Monthly Archives: December 2018

Kick-start your New Year’s resolutions with Google Fit

January is fast approaching—and that means it’s almost time for New Year's resolutions, even though most people seem to abandon them about a week into the new year. But if 2019 is the year you want to stick to your goals, you may want to get a head start. In fact, our New Year's resolution is to make it easier for you to get healthy, and have fun doing it. Here's how you can put health and wellness first in 2019, with a little help from Google.

Step 1: Get in the game.

Go to the Google Fit app to join a 30-day challenge designed to kick-start your journey to a healthier, more active life. The challenge begins on January 1, but you can sign up starting today (running shoes optional). You’ll earn Heart Points from activities that you log or actively track with Google Fit. Better yet, Google Fit will automatically detect and log walks, runs or bike rides for you. Your goal is to get as many points as possible—and we’ll be cheering you on along the way.

Step 2: Learn the ground rules.

You’ll score Heart Points for any activity that gets your heart pumping. Get one point for each minute of moderate activity, like picking up the pace while walking your dog, and double points for more intense activities like running or kickboxing. Hit 150 Heart Points per week to meet the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO)’s physical activity recommendations shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, improve sleep and increase overall mental well-being.

Step 3: Get moving.

We hear you: It’s tough to get motivated when it’s cold outside. Here are some ways you can earn Heart Points while you’re going about your winter routine:

  • Want to involve the whole family? Go sledding with your kids and earn double Heart Points.  
  • Skip the snowblower and grab a shovel. Extra points if you do your neighbor’s yard, too.
  • You’ll probably make a hot cocoa run at some point. Park at the farther end of the lot and squeeze in a brisk walk.
  • If you find yourself on the mountain this winter, skiing and snowboarding are all intense activities that can earn you double Heart Points.
  • If the hot cocoa didn’t warm you up, catch a spin class and earn a Heart Point for every minute you’re on the bike.

Step 4: Find a buddy.

For more inspiration, we’ve teamed up with 36 influencers from nine countries around the globe to show us how they’re earning their Heart Points. Follow #GetFitWithGoogle on Instagram and YouTube to see how others are tackling the challenge, or share your own tips and tricks on how you #GetFitwithGoogle with your favorite Heart Points workout.

Are you up for the challenge? Sign-up today in the Google Fit app. If you’re new to Google Fit, try it here to start the year right with Fit.

Source: Android


2018, celebrating our global Webmaster community

2018 has been a very important year for our webmaster support community. What has happened? There’s been a program rebranding, a global summit, and loads of community hangouts.


In October, the former Top Contributors became Gold Product Experts, and the Rising Stars, Silver Product Experts. This rebranding happened throughout all of the product forums and these are some of the new badges and names:
Silver Product Expert: Newer members who are developing their product knowledge
Gold Product Expert: Trusted members who are knowledgeable and active contributors


In November, we invited all of our Gold Product Experts from every Google help forum (such as Blogger or Google My Business) to a global summit. This meetup happened in the Google campus in Sunnyvale, California. Out of the almost 550 attendees from all over the world, around 70 were Webmaster Gold Product Experts. Coming from 25 different countries, this was the second biggest community that attended the event. Later that month, another very successful meetup took place in Moscow, gathering 23 Russian speaking Product Experts (of which 10 were Webmasters).

Gold Webmaster Product Experts at this year’s global summit in Sunnyvale.

Many of the attendees acknowledged that this “was a really valuable time”, that the “sessions were very insightful and interesting” and that “the entire event was fantastic!”.


This knowledgeable group of super users provides invaluable help in 16 languages to more than 2 million users a year, about everything related to Search, Structured Data or Search Console in the forums.


And what is the profile of our community? Many of our Product Experts (Silver and Gold) are site owners who started out on the Webmaster forums (some more than a decade ago) by asking questions about their own sites. After their issues were fixed, most of them stayed to give back to the community, as they realized that their expertise could be of use to others. We want to thank all of our experts for their dedication and constant knowledge sharing to help users who are having trouble with their websites.


Throughout the year, we’ve held 75 live office hours hangouts on the Webmaster YouTube channel, in English, Japanese, German, Hindi, French, and we’ve also kick started the calls in Spanish. On those hangouts, anyone can raise their questions to the Google team directly and interact with one another.


If you’re interested in joining the community, meeting everyone and helping other users on the Webmaster forums, you can learn more on the Product Experts program website. We are always excited to meet users from diverse backgrounds and skill-sets!


Looking forward to what 2019 will bring to our community... And looking forward to meeting you!




Written by Aurora Morales, Trust & Safety Outreach team

Launchpad Accelerator India – Class II: Applications are now open

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We announced Launchpad Accelerator India 2018 in July, and have had an incredible few months working with the first class of the program. These startups, that are using AI/ML to solve for India’s needs, underwent an intensive in-person mentorship bootcamp followed by customized support for 3 months. We recently concluded the 1st class of Launchpad Accelerator India and these 10 startups join the scores of innovative tech startups in India that have been supported by the Launchpad program over the years.


In addition to the tailored one-to-one mentorship, some of the ways in which our first class benefited from the program include -- insights and support on advanced tech such as ML, in-depth Design Sprints for specifically identified challenges, guidance on focused tech projects, features on the Google Play store, networking opportunities and connects at industry events and platform.



We are excited to share that we are now accepting applications for class 2 of Launchpad Accelerator India.


Apply at this link,  before January 31st 2019, 12pm IST


The selected class will be announced in February and the program will begin in March 2019. The shortlisted startups will attend a one week in-person mentorship bootcamp in Bangalore in March and there will be follow-up engagements over April and May to help address the needs of the startups.


What do we look for when selecting startups?
Startups will need to meet the following criteria to be considered for the Launchpad Accelerator India:
1/ Be a technology startup.
2/ Be based in India.  
3/ Have preferably at least raised seed funding.
4/ Address a challenge that is specific to India
5/ Use advanced technology like AI/ML to power the solution.


Each class will consist of upto 10 startups who will receive mentorship and support from the best of Google in AI/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, Web, Product Strategy and Marketing. Startups will also receive Google Cloud Credits from  $20K - going up to $100K each.

By Paul Ravindranath, Program Manager, Launchpad Accelerator India

Twas the night before liftoff

'Twas the night before Christmas, when at the North Pole

The elves and I took charge at mission control


We fed all the reindeer and charged Santa's phone

To make sure they could reach every city and home


He’s off and away on his worldwide trip

Fire up Santa Tracker, you’ll be linked at the hip

On the web, in an app, or ask the Google Assistant

With good ol' Google Maps, Santa won’t feel too distant


This year, hundreds of Local Guides will show you the way

With pics of each place, many mid-holiday

Or if you need a break from the snow and the rain

Santa’s Village is open with fun, cheer and games


Here at mission control, elves are working in shifts

To help Santa deliver seven billion gifts

Season’s greetings to all, and to all a good night

We’ll see you in the morning, after Santa takes flight


How we worked to make AI for everyone in 2018

Seeing music. Predicting earthquake aftershocks. Finding emojis in real life. These are just a few examples of how researchers, engineers and user-experience (UX) professionals made imaginative ideas real. They made it happen using tools and techniques developed by Google’s People + AI Research (PAIR) team in 2018.

We founded PAIR in 2017 to conduct researchcreate design frameworks and build new technologies that help make partnerships between humans and artificial intelligence productive, enjoyable and fair. One of our main goals is to create easy-to-use tools to visualize machine learning (ML) datasets and train ML models (the mathematical equations that represent the steps a machine will complete to make a decision) in browsers. Put simply, this means anyone with an internet connection can now use ML.

Here’s what PAIR has accomplished over the past year—and here’s how engineers and UX teams can put our resources to use in 2019 and beyond.

Creating a design library—and learning how to design for AI

In January, we launched a library of user-experience articles and case studies on Google Design. These show how Google makes decisions to balance our users’ needs for familiarity and trust with new functionality and experiences enabled by AI. The case studies go behind the scenes to show how Google teams developed user experiences for applications, like the fun mobile game Emoji Scavenger Hunt.

In these articles, practicing user-experience designers offer clear how-tos. They address challenges in designing for AI, such as balancing how to design for habits like swiping or scrolling in certain directions, and building personalized experiences for individual users. We know we don’t have all the answers, so we also seek advice from outside experts, like Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), who answered our team’s questions on how to use AI as a design material itself.

Talking about AI across disciplines

A key part of our process is partnering with domain experts in other fields. For example, this year we worked with Harvard’s Brendan Meade and the University of Connecticut’s Phoebe de Vries on a model for predicting and visualizing earthquake aftershocks. This project led to a state-of-the-art model for aftershock prediction--and, intriguingly, our analysis of the  AI suggested new, unexpected directions for human researchers to investigate.

In March, we  hosted our first UX symposium in Zurich, featuring external researchers and industry professionals. And in May, we held a panel at  I/O, “AI for Everyone,” featuring Google engineering leaders with a spectrum of expertise, from cloud computing to climate science, to discuss fair and inclusive AI in these fields.

We’re also dedicated to translating the complicated language behind AI for everyone who uses it, even if they’re not engineers. Since June, our first PAIR writer-in-residence, tech journalist David Weinberger, has been embedded in PAIR’s Cambridge, Mass. lab. He’s explaining key AI concepts, like classification and confidence levels, and timely topics like fairness in machine learning, for non-technical audiences.

New open-source tools for engineers, UXers and beyond

Seeing Music

Using TensorFlow.js, an open-source Javascript library created by PAIR, and other software, a group of musicians, designers, engineers and the Google Creative Lab created Seeing Music, which makes it possible to visualize subtle textures in sound.

We believe in applying deep insights to invent, and open-source, new technologies that can be used by engineers, UX professionals, and other stakeholders who may not be experts in ML.

So we started TensorFlow.js, a pure Javascript library that extends TensorFlow into the browser. Since open-sourcing TensorFlow.js in March, we've seen a variety of applications–including a set of accessible creative tools for drawing, making music and more, designed by Google’s Creative Lab with collaborators from the accessibility community.

Creatability: Exploring ways to make creative tools more accessible for everyone

Our PAIR team also built the What-If Tool, released this fall, so professionals building ML systems don’t have to write a single line of code to answer “what if” questions such as: “What if I changed data points, how would this affect my model’s predictions? Does it perform differently for various groups–for example, historically marginalized people?" Our tool makes it possible to simply click a button to visualize and inspect alternative scenarios.

Also this year, our team developed and open-sourced a new technique for helping people more easily understand the inner workings of neural networks in terms of simple, human-understandable concepts – like showing how AI can recognize images of zebras by their stripes.

In 2019, we’re excited to expand PAIR’s work further with global audiences of engineers and user-experience designers–and everyday users. For more resources, updates and information on our research, head to PAIR’s website.

A slice of Google: looking back on 2018

If I had to summarize 2018 in one word ... it would probably be “flossing” (kids, am I doing this right?). But let’s put the dance moves aside for a minute. As my dentist continually reminds me, it’s easy to miss stuff when you don’t take enough time to look in the mirror, really focus, and ... floss. No, reflect! Reflect. So while 2018 is still (minty) fresh in our minds, we’re taking a moment to take another look at some things you may have missed from us this year:

1. AI is behind many products at Google, but this year it created some new beats, took a shot with the NCAA during March Madness, and took us on a scavenger hunt to find emoji. But what about those of us who aren’t DJs or data scientists? There are lots of ways you’re already encountering AI in your daily life

2. We met many a Googler this year—from interns to our resident productivity expert to the couple behind Chromecast—who gave us an inside look into what they do and how they do it. We went back in time to learn about Google execs’ first summer jobs, and saw a glimpse of the future that one Googler imagines in her children’s book: “propelling girls in the direction of exploring coding and engineering.”

3. Though we spent lots of time with Googlers in the wild, we also had some fun with animals during the Year of the Dog. A pack of adorable Akita dogs made their debut on Street View, a farm in the Netherlands is using TensorFlow to track the health of its cows, and a flock of egrets landed at the Googleplex for the summer. 

“Dog View” from Akita-inu

See more of these snow pups on Street View.

4.We continued our commitment to empowering small businesses around the world, whether they were veteran-run yoga studios andcraft breweries or job-posting apps in Spain. And we also launched the .page top-level domain for businesses to showcase their work.

5.Through products like Street View, VR and Arts and Culture, we took you on a kayaking trip with blind veterans through the Grand Canyon, a frigid arctic expedition to Canada’s high north, and a crab migration in the "Australian Galapagos." We don’t take the word "magical" lightly around here, but when you're taking people to Disney parks and the world of Harry Potter, well ... if the slipper fits…

Churchill Canada.gif

In Canada's high north, don't forget your gloves.


6.We heard from a daring climber and Lin-Manuel Miranda about places that are important to them, and traveled around the world with Waldo—stopping along the way at a wedding and the Google science fair.

7. We turned 20 this year! During our month-long celebration, we went back to our roots in the garage, recalled oodles of Doodles through history, and examined how our mission applies to the next billion users. And as icing on the (birthday) cake, we put together some highlights from two decades of Google history.

Explore Google’s original garage with Street View

Going back to the garage where it all began.

8. We got organized, and made a few lists of different ways to use our products, whether you’re taking food pics like a pro with your Pixel or consulting Google Maps to plan your travels. The list of I/O announcements made it to 100, but for our products with a billion users, we went straight to the source.

9. We believe that technology creates more opportunities for those who might not have access to it—and this year, we saw proof of this from sock sellers, creative coders and organizations like AI4ALL. Whether in Singapore or in our own Northern California backyard, we’re excited to introduce even more people to coding in 2019.

Girl Scouts robotics

Girl scouts at a robotic competition, coached by Googlers

10. Any year has its ups and downs, but through it all, were heartened by the stories of people using our products in inspiring ways. Two of those stories come from Robbie Iveyand Tania Finlayson, people who aren’t defined by their disabilities—instead, they’re using Google products to live a more independent life. Another story hits close to home—a Googler helped a refugee family using Google Translate, and make some lifelong friends in the process.

Ok, that was a lot of sweet stuff. Now it’s really time for the dentist.

Four things you might have missed from Chrome Enterprise in 2018

It’s been a busy year for Chrome Enterprise—we welcomed new hardware for enterprises, helped boost workplace productivity, and celebrated ten years of Chrome. Here’s a look at four updates you might have missed from Chrome Enterprise in 2018.

1. We helped businesses prepare for the era of cloud workers

The availability of cloud-based apps and technology has fundamentally changed the way we work, and as a result, many businesses are rethinking the devices and tools they provide their workforce. This year we commissioned a study with Forrester that takes a closer look at the new era of cloud workers. We hosted a half-day virtual event, Cloud Worker Live, to share insights and practical advice, and we’ve made all the sessions available to watch online.

And we also want to help businesses identify the cloud workers in their organization to better support them with the right cloud-based tools. A new Forrester report we commissioned provides key recommendations for workforce segmentation, and we offered some insights on how we do it ourselves here at Google.

2. We launched our Grab and Go program to help businesses stay productive

When an employee’s device isn’t working, it can have more consequences than you think—from the hours employees devote to troubleshooting devices instead of completing projects, to the time IT teams spend on repair and replacement. To address this problem for both workers and businesses, we introduced our Grab and Go program to enterprises in July. Since then, we’ve expanded the program with new partners, and Waymo shared with us how Grab and Go has helped them support their shift workers and dispatchers. You can learn more about Grab and Go on our website.

3. We helped help admins stay up-to-date with Chrome releases

If looking after Chrome browser and devices is part of your job, you probably know that Chrome releases a full OS update about every 6 weeks. Our new Admin Insider series gives you a quick snapshot of the most important changes so you can take action. And if you need even more info, you can now sign up to receive new release details as they become available.

4. We heard from customers all over the world

This year we took a closer look at more than a dozen enterprises that have adopted Chrome Enterprise in every corner of the world. For example, in India and Africa, Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital is making clinical care easier for doctors and their patients by deploying more than a thousand Chrome devices across its 70 facilities. In France, Veolia, a global water, waste, and energy management company, is rolling out Chrome devices to all of its nearly 170,000 employees to increase productivity and collaboration across its offices on 5 different continents. And in Australia, Service NSW is providing better government services through Chrome-powered kiosks.

There’s a lot more to come in 2019. In the meantime, you can learn more about Chrome Enterprise on our website.

Google for Nonprofits: 2018 in Review

This year, more than 100,000 nonprofits around the world connected with their communities and spread awareness about their causes using Google products. As 2018 comes to an end, we’re taking a look back at the many ways these organizations used technology to make a difference.

donorschoose

DonorsChoose.org allows teachers to create projects that fulfill resources their students need.

DonorsChoose.org drives donations with Google Ad Grants

As the leading platform for giving to public schools, DonorsChoose.org allows teachers across America to bring their classroom dreams to life by requesting much-needed materials and experiences for their students. Google Ads’ ad performance data provides the organization a clear picture of teachers’ classroom needs and donor interest. And conversion tracking data allows DonorsChoose.org to make sure they’re using their Ad Grants account to the fullest. Through Ad Grants ads, the organization drove 7,000 teacher registrations and raised an additional $497,000 from about 5,000 donations in a year.

Raising money for Hope for Paws with YouTube Giving

Hope for Paws, a nonprofit animal rescue group, used YouTube Giving Fundraisers (beta) so that anyone could support them by clicking the “Donate” button on their videos. Through this feature, Hope for Paws was able to raise over $260,000 in September and tell their story to a global audience.

Using mapping tools at the Geo for Good summit

In October, the Google Earth Outreach team hosted the Geo for Good Summit. At the summit, Googlers and nonprofit partners demonstrated how Google mapping tools—like Google Earth, Earth Engine, Google Maps Platform and 360 Street View Imagery—can help organizations raise awareness, whether it’s through mapping and monitoring threats to the planet or mapping indigenous culture.

Expanding reach with Google Maps Platform credits

Organizations like iNaturalist, Code.org and charity:water use the Google Maps Platform to help them reach their goals—from using Maps as a new way for donors to view exactly where their dollars go, to helping people discover plant and animal life from around the world. In 2018, we expanded access for nonprofits to use these products in over 50 countries.

sciences

The Philippine Coral Reef at the California Academy of Sciences.

Collaborating with G Suite: Samasource and the California Academy of Sciences

This year, Samasource and the California Academy of Sciences presented at Cloud Next ’18 about how they used G Suite to make a difference. Samasource, a nonprofit organization that aims to reduce global poverty by connecting unemployed people in impoverished countries to digital work, connected its teams through G Suite for Nonprofits. By streamlining workflows across multiple locations, the Samasource team was able to focus on their goal of helping over 45,000 people out of poverty.

The California Academy of Sciences highlights biodiversity research and exploration, environmental education and sustainability across the globe. At no cost, G Suite for Nonprofits helped the Academy improve accessibility and collaboration across their team. Now, 650 staff members at the Academy can store, search and access shared content from anywhere.

Looking ahead to 2019

Let us know how Google for Nonprofits has made a difference for your nonprofit. In 2019, we’ll be traveling around the world to film a video with five different nonprofits. If your organization has benefited from using Google products, share your story here and you could be one of them.

Deck the halls with help from Google Home Hub

Ahh, the holidays. It's the time of year where you might want to sink into your couch for a movie marathon, but you also have to chase a few toddlers around and get ready to host your entire family for dinner. This season, we’re here to help with a few ways you can take the hassle out of the holidays with Google Home Hub.


Get festive

Quit digging under the Christmas tree to turn on the lights—ask Google Home Hub to do it for you by plugging your lights into a compatible smart plug. Then say, “Hey Google, turn on the Christmas tree,” to watch it light up. While you’re decking the halls, your favorite holiday tunes are only a few words away as well. Just say, “Hey Google, play Christmas hits” to get those sleigh bells ringing (you may need a subscription).


Get the family together

As you’re snapping selfies with the fam, our live albums feature with Google Photos will let you see your best and latest shots on Hub automatically. And while everyone is gathered around, you can relive memories of holidays past. Just say, “Hey Google, show my photos from last December.” Or, you can all curl up on the couch and have Hub tell you a holiday story.


Get ready for Santa

If you’re a parent like me, getting your kids excited about the arrival of Santa is so much fun. If they’re wondering when the presents will start showing up, Google Home Hub can help you track Santa’s arrival starting December 23. Just say, “Hey Google, where’s Santa?” If Christmas Eve is too far away, “Hey Google, call Santa” will connect you to the North Pole, so you can help Santa rehearse for his musical concert.


Get help in the kitchen

Whether you’re crafting a gingerbread house, mixing your favorite holiday cocktail or just trying not to ruin the turducken, use your voice to browse millions of recipes, get step-by-step cooking instructions, set cooking timers and more. With “My Cookbook” you can even save your favorite recipes on Hub for your next holiday party.  


Get things done

The holidays are hectic, so let Google Home Hub be your personal taskmaster. You can set reminders to make sure that you hide the package deliveries and Hub can even remember where you hid your gifts after you wrapped them. If you’re traveling this holiday season, get quick and easy driving and flight info on Hub, with directions sent right to your phone. And, if you’re panicking because one of your present deliveries is delayed, don’t worry—just say “Hey Google, where is the closest toy store?” (insert “jewelry store” as needed).  


Get ready to be the life of the party

My wife tells me that New Year’s Eve is the best time to try a new makeup technique. With Google Home Hub, you can ace any look, hands-free, with help from Sephora. Just say, “Hey Google, show me holiday party looks videos by Sephora.” You can also brush up on the latest dance moves before your New Year’s Eve party with Hub. Try: “Hey Google, show me how to do the floss” and you’ll be grooving in no time. And if you’re the one hosting the party this year, the Nest Hello video doorbell works with Google Home Hub to show you who’s at the front door automatically. Use the new two-way talk back feature to greet your guests to let them know the door is open and the champagne is flowing.


Now that you've gotten everything taken care of with Google Home Hub, get back to the couch and press play on more holiday movies.


On the year’s darkest day, wake up gradually with Pixel 3 and Pixel Stand

Getting out of bed on most days in the winter can be tough. But the winter solstice on December 21 makes it even harder, since the Northern Hemisphere is in the dark longer than any other day of the year. To help get you out of bed in the dark mornings of winter with a little spring in your step (pun very much intended), if you have a Pixel 3 and Pixel Stand, you can turn on Sunrise Alarm to get a more natural, brighter wake-up.

Sunrise Alarm GIF

Scientists have proven that waking up to soft light helps ease you out of your sleep rhythm for  a less jarring wake-up, which in turn sets you out on the right path for your day. In places like the Nordics, where it stays darker longer during the winter, wake-up lights have been popular for years. Engineers on #teampixel were inspired by these lamps and sought a way to create the same effects of an “artificial dawn” to help Pixel users get out of bed each morning. Once you turn on Sunrise Alarm, Pixel 3’s screen will slowly brighten in the 15 minutes leading up to the alarm going off, changing from a deep red to orange, then finally, to soft yellow—recreating the beauty of a real dawn to ease you into a better wake-up.


When docked on Pixel Stand, you can use Pixel 3 to customize your settings to help disconnect from technology gradually before bed. Try out features like Wind Down, automatic Do Not Disturb and more of the Digital Wellbeing suite available on Pixel.


Now, #teampixel can get their day started on the right foot—even if it’s in the dark—with Sunrise Alarm.