Windows in a Google Cloud Platform world: this week on Google Cloud Platform



Google has a long and storied history running Linux, but Google Cloud Platform’s goal is to support a broad range of languages and tools. This week saw us significantly expand our support for the Microsoft ecosystem, with new support for ASP.NET, SQL Server, Powershell and the like.

If you have apps developed in .NET, Microsoft’s application development framework, you’ll be happy to learn that you can run them efficiently on GCP, with support for several flavors of Windows Server, an ASP.NET image in Cloud Launcher, pre-loaded SQL Server images on Google Compute Engine, and a variety of Google APIs available for the .NET platform. And thanks to a new integration with Microsoft Visual Studio, the popular integrated development environment, developers in the Microsoft ecosystem can easily access that functionality from the comfort of their IDE.

But it’s not just about Google broadening its horizons. Microsoft, too, is taking its offerings outside of its traditional confines. This week, Microsoft open-sourced Powershell, the command-line shell and scripting language for .NET, so that developers can use it to automate and administer Linux apps and environments, not just Windows ones.

And Kubernetes, Google’s open-source container management system, is also finding its way over to Microsoft’s Azure public cloud, thanks to its ability to provide a lingua franca for hosting and managing container-based environments. Check out this blog post about provisioning Azure Kubernetes infrastructure to see just how far things have come.

Android 7.0 Nougat: a more powerful OS, made for you

Today, we’ll begin rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat to Nexus devices. And with more ways to make Android your own, it’s by far our sweetest release yet.
We took a different approach to building and launching Nougat this year. For starters, we invited developers to take a sneak peek at Android N back in March, so they could bring their apps to the new platform earlier. And of course we asked you to help us come up with names for this year’s release, resulting in lots of great ideas, and a delicious unveiling back in June.
Android Nougat reflects input from thousands of fans and developers all over the world. There are over 250 major features in Android Nougat, but we wanted to highlight a few of the features you’ve been most excited about.
More personal
Providing more ways to customize your phone to fit your personality is kind of a big deal, and Android has been leading the way since day one (Homescreen widgets, anyone?). With Android Nougat, you’ll have even more ways to make your phone your own, including:
  • Expanded emoji: There are now over 1,500 different emoji built into Android, including 72 new ones, so go ahead: express yourself.
  • Quick Settings controls: Quick Settings gives you easy access to things like bluetooth, WiFi and the all-important flashlight. With Android Nougat, you can actually control what tiles go where, and move ‘em around to fit your needs.
  • Multi-locale support: Apps can tailor their content based on your locale settings. So if you speak multiple languages, for instance, then search engines can show results in each of those languages.
Expanded emoji and Quick setting controls
More productive
Whether you’re responding to work emails or making plans with friends, Android Nougat helps you multitask with ease with new features like Multi-window, Direct reply, and Quick switch.
  • Multi-window: Run two apps side-by-side. The windows are resizable, too, by simply dragging the divider.
  • Direct Reply: Reply directly to notifications without having to open any app.
  • Quick Switch: Switch between your two most recently used apps by simply double tapping the Overview button.
Split-Screen
Starting with the release of Android Marshmallow last year, we have been making the battery smarter. That’s why we made the Doze feature even dozier with Android Nougat. Your device can now drop into lower power usage when it’s getting jostled around in your pocket or bag while on the move.*
More immersive
Android Nougat is designed with immersive experiences in mind—including support for VulkanTM (an advanced 3D rendering API) and Daydream (Google’s platform for mobile virtual reality).
  • VulkanTM: Games will now leap to life thanks to high-speed, next-generation graphics — all powered by your device’s multi-core processor.
  • Daydream: Android Nougat is ready to transport you to virtual worlds with Daydream-ready phones, headsets and controllers — all coming later this year.
More secure
As always, Android is built with powerful layers of security and encryption to keep your private data private. For new devices coming this fall, we’ve also added new features like Seamless updates, File-based encryption and and Direct Boot.
  • Seamless updates: New Android devices with Nougat can install software updates in the background which means you won't have to wait while your device installs the update and optimizes all your apps for the new version. And for current Nexus users, software updates now install much faster, so you won't have to wait for minutes while your device reboots.
  • File-based encryption: Android Nougat can better isolate and protect files for individual users on your device.
  • Direct Boot: Direct Boot helps your device startup faster, and apps run securely even before you unlock your device when your device reboots.
And for those of you who also want to use your Android device at work, there are also new security features for using Android in enterprise, which you can learn more about on the Android for Work website.
Coming soon, to a device near you
Today, and over the next several weeks, the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One) will get an over the air software update** to Android 7.0 Nougat. Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version.
And there are many tasty devices coming from our partners running Android Nougat, including the upcoming LG V20 which will be the first new smartphone that ships with Android Nougat, right out of the box. You can learn even more about Android Nougat atwww.android.com/nougat.
Posted by Sameer Samat, VP of Product Management, Android & Google Play
*Hey, just a reminder that actual battery performance varies and will depend on a number factors including signal strength, network configuration, battery age, operating temperature, features selected, device settings, and voice, data, and other application usage patterns.
**The Nexus and Pixel C update to Android 7.0 Nougat occurs in stages and some carriers will receive the update later than others. This update will be pushed simultaneously to devices in the Android Beta Program.

Beta Channel Update for Chrome OS

The Beta channel 53.0.2785.81 (Platform version: 8530.69.0) has been released for Chrome OS devices. This build contains a number of bug fixes, security updates and feature enhancements. A list of changes can be found here.

If you find new issues, please let us know by visiting our forum or filing a bug. Interested in switching channels? Find out how. You can submit feedback using ‘Report an issue...’ in the Help section of the Chrome menu (3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the browser).

Ketaki Deshpande
Google Chrome

A new Google Hangouts Chrome extension experience

Last month in Google Hangouts, we announced that better group chat controls were now available on Android, iOS, and the web in order to make it a simpler and more consistent experience joining group chats with your team. In following this move towards consistency, on August 31, 2016, a new version of the Google Hangouts Chrome extension will be made available to new users. As we continue to iterate and add in features that help users communicate in group chats, the new experience brings together multiple chat windows into one and makes it easier to see more chat content.
Existing users of the Chrome extension will be able to opt into the new experience on August 31, 2016, which has functional parity with the current experience. Users will have the option to remain on the current experience until October 16, 2016, at which point all users will be automatically updated to the new experience.

In order to make this a smooth transition, we’re updating the Google Hangouts Help Center articles with the latest changes, nested in the Hangouts Chrome desktop app section.

Action Suggested
  • If you have people using the existing Google Hangouts Chrome extension in your organization, share the Help Center articles above to prepare them for this change.
  • If you use Chrome Management (available to all Google Apps customers) to centrally manage installation of the extension, please see our Help Center article for more information.

As a reminder, the new Google Hangouts Chrome extension will become the default experience on October 16, 2016.

Launch Details
Release track:
Launching to both Rapid release and Scheduled release on August 31, 2016 as the default for new users, and opt-in for existing users. The new extension will become the default for all users on October 16, 2016.

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

Impact:
All Hangouts Chrome extension end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Chrome Web Store
Help Center: Hangouts Chrome desktop app
Administrators only: Set Chrome policies for users

Dev Channel Update for Chrome OS

The Dev channel has been updated to 54.0.2837.0 (Platform version: 8737.1.0/8737.2.0) for all Chrome OS devices. This build contains a number of bug fixes, security updates and feature enhancements. A list of changes can be found here.

If you find new issues, please let us know by visiting our forum or filing a bug. Interested in switching channels? Find out how. You can submit feedback using ‘Report an issue...’ in the Chrome menu (3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the browser).

Josafat Garcia
Google Chrom

Search is a Jack of all trades

Today we’re dealing two new hands from the Google Search deck: solitaire and tic-tac-toe. Now you can play two of the oldest and most popular games for all ages, on desktop and in the Google app.

It’s been said solitaire’s roots are in fortune telling. If that’s true, today your fate rests on your quick wit and the luck of the draw. When you search for “solitaire” on Google, the familiar patience game may test yours!
solitaire.png
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, tic-tac-toe is your best bet. In this game of naughts and crosses, you can select your level of difficulty or even go head to head against a friend. Xs and Os to the winner (hugs and kisses, that is!).
tictactoe.gif
For some other fun tips, try asking Google, “what sound does a pig make?” Or if you’re looking to settle a bet and feeling lucky, “flip a coin” may come in handy.

These are just a sample of the delightful surprises that await you on Google. After all, Search is for so much more than research and practical matters -- it’s for fun, too!

Posted by Stephen Cognetta, Associate Product Manager

Search is a Jack of all trades

Today we’re dealing two new hands from the Google Search deck: solitaire and tic-tac-toe. Now you can play two of the oldest and most popular games for all ages, on desktop and in the Google app.

It’s been said solitaire’s roots are in fortune telling. If that’s true, today your fate rests on your quick wit and the luck of the draw. When you search for “solitaire” on Google, the familiar patience game may test yours!
solitaire.png
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, tic-tac-toe is your best bet. In this game of naughts and crosses, you can select your level of difficulty or even go head to head against a friend. Xs and Os to the winner (hugs and kisses, that is!).
tictactoe.gif
For some other fun tips, try asking Google, “what sound does a pig make?” Or if you’re looking to settle a bet and feeling lucky, “flip a coin” may come in handy.

These are just a sample of the delightful surprises that await you on Google. After all, Search is for so much more than research and practical matters -- it’s for fun, too!

Getting started with Google Cloud Client Libraries for .NET



Last week, we introduced new tools and client libraries for .NET developers to integrate with Google Cloud Platform, including Google Cloud Client Libraries for .NET, a set of new client libraries that provide an idiomatic way for .NET developers to interact with GCP services. In this post, we'll explain what it takes to install the new client libraries for .NET in your project.

Currently, the new client libraries support a subset of GCP services, including Google BigQuery, Google Cloud Pub/Sub and Google Cloud Storage (for other services, you still need to rely on the older Google API Client Libraries for .NET). Both sets of libraries can coexist in your project and as more services are supported by the new libraries, dependencies on the older libraries will diminish.

Authentication

As you would expect, the new client libraries are published on NuGet, the popular package manager for .NET, so it's very easy to include them in your project. But before you can use them, you'll need to set up authentication.

The GitHub page for the libraries (google-cloud-dotnet) describes the process for each different scenario in the authentication section. Briefly, to authenticate for local development and testing, install Cloud SDK for Windows, which comes with Google Cloud SDK shell, and use the gcloud command line tool to authenticate.

If you haven’t initialized gcloud yet, run the following command in Google Cloud SDK shell to initialize your project, zones and also setup authentication along the way:

$ gcloud init

If you've already set up gcloud and simply want to authenticate, run this command instead:

$ gcloud auth login

Installation


Now, let's import and use the new libraries. Create a project in Visual Studio (but make sure it's not a .NET Core project, as those are not supported by the libraries yet), right click on the project references and select “Manage NuGet packages”:
In NuGet window, select “Browse” and also check “Include prerelease.” The full list of supported services and their NuGet package names can be found on the google-cloud-dotnet page. Let’s install the library for Cloud Storage. For Cloud Storage, we need to search for Google.Storage:
The resulting list shows the new client library for Cloud Storage (Google.Storage) along with the low-level library (Google.Apis.Storage) that it depends on. Select Google.Storage and install it. When installation is complete, you'll see Google.Storage as a reference, along with its Google.Apis dependencies:
That’s it! Now, you can use the new client library for Cloud Storage from your .NET application. If you're looking for a sample, check out the Cloud Storage section of the GitHub page for the libraries.

Give it a try and let us know what you think. Any issues? Report them here. Better yet, help us improve our support for .NET applications by contributing.

"Interested in helping us improve the Google Cloud User Experience? Click here!"

AccuWeather delivers enhanced value to advertisers with DoubleClick for Publishers and Google Analytics 360

The Challenge
Publishers use DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) to manage and serve ads across their sites and apps, and use Google Analytics 360 to understand user behavior on their sites. DFP reports on the ads and ad units on the site, while Analytics 360 reports on the pages on the site.

Each platform on its own doesn’t provide insight into the intersection of data with the other. And with two platforms speaking two different languages, it hasn't always been easy for publishers to understand how user behavior influences revenue and how ads influence user behavior.

That’s why last year we launched an integration between DFP and Analytics 360.

The Solution 
Through the integration, publishers using Analytics 360 can see DFP metrics like impressions, clicks, and revenue within the Analytics 360 interface. This enables publishers to combine revenue data with user behavior insights—for example, the number of ad impressions or revenue each page of their site generates. AccuWeather is one such publisher.

AccuWeather Case Study 
AccuWeather brings real-time weather news and information to more than a billion people worldwide through its website and popular suite of apps. The company knew that if it could better understand the needs of those visitors and match them with more relevant messages from advertisers, it could provide more value to advertisers and boost its own ad revenues. By linking its DFP and Analytics 360 accounts, AccuWeather could see how the behavior of its website visitors affected revenue.

With DFP metrics now in Analytics 360, AccuWeather could see that average revenue per 1,000 sessions rose by 45% on a country-level basis when two new companies began advertising on accuweather.com. This revenue increase was driven by users who were actively in-market to travel and were looking at weather in “exotic” locations such as Turks & Caicos and Barbados. With insights like these, the team has been able to create highly tailored advertising packages with high-value, unique audience segments that sales teams can sell directly or through programmatic marketplaces like the DoubleClick Ad Exchange.


“The integration of DoubleClick for Publishers and Analytics 360 gives AccuWeather real-time visibility to the next level of campaign performance insights and is helping us make better advertising decisions. We’re now creating new behavior-based ad products that are being very well received by our advertisers,” says Steve Mummey, Director of Ad Strategy & Audience Development, AccuWeather.

For more, read the full case study with AccuWeather.

Even More Capabilities Available for Publishers 
In addition to seeing DFP metrics in Analytics 360, publishers will be able to use a consolidated reporting section, see DFP ad unit data together with Analytics 360 data, and do deeper analysis on their DFP data in Google BigQuery.

Reporting 
DFP metrics are consolidated into a reporting section in Analytics 360, making it easy for publishers to understand how their online content impacts revenue.

The figures in the above image are for illustration only and do not represent actual data in AccuWeather’s DFP or Analytics 360 accounts.


Ad Units
Publishers sell their online ad inventory based on the thousands or millions of ad units they have available on their properties. Individual ad slots can be grouped together into ad units so that publishers can create a hierarchy of ad units that represents the structure of their website. Then, publishers can match each advertiser’s message with the right ad slot.

Through this integration, publishers can now see their Analytics 360 data through the lens of their ad units. DFP ad unit hierarchy is mapped to Analytics 360 along with related metrics such as impressions, clicks, and dollars.

And now that analyst and ad operations teams can speak the same language, publishers are able to analyze DFP data through the lens of demographic and interest data in Analytics 360—and they can identify things like which affinity category or user lifestyle is driving the most revenue per 1,000 sessions by ad unit.

The figures in the above image are for illustration only and do not represent actual data in AccuWeather’s DFP or Analytics 360 accounts.


Google BigQuery 
Now that DFP metrics are available in Analytics 360, they can be exported to BigQuery. This means more metrics, more exports, and more data sources. Publishers can run their own revenue models and explore in more detail the intersection of revenue and user behavior.

Stay tuned for more updates from Analytics 360 as we continue to invest in new and exciting capabilities!

Search is a Jack of all trades

Today we’re dealing two new hands from the Google Search deck: solitaire and tic-tac-toe. Now you can play two of the oldest and most popular games for all ages, on desktop and in the Google app.

It’s been said solitaire’s roots are in fortune telling. If that’s true, today your fate rests on your quick wit and the luck of the draw. When you search for “solitaire” on Google, the familiar patience game may test yours!
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, tic-tac-toe is your best bet. In this game of naughts and crosses, you can select your level of difficulty or even go head to head against a friend. Xs and Os to the winner (hugs and kisses, that is!).
For some other fun tips, try asking Google, “what sound does a pig make?” Or if you’re looking to settle a bet and feeling lucky, “flip a coin” may come in handy.

These are just a sample of the delightful surprises that await you on Google. After all, Search is for so much more than research and practical matters -- it’s for fun, too!