Tag Archives: AI

Say goodbye to hold music

Sometimes, a phone call is the best way to get something done. We call retailers to locate missing packages, utilities to adjust our internet speeds, airlines to change our travel itineraries...the list goes on. But more often than not, we need to wait on hold during these calls—listening closely to hold music and repetitive messages—before we reach a customer support representative who can help. In fact, people in the United States spent over 10 million hours on hold with businesses last week.


Save time with Hold for Me

Hold for Me, our latest Phone app feature, helps you get that time back, starting with an early preview on Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) in the U.S. Now, when you call a toll-free number and a business puts you on hold, Google Assistant can wait on the line for you. You can go back to your day, and Google Assistant will notify you with sound, vibration and a prompt on your screen once someone is on the line and ready to talk. That means you’ll spend more time doing what’s important to you, and less time listening to hold music.
Hold for me call

Tap “Hold for me” in Google’s Phone app after you’re placed on hold by a business.

Hold for Me is our latest effort to make phone calls better and save you time. Last year, we introduced an update to Call Screen that helps you avoid interruptions from spam calls once and for all, and last month, we launched Verified Calls to help you know why a business is calling before you answer. Hold for Me is now another way we’re making it simpler to say hello.


Powered by Google AI

Every business’s hold loop is different and simple algorithms can't accurately detect when a customer support representative comes onto the call. Hold for Me is powered by Google’s Duplex technology, which not only recognizes hold music but also understands the difference between a recorded message (like “Hello, thank you for waiting”) and a representative on the line. Once a representative is identified, Google Assistant will notify you that someone’s ready to talk and ask the representative to hold for a moment while you return to the call. We gathered feedback from a number of companies, including Dell and United, as well as from studies with customer support representatives, to help us design these interactions and make the feature as helpful as possible to the people on both sides of the call.

While Google Assistant waits on hold for you, Google’s natural language understanding also keeps you informed. Your call will be muted to let you focus on something else, but at any time, you can check real-time captions on your screen to know what’s happening on the call.


Keeping your data safe

Hold for Me is an optional feature you can enable in settings and choose to activate during each call to a toll-free number. To determine when a representative is on the line, audio is processed entirely on your device and does not require a Wi-Fi or data connection. This makes the experience fast and also protects your privacy—no audio from the call will be shared with Google or saved to your Google account unless you explicitly decide to share it and help improve the feature. When you return to the call after Google Assistant was on hold for you, audio stops being processed altogether.

We’re excited to bring an early preview of Hold for Me to our latest Pixel devices and continue making the experience better over time. Your feedback will help us bring the feature to more people over the coming months, so they too can say goodbye to hold music and say hello to more free time.

Source: Android


Made for music, the new Nest Audio is here

This year, we’ve all spent a lot of time exploring things to do at home. Some of us gardened, and others baked. We tried at-home workouts, or redecorated the house, took up art projects. But one thing that many—maybe all of us—did? Enjoy a lot of music at home. Personally, I have spent so much more time listening to music during quarantine—bossa nova is my go to soundtrack for doing the dishes and Lil Baby has become one of my favourite artists. 
So, in a time when we’re all listening to more music than ever, we’re especially excited to introduce Nest Audio, our latest smart speaker that is made for music lovers. 

A music machine 
Nest Audio is 75 percent louder and has 50 percent stronger bass than the original Google Home—measurements of both devices were taken in an anechoic chamber at maximum volume, on-axis. With a 19mm tweeter for consistent high frequency coverage and clear vocals and a 75mm mid-woofer that really brings the bass, this smart speaker is a music lover’s dream. 
Nest Audio’s sound is full, clear and natural. We completed more than 500 hours of tuning to ensure balanced lows, mids and highs so that nothing is lacking or overbearing. The bass is significant and the vocals have depth, which makes Nest Audio sound great across genres: classical, R&B, pop and more. The custom-designed tweeter allows each musical detail to come through, and we optimised the grill, fabric and materials so that you can enjoy the audio without distortion. 
Our goal was to ensure that Nest Audio stayed faithful to what the artist intended when they were in the recording studio. We minimised the use of compressors to preserve dynamic range, so that the auditory contrast in the original production is preserved—the quiet parts are delicate and subtle, and the loud parts are more dramatic and powerful. 
Nest Audio also adapts to your home. Our Media EQ feature enables Nest Audio to automatically tune itself to whatever you’re listening to: music, podcasts, audiobooks or hearing a response from Google Assistant. And Ambient IQ lets Nest Audio also adjust the volume of Assistant, news, podcasts, and audiobooks based on the background noise in the home, so you can hear the weather forecast over a noisy dishwasher. 

Whole home audio 
If you have a Google Home, Nest Mini or even a Nest Hub, you can easily make Nest Audio the centre of your whole home sound system. In my living room, I’ve connected two Nest Audio speakers as a stereo pair for left and right channel separation. I also have a Nest Hub Max in my kitchen, a Nest Mini in my bedroom and a Nest Hub in the entryway. These devices are grouped so that I can blast the same song on all of them when I have my daily dance party. 
With our stream transfer feature, I can move music from one device to the other with just my voice. Just last month, we launched multi-room control, which allows you to dynamically group multiple cast-enabled Nest devices in real-time. 

An even faster Assistant 
When we launched Nest Mini last year, we embedded a dedicated machine learning chip with up to one TeraOPS of processing power, which let us move some Google Assistant experiences from our data centres directly onto the device. We’ve leveraged the same ML chip in Nest Audio too.
Google Assistant helps you tackle your day, enjoy your entertainment and control compatible smart home brands like Philips Hue, TP-Link and more. In fact, our users have already set up more than 100 million devices to work with Google Assistant. Plus, if you’re a YouTube Music or Spotify Premium subscriber, you can say, “Hey Google, recommend some music” and Google Assistant will offer a variety of choices from artists and genres that you like, and others like them to choose from.

Differentiated by design 
Typically, a bigger speaker equals bigger sound, but Nest Audio has a really slim profile—so it fits anywhere in the home. In order to maximise audio output, we custom-designed quality drivers and housed them in an enclosure that helps it squeeze out every bit of sound possible. 
Nest Audio is available in two colours in Australia: Chalk and Charcoal. Its soft, rounded edges blend in with your home’s decor, and its minimal footprint doesn't take up too much space on your shelf or countertop. 
We’re continuing our commitment to sustainability with Nest Audio. It’s covered in the same sustainable fabric that we first introduced with Nest Mini last year, and the enclosure (meaning the fabric, housing, foot, and a few smaller parts) is made from 70 percent recycled plastic. 

Starting today Nest Audio is available for pre-order in Australia for $149 at the Google Store and other retailers, including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, and The Good Guys. It will be on-sale from October 15 through these same retailers, as well as Officeworks and Vodafone. 

Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 pack 5G speeds and so much more

Today, we hosted Launch Night In, a virtual event introducing new products from across Google that will offer a little joy, entertainment and connection for people. These products bring together the best of Google’s hardware, software and AI to deliver helpful experiences built around you. Not only are these products more helpful; they’re more affordable too. 
Our new smartphones, Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 offer more helpful Google features backed by the power and speeds of 5G.1 From Google’s latest AI and Assistant features, to the biggest ever batteries we’ve put in a Pixel, to industry-leading camera features, Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 join our much loved Pixel 4a in providing more help at a more helpful price. 

5G speeds at affordable prices 
5G is the latest in mobile technology, bringing fast download and streaming speeds to users around the world. Whether you’re downloading the latest movie2, listening to your favourite music on YouTube Music, catching up on podcasts with Google Podcast or downloading a game Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 can provide you with fast speeds at a helpful price.1 Starting at just $799 for Pixel 4a with 5G.

New camera, new lenses—same great photos 
Ask any Pixel owner and they’ll tell you: Pixels take great photos. Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 are no exception. These phones bring Pixel’s industry-leading photography features to the next level. 
  • Better videos with Cinematic Pan: Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 come with Cinematic Pan, which gives your videos a professional look with ultrasmooth panning that’s inspired by the equipment Hollywood directors use. 
  • Night Sight in Portrait Mode: Night Sight currently gives you the ability to capture amazing low-light photos—and even the Milky Way with astrophotography. Now, these phones bring the power of Night Sight into Portrait Mode to capture beautifully blurred backgrounds in Portraits even in extremely low light. 
Night Sight in Portrait Mode, captured on Pixel 
  • Portrait Light: Portrait Mode on the Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 lets you capture beautiful portraits that focus on your subject as the background fades into an artful blur. If the lighting isn’t right, your Pixel can drop in extra light to illuminate your subjects
  • Ultrawide lens for ultra awesome shots: With an ultrawide lens alongside the standard rear camera, you’ll be able to capture the whole scene. And thanks to Google’s software magic, the latest Pixels still get our Super Res Zoom. So whether you’re zooming in or zooming out, you get sharp details and breathtaking images. 
Ultrawide, captured on Pixel 
  • New editor in Google Photos: Even after you’ve captured your portrait, Google Photos can help you add studio-quality light to your portraits of people with Portrait Light, in the new, more helpful Google Photos editor
Stay connected and entertained with Duo 
To make it easier and more enjoyable to stay connected to the most important people in your life, the new HD screen sharing in Duo video calls lets you and a friend watch the same video, cheer on sports with a friend and even plan activities – no matter how far apart you are.3 And with features like Duo Family mode, you will be able to keep kids entertained and engaged with new interactive tools, like colouring over backgrounds, while you video chat. 

A smarter way to record and share audio 
Last year, Recorder made audio recording smarter, with real-time transcriptions and the power of search.4 Now, Recorder makes it even easier to share your favourite audio moments. Since Recorder automatically transcribes every recording, now you can use those transcripts to edit the audio too. Just highlight a sentence to crop or remove its corresponding audio. Once you have something you want others to hear—say a quote from an interview or a new song idea—you can generate a video clip to make sharing your audio easier and more visual than ever. 
Editing in Recorder is easy

To improve searching through your transcripts, smart scrolling will automatically mark important words in longer transcripts so you can quickly jump to the sections you’re looking for as you scroll. But most helpful of all? Recorder still works without an internet connection, so you can transcribe, search and edit from anywhere, anytime. 

The biggest Pixel batteries ever 
Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5 also have all-day batteries that can last up to 48 hours with Extreme Battery Saver.5 This mode automatically limits active apps to just the essentials and lets you choose additional apps you want to keep on. 

And now, the specs 
Like all Pixel devices, security and safety are paramount in Pixel 4a with 5G and Pixel 5. Both devices come with our TitanTM M security chip to help keep your on-device data safe and secure, and both phones will get three years of software and security updates. Your Pixel also has built-in safety features like car crash detection6 and Safety Check.7
Plus, Pixel 5 is designed with the environment in mind; we used 100% recycled aluminium in the back housing enclosure to reduce its carbon footprint. You can charge your Pixel 5 wirelessly8 and even use it to wirelessly charge other Qi-certified devices using Battery Share.9 Pixel 5 also doesn’t mind a little water or dust. The metal unibody can handle being submerged in 1.5 metres of fresh water for 30 minutes.10
When you buy the Google phone, you get more from Google. Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a with 5G come with trial subscriptions to Google’s entertainment, security and storage services for new users.11 If you’re a new user you’ll get a YouTube Premium trial for 3 months, 100 GB of storage with Google One for 3 months and 3 months of Google Play Pass and Gold/Silver Status on Play Points. See g.co/pixel/4a5Goffers or g.co/pixel/5offers, as applicable, for more details.11 
In Australia, Pixel 5 will range in two colours, Just Black and Sorta Sage (selected retailers). It will retail for $999 and can be pre-ordered today from Google Store, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman, and will be available starting October 15. Pixel 4a with 5G will retail for $799 and can be pre-ordered today from JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and Harvey Norman, and will be available from these retailers in addition to Google Store and Telstra in November ranging in Just Black. 


Looking for the Pixel’s that’s right for you? Head to the Google Store now. 

1 Requires a 5G data plan (sold separately). 5G service and roaming not available on all carrier networks or in all areas. Contact carrier for details about current 5G network performance, compatibility, and availability. Phone connects to 5G networks but, 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength and signal obstruction. Actual results may vary. Some features not available in all areas. Data rates may apply. See g.co/pixel/networkinfo for info. 
2 Download speed claims based on testing videos from three streaming platforms. Average download time was less than sixty seconds. File sizes varied between 449MB and 1.3GB. Download speed depends upon many factors, such as file size, content provider and network connection. Testing conducted in an internal 5G network lab and on pre-production hardware in California in July/August 2020. Actual download speeds may be slower. Australian results may vary. 
3 Screen sharing not available on group calls. Requires Wi-Fi or 5G internet connection. Not available on all apps and content. Data rates may apply. 5G service, speed and performance depend on many factors including, but not limited to, carrier network capabilities, device configuration and capabilities, network traffic, location, signal strength, and signal obstruction. 
4 Transcription and search are available in English only. 
5 For “all day”: Maximum battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby, and use of other features. Testing conducted on two major US carrier networks using Sub-6 GHz non-standalone 5G (ENDC) connectivity. For “Up to 48 hours”: Maximum battery life based on testing using a mix of talk, data, standby, and use of limited other features that are default in Extreme Battery Saver mode (which disables various features including 5G connectivity). Testing conducted on two major US carrier networks. For both claims: Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 battery testing conducted by a third party in California in mid 2020 on pre-production hardware and software using default settings, except that, for the “up to 48 hour claim” only, Extreme Battery Saver mode was enabled. Battery life depends upon many factors and usage of certain features will decrease battery life. Actual battery life may be lower.
6 Not available in all languages or countries. Car crash detection may not detect all accidents. High-impact activities may trigger calls to emergency services. This feature is dependent upon network connectivity and other factors and may not be reliable for emergency communications or available in all areas. For country and language availability and more information see g.co/pixel/carcrashdetection. 
7 Personal Safety app features are dependent upon network connectivity and other factors and may not be reliable for emergency communications or available in all areas. For more information, see g.co/pixel/personalsafety. 
8 Qi-compatible. Wireless charger sold separately. 
9 Designed to charge Qi-certified devices. Use of Battery Share significantly reduces Pixel battery life. Cases may interfere with charging and will reduce charging speed. Charge speeds may vary. See g.co/pixel/wirelesscharging for more information. 
10 Pixel 5 has a dust and water protection rating of IP68 under IEC standard 60529. Charger and accessories are not water-resistant or dust-resistant. Water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and may be compromised due to normal wear and tear, repair, disassembly or damage. 
11 The Google One, Google Play Pass, Google Play Points, and YouTube Premium offers are available to eligible new users with the purchase of Pixel 4a (5G) or Pixel 5. Offer expires April 30, 2021 at 11:59pm PT. See g.co/pixel/4a5Goffers or g.co/pixel/5offers, as applicable, for more details.

How The Trevor Project continues to support LGBTQ youth

This September, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month feels different. Over the past nine months, LGBTQ youth have experienced unique challenges in relation to COVID-19.The pandemic has amplified existing mental health disparities and created new problems that have impacted the daily lives of many LGBTQ youth. 

As the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, The Trevor Project has seen the volume of youth reaching out to our crisis services for support increase significantly, at times double our pre-COVID volume. We’ve heard from a great number of youth who no longer have access to their usual support systems, including many who have been forced to confine in unsupportive home environments. The unprecedented crisis of 2020 has reaffirmed the need for increased mental health support for LGBTQ youth, particularly as we’ve ventured into a more virtual world. 

From transitioning our physical call center operations to be fully remote to publishing aresource to help LGBTQ youth explore conversations around the intersection of their racial and LGBTQ identities—The Trevor Project has remained open and responsive to the needs of the young people we serve despite the onslaught of challenges. Technological advancement has been essential as Trevor adapts to meet this moment. In particular, artificial intelligence (AI) is a crucial component for scaling our services to support the increase of youth reaching out. 

IMG_7791.jpg

Kendra Gaunt joined The Trevor Project nine months ago as a Data and AI product owner.  

I joined The Trevor Project as the Data and AI product owner nine months ago, and started working alongside a team of 11 Google.org Fellows who were doing six months of full-time pro bono work with us. With the support of $2.7 million in Google.org grant funding and two teams of pro bono Google.org Fellows, we have introduced new AI applications to scale our impact. We built an AI system that helps us identify which LGBTQ individuals reaching out to us for support are at the highest risk of suicide so that we can quickly connect them to counselors who are ready to help at that moment. And now, we’re leveraging AI to ensure the safety of our TrevorSpace forums through auto-moderation, and to train more volunteer counselors through a conversation simulator.  It’s projects like these that have enabled The Trevor Project to directly serve more than 150,000 crisis contacts from LGBTQ youth in the past year. 

And we’re just getting started. With the guidance of best practices from Google, we’re building an in-house AI team. As we grow and develop a long-term product strategy around our use of data and AI, we acknowledge our responsibility to create a values-based system to guide how we use and develop AI. By applying learnings from Google's Responsible Innovation team, we created a set of principles to ensure that we develop models that avoid reinforcing unfair bias that impacts people based on their ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and the intersection of these identities. 

I joined The Trevor Project because it’s an organization driven by values, and our use of technology reflects this. I noticed an opportunity to leverage my years of experience and partner with people who are committed to employing technology for social good. Through the thoughtful and ethical use of AI, we can overcome obstacles of scale and complexity as we pursue our mission to end suicide among LGBTQ youth.

To learn more about National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and the work The Trevor Project is doing, check out ourCARE campaign. This includes actionable steps anyone can take to support their community and prevent suicide, as well as technological innovations that help us serve more young people, faster.

If you or someone you know needs help or support, contact The Trevor Project's TrevorLifeline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7 via chat every day at TheTrevorProject.org/help or by texting 678-678.

MediaPipe 3D Face Transform

Posted by Kanstantsin Sokal, Software Engineer, MediaPipe team

Earlier this year, the MediaPipe Team released the Face Mesh solution, which estimates the approximate 3D face shape via 468 landmarks in real-time on mobile devices. In this blog, we introduce a new face transform estimation module that establishes a researcher- and developer-friendly semantic API useful for determining the 3D face pose and attaching virtual objects (like glasses, hats or masks) to a face.

The new module establishes a metric 3D space and uses the landmark screen positions to estimate common 3D face primitives, including a face pose transformation matrix and a triangular face mesh. Under the hood, a lightweight statistical analysis method called Procrustes Analysis is employed to drive a robust, performant and portable logic. The analysis runs on CPU and has a minimal speed/memory footprint on top of the original Face Mesh solution.

MediaPipe image

Figure 1: An example of virtual mask and glasses effects, based on the MediaPipe Face Mesh solution.

Introduction

The MediaPipe Face Landmark Model performs a single-camera face landmark detection in the screen coordinate space: the X- and Y- coordinates are normalized screen coordinates, while the Z coordinate is relative and is scaled as the X coordinate under the weak perspective projection camera model. While this format is well-suited for some applications, it does not directly enable crucial features like aligning a virtual 3D object with a detected face.

The newly introduced module moves away from the screen coordinate space towards a metric 3D space and provides the necessary primitives to handle a detected face as a regular 3D object. By design, you'll be able to use a perspective camera to project the final 3D scene back into the screen coordinate space with a guarantee that the face landmark positions are not changed.

Metric 3D Space

The Metric 3D space established within the new module is a right-handed orthonormal metric 3D coordinate space. Within the space, there is a virtual perspective camera located at the space origin and pointed in the negative direction of the Z-axis. It is assumed that the input camera frames are observed by exactly this virtual camera and therefore its parameters are later used to convert the screen landmark coordinates back into the Metric 3D space. The virtual camera parameters can be set freely, however for better results it is advised to set them as close to the real physical camera parameters as possible.

MediaPipe image

Figure 2: A visualization of multiple key elements in the metric 3D space. Created in Cinema 4D

Canonical Face Model

The Canonical Face Model is a static 3D model of a human face, which follows the 3D face landmark topology of the MediaPipe Face Landmark Model. The model bears two important functions:

  • Defines metric units: the scale of the canonical face model defines the metric units of the Metric 3D space. A metric unit used by the default canonical face model is a centimeter;
  • Bridges static and runtime spaces: the face pose transformation matrix is - in fact - a linear map from the canonical face model into the runtime face landmark set estimated on each frame. This way, virtual 3D assets modeled around the canonical face model can be aligned with a tracked face by applying the face pose transformation matrix to them.

Face Transform Estimation

The face transform estimation pipeline is a key component, responsible for estimating face transform data within the Metric 3D space. On each frame, the following steps are executed in the given order:

  • Face landmark screen coordinates are converted into the Metric 3D space coordinates;
  • Face pose transformation matrix is estimated as a rigid linear mapping from the canonical face metric landmark set into the runtime face metric landmark set in a way that minimizes a difference between the two;
  • A face mesh is created using the runtime face metric landmarks as the vertex positions (XYZ), while both the vertex texture coordinates (UV) and the triangular topology are inherited from the canonical face model.

Effect Renderer

The Effect Renderer is a component, which serves as a working example of a face effect renderer. It targets the OpenGL ES 2.0 API to enable a real-time performance on mobile devices and supports the following rendering modes:

  • 3D object rendering mode: a virtual object is aligned with a detected face to emulate an object attached to the face (example: glasses);
  • Face mesh rendering mode: a texture is stretched on top of the face mesh surface to emulate a face painting technique.

In both rendering modes, the face mesh is first rendered as an occluder straight into the depth buffer. This step helps to create a more believable effect via hiding invisible elements behind the face surface.

MediaPipe image

Figure 3: An example of face effects rendered by the Face Effect Renderer.

Using Face Transform Module

The face transform estimation module is available as a part of the MediaPipe Face Mesh solution. It comes with face effect application examples, available as graphs and mobile apps on Android or iOS. If you wish to go beyond examples, the module contains generic calculators and subgraphs - those can be flexibly applied to solve specific use cases in any MediaPipe graph. For more information, please visit our documentation.

Follow MediaPipe

We look forward to publishing more blog posts related to new MediaPipe pipeline examples and features. Please follow the MediaPipe label on Google Developers Blog and Google Developers twitter account (@googledevs).

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Chuo-Ling Chang, Ming Guang Yong, Jiuqiang Tang, Gregory Karpiak, Siarhei Kazakou, Matsvei Zhdanovich and Matthias Grundman for contributing to this blog post.

Doubling down on the edge with Coral’s new accelerator

Posted by The Coral Team

Coral image

Moving into the fall, the Coral platform continues to grow with the release of the M.2 Accelerator with Dual Edge TPU. Its first application is in Google’s Series One room kits where it helps to remove interruptions and makes the audio clearer for better video meetings. To help even more folks build products with Coral intelligence, we’re dropping the prices on several of our products. And for those folks that are looking to level up their at home video production, we’re sharing a demo of a pose based AI director to make multi-camera video easier to make.

Coral M.2 Accelerator with Dual Edge TPU

The newest addition to our product family brings two Edge TPU co-processors to systems in an M.2 E-key form factor. While the design requires a dual bus PCIe M.2 slot, it brings enhanced ML performance (8 TOPS) to tasks such as running two models in parallel or pipelining one large model across both Edge TPUs.

The ability to scale across multiple edge accelerators isn’t limited to only two Edge TPUs. As edge computing expands to local data centers, cell towers, and gateways, multi-Edge TPU configurations will be required to help process increasingly sophisticated ML models. Coral allows the use of a single toolchain to create models for one or more Edge TPUs that can address many different future configurations.

A great example of how the Coral M.2 Accelerator with Dual Edge TPU is being used is in the Series One meeting room kits for Google Meet.

The new Series One room kits for Google Meet run smarter with Coral intelligence

Coral image

Google’s new Series One room kits use our Coral M.2 Accelerator with Dual Edge TPU to bring enhanced audio clarity to video meetings. TrueVoice®, a multi-channel noise cancellation technology, minimizes distractions to ensure every voice is heard with up to 44 channels of echo and noise cancellation, making distracting sounds like snacking or typing on a keyboard a concern of the past.

Enabling the clearest possible communication in challenging environments was the target for the Google Meet hardware team. The consideration of what makes a challenging environment was not limited to unusually noisy environments, such as lunchrooms doubling as conference rooms. Any conference room can present challenging acoustics that make it difficult for all participants to be heard.

The secret to clarity without expensive and cumbersome equipment is to use virtual audio channels and AI driven sound isolation. Read more about how Coral was used to enhance and future-proof the innovative design.

Expanding the AI edge

Earlier this year, we reduced the prices of our prototyping devices and sensors. We are excited to share further price drops on more of our products. Our System-on-Module is now available for $99.99, and our Mini PCIe Accelerator, M.2 Accelerator A+E Key, and M.2 Accelerator B+M key are now available at $24.99. We hope this lower price will make our edge AI more accessible to more creative minds around the world. Later, this month our SoM offering will also expand to include 2 and 4GB RAM options.

Multi-cam with AI

Coral image

As we expand our platform and product family, we continue to keep new edge AI use cases in mind. We are continually inspired by our developer community’s experimentation and implementations. When recently faced with the challenges of multicam video production from home, Markku Lepistö, Solutions Architect at Google Cloud, created this real-time pose-based multicam tool he so aptly dubbed, AI Director.

We love seeing such unique implementations of on-device ML and invite you to share your own projects and feedback at [email protected].

For a list of worldwide distributors, system integrators and partners, visit the Coral partnerships page. Please visit Coral.ai to discover more about our edge ML platform.

Doubling down on the edge with Coral’s new accelerator

Posted by The Coral Team

Coral image

Moving into the fall, the Coral platform continues to grow with the release of the M.2 Accelerator with Dual Edge TPU. Its first application is in Google’s Series One room kits where it helps to remove interruptions and makes the audio clearer for better video meetings. To help even more folks build products with Coral intelligence, we’re dropping the prices on several of our products. And for those folks that are looking to level up their at home video production, we’re sharing a demo of a pose based AI director to make multi-camera video easier to make.

Coral M.2 Accelerator with Dual Edge TPU

The newest addition to our product family brings two Edge TPU co-processors to systems in an M.2 E-key form factor. While the design requires a dual bus PCIe M.2 slot, it brings enhanced ML performance (8 TOPS) to tasks such as running two models in parallel or pipelining one large model across both Edge TPUs.

The ability to scale across multiple edge accelerators isn’t limited to only two Edge TPUs. As edge computing expands to local data centers, cell towers, and gateways, multi-Edge TPU configurations will be required to help process increasingly sophisticated ML models. Coral allows the use of a single toolchain to create models for one or more Edge TPUs that can address many different future configurations.

A great example of how the Coral M.2 Accelerator with Dual Edge TPU is being used is in the Series One meeting room kits for Google Meet.

The new Series One room kits for Google Meet run smarter with Coral intelligence

Coral image

Google’s new Series One room kits use our Coral M.2 Accelerator with Dual Edge TPU to bring enhanced audio clarity to video meetings. TrueVoice®, a multi-channel noise cancellation technology, minimizes distractions to ensure every voice is heard with up to 44 channels of echo and noise cancellation, making distracting sounds like snacking or typing on a keyboard a concern of the past.

Enabling the clearest possible communication in challenging environments was the target for the Google Meet hardware team. The consideration of what makes a challenging environment was not limited to unusually noisy environments, such as lunchrooms doubling as conference rooms. Any conference room can present challenging acoustics that make it difficult for all participants to be heard.

The secret to clarity without expensive and cumbersome equipment is to use virtual audio channels and AI driven sound isolation. Read more about how Coral was used to enhance and future-proof the innovative design.

Expanding the AI edge

Earlier this year, we reduced the prices of our prototyping devices and sensors. We are excited to share further price drops on more of our products. Our System-on-Module is now available for $99.99, and our Mini PCIe Accelerator, M.2 Accelerator A+E Key, and M.2 Accelerator B+M key are now available at $24.99. We hope this lower price will make our edge AI more accessible to more creative minds around the world. Later, this month our SoM offering will also expand to include 2 and 4GB RAM options.

Multi-cam with AI

Coral image

As we expand our platform and product family, we continue to keep new edge AI use cases in mind. We are continually inspired by our developer community’s experimentation and implementations. When recently faced with the challenges of multicam video production from home, Markku Lepistö, Solutions Architect at Google Cloud, created this real-time pose-based multicam tool he so aptly dubbed, AI Director.

We love seeing such unique implementations of on-device ML and invite you to share your own projects and feedback at [email protected].

For a list of worldwide distributors, system integrators and partners, visit the Coral partnerships page. Please visit Coral.ai to discover more about our edge ML platform.

Reinforcing our commitment to foundational literacy with Read Along



Learning to read forms the foundation of literacy and can unlock many opportunities in life. However there are challenges in this becoming a reality: according to the annual ASER 2018 report, of all students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India only about half of them can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook. Today, on the occasion of  International Literacy Day, we want to reiterate our focus on the universal development of foundational literacy skills. The National Mission for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) further emphasizes the urgency of achieving this goal.  

At Google, we deeply believe that technology can help kids around the world learn to read. In 2018, we released Bolo, an AI-enabled Android app to help kids improve reading skills. We have seen positive feedback from parents and educators across the country. Rakesh, a committed volunteer from a small village in Rajasthan, heard about the app from our partner NGO Kaivalya Education Foundation (a Piramal Foundation Initiative). He now uses it to help his students practice reading, and believes the app will go a long way to have lasting effects on his community. Bolo is now available as Read Along in over 180 countries and 10 languages.

Positive impact on reading outcomes and ecosystem recommendations

Rakesh’s story is similar to the encouraging feedback we’ve received from many other parents and children. To date, over 7 million students have cumulatively read more than 32 million stories on the app. We’re also seeing a positive impact of Read Along on children’s reading abilities. Our internal analysis shows that after reading 100 mins on the app, beginner readers (those who read at a speed of less than 45 correct words per minute) see an improvement from 38 percent to 88 percent in their oral reading fluency. 

In an assessment conducted by an independent partner comprising over 3,500 students in three languages and across five states in India, 40 percent more students who used Read Along saw an improvement of one or more reading levels as compared to students not using the app. 


Through our experience and on the ground partnerships we have also collated some key learnings relevant to anyone trying to leverage technology in the space of improving early age literacy 
  1. Achieving Scale: Integrating technology solution in existing NGO/Government led programs enables impact at scale.
  2. Supporting parents/guardians: A strong orientation program for parents/guardians is critical to enable device access and learning support for children
  3. Supporting educators: Technologies like Read Along can be easily integrated in lesson plans to make reading fun even in low tech classrooms. 

New features and books to improve the reading experience

While we’re both humbled and excited by these results, our work doesn’t stop here. Starting today, Read Along:  
  • Has more than 700 unique books across all languages, with a refreshing new look for the content library 
  • Features improvements that make it easier for multilingual kids to switch languages or get phonics support when they tap a word
We are working on features to aid comprehension and give educators the ability to create student reading groups and track progress. We are also making Read Along more accessible in the landscape mode.

Celebrate the joy of reading by taking part in our Story-A-Thon 

This International Literacy Day, we invite parents to continue to read to their kids -- both with and without Read Along -- and share stories written by their children. Read Along will publish few stories on open source platforms like Global Digital Library and Pratham Storyweaver.

Through our partnership with the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Department on Mission Prerna and NGOs like CSF, KEF, Pratham, Saajha and more, we have been able to reach students who need support. As India embarks upon the NEP 2020 led FLN mission, we are committed to working with individuals, schools, corporate partners, NGOs and governments to help every child achieve their full potential. 

Posted by Nikita Bharadia, Product Marketing Manager, Education

Reinforcing our commitment to foundational literacy with Read Along



Learning to read forms the foundation of literacy and can unlock many opportunities in life. However there are challenges in this becoming a reality: according to the annual ASER 2018 report, of all students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India only about half of them can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook. Today, on the occasion of  International Literacy Day, we want to reiterate our focus on the universal development of foundational literacy skills. The National Mission for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) further emphasizes the urgency of achieving this goal.  

At Google, we deeply believe that technology can help kids around the world learn to read. In 2018, we released Bolo, an AI-enabled Android app to help kids improve reading skills. We have seen positive feedback from parents and educators across the country. Rakesh, a committed volunteer from a small village in Rajasthan, heard about the app from our partner NGO Kaivalya Education Foundation (a Piramal Foundation Initiative). He now uses it to help his students practice reading, and believes the app will go a long way to have lasting effects on his community. Bolo is now available as Read Along in over 180 countries and 10 languages.

Positive impact on reading outcomes and ecosystem recommendations

Rakesh’s story is similar to the encouraging feedback we’ve received from many other parents and children. To date, over 7 million students have cumulatively read more than 32 million stories on the app. We’re also seeing a positive impact of Read Along on children’s reading abilities. Our internal analysis shows that after reading 100 mins on the app, beginner readers (those who read at a speed of less than 45 correct words per minute) see an improvement from 38 percent to 88 percent in their oral reading fluency. 

In an assessment conducted by an independent partner comprising over 3,500 students in three languages and across five states in India, 40 percent more students who used Read Along saw an improvement of one or more reading levels as compared to students not using the app. 


Through our experience and on the ground partnerships we have also collated some key learnings relevant to anyone trying to leverage technology in the space of improving early age literacy 
  1. Achieving Scale: Integrating technology solution in existing NGO/Government led programs enables impact at scale.
  2. Supporting parents/guardians: A strong orientation program for parents/guardians is critical to enable device access and learning support for children
  3. Supporting educators: Technologies like Read Along can be easily integrated in lesson plans to make reading fun even in low tech classrooms. 

New features and books to improve the reading experience

While we’re both humbled and excited by these results, our work doesn’t stop here. Starting today, Read Along:  
  • Has more than 700 unique books across all languages, with a refreshing new look for the content library 
  • Features improvements that make it easier for multilingual kids to switch languages or get phonics support when they tap a word
We are working on features to aid comprehension and give educators the ability to create student reading groups and track progress. We are also making Read Along more accessible in the landscape mode.

Celebrate the joy of reading by taking part in our Story-A-Thon 

This International Literacy Day, we invite parents to continue to read to their kids -- both with and without Read Along -- and share stories written by their children. Read Along will publish few stories on open source platforms like Global Digital Library and Pratham Storyweaver.

Through our partnership with the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Department on Mission Prerna and NGOs like CSF, KEF, Pratham, Saajha and more, we have been able to reach students who need support. As India embarks upon the NEP 2020 led FLN mission, we are committed to working with individuals, schools, corporate partners, NGOs and governments to help every child achieve their full potential. 

Posted by Nikita Bharadia, Product Marketing Manager, Education

Announcing Google India AI/ML Research Awardees 2020

We recently concluded our annual edition of the Google India AI/ML Research Awards, a program focussed on supporting exceptional AI research in India. We also want to identify and strengthen long-term collaborative relationships with faculty working on problems that will impact how future generations use technology. 


This year we received over a hundred proposals across various fields of AI.  We also received several proposals working to advance the use of AI for Social Good. All proposals went through an extensive review process involving expert reviewers across Google who assessed the proposals on merit, innovation, connection to Google’s research efforts and alignment with our overall research philosophy and AI Principles


As a result, we are happy to announce our support for five faculty members who are working to  advance foundational and applied research to advance the state-of-the-art in AI across a wide range of research areas including Algorithms & Theory, Computer Vision, Natural Language Understanding and Privacy & Security. 

  • Arpita Patra, Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Science is working on moulding the use of Secure Multiparty Computation (MPC) techniques to advance Machine Learning that preserves the privacy of the user, which can be tuned to real-world problems in the social good space, such as medical diagnosis systems, disparity against women, and fake news detection. 

  • Anirban Dasgupta, Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar is working on developing randomized approximation algorithms for numerical tensor algebra that strike a balance by being practically useful as well as by being equipped with theoretical guarantees. He also aims to develop such algorithms for applications such as streaming and large-scale social networks. 

  • Pawan Goyal, Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur is developing ways to build conceptual understanding of natural language in AI Dialogue Systems. His work aims at developing dialog systems that can learn underlying concepts and perform commonsense reasoning to help AI systems in conversations.

  • Soma Biswas, Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Science is working on making AI systems more robust by fundamentally advancing how deep learning algorithms recognize and directly provide information on what groups of data the system does not know much about . This work has widespread applications in image classification, detection, segmentation, etc.

  • Vasudeva Verma, Professor at International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad is advancing his work on ‘Project ANGEL’, an initiative aimed at utilizing machine learning techniques for enhancing the well-being of teenagers, especially teenage girls. He intends to develop a cohesive technology stack (including prior work on Building on hate speech detection, sexism classification), through multi-disciplinary research for helping teenagers in an empathetic, proactive manner.


In the past we have supported various faculty members, including Sunita Sarawagi, working on continuously trainable learning systems with applications in grammar error correction and  translation. Our past awardee, Rijurekha Sen worked on developing low-cost, scalable measurement frameworks for real time monitoring of road traffic congestion and particulate matter in the air. 


We remain committed to investing in  the development of the Research ecosystem in India through various research grant-based and education programs, and continue to pursue cutting-edge research at Google Research India: an AI lab in Bangalore. More information about our program can be found here.


Posted by Ashwani Sharma, Head of Research Operations and University Relations, Google Research India,  and Divy Thakkar, Research and Education Program Manager