How Greek businesses are going digital with Grow Greek Tourism Online

How Greek businesses are going digital with Grow Greek Tourism Online

When the recession hit Greece, Ntina Denaxa and her family faced tough times. They had to leave Athens and move to her husband’s hometown of Messaria, a small village in Santorini, using the last of their savings to renovate abandoned houses into a small hotel. Soon after, a neighbor introduced her to an adviser who was in the village showing local businesses how to promote themselves online, as part of the Grow Greek Tourism Online program.

In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Education, the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) and the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), three years ago we created the program to offer free training on digital skills to people working in the tourism sector. Since then, we’ve visited more than 80 cities and 37 universities, and created a free online training​ platform, helping 70,000 people of all ages and backgrounds, like Ntina, to grow their business or career. Since the training, Ntina has used her new digital skills to promote the hotel internationally and attract more guests: “Now we’re welcoming people from all over the world and when they come, they eat in local restaurants and buy local products. It helps everyone,” she says. “I’m proud of what we’ve built.” And Ntina is just one example—67% of the businesses confirmed they had concrete business results following our training.

There are even more opportunities out there. According to a recent study by Oxford Economics on the “The Impact of Online Content on European Tourism,” increasing tourism-related online content would increase Greece’s GDP by 3.9%, and generate over 176,000 new jobs.

We’ll continue to work with our partners  to expand our programs further by giving new opportunities to Greek businesses and students.

Bridging the digital skills gap in Europe through the Developer Scholarship Challenge

Bridging the digital skills gap in Europe through the Developer Scholarship Challenge

Everyone needs the right digital skills to get a job, grow their career or business, or become an entrepreneur or developer. That’s why we started Google Growth Engine in 2015, a collection of digital skills programs offering free online and in person training across Europe.

The Developer Scholarships Challenge is one of these programs, a partnership between Google, Bertelsmann and Udacity, to help Europeans develop the skills required to build winning apps. Together we launched the first phase of developer scholarships in November 2016, and in September this year, announced phase 2 of the Developer Scholarships Challenge offering 75,000 scholarships to beginner and existing programmers.

When we joined the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition back in 2015, we did so in the hope of helping to make a difference to people’s futures, and we have been humbled by the many stories of success we’ve heard from our trainees along the way. That includes people like Aaron, who made the risky decision to drop out of business school to pursue his passion for computer science. Looking to self-learn, he came across the Google scholarship on Udacity and went on to earn his Associate Android Developer Certification. He is now an Android developer at SinnerSchrader Swipe in Berlin and on track to fulfill his dreams of being a full-time developer.

Today, we’re delighted our initiative has been recognized by the European Commission, winning the EC Digital skills award in the “Digital skills for ICT professionals” category, developing high-level digital skills for professionals in all industry sectors. This is the second year in a row the EC has awarded Google for our digital skills work.

To date, we have seen more than 200,000 applications, with demand coming from every country in Europe. The initial 60,000 spots for phase 2 have now been filled and the new semester is underway. Still, we know there is much more we can do. App development represents an important opportunity for economic growth in Europe as the apps sector alone could employ 4.8 million people and contribute €63bn to the EU economy by 2018. However, 40 percent of companies report problems finding candidates with the required skills to develop apps and one of the key barriers is access to developer education for everyone.

We look forward to continuing our efforts to bring digital skills and new opportunities and we are committed to helping more people get the skills they need to succeed and to grow with Google over the coming year.

Upgrading messaging across Latin America with América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi and Telefónica

Upgrading messaging across Latin America with América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi and Telefónica

One of the most powerful aspects of RCS messaging is the ability to improve everyone’s messaging experience at scale, regardless of network, country, or device type. We’ve been working with the global carriers, device manufacturers, and the GSMA to bring RCS messaging to people across Europe, North America and Asia over the past year, providing a richer carrier messaging experience designed for smartphones. Today we’re excited to announce that we’re working with leading carriers América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi and Telefónica to bring RCS messaging to people across Latin America. In collaboration with these carriers, we’ll roll out RCS messaging in the countries where they operate over time, bringing better messaging to more than two thirds of all mobile subscribers in Latin America1.

With RCS messaging, subscribers will have access to all the features of a modern messaging experience, such as the ability to create rich group chats, see typing indicators and read receipts, share high-res photos and videos, and more. These features will be available right from the default carrier messaging experience through Android Messages.

The service will be powered by the Jibe RCS Cloud from Google, and will be fully interoperable between networks through the Jibe RCS Hub. In addition to connecting subscribers across América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi, and Telefónica, we’re also connecting subscribers with other networks on the Jibe RCS Hub such as Sprint and Rogers. So a Telcel subscriber in Mexico City, for example, could have a group chat over RCS with a Movistar subscriber in Mexico City and a Sprint subscriber in the U.S.

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As RCS messaging rolls out, people who already have the Android Messages app on their phone will automatically get access to RCS services through an app update. Since Android Messages is updatable, subscribers will always get the latest RCS features over time. Subscribers who don’t have the app can install the Android Messages app from the Google Play store. Many new Android devices will also come with Android Messages preloaded as the default messaging app.

RCS messaging also upgrades the business messaging experience currently offered through SMS, enabling brands to send more useful and interactive messages. When launched, América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi, and Telefónica will be able to offer RCS business messaging, helping subscribers access richer messages from the businesses they care about. For example, an airline could provide a full check-in experience, complete with boarding pass and terminal maps, all directly within the messaging experience. Or subscribers could chat with their carrier about options to upgrade their phones or purchase a new data package.

In addition to Latin America, this agreement with América Móvil and Telefónica will also enable the ability to launch RCS Messaging in European markets, joining the growing network of mobile operators offering RCS in Europe, including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telenor, and Vodafone.

The RCS service will start rolling out to América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi and Telefónica subscribers over the coming months.

(1) GSMA Intelligence

Posted in RCS
A crabtivating journey: Street View joins a crab migration of millions on Christmas Island

A crabtivating journey: Street View joins a crab migration of millions on Christmas Island

From herds of elephants in Kenya to penguins in Antarctica and frogs in the Amazon, the Street View Trekker has met some charming characters on its journeys around the world.  This week, Street View is venturing to Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, to join more than 45 million local residents for their annual trip from the forests to seas. Christmas Island’s famous, endemic red crabs have begun their once-a-year migration

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Red crabs marching in the rainforest.

For most of the year, these land crabs stay burrowed in Christmas Island’s lush damp forests to preserve body moisture and protect themselves from harsh sunlight. But each year, they emerge from the forest shelter to march to the sea to spawn near the coastal waters. These bright red residents wait patiently for a precise alignment of the rains, moon cycle and tides to commence their journey. They’re starting to paint the town red and Dr. Alasdair Grigg on behalf of Parks Australia, is carrying the Street View Trekker to collect imagery of this yearly miracle for all to see. The migration concludes on the ocean shores when the highest density of crabs spawn and lay their eggs in the sand—a finale forecasted for December 13.

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    Parks Australia Ranger, Dr Grigg, holding a female crab carrying eggs in the abdomen.
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The volume of red crabs presents unprecedented conditions for the Street View image capture. As crabs crowd the roads, boardwalks and beaches, each step must be taken with care. Fortunately, crabs have right of way on Christmas Island, and Parks Australia has built walls and fencing along roads to direct the crossers to safety.

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Whether you’re in Ballarat, Bogota or Berlin, soon you’ll be able to experience the Christmas Island crab migration, and its grand finale (the spawning) on Street View. We invite you to join this marvelous march—and see why Sir David Attenborough calls this phenomenon one of the “most astonishing and wonderful sights.” You can expect to see the imagery from this collection on Street View in early 2018.

We’re Listening Blog: Road Trip to a Better Customer Experience

We’re Listening Blog: Road Trip to a Better Customer Experience

What’s more important, the destination or the journey? If you have time and energy for meandering, then by all means throw out the map and take the road less traveled. But, if you’re a customer seeking help, arriving at an end point quickly and easily is your ultimate goal. While no journey is ever completely […]

Cisco Weighs in on Mobile Privacy Case

Cisco Weighs in on Mobile Privacy Case

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court took up a case, U.S. v. Carpenter, that turns upon the “third-party doctrine.” The question before the court is whether cell phone location information obtained from a third-party mobile service provider should require the government to get a “probable cause” warrant instead of a court order requiring a lower […]

Reimagining Customer Value with Artificial Intelligence

Reimagining Customer Value with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) can glean and utilize material insights from the data flowing across Cisco networks. As such, how should we think about AI in the context of company transformation?

Security enhancements and more for enterprise Chrome browser customers

Security enhancements and more for enterprise Chrome browser customers

When it comes to Chrome, security is one of our most important considerations—and that’s especially true when it comes to our enterprise users. We’re always looking for ways to further protect enterprises from potential dangers like ransomware, malware, and other vulnerabilities. 

Chrome browser has been validated by third parties as a frontrunner in enterprise browser security, and we’re committed to constantly introducing more safeguards. That’s why the latest release of Chrome browser introduces a variety of new security enhancements for enterprises. From new ways to better isolate processes, to broader support for more advanced security standards, to the introduction of new policies, IT admins now have more options to protect their users and businesses from potential threats. Here’s a quick overview of the security updates this latest release of Chrome will offer, plus an update on a few upcoming changes in 2018.

Site Isolation: For enterprises with the highest security needs

Starting with today’s release, Site Isolation is now available. With Site Isolation enabled, Chrome renders content for each open website in a separate process, isolated from other websites. This can mean even stronger security boundaries between websites than Chrome’s existing sandboxing technology. Admins can read more to determine if this capability makes sense for their organization—and start implementing it immediately.

Making it easier to restrict extensions based on required permissions

Although admins have been able to whitelist and blacklist specific extensions in Chrome, we’ve heard feedback that it can be difficult to scale. Beginning today, IT admins can configure a new policy that restricts access to extensions based on the permissions required. For example, through policy, IT can now block all extensions that require the use of a webcam or microphone, or those that require access to reading or changing data on the websites visited. This policy is available now, and will help IT teams enforce necessary controls, without overly restricting users.  

Chrome updates for enterprises

Version 1.3 of Transport Layer Security (TLS) and policy

Secure communication on the Internet is made possible through a protocol called Transport Layer Security (TLS). To support the latest security standards, we’re enabling TLS 1.3 for Gmail in today’s release of Chrome browser. The previous version, TLS 1.2, was standardized in 2008 and, although it can be secure when configured correctly, it’s in need of an overhaul. The improvements in TLS 1.3 make it faster and more secure, and we’ll be expanding TLS 1.3 support to the broader web in 2018.

Chrome browser users should not be impacted by this change. IT admins that are aware of any systems that are not interoperable with TLS 1.3 should post feedback in the admin forum. As admins prepare for the wider use of TLS 1.3, they can configure this policy for network software or hardware that will not transit TLS 1.3 connections. More details are available on this page.

Broader platform support for the NTLMv2 authentication protocol

Last week we shared on our admin forum that Chrome 64, coming in early 2018, will include support for the NTLMv2 authentication protocol, including Extended Protection for Authentication (EPA) on Mac, Android, Linux and Chrome OS. This allows all platforms to perform NTLM authentication with the same level of security that was previously available only in Chrome on Windows.

IT admins can enable this feature today by visiting chrome://flags/#enable-ntlm-v2. In Chrome 65, NTLMv2 will become the default NTLM protocol as it already is on Windows. More details are available on this page. With this update, Chrome will become the only browser to support NTLMv2 with EPA on non-Windows platforms.

Reducing Chrome crashes caused by third-party software

Last week we announced we’ll be implementing changes in Chrome to improve stability and reduce the number of browser crashes. Starting with the release of Chrome 68 in July 2018, we’ll begin blocking third-party software from injecting code into Chrome on Windows.

Code injection has historically been used by products such as anti-virus software. But it’s an outdated process, and we encourage vendors of such software to take advantage of the newer, more effective options available.

In the meantime, we understand sometimes businesses need to rely on such software, and we want to make sure they’re covered. We’ll be introducing a new policy in the coming months that will offer admins extended support for critical apps that require code injection to function.

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Admins can visit chrome://conflicts to check if software currently installed on a computer is injecting into Chrome.

We’re excited to bring new capabilities to IT admins that enhance Chrome’s security and stability. For more information about Chrome browser for enterprise, visit Chrome.com/enterprise, or to share feedback, visit our Chrome browser Enterprise Admin Forum.

Google Drive recognized as a leader by Forrester for File Sync and Share (EFSS) cloud solutions

Google Drive recognized as a leader by Forrester for File Sync and Share (EFSS) cloud solutions

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We’re designing cloud-based solutions to help teams become more knowledgeable and more effective. Businesses like Whirlpool are turning to Google Drive because they need more secure, friction-free tools to help them house—and more importantly, share—collective company knowledge.

Our continued efforts to help businesses collaborate in the cloud have not gone unnoticed. Today, Drive has been recognized as a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise File Sync And Share Platforms–Cloud Solutions, Q4 2017 report, which ranks cloud-based file sharing and storage solutions for enterprise IT professionals. Earlier this year, Drive was also named a leader among content collaboration platforms by Gartner.

What does this mean for your business?

There are inherent benefits to working in the cloud, and businesses are starting to take advantage of them. Cloud-first tools like Drive gives companies a single place to store, access and share information, which can improve efficiencies.

Of course, you need to be confident that these new cloud solutions will work well with your existing IT investments. Over the past year, we’ve enhanced Drive with additional enterprise features to make migrating from on-prem fileshares and content management systems easier:

  • Team Drives, so you can work on collectively-owned files and feel confident that your work will stay put no matter who comes or goes on your team. 
  • AppBridge, so your enterprise can migrate all of its data more securely to the cloud with ease. 
  • Drive File Stream, to help you access all data quickly without using up a ton of disk space.  
  • Data Loss Prevention and Google Vault for Drive, to help you control how your teams share information and to help you keep sensitive data safe.
  • Quick Access in Drive, to help surface your data faster with artificial intelligence-powered technology.

To learn more, access the 2017 Forrester Wave EFSS Cloud Solutions report here. Or get in touch with us to learn more about how your business can benefit from moving to Google Cloud.

Teaming up with SocialWorks to bring computer science to Chicago Public Schools

Teaming up with SocialWorks to bring computer science to Chicago Public Schools

Today, 5th grade students at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Academy in Chicago got a surprise. It was cool enough that they were doing a coding activity with Chicago Googlers as a part of Computer Science Education Week—but then another Chicago native joined the fun. When Chance The Rapper arrived, there were shouts of excitement and delight, and Chance even gave coding a try.

SocialWorks, a non profit co-founded by Chance, is on a mission to expose youth across the city to programming and to ensure they have the support necessary to reach their full potential—with access to arts, music, and coding as a means to express themselves.  

Today’s visit reinforced that computer science is a part of that mission. Shortly after Chance made his coding debut, Alphabet Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, David Drummond, announced that Google.org is donating $1.5 million to to bring computer science education to students in Chicago, with $500,000 going to Chicago Public Schools’ CS4All Initiative and $1 million to SocialWorks.

The grant will help teachers implement computer science and arts curriculum in their classrooms, and it builds on $40 million in Google.org grants that provide opportunities for students underrepresented in computer science to explore the field.

Justin Cunningham, Executive Director of SocialWorks, had this to say about today’s announcement: “Our grant with Google.org helps SocialWorks provide programming that sheds light on another pathway to success for young Chicagoans. While every student doesn’t need to become a computer scientist, understanding the basics empowers them to understand the world they live in. The opportunity to help kids code to share their music, artwork, and distinct point of view is at the core of our mission and an experience we look forward to providing in classrooms across the city.”  

Justin Steele, Google.org Principal who leads our work in local communities, also weighed in: “We’re honored to support SocialWorks’ mission to help underrepresented students in Chicago reach their full potential, as well as Chicago Public Schools’ efforts to turn computer science into a pathway for creative expression. There’s so much talent and creativity in the communities that these schools serve—and Chance The Rapper embodies what can happen when that creativity is unleashed. With exposure to computer science, students can use technology to turn their creative passions into something bigger.”

I’ve built my own career around computer science. At Google I helped create CS First, video-based lessons that introduce students to computer science and show them coding is a tool that, in the words of the SocialWorks mission, “lets you be you.” As a kid raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I didn’t know that I’d one day graduate with a computer science degree and end up at Google. All I knew was that I was fascinated by gadgets, which one day led to learning about the software that made them work on the inside. With the support of Google and SocialWorks, students in Chicago can also find out how their interests are connected to computer science, so that they can use those skills to build the future they imagine.

These kids will always remember the day they met Chance The Rapper. We hope they’ll remember it as the day they discovered an interest in coding, too.

Pivot to the cloud: intelligent features in Google Sheets help businesses uncover insights

Pivot to the cloud: intelligent features in Google Sheets help businesses uncover insights

When it comes to data in spreadsheets, deciphering meaningful insights can be a challenge whether you’re a spreadsheet guru or data analytics pro. But thanks to advances in the cloud and artificial intelligence, you can instantly uncover insights and empower everyone in your organization—not just those with technical or analytics backgrounds—to make more informed decisions.

We launched “Explore” in Sheets to help you decipher your data easily using the power of machine intelligence, and since then we’ve added even more ways for you to intelligently visualize and share your company data. Today, we’re announcing additional features to Google Sheets to help businesses make better use of their data, from pivot tables and formula suggestions powered by machine intelligence, to even more flexible ways to help you analyze your data.

Easier pivot tables, faster insights

Many teams rely on pivot tables to summarize massive data sets and find useful patterns, but creating them manually can be tricky. Now, if you have data organized in a spreadsheet, Sheets can intelligently suggest a pivot table for you.

In the Explore panel, you can also ask questions of your data using everyday language (via natural language processing) and have the answer returned as a pivot table. For example, type “what is the sum of revenue by salesperson?” or “how much revenue does each product category generate?” and Sheets can help you find the right pivot table analysis.

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In addition, if you want to create a pivot table from scratch, Sheets can suggest a number of relevant tables in the pivot table editor to help you summarize your data faster.

Suggested formulas, quicker answers

We often use basic spreadsheet formulas like =SUM or =AVERAGE for data analysis, but it takes time to make sure all inputs are written correctly. Soon, you may notice suggestions pop up when you type “=” in a cell. Using machine intelligence, Sheets provides full formula suggestions to you based on contextual clues from your spreadsheet data. We designed this to help teams save time and get answers more intuitively.

Formula suggestions in Sheets

Even more Sheets features

We’re also adding more features to make Sheets even better for data analysis:

  • Check out a refreshed UI for pivot tables in Sheets, and new, customizable headings for rows and columns.
  • View your data differently with new pivot table features. When you create a pivot table, you can “show values as a % of totals” to see summarized values as a fraction of grand totals. Once you have a table, you can right-click on a cell to “view details” or even combine pivot table groups to aggregate data the way you need it. We’re also adding new format options, like repeated row labels, to give you more fine-tuned control of how to present your summarized data.
  • Create and edit waterfall charts. Waterfall charts are good for visualizing sequential changes in data, like if you want to see the incremental breakdown of last year’s revenue month-by-month. Select Insert > Chart > Chart type picker and then choose “waterfall.”
  • Quickly import or paste fixed-width formatted data files. Sheets will automatically split up the data into columns for you without needing a delimiter, like commas, between data.

These new Sheets features will roll out in the coming weeks—see specific details here. To learn more about how G Suite can help your business uncover valuable insights and speed up efficiencies, visit the G Suite website. Or check out these tips to help you get started with Sheets.