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Preparing for a BeyondCorp world: Understanding your device inventory

In my last post, I discussed the key first steps in moving to a system of trust based on people and devices, rather than one based on networks. We do this at Google, and it didn’t just spring up overnight, it took the work of many teams over many years. Today, I’ll go into more detail on what we did and why, with an eye toward how you can prepare your own company to move to a context-based access world.

Know your devices

First, you want to get an authoritative list of all the computers your employees are using. This is probably already contained in your existing management tools, whether Active Directory or others, and if you’re like us, it might actually be spread across multiple tools. You may have procurement or asset tracking systems that know about devices based on purchase and end-of-life cycles. Then, you have active management through centralized systems such as Active Directory. On top of that you might be using local tools to get data about current machine state, such as OS Query. Add to the mix your support and troubleshooting tools, network logs and access point records, and certificate authorities, and you could be looking at 10 or more sources of data about a single device.

Do they all agree? Probably not. Now the challenging part starts.

To infer trust from device state, you’ll need to have some confidence in your device data. Inevitable disagreements between these different systems will require you to establish policies about integrating, corroborating and resolving conflicts in the pipeline. Which specific fields matter most? Which are the most authoritative for you? What happens when you can’t get all the data you want?

Start with new devices

All of the data collection has to start somewhere, so identify your earliest process that can bring you complete and reliable data about devices, and go from there through the lifecycle. What’s the first thing that happens with a new machine? Where is it touched, which systems interact with it, and what will be tracked or reported earliest?

Next, you should consider what information matters most to you about these devices. This will be a process of setting policies with Security and IT teams, to settle on key items, possibly including:

  • Who bought it?

  • When did it last check in?

  • When was it last patched?

  • Is the screen lock or password set?

  • Is the disk encrypted?

  • What’s installed on it?

  • Do you still have it (e.g., not stolen or lost)?

Once you have a short list of key data, and you understand where it comes from, you can figure out your process to handle data problems. Human errors, reporting gaps, or even third-party shenanigans with MAC address or serial number re-use can cause inconsistencies or conflicts, and you’ll need clear policies to handle them.

All of this will likely require change at various parts of your organization, from teams to process, so you’ll want to roll out gradually. Figure out what works and what doesn’t, and put in place ways to debug when data are wrong or trust decisions are made incorrectly.

If it feels like a lot of work, start small, getting your systems with the most device coverage. Whip them into shape, so that they give you reliable and accurate information, and then look for integration points with other systems so you can start corroborating information and basing the master data on more than one source. With a clear picture of your fleet, you can start to make access and authorization decisions with more confidence, and shift to access anywhere, based on context.

More to come

More insights on our best practices for bringing context-based access to your organization are on their way. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, I recommend reading our previous post on BeyondCorp or browsing through the resources on our website.

Want a Less Invasive Teramind Alternate? We Found Five of the Best

“Big Brother is Watching You,” stated George Orwell in his chilling classic 1984. That sentence has become synonymous with privacy concerns, government spying and intrusion into our personal data. However, it has also grown to be associated with employee tracking software like Teramind. In this article, I’m looking at the need for less invasive employee…

The post Want a Less Invasive Teramind Alternate? We Found Five of the Best appeared first on Remote Team Management, Startup Marketing & Growth Blog by Hubstaff.

The security solution for SMBs | Avast

Independent testing lab AV-Comparatives just published its semiannual Business Security Test report, which aggregates a half-year’s worth of tests known as the lab’s Business Main-Test Series. Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus — a cloud-console managed endpoint protection solution that requires minimal employee effort and takes up zero physical acreage — was among the sixteen business security products tested. Better still, it scored among the highest in every test and earned the AV-Comp Approved Business Product Award.

Bank Mode protects you and your cash | Avast

You know full well that cybercriminals want your money, and we know full well that you already know that. If we’ve done a good job within these blog posts, we’ve already conditioned you to always take a moment to assess your security before doing any online banking. Cybercriminals perch themselves on public Wi-Fi networks, looking for someone sloppy enough to spill their bank details over an open connection. Malware on your PC or device could have the ability to log all your keystrokes, capturing your login credentials for use in the near future. Your online banking info is the holy grail to these cybercrooks, and they won’t stop until they get it … unless you have Bank Mode.

Empowering female founders in tech: the future is inclusive

Editor’s note: Nicola Hazell is one of Australia’s leading voices on gender equality and social innovation. She is the Chief Innovation Officer and creator of the award-winning SheStarts program at Australia’s largest startup accelerator BlueChilli. Since SheStarts launched in 2016, the program has reached hundreds of women across Australia and invested in two cohorts of incredible female founders who lead businesses in a range of industries, including smart cities, finance and health.

Today, our SheStarts community becomes part of the Google for Entrepreneurs’ global partner network, a community supporting startups that includes dozens of co-working spaces and programs across 140 countries. Through this partnership, Google for Entrepreneurs will empower SheStarts founders with the best of Google’s resources—which includes executive mentoring, as well as programming and technical support to help to kickstart their entrepreneurial journey and lead successful, global-minded tech startups.

It’s an honour to have Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, Australia’s Minister for Jobs and Innovation, join us today for our Google for Entrepreneurs partnership launch at Fishburners— Australia’s largest non-profit dedicated to supporting startups, and a fellow partner in the Googlefor Entrepreneurs network—to celebrate this important milestone for women and all entrepreneurs alike.

We are living in an era when technology provides the vehicle to create lasting change at a global scale. But the possibilities of technology and innovation will never be truly realised if we’re missing out on the ideas and creativity of half the population. This is why SheStarts exists—to ensure women have the opportunity to unleash their talent and passion on the world, and to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a man in a hoodie and sneakers to make a big impact in the startup economy.

SheStarts provides founders with access to capital, engineering talent, world-class training and a global network of mentors and advisors backing them to succeed. The program supports founders as they take their startups from idea to launch, working with them to build and test their technology, to land major national and international partnerships, and grow their companies as they secure millions of dollars in investment. These emerging leaders have now attracted great teams into their businesses—creating exciting new jobs within Australia’s economy and redefining what it means to be a tech entrepreneur.

As Australia’s only corporate and venture-backed accelerator designed specifically for female-led startups, our goal is to significantly grow the number of women leaders in the tech industry. We work in close collaboration with organisations across the ecosystem—including the wonderful coworking community at Fishburners, led by an empowering and passionate female CEO, Pandora Shelley—as we build support for female founders, together.

We’re making progress, but there is still much work to do. According to the most recent Startup Muster Report, women represent only one in four startup founders in Australia. What’s more, access to investment remains a huge barrier for female founders, with less than 5 percent of venture capital going to female-led startups.

With the support of SheStarts, startups like BindiMaps (an indoor navigation app for the visually impaired), Neighbourlytics (a social analytics platform for neighbourhoods, pioneering the use of social data in cities) and Longevity App (a micro-savings app that boosts a user’s retirement savings every time they spend) are flourishing—and changing the industry’s gender ratio in the process.

The stories of these female-led businesses have the power to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. That’s why storytelling is such a vital part of the SheStarts mission, amplified through our award-winning SheStarts documentary series, with season two set for release later this year.

The stories of these female-led businesses have the power to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. That’s why storytelling is such a vital part of the SheStarts mission, amplified through our award-winning SheStarts documentary series, with season two set for release later this year.

Backing female-led startups is an investment in a better future and the growing global support for our founders in SheStarts demonstrates this. In May this year, the World Bank announced that globally, countries are losing $160 trillion in wealth because of the earnings gap between men and women over their lifetime. Meanwhile, international research continues to make the case for women in tech leadership, finding that female-led tech companies are more capital-efficient, achieve higher return on investment and bring in higher revenue than male-owned tech companies. Gender equality is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a global economic imperative.

  • Pandora, Sally-Ann & Nicola.JPG

    Collaboration is key! Left to right: Pandora Shelley from Fishburners, Sally-Anne Williams from Google, and Nicola Hazell from SheStarts are working together to change the gender ratio in tech.

  • SheStarts 1 at Google MTV.JPG

    Members of the inaugural SheStarts cohort during their visit to Google’s office in Mountain View in 2017.

  • shestarts-Nicola Hazell.jpeg

    Nicola Hazell from SheStarts at BlueChilli, announcing the first cohort of female founders selected for the accelerator in 2016.

  • FullSizeRender 4.jpg

    The second cohort of SheStarts founders taking part in a workshop at BlueChilli with Google’s Sally-Ann Williams in February this year.

Through our partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs, SheStarts’ founders in Australia will have the opportunity to connect with experts, investors, and women across the world, shedding light on a new wave of leadership that is redefining what it means to be a tech entrepreneur. We couldn’t be more excited to embark on this journey together with Google.

Mobile Apps Must Roll Back Welcome Mat for Cybercriminals

Mobile devices may seem like the pinnacle of digital sophistication, but in terms of security, they lag far behind laptops and desktops—meaning that the mobile trove of valuable consumer information, browsing histories and location tracking is more vulnerable to attack.

Thoughts On Machine Learning Accuracy

This blog shares some brief thoughts on machine learning accuracy and bias. Let’s start with some comments about a recent ACLU blog in which they ran a facial recognition trial. Using Rekognition, the ACLU built a face database using 25,000 publicly available arrest photos and then performed facial similarity searches on that database using public […]

Icebergs, Goldfish and water on Mars: searches that floated to the top this week

Whether your town’s new neighbor turned out to be a bit icy, or your usual afternoon snack was disrupted by an unexpected recall, this week was full of surprises. Here are a few of the top search trends from this week, with data from the Google News Lab.

We’ll never let go

An 11 million-ton iceberg has parked itself outside a fishing village in Western Greenland, causing search interest in “Greenland iceberg” to float 190 percent higher than the commonly-searched “Titanic iceberg.” This icy mountain has stirred up the most search interestin New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

Oh my Mars

For years, scientists have been thirsty to find life on Mars, and—at long last—a lake of liquid water was detected this week. The discovery prompted a 4,000 percent increase in searches for “frozen lake on mars” as well as questions like, “What does water on Mars mean?” and “Is the water found on Mars salt water?” Search usually revolves around the sun, but this week Mars interrupted its orbit with a 95 percent bump in search interest.  

Snack time

This week, more than 3 million packages of Goldfish and 16+ varieties of Ritz Cracker products are being recalled over the possible salmonella contamination of whey powder. Salty snack lovers are wondering, “Are Goldfish crackers bad for you?” “Is it OK to eat Goldfish?” and the question that’s been on my mind for years, “Why do rainbow Goldfish taste different?” Of the top “food recall” related searches this year, Goldfish and Ritz crackers both make the top five, joined by romaine lettuce, egg and Spam.

Who let the dogs out?

Last week, over 360 Golden retrievers met in Scotland to celebrate the breed’s 150th anniversary. The breed may have been born in 1868, but these pups aren’t in their golden years just yet. Labrador retriever, bulldog and pitbull are the top searched dog breeds this week (plus golden retrievers, of course). Though the meeting of the retrievers happened in Scotland, the U.S. and Canada were the countries with the most searches for “golden retrievers.”

No freestyle for a while

You probably know that Ryan Lochte is a 12-time Olympian, but you may also be wondering “What did Ryan Lochte do?” (a top-searched question this week). Well, he posted a picture with an intravenous vitamin drip in his arm that resulted in the 1,400 percent spike in searches for “ryan lochte photo.” Because of the photo, he was found in violation of anti-doping rules, leading to a 14-month ban from swimming.

What a week! 105 announcements from Google Cloud Next ’18

Google Cloud Next ‘18 was incredible! From fantastickeynotes and fireside chats to GO-JEK CTO Ajey Gore appearing on-stage on a scooter to listening to Target CIO Mike McNamara we had an inspiring, educational and entertaining week at our flagship conference. We were joined by over 23,000 leaders, developers and partners from our Google Cloud community, listened to more than 290 customer speakers share their stories of business transformation in the cloud and took part in hundreds of breakout sessions. The theme of the conference was Made Here Together, and we’re so grateful to everyone who attended and contributed to help build the cloud for everyone.  

But the week of Next wouldn’t be complete without a comprehensive list of what happened. So without further ado, here are 105 product and solution launches, customer stories and announcements from Next ‘18.


1. eBay—The world’s largest global marketplace is leveraging Google Cloud in many different ways, including experimenting with conversational commerce with Google Assistant, building ML models with Cloud TPUs for image classification, and applying AI to help buyers quickly find what they’re looking for.

2. GO-JEK—This ride-hailing and logistics startup in Jakarta uses Google Cloud to support its hundreds of thousands of concurrent transactions, Maps for predicting traffic and BigQuery to get data insights.

3. Lahey Health—Lahey’s journey to the cloud included migrating from four legacy email systems to G Suite in 91 days.

4. LATAM Airlines—South America’s largest airline uses G Suite to connect teams, and GCP for data analytics and creating 3D digital elevation models.

5. LG CNS—LG is looking to Google Cloud AI, Cloud IoT Edge and Edge TPU to build its Intelligent Vision inspection tool for better quality and efficiency in some of its factories.

6. HSBC—One of the world’s leading banking institutions shares how they’re using data analytics on Google Cloud to extract meaningful insights from its 100PB of data and billions of transactions.

7. The New York Times—The newest way the New York Times is using Google Cloud is to scan, encode, and preserve its entire historical photo archive  and evolve the way the newsroom tells stories by putting new tools for visual storytelling in the hands of journalists.

8. Nielsen—To support its nearly 45,000 employees in 100 countries with real-time collaboration and cost-effective video conferencing, Nielsen turned to G Suite.

9. Ocado—This online-only supermarket uses Google Cloud’s AI capabilities to power its machine learning model for responding to customer requests and detecting fraud much faster.

10. PayPal—PayPal discusses the hows and whys of their journey to the public cloud.

11. Scotiabank—This Canadian banking institution shares its views on modernizing and using the cloud to solve inherent problems inside an organization.

12. Sky—The UK media company uses Google Cloud to identify and disconnect pirate streaming sites during live sporting events.

13. Target—Moving to Google Cloud has helped Target address challenges like scaling up for Cyber Monday without disruptions, and building new, cutting-edge experiences for their guests.

14. 20th Century Fox—The renowned movie studio shares how it’s using BigQuery ML to understand audience preferences.

15. Twitter—Twitter moved large-scale Hadoop clusters to GCP for ad hoc analysis and cold storage, with a total of about 300 PB of data migrated.

16. Veolia—This environmental solution provider moved its 250 systems to G Suite and Chromebooks for their anytime, anywhere, any-device cloud project.

17. Weight Watchers—How Weight Watchers evolved its business, including creating mobile app and an online community to support its customers’ lifestyles.


18. 2017 Partner Awards—Congratulations to the winners! These awards recognize partners who dedicated themselves to creating industry-leading solutions and strong customer experiences with Google Cloud.

19. SAP and Deloitte collaboration—Customers can run SAP apps on GCP with Deloitte’s comprehensive tools.

20. Updates to our Cisco partnership—Includes integrations between our new Call Center AI solution and Cisco Customer Journey solutions, integrations with Webex and G Suite, and a new developer challenge for hybrid solutions.

21. Digital Asset and BlockApps—These launch partners are helping users try Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) frameworks on GCP, with open-source integrations coming later this year.

22. Intel and Appsbroker—We’ve created a cloud center of excellence to make high-performance cloud migration a lot easier.

23. NetApp—New capabilities help customers access shared file systems that apps need to move to cloud, plus Cloud Volumes are now available to more GCP customers.

24. VMware vRealize Orchestrator—A new plug-in makes it easy to use GCP alongside on-prem VMware deployments for efficient resource provisioning.

25. New partner specializations—We’ve recently welcomed 19 partners in five new specialization areas (bringing the total areas to nine) so customers can get even more industry-specific help moving to cloud.

26. SaaS-specific initiative—A new set of programs to help our partners bring SaaS applications to their customers.

27. Accenture Google Cloud Business Group, or AGBG—This newly formed group brings together experts who’ll work with enterprise clients to build tailored cloud solutions.

28. Partnership with NIH—We’re joining with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to make more research datasets available, integrate researcher authentication and authorization mechanisms with Google Cloud credentials, and support industry standards for data access, discovery, and cloud computation.

29. Partnership with Iron Mountain—This new partnership helps enterprises extract hard-to-find information from inside their stored documents.

Chrome, Devices and Mobility

30. Cloud-based browser management—From a single view, admins can manage Chrome Browser running on Windows, Mac, Chrome OS and Linux.

31. Password Alert Policy—Admins can set rules in Chrome Browser to prevent corporate password use on sites outside of the company’s control.

32. Managed Google Play (out of beta)—Admins can curate applications by user groups as well as customize a broad range of policies and functions like application blacklisting and remote uninstall.

Google Cloud Platform | AI and machine learning

33. Cloud AutoML Vision, AutoML Natural Language, and AutoML Translation (all three in beta)—Powerful ML models that can be extended to suit specific needs, without requiring any specialized knowledge in machine learning or coding.

34. Cloud Vision API (GA)—Cloud Vision API now recognizes handwriting, supports additional file types (PDF and TIFF), and can identify where an object is located within an image.

35. Cloud Text-to-Speech (beta)—Improvements to Cloud Text-to-Speech offer multilingual access to voices generated by DeepMind WaveNet technology and the ability to optimize for the type of speaker you plan to use.

36. Cloud Speech-to-Text—Updates to this API help you identify what language is being spoken, plus provide word-level confidence scores and multi-channel (multi-participant) recognition.

37. Training and online prediction through scikit-learn and XGBoost in Cloud ML Engine (GA) —While Cloud ML Engine has long supported TensorFlow, we’re releasing XGBoost and scikit-learn as alternative libraries for training and classification.

38. Kubeflow v0.2—Building on the previous version, Kubeflow v0.2 makes it easier for you to use machine learning software stacks on Kubernetes. Kubeflow v0.2 has an improved user interface and several enhancements to monitoring and reporting.

39. Cloud TPU v3 (alpha)—Announced at this year’s I/O, our third-generation TPUs are now available for Google Cloud customers to accelerate training and inference workloads.

40. Cloud TPU Pod (alpha)—Second-generation Cloud TPUs are now available to customers in scalable clusters. Support for Cloud TPUs in Kubernetes Engine is also available in beta.

41. Phone Gateway in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—Now you can assign a working phone number to a virtual agent—all without infrastructure. Speech recognition, speech synthesis, natural language understanding and orchestration are all managed for you.

42. Knowledge Connectors in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—These connectors understand unstructured documents like FAQs or knowledge base articles and complement your pre-built intents with automated responses sourced from internal document collections.

43. Automatic Spelling Correction in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—Natural language understanding can sometimes be challenged by spelling and grammar errors in a text-based conversation. Dialogflow can now automatically correct spelling mistakes using technology similar to what’s used in Google Search and other products.

44. Sentiment Analysis in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—Relies on the Cloud Natural Language API to optionally inspect a request and score a user’s attitude as positive, negative or neutral.

45. Text-to-Speech in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition (beta)—We’re adding native audio response to Dialogflow to complement existing Speech-to-Text capability.

46. Contact Center AI (alpha)—A new solution which includes new Dialogflow features alongside other tools to perform analytics and assist live agents.

47. Agent Assist in Contact Center AI (alpha)—Supports a live agent during a conversation and provides the agent with relevant information, like suggested articles, in real-time.

48. Conversational Topic Modeler in Contact Center AI (alpha)—Uses Google AI to analyze historical audio and chat logs to uncover insights about topics and trends in customer interactions.

Google Cloud Platform | Infrastructure services

49. Managed Istio (alpha)—A fully-managed service on GCP for Istio, an open-source project that creates a service mesh to manage and control microservices.

50. Istio 1.0—Speaking of open-source Istio, the project is imminently moving up to version 1.0.

51. Apigee API Management for Istio (GA)—Soon you can use your existing Apigee Edge API management platform to wrangle microservices running on the Istio service mesh.

52. Stackdriver Service Monitoring (early access)—A new view for our Stackdriver monitoring suite that shows operators how their end users are experiencing their systems. This way, they can manage against SRE-inspired SLOs.

53. GKE On-Prem with multi-cluster management (coming soon to alpha)—A Google-configured version of Kubernetes that includes multi-cluster management and can be deployed on-premise or in other clouds, laying the foundation for true hybrid computing.

54. GKE Policy Management (coming soon to alpha)—Lets you take control of your Kubernetes environment by applying centralized policies across all enrolled clusters.

55. Resource-based pricing for Compute Engine (rolling out this fall)—A new way we’re calculating sustained use discounts on Compute Engine machines, aggregating all your vCPUs and memory resources to maximize your savings.

Google Cloud Platform | Application development

56. GKE serverless add-on (coming soon to alpha)—Runs serverless workloads that scale up and down automatically, or respond to events, on top of Kubernetes Engine.

57. Knative—The same technologies included in the GKE serverless add-on are now available in this open-source project.

58. Cloud Build (GA)—Our fully managed continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform lets you build container and non-container artifacts and integrates with a wide variety of tools from across the developer ecosystem.

59. GitHub partnership—GitHub is a popular source code repository, and now you can use it with Cloud Build.

60. New App Engine runtimes—We’re adding support for the popular Python 3.7 and PHP 7.2 runtimes to App Engine standard environment.

61. Cloud Functions (GA)—Our event-driven serverless compute service is now generally available, and includes support for additional languages, plus performance, networking and security features.

62. Serverless containers on Cloud Functions (early preview)—Packages a function within a container, to better support custom runtimes, binaries and frameworks. 

63. Cloud Healthcare API (alpha)—By supporting standards-driven data formats and protocols of existing healthcare technologies, the Cloud Healthcare API connects your data to advanced Google Cloud capabilities while also simplifying application development and device integration. 

Google Cloud Platform | Data analytics

64. BigQuery ML (beta)—A new capability that allows data analysts and data scientists to easily build machine learning models directly from BigQuery with simple SQL commands, making machine learning more accessible to all.

65. BigQuery Clustering (beta)—Creates clustered tables in BigQuery as an added layer of data optimization to accelerate query performance.

66. BigQuery GIS (public alpha)—New functions and data types in BigQuery that follow the SQL/MM Spatial standard. Handy for PostGIS users and anyone already doing geospatial analysis in SQL.

67. Sheets Data Connector for BigQuery (beta)—A new way to directly access and refresh data in BigQuery from Google Sheets.

68. Data Studio Explorer (beta)—Deeper integration between BigQuery and Google Data Studio to help users visualize query results quickly.

69. Cloud Composer (GA)—Based on the open source Apache Airflow project, Cloud Composer distributes workloads across multiple clouds.

70. Customer Managed Encryption Keys for Dataproc—Customer-managed encryption keys that let customers create, use and revoke key encryption for BigQuery, Compute Engine and Cloud Storage. Generally available for BigQuery; beta for Compute Engine and Cloud Storage.

71. Streaming analytics updates, including Python Streaming and Dataflow Streaming Engine (both in beta)—Provides streaming customers more responsive autoscaling on fewer resources, by separating compute and state storage.

72. Dataproc Autoscaling and Dataproc Custom Packages (alpha)—Gives users Hadoop and Spark clusters that scale automatically based on the resource requirements of submitted jobs, delivering a serverless experience.

Google Cloud Platform | Databases

73. Oracle workloads on GCP—We’re partnering with managed service providers (MSPs) so you can run Oracle workloads on GCP using dedicated hardware.

74. Compute Engine VMs powered by Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory—Lets you run SAP HANA workloads for more capacity at lower cost.

75. Cloud Firestore (beta)—Helps you store, sync and query data for cloud-native apps. Support for Datastore Mode is also coming soon.

76. Updates to Cloud Bigtable—Regional replication across zones and Key Visualizer, in beta, to help debug performance issues.

77. Updates to Cloud Spanner—Lets users import and export data using Cloud Dataflow. A preview of Cloud Spanner’s data manipulation language (DML) is now available.

Google Cloud Platform | IoT

78. Edge TPU (early access)—Google’s purpose-built ASIC chip that’s designed to run TensorFlow Lite ML so you can accelerate ML training in the cloud and utilize fast ML inference at the edge.

79. Cloud IoT Edge (alpha)—Extends data processing and machine learning capabilities to gateways, cameras and end devices, helping make IoT devices and deployments smart, secure and reliable.

Google Cloud Platform | Security

80. Context-aware access—Capabilities to help organizations define and enforce granular access to GCP APIs, resources, G Suite, and third-party SaaS apps based on a user’s identity, location and the context of their request.

81. Titan Security Key—A FIDO security key that includes firmware developed by Google to verify its integrity.

82. Shielded VMs (beta)—A new way to leverage advanced platform security capabilities to help ensure your VMs haven’t been tampered with or compromised.

83. Binary Authorization (alpha)—Lets you enforce signature validation when deploying container images.

84. Container Registry Vulnerability Scanning (alpha)—Automatically performs vulnerability scanning for Ubuntu, Debian and Alpine images to help ensure they are safe to deploy and don’t contain vulnerable packages.

85. Geo-based access control in Cloud Armor (beta)—Lets you control access to your services based on the geographic location of the client trying to connect to your application.

86. Cloud HSM (alpha)—A fully managed cloud-hosted hardware security module (HSM) service that allows you to host encryption keys and perform cryptographic operations in FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified HSMs.  

87. Access Transparency (coming soon to GA)—Provides an audit trail of actions taken by Google Support and Engineering in the rare instances that they interact with your data and system configurations on Google Cloud.

G Suite | Enterprise collaboration and productivity

88. New investigation tool in the Security Center (Early Adopter Program)—A new tool in the security center for G Suite that helps admins identify which users are potentially infected, see if anything’s been shared externally and remove access to Drive files or delete malicious emails.

89. Data Regions for G Suite (available now for G Suite Business and Enterprise customers)—Lets you choose where to store primary data for select G Suite apps—globally, distributed, U.S. or Europe.

90. Smart Reply in Hangouts Chat—Coming soon to G Suite, Smart Reply uses artificial intelligence to recognize which messages need responses and proposes reply options.

91. Smart Compose in Gmail—Coming soon to G Suite, Smart Compose intelligently autocompletes emails for you by filling in greetings, common phrases and more.

92. Grammar Suggestions in Google Docs (Early Adopter Program)—Uses a unique machine translation-based approach to recognize grammatical errors (simple and complex) and suggest corrections.

93. Voice Commands for Hangouts Meet hardware (coming to select Hangouts Meet hardware customers later this year)—Brings some of the same magic of the Google Assistant to the conference room so that teams can connect to video meetings quickly.

94. The new Gmail (GA)—Features like redesigned security warnings, snooze and offline access are now generally available to G Suite users.

95. New functionality in Cloud Search—Helps organizations intelligently and securely index third-party data beyond G Suite (whether the data is stored in the cloud or on-prem).

96. Google Voice to G Suite (Early Adopter Program)—An enterprise version of Google Voice that lets admins manage users, provision and port phone numbers, access detailed reports and more.

97. Standalone offering of Drive Enterprise (GA)—New offering with usage-based pricing to help companies easily transition data from legacy enterprise content management (ECM) systems.

98. G Suite Enterprise for Education—Expanding to 16 new countries.

99. Jamboard Mobile App—Added features for Jamboard mobile devices, including new drawing tools and a new way to claim jams using near-field communication (NFC).

100. Salesforce Add-on in Google Sheets—A new add-on that lets you import data and reports from Salesforce into Sheets and then push updates made in Sheets back to Salesforce.

Social Impact

101. Data Solutions for Change—A program that empowers nonprofits with advanced data analytics to drive social and environmental impact. Benefits include role-based support and Qwiklabs.

102. Visualize 2030—In collaboration with the World Bank, the United Nations Foundation, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, we’re hosting a data storytelling contest for college or graduate students.

103. Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator—We’re helping Harambee connect more unemployed youth with entry-level positions in Johannesburg by analyzing large datasets with BigQuery and machine learning on Cloud Dataflow.

104. Foundation for Precision Medicine—We’re aiding the Foundation for Precision Medicine to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by scaling their patient database to millions of anonymized electronic medical record (EMR) data points, creating custom modeling, and helping them visualize data.

Whew! That was 104. Thanks to all our customers, partners, and Googlers for making this our best week of the year.

But wait, there’s more! Here’s the 105th announcement: Next 2019 will be April 9-11 at the newly renovated Moscone in San Francisco. Please save the date!  

AndroidX Development is Now Even Better

Posted by Aurimas Liutikas, software engineer on AndroidX team

AndroidX (previously known as Android Support Library) started out as a small set of libraries intended to provide backwards compatibility for new Android platform APIs and, as such, its development was strictly tied to the platform. As a result, all work was done in internal Google branches and then pushed to the public Android Open Source Project (AOSP) together with the platform push. With this flow, external contributions were limited to a narrow window of time where the internal and AOSP branches were close in content. On top of that, it was difficult to contribute — in order to do a full AndroidX build and testing, external developers had to check out >40GB of the full Android platform code.

Today, the scope of AndroidX has expanded dramatically and includes libraries such as AppCompat for easier UI development, Room for database management, and WorkManager for background work. Many of these libraries implement higher-level abstractions and are less tied to new revisions of the Android platform, and all libraries are designed with backwards compatibility in mind from the start. Several libraries, such as RecyclerView and Fragment, are purely AndroidX-side implementations with few ties to the platform.

Starting a little over two years ago, we began a process of unbundling — moving AndroidX out of Android platform builds into its own separate build. We had to do a great deal of work, including migrating our builds from make to Gradle as well as migrating all of our API tracking tools and documentation generation out of the platform build. With that process completed, we reached a point where a developer can now check out a minimal AndroidX project, open it in Android Studio, and build using the public SDK and public Android Gradle Plugin.

The Android developer community has long expressed a desire to contribute more easily to AndroidX; however, this was always a challenge due to the reasons described above. This changes today: AndroidX development is moving to public AOSP. That means that our primary feature development (except for top-secret integrations with the platform 😀) and bug fixes will be done in the open using the Gerrit review tool and changes will be visible in the aosp/androidx-master-dev branch.

We are making this change to give better transparency to developers; it gives developers a chance to see features and bug fixes implemented in real-time. We are also excited about receiving bug fix contributions from the community. We have written up a short guide on how to go about contributing a patch.

In addition to regular development, AOSP will be a place for experimentation and prototyping. You will see new libraries show up in this repository; some of them may be removed before they ship, change dramatically during pre-alpha development, or merge into existing libraries. The general rule is that only the libraries on are officially ready for external developer usage.

Finally, we are just getting started. We apologize for any rough edges that you might have when contributing to AndroidX, and we request your feedback via the public AndroidX tracker if you hit any issues.

Set your summer schedule with events in Search

If you’re on the hunt for activities to fill your summer calendar, we’re making it even easier to find events in Search. Last year we introduced a new way to look for events near you, and over the next few days we’ll be adding new features to give you personal recommendations, along with more information about events that interest you.

When you search on your phone for things like “events near me” or “free concert” in the U.S., you’ll not only find a list of events from a variety of sites, but also key information about the event, right on Search.

Events in Search

Tap any event you’re interested in and you’ll get an overview of things like time, location, ticketing providers and other information that will help you decide whether to attend. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can follow the links to buy tickets from the provider of your choice. If you’re still deciding, you can head to the event webpages for more information. We also make it easy to save events and share with others, so you can plan as you go.

We’re also helping you discover events based on your interests. While browsing events, you can tap the “For You” tab to get personalized ideas for things to do near you. You’ll also see trending and popular events in your area to keep you in the loop on the hottest happenings.

Events For You

You’ll find events from across the web–from meetup and concert sites to individual event listings from organizations and brands you love. We’ve made it easy for sites to mark up their event listings to appear in this experience, with new listings updated quickly. Event sites can follow these guidelines to ensure events are discoverable. .

We’ll be rolling out these new features over the next few days. Give it a try to find the perfect dog meetup, local festival or must-see summer concert for you.

We’re bringing VR Creator Lab to Europe

YouTube’s Virtual Reality creators have shown us that VR is a powerful tool for storytelling, artistic expression, and teaching.  We want more creators across the world to be able to share their stories in this emerging medium. To make it easier and less expensive to create in VR, we introduced the VR180 format and we’re partnering with YouTube and VR Scout to launch a global series of VR180 training academies, which we call VR Creator Lab.

Today we’re announcing that VR Creator Lab is coming to London. Participants will receive between $30,000 and $40,000 USD in funding towards their VR project, attend a three day “boot camp” September 18-20, 2018, and receive three months of training from leading VR instructors and filmmakers.  

Applications are open through 5pm British Summer Time on August 6, 2018.  YouTube creators with a minimum of 10,000 subscribers and independent filmmakers are eligible. Participants must be 18+ years old. We’ll select the participants based on the quality of their pitches and the feasibility of completing their projects within the three month timeframe.

The London Creator Lab will follow our first Lab, which we launched in Los Angeles last month.  We put together a brief video featuring a few of the participants:

Creators at VR Creator Lab Los Angeles share their experience

Creators at VR Creator Lab Los Angeles share their experience

Even if you’re not selected to join us in London, you can check out our guide to getting started with VR180cameras and editing tools.  We believe that everyone benefits when creators share their creative vision with the world, so we’re always on the lookout for new ways to make it easier and more affordable to create in VR.  We hope you’ll give VR180 filmmaking a try!

The first Smart Displays with the Google Assistant are now available in stores

Over the last couple of years, you’ve been able to talk to the Google Assistant to get things done. Today we’re launching Smart Displays, a new category of devices for the smart home that brings the Google Assistant to an interactive screen for a richer visual experience. And the first Smart Display from Lenovo will go on sale in major U.S. retail and online stores this weekend.

With the Google Assistant built in, the Lenovo Smart Display brings you the best of Google services, including Maps, YouTube, Calendar, Duo and Photos, in a visual and helpful way. It’s easy to set up, so you can immediately enjoy your favorite entertainment, control your smart home, stay in touch with friends and family, and manage your day with simple voice commands and touch gestures.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into some things you can do with your Assistant on Smart Displays:

Enjoy music, news and podcasts
Smart Displays offer a rich experience for enjoying music, news, podcasts or audiobooks from popular services. With the combination of voice and a screen, it’s easy to browse and find that perfect song, album, or playlist. Here are a few things you can do: 

  • Stream your favorite music with YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pandora, with free tier available for all services
  • Stay informed with Google News, including the latest video news briefs featuring national and local publishers like CNBC, CBS, and Cheddar
  • Jam to your favorite radio stations with iHeartRadio and TuneIn
  • Catch up on your favorite podcasts with Google Podcasts
  • Or listen to audiobooks from Google Play Books. With audiobooks or podcasts, your Assistant will pick up right where you left off, even if you were listening on your phone earlier.


Play videos and watch TV
Ask YouTube to play anything: how-to videos, cooking videos, product reviews, you name it! And, with every Smart Display, you get three free months of YouTube Premium (for new subscribers). 

If you have a YouTubeTV membership, you can enjoy live or recorded TV in your library, no remote control necessary.The next time you want to turn on the game, you can say “Hey Google, watch ESPN” to start streaming. Many other popular video services are supported too, including HBO Now, Google Play Movies & TV and Crackle.


Browse recipes and get step-by-step cooking guidance
Your Assistant can even help you prepare a great meal on Smart Displays. Browse through thousands of recipes, then the Assistant can provide step-by-step hands-free guidance on screen. Of course, you can set timers and play music while you cook.


Get answers, manage your day, and stick to your routines
Google Assistant Routines makes it even easier to stay on top of your day using your Smart Display. Just say “Hey Google, good morning” to get a verbal and visual summary of the weather, traffic to work, reminders, your agenda and then play a video news brief from your preferred news sources.

You can even create and manage a shopping list on your Smart Display and bring up your list on your phone when you’re at the grocery store. Or, avoid the trip and order a delivery with Google Express from your favorite stores like Costco, Target and Walmart


Keep in touch with loved ones
With video calling on Google Duo, you can instantly connect with your closest friends and family on Smart Displays. Duo is also built in on Android phones and available for free on iOS, so you can call your friends and family hands-free across devices. Just say, “Hey Google, call Rachel” to start a high-quality video or audio call.


Relive your memories
The Smart Display is also a delightful way to enjoy Google Photos. When you’re not using your Smart Display, the screen can serve as an always-on digital photo album. And you can just ask the Assistant whenever you want to see specific pictures of a family vacation or other special moments with the important people in your life.


Control your smart home 
Just ask “Hey Google, show me the family room” to check on things with the Nest Cam. Turn up the thermostat, dim the lights or change the color—all with your voice or a simple touch screen control.


The Lenovo Smart Display is available in two display sizes and colors: the 8-inch HD version for $199.99 and the 10-inch Full-HD version for $249.99, and they both come with a full-range 10 watt speaker for loud and clear audio. You can grab it on shelves or online at Walmart,,,,, and other stores.

We’ll expand the Smart Display options with other partners, including JBL and LG, coming soon. And while there are over 1 million Actions already available for the Assistant, we’re excited to see what developers will design for Smart Displays, too.

Google for Entrepreneurs impact in Europe and the Middle East: our annual report

In the six past years, Google for Entrepreneurs has built six “Campuses” around the world. These are spaces for startups and entrepreneurs to work, meet each other and develop their businesses. To help these startups grow and go global, Campus supports them through events, mentoring sessions and access to experts from Google.

Over the last two years we’ve tracked our impact on the entrepreneur ecosystems in four of the cities where Campuses are located: London, Tel Aviv, Warsaw and Madrid. We recently released the “Annual Report on Startups,” in which we asked the startups about the number of jobs they’ve created and the amount of funding they’ve raised in the last year.

In terms of job creation, Campus Madrid startups created 927 new jobs while Campus London created 523 and Campus Warsaw, 416. In total, to date, these three campuses, and Tel Aviv, have created more than 9,000 jobs. Here’s a bit more about the total number of people employed at each Campus, as well as the amount of funding the startups at each Campus have raised:


Beyond what we learned from our research, there’s something else we’re particularly proud of: women at Campus. Over the past year, women made up 39 percent (up from 30 percent three years ago) of the Campus community, a number that we’re working to increase over time.

Looking at these reports, we’re pleased to see our impact in the Europe and Middle East entrepreneur communities, but there is still a lot to do. This year and beyond, we will continue supporting startups and helping them grow.

M12 and VC partners commit $4 million to empower women entrepreneurs

Today, I’m proud to announce that Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, M12, is joining forces with EQT Ventures and SVB Financial Group to launch the Female Founders Competition, a global startup contest to identify top female talent and accelerate access to capital for women entrepreneurs. We’ve all heard the long odds facing women founders in tech. Last year, female founders received just 2.2 percent of total global venture capital funding, and only 17 percent of all startups have at least one female founder, despite the fact that gender diversity on executive teams correlates with greater profitability and value creation.

The post M12 and VC partners commit $4 million to empower women entrepreneurs appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Now Available: R5, R5d, and z1d Instances

Just last week I told you about our plans to launch EC2 Instances with Faster Processors and More Memory. Today I am happy to report that the R5, R5d, and z1d instances are available now and you can start using them today. Let’s take a look at each one! R5 Instances The memory-optimized R5 instances […]

Protecting Our Community in Brazil

As part of our ongoing efforts to prevent abuse, we recently took down a network of 196 Pages and 87 accounts in Brazil that violated our authenticity policies.

Meet your 2018 Imagine Cup champions – smartARM of Canada!

At its heart, the Imagine Cup is all about bringing students together from across the globe, inspiring them to usher in our collective future using cloud-based technologies of today and tomorrow, including artificial intelligence (AI), big data, mixed reality and more. Since its inception 16 years ago, the Imagine Cup has motivated nearly 2 million…

The post Meet your 2018 Imagine Cup champions – smartARM of Canada! appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Final preview update, official Android P coming soon!

Posted By Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android P is almost here! As we put the finishing touches on the new platform, today we’re bringing you Android P Beta 4.

Beta 4 is the last preview milestone before we launch the official Android P pl…

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