Playing in the leaves with #teampixel

Sweater weather is here, and #teampixel is out there playing in the leaves. From urban art adventures in LA and Chicago to ancient exploration in Petra, plus picturesque autumnal scenes, treat yourself to some of our favorite #teampixel photos from the past week.

We’d love to share your Pixel shots, so be sure to tag your work on Instagram with #teampixel for an opportunity to be featured.

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    Reflect in nature with @photolazer at Emerald Lake and rowing along in Central Park by @bdojcinovski

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    Cupid’s arrow found among the leaves by @cg_slaughter

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    Colorful signs in the Southwest by @graeme_nicholl and art meets architecture in Downtown LA with @arjunkachru

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    A foggy stroll through the forest with @shawnsblog
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    Road trip against the mountains with @imperor_1 and ancient view through a narrow Petra valley by @stevenpint0

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    Nighttime at Chicago’s Cloud Gate with @optomanishk

New Talent Bridge Matching Engine Connects Cisco Partners to Top Tech Talent

Since its launch in 2016, the Cisco Networking Academy Talent Bridge program has connected over 1200 Networking Academy students to jobs with Cisco partners. This week at Cisco Partner Summit, Cisco is unveiling a pilot program that will make it even easier for our partners to connect to, contact, and hire passionate, skilled Networking Academy […]

Disruption in Our Learning Cultures Develops Families as Learning Partners

Ymasumac Marañón Davis is an educational consultant, intuitive life coach and author. This blog is the fourth in a series around access. All thoughts are her own.  Today, technology is a bullet train rapidly transforming every sector in society. Disruption is evident in companies like Airbnb and Lyft that have completely rearranged how we vacation […]

Update on Kotlin for Android

Posted by James Lau, Product Manager (twitter.com/jmslau)

Today is the beginning of KotlinConf.
It’s been almost 6 months since we announced Kotlin as a first-class language
for Android at Google I/O. During this period, the number of apps on Google Play
using Kotlin has more than doubled. More than 17% of the projects in Android
Studio 3.0 are now using Kotlin. We are really excited about the strong
momentum, and we are thrilled that Android developers all over the world are
discovering the joy of Kotlin programming.

Kotlin for Android is production-ready. From startups to Fortune 500 companies,
developers are already using Kotlin to build their apps. Developers from
Pinterest, to Expedia, to Basecamp — and many others — are finding their use
of Kotlin is increasing productivity and their overall developer happiness
levels. Take a look at some of their experiences with Kotlin below.

With the recent release of Android Studio 3.0,
there is now a stable version of our IDE that has Kotlin support built-in. With
Support
Library 27
, we have started adding nullability annotations to make the APIs
friendlier to use in Kotlin. We recently published the Android Kotlin Guides on
GitHub
to provide some guidance for Android Kotlin style and interop. We
have also been porting some of our Android
samples to Kotlin
, and we are adding Kotlin to our official documentation.

Android Studio 3.0

Last week, we released
Android Studio 3.0 on the stable channel
. This is the first stable release
of Android Studio that has Kotlin support built-in. Building on the strength of
IntelliJ’s Kotlin support, many critical IDE features like code completion and
syntax highlighting work well for Kotlin. You can choose to convert Java code to
Kotlin by using CodeConvert Java File to Kotlin
File
, or you can convert snippets of code just by pasting Java code
into a Kotlin file.

Project and code templates have also been updated with Kotlin support. When you
create a new project or add a new code file, you can choose Kotlin as one of the
language options.

The tooling experience with Kotlin is by no means perfect yet. We are aware of
several known
issues
, and we will continue to improve the IDE support for Kotlin in future
releases.

Android Kotlin Guides

There are two separate Android Kotlin Guides:

  1. Style guide
    – details a set of rules and coding standards that Google recommends when
    writing Kotlin for Android. The guide addresses naming conventions, formatting,
    structure of the source contents, and much more.
  2. Interop
    guide
    – provides a set of rules for creating APIs in the Java and Kotlin
    programming languages, so that the consuming code in the other language will
    feel idiomatic.

We intend these guides to be living documents and will evolve them over time.
They are hosted on GitHub and we welcome your contributions.

Nullability Annotations

Null-safety is an important feature of the Kotlin language. It helps developers
avoid NullPointerExceptions and improves the quality of their apps. Null-safety
is a bit more complicated when using Java code from Kotlin. Since any reference
in Java may be null, Kotlin’s requirement for strict null-safety becomes
impractical for Java objects. Types declared in Java that do not contain
nullability annotations are called platform types – this means the Kotlin
compiler does not know whether it is nullable or not. When calling methods with
variables of platform types, the Kotlin compiler relaxes null-safety checks.
That means the overall null-safety of your app is weakened.

To let developers take more advantage of Kotlin’s strict null-safety, we have
started adding nullability annotations in Support
Library 27
. The Support Library contains a huge API surface area, and we
will continue to expand the nullability annotation coverage in the next several
releases. In addition, we will also be adding nullability annotations to other
Android APIs over time.

While the Kotlin adoption growth is fantastic, our commitment to the Java and
C++ programming languages remains unchanged. We’ve added Java 8
language features support in Android Studio 3.0
, and we’ve added more Java
8 language APIs in Android Oreo
. We are also continuing to improve our
support for C++17 in the NDK. So even if you are not using Kotlin, your language
support will continue to improve.

It’s an exciting time to be an Android developer. If you haven’t had a chance to
try Kotlin, you can get started by learning the basic syntax
and by playing with the excellent Kotlin
Koans
. When you are ready to use Kotlin in your Android app, you can jump to
the Android Kotlin page for
more resources. With Kotlin’s Java interoperability and Android Studio’s Java to
Kotlin converter, it’s easy to start using Kotlin in your project.

Happy Kotlin-ing!

Protecting our Google Docs and Drive Users

Protecting all Google users from viruses, malware, and other abusive content is central to user cyber-safety and sometimes we remove access to certain files in order to provide these protections.

On Tuesday, October 31, we mistakenly blocked access to some of our users’ files, including Google Docs. This was due to a short-lived bug that incorrectly flagged some files as violating our terms of service (TOS). The blocking raised questions in the community and we would like to address those questions here.

The Google Docs and Drive products have unparalleled automatic, preventive security precautions in place to protect our users from malware, phishing and spam, using both static and dynamic antivirus techniques. Virus and malware scanning is an industry best practice that performs automated comparisons against known samples and indicators; the process does not involve human intervention.

Tuesday’s bug caused the Google Docs and Drive services to misinterpret the response from these protection systems and erroneously mark some files as TOS violations, thus causing access denials for users of those files. As soon as our teams identified the problem, we removed the bug and worked to restore access to all affected files.

We apologize to our users for any inconvenience this incident caused and remain committed to offering high-quality systems that keep their content safe while fully securing their files.

Connecting students across space and time with Google Cloud

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2017, an important gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, devices like Jamboard and virtual reality and augmented reality tools. If you want to be a part of the action from home follow at #EDU17 and our @GoogleForEdu account. If you want to connect with our team but cannot make it to the event contact us.

Yesterday we shared some of the inspiring ways we’ve seen researchers, faculty and students in higher education work with GCP to power their big ideas. But it’s not just researchers that can benefit from the cloud. From virtual reality tools like Jump & Tilt Brush to G Suite for Education to GCP, Google tools are helping educators create new, strong connections amongst students, with faculty, and with new parts of the curriculum.

Brown University connects students with the past with virtual reality

The Gaspee Affair is an important, but largely forgotten moment in U.S. history. And with its “cannon fire and gunshots and boat chases,” it was also a perfect candidate for reconstruction in virtual reality (VR), says Adam Blumenthal, Virtual Reality Artist-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice at Brown University.  

With a team of students and a Jump camera from Google, Blumenthal drafted scripts, designed sets and built a detailed virtual world so that students could interact with the past. “One of the things I love about VR is its ability to put people in places that are otherwise impossible, and in this case that’s stepping back in time in these very authentic recreations,” he says. During production the team has used Tilt Brush, Google’s 3D painting tool, to quickly produce storyboards of 3D scenes as well as to create what Blumenthal calls “virtual reality dioramas” that combine Tilt Brush paint with 2D and 3D assets. Today the prototype of their Gaspee Affair project functions like a virtual museum: students can view the spaces from any angle and interact with its objects. Click here to read the full Brown case study.

We want to help more institutions create their own VR experiences for learning. Google’s Daydream team is excited to launch a pilot program to give higher ed institutions the skills and tools to bring these ideas to life. You can get notified about the upcoming 360 video training course, express interest in the Daydream higher education pilot program or learn more about Google’s AR and VR tools.

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Brown University students and faculty create the historic Gaspee Affair in 3D using a Jump camera from Google.

Central Wyoming connects its students and faculty across large distances with G Suite for Education

At Central Wyoming College (CWC), students and staff previously had to be on campus in order to access email and documents—this was especially challenging in a rural region where people commute long distances. Now that CWC uses cloud-based tools through G Suite for Education, it helps them respond to the unique challenges of their campus community.

The school’s 2,000 students are spread across four campuses, and in the case of its Outdoor Education program, remote wilderness. “It’s extremely hard for our students to get together in person,” says CIO John Wood. Now professors and staff can choose to work live or remotely as needed, cutting down on long commutes to CWC campuses. “Their collaboration can now take place in other ways,” Wood says. “Hangouts are becoming popular, since students can use them to meet face-to-face when they’re not on campus.”  Read the Central Wyoming case study and sign up for G Site for Education.

Manhattan College powers critical campus IT systems with GCP

Manhattan College began using Google Cloud in 2008, and “in most cases, it has been the best answer,” says Manhattan College Chief Information Officer Jake Holmquist. First came the transition to Gmail; that “was the foot in the door that we in IT needed to show the rest of campus that it was okay to operate in the cloud,” says Holmquist.

Then last July, building on the trust and familiarity they had gained using Google tools, Manhattan College moved to implement “Banner 9,” an upgrade to their prior system, on top of GCP. In the past “a typical deployment in our datacenter meant a six-figure hardware purchase that we were not guaranteed to be delivered and provisioned in time for ample testing,” Holmquist said. “Instead, we took the unprecedented approach of deploying these new Banner 9 components in GCP’s Compute Engine. We were able to quickly and easily spin up various components during the installation and upgrade testing.”

They were able to deploy a production environment with “excellent performance and a level of high-availability that we could not have achieved on campus.” This has freed Holmquist and his team up for important work. “Instead of maintaining servers, replacing failed components, and applying patches, we are now focusing on making our applications run more efficiently which results in a more measurable benefit to our end-users.” Read the Manhattan College case study or express your interest in Google Cloud Platform.

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Welcome HTC to the Android One family

Android One took some important steps two months ago in an effort to give people a fresh, secure software experience designed by Google on more high quality devices. In a short amount of time, our partners have already announced some amazing phones, including the Xiaomi Mi A1 and Android One Moto x4 on Project Fi.

Today, HTC is joining the Android One family with their HTC U11 life. Designed with the latest touch interactions, a powerful camera, and immersive audio experience, here’s a closer look at what you’ll get with the Android One version of the new phone.

  • Smarts: All Android One devices are optimized for the Google Assistant, meaning you can get help simply by saying “Ok Google” or long pressing on the home button. With the Android One HTC U11 life, we’ve taken this one step farther; you can now launch the Google Assistant with a squeeze of your phone, thanks to HTC’s Edge Sense technology. With HTC U11 life, you can take a selfie, look up directions, manage your tasks on the go and more with just a squeeze.

  • Fresh and secure: This is the first Android One phone to launch with Android Oreo. This means the HTC U11 life is more powerful than ever, with minimized background activity for your battery to last longer, or even do two things at once with Picture-in-Picture. Android One phones are guaranteed to stay fresh over time, and are among the most secure with monthly security updates and built-in malware protection with Google Play Protect. Moreover,  the HTC U11 life will receive an upgrade to Android P when available.

  • Powerful camera: Take faster, clearer photos and HDR Boost on the 16MP main camera, even in low light. Google Photos will be the default gallery on this device, giving you free and unlimited storage of your photos and videos at high quality.

The Android One version of the HTC U11 life will launch first in Germany in Media Markt stores and on Amazon.de. We look forward to bringing this device to other countries in Europe and Asia Pacific later this year and into 2018.

Taking your business global just got easier with Market Finder

Thanks to global e-commerce, there have never been so many opportunities available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, there are also challenges in the global market. Reports show that though exports provide an average of GBP £287,000 (the equivalent of about $350,000) in extra revenue to UK businesses, SME owners who haven’t exported to a new market still don’t know where to start.

SME owners are experts when it comes to local customers, but are less knowledgeable about finding new markets and everything that entails: culture, buying trends, export legalities, and payment options for their product in other countries. This is a key problem; our 2017 consumer survey shows that UK SMEs cite international marketing and operational barriers as the biggest barriers to success abroad.

Today, we’re announcing Market Finder, a new tool that helps businesses identify new customers, plan for success, and grow their export sales online. It also offers freely available guides, videos, and tips—making it as easy as possible for businesses to take the first steps into the export market.

Step 1: Finding the best markets for your business: Once you enter your website into the Market Finder tool, it will suggest which export markets are best for your product or service. It shows the number of monthly Google searches for your product as well as a potential market’s gross domestic product. Market Finder analyzes consumer internet use, demographics and disposable income, giving clear indicators and valuable insights into a market’s growth potential.

Step 2: Preparing your business for a global market: Market Finder sets you up for international success by getting you export-ready. Extensive localization tools, guides and tips show how to communicate effectively to a new market, whether it’s language, customs or preferred payment methods. Logistics resources outline the rules of international delivery and transportation for your chosen market. Payment guides explore the many payment options available globally—and pinpoint which ones are best for each market.

Step 3: Getting your business in front of customers: Market Finder provides training resources on digital marketing to ensure that users looking for your business can find it. For instance, it shows how to create AdWords campaigns that are effective and geared to your chosen market through a series of accessible case studies, guides and videos.

Market Finder was launched at a Google event today, where Greg Hands, Minister of State for Trade Policy, representatives from the London School of Economics, the UK Federation of Small Businesses, and Google discussed how Market Finder facilitates exporting products and services to new regions for small businesses.

Greg Hands emphasized the importance of digital technology in reaching global customers: “Today, 3.7 billion people are online around the globe, so every business, no matter how small, should be going digital to reach new customers around the world. The new Market Finder tool is just one part of the huge range of support we offer as an international economic department, so British companies can seize on exporting opportunities and make the UK a global trading nation.”

Chris McDonald, Enterprise and Innovation Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, spoke about the need for a stronger focus on exports in the UK: “Digital innovation is blurring the distinction between goods and services. By fully exploiting new digital technologies such as Google’s Markets Finder, more small firms can compete effectively in the global market, with no business too small to export.”

For #MyFutureMe finalists, a geofilter shows dreams for the future

A better and brighter future. A world that accepts people for who they are. Voicing opinions for those who may not be able to.

These are just a few elements of a future envisioned by five special teenage girls. Along with Snap Inc., we created the #MyFutureMe contest to challenge teens to design a geofilter based on the future they imagine for themselves. More than 22,000 teens entered the contest, and five finalists—chosen by Snap—are attending TEDWomen in New Orleans this week, where they’ll hear from entrepreneurs, innovators, artists and activists. They’ll receive mentoring sessions from three Google engineers, and each girl will work with the Snap Design team to create her own, unique Snapchat Lens.

These finalists were chosen from 22,000 teens who entered the contest. Here are the geofilters they created, as well as their vision for the future they not only imagine, but are determined to create.

Anna Nesbitt
Pittsburgh, PA

My dream is to bring computer science and robotics to third world countries. I’m taking coding classes right now and I am a part of a FIRST Robotics Team (Girls of Steel 3504) to learn as much as I can about coding and robotics so I can apply it to my aspirations. I started and ran a robotics team at my elementary school last year in 8th grade for a group of third graders. I taught them basic engineering and CS concepts. I hope to expand my program to two more teams this year, focusing on inspiring girls!

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Zoe Lynch
South Orange, NJ

7.5 billion people make up the world’s population; each with their own unique set of skills and talents. My vision for the future is one where innovation is accessible to all. As a multiracial girl, I believe it’s important for everyone to be included. Whether it’s tutoring math, volunteering, creating problem-solving applications, or doing something as simple as spreading positivity; I am doing as much as I can to make my vision for the future a reality. Together the possibilities are endless. 7.5 billion people—that’ s a lot of brainpower!

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Aishwarya Rane
Diamond Bar, CA

My vision for the future is to have greater gender, racial, and social equality and increase representation for minorities. I hope to develop interpersonal skills as well as public speaking skills. I believe these skills will allow me to voice my opinions for those who may not be able to. I am a part of Girl Up, a campaign by the UN to empower girls around the world, and Society of Women Engineers at my high school. I actively work to bring awareness about contemporary issues (i.e., human trafficking) and increase female representation in STEM.

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Maria Wangamez
San Francisco, CA

An educated world. A world that accepts people for who they are. A world without barriers to education, whether those be financial, geographical, or social. I want to develop a comprehensive education system that can be instituted across the globe; one that is not standardized, but can be changed and suited to varying levels of different types of intelligence (mathematical, scientific, linguistic, artistic, athletic…). To accomplish this, I will start a company, and gather creative, forward-thinking people around me; ones with unique and fantastic skills in coding, educating, animating, advertising and calculating. Together, we will educate the world.

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Sasha Williams
Danville, CA

The future I envision is a better and brighter one. A future where everyone is equal, and confident in who they are, and not judged or mistreated for that. I am currently trying to make this possible through my skill set around gaming and coding. I advocate for young African American girls and inspire them to become creators of their own future, through technology. I have also made a social justice video game about Black History, that won me a trip to the White House! My future me wants to make a difference. I’m kind of a big deal.

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The Google Assistant on phones, now in Spanish and Italian

The Google Assistant is already available on phones in a number of languages around the world and this week we’re adding a few new ones to the roster—Spanish in the U.S., Mexico and Spain as well as Italian in Italy. So now you can say “Ok Google” and ask the Assistant to play your favorite song, tell you about the weather, navigate home and more. Or try something fun and say “¿Ok Google, sabes nadar?”

Our goal is for the Assistant to be available to help you get things done, no matter what language you speak, what device you’re using or what question you’re asking. Today’s update is another step in that direction, as these new languages join English in Australia, Canada, U.S. and U.K.; Portuguese in Brazil; French in Canada and France; German in Germany; Japanese in Japan; and Korean in Korea. Rolling out over the coming weeks, these new languages will soon automatically be available on eligible Android phones running Android 6.0 or higher with Google Play Services, and later in the year, they’ll also be available on iPhones.

Ci sentiamo presto.

How Chrome helped LafargeHolcim stay productive during a merger

Editor’s note: Based in Switzerland, LafargeHolcim is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials, with a presence in 80 countries. Paul Young, their head of collaboration and knowledge, tells us how they relied on Chrome and Android devices to stay business ready during a merger.

Merging two large companies, with two large IT systems, is a challenge even under the best of circumstances. So when the world’s two largest cement manufacturers, Lafarge and Holcim, merged in 2015, ensuring business continuity while integrating these two IT systems was a top priority. Fortunately we had Chrome to help.

Before the merger, Lafarge and Holcim both migrated to Chrome, making the transition easier, faster and more cost-effective. The merger increased the company’s global presence to 80 countries, but with Chrome, updates were automatic. Chrome was also pre-installed on each desktop and mobile device, so we saved time because we didn’t need to deploy it region by region. 

Google’s admin console has made it easy for our IT department to manage both Chrome browser and Android devices from a web-based application. Since we have offices around the globe, this was crucial. Not only are Android devices affordable, but our IT department finds them easy to set up and manage from one administrative panel. And with Chrome, our IT staff can manage browser settings for our employees’ devices no matter where they are. Overall, the combination of Chrome and Android devices has saved the company thousands of dollars every year.

Since the merger, LafargeHolcim has become a leader in manufacturing cement, concrete, aggregates and asphalt, but our growth hasn’t diminished our pace of innovation. In 1864, Lafarge won the “contract of the century” and delivered materials to build the Suez Canal. In 1942, Holcim created one of the world’s first cement research and testing facilities. Combined, LafargeHolcim has over 180 years of experience. And with Google, we’re able to help our employees do their jobs better as more of their work moves online and goes mobile—and continue to innovate.

Poly: Browse, discover and download 3D objects and scenes

If you’re building for virtual and augmented reality, you need 3D objects for your apps. With Tilt Brush and Blocks, we’ve made 3D creation easier. Now, we want to enable creators and developers to build on everyone’s work. That’s why we created Poly: one place to browse, discover and download 3D objects. 

Poly lets you quickly find 3D objects and scenes for use in your apps, and it was built from the ground up with AR and VR development in mind. It’s fully integrated with Tilt Brush and Blocks, and it also allows direct OBJ file upload, so there’s lots to discover and use. Whether you’re creating an intense space walk in VR or a serene garden of AR flowers, you’ll find the ingredients you need in Poly.

Search thousands of free models for use in your AR or VR apps, including everything from a rocket ship to a synthesizer to an ice cream cone. Found a robot you like, but need it with four arms instead of two? You can remix many of the models you find. Click “like” to import a remixable object into Tilt Brush or Blocks and make changes; Poly will automatically credit and link to the original creation when you publish your remix.

PolyPlaces

In addition to being a great place for developers to find assets, anyone can use Poly to view 3D objects in a mobile or desktop browser. You can search for specific things, like a fox or a pizza. Once you discover something you like, you can create a shareable GIF or view it in VR using Cardboard or Daydream View.

  • ZebraPoly
  • Cheeseburger
  • LighthousePoly
  • SandcastlePoly
  • Dawid

So if you’re a developer building for VR, ARCore or ARKit, or you just want to explore cool 3D objects and scenes, Poly will help you quickly and easily find what you’re looking for. Get started today at poly.google.com, or sign up to preview our API when it’s available.

Google News Lab Fellows … Where are they now?

Five years ago, we created the News Lab Fellowship to connect up-and-coming reporters with nonprofit journalism organizations that use data and technology to report the news in different and interesting ways. Since then, we’ve expanded the program to 12 countries, and most recently, the fellowship in Germany, Switzerland and Austria offered placements for journalists and developers in 18 renowned media organizations. We put a special focus on diversity by granting fellowships to journalists with migrant backgrounds.

Jieqian Zhang (@Jieqian_Zhang), 2016 Fellow at the Center for Investigative Reporting

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What she’s doing now: I am now a multimedia editor at the Wall Street Journal.

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: I got to work with some of the best data journalists in the industry, and learned how to use data, design and code to tell stories. The experience assured me that I wanted to pursue a career in interactive journalism.

Ben Mullin (@benmullin), 2014 Fellow at The Poynter Institute

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What he’s doing now: I’m a reporter at The Wall Street Journal in New York, where I cover media and advertising.

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: Breaking into journalism on a national level is really hard, and I couldn’t have done it without the Google News Lab Fellowship. This opportunity jump-started my career and gave me a toehold at a remarkable institution that ultimately hired me on full-time. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Matt Baker (@phatmattbaker), 2016 Fellow at Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia

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What he’s doing now: I finally secured a tenure track university position! Officially I am now: Dr Matthew AB Baker, Scientia Research Fellow at UNSW Sydney

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: I learned how to better run a narrative thread through a data-driven story and use my scientific skills to improve reader experiences.

Daniel Funke (@dpfunke), 2017 Fellow at The Poynter Institute

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What he’s doing now: I’m a reporter for the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, covering fake news, fact-checking and online misinformation around the world.

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: It was like compressing four years of journalism school into two and a half months—and made me an immeasurably better reporter. The Fellowship gave me the resources and training I needed to continue being a student of news, while also inspiring me to tackle some of its most pressing challenges.

Madeline Welsh (@madelinebwelsh), 2015 Fellow at Nieman Lab

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What she’s doing now: I am working between editorial and production for a recently launched Google Earth feature called Voyager.

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: I worked specifically on a project for Nieman Lab looking at how newsrooms were approaching the increasing importance of mobile readership. That was important for the work I later was involved in at the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab. The fellowship made possible my time at Nieman Lab, which in turn opened me up to a lot of the interesting projects happening in news now.

Stan Oklobdzija (@StanfromSD), 2014 fellow at The Sunlight Foundation

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What he’s doing now: Finishing my doctoral dissertation in Political Science at UC San Diego

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: Working at Sunlight helped me connect the academic understanding of money in politics to the unfolding 2014 midterms to tell a fuller story about campaign finance. It also taught me to go beyond traditional data sources to track political money beyond FEC disclosures.

Lindsay Abrams (@readingirl), 2017 Fellow at Matter.vc

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What she’s doing now: Finishing my final semester of graduate school at New York University’s Studio 20 program, and in January, I’ll be joining Matter full-time as Associate Producer, Media and Program Operations.

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: My background is in journalism, so my time spent at Matter exposed me to a whole new world of tech, entrepreneurship, venture capitalism and design thinking. It led me to an amazing job that I never would have thought to seek out had I not experienced it firsthand.

Christine Schmidt (@NewsBySchmidt), 2017 Fellow at Nieman Lab

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What she’s doing now: I work as a full-time Staff Writer at Nieman Lab.

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: It connected me to the journalism editors, strategists, innovators, and devotees that I interviewed in my work. I had the opportunity to pick the brains of cool people doing cool journalism, and now I’m incredibly lucky to be able to do that full time as a staff writer at Nieman Lab.

Taylyn Washington-Harmon (@taylynharmon), 2016 Fellow at Nieman Lab

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What she’s doing now: I’m an Associate Social Media Manager at SELF.com

What made the News Lab Fellowship valuable: This was the first chance i had to do a newsroom internship because previously all my spare time was spent running my own journalism start up. Working with Nieman Journalism Lab gave me the necessary newsroom experience to not only improve my skills as a social media editor but also learn valuable industry information to understand the future of journalism.

Taking education higher with Google Cloud Platform

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the annual EDUCAUSE conference, a gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, Jamboard, as well as virtual reality and augmented reality tools. Or follow the action on our @GoogleForEdu account, using the #EDU17 hashtag. If you want to connect with our team but can’t make it to Philadelphia, contact us.

I’m continually inspired by all the ways that educational institutions use Google Cloud to expand learning for everyone. Today, eleven years after San Jose City College and Arizona State University became the first to adopt G Suite for Education, we’re announcing that more than 80 million students, faculty and staff now use these tools in higher ed and K12.. Meanwhile, Google Cloud’s product portfolio continues to expand, helping us keep up with educators’ and students’ limitless ideas. Below are a few recent highlights of what institutions have been doing with the help of Google Cloud.

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Northeastern researchers understand the spread of Zika using GCP

Amidst the spread of the Zika virus, the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems (MoBS) lab at Northeastern University, created a model to better understand the deadly virus. Using a mathematical and computational approach powered by GCP, the team studied different scenarios under which Zika could spread, projecting its impact on affected populations. The model is based on the initial spread of Zika in Brazil, and allows researchers to predict the impact of new infections in other locations by introducing additional data layers, including temperature, number of mosquitoes, population size and people’s travel patterns.

With Google Compute Engine and Preemptible Virtual Machines, MoBS has run more than 10 million simulations and drastically reduced the time needed to analyze data.

“Time is vital when confronting disease outbreaks,” says Matteo Chinazzi, Associate Research Scientist at Northeastern University, “and GCP gives us the tools we need to move quickly at scale.” To read more about MoBS Lab’s  Zika research and analysis, check out “Spread of Zika virus in the Americas” and our full Northeastern case study.

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This incidence map of Zika infections, created in December 2016 by the MoBS lab simulation model, is a spatial projection of the median number of infections by February 28, 2017. The inset maps provide detailed projections for the areas of Recife and Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

MIT professor pushes computing limits

Andrew V. Sutherland, a computational number theorist and Principal at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is part of the team behind L-Functions and Modular Forms Database (LMFDB), a detailed atlas of mathematical objects and the connections among them. This database is used by physics, computer science and mathematics communities around the world.

The calculations to create the objects in LMFDB are complex, time-consuming and expensive to perform. Sutherland uses Compute Engine and Persistent Disk to calculate some of those objects. One tabulation required 580,000 cores of preemptible VMs to compute—the largest known high-performance compute cluster to ever run in the public cloud.

LMFDB also uses Google Cloud to host its web servers, as well as GCP tools like Google Stackdriver, Google Cloud Console and Google Cloud Load Balancing. Running on GCP supports countless daily searches, and allows people in multiple countries to easily administer the system.

We’re excited to see how the team behind LMFDB continues to push the limits of what is possible. See the full MIT LMFDB case study.

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City College of New York and Howard West use GCP Education Grants to equip students with hands-on learning

GCP Education Grants are putting the cloud in the hands of future researchers and computer scientists at more than 500 higher education institutions.

At City College of New York (CCNY), GCP Education Grants provide computer science (CS) students with hands-on experience with virtualization, containers and other cloud technologies. Peter Barnett, Adjunct Associate Computer Science professor, uses GCP Education Grants for students in his Senior Project capstone course, whose software projects have great scientific, social and entrepreneurial potential.  

His teams’ projects include:

  • using machine learning to advance the optical character recognition of handwriting

  • assisting trainers, physical therapists and their clients to develop and maintain correct form in exercise

  • enhancing patent search using content analytics combined with machine learning

  • interior mapping of subway stations and other public places to assist visually impaired people

  • generating quasi-random music with AI that changes in response to user feedback

These students think big, and the GCP grants can help them move from big ideas to new creations.

Across the country, Gloria Washington, a computer science professor from Howard University, helped students in her summer course at Howard West in Mountain View tackle machine learning problems using Cloud Datalab and TensorFlow. These tools allowed Gloria to design a course that was hands-on and project-based, helping students focus on machine learning rather than spending all their time setting up the technology.

“For us, [saving time] was really crucial because we only had five weeks for this course. If you spend a week trying to get them to download the libraries and then make sure that they have the right commands to be able to run it from the shell, that just creates a whole level of complexity that we didn’t want to deal with. The complexity was really cut down.”

Professors teaching courses in computer science and related fields can apply for free GCP Education Grants. Learn more about eligibility and apply for grants and see the full case studies about the experiences of Howard West and CCNY.