Google News Initiative: Introducing pan-India training series for journalists covering the upcoming elections

The Google News Initiative, in partnership with DataLeads and Internews, are thrilled to open registration for PollCheck: Covering India’s Election, a training series to support journalists covering India’s election. We are hosting these trainings in 30 cities across the country in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Bangla, Kannada, Gujarati, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi.

In partnership with DataLeads and Internews, the Google News Initiative will offer training on online verification and fact-checking, journalist digital safety and security, YouTube for elections coverage and data visualization for elections.

Since 2016, Google has trained more than 13,000 journalists in India, across 200+ newsrooms and in 40 cities. Last year, we launched the Google News Initiative India Training Network, focused on online verification and fact-checking. In six months, the Network onboarded 241 trainers in seven languages, who trained 5260 journalists across 40+ cities in India, benefitting 200+ newsrooms and universities. We plan to train another 10,000 journalists in 2019.

The PollCheck training series is for working journalists and freelancers. Journalism students are encouraged to register, and will be given slots on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive an email confirmation with location details.

For more information and to register, please click on the city below.

What: Google News Initiative “PollCheck: Covering India’s Election”
When: 9AM-4:30PM

Agartala, Tripura  | Sat, Mar 16  | English
Ahmedabad, Gujarat  | Sat, Mar 9  | Gujarati/English (bilingual)
Aizawl, Mizoram  | Sat, Mar 9  | English
Bengaluru, Karnataka  | Fri, Mar 8  | English/Kannada (bilingual)
Bhopal , Madhya Pradesh  | Sun, Mar 17  | Hindi/ English (bilingual)
Bhubaneswar, Odisha  | Sat, Mar 9  | Odia/English (bilingual)
Chandigarh, Punjab/Haryana  | Sat, Mar 9  | English
Chennai, Tamil Nadu  | Mon, Mar 11  | Tamil/English (bilingual)
Dehradun, Uttarakhand  | Sat, Mar 30  | English
Delhi NCR, Delhi  | Tue, Feb 26  | English track + Hindi track
Gangtok, Sikkim  | Sat, Mar 2  | English
Guwahati, Assam | Sat, Mar 9  | English
Hyderabad, Telangana/Andhra Pradesh  | Wed, Mar 13  | Telugu/ English (bilingual)
Imphal, Manipur  | Sat, Mar 23  | English
Indore, Madhya Pradesh  | Sat, Mar 16  | English
Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh  | Sat, Apr 6  | English
Jaipur, Rajasthan  | Fri, Mar 15  | Hindi
Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir | Sat, Mar 9 | English
Kochi, Kerala  | Sat, Mar 2  | English/Malayalam (bilingual)
Kohima, Nagaland  | Sat, Mar 2  | English
Kolkata, West Bengal  | Wed, Mar 6  | English/Bangla (bilingual)
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh  | Mon, Mar 4  | Hindi
Mumbai, Maharashtra  | Fri, Mar 15  | English/Marathi (bilingual)
Panaji, Goa  | Sat, Mar 23  | English
Patna, Bihar  |  Fri, Mar 1  | Hindi
Pune, Maharashtra  | Sat, Mar 16  | English/Marathi (bilingual)
Raipur, Chhattisgarh  | Sat, Mar 16  | Hindi
Ranchi, Jharkhand  | Tue, Mar 12  | Hindi
Shillong, Meghalaya  | Sat, Mar 16  | English
Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh  | Sat, Mar 23  | English/Telugu (bilingual)

By Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead, Asia-Pacific

Chrome Beta for Android Update

Hi everyone! We've just released Chrome Beta 73 (73.0.3683.47) for Android: it's now available on Google Play.

You can see a partial list of the changes in the Git log. For details on new features, check out the Chromium blog, and for details on web platform updates, check here.

If you find a new issue, please let us know by filing a bug.

Ben Mason
Google Chrome

Stable Channel Update for Chrome OS

The Stable channel has been updated to 72.0.3626.117 (Platform version: 11316.148.0) for most 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).

David McMahon
Google Chrome

Our response to the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry Preliminary Report

When I started working at Google almost 12 years ago, Australians were still figuring out how to make the most of the internet. Today, few of us could imagine a day without a smartphone in our pocket.

Google provides tools and services that millions of Australians use every day, such as Search, Maps and YouTube. Thousands of Australian businesses are benefiting too, using online platforms like ours to reach customers across Australia and globally.

In its Digital Platforms Inquiry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is considering the impact of these changes, with a particular focus on news and journalism.

The ACCC notes the Internet has helped consumers to access a broader range of news publications, as lower production and distribution costs have sparked competition from new entrants, both locally and around the world. As this occurred, traditionally profitable sections of newspapers such as real estate and classifieds have faced new competition for advertising dollars, not just from platforms like Google, Facebook and Amazon, but also from Australian digital success stories like SEEK, Domain and REA.

In short, as Australians have increasingly gone online, so too have advertisers. The ACCC’s Preliminary Report proposes a number of regulatory ideas in response to this transition. We have engaged with the ACCC throughout this process and this week submitted our response to the Preliminary Report.

Underpinning our submission is a belief that as technology evolves, legal frameworks must also evolve with clear, evidence-based solutions to address specific problems. It’s sometimes claimed that the internet is unregulated but that's simply not the case. Considered, carefully calibrated regulation has contributed to the web’s success as a platform for expression and access to information.

We respect the range of existing laws and regulations that apply to the internet, such as competition and consumer laws and advertising regulations. This inquiry provides a timely opportunity to review and consider existing frameworks in light of rapid change.

Working with news publishers to enable quality journalism 
When Australians search for news on Google, we want to surface high quality, relevant and useful results. In 2018, we referred more than 2 billion clicks to Australian news websites. These clicks amount to free traffic that helps publishers generate ad revenue and provides the opportunity to turn casual readers into loyal subscribers. We also provide ad technology to large and small publishers to help them monetise content through advertising. In 2018, we paid US$14.2 billion to partners globally - more than 70% of the revenues earned from displaying ads served by Google on partners’ properties.

Google News has no ads, nor does the news results tab on the search page. Unlike social media sites, which operate in largely closed environments and benefit from users spending more time on the site, the success of Google Search relies on linking users with relevant results. This is an important distinction, highlighting the need to differentiate between digital platforms.

While Google supports news and journalism, some of the Preliminary Report’s recommendations - such as an algorithm regulator - risk poor outcomes. We already provide extensive guidance on search ranking, including our 164 page Search quality rater guidelines, and the How Search Works guide. And of course, Google Search results are open for all to see. We believe this approach balances the need for transparency against the risk of manipulation by bad actors and do not believe that an algorithm regulator would lead to higher quality search results or promote journalism.

Providing useful products and services for consumers and advertisers
Australians search for a wide range of queries every day and expect to get the most relevant and useful results, as quickly as possible. While Search is very popular, we have a lot of competition. From a consumer perspective, Google competes for user queries with other search engines, and specialised search services like Amazon, e-commerce sites and travel aggregators.

From an advertising perspective, search advertising is just one of many channels advertisers invest in and we compete directly for advertising dollars with other digital channels, as well as television, print, radio and outdoor advertising. The popularity of digital is, in part, due to the unprecedented ability it provides for advertisers to measure the impact of their ad spend and other media channels are fast catching up. This is not examined in the Preliminary Report and we believe there should be further consideration of the competition Google faces for user queries on search and the competition for advertising investment, both among digital providers (of which search advertising is only one part) and other forms of advertising.

Protecting Australians’ privacy 
Australians trust us to protect their privacy and data, and we take that responsibility seriously. Through Google’s MyAccount we provide easy to use tools that give people transparency, choice and control over their data. In 2017, Australians visited MyAccount more than 22 million times, reviewing and adjusting their privacy settings to manage what information is collected and how that data is used.

The Preliminary Report proposes a range of measures to enhance privacy and consumers’ awareness of data collection and use. We believe these changes should apply to all organisations currently subject to the Privacy Act, not just digital platforms or organisations that meet a particular threshold. 

The ACCC’s preliminary report provides a timely opportunity to examine Australia’s changing media and advertising landscape. As we continue to engage in this process, we do so with the goal of balancing the benefits of new technologies, minimising societal costs, and respecting fundamental rights for all Australians.

Easily copy your Gmail holds to Hangouts Chat in Google Vault

What’s changing

As we previously announced, beginning on April 16, 2019, Mail retention rules and holds will stop protecting chat messages in classic Hangouts. Instead, Hangouts Chat retention rules and holds will protect chat messages in both classic Hangouts and Chat. To continue to preserve messages in classic Hangouts, before April 16, 2019, you must copy any existing Mail holds (that apply to messages in classic Hangouts) to Hangouts Chat in Google Vault. Today, we’re launching a new feature in Vault to help you copy your holds from Mail to Hangouts Chat, with a few clicks.

Who’s impacted

Vault Admins only

Why you’d use it

This feature helps you ensure all your messages in classic Hangouts and Hangouts Chat are preserved by the same Vault policies as your classic Hangouts messages are today.

How to get started

Admins: In Vault,
  • From the list of Vault matters, click on any matter that may contain Gmail holds. When viewing the list of holds in this matter, you can select multiple Mail holds at once.
  • Select the Mail hold(s) and click Copy holds to Hangouts Chat.

End users: No action required

Additional details

Note that Hangouts Chat doesn’t support holds based on date ranges or search terms, so they won’t be copied with the hold. You can also choose to extend these holds to cover conversations associated with these custodians in rooms.

Additionally, if you have a large number of holds in place, you can also use Vault APIs to duplicate your holds in bulk.

Helpful links


Rollout details

G Suite editions
  • Available to G Suite Business, Enterprise, and Enterprise for Education editions, as well as G Suite users with the Vault add-on license.

On/off by default?
  • This feature will be ON by default.
Stay up to date with G Suite launches

Changes to responsive ads in the AdWords API and Google Ads API

What's changing?
Starting May 15, 2019, AdWords API and Google Ads API requests that attempt to create or modify a responsive ad will fail. Make sure you migrate to the new asset-based responsive display ad before the deprecation date.

Due to changes and improvements to ad types in Display campaigns, keeping track of the names in the UI and APIs can be tricky, so here's a quick overview:
Ad type in the UI AdWords API type Google Ads API type
Responsive ad ResponsiveDisplayAd ResponsiveDisplayAdInfo
Responsive display ad MultiAssetResponsiveDisplayAd Available in an upcoming release

After the deprecation date, behavior of the APIs will change as follows:
  • AdWords API
    • AdGroupAdService requests that attempt to create a ResponsiveDisplayAd will fail with the error AdGroupAdError.CANNOT_CREATE_DEPRECATED_ADS. The API will continue to allow you to remove ResponsiveDisplayAds and modify the status of existing ads.
    • AdService requests that attempt to modify a ResponsiveDisplayAd will fail with the error AdError.CANNOT_MODIFY_AD.
  • Google Ads API
    • AdGroupAdService requests that attempt to create a ResponsiveDisplayAdInfo will fail with the error AdGroupAdError.CANNOT_CREATE_DEPRECATED_ADS. The API will continue to allow you to remove ResponsiveDisplayAdInfos and modify the status of existing ads.
Both APIs will continue to return performance statistics for the deprecated ad types.

Why is this happening?
In October, 2018, responsive display ads replaced responsive ads as the default asset-based ad type for the Display network. To simplify the product suite, we'll be deprecating creation and modification of responsive ads.

What should you do?
Before the deprecation date: If you have any questions or need help, please contact us via the forum.

Now on iOS: Follow your favorite places on Google Maps

Starting this week, you can stay up to date on your favorite places right from the Google Maps app on iOS. Simply search for a place—whether it’s a new restaurant that just opened up in your neighborhood or that must-try bakery across town—and tap the Follow button. You’ll then be able to see important updates from these places in your For you tab so you can quickly learn about upcoming events, offers and more.  


And now, places and businesses all over the world can see their followers in the Google My Business app, and actively post helpful information for their followers to see. The Follow button starts rolling out on iOS today.

Source: Google LatLong

App campaigns make their landing: introducing a simpler name for Google’s app ad solution

People reach for their mobile phones throughout the day for help getting things done. And it's often a mobile app that delivers what they need—whether it's a new pair of rain boots or a puzzle game to pass the time during a commute.

Universal App campaigns help connect your app with more of these app-happy consumers. Today, we are simplifying the name of “Universal App campaigns” to “App campaigns.” This move will not affect campaign features or functionality, and there’s no action required for existing app promotion customers.

App campaigns will join Search, Display, Video, Shopping and Smart as the top-level campaign names available in Google Ads.

Ad Campaign Types

Here’s the full list of Google Ads campaign types after the App campaigns name change

App campaigns use Google’s machine learning technology to help you find the users that matter most to you, based on your defined business goals—across Google Search, Play, YouTube, and over three million sites and apps—all from one campaign.

To date, App campaigns have delivered unprecedented results for the developer community—helping drive more than 17 billion app installs, according to Google Internal data from 2019. We hope this more direct name will help advertisers and developers get started with Google Ads and select the right campaign type for their business goals.

You’ll start to see these changes roll out over the next month. We’ll talk more about this change—and other new App ad innovations—at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in mid-March. We hope to see you there!

Using AMP to make display ads safer, faster and better for users

The performance benefits and security guarantees offered by AMPHTML ads, which are display ads created using the AMP framework, translate to better advertiser ROI, publisher revenue and overall better user experience. Because of this, Google has expanded serving AMPHTML ads not only to AMP pages, but also to regular web pages. As of January this year, 12% of all display ads served by Google are now AMPHTML ads.

All of the code in the AMP repository is open source which is carefully reviewed by the project maintainers before being merged. As a result, ads written in AMP start performant and stay performant. Such a process also drastically reduces the likelihood of AMPHTML ads having code that takes advantage of chipset level vulnerabilities or drain CPU by crypto-mining from users’ devices. 

Since AMPHTML ads can be trusted, they can be rendered into a more performant same-origin iframe. This performance boost results in the ad rendering faster on page which translates to higher publisher revenue and better advertiser ROI.


Experiment results from GPT.js rendering AMPHTML ads in a same-origin vs cross-origin iframe

AMPHTML ads on AMP pages deliver even better ROI

An AMPHTML ad delivered to an AMP page has better performance compared to the same ad running on a regular web page. This is due to the inherent design of AMPHTML ads outlined here, giving advertisers better click through rates and viewability.

AMP pages have seen steady growth over the past few years and advertisers now have access to well over 1 billion impressions/day worth of premium (from a user experience & ad experience standpoint) inventory. In addition, more than 35 percent of ads served to AMP pages are already AMPHTML ads.

Publishers and Advertisers seeing success with AMP pages and AMPHTML ads

The news publisher EL PAIS partnered with Volkswagen, one of their advertisers, to run a multivariate A/B test measuring how Volkswagen’s display ads created in AMPHTML vs HTML5 would perform on AMP vs regular pages.

Simply moving from a standard HTML page to an AMP page (with the same HTML5 ad) resulted in a 26 percent CTR increase. Moving further to an AMP page with AMPHTML ads resulted in an additional 48 percent CTR increase.

AMPHTML Ads Increase in Performance

Increase in performance metrics when combining AMP pages with AMPHTML ads

You can read the full case study here.

Getting started with AMPHTML ads for advertisers

AMPHTML ads are a subset of the AMP spec and ships with many good-by-default ads UI components, an analytics measurement framework, a spam detection system, viewability measurement and other building blocks to create a good and measurable ad.

We encourage you to read more about the benefits of using AMPHTML ads, but if you want to jump ahead to start creating them, this is a good place to begin.

Once you have created the ad, you can choose one of the following options to serve AMPHTML ads:

  1. Work with an Authorized Buyer that allows to target just AMP or regular inventory

  2. Use Google Ads to target inventory in the Google Display Network

  3. Direct buy with publishers using Google Ad Manager

  4. [Coming Soon] Display & Video 360 support to deliver AMPHTML ads to AMP pages

Google continues to invest in delivering better user ad experiences by increasing the share of AMPHTML ads vs regular ads. Once mobile app support launches in Q2, 2019, advertisers can fully transition to creating a single AMPHTML ad and have it render across all environments and devices.

We hope you’ll take full advantage of the performance, security benefits and the increased ROI by choosing to build & serve AMPHTML ads in your next campaign.