Announcing v3_0 of the Google Ads API beta

Today we’re announcing the v3_0 release of the Google Ads API beta. To use the v3_0 features via the new endpoint, please update your client libraries. If you are upgrading from v1 or v2, some of your code may require changes when you switch to the new v3 endpoint. Please see the migration guide for more information on breaking changes.

Here are the highlights: Where can I learn more?
The following resources can help you get going with the Google Ads API: The updated client libraries and code examples will be published next week. If you have any questions or need additional help, please contact us via the forum.

Data centers are more energy efficient than ever

While Google is the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, we’re also taking action on climate change by minimizing the amount of energy we need to use in the first place. For more than a decade, we’ve worked to make our data centers as energy efficient as possible. Today, a new paper in Science validated our efforts and those of other leaders in our industry. It found that efficiency improvements have kept energy usage almost flat across the globe’s data centers—even as demand for cloud computing has skyrocketed.

The new study shows that while the amount of computing done in data centers increased by about 550 percent between 2010 and 2018, the amount of energy consumed by data centers only grew by six percent during the same time period. The study’s authors note that these energy efficiency gains outpaced anything seen in other major sectors of the economy. As a result, while data centers now power more applications for more people than ever before, they still account for about 1 percent of global electricity consumption—the same proportion as in 2010. 

What's more, research has consistently shown that hyperscale (meaning very large) data centers are far more energy efficient than smaller, local servers. That means that a person or company can immediately reduce the energy consumption associated with their computing simply by switching to cloud-based software. As the data center industry continues to evolve its operations, this efficiency gap between local computing and cloud computing will continue to grow.

Searching for efficiency

How are data centers squeezing more work out of every electron, year after year? For Google, the answer comes down to a relentless quest to eliminate waste, at every level of our operations. We designed highly efficient Tensor Processing Units, (the AI chips behind our advances in machine learning), and outfitted all of our data centers with high-performance servers. Starting in 2014, we even began using machine learning to automatically optimize cooling in our data centers. At the same time, we’ve deployed smart temperature, lighting, and cooling controls to further reduce the energy used at our data centers. 

Our efforts have yielded promising results: Today, on average, a Google data center is twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center. And compared with five years ago, we now deliver around seven times as much computing power with the same amount of electrical power. 

By directly controlling data center cooling, our AI-powered recommendation system is already delivering consistent energy savings of around 30 percent on average. And the average annual power usage effectiveness for our global fleet of data centers in 2019 hit a new record low of 1.10, compared with the industry average of 1.67—meaning that Google data centers use about six times less overhead energy for every unit of IT equipment energy.

Leading by example

So where do we go from here? We’ll continue to deploy new technologies and share the lessons we learn in the process, design the most efficient data centers possible, and disclose data on our progress. To learn about our efforts to power the internet using as little power as possible—and how we’re ensuring that the energy we use is carbon-free, around the clock—check out our latest Environment Report or visit our data center efficiency site.

Helping Developers with Permission Requests


User trust is critical to the success of developers of every size. On the Google Play Store, we aim to help developers boost the trust of their users, by surfacing signals in the Developer Console about how to improve their privacy posture. Towards this aim, we surface a message to developers when we think their app is asking for permission that is likely unnecessary.
This is important because numerous studies have shown that user trust can be affected when the purpose of a permission is not clear.1 In addition, research has shown that when users are given a choice between similar apps, and one of them requests fewer permissions than the other, they choose the app with fewer permissions.2
Determining whether or not a permission request is necessary can be challenging. Android developers request permissions in their apps for many reasons - some related to core functionality, and others related to personalization, testing, advertising, and other factors. To do this, we identify a peer set of apps with similar functionality and compare a developer’s permission requests to that of their peers. If a very large percentage of these similar apps are not asking for a permission, and the developer is, we then let the developer know that their permission request is unusual compared to their peers. Our determination of the peer set is more involved than simply using Play Store categories. Our algorithm combines multiple signals that feed Natural Language Processing (NLP) and deep learning technology to determine this set. A full explanation of our method is outlined in our recent publication, entitled “Reducing Permissions Requests in Mobile Apps” that appeared in the Internet Measurement Conference (IMC) in October 2019.3 (Note that the threshold for surfacing the warning signal, as stated in this paper, is subject to change.)
We surface this information to developers in the Play Console and we let the developer make the final call as to whether or not the permission is truly necessary. It is possible that the developer has a feature unlike all of its peers. Once a developer removes a permission, they won’t see the warning any longer. Note that the warning is based on our computation of the set of peer apps similar to the developers. This is an evolving set, frequently recomputed, so the message may go away if there is an underlying change to the set of peers apps and their behavior. Similarly, even if a developer is not currently seeing a warning about a permission, they might in the future if the underlying peer set and its behavior changes. An example warning is depicted below.

This warning also helps to remind developers that they are not obligated to include all of the permission requests occurring within the libraries they include inside their apps. We are pleased to say that in the first year after deployment of this advice signal nearly 60% of warned apps removed permissions. Moreover, this occurred across all Play Store categories and all app popularity levels. The breadth of this developer response impacted over 55 billion app installs.3 This warning is one component of Google’s larger strategy to help protect users and help developers achieve good security and privacy practices, such as Project Strobe, our guidelines on permissions best practices, and our requirements around safe traffic handling.
Acknowledgements
Giles Hogben, Android Play Dashboard and Pre-Launch Report teams

References

[1] Modeling Users’ Mobile App Privacy Preferences: Restoring Usability in a Sea of Permission Settings, by J. Lin B. Liu, N. Sadeh and J. Hong. In Proceedings of Usenix Symposium on Privacy & Security (SOUPS) 2014.
[2] Using Personal Examples to Improve Risk Communication for Security & Privacy Decisions, by M. Harbach, M. Hettig, S. Weber, and M. Smith. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Computing Factors in Computing Systems, 2014.
[3] Reducing Permission Requests in Mobile Apps, by S. T. Peddinti, I. Bilogrevic, N. Taft, M Pelikan, U. Erlingsson, P. Anthonysamy and G. Hogben. In Proceedings of ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC) 2019.

An innovation challenge to sustain diverse media

Most communities in North America are diverse. They are comprised of people of various ethnicities, income levels, and countries of origin. In a lot of cases these diverse audiences are not effectively represented in the pages of their local news publication or remain untapped as an opportunity to increase engagement and grow the business for a news organization. That’s why it's increasingly important for publishers to understand the diverse communities they serve. 


We hope this is where the Google Innovation Challenge can help. Last year, the GNI North American Innovation Challenge focused on generating revenue and increasing audience engagement for local journalism. 34 projects in 17 states and provinces received $5.8 million to help with projects ranging from a way for local news providers to access and monetize audio clips, to testing a new approach to local news discovery, engagement and membership.


This year the spotlight will shift toward helping publishers understand their audiences so that they can build a sustainable business. Through our work with the Borealis Racial Equity in Journalism Fund we know that communities with the least access to relevant news are also most likely to be left out of policy creation and civic processes. A diverse and ethnic media is a critical news source for underrepresented groups, filling gaps for stories that don’t rise to mainstream media, and providing a positive and authentic representation of their cultures. It's important that publishers who cover underrepresented audiences continue to thrive as the world becomes increasingly digital. 


How this challenge works:


The North American GNI Innovation Challenge will provide funding for projects that have a clear focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in journalism, promote the creation of sustainable models for local media that address diverse audiences, and recognize that as an opportunity for driving engagement and revenue.


We’re looking for a breadth of projects, and examples might include using technology to understand the business impact of overlooking certain audiences, designing strategies to improve discovery of local and diverse content, or diversifying revenue streams. Please join us on March 18th at 9a.m. PST for town hall where we will answer your questions. You can tune in using this link.


How to apply: 

Applications open today, and the deadline to submit is May 12th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PT.  Over the next 10 weeks we’ll hold workshops and bootcamps to get the word out and answer questions about the Innovation Challenge. You can also get in contact with us at [email protected]


We’re looking forward to seeing what creative ideas you come up with.

Stadia Savepoint: February updates


With February coming to a close, we’re back with another issue of our Stadia Savepoint series, giving you a summary of recent news on Stadia.

This month we announced nine new games coming to Stadia, featuring three games launching First on Stadia. That included “Spitlings,” the chaotic multi-player platformer which launched earlier this week and is the focus of our first developer Q&A with Massive Miniteam. 

Stadia on new phones

Stadia on Samsung, ASUS, and Razer phones.

Expanded Android support

We’ve added Stadia compatibility to 19 new phones from Samsung, ASUS, and Razer, bringing the ability to play our entire library across tens of millions of devices. See here for more info. 

New games coming to Stadia

  • SteamWorld Dig

  • SteamWorld Dig 2

  • SteamWorld Heist

  • SteamWorld Quest

  • Lost Words: Beyond the Page

  • Panzer Dragoon: Remake

  • Serious Sam Collection

  • Stacks on Stacks (on Stacks)

  • The Division 2

  • Doom Eternal

Recent content launches on Stadia

  • Spitlings

  • Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3

  • Borderlands 3 - Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot

  • Metro Exodus - Sam’s Story

  • Mortal Kombat 11 - The Joker

  • Mortal Kombat 11 - DC Elseworlds Skin Pack

Stadia Pro updates

  • New games are free to active Stadia Pro subscribers in March: GRID, SteamWorld Dig 2, and SteamWorld Quest.

  • Existing games still available to add to your collection: Destiny 2, Farming Simulator 19 Platinum Edition, Gylt, Metro Exodus and Thumper.

  • Act quickly: Farming Simulator 19 Platinum Edition leaves Stadia Pro on February 29.

  • Ongoing discounts for Stadia Pro subscribers: Check out the web or mobile Stadia store for the latest.

That’s it for February, we’ll be back soon to share more updates. As always, stay tuned to the Stadia Community BlogFacebook, and Twitter for the latest news. 

Celebrity GIFs: They’re just like us!

In an age when people talk all day on text and email, we’ve come to rely on the art of the GIF to convey our emotions. To recognize life’s most joyous moments—or to navigate the tricky ones—we search for the perfect GIF and hit send.

The Google Trends team looked at GIF search trends from Tenor (Google’s search engine for GIFs and stickers) to see which celebrity gifs are most commonly associated with certain emotions or reactions. Good news for GIF-lovers: they made made a nifty data visualization tool that you can explore. Search for a specific celebrity like Justin Timberlake, and you’ll see that 42 percent of Justin Timberlake GIF searches are for “happy.” Or filter by emotion, like “surprised” to find out which celebrity has the largest share of those searches (spoiler alert, it's Pikachu). 

Side.gif

Search by celebrity or by emotion.

Even better news for GIF lovers: you can use this tool to figure out how to deal with any situation that you may encounter. Imagine a friend coming to you with one of the problems listed below. There’s a celebrity GIF out there with the appropriate response.

Q:How do I let someone know they’ve upset me without making it a big deal?
A:Emma knows it best, you’re not made of stone. It’s ok to let them know how you feel.

Emma.gif

Q: How can I be more supportive of my teammates when they do a good job at work?
A: Put your hands together for these celebs who have the largest share of “clap” searches.

Clap.gif

Q:What should I do on those days when everything is going wrong?
A:In or out of the office, we’ve got just the thing: Stanley Hudson, who is the king of laughing it off.

Stanley.gif

Q: My best friend takes me too seriously. How do I make sure he understands I’m joking?
A: Some people need visual cues; a quick wink can help you deliver your punchline. 

Wink.gif

The next time you’re at a loss for words, maybe your favorite celebrity can help.

Celebrate digital learning with tools for everyone

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting on my dad’s lap and using a program on our old desktop computer to learn multiplication tables. It jump-started my love for math and science and showed me how technology could make learning exciting.

Educational tools have only improved over the years since I first experienced them. Thanks to educator feedback and companies building tools to help solve real problems in classrooms, they’re better than ever. Today, Feb. 27, thousands of educators across the world are celebrating the use of technology in the classroom by participating in Digital Learning Day. Whether in the classroom or at home, technology can help provide access, increase engagement and help educators and students open up new possibilities for learning. This technology has also helped many students learn the basic digital skills needed for work and life. 

As part of our Grow With Google initiative--which helps ensure opportunities created by technology are available to everyone--Applied Digital Skills has curated a collection of our most popular lessons, which include everything from creating a resume to understanding your digital footprint. Applied Digital Skills is Google’s free, online, video-based curriculum that provides training on basic digital skills for learners of all ages. To date, this resource has helped over 1 million students learn digital skills and empowered thousands of educators to teach them in a fun and engaging way. 

It’s important to make sure everyone has access to these skills, and community leaders are making sure this happens. Valamere Mikler is the founder of She Ran Tech, a community initiative that encourages digital proficiency and empowerment for women and girls from underserved areas. “Our focus is on data privacy and technology, particularly with girls and young women to educate them on the alternatives to social media trolling, oversharing, idle web surfing and so on,” says Mikler. She’s incorporated Applied Digital Skills lessons into her organization’s internship, as well as its workshops and recommended resources. “We want to get them into technology,” she says. “We are fighting for equity here and this initiative is a way to empower them.” 

Valamere and I know firsthand the positive impact technology can have on learning experiences. Dive into our new collection of Digital Learning Day lessons to get started yourself, and use the momentum to embrace educational technology all year round.


Meet humanity’s first artists through virtual reality

Editor’s Note: France’s Chauvet Cave contains some of the world’s oldest prehistoric drawings. It’s so delicate that it’s closed to the public, but thanks to our partner, the Syndicat Mixte de la Grotte Chauvet, you can now step into the world of our ancient ancestors through Google Search’s augmented reality feature as well as virtual reality. One of these ancient ancestors, who has asked to remain anonymous, has time-traveled 36,000 years to share what the cave was like back then. 

We began our journey to the big cave days ago. Today we arrive and settle near the stone arch that spans the river. We light a fire, signalling to our people up near the caves that we’re here. We’ve brought small stone tools with us to sew the arrowheads we use for hunting. Perhaps we’ll be able to trade them.

There’s plenty of moonlight, so once we’ve made camp I venture out, hiking up to the cave’s entrance to greet the others. The children are still awake, playing with their toys but also listening intently to the lions roaring in the distance. There used to be bears living here too, but they’re long gone.

The closer I get to its entrance, the more the dark cave seems to draw me in, so I light a torch and step inside. After a short walk, the fire illuminates where we—and those before us—have left our marks. Here, someone scraped the clay, exposed the limestone and painted their world, long before we arrived. My favorites are the horses—I think one is afraid, another is playing, and a third one, the curious one, has pricked up its ears inquiringly.

Near the familiar mammoth, a new image catches my eye—perhaps some of our young hunters have depicted this lion to celebrate their success.

The fresco is so enormous, it’s impossible to take it all in. I step back to try and comprehend its meaning. There are cave lions, reindeer and stags, all seeming to move in the play of light and shadow. Just a few lines, drawn by practiced hands, and somehow we have a masterpiece.

Then there are the handprints left by those who came before us. I stand on my toes and stretch to match my own hand to the imprints on the cold rock, and suddenly I feel compelled to leave my mark too. I’ve never been chosen as a painter, but I’m alone and feeling daring, so I dip my hand into the red paint that’s been left out, rise back to my toes, and add my handprint to the others on the wall. 

As it dries, I draw back and watch as the animals and the handprints fade into the darkness. Who knows how long they’ve all been here, and how long they’ll remain?

Another note from the editor: if you enjoyed hearing from our anonymous cave ancestor, check out the following images of the cave she described, or find out more in Google Arts & Culture’s latest exhibit “Chauvet: Meet our Ancestors.”


Chrome Beta for Android Update

Hi everyone! We've just released Chrome Beta 81 (81.0.4044.34) for Android: it's now available on Google Play.

You can see a partial list of the changes in the Git log. For details on new features, check out the Chromium blog, and for details on web platform updates, check here.

If you find a new issue, please let us know by filing a bug.

Ben Mason
Google Chrome

Beta Channel Update for Desktop

The beta channel has been updated to 81.0.4044.34 for Windows, Mac, and, Linux.


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



Prudhvikumar Bommana
Google Chrome