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Experiments and YouTube creators from the International Space Station

27 October[ —]

Last night in Japan, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) live-streamed a program called “KIBO SCIENCE 360 - A SPACE EXPERIMENT with Google” on its YouTube Channel. Astronaut Takuya Onishi broadcasted live  from the Kibo Experimental Module inside the International Space Station (ISS) and talked to popular YouTube creator Hajime Shacho and astronaut Akihiko Hoshide on the ground. He also performed some fun experiments. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like mixing liquids in outer space, check out how Takuya prepares coffee with milk. 

KIBO SCIENCE 360 - A Space Experiment with Google : 大西宇宙飛行士交信特別番組

KIBO SCIENCE 360 - A Space Experiment with Google : 大西宇宙飛行士交信特別番組

If you have a Google Cardboard, you can experience — in virtual reality — what it’s like being in space, and have a go at completing missions in low gravity.  Just download the Kibo Science 360 app, available on Google Play.

Kibo Science 360

To really get into the spirit of things, download the super cool design for your own special Cardboard viewer that you can make yourself (instructions unfortunately only in Japanese.)

Meet the new Google Home app (previously the Google Cast app)

26 October[ —]
new Google Home app logo

If you’ve opened the Google Cast app recently, you might have noticed we’ve been hinting at some exciting changes. With the recent announcement of Google Home, our new voice-activated speaker, we are renaming the Google Cast app to the Google Home app. So you now have a one-stop destination to manage your compatible home devices. On top of the new name, we gave it a new icon, made the app easier to use, and added some useful new features.

Google Home app UI

New design to make it even easier to watch & discover.

Using the Watch tab, you can discover trending and popular video content on your Chromecast-enabled apps like HBO Now, Netfilx, Hulu, YouTube, and Google Play Movies.

The Discover tab lets you explore a library of 1000+ apps that work with Chromecast, as well as the latest offers, features, and tips.

And you can search and browse for content across Chromecast-enabled apps right in the Google Home app anytime -- just look for the magnifying glass icon in the bottom right hand corner.

Control and manage your Chromecast and Google Home devices.

The Google Home app is also your one place to control and manage all your Chromecast and Google Home devices. Tap the Devices icon in the top right of the home screen to easily set up a new device, control playback or adjust Backdrop settings on your TV, and more.

Google Home app Device Management

The Google Home app will be coming this week on Google Play and the App Store, so keep your eyes open on your homescreen or app drawer for the new app icon. And stay tuned for more updates with the app as Google Home becomes available in the US in early November.

Machine learning turns photos into works of art

26 October[ —]

Most of us are familiar with photo filters that give our photos a vintage look or a warm glow. But recently, a whole new kind of “art filters” have emerged that turn photos into works of art that resemble famous paintings — like “Starry Night” by Van Gogh or “The Scream” by Munch. When I first saw my friends posting these photo-painting hybrids, I thought a) they look really cool, and b) how do they actually work???

So Lo and I talked to some research scientists at Google to find out. It turns out these so-called filters aren’t filters at all, but a far more complex and interesting process called style transfer. Style transfer apps use deep neural networks (a technique in machine learning) to look at images, determine what’s content in one and style in another, then synthesize them together into an image that’s a combination of both. And cooler still — a team at Google has been working on technology that can combine multiple styles in a single transfer, in real time. You can read their full post on the Research Blog.

NatLo Style Transfer_Photo

Watch the video above for more info on how style transfer works, and to see me turn a photo of my dog into a Kandinsky-esque work of art.

Jamboard — the whiteboard, reimagined for collaboration in the cloud

26 October[ —]

Bringing the right team together for a meeting or brainstorm can take an idea from being good to great. When we tap into ideas from teams across the globe, our work becomes more collaborative and productive. It doesn’t feel like...well, work.

At Google, we’ve set out to redefine meetings. So today, we’re introducing Jamboard — a collaborative, digital whiteboard that makes it easy for your team to share ideas in real-time and create without boundaries. We’re moving the whiteboard to the cloud.

Your team’s collaborative, cloud-first whiteboard

Jamboard raises the bar on collaborative creativity, bringing the same real-time collaboration found in G Suite, combined with the best of the web, to your team’s brainstorms and meetings. You can work with teammates from across the world on other Jamboards or remotely use the smartphone or tablet companion app.

jamboard small 1

Jamboard makes it easy to enrich your brainstorm with the power of Google Search and your team’s work in G Suite. Grab images and content from the web and bring them straight into your “jam.” Pull in work from Docs, Sheets and Slides, or add photos stored in Drive. To capture your ideas clearly, Jamboard is packed with tools like sticky notes and stencils as well as intelligent features like handwriting and shape recognition.

It’s a hassle when you use a whiteboard, reach the end of your meeting and have to quickly scramble to snap a picture of your work. How many times have you scribbled “do not erase” above your idea? Jamboard lets you take your work with you. When you “jam” with your colleagues, it lives in the cloud in Google Drive, so you can easily share what you’ve created or come back to iterate at anytime. Your brainstorm doesn’t have to end when the meeting does.

Designed for precision and ease

Jamboard is intelligently designed to speed up collaboration among your teams with a 55-inch 4k display that features a best-in-class touch response time. Combine this with a built-in HD camera, speakers and Wi-Fi, and you’re set up to collaborate and broadcast your work globally with Hangouts.
jamboard small 3

Jamboard’s touchscreen was built for precision drawing. It automatically recognizes the difference between using the stylus to sketch or the eraser to start over, and neither require batteries or pairing. Jamboard can also sense when you’re using your finger to wipe work off of the screen, just like a classic whiteboard (except you won’t get ink on your hand). The intuitive, single-cable setup makes it easy to start creating quickly with Jamboard — just wheel it in, turn it on and start brainstorming.

Time to jam

jamboard small 2

We want to help teams get back to the heart of what they love to do: create new ideas. That’s why we’ve worked closely with G Suite customers like Instrument, Netflix, and Spotify to refine the blend of hardware and software that drives Jamboard. We're also partnering with BenQ to tap into its network of channels and resellers to help bring Jamboard to market.

While touch displays have traditionally been expensive, at under $6,000 USD, Jamboard is a competitively-priced way to transform your team’s meetings and will be available for purchase in 2017. As we “jam” on the final product details, we're ready to partner with a broader set of G Suite customers to perfect Jamboard through an Early Adopter Program. If you're interested, submit the form on the Jamboard website to receive more information about eligibility.

Helping universities build what’s next with Google Cloud Platform

25 October[ —]

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) now serves over one billion end-users through our customers’ products and services. And today I’m happy to say that we’re investing even more resources to bring these tools to higher education. We’re excited to offer universities the same powerful infrastructure, data analytics and machine learning that we use to drive innovation and performance.

We believe that universities can benefit from Google Cloud Platform in three areas: research, infrastructure and teaching. In research, GCP big data and machine learning tools can power experiments and analyses that weren’t even possible just a year ago. GCP frees academic IT organizations from the overhead of managing infrastructure, provisioning servers and configuring networks, and in teaching we enable professors to teach modern cloud computing subjects on Google Cloud Platform.

Supporting university research and infrastructure with Internet2

We’re committed to working closely with users to understand their needs. With the aim of exploring opportunities for the cloud with universities, Google is pleased to announce that it has joined Internet2, a US-based not-for-profit, member-driven technology and advanced networking consortium dedicated to advancing new innovations and scientific discoveries for the next generation of research and education.

Founded in 1996, Internet2 provides a collaborative environment for U.S. research and education organizations to solve shared technology challenges, and to develop innovative solutions in support of their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2 operates a research and education network and serves more than 317 U.S. universities, 70 government agencies, 42 regional and state education networks, 80 leading corporations and more than 65 national research and education networking from over 100 countries.

Internet2 and Google will work with universities across the United States to explore how GCP can better serve higher education. We hope to develop projects that address the higher education community’s needs around big data and machine learning technologies that can be met by Google’s cloud tools.


Powering computer science teaching

In June we announced Google Cloud Platform Education Grants, and I'm pleased to share that hundreds of courses have been awarded free credits for their students. GCP is helping universities level the playing field, providing students with equal access to best-in-class compute resources. For example, at California State University, San Bernadino, Professor Vasilia’s students are learning about networking and cybersecurity by using GCP’s API’s to program database information. Students are learning to display geolocation signal strength heatmap information for internet access points, set up virtual private networks in the cloud, test firewall rules, set up network segments and read machine data between networks using GCP’s virtual network infrastructure. Fall classes are just underway, and we can’t wait to tell you more about what students learn and create with GCP tools. Professors teaching courses in computer science and related fields at universities in the US can still apply for grants for classes this year or next year.

Connecting with universities at EDUCAUSE

This week we’ll connect with hundreds of universities at the annual EDUCAUSE conference. If you'll be at the conference in Anaheim, visit us at booth #1800. There,  you can see demos of GCP, G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education), Chromebooks, Chrome digital signage, student and faculty programs and the latest in virtual reality. You can also join us for “Machine Learning 101” Wednesday 2:30-3:20pm PT in Room 210D. Learn more from universities who are benefiting from Google technology by attending our session “The Impact of Collaborative Tools - Lessons from Universities Using G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education)” on Thursday at 1:30-2:20pm PT in Room 210C.

We're committed to strengthening our partnership with the broader higher education community, and look forward to seeing the results.

Field Trips to our National Parks

24 October[ —]

The national parks are our shared cultural inheritance, passed on from generation to generation for all Americans to enjoy. We believe everyone should have access to these national treasures, which is why we’ve worked to bring the National Parks online with Google Maps, make National Park Service historical artifacts accessible via Google Arts & Culture and created a National Parks immersive documentary.

Today we’re also announcing our sponsorship of the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids Initiative, providing funding to enable roughly 1,700 children  to attend immersive education programming at national parks across the country - many experiencing a national park for the first time. Through our Field Trip Days program, we’ve sent more than 150,000 under-resourced students to museums, science centers, planetariums, and aquariums.

We’ve made it a priority to help students discover the world using technology like Google Expeditions that enable classrooms to travel to places a school bus can’t reach via virtual reality. And through this sponsorship, we take an additional step forward in supporting outdoor education by helping students experience parks in person across the country. We’re proud to support the National Park Service, especially during this centennial anniversary year and give students the opportunity to explore their cultural inheritance online and in person.

The sponsorship was announced by Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of Interior over the weekend at a “Campout” on the Google Kirkland campus, hosted in partnership with the  Department of Interior as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative and the YMCA. The campout was complete with s’mores and outdoor educational programing from the Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, REI and former Google.org grantee NatureBridge, who will help us to facilitate many of the Field Trip Days across the country.

We hope that programs like these inspire more students to visit our parks in the future and protect them for years to come.

Android Pay partners with Visa and Mastercard to bring simple checkout to more places online

24 October[ —]
Android Pay with Visa Checkout and Mastercard Masterpass

Today, Google announces strategic partnerships with Visa and Mastercard to bring Android Pay to more places on the mobile web.

Android Pay users will soon be able to pay on hundreds of thousands of new sites where Visa Checkout or Masterpass are accepted using their preferred device authentication method - like fingerprint recognition. No longer will users have to remember multiple usernames and passwords in order to checkout, saving them time and hassle.

Android Pay with Visa Checkout and MasterCard Masterpass

Visa Checkout and Masterpass users who link their accounts with Android Pay can look forward to easy and secure payments in stores and online with a simple tap.

Android Pay’s open platform also makes the payment integration easy for merchants and developers. Merchants who have enabled Visa Checkout or Masterpass on their sites will instantly benefit from these enhanced payment experiences as the buttons will update automatically. And just as apps such as Fancy and Luxe have seen with Android Pay, these merchants can look forward to faster checkout times, fewer abandoned carts, higher conversions and increased sales.

This latest partnership with Visa and Mastercard is an example of how Android Pay can work with partners’ existing solutions to improve the payments experience for users and merchants alike.

Look for the new integrations with Visa Checkout and Masterpass within the Android Pay app in early 2017.

High heels, high culture and high ambitions: YouTube Stars in Brussels

24 October[ —]

For over a decade now, people around the world have been using YouTube to tell their own stories, in their own words. It’s the perfect medium for passion and performance.

Cirque du Soleil demonstrates their skills on stage

Cirque du Soleil demonstrated their skills on stage

So, to celebrate our YouTube stars across Europe, we invited them to participate in Europe on Stage — a talent-show-meets-viral-video mashup. YouTubers came together last Wednesday at Brussels’ BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, where France’s Yanis Marshall — who got his first big break through YouTube — got the evening off to a high-octane start with one of his dance team’s legendary high-heel routines. Cirque du Soleil enthralled the audience with contortionism, juggling and beat-boxing: It’s no surprise that their channel has over 34 million views.

Louise Pentland — aka SprinkleofGlitter — told her stories about meeting the Pope and becoming a UN Gender Equality Ambassador. The Chopin Institute’s Artur Szklener explained how, thanks to YouTube, Chopin beat shopping in searches in Asia during the international piano competition.

And Italy’s Rockin’ 1000 nearly brought the house down. A 1000-person ensemble that began as a joke to convince the Foo Fighters to play in Fabio Zaffagnini’s hometown Cesena, they took the stage with their loud and proud version of “Rebel Rebel”.

Commissioner Christos Stylianides speaks at Europe on Stage about the power of arts and culture
Commissioner Christos Stylianides spoke about the power of arts and culture

There were some quieter, more reflective moments as well. European Commissioner Christos Stylianides spoke about the EU’s response to the refugee crisis, and the vital importance of culture for Europe’s future. His words were followed by a deeply moving musical performance from members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians. Earlier this year, YouTube livestreamed a performance by this talented group, who’d been working with Damon Albarn and Africa Express before being scattered by war. By coming together to perform, they celebrated a proud culture that refuses to be silenced, sharing their stories of exile and loss.

Europe’s diversity is its strength, and the evening’s range of acts highlighted that. Europeans use the platform to speak to audiences both at home and abroad. There are hundreds of European creators earning six figures a year from their videos, and this revenue is increasing over 50% year-on-year. Around a quarter of YouTube’s global watch time is of European channels, which makes it a powerful tool for exporting the continent’s culture.

YouTube is also a powerful tool for bringing out the best in people. We’ve launched the Creators for Change initiative, offering new resources and grants to help counter hate speech. And YouTubers have joined forces under #NichtEgal, a movement dedicated to unite Germans in countering hate online.

We are proud to celebrate the creativity that brings together diverse cultures, identities and languages on our platform. A huge thank you to everyone who celebrated with us at last week’s event.

Bring developers together for Hash Code 2017

24 October[ —]

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an engineer at Google?

Hash Code logo

Now’s your chance to satisfy your curiosity by volunteering to host a Hash Code hub at your university, office or any local co-working space. Hash Code, a team-based programming competition, tasks university students and professionals across Europe, the Middle East and Africa with solving a real Google engineering problem. And we’re looking for developers to help bring the excitement to their own communities in February 2017. Are you up for the challenge?

Last year, 17,000 students and professionals from more than 90 countries teamed up to optimize drone delivery schedules for Hash Code’s Online Qualification Round. While teams can compete from wherever they’d like to, many opted to join in from one of the 300+ hubs organized by fellow developers (where, it’s safe to say, they had even more fun).

Teams work together to schedule satellite operations during the 2016 Hash Code Final Round at Google Paris.
Teams work together to schedule satellite operations during the 2016 Final Round at Google Paris.

Laco Pápay organized the hub at his university in Bratislava last year (and is now a Googler based in Zurich). “Before the competition started, we had a lot of fun with set-up: decorating the room, taking pictures for the hub photo contest,” he said. “When the problem was announced and people sat down to work, the fun continued. Competing against teams on a scoreboard is great, but it’s even more exciting if the teams you’re up against are sitting just one desk over.”

The Online Qualification Round for 2017 will take place on February 23, 2017. From there, the top 50 teams will be invited to Google Paris for the Final Round on April 1.

If you think you might want to host a hub, find out more and sign up on our site. If you’re not able to host but would like to compete, you can be among the first to know when registration opens in December.

San Diego Unified School District designs today’s classroom for tomorrow’s workplace

20 October[ —]

Editor’s note: San Diego Unified School District has more than 132,000 students across 226 schools. They’re about to embark on what will soon be one of the largest 1:1 Chromebook programs for a school district. Leading the charge is Cindy Marten, superintendent of San Diego Unified School District. We’re proud to work with San Diego Unified School District  on this journey and excited about what’s to come.

At San Diego Unified School District  it’s our mission to prepare our students, who represent more than 180 countries and 60 spoken languages, for the competitive global economy, and we believe that integrating technology into the classroom is a core part of these efforts. To ensure students graduate with the skills, motivation and curiosity to thrive in the workplace of the future we’ve launched a over 47,000 Chromebooks and G Suite for Education, including Google Classroom, district-wide to give all students access to collaborative technology both in the classroom and at home.

A new way to evaluate classroom tech

The innovation technology team at San Diego Unified School District, lead by Dan Stoneman, our chief innovation officer, created a 178-point rubric for evaluating classroom technology. The team created the rubric with careful attention to the skills we believe will be important in the future workplace — namely, the skills to collaborate effectively and work in the cloud. It’s crucial to reinforce these skills by providing access to technology in the classroom. Many of our students don’t have computers or internet at home. We believe that this program will level the playing field and prepare all of our students for the future workplace. This is why a total of 43 of our schools will be 1:1 with Chromebooks by the end of the year, giving over 16,000 students the ability to use them at home and in the classroom.

Our district saved nearly $10 million by choosing Chromebooks for our 1:1 roll-out. Chromebooks are less expensive than other devices on the market, but they are much more reliable. This has made it possible for us to both save money on purchasing new devices as well as invest in devices that will last longer. The money we’ve spent goes much further now that we’re using more affordable devices. This enables us to ensure that every student has a working device that’s up to date with the latest software.

Our district saved nearly $10 million by choosing Chromebooks for our 1:1 roll-out. Cindy Marten Superintendent, San Diego Unified School
[edu] san diego
An elementary school student shows her father a class project on her Chromebook

Building skills for the future

We’re seeing the impact of Chromebooks and G Suite for Education at schools like Jefferson Elementary, which launched 147 Chromebooks for use in the classroom at the start of this school year. We wanted to see students learning to collaborate in the cloud, socialize online and work simultaneously on projects in Google Docs. These tasks require a great amount of critical thinking and communication skills and even though we’re only a month into the school year, we’re starting to see positive results.

For example, in Lisa Martin’s fourth grade class students are using Chromebooks to work together on projects that teach communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills. At the beginning of the school year, students interviewed their peers, wrote profiles in Docs, and worked in group settings to share and edit their drafts.

Lisa is now seeing students learn how to relate to others both personally and professionally. In her own words, “The students aren’t just learning from me, they’re learning from each other. I have been able to step back and become a better facilitator,” she says.

Inspiring more confident, engaged students

Teachers report that students are showing more confidence in the classroom. This is especially true for students who struggle with reading and writing and those who speak English as a second language. “Many students struggle with handwriting assignments, but when you give them a computer, they can focus on the work and show their thinking,” says Jon Kevorkian, a fourth grade teacher at Jefferson.

We’re particularly thrilled by students’ enthusiasm about using technology. “I run the after school Maker club, and the students often bring their Chromebooks to show me the work they’re doing in class” says Dorothy Dunham, a fourth grade teacher at Jefferson. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. The students would rather work on Chromebooks than play with legos after school.”

Our administrative team is excited about these early results and we’re looking forward to seeing the overall impact across the district. Our Chromebook program is helping us achieve our mission: for all students in our diverse community to graduate with the skills, motivation and curiosity to thrive in the workplace of the future.

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