Tag Archives: families

Giving kids and teens a safer experience online

We're committed to building products that are secure by default, private by design, and that put people in control. And while our policies don’t allow kids under 13 to create a standard Google account, we’ve worked hard to design enriching product experiences specifically for them, teens, and families. Through Family Link, we allow parents to set up supervised accounts for their children, set screen time limits, and more. Our Be Internet Awesome digital literacy program helps kids learn how to be safe and engaged digital citizens; and our dedicated YouTube Kids app, Kids Space andteacher approved apps in Play offer experiences that are customized for younger audiences.

Technology has helped kids and teens during the pandemic stay in school through lockdowns and maintain connections with family and friends. As kids and teens spend more time online, parents, educators, child safety and privacy experts, and policy makers are rightly concerned about how to keep them safe. We engage with these groups regularly, and share these concerns.

Some countries are implementing regulations in this area, and as we comply with these regulations, we’re looking at ways to develop consistent product experiences and user controls for kids and teens globally. Today, we’re announcing a variety of new policies and updates.

Giving minors more control over their digital footprint

While we already provide a range of removal options for people using Google Search, children are at particular risk when it comes to controlling their imagery on the internet. In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce a new policy that enables anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from Google Image results. Of course, removing an image from Search doesn’t remove it from the web, but we believe this change will help give young people more control of their images online.

Tailoring product experiences for kids and teens

Some of our most popular products help kids and teens explore their interests, learn more about the world, and connect with friends. We’re committed to constantly making these experiences safer for them. That’s why in the coming weeks and months we're going to make a number of changes to Google Accounts for people under 18:

  • YouTube: We’re going to change the default upload setting to the most private option available for teens ages 13-17. In addition, we’ll more prominently surface digital wellbeing features, and provide safeguards and education about commercial content. Learn more about these changes on the YouTube Blog

    https://blog.youtube/news-and-events/new-safety-and-digital-wellbeing-options-younger-people-youtube-and-youtube-kids/

    .
  • Search:We have a range of systems, tools, and policies that are designed to help people discover content from across the web while not surprising them with mature content they haven’t searched for. One of the protections we offer is SafeSearch, which helps filter out explicit results when enabled and is already on by default for all signed-in users under 13 who have accounts managed by Family Link. In the coming months, we’ll turn SafeSearch on for existing users under 18 and make this the default setting for teens setting up new accounts.
  • Assistant:We’re always working to prevent mature content from surfacing during a child’s experience with Google Assistant on shared devices, and in the coming months we’ll be introducing new default protections. For example, we will apply our SafeSearch technology to the web browser on smart displays.
  • Location History: Location History is a Google account setting that helps make our products more useful. It's already off by default for all accounts, and children with supervised accounts don’t have the option of turning Location History on. Taking this a step further, we’ll soon extend this to users under the age of 18 globally, meaning that Location History will remain off (without the option to turn it on).
  • Play:Building on efforts like content ratings, and our "Teacher-approved apps" for quality kids content, we're launching a new safety section that will let parents know which apps follow our Families policies. Apps will be required to disclose how they use the data they collect in greater detail, making it easier for parents to decide if the app is right for their child before they download it.
  • Google Workspace for Education: As we recently announced, we’re making it much easier for administrators to tailor experiences for their users based on age (such as restricting student activity on YouTube). And to make web browsing safer, K-12 institutions will have SafeSearch technology enabled by default, while switching to Guest Mode and Incognito Mode for web browsing will be turned off by default.

New advertising changes

We’ll be expanding safeguards to prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown to teens, and we will block ad targeting based on the age, gender, or interests of people under 18. We’ll start rolling out these updates across our products globally over the coming months. Our goal is to ensure we’re providing additional protections and delivering age-appropriate experiences for ads on Google.


New digital wellbeing tools

In Family Link, parents can set screen time limits and reminders for their kids’ supervised devices. And, on Assistant-enabled smart devices, we give parents control through Digital Wellbeing tools available in the Google Home app. In the coming months, we’ll roll out new Digital Wellbeing filters that allow people to block news, podcasts, and access to webpages on Assistant-enabled smart devices.

On YouTube, we’ll turn on take a break and bedtime reminders and turn off autoplay for users under 18. And, on YouTube Kids we’ll add an autoplay option and turn it off by default to empower parents to make the right choice for their families.


Improving how we communicate our data practices to kids and teens

Data plays an important role in making our products functional and helpful. It’s our job to make it easy for kids and teens to understand what data is being collected, why, and how it is used. Based on research, we’re developing engaging, easy-to-understand materials for young people and their parents to help them better understand our data practices. These resources will begin to roll out globally in the coming months.

Image of the Family Link Privacy Guide for Children and Teens and the Teen Privacy Guide

Transparency Resources: The Family Link Privacy Guide for Children and Teens and the Teen Privacy Guide


Ongoing work and engagement

We regularly engage with kids and teens, parents, governments, industry leaders, and experts in the fields of privacy, child safety, wellbeing and education to design better, safer products for kids and teens. Having an accurate age for a user can be an important element in providing experiences tailored to their needs. Yet, knowing the accurate age of our users across multiple products and surfaces, while at the same time respecting their privacy and ensuring that our services remain accessible, is a complex challenge. It will require input from regulators, lawmakers, industry bodies, technology providers, and others to address it – and to ensure that we all build a safer internet for kids.

Express yourself and connect with others on Chromebooks

Many people this past year used Chromebooks to keep in touch with family and friends, stay entertained and work or learn from home. Today, we’re introducing a few new features that make connecting and communicating with others — on video chat or through text — even easier.

Improved video calls on your Chromebook

With more people now relying on video calls, we’ve improved the experience to help make sure you’ll have smooth conversations on any Chromebook and your favorite app. 

With Chrome OS’s latest update, Google Meet will be pre-installed on all Chromebooks, so it’s easy to launch into the app and get on a video call right from the Launcher. Google Meet includes exciting features, like video backgrounds, that make meetings more inclusive and fun. We’ve also made performance improvements like adapting video calls to different network conditions and adjusting video performance during screen sharing.  

Screen showing a five-person video call in progress on Google Meet.

 The new Google Meet app on Chromebook

Recently we partnered with Zoom to launch an improved version of the app for Chromebooks on the Google Play Store. This new version delivers faster performance, takes up less storage and includes latest features such as breakout rooms, live transcription and a new background masking feature for privacy. 

Plus, you can find other apps for video calling to suit your specific needs. For example, you can connect with teams remotely on Jitsi-Meet or hang out with friends and family on Houseparty. And to make your video calls even better, you can add Works With Chromebook certified accessories to your setup, including web cameras and headsets from partners like Logitech, EPOS and Lenovo.

Express yourself with emoji  👍  

Earlier this month, Google celebrated World Emoji Day by announcing more shareable and inclusive emoji. Now we’ve made it even easier to express yourself with emoji on Chromebooks with a new shortcut and emoji picker.

On your Chromebook, use the new keyboard shortcut (Search or Launcher key + Shift + Space) to bring up the compact emoji picker. From there, you can see your recently used emoji and scroll to discover others. With a click, the perfect emoji is inserted into a conversation, document, or any text field on your Chromebook. 

We’ve also made it easier to search for an emoji (currently only available in English) and view related options. Setting up a calendar invitation for coffee? Open the picker, type “coffee,” then select the emoji you want. ☕️  🤯

The emoji picker is pulled up and shows recently used emoji, the search bar and a scrollable list of emoji to choose from.

Search for emoji then add them to text fields with Chromebook’s new emoji picker.

Keep in touch – from anywhere

Chrome OS now supports eSIM for cellular connectivity. With eSIM, you can download and switch between carrier profiles without having to insert or remove a physical SIM card from your laptop. This will be particularly helpful if you need to connect to a cellular network but can’t run to the store for a SIM card, and for international travelers who frequently switch between networks.

This feature is only available on eSIM-compatible Chromebooks, like the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 and Acer Chromebook 511. To get started on these devices, go to Settings, then "Mobile data" in the "Network" section, and add a connection.

A dialog box prompts a user to take a picture of a QR Code during network setup.

You can use a QR Code to help set up the new cellular network on your Chromebook.

Celebrate togetherness

This month we’re also introducing a new collection of wallpapers from three Black artists, Aurelia Durand, Sabrena Khadija and Meech Boakye. Each artist created wallpapers inspired by the concept of togetherness. Their lively designs reflect connections between family and friends, empowering and uplifting one’s community, and the experience of being in nature. 

To try them out, just right-click your desktop and choose “Set wallpaper,” then select “Togetherness.”

Discover new ways to create and play on your Chromebook

For parents looking to keep their kids entertained and engaged, the Explore app on Chromebooks now includes a digital magazine curated for kids and families. Each issue will be packed with educational apps to help kids discover new ways to create and play on their Chromebooks.

 The first issue focuses on game design, and in addition to suggesting apps to help kids learn how to design and code their own games, it also features an interview with game creator Jesse Schell. Keep an eye out for future updates with more expert interviews and other themes to inspire kids’ creativity.

This digital magazine is currently only available for Family Link users in the United States. Find it in the Explore app, under “Discover.”

A GIF scrolls through the new issue titled “Explore game design on your Chromebook”. It shows a round up of educational apps and games, and has a video with came creator Jesse Schell.

The digital magazine exclusive to Chromebook within the Explore app

We’ll be back soon to share more new Chromebook features. 😎 

Helping kids be safe, confident online explorers

We’ve heard from parents, educators and experts on ways to make technology safer for kids, and we continue to incorporate that feedback into our products. Whether it’s helping them find quality content, working to protect them from online harm or teaching them how to be good digital citizens, we’re committed to building family-friendly tools to help kids safely and confidently explore the online world. 


Launching our new evidence-based Be Internet Awesome curriculum

Four years ago, we launched Be Internet Awesome as a program to help educators and parents teach kids the fundamentals of digital safety and citizenship. Since then, it’s expanded to more than 30 countries in 16 languages and has helped millions of kids around the world make safer, more informed decisions online. It's important to teach kids how to use the internet effectively, as family technology use in and outside of the classroom continues to grow -- and we’re constantly looking for ways to make Be Internet Awesome even better.  


To ensure Be Internet Awesome helps students comprehend online safety and digital citizenship concepts, we commissioned the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center to do a rigorous independent evaluation of our program. The researchers learned that students who went through the Be Internet Awesome program improved their comprehension in areas such as being civil online, understanding which websites are safe and responding more confidently to cyberbullying. The research also recommended opportunities where kids could benefit from more guidance, which we’ve used to update our curriculum.


In partnership with online safety experts like Committee for Children and The Net Safety Collaborative, we’ve significantly expanded the Be Internet Awesome program, including 11 new lessons and more educator and family resources. We’ve developed content tailored to specific age groups and grade levels, included more guidance around online gaming, search engines and video consumption and added social-emotional learning lessons to help students address cyberbullying and online harassment. The program also provides an array of resources for families to help discuss online safety at home. We hope the updated curriculum gives educators and parents an even more helpful tool to teach kids about these important topics.


Navigating the world of online video

Building on our digital safety and citizenship work, we’ve also created more tools and resources to help kids explore the world of online video. For example, on YouTube, we introduced supervised experiences to give parents more choice over content settings and features, including special options for tweens and teens. We’ve also developed a comprehensive family guide and PSA videos as useful starting points for kids and families to learn how to browse and watch video content responsibly. 


To help kids stay informed about what they’re seeing on YouTube, including content with commercial elements, we recently launched a new disclosure feature for all content that a creator has notified us contains paid promotions, when that content is “made for kids” or being viewed on a supervised account. This disclosure appears in easy-to-understand text on the left hand corner of the screen and links to a new family-friendly video and help center article to provide additional information. 


Tools and resources for families

We’ve also created more resources to help families determine how to approach kids’ technology use. Earlier this year, we launched families.google, a one-stop technology hub that includes tips and tools about how to manage tech for your family. In addition, we introduced updates to the Family Link app that lets you set digital ground rules as kids learn, play and explore online. You can now enable your kids to spend time with apps you approve of by designating them as “always allowed,” and see added details via daily, weekly and monthly activity reports. All of this work is designed to equip parents and their kids with the resources they need to foster a healthy relationship with technology in the digital age. 


We want parents and kids to have the tools they need to explore the internet confidently. We are committed to helping protect children online and will continue to share information about our ongoing work in this area. 


Note: The University of New Hampshire’s study used a rigorous cluster randomized controlled trial (CRCT) evaluation methodology. Fourteen elementary schools across the U.S. were randomly assigned to either an intervention condition (Be Internet Awesome implementation) or a control condition (no or delayed Be Internet Awesome implementation). The full paper is currently under peer review.

New ways we’re making Meet calls easier (and more fun)

Almost exactly one year ago, in an effort to help everyone stay connected safely as the pandemic was taking hold, we announced that we were making Google Meet free for everyone. Since then, Meet has helped millions of people connect around the world. While it’s been hard for all of us to remain apart this past year, I’ve been proud to work on a product that’s let so many of us come together.

Helping everyone safely connect and collaborate is what drives us to continue improving Meet — from introducing features that make video calls more inclusive, such as automated live captions in five languages, to controls that create a safer and more dynamic learning environment for educators and students, to new mobile capabilities that promote a more inclusive meeting experience. Today, we’re announcing even more ways that Meet will continue providing you with secure, reliable and engaging meetings, starting with a refreshed look on the web and helpful features built with the latest in artificial intelligence.

A new design that makes it easier to present and engage with others

A presentation being unpinned to view all participants in a 12-person video meeting.

Unpin to make the presentation tile smaller and view all participants.

Starting next month, when viewing and sharing content with any group of people, you’ll have more space to see the content and others’ video feeds through our refreshed new look and improved ability to pin and unpin content. In the coming months, you will be able to pin multiple tiles to customize what you focus on. For example, you can highlight a presentation and the speaker, or multiple speakers at the same time. Participants’ names will always be visible, so you can quickly see who’s who, and better engage with everyone on the call. 

Two speakers pinned during a 16-tile video meeting.

Highlight different speakers and tiles for a better experience.

People have told us they concentrate better and often feel less tired when they don’t see themselves while talking. So we’re making it possible to resize, reposition or hide your own video feed. When doing so, you can use the freed-up space to see even more people on the call.

A participant minimizing their video feed in a 13-person group call.

Minimize your own video feed from view.

High-quality and reliable meetings on any device

We’re continuously investing in new ways to improve your audio and video experience in Meet. To support video calls when you’re on the go, we’re launching Data Saver this month. This feature limits data usage on mobile networks to allow you and the person you’re calling to save on data costs, which is especially important in countries where data costs can be high, like India, Indonesia and Brazil. 


Last year, we introduced low-light mode for Meet on mobile, using artificial intelligence to automatically adjust your video to make you more visible if you’re in a dark environment. Having too much light behind you — such as a window on a sunny day — can also be challenging for many cameras. Now, Google Meet on the web automatically detects when a user appears underexposed and enhances the brightness to improve their visibility. Light adjustment will be rolling out to Meet users everywhere in the coming weeks.
A person in the Green room of Google Meet where their video is brightened by the new Light adjustment feature.

Automatically enhance brightness and improve visibility. 

In addition, we’re introducing another feature powered by AI called Autozoom, which helps others see you more clearly by zooming in and positioning you squarely in front of your camera. Autozoom will be available to Google Workspace (paid) subscribers in the coming months. 

Fun new backgrounds on mobile and web 

Last month, we started rolling out background replace, Q&A and Polls for Meet to Android and iOS devices. In the coming weeks, we’re adding the ability to replace your background with a video. Video background replacement can help you maintain privacy for what’s behind you while also making your video calls more fun. There will initially be three options to choose from: a classroom, a party and a forest, with more on the way soon.

A person video calling using Google Meet with an animated background featuring cartoon characters dancing under a disco ball.

Use a video background to make calls more fun.

When we introduced a free version of Google Meet to the world a year ago, none of us knew just how much we’d come to rely on virtual meetings and gatherings to keep us connected to friends, family, colleagues and classmates. We’re grateful for all the stories and feedback our users and customers have shared along the way, helping us make Google Meet more engaging for everyone. Looking ahead, we’re excited to continue improving the Meet experience to further help in all the ways people connect, collaborate and celebrate.

Parents tell us how they’re approaching family tech use

Last year, parents were forced to quickly adapt when schools, daycares and eventually summer camps closed. Almost immediately, many kids turned to online services for education and entertainment.

We want to provide a new website with helpful resources for families raising kids in a digital world during this challenging moment. So we decided to look at last year’s top Google Search trends related to digital parenting, and also surveyed more than 2,000 parents with kids under 13 in the U.S. Here’s what we found:

Tech talk

1. Parents don’t feel equipped to talk about tech use with their kids

Over this last year, 2 in 5 parents said they don’t feel confident in talking about different tech-related topics with the kids. This includes discussions about things like screen time, digital wellbeing and discovering quality apps, games and activities. Kick off the conversation with your kids with some helpful tips.
healthy digital habits

2. Screen time rules are changing

Searches for "how much screen time should a child have" trended last year. As parents searched for how to manage the time their kids spend on devices, distance learning inevitably led to increased screen time usage. Check out how to form healthy digital habits.
Remote learning

3. Remote learning became the norm

Searches for “how to homeschool” and “learning at home” reached all-time highs last year. This comes as no surprise given that 82 percent of families reported participating in remote learning. Learn more about classroom tools to help with distance learning.
Balancing mindful experiences

4. Balancing online time with mindful experiences

In our survey, we found that parents are looking for quality kids content for learning, play and wellbeing. In fact, searches for “kids mindfulness” reached an all-time high in September 2020. We’re working with Headspace to create content that helps families practice mindfulness and wellbeing.
positive outcomes

5.Discovering fun activities is a must

Fun, engaging activities are key to keeping kids focused, and they can also be a great way for families to spend time together. “Fun at home activities for kids” reached  all-time highs in April. Discover how tech can help your family experience new things together.
Devices

6. Devices are a part of families’ everyday lives

As families continue to increase their technology usage, it’s helpful to set up digital ground rules. Our survey found that 70 percent of parents have kids with their own phones, and 75 percent of parents have kids with their own tablets. Find which parental controls suit your family’s needs.
online safety

7. Make online safety a central part of your tech conversation with your kids

Our survey found that 1 in 4 parents have not proactively spoken to their kids about online safety over the past year. Before giving devices to your kids, have a conversation and help teach them how to be safe, smart and positive online.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing a full report on kids, families and technology that we’ve developed with the Family Online Safety Institute. In the meantime, you can check out a few of our new resources and tools families.


Methodology: Findings are based on results of online surveys conducted by Suzy. Wave 1 was conducted in January 2021; wave 2 was conducted in February 2021. The online surveys were conducted among n=2000 respondents. The sample was nationally representative as it relates to age, gender, household income, race/ethnicity and region. All respondents of the sample consisted of parents with at least one child under 13 living with them.

Make tech work for the whole family

As the first generation of parents raising children surrounded by technology, you’ve told us that you need resources to help make it work -- from setting up their first device, to learning about popular apps and services.

Our goal has always been to help families foster a healthy relationship with technology. We’ve given parents a way to help their kids have a safer online experience with Family Link’s parental controls. We’ve also made it easier to find quality content with teacher-approved apps in Google Play, a kids’ tablet experience with Google Kids Space and kids profiles on Google TV.

And today, we’re sharing more resources, tools and content. First, we’re introducing families.google, a website with resources for your family as your kids begin using technology. We’re also sharing a few Family Link updates and launching a content series with Headspace for practicing mindfulness together.


A resource for your family’s tech journey

Over the last year, we’ve listened to your feedback as well as key learnings from commissioned research and what’s trending in Google Search. With families.google, you’ll have a one-stop technology resource. 

The website has detailed guides that spell out how to approach your kids’ technology use from organizations like Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, Family Online Safety Institute, Headspace, PBS KIDS and Sesame Workshop. Alongside overviews of our kids and families products, you can also catch up on the latest apps and services and find helpful information on parental controls across the web. You’ll also see tips on how to manage online safety and digital wellbeing as well as fun online activities for families and tools for the classroom.


New to Family Link

Our parental controls have always helped you manage how your children spend time on their Android and Chromebook devices, with functions like screen time limits, the ability to hide apps and more. But  parents are increasingly focused on how kids use devices and less on how much, so we’re adding some of your most requested features to Family Link.

You can now encourage your kids to spend more time with apps you approve of by designating them as “always allowed,”  even when their screen time limit is up. For example, if your child needs certain apps for remote learning, they can be marked as “always allowed” so they won’t be counted toward their daily screen time limit. 

Plus, you can now see added details to daily, weekly and monthly activity reports. This gives you an overview of how your child is spending their time in apps, how it changes over a week or month and what portion of time was spent in “always allowed” apps.

If you’re using the Family Link Android app, the teacher-recommended app card now has suggestions from a catalog of thousands of teacher-approved Google Play apps for kids under 13 in the U.S. You can select an app and  download it directly to your child’s device. And to make sure their Android phone doesn’t run out of juice, the Family Link Android app helps you see their device’s battery life.

Finally, we’ve heard that sometimes it's easier to manage parental controls directly on your child's device rather than from your own. In the Android Settings for parental controls, you can now set screen time limits right from your child’s device.


Practicing mindfulness together

This last year, 3 in 5 parents allowed increased screen time for their kids, and we also saw  Google searches like “fun at home activities for kids” and “mindfulness for kids” skyrocket. That’s why we’re working with Headspace to create content that helps families practice mindfulness and wellbeing. Over the next month, an episode from the new Headspace Breathers series will debut weekly on YouTube and YouTube Kids.

Headspace Breathers series

All of these resources and Family Link features are rolling out over the coming weeks. 

A guide to Google Meet for parents and guardians

When the COVID-19 pandemic required students worldwide to transition to distance learning, many parents and guardians suddenly found themselves in the role of part-time teachers — and even IT technicians — on top of their existing responsibilities at work and home. If this describes your family’s situation these days, you’re definitely not alone. Many students and schools use Google Workspace for Education for teaching and learning – which includes tools for organizing classwork, like Google Classroom, and for video conferencing, like Google Meet. If you’re new to using Google Meet, we created the below guide to help make things easier while you juggle your many roles at home. 

What is Google Meet?

Google Meet is Google’s secure and easy-to-use video conferencing solution that is available to schools for free through Google Workspace for Education. Educators use Meet to connect with your child one-on-one, to facilitate remote instruction and to hold virtual meetings and conferences with parents and guardians.


Meet works with all modern web browsers (like Chrome, Safari, etc.), meaning you don’t have to install or download software to your desktop computer in order to use it. For those looking to join from a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone, Meet has a dedicated mobile app that optimizes the video conferencing experience for mobile conditions. If you are using Meet on a Chromebook, we recently made significant performance improvements like audio and video optimizations and the ability to handle multitasking better.

How do I join a Google Meet?

There are a variety of ways to join a call or meeting, including joining from Google Classroom, or via a meeting link or invitation that your teacher has shared via email or Calendar.

How does Meet protect my child’s safety and privacy? 

Google is committed to building products that help protect student and teacher privacy and security. 

We designed Meet with industry-leading built-in protections that help keep calls safe by default. Here are a few examples: 

  • Encryption by default:In Meet, all data is encrypted in transit by default between your device and Google.

  • Unique meeting IDs:Each Meeting ID is 10 characters long, with 25 characters in the set, so it’s difficult to make an unauthorized attempt to join the meeting by guessing the ID. 

  • Protection against reusing finished meetings:Students can’t rejoin meetings once the final participant has left, unless they have meeting creation privileges to start a new meeting. This means if the instructor is the last person to leave a meeting, students can’t join again until an instructor restarts the meeting.

  • No plug-ins required:To limit the attack surface and eliminate the need to push out frequent security patches, Meet works entirely in your web browser, eliminating the need to download and update plug-ins.

Meet also gives educators powerful controls to help keep virtual classes safe and secure. 

  • Safety locks: Educators can decide which methods of joining (via calendar invite or phone, for example) require users to obtain explicit approval to join. 

  • Block anonymous users by default:Engaging safety locks will block all attempts to join a meeting from anonymous users (users not logged in through a Google Account), and enforce the requirement that the host joins first.

  • Host moderation controls:Educators can control the level of participant interactivity in the meeting. The chat lock and present lock will let hosts control which attendees can chat and present content within the meeting. Educators can also access these controls on mobile devices. 

  • End a meeting for all participants:Prevents students from staying on after the teacher has left — including in breakout rooms.

How does Meet help keep my child engaged during class?

Over the past year, we’ve launched a number of features to help engage students by bringing some of in-classroom magic to the virtual classroom: 

  • Hand raise, to help students indicate if they have a question or want to speak without disrupting the class.

  • Breakout rooms, used by educators to host small group discussions or working time. Teachers can easily jump between the different breakout rooms before bringing everyone back to the main discussion. 

  • Q&A, allowing students to submit and upvote questions from the teacher for better group engagement.

  • Polls, used by educators to quickly gather feedback from their students, oftentimes using it to identify topics that need more discussion or to test comprehension of a certain topic. 

  • Captions, allowing participants to follow along with live closed captions in Meet. Captions are now available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

  • Tile view in mobile, allowing you to see up to 48 people on a screen when using a mobile device or a tablet. 

  • Customizable backgrounds, to let students and teachers express themselves creatively while in class, and background blur to help reduce background distractions and keep the focus on the participant.

  • Advanced safety locks, to block anonymous users from joining and let teachers control who can chat and present in a meeting. We will launch more controls in the upcoming weeks, like muting all, and ending meetings for everyone.

An animation showing how Breakout Rooms work in Meet.

What’s new in Google Meet?

There are a number of new features we’ve launched in the last couple of months to enhance the learning experience:

  • More controls for educators:Educators can now mute everyone on the call at once so they can keep class on track. And coming soon, we’ll be launching new settings for school leaders to set policies for who can join their school’s video calls, and whether people from their school can join video calls from other schools.  

  • Coming soon, we’ll have Emoji reactions, allowing students to more easily engage and express themselves in Meet.

  • Later this year, Meet will support multiple hosts, making it easier for educators to partner with others helping facilitate the class.

  • Later this year,  meeting transcripts can help students who weren’t able to attend class stay up to date.

An animation showing different colored Meet chat bubbles populating in a transcript.

What additional Meet resources are available to me?

If you have questions or need help, check out our Tech Toolkit video, read our Guardian’s Guide to Google Meet or visit our Help Center page for troubleshooting information. For more tips and resources to help families navigate technology visit families.google. We hope we can continue helping improve the digital education experience and bring parents and guardians along, to support all families through these times.

New features for Chromebook’s 10th birthday

New features for Chromebook's 10th birthday

Chromebooks launched 10 years ago with a vision to rethink computing by designing a secure, easy-to-use laptop that becomes faster and more intelligent over time. As more and more people began using devices running Chrome OS, we evolved and expanded the platform to meet their diverse needs. 

Today, Chrome OS devices do everything from helping people get things done to entertaining them while they unwind. But we want to do more to provide a powerfully simple computing experience to the millions of people who use Chromebooks. We’re celebrating 10 years of Chromebooks with plenty of new features to bring our vision to life. 


Move between devices with ease

More and more people are living in a world where they use multiple devices to work, keep in touch with loved ones and watch shows and movies. Today, we’re launching two solutions that help your Chromebook and Android phone work better together. 

With Phone Hub, you now have a built-in control center that brings key capabilities from your Android phone to your Chromebook. Receive a text but your phone is out of reach? No problem. Respond to that message, check your phone’s battery life and cellular signal, turn on its hotspot and even locate it, all from your Chromebook. Phone Hub also shows the Chrome browser tabs you last opened on your Android phone, so you can pick up right where you left off. 

Phone Hub

We've also extended Wi-Fi Sync to work with more devices, making it easier and faster to get online. Your Chromebook can now automatically connect to trusted Wi-Fi networks you’ve used on your Android phone and other Chrome OS devices when signed in with the same Google Account — no need to enter in the credentials again.

In the coming months, you’ll also be able to use Nearby Share to instantly and securely share files between your Chromebook and other Chrome OS or Android devices. Nearby Share lets you send and receive without sharing contact details, so your information and files stay private. 

These three features are just the beginning of the work we’re doing to bring Google helpfulness to more devices in your life. Stay tuned for more feature releases this year that help your devices work better together.


New features to get things done fast

We’ve redesigned key parts of the Chromebook experience based on your feedback and added new features that make it easy to get things done fast, so you can focus on your work, not your tools.

Quicker access to what’s important 

The new Screen Capture tool in your Quick Settings menu lets you take precise screenshots and screen recordings without needing to remember keyboard shortcuts. Once you take a screen capture, it’ll instantly show up in Tote, a new space that keeps important files right at your fingertips. Open Tote from your Shelf and you’ll see all your recent downloads, recent screen captures and pinned files. 

Your media controls are also now built directly into the Quick Settings menu, so you’ll always know where to go to play, pause or skip to the next song that you’re playing from the web or an Android app. You can pin this media player directly to your Shelf for immediate access. 

We’ve also streamlined Chromebook setup for parents and guardians to highlight two important tools. Now when parents set up a new Chromebook using their child’s personal Google Account (managed with Family Link), they can immediately add a school account. Their child can then use school apps like Google Classroom while Family Link controls on their device still apply, so parents can supervise while they do homework. They can also assist their child in creating a PIN during setup, so signing in to their Chromebook is easier. 

Save time as you tackle your daily tasks

With its new Clipboard, your Chromebook saves the last five items copied so you can easily paste any or all to a new page without needing to switch between windows. Just press the Everything Button + V to use your Clipboard.

There’s also Quick Answers, which automatically offers helpful information — like a definition, a translation or unit conversion — when you right-click a word. No need to open a separate tab to search for the answer. 

We’ve supercharged Desks with enhancements to help you organize your workspace. Now when you reboot, all your windows will restore to their previous desks so your workflow isn’t interrupted. Right-click at the top of a window to send it directly to one or all desks, and swipe across your trackpad with four fingers to switch between desks. To get started with Desks, open Overview mode and create a new desk.

Helpful updates to existing features

Aside from new features, we’ve also enhanced several existing ones. For instance, you can now share files, images and links between apps in fewer steps. When you click “share” on a supported app or website, you’ll see a list of apps you can share content with directly. For example, you'll be able to share an image from your Files app to the Microsoft Word app, with just a few clicks.

Select-to-speak, which enables you to hear text read out loud, also has new controls that let you speed up, slow down and pause the reading voice in real-time, and easily jump to different sections of text. These are especially helpful for people with low vision and specific learning or print disabilities. 

Last but certainly not least, the small things matter just as much as the big ones. The icons for your Chromebook’s built-in apps have a fresh new look, making it easier for you to find essential apps made for Chrome OS like Canvas and Explore.

Visit our website for more details about these features. We’re grateful to be celebrating this milestone, and we hope these launches help you get even more out of your Chromebook. 

Google TV for everyone in the family

It’s Saturday morning and my son is pointing at the TV, cheerful as ever. The “You’re Welcome” music video from Disney’s “Moana” is playing for the tenth time. As a new father, I’m always thinking about the role technology will play in my children’s lives. From Google Kids Space on select Android tablets to teacher-approved apps in Google Play, we’ve already made a lot of progress in helping our kids explore online, but the work isn’t over.

That’s why today, we’re taking our first step in delivering family features on Google TV with the introduction of kids profiles. Setting up a profile for each of your kids is easy: You can add an existing Google account for a child or create a new profile with just their name and age.

With Google TV, we thought about what families need from the biggest screen in the house. I personally want to be able to find my shows and movies, without being overwhelmed by my kids' content. At the same time, I want to be able to manage my kids’ screen time and know that what they’re watching is appropriate for them. Read on for some of my favorite features of kids profiles.


TV — for you and your kids

Parents will be able to pick which apps to add to their child’s profile. Kids profiles will feature rows with recommendations from kid-friendly apps, so your kids can easily find what to watch. And with Google Play Family Library, you can share access to TV shows and movies you’ve already purchased on other devices (“Moana” on repeat is absolutely an option).

Kids profile on Google TV

Kids profiles on Google TV are designed with young viewers in mind and feature bright colors and fun illustrations. The backdrop can be customized to a kid-friendly theme — like “Under the sea,” “Dinosaur jungle” or “Space travel.” In the coming weeks, we’ll also be introducing avatars so your kids can pick a profile picture based on their interests.

Theme selector

Screen time management

“It’s time to turn off the TV” is often met with moans and groans. With on-screen parental controls, you’ll be able to manage your kids’ screen time by setting daily watch limits and a bedtime schedule. When it’s almost time to turn off the TV, your kids will be greeted with three countdown warning signs before a final “Time is up” screen appears and ends their watch time. (And you’ll  always have the option to add some extra bonus time when it’s not a school night.) To prevent your kids from switching to your profile, you can turn on profile lock so only you can make changes with your PIN.

Screen time limits

You can also manage some content controls on Google TV right from the Family Link app to help make sure your child’s TV time aligns with the digital ground rules you set for your family across devices, such as their Android phone or Chromebook. From your phone, you can see how much time your kids are spending in their favorite apps, block and unblock apps, control app activity and more. 

Support for kids profiles on Google TV will roll out on Chromecast with Google TV and other Google TV devices in the U.S. starting this month, and globally over the next few months. The TV is the largest, shared screen in the home — and we plan on finding more and more ways to make Google TV work for the whole family. Stay tuned!

The best of Google, now in new devices

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, technology should work for you. This week during a virtual CES and Galaxy Unpacked, we were introduced to a lineup of new products that do exactly that, all with the best of Google built in.


Whether you're heading out or staying in, there's something new for you to get excited about.


When you’re on the go

The new Galaxy S21 series comes with a more cohesive Android experience and updates that make it easier to stay in touch with friends and family. From your phone, you can now mirror Google Duo to your Samsung TV, so video calls feel a little more like the real thing. With the Messages app, you can use Rich Communication Services (RCS) to chat over Wi-Fi, know when messages are read, share reactions as well as high resolution videos, and enjoy a more dynamic communication experience with features such as Smart Actions and spam protection (varies by carrier and market availability). A single swipe from your home screen will give you the option for personalized content with Discover, while our screen reader TalkBack has been revamped so that people with blindness or trouble seeing their displays can use spoken feedback and gestures to navigate their phone without having to look at the screen (varies by carrier and market availability).


We’re also working with Samsung to make it easier to manage smart home products from your device. You can control Nest devices, like Nest thermostats, cameras and doorbells, from the SmartThings app on Galaxy smartphones and tablets. See all your connected devices on one screen by tapping on "Devices" in the Quick Panel of the Galaxy S21. Starting next week, SmartThings will also be available in Android Auto, so you can do things like turn off your kitchen lights from your car’s display as you pull out of the driveway.


For parents who want a productive tablet that can easily be shared with their kids, the new Lenovo Tab P11 comes with Kids Space, our new kids mode that features recommended apps, books and videos to help kids under 9 learn and have fun. 


And to get help from your wrist, new Wear OS by Google smartwatches keep you connected wherever you are. For Android phone users in the U.S., you can send texts and make calls on Fossil's Gen 5 LTE Touchscreen Smartwatch without your phone. And Michael Kors Access Gen 5E MKGO and Gen 5E Darci smartwatches are a fashionable option for keeping track of your health and wellness, staying in touch with friends and family and even making payments.


You’ll even be able to leave your phone in your pocket when you’re outside. New headphones, including the JBL Tour ONE and Tour Pro+ and Kenwood WS-A1G come with help from Google. Simply press the earbud to send a message, access your calendar or change songs.


Of course, for those times when you’re perfectly happy...


Hanging out at home

Google TV will be available on 2021 smart TVs from Sony and TCL. Google TV is a new entertainment experience that brings together movies, shows, live TV and more from across your apps and subscriptions and organizes them just for you. You can ask “Hey Google, find action movies” or “show me sci-fi adventure TV shows” and browse a wide selection of content with your voice. In fact your voice can be used in all sorts of ways: Your LG TV (from 2019 models) can now be controlled by a Google-enabled smart speaker in 15 countries and six languages. You will also soon be able to control your Verizon Fios set top box by voice when connected with a Google-enabled smart speaker or Smart Display. And to do more on your TV, you can stay connected with your loved ones with one-on-one or group video calls with the Duo app on Samsung TV (an optional USB-camera needed).


New connected lights from LIFX, Nanoleaf and Yeelight now work with Hey Google. These new devices support Seamless setup, which makes it possible to connect compatible smart home devices directly through the Google Home app and a Nest speaker or Smart Display without the need for an additional hub or bridge. 


If you’re looking for an assist with cleaning up around the house, you can just say “Hey Google” to control the Smart MEDION’s vacuum cleaner MD 19601. To help more manufacturers bring voice capabilities like this to their smart home devices, we also recently launched the Authorized Solution Provider program. Our certified partners Tuya and CoolKit can now help manufacturers  build smart home Actions for Google Assistant. 


Whatever new device you pick out, Google will be there to help you get things done and get the most of your tech.

Source: Android