The Google Play Awards are returning to Google I/O

Posted by Purnima Kochikar, Director, Apps and Games Business Development, Google Play


Drum roll please! The Google Play Awards are back again this year and will take place Thursday, May 18th at 6:30pm (Pacific Time) during Google I/O, our annual developer festival.

The annual ceremony is a great opportunity for the industry to recognize outstanding developers that continue to set the bar for quality apps and games showing a passion for driving innovation and adoption of new platforms and user experiences.

This year we'll be honoring partners across 12 award categories, some familiar and some new. Nominees were selected much like last year by cross-functional teams throughout Google who work hand-in-hand with the relevant categories and product areas. While category specific criteria can be found below, the common requirements across all categories focused on high star rating, technical performance and freshness, requiring a launch or major update since April 2016. The winners of each category will be announced at Google I/O in May.

The full list of categories and nominees are below and can also be found at g.co/play/GPA2017:

Standout Indie


Games from indie developers that focus on artistic design, gameplay mechanics and overall polish. And the nominees are…… 


Standout Startup


Apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong organic install growth. And the nominees are……


Best Android Wear Experience


New wear 2.0 apps offering great design, user delight and functionality. And the nominees are…


Best TV Experience


Apps or games leveraging innovative features for the large-screen format while providing an immersive and intuitive experience. And the nominees are…


Best VR Experience


Highly engaging and immersive experience with optimal use of Daydream UI. And the nominees are…


Best AR Experience


Apps or games harnessing the creative and imaginative technology of AR. And the nominees are…


Best App for Kids


Apps or games with family friendly design that encourage creativity, exploration and education. And the nominees are…


Best Multiplayer Game


Games built to connect gamers in competitive and engaging multiplayer experiences. And the nominees are…



Best App


A true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UX and high user appeal. And the nominees are…


Best Game


Games with strong mechanics, stellar graphics and strong engagement and retention tactics. And the nominees are...


Best Accessibility Experience


Apps or games enabling device interaction in an innovative way that serves people with disabilities or special needs. And the nominees are…


Best Social Impact


Apps that creates meaningful social impact for a broad spectrum of people around the world. And the nominees are…


Join us live at the ceremony May 18th at 6:30 pm PDT at Google I/O or via the live stream to see who wins.


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Drumroll please! The nominees for the Google Play Awards are…

The Google Play Awards are back! Today we’re announcing the 2017 nominees for outstanding app or game across 12 categories, including Best VR and AR Experiences, Best TV Experience, Best App for Kids, and Best Game. The winners of each category will be announced at Google I/O in May.

Nominees were selected by a set of specific criteria, including high star rating, technical performance, requiring a launch or major update since April 2016. Take a look at the full list of categories and nominees below or visit g.co/play/gpa2017 to see if any of your favorite apps or games made the cut.

Standout Indie

Games from indie developers that focus on artistic design, gameplay mechanics and overall polish. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 1

Standout Startup

Apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong organic install growth. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 2

Best Android Wear Experience

New wear 2.0 apps offering great design, user delight and functionality. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 3

Best TV Experience

Apps or games using innovative features for the large-screen format to provide an immersive and intuitive experience. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 4

Best VR Experience

Highly engaging and immersive experience with optimal use of Daydream UI. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 5

Best AR Experience

Apps or games harnessing the creative and imaginative technology of AR. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 6

Best App for Kids

Apps or games with family friendly design that encourage creativity, exploration and education. And the nominees are…


Banner GP Awards 7

Best Multiplayer Game

Games built to connect gamers in competitive and engaging multiplayer experiences. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 8

Best App

A true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UX and high user appeal. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 9

Best Game

Games with strong mechanics, stellar graphics and strong engagement and retention tactics. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 10

Best Accessibility Experience

Apps or games enabling device interaction in an innovative way that serves people with disabilities or special needs. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 11

Best Social Impact

Apps that creates meaningful social impact for a broad spectrum of people around the world. And the nominees are…

Banner GP Awards 12

Email Log Search improvements in Gmail to make your job easier

Last December, we made it easier for Gmail administrators to support their users with better troubleshooting tools. As a follow-up, we’re launching several improvements to the Email Log Search tool.

Search for emails by subject line

While the message ID is a great way to find the exact message for troubleshooting, it’s not always convenient for users to provide this information. Now, email administrators can search by email subject and save time troubleshooting with their users.

Email policies are linked in the email log

Now, you will be able to know which of your email policies triggered which action and make modifications to your policies by clicking on a link to the relevant policy.

The email log shows delivery status for emails in your domain. For emails that didn't reach their destination or triggered an email routing rule, the status will explain why. For example, emails may have been quarantined as spam, or bounced because they couldn't be delivered.



Thanks to all of the email administrators who provided feedback about Email Log Search.

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

Editions:
Available to G Suite Basic, Business, Education, and Enterprise editions

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

Impact:
Admins only

Action:
Admin action suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center: About Email Log Search
Launch release calendar
Launch detail categories
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Introducing the next generation of Jump

Virtual reality video lets you experience the world in amazing ways—it can put you in the front row for your favorite band, take you on the field during the championship game, or bring you under the sea to explore coral reefs. However, VR filmmakers still face challenges bringing their stories to the world—cameras are bulky, post-production is time-intensive, and each step can be difficult and expensive.

To enable more great VR films, today we're introducing the next generation Jump camera— the YI HALO—and Jump Start, a program to get Jump cameras into the hands of more filmmakers than ever before.

We launched Jump in 2015 to simplify VR video production at every step from capture to playback. The Jump team partners with top camera manufacturers to build professional, high-quality VR cameras. Footage from those cameras runs through the Jump Assembler, which uses sophisticated computer vision algorithms and the computing power of Google's data centers to create 3D 360 video. Amazing VR videos have been made with Jump, such as The New York Times’ Great Performers collection, Within’s “The Possible” series, the NFL Immersed series, and Wevr’s “Internet Surfer” video.

Introducing YI HALO - the next generation Jump camera

Built in partnership with YI Technology, the YI HALO is simple to use, gives creators the control and flexibility to explore, and works seamlessly with the Jump Assembler.

YI HALO makes production easier than ever for VR filmmakers. It has 17 4K unit cameras, including an optimally-placed Up camera, to capture immersive scenes that transport viewers. Derin Turner, Production Director at VR Playhouse, noted “This camera and Jump ranks as one of the best and easiest pieces of equipment and platform to use on the market.”

Creators also get more control and flexibility with the YI HALO. At less than 8 pounds, the YI HALO can be transported anywhere, and doesn’t limit them when they’re trying to capture a tricky shot. The internal battery lasts for 100 minutes of continuous shooting, so creators can get "one more take." Filmmakers also love the YI HALO Android app that doubles as a remote control and live preview tool.

Filmmakers’ visions come together via the Jump Assembler, which ensures seamless, artifact-free stitches that are ready in a few short hours. The YI HALO camera has been built to natively work with the Assembler. “The camera combined with the stitching algorithm is the best 360 video solution in the industry," said Jay Spangler, Executive VR Producer for Two Bit Circus.

YI HALO will go on sale this summer, with units available today to select creators. Interested creators can find more info on the YI HALO website. To see more of what the camera can do, check out this footage (best viewed in VR).

Jump Start - bringing Jump cameras to more creators

To get Jump cameras into the hands of more filmmakers than ever before, today we're also announcing Jump Start. Jump Start gives selected filmmakers both free access to a Jump camera and free unlimited use of the Jump Assembler for their VR film. Over the next year, the program will give over 100 creators these tools and enable them to make their vision a reality. Applications to Jump Start open today, and filmmakers have until May 22nd to apply.

We've been wowed with VR filmmakers’ creations, which included treks up glaciers and mesmerizing music videos. We can't wait to see more.

We're excited to bring Jump to more creators with the YI HALO and Jump Start. If you're at NAB in Las Vegas this week, come see the camera in person at the Google booth.

Local reviews in your language – wherever you are

When you’re traveling somewhere new, two of your biggest challenges can be figuring out where to go and understanding the native language of wherever you are. The next time you’re in a foreign place and want to check out a restaurant or point of interest, Google will translate the review into the language you’ve set on your device.

The best part is that users don’t have to do a thing. Just open Google Maps or Search, search for what you’re interested in and the reviews are automatically translated. Most people will see the translated review in the language they prefer and then see the review in the native language below—eliminating the hassle of copying and pasting into a translation app or trying to decipher reviews using your pocket-sized translation book. Here’s what it looks like in action:

Screenshot

So next time you find yourself in a faraway land wondering which ramen shop is the best or which gelato place is most authentic—just sit back, relax and let Google Maps and Search bridge the language barrier.

Source: Google LatLong


Improved admin controls over offline access to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files on the web

Protecting proprietary and sensitive data is a top priority for many G Suite admins, just as is enabling their employees to work anywhere, anytime—with or without an internet connection. Today, we’re making it easier for admins to balance those interests by introducing settings in the Admin console for managing users’ access to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files offline.

Going forward, admins will have the following options to control offline access on desktop computers (in the Admin console at Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs > Data Access):

  1. Control offline access using device policies - If an admin selects this option, she will need to take additional steps to control offline access for her users. IMPORTANT:
    • If an admin does not want to enable offline access for ANY of her users, she should select this option and not take the extra steps to implement device policies on managed computers.
    • If offline access was previously enabled in an organization and an admin selects this option, her users will lose offline access until she takes the extra steps to implement device policies on managed computers.
  2. Allow users to enable offline access (recommended) - If an admin selects this option, his end users will be able to manually enable offline access from their Docs or Drive settings. Before doing so, the user will be asked if the computer is a trusted one and warned not to turn on the setting for any public or shared device.


If offline access is enabled for all or specific computers, recent Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides files on those computers will be automatically synced to the device and made available offline. This should improve the user experience on Docs, Sheets, and Slides, allowing employees to continue working, uninterrupted, even when their internet connection is poor or failing. Please note that these settings will not apply to non-Docs, non-Sheets, and non-Slides files in Drive.


If you previously allowed users to enable offline Docs, the second setting above (Allow users to enable offline access (recommended)) will be ON when these new settings launch, meaning your users will continue to have offline access.


If you previously didn’t allow users to enable offline Docs, the first setting above (Control offline access using device policies) will be ON when these new settings launch, meaning your users will not have offline access until you take the additional steps required to implement it.


Please note that these settings only apply to Docs, Sheets, and Slides in a Chrome browser on a desktop computer; they have no impact on automatic syncing to Android and iOS devices or on files synced using Google Drive for Mac/PC.


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 only

Action:
Admin action suggested/FYI


More Information



Bridging the gap between TV and digital video

If you’ve watched a movie on your mobile phone or streamed a YouTube video on your TV, you’re not alone. People are watching great content wherever and whenever they want, across the small screens in their pockets to the large screens in their living rooms. We’re in the golden age of video, and while this explosion of great content is great for users, it creates a lot of complexity for advertisers and publishers.

As the lines blur between TV and digital video, it's important that marketers are able to reach their audiences across screens. That’s why we’re making traditional TV inventory available to buy in DoubleClick Bid Manager in the US. We are integrating with WideOrbit, clypd and Google Fiber to provide access to national, local and even addressable TV inventory in DoubleClick Bid Manager.


Manage TV and digital video campaigns in a single platform with DoubleClick Bid Manager

Historically, TV and digital advertising have been bought and measured through different systems and currencies. By adding traditional TV buying into DoubleClick Bid Manager, we are taking the first step towards allowing advertisers and agencies to manage their video campaigns across digital and linear TV, in a more efficient and effective way.

In addition, to help brands and agencies understand the effectiveness of their TV campaigns, we will be providing impact-based metrics in DoubleClick. For example, an advertiser will be able to measure the lift when someone searches for their brand on Google or YouTube after seeing their TV ad.

Programmatic technology has already automated some of the manual processes associated with buying digital video, and with these new integrations we’ll be extending many of the same workflow improvements to traditional TV.

Access to new advertisers for television networks and station owners

With their inventory now available through DoubleClick Bid Manager, television networks and station owners get access to new types of buyers, such as advanced TV buying groups in agencies, digital-first advertisers, and even global advertisers. Many of these buyers already use DoubleClick, but until now, have had limited access to US TV audiences.

As viewership patterns change, advertisers and publishers have new opportunities to provide audiences with great ad experiences across screens and content types. By bringing TV and digital video advertising together, we hope to help advertisers and publishers grow with video in a more impactful way.

Posted by Rany Ng
Director, Product Management, Google

Bridging the gap between TV and digital video

If you’ve watched a movie on your mobile phone or streamed a YouTube video on your TV, you’re not alone. People are watching great content wherever and whenever they want, across the small screens in their pockets to the large screens in their living rooms. We’re in the golden age of video, and while this explosion of great content is great for users, it creates a lot of complexity for advertisers and publishers.

As the lines blur between TV and digital video, it's important that marketers are able to reach their audiences across screens. That’s why we’re making traditional TV inventory available to buy in DoubleClick Bid Manager in the US. We are integrating with WideOrbit, clypd and Google Fiber to provide access to national, local and even addressable TV inventory in DoubleClick Bid Manager.


Manage TV and digital video campaigns in a single platform with DoubleClick Bid Manager

Historically, TV and digital advertising have been bought and measured through different systems and currencies. By adding traditional TV buying into DoubleClick Bid Manager, we are taking the first step towards allowing advertisers and agencies to manage their video campaigns across digital and linear TV, in a more efficient and effective way.

In addition, to help brands and agencies understand the effectiveness of their TV campaigns, we will be providing impact-based metrics in DoubleClick. For example, an advertiser will be able to measure the lift when someone searches for their brand on Google or YouTube after seeing their TV ad.

Programmatic technology has already automated some of the manual processes associated with buying digital video, and with these new integrations we’ll be extending many of the same workflow improvements to traditional TV.

Access to new advertisers for television networks and station owners

With their inventory now available through DoubleClick Bid Manager, television networks and station owners get access to new types of buyers, such as advanced TV buying groups in agencies, digital-first advertisers, and even global advertisers. Many of these buyers already use DoubleClick, but until now, have had limited access to US TV audiences.

As viewership patterns change, advertisers and publishers have new opportunities to provide audiences with great ad experiences across screens and content types. By bringing TV and digital video advertising together, we hope to help advertisers and publishers grow with video in a more impactful way.

Posted by Rany Ng
Director, Product Management, Google

Research at Google and ICLR 2017



This week, Toulon, France hosts the 5th International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR 2017), a conference focused on how one can learn meaningful and useful representations of data for Machine Learning. ICLR includes conference and workshop tracks, with invited talks along with oral and poster presentations of some of the latest research on deep learning, metric learning, kernel learning, compositional models, non-linear structured prediction, and issues regarding non-convex optimization.

At the forefront of innovation in cutting-edge technology in Neural Networks and Deep Learning, Google focuses on both theory and application, developing learning approaches to understand and generalize. As Platinum Sponsor of ICLR 2017, Google will have a strong presence with over 50 researchers attending (many from the Google Brain team and Google Research Europe), contributing to and learning from the broader academic research community by presenting papers and posters, in addition to participating on organizing committees and in workshops.

If you are attending ICLR 2017, we hope you'll stop by our booth and chat with our researchers about the projects and opportunities at Google that go into solving interesting problems for billions of people. You can also learn more about our research being presented at ICLR 2017 in the list below (Googlers highlighted in blue).

Area Chairs include:
George Dahl, Slav Petrov, Vikas Sindhwani

Program Chairs include:
Hugo Larochelle, Tara Sainath

Contributed Talks
Understanding Deep Learning Requires Rethinking Generalization (Best Paper Award)
Chiyuan Zhang*, Samy Bengio, Moritz Hardt, Benjamin Recht*, Oriol Vinyals

Semi-Supervised Knowledge Transfer for Deep Learning from Private Training Data (Best Paper Award)
Nicolas Papernot*, Martín Abadi, Úlfar Erlingsson, Ian Goodfellow, Kunal
Talwar


Q-Prop: Sample-Efficient Policy Gradient with An Off-Policy Critic
Shixiang (Shane) Gu*, Timothy Lillicrap, Zoubin Ghahramani, Richard E.
Turner, Sergey Levine


Neural Architecture Search with Reinforcement Learning
Barret Zoph, Quoc Le

Posters
Adversarial Machine Learning at Scale
Alexey Kurakin, Ian J. Goodfellow, Samy Bengio

Capacity and Trainability in Recurrent Neural Networks
Jasmine Collins, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein, David Sussillo

Improving Policy Gradient by Exploring Under-Appreciated Rewards
Ofir Nachum, Mohammad Norouzi, Dale Schuurmans

Outrageously Large Neural Networks: The Sparsely-Gated Mixture-of-Experts Layer
Noam Shazeer, Azalia Mirhoseini, Krzysztof Maziarz, Andy Davis, Quoc LeGeoffrey Hinton, Jeff Dean

Unrolled Generative Adversarial Networks
Luke Metz, Ben Poole*, David Pfau, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Categorical Reparameterization with Gumbel-Softmax
Eric Jang, Shixiang (Shane) Gu*, Ben Poole*

Decomposing Motion and Content for Natural Video Sequence Prediction
Ruben Villegas, Jimei Yang, Seunghoon Hong, Xunyu Lin, Honglak Lee

Density Estimation Using Real NVP
Laurent Dinh*, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein, Samy Bengio

Latent Sequence Decompositions
William Chan*, Yu Zhang*, Quoc Le, Navdeep Jaitly*

Learning a Natural Language Interface with Neural Programmer
Arvind Neelakantan*, Quoc V. Le, Martín Abadi, Andrew McCallum*, Dario
Amodei*

Deep Information Propagation
Samuel Schoenholz, Justin Gilmer, Surya Ganguli, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Identity Matters in Deep Learning
Moritz Hardt, Tengyu Ma

A Learned Representation For Artistic Style
Vincent Dumoulin*, Jonathon Shlens, Manjunath Kudlur

Adversarial Training Methods for Semi-Supervised Text Classification
Takeru Miyato, Andrew M. Dai, Ian Goodfellow

HyperNetworks
David Ha, Andrew Dai, Quoc V. Le

Learning to Remember Rare Events
Lukasz Kaiser, Ofir Nachum, Aurko Roy*, Samy Bengio

Workshop Track Abstracts
Particle Value Functions
Chris J. Maddison, Dieterich Lawson, George Tucker, Nicolas Heess, Arnaud Doucet, Andriy Mnih, Yee Whye Teh

Neural Combinatorial Optimization with Reinforcement Learning
Irwan Bello, Hieu Pham, Quoc V. Le, Mohammad Norouzi, Samy Bengio

Short and Deep: Sketching and Neural Networks
Amit Daniely, Nevena Lazic, Yoram Singer, Kunal Talwar

Explaining the Learning Dynamics of Direct Feedback Alignment
Justin Gilmer, Colin Raffel, Samuel S. Schoenholz, Maithra Raghu, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Training a Subsampling Mechanism in Expectation
Colin Raffel, Dieterich Lawson

Tuning Recurrent Neural Networks with Reinforcement Learning
Natasha Jaques*, Shixiang (Shane) Gu*, Richard E. Turner, Douglas Eck

REBAR: Low-Variance, Unbiased Gradient Estimates for Discrete Latent Variable Models
George Tucker, Andriy Mnih, Chris J. Maddison, Jascha Sohl-Dickstein

Adversarial Examples in the Physical World
Alexey Kurakin, Ian Goodfellow, Samy Bengio

Regularizing Neural Networks by Penalizing Confident Output Distributions
Gabriel Pereyra, George Tucker, Jan Chorowski, Lukasz Kaiser, Geoffrey Hinton

Unsupervised Perceptual Rewards for Imitation Learning
Pierre Sermanet, Kelvin Xu, Sergey Levine

Changing Model Behavior at Test-time Using Reinforcement Learning
Augustus Odena, Dieterich Lawson, Christopher Olah

* Work performed while at Google
† Work performed while at OpenAI

Exploring home with Google Earth

This week we’re giving you a taste of what you can find in Voyager, a showcase of interactive tours and stories from experts, nonprofits and more in the new Google Earth.

When you opened Google Earth for the very first time, where did you go? For most people there's a common destination: We all want to see our home. The definition of “home” changes by country, culture and climate.

In the Voyager story This is Home, you can explore how humans have adapted to their own unique landscapes across our planet by looking at the most personal of places. Visit igloos inhabited by generations of Inuit people long ago; listen to stories in the colorful home of Kancha Sherpa; or head to the desert and learn how an extended drought has changed the lives of the Bedouin people. Visit a welcoming and tightknit community in Greenland with more sheep than people.

To tell these stories, we worked with partners and communities to digitally preserve homes of different cultures in Street View. The 360-degree imagery provides a snapshot in time of cultures facing economic, environmental and population pressures. For example, the Inuit people of Sanikiluaq have been building igloos for schoolchildren to learn in for decades, but in recent winters conditions haven’t been cold enough to create the right type of snow. It’s important to record this snapshot in time now, because some of these lifestyles may be disappearing.

Check back in the coming months as we take you to dozens more homes and cultures. And thank you to the families who invited us into their homes and the partners who made it possible!