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Year in Search: The moments that defined 2017 in New Zealand



Kiwis searched for slime, sport and spaghetti bolognese in 2017


2017 was an action-packed year for New Zealand. We won the America’s Cup. We elected a new government. We kept a close eye on world news and events, but found time to try new things at home. We lost some truly amazing people, but celebrated the true heroes among us. To see the year off in style, here’s a wrap of the top trending* searches brought Kiwis together in Search.

On top of the world

New Zealand’s victory in the America's Cup in Bermuda put the country back on top of the yachting world, and put the tournament high on our trending search list this year. True to form, we also spent a lot of time checking out other major sporting events like the Lion’s Tour and the Melbourne Cup. The highly addictive fidget spinner came in at number three, spinning its way into our hearts, hands and searches for much of the year.

Democracy and disasters

The General Election led our news searches in 2017, undoubtedly the biggest news moment of the year with almost 80% of enrolled Kiwis turning out to vote (how to vote was also a very popular search term in 2017). We were also preoccupied with wild weather events that wreaked havoc here and abroad, from hurricanes and cyclones to flooding and fires.

Politicians and other public figures

Half of our top ten trending Kiwis this year were politicians. New Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern came out at number one, while interest in her partner Clarke Gayford also put him on the list. We also searched for our favourite sports legends, including Peter Burling, Jerome Kaino and the late All Black Sione Lauaki.

Honouring the departed

We mourned the loss of some greats this year, too. John Clarke, the Kiwi behind the cultural icon Fred Dagg sadly passed away. Other legends we said goodbye to included Silver Fern and international netball player Tania Dalton, singer-songwriter Tom Petty and actor John Hurt.

How do you make slime, anyway?

Our top ‘how to…?’ searches for 2017 show we were completely obsessed with making slime, with four of top ten trending searches related to this sticky endeavour. But just to show we can be serious too, ‘How to vote in NZ’ took the number two spot, while the popularity of ‘how to cook pork belly’ proves we were keen to keep mixing it up in the kitchen. We also asked some pretty eclectic questions, with topics ranging from cryptocurrency to kimchi. And fidget spinners, just for good measure.

Meat makes a comeback

Our top recipe searches show our love affair with meat dishes continued in 2017. Beef stroganoff, pulled pork, lamb shanks and spaghetti bolognese all tickled our taste buds throughout the year, joined by other non-meaty favourites like hot cross buns, pikelets, and the perennial Year in Search classic, pancakes!

And that’s just a preview. To dive into the top trending terms of the year, check out New Zealand’s full trending lists*:

Overall searches

  1. Lotto result NZ
  2. America's Cup 2017
  3. Fidget spinner
  4. Election NZ 2017
  5. NZTA road closures
  6. Cyclone Cook
  7. All Blacks vs Lions
  8. Melbourne Cup 2017
  9. North Korea
  10. Daylight savings 2017

News

  1. Election NZ 2017
  2. NZTA road closures
  3. Cyclone Cook
  4. North Korea
  5. Hurricane Irma
  6. Christchurch fire
  7. New Zealand flooding
  8. London fire
  9. UK election
  10. Cyclone Debbie

Global People

  1. Harvey Weinstein
  2. Ed Sheeran
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. Pippa Middleton
  5. Kevin Spacey
  6. Gal Gadot
  7. Floyd Mayweather
  8. Jake Paul
  9. David Cassidy
  10. Bruno Mars

Kiwis

  1. Jacinda Ardern
  2. Winston Peters
  3. Bill English
  4. Jerome Kaino
  5. Peter Burling
  6. Jaylene Cook
  7. Clarke Gayford
  8. Sione Lauaki
  9. Metiria Turei
  10. Todd Barclay

Loss

  1. Tom Petty
  2. Chester Bennington
  3. Tania Dalton
  4. Hugh Hefner
  5. Bill Paxton
  6. Carissa Avison
  7. Rich Piana
  8. John Clarke
  9. John Hurt
  10. Dan Vickerman

Sporting events

  1. America's Cup 2017
  2. All Blacks vs Lions
  3. Melbourne Cup 2017
  4. Wimbledon 2017
  5. World Masters Games
  6. Bathurst 2017
  7. Rugby League World Cup
  8. Mayweather vs McGregor
  9. US Open 2017 tennis
  10. Australian Open 2017

How to…?

  1. How to make slime
  2. How to vote in NZ
  3. How to make a fidget spinner
  4. How to make slime without borax
  5. How to make fluffy slime
  6. How to delete Instagram accounts
  7. How to make slime without glue
  8. How to lose weight
  9. How to draw a dragon
  10. How to cook pork belly

What is…?

  1. What is Black Friday 2017
  2. What is typhoid
  3. What is bitcoin
  4. What is kimchi
  5. What is the time
  6. What is a fidget spinner
  7. What is botulism
  8. What is borax
  9. What is a cyclone
  10. What is MSG
Recipes

  1. Hot cross buns
  2. Beef stroganoff
  3. Pikelets
  4. Spaghetti bolognese
  5. Yorkshire pudding
  6. Pancakes
  7. Pulled pork
  8. Slime
  9. Anzac biscuits
  10. Lamb shanks


Year in Search: The moments that defined 2017 in Australia

From from slime to sport, covfefe to cryptocurrency and hurricanes to hot cross buns – Aussies searched for an eclectic bunch of topics this year.

’Tis that time of year again, to look back at the moments that had us fascinated, dumbfounded and over the moon in 2017. It was the year we pined for slime, whirled fidget spinners and were hungry Shepherd's pie. We celebrated sport, looked into bitcoin and mourned senseless tragedies. From cyclones to tofu to covfefe, this year’s trending searches are mix of obvious, surprising, intriguing – and downright confusing – queries.

Here's a wrap-up of six topics that caught Aussies' attention and brought us together in Search in 2017:

Fun, games and fidget spinners 

Sayonara stress balls! Fidgets spinners were the toy craze of 2017. ‘Fidget spinner’ appeared on three of the top trending lists, as Aussies asked what they are and even how to DIY. We also had a quirky obsession with slime and became quite the connoisseurs – searching for fluffy, borax-free and glue-free alternatives.

On the sports field, Aussies cheered on the tennis, horse racing, boxing, AFL, cricket and rugby. We searched on the sidelines of the Australian Open and Wimbledon and placed our bets for Melbourne Cup (which landed the top three trending searches overall).

Aussie, Kiwi and International Figures 

In Australia, Sophie Monk found true love on The Bachelorette, and first place on the list of trending searches for Aussie people. As we searched for people around the world, we danced with Ed Sheeran, hailed Wonder Woman and said goodbye to Hugh Hefner. We also bid farewell to legends of music, comedy and sport – including Chris Cornell, John Clarke and Malcolm Young.

Customs and traditions

‘How to…?’ searches show Aussies were keen to have their say on the same sex marriage vote. And in light of the change the date debate, we also asked why Australia Day is on January 26. We also wondered why our Anzac Day pub tradition, Two Up, is illegal.

The tough times 

We often turned to search in to find answers when we were lost for words. We navigated natural disasters, watching Cyclone Debbie, Hurricane Irma and Bali’s volcano. And in the wake of attacks, we showed our support through search for London, Las Vegas and Manchester.

Big questions, complex topics 

Aussies sunk their teeth into some serious subject matter in 2017. We grappled political tension in our searches for North Korea, we wrapped our heads around bitcoin – and looked to learn about Sharia Law. We also asked what DACA is (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) – and as we followed Trump’s feeds, we just had to know... what is covfefe!?

Quiche, Cod and Kimchi

It seems Aussie palettes have embraced the 80’s, as the top trending recipes included Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Cacciatore and Quiche Lorraine. Interestingly, contemporary ingredients and flavours feature across top trending lists for ‘How to make…?’ and ‘What is…?” – including eggplant, salmon, smoked cod, lentils, fennel and kimchi. Aussies also showed their health consciousness, asking what MSG is and why it is bad. And that’s just a preview.

To dive into the top trending terms of the year, check out Australia's full trending lists*:

Overall
  1. Australian Open 2017 
  2. Melbourne Cup 2017 
  3. Wimbledon 2017 
  4. Fidget spinner 
  5. Cyclone Debbie 
  6. iPhone 8 
  7. North Korea 
  8. Chris Cornell 
  9. iPhone X 
  10. Amazon Australia site 
News 
  1. Cyclone Debbie 
  2. North Korea 
  3. Amazon Australia site 
  4. Hurricane Irma 
  5. Bali volcano 
  6. London 
  7. Las Vegas 
  8. Manchester 
  9. UK election 
  10. Schapelle Corby 
Global people 
  1. Harvey Weinstein 
  2. Ed Sheeran 
  3. Kevin Spacey 
  4. Gal Gadot 
  5. Floyd Mayweather 
  6. Jake Paul 
  7. Post Malone 
  8. Pippa Middleton 
  9. Boy George 
  10. Macklemore 
Aussies 
  1. Sophie Monk 
  2. Kate Fischer 
  3. Schapelle Corby 
  4. Ben McCormack 
  5. Dustin Martin 
  6. Cassie Sainsbury 
  7. Lisa Wilkinson 
  8. Paul Hogan 
  9. Katherine Langford 
  10. Amber Sherlock 
Loss 
  1. Chris Cornell 
  2. Hugh Hefner 
  3. Chester Bennington 
  4. Tom Petty 
  5. Bill Paxton 
  6. David Cassidy 
  7. Nicky Hayden 
  8. John Clarke 
  9. Rich Piana 
  10. Malcolm Young 
Sporting events 
  1. Australian Open 2017 
  2. Melbourne Cup 2017 
  3. Wimbledon 2017 
  4. Mayweather McGregor fight 
  5. AFL Grand Final 2017 
  6. US Open 2017 Tennis 
  7. Mundine vs Green 2 
  8. ICC Champions Trophy 2017 
  9. AFL Fixtures 2017 
  10. Rugby League World Cup 2017 
How to....? 
  1. How to make slime 
  2. How to make a fidget spinner 
  3. How to make fluffy slime 
  4. How to watch Mayweather vs McGregor 
  5. How to buy Bitcoin 
  6. How to make slime without borax 
  7. How to use Snapchat map 
  8. How to unblock people on Instagram 
  9. How to make slime without glue 
  10. How to vote for gay marriage 
What is…?
  1. What is MSG 
  2. What is Bitcoin 
  3. What is kimchi 
  4. What is a publican 
  5. What is covfefe 
  6. What is a fidget spinner 
  7. What is MSG and why is it bad 
  8. What is Sharia law 
  9. What is DACA 
  10. What is good friday 
Why is…? 
  1. Why is Pandora shutting down 
  2. Why is Club Penguin shutting down 
  3. Why is Australia Day on 26 January 
  4. Why is it called Good Friday 
  5. Why is Nathan Lyon Garry 
  6. Why is my poop green 
  7. Why is Messenger crashing 
  8. Why is Snapchat down 
  9. Why is two up illegal 
  10. Why is my internet so slow 
Recipes
  1. Beef Stroganoff 
  2. Hot cross bun 
  3. Hollandaise sauce 
  4. Chilli con carne 
  5. Chicken Cacciatore 
  6. Bechamel sauce 
  7. Chicken parmigiana 
  8. Shepherd's pie 
  9. Beef Bourguignon 
  10. Quiche Lorraine 
How to cook…?
  1. How to cook tofu 
  2. How to cook eggplant 
  3. How to cook pasta 
  4. How to cook rice in microwave 
  5. How to cook smoked cod 
  6. How to cook silverside 
  7. How to cook lentils 
  8. How to cook salmon fillets 
  9. How to cook fennel 
  10. How to cook rhubarb 


* Trending Searches: What was hot in 2017? The "trending" queries are the searches that had the highest spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2017 as compared to 2016.


New Google+ community metrics for G Suite admins and community moderators

Earlier this year, we announced additions to Google+ metrics to better understand user activity and community-level metrics. We’re continuing this effort to manage Google+ communities by introducing Google+ community metrics, surfaced in two places: the Admin console and in the Google+ community dashboard.

Metrics for community owners and moderators

First, community owners and moderators can now see new membership and engagement statistics about their community using the new "Insights" tab. If they’d like more information on a particular metric, mousing over it will provide additional context to help with interpreting the data.



To access these insights, an owner or moderator can click on the “Manage” button (previously the “Moderate” button) and select the “Insights” tab.

Please note, this dashboard will only be available to owners and moderators of Google+ communities. For more information on moderating a Google+ community, please visit the Help Center.

Communities Report for admins

For G Suite administrators, we've also added the ability to see all communities owned by members of your organization, sortable by metrics such as total members, active members, number of posts recently made, and more. In this report, which can be found in the Admin console by going to Reports > Apps > Google+ > Communities report, you’ll also be able to see the community’s “Visibility,” indicating whether or not it’s restricted to your domain.



You can choose to view either the last seven or 30 days worth of data.

As with our previous reporting additions, these metrics are available in both the Admin console and Reports API.

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:
All end users (Community insights metrics)
Admins only (Communities admin report)

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center: Moderate a community
Help Center: Moderate a communityGoogle+ community metrics

Launch release calendar
Launch detail categories
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates

TFGAN: A Lightweight Library for Generative Adversarial Networks



(Crossposted on the Google Open Source Blog)

Training a neural network usually involves defining a loss function, which tells the network how close or far it is from its objective. For example, image classification networks are often given a loss function that penalizes them for giving wrong classifications; a network that mislabels a dog picture as a cat will get a high loss. However, not all problems have easily-defined loss functions, especially if they involve human perception, such as image compression or text-to-speech systems. Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), a machine learning technique that has led to improvements in a wide range of applications including generating images from text, superresolution, and helping robots learn to grasp, offer a solution. However, GANs introduce new theoretical and software engineering challenges, and it can be difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of GAN research.
A video of a generator improving over time. It begins by producing random noise, and eventually learns to generate MNIST digits.
In order to make GANs easier to experiment with, we’ve open sourced TFGAN, a lightweight library designed to make it easy to train and evaluate GANs. It provides the infrastructure to easily train a GAN, provides well-tested loss and evaluation metrics, and gives easy-to-use examples that highlight the expressiveness and flexibility of TFGAN. We’ve also released a tutorial that includes a high-level API to quickly get a model trained on your data.
This demonstrates the effect of an adversarial loss on image compression. The top row shows image patches from the ImageNet dataset. The middle row shows the results of compressing and uncompressing an image through an image compression neural network trained on a traditional loss. The bottom row shows the results from a network trained with a traditional loss and an adversarial loss. The GAN-loss images are sharper and more detailed, even if they are less like the original.
TFGAN supports experiments in a few important ways. It provides simple function calls that cover the majority of GAN use-cases so you can get a model running on your data in just a few lines of code, but is built in a modular way to cover more exotic GAN designs as well. You can just use the modules you want — loss, evaluation, features, training, etc. are all independent. TFGAN’s lightweight design also means you can use it alongside other frameworks, or with native TensorFlow code. GAN models written using TFGAN will easily benefit from future infrastructure improvements, and you can select from a large number of already-implemented losses and features without having to rewrite your own. Lastly, the code is well-tested, so you don’t have to worry about numerical or statistical mistakes that are easily made with GAN libraries.
Most neural text-to-speech (TTS) systems produce over-smoothed spectrograms. When applied to the Tacotron TTS system, a GAN can recreate some of the realistic-texture, which reduces artifacts in the resulting audio.
When you use TFGAN, you’ll be using the same infrastructure that many Google researchers use, and you’ll have access to the cutting-edge improvements that we develop with the library. Anyone can contribute to the github repositories, which we hope will facilitate code-sharing among ML researchers and users.

A look at Team Drives in action at the California Academy of Sciences

Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum all wrapped into one. Attracting visitors from all over the world, the California Academy of Sciences aims to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth. In addition to biodiversity research and conservation efforts, they offer a large variety of exhibits to educate visitors about wildlife, ecosystems, and the sustainability of our planet.

The California Academy of Sciences uses G Suite and other Google products to help employees collaborate, onboard new team members effectively, manage data for science-based animal care, and schedule upcoming physicals and treatments for live animals. Recently, they migrated all their digital data to Team Drives, a G Suite for Nonprofits tool that lets organizations store, search, and access shared content from anywhere. In Team Drives, files belong to the team instead of the individual, so users won’t need to search across siloed folders with varying permissions. Since implementing this change, the California Academy of Sciences has been able to reduce time spent searching for documents, limit duplication of efforts, and collaborate more closely with their team members and other organizations internationally. We spoke with Associate Director of the Steinhart Aquarium (and Google super user), Laurie Patel, who successfully migrated 15 years of digital data to Team Drives in just one evening, to learn more about how they're using the tool.

Penguins

Three endangered African Penguins on exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. The penguin on the left is a juvenile hatched at the Academy as a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan.

Better animal health management through unlimited storage

The initial reasoning behind the transition to Team Drives was unlimited storage. Because of the massive amounts of animal medical data that must be stored, the aquarium team needs space to upload all the PDFs, images, videos, and spreadsheets that they collect. All medical data gets logged, like each animal’s annual physicals, blood work, pictures, weight, and other diagnostics. With 38,000 live animals at the California Academy of Sciences, it’s easy to see how the virtual file cabinet of data in their systems could start to overflow. With Team Drives, Laurie’s team can upload all the images and data they collect so that it’s accessible in one place, all the time—without relying on an individual owner to have sole access. And with Team Drives’ permissions settings, they share and link these folders to the external Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) database. That database connects with zoos and aquariums across the world so researchers can cross-reference each species’ baseline health reports. Being able to upload large files to this database has increased both the California Academy of Sciences’ and the ZIMS accumulated knowledge of medical data to ensure all animals are treated properly and receive the best possible care and enrichment.

Everything you need to know is right there in Team Drives. Laurie Patel
Associate Director of Steinhart Aquarium

Real-time updates to support strict protocols for animal safety

Caring for a diverse animal collection in varied habitats, like the four-story Osher Rainforest exhibit or the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef exhibit, requires California Academy of Sciences’ staff to adhere to strict protocols to ensure a consistently high standard of animal care. To ensure stable environments, all processes need to be executed in a specific way—and this critical information has to be readily accessible to staff and always up to date. From changing an animal’s diet to venomous animal handling protocols, employees routinely search and access these procedures and databases to make real-time decisions. For example, water is collected daily from separate tanks to check the water quality and test things like pH levels and magnesium concentration. Employees input this data into Google Sheets, and conditional formatting automatically attributes a color code based on each test result—an easy and instantaneous visual indication to inform what action is needed for the employees back at the tank.

We use data-driven responses for science based animal care. And utilizing Google’s collaboration tools for all this data is how we’re able to do this. Laurie Patel
Associate Director of the Steinhart Aquarium

Streamlined onboarding = more time for animals

By consolidating all training materials and important resources in one place, the Steinhart Aquarium team can onboard new members to the team quickly and efficiently. This helps the team prepare for legacy planning as well. When one teammate leaves, their successor can easily take ownership of all the files and resume where the former employee left off, ensuring that no work is lost in the transfer. And by linking to various Team Drives folders in their online hub powered by Google Sites, they’ve created a one-stop-shop to guide team members to the right information at the right time.

Sharks
The Reef Lagoon exhibit showcases the interrelationships of mangrove, lagoon and reef habitats found in the Philippines, an ecosystem researched by the biologists and scientists at the California Academy of Sciences.

Ultimately, Team Drives help California Academy of Sciences operate without fear of lost data or out-of-date sharing preferences. This extra time saved allows employees to spend more time caring for a charismatic group of live animals and engaging with the museum’s visitors, rather than their screens. Learn how Team Drives can help your organization and get started today.

Source: Google Cloud


A look at Team Drives in action at the California Academy of Sciences

Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum all wrapped into one. Attracting visitors from all over the world, the California Academy of Sciences aims to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth. In addition to biodiversity research and conservation efforts, they offer a large variety of exhibits to educate visitors about wildlife, ecosystems, and the sustainability of our planet.

The California Academy of Sciences uses G Suite and other Google products to help employees collaborate, onboard new team members effectively, manage data for science-based animal care, and schedule upcoming physicals and treatments for live animals. Recently, they migrated all their digital data to Team Drives, a G Suite for Nonprofits tool that lets organizations store, search, and access shared content from anywhere. In Team Drives, files belong to the team instead of the individual, so users won’t need to search across siloed folders with varying permissions. Since implementing this change, the California Academy of Sciences has been able to reduce time spent searching for documents, limit duplication of efforts, and collaborate more closely with their team members and other organizations internationally. We spoke with Associate Director of the Steinhart Aquarium (and Google super user), Laurie Patel, who successfully migrated 15 years of digital data to Team Drives in just one evening, to learn more about how they're using the tool.

Penguins

Three endangered African Penguins on exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. The penguin on the left is a juvenile hatched at the Academy as a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan.

Better animal health management through unlimited storage

The initial reasoning behind the transition to Team Drives was unlimited storage. Because of the massive amounts of animal medical data that must be stored, the aquarium team needs space to upload all the PDFs, images, videos, and spreadsheets that they collect. All medical data gets logged, like each animal’s annual physicals, blood work, pictures, weight, and other diagnostics. With 38,000 live animals at the California Academy of Sciences, it’s easy to see how the virtual file cabinet of data in their systems could start to overflow. With Team Drives, Laurie’s team can upload all the images and data they collect so that it’s accessible in one place, all the time—without relying on an individual owner to have sole access. And with Team Drives’ permissions settings, they share and link these folders to the external Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) database. That database connects with zoos and aquariums across the world so researchers can cross-reference each species’ baseline health reports. Being able to upload large files to this database has increased both the California Academy of Sciences’ and the ZIMS accumulated knowledge of medical data to ensure all animals are treated properly and receive the best possible care and enrichment.

Everything you need to know is right there in Team Drives. Laurie Patel
Associate Director of Steinhart Aquarium

Real-time updates to support strict protocols for animal safety

Caring for a diverse animal collection in varied habitats, like the four-story Osher Rainforest exhibit or the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef exhibit, requires California Academy of Sciences’ staff to adhere to strict protocols to ensure a consistently high standard of animal care. To ensure stable environments, all processes need to be executed in a specific way—and this critical information has to be readily accessible to staff and always up to date. From changing an animal’s diet to venomous animal handling protocols, employees routinely search and access these procedures and databases to make real-time decisions. For example, water is collected daily from separate tanks to check the water quality and test things like pH levels and magnesium concentration. Employees input this data into Google Sheets, and conditional formatting automatically attributes a color code based on each test result—an easy and instantaneous visual indication to inform what action is needed for the employees back at the tank.

We use data-driven responses for science based animal care. And utilizing Google’s collaboration tools for all this data is how we’re able to do this. Laurie Patel
Associate Director of the Steinhart Aquarium

Streamlined onboarding = more time for animals

By consolidating all training materials and important resources in one place, the Steinhart Aquarium team can onboard new members to the team quickly and efficiently. This helps the team prepare for legacy planning as well. When one teammate leaves, their successor can easily take ownership of all the files and resume where the former employee left off, ensuring that no work is lost in the transfer. And by linking to various Team Drives folders in their online hub powered by Google Sites, they’ve created a one-stop-shop to guide team members to the right information at the right time.

Sharks
The Reef Lagoon exhibit showcases the interrelationships of mangrove, lagoon and reef habitats found in the Philippines, an ecosystem researched by the biologists and scientists at the California Academy of Sciences.

Ultimately, Team Drives help California Academy of Sciences operate without fear of lost data or out-of-date sharing preferences. This extra time saved allows employees to spend more time caring for a charismatic group of live animals and engaging with the museum’s visitors, rather than their screens. Learn how Team Drives can help your organization and get started today.

A look at Team Drives in action at the California Academy of Sciences

Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences is an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum all wrapped into one. Attracting visitors from all over the world, the California Academy of Sciences aims to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth. In addition to biodiversity research and conservation efforts, they offer a large variety of exhibits to educate visitors about wildlife, ecosystems, and the sustainability of our planet.

The California Academy of Sciences uses G Suite and other Google products to help employees collaborate, onboard new team members effectively, manage data for science-based animal care, and schedule upcoming physicals and treatments for live animals. Recently, they migrated all their digital data to Team Drives, a G Suite for Nonprofits tool that lets organizations store, search, and access shared content from anywhere. In Team Drives, files belong to the team instead of the individual, so users won’t need to search across siloed folders with varying permissions. Since implementing this change, the California Academy of Sciences has been able to reduce time spent searching for documents, limit duplication of efforts, and collaborate more closely with their team members and other organizations internationally. We spoke with Associate Director of the Steinhart Aquarium (and Google super user), Laurie Patel, who successfully migrated 15 years of digital data to Team Drives in just one evening, to learn more about how they're using the tool.

Penguins

Three endangered African Penguins on exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. The penguin on the left is a juvenile hatched at the Academy as a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan.

Better animal health management through unlimited storage

The initial reasoning behind the transition to Team Drives was unlimited storage. Because of the massive amounts of animal medical data that must be stored, the aquarium team needs space to upload all the PDFs, images, videos, and spreadsheets that they collect. All medical data gets logged, like each animal’s annual physicals, blood work, pictures, weight, and other diagnostics. With 38,000 live animals at the California Academy of Sciences, it’s easy to see how the virtual file cabinet of data in their systems could start to overflow. With Team Drives, Laurie’s team can upload all the images and data they collect so that it’s accessible in one place, all the time—without relying on an individual owner to have sole access. And with Team Drives’ permissions settings, they share and link these folders to the external Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) database. That database connects with zoos and aquariums across the world so researchers can cross-reference each species’ baseline health reports. Being able to upload large files to this database has increased both the California Academy of Sciences’ and the ZIMS accumulated knowledge of medical data to ensure all animals are treated properly and receive the best possible care and enrichment.

Everything you need to know is right there in Team Drives. Laurie Patel
Associate Director of Steinhart Aquarium

Real-time updates to support strict protocols for animal safety

Caring for a diverse animal collection in varied habitats, like the four-story Osher Rainforest exhibit or the 212,000 gallon Philippine Coral Reef exhibit, requires California Academy of Sciences’ staff to adhere to strict protocols to ensure a consistently high standard of animal care. To ensure stable environments, all processes need to be executed in a specific way—and this critical information has to be readily accessible to staff and always up to date. From changing an animal’s diet to venomous animal handling protocols, employees routinely search and access these procedures and databases to make real-time decisions. For example, water is collected daily from separate tanks to check the water quality and test things like pH levels and magnesium concentration. Employees input this data into Google Sheets, and conditional formatting automatically attributes a color code based on each test result—an easy and instantaneous visual indication to inform what action is needed for the employees back at the tank.

We use data-driven responses for science based animal care. And utilizing Google’s collaboration tools for all this data is how we’re able to do this. Laurie Patel
Associate Director of the Steinhart Aquarium

Streamlined onboarding = more time for animals

By consolidating all training materials and important resources in one place, the Steinhart Aquarium team can onboard new members to the team quickly and efficiently. This helps the team prepare for legacy planning as well. When one teammate leaves, their successor can easily take ownership of all the files and resume where the former employee left off, ensuring that no work is lost in the transfer. And by linking to various Team Drives folders in their online hub powered by Google Sites, they’ve created a one-stop-shop to guide team members to the right information at the right time.

Sharks
The Reef Lagoon exhibit showcases the interrelationships of mangrove, lagoon and reef habitats found in the Philippines, an ecosystem researched by the biologists and scientists at the California Academy of Sciences.

Ultimately, Team Drives help California Academy of Sciences operate without fear of lost data or out-of-date sharing preferences. This extra time saved allows employees to spend more time caring for a charismatic group of live animals and engaging with the museum’s visitors, rather than their screens. Learn how Team Drives can help your organization and get started today.

Use labels to gain visibility into GCP resource usage and spending



We’re pleased to announce that labels, a new grouping mechanism for your cloud resources, is now widely available in GCP. With labels, you can group related resources together by adding metadata to your resources in the form of key-value pairs. This feature helps enterprises better organize resources, and gain visibility into resource usage and spending.
At Descartes Labs, we process petabytes of satellite imagery on a daily basis that we store in GCP. We use labels to tag our Google Cloud Storage buckets by functional business area so that we have better visibility into how resource usage looks across departments. We also use labels with Google Compute Engine to identify the processing pipelines across different areas of our environment so that we have an accurate view of how resource costs map to our business. We can easily track any cost changes by exporting resource billing details to Big Query and using Data Studio Dashboards.  
Tim Kelton, Co-Founder and Cloud Architect, Descartes Labs


Labels provide a convenient way for developers and administrators to organize resources at scale


By adding labels such as costcenter=c23543, service=playlist, and environment=test to your VMs or GCS buckets it’s easy to understand, for example, where your resources are deployed, for what purpose and which cost center they should be charged to.

The screenshot below shows how you can associate labels with Compute Engine instances through the UI.
Labels can be used to associate your GCP resources with your cost center of choice.

You can also, for example, further subdivide the playlist service into the systems that represent the web front-end and a different set of resources that represent a storage system (e.g., a Cassandra cluster). By assigning the labels component=frontend to all the web front-end resources, and component=storage to the Cassandra cluster, you can search and filter to find just the VMs that make up the front-end, as shown in the screenshot below.
Use labels to search and filter on specific GCP resources.

Using labels to understand costs


When you enable the export of billing data to BigQuery, labels are exported to BigQuery with all corresponding GCP resources and their usage. This makes it easier for CIOs and managers to answer questions such as:

  • What does the shopping cart service in my application cost to run?
  • How much do I spend on developer test machines?

You can use BigQuery in combination with labels such as costcenter=c23543, service=playlist, and environment=test on your VMs or GCS buckets, to understand exactly what all test systems resources cost versus production resources, or how much the playlist service costs.
Here, Billing export to BigQuery has been enabled. "Labels-demo-prj" is the source of your resource usage and "labels_demo_bqexport" is the destination dataset where usage data is stored.
Once you export your usage and labels to BigQuery, finding out how much your “playlist” service costs becomes very easy, as shown in the example below.
Here, you can see Google Compute Engine usage and its associated cost in BigQuery.
Labels are a powerful tool to track your GCP usage and resources at scale, and with the granularity you need. You can find a list of all GCP services that support labels today on the documentation page. Stay tuned as we announce more features for labels.

News Lab in 2017: working with news organizations to address industry challenges

Editor’s Note: This week we’re looking at the ways the Google News Lab is working with news organizations to build the future of journalism. This is the first in a four-part series.

2017 was a critical time for both the news and technology industries. The battle against misinformation, rapidly-changing business models for news organizations and fundamental questions about the relationship between journalism and technology have made Google’s role in supporting quality journalism as important as it’s ever been. We started the Google News Lab in 2015 to work alongside newsrooms to navigate those issues and build a stronger future for news.

No single technology, platform or partnership will solve every challenge the news industry faces, so we’ve focused on using our resources and technology to help newsrooms and journalists try new things. Three of the biggest challenges we focused on in 2017 were trust and misinformation, inclusive storytelling and local news. Today, we’ll provide detail on how we approached those challenges—and to ensure we’re tackling the right ones in the future, we’d love to hear feedback and new ideas.

Trust and misinformation

Though it's been a focus since we founded the News Lab, curbing the spread of misinformation and helping people understand what content they can trust has become even more important this year, in light of events across the world. Our efforts to fight misinformation focus on three key groups—platforms, newsrooms and consumers.

Platforms: Google has launched a number of features to prevent the spread of misinformation on our platforms, and News Lab has built partnerships to strengthen those efforts.

Newsrooms: Discovering and debunking misinformation is a daunting task for any newsroom, but we’re encouraged by a new generation of organizations developing methods to meet this challenge.

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  • We helped start the First Draft coalition of digital media verification experts to combine efforts and share best practices with newsrooms everywhere. This year, they produced “A Field Guide to Fake News,” a playbook on how newsrooms can fight misinformation. Their recent report “Information Disorder” offers an excellent approach for understanding and grappling with misinformation.
  • Along with hundreds of news organizations around the world, we created pop-up newsrooms to discover and debunk fake news stories and provide readers with accurate information during the U.K., French and German elections. Early research shows that this is working, and the effort in France received an ONA award for helping build a blueprint for verification around key moments. We plan to continue these experiments in 2018, and we’re developing tools and training on how our products can help in this area.
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Journalists from across France undergo training in verifying online content in run-up to French election.

Consumers: In an age of information overload, we need to do more to help news consumers distinguish fact from fiction. Recent research out of Stanford suggests that news consumers—even young, tech-savvy students—struggle with parsing the difference between accurate and false claims. To help people develop skills to navigate news in a digital age, we launched a news literacy program in Canada, which we’re looking to expand in the coming year. We’re also working with our product teams to ensure our platforms help news consumers understand how to judge the credibility of content online, building on features like the publisher knowledge panel.


Inclusive storytelling

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This visualization from Polygraph shows how U.S. newsrooms have changed since 2001, according to ASNE’s survey data.

In order for newsrooms to serve their readers and uncover the most important stories in their communities, they need to reflect the diversity of their markets. But this remains a challenge: in a survey we produced with the American Society of News Editors, we found that diversity in U.S. newsrooms hasn’t improved much over time. For instance, men still make up 63 percent of newsrooms in the U.S.

So we’ve focused our energy on partnerships to empower journalists from a diverse range of backgrounds and communities. We’re working with Maynard Institute to support 200 people of color in media, and we backed the Street School in France and the Hamburg media school in Germany to train young journalists from underprivileged backgrounds. We’ve also created fellowships and programs to give diverse journalists new opportunities, with groups like NCTJ Journalism Diversity Fund and Neue Deutsche Medienmacher.


We also think technology can play an important role in understanding bias in news. In 2016 Google.org, USC and the Geena Davis Institute used machine learning to create a tool that identified gender distribution in Hollywood. We’re building on this work to explore how newsrooms can apply the same technology to better understand representation in news coverage.


Local news

Local newsrooms have been hit hard by the shift to digital, with revenue pressures causing local newsrooms to shrink—or worse, close down. Through a partnership with the Society for Professional Journalists, we’ve trained more than 9,500 local reporters across America on essential skills, from multimedia storytelling to safety and security, in the last year. And our partnership with the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal Labs gave local journalists in Mississippi and New Jersey the resources to experiment on new models for investigative reporting.  


We’re looking at new models for strengthening the local news ecosystem, through initiatives like Report for America, which will place a thousand journalists in local newsrooms in the next five years. Over the next six months, we’ll pilot the program in 12 local newsrooms in areas underserved by local news media.

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Feedback from journalists and others in the industry is important to our efforts. We’d love your feedback, which you can share through this form. In our next post, we’ll talk about how we’re helping news organizations navigate new technologies—like virtual reality, data visualizations and machine learning—in their newsrooms.