Tag Archives: Announcements

Google Play Games beta launches on PC in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong

Posted by Arjun Dayal, Group Product Manager, Google Play Games

Image of Google Play Games logo

In December, we announced that Google Play Games will be coming to PCs. As part of our broader goal to make our products and services work better together, this product strives to meet players where they are and give them access to their games on as many devices as possible. Today we're excited to announce that we’re opening sign-ups for Google Play Games as a beta in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Introduction video of Google Play Games beta

Users participating in the beta can play a catalog of Google Play games on their Windows PC via a standalone application built by Google. We’re excited to announce that some of the most popular mobile games in the world will be available at launch, including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Summoners War, State of Survival: The Joker Collaboration, and Three Kingdoms Tactics, which delight hundreds of millions of players globally each month.

Google Play Games beta PC application

This product brings the best of Google Play to more laptops and desktops, enabling immersive and seamless gameplay sessions between a phone, tablet, Chromebook, and Windows PC. Players can easily browse, download, and play their favorite mobile games on their PCs, while taking advantage of larger screens with mouse and keyboard inputs. No more losing your progress or achievements when switching between devices, it just works with your Google Play Games profile! Play Points can also be earned for Google Play Games activity on PCs.

Google Play Games gameplay on multiple devices including a phone, PC, and tablet

We’re thrilled to expand our platform for players to enjoy their favorite Android games even more. To sign up for future announcements, or to access the beta in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, please go to g.co/googleplaygames. If you’re an Android developer looking to learn more about Google Play Games, please express interest on our developer site. We’ll have more to share on future beta releases and regional availability soon.

Windows is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies.
Game titles may vary by region.

Let’s Build Solutions! Solution Challenge 2022: Solve for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Using Google Technologies

Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Senior Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs

Solution Challenge 2022 banner image

Have you ever thought about building an application or tool that solves a problem your community faces? Or perhaps you’ve felt inspired to build something that can help improve the lives of those you care about. The year ahead brings more opportunities for helping each other and giving back to our communities.

With that in mind, we invite students around the world to join the Google Developer Student Clubs 2022 Solution Challenge! Where students from around the world are invited to solve for one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals using Google technologies.

About the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

Created by the United Nations in 2015 to be achieved by 2030, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed upon by all 193 United Nations Member States aim to end poverty, ensure prosperity, and protect the planet.

If you’re new to the Solution Challenge, it is an annual competition that invites university students to develop solutions for real world problems using one or more Google products or platforms.

This year, see how you can use Android, Firebase, TensorFlow, Google Cloud, Flutter, or any of your favorite Google technologies to promote employment for all, economic growth, and climate action, by building a solution for one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

What winners of the Solution Challenge receive

Participants will receive specialized prizes at different stages:

  • Top 50 teams - Receive customized mentorship from Googlers and experts to take solutions to the next level, a branded T-shirt, and a certificate.
  • Top 10 finalists - Receive additional mentorship, a swag box, and the opportunity to showcase solutions to Googlers and developers all around the world during the virtual 2022 Solution Challenge Demo Day live on YouTube.
  • Contest Finalists - In addition to the swag box, each individual from the additional seven recognized teams will receive a Cash Prize of $1,000 per student. Winnings for each qualifying team will not exceed $4,000.
  • Top 3 winners - In addition to the swag box, each individual from the top 3 winning teams will receive a Cash Prize of $3,000 and a feature on the Google Developers Blog. Winnings for each qualifying team will not exceed $12,000.

How to get started on the Solution Challenge

There are four main steps to joining the Solution Challenge and getting started on your project:

  1. Register at goo.gle/solutionchallenge and join a Google Developer Student Club at your college or university. If there is no club at your university, you can join the closest one through the event platform.
  2. Select one or more of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals to solve for.
  3. Build a solution using Google technology.
  4. Create a demo and submit your project by March 31, 2022.

Resources from Google for Solution Challenge participants

Google will provide Solution Challenge participants with various resources to help students build strong projects for their contest submission.

  • Live online sessions with Q&As
  • Mentorship from Google, Google Developer Experts, and the Google Developer Student Club community
  • Curated codelabs designed by Google Developers
  • Access to Design Sprint guidelines developed by Google Ventures
  • and more!

When are winners announced?

Once all the projects are submitted by the March 31st, 2022 deadline, judges will evaluate and score each submission from around the world using the criteria listed on the website.

From there, winning solutions will be announced in three rounds.

Round 1 (April): The Top 50 teams will be announced.

Round 2 (June): After the top 50 teams submit their new and improved solutions, 10 finalists will be announced.

Round 3 (July): In the finale, the top 3 grand prize winners will be announced live on YouTube during the 2022 Solution Challenge Demo Day.

With a passion for building a better world, savvy coding skills, and a little help from Google technology, we can’t wait to see the solutions students create.

Learn more and sign up for the 2022 Solution Challenge, here.

2021 Assistant Recap

Posted by Jessica Dene Earley-Cha, Mike Bifulco and Toni Klopfenstein, Developer Relations Engineers for Google Assistant

We've reached the end of the year - and what a year it's been! Between all of our live (virtual) events including I/O, developer summits, meetups and more, there are a lot of highlights for App Actions, Smart Home Actions and Conversational Actions. Let's dive in and take a look.

App Actions

App Actions allows developers to extend their Android App to Google Assistant. App Actions integrates more cleanly with Android using new Android platform features. With the introduction of the beta shortcuts.xml configuration resource, expanding existing Android features and our latest Google Assistant Plug App Actions is moving closer to the Android platform.

App Actions Benefits:

  • Display app information on Google surfaces. Provide Android widgets for Assistant to display, offering inline answers, simple confirmations and brief interactions to users without changing context.
  • Launch features from Assistant. Connect your app's capabilities to user queries that match predefined semantic patterns (BII).
  • Suggest voice shortcuts from Assistant. Use Assistant to proactively suggest tasks for users to discover or replay, in the right context.

Core Integration

Capabilities is a new Android framework API that allows you to declare the types of actions users can take to launch your app and jump directly to performing a specific task. Assistant provides the first available concrete implementation of the capabilities API. You can utilize capabilities by creating a shortcuts.xml resource and defining your capabilities. Capabilities specify two things: how it's triggered and what to do when it's triggered. To add a capability, you’ll need to select a Built-In intent (BII), which are pre-built language models that provide all the Natural Language Understanding to map the user's input to individual fields. When a BII is matched by the user’s request, your capability will trigger an Android Intent that delivers the understood BII fields to your app, so you can determine what to show in response.

To support a user query like “Hey Google, Find waterfall hikes on ExampleApp,” you can use the GET_THING BII. This BII supports queries that request an “item” and extracts the “item” from the user query as the parameter thing.name. The best use case for the GET_THING BII is to search for things in the app. Below is an example of a capability that uses the GET_THING BII:

<!-- This is a sample shortcuts.xml -->
<shortcuts xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android">
<capability android:name="actions.intent.GET_THING">
<intent
android:action="android.intent.action.VIEW"
android:targetPackage="YOUR_UNIQUE_APPLICATION_ID"
android:targetClass="YOUR_TARGET_CLASS">
<!-- Eg. name = "waterfall hikes" -->
<parameter
android:name="thing.name"
android:key="name"/>
</intent>
</capability>
</shortcuts>

This framework integration is in the Beta release stage, and will eventually replace the original implementation of App Actions that uses actions.xml. If your app provides both the new shortcuts.xml and old actions.xml, the latter will be disregarded.

Learn how to add your first capability with this codelab.

Voice shortcuts

Google Assistant suggests relevant shortcuts to users during contextually relevant times. Users can see what shortcuts they have by saying “Hey Google, shortcuts.”

Shortcut for Google Assistant

You can use the Google Shortcuts Integration library, currently in beta, to push an unlimited number of dynamic shortcuts to Google to make your shortcuts visible to users as voice shortcuts. Assistant can suggest relevant shortcuts to users to help make it more convenient for the user to interact with your Android app.

Learn how to push your dynamic shortcuts to Assistant with our dynamic shortcuts codelab.

Example of App using Dynamic Shortcuts CodeLab Tool

Simple Answers, Hands Free & Android Auto

During situations where users need a hand free experience, like on Android Auto, Assistant can display widgets to provide simple answers, brief confirmations and quick interactive experience as a response to a user’s inquiry. These widgets are displayed within the Assistant UI, and in order to implement a fully voice-forward interaction with your app, you can arrange for Assistant to speak a response with your widget, which is safe and natural for use in automobiles. A great re-engagement feature with widgets, is that a “Add this widget” chip can be included too!

Example of App using Dynamic Shortcuts CodeLab Tool

Re Engagement

Another re-engagement tool is In-App Promo SDK you can proactively suggest shortcuts in your app for actions that the user can repeat with a voice command to Assistant, in beta. The SDK allows you to check if the shortcut you want to suggest already exists for that user and prompt the user to create the suggested shortcut.

New Tooling

To support testing Capabilities, the Google Assistant plugin for Android Studio was launched. It contains an updated App Action Test Tool that creates a preview of your App Action, so you can test an integration before publishing it to the Play store.

New App Actions resources

Learn more with new or updated content:


Smart Home Actions

A big focus of this year's Smart Home launches were new and updated tools. At events like I/O, Works With: SiLabs, and the Google Smart Home Developer Summit, we shared these new resources to help you quickly build a high quality smart home integration.

New Resources

To make implementing new features even easier for developers, we released many new tools to help you get your Smart Home Action up and running.

To help consumers discover Google-compatible smart home devices and associated routines, we released the smart home directory, accessible on the web and through the Google Home app.

We heard your requests for more ways to localize your integrations, so we added sample utterances in English (en-US), German (de-DE), and French (fr-FR) to several device guides. Additionally, we also rolled out Chinese (zh-TW) as one of the supported languages for the overall platform. To make our documentation more accessible, we added a Japanese translation of our developer guides.

We also released several new device types and traits, along with new features to support your integrations, including proactive and follow-up responses, app discovery and deep linking.

Quality Improvements

For general onboarding, we've added three new codelabs to enable you to dive deeper into debugging and monitoring your projects. You can now walk through debugging smart home Actions, debugging local fulfillment Actions, and dig deeper into your log-based metrics for your Actions.

When you're actively developing your integration, the Google Home Playground can simulate a virtual home with configurable device types and traits. Here you can view the types and traits in Home Graph, modify device attributes, and share device configurations.

If you discover issues with your configuration, we've continued upgrading the monitoring and logging dashboards to show you detailed views of events with your integrations, as well as better guidance on how to handle errors and exceptions.

The WebRTC Validator Tool acts as a WebRTC peer to stream to or from, and generally emulates the WebRTC player on smart displays with Google Assistant. If you're specifically working with a smart camera, WebRTC is now supported on the CameraStream trait.

Local Home

In order to continue striving towards quality responses to user queries, we also added support to the Local Home SDK to support local queries and responses. Additionally, to help users onboard new devices in their homes quickly and use Google Nest devices as local hubs, we launched BLE Seamless Setup.

Matter

The new Google Home IDE enables you to improve your development process by enabling in-IDE access to Google Assistant Simulator, Cloud Logging, and more for each of your projects. This plugin is available for VSCode.

Finally, as we get closer to the official launch of the Matter protocol, we're working hard to unify all of our smart home ecosystem tools together under a single name - Google Home. The Google Home Developer Center will enable you to quickly find resources for integrating your Matter-compatible smart devices and platforms with Nest, Android, Google Home app, and Google Assistant.

Conversational Actions

Way back in January of 2021, we rolled up an updated Actions for Families program, which provides guidelines for teams building actions meant for kids. Conversational Actions which are approved for the Actions for Families program get a special badge in the Assistant Directory, which lets parents know that your Action is family-friendly.

During the What's New in Google Assistant keynote at Google I/O, Director of Product for the Google Assistant Developer Platform Rebecca Nathenson mentioned several coming updates and changes for Conversational Actions. This included the launch of a Developer Preview for a new client-side fulfillment model for Interactive Canvas. Client-side fulfillment changes the implementation strategy for Interactive Canvas apps, removing the need for a webhook relaying information between the Assistant NLU and their web application. This simplifies the infrastructure needed to deploy an action that uses Interactive Canvas. Since the release of this Developer Preview, we’ve been listening closely to developers to get feedback on client-side fulfillment.

Interactive Canvas Developer Tools

We also released Interactive Canvas Developer tools - a Chrome extension which can help dev teams mock and debug the web app side of Interactive Canvas apps and games. Best of all, it’s open source! You can install the dev tools from the Chrome Web Store, or compile them from source yourself on GitHub at actions-on-google/interactive-canvas-dev-tools.

Updates to SSML

Earlier this year we announced support for new SSML features in Conversational Actions. This expanded support lets you build more detailed and nuanced features using text to speech. We produced a short demonstration of SSML Features on YouTube, and you can find more in our docs on SSML if you’re ready to dive in and start building already

Updates to Transaction UX for Smart Displays

Also announced at I/O for Conversational Actions - we released an updated workflow for completing transactions on smart displays. The new transaction process lets users complete transactions from their smart screens, by confirming the CVC code from their chosen payment method, rather than using a phone to enter a CVC code. If you’d like to get an idea of what the new process looks like, check out our demo video showing new transaction features on smart devices.

Tips on Launching your Conversational Action

Driving a successful launch for Conversational Actions contains helpful information to help you think through some strategies for putting together a marketing team and go-to-market plan for releasing your Conversational Action.

Looking forward to 2022

We're looking forward to another exciting year in 2022. To stay connected, sign up for our new App Actions email series or Google Home newsletter, or for the general Assistant newsletter.

As always, you can also join us on Reddit or follow us on Twitter. Happy Holidays!

Learn Flutter for free with Flutter Apprentice!

Posted by Shams Zakhour

Image of cover of Flutter Apprentice book with  the Flutter bird

We’ve heard from many folk that they want to learn Flutter, but don’t know where to start. So we have some great news for you — we’re giving away a free book for the next three months, along with a book club to help track your progress and answer questions.

Flutter Apprentice is written to build on mobile development fundamentals. It takes you through your first fully-featured Flutter app, including designing a complex UI, as well as more advanced concepts such as persistence, state management, and cloud storage with Firebase. The book even covers publishing on both iOS and Android platforms.

Flutter Apprentice comes from Razeware, the team behind the raywenderlich.com books, videos and tutorials. The book normally costs $60 to purchase, but you’ll have free access to Flutter Apprentice from today, October 6, 2021 through January 6, 2022.

Flutter Apprentice is a practical book, with lots of examples to follow and code that you can put to use in your own apps. And it’s based on the very latest Flutter 2.5 release and the latest features in the Dart language. Whether you’re an experienced developer looking to deepen your understanding of Flutter’s more advanced features, or you’re new to app development and interested in adding Flutter to your front-end development toolkit, we think you’ll find plenty of useful content.

Image of Flutter Bird holding a laptop while standing in front of a presentation board

Learn Together

We’re also excited to host the Flutter Apprentice Book Club, a weekly opportunity to hear live discussion and have your questions answered by the book’s authors and community experts. We’ll be partnering with Flutteristas and other prominent leaders in the Flutter community to host the book club. Join us each Wednesday at 12pm EST / 9am PST on the Flutter Community YouTube channel for summaries, and discussions.

Stay tuned for pop quizzes, chances to win your very own Dash plushie, AMAs with the book’s authors and more.

Get Access

To get started, go to flutter.dev/apprentice-giveaway, where you’ll find instructions on accessing the book.

You can also subscribe to updates from the Flutter team. We’re looking forward to joining you on the journey; see you along the way!

The 2021 Season of Docs application for organizations is open!

Season of docs icon

Google Open Source is delighted to announce Season of Docs 2021!

The 2019 Season of Docs brought together open source organizations and technical writers to create 44 successful documentation projects. In 2020, we had 64 successful standard-length technical writing projects and are still awaiting long-running project results.

In 2021, the Season of Docs program will continue to support better documentation in open source and provide opportunities for skilled technical writers to gain open source experience. In addition, building on what we’ve learned from the successful 2019 and 2020 projects, we’re expanding our focus to include learning about effective metrics for evaluating open source documentation.

What are the 2021 program changes?

Season of Docs 2021 will allow open source organizations to apply for a grant based on their documentation needs. If selected, open source organizations will use their grant to hire a technical writer directly to complete their documentation project. Organizations will have up to six months to complete their documentation project. Keep reading for more information about the organization application or visit the Season of Docs site.

Technical writers interested in working with accepted open source organizations will be able to share their contact information via the Season of Docs GitHub repository; or they may submit proposals directly to the organizations and will not need to submit a formal application through Season of Docs.

Participating organizations will help broaden our understanding of effective documentation practices and metrics in open source by submitting a final case study upon completion of the program. The project case study will outline the problem the documentation project was intended to solve, what metrics were used to judge the effectiveness of the documentation, and what the organization learned for the future. All the project case studies will be published on the Season of Docs site at the end of the program.

How does it work?

February 9 - March 26 Open source organizations apply to take part in Season of Docs
April 16 Google publishes the list of accepted organizations, along with their project proposals and doc development can begin.
June 16 Organization administrators begin to submit monthly evaluations to report on the status of their project.
November 30 Organization administrators submit their case study and final project evaluation.
December 14 Google publishes the 2021 case studies and aggregate project data.
May 2, 2022 Organizations begin to participate in post-program followup surveys.

See the timeline for details.

Organization applications

Organization applications are now open! The deadline to apply is March 26, 2021 at 18:00 UTC.

To apply, first read the guidelines for creating an organization application on the Season of Docs website.

Take a look at the examples of project ideas, then create a project proposal based on your open source project’s actual documentation needs. Your goal is to attract technical writers to your organization, making them feel comfortable about approaching the organization and excited about what they can achieve.

Organizations can submit their applications here: http://goo.gle/3qVxArQ. Organization applications close on March 26th at 18:00 UTC.

Technical writers interested in participating in the 2021 Season of Docs should read our guide for technical writers on the Season of Docs website.

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at [email protected].

Join us

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Check out the timeline and FAQ, and get ready to apply!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Improving urban GPS accuracy for your app

Posted by Frank van Diggelen, Principal Engineer and Jennifer Wang, Product Manager

At Android, we want to make it as easy as possible for developers to create the most helpful apps for their users. That’s why we aim to provide the best location experience with our APIs like the Fused Location Provider API (FLP). However, we’ve heard from many of you that the biggest location issue is inaccuracy in dense urban areas, such as wrong-side-of-the-street and even wrong-city-block errors.

This is particularly critical for the most used location apps, such as rideshare and navigation. For instance, when users request a rideshare vehicle in a city, apps cannot easily locate them because of the GPS errors.

The last great unsolved GPS problem

This wrong-side-of-the-street position error is caused by reflected GPS signals in cities, and we embarked on an ambitious project to help solve this great problem in GPS. Our solution uses 3D mapping aided corrections, and is only feasible to be done at scale by Google because it comprises 3D building models, raw GPS measurements, and machine learning.

The December Pixel Feature Drop adds 3D mapping aided GPS corrections to Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G). With a system API that provides feedback to the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 5G Mobile Platform that powers Pixel, the accuracy in cities (or “urban canyons”) improves spectacularly.

Picture of a pedestrian test, with Pixel 5 phone, walking along one side of the street, then the other. Yellow = Path followed, Red = without 3D mapping aided corrections, Blue = with 3D mapping aided corrections.  The picture shows that without 3D mapping aided corrections, the GPS results frequently wander to the wrong side of the street (or even the wrong city block), whereas, with 3D mapping aided corrections, the position is many times more accurate.

Picture of a pedestrian test, with Pixel 5 phone, walking along one side of the street, then the other. Yellow = Path followed, Red = without 3D mapping aided corrections, Blue = with 3D mapping aided corrections.

Why hasn’t this been solved before?

The problem is that GPS constructively locates you in the wrong place when you are in a city. This is because all GPS systems are based on line-of-sight operation from satellites. But in big cities, most or all signals reach you through non line-of-sight reflections, because the direct signals are blocked by the buildings.

Diagram of the 3D mapping aided corrections module in Google Play services, with corrections feeding into the FLP API.   3D mapping aided corrections are also fed into the GNSS chip and software, which in turn provides GNSS measurements, position, and velocity back to the module.

The GPS chip assumes that the signal is line-of-sight and therefore introduces error when it calculates the excess path length that the signals traveled. The most common side effect is that your position appears on the wrong side of the street, although your position can also appear on the wrong city block, especially in very large cities with many skyscrapers.

There have been attempts to address this problem for more than a decade. But no solution existed at scale, until 3D mapping aided corrections were launched on Android.

How 3D mapping aided corrections work

The 3D mapping aided corrections module, in Google Play services, includes tiles of 3D building models that Google has for more than 3850 cities around the world. Google Play services 3D mapping aided corrections currently supports pedestrian use-cases only. When you use your device’s GPS while walking, Android’s Activity Recognition API will recognize that you are a pedestrian, and if you are in one of the 3850+ cities, tiles with 3D models will be downloaded and cached on the phone for that city. Cache size is approximately 20MB, which is about the same size as 6 photographs.

Inside the module, the 3D mapping aided corrections algorithms solve the chicken-and-egg problem, which is: if the GPS position is not in the right place, then how do you know which buildings are blocking or reflecting the signals? Having solved this problem, 3D mapping aided corrections provide a set of corrected positions to the FLP. A system API then provides this information to the GPS chip to help the chip improve the accuracy of the next GPS fix.

With this December Pixel feature drop, we are releasing version 2 of 3D mapping aided corrections on Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G). This reduces wrong-side-of-street occurrences by approximately 75%. Other Android phones, using Android 8 or later, have version 1 implemented in the FLP, which reduces wrong-side-of-street occurrences by approximately 50%. Version 2 will be available to the entire Android ecosystem (Android 8 or later) in early 2021.

Android’s 3D mapping aided corrections work with signals from the USA’s Global Positioning System (GPS) as well as other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs): GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, and QZSS.

Our GPS chip partners shared the importance of this work for their technologies:

“Consumers rely on the accuracy of the positioning and navigation capabilities of their mobile phones. Location technology is at the heart of ensuring you find your favorite restaurant and you get your rideshare service in a timely manner. Qualcomm Technologies is leading the charge to improve consumer experiences with its newest Qualcomm® Location Suite technology featuring integration with Google's 3D mapping aided corrections. This collaboration with Google is an important milestone toward sidewalk-level location accuracy,” said Francesco Grilli, vice president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

“Broadcom has integrated Google's 3D mapping aided corrections into the navigation engine of the BCM47765 dual-frequency GNSS chip. The combination of dual frequency L1 and L5 signals plus 3D mapping aided corrections provides unprecedented accuracy in urban canyons. L5 plus Google’s corrections are a game-changer for GNSS use in cities,” said Charles Abraham, Senior Director of Engineering, Broadcom Inc.

“Google's 3D mapping aided corrections is a major advancement in personal location accuracy for smartphone users when walking in urban environments. MediaTek’s Dimensity 5G family enables 3D mapping aided corrections in addition to its highly accurate dual-band GNSS and industry-leading dead reckoning performance to give the most accurate global positioning ever for 5G smartphone users,” said Dr. Yenchi Lee, Deputy General Manager of MediaTek’s Wireless Communications Business Unit.

How to access 3D mapping aided corrections

Android’s 3D mapping aided corrections automatically works when the GPS is being used by a pedestrian in any of the 3850+ cities, on any phone that runs Android 8 or later. The best way for developers to take advantage of the improvement is to use FLP to get location information. The further 3D mapping aided corrections in the GPS chip are available to Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) today, and will be rolled out to the rest of the Android ecosystem (Android 8 or later) in the next several weeks. We will also soon support more modes including driving.

Android’s 3D mapping aided corrections cover more than 3850 cities, including:

  • North America: All major cities in USA, Canada, Mexico.
  • Europe: All major cities. (100%, except Russia & Ukraine)
  • Asia: All major cities in Japan and Taiwan.
  • Rest of the world: All major cities in Brazil, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

As our Google Earth 3D models expand, so will 3D mapping aided corrections coverage.

Google Maps is also getting updates that will provide more street level detail for pedestrians in select cities, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian islands. In 2021, you can get these updates for your app using the Google Maps Platform. Along with the improved location accuracy from 3D mapping aided corrections, we hope we can help developers like you better support use cases for the world’s 2B pedestrians that use Android.

Continuously making location better

In addition to 3D mapping aided corrections, we continue to work hard to make location as accurate and useful as possible. Below are the latest improvements to the Fused Location Provider API (FLP):

  • Developers wanted an easier way to retrieve the current location. With the new getCurrentLocation() API, developers can get the current location in a single request, rather than having to subscribe to ongoing location changes. By allowing developers to request location only when needed (and automatically timing out and closing open location requests), this new API also improves battery life. Check out our latest Kotlin sample.
  • Android 11's Data Access Auditing API provides more transparency into how your app and its dependencies access private data (like location) from users. With the new support for the API's attribution tags in the FusedLocationProviderClient, developers can more easily audit their apps’ location subscriptions in addition to regular location requests. Check out this Kotlin sample to learn more.



Qualcomm and Snapdragon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated.

Qualcomm Snapdragon and Qualcomm Location Suite are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

The Tekton Pipelines Beta release

Tekton is a powerful and flexible open-source framework for creating CI/CD systems, allowing developers to build, test, and deploy across cloud providers and on-premise systems. The project recently released its Beta, which creates higher levels of stability by bringing the best features into the Pipelines Beta and brings more trust between the users and the features.


Tekton is used for infrastructure development on top of Kubernetes; it provides an open source framework for creating CI/CD systems, easily allowing developers to build, test, and deploy applications across applications.

With the new Beta functionality, users can rest assured that Beta features will not be removed, and that there will be a 9-month window dedicated to finding solutions for incompatible API changes. Since many in the Tekton community are using Tekton Pipelines to run APIs, this new release helps guarantee that any new developments on top of Tekton are reliable and optimized for best performance, with a budget of several months to make any necessary adjustments.

As platform builders require a stable API and feature set, the Beta launch includes Tasks, ClusterTasks and TaskRuns, Pipelines and PipelineRuns, to provide a foundation that users can rely on. Google created working groups in conjunction with other contributors from various companies to drive the Beta release. The team continues to churn out new Pipeline features towards a GA launch at the end of the year, while also focussing on bringing other components like metadata storage, Triggers, and the Catalog to Beta.


While initially starting as part of the Knative project from Google, in collaboration with developers from other organizations, Tekton was donated to the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF) in early 2019. Tekton’s initial design for the interface was even inspired by the Cloud Build API—and to this day—Google remains heavily involved in the commitment to develop Tekton, by participating in the governing board, and staffing a dedicated team invested in the success of this project. These characteristics make Tekton a prime example of a collaboration in open source.

Since its launch in February 2019, Tekton has had 3712 pull requests from 262 contributors across 39 companies spanning 16 countries. Many widely used projects across the open source industry are built on Tekton:
  • Puppet Project Nebula
  • Jenkins X
  • Red Hat OpenShift Pipelines
  • IBM Cloud Continuous Delivery
  • Kabanero – open source project led by IBM
  • Rio – open source project led by Rancher
  • Kf – open source project led by Google
Interested in trying out Tekton yourself? To install Tekton in your own kubernetes cluster (1.15 or newer), use kubectl to install the latest Tekton release:

kubectl apply -f
https://storage.googleapis.com/tekton-releases/pipeline/latest/release.yaml

You can jump right in by saving this Task to a file called task.yaml:

apiVersion: tekton.dev/v1beta1
kind: Task
metadata:
  name: hello-world
spec:
  steps:
  - image: ubuntu
    script: |
      echo "hello world"


Tasks are one of the most important building blocks of Tekton! Head over to tektoncd/catalog for more examples of reusable Tasks.

To run the hello-world Task, first apply it to your cluster with kubectl:

kubectl apply -f task.yaml

The easiest way to start running our Task is to use the Tekton command line tool, tkn. Install tkn using the right method for your OS, and you can run your Task with:

tkn task start hello-world --showlog

That’s just a taste of Tekton! At tekton.dev/try the community is hard at work adding interactive tutorials that let you try Tekton in a virtual environment. And you can dump straight into the docs at tekton.dev/docs and join the Tekton community at github.com/tektoncd/community.

Congratulations to all the contributors who made this Beta release possible!

By Radha Jhatakia and Christie Wilson, Google Open Source

Announcing Season of Docs 2020

Google Open Source is delighted to announce Season of Docs 2020!

Season of Docs brings technical writers and open source projects together for a few months to work on open source documentation. 2019 was the first year of Season of Docs, bringing together open source organizations and technical writers to create 44 successful documentation projects!

Docs are key to open source success

Survey after survey show the importance of good documentation in how developers choose and use open source:
  • 72% of surveyed developers say “Established policies and documentation” is a key decision factor when choosing open source
  • 93% of surveyed developers say “Incomplete or outdated documentation is a pervasive problem” in open source
  • “Lack of documentation” was the top reason developers gave for deciding against using an open source project
Open source communities know this, and still struggle to produce good documentation. Why? Because creating documentation is hard. But...

There are people who know how to do docs well. Technical writers know how to structure a documentation site so that people can find and understand the content. They know how to write docs that fit the needs of their audience. Technical writers can also help optimize a community’s processes for open source contribution and onboarding new contributors.

Season of Docs brings open source projects and technical writers together with the shared goal of creating great documentation. The writers bring their expertise to the projects, and the project mentors help the technical writers learn more about open source and new technologies. Communities gain new docs contributors and technical writers gain valuable open source skills.

Together the technical writers and mentors build a new doc set, improve the structure of the existing docs, develop a much-needed tutorial, or improve contribution processes and guides. See more ideas for technical writing projects.

By working together in Season of Docs we raise awareness of open source, docs, and technical writing.

How does it work?

April 13 – May 4Open source organizations apply to take part in Season of Docs
May 11Google publishes the list of accepted mentoring organizations, along with their ideas for documentation projects
May 11 – July 9Technical writers choose the project they’d like to work on and submit their proposals to Season of Docs
August 10Google announces the accepted technical writer projects
August 11 – September 11Community bonding: Technical writers get to know mentors and the open source community, and refine their projects in collaboration with their mentors
September 11 – December 6Technical writers work with open source mentors on the accepted projects, and submit their work at the end of the period
January 7, 2021Google publishes the list of successfully-completed projects.
See the timeline for details, including the provision for projects that run longer than three months.

Join us

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Check out the timeline and FAQ, and get ready to apply!

By Erin McKean, Google Open Source

Google for Games Developer Summit March 2020

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Head of Product Management, Games on Android & Google Play

"Developer Summit Google for Games " with game illustration.

While we're sorry we didn't get to see you all in person at GDC, we hope you are all staying healthy and safe. As many of us look to press on with work as much as possible, we’d like to share with you what our teams have been working on at the digital Google for Games Developer Summit. We couldn’t be happier with the continued growth of the vibrant Android gaming ecosystem. In fact, Android remains the world's most popular mobile platform with more than 2.5 billion monthly active devices and great news for game developers, we’re seeing more than 1.4 trillion minutes played per month in your games on Google Play. It’s important to us that our platforms are highly useful to every kind of game developer, so our payment system helps games monetize in more than 65 countries. Moreover, we offer our users more than 275 local forms of payment, including more than 180 carrier billing options, with gift cards sold in over 900 thousand unique retail locations worldwide.

Across Android and Google Play, our mission is to deliver the best platform to build, discover, and experience games. Specifically, we’re working on ways to help you increase the reach of your games and manage the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem. We’re also focused on helping you access a wider player base, once you’ve made a great game and are ready to get it out there. Last year, we shared that we’re investing heavily in our games efforts to address your challenges in these areas, and now we are excited to share several new tools and services built specifically with game developers in mind.

Catch up on everything shared at g.co/gamedevsummit.

New Android tools for mobile game development

A major area of investment for us has been making it easier for developers to build and optimize games for Android. Here’s a round-up of several new tools we’re releasing:

  • Android Studio Profilers: We’ve overhauled our Android Studio System Trace profiler to allow you to inspect and visualize in fine detail how your code is being executed. We also added native memory profiling capabilities so you can see how your game is allocating memory and find memory leaks. Download Android Studio 4.1 Canary and watch the session.
  • Android Game Development Extension for Visual Studio: We’re introducing a new tool to make it easy to add Android support for your cross-platform games. This integrates easily with existing Visual Studio-based workflows so now you can conveniently generate APKs, deploy to Android devices or an emulator, and debug your Android game from within Visual Studio. Apply for the developer preview and watch the session.
  • Android GPU Inspector: Our new Android GPU Inspector enables you to look deeply into an Android GPU and see detailed information about your game’s render stages and GPU counters. Now graphics engineers are empowered with information and insights to optimize their game for better frame rates and more battery life. Apply for the developer preview and watch the session.
  • Game Package Registry for Unity by Google: Our new package registry consolidates various Google APIs, starting with Google Play Billing, Android App Bundles, Play Asset Delivery, Play Instant, and Firebase for Games, all in one place. Learn more and watch the session.
  • Crytek announces Android support: CRYENGINE is known as a high performance game engine for PCs and game consoles and will be adding a full Android pipeline to their engine this summer. Learn more.

New ways to reach more devices & users

We’ve been working to help developers scale their reach to a growing player-base across the Android ecosystem. Today, we’re introducing a few new tools to help your development process and provide greater insights into your game’s performance.

  • Google Play Asset Delivery: Introducing a new set of delivery features for games services, building on our App Bundle infrastructure to give you free, dynamic delivery of the right game assets to the right devices at the right time. All of this allows players to get into your game faster while assets are being downloaded, while you cut the costs of hosting and delivering d game resources. Learn more and watch the session.
  • Android vitals native crash symbolication: Now you can debug your native crashes more easily with support for native symbols in Play Console. Simply upload your native debug symbols to get the benefits in Android Vitals. Apply for the open beta and watch the session.
  • Android vitals performance insights with Android Performance Tuner: We’re making it possible to optimize your frame rate and fidelity across many devices at scale with new performance insights in Android vitals. For those in our developer preview, you can unlock this by integrating the new Android Performance Tuner into your game: a new library in the Android Game SDK. Apply for the developer preview and watch the session.
  • Play Billing Library 2 for Unity developers: Game developers using Unity can now access all of Play Billing Library 2's features, such as allowing users to pay with cash and surfacing IAPs outside of the game. This is the best way for Unity developers to prepare for Play’s Billing Library version requirements in 2021. Learn more.

New ways to reach more devices and win go-to-market

The Google Play store is shifting to be more gameplay centric by showing more visuals that demonstrate gameplay and a new system of tags to help users learn more about specific game traits and aid in exploration. Learn how you can ensure your game is of high-quality and leverage various features and new services to help you succeed in your go-to-market activities.

  • Emphasis on quality: We continue to emphasize high quality gaming experiences across Google Play, to encourage immersive gameplay with strong technical performance and being free of crashes. Learn more.
  • Pre-registration: Hundreds-of-millions of players use pre-registration campaigns on Google Play each year, making it an effective way to expand the reach on launch. We’ll soon be rolling out day 1 auto-installation for all pre-registration games, to help you build early consumer awareness and capture pre-launch demand.
  • Play Pass: Late last year we launched Play Pass in the US market as a subscription service providing users with access to hundreds of great apps and games on Google Play, completely free of ads and in-app purchases. Learn more and express interest.

Thanks for your support in continuing to build incredible games. Make sure to try some of the new tools and services we just released and catch the full playlist of mobile developer sessions. If you’re interested in sharing feedback to help shape the development of cutting edge features, apply to join our developer preview programs from Android and Google Play. You can also learn about all of the offerings we have to help game developers building on Android at d.android.com/games.

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Google Code-in 2019 Contest for Teenagers

Today is the start of the 10th consecutive year of the Google Code-in (GCI) contest for teens. We anticipate this being the biggest contest yet!

The Basics

What is Google Code-in?
Our global, online contest introducing students to open source development. The contest runs for seven weeks until January 23, 2020.

Who can register?
Pre-university students ages 13-17 that have their parent or guardian’s permission to register for the contest.

How do students register and participate?
Students can register for the contest beginning today at g.co/gci. Once students have registered, and the parental consent form has been submitted and approved by Program Administrators, students can choose which “task” they want to work on first. Students choose the task they find interesting from a list of thousands of available tasks created by 29 participating open source organizations. Tasks take an average of 3-5 hours to complete. There are even beginner tasks that are a wonderful way for students to get started in the contest.

The task categories are:
  • Coding
  • Design
  • Documentation/Training
  • Outreach/Research
  • Quality Assurance
Why should students participate?
Students not only have the opportunity to work on a real open source software project, thus gaining invaluable skills and experience, but they also have the opportunity to be a part of the open source community. Mentors are readily available to help answer their questions while they work through the tasks.

Google Code-in is a contest so there are prizes*! Complete one task and receive a digital certificate, three completed tasks and you’ll also get a fun Google t-shirt. Finalists earn a jacket, runners-up earn backpacks, and grand prize winners (two from each organization) will receive a trip to Google headquarters in California in 2020!

Details
Over the past nine years, more than 11,000 students from 108 countries have successfully completed over 55,000 tasks in GCI. Curious? Learn more about GCI by checking out the Contest Rules, short videos, and FAQs. Please visit our contest site and read the Getting Started Guide.

Teachers, if you are interested in getting your students involved in Google Code-in we have resources available to help you get started.

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source

* There are a handful of countries we are unable to ship physical goods to, as listed in the FAQs.