Tag Archives: Chrome apps

Here’s to more HTTPS on the web!

Originally posted on Google Security Blog

Posted by Adrienne Porter Felt and Emily Schechter, Chrome Security Team

Security has always been critical to the web, but challenges involved in site migration have inhibited HTTPS adoption for several years. In the interest of a safer web for all, at Google we've worked alongside many others across the online ecosystem to better understand and address these challenges, resulting in real change. A web with ubiquitous HTTPS is not the distant future. It's happening now, with secure browsing becoming standard for users of Chrome.

Today, we're adding a new section to the HTTPS Report Card in our Transparency Report that includes data on how HTTPS usage has been increasing over time. More than half of pages loaded and two-thirds of total time spent by Chrome desktop users occur via HTTPS, and we expect these metrics to continue their strong upward trajectory.

Percentage pages loaded over HTTPS in Chrome

As the remainder of the web transitions to HTTPS, we'll continue working to ensure that migrating to HTTPS is a no-brainer, providing business benefit beyond increased security. HTTPS currently enables the best performancethe web offers and powerful features that benefit site conversions, including both new features such as service workers for offline support and web push notifications, and existing features such as credit card autofill and the HTML5 geolocation API that are too powerful to be used over non-secure HTTP.

As with all major site migrations, there are certain steps webmasters should take to ensure that search ranking transitions are smooth when moving to HTTPS. To help with this, we've posted two FAQs to help sites transition correctly, and will continue to improve our web fundamentals guidance.

We've seen many sites successfully transition with negligible effect on their search ranking and traffic. Brian Wood, Director of Marketing SEO at Wayfair, a large retail site, commented "we were able to migrate Wayfair.com to HTTPS with no meaningful impact to Google rankings or Google organic search traffic. We are very pleased to say that all Wayfair sites are now fully HTTPS." CNET, a large tech news site, had a similar experience. "We successfully completed our move of CNET.com to HTTPS last month," said John Sherwood, Vice President of Engineering & Technology at CNET. "Since then, there has been no change in our Google rankings or Google organic search traffic."

Webmasters that include ads on their sites also carefully monitor ad performance and revenue during large site migrations. The portion of Google ad traffic served over HTTPS has increased dramaticallyover the past 3 years. All ads that come from any Google source always support HTTPS, including AdWords, AdSense or DoubleClick Ad Exchange; ads sold directly, such as those through DoubleClick for Publishers, still need to be designed to be HTTPS-friendly. This means there will be no change to the Google-sourced ads that appear on a site after migrating to HTTPS. Many publishing partners have seen this in practice after a successful HTTPS transition. Jason Tollestrup, Director of Programmatic Advertising for the Washington Post, "saw no material impact to AdX revenue with the transition to SSL."

As migrating to HTTPS becomes even easier, we'll continue working towards a web that's secure by default. Don't hesitate to start planning your HTTPS migration today!

Teach and learn from everywhere in the classroom with Google Cast for Education

Editor's note: Yesterday we announced four new ways to help teachers engage their classes using Google educational tools. This post dives deeper into one of the those announcements: Cast for Education. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to come check it out in person.

In his 11 years of teaching at Hillcrest Elementary in the Lake Stevens School district in Washington State, Bob Coleman has witnessed how educational technology can help advance collaboration and engagement in the classroom. So when the 4th grade teacher found his students stuck on a common math problem, he gathered the class in front of the classroom projector. Sitting behind his desk — now in front of his students and not among them — Mr. Coleman realized that the biggest screen in the room was only available to the teacher.

In Mr. Coleman’s classroom — and for millions of students around the world — both education and technology are expected to be collaborative. But today, the classroom projector is most often out of reach for students. Educators are eager to overcome this barrier, so much so that wireless screen sharing for schools was one of the top features requested by teachers in 2015.
Teachers, we heard you loud and clear. Yesterday we announced Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from anywhere in the classroom. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers, and works seamlessly with Google Classroom. And because the app runs on the teacher’s computer that’s connected to the projector, it doesn’t require new hardware. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students share their screens through the Cast feature in Chrome.
Teacher view (click image to see larger)
Student view (click image to see larger)
To gather feedback on the product, we had teachers like Mr. Coleman and his colleague Tony Koumaros pilot Cast for Education in their classrooms. Mr. Koumaros knew his students would be excited to share their work with the rest of the class, but he was surprised to discover that they were eager to share even when they didn’t know all of the answers. “Casting makes it fun to ask for help,” he said. “My students enjoyed working through challenges together.”

Erin Turnbach, a 2nd grade teacher who piloted Cast for Education at Tom’s River Regional School District in New Jersey, found herself “co-teaching with a 2nd grader” during a lesson on animals. When the class got stuck during research time, Ms. Turnbach was able to work one-on-one with a student while another casted to the rest of the class. “We’re always trying to encourage teamwork,” Ms Turnbach says. “The end product is stronger when you collaborate and build off each other’s ideas. With Cast for Education, everyone engages and the students take ownership of their learning.”

“It’s hard to imagine not using it now that we have it”, Mr. Coleman says. “Sharing student screens was a big need for us, and now Cast for Education is our daily classroom tool.”

*Note: Visit g.co/CastForEDU to try Cast for Education today in beta, with full availability for Back to School 2016. Chrome management admins can install the new Cast for Education app for all teachers, and the Google Cast extension for their entire domain.

Creative tools on Chromebooks foster skills of the future

Editor's note: Earlier today we announced four new ways to help teachers engage their students using Google tools. This post dives deeper into one of the four announcements: creative apps on Chromebooks. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to learn more and demo these apps.

Skills of the future 
In 2015, Google commissioned research from the Economist Intelligence Unit to better understand the skills students need to be successful in the future workplace. In addition to literacy and numeracy, the research uncovered a wider range of skills — including problem-solving, teamwork, communication and creativity — that are most sought after by employers.

“It’s increasingly rare for someone to sit in the office with the door closed and do tasks individually,” says Kaitlyn Manchester, ELA Teacher at Muller Road Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina. “There’s a need to come together as a team to get something done. If you leave school and you don’t have these skills, it’s difficult to do your job in the modern workplace.”

Creative apps on Chromebooks
With this inspiration in mind, we’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that can be seamlessly integrated into classroom life, while also fostering skills of the future. We reached out to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher to identify Chromebook apps that nurture these skills. Three creative apps consistently bubbled up as loved by teachers and students alike: Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo.

To see these apps in action in the classroom, we visited Muller Road Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina:
During our visit, students used WeVideo’s collaborative video creation tool in English Language Arts to edit documentaries about a flood that ravaged their town. In Science, they used Soundtrap’s spoken word and music-making platform to create public service announcements about how hand-washing kills germs. And in Math, they used Explain Everything’s interactive whiteboard to animate their thinking about histograms.

“With creative apps on Chromebooks, students bring ideas to the table I never thought of,” says Tryphena Cuffy, 6th grade science teacher at Muller Road. “They are not limited; they combine concrete and abstract thought, and that’s when they shine.”
Finding student voice
A classroom that nurtures creativity often results in students taking different approaches to interacting with the same curriculum. “There are some students who are happy to express themselves verbally. There are others who prefer to write. There are students who don't like to have their face shown, but they’re more than happy to explain their ideas. With these apps, you can help everyone focus on their strengths,” says Bailey Triplett, Muller Road’s AVID Teacher.

Tom Cranmer, Chief Technology Officer at Richland Two School District confirms, “Students want to work with digital content. They want to create. They want to pull in multimedia resources that they can use to create their world and create their stories. This helps them take ownership of their learning and keep them engaged throughout.”

Good things come in threes
To make these creative apps on Chromebooks more accessible to a wider range of school districts, we worked closely with our Chromebook partners to create a special price when all three apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

And we’re just getting started. We look forward to working with teachers and partners to bring even more 21st century tools into the classroom.

To learn more about these apps, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Updates from ISTE: 4 new tools to help teachers do what they do best

Cyrus Mistry, Lead Product Manager, Devices and Content, Google for Education

Editor's note: This week our Google for Education team will be joining thousands of educators at the annual ISTE conference. Follow along here and on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Teachers are great communicators, collaborators, creators and critical thinkers. It takes a teacher to empower students with these skills and create the leaders of our future. As technology becomes an increasingly integral component of our classrooms, the role of teachers becomes even more important.

Today at ISTE, we’re announcing four more ways for these everyday heroes to engage their classes and empower their students using Google tools. Look out for a deeper dive on each of these launches on the blog throughout this week.

Bring curriculum to life: introducing the Expeditions app
Since we launched the beta Expeditions Pioneer Program in September of 2015, more than one million students across 11 countries have taken one of our virtual reality trips. Today, we’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices. With more than 200 Expeditions to choose from, students can journey far and wide, learning from immersive new experiences. Our content offering has also grown and now includes Expeditions made by established educational content providers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Pearson is beginning work on Expeditions content as well. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.

While Expeditions can be used with many of the devices schools or students already have — either smartphones with Google Cardboard or tablets in 2D full screen mode — Best Buy Education will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase. These kits will contain everything teachers need to bring their classes on amazing Expeditions: a tablet, virtual reality viewers and a router to connect them all. Kits are available for pre-order and will ship in time for back-to-school. We’ll also publish clear specs for partners interested in working with us to create their own kits.
Empower student-driven classrooms: Google Cast for Education
Collaboration is key to student success, but in most classrooms today the biggest screen in the room is out of reach for students. If students want to share their screens with the class, they have to physically connect their devices to the classroom projector. When teachers present, they’re tied to the projector at the front of the room. Educators are eager to overcome this barrier, so much so that wireless screen sharing for schools was one of the top features requested by teachers in 2015.

Today we’re announcing Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from everywhere in the classroom. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers and works with Google Classroom so it’s easy to invite your students. And because the app runs on the teacher’s existing computer, it doesn’t require new hardware. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students can share their screens with the existing Cast feature in Chrome. Check out the Cast for Education video.
Teacher view (click to see larger) 
Student view (click to see larger)

Accelerate the feedback loop: Quizzes in Google Forms
Getting feedback early helps students learn and teachers teach. Starting today, Quizzes in Google Forms will allow teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions — so teachers can spend less time grading and more time teaching.

Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.
Ignite student creativity: creative apps on Chromebooks
We’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that foster skills of the future, including problem-solving, digital literacy, leadership and creativity. We listened to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher, and we’re excited to announce a collection of creative apps on Chromebooks that schools can purchase as a bundle.

Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo are creative apps that help students demonstrate their understanding of curriculum through their own unique voice. We’ve worked closely with our partners to offer these apps to schools at a special price when all three apps are purchased together. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they’re available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US. Contact your school’s reseller to learn more.

Students use creative apps at Muller Road Middle School in South Carolina (watch video here)

Look out for a deeper dive on each of these product updates on the blog throughout this week. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to demo these tools. And check out our sessions — taking place in room #103 — where educators and Googlers will be giving short presentations throughout the conference.

The Mobile Web Is Open for Business

Originally posted on Google Chromium Blog

Posted by Rahul Roy-chowdhury, VP Product Management, Chrome

One of the virtues of the web is its immense reach, providing access to information for all internet users regardless of device or platform. With the explosion of mobile devices, the web has had to evolve to deliver great experiences on the small screen. This journey began a few years ago, and I am excited to be able to say that the mobile web is open for business. Join me live at Google I/O at 2:00pm PT as I discuss the state of the union and how to take advantage of new experiences like AMP and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to deliver a best-in-class mobile experience.

If you don't have time to tune in today, we'll post the recording shortly on our YouTube channel. In the meantime, here's a quick recap of the four aspects to focus on while building a great mobile web experience.

Expressiveness has always been a strength of the web, but sometimes that expressiveness can come at the cost of loading time or smooth scrolling. For example, event listeners allow developers to create custom scrolling effects for their website, but they can introduce jank when Chrome needs to wait for any touch handler to finish before scrolling a page. With the new passive event listener API, we've given control back to the developer, who can indicate whether they plan to handle the scroll or if Chrome can begin scrolling immediately.

Speed also goes beyond user experience gains. Studies have shown that 40% of users will leave a retail site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. To get a blazing fast web page in front of users immediately, we've introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). With AMP, we have seen pages load 4x faster and use up to 10x less data. AMP is already seeing great adoption by developers, with more than 640,000 domains serving AMP pages.

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) let developers take advantage of new technologies to provide users with an engaging experience from the very first moment. Thanks to a new API called service worker, all the important parts of a web app can be cached so that it loads instantly the next time a user opens it. This caching also allows developers to continue to provide a fast and meaningful experience even when the user is offline or on an unreliable network. PWAs provide elements of polish too: an icon users can add to their home screen, a splash screen when they open it, and a full-screen experience with no address bar.

image 9.gif

JalanTikus Progressive Web App

Logging in is a ubiquitous pattern on the web, but 92% of users abandon a task if they've forgotten their password. To alleviate this pain, Chrome's password manager enables more than 8-billion sign-ins per month, and we're expanding support with the Credential Management API. Using this API allows web apps to more closely integrate with the password manager and streamline the sign-in process.

Even once logged in, checkout can be a complicated process to complete. That's why we're also investing in capabilities such as the Web Payment API and enhanced autofill, assisting users by accurately filling in forms for them. We've found that forms are completed 25% more when autofill is available, increasing odds for conversion.

Once the first interaction with a user is complete, re-engaging on the web can be tricky. Push notifications address this challenge on native apps, and now the push API is available on the web as well. This allows developers to reconnect with their users even if the browser isn't running. Over 10 billion push notifications are sent every day in Chrome, and it’s growing quickly. Jumia found that users who enabled push notifications opened those notifications 38% of the time and recovered carts 9x more often than other users.

Jumia Mobile Web Push Notifications

Success Stories
As developers begin embracing these new technologies, we're seeing success stories from around the world. AliExpress, one of the world's largest e-commerce sites, built a PWA and saw conversion rates for new users increase by 104%. They've also found that users love the experience, spending 74% more time on their site per session.

Another great example is BaBe, an Indonesian news aggregator service that was app-only until they developed a PWA with feature parity to their native app. Since launching they have found it to perform even faster than their native app, and have seen comparable time spent per session: 3 minutes on average on both their mobile website and their native app.

Even developers who have only begun implementing certain PWA technologies have seen success. United eXtra, a leading retailer in Saudi Arabia, implemented push notifications and saw users who opted-in returned 4x more often. These returning users also spent 100% more than users returning from other channels.

These are just a handful of businesses that have begun reaping the benefits of investing in Progressive Web Apps. Learn more about our how partners are using PWA technologies to enhance their mobile web experience.

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Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with all the mobile web sessions from Google I/O, which we will continue to upload as they’re ready. Thanks for coming, thanks for watching, and most of all, thank you for developing for the web!

Android apps, coming to a Chromebook near you

Today at Google I/O, our annual conference for developers, we announced that Android apps will be coming to Chromebooks. That means you’ll be able to do things like edit photos in Photoshop Mix, make a Skype call, open up Office files and work offline -- or take a break with games like Minecraft.

In 2015, US K-12 schools purchased more Chromebooks than all other devices combined (source) and adoption continues to increase in classrooms around the globe. To add even more flexibility to these fast, secure and easy-to-manage devices, we will be bringing Android apps to select Chromebooks, offering access to more content, increased offline options and additional touch-optimized apps for touchscreen models.

Android apps for Chromebooks
A few popular Android apps are already available today on Chromebooks through the App Runtime for Chrome program.

LightSail, an adaptive literacy solution for schools, is one example. "Fostering a love of reading among my English Language Learners has been an ongoing struggle in our class. After introducing LightSail on our school's Chromebooks, I have witnessed a true enjoyment of reading, with students reading for up to 40 minutes at a time on a regular basis. That type of stamina is something I have not seen before from these formerly reluctant readers,” says Christina Di Pietro, an ESL & Humanities Teacher at the James P. Timilty Middle School in Boston, MA. Since LightSail’s Android app became available, students have had another tool in their digital backpack to help them build reading comprehension skills.

For schools with supported touchscreen Chromebooks, touch-optimized Android apps like Explain Everything open up a world of possibilities for students. “The touchscreen on the Chromebooks allows students to enhance the content they create using Explain Everything, making their thinking visible and interactive,” says Jennifer Schlie-Reed, a Digital Learning Coach at Eisenhower Middle/High School in New Berlin, WI. "It provides students opportunities to demonstrate their learning in unique ways.”

The Android app Open eBooks will be available on Chromebooks soon, and is part of the White House ConnectED Initiative. Stacy Kinney, a Librarian and Media Specialist at O.A. Fleming Elementary in Freeport, TX, used Open eBooks to “put otherwise costly books into the hands of our children.” Stacy’s school is a Title One campus. “I value the Open eBook app because it makes quality, appealing books accessible to my students and their families.”
Open eBooks app running on a Chromebook
Android app management for school administrators
School IT administrators will have full control over selecting and managing the Android apps made available to their managed users on Chromebooks. They’ll manage Android apps using the same cloud-based Chromebook content controls they love today, through Google’s Admin Console.

We can’t wait to bring more Android apps to Chromebooks, which will come to supported devices in the 2016-17 school year. In the meantime, you can learn more about bringing Chromebooks to your school.

If you’re an Android app developer looking to bring your app to schools, you can learn more here.

Introducing Chrome Music Lab

Posted by Alex Chen, Coder and Designer, Google Creative Lab

This year, for Music in Our Schools Month, we wanted to help make learning about music a bit more accessible to everyone by using technology that’s open to everyone: the web. We built a set of experiments that let anyone explore how music works. It’s called Chrome Music Lab, and you can check it out at g.co/musiclab.

The experiments all use the Web Audio API, an open web standard that lets you create and manipulate sound right in the browser. In Chrome Music Lab, we’re using Web Audio to create interactive drum machines, pianos, synthesizers, and more. A few experiments also let you use the microphone input in Chrome through WebRTC. This lets you use your own voice or real sounds around you as part of the experiment.

The web has always been a space for open collaboration. Many of these experiments use grassroots efforts such as Tone JS, a framework built on top of the Web Audio API that makes it even easier to build interactive music experiences in the browser.

We’re also providing open-source code. So if one of our experiments sparks an idea, check out our repository and start building your own.

Learning in new dimensions with Google Classroom and GeoGebra

Editor's note:Mark Kaercher teaches mathematics at Shaker High School in Latham, New York. He is also one of his school district’s Instructional Technology Resource Teachers. Here, Mark shares his experience with using Google Apps for Education alongside GeoGebra, available as an app for Chrome and now as a native Android phone app.

Every so often, over the course of a long teaching career, we find a special tool or resource that makes us wonder how we ever taught without it. Personally, I’ve had a lot of success with GeoGebra, a free mathematics program for teachers and students. GeoGebra lets me build and share interactive worksheets that demonstrate geometry and algebra concepts. Along with relying on it myself, I’ve helped other educators use GeoGebra by creating how-to videos and leading training sessions.
My first GeoGebra worksheet, created in 2011
 So when my school started using Google Apps for Education last year, there was a big question on my mind: Is it compatible with GeoGebra? Not only do they work well together, but Google Apps has helped me get a lot more mileage out of GeoGebra. Instead of just a teaching tool, it’s now become a hands-on learning environment. This has transformed my classroom into a math lab where students use Google Apps and GeoGebra to explore shapes and patterns, complete assignments, and share their work with both me and their classmates.

During a typical class, I start by posting an agenda in Google Classroom to get us all on the same page. Then I might create a GeoGebra assignment and ask students to paste screenshots of their work into a shared Google Docs file.

Everyone has their own Chromebook to use, so they can each work individually in GeoGebra – and they can even save a step by signing into GeoGebra with their Google Apps account. Now, with the new Android phone app my students can create, search, save and share their ideas and homework from their phone, saving to Drive and sharing in Classroom. Meanwhile, I track their progress and grade their submissions in Classroom.
Sometimes I have my students record screencasts of their GeoGebra worksheets using the Screencastify extension for Chrome. They can save their videos to Google Drive and share them with me through Classroom. You can see more about how I do this here.

It’s been really neat to see how beautifully Google Apps and GeoGebra work together to bring my lessons to life. It’s also been exciting to watch my students embrace and learn these new tools – to the point that they’re sometimes the ones showing me how to do something. I was especially proud when some of my students helped me demo Google Apps and GeoGebra at a recent school board meeting, sharing their growing passion for using instructional technology in the math classroom.

I’ll always be a math teacher, but I also see myself as a technology teacher. I want my students to understand that technology isn’t just about taking selfies and sending texts. Now, thanks to GeoGebra and Google, they’re using it to interact with mathematics in a whole new way.