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

Is Google blocking email messages?

AskDaveTaylor - 9 hours 11 min ago

Skepticism. That’s a very helpful attitude to have with the modern Internet. When you get something that doesn’t really make sense or doesn’t ring true, it’s time to investigate it and really scrutinize the message, what it asks you to do and where it’s sending you if you do click.

In this instance the email message with the subject “Message you sent blocked by our bulk email filter” is a spammer’s trick. I know, I get these messages too (along with a huge number of other spam, phishing and outright scam email invitations) and have learned to be super suspicious of just about everything that arrives in my inbox.

This message isn’t as bad as most as there are no glaring typos or formatting mistakes, but even on the face of it, “bulk email filter”? If Google has such a thing, why would they send you an email notifying you that your message has been blocked? Odds would be good that you would be a spammer to trigger this (fictitious) filter and that would make you the very last person they would want to alert.

Categories: Technology

New Google Allo stickers that will help you get ready for Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryNew Google Allo stickers that will help you get ready for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

GoogleBlog - 11 hours 11 min ago

Between AT-ATs, TIE fighters, a new droid, and of course Darth Vader himself — there are a lot of reasons to look forward to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” in theaters on December 16. Starting today, exclusive stickers are available in Google Allo to help you prepare for the newest “Star Wars” adventure.

Our stickers feature new characters Jyn, Cassian and K-2SO, as well as some familiar ones — Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and the Death Star (in all its glory). Here are five stickers that help you make plans (even if they’re not to steal the plans to the Death Star):

1. When your BFF is free to go to opening night with you

2. When you already bought your tickets and can skip the line

3. When you’re running late to dinner before the movie

4. That moment when someone’s phone rings during the final scene

5. Trying to focus at work after the midnight showing

Our “Rogue One” sticker pack is available starting today. You can download it from the sticker store in Google Allo on Android and iOS.

We’re bringing your favorite characters from Star Wars to Google Allo with a brand new sticker pack.
Categories: Technology

Reflecting on the Right to be ForgottenReflecting on the Right to be ForgottenGlobal Privacy Counsel

GoogleBlog - 11 hours 11 min ago

What if links to stories about someone’s past—stories about defrauding an international business or about medical tourism malpractice—were removed from Google search in your country, not because of your local laws but because someone was able to use the laws of another country. How would you feel about that?

That question may seem simplistic.  But it goes to the heart of a very important debate that is taking place now in Europe, initially between some Data Protection Authorities and, next year, in court. At stake: whether Europe’s right to be forgotten—which allows people in EU countries to request removal of certain links from name search results—should reach beyond the borders of Europe and into countries which have different laws.

Google believes it should not. That’s why, for much of the last year, we’ve been  defending the idea that each country should be able to balance freedom of expression and privacy in the way that it chooses, not in the way that another country chooses.

To be clear: we are not disputing that Google should comply with the right to be forgotten in Europe. We have worked diligently to give effect to the rights confirmed by the European Court of Justice. We have delisted approximately 780,000 URLs to date and have granted fast and effective responses to individuals who assert their rights.  

We have also worked efficiently with Data Protection Authorities when they are asked to review (the small number of) cases that are appealed to them.  Our approach to delisting takes into account the criteria set out by the European Court, as well as guidance from each country’s regulators and courts.  And from the outset, we have delisted links on all European versions of Google Search simultaneously. So links would no longer appear on Google.de, Google.fr and Google.be, and so on.

But some Data Protection Authorities argued that people could still find delisted links by searching on a non-European version of Google such as Google.com.  So in March 2016, in response to the concerns of a number of Data Protection Authorities, we made some changes.  As a result, people using Google from the same country as the person who requested the removal can no longer find the delisted link, even on Google.com, Google.co.kr, or Google.com.mx.

But one Data Protection Authority, the French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (the CNIL), has ordered Google to go much further, effectively instructing us to apply the French balance between privacy and free expression in every country by delisting French right to be forgotten removals for users everywhere.  Ultimately, we might have to implement French standards on Google search sites from Australia (google.com.au) to Zambia (google.co.zm) and everywhere in between. And any such precedent would open the door to countries around the world, including non-democratic countries, to demand the same global power.

We agree with the CNIL that privacy is a fundamental right—but so too is the right to free expression. Any balance that is struck between those two rights must be accompanied by territorial limits, consistent with the basic principles of international law. Aside from anything else, it’s plain common sense that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of another, especially not when it comes to lawful content.

We are not alone in this view.   A wide range of organisations from all over the world have also expressed fears about the CNIL's decision and its impact on freedom of speech, press freedom and the right to access information on the Internet, including The Wikimedia Foundation, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, The International Federation of Library Associations, and The Article 19 Coalition of Human Rights organizations.

The right to be forgotten can sometimes seem complex, and discussions about jurisdiction online certainly are complicated. But this issue is simple: should the balance between the right to free expression and the right to privacy be struck by each country—based on its culture, its traditions, its courts—or should one view apply for all? The right to be forgotten can sometimes seem complex, and discussions about jurisdiction online certainly are complicated. But should the balance between the right to free expression and the right to privacy be struck by each country - based on its culture, its traditions, its courts - or should one view apply globally?
Categories: Technology

Record from my Windows 10 laptop webcam?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 13:27

You’re correct that the webcam built in to your PC laptop is a tremendously useful tool, as is the built-in microphone. When it’s being used in ways you’re aware of, that is. Launch Skype and you can see yourself on the screen. That’s good. But if it were on right now and some kid in a basement in Kiev was watching you? Not so good.

An easy solution is to simply have a piece of tape or something else over your camera when you’re not using it, but it’s also something that computer manufacturers can solve too. In fact, I’m waiting for a laptop with a built in video camera shutter that you can slide open or closed. Should be super simple to add and would be 100x less tacky than duct tape (though I’m generally a big fan of duct tape!)

Back to your query, however. Props to you for realizing that your computer has a built in video camera setup that you can use for other tasks. I’ve used my webcam setup to record product review videos that I’ve uploaded to YouTube! Each generation of Microsoft Windows seems to have a different solution for the program you need to use, however, and Windows 8 had a separate download you needed to grab from the Windows Live site.

In Windows 10, however, the app’s already on your system and it’s called Camera. Start by searching for it:

As you can see, it’s in the Windows Store, but a click and you will likely find that it’s already installed on your Win10 system:

If it’s not already installed, well, click and install it!

Then when you launch it the system will ask you to grant permission for it to access the camera and then it’ll show you, well, you!

As you can see, I’m pointing to the record button and I’m already 43 seconds into a test recording. It’s really easy to work with, actually, and once you’re not recording you can get to the app settings to fine tune what camera (if you have more than one) and what audio source it uses:

Why am I looking so sadly at these settings? I actually have no idea!

Categories: Technology

CSEdWeek 2016: Proud to be part of the CS communityCSEdWeek 2016: Proud to be part of the CS community

GoogleBlog - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 13:10

Editor’s Note: Every year during Computer Science Education Week, partners and educators come together to encourage millions of students to try computer science (CS). This year, Google is focusing on improving perceptions of CS while making it more accessible for underrepresented students. Follow along here throughout this week (Dec 5 - 11) to find out what we've learned from the latest research about CS education, what we're doing for CSEdWeek and how each of us can help champion #CSForAll.

It takes countless hours and dedication to fill the CS gap in today's schools. Thanks to a lot of hard work by organizations and educators, the CS education landscape in the U.S. is changing for the better — 40 percent of K-12 principals say they’re offering CS classes this year with programming and coding, up from 25 percent last year.

We’re grateful to have collaborative partnerships with many organizations, educators and others working to make computer science accessible to students every day. As this year’s CSEdWeek comes to a close, we'd like to acknowledge some of our partners dedicated to making #CSforall a reality. To all of the nonprofits, institutions, and the students themselves, committed to CS education: We’re proud to be a part of your community.

Supporting nonprofits working to close the CS education gapWe partner with many nonprofits to bring CS education opportunities to every student.  Here are some recent projects: CS OPEN: helping underrepresented minorities and girls pursue STEM

Last year, National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) announced a new initiative at the White House: the Computer Science Outreach Program Evaluation Network (CS OPEN). This program provides community-building opportunities and grants so that nonprofits can evaluate their work in order to improve it. With support from Google, CS OPEN currently funds 12 organizations helping underrepresented minorities and girls pursue their STEM interests, including the STEM Academy at Oregon State University. The Academy engages K-12 youth in programs designed to increase college attendance and participation in the STEM fields. Through a recent CS OPEN grant, the Academy was able to move from a 1-page survey evaluation to full interviews and observations in order to understand how their programs were truly engaging youth.

“With the support for full evaluation of our initiatives, we were able to make real, actionable changes to our program that will actually make more impact for the students we serve.”  - Cathy Smith, Director, STEM Academy @ OSU

Next year, we'll be helping provide an additional $50K in seed funding in 2017 to help even more nonprofits evaluate and learn from their inspiring work.

MentorNet: empowering college students to pursue CS careersSometimes, students just need a little advice from someone who's done it before. MentorNet has made it possible for professionals to use their skills to offer career insights, project assistance, and guidance to university students pursuing a career in STEM. MentorNet partners with igniteCS, an initiative at Google, that provides funding and resources for groups of college and university students to make a difference in their local communities through CS mentorship. The 2017 funding round opens in January, so If you’re a current university student, learn more on our website.

I can say without a doubt, that having a MentorNet mentor while in college is one of the most eye-opening and impactful things for a student. Aza T Student, Boise State University

If you’re a student studying STEM, check out free opportunities for mentors through MentorNet.

Meet the new generation of computer scientists

Making CS accessible for all takes more than programs and partnerships. Research shows that students and parents see fewer portrayals of women, Hispanic or Black computer scientists in today's media. That makes us especially inspired by the many students who are helping redefine what it means to be a computer scientist. These role models are using CS to solve real-world problems and make a difference. Here are a few of their stories:

Lilia, 18: code can connect passionate people to volunteer opportunities

"OOL is a bridge between passionate people who want to change the world and projects that need that passion”

 -Lilia

Lilia, an 18-year-old student from Mexico, recently won an award in the 2016 Technovation World Pitch competition, for her app, OOL. The first app of its kind in Mexico, OOL creates a bridge between nonprofit organizations and the people of Mexico, by connecting them to each other. Volunteer opportunities are presented to the user through a dynamic interface and, with a single click, the volunteer match is complete.

Made with Code is joining forces with Iridescent to launch the 2017 Technovation Challenge, and we're excited to see Lilia inspire next year's participants to create their own apps to tackle real-life issues. 

Anika, 14: code can help diagnose Alzheimer's and predict breast cancer Computer science doesn’t just mean coding in your basement” - Anika

Anika, a high school sophomore in Cupertino, CA volunteered in a senior care facility last year, which led her to learn more about Alzheimer's disease. She was shocked to learn that with no standard test for diagnosis, most doctors rely on their own opinions. By extracting image features from MRI scans, Anika built an interface for doctors to upload an image, enter some basic patient information, and get a reliable Alzheimer's diagnosis.


Anika’s innovative app won her a Global Finalist seat at the 2015 Google Science Fair and again in 2016, when she used code to predict the likelihood of a patient developing breast cancer by analyzing images from previous mammograms. We can’t wait to see what Anika does next.

We’re humbled to be a part of the community of organizations that are making CS education accessible to all students. As CSEdWeek comes to a close, we’re humbled to be a part of the community of organizations that are making CS education accessible to all students.


To all of the educators, non-profits, institutions, and the students themselves, committed to CS education: we support you. With your help, we're truly making #CSforAll.
Categories: Technology

Update on Android and Google Play’s progress in enterpriseUpdate on Android and Google Play’s progress in enterprise

GoogleBlog - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 13:00

Two years ago, we launched Android for Work to help connect organizations and enable their employees to work smarter and more efficiently. As a program, Android for Work introduced a common set of APIs built directly into Android and Play, providing a consistent way of managing any Android device.

Android has extended enterprise support significantly since Lollipop, with security as a top priority. Android helps protect enterprise data and user privacy at a platform level by storing work and personal data separately on personal devices. Most recently, with Nougat, we added support for file-based encryption, always-on VPN, and a separate password for work apps. These and other management capabilities expand on the multiple layers of protection that come built-in with Android.

With the expansion of capabilities in Android, we've also seen partners unlock new use cases for customers. As an open platform that can fit any form factor, Android now powers a growing range of purpose-built devices from leading manufacturers such as Zebra and Honeywell that can help companies and their employees work in new ways.

Android: Powering the world's work devices

Thanks to these investments and the work of our partners, Android has become the most popular operating system on enterprise smartphones shipped globally. Android devices account for 62 percent of worldwide enterprise smartphone shipments, according to IDC*.

Worldwide enterprise smartphone shipments by platform

To match the progress of enterprise support in Android, going forward we’ll refer to enterprise capabilities simply as part of Android and Google Play. With platform-level support shipping with every GMS compatible device, Android for Work and Play for Work have become a core part of Android and Google Play. We think this change better reflects the built-in nature of enterprise features of Android and our commitment to enterprise mobility.

We've only begun to see how mobile technology can benefit businesses, and as a platform, we rely on the innovation that comes from our ecosystem partners. To further that collaboration, our London office will be hosting an Android Enterprise Partner Summit in January for our Android partners -- to apply for a spot to attend and learn more, go here.

Customers interested in how Android can improve their business can learn more or get started and try it here.

Source: *IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker 2016 H1.

With platform-level support shipping with every GMS compatible device, Android for Work and Play for Work have become a core part of Android and Google Play.
Categories: Technology

5 ways Android tackles issues that matter to businesses5 ways Android tackles issues that matter to businesses

GoogleBlog - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 12:00

Keeping the more than 1.4 billion Android devices in use safe, secure, and stable isn’t something we take lightly. That’s why multiple layers of security including application sandboxing -- which keeps data and code from one app separate from other apps -- and data encryption are built into Android. In addition to our rigorous security features, we’re doing even more including performance and IT management, to improve the experience for businesses considering Android to mobilize their workforce.

Building upon the multiple security layers of Android

Android devices come with multiple layers of security features right out of the box that protect a device from the second you turn it on. With Android Nougat, the latest version of the operating system, we’re strengthening the core of security with new features such as Direct Boot (file-based encryption) and a strict Verify Boot process to protect against compromised devices. Verify Boot checks the integrity of the software for persistent rootkits and other nefarious security breaches.

And in Android 7.0 Nougat, we’ve strengthened this feature with Strictly Enforced Verified Boot. Any indication of software corruption means the device won’t boot up or will boot into a very limited usage mode to protect user data.

A great mobile experience in the workplace would not be complete without apps. In Android, we allow businesses to keep the apps specific to work in a separate sandbox on the device so that they can’t affect other apps, system data or even hardware without permission. We’ve also improved the permissions processes so users have more control over and are better informed about what access they’re granting to an application.

To show our commitment to secure Android devices, we offer a range of rewards up to $200,000 through our Project Zero Prize contest and Android Security Rewards Program to those who can demonstrate security vulnerabilities in the Android system. These initiatives enlist the help of third-party security groups and individuals to help us find and address any security challenges as quickly as possible.

Keeping apps secure in Google Play

Reducing the amount of malware that is installed is a key focus of our commitment to Android so that business devices, and the data they have access to, are safe and secure. Helping to ensure users get their apps from Google Play is a key security strategy.

Android apps in Google Play are signed by their developer, so users know they’re getting software from the developer they know and trust, and it can’t be changed by an unknown third-party.

In 2012, we introduced Verify Apps, a tool that scans apps for malware before they even get into the Google Play store. As a second layer of defense, it also continues to scan apps already in Google Play and installed on your Android device, notifying you of a potential malware threat or even removing the app, with your permission.

How much does this help? In our Android Security Year in Review 2015, we found that fewer than 0.5 percent of all Android devices installed a potentially harmful app (PHA). And a large percentage of those came from apps installed from outside the safety of the Google Play store: Only 0.15 percent of Android devices installed a PHA from Google Play. Additionally, our Verify Apps services scanned 400 million devices daily last year, helping to bolster security on a daily basis for many Android users using Google Play.

IT administrators can take advantage of Google Play’s security benefits both for public and internal applications by disallowing app installation from "unknown sources" to ensure every installed app has been scanned by Google Play for malware. Our research from the Android Security Year in Review 2015 report shows devices that allow apps from outside of Google Play are around 10 times more likely to have PHAs than those that only install from Google Play.

Offering monthly security updates to devices and our hardware partners

A year ago, we began providing monthly security updates directly to our Nexus devices and the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Several of our hardware partners agreed to provide them as well. Device makers such as Samsung, LG, Sony and others offer these security updates on a recurring basis, and we expect additional partners to follow suit.

We’ve also made it easy for you to see what security patch level your device has at any time with a simple date indicator. Look for the Android security patch date in the About Phone section of Settings in Android. IT administrators can remotely see the patch level on managed devices.

Additionally, we aim to update Google Play Services roughly every six weeks across the majority of Android devices in use. This allows Google to regularly delivery new security features to these devices. Verify Apps and Safety Net are two of the Google Play Services features that are updated frequently with enhanced protections. The API addition of Smart Lock for Passwords is another recent example.

Along with Google Play Services and the monthly security updates we provide to the Android ecosystem, additional layers of security are offered through ongoing services and the Safe Browsing feature in Android.

If you’re considering Android for your business, we have a recommended list of both affordable and premium devices that might best fit your needs based on price, capability and security.

Providing centralized device management controls for IT admins

Along with our monthly security updates and services that help keep devices safe, Android provides out of the box security and management features that are simple to use in businesses of any size. And those features apply to both corporate owned as well as employee’s personal devices for BYOD (bring your own device) scenarios.

As an admin you can manage either type of Android device through a powerful web-based console and improved, fast deployment methods that now include QR code scanning.

In the case of corporate owned devices, IT administrators can use the device owner (DO) management mode to enforce policies that restrict or protect work data, require stronger passwords or PINs, enforce device encryption (expanded to file-level encryption in Android 7) and more.

Improving platform stability for apps

As the Android platform has matured and improved, it has continued to become more stable, particularly when it comes to apps.

Data from the most recent quarterly study by Blancco Technology Group illustrates this as apps crashed on 50 percent of the iOS devices it tested between April and June in 2016. In the same time period, Android apps crashed 23 percent, or less than half the rate of iOS. Blancco Technology Group notes that this is the first time Android had proven more stable for apps since the company began reporting on such data.

Blancco’s information comes from diagnostic data of the millions of handsets in North America, Europe and Asia via its SmartChk platform used for device repairs and business intelligence.

The choice is yours

Android provides the opportunity for businesses and employees to choose the right device for their needs from dozens of hardware partners. You can manage those devices and protect your company’s information by using a platform built with security in mind and our recommended best practices. To learn more about incorporating Android in your business, or see how Android has already transformed businesses, check our work site for more information.

In addition to our rigorous security features, we’re doing even more including performance and IT management, to improve the experience for businesses considering Android to mobilize their workforce.
Categories: Technology

Android Wear: The Magic Minute ProjectAndroid Wear: The Magic Minute Project

GoogleBlog - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 12:00

What’s possible in a minute? You can fall in love. Launch a rocket ship. Set a rap world record.

Today, Android Wear is teaming up with with makers, doers, and dreamers to launch The Magic Minute Project. It’s a collection of one-minute films celebrating what time means to all of us—told one #MagicMinute at a time.

A music and video producer, Andrew Huang has a penchant for working within absurd, self-imposed limitations. Using his Android Wear watch to time his performance, Andrew attempts to rap 300 words in one #MagicMinute.


Bruna Kajiya is a Brazilian kiteboarder and World Champion and the first woman to land a double handle pass in kiteboarding. The final minute of a competition is always the most intense: The riders perform their "all or nothing" tricks and everything is on the line.

Time trials have become popular in Parkour. Setting a route across an urban landscape, leaping between rooftops—it's seen as the highest test of practice. Kie Willis, one of the most well known freerunners in the world, attempts a one-minute Parkour while keeping his heart rate low.

Putting together the perfect look takes time, but a versatile accessory can help. Zanita Whittington—model, photographer, and creative director—completes her look by personalizing her Android Wear watch face.

Mike Relm is a world renowned turntablist and director, known for sampling music in surprisingly innovative ways to create new sounds. He has sampled and scratched many sounds in his life, but this is the first time using his wife’s voice!

Just as traditional watches help tell the time, Android Wear watches help make the most of our time. Whatever makes a minute magical to you, why not share it with the world too? It can be anything you imagine: paint, play, code, cook, rap or render.

Submit your own #MagicMinute for a chance to be featured in The Magic Minute Project film. Follow @AndroidWear on Twitter or visit g.co/magicminute to explore the best #MagicMinute videos.

What’s possible in a minute? You can fall in love. Launch a rocket ship. Set a rap world record. Welcome to Android Wear's Magic Minute Project.
Categories: Technology

More phones, new colors and the latest apps on DaydreamMore phones, new colors and the latest apps on Daydream

GoogleBlog - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 11:00

Designed with choice in mind, Daydream brings you high quality, mobile VR with any Daydream-ready phone. Last month, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force joined the Daydream-ready family, giving you more phones to choose from. And starting today, the limited edition Crimson and Snow Daydream View are available online in the U.S., U.K. and Australia so you can pick the color that matches your style:

In addition to more phones and new colors, you can now experience some of the most highly anticipated titles coming to Daydream:

LEGO BrickHeadz Builder VR: Design your own LEGO BrickHeadz characters and bring them to life. Unlock new characters and items with special combinations, and enjoy free play with virtual LEGO bricks.

HBO NOW and HBO GO: Enjoy every episode of every season of original series such as Game of Thrones® and Westworld, plus iconic favorites such as The Sopranos® and The Wire® on a virtual big screen with your HBO subscription.

Gunjack 2: End of Shift: Immerse yourself in an epic sci-fi space shooter set in a cinematic VR world. As a turret operator charged with destroying waves of attackers, you stand united with your crew mates in the defense of the rig.

NextVR: Be courtside, behind the goal or center stage. From NBA and NFL games and the US Open, to the Daytona 500 and Live Nation concerts, experience your favorite events live or revisit them through highlights.

Layers of Fear: Solitude: Delve deep into the mind of an insane painter by exploring his Victorian-era mansion where visions, fears, and horror awaits.

Wands: Take on the role as a mysterious Wielder in an alternate 1880's London. Equip your wand with a wide variety of spells and battle other Wielders for fame, power and glory.

Underworld Overlord: Be the bad guy and defend your dungeon realm from an onslaught of so-called “heroes” who attempt to rob your treasures and slay your precious monsters. Direct your monsters into the fray, place deadly traps and defenses, and cast spells that help or hinder.

And in time for the holidays, you’ll be able to experience two popular titles coming to Daydream later this month:

Netflix: Experience thousands of TV episodes and movies—including award-winning Netflix original series, movies, and documentaries—anytime, anywhere with your Netflix subscription.

Need for Speed™ No Limits VR: The first Need for Speed title in virtual reality, feel the ultimate thrill as you strap into the driver’s seat and launch yourself into an unparalleled, visceral ride. Choose your car, choose your track, and enter a new realm of white-knuckle racing reality.

Whether you’re looking to kick back in your personal VR cinema, or experience what it’s like to be a professional racecar driver, space shooter, master builder or magic wielder, now you can with Daydream.

Designed with choice in mind, Daydream brings you high quality, mobile VR with any Daydream-ready phone. Last month, Moto Z joined the Daydream-ready family to give you more phones to choose from. And starting today, the limited edition Crimson and Snow Daydream View are available so you can pick the color that matches your style.
Categories: Technology

Expanding Chromebooks for all learnersExpanding Chromebooks for all learners

GoogleBlog - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 11:00

Editor’s Note: On December 3rd at our global online conference, Education on Air, we announced exciting new features that expand the use of our tools. In case you missed it, check out the recording of the Education On Air Product Keynote.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen students from all grades, backgrounds and continents achieve and create with G Suite for Education and Chromebooks. We now have Chromebooks with versatility for all learners including devices with flip and touch capabilities, super light 10” screens, and ruggedized protection for those accidental drops and spills.

As more students use Chromebooks, we’ve heard feedback from teachers that a challenge remained: even the mere act of logging in can waste too much precious learning time. So today we’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded Chromebook integrations to allow alternatives for logging in that are simple and fast.

The first integration we're announcing is with Clever Badges, which lets students log in to their Chromebooks – and all their learning software – by simply holding up a badge to a Chromebook camera. In the past two months, over 100 districts have already started using Clever Badges to log into their Chromebooks. Mrs. Kiefer, a Technology Integration Specialist with Ross Local Schools, reports, “I can't tell you enough how awesome it is to watch my learners logging in to Chromebooks with their little piece of ‘magic’...and the teacher’s face of absolute relief as to how easy it is.”

Badges are giving countless instructional minutes back to teachers, but they’re doing something more: they’re empowering students to take ownership of their own learning.

A second integration is by Netherlands-based Cloudwise with the COOL Picture Login. Students choose a series of pictures to make up their own personal password -- watch how it works. “The login enables all students to easily and safely log in to their Chromebooks. Teachers can focus on teaching,” says Rijk van Ommeren, Director of the Margrietschool in Woerden.

COOL Picture login is just one way in which Cloudwise is making teachers’ lives easier, and it was developed in close collaboration with teachers and IT administrators. Once logged in to their Chromebook via COOL Picture Login, students see their own personalized portal page.This page includes links to the G Suite tools that their administrator has enabled for them and also to other educational platforms that are integrated via single sign on.


With new form factors, lightweight touch devices, and now easy logins, Chromebooks have expanded digital learning to all students so they can harness technology to tap into the world of information and develop critical skills to become our future scientists, novelists, leaders and explorers.

Announcing more integrations - like Clever badges and COOL pictures - that make logging in to Chromebooks even faster and easier.
Categories: Technology

Google Flights makes travel planning even easier in BrazilGoogle Flights makes travel planning even easier in BrazilHead of Strategic Partnerships

GoogleBlog - Thu, 12/08/2016 - 07:00

Whether you’re traveling from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate Carnival or you’re looking to book a last minute summer vacation, Google Flights can offer inspiration and help you find the best flights available. You can search on Google for flights to a destination by searching for things like “Flights to Rio” or “Flights to the US”. Or, you can go directly to www.google.com.br/flights to quickly and easily compare and book flights — from your mobile device, tablet or desktop.

When you go to Google Flights you can now find the cheapest days to fly by tapping on the calendar icon to see prices displayed for every departure date.

Additional filters are now available to show pricing based on preferences. To see pricing based on seat type you can now filter by “class”, like Premium Economy. And if you’re booking flights for additional people, you can select the number of adults and children in your group to reflect the total availability and cost in your results.  

If you don’t have a specific place or exact dates in mind for your next trip try using the Explore feature to find ideas on destinations to visit based on trip duration. For example, if you want to get away in January you can choose “1 week” and “January” to see popular destinations — with the best time to visit and the lowest price available to get there. Once you click on a destination that interests you you’ll see a snapshot of the least expensive flights available including price, stops, and duration. We’ll also let you know if buying two one-way tickets will save you money or give you more flexible flight times.

And if you’re not quite ready to book yet, you can choose to track a flight and receive email notifications when prices are expected to change or when the price actually does increase or decrease significantly.

Google Flights helps you to get ideas on where to go, figure out the best time to travel, easily filter for preferences, quickly review flight options and select a flight. Make sure to take advantage of all the new bells and whistles in Google Flights when planning your next trip. Wishing you safe travels no matter where they should take you!

In Brazil, new features in Google Flights make travel planning easier, offering inspiration for a last minute summer trip or helping you choose the best available flight for Carnival.
Categories: Technology

Disable comments on Instagram post?

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 13:54

You’re in luck because Instagram just added the ability for you to disable comments on your posts, and what’s even better is that you can specify no comments as you post or you can change the status of an existing post (even after you delete the dumb comments).

Which brings up a more general topic about trolls and rude folk who think that what they post online is inconsequential and that “it’s just a joke” and we’re wrong for being offended. I say bah humbug! If we all put effort into being kinder and more positive, the Internet would be a remarkably different place. But I suppose I should hope for a unicorn to knock on the office door too, while I’m at it.

Categories: Technology

The nature of water: unveiling the most detailed view of water on EarthThe nature of water: unveiling the most detailed view of water on EarthChief Extraterrestrial Observer

GoogleBlog - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 13:10

In 1926, the Mississippi river flooded to its highest level in history, destroying towns and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Since then, dams and thousands of kilometers of levees have been built to control the mighty Mississippi. 60 years on, another effect of the historic flood is becoming apparent. As the river has become calmer, it now also carries a lot less of the sediment that created and replenished the delta. Without that, more than 13 thousand square kilometers of the delta -- an area 10 times the size of London -- is slowly slipping into the Gulf of Mexico. Once again the river is threatening to displace thousands and drown the fragile delta wetlands.

Mississippi delta sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. Blue is water, white is land, red shows areas of transition. (Source: EC JRC / Google)

The change of the Mississippi over decades is just one of the hundreds of stories of similarly dramatic change around the globe; from the draining of the Aral Sea in the Middle East for crops, to the effects of dam construction in China, or the impacts of the multi-year drought on the Western U.S.  Water has been shaping our planet since it was formed, and still plays a direct and crucial role in all of our lives.

The Aral Sea, Kazakhstan Poyang Lake, Jiangxi China Lake Mead, Nevada

Thanks to a partnership between the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and Google, we can now get a view into the past three decades of water on the surface of Earth and see how stories like these have shaped the world over time, in unprecedented detail.   

This project has been a monumental undertaking and was made possible by new data processing methods, running the analysis on thousands of high performance computers at the same time. It took three years to download 1.8 petabytes of data from the USGS/NASA Landsat satellite program and prepare that for analysis. Each pixel in 3 million satellite images, going all the way back to 1984, was examined by a computer algorithm developed by the Joint Research Center running on the Google Earth Engine platform. More than 10 million hours of computing time was needed for this, roughly equivalent to a modern 2-core computer running day and night for 600 years.  

Karkheh River in Iran backing up behind a dam from 1984 to 2015 (Source: EC JRC / Google)

The results for the first time allow us to map and measure changes in the water surface over time with a 30-meter accuracy, month-by-month, over 32 years. Here are some of our findings:  

  • 90 thousand square kilometers of water - the equivalent of half of the lakes in Europe - have vanished altogether. Over 200 thousand square kilometers of new, mostly man-made water bodies came into existence.

  • The continuing drying up of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan accounts for the biggest loss in the world.

  • Iran and Afghanistan lost over a half, Iraq over a third of its water area.

  • Although the area covered by water in the U.S. has overall increased a little, a combination of drought and sustained demand for water have seen six western states, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, account for a third of the loss in U.S. water surface. 

Lakes throughout the Tibetan Plateau have expanded in size over the past 30 years. (Source: EC JRC / Google)

The research findings and the maps, published today in the journal Nature, are available for you to explore on this new website.  The data are also freely available in Google Earth Engine for further research, use, and download.  These new maps, statistics and the stories of change they reveal provide essential information which can aid global water security, agricultural planning, disaster preparedness, public health, climate understanding and more, offering the most detailed view to date of one of our planet’s most vital resources.

With contributions from Alan Belward, Andrew Cottam and Jean-François Pekel, Joint Research Centre, European Commission

Thanks to a partnership between the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and Google, we can now get a view into the past three decades of water on the surface of Earth and see how stories like these have shaped the world over time, in unprecedented detail.
Categories: Technology

CSEdWeek 2016: Giving every student access to computer science skillsCSEdWeek 2016: Giving every student access to computer science skills

GoogleBlog - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 13:00

Editor’s Note: Every year during Computer Science Education Week, partners and educators come together to help encourage millions of students to try computer science (CS). This year, Google is focusing on improving perceptions of CS while making it more accessible for underrepresented students. Follow along here throughout this week (Dec 5 - 11) to find out what we've learned from the latest research about CS education, what we're doing for CSEdWeek and how each of us can help champion #CSForAll.

In January, we announced our continued $23.5 million investment for 2016 on behalf of CS education, with the aim of reaching an additional 5 million students through our programs. We're committed to making #CSForAll a reality by making tools and programs that work for every student.

Computer science (CS) isn’t just an optional subject — it's a life skill that's become as critical to student success as reading and math. These skills can be applied in fields as diverse as music and medicine (Careers with Code). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2022 there will be more than 1.3 million computer- and math-related jobs available, and 67 percent of these careers will be in industries outside of the tech sector.

Every student should have access to the technical skills that will help them thrive and tackle future challenges, but research indicates that some students are less likely to receive this opportunity — especially girls and minorities. That's why we're excited to be part of #CSforall: the White House's national pledge to give every U.S. student an opportunity to learn CS.

Empowering more educators to teach computer science

As the need increases for students to explore and create with computer science, so does the need for qualified CS educators to teach them. We’re committed to increasing the CS teacher pipeline through CS4HS — an annual, application-based funding program for research institutions and education nonprofits to provide CS professional development and support to teachers in their local communities. These teachers apply what they’ve learned in the CS4HS workshops to their classrooms — inspiring the next generation of technologists.

Applications for professional development practitioners are open now until March 19. Funding is available in the United States, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China, Australia and New Zealand. Learn more on our website.

Empowering organizations around the world to provide equitable CS education Genesis and Gerard learn about microcontrollers to make this panda move at the South End Technology Center.

CSforAll means everyone -- worldwide. So our annual RISE program supports organizations around the world to make CS education more equitable.

Today we’re announcing the latest round of RISE recipients: 28 nonprofits in 16 countries who will receive support to continue their important work. From reaching youth in rural parts of the U.S. to encouraging young entrepreneurs in India, these organizations will join a community of past winners that are making measurable difference in the world. For example, South End Technology Center, which won a RISE award earlier this year, was started in Boston by social activist and community organizer Dr. Mel King. The Tech Center provides training for teens to become creators of technology by combining computer science with social justice and community service. We’re honored to support the program, which not only provides resources, but also mentoring skills so older students can pass on their tech and problem-solving skills to the younger students.

Empowering kids to code through fun new projects

Computer science isn’t just about complicated programming. It's a chance for everyone to get creative and have fun coming up with new ways to do things. Since only 41 percent of U.S. schools actually teach programming or coding, we'd love your help  to introduce more kids to computer science (while having fun!) during this year's CS Education week. Here are a few activities anyone can try at home or in school:

Hour of Code: Create a scene for "Gumball's Coding Adventure”

Code.org is a non-profit that offers free one-hour CS tutorials designed for all ages. Google’s CS First and Cartoon Network have teamed up to create a new one-hour activity that encourages students ages 10-13 to create their own scene for “The Amazing World of Gumball,” using the Scratch programming language. During a “glitch” in the show, students get to imagine how Gumball and his friends would react, all while learning computational thinking concepts such as abstraction, sequencing, looping and parallelism. In addition, students can express their creativity and build their confidence. Check it out!


Millions of young people around the world use Scratch, a free programming platform, to create and share their own projects, games and animations. Together with the MIT Scratch team, we’re also making the Scratch programming blocks available as an open platform, called Scratch Blocks, so that developers of other kids’ products can add Scratch-style programming to their own products. Stay tuned for updates on the Google Developer Blog next Monday.

Create snowflakes and dancing elves in the 2016 Santa Tracker

Thanks to Santa Tracker, it's now easier than ever to keep tabs on Santa’s travel schedule. But St. Nick’s developer elves could use some help to keep the holiday fun going. This December, classrooms can pitch in by coding their very own snowflakes with Scratch Blocks or using code to make those elves dance. Lesson plans aligned with Common Core are included, so it's easy to get started. Visit Santa Tracker to begin.



CSEdWeek is a great opportunity to experience coding for the first time. We hope you’ll share  these activities with your community to help make CS truly accessible.

This CSEdWeek and going forward, we're committed to making #CSForAll a reality by making tools and programs that work for every student.
Categories: Technology

Google and Slack deepen partnership to help teams work better togetherGoogle and Slack deepen partnership to help teams work better togetherHead of Global Technology Partners

GoogleBlog - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 12:00

Google and Slack share the same vision for the future of work: that smart software can bring teams together and make all of their work and conversations seamlessly available in one place. The result is that teams can move faster and more efficiently. We’ve each been building towards this vision independently, and today we’re announcing a partnership that represents our intent to build towards this vision together.

We also share the same commitment with Slack to offer our customers choice through open platforms. We want our customers to use the tools they need to be successful and for many companies, including AOL, R/GA and Shopify, that's a combination of G Suite and Slack.

Through this partnership we’re increasing our joint product and engineering efforts to strengthen the link between the content in Google Drive and the communication in Slack.

“At R/GA, we’ve found that we create our best work when we can bring teams together in real time from different disciplines, and often different locations. Rolling out G Suite and Slack across the agency, we’ve been able to seamlessly collaborate, connect more easily with our clients, produce better work and reduce the time it takes to get the work done. We depend on smooth integrations to make the most of what both platforms can do for our teams and our clients,” says Nick Coronges, Chief Technology Officer at R/GA.

Google Docs and Drive were among the earliest Slack integrations and remain the most popular. In fact, a Drive file is imported in Slack approximately 60,000 times every weekday; that’s a file shared every 1.4 seconds.

Our partnership will focus on several new, richer features including:

  • Instant permissions: We’re smoothing out permissions so that files shared in Slack are immediately available to the right teammates. When a file from Google Drive is shared in a Slack channel, the system will automatically confirm that everyone in the channel has access to that file. You can easily add or remove file collaborators with a single click.
  • Previews and notifications: Files shared in Slack will preview the content you need at a glance. And you’ll never miss an update, since Google Drive and Docs notifications will be delivered to you in Slack.
  • Slack channels + Team Drives: Team Drives keep teams in sync by creating a central place for shared content, enabled by a new group-level ownership model. Announced in September, Team Drives is currently available to early adopter customers and slated for broader release in 2017. Customers will be able to pair Team Drives and Slack channels to keep content and conversations in sync. New files uploaded to the connected Slack channel will be automatically stored in the Team Drive; relevant Team Drive updates will be shared in Slack, and the set of people with access will stay in sync between the two products.
  • Provisioning Slack from G Suite: Companies that run on G Suite already run their organizations via the cloud, and soon with just a couple of clicks in the G Suite Admin console they can provision Slack for teams or the entire company.

Working with Slack, we’ll continue to explore how we can make our products work better together, but also ways Google products and technologies can help Slack scale and serve their customers. We look forward to the many ways we can work with Slack and to the enhanced experience we'll deliver together for our customers.

Google and Slack increase joint product and engineering efforts to strengthen the link between the content in Google Drive and the communication in Slack.
Categories: Technology

For graduates, for guardians: expanding the boundaries of our toolsFor graduates, for guardians: expanding the boundaries of our tools

GoogleBlog - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 11:00

Editor’s Note: On December 3rd at our global online conference, Education on Air, we announced exciting new features that expand the use of our tools. In case you missed it, check out the recording of the Education On Air Product Keynote.

From students to teachers to admins, we are always thinking about how our education tools can meet the needs of our different users. Today, we’re excited to share updates for two groups of users in particular: the graduate and the guardian. For the graduates who are embarking on their next adventure, we’re launching a new tool to help ease their digital transition. And for the guardians, the always supportive cheerleaders at home, we’re rolling out a means to stay more connected to the classroom.

For graduates

For our graduating students, we know the transition to the next chapter of their lives can be an exciting time. However, leaving school is often stressful for reasons it shouldn’t be. Students run the risk of losing all their digital work if they don’t spend hours downloading, migrating or copying their emails and school work.

We’re excited to share that early next year, we will be launching a new feature that will help graduating students with this transition. Students will be able to copy emails and Drive files from their G Suite for Education accounts into another Google account before they leave the domain. This will enable students to easily retain their email, essays, resumes, science projects and any other files stored on Google Drive if their school removes access to their old account.

We know that protecting students’ privacy and data is critical for schools, so we are ensuring administrators have the right controls of this new feature. Although this feature will be available early next year, administrators can take action today by adjusting their Admin Console settings based on how this best meets the needs of their schools, like allowing access for just one grade level. For schools that have Takeout enabled, this feature will be enabled by default. Schools should also know that any document that has been marked as “No download or copy” cannot be copied to an outside account. Further, students at schools that have enabled Drive sharing domain limitations will not be able to copy any documents.

For guardians

We recognize how critical it is for students to have support both inside and outside of the classroom. Parent and guardian involvement is important for helping students keep up with their workload, grasp new concepts and feel supported as they progress through each new grade level.

Today, we’re making it even easier for guardians to have access to email summaries of student work in Google Classroom. Guardians will no longer need to have a Google account in order to receive Classroom email summaries. We’ve heard from parents what a positive impact these email summaries have had on their students this school year. Anders Rian, a parent who has used the Classroom email summaries for his son, says “the daily update is really helpful, not only in following up on my son's homework, but also in having a dialogue with him around what he learns.”

Whether preparing a graduate for their next adventure or a enabling a guardian to support their student at home, we hope that by expanding the boundaries of our tools, students are set up to succeed at every step of their education.

We’re excited to share updates for two of our Google for Education users in particular: the graduate and the guardian. For the graduates, we’re launching a new tool to help ease their digital transition and for the guardians, we’re rolling out a means to stay more connected to the classroom.
Categories: Technology

Impact and adventure: revisiting France's Google Impact ChallengeImpact and adventure: revisiting France's Google Impact Challenge

GoogleBlog - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 10:30

Last year Google.org launched its first French Google Impact Challenge, a national competition for nonprofit organisations that use digital technologies to scale their work in the country.

We received hundreds of ideas from non-profits across France and were blown away by the creativity, passion, and innovation we saw in the submissions. After public voting, ten French organisations stood out and were awarded at an emotional ceremony at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Each received funding (500,000 euros for each of the four big winners, 200,000 euros for each finalist) and a tailor-made mentoring program, supported by Googler volunteers, with the support of the Social Factory and Invest &+.

A year later, we’re looking back at the progress of ten organisations with impressive goals and even more impressive results. We wondered: have they managed to change scale? Have their projects have come to fruition? What additional impact have they had? MakeSense: meeting with volunteers and social entrepreneurs

We were not disappointed. Each organisation reported that their projects have taken off in three key areas with Google’s support: adding new staff members, benefiting from mentoring to build technical tools and building credibility to secure new funding or partners.

Progress report...

  • 1001 Fontaines, an entrepreneur-driven network of water purification stations in rural areas to give people access to clean water, has opened 10 new water treatment plants, giving access to safe drinking water to an additional 20,000 people

  • Libraries Without Borders has grown from 15 to 60 employees and will deploy 70 mobile media libraries in the field before the end of the year, compared to just four one year ago. This project will give access to the Internet, books and educational resources to populations around the globe in the greatest need.

  • Jaccede, whose mission was to crowdsource accessibility ratings of public spaces for people with physical disabilities has designed, developed and launched a new simplified platform that lists more than 13,000 additional places.

  • Ticket for Change was able to hire one person to disseminate its new online support program for entrepreneurship, and gained credibility with funders and partners.
    The donation agency, which allows Internet users to offer essential products to the most deprived persons during their online shopping, has established partnerships with major players in e-commerce.

  • La Banque Alimentaire du Rhône, whose mission was to enable retailers to donate unsold food to nonprofits, has convinced 50 traders to join its ProxiDon platform, of which 255 baskets have been offered since last June. That’s nearly 10,000 meals distributed to people in precarious situations.

  • MakeSense, which connects social entrepreneurs and volunteers, has seen its team grow from 35 to 65 employees and is in the process of raising funds in the United States.

  • My Human Kit has grown from a team of volunteers to four full-time employees working to connect people with disabilities with low-cost, open-source prosthetics. Their growing community continues to offer solutions to people with disabilities who want to create their own technical assistance.

  • Voxe.org’s mission to re-engage young people in politics now has two employees and launched the successful WhatTheVoxe newsletter.

  • Y Generation Education, through Jackie, Y Generation’s sponsor at Google, the team met Renan, a data science expert, who joined the organisation in June as head of technology. They have concentrated their efforts on Brazil, where recruitment and training issues for "invisible" young people are key, and have adapted their platform by making it even more entertaining.

Ticket for Change: at a training session to help people change move from ideas to action

The adventure continues...

During the exchanges we had with the associations throughout the year, we saw how important it was for them to have consistent support that allows them to grow, to consolidate their strategic plans and to continue to improve their technical tools.

With continued work ahead of them, Google.org answered the call. Each winning organisation will receive a supplementary grant of $ 50,000 and continue in the mentoring program. This allocation will allow, for example, the Banque Alimentaire du Rhône to finance an electric vehicle to collect donations and bring them to associations; For My Human Kit, it will secure an additional employee for the year to come.

The Google Impact challenges have been run elsewhere in Europe too, including in Germany and the UK. These awards recognise entrepreneurial organisations who think on an ambitious scale and have a healthy disregard for the impossible and we look forward to seeing what they do next.
From recruitment to office openings to technological innovations, the ten winners of the 2015 France #GoogleImpactChallenge have reached major milestones. A look back on their progress and adventures ahead.
Categories: Technology

Take a virtual tour of New York City’s iconic holiday windowsTake a virtual tour of New York City’s iconic holiday windows

GoogleBlog - Wed, 12/07/2016 - 09:00

Ice skating bunny rabbits, Santa’s high tech command center, couture cotton candy dresses, the characters of “South Park” — these are just some of the wonders awaiting visitors to New York City’s magical holiday window displays.

Each year, more than 5 million people travel to Manhattan during the holiday season. Many of them brave the icy weather and chaotic holiday traffic to take in the displays lining Madison, Fifth Avenue and beyond.

Now for the first time, anyone from anywhere in the world can peer into New York City’s magical windows with Window Wonderland. Using your smartphone or computer, you can take a virtual tour of holiday windows from 18 stores, even if you can’t make the trip in person.

We’ve taken hundreds of high-resolution photos of each window and stitched them together with a new technique that creates a rich, life-like panorama — you’ll feel like you’re standing on the streets of Manhattan during the holidays, gazing at the windows as if you were walking next to them. If you have a virtual reality headset like Google Cardboard or Daydream, you can even be surrounded by the sounds and sights of the city street, taking in the storefront view alongside other onlookers.  

Barneys New York window at 660 Madison Ave, New York, NY

Some windows let you enter a magical world: in Lord & Taylor’s Enchanted Forest, bunnies ice skate while raccoons fish on a frozen pond. Others are a chance to visit the museum — such as Barney’s, where artist Nick Cave takes on the issue of race and gender in sculpture. At Saks 5th Avenue, it’s runway meets holiday, where designers like Carolina Herrera, Marchesa and Jason Wu were commissioned to create bespoke couture gowns inspired by holiday treats like cotton candy, cake icing and peppermint sticks. We’ve captured displays from 17 stores in all: ABC Carpet and Home, American Girl, Barneys New York (two stores), Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Burberry, Cartier, Fendi, Henri Bendel, Lord & Taylor, Louis Vuitton, Macy's, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co. and Tory Burch.

At any point in your virtual walk, you can zoom in to see the details on these intricate displays, like gorillas peering out from a lush green jungle embellished by beads and flowers at Bergdorf Goodman. You can also listen to audio guides from the stores’ creative directors, as they describe the process and painstaking detail that goes into the displays. Or head over to the special Google shopping gift window to find the perfect presents for the special people in your life.

With all of the artistry and time that goes into creating these holiday windows, we want to open them up to the whole world. So go ahead, walk down the wide avenues of Manhattan, peer into Santa’s high-tech communications command center at Macy’s flagship store, imagine sitting atop the 9 ½ foot tall Jackalope at Bergdorf Goodman, take in all the sights and sounds — and enjoy the magic of a New York holiday.

Stroll the streets of Manhattan — past Santa’s high-tech command center, cotton candy couture gowns, ice skating bunny rabbits, and the gang from “South Park.”
Categories: Technology

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