Monthly Archives: January 2016

#CSforAll: expanding computer science to all students



We believe it's important that all students have the opportunity to be creators—not just consumers—of technology. The study of computer science (CS) develops critical thinking skills, the kind that help solve complex problems and drive innovation, and opens doors for a variety of careers that integrate technology. That’s why we’re thrilled to be part of President Obama’s announcement this morning to expand CS to all students, especially those from underrepresented communities.

Today, alongside the President’s announcement, Google is committing to an additional investment of $23.5 million in 2016 to support K-12 CS education, with the aim to reach an additional 5 million students through our programs.

Our research shows that 9 in 10 parents want their child to learn CS but unfortunately schools face many barriers to offering CS in the classroom. Principals and superintendents say that they don’t have have enough time in the school day to have a dedicated CS class, and many schools aren’t able to find trained CS teachers. We applaud the White House, and the growing number of advocates, educators and companies across the country working to address these and other barriers.
We know we have to work together to overcome these challenges and we invite you to learn more about our programs and even more importantly, to join our efforts! Bring CS First to your school, encourage high school girls to try coding with Made with Code, or simply be part of the conversation about expanding access to CS in your community. Read more about some of our 2016 initiatives below that are part of today’s White House announcement, and roll up your sleeves, we’re right there with you!

  • CS First gives students ages 9-14 a chance to express themselves with code through projects focused on interest areas like sports, fashion, music, and more. No tech experience is needed to facilitate the program and materials are free. Over 250,000 students have experienced programming through CS First, and more are joining every day!
  • Made with Code inspires millions of girls to learn to code and to see computer science as a means to pursue their dream careers through introductory coding projects, profiles of women mentors using coding in diverse job paths, and a community of partners and nonprofits helping to sustain girls’ interest along their coding journey.
  • Google Summer of Code is a global online program offering student developers ages 18+ stipends & mentorship for open source coding projects. 
  • For computer science teachers, CS4HS is an annual program that improves the CS educational ecosystem by providing funding for the design and delivery of professional development. CS4HS supports teachers to learn and master new technical content and teach in more innovative and engaging ways.
  • We support non-profit organizations such as Code.org, through Google.org, Google Fiber, and our RISE Awards which are grants for organizations working to inspire the next generation of computer scientists, especially those that reach girls, underrepresented minorities, and students who face socio-economic barriers.
  • To dispel stereotypes, we’re working with Hollywood studios, writers and advocacy groups to showcase positive portrayals of girls, women, and underrepresented minorities in tech. 

Mindy Kaling at our kickoff Made with Code event in New York, June 2014
And while important work is getting done on the ground, we’re also helping to inform the field about the barriers to access CS education in our formal education system. Our computer science education research with Gallup helped us gain a deeper understanding of how administrators, teachers, parents and students perceive CS and the main challenges that high schools face in providing CS courses. This research will continue as a three year study so we can see how we are progressing over time. We’re excited that President Obama is elevating CS education as a vital, national issue and look forward to building on the momentum of #CS4All to bring CS learning opportunities to all students.

Dev Channel Update for Chrome OS

The Dev channel has been updated to 49.0.2623.28 (Platform version: 7834.13.0) 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 horizontal bars in the upper right corner of the browser).

Josafat Garcia
Google Chrome

Dev Channel Updates

The dev channel has been updated to 50.0.2633.3 for Windows, Mac, and Linux.


A partial list of changes is available in the log. Interested in switching release channels? Find out how. If you find a new issue, please let us know by filing a bug. The community help forum is also a great place to reach out for help or learn about common issues.


Di Mu
Google Chrome

Seesaw: scalable and robust load balancing

Like all good projects, this one started out because we had an itch to scratch…


As a Site Reliability Engineer at Google working on corporate infrastructure, there are a  large number of internally used services that need to be load balanced, both for scalability and reliability. Back in 2012, load balancing was provided by two different platforms and both presented different sets of management and stability challenges. In order to alleviate these issues, we set about looking for a replacement load balancing platform.

After evaluating a number of platforms, including existing open source projects, we were unable to find one that met all of our needs and decided to set about developing a robust and scalable load balancing platform. The requirements were not exactly complex - we needed the ability to handle traffic for unicast and anycast VIPs, perform load balancing with NAT and DSR (also known as DR), and perform adequate health checks against the backends. Above all we wanted a platform that allowed for ease of management, including automated deployment of configuration changes.

One of the two existing platforms was built upon Linux LVS, which provided the necessary load balancing at the network level. This was known to work successfully and we opted to retain this for the new platform. Several design decisions were made early on in the project — the first of these was to use the Go programming language, since it provided an incredibly powerful way to implement concurrency (goroutines and channels), along with easy interprocess communication (net/rpc). The second was to implement a modular multi-process architecture. The third was to simply abort and terminate a process if we ended up in an unknown state, which would ideally allow for failover and/or self-recovery.

After a period of concentrated development effort, we completed and successfully deployed Seesaw v2 as a replacement for both existing platforms. Overall it allowed us to increase service availability and reduce management overhead. We're pleased to be able to make this platform available to the rest of the world and hope that other enterprises are able to benefit from this project. You can find the code at https://github.com/google/seesaw.

By Joel Sing, Google Site Reliability Engineer

Bringing Unlimited Storage to all government customers, looking back and looking ahead



I don’t know about you, but it seems like 2016 has started with a bang!

I have an exciting announcement for my first post of the year — now all U.S. government agencies can choose Google Apps for Work and store unlimited content with the assurance that its security is assessed against the FedRAMP standards. Over the holidays, we received a FedRAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) Authorization to Operate for Google Apps for Work* and Google App Engine. And because this authorization — along with its ongoing compliance requirements — covers our common infrastructure, it benefits all existing Google Apps for Work and App Engine customers as well.

With 2016 off to a busy start, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on 2015. It was a big year for Google for Work.

We launched new features, powered by machine learning, that do more of the heavy lifting so you can work better and faster. For Sheets, we introduced Explore, which provides instant data analytics and visualization with the click of a button. We added Smart Reply to Inbox, which helps you respond to messages by generating short contextual responses to your emails, based on your typical responses. And we open-sourced TensorFlow, our fast and scalable machine learning system, to accelerate advances within the wider community.

Along with the roll out of Marshmallow to the Android for Work program, we held a virtual conference called Android for Work Live so users all over the world could watch and participate. On Maps, we launched Predict Travel Time — one of the most powerful features from our consumer Google Maps experience  so businesses and developers can make their location-based applications even more relevant for their users.

We’re continuing to build out and improve Google Cloud Platform at breakneck speed, with nearly 300 combined products and features launched in 2015. Nearline gives you the benefits of cold storage and the pricing of offline backups, but with high availability for your data. Bigtable gives you access to the same database service that powers many of Google’s core products, like Search and Maps. And Custom Machine Types give you the flexibility to create the virtual machine shape that works for you, so you get just the right amount of memory and processing power for your workloads.

We also reached a new milestone — there are now more than 2 million paying businesses using Google Apps for Work, including new customers like Morrisons, Catholic Health Initiatives and Thames Water. Organizations like Broad Institute, HTC, Atomic Fiction and Nomanini that want powerful data analytics and developer platforms, began using and partnering with Google Cloud Platform for everything from tackling genomic data to building innovative mobile payment apps.

Looking ahead, our goal remains the same: empower billions of people to work the way they choose and build what’s next. We’re building simple and secure tools that make it easier for you to focus on the things that matter. Technology can help by assisting with tasks, suggesting how to maximize your time and even proactively surfacing the information you need. It’s going to be an exciting year. Have a look at our full year wrap up and best wishes for a happy and productive 2016!

*Google Apps for Work, Google Apps for Work Unlimited, Google Apps for Education and Google Apps for Nonprofits. Google's dedicated Government edition is also FedRAMP-authorized.


The Google app now speaks ‘Strayan

Starting today, the Google app has a new familiar voice. You’ll hear Google reply to you in an Australian accent when you ask questions of the Google app and also when you’re getting turn-by-turn directions in Google Maps.

To test it out, we put the new voice to the test on some tricky Aussie place names.

Have a listen: 


People are starting to talk their mobile devices more regularly—in fact, mobile voice searches have more than doubled in the past year alone. So, we wanted to make sure that Aussies were hearing an Australian voice speak back to them when they were asking questions during pub trivia or simply setting an alarm for tomorrow morning.

Pulling together the new Aussie voice relied on a team of talented Australian linguists who helped create structural models of Australian pronunciation and intonation. And as you can hear above, this was particularly important to pronounce all those wonderful and complex Aussie place names out there—like Mullumbimby, Bouinderra, Maloolooba, Maroochydore, Stockinbingal, and many more. Leading up to the launch, the team checked the pronunciation of tens of thousands of Australian place names!

Now it’s your chance to test out if the voice is fair dinkum. Try:
  • OK Google, take me to the nearest Maccas. 
  • OK Google, send a message to Darren, are we on for footy this arvo? 
  • OK Google, where is the closest servo? 
  • OK Google, remind me to buy milk next time I’m at Woolies. 
  • OK Google, what’s the temperature like in Brissy? 
  • OK Google, show me pictures of quokka selfies. 
  • OK Google, what does the sheep say? 
  • OK Google, what is the most livable city? 
  • OK Google, what is a drop bear? 
Or maybe you want to ask a string of questions in a row, starting with “OK Google, who is the Prime Minister of Australia?”


Give it a go today!

54 new country-based holiday calendars added to the Google Calendar app

This week, we added 54 additional country-based holiday calendars to the Google Calendar Android and iOS apps. In total, you can now get 143 holiday calendars directly on your mobile calendar.

To add or change the national holidays you see on your calendar:

  1. Open the Google Calendar app
  2. In the top left, touch the Menu icon > Settings > Holidays.
  3. Touch the name of the current country.
  4. Touch a new country to add it, or touch the currently selected country to remove it.

Get the latest version of the Google Calendar app from Google Play or the App Store, or visit the Help Center to learn more.

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

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

Impact:
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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

Smart suggestions in Google Calendar for event titles, places and people―now in more than 30 new languages

Starting this week, you’ll be able to quickly create events in Google Calendar with smart suggestions for event titles, places and people, in more than 30 new languages. Available on Android and iOS.

Getting started
  • When you begin typing an event title, you’ll see matching suggestions―choose one or keep typing. 
  • Tap “at...” to add a location to your event and later get directions.
  • Tap “with...” to add people to your event, so you can easily call or message them from the event. This won’t send them an invite.
  • English only: Tap “on…” to easily specify the date, time and duration of the event


Visit the Help Center to get the full instructions for web, Android, and iOS.

The newly supported languages are:

Arabic (ar), Chinese (Simplified) (zh-CN), Chinese (Traditional) (zh-TW), Dutch (nl), English (UK) (en-GB), French (fr), German (de), Italian (it), Japanese (ja), Korean (ko), Polish (pl), Portuguese (Brazil) (pt-BR), Russian (ru), Spanish (es), Spanish (Latin America) (es-419), Thai (th), Turkish (tr), Bulgarian (bg), Catalan (ca), Croatian (hr), Czech (cs), Danish (da), Farsi (fa), Filipino (fil), Finnish (fi), Greek (el), Hebrew (iw), Hindi (hi), Hungarian (hu), Indonesian (id), Latvian (lv), Lithuanian (lt), Norwegian (Bokmal) (no), Portuguese (Portugal) (pt-PT), Romanian (ro), Serbian (sr), Slovak (sk), Slovenian (sl), Swedish (sv), Ukrainian (uk), Vietnamese (vi)

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

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

Impact:
All end users

Action:
Change management suggested/FYI

More Information
Help Center


Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

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

Introducing the AdWords app for iOS

Today, we’re rolling out the AdWords app on iOS to all AdWords customers globally – you can download it from the App Store. With the AdWords app, many campaign activities can now be managed while you’re on the go from the convenience of your iPhone:
  • Monitor campaign performance like clicks, CTR and CPC 
  • Update bids and budgets
  • Act on suggestions that may help improve campaign performance
  • Get real-time alerts and notifications about your billing and ad status
  • Call a Google expert
Customers like The Honest Company, MuleSoft, and PMG use the AdWords app to easily manage their campaigns, stay in touch with the needs of their customers, and quickly access important business insights – from anywhere.

“Amidst the hectic holiday festivities, this app saved me from having to leave the dinner table to monitor performance and make quick changes to my accounts. That meant more time with my family. I'm excited for what's to come!”
– Josh Franklin, Manager, Search Marketing, The Honest Company

“The app helps me access high level data on the go which can come in handy in the boardroom, or anytime I need to quickly understand how our campaigns are performing. Also, having the ability to make adjustments to our campaigns – such as changing bids and budget – is invaluable.”
– Nima Asrar Haghighi, Director, Digital Marketing & Analytics, MuleSoft





“The consumer shift to mobile means our retail clients' campaigns have to be responsive to meet the needs of consumers at all times of the day. The app makes it easy for us to address issues without being chained to our laptops. PMG has been able to deliver prompt account adjustments from campaign to keyword level for our clients, as well as keep our customer satisfaction rates high.”
– Kyle Knox, Account Manager, PMG

Get started

You can learn more about the AdWords app in the AdWords Help Center.
Posted by Sugeeti Kochhar, Product Manager, AdWords

Source: Inside AdWords


Announcing GA Support for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Analytics

When Google was a few years old, we wrote up a list of Ten things we know to be true. The list includes items like “Focus on the user and all else will follow” as well as “Fast is better than slow.” It would be tough to say that much of the mobile web has adhered to these principles. Users often get frustrated by poor experiences in which sites load slowly or will lock up trying to load resources that clog their data connections.

The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) is an open source initiative that aims to address these problems by enabling content to load instantaneously and provide a better web experience for all. AMP introduces a new format that is a flavor of HTML. It’s built to prioritize speed and a fantastic user experience. One way that AMP provides reliably good page loading performance is by restricting the ability to add custom JavaScript to pages and instead relying on built in, reusable components.

Today, the AMP team announced the launch of an analytics component that will enable measurement on AMP pages. The Google Analytics team is committed to helping our users measure their content wherever it appears. So, for publishers looking to use AMP to provide an improved user experience, we’ve released Google Analytics measurement capabilities for Accelerated Mobile Pages. AMP support in Google Analytics makes it easy to identify your best content and optimize your user experience.

How Google Analytics Support Works

Analytics on AMP is handled by an open source, reusable component that the Google Analytics team helped build. The <amp-analytics> component can be configured with Google Analytics specific configuration parameters to record pageviews, events, and even custom dimensions. That configuration works hand in hand with a global event listener that automatically detects triggers like button presses. As a result, there’s no need to scatter custom JavaScript throughout your page to detect actions that should trigger events and hits. Instead, you can define which actions should trigger hits within the configuration section and let the magic of AMP do the rest.

How to Get Started

Before you get started with AMP Analytics, you’ll need to get started with AMP itself. The AMP website contains a great introduction to getting started. Once you have an AMP page up, it’s time to start thinking about how you’d like to measure its performance. 

We recommend that you use a separate Google Analytics property to measure your AMP pages. AMP is a new technology that’s going to mature over time. As such, some of the functionality that you’re used to in web analytics won’t immediately be available in AMP analytics right away. AMP pages can appear in multiple contexts, including through different syndication caches. Because of that, a single user that visits an AMP version of a page and a HTML version of a page can end up being treated as two distinct users. Using a separate Google Analytics property to measure AMP pages makes it easier to handle these issues.

Once you have your AMP page and new Google Analytics property set up, you’ll want to reference the requirements for using Analytics on AMP pages as well as the developers guide for instrumenting measurement.

What’s Next

Multiple technology partners, including Google Search, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have announced that they’ll start surfacing AMP pages in the coming months. The Google Analytics team is excited to support AMP from day one and look forward to growing our offering as AMP’s capabilities expand.


Posted by Dan Cary, Product Manager and Avi Mehta, Software Engineer