07 Dec 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

Google and Slack deepen partnership to help teams work better together

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

07 Dec 2016 5:00pm GMT

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

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

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

For graduates

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

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

[edu] GraduationGIF.gif

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

For guardians

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

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

[edu] GuardianNotification-without copy.gif

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

07 Dec 2016 4:00pm GMT

Impact and adventure: revisiting France's Google Impact Challenge

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

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

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

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

Progress report...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The adventure continues...

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

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

The Google Impact challenges have been run elsewhere in Europe too, including in Germany and the UK. These awards recognise entrepreneurial organisations who think on an ambitious scale and have a healthy disregard for the impossible and we look forward to seeing what they do next.

07 Dec 2016 3:30pm GMT

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

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

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

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

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

Barneys - Window Wonderland
Barneys New York window at 660 Madison Ave, New York, NY

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

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

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

07 Dec 2016 2:00pm GMT

Android Pay Comes to Ireland

Ireland Doodle

Whether you're doing your daily shopping or heading for a night out, your Android phone is all you need as you walk out the door -- thanks to Android Pay. Starting today, Android Pay is available in Ireland, helping you pay simply and securely with your Android phone.

You will be able to use Android Pay at thousands of retail locations throughout Ireland that accept contactless payments. This includes your favourite shops like Eason, McDonald's, Tesco, SPAR, and much more -- take a look here for more places where you can use Android Pay.

IE Featured Stores

How does Android Pay work?

Using Android Pay is simple. Just wake up your phone (you don't even have to open an app or unlock it), hold it to the payment terminal, and voilà - your payment is done. After you check out, you'll get helpful information on your phone about your recent transactions.

IE Tap

Android Pay will also let you breeze through checkout when you shop in your favorite mobile apps. There's no need to enter your payment or address details every time. Look for the Android Pay purchase button in apps like Adverts.ie, Deliveroo and Uber, with many more to come.

IE Featured Apps

To get started, download Android Pay from the Play Store and add an eligible MasterCard or Visa card (credit or debit) from AIB and KBC with more banks being added in the coming months. Android Pay is available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled and running on KitKat 4.4 or higher.

IE Issuers

Because Android Pay doesn't share your actual credit or debit card number with stores when you pay, it's even safer than using a plastic card. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can simply use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password, or wipe it clean of your personal information.

We've teamed up with many leading payment platforms, processors, and technology providers such as Braintree and Stripe to make it even easier to accept Android Pay. Visit the Android Pay API developer site to learn more.

IE Featured Processors

Get started with Android Pay in Ireland today: download the app on Google Play, add your card and start shopping. It's as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.

07 Dec 2016 5:00am GMT

06 Dec 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

Happy Holidays from Project Fi

'Twas four weeks before New Year's, when all through the land,

Project Fi subscribers were chatting, Pixel or Nexus in hand


As they bustled about in their holiday scurry,

Multiple networks had them covered, there was no need to worry


With data credits racked up, bills charged very rationally,

There's savings to fill stockings and take trips with Fi internationally.


From hot chocolate to ice skating, joyous time with their clans,

They looked forward to bonding - and maybe a new member for their group plans!


But before the celebrations begin, with friends far and near,

Fi would like to say thanks, and help spread the cheer:


Four wonderlands scattered with treats and surprises,

Holiday fun for Fi subscribers, of all shapes and all sizes.


Enjoy this small gift, wrapped under the tree,

Click below to get started - let us know what you see!

A World of Thanks (Week 1)

06 Dec 2016 6:00pm GMT

Even more ways to watch your favorite movies & TV shows on Google Play

When we first made movies available on Android (a little over five years ago), they were only available on Android devices in the U.S., and you could only rent movies from three major studios. Today, Google Play Movies & TV is the most broadly available digital seller of movies & TV shows, with movies now available in 117 countries. And whether you're watching on your laptop, at home on your TV, or on the go on a phone or tablet, we've got you covered. We've also added support for watching on iOS devices, via Chromecast on just about any TV, on your Roku streaming box, and on select Smart TVs.

More Ways to Watch Google Play Movies

Recently we've added even more ways to watch:

  • 4K Ultra HD - Starting today, Google Play Movies now offers more than 125 movies in 4K resolution, using VP9, so that you can enjoy them in the highest quality. Starting in the U.S. and Canada, you can purchase 4K movies on your Android device or on the web and stream them on your Chromecast Ultra, your Sony Bravia Android TV, or your Xiaomi Mi Box 3. And for anyone who buys a new Chromecast Ultra, your first 4K movie is on us! Choose from select titles, including Ghostbusters and Captain Phillips.*
  • Google Play Movies & TV on VR - In October, we launched Google Play Movies & TV together with the Daydream VR platform, so you can now watch all the movies and TV shows in your Google Play library in a virtual cinema, even if you're offline. Still building your library? Take a virtual tour of our selection of new release movies, next day TV shows, and more than 10,000 catalog titles; or buy on your phone to watch later using your Daydream VR headset.
  • 2016 Samsung TVs - The Google Play Movies & TV app is now available on 2016 model Samsung Smart TVs, which means that movies and TV shows already in your library are immediately available to watch directly on your new Samsung Smart TV. Or use your Samsung TV remote to browse our selection of new release movies and next-day TV shows and start watching something new right away.

With Google Play's vast catalog of new releases and next day TV shows, you can explore the final frontier of space in Star Trek Beyond, fight zombies in The Walking Dead, or travel back in time to another age in Downton Abbey. And now with 4K streaming and VR viewing, you have even more ways to bring movies to life in ways you've never before experienced.

*For a limited time. Terms and conditions apply.

06 Dec 2016 5:30pm GMT

Hassle-free Wi-Fi with Network Assist

Wi-Fi has become an essential part of daily home life, and yet, for something that's so critical, Wi-Fi is often forgotten. That is, until it stops working. We've all experienced a spinning buffering wheel when trying to stream a movie, or a room that just never quite seems to have a strong signal. And when something goes wrong, most of us are at a loss for how to fix it, crossing our fingers in hopes that turning the router off, then on again is the solution.

You shouldn't have to be a network engineer to have good, reliable Wi-Fi at home, which is why we built Google Wifi, available for sale today at retailers like the Google Store, Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart.

One of the ways Google Wifi is different from your traditional router is its Network Assist technology. Network Assist is based on Google intelligence that manages all the complexities of Wi-Fi behind the scenes to make sure you always have the best connection possible. Network Assist helps keep your Google Wifi system running smoothly in three key ways:

Keeps your Wi-Fi network at peak performance

Most routers scan the environment for a clear channel when they are powered on, and never again (until you restart it, which is why it's so common that "unplugging" seems to be the fix). Over time, Wi-Fi channels can get congested, slowing channel speeds to a crawl. But now, Google Wifi solves the congestion issue by performing a scan of the wireless spectrum every five minutes. Network Assist uses these results to build a predictive model to determine the best channel for your Wi-Fi to make sure you're always on the clearest channel, which means less congestion and faster speeds.

To ensure you always have strong coverage throughout your home, Network Assist continuously monitors the connection between all your Google Wifi points to make sure they have good signal with each other. It also conducts regular speed tests in the background, so you can review your history to see what speeds you're getting from your internet service provider.

Finds the best connection for your devices

Through Network Assist, you'll always get the best Wi-Fi connectivity possible, but we take it a step further to make sure that each individual device always has the best connection.

Your devices (like laptops, smartphones, connected light bulbs) connect to Wi-Fi using one of two bands: 2.4GHz or 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band has slower speeds but a longer range, while 5GHz is faster but with shorter range. Network Assist helps your devices connect to the best band, based on the device and its location relative to Wifi points to make sure you always have a strong, reliable Wi-Fi signal.

Devices are getting smaller and more mobile - they move around with us. So Network Assist makes sure your devices seamlessly transition between Wifi points in your home as you move from room to room, so that you don't get any drops in signal. Network Assist transitions you, while ensuring you continue to have a solid connection, so you can walk throughout the house on a video call.
floorplan

Keeps you in the know

Traditional routers communicate through blinking lights, but Network Assist tells you about any issues in human language, right in the Google Wifi app. For example, it can let you know if you would get faster speeds by moving one of your Google Wifi points to another location in your home, or sends you a notification if you've lost connection to your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Getting these insights and real-time optimizations is as simple as opening up your Google Wifi app.
network assist gif

Wi-Fi should be easy to set up, provide great coverage for your entire house, and do all the heavy lifting for you. We built Google Wifi to answer those needs and more, and hope it improves your Wi-Fi experience at home.

06 Dec 2016 5:00pm GMT

Dutch datacenter is first for Google: powered by 100% renewable energy from day one

This afternoon we announced that in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations - including both our data centers and offices. This is a huge milestone for us globally and here in Europe, a region that's truly leading the way for renewables. We're quite proud that our commitments have reached 2.6 GW, making us the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world.

In addition, today we celebrate the opening of our newest datacenter in Eemshaven, the Netherlands, which is the first Google datacenter to be powered by 100% renewable energy from day one.

The latest addition to our fleet of energy-efficient cloud computing facilities is powered by 100% renewable energy through a wind farm in nearby Delfzijl. A second wind project was announced recently in Zeeland through a new community owned cooperative of 4,000 people called Windpark Krammer.


Representing the very best of Google engineering, construction of the datacenter took two years to complete, and on average 1,500 people worked on-site each day during construction. Now that its operational, the data center will provide employment for up to 200 people in a range of roles including computer technicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, catering and security staff.

Minister Kamp at Eemshaven datacenter NL
Google's Joe Kava and Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Kamp with local students at the Eemshaven datacenter opening.

After starting discussions starting in 2012, we chose to build a datacenter in the Groningen province because of the quality of the local infrastructure including a suitably sized plot of land, the capacity of the electrical grid, water for cooling, and high speed fibre connectivity. Since then, 6,000,000 work hours have gone into getting the datacenter ready for today's opening and technicians have run enough computer cables--16000 km in total-- to reach from Eemshaven to Australia if laid end to end.

We've worked to give back to the community of Groningen with initiatives like teaching kids coding at Hanze Hogeschool, several nature projects and training students and entrepreneurs in digital skills with the Digitale Werkplaats. The datacenter opening is about Google making a home in Groningen, about employing local talent, and us saying we're here for the long term, and we look forward to being part of the community.

Google datacenters are some of the most efficient in the world. Today, they get 3.5 times more computing power out of the same amount of energy as 5 years ago. But as our SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle wrote earlier today, we're only in the early stages of this work. As we look to the immediate future, we'll continue to pursue power purchases like those in the Netherlands with an even greater focus on regional renewable energy purchases in places where we have data centers.

06 Dec 2016 4:45pm GMT

Google app update: making it easier to keep up with the things you need to know

With constant news updates, changing schedules, and traffic delays, staying on top of everything can be challenging. The Google app has useful cards ready to help you keep track of everything you care about - from sports scores to that package you ordered - and we've been thinking up ways to make the experience even more helpful. That's why we're rolling out an update to help you stay organized and in the know about the things that matter to you. Starting today, in the Google app on Android (and coming soon to iOS), your cards will be organized into two sections: a feed that keeps you current on your interests like sports, news, and entertainment, and a section for your upcoming personal info, like flights, appointments and more.

split stream

Feed - To stay current on topics you care about

The feed is an ongoing and updated look at the things you care about, keeping you updated with the freshest info on your sports teams, people of interest, music, and news stories. The more you use Google, the more tailored and relevant your feed will become. To update your interests and add others at any time, just tap "Customize" in the Google app's settings menu.

For those in the U.S. - and rolling out to other countries in the coming months - we're also giving you an additional way to tell Google what you care about. You'll see a card in your feed that lets you select topics of interest that you'd like to see more info and stories on.

Upcoming - To keep up with your day

You can also toggle over to your upcoming dashboard for a dependable view of your personal info - keeping details of your daily schedule, travel time for your commute, package delivery info and more, all in one place. With the holiday travel season upon us, you'll never need to dig through your email to find your boarding pass or flight info. Tap to ta-da!

With this latest refresh of the Google app, a single tap will load your life's interests and updates. We hope these go-to guides will help you stay organized and on top of the things you care about.

06 Dec 2016 4:00pm GMT

Exploring the significance of Pearl Harbor with Google Expeditions

Editor's Note: Today's guest author is Michael Fricano II, an Education Architect at The Janus Group. As a longtime educator and resident of Hawaii, Michael shares his experience of teaching students about Pearl Harbor with Google Expeditions.

Many students learn about World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor by reading facts and figures from a history book, but today teachers are using technology to provide a richer understanding of Hawaii's vital role in World War II. Having lived in Hawaii for many years, I'll always hold Pearl Harbor and December 7th in a special place in my heart. This year, I'm particularly inspired to hear how teachers are using technology to explain the cultural and political significance of the Japanese attack.

To honor the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ms. Marielle Beaudet, a fifth grade teacher at Pearl Harbor Elementary School, used one of our lesson plans that integrates Google Expeditions to show students important locations on Oahu, from the naval base to Punchbowl Cemetery to the USS Bowfin. Many students had already visited these places in person but hadn't learned about their historical significance.

As students virtually stood on top of Diamond Head overlooking the Pacific Ocean, they saw the 360 degree view that made it a vital defensive bunker, called Fort Ruger. One student commented, "I had no idea there was a bunker at the top of Diamond Head!" Another student said, "You can see all over the island from up here!" realizing why it was such an important location.

[edu] pearlharbor2 cropped.png

Students explored inside one of the most famous American submarines from the war, USS Bowfin, using Google Expeditions to see the Torpedo Room, Control Room and the Galley. Using a lesson that incorporates different G Suite tools, students brainstormed questions they would want to ask a sailor aboard the submarine. This type of virtual reality experience encouraged students to think about day-to-day life aboard a submarine and made them curious about the sailors' food, sleeping conditions and leisure activities. One student, who noticed a bed above one of the torpedos, yelled out, "I wouldn't want to sleep on top of those. You'd have to be really brave!" Reading about the submarine is fascinating, but showing students the space helps paint a clearer picture of how sailors lived leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Visiting these historical locations through Expeditions gave students a stronger connection to their homeland and sparked new curiosity about the places they pass every day. I was moved when I heard one student say, "[National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day] is meant for us to show our appreciation to those that fought for us. We have to show our respect and never forget what happened."

If you want to bring this experience to your class, check out one of the many Expeditions featuring Pearl Harbor - The Battleship USS Missouri, Onboard the USS Bowfin Submarine, World War II, and Pearl Harbor and Hawaii During World War II. To get started with Expeditions download the free app for iOS or Android, or look into Google Expeditions Kits.

06 Dec 2016 3:30pm GMT

feedGoogle Operating System

Google's Holiday Decorations

When you search Google for [Christmas], [Hanukkah], [Kwanzaa], [Festivus] or other related queries, you'll see some special decorations related to each holiday. Festivus is "a holiday celebrated by those seeking an alternative to the commercialism and pressures of the Christmas holiday season."

Christmas trees, Santa Claus, the Christmas star adorn the Google search page and bring the hoiday spirit.


The Hanukkah menorah and Kwanzaa's Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles) are lighting up Google's search pages.




Here are the decorations from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

06 Dec 2016 2:21pm GMT

feedThe Official Google Blog

We’re set to reach 100% renewable energy — and it’s just the beginning

Every year people search on Google trillions of times; every minute people upload more than 400 hours of YouTube videos. All of that takes an incredible amount of processing power - which means energy. Our engineers have spent years perfecting Google's data centers, making them 50 percent more energy efficient than the industry average. But we still need a lot of energy to power the products and services that our users depend on. We began purchasing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change - but it also makes business sense.

I'm thrilled to announce that in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations - including both our data centers and offices. We were one of the first corporations to create large-scale, long-term contracts to buy renewable energy directly; we signed our first agreement to purchase all the electricity from a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa, in 2010. Today, we are the world's largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. That's bigger than many large utilities and more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future.

greent-wp-charts-Cumulative-Corporate-Renewal.png

To reach this goal we'll be directly buying enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally. And we're focusing on creating new energy from renewable sources, so we only buy from projects that are funded by our purchases.

Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option. Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.

Our 20 renewable energy projects also help support communities, from Grady County, OK, to Rutherford County, NC, to the Atacama Region of Chile to municipalities in Sweden. To date, our purchasing commitments will result in infrastructure investments of more than $3.5 billion globally, about two-thirds of that in the United States. These projects also generate tens of millions of dollars per year in revenue to local property owners, and tens of millions more to local and national governments in tax revenue.

So, we're on track to match our global energy consumption on an annual basis by next year. But this is just the first step. As we look to the immediate future, we'll continue to pursue these direct contracts as we grow, with an even greater focus on regional renewable energy purchases in places where we have data centers and significant operations. Since the wind doesn't blow 24 hours a day, we'll also broaden our purchases to a variety of energy sources that can enable renewable power, every hour of every day. Our ultimate goal is to create a world where everyone - not just Google - has access to clean energy. For more on these next steps, read our white paper.

google_ppa.jpg
How Google purchases and uses renewable energy.

Operating our business in an environmentally sustainable way has been a core value from the beginning, and we're always working on new ideas to make sustainability a reality - like enabling the building of healthy workplaces and creating a living, breathing dashboard for the planet. We've reported our carbon footprint and published information on our sustainability programs for many years in white papers, blog posts, and on our website. Now, we've put all this information together in a new Environmental Report.

You can also check out our new environment website, where we share stories of how we are finding new ways to do more while using less. Most of our on-campus sustainability initiatives were started by a few passionate Googlers, and have now grown into company-wide efforts. From the solar panels on our roofs to our bike-to-work program, these initiatives sit at the heart of our company culture and help both us and our users reduce our impact on the environment.

economic impact
Google is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world.

The science tells us that tackling climate change is an urgent global priority. We believe the private sector, in partnership with policy leaders, must take bold steps and that we can do so in a way that leads to growth and opportunity. And we have a responsibility to do so - to our users and the environment.

We have lots of progress left to make, but these achievements we're announcing today feel like a breath of fresh air. Now, back to work.

06 Dec 2016 2:00pm GMT

feedGoogle Operating System

New Interface for Google Search

Google's desktop search pages have a new interface for navigating between search results. The search box is bigger, there's a new search icon and Google now only shows 2 or 3 specialized search engines next to "all", down from 4. Apps and shopping seem to be missing from the list of search engines, so you can only pick from image search, video search, Google News, Google Maps, Google Flights and Google Books.


The settings dropdown is now placed below the search box and it includes the option that lets you hide private results. You can still change search settings, languages, turn on or turn off SafeSearch, use advanced search options, open Web History or go to the help center.


Search tools are now simply called tools and they include the same options: search by date and verbatim.


Image search lets you quickly go to the saved images page and change SafeSearch setting.


Google Shopping is broken. While the homepage still loads, when you click a product image or search for something, Google shows an empty page.



Here's the old Google Search interface, via Wikipedia:

06 Dec 2016 1:31pm GMT

05 Dec 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

Partnering to help curb the spread of terrorist content online

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube are coming together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online. There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.

Starting today, we commit to the creation of a shared industry database of "hashes" - unique digital "fingerprints" - for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that we have removed from our services. By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms. We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.

Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services - content most likely to violate all of our respective companies' content policies. Participating companies can add hashes of terrorist images or videos that are identified on one of our platforms to the database. Other participating companies can then use those hashes to identify such content on their services, review against their respective policies and definitions, and remove matching content as appropriate.

As we continue to collaborate and share best practices, each company will independently determine what image and video hashes to contribute to the shared database. No personally identifiable information will be shared, and matching content will not be automatically removed. Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found. And each company will continue to apply its practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances. As part of this collaboration, we will all focus on how to involve additional companies in the future.

Throughout this collaboration, we are committed to protecting our users' privacy and their ability to express themselves freely and safely on our platforms. We also seek to engage with the wider community of interested stakeholders in a transparent, thoughtful and responsible way as we further our shared objective to prevent the spread of terrorist content online while respecting human rights.

05 Dec 2016 11:00pm GMT

How teachers and students can develop learning skills for school – and beyond

Editor's note: As part of the ExploreEDU event series, schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors and invite neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools to innovate and improve. To see if there is an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. For those who can't join in person, we'll also share the schools' experiences here. Today's guest author is Shanna Schwarzer, assistant principal from Jefferson City High School. The district is hosting an event on December 8 with Tierney Brothers.

We use the word "professional" often when we talk to students about their performance and behavior. We want them to view classrooms as workplaces, and take their "jobs" as students just as seriously as employees in the corporate world do - that is, the job of learning. Today, technology plays a larger role in helping our students become enthusiastic and curious learners. Now that we're a 1:1 school, with every student using a device, we make sure every teacher is prepared for guiding students in using technology. Here's what we've done to support students and teachers on this journey.

1. Creating an in-house help desk staffed by students

We've created a class called "Help Desk," in which students learn how to make basic repairs on our devices or help fix Wi-Fi networks. They also learn business communication skills, like how to greet fellow students and teachers who visit the help desk. Teachers use lesson plans from the nonprofit group GenYES, which promotes technology training for students.

Not only does our help desk educate students on understanding technology, it saves time for our IT team, since students make minor repairs and solve simple tech issues in our classrooms.

[edu] jefferson city help desk
Students learn how to solve common IT issues in Jefferson City High School's "Help Desk" class.

2. Scheduling monthly "tech summits" for teachers

We help teachers keep their tech skills sharp with required monthly tech summits. These 45-minute sessions focus on a specific topic, such as how to organize files in Google Drive and the SAMR (substitution/augmentation/modification/redefinition) model for understanding how technology can impact teaching and learning. Some summits are roundtables, where teachers can discuss current tech and learning challenges. After one summit on blended learning and setting up station rotations, teachers felt confident to set up these rotations in their own classrooms, based on their lessons plans.

3. Go all in and embrace occasional failures

Not all students will learn how to use technology at the same pace. We decided it was best for us to go all in because both students and teachers can reap the benefits right away. For example, some students may resist using Google Classroom at first, because they're more comfortable with completing assignments on paper. If you allow their hesitation to delay implementation, students will miss out on the opportunity to get feedback from teachers or share ideas with classmates.

When we try to change student learning and our efforts falter, we talk about it - we don't cover it up. Teachers and students will learn from the failed attempts and improve next time. One big obstacle teachers have to overcome has been grading. When they are trying to use Classroom and grade electronically, it becomes a hurdle. Early on, we found many teachers weren't using Classroom for grading, because they were used to paper. We recognized that we had to go back and "teach the teachers" why grading within Classroom made sense. Now they understand how online grading frees them up from the hassles of mounds of paperwork!

4. Allow teachers to create their own paths with technology

We recognize that teachers will use technology differently based on their preferences and subjects. For instance, some teachers simply use Classroom to supplement their teaching with online articles posted in the "About" stream. Others may use Classroom as a place for students to turn in homework assignments. Teachers' comfort level can grow throughout the year as they gain confidence and share ideas with their colleagues.

Don't throw out good teaching methods just because they don't fit into what's expected in a 1:1 program. Let the technology complement the teaching.

Preparing students to become lifelong learners isn't an overnight process, and it certainly isn't easy. When you hit rough spots, remind yourself that you're positioning students for success in college and the workforce, where they'll use technology to collaborate and learn every day. You're preparing them for the real world.

05 Dec 2016 9:30pm GMT

A sweet update to Nougat: Android 7.1.1

When we launched Android Nougat, we were excited to deliver even more ways to make Android your own. Today we're rolling out Android 7.1.1, an update to Nougat that showcases more ways to express yourself, along with a handful of other sweet features and improvements to stability and performance. Android 7.1.1 brings many of the cool features of Pixel to everyone.

More ways to communicate

Earlier this year we announced a proposal to promote gender equality by adding new emoji that reflect the pivotal roles women play in the world, and represent a wider range of professions for both women and men. We included gender counterparts for emoji that previously only had male or female representation. Now there are female welders and men getting haircuts. Our new set of emoji launched with the Pixel phones and now are available to all devices running Android 7.1.1. So you can jam like a rock star or explore the galaxy like an astronaut.

Emoji

And if you're looking for more ways to express yourself, you also can now send GIFs directly from your keyboard on supported apps such as Google Allo, Google Messenger and Hangouts.

Image Keyboard

Send GIFs directly from your keyboard

And for everyone looking for just one more way to make life easier, Android 7.1.1 brings you app shortcuts directly from your home screen. Launch actions on your favorite apps, such as Twitter or Google Maps, by simply long pressing the app icon. Jump directly into an existing conversation on Google Messenger or start an entirely new one - all straight from the app icon.

App shortcuts

Launch actions on your favorite apps by simply long pressing the app icon

Today, and over the next several weeks, the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One) will get an over the air (OTA) software update to Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version.

05 Dec 2016 7:00pm GMT

CSEdWeek 2016: Changing the face of computer science

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

Since Computer Science Education Week started in 2009, it's become an important event we look forward to every year. And as one of the CSEdWeek founding partners, we're excited to help more students learn computer science (CS) principles, build confidence with technical skills, and have fun, too!

From our research, we know that narrow perceptions and stereotypes about computer science and who can succeed in CS can create barriers to engaging all students. For example, many girls today don't think it's relevant to their passions (and parents and teachers don't think girls are interested), don't think they would be good at it and don't see other women and girls in the field.

We want to break those stereotypes and help students reimagine who computer scientists are, what they look like, and what they can accomplish.

Here are a few fun ways you can you can encourage positive images of computer science during CSEdWeek:

Explore the magic of coding with YouTube stars

Coding is one of those things a lot of people hear about but not a lot of people actually know about. Karlie Kloss

YouTube Kids has partnered with model Karlie Kloss to show that CS can be a superpower! Popular creators Grace's World, ActOutGames, Talking Tom and Friends, Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, and SciShow Kids have also made videos encouraging kids to explore CS. You can find the latest CS-inspired content on the YouTube Kids app homepage starting today to see how coding opens countless doors to creativity and fun.

[edu] Karlie_Kloss YTK
Check out YouTube Kids to find out all the cool things you can do with CS #CSforAll

Code your own festive emoji

To help more girls try coding for the first time, Made with Code is inviting teens to create festive emoji that are as diverse and unique as they are-with variety of skin tones, hairstyles, and holiday and career accessories. Launched in 2014, Made with Code inspires teen girls to explore the things they love through code, while showing them cool careers with CS and positive role models.

[edu] MwC emoji strip

Diverse holiday emoji, coded on MadewithCode.com

Learn about coding careers in sports, fashion and more

To help students discover how CS can help them find a dream career in any field including sports, fashion, and social impact, we've partnered with Refraction Media to launch Careers with Code, a magazine for 14-18 year olds. For CSEdWeek, we're debuting a new computational thinking activity with an educator guide so teachers can help their students see how their passions and computer science intersect.

[edu] careers with code
Explore Careers with Code with an educator guide

We hope you'll join us in celebrating the power and possibilities of computer science during this CSEdWeek! And stay tuned for more ways you can get any student involved.

05 Dec 2016 5:30pm GMT

17 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Random Facts About Animals in Google Search

Did you know that "male lions defend the pride's territory while females do most of the hunting"? Did you know that "the name humpback whale describes the motion it makes as it arches its back out of the water in preparation for a dive"? What about this one: "ostriches have the largest eyes of any land living animal and they measure 50 mm (2 inches) in diameter"?

Google now shows random facts about animals in the "did you know" section of the Knowledge Graph card. They're extracted from various sites and Google actually links to the source.



Some example of queries that return random facts: [cat], [lion], [tiger], [alpaca], [giraffe], [ostrich], [duck], [elk], [raccoon], [shark]. It's worth pointing out that you can get another random fact by reloading the page or searching again for the same animal.

17 Oct 2016 9:00pm GMT

15 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Found in Related Searches

Google Knowledge Graph has more than one billion entities and more than 70 billion facts about these entities (people, places, things). It's huge and it brings a different dimension to search: understanding concepts and the relation between them.

Mobile Google Search now has a section called "found in related search", which shows a few entities frequently mentioned in other related searches. For example, I searched for [ethanol molar mass] and Google showed 2 lists of organic and inorganic compounds: one of them was found in the related search [properties of alkanes] and the other was for [polar solvents]. Ethanol is a polar solvent which can be obtained from alkenes, while alkenes can be derived from alkanes, so Google's suggestions are somewhat useful.


This feature is not limited to chemistry, it also works for other topics. Here's a different query: [tour eiffel design], which shows other "towers of the world" and "tourist attractions in France".



15 Oct 2016 7:34am GMT

14 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Converts Queries Into Questions

I noticed an interesting Google Search experiment in the mobile/tablet interface. When searching for [alcohol with the highest boiling], Google converted my query into a question: "Which alcohol has the highest boiling point?", then it tried to answer the question using a snippet from a web page and then it added a "more results" link. Google's link sent to me to the search results page for the question inferred by Google.

14 Oct 2016 10:29pm GMT

Google's Card for Directions

When you search Google for [directions] or [get directions], you get an error message: "No results for that place. Try entering it below to get suggestions." Google shows a special card for directions with cool features like autocomplete, but the error message is out of place because you haven't typed a location.


Suggestions aren't very smart. For example, I typed "Brisbane, Australia" as the starting point and then I started to type "Mel" as the destination. Google suggested 3 places from California, strictly based on my location, while ignoring that Melbourne is a much better suggestion.


Google shows directions inside the card and you can pick between driving, walking, cycling or using public transportation.


To see the directions, just click the text that describes your favorite route. If there is only one route, pick that one. Another option is to click "directions" and go to the Google Maps site.

14 Oct 2016 9:27pm GMT

Add Home Screen Shortcuts to Google Maps Directions

I'm not sure if this is a new feature, but it must be pretty recent. Google Maps for Android lets you add home screen shortcuts to directions directly from the app. Just search for directions, tap the menu icon and pick "add route to Home screen". This works best when you select the current location, but it's not a requirement.



You may also see this message: "Go here often? Add this route. Tap here to add a Home screen shortcut to this route."


Another option is to add the directions widget, which lets you pick the shortcut name, whether to start turn-by-turn navigation and more.

14 Oct 2016 8:48pm GMT

10 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Color Converter

Google has a special card that's both a color picker and a color converter. For example, you can search for HEX color codes like #123456 and Google shows the color and converts it to other formats: RGB, HSV, HSL, CMYK. Google's card also shows up when you search for RGB values like rgb(255,0,255). The most interesting feature of the card lets you pick a color interactively.


Other queries that trigger Google's card: RGB to HEX, color picker.

This is not a new feature, but it's worth pointing out that Chrome has its own color picker and converter in the developer tools. Click a color in the styles tab to open the color picker and shift-click a color to convert it to a different format.


{ via Android Police }

10 Oct 2016 12:00pm GMT

08 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Will Shut Down Panoramio

Google intended to discontinue Panoramio back in 2014, shortly after Google Maps Views was launched, but a lot of users complained and Panoramio continued to exist. Now Google announces that Panoramio will become read-only on November 4th and it'll be shut down one year later, in November 2017.


"Today, with photo upload tools in Google Maps and our Local Guides program, we are providing easy ways for you to share your photos with an active and growing community. As such, we've decided to move forward with closing down Panoramio," informs Google. If you've linked your Panoramio account with a Google account, you'll be able to find your photos in Google Album Archive and they'll not use your storage quota. You can also export your photos in Google Takeout.

Google encourages Panoramio users to join the Local Guides program for Google Maps and share photos, add reviews and information about places. "It's all about that warm feeling you get from helping others discover new, enriching experiences. That, and the benefits. Every place you improve on Google Maps gets you closer to unlocking something new - from early access to new products to exclusive contests and events."

If you don't like Google's options, you can delete your Panoramio photos or go to Panoramio's settings page and delete your account.

Google acquired Panoramio in 2007. It was a Spanish startup which had a site that enabled "digital photographers to geolocate, store and organize their photographs and to view those photographs in Google Earth and Google Maps."

08 Oct 2016 7:49pm GMT

More Related Searches in Mobile Google Search

Google's mobile search interface shows a new box with related searches after clicking a result and going back to the search page. There's a list called "people also search for", which shows queries that are related to both the original search and the search result you've previously visited. Swipe left to see the entire the list.


Tap a different search result and you'll get different suggestions:


Google tested this feature back in June and now it's no longer an experiment.

08 Oct 2016 8:39am GMT

06 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Android 7.1: Pixel-Only, For Now

Pixel phones will ship with a new Android version: 7.1. It looks like many of the important Nougat features have been left out from the 7.0 release.

Android 7.1's unofficial changelog published by Android Police has many Pixel-specific features, including a new launcher, a new camera app, Google Assistant, a support tab in the settings, solid navbar icons, Smart Storage that removes old backed up photos and videos when storage is full.



There are also some features that aren't restricted to Pixel devices: night light (filters blue light), fingerprint swipe down gesture, seamless A/B system updates, Daydream VR mode, support for app shortcuts and circular app icons, keyboard image insertion, manual storage manager and more. Unfortunately, Nexus devices and Pixel C will only get a dev preview by the end of 2016, so the stable release will be available in 2017. So much for buying Nexus devices to be the first to get the latest Android updates.

Google Assistant won't be a Pixel exclusive for long, since it's a core Google feature that needs wide adoption. I assume that the launcher and camera app will be also available in the Play Store at some point.

06 Oct 2016 9:16pm GMT

Why Google Can't Sell Expensive Products

Google announced its first phone and many people wondered why it's as expensive as an iPhone. Nexus phones were sometimes inexpensive (Nexus 4: $299, Nexus 5: $349, Nexus 5X: $379) and sometimes more expensive (Nexus One: $530, Nexus 6: $649, Nexus 6P: $599). Now the 5-inch Pixel costs $649 in the US, while the 5.5-inch Pixel XL costs $769, which is more than any other Nexus phone.


Obviously, Google's pricing was more aggressive when it wanted to sell more products and less aggressive when sales numbers mattered less. The truth is that Google only managed to sell products in high volumes if the price was low enough to make them good value. Chromecast was successful because it offered a lot of value for the money. Nexus 5 was a flagship phone at half the price, so millions of people bought it. Nexus 7 was good enough for $199, but Google's bigger tablets were more expensive and their flaws were more striking.

Google is a "value" brand. Most people associate Google with free ad-supported online services that offer great features. There's no paid Google software for consumers, as Google only sells digital content and subscription services (storage, music). Google is not a lifestyle or luxury brand, so people don't expect to pay much for Google products.

There's a lot of risk associated with Google products, since Google doesn't stand behind them all the time. Some of them are experiments, others are quickly discontinued and forgotten. I still remember that Google stopped selling Nexus One only 6 months after the launch or when Logitech's CEO said back in 2011 that Google TV was a huge and costly mistake. Android One was a flop, Google Play Edition failed, Motorola was acquired by Google and later sold to Lenovo.

Google's commitment issues, its high appetite for releasing beta products, its lack of planning and foresight - all of these problems alienate consumers and make them think twice before buying a Google product. Premium brands are all about image, trust, credibility, heritage.

06 Oct 2016 8:19pm GMT

05 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

No More Nexus Devices

After the launch of Google's Pixel phones, many people wondered if the Nexus brand will be retired or we'll still see Nexus phones, tablets and other Android devices. It looks like the first answer is accurate. According to The Verge, Google says that there are no plans for future Nexus products.


"The idea was to show everyone how it should be done," says Brian Rakowski, VP of product management for Android. "All the partners in the phone manufacturing space took it and built great products on top of it. Meanwhile, Nexus kind of trundled along at the same small scale."

Nexus was the reference Android phone and was mostly for developers and early adopters. Google sent mixed messages: some of the phones were heavily subsidized, others were more expensive, design and features were rarely consistent from one generation to another.

With Android's beta program and Google's efforts to give manufacturers early access to the Android code, Nexus devices became less important. There are also inexpensive "flagship killers" like the OnePlus 3, which only costs $399.

Google got serious about hardware and started to build an ecosystem of devices that work together: phones, tablets, laptops, routers, VR headsets, smart speakers, smart gadgets for your TV. Some of them are great, others will get better or be replaced by products that better fit inside the ecosystem. Google finally realized that "people who are really serious about software should make their own hardware," as Alan Kay said and Steve Jobs quoted.

Challenging Apple when it comes to selling premium hardware is quite difficult. Apple consistently delivers great products, while Google's products are hit and miss (examples of bad apples: Nexus Q, Pixel C, Glass, Nexus 9). Apple has a long-term vision for products, while Google's plans are always changing with many casualties along the way.

"It's very challenging to work on dozens of products and make them all terrific. We have to have a lot of discipline and a lot of focus," says Rick Osterloh, Google's head of hardware and Motorola's former president.

For now, Google admits that Pixel phones "aren't going to have enormous volumes", as this is only the first iteration of the product. The good news is that "touch latency [on the Pixel] is the best of any Android device ever produced. If you put it under high-speed camera, it's on par with an iPhone."

Google has big plans when it comes to hardware and hopes to eventually sell a lot of them. Even if that means competing against its own partners. "We're no longer going to be shy about what we think is the right answer for us. What we are going to do is give the OEM ecosystem a chance to compete, meaning it's a fair playing field," says Rishi Chandra, VP of product management for home products.

{ via The Verge }

05 Oct 2016 8:38pm GMT

04 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Gets Serious About Hardware

Google has a new hardware division and Rick Osterloh, the former Motorola chief, is in charge. This hardware division merges Google's disparate hardware projects to bring more cohesive products that work well together.

Google announced a lot of products today and all of them are made by Google. Nexus phones have been replaced by Pixel phones, Daydream View is a comfortable VR headset that works with Pixel phones, Google Home brings Google Assistant to a smart speaker, Google WiFi is a new router that promises better range and Chromecast Ultra supports 4K and has an Ethernet port. That's quite a lot.

Pixel phones are actually made by HTC, but there's no HTC branding. Pixel and Pixel XL are designed by Google and HTC is only the OEM. The two phones share the same premium hardware (aluminum/glass unibody, Snapdragon 821, 4GB RAM, 32/128GB of storage, AMOLED screens, 12MP camera with gyroscope-based electronic image stabilization), but have different screen sizes (5 inch vs 5.5 inch), resolutions (1920 x 1080 vs 2560 x 1440) and batteries (2770 mAh vs 3450 mAh). They have an impressive camera that scores 89 in the DxOMark Mobile test, which is the highest score for a mobile phone. The camera has a fast f/2.0 lens, hybrid autofocus powered by laser detection and phase detection, zero lag HDR+, powerful stabilization.

Pixel and Pixel XL ship with Android Nougat and they're the first phones that come with Google Assistant, the upgraded voice assistant with a more natural voice, more comprehensive answers and better integration with other services.

"Pixel is available for pre-order today starting at $649 in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and Australia," mentions Google. Pixel XL costs $120 more, while the 128GB options adds $100 to the price, exactly like the iPhone. Google partnered with a few carriers: Verizon, Roger/Telus/Bell in Canada, EE in the UK, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, Telstra in Australia, as well as a few stores like Best Buy and Flipkart.



Daydream View brings virtual reality to everyone (who has a Daydream compatible phone). "Powered by Android 7.0 Nougat, Daydream-ready phones are built with high-resolution displays, powerful mobile processors and high-fidelity sensors-all tuned to support great VR experiences. Google's newest Pixel and Pixel XL are the first Daydream-ready phones, and there are a lot more on the way from leading Android smartphone makers," informs Google. Daydream View is a VR headset and controller that costs $79 and it's comfortable and easy to use. For now, it's mainly a Google Pixel accessory and it will be available in November in the US, Canada, Germany, UK and Australia from the Google Store and all the other carriers and stores that sell Google's phones.



Google Home is a smart wireless speaker with integrated Google Assistant, powerful microphones and noise cancelling technology. It's always listening to "OK Google" (you can quickly disable this feature from the mute button), it has touch controls, far-field voice recognition, Hi-Fi speakers, multi-room support if you buy multiple devices. It also has customizable bases you can buy from the Google Store. Google Home is a clever voice interface for Google, but also for your other smart devices like Chromecast, Nest, Philips Hue and more. IFTTT will make Google Home automation even more powerful.

"Google Home will be available in stores starting in November or you can pre-order yours today for $129 from the Google Store, Best Buy, Target and Walmart," informs Google.



After launching OnHub routers manufactured by TP-Link and Asus, Google came up with its own simplified WiFi router. It's designed to cover a small house or an apartment and you can use multiple Google routers for a larger house. "Network Assist is intelligent software built into Google Wifi to provide you with the fastest possible speed. Behind the scenes, Network Assist automatically helps you avoid Wi-Fi congestion, and transitions you to the closest Wi-Fi point for the best signal." Google's new router has a mobile app that lets you quickly change settings and check stats. For example, you can pause Wi-Fi on a device or prioritize a device.

"Google Wifi will be available for pre-order in the U.S. in November. It will retail for $129 for a single pack, and $299 for a three-pack at the Google Store, Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart."



Chromecast Ultra brings 4K and HDR support, a more powerful hardware and a different charger with Ethernet port. "Chromecast Ultra supports 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision, so you'll get a crisper picture with higher resolution and more vibrant colors. At first, you'll be able to stream 4K content from Netflix, YouTube and Vudu, and we're working to bring more 4K and HDR content on board. Later this year, Google Play Movies & TV will be rolling out 4K content. Chromecast Ultra loads videos 1.8 times faster than other Chromecast devices and includes major Wi-Fi improvements to support streams from full HD to Ultra HD without a hitch," explains Google. "Chromecast Ultra will be available in November for $69 from Best Buy, the Google Store, Target, and Walmart in the U.S., as well as from international retailers in 15 more countries."


Here's the full Google announcement, just in case you missed it:

04 Oct 2016 9:23pm GMT

30 Sep 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Calendar Events in Google Maps

The latest version of the Google Maps app for Android adds more integration with Google Calendar. There's a new upcoming tab in "Your places", which shows a list of upcoming events, including your bookings and reservations from Gmail. Click an event to quickly see the location on the map.


There's also a new "personal content" section in the settings, which lets you disable the integration with Google Contacts, Google Photos, disable location, location history and search history.

30 Sep 2016 6:54pm GMT

The Keyword: Google's New Unified Blog

Google has a new blog that merges 19 of its most popular blogs, including the Official Google Blog, Gmail's blog, Google Drive blog, Chrome's blog, Android's blog and more. You can find it at blog.google and it's called The Keyword.


"We wanted to make it easier for people to find news from Google about what we're up to. With that in mind, today we're launching the Keyword - a new destination for the latest news from inside Google, from Android to Translate. The Keyword is all the stuff we had across 19 blogs, in one place - so you don't have to hop from one blog to another to find the latest update. If you're looking for something from Google from now on, chances are it's here," mentions Emily Wood.

The most interesting thing about this change is that Google abandoned Blogger and uses a completely new blogging platform. There's a section that showcases the latest tweets from Google's main Twitter accounts, a list of the latest stories and news. You can filter blog posts by Google product or by topic and you can use the same filters for search results too.

30 Sep 2016 6:14pm GMT

18 Jun 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

A brief update

Over the last couple years, I've seen more and more people in technology trying to make government work better. They're idealists who are also making a large impact. These are people that I respect-some of them worked to fix healthcare.gov, for example. From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy […]

18 Jun 2016 1:57am GMT

03 Feb 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Thanks, Amit

Amit Singhal just announced that he's retiring toward the end of the month. Amit has been a formative part of Google's search team, but he's also a good friend. Last year, after he marked 15 years with Google, I wrote this about Amit's contributions: Amit Singhal, one of the unsung heroes of Google, just celebrated […]

03 Feb 2016 7:49pm GMT

19 Jan 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Solving a Verizon issue (Nexus 5X)

I solved a problem today and figured that I'd document it for the rest of the world. Every time someone left me a voicemail on Verizon, I would get a cryptic text from Verizon at 900080006202 that looked like "//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=NM;id=1;c=1;t=v;s=1XXXXXXXXXX;dt=18/01/2016 13:40-0900;l=13;dev_t=5" or "//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=MBU;dev_t=5". Here's what happened. It turns out that Verizon has three kinds of […]

19 Jan 2016 2:00am GMT

31 Oct 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2015: USB Drive

I went a little overboard for Halloween last year. And as you can tell from my the Halloween category on my blog, sometimes I get a little too excited about Halloween. So this year I decided to go quick, easy, and lo-fi as a USB drive: To make a thumb drive/USB key, I just took […]

31 Oct 2015 8:02pm GMT

24 Sep 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Give Google Contributor a try

Recently I've seen several interesting conversations about ad blocking, and I wanted to remind people about a great offering called Google Contributor. With Google Contributor, you contribute a certain amount of money each month. That subscription means that you see fewer ads on the web, and you support the sites that you visit with your […]

24 Sep 2015 3:09pm GMT

09 Apr 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Berkshire Hathaway

My taste in financial advice runs toward the simple and the lessons I've learned the hard way. But I still like reading about investing/finance, and I recently read through the 2014 annual report for Berkshire Hathaway. Given that it was the 50th anniversary of Warren Buffett taking charge of Berkshire, I have to admit that […]

09 Apr 2015 6:47am GMT

01 Apr 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

My next project: AutoSEO

This was an April Fool's joke. I've been working really hard with some friends on a project to handle SEO automatically. Now we're ready to take the wraps off it over at seo.ninja. One of the ideas that helped the World Wide Web succeed was that it separated presentation and content. You could write your […]

01 Apr 2015 12:23am GMT

01 Mar 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Next 30 day challenge: social media/news cleanse

For January 2015, I tried to declutter around the house for 15 minutes a day. We now have a couple rooms that are much cleaner, and I gave away a bunch of magazines. For February 2015, my 30 day challenge was to go on daily 15 minute walks with my wife. That was nice. Lately […]

01 Mar 2015 4:40am GMT

19 Feb 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Fixing “full path disclosure” issues

Whether you're running a web service or a blog, you should always keep your software fully patched to prevent attacks and minimize your attack surface. Another smart step is to prevent full path disclosures. For example, if your blog or service throws an error like "Warning: require(ABSPATHwp-includes/load.php) [function.require]: failed to open stream: No such file […]

19 Feb 2015 6:43am GMT

23 Jan 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Lessons learned from the early days of Google

Earlier this month I did a talk at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill about lessons learned from the early days of Google. The video is now online and watchable, or you can watch it on YouTube: We did the talk in a pretty large room, and the camera at the back of […]

23 Jan 2015 8:44pm GMT

26 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

The Emperor's Garden

The Emperor instructed the gardener to set up the new court's garden. "I want you to plant five trees growing the Crataan fruit," the Emperor said, "Because we asked people what fruit they like best, and most named the Crataan fruit!" The gardener replied, "Emperor, that is excellent thinking! But let me make some suggestions: First, how about we make one of the five trees bear the Muran fruit. Only one out of ten citizens loves it, but those peculiar citizens tend to love multiple times as much!" "Second," the gardener continued, "How about we make one of the five trees bear the Dratean fruit. No one loves it, but that's because no one knows it yet!" "Third," the gardener said, "How about we leave one spot in the garden empty. Who knows what new type of tree we'll discover that we can put there in the fut ...

26 Aug 2011 12:12pm GMT

15 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Color Sound Machine (and what else I've been doing lately)

For those of you who've been wondering whether I had turned to stone, fallen into a bottomless pit, or been climbing the Himalaya... no, none of that is true, even though you probably did notice I'm not actively blogging about Google here anymore*! Just now, a new iPad app I've been working on called Color Sound Machine went live, and this -- and all the other apps and games at Versus Pad** -- are actually what I am doing while not blogoscoping. *I've drafted unpublished posts explaining much more about past, present and future of Blogoscoped, and the history of Google news reporting, but ... oh, for now le ...

15 Aug 2011 4:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google drops reverse phone number lookup

One of the earliest specialist services provided by Google was reverse phone number lookup. If you used the "phonebook:" or "rphonebook:" operators together with a 10-digit US phone number, Google would show you the owner of that phone number, unless the number was unlisted. Google no longer provides that service. Not surprisingly, there was no press release marking the closure, but Google employee Daniel Russell has acknowledged the closure of the service in his blog. He hints at the possible pressures leading to the shuttering of the service: "As you can imagine, this was an endless source of hassles for people (who were surprised to see themselves searchable on Google) and for Google (who had to constantly de ...

25 Feb 2011 11:23am GMT

16 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Idea: Topical Chat

This website would take the top headlines from a tech or political site for that day -- at first just from Reddit (you gotta start somewhere), but later, from other sites too, in aggregated form, similar to Techmeme, but across different topics you can navigate to from the frontpage (entertainment, politics, technology etc.). It would present them in some sort of list of headlines with a link to the discussion source. Below every headline on the frontpage there's an expandable chat box window. You log-in once into the site and then you can expand any one of these chat boxes, and see who's in there, and read the chat log, and join yourself with remarks by typing them in a box, similar to IRC and others. The chat wouldn't be a replacement of the discussion going on at the other site, but an addition to it. One benefit: a discus ...

16 Dec 2010 2:55pm GMT

Idea: CrowdChat

Two groups have a text chat using a web interface, arguing about a certain topic. For Group B to reply to what Group A says, each member of Group B proposes a sentence. Then, each member of Group B quickly votes on which sentence of another member of their group they like best. (You don't have to propose a sentence, and you don't have to vote on one; both proposing a sentence as well as voting on one are time-limited to just a certain amount of seconds, though.) Then, the highest-voted sentence will be shown to Crowd A as answer. Crowd A now goes through the same process to formulate a reply directed at Crowd B, and so on. To join, you can pick any of the two crowds based on reading the chat log, provided this group hasn't reach its limit of X members (beyond just group size that limit may also depend on how active current me ...

16 Dec 2010 7:26am GMT

Google Body Browser

If you're using the Google Chrome developer channel (or Firefox 4 Beta) have a look at the new Body Browser to explore a body in 3D. [Via Google OS.]

16 Dec 2010 2:17am GMT

10 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Pictures of the Cr-48

MBegin in the forum writes: I ran home for lunch today and was VERY pleasantly surprised to find a Cr-48 Chrome OS Notebook at my doorstep!! -Thanks Google! I took a few quick pics and I'll post more about my experiences later... Feel free to bug MBegin with questions in this post's comments, just in case he finds time to get around answering them!

10 Dec 2010 5:23am GMT

09 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Chromedroidpad

Using open source technologies from Google, could someone create a tablet that would let you add both Chrome Web Store apps/ web apps in general, as well as Android Market place apps, and you as user wouldn't even need to bother much about which comes from where as you'd only see a single merged Store, and apps would all be added to a nice homescreen with icons like on the iPad, and apps would always open full-screen no matter if the app maker made it that way or not, and Flash would work too? And would anyone want that thing?

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Device Evolution

Watching evolution is fun, especially when it happens right around you, and happens so fast. A mutation we saw yesterday was a new animal scientists gave the name "Chrome OS Notebook", but it's surrounded by other smart animals of all kinds and shapes. What do they fight for? Their nature are our offices, living rooms, cafes and parks; their food are our individual interests. Computing devices: the more we have, the less we notice them. Sneaky things, changing the color of their skin on different backgrounds... we don't even know they're computers anymore! The sneakier they fade in, the more likely they'll hunt down our interest when it appears. You're in your room, and you just had the idea of going to a cafe to read a newspaper, and perhaps chat with some friends. You can now hear small leafs crack, the surroundin ...

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

How to Disable Google Instant Previews

If you find Google's Instant Previews feature as useless as I do -- you know, those images popping up near search results, often similarly unwanted (when triggered by a wrong click) as Snap site previews -- maybe this User script is for you. I use several machines and browsers, though, so always installing add-ons when Google rolls out something unwanted is suboptimal in the long run (opening links in a new window is something else I don't like, for instance, and whenever I disable it -- even if I would do so across browsers and machines -- it'll come back the next time I empty my cache, because Google thinks that's best for people located in China; another feature which I practically never use is the left-hand side bar... perhaps one day we'll need a Simple Google add-on to get r ...

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google's Newest Q&A Service: "baraza"

Google's newest Question and Answer service is Google baraza beta, launched on 25 October 2010. Baraza is offered in English and French, although Google's links to the French questions aren't working for me. Baraza operates on a Points basis. You get 20 points for signing up, and 4 points each day you log in. If you are already logged into your Google account, there isn't actually any signup process. Your name and photo from your Google profile are automatically used, although you can change your username and avatar if you like. Asking a question costs 5 points, and you earn 5 points for choosing a "best answer" for your question, so you can use the service on an ongoing ...

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Taped an iPhone to my remote-controlled car and hit the Record button

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Playable JavaScript app of my new iPad game Knights vs Knightesses (Google Chrome/ Safari needed)

Here's a fully playable web demo of my new free iPad two-player game Knights vs Knightesses... it runs in Google Chrome and Safari. Note the graphics load much slower than the iPad app because it's online. If you're interested, the full source is viewable. It's all JavaScript because I'm using the PhoneGap wrapper for this one.

12 Nov 2010 7:00am GMT

04 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Which of your websites, deleted or lost years ago (or on a backup in a box you can't seem to find), would you most like to get back?

The release of a massive but not complete Geocities archive made me wonder about all the past stuff we probably can't recover anymore (and the usage of stylesheets over time makes design changes so easy that they're also easily undocumented) -- so my question: Which of your lost websites would you most love to get back?

04 Nov 2010 2:58am GMT

24 Oct 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

See a Random Street View Location

Click the MapCrunch Go button and you'll be transported to a random (Google Street View covered) place in the world. [Via Reddit.]

24 Oct 2010 6:42am GMT