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Introducing a New Feature in India to Help Increase Blood Donations

By Hema Budaraju, Product Manager, Health and Ritesh Mehta, Head of Programs, South Asia

India, like many countries, has a shortage of safe blood. There aren’t enough people donating blood to meet the demand of people who need it. In some cases, this shortage leads to patients and their family being responsible for finding donors to replace blood in the blood banks or hospitals. This can cause high-stress situations as people try to find blood donors on their own — including by reaching out to their network on Facebook.

We think we can help — by finding ways to more efficiently bring blood donors and people in need together. In India, this drives thousands of people to request blood donors on Facebook each week. Our research suggests that when people have better information and tools, they’re more willing to donate blood — and it’s easier for people who need blood to find donors.

That’s why today we’re announcing a new effort to make it easier for people to sign up to be donors and a new way to connect people and organizations with information and tools to find blood donors when needed. We have worked together with nonprofit organizations, health industry experts, potential donors, and people who have used Facebook to find blood donors to ensure that what we are designing will be useful to people in India.

Making it Easier to Become a Blood Donor
Starting October 1 — National Blood Donor Day — Facebook users in India will be able to start signing up to be blood donors. To help encourage participation, we’ll show a message in News Feed or people can edit their Profiles to sign up. All information will remain private and set to “only me” by default, but people can choose to share their donor status on their timelines. This will first be available on Android and mobile web, as these are the most widely-used platforms in India.

Connecting Individuals and Organizations with Blood Donors
In the next few weeks, we’ll also make it easier for people and organizations, such as blood banks and hospitals, to connect with blood donors on Facebook. When individuals or organizations are in need of blood, they’ll be able to create a special type of post with all the information donors need to easily offer help. When a request is created, Facebook will automatically notify blood donors who may be nearby to help spread the word. Donors can then review the request and, if they wish to respond, contact the requestor directly through WhatsApp, Messenger or a phone call. The person who needs blood won’t be able to see any information about the donor, unless the donor explicitly provides it when he/she reaches out to the person in need of blood.

We hope this new feature helps people come together in ways that weren’t possible before. By raising awareness and growing the number of blood donors in India, we want to make it easier for people and organizations to give and receive blood.

People in India can go to facebook.com/donateblood to learn more and sign-up to be a blood donor.

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.

The Frame vs The Gallery: Which Packs the Largest Punch?

 

Samsung Electronics’ The Frame TV boasts striking 4K UHD picture quality when turned on and displays a collection of dazzling artwork when turned off. Bringing the two together in one device is certainly a masterpiece in innovation. But how does viewing artwork at home on The Frame square up to the gallery experience?

 

 

Round 1 – Price

 

For 1,799 euros (about $2,130), an art enthusiast can secure a piece by Wolfgang Uhilig and 1,699 euros (about $2,010) can buy a single work by Tommy Clarke at the Lumas Gallery in Berlin. Even official prints can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Not to mention the cost of protecting and insuring masterpieces – purchasing a work of art is certainly a long-term financial commitment.

 

By contrast, access to the Samsung Collection’s 100 stunning works from 37 renowned artists is included with purchase of The Frame. To fuel the user’s passion for art, the Art Store offers additional pieces on a curated subscription basis at $4.99 per month, and works from the permanent archive retail at $19.99 each.

 

Altogether, The Frame can provide around 450 art pieces. With The Frame, art has never been more affordable – or offered an experience as priceless.

 

 

Round 2 – Aesthetics

 

Some say that nothing can compare to viewing the original. But the Frame TV’s Art Mode renders 43, 55, or 65 inches of pure artwork realistic enough to convince observers that they are studying a genuine article.

 

Art Mode redefines the meaning and purpose of the TV. The Frame can tastefully blend into its surroundings or become a statement piece in the home. Moreover, by displaying one’s own personal photos on The Frame TV, the user becomes the artist, muse and curator.

 

 

Round 3 – Convenience and Usability

 

The world’s most famous galleries are typically located in major cities and aren’t always the easiest to access. For example, tourists can travel thousands of miles simply to catch a glimpse of da Vinci’s famed “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre in Paris. But the tiny portrait is almost impossible to see behind the crowds of people who flock to view the painting on a daily basis.

 

Whether you pause to observe every detail, or take the occasional glance, viewing an artwork every day from the comfort of your own home can offer new perspectives on the subject.

 

The Frame also makes a pleasing addition to any public space, such as an office, hotel or hospital, and helps to reduce concern about artwork damage or maintenance.

 

 

Round 4 – The Bonus Round

 

In the final round, the gallery might just throw in the towel. The Frame is not simply a stunning display for artwork, but also a TV with outstanding picture quality. The Frame weighs in with 4K HDR Pro and 4K Color Drive Extreme, which add detail and definition to every image. Equipped with the 2017 Samsung Smart Hub and Samsung Smart View, viewing content on TV has never been easier.

 

Finally, the One Remote Control provides quick access to almost all connected media devices, so users can effortlessly switch between their favorite TV shows, movies and video games with a single remote.

 

While galleries exhibit expensive originals in a formal setting, the beauty of The Frame lies in its winning combination of price, picture quality and at-home comfort. On top of these it possesses dual-identity as a 4K UHD TV. Who won this match? You be the judge.

How to Bolster Your Creative Brand with Adobe Acrobat DC

A good brand does many things, from building awareness and customer loyalty to helping you differentiate yourself from competitors. It also embodies your values, work ethic, and ultimately, your reputation. That’s why it’s so important to reinforce your brand’s visual identity at every customer touchpoint, whether on your website, your social media channels, company signage, or on any business documents your customers see.

Companies across industries and of all sizes use Adobe Acrobat DC to help build and nurture their brands. From creating business documents to generating creative proofs for review and approval, Acrobat lets you reinforce your identity and values with clients while protecting your intellectual property. Even if your customers or business partners use other tools to collaborate and manage documents, you can still work reliably with them using Acrobat DC.

Let’s look at a few ways Acrobat DC supports more immersive, reliable document experiences while empowering users to build their creative brands.

  1. Showcase your brand at every step

We’ve talked about the business of creativity—contract negotiations, NDAs, managing concept reviews, and so on. Most creatives don’t relish these activities, but they are a necessity. They are also an opportunity. Business documents don’t have to be boring. Well-designed contracts, proposals, and even invoices, converted to intelligent PDF files using Acrobat DC, demonstrate your attention to detail, professionalism, and respect for information security, while creative proofs delivered via PDF protect both your client’s assets and your creative ideas.

With Acrobat DC, your documents not only look good, they also work harder for you. For example, a contract can be sent to a client for approval with the highest level of security and legal compliance using the Acrobat DC Send for Signature tool, which is based on the same enterprise-class technology powering Adobe Sign within Adobe Document Cloud. With Acrobat DC, clients and prospects can engage with your brand at every stage, from an initial proposal through to the final sign-off on a concept.

  1. Leverage built-in document intelligence

Free up your time to do more creative work and less admin by converting business forms that you use regularly into smart PDF files that you can distribute directly from within Acrobat DC. Acrobat DC can turn static fields in a Microsoft Word document, PDF, or even a scanned paper document into fillable ones.

Let’s say you’ve designed a contract in Adobe InDesign and you want your clients to be able to complete and return the contract electronically. Simply convert the file into a PDF, open it in Acrobat DC, and select the Prepare Form tool. From there, Acrobat will automatically detect and create interactive form fields while maintaining the design of your document. You can even click the Distribute button to send the contract directly to clients, enabling them to complete it and send it back without ever having to print it out.

On the flip side, if you’re constantly asked to complete client forms, you can also use Acrobat DC to populate form fields with reusable text from your autofill collection—such as rates and terms—reducing the amount of time you spend on redundant work.

Branded forms and documents can be stored and shared in the cloud for easy access from any device at any time. That also means you can keep the entire creative workflow in the digital realm. Document protection and Send & Track capabilities within Acrobat offer powerful tracking for greater visibility, and controls to protect sensitive information. All of this makes document processes infinitely more productive and secure. Your customers will appreciate the convenience and peace of mind—and your brand will reap the benefits.

  1. The company you keep

We all know how important collaboration is to the creative workflow. The same can be said on the business side of things. Adobe has teamed with leading file management services to transform the digital document process. Acrobat users can access, view, and edit any PDF files stored in Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, or SharePoint, directly from their Acrobat account. Changes saved to PDF files are automatically saved and synced to your accounts. You can make the most of these integrations to help build your brand: after all, you are the company you keep.

Learn more about how to bolster your creative brand while creating more immersive, reliable document experiences with Adobe Acrobat DC.

To find out how to take your branding to the next level, be sure to join us at Adobe MAX in Las
Vegas. We’ll be having a couple of sessions on how Creatives can get the most out of Acrobat and Adobe Document Cloud – and details are available here.

Create Inspiring Presentations with Adobe Stock and Google Slides

Add-ons are useful features that let you do more with your Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Today, the Adobe Stock team is proud to announce the availability of our new add-on for Slides, allowing users to easily create, edit, and collaborate with the best images at your fingertips without leaving your Slides workflow. Search for images by keyword, explore curated collections, or perform a visual search by uploading an image of your own and having Adobe Stock find something similar.

Here are some of the key ways to get the most out of Adobe Stock in Slides:Search

Searching for the perfect image can be a cumbersome and time-consuming task. With the Adobe Stock add-on for Slides, you can easily perform a keyword search or browse the many curated collections available directly inside the add-on panel. With Visual Search powered by Adobe Sensei, you can even drag and drop an image onto the search bar and see high-quality, royalty-free results that match the color, tone, and composition of your uploaded sample.

Templates

Slides offers many template options — pitches, portfolios, and other pre-made presentations — all designed to make your work that much better and your life that much easier. Many of these templates are organized with image placeholders so you can confidently customize them with your desired images, knowing that the overall presentation will stay organized and balanced.

Preview and License

As you work and collaborate on your presentations, you can easily insert a preview image into your layout to test different options. Once you’re ready to commit, you can acquire licenses to images without leaving Slides and re-use licensed images as needed with a single click. All previewed and licensed images are listed in the History menu.“Working with Google to develop a stock service add-on for Google Slides has been an important step in ensuring that customers are enabled with the best tools for their presentation needs,” said Vikram Viswanathan, Director of Strategy & Product Partnerships for Adobe Stock. “Users are able to work and collaborate through the Google Slides experience while leveraging high-quality, royalty-free images from Adobe Stock with the confidence that the images come with the appropriate licenses for their business.”

To install the free add-on, please visit the Chrome Web Store.

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.

Expeditions AR

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.

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.

workspace

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.

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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.

Slides embedding GIF

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).

Adobe still

  • 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.

From Architect to UX Designer: Stories of the Switch

Architecture and user experience design share many parallels, but what does it actually take to transition from designing physical spaces into digital ones?

We asked four former architects turned user experience designers why they decided to make the switch into UX design, what challenges they experienced along the way, and what advice they have for other architects considering a career change into UX.

From veteran UX designers to new recruits, here’s what they had to say.

Jennifer Fraser, Director of User Experience, Macadamiam

Jennifer made the leap from an intern architect to a UX designer almost 20 years ago. She was pursuing a Master’s degree in architecture with a focus on design and technology (a first of its kind program) when she was encouraged to apply for a UI designer job at a local software company. The architect firm where she worked part-time, “practically packed up my desk for me, telling me to take the opportunity,” she said. Who knew she’d end up working there for almost 12 years! At the time, interaction design was completely new, so it was common for architects and industrial designers to be hired for those positions. It was not hard for her to pivot careers into UX design.

What do you think being an architect did to help prepare you for a career as a UX designer?

JF: There were two key lessons that I learned in architecture school that I see as critical to being a successful UX designer.

The first is that ideas aren’t precious. They need to be ripped apart, turned upside down, and looked at by others in order for them to improve. The second is that in architecture school, we were criticized if our models looked exactly like our drawings. If they looked the same, then we had stopped thinking. As a design is translated from one medium to another, it should continue to change and adjust as you learn new things about how to improve the design through that translation. Similarly, as a UX designer, when an idea is going from sketches to wireframes to prototypes, it needs to keep evolving and improving as a result of these translations.

Another important lesson I learned from my time on building sites as an intern architect was that nothing ever gets built exactly as designed. Nothing. The same stands for UX design. Nothing will ever get built that precisely matches your initial set of “final” annotated wireframes or annotated comps. To me, it’s during implementation that you truly see the level of “skill” of a UX designer. How well are they able to adapt and change? How well are they able to negotiate and mediate? How well are they able to maintain their original design intent while adapting to new constraints?

What advice do you have for other architects who may be considering a switch into UX?

JF: The time is now! With the proliferation of connected devices being embedded into our physical environment, now is the time for a new profession that holistically considers the digital and the physical user experience.

Rodrigo Tello, Designer, Hopscotch

Rodrigo is a designer from Mexico who is now based out of New York City. After studying architecture, he regularly found himself working on web-based projects and was soon known as “the guy that knows how to make things on the Internet.” He started making websites, web applications, and online marketplaces. He fell in love with the scale and speed of web-based projects and found a voice in design that he didn’t have as an architect. He now wears many hats, working as a software designer, a UI designer and a UX designer.

What steps did you take to make your career change happen?

RT: The first one was making real software. My first startup/internet project was a team of just 3 people, one programmer and two designers. One of my partners and I ended up doing everything around idea, design, mockups, tracing project roadmaps and talking with users. I ended up learning about everything: what is a web-dev framework, what is RoR, the cycle it requires for a developer to do something, how to ask users for feedback (user testing) and the hardest truth of all: what happens when people just don’t use your software. That’s a harsh truth that you need to swallow.

Was it difficult for you to transition into UX design?

RT: It’s hard to start scratching the surface of the world of technologies that you’ll need to use. There are too many parts you need to understand on a superficial and deep level just to even have conversations with developers. The reason why it’s not that hard is because design, at it’s core, is always design. The process is relatively similar. There are a lot of abstract tools (thinking in abstraction, art concepts, user flows, research, ideating, mocking up, mapping users) and concrete tools (paper, drawing, Photoshop, Illustrator, CAD drawing, etc.) that you will end up reusing.

What advice do you have for other architects who may be considering a switch into UX?

RT: Think in big problems. Don’t think about the specificities of the field that you’ll need to learn, like using a specific software or knowing the industry lingo. Instead think of bigger systemic problems: education, health, traffic, politics, gender inequality, economic inequality. The tools you already have in your backpack will show up in the right moment. Try to create solutions for problems you find just by attaching technologies and systems next to each other: could you solve traffic or neighbor-scale security problems with a Twitter account? Could you aggregate information and resources from government institutions on a blog? Could you gather communities online to help minorities that need help? Why? Why not? What do the current tools lack?

This process of building prototypes or even fully formed products with out-of-the-box tools will help you understand what the real problems of the world are and how to solve them. The important part of this is make prototypes. In the architecture world, unbuilt projects have been crucial for renowned architects, like Rem Koolhaas or Tadao Ando. So don’t leave that practice aside. Always draw, always design, always tackle big problems.

From architecture, I learned that every line you draw it’s not just a line on paper. It will become a wall, of brick and matter, built by someone and maintained by someone. It’ll be there for years. Every time you draw something, the ramifications of its impact are exponential. So think every line you draw.

Anna Kolak, Strategy and Design Director, Coach

Anna made the switch to UX 10 years ago, but she wouldn’t call it a transition. “In my experience, being a UX designer and strategist is very similar to being an architect, in terms of design process and approach,” she says. She used to tease a friend of hers who worked as an information architect about not being a “real architect,” but he convinced her to do some freelance work and give it a shot. “Within a few days I realized that ‘UX’ meant I’d be able to do more of what I loved about architecture — designing experiences for people — without the stuff that got in the way. No one would glare at me if I left the office before 6 pm — and I’d be able to repay my grad school debt before retirement.”

What steps did you take to make your career change happen?

AK: I was fortunate to know someone in a leadership position in the industry. He happened to believe that architectural design is much more complicated than UX design, that the skills are not only transferable but that someone with an architectural background could bring a more rigorous and innovative approach to UX.

Was it a difficult transition?

AK: The first two months were difficult because it took me two months to realize that I already knew what I didn’t know I knew. After those first few months, I discovered that I had been doing UX design the whole time I was an architect. I had to learn new software and techniques, but the underlying concepts were very similar — from research to documentation to team dynamics and construction. I think my transition was smooth because my approach to architecture was already very grounded in user research and focused on human experience rather than just building an environment.

What do you think your experience as an architect did to help prepare you for a career as a UX designer?

AK: Everything. Software is easy to learn; design and design thinking not so much. I believe that my education and experience as an architect prepared me for a career in UX much more thoroughly than a different specialty would have. I don’t think I’m unique in that, as an architect, I assumed without question that design included everything — buildings and spaces, but also services, businesses, research, experiences, kiosks, websites, brand strategies, experience strategies, sometimes even organizational design. Architects think in terms of systems and details simultaneously. Some architects even think deeply about the experiences of the people who will use the spaces they are designing. These big-picture skills, along with all the technical and detail skills that are part of the profession, prepare architects to excel in careers in many fields, including and especially UX and service design.

What advice do you have for other architects who may be considering a switch into UX?

AK: Talk to an architect who has already made the transition — there are more than a few of us. Take an intro or intensive course about UX design to help you build a portfolio and learn UX’s specific dialect. Use your architecture portfolio as a basis for your UX portfolio — it will be way cooler than almost any UX portfolio out there. Hire a coach to help you navigate the transition strategically and efficiently.

Bethany Morrow, User Experience Designer

Bethany is a new recruit to UX, having made the change in 2015. She took a more formal approach, first researching the profession, then meeting with UX designers to learn more, and finally enrolling in a full-time UX boot camp program at General Assembly, where she now teaches UX fundamentals.

Before enrolling, she asked an acquaintance his thoughts on the program. “He said those programs wouldn’t teach me anything I couldn’t learn on my own, but that I should ask myself, would I actually learn what I needed to learn on my own? Given that I’d been investigating UX for about a year and still didn’t feel ready to work in the field, I decided I would benefit from the structure of a formal program,” she said. “I came out with a solid portfolio and the know-how to land an 18-month UX design contract at Microsoft.”

What was it that made you decide to shift careers?

BM: Three main things:

This is what I’ve always wanted to do: My favorite thing about architecture is how we can use space and materials to enhance people’s experiences. I didn’t know the term “UX” until a few years ago, but I’ve always been a UX designer. Now I design smaller interfaces and work for companies and clients that really value experience design.

Career advancement, job prospects, and benefits: I was at the place in my architecture career where “the next step” would’ve been to get my master’s degree and get licensed. It would’ve taken years and cost tens of thousands of dollars for a career that’s a bit too much at the mercy of the economy. Instead, I decided to spend less money and less time to transition into a field that uses skills I already had, lets me do the work I’ve always wanted to do, and typically offers better pay and benefits.

Variety: UX design is really broad, and that suits my personality. Right now, I design business intelligence software. Next, I might work in healthcare, education, or travel; I might design physical objects, mobile apps, or virtual experiences; I might work on something I haven’t even heard of yet. I can’t imagine ever getting bored with UX.

Was it a difficult transition? What challenges or obstacles did you face along the way?

BM: It was a scary decision to enroll in the UX Design Immersive. The program was expensive and consumed my life for 10 weeks, plus the time I spent job-hunting. I was incredibly lucky to have the support of family and friends, who made sure I had a roof over my head and food on my plate during those months. Finding your first UX design job is challenging, especially in cities where programs like General Assembly have flooded the market with junior UX designers. Coming from architecture definitely gave me a leg-up, but job-hunting was still an emotional rollercoaster.

Learning how to talk about the parallels between architecture and UX made it easy for me to present myself to prospective employers. I was new to the tech industry, but I’d been working at design agencies for five years, using many of the same tools and methodologies as UX designers.

What advice do you have for other architects who may be considering a switch into UX?

BM: Like any good UX designer, start with research. There are so many great blogs, books, and podcasts that will help you learn about the field. Leverage your network; if you have friends who work in tech, odds are they know a UX designer who’d be happy to spend 20 minutes on the phone answering your questions. Go to local UX networking events.

If you decide to make the switch, know that you must have a UX portfolio to get a UX job. Do hackathons, take a class, volunteer your design skills for a good cause, help friends or family with their businesses — whatever you can do to get three or four UX projects in your portfolio. Learn about what makes a good UX portfolio. Test your portfolio with friends and colleagues, then iterate. If you would benefit from more structure and can afford it, consider a full-time program that aims to make you job-ready.

Want to learn more?

Check out these relevant blog posts from our Adobe team to learn more about UX design:

Galaxy Note8 Takes Over Popular Attractions Around the Globe

To celebrate the launch of the Galaxy Note8, Samsung has in recent weeks taken over some of the world’s most popular attractions with displays reflective of the creative possibilities powered by the company’s latest flagship smartphone.

 

On September 25, London’s Waterloo station, Great Britain’s busiest rail station, was decked out in eye-catching images of the device encouraging commuters to “Do bigger things.”

 

The campaign follows a similar one held in New York City’s Times Square on September 15. The iconic entertainment center and tourist destination that sees an estimated 380,000 visitors every day was illuminated with S Pen-embellished portraits, animated illustrations and whimsical images of the Galaxy Note8 across 43 screens.

 

Other global attractions across Europe and Asia are also featuring immersive Galaxy Note8 signage.

 

Check out shots of the posters, billboards and digital displays from around the world in the photos below.

 

 

London Waterloo – London, UK

 

 

 

 

 

Times Square – New York City, USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Locations

Place de la Concorde – Paris, France

 

City Palace – Berlin, Germany

 

Castel Sant’Angelo – Rome, Italy

 

Piazza XXIV Maggio – Milan, Italy

 

Paragon – Singapore

Future of technology: what are SMBs’ worried about?

As new technologies emerge, small businesses are often the first to put them to work, from the internet and social media to BYOD and cloud computing. Technology has revolutionized the way business is done. With irrefutable benefits – speed and reach of communication, efficiencies and access to global markets – come new threats.

A positive and proactive approach to using new technologies to grow businesses has been a hallmark of SMBs and start-ups – but do owners and employees place enough emphasis on tackling accompanying threats to cyber security? Are SMBs concerned about data breaches, rogue artificial intelligence or the use of genetic screening for employees?

We surveyed more than 100 small businesses with 19 questions about cyber security, privacy and artificial intelligence.

Below is a countdown of the answers – starting with the threats that small businesses were most concerned about.

Key findings:

  • Hacking and security breaches are the main concern of SMBs
  • Privacy, surveillance and personal data is a key concern
  • SMBs and their employees are concerned about governments and big business using technology against competitors – and even their own staff
  • SMBs aren’t that worried about artificial intelligence and robots.

 

The 2017 Emmys on Facebook & Instagram

By: Kelly Perron, Claudine Cazian Britz and Lauren Schutte, Entertainment Partnerships

On Sunday Night, Stephen Colbert hosted the 2017 Emmy Awards, and Facebook and Instagram were abuzz with activity from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, CBS, talent, and all the fans!

We measured social conversations during the show, and identified the top five social moments on Facebook:

  1. Stephen Colbert‘s Opening Monologue
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale wins Outstanding Drama Series
  3. Big Little Lies wins Best Limited Series
  4. Nicole Kidman wins Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her role in “Big Little Lies”
  5. Sterling K. Brown wins Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role in “This is Us”

Additionally, Big Little Lies was the most-buzzed about show on Instagram and Nicole Kidman took the top spot as the must buzzed-about actor on the platform. Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram Story was the most-viewed of the night.

From the minute the stars hit the carpet, fans got to immerse themselves in the Emmys on Facebook. An exclusive red carpet Live show streamed to CBS’s page before the big event, while during the show Facebook was the exclusive social streaming platform for Emmys Backstage Live!, which brought fans behind-the-scenes with hosted interviews with winners, thank you cam footage, and glimpses of everything from the trophy table to the portrait studio.

 

 

Backstage, photographer Mark Leibowitz captured video portraits with winners , presenters, and other acclaimed attendees in the Instagram Stories Studio.

Instagram Photo

 

The Television Academy gave fans yet another exclusive peek at the Emmys action using Instagram Live, which brought fans into the first moments with the winners as they exited the stage after accepting their awards.

Finally, the stars gave fans intimate looks at the Emmys experience on both Facebook and Instagram! Yara Shahidi took over the @Instagram Story and Feed to bring fans along with her Emmy night adventures.

Instagram Photo

 

Before the Awards, Stephen Colbert went Live with the Television Academy to roll out the Emmys red carpet:

 

Felicity Huffman went Live while getting her hair done, as well as in the car on the way to the carpet with husband WIlliam Macy:

 

Nicole Kidman posted a photo of her and Keith Urban off to the Emmys…and then one with the trophy after her win:

 

Oprah shared her get-ready process with an behind-the-scenes look at her contouring process

Instagram Photo

 

Jessica Biel had fun with photo bombs:

Instagram Photo

 

And Tracee Ellis Ross composed an original Emmys song:

Instagram Photo

 

 

Real Life in Pictures: A Pulitzer-Winning Photojournalist on Telling Hard Stories

Telling stories with photographs is Yannis Behrakis’ life’s work. As a photojournalist for Reuters, he’s spent nearly 30 years covering everything from natural disasters to war zones. Last year he was honored, along with a team of Reuters photographers, with a Pulitzer for his deeply moving images of Syrian refugees.

Yannis told us about standing on the shore in Greece, meeting and photographing refugees fresh from a perilous journey across the sea. “When these people are coming to shore with small dinghies and rafts, the first thing they do is throw away their wet life jackets. Then a lot of times they will come and hug me because then they feel that they are safe and they made the first step to a better life by stepping onto European soil,” Yannis explains. “The emotions are there, so you don’t have to do something to make a sensational photograph. You just have to capture these emotions and show the world their story.”

Stranded Iranian migrants on hunger strike, some with their lips sewn together, sit on rail tracks at the borderline between Greece and Macedonia near the Greek village of Idomeni November 25, 2015.

It’s Yannis’ mission to tell these stories of profound struggle, pain, and hope that might otherwise go unnoticed. “I know how important it is to be there and become the voice of these people, to tell their story. A lot of them come to me and say, ‘Thank you for being here. Thank you for telling our story to the world.’”

Getting Prepped for the Field

While being there is a big part of capturing the story, there is a lot of preparation that goes into getting it right. For Yannis, this includes research into the geography, climate, culture, language, and current events in a region.

He also keeps a collection of cases, rucksacks, photo equipment, clothes and gear for hot and cold weather, sunscreen, and a bulletproof jacket and medical kit all ready for the moment he’s called to the scene of a disaster. He’s even had to stop at an airport medical clinic during a layover to get a quick batch of vaccinations. It’s all about getting to the scene quickly, and being as safe as possible. He says, only half-jokingly, “There are a lot of things out there that will try to kill you.”

A Syrian refugee kisses his daughter as he walks through a rainstorm towards Greece’s border with Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni, September 10, 2015.

Finding the Moments, Angles, and Light

Capturing news photos is a different kind of challenge from studio sessions or planned photo shoots. There’s no time to set the scene or make sure lighting is ideal, so Yannis has strategies to work with what’s around him. “I always have in my mind the picture I want to take. For example, if I see somebody walking, I try to find the right angle. Sometimes I walk or drive ahead and wait for the right moment or background and use a long lens because it makes sense and gives more energy and power to the picture. In some other cases, I go near to catch more of the emotions.”

An Afghan migrant jumps off an overcrowded raft onto a beach in the Greek island of Lesbos, Greece, October 19, 2015.

Lighting is one of the most difficult elements to manage when he’s working in the field. “I always try to find the best angle to have the light on my side. I obviously can’t tell somebody to stop, turn around, and face that way — that’s unethical. But if I have the light in the wrong place, I might try to do something more creative, like shoot against the light and have a very dramatic silhouette. If there is rain, you can see the rain better if you shoot with the long lens, and you want to have pictures of the rain because it adds reality. You show that these people are going through bad weather.”

Perhaps the most critical skill is to know when to press the shutter. For Yannis, it’s an instinct gained over years in the field, combined with a constant watchfulness for just the right moments.

Migrants and refugees beg Macedonian policemen to allow passage to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia during a rainstorm, near the Greek village of Idomeni, September 10, 2015.

Seeing Photos Change the World

Taking photographs of people in crisis can be dangerous and heartbreaking, but there’s also tremendous hope in how people respond to the stories they see in Yannis’ images. “I think the most important thing about my work is when I see the impact of the pictures; when people feel empathy through my pictures, or through the pictures of my colleagues, and they decide to do something, either giving money to NGOs, or sending clothes, or putting pressure on the government to do something positive to help people, not only with the refugee crisis, but with a lot of other situations like earthquakes and big natural disasters. You need to show these pictures for big organizations and governments to do something.”

He sums up why he works so hard to tell stories of suffering, struggle, and resilience like this: “I’m a romantic. I believe that pictures can show what is really happening. They can change the world and make it a better place.”

Syrian refugees carry their children as they jump off a dinghy overcrowded with Syrian refugees upon arriving on a beach on the Greek island of Kos, after crossing a part of the Aegean sea from Turkey, August 9, 2015. United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) called on Greece to take control of the “total chaos” on Mediterranean islands, where thousands of migrants have landed.

Reuters delivers trusted news to over a billion people each day. You can find their collection of over 12 million images of news, sports, and entertainment through Adobe Stock’s editorial collection.

Header Image: Yannis Behrakis/REUTERS

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

This post is from Monotype, an Adobe MAX 2017 partner. We’d like to thank all our MAX partners who help make the conference possible.

Every designer knows that type is an omnipresent fixture of everyday life. Almost everything has a screen–phones, watches, automobile dashboards, even household appliances. Text is integral to the user interface and is often the only way to get things done.

This raises the stakes when considering fonts for projects. It’s no longer good enough to simply choose a typeface that looks pretty–it must be legible and functional across devices. That’s a huge challenge given the number of devices and mediums available, not to mention that consumer expectations have skyrocketed thanks to the quality and ubiquity of those devices.

“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.”

Legibility is the most fundamental quality of font choice. A typeface should have the kind of clarity that almost feels like it’s reading to you. The “voice” of type is a much trickier concept to master, with much more nuance. It can also change with time. Onyx, for example, was always thought of as an elegant and space-saving poster font in the tradition of Bodoni–until the band Nirvana used it for its logo. Part of a designer’s responsibility is to make sure she is always thinking about the next thing so she doesn’t paint herself into a corner. A good font choice can stretch as needs and use cases evolve.

“It’s not unusual for us to build a relationship with a typeface over years and decades of our working lives,” Neely says. “Good type is valuable to designers because it’s a professional tool that only gets better with time and practice. And it’s valuable to a brand because it brings clarity, emotion and consistency, especially over time.”

Jamie Neely will be expanding on these ideas at Adobe MAX this year. In a presentation titled (appropriately) “Good Type,” Neely will dive into the fundamentals of choosing the best and most appropriate fonts for your projects, and share living examples of type in the wild to see what we can learn. Jamie’s presentation will be Wednesday at 3:30 pm, but it’s filling up quickly so register today to reserve your spot.

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.

In the 1850s, when American financier Cyrus Field set out to connect the New World with the old via an undersea wire, “news stories at the time deemed his ambitious attempts ‘only one degree, in the scale of absurdity, below that of raising a ladder to the moon,’” Smith and Browne write.

But that ladder was raised. On Aug. 16, 1858, a telegraphic line of seven copper wires weighing one ton per nautical mile was successfully laid between the west coast of Ireland and Newfoundland, they write. “It was a huge event for people on both sides of the Atlantic. The cable officially opened when Queen Victoria sent U.S. President James Buchanan a message in Morse code ‘fervently hoping that the electric cable, which now connects Great Britain with the United States, will prove an additional link between the two places whose friendship is founded upon their common interests and reciprocal esteem.’”

The cables were hailed as the “eighth wonder of the world” and “created a network of almost instantaneous communications and proved to be an early catalyst of globalization,” Smith and Browne write. “News that previously took weeks or months to reach its destination could be relayed within hours.” By the early 20th century, much of the world was connected by a network of cables.

Today, more than 99 percent of international communications is routed through fiber optic cables, with much of it at the bottom of the world’s oceans, which is why Marea’s added subsea cable capacity across the Atlantic comes at a critical time, Smith and Browne write.

“Submarine cables already carry 55 percent more data across the Atlantic than trans-Pacific routes and 40 percent more data than between the U.S. and Latin America. Without question the demand for even more data flows across the Atlantic will keep growing,” they write.

Read the full post 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 Adobe’s New Award-Winning Director of Editorial Content, Santiago Lyon

With Adobe Stock’s entry into the editorial marketplace, our commitment has always been to deliver visuals that are newsworthy, of the highest quality, and of human interest. Earlier this year, we expanded our offering with editorial partners Reuters and USA TODAY Sports, and we intend to continue on this important trajectory.

Today, Adobe is thrilled to welcome Santiago Lyon as our first director of editorial content. In this newly created role, Santiago will lead Adobe Stock’s editorial content strategy and collection, working with world-class photojournalists, documentary photographers, editorial providers and media.

With more than 30 years of experience as an industry executive and photojournalist – and multiple awards for his work on conflict, including two World Press Photo prizes and the Bayeux prize for war photography – Santiago brings a unique perspective that reflects a lifetime of taking on new challenges with great passion and journalistic integrity.

We sat down with Santiago to hear his thoughts on his new role, the future of editorial storytelling and why photojournalism is more important than ever.

Your professional experience spans the breadth of journalism, including photography, editing and publishing. How will this background inform your new role, and what do you hope to accomplish with Adobe as the new director of editorial content?

As a staff photographer with Reuters and The Associated Press, I traveled the world for 20 years documenting everything from politics and sports to war and conflict. As AP’s global director of photography for 13 years, I focused on leading, growing and modernizing a large network of staff, freelance photographers and editors. These experiences give me perspective from all angles of the industry and a deep understanding of the challenges, issues and opportunities ahead.

I want to make Adobe the leading source of editorial imagery, to better serve and delight its expanding customer base, and provide a seamless experience from discovering relevant photos, to processing them in Adobe’s suite of creative tools.

Why did you choose to pursue this role with Adobe, and what most excites you about this opportunity?

Adobe products have been a key part of the professional lives of generations of photojournalists, allowing them to better tell the world’s stories in photos and videos. I see many potential opportunities ahead for Adobe to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to creativity through engagement with the editorial photography community. To have the opportunity to expand and enhance Adobe’s role as a content provider and active player in this space is hugely exciting.

The role of images in communication is evolving, and the way photographs are consumed has changed. How has this impacted the editorial storytelling landscape, and how will the industry need to adapt to meet demands? 

Our visual culture has grown exponentially in recent years, and with it the ability to show and tell the world’s stories much more comprehensively. The important issues of our time – human rights, climate change, economic inequality, immigration and discrimination, among others – are now being photographed and shared around the world in near real time. Enhancing access to these images shows how technology and newsgathering can work together for the common good.

What is photography’s role in the “post-truth” era where the validity of documentary evidence is questioned, and the age of digital media where technology has made disseminating news (true, or not) more accessible?

Once upon a time, we were told that “a photograph never lies”. Today, drenched in information (with much of it visual), we struggle to make sense of the personal and professional views on our world.

From the public and our friends, we receive – and often redistribute – a stream of visuals ranging from family photos and selfies to startling eyewitness videos of dramatic events. From the professional media, we get – and redistribute – high-quality news, sports, entertainment and feature photography, stories and videos. Also, a host of outlets disguised as news organizations fill our digital feeds with doctored images, conspiracy theories and fabricated news. Who then can we trust? Respected news agencies like Reuters (an Adobe partner) and the AP, among others, go to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of the content they distribute.

The way photographs are consumed has also changed. Gone for most, is the habit of reading an image carefully, absorbing its nuance and detail. Inundated with so many images, there is little time to absorb each one – or any.

Amid this, photojournalism has survived and will continue to do so. Dedicated photojournalists all over the world are producing amazing and varied imagery, often braving dangers and risking their lives. The power of the still image remains undeniable.

What do you believe are the most important trends in the next 3-5 years for editorial storytelling?

First and foremost, technology will continue to play a tremendous role in editorial storytelling as we find new and exciting ways to tell narratives through photos, videos and multimedia. The visual voices of women, minorities and local photographers will gain even greater momentum at the forefront, with increased relevance and importance as the world seeks to better understand our increasingly diverse societies and the complex issues we face. Adobe is well positioned to advance this space and conversation through a proven track record of innovation and creativity.

Header Image courtesy of REUTERS/EDGAR SU

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.

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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. 

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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.

UX First, Aesthetics Second: Andrew Baygulov Shares His Advice for Creating Beautiful, Effective Designs

Andrew Baygulov is a self-taught designer and front-end developer who learned UX on the job. One look at his past work and you’re bound to be blown away by his ability to create visually-appealing designs that never sacrifice usability. We asked him to share his process and advice on how to balance beautiful visual design while creating effective user experiences.

What are the key considerations to balancing good aesthetics with good UX?

The backbone of every project is user experience. The first step to any site or app is really understanding the entire product, and that will influence your overall approach to it. You start a project by implementing functionality first and UI just compliments it. Both elements are essential to the product and work closely together.

What’s the best approach for using hero images effectively in your designs?

I would say text is one of the most important elements on the screen, and you want to make sure people can read it easily. If you can’t make the text readable on top of big images then try to place it outside of them. Another important thing is to make sure you adjust your image heights based on your screen sizes so people don’t have to scroll forever on smaller devices.

What is the biggest mistake designers make when attempting to create user experiences that are ‘beautiful’?

I think the biggest mistake that designers make today is when they try to hide their UX problems with beautiful visuals, but in reality, they’re just confusing the users. Attractive visuals won’t fix your poorly constructed website/app functionality.

What’s to gain from a perfect fusion of aesthetics and UX design?

Most people don’t know anything about design, but somehow we all can feel when something wasn’t done right. This is why us designers really have to view a product from the user’s perspective and try to understand how they would use it first. Because really, we’re designing the product for them and not us.

By doing UX correctly, you’re eliminating unnecessary steps and helping the user to achieve something faster without causing confusion or frustration.

What’s your best advice for UX designers who are just starting out and want to follow in your footsteps?

As we all know, no one becomes successful overnight. Learn as much as you can from everything you can find online, study other designers’ work and, most importantly, practice a lot.

Most companies are looking for people who are self-motivated and willing to put a lot of work into something they love. Always have high standards for yourself, try to do the best you can, and don’t take shortcuts. It’s a process that takes a lot of hard work and you can’t just bypass it.

What does the future hold for UX design?

Well, I can only guess. The web is changing almost on a daily basis, but I think user experience will always remain the main focus of every product. As designers, we’re constantly trying to reimagine ways to achieve simple tasks with fewer steps and hopefully, future devices will help us do so.

Learn more about Andrew Baygulov and his work on his website.

A Comprehensive Overview of UX Design Deliverables

What do UX designers do on a daily basis? A lot of things! UX professionals need to communicate design ideas and research findings to a range of audiences. They use deliverables (tangible records of work that has occurred) for that purpose. The list below contains the most common deliverables produced by UX designers as they craft great experiences for users.

For better readability, I’ve combined the deliverables according to UX activities:

  • Project assessment,
  • Competitor assessment,
  • User research,
  • Information architecture,
  • Interaction design.

Project Assessment

Project assessment is an evaluation process that helps UX designers understand the current state of the product.

Analytics Audit

An analytics audit is a way to reveal which parts of a website or app are causing headaches for users and are reducing conversions. During an analytics audit, an auditor will use a variety of methods, tools and metrics — traffic sources, traffic flows, conversions (and abandonments) hot spots, etc. — to analyze where a product is going wrong (or right). Ultimately, an analytics audit should enable UX designers to know how to boost conversions by making it easier for users to achieve their goals on the website or app.

Numbers provided by an analytics tool on how the user interacts with a product — clicks, user session time, search queries, conversion, etc. — will help UX designers to uncover the unexpected, surfacing behaviors that aren’t explicit in user tests. Image: Ramotion

Tip: Get into the habit of A/B testing your design changes. Knowing that all of your changes will be A/B tested will give you a tremendous amount of freedom to try new (and potentially risky) things. If they work, you’ll find out almost immediately. Also, you won’t need to worry that some change you’ve made will ruin everything.

Content Audit

A content audit is a process of evaluating information assets on some part or all of an app or website. It could be said that a content audit is a content inventory and evaluation of each page’s content (either qualitative by a person or quantitative using analytics) and/or an assignment of content owners. It involves gathering all of the content on your website or in your app and assessing its relative strengths and weaknesses in order to prioritize your future marketing activities. By auditing, you’ll understand the content much better. You might find things you didn’t know existed, spot duplicated or outdated content, or identify all kinds of relationships in the content. The results of a content audit can be used for a global task (creating a content strategy) or a local task (optimizing a certain page).

Usability Test Report

Usability testing is a way to see how easy a product is to use by testing it with real users. A usability test report summarizes usability findings in a clear, concise and descriptive way, helping the project team to identify issues and work towards a solution.

An example of usability testing report. Image: tiffanyho

Tip: Rank your findings. Every issue that’s discovered through usability testing is not equally important. A usability report could have 5 or 100 findings, depending on the scale of the study, and sometimes it might be overwhelming for a team to go through all of them. That’s why findings should be ranked in terms of severity (low, medium or high). This will help the team identify critical issues exposed by the usability study.

Competitor Assessment

Competitor assessment is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors. Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your rivals is a critical part of your own UX strategy.

Competitive Analysis Report

An analysis of competitor’s products will map out their existing features in a comparable way. This competitive analysis report helps UX designers to understand industry standards and identify opportunities to innovate in a given area.

A competitive analysis allows designers to assess a competitor’s strengths and weaknesses in a selected marketplace and implement effective strategies to improve a product’s competitive advantage. Image: yellowpencil

Tip: A useful starting point for identifying strengths and areas for improvement might be user experience heuristics. While competitive analysis isn’t intended to replicate heuristics evaluation, heuristics can be a good starting point because they offer a good structure for presenting information. Heuristics include efficient navigation, clarity of text and labels, consistency, readability, scannability, etc.

Value Proposition

A value proposition is a statement that maps out the key aspects of a product: what it is, who it is for and how it will be used. A value proposition helps the team form consensus around what the product will be.

A value proposition helps UX designers to keep focus on the important things. Image: UX Mag

Tip: Make sure your value proposition is directly associated with key business objectives. By doing this, it will be much easier to have discussions about time and budget for UX activities.

User Research

User research focuses on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis and other feedback methodologies.

Personas

A persona is a fictional character who uses the product in a similar way to a potential user type. Personas make it easier for designers to empathize with users throughout the design process. Personas are a controversial tool in the UX armory: Some UX designers love them, others hate them. Thus, it’s important to understand not just benefits but also downsides of personas before using them in your UX design process.

A persona is a fictional character who highlights the behaviors, needs, and motivations of your target users. Image: xtensio

Tip: The most effective personas are created from in-depth user interviews and observation data of real users. Collect as much information and knowledge about users as possible by interviewing and/or observing a sufficient number of people who represent your target audience.

User Story

A user story is a simple description of a feature told from the perspective of a user of the product. Basically, it’s a very high-level definition of a requirement (at a conceptual level), containing just enough information that the developers can produce a reasonable estimate of the effort required to implement it.

Tip: Use user stories to prevent feature creep. Feature creep is a term that comes up regularly during product design. It refers to the tendency to want to keep adding more features and expanding the scope of a project. Try to refuse to add any feature without a user story that explains why that particular feature matters.

Use Cases

A use case is a written description of how users will perform tasks in the app or website. It outlines, from a user’s point of view, an app or website’s behavior as it responds to a request. Each use case is represented as a sequence of simple steps, beginning with a user’s goal and ending when that goal is fulfilled.

A use case is a list of actions or steps in an event, typically defining the interactions between a user and a system, to achieve a goal. Image: Slideshare

Tip: Use cases aren’t reserved for the UX phase; they can used for the QA phase as well. Thus, when reviewing the usability of a given product, it’s critical that the QA specialist have the use cases on hand. This will give the QA specialists a set of criteria that will have to have been addressed by the design.

Experience Map

An experience map is a diagram that explores the multiple steps taken by users as they engage with a product. It enables designers to frame the user’s motivations and needs at each step of the journey, designing solutions that are appropriate for each.

A simple experience map reflects one possible path during one scenario. Image: effectiveui

Tip: The process of creating a customer journey map has to begin with getting to know users. While you can turn to many sources for data about your users, one of the most obvious is website or mobile app analytics. Analytics provide valuable insight into what users are doing on your website or in your app, and this data will help you build compelling cases.

Storyboards (Current)

Storyboards are illustrations that represent shots and that ultimately represent a story. In UX, this story is the series of actions that users would take while using the product. Storyboards help designers to honor the real experiences of the people for whom they are designing.

Smiles and expressions of sadness on human faces have a strong emotional impact. This makes it possible to bring a story to life in the hearts and minds of your audience. Image: Chelsea Hostetter

Tip: When thinking about storyboarding, most people focus on their ability (or inability) to draw. The good news is that you don’t need to be good at drawing before you start drawing storyboards. What is far more important is the actual story you want to tell. Clearly conveying information is key.

Survey

A survey is a quick and inexpensive way to measuring the level of user satisfaction and to collect feedback about the product. While a survey is a great way to collect information from a large number of users, it’s obvious limitation is a lack of qualitative insights — for example, why customers use the product in a certain way.

Tip: Keep the survey short. The temptation when creating a survey is to add more questions. The problem is that it can become painfully long, and people will simply skip questions. If you want to collect more valuable information, you should use a better approach. Keep the survey succinct and run another in a month or two.

Information Architecture

Information architecting is the practice of deciding how to arrange the parts of something to be understandable. For digital products, information architecture results in the creation of navigation, site maps, taxonomies and wireframes.

Image: Murray Thompson, UX Booth

Site Map

A site map is a diagram of a website’s pages, organized hierarchically. It makes it easy to visualize the basic structure and navigation of the website.

Sitemap example Image: Behance

Tip: If you want to create site map quickly and easily, use the card-sorting method.

Taxonomy

A taxonomy results from an exploration of multiple ways to categorize content and data: articles in a news website, product categories in an e-commerce app, etc. A taxonomy helps designers to define the content structure that supports the user’s and the business’ goals.

Tip: A taxonomy is a living document, and it needs to be retested and updated regularly.

Wireframe

A wireframe is a visual guide that represents a page’s structure, as well as its hierarchy and key elements. Wireframes are useful when UX designers need to discuss ideas with team members and stakeholders and to assist the work of visual designers and developers.

Wireframes can be presented in the form of sketches:

Sketching is a quick way to visualize an idea (such as a new interface design). Image: Nicholas Swanson

Wireframes can also be presented as digital illustrations:

Example of wireframes for a mobile app. Download Wires, two free wireframe UX kits for mobile and web, built for Adobe XD.

Tip: Keep wireframes simple, and annotate. The aim of a wireframe is to show the structure of a page’s design — details come later. If you plan to present a wireframe to the team, try to include annotations. Annotations help to create context and quickly deliver key ideas.

Interaction Design

Interaction design (often abbreviated as IxD) is the practice of designing interactive digital products. It’s a process by which designers create engaging user interfaces with logical and thought-out behaviors and actions.

Storyboards (Planned)

Basically, this is the same storyboard that we saw in the section on user research, with just one difference: These storyboards are used to sell design solutions. Designers use them to show the benefits of a proposed solution and to convince stakeholders with it.

Image: digiflip

Tip: Design a clear outcome. Make sure your storyboard leaves the audience with no doubt about the outcome of the story. If you’re describing an unfavorable situation, end with the full weight of the problem; if you’re presenting a solution, conclude with the benefits of that solution for your character.

User Flow Diagram

A user flow diagram is a visual representation of the user’s actions to complete tasks within the product. A visualized user flow makes it easier to identify which steps should be improved or redesigned.

User flow helps build a common understanding of each page of your app or website. Image: Behance

Tip: For many projects in the active design phase, creating user flows might be time-consuming, because drawings will become instantly outdated as screens change. Ryan from Basecamp proposes a simplified version of user flows. This format is really fast to sketch, and it communicates the essentials of what needs to happen.

Prototype

A lot of people use the terms “wireframe” and “prototype” interchangeably, but there’s a significant difference between the two design deliverables: They look different, they communicate different things, and they serve different purposes. While wireframes are similar to architectural blueprints (for example, a building plan), a prototype is a mid- to high-fidelity representation of the final product. The goal of a prototype is to test products (or product ideas) before investing a lot of time and money in the final product.

A prototype gives a taste on how the user will interact with the product. It can be analog:

Low-fidelity analog prototype Image: UX Playground

Or it can be digital:

High-fidelity interactive prototype created in Adobe XD and mirrored on an iPhone

The most important thing is that the prototype should allow the user to experience content and test the main interactions with the interface in a way similar to how they would with the final product.

Tip: Test prototypes on real devices as much as possible. While an emulator on your desktop might work in some cases, nothing replaces experiencing designs on a real device.

Conclusion

Most likely you are surprised by the number of deliverables mentioned in this article. Rest assured, each project is different and a UX designer wouldn’t need to produce all of them for each project. Also, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all deliverable that will be equally effective for all projects. Each deliverable becomes an effective communication tool in the right context and with the right audience.

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.

Spotlight on Local News: How Patch, the Hyperlocal News Platform, Tracks 1,200 Towns Across America Using CrowdTangle

By Christopher Miles and Amber Burgess, News Partnerships at CrowdTangle 

Patch has a hyperlocal presence in over 1,200 towns across America. Every town has a Facebook and Twitter account. For Liana Messina, Patch’s social media editor, managing these thousands of pages is a feat.

“We’re the only publisher with that many social accounts,” Liana says. “CrowdTangle is by far the best solution for tracking social performance at this scale without having to pull thousands of individual reports.”

The CrowdTangle platform allows Patch to track all of their thousands of pages in a single glimpse, as well as give their editors an edge in sourcing news in smaller locales across America.

“CrowdTangle has given us the ability to track follower growth and interactions by page, by region, and by state, which has been key to identifying our most successful social media practitioners in the field,” Patch editor-in-chief Dennis Robaugh says.

Dennis explains that engagement and growth drive Patch’s social strategy. CrowdTangle has helped consolidate and execute that strategy.

Here are four ways Patch is using CrowdTangle to succeed on social media.

 

1. They Customize the Heck Out Of CrowdTangle

“Customization is key,” Liana says. “We have multiple dashboards and hundreds of lists within those dashboards. For each Patch site, there is a custom, hyperlocal list of organizations, nonprofits and influencers. We have reporters across the country using this data in different ways, which is a really unique thing about Patch.”

Regional Lists help organize Patch’s social media pages for tracking and reporting.

For internal reporting, Patch tracks everything through lists they’ve set up in CrowdTangle around all their social accounts. These lists are organized by region so Liana and her team can easily compare social performance across those audiences.

They use the data in these reports to answer various questions around social strategy.

“Which region has the highest follower growth? What is that editorial team doing differently? What type of content is resonating with our readers there? Then we get more granular by downloading Leaderboard reports, focusing on interaction numbers and follower growth at the town level.”

2. Patch Set Up All Those Notifications Your CrowdTangle Rep Always Tells You About

“Notifications have become an integral part of how we use CrowdTangle in the newsroom,” Liana says. “Integrating social media into our reporters’ daily routines — in an easy to digest format — is an important part of my role. Each member of our editorial team receives weekly Facebook digests “scorecards” via email for the towns they cover, highlighting key metrics and top over-performing posts. Leaderboard reports are automated to send on the first of every month so editors can dive into the data a little deeper. And of course, Slack! We set up CrowdTangle viral alerts in Slack for each region to monitor high-performing local content within Patch and across the Facebook network.”

Digests to show what is and isn’t working. Viral Alerts to track trending news.

The editor-in-chief says he gets notifications for Patch’s overperforming social posts by state as well as nationwide. “[This] allows me to keep tabs on our best social media work across a very wide network of sites and editors. Our social media fanbase is an important constituency, and I like to know that it’s being fed and nurtured. CrowdTangle allows me to do that efficiently.”

Remember it’s not just for Facebook: “Most recently, we’ve been testing out Instagram digests (customized by region) to monitor what’s trending and Leaderboard reports to track internal owned video views across all our Facebook pages,” Liana says.

3. Leaderboards

Leaderboard data for Patch’s top Facebook pages by total interactions for a 7-day period.

Over the last two years, Patch has added almost 1 million new Facebook followers — a 50 percent increase. For Patch, CrowdTangle’s Leaderboards are the most efficient way to track follower growth across their abundance of accounts.

“It’s truly life-changing to pull follower growth data for 1,200+ Facebook pages in 2 minutes,” Liana says.

4. The Chrome Extension, to Track Where Shares Are Coming From

A look at the Facebook and Reddit pages that shared a local Patch story using CrowdTangle’s Chrome Extension

The CrowdTangle Chrome Extension can best be used to see what networks a specific URL has been shared to.

Social editors can use it to see where content is getting huge engagement; reporters can use the tool to see who has shared their story. The Chrome Extension has been critical in tracking Patch’s social media.

“An unexplained social spike on Chartbeat can be easily solved with a click of a button,” Liana says. “I love finding out who is sharing our content and how they present it to their audience.”

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.

Samsung Starts Producing Industry’s First Universal Flash Storage For Next-Generation Automotive Applications

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it is introducing the industry’s first embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) solution for use in next-generation automotive applications. Consisting of 128-gigabyte (GB) and 64GB versions, the new eUFS solution has been designed for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), next-generation dashboards and infotainment systems that provide comprehensive connected features for drivers and passengers worldwide.

 

“We are taking a major step in accelerating the introduction of next-generation ADAS and automotive infotainment systems by offering the industry’s first eUFS solution for the market much earlier than expected,” said Jinman Han, Senior Vice President of Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung is taking the lead in the growth of the memory market for sophisticated automotive applications, while continuing to deliver leading-edge UFS solutions with higher performance, density and reliability.”

 

Embedded UFS solutions have been used in a variety of mobile applications since early 2015, when Samsung introduced 128GB embedded memory based on the JEDEC UFS 2.0 standard, for the first time in the industry. Since then, the high performance and proven quality of UFS has led to its wide adoption in large numbers of mobile devices from flagship smartphones initially, to also now in mid-market smartphones.

 

Configured on the most up-to-date UFS standard (JEDEC UFS 2.1), the new Samsung eUFSwill provide advanced data transfer speeds and robust data reliability. For example, the new Samsung 128GB eUFS can read data at up to 850 megabytes per second (MB/s), which is approximately 3.4 times faster than the 250MB/s read speed of today’s eMMC 5.0 solutions. It also offers about 6.3 times faster random reading than eMMC at 45,000 IOPS. This will contribute to significantly enhanced performance in upcoming automotive infotainment systems for better managing audio content, increasing navigation responsiveness, accessing Internet-enabled traffic and weather reports, improving handling of hands-free voice commands, and speeding up rear-seat social media interplay.

 

The new eUFS solution also features an efficient and reliable error-handling process, which is essential for next-generation in-vehicle infotainment. Based on the MIPI UniPro®* protocol, the eUFS enables detecting and recovering from I/O error on hardware layers, without having to involve the host software or restarting tasks.

 

In addition, the Samsung eUFS supports advanced data refresh and temperature notification features for superior system reliability. The advanced data refresh operation allows a choice of refresh methods, and provides information on the refresh unit, frequency and progress for the host device’s control. This enables optimal data reliability, an essential element of automotive applications.

 

When it comes to thermal management, the Samsung eUFS equips the temperature sensor inside the controller to enable highly reliable device temperature control. This prevents the eUFS from crossing well-defined upper and lower temperature boundaries, thereby allowing its NAND cells to flawlessly function within a tough automotive temperature environment.

 

In light of the eUFS’ high performance and reliability, Samsung expects rapid adoption in the automotive market. Samsung will continue to satisfy the growing storage needs of leading automotive manufacturers by offering a variety of advanced eUFS lineups, while more thoroughly addressing the ever-increasing demand for leading-edge memory solutions in other market segments, too.

 

 

* Editor’s Note: MIPI UniPro® is a general purpose, unified protocol that services a wide range of interface needs in mobile and connected devices. The interface was developed by the MIPI Alliance UniPro Working Group and has been available since 2007. Its current version, v1.61, was released in 2015. For more information, please visit https://mipi.org.

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!

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