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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).

Tip 1

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.

OAuth GIF

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.

Win Big at MAX

Win BIG at MAX with great prizes such as a Dell Precision 5720 All in One Workstation, a Panasonic Lumix G85 4K Camera Kit, and much more!

We have lots of incredible prizes available, courtesy of our sponsors. We wanted to give you the rundown:

Option 1: Play the MAX Sponsor Game

Visit the Sponsors in the Community Pavilion and use the MAX mobile app to scan the QR code found at each sponsor booth. Receive a virtual trophy every time you scan a code as you build up points.

You get this many points per sponsor:

Diamond sponsor booth trophies are each worth 25 points
Platinum sponsor booth trophies are each worth 20 points
Gold sponsor booth trophies are each worth 15 points
Silver sponsor booth trophies are each worth 10 points
Bronze sponsor booth trophies are each worth 10 points
Exhibitor and participating Engagement booth trophies are each worth 5 points

It’s fun! It’s easy! We’ve got great prizes!

Option 2: Complete the Breakout Survey

We’ve got 3 daily grand prize giveaways for the session/lab/workshop surveys – complete the survey at the end of your session, and you could win one of 3 Wacom Intuos Pro Tablets, or an eBook from Pearson.

Option 3: Complete the Overall Conference Survey at the End of MAX

Check your email at the end of the conference for the link, and give us your feedback on what you thought of MAX 2017 by completing our overall conference survey, and you’ll be entered to win one of 3 DJI Sparks.

Option 4: Attend Select Sponsor Sessions and Sponsor Booths

Attend sessions hosted by some of our sponsors and win:

o  S708 – How Far Can Design Stretch? Mixed Reality? AI? 2D/3D? Hosted by Microsoft. Microsoft will give away a Surface Pro i7 at this session.

o   S711 – Creating Virtual Reality Video. Attend and win a pair of Google cardboard VR glasses

o   S706 – From Concept to Console: How Design Drives World’s Best-Selling Video Games. Win a Sony Playstation 4 Slim courtesy of Wrike

o   S710 – Unleashing the Power of Adobe Creative Cloud with Artist Android Jones. Attend this HP session and you could win a one hour one-on-one design consult with Android Jones

o   S709 – Transparent Teams: Driving Alignment Through an Open Creative Process. Dropbox will be giving away and Apple Watch Series 3 Hermes Edition.

o   S707 – Vimeo Staff Picks: Behind the Scenes. You could win a 1 year Vimeo PRO membership.

Winners

Winners will be announced each morning. Winners will be contacted by Adobe and prizes will picked up onsite or will be shipped directly to them.

You can choose all these options and increase your chance of walking away with an amazing prize. We’ll see you at MAX!

Finding Your Creative Path in a Between World

This month we’re writing about young artists who find themselves, one way or another, in limbo. We wondered how artists decide to try new tools or stick with old ones, and how they find creative balance between the digital and physical worlds. What happens when two different creative approaches defy balance, and maybe even crash into one another? For insights, we spoke with graphic designer Tina Touli and photographer Mario AV.

“I’m Against Stagnation”

As a designer, Tina specializes in branding, typography, and editorial design, so her passions run the gamut from web design all the way to bookbinding. We asked her about bridging so many different technologies, old and new. “I am keen on exploring the possibilities of working between two worlds, the physical and digital one,” she explained. “I like jumping back and forth between them.”

Of course, meshing the real world and the digital world isn’t always easy. Tina says the key is to set aside the fear of failure. In fact, there’s a good chance things won’t go as you intended, but those moments present new possibilities. “That is what I enjoy the most—all these challenging and happy accidents during the design process,” Tina says.

Take, for example, the time Tina created a poster to celebrate 30 years of Adobe Illustrator. She started by handcrafting an elaborate paper sculpture of the number 30 that could flip like the pages in a book. But the flipping pages didn’t show the number as she’d planned, so when it came time to film a Graphic Design Live Stream of her process, she improvised on the fly. The end result is stunning, and a great example of how the digital-meets-physical process can unfold, surprises and all.

Image courtesy of Tina Touli

Tina recently created another real-world-meets-digital-world project for us, a piece called “Caught in Limbo.” She used lenses (for the first time) to create intriguing distortion effects. This meant figuring out how the lenses worked with the light and other physical objects, and avoiding unexpected challenges, like when they reflected the laptop she was using.

As an artist who loves to experiment, Tina always has her eye out for the latest technologies to try. “I am against stagnation,” she explains. “What motivates me and keeps me going is the excitement of something new. I like to continuously challenge myself by experimenting with new tools and techniques and by learning new skills and exploring new fields and new mediums.” For the near future, she has her eye on moving images and 3D design tools.

“If You’re Hungry for New Things…You Will Be Rewarded”

Photographer Mario AV began his creative career as a photographer booking gigs with clients. But he craved independence and the freedom to explore his own creative ideas, so he started making stock images full time. It gives him a chance to experiment with retouching technology, and to branch out. Now, he’s jumping into video. “It’s more alive and inspirational,” he explains.

Just like Tina, Mario has had to manage clashes between the digital world and the physical one, even when he wasn’t expecting them. One experience stands out. It was a rainy day and Mario traveled to the mountainous coast of Spain, to the site of an old church now better known as the castle of Targaryens in Game of Thrones. With the dramatic cliffs and moody, breathtaking scenery, he couldn’t resist an opportunity to experiment with his drone camera.

As the camera flew further away, Mario viewed the footage he was capturing, including a seagull flying aggressively—right for his lens. He pulled back the throttle, sending the drone backward as fast as it could go, narrowly avoiding a digital-world-meets-real-world crash. And he never turned off the camera. “It’s a really epic shot that I’ll remember for a long time,” he says.

Since striking out on his own for a more exploratory career, Mario has embraced new tools and technologies as inspiration. “If you are hungry for new things and learning how to be better than you were yesterday—very soon you will be rewarded.”

More Stories in Limbo

Want to think more about what it means to be an artist in limbo? Read about young creatives in a world that’s changing fast, and check out our gallery of images Caught in Limbo from Adobe Stock.

Header image by MarioAV.

 

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.

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.

What Is A Minimum Viable Product?

MVP is the shortest path from idea to validated learning. According to Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, the MVP is the version of a new product that allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

MVP is the smallest thing that a product team can build that delivers customer value and helps to collect feedback from them. Image credit: Calvin C. Chan (@calvincchan)

The MVP and Lean Startup Circle

In essence, MVPs embody all the best practices associated with Agile and Lean UX–an emphasis on collaboration and fast delivery (Agile) as well as measurement and validation of a product (Lean). The purpose of a MVP is to learn, to validate, and invalidate a hypothesis.

One of the most important things you need to know while building a MVP is the Lean Startup Build-Measure-Learn cycle. The Lean model says that it is best to build fast and measure/analyze each iteration of a product.

Lean Startup Build-Measure-Learn circle

MVP as a Process

MVPs are the cheapest and faster way product team can start learning. As Eric Ries said: “As you consider building your own minimum viable product, let this simple rule suffice: remove any feature, process, or effort that does not contribute directly to the learning you seek.”

The process of creating a MVP usually contains 6 steps:

  1. Find a problem worth solving.
  2. Determine the smallest possible solution (MVP).
  3. Make sure the MVP communicates the value of the product.
  4. Build the solution.
  5. Test it with early adopters (also known as earlyvangelists) and obtain feedback on the MVP.
  6. Determine the strategic direction of further product development.

Why Designers Should Care about MVPs

MVPs are all about maximizing the value that designers will get back as soon as possible with minimal risk. There are several key benefits of using the MVP process:

  • Minimizing risk while maximizing viability. The most important benefit is the possibility of verifying a hypothesis before building an actual product. Instead of building a complete finished product, designers can test pieces of the product with real customers and, with their feedback, continue to iteratively improve the product. Proper use of a MVP allows you to build a product they will simply love.
  • Eliminate dead weight.A vast majority of products have dead weight–a set of features that don’t bring any value to users. A MVP makes it possible to eliminate dead weight and save time/resources dedicated to design & development.
  • Better know a user’s wants and needs. A MVP can accelerate the team’s learning regarding what the user actually wants/needs while using rapid iteration to deliver it. A MVP focuses teams on what is important.

How A MVP Is Different from Other Design Models

There are two popular approaches to building products–Traditional and ‘Release Early, Release Often.’

MVP vs. The Traditional Design Model

In a traditional design model, product teams try to design the entire product all at once. The intent behind this is simple: designers believe that unless the whole thing is designed and built, the product won’t be a coherent and complete experience. In other words, designers try to maximize the chance of success.

Unfortunately, this approach rarely works well for a number of reasons. The two most critical issues of this approach are:

  • It isn’t flexible. Trying to design a final product in one fell swoop is the same as trying to plan every last detail of a long journey before it’s even started. No matter how thoughtful the plan is, there will be a moment (or moments) in the journey when things don’t go according to plan.

  • You risk building a product for yourself, not your user. A traditional approach often doesn’t take into account customer needs and wants. The absence of an actual feedback loop makes it very risky and definitely not agile. It’s not that rare to find a product team that has spent a lot of time (3-5 years) building a product they think their customers want, only to discover they don’t want it at all.

Unlike traditional design practices, which usually focus on features and feature sets, the MVP model is focused on learning. With MVPs, product teams keep the big picture in mind, but as far as details go they take small continuous steps toward the destination. They measure the progress they’ve made, make all required adjustments, and only after that do they take another step.

In the example below, you can see how this works in practice. Here you can see the difference between a traditional design approach vs. a MVP for the project, which aims to build a car. With the MVP, designers focus on the underlying need the customer wants fulfilled. The underlying need, in this case, is ‘I want to get from A to B faster.’ After the first iteration, the team delivers the ‘lite’ version of the product (a skateboard), and will get the customer to test it and give feedback. Of course, the customer is unlikely to be happy with this–it’s nowhere near the car that he ordered. That’s OK though, since the primary goal for the product team is to learn; to test a hypothesis about the product and gather feedback.

The concept of value is vital to the MVP strategy – a wheel itself has no value to a user but a skateboard does. Deliver usable products to allow learning to take place. Illustration by Henrik Kniberg

MVP vs. The ‘Release Early, Release Often’ Model

The MVP strategy can be compared to the ‘Release Early, Release Often’ strategy: when a team simply throws whatever they have on the market and then listens to what customers say about it.

Both strategies are focused on gathering customer feedback and iterating. The key difference is the design objective: the MVP strategy has a clear objective prior to engaging with customers and seeks reassurance on that strategy, while “Release Early, Release Often” relies on customers to set the objectives as it evolves. Both strategies can be used for developing products; however, the ‘Release Early, Release Often’ strategy won’t work in some cases (like innovative products, for example). When you show an innovative product to 20 customers you might get 20 different opinions.

It’s better to change the product many times and upgrade it often instead of hiding the product from everybody and building it for yourself – not the customers.

What’s Required to Benefit from A MVP

To be able to effectively design MVPs it’s important to have a holistic understanding of the concept of a MVP.

The MVP Isn’t A Minimal Set of Features

Some designers try to approach the MVP by looking for some minimal feature set required to create a working product. This misses the point of an MVP. The MVP requires you to treat the product as a set of experiences rather than a collection of features and functionality.

A MVP Is Both A Minimum and A Viable Product

A MVP is both a minimum and a viable product. This might sound obvious, but all too often project teams get caught up in the ‘minimum’ aspect of creating a MVP without thinking about ensuring they build a ‘viable product.’ This results in products that are unstable and unusable. Using a poorly executed MVP to test the market will likely lead to negative market feedback, regardless of how great an original concept is. Of course, a MVP shouldn’t be a complete product but it should be valuable to those who will test it.

People often completely skipping over the “V” in MVP. MVP has been misused because of too much focus on minimal and too little focus on viable. Image credits: Jussi Pasanen‏

Quick To Create

A MVP refers to releasing something quickly, whether it’s a physical product or just a landing page. If a product team has a hypothesis about a certain feature or even a whole product, a MVP should be the fastest way to test that hypothesis and reveal whether it’s correct or not. There’s a simple rule to MVPs: the more time it takes to complete, the less valuable it becomes. A MVP should be created in hours or days, not in months or weeks.

At the same time, speed doesn’t necessarily mean an absence of quality. Adopting Agile/Lean tools and methods in the UX design process will make it possible to iterate quickly at the appropriate quality.

While there isn’t a specific amount of time within which a team should create an MVP, the more time it takes to complete, the less valuable it becomes.

Testable

Testing viability is the bread and butter of MVP­-driven UX design. The MVP should allow designers to learn from what they built through measurement. Gathered metrics will inform the degree to which the original prediction about design was accurate.

Two Popular MVP Design Strategies

As mentioned, product designers don’t always have to build a fully-functional prototype in order to create a MVP. There’s a wide variety of methods one can utilize to test a hypothesis. Here are two popular ways of approaching the design of a MVP:

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

This approach was popularized by the Lean Startup movement. Instead of building an actual product, a product team imagines that the product has already been built and creates the marketing page to sell it. The goal of this is to check whether the product is interesting for the target audience. Product designers analyze the key quantitative metrics (such as a number of sign-ups) to determine a potential interest for the product. If a product team isn’t satisfied with results (e.g. total number of signups is less than expected), they can modify the advertising properties (e.g. modify a message on the marketing page) to see if that has an impact.

Buffer is one good example of a company that used this strategy. If you aren’t familiar with Buffer, it’s an app that makes it easy to share content on social media. When starting out, Joel Gascoigne, Buffer’s founder, had an idea of the product in mind, but he didn’t want to get stuck building a product no one wanted to use. Instead, he built a simple landing page to learn if users were really having a problem scheduling and managing social media publications.

Buffer began with no product at all. Buffer’s founder, Joel Gascoigne used a simple landing page to gauge interest.

Buffer’s first minimum viable product explained what Buffer was, how it would work, how much it would cost, and had a signup form. When visitors tried to sign up they were shown a message explaining that the Buffer wasn’t ready yet and they could sign up for updates by typing in their email address. Joel used the email addresses received from the signup form to start conversations with potential users of the product, gaining valuable insight into what they wanted. By relying solely on landing pages, he was able to validate two hypotheses (people are interested in the product and they would pay for it) for little cost.

Turk

In some cases, it’s possible to manually simulate features that will eventually be rolled into a product. This is what is known as a mechanical Turk: a user inputs a request, that request is sent to an actual person who manually performs the task, and the results (which appear to be product output) are given back to the user.

Chess playing mechanical Turk. Image credits: Wikipedia

In 1999, Nick Swinmurn wanted to build an online store for shoes but he wasn’t sure whether people would use it. He popped down to his local shoe store and photographed pairs of shoes. The photographs were uploaded to a super-simple website. When a site visitor clicked on the button to buy a pair, Nick would go to the store where he took the photo and buy the shoes. From a business point of view there was zero infrastructure and zero inventory, but from the customer’s point of view, everything appears to be perfectly fine. This is the first page in the story of the company called Zappos.

Conclusion

The MVP process is valuable for every UX designer, whether he or she works at a startup or a big corporation. Learning from users, minimizing risk, and maximizing viability are all worthwhile objectives.

Samsung Develops X-Ray Detector Material with Low Radiation Exposure

Samsung Electronics today announced that the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), in collaboration with Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, Korea, has developed a detector material that decreases radiation exposure to less than 1/10th of the normal amount typical for medical X-ray imaging such as fluoroscopy, digital radiography, CT, and other radiology equipment.

 

The research findings were published in the October 4, 2017 edition of the scientific journal Nature in an article entitled “Printable organometallic perovskite enables large-area, low-dose X-ray imaging

 

Researchers at SAIT developed a perovskite semi-conductor material that, in addition to being significantly lower in radiation, is 20 times higher in sensitivity for X-rays, as well as cheaper in price compared to conventional flat panel detectors. Additionally, while conventional detectors processed with a vacuum deposition process, the technology used to make thin films of semi-conductors, do not allow extension to a large area due to technical limitations, the new material allows enlargement as required through a solution-based process such as printing or bar coating. Commercialization of this technology offers the potential for producing low-dose X-ray detectors that can scan the whole body at once.

 

“In order to apply perovskite onto X-ray photons, which are highly penetrable, the material must be 1,000 times thicker than that of a solar cell, while being able to retain electric signals for a sufficiently long enough time converted from X-ray,” said InTaek Han, Vice President of SAIT. “The new method of synthesis developed from the research is a key breakthrough for the field.”

 

 

*Perovskite: This crystal structured mineral is named after the Russian scientist Lev Perovski. Developers of solar cells and X-ray equipment are highly interested in the material due to its excellent photoelectric efficiency, which transfers light into electrical current.

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.”
target GIF

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. TD Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui and Credito Agricola are among the organizations that have embraced this digital transformation happening in every part of the world.

Next week at Sibos, the premier financial services industry event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, myself and others from Microsoft will speak alongside other innovative business leaders driving transformation. Here are some of the scenarios and solutions Microsoft customers and partners are implementing along their journey:

Fostering a new culture of work

Fostering a digital culture is a paradigm shift, one which financial institutions must embark. Jumpstarting this culture shift means designing a workplace where every work style can thrive – one that harnesses digital intelligence to improve experiences, unleashes creativity and enables mobility while keeping organizations, people and information secure. With modern tools, employees from the first line to the back office can do their best work.

State Bank of India, a 200-year-old institution, is working with Microsoft to create a modern workplace for its 263,000 employees across 23,423 branches servicing more than 500 million customer accounts, including some in the most remote locations of the country. SBI has adopted Office 365 to enhance communication and collaboration among its workforce, and believes that Microsoft is delivering the best productivity experience for its employees while ensuring the highest standards of security, compliance and adherence to regulatory requirements.

Emirates NBD is creating more creative and collaborative workspaces for their employees, and has selected Office 365 as well as Surface Hub to deliver on their digital transformation efforts.

Transforming customer experiences

Customer expectations have changed and will continue to evolve at the speed of technology. The imperative for financial services firms is to engage customers in a way that is natural, tailored and delightful at every turn. The most innovative firms will create experiences that harness data from customers to derive actionable insights and deliver greater market success.

TD Bank is known for legendary customer service and aims to match their marquee in-person experience through digital wherever customers may be – at home, at work or on-the-go. With more than 12 million digitally active customers and expectations evolving at the speed of technology, TD has turned to Microsoft Azure and data platform services to help deliver on their promise of legendary service at every touchpoint.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation is transforming their employee workstyles and enhancing their customer experience with the Microsoft Cloud. In addition to building a secure and highly productive office environment utilizing Azure and Office 365, SMBC has also introduced an interactive automatic response system for customer service, powered by the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit and AI services.

Optimizing operations

Shifting line-of-business applications and other capabilities to the cloud is a foundational step along the digital transformation journey that enables banks to save big and reinvest dollars in more innovative, value-add banking services. It also enables firms to be more agile like their industry disruptor counterparts.

UBS is using Azure to power its risk management platform, technology that requires enormous computing power, to run millions of calculations daily on demand. The result — speeding calculation time by 100 percent, saving 40 percent in infrastructure costs, gaining nearly infinite scale within minutes — means the firm can have more working capital on hand and employees can make quicker, more informed decisions for their clients.

Société Générale is using Azure’s high-performance computing capabilities to power the credit value adjustment (CVA) intraday calculation, a critical front-office function, enabling cost-effective, almost limitless on-demand computing power.

Driving product innovation

Driving product and business model innovation allows organizations to harness data as a strategic asset, shifting from hindsight to foresight, automating manual processes, delivering personalization to customers, and innovating with new business models, services, products and experiences to differentiate and capture emerging opportunities.

Crédito Agricola considers open banking as a future standard for the financial services industry. The bank’s digital strategy on open banking seeks to leverage the cloud to provide seamless and frictionless interactions that delight their customers, while complying with regulation. Credito Agricola is using Microsoft Azure to deliver open banking capabilities like API management gateway, security and identity, as well as analytics and insights, with plans to extend their core banking services to third-party service providers.

Microsoft is collaborating with The Monetary Authority of Singapore and The Association of Banks in Singapore to support Project Ubin 2, using Azure to explore the use of blockchain for the clearing and settlement of payments and securities, a key milestone in Singapore’s ambition of becoming a Smart Financial Center.

For the financial services industry, a firm’s deliberate and strategic move to the cloud hinges on security, privacy and regulatory compliance. Microsoft is committed to earning the trust of our financial services customers. We engage with regulators in key markets to share information about our services, the related controls and our approach to enabling customer compliance. We also take input from leading banks and insurers across the globe on an ongoing basis to improve our offerings to help meet regulatory requirements. We do all of this to continue building our customers’ trust in cloud technology.

It’s incredible and humbling to be on this transformational journey with so many ambitious digital leaders. Come visit us at booth No. C46 if you’re in Toronto or follow our stories at our press site. You can also join my session at the Innotribe, “Creating Space for Innovation,” on Tuesday, Oct. 17, and see Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella provide the Sibos closing plenary on Thursday, Oct. 19. Satya’s plenary will also be livestreamed here.

TTW

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.

Google Street View in Quttinirpaaq National Park and Grise Fiord, Nunavut

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 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.

Hard Questions: A Live Interview With Sheryl Sandberg

By Elliot Schrage, Vice President of Policy and Communications

Since its launch last June, Hard Questions has explored difficult topics that matter to Facebook’s global community — explicitly and openly confronting our handling of terrorism, hate speech and Russian ads on the platform.

Your response to Hard Questions inspired us to open a new channel that we hope will produce greater insights into the challenges facing Facebook and other technology companies.

This week we begin a series of interviews with the digital news site Axios. Our goal is to push ourselves toward even greater transparency and to participate in tough  questioning by an independent, highly credible news organization with public policy and technology expertise. Axios editors and reporters will fully control the questions and resulting coverage.

The kickoff is a wide-ranging interview with our Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg by Axios co-founder Mike Allen on October 12 at 9AM ET. You can watch it here and on Facebook Live.

In the coming months, Facebook executives will sit for interviews with Axios reporters and editors on some of the most crucial issues in social media. We’ll also be working with other news outlets and independent groups wanting access to our executives.

In all of this our goal is to open ourselves to hard questions, to be candid about our thinking and to invite constructive criticism and discussion. We hope to make better, more informed decisions with and for our communities worldwide and we hope you’ll participate.

Read more about our new blog series Hard Questions. We want your input on what other topics we should address — and what we could be doing better. Please send suggestions to hardquestions@fb.com.

Samsung Launches Samsung Newsroom Italy

An exterior view of Samsung Electronics Italia’s headquarters in Milan.

 

Today, Samsung Electronics launched Samsung Newsroom Italy, a new Italian-language media channel that will provide local media and consumers with all the latest news and information about the company.

 

Samsung Newsroom Italy is the go-to site for updates on Samsung’s activities in the country, as well as its latest innovations and services, and insight on its corporate vision. The newsroom will offer a wide range of engaging content, including feature articles, infographics and high-definition photos and videos.

 

Samsung Newsroom Italy is the fourteenth newsroom that Samsung has launched, following the Global newsroom, as well as local editions in the United States, Korea, Vietnam, Brazil, India (both in English and in Hindi), Germany, Russia, Mexico, the U.K., Argentina and Malaysia.

 

 

Samsung established its presence in Italy in 1991 and has since become a key driver of the consumer electronics market’s growth. Samsung Electronics Italia (SEI) is committed to fostering a culture of innovation in the country, in order to highlight the benefits that such a culture ultimately delivers to consumers’ lives.

 

For more information on Samsung’s activities in Italy, please visit Samsung Newsroom Italy at news.samsung.com/it.

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:

#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.

Oculus Announces New Standalone Headset, ‘Venues’ at Oculus Connect

Today at its fourth developer conference in San Jose, Oculus announced its newest and most affordable VR headset, called Oculus Go. The standalone device will ship in early 2018 starting at $199.

Oculus also showcased updates to its Santa Cruz prototype, including new positionally tracked controllers with six degrees of freedom that bring the power of Rift and Touch to the standalone category.

The company offered a sneak peek into Oculus Venues, a new experience coming next year that lets people watch live concerts, sports, and movie premieres with thousands of other people around the world.

Watch the full keynote here or read more at the Oculus blog.

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.

TFPGif

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. 

MarnieFlorin.jpeg

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.

DanielCastelblanco.jpg

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. 

AndreaBarbera.jpg

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.

heritage-bank

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.

Samsung’s New Image Sensors Bring Fast and Slim Attributes to Mobile Applications

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today introduced two new ISOCELL image sensors: 1.28-micrometer (μm) 12-megapixel (Mp) ISOCELL Fast 2L9 with Dual Pixel technology, and ultra-small 0.9μm 24Mp ISOCELL Slim 2X7 with Tetracell technology.

 

Samsung ISOCELL image sensors fall into four categories—Fast, Slim, Bright and Dual—depending on their key attributes. As market demand for sleeker smartphones with advanced features increases, ISOCELL Fast 2L9 and Slim 2X7 both offer high resolution image sensors in small chip packages, delivering detailed pictures in low-light environments without a camera bump.

 

ISOCELL Fast 2L9

 

With Dual Pixel technology, the ISOCELL Fast 2L9 delivers ultra-fast auto-focus at a reduced pixel size from the previous Dual Pixel sensor’s 1.4μm to 1.28μm. Dual Pixel technology employs two photodiodes in each and every pixel of the sensor instead of only one. With 12 million focus detecting pixels, the sensor is able to not only quickly focus on small still objects, but also lock on and track moving objects without losing focus, even in low-light environments. With smaller pixel size, the ISOCELL Fast 2L9 can fit into slimmer camera modules, enabling bump-less designs for smartphones. Dual Pixel technology especially allows depth-of-field effect for taking bokeh, or aesthetically out-of-focused photographs, through a traditional single lens camera.

 

ISOCELL Slim 2X7

 

At 0.9μm, the ISOCELL Slim 2X7 is the first sensor in the industry to have the pixel size below 1.0μm. Even with such a small pixel size, the Slim 2X7 is able to provide high color fidelity with less noise due to the improved ISOCELL technology’s deeper DTI (deep trench isolation) that reduces color crosstalk and expands the full-well capacity to hold more light information. In addition, the small 0.9μm pixel size enables a 24Mp image sensor to be fitted in a thinner camera module, allowing premium smartphones to offer high resolution cameras in a very slim and elegant design.

 

The ISOCELL Slim 2X7 is also packed with Tetracell technology, which lets the sensor take brighter photographs in the dark and more detailed ones in well-lit environments. Tetracell improves performance in low-light situations by merging four neighboring pixels to work as one to increase light sensitivity. In bright environments, Tetracell uses a re-mosaic algorithm to produce full resolution images. This enables consumers to use the same front camera to take photos in various lighting conditions.

 

“Samsung ISOCELL Fast 2L9 and ISOCELL Slim 2X7 are new image sensors that fully utilize Samsung’s advanced pixel technology, and are highly versatile as they can be placed in both front and rear of a smartphone,” said Ben K. Hur, Vice President of System LSI Marketing at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung plans to further develop the Dual Pixel and 0.9μm-pixel product categories, and expand applicable devices for ISOCELL image sensors that can enhance photographing experiences for consumers.”

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.

Samsung Launches Star Wars Limited Edition of POWERbot™ Robot Vacuum

 

Samsung Electronics today introduced a new Star Wars limited edition of the widely acclaimed POWERbot™ robot vacuum cleaner, the VR7000. The result of a collaboration between Samsung and Star Wars fans, the innovative and powerful vacuum with iconic Darth Vader and Stormtrooper designs is intended to captivate fans in anticipation of the December release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the final film in the Disney and Lucas Films saga.

 

The Darth Vader version of the POWERbot™ features a specially created cover using custom premium materials that resembles Darth Vader’s all-black mask while the Stormtrooper version replicates the look of a white and black Stormtrooper’s helmet. The Darth Vader model comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and its own remote control. Both models also offer fun and unique sound effects appropriate for each character. For example, when powering on the Darth Vader unit, the vacuum will play and mimic the character’s infamous breathing.

 

In order to create a special edition product authentic and true in the eyes of Star Wars fans, Samsung worked very closely with super fans at every step, from product planning to design, production, marketing, and distribution. It was a first-of-its-kind approach to building and launching a product designed by the fans and built for the fans.

 

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of the Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot™ in partnership with Star Wars fans,” said B.S. Suh, Executive Vice President of the Digital Appliances Business at Samsung Electronics. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

 

The VR7000 Star Wars limited edition promises all of the powerful cleaning technology and features of the original VR7000, such as suction power capacity of 10 watts, CycloneForce technology, and Edge Clean Master, which helps the unit clean close to walls and edges. It can even work autonomously, using Visionary Mapping™ Plus to remember the room and find the fastest cleaning routes around the user’s home. FullView Sensor™ 2.0 allows the unit to clean around home decorations and valuable personal items as small as 10mm. With its unique smart features and powerful performance, the VR7000 was awarded the 2017 CES Innovation Award.

 

Pre-orders for the special Star Wars limited edition POWERbot™ will begin on the Samsung.com website on October 10, with availability in the United States. As part of the launch, Samsung will also introduce its “Vacuum Your Space” video which is created by Star Wars super fans. Other various fan-centric activations and rewards with retail and commerce partners will continue rolling out.

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.

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 surface of what AI can help us accomplish.

At Microsoft, we believe AI has the power to transform our world. By building and leveraging powerful platforms like Microsoft Cognitive Services, we can amplify human ingenuity in ways we never could have imagined: changing how we work, play and live. Our approach to AI isn’t just limited to our products, but also how we participate in the broader community.

Since launching Microsoft Ventures last year, we’ve invested in more than 40 remarkable startups including AI innovators like Agolo, Bonsai, Crowdflower and Livongo. We also formed an AI fund to support startups focused on inclusive growth and a positive impact on society. But we still want to do more. So today, we’re announcing Microsoft Ventures’ next step in helping to drive progress in AI and continuing Microsoft’s commitment to making AI accessible for all: Innovate.AI, a global startup competition.

Through this global competition, we are asking startups creating or leveraging transformative AI technologies to apply for a chance to win $1 million from Microsoft Ventures and participating venture capital (VC) partners and $500,000 in Azure credits. In addition, one standout finalist will be awarded $500,000 in venture funding and $500,000 in Azure credits from Microsoft Ventures as part of the AI for Good Prize, which acknowledges their use of AI to better society.  The winners will extend across three regions – North America, Europe and Israel – for a total of four winners and a combined $3.5 million in investment funding. In North America, we are working with Madrona Venture Group; in Europe, Notion Capital; and in Israel, Vertex Ventures Israel.

Up to 10 finalists from each region will participate in a live pitch-off in the spring where their ideas will be evaluated by a panel of experts from Microsoft Ventures and our VC partners. Only one of the 10 finalists per region will be awarded the $1 million prize.

Submissions are open now until the end of the calendar year (Dec. 31, 2017) on the Microsoft Ventures website. Companies working to advance the future of AI and share Microsoft’s mission of making AI more accessible and valuable to everyone are encouraged to apply.

I’m looking forward to what (and who!) we find. Bring us your best!

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

Samsung Electronics Introduces Southeast Asia’s First Cinema LED Screen

Samsung Electronics is expanding its vision for the “Theater of the Future” by bringing its Cinema LED Screen to the Paragon Cineplex theater in Bangkok, Thailand. Samsung’s Cinema LED Screen, the world’s first DCI-compliant High Dynamic Range (HDR) LED theater display, is being introduced in Southeast Asia for the first time, following installations in Seoul and Busan, Korea, earlier this year.

 

 

On October 5 in Bangkok, Samsung Electronics held a signing ceremony for new partnership with Major Cineplex Group, the largest cinema company in Thailand with more than 110 theaters and 668 movie screens, to convert a 200-seat cinema at the Paragon Cineplex in Siam Paragon into its Cinema LED venue. Several additional premium theater renovations are also expected throughout the region during the coming year.

 

“The continued growth of the local entertainment industry and the openness to embracing new technologies made Thailand the perfect location for Southeast Asia’s first Cinema LED Screen,” said Yong Chul Jo, President of Samsung Electronics Thailand. “By delivering the most immersive theater environment possible, the Cinema LED Screen creates an unparalleled viewing experience guaranteed to make the Cinema LED theater a destination for movie enthusiasts.”

 

An upgrade on the screen-and-projector operation the industry has relied on for more than a century, the Samsung Cinema LED Screen reinvigorates cinema presentation through superior visual quality, technical performance and reliability. Although it extends nearly 10.3m (33.8ft) wide, the Cinema LED Screen is easy to install and configure within nearly any existing theater dimensions. The display also amplifies on-screen content through HDR picture quality, powered by ultra-sharp 4K resolution (4,096 x 2,160) and peak brightness levels (146fL/500nit) nearly 10 times greater than that offered by traditional projectors. As a result, movie-goers can enjoy content free of distortion and brought to life through lifelike colors, pristine whites and deep blacks.

 

Samsung Cinema LED Screen at Lotte Cinema in Busan, Korea

 

Beyond its visual enhancements, the Cinema LED Screen also offers theater managers the reliability of long-term performance. The display’s shelf life of more than 100,000 service hours far exceeds that of traditional projectors and minimizes the need for costly maintenance. Additionally, the Cinema LED Screen employs a strict anti-copy encryption protocol to prevent unlawful streaming or content redistribution.

 

As the demands for cinema space evolve, Samsung’s Cinema LED Screen will offer theater managers in Thailand and across the world added flexibility to expand service offerings and generate new revenue. The display maintains a consistent presentation across a range of dark and ambient lighting conditions regardless of the featured content. This versatility will empower cinemas to use theater spaces for concert and sports event viewing, gaming competitions, corporate events and other non-traditional content sources.

 

“We are excited to partner with Samsung to shift the paradigm of entertainment content screening, and we look forward to inviting our customers and partners into a cinema more capable of bringing stories to life,” said Vicha Poolvaraluck, Chairman of Major Cineplex Group Plc.

 

In May 2017, the Cinema LED Screen became the first product of its kind to achieve full compliance with the esteemed Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) theater technology standard. Based on next-generation picture quality to foster a more captivating and vibrant viewing arena, the Samsung Cinema LED Screen is expected to expand to movie theaters around the world including the USA and Europe in coming years.

Samsung’s Advanced T-Commerce Services Expand What’s Possible for TV

Samsung Electronics is constantly seeking to enhance the TV experience for customers, expanding what’s possible for TVs. A recent example is Samsung Checkout on TV, an innovative payment solution custom created for Samsung Smart TVs. Available in 64 countries, the service supports in-app purchases, paid apps, and subscriptions for digital content from providers including:

 

  • HBO NOW (available in the U.S.): Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD)
  • STARZ app (available in the U.S.): Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD)
  • Gamefly Streaming (available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and EU countries): Monthly subscription high-end game packages such as Family Pack, Gamer Pack and Disney Pack.
  • TV Plus (available in the U.S. and EU countries): Transaction Video on Demand (VoD)
  • Frame TV Art Store: Monthly subscription as well as separate sales

 

Samsung Checkout on TV offers a simple management system for transactions, as well as handling payments and settlements. The service supports payment by credit card, and depending on the region, via PayPal.

 

Designed to be easy-to-use, Samsung Checkout on TV utilizes a straightforward two-step system designed to work with the TV remote control. Once users register their credit card, they just need to click “Pay Now” to buy an item, then enter a four-digital PIN (personal identification number). With the new service, purchasing digital content on Samsung Smart TVs is now simpler than ever before.

 

 

Ordering sushi, pizza and wine via T-Commerce in Portugal

 

In Portugal, Samsung is advancing the T-commerce experience even a step further, with Samsung Smart TV users there able to order various goods including food such as sushi, pizza and wine from the comfort of their TV screen.

 

The service has been made possible with Samsung’s partnership with a local cloud-based platform yubuy®, which provides T-Commerce solutions and has partnered with more than 20 domestic Portuguese and international brands like Pizza Hut.

 

For Samsung Smart TV users in Portugal, the yubuy® app is the most convenient way to shop from a distance, from ordering to delivery, with its simple and intuitive interface and secure and contextualized solution that runs on Samsung Smart TVs. In terms of payment options, the yubuy® app offers several modes, ranging from cash on delivery, electronic bill payment, credit card and payment service via a mobile app. yubuy® already has a reach of two million households (or six million people) via cable TV, which is more than 60 percent of the Portuguese population.

 

Samsung Checkout on TV, and Samsung’s local partnership with yubuy® in Portugal, highlight the continuous efforts that Samsung is making to advance T-Commerce solutions and evolve the TV experience.

 

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…

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