Oh … Snap! Teens are coding the future

My first experience with coding came from trying to prove people wrong. At the end of eighth grade, my high school guidance counselor was adamant that I take Algebra I again, even though I’d already taken it in middle school. She claimed my class wasn’t rigorous enough—plus I didn’t know how to use a TI-82 calculator, which I’d need in subsequent math classes. My mom, a math teacher herself, would have none of it. I’d pass the Algebra I exam and learn how to use the TI-82 before school started. So that summer, I sat with the instruction booklet and taught myself the programming components on the calculator.

Through high school, I had fun writing little programs to check my math homework, but had no real exposure to computer science. It remained too intangible to consider as a major in college (let alone a career path), but through the encouragement of a college professor, I learned more about it. And even then, it was unfathomable that computer science could help me create Google Maps, a product that would delight, empower and inspire people, and change how they navigate the world.

There are many teens out there who are exploring how to use math and technology outside of the classroom. Just like I was in high school, some may be excited about the future of technology, but aren’t sure how to transform that excitement into something they can see, touch or feel. Let’s turn those ideas into code.

To show teens how they can be creators, not just consumers, of the apps they use all the time, Made with Code is joining forces with Snap Inc. to host a first-of-its-kind competition called #MyFutureMe. From now until October 8, teens can go to MadewithCode.com to code a geofilter (for the non-teens out there: it’s a creative overlay that shows where you are or what you’re up to) and submit a 100-word statement about the future you envision. You don’t need any prior coding experience to give it a try. Snap will choose five finalists to go to the TEDWomen Conference in New Orleans, LA, where they’ll receive mentoring sessions from Google engineers and work with Snap engineers to create a lens (again, for the non-teens: this is augmented reality technology that adds animations to your selfies, general photos, and the world around us).

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Two examples of what a #MyFutureMe coded geofilter could look like.

A panel of amazing people will judge the lenses from the five finalists. The panel includes our very own Ruth Porat (SVP and CFO of Google and Alphabet), Evan Spiegel (CEO of Snap), Malala Yousafzai (student, activist and Malala Fund Co-Founder), Joanna Coles (Chief Content Officer at Hearst), Laurie Hernandez (Olympic gymnast), Victoria Justice (actress and singer), Lilly Singh (YouTube personality, entertainer, and founder of Girl Love) and Dr. Yvonne Cagle (NASA astronaut). Together, we’ll choose one lucky winner whose lens will be eligible to go live nationally in the Snapchat app. They’ll also receive a trip to Los Angeles, CA, for a private, VIP tour of the Snapchat and Google offices.

With this contest, Made with Code and Snap will help teens nationwide see that the things they love, like Snapchat, are made with code. Teens are already Snapping. Let’s get them coding, too.

Googler Adriana Jara doesn’t accept “fine”—she changes things for the better

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers—their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work. Today we hear from Adriana Jara, software engineer, passionate dancer and dog lover, who thinks life is too short to wear matching socks.

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Give us the 10-second, one-sentence version of what you do at Google.

As a software engineer, I help build the infrastructure to make shopping ads on Youtube.com more relevant and useful.

When did you immigrate to the U.S.?

When I got the job at Google, I moved to Sunnyvale, CA from Candelaria de Naranjo, a small town in Costa Rica. I got on a flight on September 27, 2013—exactly four years ago today!

How has the Hispanic community been a part of your experience at Google?

For me, it’s extremely important to have a group of people who are “like me,” who share my cultural background and can speaking Spanish with me sometimes. It gives me a sense of belonging at Google.

What is your favorite Costa Rican tradition or food?

I love “olla de carne.” It’s a kind of soup with a bunch of vegetables and meat (of course, the best one is my mom’s).

Have you always pictured yourself working at Google?

It’s been a dream since Gmail came out while I was in college. I remember trying it out and thinking “I really want to work with the people who built this thing.” I thought email was fine as it used to work, but wow, they took a thing that was “fine” and improved it so much. I want to be one of those people that doesn’t accept things that are fine, but changes them for the better. Years later, I heard about an opportunity at Google, thought back to those college days and decided to give the dream a try.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My entire family. But the things that have pushed me the most were first given to me by my father. He gave me a love for books—he is always reading—and taught me to be a self-learner. He always talks about wonderful places around the world and he took me in my first trip outside of Costa Rica, planting in me the hunger to see the world.

What has been a big moment for you at Google?

I went to a recruiting event at a high school in Costa Rica. When I was introduced, they mentioned my small hometown, and I heard a solitary but enthusiastic “Woo!” from the crowd. After the talk, one of the students (the source of the “woo”) approached me and said, “I wouldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams that someone from our hometown could work at Google. This is awesome, I now want to work for NASA and I think I can do it.” That moment made me feel like I’ve come so far, and that I’m helping people see it is possible to work for big companies, no matter where you’re born.

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    Here’s my family: without them I couldn’t have done anything.
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    My dogs are my fellow adventurers—they traveled all the way from Costa Rica with me
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    In the famous ball pit at the Googleplex in Mountain View.

Teachers keep their lesson plans fresh with Expeditions

While most students are settling back into the classroom, teachers everywhere are thinking about how to keep their lesson plans fresh. The struggle is real, but it’s definitely worth it: students learn better and faster when they’re engaged with the material at hand. That’s one reason why we built Expeditions: it lets teachers take their classrooms on virtual field trips anywhere and get a completely different perspective. So as the school year kicks into high gear, we wanted to share a few updates to Expeditions that might help bring the lessons to life.

First, this week marks the start of the Expeditions AR Pioneer Program. Our team is hitting the road as we visit schools around the U.S. to bring augmented reality to the classroom.

Students will learn about topics like the circulatory system and Ancient Rome together by observing digital objects right in front of them. The program will kick off in Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Austin, and the New York City area, but these are just our first stops. We’ll be traveling across the United States with Expeditions AR throughout this school year, so if you’d like us to visit your school, please let us know by signing up.

We’re also releasing five special VR expeditions this week featuring scenes from Earth VR. Earth VR is one of the most popular apps for high-end virtual reality systems, and it lets you explore the world in beautiful detail, but it needs more computing power than a smartphone can handle. But, thanks to a new tool that we announced at Google I/O called Seurat, it’s now possible to experience some of the magic of Earth VR on a mobile device. You can trek to the top of mountains like Mont Blanc or Kilimanjaro, and take a trip to some of the world’s most famous cities, including London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Access these new Earth Expeditions right in the app.

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Last, we’re bringing self-guided Expeditions to iOS (it’s already available on Android). So now, with an iPhone or iPad, anyone can explore anywhere Expeditions take you. It’s also great for guides who want to assign an Expedition for homework, or do a practice run before taking their classroom along. Check out more than 700 Expeditions including tours of universities, virtual career days, and even a trip to the  International Space Station. So grab Expeditions from Google Play or the App Store, and start exploring!

Android Oreo: a smart, tough and productive cookie for enterprises

Android 8.0 Oreo is now available, bringing a sweet combination of improved productivity and enhanced security to enterprise customers. The new release builds on the consistent investments we’ve made to make Android stronger, easier to manage, and more productive for the enterprise.  

Personal space on your work device

Android’s unique work profile creates the best of both worlds—separating work and personal data so IT has the security it needs and users have the freedom to use the personal apps and services they want. Only the work data is managed, giving IT full control of corporate information and keeping employees’ photos, apps, and other personal data separate.

In Android Oreo, we’re now bringing work profiles to corporate-owned devices. Now, organizations can enable company devices for personal use with a work profile. While the organization still retains control of the device, work apps and data can be put in a work profile, keeping personal apps and data outside the profile.

This brings the benefits of the work profile to company-owned devices, such as removing the need for a complex device-wide passcode, and allowing employees to turn off work notifications when they’re away. The improved usability and clear separation makes this management mode ideal for corporate-owned, personally-enabled (COPE) deployments.

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Get up and running in seconds

With zero-touch enrollment available in Android Oreo, organizations can deploy corporate-owned Android devices with enterprise mobility management settings pre-configured, so team members can start using their device right out of the box. Devices can be configured online and drop-shipped to employees who will have management enforced from the start.

With the work profile in Oreo, we’ve made it easier than ever for employees to set up their personal device for work, with 10x faster work profile setup. We’ve even reduced the enrollment steps required so users can get their work profile set up with a single tap—no complicated instructions required.

Robust security that stops malware in its tracks

We continue to invest in Android platform security, giving IT more advanced capabilities in managing their fleet of devices. With Project Treble in Oreo, we’re improving security by separating the underlying vendor implementation from the core Android framework. This modularization isolates each hardware abstraction layer (HAL) into its own process so each HAL only gets the hardware driver and kernel access it needs. This improves sandboxing and makes it harder for framework compromises to exploit the kernel.

We’re also enabling stricter enforcement of Google Play Protect, our always-on security service that scans for malware and blocks potentially harmful apps. Now, admins can block unknown or risky apps from being installed across the whole device, outside the work profile. We’re also providing new APIs to enable administrators to verify the security posture of their fleet including details on which apps are installed.

With the inclusion of secure password reset, it’s now easier for admins to securely help users recover from forgotten passwords on fully encrypted devices. Admins can also enable network logging for corporate-owned devices to record DNS lookups and TCP connections, helping companies detect suspicious network behavior or remotely debug problematic apps.

Improved privacy and transparency

It’s important for employees to have visibility into management policies, particularly when considering a device for personal use. To help employees stay informed, we’ve made it easier to see management actions taken across the device, such as the installation of a new app or enforcement of a lock screen. We’ve also improved notifications for connectivity changes, like always-on VPN and network logging.

These are just a few of the new and improved enterprise features in Android Oreo, with more updates coming soon. To learn more, check out the What’s new in Android 8.0 page.

Present like a pro: these new updates in Slides are designed to make you look good

As a go-to presentation tool, Google Slides already comes equipped with real-time collaboration features. Starting today, we’re introducing new robust features to help you and your team win that pitch, nail that client presentation and get buy-in for new ideas—all while saving valuable time.

Here’s a look at the latest updates in Slides, including new G Suite integrations, partner applications and customization options.

Capture ideas in Keep, bring them to life in Slides

We built Keep to help you easily capture and organize ideas. Today, you can use a new drag-and-drop integration between Keep and Slides to transform these ideas into action. Simply select notes from Keep (or sort with #labels) and drag them into Slides. When you add a note from Keep into your presentation, Slides will automatically add a title and description for you.

Keep and Slides GIF

The Office of Information Technology for the State of Colorado uses the new Keep and Slides integration to keep track of population numbers at different agencies and report them to their team. Instead of digging through emails and Docs to track down figures, the team saves statistics to Keep and drags them into Slides to present.

If you’re new to Keep, download here.

Skip manual updates, use linked Slides

Whether you’re trying to prepare several client presentations or make sure data is up to date, repeatedly copying slides from one presentation to another is a major time-sink. Now, you can link and sync slides from multiple presentations with a click. This way, you can maintain a single source of truth and easily update linked slides to match the source, like for quarterly business reviews or company presentations.

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Sriram Iyer, Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce Sales Cloud, is excited to use the new slide embedding feature to streamline his teams workflows. Says Iyer, “At Salesforce, we use Google Slides for customer-facing and internal presentations. The linked slides feature will help us easily keep presentations up-to-date.”

You asked, we updated

Our customers also asked for additional features in Slides. We listened to those requests and now you can:

  • Insert Diagrams, or ready-to-use visualizations. This is great for when you need to effectively share timelines, processes or hierarchies.
  • Select Grid view to view all your slides at once as thumbnails. This helps you easily reorder or change formats of multiple slides.
  • Tailor presentations to different audiences with the Skip slide feature. You can now choose to skip select slides without fully deleting them when you present from your phone or laptop.

Try these feature upgrades and create better presentations.

Try new add-ons, shape up your Slides

We’re constantly improving Slides to provide you with robust tools to share ideas. Today, we’re bringing add-ons to Slides. To kick it off, we’re introducing seven  integrations—designed to bring expertise from companies like Adobe and Shutterstock—right in Slides.

Use these new, rich integrations to help you build more powerful presentations, whether you want to add full-bleed images, use advanced image editing tools or include diagrams you created in programs outside of G Suite.

  • Search for and add images from Adobe Stock, right in Slides. You can use the Adobe Stock add-on to build visually-stunning presentations in Slides. Teams can seamlessly search, preview and purchase Adobe Stock images—without leaving Slides. Through the add-on, teams can also use Adobe Stock Visual Search to find relevant stock images with an uploaded image (versus a text search).

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  • Use the Shutterstock Editor add-on to add and customize photos within Slides. With the Shutterstock add-on, teams can browse Shutterstock’s entire library of royalty-free images, and sign into Shutterstock to license content, directly in Slides. Select an image, then apply customization options like filters, text, logos and more.
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Teams can benefit from even more powerful capabilities in Slides with additional add-ons from Balsamiq, Lucidchart, Pear Deck, Noun Project and Unsplash. Tap “Add-ons” in the Slides menu bar to get started.

Customize Slides, automate workflows with Apps Script

Apps Script, the same technology that powers add-ons, can transform the way you work. Apps Script for Slides lets your teams programmatically create and modify Slides, and customize the menus, dialog boxes and sidebars in the user interface.

So, what’s the big deal? Apps Script provides amazing possibilities for improving your team’s workflows. Sales teams can use Apps Script to automatically pull in information from Sheets’ databases to create customized client pitch decks and templates. Marketing teams can host internal assets in a customized sidebar in Slides for easy access to logos and files they use most often.

To learn more about how you can automate your workflows using Apps Script, check out this post.

Present with confidence using Slides—these updates start rolling out to all customers globally on the web today.

How BeyondCorp can help businesses be more productive

Over the past few years, Google has been moving away from VPN-based security for our employees, and towards a trust model that’s based on people and devices, rather than networks. We call it BeyondCorp—moving beyond a corporate network for internal services and applications. It’s the basis for Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy, which can be used to authenticate users for applications running on Google Cloud Platform.

We recently published our fifth research paper on BeyondCorp, this time focused on the employee experience—how they first end up using this system, and what it looks like when things go wrong. We discuss how onboarding has gotten easier with no VPN, how loaners are quick to activate, and how we give employees the ability to handle and resolve their own issues when the Chrome extension is getting in their way.

When new employees join Google, access is based on machines and identity, not the network. We tell them about our access policy: you can get to the tools you need no matter where you are, so long as you’re on your corporate issued laptop (a slight oversimplification, I’ll admit). As we prepare their computers for delivery on their first day at work, we make sure our inventory provisioning procedures add the devices to our asset management system and assign an owner. Then, when each employee signs into their own machine, we kick off automated requests for machine certificates. These are used to guide the machine to the right VLAN. This onboarding process streamlines our new device setup, and eliminates the need to install VPN software on each employee’s laptop.

After their first day, the most interaction employees will have with BeyondCorp is through a Chrome extension, which shows the current status of their connection. This gives our IT teams and end users a way to find errors, troubleshoot and fix them quickly. Anyone can turn the proxy off manually using the extension—a common need when using captive portals or local network hardware.

The latest paper also discusses how we expose details about denial of access. While we want to make sure our employees, and the service desk assisting them, can quickly resolve access errors, we also need to make sure we don’t expose too much data to attackers in the way we say “nope, not allowed” to some requests. Building this explanation engine helped us troubleshoot BeyondCorp as we deployed more broadly, and it gave our troubleshooting teams insight into what’s going wrong when someone reports an unexpected access denied message.

BeyondCorp has helped us streamline the onboarding process, and given employees the tools they need to fix problems when things go wrong. We hope it will inspire you as well. You can read the research paper on Research at Google.

Providing support to those affected by Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria recently made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, killing at least 10 people and leaving much of the island without power or water. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, millions more are looking to rebuild—the storm destroyed the island of Dominica, killing at least 15 people, and devastated the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos.

I was born and raised outside of San Juan, in a town called Cupey, and left the island to study in the States. Today, I still have family there, as well as in Barranquitas, towards the center of the island. The roof broke off my grandmother’s terrace, a place filled with many memories of family gatherings growing up. My uncles, who are agricultural entrepreneurs in Barranquitas, were able to visit their land just yesterday and see the damage caused to their crops, completely turning their business upside down. I’m lucky that my family members are all safe, but the damage will still take years to repair.

To help with the relief and recovery in Puerto Rico and beyond, Google.org and Googlers are committing $1 million in donations to organizations that are providing critical resources to the affected regions. To support immediate humanitarian needs, we’re distributing funds to organizations including the Red Cross, World Food Program, and UNICEF. We’re also supporting NetHope, which provides Internet access in the wake of natural disasters around the world, because connectivity can be a critical link in providing basic needs like food, water and medical care. This month has taxed the resources of first responder agencies across the region, and we want to make sure nonprofits like NetHope have the resources they need to respond to Hurricane Maria. We’ve also had a small team of engineers volunteer in the wake of recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to help restore connectivity by setting up hot-spots and assisting with other technical needs that local nonprofits and shelters may have. We’re working with NetHope to find ways that our technical volunteers can be most helpful in Puerto Rico as well.

Crisis Response and SOS Alerts

In times of crises, having access to timely safety information can be critical. Ahead of the storm, Google’s Crisis Response team launched SOS Alerts for Hurricane Maria. Although few people have connectivity in the storm’s wake, we’ve continued to update the alert with information on power outages, emergency information contacts, the damage to the Guajataca dam, and crisis maps in both English and Spanish. Those outside of the region can also find the latest news and information, as well as an easy way to donate to relief efforts, directly through Search.

As the 2017 hurricane season has pummeled the U.S. and the Caribbean, Google.org, Google employees and the public have collectively donated $7 million for relief efforts in the areas affected by Harvey, Irma and Maria. My thoughts are with everyone in Puerto Rico and other affected areas, and it gives me solace to know that my colleagues and company are doing everything they can to help.

SAP on Google Cloud Platform—new certifications and more

Google Cloud Platform continues to become a better place to run your SAP applications. Last spring, we joined forces with SAP to help you run your applications on a highly secured public cloud flexibly, at scale, and fast. At SAPPHIRENOW ‘17, we accelerated our partnership with SAP, with milestones that spanned certifying SAP HANA and SAP NetWeaver on Google Cloud Platform, to the Data Custodian partnership.

This week at SAP TechEd, we’re sharing details on the progress we’ve made in the following areas:

SAP Cloud Platform on GCP (beta)

SAP Cloud Platform is an open platform-as-a-service providing unique in-memory database and business application services. By running on GCP infrastructure, you get global coverage, the benefits of the GCP network backbone for global availability of applications developed on SAP Cloud Platform, the ability to leverage Google Cloud services like BigQuery adjacent to SAP Cloud Platform, and in the future, enterprise business processes created by SAP and Google.

Larger VMs certified for SAP HANA

You can now run SAP’s real-time ERP (enterprise resource planning) for digital business—SAP S/4 HANA and other SAP applications on Google Compute Engine instances with up to 624GB of memory.

GCP was the first cloud to offer Intel’s next-generation Xeon® scalable processor (codenamed Skylake), enabling our customers to have early access to Intel’s latest technology. These new VMs will allow customers to leverage these processors with the flexibility, pricing and performance of Google Cloud. These VMs will be available externally in the coming weeks.

We’re also working on a range of new, even larger VMs, with up to 4TB of memory. Some of these are available for early customer testing and are being put through the SAP HANA certification paces. Reach out to asksap@google.com for more information.

Larger scale-out SAP HANA configurations

We now offer certified configurations designed for next-generation data warehouse scenarios running SAP BW4/HANA. Customers can run SAP HANA analytical workloads with up to 9.75TB of memory in a scale-out configuration.

In addition, we have certified new VM types for SAP NetWeaver application server stack that provide you additional flexibility and price/performance, and allow you to run your mission-critical SAP environments on GCP with confidence.

Further SAP certifications

The list of SAP applications certified for GCP continues to grow, including:

  • SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE): If you run your SAP or other enterprise applications on the high-performance, cost-effective SAP ASE technology platform, you can now do so with the confidence of SAP support.

  • SAP BusinessObjects BI Suite, including the platform clients, dashboards, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, as well as the SAP Crystal Reports and SAP Lumira family of products.

We’re working hard to make Google Cloud the best place to run SAP applications. If you’re attending SAP TechEd, stop by the Google Cloud booth #610 for additional details about the Google SAP partnership and to see demos in action.

What Makes a Good Font Good? Find out with Monotype at Adobe MAX

“I believe good type is what makes or breaks a brand,” says Jamie Neely, Director of Product Design at Monotype. “But designers have so many things to think about these days–print, web, mobile, social, physical, virtual, and so on–so the onus is on us to choose type wisely, and use it with good intent.”

Announcing the Winners from the Indie Games Festival in San Francisco

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

At the Google Play Indie Games Festival over the weekend, we welcomed hundreds
of attendees to try out and enjoy a diverse range of amazing games from the
indie community. The competition was very tough, and in the end, we recognized
three winners:

We’d also like to congratulate the rest of the Top 10 developers and all of the
finalists who shared their games to make for such a fun and exciting event.
Check out the great collection
of games on Google Play.

Here are the other seven games that rounded out the Top 10:

The day started with time for attendees to play the 20 finalists’ games. They
experienced different genres and styles of gameplay and were encouraged to talk
with the developers about their work and what it’s like to make mobile games for
a living. The event brought together kids, adults, gaming enthusiasts and
non-gamers, and was a great representation of the fun experiences mobile games
create.

In the afternoon, attendees voted for their favorites and the Top 10 moved on to
the presentation round. These developers had three minutes to deliver their best
pitch to the panel of judges. After the judges voted, results were in and the
three winners and seven runners up were named.

If you like indie games and want to keep up with our favorite indie picks, visit
the Indie Corner on Google Play.


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Another ‘ladder to the moon’ is raised from under the sea with Marea unveiling

It took more than five months to lay Marea, the 4,000-mile-long cable between North America and Spain unveiled Friday, a “daunting feat today, but downright unthinkable 150 years ago,” writes Brad Smith, Microsoft president, and Carol Ann Browne, Microsoft director of executive communications, in a new post in the “Today in Technology” series on LinkedIn….

The post Another ‘ladder to the moon’ is raised from under the sea with Marea unveiling appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Meet the second round of Jump Start creators

Jump is Google’s professional solution for creating seamless, 3D-360º VR video. We kicked off the Jump Start program to give creators access to Jump cameras, and we recently announced the second round of Jump Start participants. They’re working on some amazing stuff—everything from a VR musical to a film about a 9th century Viking raid in Ireland. Let’s take a look.

Andrew Asnes

Location: New York, USA
Andrew’s working on UpStage, a 360º Musical featuring Broadway composers, lyricists and stars that unfolds over five episodes as we follow a different character in each one.

Ben Ross and Brittany Neff

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Ben and Brittany are working on RESISTANCE, an episodic VR documentary about communities affected by and responding to a changing climate and a changing world.

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Ben Ross and Brittany Neff

Boris Maganic and Olivier Leroux

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Boris and Oliver take viewers on a picturesque journey exploring the Squamish and Lil’wat indigenous people’s culture, traditions, music and arts.

Carole Chainon

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Carole ​is co-founder of JYC, an LA-based AR and VR video production studio. She’s shooting a documentary about the homeless community of NYC.

Celine Tricart—Lucid Dreams Productions

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Celine’s a VR filmmaker and founder of Lucid Dreams Productions. Her team’s work has been showcased at Sundance and won various awards.

Chris Campkin

Location: London, UK

Chris is a pioneering VR Cinematographer based in London.  Currently assigned in Kenya, he’s documenting the future of the last pristine landscapes of the world.

Declan Dowling

Location: Wicklow, Ireland

Tile Films is producing a VR short that follows the perilous journey of a 9th century Irish child whose village is attacked by Viking raiders. 

Elle Toussi

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Elle and team will be exploring the journey of a paralympic athlete competing in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018.

ETJump
Elle Toussi

Emily Cooper

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Emily is working on a narrative that explores one young woman’s struggle with depression. In “Move,” we discover the unspoken struggles of mental illness.

Enda Grace

Location: Kildare, Ireland

Enda founded Dundara Television & Media in Ireland. His VR team is working on “Ireland, Stud Farm Capital of The World” alongside other projects. 

Fitz Cahall

Location: Seattle, USA

Fitz is creative director at Duct Tape Then Beer, a production company focused on the outdoors. Skykomish is a visual postcard for his backyard mountain playground. 

FitzC
Fitz Cahall

Han Yan Yuen, Huijun Duan, Sharon Yeung and Szczepan Orlowski

Locations: Shenzhen, China; Hong Kong, China; London, UK

They’re working on “Meet me at the assembly line,” a personalized VR documentary where an everyday shopping trip gets interesting. 

Kayla Briët, Lovely Umayam, and Adriel Luis

Locations: Los Angeles, USA; Washington DC, USA

Kayla (filmmaker/ composer/ VR artist), Adriel (curator/producer), and Lovely (nuclear policy expert/Bombshelltoe founder/chief writer), are exploring nuclear topics through art and storytelling. 

Light Sail VR

Location: Los Angeles, USA

They’re working on an interactive live-action horror experience where, while camping in the forest, you unwittingly open a demon portal to the underworld.

L.Michelle Salvant

Location: Tallahassee, USA

L.Michelle is working on “The Rattler,” an exclusive experience from inside the Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band.

L.Michelle
L.Michelle Salvant

Nate Hamlin

Location: New York, USA

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free.”  Nate’s exploring what these words on the Statue of Liberty mean in America today.

PressureDrop.tv

Location: San Francisco, USA

PressureDrop.tv is creating a travel experience called, “Adventures in RocknRoll: Iceland “that will chronicle Iceland Airwaves 2017 and explore what makes Reykjavik such a magical destination.

Romain Vak

Location: Denver, USA

Romain’s working on “The Other,” which challenges implicit biases that exist deep within by facing those who carry the weight of misperception and oppression of identity.

Sarah Jones

Location: Birmingham, UK

Sarah’s working on “Abandoned;” it’s an artistic VR film that shows a range of urban performances in derelict spaces. 

SJJump
Sarah Jones

Stina Hamlin and Jade Begay

Locations: New York City & Santa Fe, USA

Stina and Jade are working on Blood Memory VR: embark on a journey to recall where you came from and how we’re all connected to the earth. 

Tod Colegrove – DeLaMare Library, University of Nevada, Reno

Location: Reno, USA

They’re working on “Radical Inclusion: Sharing the Burning Man and Northern Nevada Experience” and capturing immersive content and experiences that bridge into the default world. 

Vobling

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Vobling are working on a project about the northern parts of India: join a young girl in her everyday experience of the cotton fields. 

Youngmin Kim

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Youngmin is working on COUNTER, a highly stylized, subjective, and surreal look into the mind of a boxer and the psychology of fear in the ring.

YKJump
Youngmin Kim

Welcome Bitium to Google Cloud

Today, we’re excited to announce the acquisition of Bitium. Founded in 2012, Bitium provides enterprise customers with identity and access management solutions, including single sign-on and provisioning for cloud applications.

The move from on-premise enterprise applications to the cloud has unlocked new levels of productivity and collaboration for businesses and their partners, employees and customers. With the increase in cloud adoption, there are new considerations about how to manage cloud applications within an organization and to ensure that the right levels of security and user data access policies are in place.

With the acquisition of Bitium, Google Cloud will gain capabilities to help us deliver on our Cloud Identity vision. Our enterprise customers want a comprehensive solution for identity and access management and SSO that works across their modern cloud and mobile environments. Bitium helps us deliver a broad portfolio of app integrations for provisioning and SSO that complements our best in class device management capabilities in the enterprise. As we add Bitium’s capabilities, we’ll continue to work closely with our vibrant ecosystem of identity partners so that customers are able to choose the best solutions to meet their needs.

We’re thrilled to welcome Bitium to the Google Cloud team.

A GIPHY engineering intern goes the GIF-stance with Google Cloud Vision

Editor’s Note: Today, we’re GIFted with the presence of a guest author. Bethany Davis, current University of Pennsylvania student and former software engineering summer intern at GIPHY, shares the details of her summer project, which was powered by Google Cloud Vision. This is a condensed and modified version of a post published on the GIPHY Engineering blog.

When my friend was starting her first full-time job, I wanted to GIF her a pep talk before her first day. I had the perfect movie reference in mind: Becca from “Bridesmaids” saying, “You are more beautiful than Cinderella! You smell like pine needles and have a face like sunshine!”

I searched GIPHY for “you are more beautiful than Cinderella” to no avail, then searched for “bridesmaids” and scrolled through several dozen results before giving up.

GiphySearch_2.png
Searching for Bridesmaids or the direct quote did not yield any useful results

It was easy to search for GIFs with popular tags, but because no one had tagged this GIF with the full line from the movie, I couldn’t find it. Yet I knew this GIF was out there. I wished there was a way to find the exact GIF that was pulled from the line in a movie, scene from a TV show or lyric from a song. Luckily, I was about to start my internship at GIPHY and I had the opportunity to tackle the problem head on—by using optical character recognition (OCR) and Google Cloud Vision to help you (and me) find the perfect GIF.

GIF me the tools and I’ll finish the job

When I started my internship, GIPHY engineers had already generated metadata about our collection of GIFs using Google Cloud Vision, an image recognition tool that is powered by machine learning. Specifically, Cloud Vision had performed optical character recognition (OCR) on our entire GIF library to detect text or captions within the image. The OCR results we got back from Google Cloud Vision were so good that my team was ready to incorporate the data directly into our search engine. I was tasked with parsing the data and indexing each GIF, then updating our search query to leverage the new, bolstered metadata.

Using Luigi I wrote a batch job that processed the JSON data generated from Google Cloud Vision. Then I used AWS Simple Queue Service to coordinate data transfer from Google Cloud Vision to documents in our search index. GIPHY search is built on top of Elasticsearch, which stores GIF documents; and the search query returns results based on the data in our Elasticsearch index. Bringing all these components together looks something like this:

GiphySearch_Workflow.png

One of the biggest challenges in building this update was ensuring that we could process data for millions of GIFs quickly. I had to learn how to optimize the runtime of the code that prepares GIF updates for Elasticsearch. My first iteration took 80+ hours, but eventually I got it to run in just eight.

Once all the data was indexed, the next step was to incorporate the text/caption metadata into our query. I used what’s called a match phrase query, which looks for words in the caption that appear in the same order as the words in the search input—guaranteeing that a substring of my movie quote is intact in the results. I also had to decide how much to weigh the data from Google Cloud Vision relative to other sources of data we have about a GIF (like its tags or the frequency with which users click on it) to determine the most relevant results.

It was time to see how the change would affect results. Using an internal GIPHY tool called Search UX, I searched for “where are the turtles,” a quote from “The Office.” The difference between the old query and the new one was dramatic:

GiphySearch_3.png

I also used a tool that examines the change on a larger scale by running the old and new queries against a random set of search terms—useful for ensuring that the change won’t disrupt popular searches like “cat” or “happy birthday,” which already deliver high-quality results.

See the GIFference

After our internal tools indicated a positive change, I launched the updated query as an A/B experiment. The results looked promising, with an overall increase in click-through rate of 0.5 percent. But my change affects a very specific type of search, especially longer phrases, and the impact of the change is even more noticeable for queries in this category. For example, click-through rate when searching for the phrase “never give up never surrender” (from “Galaxy Quest”) increased 32 percent, and click-through rate for the phrase “gotta be quicker than that” increased 31 percent. In addition to quotes from movies and TV shows, we saw improvements for general phrases like “everything will be ok” and “there you go.” The final click-through rate for these queries is almost 100 percent!

The ultimate test was my own, though. I revisited my search query from the beginning of the summer:

GiphySearch_4.png

Success! The search results are much improved. Now, the next time you use GIPHY to search for a specific scene or a direct quote, the results will show you exactly what you were looking for.

To learn more about the technical details behind my project, see the GIPHY Engineering blog.

Cloud Job Discovery enters beta

Last November, we announced Cloud Job Discovery (formerly Cloud Jobs API) to help the talent industry connect job seekers and employers through access to Google’s search and machine learning capabilities. Since then, this service has been deployed on more than 3000 job properties, from company career sites to job boards.

This June we announced Google for Jobs, our company-wide initiative to help job seekers and employers. Cloud Job Discovery plays a vital role in the Google for Jobs initiative, powering smarter job searches and recommendations to make the right jobs for the right job seekers easier to discover.

Today, we’re excited to announce that Cloud Job Discovery is entering beta, broadening the service’s reach beyond job boards and career site providers to staffing agencies and applicant tracking systems. In addition, we’re introducing support for job search in more than 100 language varieties, removing another barrier in the job search process by making more jobs discoverable to an even greater number of job seekers.

What customers are saying

Early access customer Jibe, which provides candidate experience and recruiting software, is helping customers like Johnson & Johnson improve their career site experience. As the “front door” for job seekers, Cloud Job Discovery has helped the company increase the number of high-quality applicants for business critical roles by 41 percent, and increase career site clickthroughs by 45 percent.

“Transforming our career site with Jibe and Google Cloud Job Discovery directly impacts our ability to attract high-quality talent and hire those candidates faster. Lots of people are looking for their dream job, and if it’s here at J&J, we want them to find it quickly and easily,” says Sjoerd Gehring, Global VP of Talent Acquisition, Johnson & Johnson. To learn more about how Johnson & Johnson is using Cloud Job Discovery, read their case study.


Hays, a leading global professional recruiting group that placed 70,000 people in permanent jobs and more than 240,000 people in temporary roles this year, was able to create a more positive user experience with Cloud Job Discovery. They’ve seen a strong increase in the application rate for Canada—up 22 percent—as well as an uplift in the quality of applicants.

“We are pleased to be working with Google Cloud on this innovative initiative,” says Steve Weston, Chief Information Officer, Hays. “It is an incredibly exciting development for the industry and we have already seen some positive results in our trials in providing a more positive user experience through improved ratios of viewing jobs to apply and confirmation.” 


And we’re excited to be onboarding a number of new organizations to the beta program, including our first ATS customer, iCIMS, a leading provider of cloud-based talent acquisition solutions that help businesses win the war for top talent.

Says Al Smith, Vice President of Technology, iCIMS: “As the first ATS provider included in this beta program, we believe that Google’s powerful search and machine learning capabilities can be incredibly impactful by weaving them more deeply into the world of recruiting. Candidate experience is so critical to the success of every business, including our own, so we look forward to bringing this advanced functionality to our customers and introducing more powerful, next-generation job-searching tools to benefit both job seekers and employers.”


We look forward to seeing what our new beta customers can achieve using Cloud Job Discovery. To learn more about Cloud Job Discovery, visit cloud.google.com/job-discovery.

Meet Singapore’s next makers

What happens when you invite kids to tinker and dabble with 3D pens, 3D printers and lots of colorful electrical components? They go on to make some pretty amazing things!

Welcome to the Maker Space
Step inside our Maker Space at Google’s Singapore office! Our creative technologists have created an indoor playground for Googlers and collaborators to pursue ideas and build quick prototypes to explore and bring their ideas to life.

We recently opened our Maker Space to a group of kids that are part of Code in the Community—a program that encourages a wider diversity of Singaporean kids to get excited about coding and technology. We wanted them to experience Google’s maker culture and learn the basics of creative and design-thinking. The idea was to combine their coding skills with their imaginations to build prototypes that might actually help solve everyday problems.

Dheena Leonara

15-year-old Dheena Leonara built a 3D structure of the human heart using styrofoam and soft materials to encase a Micro:bit, which  lights up to point to different parts of the heart. Code in the Community has opened Dheena’s eyes to how useful coding can be, and how it powers a lot of the world’s most important technologies. So these were her first steps toward her dream of becoming a biomedical engineer, applying code to make and program artificial organs.

Muhammad Taqiuddin Bin Mohd Firdaus

10-year-old Muhammad Taqiuddin Bin Mohd Firdaus wants to build a time-travel machine one day. For now, he made a light-up teddy bear using a 3D pen, some cardboard, LED lamps, batteries and a Micro:bit. If he had more time, he would have added an alarm clock to it. His big idea was to make waking up in the morning a lot more fun.

“Making” isn’t just for kids. Our engineers here at Google are also encouraged to spend time in these Maker Spaces, being hands-on and trying out different ideas. Prototyping is an important part of working on products that billions of people around the world use.

It’s been nearly a year since Code in the Community started, and we’re really excited to have had 500 kids take part in these weekend coding classes in community centers across the island. It’s humbling to see how far kids like Dheena and Muhammad have come, and we can’t wait to see what Singapore’s next generation of makers build next!

  • Code in the Community in the Maker Space
  • Maker Space demo
    The kids learned how to sketch a robot using an IOIO board and to control it via an Android app
  • 3D printer
    They were also fascinated to see their designs made on a computer come to life with an Ultimaker 3D printer.
  • Tic tac toe
    Gracie built an interactive tic-tac-toe game board using conductive ink, LED lights, a battery and some craft materials.