26 Oct 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

Meet the new Google Home app (previously the Google Cast app)

new Google Home app logo

If you've opened the Google Cast app recently, you might have noticed we've been hinting at some exciting changes. With the recent announcement of Google Home, our new voice-activated speaker, we are renaming the Google Cast app to the Google Home app. So you now have a one-stop destination to manage your compatible home devices. On top of the new name, we gave it a new icon, made the app easier to use, and added some useful new features.

Google Home app UI

New design to make it even easier to watch & discover.

Using the Watch tab, you can discover trending and popular video content on your Chromecast-enabled apps like HBO Now, Netfilx, Hulu, YouTube, and Google Play Movies.

The Discover tab lets you explore a library of 1000+ apps that work with Chromecast, as well as the latest offers, features, and tips.

And you can search and browse for content across Chromecast-enabled apps right in the Google Home app anytime -- just look for the magnifying glass icon in the bottom right hand corner.

Control and manage your Chromecast and Google Home devices.

The Google Home app is also your one place to control and manage all your Chromecast and Google Home devices. Tap the Devices icon in the top right of the home screen to easily set up a new device, control playback or adjust Backdrop settings on your TV, and more.

Google Home app Device Management

The Google Home app will be coming this week on Google Play and the App Store, so keep your eyes open on your homescreen or app drawer for the new app icon. And stay tuned for more updates with the app as Google Home becomes available in the US in early November.

26 Oct 2016 7:15pm GMT

Machine learning turns photos into works of art

Most of us are familiar with photo filters that give our photos a vintage look or a warm glow. But recently, a whole new kind of "art filters" have emerged that turn photos into works of art that resemble famous paintings - like "Starry Night" by Van Gogh or "The Scream" by Munch. When I first saw my friends posting these photo-painting hybrids, I thought a) they look really cool, and b) how do they actually work???

So Lo and I talked to some research scientists at Google to find out. It turns out these so-called filters aren't filters at all, but a far more complex and interesting process called style transfer. Style transfer apps use deep neural networks (a technique in machine learning) to look at images, determine what's content in one and style in another, then synthesize them together into an image that's a combination of both. And cooler still - a team at Google has been working on technology that can combine multiple styles in a single transfer, in real time. You can read their full post on the Research Blog.

NatLo Style Transfer_Photo

Watch the video above for more info on how style transfer works, and to see me turn a photo of my dog into a Kandinsky-esque work of art.

26 Oct 2016 5:00pm GMT

25 Oct 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

Jamboard — the whiteboard, reimagined for collaboration in the cloud

Bringing the right team together for a meeting or brainstorm can take an idea from being good to great. When we tap into ideas from teams across the globe, our work becomes more collaborative and productive. It doesn't feel like...well, work.

At Google, we've set out to redefine meetings. So today, we're introducing Jamboard - a collaborative, digital whiteboard that makes it easy for your team to share ideas in real-time and create without boundaries. We're moving the whiteboard to the cloud.

Your team's collaborative, cloud-first whiteboard

Jamboard raises the bar on collaborative creativity, bringing the same real-time collaboration found in G Suite, combined with the best of the web, to your team's brainstorms and meetings. You can work with teammates from across the world on other Jamboards or remotely use the smartphone or tablet companion app.

jamboard small 1

Jamboard makes it easy to enrich your brainstorm with the power of Google Search and your team's work in G Suite. Grab images and content from the web and bring them straight into your "jam." Pull in work from Docs, Sheets and Slides, or add photos stored in Drive. To capture your ideas clearly, Jamboard is packed with tools like sticky notes and stencils as well as intelligent features like handwriting and shape recognition.

It's a hassle when you use a whiteboard, reach the end of your meeting and have to quickly scramble to snap a picture of your work. How many times have you scribbled "do not erase" above your idea? Jamboard lets you take your work with you. When you "jam" with your colleagues, it lives in the cloud in Google Drive, so you can easily share what you've created or come back to iterate at anytime. Your brainstorm doesn't have to end when the meeting does.

Designed for precision and ease

Jamboard is intelligently designed to speed up collaboration among your teams with a 55-inch 4k display that features a best-in-class touch response time. Combine this with a built-in HD camera, speakers and Wi-Fi, and you're set up to collaborate and broadcast your work globally with Hangouts.
jamboard small 3

Jamboard's touchscreen was built for precision drawing. It automatically recognizes the difference between using the stylus to sketch or the eraser to start over, and neither require batteries or pairing. Jamboard can also sense when you're using your finger to wipe work off of the screen, just like a classic whiteboard (except you won't get ink on your hand). The intuitive, single-cable setup makes it easy to start creating quickly with Jamboard - just wheel it in, turn it on and start brainstorming.

Time to jam

jamboard small 2

We want to help teams get back to the heart of what they love to do: create new ideas. That's why we've worked closely with G Suite customers like Instrument, Netflix, and Spotify to refine the blend of hardware and software that drives Jamboard. We're also partnering with BenQ to tap into its network of channels and resellers to help bring Jamboard to market.

While touch displays have traditionally been expensive, at under $6,000 USD, Jamboard is a competitively-priced way to transform your team's meetings and will be available for purchase in 2017. As we "jam" on the final product details, we're ready to partner with a broader set of G Suite customers to perfect Jamboard through an Early Adopter Program. If you're interested, submit the form on the Jamboard website to receive more information about eligibility.

25 Oct 2016 4:00pm GMT

Helping universities build what’s next with Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) now serves over one billion end-users through our customers' products and services. And today I'm happy to say that we're investing even more resources to bring these tools to higher education. We're excited to offer universities the same powerful infrastructure, data analytics and machine learning that we use to drive innovation and performance.

We believe that universities can benefit from Google Cloud Platform in three areas: research, infrastructure and teaching. In research, GCP big data and machine learning tools can power experiments and analyses that weren't even possible just a year ago. GCP frees academic IT organizations from the overhead of managing infrastructure, provisioning servers and configuring networks, and in teaching we enable professors to teach modern cloud computing subjects on Google Cloud Platform.

Supporting university research and infrastructure with Internet2

We're committed to working closely with users to understand their needs. With the aim of exploring opportunities for the cloud with universities, Google is pleased to announce that it has joined Internet2, a US-based not-for-profit, member-driven technology and advanced networking consortium dedicated to advancing new innovations and scientific discoveries for the next generation of research and education.

Founded in 1996, Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve shared technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2 operates a research and education network and serves more than 317 U.S. universities, 70 government agencies, 42 regional and state education networks, 80 leading corporations and more than 65 national research and education networking from over 100 countries.

Internet2 and Google will work with universities across the United States to explore how GCP can better serve higher education. We hope to develop projects that address the higher education community's needs around big data and machine learning technologies that can be met by Google's cloud tools.


Powering computer science teaching

In June we announced Google Cloud Platform Education Grants, and I'm pleased to share that hundreds of courses have been awarded free credits for their students. GCP is helping universities level the playing field, providing students with equal access to best-in-class compute resources. For example, at California State University, San Bernadino, Professor Vasilia's students are learning about networking and cybersecurity by using GCP's API's to program database information. Students are learning to display geolocation signal strength heatmap information for internet access points, set up virtual private networks in the cloud, test firewall rules, set up network segments and read machine data between networks using GCP's virtual network infrastructure. Fall classes are just underway, and we can't wait to tell you more about what students learn and create with GCP tools. Professors teaching courses in computer science and related fields at universities in the US can still apply for grants for classes this year or next year.

Connecting with universities at EDUCAUSE

This week we'll connect with hundreds of universities at the annual EDUCAUSE conference. If you'll be at the conference in Anaheim, visit us at booth #1800. There, you can see demos of GCP, G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education), Chromebooks, Chrome digital signage, student and faculty programs and the latest in virtual reality. You can also join us for "Machine Learning 101" Wednesday 2:30-3:20pm PT in Room 210D. Learn more from universities who are benefiting from Google technology by attending our session "The Impact of Collaborative Tools - Lessons from Universities Using G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education)" on Thursday at 1:30-2:20pm PT in Room 210C.

We're committed to strengthening our partnership with the broader higher education community, and look forward to seeing the results.

25 Oct 2016 1:00pm GMT

24 Oct 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

Field Trips to our National Parks

The national parks are our shared cultural inheritance, passed on from generation to generation for all Americans to enjoy. We believe everyone should have access to these national treasures, which is why we've worked to bring the National Parks online with Google Maps, make National Park Service historical artifacts accessible via Google Arts & Culture and created a National Parks immersive documentary.

Today we're also announcing our sponsorship of the National Park Foundation's Open Outdoors for Kids Initiative, providing funding to enable roughly 1,700 children to attend immersive education programming at national parks across the country - many experiencing a national park for the first time. Through our Field Trip Days program, we've sent more than 150,000 under-resourced students to museums, science centers, planetariums, and aquariums.

We've made it a priority to help students discover the world using technology like Google Expeditions that enable classrooms to travel to places a school bus can't reach via virtual reality. And through this sponsorship, we take an additional step forward in supporting outdoor education by helping students experience parks in person across the country. We're proud to support the National Park Service, especially during this centennial anniversary year and give students the opportunity to explore their cultural inheritance online and in person.

The sponsorship was announced by Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of Interior over the weekend at a "Campout" on the Google Kirkland campus, hosted in partnership with the Department of Interior as part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative and the YMCA. The campout was complete with s'mores and outdoor educational programing from the Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, REI and former Google.org grantee NatureBridge, who will help us to facilitate many of the Field Trip Days across the country.


We hope that programs like these inspire more students to visit our parks in the future and protect them for years to come.

24 Oct 2016 6:30pm GMT

Android Pay partners with Visa and Mastercard to bring simple checkout to more places online

Android Pay with Visa Checkout and Mastercard Masterpass

Today, Google announces strategic partnerships with Visa and Mastercard to bring Android Pay to more places on the mobile web.

Android Pay users will soon be able to pay on hundreds of thousands of new sites where Visa Checkout or Masterpass are accepted using their preferred device authentication method - like fingerprint recognition. No longer will users have to remember multiple usernames and passwords in order to checkout, saving them time and hassle.

Android Pay with Visa Checkout and MasterCard Masterpass

Visa Checkout and Masterpass users who link their accounts with Android Pay can look forward to easy and secure payments in stores and online with a simple tap.

Android Pay's open platform also makes the payment integration easy for merchants and developers. Merchants who have enabled Visa Checkout or Masterpass on their sites will instantly benefit from these enhanced payment experiences as the buttons will update automatically. And just as apps such as Fancy and Luxe have seen with Android Pay, these merchants can look forward to faster checkout times, fewer abandoned carts, higher conversions and increased sales.

This latest partnership with Visa and Mastercard is an example of how Android Pay can work with partners' existing solutions to improve the payments experience for users and merchants alike.

Look for the new integrations with Visa Checkout and Masterpass within the Android Pay app in early 2017.

24 Oct 2016 4:00pm GMT

High heels, high culture and high ambitions: YouTube Stars in Brussels

For over a decade now, people around the world have been using YouTube to tell their own stories, in their own words. It's the perfect medium for passion and performance.

Cirque du Soleil demonstrates their skills on stage

Cirque du Soleil demonstrated their skills on stage

So, to celebrate our YouTube stars across Europe, we invited them to participate in Europe on Stage - a talent-show-meets-viral-video mashup. YouTubers came together last Wednesday at Brussels' BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, where France's Yanis Marshall - who got his first big break through YouTube - got the evening off to a high-octane start with one of his dance team's legendary high-heel routines. Cirque du Soleil enthralled the audience with contortionism, juggling and beat-boxing: It's no surprise that their channel has over 34 million views.

Louise Pentland - aka SprinkleofGlitter - told her stories about meeting the Pope and becoming a UN Gender Equality Ambassador. The Chopin Institute's Artur Szklener explained how, thanks to YouTube, Chopin beat shopping in searches in Asia during the international piano competition.

And Italy's Rockin' 1000 nearly brought the house down. A 1000-person ensemble that began as a joke to convince the Foo Fighters to play in Fabio Zaffagnini's hometown Cesena, they took the stage with their loud and proud version of "Rebel Rebel".

Commissioner Christos Stylianides speaks at Europe on Stage about the power of arts and culture
Commissioner Christos Stylianides spoke about the power of arts and culture

There were some quieter, more reflective moments as well. European Commissioner Christos Stylianides spoke about the EU's response to the refugee crisis, and the vital importance of culture for Europe's future. His words were followed by a deeply moving musical performance from members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians. Earlier this year, YouTube livestreamed a performance by this talented group, who'd been working with Damon Albarn and Africa Express before being scattered by war. By coming together to perform, they celebrated a proud culture that refuses to be silenced, sharing their stories of exile and loss.

Europe's diversity is its strength, and the evening's range of acts highlighted that. Europeans use the platform to speak to audiences both at home and abroad. There are hundreds of European creators earning six figures a year from their videos, and this revenue is increasing over 50% year-on-year. Around a quarter of YouTube's global watch time is of European channels, which makes it a powerful tool for exporting the continent's culture.

YouTube is also a powerful tool for bringing out the best in people. We've launched the Creators for Change initiative, offering new resources and grants to help counter hate speech. And YouTubers have joined forces under #NichtEgal, a movement dedicated to unite Germans in countering hate online.

We are proud to celebrate the creativity that brings together diverse cultures, identities and languages on our platform. A huge thank you to everyone who celebrated with us at last week's event.

24 Oct 2016 12:00pm GMT

Bring developers together for Hash Code 2017

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be an engineer at Google?

Hash Code logo

Now's your chance to satisfy your curiosity by volunteering to host a Hash Code hub at your university, office or any local co-working space. Hash Code, a team-based programming competition, tasks university students and professionals across Europe, the Middle East and Africa with solving a real Google engineering problem. And we're looking for developers to help bring the excitement to their own communities in February 2017. Are you up for the challenge?

Last year, 17,000 students and professionals from more than 90 countries teamed up to optimize drone delivery schedules for Hash Code's Online Qualification Round. While teams can compete from wherever they'd like to, many opted to join in from one of the 300+ hubs organized by fellow developers (where, it's safe to say, they had even more fun).

Teams work together to schedule satellite operations during the 2016 Hash Code Final Round at Google Paris.
Teams work together to schedule satellite operations during the 2016 Final Round at Google Paris.

Laco Pápay organized the hub at his university in Bratislava last year (and is now a Googler based in Zurich). "Before the competition started, we had a lot of fun with set-up: decorating the room, taking pictures for the hub photo contest," he said. "When the problem was announced and people sat down to work, the fun continued. Competing against teams on a scoreboard is great, but it's even more exciting if the teams you're up against are sitting just one desk over."

The Online Qualification Round for 2017 will take place on February 23, 2017. From there, the top 50 teams will be invited to Google Paris for the Final Round on April 1.

If you think you might want to host a hub, find out more and sign up on our site. If you're not able to host but would like to compete, you can be among the first to know when registration opens in December.

24 Oct 2016 7:00am GMT

20 Oct 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

San Diego Unified School District designs today’s classroom for tomorrow’s workplace

Editor's note: San Diego Unified School District has more than 132,000 students across 226 schools. They're about to embark on what will soon be one of the largest 1:1 Chromebook programs for a school district. Leading the charge is Cindy Marten, superintendent of San Diego Unified School District. We're proud to work with San Diego Unified School District on this journey and excited about what's to come.

At San Diego Unified School District it's our mission to prepare our students, who represent more than 180 countries and 60 spoken languages, for the competitive global economy, and we believe that integrating technology into the classroom is a core part of these efforts. To ensure students graduate with the skills, motivation and curiosity to thrive in the workplace of the future we've launched a over 47,000 Chromebooks and G Suite for Education, including Google Classroom, district-wide to give all students access to collaborative technology both in the classroom and at home.

A new way to evaluate classroom tech

The innovation technology team at San Diego Unified School District, lead by Dan Stoneman, our chief innovation officer, created a 178-point rubric for evaluating classroom technology. The team created the rubric with careful attention to the skills we believe will be important in the future workplace - namely, the skills to collaborate effectively and work in the cloud. It's crucial to reinforce these skills by providing access to technology in the classroom. Many of our students don't have computers or internet at home. We believe that this program will level the playing field and prepare all of our students for the future workplace. This is why a total of 43 of our schools will be 1:1 with Chromebooks by the end of the year, giving over 16,000 students the ability to use them at home and in the classroom.

Our district saved nearly $10 million by choosing Chromebooks for our 1:1 roll-out. Chromebooks are less expensive than other devices on the market, but they are much more reliable. This has made it possible for us to both save money on purchasing new devices as well as invest in devices that will last longer. The money we've spent goes much further now that we're using more affordable devices. This enables us to ensure that every student has a working device that's up to date with the latest software.

Our district saved nearly $10 million by choosing Chromebooks for our 1:1 roll-out. Cindy Marten Superintendent, San Diego Unified School
[edu] san diego
An elementary school student shows her father a class project on her Chromebook

Building skills for the future

We're seeing the impact of Chromebooks and G Suite for Education at schools like Jefferson Elementary, which launched 147 Chromebooks for use in the classroom at the start of this school year. We wanted to see students learning to collaborate in the cloud, socialize online and work simultaneously on projects in Google Docs. These tasks require a great amount of critical thinking and communication skills and even though we're only a month into the school year, we're starting to see positive results.

For example, in Lisa Martin's fourth grade class students are using Chromebooks to work together on projects that teach communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills. At the beginning of the school year, students interviewed their peers, wrote profiles in Docs, and worked in group settings to share and edit their drafts.

Lisa is now seeing students learn how to relate to others both personally and professionally. In her own words, "The students aren't just learning from me, they're learning from each other. I have been able to step back and become a better facilitator," she says.

Inspiring more confident, engaged students

Teachers report that students are showing more confidence in the classroom. This is especially true for students who struggle with reading and writing and those who speak English as a second language. "Many students struggle with handwriting assignments, but when you give them a computer, they can focus on the work and show their thinking," says Jon Kevorkian, a fourth grade teacher at Jefferson.

We're particularly thrilled by students' enthusiasm about using technology. "I run the after school Maker club, and the students often bring their Chromebooks to show me the work they're doing in class" says Dorothy Dunham, a fourth grade teacher at Jefferson. "I've never seen anything like it before. The students would rather work on Chromebooks than play with legos after school."

Our administrative team is excited about these early results and we're looking forward to seeing the overall impact across the district. Our Chromebook program is helping us achieve our mission: for all students in our diverse community to graduate with the skills, motivation and curiosity to thrive in the workplace of the future.

20 Oct 2016 4:30pm GMT

19 Oct 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

Android Pay says “Nei hou” to Hong Kong

Whether you're heading out to buy groceries, grabbing a cup of coffee, or picking up some egg tarts for your family and friends, now your Android phone is all you need as you walk out the door. Starting today, Android Pay is available in Hong Kong to help you speed through purchases in stores and in apps.

Android Pay in Hong Kong

Hongkongers can now use Android Pay at over 5,000 locations in Hong Kong where contactless payments are accepted, including stores such as at 7-Eleven, Circle K, Fortress, Mannings, Maxim's Cakes, MX, McDonald's, Pacific Coffee, PARKnSHOP, SmarTone, Watsons, Wellcome and more. Android Pay also stores your gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers right on your phone.

Featured Stores for Android Pay in Hong Kong

Android Pay can also help you breeze through checkout in your favorite apps, including Boutir Collect, Deliveroo, Kaligo, Klook, Snaptee, and coming soon, Uber and more. Just look for the Android Pay button, and say goodbye to entering your payment and address details each time you buy.

Featured Apps for Android Pay in Hong Kong

To get started, download the app from Google Play. It's available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled, supporting Google Play Services, and running on KitKat 4.4 or higher. Android Pay works with MasterCard and Visa cards from BEA, DBS, Dah Sing Bank, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong. You can add multiple cards (there's no limit to how many you can add) and select which card you want to use before you pay, so you can always enjoy the best deals available.

Networks & Issuers for Android Pay in Hong Kong

Merchants, want to accept Android Pay?

As an open platform, Android Pay is available to merchants that want to push mobile payments forward. In-store merchants can access the Android Pay Merchant Help Centre or reach out to acquirer partners such as DBS, First Data and Hang Seng to learn more about accepting contactless payments.

For online merchants, just visit the Android Pay API developer site to learn how to accept Android Pay in your app. We're working with payment processors such as: Adyen, Braintree, First Data, Global Payments, Stripe and Worldpay to make enabling Android Pay in Hong Kong simple and easy.
Featured Partners for Android Pay in Hong Kong

Get started with Android Pay in Hong Kong today: Download from Google Play, add your card and start tapping and shopping!

19 Oct 2016 9:00pm GMT

New time-saving features in G Suite for Education

G Suite for Education helps students move from collecting ideas to creating projects and papers as quickly and easily as possible. Google Docs achieves this by facilitating collaboration, making it easy to work on any device, and weaving in machine intelligence to handle the more mundane elements of getting work done.

Today we're introducing new time-saving features to Docs, Sheets and Slides designed to speed up and simplify the way teachers and students work, so they can focus on what's really important-teaching and learning. These apps still have all of the same functionality that students and teachers love, with the addition of these new features.

1. Less time spent organizing next steps with Action Items

When reviewing a student's assignment, it's helpful for teachers to give them clear guidance on the next step they should take, like which specific paragraphs need to be reworked in their essay. Now, when teachers type phrases like "AI: Ryan to show work on the answer to this problem," or "Todo: Andrea to fix punctuation in this paragraph" on desktop, Docs will intelligently suggest an Action Item to assign to the right person, thanks to natural language processing (NLP).


Teachers can also manually assign an action item to a student in the Docs, Sheets, and Slides desktop and mobile apps by mentioning them in a comment and checking the new action item box. To help the student stay on track, they will get an email notification and see the action item(s) clearly highlighted with a blue bar when they open the file.

[edu] docs bundle

2. Less time spent searching for the files that need attention

Once action items have been assigned, it's now easy for students to identify documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that need their attention. The next time they visit Docs, Sheets, Slides (or Drive) from their laptops or mobile apps, they'll see a badge on files with action items assigned to them, plus any unresolved suggestions that others have made to their files.

[edu] docs bundle

3. Less time spent building questions with smarter Forms

Since its launch in 2008, over a billion questions have been asked in Forms. With the help of neural networks, our tools reviewed anonymized data and identified many common patterns in Forms. As a result, Forms can now predict the type of question that is being asked and suggest response options based on what is typed, resulting in 25% faster form creation.

For example, a teacher can collect information for the marching band's upcoming trip. When she types "What day of the week are you and your parent/guardian available?", Forms will intelligently determine that "Checkbox" is the ideal question type, and generate the days of the week as the appropriate response options that can be added one by one or all together.

[edu] docs bundle

Also debuting today, is a top-requested feature from our education customers - the new "File upload" question type. Students can now upload files from their computer or Drive - all of which are neatly collected in a folder in the teacher's Drive. This means students can now add files-from a photo for the marching band program to videos of French dialogue practice-directly to Google Forms. Note: This feature is currently only available for intra-domain use.

[edu] docs bundle

4. Less time spent typing with a set of new voice typing commands

Last year, we launched Voice typing in Docs on the web helping to capture ideas, big and small, without lifting a finger. Today, we're adding new ways for teachers and students to format and customize content with voice commands for changing text color, deleting words, inserting links and comments, plus a number of other ways to format, hands-free.

With the combination of today's updates and last month's Explore launch, we're channeling machine intelligence to help students stay on track with their assignments and give them time to focus on the things that will help them succeed.

19 Oct 2016 6:00pm GMT

Five new ways to reach your goals faster with G Suite

One of the core promises of Google Docs is to help you and your team go from collecting ideas to achieving your goals as quickly and easily as possible. That's why last month we launched Explore in Docs, Sheets and Slides - with machine intelligence built right in - to help your team create amazing presentations, spreadsheets and documents in a fraction of the time it used to take.

Today, we're introducing five new time-saving features designed to speed up and simplify the way you work, so you can focus on bringing your team's ideas to life.

1. Spend less time figuring out who owns what with Action Items

According to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, employees spend about 20 percent of their work week - nearly an entire day - searching for details internally and tracking down colleagues for answers. This can be especially true when a document is full of ideas, requests and comments, making it difficult to get a clear sense of who's responsible for what.

To help keep your projects moving, when you type phrases like "Ryan to follow up on the keynote script," or "Andrea to schedule a weekly check in" on desktop, Docs will intelligently suggest an Action Item to assign to the right person, thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP).
G Suite Bundle: Image 5

You can also manually assign an Action Item to someone in the Docs, Sheets and Slides desktop and mobile apps by mentioning their name in a comment and checking the new Action Item box. The assignee will get an email notification and see the Action Item(s) clearly highlighted with a blue bar when they open the file.

G Suite Bundle Image 1

2. Spend less time searching for the files that need attention

Once Action Items have been assigned, it's easy for team members to identify documents, spreadsheets and presentations that need their attention. The next time they visit Docs, Sheets, Slides (or Drive) from their laptops or mobile apps, they'll see a badge on any files with Action Items assigned to them, plus any unresolved suggestions that others have made to their files.

G Suite Bundle: Image 2

3. Spend less time building questions with smarter Forms

Since its launch in 2008, more than a billion questions have been asked in Forms, allowing us to identify common patterns, like question types and the response options that usually go with them. With the help of neural networks, we can now predict the type of question you're asking and suggest potential responses for you to choose from, giving you back about 25 percent of the time you used to spend creating a Form.

Let's say you're planning an all-day event at the office and need to know which day works best for your team. When you type "What days are you available next week?" Forms will intelligently determine that "Checkbox" is the ideal question type, and generate related response options that you can add one by one or all together.
G Suite Bundle: Image 3

Also debuting today is a top-requested feature from our business and education customers - the new "File upload" question type. Your respondents can now upload files from their computer or Drive - all of which are neatly collected for you in a new Drive folder. Note: This feature is only available for G Suite customers in Forms shared within their organization.

G Suite Bundle: Image 4

4. Spend less time typing with a set of new voice commands

Last year, we launched Voice typing in Docs on the web to help you capture ideas, big and small, without lifting a finger. Today, we're adding more ways to format and customize content with commands for changing text color, deleting words, inserting links and comments, plus a number of other ways to format, hands-free.

5. Spend less time switching between apps to get things done

We want you to be as productive and collaborative as possible, regardless of the tools you choose to work with, so we've partnered with Slack to make it even easier to work with Google Docs files.

With a click of the "+" button in Slack, you can bring files from Drive directly into a conversation with your team, or create new Docs, Sheets and Slides files right from Slack. You can check out more details on Slack's blog.

G Suite Bundled: Image 7

With the introduction of Explore, and more and more updates to products that build in machine intelligence, taking back time spent on mundane, repetitive tasks will only get easier with G Suite. Now, you can focus your energy on creative and strategic work, not busy work.

19 Oct 2016 5:00pm GMT

Supporting women in tech at GHC 16

The 2016 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) begins today, and we're thrilled to join the 15,000 women and allies convening in Houston for three days of learning, inspiration and community building. Thousands of women at Google are building tools and products that organize the world's information, help businesses get online and prosper, and forge connections across a growing digital community of 3.5 billion people. So it only makes sense that Google would be part of the world's largest gathering of women technologists. We see GHC as a critical way to connect women in tech and help clear hurdles to their professional development.

GHC2016_COLOR REV1.png

We know that there's much more work to do to help level the playing field - and that's why the mission of the Grace Hopper Celebration is so important. Just yesterday we reported new U.S. research from Gallup and Google that suggests girls are less likely than boys to be told by parents and teachers that they would be good at computer science. We also found that girls are less likely than boys to be aware of computer science learning opportunities outside of school.

We've worked hard to recruit and support amazing women leaders since the very beginning of Google, but we also want to support efforts to improve women's representation across the entire tech ecosystem. That's why we've been part of of GHC since 2004. For the past 12 years, we've also worked with the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), which produces GHC, to bring more women into computer science careers. Google's Alan Eustace is a founding member of the ABI Board of Trustees, and his friendship with Anita Borg herself gave rise to the Women Techmakers Scholars Program (formerly known as the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program). To date, the program has awarded more than 1,000 scholarships globally, and we've been very happy to hire many of them to come work here.

If you're planning to attend the conference, don't be a stranger. If you see one of us sporting a Google T-shirt, we'd love to meet you. Stop by our booth (#1730), or come to one of our 25 presentations. Some of the highlights include our VP of Engineering and Machine Learning Anna Patterson, who will deliver a keynote on entrepreneurism and receive the 2016 ABI Excellence Award; and Captain of Moonshots Astro Teller, who will discuss how to embrace failure in the name of breakthrough. Follow us on Twitter for updates from the show floor and definitely visit our Careers site to find your place with us.

19 Oct 2016 2:00pm GMT

18 Oct 2016

feedThe Official Google Blog

It takes a teacher to create a family-like community at school

Editor's Note: Over the next few months, we'll be shining light on the creative power of teachers worldwide. We'll share a series of teacher stories, building towards a global online gathering of educators on December 3: Education on Air. Join the movement by sharing what teachers mean to you with #ItTakesATeacher.

Beatriz Porro's mom was a teacher in Argentina, but she never thought she'd follow in her mother's footsteps until she saw the impact teaching had on students' lives. Today, after 27 years of inspiring children in the classroom, Porro continues to create strong connections with students, empowering them to reach their potential. She teaches Spanish 3, Spanish V AP Language and Culture and Spanish VI AP Literature and Culture at East Leyden High School in Illinois. We talked to Porro to hear how she creates a community in and outside the classroom:

It takes a teacher to listen and empower students to speak up

For Porro, teaching isn't just a way to pay the bills and keep the heat running. It's her passion. In her classroom students have equal input into the curriculum, are comfortable coming to Porro for help and know she'll always push them to achieve more. "Students see that I love teaching them, and they know they can tell me when they're having trouble with an assignment or concept," she says.

After a career spanning three decades, Porro is retiring this year, and principal Jason Markey wanted to know her secret for connecting with students. Her answer: listening. Some teachers simply instruct and don't take the time to understand what students are interested in learning or what topics they're struggling with. Porro believes listening to students is the key to engaging them in the classroom and encouraging them to study and pass the AP exam. She asks students for ideas and modifies the curriculum based on their feedback, designing classes that everybody can get excited about.

For example, Hilda, a senior at East Leyden who previously lived in Mexico, suggested that her class discuss their thoughts about the book Letters from Hernan Cortes, and share their ideas with her former classmates in Mexico. The two classes are planning to talk via Skype about Cortes' conquests and why the U.S. celebrates Columbus Day. Porro welcomed the opportunity to give her students a culturally-rich perspective of Hernan Cortes. Hilda and her classmates are also interested in talking about the U.S. election and Donald Trump's relations with Mexico. Porro and East Leyden's principal recognize that these are going to be controversial discussions, but engaging with students in Mexico will give them with a new point of view of Mexico's history and a different perspective on U.S. politics.

"I love the fact that we can express our perspective toward both current and past events that affect our community today," says Hilda. "The best conversations were initiated by someone in the class bringing up a controversial thought and Señora Porro encouraging us to continue the conversation by stating our point of view towards that specific topic."

Porro ensures that students have a well-rounded Spanish education and learn about current events in addition to history and culture. Once a week, students in her Spanish 3 class find an article from one of 28 Spanish-speaking newspapers and present what they've read to the class. This exposes them to international news that impacts the U.S. and other Spanish-speaking countries.

It takes a teacher to support students in their personal and school lives

Some students don't have the support they need at home, so Porro opens her arms to students whether they need help with Spanish literature or personal troubles. "Last week two students who are going through tough times came to me and said they needed to talk. They didn't have an adult to confide in, and I was there for them," she says. Earlier this year, assistant principal Karen Ritter wrote Porro a letter telling her that many students see her as their second mom.

"Señora Porro has a passionate, understanding, open, warm heart that welcomes all people regardless of who they are," says Ronahy, a freshman in college who took three classes with Porro. "She makes students feel like they're part of her own family. She is always there to vent to when you need someone to listen. I was very fortunate to have a teacher that accepted me and really loved the presence of her students."

It takes a teacher to create authentic cultural experiences beyond the classroom

Porro gives students the opportunity to experience rich Latin American culture by hosting class dinners and creating a reciprocal relationship outside school hours. The day before the AP exam, Porro invited her 16 students and the school principal to her house to study and enjoy a home-cooked Argentinian BBQ. When Porro gets the AP exam results in July, she rewards her students by treating them to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

Porro tells her students that when they graduate college, they can return the favor. Earlier this month, one of Porro's former students who is now in college invited Porro and her husband for a home-cooked meal at her parents' house. The student's mom cooked mole to show her appreciation for the support shown to her daughter through high school and into college.

"Señora Porro encourages us to find the connection between the didactic material and how we interact with each other as a society," Hilda says. "She always has the objective to not only teach Spanish literature and culture but also to teach life lessons."

To connect with and learn from teachers like Beatriz, join us for Education on Air on December 3rd.

We also invite you to join this movement by sharing what teachers mean to you with #ItTakesATeacher and seeing your own and others' stories re-shared at google.com/edu/teacher.

18 Oct 2016 9:30pm GMT

¡Oye! Discover even more Latin music on Google Play Music

GPM Latin 1

¡Hola! Desplazarse hacia abajo para leer este mensaje en español -Ed.

Google Play Music makes it easy for you to listen to the right music at the right moment. Instead of digging through our catalog of 40 million songs on your own, our concierge of playlists helps you find the perfect, expertly curated soundtrack for any mood, activity or time of day. Enjoy music for watching the sunset, cooking or working out.

Starting this week in the U.S., if you're an avid listener of Latin music, when you open Google Play Music you'll see many more Latin playlists alongside your other recommendations. We've added 10 times the number of Latin playlists to Google Play Music with more to come. Each station has been handcrafted - song by song - by our team of Latin music experts (a mix of DJs, musicians and music critics). You can now choose one of our new Latin playlists to make whatever you're doing even better - whether it's Rock en español para sudar during your morning workout, banda sing-alongs to make your commute whiz by, or an abuela-approved reggaeton mix for your next family gathering.

If you already have playlists and artists you like listening to, Latin music won't replace them. We still want to give you the right music at the right time - whether that's Britney or Romeo Santos. Now, you'll just see even more Latin music playlists to make each of your moments better.

GPM Latin 2

¡Oye! Descubre más música Latina en Google Play Música

Con Google Play Música puedes disfrutar fácilmente de la mejor música en el momento adecuado. En lugar de buscar a través de nuestro catálogo de 40 millones de canciones, nuestras listas musicales personalizadas te permiten escuchar canciones y estaciones de radio basadas en lo que estés haciendo, tu estado de ánimo u hora del dia. Encuentra música para cuando estes viendo el atardecer, cocinando o haciendo ejercicio.

A partir de esta semana en los EE.UU., si eres un fanático de la música Latina, al usar Google Play Música verás más listas y estaciones de música Latina junto a otras recomendaciones basadas en tus preferencias musicales. Hemos añadido 10 veces el número de listas de música Latina a Google Play Música, y esto es solo el principio!. Cada estación ha sido diseñada a mano - canción por canción - por nuestro equipo de expertos en música Latina (una mezcla de DJs, músicos y críticos musicales). Ahora puedes elegir una de nuestras nuevas listas para hacer lo que estás haciendo aún mejor. Escucha "Rock en español para sudar" cuando estés haciendo ejercicio por la mañana, banda sing-alongs cuando estés manejando, o un reggaeton mix aprobado por la abuela durante tu próxima reunión familiar.

Si ya tienes listas de canciones y artistas que te gustan escuchar, nuestras listas de música Latina no las reemplazan. Queremos brindarte la mejor música en el momento adecuado - ya sea Britney o Romeo Santos. Ahora veras mas listas y estaciones de radio con música Latina para hacer de cada momento uno mejor.

18 Oct 2016 5:00pm GMT

Racial and gender gaps in computer science learning: New Google-Gallup research

Today, we're releasing new research from our partnership with Gallup that investigates the demographic inequities in K-12 computer science (CS) education in two reports, Diversity Gaps in Computer Science: Exploring the Underrepresentation of Girls, Blacks and Hispanics and Trends in the State of Computer Science in U.S. K-12 Schools. We surveyed 16,000 nationally representative groups of students, parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents in the U.S. Our findings explore the CS learning gap between white students and their Black and Hispanic peers as well as between boys and girls and confirm just how much demographic differences matter. We're excited to share this data to bring awareness to issues on the ground in order to help expand CS education in meaningful ways.

GoEDU_Racial_Gender_Info_1018_r1_01 (2).png

Progress around access has been made in K-12 CS education. We found that 40 percent of K-12 principals say they offer CS classes with programming/coding, up from 25 percent the year before, an increase that may be explained by the tremendous increase in support and awareness of CS education. However, a great deal of work still remains, as access for students is not universal, and disparities exist particularly for underrepresented groups:

  • Black students are less likely to have access to CS in classes at school compared to white or Hispanic students. Specifically, 47 percent say they have dedicated CS classes, compared to 58 percent of white students and 59 percent of Hispanic students.

  • Black and Hispanic students are less likely than white students to use computers at home and/or at school frequently. Only 58 percent of Black and 50 percent of Hispanic students say they use a computer at least most days at home, compared to 68 percent of white students.

Although structural barriers and lack of access and exposure for Black and Hispanic students are prevalent, their interest is disproportionately higher:

  • Black and Hispanic students are more likely than their white counterparts to be interested in learning CS. Black students are 1.5 times and Hispanic students are 1.7 times as likely as white students to be interested in learning CS.

  • Black and Hispanic parents want their child to learn CS. Of parents whose child has not learned CS, 92 percent of Black and Hispanic parents want their child to learn CS compared to 84 percent of white parents.

GoEDU_Racial_Gender_Info_1018_r1_02 (2).png

To help broaden participation in CS learning, we also need to understand barriers beyond access. The quality of offerings should be rigorous and social perceptions should support all students. We found:

  • Hispanic students have less exposure to role models - just 49 percent of Hispanic students say an adult in their lives works with computers or technology compared to 58 percent of white and 65 percent of Black students.

  • Hispanic students and girls are less likely to see media images of CS reflect themselves and, of students who see those in the media engaged in CS, girls are about half as likely as boys to say that they often see someone like themselves.

  • Girls are less likely than boys to report being told by parents or teachers that they would be good at CS (39 percent versus 56 percent of boys) and are less likely than boys to be aware of CS learning opportunities outside of school.

  • Not surprisingly, both Hispanics and girls have lower confidence to learn CS and are less likely to have learned CS.

As our research and decades of work have uncovered, CS education is a complex space. We must work together to catalyze the changes needed to challenge narrow social images of CS, while simultaneously working to bring about universal access to quality CS education. Yesterday's announcement of the K-12 Computer Science Framework, which Google supports, represents a momentous step toward guiding schools on high quality, rigorous CS education. We hope that our research continues to support collaboration efforts like the framework to increase equitable opportunities for all students to learn CS.

18 Oct 2016 8:00am 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

Mobile Google Tests Trending Searches

Bing has a cool feature: just click the search box and you get a list of trending searches. Google has been testing a similar feature this year in the mobile search interface. It started as an experiment in the Google Search app for Android back in January and now I noticed the same experiment when visiting Google.com in Chrome.

Google shows 5 searches that are currently popular and most of them seem to be related to recent news. Obviously, Google's results include a lot of news articles.

"The difference between trending and normal auto-complete is basically the difference of showing search suggestions based on years of query history vs the past 48 hours of search query history (in the most simplistic way)," says Barry Schwartz, who reported about this last month.

30 Sep 2016 5:48pm GMT

14 Sep 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Destinations, Now for Desktop

Google launched the "plan a trip" feature for mobile phones back in March and now it's available in the regular desktop interface, as well. "Destinations on Google helps you discover and plan your next vacation, right from Google Search," informed Google.

Search for a continent, a country or state you'd like to visit and the Knowledge Graph card has a "plan a trip" section which includes a travel guide, information about hotels and upcoming events.

The travel guide link sends you to a new Google Destinations site which shows beautiful photos, a short description of the place, links to Google Flights, Google Hotel Finder, a trip planning feature, a list of suggested itineraries, top sights, videos, related places, information about climate and the most popular months to visit the place you picked.

Google displays a list of popular itineraries which are generated from the historic visits of other travelers.

The trip planning feature is quite clever. Google shows "highs and lows for the next six months, so you can find the right price tag for you. And as you slide left or right, the results instantly update with real-time fares and rates, pulling from the trillions of flight itineraries and hotels we price every day on Google Flights and Hotel search. You can also customize results further with flight and hotel preferences, including number of stops, hotel class, and number of travelers."

Google Destinations also works for queries like [asia destinations], which shows popular destinations and lets you filter them by interest: beach, culture, golf, hiking, nature, scuba diving, shopping, skiing, wildlife.

{ Thanks, Mukil Elango. }

14 Sep 2016 9:07am 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


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