Tag Archives: area 120

Kormo, an app helping young job seekers find work, launches in Jakarta

I recently traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia, where I met with job seekers just starting their careers. Repeatedly, they shared that finding entry-level and part-time jobs is confusing and difficult, especially when you don’t have much in the way of work experience, professional contacts or resources. To help young Indonesians connect with employers, learn new skills and build their careers, we’re bringing the Kormo app to Jakarta. 

kormo team in jakarta

Speaking to young job seekers in Jakarta who had just spent the day at the mall going from shop to shop to drop off their CVs.

Kormo is one of many projects incubated inside of Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental projects. Initially launched in Dhaka—the capital city of Bangladesh and one of the most densely populated cities in the world—Kormo has matched people with more than 25,000 jobs, including retail sales, delivery and contact center positions. Our time in Dhaka and Jakarta taught us a lot about the needs of young job seekers and employers in markets where rapid urbanization and growth are impacting labor markets.

Making career-building easy and assistive

Kormojakarta

A group of university students in Dhaka, creating their digital CVs on Kormo

Job seekers told us that they weren’t sure what jobs were available to them, as listings typically travel by word-of-mouth or aren’t posted online. And though many of these seekers pay someone to create a paper CV (or résumé), their busy schedules and traffic congestion in the city makes it inconvenient to drop hard copies in employer CV boxes. Even after they apply, many seekers never hear back on the status of their candidacy.

Kormo lets anyone to build a digital CV quickly, and for free. The digital CV updates dynamically as job seekers find work or enroll in trainings through the Kormo app. Kormo will also display open job listings in the city—the job opportunities listed will reflect the job seeker’s growing profiles and skills. Meanwhile, we partner with employers, ranging from large corporates to small or medium enterprises, to include their jobs in Kormo’s marketplace and enable seekers to apply directly from our app.

Kormo job list

Providing access to skills training

As the job markets evolve in Bangladesh and Indonesia, employers are looking for candidates with new skill sets, including proficiency with new technologies. While training resources exist both online and offline, job seekers told us that they weren’t sure about whether a specific program could help them get a job. Plus, many of the programs that offer formal certificates cost money and require time commitments that can be hard to sustain.

kormo video training

Skills development expert and Kormo partner, Don Sumdany, creating localized videos to help people who use Kormo ace their next interview.

Within the Kormo app, we built a Learn tab where seekers can access relevant, up-to-date and free training content in the form of videos, articles and courses based on individual interests.

Kormo101training

While learning from job seekers in Dhaka, we met Abida, a college student beginning her career in the city. Kormo recently matched her to her first job at a well-known retail store, and she now has the financial stability she needs to continue her education. We hope to see many more stories like Abida’s emerge now that Kormo is available in another city.

Abida

Abida, a college student  in Dhaka, at her new job that she found through Kormo.

With Kormo, our ultimate goal is to provide economic opportunity and mobility to more people in countries like Bangladesh or Indonesia. If you live in one of these countries, you can download the Kormo app for free from the Google Play store. For businesses looking to hire through Kormo, please sign up from our site.

Helping companies improve their customer support with Chatbase

Virtual Agent: Hi there, and thank you for contacting Some Wireless Company. How can I help you today?

You: My phone stopped working, so I’d like to replace it with a new one.

Virtual Agent: It sounds like you’re trying to activate a new phone, is that right?

You: Well, I need a replacement first. But eventually, sure.

[Three minutes later...]

Virtual Agent: Thank you. I’ll connect you with Sales, so they can set up your new account.

You:Wait, what? I already have an account. I just need a replacement ph—!

Different Virtual Agent: Hi there, and thank you for your interest in Some Wireless Company…

In a given year, it’s estimated that people in the U.S. spend more than 900 million hours on hold—navigating menus with their keypads and voices, or just waiting for answers to their questions. And the situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Part of the challenge is that many companies build their answering systems the same way they did 30 years ago—with gut feelings and guesswork. While this may work for basic questions like "What's my account balance?”, it quickly breaks down for more complex customer needs. We're building Chatbase because we’re convinced there's a better way.

Chatbase is a project in Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental efforts, and we recently launched a new offering that helps businesses improve their automated voice and chat systems. By analyzing a company's agent-customer transcripts, Chatbase can now help design virtual agents that are more helpful and versatile, and even improve over time. And yes, they know that sometimes you still want to speak with someone.

chatbase cluster

A visualization of how Chatbase analyzes agent-customer transcripts, and categorizes the types of support customers ask for.

By helping companies deliver great support experiences, Chatbase can help you get more of your time back. So here’s to fewer phone call-induced headaches, and having a few extra moments for yourself. (And if you’re a business that’d like to work with us, then please check us out over here.)

New year, new skills: learn how to code with Grasshopper in 2019

It's the first week of January, and the ink is barely dry on those New Year’s resolutions you wrote down. Often, resolutions involve learning a new skill, so while you're in the mood to try something new, what about learning to code?

Grasshopper teaches adults to learn to code through fun puzzles and quizzes. It’s just one of the many projects built within Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental projects. Over 1.6 million people have downloaded Grasshopper, and as we’ve been hearing more feedback on the app, we’re sharing three reasons you should try it out in 2019.

Anyone can learn to code

You might want to learn to code, but don't know where to start or worry it might be too difficult. Over the last nine months, Grasshopper has helped stay-at-home moms, mid-career changers and international entrepreneurs kick-start new careers and get an edge before pursuing advanced coding courses. In fact, over 100,000 people around the world have graduated from our Fundamentals course, which covers the basics of introductory computer science.

We’ve also run a number of academic studies on the effectiveness of Grasshopper, and found two insights: after two weeks of use, students are more motivated to learn to code. And while women tend to start off their Grasshopper journey feeling a bit more unsure about learning to code, we see that confidence gap between men and women decrease by 18%.

There are no mistakes in learning to code

What causes some people to succeed at learning to code, while others struggle? The answer we found was surprising: the best Grasshopper students make the most attempts to solve puzzles, getting more things “wrong” in the process.

Grasshopper French flag

Each Grasshopper puzzle presents a coding challenge, guiding you toward understanding a new concept through real-time feedback on each attempt. Students who graduate from Grasshopper have on average 4.4 more incorrect attempts in a puzzle per coding session than our non-graduating students. This actually makes sense: the best professional software engineers also make many small changes to code while trying to solve a problem, so that they can test their code for issues along the way. So, our best students don't get things “wrong.” They're actually taking lots of mini steps to move toward a solution, the same way professional software engineers do!

You can learn to code anytime, anywhere

We designed Grasshopper to be on mobile, so you can learn whenever you have time—the coding puzzles only take five to ten minutes each. Whether you’re waiting in line, unwinding on the couch or on a lunch break, Grasshopper turns a spare moment into an opportunity to learn an essential job skill. 

As you’re thinking about those resolutions for the new year, consider adding learning to code to your list. Grasshopper is available in English on iOS and Android.

Experimenting with VR Ad formats at Area 120

Posted by Aayush Upadhyay and Neel Rao, Area 120

At Area 120, Google's internal workshop for experimental ideas, we're working on early-stage projects and quickly iterate to test concepts. We heard from developers that they're looking at how to make money to fund their VR applications, so we started experimenting with what a native, mobile VR ad format might look like.

Developers and users have told us they want to avoid disruptive, hard-to-implement ad experiences in VR. So our first idea for a potential format presents a cube to users, with the option to engage with it and then see a video ad. By tapping on the cube or gazing at it for a few seconds, the cube opens a video player where the user can watch, and then easily close, the video. Here's how it works:

Our work focuses on a few key principles - VR ad formats should be easy for developers to implement, native to VR, flexible enough to customize, and useful and non-intrusive for users. Our Area 120 team has seen some encouraging results with a few test partners, and would love to work with the developer community as this work evolves - across Cardboard (on Android and iOS), Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.

If you're a VR developer (or want to be one) and are interested in testing this format with us, please fill out this form to apply for our early access program. We have an early-stage SDK available and you can get up and running easily. We're excited to continue experimenting with this format and hope you'll join us for the ride!