Monthly Archives: April 2020

Connecting and collaborating with Google Meet & G Suite

In this unprecedented time in history, we’ve seen millions of businesses across India adapt to the new normal of working remotely and learning from home. It is human nature to connect, and video conferencing plays a pivotal role here. 
We saw more than 3 million new users connecting on Google Meet every day as of this month, spending over 3 billion minutes a day together. That’s a massive 30x jump from the numbers we saw earlier in January. And today, we’re making our premium video conferencing tool, Google Meet free for everyone, with availability rolling out over the coming weeks. 
Stay home, stay safe, stay connected 
Starting May, anyone with an email address can create a Google Account and use Meet to schedule, join or start secure video meetings with anyone — whether it’s a virtual dance class, a weekly book club, neighborhood meetings, or any other reason to connect with your community, friends, and family. 
Until today, Google Meet was only available as part of G Suite, our collaboration and productivity solution for businesses, organizations and schools. Now, it is freely available on the web at and via mobile apps for iOS or Android. And if you use Google Calendar, you can easily start or join from there too. 
We’re also rolling out new features including tiled layout for larger calls, the option to present a Chrome tab (instead of just presenting their window or entire screen), low-light mode and eventually noise cancellation. 
Secure by design
Meet is designed, built and operated to be secure at scale — for everyone. We employ a vast array of safe-by-default measures to keep your meetings safe without doing a thing, everytime. We don't require or ask for any plugins to be installed, reducing the amount of software users and businesses need to patch with security updates on their machines. 
We also ensure that only authorised users can use and access Meet services by using a 2-Step Verification option for account — making them secure and convenient. Google Meet users can enroll their accounts in our Advanced Protection Program (APP), which provides our strongest protections available against phishing and account hijacking, and is specifically designed for the highest-risk accounts.
Helping businesses collaborate with G Suite
We’re not just connecting over video. We’ve also seen huge spikes in the use of our entire G Suite offering as more people create, share, and connect together while working remotely. Earlier this year we marked another major milestone — surpassing six million paying businesses and organisations who use G Suite. 
“Employees are able to access every business application via Google Cloud Platform and continue to communicate as usual not only between themselves but also with customers, vendors and other stakeholders with G Suite. The Google Cloud team is always accessible and supportive to help us ease things. The use of collaborative tools has facilitated important human contact and responsiveness in an unprecedented time of remote work,” said V M Samir, Group CIO, Rustomjee, a leading real estate company in Mumbai.
Mathan Babu Kasilingam, CISO of National Payments Corporation of India, an umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems in India says, “Google Meet has played a good role in helping our teams stay connected. It’s great to see that it is possible to work across various remote locations and manage to carry on business as usual through video conferencing.” 
Here is what TR Chadha & Co, one of India’s prominent chartered accountancy firms, had to say. “G Suite has been a lifeline for the teams for the past month since we have transitioned to a work from home set-up due to the pandemic. With G Suite, our teams can securely log-in from any device to work wherever they are at any time,” said Gautam Kumar, IT Manager, TR Chadha.
Securely stay connected and productive not just today but also in the future
We’re carefully rolling out Meet incrementally over the coming weeks to ensure we can provide everyone with the reliability and security they expect from Google. This means you might not be able to create meetings right away, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s available.
Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though we will not enforce this time limit until after September 30.  Creating a trusted meeting space is important, so being mindful when sharing meeting links in public forums can help create a safe experience for all attendees. For more tips on how to use Meet securely and effectively, visit our Help Center.

Posted by Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Google Cloud India

18 Asia Pacific news organizations with big ideas

Last October, we invited news organizations to apply to the second round of the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge in Asia Pacific: a call for new ideas to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Since then, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected publishers across the region and, after discussions with publishers, we made the decision to go ahead with the Challenge—alongside our broader support for journalism in this challenging time. 

The first round of the Challenge focused on diversifying revenue and saw dozens of examples of creative new approaches. Iwate Nippo, a local publisher in Japan, developed a news and lifestyle app targeting elderly subscribers, while Australia’s Crikey created a new group subscription model—steps to strengthen their business and ensure they can continue to provide vital news, analysis and information.

This time around, applicants were asked for proposals to increase reader engagement, which ultimately leads to greater loyalty and willingness to pay for content. We received 255 strong submissions across topics like user-generated content, community management, fact-checking and the use of technologies such as machine learning to tackle business challenges. Today, we’re announcing the 18 organizations from across the region selected to take their ideas forward with GNI’s support.
IC R2 winner graphics (13).png

Meet the selected applicants from the second round of the GNI Innovation Challenge in Asia Pacific.

As in the first round, what set these organizations apart was the variety and creativity of their ideas. Gaon Connection in India is building an ‘insights platform’ to capture the opinions and preferences of rural communities. Three local news providers in Korea—the Busan Daily, Maeil Daily and Gangwon Daily—are collaborating to gather real-time insights that will help them create customized experiences for their readers. Australian Community Media is developing a new platform for classified ads that will better support local newspapers and small businesses. Japan’s Nippon TV is using augmented reality technology to bring its news archives to life—and these are just some of the proposals that stood out during the application process. 

We’re grateful to all the organizations that took the time to apply. A strong Asia Pacific news industry has never been more important, and we’re looking forward to seeing the selected applicants put their ideas into action.

Announcing v3_1 of the Google Ads API beta

Today we’re announcing the v3_1 release of the Google Ads API beta. To use the v3_1 features, please update your client library. 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.

Improving the accuracy of Publisher Ads Audits for Lighthouse mobile reports

Today we're releasing an update to Publisher Ads Audits for Lighthouse, which focuses on improving the real-world accuracy of mobile reports via simulated throttling. Continue reading to learn more about the new simulated throttling option and how it will affect mobile audit scores.

What is simulated throttling?

Until now, all audit scores were based on the result of loading your page on a desktop CPU over an unthrottled, wired broadband connection. While mobile audits request the mobile version of your page (by identifying as a Nexus 5X phone), the results did not reflect actual mobile CPU and bandwidth constraints.

To address this, we are introducing a simulated throttling option. When enabled, mobile audit scores are calculated by first auditing your page under normal conditions, then using this data to simulate page load performance under mobile conditions. The simulation uses the Lighthouse mobile network throttling preset, which artificially limits both CPU speed and network bandwidth. This approximates the performance of an actual mobile device loading your site over a fast 3G connection.

Note that simulated throttling only applies to mobile audits. Desktop audits will not be throttled regardless of whether this new option is enabled or not.

How does this affect me?

The new simulated throttling option will be enabled by default for all newly generated reports, matching the behavior of other performance auditing tools such as Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights, and the Chrome DevTools Audits' panel. It can be disabled on a per-report basis by toggling the option in advanced settings.

While metric thresholds have been adjusted to account for simulation, we expect this new option may cause scores to change for many pages that were previously audited without throttling. If you audit your page regularly and have established a performance baseline based on the previous mobile audit behavior, you may need to establish a new baseline to account for these differences.

Questions or feedback about this or anything else ad speed related? Reach out on our GitHub issue tracker.

Beta Channel Update for Chrome OS

The Beta channel is being updated to 83.0.4103.31 (Platform version: 13020.31.0) for most Chrome OS devices. This build contains a number of bug fixes and security updates. Systems will be receiving updates over the next several days.

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).

Cindy Bayless
Google Chrome OS

Chrome Beta for Android Update

Hi everyone! We've just released Chrome Beta 83 (83.0.4103.34) 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

Applying Machine Learning to…..Yeast?

Humans have a long history with yeast, tied to the beginnings of plant domestication — baker’s (or brewer’s) yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been used to make grains more digestible in the form of bread (or beer) for millennia. Today, yeast still has a large impact, with biologists adopting it as a model organism for biological research, genetics in particular, because it is easy to grow in the lab and is a eukaryote (i.e., unlike bacteria, it has a cell nucleus, like our cells do). It has even earned its own catchphrase in the biological community — “the awesome power of yeast genetics”. Studying the fundamentals of genetics is much easier in yeast, but is still applicable to humans since ~1000 yeast genes have a sequence homolog to human ones. Understanding how genes work together as a system is core to understanding all living things, which drives interest in this microorganism.

In collaboration with Calico Life Sciences, we present “Learning causal networks using inducible transcription factors and transcriptome-wide time series”, published in Molecular Systems Biology. Based on exhaustive experiments, we built a genome-wide model for the regulation of gene expression in S. cerevisiae and verified some of the results experimentally, enabling future investigations into less well understood biological systems. The Induction Dynamics gene Expression Atlas is available from Calico in a format easy to manipulate in python, with open-sourced code to do this on the Google Research GitHub. The data is hosted in a standard format at the Gene Expression Omnibus.

Using Yeast to Provide Insight into Aging
Yeast reproduce through a process called budding, in which a small bud grows from the surface of the parent to produce an offspring that is almost genetically identical. Interestingly, even though yeast are single-celled organisms, they grow old and die, typically after 30 budding events. In fact the “scars” from budding are clearly visible under a powerful microscope, allowing one to tell the age of the cell simply by looking! The problem is that researchers still do not know what causes aging to happen.
Bud scars on old yeast cells (5 μm bar for scale) — Photo Credit: Ian Foe, (Calico)
Scientists at Calico Life Sciences have pioneered a technique to make targeted perturbations to gene expression in yeast (i.e., allowing them to selectively “turn on” a gene’s activity) with the goal of understanding how aging works at the molecular level. The hope is that understanding aging in yeast will apply to aging in more complex organisms, like humans. This work is an early step in building a predictive framework for understanding the behavior of cells over time.

The Gene Expression Experiment
Genes encoded in DNA only function after being transcribed to RNA. It’s the RNA that is “translated” or “read” by ribosomes to produce protein. The level of protein production is governed by how much RNA is transcribed from DNA. Most of the work in a cell is being done by proteins, so they are key to understanding cell behavior. Yet, while we’d really like to measure the protein production levels, techniques to identify proteins at this scale are prohibitively expensive. Instead, in this experiment we use RNA as a proxy, since measuring RNA levels is easier.

The gene expression experiment is designed to perturb individual genes and measure, over time, how every other gene in the genome responds. The ability to rapidly perturb and track dynamics allows us to learn causal relationships and non-linear behaviors missing in most experiments. These dynamic data can also be used to train predictive models. This is made possible by strains of yeast with a single gene that is responsive to an external switch, in this case the hormone β-estradiol. To perturb a gene, the hormone is introduced, causing the switched gene to be overexpressed by a factor of 50 within 10 minutes. The yeast culture is then sampled at several points in time to measure the gene expression levels on microarrays. These experiments were done in parallel, with one yeast strain per culture, running concurrently.

Most of the perturbation experiments were done on a particular class of genes coding for transcription factors (TFs). These genes are the primary regulators of gene expression, coding for proteins that actually bind to the DNA strands, permitting or blocking transcription of particular genes.

When gene “a” is turned on it may upregulate gene “b” and downregulate gene “c”, and later lead to upregulation of gene “d”. Since yeast has more than 6000 genes, tracing the downstream impact of perturbing a single gene can get complicated very quickly. By combining experiments on different genes, one hopes to disambiguate the exact regulation mechanisms.
Schematic of the genome perturbation experiment: yeast strain with switchable gene “a”. Turning on a single gene (A) can result in differing levels of gene expression over time (B). Tracking these changes in comparison to those induced by turning on other genes (C and D) can provide insight into the regulation mechanisms (E).
The Gene Expression Model
For this experiment, we partnered with Calico because of the scale of the data, and the opportunity to leverage Google’s machine learning expertise and compute resources. There were more than 200 perturbation experiments on different yeast strains, each activating a single gene. In each experiment, the expression levels of all 6000 genes were measured eight times over 90 minutes, yielding a total of almost 20 million individual measurements (panel F, above). Clearly some automation was required to analyze the data.

Our approach was to model the whole process as a system of differential equations: the rate of change of the expression of a gene was proportional to a weighted sum of the expression levels of all genes. We first estimated the time derivatives from the data by simply subtracting the expression levels among adjacent time points. We then predicted the time derivatives using only the raw expression levels themselves. By fitting a linear regression, we are, in effect, fitting the coefficients of a system of differential equations describing gene regulation. Our hope is that the differential equation model would be a low dimensional representation of the data that could be interpreted more easily. To handle overfitting, we regularized the model using the L1-norm, which prefers to set uninformative parameters to exactly zero.

Because each of the 200 experiments was unique, we held out each one in turn, refitting the model and allowing the selection of the best hyperparameters to optimize the out-of-sample loss. In the end, the work required a significant amount of compute, amounting to more than 50 million full regularization paths.

Model Results
Our model made predictions about which genes would code for intermediate regulators of gene expression. This is an attempt at modeling the full gene regulation network of the organism. To verify these predictions, our collaborators at Calico collected more data from ten new strains of yeast. Three out of ten of the predictions held up in these experiments. One of the genes that the model predicted to be active encoded an unverified transcription factor, while another previously identified as a regulator but never followed up, was found by our model to be a very active regulator. Our model was able to identify these without prior biological knowledge, demonstrating that these ML techniques might scale to other domains or organisms that are much less well studied.

More discussion of the impact of this work within the broad context of the field of genomics is available in an independent peer commentary.

We wish to thank Marc Coram, Minjie Fan, and Marc Berndl for their foundational contributions to this work, the Google Accelerated Science team for their continual support, and the entire team at Calico for the opportunity to collaborate on this experiment.

Source: Google AI Blog

Beta Channel Update for Desktop

The beta channel has been updated to 83.0.4103.34 for Mac, Linux and Windows

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.

Srinivas Sista
Google Chrome

Google Meet premium video meetings—free for everyone

Technology that connects us while we're apart helps keep us safe and productive. Over the past few months, we’ve seen the power of video meetings bring us together—whether we’re working with teammates, talking to healthcare professionals, sharing with loved ones, or learning from home.

Today, we’re making Google Meet, our premium video conferencing product, free for everyone, with availability rolling out over the coming weeks. We’ve invested years in making Meet a secure and reliable video conferencing solution that’s trusted by schools, governments and enterprises around the world, and in recent months we’ve accelerated the release of top-requested features to make it even more helpful. Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to our business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view.

It’s important that everyone who uses Meet has a secure and reliable experience from the start, so beginning next week, we’ll be gradually expanding its availability to more and more people over the following weeks. This means you might not be able to create meetings at right away, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s available.

Meet operates on a secure foundation, keeping users safe, data secure, and information private—including between patients and caregivers.

Video meetings built on a secure foundation
Meet is designed, built and operated to be secure at scale. Since January, we’ve seen Meet’s peak daily usage grow by 30x. As of this month, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. And as of last week, Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million. With this growth comes great responsibility. Privacy and security are paramount, no matter if it’s a doctor sharing confidential health information with a patient, a financial advisor hosting a client meeting, or people virtually connecting with each other for graduations, holidays and happy hours.

Our approach to security is simple: make products safe by default. We designed Meet to operate on a secure foundation, providing the protections needed to keep our users safe, their data secure, and their information private. Here are just a few of our default-on safety measures:

  • We provide a strong set of host controls such as the ability to admit or deny entry to a meeting, and mute or remove participants, if needed.
  • We do not allow anonymous users (i.e., without a Google Account) to join meetings created by individual accounts.
  • Meet meeting codes are complex by default and therefore resilient to brute-force “guessing.”
  • Meet video meetings are encrypted in transit, and all recordings stored in Google Drive are encrypted in transit and at rest.
  • We don’t require plugins to use Meet on the web. It works entirely in Chrome and other modern browsers, so it’s less vulnerable to security threats.
  • On mobile, we have dedicated Google Meet apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
  • Meet users can enroll their account in Google’s Advanced Protection Program—our strongest protections available against phishing and account hijacking.
  • Google Cloud undergoes regular rigorous security and privacy audits for all its services. Our global compliance certifications can help support regulatory requirements such as GDPR and HIPAA, as well as COPPA and FERPA for education.
  • Your Meet data is not used for advertising, and we don't sell your data to third parties.

We operate a highly secure and resilient private network that encircles the globe and connects our data centers to each other—ensuring that your data stays safe. Trust is built on transparency and we publish the locations of all our data centers. You can learn more about how Meet keeps your video meetings safe in this post.

Free Google Meet accounts for individuals
You can use Meet to schedule, join or start secure video meetings with anyone—for a virtual yoga class, weekly book club, neighborhood meeting, or happy hour with friends. Until now, Meet has only been available as part of G Suite, our collaboration and productivity solution for businesses, organizations and schools. Going forward, Meet will be available to anyone for free on the web at and via mobile apps for iOS or Android. And if you use Google Calendar, you’ll be able to easily start or join from there, too.

Use your existing Google Account to start a secure meeting in Google Meet

If you have an existing Google Account (for example, if you’re a user), sign in at to get started. If you don’t have a free Google Account, it only takes a minute to create one using your work or personal email address of choice (we require this step as a security measure, and you’ll only need to do this once).

Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though we won’t enforce this time limit until after Sept. 30. Creating a trusted meeting space is important, and being mindful when sharing meeting links in public forums can help create a safe experience for all attendees. For more tips on how to use Meet securely and effectively, visit our Help Center.

Google Meet for groups and teams
Groups within an organization can also use Meet to create video meetings that help coworkers connect one-on-one, collaborate as a team, and more. For organizations that aren’t already G Suite customers, today we’re announcing G Suite Essentials. G Suite Essentials is perfect for teams that need access to Meet’s more advanced features, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings, and meeting recording. G Suite Essentials also includes Google Drive for easy and secure access to all of a team’s content, and Docs, Sheets and Slides for content creation and real-time collaboration.

Through Sept. 30, we’re providing G Suite Essentials and all of these advanced features free of charge. If you’re interested in G Suite Essentials, complete this form to get in touch with our sales team.

Google Meet for businesses and organizations
Whether it’s hospitals supporting patients via telehealth, banks working with loan applicants, retailers assisting customers remotely, or manufacturers interacting safely with warehouse technicians, businesses across every industry are using Meet to stay connected. If you’re one of the 6 million companies and organizations that use G Suite to power remote productivity, you already have access to Meet. Admins simply need to enable Meet by following instructions outlined on our Help Center. In the spirit of being helpful during this time, we’re providing three ways for new and current enterprise customers to access Meet through Sept. 30:

  • Free access to Meet’s advanced features for all G Suite customers, such as the ability to live stream for up to 100,000 viewers within your domain.
  • Free additional Meet licenses for existing G Suite customers without any amendments to their current contract.
  • Free G Suite Essentials for enterprise customers. Enterprises can get in touch with our sales team to learn more.

Google Meet includes live captions powered by Google’s speech recognition technology

Google Meet in schools and higher-ed institutions
Many schools and colleges today use Meet to power secure virtual classes, PTA meetings, parent-teacher conferences, tutoring, and even school socials. Meet is included in G Suite for Education, which serves more than 120 million students and teachers globally. If your school already uses G Suite for Education, your administrator can enable Meet at no additional cost. If your school doesn’t use G Suite for Education, you can sign up here. To access resources for distance learning, visit Teach from Home.

Our hope is that by making Meet and G Suite more readily available for all, it will be easier to securely stay connected and productive—now and in the future.

Post Content

Maps that bring us closer, even when we’re apart

With much of the world physically apart right now, people are finding creative ways to use custom-built maps to maintain a shared sense of community, albeit virtually.

In 2007, we launched a tool called My Maps to help people create their own custom maps on top of Google Maps. With a simple drag-and-drop interface you can add placemarks, draw lines and shapes, and embed text, photos and videos. You can share your map via public URL, embed it on websites or publish your map for others to see.

Over the past four months, we’ve seen a surge in the number of people creating and viewing My Maps. From December 2019 to April 2020, we saw nearly a billion more My Maps creations, edits and views compared to the same time period last year, growing from 2 billion to nearly 3 billion. With My Maps, communities have been sharing helpful, local information in rapidly changing situations—from COVID-19 testing sites and food banks to where first responders can access childcare facilities.

Maps can help us and our communities stay safe

A map can be helpful in ways that a simple list of text is not: it helps us instantly see information in the context of where we are, with the locations of the resources we might need.

My Maps animation

With My Maps, anyone can be a cartographer. People can import their own data into a custom map, similar to how the San Francisco Department of Homelessness & Supportive Housing mapped downtown hand-washing and hygiene stations to support hand hygiene and reduce the spread of COVID-19. With a spreadsheet or KML you can have your own custom map in no time.

Some maps take a bit more than hand-drawn points and polygons. For that, My Maps creators can import their own mapping data and mash it up with other sources. 

For example, the online newspaper Briarcliff Daily Voice created a My Map showing the spread of coronavirus cases in the New York City metropolitan area, using data from three state healthcare agencies and the city’s health department. has leveraged My Maps to inform Pennsylvanians about coronavirus cases by county. And The Chicago Sun-Times has a map showing where to get tested for coronavirus in the Chicago area.
Food bank

Anyone can be a force for good with simple, easy-to-use maps

In the past few months, we've seen how powerful this small set of relatively simple features can be. People are using My Maps to to be forces for good and coordinate relief efforts.

Map by map, people are connecting each other to resources for caring for ourselves and others, while staying healthy and informed. We’re seeing everyone from members of Congress to local nonprofits use Google My Maps to visualize information like school lunch pick-up spots to the spread of the virus in our communities.

Here are 10 helpful My Maps we’ve seen developed by communities around the world:

Keeping a shared sense of community, even when you're physically apart

As much as these maps are informative and helpful, they’re also uplifting. After a group of Brooklyn, NY moms asked neighbors to put pictures of rainbows in house windows so kids could track them down, one woman created a map showing the rainbows’ locations all over the city and suburbs. Now people worldwide are pitching in and adding their own rainbow locations to the map.

Mapping Rainbows with Google My Maps

If you’d like to experiment with My Maps, we’re putting together tutorials on skills like merging datasets and embedding maps online. Visit the Google Earth Medium channel in the coming weeks to learn more.

Source: Google LatLong