8 swift steps G Suite admins can take to secure business data

Security doesn’t have to be complicated. With G Suite, admins can manage and help protect their users with minimal effort because we’ve designed our tools to be intuitive—like Vault, which helps with eDiscovery and audit needs, and data loss prevention, which helps ensure that your “‘aha”’ moments stay yours. Here are some key security controls that you can deploy with just a few clicks to get more fine-grained control of your organization’s security.

1. Enable Hangouts out-of-domain warnings

If your business allows employees to chat with external users on Hangouts, turn on a setting that will show warnings to your users if anyone outside of your domain tries to join a Hangout, and split existing group chats so external users can’t see previous internal conversations. This substantially reduces the risk of data leaks or falling prey to social engineering attacks (From the Admin console dashboard, go to Apps > G Suite > Google Hangouts > Chat settings > Sharing options).

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2. Disable email forwarding

Exercising this option will disable the automatic email forwarding feature for users, which in turn helps reduce the risk of data exfiltration in the event a user’s credentials are compromised.

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3. Enable early phishing detection

Enabling this option adds further checks on potentially suspicious emails prior to delivery. Early phishing detection utilizes a dedicated machine learning model that selectively delays messages to perform rigorous phishing analysis. Less than 0.05 percent of messages on average get delayed by a few minutes, so your users will still get their information fast.

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4. Examine OAuth-based access to third-party apps

OAuth apps whitelisting helps keep company data safe by letting you specifically select which third-party apps are allowed to access users’ G Suite data. Once an app is part of a whitelist, users can choose to grant authorized access to their G Suite apps data. This helps to prevent malicious apps from tricking people into accidentally granting access to corporate data.

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5. Check that unintended external reply warning for Gmail is turned on.

Gmail can display unintended external reply warnings to users to help prevent data loss. You can enable this option to ensure that if your users try to respond to someone outside of your company domain, they’ll receive a quick warning to make sure they intended to send that email. Because Gmail has contextual intelligence, it knows if the recipient is an existing contact or someone your users interact with regularly, so it only displays relevant warnings. This option is on by default.

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6. Restrict external calendar

To reduce the incidence of data leaks, make sure that Google Calendar details aren’t shared outside your domain. Limiting sharing to “free” or “busy” information protects you from social engineering attacks that depend on gleaning information from meeting titles and attendees.

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7. Limit access to Google Groups

By setting default Google group access to private, you can limit external access to information channels that may contain confidential business information, like upcoming projects.

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8. Google+ access restrictions

Make the default sharing setting for Google+ restricted and disable discoverability of Google+ profiles outside your domain. Both of these actions can help you control access to critical business information.

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Every company has their own unique set of business requirements that need to work in rhythm with their security requirements. By evaluating and implementing some of these suggested security controls, you can make a marked difference in your company’s security posture—with just a few clicks. See this post for other security tips.

Google Cloud rolls out data processing terms addressing GDPR changes

On May 25, 2018, the most significant piece of European data protection legislation to be introduced in 20 years will come into force when the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces its 1995 Data Protection Directive. We know that preparing for this regulatory change is a priority for the millions of organizations who rely on our cloud services to run their businesses, and it’s equally a priority for us.

Yesterday we rolled out the Data Processing Amendment (Version 2.0) for G Suite and the Data Processing and Security Terms (Version 2.0) for Google Cloud Platform (GCP), both of which have been specifically updated to reflect the GDPR. We’re making these terms available well in advance of the entry into force of the GDPR to facilitate our customers’ compliance assessments and GDPR readiness when using Google Cloud services. Our customers can opt in now to these updated versions within the admin consoles for G Suite and GCP (as applicable).

Google is committed to GDPR compliance and to helping our customers with their own compliance journeys. Further information regarding Google Cloud and the GDPR is available on our Cloud GDPR website.

Opportunity for everyone

Editor’s note: Today in Pittsburgh, PA, we announced three initiatives that expand on our efforts to create more opportunity for everyone: Grow with Google, a new initiative to help Americans with the skills they need to get a job or grow their business, $1 billion in Google.org grants over five years to nonprofits around the world, and 1 million hours that Googlers can volunteer to nonprofits. This is a modified version of the remarks our CEO Sundar Pichai gave at today’s event.

To me Pittsburgh is a special place. It was the first city I saw in America when I came here 24 years ago. It was the first time I left India. In fact, it was the first time I’d been inside a plane. My aunt and uncle have lived here for over 30 years and were kind enough to let me stay with them for a few days. My aunt took me to see my first mall in the U.S. I remember riding up and the down the hills of the city, feeling a little carsick. It’s pretty hilly down here.  We even went on a road trip to see the Niagara Falls, but what I really remember was when my uncle pointed out a Cadillac on the road. I had only seen Cadillacs in movies before, and that was pretty amazing to see.

When people talked about Pittsburgh, they typically talked about the pioneers of the industrial revolution and steel. But to me, Pittsburgh was about an amazing university, Carnegie Mellon, and its great computer science department. I was here before the Internet really took off, but the city was already changing. The number of high-tech jobs had doubled.  And the pace of change has never slowed since. As a new arrival, I was homesick but struck by something new: the sense of optimism.

I remain a technology optimist. Not because I believe in technology, but because I believe in people.

At Google, our mission is to make sure that information serves everyone, not just a few. A child in a school here in Pittsburgh can access the same information on Google as a professor at Carnegie Mellon. In the end, the Internet is a powerful equalizer, capable of propelling new ideas and people forward.

It means that people like Nisha Blackwell can use Google’s tools to bounce back from being laid off from a coffee shop. And to do it not by looking for work, but by pursuing their passions; to become entrepreneurs. She learned how to sew and make bow ties on YouTube. She attended a Google-sponsored program aimed at urban entrepreneurs that inspired her to start Knotzland, a handcrafted bowtie company that she runs out of the Homewood neighborhood. Nisha is here with us today and we’re humbled by the impact she’s had on her community.

Nisha Blackwell: Self-taught CEO

Nisha Blackwell: Self-taught CEO

Nisha learned how to sew and make bow ties on YouTube. Now she runs Knotzland, a handcrafted bow tie company.

We also think better access to information can revitalize local and family businesses in today’s economy. A fire and the financial crisis of 2008 forced Scott Baker’s family baking business that had been around since 1875 into bankruptcy. He rebuilt his family’s heritage on a new digital foundation: He restarted the business as 5 Generation Bakers and uses Google’s tools to reach consumers across the northeast. The Jenny Lee swirl bread that’s been his family’s trademark is still available to buy, marketed in an entirely new way. Scott, we’re glad to have you with us today, and I look forward to having some swirl bread later.

5 Generation Bakers: Remaking a legacy

5 Generation Bakers: Remaking a legacy

Scott Baker rebuilt his family’s baking heritage on a new digital foundation.

Nisha and Scott’s stories are inspiring, but they’re also inspiringly normal. These kinds of transformations happen across the city, across the state, across the nation, every day. In Pennsylvania, about 58,000 businesses and nonprofits use our search and advertising tools to grow. We estimate last year that those tools helped generate economic activity of about $6.32 billion in this state alone. And when you look across the nation that impact rises to at least $222 billion. And that’s because they’re built for everyone.

We think the Internet should allow everyone to become a developer, entrepreneur or creator, and we build our platforms around that. Researchers estimate that Android supported about 1.3 million developer jobs in the U.S. in 2016. Last year in the U.S., we paid out $13.5 billion to a range of distribution and content partners. That includes news publishers, developers and all those YouTube creators.

We’re always asking how we can make sure the opportunities created by new technology are available for everyone, in any city, in any state.

In asking that, we recognize that there are large gaps in opportunity across the U.S.  

These are tough gaps. For instance, the nature of work is fundamentally changing. And that is shifting the link between education, training and opportunity. Young people already feel this. An Economist survey found that less than half of 18- to 25-year-olds believe their education gives them the skills they need to enter today’s workforce. That’s a significant gap that’s only going to become more urgent. One-third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today.

It’s a big problem and, at Google, whenever we see a big problem, we ask how we can make it easier for everyone to solve it.

We’ve been looking at our products for new opportunities to help people navigate this new terrain. We recently used machine learning to find a new way to search for job postings that cluster jobs by location, sector and industry. And it works. Since launching earlier this year, we have connected tens of millions of people to new job opportunities. The number of job postings appearing on Google Search in Pittsburgh has increased six-fold.

We’ve also been looking outside of Google for fresh approaches. Since 2005, 1 percent of our profits have gone to finding innovative nonprofits and helping them expand with funding, tools, and volunteers from around Google. Just in the past few months, we’ve committed $100 million to nonprofits tackling gaps in the labor market and in education. Today, we’re committing a further $20 million to organizations including UNHCR, Learning Equality, and Room to Read.

We’re seeing how hard educational gaps can be overcome. We’ve already brought down the price of schoolroom tech through Google for Education and over 70 million teachers and students worldwide use our free education products.

But technology alone isn’t enough, and even with tech, some schools are struggling. The Dynamic Learning Project makes sure that teachers have the coaching they need to get the most out of whatever tech resources they have. We’re working on this in 50 underserved schools, and 11 of them are in Allegheny County. I’ll be visiting one later today.

That’s one example among many. As we looked across all our programs, we saw three ways to greatly enhance opportunity for everyone. And we’re announcing them today.

  • We’re launching Grow with Google, a new initiative to help Americans with the skills they need to get a job or grow their business.

  • Globally, we will provide $1 billion in grants over the next five years to nonprofits working on three key areas that we think will boost opportunity.  

  • Finally, Googlers can volunteer 1 million hours to help these front-line organizations.

First, Grow with Google is there to give anyone in America the tools and training they need to get a job, for free. We understand there’s uncertainty and even concern about the pace of technological change. But we know that technology will be an engine of America’s growth for years to come.

We’ve launched an online hub—google.com/grow—where job seekers, teachers, local business owners, and developers can get significant training and professional certificates.

So if you’re looking to learn or teach the skills that employers value, look up Applied Digital Skills. We’ve been workshopping this with 27,000 students at middle and high schools. It teaches you the basics of working with tech in the modern world: from spreadsheets to email. It’s now available to everyone, and we’re looking to expand it to community colleges and vocational programs. We’re also launching a G Suite certification that will allow people to prove their proficiency in essential workplace tools.  

For people who want to get closer to tech, we’re also putting together programs to make IT far more accessible as a career. In January we’ll launch a first-of-its-kind program in IT support that we developed on Coursera. The IT Support Professional Certificate includes hands-on labs to take learners to job readiness in eight to 12 months. We will sponsor 2,600 full scholarships through non-profit organizations; 100 of them will go to an organization here in Pittsburgh, Partner4Work. To ensure these courses directly translate into jobs, we’re connecting graduates with potential employers including Bank of America, L’Oreal, PNC Bank, and, of course, Google.

And for people who want to build tech directly, I can’t think of a better start than becoming a developer. We’re launching the Google Developer Scholarship Challenge, a rigorous training program, free of charge. This is a partnership with Udacity to offer 50,000 scholarship opportunities for people who want to build things on the web and Android.

All these programs are available wherever you have an Internet connection. But we also recognize that there’s no substitute for meeting people when you’re looking to switch careers or move your life into new territory.

So we’re launching a Grow with Google tour. Googlers will team up with libraries and community organizations across the country to host these events. We’ll provide career advice and training for people and businesses, including helping small businesses get online. Our first stop is Pittsburgh. The next stop will be Indianapolis, another fast-growing city for technology jobs.

  • A023C003_160125CK.00_00_00_19.Still020.jpg
    Students at Langley K-8 School in Pittsburgh, PA use Chromebooks as a part of a science experiment. The Dynamic Learning Project is a pilot program that provides coaching for teachers on integrating technology into their classrooms in meaningful ways.
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    Applied Digital Skills is an online curriculum that uses project-based learning to teach collaborative digital skills—like using spreadsheets and building websites—that will be useful in an evolving job market. Around 27,000 people have already used the curriculum, and now it’s available to everyone.
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    The new Grow with Google site offers free trainings, tools, and events to help you grow your skills, career or business. We’re also going on a tour across the U.S.,partnering with local libraries, community organizations and workforce development boards to provide free in-person training, demos, coaching and more.
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    As part of the Grow with Google initiative, we’re introducing a developer scholarship challenge in partnership with Udacity to offer 50,000 opportunities for current and aspiring web and Android developers to earn full nanodegree scholarships; as well as a program in IT support that we developed with Coursera that takes beginner learners to entry-level job readiness in about 8-12 months (coming in January).

I’m optimistic about the impact that these programs will have. But as I said before, we’re looking for a bigger change. That requires a deeper partnership with the people working on these gaps around the world.

And that’s why we’re committing to give $1 billion to front-line organizations addressing these challenges over five years.

Google.org will use its philanthropic expertise to fund organizations working in three areas: closing the world’s education gap, helping people prepare for the changing nature of work, and ensuring that no one is excluded from opportunity.

I already spoke of some grants in these areas. Today, we’re announcing $10 million in support of Goodwill, the United States’ largest workforce development nonprofit, to launch the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator. It is the largest grant Google.org has ever given to a single organization.

Goodwill’s mission to train

Goodwill’s mission to train

We’re announcing $10 million in support of Goodwill—the largest grant Google.org has ever given to a single organization.

Goodwill has phenomenal reach. Over 80 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of its centers. And it has a long record of helping people who despaired of ever getting work again. With our support, it will be able to offer 1.2 million people digital skills and career opportunities in all 156 Goodwills across every state over the next three years. We also have an open invitation to nonprofits to submit their ideas to address economic opportunity in Pittsburgh to the Pittsburgh Impact Challenge; the winners will get funds and mentoring from Google.

We hope these nonprofits will find these funds transformative.

We’ve always believed that to truly help organizations, you have to offer your time along with your philanthropy.

Googlers are committing 1 million employee volunteer hours over five years to help organizations working on the front lines of these issues. The volunteering can take many forms. Sometimes, it’s just showing up to help set up an event. Sometimes, we take a close look at technical issues nonprofits might be having and help them innovate more quickly. Googlers staffed a 4-H booth at the Illinois State Fair aimed at getting kids excited about science and tech.

In the case of Goodwill, 1,000 Googlers plan to be available to do career coaching over the next three years. Tech can seem intimidating. But we’ve found that having role models and people right in front of you can make the journey seem much easier.  We think our philanthropy has to be paired with our people to be effective. We hope that 1 million hours can help make a difference.

At the end of the day, we make the most progress by working together. What you here in Pittsburgh and what people across America do with our tools and resources is what counts. We don’t have all the answers. The people closest to the problem are usually the people closest to the solution. We want to help them reach it sooner.

I said earlier how Pittsburgh amazed me when I first arrived here. And I feel that more than ever today. I’m excited to see all the ways the people of this city will build a future that works for them, and for everyone.

Move Quickly, Design Effectively: When a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Becomes A UX Designer’s Best Friend

Digital design is a fast-growing market with a lot of new products released on a daily basis, and it’s becoming more important than ever for designers to be able to move quickly. One of the best ways to do this is by designing for a MVP (minimum viable product).In this article, I’ll describe the concept of a MVP, show why it’s so valuable for designers, and identify two popular strategies UX designers can use to create a MVP.

Shop Target nationwide on Google Express and with your Assistant

We launched Google Express and shopping on the Google Assistant to help you shop your favorite stores, and today we’re making it even easier with the expansion of Target–now available on Google Express nationwide. We’re also bringing shopping with the Google Assistant to your phone.

Target, now nationwide

Starting today, you can shop Target from anywhere in the United States through Google Express and with the Google Assistant (except for Alaska and Hawaii). You’ll be able to get and reorder your favorite Target items and brands, like Up & Up household essentials and Cat & Jack kids’ clothing; Target will offer 2-day delivery, as well as free shipping for any orders over $35.

Be on the lookout for additional features that bring together the best of Google and Target in the coming year. For example, you’ll be able to add your REDcard to Google Express to receive 5 percent off most Target orders, plus free shipping. Target customers will also be able to opt in to receive personalized recommendations and a quick re-order experience based on past Target purchases: so if you want more LaCroix sparkling water or Archer Farms trail mix, your Google Assistant will already know which size and variety you bought from Target last time.  

Coming soon, shop with the Google Assistant on your phone  

Over the past year, we’ve made it possible to shop with your Google Assistant across devices. On Google Home, you can order loads of Halloween candy and paper towels by voice when your hands are full in the kitchen. And for items like Halloween costumes when you need to browse and actually see what you’re shopping for, you can now shop with your Assistant on your Android TV, and soon, on your eligible Android phone or iPhone. You’ll be instantly connected to over 50 Google Express retailers—so if you’re on the go and remember you need a birthday gift for the weekend, you can just say “Ok Google, buy a kids bomber jacket from Target.”

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With Google Express and your Google Assistant, shopping is easier no matter where you are or what device you’re using. So go ahead and stock up.

The financial services industry banks on the Microsoft Cloud for digital transformation

Financial services organizations are at a transformational tipping point. Faced with fierce market pressures – nimble disruptors, complex regulations, digital native customers – technology transformation in the industry is essential, and it’s increasingly becoming a competitive edge. Firms leading the charge into this new era are transforming customer experiences, fostering a new culture of work, optimizing operations and driving product innovation, and they are using Microsoft cloud, AI and blockchain technologies in their journey to become digital leaders of the future.

The post The financial services industry banks on the Microsoft Cloud for digital transformation appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Street View goes to the “top of the world”

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from Emma Upton, Quttinirpaaq National Park Manager with Parks Canada. She shares the story behind our new Street View collection that captures the beauty of Canada’s Quttinirpaaq National Park.

Here at Parks Canada, we have a lot to say about Quttinirpaaq National Park. We could tell you it’s the northernmost park in Canada, or that it lies roughly 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the North Pole. We could tell you it’s home to 4000-year-old archeologist sites or that it’s the second-largest national park in the country. But, we don’t need to tell you anymore. Now we can show you, with our new Street View collection.

Last summer, our team threw on the Google Trekker and explored the park’s incredible terrain—it was the furthest north Street View has ever gone. Wilderness and extreme isolation characterize this area, where fewer than 50 people visit each year. The park’s name itself translates to “the top of the world” in Inuktitut, the local indigenous language.

With treks along the ocean shoreline, climbs up to lofty ridges, strolls beside glacial melt-water rivers, and scrambles at the foot of monumental glaciers, the resulting imagery is spectacular—a digital reflection of one of the world’s most rural locations

Aside from Quttinirpaaq National Park, we captured Street view imagery of Grise Fiord, Canada’s northernmost community, and Resolute Bay, which has a population of just under 200 people.

Internet access and bandwidth are challenging in this part of the world, but we wanted the people who live in and around the area to be able to enjoy the new Street View collection. We revealed the imagery, as well as the behind-the-scenes story of how it was captured, at an event hosted by Parks Canada. And we were moved to see how excited people were to see their remote home online for the world to explore.

See all the highlights in this gallery, and a few photos of our trek below:

  • Google Trekker at Tanquary Fiord. Quttinirpaaq National Park Trekker de Google au fjord Tanquary. Parc national Quttinirpaaq, Nunavut, Canada ©Parks Canada %2F Ryan Bray.jpg
    Google Trekker at Tanquary Fiord. Quttinirpaaq National Park.
  • Parks Canada staff walking along the shoreline of Grise Fiord, carrying Google Trekker. Un membre de l’équipe de Parcs Canada se promène au bord du fjord Grise, portant le trekker de Google ©Parks Canada %2F Ryan Bray .jpg
    Parks Canada staff walking along the shoreline of Grise Fiord, carrying Google Trekker.  ©Parks Canada/Ryan Bray.
  • Parks Canada staff member hikes near Air Force Glacier with the Google Trekker. Quttinirpaaq National Park, Nunavut, Canada. [FRENCH] Un membre de l’équipe de Parcs Canada se promène près du glacier situé sur la boucle Air Force, po.jpg
    Parks Canada staff member hikes near Air Force Glacier with the Google Trekker. Quttinirpaaq National Park, Nunavut, Canada. ©Parks Canada/Ryan Bray.
  • Google Trekker at Quttinirpaaq National Park, Nunavut, Canada ©Parks Canada %2F Ryan Bray.jpg
    Google Trekker at Quttinirpaaq National Park, Nunavut, Canada ©Parks Canada/Ryan Bray.
  • A tent ring at an archaeological site near Kettle Lake in Quttinirpaaq National Park.png
    A tent ring at an archaeological site near Kettle Lake in Quttinirpaaq National Park.

Google Play and Movies Anywhere bring your movies together

Whether you’re looking for a Halloween classic or the latest action thriller, we want you to access that movie, no matter what platform or device you’re using. You can already find the Google Play Movies & TV app on Android devices, on Apple’s App Store, Roku’s Channel Store, and many top Smart TVs by Samsung, LG and Vizio, not to mention Chromecast and Android TV. And with Family Library, everyone in the family can share purchased movies at no additional fee, even if they’re using a different device.

Today, we’re taking it one step further by adding support for Movies Anywhere, allowing you to bring together your movies from Google Play, Amazon, iTunes and Vudu into a single library that you can access on any of your devices, regardless of where the purchase was originally made. Available first in the U.S., just connect your accounts using the new Movies Anywhere app or on the Movies Anywhere website, and all the movies you’ve purchased from Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros. will be available for you to watch on Google Play.

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Even better, when you link two or more accounts through Movies Anywhere, you’ll get these blockbuster movies for free:

Done linking your accounts? Now all your movies are together in one place—enjoy the show.

What Googlers were up to at GHC ‘17

The 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing wrapped up last week. The largest conference for women in tech with more than 18,000 attendees, it’s also one of our favorite moments of the year for Google. Eight hundred Googlers joined the thousands of other attendees at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, to demonstrate some of our products, meet aspiring Googlers, and connect with talented women (and men) from around the world. Here’s a quick glimpse at what we did at GHC ‘17:

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    Google’s booth at GHC, where attendees could talk with Googlers about our products and what it’s like to work at Google.

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    YouTube’s bright red “video experience tunnel” at the Google booth gave people the chance to learn more about YouTube and the YouTubers that power it.

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    Attendees were able to check out some of the latest content coming to Daydream and YouTube VR.

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    Attendees tested their drawing skills with our Quick, Draw! Game, which uses trained neural networks (and the world’s largest doodling data set) to try and guess what you’re drawing.

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    With AI Duets, attendees could play a duet with the computer—even if they aren’t piano players.

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    The Women Techmakers Afterhours event brought together 1,550 attendees to share their experiences, network, engage with Google engineers.

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    The Women Techmakers Afterhours event highlighted technical projects and products built using Google technology.

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    An interactive art installation built with Android Things and Firebase, at the Women Techmakers Afterhours event.

#GHC17 was a blast, and we’re proud to be there every year. Even if you weren’t able to make it, you can still learn more about our careers!

Google industrial designer Alberto Villarreal talks hardware, mole and marathons

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. Next up is Alberto Villarreal, creative lead for hardware and student of his wife (a historian) and 6-year-old daughter, who teach him about history and how to speak German, respectively.

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

I lead a team of industrial designers responsible for defining the creative direction of Google’s hardware mobile devices. We launched our latest work—the Pixel 2 phone, the Pixelbook laptop and PixelBook Pen—last week. 

abv

What is your favorite Mexican tradition or food?

I’m a big big fan of curry in general, so mole is my favorite Mexican dish. Mole is basically a type of curry sauce, just with different ingredients than the Indian or Thai curries. It’s a perfect example of my sweet yet spicy personality. In this photo, I’m holding an original molcajete that we brought over from Mexico when we moved here—we use it to make salsa from scratch. It was from my grandma and I inherited it when she passed away at the age of 101.

How did you find your way to Google?

I am originally from Mexico City, and moved to the U.S. four years ago to work on the Nexus hardware team, which has evolved into the mobile industrial design team under the Hardware design group. Growing up in a vibrant city with a mix of cultures (the hyper-modern and the ancient traditions co-existing), shaped my method of problem-solving and tackling challenges. One of the most interesting challenges of my job is translating Google’s brand values—being “approachable,” for example—into physical objects.

You just helped launch the Pixel 2—what’s your favorite feature?

The Pixel’s power button has a pop of color, which I love. It’s a touch of optimism and a way to visually guide the user, so that the button is easy to find.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

With my wife and 6-year-old daughter. Otherwise I spend a lot of time running. I’ve been an avid mid-distance runner for over 25 years, but lately I’ve been training more seriously for my first full marathon in Ventura, CA, at the end of the month.

Look up to your role models in VR with “The Female Planet”

I grew up surrounded by strong female role models. My mom worked on Wall Street in the 1960s as an IBM Systems Engineer, one of the only women in her field. From day one, her stories about preparation, mental toughness, and teamwork helped me determine aspirations for my own career. When I was a bit older I had a summer internship and shadowed a female broadcast journalist at the top of her career, sparking my interest in media. Now in my role at Google, I want to use VR technology to make it easier for young women to shadow and learn from global female leaders.

We just released “The Female Planet,” a new VR video series from Google and Surround Vision, that captures the daily lives of amazing female role models around the world. “The Female Planet” delves into the personal and professional experiences of five extraordinary women with careers spanning technology, science, sports, and the arts. Follow in their footsteps as they take you through their day-to-day routines. You’ll see inside their workplaces, hear firsthand why they chose the paths they’re on now, and get to know what pushed them to keep moving forward.  

Each episode features a different female leader, such as Tiera Fletcher, a Boeing aerospace engineer designing a rocket for the NASA mission to Mars, or Inna Braverman, an entrepreneur turning wave power into green energy. In the first episode, Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez of TV’s “Jane the Virgin” talks about how her father’s boxing lessons and her mom’s strength gave her the courage to only accept roles that empower women. She also takes you on the set of Season 4 of “Jane the Virgin” as she explains how Jane is helping to bust stereotypes.

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To make you feel as if you’re really walking alongside Gina, Tiera, and Inna, the series was shot in 3D 360 with the new YI HALO camera and Google’s Jump technology. The YI HALO features 17 cameras in a 360 array and is paired with Jump to stitch together the images, resulting in high resolution 3D video where near things look near, and far things look far, so you’re truly immersed in the stories.

Tune in on YouTube to find your role model via virtual reality. Use Daydream View or Cardboard to check out the first episode on Google’s YouTube channel, with more episodes coming soon. And stay tuned for more Daydream and Jump productions later this fall.

Celebrating Coming Out Day: Portraits of LGBTQ+ Googlers

As someone who identifies as non-binary, transgender and gay, I’ve come out a lot. As the co-creator of a “Transgender 101” course that introduces Googlers to trans issues, I come out to my coworkers every time I facilitate a session. Yet I still feel nervous every single time I do it.

Growing up in Orange County, CA, I didn’t know any gay people in my high school and I never saw any gay people who seemed like me. For years, I hated myself, wishing I could be straight and “normal.”

Ironically, it was while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Gambia, a country where being gay is punishable by death, that I made my first LGBTQ+ friends and felt proud of being gay. 

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While becoming comfortable identifying as gay, I noticed how uncomfortable I was being feminine. I wouldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I was wearing a dress. Then I realized it felt strange when someone referred to me with female pronouns. The more I noticed it, the worse it felt. Having taken so much time to accept being gay, I knew very quickly after meeting some trans people that I was trans, too. Over time, I found gender-neutral pronouns felt best and I discovered that people who cared about me used the pronouns that made me feel comfortable, even if it was (and is!) hard.

I still worry what people think and often feel uncomfortable in my body, but today, on Coming Out Day, I come out as non-binary and trans for those who can’t. And I remember the LGBTQ+ people, especially trans women of color, who risked everything to make it possible for people like me to be visible today.

I hope my story and those below, from LGBTQ+ Googlers around the globe, will show you that there are LGBTQ+ people everywhere—and none of you are alone.

Clarice Kan, Hong Kong

I came out to my parents 10 years ago by writing a letter and putting it on their bed before I left for a vacation with Cleo, my then-girlfriend (now fiancée). I was worried about them not understanding my life and not accepting me for who I am.

ClariceKan.jpg

Days passed with no word from my parents, and I was starting to freak out. So I finally gave in and called them. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done; I was lucky my parents responded with understanding and soon embraced Cleo as part of our family.

While I’m out today, with the full support of my family and friends, not everyone is as fortunate. For many people around me, including some of my closest friends and family members, I’m the only gay person they know.

Many people don’t understand that coming out is not a one-time thing. It’s something that LGBTQ+ people must keep doing, consciously and unconsciously, every day for the rest of our lives. It’s every time I introduce myself and it’s every time I take a stand for the community.

Daniel Castelblanco, Bogotá, Colombia

When I was younger, the idea of coming out to my family and friends in Colombia was scary. I felt like I was hiding a part of myself but I was worried about how my family and other people would react. When I started attending university in Bogotá, I met other LGBTQ+ people and I started to realize that being gay was normal.

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I finally gained the confidence to come out to my family. Coming out was an emotional rollercoaster, but my family tried their best to understand and support me. My sister was especially helpful. In fact, coming out to her made us closer, because she understood that I trusted her with an important part of my identity.

By being visible and out in my community, I can live my life to the fullest and show that anyone’s child, parent, boss or neighbor could be LGBTQ+. If I could speak to my younger self today, I’d tell little Daniel, “What are you waiting for? Be yourself, and most importantly, be happy and share that happiness with the world!”

Andrea Barberà, Spain (works in Brazil)

Growing up in a small town in Spain, I was uncomfortable exploring my identity, and insecure about what my community would think of me if I ever came out. At 20, I ventured to Dublin as a student and met an LGBTQ+ group. Right away,  I felt drawn to these confident, out and proud people. Through the group, I came around to accepting myself and built the confidence to tell others that I was a lesbian. 

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There are still many places in the world where people make incorrect assumptions about LGBTQ+ people. Despite being out, I feel like I’m forced to come out every time I have a personal conversation as some assume I date men and have other questions about my sexuality. In these moments, I’m reminded of why the visibility of LGBTQ+ people is important. I feel empowered when a close friend or acquaintance tells me that they were more comfortable coming out because of my own life story.

I wish that in the future we won’t need Coming Out Day, because everyone should be loved and accepted for who they are. But for now, we must empower individuals to share their full selves with their loved ones, friends and the world.

Giving banks a friendly, modern makeover with digital signage: Heritage Bank

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Jane Calder, General Manager of Marketing at Heritage Bank, Australia’s largest customer-owned bank with over 60 branches throughout Queensland. As part of a refurbishment of its branches, Heritage Bank used Chrome OS and Chromeboxes to power video walls and interactive touchscreens to guide customers in making key financial decisions.

As a customer-owned bank, we’re passionate about delivering great customer experiences. So when we set out to revitalize the design of our bank branch network, we wanted to remove barriers that come between staff and customers. Customers come to us to have life-changing conversations, like how to buy their first homes and how to save up for their children’s college education. The digital screens now in place across over a third of our network, along with the interactive kiosks in over a dozen branches, use Chrome OS and Chromeboxes to offer a modern and approachable way to kick off these important conversations.

Many of our branches are in shopping malls, so we want to appear as friendly, welcoming, and current (from an interior design standpoint) as any other store that our customers visits regularly. To achieve this, we’re removing security barriers that separate branch staff from customers. And we’ve added interactive touchpoints to help. But this is not the first time we’ve done this. In the past we’ve experimented with other digital methods to educate customers on our products and services. However, branch employees told us the time needed to perform tasks like updating software or screen content was detracting from their most important task, helping  customers. Additionally, these screens offered no interactivity, so they didn’t let customers choose what they wanted to see.  

As a solution, our technology partner, DAT Media recommended Chrome management and Chrome OS devices, such as Chromebases and Chromeboxes. With the rollout of digital signage, branch staff no longer need to worry about technical updates or screen content. Chrome management is so easy to use that my marketing team pushes out content ourselves. All we need to do is add content for a group or site, click, and the screens are updated.  It’s that simple.

Using a touchscreen Chromebase, DAT Media created a custom self-service app for interactive kiosks, allowing customers to request PDF brochures via email and make appointments for future visits. Customers save time because they don’t have to wait, and they don’t have to sift through brochures looking for the right ones to take home. Our customers are even happier, and we save time—and money—as we’ve been able to reduce printing brochures and marketing posters. Branch staff no longer have to remove outdated brochures and posters, since the screens are centrally updated to ensure they are current.

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While saving time and money is important, the best thing about the new signage and kiosks is that our customers get information about bank services—or about local events like summer movie nights—faster and easier. Our screens are not just telling customers what we sell, they’re showing that we’re here to help guide them through life’s big changes.

We hope our story helps other banks see how digital signage makes spaces like bank branches friendlier and more engaging.

Our screens are not just telling customers what we sell, they’re showing that we’re here to help guide them through life’s big changes.

Jane Calder

General Manager of Marketing, Heritage Bank

Now on iOS: Get paid to share your opinion

There’s an old saying—the customer is always right. And certainly, the world’s best companies are always eager to hear directly from customers. That’s one reason we created Google Opinion Rewards, an app that pays people to give their opinions and answer questions from companies, big and small. Today we’re bringing Google Opinion Rewards to iOS.

If you’re an iOS user, you can get the app right now and start answering questions from companies, including Google, who want to ask for your opinion.

Google Opinion Rewards surveys are quick: always 10 questions or less, and sometimes even just a single question. Nearly all surveys take less than 30 seconds to complete. They cover all kinds of topics, from TV shows you like to apps you may have used.

GOR updated screenshot

When there’s a survey ready for you, we’ll send a notification. Answer when it’s convenient for you—maybe while you’re waiting for the train or in line at the post office.  You’ll earn up to $1 for each completed survey, which you’ll receive via your linked PayPal account. Not interested in answering a particular survey? No problem. You can skip any surveys you don’t want to answer.

More than 10 million Android users have already downloaded the Google Opinion Rewards app, and we send out more than 3 million surveys every week.

Get the new iOS version of Google Opinion Rewards in the App Store now (U.S. only). Once you have the app, you’ll get a notification whenever we’ve got a survey ready for you. It’s that easy!

Be inspired by the 2017 Google Business Group storytelling contest winners

What do Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines have in common? They’re home to the four winners of Google Business Group’s 2017 “Story Search” contest. Every year, as a part of our effort to spotlight entrepreneurs who’ve taken their businesses online, we invite thousands of our global Google Business Groups (GBG) members to participate in a storytelling competition and share how the Internet and technology empower them to do extraordinary things.

This year’s winners were selected from nine global finalists. We’re especially thrilled to see a common theme uniting each of these businesses: a socially-conscious mission. The winners inspire us all with how they run their businesses for the benefit of others.

These four businesses stood out among submissions we received from GBG members and independent entrepreneurs across 17 countries.  All four will have the opportunity to  travel to our headquarters in Mountain View, California for Google I/O in 2018 where they’ll get to meet tech thinkers, innovators, and business leaders. They’ll also be spotlighted in videos that document their stories, so stay tuned for those in an upcoming blog post.

Fadli Wilihandarwo

Fadli Wilihandarwo giving a lightning talk at the GBG Summit in Singapore

Previous winners have gone on to become impactful leaders. Fadli Wilihandarwo is the founder of Pasienia and was one of last year’s finalists. Today he is a GBG Manager for Jogjakarta, Indonesia and did a lightning talk about his chapter at the first-ever GBG Global Summit in Singapore this past September.

Glorypearl Dy

Glorypearl shared insights about her journey as an entrepreneur with fellow GBGers, like Věrka Koukalová, GBG manager in Prague.

Glorypearl Dy was a finalist in 2014 and the founder of Switotwins. She’s now a GBG Manager in Davao, Philippines. I’m proud they are both sharing their knowledge with others and empowering the next generation of business owners. We hope you feel as inspired as we are by this year’s winners and all of the GBG leaders globally.

GBG at Marina Bay
We recently hosted our first-ever worldwide GBG summit in Singapore. The summit included over 95 GBG members, representing 65 chapters from 27 countries around the world. Here, GBGers are taking a break from the conference to explore Singapore’s iconic sites.

Making video calling easier on your Android phone

Video calling brings you face to face with your family and friends, whether you’re in the same city or thousands of miles away. We want to make it even easier to start a video call from your Android device, so we’re making video calling an integrated part of your phone. You can now start a video call directly from where you call or text message your friends, through your Phone, Contacts, and Android Messages apps. Later this year, we’ll also add the ability to upgrade an ongoing voice call to video with just a tap.

We’re starting to roll out integrated video calling to first-generation Pixel, Android One, and Nexus devices, and it will also be available on Pixel 2 phones. We’re working with our carrier and device partners to bring this experience to more Android devices over time.

Duo integration

If you and the person you’re video calling are on a carrier that supports ViLTE video calling, your video calls will be routed through the carrier’s ViLTE service. If not, Google Duo will connect your video call to anyone with the app installed.

To use Duo, make sure you and the person you’re calling have the app installed and activated. More information is available in our Help Center.

The Google Assistant can help control your Android media apps

Posted by Nazmul Idris, Android Devices and Media Developer Advocate

The Google Assistant is available across phones, speakers, Android TV and more.
And it can help users get more done throughout their day—where they need to add
something to a to-do list, turn on the lights, or play a song.

With music specifically, the Assistant has a lot to offer. It can understand
media commands across devices (“play rock music”) and supports media controls
(like pause, skip, fast forward, thumbs up). And users can also control Android
media playback through the Google Assistant. For example, you can pause playback
by telling the Google Assistant to “pause playback” without lifting a finger. Or
play music by saying “play rock on Universal Music Player”.

In order for the user to control playback in your Android Media app via the
Google Assistant, you can use the MediaSession
APIs to make this happen. We recommend that you use MediaSession over intents as
you craft your app’s integration with the Google Assistant.

How to use MediaSession in your app?

Your app must implement a MediaSession that handles a prescribed set of actions
as described in Interacting
with the Google Assistant
.

Here are some sample projects that can help you get started using MediaSession
in your media apps:

  1. MediaBrowserService
    sample
  2. Universal
    Music Player sample
  3. Assistant
    Integration with Leanback sample

To learn more about MediaSession here are some good resources:

  1. Understanding
    MediaSession
  2. Working
    with a MediaSession
  3. Video
    Playback with the Google Assistant on Android TV

How does the Google Assistant use MediaSession?

The Google Assistant uses MediaSession in the same way as other external
controllers such as Android Wear do. Each of these controllers cause state
changes inside your app, and there needs to be a way to respond to these
changes. This is where MediaSession comes into play.

By using MediaSession, the Google Assistant can control your app’s media
playback, as well as stay synced with its current state.

How do I test my app with MediaSession?

Once you implement MediaSession you will probably want to test how playback can
be controlled outside of your app. The Media
Controller Test
tool was created to emulate external control of your media
playback. You can verify that when other apps (like Google Assistant) interact
with your app, that it works as expected.

CategoriesUncategorized

Microsoft Ventures debuts $3.5 million search for startups shaping the future of AI

Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is being leveraged to do incredible things, from breaking down cultural barriers with smart translators, to helping doctors and biochemists better understand, prevent and treat the world’s deadliest and most confounding diseases. Technology is bridging the gap from imagination to reality faster than ever before, but we have only scratched the…

The post Microsoft Ventures debuts $3.5 million search for startups shaping the future of AI appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Bringing our support to Europe Code Week

Computer science fosters innovation, critical thinking and empowers students with the skills to create powerful tools to solve major challenges. Yet, there are not enough students who have access to opportunities to develop their technical skills.

At Google, we aim to equip students of all backgrounds with the skills to be creators, and not just consumers, of technology. As part of our efforts to encourage more students to learn about computing, we are participating in the European Commission’s Europe Code Week 2017. This is a grassroots movement that encourages programming by showing how to bring ideas to life with code, demystifying these skills and bringing motivated people together to learn. Google has been involved in this campaign since 2014, providing sponsorships to organizations running initiatives to introduce students to computer science.

This year, we received almost 500 applications and it was an incredibly tough selection process. We’re funding 60 initiatives in 33 countries, with a goal to reach over 30,000 students. Some of the initiatives we are supporting include “Code me for the future” in Bosnia-Herzegovina which will introduce 500 rural students to their first steps in programming and “Coding pirates Skoedstrup” in Denmark through which 1400 students will work together to solve world problems through computing, problem solving, programming and tech-hacks. You can read more about the sponsorship recipients here.

Google is delighted to support these great efforts. See Code Week’s events page to find all the different activities planned, and see our getting started guides in computer science for France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK now. For all other countries please visit edu.google.com/cs

Cheers to a year of #teampixel

We’ve come a long way, #teampixel! From being featured in an immersive digital installation to getting on the big stage, Pixel photographers have been crushing it with amazing photography that let us into their everyday lives. This week, we’re celebrating #teampixel’s one-year milestone—without this community, the world would be a less colorful, creative place.

So on behalf of all of us at Pixel, thank you for your contributions. We have some surprises planned for the community in the upcoming months, so stay tuned. And if you haven’t shared anything yet, now’s the time—there’s always room for more to join #teampixel.

In the meantime, check out just a few of our favorite #teampixel photos from the past year from a range of subjects including nature, travel and animals, including the above image from @ritchiehoang. Here’s looking at you, #teampixel…