Monthly Archives: February 2021

#AndroidDevJourney spotlight – February edition

Luli Perkins, Developer Relations Program Manager

Android Dev Journey February Header

Our second edition of #AndroidDevJourney is here! At the beginning of this year we launched the #AndroidDevJourney to share the stories of members of our community through our social platforms. Each Saturday, from January through June, we’ll feature a new developer on our Twitter account.

For a chance to be featured in our March spotlight series, tweet us your story using #AndroidDevJourney.

Andrew Kelly

Andrew Kelly

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

In 2012 I was working as a contractor for the NSW government here in Australia as a Java J2EE web developer. I'd been in that role for 11 years, building web apps for students and teachers. However, in 2012 the government decided that contractors were expensive and let us all go. So while in my hand-over period I'd read about some kids who were writing Android apps and making lots of money doing so. The Android Market was new and so any app uploaded got a large audience, and since I already knew Java it seemed like switching from a web developer to a mobile developer might be a smart career move. So I purchased a new phone, the HTC Legend and spent the next 2 weeks learning everything I could about Android apps. It was the first time I could run software I'd written on a device made by someone else that I could carry around with me. It was a very exciting time where any app idea seemed possible.

When my contract finally ended, I managed to get a new job working for a mobile development agency and started working on Android apps for their clients. In order to learn more about Android app development, I started to attend the local Android meetups and Google Developer Group events, listening to speakers (mostly from Google) and trying to improve my skills as an Android developer.

In 2013 I was offered the opportunity to become the organiser of the Sydney GDG and it was that year that I also attended my first Google I/O (I've been every year since). One of the hard parts about being a GDG organiser is finding speakers, so occasionally if there were no speakers, or if a speaker dropped out at the last minute, I would step in and give a talk instead. 2013 was also the year I decided to move on from the mobile agency I was working at, and I spent the next 5 years working as a freelance contractor, working with clients such as eBay, the Sydney Opera House, and one of the large banks in Australia. Being the organiser of GDG Sydney and a regular speaker at the meetups meant finding work was quite easy.

In 2016 because of all the speaking I was doing I was approached to join the Google Developer Experts program, at this time I was doing regular talks at both the GDG Sydney and Android meetup events every couple of months. When I joined the GDE program, I handed over my GDG responsibilities to some friends, who still run it to this day. As part of the GDE program I've been lucky enough to attend many Google I/O events, and I've also had the opportunity to speak at conferences all over the world, including DroidCon Boston, Mobile Era in Oslo, DevFest Melbourne, DroidCon Singapore, Chicago Roboto and many others. Having the chance to speak to so many people all over the world has been very rewarding, and I've made many friends.

In 2019 I joined the company where I work today - mx51, I'm the lead Android developer designing and building apps that run on payment terminals, which also integrate with Point of Sales systems. I'm still a GDE but with the 2020 madness the ability to speak at in-person events was severely hindered. I hope that in-person events will start again soon and that I can continue my journey as a GDE.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

Android development is constantly changing and advancing, so there is always something new to learn. My tip would be to always be learning, there are lots of ways to do this, subscribe to the Android Developers YouTube channels and Medium publications. Follow Googlers and Google Developer Experts on Twitter for new tips and posts. Subscribe to the Android Weekly newsletter for an overview of new libraries and blog posts, and attend your local GDG chapter and Meetups. Not only are these great ways to learn new aspects of Android development, but with meetups they're a great place to meet other Android developers, share successes, and ask for advice on problems.

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

When I started out as an Android developer, I could never have dreamed about being a Google Developer Expert, travelling the world and speaking at large events. It took me a long time to learn that it's ok not to know the answers to people's questions. If at an event someone asks something you don't know, it's ok to say so. You can always say that you'll find out later and get back to them. There is no need to make up a wrong answer on the spot and lead someone off course. People are often scared that a topic they're presenting might not be the best or greatest way to do something, and they fear looking stupid. If a person in the audience suggests a better way that shouldn't be a worry, 1) you learnt something, 2) everyone else learnt something and 3) there may be scenarios where your solution is better and a discussion can be had. So my advice would be, when speaking don't fear questions but embrace the opportunity to help someone immediately, or later, or perhaps discover something new yourself.

Amanda Hinchman-Dominguez

Amanda Hinchman-Dominguez

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

I dabbled in Android development in college with the student mobile development group, but it wasn't until I was a few years in web development I made the real switch over. Back in my web dev days, I joined the Kotlin community, where I felt immediately welcome. Shortly after, I moved to Chicago a few years back when I heard there was a Kotlin community in the tech scene.

Getting up to speed with Android at a professional level is a whole different game, and I've been lucky to find the overlapping Kotlin/Android community both locally and globally. Android development has accelerated my career technically and professionally, yet the world is so deep and vast within the sandbox of Android development.

Already being an active enthusiast with Kotlin, it only felt natural to switch to Android, and I've never looked back. Since then, I've been working scalable and complex Android applications, and contributing with some technical writing along the way. I'm currently co-writing with my colleague, Pierre Laurence, on “Programming Android with Kotlin: Achieving Structured Concurrency with Coroutines with O'Reilly”, and I'm excited to have it come out sometime this year.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

For larger projects, it's sometimes hard to locate the file you're looking at in your Project view. You can use the target symbol ⊕ to get a highlight the file you're currently on in Android Studio.

Android Studio interface with arrows pointing to target symbol

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

Only install LeakCanary when, and only when, you and your team is ready for that conversation 😁

Anthony Edwards JR

Anthony Edwards Jr

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My journey as a developer started as a child. As a kid, I was obsessed with robots. I remember my dad bought me a Lego set called Lego Mindstorm, which was basically a robotics set with sensors and motors, plus it was also programmable. After graduating high school, I enrolled in the US Army as an Aviation Maintenance Repairer. After 6 years, I was honorably discharged then enrolled in college at Fordham University. In 2014, I received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. About 2 years later, I met my now wife, and together we started building EatOkra as a way for us to find black-owned restaurants in Brooklyn, NY. As we introduced the application to new people, they shared it with their network; before we knew it, many people were asking us to cover more areas in the south.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

Learn how to ask the right questions.

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

One piece of advice I wish I took more seriously was to not build an application using beta technology. EatOkra's MVP was created using a beta version of a software framework. It started out good but then as they made updates, at times, I ended up having to wait months for certain issues to get fixed. I also had to completely stop and restart the app with an entirely new code base because the company decided to change how they architected the code. I learned a lot but it was painful to navigate.

Dinorah Tovar

Dinorah Tovar

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My journey started a couple of years ago (I was still in college) when I saw the Android Developer Udacity course. There was no nano degree back in the day. So once I saw it, I started building some apps for myself. From there, I applied for my first job as a junior developer in a big consulting firm. Then I started seeing more courses and started following a lot of people at Twitter, like Sam Edwards and Joe Birch (both GDE). The community made me grow and learn. A couple of years later I got my first team and I began delivering speeches at conferences and keeping up my Medium blog on the side. The community offers me feedback and knowledge, and especially a place to learn. My first conference was with WomenWhoCode.org here in Mexico. They opened a place for me without any experience. The same happened with Google Developers Groups here in Mexico City.

I became a Lead Engineer during my second job and I began doing worldwide conferences. I asked for feedback from Sam Edwards and Carlos Muñoz (also GDEs in Colombia) and they told me not to worry because I would amazingly and they encouraged me to keep doing it.

I got a really nice offer to start from scratch here as a Mobile Platform engineer in Mexico City with a huge fintech Startup (Konfio.mx). This is my current job, which means I am in the architectural office where we choose new ideas and new processes and pretty much service all the areas in the company.

I started creating a group of series to teach people some specific topics that I noticed were not deeply addressed. I also started getting involved in Kotlin Multiplatform and then I was reached out to by two GDE that nominated me to become GDE, Walmyr Carvalho, and Sam Edwards. They offered me feedback about my latest talks, podcast, and series and I was accepted at the end of 2020. Right now, I'm trying to learn more and deliver more talks and blog posts to the community.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

My special hack as an Android Developer is to use Wireless Debugging in the lastest Android Studio for physical devices. It is my favorite part because I don't need to use any cables and the setup is super easy!

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

My advice is that learning is a process, things change and all of this must be welcome because we are addressing the evolution of the platform as we code. Also, read everything you can because people in the community are amazing and they love to teach! Open an account on Twitter, because there are a lot of people giving tips in less than 180 characters.


The Android Developer community prides itself in its inclusivity and welcomes developers from all backgrounds and stages of life. If you’re feeling inspired and want to learn more about how to become a part of our community, here are a few resources to help get you started.

Dive into developer.android.com

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

GDG logo

The Google Developer Groups program gives developers the opportunity to meet local developers with similar interests in technology. A GDG meetup event includes talks on a wide range of technical topics where you can learn new skills through hands-on workshops.

Join a chapter near you here.

Women Techmakers logo

Founded in 2014, Google’s Women Techmakers is dedicated to helping all women thrive in tech through community, visibility and resources. With a member base of over 100,000 women developers, we’re working with communities across the globe to build a world where all women can thrive in tech.

Become a member here.

GD Experts logo

The Google Developers Experts program is a global network of highly experienced technology experts, influencers and thought leaders who actively support developers, companies and tech communities by speaking at events, publishing content, and building innovative apps. Experts actively contribute to and support the developer and startup ecosystems around the world, helping them build and launch highly innovative apps.

Learn more about the program here.

Java is a registered trademark of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

#AndroidDevJourney spotlight – February edition

Luli Perkins, Developer Relations Program Manager

Android Dev Journey February Header

Our second edition of #AndroidDevJourney is here! At the beginning of this year we launched the #AndroidDevJourney to share the stories of members of our community through our social platforms. Each Saturday, from January through June, we’ll feature a new developer on our Twitter account.

For a chance to be featured in our March spotlight series, tweet us your story using #AndroidDevJourney.

Andrew Kelly

Andrew Kelly

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

In 2012 I was working as a contractor for the NSW government here in Australia as a Java J2EE web developer. I'd been in that role for 11 years, building web apps for students and teachers. However, in 2012 the government decided that contractors were expensive and let us all go. So while in my hand-over period I'd read about some kids who were writing Android apps and making lots of money doing so. The Android Market was new and so any app uploaded got a large audience, and since I already knew Java it seemed like switching from a web developer to a mobile developer might be a smart career move. So I purchased a new phone, the HTC Legend and spent the next 2 weeks learning everything I could about Android apps. It was the first time I could run software I'd written on a device made by someone else that I could carry around with me. It was a very exciting time where any app idea seemed possible.

When my contract finally ended, I managed to get a new job working for a mobile development agency and started working on Android apps for their clients. In order to learn more about Android app development, I started to attend the local Android meetups and Google Developer Group events, listening to speakers (mostly from Google) and trying to improve my skills as an Android developer.

In 2013 I was offered the opportunity to become the organiser of the Sydney GDG and it was that year that I also attended my first Google I/O (I've been every year since). One of the hard parts about being a GDG organiser is finding speakers, so occasionally if there were no speakers, or if a speaker dropped out at the last minute, I would step in and give a talk instead. 2013 was also the year I decided to move on from the mobile agency I was working at, and I spent the next 5 years working as a freelance contractor, working with clients such as eBay, the Sydney Opera House, and one of the large banks in Australia. Being the organiser of GDG Sydney and a regular speaker at the meetups meant finding work was quite easy.

In 2016 because of all the speaking I was doing I was approached to join the Google Developer Experts program, at this time I was doing regular talks at both the GDG Sydney and Android meetup events every couple of months. When I joined the GDE program, I handed over my GDG responsibilities to some friends, who still run it to this day. As part of the GDE program I've been lucky enough to attend many Google I/O events, and I've also had the opportunity to speak at conferences all over the world, including DroidCon Boston, Mobile Era in Oslo, DevFest Melbourne, DroidCon Singapore, Chicago Roboto and many others. Having the chance to speak to so many people all over the world has been very rewarding, and I've made many friends.

In 2019 I joined the company where I work today - mx51, I'm the lead Android developer designing and building apps that run on payment terminals, which also integrate with Point of Sales systems. I'm still a GDE but with the 2020 madness the ability to speak at in-person events was severely hindered. I hope that in-person events will start again soon and that I can continue my journey as a GDE.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

Android development is constantly changing and advancing, so there is always something new to learn. My tip would be to always be learning, there are lots of ways to do this, subscribe to the Android Developers YouTube channels and Medium publications. Follow Googlers and Google Developer Experts on Twitter for new tips and posts. Subscribe to the Android Weekly newsletter for an overview of new libraries and blog posts, and attend your local GDG chapter and Meetups. Not only are these great ways to learn new aspects of Android development, but with meetups they're a great place to meet other Android developers, share successes, and ask for advice on problems.

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

When I started out as an Android developer, I could never have dreamed about being a Google Developer Expert, travelling the world and speaking at large events. It took me a long time to learn that it's ok not to know the answers to people's questions. If at an event someone asks something you don't know, it's ok to say so. You can always say that you'll find out later and get back to them. There is no need to make up a wrong answer on the spot and lead someone off course. People are often scared that a topic they're presenting might not be the best or greatest way to do something, and they fear looking stupid. If a person in the audience suggests a better way that shouldn't be a worry, 1) you learnt something, 2) everyone else learnt something and 3) there may be scenarios where your solution is better and a discussion can be had. So my advice would be, when speaking don't fear questions but embrace the opportunity to help someone immediately, or later, or perhaps discover something new yourself.

Amanda Hinchman-Dominguez

Amanda Hinchman-Dominguez

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

I dabbled in Android development in college with the student mobile development group, but it wasn't until I was a few years in web development I made the real switch over. Back in my web dev days, I joined the Kotlin community, where I felt immediately welcome. Shortly after, I moved to Chicago a few years back when I heard there was a Kotlin community in the tech scene.

Getting up to speed with Android at a professional level is a whole different game, and I've been lucky to find the overlapping Kotlin/Android community both locally and globally. Android development has accelerated my career technically and professionally, yet the world is so deep and vast within the sandbox of Android development.

Already being an active enthusiast with Kotlin, it only felt natural to switch to Android, and I've never looked back. Since then, I've been working scalable and complex Android applications, and contributing with some technical writing along the way. I'm currently co-writing with my colleague, Pierre Laurence, on “Programming Android with Kotlin: Achieving Structured Concurrency with Coroutines with O'Reilly”, and I'm excited to have it come out sometime this year.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

For larger projects, it's sometimes hard to locate the file you're looking at in your Project view. You can use the target symbol ⊕ to get a highlight the file you're currently on in Android Studio.

Android Studio interface with arrows pointing to target symbol

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

Only install LeakCanary when, and only when, you and your team is ready for that conversation 😁

Anthony Edwards JR

Anthony Edwards Jr

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My journey as a developer started as a child. As a kid, I was obsessed with robots. I remember my dad bought me a Lego set called Lego Mindstorm, which was basically a robotics set with sensors and motors, plus it was also programmable. After graduating high school, I enrolled in the US Army as an Aviation Maintenance Repairer. After 6 years, I was honorably discharged then enrolled in college at Fordham University. In 2014, I received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. About 2 years later, I met my now wife, and together we started building EatOkra as a way for us to find black-owned restaurants in Brooklyn, NY. As we introduced the application to new people, they shared it with their network; before we knew it, many people were asking us to cover more areas in the south.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

Learn how to ask the right questions.

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

One piece of advice I wish I took more seriously was to not build an application using beta technology. EatOkra's MVP was created using a beta version of a software framework. It started out good but then as they made updates, at times, I ended up having to wait months for certain issues to get fixed. I also had to completely stop and restart the app with an entirely new code base because the company decided to change how they architected the code. I learned a lot but it was painful to navigate.

Dinorah Tovar

Dinorah Tovar

Tell me about your journey to becoming an Android Developer and how you got started.

My journey started a couple of years ago (I was still in college) when I saw the Android Developer Udacity course. There was no nano degree back in the day. So once I saw it, I started building some apps for myself. From there, I applied for my first job as a junior developer in a big consulting firm. Then I started seeing more courses and started following a lot of people at Twitter, like Sam Edwards and Joe Birch (both GDE). The community made me grow and learn. A couple of years later I got my first team and I began delivering speeches at conferences and keeping up my Medium blog on the side. The community offers me feedback and knowledge, and especially a place to learn. My first conference was with WomenWhoCode.org here in Mexico. They opened a place for me without any experience. The same happened with Google Developers Groups here in Mexico City.

I became a Lead Engineer during my second job and I began doing worldwide conferences. I asked for feedback from Sam Edwards and Carlos Muñoz (also GDEs in Colombia) and they told me not to worry because I would amazingly and they encouraged me to keep doing it.

I got a really nice offer to start from scratch here as a Mobile Platform engineer in Mexico City with a huge fintech Startup (Konfio.mx). This is my current job, which means I am in the architectural office where we choose new ideas and new processes and pretty much service all the areas in the company.

I started creating a group of series to teach people some specific topics that I noticed were not deeply addressed. I also started getting involved in Kotlin Multiplatform and then I was reached out to by two GDE that nominated me to become GDE, Walmyr Carvalho, and Sam Edwards. They offered me feedback about my latest talks, podcast, and series and I was accepted at the end of 2020. Right now, I'm trying to learn more and deliver more talks and blog posts to the community.

What’s one shortcut, tip, or hack you can’t live without?

My special hack as an Android Developer is to use Wireless Debugging in the lastest Android Studio for physical devices. It is my favorite part because I don't need to use any cables and the setup is super easy!

What's the one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you when you started on your journey?

My advice is that learning is a process, things change and all of this must be welcome because we are addressing the evolution of the platform as we code. Also, read everything you can because people in the community are amazing and they love to teach! Open an account on Twitter, because there are a lot of people giving tips in less than 180 characters.


The Android Developer community prides itself in its inclusivity and welcomes developers from all backgrounds and stages of life. If you’re feeling inspired and want to learn more about how to become a part of our community, here are a few resources to help get you started.

Dive into developer.android.com

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our YouTube channel

GDG logo

The Google Developer Groups program gives developers the opportunity to meet local developers with similar interests in technology. A GDG meetup event includes talks on a wide range of technical topics where you can learn new skills through hands-on workshops.

Join a chapter near you here.

Women Techmakers logo

Founded in 2014, Google’s Women Techmakers is dedicated to helping all women thrive in tech through community, visibility and resources. With a member base of over 100,000 women developers, we’re working with communities across the globe to build a world where all women can thrive in tech.

Become a member here.

GD Experts logo

The Google Developers Experts program is a global network of highly experienced technology experts, influencers and thought leaders who actively support developers, companies and tech communities by speaking at events, publishing content, and building innovative apps. Experts actively contribute to and support the developer and startup ecosystems around the world, helping them build and launch highly innovative apps.

Learn more about the program here.

Java is a registered trademark of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

Google Workspace Updates Weekly Recap – February 26, 2021

New updates

There are no new updates to share this week. Please see below for a recap of published announcements.

Previous announcements


The announcements below were published on the Workspace Updates blog earlier this week. Please refer to the original blog posts for complete details.

Improvements for locating new comments and important conversations in Google Docs
We’ve added two new ways that make it easier to find comments that require your attention and action in Google Docs on the web. New comment activity since the last time you viewed a document will be “badged” with a blue dot. Additionally, when you hover over the blue dot, you’ll see a “New” banner. | Learn more.


More options for sharing your availability in Google Calendar
We’re adding two new options in Calendar, which will help you better communicate your work availability to your colleagues. Specifically, you can create repeating out of office entries and split your working hours into multiple segments each day. | Learn more.


End a Google Meet video call for everyone at once
When a Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals or Education Plus host leaves their meeting, they can now choose to keep others on the call or to end the call instead, ejecting everyone else. | Available to Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals and Education Plus customers only. | Learn more.


Easily locate the source file for embedded Drive video and audio files in Google Slides
It’s now easier to find the original source file for Google Drive-stored video or audio files embedded in a Google Slides presentation. | Learn more.


Reminder: Ending support for IE11 for all Google Workspace apps on March 15
Last year, we announced that Google Workspace will officially stop supporting Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) on March 15, 2021. To avoid any possible disruptions in service, such as degraded performance or security vulnerabilities, please be sure to switch to a different browser before that date. | Learn more.


Let Google Calendar automatically book a replacement room for your events
If a room declines your event, Google Calendar can now find a similar room to replace it, automatically. | Available to Google Workspace Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, and Education Plus, as well as G Suite Basic, Business, and Nonprofits customers only. | Learn more.


Admin control for AppSheet now fully available
In December 2020, we announced the availability of an admin control for AppSheet in the Additional services section of the Admin console. This rollout of this control is now complete. | Learn more.

For a recap of announcements in the past six months, check out What’s new in Google Workspace (recent releases).

 

For Rich Jones, starting a finance podcast just made cents

In this post: Rich Jones, who works in people operations at Google, is the host of a personal finance podcast called "Paychecks & Balances." He hopes his show can help people learn from his mistakes — and now he's helping others start podcasts, too.


Several years ago, Rich Jones was on the hunt for personal finance podcasts. But none were right for him. “It felt like every podcast that I listened to either made me feel dumb, or made me feel like I was being lectured by an old white guy in a suit,” he says. “Or it just was really boring.” So he decided to create his own. 


These days, his podcast, “Paychecks & Balances,” has been downloaded more than two million times and recently won an award from the Plutus Foundation, which highlights excellence in financial media. He often records episodes from his Mountain View home in the early-morning hours, then logs on for his job working in People Operations at Google. 


For years, Rich has turned to the internet to express himself. But even though his name is, well, Rich, he didn’t first think of money as a topic to talk about. In fact, he had first blogged about relationships for several years, and then co-hosted a podcast called “2 Guys, 1 Show,” that was about more general topics, including money. 


Rich realized that if he felt lectured by finance podcasters, other people like him — and possibly younger people learning about money for the first time — likely felt the same way. So he and his co-host decided to focus on finances and rename the podcast “Paychecks & Balances.”  They wanted to reach out to younger versions of themselves — and Rich also wanted to represent people like him as well as reach them. “Even now, you won’t find a whole lot of Black men in the personal finance space in particular,” he says. “I think it’s important to be out there as a Black male and show a perspective that you might not be getting elsewhere.” 

For the current season of the show, Rich is hosting the show solo, and he’s continuing to share his own financial progress while also teaching others. When he started the show, he was grappling with credit-card debt after treating his cards like “free money.” Because of his experience, he knows to talk about money in a way that’s relatable and simple, for people just starting to manage their finances. “I don’t call myself an expert,” he says. “Podcasting is a medium for me to talk about my experience. And not just my successes, but the mistakes I’ve made along the way as well.”

It felt like every podcast that I listened to either made me feel dumb, or made me feel like I was being lectured by an old white guy in a suit.

Rich is constantly surprised that he keeps getting the same questions over and over — like how to balance a budget, or why not to sign up for a credit card in exchange for a free T-shirt. And over the past year, he’s seen friends fall prey to get-rich-quick scams and even try to sign him up. Rich says this is a symptom of a lack of financial education. “The interesting problem to me is: How do we close that gap where this information feels accessible to everyone, and people are accessing that information a lot sooner?” he says. 


With the growth of his podcast, Rich says people have come to him asking for advice on starting their own podcasts. So this month he launched a YouTube page, The Show Starter, which breaks down advice for people who might not have a technical audio background. “It’ll be a combination of tutorials, reviews and some motivational content, but not the cheesy, corny kind,” he says. “It’s very similar to the approach I take with personal finance topics, where I try to simplify things as much as possible and take out the jargon.” He hopes to one day expand his work into a multimedia company, with multiple brands under the “Paychecks & Balances” umbrella. 

Rich says both his podcast and his YouTube channel have the same goal: helping others. “While the podcast is about money, for me this has never been about the money,” Rich says. “I love seeing people achieve freedom in their lives, whatever that means for them. I think continuing to focus on that is what has kept people along for the ride.”

Furthering our work with HBCUs

Melonie Parker in a graduation cap and gown receiving her diploma from Hampton University.

Melonie Parker graduating from Hampton University, a historically Black research university in Hampton, Virginia.

We have a responsibility to not only increase representation of our workforce, but also work with higher education institutions to provide access and opportunities for underrepresented groups in the tech industry. As Google’s Chief Diversity Officer, it gives me great pride to continue our long-standing partnership with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUS) in order to achieve these goals.

For example, this year, we expanded our Grow with Google Career Readiness Program to 20 schools, and in our recent Tech Exchange cohort, 95% of students rated their overall experience as positive. We’ve also reached more than 4,000 students through our Google in Residence program. I’m proud that we’ve hired hundreds of students from HBCUs as a part of these joint efforts with our HBCU partners.

Now, we’re deepening our partnership with HBCUs with a new “Pathways to Tech” initiative, designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and ensure that Black employees have growth opportunities and feel included at work. To help us drive this work, we are working with HBCUs to form a tech advisory board that strengthens our existing partnership. The HBCU Tech Advisory Board is composed of four parts:

  1. HBCU Tech Advisory Board:The board will be involved in shaping “Pathways to Tech” efforts and will expand to include additional corporations in the future. 

  2. HBCU Presidents’ Council: Dr. Michael Lomax of UNCF and Dr. Harry Williams of TMCF will lead an HBCU Presidents’ Council, which will advise the board and ensure that we’re creating and executing meaningful programming that meets the needs of HBCU students.

  3. Joint Steering Committee: To set goals and drive this work forward, I will sit on a steering committee alongside Dr. Kamau Bobb, Global Lead, Diversity Strategy and Research at Google; Maria Medrano, Senior Director, Diversity Strategy at Google; Eric Hart, Chief Programs Officer at Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Chad Womack, Senior Director of STEM Programs and Initiatives; Angela Van Croft, Director, Corporations and Foundations at United Negro College Fund; and Alycia Onowho, Program Manager at Howard University.

  4. Internal Advisory Committee:I will lead an HBCU Advisory Committee that consists of senior vice presidents across Google, including product leaders and executives across Talent Acquisition, Grow with Google, Google.org and Engineering Education, to organize our efforts across the company. 

As we deepen our work together, here’s a look at some of the areas we’re focused on.

Helping to build equity for HBCU computing education 

We’ll continue to invest in programs that help students develop skills and immerse themselves in tech, and help universities and faculty establish the infrastructure and tools they need to support these students. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that when HBCU students graduate, they’ll have the skills they need to succeed in tech. 

This year, our Tech Exchange program will host 114 computer science majors, providing them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in coding classes at Google. This first-of-its-kind program is now in its fourth year, and we’ve continued to update, broaden and improve the program over the years. Through our Google in Residence program, which sends experienced Google Software Engineers to HBCU campuses for a semester to teach introductory computer science classes, we’ve reached more than 4,000 students. Through this initiative, students gain practical knowledge about what it’s like to work in the tech industry. 

Our Faculty in Residence program is an immersive professional development program that brings CS faculty from HBCUs and HSIs to Google for a four week summer residency, where they design project-based, industry-informed content and implement that content back in their classrooms.

Since 2017, we’ve invited more than 50 faculty members from 30 HBCUs to join the program.

Helping students find jobs in tech

We’ll also remain focused on helping HBCU students find and secure internships and jobs that will help them build successful careers. Last year, we launched the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which brings Grow with Google digital skills training into the career centers of HBCUs. The program recently expanded to 20 HBCUs, and aims to help 20,000 students learn digital skills by the end of the current school year. As we have in the past, we’ll continue our HBCU Campus Outreach efforts to prepare students for the tech industry with resume workshops, mock interviews and opportunities for students to develop their soft skills and technical skills through events like coding challenges and hackathons.

Creating a workplace where everyone belongs 

For students who choose to pursue a career at Google, we’re also accelerating efforts to ensure every Googler — and in particular Black students and those from other underrepresented groups — experience Google as an inclusive workplace and have the opportunity to accelerate their careers. 

We have a responsibility to help provide access and opportunities for underrepresented talent to join the tech industry. Many of the initiatives we’re working on are the first of their kind in our industry. It’s so important that we keep this momentum going.

A Matter of Impact: February updates from Google.org

Editor’s note: Welcome to A Matter of Impact, Google.org’s monthly digest, where we highlight what the team’s been up to and spotlight some of the incredible nonprofits and Google.org Fellows helping solve some of society’s biggest challenges through technology and innovation. 

It didn’t take long for the effects of COVID-19 to reveal a devastating, but predictable, truth: the pandemic has had an outsized impact on marginalized groups, especially people of color. At Google.org, we aim to bring the best of Google to support underserved communities. So when we made a $100 million grant and 50,000 pro bono hour commitment to support COVID-19 relief, we focused our efforts on addressing the compounding racial and social inequities of this crisis. 

As we join forces to fight this pandemic, we must put equity at the center of our response and lift up our most vulnerable communities. Here you’ll find updates about our work that’s at the intersection of COVID-19 relief and equity and two themes that remain top priorities for us.

Equitable distribution of vaccines and health information

Data shows that COVID-19 affects people of color at much higher rates: about 71% percent of Black Americans and 61% of Hispanic Americans know someone who has died or been hospitalized from the virus compared to 48% of white Americans. Yet data also shows that Black Americans are getting vaccinated at lower rates than their peers. That’s why we have a team of Google.org Fellows working full-time with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine to help create a Health Equity Tracker to map and contextualize COVID-19 health disparities in communities of color throughout the U.S. We’re also committing $5 million in grants to organizations addressing racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations.

Support for minority-owned small businesses

Turning to the economy, reports have shown that 41% of Black-owned businesses — about 440,000 businesses — have shuttered due to COVID-19 compared to 17% of businesses owned by white people. To support minority business owners through the pandemic, we’ve supported Common Future with grant funding to provide capital and technical assistance to 2,000 women and minority small-business entrepreneurs in the U.S. We’ll also provide opportunities for Google volunteers to assist them with skill-based coaching and mentoring. 

Read the rest of our Google.org updates below.


In case you missed it 

Yesterday, leading academic organizations with support from a team of Google.org Fellows, shared the launch of Global.health, a data platform that helps model the trajectory of COVID-19 and future disease. Last month, we launched a Google.org Impact Challenge to help bridge the digital divide in Central and Eastern Europe, and announced $3 million in grants to help underserved communities in Kenya during a virtual summit with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, and H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya.

Hear from one of our grantees: Common Future

Rodney Foxworth is the CEO of Common Future, a network of leaders helping to build an economy that includes everyone. Last spring, Common Future received a $5 million Google.org grant to provide capital and technical assistance to women and minority small business entrepreneurs in the U.S. 

Headshot of Rodney Foxworth laughing in front of a red brick wall.

Rodney Foxworth is the CEO of Common Future, a Google.org grantee. 


“As we think about long-term COVID-19 recovery, we need to stabilize and uplift small businesses. Common Future, with support from Google.org, has been able to give grants to over 30 organizations that do just that. These entrepreneurial-support organizations (ESOs) that we supported serve roughly 2,000 small businesses across the U.S. — 76% of these organizations are run by people of color and 62% are run by women — and center on inclusive lending models. For example, a few organizations that we work with are pioneering character-based lending models, as many business-owners of color are excluded from the traditional banking sector due to traditional credit and collateral requirements.”

A few words with a Google.org Fellow: Colin Jackson

Colin Jackson is a product manager who recently completed a Google.org Fellowship with Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse School of Medicine. 

A headshot of Colin Jackson.

Colin Jackson is a Google.org Fellow with Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

“I grew up Black in America, but I was raised by a white family. This gave me a unique perspective on health inequity. I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a child since my little sister was diagnosed with cancer when she was two years old. In the midst of that pain I very quickly became aware of the different ways I was treated in medical spaces when I was alone compared to when I was with my family. Helping develop SHLI’s Health Equity Tracker was such a natural fit for me, and the experience was deeply rewarding. I felt like I was returning to those hospitals I spent so much time in as a child, but this time with the power to make a difference.”

Progress from a year of AI for Social Good at Google Research India

Almost a year and a half ago, we announced Google Research India, an AI Lab in Bangalore. Along with advancing fundamental research in AI, we sought  to support nonprofits and universities to solve big challenges in the field of Public Health, Conservation, Agriculture and Education using AI. 

In 2020, we announced AI for Social Good would be supporting six projects from NGOs and Academic collaborations to utilize the application of AI to assist underserved communities that have not traditionally benefited from the prowess of AI. Google provided scientific and technical contributions for each project, as well as  funding from Google Research and Google.org. 

Today, we are pleased to provide an update on some of these projects, and highlight successes and challenges in AI for Social Good. 

Maternal Healthcare

India accounts for 11 percent of global maternal mortality, and a woman in India dies in childbirth every fifteen minutes. However, almost 90 percent of maternal deaths are avoidable if women receive timely intervention. Access to timely, accurate health information is a significant challenge among women in rural areas and urban slums. ARMMAN runs mMitra, a free mobile voice call service that sends timely and targeted preventive care information to expectant and new mothers. Adherence to such public health programs is a big challenge but timely intervention to retain people is beneficial to improve maternal health outcomes. Researchers from Google Research and IIT Madras worked with ARMMAN to design an AI technology that could provide an indication of women who were at risk of dropping out from the health information program. The early targeted identification helps ARMMAN to personalise interventions and retain these people, improving maternal health outcomes. Test results demonstrated that use of AI technology was able to bring down the risk of drop-offs by up to 32% for women at high risk of dropping out. The team is currently working towards scaling this to 300,000+ women in mMitra and we are excited to continue to support ARMMAN as the project team increases the reach of this technology to 1M+ mothers and children in 2021. To support ARMMAN’s growing efforts, Google.org is committing another USD $530,000 to ARMMAN to scale the use of AI for social good to reach underserved women and children. 

The importance of targeted interventions to improve health outcomes cannot be overstated. AI can help play a critical role in its advancement, however the lack of availability of high-quality public health data is a significant challenge. Frequently, data collection is enabled through the labour and expertise of frontline health workers and yet Khushibaby discovered various challenges in the field that inhibited the collection of the high-quality data required. Researchers from Singapore Management University and Google Research collaborated with Khushibaby to develop AI algorithms with over 90 percent accuracy that provided timely predictions about the drop in health workers’ data quality. These timely predictions help Khushibaby provide assistance to the health worker to enable them to record high-quality data. The project team is currently planning to deploy and safely test this technology with 250+ healthcare workers who serve over 15,000 people. 

Wildlife Conservation

India is home to some of the most biodiverse regions, where human settlements and wildlife co-exist in forests. However, interactions between local communities and wildlife can result in conflicts, leading to loss of crops, cattle, and even human life. Wildlife Conservation Trust needed help to proactively predict human-wildlife conflict to enable them to take timely steps to protect local communities, wildlife, and the forest. With technical and scientific contributions from Google Research and Singapore Management University, Wildlife Conservation Trust designed AI models that help predict human-wildlife conflict in Bramhapuri Forest Division in Tadoba, Maharashtra. These novel AI techniques provide over 80 percent accuracy in predicting human-wildlife conflict in the Bramhapuri Forest Division in the test results. This work is currently being field-tested in Chandrapur district, Madhya Pradesh, to ensure safe deployment. 

Local Language Adoption

Six out of ten children globally do not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading, despite attending school. Lack of access to reading content in one’s local language is a significant challenge in addressing this problem. Storyweaver, an open-licence driven organization, works towards bridging that gap by developing and curating story books in a multitude of local languages to help children learn new concepts, new ideas and open up their imagination.  Storyweaver needed help to enable access to creation tools in low-resource languages. Creation tools in low-resource languages suffer from very low accuracy, adding barriers to content creation. The team at AI4Bharat & IIT Madras, with support from Google, developed state-of-the-art Natural Language Understanding tools to develop open-language models for two low-resource languages (Konkani, Maithal), making story reading easier for 70,000+ children. 

We are humbled to see the progress in the development and deployment of AI technologies for social good in a short period of time. We are confident in our development and support of a collaborative model that involves experts from Academia and NGOs, as well as contributions from Google, to advance AI for social good. Continuing our scientific, technical, and financial support of organizations working in this space, we are excited to announce an expanded follow-up program to initiate collaborative AI for Social Good projects in Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

We recognize that AI is not a magic wand to solve all the world’s challenges, it is however a powerful tool to help experts and social-impact organisations to explore and address hard, unanswered questions. 

Posted by Milind Tambe, Director of AI for Social Good, Google Research India, and Manish Gupta, Director, Google Research India


Dev Channel Update for Desktop

The Dev channel has been updated to 90.0.4427.4/.5 for Windows and 90.0.4427.5 for Linux and Mac.

A partial list of changes is available in the log. Interested in switching release channels? Find out how. 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.


Google Chrome 

Srinivas Sista