Author Archives: A Googler

Yes, all girls can.

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Entering the village school full of young girls, I was greeted by peals of laughter— there was a break in which they were all play acting—one was wearing a makeshift lab coat and playing doctor, another young one was wearing big glasses, holding a chalk in one hand, and was playing teacher, while one had made a huge tower from blocks and was pointing to her becoming a civil engineer and making big buildings. Where was I? It’s not important because I have travelled to the remotest villages with UNICEF across India and seen the same over and over again.


Those smiles and their dreams, their trust in us, the faith in their dreams and role playing —have constantly reinstated my hope. Over a decade of working with UNICEF to empower the girl child, to ensure access to education for the girls, is working— maybe in small steps but the efforts can be seen. The statistics staring at us may be staggering but then, let us not focus on how big the numbers are. Worldwide, over 250 million children and youth are out of school, so the battle is global. Which means, more effort from all of us as a responsible society. If the battle is big, let’s match our efforts to that scale, and up the ante on how we can help reduce that number. Bring more smiles, send more girls to school, ensure less dropouts and empower every girl child’s dream.

Today, on October 11, 2018, International Day of the Girl Child, I have teamed up with YouTube to highlight the importance of educating a girl child. What I love about it is that through this campaign, viewers will be directly linked to stories from NGOs making an impact all across the nation. Our goal? To improve access and quality of education for the girl child. And the best part? In an effort to truly make a difference in bridging the learning gap in India, Google.org – Google’s philanthropic arm, has announced a grant of $200,000 to UNICEF India to support their ongoing efforts… and I am so so grateful.




Joining me this International Day of the Girl Child, are India’s popular YouTube voices -- Bhuvan Bam, Prajakta Koli and Vidya Vox. Together, we are reaching out to you to join us to protect those little girls with big dreams.

By Priyanka Chopra

Google Pixel 3. Make every day more extraordinary.

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Today we’re introducing Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the new smartphones from Google. Pixel brings you the best of Google in a phone, powered by AI to deliver more helpful, thoughtful, and enjoyable experiences. That means a phone with a camera that uses AI to make sure you never miss the perfect shot, and a more helpful visual and audio experience while charging, powered by the Google Assistant.


Brilliant photos every time and super-charged selfies
We’re taking more photos on our phones than ever before, but we still often miss the perfect moment. Pixel 3 helps you get that perfect shot on the first try.


Here’s how the best camera gets even better with Pixel 3:


  • Capture smiles, not blinks: A feature we call Top Shot uses AI to help you capture the perfect photo every time. When you take a motion photo, it captures alternate shots in HDR+, then recommends the best one—even if it’s not exactly when you hit the shutter, looking for those where everyone is smiling, with eyes open, and facing the camera. Top Shot automatically captures alternate shots in HDR+. If your timing wasn’t perfect, the camera will suggest a better one and give you the option to save it.
  • Get better zoom: When you zoom in on a phone camera, the image looks grainy. Super Res Zoom is a computational photography technique, traditionally used for astronomy and scientific imaging, that produces sharp details when you zoom.
  • No light; no problem: Pixel 3 lets you take natural-looking photos in dark surroundings, all without a flash. With Night Sight, coming soon to Pixel 3, you can take bright, detailed, colorful shots around the campfire, in a moonlit forest, or a selfie as you’re headed out of that dimly-lit club.
  • No selfie stick required: Get everyone in the picture with Group Selfie, which gives you 184% more of what you love in your selfies.
  • Look … no hands! Photobooth mode uses AI to recognize that when you’re smiling or making a funny expression, you’re ready for a selfie. It snaps the photo on its own so that you don’t need to reach for the shutter button—a good option for candids.
  • Even more stunning portraits, front and back: When you take photos in Portrait Mode, you can change the blurriness of the background, or change the part of the picture in focus, after the fact. Google Photos can also make the subject of your photo pop by leaving them in color, while changing the background to black and white.
  • Create and play: With Playground, you can make photos, selfies, and videos come to life with cameos from your favorite superheroes, animated stickers, and fun captions. In celebration of Marvel Studios’ 10 Year Anniversary, you’ll enjoy seeing the characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (exclusively on Pixel) react to each other and to you. New packs for Weather, Pets, Sports and Signs let you have everyday fun, and coming later this year, you'll be able to sharpen your dance skills with moves from Childish Gambino.
  • Super smooth video: When you want to capture something that won’t stop moving—think an adorable toddler or your new puppy—Motion Auto Focus will make sure your Pixel 3 camera stays in sharp focus automatically as you record, even through all the tail wagging. And if you happen to be taking a selfie video while walking or moving around, Pixel 3 brings you front-facing video stabilization.  



    Unlimited storage for all of your photos and videos
    With Pixel 3, you can save all your favorite moments with free, unlimited photo and video storage in original resolution*. It’s hassle-free, you don’t have to think about back-ups. Come back to Google Photos later and search for the beach photos you took on your Pixel 3, and they’ll pop right up.


    Your AI-powered sidekick
    The AI in Pixel 3 enables new features that make your day-to-day actions simpler and easier.


    If you want to know more about something you’re looking at, use Google Lens**, built right into the Pixel 3 camera. To scan and translate text, find similar styles of clothing, identify landmarks, popular plants and animals -- all in real time -- you can now long press in the Pixel 3 camera to easily open Lens. When you point your camera at information you want to remember or don’t feel like typing in—like a URL or QR code on a flyer or an email address on a business cardGoogle Lens suggests what to do next, like creating a new contact.


    You can count on even more help across other apps too, including Gmail’s Smart Compose, now available for mobile on Pixel 3. Smart Compose suggests phrases in your emails so that you can draft them faster, on the go. Gboard, the keyboard built into your Pixel 3, will recommend GIFs, stickers, and more, to make your conversations fun and engaging. Available first in English.


    The Google Assistant is also baked into Pixel 3 to help you find answers and control your phone and compatible smart home devices—all with a simple squeeze or just by using your voice.


    Digital Wellbeing
    Our phones, while probably the most important tech in our lives, shouldn’t control our lives. So Digital Wellbeing, a suite of tools to help you find your own balance with technology, is built into Pixel 3. It includes a dashboard to help you understand how you spend time on your phone, the ability to set time limits on specific apps, and a new Wind Down mode to help you get to sleep at night by gently transitioning your display to a grayscale screen. When you don’t want to be bothered by rings or notifications, just flip to Shhh— an easy gesture that turns on Do Not Disturb and minimizes distractions.


    Fast and wireless charging
    Pixel 3 comes with an 18 Watt fast charger in the box, which can give you 7 hours of use in 15 minutes of charging***. With our AI-powered Adaptive Battery technique, Pixel 3 prioritizes battery power for your most important apps to make your phone last all day.




    Alongside Pixel 3, we’re also introducing Pixel Stand, our new, Qi compliant wireless charger (sold separately). While charging in the Pixel Stand, your phone turns into a smart visual and audio experience powered by the Google Assistant. Features include:


    • An enhanced music experience on your Pixel 3 when charging. See your favorite artists' album covers on display while listening to their music and charging your phone.
    • While your phone charges, turn it into a digital photo frame with Google Photos and relive your favorite moments with family and friends.
    • Quick Access to your Google Assistant so you can get a rundown of your day, the traffic for your commute and listen to you favorite podcast just by saying “Hey Google, good morning.”
    • Smart home integrations to help you simply manage your home (coming soon.)
    • A gentler wake-up with Pixel Stand’s Sunrise Alarm, which mimics a sunrise on your screen over 15 minutes to help brighten your room so you can get on with your day.


      Pixel 3 is IP68 water and dust resistant and has a security chip custom-designed by Google called Titan M, making it the most secure phone we've built yet. Titan M enhances mobile security by protecting your unlock credentials, disk encryption, app data, and the integrity of the operating system code itself. Powered by Android 9 Pie, Pixel 3 comes with the latest Android operating system.


      You can choose from two sizes -- the 5.5-inch Pixel 3 and the 6.3-inch Pixel 3 XL -- and three colors: Just Black, Clearly White, and Not Pink. Both have the exact same feature set and include high quality Pixel USB-C earbuds and a USB-C Digital to 3.5 mm headphone adapter in the box. Pixel 3 comes with dual front-firing speakers tuned by a GRAMMY-winning music producer to turn your phone into a powerful speaker.


      Both smartphones will be available for pre-order in India starting Thursday, 11th October -- from ₹71,000 for Pixel 3 and ₹83,000 for Pixel 3 XL -- on Flipkart and at offline partners including Reliance Digital, Croma and other leading stores across India. Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be available for sale in India both online and in retail stores from 1st November 2018.

      Posted by Mario Queiroz, GM & VP, Pixel

      *Free, unlimited online original-quality storage for photos / videos uploaded from Pixel 3 to Google Photos through 31st January 2022, and those photos / videos will remain free at original quality. g.co/help/photostorage. Data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.
      **For available Google Lens languages go to g.co/help/lens. Requires internet connection
      ***Approximate battery life based on a mix of talk, data, standby and use of other features, use with always on display off and mobile hotspot off. An active display or data usage will decrease battery life. Wired charging: rates are based on use of the included charger. Wireless charging: Up to 10 W with Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL charging with Pixel Stand (sold separately). Actual results may vary.

      Book a ride with the Google Assistant

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      When my friends and I are getting ready to head out to dinner, there's always a moment when we stop to ask who is going to order our ride. Now, Google can take care of it. This week, we’re rolling out a new way to easily book ride services with your Google Assistant.


      With your Android phone, iPhone, Google Home, or any smart speaker with the Assistant, start by saying, “Hey Google, book a ride to the Bluebird Cafe” or “Hey Google, get me a taxi to Indira Gandhi International Airport.” You will then be given a list of popular ride services to select from, including Uber, Ola, and many more, along with more information on estimated pricing and wait times from each service. If you only want ride options from a single provider, just include their name in your request, for example, “Hey Google, get me an Ola ride to Gateway of India.”


      Then grab your phone and tap on your preferred ride service, and the app will open to let you confirm the booking. The feature will be available first in English and any country where one of our supported ride service partners operate. We plan to expand to more languages in the coming months.


      If you’re in a hurry and your hands are all tied up, you’ll now be able to use the Assistant to see all your favorite ride services in one place and pick the one that works best for you.

      Posted by Vishal Dutta, Product Manager

      First ever YouTube Pop-up Space Delhi opens its doors at Kingdom of Dreams and we’re also bringing the YouTube NextUp Camp to Delhi!

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      Budding creators will get free access to three beautifully themed sets, and production equipment to produce original & innovative digital video content


      For creators looking to bust out of their bedrooms and onto the world stage, we’ve got good news for you. From October 5th - October 7th, we’ll be hosting Delhi’s first ever YouTube Pop-up Space at the Kingdom of Dreams, where creators will have the opportunity to utilize the venue to produce quality content. They will get free access to the state-of-the-art production equipment and themed production sets, to produce original and innovative high production quality content for their own YouTube channels.  Moreover, budding creators will be able to attend events and workshops that will help them improve their presence on YouTube and to collaborate or network with others creators and industry professionals.
      Creators at YouTube Pop-Up Space Delhi

      Unfortunately slots for shoots are already full up, but you can follow the action on social media at #YTSpaceDelhi and stay informed of the latest news about activities and events. If you’re a budding YouTube creator, you can find more YouTube creator resources at youtube.com/creators and learn more about the YouTube Spaces across the world at youtube.com/space.

      From the Hyderabad Pop-Up, we have seen tremendous success and introduced the world to Mahathalli’s first Web Series called Aha Na Pellanta, Lahari Music’s Swing Zara Fan Made Video Song and Chinese Bhel recipe by Kabita’s Kitchen.  We are excited to further nurture the creators from this part of the country.

      Alongside the Pop-Up, we will also kick off the first ever NextUp Creator Camp in Delhi, where shortlisted creators will get an opportunity to team up with production experts to learn about and perfect their camera work, lighting, sound, and writing skills. They’ll also get to hear from some of the NextUp alumni, including Sejal Kumar, Mumbiker Nikhil, Jordindian and Cafe Marathi about their journeys on YouTube and explore possibilities of collaborating with other fast-rising creators in the program. That’s not it, winners will also receive some cool prizes and support for production gear, channel strategy consultations, and invites to exclusive YouTube events.

      By Marc Lefkowitz, Head of YouTube Creator & Artist Development, APAC

      Next Junction: Explore Indian Railways with Google Arts & Culture

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      Over 151,000 kilometres of track, 7,000 stations, 1.3 million employees and 160 years of history. Indian Railways is one of the most celebrated railway networks in the world. A few months ago, we celebrated the 400th Indian train station connecting to the internet with Google Station, our public Wi-Fi program. Today, we’re bringing Indian Railways’ heritage and sights to the entire world. The most gorgeous architecture, iconic trains and charismatic personalities of Indian Railways can be found on Google Arts & Culture.


      The first rail journey in India, a 14-coach train from Bombay to Thane in 1853 ushered in a new era of an India connected by track, rendering previously remote villages accessible. A century and a half later, just as trains once opened passages across the subcontinent, Google Arts & Culture’s new project  “The Railways — Lifeline of a Nation” is making these passages accessible for the world to experience.


      Anyone can now explore India’s railways in unprecedented detail with over 100 exhibitions that bring together over 3,000 images, over 150 videos and more than 150 iconic locations captured across India. Zoom into ultra-high resolution images made with our Art Camera, like maps of the East Indian Railways that the British used to connect Calcutta with the North West Provinces; get a 360 degree look around the workshops of cardboard rail model enthusiasts; or take a behind the scenes peek at Darjeeling loco shed.

      Discover the architecture of India’s most iconic train stations, including this Victorian Gothic stunner—the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai

      Watch how a railway inspired the making of a hit Bollywood movie

      Go behind the scenes and watch how Indian Railways employees, like veteran technician Ganey Khawas keep the trains running


      We invite everyone to take an online journey with us to see the breathtaking sights of India’s railways on the Google Arts & Culture’s online platform and the free Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS or Android.

      By Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture

      Improving Search for the next 20 years

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      Growing up in India, there was one good library in my town that I had access to—run by the British Council.  It was modest by western standards, and I had to take two buses just to get there. But I was lucky, because for every child like me, there were many more who didn’t have access to the same information that I did. Access to information changed my life, bringing me to the U.S. to study computer science and opening up huge possibilities for me that would not have been available without the education I had.
      Ben's library
      The British Council Library in my hometown.


      When Google started 20 years ago, our mission was to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. That seemed like an incredibly ambitious mission at the time—even considering that in 1998 the web consisted of just 25 million pages (roughly the equivalent of books in a small library).
      Fast forward to today, and now we index hundreds of billions of pages in our index—more information than all the libraries in the world could hold. We’ve grown to serve people all over the world, offering Search in more than 150 languages and over 190 countries.
      Through all of this, we’ve remained grounded in our mission. In fact, providing greater access to information is as core to our work today as it was when we first started. And while almost everything has changed about technology and the information available to us, the core principles of Search have stayed the same.
      • First and foremost, we focus on the user. Whether you’re looking for recipes, studying for an exam, or finding information on where to vote, we’re focused on serving your information needs.
      • We strive to give you the most relevant, highest quality information as quickly as possible. This was true when Google started with the Page Rank algorithm—the foundational technology to Search. And it’s just as true today.
      • We see billions of queries every day, and 15 percent of queries are ones we’ve never seen before. Given this scale, the only way to provide Search effectively is through an algorithmic approach. This helps us not just solve all the queries we’ve seen yesterday, but also all the ones we can’t anticipate for tomorrow.
      • Finally, we rigorously test every change we make. A key part of this testing is the rater guidelines which define our goals in search, and which are publicly available for anyone to see. Every change to Search is evaluated by experimentation and by raters using these guidelines. Last year alone, we ran more than 200,000 experiments that resulted in 2,400+ changes to search. Search will serve you better today than it did yesterday, and even better tomorrow.
      As Google marks our 20th anniversary, I wanted to share a first look at the next chapter of Search, and how we’re working to make information more accessible and useful for people everywhere. This next chapter is driven by three fundamental shifts in how we think about Search:
        Underpinning each of these are our advancements in AI, improving our ability to understand language in ways that weren’t possible when Google first started. This is incredibly exciting, because over 20 years ago when I studied neural nets at school, they didn’t actually work very well...at all!
        But we’ve now reached the point where neural networks can help us take a major leap forward from understanding words to understanding concepts. Neural embeddings, an approach developed in the field of neural networks, allow us to transform words to fuzzier representations of the underlying concepts, and then match the concepts in the query with the concepts in the document. We call this technique neural matching. This can enable us to address queries like: “why does my TV look strange?” to surface the most relevant results for that question, even if the exact words aren’t contained in the page. (By the way, it turns out the reason is called the soap opera effect).
        Finding the right information about my TV is helpful in the moment. But AI can have much more profound effects. Whether it’s predicting areas that might be affected in a flood, or helping you identify the best job opportunities for you, AI can dramatically improve our ability to make information more accessible and useful.
        I’ve worked on Search at Google since the early days of its existence. One of the things that keeps me so inspired about Search all these years is our mission and how timeless it is. Providing greater access to information is fundamental to what we do, and there are always more ways we can help people access the information they need. That’s what pushes us forward to continue to make Search better for our users. And that’s why our work here is never done.

        Posted by Ben Gomes, VP, Search, News and Assistant

        Keeping people safe with AI-enabled flood forecasting

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        For 20 years, Google Search has provided people with the information they need, and in times of crisis, access to timely, actionable information is often crucial. Last year we launched SOS Alerts on Search and Maps to make emergency information more accessible. Since then, we’ve activated SOS Alerts in more than 200 crisis situations, in addition to tens of thousands of Google Public Alerts, which have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.
        Floods are devastating natural disasters worldwide—it’s estimated that every year, 250 million people around the world are affected by floods, also costing billions of dollars in damages. Flood forecasting can help individuals and authorities better prepare to keep people safe, but accurate forecasting isn’t currently available in many areas. And the warning systems that do exist can be imprecise and non-actionable, resulting in far too many people being underprepared and under informed before a flood happens.
        To help improve awareness of impending floods, we're using AI and significant computational power to create better forecasting models that predict when and where floods will occur, and incorporating that information into Google Public Alerts. A variety of elements—from historical events, to river level readings, to the terrain and elevation of a specific area—feed into our models. From there, we generate maps and run up to hundreds of thousands of simulations in each location. With this information, we’ve created river flood forecasting models that can more accurately predict not only when and where a flood might occur, but the severity of the event as well.
        flood forecast
        These images depict a flood simulation of a river in Hyderabad, India. The left side uses publicly available data while the right side uses Google data and technology. Our models contain higher resolution, accuracy, and up-to-date information.


        We started these flood forecasting efforts in India, where 20 percent of global flood-related fatalities occur. We’re partnering with India’s Central Water Commission to get the data we need to roll out early flood warnings, starting with the Patna region. The first alert went out earlier this month after heavy rains in the region.
        alert
        Flood alert shown to users in the Patna region.


        We’re also looking to expand coverage to more countries, to help more people around the world get access to these early warnings, and help keep them informed and safe.

        Posted by Yossi Matias, VP, Engineering

        Sigtuple from India shines at Google’s first Demo Day Asia

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        Wins Judges Choice awards for their work in AI to support healthcare systems in India


        Six months ago, we announced Demo Day Asia, starting a search for the best startups in the region. We received hundreds of applications from entrepreneurs across Asia-Pacific. It was tough, but 10 outstanding founders were chosen as finalists. This week, we brought them to Shanghai to help hone their presentations about their businesses. Then, we put them on stage before our Demo Day judges and an audience of top international investors, and watched them wow the crowd with their incredible products.
        The judges Jenny Lee, Managing Partner at GGV Capital; Zheng Qing Sheng Partner at Sequoia Capital China; Plern Tee Suraphongchai, Partner at Ventura Capital; and Bradley Horowitz, Vice President of Product Management at Google had the hard choice of picking one winner from an outstanding pool of companies.


        And the Judges’ Choice Award was given to SigTuple from India for their work in using artificial intelligence to support the healthcare system in India. With less than one doctor for every thousand people in the country, medical practitioners can be very busy! To lighten their load, Apurv Anand and Rohit Pandey founded SigTuple in 2015 to make AI-powered products that help doctors analyze medical data and support diagnoses.


        “It's really wonderful to be recognized at the first Google Demo Day Asia! This one is all for our team back home. This award is dedicated to the entire SigTuple family. SigTuple is what it is today because all of us aspired to make a huge social impact. ” Apurv Anand, Co-Founder SigTuple


        The audience in Shanghai was also given a chance to vote for their favorite startup. The Audience Choice award went to Marham from Pakistan. Asma Salman Omer established her digital healthcare platform in Pakistan three years ago to help people find doctors and other medical care specialists in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.


        The Demo Day Asia journey isn’t over yet. Every finalist still has a chance for success following their presentations on this global stage. Startups from our past eight Demo Days have raised over $279M since 2014, and startups in our Google for Entrepreneurs network have raised over $1.8B in funding and created 20,000 new jobs globally.


        We came to Shanghai to connect the region’s startups with top investors. We left amazed by the world-class quality of its entrepreneurs. These founders are proof that the startup ecosystem is truly alive and thriving in Asia-Pacific, and we’re more motivated than ever before to support more startups here to realize their incredible visions and solve big problems.


        Posted by Michael Kim, Partnerships Manager, Google for Entrepreneurs