Category Archives: Google India Blog

The Official Google Blog for India

Google News Initiative: Introducing pan-India training series for journalists covering the upcoming elections

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The Google News Initiative, in partnership with DataLeads and Internews, are thrilled to open registration for PollCheck: Covering India’s Election, a training series to support journalists covering India’s election. We are hosting these trainings in 30 cities across the country in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Bangla, Kannada, Gujarati, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi.


In partnership with DataLeads and Internews, the Google News Initiative will offer training on online verification and fact-checking, journalist digital safety and security, YouTube for elections coverage and data visualization for elections.


Since 2016, Google has trained more than 13,000 journalists in India, across 200+ newsrooms and in 40 cities. Last year, we launched the Google News Initiative India Training Network, focused on online verification and fact-checking. In six months, the Network onboarded 241 trainers in seven languages, who trained 5260 journalists across 40+ cities in India, benefitting 200+ newsrooms and universities. We plan to train another 10,000 journalists in 2019.




The PollCheck training series is for working journalists and freelancers. Journalism students are encouraged to register, and will be given slots on a first-come, first-served basis. You will receive an email confirmation with location details.


For more information and to register, please click on the city below.


What: Google News Initiative “PollCheck: Covering India’s Election”
When: 9AM-4:30PM


Location:
Agartala, Tripura  | Sat, Mar 16  | English
Ahmedabad, Gujarat  | Sat, Mar 9  | Gujarati/English (bilingual)
Aizawl, Mizoram  | Sat, Mar 9  | English
Bengaluru, Karnataka  | Fri, Mar 8  | English/Kannada (bilingual)
Bhopal , Madhya Pradesh  | Sun, Mar 17  | Hindi/ English (bilingual)
Bhubaneswar, Odisha  | Sat, Mar 9  | Odia/English (bilingual)
Chandigarh, Punjab/Haryana  | Sat, Mar 9  | English
Chennai, Tamil Nadu  | Mon, Mar 11  | Tamil/English (bilingual)
Dehradun, Uttarakhand  | Sat, Mar 30  | English
Delhi NCR, Delhi  | Tue, Feb 26  | English track + Hindi track
Gangtok, Sikkim  | Sat, Mar 2  | English
Guwahati, Assam | Sat, Mar 9  | English
Hyderabad, Telangana/Andhra Pradesh  | Wed, Mar 13  | Telugu/ English (bilingual)
Imphal, Manipur  | Sat, Mar 23  | English
Indore, Madhya Pradesh  | Sat, Mar 16  | English
Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh  | Sat, Apr 6  | English
Jaipur, Rajasthan  | Fri, Mar 15  | Hindi
Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir | Sat, Mar 9 | English
Kochi, Kerala  | Sat, Mar 2  | English/Malayalam (bilingual)
Kohima, Nagaland  | Sat, Mar 2  | English
Kolkata, West Bengal  | Wed, Mar 6  | English/Bangla (bilingual)
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh  | Mon, Mar 4  | Hindi
Mumbai, Maharashtra  | Fri, Mar 15  | English/Marathi (bilingual)
Panaji, Goa  | Sat, Mar 23  | English
Patna, Bihar  |  Fri, Mar 1  | Hindi
Pune, Maharashtra  | Sat, Mar 16  | English/Marathi (bilingual)
Raipur, Chhattisgarh  | Sat, Mar 16  | Hindi
Ranchi, Jharkhand  | Tue, Mar 12  | Hindi
Shillong, Meghalaya  | Sat, Mar 16  | English
Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh  | Sat, Mar 23  | English/Telugu (bilingual)

By Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead, Asia-Pacific

Kicking off Cloud Study Jams in India

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India is one of the largest and fastest growing cloud services market in Asia Pacific. According to Gartner, India’s IT spending is projected to total $89.2 billion in 2019. The IT buying pattern in India signals the increased use of cloud services by organizations.” This has led to an increase in demand to learn about Google Cloud, Machine Learning and Kubernetes.


To cater to this growing demand, in May 2018, we welcomed our first Google Cloud Developer Community (GCDC) in India, and now we are 11 communities strong - Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Pune with more than 10000 members. These communities host frequent meetups to discuss topics like Kubernetes, Google App Engine, Data Science, Machine Learning on Google Cloud. These communities are growing rapidly in terms of membership and frequency of technical meet-ups.


To provide developers an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve, we are happy to introduce Cloud Study Jams in India. Study Jams are community-run study groups for developers. This is a great opportunity to bring members of the community together to learn something in person.  These trainings give developers a specific skill they can use for personal development or career advancement.
With a Cloud Study Jam, developers will learn the fundamental tools and capabilities of Google Cloud. Developers can choose to learn any of the recommended tracks like: Machine Learning, Kubernetes, and Data Science.
As a developer in the study jam, you stand to get free access to:
1. Free access to Qwiklabs Quest (worth $55)
2. Google Cloud Badge from Qwiklabs on completion of codelabs
3. Hands-on experience on Google Cloud Platform
4. Upgrade your skills in Machine Learning, Cloud or Kubernetes


The Cloud Study Jams are now live and you can click here to find a community that is hosting a study jam near you. If you don’t find a study jam near you, follow us on @GoogleDevsIN for the latest updates.
These study jams will run from Feb till June 2019.


Get hands-on with Cloud Study Jams, register now https://events.withgoogle.com/india-cloud-studyjam/
By Biswajeet Malik, Program Manager, Developer Relations India

Protecting your data, no matter where you go on the web

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We’re always working to make sure your data is protected, whether you’re using Google products or checking out your favorite websites and apps.


Today, we’re introducing two new updates that will help keep your data secure, beyond just Google’s sites and apps: Password Checkup, a Chrome extension that helps protect your accounts from third party data breaches, and a new feature called Cross Account Protection.


Password Checkup


We help keep your Google Account safe by proactively detecting and responding to security threats. For example, we already automatically reset the password on your Google Account if it may have been exposed in a third party data breach—a security measure that reduces the risk of your account getting hacked by a factor of ten.


But we want to provide you with the same data breach protections for your accounts, beyond just Google apps and sites. This is where the new Password Checkup Chrome extension can help. If we detect that a username and password on a site you use is one of over 4 billion credentials that we know have been compromised, the extension will trigger an automatic warning and suggest that you change your password.


Or simply click here


We built Password Checkup so that no one, including Google, can learn your account details. To do this, we developed privacy-protecting techniques with the help of cryptography researchers at both Google and Stanford University. For a more technical description of these innovations, check out our security blog post.


This is our first version of the Password Checkup, and we’ll be refining in the coming months. You can take advantage of these new protections right away by installing the extension.


Cross Account Protection


In the rare case that an attacker is able to find a way into your Google Account, we’ve built useful tools to help you quickly get back to safety. Unfortunately, these protections haven’t extended to the apps that you sign into with Google Sign In.


Cross Account Protection helps address this challenge. When apps and sites have implemented it, we’re able to send information about security events—like an account hijacking, for instance—to them so they can protect you, too.


We’ve designed the security events to be extremely limited to protect your privacy:
>>We only share the fact that the security event happened.
>>We only share basic information about the event, like whether your account was hijacked, or if we forced you to log back in because of suspicious activity.
>>We only share information with apps where you have logged in with Google.


We created Cross Account Protection by working closely with other major technology companies, like Adobe, and the standards community at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and OpenID Foundation to make this easy for all apps to implement.




For app developers using Firebase or Google Cloud Identity for Customers & Partners, it is included by default. We’re getting this effort off the ground now, and developers can get started today to improve security for everyone.  


With technologies like Password Checkup and Cross Account Protection, we're continuing to improve the security of our users across the internet, not just on Google. We'll never stop improving our defenses to keep you safe online.

By Kurt Thomas, Security and Anti-Abuse Research Scientist and Adam Dawes, Senior Product Manager, Developer Tools for Identity

Three simple steps to stay safe online

Secure your phone, secure your Google account and take control of your data
& don’t forget to ask your friends #SecurityCheckKiya

Across Google, we build products with strong security protections at their core to continuously and automatically detect and protect you and your data from a wide range of threats. This Safer Internet Day 🔐, we want to remind users about the simple actions they can take to further strengthen their online security.
Secure Your Phone
If you’re an Android user, the safest place to download apps is from the Google Play store. Built into every device with Google Play, Google Play Protect protects your phone 24/7. It scans over 50 billion apps every single day, identifying potentially harmful apps and keeping them off your device or removing them. While Google Play Protect is the ideal security blanket for your mobile device, there are steps you too can take to help ensure your device is safe. Keep your screen locked with a unique password [pattern/ pin]. And if you add your Google account on your device, you’ll be able to find it if it’s lost or stolen. Simply visit android.com/find to locate, ring, lock and erase your Android devices—phones, tablets, and even watches.


Users should --
Keep screens locked with a unique password [pattern/ pin].


Add Google account on devices, to be able to find it, if lost or stolen.
Download Find My Device App -- The Find My Device app from Google helps you to easily locate a lost Android device, and keeps your device and information secure.


Visit android.com/find to locate, ring, lock and erase your Android devices—phones, tablets, and even watches.


Secure Your Data
We know that keeping your information safe and private is important to you, which is why we’ve baked security and privacy features into all our products. For example, we notify you when you’ve granted access to third-party sites or apps, but it’s really important for you to understand the information that you share with these apps or sites. A quick check on your phone tells you exactly what access  -- including Calendar, Camera, Contacts, Location, Microphone, etc. — you have shared with third party apps. So while you sip your morning coffee tomorrow, spend a minute to skim through app permissions on your phone, and choose the right settings for you.


Android users can --
On Phone, go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Advanced > App Permissions


Secure Your Account
Just like in the physical world where you go for a regular health check-up, did you know you could do a health checkup of your Google Account? It gives you personalized and actionable security recommendations that help you strengthen the security of your Google Account. Taking the Security Checkup doesn’t just help you stay safer while using Google services, it also includes helpful tips to keep you safer across the web, such as by reminding you to add a screen lock to your mobile phone, reviewing third-party access to your Google Account data, and showing you what sites and apps you may have signed into using your Google Account.


Users can --
On desktop, go to Google Account > Run Security Check

On mobile, visit your Gmail App, tap Menu icon > Settings > tap ID > Manage Your Google Account > Run Security Check


Or simply visit g.co/securitycheckup to take the Security Checkup.


So this Safer Internet Day, don’t forget to ask yourself and your loved ones #SecurityCheckKiya [Have you done the Security Checkup yet?]


By Sunita Mohanty, Director, Trust & Safety, India

Bringing more transparency to the Indian Lok Sabha Election 2019

In 2019, more than 850 million Indians are expected to cast their vote to elect the country’s next government. To support the democratic process, Google is bringing more openness to election advertising online, and helping connect people to useful and relevant election-related information. Here is how we will be providing support:


Helping people better understand the election advertising they see
To bring more transparency to election ads, Google will introduce an India-specific Political Advertising Transparency Report and searchable Political Ads Library. These will provide comprehensive information about who is purchasing election ads on our platforms and how much money is being spent. The India Political Ads Transparency Report and Ads Library will go live in March 2019.
In line with this, we have updated the election ads policy for India. The policy requires that advertisers running election ads in India provide a pre-certificate issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI), or anyone authorized by the ECI, for each ad they wish to run. Further, Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on our platforms. The advertiser verification process will begin on 14 February 2019.
In addition to the Transparency Report and Ads Library, election ads on Google platforms will also disclose who has paid for the ad. Advertisers can refer to the India election ads policy for more details.


Getting voters the information they need
We know that in the build-up to elections, people need useful and relevant information to help them navigate the electoral process. For the Lok Sabha Election 2019, Google will make electoral information from the Election Commission of India and other authoritative sources easily discoverable on Search.
We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world. Today’s updates are a step forward in this direction, and we will continue to invest in initiatives that build further on our commitment towards election transparency.  

By Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director Public Policy, Google India

Launchpad Accelerator India – Class II: Applications are now open

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


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



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


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


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


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


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

By Paul Ravindranath, Program Manager, Launchpad Accelerator India

Say hello to the new Google My Business app

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When I was growing up, finding a new place to eat or shop was a complex task. It was mostly based on feedback from friends and family and there was no real way to get additional views. Today, mobiles have become the centre of our universe and we’ve stepped into an era where more and more people have started to look online for places to eat, visit and shop. Consequently, smartphones are fast becoming an important storefront for brands and businesses of all sizes. In fact, every month, globally Google connects people to businesses nearby more than 9 billion times, including over 1 billion phone calls and 3 billion direction requests to stores.

When we built the Google My Business app, we wanted to make it easier for small businesses to be able to manage all the information that Google provides about your company when customers are looking for you on Search and Maps. From the phone number, website, directions, to pictures and reviews, Google My Business helped businesses be found, attract visitors and build your credibility as a business.
Starting today, I am happy to share that your favorite Google My Business app will be available with all new functionalities to help businesses not only keep their presence on Google up to date, connect with customers and attract new ones. Let’s look at the features of the new app:
  • A simple, free way to stand out on Google with a great Business Profile:  With a press of the new Post button in the app, you can upload a photo, create an offer or event and add it right to your Business Profile on Google. You can also manage your business information on Google from the Profile tab and watch your edits appear seamlessly across Search and Maps
  • Your customers on Google—all in one place: When people find you on Google, they can connect with you in a number of ways—by messaging you, following you, booking your services, or leaving a review—right from your Business Profile. You’ll be able to see all of these customers on Google in one place from the app’s new Customers tab. From here, you can easily respond to customer reviews and post offers to your followers to keep them coming back in the door, and you’ll be able to respond to messages right from the app. And you will received a  notification when you get a new customer connection
  • Keep track of the results that matter. See how many people are finding and connecting with you from your Business Profile on Google. We’ve put your profile results front-and-center on the home screen so you’re always in the know



People are searching for your business on Google. Turn those searchers into customers with the new, free Google My Business app. Available for download in Google Play or the App Store today.

Posted by Shalini Girish, Director - Google Marketing Solutions, Google India

Web Rangers is back!

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The fourth edition of our Web Rangers contest is here, and we are inviting students from across the country to join us in spreading awareness about internet safety and digital citizenship, among their peers and beyond.


But who is a Web Ranger? If you are a student between the ages of 10 and 17 who knows what it takes to be safe online and also helps your friends and family to do the same, then you are already a Web Ranger.




There are two different formats to pick from - choose the category that interests you and put your creativity and skills to test. The best entries in each format stand to win awesome prizes.

Campaign:  We all learn from each other on staying safe, so if you want to reach more students, friends and family and everyone in your neighbourhood then Campaign is for you. You can work in a group of not more than 3 to educate and raise awareness on how we can come together for a safer Internet.

Project: You can work individually to create an app or Web based solutions (Websites, Progressive Web apps, etc) or a creative video if that is what you prefer. Ensure your project helps in raising awareness to help find the right information from the most trusted source. So get creative and test your skills.
Every year, the Web Rangers contestants have sent across incredible entries, and we are certain that this year is going to be even better. For inspiration and ideas, check out the winning entries from last year and the year before that. To learn more about the rules and format, or to submit your entries, visit this page. The deadline for submitting your entry is 23:59pm on January 21, 2019.
By Vandana Bharvani, Director, Trust & Safety: Research & Outreach

GNI YouTube innovation funding: supporting 87 news organizations in 23 countries to build video capabilities and innovate with new formats

In July, as part of the Google News Initiative (GNI), we announced innovation funding to help newsrooms and publishers strengthen their online video capabilities and experiment with new formats for video journalism. Hundreds of organizations submitted proposals through an open application process and today we’re sharing the 87 recipients.


Hailing from 23 countries around the world, they represent a diverse array of broadcasters, traditional and digital publishers, local media, agencies and creators, but all share a commitment to quality journalism and a spirit of innovation.


Many of these projects are focused on expanding newsroom video operations and trying out new ways of reporting news through video - from reaching younger audiences online to exploring live and fact-checking formats. Other projects look at the sustainability of news organizations, including work on new business models and programs to support a healthy news ecosystem.


Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to supporting a strong future for news video. Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing insights gained from the projects and giving newsrooms the opportunity to benefit from the learnings, as we work together to support the development of long-term, sustainable news video businesses.


For more information about YouTube’s work with the news industry, please visit our website. We look forward to seeing how our partners across the globe push the boundaries of video journalism.

By Timothy Katz, Director of News Partnerships, YouTube

Make your shopping easier and simpler with our new Google Shopping search experience

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Online shopping has enabled a world of convenience -- whether you’re looking for a new pair of shoes or car accessories, there are numerous online destinations from where you can find and browse product options. But given the multitude of these very options, it is often challenging to find answers to questions like “Where can I find a red short-sleeved dress” or “Where can I find the best deal?”


India has the second largest population of internet users in the world, and it’s only getting bigger. While 400 million Indians are online today, less than one out of three buy things online. On the business front, there are 58 million SMBs in India, of which 35 percent are engaged in retail trade (Source: Sixth Economic Census). However, a very small number of them have an online presence -- there clearly exists a huge opportunity for retailers to surface their merchandize to the millions of online consumers.


At Google, our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful to everyone. That’s why today we are bringing a new and exciting shopping search experience to India. This is a personalised and immersive experience that will help you easily filter through offers, review prices from multiple retailers and find that right product. This experience will get richer with usage and is available across several Google products: the first is a made-to-browse (think window shopping!) experience on the new Shopping home page. We are also making the same experience available to users with entry level phones, through a Progressive Web App (PWA). Further, starting today, you will also see a new Shopping tab on Google Search. Finally we are introducing Style Search in Google Lens, an all-new visual approach to find the products you are looking for.


For retailers, Merchant Center has always been the place to upload store and product data for Shopping ads. Now you can also use Merchant Center to upload product details so they can appear across Google, without paying for ad campaigns. So far, the Merchant Center has been only available in English, and starting today we are expanding it to Hindi. With these changes, our aim is to empower many more retailers in India to participate and reach millions of internet users.


Shopping home page


The Shopping home page is a new made-to-browse destination for shoppers to search across multiple product categories and find products from thousands of retailers. To make the shopping experience richer, we have added some smart features, including price drops and a collection of the most popular products on Google.


Shopping tab in Google Search


You will now see a new ‘Shopping’ tab in Google Search showing a list of products matching your search, with the ability to view details and review prices across retailers. Queries can be made in both English and Hindi.


Style search in Google Lens


Have you ever looked at an awesome pair of shoes and wondered where you could buy them from? With Google Lens, you can now find similar products -- such as clothes, furniture, and home decor - just by using your phone camera. Simply point your camera at the product and we’ll do the rest!


From seasoned desktop shoppers to first-time users with entry-level smartphones, we hope these new shopping experiences will make finding what you’re looking for just a little bit easier. For merchants, we are supporting and partnering with the entire retail ecosystem -- be it shopping sites, to large retailers, to small local shops -- to give them the tools and technology to scale and thrive in today’s digital economy. We hope this enables all kinds of retailers, especially those who have never had an online presence, to reach millions of new consumers.

Posted by Surojit Chatterjee, Vice President - Product Management, Google Shopping