Securely log in to Hangouts Chat desktop apps with SSO or security keys

We’re improving the Hangouts Chat sign in process to support using Single-Sign-On (SSO) and security keys within our native MacOS and Windows apps. These authentication options were previously only available for Chat on the web.

With SSO, employees can use the same, easy sign-in process for Chat that they use to access all of their enterprise cloud applications after signing in just one time.

For admins who have required that their users have 2-step verification enabled, this requirement will now apply to Chat desktop apps as well.

Launch Details
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Launching to both Rapid Release and Scheduled Release

Editions:
Available to all G Suite editions

Rollout pace:
Full rollout (1–3 days for feature visibility)

Impact:
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

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Help Center: Use Security Key for 2-Step Verification

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Playtime 2018: Helping you build better apps in a smaller bundle

Posted by Matt Henderson, Product Manager, Google Play

Today we are kicking off Playtime, our annual global event series, hosting over 800 attendees in Berlin and San Francisco to share insights from experts around the world and the latest updates on our products. This will be followed by events in Sao Paulo, Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo.

At Google Play, we continue to invest in tools that make it easier for you to develop and distribute your apps to a global audience. Below are some of the exciting updates we are announcing today:

Building smaller apps

The Android App Bundle is Android's new publishing format, with which you can more easily deliver a great experience in a smaller app size. Smaller apps have higher conversion rates and our user research shows that app size is a leading motivator in driving uninstalls. With the Android App Bundle's modularization, you can also deliver features on demand, instead of at install time, further reducing the size of your app.

Thousands of app bundles are already in production, with an average size reduction of 35%. Today, we are announcing updates that offer additional reasons for you to switch to the bundle.

  • More size savings: app bundles will now be on average 8% smaller on download and 16% smaller on device on M+ devices with no additional developer work. These new savings come from supporting uncompressed native libraries, which eliminates the need to store multiple copies on the device.
  • Easier to switch: you can now build app bundles in the Android Studio 3.2 stable release and in Unity 2018.3 beta.
  • Improved support for large apps: you can now upload large app bundles with installed APK sizes of up to 500MB without needing to use expansion files. This feature is in early access and we will roll it out to all developers in the future.

To learn more about the Android App Bundle, dynamic features, and all the benefits you receive from building a smaller, modular app, read our Medium post.

Building a unified instant experience

We've been listening to your feedback to make it easier to build instant apps, and we recently increased the size limit to 10MB to enable TRY NOW on the Play Store and removed the URL requirement. For game developers, we've partnered with Unity on a Google Play Instant plug-in and have built instant directly into the new Cocos Creator.

We’re now using the Android App Bundle to solve one of the primary pain points of building instant apps. Previously, you needed to publish both an instant app and an installable app. With Android Studio 3.2, you could publish instant-enabled bundles but you were still required to publish a primary app bundle.

Now, you don't have to maintain separate code. With the Android Studio 3.3 beta release, a developer can publish a single app bundle and classify it or a particular module to be instant enabled. The unified app bundle is the future of instant app experiences and we hope you will try it out.

Extending instant trials

Google Play Instant is now available for premium titles and pre-registration campaigns, so people can try your game before it launches and generate additional buzz. New apps and games join Google Play Instant every day, and we're excited to welcome Umiro, by Devolver Digital, and Looney Tunes World of Mayhem, by Scopely, as some of the first to take advantage of these new features.

Reducing crash rates and improving quality

The Play Console offers two tools to help you monitor performance and improve the quality of your apps. The pre-launch report runs your apps on real devices situated in the Firebase Test Lab and generates useful metadata to help you identify and fix issues before pushing your apps to production. Android vitals helps you track the performance and quality of your app on users' devices in the real world.

Now, we're linking them together to provide more actionable insights. Whenever a real-world crash in Android vitals is also seen during a pre-launch report execution, you'll get all the extra metadata from the pre-launch report available to you in the Android vitals dashboard so you can debug more effectively. This is also linked in both directions, so that if a crash occurs in pre-launch reports that is already happening in the real world, you'll be able to see the current impact in Android vitals which will help you better prioritize the issues highlighted by pre-launch reports.

Optimizing your app and business

We've made several updates to make it easier to manage your app and business with Play.

  • Tools for retaining subscribers: at I/O we introduced the cancellation survey, where you can get insights into why your subscribers are canceling. Now we're testing the ability for users to temporarily pause their subscriptions instead of outright canceling, and giving you the ability to deliver promotions to win back canceled subscribers.
  • More flexible subscription pricing: you can now change the price of an existing subscription without needing to create a new SKU in Play Billing Library version 1.2. You can also offer a plan change and make the change effective at the existing renewal date.
  • More powerful metrics: we've added new tools in the Play Console to help you evaluate your core metrics. Additions include cumulative data, 30-day rolling average metrics, and roll-ups for different time periods to better match the cadence of your business. You can also download any configured reports as a CSV file.
  • Easier app updates: you can now prompt users to update without leaving your app with a new API called In-App Updates. Developers can either show a full screen experience that takes the user from download to restart, or help the user download and install in the background with graceful state monitoring. This program is currently in early access and will roll out in the next few months.

A new way to learn about Play

We're equally excited to launch the Academy for App Success with new interactive courses to help developers get the most out of the Play Console, understand Play policies, and utilize best practices to improve quality and increase business performance. This free new program allows you to track your learning progress with quizzes and achievements to demonstrate your expertise. Available in English today, new content and translated courses will be added soon.

We continue to be inspired by what you build and the impact you have on people around the world. Check our #IMakeApps collection which celebrate some amazing people who create apps and games and share your #IMakeApps story.

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Robbie Ivey’s story: how technology removes barriers

At Google we believe in the power of technology to make a difference in people’s lives. And for 19-year-old Robbie Ivey from Michigan, that certainly rings true.


Robbie has duchenne muscular dystrophy, which has left him able to control only his eyes, head and right thumb joint. Among the many challenges Robbie and his family face, nighttime is one of the key ones. For years, Robbie’s mom Carrie has set her alarm every few hours to get up and change his position in bed so he doesn’t get bed sores or infections. Earlier this year, a sleep-deprived Carrie put out a message to the Muscular Dystrophy Association asking for help to try and find a better way.  She got a response from Bill Weir, a retired tech worker, who thought he could set up Robbie’s bed to be controlled by voice activation. While working on the bed, Bill had an epiphany: if he can control the bed this way, why not everything else in Robbie’s bedroom universe?


As part of our efforts to spotlight accessible technologies throughout National Disability Awareness Month, we hear directly from Robbie about how technology has helped him gain more independence in his life as he starts off on his first year at Oakland Universityin Rochester.

Compose actions in Gmail Add-ons now available

Compose actions in Gmail Add-ons make it easy to add links and attachments from apps like Box, Dropbox, Atlassian’s Jira, and Egnyte to any Gmail message—right as you’re drafting it. We’re launching Compose actions to G Suite customers today with those four partners (plus more on the way). See our post on the G Suite blog for more details.

Gmail Add-ons with compose actions can be installed from the G Suite Marketplace. Like all other Gmail Add-ons, G Suite admins can install them for their entire domain or add them to their whitelist.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid Release and Scheduled Release

Editions:
Available to all G Suite editions

Rollout pace:
Full rollout (1–3 days for feature visibility)

Impact:
Admins and end users

Action:
Admin action suggested/FYI

More Information
G Suite blog: Never miss a beat—new integrations make it easy to insert content, trigger actions within Gmail
Help Center: Install Marketplace apps
Help Center: Control user installation of Marketplace apps

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A new course to teach people about fairness in machine learning

In my undergraduate studies, I majored in philosophy with a focus on ethics, spending countless hours grappling with the notion of fairness: both how to define it and how to effect it in society. Little did I know then how critical these studies would be to my current work on the machine learning education team where I support efforts related to the responsible development and use of AI.


As ML practitioners build, evaluate, and deploy machine learning models, they should keep fairness considerations (such as how different demographics of people will be affected by a model’s predictions) in the forefront of their minds. Additionally, they should proactively develop strategies to identify and ameliorate the effects of algorithmic bias.


To help practitioners achieve these goals, Google’s engineering education and ML fairness teams developed a 60-minute self-study training module on fairness, which is now available publicly as part of our popular Machine Learning Crash Course (MLCC).

ML bias

The MLCC Fairness module explores how human biases affect data sets. For example, people asked to describe a photo of bananas may not remark on their color (“yellow bananas”) unless they perceive it as atypical.

Students who complete this training will learn:

  • Different types of human biases that can manifest in machine learning models via data
  • How to identify potential areas of human bias in data before training a model
  • Methods for evaluating a model’s predictions not just for overall performance, but also for bias

In conjunction with the release of this new Fairness module, we’ve added more than a dozen new fairness entries to our Machine Learning Glossary (tagged with a scale icon in the right margin). These entries provide clear, concise definitions of the key fairness concepts discussed in our curriculum, designed to serve as a go-to reference for both beginners and experienced practitioners. We also hope these glossary entries will help further socialize fairness concerns within the ML community.


We’re excited to share this module with you, and hope that it provides additional tools and frameworks that aid in building systems that are fair and inclusive for all. You can learn more about our work in fairness and on other responsible AI practices on our website.

Strike a pose with Pixel 3

With Pixel, we want to give you a camera that you can always trust and rely on. That means a camera which is fast, can take photos in any light and has built-in intelligence to capture those moments that only happen once. The camera should also give you a way to get creative with your photos and videos and be able to easily edit and share.

To celebrate Pixel 3 hitting the shelves in the US today, here are 10 things you can do with the Pixel camera.

1. Just point and shoot!

The Pixel camera has HDR+ on by default which uses computational photography to help you take better pictures in scenes where there is a range of brightness levels. When you press the shutter button, HDR+ actually captures a rapid burst of pictures, then quickly combines them into one. This improves results in both low-light and high dynamic range situations.

2. Top Shot

Get the best shot on the first try. When you take a motion photo, Top Shot captures alternate high-quality shots, then recommends the best one—even if it’s not exactly when you hit the shutter. Behind the scenes,Top Shot looks for those shots where everyone is smiling, with eyes open and facing the camera. Just click on the thumbnail when you take a picture and you’ll get a suggestion to choose a better picture when one is available. You can also find top shots on photos whenever you want by swiping up on the photo in Google Photos. Top Shot works best on people and is getting better all the time.

Top Shot

Top Shot on Pixel 3 

3. Night Sight

In low light scenes when you'd typically use flash—but don't want to because it makes a big scene, blinds your friends, and leaves harsh, uneven lighting—Night Sight can help you take colorful, detailed and low-noise pictures in super low light. Night Sight is coming soon to Pixel. 

4. Super Res Zoom

Pixel 3 lets you zoom in and still get sharp, detailed images. Fun fact: this works by taking advantage of the natural shaking of your hand when you take a photo. For every zoomed shot, we combine a burst of slightly different images, resulting in better resolution, and lower noise. So when you pinch-zoom before pressing the shutter, you’ll definitely get a lot more details in your picture than if you crop afterwards.

5. Group Selfie Cam

If you’re having trouble fitting everyone in shot, or you want the beautiful scenery as well as your beautiful face, try our new wide angle lens that lets you get much more in your selfie. You can get up to 184% more in the shot*, or 11 people is my own personal record. Wide angle lenses fit more people in the shot, but they also stretch and distort faces that are on the edge. The Pixel camera uses AI to correct this, so every face looks natural and you can use the full field of view of the selfie cam.

6. Photobooth

You spend ages getting the selfie at precisely the right angle, but then you try and reach the shutter button and lose the frame. Photobooth mode lets you take photos without pressing the shutter button: simply smile, poke your tongue out, or pucker those lips.

7. Playground

Bring more of your imagination to a scene with Playmoji— augmented reality characters that react to each other and to you—and add animated stickers and fun captions to your photos and videos. Playground also works on the front camera, so you can up your selfie game by standing next to characters you love, like Iron Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Playground on Pixel 3

Playground on Pixel 3 helps you create and play with the world around you

8. Google Lens Suggestions

Just point the Pixel 3 camera at contact info, URLs, and barcodes and it’ll automatically suggest things to do like calling the number, or sending an email. This all happens without you having to type anything and Lens will show the suggestions even when you’re offline. It’s particularly helpful with business cards, movie posters, and takeout menus.

9. Portrait Mode

Our improved Portrait Mode on Pixel is designed to give you even sharper and more beautiful images this year. Plus we’ve added some fun editing options in Google Photos—like being able to change the blurriness of the background, or change the part of the picture in focus after you’ve taken it. Google Photos can also make the subject of your photo pop by leaving them in color, while changing the background to black and white.

Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode and color pop with Pixel 3 and Google Photos

10. Smooth video

We’ve added new selfie video stabilization so now you can get super smooth video from the front or back cameras. And if you’re recording someone or something that is moving, just tap on them and the video will lock on the subject as they, or you, move—so you don’t lose focus.

Finally, if you’re a pro photographer, we’ve added a bunch of new features to help you manage your photography from the ability to export RAW, to external mic support, to synthetic fill flash which mimics professional lighting equipment to bring a beautiful glow to your pictures.

Once you’ve taken all those amazing photos and videos, Pixel comes with unlimited storage so you never get that “storage full” pop up at a crucial moment.** 

Share your pics using #teampixel so we can see what you create with Pixel 3.



*Compared to iPhone Xs

**Free, unlimited online original-quality storage for photos/videos uploaded from Pixel 3 to Google Photos through 1/31/2022, and those photos/videos will remain free at original quality. g.co/help/photostorage

A better way to share your ETA with Google Maps

Getting where you need to go is important, but making it to your destination safe and sound is the most important thing of all. Today, Google Maps is improving journey sharing on Android and bringing it to iOS, making it easier to share your ETA with loved ones so you can keep your hands off your phone and your eyes on the road. Here’s how it works:

After you’ve started navigating to a destination, tap on the ˄ button and then on “Share trip progress.” From here you’ll be able to share your live location, route, and ETA with all your favorite contacts. Today’s update also allows for sharing across 3rd party apps like Facebook Messenger, Line, WhatsApp, and more—so you can communicate with friends on the platforms you prefer. Once your journey ends, you’ll automatically stop sharing your location.


journey sharing ios

Improved journey sharing is now available for driving, walking, and cycling navigation on Android and iOS. To get started, make sure to update Google Maps from the Play Store or App Store.




Source: Google LatLong


How to Start Coding (Without Paying Much) Today!

School's back in session, and you're curious how you can start coding in your free time? Never fear, because Aaron Hobson, Code Next Oakland coach and lead curriculum developer, has rallied to assemble a list of opportunities and tools that you can pull from. While geared towards middle and high school students – we've found these resources to be effective for new learners of all ages who are interested in coding, the arts, or just making something with their hands. 

SO YOU WANT ONLINE CODING TOOLS...

Here is a list of free (or in some cases, “free trial”) tools that you can use if you wish to learn programming on your own. They are organized into arbitrary “levels” in order to help you determine where you might want to start, based on experience. 

Level 1 (Beginner, never really tried to code)


Level 2 (Done some basic block-based coding)

  • Move away from block-based to actual code with Alice 2 (free), CodeCombat (free trial) and CodeHS (purchase required).

Level 3 (Ready to start creating apps)

  • Alice 3 (free) is an upgrade from Alice 2. You can also try your hand at MIT App Inventor (free) to start creating your own apps!

Level 4 (Looking to code with actual languages like Python)
  • Processing (free) is a software sketchbook, and great for creating cool art and graphics. Greenfoot (free) and BlueJ (free) are also great free coding platforms.
  • What about going straight for a language that our own Google engineers use? Try a hand at Python. Check out these two online textbooks—Invent with Python and A Byte of Python.
  • There are also other websites with huge collections of computer science courses worth checking out, including CodeHS, Coursera, Udacity, and Code Academy. These cover artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.

SO YOU WANT CREATIVE TOOLS...
If you’re the type who is looking to get a bit more creative and experimental with your code this summer – here is a list of tools you can use to develop video games, graphics, 3D designs, music, and more. Most of these are free to use, while others have free trials. 

For those who love creating games:

For those into computer graphics, design, and art: 


For those looking to create their own blog or website:

For those who want to create their own music or audio files:



SO YOU WANT TO GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY WITH PHYSICAL COMPUTING...

Check out the following list of tools for students interested in building computers, robots, gadgets, and so forth (not all are free, but all are helpful).
  • If you want to start off with the basics, littleBits are kits filled with electronic building blocks to create cool projects and small networks of circuits.
  • Use Arduinos or Raspberry Pis to build DIY computer programs. Or, go for a full Kano kit to build a full computer, which includes a Raspberry Pi, a wireless keyboard, and a speaker.
  • Want to make a banana play a song when you peel it open? Check out MakeyMakeys – kits that allow you to connect typical, everyday objects to computer programs.




LOOKING FOR MORE?

We’ve got plenty more tidbits and recommendations for computer science education. Interested in learning more from the Code Next lab? Sign up for our free newsletter—and happy coding!

YouTube makes it simple for fans to experience live performances with Eventbrite

Over 1 billion fans come to YouTube each month to connect with their favorite artists and discover new music. Thanks to a new partnership with Eventbrite, we’re making it simple for fans to go from experiencing music online to seeing live performances.

Starting today, fans watching videos from YouTube Official Artist Channels will see Eventbrite listings for live music performances throughout the U.S. below the video. With one easy click on the “Tickets” button, they’ll be able to purchase directly from Eventbrite.

Live events continue to be a major source of revenue for artists, so we want to help artists keep fans updated on their upcoming shows and sell more tickets to live performances. YouTube’s global audience also lets artists find new fans with 26% of Millenials (44% of teens) claiming they discover live music events on YouTube, according to Nielsen.

Through our partnerships with Eventbrite and Ticketmaster, YouTube now covers more than 70% of the US ticketing market and we’ll continue to add new artists and venues of all sizes to our list in North America as well as expand globally.

We're excited to further the power of video discovery on Youtube to bring artists and fans together and continue supporting those connections through live shows.
The YouTube Music Team

Source: YouTube Blog


Open platforms like Android unlock potential

As a scientist, educator and businesswoman, my goal is to engage as many young minds as possible to get them excited about science and technology. That’s why the explosion in affordable technology over the last few years has been so exciting for STEM evangelists like me. Technology is no longer available only to the affluent and the privileged; instead, computers, tablets and smartphones are in the hands of individuals across all income levels. Reaching such a diverse audience is critical to our society’s ability to design the next generation of digital technologies and train the workforce of the future.

As a professor and the founder and Chief Technology Officer atZyrobotics, a company that develops interactive STEM games and learning tools for children, I want our company’s educational programs to be available to the greatest number of people in order to have the greatest level of impact. In order to be successful, companies like mine need to reach kids where they spend their time—on their tablets, phones and other electronic learning devices. That means we want our apps to be compatible with as many devices as possible, and it’s why we’ve chosen to use Android’s open platform for our development. I’ve been able to reach far more people by building upon open platforms like Android than I ever could by teaching in a classroom.

As an app developer, I’ve benefited from Android’s ease of use, open coding platform, and popularity within diverse segments of the population. We've been able to expand our reach to all audiences, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. Many lower-income people (and many in developing countries) rely on more affordable or older Android devices, and because Android lets us update apps on older-model phones, we can ensure we’re providing the best experience to these users. Open platforms are also the main reason why most of our apps, including those that teach young children to code, are free.

Zyrobotics would be far less successful without the app stores housed on Android and Apple and the number of users we are able to reach through those platforms. Both Google and Apple’s app stores have been especially useful in helping us maximize our apps’ exposure to the children and parents with whom we want to connect, and helped us introduce important STEM concepts to children as early as five and six years old through30 STEM-focused apps and games, such as our award-winning Turtle “Learn to Code” app.

The United Statescontinues to lag behind other industrialized nations when it comes to preparing our children for STEM careers, and thattechnology workforce gap is partly a result of a lack of early engagement in STEM. Reaching children when their interests are just beginning to take shape is vital to building a more vibrant, diverse and successful STEM workforce for the future. Android helps us do that. I support smart regulation of technology companies that helps ensure that today’s technology be made even more widely available, accessible and unbiased.

The benefits of technology to educate and empower the next generation are immeasurable. Open platforms create opportunities—for companies like mine, and the people we serve. Let's keep it that way.

Ayanna Howard, Ph.D., is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Zyrobotics, an educational technology company, and the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and assistive technology research has resulted in more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and a number of commercialized products.