Tag Archives: developers

Google’s Hash Code competition is back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Come celebrate the art of indie games with us

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using the web to help young people find work


South Africa has the world’s highest recorded youth unemployment rate. Many young people are unable to access job opportunities due to a lack of financial resources and necessary work experience. Allan van der Muelen, the co-founder of start-up Zlto, is changing this. 

Zlto is a web-based digital rewards platform that incentivizes young people to gain work experience by volunteering in the community. Users build a digital resume by uploading completed work assignments, showing both their impact on the project and the skills they gained while completing the task. For each project they also earn Zlto, a digital currency that can be spent on a range of items, like food, clothing, mobile data and transportation, thanks to collaborations with national retail partners. 

“I work with young people to show them that they do have choices and the Web is giving them access to even more,” he says. In 2018, Zlto won the Google Impact Challenge and more recently started working with Chrome engineers to streamline their web app. 

Zlto on desktop

Zlto’s user dashboard is the portal to volunteer opportunities and provides a progress summary.

People access Zlto through devices with limited capabilities and with limited data and connections. So providing them with instant access to the platform is critical to the company’s success. By building on the web, the Zlto team was able to make the app widely accessible. A typical Zlto user accesses their web app three times a day, so it’s critical that their experience is reliable. The Zlto team uses modern web technologies to ensure the app is responsive and reliable, and they use tools including Google’s Lighthouse to monitor the app’s performance and make instant fixes.

Zlto is having a notable impact in the Cape Town Flats, securing permanent work for more than 2,300 young people in the last 12 months; there are 36,000 volunteers working with more than 1.2 million people in the community. The team is now piloting the launch of Zlto in Tanzania as well as the United Kingdom, working with the Newbigin House charity in support of asylum seekers and other individuals.

Flutter Interact – December 11 – create beautiful apps

Posted by Martin Aguinis, Flutter Marketing Lead
Flutter Interact banner

Summary: Flutter Interact is happening on December 11th. Sign up here for our global livestream and watch it at g.co/FlutterInteract.
Google’s conference focusing on beautiful designs and apps, Flutter Interact, is streaming worldwide on December 11. Flutter Interact is a day dedicated to creation and collaboration. Whether you are a web developer, mobile developer, front-end engineer, UX designer, or designer, this is a good opportunity to hear the latest from Google.
This one-day event has several talks focused on different topics regarding development and design. Speakers include Matias Duarte, VP of Google Design; Tim Sneath, Group PM for Flutter and Dart; and Grant Skinner, CEO, GSkinner, Inc.

What to expect at Flutter Interact


Flutter Interact will focus on creating eye-catching experiences across devices. We’ll showcase the latest from Google Design and from Flutter, Google’s free and open source UI toolkit to build beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. This event is tailored to a global audience, with a worldwide livestream, hundreds of viewing parties, and the opportunity to ask questions that are answered at the event.




It will include content and announcements from the Material Design and Flutter teams, partners, and other companies.

Tune in to the livestream


Go to g.co/FlutterInteract and sign up for livestream updates. The event will be broadcasted on the website on Dec 11, with a keynote starting at 10:00 a.m. EST (GMT-5).
You can also add this event directly to your Google Calendar.

Join a local viewing party


People and organizations all over the world are hosting over 450 free viewing parties to watch and discuss Flutter Interact. Find one of the hundreds of viewing parties happening near you.

Get Involved with #AskFlutter and #FlutterInteract


Flutter Interact is geared toward our online audience. There are two main ways to get involved.
  • #FlutterInteract 
    • The official event hashtag. We will have a social wall that is constantly showing tweets coming in with #FlutterInteract, both on site and on our livestream. Make sure to tweet your pictures, comments, videos, and thoughts while you experience Flutter Interact. 
  • #AskFlutter 
    • Our team will be on site, live, answering questions in real time. Tweet your questions and comments with the #AskFlutter hashtag to connect with the Flutter team (and the open source community), and get your questions answered. Your tweet may also appear on the global livestream during the event.





We are grateful to experience Flutter Interact with you on December 11th. In the meantime, follow us on twitter at @FlutterDev and get started with Flutter at flutter.dev.

Creating stargazing apps and the perfect loaf

Editor’s note: Maurizio Leo is a software engineer-turned baker, and co-founder and developer of SkyView, a stargazing app that uses your camera to identify objects in the sky. As a part of our I Make Apps series, we talk to him about developing his app, as well as his baking side hustle. 

1. Tell us about SkyView. How is it useful to people? 

SkyView is an augmented reality app we created to educate and inspire others to explore the universe no matter their location, night and day. There's a magical and exciting universe out there to explore, and SkyView's aim has always been to make exploring the sky as effortless and approachable as possible. Just point your device up to the sky and discover a new star, find a new planet, or spot the International Space Station streaking across the sky.

2. How did you get into baking?  

I grew up in an Italian household that always emphasized food made by hand. And while I went into computer science because of my curiosity surrounding computers and software, I think cooking and baking has always been a big part of my life. About ten years ago, when I was given a book on baking sourdough as a gift, I was immediately taken by the marriage of craft and science needed to bake a loaf of bread. The precision behind baking bread spoke to me, and the science behind fermentation piqued my logical side. After creating my first sourdough starter from scratch and baking my first loaf, I became obsessed.

3. How do you juggle baking and making apps in your daily life as a developer?

Working from my home office on our app SkyView allows me time between writing lines of code to hop into the kitchen and weigh, mix, or shape a batch of bread dough. It gives me an opportunity to relax my mind for a few moments or perhaps explore a possible solution, much like taking a walk would offer. Sometimes some of my best code breakthroughs were achieved when I was in the kitchen with my hands covered in flour and water! In the end, being an app developer who works at home has allowed me to simultaneously work on software I'm passionate about and explore my dedication to the craft of baking bread.

4. What are the similarities and differences between baking bread and making apps? 

At first glance, writing apps and baking sourdough bread seem a world apart—but they have more in common than one might initially think. Both pursuits benefit from a sound plan, precision, adjustment to changing inputs, and iterative improvement. Software certainly is a more analytical and tactical pursuit, while working with something tangible like bread dough satisfies more of my artistic side. For me, these two offer a delicate balance, where software lets me build imaginative structures and baking bread fulfills my desire to slow down and work with my hands. With naturally leavened bread, time is the best ingredient.

5. What has been your experience creating apps on Android & distributing them through Google Play?

We've been working with Android since the beginning (that's over ten years!), and it has always provided us with the right set of tools to help bring our ideas to reality. With modern language constructs, good editing, debugging and reporting tools, and a thoughtful testing framework, we've been able to update and release SkyView with more functionality to delight our users. And, Google Play allows us to quickly deploy our app, reaching millions of people, and keep with our mission to get as many excited about space as we are.

Source: Android


Chord Assist makes playing the guitar more accessible

Joe Birch, a developer based in the UK, has a genetic condition that causes low vision. He grew up playing music, but he knows it’s not easy for people who have visual impairments or hearing loss to learn how to play. 

He wanted to change that, so he created Chord Assist, which aims to make learning the guitar more accessible for people who are blind, Deaf and mute. It gives instructions on how to play the guitar through braille, a speaker or visuals on a screen, allowing people to have a conversation to learn to play a certain chord.

“Chord Assist” is powered by Actions on Google, a platform that allows developers to create additional commands for unique applications. The guitar is used as a conversational tool to allow the student to learn a chord by simply saying, “Show me how to play a G chord,” for example. The guitar understands the request, and then gives either a voice output or braille output, depending on the need. 

“I love seeing people pushing the boundaries and breaking the expectations of others,” Joe says. “When someone builds an innovative project that can change the lives of others, it inspires me to achieve the things that I am passionate about. That’s what this whole developer community is really all about, we are here to inspire each other.” 

With the emergence of new technology and easy-to-access educational resources, it’s easier than ever to become a developer. The developer community is global, and is made up of people from all walks of life and backgrounds, with one thing in common—using technology to take an idea and turn it into reality. 


That is what the Google Developers Experts program aims to do by connecting 700 outstanding developers around the world. They gather to share the skills they’ve mastered through application development, podcasts, public speaking and bringing technology to local communities. Each Google Developers Expert has experience and expertise in one or more specific Google technologies.

Joe is a GDE focused on Actions on Google and Android, and has been an engineer for seven years. “Being a GDE allows me to fulfill my passion for both technology and education,” Joe says. “I learned so much by following  designers and developers online. Seeing the cool work that these people are doing helps to fuel my brain and inspire me for the next idea that I might have.”


Let the Kids Play: A young DevFest speaker and a DevFest organizer talk tech

DevFest banner
As over 400 community-led DevFest events continue to take place around the world, something is becoming clear: kids are taking over. We’re not kidding. Many young students are taking the stage this season to speak on topics ranging from machine learning to robotics, and people are loving it.

At the same time, these kids and the GDG (Google Developers Groups) community organizers of local DevFests are becoming great friends. We saw this recently at a DevFest in San Francisco, where Vikram Tiwari, a GDG Lead, and 11-year-old Aaron Ma, the youngest speaker at the event, had a great conversation on programming. 

We wanted to let you in on their conversation, so we asked Vikram to answer a few questions on coding, and then asked Aaron to respond to his answers. Check out their conversation below! 

What is your favorite language to code in? 



Vikram: I would have to say JavaScript - it used to be the language no one cared about, and then suddenly node.js changed the whole landscape. Nowadays, you can’t escape js, it’s everywhere from browsers to IoT and now even Machine Learning. The best part about using js is the flexibility it gives you. For example, it’s easy to make mistakes in js, but then if you want to prototype quickly, it doesn’t hold you back. And of course, you can’t forget about the vibrant node.js ecosystem, which is always striving for ease of use and speed. 


11-year-old Aaron Ma

Aaron: Open source is definitely the move! Especially open source competitions because they’re super exciting, let me see where I need to improve, and let me test if I’ve mastered a field of study. I also like to contribute or create my own open-source projects so I can grow as an open-source minded developer. Right now, I am the youngest contributor to Google’s TensorFlow, so to all the other kids out there reading this...come join me!




Do you like jumping right into coding or thinking through every line before you write?  


Vikram Tiwari, GDG lead
Vikram: I do like to think about the problem beforehand. However, if the problem has already been distilled down, then I like to get right to execution. In this case, I generally start with writing a bunch of pseudo functions, mocking the inputs and outputs of those functions, connecting them together, and then finally writing the actual logic. This approach generally helps me with context switching in a sense that I can stop working on that specific problem at any point and pick it back up from the same position when I get back to it.



11-year-old Aaron Ma

Aaron: I like how you think! ?If someone has already implemented the problem and packaged it, I would try to get right to the deployment process. But if no one has implemented the problem, I would first start with writing some pseudocode, and then slowly convert the pseudocode into actual code that works.








What is your favorite part of the DevFest community?


Vikram Tiwari, GDG lead

Vikram: That DevFest is a home for all developers, from all walks of life, with all kinds of ideas. Yes, this family loves building your tech skills, but it also loves helping you breakthrough any social barriers you may face. From feeling more comfortable around people to feeling more confident with your code, this community wants to help you do it all.





11-year-old Aaron Ma
Aaron: We are a DevFamily! ❤️I couldn’t agree more. My favorite part about DevFest is how this community can inspire. We, as DevFest developers, have the chance to change how we all think about CS every time we get together. From students like myself to long time experts, there is such an open and positive exchange of ideas taking place here - it’s so exciting and always makes me smile. ?





Want to join a conversation like this one? Respond to the questions yourself with the #DevFest or find a DevFest near you, at devfest.withgoogle.com.

Machine learning meets African agriculture

In 2016, a crop-destroying caterpillar, Fall Armyworm (FAW) was first detected in Africa. The crop pest has since devastated agriculture by infecting millions of corn fields, which threatens food security on the continent. Farmers who rely on harvests for food need to combat the pest, which has now spread to India and China.

That’s where Nazirini Siraji comes in. She is one of several developers working to provide farmers with new tools to fight FAW. After codelabs hosted by a Google developer group in Mbale, Uganda, she created the “Farmers Companion App” using TensorFlow, Google’s open-source machine learning platform. It’s a free app that identifies when a crop has FAW and which stage the worm is in its lifecycle (and therefore how threatening it is and how far it is likely to spread). It also advises on which pesticides or treatments are best to stop the worm spreading any further. The app is already working in the field, helping farmers around Mbale to identify FAW. 

They continue to improve the app so it can identify more pests and diseases. Nazirini shows the impact that developers can have on agricultural issues like FAW and across other sectors, too. We visited Nazirini and her team this year, here’s more about their story:

Learn more about how others are using TensorFlow to solve all kinds of problems.

Google Pay Now Available on Stripe Checkout

Posted by Soc Sieng, Developer Advocate

Google Pay is now available on Stripe Checkout. Businesses with Stripe Checkout on their websites can now provide an optimized checkout experience to Google Pay users. Google Pay Now Available on Stripe Checkout

Google Pay is available directly from Stripe Checkout

Refer to Stripe’s Checkout documentation for more information.

Stripe merchants that aren’t using Stripe Checkout can integrate directly with Google Pay using the Google Pay Setup Guide.

About Google Pay

Google Pay is the fast, simple and secure way to pay on sites, in apps, and in stores using the payment options saved to your Google Account.

See Google Pay Developer documentation for information on additional integration options.

Byteboard adds interviews for web and mobile engineers

We launched Byteboard inside Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental projects, with a primary goal to fundamentally change tech hiring for the better. Byteboard is a full-service interviewing platform for software engineers, which uses project-based interviews to assess for skills that are actually used on the job, rather than the theoretical concepts tested for in traditional interviews.

Byteboard aims to help companies efficiently, accurately and fairly assess back-end engineering candidates. In the 14 months since our first pilot, Byteboard has interviewed over 2,000 candidates for clients like Lyft, Betterment and Quibi. By using our platform, our customers have seen their onsite-to-offer rates double and have saved hundreds of hours for recruiters and engineers.

In my role at Byteboard, I have had countless conversations with engineering managers across the tech industry about how expensive, time-consuming, and error-prone hiring engineers can be. Trying to hire a specialist--someone who has mastery in a technical subdomain--is even harder. If you ask a front-end engineer what they think about technical interviews, usually their experience is even worse than the average engineer, since traditional technical interviews over-emphasize skills that are often even less relevant for front-end work.

Today, Byteboard is launching interviews for mobile engineering and web development. These new interview types are still modeled after a day in the life of an engineer, but they give experienced Kotlin, Swift or HTML/CSS/JavaScript engineers an opportunity to dive deeper on some of the front-end skills that they’ve honed and accumulated over their careers. Front-end engineers prefer taking the Byteboard interview for the same reason generalists do: It more accurately represents the work they might actually do on the job.

In addition to the core software engineering skills that all Byteboard questions assess for, Byteboard front-end interviews also evaluate for additional domain-specific knowledge, such as a focus on accessibility or internet principles. This gives hiring managers a comprehensive view of a candidate’s software engineering skills, as well as their role-related knowledge.

Byteboard is on a mission to make technical interviews more effective, efficient, and equitable for all. Front-end engineers should not have to memorize theoretical concepts that they will never use on the job. Instead, they should have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in an authentic engineering environment that is reflective of their day-to-day work. Expanding our assessment methodology to front-end skill sets is another step towards making interviews better for everyone. 

To learn more about how Byteboard can help you improve your hiring processes, get in touch at byteboard.dev for more information.