Google Blog

Your Google Assistant can help you follow all of the ups and downs of college hoops, from South Carolina’s surprise win to Villanova’s bracket-busting loss to this weekend’s nail-biting matchups.

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Here are some questions to ask your Assistant:

  • Tell me the latest sports news
  • How do you make queso dip?
  • What time’s the Wisconsin game tonight?
  • And when you’re with your friends, try: “Tell me a sports joke.”

Whether you’re cheering along with friends or already looking ahead to when you’ll definitely win the pool next year... the Google Assistant is on your team.

Posted: March 24, 2017, 11:00 pm

This week, we saw lots of high fives on the basketball court and among Power Rangers fans … but not on a particular episode of “Wheel of Fortune.” Here are a few of the top five trending Google searches from the week of March 20.

Tragedy in London

People turned to Google find out more information about the tragic attack in front of the U.K. Parliament in London, and developments in the days that followed. Many questions centered on the identity of the attacker, who killed four people in the deadliest terror attack in the U.K. in over a decade.

It’s searchin’ time

Children of the ‘90s, rejoice—and go, go to the movies. The Power Rangers are back, with a reboot hitting theaters today. Some people are nostalgic and searching about past Power Rangers, while others want to know who’s who in the new movie. One thing’s for sure, the graphics and costumes have improved over the last couple of decades.

Bracket racket

The NCAA Basketball Tournament is in full swing (oops, wrong sport). In addition to bracket updates and scores, people wanted to know: “What are the conference records for the NCAA tournament?” And “Gonzaga Men’s Basketball” is a trending search now that they’re one win away from their first-ever Final Four.

The other type of Court

Searches about Neil Gorsuch continued to rise this week, as the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearing took place in Washington. So far, searchers seem to be in the “small talk at a dinner party” phase—they’re curious about his age, where he lives and his marital status.

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Not so fortunate

This week on “Wheel of Fortune,” Tennessee Williams fans groaned. And so did the contestant whose performance left something to be desired. With $600 on the line, Kevin was one letter away from solving a puzzle that read, “A Streetcar N-A-blank-E-D Desire.” He went with K (the correct letter was M). STELLLLAAAAAAA!!!!

Posted: March 24, 2017, 6:30 pm

In our first G Suite Hacks article, we shared tips from the Transformation Gallery to help employees automate everyday workflows and save time. Today, we’re focusing on corporate training tips that will help your employees stay engaged so they can do their best work.

According to last year's Global Human Capital Trends report by Deloitte, employees at all levels expect their employers to provide consistent opportunities to learn and develop new skills, and 30% of executives see learning as a primary driver of employee development. But training employees has its own set of challenges, like scaling programs and trainers, ensuring easy access to training materials, accommodating learning styles and tracking progress.

Here are a few ways you can improve your corporate training with G Suite:

1. Scale your training program with an online hub

Create one place where employees can access training material any time. Start by uploading or creating your training files in Team Drives, a central place within Drive for teams to house files. Organize these files into shared folders by topic or course level. Next, set up a Site to display all of the content from Drive and add relevant pages, like training videos, slides, guidelines or handbooks. Share your new hub with employees so that they can easily access training materials, even on mobile. And anytime you need to update training materials, just go into Drive and update the files there. Sites will automatically reflect changes.

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2. Provide live training options, too

It’s also important to provide face-to-face training for your employees. You can create a live training option with Hangouts Meet so that employees can join training sessions from a conference room, their favorite coffee shop, or another remote location. Simply set up Calendar invites for training events and send them to your employees (It’s a good idea to post these events to your new training Site so that anyone who missed the invite can join.). Then, track employee attendance with Forms.

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3. Quiz employees on their knowledge

Once your employees have completed their training course, you’ll want to track their learning progress. You can do this easily by setting up quizzes in Forms and assigning point values for each question. Let your employees see which questions they missed and explain why so that they can continue to master concepts. And to improve your training course, ask for real-time feedback within the Form. Quiz data is tracked in Sheets so you can keep a pulse on who’s completed training courses and who might need some additional help.

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With these quick tips, you can help your employees to do their best work. Check out this G Suite Show episode to learn more, and let the training begin!

Posted: March 23, 2017, 5:00 pm

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.

In this installment of the She Word, we talked to Kawana T. King, a lawyer in our New York office. In addition to JD, she’s earned the title of “hostess with the mostess”—just ask anyone who’s attended her annual Christmas party.

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

I usually don't ... I like leaving work at work. But if I need to explain, I say that I provide legal counsel for our advertising products.

Why are you proud to be a woman at Google?

In Google’s legal department, we have four female vice presidents. There’s a lot of talk in tech about needing more women in leadership positions, but I get to witness that everyday. It’s really inspiring.

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Why did you decide to pursue law, and why practice it at Google?

Growing up I was always told that I argued too much, so becoming a lawyer seemed to be a “natural fit.” Throughout my career, I’ve practiced law across various industries, like entertainment and financial services. Working at Google, I get to bring legal expertise to the development of groundbreaking products and services. And one of the best parts about Google is that I’m not just here to be a lawyer—there are opportunities to pursue personal interests, like our diversity efforts, as well.

If you could ask one woman from history a question … who would it be and what would you ask?

I would ask Harriet Tubman what gave her the strength to face her fears and take action. We are all faced with obstacles that we must overcome, but it’s hard to get past the intimidation. All tips help!

What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?

Know your worth, display confidence and don't be afraid to ask for what you want. If you doubt yourself, you invite others to do the same.

What do you hope to accomplish on behalf of women everywhere?

Quite simply ... I’ll pay it forward. I’ve been lucky to have powerful and positive female influences in my life (hi Mom!). By exhibiting character, confidence, and a strong work ethic, I hope to be a force for good in another young girl’s life.

How do you spend most of your time outside of work?

I love traveling—Paris and Thailand are my all-time favorite spots. I’ve also gotten hooked on traveling for Carnival, which is an annual festival that occurs in various countries. So far, I’ve celebrated Carnival in  Trinidad, Barbados and Miami. My next trip is to Italy—I’m taking my mom for her 65th birthday!

Posted: March 23, 2017, 5:00 pm

Editor’s note: Google for Education Premier Partners are working with schools to host the ExploreEDU event series, where schools can share their first-hand experiences with other educators. Today’s guest author is Kyle Black, a high school English teacher from First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School, which hosted an ExploreEDU event on March 21-22 with Promevo. To see if there’s an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site.

In a world dominated by technology, a good education depends on digital know-how—in addition to problem solving, clear communication and organizational skills. Students need both digital and soft skills to guide them through college, into the workplace and beyond.

In my five years on the job, here’s what I’ve learned about teaching a generation of students to use technology in responsible and impactful ways:

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A student uses Google Classroom to turn in an assignment.

1. Empower students to take control of their learning

High school students are learning how to work independently and use technology to explore new concepts. When AP English students come across a word they don’t know in Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” for example, they can look it up on their Chromebooks rather than ask me for the definition. Students love proving me wrong about facts related to classic literature like “The Crucible” by researching on their Chromebooks—and their eyes light up when their point of view is validated. With classroom technology, we’re teaching students to take charge of their own learning and engage in healthy debate.

2. Quiz students often to assess understanding

Every day my students take mini-quizzes via Google Forms so I can gauge whether they understand the topic I just covered or if I need to modify my instruction. When teaching semicolons, for instance, my students take a four-question quiz using their Chromebooks to identify sentences that use semicolons correctly. If 75 percent of the class gets a question wrong, I know to back up and explain the concept in a different way or provide more examples. This not only improves their academic performance, but it also it teaches them the importance of clear communication and continuous feedback.
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A student works on a Google Doc where feedback was provided via comments.

3. Turn feedback into a critical thinking exercise

It’s common for students to accept a teacher’s revisions to their work without considering why specific changes are made. By making the feedback process interactive, students are encouraged to think critically before accepting edits at face value. For example, when I’m reviewing essays or creative writing, I often suggest incorrect or ridiculous changes using comments and suggested edits in Google Docs—and my students know this type of feedback is coming. Typically, half of my edits will require students to think deeply before hitting the “accept” button. It forces them to play a more active role in their learning, and to constantly challenge ideas.

I believe that teaching students digital and critical thinking skills matters more than teaching them how to ace a test. To prepare students for lifelong success, we must encourage them to brainstorm new ideas and embrace the new tools at their fingertips.

Posted: March 23, 2017, 4:00 pm

When I joined Google a decade ago, there was hardly any discussion of diversity in tech. This was long before we published our diversity numbers or understood how important it was for our workforce to reflect the diversity of our users. This was also long before we started formally recruiting from Howard University, a historically Black institution.

Howard happens to be my alma mater, so I am especially proud to share that our formal recruiting from the university has evolved into a residency for Black CS majors right here at the Googleplex. “Howard West” is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more Black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)—and to make them feel right at home here in Mountain View.

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from acclaimed management consultant Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” This is exactly the thinking behind Howard West, as the program is a way to create a future that reflects the values of diversity and inclusion Google has held since day one. With a physical space on campus where Howard students and Googlers can grow together, I can only imagine what innovation and creativity will come to light.

Rising juniors and seniors in Howard’s computer science (CS) program can attend Howard West, for three months at a time. Senior Google engineers and Howard faculty will serve as instructors. The program kicks off this summer and we plan to scale it to accommodate students from other HBCUs in the near future.

HBCUs are a pillar in the CS education community, producing more than a third of all Black CS graduates in the U.S. Google already has a strong partnership with Howard through Google in Residence (GIR), a program that embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other HBCUs.  

Through GIR we’ve learned a lot about the hurdles Black students face in acquiring full-time work in the tech industry. The lack of exposure, access to mentors and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve. We’ve also heard that many CS students struggle to find the time to practice coding while juggling a full course load and part-time jobs. Left unchecked, systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between Silicon Valley, HBCUs and the larger African American Community.

We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind—to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise.

“Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us. We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind—to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve,” says Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University.

During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google. Howard West will continue Howard’s tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Posted: March 23, 2017, 12:00 pm

Today, we’re sharing the third annual Android Security Year In Review, a comprehensive look at our work to protect more than 1.4 billion Android users and their data.

Our goal is simple: keep our users safe. In 2016, we improved our abilities to stop dangerous apps, built new security features into Android 7.0 Nougat, and collaborated with device manufacturers, researchers, and other members of the Android ecosystem. For more details, you can read the full Year in Review report or watch our webinar.

Android Security: 2016 Year in Review

Protecting you from PHAs

It’s critical to keep people safe from Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) that may put their data or devices at risk. Our ongoing work in this area requires us to find ways to track and stop existing PHAs, and anticipate new ones that haven’t even emerged yet.

PHA protections Android 2016

Over the years, we’ve built a variety of systems to address these threats, such as application analyzers that constantly review apps for unsafe behavior, and Verify Apps which regularly checks users’ devices for PHAs. When these systems detect PHAs, we warn users, suggest they think twice about downloading a particular app, or even remove the app from their devices entirely.

We constantly monitor threats and improve our systems over time. Last year’s data reflected those improvements: Verify Apps conducted 750 million daily checks in 2016, up from 450 million the previous year, enabling us to reduce the PHA installation rate in the top 50 countries for Android usage.

Google Play continues to be the safest place for Android users to download their apps. Installs of PHAs from Google Play decreased in nearly every category:

  • Now 0.016 percent of installs, trojans dropped by 51.5 percent compared to 2015
  • Now 0.003 percent of installs, hostile downloaders dropped by 54.6 percent compared to 2015
  • Now 0.003 percent of installs, backdoors dropped by 30.5 percent compared to 2015
  • Now 0.0018 percent of installs, phishing apps dropped by 73.4 percent compared to 2015

By the end of 2016, only 0.05 percent of devices that downloaded apps exclusively from Play contained a PHA; down from 0.15 percent in 2015.

Still, there’s more work to do for devices overall, especially those that install apps from multiple sources. While only 0.71 percent of all Android devices had PHAs installed at the end of 2016, that was a slight increase from about 0.5 percent in the beginning of 2015. Using improved tools and the knowledge we gained in 2016, we think we can reduce the number of devices affected by PHAs in 2017, no matter where people get their apps.

Working together to secure the Android ecosystem

Android security updates in 2016

Sharing information about security threats between Google, device manufacturers, the research community, and others helps keep all Android users safer. In 2016, our biggest collaborations were via our monthly security updates program and ongoing partnership with the security research community.

Security updates are regularly highlighted as a pillar of mobile security—and rightly so. We launched our monthly security updates program in 2015, following the public disclosure of a bug in Stagefright, to help accelerate patching security vulnerabilities across devices from many different device makers. This program expanded significantly in 2016:

  • More than 735 million devices from 200+ manufacturers received a platform security update in 2016.
  • We released monthly Android security updates throughout the year for devices running Android 4.4.4 and up—that accounts for 86.3 percent of all active Android devices worldwide.
  • Our carrier and hardware partners helped expand deployment of these updates, releasing updates for over half of the top 50 devices worldwide in the last quarter of 2016.

We provided monthly security updates for all supported Pixel and Nexus devices throughout 2016, and we’re thrilled to see our partners invest significantly in regular updates as well. There’s still a lot of room for improvement however. About half of devices in use at the end of 2016 had not received a platform security update in the previous year. We’re working to increase device security updates by streamlining our security update program to make it easier for manufacturers to deploy security patches and releasing A/B updates to make it easier for users to apply those patches.

On the research side, our Android Security Rewards program grew rapidly: we paid researchers nearly $1 million dollars for their reports in 2016. In parallel, we worked closely with various security firms to identify and quickly fix issues that may have posed risks to our users.

We appreciate all of the hard work by Android partners, external researchers, and teams at Google that led to the progress the ecosystem has made with security in 2016. But it doesn’t stop there. Keeping users safe requires constant vigilance and effort. We’re looking forward to new insights and progress in 2017 and beyond.

Posted: March 22, 2017, 5:00 pm

Security is critical for every single one of our 1.4 billion Android users — from consumers to enterprise users in highly regulated industries. That’s why, in addition to all the work we do to make Android devices secure out of the box, we also provide additional features for enterprises that want to control their own security protocols.

Today, we released the third annual Android Security Year in Review, which details the measures taken to protect Android users and their data over the last year, as well as the results of those efforts.

In 2016, we released many enterprise capabilities to strengthen Android security, such as “always-on” VPN, security policy transparency, process logging, improved WiFi certification handling and client certification improvements. Android’s security and management features are simple to use for businesses of any size, with powerful tools for admins.

Overall, we improved our abilities to stop dangerous apps, built new security features into Android 7.0 Nougat and collaborated with device manufacturers, researchers and other members of the Android ecosystem.

The results have been tangible. We saw dramatic decreases in Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) that may put users’ data or devices at risk, worked with partners to improve security device update rates and grew our Android Security Rewards program.

Whether talking about consumers or enterprises, our goal is simple: keep our users safe. For more details about our findings, read the full Year in Review report or watch our webinar.

Posted: March 22, 2017, 4:00 pm

Google for Brazil: Building a more inclusive internet for everyone, everywhere

Brazilians love the internet. With more than 139 million people online, Brazil ranks among the top five internet populations in the world. Brazilians are also heavy users of Google products, from Search and Android to YouTube and Maps to Photos and Waze. And Brazil is an innovation hub for Google. Our engineering team in Belo Horizonte has made remarkable contributions to our products globally, such as improving health-related searches.

But we know there is still a lot of work to do in Brazil and elsewhere to make technology work better for more people. So today at our Google for Brazil event in São Paulo, we made several announcements about how we're working to make the internet more inclusive and to make our products work better for people in Brazil—and around the world.

Google Duo audio calling

Last year we created Google Duo to bring simple, high-quality video calling to users on Android and iOS. Now we’re adding audio-only calling in Duo. So in those moments when video calling isn't an option—like when you’re about to hop on a crowded bus or have a poor network connection—you can stay connected with family and friends through audio calling. Duo audio calls work well on all connection speeds and won't eat up your data. This feature will be available starting today first in Brazil, and we'll be rolling it out to users around the world in the coming days.

Google Allo file sharing and Smart Smiley in Brazilian Portuguese

Since launching Google Allo last September, users in countries like Brazil have requested the ability to share documents in group chats. Starting today, Android users everywhere will be able to share documents and other files (.pdf, .docs, .apk, .zip, and mp3) with friends on Allo. And for users in Brazil, we're also rolling out Smart Smiley in Portuguese, which uses machine learning to help you find the right emoji faster. Tap the Smart Smiley icon on the compose bar, and the app will suggest relevant emojis and stickers to help you finish your thought.

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Google Photos: Faster backup and sharing, no matter the connection

We built Google Photos to help people store, organize and share photos and videos in a hassle-free way. But it can sometimes be difficult to back up and share photos and videos, especially when you're on the go and don't have an internet connection. So today we're rolling out two new features to make backup and sharing easier on low connectivity. Now on Android your photos will back up automatically in a lightweight preview quality if you aren't able to back up in high quality, and still look great on a smartphone. And when a good Wi-Fi connection becomes available, your backed up photos will be replaced with high-quality versions. We’re also making it easier to share many photos at once even on low connectivity. Never mind if you're at the beach or hiking in the mountains, with Google Photos on Android and iOS you can now share pictures quickly even with a spotty connection by sending first in low resolution so friends and family can view them right away. They'll later update in higher resolution when connectivity permits.

It can be hard to find time to organize your pictures, so Google Photos automatically creates animations, movies, collages, and albums. For movies, Google Photos will select the best moments, put them together with professional-style transitions, and set it all to music. With Brazil in mind, we recently rolled out a great example of these kinds of movies—your best photos from Carnival, set to a soundtrack of samba.

Maps location sharing

We're adding a new location sharing feature in Google Maps that lets you tell your friends and family where you are and when you’ll arrive at your destination. You have complete control over whether you share your location, who you share it with, and how long you share it. You can stop sharing at any time. No more "where are you now?" messages back and forth. To manage your location sharing settings across Google products go to the "Your personal info" section of My Account and select Location Sharing.

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Posts on Google

Last year we started experimenting with allowing people and places to post directly on Google Search. We started out with the U.S. election and have completed dozens of other experiments around the world. Starting today, in the U.S. and Brazil, we’re taking it to the next step and opening up the application process so that organizations and people within specific categories can post directly on Google.

Now, when you search for museums, sports teams, sports leagues, movies and, in Brazil for now, musicians, you can find content from that participating organization or person, right on Google. So if you’re searching for the Henry Ford Museum in the U.S. or for Vanessa da Mata in Brazil, you'll see updates directly from the source with relevant information, like new exhibits, timely updates and interesting facts. Beyond these categories in the U.S. and Brazil, we’ll continue to experiment globally and look forward to making Search even more useful and timely.

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We made some Brazil-specific announcements at our event in São Paulo today as well, including plans to roll out the Google Assistant in Brazilian Portuguese on Android phones running Marshmallow or Nougat. We also extended a $5 million Google.org grant to the Lemann Foundation for an exciting tech-based education project in Brazil, launched the iconic São Paulo Museum of Art on Google Arts & Culture, and announced plans to roll out Waze Carpool in Brazil later this year.

All of today's announcements were inspired by your feedback. We do extensive research in places like Brazil, and we use those insights to make new product features tailored to people's needs in mobile-first countries. The great thing about building products for the most difficult, limited internet conditions is that you end up creating great products for everyone, everywhere.

Posted: March 22, 2017, 3:00 pm

“Where are you now?” and “What's your ETA?” Whether you’re heading to a party or meeting up for dinner, you probably hear questions like this pretty often from family and friends. Soon Google Maps users worldwide will be able to answer those questions in just a few taps, without ever leaving the app. On both Android and iOS, you’ll be able to share your real-time location with anyone. And the people you share with will be able to see your location on Android, iPhone, mobile web, and even desktop. Here’s how it works in a real-world scenario:

Location Sharing in Google Maps

Whenever you want to let someone know where you are, just open the side menu or tap the blue dot that represents where you are. Tap “Share location” and then select who to share with and how long to share—and you're done! You can share your real-time location with your Google contacts, or even share with friends and family by sending a link on your favorite messenger apps. When you’re sharing your location, the people you’ve chosen to share with will see you on their map. And you’ll see an icon above the compass on your own map reminding you that you’re actively sharing your location. You can change your mind and stop sharing at any time—it’s entirely up to you.

Sharing Your Location

Next time you’re on your way or running late, you can share your real-time location and trip progress from navigation as well. During your next trip, tap the “More” button on the bottom on the navigation screen, and then tap “Share trip.” When you share your trip with people, they’ll see your expected arrival time and can follow your journey as you head toward your destination. Sharing automatically ends when you arrive.

Sharing a Trip

Location sharing on Google Maps is rolling out soon worldwide, and you’ll be able to quickly let your friends and family know where you are and when you’ll get where you’re going. The answer to “where are you?” is only a tap away.

Posted: March 22, 2017, 2:00 pm

As a part of our effort to inspire entrepreneurs to take their businesses online, we invited members of our global Google Business Group (GBG) to participate in a competition and share how the internet and technology empower them to do extraordinary things. We received 469 submissions from GBG members and independent entrepreneurs in 26 countries. These entries presented the big ideas of intrepid entrepreneurs from all around the world, including Brazil, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and Uganda.

Google selected nine global finalists, including an app working to ease the supply shortage in Indonesia’s blood banks, an online pet food social enterprise, and a digital platform matching qualified entry-level job seekers with employers in India. These enterprises demonstrate how bringing businesses online can increase a business’s positive social contributions–locally, nationally, and even globally.

Now it’s your turn to get involved. Tell us which story inspires you most by casting a vote by next Tuesday, March 28th by 11:59 pm PST. The top winners will get an all-expenses paid trip to Mountain View, California and a much-coveted access pass to the annual Google I/O conference in April 2017. While there, the winners will have the opportunity to meet with other tech thinkers, innovators, and business leaders.

We hope you’ll feel as inspired as we are after seeing these stories. On March 30th, we’ll update this post with the winners!

Posted: March 22, 2017, 1:00 am

The world of news is broad, deep and ever-changing. The News & Weather app shows the top three stories from various sections on its Home page, but beneath this surface lie many more informative and engaging stories. In fact, we find that many people regularly hit the bottom of our Home page looking for more to read. To offer you further opportunities to discover great content, we’ve added over 200 news stories to the Home screen in a browsable stream called More Headlines

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Get a deeper view into the latest from Business, Tech, Entertainment, Sports and various other sections, ranked and classified for easy reading. The More Headlines section loads stories on demand as you keep scrolling, quenching your thirst for news.

You’ll also enjoy fast-loading AMP articles, as an increasing number of publishers adopt the AMP format. As usual, each story retains the goodness of a comprehensive perspective—expand a card to gain insight from different articles such as Highly Cited, Local Source and Fact Check. Everything stays algorithmic—from clustering articles to classifying stories to ranking the stream.

More Headlines will be rolled out over the coming days to News & Weather users on iOS and Android. To see it in action, read through the Home sections and simply keep going.

Posted: March 21, 2017, 6:00 pm

Even after four years of primary education, 130 million students around the world haven’t mastered basic subjects like reading and math. Limited access to quality materials, under-resourced teachers, and barriers to learning outside the classroom present challenges for many children.

Through Google.org, we’ve given more than $110 million over the past five years to help close gaps in education—whether globally through early and ongoing support for innovators like Khan Academy or focused specifically on how we can support future technologists through our support for CS education organizations. Today, we’re expanding on those commitments with our largest dedicated portfolio of $50 million over the next two years to support nonprofits who are building tech-based learning solutions that tackle these challenges. To start, we’re funding nine organizations around the world that we will also support with Googler volunteers in areas like user experience design, translation, offline functionality and data analytics. By the end of 2017, our goal is to give grants to education nonprofits in 20 countries. And later this year, we’ll be looking for the next round of innovators to join them.

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Our education grants will focus on three areas where technology can help: giving more students access to quality learning materials, supporting teacher development, and reaching students in conflict zones. Get to know some of our grantees below, and learn about the ways they’re using technology to help close the education gap.

Giving kids the right materials

Around the world, students in low-income communities have to learn with fewer books, out-of-date texts, and materials that are culturally irrelevant or even in the wrong language. Technology can bypass the geographic and financial boundaries that block educational resources from reaching students, while also making those resources more engaging, interactive and effective.

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One of our first grantees in this area is the Foundation for Learning Equality, which builds free open-source software to bring online materials—including books, video tutorials and quizzes—to the 4.3 billion people who lack consistent access to the internet. Their new platform, Kolibri, runs on numerous devices and helps educators access, organize and customize digital content, even in the most remote locations. So far they’ve brought 7,000 videos and 26,000 interactive exercises offline for students in about 160 countries.

Our funding, along with Google volunteers providing technical support, will help Learning Equality build a bigger content library and scale their reach to hundreds of thousands of new students. This summer, Google engineers and product experts are volunteering to spend four weeks working side-by-side with Learning Equality’s product team in areas such as UX/UI, content integration, and video compression technology.

Keeping teachers trained and engaged

Having a great teacher is one of the best predictors of a student’s academic success, but in many countries there simply aren’t enough of them. By 2030, India alone will need 3 million new primary school teachers just to keep up with its growing population of students.

Google.org is helping local leaders invest in digital tools that offer teachers quality training and confidence-building tools that encourage creativity in the classroom. The first of these grants goes to Million Sparks Foundation's ChalkLit, an app-based platform that combines bite-sized, curriculum-aligned content with an online community to support first-rate teaching. Google engineers volunteering their time and skills will advise the Million Sparks team on how to optimize the ChalkLit app for teachers in low-bandwidth and offline environments.

Helping students learn in crisis

Thirty-two million primary school-aged students can’t reach traditional classrooms because of violent conflict and displacement. Quality primary education is especially important to kids who, living in camps or other hard-to-reach settings, are highly vulnerable to poverty and exploitative labor.

One interesting approach to this problem comes from Google.org grantee War Child Holland, whose game-based method, Can’t Wait To Learn, children affected by conflict from falling behind by providing a year of lessons and exercises that align with a host country’s curriculum.

Data collected from Can’t Wait To Learn’s first deployments in Sudan showed that students learned significantly from the approach, with boys and girls progressing at equal rates. Supported by Google product experts who are volunteering to help build their product road map and expand their tech team, War Child Holland aims to reach significant numbers of children in the Middle East and Africa the next five years.

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Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Education lead Google.org in SF office
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We’re continuing to work with these grantees, and are aiming to expand our efforts throughout the next year. If you’d like updates on our program, please let us know. We look forward to continuing this work to make education more equitable for children around the world.

Posted: March 21, 2017, 1:30 pm

These days, you expect information at your fingertips. Starting today, we’re making it easier than ever to stay in the know and get the information you need quickly and easily. Starting today in the U.S., we’re introducing tappable shortcuts on the Google app for Android and iOS and Google.com on the mobile web that give you easy access to great tools and the ability to explore deeper within topics you care about.

Shortcuts for quick access to answers you need

Getting up-to-the-minute info is as easy as a single tap. With shortcuts right on the home screen, you now have access to in-depth experiences across sports, eat & drink, entertainment and weather. Need to know whether to bring a raincoat tomorrow? Want the score to last night’s basketball game? Looking for what’s on TV tonight or who’s nominated for best supporting actress? Shortcuts on Google will get you there.

Android users will find dozens of other useful shortcuts too—translate, nearby attractions, flights, hotels, internet speed test, currency converter, and more. Plus, if you’re looking for fun, there are shortcuts like tic-tac-toe, roll a die, animal sounds, solitaire, and always a Google favorite: I'm feeling curious.

Shortcuts in Google Search

Shortcuts to explore and keep up with your areas of interest

The Google search box is great when you’re looking for a specific answer, but there are also moments when you just want to catch up on the latest for topics of interest.

Now with a tap on the entertainment shortcut, you can see what’s playing this weekend at your local theater or what to watch on TV. You can also get the latest news from both the small and silver screens. You can tap into news, trailers and reviews that are relevant for you or swipe through listings to catch up on your favorite show.

When you’re curious about nearby lunch options or outdoor dining for your weekend getaway, the eat & drink shortcut is your local scout. Access nearby dining options, explore recommendations and stay updated on the dining scene in your neighborhood. It’s the easiest way to uncover nearby must-try spots while you’re out and about.

Similarly on sports, whether you love basketball, hockey or football, now you don’t need to type anything when you want the latest scores. Just tap into game times, scores and team news, so you never miss a play. You can customize your experience for the teams you cheer for—or against—whether it’s the playoffs or a regular season game.

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Don’t let bad weather rain on your parade. Tap the weather shortcut and be ready for the day before you walk out the door. You’ll have access to updated information every time you tap—from hourly sky conditions and chance of rain, severe weather alerts, a detailed 10-day forecast, and more.

To find the most timely and recently used shortcuts, make sure your Google app is updated to the latest version and then look for your shortcuts right underneath the search box. You’ll see new shortcuts appear for big moments and events moving forward. Search on!

Posted: March 21, 2017, 1:00 pm

The web has opened a door for new communities and platforms that help people find diverse views and have a voice. Today, anyone with a smartphone can be a content creator, app developer or entrepreneur. And Google has enabled millions of content creators and publishers to be heard, find an audience, earn a living, or even build a business. Much of this is made possible through advertising. Thousands of sites are added every day to our ad network, and more than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. We have a responsibility to protect this vibrant, creative world—from emerging creators to established publishers—even when we don’t always agree with the views being expressed.

But we also have a responsibility to our advertisers who help these publishers and creators thrive. We have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear, and in the vast majority of cases, our policies and tools work as intended. But at times we don’t get it right.

Recently, we had a number of cases where brands’ ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values. For this, we deeply apologize. We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us. That’s why we've been conducting an extensive review of our advertising policies and tools, and why we made a public commitment last week to put in place changes that would give brands more control over where their ads appear.

I wanted to share that we've already begun ramping up changes around three areas: our ad policies, our enforcement of these policies and new controls for advertisers.

Raising the bar for our ad policies

We know advertisers don't want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values. So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. This includes removing ads more effectively from content that is attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories. This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites.

We’ll also tighten safeguards to ensure that ads show up only against legitimate creators in our YouTube Partner Program—as opposed to those who impersonate other channels or violate our community guidelines. Finally, we won’t stop at taking down ads. The YouTube team is taking a hard look at our existing community guidelines to determine what content is allowed on the platform—not just what content can be monetized.

Increased brand safety levels and controls for advertisers

Every company has brand guidelines that inform where and when they want their ads to appear. We already offer some controls for advertisers that respond to these needs. In the coming days and months, we’re introducing new tools for advertisers to more easily and consistently manage where their ads appear across YouTube and the web.  

  • Safer default for brands. We’re changing the default settings for ads so that they show on content that meets a higher level of brand safety and excludes potentially objectionable content that advertisers may prefer not to advertise against. Brands can opt in to advertise on broader types of content if they choose.

  • Simplified management of exclusions. We’ll introduce new account-level controls to make it easier for advertisers to exclude specific sites and channels from all of their AdWords for Video and Google Display Network campaigns, and manage brand safety settings across all their campaigns with a push of a button.

  • More fine-tuned controls. In addition, we’ll introduce new controls to make it easier for brands to exclude higher risk content and fine-tune where they want their ads to appear.

Increasing resources, accelerating reviews and improving transparency

We’ll offer advertisers and agencies more transparency and visibility on where their ads are running, and in the coming months we’ll expand availability of video-level reporting to all advertisers.

We'll be hiring significant numbers of people and developing new tools powered by our latest advancements in AI and machine learning to increase our capacity to review questionable content for advertising. In cases where advertisers find their ads were served where they shouldn’t have been, we plan to offer a new escalation path to make it easier for them to raise issues. In addition, we’ll soon be able to resolve these cases in less than a few hours.

We believe the combination of these new policies and controls will significantly strengthen our ability to help advertisers reach audiences at scale, while respecting their values. We will continue to act swiftly to put these new policies and processes in place across our ad network and YouTube. But we also intend to act carefully, preserving the value we currently provide to advertisers, publishers and creators of all sizes. In the end, there’s nothing more important to Google than the trust we’ve built amongst our users, advertisers, creators and publishers. Brand safety is an ongoing commitment for us, and we’ll continue to listen to your feedback.
Posted: March 21, 2017, 6:00 am

As a business leader, whether you’re keeping books up-to-date, sharing data with investors, or connecting with advisors in real-time, combining cloud-based technologies like G Suite and Xero can help you collaborate quickly and securely to keep company financials on target.

Gimme Vending is a great example of a company that’s taking advantage of real-time collaboration. The company specializes in hardware that retrofits dated vending machines to communicate wirelessly with a mobile app. It partners with Acuity Accounting to drive growth. Together, the two use G Suite and Xero to manage Gimme Vending’s financials in the cloud. 

Xero’s deep integrations with G Suite lets you connect directly to Gmail to manage invoices and quotes. And with Xero’s “Smart Lists,” you can filter contacts based on purchase history and location for targeted emails and sales campaigns, or check in on overdue items. You can also more securely export financial reports straight to Sheets and Docs to collaborate and analyze in real-time.

With these integrations Gimme Vending and Acuity Accounting can:

  • Send messages in Gmail directly from Xero to stay up-to-date on the status of documents
  • Push accounting files out of Xero into Sheets and Docs to generate reports quickly
  • Sign in to G Suite through Xero using single sign-on to speed up productivity
  • Use Hangouts to serve clients nationwide

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Now, Gimme Vending can more securely manage their books and speed up investor reporting. “Thanks to Google Docs, we’ve been able to provide confidential data and financial reports to investors almost immediately, and manage who has access just as quickly,” says Cory Hewett, CEO of Gimme Vending.

To learn more about how your business can use Xero and G Suite to track and improve your bottom line, sign up for this free webinar on March 29, 2017 at 1pm ET / 10am PT.

Posted: March 20, 2017, 5:00 pm

You made it to Friday. Can we get a High Five? In this new series, we’ll show you what’s trending on Google with a look at a few of the top searches from the week of March 13.

cheerios

Cheerios

Where have all the bumble-bees gone? People are buzzing about Cheerios this week, as the brand dropped its bee mascot to raise awareness for the alarming decline of the world’s bee population. They’ve pledged to give away 100 million wildflower seeds to bring back the bees.

Luck of the Irish 

People aren’t just searching for pots of gold, they’re turning to Google for more information about the history of St. Patrick’s Day, the luck of the Irish, and local parades and pubs.

Beware the Ides of March

If you’ve always wondered why we should beware the Ides of March, which occurred this Wednesday, you’re not alone. Many searched about the meaning of Ides of March and who was famously killed on that day.

Did someone say free food?

Searches for American Airlines took off after the airline announced plans to offer free meals to passengers seated in economy on cross-country flights.

This is you searching “This is Us”

Fans of NBC’s hit show “This is Us” had a big week. The season finale aired on Tuesday, and many turned to Google to learn more about the show’s actors and surprising season finale.

Posted: March 17, 2017, 8:20 pm

From our founding days at Google, our mission has always been to make information universally accessible and useful. We believe strongly in the freedom of speech and expression on the web—even when that means we don’t agree with the views expressed.

At the same time, we recognize the need to have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear. The intention of these policies is to prohibit ads from appearing on pages or videos with hate speech, gory or offensive content. In the vast majority of cases, our policies work as intended. We invest millions of dollars every year and employ thousands of people to stop bad advertising practices. Just last year, we removed nearly 2 billion bad ads from our systems, removed over 100,000 publishers from our AdSense program, and prevented ads from serving on over 300 million YouTube videos.

However, with millions of sites in our network and 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, we recognize that we don't always get it right. In a very small percentage of cases, ads appear against content that violates our monetization policies. We promptly remove the ads in those instances, but we know we can and must do more.

We’ve heard from our advertisers and agencies loud and clear that we can provide simpler, more robust ways to stop their ads from showing against controversial content. While we have a wide variety of tools to give advertisers and agencies control over where their ads appear, such as topic exclusions and site category exclusions, we can do a better job of addressing the small number of inappropriately monetized videos and content. We’ve begun a thorough review of our ads policies and brand controls, and we will be making changes in the coming weeks to give brands more control over where their ads appear across YouTube and the Google Display Network.

We are committed to working with publishers, advertisers and agencies to address these issues and earn their trust every day so that they can use our services both successfully and safely.
Posted: March 17, 2017, 9:30 am

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.

In today’s installment of the “She Word” series, we talked to Monique Vaz Vieira, a 10-year Googler and software engineer in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Why are you proud to be a woman at Google?

As a senior female engineer, I'm proud to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. I’m also proud to be the Latin America regional tech lead for Women@Google, an internal community that empowers female Googlers with professional development and networking. I've been a Googler for more than 10 years (55 percent of its existence as a company!), and I’ve felt supported to pursue my professional and personal goals throughout all of those years.
monique
Monique adventuring with her two kids.

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

My team keeps the bad guys away—our mission is to keep users safe and our products free of spam and abuse.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I enjoy all things related to food—I love trying out new recipes (my current favorite is paella) and I grow my own vegetables, herbs and fruit. I've recently rediscovered my passion for off-road adventures after a family trip to Lavras Novas (about 70 miles outside of Belo Horizonte), where we explored waterfalls and dirt trails.


What advice would you give to women starting out in
their careers?

When I started out in my career, I wish someone would have told me, “don’t be afraid to be yourself.” People are different and won’t necessarily take the same path to succeed, so you need to find your own.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut or a ballet dancer, but when I was a bit older, I wanted to be an architect. I crossed astronaut and dancer from my list, but I still consider studying architecture.


What’s your life motto?

I constantly remind myself that life should be enjoyed every single day. It's easy to fall into the trap of making great plans for the weekend or even for when you retire, but you forget to take advantage of all the opportunities you have right now and really enjoy the present.


Posted: March 16, 2017, 9:40 pm

Last week at Google Cloud Next ‘17, we recognized 12 partners for their strong customer success and solution innovation over the past year. These partners—our 2016 Global Partner Award winners—exemplify the dedication, expertise and innovation that our customers count on.

Recognizing solution innovation

Five technology partners were recognized for their technology expertise and commitment to delivering valuable products and solutions for customers. Our 2016 Global Partner Award winners for Solution Innovation are:

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LumApps team celebrating their Solution Innovation Award presented by Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners for Google Cloud

Recognizing customer success

Sales and services partners nurture and support customer transformation and innovation. We recognized four sales and services partners that demonstrate outstanding sales, marketing and technical expertise to help businesses of all sizes transform with Google Cloud. Our 2016 Global Partner Awards winners for Customer Success are:

On the devices side, we recognized SYNNEX Corporation for its built services, technologies and support to augment and enhance the Google device ecosystem.

In addition to our global winners, we also recognized partners by region:

2016 partners of the year

The Global Partner of the Year award recognizes organizations that are deeply committed to delivering value to Google Cloud customers, working with our teams at every level to push the boundaries of what we deliver to our joint customers.

  • Global Technology Partner of the Year: Pivotal
  • Global Sales and Services Partner of the Year: Accenture
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Bertrand Yansouni, VP of Global Partner Sales and Strategic Alliances for Google Cloud presenting Global Sales and Services Partner of the Year Award to Lisa Noon, Global Managing Director at Accenture.

Thank you to the Google Cloud ecosystem

These partners are a representation of the many partners doing incredible work across the Google Cloud ecosystem. Thank you to every partner helping our customers innovate faster, scale smarter and stay secure—and congratulations to the 2016 Google Cloud partner award winners.
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Award recipients received a baseball bat customized with their award designation at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
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Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners for Google Cloud and Andy Horwitz, Senior Director of Business and Corporate Development for Palo Alto Networks


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All twelve partner teams onstage for a group photo
Posted: March 16, 2017, 4:00 pm
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