Technology

3 ways to improve video viewability and grow revenue3 ways to improve video viewability and grow revenue

GoogleBlog - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 12:00

Video content has reached new heights and more screens than ever before, making video ads one of the most engaging and effective ad formats today. But as people gain more control to watch video content anytime and anywhere, there are still a number of design and technical factors that can get in the way of people actually seeing those video ads. For video ads to work, people have to be able to see them—that’s where viewability comes in.

Higher viewability can lead to better viewing experiences for users, better results for advertisers, and increased demand, fill rates, and revenue for publishers. In fact, increasing the viewability of video ads from 50 percent to 90 percent can result in more than an 80 percent revenue uplift for publishers (averaged across desktop and mobile sites) according to internal data.

To help publishers capture these opportunities and improve the viewability of their instream video ads on websites and apps, we’ve identified the 3 P’s of viewability—premium experiences, placement, and player.

1. Premium experiences, everywhere people are watching

A premium video experience can drive more value for your viewers and make your video ad inventory more appealing to advertisers. By making your videos load quickly, easy to find, and offering captivating content across screens, viewers will keep returning to your platform and your viewability rates can increase.

An impactful update you can make is to improve the speed of your website or app. Start by using tools like PageSpeed Insights or App Speed reports to understand your existing speeds. Then, try implementing solutions like lazy loading for article pages (waiting to load a video until someone scrolls down to it on your website or app), which can decrease latency and increase viewability rates.

2. Placement—making it easy for people to find and watch your video content and ads

The placement of your videos can make a big difference in your viewability. To make it as easy as possible for people to find and watch your video content and ads, place videos in an optimal location. You can run tests to identify where users spend time on your website or app and place the video player in those locations. To do this, try moving your video player to a different location on your website or app, and then measure if viewability rates change in your Google Ad Manager viewability reports.

3. Player—implementing larger video players can maximize viewabilityTypically, the larger the video player, the more viewable the ad. By increasing your instream video player size to fill the majority of the screen, you can increase the viewability of your video ads. For example, according to the State of Ad Viewability report published in September 2018, a 2560 x 1440 video player has the highest viewability rate at 95 percent. Evaluate your video ad inventory sizes and move away from smaller video ads that don’t deliver the viewability rates desired by you or your advertising partners.Using Ad Manager to measure your video viewability 

If you’re just getting started with video viewability, make sure you have the Google Ad Manager Interactive Media Ads SDK implemented on your websites and apps to enable Google's MRC-accredited viewability solution, Active View. We also recommend using the Open Measurement SDK for mobile apps, which offers publishers a single SDK that can be used by multiple measurement providers to measure in-app viewability.

Google Ad Manager offers a variety of reports to help you understand and optimize your video ad viewability. You can combine different reporting dimensions, such as creative size and custom criteria such as above-the-fold or below-the-fold placements, to understand potential areas for improvement and ways to implement the 3 P’s of viewability.

Following these best practices can have a big impact on improving the viewability of your video ads, and make the video ad experience better for everyone—users, advertisers, and publishers. For step-by-step recommendations on ways to improve the viewability of your video ads and measure your viewability in Google Ad Manager, download our guide on Video Viewability Best Practices for Publishers.


Learn how the 3 P's of viewability: premium experiences, placement, and player can help you grow your instream video revenue.
Categories: Technology

Get your campaigns ready to reach the always-on deal seekerGet your campaigns ready to reach the always-on deal seeker

GoogleBlog - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 11:00

Marketers recognize Black Friday and Cyber Monday as major shopping holidays to prepare for. But did you know that only 18 percent of shoppers consolidate their holiday shopping to these days? 

Consumers are on the lookout for deals year-round—about 60 percent say that finding a great deal is what they enjoy most about shopping. So whether you’re gearing up for July 4th in the U.S., Bastille Day in France, or back-to-school shopping around the world, check out new tools coming soon to help you highlight in-store promotions, factor seasonal sales into your bidding strategy, and reach in-market consumers this season and beyond.

Heat up in-store sales with new Local campaign features

Before they’re heading to the store, local shoppers are hunting for deals: searches for “on sale near me” have grown by 250 percent since 2017. 

With Local campaigns, you can dedicate your entire campaign to offline sales and complement other channels like TV or print that also help deliver foot traffic to your business during important promotions. In fact, in recent global studies with 10 advertisers, we found that Local campaigns helped brands drive a median five times greater incremental return-on-ad-spend from their business locations. 

We have new features coming for Local campaigns to make it available to more advertisers and improve how you manage your locations and creatives. In the next few weeks, you’ll be able to set up your Local campaigns to drive calls to your business locations—even if you don’t have store visits measurement. By expanding Local campaigns to optimize for calls, more advertisers will now be able to access it and highlight what makes their stores unique across Google Search, Maps, YouTube and more.

Starting today, you can also create location groups to make it easier to promote a subset of business locations. For instance, if you’re selling special back-to-school product bundles at certain locations, use location groups to tailor your budget and messaging to this offer. Finally, asset reporting has started rolling out to give you better insight into creative performance. See what kinds of messaging and assets work best and use these learnings to improve your current and future creatives. 



Sanborns, a leading department store in Latin America, is one brand using Local campaigns to drive results during key promotions.

We’re excited to work with Google's new technology to help us grow our business. For Father's Day in Mexico and for a major sale we ran at the end of May, we used Local campaigns to make our in-store offers more prominent. It's amazing how we can get exposure with customers at the right time, and this helped us drive a 10x increase in store visits during these promotions year-over-year. 

- Grupo Sanborns’ marketing team

Put your in-store promotions front and center in local inventory ads

We’re also making it easier for retailers to highlight in-store promotions for specific products through Shopping ads. Today, retailers have connected over 2 billion offers to physical store locations globally using local inventory ads. Now, you can add a promotion to your local inventory ads. Call out in-store offers like “20% off” or “buy one get one free” for inventory you have in stock and drive more nearby deal-hunters to your physical locations.

We’re rolling this out in the U.S. and Australia, with more countries coming soon. If you’re a retailer interested in participating, request to join the whitelist here

Improve Smart Bidding performance by factoring in seasonal sales

Smart Bidding automatically optimizes your bids for every auction to help improve your return on investment. And while it factors in seasonality as a signal, we know there are key moments for your business—like during a big sale—when you can anticipate changes in conversion rates well in advance. For these occasions, we’ve introduced seasonality adjustments. 

Let’s say you’re running a promotion for grills as people get ready for their summer cookouts. Based on past promotions, you predict seeing a 50 percent increase in conversion rates during your sale. Use seasonality adjustments to let Smart Bidding know to expect and prepare for this conversion rate increase, and help our systems ramp up performance more quickly. 

Reach shoppers in the market for your products

In-market audiences for Search help advertisers drive more conversions by reaching qualified shoppers who are actively considering products or services to buy. These are aggregated and anonymized groups of consumers who’ve recently demonstrated an intent to purchase. This gives you a great opportunity to help your business stand out with compelling offers or deals when people are making their final decisions about what to buy.

We’ve recently rolled out more in-market segments across popular categories like beauty, sports, education and real estate. This includes over thirty new categories for retail, just in time for your seasonal sales.

No matter what season you’re ramping up for around the globe, we hope these new products set you up for success!


Check out new tools coming soon to help you highlight in-store promotions, improve your Smart Bidding, and reach in-market consumers.
Categories: Technology

Extend the reach of your site personalization in Google OptimizeExtend the reach of your site personalization in Google Optimize

GoogleBlog - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:30

Personalization features in Google Optimize help businesses customize sites so their customers can find exactly what they’re looking for, when they’re looking for it. For example, marketers can display a special promotion on their site for all visitors, or provide product recommendations based on customers’ previous purchase behavior.


Multi-page experiences in Optimize help you more easily deliver what your customers are looking for. Now, when you create a personalization or experiment, you’ll see an option to add additional pages so that you can extend its reach throughout your entire site—from the initial landing page to the final checkout page. Let’s take a look at two examples:


Coordinated customization across your entire site


Picture this: You’re planning for a sale next month and will be offering a 20 percent off discount code to all visitors. You want to see if displaying this code across your entire site will increase site conversions. Because each type of page on your site has a unique layout, you need to find a different spot to display your promotion on each page. 


Now with Optimize, you can test this idea by creating a single experiment and adding multiple pages to it using the “+ Add page” button.


From there, you’ll have the option to edit those pages so that you can display the promotion wherever it looks best in each case—whether that’s at the top of your site on the homepage or next to the pricing on your product page. 


When you are happy with the results of the multi-page experiment, you can turn it into a multi-page personalization with just one click.


The right experience to the right audience


If you’re using Optimize 360, you have the added ability to focus your experiment or personalization to your Google Analytics audiences.  


Using the same sale example, let’s say you want to offer a 35 percent off discount to your most loyal customers. You can create a multi-page personalization in the same way as described above. You can place the 35 percent discount banner and copy in all the pages that your loyal customers visit. When this personalization is launched, your loyal customers will always see this discount as they move from the home page, through your site, to the checkout page.


Want to learn how you can use this feature? Visit this article on our Help Center.

Multi-page experiences are already available to all Optimize and Optimize 360 accounts.  You’ll be able to ensure your customers see the right message at the right time—even as they explore multiple pages on your site. And by creating a more valuable online experience, they’ll keep visiting you again and again. 
Personalization features in Google Optimize help businesses customize sites so their customers can find exactly what they’re looking for, when they’re looking for it. For example, marketers can display a special promotion on their site for all visitors, or provide product recommendations based on customers’ previous purchase behavior.
Categories: Technology

Introducing BigQuery parameters in Data StudioIntroducing BigQuery parameters in Data Studio

GoogleBlog - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:30

If you’re one of the many Data Studio users writing custom queries for BigQuery, you can now run parameterized queries. This provides better customization and interaction options to your users while making your reports faster.


When connecting to BigQuery from Data Studio you can use special date parameters or define your own named parameters as part of a custom query. Parameters in custom queries introduce two key benefits: queries can be dynamically updated from the report - no need to create new data sources; this works even if the report user does not have edit access to the data source. You can optimize query cost and gain dashboard performance improvements since less data is passed from BigQuery to Data Studio for parameterized queries.

Creating parameterized custom queries


Let's say you're interested in analyzing word usage by corpus for a selected set of Shakepeare's works. The following BigQuery Public Dataset, bigquery-public-data.samples.shakespeare,is available to carry out this analysis:

To allow report editors to choose which corpus to analyze from Shakespeare’s works you can use the Custom Query interface of the BigQuery connector in Data Studio to define corpus as a parameter as part of a filter. You can define the type of UI element for the parameter (e.g., text input, single select, checkbox, etc.) and provide default values.


In the following example, the corpus parameter has been defined as a single-select dropdown with Hamlet as the default value along with other works as options such as Othello, King Lear, etc.

A BigQuery custom query with a custom corpus parameter

What’s really cool is that once you’ve defined the configuration, report editors will then be able to choose a specific corpus to analyze by using the dropdown from the parameters section of the report property panel:

E.g. The corpus parameter options in the

Data Studio property panel.

Using date parameters


Prior to date parameters, custom queries for date sharded or partitioned tables could not be limited to a date range based on a report’s date control. Instead, your custom query would have to fetch all rows for all dates, leaving Data Studio to do the job of filtering for the date range selected by the report user. The result is slower and less efficient reports.


With date parameters, you can use the reserved start and end date parameters as part of a custom query. When report users select a date range for analysis the dates selected will automatically be included as part of your custom query, resulting in a much more efficient query and fetching only the rows needed for the requested date range.


The following example custom query uses the @DS_START_DATE and @DS_END_DATE parameters as part of a filter on the creation date column of a table. The records produced by the query will be limited to the date range selected by the report user, reducing the number of records returned and resulting in a faster query:


A BigQuery custom query using start and end date parameters

The standard Data Studio date settings and controls will determine the date values for your custom query. A report editor can set a default date or add a date control to a report and the start and end dates for your query will change based on the report date control.


In both cases, named and date parameters offer a more efficient way to retrieve data from a single BigQuery data source while giving your report users flexible options to analyze different data.


Try it out!

To learn more about how parameters work review data source parameters and connecting to BigQuery


As you have a chance to experiment with parameters, send us feedback or give us a shout out at @googleanalytics.


If you’re one of the many Data Studio users writing custom queries for BigQuery, you can now run parameterized queries. This provides better customization and interaction options to your users while making your reports faster.
Categories: Technology

EdTech companies you should know aboutEdTech companies you should know about

GoogleBlog - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 08:00

Editor’s Note: This week, we’re joining thousands of educators and students at ISTE in Philadelphia. Visit us at booth 2200, where you can demo the latest Chromebook devices and classroom technology from Google and our partners.  Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

At ISTE 2019, we’re highlighting a wide range of apps and integrations that make learning more accessible for students of diverse strengths, abilities and needs. We work closely with developers to ensure these accessibility-focused tools and integrations work with our own products, and evolve based on the needs of students and educators who share their feedback with us. Here’s how G Suite and Chromebooks power apps that make learning more inclusive:

  • Capti Voice reads aloud documents, books and webpages to students, translates words and passages in more than 100 languages. Students and educators who have a G Suite for Education account can access the app from Google Drive on any web platform. This is especially helpful for students with vision loss, dyslexia, ADHD or motor challenges.

  • Crick Software: One of the first augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) apps—designed to support students with impairments in spoken or written language—created for Chromebook users, Crick Software supports writers at various levels of experience and ability with word grids that help build sentences. This tool also reads passages back so students can check their work with ease. 

  • Scanning Pens: The ReaderPen reads aloud as a student scans the pen over written text, aiding students who need extra support with reading. Students scan the text directly into a Google Doc, upload the audio recordings to a Chromebook or Android device so that they can easily reference the information later.

  • Bulb: Students and educators can create, curate, and share work in a digital portfolio directly from Google Classroom, and access their Bulb portfolio work in Google Drive. Students can share work created in Bulb directly back to Google Classroom, and lessons can be evaluated in Bulb and graded in Google Classroom. 

  • Slooh: Slooh's innovative space lab is a global network of virtual robotic telescopes controlled by students (of all ages) and teachers in curriculum-driven, self-guided space exploration. Through Slooh’s integration with Google for Education, teachers can make assignments and track student progress.

Expanding personalized learning with the Chromebook App Hub

We’re also working with educational apps focused on cultivating personalized learning environments, improving organization, and optimizing assessments. Here are some partners offering expanded functionality in G Suite, Google Classroom, and Chromebooks, all featured in the brand new Chromebook App Hub.

  • Seesaw has new creative tools optimized for students using Chromebooks. Students can select files from Google Drive, annotate, and curate them into their Seesaw portfolios to share with teachers, parents/guardians, and classmates on Chromebooks. Teachers  can import rosters from Google Classroom to Seesaw in just a few clicks—making sharing and demonstrating student learning seamless. Check out Seesaw on the Chromebook App Hub.

  • Backpack for Google Drive by Amplified Labs: Students curate, reflect upon, and showcase digital learning materials against a district-defined skills framework. Backpack manages all of the sharing and organization in Google Drive and connects with Google Classroom rosters and assignments. Check out Backpack for Google Drive on the Chromebook App Hub.

  • Kahoot! makes it easy to create, share and play fun learning games or quizzes in minutes. Their single sign-on feature allows Google users to effortlessly log into their Kahoot! account, and their Google Classroom integration enables educators to share Kahoot! homework challenges with their students in one click. Check out Kahoot! on the Chromebook App Hub.

The Google for Education Technology Partner Program gives developers access to technical, marketing and branding support, and Google initiatives, such as Cloud credits for startups, developer scholarships, and launchpad spaces. Have a product that integrates with Google for Education? Explore the available program track options. If you’re looking for awesome apps that integrate with Google tools, check out the Chromebook App Hub, andjoin the App Hub community.Learn about education technology tools to help educators communicate with parents and guardians about student progress, explain what tech choices you’ve made for the classroom and why, and help families have the tech talk.
Categories: Technology

Helping parents and guardians have the "EdTech talk"Helping parents and guardians have the "EdTech talk"

GoogleBlog - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 08:00

Editor’s Note: This week, we’re joining thousands of educators and students at ISTE in Philadelphia. Visit us at booth 2200, where you can demo the latest Chromebook devices and classroom technology from Google and our partners. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

It’s crucial for us, and at the heart of our mission, to provide teachers with effective classroom technology that lets them create supportive learning environments. This includes giving educators tools to communicate with parents and guardians, and work with them as partners—because we know learning isn’t limited to the classroom. This year at ISTE, we’re showcasing our digital citizenship and online safety platforms. These products can help parents and guardians aid students’ digital wellbeing, enable parents and guardians to have visibility and participation in the classroom and strengthen the connection between the home and the classroom.

Using tech to communicate with parents and guardians 
  • Google Classroom offers guardian summary emails. This option allows guardians to receive daily or weekly email digests of their child’s activities in Google Classroom, including upcoming or missing work and different assignments posted in each class.  Educators also told us they use Google Slides or Google Sites to have students create monthly recaps or ongoing portfolios. This is a great way to help students take ownership over their learning. 

  • Hangouts Meet can help teachers regularly check in with parents, especially when in-person parent-teacher conferences are not possible. Virtual meetings and home visits can be easily scheduled using Google Calendar Appointment Slots. Guardians can connect with educators from anywhere via video call to see examples of their child’s progress. 

  • Google Forms can be used to collect trip permission slips, coordinate volunteers or submit questions or concerns to teachers during off hours. Educators can use Forms and Sheets to set up an easy way to contact parents. Extensions like Form Publisher can help with mail merges and formatting.

The school to home connection

Each school, classroom and teacher makes different decisions about classroom technology. Regardless of the type of technology, it’s important for teachers to foster the conversation of why their school or classroom has chosen it, what you’re doing with it in the classroom, how families can continue using it at home. Here’s how to get students talking about technology, from school to home. 

  • Share the Guardian’s Guide to Chromebooks with students’ families to help them understand how Chromebooks are being used in the classroom and send a letter home on how parents and guardians can foster a conversation with their children about the technology they’re using in class. 

  • Send parents and guardians to the Google for Education website to help them understand how students and educators are protected with Google’s best-in-class privacy and security. They can also learn about classroom technology like G Suite for EducationChromebooks, Google Expeditions and more. 

  • Share the G Suite Learning Centerwith parents and guardians who want to become more familiar with G Suite tools being used in their child’s school. 

  • Use Tour Creator so students and their teachers can create their own virtual reality tours of their school or classroom—or even a topic they are learning in school—to share with family members and guardians. 

Hear from educators and Googlers about using EdTech tools in schools

Digital citizenship and online safety resources

Technology, when used responsibly, can be a powerful resource that can unlock entire worlds. It’s important to teach kids how to navigate the internet responsibly. It’s also crucial to set expectations around how much screen time is appropriate each day, when screens are okay and what activities are appropriate to engage in on their devices. Here are some resources and tools to help parents set digital rules.

  • FOSI online safety lessons: Help students learn how to safely navigate the web and develop skills for school, work, and life. We partnered with the Family Online Safety Institute to build five new lessons to help families stay safe online when it comes to digital wellbeing and screen time.

  • ConnectSafely: Read the Parent Guides from our partners who are dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy and security. Share guides with parents and guardians on social media, cyberbullying, EdTech, Media Literacy & Fake News, Cybersecurity and more. 

  • Family Link and Be Internet Awesome: With Family Link, manage the quantity of children's screen time(daily time limits, device bedtime, locking the device remotely) and the quality as well (app approvals, website whitelisting/blacklisting. You can also see how much time kids are spending in apps, and hide apps on their device. And use Be Internet Awesome’s  family resources to teach students how to be safe, confident explorers of the online world. 

As teachers and parents guide the next generation of digital citizens, we’re continuing to offer new ways to foster a safe and supportive learning environment for students, teachers and families. From exploratory tools in classrooms that can be used at home, to accessible platforms that encourage confident and safe online exploration, we’ll continue to make it our goal to provide tools that go beyond the classroom. 

Learn about education technology tools to help educators communicate with parents and guardians about student progress, explain what tech choices you’ve made for the classroom and why, and help families have the tech talk.
Categories: Technology

Chicken coops and Snoop Dogg: Martha Stewart's smart homeChicken coops and Snoop Dogg: Martha Stewart's smart home

GoogleBlog - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 06:00

Managing your home can get complicated. There’s always something to look out for, such as a water heater malfunction, the arrival of an important package or general upkeep like trimming boxwood hedges and maintaining the yard. Luckily, smart home technology such as cameras, thermostats and voice-activated speakers now make it easier to keep tabs on the things that matter to you—whether you’re taking care of children or pets, trying to save on your energy bills or planning for a busy week. 

I recently enlisted the help of Google Nest, which along with ARS, a network of professional technicians and home advisors, turned my house into a more useful, interactive and connected home. Now, caring for my property is as easy as checking my phone, or asking Google to show me a room in my house. And if there’s something that needs my attention, I’ll get a notification.

Here are some of my favorite tips for how to make the most of your smart home to help solve some of the curveballs life might throw your way. 

Check on your pets.

Anyone with a pet knows how important they are to one’s life, and it’s easy to worry about them when you aren’t at home. At my house, animals are a big part of my family—my beloved Chow Chows, my French bulldogs, my cats, canaries, horses, peacocks, pigeons and chickens—and keeping them safe, separate and out of trouble is a priority for me. With the Nest Cam, even when you’re not home you can check on your pet and observe their activities in real time. It always gives me peace of mind when I’m out of the house or away at work. 

Keep your home the perfect temperature.

Smart thermostats are an easy way to manage the temperature in your home. The Nest Learning Thermostat automatically adapts as your life and the seasons change, and it programs itself after about a week of use. For example, I love collecting exotic plants, but they, like pets, require a lot of upkeep. Luckily, a Nest Thermostat in my greenhouse keeps the temperature just right. When the weather changes suddenly, I can control the climate by changing the temperature remotely through the app. 

Plan ahead. 

Whether I’m prepping for my next big project or making a shopping list for the local nursery, I always like to be prepared, and that includes having the right information at my fingertips whenever I need it. When I’m getting ready for a trip, I ask the Google Assistant on my Home Mini for the weather at my upcoming destination to make sure I’m packing appropriately. 

Get notifications about what’s going on at home. 

I have a very busy life and packed schedule. It’s incredibly helpful to get notifications when something at home needs attention. For example, my Nest Hello video doorbell lets me know when a courier has arrived to deliver a package, so I can let them know where to leave it. Another great feature is that my Nest Protect smoke alarm checks itself so I don’t have to do manual monthly tests.

Watch your favorite videos. 

Having a smart home isn’t only about function—it’s also about having fun. I love watching my favorite videos of my friend Snoop Dogg and me on YouTube with my Nest Hub: “Hey Google, show me Martha and Snoop videos on YouTube.”

I hope you’ll try some of these tips yourself and benefit from making your home a smart home like I have. A little help at home: it’s a good thing. 

Martha Stewart shares smart home tips with Google Nest, including the Nest Cam, Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Hub.
Categories: Technology

A mom-and-mom card shop draws from experienceA mom-and-mom card shop draws from experience

GoogleBlog - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 11:00

If you told me when I was 12 that one day I would be married to another woman and making a living selling greeting cards, I would have given you a “pssht” of disbelief. But I am glad to report that today in 2019, not only am I happily married to someone of the same sex, but also, making greeting cards with my wife is a perfectly respectable way to put food on the table.  

I met my future wife, best friend and collaborator Morgan Calderini while working at an arts nonprofit in Rhode Island. We shared a similar passion for creating interesting work that made a difference in the world. As a designer and a printmaker, we began collaborating on different projects shortly after we met, but in 2011, our neon-inked and letterpress-printed, poster-sized wedding invitation went viral and launched us into the spotlight. We quit our nonprofit jobs, rescued a rusty letterpress out of the back of an abandoned shipping container and threw together a website. With little more than a credit card and a recent gay wedding under our belts, we started Ladyfingers Letterpress.

The wedding invitation that launched Ladyfingers Letterpress.

During the honeymoon of launching our business, we noticed a deficit in queer-friendly products on the market. As LGBTQ+ authors, designers and makers with a rapidly growing online following, we felt empowered to make work that would fill a niche. By using Google My Business we were able to attract more retailers, business contacts and customers with our online reviews, photos and maps. We also frequently updated our website with our most recent work and engaged with our customers. Our online traffic grew to account for half of our business.

In 2014, we relocated to Morgan’s hometown of Colorado Springs to be near her family after a wildfire destroyed their home. We struggled to find our place there, but soon discovered the importance of offering a safe space while staying true to our voice no matter where we were. We opened our flagship store in the heart of downtown, where we also host hand-lettering workshops and offer a wide variety of boutique stationery items and locally-made gifts. 

From this post we operate our letterpress and design headquarters, and can personally interact with our customers as they see the presses running and witness our products being made. We added the“LGBTQ-friendly” attribute to our Google My Business listing to let customers know they’re always welcome. It’s especially important for people who navigate their day according to where spaces are safe and not safe. 

We believe that you don't have to be a large company to make a big impact. We take pride in making things by hand, locally, and sustainably. Some of the greatest successes we’ve experienced are the hugs from teary-eyed people who were touched by our work. If you would have asked 12-year-old me to define success, I probably wouldn’t have measured it by how much I make other people cry, but today, it seems perfectly applicable.

Ladyfingers Letterpress creates inclusive hand-printed greeting cards and other paper goods from their shop in Colorado Springs.
Categories: Technology

Make every story a performance with help from Kristen BellMake every story a performance with help from Kristen Bell

GoogleBlog - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 11:00

Kristen Bell knows how to tell a story. She's taking a break from Disney’s “Frozen” to help you make every story a performance, with Google Home Mini as her co-star. If you need help with your own storytelling, you can get a Google Home Mini and three Little Golden Books—”The Lion King,” “Aladdin,” and “Frozen”—for $49 at Walmart. 


To read along with Google Home Mini, grab one of these Little Golden Books and say, “Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney.” As you read aloud, your Google Home will play sound effects and music to bring more magic to the story. It recognizes where you are in the book, so if you skip ahead or read your favorite part a few times, it can keep up with you and play the right sound effects. We know that interruptions are inevitable, so if you pause for any reason, background music will play until you’re ready to begin again. 


As the kids get older, they may want to do story time on their own. For parents who want to give their kids access to the Assistant on Google Home, you can create an account for kids under 13 through Family Link, then link their Google Account and voice to Google Home. And remember—Google Home already comes with lots of other Disney games, so you can go on interactive adventures with some of your favorite characters right from your living room.


So, prepare your costumes, work on your character voices and get ready to read. Google Home and Disney will set the stage.


Kristen Bell, Disney, Little Golden Books and Google Home are making storytime magical with new titles like "Frozen" and "Aladdin."
Categories: Technology

Helping kids learn to evaluate what they see onlineHelping kids learn to evaluate what they see online

GoogleBlog - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 08:00

Editor’s Note: This week we're launching six new media literacy activities for Be Internet Awesome, designed to help kids analyze and evaluate media as they navigate the internet. The new activities were developed in collaboration with experts Anne Collier, executive director of The Net Safety Collaborative, and Faith Rogow, PhD, co-author of The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy and a co-founder of the National Association for Media Literacy Education.

As a reading specialist and former high school English teacher, I’ve witnessed technology enhance our lives in and out of the classroom. But that comes with lots of challenges, like learning to communicate responsibly, being kind online and deciphering what is real and what is fake. We need the right tools and resources to help kids make the most of technology, and while good digital safety and citizenship resources exist for families, more can be done for media literacy. I’ve worked alongside dozens of educators who believe that media literacy is essential to safety and citizenship in the digital age, but agree that it’s a topic that can be tough to cover.

Fortunately, the new media literacy lessons developed for Be Internet Awesome make it easy and fun for kids to learn key skills for evaluating what they see online. These lessons complement the program’s digital safety and citizenship topics, which help kids explore the online world in a safe, confident manner.

Be Internet Awesome is like an instruction manual for making smart decisions online. Kids today need a guide to the internet and media just as they need instruction on other topics. We need help teaching them about credible sources, the power of words and images and more importantly, how to be smart and savvy when seeing different media while browsing the web.

All of these resources are not only available for classrooms, but also free and easily accessible for families as well. They’re in both English and in Spanish, along with eight other languages, and if you’d like to get some hands-on training as well, Google is partnering with the YMCA and National PTA across multiple cities to host online safety workshops.

I encourage parents to take advantage of these resources and the new activities on media literacy. Let’s not only teach kids, but also inspire, educate and empower families to make tech work better for them as well.

Be Internet Awesome adds new media literacy lessons in its digital safety and citizenship program to help kids spot disinformation online.
Categories: Technology

Building the Future of the Classroom with Google for EducationBuilding the Future of the Classroom with Google for Education

GoogleBlog - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 08:00

Editor’s Note: This week, we’re joining thousands of educators and students at ISTE in Philadelphia. Visit us at booth 2200, where you can demo the latest Chromebook devices and classroom technology from Google and our partners.  Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

In order to build technology helps students learn, we try to imagine where the future of education is going. The recent Future of the Classroom Global Report identifies emerging trends in education, backed by research. Here’s how our products and initiatives line up with each of those trends: 

Emerging technologies

WithGoogle Expeditions, students can go on virtual field trips—and there are 1,000 tours to pick from, including Carmen Sandiego tours published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Through the rest of the rest of the year, we’re rolling out an improved Expeditions experience across many Chrome OS devices. Check here to see if your device is compatible.

Students can also use Tour Creator—which was just recognized as an AASL 2019 Best Website for Teaching & Learning—to create their own virtual reality tours. They can take fellow students or parents on tours of their town or school using the Expeditions App.

Innovating teaching 

We’re continuing to grow the Teacher Center, our library of free online trainings for educators. For teachers getting started with our tools for the first time, we’ve added courses for Expeditions and G Suite Editors (Google Docs and Slides ) to complement the existing trainings on Classroom, Forms, and Jamboard

We’ve also created shorter courses across a variety of topics, like helping teachers support English language learners, how to use Chromebook accessibility features, or how to get started with our CS First and Applied Digital Skills curriculums. 

And for educators who want to get the most out of Google technology, local experts are there to help. Check out our network of trainers, innovators, reference schools and local PD partners on our newly re-designed EDU Directory.  

Coaching in the classroom

For educators to benefit from investments in technology, they need to know how to integrate it into their classrooms. The Dynamic Learning Project trains teachers on how to effectively use classroom technology, and we have a new training curriculum for administrators, teaching them how to support instructional coaches in their schools. 

We’re also helping school administrators quantify their organization’s Google for Education implementation across products (G Suite and Chromebooks) and programs (Certification and Transformation) with the launch of the EDU Transformation Report

Additionally, we’ve expanded our resources to help school and district leaders think about centering equity in their school’s transformation. So we created a new Educational Equity page with resources and case studies to help school leaders understand how equity can be a central characteristic in all seven pillars of the Transformation Framework

Digital Responsibility 

Applied Digital Skillshas seven new lessons focused on digital wellbeing. Teachers can use these free, project-based lessons to teach students to build healthy digital habits, avoid online scams, understand their digital footprint, and more. 

Life Skills and Workforce Preparation

Applied Digital Skills also has new lessons that prepare middle and high school students to use G Suite fluently in college, the workforce and beyond. To prove their mastery, students can take the professional G Suite certification and add it to resumes and applications. Other new lessons focus on introducing students to machine learning, making art with Google Sheets, calculating probability, and exploring women’s history.  

Computational Thinking

CS First, our coding curriculum for students in elementary and middle school, has a new professional development session for teachers to integrate coding activities into English Language Arts, math and science classes. 

Acquired by Google last year, Workbench is a content library for educators to discover, create, remix, and share lessons and resources. At ISTE we’re announcing a new integration with the Workbench Blockly programming canvas and Google Sheets. This enables people to build Blockly programs to control multiple bluetooth devices (robots, drones, sensors, microcontrollers) and send that data to or retrieve data from Google Sheets. 

We’re honored to be a part of a global community of educators and parents who help their students develop problem-solving skills, safely navigate the digital world, and prepare for future careers. As classrooms continue to evolve, our products to help educators and students evolve as well. 

We’re sharing product and program news and updates, including Expeditions on Chrome OS, new resources on the Teacher Center and more.
Categories: Technology

Teach your self(ie) how to snap the perfect picTeach your self(ie) how to snap the perfect pic

GoogleBlog - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 05:00

A selfie a day keeps the doctor away? According to a study, millennials are expected to take more than 25,000 selfies in their lifetime, which comes down to one solo snap a day.


Today is National Selfie Day, so we’ve put together a few tips and tricks from our Pixel Camera experts for taking the best solo pics.


Natural light > flash: Taking photos in the dark is hard, and it may be tempting to use your phone’s flash. But flash photography often makes a selfie look washed out, and you can lose your background, or add glare to your face.


Low-light features are your friend: Having a low-light feature like Pixel’s Night Sight can enhance brightness in a dimly-lit setting, but without the white-cast caused by a flash. Night Sight takes several shots and puts them on top of each other to get a naturally lit image, even in the dark.

Know your angles: Positioning your face slightly to one side can make your selfie look less like an I.D. photo, and more like a natural shot. Using photography’s “Rule of Thirds” can help you snap a great picture, by bringing the focus of your photo to the area in an image where your eye naturally falls.



Control your portraits: The subtle blur on Portrait Mode can help you pop against the background of your selfie. With Pixel 3 and 3a, you can adjust the blur to your liking. And always remember: Portrait Mode works best when the subject can stand out against a busy background.

Don’t over-edit:Just like your parents have always told you: “you’re beautiful.” While editing apps are great, make sure you still look like yourself after you snap your selfie.


This National Selfie Day, get tips for snapping the best solo shot from some of Pixel’s camera experts
Categories: Technology

Stories of Yoga on Google Arts & CultureStories of Yoga on Google Arts & Culture

GoogleBlog - Thu, 06/20/2019 - 23:00

Yoga has been around for a few millennia, but I’m completely new to the practice and have only practiced a few poses, like Ekpadasana (the “one leg posture”). Just like a yoga teacher would lead you through the steps of this posture, a new Google Arts & Culture collection called Stories of Yoga, takes you through the history, culture and science behind the practice. If you’re a new yogi like me, follow the sequence below to learn the “one leg posture,” and read on for some insights our partners have shared for the “Stories of Yoga” exhibit.

1. Come to a standing posture. Take in a deep breath.Do you know what the word “yoga” means? It has a lot of nuanced interpretations. The ancient Indian text, called Rigveda, implied yoga means “achieving the unachieved,” “harnessing,” or “connection,” and the exhibition “What is Yoga?” explains other interpretations.

2. Finding your balance, bring up your right foot and place it in the center of the inner thigh of your left leg. Your toes should point downward.One of the most widely-known gurus, Swami Sivananda, introduced five principles of yoga: proper exercise (āsana), the right breathing (prāṇāyāma), relaxation (śavāsana), proper diet, and positive thinking & meditation (vedānta).

3. Bring your palms together in front of your chest as if in prayer, and focus your gaze on a spot in the distance in front of you. Exhale.Yoga is older than you might think, it actually dates back by a few millennia. The so-called Vedas and Upanishads started referring to yoga around 3000 BC. Two of the earliest teachers who recorded texts dedicated to yoga were Yajnavalkya and Patanjali. Visit the Museum of Classical Yoga and explore a brief timeline.

4. Hold the position and inhale and exhale deeply a few times.Yoga strengthens your body as well as the mind. Learn about Shri Yogendra, who started off as a wrestler before rooting himself into yoga and founding the Yoga Institute. Or follow the journey of well known guru B.K.S Iyengar, who used yoga to heal his tuberculosis-affected body.

5. Release back into the standing posture slowly, and repeat for the other leg.Did you know that women were actually barred from practicing the yoga discipline? Meet pioneer Shrimati Sita Devi Yogendra, who changed perceptions by becoming the first female guru. She introduced sequences specially tailored for women’s physiology.

6. As a variation, you can lift your arms up all the way while holding the prayer position. As another variation, you can do the entire sequence while lying flat on your back instead of standing.There are so many different postures and their variations, and each school has a set of their own. Take a sneak-peek into some of the yoga centers in virtual walkthroughs and see the practice sessions up close.

It is not a big stretch to learn more about yoga thanks to Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams, The Yoga Institute, Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Vivekananda House and other institutions on Google Arts & Culture at g.co/storiesofyoga.

For International Day of Yoga, the Yoga Institute in Mumbai and others share insights about the history and practise of Yoga on Google Arts & Culture.
Categories: Technology

How we fight fake business profiles on Google MapsHow we fight fake business profiles on Google Maps

GoogleBlog - Thu, 06/20/2019 - 16:00

Google Maps helps people explore, navigate and get things done—and increasingly people are using Google Maps to find local businesses. Over the years, we’ve added more than 200 million places to Google Maps and every month we connect people to businesses more than nine billion times, including more than one billion phone calls and three billion requests for directions. 


To help people find the places and businesses they're looking for—both big and small—Local Guides, business owners and people using Maps every day can contribute to business information. We get millions of contributions each day (like new business profiles, reviews, star ratings, and more) and the vast majority of these contributions are helpful and accurate. But occasionally, business scammers take advantage of local listings to make a profit. They do things like charge business owners for services that are actually free, defraud customers by posing as real businesses, and impersonate real businesses to secure leads and then sell them. Even though fake business profiles are a small percentage of the overall business profiles on Google, local business scammers have been a thorn in the internet’s side for over a decade. They even existed back when business listings were printed, bound and delivered to your doorstep. We take these issues very seriously and have been using a wide array of techniques and approaches to limit abuse on our platforms. 


These scammers use a wide range of deceptive techniques to try to game our system—as we shut them down, they change their techniques, and the cycle continues. Although it’s important that we make it easy for legitimate businesses to get their business profiles on Google, we’ve also implemented strict policies and created tools that enable people to flag these issues so we can take action. It’s a constant balancing act and we’re continually working on new and better ways to fight these scams using a variety of ever-evolving manual and automated systems. But we can’t share too many details about these efforts without running the risk of actually helping scammers find new ways to beat our systems—which defeats the purpose of all the work we do. 


We understand the concerns of those people and businesses impacted by local business scammers and back in 2017 we announced the progress we’d made. There was still work to be done then and there’s still work to be done now. We have an entire team dedicated to addressing these issues and taking constant action to remove profiles that violate our policies. Here’s more information about the progress we made against this type of abuse last year:  

  • We took down more than 3 million fake business profiles––and more than 90 percent of those business profiles were removed before a user could even see the profile. 

  • Our internal systems were responsible for more than 85 percent of these removals. 

  • More than 250,000 of the fake business profiles we removed were reported to us by users. 

  • We disabled more than 150,000 user accounts that were found to be abusive – a 50 percent increase from 2017. 

This year, we’ve already introduced a new way to report suspicious business profiles and have started to apply refined techniques to business categories where we’re seeing an increase in fraud attempts. To help foster a healthy ecosystem, we’re also donating settlement funds from litigation against bad actors to organizations that educate businesses and consumers about fraud. As we continue to fight against fraud, we’re making sure people people can flag issues when they see them. Here’s how: 

Every month Maps is used by more than a billion people around the world, and every day we and our users work as a community to improve the map for each other. We know that a small minority will continue trying to scam others, so there will always be work to do and we’re committed to keep doing better. 


An update on what we do and how we’re doing in our fight against abuse.
Categories: Technology

For this Googler, teaching code is a "drag"For this Googler, teaching code is a "drag"

GoogleBlog - Thu, 06/20/2019 - 12:00

If you’re looking to learn how to code, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube—but only a few star a wise-cracking drag queen in a candy-colored wig. That’s Anna Lytical, who was dreamed up by Billy Jacobson, an engineer at Google’s New York office who wants to bring some drag to the tech world—and bring some tech to the drag world, too. 

Billy's interest in drag and computer science started around the same time, in high school. He got into drag as a fan, through watching the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” after school. By the time he moved to New York after college, the show had become an Emmy-winning hit and he was inspired to give drag a try himself. “I had been looking for a new creative outlet, because I had done a lot of theater in high school and I was not doing any of that in the city,” he says. 

So he watched makeup tutorials on YouTube, and took a class to refine his skills. About two years ago, he performed for the first time as Anna Lytical, a name he says describes his personality on and off stage. “I’ll always be analytical even if I’m not Anna Lytical,” he jokes. (He briefly contemplated another math-inspired name, Carrie the One, but it was already taken.)

This year, Billy decided to take Anna Lytical to YouTube, with an unexpected twist: a channel dedicated to teaching people about computer science. With nods to famous drag queens, Anna’s videos teach people how to code, with lots of projects and pop-culture references to keep viewers interested.

The channel is a departure from other educational videos, which can sometimes be dry and academic. “If you want to make fan art for your favorite drag queen, why not turn it into an interactive website?” Billy says, explaining how he uses projects to teach people about CS. “That’s a way you could get introduced to coding.” This month, Anna Lytical’s channel started an in-depth series that serves as an introduction to computer science, “all dragged up.” 

“I’m trying to bring tech to people who are interested in drag, and show them you can be queer and flamboyant and be an engineer and code and that’s totally fine,” Billy says. “I’m also showing people in tech you can be a guy who wears makeup, and you can be an engineer who does drag and performs and expresses yourself.”

Billy says it’s important to boost LGBTQ+ representation in the tech world, because the industry should reflect the people who use tech products. (That’s everyone, after all.) “If there aren’t people like you building the technology around you, you’re not going to get represented in it,” he says. “There could be a form asking you to fill out information about yourself, and maybe there’s not a gender option that lines up with you. Or a name field that doesn’t accept a character in your name. Representation all around is really important.”

Through Anna Lytical, Billy has found more than just the creative outlet he was looking for. “I don’t totally think of Anna Lytical as a separate person, but more of a space,” he says. “A space I’m free to express myself however I want, wear whatever I want and feel comfortable with it.” Not all Anna Lytical’s videos feature full wigs and dialed-up glamour—one, for example, is a casual tutorial, filmed in a bathroom, demonstrating how to create the Chrome logo using eye makeup. 

Regardless of the glam factor, Billy says it’s all drag. “I think drag means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” he explains. “A lot of drag we see in the media is about exploring femininity, but I see a lot of people explore masculinity with drag, too. I like to go in both directions and play with all these things.” 

Billy (left) presenting at I/O 2019.

Billy took the stage at I/O this year to discuss storing Internet of Things data. And though the audience may not have noticed, he brought a little bit of drag with him. He wore foundation and concealer, and played up his eyebrows with makeup, which gave him an extra dose of confidence on stage. “It’s kind of having a lucky charm. Maybe not everyone’s going to see it if you keep it in your pocket, but it’s there for you,” he says. “People probably won’t notice I’m wearing makeup, but I know. It’s not for them, it’s for me.”

Software engineer Billy Jacobson turns to YouTube to teach people how to code, using his drag persona Anna Lytical.
Categories: Technology

Helping businesses capture their identity with Google My BusinessHelping businesses capture their identity with Google My Business

GoogleBlog - Thu, 06/20/2019 - 11:00

Since launching Google My Business five years ago, we’ve helped more than 150 million local businesses connect with people who are looking for them online. Today, when people search for businesses, they’re on the hunt for something more specific--like “late night restaurants near Washington Square Park” or “rooftop happy hour with great cocktails.” And they’re  looking to get more things done--whether that’s booking, a reservation, or asking what products a store offers. 

We’ve evolved Google My Business to better meet these needs--from redesigned, easier-to-use mobile apps to making restaurant reservations directly from Google. Today, we’re rolling out more features to help businesses make their Profiles as unique as they are and as descriptive as the queries that get customers there.  

  • Attract people with welcome offers: Did someone say deal? We’ve found that more than half of online customers are looking for an offer or discount.  Starting today, businesses can reward customers who follow their business on Google with welcome offers , turning happy first time customers into loyal, repeat ones.

You can receive a Welcome Offer by following some of your favorite businesses on Maps

  • Find businesses quicker with short names and URLs:Business owners can now claim a short name and URL for their business. With this URL, businesses can easily refer customers back to their Profile - to catch up on latest updates, to make a booking or to write a review after a visit. In the coming months, people will also be able to search short names in Maps.  

  • Show personality with cover photos: Businesses can easily set their preferred profile cover photo, putting their best foot forward.

  • Identify companies with more prominent logos:Businesses have an additional branding opportunity with the logo feature. Those that have completed their core information (phone number, hours, etc) will have their logo displayed at the top right-hand side of their profile.

  • Get visual with photo displays:Photos uploaded by a business will appear instantly and prominently on a new dynamic module on the Profile. Photo captions, which are coming, will let businesses tell the stories behind the pictures. 

  • Create offline materials:We’re also launching a website where businesses can easily download and order custom assets for their place--like stickers--to help promote bookings on the profile, adding reviews and customer following.

The new features can help a Business Profile be as descriptive as possible.

Finally, we want to recognize those businesses that consistently deliver a great experience for people. We’ll be highlighting the top five percent of businesses in a particular category with the “Local Favorite” designation. To help people easily find and engage with these businesses, we’re also creating digital and physical badges of honors. Stay tuned for more details on these recognition categories coming later this summer.

More descriptive profiles not only help consumers quickly find the business that best suits their needs, but also help businesses stand out and express what is unique about them. We’re excited to keep improving Maps and Search for everyone, and help businesses succeed on Google. 

Google My Business is rolling out a set of features to assist businesses in reflecting their own unique identity.
Categories: Technology

On World Wi-Fi Day, celebrating a fast, free and open internetOn World Wi-Fi Day, celebrating a fast, free and open internet

GoogleBlog - Thu, 06/20/2019 - 07:00

As a college student in Indonesia, Akbar dreamed of providing for his family through a career in software development. With low connectivity at school and no Wi-Fi at home, his opportunities to spend time studying online were limited. 

Then in 2017 Google Station became available on his campus. Using the fast, free and open Wi-Fi, Akbar could download dozens of tutorial videos to supplement his coursework. He began going to school early and staying late. Equipped with lessons to watch at home, he devoured the information he needed to work toward his degree. Today, Akbar’s income as a programmer helps support his family.

A free and open internet enables stories like Akbar’s around the world. Helen, a rickshaw driver in India, used free Railwire Wi-Fi to download study materials for her child while waiting for customers at the train station. Shrinath, a railway porter, used Wi-Fi to study and pursue his dream position as Village Assistant. And 15 years after becoming lost as a child in Thailand, Aum went online at an internet cafe—and using Search and Maps, with support from a local NGO, finally found his way back to his hometown and family. 

We’re driven and inspired by people who use the internet to go after their dreams. That’s why we created Google Station, which makes it simple for our partners to set up, maintain and monetize Wi-Fi networks that are free to use. Globally, Google Station serves more than 10 million people in 1,300 locations across India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and most recently, Brazil. 

If you’re an internet service provider or venue owner interested in partnering with Google Station to bring fast, free and open Wi-Fi to more people, let us know. We’d be happy to talk with you and create more opportunities together.

And to everyone using the internet to pursue their dreams—Happy World Wi-Fi Day! Today was made for you.

Google Station is celebrating World Wi-Fi Day, and people around the world who are using the internet to pursue their dreams.
Categories: Technology

Supporting key education projects on World Refugee DaySupporting key education projects on World Refugee Day

GoogleBlog - Thu, 06/20/2019 - 04:00

Editor's Note: Google.org connects nonprofit innovators with Google resources to solve complex human challenges, and to ensure that everyone can participate in the digital economy. Jacqueline Strecker, Connected Education Officer from UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, shares more about the impact our grants and the programs they support have on refugee communities around the world.

I’m in a crowded classroom in Kakuma, Kenya refugee camp. The temperature outside is hovering just above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), but inside this room it feels much hotter. But I barely notice the heat, because I’m transfixed by the people around me. We’re discussing solutions to problems most people don’t fully understand, and despite the challenges, there’s a sense of optimism. My line of work has allowed me to meet and work with countless individuals with exceptional abilities and exceptional stories. Like Jayson.

Jayson came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but he was forced to flee his country and halt his pursuit of post-secondary education. He ended up in Kakuma with his only surviving family member, his younger brother. They have spent six years together in the camp. And though his dreams of working in technology are on hold, he’s pursued this passion in a different way, supporting the education of others as both a secondary school teacher and a trainer at a community youth center in the camp.

Since 2015, Google.org has donated $10 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and Learning Equality as part of an effort to provide emergency support and access to vital information and education to refugees. The grants have gone towards supporting promising practices, the development of learning materials and adaptation of technologies that can drive  the delivery of quality education for refugee and students from surrounding areas. As part of this initiative, I worked with Jayson in a design workshop, where we came up with ideas to improve on Kolibri, a free, open-source educational platform developed by Learning Equality for low-resource environments like Kakuma.



Kolibri was specially designed to provide offline access to a digital library of resources, curated from thousands of open educational content providers. With funding from Google.org, and in collaboration with Learning Equality, and Vodafone Foundation, UNHCR has committed to co-designing and testing different models for Kolibri integration in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Jordan together with a range of partners, and most importantly with refugees and the communities that host them.


The program itself aims for an increase in basic STEM skills in lower-secondary school populations, plus improvement in student confidence and motivation,digital literacy and technical skills. “I’m one part of the project, and it has become a passion for me,” Jayson tells me. “Every day, every month, we are learning and giving feedback on how to improve.”


Jayson was one of 28 passionate contributors from 10 different countries who joined the design sprint facilitated by Astrid Weber, Google UX Manager, at UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week in Paris this past March. Joining remotely, he and his fellow Kolibri coaches helped to work with educationalists, ministries and designers from across the globe to think through how AI could be used to help improve the process of aligning content to different national curricula.

The ideas that emerged are helping to shape ten new learning centers launching throughout communities in Jordan. The model has been adapted thanks to not only the vibrant contributions of both Jordanian and refugee communities throughout the country, but also the inspiration and lessons shared from this growing collaborative global community. 

On World Refugee Day, the High Commissioner for Refugees will help to launch a new Connected Learning Center in the Azraq Refugee Camp, further demonstrating UNHCR’s commitment to improving the quality of education for all learners affected by crises. We all have a role to play. Our inspiring colleagues at Learning Equality continue to share and create free educational resources. Philanthropic efforts, like those of Google.org, help to bring people and resources together to test new solutions in the field. People like Jayson lend expertise and time to making sure Kenyans and refugees alike are able to contribute to and benefit from these global digital movements. And our team at UNHCR helps to promote innovation with the community at the heart and in the lead.

Today on World Refugee Day, with support from Google.org, the UNHCR will help to launch a new Learning Center in the Azraq Refugee Camp.
Categories: Technology

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