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

Google Cloud Platform announces new credits program for researchersGoogle Cloud Platform announces new credits program for researchers

GoogleBlog - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 11:00

From Big Data projects like Strayer University’s student support system to AI projects like Carnegie Mellon’s socially aware robot, researchers are discovering that cloud technology can help make academic research cheaper, faster, easier, and more secure. Whether you’re just starting out with a new idea, or validating your work before sharing it with the public, we want to help you advance your new discoveries. That’s why we’re deepening our support for your biggest questions and best guesses through a new program: Google Cloud Platform (GCP) research credits. Academic researchers in qualified regions are encouraged to apply.


Like the Google Cloud Platform Education Grants to support computer science courses and the partnership to support National Science Foundation (NSF) grants in BIGDATA, our GCP research credits program supports faculty who want to take advantage of GCP’s data storage, analytics, and machine-learning capabilities. Andrew V. Sutherland, a computational number theorist and Principal Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is one of a growing number of academic researchers who have already made the transition and benefited from GCP. His team moved the L-Functions and Modular Forms Database to GCP because “we are mathematicians who want to focus on our research, and not have to worry about hardware failures or scaling issues with the website.”

Other researchers are taking advantage of GCP’s scalable infrastructure. Ryan Abernathey, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ocean and Climate Physics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, used Google Cloud credits through an NSF partnership and, with his team, developed an open-source platform to manage the complex data sets of climate science. The platform, called Pangeo, can run Earth System Modeling simulations on petabytes of high-resolution, three-dimensional data. “This is the future of what day-to-day science research computing will look like,” he predicts.


At the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine (SCGPM), researchers using GCP and BigQuery can now run hundreds of genomes through a variant analysis pipeline and get query results quickly. Mike Snyder, director of SCGPM, notes, “We’re entering an era where people are working with thousands or tens of thousands or even million genome projects, and you’re never going to do that on a local cluster very easily. Cloud computing is where the field is going.”


Googlers like Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist for Cloud AI and ML, are excited to be able to support important research through the new avenue of the credits program: “As an academic, I’m thrilled that Google Cloud will make GCP credits available to the research community. This will help support important scientific discoveries and accelerate fundamental research that are critical for the future.”


The GCP research credits program is open to faculty doing cutting-edge research in eligible countries. We’re eager to hear how we can help accelerate your progress. If you’re interested, you can learn more on our FAQ or apply now.Using Google Cloud Platform (GCP), researchers are accelerating breakthroughs and asking new questions they could never have asked before. Now GCP will be available to even more academic researchers through the new GCP research credits program.
Categories: Technology

How do I add a Google Mini to my Google Home?

AskDaveTaylor - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 10:33

There are a lot of steps involved, but the process of adding an additional Google Home device like the Google Home Mini to your house is surprisingly easy. Hooking up the very first unit is a bit more complicated because you have to hook it up to your Google account, ensure you have your address specified for geographic based queries (like “what’s the weather?”), etc, but even that’s pretty straightforward.

What you didn’t ask about is why Google Home and Google Nest don’t interact gracefully, which is just as well; I have no idea why that’s the case but it would sure be nice if there was a single app on your Android or iPhone that controlled everything. Heck, it’d be nice if the devices themselves interacted so your TV turned off when you left and locked the front door, for example. But… that’s another story.

Back to your question. I’ll show you all the steps on an iPhone, but the sequence is basically the same on the Android side too. To start, launch the Google Home app…

Here’s another question for you; why doesn’t this home screen show your devices? Ah, well, you’ll want to tap on the so-called hamburger menu – the three horizontal lines on the top left of the screen – and tap. A menu pops up:

As highlighted, choose “Devices” to proceed. Now, finally, you’ll see all your devices listed. Then swipe down to the bottom to find “Add New Device”:

Ready? Don’t get sidetracked by your existing devices, tap on “Add New Device”.

You’ll get an informative screen that details mostly what you need to do:

Pay attention to the very last line: make sure that your phone’s bluetooth is turned on, then go to the Wi-Fi settings and look for the new Google Home Mini (which should be plugged in and working). You’ll see something like this:

If you aren’t seeing it, make sure that you’re close to the device and that you’ve waited until the Mini is fully powered up and the four lights have illuminated. Once the Google Home app sees the Mini, you’ll switch to this:

Should take maybe a minute or so, then it’ll push out a sound that you will hopefully here from your new Google Home Mini. In the app you’ll see this:

Hopefully you’ll be able to tap “Yes”. If not, try again or back up. Assuming it works, though, tap “Yes”…

If you have a shed full of gear, well, then your place is setup just like mine.

Categories: Technology

Test your knowledge of natural wonders in Google EarthTest your knowledge of natural wonders in Google Earth

GoogleBlog - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 01:00

In Google Earth’s Voyager, we’ve climbed aboard the ISS, simulated eclipses, and gone deep into the Amazon. Now, with the help of our friends at Atlas Obscura, we're adding something new to the mix. In a multiple choice quiz, Atlas Obscura takes you to some of the most beautiful—and intriguing—places on the planet. Know where Morning Glory Pool is? Or the hot springs of Dallol? See how well you know your planet, and explore these  places in Google Earth. If you get stuck, look out for a hint or two on Twitter.

Coming up: We don't know about you, but we're hearing royal wedding bells. Check back in Google Earth mid-May to test your knowledge of magnificent castles and palaces around the world.

Teaming up with Atlas Obscura to test your knowledge of natural wonders with a new (and first!) geo quiz in Google Earth.
Categories: Technology

How Do I Update My Twitter Privacy Settings?

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 10:11

Every social media site is a data mine and the data they’re mining is us. What we post, when we post, where we are when we post, who interacts and what they say. Time of day, day of week, holidays, weekends, late at night, it’s all a gold mine for merchants who keep coming up with more and more sophisticated “AI” systems to figure out what their customers have in common and how to target them with adverts. For the social media sites, it’s how they actually generate revenue because if their service is free, they gotta pay the bills somehow.

Twitter is no different and success ends up being the metaphorical two-sided coin; on the positive side, success breeds success and no social network can succeed without people using it. But on the negative side, we users are a finicky bunch with our data and privacy. Just because I am posting about my vacation, the car I drive, and where I live doesn’t mean I automatically want to share it all with advertisers who are paying Twitter – not me! – for the privilege of accessing my data record. And so Twitter wants to sell our data, but also wants to respect our individual desire for privacy.

Making this more interesting, the EU Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is poised to become law for a huge percentage of the online population the end of May, 2018. After that, we’ll all gain more access to our data and more settings that will let us gain control over our data and what happens to it. In fact, this morning Twitter popped up a warning about the upcoming changes, though it didn’t mention GDPR by name:

If you see this, click on “Review Settings“, or just go to the main menu on Twitter (top right of the Web interface) then choose “Settings and Privacy“. On the left side menu make sure you’ve chosen “Privacy and safety“:

Now on the right are a raft of choices. A ton of choices, really. And it’s just going to get more complex… but here are some of the main choices:

These are two of the biggest and most important settings for your Twitter account:

The post How Do I Update My Twitter Privacy Settings? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Stay composed: here’s a quick rundown of the new GmailStay composed: here’s a quick rundown of the new Gmail

GoogleBlog - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 02:00

Email is a necessity for most of us. We use it to stay in touch with colleagues and friends, keep up with the latest news, manage to-dos at home or at work—we just can’t live without it. Today we announced major improvements to Gmail on the web to help people be more productive at work. Here’s a quick look at how the new Gmail can help you accomplish more from your inbox.

Do more without leaving your inboxGmail’s new look helps you get more done. Click on attachments—like photos—without opening or scrolling through large conversations, use the new snooze button to put off emails that you just can’t get to right now or easily access other apps you use often, like Google Calendar, Tasks (now available on Android and iOS) and Keep.

Gmail will also “nudge” you to follow up and respond to messages with quick reminders that appear next to your email messages to help make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

We’re also adding Smart Reply to Gmail on the web to help you reply to messages faster.

New features on mobile, like high-priority notifications, can notify you of important messages to help you stay focused without interruption. Plus, Gmail will start suggesting when to unsubscribe from newsletters or offers you no longer care about.

And you might notice new warnings in Gmail that alert you when potentially risky email comes through.

Finally, a new confidential mode allows you to remove the option to forward, copy, download or print messages—useful for when you have to send sensitive information via email like a tax return or your social security number. You can also make a message expire after a set period of time to help you stay in control of your information.

Get startedYou can start using these new updates in Gmail on the web today, with some features appearing within the coming weeks. Go to Settings (the cog wheel in the top right corner of your inbox) and select “Try the new Gmail.” If you want to switch back later down the road, you can go to the same place and select “Go back to classic Gmail.” This handy product guide can help you get started.


If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use Gmail in the workplace, check out our G Suite post which has more detail on all of the ways Gmail can help you stay productive.

Time for an upgrade.
Categories: Technology

With new security and intelligent features, the new Gmail means businessWith new security and intelligent features, the new Gmail means business

GoogleBlog - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 02:00

Since the beginning, our aim with G Suite has been to help companies transform the way they work with our suite of cloud-based collaboration and productivity apps.

Today we’re announcing major updates to help the more than 4 million paying businesses that use G Suite work safer, smarter and more efficiently. This includes an all-new Gmail, with a brand new look on the web, advanced security features, new applications of Google’s artificial intelligence and even more integrations with other G Suite apps. We’re also introducing a new way to manage work on the go with Tasks.

Keep sensitive data secure with new Gmail security features

Keeping your data secure is our top priority, which is why last month, we introduced new phishing protections to help address Business Email Compromise (BEC) threats—or when someone impersonates an executive to get sensitive information. With these new protections, Gmail has helped block 99.9 percent of BEC attempts by warning users or automatically moving messages to spam for them.

Today, we’re introducing a new approach to information protection: Gmail confidential mode. With confidential mode, it’s possible to protect sensitive content in your emails by creating expiration dates or revoking previously sent messages. Because you can require additional authentication via text message to view an email, it’s also possible to protect data even if a recipient’s email account has been hijacked while the message is active.

New confidential mode in Gmail lets you set expiration dates for sensitive information.

Built-in Information Rights Management (IRM) controls also allow you to remove the option to forward, copy, download or print messages. This helps reduce the risk of confidential information being accidentally shared with the wrong people. Confidential mode will begin to roll out to consumer Gmail users and a limited number of G Suite customers in the coming weeks (broader rollout following).

We’ve also redesigned our security warnings within Gmail so that they are simpler to understand and give a clear call to action to employees. These bigger, bolder warnings will help you be even more informed when it comes to potentially risky email.

Bigger, bolder security warnings help you keep your company’s confidential information safe.

And it’s always worth a reminder: we do not scan Gmail for the purposes of targeting ads, and there are no ads shown in Gmail for G Suite customers.

Stay on top of email effortlessly using artificial intelligence in Gmail

New AI-powered features in Gmail, like Nudging, Smart Reply and high-priority notifications, can now help you spend more time on work that matters.

Most of us get more emails than we can deal with at one time, and sometimes things slip through the cracks. With Nudging, Gmail will proactively remind you to follow up or respond to messages, making sure you don’t drop the ball.

Now Gmail will intelligently (and subtly) “nudge” you when you need to prioritize actions in your inbox.

Last year, we introduced Smart Reply to our Gmail mobile apps. Smart Reply processes hundreds of millions of messages daily and already drives more than 10 percent of email replies on mobile. Today we’re bringing Smart Reply to Gmail on the web to help you respond to messages faster.

New notifications on mobile help you stay focused on what’s important (and eliminate clutter, too.).

We’re also introducing new features on mobile to help you minimize interruptions and clutter. High-priority notifications is a new setting that only notifies you of important messages, keeping interruptions to a minimum. Gmail can also recommend when to unsubscribe from mailing lists. Using intelligence, unsubscribe suggestions appear based on cues like how many emails you get from a sender and how many of them you actually read. You’ll start to see these notifications show up in your inbox over the coming weeks.

Over the past few months, Salesforce has tested the new Gmail to collaborate on global projects.  “As the global leader in CRM, the ability to quickly and securely communicate with our stakeholders around the world is critical,” says Jo-ann Olsovsky, executive vice president and chief information officer of Salesforce. “Gmail’s new easy-to-use interface and built-in intelligence enable our employees to collaborate faster and smarter, spending less time managing their inboxes and more time driving our customers’ success.”

Gmail’s new easy-to-use interface and built-in intelligence enable our employees to collaborate faster and smarter. Jo-ann Olsovsky
EVP, CIO of SalesforceAccomplish more from your inbox with easy-to-use tools

We redesigned the Gmail web application to help you take action even quicker. Now you can see and click attachments in your inbox before ever opening a thread. You can also hover over messages (you don’t have to click into them) to do things like RSVP to a meeting invite, archive an email thread or snooze an email until the time is right.

Gmail’s new design helps you take action quicker.

As a part of the redesign, we’re also tightly integrating Gmail with other G Suite apps you use every day. Now you can quickly reference, create or edit Calendar invites, capture ideas in Keep or manage to-dos in Tasks all from a side panel in your inbox.

The side panel also makes it easy to access Gmail Add-ons, too, like third-party business apps you might use. This way you don’t have to switch between tabs or apps to get work done. You’ll start to see the new side panel integration in other G Suite apps in coming months—like inside of your Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Slides apps.

Use the new side panel in Gmail to access all of your favorite G Suite apps, like Google Calendar.

New native offline capabilities in Gmail on the web can help you work without interruption when you can’t find Wi-Fi. Search, write, respond, delete, or archive up to 90 days of messages, just as you would working online, but offline. Teams can start using offline capabilities in coming weeks.

Track projects and meet deadlines with Tasks’ refreshed design on the web and brand new mobile apps.

Like we mentioned, we’re introducing an all-new Tasks on web, as well as new mobile apps to help you handle work on the go. You can use Tasks to create tasks and subtasks, and even add due dates with notifications to help you stay on track.

And because Tasks closely integrates with G Suite, you can simply drag and drop an email from Gmail into Tasks to create a to-do. Tasks with due dates can also appear in your Calendar. You can download the new Tasks mobile apps from the Google Play Store or  iOS App Store today.

The all-new Gmail experience is available for businesses to start using today in the G Suite Early Adopter Program (EAP) and can be turned on in the Admin console. Read more detail on how to turn on the experience in this post. Heads up: you’ll start to see offline support, confidential mode (limited release), Nudging, high-priority notifications and unsubscribe suggestions appear in the coming weeks. Keep up with the latest news on these features in the G Suite Updates blog.

Personal Gmail users can opt-in to the new experience, too (Go to Settings in the top right and select “Try the new Gmail.”).

Finally, if you need help getting started with the new Gmail, check out this Help Center article or this cheat sheet on our Learning Center.

Work safer, smarter, more efficiently with the new Gmail.
Categories: Technology

Help fight the opioid epidemic this National Prescription Drug Take Back DayHelp fight the opioid epidemic this National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

GoogleBlog - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 23:00

We're deeply concerned by the opioid crisis that has impacted families in every corner of the United States. We started by thinking about how to bring Google’s technical expertise to help families combat the epidemic.

Research by the federal government has shown that prescription drug abuse is a large driver of opioid addiction, and that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family or friends, often from a home medicine cabinet. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has found that one way that Americans can help prevent drug abuse and addiction is to properly dispose of unneeded or expired prescription drugs. Yet many people aren’t aware of, or can’t easily find, prescription drug disposal programs in their communities.

Using Google Maps API, our team worked with the DEA to create a locator tool for the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, April 28. The locator tool can help anyone find a place near them to safely dispose of leftover prescription medications. Click on the image below to access the locator, and enter an address or zip code to find nearby Take Back Day events this Saturday and help fight the opioid epidemic.

Longer term, we’re working with the DEA and state governments like Iowa, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Michigan to gather data on year-round take back options for future Google Maps integration.

In addition to making it easier to find take back locations, we’re also proud to support non-profit organizations on the frontlines of this crisis. We’ve worked with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids since 2015 to help parents searching online for support connect to the Partnership’s  Parent Helpline. This service provides free counseling and advice to parents who need help addressing the many challenges of a child’s substance use. Today, we’re announcing $750,000 in matching grants from Google.org to help expand the Parent Helpline and get even more families the support and help they need. 

We’re also committed to ensuring that the public understands the danger of opioid abuse and the resources available for those who need help, by making useful information about opioid addiction and prescription drugs available in Google Search.

There are no easy answers to a challenge as large as the opioid crisis, but we’re committed to doing our part to ensure that people in every corner of the country have access to the resources they need to address this urgent public health emergency.

Using Google Maps API, we created a locator tool to help anyone find a place near them to safely dispose of leftover prescription medications this Saturday, April 28.
Categories: Technology

Learning “what architecture really means” with help from PixelbookLearning “what architecture really means” with help from Pixelbook

GoogleBlog - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 12:00

Editor’s Note:This post comes from Cynthia Fernandes, Principal at Hall School in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

For the past three years, sixth graders at my school have learned about architecture and design through an extracurricular program started by Thom Mayne, founder of the architecture firm Morphosis and winner of the Pritzker Prize. It’s been amazing to see 10- and 11-year-olds talking about angles, form, and design—and do it with confidence. Though they’re only in elementary school, the students do work at the level of middle- or high-schoolers. This year, they've used Google Pixelbook to create an accurate 3D model of their classroom, and then build on the model with abstract installations of their own design. We recently took a few minutes to hear from the students about their experience.

Q: What’s your favorite part about this class? What have you learned?
Miguel: I like creating things and showing them to other people. The part I love the most is talking about my creations—what do they mean? What do they say?

Milayna: My favorite part is when we do hands-on stuff, like models or drawings. I like this because it’s fun and I’m always proud of my work. I’m crafty.

Q: What’s a cool vocabulary word you learned about in this class? What does it mean?
Zamair: My favorite vocabulary word is “disarrange.” That means to put stuff in places so it’s not arranged.

Milayna: A cool vocabulary word is “suspended,” because it sounds cool, and it means hanging from the ceiling.

Shayla: My favorite word is “surround,” because you can make a cool model, than surround it with other, smaller or bigger, cool models.

Yalidsa: “Hierarchy.” It means the order of things, like different shapes and shades, what’s thick and thin, what’s heavy and light.

Q: Have you learned anything in this class that you use in other classes?
Milayna: I learned how to look at buildings differently, and that helps me because in social studies we are studying old buildings, so it fits in perfectly.

Zamair: I use architecture in math, with area and volume.

Q: What was your proudest moment in this class?
Kania: My proudest moment was when I did a great job on my presentation on my architecture project.

Miguel: My proudest moment was when a lot of people came in to see our projects, and we had to discuss them. I was the first to go up and speak, and everybody liked what I was saying, and that made me feel proud.

Q: If you were an architect, what would you want to make?
Yalidsa: My own clothing or toy shop.

Kania: I’d want to design my own house for me and my family.

Ernesto: A school or office building.

Joel: I’d want to make something that will make people's life easier.

Hasan: I’d build an airplane that’s beautiful. And that can go up in the air by itself.

Miguel: I’d want to make an office that would make everybody stop and think, “How did that person get that idea to make this?” It would probably be tall and have, like, a yellow shine to it when the sunset comes. The outside would most likely have a pattern on each wall, white and glowing.

Clinton: A big house with a pool and a football field and a basketball court.

Q: What’s it like to work with classmates on projects?
Clinton: It’s cool because I work with my friends, and it’s fun working with your friends.

Miguel: Working with classmates is cool because, when you have no idea of what to do, other people can help you out and give you more ideas. Working together is good because you can make something that was way better than you thought it would be.

Erik: It feels like you can do better work, since you’re working together and helping each other.

Q: What do you tell your friends about this program?
Joel: I tell my friends how cool this program is, and how we’re so lucky to be doing this.

Hasan: I tell them that it is a great program, and it’s what I might do when I grow up.

For the past 3 years, sixth-grade students at the Hall School in Bridgeport have learned architecture and design through an extracurricular program started by Thom Mayne. This year, the students each used a Pixelbook as part of the course.
Categories: Technology

Two higher ed collaborations expand access to Google Cloud PlatformTwo higher ed collaborations expand access to Google Cloud Platform

GoogleBlog - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 12:00

From Northeastern University’s work to map the spread of the Zika virus, to MIT’s massive computing for theoretical mathematics, higher education institutions are applying cloud technologies to help solve the global challenges we face.


Northeastern and MIT’s work are just two examples of higher education institutions using Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to uncover important insights from massive, diverse data sets. Today, we’re announcing how we’re collaborating with two higher education organizations, Unizin and Internet2, so that their members can benefit from GCP.

Improving student outcomes through the Unizin Data Platform

Colleges and universities are constantly seeking ways to better understand and help their students. This week Unizin, a consortium of 25 leading universities working together to improve education with technology, announced that its Unizin Data Platform (UDP) will be built on Google Cloud Platform as part of a new alliance with Google Cloud.


The Unizin Data Platform allows institutions to anonymize, aggregate, store, share, and analyze teaching and learning data. Member universities use this data to do things like identify students who may be at risk of failing a class or improve personalized learning approaches. Understanding data from the past gives educators more insights and tools to help improve student outcomes.


Rob Lowden, Unizin Executive Director, shared that "Building the Unizin Data Platform on the Google Cloud Platform provides our members with scalable infrastructure, powerful data analytics and the ability to leverage machine learning solutions to advance Unizin's work to improve learning research and outcomes in a highly secure environment. Google Cloud is an ideal provider for Unizin to advance the higher education digital learning ecosystem."

GCP now available to the Internet2 community

Founded in 1996, the nonprofit consortium Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve shared technology challenges. Internet2 has announced that member institutions can now use Google Cloud Platform, available through distributor Carahsoft, to develop solutions in support of their educational, research and community service missions. The pre-Validation service is available now and the fully validated service will launch later this year. Institutions can learn more and express interest on Internet2's website.


We hope these new collaborations will help more institutions take advantage of Google Cloud Platform to drive impact in research and collaboration. To learn more visit our website or express interest.Google Cloud is announcing collaborations with Unizin and the Internet2 Pre-Validation Service to help higher education institutions uncover important insights from data and dramatically improve outcomes.
Categories: Technology

Enable Text-to-Speech Service in Win10?

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 10:26

While we’re not quite at the sci-fi film ideal of a computer that can chat with us and is indistinguishable from a human being, computer voices have come a long way in the last decade or so. Some, like Cortana and Alexa, are remarkably good and getting better all the time, but others are a bit behind, though still quite functional. Windows 10 includes the Cortana voice system which makes you think that it would be the same engine used for text to speech features, but, alas, it isn’t.

Which isn’t to say that the text to speech dictation and reading system in Windows 10 isn’t very good, because it’s actually quite acceptable. For a situation like someone who has a difficult time reading on the screen or just gets quickly fatigued it can be a life saver. Would I want to listen to my Win10 system read War and Peace however? Probably not. Fortunately that’s why we have audio books!

Categories: Technology

Making it work: Google and Walmart fund innovators in workforce developmentMaking it work: Google and Walmart fund innovators in workforce development

GoogleBlog - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 08:00

The student with big dreams, some education, and no experience. The accomplished service professional looking to break into a new field. The 30-year career veteran who wants to work for another 20 years. Research has shown that up to one-third of Americans may need to develop new skills to work in different types of jobs by 2030. A fast-changing economy means we need new ways of building new skills and translating existing skills to different types of meaningful work. This goes not only for how we get new jobs, but how we get promoted, change fields, and work into our later years.


To get this transition right, businesses, nonprofits, governments, and communities will have to work together to build a system that benefits both workers and employers. That’s why Walmart and Google—among the world’s leading retail and technology companies, respectively—are coming together to fuel the research and tools needed to build such a system.


Each of our companies has launched major initiatives to help Americans advance in their careers. Walmart has made a significant investment in its associates and through philanthropy to help transform learning and advancement in the retail sector. And through Grow with Google, Google has made a major commitment to helping people access skills and opportunity in the new economy. Through these initiatives, we are joining forces with leading social innovators to fuel the pursuit of a more equitable and efficient labor market.

Today, as part of our commitment toward jobs and opportunity, Walmart and Google are making a $5 million grant investment to three organizations testing solutions in reskilling the American workforce and matching skills to roles.


The Drucker Institute will be partnering with the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to integrate the city’s educational and workforce resources so that every resident has access to skill-building throughout their careers—this “City of Lifelong Learning” will serve as a national model. Opportunity @ Work will help underserved groups connect to jobs and advancement opportunities by building a hiring channel that focuses on skills and competency instead of pedigree. And the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy will be expanding its Inclusive Innovation Challenge, a global future of work prize that promotes entrepreneurs harnessing technology to create more broadly shared economic opportunity and prosperity.


No one organization can do this alone, and that’s why collaboration between companies and expert groups is so important. As companies like ours help enable social innovators to try new things and see what works, we hope to see more philanthropic collaboration, along with effort from policy makers to scale proven programs. And we encourage other companies to join in similar efforts, through investing in training and education for their own workforce or in the broader workforce ecosystem to help build strong businesses and a healthy, thriving society.

This is a time of enormous change for our economy and we need to better prepare American workers—from students to seniors—to find work and advance their careers. Only a system that is both ambitious and resilient can meet the demands of millions of workers eager to expand their skills and advance. We’re excited to see what these grantees, and other innovators across industries, do to help. 

Google and Walmart co-fund a $5 million grant to three leading organizations shaping the future—and present—of work.
Categories: Technology

Searching for new solutions to the evolving jobs marketSearching for new solutions to the evolving jobs market

GoogleBlog - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 08:00

We’ve all seen lots of articles about the future of work in today’s rapidly changing economy. Too often, the loudest voices propose just one of two visions for the future. Either globalization and technology will eliminate quality jobs, or we'll adapt to change just like we always have.


Google may be built on code, but we don't believe the future is binary. What lies ahead is hard to predict, and the most likely scenario for the future of work is a new sort of hybrid—with technology both transforming and creating jobs and new models of employment. But we’re confident that, working together, we can shape a labor market where everyone has access to opportunity.


Last year, we launched Grow with Google, an initiative that aims to help everyone across America access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. Google Hire helps employers find great employees. And Google for Jobs helps job seekers find new opportunities.


But making a difference requires more than just one company. Today, as part of our commitment to jobs and opportunity, Walmart and Google are making a $5 million grant investment to three organizations testing solutions in reskilling the American workforce and matching skills to roles.


  • Learning throughout life: The Drucker Institute is partnering with the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, to bring together the city’s educational and workforce resources so that everyone has access to skill-building throughout their careers. This “City of Lifelong Learning” will serve as a national model for communities looking to make learning available throughout life.
  • Improving matching between skills and roles: Opportunity@Work is launching the techhire.careers platform, a new tool that helps underserved groups validate their skills for employers and connect to opportunities. This inclusive hiring marketplace helps job seekers and entry-level workers connect to trainings and jobs that make best use of their skills, and helps companies consider and hire nontraditional talent.
  • Backing social innovators with new skilling and job matching ideas:MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy is holding the Inclusive Innovation Challenge, a challenge for social innovators to use technology to reinvent the future of work. Through this tournament, the IDE will be seeking out and funding social innovators experimenting with new ways of helping people develop the skills they need for the digital economy and connect to job opportunities in a new way.

These grants are part of Google.org’s Work Initiative, a search for new solutions to prepare people for the changing nature of work. Last year, we committed $50 million to nonprofits experimenting with new ideas in skill-building, job matching, job quality, and social protections. In response to an open call for proposals, we received hundreds of ideas from across the U.S. In addition to our joint funding with Walmart, today we’re announcing four more grantees:


  • Assessing and credentialing soft skills:Southern New Hampshire University is developing the Authentic Assessment Platform (AAP), an assessment of in-demand soft skills. Results from this assessment will feed into a job placement process for young jobseekers. SNHU will provide those who complete this assessment with an SNHU official badge.
  • Training workers for the gig economy:Samaschool is developing a new training, with both in-person and online components, that helps independent workers learn the basics of finding freelance work, building their careers, managing contracts and taxes, and more.
  • Helping communities adjust to workforce transitions: Just Transition Fund is working with communities in coal country to develop a blueprint for coal-affected communities undergoing workforce transitions, helping them to effectively prepare for jobs in emerging sectors.
  • Aiding employers in clearly signaling their needs:The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is developing new and open resources to help those who hire to better convey their needs. These tools will include new standards on job descriptions, a digital library of open-sourced competency and credential resources, and a repository of job descriptions for benchmarking.

Through these new grants, we aim to back leading social innovators’ thinking about how work can help more people access not just income, but also purpose and meaning. Over the next several months, we’ll be announcing more grantees, and, most importantly, sharing what Google and all our grantees are learning through these efforts.

Google.org funds seven grantees exploring the future of work, including a joint $5 million grant with Walmart.
Categories: Technology

Simpler summer vacation planning starts todaySimpler summer vacation planning starts today

GoogleBlog - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 05:18

Over the next few weeks people will start locking in their summer travel plans—we see the biggest spike in Google Flights searches for summer vacation dates in early May. And since prices often rise in the three weeks prior to travel dates, you’ll want to start your research ahead of time. Here are some tips to help you decide where to go—and find the best flights and places to stay—wherever your travels may take you.

Pick your summer hotspot

Since the FIFA World Cup starts in June in Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg top the list of popular places to visit this summer. If soccer’s not your thing, then Vietnam, Tanzania and Malaysia are other trending international destinations. In the U.S., Hawaii continues to be a top pick for summer travelers, and places like Providence and Santa Fe are rising in popularity.

To find out more about the city you’re interested in, you can search for “Things to do” and you’ll see a list of top sights plus articles with helpful travel advice. Our machine learning models determine the most relevant, high-quality travel articles for your destination, like activities to do with children and where to shop.

Find the best flights (and prices) to meet your needs

Once you’ve got a place in mind, you can find the best flights using the recently redesigned Google Flights. A simpler home screen and search experience on desktop—combined with flight price insights showing the cheapest dates to fly, alternate airport options to help you save money, and other tips all in one place—make it easier to make the right flight choice quickly.


Now that some flight fares don’t include carry-on luggage fees, it can be tricky to know what’s included in the ticket prices you’re looking at. Earlier this year, we made it possible to see what’s included in Basic Economy fares in the U.S. when you select a ticket for airlines like American, United and Delta. To see only ticket prices that include access to overhead bins—and help you compare similar ticket types—we’ve added a “Bags” filter. This filter is now available for U.S. flights and will roll out to itineraries outside the U.S. in the next few months.

Spot hotel deals and tips quickly

To help you find the right hotel, we’re using machine learning and statistical analysis of historical hotel data and reviews to organize and surface the most relevant hotel information.

In the “Hotels” tab, you’ll be tipped off if you’re getting a room rate that’s lower than normal or, similar to the feature in Google Flights, shifting your itinerary a few days earlier may save you money. When you’re ready, you can select bed type, see add-ons like free breakfast, and book a room.

Don't let the summer fun pass you by—search for flights and hotels on Google to start planning your summer trip today.

Summer vacation planning made simple with new tips and features from Google Flights and Hotels
Categories: Technology

Shellebrating Christmas Island’s extraordinary nature with Street View and Google EarthShellebrating Christmas Island’s extraordinary nature with Street View and Google Earth

GoogleBlog - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 15:00

In December, we took the Street View trekker to Christmas Island, a remote tropical territory of Australia just south of Indonesia. With Parks Australia, we joined the island’s red crabs as they marched in the millions from the forest to the sea for their annual migration.


Now it’s time to shellebrate. Starting today on Google Maps Street View and Google Earth, you can explore Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands’ unique wildlife, dazzling ocean vistas and lush rainforests, including the grand finale of the red crab migration—the spawning. The red crabs wait all year for this very moment—and the precise alignment of the rains, moon and tides—to release their eggs at the coastal waters.

Christmas Island’s remote location makes it home to a wild and diverse ecosystem—including 600 species of tropical fish, 14 species of terrestrial crabs, more than 100 bird species and four native reptile species. Exploring its wetlands and blowholes and coastline, you can see for yourself why the island is often called “Australia’s Galapagos.”

Christmas Island’s nature and wildlife is so treasured and protected that the crabs have right of way. Roads are often closed during the migration, and Parks Australia have erected fences to direct the crabs to safe crossing points with under-road passes, or fly-over bridges. Now you can join the island’s 45 million red crabs as they crawl along the forest floor, climb the cliffs and finally, spawn at the water’s edge.

Scuttle over to Street View and Google Earth to experience the wonderland of wildlife on Christmas Island and the white sand beaches of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. And as you step into this moment in time, we welcome you to join the crabs as they lead this magnificent dance of nature.

Explore Christmas Island’s unique wildlife and dazzling vistas, including the migration and spawning of 45 million crabs, on Google Maps Street View and Google Earth.
Categories: Technology

It’s World Book Day: Find a new read with Google Play BooksIt’s World Book Day: Find a new read with Google Play Books

GoogleBlog - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 13:15

Think about a book that has inspired you, changed your perspective, or made a positive impact on your life. For me, it was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou—it spoke to me because she overcame trauma and hardship to become such an influential author and poet.

Today is World Book Day, and Google Play Books can help youfind the next book that’ll make an impact on your life in some way. Here are a few of the World Book Day deals you’ll find on the Play Store:

When you can’t put a new book down, you have to find the time in your day to fit it in. To help you do this, we recently rolled out new features for audiobooks that make it easier to read in short bursts. You can add reading to your routines in your Google Assistant settings—so if you want to get some reading time in before work, add it to your morning routine. When you say, “Ok Google, take me to work,” you’ll get the traffic and weather reports, and then your audiobook will automatically start playing.

15 years ago, I discovered the book that really inspired me. Maybe this World Book Day, Google Play will help you find yours.

Find new deals on Google Play Books, in honor of World Book Day.
Categories: Technology

Behind the scenes: Coachella in VR180Behind the scenes: Coachella in VR180Director, VR Video

GoogleBlog - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 11:00

Last weekend, fans from all around the world made the trek to Southern California to see some of music’s biggest names perform at Coachella. To make those not at the festival feel like they were there, we headed to the desert with VR180 cameras to capture all the action.

Throughout the first weekend of Coachella, we embarked on one of the largest VR live streams to date, streaming more than 25 performances (with as many cameras to boot) across 20 hours and capturing behind-the-scenes footage of fans and the bands they love. If you missed it live, you can enjoy some of the best experiences—posted here.

VR180 can take you places you never thought possible—the front row at a concert, a faraway travel destination, the finals of your favorite sporting event, or a memorable location. This year at Coachella, we pushed the format even further by adding augmented reality, AR, overlays on top of the performances—like digital confetti that falls when the beat drops, or virtual objects that extend the into the crowd.

AR Confetti in the VR180 stream.

To add these overlays in real time, we used our VR180 cameras together with stitching servers running a custom 3D graphics engine and several positionally tracked cameras. This allowed us to add a layer of spatially relevant visuals to the video feed. Simply put, it's like AR stickers for VR180.

In addition to the responsive AR elements during performances, we also featured Tilt Brush art by artist-in-residence Cesar Ortega, who drew his live impressions of the iconic Coachella landscape at daylight, dusk and night. We then inserted Cesar’s designs into the video stream in VR180 to allow the viewer to see the art.

Cesar Ortega’s recreation of Coachella in Tilt Brush

Watch the festival footage, including performances and behind-the-scenes footage from the point of view of both the fans and the bands, here. And for the most immersive experience, check it out in VR with Daydream View or Cardboard.

Categories: Technology

Ubuntu Linux: Require Password on Wake from Sleep?

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 10:00

If you’re running a computer as a Linux server, why can’t you just log out and let it run without the screen / monitor being logged in? Seems like that would be the easiest solution. Then again, some facilities like to run a monitoring program so people can see their jobs in the queue or so an admin can check system status and load, perhaps that’s your configuration?

Fortunately, Ubuntu Linux has you covered with security features and capabilities, not the least of which is simply to ensure that you have a good password (that isn’t written on a post-it stuck to the screen!) and good facility security. There’s a lot of tweaking you can do regarding the sleep settings too, so let’s just go straight there and fine tune what you have set up so that it meets your needs and stops those pesky employees from stopping your system jobs and changing things on you.

To start, go to System Settings > Security & Privacy. It’s the one with the groovy yellow circular arrow:

Once you launch the settings window, you’ll see that there are four tabs: Security; Files & Applications; Search; and Diagnostics. You want the first one, and the settings are pretty self-explanatory:

You’ll want to ensure that both checkboxes are checked so that the system basically asks for a password any time there’s a wake event of any sort. Notice you can also specify how long the system has to be in sleep mode before a password is required; 0 seconds is the default, but that can be frustrating if you’re working on the computer and being interrupted, so you might consider one of the other options:

I suggest at least 1 minute to help you retain your sanity (based on my own experience with overly aggressive sleep security settings, at least).

While we’re here it’s a good time to reset the password to something new and hard to guess. That’s easily done with the “Password settings” shortcut on the Security & Privacy settings window. Click on it and boom! you’re in the account management window for the current user account:

It’s not obvious but a click on the password asterisk sequence will actually open up a window that lets you change or update your account password. I strongly suggest a mix of upper and lowercase letters, digits and punctuation, at least 8-10 characters long. If you have access to a password generator, those can be a real win, though difficult to enter if you’re going to be typing it in every time you access the system.

In any case, I hope that helps you get that system locked down and stops other people in the facility from changing the settings on you!

Pro Tip: Looking for more Linux help? We’ve got hundreds of tutorial articles on Linux on the site, please check ’em out while you’re here!

The post Ubuntu Linux: Require Password on Wake from Sleep? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Engineered for renewal: Google Cloud, Etsy and sustainabilityEngineered for renewal: Google Cloud, Etsy and sustainability

GoogleBlog - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 08:00

As the CTO of Etsy, Mike Fisher is responsible for evolving technology strategy, scaling IT systems and infrastructure and deepening machine learning expertise, all of which is crucial to supporting the global creative commerce platform that Etsy is today.

To deliver a buying and selling experience that currently supports approximately 1.9 million entrepreneurs, Mike and his team recently committed to Google Cloud Platform to help them scale and connect Etsy buyers and sellers globally. But their decision was based on more than just technology.

We sat down with Mike to hear about Etsy’s unique approach to evaluating their cloud partner.

QH: Why is sustainability a value at Etsy?

MF: Sustainability supports our mission to Keep Commerce Human, within the company, and outside, to our 1.9 million sellers. It’s an important value that pulls through everything we do; from how we consume food at the office, to the products we help people sell, to how we power our buildings. And of course, it’s important in how we power our data centers, and in the cloud computing we use.

QH: Is this special to Etsy, or is this a broader point about many of today’s companies?

MF: Etsy is a little unique because we've been around almost 13 years, and sustainability has always been core to us. But other businesses are definitely on board. People want to support businesses that are doing this. I think at Google Cloud you've seen that customers want businesses to be able to host and provide their services in a sustainable manner.

QH: True.

MF: They're migrating to the cloud, and having a cloud provider that is committed to that as well is a huge benefit.

QH: In itself, is going to the cloud a business decision around expenditure, or a technology decision over how fast you'll be able to manufacture, test, and deploy software?

MF: I wouldn't separate technology and business decisions. Going to the cloud, for example, is a great business decision for us, since it allows for things like enhanced site performance and focus on our strategic initiatives. We can have a presence around the world, with faster load times. That supports the possibility of stronger conversions and better experiences. You get that with a global cloud. All good for the business. And of course, spinning up infrastructure much, much faster than we could on our own means we’re moving quicker and supporting our sellers’ businesses better.

And then there are the things on the sustainability side. Our servers run 24/7 today in the data center whether we need 100% of their compute capacity or not. But like all of e-commerce, we have daily cycles, monthly cycles, the holiday season. Having to power computers capable of handling our holiday season at peak, instead of scaling up and down for what we need? That is a sustainability decision that is a great business decision.

QH: How do you measure success around sustainable energy consumption?

MF: Our impact goals are economic, social and ecological. Underneath the ecological goal, we want 100% renewable electricity by 2020 -- the offices, and all of the data centers. Google helps that a lot, since you’re committed to 100% renewables. On top of that, we want to reduce the intensity of our energy usage by 25% by 2025, even as we increase our business. It’s pretty hard to imagine doing that without the cloud.

QH: Did you have any differences about your needs working with Google?

MF: We do have differing criteria for renewable energy. We strive to source renewables in the same power market as the consumption, while Google strives to do the same, you also operate in some regions where procuring renewables is complex and may not be possible. But even that was a great conversation, because the Google team worked with us on that. They were like, "we understand that that's important to Etsy, and we will work towards that goal."

QH: Good to know, since I was going to say: Etsy likes handcrafted things, a human touch. But we have thousands of identical servers, and we use lots of automation. They’re not handcrafted Etsy products. But you’re pointing out a human dimension in the engineering work in how our respective engineers talk together.

MF: Even though we love the handmade, we're not up for spinning up all of our servers one at a time, either. We're on board with using Terraform and Chef to automate. There is a huge human connection with the Google reliability engineers sitting beside our engineers. The two of us work together in teams, and that's a big piece of keeping this human and bringing people together.

There’s something else: The more that we can automate, the more we can enable buyers and sellers everywhere to connect. It’s a massive marketplace, with 50 million items and 30 million buyers, but we do it so that one buyer and one seller can actually talk to each other about one particular item. It's really cool that we use a ton of automation on a big cloud to enable really important one-on-one conversations to happen thousands and thousands of times a day.

QH: Maybe it’s a little away from sustainability, but it’s worth saying that the history of IT is the history of taking over drudge work so people can do more human things, be more creative.

MF: Our sellers are entrepreneurs and artisans. They want to be in the studio creating, or talking to a person about their shop. The more that we can help them run the administrative parts of their business in a much faster and automated fashion, the more they can focus on the stuff that is really inventive and creative. That's what they want to do, and we want to get them there faster.

By the way, that’s true on my IT team too. They want to be writing code and optimizing systems, not just applying patches. Say we had to bring in 150 servers; that takes literally months -- two months for us to order the hardware and then receive it on the dock and get it racked and provision it, and install everything that needs to be installed and do that. With the cloud, the other week we spun up the equivalent of 150 servers in four minutes. Then we went back to doing what we want to do and creating software that powers the marketplace.

QH: This has been great. Thank you so much for your time.

Etsy is one of a number of organizations committed to environmental responsibility—many of whom focus on reducing the environmental impact of their operations by reaching 100% renewable energy. Google shares this commitment, and in 2017 we met our own goal of matching 100% of the energy we consume with renewable energy purchases.

Reaching this milestone was very important to us, but it also mattered to many of our customers. Many organizations know that building and expanding on-premises data centers can use a lot of energy from local grids. Our own data centers are no exception, which is why we offset the impact through renewable energy purchases and high quality carbon offsets. So when a Google Cloud customer like Etsy uses our platform, they can rest assured that the net carbon emissions associated with that usage is zero.  

Between purchases and offsets, matching energy usage, grids and carbon intensity, it can be tricky to understand the technological aspects of energy. And it’s trickier, still, to understand a company’s strategy for all these things. We’ve launched a newmicrositeto answer these questions, and anyone in the US can use it to view the carbon intensity of their own local grid. We hope this makes it possible for more businesses to understand the environmental impact of their operations.To deliver a buying and selling experience that currently supports approximately 1.9 million entrepreneurs, Etsy recently committed to Google Cloud Platform to help them scale and connect Etsy buyers and sellers globally. Sustainability played a major part in their decision.
Categories: Technology

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