Guest Blog: Averie Phimmarah – Daddy Daughter Code-In Expert

The goal of the Google Fiber Blog is to keep you updated on what’s happening and give you a look at how our customers are using Google Fiber.  From time to time, we ask our partners to tell us in their words what connection means to them.  Today, we’re excited to host Averie Phimmarah from Charlotte to tell us more about Digi-Bridge’s Daddy Daughter Code In and her experience there. 

My name is Averie Phimmarah. I’m in the 4th grade and I love my family! I have one older sister and one older brother. The Daddy Daughter Code-In on June 2nd will be the 4th Code-In I’ve been in with Digi-Bridge and Google Fiber. 

I don’t always get to spend a lot of time with my Dad so the Code-Ins are a great way for me and my sister to have him all to ourselves. I love when he helps us work through the Code-In activities. I feel like an engineer working through each challenge. My favorite Code-In activity was taking vinegar, food coloring and baking soda to make bubble bombs! Every Code-In has different activities and the parts that are the most fun are getting to try new things with my Dad’s help and the cotton candy. Even if I don’t get the activity to work like I want it to, it is still fun because I am with my family and friends. 

When I grow up I want to work on electronics and be a construction worker. I go to the Code-Ins because I get to practice those things now. I think all girls should go to the Daddy Daughter Code-In so they can feel what it’s like to be an engineer and problem solver AND you get all the cotton candy you can eat.

If you want to sign up for the June 2nd Daddy Daughter Code-In at our Uptown Charlotte Fiber Space, please sign up here. If you are interested in similar programming, check out CS First, Made with Code, or Be Internet Awesome. 

Posted by Averie Phimmarah, Charlotte, NC, 4th grader

Off the court: how the NBA spent a day at Google

A few weeks ago we were tipped off that some pro basketball players would be in the house at Google HQ. The occasion? The third year of Google and the NBA’s partnership on the #NBACareerCrossover program, which pairs players with companies for an “externship”—a full day spent educating and immersing players in fields outside of basketball. The program has offered options ranging from real estate to media, and this month it was Google’s turn to present tech as a valid next career choice when players decide to hang up their jerseys. In the lineup this year were Luke Kornet from the New York Knicks, Kevin Hardy from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Roger Moute A Bidias from the Raptors 905, former NBA player Gani Lawal, and former WNBA player Stacey Lovelace.

The day kicked off with a talk from our People Operations team, where the players got a sense of the various paths to Google and how to prepare for their next career move. We also held a resume workshop, where everyone was able to ask specific questions and discuss how skills developed on the court translate to careers off of it. During this particular session, Stacey shared that in the WNBA, the pairing of self-reflection and colleagues' assessment are crucial: “You have to learn how to be comfortable in your work, [but] it’s OK to ask for feedback.” Kevin agreed, pointing out the importance of knowing yourself and being honest, whether as a player, when writing a resume or in your day-to-day life: “I always felt that I was self-aware—I reflect on the different things I’m doing, and I try not to paint something fictitious.”

But the day wasn’t all workshops and talks. The players met with our YouTube team, played an interactive game using Daydream, toured the campus, ate lunch at a Google cafe, and rode in Waymo’s self-driving cars. When asked what lessons they had learned from the day, Gani threw this at us: “In the real world, failure isn’t ‘failure,’ it’s something that didn’t work. To succeed in real life, you have to step outside your zone and push forward.” Luke spoke to other methods of leadership off the court: “Service is the best way to be a leader.”

We also learned that everyone has a story to tell, and sometimes that story isn’t what you expect. Roger, explaining why he wanted to visit Google, told us: “I studied industrial engineering, and use Google for everything, so I want to know how Google works—how things go on behind the scenes.” We also discussed how there isn’t one clear path to working at Google. Jason, one of the Googler presenters, is a former NFL player. Other Googlers shared their diverse backgrounds, including a former Marine, school teacher, journalist, diplomat, and several first-generation college graduates. The stories from the players and presenters demonstrated that no matter your beginnings, you can define the outcome.

We had a blast meeting Gani, Kevin, Luke, Roger and Stacey, and hope there was a future Googler in the mix. Thanks to the NBA and our visitors for making this year’s #NBACareerCrossover a day to remember. If you’d like to find your path to Google, head to our Careers site.

Supporting CS educators in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

To ensure all young people have the opportunity to learn computer science (CS), it’s critical that educators are prepared and supported to teach with confidence and competence. Today we’re announcing grants to 31 universities and nonprofit organizations across 16 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to provide professional development for CS educators. These grants are part of Grow with Google’s commitment to train and equip teachers with the right skills to prepare the future workforce.

As digital technologies continue to evolve at an increasingly faster rate, it’s predicted that 21 million new jobs will be created in the next 10 to 15 years. CS has a crucial role in equipping students with the technical skills to embrace these new opportunities and career choices. CS education includes design, data, algorithms and the study of computer systems, while also promoting crucial skills such as collaboration, problem-solving and creativity. We believe every student should have the opportunity to learn CS; with that comes the responsibility of preparing teachers to deliver a CS curriculum with competence and confidence.

The grants announced today will enable research institutions, universities, and educational nonprofits to develop professional development (PD) programs specifically for CS teachers—those already teaching the subject and those completely new to the field. Through these PD programs, teachers will be able to grow their skills and knowledge to provide an exemplary educational experience for their students. Over the coming year, the 31 awardees in EMEA will provide a combined 500 hours of professional learning opportunities for 10,000 primary, secondary and pre-service teachers.

The funding announced today will support professional development for teachers in countries like Italy, where APS Programma il Futuro will provide professional development courses to approximately 150 primary and secondary school teachers. The grants will also allow awardees to respond to the increasing demand for CS PD in pre-service teacher education. In Ireland, for example, The University of Limerick will develop a new course to empower 50 pre-service teachers with CS skills and hands-on classroom resources.

We’re thrilled to congratulate these 2018 grant awardees across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prepared teachers are key to helping students embrace the CS opportunities of tomorrow, and we look forward to seeing how these grantees will advance CS education for the new global economy.

See what the world is searching for with the updated Google Trends

Google Trends has become a key part of journalistic storytelling, giving reporters everywhere an insight into search trends across the world. Today, we’re updating Google Trends with new features, simpler navigation and more ways to explore data and stories around one of the world’s biggest journalistic datasets. Many of the changes are based on feedback from Trends users.

The new design puts more editorial data-based stories up front, and gives you the ability to create your own stories using Year in Search data, or by exploring the revamped Trending searches and Explore pages. Go to to get started with new features, including:

  • A revamped Trending searches section, showing what is trending in search right now, both daily and minute-by-minute.

  • A newly-designed section where you can see Google Trends data stories curated by the News Lab team on everything from the Trump Administration through Mother’s Day. It’s also a great place to find amazing examples of Google data visualizations by newsroom designers from all over the world.

  • Easy access to Year in Search data going back to 2001, so you can see how search interest has changed over time.

  • New infographic types such as an intensity map to compare different topics in more meaningful ways.

Taylor Swift Kim Kardashian Trends

Map showing Taylor Swift vs Kim Kardashian across the U.S., with the split in search alongside.

All your favorite features are still there, including real time (minute-by-minute) feeds and daily Trends pages, and the Explore page, where you can search for anything you want.

We’re already working with journalists closely across emerging technologies as part of the Google News Initiative, partnering on innovative projects and building new tools for data journalism. We think these changes to Google Trends will be really valuable, but journalist feedback is important in ensuring that we continue to create features that work for the industry. We'd love to hear what you think—please send us your reactions through the feedback button on the site.

Better cost control with Google Cloud Billing programmatic notifications

By running your workloads on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) you have access to the tools you need to build and scale your business. At the same time, it’s important to keep your costs under control by informing users and managing their spending.

Today, we’re adding programmatic budget notifications to Google Cloud Billing, a powerful feature that helps you stick to your budget and take automatic action when your budget is out of control.

Monitor your costs
You can use Cloud Billing budget notifications with third-party or homegrown cost-management solutions, as well as Google Cloud services. For example, as an engineering manager, you can set up budget notifications to alert your entire team through Slack every time you hit 80 percent of your budget.

Control your costs
You can also configure automated actions based on the notifications to control your costs, such as selectively turning off particular resources or terminating all resources for a project. For example, as a PhD student working at a lab with a fixed grant amount, you can use budget notifications to trigger a cap to terminate your project when you use up your grant. This way, you can be confident that you won’t go over budget.

Work with your existing workflow and tools
To make it easy to get started with budget notifications, we’ve included examples of reference architectures for a few common use cases in our documentation:
  • Monitoring - listen to your PubSub notifications with Cloud Functions
  • Forward notifications to Slack - send custom billing alerts with the current spending for your budget to a Slack channel
  • Cap (disable) billing on a project - disable billing for a project and terminate all resources to make sure you don’t overspend
  • Selectively control resources - when you want to terminate expensive resources but not disable your whole environment.
Get started
You can set up programmatic budget notifications in a few simple steps:

  1. Navigate to Billing in the Google Cloud Console and create your budget.
  2. Enable Cloud Pub/Sub, then set up a Cloud Pub/Sub topic for your budget.
  3. When creating your budget you will see a new section “Manage notifications” where you can configure your Cloud Pub/Sub topic: 

  4. Set up a Cloud Function to listen to budget notifications and trigger an action.
  5. Cloud Billing sends budget notifications multiple times per day, so you will always have the most up-to-date information on your spending.
You can get started today by reading the Google Cloud Billing documentation. If you’ll be at Google Cloud Next ‘18, be sure to come by my session on Google Cloud Billing and cost control.

Taking the guesswork out of app monetization with Firebase Predictions

Earlier this year, at the Game Developers Conference, we shared how we’re innovating across our platforms to help our partners grow their audience and earn more from their apps. One emerging trend in game monetization is the use of both in-app purchases (IAPs) and ads. Last year alone, the number of gaming apps in the Google Play store employing this “hybrid monetization” strategy grew by more than 50 percent.
Building a successful hybrid monetization model isn’t easy -- developers don’t want to cannibalize the sales of digital goods by showing ads to players who are on the brink of paying. To help developers make smarter decisions, like which players to show ads to, the team launched Firebase Predictions (beta) last year. Today, we’re sharing how you can use Predictions to take the guesswork out of app monetization.

Predicting in-app behavior with Google’s machine learning expertise
Predictions uses deep-learning models powered by TensorFlow to predict app user behavior such as the likelihood of a user buying a good in a game or the chances of a user becoming inactive. Making the most of game event data from the Google Analytics for Firebase SDK, it dynamically groups users into different segments based on their predicted behavior.

These predictive segments are updated daily based on actual and ongoing user behavior. Armed with this information, you can take a variety of actions such as personalizing the UI of your app for users who are predicted to spend money in-app using Firebase Remote Config or sending users an offer via Cloud Messaging.
Helping developers show ads to the right audiences 
Developers like Rockbite have successfully used Predictions to build smarter monetization strategies. For their game Deep Town, the Rockbite team incorporated rewarded ads to complement revenue from the sale of digital goods. To optimize their monetization strategy and ensure they weren’t showing ads to paying customers, the team first experimented with segmenting players and serving ads by demographics. However, the results from these experiments were inconclusive. So, they turned to Predictions.

Predictions used machine learning to segment the game’s users based on their likelihood to spend. Rockbite started showing ads only to those players who were predicted to not spend. The net result: a 24 percent increase in revenue from the predicted nonspender group! 

Optimizing app strategies with Predictions 
Predictions can help developers optimize their app strategy in many other ways. Halfbrick, for example, used experiments in Predictions to test different strategies for re-engaging customers and minimizing churn. Developers can set up a variety of experiments with Predictions, to maximize their revenue and user engagement. Some examples include:
  1. Experiments with ad frequency Tuning ad frequency (more or less) for players who are predicted to churn or tuning ads so that they’re only shown to users not predicted to spend
  2. Experiments with ad content Showing rewarded house ads for other games in your portfolio to players who are predicted to churn or promoting unique IAP offers to players who are expected to spend 
  3. Experiments with different rewards Predictions can be combined with other analytics attributes, user properties or audience insights to fine tune your strategy so you may, for example, reward only users predicted not to spend in specific geos or regions, or who play your game in specific ways. 
Get started with Predictions 
Predictions has only been in beta for a little while, but we’re encouraged by the results our partners are already seeing with it. If you’re already using Google Analytics for Firebase, you can enable Predictions with a single click in the Firebase Console. Refer to our implementation guides to try some of these strategies for yourself. 

Reach out to us if you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you! 

1. Google Play data, Global, Jan. 2017 vs. Jan. 2018. Developer-declared ads & IAP flags utilized from Google Play Store.

Source: Inside AdMob

First Person: The personal stories of the creative people behind mobile gaming

Do you ever wonder about the genesis of a mobile game when you’re playing? What inspired the storyline? Who the voices behind the characters are?

At Google Play, we believe there is art, creativity and a real human story behind every mobile game. In celebration of the creative minds behind some of our favorite games, today we’re introducing First Person, a new Google Play video series that highlights the incredible personal stories of mobile game players, shakers and makers. Each episode features an individual from the mobile gaming world, who reveals their unique creative process and shares their stories of success, triumph and heartbreak.

Episodes are available on YouTube starting today. Meet our first three artists:

Ashly Burch, Guardians of the Galaxy TTG
Ashly Burch is an Emmy Award-winning voice actor who has soundtracked Aloy from “Horizon Zero Dawn” and Nebula from “Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.” She is the co-creator of “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?,” a series about preserving the playfulness of games. This episode highlights how practice and perseverance have been pivotal to Ashly’s process in bringing the most authentic voices to her games.

Bennett Foddy, Getting Over it With Bennett Foddy
Bennett Foddy is a video game designer and instructor at NYU’s Game Center. Bennett is known for developing difficult games like “QWOP” and” Getting Over it with Bennett Foddy,” both of which have attracted large online audiences. In this episode, Bennett shares why he thrives off of creating challenging games for audiences.

Vassiliki Khonsari, Fire Escape
Vassiliki Khonsari is the co-founder of iNK Stories and co-creator of the award-winning mobile game “1979 Revolution.” As a cultural anthropologist, Vassiliki works to educate and evoke conversation. Her latest work, “Fire Escape,”  is a VR experience which explores gentrification in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

See the full videos and learn more on YouTube.

Taking action against scammers

We’re committed to building products and programs that help small businesses grow. Unfortunately, we continue to receive complaints from business owners about calls they receive claiming to be from Google. Often these calls are actually third-party companies who are trying to take advantage of them. Sometimes these scammers claim to be able to improve a business’ Google Search rankings, other times they charge money for services that Google offers for free. Understandably, these scams are frustrating for business owners and for us at Google.  

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission brought action against Point Break Media, LLC (and related entities and individuals) for misleading small businesses with threats to remove their listings from Google Search and Maps and demands that they pay for unwanted search optimization services.   

In the past, we’ve taken various actions to try to stop these predatory practices. And today we’re taking additional steps to address the bad actors that are targeting businesses.

Specifically, as of today:

  • We’re taking legal action against Kydia Inc. d/b/a BeyondMenu, Point Break Media, LLC (and affiliated entities), and Supreme Marketing Group, Inc. d/b/a Small Business Solutions. We hope this sends the message to other scammers out there that we will not hesitate to take legal action against them.

  • We’ve developed new automated and manual techniques to better identify Google accounts tied to scam efforts. We’ve updated our policies, so that when we identify Google accounts tied to scams we’re better able to take action—whether that’s removing the accounts from our platforms entirely or limiting their capabilities.

  • We’ve created a new tool that lets business owners report scammy practices and policy violations, and provide the specific information needed for us to take action against these third parties.

  • We’ve started providing resources and education to local small business organizations and the partners we work with through our Get Your Business Online program, so they can empower their communities to identify, prevent, and report scams. To request a Google speaker to help educate your communities on how to avoid fraud and scams, complete and submit this form.  

  • We’re launching the Google My Business Partners program. The program will give business owners a directory of trusted partners to choose from when they need help managing their listings.

We’ll continue to take action against these scams and the companies behind them by evolving our products and systems to identify bad actors, making policy changes, making law enforcement referrals and taking legal action when possible. But in addition to our efforts, here are a few things you can do immediately to protect yourself:

  • Verify whether someone is actually reaching out from Google.Often these fraudulent callers will use language like, “Google specialist” or “calling about or on behalf of Google.” To verify whether a caller is actually calling from Google, you can ask that they send you an email from a Google email account to further verify their identity. Anyone who works for Google should be able to send you an email from an email account. The Google Safety Center outlines additional tips.

  • Claim your business for free using Google My Business.Once you’ve claimed your business and actively manage your business information, you’re much less likely to be targeted by scammers. Here’s how to claim your business.

  • Know what’s possible and not possible when it comes to search engine marketing. There's no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. Any company that claims to be able to do so may be running a scam.  

  • If you get an unwanted robocall,hang up the phone.Do not press any key, even if the voice recording prompts you to in order to speak with a live person or to be taken off the call list.

  • Report unwanted callers toGoogle, and also the FTC or theFCC.

  • Register your personal number with the National Do Not Call Registry (1-888-382-1222).  

Small businesses are a crucial part of our economy, and fraud shouldn’t get in the way of helping them grow. We’re committed to protecting our users and taking action to combat scams that take advantage of Google My Business. 

G Suite Pro Tips: how to sync one spreadsheet to another in Google Sheets

When it comes to analyzing data at work, we often have to pull information from several different sources in order to see the big picture. But if you need to manage product inventory or report on quarterly sales figures, spending time flipping between spreadsheets or manually copying and pasting data into one place can take up too much time. There’s a better option.

With G Suite—Google’s suite of cloud-based collaboration and productivity apps—there are a ton of ways you can skip repetitive tasks, including in Google Sheets.

Today, we’re kicking off a tips series to help you become a G Suite pro—starting with how to combine data from one spreadsheet into another. Check it out.

G Suite Pro Tips: syncing one spreadsheet to another

Combining data from two Google Sheets in four steps

With Sheets, it’s easy to combine data into one spreadsheet to create a single source of truth.

Step 1: Identify the spreadsheets you want to combine.

Pull up the two spreadsheets that you’d like to import data between. You should have the original spreadsheet (Ex: “Sales Revenue”) and the one you want to add information into (Ex: “Product Inventory”).

Step 2: Grab two things from the original sheet.

You need two pieces of information from the original spreadsheet in order to move the data: the spreadsheet URL and the range of cells where you want to pull the data from. In this example, our original spreadsheet’s name is “Sales Revenue.”

First, highlight and copy the full spreadsheet URL from the original spreadsheet (Note: you can also use the spreadsheet “key,” which is a code hidden inside the URL between the “d/” and “/edit.” It looks like a jumbled mix of letters and numbers.).

G Suite Pro Tips: image 1

Next, before you switch to the new spreadsheet, make sure to note the range of cells where you want to pull the data from in the original spreadsheet. For example, A:1 to C:10.

Step 3: Use a Google Sheets function to port your data over.

Now we use the IMPORTRANGE function. First, click into the new spreadsheet where you’d like to add data into. In this example, it’s named “Product Inventory.” Insert columns or rows into the spreadsheet where you want to put data.

Next, type =IMPORTRANGE in the cell (you can choose to use all caps or not, it doesn’t matter.). The function will then ask you for three things:

  1. The URL of the original spreadsheet (or the spreadsheet key, both options work.)
  2. The name of the specific tab in your spreadsheet that you’re pulling information out of
  3. The range of cells for data you need

It will look similar to this:

=IMPORTRANGE(“,””Sales Revenue by Quarter!A1:C10”)

It’s important to note that you have to use the specific name of the tab in the sheet in the formula. So for this example, the name of the original spreadsheet housing multiple datasets is called “Sales Revenue,” but the name of the specific tab with our data in it is called “Sales Revenue by Quarter.” We want to use the specific tab’s name to avoid our function breaking in the future when new sheets or tabs are created.

Oh and another trick: don’t forget to add the exclamation point (!) before the data range. That’s important, too.

Step 4: Import your data.

After you’ve added your IMPORTRANGE formula, you can click enter.

If it’s the first time you’ve imported data from that particular spreadsheet, a pop-up might appear. Don’t worry! This security check makes sure you’re okay with granting any collaborators on this spreadsheet access to data that lives in another spreadsheet. It will ask you to “Allow access” when you see the #REF in your cell. Go ahead and click yes.

Voilà! Your data will appear in the new spreadsheet.

Focus on work that’s important

Google Sheets has more than 400 functions you can use to help speed up work. To learn more about how cloud-based tools like Sheets can help businesses uncover insights quicker—and, as a result, encourage employees to spend time on strategic work—check out this post.

Royal Wedding 2018: Livestreaming to romantics everywhere

On Saturday, people from all over the world watched the wedding of Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex wowed their global audience with sweet moments, all-star guests, and some funny faces along the way. So that people everywhere could join together to watch this royal union, the live stream of this landmark wedding was available to view on The Royal Family Channel.

And wow, did people tune in!

Incredibly, the Royal Wedding livestream was viewed 11.2 million times while live. At peak viewership, there were 1.29 million people watching simultaneously as Harry and Meghan exchanged vows, making this the fifth most popular event ever streamed on YouTube. And the total views from May 19, 2018, to date reached 32 million as people from every continent tuned in to see the ceremony, procession, video highlights and the married couple’s first kiss.

Viewership was the highest in the U.K. and the U.S., but people everywhere were donning fascinators and getting in the wedding spirit. The top five countries viewing the live event online were:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. Germany
  4. Russia
  5. Australia

And for those who missed it but would still like a peek at this next chapter of royal history, you can see the video highlights available on The Royal Family Channel.

Source: YouTube Blog