Tag Archives: Events

Happening now! #TheAndroidShow: Tablets, Jetpack Compose & Android 13

Posted by Florina Muntenescu & Huyen Tue Dao, Co-Hosts of #TheAndroidShow

We’re just about to kick off another episode of #TheAndroidShow, you can watch here! In this episode, we’ll take you behind-the-scenes with Jetpack Compose, Android 13 and all of the updates to Android tablets. If you haven’t already, there’s still time to get your burning Android tablet questions answered from the team, using #AskAndroid. We've assembled a team of experts ready to answer your questions live!


First, we go behind-the-scenes with Jetpack Compose

First up in #TheAndroidShow, we’ll be discussing Jetpack Compose, Android’s modern, native UI toolkit. Last month, we released version 1.1 of Jetpack Compose, which contains new features like improved focus handling, touch target sizing, ImageVector caching, and support for Android 12 stretch overscroll. Compose 1.1 also graduates a number of previously experimental APIs to stable and supports newer versions of Kotlin. In #TheAndroidShow, we’ll take you behind-the-scenes in the world of animations with one of the engineers who helps build them, Doris Liu. And then we hear from Twitter about how Compose helps them build new features in half the time!


Next: the world of tablets, including the 12L feature drop, now in AOSP

Next up, we’ll jump into the world of tablets, following the big news from earlier this week: we’ve officially released the 12L feature drop to AOSP and it’s rolling out to all supported Pixel devices over the next few weeks. There are over 250+ million large screen Android devices, and 12L makes Android 12 even better on tablets, and includes updates like a new taskbar that lets users instantly drag and drop apps into split-screen mode, new large-screen layouts in the notification shade and lockscreen, and improved compatibility modes for apps. You can read more here.

Starting later this year, 12L will be available in planned updates on tablets and foldables from Samsung, Lenovo and Microsoft, so now is the time to make sure your apps are ready. We highly recommend testing your apps in split-screen mode with windows of various sizes, trying it in different orientations, and checking the new compatibility mode changes if they apply. You can read more about 12L for developers here.

We see large screens as a key surface for the future of Android, and we’re continuing to invest to give you the tools you need to build great experiences for tablets, Chromebooks, and foldables. You can learn more about how to get started optimizing for large screens, and make sure to check out our large screens developer resources.


Tune in now!

Finally, we wrap up the show with a conversation with the director for Android Developer Relations, Maru Ahues Bouza, where we talk about Android 13 as well as some of the broader themes you’ll continue to see from Android later this year.

It’s all happening right now on #TheAndroidShow - join us on YouTube!

Students in LATAM come together for continent-wide tech conference

Posted by Paco Solsona, Regional Lead LATAM



A continental community of coders

Growing up, many students across Latin America watched eagerly as the technology in their cities became more advanced and opportunities to create the future expanded. For some, computers and web technologies presented untold potential. Still, excitement about doing right by their communities was all at the heart of it all. Now, a forward-looking group of university students from 27 different Latin American nations and Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) have formed a continent-wide network to chart a course forward for their continent. They are building a community of Spanish-speaking Latin American student developers that support each other, help foster leadership skills, and bring more opportunities to student developers in the region.

Teaming up to build skills and teach other student developers

In November 2021, this regional coalition of students came together to host a continent-wide LATAM conference, a two-day student conference (the team planned and executed it in just two weeks). The event featured ten speakers from Spanish-speaking Latin American countries and taught students about different developer technologies. Attendees learned about machine learning, automating processes using data pipelines, leveraging react to upload landing pages to Firebase, and building mobile applications with Firebase and React Native. 300 people attended the conference over two days, and the conference recordings have attracted hundreds of views on YouTube.

Screenshot of a group of GDSC leads video chatting during a live event

“We’re coming from a less developed region. We grew up seeing other countries that were more technologically advanced. Now, developers from Latin America are more confident that they have the skills to implement projects, produce new things, and bring advancement to the continent.” - Maria Agustina Cuello (Chichi)

Working together with purpose

Through working together on the conference, the organizers of LATAM conference know Latin American youth have a bright future. They are excited by the opportunity to use the power of technology and connectivity to change the world.

Screenshot of a group of women GDSC leads video chatting during a live event

Luis Eduardo, Lead GDSC UTP (Perú), says it felt amazing to be part of the LATAM conference: “being able to meet students from other countries with the same desire to work for the community was wonderful. Knowing that, despite being thousands of miles away, there was no impediment to being able to work as an organized team. This is what makes this family unique.”

Screenshot of a group of GDSC members video chatting during a live event

“LATAM conference was the opportunity to show that wherever we are, we can help others, and you will always find people with similar ideas,” says Francisco Imanol Suarez, Lead GDSC UNPSJB (Argentina).

Solution Challenge preparations

The group is now hosting events to teach student developers new skills and prepare them for the 2022 Solution Challenge, a global contest where students from around the world are invited to solve for one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals using Google technologies.

In preparing their communities to build projects, the group plans to activate the countries and regions in Latin America. The students aim to expose each other to multiple technologies in the field and plan to host theme weeks for the Solution Challenge, like a Firebase week, a UX/UI week, and a Flutter Festival.

Students across the GDSC LATAMs are forming teams for the Solution Challenge. Some are local, coming from a single university, while others are broader, like students in Argentina working with students from Mexico. “A few months ago, no one knew how many people we would help take their first steps in the world of development. Let's hope this community continues to grow to be able to show that amazing things can be done in LATAM,” says Luis Eduardo, Lead GDSC UTP (Perú).

Screenshot of a GDSC student giving a presentation on Google technology via video chat

“I’m grateful to be part of this community and work with amazing team members who are so eager to work together and do activities. We want to bring all the opportunities we can to Latin American students, and gender and language are not a barrier,” says Cuello.

What’s next for GDSC LATAM

The members of GDSC LATAM plan to continue hosting collaborative events for the community such as Google Cloud Machine Learning bootcamp, a hackathon, and a 2022 student conference and related events with other student communities. The group holds Android and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) study jams, publishes a podcast, and hosts networking events to help reach more students, create networking opportunities, and expand each university’s GDSC. Eventually, they hope to positively impact the region by encouraging budding developers to build new technologies in Latin America.

If this inspires you, sign up for the Solution Challenge and submit a project by March 31, 2022 at goo.gle/solutionchallenge and join a Google Developer Student Club at your college or university.

Check out GDSC LATAM on social media: Twitter | FB | YouTube Channel | Instagram

Students in LATAM come together for continent-wide tech conference

Posted by Paco Solsona, Regional Lead LATAM



A continental community of coders

Growing up, many students across Latin America watched eagerly as the technology in their cities became more advanced and opportunities to create the future expanded. For some, computers and web technologies presented untold potential. Still, excitement about doing right by their communities was all at the heart of it all. Now, a forward-looking group of university students from 27 different Latin American nations and Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) have formed a continent-wide network to chart a course forward for their continent. They are building a community of Spanish-speaking Latin American student developers that support each other, help foster leadership skills, and bring more opportunities to student developers in the region.

Teaming up to build skills and teach other student developers

In November 2021, this regional coalition of students came together to host a continent-wide LATAM conference, a two-day student conference (the team planned and executed it in just two weeks). The event featured ten speakers from Spanish-speaking Latin American countries and taught students about different developer technologies. Attendees learned about machine learning, automating processes using data pipelines, leveraging react to upload landing pages to Firebase, and building mobile applications with Firebase and React Native. 300 people attended the conference over two days, and the conference recordings have attracted hundreds of views on YouTube.

Screenshot of a group of GDSC leads video chatting during a live event

“We’re coming from a less developed region. We grew up seeing other countries that were more technologically advanced. Now, developers from Latin America are more confident that they have the skills to implement projects, produce new things, and bring advancement to the continent.” - Maria Agustina Cuello (Chichi)

Working together with purpose

Through working together on the conference, the organizers of LATAM conference know Latin American youth have a bright future. They are excited by the opportunity to use the power of technology and connectivity to change the world.

Screenshot of a group of women GDSC leads video chatting during a live event

Luis Eduardo, Lead GDSC UTP (Perú), says it felt amazing to be part of the LATAM conference: “being able to meet students from other countries with the same desire to work for the community was wonderful. Knowing that, despite being thousands of miles away, there was no impediment to being able to work as an organized team. This is what makes this family unique.”

Screenshot of a group of GDSC members video chatting during a live event

“LATAM conference was the opportunity to show that wherever we are, we can help others, and you will always find people with similar ideas,” says Francisco Imanol Suarez, Lead GDSC UNPSJB (Argentina).

Solution Challenge preparations

The group is now hosting events to teach student developers new skills and prepare them for the 2022 Solution Challenge, a global contest where students from around the world are invited to solve for one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals using Google technologies.

In preparing their communities to build projects, the group plans to activate the countries and regions in Latin America. The students aim to expose each other to multiple technologies in the field and plan to host theme weeks for the Solution Challenge, like a Firebase week, a UX/UI week, and a Flutter Festival.

Students across the GDSC LATAMs are forming teams for the Solution Challenge. Some are local, coming from a single university, while others are broader, like students in Argentina working with students from Mexico. “A few months ago, no one knew how many people we would help take their first steps in the world of development. Let's hope this community continues to grow to be able to show that amazing things can be done in LATAM,” says Luis Eduardo, Lead GDSC UTP (Perú).

Screenshot of a GDSC student giving a presentation on Google technology via video chat

“I’m grateful to be part of this community and work with amazing team members who are so eager to work together and do activities. We want to bring all the opportunities we can to Latin American students, and gender and language are not a barrier,” says Cuello.

What’s next for GDSC LATAM

The members of GDSC LATAM plan to continue hosting collaborative events for the community such as Google Cloud Machine Learning bootcamp, a hackathon, and a 2022 student conference and related events with other student communities. The group holds Android and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) study jams, publishes a podcast, and hosts networking events to help reach more students, create networking opportunities, and expand each university’s GDSC. Eventually, they hope to positively impact the region by encouraging budding developers to build new technologies in Latin America.

If this inspires you, sign up for the Solution Challenge and submit a project by March 31, 2022 at goo.gle/solutionchallenge and join a Google Developer Student Club at your college or university.

Check out GDSC LATAM on social media: Twitter | FB | YouTube Channel | Instagram

Google for Games Developer Summit returns March 15

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Product Director, Games on Play/Android

Image with Google for Games castle, rocket, volcano, and racetrack

With over three billion players showing strong engagement worldwide, the games market continues to remain resilient and grow beyond expectations. As we look ahead this year, the influx of new and returning players creates a great opportunity for developers to scale their games businesses.

The Google for Games Developer Summit returns virtually on March 15, 2022 at 9AM Pacific. From mobile to cloud, learn about our new solutions for game developers that make it easier to build high-quality games and reach audiences around the world.

Join us for the keynote at 9AM Pacific followed by over 20 developer sessions on-demand. We’ll share deep-dives and updates on the Android Game Development Kit, Google Play Games beta on PC, Play Asset Delivery, Play Console, and more. The summit is open for all. Check out the full agenda today at g.co/gamedevsummit.

ML Olympiad: Globally Distributed ML Competitions by the Community

Posted by Hee Jung, DevRel Community Manager

Blog header image shows graphic illustration of people, a group, and a medal

We are happy to announce ML Olympiad, an associated Kaggle Community Competitions hosted by Machine Learning Google Developer Experts (ML GDE) and TensorFlow User Group (TFUG).

Kaggle recently announced "Community Competitions" allowing anyone to create and host a competition at no cost. And our proud members of ML communities decided to dive in and take advantage of the feature to solve critical issues of our time, providing opportunities to train developers.

Why the ML Olympiad?

To train ML for developers leveraging Kaggle’s community competition. This is an opportunity for the participants to practice ML. This is the first 2022 global campaign of the ML Ecosystem team and this helps build stronger communities.

Image with text that reads Community Competitions make machine learning fun

ML Olympiad Community Competitions

Currently, 16 ML Olympiad community competitions are open, hosted by ML GDEs and TFUGs.

Arabic_Poems (in local language) link

  • Predict the name of a poet for Arabic poems. Encourage people to practice on Arabic NLP using TF.
  • Hosts: Ruqiya Bin Safi (ML GDE), Eyad Sibai, Hussain Alfayez / Saudi TFUG & Applied ML/AI group

Sky Survey link

  • Stellar classification with the digital sky survey
  • Hosts: Jieun Yoo, Michael Mellinger / NYTFUG

Análisis epidemiológico Guatemala (in local language) link

  • Make an analysis and prediction of epidemiological cases in Guatemala and the relations.
  • Hosts: Alvin Estrada, Julio Monterroso / TensorFlow User Group Guatemala

QUALITY EDUCATION (in local language) link

  • Competition will be focused on the Enem (National High School Examination) data. Competitors will have to create models to predict student scores in multiple tests.
  • Hosts: Vinicius Fernandes Caridá (ML GDE), Pedro Gengo, Alex Fernandes Mansano / Tensorflow User Group São Paulo

Landscape Image Classification link

  • Classification of partially masked natural images of mountains, buildings, seas, etc.
  • Hosts: Aditya Kane, Yogesh Kulkarni (ML GDE), Shashank Sane / TFUG Pune

Autism Prediction Challenge link

  • Classifying whether individuals have Autism or not.
  • Hosts: Usha Rengaraju, Vijayabharathi Karuppasamy, Samuel T / TFUG Mysuru and TFUG Chennai

Tamkeen Fund Granted link

  • Predict the company funds based on the company's features
  • Hosts: Mohammed buallay (ML GDE), Sayed Ali Alkamel (ML GDE)

Hausa Sentiment Analysis (in local language) link

  • Classify the sentiment of sentences of Hausa Language
  • Hosts: Nuruddeen Sambo, Dattijo Murtala Makama / TFUG Bauchi

TSA Classification (in local language) link

  • We invite participants to develop a classification method to identify early autistic disorders.
  • Hosts: Yannick Serge Obam (ML GDE), Arnold Junior Mve Mve

Let's Fight lung cancer (in local language) link

  • Spotting factors that are link to lung cancer detection
  • Hosts: abderrahman jaize, Sara EL-ATEIF / TFUG Casablanca

Genome Sequences classification (in local language) link

  • Genome sequence classification based on NCBI's GenBank database
  • Hosts: Taha Bouhsine, Said ElHachmey, Lahcen Ousayd / TensorFlow User Group Agadir

GOOD HEALTH AND WELL BEING link

  • Using ML to predict heart disease - If a patient has heart disease or not
  • Hosts: Ibrahim Olagoke, Ahmad Olanrewaju, Ernest Owojori / TensorFlow User Group Ibadan

Preserving North African Culture link

  • We are tackling cultural preservation through a machine learning model capable of identifying the origin of a given item (food, clothing, building).
  • Hosts: elyes manai (ML GDE), Rania Boughanmi, Kayoum Djedidi / IEEE ESSTHS + GDSC ENIT

Delivery Assignment Prediction link

  • The aim of this competition is to build a multi-class classification model capable of accurately predicting the most suitable driver for one or several given orders based on the destination of the order and the paths covered by the deliverers.
  • Host: Thierno Ibrahima DIOP (ML GDE)

Used car price link

  • Predicting the price of an imported used car.
  • Hosts: Armel Yara, Kimana Misago, Jordan Erifried / TFUG Abidjan

TensorFlow Malaysia User Group link

  • Using AI/ML to solve Business Data problem
  • Hosts: Poo Kuan Hoong (ML GDE), Yu Yong Poh, Lau Sian Lun / TensorFlow & Deep Learning Malaysia User Group

Navigating ML Olympiad

You can search “ML Olympiad” on Kaggle Community Competitions page to see them all. And for further info, look for #MLOlympiad on social media.

Google Developers support ML Olympiad by providing swag for top 3 winners of each competition. Find your interest among the competitions, join/share them, and get your part of the swag for competition winners!

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.

#BazelCon 2021 Wrap Up

Posted by Joe Hicks, Product Manager, Core Developer

The apps, platforms, and systems that the Bazel community builds with Bazel touch the lives of people around the world in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Through BazelCon, we aim to connect Bazel enthusiasts, the Bazel team, maintainers, contributors, users, and friends in an inclusive and welcoming environment. At BazelCon, the community demonstrates the global user impact of the community—with some quirky and carefully crafted talks, a readout on the State-of-Bazel, an upfront discussion on “Implicit Bias Mitigation,” and community sharing events that remind us that we are not alone in our efforts to build a better world, one line of code at a time.

At BazelCon, the community shared over 24 technical sessions with the 1400+ registrants, which you can watch here at your own pace. Make sure you check out:

Attendees were able to interact with the community and engage with the Bazel team through a series of “Birds of a Feather” (BoF) sessions and a live Q&A session. You can find all of the BoF presentations and notes here.

As announced, soon we will be releasing Bazel 5.0, the updated version of our next generation, multi-language, multi-platform build functionality that includes a new external dependency system, called bzlmod, for you to try out.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped make BazelCon a success: presenters, organizers, Google Developer Studios, contributors, and attendees. If you have any questions about BazelCon, you can reach out to [email protected].

We hope that you enjoyed #BazelCon and "Building Better with Bazel".

AI Fest in Spain: Exploring the Potential of Artificial Intelligence in Careers, Communities, and Commerce

Posted by Alessandro Palmieri, Regional Lead for Spain Developer Communities

Google Developer Groups (GDGs) around the world are in a unique position to organize events on technology topics that community members are passionate about. That’s what happened in Spain in July 2021, where two GDG chapters decided to put on an event called AI Fest after noticing a lack of conferences dedicated exclusively to artificial intelligence. “Artificial intelligence is everywhere, although many people do not know it,” says Irene Ruiz Pozo, the organizer of GDG Murcia and GDG Cartagena. While AI has the potential to transform industries from retail to real estate with products like Dialogflow and Lending DocAI, “there are still companies falling behind,” she notes.

Image of Irene standing on stage at AI Fest Spain

Irene and her GDG team members recognized that creating a space for a diverse mix of people—students, academics, professional developers, and more—would not only enable them to share valuable knowledge about AI and its applications across sectors and industries, but it could also serve as a potential path for skill development and post-pandemic economic recovery in Spain. In addition, AI Fest would showcase GDGs in Spain as communities offering developer expertise, education, networking, and support.

Using the GDG network to find sponsors, partners, and speakers

The GDGs immediately got to work calling friends and contacts with experience in AI. “We started calling friends who were great developers and worked at various companies, we told them who we are, what we wanted to do, and what we wanted to achieve,” Irene says.

The GDG team found plenty of organizations eager to help: universities, nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private companies. The final roster included the Instituto de Fomento, the economic development agency of Spain’s Murcia region; the city council of Cartagena; Biyectiva Technology, which develops AI tools used in medicine, retail, and interactive marketing; and the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, where Irene founded and led the Google Developer Student Club in 2019 and 2020. Some partners also helped with swag and merchandising and even provided speakers. “The CEOs and different executives and developers of the companies who were speakers trusted this event from the beginning,” Irene says.

A celebration of AI and its potential

The event organizers lined up a total of 55 local and international speakers over the two-day event. Due to the ongoing COVID-10 pandemic, in-person attendance was limited to 50 people in a room at El Batel Auditorium and Conference Center in Cartagena, but sessions—speakers, roundtables, and workshops—were also live-streamed on YouTube on three channels to a thousand viewers.

Some of the most popular sessions included economics professor and technology lab co-founder Andrés Pedreño on "Competing in the era of Artificial Intelligence," a roundtable on women in technology; Intelequa software developer Elena Salcedo on "Happy plants with IoT''; and Google Developer Expert and technology firm CEO Juantomás García on "Vertex AI and AutoML: Democratizing access to AI." The sessions were also recorded for later viewing, and in less than a week after the event, there were more than 1500 views in room A, over 1100 in room B and nearly 350 views in the Workshops room.

The event made a huge impact on the developer community in Spain, setting an example of what tech-focused gatherings can look like in the COVID-19 era and how they can support more education, collaboration, and innovation across a wide range of organizations, ultimately accelerating the adoption of AI. Irene also notes that it has helped generate more interest in GDGs and GDSCs in Spain and their value as a place to learn, teach, and grow. “We’re really happy that new developers have joined the communities and entrepreneurs have decided to learn how to use Google technologies,” she says.

The effect on the GDG team was profound as well. “I have remembered why I started creating events--for people: to discover the magic of technology,” Irene says.

Taking AI Fest into the future—and more

Irene and her fellow GDG members are already planning for a second installment of AI Fest in early 2022, where they hope to be able to expect more in-person attendance. The team would also like to organize events focused on topics such as Android, Cloud, AR /VR, startups, the needs of local communities, and inclusion. Irene, who serves as a Women Techmakers Ambassador, is particularly interested in using her newly expanded network to host events that encourage women to choose technology and other STEM areas as a career.

Finally, Irene hopes that AI Fest will become an inspiration for GDGs around the world to showcase the potential of AI and other technologies. It’s a lot of work, she admits, but the result is well worth it. “My advice is to choose the area of technology that interests you the most, get organized, relax, and have a good team,” she advises.

Best practices for accessibility for virtual events

As everyone knows, most of our open source events have transformed from in-person to digital this year. However, due to the sudden change, not everything is accessible. We took this issue seriously and decided to work with one of our accessibility experts, Neighborhood Access, to share best practices for our community. We hope this will help you organize your digital events!


Virtual events can be a wonderful way to make information more accessible to people, including attendees with disabilities, but hosts often fall short in providing the appropriate logistical support needed for this audience to fully engage in the programming. In this article, we’ll go over some best practices for hosting virtual events to make them accessible to the d/Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Blind/Low Vision, Developmentally Disabled, and Neurodivergent communities. Since some of these accommodations require a bit of planning ahead of the event, we’ll use a timeline format to discuss what needs to be arranged and when.

Initial Planning Stages

Selecting a Platform
When selecting a video conferencing platform for your virtual event, you will want to make sure the platform has the following features:
  1. Ability to dial into the event via phone (see Accessible Event Links for more info)
  2. Ability to assign captioning to someone in the call or via a third party within the platform
Working With Your Speakers
Once you read through the rest of this guide and decide what accessibility tools you’ll use, you should brief your speakers on those practices so everyone is on the same page. For example, if you are going to do an image description of yourself (as detailed in Incorporating Audio Cues), make sure your guests do the same to provide a consistently accessible experience.

At Least 2 Weeks Before the Event

Disability Accommodation Requests
If you are hosting a large event with many attendees, you should provide accommodations like interpreters and audio description without people having to request them. If you are hosting a smaller event (<20 guests), the RSVP form for your event should link to a separate form where you will track accommodation requests. This should be a simple form that collects no identifying information about the person filling it out. A person should not have to disclose their disability in order to request accommodations; an anonymous form will get you all the information you need. The one question you need to ask is: “Are there any disability accommodations you need us to provide in order for you to fully participate in this event?” You should aim to collect this information at least two weeks before the event, so that you have ample time to arrange necessary accommodations.

Accessible Event Links
When sending a link to join a video call, be sure to include the part of the link that includes the dial-in number if you will not be providing an interpreter for the event. d/Deaf/HoH people who can access the Video Relay System (VRS) will need this number to be able to dial their interpreter into the meeting, and it is much easier for these attendees to have this ahead of time rather than trying to ask for it on the day of the event.

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters
This section applies to events that have a mostly-US-based audience. If you have an international audience, you will need to ask attendees what nationality of sign language is needed. Interpreters are booked to do everything from attending doctor’s appointments with d/Deaf/HoH patients to interpreting for larger scale events. Therefore, they are quite busy, and require booking a few weeks before you need their services. One of the easiest ways to find an interpreter is through your state or city’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services provider. Most agencies are called “(State name) Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services”, and if you search this term you should find the right agency. Most agencies will have you fill out a short form with a few details about your event, and then they will work to connect you with an available interpreter. Once connected, the interpreter may ask you a few additional questions about the event, so they can have any field-specific signs and names prepared ahead of time.

Live Captioning
There are several companies that offer live captioning (sometimes referred to as CART, or Communication Access Real-time Translation) for virtual events. If you are able to hire one of these services, they are your best bet—they know the ins and outs of the technology—and this gives you one less thing to stress about on the day of your event. They will usually schedule a time to perform a test run with you a few days ahead of the event, so you both can be sure things are in working order.

If you are unable to hire a service to provide live captions, most online meeting platforms give you the option to assign captioning to someone. You can have a volunteer transcribe the event, and the captions will show up for anyone who opts to see them.

Interpreting vs Live Captioning
There is a hierarchy in terms of what services to utilize in the event that you must choose between them. The best case scenario, and what you should absolutely strive for, is to have both an interpreter and live captioning. There are many people who can benefit from captions who may not benefit from sign language interpreting, and vise versa. In the event that you have to choose either an interpreter or live captioning, go with live captioning, as more people will be able to benefit from it.

One Week Before the Event

Make Your Visual Materials Accessible
There are a few steps you’ll need to take to ensure that your visual materials (slideshows and pictures) are accessible to Blind/Low Vision attendees. Many Blind/Low Vision people use screen readers, which read aloud the text that is on a screen. Since you cannot use screen readers during a presentation (both because the reader cannot read text in video format and because attendees will want to hear what you’re saying), you will need to provide a copy of your visual materials to attendees either before or after the event so they can review them. If you are unable to share the exact materials, try to share a version of them that has the same text. This ensures that everyone has full access to all event materials, albeit possibly at different times. Before sharing visual materials, be sure of two things:
  1. You are not sharing an image file of text. If you are sharing a slideshow, for example, do not send a PDF printout of the slides (screen readers will not recognize these as text). Instead, download and share a version of the slideshow and send that directly.
  2. You must add alt text or captions to any pictures. How you will do this varies from software to software, but instructions can usually be found on the software’s website or help forum. Here is a guide on how to do this in Google Slides..
Format Visual Elements
People with visual processing disorders, such as dyslexia, may find some fonts harder to read than others. While needs can vary from person to person, it is generally agreed that sans serif fonts (Arial) are easier to read than serif fonts (Times New Roman). Use sans serif fonts wherever possible in your visual components.

Timing the Event
Most people can benefit from a five minute break every half hour or so (the 30:5 Rule), but this is especially true for people with disabilities that impact their need to go to the bathroom, and also people who struggle with focus. Following the 30:5 Rule ensures that people have time to take care of their needs throughout the event, and that everyone will be continually focused and refreshed. Schedule these five minute breaks into your event timeline.

During the Event

Incorporating Audio Cues
When you first introduce yourself at the event, provide a verbal description of yourself and your surroundings. This allows Blind/Low Vision attendees to learn key visual characteristics about each presenter, much like how a sighted person might remember someone by their statement necklace or unique hairstyle. Here is a format you can follow:
“Hi, I’m (name). I’m going to do a quick image description of myself for any Blind/Low-Vision attendees. I’m a (race) (gender), and I’m wearing (color of shirt, notable accessories). Behind me is (color of wall, clock, etc).”
Additionally, when switching between speakers, it is crucial that you briefly state your name before talking. Many peoples’ voices sound similar, and this practice is helpful to Blind/Low Vision people who need to know who is speaking. This is also important for d/Deaf/HoH attendees who are utilizing their own interpreter via VRS, because the interpreter needs to be able to sign to them the name of the person speaking.

Content Warnings
If your presentation includes very loud noises, flashing lights, or rapidly-transitioning imagery, you need to give attendees a 10-second warning before presenting that content. This is a safety measure for people who are prone to seizures and others who are sensitive to these elements.

Verbally Highlighting Key Visual Features
If you are sharing an important image with attendees (a chart or graph, for example), be sure to verbally describe all of the important information the image relays: general trends, names of data groups, axis titles, etc. Additionally, be sure to at least summarize the text on screen (if applicable)--not everyone is able to read and listen at the same time. Blind/Low Vision attendees will not be able to fully participate in your event if they are not getting the same access to information as sighted people are.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions from the Interpreter
Sometimes, an interpreter may need to ask for clarification on something you said, either because your audio cut out, or because you used a term they have not heard before and they want to make sure they are signing it correctly. Answer interpreter questions right away, so d/Deaf/HoH attendees are able to keep up with what you’re saying.

By following these guidelines, you will ensure that your event is inclusive and engaging for all attendees. If you have questions on how to implement some of these measures, or about how your organization can benefit from becoming more accessible, visit neighborhoodaccess.org to chat with our Accessibility Consulting Team. Let’s work together to create virtual events that work for everyone!

Introduction by Teresa Terasaki, Google Open Source Programs Office
Guidelines by guest author Juliana Good, Founder and Consulting Lead – Neighborhood Access

Get ready for BazelCon 2020

With only 24 hours to go, BazelCon 2020 is shaping up to be a much anticipated gathering for the Bazel community and broader Build ecosystem. With over 1000 attendees, presentations by Googlers, as well as talks from industry Build leaders from Twitter, Dropbox, Uber, Pinterest, GrabTaxi, and more, we hope BazelCon 2020 will provide an opportunity for knowledge sharing, networking, and community building.

I am very excited by the keynote announcements, the migration stories at Twitter, Pinterest, and CarGurus, as well as technical deep dives on Bazel persistent workers, incompatible target skipping, migrating from Gradle to Bazel, and more. The “sold out” Birds of a Feather sessions and the Live Q&A with the Bazel team will bring the community together to discuss design docs, look at landings, and provide feedback on the direction of Bazel and the entire ecosystem.

We are also pleased to announce that, starting with the next major release (4.0), Bazel will support Long Term Support (LTS) releases as well as regular Rolling releases.

Some benefits of this new release cadence are:
  • Bazel will release stable, supported LTS releases on a predictable schedule with a long window without breaking changes
  • Bazel contributors / rules owners can prepare to support future LTS releases via rolling releases.
  • Bazel users can choose the release cadence that works best for them, since we will offer both LTS releases and rolling releases.
Long Term Support (LTS) releases:
  • We will create an LTS release every ~9 months => new LTS release branch, increment major version number.
  • Each LTS release will include all new features, bug fixes and (breaking) changes since the last major version.
  • Bazel will actively support each LTS branch for 9 months with critical bug fixes, but no new features.
  • Thereafter, Bazel will provide maintenance for two additional years with only security and OS compatibility fixes.
  • Bazel Federation reboot: Bazel will provide strong guidance about the ruleset versions that should be used with each Bazel release so that each user will not have to manage interoperability themselves.
Make sure that you register at http://goo.gle/bazelcon to be a part of the excitement of the premier build conference!

See you all at BazelCon 2020!

By Joe Hicks and the entire Bazel Team at Google