Monthly Archives: August 2018

Forecasting earthquake aftershock locations with AI-assisted science

From hurricanes and floods to volcanoes and earthquakes, the Earth is continuously evolving in fits and spurts of dramatic activity. Earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis alone have caused massive destruction in the last decade—even over the course of writing this post, there were earthquakes in New Caledonia, Southern California, Iran, and Fiji, just to name a few.

Earthquakes typically occur in sequences: an initial "mainshock" (the event that usually gets the headlines) is often followed by a set of "aftershocks." Although these aftershocks are usually smaller than the main shock, in some cases, they may significantly hamper recovery efforts.  Although the timing and size of aftershocks has been understood and explained by established empirical laws, forecasting the locations of these events has proven more challenging.

We teamed up with machine learning experts at Google to see if we could apply deep learning to explain where aftershocks might occur, and today we’re publishing a paper on our findings. But first, a bit more about how we got here: we started with a database of information on more than 118 major earthquakes from around the world.


A visual representation of the 1992 magnitude 7.3 southern California Landers earthquake where the multi-colored portion represents the initial quake and the red boxes represent aftershock locations.

From there, we applied a neural net to analyze the relationships between static stress changes caused by the mainshocks and aftershock locations. The algorithm was able to identify useful patterns.  

The end result was an improved model to forecast aftershock locations and while this system is still imprecise, it’s a motivating step forward. Machine learning-based forecasts may one day help deploy emergency services and inform evacuation plans for areas at risk of an aftershock.


Forecasted distribution of aftershock location probabilities for the Landers earthquake. Dark red colors indicate regions predicted to experience aftershocks. The black dots are the locations of observed aftershocks, and the yellow line shows the faults that ruptured during the mainshock.

There was also an unintended consequence of the research: it helped us to identify physical quantities that may be important in earthquake generation. When we applied neural networks to the data set, we were able to look under the hood at the specific combinations of factors that it found important and useful for that forecast, rather than just taking the forecasted results at face value. This opens up new possibilities for finding potential physical theories that may allow us to better understand natural phenomena.

We are looking forward to seeing what machine learning can do in the future to unravel the mysteries behind earthquakes, in an effort to mitigate their harmful effects.

Introducing YouTube Giving: New tools for charitable giving on YouTube

#LoveArmyMexico, Cards Against Humanity LIVE, Dancember, Project for Awesome, Pride Live. From live streams to community campaigns, it’s humbling to see how creators around the world use YouTube as a platform to bring together communities and champion the causes they care about. These movements remind us about what is (and has always been) so special about YouTube -- the deep and meaningful connections between creators and their fans, and the powerful impact they build together.

Today we’re sharing a first look at YouTube Giving, a suite of features designed to strengthen the way creators and fans can make a difference through charitable giving on the platform to over 1M nonprofits. These features include Fundraisers (beta), Community fundraisers (beta), Campaign matching (beta), and Super Chat for Good.

Fundraisers (beta) - Use your voice for good

With this feature, YouTube creators and qualifying US-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits can create and embed a fundraising campaign right next to their videos and live streams. Fundraisers allow fans to donate to creator-led campaigns directly on YouTube via a “Donate” button, making it easier than ever for creators and fans to raise funds for causes they care about on the platform. Creators can simply set up their campaigns, and let us take care of the logistics and payment processing.

This first beta period will be available to a limited group of creators in the US and Canada. If you’re looking to try this out today, check out this Hope for Paws Fundraiser dedicated to raising funds towards animal rescue and recovery. As part of this beta period, YouTube will also cover all transaction fees so that 100% of donations go to the nonprofit.

Community Fundraisers (beta) - Do more good together

We’re also rolling out a beta version of Community Fundraisers to a limited group of US creators and qualifying US-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits that allows multiple creators to co-host the same fundraiser. The feature is designed so that a Community Fundraiser will appear on participating creators’ videos at the same time and reflect the collective amount of money their communities are raising together.

In time for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in the US, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and 12 gaming creators with over 37 million subscribers combined are teaming up for a special edition of St. Jude PLAY LIVE on YouTube, a fundraising event using the Community Fundraisers beta feature. Check out these creators’ videos to get involved: AbdallahSmash026, Aphmau, AtomicMari, Blessious, Funhaus, IGN, ItsFunneh, JeromeASF, KreekCraft, LaurenzSide, Noahj456, and Smosh Games.

Campaign matching (beta) - Multiply your impact for good

In the coming weeks, we’ll also roll out Campaign Matching, allowing creators who organize Fundraisers and Community Fundraisers to receive matching pledges to help amplify their efforts. This beta feature will display matching pledges from other creators or brands directly within the Fundraiser to help inspire more fans to get involved and maximize impact. As with the above betas, access will roll out to additional creators in the coming weeks.

Super Chat for Good - Livestream for good

Additionally, we’re launching Super Chat for Good which enables creators to raise funds for qualifying US-registered 501(c)(3) nonprofits on live streams and Premiere videos. When an eligible creator enables Super Chat for Good, 100% of Super Chat for Good purchases will be automatically routed to a qualifying nonprofit chosen by the creator. They work like the Super Chats that you already know and love, highlighting your message in the chat stream and showing your support for your favorite creators and the causes they care about.

Our inspiration for building YouTube Giving tools has been you -- the way you use your voices to create impact on important issues, whether helping out in a crisis or championing a cause. Over the coming months, we’ll listen to your feedback on these beta features and continue to expand access to more creators. We can’t wait to see how you’ll use these tools to create even more impact with your YouTube channels!

Erin Turner, Product Manager for YouTube Giving, recently watched Model Halima Aden Returns to the Refugee Camp She was Born In | Teen Vogue

Dev Channel Update for Chrome OS

The Dev channel has been updated to 70.0.3532.8 (Platform version: 11005.1.0) for most Chrome OS devices. This build contains a number of bug fixes, security updates and feature enhancements. A list of changes can be found here.

If you find new issues, please let us know by visiting our forum or filing a bug. Interested in switching channels? Find out how. You can submit feedback using ‘Report an issue...’ in the Chrome menu (3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the browser).

Geo Hsu

Google Chrome

Throwing it back: Google leaders share their first summer jobs

As the old saying goes, “get a summer job and you’ll stick with it forever.” Just kidding, no one says that. If they did, many of Google’s leaders—who earned their first paychecks serving burgers, planting trees and hawking hair accessories—would be doing something pretty different right now.

If you looked at the resumes of the people leading teams, initiatives and products at Google today, you'd see a wide range of first jobs that, in many cases, taught lessons that still ring true. So as people around the country are wrapping up their seasonal gigs, we asked a few Google leaders about the summer jobs they once had.

Let’s get some fresh air first. Never ones to spend their summers behind a desk, these Googlers got their hard-earned paychecks in the great outdoors. Up in Canada, Partnerships President Don Harrison fought his way through mosquitoes, ticks and bears to plant trees. Further south in Michigan, there were fewer ticks but more kids at Diversity VP Danielle Brown’s lifeguarding gig. And Communications VP Corey DuBrowa clocked 18-hour days on a farm in Oregon, where the wheat and grass seed wasn’t going to harvest itself—no, that was Corey’s job.

great outdoors v2

Long before or GOOG, President Jacquelline Fuller and VP of Investor Relations Ellen West each donned a “polyester rust uniform” and set up shop at the drive-thru under the iconic double arches. For the rest of these Googlers, a summer job meant getting your hands soapy, taking food orders, and getting a crash course in mixology.

help 1 v2

Whether selling sleeping bags, fruity drinks or hair accessories, these Googlers started out as young entrepreneurs. Eventually, Kent Walker traded in sleeping bags for legal documents. Ben Gomes left the Rasna stand to take an internship where he used neural nets to predict KFC chicken demand (before becoming one of Google’s first employees). And long after her scrunchie empire, Ana Corrales ended up in hardware, putting Google’s products in the hands of our customers.


Jeff Dean’s first-ever paying job struck a chord with wedding guests, while Vint Cerf’s interest in automatic coffee makers wasn’t as strong as the java they provided—after that summer, he intensified his studies in math and science. Though these gigs weren’t forever, these Googlers still learned a thing or two.


Early on, these people showed a knack for the careers they’d eventually find at Google. Beyond her duties fetching coffee and handing out mail, Stacy Sullivan's summer job taught her about company structure and how leaders treat employees, setting her up to become Google’s Chief Culture Officer. For Richard Gingras, VP of News Products, the headline was written long ago: He spent a summer stacking and collating newspapers for The Providence Journal.


See you next summer!

Introducing the Tink cryptographic software library

At Google, many product teams use cryptographic techniques to protect user data. In cryptography, subtle mistakes can have serious consequences, and understanding how to implement cryptography correctly requires digesting decades' worth of academic literature. Needless to say, many developers don’t have time for that.

To help our developers ship secure cryptographic code we’ve developed Tink—a multi-language, cross-platform cryptographic library. We believe in open source and want Tink to become a community project—thus Tink has been available on GitHub since the early days of the project, and it has already attracted several external contributors. At Google, Tink is already being used to secure data of many products such as AdMob, Google Pay, Google Assistant, Firebase, the Android Search App, etc. After nearly two years of development, today we’re excited to announce Tink 1.2.0, the first version that supports cloud, Android, iOS, and more!

Tink aims to provide cryptographic APIs that are secure, easy to use correctly, and hard(er) to misuse. Tink is built on top of existing libraries such as BoringSSL and Java Cryptography Architecture, but includes countermeasures to many weaknesses in these libraries, which were discovered by Project Wycheproof, another project from our team.

With Tink, many common cryptographic operations such as data encryption, digital signatures, etc. can be done with only a few lines of code. Here is an example of encrypting and decrypting with our AEAD interface in Java:


   // 1. Generate the key material.
   KeysetHandle keysetHandle = KeysetHandle.generateNew(

   // 2. Get the primitive.
   Aead aead = AeadFactory.getPrimitive(keysetHandle);

   // 3. Use the primitive.
   byte[] plaintext = ...;
   byte[] additionalData = ...;
   byte[] ciphertext = aead.encrypt(plaintext, additionalData);

Tink aims to eliminate as many potential misuses as possible. For example, if the underlying encryption mode requires nonces and nonce reuse makes it insecure, then Tink does not allow the user to pass nonces. Interfaces have security guarantees that must be satisfied by each primitive implementing the interface. This may exclude some encryption modes. Rather than adding them to existing interfaces and weakening the guarantees of the interface, it is possible to add new interfaces and describe the security guarantees appropriately.

We’re cryptographers and security engineers working to improve Google’s product security, so we built Tink to make our job easier. Tink shows the claimed security properties (e.g., safe against chosen-ciphertext attacks) right in the interfaces, allowing security auditors and automated tools to quickly discover usages where the security guarantees don’t match the security requirements. Tink also isolates APIs for potentially dangerous operations (e.g., loading cleartext keys from disk), which allows discovering, restricting, monitoring and logging their usage.

Tink provides support for key management, including key rotation and phasing out deprecated ciphers. For example, if a cryptographic primitive is found to be broken, you can switch to a different primitive by rotating keys, without changing or recompiling code.

Tink is also extensible by design: it is easy to add a custom cryptographic scheme or an in-house key management system so that it works seamlessly with other parts of Tink. No part of Tink is hard to replace or remove. All components are composable, and can be selected and assembled in various combinations. For example, if you need only digital signatures, you can exclude symmetric key encryption components to minimize code size in your application.

To get started, please check out our HOW-TO for Java, C++ and Obj-C. If you'd like to talk to the developers or get notified about project updates, you may want to subscribe to our mailing list. To join, simply send an empty email to [email protected]. You can also post your questions to StackOverflow, just remember to tag them with tink.

We’re excited to share this with the community, and welcome your feedback!

U.S. wildlife to see (and maybe avoid) on your end-of-summer adventures

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trail System, which oversees more than 50,000 miles of trails across the U.S., and makes sure historic sites like the Pacific Crest Trail are around for years to come.

One of the most magical parts of traipsing around the wilderness is the chance to see local fauna: catching a glimpse of a hawk circling a field, floating by a beaver dam on your kayak, or spotting a baby deer in your hometown park.

You can use Google Images to learn more about the wildlife you encounter while hiking: to find out if what you just saw was *really* a coyote, or if that spider whose web you demolished is as scary as it looks. Over the past year, Google image searches for animals have approximately doubled.

We took a look at Google Images trends to find some of the most uniquely searched animals (and bugs!) in each U.S. state. Take a look to find out where you should travel to spy an orca whale, and where to *avoid* if you never want to see a leopard shark in real life.

For those of you planning last-minute nature exploration this summer, we’ve also identified some of the top spots in the U.S. to get your eyes on some wild creatures.

Popular wildlife on Google Images

Animal aficionados won’t be surprised that more people are searching for Orcas in Washington, or gila monsters in Arizona. But porcupines in Nebraska, or wolverines in Minnesota? Perhaps not as obvious.

If bugs are your bag, image searches indicate you’re likely to see a butterfly in Hawaii, or black widows (eep) in Colorado. If you’re visiting Iowa, keep your eyes peeled for the elegant, yet still sort of creepy, praying mantis. Check out the complete lists of uniquely searched animals and bugs in each U.S. state.

So where can you go to explore the great outdoors, and maybe catch a glimpse of lions, tigers and bears (oh my)? The top ten trending hikes on Google Maps include the world-famous Appalachian trail, the longest hiking-only trail in America, and the scenic Monument Valley desert, known for its epic rock buttes, plus several other trails across the country.

Trending hikes and campgrounds 2018

If you’re willing to spend the night in nature, the top ten trending campgrounds include Mackinaw Mill Creek in Michigan, which lets you set up camp on the shores of one of the Great Lakes. South Carlsbad State Beach in Southern California is set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a short distance from water sports, and maybe some sea life. Just keep an eye out for leopard sharks ;).

Pro tip: Wondering what type of wildflowers you’re seeing on the trail, or if that green bush you hiked through was poison oak? Use Google Lens to help you identify local plant life (or wildlife, if you can catch it standing still … ). Just open the Lens app, point your camera at the plant and Lens will help you identify what you’re looking at.

Now that you're fully informed on how Google can help you learn more about the wildlife around you, get out there and see it for yourself!

Protect your online accounts with Titan Security Keys

Phishing—when an attacker tries to trick you into giving them your credentials—is a common threat to all online users. Google's automated defenses securely block the overwhelming majority of sign-in attempts even if an attacker has your username or password, but we always recommend you enable two-step verification (2SV) to further protect your online accounts.

There are many forms of 2SV—from text (SMS) message codes, to the Google Authenticator app, to hardware second factors like security keys. And while any second factor will greatly improve the security of your account, for those who want the strongest account protection, we’ve long advocated the use of security keys for 2SV.

Today, we’re making it easier to get a security key by making Google’s own Titan Security Keys available on the Google Store

Titan Security Key

Titan Security Key

Titan Security Keys have extra “special sauce” from Google—firmware that’s embedded in a hardware chip within the key that helps to verify that the key hasn’t been tampered with. We’ve gone into more detail about how this works on the Google Cloud blog.

Titan Security Keys work with popular browsers (including Chrome) and a growing ecosystem of services (including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and more) that support FIDO standards

Getting started

It’s easy to get started with Titan Security Keys. Kits of two keys (one USB and one Bluetooth) are now available to U.S. customers on the Google Store and will be coming soon to additional regions.

To set them up with your Google Account, sign in and navigate to the 2-Step Verification page (see detailed instructions on our help center). Titan Security Keys are also compatible with the Advanced Protection Program, Google's strongest security for users at high risk. And Google Cloud admins can enable security key enforcement in G Suite, Cloud Identity, and Google Cloud Platform to ensure that users use security keys for their accounts.

For more information, visit our website or read our detailed post on Google Cloud.

Google One is coming Down Under!

More and more, we rely on the internet for ways to safely store the things that matter—making life simpler and less cluttered. Over the years, we’ve provided people with easy, secure ways to create, store and share files online, including 15 GB of free space with every Google Account. Thanks to mobile phones, and new file formats like 4K video and high-res photography, people are storing more than ever before.

Recently, we introduced Google One, a plan that gives you expanded storage and helps you get more out of Google. Aussies will soon be able to enjoy more options to fit their storage needs – whether you’re working, connecting with friends or preserving your memories. 

More storage for what matters

Google One gives you more storage across Drive, Gmail, and Photos. With plenty of space, your most important memories and files are stored safely in original quality in the cloud and available on all your devices. We've improved the price of some of our plans and added new plan options, ranging from 100GB to 30TB, you can choose the plan that’s right for you.

More help when you need it

As a Google One member, you can easily get in touch with a team of Google experts to answer your questions—whether you need help recovering a file you accidentally deleted or want to learn how to use Gmail when you're offline.

More benefits for members

With Google One, you’ll also get extra benefits across Google. We’ve started with credits on Google Play and deals on hotels found in Google Search. In the coming months, keep an eye out for Google Store benefits and more.

More for your family

You can also share your plan with up to five additional family members. That means simplified storage under one bill, and access to the benefits of Google One. 

Coming soon to paid Google Drive plans

If you have a paid Drive storage plan, you’ll be upgraded to Google One automatically over the next few weeks. Look out for an email confirming your upgrade to Google One, where you can manage your storage plan and benefits. The way you use Drive to store and share files doesn’t change.

For everyone else, we’re working to bring Google One to you over the next few weeks. If you’d like to be notified when Google One is available, sign up for an update.

Posted by Pavni Diwanji, VP, Google One

Collaboration and user management in the new Search Console

As part of our reinvention of Search Console, we have been rethinking the models of facilitating cooperation and accountability for our users. We decided to redesign the product around cooperative team usage and transparency of action history. The new Search Console will gradually provide better history tracking to show who performed which significant property-affecting modifications, such as changing a setting, validating an issue or submitting a new sitemap. In that spirit we also plan to enable all users to see critical site messages.

New features

  • User management is now an integral part of Search Console.
  • The new Search Console enables you to share a read-only view of many reports, including Index coverage, AMP, and Mobile Usability. Learn more.
  • A new user management interface that enables all users to see and (if appropriate), manage user roles for all property users.

New Role definition

  • In order to provide a simpler permission model, we are planning to limit the "restricted" user role to read-only status. While being able to see all information, read-only users will no longer be able to perform any state-changing actions, including starting a fix validation or sharing an issue.

Best practices

As a reminder, here are some best practices for managing user permissions in Search Console:

User feedback

As part of our Beta exploration, we released visibility of the user management interface to all user roles. Some users reached out to request more time to prepare for the updated user management model, including the ability of restricted and full users to easily see a list of other collaborators on the site. We’ve taken that feedback and will hold off on that part of the launch. Stay tuned for more updates relating to collaboration tools and changes on our permission models.

As always, we love to hear feedback from our users. Feel free to use the feedback form within Search Console, and we welcome your discussions in our help forums as well!