Tag Archives: Pixel

#teampixel’s cool inspiration on hot summer days

Have you ever dreamed of the perfect summer vacation? If it includes endless blue skies, colorful cafes, or ancient cobblestone streets, check out the latest round of shots from #teampixel’s favorite summer spots.

When you go on your next adventure, remember to take us with you by tagging #teampixel. You might find yourself featured on The Keyword, @google or @madebygoogle the next time we’re looking for some cool inspiration on these hot summer days.

Insider Attack Resistance

Posted by Shawn Willden, Staff Software Engineer

Our smart devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, contain a wealth of personal information that needs to be kept safe. Google is constantly trying to find new and better ways to protect that valuable information on Android devices. From partnering with external researchers to find and fix vulnerabilities, to adding new features to the Android platform, we work to make each release and new device safer than the last. This post talks about Google's strategy for making the encryption on Google Pixel 2 devices resistant to various levels of attack—from platform, to hardware, all the way to the people who create the signing keys for Pixel devices.

We encrypt all user data on Google Pixel devices and protect the encryption keys in secure hardware. The secure hardware runs highly secure firmware that is responsible for checking the user's password. If the password is entered incorrectly, the firmware refuses to decrypt the device. This firmware also limits the rate at which passwords can be checked, making it harder for attackers to use a brute force attack.

To prevent attackers from replacing our firmware with a malicious version, we apply digital signatures. There are two ways for an attacker to defeat the signature checks and install a malicious replacement for firmware: find and exploit vulnerabilities in the signature-checking process or gain access to the signing key and get their malicious version signed so the device will accept it as a legitimate update. The signature-checking software is tiny, isolated, and vetted with extreme thoroughness. Defeating it is hard. The signing keys, however, must exist somewhere, and there must be people who have access to them.

In the past, device makers have focused on safeguarding these keys by storing the keys in secure locations and severely restricting the number of people who have access to them. That's good, but it leaves those people open to attack by coercion or social engineering. That's risky for the employees personally, and we believe it creates too much risk for user data.

To mitigate these risks, Google Pixel 2 devices implement insider attack resistance in the tamper-resistant hardware security module that guards the encryption keys for user data. This helps prevent an attacker who manages to produce properly signed malicious firmware from installing it on the security module in a lost or stolen device without the user's cooperation. Specifically, it is not possible to upgrade the firmware that checks the user's password unless you present the correct user password. There is a way to "force" an upgrade, for example when a returned device is refurbished for resale, but forcing it wipes the secrets used to decrypt the user's data, effectively destroying it.

The Android security team believes that insider attack resistance is an important element of a complete strategy for protecting user data. The Google Pixel 2 demonstrated that it's possible to protect users even against the most highly-privileged insiders. We recommend that all mobile device makers do the same. For help, device makers working to implement insider attack resistance can reach out to the Android security team through their Google contact.

Acknowledgements: This post was developed in joint collaboration with Paul Crowley, Senior Software Engineer

Insider Attack Resistance

Posted by Shawn Willden, Staff Software Engineer

Our smart devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, contain a wealth of personal information that needs to be kept safe. Google is constantly trying to find new and better ways to protect that valuable information on Android devices. From partnering with external researchers to find and fix vulnerabilities, to adding new features to the Android platform, we work to make each release and new device safer than the last. This post talks about Google's strategy for making the encryption on Google Pixel 2 devices resistant to various levels of attack—from platform, to hardware, all the way to the people who create the signing keys for Pixel devices.

We encrypt all user data on Google Pixel devices and protect the encryption keys in secure hardware. The secure hardware runs highly secure firmware that is responsible for checking the user's password. If the password is entered incorrectly, the firmware refuses to decrypt the device. This firmware also limits the rate at which passwords can be checked, making it harder for attackers to use a brute force attack.

To prevent attackers from replacing our firmware with a malicious version, we apply digital signatures. There are two ways for an attacker to defeat the signature checks and install a malicious replacement for firmware: find and exploit vulnerabilities in the signature-checking process or gain access to the signing key and get their malicious version signed so the device will accept it as a legitimate update. The signature-checking software is tiny, isolated, and vetted with extreme thoroughness. Defeating it is hard. The signing keys, however, must exist somewhere, and there must be people who have access to them.

In the past, device makers have focused on safeguarding these keys by storing the keys in secure locations and severely restricting the number of people who have access to them. That's good, but it leaves those people open to attack by coercion or social engineering. That's risky for the employees personally, and we believe it creates too much risk for user data.

To mitigate these risks, Google Pixel 2 devices implement insider attack resistance in the tamper-resistant hardware security module that guards the encryption keys for user data. This helps prevent an attacker who manages to produce properly signed malicious firmware from installing it on the security module in a lost or stolen device without the user's cooperation. Specifically, it is not possible to upgrade the firmware that checks the user's password unless you present the correct user password. There is a way to "force" an upgrade, for example when a returned device is refurbished for resale, but forcing it wipes the secrets used to decrypt the user's data, effectively destroying it.

The Android security team believes that insider attack resistance is an important element of a complete strategy for protecting user data. The Google Pixel 2 demonstrated that it's possible to protect users even against the most highly-privileged insiders. We recommend that all mobile device makers do the same. For help, device makers working to implement insider attack resistance can reach out to the Android security team through their Google contact.

Acknowledgements: This post was developed in joint collaboration with Paul Crowley, Senior Software Engineer

Three, two, one: New ways to control Google Pixel Buds

Google Pixel Buds let you do a lot with just a quick touch. When you use Pixel Buds with your Pixel or other Android device with the Assistant, simply touch and hold the right earbud to ask for your favorite playlist, make a call, send a message or get walking directions to dinner. And, it allows you to control your audio too—just swipe forward or backward to control volume and tap to play or pause your music.


We’re adding three highly-requested features with the latest update that is beginning to roll out today. It’s as easy as 3, 2, 1.


Triple tap: On and off with touch.Pixel Buds can now be manually turned on or off by triple-tapping on the right earbud.

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Double tap: Next track.Until now, double tapping let you hear notifications as they arrived on your phone. Now you can set double-tap to skip to the next track. To enable this, go to the Pixel Buds’ settings within the Google Assistant app on your phone and enable double-tap to skip to the next track. You can continue to use a Google Assistant voice command to skip tracks, even if you assign two taps to the “next” track feature.

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One easy switch: Pairing devices made easy. To switch your Pixel Buds connection between your phone and computer (or any device you’ve previously paired), select your Pixel Buds from the BluetoothTM menu of the desired device. Your Pixel Buds will disconnect from the device you were using and connect to the new one.


These updates are starting to roll out today and will be available to everyone by early next week. Go to g.co/pixelbuds to learn more.

Get outside and smell the flowers with #teampixel

Whether you’re into mountain landscapes or city skyscrapers, Pixel photographers take you out on some incredible adventures this week. Sit back, relax, and let #teampixel transport you to a blue paradise, a reflective lake, and even an underwater swim with jellyfish.

The next time you're on an outdoor adventure, tag your Pixel photos with #teampixel and you might be featured on @google or The Keyword.

#teampixel colored outside the lines with interesting shapes this week

This is shaping up to be a colorful week for #teampixel. We love shapes that grab your attention and guide your eyes when you look at a photograph—and the shapes in this week’s photos are sometimes obvious, like in staircases or sidewalk tiles. Other times they surprise you, like in a spiky Joshua tree or a boat’s wake. Can you find all the shapes in this week’s #teampixel images?

If you’d like to be featured on @google and The Keyword, tag your Pixel photos with #teampixel and you might see yourself next.

“A Good Night” with John Legend and Pixel 2

John Legend just premiered the music video for his new single “A Good Night”—and it was filmed entirely on Pixel 2. We spoke to John about the inspiration behind the video and what it’s like living and communicating in the digital age.


Keyword: Tell us about the inspiration behind the music video for “A Good Night.”

John: The song and the video are about a magical night where you meet someone you immediately connect with and can envision a future together. You're single, dating, probably using all the apps people use now (I haven't dated since the advent of Tinder, etc., but it's a fascinating era in romance), and not finding someone special. But one night—maybe caught up in the music or the drinks or whatever—you meet someone that changes everything. That's a good night! 


The video is set in a club and visually represents the swiping left of the apps by literally swiping dating candidates away. But eventually our couple finds each other. And then, during the bridge, we see things transform into a fantasy future where our couple sees themselves getting married. It turns into a beautiful celebration of love and connection. All DJ'ed and hosted by yours truly!

"A Good Night" music video

Why did you decide to shoot it on Pixel?

We thought it would be cool to shoot it on Pixel because the camera is amazing and we were fascinated by the idea of using a smartphone to film a big budget music video, a video that brings the smartphone dating experience to life.


What’s your favorite moment from the video?

I love the transformation scene in the bridge where you see everything freeze and become surreal before we fast forward to a fantasy wedding.


What surprised you about filming the video with smartphones?

It was really seamless. We're so used to doing everything with expensive cameras when we do these major shoots. But the experience of filming with smartphones felt really natural  and the quality from Pixel was amazing.

A Good Night - Pixel 2

How do you think technology like smartphones can help aspiring artists and creators get noticed?

The technology people can use to create has become more accessible and democratized. And there are so many new ways to inexpensively publish your work. This is true in music, filmmaking and other fields. I love it. It's a boon for creativity and gives so many more people the ability to tell their story and express their vision.  

Who are your favorite new filmmakers?

I'm not sure how you define new. My production company just did a fantastic film called "Monster" with first-time feature filmmaker Anthony Mandler. We've worked together before in music videos and commercials, and I think his debut feature film is excellent.

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The video plays with the idea of apps and social media and how they affect dating. How does the “age of instalove” change the way you talk to your fans?

I talk a lot about what's timeless about love and human connection. The ways we meet have changed a lot, but I think our emotional needs and desires probably aren't all that different.


We can’t pass up the opportunity to ask about the women in your life. How does Pixel help you stay in touch with Chrissy and Luna and record your moments with them?

I love using Pixel to talk to Chrissy and Luna when I'm on the road. We love Duo for video calling. The Pixel camera takes amazing photos and videos too.  


I'm a big Google fan so it's also nice to have a phone that integrates all Google apps so seamlessly. I use Google Docs, Maps, Drive, Calendar and others all the time. It's great to have a phone made for those apps.

Last question. What are you listening to at the moment?

Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Miguel, SZA—and LOTS of the “Jesus Christ Superstar” soundtrack in preparation for my big role last Easter Sunday!

What makes #teampixel click

The #teampixel community on Instagram recently reached 35,000 members—people who have tagged their photos with #teampixel in their travels around the world, on a quest to capture the best shot. We've been so taken with the range and diversity of Pixel photographers' work that we dug a little deeper to learn more about what makes you tick... er, click. Here's a snapshot of what we learned about #teampixel's favorite places and subjects to shoot:


1. They’re globetrotters:#teampixel has been to 196 countries.
2. With a few favorite locales to capture: The top countries for #teampixel photos are the U.S., India, the U.K., Canada and Australia.

3. #teampixel lives for the city: Cityscapes are shared twice as much as photos of nature, and most of those shots come from New York, London, San Francisco, Toronto and Los Angeles.

4. But nature calls, too:Though the tall buildings and crowded streets of the city may be a muse for some photographers, others are drawn to nature. In #teampixel nature shots, trees are most popular (10 percent of all nature posts), followed by sunlight and beach (6.8 percent), then mountains (4.7 percent).

5. They’re dog people:Dogs were posted twice as often as cats. Sorry not sorry.

6. They’re foodies—with a sweet tooth:Food is the most popular subject of #teampixel posts, and people post shots of baked goods four times as much as other foods.

We'd love to see what makes you hit that shutter button, too. Follow our feed on Instagram and don't forget to tag your photos with #teampixel. We might feature your photo here next!


Five tips for taking the best pet photos with Google Pixel 2

Editor's note: For National Puppy Day, we asked #teampixel photographer Emily Wang to give us her best tips on how to photograph your dog—young or old—with Google Pixel 2. We guess you could use them for cat photos, too.


Count the puppy pictures on your phone. Chances are there's more than a couple. Whether it's your own dog or a stranger's dog, everything about these furry animals screams photo op.


My dogs Kokoro and Chibi are my go-to models whether they’re on a sunset hike or snuggling together under blankets. Unlike other common photo subjects—like latte art or selfies—snapping pics of pets comes with unique challenges. But taking great photos of pups doesn't have to be ruff. Here are some tips to capture your furry friends in the best light:


1. Capture unique expressions using Smartburst


Start by getting your dog's attention. Use a squeaky toy, wave a treat, make animal sounds, you name it! Then, press and hold that shutter (volume down button) to take photos in quick succession using Pixel 2's Smartburst feature to capture the most adorable facial expressions and photos.

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2. Get your dog to smile and use portrait mode to highlight that adorable face.


Portrait mode is great for adding enhanced focus to your dog's signature smile and works on both the front and back cameras. If your dog knows how to bark on command, you can use that cue to get them to open their mouths while you shoot to capture a smile. Another way to get the tongue-floppin' smile out of them is to take them for a quick run or play a game of tug. An active dog is a happy dog and will likely flash you a huge smile right after play time.
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3. Expose for what you're shooting.


My dog Kokoro is all white, so it's easy for her to get washed out in environments with lots of light. Thankfully, Pixel 2 has exposure lock that makes adjusting for this easy. Just tap on the camera viewfinder to focus on a certain point. You can override the exposure setting automatically set by Pixel's camera by moving the exposure slider on the right of the viewfinder after tapping. You can also hit "lock" at the top of the exposure slider to lock the settings in case he moves. Don't forget to unlock when you're done!

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4. It's all about perspective.


Get on the ground, upside down, whatever it takes to frame up the most interesting photo! You can turn on gridlines in the Pixel 2 to help you line things up, especially if you're like me and tend to get in awkward positions to get the perfect shot.

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5. Forget the flash and shoot with natural light instead.


Pixel 2 is amazing at capturing light, even in low light scenarios. It might be tempting to turn on the flash, but try to manipulate the amount of natural light you have and let the camera do its magic. Often, repositioning your camera just a little bit to adjust for where the light comes in will result in drastic differences when you're shooting.

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Team Pixel is in bloom this spring

Our community of photographers is on the rise, and the #teampixel tribe is officially 35,000 members strong (and counting)! This week’s highlights range from colorful plum blossoms in Sakura, Japan to a confetti-filled wedding.

If you’re looking for a daily dose of #teampixel photos, follow our feed on Instagram and keep spreading the loves and likes with fellow Pixel photographers.