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Our efforts to help protect journalists online

Safety and security online is important for all of our users, but especially for journalists in the field conducting difficult—sometimes dangerous—reporting.


Journalists are susceptible to a number of risks. Reporters covering oppressive regimes or working in regions where freedom of the press is limited have been targeted by government-backed attackers. Newsrooms have fallen victim to phishing attempts by malicious hackers trying to steal their account passwords. Entire news sites have been taken down by DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. And journalists’ data is increasingly at risk from cyber attacks.


Despite this elevated risk, according to a recent study of more than 2,700 newsroom managers and journalists from 130 countries, at least half of those surveyed don’t use any tools or methods to protect their data and information online. Given the importance of journalism to open societies everywhere, we want to ensure that newsrooms and journalists are equipped with the tools and training they need to be successful—and safe—while doing their work. In the past, we’ve written about how anyone can protect their Google accounts and minimize security risks while using our products. But to address online safety for journalists, we’ve worked with the Jigsaw team and engineers from across the company to offer a few resources:

  • Project Shield helps protect news sites from DDoS attacks for free.
  • Digital Attack Map, a data visualization of DDoS attacks around the globe, can help journalists better understand the threat these attacks pose.
  • Password Alert helps protect and defend against password phishing attempts.
  • We offer trainings on safety and security, specifically focused on journalists. You can check out a recent webinar to help journalists understand whether they’re at at risk, and what to do about it.

We also offer the Advanced Protection program for journalists who are at heightened risk. You should look into this program if you answer “yes” to any of these questions:

  • Do you work in a hostile climate?
  • Do you feel that your sources need stronger protections against potential adversaries?
  • Do you get messages about government-backed attacks on Gmail?
  • Do you see suspicious activities around your account? (e.g., password recovery attempts not initiated by you)
  • Would your work be viewed as controversial by some people?

We encourage you to share these resources with your colleagues and friends, and talk to your IT department about what they’re doing to protect your newsroom’s data. It may be worth holding a security risk assessment training with your newsroom using the assets above, or request a training on safety and security for journalists (provided by the Google News Lab) at newslabsupport@google.com.

6 Features to Consider Before Buying Your Next Premium TV

The holiday season is just around the corner, and many shoppers will be placing a premium TV on the top of their wish list. When it comes to buying a new TV, consumers have traditionally focused on two key points: how big it is, and how much it costs. These days, however, we’re seeing increasing demand for UHD-quality TVs as consumers gain a better understanding of the features that really matter when it comes to increasing immersion.

 

With that in mind, here’s a handy rundown of features to consider before buying your next TV.

 

 

1. Color Volume

 

What it is: A standard for evaluating a TV’s ability to produce accurate colors at all luminance levels. The higher the color volume, the better the TV will be at expressing vivid, accurate colors.

 

Why it matters: Manufacturers in the fiercely competitive TV industry are constantly exploring ways to deliver standout picture quality. The color volume measurement emerged as a way to evaluate a UHD (or 4K) TV’s ability to produce immersive viewing experiences, focusing on how the TV performs under various lighting conditions. Color volume matters because if a depicted image exceeds a TV’s peak luminance, it may appear washed out or faded, and the quality of the viewing experience suffers.

 

How Samsung’s innovating with it: Samsung’s QLED TVs, which feature a peak brightness of 1,500 to 2,000 nits, are the first displays to reaches 100 percent color volume. This means that in typical viewing environments, the TVs produce brighter and deeper colors that allow content to be displayed in the manner that producers intended. In addition, QLED TV’s screen-coating technology reduces reflection by 98.5 percent, providing a more comfortable viewing experience even under strong sunlight or lighting.

 

 

2. HDR

What it is: HDR, or “high dynamic range” technology adds more color, brightness and contrast to content displayed on standard HD or UHD TVs.

 

Why it matters: HDR was introduced to provide whiter whites, blacker blacks, and colors that are more detailed and true-to-life. The difference between HDR and the preceding SDR (standard dynamic range) standard is night and day, as HDR allows details that might be lost in shadows or glare when depicted on an SDR TV to truly stand out.

 

How Samsung’s innovating with it: QLED TVs come with support for the new open standard for HDR video, HDR10+. HDR10+ adds more dynamic range (the ratio of light and dark) to images to deliver greater contrast and more vibrant colors, and allows images to be enhanced on a scene-by-scene basis. The results are lifelike visuals that portray content precisely as the producer intended.

 

 

3. Refresh Rate

 

What it is: A TV’s refresh rate, expressed in hertz (Hz), is the number of times that an image on the screen is refreshed per second. The higher the hertz, the smoother the picture.

 

Why it matters: The standard refresh rate for TVs today is 60Hz, or 60 times per second, with 120Hz and 144Hz representing the higher end of the spectrum. TVs with high refresh rates generally provide more seamless visuals with minimal motion blur, creating more immersive viewing experiences. If you’re a gamer, or you watch a lot of fast-paced action films, a TV with a high refresh rate may be just what you need to take your experience to the next level.

 

How Samsung’s innovating with it: In addition to boasting a wide range of game-optimizing features including a short input lag (20-millisecond), three types of QLED TVs with the Q7, Q8 and Q9 models feature a 120Hz refresh rate that ensures seamless and fluid in-game visuals. 

 

 

4. HDMI and Connections

 

What HDMI is: HDMI, short for “high definition multimedia interface”, is an industry-standard, all-digital interface that transmits visual and audio data between devices such as TVs, streaming media and Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and more.

 

Why it matters: Higher-quality HDMI cables generally support higher data transfer speeds (measured in gigabytes per second), providing more bandwidth to enjoy 4K UHD and HDR content. The manner in which a TV handles its HDMI and other connections can directly influence its setup, and the ease with which the device integrates into a living environment.

 

How Samsung’s innovating with it: All QLED TVs are optimized to deliver 4K UHD content thanks to their support for HDMI 2.0. HDMI 2.0 makes it possible to increase frame rates and maximum bandwidth (to 18Gbps), and deliver high-resolution visuals, allowing for the transmission of 4K video at 60Hz with 32 audio channels (up from eight).

 

In addition to HDMI 2.0, QLED TVs feature a practically invisible optical cable that seamlessly connects to external devices via the HDMI, USB 3.0 and coaxial port-housing One Connect box. The result is a TV setup that’s free of messy wires and truly designed for living.

 

5. Smart TV

 

What it is: A “smart” TV is capable of connecting to the internet to allow users to stream video content, browse the web, and run compatible apps.

 

Why it matters: Streaming shows and movies through over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix has quickly become the new normal, with more and more people enjoying a wide range of dynamic entertainment via convenient apps. Smart TVs typically incorporate support for these services, offering users more freedom to enjoy their favorite content.

 

How Samsung’s innovating with it: Samsung has equipped its QLED TVs with a range of smart apps, services and features that make it easy to enjoy high-quality UHD and HDR content. Particularly handy features include the TV PLUS app, which neatly organizes on-demand content in an interface that mirrors the channel menus of traditional cable or TV providers, and the One Remote, which allows you to manage your smart TV and other connected devices via a single, intuitive control.

 

 

6. Durability

 

What you should expect: No TV will last forever, but these days you should typically expect anywhere from 7 to 10 years of reliable service from your new TV. The expected lifespan for a premium TV may be even longer.

 

What Samsung’s TVs deliver: There are many factors that can ultimately prove detrimental to a TV’s longevity, and burn-in may be chief among them. Burn-in is a form of permanent damage that’s caused by leaving a static image on a screen for a long period of time. While image retention refers to any image that stays on a screen temporarily, burn-in lasts permanently, seriously affecting the lifespan of a television.

 

Samsung’s QLED TVs are certified to be burn-in-free, thanks to their utilization of inorganic quantum dots. In fact, each is backed by a 10-year warranty against burn-in* – a quality guarantee that recently expanded to global markets, and demonstrates Samsung’s commitment to delivering premium performance with its premium TVs.

 

*Details of the burn-in guarantee for QLED TVs vary by country, and the policy will gradually be introduced to other countries as the QLED TV is launched in each market.

Chrome Enterprise now offers native print management

In August we announced the launch of Chrome Enterprise, a single, cost-effective solution giving you the security and control you need to keep your employees connected. On our road to releasing Chrome Enterprise, we listened to a lot of feedback from businesses. And one of the most common requests we received was greater printing capabilities.

Whether it’s firing off a last minute presentation, or grabbing those boarding passes on the way to the airport, fast and simple printing is business critical. That's why we're excited to expand Chrome Enterprise's native printing capabilities.

Chrome Enterprise’s native print functionality is enabled through the Common UNIX Printing System (CUPS). CUPS uses an Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) that allows printing directly to a printer over the local network. You can add, remove, enable and disable printers by organizational unit in the Google admin console. Enabled printers will automatically appear in a user’s list of Chrome printers.

For employees, setup will be a cinch. With native print functionality, they can add a local printer and begin printing—no connectors needed. They can also print directly to a printer via USB.

For more information on managing native printing in Chrome Enterprise, check out our Help Center article. Or warm up your friendly local printer and fire away from your Chrome browser. Just don’t forget to BYOP (bring your own paper)!

Seven things you can do with Google Pixel Buds

Last month we announced Google Pixel Buds, a pair of wireless headphones that sound great and help you do more without you needing to look at your phone. Pixel Buds are easy to control, comfortable to wear, and fast to pair, and with the Google Assistant, help is just a touch away. There’s a lot these headphones can do—did we mention real-time translation in 40 languages?

Pixel Buds recently started shipping from the Google Store and our retail partners, so we wanted to share seven (hopefully) handy things you can do with them.

1. Connect with one tap: Pairing Pixel Buds with your phone is fast and easy—open the charging case near Pixel 2 or phones running Android Nougat or newer (with the Bluetooth turned on of course) to pair. Then tap connect on the notification that pops up on your phone and you’re ready to get started.


2. Control with just a touch: No more searching for tiny buttons on a cord or pulling out your phone to change your tunes or answer a call from Mom. Tap the right earbud to play, pause or answer a call; swipe forward or backward to adjust the volume. All your audio controls are conveniently packed onto a touchpad on the right earbud.

3. Instantly access the Google Assistant: Want to get things done without needing to look at your phone? If you have an Assistant-enabled Android phone and data connection, just touch and hold the right earbud and ask the Google Assistant for help. Play music, send a text, or get walking directions without ever reaching for your phone.

4. Communicate in 40 languages: Order spaghetti bolognese like a pro, give directions to a traveler from China, or just impress your friends with real-time translations using Google Translate, Pixel Buds and a Pixel or Pixel 2. Your earphones hear you and your Pixel’s speaker will play the translation in another language. When the other person speaks, you’ll hear the translation right in your ear. To launch Google Translate, simply touch and hold your right earbud and say “Google, help me speak [LANGUAGE]”.

5. Check your messages without looking: No need to stop what you’re doing when you get a new notification. When you enable spoken notifications on your phone, you’ll hear a brief chime whenever you receive a new notification.  Double-tap on the right earbud after hearing an alert and your Google Assistant will read the new message to you or tell you what’s next on your calendar.

6. Store and charge your headphones on the go: Keep Pixel Buds safely stored when you’re not using them in the handy little case. No need to jam the cord into the case—we designed the charging case so you can neatly wrap Pixel Buds inside. Charge up both Pixel Buds and the charging case all the way and get up to 24 hours of total listening time combined. Learn more about battery life and charging in our help center.

pixel buds case charging
7. Get the perfect fit: Customize the fit of Pixel Buds without needing to swap out any pieces. With the fabric loop, you can adjust the fit so they sit in your ear comfortably and securely. That sweet little loop is part of the cord that connects Pixel Buds, meaning you can wear them how you want all day—both earbuds in, one in and one out, or both out around your neck—you choose.

And, to cap off our list, here's one thing NOT to do with your Pixel Buds—don't cut the cord!

The Google Home app keeps getting better

Your Google Home and Chromecast are all set up and ready to go. Now, what to watch or listen to? The refreshed Google Home app makes it easier for you to find some of your favorite movies, shows and music. It’s not just a new look—we’ve added new smarts, too. Here are a few ways the updated Google Home app gives you a better browsing experience:


  1. Ready for our close-up: We’ve given the app a full makeover, and it’s much more intuitive. Key navigation buttons are now at the bottom, closer to your fingers.

  2. Browse your faves: You’ll see recommended content from all your streaming services—making it easy to find the movies, music and shows you want to watch and jump directly into your favorite streaming services to play them.

  3. Better search: When you want to watch that one rom-com but can’t remember the name of it, you can search by actor, artist, genre or category.

  4. Movie trailers: Android users can now cast movie trailers for everyone to watch on TV, while still using their phone to seamlessly swipe and play trailers for related content.

  5. More control: Have more say over your entire viewing and listening experience with redesigned controllers. You can even adjust advanced sound settings like bass and treble on your Google Assistant supported speakers, like Google Home.

home app controller

Update your app today!

Spotlight on Local News: How The Oregonian Produces Video for Facebook

By Josh Mabry and Rebecca Rosenblat, News Partnerships

Advance Local, a media company that owns and operates local digital properties and newspapers across the United States, including NJ.com, AL.com, Syracuse.com, The Plain Dealer, The Oregonian and more, shares best practices across their organization through a weekly newsletter. A recent issue of theirs that caught our eye featured multiple members of The Oregonian sharing their strategy for social video.

We wanted to share more widely some of their best practices and learnings about creating great social video that other local publishers can apply in their own newsrooms.

How to Ramp Up in a Newsroom and Why it Matters

Social video sits at the intersection between two powerful trends: the growing importance of social media in reaching our audience, and the growing popularity of video among that audience. The Oregonian has changed its newsroom this year to emphasize social video. Simply put, they do it faster, better and much more often.

Digital/visual director Michelle Nicolosi describes how they revamped their newsroom. Then, producer Heidi Williams and reporter Teresa Mahoney offer their top tips for creating social videos.

Here are some examples of their work:



A Q+A With Michelle Nicolosi, Digital/Visual Director of The Oregonian

Why is social video important?
It became clear in 2016 that the best way to engage people on social is with video. We realized that we needed to make many, many more social videos – and it quickly became obvious we didn’t have enough people. We started converting our digital and social teams into a social video team.

Who typically initiates a video?
Everyone! There are many ways a video can get started:

  • Members of the social video team come to the morning news meeting. They might work on something from the meeting, something trending on social that day, or something they just think up.
  • Editors, photographers and reporters contact our video team to let them know about a video they’d like to do or need help with. Often, reporters make their own video.
  • The social video team recycles something still (or once again) timely.
  • News breaks. We check Wochit for assets and someone puts together the breaking news video.

Why do you think you’ve been so successful?
I think the key is that we don’t ask, “What video could we do with this story?” Instead we ask, “What video would do great on social?” because social is where people watch video. We pay attention to our Facebook metrics, keep making stuff that resonates and stop making stuff that doesn’t. We iterate constantly. We experiment, but try to learn quickly from our mistakes. For example, our viewers love the outdoors. They don’t like videos of people talking about food, but they do like a “first look” at a new restaurant. Those preferences will differ from market to market. We’ve also learned that if you do Like campaigns against content that isn’t very popular, you can grow readership for that topic. We did that with gardening, for example. Sometimes we’ll do a video on a hunch and it will do surprisingly well – we’ll file that away and look for opportunities to do more in that area.

Any tips about organizing a staff for social video?
Create a workflow that keeps the quality high, and helps people learn and grow. We ask people making videos to run their script by the video team for suggestions, and then to run their produced video by the team before publishing. The video folks are great at getting back quickly with suggestions for improving the script and video, and we all get better over time.

Tell us about any course corrections or mistakes you’ve learned from.
The team. This is my No. 1 tip: A very small video team isn’t enough. Try to expand it by giving other staffers one day per week to make video. Giving seven people in our newsroom time to develop video skills and time to create video every week has really been the secret sauce here. You can do it with people on your DigOps or social team, with breaking/trending reporters or life and culture reporters.

Training. We learned a lot about how to train. The first attempt was a 10-week series of trainings; that had no real results because people weren’t leaving the class and making videos right away. This time, we created video shifts first so people learned while doing. Basically, people attended one Premiere Basics class, then got to work. We followed up the next week with a second Premiere Basics class. That was it for formal training.

We all sit next to each other and coach each other constantly. Every week, we learn new things about working in Premiere. The learning is so constant and organic, we now have “what I learned” sessions every other week so everyone can benefit. And here’s a tip from Teresa Mahoney: Set up a video work station available to the newsroom with all the necessary software, ideally near a video-savvy person who can help as needed.

Software. We thought using Adobe Premiere was maybe a little scary. For example, one of our producers was afraid she wouldn’t be good at it. Now, she’s able to create and post breaking news videos in 10 minutes, and thinks it’s fun! By the way, we use Premiere when we don’t need photo and video assets, and Wochit when we do – mostly for breaking news.

If a newsroom wants to ramp up social video, where would you begin?
Create weekly video shifts for a few people. Give one class. Start making videos. Learn as you go. If you don’t have someone in your newsroom who can give that first class, let me know and we’ll do a Skype class for you.

What goes into great social videos?

Producer Heidi Williams looks for at least 2-3 of these in every video:

1. Excellent visuals. Video mixed in is better, but even quality photos work. History posts with good visuals are a good bet. Stuff that makes you do a double take or say “Awww” or “Wow!”

2. Major news. Breaking stories like the Eagle Creek fire.

3. Useful information. Information people need, like about Oregon’s new distracted driving law is really important for social videos. Some of our outdoors stuff that’s not quite as visual also works because it’s really useful to our audience.

4. Timely posts. These can go beyond breaking news. For example, when we get our first snow of the season, we’ll do a snow video for Facebook and Instagram and get it up immediately. The timing is crucial for this kind of post.

5. Emotional or feel-good stories (including humor). Recent examples from us included Wrangler the hospital dog (111,000 views) and our tribute to the Las Vegas shooting victims, not to mention zoo animals playing in the snow, as well as moving immigration stories like this one (164,000 views). If a video has an emotional impact, it can work even if the visuals are limited.

6. A sense of place. Videos that showcase or have fun with our city, state or region can make excellent social video, like 15 places to see fall colors in Oregon (76,000 views).

And video reporter Teresa Mahoney shares these tips:

Sourced video. Sourced footage is key to breaking news. Find the most compelling visual out there (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), get permission and share it ASAP. Think about government agencies that might have footage you can use: dashcam, bodycam, surveillance, NASA, White House, Fish and Wildlife, etc. And don’t forget sourced video for lighter news. Maybe someone shot cool drone footage of a sunset, or the zoo released cute animal video. Get permission, upload raw and write a good caption.

Raw footage. When it comes to breaking news, it’s less about telling a complete story and more about showing readers the latest visuals. Raw footage works fine – maybe trimmed down a little or with a little text for context. For example, a compilation of scenes across the region during a storm. The story might be changing too fast to produce a full report but, in the meantime, people will want to see visuals.

Moments. You don’t need to tell a full story. If you shoot an interview or event, for example, pull an excerpt that you think will resonate with people the most. Talking heads don’t generally make for great social videos, but it was a hit when Blazer Damian Lillard talked about going vegan (69,000 views).

Parse.ly. If a story’s exploding on Parse.ly, it’s a good sign it will do well on social too. Figure out a way to turn it into a video.

Re-sharing. When you can, try to be evergreen and re-share to increase the chance that your audience will see it.

Captions. Include captions when people are talking. A lot of people watch without sound, so having captions can be crucial to someone watching the video.

Tight script. Create a template for captions so your newsroom has a consistent style. Keep your script concise – 10 words or fewer per line, 10-12 lines total.

How the Pixel 2’s security module delivers enterprise-grade security

Security is often top of mind for enterprise customers when it comes to choosing a device for work. Company data should be protected against all manner of threats to avoid a costly and distressing security breach.

The new Google Pixel 2 was built with a tamper-resistant hardware security module that reinforces the lock screen against malware and hardware attacks to better safeguard the data stored on your device, like emails, contacts and photos. This is the first of what we hope are many Android devices that feature dedicated security modules.

Benefits of tamper-resistant hardware

The lock screen is the first line of defense in protecting your data from attacks. Devices that ship with Android 7.0 and above verify your lock screen passcode in a secure environment, such as the Trusted Execution Environment or TEE, that limits how often someone can repeatedly brute-force guess it. When the secure environment has successfully verified your passcode does it reveal a device and user-specific secret used to derive the disk encryption key. Without that key, your data can’t be decrypted.

The goal of these protections is to prevent attackers from decrypting your data without knowing your passcode. However, the protections are only as strong as the secure environment that verifies the passcode. Performing these types of security-critical operations in tamper-resistant hardware significantly increases the difficulty of attacking it.

SOC resources

Tamper-resistant hardware comes in the form of a discrete chip, separate from the System on a Chip (SoC). It includes its own flash, RAM, processing unit, and other resources inside a single package, so it can fully control its own execution and ward off external attempts to tamper with it. The package is resistant to physical penetration and designed to resist many side channel attacks, including power analysis, timing analysis, and electromagnetic sniffing. The hardware is also resilient against many physical fault injection techniques including attempts to run outside normal operating conditions, such as wrong voltage, wrong clock speed, or wrong temperature.

Security module in Pixel 2

In addition to being tamper-resistant, the security module in Pixel 2 also helps protect against software-only attacks. Because it performs very few functions, it has a super small attack surface. And with passcode verification happening in the security module, even in the event of a full compromise elsewhere, the attacker cannot derive your disk encryption key without compromising the security module first. 

The security module is designed so that nobody, including Google, can update the passcode verification to a weakened version without knowing your passcode first.

Security at the core

Businesses that choose the new Google Pixel 2, or a future Android device with tamper- resistant hardware, will have more peace of mind that critical company data is safer against an entire class of sophisticated hardware attacks. These security upgrades, along with the comprehensive and innovative management features that Android brings to work, give your business a powerful set of tools for a mobile workforce.

Hour of Code 2017: Unlock an exciting new world by taking a ‘Hero’s Journey’

Two young girls in classroom working on computer
Students try out an early preview of the new Minecraft Tutorial at the Skyway Boys & Girls Club, in Skyway, Washington, on Oct. 16, 2017.

In a few weeks, people around the world will celebrate Computer Science Education Week. Millions of kids and others will participate in an Hour of Code, a global call to action to spend an hour learning the basics of coding.

Today, it’s my privilege to announce that Microsoft has released a new Minecraft tutorial for Hour of Code, called Hero’s Journey, that will be used in classrooms, at after-school programs, community centers and homes everywhere. The tutorial uses game elements loved by so many young people, and introduces a fun character called the Agent, to present computer science concepts in a fun and creative way. Learn more in a post today by Deirdre Quarnstrom, Minecraft Education general manager, and start planning your Hour of Code.

Depiction of The Agent character in new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial
The Agent from Microsoft and Code.org’s new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial.

If you’re on the fence about whether you should join this global movement, consider a 2015 study by Gallup that shows how far we still have to go when it comes to helping everyone, including parents and teachers, understand the definition of “computer science.” The study found that “while most students, parents, teachers and school principals surveyed correctly identified ‘creating new software’ and ‘programming and coding’ as computer science activities, many also incorrectly identified ‘creating documents or presentations’ and, to a lesser extent, ‘searching the Internet’ as part of computer science.”

This gap of understanding about what computer science and coding enables threatens our ability to dream big. We need to break down those barriers to help more students appreciate the importance, versatility and creativity that define coding.

Learning to think critically through coding is the single most important step students can take to prepare themselves to fully participate in, and benefit from, the digital economy. Few points drive this fact home better than one from a report by the  World Economic Forum, which predicts that 65 percent of children who enter primary school today will work in completely new jobs that don’t currently exist. Among the study’s recommendations: the need for students to have technical skills to better adapt to our changing workplace.

Photo of Mary Snapp
“Learning to think critically through coding is the single most important step students can take to prepare themselves to fully participate in, and benefit from, our increasingly digital economy,” writes Mary Snapp, vice president, Microsoft Philanthropies.

This brings home an important reality: technology is transforming the economy at the speed of light, putting new demands on our workforce, and on the young people who will soon join that workforce. That’s why, for years, we’ve been engaged with schools, with nonprofits and with others to arm young people with the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly digital economy. It’s why we are working across the United States, and around the world, to help young people and adults become creators of technology, advance their careers and grow their local economies.

Jean Yang, a computer scientist and blogger, writes that “computer science is the study of what machines can do for us.” It’s a great definition. And learning to code, which unlocks those things that computers – and technology as a whole – can do for us, is something that all of us can, and should, learn.

Take that first step today. Here are a few ways you can do it:

  • Try our new Minecraft Tutorial, and have a friend or family member join you. Share the code you have written on social media.
  • Access a robust set Hour of Code of learning opportunities compiled by Microsoft Philanthropies.

You can also visit your local Microsoft Store for a hands-on experience. Starting today, all Microsoft Store locations will host a free Computer Science for Everyone workshop series for educators and parents at all coding levels who want to learn new coding skills, understand why computer science is critical for students and how to lead their own Hour of Code.

Students at Microsoft Store workshop on coding.
Students learn coding skills at a free Hour of Code workshop at the Microsoft Store at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles on July 20, 2017. Sign up today for Hour of Code workshops, including the new Minecraft tutorial, by visiting your local Microsoft Store.

Microsoft Stores will also host free Hour of Code workshops during Computer Science Education Week, featuring the new Minecraft tutorial for those who want to join in the global movement with family or friends.

Let’s work together to ensure that every young person has their eyes opened to the endless possibilities before them, unlocked by taking that first step, through an entertaining and enlightening Hour of Code.

The post Hour of Code 2017: Unlock an exciting new world by taking a ‘Hero’s Journey’ appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Android Pay goes local in Ukraine, Czech Republic, Brazil and Slovakia

Whenever we launch Android Pay in a new market, we think about how to enable faster, easier checkout while taking into account the distinct payment habits of each place. Working with partners is a key part of creating a local experience.


A few weeks ago, we launched Android Pay in Ukraine. Today, it’s available in Czech Republic and Brazil, and soon it’ll be live in Slovakia, too. Here’s a look at how two different approaches simplify checkout in two unique parts of the world.


Leave your wallet at home in Central and Eastern Europe

Paying contactless isn’t new in Central and Eastern Europe–in fact, in many places it’s the norm. With Android Pay, we wanted to make it easier for locals to leave their wallets at home at places they know and love. Starting today in Czech Republic, you can pick up a loaf of traditional Šumava bread at your favorite bakery or an ice-cold Kofola at Albert using nothing but your phone.
Kiev_metro
Oleksandr Danylyuk, Ukraine’s Finance Minister, demonstrating Android Pay at the launch event

And in a region full of Android fans, we’re excited to see it’s already taking off! Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk was the country’s first person to try Android Pay when we launched on November 1, demonstrating how it works on the Kiev Metro.


Pay for pão de queijo with your phone in Brazil

On the other side of the globe in Brazil, contactless payments are just picking up speed. So we partnered with merchants like Ipiranga and Casa do Pão de Queijo to help us merge new experiences (like paying with your phone) with familiar ones (like buying groceries or Brigadeiros). Brazil is also the first Latin American country to get Android Pay, and we're looking forward to helping contactless payments become part of people's everyday routines.

br_hero

We’ll be bringing Android Pay to even more places soon.

Spend more time around the table (not in traffic) this Thanksgiving

Many Americans will spend next Thursday surrounded by family and friends around a table full of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce (or whatever your family favorites are). Because traveling for Thanksgiving can be stressful, we looked at historical Google Maps traffic data to identify the best and worst times for your Thanksgiving road trips. And just for fun, we took a peek at the places Google Maps users are most often getting directions to during the holiday week. To look at this a bit more closely, we’ve created an interactive experience where you can explore Thanksgiving trends in your area.


Tips for a traffic-free Turkey Day

Because many of us can’t or don’t take off extra days leading up to Thanksgiving, we looked at last year’s traffic trends the day before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after. As you might expect, Wednesday late afternoon is the busiest time to hit the road, but it’s pretty much smooth sailing the morning of Thanksgiving. So if you can wait until Turkey Day, you might be able to avoid the crowds on the road.


To make your travels as efficient as possible, don’t forget to share your trip with the in-laws so they’ll know exactly when you’ll arrive. And if you forgot the stuffing you promised to bring to the potluck, just search for an open supermarket along your route to quickly pick it up without adding a long detour—you can even see how much time you can expect to spend in the checkout line with our new wait times feature (now available on Google Maps for Android).


When the eating is all over and it’s time to head home, early morning on Saturday or Sunday are your best bets (just make sure to avoid the road when traffic heats up on Friday and Saturday in the late afternoon).

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Trending places over Thanksgiving  

Every family has their unique holiday traditions—like Dad’s dash to the tree lot the day after Thanksgiving. According to historical Google Maps search data, the most popular destinations over the Thanksgiving holiday period are ham shops, outlet malls, tree farms, natural features (think outdoor experiences), and electronics stores.

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When you’re not digging into your food, dig into the Turkey Day traffic and Google Maps search trends for your city in our interactive experience. Happy Thanksgiving!

Accelerating the journey to the cloud for SAP customers—access transparency preview and new certifications

From the moment we announced a partnership with SAP at Google Cloud Next in March, we’ve been busy readying SAP systems to run effectively on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Our momentum with SAP offers solutions for all types of business, from SMBs to the largest enterprises around the world, including developments with data access transparency, a sandbox environment, application migration and integrations for business systems. We’re also continuing to build on our progress with larger HANA certifications.  

This week, we’ll be on-site talking about the latest at SAP TechEd in Barcelona. Here’s an  update on what we're launching.

Access Transparency and the data custodian model

Managing and mitigating risk is a priority for any organization adopting the public cloud. As part of our partnership, SAP and Google have proposed a data custodian model that will allow enterprises to continuously monitor risk and help with their data protection and access control policies. Today, we're announcing a preview of Access Transparency, a new GCP security feature that helps enable this model.  

Access Transparency provides visibility into operational access by Google employees to cloud systems that store, secure or process customer data. Cloud providers may require operational access to address a customer support request, or, more rarely, to review whether a service can meet its availability and performance objectives. Access Transparency log entries include justification for access, the specific resource that was accessed, the time of access, and the corporate location of the accessor. Access Transparency enables security and compliance teams to gain meaningful oversight of their cloud provider.  

We're opening up an early access preview of Access Transparency to customers. The early access preview will provide visibility into operational access for a select set of GCP services—Google Cloud Storage (GCS), Identity and Access Management (IAM), Key Management Service (KMS) and Google App Engine (GAE). We intend to progressively roll out this capability to other GCP services that store, secure or process customer data.

To express interest in our Access Transparency early access preview, please complete the online request form.

SAP platform certifications

SAP offers an extensive ecosystem of products to address the needs of SMBs to the largest enterprises. The following systems are now all certified by SAP to run on GCP:


  • SAP HANA: SAP HANA is now certified to run in Compute Engine instances (VMs) of up to 1.4TBs of memory. For customers running analytics applications like SAP BW or SAP Customer Activity Repository (SAP CAR), we can now support scale-out configurations with up to 16 instances, for 22TB of total memory. Additionally, we have already announced our intention to quickly enable VMs with 4TB of memory in the short term.

  • The SAP Data Migration Option (DMO) is now certified for migrating on-premise SAP HANA and any DB-based SAP applications to SAP HANA on GCP.

  • SAP Hybris e-commerce and marketing solutions are now officially supported on GCP, enabling joint customers like Smyths Toys to further integrate its business systems and drive efficiency and value.

  • SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) platform is certified to run on both Windows and Linux environments on GCP.

  • SAP Business One, SAP’s small business software for ERP, is now certified to run on GCP. Customers like Sale Stock in Indonesia are leveraging GCP to run their mission critical Business One solutions.

  • For customers who want bring up non-production SAP applications on GCP, the SAP Cloud Appliance Library now supports GCP. With the click of a button, you can spin up a sandbox environment with SAP applications like S/4 HANA on GCP and incubate exploratory projects.

  • SAP Vora - Version 1.4 of SAP’s in-memory distributed computing system for big data analytics is supported on GCP and what’s more, version 2.2 leverages Kubernetes and will have support for Google Container Engine and Google’s managed Hadoop service Google Cloud DataProc in Q1 2018.

Manage, monitor and extend SAP

Running SAP on GCP is one thing. Integrating it into your larger IT environment is another. Together, Google Cloud and SAP have been working hard to certify the tools you need to make the most of your SAP environment.

  • Customers can now implement data tiering between SAP HANA and Google BigQuery using sample tools published by Google Cloud.

  • It’s now easier than ever to monitor performance from within the GCP console. A new monitoring agent is available to reliably collect and publish metrics from your SAP HANA instance to GCP Stackdriver, letting you set event notifications so you can have actionable insights around aggregated data. Get started now with this user guide.

Visit us online and at SAP TechEd Barcelona

We’re working hard to make Google Cloud the best place to run SAP applications. Visit us anytime online to learn more about the SAP Google partnership. And if you’re attending SAP TechEd in Barcelona, be sure to stop by the Google Cloud booth P13 to say hello, see some demos in action and share your thoughts on how we can help accelerate your journey to the cloud.

How the Pixel 2’s security module delivers enterprise-grade security

Posted by Xiaowen Xin, Android Security Team

The new Google Pixel 2 ships with a dedicated hardware security module designed to be robust against physical attacks. This hardware module performs lockscreen passcode verification and protects your lock screen better than software alone.

To learn more about the new protections, let's first review the role of the lock screen. Enabling a lock screen protects your data, not just against casual thieves, but also against sophisticated attacks. Many Android devices, including all Pixel phones, use your lockscreen passcode to derive the key that is then used to encrypt your data. Before you unlock your phone for the first time after a reboot, an attacker cannot recover the key (and hence your data) without knowing your passcode first. To protect against brute-force guessing your passcode, devices running Android 7.0+ verify your attempts in a secure environment that limits how often you can repeatedly guess. Only when the secure environment has successfully verified your passcode does it reveal a device and user-specific secret used to derive the disk encryption key.

Benefits of tamper-resistant hardware

The goal of these protections is to prevent attackers from decrypting your data without knowing your passcode, but the protections are only as strong as the secure environment that verifies the passcode. Performing these types of security-critical operations in tamper-resistant hardware significantly increases the difficulty of attacking it.

Tamper-resistant hardware comes in the form of a discrete chip separate from the System on a Chip (SoC). It includes its own flash, RAM, and other resources inside a single package, so it can fully control its own execution. It can also detect and defend against outside attempts to physically tamper with it. In particular:

  • Because it has its own dedicated RAM, it's robust against many side-channel information leakage attacks, such as those described in the TruSpy cache side-channel paper.
  • Because it has its own dedicated flash, it's harder to interfere with its ability to store state persistently.
  • It loads its operating system and software directly from internal ROM and flash, and it controls all updates to it, so attackers can't directly tamper with its software to inject malicious code.
  • Tamper-resistant hardware is resilient against many physical fault injection techniques including attempts to run outside normal operating conditions, such as wrong voltage, wrong clock speed, or wrong temperature. This is standardized in specifications such as the SmartCard IC Platform Protection Profile, and tamper-resistant hardware is often certified to these standards.
  • Tamper-resistant hardware is usually housed in a package that is resistant to physical penetration and designed to resist side channel attacks, including power analysis, timing analysis, and electromagnetic sniffing, such as described in the SoC it to EM paper.

Security module in Pixel 2

The new Google Pixel 2 ships with a security module built using tamper-resistant hardware that protects your lock screen and your data against many sophisticated hardware attacks.

In addition to all the benefits already mentioned, the security module in Pixel 2 also helps protect you against software-only attacks:

  1. Because it performs very few functions, it has a super small attack surface.
  2. With passcode verification happening in the security module, even in the event of a full compromise elsewhere, the attacker cannot derive your disk encryption key without compromising the security module first.
  3. The security module is designed so that nobody, including Google, can update the passcode verification logic to a weakened version without knowing your passcode first.

Summary

Just like many other Google products, such as Chromebooks and Cloud, Android and Pixel are investing in additional hardware protections to make your device more secure. With the new Google Pixel 2, your data is safer against an entire class of sophisticated hardware attacks.

10 things you might be doing wrong when using the SafetyNet Attestation API

Posted by Oscar Rodriguez, Developer Advocate

The SafetyNet Attestation API helps you assess the security and compatibility of the Android environments in which your apps run. Since it was introduced in March 2015, many developers have successfully integrated it into their Android apps to make more informed decisions based on the integrity and compatibility of the devices running their apps.

Throughout the years, the SafetyNet Attestation API has evolved, and its adoption has steadily increased. However, as with any security/anti-abuse related API, there are many common pitfalls that may lead developers into developing unstable systems, or worse, into a false sense of security.

In this post, we provide a list of the most common mistakes we have seen developers make when integrating the SafetyNet Attestation API.

1. Not getting an API key

Just like many other Google APIs, the SafetyNet Attestation API requires an API key in order to run. Furthermore, the SafetyNet Attestation API has a per-key usage quota. Although you can get this quota increased, you need to provide your API key to do so.

Getting an API key is easy and free of charge. There is no reason not to get an API key, so if you haven't already, get an API key now.

2. Not using the latest version of the API

The SafetyNet Attestation API has evolved throughout its history, and with it, there have been some interface changes. Most recently, with the release of Google Play services 11.0.0, we revamped the entire SafetyNet API to offer an interface that is easier and more streamlined to use: the new API uses SafetyNetClient instead of SafetyNetApi, which is now deprecated, so make sure you update your implementation to use the latest version of the API.

Most devices should have the latest version of Google Play services installed, but if a device doesn't have Google Play services installed, or doesn't have it up to date, using the SafetyNet Attestation API may lead to the app becoming unresponsive or crashing. You can prevent this by checking the installed version of Google Play services before using the API.

3. Using nonces incorrectly

The SafetyNet Attestation API lets you set a nonce to uniquely and globally identify each call to the API. Use this feature to prevent a malicious user from reusing a successful attestation result in place of an unsuccessful result (also known as a Replay Attack).

One good way to create a nonce is to create a large (16 bytes or longer) random number on your server using a cryptographically-secure random function. The SafetyNet attestation response includes the nonce you set, so make sure you verify that the returned nonce matches the one you included in the request you made.

4. Not checking the results on your server

SafetyNet can provide useful signals about the state of the device in which your app is running. However, if the logic that acts on these signals is only implemented and enforced directly on the device, an attacker could be able to modify your app and bypass any checks you perform.

To prevent this situation, you should run any logic that verifies the attestation result and enforces any actions based on them on a server that you control and trust.

5. Using the test attestation verification service for production

In order to simplify development and testing of the SafetyNet Attestation API, Google offers an online verification service that checks the digital signature of a SafetyNet Attestation result using a simple HTTPS request.

As useful as this service may seem, it is designed for test purposes only, and it has very strict usage quotas that will not be increased upon request. Instead, you should implement the digital signature verification logic on your server in a way that it doesn't depend on Google's servers. Most JWT libraries offer signature verification functionality, and we have code samples that show how to perform this verification in Java and C#. We plan to provide samples for more languages in the future.

6. Not checking the nonce, timestamp, APK name, and hashes

The SafetyNet Attestation API is most widely known for its integrity and compatibility checks, whose results are returned in ctsProfileMatch and basicIntegrity. Although these two values are indeed very useful, you should check the other values in the response, as they contain important information as well.

Use nonce to match a response to its request, as explained above, and use timestampMs to check how much time has passed since you made the request and you got the response. A delayed response that arrives several hours or days after the request may suggest suspicious activity.

Use apkPackageName to check the name of the APK that made the attestation request, and match apkDigestSha256 and apkCertificateDigestSha256 to those from your app's signed APK in Google Play, to get a signal about the integrity of the installed app.

Remember that the trustworthiness of the response as a whole is tied to the results of ctsProfileMatch and basicIntegrity. It is not unthinkable for a compromised device that fails basicIntegrity to have forged the rest of the values in the response.

7. Not understanding the differences between ctsProfileMatch and basicIntegrity

The SafetyNet Attestation API initially provided a single value called basicIntegrity to help developers determine the integrity of a device. As the API evolved, we introduced a new, stricter check whose results appear in a value called ctsProfileMatch, which allows developers to more finely evaluate the devices on which their app is running.

In broad terms, basicIntegrity gives you a signal about the general integrity of the device and its API. Rooted devices fail basicIntegrity, as do emulators, virtual devices, and devices with signs of tampering, such as API hooks.

On the other hand, ctsProfileMatch gives you a much stricter signal about the compatibility of the device. Only unmodified devices that have been certified by Google can pass ctsProfileMatch. Devices that will fail ctsProfileMatch include the following:

  • Devices that fail basicIntegrity
  • Devices with an unlocked bootloader
  • Devices with a custom system image (custom ROM)
  • Devices for which the manufactured didn't apply for, or pass, Google certification
  • Devices with a system image built directly from the Android Open Source Program source files
  • Devices with a system image distributed as part of a beta or developer preview program (including the Android Beta Program)

8. Not having a strategy for timing attestation checks

The SafetyNet Attestation API gives you a snapshot of the state of a device at the moment when the attestation request was made. A successful attestation doesn't necessarily mean that the device would have passed attestation in the past, or that it will in the future.

Because an attestation is just a spot check, you should plan a sensible strategy for choosing when to make attestation requests. You may choose to require successful attestations before users make in-app purchases, after a certain number of days have passed since the last successful attestation, each time your app is launched, after every reboot, or any other strategy that makes sense for your app.

Keep in mind that an attestation request is computationally expensive, consumes battery and bandwidth, and uses your quota. We recommend you plan a strategy to use the least amount of attestations required to satisfy your use case.

9. Using the SafetyNet Attestation API results as the only signal to attack abuse

It may be tempting to think that the SafetyNet Attestation API provides all the necessary signals for protecting an app against abusers, and use it as the only signal for building an anti-abuse system.

The SafetyNet Attestation API can only give signals about the state of a device, not the intent of a user, which is what an anti-abuse system should be designed to detect. Therefore, you might want to consider including other signals, such as access logs and behavioral patterns, to more accurately detect abusive users, and consider not blocking users solely on a failed attestation. Furthermore, there are many other conditions that cause an attestation to fail, such as network connection problems, quota issues, and other transient problems.

In other words, not all users who fail attestation are necessarily abusers, and not all abusers will necessarily fail attestation. By blocking users solely on their attestation results, you might be missing abusive users that don't fail attestations. Furthermore, you might also be blocking legitimate, loyal customers who fail attestations for reasons other than abuse.

10. Not monitoring and managing your usage quota

As mentioned before, the SafetyNet Attestation API is rate limited, and there is a default quota of 10,000 requests per day for each API key. Although this quota might be enough for most development, testing, and initial app launches, your app might reach the default limit as it increases in popularity.

To prevent inadvertently reaching your quota and getting attestation errors, you should build a system that monitors your usage of the API and warns you well before you reach your quota so you can get it increased. You should also be prepared to handle attestation failures because of an exceeded quota and avoid blocking all your users in this situation.

If you are close to reaching your quota, or expect a short-term spike that may lead you to exceed your quota, you can submit this form to request short or long-term increases to the quota for your API key. This process, as well as the additional quota, is free of charge.

Indianapolis revs up with Grow with Google

For more than a hundred years, Indiana has been a powerhouse in American manufacturing. Its factories assembled the vehicles that would take the country into a new automotive era in the 20th century. Historic auto companies like Studebaker, Cord and Duesenberg called the state home.


Though Indiana remains a domestic manufacturing hub, the economy continues to evolve. Technology has emerged as a new force, and digital skills have become a baseline in businesses and classrooms. The growth of tech jobs in Indianapolis is the fifth-highest in the country. Despite this, only 48 percent of workers have the required skills to compete in the current job market.


We want to help everyone find new opportunities in the digital economy. That’s why we brought Grow with Google—our new initiative to help Americans gain the skills they need to prepare for work, find jobs, and grow their businesses—to Indianapolis this weekend.


Over the course of two days at the Indiana State Museum, thousands of job seekers, educators, students, and local businesses joined us for more than 20 workshops and 100+ one-on-one coaching sessions, as well as panel discussions that put a spotlight on success stories from the local small business community. We were joined by best-selling author and YouTube creator John Green (an Indy native), and our partners EmployIndy, The Indianapolis Public Library, Ivy Tech Community College, Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, Indy Chamber, TechPoint and Student Veterans of America.

One of the featured success stories on our panel was Janus Motorcycles, founded in 2011 by Devin Biek and Richard Worsham, two friends who shared a vision to build their dream motorcycle. Today, the company sells handmade bikes directly to customers online, using videos to showcase their craftsmanship and digital ads to drive sales. From their small production shop in northern Indiana, they bring together the the best of Midwestern handmade craftsmanship and modern manufacturing. Plus, many of their fabricated parts are made within 20 miles of their production facility.

Janus Motorcycles: Building a dream

Janus’ story is an example of how two individuals with a vision can use technology to create economic opportunities for many more.

We’re excited about the many Hoosiers who came out this past weekend, and look forward to working alongside them to help bring their ideas and dreams to life. Keep an eye out for Grow with Google events in even more cities in the months to come, and you can always access tools, resources and programs at google.com/grow.

Communicate around the house with the Google Assistant

From dinner bells to shouting, attempting to gather the family from around the house is nothing new. And now, your Google Assistant is getting in on the game.

Starting today, you can broadcast your voice from your Assistant on your phone or voice-activated speaker, like Google Home. So when you need to round up the family in the morning, just say “Ok Google, broadcast it’s time for school!” and your message will broadcast to all Assistant enabled speakers in your home. 

For certain everyday things like waking up, dinnertime or settling down for bed, the Assistant can also send a playful message on your behalf. Just say “Ok Google, broadcast it’s dinner time” and a dinner bell will ring on all your Google Homes. 🔔  Now you don't have to wear out your voice shouting up the stairs.

And if you’re just leaving the office, you can let your family know you’re coming with a simple “Ok Google, broadcast I’m on my way home!” to the Assistant on your phone, and it will broadcast to your Google Homes. To ensure that broadcasting works across all your devices, make sure you’re signed in with the same Google Account. See our help center to learn more.

Broadcasting starts rolling out today to the Assistant on phones and speakers set to English language in the U.S., Australia, Canada and the U.K., with more languages coming soon.

Maximizing art assets for VR

In line with previous tips we shared about creating art assets for VR, we’ve put together a few specific techniques for VR artists to get the most out of polygons and UV space.


Tiling textures: Instead of making one giant texture that covers lots of space, create a smaller tileable texture that can be used in more spaces. The example below uses UV space with a tileable texture repeated eight times to create high resolution on this ladder.  Through mirroring and flipping, the user will likely not notice the reused UV spaces, but the overall look is higher-res.
vrart2ladder

Use more polygons: While keeping the poly count low is important, texture and pixel resolution is more valuable. Plan ahead when designing an asset to account for the fact that you may need to add more polygons or model an asset in a less polygonally-optimized way, because doing so will increase resolution and result in a more detailed and overall optimized asset. On the left is a 13k poly model which was intended to be 6” tall in VR.  When the user approached the model, it became pixelated and didn’t look good. Instead of using large sheets of UV space, the model on the right was built with more careful polygon placement. It’s a 9k poly with a higher resolution of textures that holds up to close inspection in VR.

vrships

Maximize that UV space: Strive for higher resolution by making larger UV spaces to achieve a higher resolution per asset.  Because almost every asset has a unique UV space, the image on the left uses the large green leaf area for the entire balloon, which looks pixelated at close distances in VR. By making larger and higher resolution UV spaces and duplicating the geometry instead of relying on unique UV sections, the final asset on the right looks sharper when viewed up close.

shiptexture

Use geometry to make something unique, not textures: One drawback with reusing UV space is that things can look repetitive. To make areas of your asset look more unique, use geometry to add a new color splash or add a few edge loops to bend or scale a duplicated asset into a different silhouette.

geocompare

Plan ahead when creating assets, so they can be reused and combined with other assets: A good workflow in the tight constraints of VR is to build the individual parts of a final asset and then assemble them. Always be considering whether or not that next unique part is needed at the cost of an overall smaller UV layout, thus less lower resolution per asset.  The entire final asset on the left was built with the parts on the right.

shipparts

Hopefully, these tips will be useful as you create and optimize your assets for VR. What are some of your favorite tips and tricks? Let’s get a conversation going; use #VRArtTips to share.

Point of entry: how hackers could get into your business

Look around your office. Windows, doors, maybe you have big air conditioning vents. That’s not the only way criminals can steal from or damage your business.

You may have heard about viruses, malware and even the WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017, but do you know about the ways these threats can get into your business?

This cyber threat map shows you all the ways malicious parties can get inside your business, from your desktop computers to Wi-Fi and staff mobile phones.

How does a computer hacker get into a company’s network?

Stopping hackers from different points of entry


Staff computing devices 

Various groups and individuals try to get employees of businesses to install spyware, adware, malware or viruses to their computing devices, like laptops, notebooks, and desktop computers. These devices are vulnerable because they run complex operating systems that aren’t walled off like a mobile device.

A common malware entry point for desktops/notebooks is directly from the web.  The two methods employed are:

  1. Drive-by download (a program automatically downloaded to your computer without consent or knowledge). Drive-bys occur when a vulnerability in the web browser or a browser plugin is exploited.
  2. Social engineering. The user is tricked into accepting a download from the web that is actually malware.

Another common entry point is via email.  Opening attachments that are either malware or a malware install program is the most common method of infection via email.

Finally thumb drives can be configured to automatically run a program when accessed.  Unknown thumb drives either found or received from an unknown source can and occasionally do contain malware that will automatically infect when the thumb drive is inserted.

This topic is especially important because people use these endpoint machines to store lots of data and intellectual property (IP). Some is stored on servers and/or the cloud, but not all. Once a piece of malware is resident on your PC/Desktop/Notebook, it can execute and start doing things to your data.

Making servers more vulnerable still is the fact they often have applications that provide services across the network and these services can be compromised – affecting or infecting multiple machines. Once inside one machine, malware can crawl other linked machines on the same network and infect them.

Your server may be at risk from hackers because it’s a target for many types of attacks. For example: many servers that store critical data for websites and services use SQL (‘structured query language’ – a programming language used to communicate with databases) to manage the data in their databases. A SQL injection attack uses malicious code to get the server to expose information it normally wouldn’t.

Network

A network is a collection of computers, servers, network devices and/or other devices connected to one another. While this is done to allow the easy sharing of data, it also opens up multiple attack vectors to threats.

The network is typically used as a transportation mechanism for malware once inside, but there are also threats that attack directly from outside.

As such, there is a wide and terrifying array of network security attacks that use the network to reach your business’s devices. It is essential to protect your network against external or internal attacks.

The Cloud

Cloud computing has been beneficial to most businesses, with its access allowing increased efficiency of collaborative working and delivery of digital assets amongst others. But with convenience come dangers.

By having your private and/or sensitive data stored outside a locked box – outside your network – it is vulnerable to hackers.

The cloud can leave you open to data breaches (theft), data loss and service hijacking. Making this more hazardous is week user credentials.

Good quality cyber security and two-factor authentication are essential for those using the Cloud for business.

Passwords

This is a key way in which hackers acquire access to your assets whether internal or in the cloud, so it’s essential to keep your passwords protected. While instituting a strict company password policy is a sound business practice, it is not always enough. Use a secure password manager in tandem with your policy and you’ll be safer.

Many organisations use two-factor authentication to further secure their systems.

Mobile devices

The proliferation of mobile devices in the work place has brought new threats. Whether you operate a BYOD policy (bring your own device) or you provide company devices for work, your business is open to new risks.

The main threat comes from devices without a PIN (or a weak PIN) that get stolen. And while there is often not much data on the devices, they allow access to company systems and software. Strong passwords on mobile devices are essential.

A key challenge is making sure the owner’s activity is safe. If they access something malicious by accident in their own time – from their personal email or a website – they may endanger the whole business by giving access to hackers. Many businesses advise their staff not to use public wi-fi while out of the office – as it is a key entry point for hackers and malware.

Staff

As well as external attacks, many companies worry about internal threats from employees taking advantage of access: stealing data or damaging/infecting systems on purpose. EY found that 56% of executives saw employees as the most likely source of cyberattacks.

The actions of your staff cover a range of potential threats – as it is often their failure to spot a threat that allows hackers and malware into systems and software. Social engineering threats are designed to trick people and many click on links in emails or open attachments that infect whole networks. What makes this harder is that many staff either don’t know, or try and conceal their mistake.

Most businesses closely monitor the software their people use and don’t allow the download of free or unauthorised software or apps – a wise move.

Many organisations are now training their staff to be vigilant and know how to recognise vulnerabilities and threats.

The Internet of Things

Connected devices is one of the latest new potential entry points. If you have connected items, you may be opening your company up to cyberattack. The problem is that many IoT devices have poor communication implementation between the device and supporting cloud service. This can make many devices vulnerable, in some cases allowing attackers to take over your IoT devices for further attacks or even spy on your business – where think cameras are connected.

Not only is privacy a key concern, but people may be able to hijack your devices and take control of what those devices control.

It is predicted that 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020, so it is essential that we make sure they, and our businesses, are protected.

Emails

Emails are a common source of entry, from phishing to malware.

Email phishing is one of the oldest and most successful hacking techniques.

Attackers send out mass emails disguised as an authentic communication from a bank, subscription service or online payment site. The email tells the recipient to verify their account information by clicking on a link. The victim supplies log-in information and the hackers take money from that account or divert money to theirs.

Websites

Many websites carry malware and other threats – some without even knowing it. Hackers can break into a company’s website, steal data (cross-site scripting) and/or use it to deploy malware and viruses onto unsuspecting visitors.

Buffer overflow techniques are used by high-level hackers who gain access to customer data via online forms. Hackers navigate to an online form and provide excessive data in a form field. Sophisticated hackers can often break through the system with complex lines of code to steal data, cause damage, or provide the hacker with an alternate point of entry. Simple security techniques are often unable to combat these attacks.

Two-factor authentication

While two-factor authentication is becoming a standard in business, it is no longer recommended. The fact that people think that ‘it is safe’, means it is prone to social engineering attacks. Hackers have been known to target individuals, saying they need to download an app to do two-factor authentication, which then monitors their texts, stealing passwords when they arrive on the second device.

Unsecured Wi-Fi

Unsecured or public Wi-Fi can be as hazardous for users as it is for providers. By offering unprotected internet to your staff or guests, you may also open yourself up to threats from hackers.

Protect yourself from these threats and more, by using subscription-based cyber security software.

Samsung’s Smart Built-in Chef Collection Makes Kitchens More Connected

 

According to research by Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design, 28% of homeowners consider the integration of smart technology a very important part of their renovations.

 

Samsung is helping to reinvent the modern kitchen with intuitive smart appliances, and recently launched its Chef Collection line of premium built-in appliances to the North American market at the New York 837 Center, on November 7th, 2017. Merging elegant design and industry-leading technology, Chef Collection brings Samsung’s most innovative and popular home appliance features to the premium built-in category.

 

 

Samsung Chef Collection – Connectivity is the Main Course

 

The Samsung Chef Collection taps into the aspirations of today’s homeowners by melding exquisite designs with industry-leading technology, bringing families new and innovative features along with their built-in appliances. All appliances in the line are Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled, which allows you to monitor and control your appliances while at home or away – all with the simple press of a button on your smart phone.

 

Samsung’s Chef Collection fridges feature the first fully integrated 42” built-in 4-Door Flex™ refrigerator with a FlexZone™ compartment that – with the touch of a button – conveniently transitions from a fridge to a freezer with four temperature settings. It also features Samsung’s View Inside cameras so consumers can see what’s inside their refrigerator from anywhere – including remotely from the grocery store.

 

Samsung Chef Collection 30” Double Wall Oven with Flex Duo™ – the removable Smart Divider splits the upper oven into two sections that can simultaneously cook two dishes at two different temperatures – allows users to utilize features most often found in the kitchens of world-renowned chefs. Its steam cooking technology delivers moisture at precise times, so food has a crisp exterior and tender inside.

 

 

Visitors who attended the Samsung Chef Collection launch event in New York were particularly impressed with the variety of connected options woven into the line of premium appliances. The abilities to remotely pre-heat your oven, peer inside your fridge, or make sure your fridge door is closed via an intuitive smart phone app, were indeed a welcome addition to Samsung’s already impressive lineup of kitchen appliances.

 

 

Samsung Enhances its Presence in the Built-in Market Globally

North America represents an important built-in market for Samsung Electronics and the company has quickly become a well-known home appliance brand name there. The estimated percentage of built-in appliances is about 15 percent ($4.2 billion)* of total appliances market in North America. Samsung successfully expanded its business there with the notable acquisition of Dacor in 2016, a leading American brand among luxury home appliance makers. Earlier this year, Dacor launched its first line of premium kitchen appliances since joining the Samsung family with its revolutionary new kitchen lineup ‘The Modernist Collection’. Moreover, the Samsung Chef Collection was recently awarded four 2018 CES Innovation Honoree Awards, and was recognized for its technology in the built-in category.

 

Building upon the success of Samsung’s impressive built-in offerings in the North American market, it has also made considerable inroads in other markets around the world, including Asia and especially Europe. Samsung has released a wide range of innovative built-in appliances across Europe in cooperation with several leading European furniture companies such as Nolte of Germany, and recently opened a built-in showroom in Warsaw, Poland, known as ‘Cook Story by Samsung’.

 

 

Together with its partners across North America and Europe, Samsung is adding modern connectivity to premium kitchen appliances that improve functionality by evolving with our changing lifestyles. The integration of smart technology into built-in appliances will be a big part of kitchens moving forward and Samsung will continue to leverage its technological expertise to further enhance your premium cooking experience.

 

 

* McKinsey & Company North America

[Photo Essay] An Intimate Look into Samsung’s Semiconductor Operations (Part 2)

Samsung Electronics was founded on the belief that the company’s most valuable asset is its people and that belief still stands true today. It’s not just capital expenditure or technology we invest in, but more importantly, in our people.

 

 

Coming to work may be a daily grind, but it helps if the walk to the office is a pleasant stroll. What also helps is that, under a few ground rules, employees use flexible working hours, making it easier to manage work-life balance.

 

 

Semiconductors are fabricated in “cleanrooms,” where the environment is strictly managed to keep internal conditions, such as temperature, humidity and air pressure, at a constant level. Such measures are optimized for the ever-shrinking chips being manufactured, today mostly designed in nanometer (nm) scale, as well as for the workers inside.

 

 

Given the fact that 10nm is about one 10,000th the width of a single strand of hair, even a particle in few-cubic-micrometers could easily damage the circuits on our advanced chips. Workers wear “smocks” to prevent particles from being released into the cleanroom and would go through an air shower before entering the area. Even special paper and pens are required to take notes in there.

 

 

One of the key initiatives that go in tandem with efficient manufacturing is the safety of our workers on site. More than 500 safety professionals on staff oversee everyday operations and conduct regular inspections to ensure that all of our facilities comply with the most stringent regulations, locally and globally.

 

 

Every team within the company is required to train at least one of its members as an emergency care agent. The agents receive 16 hours of training on emergency response, including life-saving techniques such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and the Heimlich maneuver.

 

 

Employees are also trained to put out fires. As shown above, new hires begin safety training when they are initially hired and continue on a monthly basis throughout their careers based on a custom-curated curriculum.

 

 

Of course, there is a lot of research, development and other day-to-day businesses that go on but it’s also vital for us to stay active. Several sports fields around campus as well as an indoor stadium are very popular with more than 160 inter-company sports clubs’ activities, company events and performances.

 

 

Even at tech companies, often the question of the day is what to have for lunch. Calories and sodium levels of each plate are displayed on the menu so that employees can make healthy and informed decisions about their diet.

 

 

The 12 cafeterias at the Giheung and Hwaseong campuses run 24-7, with up to 20 menu selections a day from all corners of the world that would tickle any palette.

 

 

A walk after lunch is an excellent way to start the afternoon. More than 600,000m2 of greenspace is managed in Giheung and Hwaseong campuses combined, an area equivalent to more than 75 soccer fields.

 

 

A coffee break under a tree is just as refreshing. More than 60,000 trees in Giheung and Hwaseong campuses include numerous species such as pine, oak, ginkgo and elm, which provide the perfect shade to cool off.

 

 

Employees can also look after their health by working out at one of the several gyms across campus that are equipped for weights, treadmill, swimming, pilates, squash and climbing. About 4,000 employees per day use the gyms regularly.

 

 

Personal trainers are also available on site to help you work out the muscles you didn’t know you had.

 

 

In case of the unfortunate event of feeling under the weather, employees can drop by the healthcare center on site for primary care from physicians, dentists, dermatologists, acupuncturists, pharmacists and counselors on staff. Physical therapy, musculoskeletal treatment and regular health checkup services are also available.

[Photo Essay] An Intimate Look into Samsung’s Semiconductor Operations (Part 1)

Inside today’s digital devices that are becoming ever sleeker, smaller, smarter and more powerful, advanced semiconductors are the key building blocks to this digital innovation.

 

Samsung Electronics has been a major player in the semiconductor industry since the early ‘80s and has strived to deliver advanced technologies that bring meaningful changes to our everyday lives.

 

In this two-part series, we will take a closer look at our semiconductor operations in Giheung and Hwaseong in Korea, where most of its state-of-the-art semiconductors are developed and made.

 

 

Samsung’ Semiconductor Business has recently seen unprecedented success, largely owing to surging demand in advanced memory products for both consumer and enterprise, as well as a diversified IT landscape with critical drivers such as IoT, automobiles and AI.

 

 

The shift towards these data-intensive and hyper-connected platforms has spurred expanded investments in data centers, enterprise servers, network systems and HPC (high-performance computing) that require the highest level of performance and energy efficiency in large capacities. Samsung’s high-capacity memory solutions such as DRAM, V-NAND SSDs and HBM2 (high bandwidth memory) address this growing trend while mobile memory solutions with fast and efficient V-NAND technology continue to power today’s smart mobile devices.

 

 

Along with Samsung’s memory chips, CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) image sensors are also among the S.LSI business’ flagship products for Samsung. Its proprietary ISOCELL® technology separates each pixel with a physical barrier that hugely boosts image quality and enables smaller pixels. Consumer demand for DSLR-quality pictures and dual-lens cameras are spurring growth in the high-performance image sensor market. In addition to image sensors, display driver ICs (DDI), mobile processors and connectivity solutions also add to the business’ comprehensive product portfolio.

 

 

Our legacy all began with this—the 64Kb DRAM. About a decade later since its establishment in 1974, Samsung’s semiconductor business made its first mark in the industry with the chip. Its development narrowed the technology gap with industry forerunners from ten years to four. In 1992, Samsung became the top DRAM manufacturer with the development of the 64Mb DRAM and rose as the top memory manufacturer the year after.

 

 

Before there were smartphones, we flipped through phone books to look up a contact. Just when Samsung’s very first semiconductor was being developed, these company phone books from 1983 and 1984 “stored” valuable information that connected our organization. Just like the smartphones today, these fit comfortably in the pockets.

 

 

At the heart of the Giheung Campus is the Administration Building (left), Line 1 (right) and Line 2 peeking through in between, where Samsung’s semiconductor history began in the mid-‘70s. The Admin building and Line 2 stand as they did more than 30 years ago while Line 1 was rebuilt for upgrades.

 

 

In front of the Administration building stands the Muhantamgusang (Statue of Infinite Study) since Day 1 of Samsung’s semiconductor business. The statue symbolizes founder Byung-chul Lee’s vision and mission for the business, and the spirit of continuous curiosity, research and study is at the core of Samsung’s operations. The bronze statue was commissioned to sculptor Se-Jung Kim, who is famous for his statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Plaza.

 

 

The most recent addition to Samsung’s production lines in Korea is Line 17 in the Hwaseong Campus adjacent to Giheung. Since its opening in 2016, the line has been manufacturing logic chips for foundry customers along with DRAM. The Foundry Business has successfully been producing the industry’s first 10-nanometer (nm) mobile processor since earlier this year and is diversifying its product lineup to IoT, automobiles, home appliances and PCs.

 

 

One of the advantages of Samsung’s semiconductor manufacturing sites is that they are in clusters, which allows not only quick decision-making and real-time management around the clock but also tool sharing between manufacturing lines that maximize the efficiency of its resources. The bridge between fabrication lines shown above is an example of this kind of flexibility.

 

 

Approximately 23 percent of the industrial water used for Samsung’s semiconductor operations is recycled at wastewater treatment facilities as shown above. Internal pollutant discharge standards are set 30 percent lower than the law requires, and discharged water temperatures are strictly controlled to minimize the impact on the ecosystem and redirect the heat for energy reuse.

 

 

Semiconductor fabrication uses a variety of chemicals in large amounts which demand strict and safe management of these materials. Samsung’s Central Chemical Supply System (CCSS) is where chemicals used in manufacturing are stored and supplied to their destination. Supply systems are enclosed within chambers equipped with local ventilation as a safety precaution.

 

 

All piping and joints at the CCSS are doubled and sealed in case of any leakage.

 

 

The CCSS are monitored 24-7 in real time for chemical input/output as well as any abnormalities such as shortage, leakage or spill.

 

 

Semiconductor technologies are moving ahead at light speed, but that doesn’t mean that we are exempt from the responsibility to ensure that the technologies and materials we use are safe. Before a new chemical substance is introduced, it is analyzed for physical and chemical characteristics, potential health hazards and any associated risks. We also established the Samsung Health Research Institute, a research organization to safeguard healthy working environments, improve employees’ well-being and raise the standard for assessing workplace health and safety.

 

 

Semiconductors have been a major precursor to the growth of the IT industry and will continue to inspire innovation in the digital devices of tomorrow. To sustain its edge in the IT landscape, Samsung opened the Device Solutions Research (DSR) center in 2014 to spur collaboration and collective synergy among its semiconductor research and development teams working on numerous projects. The complex is comprised of three 27-story towers and is currently home to more than 10,000 employees.

 

 

It is no secret that innovation cannot be done alone. The Samsung-SAP Research Center (SSRC) within DSR is an example of Samsung’s collaborative efforts and open partnerships with a wide spectrum of industry innovators. Shown above is one of SSRC’s test servers, SAP HANA (High-performance Analytic Appliance), for in-memory platform development. With 24TB of memory based on 128GB TSV and NVMe SSDs, as well as hardware/software optimization support, this database server solution has the muscles to test next-generation systems especially for banking, enterprise and national defense.

 

 

As we move forward to the fourth industrial wave, Samsung’s semiconductor business continues to push boundaries and looks ahead for the next technological leap that will fundamentally change our way of life and enrich our everyday experiences.

[Photo] In the Studio: Galaxy Studios Around the World

From the US to Australia, Spain to Malaysia, Samsung Galaxy Studios are continuing to provide visitors with unique experiences in venues scattered across the globe. The studios are temporary installations open to the public in iconic locations, and offer visitors the opportunity to try out an array of Samsung’s flagship phones and wearable products, including the Galaxy Note8, Gear Sport, Gear VR and Gear 360.

 

Since September, Galaxy Studios have showcased for limited runs in more than 20 locations, with further displays planned to bring Samsung devices to even more cities.

 

Clockwise, from top left: Las Vegas, Melbourne, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur

 

 

Up Close and Personal with the Galaxy Note8

Among the Galaxy Studios’ highlights are hands-on experiences with the Galaxy Note8 and its distinctive S Pen and cameras. After snapping a selfie, visitors learn how embellish the photo with the S Pen, then see themselves on the big screen in the S Pen gallery. Or they can witness the effects of the Galaxy Note8’s IP68 water resistance rating, either by using the S Pen to apply photo filters or using other features underwater. Visitors can also explore the various key features of the Galaxy Note8 by placing the device on an interactive table.

 

Visitors at the Galaxy Studio in Kuala Lumpur test out various features of the Galaxy Note8 using the interactive table.

 

At the Galaxy Studio in Frankfurt, visitors explore the Galaxy Note8 and its features.

 

Visitors are wowed by the optical illusion created by mirrors in the S Pen Gallery, Frankfurt.

 

Taking the plunge in Los Angeles: Visitors are able to utilize features of the Galaxy Note 8, such as applying a photo filter using the S Pen, even when the smartphone is underwater.

 

Visitors to the Prague Galaxy Studio try out video conference calling on a desktop powered by smartphone with the Samsung DeX, which provides seamless transition from mobile device to desktop computer.

 

Noteworthy Wearables

Visitors can discover newly launched wearable products such as the Gear Sport, Gear Fit2 Pro and IconX (2018). Visitors are also able to test out the Gear Sport in a cycling challenge, enjoy an exhilarating 4D VR game, and film themselves in a 4D experience with the Gear 360.

 

A cyclist wearing the Gear Sport celebrates sweet victory in LA.

 

The race is on for two visitors in the Galaxy Fitness cycling challenge in Hong Kong.

 

Visitors in London enjoy the Gear VR in 4D. They control their movements through the universe with their controllers while sitting in a 4D chair, which moves to create a fully immersive virtual reality experience.

 

Surrounded by a 4D experience, visitors film themselves with the Gear 360 in Moscow.

 

Notable Events and Workshop Sessions at the Galaxy Studios

Samsung hosts a range of unique experiences at their Galaxy Studios. Recently, artists and influencers were invited to Galaxy Studios to illustrate ways to utilize the Galaxy Note8’s signature S Pen and dual cameras to their fullest capacity, and to participate in workshops. Galaxy Studios have also held fitness session using new products and wine tastings using the Gear VR. In addition, visitors were able to learn more about traffic safety in an immersive experience with the Gear VR, inside the Galaxy Studio’s fitness zone. Galaxy Studios aim to use their locations in various cities to their best advantage and the venues have held charity concerts and other local events to give back to the community.

 

Learning how to get the most out of using the S Pen in Amsterdam.

 

A visitor samples vintages with a sommelier during a VR wine tasting experience in Amsterdam.

 

Crowds gather for a charity concert in front of the Galaxy Studio in Las Vegas.

Making Pixel better for Drivers

Posted by Marc Stogaitis and Tajinder Gadh, Software Engineers
Driving is an essential part of our daily activities. So at Google we spend a lot of time thinking how we can make Android devices better and safer for our users. How we can prevent distracted driving and together build an open ecosystem to enable safety first smartphone experiences.
Recently we launched Driving Do-Not-Disturb on the newly announced Pixel 2 generation of devices. Once enabled, Driving Do-Not-Disturb automatically puts your device into a do not disturb mode while driving. During this mode any incoming messages and notifications are silenced while you can still receive incoming calls, navigation directions and voice interactions using a connected Car bluetooth. The product is designed to limit distractions during driving while at the same time not getting in the way so users can continue to use navigation or other similar apps with minimal friction.
Behind the scenes, it uses AI powered on-device Activity Recognition that detects when a person is driving using low power signals from multiple sensors, bluetooth and WiFi. Activity Recognition uses the Android Sensor Hub to ensure low latency, low power and accurate driving detection.
This is a next step in our journey, but we are far from done. Early next year we are introducing the Activity Recognition Transition API, which is the same API used by Driving Do Not Disturb to build distraction-free driving experiences.
We appreciate the feedback, and will continue to listen to your feedback as the product evolves.
If you have questions about setting up the Driving Do-Not-Disturb, check out our Help Center.

Samsung Honored for Outstanding Design and Engineering with 36 CES 2018 Innovation Awards

 

Samsung Electronics, a global leader in technology, today announced that 36 of its latest products have been recognized as CES®2018 Innovation Awards winners. Products awarded in this prestigious program are honored for outstanding design and engineering in cutting-edge consumer electronics technology across 28 product categories.

 

Samsung’s award-winning products include two Best of Innovation and span categories across Virtual and Augmented Reality, Wearable Technologies, Video Displays, Home Appliances, and Smart Home. This marks the first year where Samsung has won in the CES Innovation Award category of Fitness, Sports and Biotech for the Gear Sport, Gear Fit2 Pro, and Gear IconX (2018).

 

“Innovation is in our DNA, as is our commitment to delivering transformational products that create meaningful experiences for our consumers,” said Tim Baxter, President and CEO, Samsung Electronics North America. “To be recognized by our industry peers, year over year, for our relentless pursuit of innovative design and engineering is truly an honor.”

 

The CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the owner and organizer of CES. Many of Samsung’s industry recognized products will be on display at CES 2018, which takes place January 9-12, 2018, in the Samsung booth (#15006) located in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

 

Following are details on a selection of Samsung’s award-winning products:

 

Gear Fit2 Pro – The new Gear Fit2 Pro features combines built-in GPS tracking with new continuous heart rate monitoring and powerful Under Armour applications to capture every run or ride accurately. With 5ATM water resistance, it allows users to withstand the pool, rain and even a post-workout shower. For added comfortability and convenience, the Gear Fit2 Pro has a slim design and light weight band, as well as a high-resolution color touchscreen that makes real-time updates and notifications easy to read while on the move.

 

Gear Sport – The latest smartwatch in Samsung’s industry-leading wearable portfolio, the Gear Sport is a stylish blend of fitness tracking and smart capabilities for people with active lifestyles. The Gear Sport transitions easily from work to workout with swim-ready water resistance (5ATM) and all-day fitness and calorie tracking. And with smart features like Samsung Pay (NFC), IOT control, and even offline music playback with Spotify, the Gear Sport is ready for whatever the day has in store.

 

Gear IconX (2018) – The new Gear IconX 2018 empowers users to effortlessly listen to their favorite music. Whether commuting or at the gym, these powerful cord-free headphones let users stream music via Bluetooth for up to 5-hours and play favorites from their MP3 playlist for up 7-hours. In addition to a 10-minute quick charge feature giving one hour of playtime, users can use the earbuds as an activity tracker and make voice commands through Samsung Bixby or Google Voice on your phone without even having it in your hand.

 

Samsung HMD Odyssey – In partnership with Microsoft, the Samsung HMD Odyssey offers an immersive Windows Mixed Reality experience. With dual 3.5-inch AMOLED high-resolution displays, 110-degree field of view, AKG head-headphones and voice command activation, the HMD Odyssey takes consumers to entirely new virtual limits.

 

Galaxy Note8 – The Galaxy Note8 features a bigger 6.3-inch Infinity Display so consumers can view more and scroll less. The enhanced S Pen1 allows users to unlock new ways to write, draw and interact with the phone and communicate with others, including taking Screen off memos, creating a Live Message2 and multitasking on the go. It also offers Samsung’s best-ever smartphone camera featuring two 12MP rear cameras and the world’s first smartphone with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) on both wide-angle and telephoto lenses.

 

Galaxy S8 and S8+ – The Galaxy S8 and S8+ push the boundaries of traditional smartphones and build on Samsung’s heritage of creating stunning designs and functional devices. Available in 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+, the Infinity Display and bezel-less design form a smooth, continuous surface with no buttons or harsh angles. The result is a truly immersive viewing experience without distractions and makes multi-tasking more convenient.

 

49” CHG90 Gaming Monitor – With a 32:9 aspect ratio and curved display, this groundbreaking, ultra-wide monitor fully immerses the user in gameplay, delivering cinematic viewing for all types of content. The CHG90 supports AMD’s Radeon FreeSync 2 technology for a smoother gaming experience with twice the perceivable brightness and color. The monitor also features stunning visuals powered by High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture-enhancement technology, which, when paired with Samsung’s QLED Quantum Dot technology, dramatically improves picture quality with crisper colors and sharper contrast.

 

Samsung Connect Home Pro – The industry’s first Smart Wi-Fi System to combine mesh networking technology with a SmartThings Hub, Samsung Connect Home Pro opens up new possibilities for users to better connect their devices and easily manage their home networks. It delivers the ultimate, optimized Wi-Fi signal for the home while giving users the power to manage their smart home devices all from a single, secure network.

 

Samsung Chef Collection (4 Honoree Awards)  – Merging elegant design and industry-leading technology, Samsung’s new Chef Collection line brings Samsung’s most innovative and popular home appliance features to the premium built-in category. Chef Collection reflects the aspirations of this new generation of state-of-the-art homeowners who look to the kitchen not just as a room to cook in, but as a sophisticated reflection of who they are. Samsung Chef Collection is honored with four 2018 CES Innovation Honoree Awards for the Chef Collection 30” Pro Range, the Chef Collection 30” Built-In Combi Oven, the Chef Collection 36” Gas Cooktop and the Chef Collection 30” Double Wall Oven.

 

Samsung 16Gb GDDR6 Memory – The fastest and lowest-power DRAM for next generation, graphics-intensive applications. It processes images and video at 16Gbps with 64GB/s data I/O bandwidth, which is equivalent to transferring approximately 12 full-HD DVDs (5GB equivalent) per second. The new DRAM can operate at 1.35 volts, offering further advantages over today’s graphics memory that uses 1.5V at only 8Gbps.

 

Samsung 8TB NGSFF NVMe SSD (PM983) – The first 8 terabyte “next-generation form factor” SSD dramatically improves the storage capacity and performance of 1U rack servers (highly popular in consumer electronics). The 64 8TB NGSF SSD can deliver I/O at a phenomenal 0.5 petabytes per second. Measuring only 30.5mm x 110mm x 4.38mm, the drive also improves space utilization and scaling options in hyper-scale datacenter servers.

 

Exynos 9 Series 9810 The Exynos 9 Series 9810 is Samsung’s latest flagship processor, with 3rd-generation custom CPU cores, upgraded GPU, and gigabit LTE modem with industry-first 6CA support. It is built on 2nd generation 10nm process technology.

 

Samsung ISOCELL Slim 2X7 – Samsung ISOCELL Slim 2X7 is a 24 megapixel image sensor with 0.9μm pixels, the smallest pixel in the industry, plus Tetracell and remosaic technology to simulate bigger pixel performance. 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.

 

 

Compared to Galaxy Note5 S Pen

2 GIFs created may not be supported by some social media and messaging services depending on the size and length of the GIFs

Facebook Community Boost: Helping to Create Jobs and Provide Digital Skills Across the US

By Dan Levy, VP, Small Business

Today we’re introducing Facebook Community Boost, a new program to help US small businesses grow and to equip more people with the digital skills they need to compete in the new economy.

Facebook Community Boost will visit 30 US cities in 2018, including Houston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Des Moines and Greenville, South Carolina. Facebook will work with local organizations to provide digital skills and training for people in need of work, to advise entrepreneurs how to get started and to help existing local businesses and nonprofits get the most out of the internet.

Since 2011 Facebook has invested more than $1 billion to support small businesses. Boost Your Business has trained more than 60,000 small businesses in the US and hundreds of thousands more around the world. More than 1 million small businesses have used Facebook’s free online learning hub, Blueprint, and more than 70 million small businesses use our free Pages tool to create an online presence. And we recently created a digital marketing curriculum that will help train 3,000 Michigan residents in digital skills development over the next two years.

According to new research by Morning Consult in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce Technology Engagement Center and Facebook, small businesses’ use of digital translates into new jobs and opportunities for communities across the country. Small businesses provide opportunities for millions of people (they create an estimated four out of every five new jobs in the US), offer useful products and services, and often provide a place for people to come together. In addition:

  • 80% of US small and medium businesses on Facebook say the platform helps them connect to people in their local community.
  • One in three US small and medium sized businesses on Facebook say they built their business on the platform; and 42% say they’ve hired more people due to growth since joining Facebook.
  • Businesses run by African Americans, Latinos, veterans and those with a disability are twice as likely to say that their business was built on Facebook, and one and a half times more likely to say they’ve hired more people since joining the platform.
  • 56% of US small and medium sized businesses on Facebook say they increased sales because of the platform; 52% of say Facebook helps them sell products to other cities, states, and countries.

We want to do more to support communities across America – particularly for those who are transitioning to careers that require more digital skills. It’s why we’re introducing Facebook Community Boost.

  • If you’re looking for a job, we’ll provide training to help improve your digital and social media skills. According to the research, 62% percent of US small businesses using Facebook said having digital or social media skills is an important factor in their hiring decisions — even more important than where a candidate went to school.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, we’ll have training programs on how to use technology to turn an idea into a business or show you ways to create a free online presence using Facebook.
  • If you’re a business owner we’re going to offer ways your business can expand its digital footprint and find new customers around the corner and around the globe.
  • If you’re getting online for the first time or you want to support your community, we’ll provide training on digital literacy and online safety. And we’ll also help community members use technology to bring people together, with features like Events and Groups.

Facebook Community Boost was developed based on requests from the small business community that Facebook spend more time in their cities and provide more training. We’re just getting started, and are pleased to partner with community leaders to learn where we can help. We are especially grateful to the governors and mayors representing each of the five cities where we’re starting in 2018, including:

  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner: “We’re happy to welcome Facebook to Houston to boost our residents’ digital skills and make sure our vibrant community of entrepreneurs and small businesses gets more out of the internet. I’m glad that Facebook recognized that one of the first five cities to benefit from this program should be Houston, the most diverse city in the nation, the largest economic engine of Texas and a proving ground not only for innovation in tech, energy, medicine and space exploration but also for mom-and-pop small businesses that reflect all the cultures of America and the globe.”
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott: “Small businesses are the backbone of the Texas economy. My goal as governor is to help small businesses and the non-profit sector grow even faster in Texas, and I’m grateful for the help of industry movers like Facebook. I applaud the decision by Facebook to choose Houston, TX as one of the five U.S. cities for this important and exciting event, and for their investment in the entrepreneurial spirit of Texas.”
  • New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez: “It’s clear when it comes to innovation and economic development New Mexico and Facebook make great partners. We are proud Facebook has selected Albuquerque as one of only five of the first locations in the country to offer its new Community Boost program. Residents and small businesses in New Mexico will have the opportunity to build stronger digital skills to get the most out of the digital marketplace. We will be working with Facebook to ensure our business have access to this exciting opportunity because New Mexicans deserve a diversified economy for the future.”
  • Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry: “As the City of Albuquerque is the second most digital city in nation, we are excited and welcome Facebook to Albuquerque for its new community boost! This initiative will help train our residents in developing key skills to help them thrive in our ever evolving digital world. We look forward to working closely with Facebook in coordinating the weeklong event to ensure Albuquerque and New Mexico small businesses are aware and can participate to the fullest extent. We hope this will help bring more tech skills and better job opportunities to our wonderful community.”
  • Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds: “It’s my priority to ensure that Iowans have the skills they need to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow, and to ensure that Iowa businesses have the tools they need to thrive in the digital economy. So I’m thrilled that Facebook has chosen Des Moines as a pilot city to launch its new Community Boost Program. Facebook has been a great partner in Iowa, and my administration looks forward to working with them on this wonderful project.”
  • South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster: “The fact that Facebook has chosen Greenville as one of the first cities to offer its new Community Boost is something that all of South Carolina can be proud of. We see new businesses come to our state and existing ones expand here every day, making it as important as ever that our people are trained and ready to do any job they’re asked to do. The work Facebook will be doing in Greenville is important for the future prosperity of South Carolina, and we look forward to working with them.”

We’ll be visiting 30 US cities in 2018, and we’d love to hear how Facebook Community Boost can help people in your city or town. You can share your story at facebook.com/tellcommunityboost.

Dock and Run: Samsung DeX Offers New Opportunities for Business and Entertainment

The ability to see something on a different scale often offers a new perspective. Launched with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ and now available with the Galaxy Note8, Samsung DeX* lets users use their smartphone like a desktop by providing a seamless, mobile to desktop transition. Now, users have the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds in an ever-expanding ecosystem of partnerships, opening up new possibilities for coding, entertainment and productivity.

 

Out and About with Linux on Galaxy

At last, developers themselves are able to experience a truly mobile development environment.

 

Linux on Galaxy, an app demonstrated during SDC 2017 in San Francisco, is designed to free developers from their desks by providing a Linux OS environment for their Galaxy smartphone: anywhere, anytime, on-the-move. Smartphones with Linux on Galaxy are capable of having multiple operating systems running at the same time, so developers have the ability to work with their Linux-based distributions of choice on their mobile device, without restrictions. As well as using the Android OS, they can open the app to run any software they require in a Linux OS environment, giving developers the flexibility to choose.

 

 

What’s more, Linux on Galaxy is DeX-enabled, meaning that developers can seamlessly move from smartphone to desktop whenever they want to work on a larger screen with a keyboard and mouse.** Currently in its trial stage, Linux on Galaxy is already causing a buzz amongst developers.

 

Even More Entertainment

Samsung DeX complements the conventional mobile experience. In the world of entertainment, Samsung DeX now offers support for even more mobile games and video streaming services, so users can watch the action come to life on a larger screen.

 

 

Samsung’s partnerships with major video game developers such as Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory, Game Insight’s Survival Arena, Eric Froemling’s BombSquad and Netmarble’s Lineage 2 Revolution present popular mobile games on the immersive desktop setting through the Samsung Game Launcher app, with a keyboard and mouse for easier gameplay. This allows players to move from mobile to desktop, and back again, without disrupting their gaming experience. In addition, new titles – including Lineage 2 Revolution and Nexon’s AxE – are beginning to support Vulkan API in increasing numbers. The upcoming “mobile title” Square Enix FINAL FANTASY XV POCKET EDITION has been optimized for both Vulkan and DeX, pushing the boundaries of mobile gaming.

 

With Twitch, users of the video streaming service are provided with a better multitasking experience and can resize the window and play video while running other apps via Samsung DeX.

 

 

Powering Productivity

The service doesn’t just enhance mobile entertainment– it also heightens user productivity. Samsung DeX transforms the docked Samsung smartphone into a desktop-like workstation, increasing output for professionals on-the-go.

 

Users can enjoy an improved email experience—with email clients such as Samsung Email, Samsung Focus, Nine Email and MS Outlook—via an optimized interface with a desktop-like, three-column layout, flexible split view and multi composer.

 

Likewise, Samsung DeX enables a better collaboration with video conferencing from even more services such as Zoom, BlueJeans and GoToMeeting. Video conferencing has been made simpler with a seamless docking-undocking experience, support for screen and document sharing, and multitasking capabilities that allow the user to stay in the call while taking notes or sending email.

 

 

With the Galaxy Note8, the new All Apps user interface offers users a full view of up to 36 of their mobile apps at once, which is an increase from previous view of 25 apps. The enhanced UI makes app access and search more convenient, allowing users to identify and utilize apps faster.

 

As Samsung continues to expand its partner ecosystem with third-party developers and strives to broaden the use of Linux on its smartphone, the service’s ecosystem will continue to grow organically, offering a wider range of Samsung DeX-optimized apps, features and experiences for Galaxy users across business and entertainment.

 

* Samsung DeX is compatible with the Galaxy Note8 as well as the Galaxy S8 and S8+

**To find out when Linux on Galaxy will become available please sign up at: http://seap.samsung.com/linux-on-galaxy

Sharing Workplace Safety Management Know-how in Vietnam

 

On November 7, Samsung Vietnam hosted the first “Samsung Vietnam Workplace Environment & Safety Innovation Conference” at Samsung Electronics Vietnam Thai Nguyen. Under the theme “Workplace Environment and Safety as the No. 1 Principle in Business,” the two-day meeting aimed to raise awareness as well as dialogue around the latest initiatives in working environment and safety innovation at Samsung worksites.

 

Wide Partnerships Backed by Deep Commitment

 

More than 700 attendees participated in the conference, including representatives from Samsung Electronics’ manufacturing subsidiaries and its affiliated companies and suppliers, as well as officials from relevant government agencies in Vietnam, to share their experiences on innovating workplace environment and safety management practices.

 

 

From the Vietnam government, Deputy Minister Doãn Mậu Diệp of the Ministry of Labor, Disabled and Social Affairs, Deputy Minister Võ Tuấn Nhân of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Nguyễn Tử Quỳnh, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Bac Ninh, were in attendance and congratulated Samsung’s ongoing efforts to promote employee health and safety.

 

From Samsung, Won Hwan Shim, President of Samsung Vietnam, the subsidiary heads of Samsung affiliate factories in Vietnam, as well as leaders of Samsung manufacturing facilities from around the world including Korea, Brazil, India, and China also participated.

 

“The scale of Samsung’s operation in Vietnam is growing rapidly as well as its significance to Samsung’s business,” said Won Hwan Shim, President of Samsung Vietnam who oversees all of Samsung’s manufacturing facilities in Vietnam. “Samsung Electronics and its affiliates provide jobs for 160,000 people in Vietnam and our export turnover is expected to exceed USD 50 billion this year. By sharing global experience and know-how into workplace environment and safety management with all Samsung subsidiaries and local partners in Vietnam, Samsung Electronics is committed to establishing a safer and healthier workplace.”

 

 

Long-term Commitment in Vietnam

 

Samsung’s factories in Vietnam are committed to workplace environment and safety, and energy saving as the main principle in production and business operation. Furthermore, Samsung continues to seek innovative ways to protect the workplace environment and promote the safety and welfare of its staff.

 

 

For example, Samsung has established the Samsung Health Center at its manufacturing complex in Thai Nguyen, to provide state-of-the-art medical equipment and medical services such as obstetric care, otolaryngology and physiotherapy to employees. The center is staffed with 11 doctors and 45 nurses, ready on-site. In addition, Samsung also recently opened respective Motor Safety Experience Centers at its complexes in Bac Ninh (SEV) and Thai Nguyen (SEVT) to provide defensive driving training for employees by simulating traffic incidents to help reduce and prevent traffic accidents.

Samsung Introduces Chip-on-Board LED Packages Optimized for Commercial Lighting

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced digital component solutions, today announced a new family of chip-on-board LED lighting packages, labeled the “Samsung D-series Special Color.” The packages are engineered to bring out the most desirable color tones of objects whose viewing is particularly color-sensitive, making them optimal for many commercial lighting applications.

 

Through spectrum engineering, color spectrums within the D-series have been tuned to deliver exceptionally high color vividness, without the use of harmful ultraviolet (UV) lighting chips. The packages deliver a TM-30* Gamut Index (Rg) of over 110, a level that ensures lighting with outstanding color and whiteness. Today, to provide almost as vivid color, many LED lamps instead use “near-UV” chips, which can damage the human eye and clothing after repeated exposure. Near-UV rays can display vivid colors, but only when the whites in the object being illuminated contain fluorescent brightening agents. An alternative is to use expensive ceramic discharge metal-halide (CDM) lamps that do not last nearly as long.

 

 

As color has a significant influence on consumer purchase decisions, the new D-series now offers lighting options for three of the most important segments of commercial goods: fashion (stylish clothing), meat and vegetables. The LED packages for each segment have been designed with the most effective combination of phosphors to illuminate what is being sold in the most appealing way. To determine the most attractive color rendering and saturation levels based on subjective perceptions, Samsung ran extensive preference tests among many demographic groups worldwide.

 

“Our new ‘D-series Special Color’ brings much greater value to the commercial lighting industry, reaching far beyond the ordinary image-rendering benefits of LEDs,” said Jacob Tarn, executive vice president of the LED Business Team at Samsung Electronics. “We are determined to continue to be the leading innovator in LED component solutions that are not only outstanding in quality, but which also bring the most practical benefits to the ultimate user – consumers.”

 

The “D-series Special Color” has been in mass production since late last month. Packages generate from 13 to 33 watts to create the best combination of LEDs and phosphors for each commercial segment. Furthermore, they come in the same shapes and sizes as the standard Samsung D-series to simplify retrofitting of existing luminaires.

 

Conventional chip-on-board LED lighting (left) and “D-series Special Color”.

 

*Editor’s Note: TM-30 is the most recent method of combining multiple related research efforts into a single system for evaluating the color rendition of a light source. It was developed by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), a globally-recognized non-profit standards-setting organization for the lighting industry.

Google and Ideas United announce Infinite Deviation: Games winners

Posted by Kate Brennan and Mathilde Cohen Solal, Google Play and Daraiha Greene, CS in Media

Google Play is committed to empowering new and existing voices in gaming. Earlier this year, we hosted the Indie Games Festival and sponsored the Girls Make Games summer camp. We also announced a collaboration between Infinite Deviation and Google Play.

Infinite Deviation is an initiative created by Google Computer Science (CS) in Media and Ideas United in order to tackle issues of representation in computer science. The collaboration between Google Play and Ideas United brought the Infinite Deviation program to gaming, called Infinite Deviation: Games. The program invited game designers from all backgrounds to pitch an original mobile game concept that resonates with underrepresented audiences.

Today we are excited to announce the three teams selected for the Infinite Deviation: Games development program.

A select panel of industry experts reviewed applications and chose the top three ideas. The judging panel included Colleen Macklin (Founder and Co-Director, PETLab), Jeremy Vanhoozer (Senior Creative Director, Plants vs Zombies), Molly Proffitt (CEO, Ker-Chunk Games), Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia (Founder and CEO, PlayWerks), and Sarah Thomson (Global BD Lead, Indies, Google). These judges scored and delivered personal feedback for each submission, with the three highest scoring games moving into further development.

Here's a closer look at the three games we'll be funding and supporting development over the next six months:

Historic Gay Bar Tycoon

Mo Cohen & Maria Del Castillo Infantas - Queermo Games

Historic Gay Bar Tycoon (name pending) starts you off with a brand new queer bar in the 1920s. This game explores the role bars played in LGBT history. Will your bar survive revolutions, epidemics, and the rise of dating apps?

Queermo Games is pretty much what it sounds like: a scrappy and small indie game developing team just trying to make more LGBT games. Conveniently, they are also next door neighbors. Maria is a queer Latina who handles the art and the music, and Mo is a non-binary Jewish queer who tackles the programming and writing. Together, they also work on another longer-term project called Queer Quest with their buddy Hagen.

Burn Ban

Harrison Barton & Morgan Rowe - Pride Interactive

Burn Ban is an interactive visual novel in which you assume the role of Twig, a mentally ill queer girl. After showing destructive tendencies to cope with the death of a close friend, she is sent to Camp Sisquoc, a summer retreat for misguided students. After attending the camp for a few days, her dead friend's online social media page mysteriously starts posting again, and Twig and friends are set with determining the mystery behind the posts.

Pride Interactive is currently made up of two developers, Harrison Barton and Morgan Rowe. Pride Interactive was started as a student game team, and is now continuing on to develop independent projects. Pride Interactive endeavors to further their mission of creating a more diverse environment in the industry through games that deal with serious themes, and diverse character driven narratives.

Ghost in the Graveyard

Adnan Agha, Vivian Allum, and Armand Silvani - Ghost Stories

Ghost in the Graveyard is a story-driven mobile mystery game where you snoop through your missing brother's old phone to try and find him. "Can you find a missing person when all you have is their phone?"

Ghost Stories is a three member team from NYC with a mission to create genuine and unique experiences that connect with players. The team consists of Vivian, the lead designer and programmer, Armand, the artist and writer, and Adnan, the programmer and resident ghost. They've previously published a school project to the Xbox One and are thrilled to be able to work with Infinite Deviation to publish to Google Play.

You can find more information about the program at InfiniteDeviation.com/Games. Congratulations to the three winners and thanks to all the people who have entered the competition for their continuous work to push the boundaries of gaming design and providing a unique voice to the industry.

Send Money to Friends in Messenger – Now in Euros and British Pounds

By the Messenger and Payments Teams

Today we’re adding one of the most requested features in Messenger to two new countries by introducing peer-to-peer payments to people in the UK and France. It’s a convenient and secure way to send and receive money right in Messenger threads — making it fast to send money to friends without leaving a conversation. We’ve also added an animation of falling Euros and British Pounds, depending on the country, just for a touch of fun.

This is the first time Messenger has extended p2p payments since launching in the US in 2015, and since then, p2p payments in Messenger have been widely used to make life more seamless. Some recent Messenger research has shown it’s not just the transactional act of paying someone back, it’s the emotional importance of doing so. Reciprocity fosters happiness and builds trust. We’ve heard that people often want better ways to express themselves when sending money, like adding accompanying text, emoticons, pictures and GIFs; of course Messenger is the best place to do many of these things, so we hope we’re bringing even more functionality to the art of conversation.

We asked people in France and the UK when they wished they could send money to someone in the moment. The top reasons for sending money include celebrations, social events and festive occasions. It’s those everyday moments we’re trying to make a little easier. We’ve seen that in the US, most people use payments in Messenger to send less than $50 at a time, and sending money in Messenger has become a part of everyday life for many.

Payments in Messenger will roll out to everyone in the UK and France over the coming weeks. With this feature, people will be able to send money to others in their country (from a person in the UK to another person in the UK, for example) but not across borders.

Payments in Messenger are fast, free and secure.

To send money:

  1. Start a message with a friend
  2. Tap the blue + icon and then tap the green Payments icon
  3. Set up your payment account (only the first time) and then enter the amount you want to send
  4. Tap Pay and then add your debit card
  5. Watch the amount of money you sent rain down on the screen

To receive money:

  1. Open the conversation from your friend
  2. Tap Add Card in the message, add your debit card and setup your payment account to accept money for the first time

The money you send is transferred right away. It may take one to three business days to make the money available to the recipient depending on their bank, just as it does with other deposits.

Messenger uses people’s authentic identities so you know who you’re talking to. And when it comes to payments, we take extra steps for your protection: all debit card credentials are encrypted and protected with bank level security, our world-class anti-fraud specialists monitor payments, and in the rare case that we find unauthorized activity on your account, we’ll work with you to secure your account again. Plus, since payments in Messenger use debit cards, as with any other debit card payment, if you see unauthorized charges, you have recourse with your bank. Finally, Messenger payments are offered as a regulated payment service, meaning they’re directly subject to consumer protection requirements.

We’re also rolling out M suggestions for payments in the UK and France. M is your helpful assistant in Messenger, powered by artificial intelligence. M offers suggestions by popping into an open conversation to suggest relevant content and capabilities to enrich the way people communicate and get things done. M, which is completely automated, will recognize when people are discussing payments and gives them the option of easily sending or requesting money. While M became available to people in the UK in August, today is M’s French debut. In addition to payments, starting today M will suggest sending stickers, sharing your location, starting a poll (in a group conversation) or sending birthday wishes.

Kenyan Homes Enjoy an Alternative and Sustainable Way to Cook

Samsung Electronics announced today that, in partnership with Green Development SA, it will deliver 10,000 bioethanol stoves to 10,000 households in Mombasa, Kenya. By supplying these eco-friendly stoves, Samsung Electronics aims to address climate change and improve the health and safety of the residents of Kenya’s second largest city while providing them with economic sustainability.

 

 

A New Way to Cook

Bioethanol stoves are affordable, safe to use, and eco-friendly

 

In Mombasa, 80 percent of households depend on charcoal for their cooking requirements. Yet charcoal fuel used for cooking produces toxic fumes when burned, threatening the health of family members and neighbours and increasing the early mortality rate. Burning charcoal also leads to serious air pollution and accelerates deforestation due to the excessive harvesting of trees. Current fuel alternatives such as Liquid Petroleum Gas and Kerosene are expensive and considered a fire hazard.

 

Bioethanol, on the other hand, is a renewable, clean energy source, and a byproduct of sugar production. The fuel is six times more energy efficient than charcoal, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The stoves themselves are affordable, safe to use at home and have a reduced impact on the environment.

 

 

A Helping Hand

With this bioethanol stove, women and children of Mombasa are free from a 5-hour walk or waiting in a long queue to get a supply of charcoal.

 

Samsung Electronics and Green Development will provide training for sourcing, production and sales of bioethanol stoves and fuels, contributing to revitalizing the community’s economic sustainability. This project aims to improve the quality of life for the residents of the community, and to reduce the impact of climate change for global societies.

 

“Samsung Electronics is taking further steps to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to implement this project in refugee camps in Africa,” said Haengil Kim, Senior Vice President leading Global Environment, Health and Safety Centre at Samsung Electronics. “The company will continue to help tackle social challenges in local communities and to address climate change.”

 

 

A Commitment to Sustainability

As part of this partnership, Samsung Electronics will earn carbon credits issued by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), certifying the company’s’ commitment to reducing its carbon footprint in developing countries.

 

Samsung Electronics is committed to mitigating climate change. The company continues to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the facilities and to gradually switch to renewable energy sources. It also undertakes global social initiatives to raise awareness about climate change and protect the environment as a responsible corporate citizen. Samsung Electronics’ environmental approach and performance have been recognized as a global leader addressing climate change and included in the ‘2017 CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) A list’ ranking both in the climate change and water security sectors, placing the company in the Global CDP Index for eight consecutive years.

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