Category Archives: Google Chrome Blog

The latest news from the Google Chrome team

English county council saves millions switching to G Suite and Chromebooks

A day in the life of an employee at Northumberland County Council in northern England involves everything from running schools, repairing roads or literally putting out fires. It’s work that never stops and that stretches across a rural area the size of Greater London with 330,000 citizens and three million sheep.

Two years ago, the Northumberland IT team started to notice strain in their service infrastructure which connects 380 locations across the region, and recent budget cuts made that system feel increasingly unworkable.

"We had a very big legacy setup that was costing us a fortune in licensing and devices,” says Neil Arnold, Chief Information Officer at Northumberland County Council. “We decided to bring people together in a central hub to make teams more agile."

Creating G Suite champions

After evaluation, Arnold and his team chose G Suite for its functionality and flexibility. The team relied on Netpremacy, a Google Cloud partner, to train 300 staff members to educate colleagues on how to use G Suite. Within months, 5,500 corporate users and 11,500 schools users had been set up with G Suite accounts. “Without the support of Netpremacy, we wouldn't have been able to implement as rapidly as we did,” says Arnold. “They recognised the cultural challenges. There was skepticism at first, but users really took the tools to heart when they could see the benefits.”

From different locations across the region, staff began working collaboratively on Docs and Sheets and inviting others to join. The team saved money by switching to Chromebooks and Arnold and his colleagues started using Hangouts to join meetings to stay synced on daily work.

Even firefighters, who were reluctant to try out Hangouts at first, started using it regularly. “Firefighters now use Hangouts at the scene of fires to communicate with central command, monitor the fire, and decide how many vehicles they need,” says Arnold. “The chief fire officer doesn't have to get in his car and drive out to the scene to help — he can do it all from wherever he is.”

Firefighters use Hangouts at the scene of fires to communicate to central command, so the chief fire officer doesn't have to drive to the scene. Neil Arnold CIO, Northumberland County Council

Saving big by going cloud-first

Arnold expects switching to Chromebooks will help Northumberland County Council save close to £2.5 million on licensing and hardware, without sacrificing data security since Chromebooks have multiple protection layers.

The next step for Arnold and his team is to bring G Suite to the classroom. “We've got a lot of schools using Google Classroom successfully,” he says, “and we want to roll G Suite out to more schools. It’ll be a big efficiency for them, because many have small file servers on site, that they manage themselves or pay a third-party to manage. Drive will help them decommission that.”

Meanwhile, outdated exchange and file servers are being closed down across the council as data is seamlessly transferred to Google Cloud. The new central office for the county is set to open in 2019, and Arnold does not plan to have a datacenter at the new building: “That footprint’s going to reduce over the next three years to virtually nothing.” 

“I've been working in IT for over 30 years and this has been one of the most successful and satisfying projects I've ever been involved in,” says Arnold. “We’ve achieved more than we expected and using G Suite has been a tremendous catalyst for change.”

Source: Google Chrome


#GraciasALosProfes: Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Day in Mexico

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, or Día del Maestro, in Mexico, where 30 GEG (Google Educator Groups) leaders are at the helm of the movement to transform education through technology in Latin America. Our Mexican GEG leaders empower their fellow teachers to harness tech to meet students’ needs. We are amazed at the innovative and inspiring ways these teachers and leaders are building their movement across Mexico—from Guadalajara to Mexico City to Monterrey.

In Quéretaro, Nay Belaunzaran thought up an idea to scale the impact of tech across generations by mobilizing children to teach their parents about the internet. Under Nay’s leadership, primary school students prepare classes for their parents about G Suite for Education where the parents learn to jot their thoughts down in Docs, build presentations in Slides, and communicate with teachers through Google Classroom. Galvanizing students to bridge the generational tech literacy gap has made it easier for parents to stay engaged with kids’ schools.

4

Nay connected with fellow teachers from all over Latin America at last year’s Google for Education Certified Innovators Summit in Mexico City.

In Tijuana, Gabriela Torres Beltrán has paved the way for dozens of her students to become Google Certified Educators themselves. By building a community of future teachers who keep innovation and technology top of mind, Gabriela is making her mark on the future of education in her community.  “Seeing the smile of satisfaction on their faces as they explore ways to implement technology in class is extremely inspiring,” she shared with an inspired smile of her own.

RVP_8345baja_halfimage.jpg

Verónica stays after class on most days, providing extra support for students whose curiosity extends beyond school hours.

In Verónica Nuñez Loyo’s classroom in Mexico City, students find themselves at the intersection of traditions of the past and technology of the future. She challenges her middle schoolers not only to research the history of Mexico, but to leverage the internet to share their learnings. Recently, Verónica’s  seventh grade class collaborated to create a multimedia presentation about the Axolotl, an endangered amphibian species endemic to Baja California. Technology was at the heart of the project, whether students were exploring the Náhuatl origin of the word “Axolotl” or investigating how portrayals of this “walking fish” have changed over time.

These are three of many educators who work tirelessly to ignite curiosity and give life to the ideas of Mexico’s rising generation. Which teachers inspire you? Today—and everyday—join us in celebrating the educators who dedicate their lives to working with students to create a more connected Latin America. #GraciasALosProfes.

Source: Google Chrome


Read web pages offline with Chrome on Android

Last year, we introduced the ability to download any webpage, so you can view the whole page completely offline. More than 45 million web pages are downloaded every week—and today we’re adding improvements to make it even easier to download pages.

Offline.png
From left to right: New download link option, download page later button, offline badge

First, you can now long press on any link and select “Download link.” This feature is also available when you long press an article suggestion on the new tab page.

In addition, the next time you run into Chrome’s offline dinosaur, you’ll see the “Download Page Later” button. If you tap it, Chrome will automatically download the page for you when you get back online.

We’re also making it easier for you to get back to the content you’ve downloaded. When you open a new tab, you will see articles that you have downloaded tagged with a new offline badge.  We will also show a list of your recent downloads right on the page for easy access.

Now you’ll always have a ready-to-go list of pages or articles to read even if you are out of data for the month or lose the network in a dead zone. Update to the latest version of Chrome and tap the download icon on any page to get started.

Source: Google Chrome


Chrome: secure by default, for everyone

You shouldn’t need to be a security expert to browse the web, which is why we built Chrome to be secure by default, and easy to use safely by everyone. Chrome protects our users from malicious webpages by showing warnings more than 250 million times each month before users reach dangerous sites. We have also given more than $3.5 million to the security research community in rewards for helping us identify security bugs so we can fix them and strengthen Chrome. Here’s a refresher on how Chrome makes it easy for you to stay safe online.

Security by design

Chrome has used Google Safe Browsing for more than a decade to show you warnings before you visit a site that might be dangerous or deceptive. Safe Browsing launched in 2007 to protect people across the web from deceptive phishing sites, and has evolved to help protect against threats like dangerous malware across Chrome desktop and mobile. If you see a full-screen red warning, you’ll know that the page ahead might be dangerous.

ChromeSecurity_alert800px.png

There are lots of different players—like your internet service provider or your Wi-Fi network—that help get you connected online. Chrome will let you know if you’re securely connected directly to a site by showing a green lock in the address bar:

ChromeSecurity_bar.png

This means that you can be confident that you’re sending any information directly to that site, and it can’t be snooped on or tampered with by anyone else—even a curious person who also happens to be on the free coffee shop Wi-Fi!

Making security easy

Using unique, strong passwords is one of the most important things you can do to stay safe on the web. Chrome’s password manager, called Google Smart Lock, helps you remember your  passwords, so you’ll never have to reuse them. If you’re signed into Chrome, you can keep track of your passwords and Chrome will automatically fill them in on the right sites, across devices.

Finally, we know that you want to stay safe without the hassle of installing updates. Chrome automatically updates behind the scenes every six weeks to ensure that you always have the latest security features and fixes. And if we find an important security bug, we push out a fix within 24 hours—no update from you required.

ChromeSecurity_update.png

Our security team works hard behind the scenes, even (especially!) if you can’t see it happening. Check out our new Chrome Security page for more details, and for more news on security at Google, check out our Security Blog.

Source: Google Chrome


Fast Drawing for Everyone

Drawing on your phone or computer can be slow and difficult—so we created AutoDraw, a new web-based tool that pairs machine learning with drawings created by talented artists to help you draw.

AutoDraw_1.gif

It works on your phone, computer, or tablet (and it’s free!). So the next time you want to make a birthday card, party invite or just doodle on your phone, it’ll be as easy and fast as everything else on the web.

Fast Drawing for Everyone

If you’re interested in learning more about the magic behind AutoDraw, check out “Quick, Draw!”  (one of our A.I. Experiments). AutoDraw’s suggestion tool uses the same technology to guess what you’re trying to draw.

Big thanks to the artists, designers, illustrators and friends of Google who created original drawings for AutoDraw.

HAWRAF, Design Studio
Erin Butner, Designer
Julia Melograna, Illustrator
Pei Liew, Designer
Simone Noronha, Designer
Tori Hinn, Designer
Selman Design, Creative Studio

If you are interested in submitting your own drawings, you can do that here. We hope that AutoDraw, our latest A.I. Experiment, will make drawing more accessible and fun for everyone.

Source: Google Chrome


Taking aim at annoying page jumps in Chrome

Have you ever opened a link shared by a friend to an article you were eager to read, scrolled to the second paragraph, and found yourself suddenly back near the top of the page, as if everything had shifted beneath you?

These annoying page jumps typically happen when the website inserts an image or other content above the visible area, pushing down what’s on the screen. With the newest Chrome update, we’re introducing something called scroll anchoring, which locks the content you’re currently looking at to the screen, keeping you in the same spot so you can keep reading. Check out a side-by-side comparison, without and with scroll anchoring:

Scroll anchoring is one of our favorite kinds of features—those that shine when no one notices them. Today we’re preventing an average of almost three “jumps” per pageview, and we’re still getting better. If you’re a web developer or you’d like to learn more, see our technical guide to understand how it works and what it means for your website.

Source: Google Chrome


All the best mobile accessories, now for your Chromebook

Chromebooks are blurring the line between desktop and mobile with the launch of Google Play store on Chromebooks. Our latest Chromebooks were built from the ground up with this technology. But until now, it wasn’t possible to appreciate the full range of experiences Android Apps can offer.

After extensive user research and market analysis, we’re excited to introduce a line of mobile accessories for Chromebooks. We’ve thoughtfully adapted your favorites to capitalize on larger screens and convertible form factors. Here’s a sneak peek at a few highlights:

1. Chromebook Groupie Stick

selfiestick.jpg

For mobile photography lovers, nothing beats a selfie stick for the perfect shot. But on a tiny phone display, it’s sometimes hard to fit the whole group. To take advantage of beautiful, high-resolution displays, as well as great photo editing apps, we’ve carefully engineered the first Chromebook-sized selfie stick. Never again will you miss the perfect groupie.

2. Chromebook Cardboard

cardboard.jpg

In collaboration with the Cardboard team, we’re bringing you a new, immersive VR accessory—Cardboard for Chromebooks. Just as affordable and just as mobile, this new version of Cardboard is your gateway to larger-than-life experiences wherever you go. Stay tuned for all the specs so you can turn any large appliance or pizza box into your own Cardboard device.

3. Chromebook Workout Armband

armband.jpg

For the dedicated athlete, we’re introducing the Chromebook Workout Armband for all your fitness needs. Giant media buttons make it easier than ever to skip songs without taking a pause, and music apps let you take your music offline wherever you go. Whether you’re out for a run or in the gym, this armband allows you to really go big with your workout.

Keep an eye on the Google Store for these products and more. The next generation of Chromebooks is here, and we can’t wait to bring you all the accessories to make them the ultimate mobile devices.

Source: Google Chrome


The new, improved ChromeVox screen reader

Worldwide, 285 million people are visually impaired; 39 million are blind and 246 million experience low vision. As two people with visual impairments, we’ve experienced firsthand the transformational effects of assistive technology—specifically screen readers, which enable people to “read” the screen with synthesized speech or braille, and provide keyboard shortcuts to help people quickly navigate complex sites and apps. Today we’re introducing a new, more efficient and powerful version of ChromeVox, which is now the default screen reader on every Chromebook running on Chrome OS 56 or above. ChromeVox can be enabled at any time by pressing the key combination Ctrl + Alt + Z.

Our new version of ChromeVox makes the existing set of keyboard commands even easier, helping you navigate through sites, apps and the Chromebook interface without a mouse. The keyboard commands not only work in web pages, but also across other key parts of the interface, like the Chromebook status tray menu.

We’ve also added new ChromeVox menus that make it easy to find, learn and use all available commands. These menus feature a list of your open tabs, ChromeVox options, speech options, and lists of key items on the given page, such as links, headings or tables. Press Search + Period, or click on the ChromeVox icon in the upper-left corner to open the menus and explore.

Chromebooks are compatible with most USB braille displays, which generate braille based on what is currently on the computer screen. In the updated ChromeVox, you can use commands on the braille display keyboard to navigate through Chrome, rather than switch back and forth to the Chromebook keyboard. The result is a more fluid and streamlined experience for braille users.

A new ChromeVox Panel makes it easier for teachers who work with students who are visually impaired. The Panel shows text (and Braille captions if you choose) at the top of the Chromebook screen, so that a teacher can follow along with what a student is hearing or reading on a connected braille display.

Finally, we’ve added a new set of auditory features—known as “earcons”—that provide contextual information, like when you’ve reached a button, link or checkbox on a page, or when a page is still loading. Earcons have built-in stereo audio positioning that provide insight into how a given page or app is visually designed—for example, if you navigate to a button on the left side of the screen, you’ll hear the button earcon from the left speaker or headphone.

To send feedback or report issues from within ChromeVox, press Search + A then I. You can also post in the forum, or consider joining our ChromeVox-Discuss Google Group. We hope you love the new ChromeVox—but if you’re not ready to make the switch, you can still use the original version for now. Just press Search + Q to switch back to ChromeVox Classic. For more information, visit the Accessibility section of the Chromebook Help Center or watch our video about transitioning to the new version of ChromeVox.

Source: Google Chrome


Experience Virtual Reality on the web with Chrome

Virtual reality (VR) lets you tour the Turkish palace featured in “Die Another Day,” learn about life in a Syrian refugee camp firsthand, and walk through your dream home right from your living room. With the latest version of Chrome, we’re bringing VR to the web—making it as easy to step inside Air Force One as it is to access your favorite webpage.

For a fully immersive experience, use Chrome with your Daydream-ready phone and Daydream View—just browse to a VR experience you want to view, choose to enter VR, and put the phone in your Daydream View headset. If you don’t have a headset you can view VR content on any phone or desktop computer and interact using your finger or mouse.

You can already try out some great VR-enabled sites, with more coming soon. For example, explore the intersection of humans, nature and technology in the interactive documentary Bear 71. Questioning how we see the world through the lens of technology, this story blurs the lines between the wild world and the wired one.

Bear71
Bear 71: The intersection between humans, animals and technology.

Tour Matterport’s library of 300,000+ celebrity homes, museums, canyons, iconic architecture and other real places.

matterport
Matterport VR: The largest library of real world places in VR

Watch more than two dozen award-winning VR films with Within—from gripping tales set in worlds of pure imagination to documentaries taking you further inside the news than ever before.

VR WIthin NYT 16
Within: Extraordinary stories in virtual reality

Discover​ more than a million stunning 3D scenes in VR with ​Sketchfab, from your favorite anime and video game characters to famous works of art. Join the community and contribute your own creations, or just enjoy and share your favorites.

​Sketchfab
Sketchfab VR: enter new dimensions

Experiment and play in the WebVR Lab from PlayCanvas. Try teleporting around the space or playing a record with your Daydream controller.

webvr-lab
Explore the WebVR Lab from PlayCanvas

We want to bring VR to everyone on any device, and in the coming months we’ll add support for more headsets, including Google Cardboard. Try out these VR-enabled sites to be one of the first to experience the magic of VR on the web.

Source: Google Chrome


A new generation of Chromebooks, designed for millions of students and educators

Editor’s Note: At Bett, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world, we're announcing new Chromebooks designed for education. Check out @GoogleForEdu and #BETT2017 to follow along.

When I was a student, I juggled different tools throughout my day—a paper notebook for history, a shared desktop for writing, and a graphing calculator for math. In the years since, computers have begun to replace the need for those various tools—what we did on that calculator can now be done with an app, for example—allowing new possibilities for teaching and learning. Through our tools and devices, we try to help these possibilities come to life. Today both Chromebooks and Classroom are used by more than 20 million teachers and students, and we’re excited to announce that more than 70 million people actively use G Suite for Education.

Chromebooks have been the device of choice for educators because of their simplicity, security, shareability and low cost. And at Bett this week we're introducing a new generation of Chromebooks designed to adapt to the many ways students learn. Look out for new Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, and Lenovo in addition to the recently announced Samsung Chromebooks—a powerful option for educators. With new apps, stylus and touch capabilities, we expect our partners will continue to build an even wider variety of Chromebooks in the future, including detachables and tablets.

More versatile Chromebooks

At Bett we’re featuring two devices: the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 and the Asus Chromebook C213, arriving late spring. We worked with educators and partners to design these Chromebooks for the specific needs of schools:

  • Stylus capability: Both Chromebooks come with an intelligent, affordable stylus for student note-taking and drawing. The low-cost pens resemble #2 pencils with a unique eraser for correcting mistakes and don’t need charging or pairing, so they can be shared and easily replaced if lost. These Chromebooks use an input prediction model built using Google's machine learning to ensure writing is extremely responsive. And with Optical Character Recognition in apps like Google Keep you can easily search handwritten notes.

Our math department was keen to get tablets so students could write out equations. Stylus on Chromebooks will be a massive help for mathematics. Roger Nixon, ICT Director Wheatley Park School, Oxford

  • World-facing camera: Schools everywhere have asked for world-facing cameras so students can use Chromebooks to capture photo and video from all directions. We carefully designed the camera on the keyboard side, so when a Chromebook is flipped, the camera faces outwards and students can hold it like a tablet.
  • USB-C charging: We heard from educators that multiple chargers and slow charging wastes precious time for students. Going forward, all Chromebooks will have standard super-fast USB-C charging, so one Chromebook cart can charge any device quickly.

A world of content on Chromebooks

Now educators have even more ways to find great educational content on Chromebooks:

From teaching design concepts to visual storytelling, Adobe apps on Chromebooks will open up avenues for our students. Kelly Kermode, Teacher Forest Hills Public Schools, Michigan
  • Creative apps: Today we‘re also announcing that creative apps on Chromebooks—WeVideo, Soundtrap, and Explain Everything—are available in the U.K. and Nordics at a discount from resellers XMA, Lin Education and Avalon Solutions when purchased as a bundle.

Recent updates to Google Classroom

On all Chromebooks, students and educators can use Google Classroom to collaborate, stay organized and save time. The Classroom Android app, now available on Chromebooks, opens up new possibilities to students in how they use their devices. With the help of a stylus-enabled Chromebook, students can complete their math homework by hand or sketch a visual for a science project by annotating documents directly in the Classroom app.

Students, teachers and administrators can also use their Chromebooks to try out the new Classroom features we rolled out earlier this month. Now, teachers can assign work to a subset of students, rather than just the entire class, and use new types of Classroom notifications to manage assignments. For administrators, we now offer more insight into how Classroom is used, with Classroom metrics in Admin Console reports.

We believe in the power of technology to help students learn how they learn best and teachers teach the way they find most effective. We’ll continue to work with educators in 2017 to build tools that support the important work they do every day.

Source: Google Chrome