Category Archives: Official Google Blog

Insights from Googlers into our topics, technology, and the Google culture

Campus London calling: apply for Women Founders residency

Only nine percent of C-level positions—and six percent of CEOs—at European startups are women. Of all the funds raised by European venture capital-backed companies in 2018, a staggering 93 percent went to all-male founding teams. In order to combat this, last year Google for Startups introduced the first Women Founders Residency at our Campus in London—one of seven Campuses around the world—to back women-led startups using technology to tackle key social issues. Founders receive access to Google products, resources, and mentoring to level the playing field for startup success. The program proved so successful that we are now currently accepting applications for the second Women Founders cohort

To learn more about the Google for Startups Residency, we chatted with Elina Naydenova: biomedical engineer, data scientist and founder ofFeebris, a healthcare startup that graduated from Campus Residency in 2019. Not based in the UK? Explore other Google for Startups places and programs for founders of all backgrounds at startup.google.com. 

What inspired you to start found Feebris? What problem are you trying to solve? 

Healthcare should be a human right; yet, millions of people can’t get the care they need, when they need it. It’s unacceptable that in 2019, we can do our communications, our banking, our navigation, our shopping at a touch of a button, but still nearly one million children die of pneumonia because it gets diagnosed too late. 

When I realized these deaths can be avoided through early diagnosis, I became obsessed with solving the problem. We set up Feebris so that the most vulnerable patients—children and the elderly—can diagnose pneumonia early. The Feebris AI platform lets anyone capture and interpret important health information in order to identify disease early and monitor conditions in the community. Feebris algorithms paired with sensors, such as digital stethoscopes, can be used by anyone, such as a teacher or a parent, in any remote area to detect issues early, avoid complications and prevent hospitalization. 

How did Google for Startups Residency help you achieve your goals? 

The most valuable training we received from Residency was how to implement an Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) framework for our startup. When we started Residency, we were going through due diligence with investors, so we worked with a senior Googler to set clear goals. This gave our investors confidence in our ability to map out our journey and identify appropriate milestones, and we went on to close our seed round of £1.1 million. Striking a balance between structure and agility is tremendously important in tech, and even more so for a startup. Residency gave us the right tools to forge a framework that we continue to follow and adapt as we evolve.  

Second, the pool of expertise and deep knowledge that Google offers to the Residency startups is second to none. We’ve been connected with the leading experts in technology, like TensorFlowor ChromeOS, to help us develop core product functionality and our technical infrastructure.

Third, as a health technology startup, credibility is hugely important as we grow our footprint with healthcare providers. Residency provided us with a public platform to share our story and build awareness for the work we are doing, from public speaking opportunities to media articles. 

What does Residency offer that is different than a traditional accelerator or other program you've attended? 

Support at Campus is personalized to your needs and led by people who have successfully launched and scaled startups. Unlike the one-size-fits-all classroom programs, Residency is focused on unlocking opportunities and removing barriers for each business individually. 

Over time, build relationships with people you like and admire because they might become your future dream team.

What does Google 1:1 mentorship offer you specifically? What were the most helpful takeaways?

Our Google mentor, Vitor Rodriguez, was generous with his time and advice. He has  built a career at Google and also worked in a startup, so he understood the challenges we faced. Vitor spent hours with us, thinking through software architecture options and nurturing our ability to make scalable decisions. Vitor was our conduit into the immense pool of Google knowledge. He helped us analyze the problems that we faced and connected us with domain experts who hold essential insights to reach a solution. Vitor also taught us how to conduct highly technical interviews and cut through the wall of jargon that candidates build to reach a true evaluation of their abilities. 

Mentorship also helped us recruit some of our key hires. We went in as a team of two, and by the end had grown to six. The Googlers we worked with during Residency helped us structure evaluation criteria and even conducted technical interviews with us, proving fundamental to the recruitment process.

What advice would you want to share with other founders?

Prioritize hiring, even when you are not hiring. As a founder, finding the right people is one of the most important jobs you have. But it can take a long time and you don’t want to feel rushed and get it wrong. Over time, build relationships with people you like and admire because they might become your future dream team.

A new certificate to help people grow careers in IT

When Grow with Google launched the IT Support Professional Certificate, we aimed to equip learners around the world with the fundamentals to kickstart careers in information technology. Now, on the program’s two-year anniversary, we’re expanding our IT training offering with the new Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate. Python is now the most in-demand programming language, and more than 530,000 U.S. jobs, including 75,000 entry-level jobs require Python proficiency. With this new certificate, you can learn Python, Git and IT automation within six months. The program includes a final project where learners will use their new skills to solve a problem they might encounter on the job, like building a web service using automation. 

With over 100,000 people now enrolled in our original certificate program, we’ve seen how it can aid aspiring IT professionals. While working as a van driver in Washington, D.C., Yves Cooper took the course through Merit America, a Google.org-funded organization that helps working adults find new skills. Within five days of completing the program, he was offered a role as an IT helpdesk technician—a change that’s set him on a career path he’s excited about. All over the world, people like Yves are using this program to change their lives. In fact, 84 percent of people who take the program report a career impact—like getting a raise, finding a new job, or starting a business—within six months. 

Among the many people who’ve enrolled in the IT certificate, 60 percent identify as female, Black, Latino, or veteran—backgrounds that have historically been underrepresented in the tech industry. To ensure learners from underserved backgrounds have access to both IT Professional Certificates, Google.org will fund 2,500 need-based scholarships through nonprofits like Goodwill, Merit America, Per Scholas and Upwardly Global. Along with top employers like Walmart, Hulu and Sprint, Google considers program completers when hiring for IT roles. 

Self-paced and continuous education is one way we’re helping expand opportunity for all Americans. Our Grow with Google trainings and workshops have helped more than 3 million Americans grow their businesses and careers. With this new professional certificate, even more people can continue to grow their careers through technology. 

Manage audio and video in Chrome with one click

We’ve all been there: You have lots of tabs open and one of them starts playing a video, but you can’t figure out which one. Or you’re listening to music in your browser in the background and want to change the song without stopping your work to find the right tab. 

With Chrome’s latest update, it’s now easier to control audio and video in your browser. Just click the icon in the top right corner of Chrome on desktop, open the new media hub and manage what’s playing from there. 

Chrome Media Controls

The new media hub in Chrome

Designed to minimize any disruptions to whatever you need to get done in your browser, the new media hub helps you to be more productive by bringing all your media notifications to one place and letting you manage each audio and video playback, without having to navigate any tabs. We first brought these media controls to Chromebooks in August, and today we rolled out the media hub in Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux.


These new controls are the latest in a series of updates to enhance your media experience in Chrome, including support for media hardware keys for easy access to your media, and the Picture-in-Picture extension and API to help you with multitasking in your browser. We'll continue to add more functionality for you to control media in Chrome over time.

Android Enterprise security whitepaper details defenses

Enterprises regularly contend with evolving security threats. Their mobile devices and operating systems must create trust so IT teams, managers, and employees have confidence that their information is backed by strong security measures.

To assist our enterprise partners and customers with accurate and timely information about the Android approach to security, we’ve published a new update to the Android Enterprise Security Whitepaper. This document serves as a comprehensive overview of how Android enables best-in-class security by using multi-layered protections, Google-powered artificial intelligence and the collective contributions of the wider community.

The newest edition of this whitepaper includes the latest Android 10 security enhancements, which make Android even more secure and helpful for businesses. Learn about how Android has made it simpler to distribute updates and security patches through Google Play System updates, new VPN capabilities, and how Google Play Protect works to help protect enterprise devices. Android 10 also has a number of improvements that provide better security and privacy for employees, whether they are bringing their own devices to work or using ones issued by their employer. 

Additionally, the paper outlines key updates to the personal and corporate data separation of the Android work profile; details on device and profile management; and how the Android team continues to enhance and extend our defenses with initiatives like the Android Security Rewards program and the App Defense Alliance.

Check out the latest Android Enterprise Security Whitepaper for further details on our ongoing work to provide best-in class security for the demanding needs of today’s enterprises.

“Up and to the right” with Data Studio

Millions of people from global enterprises, small businesses, governments and educational institutions are choosing Data Studio to make data-driven decisions. Over the last year, people used Data Studio to monitor ad performance, track brand performance, visualize student progress, and build machine learning models. 

Google Ads monitoring report by Search Foresight

In 2019, we launched more than 80 new features and over 50 new connectors to data. A heartfelt thanks to our users and developers who made 2019 a year to remember. Here are a few highlights. 


Visual Analysis

Throughout the year, we invested in visual analysis allowing faster data exploration and insights discovery. We made it possible to turn a chart into a filter using chart interaction controls. We also launched cross-chart interactions and drill downs. These investments, alongside updates like optional metrics, give users the tools they need to explore and interact with their data.
Drill Down GIF

Fast performance through In-Memory BI Engine

Having the right tools to interact with and analyze data is critical but if report performance is slow, analyzing and visualizing large data sets can be frustrating. In collaboration with the Google Cloud BigQuery team, we launched BI Engine to bring sub second performance to Data Studio. BI Engine is an in-memory analysis service that integrates with your BigQuery data to return blazingly fast results in Data Studio. No more waiting for the page to load!
BI Engine

Scheduled PDF export

Listening to what our users need has always been a priority for the Data Studio team. Two of the top requests we heard from our users was the need to create PDFs and schedule emails of reports. Users can now do both. We’re happy to let you know that as of last week you can now set a custom schedule for scheduled emails. Learn more.
Email Delivery

Conditional formatting

We recently launched conditional formatting, which allows users to apply formatting based on a set of rules, making it easier to tell a story with your data. We’re continuing to invest in conditional formatting and recently added  AND and OR conditions to support compound conditions. Learn more.
Conditional formatting

In 2020 the Data Studio team is committed to delivering a great product that helps our users make better decisions with data. To stay in the loop on what’s happening in Data Studio, subscribe to email updates under Settings > Marketing Preferences or check our Help Center each week to learn “What’s new.”


Enroll in the new Advanced Protection Program in an instant

We aim to secure all of our users with simple, powerful and personalized protections. The Advanced Protection Program helps high-risk users—like members of political campaign teams, journalists, activists, executives, employees in regulated industries such as finance or government—shield themselves from targeted, sophisticated attacks on their Google Accounts. We’ve helped protect these types of people for many years: we introduced our government-backed attack warnings in 2012, and from July to September 2019, we sent more than 12,000 warnings to users around the world.

People consistently tell us the Advanced Protection Program has been a leap forward for their security, but we haven’t made it easy enough to enroll. Today, we’re simplifying Advanced Protection while maintaining the same high level of security protections. Now, if you have an Android phone or iPhone, you can sign up and enroll into the program with just a few clicks. Here’s how it works.

Advanced Protection, simplified

Advanced Protection offers added protection from phishing attacks because the program requires exclusive use of security keys. According to a study we released last year, people who exclusively used security keys to sign into their accounts never fell victim to targeted phishing attacks. But, using security keys can be a hurdle for users: they can be costly, and acquiring and keeping track of two extra pieces of hardware is a burden.

Everything becomes much simpler when the things we’re already carrying around—our smartphones—have a built-in security key. That’s been the case on Android since last year, and starting today you can activate a security key on your iPhone as well. Millions of people around the world—many high-risk users among them—use iPhones, and this new capability makes Advanced Protection significantly easier for them. To learn more about using your iPhone’s security key, check out this post on our security blog.
Google's Smart Lock app

Approving the sign-in to a Google Account via Google's Smart Lock app

Getting started with Advanced Protection

You can enroll in Advanced Protection with a few clicks if you have a phone running Android 7+ or iOS 10.0+. 

Advanced Protection enrollment for Android users

Advanced Protection enrollment for Android users

With attacks on the rise, and many major events on the horizon this year like the U.S. elections in November, the Advanced Protection Program offers a simple way to incorporate the strongest account protections that Google offers. Enroll now.

Helping local businesses showcase products online with Pointy

Google has long been committed to helping small businesses grow and thrive in the online world. One of the challenges small merchants face is getting their in-store inventory information online in a way that is easy to manage and reliably up to date. Since organizing the world's information is core to what we do, we've been working to make it easier for local merchants to better showcase their products to interested shoppers on Google.  


Today, we’re excited to share that we’ve entered into an agreement to acquire Pointy, a company based in Dublin, Ireland that has helped thousands of local retailers bring their product inventory online. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the coming weeks. 


With Pointy, merchants simply plug a small box into their barcode scanner or install the Pointy app on their point of sale system, which surfaces the products that they sell directly into the “See what’s in store” section of their business profile on Google Search. Since we introduced this functionality a few years ago, Pointy has been one of our key partners, helping thousands of local merchants display this data within Google. We’re looking forward to working with Pointy to help even more local retailers bring their product inventory online. You can read more in their blog post.

Google’s Hash Code competition is back

Calling all coders: Hash Code, Google’s annual team programming competition, is back for 2020⁠—and you can register today atg.co/hashcode.

Hash Code was created back in 2014 by a few engineers in the Google France office. These engineers were coding competition enthusiasts and wondered if it would be possible to create a new kind of coding competition, one that looked more like the type of work they did each day.

While Hash Code shares similarities with other programming competitions, there are four things that we think make it especially Googley:

  1. Hello, Google.The first ever Hash Code challenge was inspired by a Street View project that an Engineering team in Paris was working on around the same time. Today, the competition's problems are still modeled on real Google products and challenges. Hash Code teams have tackled things like figuring out how to design the layout of a Google data center, perfect video streaming on YouTube and compile code at Google scale. These challenges are unique in that they focus on real problems that can be solved with technology. Check out the Archive page of our site for a full list of past problems and to get practicing!

  2. Teamwork makes the dream work. Just like software engineers at Google, you work in a small team during Hash Code. So while coding ability is important, so are teamwork and communication skills. Don’t have a team? Don’t worry! You can register and find a team later using our Facebook group.

  3. Launch, iterate, repeat. There’s never a “right” answer to a Hash Code problem. Teams spend the entirety of each round working on one challenge, continuously trying to improve their solution. In computer science, this is referred to as an optimization problem, and it’s similar to problems you’d encounter working as an engineer at Google. Also, here’s one pro tip: Your team should submit early and often during the competition so you can test your solutions and keep improving them!

  4. Visit Google’s European headquarters. Hash Code takes place over two rounds: First up is the Online Qualification Round on Feb. 20, after which the top teams will be invited to Google’s Dublin office for the Final Round on April 25 (check out last year’s Final Round highlights). While it’s awesome to make it to the Final Round, we encourage teams taking part in the Online Qualification Round to focus on trying their best, learning something new, and—of course—having fun!

Want to get involved? There’s something for everyone in a Hash Code challenge, so whether you’ve just started coding or you’ve been participating in programming competitions for years, head over to g.co/hashcode to register today and be part of the #HashCode fun. We’ll see you for the Online Qualification Round on Feb. 20!


Ask a Techspert: How does motion sensing work?

Editor’s Note: Do you ever feel like a fish out of water? Try being a tech novice and talking to an engineer at a place like Google. Ask a Techspert is a series on the Keyword asking Googler experts to explain complicated technology for the rest of us. This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but just enough to make you sound smart at a dinner party. 

Thanks to my allergies, I’ve never had a cat. They’re cute and cuddly for about five minutes—until the sneezing and itching set in. Still, I’m familiar enough with cats (and cat GIFs) to know that they always have a paw in the air, whether it’s batting at a toy or trying to get your attention. Whatever it is they’re trying to do, it often looks like they’re waving at us. So imagine my concern when I found out that you can now change songs, snooze alarms or silence your phone ringing on your Pixel 4 with the simple act of waving. What if precocious cats everywhere started unintentionally making us sleep late by waving their paws?

Fortunately, that’s not a problem. Google’s motion sensing radar technology—a feature called Motion Sense in the Pixel 4—is designed so that only human hands, as opposed to cat paws, can change the tracks on your favorite playlist. So how does this motion sensing actually work, and how did Google engineers design it to identify specific motions? 

To answer my questions, I found our resident expert on motion sensors, Brandon Barbello. Brandon is a product manager on our hardware team and he helped me unlock the mystery behind the motion sensors on your phone, and how they only work for humans. 

When I’m waving my hand in front of my screen, how can my phone sense something is there? 

Brandon tells me that your Pixel phone has a chip at the top with a series of antennas, some of which emit a radio signal and others that receive “bounce backs” of the same signal the other antenna emitted. “Those radio signals go out into the world, and then they hit things and bounce back. The receiver antennas read the signals as they bounce back and that’s how they’re able to sense something has happened. Your Pixel actually has four antennas: One that sends out signals, and three that receive.”

What happens after the antenna picks up the motion? 

According to Brandon, when the radio waves bounce back, the computer in your phone begins to process the information. “Essentially, the sensor picks up that you’re around, and that triggers your phone to keep an eye out for the relevant gestures,” he says.

How does the Pixel detect that a motion is a swipe and not something else? 

With the motion sensing functions on the Pixel, Brandon and his team use machine learning to determine what happened. “Those radio waves get analyzed and reduced into a series of numbers that can be fed into the machine learning models that detect if a reach or a swipe has just happened,” Brandon says. “We collected millions of motion samples to pre-train each phone to recognize intentional swipes. Specifically, we’ve trained the models to detect motions that look like they come from a human hand, and not, for instance, a coffee mug passing over the phone as you put it down on the table.”

What will motion sensors be capable of in the future? 

Brandon told me that he and his team plan to add more gestures to recognize beyond swiping, and that specific movements could be connected to more apps. “In the future, we want to create devices that can understand your body language, so they’re more intuitive to use and more helpful,” he tells me. 

At the moment, motion-sensing technology is focused on the practical, and there’s still improvements to be made and new ground to cover, but he says this technology can also be delightful and fun—like on the Pixel’s gesture-controlled Pokémon Live Wallpaper. Overall, motion sensing technology helps you use your devices in a whole new way, and that will keep changing as the tech advances. "We're just beginning to see the potential of motion sensing," Brandon says.

Come celebrate the art of indie games with us

Today we’re announcing the 2020 edition of the Google Play Indie Games Festival, a celebration of the passion, creativity and innovation that indie game developers bring to the Google Play store. 

This year we will host three competitions for indie game developers from Japan, South Korea and several European countries. The top 20 creators in each region will be chosen to showcase their games at public events in Tokyo, Seoul and Warsaw. Players, industry experts and the Google Play team will vote to select the top 10, and from there, three winners for each regional contest will be crowned. 

Prizes are designed to help indie developers showcase their games and grow their businesses on Google Play. This includes things like promotions on the Google Play Store and chances to network with industry experts and influencers. Winners could even go home with the latest Android devices, which can help them curb development costs.

If you make indie games and meet the eligibility criteria, enter your game by March 2, 2020. 

The contests aren’t just for developers, though. If you like playing unique, creative, high quality games, you can sign up to attend the final events in Warsaw, Tokyo and Seoul, where you’ll get the chance to  play the games, meet the developers, vote for your favorites, help choose the winners….and of course, have a little fun. 

Need some inspiration? Check out the winners of the 2019 edition in Europe.