Tag Archives: Chrome

“Dancing with a machine:” Bill T. Jones on AI and art

In early 2019, the Google Creative Lab partnered with Bill T. Jones, a pioneering choreographer, two-time Tony Award Winner, MacArthur Fellow, National Medal of the Arts Honoree, and artistic director and co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company of New York Live Arts. We teamed up to explore the creative possibilities of speech recognition and PoseNet, which is Google’s machine-learning model that estimates human poses in real time in the browser.

We sat down with Bill to hear his reflections on working at the intersection of art, technology, identity and the body. Try out the experiments and watch a short film about the collaboration at g.co/billtjonesai

Why did you collaborate with Google on AI experiments?

The idea of machine learning intrigues me. The theme of our company’s Live Ideas Fest this year is artificial intelligence. AI is supposed to take us into the next century and important things are supposed to be happening with this technology, so I wanted to see if we could use it to stir real human emotion. Maybe it’s ego, but I want to be the one to know how to use PoseNet to make somebody cry. How do you get the technology to be weighted with meaning and import?

How have you experimented with technology over the course of your career?

Back in the ‘80s, Arnie Zane [Jones’s partner and company co-founder] and I decided we didn’t want to work with technology anymore because the pure art of sweat and bodies on stage should be enough. Technology just steals your thunder. Then a friend said, “Technology can suggest the beyond. Technology can project what is at stake when you die. When you see these figures, they’re no longer human, they’re something else.” So we started working with more state-of-the-art technologies. Later, I did a project called “Ghostcatching” with 3D motion capture. At that time, the team was saying, “we want to capture your movement so that in 50 years we could reconstitute your performance.” That’s how people were thinking years ago, and seems to still be a preoccupation now. They said they wanted to “decouple me from my personality.” Maybe I’m romantic, but I don't think that’s possible. So, my focus with this project was not on how to replace the performer, but complement them.

What was it like experimenting with AI?

I’ve never collaborated with a machine before. It's a whole other learning curve. We are taught in the art world that you don’t get many chances. This experience contrasted that notion. It was refreshing to co-create with the Google team whose approach was playful and iterative.

Were there moments you felt this technology was in the service of dance? 

In the service of dance? I say this with great respect: it's almost antithetical to everything I thought dance was. The webcam’s field of vision determines a lot about how we move. Dance for us is often times in an empty room that implies infinite space. But working with a webcam, there is a very prescribed space. Limitations are not bad in art making, but they were a new challenge. It was a shift creating something for the screen and not the stage.

What was it like shifting from creating for the stage to the screen?

I felt like I was being asked: Come out of the place that you as an artist come from, the avant-garde. Come and work with a medium that's available to millions of people. That's wonderful, but it's also a responsibility. The meaningful things people make with this are going to be very weird in a way, aren't they? Very kind of exciting. I'm appreciative of being part of the development of this.

Where do you see AI going? Will you work with it more in the future? 

I understand context is the next frontier in machine learning. This seems paramount for art making. I hope one day soon they make a machine I can dance with. I’d like to dance with a machine, just to see what that’s like.

“Dancing with a machine:” Bill T. Jones on AI and art

In early 2019, the Google Creative Lab partnered with Bill T. Jones, a pioneering choreographer, two-time Tony Award Winner, MacArthur Fellow, National Medal of the Arts Honoree, and artistic director and co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company of New York Live Arts. We teamed up to explore the creative possibilities of speech recognition and PoseNet, which is Google’s machine-learning model that estimates human poses in real time in the browser.

We sat down with Bill to hear his reflections on working at the intersection of art, technology, identity and the body. Try out the experiments and watch a short film about the collaboration at g.co/billtjonesai

Why did you collaborate with Google on AI experiments?

The idea of machine learning intrigues me. The theme of our company’s Live Ideas Fest this year is artificial intelligence. AI is supposed to take us into the next century and important things are supposed to be happening with this technology, so I wanted to see if we could use it to stir real human emotion. Maybe it’s ego, but I want to be the one to know how to use PoseNet to make somebody cry. How do you get the technology to be weighted with meaning and import?

How have you experimented with technology over the course of your career?

Back in the ‘80s, Arnie Zane [Jones’s partner and company co-founder] and I decided we didn’t want to work with technology anymore because the pure art of sweat and bodies on stage should be enough. Technology just steals your thunder. Then a friend said, “Technology can suggest the beyond. Technology can project what is at stake when you die. When you see these figures, they’re no longer human, they’re something else.” So we started working with more state-of-the-art technologies. Later, I did a project called “Ghostcatching” with 3D motion capture. At that time, the team was saying, “we want to capture your movement so that in 50 years we could reconstitute your performance.” That’s how people were thinking years ago, and seems to still be a preoccupation now. They said they wanted to “decouple me from my personality.” Maybe I’m romantic, but I don't think that’s possible. So, my focus with this project was not on how to replace the performer, but complement them.

What was it like experimenting with AI?

I’ve never collaborated with a machine before. It's a whole other learning curve. We are taught in the art world that you don’t get many chances. This experience contrasted that notion. It was refreshing to co-create with the Google team whose approach was playful and iterative.

Were there moments you felt this technology was in the service of dance? 

In the service of dance? I say this with great respect: it's almost antithetical to everything I thought dance was. The webcam’s field of vision determines a lot about how we move. Dance for us is often times in an empty room that implies infinite space. But working with a webcam, there is a very prescribed space. Limitations are not bad in art making, but they were a new challenge. It was a shift creating something for the screen and not the stage.

What was it like shifting from creating for the stage to the screen?

I felt like I was being asked: Come out of the place that you as an artist come from, the avant-garde. Come and work with a medium that's available to millions of people. That's wonderful, but it's also a responsibility. The meaningful things people make with this are going to be very weird in a way, aren't they? Very kind of exciting. I'm appreciative of being part of the development of this.

Where do you see AI going? Will you work with it more in the future? 

I understand context is the next frontier in machine learning. This seems paramount for art making. I hope one day soon they make a machine I can dance with. I’d like to dance with a machine, just to see what that’s like.

New Drive file suggestions in Chrome launching in beta

What’s changing 

We’re launching a beta program for a new feature that allows users to search for Google Drive files that they have access to when using the Chrome Omnibox (search/URL box). Users in the beta can now search for files in Drive by owner or type, where previously they could only search for a title or URL of a webpage. This feature is similar to what users see when searching for files in Google Drive.

Admins for G Suite Business, Enterprise, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits can learn more and apply for the beta here.


Who’s impacted 

Admins only

Why you’d use it 

This feature will give users faster access to the files and data they need while searching in Google Chrome. Users will now be able to see Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, PDFs, and other file type suggestions from both “My Drive” and “Shared with Me” when searching in Chrome browser. This will help people get work done faster.

How to get started 

  • Admins: For more details and how to apply for the beta, see this form. 
  • End Users: No action required. 

Additional details 

This feature will be available to users signed into a Chrome profile on any operating system: Chromebook, Mac, Windows, etc.

Helpful links 

For more details and how to apply for the beta, see this form. 
Learn what sync settings users can manage and how they are managed. 
How to enable or disable chrome Sync. 

Availability 

G Suite editions 
  • Available to G Suite Business, G Suite Enterprise, G Suite for Education, G Suite Enterprise for Education, and G Suite for Nonprofits 
  • Not available to G Suite Basic. 

On/off by default? 
  • This feature will be ON by default for beta participants and can be controlled at the OU level.

Stay up to date with G Suite launches

PageSpeed Insights, now powered by Lighthouse

At Google, we know that speed matters and we provide a variety of tools to help everyone understand the performance of a page or site. Historically, these tools have used different analysis engines. Unfortunately, this caused some confusion because the recommendations from each tool were different. Today, we're happy to announce that Pagespeed Insights (PSI) now uses Lighthouse as its analysis engine. This allows developers to get the same performance audits and recommendations everywhere: on the web, from the command line, and in Chrome DevTools. PSI also incorporates field data provided by the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). Version 5 of the PageSpeed Insights API will now provide CrUX data and all of the Lighthouse audits. Previous versions of the PSI API will be deprecated in six months.
Pagespeed Insights is now powered by Lighthouse

PageSpeed Insights provides the following information:
  • Lab Data. PSI fetches and analyzes the page using Lighthouse, which simulates how a mobile device loads a page. It computes a set of performance metrics for the page (such as First Contentful Paint and Time to Interactive) and summarizes these metrics with a performance score from 0-100. Scores are categorized into three levels; 90 and up is considered to be a good score.
  • Field Data. PSI also displays real-world performance metrics (First Contentful Paint and First Input Delay) for the page and its origin. (As a result, we've also deprecated the origin: query in PSI). Note that not all sites may have field data available for display. The data set relies on a version of the Chrome User Experience Report that is updated daily and is aggregated over the previous 28 days. Keep in mind that the metrics here may be different from the ones in the Lab Data section as they capture a wide spectrum of real-world network conditions and devices used by Chrome users.
  • Opportunities. PSI provides suggestions on how to improve the page's performance metrics. Each suggestion in this section estimates how much faster the page will load if the improvement is implemented.
  • Diagnostics. This section provides additional information about how a page adheres to best practices for web development.
The PSI v5 API now returns this new analysis together with CrUX data, and all Lighthouse category data (Performance, Progressive Web App, Accessibility, Best Practices, and SEO) for a given URL.
We have more information about the changes in our FAQ. If you have any questions, please use Stack Overflow and tag your question with the pagespeed-insights tag.

Posted by Rui Chen and Paul Irish, PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse teams

Notifying users of unclear subscription pages

Every month, millions of Chrome users encounter pages with insufficient mobile subscription information. Surprising charges that come from unclear communication are a poor user experience. That’s why starting from Chrome 71 (December 2018), Chrome will show a warning before these pages, so that users can make informed decisions when signing up to mobile based subscription services. Users will be offered the choice to proceed to the page or go back if they were unaware that they were entering a billing page.

Unclear mobile subscriptions


Picture this: Andrea is browsing the web on a mobile connection to access a gaming page and they’re presented with a page that asks them for their mobile phone details.




They fill in the blanks with their mobile number and press Continue, and get access to the content.

The next month, the phone bill arrives and they see a charge they were not expecting. Was the subscription to the online gaming service really that expensive? Did they really agree to pay that specific price for the service? How much did they agree to be charged to access the content?

Clearer billing information for Chrome users


We want to make sure Chrome users understand when they are going through a billing flow and trust that they’ll be able to make informed decisions while browsing the web.

To adequately inform users, it’s important to provide a sufficient level of details within the billing page as outlined by our new mobile billing charges best practices. Pages that answer positively to the following questions generally provide sufficient information for users:
  • Is the billing information visible and obvious to users? For example, adding no subscription information on the subscription page or hiding the information is a bad start because users should have access to the information when agreeing to subscribe.
  • Can customers easily see the costs they’re going to incur before accepting the terms? For example, displaying the billing information in grey characters over a grey background, therefore making it less readable, is not considered a good user practice.
  • Is the fee structure easily understandable? For example, the formula presented to explain how the cost of the service will be determined should be as simple and straightforward as possible.

If Chrome detects pages that don’t provide sufficient billing information to users, the following warning will be displayed to the user on Chrome mobile, Chrome desktop and Android’s WebView:



The warning will be shown to users entering unclear billing pages.


When we identify such pages, we will notify the webmaster through Search Console where there will be an option to let us know about the changes they’ve made to clarify the billing process. For websites that aren’t verified on Search Console, we will do our best to get in touch with the webmasters affected and will be available to answer questions in our public support forum available in 15 languages. Once an appeal has been sent via Search Console, we will review the changes and remove the warning accordingly.

If your billing service takes users through a clearly visible and understandable billing process as described in our best practices, you don't need to make any changes. Also, the new warning in Chrome doesn’t impact your website’s ranking in Google Search.

If you have any questions, please come and have a chat with us in the Webmaster Help Forum.


Posted by Emily Schechter‎, Chrome Security, Giacomo Gnecchi Ruscone & Badr Salmi El Idrissi, Trust & Safety

Making creative tools more accessible for everyone

Before I got into the accessibility field, I worked as an art therapist where I met people from all walks of life. No matter the reason why they came to therapy, almost everyone I met seemed to benefit from engaging in the creative process.  Art gives us the ability to point beyond spoken or written language, to unite us, delight, and satisfy. Done right, this process can be enhanced by technology—extending our ability and potential for play.

One of my first sessions as a therapist was with a middle school student on the autism spectrum. He had trouble communicating and socializing with his peers, but in our sessions together he drew, made elaborate scenes with clay, and made music.

Another key moment for me was when I met Chancey Fleet, a blind technology educator and accessibility advocate. I was learning how to program at the time, and together we built a tool to help her plan a dinner event. It was a visual and audio diagramming tool that paired with her screen reader technology. This collaboration got me excited about the potential of technology to make art and creativity more accessible, and it emphasized the importance of collaborative approaches to design.

This sentiment has carried over into the accessibility research and design work that I do at the NYU Ability Project, a research space where we explore the intersection of disability and technology. Our projects bring together engineers, designers, educators, artists and therapists within and beyond the accessibility community. Like so many technological innovations that have begun as assistive and rehabilitative tech, we hope our work will eventually benefit everyone. That’s why when Google reached out to me with an opportunity to explore ideas around creativity and accessibility, I jumped at the chance.

Together, we made Creatability, a set of experiments that explore how creative tools–drawing, music and more–can be made more accessible using web and AI technology. The project is a collaboration with creators and allies in the accessibility community, such as: Jay Alan Zimmerman, a composer who is deaf; Josh Miele, a blind scientist, designer, and educator; Chancey Fleet, a blind, accessibility advocate, and technology educator; as well as, Barry Farrimond and Doug Bott of Open Up Music, a group focused on empowering young disabled musicians to build inclusive youth orchestras.

Creatability keyboard

The experiments explore a diverse set of inputs--from a computer mouse and keystrokes to your body, wrist, nose, or voice. For example, you can make music by moving your facedraw using sight or sound, and experience music visually.

The key technology we used was a machine learning model called Posenet that can detect key body joints in images and videos. This technology lets you control the experiments with your webcam, simply by moving your body. And it’s powered by Tensorflow.js—a library that runs machine learning models on-device and in your browser, which means your images are never stored or sent to a server.

Creating sound

We hope these experiments inspire others to unleash their inner artist regardless of ability. That’s why we’re open sourcing the code and have created helpful guides as starting points for people to create their own projects. If you create a new experiment or want to share your story of how you used the experiments, you can submit to be featured on the Creatability site at g.co/creatability.

Product updates based on your feedback

We recently made a change to simplify the way Chrome handles sign-in. Now, when you sign into any Google website, you’re also signed into Chrome with the same account. You’ll see your Google Account picture right in the Chrome UI, so you can easily see your sign-in status. When you sign out, either directly from Chrome or from any Google website, you’re completely signed out of your Google Account.

Chrome sign in .png

We want to be clear that this change to sign-in does not mean Chrome sync gets turned on. Users who want data like their browsing history, passwords, and bookmarks available on other devices must take additional action, such as turning on sync.

The new UI reminds users which Google Account is signed in. Importantly, this allows us to better help users who share a single device (for example, a family computer). Over the years, we’ve received feedback from users on shared devices that they were confused about Chrome’s sign-in state. We think these UI changes help prevent users from inadvertently performing searches or navigating to websites that could be saved to a different user’s synced account.

We’ve heard—and appreciate—your feedback. We’re going to make a few updates in the next release of Chrome (Version 70, released mid-October) to better communicate our changes and offer more control over the experience.

  • While we think sign-in consistency will help many of our users, we’re adding a control that allows users to turn off linking web-based sign-in with browser-based sign-in—that way users have more control over their experience. For users that disable this feature, signing into a Google website will not sign them into Chrome.
Chrome settings.png

  • We’re updating our UIs to better communicate a user’s sync state. We want to be clearer about your sign-in state and whether or not you’re syncing data to your Google Account.

Chrome UI.png
  • We’re also going to change the way we handle the clearing of auth cookies. In the current version of Chrome, we keep the Google auth cookies to allow you to stay signed in after cookies are cleared. We will change this behavior that so all cookies are deleted and you will be signed out.

We deeply appreciate all of the passionate users who have engaged with us on this. Chrome is a diverse, worldwide community, and we’re lucky to have users who care as much as you do. Keep the feedback coming.

Source: Google Chrome


Tips from the people behind your favorite Google products

I’m one of those people who always cuts it close at the airport—it’s a race through security, with just enough time to grab the airline essentials: water bottle, magazine, a soft pretzel if I’m lucky. But I just learned that I can whip out Google Maps to find my way around the airport (by searching the airport name and terminal number), so I no longer waste time running around looking for my snack of choice.

For two decades, Google has built products that make my life more useful. Eight of these products now have a billion users, and with all that extra time at the airport, I got to thinking—how many other unknown tips and tricks are out there? Since Google is celebrating its 20th birthday this month, I present a party favor: tips on Google’s most-used products, straight from the people who helped build them.

Search

  • For lovers of covers:Try searching for a song and then tapping “other recordings” for different renditions.
  • Don’t burn daylight: Make the most of your daylight hours by knowing when the sun will go down. Search [sunset] to get the time the sun will set today.
  • For content connoisseurs:If you’re a fan of bingeable TV shows or a movie buff, you can see all the places to stream any show or film by searching [watch] followed by the title. (Head’s up: this is available in the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, Germany and India). 
Emily Moxley, Director of Product Management


Maps

  • Beat the crowds:Use Google Maps to find out the estimated wait times and popular times to visit your favorite restaurants and businesses. 
  • Don’t get lost in the parking lot:If you’ve ever spent way too long searching for your parked car, this tip’s for you. After navigating to your destination, tap on the blue dot and then “Set as parking location” so you can always find your way back to your parking spot.
  • Quickest route to the airport snacks:If you’re flying to a new place, you can use Google Maps to help you find your way around an airport. A quick search for an airport terminal name, say “SFO Terminal 1,” will show you the lay of the land, including nearby gates, lounges, restaurants and stores.
Dane Glasgow, VP of Product


YouTube

  • Just add popcorn:Developed to cut down on glare and give you that movie theater experience, Dark Theme turns your background dark while you’re watching YouTube. It’s available on desktop, iOS and now rolling out to Android. 
  • Pick your pace:Speed up or slow down the playback of a video by tapping on the three dots at the bottom right of any video. 
  • Take a shortcut:While watching a YouTube video, use the numbered keys to seek in a video. For example, hitting “2” will take you 20 percent into the video, “6” will take you to 60 percent into the video, “0” will restart the video. 
Brian Marquardt, Director of Product Management


Gmail

  • The ultimate to-do list: Open Tasks in your side panel within Gmail, then drag and drop emails to turn your messages into action items. 
  • Shhhh:Declutter your inbox with Gmail’s mute feature, which pushes the entire conversation to your archive and any future conversations on the thread bypass your inbox to be automatically archived as well. 
  • Take it back:Don’t fret over embarrassing typos, unintentional reply-alls, or other email taboos. In your Gmail settings, just implement a 5-30 second cancellation period on your sent emails and once you’ve fired one off, you’ll receive a prompt to “Undo.”

Kevin Smilak, Engineering Director


Google Drive

  • Give your docs a gold star:Find your favorite Drive items by starring your most important docs within the Drive main menu, and then bookmarking your Starred page. 
  • File_name_V2:Freeze moments in time by naming different versions of the docs you edit frequently. In a Doc, Sheet, or Slides go to File > Version History > Name current version. Name any version then access it easily from "Version history" by name. 
  • Your search is our command:Google Drive makes the text within all of the images and PDFs you upload searchable. Try searching for a phrase that you know is inside a picture or PDF, which is especially helpful when you can’t remember your filename. 
Alexander Vogenthaler, Director of Product Management


Android

  • Lost and found:If you’ve misplaced your Android phone, Find My Device lets you locate it by signing into your Google account. Or you can call it directly from a browser by typing “find my device” on Google. Lock your phone remotely or display a message on the lock screen, so if someone finds it they know who to contact. If you’re convinced it’s lost for good, you can erase all your data.
  • Always reachable:Don’t miss any urgent phone calls and messages from important contacts like close family members or your child’s school, even when you have Do Not Disturb turned on. Just add a star to people that matter to you, and then allow calls and messages from “starred contacts only” in Do Not Disturb settings. 
  • Use your voice:You can ask your Google Assistant to handle tasks on your Android phone (running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or later). Start by saying “OK Google,” then try “take a screenshot,” “turn on flashlight,” or “open WiFi setting.” You can even ask to “take a selfie”—this will open the camera app and start a countdown. Cheeeeeeeese. 
Sagar Kamdar, Director of Product Management


Google Play

  • When you’re good with faces, but not names:Just hit pause on your movie, tap the circle around the actor or actress's face, and learn more about them and what other movies they’ve been in.
  • Read like a superhero: When you’re reading a comic on your phone, tap on a voice bubble and use your volume buttons to zoom in on the dialogue between two characters.
  • What you wish for:You can create a wishlist to keep track of items you want to install or purchase on Google Play.
Kara Bailey, Global Merchandising Director


Chrome

  • Access history across devices:Open Chrome and click on “History.” From the drop down menu, click “Full History” and “Tabs From Other Devices.” If you’re signed into the same Google account on both your phone and your computer, you’ll see the article you were just about to finish on your way into work.
  • Keeping tabs on your tabs:You can save eight days of time per year using keyboard shortcuts. Try this one in Chrome: jump between tabs at light speed by pressing Ctrl and the tab number you want to go to (i.e., Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, Ctrl+3).
  • 👀☝😀 = 🎉. Right-click in any text field for a shortcut to access emoji on any platform Chrome can be found.
Ellie Powers, Group Product Manager, and Chris Beckmann, Product Management Director 

So many tips, so much saved time.

Source: Gmail Blog


Try AdWords & Google Ads API Web Navi

Have you ever wanted to see the AdWords API and Google Ads API services or reference pages relevant to the new Google Ads experience web page you’re browsing? Now you can easily do so by using our new Chrome extension, the AdWords & Google Ads API Web Navi!

How does it work?
The tool shows the AdWords API and Google Ads API resources (e.g., guides, service reference pages, report references) related to the web page of the new Google Ads experience you are visiting. Just choose the tab for the API of interest to view the relevant resources.

For example, in the animation below, a user has clicked on the extension’s icon while browsing the Ad groups page of the new Google Ads experience. The extension then shows some relevant resources for the AdWords API, e.g., Objects, Methods, and Services, AdGroupService, and Adgroup Performance Report. When the user clicks on the Google Ads API (Beta) tab, its resources are shown instead.

Below are the screenshots of both tabs:
The AdWords API Resources The Google Ads API Resources


Resources in each tab are divided into sections — Guides, Services, and Reports for the AdWords API, and Guides, Services, and Fields for the Google Ads API.

In each AdWords API and Google Ads API release, we will update the tool to reflect the addition, update, and deletion of resources. Note that for services, the tool always shows the latest version of the API.

If you have any questions or comments, please post on our forum or add your comments directly in the Reviews tab of the extension page.

Gmail Offline Chrome app to be removed later this year

We’ve heard from customers that they want to use the same Gmail app whether they’re online or off. Our new offline feature makes that possible, allowing you to search, write, delete, and archive up to 90 days of messages, even when you don’t have an internet connection.

This native capability is easier to use and performs better than the Gmail Offline Chrome app, so we’re removing it from the Chrome Web Store after December 3rd, 2018. This is part of our ongoing effort to move Chrome apps to the web.

In preparation, we recommend that affected G Suite admins who want to preserve offline access enable Gmail web offline for their domains and then encourage their users to do the following:

  1. Enable Gmail offline in their individual settings.
  2. Uninstall the Gmail Offline Chrome app.

To access Gmail while they’re offline, users should simply navigate to mail.google.com in a Chrome browser (v61 or higher).

Please note that you can only use the native Gmail offline feature in the new Gmail.

More Information
G Suite Updates blog: Work offline in the new Gmail
Help Center: Work offline in Gmail
Help Center: Use Gmail offline

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