Tag Archives: Google+

Placing a bet on building a better world

A few years ago, Google.org was looking for a way to encourage innovation in the non-profit sector, especially when the need is urgent and overwhelming, or when the challenge is complex and daunting.

The result was the Google.org Impact Challenge, an open-call that travels to different parts of the world to identify and fund organizations that are looking to use technology in transformative ways. 

The first Canadian challenge took place last year, and ten projects were selected. Google.org provided five million dollars in grant money, and in partnership with our team at the LEAP | Pecaut Centre for Social Impact, we jointly provided a unique blend of support that includes mentorship, education and access to Google’s tech expertise. LEAP also leveraged the deep bench of experience from our sector partners, the Boston Consulting Group, EY, McCarthy Tétrault, Hill + Knowlton Strategies, and the Offord Group, which provided pro-bono services and worked closely with each of the selected organizations.

Over the past twelve months, we’ve seen up close that Canadian nonprofits can do tremendous things when they are given not only tools, but also the room to fail and the freedom to spend capital where they most need it in order to meet their bigger goals.

The lessons we have learned together over the past year are applicable to any business with tight budgets and a risk-averse culture:

  • Invest in great ideas and visionary leaders - there are lots of good ones, be selective and only choose to invest in the best. Similarly, look for the leaders with ambition who want to drive forward a project. We look for leaders who want open source their technology, who build models with the potential to scale, who will speak publicly about their successes and failures so that others can learn and benefit.
  • The right toolkit is so much more than money - we don’t want to fund projects that dry up as soon as our grant is spent. We help our partners scope their projects to make sure that they can sustain the work after our investment is complete. We empower them to use the technology themselves, we don’t just do it for them. We look to harness their existing talent and expertise, and accelerate their learning in new areas.
  • Learn from each other - all of the nonprofits participating in the Google.org Impact Challenge have an opportunity to connect and learn from each other. They share what’s working, what failed, and how they have overcome challenges. They have built a community to continually turn to.

The money Google.org invested in non-profit innovation in Canada is already paying dividends. The Impact Challenge participants have done everything from deploy drones to find safe routes through disaster zones to build a digital map of climate change impact on sea ice ecosystems in Hudson Bay. They have developed ways to create educational opportunity for kids living on indigenous reserves and ways to divert surplus food away from landfill and onto the plates of hungry people through Canada’s Food Bank network.

When innovation works, the smart investor re-invests. We’re proud to share that five organizations will be partnering with us for a second year, and have been granted an additional $100,000 each from Google.org to continue their work. This brings the total investment across the Google.org Impact Challenge Canada to $5.5M in grant money, and an additional $1.5M in pro bono investment across Google Canada, LEAP and our partners.

The projects that will participate in this second phase are:

  • The Rumie Initiative - Only 40% of students on indigenous reserves graduate from high school, compared to 90% of students in the rest of Canada. The LearnCloud Portal is an offline, tablet-based curriculum to help high school students learn about Indigenous culture, history and language while gaining employment skills and financial literacy.
  • World Wide Hearing Foundation International - Globally, 32 million children suffer from significant hearing loss, the majority of whom live in countries where access to hearing care can be a significant barrier. The Teleaudiology Cloud will connect children living in remote communities with audiologists and speech therapists who can assist with remote screening, hearing aid fitting, speech therapy and parent counselling.
  • Arctic Eider Society - With Arctic sea ice declining at over 13% per decade, changing conditions make navigation unpredictable and limits access to traditional foods for Arctic communities. The SIKU platform will provide a set of open-source tools that help Inuit communities map changing sea ice, and build a living archive of Inuit knowledge to help inform decision making for stewardship and sustainable development.
  • Food Banks Canada - Each year, close to $31 billion of food is wasted in Canada, yet nearly one in ten Canadian households have to worry about whether they have food on the table. The FoodAccess App diverts surplus quality food away from landfill by connecting farmers, manufacturers and restaurants with donation agencies and Canadian dinner tables that might otherwise go empty. 
  • Growing North - In Nunavut, nearly 70% of adults are food insecure - meaning they lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Growing North addresses food insecurity issues by building greenhouses that will provide fresh produce all year round in latitudes above the Arctic Circle at about half of the present cost.

Learn Kotlin Fast with new Kotlin Bootcamp course

Posted by Aleks Haecky, Training Developer & Word Artist, Google+, LinkedIn, Medium

The Kotlin Bootcamp Udacity course is a free, self-paced online course that teaches you the basics of the Kotlin programming language. This introduction to Kotlin was created by Google experts in collaboration with Udacity and is for people who already know how to program.

The Kotlin language lets you create apps in less time, writing less code, and with fewer errors.

This modern object-oriented language offers a strong type system, type inference, null safety, properties, lambdas, extensions, coroutines, higher-order functions, and many other features. Kotlin is so concise that you can create complete data classes with a single line of code.

Kotlin is officially supported for building Android apps, fully interoperates with the Java programming language and libraries, and is included with IntelliJ and Android Studio.

In this course you will learn everything you need to program in Kotlin, including:

  1. Basics: Write Kotlin statements and expressions in the IntelliJ REPL Kotlin interpreter using nullable and non-nullable variables, data types, operators, and control structures.
  2. Functions: Create a main() function, create and call functions with default and variable arguments, pass functions as arguments to filters, program simple lambdas, function types, and compact single-expression functions.
  3. Classes: Create a class with methods and properties. Implement constructors and init(). Learn about inheritance, interfaces, and abstract classes. Use the special purpose classes data, object, enum, and sealed.
  4. Beyond the Basics: Dive deeper into Pairs, collections, and constants. Learn how to write extensions, implement generics, apply annotations, and use labeled breaks.
  5. Functional Manipulation: Explore more about lambdas, higher-order functions, and inline.

You'll learn how to use extension functions to add helpful functionality to existing classes.

Extend built-in types:

fun Int.print() = println(this)
5.print() // prints 5

Extend Android classes:

fun Context.toast(text: CharSequence, duration: Int = Toast.LENGTH_SHORT): Toast {
   return Toast.makeText(this, text, duration).apply { show() }
}
toast("Hello Toast")

Extend your own classes:

class AquariumPlant(
       val color: String)

fun AquariumPlant.print() =
       println("Pretty Aquarium Plant")

val plant = AquariumPlant("green")
plant.print()
// prints -> Pretty Aquarium Plant

When you've completed the course, you will be able to create programs in Kotlin, taking advantage of the features and capabilities that make Kotlin unique.

The course is available free, online at Udacity; take it in your own time at your own pace.

Go learn how to build apps with less code at https://www.udacity.com/course/ud9011.

Google Home and Google Home Mini launches in India

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/oJQ6oer9k-oKSnaW3KR5MwCfRndlnGcAU-FN0yA9kkYKRtwSGa3fSclA27uJ7h5rPzT1yEXW2U7wCkdYfJKj4vMZM5IPVKYOhWAHcCZ5n1qevNxrtJTE_cnGHcXNL4zsOhY9ElbG
Bringing together the best of Google’s AI, software and hardware, now with a desi twist


Whether you’re getting the kids ready for school, doing a batch of laundry, or answering the doorbell for the morning vendors, Indian homes are busy ones. From catching that Bollywood blockbuster on your smart TV, to whipping up a quick Chole Bhature, to sinking into soulful Sufi tunes at the end of a tiring day, you can now get hands-free help.


Beginning today, Indian users can welcome in their lives Google Home -- our voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant. With a simple “Ok, Google” or “Hey Google”, you can get answers, turn up the music, manage everyday tasks or even control smart devices around your home.


Google Home understands Indian accents, and will respond to you with uniquely Indian contexts. What’s great about the Google Assistant is that it’s the same across all your devices, so that it works seamlessly for you wherever you need a helping hand. You can for instance ask it for the quickest route to office, then tell it to push the directions to Google Maps on your smartphone, and you’re ready to navigate as you head out.


Designed to fit seamlessly into your home
We didn’t want Google Home to feel like a gadget, and took inspiration from consumer products that are commonly found in homes, like wine glasses, candles, and even donuts for Mini.


The top surface has LEDs that provide visual feedback when Google Home recognizes “Hey Google”, so you know when it is listening. In those rare moments when voice won’t do, the top surface is also a capacitive touch panel. You can simply use your finger to pause the music or adjust the volume.
Google Home was designed with two microphones to enable accurate far-field voice recognition. The microphone system uses a technique called neural beam forming. We’ve simulated hundreds of thousands of noisy environments and applied machine learning to recognize patterns that allow us to filter and separate speech from noise. This allows us to deliver best-in-class voice recognition and minimize error rates -- even from across the room. Home will be available in India in the Chalk color variant.
Google Home Mini is sleek and smooth, with no corners or edges. And it's small enough to easily place anywhere in your home. It’s almost entirely enclosed in custom fabric. We created this material from scratch, right down to the yarn. It’s durable and soft, but also transparent enough to let through both light and sound. And it is available in Chalk and Charcoal, with Coral coming soon. The four LED lights underneath the fabric that light up to show you when it hears you or when it’s thinking. Mini has far-field mics so it can hear you even when there’s music playing or loud noise in the background: its circular design it can project 360-degree sound, with just one speaker.


These devices join the Made by Google family of hardware products in India, and will be available for purchase online exclusively on Flipkart, and in over 750 retail stores across the country including Reliance Digital, Croma, Bajaj Electronics, Vijay Sales, Sangeetha, and Poorvika.


Tap into the power of Google with your Assistant
Need answers to a problem? Ask questions, translate phrases, run simple maths calculations and look up the meaning of a word. Too busy to stay on top of the news? Ask and you shall receive the latest stories from sources such as Times of India, NDTV, Dainik Bhaskar, India Today, Aaj Tak and more. Need a helping hand in the kitchen? Find ingredient substitutes, pull up nutritional information and unit conversions without having to wash your atta-covered fingers.


Google Home is truly ‘desi’
With a distinctly Indian voice, your Assistant on Google Home speaks and understands your language. Ask it “Hey Google, how desi are you?”, put its cricket knowledge to the test with “Hey Google, what is a silly point?”, tell it to “Play songs from the movie Satte Pe Satta”, or even get step-by-step cooking instructions in the kitchen with, “Hey Google, give me a recipe for Dum Biryani”.


Get personalised help for your everyday tasks
The Google Assistant on Google Home has been designed to help you get more stuff done when you have your hands full. With your permission, it will help with things like your commute, your daily schedule and more. And the best part? Up to six people can connect their account to one Google Home, so if you ask your Assistant to tell you about your day, it can distinguish your voice from other people in your family, and give you personalised answers. Just ask “Hey Google, tell me about my day” or say, “Hey Google, how long will it take to get to work?” and you’ll get up to speed on everything you need to know. It can wake you up in the morning (or let you snooze), set a timer while you’re baking, and so more.


Turn up those tunes
Find the right rhythm for every occasion, whether you’re getting into the zone with sunrise yoga, hosting a dinner party, or burning off calories dancing with your little ones. You can play songs, playlists, artists, and albums from your favourite music subscription services like Google Play Music (with a six-month subscription, on us), along with offers from Saavn and Gaana*. You can also pair Google Home or Home Mini with your favorite Bluetooth speaker and set it to be the default output for all your music.


Control your smart home
Google Home can help you keep track of everything going on in your home--you can control your lights, switches and more, using compatible smart devices from brands like Philips Hue, D-Link and TP-Link. Just ask your Google Home, and your Assistant will turn off the kitchen light. If you have a Chromecast, you can also use voice commands to play Netflix, or YouTube on your TV and binge watch your favorite shows. Enjoy multi-room by grouping Google Home devices together (with Chromecast Audio, Chromecast built-in and Bluetooth speakers) to listen to the same song in every room.


A speaker for any occasion
Whether you’re hosting a dinner or a solo dance party, Google Home delivers crystal-clear sound and creates an enjoyable listening experience. Plus, we designed Home to fit stylishly into any room. And you have the option to customize the base with different colors to reflect your home’s style.


With Google Home, we’re working with our partners to bring you many great launch offers: when buying Google Home or Google Home Mini on Flipkart you get a free JioFi router along with special offers on exchange and streaming music subscriptions; when buying a Google Home at Reliance Digital or MyJio stores you get a free JioFi router with 100GB of high-speed 4G data (worth Rs 2,499)**, and at select Philips Hue and Croma outlets you get a Philips Hue + Google Home Mini at a special bundled price. Also ACT Fibernet retail customers subscribing to 12-month advance rental plans of 90MBPS and above, will receive a Google Home Mini. And above all, users get 10 percent cashback when purchasing using HDFC Bank credit cards***.


Google Home and Google Home Mini will be priced at Rs 9,999, and Rs 4,499 respectively.


It’s just the beginning...
Your Assistant on Google Home will continue to get better over time as we add more features (look out for Hindi support coming later this year!) And Google Home is open to third-party apps for the Assistant, so expect even more of your favourite services and content.

Posted by Rishi Chandra, VP,  Product Management, Google Home


Note:
*Both available from April 10 to October 31, 2018, for all Google Home and Home Mini users in India
**Offer valid until 30th April 2018
***Cashback limited to 10% of MRP

Cryptography, Cloud and Equality: a Q&A with Google Security expert Maya Kaczorowski

Note from the editor: What do Julie Payette, Indira Samarasekera and Jenni Sidey have in common? They are just some of Canada’s fierce female masterminds who’ve graduated in the field of either science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) and who continue to impact our society. We already have plenty of talent in Canada. However, we are not turning out enough computer science graduates to keep up with demand, especially not enough women. It's never been more critical that we give our young girls the tools they need to become the technology builders of tomorrow. One of the ways we can better equip them, is by exposing young women to how their future studies could directly apply in the real world and make them aware of the exciting career opportunities in STEM. In the hopes of doing just that, we’ve sat down for an interview with one of own trailblazers, Montrealer Maya Kaczorowski, a Product Manager at Google in Security & Privacy. 


Can you tell us about your current role at Google and how you got here? 
Currently, my focus is on securing workloads running in containerized environments – which is a mouthful! To clarify, containers are a relatively new way of running workloads especially in the cloud. Our team uses tools such as Docker and Kubernetes which ultimately make our customer’s applications more portable.

Prior to this, I focused on encryption at rest and encryption key management, and was the Product Manager for Google Cloud Key Management Service (Cloud KMS). Before joining Google, I worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, serving financial, healthcare and insurance customers on a variety of topics, where I discovered my passion for security strategy.
What’s your educational background?
I completed a BA&Sc in Mathematics and Economics at McGill University in Montreal and then pursued a Master in Science in Applicable Mathematics, focusing on cryptography and game theory at the London School of Economics.

Can you tell us what motivated you to pursue a career in science and technology? 
I always liked solving puzzles and when I took a number theory class at McGill, I realized cryptography was a great mesh of puzzles, math, and practical use cases in security. I pursued my interest in cryptography, and ended up doing a Master's degree in the field. It wasn’t a straight path from there to a technical role in the industry, however, by seizing the right opportunities when they arose, I ultimately ended up in role that was meant for me, at Google working with the encryption team. I’m especially excited about working in infrastructure security, which is a huge focus given the uptake of the cloud industry. There’s a lot of opportunity for development, and for innovation in this space.

What challenges did you face as a woman during your studies and then throughout the course of your career?
Being taken seriously has always been difficult. I can remember going to some of my first conferences in security, and people asking me if I was a reporter, or what I ‘really’ worked on, even if I had Google written on my badge. No one will give you the benefit of the doubt, you have to initially prove yourself. I’m lucky that I had the opportunities to do so, and the courage to not let people dismiss me easily.
Why is now a great time for women to pursue careers in tech?
There are two complementary forces at work - it’s a friendlier and more attractive industry for women; and companies are also realizing they need women to be more successful. In general, there are already more women in tech, and more women in leadership roles - mentoring and acting as role models for the next generation of women.

Why are women uniquely qualified to excel in some of these leadership roles? 
Without over-generalizing, women bring different viewpoints to the workplace. Research has shown that more diverse teams lead to better business outcomes, and teams with more women tend to have more individuals actively participating in decision-making processes. In any product, but especially in security, having individuals from a variety of backgrounds leads to building better, more useful products.

What advice would you have for other women considering following a career in science and tech? 
Simply, just go for it. Given how accessible information and tutorials are nowadays, you can teach yourself anything. I often see people falter in their belief that they need to have gone to a particular school, or have a particular degree, or particular life experience, in order to have a particular job. Compared to men, women are less likely to apply to jobs where they don’t meet all the requirements, but there’s really no harm in trying. Ask others in the industry how they got where they are, teach yourself that, ask questions where you don’t understand, and go for it.

Additionally, when I studied mathematics, about half of my class was women - which I know is unusual. We were a headstrong bunch, each taking on leadership roles in student government, research, and other campus activities; and standing up for each other if needed. I would encourage women to support each other and to take on leadership roles either within your program of study, in the community or specific ecosystem they are aiming to persevere in.
What do you think would encourage more women to pursue studies in science and technology? 
I don’t think there’s an easy solution to gender equality in tech, which is why we’re all trying to improve it! I think having more exposure to how your studies are directly applicable in the real world, in the form of internships and co-ops, helps any student get a better idea of whether or not this work interests them, and what’s needed to be successful.

Announcing ARCore 1.0 and new updates to Google Lens

Anuj Gosalia, Director of Engineering, AR

With ARCore and Google Lens, we're working to make smartphone cameras smarter. ARCore enables developers to build apps that can understand your environment and place objects and information in it. Google Lens uses your camera to help make sense of what you see, whether that's automatically creating contact information from a business card before you lose it, or soon being able to identify the breed of a cute dog you saw in the park. At Mobile World Congress, we're launching ARCore 1.0 along with new support for developers, and we're releasing updates for Lens and rolling it out to more people.

ARCore, Google's augmented reality SDK for Android, is out of preview and launching as version 1.0. Developers can now publish AR apps to the Play Store, and it's a great time to start building. ARCore works on 100 million Android smartphones, and advanced AR capabilities are available on all of these devices. It works on 13 different models right now (Google's Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL; Samsung's Galaxy S8, S8+, Note8, S7 and S7 edge; LGE's V30 and V30+ (Android O only); ASUS's Zenfone AR; and OnePlus's OnePlus 5). And beyond those available today, we're partnering with many manufacturers to enable their upcoming devices this year, including Samsung, Huawei, LGE, Motorola, ASUS, Xiaomi, HMD/Nokia, ZTE, Sony Mobile, and Vivo.

Making ARCore work on more devices is only part of the equation. We're bringing developers additional improvements and support to make their AR development process faster and easier. ARCore 1.0 features improved environmental understanding that enables users to place virtual assets on textured surfaces like posters, furniture, toy boxes, books, cans and more. Android Studio Beta now supports ARCore in the Emulator, so you can quickly test your app in a virtual environment right from your desktop.

Everyone should get to experience augmented reality, so we're working to bring it to people everywhere, including China. We'll be supporting ARCore in China on partner devices sold there— starting with Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung—to enable them to distribute AR apps through their app stores.

We've partnered with a few great developers to showcase how they're planning to use AR in their apps. Snapchat has created an immersive experience that invites you into a "portal"—in this case, FC Barcelona's legendary Camp Nou stadium. Visualize different room interiors inside your home with Sotheby's International Realty. See Porsche's Mission E Concept vehicle right in your driveway, and explore how it works. With OTTO AR, choose pieces from an exclusive set of furniture and place them, true to scale, in a room. Ghostbusters World, based on the film franchise, is coming soon. In China, place furniture and over 100,000 other pieces with Easyhome Homestyler, see items and place them in your home when you shop on JD.com, or play games from NetEase, Wargaming and Game Insight.

With Google Lens, your phone's camera can help you understand the world around you, and, we're expanding availability of the Google Lens preview. With Lens in Google Photos, when you take a picture, you can get more information about what's in your photo. In the coming weeks, Lens will be available to all Google Photos English-language users who have the latest version of the app on Android and iOS. Also over the coming weeks, English-language users on compatible flagship devices will get the camera-based Lens experience within the Google Assistant. We'll add support for more devices over time.

And while it's still a preview, we've continued to make improvements to Google Lens. Since launch, we've added text selection features, the ability to create contacts and events from a photo in one tap, and—in the coming weeks—improved support for recognizing common animals and plants, like different dog breeds and flowers.

Smarter cameras will enable our smartphones to do more. With ARCore 1.0, developers can start building delightful and helpful AR experiences for them right now. And Lens, powered by AI and computer vision, makes it easier to search and take action on what you see. As these technologies continue to grow, we'll see more ways that they can help people have fun and get more done on their phones.

Google Developers Launchpad Studio welcomes more machine learning healthcare startups

Posted by Malika Cantor, Developer Relations Program Manager

We're excited to announce the three new startups joining Launchpad Studio, our 6-month mentorship program tailored to help applied-machine learning startups build great products using the most advanced tools and technologies available. We intend to support these startups by leveraging some of our platforms like Google Cloud Platform, TensorFlow, and Android, while also providing one-on-one support from product and research experts from several Google teams including Google Cloud, Verily, X, Brain, and ML Research. Launchpad Studio has also enlisted the expertise of a number of top industry practitioners and thought leaders to ensure Studio startups are successful over the long-term. These three startups were selected based on the novel ways they've applied ML to important challenges in the Healthcare industry:

Nanowear: Managing congestive heart failure

The annual cost of treating heart failures in the US is currently estimated to be ~$40bn annually. With the continued aging of the US population, the impact of Congestive Heart Failure is expected to increase substantially.

Through light-weight, low-cost cloth-based form factors, Nanowear can capture and transmit medical-grade data directly from the skin enabling deep analytics and prescriptive recommendations. As a first product application, Nanowear's SimpleSense aims to transform Congestive Heart Failure management.

Nanowear intends to develop predictive models that provide both physicians and patients with leading indicators and data to anticipate potential hospitalizing events. Combining these datasets with deep machine learning capabilities will position Nanowear at the epicenter of the next generation of telemedicine and connected-self healthcare.

Owkin: Decentralizing healthcare data

With the big data revolution, the medical and scientific communities have more information to work with than in all of history combined. However, with such a wealth of information, it is increasingly difficult to differentiate productive leads from dead ends.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning powered by systems biology can organize, validate, predict and compare the overabundance of information. Owkin builds mathematical models and algorithms that can interpret omics, visual data, biostatistics and patient profiles.

Owkin is focused on federated learning in healthcare to overcome the data sharing problem, building collective intelligence from distributed data.

Portal Telemedicina: Bringing healthcare to rural areas

A low percentage of healthcare specialists per patient and no interoperability between medical devices causes exam results in Brazil to take an average of 60 days to be ready, cost hundreds of dollars, and leaves millions of people with no access to quality healthcare.

The standard solution for such a problem is Telemedicine, but the lack of direct automatic communication with medical devices and pre processing AI behind it hurts its scalability, resulting in very low adoption worldwide.

Portal Telemedicina is a digital healthcare platform that provides reliable, fast, low-cost online diagnostics to hundreds of cities in Brazil. Thanks to revolutionary communication protocols and AI automation, the solution enables interoperability across systems and patients. Exams are handled seamlessly from medical devices to diagnostics. The company counts on a huge proprietary dataset and uses Google's TensorFlow to train machine learning algorithms in millions of images and correlated health records to predict pathologies at human level accuracy.

Leveraging artificial intelligence to empower doctors, the startup helps millions of lives in Brazil and wants to expand and provide universal access to healthcare.

More about the Launchpad Studio program

Each startup will get tailored, equity-free support, with the goal of successfully completing a ML-focused project during the term of the program. To support this process, we provide resources, including deep engagement with engineers in Google Cloud, Google X, and other product teams, as well as Google Cloud credits. We also include both Google Cloud Platform and GSuite training in our engagement with all Studio startups.

Join Us

Based in San Francisco, Launchpad Studio is a fully tailored product development acceleration program that matches top ML startups and experts from Silicon Valley with the best of Google - its people, network, and advanced technologies - to help accelerate applied ML and AI innovation. The program's mandate is to support the growth of the ML ecosystem, and to develop product methodologies for ML.

Launchpad Studio is looking to work with the best and most game-changing ML startups from around the world. While we're currently focused on working with startups in the Healthcare and Biotech space, we'll soon be announcing other industry verticals, and any startup applying AI / ML technology to a specific industry vertical can apply on a rolling-basis.

A better way to track your promotions on Google Play Billing

Posted by Neto Marin, Developer Advocate

Promotions can be a valuable tool to increase user engagement or attract new users by offering content or features to a limited number of users free of charge.

We are happy to share an improvement in the Google Play Developer API that makes it easier to track your promotions from your own backend. Starting today, the API for Purchases.products will return "Promo" as a new value for the field purchaseType when the user redeems a promo code. Now, the possible values are:

  • 0. Test (test purchases)
  • 1. Promo (Promo code redemption purchase)

For purchases made using the standard in-app billing flow, the field will continue to not be set in the API response.

Please note: This state is only returned by the Purchases.products API. For subscriptions you may use Free Trials to offer free of charge subscription periods.

For more details about how to create and redeem promo codes, check the In-app Promotions documentation. For more details about the server-side API, check the Google Play Developer API documentation.

Use Pixel 2 for better photos in Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat

https://storage.googleapis.com/gweb-uniblog-publish-prod/images/PixelVisualCore_3.max-2800x2800.jpg
With Pixel 2, we wanted to build the best smartphone camera in the world. One of the ways we did that is with HDR+ technology, which helps you capture better photos in challenging lighting conditions, like scenes with both bright and shaded areas or those with dim light. This technology has always been available when you take photos from Pixel’s main camera app. Now we’re bringing it to your favorite photography, social media, and camera apps.


Today we’re turning on Pixel Visual Core for Pixel 2 users—a custom designed co-processor for Pixel 2. Using computational photography and machine learning (which powers Pixel’s HDR+ technology,) Pixel Visual Core improves image quality in apps that take photos. This means it’ll be easier to shoot and share amazing photos on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, along with many other apps which use the Pixel 2 camera. All you need to do is take the photo and Pixel 2 will do the rest. Your photos will be bright, detailed, and clear.


Same picture taken without (left) and with HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core (right).
Same picture taken without (top) and with HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core (bottom).
 
Same picture taken without (left) and with HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core (right).
 
Same picture taken without (left) and with HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core (right).
 
Pixel Visual Core is built to do heavy-lifting image processing while using less power, which saves battery. That means we're able to use that additional computing power to improve the quality of your pictures by running the HDR+ algorithm. Like the main Pixel camera, Pixel Visual Core also runs RAISR, which means zoomed-in shots look sharper and more detailed than ever before. Plus, it has Zero Shutter Lag to capture the frame right when you press the shutter, so you can time shots perfectly. What’s also exciting is these new features are available to any app—developers can find information on Google Open Source.


These updates are rolling out over the next few days, along with other Pixel software improvements, so download the February monthly update when you see the notification.


These aren’t the only updates coming to Pixel this month. As we announced last year, our goal is to build new features for Pixel over time so your phone keeps getting better. Later this week, we’re adding new Augmented Reality (AR) Stickers themed around winter sports, so you can dress up videos and photos with freestyle skiers, twirling ice skaters, hockey players, and more. Like all AR stickers, these characters interact with both the camera and each other, creating a fun-filled way to enhance the moments you capture and share.


If you post photos or videos to your favorite apps, tag your pictures with #teampixel so we can see all the great moments you’ve captured.

Posted by Ofer Shacham, Engineering Manager for Pixel Visual Core

“Ok Google, read my book”… Introducing audiobooks on Google Play

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/SQW4-1fXjzhzgAry79yPScwTwtJTYleIulAcEEESCB2JMTKtMTo_lvzd2skMTe7Ws7TmpPWDe7J00u9wD5YGWXxDPF-CsmMVUiBQ3TCtNhpBP_aFuEjvmvv0mWCsGzpeklrXD3YG

“Read more.” Every year it’s one of the more popular New Year’s resolutions. But with all the time spent battling traffic, working out, or picking up groceries, there often doesn’t seem to be a minute to simply sit down with a book.

With audiobooks on Google Play, rolling out today in 45 countries and nine languages, you can turn your time stuck in traffic, on the treadmill, or waiting in line into reading time. Find your next great read at an affordable price, and enjoy it across Android, iOS and the web with Google Play Books, as well as on devices that include the Google Assistant, like Google Home and many others (where available regionally.) Here’s what you need to know:

  • Listen without a subscription. On Google Play, you can buy a single audiobook at an affordable price, with no commitments. You can also get a free preview of the book to make sure you’re hooked by the story and enjoy listening to the narrator’s voice.
  • Enjoy your audiobook with your Google Assistant. Just say “Ok Google, read my book” to listen to your favorite audiobook hands free with the Google Assistant on your phone or speaker, like Google Home. Try “Ok Google, who is the author?” if you need a refresher, or “Ok Google, stop playing in 20 minutes” to set a timer for bedtime reading. For now, the Google Assistant integration with audiobooks is available on Android phones and smart speakers globally in English.



  • Weave reading into your day across multiple devices. Start your morning by listening to “Ready Player One” with the Assistant on supported Android phones, and continue listening on your laptop when you have a few moments of downtime during the day. You can pick up where you left off no matter what device you're using, with the Assistant or the Google Play Books app—on Android, iOS, Chromecast, Android Wear, Android Auto or even your laptop.


Now whether you want to dig into a continent-spanning tale with Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Unaccustomed Earth,” learn “Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” from Neil Degrasse Tyson, or kick back with a comedy like Chetan Bhagat’s “One Night At The Call Center,” all you have to do is select and settle into the sounds of your new favorite book.
Posted by Greg Hartrell, Head of Product Management, Google Play Books