Blog
Blog Segment

The Biggest UX Design Trends of 2017

Design is one of the key elements that define a product’s success. Design is everything, from the way a product looks to the way it makes people feel when they’re using it. Each year we learn something new about design. Now, with 2017 almost over, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the most influential […]

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Adobe Illustrator CC

#WeekofIcons – Prepare SVG icons for icon fonts

For #WeekofIcons, learn how to prepare SVG icons for icon fonts.

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Azure

Developing for the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge at Microsoft Connect(); 2017

Today we’re kicking off Connect(); 2017, one of my favorite annual Microsoft developer events, where over three days we get to host approximately 150 livestreamed and interactive sessions for developers everywhere — no matter the tools they use or the platforms they prefer. Today at Connect(); 2017 I’m excited to share news that will help…

The post Developing for the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge at Microsoft Connect(); 2017 appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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Education

Quill.org: better writing with machine learning

Editor’s note: TensorFlow, our open source machine learning library, is just that—open to anyone. Companies, nonprofits, researchers and developers have used TensorFlow in some pretty cool ways, and we’re sharing those stories here on Keyword. Here’s one of them.

Quill.org was founded by a group of educators and technologists to help students become better writers and critical thinkers. Before beginning development, they researched hundreds of studies on writing education and found a common theme—students had a hard time grasping the difference between a run-on sentence and a fragment. So the Quill team developed a tool to help students identify the different parts of a sentence, with a focus on real-time feedback.

Using the Quill tool, students complete a variety of exercises, including joining sentences, writing complex sentences, and explaining their use and understanding of grammar. The tool relies on a huge depository of sentence fragments, which Quill finds, recognizes and compiles using TensorFlow, Google’s open source machine learning library. TensorFlow technology is the backbone of the tool and can accurately detect if a student’s answers are correct. After completing the exercises, each student gets a customized explanation of incorrect responses, and the tool learns from each answer to create an individualized testing plan focused on areas of difficulty. Here’s an example of how it works:

More than 200,000 students—62 percent from low-income schools—have used Quill. They’ve collectively answered 20 million exercises, and Quill’s quick, personalized writing instruction has helped them master writing standards across the Common Core curriculum.

Teachers have also benefitted from introducing Quill in their classrooms. Each teacher has access to a customized portal, allowing them to see an individual student’s progress. Plus, by using machine learning, teachers have been spared hundreds of hours of manual grading. Laura, a teacher at Caswell Elementary School in California said, “Quill has been a wonderful tool for my third graders, many of whom are second language learners. We especially love the immediate feedback provided after each practice; it has definitely made us pay closer attention to detail.”

Quill’s most recent update is a “multiplayer” feature, allowing students to interact with each other in the tool. They can see their peers’ responses, which fosters spirited classroom discussions and collaboration, and helps students learn from each other.

While students aren’t using quills (or even pens!) anymore, strong writing skills are as important as ever. And with the help of machine learning, Quill makes it fun and engaging to develop those skills.

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business

The Importance of Design in Business Strategy

Design thinking influences business strategy and outcomes. But it requires making sure your design leaders have a seat at the table.

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Search

New tools to make your job search simpler

To help the millions of people who turn to Google to start their job search, we worked with leaders across the industry to introduce a new experience earlier this year. Since then, we’ve seen 60 percent more employers showing jobs in Search and connected tens of millions of people to new job opportunities.

Now, based on feedback from job seekers, we’re introducing some new features to help make the process more efficient. Directly in Search, you can access salary information for job postings, improved location settings, job application choices, and in a couple of weeks, the ability to save individual jobs.

Salary is an important factor in finding the right job—but by our estimate, this information is missing from over 85 percent of job postings in the U.S. today. So to provide this essential information, we’re showing estimated salary ranges right alongside many jobs, based on the specific job title, location and employer. These are drawn from sources across the web like Glassdoor, PayScale, LinkedIn, Paysa and more. For those jobs that do have a salary listed, we’ll show a comparison to the estimated range for that job, if available.   

salary

Many job seekers tell us they want more control over the geography Google uses to find matching jobs for a search. To help, we’re now adding an easy way for you to tell Google what search area to use when finding jobs that match your query. Just click the “Location” filter, and you’ll see a range of distances, from two miles up to 200 miles or “anywhere” if you’re a bit more flexible. Once you select the distance that works for you, we’ll display postings only from the area you’re interested in—whether that’s walking distance from your home, or across the whole country.

location

Once you find a job you’re interested in, we want to make it easy for you to apply. However, jobs are often posted in multiple places on the web, and most job seekers have a preference for where they apply. If you’ve already put in the time to build out your professional presence or profile online (on Monster or CareerBuilder, for example), you might prefer to apply to future jobs on that same site. Now when we find the same job in multiple places on the web, we’ll give you a choice of which site you’d like to visit to view the job.

apply

Finally, finding the right job for you can take time. That’s why in a couple of weeks, we’re adding the ability to save jobs right inside Google Search. With a bookmark button alongside each posting, saving is as simple as a single tap. Then that job will appear in your “Saved jobs” tabs on Google, which is accessible across any of your devices.  

saves

We all know the job hunt can be stressful, so Google is here to help. We review every piece of feedback we receive (to submit click the “Feedback” button beneath the feature), and we’ll continue to add tools to help make the job search easier for you.  

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Accessibility

[Interview] Accessibility Matters: Relumino and Digital Inclusion with Robin Spinks of RNIB

  After a year of hard work, a project team of C-Lab, Samsung Electronics’ in-house incubator program, has officially launched their visual aid

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Diversity

Strengthening our culture of inclusion

Three years ago, we began a journey to evolve our culture at Microsoft, and in so doing redefine our relationship with employees, customer and partners. This journey started by grounding our aspire-to culture in a growth mindset focused on three attributes: Obsessing over our customers; Operating as a unified company (One Microsoft); and Becoming a…

The post Strengthening our culture of inclusion appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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Journalism & News

Our efforts to help protect journalists online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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HDMI

6 Features to Consider Before Buying Your Next Premium TV

The holiday season is just around the corner, and many shoppers will be placing a premium TV on the top of their wish list. When it comes to buying a new TV,

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Connected Workspaces

Chrome Enterprise now offers native print management

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

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

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

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

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

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Hardware

Seven things you can do with Google Pixel Buds

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chromecast

The Google Home app keeps getting better

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

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

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

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

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

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

home app controller

Update your app today!

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News

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

By Josh Mabry and Rebecca Rosenblat, News Partnerships Advance Local, a media company that owns and operates local digital properties and newspapers across the United States, including NJ.com, AL.com, Syracuse.com, The Plain Dealer, The Oregonian and more, shares best practices…

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Android enterprise

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

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

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

Benefits of tamper-resistant hardware

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

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

SOC resources

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

Security module in Pixel 2

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

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

Security at the core

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

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