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Get Ayesha Curry’s exclusive new recipe on the Google Assistant

14 novembre[ —]

Growing up in Venezuela, Canada, Indonesia and the U.S., I’ve experienced many variations of the “traditional” holiday meal. But no matter where I am in the world, one thing has always remained constant: the joy of sharing a delicious meal with the loved ones in my life.


For many people, the holiday season is a chance to spend more time with family and friends. It also means attending or hosting more events than usual, and more cooking and stress to get everything prepared.


Our goal with the Assistant is to help you get things done, especially in the kitchen. To make holiday cooking even easier (and more delicious), bestselling author, entrepreneur and chef, Ayesha Curry’s recipes are starting to roll out on the Google Assistant—so you can get step-by-step help cooking on Smart Displays, like Nest Hub Max.


Ready to give one of Ayesha’s recipes a try? Just say, “Hey Google, show me recipes from Ayesha Curry” and you’ll see a list of some of her favorite appetizers, entrees and desserts. And we have another treat for you … you can ask the Assistant for Ayesha’s brand new recipe—Cast Iron Fall Bread Pudding with Brown Butter Apples—which she provided exclusively for Assistant users. To get the recipe and start cooking, just say, “Hey Google, show me Ayesha Curry’s fall bread pudding recipe” to your Smart Display.


Looking for other ways your Assistant can help out in the kitchen? Here are a few ideas:

  • Quickly convert measurements or figure out a substitute ingredient. Just ask, “Hey Google, how many tablespoons in a cup?” or “Hey Google, what’s a substitute for buttermilk?” 

  • Learn a new cooking technique. Try asking your Assistant, “Hey Google, show me videos for how to laminate pastry dough” or “Hey Google, show me how to brown butter.”

  • Search for recipes based on specific dietary needs. Just say, "Hey Google, show me gluten free stuffing recipes" or "Hey Google, show me vegan broccoli casserole recipes."

  • And when you discover a recipe that you love or want to try out in the future, you can easily save and view it in your own personal Cookbook on Smart Displays like Nest Hub Max. I just saved Ayesha’s Butternut Squash Pasta with Edamame recipe to make for my kids this weekend!


Whether you’re a novice cook hosting your first Friendsgiving, or a seasoned chef putting on your 20th annual Thanksgiving dinner, the Assistant can provide hands-free help so you can pull off the perfect holiday meal. 



Machine learning meets African agriculture

13 novembre[ —]

In 2016, a crop-destroying caterpillar, Fall Armyworm (FAW) was first detected in Africa. The crop pest has since devastated agriculture by infecting millions of corn fields, which threatens food security on the continent. Farmers who rely on harvests for food need to combat the pest, which has now spread to India and China.

That’s where Nazirini Siraji comes in. She is one of several developers working to provide farmers with new tools to fight FAW. After codelabs hosted by a Google developer group in Mbale, Uganda, she created the “Farmers Companion App” using TensorFlow, Google’s open-source machine learning platform. It’s a free app that identifies when a crop has FAW and which stage the worm is in its lifecycle (and therefore how threatening it is and how far it is likely to spread). It also advises on which pesticides or treatments are best to stop the worm spreading any further. The app is already working in the field, helping farmers around Mbale to identify FAW. 

They continue to improve the app so it can identify more pests and diseases. Nazirini shows the impact that developers can have on agricultural issues like FAW and across other sectors, too. We visited Nazirini and her team this year, here’s more about their story:

Learn more about how others are using TensorFlow to solve all kinds of problems.


Google Classroom accessibility empowers inclusive learning

13 novembre[ —]

Grace is a 5th grader at Village Elementary School near San Diego, CA. As a student who is blind, she’s used to using multiple pieces of equipment or having an aide support her. But when she started using Google Classroom with a screen reader, “it opened up a whole world for her,” according to Grace’s mom. She is now able to participate confidently alongside her sighted peers. 

Many tools in G Suite have accessibility features built in, including screen readers, voice typing, and braille displays—and Classroom is no different. It helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and easily communicate with students and guardians. Classroom is now used by 40 million students and educators globally, each of whom learns and teaches in a unique way. 

Grace is one story of a student excelling in her class with the support of technology, and we’d love to hear from you about the tools you’re using to support all learners. To learn more about the accessibility features built into G Suite and Chromebooks, head to edu.google.com/accessibility.


Speak easy while traveling with Google Maps

13 novembre[ —]

Google Maps has made travel easier than ever before. You can scout out a neighborhood before booking a hotel, get directions on the go and even see what nearby restaurants the locals recommend thanks to auto-translated reviews.

But when you're in a foreign country where you don't speak or read the language, getting around can still be difficult -- especially when you need to speak with someone. Think about that anxiety-inducing time you tried to talk to a taxi driver, or that moment you tried to casually ask a passerby for directions.

To help, we're bringing Google Maps and Google Translate closer together. This month, we’re adding a new translator feature that enables your phone to speak out a place's name and address in the local lingo. Simply tap the new speaker button next to the place name or address, and Google Maps will say it out loud, making your next trip that much simpler. And when you want to have a deeper conversation, Google Maps will quickly link you to the Google Translate app.

Google_SpeakEasy_GIF_191018.gif

This text-to-speech technology automatically detects what language your phone is using to determine which places you might need help translating. For instance, if your phone is set to English and you’re looking at a place of interest in Tokyo, you’ll see the new speaker icon next to the place’s name and address so you can get a real-time translation. 

The new feature will be rolling out this month on Android and iOS with support for 50 languages and more on the way. 


6 steps to being a smart searcher

12 novembre[ —]

Search has been around for more than 20 years and we see billions of queries every day. Today I’ve already used Search to check this Sunday’s Giants’ score against the Jets, look up lyrics to Coldplay’s new song, and find out when daylight savings starts next year. But with so much information online today, the fastest way to find exactly what you’re looking for isn’t always obvious. 

In my 14 years at Google as a research scientist for Search, I’ve conducted several studies to understand how people collect, organize and understand large amounts of information when they search the web. I also teach online and in-person classes to equip people with useful techniques for navigating Search. And because I think it’s so important, I even wrote a book: “The Joy of Search: A Google Insider’s Guide to Going beyond the Basics.”

There are six simple steps that I teach my students—people of all ages—to help them quickly find the information they are searching for. 

Do one more search

Often people come to Search, see the first results on the page, and assume that’s the right answer. But one simple search on a complex topic may not be enough to uncover the correct answer to your question. Conducting two or three searches offers a number of perspectives and credible sources for a well-rounded view on the subject.

Check the credibility of your sources

When you search on the web, make sure that the site you land on is the best source of information for what you're looking for. Consider the primary purpose of the website and ask yourself: What are they trying to help me with? What is their goal in providing this information? Does the information on the website align with other credible sources? Another way to check the credibility of a website is to look at online forums or discussion boards to see what other people are saying about the website.

Don’t include the answer in your question

You might search for something when you already suspect the answer. But including that answer in the query may sway the search results toward what you think the answer is. For example, if you search for “do golden retrievers weigh 85 pounds,” you may find “85 pounds” baked into the webpages that result from your search. Instead search “weight of golden retrievers.” This will show you a variety of results. From there, you can narrow down the correct answer by applying the credible source technique above.

Start your search broadly, then narrow it down

Begin searching with broad and fairly general terms about your topic. Then you can narrow your search once you find the most relevant aspects of your search. For instance, if you search for “how many teachers are in NYC” you’ll get a lot of results, but they may not be quite what you’re looking for. Then, try narrowing down your search by being more specific. Instead look for “number of kindergarten teachers in Brooklyn public schools.”

Mix and match your key phrases 

Sometimes you have to try a couple of different query phrases to focus in on the information you want. Keywords are the most important words in your idea or question—they tell the search engine what you’re seeking. Ask yourself what words will appear on the page that would have the perfect answer, or how someone else would write it. A helpful way to do this is by “parallel browsing” to find a range of information that help you get to the answer. That is, try different variations on your search in different browser tabs and compare the results side-by-side.

Explore other kinds of searchable content (Images, Videos, Books)

It can be useful to use Search’s other features, beyond just web search, especially when you want to find content that’s inherently visual. Suppose you want to find an example of how to lay out a resume to find a new job; you may want to explore Google Images for example resumes and web pages with useful job search information. Or, if you want to learn how to cook scallops like your favorite famous chef, you can search through Videos for step-by-step instructional content. Or, say you can’t remember what page a quote is on inside your favorite book. Google Books lets you search for key phrases or excerpts within books, down to the page and paragraph. Use double quotes around your phrase inside of Google Books to find where it’s located within the text. 

Using these tips, hopefully you'll shave some time off your next search.


2019 holiday checklist: help shoppers find local stores

12 novembre[ —]

The holidays are a critical time of year for your stores, as shoppers stop in to get an item quickly or see it in person. Online research to find local stores continues to surge—search interest in local shops hit a record high last year, and we’re seeing 350 times more search interest in "local" + "near me" than there was 10 years ago. 

When holiday shoppers are deciding where to shop–to buy items for multiple people or for last-minute gifts after shipping cutoffs have passed–how can you help them find your store? 


You can do it in two ways:

  • Local campaigns help businesses with physical locations drive more visits to retail stores, restaurants, auto dealerships, and more. They also include new ways to promote your business on Google Maps.

  • If you’re a retailer, Shopping campaigns help you promote your entire ecommerce and local product inventory to drive sales across both your website and stores. Retailers should use Local campaigns to maximize store traffic and combine them with Shopping campaigns, which help you increase omnichannel reach and sales.

See our latest solutions to help advertisers with a physical presence, from big retail chains to small businesses, showcase your stores and give holiday shoppers more convenient ways to buy.

New ways to promote your locations with Local campaigns

Local campaigns are specifically designed to help businesses drive visits to your physical locations. We’re also making Local campaigns available for smaller businesses by allowing you to optimize for other local actions like calls or directions, even if you don’t have store visits reporting. To help you dial up foot traffic for the holidays, we’re introducing new ways to showcase your locations across Google Maps and other channels.

Whether people want to visit a neighborhood park, museum, local store, or restaurant, Google Maps connects them with the places they’re interested in. In fact, people tap on location pins in Maps hundreds of millions of times per week to explore and get information about the physical world around them. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to feature your locations as users get directions to a destination. In just a few taps, they can add you as a convenient stop along their route to grab lunch, stop in for shopping, and more. 

Direction planning ad (Maps).gif

You can also promote your locations as shoppers browse content across over 3 million websites and apps in our Display network. They can now explore a curated selection of the products your store carries in a visual, catalog-like experience.

Local catalog ad on Display (Local campaigns).gif


Saks Fifth Avenue logo.jpg


Saks Fifth Avenue is a luxury retailer increasingly using digital to achieve its in-store performance goals. The brand has successfully leveraged other Google solutions like local inventory ads to drive foot traffic. As a result, it was eager to become an early adopter of Local campaigns last holiday season to focus specifically on store visits. Using a randomized controlled geo-experiment, Saks Fifth Avenue saw a statistically significant, incremental lift in store sales and an incremental offline return-on-ad-spend of 7.7x. It’s now expanding Local campaigns to promote more of its store locations.

Fun toy retailer logo.png

Fun, a toy retailer in Belgium, also relied on Local campaigns last holiday season to bring more shoppers into its 29 locations. Local campaigns drove 24,000 additional store visits on top of its existing Google Ads campaigns at a strong 19x ROI. This helped lift total store sales and completely reversed a year-to-date decline.

Sephora logo.png

Sephora, a multinational retail chain, knows that customers who browse and buy in-store are more valuable. With a randomized controlled geo-experiment, the brand found that Local campaigns helped drive a statistically significant, incremental lift in store sales. For every dollar invested, Sephora generated a positive incremental return-on-ad-spend.

More flexible ways to buy and pick up purchases with Shopping campaigns

Shopping campaigns–which include both Shopping ads and local inventory ads–help you increase sales both online and offline, and highlight details about all of your product inventory. Through local inventory ads, we have over 2 billion offers mapped to physical stores across 12 countries. We’ve recently expanded to Sweden, Norway and Denmark to help more shoppers see which products are in stock at nearby locations. 


Now, we’re also giving consumers more flexible ways to collect the products they find through local inventory ads. 45 percent of global shoppers have used “buy online, pick up in store” to get their items from a local store. To make this process easier, we’re expanding store pickup on Google and showing consumers what fulfillment options you offer from your ad:


  • Pick up today:show which products are available for immediate store pickup, with the option of paying online first.

  • Pick up later: promote products that may not be available in store now, but can be quickly shipped to a nearby store within a few days. Reach out to your account team if you’d like to join the beta. 

BOPIS ad mock.png

Local inventory ad in the U.S. highlighting the “Pick up today” option

We have other stocking stuffers for retailers. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to pick the Shopping campaigns where you’d like to include store visits as a conversion goal alongside online sales. If you have products that are especially effective at driving consumers to stores—such as high-consideration products like furniture or luggage—you can add store visits bidding to your Standard or Smart Shopping campaigns. Store visits in Smart Bidding is also fully available for Search campaigns to help you maximize conversion value across your website and stores.

Whether you’re a small business or a major retail chain, holiday shoppers will be looking for nearby stores with the most compelling offers and products. We look forward to helping you capture the local holiday spirit to drive success during the biggest shopping season of the year.


CallJoy’s new agent helps small businesses answer calls

12 novembre[ —]

If you own or have ever worked in a small business, you know how stressful it can be to juggle day-to-day tasks while also managing the ever-ringing phone line. According to research we conducted, nearly half of calls to local businesses go unanswered. And when calls do get picked up, conversations are often rushed, and follow-up details get lost in a pile of sticky notes. 


This May, my team within Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental products, launched CallJoy, a virtual phone agent for small business owners. Today, we are greatly expanding our capabilities and releasing a smarter, more intuitive agent that can assist callers by asking a simple question: “How can I help you?” Then, the agent intelligently responds based on the caller’s answer.
CallJoy Call Actions

CallJoy’s Call Actions feature allows small business owners to customize their own virtual agent. 

A more intelligent phone agent 

With the launch of our new agent, owners or managers of local small businesses can easily enter a set of expected questions or phrases and define what action the agent will take when those phrases are used. The more information a small business owner gives to the agent, the smarter and more responsive CallJoy becomes. 

For example, a caller might ask a restaurant’s agent, “Do you have vegetarian options?” If the small business had entered the phrase “vegetarian” into CallJoy and defined a verbal response for the agent, the agent could respond, “Yes! Our menu has vegetarian and vegan-friendly choices. Can I text you the link to our online menu?” 

Since no small business is the same, CallJoy makes it simple to train the agent on how to handle customer inquiries. The agent can not only speak an answer, but also send a link and then continue the conversation or connect to the business’s phone number. Starting today, there are an unlimited number of ways to set up your CallJoy agent.

The entire virtual customer service experience is professional and friendly, without requiring any time from the business owner or staff. Of course, if you want to talk to customers live, you can customize that, too. With this major release, you have even more flexibility based on your small business’s specific needs and how you want to handle calls. You can choose exactly when the agent is involved in the call answering process, such as only answering after hours or after the phone rings six times. CallJoy is there to help, but you’re in control.

Focus on what you do best

If dozens of customers call your business at one time, CallJoy adapts to handle all calls and does so at any time of day. The virtual agent can help multiple patrons book appointments, learn about your business’s hours, route the call to the right staff member and more—all at once. This allows your business to serve a larger number of customers, all while freeing you up to do more valuable tasks.


You’ll probably be curious what the virtual agent did on your behalf during the day, and that’s why CallJoy records and transcribes each conversation and sends you a recap via email every day. Small business owners can easily search and tag transcripts to track the details that matter most. Best of all, these additional insights and features are available at our same flat monthly rate of $39.


With CallJoy, we’re helping small businesses across the U.S. save time while also providing customers with better service through a more intelligent phone experience. Small business owners who are interested in setting up a customized CallJoy phone agent can sign up for a 14-day free trial.

Map out Thanksgiving with these tips from Google Maps

12 novembre[ —]

For Americans, Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching–which means a time of food, family and fun. As we kick off this holiday season, feast your eyes on our best Google Maps trends and tips to help you save time, reduce stress and navigate the festivities with ease.


Ditch the traffic

Thanksgiving road trips can be special (extended karaoke sesh, anyone?), but they can also be stressful if you end up stuck in traffic. To make sure you don’t get caught in the gridlock, we analyzed 2018 traffic data to pinpoint the best and worst times to leave for your Thanksgiving road trip.


Nationally, we see that the day before Thanksgiving between 3-4 p.m. is the worst time to hit the road, but traffic clears up significantly by 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. To avoid any fowl moods after Thanksgiving, try your best to avoid the Friday or Sunday afternoon rush and leave in the morning when there are significantly less cars on the road. For a closer look at holiday traffic patterns and the best and worst times to leave in your city, make sure to check out our interactive website.

traffic spikes

Avoid the crowds

Holiday crowds can easily transform a quick stop into an hours-long adventure. To save you time, we analyzed Popular Times data at key holiday destinations during Thanksgiving week so you can know exactly when the crowds tend to peak and when to avoid them. Pro-tip: If you hate lines, avoid the grocery store at all costs on Wednesday evening!

populartimes

Let Google Maps be your ultimate Thanksgiving sidekick

Whether you’re headed to the sun or snow this Thanksgiving, Google Maps is here to help you get around, explore your city and get your holiday to-do list done efficiently–while maintaining your sanity. Check out our favorite tips to keep your Thanksgiving as stress free as possible:


  • Search along your route: If you’re on the road and realize you need to make a stop–say you’re running low on gas or-gasp!-found out the turkey was burned–use Google Maps to search for gas stations, a butcher or other places along your drive so you can tackle your tasks without going too far out of your way. 


  • Share your ETA: No one likes a cold turkey dinner. Let friends and family know when they can expect you with just a few taps. 


  • Find hidden gems: If you’re heading home for the first time in a while or traveling to a new city, use the Explore tab find the best restaurants, sights and events happening in your area. 


  • Don’t get lost: If you’re exploring on foot, Live View can help you figure out which way to walk with arrows and directions clearly overlaid on the map.


  • Stay organized: If you’re traveling by plane, you can easily access your flight reservation–in addition to your car, restaurant, and hotel reservations–right from your settings so you don’t need to search for your confirmation emails.


  • Save precious time: Use the Popular Times feature to see when holiday destinations are most crowded so you can know exactly when to avoid them.


  • Book with just one tap: Whether you’re getting the family together for a holiday meal or activity, book restaurant reservations or tickets right from Google Maps to save time. 


Interested in more holiday trends from Google Maps? Check out www.mappingthanksgiving.com for local traffic information and trending places in 25 cities across the country.




How my time in the Air Force prepared me for life at Google

11 novembre[ —]

In 1996, I was a young senior airman at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. We were controlling an air training mission, and had just safely led fighter jets to the training airspace. But in a split second, we got a radio call from a pilot telling us one of his engines went out. Just like that, we had to snap into action and help the plane land safely. I still get goosebumps thinking about that night of the engine outage, but taking action in that scary moment prepared me for life outside of the military. 

Carla McIntosh's training certificate

When I first left the Air Force, I initially struggled to explain how my military experience mattered outside the aerospace field. But I realized a lot of employers value the skills I had quickly coordinating and processing information under intense pressure. In my role as a staffing leader at Google, though the stakes are certainly much different, I can collaborate with people, quickly share critical information and pivot to different tasks. 

This Veterans Day, it’s so exciting to see Google sharing stories about veterans who’ve transitioned into tech, gained civilian skills and even started their own businesses. To bring more visibility to their experiences, we partnered with U.S. Army veteran guest artist Pete Damon on today’s Google Doodle and are sharing profiles of veterans (myself included) who are finding new opportunities by combining their military experience with new tech skills. And teams across the company are celebrating their veteran colleagues' contributions to the products that people use every day around the world. Telling our stories helps future employers see our value, and honors the sacrifices so many have made for this country. If just one service member is inspired or finds the courage to dream of a life beyond the uniform, then I’ve done my job.

Pete Damon poses with his Google Doodle artwork

Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Pete Damon, alongside the Veterans Day 2019 Doodle he created.

Since joining Google in 2015, I’ve been a part of our VetNet employee resource group, which is a community of veterans, spouses, and our allies. VetNet members provide ongoing support for just about everything. For example, many VetNetters refer other veterans to Google, serve as buddies to those newly hired and help support those who are currently transitioning to corporate civilian life.   

I’m really proud of Google’s commitment to helping veterans through VetNet, Grow with Google, Google for Startups and Search tools to help veterans find jobs or start businesses. It’s an exciting time to see veterans entering the civilian workforce, and we’re working hard to help to make that transition much smoother. 


When I look back at the final months of my Air Force career, I remember how nervous I was, and how I didn’t know where to start. Hopefully, today’s veterans won’t have to go through that fear. They now have key resources and allies who are working hard every day to help them.


Talking strategy (and eating churros) with startups in Spain

11 novembre[ —]

This past spring, I sat with 12 fellow Googlers on beanbag chairs in the basement of Google for Startups Campus in Madrid. The area was outfitted as part conference room, part social gathering space. We took turns going around in a circle, talking about our arrival in Spain the previous day. We’d felt unsure of ourselves and of what we had to offer—but as we talked, we found ourselves getting inspired to step out of our usual comfort zones and try something new. 

The dozen of us had been chosen to participate in the Startup Advisors Summit, a program during which Googlers spend two weeks working with startups in London, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Seoul, São Paulo and Warsaw. The program is facilitated by the Google for Startups team, which operates Campuses—dedicated spaces for startups to work, connect and access Google resources—in those cities. 

Each morning, my colleagues and I trekked from our hotel on Gran Via past the Royal Palace and down the hill to Campus, where we listened, questioned and observed the startups to learn about the challenges they were facing. From there, we drew on our own expertise to advise in areas where the startups were not yet experts—whether it was communication strategy or data and analytics. We held office hours, hosted workshops, led meetings and participated in Q&A sessions. We helped build product timelines and marketing strategies. We analyzed financial plans and constructed brand identities. (And we all built up a collective appetite for churros, which we enthusiastically gobbled up each night at the local chocolateria.) 

Carly Schwartz at Startup Advisors Summit

The author, teaching startups how to tell their companies’ stories. 

My area of expertise focused on storytelling, and I worked with a number of different startups to refine their tactics. I wrote a video script with the founders of Routive, a travel guide company that specializes in guided car tours through Southeast Asia. I designed a social media program with the CEO of Adopta un Abuelo, a network that connects young volunteers to work with elders who might otherwise feel isolated. I edited website copy with the duo behind Doinn, a platform for house cleaning services. And I taught a group of 35 local entrepreneurs about storytelling, and how it can apply to their companies.

Gabriel Domínguez, Routive’s founder, was developing the company’s new website with his team when they entered the Google for Startups residency program, which includes two weeks dedicated to the Startups Advisors Summit. During that time, they designed a complete site structure and a strategy to expand it globally. “The Startup Advisors Summit was the best part of the Google for Startups Residency program for us,” he said. “We even redefined our business mission for the future.”

Sofia Benjumea, who runs Google for Startups in Spain, described the summit as a “win-win” for Googlers and startup founders alike. The founders get access to an experienced cohort of tech professionals who can provide unique insights and consulting. The Googlers push the limits of their own knowledge base, learn new leadership skills that then serve them well when they return to their core roles, and, of course, make new friends (and eat churros). 

The Google for Startups residency runs at six locations around the world, offering tailored mentorship and workplaces to growing companies. Residents also receive access to Google products, connections and trainings. If you’re interested in learning more about the program, the fourth edition of the Google for Startups Residency in Madrid will start in February, and applications are open until November 15. For more information on programs run at Google for Startups’ campuses, check out the program’s global website.


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