Clarifying Recent Tests

By Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed There have been a number of reports about a test we’re running in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. Some have interpreted this test as a future product we plan to…

Inclusion in action: enabling transformative change with accessible technologies

Leading up to International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, we’re unveiling a new video series celebrating six individuals who are using accessible technologies to help transform their lives. We’re excited to start today with a video about Andrew, an eight-year-old boy with dyslexia…

The post Inclusion in action: enabling transformative change with accessible technologies appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

124th IACP Underway: Law Enforcement Tech to be highlighted

Cisco is excited to be a Platinum Sponsor for the 124th Annual IACP Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia. Every year, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) brings together Law Enforcement leaders from around the nation to learn, network and problem solve about the hot topics in their industry. And this year’s theme, Solutions […]

Fall into autumn with #teampixel

With autumn in full swing, we’re taking note of the warmer colors being whisked into our feeds. This week, #teampixel wonderfully captures fall’s color palette, from burnt siennas to bright oranges. So grab a cup of tea, cozy up to the fire and flip through our favorite fall finds.

  • teampixel (1).png
    Left: the streets are on fire by @pipps_rogers. Right: fall feels by @nmbenoy
  • samarthv.pattar.jpg
    A muddy reflection by @samarthv.pattar
  • teampixel composite
    Left: the coast is clear in Amsterdam by @prateekkeshari. Right: terra cotta colored leaves in France by @axel_saly
  • krish_gan.jpeg
    It’s raining in Chennai by @krish_gan

You can also join @verizon and #teampixel as we pass along a Google Pixel 2 from coast to coast on Instagram. Check out some of the stunning photos from the trip—in scenic Athens, NY, historic Paris, TX, and delicious Venice, CA.

Want to get featured on The Keyword and @google? Make sure to tag your photos with #teampixel and you might be next.

Say “yes” to HTTPS: Chrome secures the web, one site at a time

Editor’s note: October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we’re celebrating with a series of security announcements this week. See our earlier posts on new security protections tailored for you, our new Advanced Protection Program, and our progress fighting phishing.

Security has always been one of Chrome’s core principles—we constantly work to build the most secure web browser to protect our users. Two recent studies concluded that Chrome was the most secure web browser in multiple aspects of security, with high rates of catching dangerous and deceptive sites, lightning-fast patching of vulnerabilities, and multiple layers of defenses.

About a year ago, we announced that we would begin marking all sites that are not encrypted with HTTPS as “not secure” in Chrome. We wanted to help people understand when the site they’re on is not secure, and at the same time, provide motivation to that site’s owner to improve the security of their site. We knew this would take some time, and so we started by only marking pages without encryption that collect passwords and credit cards. In the next phase, we began showing the “not secure” warning in two additional situations: when people enter data on an HTTP page, and on all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode.

http search

It’s only been a year, but HTTPS usage has already made some incredible progress. You can see all of this in our public Transparency Report:

  • 64 percent of Chrome traffic on Android is now protected, up from 42 percent a year ago.

  • Over 75 percent of Chrome traffic on both ChromeOS and Mac is now protected, up from 60 percent on Mac and 67 percent on Chrome OS a year ago

  • 71 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default, up from 37 a year ago

percentage of page loads over HTTPS in Chrome by platform
Percent of page loads over HTTPS in Chrome by platform

We’re also excited to see HTTPS usage increasing around the world. For example, we’ve seen HTTPS usage surge recently in Japan; large sites like Rakuten, Cookpad, Ameblo, and Yahoo Japan all made major headway towards HTTPS in 2017. Because of this, we’ve seen HTTPS in Japan surge from 31 percent to 55 percent in the last year, measured via Chrome on Windows. We see similar upward trends in other regions—HTTPS is up from 50 percent to 66 percent in Brazil, and 59 percent to 73 percent in the U.S.!

Ongoing efforts to bring encryption to everyone

To help site owners migrate (or originally create!) their sites on HTTPS, we want to make sure the process is as simple and cheap as possible. Let’s Encrypt is a free and automated certificate authority that makes securing your website cheap and easy. Google Chrome remains a Platinum sponsor of Let’s Encrypt in 2017, and has committed to continue that support next year.

Google also recently announced managed SSL for Google App Engine, and has started securing entire top-level Google domains like .foo and .dev by default with HSTS. These advances help make HTTPS automatic and painless, to make sure we’re moving towards a web that’s secure by default.

HTTPS is easier and cheaper than ever before, and it enables both the best performance the web offers and powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP. There’s never been a better time to migrate! Developers, check out our set-up guides to get started.

Expanding access to renewable energy in the EU

Earlier this year, we hosted an event in Brussels that brought business leaders, policy makers and civil society together to discuss ways to ensure EU renewable energy policy meets the changing needs of consumers. Last week, we were back in Brussels to continue the discussion at RE-Source, the largest gathering in the EU to-date of companies committed to buying renewable energy to cover their operations.

With 14 data centers on four continents and offices in 150 cities around the globe, Google consumes a lot of power. And combating climate change requires the world to transition to a clean energy economy. So we’ve made it a top priority not only to become more energy efficient but also to ensure that the energy we purchase comes from clean sources such as renewables. We have also found that purchasing energy from renewable resources also makes good business sense, for two key reasons:

  • The cost to produce and deploy renewable energy technologies like wind and solar has come down precipitously in recent years. In fact, in a growing number of areas, renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy available on the grid.
  • For those of us who manage a global power portfolio like many corporations, renewable energy contracts provide financial certainty and protection against fuel-price volatility.
Gary Demasi at RE SOURCE
Gary Demasi, Global Director of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy, during a fireside chat with Sonja van Renssen, Co-founder, Energy Post, at RE-Source 2017

Google is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world. To date, we’ve signed contracts to purchase 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy. In the EU alone, we have signed 669 MW of deals across 8 projects in Sweden, Norway, and The Netherlands and we are on track to reach 100% renewable energy for our operations in 2017—a major milestone. You can read more about our global sustainability efforts in the 2017 progress update of Google’s Environmental Report.

Despite this progress, many barriers to purchasing renewable energy still exist. The challenge ahead is to drive even more renewable purchasing and grow the size of the market. The EU is currently considering a series of directives on clean energy that provide opportunity to remove many of these barriers.  We look forward to working with EU policymakers and other stakeholders to ensure these efforts maximize the opportunity to scale renewables across Europe. For us, reaching 100% renewable energy purchasing on a global and annual basis is an important milestone but we’re just getting started. We want to help ensure that all energy consumers have a clear and easy path to choosing renewable sources.

The High Five: this week’s trends have a sweet tooth

A celebrity baby on the way, a sidelined NBA player, and ice cream for dessert: here’s a look at the week’s top-searched trends, with data from the Google News Lab.

Sing us a lullaby, you’re the Piano Man

Search interest in “Billy Joel age” went up nearly 8,000 percent this week after it was announced that the 68-year-old musician and his wife Alexis are expecting a child. Age was top of mind in the other searches as well: people asked “How old is Billy Joel’s wife?” and “How old is Billy Joel’s daughter?” as well as “How many children does Billy Joel have?”

I scream, you scream, we all search for the Museum of Ice Cream

After it it was reported that sprinkles from San Francisco’s Museum of Ice Cream (the interactive, social media-friendly art installation that’s already swept Los Angeles) have been found all around the city, search interest in “Museum of Ice Cream” rose nearly 5,00 percent. People are searching for the scoop: “How much are Museum of Ice Cream tickets?” “Who created the Museum of Ice Cream?” and “How to start something like the Museum of Ice Cream?” (Apparently it takes a lot of sprinkles.) And while we’re dishing out the ice cream trends … the top-searched types of ice cream this week were “rolled ice cream,” “mochi ice cream,” and “vegan ice cream.”

NBA season tips off

After Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward fell to the floor with a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle on Wednesday (the first night of the NBA season), people searched: “How long will Gordon Hayward be out?” “How long does a fractured ankle take to heal?” and “How long is Gordon Hayward’s contract with the Celtics?” After the injury, search interest in Gordon Hayward shot up nearly 52,000 percent—making him the most searched NBA player on opening night (followed by LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Steph Curry).

Let them eat (10-foot) cake

Rapper Gucci Mane had an extravagant wedding this week, and the highlight was a 10-foot-tall $75,000 cake, prompting people to search: “How much was Gucci Mane’s wedding?” “Where was Gucci Mane’s wedding?” and “Who was at Gucci Mane’s wedding?” (Hopefully enough people to eat all that cake.) While the decadent dessert may have raised questions about the rapper’s fortune, interest in “Gucci Mane wedding” was searched 2.5 times more than “Gucci Mane net worth.”

I’m feeling spooky

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, some have existential questions about the holiday (the top searched question was ”Why do people wear costumes for Halloween?”), while others are focused on finding the perfect costume: “What should I be for Halloween?” “How to make a Halloween costume?” and “What is the most popular Halloween costume?” We’ve got the last question covered—Google’s Frightgeist can tell you what people around the country or in your own hometown are searching for this Halloween.

New Android Management API delivers simple, powerful tools for enterprise

Managing mobile devices and applications can be a challenge for businesses and partners of all sizes.

Today, our Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) partners write their own management app in order to enable management of Android devices; we call this a “device policy controller” (DPC) app. A DPC app is essentially an agent deployed by the EMM, with the real value living in the console and back end, which the app communicates with directly.  

Now, with our newest tool, the Android Management API, customers and EMMs can manage devices using a server-side API and eliminate the need to write a management app. The Android Management API takes on this complexity so partners can focus on what’s important to their customers and not worry about the underlying Android framework.

Now, creating policies for your device fleet is as simple as creating a Google Cloud project and making a couple of REST API calls. The Android Management API is built around policies, rather than discrete transactions; just tell the API how a device should be managed.

Behind the scenes, Google interprets these policies into a specific set of actions for the target device, and executes those requests using the Android Device Policy app, a Google-made managing agent. Because we provides the managing agent, developers don’t need to handle nuances of the framework implementation, such as which APIs are available or what bugs need to be worked around on given versions of Android.

Android devices

We’ve been testing the Android Management API with several early access partners. Mobiltec, which has launched a validated Corporate Owned Single-Use (COSU) solution, found the new API sped up the company’s EMM efforts by easing back on some development needs.

“Android Management API is a powerful Cloud Platform API that allows us to easily integrate Android EMM functions to cloud4mobile, our EMM tool. With this new management API, we can deliver top-of-market EMM solutions to a wide range of devices,” says Paulo Morandi, senior software architect at Mobiltec. “Since we don’t need to develop our own DPC (device policy controller), new features can be added in minutes; just some HTTP requests and you are done.”

 

The Android Management API is compatible with any device running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) or above that has Google Play installed. Designed with the needs of businesses in mind, it doesn’t matter if an organization’s devices come from one or many manufacturers—this new API provides a consistent way to manage a device.

Our first set of APIs focus on purpose-built devices use cases, such as digital signage, ticket printing, or kiosks. Over the coming months, our team of engineers will add more features to cover knowledge worker management use cases, and ultimately all Android enterprise solution sets.

The Android Management API is now available in beta for all partners and developers, whether they are developing EMM software, purpose-built specific applications, or an in-house solution for an organization.

Want to try it out? Using Google’s API Explorer, you can try out the API and provision a device in minutes. All you need is a new or factory reset Android 6.0+ device and a Gmail account. Check out the Quick Start Guide to discover how quickly things can get up and running. We hope this makes development easier for partners and helps them bring the latest Android features to customers faster.

Shields are in, brooms are out: this year’s top Halloween costume trends

What are you dressing up as this year? Every Halloween, people across the United States turn to Google to search for what to wear on the spookiest night of the year. And with our tool Frightgeist, you’ll get a view of Halloween costume trends across the U.S., and you can see the most-searched costumes near you (and avoid those embarrassing Halloween party costume clashes).

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This year, the top 10 costume list reflects everything from movie hits like “Wonder Woman” and “It” to the perennial appeal of the (walking) undead.

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Harley Quinn
  3. Clown
  4. Unicorn
  5. Rabbit
  6. Witch
  7. Mouse
  8. Pirate
  9. Zombie
  10. Dinosaur

If the top 10 isn’t enough, you can explore the top 100 costumes across the country: Click on a costume and you can see how it’s trending, where it’s searched, and how it’s changed over time. In the top 100 list, film characters account for a fifth of costume searches, followed by animals at 12 percent and comic book characters at 11 percent.

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In 2016 Harley Quinn, inspired by “Suicide Squad,” ruled All Hallows Eve—but this year the Princess of the Amazons has dethroned her. We’re also seeing some new entries to the list—these are new additions to the top 100 list since last Halloween:

  1. Moana
  2. IT
  3. Emoji
  4. Stranger Things
  5. Thing 1

To see what people are searching in your hometown or other cities around the country, click on “Costume Map.” (We see you and your elephants, Casper, WY. But no love for the friendly ghost?)

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 2.13.00 PM.png

Just because a costume is in the top 10 doesn’t mean it will stay there. These are the costumes with the biggest drop in rankings over the last year:

1. Maleficent

2. Knight

3. Frankenstein

4. Evil Queen

5. Snow White

And if you still can’t decide what to wear, you should check out the costume wizard. Set the spookiness and originality settings and see what it comes back with.

Selling Security for Tomorrow’s Internet: Where Do You Start?

Setting the Stage October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the U.S., and the Cyber Security Month In Europe. Cisco is proud to be a Champion Sponsor. Throughout the month, the cyber security community comes together to highlight the simple steps that can be taken to stay safe online, and why cyber security matters to everyone. […]

Architecting a More Secure Future

The new age of innovation is providing a level of convenience and technological advancements that were once unfathomable. But with every breakthrough comes challenges, and more precisely these days, security challenges. We, in the security industry, are constantly faced with new threats emerging from vectors that didn’t even exist yesterday. Enterprise Security vs. Consumer Convenience […]

Turn the Lights on in Your Automated Application Deployments – Part 2

In the previous post we described the benefit of using Application Automation in conjunction with Network Analytics in the Data Centre, a Public Cloud or both. We described two solutions from Cisco that offer great value individually, and we also explained how they can multiply their power when used together in an integrated way. This […]

Industrial to Enterprise – One, Secure Network

The greater Houston area, our employees, and everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey remain a focus for Rockwell Automation and for Cisco. Our primary goal is to support our employees, our customers, and to get customer facilities back up and operational as quickly as possible. In this spirit, Automation Fair, PSUG and other related events will […]

Vulnerability Spotlight: Google PDFium Tiff Code Execution

Overview Talos is disclosing a single off-by-one read/write vulnerability found in the TIFF image decoder functionality of PDFium as used in Google Chrome up to and including version 60.0.3112.101. Google Chrome is the most widely used web browser today and a specially crafted PDF could trigger the vulnerability resulting in memory corruption, possible information leak, […]

10 things you can do with your new Pixel 2

It’s here! Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL hit shelves today in the U.S. Here’s a few things you can do with your Pixel 2, right out of the box.

1. Transfer your stuff from your old phone in less than 10 minutes—photos, videos, music, contacts, calendar events, apps, messages, and more. Just plug in the the cord and follow the simple instructions on the screen to make the switch. If you need help, there’s a team available 24/7 to talk you through it.

2. Say cheese! Pixel 2 has the highest-rated smartphone camera ever, with a DxOMark Mobile score of 98. Take brilliant photos in any light, and play around with new exposure controls and features like Smartburst, which takes a rapid-fire sequence of shots. Get motion photos with every shot. Pixel 2 also comes with incredible video stabilization, thanks to a combination of both optical and electronic image stabilization.

3. Focus. New portrait mode in the Pixel 2 front and rear cameras gives you crisp, beautiful portraits and selfies with a gorgeous background blur (on both Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL). For more on portrait mode, including some tips for how to take the best portraits, see this post.

portrait mode

4. Get unlimited storage for all your memories. All Pixel 2 users get free unlimited storage in the highest resolution for all of the photos and videos taken on your Pixel with Google Photos.

5. Search what you see with Google Lens in Google Photos. With this preview, just for Pixel 2 users, you can learn about the world around you and get things done. Save phone numbers and email addresses right to your contacts; learn more about landmarks, artwork, books, movies, music albums, and video games; or copy and share URLs from posters.

google lens gif

6. Just squeeze the sides of your phone, say “Ok Google,” or long press the Home button to call on your Google Assistant for help finding answers and getting things done. The Google Assistant understands you, so you don’t have to edit the text messages you dictate. Ask to play a song on Google Play Music, YouTube Music, or Spotify. Or control your phone by saying “turn on night light, “do not disturb” or “change my ringtone” and your Google Assistant will make it happen—no need to dig into settings.

7. Get big entertainment wherever you go. Pixel 2 comes with a razor-sharp display and dual front-facing stereo speakers for crystal-clear sound. It also delivers high quality audio through the new USB-C headphone port and through the updated, hi-fi Bluetooth support. With Fast Pair, you can quickly and easily set up compatible wireless headphones with just a tap.

8. See the important stuff at a glance. With Always-On-Display, you can see the time and notifications without waking up your phone.

9. Name that tune. On your Always-On-Display, the Now Playing feature will show you song and artist info for music playing around you. This works entirely on the device, so no audio is sent to Google.

10. Play well with others. Pixel is made to work seamlessly with your other Google devices. Say “Ok Google, play recommended videos on the TV” and your Assistant helps you keep watching on Chromecast without missing a beat. Or ask your Assistant on Google Home to “find my phone” to hear it ring and find its last location. We’re adding new features all the time, and as the rest of our hardware family hits stores this fall, your Pixel will work with those too.

Playtime 2017: Find success on Google Play and grow your business with new Play Console features


Posted by Vineet Buch, Director of Product Management, Google Play Apps & Games

Today we kicked off our annual global Playtime series with back-to-back events in Berlin and San Francisco. Over the next month, we’ll be hearing from many app and game developers in cities around the world. It has been an amazing 2017 for developers on Google Play, there are now more than 8 billion new installs per month globally.
To help you continue to take advantage of this opportunity, we’re announcing innovations on Google Play and new features in the Play Console. Follow us on Medium where presenters will be posting their strategies, best practices, and examples to help you achieve your business objectives. As Google Play continues to grow rapidly, we want to help people understand our business. That’s why we’re also publishing the State of Play 2017 report that will be updated annually to help you stay informed about our progress and how we’re helping developers succeed.
Apps and games on Google Play bring your devices to life, whether they’re phones and tablets, Wear devices, TVs, Daydream, or Chromebooks like the new Google Pixelbook. We’re making it even easier for people to discover and re-engage with great content on the Play Store.

Recognizing the best

We’re investing in curation and editorial to showcase the highest quality apps and games we love. The revamped Editors’ Choice is now live in 17 countries and Android Excellence recently welcomed new apps and games. We also continue to celebrate and support indie games, recently announcing winners of the Indie Games Festival in San Francisco and opening the second Indie Games Contest in Europe for nominations.

Discovering great games

We’ve launched an improved home for games with trailers and screenshots of gameplay and two new browse destinations are coming soon, ‘New’ (for upcoming and trending games) and ‘Premium’ (for paid games).

Going beyond installs

We’re showing reminders to try games you’ve recently installed and we’re expanding our successful ‘live operations’ banners on the Play Store, telling you about major in-game events in popular games you’ve got on your device. We’re also excited to integrate Android Instant Apps with a ‘Try Now‘ button on store listings. With a single tap, people can jump right into the app experience without installing.

The new games experience on Google Play
The Google Play Console offers tools which help you and your team members at every step of an app’s lifecycle. Use the Play Console to improve app quality, manage releases with confidence, and increase business performance.

Focus on quality

Android vitals were introduced at I/O 2017 and already 65% of top developers are using the dashboard to understand their app’s performance. We’re adding five new Android vitals and increasing device coverage to help you address issues relating to battery consumption, crashes, and render time. Better performing apps are favored by Google Play’s search and discovery algorithms.
We’re improving pre-launch reports and enabling them for all developers with no need to opt-in. When you upload an alpha or beta APK, we’ll automatically install and test your app on physical, popular devices powered by Firebase Test Lab. The report will tell you about crashes, display issues, security vulnerabilities, and now, performance issues encountered.
When you install a new app, you expect it to open and perform normally. To ensure people installing apps and games from Google Play have a positive experience and developers benefit from being part of a trusted ecosystem, we are introducing a policy to disallow apps which consistently exhibit broken experiences on the majority of devices such as​ crashing,​ closing,​ ​freezing,​ ​or​ ​otherwise​ ​functioning​ ​abnormally. Learn more in the policy center.

Release with confidence

Beta testing lets trusted users try your app or game before it goes to production so you can iterate on your ideas and gather feedback. You can now target alpha and beta tests to specific countries. This allows you to, for example, beta test in a country you’re about to launch in, while people in other countries receive your production app. We’ll be bringing country-targeting to staged rollouts soon.
We’ve also made improvements to the device catalog. Over 66% of top developers are using the catalog to ensure they provide a great user experience on the widest range of devices. You can now save device searches and see why a specific device doesn’t support your app. Navigate to the device catalog and review the terms of service to get started.

Grow your subscriptions business

At I/O 2017 we announced that both the number of subscribers on Play and the subscriptions business revenue doubled in the preceding year. We’re making it easier to setup and manage your subscription service with the Play Billing Library and, soon, new test instruments to simplify testing your flows for successful and unsuccessful payments.
We’re helping you acquire and retain more subscribers. You can offer shorter free trials, at a minimum of three days, and we will now enforce one free trial at the app level to reduce the potential for abuse. You can opt-in to receive notifications when someone cancels their subscription and we’re making it easier for people to restore a canceled subscription. Account hold is now generally available, where you can block access to your service while we get a user to fix a renewal payment issue. Finally, from January 2018 we’re also updating our transaction fee for subscribers who are retained for more than 12 months.

Announcing the Google Play Security Reward Program

At Google, we have long enjoyed a close relationship with the security research community. Today we’re introducing the Google Play Security Reward Program to incentivize security research into popular Android apps, including Google’s own apps. The program will help us find vulnerabilities and notify developers via security recommendations on how to fix them. We hope to bring the success we have with our other reward programs, and we invite developers and the research community to work together with us on proactively improving Google Play ecosystem’s security.

Stay up to date with Google Play news and tips

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Helping NASA and JPL bring the surface of Mars to your browser

On August 6, 2012, the Curiosity rover landed on Mars. Ever since, it’s been searching for evidence that Mars has ever been suitable for life. It’s also been photographing the Martian terrain in great detail. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab use these photos to create a 3D model of Mars. It’s a one-of-a-kind scientific tool for planning future missions.

Today, we’re putting that same 3D model into an immersive experience for everyone to explore. We call it Access Mars, and it lets you see what the scientists see. Get a real look at Curiosity’s landing site and other mission sites like Pahrump Hills and Murray Buttes. Plus, JPL will continuously update the data so you can see where Curiosity has just been in the past few days or weeks. All along the way, JPL scientist Katie Stack Morgan will be your guide, explaining key points about the rover, the mission, and some of the early findings.

The experience is built using WebVR, a technology that lets you see virtual reality right in your browser, without installing any apps. You can try it on a virtual reality headset, phone, or laptop.

Check it out at g.co/accessmars.

And if you’re an educator, we’ve updated our Mars tour in Google Expeditions with highlights from this experience. To try it with your class or in self-guided mode, download the Expeditions app from Google Play or the App Store.