Author Archives: The Official Google Blog

Support for job seekers and businesses across the U.S.

We believe that Google only succeeds when others do. So whenever we’re expanding a local office or breaking ground on a data center, we think about how we can invest in the community as a whole. That includes the people who live in the community, the teachers and students in the local schools and the small businesses that form the backbone of the local economy. To help drive this work, two years ago we launched our Grow with Google initiative to ensure that the opportunities created by technology are truly available to everyone. Since then, we’ve formed partnerships and introduced programs to create economic opportunity for people in all 50 states and around the world.


Today I was thrilled to be able to return to one of those states—Texas—where Google has been operating since 2007. In June, we announced a series of new investments to expand our presence in Austin and broke ground on a new data center in Midlothian as part of our $13 billion investment in data center and office expansions across the U.S. We’ve also made recent investments to expand our offices in Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Minnesota and Massachusetts, and data centers in Virginia and Nebraska.


In addition to growing our footprint in communities across the U.S., we’re making investments in America’s workers. This morning we visited El Centro College in Dallas to announce the expansion of our Google IT Support Professional Certificate program. The program is currently offered at 30 community colleges and will be available for students in 100 community colleges throughout the U.S. by the end of 2020.


For many people, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate is the first step to getting a well-paying job in a high-growth field. (As proof of the fast growth, when we first announced the certificate in 2017, there were 150,000 open IT jobs in the U.S. Now there are closer to 215,000.) We’ve also created a consortium of employers who are eager to hire these graduates.  


More than 5.7 million students are enrolled in U.S. community colleges—40 percent of whom are the first in their families to attend college. These schools play a vital role in creating economic opportunities for the people they serve, and we're excited to be a part of that with the IT Support Professional Certificate program.


While in Texas today, we were joined by Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump to talk about Google’s commitment to providing Americans with skills training through Grow with Google. Google is proud to join more than 350 other American companies in signing the White House’s “Pledge to America’s Workers,” and committing to training more than 250,000 Americans to help them prepare for new jobs. 


We’re also helping small businesses to succeed and thrive. In 2018, Google helped provide $335 billion of economic activity for more than 1.3 million businesses, website publishers and nonprofits nationwide, including $20.8 billion of economic activity in Texas alone. Today we met with several of these businesses to hear how they’ve used Google products and services to grow and export their goods to customers around the world.


Peacock Alley is a small textile business based in Dallas. Its founder Mary Ella Gabler has used Google Ads for more than 15 years, which has enabled the company to sell its bedding direct to consumers and grow exponentially. We also met the founders of an app that connects salon and barbershop owners to customers where 30 percent of users found the app via Google Ads. And we talked with the owner of a commercial kitchen cleaning company who attracts 90 percent of his customers with Google Ads in English and Spanish.


To help more businesses like this succeed, Google.org will be making a $10 million pledge to help low-income and underrepresented entrepreneurs start new businesses via access to training and capital. The first grant will be a $2 million contribution to the American Library Association to support entrepreneurship centers at libraries in 10 states and help libraries across the country to develop new offerings for small business creators. 


From small business partnerships to education initiatives, we continue to make it a priority to invest in the communities where we live and work, and beyond.


A progress report with Google Classroom’s first school

Five years after Google Classroom first showed up in schools, teachers are looking back at the tool that forever changed how they organize their classes and communicate with students. Out went the long hours standing at the copy machine; in came instant feedback, easy quizzes and “do now” assignments and more engaged students. 

To celebrate Google Classroom’s fifth birthday, we asked two faculty members from Fontbonne Hall Academy, a private high school for girls in Brooklyn, New York about their early days as one of Classroom’s beta testers, and what school life is like five years later. (Just getting started with Classroom, or need a refresher? Visit g.co/firstdayofclassroom and g.co/classroom/help to study up.) 

What was teaching like at Fontbonne before Google Classroom?

Jennifer McNiff, social studies teacher:I periodically think about what my life was like before, and I break out into a cold sweat. What I think about is how much prep we had to do, like printing out assignments and getting them to the kids. 

Mark Surdyka, director of technology:I used chalkboards and had kids write everything down in notebooks. I’d give kids assignments and grade them, and then those papers would get thrown in the trash. There was tons of paper wasted, and the prep time was ridiculous. 

Right now, I’m teaching an AP math course, and I think I printed out only one thing—some instructions on how to log in to Classroom. That was it. We do everything else in Google Drive instead of wasting time writing things down. Everything is shared faster. And our photocopiers don’t get so beaten up like they used to. 

I periodically think about what my life was like before, and I break out into a cold sweat. Jennifer McNiff
Social studies teacher

I’m sure you don’t miss all that prep time and paperwork! What does this mean to you as teachers?

Jennifer:It’s nice now because I don’t have to worry about using my prep time for mundane tasks like making photocopies. I can focus on lesson planning and getting right to work with students collaboratively, instead of waiting to give them handouts.

Mark:It’s part of our routine now. If we were without it, I don’t know what we’d do—it would feel like we were going back in time 20 years.

Were people nervous about using Classroom at the beginning?

Mark:There’s always fear of the unknown. People didn’t know what to expect, so they were hesitant to jump in with both feet. We were lucky to have a teacher do an early test of what is now called Classroom. We were able to take a collective deep breath and assure ourselves this would be a good experience. 

Jennifer: I remember that my biggest fear was that if my assignments were all online in Classroom instead of written down, that I’d forget about them. But that didn’t happen—teachers are good at remembering what they’ve assigned.

How have you gotten creative with Classroom?

Jennifer:I use it even for simple things, like my “do now” assignments that I give to kids as soon as they walk into the room. It’s so much easier now to get students starting on something right away, and getting comments from them right after they sit down. 

I also teach AP Psychology, and I structure it like a college class—we work together collaboratively as well as have lectures. I created slide templates in Classroom so that students can take lecture notes in them, and also see graphs and videos that I put there. It really helps move along the lectures so that students understand the material better. I love having all the content in one spot.

Any advice for schools that are just starting to use Classroom?

Mark:In one word, play. You’re not going to learn anything about Classroom unless you sit there and play around with it. The more you start playing with all the features, like making copies for students assigning projects, you won’t fully realize what’s there and how it can help you.

A smarter wardrobe with Jacquard by Google

With the rapid evolution of computing, in one generation’s time we’ve seen computers shrink from room-sized devices accessible to few to something anyone can own and hold in their hand. And with the evolution of cloud and AI we’ve reached a significant new milestone. Computing can now go beyond specialized devices and start providing digital experiences through everyday things around you—an idea we call “ambient computing.”

That’s the vision behind Jacquard by Google. We want everyone to have easy access to various digital functionalities through their everyday, ordinary things. Thanks to ambient computing, those things can be much more helpful while remaining true to their original purpose—like being your favorite jacket, backpack or a pair of shoes that you love to wear.

The first early adopter of the Jacquard platform was Levi's®. Today, we’re sharing our latest work with their team—the Levi's® Trucker and Sherpa Jackets with Jacquard by Google. Offered in both men’s and women’s sizes across six countries (Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K. and U.S.), this collaboration merges the iconic style of Levi’s® with ambient computing technology to enhance your everyday experiences.

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These jackets include significant updates to the Jacquard platform, which we’ve updated to support a growing number of partners and garments. The most recent product based on this updated platform is the connected backpack by Saint Laurent, Cit-E backpack with Jacquard technology, which we announced in August.

The central piece of the updated Jacquard platform is our new Jacquard Tag—which is smaller than a stick of gum and has a battery life of up to two weeks, and which makes Jacquard technology even more unobtrusive in these new connected products. The tag connects to our newly re-designed Jacquard app and allows you to personalize your Jacquard-enabled wardrobe to do what you would like it to do.

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We have a long and growing list of abilities that can be accessed through your connected garment including music control, navigation, Always Together, and various alerts, such as a text message or rideshare alerts. In September, we updated Jacquard with a Camera ability and new Google Assistant features that make it easier for you to create highly customizable experiences. With “My Day,” you can get current updates on traffic, local weather, news and more. And with “Ask Assistant,” you can create your own Jacquard ability. So whether you want to control your smart home, get updates on the latest basketball score or just check what your commute looks like before you head out—you can program Jacquard to do all this (and much more!) with a simple gesture.

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With Jacquard, we want to help you access your digital life through the garments and products you use every day. We see technology as an ingredient for making ordinary things better and more helpful—not turning them into gadgets—and we made Jacquard easy to implement so partners like Levi's and Saint Laurent can bring this vision to life. There’s lots more to come.

Find the best prices and places to buy with Google Shopping

When shopping for something, the web is a seemingly endless source of ideas, products and choices. But finding inspiration, comparing your options, and grabbing the best deals can still be a lot of work. We redesigned Google Shopping to make this a bit simpler—it brings together shopping information across the web and from local stores so that you can easily research and buy what you're looking for.

The new Google Shopping

The redesigned Google Shopping experience is now available in the U.S. across mobile and desktop. With information from thousands of stores in one place, you can discover and compare millions of products, and find the best prices and places to buy online or from a store nearby. The new homepage is personalized so you see useful product suggestions, as well as sections that help you reorder common items or continue your shopping research. And when you’re ready to buy, you can choose to purchase online, at a nearby store, or directly from retailers on Google.
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Stay in the know with price tracking

You can also track prices of products on Google Shopping. Once you’ve found the product you need, turn on “price track” and you’ll receive a notification on your phone when the price of that item drops. In the coming weeks, you’ll have the option to receive those notifications through email. Pro-tip: With all the holiday sales around the corner, why not turn on price tracking for items on your shopping list?

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Find products and prices in your local stores, too.

Sometimes you need something in the moment or want to see and touch an item before you buy. Google Shopping lets you filter for nearby products, so you can find local stores that carry what you need and see whether they have it in stock. This feature could be a lifesaver if you find yourself looking for a last minute gift for the holidays and shipping just won’t cut it.

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Buy directly on Google, with a Google guarantee

You already come to Google to browse and search for products—now, you can buy from over a thousand stores directly on Google. Checkout is quick, easy and safe because you can use the information saved in your Google Account. And every order is backed by a Google guarantee, which means you can rely on Google’s customer support and we’ll have your back for easy returns and refunds. Buying on Google also means you can shop from any store with confidence and discover new ones you’d never considered before. To find items that you can buy directly on Google, look for the colorful shopping cart icon on product images and in the search filters.

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Finally, whenever you buy on Google, we will also invest in clean energy projects to offset the carbon emissions created from shipping your order. 

Whether you’re looking for a gift for the family or just want a good deal for yourself, we hope the new Google Shopping experience makes it easier to shop and helps you stay ahead during the coming holiday season and beyond.


Get outfit inspiration with style ideas in Google Lens

Whether you’re window shopping or searching for new clothes on your phone, it’s easy to identify what you like, but it’s not always easy to figure out how you’d wear it yourself. That’s where Google Lens can help. You can already use Lens to get similar item suggestions for clothing and home decor, and today we’re adding a new feature in the U.S. called “style ideas” to give you outfit inspiration from around the web.

So if you see a leopard print skirt you like on social media, take a screenshot and use Lens in Google Photos to see how other people have styled similar looks. See a winter coat that catches your eye in a store, but need some inspiration on how to rock it? Just open Lens and point your camera.

Lens style ideas on coat

Style ideas can also show you new ways to style clothes you already own. Give new life to that old sweater you haven’t picked up in a year—simply point Lens at it to see how others have worn a similar one and find pieces that might match it.

As the weather changes, get your wardrobe fall-ready with style ideas in Lens.

How we’re helping small businesses succeed

Owning a small business often means wearing many hats, and I know this firsthand. When I started my winery, I found I was not only a winemaker but also an accountant, marketer, sales person and tech support provider all at once. There was never enough time! Now that I’m at Google, I apply the lessons I learned every day as our team works to build products and solutions designed to meet the needs of small businesses.

Starting a small business can be a pathway to economic prosperity for both business owners and their communities. In fact, 67 cents out of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the local economy. Through our products like Search and Google Ads and Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity across the U.S., we’re committed to helping small businesses succeed. Being online is the way to win. Today we are releasing a new report that shows how Americans are searching for local businesses, and I can tell you that there is tremendous momentum. In fact, we’ve seen 350 times more search interest in "local" + "near me" than there was 10 years ago. 

To deepen our commitment to small businesses, Google.org is making a $10 million pledge to help low-income and underrepresented entrepreneurs start new businesses via access to training and capital.

Almost half of all libraries in the U.S. provide assistance to entrepreneurs looking to start a business of their own. That’s why the first grant will benefit the American Library Association (ALA) to support entrepreneurship centers at 10 libraries and to help libraries across the U.S. develop new offerings for small business owners. The grant will also support the ALA’s efforts to develop a guide for libraries on building their own entrepreneurship programs, including recommendations for better serving entrepreneurs from diverse communities and underrepresented backgrounds. This grant builds on our ongoing support for libraries, including the $1 million in funding that Grow with Google gave ALA earlier this year to help libraries across the U.S. provide communities with digital skills. The collaboration has already supported 130 libraries across 18 states and will continue to all 50 states. We are proud to be continuing our work with this important organization.

Google.org’s $10 million pledge is not the only way we’re investing in the success of American small businesses. In June, we introduced Google for Small Business - a website that offers free personalized plans for small businesses so they know which Google tools will help them reach more customers and work more efficiently. 

This work is important to me, both in my role at Google and as a former small business owner. Today, I’m back in my hometown of Dallas, Texas to share this news and to see some of Texas’s finest small business owners in action.

As a Googler, Texas native, woman and former small business owner, I am so proud to work alongside entrepreneurs and help American small businesses find new success in the 21st century. 

Take a look at our report below to check out how people across the U.S. are searching for small businesses.

Small Business Infographic

Our IT Support Certificate comes to 100 community colleges

For Melinda Williams, a cosmetology teacher and salon owner in Ohio, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate has been the first step on the path to a new career. Launched in January 2018 as part of our Grow with Google initiative to create economic opportunity for all, the program has helped more than 85,000 people prepare for entry-level jobs in IT support with no experience or college degree necessary. Melinda always loved computers, so she enrolled in the program through North Central State College in Mansfield, Ohio. She completed the program in just five months, and now she’s ready to see where her newfound skills will take her. “I believe it’s never too late to go in a new direction,” she says.

Melinda is one of many people who have earned a certificate through one of the 30 community colleges where the program is offered today. As the demand for qualified job candidates increases, we’re excited to announce that JFF, with support from Google.org, is expanding the program to 100 U.S. community colleges by the end of 2020. With more than 5.7 million students enrolled in U.S. community colleges, these schools play a vital role in creating economic opportunities.

We’re also making it simpler for colleges to grant credits to people who earn the certificate. The program recently secured a credit recommendation from the American Council on Education’s ACE CREDIT®, which is the industry standard for translating workplace learning to college credit. Now those who complete the program can earn a recommended 12 college credits—the equivalent of four college courses at the associate degree level. 

As we prepare for the future, we’re also looking back at the program’s first year through our inaugural Google IT Support Professional Certificate Impact Report. We’ve learned that the program makes a noticeable impact on careers–84 percent of people reported a career impact within six months, like getting a raise, finding a new job or starting a new business. The program also successfully reaches underrepresented people–60 percent of participants identify as female, Black, Latino or veteran. Reaching underserved populations was an important goal for us, so we’re excited about that progress. And on average, people earn their certificates in under six months, which breaks down to about five hours of coursework per week. Read the full report to learn more.

With support from Google and grants from Google.org, community colleges are helping people like Melinda build careers they’re passionate about. Representatives from community colleges who are interested in the IT Support Professional Certificate can visit grow.google/communitycolleges to learn more.

New heights for Southeast Asia’s internet entrepreneurs

If there’s a story that sums up the impact of technology in Southeast Asia, it’s Tan Thi Shu’s.


Shu Tan founded Sapa O’Chau, a trekking company in northern Vietnam, but initially struggled to attract customers.  She signed up for digital skills training through the Accelerate Vietnam Digital 4.0 program—and since adopting online tools she's raised awareness of her tours, increased sales, created work for her local community, and attracted more tourists to the beautiful Sapa region.    


Southeast Asia has always buzzed with entrepreneurial energy. But technology today is giving small businesses like Sapa O’Chau the chance to grow in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in the past. The latest e-Conomy SEA 2019 report, published by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, shows that the regional internet economy reached $100 billion for the first time this year, with 360 million people now online—100 million more than just four years ago. And that momentum is only going to continue as a new generation comes of age and more people outside big cities move online. The report forecasts that by 2025 the regional internet economy will have tripled to $300 billion and account for 8.5 percent of regional GDP (more than double what it is today). 


Online businesses have hit new heights

All Southeast Asia’s internet industries are growing strongly, but e-commerce and ride hailing are the standouts. More than 150 million Southeast Asians are now buying what they need online. And more than 40 million people now order transport, food and other services on demand, compared with just 8 million in 2015. 

The next wave of start-ups is coming

Behind the 11 fast-growing Southeast Asian technology companies valued at more than $1 billion, there’s a wave of more than 3,000 start-ups—promising businesses that have received $7 billion in funding since 2015. They’re operating in sectors like education, health, e-commerce and financial technology, and they’ll need continued investment, tools and support to keep growing.  


Opportunity is spreading beyond the big cities

Up until now, seven major metropolitan areas have made up more than half of Southeast Asia’s internet economy (despite accounting for just 15 percent of the total population). But between now and 2025, the internet economy is forecast to grow twice as fast outside cities as inside them, bringing new jobs and opportunities as well as greater demand for education and training. 


A new generation is shaping the future

Many of the 100 million people who’ve come online in Southeast Asia since 2015 are mobile-savvy teenagers. This new generation has influenced shifts like the rise of video apps, which doubled in popularity over the past three years. And with 10 million more young people turning 15 each year, it's a generation that will keep Southeast Asia at the forefront of digital trends.  


Access to online financial services is growing

The online financial services industry is catching up to other sectors of the internet economy, as digital payments grow from $600 billion in 2019 to a forecast $1 trillion by 2025.  However, there are still almost 300 million Southeast Asians with limited or no access to the formal banking system, and it will take collaboration between business and governments to build systems that can meet their needs.  


Despite the incredible progress noted in this year’s report, we know there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure Southeast Asia’s internet economy reaches its potential. Whether it’s providing support for small businesses to grow, teaching Southeast Asians digital skills, expanding Internet access through Google Station or advocating for smart policy and regulation, we’re looking forward to helping bring the benefits of technology to millions more people across this amazing region.