Providing support to those affected by Hurricane Maria

Providing support to those affected by Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria recently made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane, killing at least 10 people and leaving much of the island without power or water. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, millions more are looking to rebuild—the storm destroyed the island of Dominica, killing at least 15 people, and devastated the Dominican Republic, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos.

I was born and raised outside of San Juan, in a town called Cupey, and left the island to study in the States. Today, I still have family there, as well as in Barranquitas, towards the center of the island. The roof broke off my grandmother’s terrace, a place filled with many memories of family gatherings growing up. My uncles, who are agricultural entrepreneurs in Barranquitas, were able to visit their land just yesterday and see the damage caused to their crops, completely turning their business upside down. I’m lucky that my family members are all safe, but the damage will still take years to repair.

To help with the relief and recovery in Puerto Rico and beyond, Google.org and Googlers are committing $1 million in donations to organizations that are providing critical resources to the affected regions. To support immediate humanitarian needs, we’re distributing funds to organizations including the Red Cross, World Food Program, and UNICEF. We’re also supporting NetHope, which provides Internet access in the wake of natural disasters around the world, because connectivity can be a critical link in providing basic needs like food, water and medical care. This month has taxed the resources of first responder agencies across the region, and we want to make sure nonprofits like NetHope have the resources they need to respond to Hurricane Maria. We’ve also had a small team of engineers volunteer in the wake of recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, to help restore connectivity by setting up hot-spots and assisting with other technical needs that local nonprofits and shelters may have. We’re working with NetHope to find ways that our technical volunteers can be most helpful in Puerto Rico as well.

Crisis Response and SOS Alerts

In times of crises, having access to timely safety information can be critical. Ahead of the storm, Google’s Crisis Response team launched SOS Alerts for Hurricane Maria. Although few people have connectivity in the storm’s wake, we’ve continued to update the alert with information on power outages, emergency information contacts, the damage to the Guajataca dam, and crisis maps in both English and Spanish. Those outside of the region can also find the latest news and information, as well as an easy way to donate to relief efforts, directly through Search.

As the 2017 hurricane season has pummeled the U.S. and the Caribbean, Google.org, Google employees and the public have collectively donated $7 million for relief efforts in the areas affected by Harvey, Irma and Maria. My thoughts are with everyone in Puerto Rico and other affected areas, and it gives me solace to know that my colleagues and company are doing everything they can to help.

SAP on Google Cloud Platform—new certifications and more

SAP on Google Cloud Platform—new certifications and more

Google Cloud Platform continues to become a better place to run your SAP applications. Last spring, we joined forces with SAP to help you run your applications on a highly secured public cloud flexibly, at scale, and fast. At SAPPHIRENOW ‘17, we accelerated our partnership with SAP, with milestones that spanned certifying SAP HANA and SAP NetWeaver on Google Cloud Platform, to the Data Custodian partnership.

This week at SAP TechEd, we’re sharing details on the progress we’ve made in the following areas:

SAP Cloud Platform on GCP (beta)

SAP Cloud Platform is an open platform-as-a-service providing unique in-memory database and business application services. By running on GCP infrastructure, you get global coverage, the benefits of the GCP network backbone for global availability of applications developed on SAP Cloud Platform, the ability to leverage Google Cloud services like BigQuery adjacent to SAP Cloud Platform, and in the future, enterprise business processes created by SAP and Google.

Larger VMs certified for SAP HANA

You can now run SAP’s real-time ERP (enterprise resource planning) for digital business—SAP S/4 HANA and other SAP applications on Google Compute Engine instances with up to 624GB of memory.

GCP was the first cloud to offer Intel’s next-generation Xeon® scalable processor (codenamed Skylake), enabling our customers to have early access to Intel’s latest technology. These new VMs will allow customers to leverage these processors with the flexibility, pricing and performance of Google Cloud. These VMs will be available externally in the coming weeks.

We’re also working on a range of new, even larger VMs, with up to 4TB of memory. Some of these are available for early customer testing and are being put through the SAP HANA certification paces. Reach out to asksap@google.com for more information.

Larger scale-out SAP HANA configurations

We now offer certified configurations designed for next-generation data warehouse scenarios running SAP BW4/HANA. Customers can run SAP HANA analytical workloads with up to 9.75TB of memory in a scale-out configuration.

In addition, we have certified new VM types for SAP NetWeaver application server stack that provide you additional flexibility and price/performance, and allow you to run your mission-critical SAP environments on GCP with confidence.

Further SAP certifications

The list of SAP applications certified for GCP continues to grow, including:

  • SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE): If you run your SAP or other enterprise applications on the high-performance, cost-effective SAP ASE technology platform, you can now do so with the confidence of SAP support.

  • SAP BusinessObjects BI Suite, including the platform clients, dashboards, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, as well as the SAP Crystal Reports and SAP Lumira family of products.

We’re working hard to make Google Cloud the best place to run SAP applications. If you’re attending SAP TechEd, stop by the Google Cloud booth #610 for additional details about the Google SAP partnership and to see demos in action.

What Makes a Good Font Good? Find out with Monotype at Adobe MAX

What Makes a Good Font Good? Find out with Monotype at Adobe MAX

“I believe good type is what makes or breaks a brand,” says Jamie Neely, Director of Product Design at Monotype. “But designers have so many things to think about these days–print, web, mobile, social, physical, virtual, and so on–so the onus is on us to choose type wisely, and use it with good intent.”

Announcing the Winners from the Indie Games Festival in San Francisco

Announcing the Winners from the Indie Games Festival in San Francisco

Posted by Kacey Fahey, Developer Marketing, Google Play

At the Google Play Indie Games Festival over the weekend, we welcomed hundreds
of attendees to try out and enjoy a diverse range of amazing games from the
indie community. The competition was very tough, and in the end, we recognized
three winners:

We’d also like to congratulate the rest of the Top 10 developers and all of the
finalists who shared their games to make for such a fun and exciting event.
Check out the great collection
of games on Google Play.

Here are the other seven games that rounded out the Top 10:

The day started with time for attendees to play the 20 finalists’ games. They
experienced different genres and styles of gameplay and were encouraged to talk
with the developers about their work and what it’s like to make mobile games for
a living. The event brought together kids, adults, gaming enthusiasts and
non-gamers, and was a great representation of the fun experiences mobile games
create.

In the afternoon, attendees voted for their favorites and the Top 10 moved on to
the presentation round. These developers had three minutes to deliver their best
pitch to the panel of judges. After the judges voted, results were in and the
three winners and seven runners up were named.

If you like indie games and want to keep up with our favorite indie picks, visit
the Indie Corner on Google Play.


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Another ‘ladder to the moon’ is raised from under the sea with Marea unveiling

Another ‘ladder to the moon’ is raised from under the sea with Marea unveiling

It took more than five months to lay Marea, the 4,000-mile-long cable between North America and Spain unveiled Friday, a “daunting feat today, but downright unthinkable 150 years ago,” writes Brad Smith, Microsoft president, and Carol Ann Browne, Microsoft director of executive communications, in a new post in the “Today in Technology” series on LinkedIn….

The post Another ‘ladder to the moon’ is raised from under the sea with Marea unveiling appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Meet the second round of Jump Start creators

Meet the second round of Jump Start creators

Jump is Google’s professional solution for creating seamless, 3D-360º VR video. We kicked off the Jump Start program to give creators access to Jump cameras, and we recently announced the second round of Jump Start participants. They’re working on some amazing stuff—everything from a VR musical to a film about a 9th century Viking raid in Ireland. Let’s take a look.

Andrew Asnes

Location: New York, USA
Andrew’s working on UpStage, a 360º Musical featuring Broadway composers, lyricists and stars that unfolds over five episodes as we follow a different character in each one.

Ben Ross and Brittany Neff

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Ben and Brittany are working on RESISTANCE, an episodic VR documentary about communities affected by and responding to a changing climate and a changing world.

BandBJump
Ben Ross and Brittany Neff

Boris Maganic and Olivier Leroux

Location: Vancouver, Canada

Boris and Oliver take viewers on a picturesque journey exploring the Squamish and Lil’wat indigenous people’s culture, traditions, music and arts.

Carole Chainon

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Carole ​is co-founder of JYC, an LA-based AR and VR video production studio. She’s shooting a documentary about the homeless community of NYC.

Celine Tricart—Lucid Dreams Productions

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Celine’s a VR filmmaker and founder of Lucid Dreams Productions. Her team’s work has been showcased at Sundance and won various awards.

Chris Campkin

Location: London, UK

Chris is a pioneering VR Cinematographer based in London.  Currently assigned in Kenya, he’s documenting the future of the last pristine landscapes of the world.

Declan Dowling

Location: Wicklow, Ireland

Tile Films is producing a VR short that follows the perilous journey of a 9th century Irish child whose village is attacked by Viking raiders. 

Elle Toussi

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Elle and team will be exploring the journey of a paralympic athlete competing in the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018.

ETJump
Elle Toussi

Emily Cooper

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Emily is working on a narrative that explores one young woman’s struggle with depression. In “Move,” we discover the unspoken struggles of mental illness.

Enda Grace

Location: Kildare, Ireland

Enda founded Dundara Television & Media in Ireland. His VR team is working on “Ireland, Stud Farm Capital of The World” alongside other projects. 

Fitz Cahall

Location: Seattle, USA

Fitz is creative director at Duct Tape Then Beer, a production company focused on the outdoors. Skykomish is a visual postcard for his backyard mountain playground. 

FitzC
Fitz Cahall

Han Yan Yuen, Huijun Duan, Sharon Yeung and Szczepan Orlowski

Locations: Shenzhen, China; Hong Kong, China; London, UK

They’re working on “Meet me at the assembly line,” a personalized VR documentary where an everyday shopping trip gets interesting. 

Kayla Briët, Lovely Umayam, and Adriel Luis

Locations: Los Angeles, USA; Washington DC, USA

Kayla (filmmaker/ composer/ VR artist), Adriel (curator/producer), and Lovely (nuclear policy expert/Bombshelltoe founder/chief writer), are exploring nuclear topics through art and storytelling. 

Light Sail VR

Location: Los Angeles, USA

They’re working on an interactive live-action horror experience where, while camping in the forest, you unwittingly open a demon portal to the underworld.

L.Michelle Salvant

Location: Tallahassee, USA

L.Michelle is working on “The Rattler,” an exclusive experience from inside the Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band.

L.Michelle
L.Michelle Salvant

Nate Hamlin

Location: New York, USA

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free.”  Nate’s exploring what these words on the Statue of Liberty mean in America today.

PressureDrop.tv

Location: San Francisco, USA

PressureDrop.tv is creating a travel experience called, “Adventures in RocknRoll: Iceland “that will chronicle Iceland Airwaves 2017 and explore what makes Reykjavik such a magical destination.

Romain Vak

Location: Denver, USA

Romain’s working on “The Other,” which challenges implicit biases that exist deep within by facing those who carry the weight of misperception and oppression of identity.

Sarah Jones

Location: Birmingham, UK

Sarah’s working on “Abandoned;” it’s an artistic VR film that shows a range of urban performances in derelict spaces. 

SJJump
Sarah Jones

Stina Hamlin and Jade Begay

Locations: New York City & Santa Fe, USA

Stina and Jade are working on Blood Memory VR: embark on a journey to recall where you came from and how we’re all connected to the earth. 

Tod Colegrove – DeLaMare Library, University of Nevada, Reno

Location: Reno, USA

They’re working on “Radical Inclusion: Sharing the Burning Man and Northern Nevada Experience” and capturing immersive content and experiences that bridge into the default world. 

Vobling

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Vobling are working on a project about the northern parts of India: join a young girl in her everyday experience of the cotton fields. 

Youngmin Kim

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Youngmin is working on COUNTER, a highly stylized, subjective, and surreal look into the mind of a boxer and the psychology of fear in the ring.

YKJump
Youngmin Kim

Welcome Bitium to Google Cloud

Welcome Bitium to Google Cloud

Today, we’re excited to announce the acquisition of Bitium. Founded in 2012, Bitium provides enterprise customers with identity and access management solutions, including single sign-on and provisioning for cloud applications.

The move from on-premise enterprise applications to the cloud has unlocked new levels of productivity and collaboration for businesses and their partners, employees and customers. With the increase in cloud adoption, there are new considerations about how to manage cloud applications within an organization and to ensure that the right levels of security and user data access policies are in place.

With the acquisition of Bitium, Google Cloud will gain capabilities to help us deliver on our Cloud Identity vision. Our enterprise customers want a comprehensive solution for identity and access management and SSO that works across their modern cloud and mobile environments. Bitium helps us deliver a broad portfolio of app integrations for provisioning and SSO that complements our best in class device management capabilities in the enterprise. As we add Bitium’s capabilities, we’ll continue to work closely with our vibrant ecosystem of identity partners so that customers are able to choose the best solutions to meet their needs.

We’re thrilled to welcome Bitium to the Google Cloud team.

A GIPHY engineering intern goes the GIF-stance with Google Cloud Vision

A GIPHY engineering intern goes the GIF-stance with Google Cloud Vision

Editor’s Note: Today, we’re GIFted with the presence of a guest author. Bethany Davis, current University of Pennsylvania student and former software engineering summer intern at GIPHY, shares the details of her summer project, which was powered by Google Cloud Vision. This is a condensed and modified version of a post published on the GIPHY Engineering blog.

When my friend was starting her first full-time job, I wanted to GIF her a pep talk before her first day. I had the perfect movie reference in mind: Becca from “Bridesmaids” saying, “You are more beautiful than Cinderella! You smell like pine needles and have a face like sunshine!”

I searched GIPHY for “you are more beautiful than Cinderella” to no avail, then searched for “bridesmaids” and scrolled through several dozen results before giving up.

GiphySearch_2.png
Searching for Bridesmaids or the direct quote did not yield any useful results

It was easy to search for GIFs with popular tags, but because no one had tagged this GIF with the full line from the movie, I couldn’t find it. Yet I knew this GIF was out there. I wished there was a way to find the exact GIF that was pulled from the line in a movie, scene from a TV show or lyric from a song. Luckily, I was about to start my internship at GIPHY and I had the opportunity to tackle the problem head on—by using optical character recognition (OCR) and Google Cloud Vision to help you (and me) find the perfect GIF.

GIF me the tools and I’ll finish the job

When I started my internship, GIPHY engineers had already generated metadata about our collection of GIFs using Google Cloud Vision, an image recognition tool that is powered by machine learning. Specifically, Cloud Vision had performed optical character recognition (OCR) on our entire GIF library to detect text or captions within the image. The OCR results we got back from Google Cloud Vision were so good that my team was ready to incorporate the data directly into our search engine. I was tasked with parsing the data and indexing each GIF, then updating our search query to leverage the new, bolstered metadata.

Using Luigi I wrote a batch job that processed the JSON data generated from Google Cloud Vision. Then I used AWS Simple Queue Service to coordinate data transfer from Google Cloud Vision to documents in our search index. GIPHY search is built on top of Elasticsearch, which stores GIF documents; and the search query returns results based on the data in our Elasticsearch index. Bringing all these components together looks something like this:

GiphySearch_Workflow.png

One of the biggest challenges in building this update was ensuring that we could process data for millions of GIFs quickly. I had to learn how to optimize the runtime of the code that prepares GIF updates for Elasticsearch. My first iteration took 80+ hours, but eventually I got it to run in just eight.

Once all the data was indexed, the next step was to incorporate the text/caption metadata into our query. I used what’s called a match phrase query, which looks for words in the caption that appear in the same order as the words in the search input—guaranteeing that a substring of my movie quote is intact in the results. I also had to decide how much to weigh the data from Google Cloud Vision relative to other sources of data we have about a GIF (like its tags or the frequency with which users click on it) to determine the most relevant results.

It was time to see how the change would affect results. Using an internal GIPHY tool called Search UX, I searched for “where are the turtles,” a quote from “The Office.” The difference between the old query and the new one was dramatic:

GiphySearch_3.png

I also used a tool that examines the change on a larger scale by running the old and new queries against a random set of search terms—useful for ensuring that the change won’t disrupt popular searches like “cat” or “happy birthday,” which already deliver high-quality results.

See the GIFference

After our internal tools indicated a positive change, I launched the updated query as an A/B experiment. The results looked promising, with an overall increase in click-through rate of 0.5 percent. But my change affects a very specific type of search, especially longer phrases, and the impact of the change is even more noticeable for queries in this category. For example, click-through rate when searching for the phrase “never give up never surrender” (from “Galaxy Quest”) increased 32 percent, and click-through rate for the phrase “gotta be quicker than that” increased 31 percent. In addition to quotes from movies and TV shows, we saw improvements for general phrases like “everything will be ok” and “there you go.” The final click-through rate for these queries is almost 100 percent!

The ultimate test was my own, though. I revisited my search query from the beginning of the summer:

GiphySearch_4.png

Success! The search results are much improved. Now, the next time you use GIPHY to search for a specific scene or a direct quote, the results will show you exactly what you were looking for.

To learn more about the technical details behind my project, see the GIPHY Engineering blog.

Cloud Job Discovery enters beta

Cloud Job Discovery enters beta

Last November, we announced Cloud Job Discovery (formerly Cloud Jobs API) to help the talent industry connect job seekers and employers through access to Google’s search and machine learning capabilities. Since then, this service has been deployed on more than 3000 job properties, from company career sites to job boards.

This June we announced Google for Jobs, our company-wide initiative to help job seekers and employers. Cloud Job Discovery plays a vital role in the Google for Jobs initiative, powering smarter job searches and recommendations to make the right jobs for the right job seekers easier to discover.

Today, we’re excited to announce that Cloud Job Discovery is entering beta, broadening the service’s reach beyond job boards and career site providers to staffing agencies and applicant tracking systems. In addition, we’re introducing support for job search in more than 100 language varieties, removing another barrier in the job search process by making more jobs discoverable to an even greater number of job seekers.

What customers are saying

Early access customer Jibe, which provides candidate experience and recruiting software, is helping customers like Johnson & Johnson improve their career site experience. As the “front door” for job seekers, Cloud Job Discovery has helped the company increase the number of high-quality applicants for business critical roles by 41 percent, and increase career site clickthroughs by 45 percent.

“Transforming our career site with Jibe and Google Cloud Job Discovery directly impacts our ability to attract high-quality talent and hire those candidates faster. Lots of people are looking for their dream job, and if it’s here at J&J, we want them to find it quickly and easily,” says Sjoerd Gehring, Global VP of Talent Acquisition, Johnson & Johnson. To learn more about how Johnson & Johnson is using Cloud Job Discovery, read their case study.


Hays, a leading global professional recruiting group that placed 70,000 people in permanent jobs and more than 240,000 people in temporary roles this year, was able to create a more positive user experience with Cloud Job Discovery. They’ve seen a strong increase in the application rate for Canada—up 22 percent—as well as an uplift in the quality of applicants.

“We are pleased to be working with Google Cloud on this innovative initiative,” says Steve Weston, Chief Information Officer, Hays. “It is an incredibly exciting development for the industry and we have already seen some positive results in our trials in providing a more positive user experience through improved ratios of viewing jobs to apply and confirmation.” 


And we’re excited to be onboarding a number of new organizations to the beta program, including our first ATS customer, iCIMS, a leading provider of cloud-based talent acquisition solutions that help businesses win the war for top talent.

Says Al Smith, Vice President of Technology, iCIMS: “As the first ATS provider included in this beta program, we believe that Google’s powerful search and machine learning capabilities can be incredibly impactful by weaving them more deeply into the world of recruiting. Candidate experience is so critical to the success of every business, including our own, so we look forward to bringing this advanced functionality to our customers and introducing more powerful, next-generation job-searching tools to benefit both job seekers and employers.”


We look forward to seeing what our new beta customers can achieve using Cloud Job Discovery. To learn more about Cloud Job Discovery, visit cloud.google.com/job-discovery.