Category Archives: Student Blog

Google news and updates especially for students

2017 Google Online Marketing Challenge Registrations Closing Soon

Don't miss out on your chance to bring marketing theory to life through a practical hands-on learning experience. Register for the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC) today! Professor registration closes on March 22, 2017. Student registration closes on April 5 — but all students must register under a verified professor. Read on to learn more about GOMC.

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2016 GOMC Winners Visiting Google

If this is your first time hearing about the Google Online Marketing Challenge? Or you would like to participate and just don’t know where to start? Check out the below questions and answers:

What is the Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC)?
GOMC is an annual global online marketing competition for students from higher education institutions around the world. Google provides student teams with a $250 Google AdWords budget to develop and run an online advertising campaign for a real business or nonprofit organization of their choice. An independent Academic Panel, along with AdWords experts at Google, review the campaigns and select winning teams based on the success of their campaigns and the quality of their competition reports.

For more information about GOMC and what is new to the competition this year, check out our 2017 GOMC Launch Announcement.

What is required from a professor to participate in the GOMC?
A professor, faculty member, lecturer or instructor currently employed at a higher education institute can register for the GOMC. In order for students to participate in the GOMC, they must register under a verified professor, but from there, the professor’s level of involvement is up to them. Some professors teach a marketing course focused on GOMC or incorporate it into a subsection of a more all encompassing business/marketing/communications course, while others sponsor students in the GOMC outside of the classroom as an extracurricular activity.

Check out the program Terms and Conditions and answers to frequently asked questions, as well as this Guide to the Google Online Marketing Challenge for a breakdown and timeline of each stage of the competition and tips for getting started!

What do students get out of participating in the GOMC?
The Google Online marketing Challenge provides students with the opportunity to:
  • Gain relevant and valuable skills through a practical hands-on learning experience.
  • Build a true relationship with a client and make a real-life impact in their community.
  • Gain exposure to the digital marketing landscape using real money on a live advertising platform.
  • Become AdWords Certified and put their skills to the test, showcasing their AdWords knowledge and experience to potential employers.
  • Win awesome prizes like a trip to the Google!

Hear from two GOMC alumni about their experiences and how they used their skill set developed throughout the program to land jobs at Google.

For more information on the competition, please visit and add our Google+ Page to your circles ( to receive regular competition updates and reminders.

Take learning to the next level with the Google Online Marketing Challenge and register today!

‘Paying It Forward’ in honor of Black History Month

Challenge Spotlight: ‘Paying It Forward’ in honor of Black History Month

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Are you a social change agent in your community or know someone who is? If so, we invite you to join Google’s fourth annual “Pay It Forward” Challenge. The deadline to submit an application is March 10, 2017, at 11:59 pm PST.

At Google, we value diversity and inclusion, and we support individuals who do the same. In honor of Black History Month, undergraduate and graduate students are invited to showcase how they have positively impacted and influenced their local communities within the US. In particular, we’re seeking leaders whose work has demonstrated a commitment to expanding access and opportunities for the Black community.  

Last year, we showcased the work of two groups paving the way for leadership in their communities; the Spelman College section of the National Council of Negro Women and the Detroit Revitalization and Business Initiative (Detroit R&B) at the Ross School of Business.

To apply:

Criteria to apply:
  • Individuals who:
    • Currently attend an undergraduate or graduate school at an accredited college or university in the United States
  • Demonstrate a commitment to expanding access and opportunity for their local community

Submissions will be judged by a team of Googlers who will be assessing the innovation, scale and the short- and long-term effects of your impact. The organizations that are chosen will be featured here on the Google Students Blog to amplify their voice, and will have the opportunity to receive mentorship from a Googler to take their impact to the next level!

To both enter the challenge and get more info, visit our 2017 Black History Month website.

If you have questions about the challenge, please email

We look forward to seeing your submission!

The Google Programs team

A Day in the Life: Computer Science Summer Institute/Generation Google Scholarship — Applications open

There’s less than a month left to apply for Generation Google Scholarships and CSSI,
so submit your applications now!

In today’s blog post, we’re giving you a look at a day in the life of Riya, one of our Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) students from this past summer. We’ll walk you through her schedule, giving any Generation Google and CSSI applicant a better idea of what the experience is like.

8:45am: I use my badge to get in and head into the classroom with my fellow CSSIers before class starts, where sitting on the tables I see boxes of donuts waiting for us!

9am: Class starts. This morning, we’re learning about object oriented programming in Python.

10:30am: Break for a snack (of more donuts and fruit snacks) and an icebreaker to wake us up.

10:45am: Head back into the classroom and go through a few Python Labs with my partner.

12pm: Lunch time. I head to the cafeteria with the rest of the CSSIers where they’re serving wings. I wait in line and of course have to head over to the panini station to make my own custom sandwich. We then head upstairs to the roof to enjoy lunch in the sun before playing a competitive game of baggo (beanbag tossing!). Afterwards, we go back down to grab a quick yogurt bowl and take it back to the classroom.

1pm: We trickle back into the classroom for the afternoon workshop. Each day, a new person comes to talk to us about different development topics. Today, we’re talking about Impostor Syndrome and how to address this issue.

2pm: Back to OOP in Python. We are working on coding a Ninja game!

3:30pm: We stop for a break where we play Google trivia. The winning students get Google swag — pillows, socks and android toys!

3:45pm: We finish coding the Ninja game and then are tasked with breaking up into groups and implementing a harder version of the Ninja game.

4:30pm: We break into smaller groups to work on the project, and a TA assists when we need help.

5:30pm: Exit survey and daily meme time! At the end of each day a meme is posted by Jessie, the lead for our Chicago site, and we fill out snippets to let the instructors and CSSI program managers know what topics we’re finding challenging, what we thought of the development workshop and overall how we’re doing.

6pm: Over and out. Heading home to get some rest and relaxation!

A big thanks to Riya for sharing her day!


Intern Impact: Brotli compression for Play Store app downloads

This month, the Google Play team in our London office was hyped to welcome back Anamaria Cotîrlea, who joins us from Romania, where she studied in the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at Babeș-Bolyai University. As a software engineer at Google, Anamaria will be building upon the incredible impact she made as an intern on the Play team this past summer,  when her work resulted in saving users an expected 1.5 petabytes (that's 1.5 million gigabytes) of data each day.

Back in 2015, Anamaria did her first internship with Google in Krakow, Poland. The technical skills she honed at that time set her up for her second Google internship this past summer with the Google Play team. During that internship, she integrated Brotli compression with the Google Play Store in order to streamline app installs and updates. This is hugely meaningful because Android users download tens of billions of apps and games on Google Play — totalling over 65 billion times (and growing), in fact!

It takes a lot of data to download new apps and updates to your existing apps, and we know users care about how much data their devices are using. Play is continually investing in making these installs and updates smaller, and in December 2016, we announced that we started using a new approach to delivering updates, known as File-by-File patching, which reduced the average update size to 65% smaller than the full app.

Anamaria’s project was to add support for Brotli for both new app installs and app updates. Brotli is a compression algorithm developed by Jyrki Alakuijala and Zoltán Szabadka of the Compression Team at Google Research Europe. Brotli was initially launched in 2015, offering enhancements in generic lossless data compression, especially when used for HTTP compression. Its compression rates, speed, and memory usage have been continuously improved, and it has proven to be a powerful tool for app compression, generally outperforming GZIP.

During her internship, Anamaria evaluated Brotli’s performance on our app library and made the changes necessary to our servers and the Play Store app to deploy Brotli for app delivery.

Here are a few examples of Brotli’s compression rate compared to GZIP’s:

GZIP download size (MB)
Brotli download size (MB)
Percent Brotli saves over GZIP
Update Pinterest
Update WhatsApp
Install WhatsApp
Install Pinterest

Not only is this great news for our Android users, but it is also a terrific example of the real-life problems that Google interns are helping to solve, as well as the impact a Google intern can have in just a few short months. Brotli compression for app downloads is rolling out now, and users should start to enjoy the benefits over the coming weeks.

Sign up today for Hash Code 2017!

Calling all developers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa: our programming competition Hash Code is back for its fourth year of challenging programmers to solve a real Google engineering problem. Think you could optimize the layout of a Google Data Center?  Or how about scheduling a fleet of drones to make deliveries around the world?  If you’re up for the challenge, sign up to compete today at  

Hash Code 2017 kicks off on 23rd February with the Online Qualification Round. The top 50 teams from this round will then be invited to Google Paris, in the City of Light, to battle it out for the coveted title of Hash Code 2017 Champion.

52 teams from 22 countries competed side-by-side during the Hash Code 2016 Final Round at Google Paris

To make things even more exciting, students and professionals across the region are signing up to host Hash Code hubs where local teams can come together to compete for the Online Qualification Round. So far, more than 250 hubs are being organized across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Participating from a hub is a great way to meet new people and add a little extra fun and competition to the contest. Don’t see a hub near you? You can still sign up to host a hub in your university, office or city on our website.

Whether you’ve just started coding or you’re a programming competition aficionado, Hash Code is a great chance to flex your programming muscles, get a glimpse into software engineering at Google and have some fun. Take a look at previous Hash Code problem statements to see the engineering challenges participants have tackled in the past.

Teams compete in the 2016 Online Qualification Round from a Hash Code hub

We can’t reveal this year’s problem statements, but we will have some other fun announcements leading up to the Online Qualification Round. Keep in touch with Hash Code by joining our Google+ community and Facebook event.

Are you up for the challenge? Sign up today at and we’ll see you online on 23rd February!

Lindsay Taub
University Programs Team

CSSI Three-Day Takeover! Day Three: Catching Up With Googler (and former CSSI’er) Kenechi

Today we’re speaking with a CSSI alumni, Kenechi from the class of 2008 (our first iteration of CSSI) who currently works at Google as a Software Engineer. Below, she shares her experience at CSSI and how it put her on the path to Google. Click here if you're ready to apply to CSSI!

Before CSSI, what was your experience with Computer Science? And why did you apply to the program?
I’ve wanted to write software since my first experience with Word 95 when I was little. I took a course on QBASIC in high school but didn’t have an opportunity to take AP Computer Science because it only had 1 offering a year. I took my first full programming course my first semester at CMU. I applied to CSSI because the program’s description sounded cool and I wanted the opportunity to visit Google’s headquarters.

What was your favorite moment during the program?
The final presentations were a great moment for me. It was amazing how much content was covered in two-and-a-half weeks and how much I had gotten to know the other students.

What's the most important lesson you learned?
The most important lesson of CSSI for me was one of validation. After CSSI a career in software engineering became a reality. For two weeks I was able to see what it was like to be at Google; I had the opportunity to meet and learn from dozens of full-time engineers. Even though I was already a CS major at CMU, CSSI formed the foundation for the rest of my career. It was there that I got the confidence and network necessary to succeed as a software engineer.

How did this help you for college going forward?
There was another CMU student in my CSSI class, after CSSI we started a study group. We would meet daily to study and go to office hours together. It really helped having a study group for the rest of time at CMU, especially as the courses got increasingly difficult.

What was your journey to Google?
My journey to Google started with CSSI. I returned as an intern for back to back summers, the first summer in the Engineering Practicum program. After graduating I worked at Microsoft for over two years and then returned to Google.

How did this prepare you for work? And specifically, how did this prepare you to for Google?

The summer after CSSI I had the opportunity to be an EP intern. My internship helped me to experience what day to day software development would be like. CSSI opened the door to that opportunity. CSSI also introduced me to a whole new network of other computer science majors from across the country; I came to depend on that network as I continued on in my career at both Google and even Microsoft.

CSSI Three-Day Takeover! Day Two: Catching Up With CSSI’ers

Today, we’re catching up with a few of our CSSI students from this past summer. We’ve asked the students to share highlights from their time at CSSI and how the program impacted them for their future academic and professional careers.


Haven is a first year student at University of Arkansas where she’s majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics.

Why did you apply to CSSI?

To be honest, I’d never taken a class in computer science and I didn’t have internet at home, so my only experience is in what I picked up troubleshooting tech problems for teachers and watching videos on Khan Academy. My goal for the summer was to gain some hands on experience with software.

What shocked you the most about the program?

I was surprised that there were so many people like me, I stick out with my family and friends and it was nice to belong. It was nice to develop a community that you can talk to about work, personal life, and share your thoughts because I don’t run into people like that in my day to day. Meeting people that were like me encouraged me to pursue CS.

What’s the most important lesson you learned?

I’m one of six kids, the middle child, single mom, poor family, so I felt like I blended in and didn’t think I was going to go far. I wanted to do amazing things, but I thought it’s not really going to happen. Getting into Google gave me the confidence that I can go far.

Now, Haven is pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Arkansas. Great job, Haven!


Jay is a first year student at the University of Alabama where he’s majoring in Computer Science. Below, he shares his thoughts about his three weeks in Cambridge at the CSSI.

How did you become interested in Computer Science and CSSI?

In middle school, I developed a love for technology and was the go-to person at my school who assisted teachers with IT. This combined with my passion for giving back to my community led me to Computer Science. I wanted to pursue a subject where I’m able to build technology that will impact underserved populations and help others.
What was the most important lesson you learned at CSSI?

That it’s best to work in teams. During the project week, I was paired with two other CSSI classmates and together we built a web app. We leaned on each others’ talents to make it possible. Now at school, I meet weekly with my CS classmates preparing for technical interviews and we help each other with internship applications. It’s really helpful because not as many people are as social as I am, but it’s something we can all relate and can feed off of each other's’ energy. They’re shooting technical questions at me and telling me what to improve on and I can tell them how to talk to people.

What were you most shocked by?

The amount of talent that I was surrounded by… the instruction and the accelerated students who all had ideas about how they wanted to change the world. I was the only student at my High School who was interested in Computer Science, so being able to come to a place where there are 29 other students who are just like you, interested in the same stuff and they’re thinking about how they can use it to change the world was really meaningful to me.

Thank you for sharing your CSSI memories with us, Haven and Jay!

Click here to apply today!

CSSI Three-Day Takeover! Day One: Computer Science Summer Institute and Generation Google Scholarship Applications Are Open

We are now accepting applications for the 2017 Computer Science Summer Institute, as well as the 2017 Generation Google Scholarship. Learn more about both programs below and apply today!


The Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) is a three-week introduction to computer science for graduating high school seniors with a passion for technology. Students will learn programming fundamentals directly from Google engineers, get an inside look at some of Google's most exciting, emerging technologies, and even design and develop their very own application with fellow participants.

The Generation Google Scholarship helps aspiring computer scientists from underrepresented groups excel in technology and become leaders in the field. Selected students will receive 10,000 USD (for those studying in the US) or 5,000 CAD (for those studying in Canada) for the 2017-2018 school year. As part of the scholarship, current high school seniors who are entering their first year of university in Fall 2017 will be required to attend CSSI in the summer of 2017.

Where & When
We offer two types of sessions at CSSI: commuter and residential. In the residential camps, housing and transportation will be provided. In the day camps, students will be provided with a travel stipend and expected to commute into the respective Google offices for each day of CSSI. Students within a specified mileage distance from the respective day-camp offices will automatically be considered for those sites. The sites will be taking place in Mountain View, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Chicago, IL, New York, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Atlanta, GA, Cambridge, MA, and Seattle, WA.


We are looking for students eager to spend a few weeks immersed in the Google life -- tackling interesting technical problems, working collaboratively and having fun. The program is committed to addressing diversity in the field of computer science and is open to all qualified high school seniors who intend to major in computer science at a four year university in the US or Canada.

Google is committed to increasing the enrollment and retention of students in the field of computer science. These programs offer an intensive, interactive and fun experience that seeks to inspire the tech leaders and innovators of tomorrow. We want students to leave empowered, heading into their first year of college armed with technical skills and a unique learning experience that can only be found at Google. We aim to expose selected students to key programming concepts while enabling them to tackle the challenging problems in CS by creating a safe, comfortable environment to learn, play, break, and build.


Visit our Google for Education website for more information and to apply. The application deadline is March 2, 2017. Final decisions will be announced in early May.

Give us a shout at or

Winners of the Google Hispanic Heritage Month, Pay it Forward contest

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month*, Google hosted the ‘Pay it Forward’ contest.* In this blog post we’ll have a Q&A with our winners, Oscar Cazalez and Luis Narvaez, showcasing their amazing work that impacts educational access and opportunity for the Hispanic community.
*Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Student Winner: Oscar Cazalez
Based in Chicago, Ill., Oscar is a senior at the Illinois Institute of Technology where he is simultaneously studying toward a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Finance. This year, Oscar worked with 4 peers to form a scholarship fund for undocumented students who don’t qualify for federal aid or student loans. So far, the fund has raised over $11,000 and multiple grants have already been awarded.

Professional Winner: Luis Narvaez
Also based in Chicago, Luis is the Director of Strategic Projects at Chicago Public Schools. Luis came to the US from Mexico when he was 15 and had to learn English as a second language. In his current role, Luis works to develop initiatives like Bilingual Student Access to College and Career Attainment (BACCA), which brings together elementary, middle and high school counselors, college admissions and financial aid representatives, and members of community based organizations focused on college access for underrepresented populations. Luis is currently working toward his Masters in Educational Leadership.

What would people would be surprised to learn about you?
Oscar: When I tell people my story of how I got to the United States, they are usually surprised. But they are truly surprised when I tell them that I am a first generation college student, play Division III Men’s Soccer for my university, and I am finishing my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration while taking classes for my Master in Science of Finance. I am just one of millions of undocumented students who are doing great work in their respective fields.

Luis: I became a US citizen as soon as I was eligible and have had the chance to travel throughout Latin America, Puerto Rico, and parts of Europe. Traveling is one of my biggest passions and I will continue to travel for as long as I can. My wife and I also have raised a beautiful 4 year old since birth as our foster child and will be adopting him very soon.

It sounds like your work requires a lot of time, dedication, and energy. How do you keep it up?
Oscar: My days are always long and I am stressed almost all the time. But I know the importance of taking care of my mental and physical health. When I am not in soccer season, I go to the gym to relieve my stress; I usually do power lifting. I’m lucky that I live in Chicago because I go biking by the Lake during the summer.

I know many undocumented students are not open about the immigration status but I am not afraid because I know for a fact that if you’re undocumented and attending college, you have worked and sacrificed so much. At the end of the day, my vision and purpose motivate me to keep going.

Luis: The 3 Fs in my life are my backbone. One F is for family - I am blessed to have a very loving and caring wife, who supports my journey and helps me raise our two boys (3 and 4 years of age), and a mother and father who've been by my side every step of the way. I am also a man of faith, so that's the second F; I believe that we are all connected to spiritual powers beyond our understanding and control, and I like to stay in connection with those forces. The third F is for friends who I have always leaned on for support and advice and who cheer me on every step of the way.

What motivates you to do this work? Why do you think it’s important to pay it forward?
Oscar: My younger undocumented peers motivate me because I was once a student who feared going to college due to my immigration status. I was always told if I worked hard, I could go places but I found out that there are more barriers when you’re undocumented. Growing up, others lent me a helping hand, so I am just doing the same thing for others.

Luis: I think we always need to take a look at our accomplishments and achievements, be thankful for our current position, and pay it forward by helping others get to a similar point. Being selfish is the worst path we can take when we reach success. I come from a community where we care for one another, help each other when there's obstacles in the way, and celebrate others achievements and successes as if they were our own.

Who or what inspires you?
Oscar: My parents are my greatest motivation because they risked everything to give their children a better life and a shot at the American Dream. One day, I want to pay it forward to my parents by buying them a house and helping them financially. It has been a tough journey but I have always let my work ethic speak for itself.

Luis: As a former ESL student who arrived from Mexico at the age of 15 without US citizenship, I give credit for where I am today to all of the educators in high school, undergraduate, and graduate level who believed in me and pushed me to challenge myself.

What’s next for you?
Oscar: My short term goal is to get an internship this upcoming summer and to graduate with a Master of Science in Finance, while continuing to fundraise for the scholarship. Long-term, I plan to work either in banking or the tech sector for about five years before starting my own company. I also want to continue my activist work by creating more resources for students who are in financial need but don’t qualify for aid or loans; motivating students to pursue STEM degrees; and by being a constant advocate for immigrant rights.

Luis: I would like to pursue a PhD. I am very well aware of the lack of educated Latino males in this country and I would like to become a role model for them. I am very interested in pursuing a program in Educational Policy Studies and so I can have positive impact in shaping the future of education in America.

Spotlight on Women Techmakers Scholars: Amy & Alma (Spoiler alert: application advice!)

Through the Women Techmakers Scholars Program - formerly the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship - Google is furthering Dr. Anita Borg’s vision of creating gender equality in the field of computer science by encouraging women to excel in computing and technology and become active leaders and role models in the field.

We have awarded the scholarship to women from all over the world since 2004 who continue to inspire us with their leadership and achievements. We recently caught up with Alma Castillo (2015 scholar from EMEA) and Amy Baldwin (2014 scholar from the US) to share their experiences as scholars and advice for potential applicants:
Amy Baldwin
Alma Castillo

Tell us a little about yourself:
Alma Castillo: I studied Computer Science and Mathematics as an undergrad at the Autonomous University of Madrid and at the time I received the scholarship, I was studying a MSc. in HCI at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. I always knew I wanted to make software people could interact with to make their lives easier and better.

Amy Baldwin: I grew up in Prescott, Arizona and graduated from Arizona State University in 2015 with a BS in Computer Science. While I was a student I did two internships at Google — as an Engineering Practicum intern in 2013 and a Software Engineering intern in 2014. I came back to Google as a full-time Software Engineer in August 2015 and currently work on home automation for the Google Assistant. In my free time, I love to knit, do yoga, and hike.

What do you think of the application process?
Alma: The application process is a great way to reflect on yourself and the hard work you have done until now. Take your time and make sure you show who you are in your essay.

Amy: Essay questions are always nerve-racking and, of course, the part of the application process that scares us all the most. I believe the key is to just be yourself and speak honestly in your own voice. Make sure the readers know who you are and what you're passionate about. Once you dive in with this mindset, it's not too bad!

Besides the financial benefit, what else did you gain from the scholarship?
Alma: When I think about the scholarship, the most important thing I see is the amazing people I have met through it. At the scholar's' retreat I met other women studying Computer Science in different countries that have now become great friends I turn to for collaboration and advice. The scholars network expands through the years and the different regions providing an incredible family of computer scientists full of women ready to help each other.

What impact has the Scholarship had on you and your academic career?
Amy: Thanks to the scholarship, I was able to leave my off-campus job to only work on campus, and better focus on school. I actually had enough time to finish my undergraduate honors thesis, which I'm thankful I did! I [also] was invited to attend the annual award night held by my school, which is typically exclusive to graduating students, to be recognized for the award. It was really cool to be recognized in front of my professors and staff for my accomplishments, and I ended up attending the following spring as the Outstanding Undergraduate in Computer Science.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for the scholarship next Year?
Alma: Apply! Even if you think it will be difficult. The application process is a great way to reflect on yourself and discover the great things you have done. Don't be afraid. Just show who you are and what you are passionate about.

Amy: As I mentioned before, just be honest and speak in your own voice. The scholarship committee wants to know who you are, which includes all of the awesome things you've accomplished but also the road you've taken to get where you are and your potential to do the many incredible things you'll do in the future. Also, don't hesitate to apply! I was so close to never submitting my application because I truly believed there was no way I was possibly good enough. I had the same fear when applying for my first internship. You just need to remember that you are awesome, and if you don't apply, you'll never know you had it in you!

What are the next steps for you?
Alma: I recently graduated from my MSc. and I now work as a Software Engineer at Google Play. I hope to continue passing it on through the scholars community.

Amy: I certainly can't see myself leaving Google anytime soon. I love my job and my team - it's exciting being at the center of a product that is so important to the company and our users!

Read more about the program and apply here! We are currently accepting applications for the US, Canada and EMEA. Applications for Asia Pacific will open in early 2017.