Author Archives: The Official Google Blog

“Lite” but packs a punch: Google Go comes to Android everywhere

Google Go is a lightweight, fast app that helps you access information, both online and in the world around you, even with an unstable connection. It does this while using less storage and memory, helping your phone stay fast. Google Go has been available in a few countries and on Android (Go edition) devices since 2017, and starting today, it’s available on the Play Store worldwide. 


Millions of people have already used Google Go to find information on the web and make sense of the world around them. But we know that people everywhere can sometimes struggle with spotty connections, phone storage, and reading or translating text.


Reading made easier

Earlier this year at I/O, we showcased Lens in Google Go, a way for you to read, translate and search the words you see by using your camera. When you find text you’d like help with, open Lens and point your camera at it to hear the words read out loud to you, translate them, or both.
Lens in Google Go

Some people would rather listen to content instead of reading on the web, especially if it’s lengthy. Google Go also offers an AI-powered read-out-loud feature that lets you listen to any web page, with words highlighted as they’re read so you can follow along. 

Read out loud Google Go

Use less storage, and worry less about your connection

Google Go helps you use less storage on your device, and keeps an unreliable connection from slowing you down. At just over 7MB, Google Go helps make sure your phone stays speedy when you’re traversing the web. It also puts web versions of your favorite apps at your fingertips, giving you the option of downloading fewer apps on your phone. And if you lose connectivity when you using Google Go, it will remember your place and even retrieve your search results for you once you’re back online. 


Starting today, Google Go is available on the Play Store globally for all Android devices using Lollipop and above.

New tools to help Spanish speakers build their careers

Spanish is my first language, and it’s what I spoke with my family growing up in Costa Rica. Even today, after making the U.S. my home for more than two decades, it’s the language my brain thinks in. So I understand well the challenges of living in a country where the spoken language is your second language, or even completely new to you. Especially for those trying to get ahead—taking classes, learning new skills, finding work—it can be really hard.

That’s why I’m thrilled that today, through Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity for everyone, we’re making new resources available to help Spanish speakers learn skills they need to prepare for a job or grow a business in today’s economy.

For example, our Applied Digital Skills curriculum helps learners develop crucial digital skills to thrive in the workplace through free, video-based lessons. We also offer minicourses in Spanish for local businesses and job seekers on our free Google Primer app, which teaches business and digital marketing skills through short and easy interactive lessons. Our IT Support Professional Certificate, which is designed to prepare beginners for entry-level IT support jobs in as little as six months, will be available in Spanish starting September 16. These resources and more can be accessed at grow.google/espanol

Skills like these help people thrive in today's jobs. According to Brookings, nearly two thirds of all new jobs created since 2010 required either high or medium-level digital skills. 

The Latino community makes up 16 percent of the U.S. labor market and will make up half of the people entering the workforce by 2025. Latino nonprofits are key resources for educating and training community members. Google.org is making a grant to the Hispanic Federation to launch an accelerator to strengthen institutions serving the Latino community with workforce development and digital training programs. Through this grant, the Hispanic Federation will enhance the capacity of 20 Latino-led and Latino-serving nonprofit organizations, which in turn will provide career-aligned digital skills training to more than 10,000 Latinos over the next two years. This builds on our ongoing commitment to the Latino community, which includes a $5 million grant announced earlier this year to bring computer science education to over one million Latino students and their families by 2022. 

The LULAC Institute will integrate Applied Digital Skills and Primer into their programming, to bring digital skills training in Spanish to more than 60 local technology centers around the country. Community organizations across the U.S. can also apply to join the Grow with Google Partner Program, to access bilingual resources and trainers that help community members learn essential skills like creating a resume or growing a business through digital marketing.

I’m proud that the company I work for is helping provide more opportunities for Spanish speakers to grow their skills all across the U.S.


El español es mi primer idioma, y es el que utilice con mi familia, mientras crecía en Costa Rica. Aún ahora, después de que los Estados Unidos se convirtió en mi hogar, durante más de dos décadas, es el idioma en el que mi cerebro piensa en la mañana. Así que entiendo las dificultades de vivir en un país donde el idioma hablado es tu segundo idioma. Especialmente para aquellos que quieren salir adelante—tomar clases, aprender nuevas habilidades, encontrar trabajo—puede ser muy difícil.

Por eso estoy emocionada que hoy, por medio de Grow with Google, nuestra iniciativa para crear oportunidades económicas para todos, estamos proporcionando  nuevos recursos a los hispanohablantes, para aprender las habilidades que necesitan, prepararse para un trabajo, o hacer negocios en la economía digital.

Por ejemplo, nuestro plan de estudios,Habilidades Digitales Aplicadas, ayuda a desarrollar habilidades digitales cruciales para prosperar en el trabajo, por medio de lecciones gratuitas basadas en video. También ofrecemos mini cursos en español para pequeños negocios y personas buscando trabajo en nuestra aplicación gratuitaGoogle Primer, que enseña habilidades comerciales y de marketing digital, a través de breves lecciones interactivas y fáciles.  NuestroCertificado Profesional de Soporte de TI, está diseñado para preparar a principiantes para trabajos de nivel de entrada de TI, en solo seis meses, y estará disponible en español a partir del 16 de septiembre. Se puede acceder a estos recursos y más en grow.google/espanol.

Habilidades como estas, ayudan a las personas a prosperar en los trabajos actuales. De acuerdo conBrookings, casi dos tercios de todos los nuevos empleos, creados desde 2010, requieren habilidades digitales de nivel alto o medio.

La comunidad latina representa el16 por ciento del mercado laboral de los Estados Unidos, y será la mitad de los trabajadores que ingresen a la fuerza laboral para 2025. Las organizaciones latinas, sin fines de lucro,  son instrumentos clave para educar y capacitar a los miembros de la comunidad. Es por eso que Google.org está otorgando una donación a la Federación Hispana (Hispanic Federation), para lanzar un acelerador que fortalezca las instituciones que sirven a la comunidad latina, con programas para el desarrollo y capacitación digital de la fuerza laboral. Con esta donación, la Federación Hispana acelerará la capacidad de 20 organizaciones sin fines de lucro, dirigidas a los  latinos que, a su vez, proporcionarán capacitación en habilidades digitales a más de 10,000 personas durante los próximos dos años. Esto aumenta nuestro compromiso con la comunidad latina, e incluye una donación de$5 millones de dólares, anunciada a principios de este año, para brindar educación en ciencias de la computación a más de un millón de estudiantes y familias latinas para el 2022.

ElInstituto LULAC integrará lasHabilidades Digitales Aplicadas yPrimer en su programación, para brindar capacitación en español a más de 60 centros de tecnología comunitarios en todo el país. Organizaciones comunitarias en los Estados Unidos también pueden solicitar unirse al programaGrow with Google Partner Program para tener acceso a recursos, así como entrenadores bilingües, que ayudan al aprendizaje comunitario de  habilidades y destrezas esenciales, como crear un currículum o hacer crecer un negocio a través del marketing digital.

Me siento orgullosa de que la compañía, para la cual trabajo, esté ayudando a brindar más oportunidades de crecimiento para los hispanohablantes en los Estados Unidos.

“Great Sporting Land” tours Australia’s sports-mad history

Australians have a passion for sports—so much that it was perfectly normal for the Prime Minister to give the entire country the day off when they won a boat race back in 1983. Over generations, Australia’s favorite pastimes have shaped the country’s identity, values and culture. Along with the Melbourne Cricket Club, Australian Football League, National Portrait Gallery and the North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club, Google Arts & Culture is showcasing the people, moments and places that led Australia to become the “Great Sporting Land” it is today. 

The exhibition features over 11,000 archived images and videos, and more than 100 original stories from more than 30 partners. To do so, Google’s Art Camera technology has been on a marathon between sporting institutions across the country to capture over 200 pieces of art, archival materials and artifacts in high resolution gigapixel quality.

Join cricket legend Steve Waugh who will take you on a tour of the archives of the world-famous Bradman Museumwhere you can zoom in to the hand-etched scores on the back of Don Bradman’s first bat. Or take a trip to a changing room at The Sydney Cricket Ground, where visiting players have drawn their standout batting and bowling figures on the changing room door. You can also follow Steve Waugh through a video seriesthat offers never-before-seen insight into his work and memories of the sport. 

Then put on your cossies or your togs (swimwear) to feel the vibes of a trip into Summers Past from the National Archives of Australia —an exhibition celebrating the golden days in the Australian sunshine. The surf’s up when you Watch the Waves, a selection of photographs by the National Archives, or explore the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club in Google Street View.


For Australians, sports are a part of national identity, pride and belonging, whether played by everyday people or world known icons. To discover more moments from Australia’s sporting history by visiting g.co/GreatSportingLand, or download the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS or Android.

It’s time: Nest users can now switch to Google Accounts

Back in May, Nest and Google Home joined together as Google Nest to create a more helpful home. And now, the next step involves you: starting today, you can migrate your Nest account to a Google Account. It's easy to do and only takes a few minutes—here's what you need to know.

Migrating to a Google Account gives you new benefits, like:

  • Automatic security protections such as Suspicious activity detection, 2-Step Verification and Security Checkup. 
  • Your Google Nest devices and services will work together. For example, if you have a Nest Cam and a Chromecast, just say, "Hey Google, show me the backyard camera” to cast your camera stream to your TV without any additional setup. 
  • One account to sign into both the Nest and Google Home apps. 
  • Your homes and home members will be aligned across the Nest and Google Home apps.

You’ll receive an email invitation from Nest to migrate, but if you’d like to migrate now, you can select the “Sign in with Google” option in the most recent version of the Nest app. If you already have a Google Account that you use to sign into Google Home, just select that account when migrating your Nest Account. If you don't, it’s easy to create one. If you’re a first-time Nest user, you can use your existing Google Account to sign in. 

We’ve worked with Amazon on an updated Nest skill that will work with Google Accounts, so if you want to enable the Alexa integration with your Nest Thermostat or Nest Cam, you can click here to activate the updated skill. 

If you’re using Works with Nest with other partners, we suggest waiting to migrate your account until you receive an email invitation. If you decide to migrate before receiving your email, your Works with Nest integrations will no longer work and you won’t be able to get them back. We’re currently working with partners to provide similar integrations through Assistant Routines, and you'll receive your email invitation to migrate when these integrations are ready. If you don’t migrate your Nest Account, your existing Works with Nest integrations will continue to work.

You should make sure that you’ve downloaded the most recent Nest app on Android or iOS before you start your migration. If you have questions about migrating you can find help here or contact Nest Support.


By day and by night: video call, no matter the lighting

To make sure we’re constantly improving Google Duo, we visit people from around the world to understand the challenges they face in video calling their loved ones. There was one particular condition we saw people consistently struggle with across cultures and environments: poor lighting.

In many places, electric lighting is a significant challenge, preventing people from connecting face to face. People often light their homes with a single bulb when electricity is expensive, and even then, power outages remain common in many areas, leaving people in the dark during the evening when many video calls with family and friends happen. Even when electricity is not an issue, many people just want to video call to say good night right before bed, keep each other company as they watch TV together or enjoy a quick chat while they’re outside in the evening. 

These challenges are the reasons why we are bringing low light mode to Duo. Low light mode helps people connect with each other face to face, even when the lighting conditions aren’t optimal. The video call will adjust so people in the frame are more visible when the phone detects dim lighting. Low light mode will start rolling out globally to iOS and Android users this week.

Google Duo low light

With low light mode on Duo, just start a video call and you can toggle the feature on or off as part of your in-call controls. 


Now, there will be no more leaving each other in the dark.

Tackling cardiovascular disease with AI

Westmead team with Google’s Mel Silva and Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Hon Karen Andrews MP


Heart disease and cardiovascular health are a major challenge around the world, and in Australia, one in six people is affected by cardiovascular disease. The University of Sydney’s Westmead Applied Research Centre is working on a digital health program for people at risk of cardiovascular disease, and they recently received a $1 million Google.org grant that will help them apply AI to give patients more personalised advice and support.  

We sat down with Professor Clara Chow, Professor of Medicine and Academic Director at Westmead Applied Research Centre, and Dr. Harry Klimis, a cardiologist and Westmead PhD student, to hear more about the program.   

Why is cardiac health such a big issue? 

Professor Chow: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of premature death and disability worldwide. In Australia, cardiovascular disease affects approximately 4.2 million people, has resulted in more than 1 million hospitalizations, and caused 1 in 3 deaths in 2016. That’s one death every 12 minutes, and these deaths are largely preventable.

How are you proposing to address this problem? 

Chow: Our goal is to support people at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease by encouraging them to adopt healthy habits, such as diet and exercise, and connecting them to health services when they need them. Data and mobile technology means we can do this in ways that weren’t possible before. 

Dr Klimis: We’ve already developed mobile health text-message programs using basic algorithms to customise programs to individuals. We now plan to use machine learning and AI to keep improving how we support participants and help them self-monitor measures like cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, physical activity, diet and smoking.

How will you use the funding and support from Google.org? 

Chow: The grant will help us create digital tools that enable clinicians and health services to provide personalized advice without the need to meet face to face. Initially, we’ll link data from existing secondary sources like hospital and clinic presentations to create programs tailored to individuals, and the system will learn from there. 

How does AI help?  

Klimis: An example would be if “John” went to the emergency room at hospital with chest pain and had type 2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension. After being assessed and treated, he could be flagged as a patient at high risk of heart attack and added to the mobile health prevention program. The AI program would learn from John’s activities and deliver health advice via SMS or through an app. If John was less active at a particular time of day, the program might register this and prompt him to take a 5-minute walk. 

What do you think is going to be the most challenging part of your project?

Klimis: Making sure we have reliable enough data to support a program capable of AI and machine learning. Our original program sent out standard text messages to over 3000 people, which allowed us—with their permission—to collect data on their characteristics, how they respond to different messages, and how this affects health outcomes. That data will be crucial in building an AI model for the current project.  

What are you most optimistic about?

Chow: We have the potential to help more people at risk of cardiovascular disease by giving them high-quality prevention programs developed by clinicians and researchers, without requiring frequent clinic or hospital visits. Over the long term, mobile and digital health solutions could reduce hospitalizations, bring down healthcare costs, and make healthcare more accessible.  


What’s new in Chrome OS: better audio, camera and notifications

Every Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, which updates every six weeks to keep your device speedy, smart and secure. Each Chrome OS update happens in the background, without interrupting what you’re doing. Here’s some of what’s new on Chromebook this August.

Control your media in one place

New media controls make it easier for you to pause or play sound from a tab or an app. Have you ever had dozens of tabs and apps open and struggled to turn off a specific tab’s audio? If so, we think you’ll find this change helpful—especially for those moments when you start watching a YouTube video and you want to quickly pause your music.

Starting this month, you can open your system menu and see all of the tabs or apps on your Chromebook that are playing audio tracks and control them from one place.

mediacontrol_final

Take great photos on your Chromebook

The Chromebook camera app has been updated to make taking photos and videos easier. Portrait mode is now available on Google Pixel Slate and we are working on bringing it to other Chromebooks. We’ve introduced an updated interface for navigating between new modes, like square mode and portrait mode.

Now, open your camera app, take a selfie with a landscape or square crop, and access it easily in your Downloads folder.

camera_final

Clear your notifications faster

With Chrome OS, you can access all your favorite apps from the Google Play Store. In response to your feedback, it’s now easier for you to check and clear notifications from Play Store apps on your Chromebook. Starting this month, easily dismiss your notifications with the “Clear all” button.

notification_final

We’ll be back in around six weeks to share more of what’s new in Chrome OS. 

Explore college opportunities with new Search features

Summer is winding down, and students across the country are heading back to the classroom. For many students in high school, it’s time to think about their next steps after graduation. While some students may have a certain school or cost considerations in mind, many others may not know where to start or what options are available to them.


The college search feature we launched last year helps students get quick access to information about four-year U.S. universities, including acceptance rates, costs and student outcomes like graduation rates. As this year’s college search season kicks off, we’re expanding our college search features to include two-year colleges and popular certificate and associate programs available at four-year institutions. A new list feature makes it easier to discover a wide range of schools and explore different fields of study.

Considering 2-year colleges

When you use your mobile device to  search for any two-year college in the U.S, you’ll get information about the programs offered, cost of attendance and more. Because many community college students often stay close to home while enrolled in these programs, we show the in-state tuition, as well as total cost with books and housing, to give a better view into what you’ll pay depending on your individual circumstances.


A new take on college lists 

If you’re still narrowing your options, our new exploration tool—available on both mobile and desktop—lets you explore a range of schools based on factors like fields of study or geography. Search for something like “hotel management schools in Georgia” and click “more” to jump into the list.


colleges-list-ui.gif

This feature makes it easy to compare costs, graduation rates, campus life and other characteristics to find the college that best fits your needs. You can also filter by specific location or distance, region, size and acceptance rates.

These features use public information from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (comprehensive datasets available for U.S. colleges and universities). We’ve worked with education researchers, experts, nonprofit organizations, high school counselors, and admissions professionals to build these features to meet the needs of students.

These features will be available today in the U.S., and we’ll continue to find new ways to make information easily available and helpful as you search for future education opportunities.


How a love of reading turned into new features for Play Books

Have you ever wondered how new features are developed at Google? We start with a problem that needs to be solved, then consider what the best solution might be, so that our products can be more helpful. And, when we can, we like to get feedback from you (and Googlers themselves) before we officially launch so we can refine and improve.

Beta Features is new from Play Books, and it lets you test out experimental features on the web. This project originated with Dan Kimberg, a software engineer who joined the Play Books team to perfect a product he’d been a longtime fan of. Self-proclaimed bookworm and lifetime lover of literature, Dan was eager to personalize his library and make it easier to browse and organize his collection of books. He knew that other readers out there probably felt the same way—so he got to work.

These features may lack a bit of polish; they might evolve, improve, disappear or transform into new Play Books product updates. They’re experimental, and Dan and the team want to hear what’s most helpful to you. We sat down with Dan to learn more about the inspiration behind Beta Features.

What led you to the Play Books team?

I’ve been an avid reader my whole life, but I wasn’t always working in the world of books. I've been a software engineer at Google for eight years on different teams. And before coming to Google, I spent nearly 20 years as a researcher in cognitive neuroscience, using brain imaging to try to understand how the mind works. 

Before joining the Play Books team I filed around 50 feature requests, and I'd been thinking idle thoughts about how technology could improve reading, listening, (and writing) since I was a teenager. 

What inspired you to develop Beta Features?

As a constant reader, I used to go on vacation and pack 20 books because I didn’t know what I’d end up wanting to read. Throughout my years of reading physical books, there were some fundamental frustrations that inspired me to think differently about how technology can make reading more enjoyable. Physical books don’t give you the flexibility of selecting the right font size for you, not all printed books are well bound, page size varies and long lines of text may not be conducive to your reading style. Now, with the help of technology, I can try to solve some of those frustrations for others (and now I can bring as many books as I want on vacation).

Which Beta Features are available now to test out—and which is your favorite?

First, there’s Custom Shelves—my personal favorite and the most frequently requested feature from our users. It lets you organize your shelves in a more useful and personal way. For example, I’ve titled one of my Custom Shelves "Re-read me"—this is for books I've read but would like to revisit, so they don't get lost in the jumble of other books.

You’ll also be able to search quickly for a particular book within your library, or sort your library using different criteria—like author, title, last read and price. The last Beta Feature is a new shelf called Ready to Read, which shows you the books you haven’t finished yet to help you quickly pick up where you left off. 

How can you get started testing?

Head to play.google.com/books, click the Settings button, and select “Beta Features” to get started. You can enable all features or just the ones you find most useful. If you’d like to submit feedback on the Beta Features after you’ve tried them out, or want to send us a feature request you’ve been dreaming up, click on the Settings icon and then select Send Feedback.

When students get stuck, Socratic can help

In building educational resources for teachers and students, we’ve spent a lot of time talking to them about challenges they face and how we can help. We’ve heard that students often get “stuck” while studying. When they have questions in the classroom, a teacher can quickly clarify—but it’s frustrating for students who spend hours trying to find answers while studying on their own. 

Socratic, a mobile learning app we acquired last year, now uses AI technology to help high school and university students when they’re doing school work outside the classroom. It guides them through the resources that are available, and identifies the core underlying concepts that will lead them to answers to their questions.

With the latest improvements, here are a few ways Socratic has become even more helpful for students.

Get help at any moment

Students can take a photo of a question or use their voice to ask a question, and we’ll find the most relevant resources from across the web.  If they’re struggling to understand textbook content or handouts, they can take a picture of the page and check out alternative explanations of the same concepts.

Solving a math equation and a physics problem with Socratic’s help

 Solving a math equation and a physics problem with Socratic’s help


Understand the underlying concepts

To help students working on complex problems, we’ve built and trained algorithms that look at a student’s question and automatically identify the relevant underlying concepts. From there, we can find the videos, concept explanations, and online resources to help them work through their questions. For students who want to learn even more, we break down the concepts into smaller, easy-to-understand lessons. 

Socratic takes a problem, X-rays it, and extracts the underlying concepts.

Socratic takes a problem, X-rays it, and extracts the underlying concepts.

Browse helpful topic explanations for quick reference

To help students who are reviewing what they’ve learned or studying for a test, we’ve worked with educators to create subject guides on over 1,000 higher education and high school topics. It takes two taps to look up any topic they need to brush up on, get the key points, and then go deeper with helpful resources on the web.

Scroll on the Socratic app to find study guides and resources

Scroll on the Socratic app to find study guides and resources

You can leave feedback in the app- we’d love to hear from you. It’s available today on iOS and will be available on Android in the fall.