Tag Archives: photos

30 years of family videos in an AI archive

My dad got his first video camera the day I was born nearly three decades ago. “Say hello to the camera!” are the first words he caught on tape, as he pointed it at a red, puffy baby (me) in a hospital bassinet. The clips got more embarrassing from there, as he continued to film through many diaper changes, temper tantrums and—worst of all—puberty.

Most of those potential blackmail tokens sat trapped on miniDV tapes or scattered across SD cards until two years ago when my dad uploaded them all to Google Drive. Theoretically, since they were now stored in the cloud, my family and I could watch them whenever we wanted. But with more than 456 hours of footage, watching it all would have been a herculean effort. You can only watch old family friends open Christmas gifts so many times. So, as an Applied AI Engineer, I got down to business and built an AI-powered searchable archive of our family videos.

If you’ve ever used Google Photos, you’ve seen the power of using AI to search and organize images and videos. The app uses machine learning to identify people and pets, as well as objects and text in images. So, if I search “pool” in the Google Photos app, it’ll show me all the pictures and videos I ever took of pools.

But for this project, I needed a couple of features Photos doesn’t (yet!) support. First, because my dad’s first camera recorded footage to miniDV tapes, those videos were uploaded as meaty, two-hour-long movies with no useful metadata. Instead, my dad would start a clip by saying, “let me put a date on the screen here...” and a little white text snippet would appear in the bottom right corner of the frame. In between shots on a single reel, he’d say: “Say goodbye, I’m going to fade out now.” I would scream, “NO, DON’T FADE OUT,” while the screen faded to black. So, my first step was to use machine learning to automatically parse the date shown on the screen, and split the single long video into shorter clips after each fade out.

video screenshot

In this picture, you can see the timestamp shown on screen. Using the Vision API, I could extract it to sort my videos by date.

For this, I turned the Video intelligence API, a Google Cloud tool that lets developers analyze videos with machine learning. It allows you to replicate many of the features found in the Google Photos app—like tagging objects in images and recognizing on-screen text—and a whole lot more. For example, the API’s shot change detection feature automatically finds the timestamps in videos where a scene changes, this allowed me to split those longs videos into smaller chunks. 

Using the label detection feature, I could search for all sorts of different events, like “bridal shower,” “wedding,” “bat and ball games” and “baby.” By searching “performance,” I was able to finally find one of my life’s proudest accomplishments on tape—a starring role singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green” in my kindergarten’s production of the Sesame Street musical.

home video 2

My starring role as Kermit the Frog in my school’s Sesame Street musical. The Video Intelligence API tagged it as “performance”.  

The Video Intelligence API’s real “killer feature” for me was its ability to do audio transcription. By transcribing my videos, I was able to query clips by what people said in them. I could search for specific names (“Scott,” “Dale,” “grandma”), proper nouns (“Chuck E Cheese”, “Pokemon”), and for unique phrases. By searching “first steps,” I found a clip of my dad saying, “Here she comes… plunk. That’s the first time she’s taken major steps” alongside a video of my managing, just barely, to waddle along.

homevideo3

My first steps that I was able to find with the Video Intelligence API’s Transcription feature. Here, my dad says, “...this is the first time she’s taken major steps.”

In the end, machine learning helped me build exactly the kind of archive I wanted—one that let me search my family videos by memories, not timestamps.

P.S. Want to see how I built it? Check out my technical blog post or catch the video on the Cloud Youtube Channel

A redesigned Google Photos, built for your life’s memories

Five years ago, we noticed that people were struggling to manage their photos and videos—there wasn’t a place to keep them all, storage was disorganized, and it was hard to find specific photos. We designed Google Photos to solve these problems and since then more than one billion people use the app each month. Over the past few years we’ve also seen that people use Google Photos when they feel nostalgic and want to reminisce. Google Photos has become more than just an app to manage your photos, it’s become the home for your life’s memories.

And that’s why today, we’re launching a redesigned Google Photos, focused on your memories, to help you find and relive your most treasured moments. 

A new, simplified experience

In the redesigned Google Photos, we’re giving your photos and videos more prominence and bringing search front-and-center with a new three-tab structure:

E726_PhotosGIFs_Overall_v05_nl.gif

  • Photos: As always, the main tab contains all your photos and videos, but now you’ll see larger thumbnails, auto-playing videos, and less white space between photos. At the very top, you'll also notice a larger Memories carousel (more on that in a bit).

  • Search:As photo libraries have gotten bigger, search has become increasingly important. So we’re putting search front and center to give you quick access to the people, places, and things most important to you. You’ll also find a new interactive map view; more on that in a bit too.

  • Library: The library tab contains the most important destinations in your photo library, like Albums, Favorites, Trash, Archive and more. And if you’re in the U.S., EU or Canada, you’ll also see our Print Store, where you can purchase printed products featuring your own photos.

And you can always access your shared content by tapping on the “conversation” button in the upper left corner.

A map view (finally!) 

As part of the new search tab, you’ll see an interactive map view of your photos and videos, which has been one of our most-requested features since we launched Google Photos. You can pinch and zoom around the globe to explore photos of your travels, see where you’ve taken the most photos around your hometown, or find that one photo from somewhere on your road trip across the country. If you enable location from your device camera, Location History, or manually add locations, those photos have always been organized and searchable by place in Google Photos. Rolling out today, they'll also show up on the map view. If you want to make changes, you have the control to make edits or turn off Location History and camera location permission.

Search tab_Map_View.gif

Relive the moments that matter with Memories

Last fall, we introduced Memories to help you revisit your most important memories from years past. It’s become one of our most beloved features, with more than 120 million people viewing Memories every month.  Today, we’re adding more types of Memories, like the best pics of you and your closest friends and family over the years, trips, and even just the highlights from last week.

E726_PhotosGIFs_Memories_v05_pb.gif

We’ve also moved our automatic creations--like movies, collages, animations, stylized photos and more--from the “For you” tab (which is now gone) and into Memories. And we know that not all memories are worth revisiting, so you’ll be able to hide specific people or time periods, and you have the option to control what types of Memories you receive.

Our icon gets a refresh

old_to_new_logo_transform.gif

We originally designed the Google Photos icon after a pinwheel, as a nod to childhood and nostalgia. Today, we're refreshing and simplifying the icon, while retaining that familiar pinwheel shape to remind you of past memories. Take a look at how our brand has evolved

This new, simplified Google Photos experience rolls out over the next week on Android and iOS. We hope you like it!

A redesigned Google Photos, built for your life’s memories

Five years ago, we noticed that people were struggling to manage their photos and videos—there wasn’t a place to keep them all, storage was disorganized, and it was hard to find specific photos. We designed Google Photos to solve these problems and since then more than one billion people use the app each month. Over the past few years we’ve also seen that people use Google Photos when they feel nostalgic and want to reminisce. Google Photos has become more than just an app to manage your photos, it’s become the home for your life’s memories.

And that’s why today, we’re launching a redesigned Google Photos, focused on your memories, to help you find and relive your most treasured moments. 

A new, simplified experience

In the redesigned Google Photos, we’re giving your photos and videos more prominence and bringing search front-and-center with a new three-tab structure:

E726_PhotosGIFs_Overall_v05_nl.gif

  • Photos: As always, the main tab contains all your photos and videos, but now you’ll see larger thumbnails, auto-playing videos, and less white space between photos. At the very top, you'll also notice a larger Memories carousel (more on that in a bit).

  • Search:As photo libraries have gotten bigger, search has become increasingly important. So we’re putting search front and center to give you quick access to the people, places, and things most important to you. You’ll also find a new interactive map view; more on that in a bit too.

  • Library: The library tab contains the most important destinations in your photo library, like Albums, Favorites, Trash, Archive and more. And if you’re in the U.S., EU or Canada, you’ll also see our Print Store, where you can purchase printed products featuring your own photos.

And you can always access your shared content by tapping on the “conversation” button in the upper left corner.

A map view (finally!) 

As part of the new search tab, you’ll see an interactive map view of your photos and videos, which has been one of our most-requested features since we launched Google Photos. You can pinch and zoom around the globe to explore photos of your travels, see where you’ve taken the most photos around your hometown, or find that one photo from somewhere on your road trip across the country. If you enable location from your device camera, Location History, or manually add locations, those photos have always been organized and searchable by place in Google Photos. Rolling out today, they'll also show up on the map view. If you want to make changes, you have the control to make edits or turn off Location History and camera location permission.

Search tab_Map_View.gif

Relive the moments that matter with Memories

Last fall, we introduced Memories to help you revisit your most important memories from years past. It’s become one of our most beloved features, with more than 120 million people viewing Memories every month.  Today, we’re adding more types of Memories, like the best pics of you and your closest friends and family over the years, trips, and even just the highlights from last week.

E726_PhotosGIFs_Memories_v05_pb.gif

We’ve also moved our automatic creations--like movies, collages, animations, stylized photos and more--from the “For you” tab (which is now gone) and into Memories. And we know that not all memories are worth revisiting, so you’ll be able to hide specific people or time periods, and you have the option to control what types of Memories you receive.

Our icon gets a refresh

old_to_new_logo_transform.gif

We originally designed the Google Photos icon after a pinwheel, as a nod to childhood and nostalgia. Today, we're refreshing and simplifying the icon, while retaining that familiar pinwheel shape to remind you of past memories. Take a look at how our brand has evolved

This new, simplified Google Photos experience rolls out over the next week on Android and iOS. We hope you like it!

A redesigned Google Photos, built for your life’s memories

Five years ago, we noticed that people were struggling to manage their photos and videos—there wasn’t a place to keep them all, storage was disorganized, and it was hard to find specific photos. We designed Google Photos to solve these problems and since then more than one billion people use the app each month. Over the past few years we’ve also seen that people use Google Photos when they feel nostalgic and want to reminisce. Google Photos has become more than just an app to manage your photos, it’s become the home for your life’s memories.

And that’s why today, we’re launching a redesigned Google Photos, focused on your memories, to help you find and relive your most treasured moments. 

A new, simplified experience

In the redesigned Google Photos, we’re giving your photos and videos more prominence and bringing search front-and-center with a new three-tab structure:

E726_PhotosGIFs_Overall_v05_nl.gif

  • Photos: As always, the main tab contains all your photos and videos, but now you’ll see larger thumbnails, auto-playing videos, and less white space between photos. At the very top, you'll also notice a larger Memories carousel (more on that in a bit).

  • Search:As photo libraries have gotten bigger, search has become increasingly important. So we’re putting search front and center to give you quick access to the people, places, and things most important to you. You’ll also find a new interactive map view; more on that in a bit too.

  • Library: The library tab contains the most important destinations in your photo library, like Albums, Favorites, Trash, Archive and more. And if you’re in the U.S., EU or Canada, you’ll also see our Print Store, where you can purchase printed products featuring your own photos.

And you can always access your shared content by tapping on the “conversation” button in the upper left corner.

A map view (finally!) 

As part of the new search tab, you’ll see an interactive map view of your photos and videos, which has been one of our most-requested features since we launched Google Photos. You can pinch and zoom around the globe to explore photos of your travels, see where you’ve taken the most photos around your hometown, or find that one photo from somewhere on your road trip across the country. If you enable location from your device camera, Location History, or manually add locations, those photos have always been organized and searchable by place in Google Photos. Rolling out today, they'll also show up on the map view. If you want to make changes, you have the control to make edits or turn off Location History and camera location permission.

Search tab_Map_View.gif

Relive the moments that matter with Memories

Last fall, we introduced Memories to help you revisit your most important memories from years past. It’s become one of our most beloved features, with more than 120 million people viewing Memories every month.  Today, we’re adding more types of Memories, like the best pics of you and your closest friends and family over the years, trips, and even just the highlights from last week.

E726_PhotosGIFs_Memories_v05_pb.gif

We’ve also moved our automatic creations--like movies, collages, animations, stylized photos and more--from the “For you” tab (which is now gone) and into Memories. And we know that not all memories are worth revisiting, so you’ll be able to hide specific people or time periods, and you have the option to control what types of Memories you receive.

Our icon gets a refresh

old_to_new_logo_transform.gif

We originally designed the Google Photos icon after a pinwheel, as a nod to childhood and nostalgia. Today, we're refreshing and simplifying the icon, while retaining that familiar pinwheel shape to remind you of past memories. Take a look at how our brand has evolved

This new, simplified Google Photos experience rolls out over the next week on Android and iOS. We hope you like it!

New controls for how you share albums in Google Photos

While sheltering in place, I’ve been using Google Photos to share snapshots of my daughter with our family, so we can stay connected when we can’t physically see each other. And this has been the case for many people—since the start of COVID-19, sharing in Google Photos has increased by 50 percent in some regions.


Last December, we launched direct sharing to make it easy to share one-off photos and videos in Google Photos by adding them to an ongoing, private conversation in the app. Today, we’re bringing a similar experience to shared albums. Rolling out this week, when sharing an album, the default option will be to share with a specific person or people via their Google account. This gives you more control over who’s added to the album.
Private_Albums_Adding_People_GIF (1).gif

You’ll still have the option to share albums in Google Photos via a link, which you can embed in an email, text, or blog to make it easy to share photos with people who don't use Google Photos or have a Google account.

Private_Albums_Creating_Links_GIF (1).gif

You have the option to turn link sharing on or off at any time and you can decide if you want to let other collaborators add photos to an album. You’ll also be able to remove someone from the album, which will remove the photos and videos they added.


Google Photos helps me share my toddler’s latest adventures and connect with the people I love. Whether I share an album via a link or with specific people, these controls make it easy and secure to share personal moments with my loved ones.


New controls for how you share albums in Google Photos

While sheltering in place, I’ve been using Google Photos to share snapshots of my daughter with our family, so we can stay connected when we can’t physically see each other. And this has been the case for many people—since the start of COVID-19, sharing in Google Photos has increased by 50 percent in some regions.


Last December, we launched direct sharing to make it easy to share one-off photos and videos in Google Photos by adding them to an ongoing, private conversation in the app. Today, we’re bringing a similar experience to shared albums. Rolling out this week, when sharing an album, the default option will be to share with a specific person or people via their Google account. This gives you more control over who’s added to the album.
Private_Albums_Adding_People_GIF (1).gif

You’ll still have the option to share albums in Google Photos via a link, which you can embed in an email, text, or blog to make it easy to share photos with people who don't use Google Photos or have a Google account.

Private_Albums_Creating_Links_GIF (1).gif

You have the option to turn link sharing on or off at any time and you can decide if you want to let other collaborators add photos to an album. You’ll also be able to remove someone from the album, which will remove the photos and videos they added.


Google Photos helps me share my toddler’s latest adventures and connect with the people I love. Whether I share an album via a link or with specific people, these controls make it easy and secure to share personal moments with my loved ones.


New controls for how you share albums in Google Photos

While sheltering in place, I’ve been using Google Photos to share snapshots of my daughter with our family, so we can stay connected when we can’t physically see each other. And this has been the case for many people—since the start of COVID-19, sharing in Google Photos has increased by 50 percent in some regions.


Last December, we launched direct sharing to make it easy to share one-off photos and videos in Google Photos by adding them to an ongoing, private conversation in the app. Today, we’re bringing a similar experience to shared albums. Rolling out this week, when sharing an album, the default option will be to share with a specific person or people via their Google account. This gives you more control over who’s added to the album.
Private_Albums_Adding_People_GIF (1).gif

You’ll still have the option to share albums in Google Photos via a link, which you can embed in an email, text, or blog to make it easy to share photos with people who don't use Google Photos or have a Google account.

Private_Albums_Creating_Links_GIF (1).gif

You have the option to turn link sharing on or off at any time and you can decide if you want to let other collaborators add photos to an album. You’ll also be able to remove someone from the album, which will remove the photos and videos they added.


Google Photos helps me share my toddler’s latest adventures and connect with the people I love. Whether I share an album via a link or with specific people, these controls make it easy and secure to share personal moments with my loved ones.


How one Googler is raising awareness around ALS

When you’re young, life is filled with a chorus of well-intentioned advice: “Work hard.” “Be brave.” “Follow your dreams.” 

And of course: “Be the hero of your own life.” 

When it comes to “heroes” I’ve found that even if you’re really lucky, then the person staring back at you in the mirror won’t make your top five. Heroes are those unexpected people who step into your life long enough to teach you something about grace, courage and persistence. 

For me, one of those people is a woman named Stacy Title.

A personal connection to ALS

I met Stacy after competing with her husband, Jonathan Penner, on season 13 of Survivor: Cook Islands. My friendship with Jonathan is one of the things I treasure most from that experience. In time, I befriended his brilliant and lovely wife, Stacy, and their two children, Cooper and Ava.  

Stacy and Yul.jpg

Yul with Stacy in 2019

Two years ago, Stacy was diagnosed with familial ALS, a devastating neurodegenerative disease that slowly robs a person of all muscle control. Her thoughts immediately turned to her children. Beyond the diagnosis, the real horror was knowing that each of her children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the genetic abnormality that causes this disease. She was determined to fight and somehow spare her children this diagnosis—but she didn’t know how. No one did. 

As Stacy’s disease progressed, ALS took away her ability to move her arms, hug her children, and even to speak. She lost the ability to communicate except by using her eyes to slowly spell out words using eye-tracking technology, which would then be read out loud by an electronic voice.

ALS left my friend's mind intact but otherwise cut her off from the world, and it left a family cut off from a wife and mother—so I asked her if we could try something. 

Stacy, Jonathan and their children Cooper and Ava in San Diego in 2006. Jonathan had recently returned from competing with Yul on Survivor: Cook Islands

Stacy, Jonathan and their children Cooper and Ava in San Diego in 2006. Jonathan had recently returned from competing with Yul on Survivor: Cook Islands.

A newfound sense of autonomy and connectedness

Last spring, I went to Stacy’s home and set her up with a Nest Hub Max smart display and several Google Home Mini speakers. I also got her a subscription for Google Play Music and a gift card for Google Play Books. I didn’t know if any of these would actually be helpful to her. But as it turned out, they changed her life.  

Google Assistant on the Nest Hub Max understood Stacy’s electronic voice perfectly. Suddenly she could play her favorite songs, listen to the news or audiobooks, watch YouTube videos, and ask questions whenever she wanted. Using Google Assistant’s broadcast feature, she could call people in other rooms for help through the Mini speakers. Jonathan could also check on her easily from his phone using the Hub Max’s built-in Nest Cam. 

Jonathan and Stacy with their Nest Hub Max in 2020

Jonathan with Stacy in 2020

Jonathan, Cooper and Ava then installed Google Photos on their phones so that any photos they took were automatically uploaded to a live album and streamed to Stacy’s Hub Max. For the first time in over a year, she could keep up with what her kids were doing, and be present in their lives outside the confines of her bed or chair.

While far from a cure, these products brought back a sense of autonomy, connectedness, and enjoyment she had lost, not because of the tools themselves, but because of the moments these tools allowed her to experience. This was when it really hit home for me how much technology can help people.

Today, Stacy knows it’s only a matter of time. She endures the discomforting intervention of a ventilator and other systems, and lives for one urgent purpose: raising awareness of ALS so that her children will have a chance of escaping her fate.  

Raising awareness for ALS with Survivor

Last year, I received an unexpected invitation to compete in Survivor: Winners at War. This 40th season, now running on CBS, brings together past winners for the ultimate showdown. Though I was initially unsure about returning, I saw it as an opportunity to bring attention to Stacy’s story, and raise funds in a way that I wouldn't be able to do otherwise. So I returned to the South Pacific, and pledged that whatever money I earn from the show will go toward supporting ALS research and other ALS charities.

I’m grateful to Google for building technology that helps people everywhere. I’m grateful to CBS for sharing Stacy’s story and creating a fundraising page to support her family and thousands of other families in need. And most of all, I’m grateful to Stacy for showing me how someone can face the impossible each day with more bravery, persistence, and love than I could ever imagine. Because she reminded me that what’s important isn’t finding hope for her. It’s finding hope for Ava and Cooper and countless others who can still be spared this terrible disease. 

In the end, I think that’s the best way we can honor the people who inspire us: by helping build the future they imagined. I hope we can build Stacy’s future together.


Made by Google’s 20 tips for 2020

The new year is a time for resolutions and reflection, from getting organized to creating some healthy habits. And there are more than a few ways that the tech in your home and in your pocket can help you get there. 

If you received a Made by Google device over the holidays—or you’ve owned one for a while—consider these pro tips for getting the most out of them. We’re sharing 20 fun features and tricks available across a variety of devices to try, plus expert advice for adding an extra layer of protection to your accounts across the web.

  1. Turn off distractions. With the new Focus mode, found in Pixel's device settings under "Digital Wellbeing & parental controls," you can temporarily pause and silence certain apps so you can focus on the task at hand. While you’re working out, during your commute or while you’re trying to take a moment to yourself, Focus mode gives you control over which apps you need notifications from and when.

  2. Capture one-of-a-kind photos.With Pixel, you can snap great pictures year-round using features like Portrait Mode, Photobooth and even Night Sight, which allows you to shoot photos of the stars. See g.co/pixel/astrophotography to learn more about astrophotography on Pixel 4.

  3. Outsmart robocalls.U.S.-based, English-speaking Pixel owners can use Call Screen on Pixel to automatically screen spam calls, so you can avoid calls from unknown numbers and limit interruptions throughout your day (Call Screen is new and may not detect all robocalls, but it will definitely try!).

  4. Try wall-mounting your Nest Mini. Nest Mini comes with wall mounting capabilities, which comes in handy if you’re short on counter space. Wall-mounting also helps you take advantage of its improved bass and full sound.

  5. Stress-free healthy cooking. If you’re trying to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t sweat meal planning: Get easy inspiration from Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max. Say “Hey Google, show me recipes with spinach, lentils and tomatoes” and you’ll see ideas to scroll through, select, and follow step-by-step.

  6. Stay in touch. We could all do better at keeping in touch with loved ones. Nest Hub Max offers the option to make video calls using Google Duo, so you can catch up with mom face-to-face right from your display. 

  7. Get help with delegating. Create Assignable reminders for other members of your household, like reminding your partner to walk the dog. Face Match will show them any missed reminders automatically when they approach Hub Max. You can also use reminders to send someone a note of encouragement when they need it the most (“Hey Google, remind Kathy that she’ll do great in tomorrow’s interview”).

  8. View and share your favorite photos. Enjoy your favorite moments from Google Photos on Nest Hub Max’s 10-inch high definition screen. See a photo pop up that brings a smile to your face? Share it with one of your contacts: “Hey Google, share this photo with Mom.” Or if you see an old memory and can’t remember the location, just ask “Hey Google, where was this photo taken?”

  9. Check your Wi-Fi easily. You can use a Nest Wifi point the same way you use a Google Nest speaker. Simply say, “Hey Google, what’s my internet speed?” or “Hey Google, pause Wi-Fi for Daniel” to pause individual users’ devices at certain times, like during dinner.

  10. Have a worry-free work week.The Talk and Listen feature on Nest Hello makes it easy for busy families to keep in touch throughout the day. When you see Nest Hello start recording, you can share your status with your family members who have access to Nest Hello’s camera feed. It’ll become a quick video they can view on their phones.

  11. Keep track of deliveries. Nest Hello also detects packages for Nest Aware users—helpful if you’re expecting something important. 

  12. Choose when your cameras record. You can schedule your Nest cameras to automatically turn off on the weekends and back on again during the week (or during the time frame you prefer). To do this, turn off Home/Away assist and create your schedule

  13. Control what you save.While your Nest Cam video history automatically expires after a specific time frame depending on your Nest Aware subscription, you can also manually delete footage anytime. Simply select the “Delete video history” option in your camera’s settings.

  14. Skip the monthly gym fee.Few things are more difficult in the dead of winter than driving to a gym first thing in the morning. Choose a more  manageable routine: Pull up a workout from YouTube or Daily Burn and cast it to your TV with Chromecast, so you can sweat while the coffee is brewing. 

  15. New partners, new content.Over the past few months we’ve introduced new content partners for Chromecast and displays so you have tons of movies and TV shows to choose from based on your subscriptions, including Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Sling TV.

  16. Attention gamers! If you own a standalone Chromecast Ultra, you can play Stadia on it if you have an existing Stadia account. Link your Stadia controller to your Chromecast Ultra and you’re ready to go. For best results, connect an Ethernet cable to your Chromecast Ultra.

  17. Save on your energy bill.On your Nest Thermostat, seeing the Nest Leaf is an easy way to know you’re saving energy, and it encourages you to continually improve your savings over time. You’ll see the Leaf on your thermostat when you set a temperature that helps save energy. The more often you see a Leaf, the more you save.

  18. Enable 2-factor authentication, or migrate to a Google account. 2-factor authentication uses a secondary confirmation to make it harder for unauthorized people to access your account. Migrating to a Google account provides automatic security protections, proactive alerts about suspicious account activity and the security checkup

  19. Give your passwords a makeover.Repeating passwords makes your accounts more vulnerable to common hacks, so make sure each password you use is unique and complicated.

  20. Enlist extra protection from Chrome.When you type your credentials into a website, Chrome will now warn you if your username and password have been compromised in a data breach on some site or app. It will suggest that you change them everywhere they were used.

Cheers to a new decade—and some new gear! 

Made by Google’s 20 tips for 2020

The new year is a time for resolutions and reflection, from getting organized to creating some healthy habits. And there are more than a few ways that the tech in your home and in your pocket can help you get there. 

If you received a Made by Google device over the holidays—or you’ve owned one for a while—consider these pro tips for getting the most out of them. We’re sharing 20 fun features and tricks available across a variety of devices to try, plus expert advice for adding an extra layer of protection to your accounts across the web.

  1. Turn off distractions. With the new Focus mode, found in Pixel's device settings under "Digital Wellbeing & parental controls," you can temporarily pause and silence certain apps so you can focus on the task at hand. While you’re working out, during your commute or while you’re trying to take a moment to yourself, Focus mode gives you control over which apps you need notifications from and when.

  2. Capture one-of-a-kind photos.With Pixel, you can snap great pictures year-round using features like Portrait Mode, Photobooth and even Night Sight, which allows you to shoot photos of the stars. See g.co/pixel/astrophotography to learn more about astrophotography on Pixel 4.

  3. Outsmart robocalls.U.S.-based, English-speaking Pixel owners can use Call Screen on Pixel to automatically screen spam calls, so you can avoid calls from unknown numbers and limit interruptions throughout your day (Call Screen is new and may not detect all robocalls, but it will definitely try!).

  4. Try wall-mounting your Nest Mini. Nest Mini comes with wall mounting capabilities, which comes in handy if you’re short on counter space. Wall-mounting also helps you take advantage of its improved bass and full sound.

  5. Stress-free healthy cooking. If you’re trying to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t sweat meal planning: Get easy inspiration from Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max. Say “Hey Google, show me recipes with spinach, lentils and tomatoes” and you’ll see ideas to scroll through, select, and follow step-by-step.

  6. Stay in touch. We could all do better at keeping in touch with loved ones. Nest Hub Max offers the option to make video calls using Google Duo, so you can catch up with mom face-to-face right from your display. 

  7. Get help with delegating. Create Assignable reminders for other members of your household, like reminding your partner to walk the dog. Face Match will show them any missed reminders automatically when they approach Hub Max. You can also use reminders to send someone a note of encouragement when they need it the most (“Hey Google, remind Kathy that she’ll do great in tomorrow’s interview”).

  8. View and share your favorite photos. Enjoy your favorite moments from Google Photos on Nest Hub Max’s 10-inch high definition screen. See a photo pop up that brings a smile to your face? Share it with one of your contacts: “Hey Google, share this photo with Mom.” Or if you see an old memory and can’t remember the location, just ask “Hey Google, where was this photo taken?”

  9. Check your Wi-Fi easily. You can use a Nest Wifi point the same way you use a Google Nest speaker. Simply say, “Hey Google, what’s my internet speed?” or “Hey Google, pause Wi-Fi for Daniel” to pause individual users’ devices at certain times, like during dinner.

  10. Have a worry-free work week.The Talk and Listen feature on Nest Hello makes it easy for busy families to keep in touch throughout the day. When you see Nest Hello start recording, you can share your status with your family members who have access to Nest Hello’s camera feed. It’ll become a quick video they can view on their phones.

  11. Keep track of deliveries. Nest Hello also detects packages for Nest Aware users—helpful if you’re expecting something important. 

  12. Choose when your cameras record. You can schedule your Nest cameras to automatically turn off on the weekends and back on again during the week (or during the time frame you prefer). To do this, turn off Home/Away assist and create your schedule

  13. Control what you save.While your Nest Cam video history automatically expires after a specific time frame depending on your Nest Aware subscription, you can also manually delete footage anytime. Simply select the “Delete video history” option in your camera’s settings.

  14. Skip the monthly gym fee.Few things are more difficult in the dead of winter than driving to a gym first thing in the morning. Choose a more  manageable routine: Pull up a workout from YouTube or Daily Burn and cast it to your TV with Chromecast, so you can sweat while the coffee is brewing. 

  15. New partners, new content.Over the past few months we’ve introduced new content partners for Chromecast and displays so you have tons of movies and TV shows to choose from based on your subscriptions, including Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Sling TV.

  16. Attention gamers! If you own a standalone Chromecast Ultra, you can play Stadia on it if you have an existing Stadia account. Link your Stadia controller to your Chromecast Ultra and you’re ready to go. For best results, connect an Ethernet cable to your Chromecast Ultra.

  17. Save on your energy bill.On your Nest Thermostat, seeing the Nest Leaf is an easy way to know you’re saving energy, and it encourages you to continually improve your savings over time. You’ll see the Leaf on your thermostat when you set a temperature that helps save energy. The more often you see a Leaf, the more you save.

  18. Enable 2-factor authentication, or migrate to a Google account. 2-factor authentication uses a secondary confirmation to make it harder for unauthorized people to access your account. Migrating to a Google account provides automatic security protections, proactive alerts about suspicious account activity and the security checkup

  19. Give your passwords a makeover.Repeating passwords makes your accounts more vulnerable to common hacks, so make sure each password you use is unique and complicated.

  20. Enlist extra protection from Chrome.When you type your credentials into a website, Chrome will now warn you if your username and password have been compromised in a data breach on some site or app. It will suggest that you change them everywhere they were used.

Cheers to a new decade—and some new gear! 

Source: Google Chrome