Why Dec. 7 represents the forces that both divide and bring us together

Americans know the importance of Dec. 7, 1941, when a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in the deaths of 2,400 Americans. Another Dec. 7 event is worth remembering, one that isn’t known by nearly as many people, yet is “connected in an interesting way to the events that were unleashed on Dec. 7, 1941,”…

The post Why Dec. 7 represents the forces that both divide and bring us together appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

The Future of Interactive White Boards

Craig Tranter is a former educator, and now serves as a technology presenter for Cisco. This blog is part of a series on advancements and opportunities in education. All views are his own.  One thing that all teachers will be fairly familiar with by now is the use of Interactive White Boards (IWBs). However, the […]

Ready for your close-pup: the pets of #teampixel

Can you say “shake”? This week we’re making the introduction to some of #teampixel’s furry friends who always make the day a little brighter. From fabulous felines to a French Bulldog in PJs, scroll through this week’s “pawsome” picks and get to know the pets of #teampixel—13/10 would portrait mode again.

Want to get your Pixel photos featured on The Keyword? Make sure to tag your photos with #teampixel for the opportunity to see your photos here next!

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    Left: _theodorethepug. “This is our little guy, Theodore, before hitting up a pupper party.” -Nicholas W. Right: merzbenz. “This is my lovely dog. Its name is ChiChi.” -Vorapong P.
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    mylilchapter – “Chapter, a new member of our family. Such a funny and smart puppy!” -Patipat S.
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    Left: Harry.hunt. “The ‘Blue Steel’ of the cat world” -Harrison H. Right: itswallys.world – “Wally has a compromised immune system, but he will still live a great, long life!” -Caroline M.
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    Left: mymatenorman. “Norman has so much character in his face we love taking photos of him.” -Craig R. Right: jamesscottlogan. “A picture of my pup Baldur after a hike in a small snow storm in Utah.” -James L.
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    adventurerider1200 – “Just a cute cat!” – Rohan M.

Threat Round Up for Dec 01 – Dec 08

Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we’ve observed between December 01 and December 08. As with previous round-ups, this post isn’t meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we’ve observed by highlighting key behavior characteristics, indicators of compromise, and how our customers are automatically […]

Leverage collaboration technology for maintenance, repair, and operations

In a previous blog, we discussed the role of new product introduction processes (NPI) and the part that collaboration tools are playing in helping drive better ideation while speeding time to production. Similarly, collaboration tools are rapidly changing maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) procedures on the factory floor. Downtime is always the antagonist of manufacturing. […]

Catalyst 9000 Switches – CRN’s 2017 Overall Network Product of the Year

We are proud and honored to have the Cisco Catalyst 9000 family of switches recognized as CRNs 2017 Overall Network Product of the Year. Every year CRN awards “Product of the Year” for a variety IT-related technology categories specifically looking for products that solve important problems for customers. Those products are then evaluated by over […]

The High Five: fighting fire, breaking silence, and other top searches this week

This week, search trends—with data from the Google News Lab—reflect nationwide concern about the Southern California wildfires, as well as end-of-year cultural milestones like TIME’s “Person of the Year” and “Spotify Wrapped.”

Southern California wildfires

As wildfires ravaged Southern California this week, people searched to find out “How do brush fires start?” and “Why are there so many wildfires in California?” People are also trying to prepare and do more to help: “How to become a wildfire fighter,” “How to protect your house from wildfires” and “How to how California fire victims” were among the top searches.

Silent, no longer

After TIME named its “Person of the Year” this week, search interest for “silence breaker” went up 31,000 percent. These are the women, both famous and unknown, who launched a movement against sexual harassment this year. Searchers were most curious about “how the TIME Person of the Year is chosen,” and the top searches for “Person of the Year” were Ashley Judd, Donald Trump, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, Taylor Swift and Colin Kaepernick.

Coding craze

“Why do we need to learn coding?” was a top-searched question this week, and one that  Computer Science Education Week set out to answer. Searches about computer science ranged from basic questions like “What is coding” and “How to code,” to more advanced searches for programming languages (the most-searched languages were JavaScript, PHP and Python).

That’s a wrap

This week, Spotify released its “Wrapped” feature, which breaks down your music-listening habits over the past year. Spotify listeners wanted to know, “How to see Spotify 2017 Wrapped” and “How many songs have I listened to on Spotify?” The feature also tells you the number of minutes you spent listening to Spotify this year—and interestingly, search interest in “minutes to hours” went up 140 percent after Wrapped was released.

No more carbo-loading

Some people may already be thinking about New Year’s resolutions, with a recent uptick in searches for the Keto diet, which recommends fewer carbs and more fats. For some, carbs (or lack thereof) are top of mind: “How to make Keto bread” and “How many carbs can I have on Keto diet” were two of the top searches. Those who are ready to get cooking searched for “Keto chicken recipes” and “Keto dessert recipes.” And if Keto isn’t your thing, consider the other most-searched diets this week: Paleo diet, Military diet, and Mediterranean diet.

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Wrapping up a year of impact with holiday giving

The holidays are a time for celebrating family and community, and it’s my favorite time at Google because Googlers give back to those who need it most.

Through Google.org grants and the generosity of Googlers, we set new giving records in 2017, bringing more resources to nonprofits, and more opportunities for Googlers to volunteer their time and expertise. In total this year, Google and Googlers donated more than $260 million to nonprofits. Our giving was centered our three core areas—education, economic opportunity and inclusion—and we provided opportunities for Googlers and the public to support disaster relief campaigns to help victims of hurricanes, fires, floods and other crises.

Holiday Giving and Giving Week

One of the main ways we give back during the holidays is through Giving Week, our annual global campaign where Googlers sign up to personally match donations their peers make. In just one week, Googlers pledged, and Google matched over $20 million for 1,000+ organizations around the world. The organizations that topped the list this year include the ACLU, Second Harvest Food Bank, GiveDirectly, and Doctors Without Borders.

In addition, this year we set up a $30 million holiday fund to support over 35 nonprofits around the world. We asked Googlers to help us direct these funds to a core group of organizations, from all regions and across a range of issue areas, including Pratham Books, an organization that addresses education gaps in India, and the International Rescue Committee, which helps people in crisis.

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Google Gift Match & Crisis Response

Year round, Google.org matches up to $6,000 in employee donations to nonprofits of their choice. Through this program, Googlers and Google have given nearly $97 million—including over $20M to crisis relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Florida, Houston, South Asia, and more. Googlers are also generous with their time, especially during crises—this year Googlers went to Puerto Rico to work with our grantee NetHope to help restore connectivity in areas affected by the hurricane.

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Google.org & Google volunteers

Together, our people, products, and philanthropy create opportunity for everyone. We pledged $1 billion in Google.org grants over five years to nonprofits around the world, and 1 million hours that Googlers can volunteer to nonprofits. This year alone, we supported nonprofits with $120 million in grants. In addition, Googlers volunteered over 220,000 hours of their time and expertise.

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I’m proud of our impact this year, and the Googlers who made it possible. Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday.

Digital Disruption Hits Sales: the Rise of the ‘Hybrid Seller’

As a leader at Cisco in the virtual sales space, I have a front row seat to the fast pace of disruption and change that is hitting the industry. Digital disruption is one of the most often used phrases in business over the last couple of years.  And rightly so, because the disruption is real. […]

All things are possible: Grow with Google and Google.org Impact Challenge come to OKC

As an Oklahoman, it’s exciting to work for a company like Google in Oklahoma City—a community I’m proud to call home and that has given me every opportunity in life to succeed. The homesteader Angelo Scott said our city’s spirit has “an attitude that all things are possible if people are willing to take a chance and embrace the future without hesitation or reservation.” As Oklahoma City has developed a diverse economic base as a center for energy, healthcare, aerospace and technology, its spirit remains evident.

Many Oklahoma City businesses are using technology to grow, reach new customers, and adapt to changing markets. For example, Langston’s Western Wear, a century-old family business, found new momentum when it put its products on the web. Now, online sales account for more than 25 percent of their overall business. Watch their story:


Building tools with GCP to help developers be more efficient

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Tomoaki Kobayakawa and Yoshiyuki Mineo of Rocro Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Network Communications. They take us through how they used Google Cloud Platform to create three SaaS products to help developers both inside and outside of Sony.

SaaS services are becoming more critical for developers working large-scale software developments. At Sony we know this all too well. So back in spring 2015, we set off to create three CI SaaS products that could dramatically reduce the amount of time it took to review source code, generate and manage API documents, and perform load testing. After enthusiastic results internally, we decided this year to establish a new company, Rocro Inc, and release those three products—Inspecode, Docstand and Loadroid—to the public.

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Even though our chief objective was to create robust tools that would be embraced by our internal developers, our goal from the beginning was to release our services externally as well. So, to build tools that had the speed, flexibility and reliability to serve all our users—whether inside or outside Sony—we turned to Google Cloud Platform.

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Google App Engine was the main reason we chose GCP. When we started out, our team was very small, and we couldn’t afford to hire a dedicated infrastructure engineer. App Engine is a fully managed platform that provides the user with an infrastructure abstraction, so you don’t need an infrastructure engineer to begin with. With App Engine, we’re able to work more efficiently because each developer can deploy services whenever they want. Our team has now grown substantially in size, yet to this day we haven’t needed a dedicated infrastructure engineer.

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In addition to App Engine, we also use Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Storage, and Cloud Datastore for our storage and database systems. The Kubernetes Engine kubernetes management service is very helpful for us. Both Inspecode and Docstand use the “Job” feature of Kubernetes—every time you use the git push command, it runs a new job, automating the source code analysis and documentation process. Each job functions in an isolated environment, which means it’s safe and stable to operate with individual containers for each user. Plus, jobs can be easily removed, which reduces both unnecessary labor and costs. Kubernetes can also restrict the use of CPU per job, so even if a particular user were to run a job under a heavy load, it wouldn’t have a negative impact on other users. This is essential for operating multi-tenant services in a stable manner.

GCP updates frequently, so our team benefits from access to the latest technologies relatively early. We’re now experimenting with Cloud Functions, and we hope the trend towards using serverless technologies can help us reduce the cost of keeping instances up and running for less frequently used features.

Both Rocro and Google Cloud save engineers a lot of trouble, helping them focus on the more creative elements of their work. We’re looking forward to experimenting with what’s next from GCP.

A look at one billion drawings from around the world

Since November 2016, people all around the world have drawn one billion doodles in Quick, Draw!, a web game where a neural network tries to recognize your drawings.

That includes 2.9 million cats, 2.9 million hot dogs, and 2.9 million drawings of snowflakes.

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Each drawing is unique. But when you step back and look at one billion of them, the differences fade away. Turns out, one billion drawings can remind us of how similar we are.

Take drawings people made of faces. Some have eyebrows.

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Some have ears.

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Some have hair.

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Some are round.

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Some are oval.

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But when if you look at them all together and squint, you notice something interesting: Most people seem to draw faces that are smiling.

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These sorts of interesting patterns emerge with lots of drawings. Like how people all over the world have trouble drawing bicycles.

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With some exceptions from the rare bicycle-drawing experts.

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If you overlay these drawings, you’ll also notice some interesting patterns based on geography. Like the directions that chairs might point:

Or the number of scoops you might get on an ice cream cone.

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(Source: Kyle McDonald)

And the strategy you might use to draw a star.

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Still, no matter the drawing method, over the last 12 months, people have drawn more stars in Quick, Draw! than there are actual stars visible to the naked eye in the night sky.

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If there’s one thing one billion drawings has taught us, it’s that no matter who we are or where we’re from, we’re united by the fun of making silly drawings of the things around us.

Quick, Draw! began as a simple way to let anyone play with machine learning. But these billions of drawings are also a valuable resource for improving machine learning. Researchers at Google have used them to train models like sketch-rnn, which lets people draw with a neural network. And the data we gathered from the game powers tools like AutoDraw, which pairs machine learning with drawings from talented artists to help everyone create anything visual, fast.

There is so much we have yet to discover. To explore a subset of the billion drawings, visit our open dataset. To learn more about how Quick, Draw! was built, read this post. And to draw your own star (or ice cream cone, or bicycle), play a round of Quick, Draw!

With Tilt Brush, an artist turns his virtual world into reality

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from British portrait painter Jonathan Yeo.

From photography to the printing press, to modern computing, art and technology have always influenced one another. And the artist’s toolkit is expanding with new mediums like virtual reality. As a portrait artist who primarily works with oil paint in two dimensions, drawing in three- dimensional space was unknown territory for me. Until recently, I’ve never created art using VR technology, but with Google Arts and Culture and the help of Tilt Brush engineers, I brought VR and sculpture together to create something that was more than just an experiment.


Black Hat Europe 2017: Malware Analysis in the SOC

New Cisco Threat Grid dashboard yields faster malware analysis and response Black Hat Europe kicked off just after the X Factor series finale was recorded live at the London ExCel Center, briefly mixing the Network Operations Centre (NOC) and Security Operations Centre (SOC) staff with hordes of teenaged fans. A few team members confessed to […]

Cisco wins prestigious TSIA STAR Award for Services Innovation

During the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) – the world’s leading organization dedicated to advancing the business of technology and services conference on 25 October 2017, Cisco was awarded the Star award for Innovation in Expand Selling Programs. To win a STAR Award, nominees undergo a rigorous evaluation process, with the winners selected by TSIA’s […]

Vulnerability Spotlight: TALOS-2017-0393 / CVE-2017-2886 – ACDSee Ultimate 10 Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

Overview Talos has discovered a remote code execution vulnerability in the ACDSee Ultimate 10 application from ACD Systems International Inc. Exploiting this vulnerabilities can potentially allow an attacker to gain full control over the victim’s machine. If an attacker builds a specially crafted .PSD (Photoshop) file and the victim opens it with the ACDSee Ultimate […]

Announcing Google Cloud Next 2018

Google Cloud Next ’18 is coming! Mark your calendars for July 24-27, 2018 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Google Cloud Next is where customers, partners, developers, influencers and the greater global cloud community get inspired and learn. Together, we’re working to make the cloud useful and accessible to everyone.

Dive deep into Google Cloud technology through hundreds of breakout sessions, code labs, demos and hands-on training, covering everything from infrastructure to devices, and security to machine learning. You’ll get the chance to connect with the entire Google Cloud team, including our engineers, product leadership, developer advocates and more to unlock new opportunities for your business.

At Next ’17, more than 250 Google speakers and 70+ customer speakers presented at 200 breakout sessions. We made 100 announcements at Next ’17, and we’re gearing up for more big news next year. Next ’18 will feature tracks that encompass all aspects of our Google Cloud portfolio: application development, containerization, collaboration & productivity, data & analytics, infrastructure & operations, hybrid cloud, machine learning & artificial intelligence, maps, security, mobility & devices and much more. Be on the lookout for information on how to register coming in March 2018.

Know someone we can all learn from, or want to contribute yourself? We’re actively soliciting proposals for speaking sessions that will educate and engage attendees. If you have an interesting idea or expertise that you would like to share at Next ’18, please submit your proposal by January 26, 2018. The earlier the better.

We’re excited to create an inclusive space that brings people together, fosters collaboration and inspires innovation at Next ’18. We can’t wait to see you in July!

AdWords Express helps small businesses grow online in 14 new countries

AdWords Express was created in 2011 to make advertising on Google accessible to businesses owners without advanced online advertising skills or the resources to hire an expert. AdWords Express has since expanded and, as of this month, is available in 14 new countries and 10 new languages. This expansion follows a recent launch that allows your business to prioritize ad goals, whether those are customer calls, visits to your store, or actions to your website.

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AdWords Express launched in these 14 countries. 

Gourmet treats become a local hit in Ukraine with AdWords Express

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Earlier this year, Daryna Pletnyova was looking for a fruit bouquet for her father’s birthday but couldn’t find a local shop in Kiev that could make one. After buying the supplies and arranging her own fruit bouquet, she decided she loved arranging so much that she started Tasty Bouquets, which makes custom bouquets out of gourmet treats, like sausage.

Daryna heard about AdWords Express at a small business event and decided to give it a try. She had used online advertising tools before but found they didn’t drive actual sales. “With AdWords Express though, I only spent 15 to 20 minutes setting up three ads,” says Daryna, “and I got my first calls from customers the next day.”

Advertisers like Daryna are getting results based on their advertising goal. Since Daryna’s goal is to receive calls, AdWords Express optimizes her ads to deliver more calls, not just clicks. “Now my phone is always ringing, and I’m selling 2-3 bouquets every day,” she says.

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Daryna used Google’s free website builder to create a landing page for her ads

The web isn’t just a place for businesses with big budgets or advertising expertise. With AdWords Express now available in 42 countries and 41 languages, we’re excited to help more small businesses across the world reach new customers online.

You can start advertising on Google today by signing up here.

New government removals and National Security Letter data

Since 2010, we’ve shared regular updates in our Transparency Report about the effects of government and corporate policies on users’ data and content. Our goal has always been to make this information as accessible as possible, and to continue expanding this report with new and relevant data.

Today, we’re announcing three updates to our Transparency Report. We’re expanding the National Security Letters (NSL) section, releasing new data on requests from governments to remove content from services like YouTube and Blogger, and making it easier for people to share select data and charts from the Transparency Report.

National Security Letters

Following the 2015 USA Freedom Act, the FBI started lifting indefinite gag restrictions—prohibitions against publicly sharing details—on particular NSLs. Last year, we began publishing NSLs we have received where, either through litigation or legislation, we have been freed of these nondisclosure obligations. We have added a new subsection to the NSL page of the Transparency Report where we publish these letters. We also added letters to the collection, and look to update this section regularly.

Government requests for content removals

As usage of our services increases, we remain committed to keeping internet users safe, working with law enforcement to remove illegal content, and complying with local laws. During this latest reporting period, we’ve continued to expand our work with local law enforcement. From January to June 2017, we received 19,176 requests from governments around the world to remove 76,714 pieces of content. This was a 20 percent percent increase in removal requests over the second half of 2016.

Making our Transparency Report easier to use

Finally, we’ve implemented a new “deep linking” feature that makes it easier to bookmark and share specific charts in the Transparency Report. Sorting data by country, time period, and other categories now generates a distinct web address at the top of your browser window. This allows you to create a link that will show, for example, just government removals data in France, by Google product, for the first half of 2015. We hope this will make it easier for citizens to find and reference information in the report, and for journalists and researchers to highlight specific details that they may be examining as well.

By continuing to make updates like these, we aim to spark new conversations about transparency, accountability and the role of governments and companies in the flow of information online.

Celebrating and empowering women in mobile gaming with CHANGE THE GAME

Together, Android and Google Play bring millions of games to more than one billion people in 190 countries, making games accessible to almost everyone. As we continue to create entertainment experiences that cater to each individual person; and with more people gaming on mobile devices than ever before, there’s an opportunity to be even more inclusive—starting with women.

There’s little existing research about women and mobile gaming—so we partnered with Newzoo to learn more about the experiences and perceptions of female mobile players in the U.S. Our study found that 65% of women play mobile games, making-up half of all mobile gamers. In fact, female mobile gamers play more frequently than men with 43% of of them playing more than five days a week compared to just 38% of men.

Despite the fact that women are playing mobile games like never before, only 24.8% of people in the industry identify as women or transgender. This has an impact on women’s behaviors and perceptions of mobile games—for example, we found that the majority of female gamers think that only 30% of those games are actually made for them. Additionally, we found that women are less likely than men to explore multiple genres, talk with friends about mobile games, or identify as a “gamer.”

To tackle this issue, we’re launching CHANGE THE GAME, a new Google Play initiative promoting diversity in games, celebrating all women who play games, and empowering the next generation of game-makers through ongoing research, development programs, and partnerships. The program includes:

  • An interactive experience shining light on the relationship between women and mobile games in the U.S. 
  • A short film celebrating the diversity of women who play mobile games and inviting all women to be part of the game
  • A collection highlighting games with great female protagonists on Google Play’s Indie corner 

This builds on our work to inspire teen girls with the power of games through Wonder Woman, our support of Girls Make Games and the launch of a mobile game development program for emerging game designers. While moving the needle won’t be easy, we hope our commitments to change the game will influence long-term change for women as both players and creators.