurich. Currently housing over 2,000 Googlers from 75 countries, this winter we’ve expanded our presence along the Limmat River, giving us room to expand to 5,000 people. Zurich, already the largest Google development centre outside of the U.S. and housing teams working on Google Search, Maps, Calendar, YouTube and Gmail, will now be the European homebase for our exploration of research and implementation of machine learning.

Millions of people around the world are already using internet services developed and managed by the Google teams in Zurich--products used by individuals or, like many leading European companies do, to improve the efficiency of business processes. By adding new offices in Europaallee next to the Zurich train station, Google Switzerland is creating even more space for innovation.

The new Google Europe Research Team has been based in Zurich since June 2016, working on the future issue of machine learning and focusing on natural speech recognition and reproduction. The work is used in services such as Google Assistant, Google Photos or Google Translate.

“Google is now deeply rooted in Zurich. I am very pleased that Google has chosen to invest in Zurich – both in jobs and new offices. The opening of the new office shows that Zurich – with its high quality of life, close proximity to institutions of applied sciences and universities, and modern infrastructure – is an attractive location for ICT companies and businesses in general,” Zurich’s mayor Corine Mauch said, expressing her pleasure at Google’s additional investment in Zurich.

In addition to fostering in-house talent, Google Switzerland is campaigning for stronger education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education in the country including partnerships designed to strengthen programming skills and media competency in Switzerland. Starting in autumn 2017, Google will begin training IT apprentices in the new offices, and together with the academic community, including ETH in Zurich and EPFL, we’re working on research partnerships on machine learning, machine perception, and computer systems.

We’re also working to support Switzerland’s SME community via the exportdigital.ch platform, created in collaboration with Switzerland Global Enterprise. Through this online portal, part of Google’s Growth Engine efforts, companies and individuals can access digital know-how to open doors to potential export markets around the world. During the past three years, more than 30,000 people have taken these courses.

And because Google itself started out in a garage--we believe that big ideas often start small--Google is a founding member of the digitalswitzerland association working to position Switzerland as an international digital hub.

We believe that partnerships--in economics, research, and policy--are important factors in this success for Switzerland. That's why we're delighted for the opportunity to be at the heart of Zurich during such exciting times through research agreements, continuing education initiatives for SMEs, and initiatives like digitalswitzerland to promote innovation at and for the site. We're optimistic about the latest expansion and to continue working together with our partners to increase innovation in Switzerland and to shape the future.


Zurich, already the largest Google development centre outside of the U.S. and housing teams working on Google Search, Maps, Calendar, YouTube and Gmail, will now be the European home base for our exploration of research and implementation of machine learning.
Categories: Technology

Zurich calling – Expanding our European tech hubZurich calling – Expanding our European tech hub

GoogleBlog - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 07:30

The future of research and development for Google in Europe may well lie in Zurich. Currently housing over 2,000 Googlers from 75 countries, this winter we’ve expanded our presence along the Limmat River, giving us room to expand to 5,000 people. Zurich, already the largest Google development centre outside of the U.S. and housing teams working on Google Search, Maps, Calendar, YouTube and Gmail, will now be the European homebase for our exploration of research and implementation of machine learning.

Millions of people around the world are already using internet services developed and managed by the Google teams in Zurich--products used by individuals or, like many leading European companies do, to improve the efficiency of business processes. By adding new offices in Europaallee next to the Zurich train station, Google Switzerland is creating even more space for innovation.

The new Google Europe Research Team has been based in Zurich since June 2016, working on the future issue of machine learning and focusing on natural speech recognition and reproduction. The work is used in services such as Google Assistant, Google Photos or Google Translate.

“Google is now deeply rooted in Zurich. I am very pleased that Google has chosen to invest in Zurich – both in jobs and new offices. The opening of the new office shows that Zurich – with its high quality of life, close proximity to institutions of applied sciences and universities, and modern infrastructure – is an attractive location for ICT companies and businesses in general,” Zurich’s mayor Corine Mauch said, expressing her pleasure at Google’s additional investment in Zurich.

In addition to fostering in-house talent, Google Switzerland is campaigning for stronger education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education in the country including partnerships designed to strengthen programming skills and media competency in Switzerland. Starting in autumn 2017, Google will begin training IT apprentices in the new offices, and together with the academic community, including ETH in Zurich and EPFL, we’re working on research partnerships on machine learning, machine perception, and computer systems.

We’re also working to support Switzerland’s SME community via the exportdigital.ch platform, created in collaboration with Switzerland Global Enterprise. Through this online portal, part of Google’s Growth Engine efforts, companies and individuals can access digital know-how to open doors to potential export markets around the world. During the past three years, more than 30,000 people have taken these courses.

And because Google itself started out in a garage--we believe that big ideas often start small--Google is a founding member of the digitalswitzerland association working to position Switzerland as an international digital hub.

We believe that partnerships--in economics, research, and policy--are important factors in this success for Switzerland. That's why we're delighted for the opportunity to be at the heart of Zurich during such exciting times through research agreements, continuing education initiatives for SMEs, and initiatives like digitalswitzerland to promote innovation at and for the site. We're optimistic about the latest expansion and to continue working together with our partners to increase innovation in Switzerland and to shape the future.


Zurich, already the largest Google development centre outside of the U.S. and housing teams working on Google Search, Maps, Calendar, YouTube and Gmail, will now be the European home base for our exploration of research and implementation of machine learning.
Categories: Technology

Is there a way to confirm a street address?

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 01/16/2017 - 10:57

If you think about it, planning ahead for growth in communities has made street addresses a jumbled mess. Some cities actually have unique street address numbers (that is, there’s a 123 Main, but there’s then never a 123 anything else in the city) while others like to use big number to suggest the street is bigger and more established (1 Lee Hill Road is apparently less cool than 750 Lee Hill Road, for example). And then there’s spacing too: On my small street our individually owned houses are 8 numbers apart, so while I’m 7588, my immediately adjacent neighbor is 7594.

And one more wrinkle: even on one side of the street, odd on the other. Oh, and make sure you plan ahead for growth because that one big ranch might someday be a dozen condos, each owner wanting their own proper street address too!

It’s crazy complicated, and so it’s no wonder that it’s hard to predict street addresses. I mean, you could just pop them into something like Google Maps, but if I look for the address 1599 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC, Google Maps is happy to show me where it is:

Street view is a bit confusing: is it the media of Pennsylvania Ave? On the other hand, if it is legit, then street view shows you if it’s a dwelling, a post office (if it’s a po box), an office building or even a Dairy Queen drive-thru!

A smarter way to validate a street address, however, is to use the US Postal Service zipcode lookup. Unlike Google Maps, the US Postal Service knows if an address is legit:

Notice the text in red: “The address you provided is not recognized by the US Postal Service as an address we serve. Mail sent to this address may be returned.”. Note that by looking at the address next door – 1600 Pennsylvania Ave — we find that it is deliverable, get the proper street address (it’s actually 1600 Pennsylvania Ave SE) and the 9-digit zip:

The mailing industry details are geeky fun too. A click and you can even see what mail router covers that address:

I have no idea what any of that means, so don’t worry if it’s all Greek to you too!

And that address, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington DC? Rings a bell? Let’s ask Google Maps what’s there:

There ya go! 1600 is the White House. 1599 is, uh, an undeliverable spot along a road.

Now you know how to validate addresses: Just use the US Postal Service online tools.

The post Is there a way to confirm a street address? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Five ways retailers can provide personal, convenient customer service using ChromeFive ways retailers can provide personal, convenient customer service using Chrome

GoogleBlog - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 13:00

Successful retail outlets are always striving to improve customer service. Brick-and-mortar stores are borrowing a page from their online counterparts and turning to new technologies like Chrome to help make shopping easier and more fun for customers. Here are five ways retailers are using Chrome to personalize shopping, manage ad campaigns, offer local information and speed up the ordering process:

Personalized shopping

The best retail experience is personalized and relevant. Putting umbrellas and raincoats in front of a store during a rainstorm, for example, boosts inbound traffic and makes satisfied — and dry —  customers. But other than displaying umbrellas in the windows, how can a store advertise a spur of the moment promotion like that?  

Chico’s, a women’s apparel and accessories chain, uses Chromeboxes to tailor promotions across its U.S. stores. While bikinis are featured in digital displays in Florida, coats might be featured in Chicago and cocktail dresses in Las Vegas. Chico’s is working on bringing personalized content to 5,000 screens in its stores.

Express ordering

Australia’s Famous Fish by Steve Costi restaurant chain is mixing the best of self-service technology with old-world aesthetics. They introduced kiosk-based interactive menu boards based on Chrome which let people place their orders. This means customers have shorter lines and they get their food faster too.

Customers are pleased, and there’s been a noticeable boost to the bottom line. At the company’s Fountain Gate location, for example, average orders are 28.7% higher when customers use the kiosks. “Combining self-service touch screens with dynamic menu boards, the commercial Chrome technology is already providing a huge return on investment,” says Jon Sully, director of Famous Fish. “We’re seeing a noticeable increase in brand awareness and a large boost in customer spend.”

Going local

Where are the fish biting today? If you’re a sporting goods store and answer that for your customers, they’ll stay loyal for life. Scheels, a sporting-goods chain with 26 stores in 11 states, uses Chrome digital signs to display information about nearby river conditions and advice on the latest equipment and local fishing techniques. “They’re incredibly popular features that have helped build customer loyalty,” says Josh Diemert, lead systems administrator for Scheels.

Scheels also lets customers place orders using in-store kiosks. That frees up staff to provide more specialized service to individual customers. “We’ve taken the in-store experience to a new level by leveraging technology to make shopping fun, while at the same time empowering our sales team to deliver a better quality of service,” says Diemert.

Managing hundreds of campaigns

Store managers have a lot on their plates, and managing in-store digital signage campaigns can distract them from their most important work of helping customers and supporting their staff. Compass Group Canada turned to Chrome digital signage for promoting in-store offers in its restaurants and coffee shops. One marketer can now manage dozens of campaigns using Chrome Device Management, saving hundreds of hours of work a week. And campaigns are carefully tracked to make sure they perform well, leading to a 2% to 4% sales boost, which adds up for a company with $2 billion in annual revenue.

Bring more employees and processes online

If more retail employees have better access to computing, stores can move many of their processes online and make them more efficient. This includes everything from inventory checks, HR tasks, employee training on new store offerings, shift coordination, and marketing activities. The challenge has always been that it’s expensive to get a device for each employee, and it’s insecure to share a typical PC amongst multiple employees.

Chromebooks can be shared seamlessly between many employees, and any employee can pick up any device, log in, and get a secure workspace with access to all of their applications  By deploying a few Chromebooks in the back office of a store, retailers can give all of their employees secure access to computing, operate their stores more efficiently, and make sure that their employees are well trained on the latest products.

Find out more about how Google is ready to support and grow your retail business at our NRF BIG Show booth (#4333) in New York City, January 15th - 17th. Those who can’t attend the show can learn more here about how retailers can use Chrome digital signage and devices to engage customers.

Learn how Chrome can boost retail foot traffic and improve the customer experience while also cutting costs thanks to secure sharing of devices by employees.
Categories: Technology

Five ways retailers can provide personal, convenient customer service using ChromeFive ways retailers can provide personal, convenient customer service using Chrome

GoogleBlog - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 13:00

Successful retail outlets are always striving to improve customer service. Brick-and-mortar stores are borrowing a page from their online counterparts and turning to new technologies like Chrome to help make shopping easier and more fun for customers. Here are five ways retailers are using Chrome to personalize shopping, manage ad campaigns, offer local information and speed up the ordering process:

Personalized shopping

The best retail experience is personalized and relevant. Putting umbrellas and raincoats in front of a store during a rainstorm, for example, boosts inbound traffic and makes satisfied — and dry —  customers. But other than displaying umbrellas in the windows, how can a store advertise a spur of the moment promotion like that?  

Chico’s, a women’s apparel and accessories chain, uses Chromeboxes to tailor promotions across its U.S. stores. While bikinis are featured in digital displays in Florida, coats might be featured in Chicago and cocktail dresses in Las Vegas. Chico’s is working on bringing personalized content to 5,000 screens in its stores.

Express ordering

Australia’s Famous Fish by Steve Costi restaurant chain is mixing the best of self-service technology with old-world aesthetics. They introduced kiosk-based interactive menu boards based on Chrome which let people place their orders. This means customers have shorter lines and they get their food faster too.

Customers are pleased, and there’s been a noticeable boost to the bottom line. At the company’s Fountain Gate location, for example, average orders are 28.7% higher when customers use the kiosks. “Combining self-service touch screens with dynamic menu boards, the commercial Chrome technology is already providing a huge return on investment,” says Jon Sully, director of Famous Fish. “We’re seeing a noticeable increase in brand awareness and a large boost in customer spend.”

Going local

Where are the fish biting today? If you’re a sporting goods store and answer that for your customers, they’ll stay loyal for life. Scheels, a sporting-goods chain with 26 stores in 11 states, uses Chrome digital signs to display information about nearby river conditions and advice on the latest equipment and local fishing techniques. “They’re incredibly popular features that have helped build customer loyalty,” says Josh Diemert, lead systems administrator for Scheels.

Scheels also lets customers place orders using in-store kiosks. That frees up staff to provide more specialized service to individual customers. “We’ve taken the in-store experience to a new level by leveraging technology to make shopping fun, while at the same time empowering our sales team to deliver a better quality of service,” says Diemert.

Managing hundreds of campaigns

Store managers have a lot on their plates, and managing in-store digital signage campaigns can distract them from their most important work of helping customers and supporting their staff. Compass Group Canada turned to Chrome digital signage for promoting in-store offers in its restaurants and coffee shops. One marketer can now manage dozens of campaigns using Chrome Device Management, saving hundreds of hours of work a week. And campaigns are carefully tracked to make sure they perform well, leading to a 2% to 4% sales boost, which adds up for a company with $2 billion in annual revenue.

Bring more employees and processes online

If more retail employees have better access to computing, stores can move many of their processes online and make them more efficient. This includes everything from inventory checks, HR tasks, employee training on new store offerings, shift coordination, and marketing activities. The challenge has always been that it’s expensive to get a device for each employee, and it’s insecure to share a typical PC amongst multiple employees.

Chromebooks can be shared seamlessly between many employees, and any employee can pick up any device, log in, and get a secure workspace with access to all of their applications  By deploying a few Chromebooks in the back office of a store, retailers can give all of their employees secure access to computing, operate their stores more efficiently, and make sure that their employees are well trained on the latest products.

Find out more about how Google is ready to support and grow your retail business at our NRF BIG Show booth (#4333) in New York City, January 15th - 17th. Those who can’t attend the show can learn more here about how retailers can use Chrome digital signage and devices to engage customers.

Learn how Chrome can boost retail foot traffic and improve the customer experience while also cutting costs thanks to secure sharing of devices by employees.
Categories: Technology

Why is Cricket Wireless Sending me an iPhone?

AskDaveTaylor - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 11:16

First off, odds are very good that your email didn’t actually come from Cricket Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile or any other legit company but that instead it’s spam or, worse, a phishing attempt to get your personal information. Even the most confused of companies isn’t about to send someone an $800 device without having an order and clear paperwork trail to ensure that you pay for it.

But there’s a bigger lesson here about being skeptical of what you get in email. There are nefarious folk online, often from foreign lands but even based in your home town, who seek to trick you into various things, whether it’s sharing your account credentials or actually sending them money for something you never received (or will receive).

Curious, I searched my own mail folder and found an email similar to the one you undoubtedly received, “from” Cricket Wireless and about an iPhone I’d asked them to send. Here’s the message:

There’s a lot that they’ve done right here, including a FROM address that certainly seems legit. What I haven’t seen before, however, was a quoted email ostensibly from me asking about the phone: look closely at the last two lines, above. A good strategy to sow confusion and doubt. Did I send that message? Did I want an iPhone?

But then there’s the link. It looks like it’s going to UPS so I can track the package, except it’s bogus, as is revealed by hovering the cursor over the link in Apple Mail:

If you don’t know, the “.VN” domain is for Vietnam, and rather than go to UPS.COM a click will take you to a Vietnamese shipping site, gship.vn. But that’s just a site that the spammers hacked into, though in this case unsuccessfully as the link actually fails to serve up any page at all.

Going to the home page of gship.vn shows that it’s a legit business:

That sentence translates to “PURCHASE AND TRANSPORTATION SERVICES PRODUCTS FROM US, UK ON VIETNAM 24/7”, if you’re curious. But that’s irrelevant. The point is that the email itself is bogus and rather than taking you to the UPS site, it goes somewhere completely different because it was a Web site that they managed to hack, at least temporarily.

This time if you clicked on it, you’re safe. Next time? Who knows. So the rule of thumb remains: be skeptical. Don’t trust or believe any email you get, whether it looks legit or not. And if a company’s promising to send you something you didn’t order? It’s a fake.

Be careful out there!

The post Why is Cricket Wireless Sending me an iPhone? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

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