Scratch 3.0’s new programming blocks, built on Blockly

Posted by Erik Pasternak, Blockly team Manager

Coding is a powerful tool for creating, expressing, and understanding ideas. That's why our goal is to make coding available to kids around the world. It's also why, in late 2015, we decided to collaborate with the MIT Media Lab on the redesign of the programming blocks for their newest version of Scratch.

Left: Scratch 2.0's code rendering. Right: Scratch 3.0's new code rendering.

Scratch is a block-based programming language used by millions of kids worldwide to create and share animations, stories, and games. We've always been inspired by Scratch, and CS First, our CS education program for students, provides lessons for educators to teach coding using Scratch.

But Scratch 2.0 was built on Flash, and by 2015, it became clear that the code needed a JavaScript rewrite. This would be an enormous task, so having good code libraries would be key.

And this is where the Blockly team at Google came in. Blockly is a library that makes it easy for developers to add block programming to their apps. By 2015, many of the web's visual coding activities were built on Blockly, through groups like Code.org, App Inventor, and MakeCode. Today, Blockly is used by thousands of developers to build apps that teach kids how to code.

One of our Product Managers, Champika (who earned her master's degree in Scratch's lab at MIT) believed Blockly could be a great fit for Scratch 3.0. She brought together the Scratch and Google Blockly teams for informal discussions. It was clear the teams had shared goals and values and could learn a lot from one another. Blockly brought a flexible, powerful library to the table, and the Scratch team brought decades of experience designing for kids.

Champika and the Blockly team together at I/O Youth, 2016.

Those early meetings kicked off three years of fun (and hard work) that led to the new blocks you see in Scratch 3.0. The two teams regularly traveled across the country to work together in person, trade puns, and pore over designs. Scratch's feedback and design drove lots of new features in Blockly, and Blockly made those features available to all developers.

On January 2nd, Scratch 3.0 launched with all of the code open source and publicly developed. At Google, we created two coding activities that showcase this code base. The first was Code a Snowflake, which was used by millions of kids as part of Google's Santa Tracker. The second was a Google Doodle that celebrated 50 years of kids coding and gave millions of people their first experience with block programming. As an added bonus, we worked with Scratch to include an extension for Google Translate in Scratch 3.0.

With Scratch 3.0, even more people are programming with blocks built on Blockly. We're excited to see what else you, our developers, will build on Blockly.

How an IT support certificate transforms careers

A man who never finished college from Nebraska, a U.S. Army medical specialist from Kentucky and a mother of five from California. They’re three different people who have something pretty special in common: they were able to jump start their careers with the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. It’s a first-of-its-kind online program from Grow with Google, that gives you the skills to launch a career in IT support and connects you with potential employers. With an estimated 150,000 open roles, IT support is one of the fastest-growing fields in America. In its first year, thousands of learners from across the country have already completed the program—many of whom have transformed their lives and careers. Here are a few of their stories.

Daniel: Night security guard who found daylight with an IT Support role

Grand Island, Nebraska

When his fiance got her first teaching job, Daniel Anderson left college and moved to Grand Island, Nebraska to be with her. Without a college degree, he struggled to find a job. Eventually, Central Community College hired him as a night security officer, but it was far from the career in technology he had once envisioned. Knowing his passion for computers, a friend encouraged him to check out the Google IT Support Professional Certificate. While working nights, he enrolled and got his certificate in five months. Soon after that, Daniel got an email about an IT job at Central Community College. His Google credentials stood out against other candidates and he got the role as an IT Support Specialist. Now married, Daniel is working in a job he loves, and that lets him spend more time with his new wife.

Yvonne: Put five kids through college, then found a career of her own

Vallejo, CA

Yvonne.jpg

Yvonne, from Vallejo, CA, has never been one to shy away from a challenge. She’s been through 23 surgeries and a permanent tracheostomy, home-schooled two sons with learning disabilities, and put five children through college. But after her kids all graduated, she faced another challenge: what to do next.  She had always valued the importance of technology, so that seemed like a good place to start. On a recommendation from one of her sons, Yvonne enrolled in the IT Support Professional Certificate program, and quickly completed it. With the certificate in hand and a newfound confidence, she landed a product engineering job with a driverless car company. The company was especially impressed with her skills in debugging, networking, and monitoring operating systems through remote virtualization tests—all skills she learned with the certificate. Once again Yvonne has risen to the challenge, but we’re sure that’s not a surprise to anyone.

Andrew: U.S. Army vet with a new mission

Paducah, KY

Andrew-WA-Thompson-407 (1).jpg

Andrew spent eight years in the Army as a medical specialist, but around the barracks he was better known as the unofficial IT guy. So when logistics and costs dimmed his plans for a post-military medical career, Andrew began to think about IT. While searching for options that could give him credentials, Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate caught his eye. The flexibility of being able to do the courses in his free time was very appealing, and he enrolled. The certificate built on his basic networking knowledge, but also challenged him with his first exposure to Linux. In six months he completed the certificate and soon had a job as a Level 1 Technician at an IT consultancy in Paducah. Andrew is thrilled to now be the official IT guy.

Since its launch in January of 2018, people from all different places and backgrounds have completed the IT certificate, including learners at more than 10 nonprofit community organizations and 25 community colleges. If you are interested in exploring an IT career too, learn more at The Google IT Support Professional Certificate page on Coursera.

Chrome Beta for Android Update

Ladies and gentlemen, behold!  Chrome Beta 72 (72.0.3626.64) for Android has been released and is available in Google Play.  A partial list of the changes in this build is available in the Git log. Details on new features is available on the Chromium blog, and developers should check out our updates related to the web platform here.

If you find a new issue, please let us know by filing a bug. More information about Chrome for Android is available on the Chrome site.

Krishna Govind
Google Chrome

New pricing for G Suite Basic and Business Editions

More than a decade ago, we introduced Gmail—our first cloud-native productivity app—to help make email safer and easier for everyone. Since then, we pioneered more ways for teams to collaborate in real-time with products like Google Calendar, Docs, Drive and Hangouts. Together, these apps make up G Suite, our set of intelligent, secure productivity and collaboration tools.

We’ve brought businesses more than a dozen new G Suite services to help them reimagine how they work, including powerful video conferencing (Hangouts Meet), secure team messaging (Hangouts Chat) and enterprise-grade search capabilities (Cloud Search). We’ve also infused our products with advanced artificial intelligence to make it easier to respond to emails, gather insights from data and protect against phishing attacks before they happen.

Today, more than four million organizations use G Suite to collaborate efficiently and securely, and analysts have taken notice. IDC’s Wayne Kurtzman notes, "Google has established G Suite as a secure, enterprise-ready, AI–powered productivity and collaboration platform. With its broad set of capabilities, G Suite offers a strong value proposition to customers.”

Over the last ten years, G Suite has grown to provide more tools, functionality and value to help businesses transform the way they work. The one thing that hasn't changed over this time, is price. Today, we are announcing two incremental list price updates to reflect this value. Starting on April 2, 2019, G Suite Basic Edition will increase by $1 (from $5 to $6 per user/month) and G Suite Business Edition will increase by $2 (from $10 to $12 per user/month), or the local currency equivalent where applicable. These increases will apply globally with local market adjustments for certain regions. Pricing for G Suite Enterprise Edition customers will not change.

For existing G Suite Basic or Business edition customers on the Flexible Plan, the new list prices will go into effect on April 2, 2019. For customers on the Annual Plan, the new prices will go into effect the first time their plan renews on or after April 2, 2019. These changes will not impact current contracts or any renewal events prior to April 2, 2019.

Additionally, for those Basic and Business Edition customers who receive their bill from Google, we’ll send an email with details specific to their domains no later than February 28, 2019. Any customer that licenses G Suite through a reseller should hear from their partners directly regarding the new pricing, or they can reach out to their partners proactively.

We are grateful for the many businesses that use G Suite to empower their teams to work collaboratively, and we remain committed to expanding its functionality to help our customers succeed. Feel free to reference this edition guide to learn more about each offering.

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Grow your app business internationally through localization on Google Play

Posted by Chris Yang, Program Manager, Translation Service

It is not uncommon for developers to have the following concerns and thoughts when considering whether to localize their apps: "I just don't have the time!" "Translation is too expensive." "High-quality translation is just hard to find.'' Does this sound familiar?

At Google, we consider translation a key component of making the world's information universally accessible and useful. This commitment extends not only to localizing our own products, but also to providing tools to help developers and translators more easily localize their apps.

Introducing the Google Play App Translation Service

Available in the Google Play Console, the Google Play App Translation Service simplifies localization of your app user interface strings, store listing, in-app product names, and universal apps campaign ads. Thousands of developers have already used this service to reach hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

Here is an overview of some of the ways it can help:

1. Quick and easy - Order in minutes and receive your translation in as little as two days.

  • Small translation orders can be completed in only two days. All orders are completed in eight days or less.
  • Apply translations directly in the Play Console or download to build with your app.

2. Professional and human - Get high-quality translations by real human translators.

  • All translations are carefully crafted by professional translators just for you.
  • Translation providers are selected by Google based on quality and speed.

3. Value for money - Translate your app for as little as $0.07 per word.

  • Pricing is upfront and simple. You only pay per word for each language you translate.
  • For example, translating 200 words into one language at $0.07 per word would cost only $14.

Ordering a Translation

Find the Translation Service in the Google Play Console:

When you're ready to translate, just select the languages to use for translation, choose a vendor, and place your order.

Select languages to translate into.

Choose what type of content you want to translate.

Easily complete purchase of the service.

Language recommendations

You can also expand your global footprint with translation recommendations that can help increase installs. The recommendations can be found in the Google Play Console.

The language recommendation feature is developed using machine learning and is based on your app's install history and market data.

Did you know that you can reach almost 80% of internet users worldwide with only 10 languages. In particular, the Google Play opportunity in Russia and the Middle East continues to grow. Let us know once you have localized for these markets so we can consider featuring your app or game in the Now in Russian and Now in Arabic collections on the Play Store.

Launching the translation

Once you download the translation, you'll be ready to publish your newly translated app update on Google Play.

Get started with the App Translation Service today and let us know what you think!

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Beta Channel Update for Desktop

The beta channel has been updated to 72.0.3626.64 for Windows, Mac, and, Linux.


A full list of changes in this build is available in the log. Interested in switching release channels?  Find out how here. If you find a new issue, please let us know by filing a bug. The community help forum is also a great place to reach out for help or learn about common issues.



Abdul Syed
Google Chrome

Get more shut-eye in 2019 with help from Google

After a long day, it should be easy to hit the hay at night. But far too often, just as you’re about to drift off, you decide to check why your phone just buzzed...and you’re back to square one.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults should aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Many of us, including yours truly, usually don’t get there.

If you want a fresh start in the new year, here are some tech tips and healthy habits that will help you catch more zzzzs (and get better at counting sheep) in 2019.

1. Set up a bedtime schedule and stick to it with Wind Down.

Wind Down

If you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social feeds or trying to finish just one more level of your favorite game late at night, Wind Down on your Android phone can help you take back control. Wind Down automatically turns on Do Not Disturb and makes your phone less interesting by turning everything grayscale to help you get to sleep at the time you want.

2. Set up Quiet Hours on YouTube.

Quiet Hours on YouTube

Users on both iOS and Android devices can ask the YouTube app to silently send notifications to their phone during a specified time period each day. That means no more sounds or vibrations while you sleep. By default, all sounds and vibrations will be disabled between 10pm and 8am, but you can customize the start and end times to suit your schedule. And don’t worry, updates from your favorite creators will still be right there for you when you wake up.

3. Lull yourself to sleep with soothing sounds.

While complete silence is crucial for some people, others prefer consistent ambient noise to help them get to sleep. If you say “OK Google, help me relax”, the Google Assistant will randomly pick from more than 10 soothing sounds to quietly deliver you to the Land of Nod. You can also pick specific sounds by saying “play fireplace sounds” or “play white noise” once you work out which sounds work best for you.

4. Keep your phone out of reach, and out of mind.

Sunrise Alarm

5. Turn off your lights, and your Wi-Fi.

If you have trouble getting your kids to sleep, Google Wifi has family-friendly controls that allow you to schedule a regular Wi-Fi pause on your kids' devices. That way, your kids aren’t sneakily playing online games under the covers. (And neither are you.)

6. Keep up with the #GetFitWithGoogle challenge.

With all this extra sleep, you’ll have even more energy to spend on your other New Year resolutions like getting fit. For those following along at home from last week, here’s an update on the #GetFitWithGoogle global challenge — a four-week-long competition to see which country’s team of social influencers can earn the most Heart Points during January with Google Fit.

Congrats to Team Colombia for taking the lead on the global leaderboard after week 2!

Get Fit With Google leaderboard

Keep an eye on the #GetFitWithGoogle hashtag on Instagram and follow the teams below to follow their fitness journeys.

Don’t forget to share your own Heart Points progress using #GetFitWithGoogle to help others like you stay motivated.

How machine learning can drive change in traffic-packed L.A.

There's nothing quite like driving through Los Angeles on a perfectly sunny day. But for drivers, the beauty of Southern California’s great weather and scenery is ruined by one thing: traffic.

According to a report by INRIX, my hometown is the worst city in the world for traffic, with a record of 102 hours of congestion during peak hours in 2017. My classmate, Ericson Hernandez, comes from New York City, which is ranked third globally for its traffic woes. Together, we decided to use machine learning to figure out the roots of bad traffic, including elements like road damage from potholes and cracks, and make rides around our beautiful cities enjoyable again.

As Ericson and I started studying electrical engineering at Loyola Marymount University, we began to develop an interest in a relatively new topic to the engineering world: machine learning. Our professor, Dr. Lei Huang, encouraged us to pick a project that we were passionate about, and Ericson and I wanted to use technology to tackle problems in the real world—such as helping the communities around us with road development.

This summer, we looked at previous research projects on detecting road cracks, and pondered how we could improve the algorithm and apply it to Los Angeles communities. We decided to use TensorFlow, Google’s open-source machine learning platform, to train a model that could quickly identify potholes and dangerous road cracks from camera footage of L.A. roads.

Students mount their camera before heading out to collect data.

Students mount their camera before heading out to collect data. 

Construction companies and cities could use this technology to identify which roads need fixing the most. With safer driving conditions and efficient road-work repairs, traffic in major cities could dramatically decrease, allowing for people to travel in a quick, safe and enjoyable manner. 

And that way, driving through Los Angeles can be about enjoying the view, not grumbling at the traffic.

Stable Channel Update for Chrome OS

The Stable channel has been updated to 71.0.3578.127 (Platform version: 11151.113.0) for most Chrome OS devices. This build contains a number of bug fixes, security updates and feature enhancements.  A list of changes can be found here.

If you find new issues, please let us know by visiting our forum or filing a bug. Interested in switching channels? Find out how. You can submit feedback using ‘Report an issue...’ in the Chrome menu (3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the browser).

Kevin Bleicher
Google Chrome