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There is no theme for this week’s #teampixel feature, instead, the common thread binding them together is that each photo is unique. We’re continually impressed by our community’s work that transports us to faraway lands and different civilizations, allowing us to see the world through someone else’s eyes. So this week, let’s celebrate their diversity, and how together...we are better.

Show #teampixel some love by visiting the feed and like their photos. Who knows -- you might even make a new connection. 😉

Left: A Pacific Northwest at Crescent Lake by Right: Cathedral Caves in New Zealand by @mathuraaa.
Picturesque Peyto Lake in Canada by @dunaril.
Left: A bee’s eye view by @ferydaboss. Right: An inviting path in the Outwoods by robcheeseman19.
Hawa Mahal palace in Jaipur, India by @ebitie.
Left: We’d sit down for an afternoon snack any time with @theculinarybee. Right: A rainbow colored building in Singapore by @sophiashahaha.

Have a Pixel? Upload them to Instagram with #teampixel and you might be featured next.  

Posted: August 17, 2017, 5:45 pm

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

For Enrique Cordero, a GEG (Google Educator Groups) teacher and IT administrator, the only thing better than teaching students is the opportunity to learn from them. He believes that children are innate inventors; educators should help students preserve their natural propensity to imagine—and create—the world as it isn’t yet.

So he designed a course at the American School of Puebla called “Solving the World’s Problems,” where he asks kids to identify the issues that they see as pressing and challenges them to think up solutions. Field research plays a central role in the course, and during a field trip to a community near the school one day, students heard first-hand accounts about the difficulties that communities face when they lack access to potable water.

These sixth graders built a dispenser to make drinking water accessible.

The field trip inspired Paco and Rodrigo, two of Enrique’s sixth graders, to invent something that could make drinking water accessible to all. They sketched a prototype on their computers and worked with Enrique to bring it to life. Their design has evolved into a water distiller that they aspire to install in under-served neighborhoods around the globe.

Most people ask what world what we’re leaving for our kids. I ask what kids we’re leaving for our world. Enrique

The diverse approaches to inventing and problem-solving that Enrique sees in the classroom have cemented his belief that Paco and Rodrigo are just two of the thousands of students well-positioned to dream up and build a better future. To Enrique, innovation means “planting a grain of sand in your students’ minds, and helping them turn that little grain into something amazing.” Follow the hashtag #innovarparami to see how other people are defining—and cultivating—innovation.

Enrique coaches students through a brainstorm during his Innovation Class.
Posted: August 17, 2017, 2:00 pm

What did one snowman say to the other?

Do you smell carrots?


It’s National Joke Day, and your cheesy, mostly funny Assistant has a few jokes up its sleeve. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • You: “Ok Google, tell me a joke.”
  • Google Assistant: “One joke, coming up! What is a sea monster’s favorite snack? Ships and dip.” 🛳

Not your speed? What about…

  • You: “Ok Google, tell me a joke.”
  • Google Assistant: “This might make you laugh. How do robots eat guacamole? With computer chips.”

So head outside—“Ok Google, comedy shows nearby”—or take a seat—“Ok Google, tell me a joke”—and cue the laugh track.

Posted: August 16, 2017, 7:00 pm

Getting people on the same page for a project can be tough. It requires managing a ton of opinions and suggestions. The last thing you should have to worry about is making sure your team is literally working on the same document. That’s why we built our powerful real-time editing tools to help with this—Google Docs, Sheets and Slides—so that teams can work together at the same time, using the most up-to-date version.

Today, we're introducing new updates to better help with "version control," to customize tools for your workflows, and to help teams locate information when they need it.

Track changes, make progress

It can take dozens of edits to make a document just right—especially a legal agreement, project proposal or research paper. These new updates in Docs let you more easily track your team’s changes. Now, your team can:

  1. Name versions of a Doc, Sheet or Slide. Being able to assign custom names to versions of your document is a great way to keep a historical record of your team's progress. It's also helpful for communicating when a document is actually final. You can organize and track your team’s changes in one place under “Version history” (formerly known as “Revision history”) on the web. Select File > Version history > Name current version. For even quicker recall, there’s an option to select “Only show named versions” in Docs, Sheets or Slides.

  2. Preview “clean versions” of Docs to see what your Doc looks like without comments or suggested edits. Select Tools > Review suggested edits > Preview accept all OR Preview reject all.

  3. Accept or reject all edit suggestions at once in your Doc so your team doesn’t have to review every single punctuation mark or formatting update. Select Tools > Review suggested edits > Accept all OR Reject all.

  4. Suggest changes in a Doc from an Android, iPhone or iPad device. Click the three dots menu in the top right of your Doc screen to suggest edits on-the-go. Turn on the “Suggest changes” toggle and start typing in “suggestion mode.”

  5. Compare documents and review redlines instantly with Litera Change-Pro or Workshare Add-ons in Docs.

Here's a quick way to preview and accept all changes (or reject them) and name versions of your document

Use new templates, add-on time-saving functionality

Teams use templates in Docs and Sheets to save time on formatting. At the same time, developers are building add-ons to customize functionality. We thought, why not bring these two together? That’s why today, we’re introducing new templates with built-in add-ons and the ability to create your own, so your templates not only look good—but they make sure the work gets done.

These templates allow you to customize and deploy tools specific to your organization’s workflows. We’ve launched five examples of this in the general template gallery, like the new Mutual Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) template from LegalZoom and DocuSign. With this template, businesses can quickly create an NDA and collect signatures using the DocuSign Add-on for Docs. Bonus: it also automatically detects the required signature fields on the template, which saves even more time when you request signatures. This is just one of a few new templates—we’ve also worked with Lucidchart, PandaDoc, EasyBib and Supermetrics to help you save time and maximize efficiency throughout your team’s workflows.

In addition, you can also create your very own template with built-in Add-on customized to your company’s workflows. For example, create a Sheets template paired with an add-on to gather internal approvals or an invoice template in Docs (paired with an add-on) that pulls information from your CRM system.

The new mutual NDA template from LegalZoom and DocuSign lets you collect NDA approvals stat.

Find the information you need, when you need it

Sometimes the hardest part of creating a proposal or client presentation is tracking down the information you need to include in it. Starting today for G Suite Business and Enterprise customers, Google Cloud Search will integrate with Docs and Slides via the Explore feature. Using Machine Intelligence, Cloud Search surfaces relevant information to help you work more efficiently throughout your day.

To get started, open the Explore tab in Docs or Slides and type what you’re looking for. Cloud Search will show you important details from your information across your G Suite apps including Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Sites and more, to help you create top-notch Docs and presentations.

Now you can use Google Cloud Search through the explore features in Docs and Slides.

Teams are using Docs to collaborate in creative ways. Check out this post for inspiration, or visit the Docs site to get started.

Posted: August 16, 2017, 6:00 pm

Hi, hello, hey, howdy … no matter how you start a call, your Google Assistant is ready to help!  You can already ask your Assistant on your phone to make a call and soon, you'll be able to do the same on Google Home—hands-free—in the U.S. and Canada. Call anyone (at their home, on their mobile or at their office). It’s easy to use, and it’s free. ☎🎉

Busy in the kitchen and in need of help? Just say “Hey Google, call Dad” to ask about that one ingredient you always seem to forget (salt? baking powder? who knows!). Because the Assistant on Google Home recognizes your voice, you’ll reach your dad instead of just any dad.  

In addition to Dad, you can also make free calls to your own personal contacts, as well as millions of businesses across U.S. and Canada.* Calling the bakery on 24th Street, ordering flowers from the nearest florist, and wishing grandma a happy birthday are now as easy as “Hey Google.” We’re starting to roll out Hands-Free Calling on Google Home today to users in the U.S. and Canada. To get started, say “Hey Google, call...” and calls will be made over your Wi-Fi connection.

The recipient will see “Unknown” or “No Caller ID.” By the end of the year, we'll make it possible for your own mobile number to be displayed. However, if you’re a Google Voice or Project Fi user, you can already choose to have the person on the other end see your phone number by going to your Assistant settings accessible in the Google Home app.

So go call your dad, grandma, the bakery, the local florist…whomever you’d like! It’s easier than ever.

*Google Home by default can call businesses and your Google Contacts. Learn more at our Help Center about how your other contacts stored on your phone can also be used on Google Home. Calls to premium rate numbers as well as international numbers outside of the U.S. and Canada are not supported unless you link your Project Fi or Google Voice account, at which point you’ll be billed at the published respective listed rates. Calls to 911 are not supported.

Posted: August 16, 2017, 5:00 pm

When deciding where to go and what to do, we often ask ourselves lots of questions before making a decision. Soon, you'll be able to ask those questions, get the answers you need, and even answer other people’s questions about places on Google Maps for Android and mobile Search.

To ask or answer a question—or read the existing questions and answers about a place—simply search for the location on Google Maps or Search and open the local business listing. Then scroll down to the “Question & answers” section where you can add a question, answer someone else’s question, or upvote informative ones by tapping the thumbs up icon. Upvoted questions and answers will appear toward the top of the section so that the most helpful content is most accessible.


To make sure “Questions & answers” contains the most accurate and useful local info possible, business owners can add frequently asked questions and answers as well. In addition, when you ask a question about a place, we notify the business owner and other in-the-know users to see if they have knowledgeable answers to contribute. When your question is answered, we notify you too.

No matter where you’re headed or what you’re looking to do, Google Maps and Search highlights the information you need to make quick decisions and discover the world around you.

*This feature is rolling out to Google Maps and mobile Search users worldwide. 

Posted: August 16, 2017, 4:00 pm

When you opened Google Earth for the very first time, where did you go? For most people there's a common destination: Home. The definition of "home" changes by country, culture and climate. So as part of the relaunch of Google Earth back in April, we introduced This is Home, an interactive tour to five traditional homes around the world. You could step inside the colorful home of Kancha Sherpa in Nepal, or head to the desert and learn how an extended drought changed the lives of the Bedouin people.

Since then, we’ve traveled to dozens more homes across six continents and today we’re bringing 22 new homes and cultures to explore in Google Earth.
This is Ngaramat Loongito, Kenya, home to a Maasai community. Photo courtesy of Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust

Start with a Torajan home, built to withstand Indonesia’s wet season. Then head to Fujian Province, China, to peek inside the immense walls the Hakka people built to keep away bandits, beasts and warlords. See the shape-shifting yurt homes Mongolian country-dwellers use to move where their herds roam. Visit a village on Madagascar’s southwest coast where the Vezo people live off the third largest coral reef system in the world. Finally, see how a Paiwan shaman has integrated her spirituality into the walls of her home in Taiwan.


To tell these stories, we worked with partners and communities to digitally preserve homes of different cultures in Street View. Many of these homes belong to indigenous people, such as The Garasia people of India, the Chatino people of Mexico, the Torajan people of Indonesia, and the Māori people of New Zealand. Their homes represent their unique cultural identity and ways of relating to the environment.

This is Emchiin Uveljee, Mongolia. Family member Buyansanaa stands amidst a sea of livestock outside their yurt home, built to fit with their nomadic lifestyle.
This is Sanikiluaq, Canada. Inuit educator, Lisi Kavik, stands outside the community’s learning igloo, where she shares stories and traditions from her ancestors. When built correctly, an igloo can support the weight of a person standing on the roof.
This is Tjuvecekadan, Taiwan: Tjuku, the community’s shaman, stands outside her home made from the local slate stones.
This is Chengqilou, Fujian Province, China: Jiang Youyu is one of a dwindling number of people to live inside the immense, circular walls the Hakka people built to keep bandits, beasts and warlords out of their homes.
This is Igaliku, Greenland, home to Malene Egede and her trusty farm helper, Qooqa.
New Zeland
This is Manutuke, New Zealand. Ngati Maru member Albert Stewart stands outside the marae that represents this Māori subtribe’s communal meeting place. Here, the Ngati Maru can meet, eat & sleep while celebrating Māori culture and ceremonies such as tribal meetings, family reunions and Kapa haka (Māori performing arts).

This is Namche Bazaar, Nepal. Kancha Sherpa and his wife, the late Tashi Tshering Sherpa, sit in their “khangpa ma” or main room where the family eats, entertains and sleeps.

This is Lamboara, Madagascar. Madame Kokoly lives in a Vezo community, where they depend on sea for their survival. Photo courtesy of Blue Ventures.
This is North Toraja Regency, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Marla's family has lived in a traditional tongkonan home known for their soaring rooflines for five generations.

Some of the images and stories provide a snapshot in time of cultures, who face economic, environmental and population pressures. For example, the Inuit people of Sanikiluaq have been building igloos for schoolchildren to learn in for decades, but in recent winters, conditions haven’t been cold enough to create the right type of snow. It’s important to document these lifestyles now, because some may be disappearing.

Thank you to the families who shared their homes, their customs and their culture with the world!

Posted: August 16, 2017, 2:00 pm

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

Twelve-year-old Bryan Gonzalez was traveling through a neighborhood near his school when the unlit windows of several homes caught his attention. When his parents and teachers explained to him that those homes lacked electricity, he started to search for information about access to lighting in communities in Mexico and around the globe. His research led him to discover that nearly 15 percent of the world’s population lives without light.

Believing that every community deserves access to commodities as basic as lighting, Bryan decided to turn his annual school science project into a mission to defeat darkness. With the support of his peers, teachers and parents, Bryan began to brainstorm sustainable, affordable methods to illuminate the world around him.

His solution? Converting water bottles into light bulbs!
This fifth grader uses water bottles to brighten communities. #innovarparami

Bryan recently implemented his prototype in the field for the first time, and we captured the experience as he began to install his homemade light bulbs in the very houses that had initially inspired him to take on his project. In the moments after Bryan installed his lightbulbs, community members began to process the impact of Bryan’s invention. Families reflected on the difficulties inherent in relying on candlelight to assist kids with homework, the daily pressure to finish working by sunset because no work could get done in the dark, and what unlit houses and streets meant for the physical safety of children and parents alike. “Things are going to be different now. This 12-year-old boy has changed this family’s life,” said Doña Sofía, a mother and grandmother, as she embraced him.

This image was captured just moments after Doña Sofía’s house had lighting for the very first time, thanks to Bryan’s efforts.

Seeing his efforts materialize into real-world impact has been extremely gratifying for Bryan, but he knows this is just the beginning. As Bryan sets his eyes on new horizons, he hopes to start inspiring other young people around the world to implement the prototype in homes that lack electricity in their own communities.

Your age doesn’t matter. Your idea does. Bryan

Bryan’s definition of innovation is “finding creative ways to help a community solve their problems.” Follow the hashtag #innovarparami to see how other people are defining—and cultivating—innovation.

Posted: August 16, 2017, 2:00 pm

While most of you out there are enjoying the dog days of summer, some are bracing themselves for the fall allergy season that’s right around the corner. In fact, one in five Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Across the U.S., we see that search interest for allergies spikes each year in April and May and then again in September. To help you get ahead of your seasonal allergies symptoms, now when you search for pollen or allergy information on Google, you’ll see useful at-a-glance details on pollen levels in your area.

To make the most up-to-date and accurate information available, we’ve worked with The Weather Channel to integrate their pollen index and forecast data information directly into Google. To see more pollen and allergy details, you can tap the link within the pollen experience.


In addition, when the pollen count in your area is particularly high, you can receive reminders in the Google app. To opt in to these notifications, just search for pollen levels, pollen forecast or a similar query on Google, then tap “turn on” when prompted.

With this pollen info, you can better understand and prepare your seasonal allergy symptoms. Stop sneezing and go out and enjoy those fall colors!

Posted: August 16, 2017, 10:00 am

For this segment of G4NP Around the Globe, we’re highlighting Girl Scouts of Japan: a nonprofit that supports more than 30,000 young women across the country with its vibrant community and empowering programs. With such a large network of members, the nonprofit needed technology to effectively keep members updated on events, ensure personal information stays secure, and manage their Local Council’s communications. The suite of tools provided by Google for Nonprofits has allowed Girl Scouts of Japan to improve their productivity and increase their member base, giving them more time to focus on supporting young women.  

Operations - G Suite

GSuite has helped Girl Scouts of Japan operate more efficiently and provide a positive experience for their members. More than 7,000 attendees signed up through Google Forms for e-learning programs about safety procedures before they headed off on a scouting adventure. Google Sheets helped the chapter to quickly access and organize this data. And by migrating to Gmail, the nonprofit feels secure with their custom Google privacy settings and the tool’s ability to weed out spam and malware.

Girl Scouts of Japan has also used technology to revolutionize a central component of the global Girl Scout organization: badges. Typically, Girl Scouts can earn woven badges for their vests by completing tasks or trainings. With the help of Google tools, Girl Scouts of Japan has created an interesting twist to this tradition: using Forms to create quizzes on their Google Site and reward women with digital badges.  

Furthermore, the nonprofit creates engaging content with Google Sites and shares their manuals and materials on Google Drive so each Local Council can always access the most updated trainings. With G Suite scaled to the entire organization, the nonprofit seamlessly keeps all communications and information safely stored in one place—allowing them to spend less time handling administrative tasks, and more freedom to plan engaging events.

Girl Scouts Japan - Virtual Tour of WAGGGS World Centers

Girl Scouts Japan - Virtual Tour of WAGGGS World Centers

Visibility - Google AdGrants, YouTube, Google Maps

Girl Scouts of Japan recognized an opportunity to connect with their young target audience by building a strong online presence. Ad Grants helps them reach new members with over 3,000 monthly visitors to their site—a 500% increase in just two months. To further enhance their online engagement, the nonprofit created a YouTube channel to showcase their thriving community and impactful programs with original content. Their videos showcase the strength of their community and the empowering programs they provide. And with Google Maps, members can easily find events happening nearby, resulting in over 18,000 views about event information.

Lastly, to spread awareness and encourage women to get involved, Girl Scouts of Japan uses Google Earth to provide a global view of their expansive network. Using instructions from Earth Outreach tutorials, they created this Virtual Tour to share with members to encourage a global perspective and community of Girl Scouts.

From G Suite to YouTube, Girl Scouts of Japan has successfully harnessed the power of technology to cultivate a strong community of women who support each other and grow together. Read the full story by visiting our Community Stories page on our Google for Nonprofits site.


To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.

Posted: August 15, 2017, 6:00 pm

Even though the calendar says it’s only Tuesday, we say it’s time to kick back and relax. After all, National Relaxation Day comes but once a year! And if you’re like the 44% of Americans who feel more stressed than they did five years ago, you may be in need of a break. To help you unwind, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to calm down, free up your mind, and release the stress.

Starting off in Google Search, we have some go-to guides to help you chill out. First, try typing “breathing exercises” into Google, and you’ll see a nice guided exercise right at the top of search results. Cue exhale...and inhale! For the established (or aspiring) yogis out there, you may also want to check out some of the yoga positions that are just a tap away. And don’t worry, if you’re not up for the Chakrasana, Bālāsana still counts. Namaste.

Relaxation Day.png

More of a video viewer? You’re not alone. Guided meditation videos on YouTube are on the rise, with an 84% increase in views since last year. Some popular picks include Blissful Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys and Guided Meditation for Sleep... Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson. Oooohhhmmmmm.

youtube relax

If you want to pamper yourself on National Relaxation Day, head over to Google Maps. You can now book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. To get started, do a quick look for a nearby salon, barbershop or spa and look for the “book” button on the business listing. You can also visit the Reserve with Google site to browse recommendations or find serene spots you never knew existed.


This is just a sample of the serenity that awaits. And if you’re stuck at  your computer, here’s a pro tip: take a breather with the Mindful Break Chrome extension that gives you tips and guides you through some short breathing exercises. Ready, set, chillax!  

Posted: August 15, 2017, 3:00 pm

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

Miroslava Silva is a teacher, social scientist and activist who has dedicated much of her career to studying the digital literacy gap and its ramifications. Across cultures, women often lack access to technology and digital education—and in Miroslava’s native Mexico, communities of indigenous women are the most affected by the digital literacy gap. Determined to change this, she founded a technology class specifically for Otomí women at the University of Querétaro.

The teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get online #innovarparami

Since the class’s inception two years ago, Miroslava’s students have engaged in activities that range from learning to search for information, to building slide decks and documents, to designing personal websites. Miroslava’s only rule? All content must be relevant and useful in her students’ unique contexts and lives. To this end, she enlists her students to help craft their own curricula, and the class looks different for every student as a result. Some of her students are working on launching sites for their businesses. Others are conducting individual research projects on topics that interest them. And some even co-founded a movement to digitize and preserve the indigenous language Otomí.

Angélica Ruiz, who has taken Miroslava’s digital literacy class for two years, had never used a computer before enrolling. Now, she has launched and manages her own website to promote her handmade doll business, connect other women to education technology resources, and foment interest in the Otomí language. Recently, she built an online campaign to raise awareness about violence against women.
8I4A4059-ok (1).jpg
Miroslava and Angélica
One of the projects Ángelica worked on in Miroslava’s class was to incorporate her handmade doll designs onto Google Cardboard, through which she passes on her own learnings to other women of the Otomí community.
Angélica sets up booths in public spaces where she gives technology workshops to the Otomí community.

Pursuing a digital education has been no small feat for Angélica. A mother of five, she travels two hours from her home to the University of Querétaro each week, but says that the sheer empowerment she feels makes her efforts worth it. Indeed, the ability to design websites and to use the internet for social activism is the tip of the iceberg when Angélica thinks about what she gets out of the class. What she values most is being able to serve as a role model for other women striving to overcome institutional barriers and access education. Dozens of Otomí women have begun to pursue the digital literacy classes, following her lead.

I want every other woman to know that if I can do it, so can you. If somebody’s cut your wings off, put them back on so they can keep growing. Angélica Miroslava’s student

For Miroslava and her student Angélica, innovation means breaking down barriers and forging the path for others to do the same. We’d love to hear what innovation means to you—tell us with the hashtag #innovarparami.

Posted: August 15, 2017, 2:00 pm

The results from this year's Code Jam, Google's largest and toughest programming competition, are in! The contest wrapped up with a two-day World Finals event from August 10-11. After a record-breaking season with more than 60,000 registrants, finalists representing 16 countries traveled to Dublin, Ireland to compete for cash prizes and the title of 2017 World Champion.

The event kicked off with Distributed Code Jam, in which contestants are required to program in a distributed environment (much like the day-to-day of a Google software engineer). While our returning 2015 and 2016 champion, bmerry (Bruce Merry), endeavored to hold onto his spot for another year, the other top 20 Distributed finalists, including Code Jam's reigning three-year champion Gennady.Korotkevich (Gennady Korotkevich), battled for a chance at the $10,000 grand prize. The contest was so tough that no contestant submitted more than six out of the eight possible datasets. In a scintillating finale with numerous close scores, ecnerwala (Andrew He) of the United States swooped in to steal first place, becoming our second-ever Distributed Code Jam Champion.

The action continued the next day with Gennady.Korotkevich and 25 other Code Jammers competing for a $15,000 grand prize and the coveted title of Code Jam Champion. Finalists approached the problem set using techniques such as max flow, dynamic programming, and randomized algorithms; the problems required challenging original insights in addition to algorithmic knowledge, and two of them were so difficult that no contestant solved them completely. After four hours of ferocious coding, during which the leader on the scoreboard changed several times, Gennady.Korotkevich stole the show and took the World Championship for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year in a row! Once the official results were announced, fans of Gennady (or "tourist" as he is known in other programming contests) enthusiastically took to social media to celebrate this record-breaking moment in Code Jam history. You can learn more about this year's problems and analyses, and see other past contests, on our website.

In addition to exclusive competition coverage and features with Code Jam Googlers, the live stream showcased the diversity of teams and people at Google working to make great products across the globe. Whether you've been following since the Qualification Round in April, or are a newcomer to the arena, we hope you'll check out the full recording of the World Finals live stream. We also hope to see you in the 2018 Code Jam and Distributed Code Jam competitions; it's never too early to start practicing for next year!
Posted: August 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Everyone has items of clothing that hold sentimental value. For Kendall Jenner, it could be that pair of boots that Kanye got for her or the matching snuggies that the Jenner/Kardashian clan wore on Christmas morning. Supermodels, they’re just like us! (Minus the boots gifted by Kanye part).

In partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment and Vogue, we created a VR series to give you a peek into the closets of models and hear about the stories (and sentimental value) behind their favorite articles of clothing. “Supermodel Closets” was created to celebrate Vogue’s 125th anniversary and their upcoming September issue. In the first of five episodes, you’ll hear from Kendall Jenner and see the Christmas snuggies for yourself.

This is one of the first productions to use YI HALO cameras, which are the next generation of Jump cameras for high quality, professional VR capture. You can look around (and even up!) thanks to the up camera and immersive 4k stereoscopic capture. Julina Tatlock, executive producer for 30 Ninjas, was able to easily use Jump even in tight spaces in each closet. Combined with unique graphics and post-production elements, this brings you even closer to the clothes.


If you’ve got Cardboard or Daydream View at home, check out the first episode of Supermodel Closet Secrets on Vogue’s YouTube channel, with more episodes available in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more Daydream and Jump productions coming this fall.

Posted: August 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

HAMILTON fans got a treat last Friday when the team behind the broadway hit released … Wait for It … an app! Available on Android and iOS, the app lets you enter the #Ham4Ham lottery more easily and has fun features for the biggest HAMILTON fans out there. It was also one of the first apps to be built with Firebase, Google’s mobile development platform to handle the backend and infrastructure, as well as Flutter, a new UI toolkit to make it easy and fast to build high-performance, modern, beautiful apps for iOS and Android.

To learn more about how the app was built, and why the HAMILTON team chose to use Flutter and Firebase, we sat down fan to fan with Mike Karns, HAMILTON’s director of social media, and David DeRemer from POSSE, who helped build the HAMILTON app.

Seth: What made you decide to build and launch a mobile app?

Mike: We’re always looking for opportunities to create a unique experience for the HAMILTON community, whether or not they’re able to be in the theatre each night. This app expands our presence in digital space and brings fans closer to HAMILTON.

How did you decide which features to include?

Mike: It started as a way for people to enter the HAMILTON lottery, and we brainstormed more ideas from there. Because HAMILTON has broken the confines of normal Broadway scope and audience, we’ve been able to build a really diverse fanbase in terms of age, location, etc. So all of our ideas served the purpose of giving those fans ways to connect with HAMILTON in more real ways.

David: It was all about providing access. HAMILTON is in such high demand, yet so many people love it and it’s so important from a historical and artistic perspective. How do make sure the HAMILTON community doesn’t feel like an exclusive club that requires thousands of dollars to be in? That’s ultimately what the lottery is for, and we’re improving the experience. Before you had to go the website every day and re-enter your info—now you can get a reminder and then enter in one tap.

Then there are the other features like shareable stickers with lyrics and HAMILTON emojis, #HamCams (HAMILTON-themed photo filters), a merch store, and exclusive content from cast members that make it even more fun. We wanted to go beyond the lottery and keep things interesting for someone who might have tickets to see the show a year from now. And we’ve got a lot of ideas for more features to make sure it’s still compelling even in five or seven years.

Hamilton App.png

How did you decide to use Flutter to build and manage your app?

Mike: We knew we’d have to build this app quickly, while also making sure that HAMILTON was accessible to everyone. To democratize the brand, there was never any question that we’d have to build an app that was available on both Android and iOS.

David: That’s why we decided to use Flutter, a new modern, reactive UI toolkit that is portable across iOS and Android. Flutter allows us to have a less complicated codebase, which means we can be more efficient and keep parity between platforms.

Because Flutter is new, this was also a unique opportunity to collaborate with Google to improve the Flutter SDK. We provided a lot of feedback and bug reports throughout the development process! The result is something really unique—I don't think there are many other apps that use this technology yet. And not too many companies would have had the willingness to work with us and take a risk like that. It really ties into the HAMILTON idea of not throwing away your shot! By the way, developers can even find some HAMILTON easter eggs in the Flutter documentation.

And what about Firebase?

David: Firebase was also a critical component building a great app for our fans. With Firebase, we didn’t have to worry about setting up and maintaining servers. Instead, we were able to spend more time designing beautiful UIs and testing new interactions. In addition, a key feature of the app is the ticket lottery, which offers fans a chance to get tickets to the constantly sold-out HAMILTON show. We used Cloud Functions for Firebase to help coordinate the lottery workflow between the mobile app, custom business logic, and partner services.

What does success look like for you?

David: The lottery is the number one feature, so if the lottery works better, that will be a success. Success is also determined by the percentage of people have an issue and how many bugs are there, and if it scales. And I just hope that it helps fans connect to HAMILTON.

Mike: Lin-Manuel Miranda frequently says to his fans, "Here, I made this for you...". We’ll feel that we've accomplished our goal when fans everywhere are using this app to share their passion for the show in a different ways.

Finally, we couldn’t let you go without asking. What is your favorite HAMILTON character, song or quote?

David: One of my favorite characters is the King of England, he he cracks me up. I know it’s a weird choice, but the way they portray him is incredibly clever and funny. His “awesome, wow” line is my favorite.

Mike: Aaron Burr's line "I am inimitable, I am an original," most exemplifies the work my team and I try to do every day with HAMILTON. Our challenge is to create content and products that live up to the level of what Lin has created.

Posted: August 14, 2017, 8:00 pm

On August 21—for the first time in 100 years—a total solar eclipse will cross the the United States.

Last week we shared an interview with Vivian White, who is coordinating a mighty team of volunteers capturing photos of the eclipse. In collaboration with UC Berkeley, the Eclipse Megamovie project will take these photos and algorithmically align and stitch them together to create a continuous view of the eclipse: the Eclipse Megamovie.

Today we’ll hear from a volunteer whose contributions will make Megamovie possible. By day, Steven Madow works as a product analyst for Shop Disney Parks (the app and website that let you buy as much Disney swag as your heart desires), and for the last 12 years, videography and photography have been his passion projects. Now he’s bringing his passion to Megamovie.

Keyword: How did you hear about this project, and how did you get involved?

Steven: I listen to NPR a lot, and they talked about Megamovie on two of my favorite shows—Planetary Radio and Science Friday—which got me interested. According to my fiancée, I’ve been talking about this eclipse since 2015, so I guess I’ve been excited for it for a while!

Steven and his telescope

Where are you going to watch? And what will you do when you get there?

I’m heading to Madras, OR, where there’s the lowest probability of cloud cover on the path of totality. It seemed like a good excuse for a trip! I’m bringing two cameras—a Panasonic and a Nikon—to capture photos for Megamovie, as well as a couple other cameras I'm planning to use just for my own photos. I can connect these cameras to a telescope (which tracks the sun), and it’s all automated. I’ve heard that watching the eclipse is like being in 360 degrees of a sunset, so the automation will allow me to actually watch and enjoy the eclipse.

How long have you been interested in astronomy?

I like outdoorsy things and have always been interested in natural events. I’m from Baltimore but went to college in Florida, and when I first saw a rocket launch from a balcony 60 miles away, I thought, “Wow, that’s so cool. I have to learn more about this.” Since then I’ve seen dozens of rocket launches up close, as well as amazing shots of night launches, which inspired me to make the jump to more serious camera gear. I got into drones before they were called drones—they were called “quadcopters” then—and I started making videos as a side project. People saw my work and started hiring me to make more videos.

What kind of prep work do Megamovie volunteers have to do?

Volunteers attend webinars and need a certain level of photography gear. We’ve been doing practice tests—shooting the moon and sun—and testing out a special uploader that was created for this project. It was created for different camera types and allows for uploading with very low bandwidth, which is key since most of us will be using heavily overloaded cell networks.

Have you been able to connect and create a community with other citizen scientists through this project?

There are volunteer forums where you can ask questions about all aspects of planning—traveling with equipment, traffic predictions, image uploading and everything else imaginable.

Through a forum I met Xavier Jubier, the creator of Solar Eclipse Maestro, an eclipse photography automation program, and worked with him to add support for Panasonic cameras (which I’m using during the eclipse). There were a lot of tests and back-and-forth on email, but now a few of the Panasonic cameras are supported and I’ve been able to teach other volunteers how to use the software.

So people share expertise but they also get to know each other. I started a thread called "Introductions,” asking people to reply with a few simple things about themselves including why they are interested in the project. It has 114 replies (114 new people I’ve gotten to know!), and most of them—like me—are psyched to contribute to a larger scientific cause.

Posted: August 14, 2017, 4:00 pm

Using your voice to dictate a message can be up to three times faster than typing. With this in mind, today we’re bringing voice typing (aka talking to your phone instead of typing) to 30 new languages and locales around the world, covering more than a billion people. With this update, Google’s speech recognition supports 119 language varieties, in Gboard on Android, Voice Search and more. And now in the U.S. in English, you can use use voice dictation to express yourself with emoji.

Bringing voice input to more global users

To honor languages around the world, speech recognition will support ancient languages such as Georgian, which has an alphabet that dates back to the 10th century. We’re also adding Swahili and Amharic, two of Africa's largest languages, as well as many Indian languages on our quest to make the internet more inclusive.

For your reference, here's the full list of newly supported languages and locales:

  • Amharic (Ethiopia)
  • Armenian (Armenia)
  • Azerbaijani (Azerbaijan)
  • Bengali (Bangladesh, India)
  • English (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania)
  • Georgian (Georgia)
  • Gujarati (India)
  • Javanese (Indonesia)
  • Kannada (India)
  • Khmer (Cambodia)
  • Lao (Laos)
  • Latvian (Latvia)
  • Malayalam (India)
  • Marathi (India)
  • Nepali (Nepal)
  • Sinhala (Sri Lanka)
  • Sundanese (Indonesia)
  • Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya)
  • Tamil (India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia)
  • Telugu (India)
  • Urdu (Pakistan, India)

To incorporate 30 new language varieties, we worked with native speakers to collect speech samples, asking them to read common phrases. This process trained our machine learning models to understand the sounds and words of the new languages and to improve their accuracy when exposed to more examples over time.

These new languages are also available starting today in Cloud Speech API and will soon be available across other Google apps and products, including the Translate app. To enable Voice Typing in your keyboard, install Gboard from the Play Store and pick your language (press the G in the suggestion strip and select the Settings wheel). Then just tap the microphone to start speaking. To enable Voice Search, open the Google app and pick your language in the Voice settings menu (tap the top-left menu and go to Settings, then pick Voice and select your language).

Speak your emoji

In addition to drawing or searching for your favorite emoji, in English in the U.S. you can now say something like “winky face emoji” to express yourself  😉. Or even “Colbert emoji” to your friends when the occasion calls. We will be bringing this to more languages soon!
Posted: August 14, 2017, 7:05 am

Looking for a breath of fresh air? You came to the right place. This week #teampixel is becoming one with nature and capturing everything from surreal sunrises to the scenic views outside their tents. Check out another round of stellar contributions, pitch a tent and celebrate the final weeks of summer with us.

Sunrise at the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk by @morningbondi 
Spiraled succulents in Border Ranges, Australia by @drewhopper and a bumblebee buzzing around in Canada by @haylescolin

Mammoth Lakes, California by @jennnnnnnng and Sunset in Jordan by @rebirthdna

Camping in Tunnel Bluffs, Canada by @canoman19
Still life at Badlands National Park by @theallamericanwanderlust
Lakeside in Hearst, Ontario by @bpolnicky 
Posted: August 11, 2017, 4:45 pm

The world is changing rapidly, creating new opportunities and careers we can’t yet predict. But even with a lot of unknowns, skills like collaboration, problem solving and technical know-how can be the tools students need to adapt and thrive, no matter what the future holds.

Today, at the Illinois State Fair, where hundreds of 4-H youth are exhibiting projects, we announced our support of 4-H with a $1.5 million grant to provide students around the country the opportunity to grow future skills through computer science programming like CS First and virtual field trips via Expeditions. 4-H is the United States’ largest youth development organization, with more than 6 million students participating. By supporting this work, we’re excited to see how more kids across the country use technology to achieve their goals and improve their communities.

4-H CEO Jennifer Sirangelo and Illinois state fair goers exploring CS First, our video-based coding activities for 4th-8th graders. 4-H club educators will receive training to help apply these coding skills to everyday problems and challenges.
Illinois 4-Her on a virtual reality Expedition to Minnesota to see how students coded an ear tag for farmers to keep track of their wandering cattle
Illinois Governor at ISF
Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner at the Illinois State Fair

While there are thousands of 4-H’ers at any state fair this summer, you can find hundreds of 4-H alums within Google—and I had the opportunity to chat with one. Julie Eddleman grew up in Indianapolis, spent 10 years in 4-H, and is now a Senior Director at Google working with some of our largest corporate partners. I talked with Julie about her experience in 4-H and how the skills she learned there continue to help her at Google.  

Jacquelline Fuller: How were you personally involved in 4-H and what did that look like?

Julie at the Illinois State Fair Demonstration competition in 1981 showing judges how to build a terrarium

Julie Eddleman: I started going to 4-H meetings as early as two years old, tagging along with my older sisters. Through 10 years of hands-on projects, we learned anything you can imagine, from rocketry to water conservation. I was a very curious child and couldn’t choose just one subject! When I think back to why I stayed in 4-H so long, I think it was because of the variety of the education styles—there was reading, workshops, hands-on projects, team events and, of course, the competitions filled with ribbons and trophies.

JF: Can you tell us what skills you developed during your time in 4-H and how they’re still helping you in this chapter of your life?

JE: Where do I even start? I think I’d have to point to the skills I didn’t even realize I was learning like leadership, public speaking and problem-solving. When I’m talking to students visiting Google’s campus, my team at work, or even just my kids at home, I always talk about about developing these skills, and remember 4-H as being the first place I practiced them. 4-H even taught me how to write a check, pay our 4-H Club’s bills and balance a checkbook at the age of 11!

JF: Let’s talk more about the technical skills you learned; you mentioned rocketry and computer classes. Why do you think these are important skills for students?

JE: Coding and basic technology skills are a must for the next generation. I have five children, ages 11-31, and they all use technology every day—from video games to social media to coding puzzles. The combination of understanding tech, and working with diverse people has helped me find different ways to approach or solve a problem. These skills are critically important in any career, from agriculture to computer programming to fashion design.

Looking ahead

It’s hard to imagine that there are 6 million students around the U.S. with stories similar to Julie. And regardless of where they come from, 97 percent (across urban, suburban, rural, small city communities) think computer science can be used in many kinds of jobs—from agricultural science to fashion to engineers. We’re excited to support 4-H to help make sure that students across the country have more opportunities to build their technical skills, confidence and leadership.

Posted: August 11, 2017, 4:45 pm

“Programming opens new horizons. It gives me full space to [create things] I couldn’t even imagine.” These are the words of Diana Zhanakbayeva, a young woman from Kazakhstan who, along with three classmates, just took home the top prize at an international coding challenge.

Great ideas can come from anywhere and from anyone. That’s what’s behind the 2017 Technovation Challenge,  run by nonprofit Iridescent, announced last fall in partnership with Google’s Made with Code and UN Women to offer young women from around the world the chance to code an app that solves a real-world challenge. More than 11,000 girls from 103 countries formed teams to address issues in those categories: peace, poverty, environment, equality, education, and health. This week, the finalists traveled to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View to pitch their ideas to a panel of tech leaders and other experts. And tonight, in front of 900+ supporters, educators, mentors and past participants, the four girls behind a safety app called QamCare were crowned the winner of the Senior Division.

The 2017 Technovation Challenge Senior Division Finalists

To girls around the world who participated in the Challenge, or who are considering a career in computer science, or any field: we believe you should be encouraged and empowered to become the coders, entrepreneurs and inventors that shape the world around you. We will never stop working to create an industry and environment in which women feel welcome and can thrive.

Meet the girls behind QamCare, and the other finalist teams:

QamCare (Peace)

Aruzhan Koshkarova, Azhar Sultansikh, Dianna Zhanakbayeva, Diyara Beisenbekova

“QamCare” comes from the Kazakh word-Qamqor, which stands for care and support. The team behind this winning app describes it as a “potential life-saving tool,” which can be used in case of emergency to provide your location information to your contacts. With the press of a button, you can alert trusted friends and family via SMS. Azhar Sultansikh says the app is designed to give people “peace of mind.”

Sundar selfie
Google CEO Sundar Pichai takes a selfie with members of the winning team behind QamCare

QamCare’s creators describe a number of other hobbies and interests beyond CS: Diana Zhanakbayeva has dabbled in fashion and creating YouTube videos; Aruzhan Koshkarova says she used the cognitive skills learned from playing chess to work in programming; Azhar’s first loyalty is to art; and Diyara Beisenbekova is interested in medicine and chemistry. But all share a motivation to keep learning—and making a difference. Aruzhan says that the team was inspired to participate in the Challenge to “make change in [her] community” and for “women’s empowerment”—hoping to blaze the trail for more young Kazakh women to participate in science and tech.

One Step Ahead (Education)

Aghavni Hakobyan, Sona Avetisyan, Svetlana Davtyan, Violeta Mkrtchyan, Vardanush Nazaretyan

When a deaf classmate visited their school, this team of five girls from Karbi, Armenia, came up with the idea for an app to help people learn Armenian Sign Language using videos of sign gestures. The One Step Ahead team demonstrates how experiences like Technovation can inspire young people to pursue a wide variety of career paths. While Aghavni Hakobyan, 17, says that the program inspired her to want to become a programmer, her teammate Sona Avetisyan, 16,  wants to become a doctor to “help with hearing loss problems and help people communicate.”

PregCare (Health)

Aamanat Kang, Anoushka Bhalla, Mehak Joshi, Priyaja Bakshi, Vanshika Baijal

The PregCare team, in India, created an app that provides pregnant women, especially those in rural areas, with healthcare information, even offering alerts for appointments; it also connects women with donors and other organizations. Aamanat Kang says of the challenge, “The interesting part of technology is its ability to change and evolve in the blink of an eye. What keeps me hooked on to computers is that we do not know what to expect in the world of technology tomorrow or 10 years from now.“

The Technovation Challenge Awards Ceremony
Google CEO Sundar Pichai talks with some of the Finalists
Winning team from Kazakhstan
The winning team, from Kazakhstan, built a safety app called QamCare
Team Ingenious APSN from India developed app PregCare.jpg
Team Ingenious APSN from India developed the app PregCare
Members of the Restorer team on Google campus.jpg
Members of the Restorer team (iCut) on campus
The team behind One Step Ahead (Armenia) posing.jpg
The Armenian team behind One Step Ahead
The team behind Go WaCo pitches their idea.jpg
The Go WaCo team pitches their app
Winning team from Kazakhstan demoing their safety app, Qamcare
Winning team from Kazakhstan demoing their safety app, QamCare
9 bits built the Wishcraft app to help underprivileged children
9 bits built the Wishcraft app to help underprivileged children

Go WaCo (Environment)

Aida Khamiyeva Ardakkyzy, Arlana Yessenbayeva, Askar Zhibek Askarkyzy, Diana Zhanakbayeva

In Almaty, Kazakhstan, a city of more than 1.5 million people, only 2 percent of waste is recycled, with the remaining 98 percent going to landfills. The four girls behind Go WaCo (short for “Go, Waste Conscious”) wanted to come up with a way to encourage people to recycle, so they created an app that challenges students from different schools to participate in recycling competitions and compete for rewards. Arlana Yessenbayeva, 16, says of the project: “Go WaCo is my first big step in changing this world for the better. In the future I want to connect people, inspire them to invent, share, and solve the world's problems.”

iCut (Equality)

Ivy Akinyi, Macrine Akinyi, Purity Achieng, Stacy Dina Owino, Cynthia Awuor

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been banned in Kenya since 2011, but in many areas of the country it continues to be practiced. The iCut app is designed to provide a platform for people to report cases of FGM, as well as for victims to seek help. Several of the girls behind iCut described how coding helped them discover new kinds of potential: Stacy Dina, 17, says “When my mentor ... introduced programming to us, I was elated. [I] felt empowered.“ Synthia Awuor, 17, adds: “Joining [Technovation] opened my eyes to a whole new world.”  

Wishcraft (Poverty)

Jigisha Kamal, Krithika Sunil, Rida Shafeek

Our second team from India designed an Android app that lets donors fulfill “wishes” for underserved children. Nonprofits or charitable trusts who work on children’s issues can upload three wishes for each child, which donors can select from to provide the amount quoted for each gift. The idea is to “bring a little joy into [children’s] everyday lives through donations in the form of gifts,” as Jigisha Kamal puts it. Rida Shafeek, 17, says of their app, “It was a chance to make a change… to provide opportunities to underprivileged kids to embrace every bit of their childhood and to provide a door to a better future.”

The projects we saw this week demonstrate that code is a potent tool to create change—and show that there is a generation of young people eager to wield it. We’re inspired by the energy and enthusiasm we saw at the Technovation Challenge—and excited to continue to help more future leaders make a difference through technology.

Posted: August 11, 2017, 5:00 am
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