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Technology to help teachers do what they do best

Category: Google | Jun 27, 2016

This week our Google for Education team will be joining thousands of educators at the annual ISTE conference. Follow along on their blog and Twitter for the latest news and updates. -Ed.

Great teachers inspire us, listen to us and learn from us; they bring the most mundane subjects to life. Technology can help great teachers do what they do best—stimulating minds and fostering skills in the next generation—and make learning even more rewarding for students. So we’re excited by the updates and improvements to our tools for the classroom we’re announcing this week at the ISTE conference, one of the largest education technology gatherings in the world.

Expeditions for all
Since we launched the Expeditions Pioneer Program last September, more than a million students from 11 countries have taken one of our 200+ virtual reality trips—from the Great Barrier Reef, to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Today, we’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices and choose where in the world they want to take their class. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.

While Expeditions can be used with many of the devices schools or students already have, Best Buy Education will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase. These kits will contain everything teachers need to bring their classes on amazing Expeditions: a tablet, virtual reality viewers and a router to connect them all.

Google Cast for Education
Sharing information on the classroom’s big screen helps students learn from one another. But today, students have to physically connect their computers to the projector to share their screens with the class. To open classroom collaboration and bring projecting into the 21st century, we’re announcing Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that lets students and teachers share their screens wirelessly from everywhere in the classroom, no new hardware required. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers, and is integrated with Google Classroom.

Quizzes in Google Forms
Getting feedback helps students learn and teachers teach. But grading tests and quizzes is time-consuming; teachers often have to take time away from other tasks to do it, and if it’s not done promptly, everyone misses out on the opportunity to learn from the things students got wrong. Starting today, Quizzes in Google Forms will grade multiple choice and checkbox questions automatically—so teachers can spend less time grading work and more time teaching.

Teachers can set correct answers in Forms and even add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites, or review videos—so students can get quick, informative feedback on how to improve. Plus, teachers can get an instant snapshot on what their students understand, so they know which lessons need more explanation or what to teach next.

Creative apps on Chromebooks
Teachers tell us educational apps on Chromebooks help them improve skills like problem-solving, teamwork, communication and creativity. In collaboration with teachers at EdTechTeacher, we’re announcing a collection of creative apps on Chromebooks that schools can now purchase at a discount: Explain Everything, Soundtrap, and WeVideo. These apps let students demonstrate their understanding of curriculum in their own way by creating unique animations, music, and videos.

Students use creative apps at Muller Road Middle School in South Carolina

As technology becomes an integral component of our classrooms, we also want it to be so easy to use that it fades into background, allowing teachers to spend their time doing what they love: engaging and inspiring students.

Posted by Bram Bout, Director, Google for Education Bram Bout Director Google for Education


Be who you are. Love who you love. #prideforeveryone

Category: Google | Jun 23, 2016

Everyone has the fundamental right to express who they are, yet all too often we bear witness to hatred and violence directed at people who peacefully and lovingly pursue happiness. The mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month is a horrifying example.

Google’s mission has always been to make information universally accessible. And within that mission lies the belief that the more knowledge we have, the more tolerant, inclusive and respectful the world ultimately will be.

Pride is a time when those who have access to vibrant LGBTQ communities take to the streets to celebrate the freedom to live and love. Yet there are still multitudes of lesbian, gay, bi, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in the U.S. and around the world who are lonely and ostracized—who cannot participate in Pride due to strict anti-LGBTQ laws or social stigma.

To bridge this gap, we’ve created #prideforeveryone—a virtual reality Pride experience that anyone can access. For the past several weeks, Googlers from 25 countries have been marching in their local Pride parades to document the truly global face of the LGBTQ community in 360 degrees. This VR montage, available via YouTube 360 and Google Cardboard, is the result.

Google has a long track record of leadership in LGBTQ rights, including taking a stand against discrimination in sports at the Sochi Olympic games, becoming one of the first companies to provide full coverage of transgender employee healthcare, and standing up for same-sex and domestic partner rights and benefits in places around the world where they may not otherwise exist.

Even in the U.S., where we’ve achieved greater levels of equality, only 52 percent of the LGBTQ population have ever participated in a parade. Transgender people face legislation that effectively dehumanizes them. In Orlando, the LGBTQ community bore the brunt of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. This is simply wrong.

With #prideforeveryone, we stand prouder than ever in our embrace of the LGBTQ community. As always, we invite others to stand with us.

A 360 camera is anchored on a moving float in the São Paulo Pride parade. The trans flag and a crowd of more than 2 million people can be seen in the background.

Posted by Arjan Dijk, VP Growth Marketing and Executive Sponsor of Gayglers Arjan Dijk VP Growth Marketing and Executive Sponsor of Gayglers


Celebrating and advancing entrepreneurship around the world

Category: Google | Jun 23, 2016

All around the world, entrepreneurs are creating thriving businesses. In London, Josh Babarinde created Cracked It, a social enterprise that trains at-risk youth to repair cracked smartphone screens, giving them an alternative to crime. In Seoul, Yeram Kwon is transforming the CPR training experience with improved, smarter manikins through HeartiSense. And in Israel, Oded Ben-Dov created Sesame Enable, the first touch-free smartphone designed for people who have limited or no use of their hands due to disabilities.

As a company created by two graduate students in a garage, we know just how powerful an entrepreneur with an idea can be. We also know there’s more that companies, governments, and communities can do to help those entrepreneurs succeed. That’s why we created Google for Entrepreneurs nearly four years ago—to support startup communities around the world and connect entrepreneurs to resources and to each other.

This week, we’re excited to participate in and sponsor the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, hosted by President Barack Obama and the U.S. government, building upon summits previously hosted by the governments of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Morocco, and Kenya. The summit showcases entrepreneurs and investors from around the world who are creating new opportunities for investment, partnership, and collaboration. Our CEO Sundar Pichai is speaking at Friday’s closing session, and a number of other Google leaders will be there to discuss the state of entrepreneurship around the world and ways that we can all support startups and encourage innovation.

Helping entrepreneurs succeed also means building and investing resources in the communities where they live and work. That’s why Google for Entrepreneurs partners with more than 50 organizations worldwide, and runs six Campus spaces—in London, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Madrid, Warsaw, and São Paulo—where local entrepreneurs can work and learn. Altogether, we work with entrepreneurs in 125 countries, who have raised more than $1 billion in funding and created 5,000+ new jobs.

Our support of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit is another way we hope to help entrepreneurs build and create the technology that will shape our future. To the 1,500 attendees joining from around the world, we warmly welcome you to Silicon Valley and hope to meet you! If you’re attending the Summit, please stop by the Google for Entrepreneurs lounge, where you can sign up for 1:1 mentorship from dozens of Googlers and industry experts, explore product demos, and more. We’re also hosting an interactive portal experience to connect attendees from the event to entrepreneurs around the world at Campus London, Campus Seoul, Centraal in Mexico, and in Iraq and Afghanistan. And for those that can’t join us in person, you can catch the action via live stream.

Posted by Mary Grove, Director, Google for Entrepreneurs Mary Grove Director Google for Entrepreneurs


I’m Feeling Yucky :( Searching for symptoms on Google

Category: Google | Jun 20, 2016

Picture this: you woke up today with a headache. It’s been getting worse all day, and you aren’t sure if you should be worried or not. So you open the Google app and start searching for your symptoms. After 20 minutes digging through health forums, chances are you’re overwhelmed by all the complicated medical terms and breaking out in a sweat—whether that’s related to the headache or the overdose of info is unclear!

You’re not alone. Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google (think: millions!) are symptom-related. But health content on the web can be difficult to navigate, and tends to lead people from mild symptoms to scary and unlikely conditions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.

So starting in the coming days, when you ask Google about symptoms like “headache on one side,” we’ll show you a list of related conditions (“headache,” “migraine,” “tension headache,” “cluster headache,” “sinusitis,” and “common cold”). For individual symptoms like “headache,” we’ll also give you an overview description along with information on self-treatment options and what might warrant a doctor’s visit. By doing this, our goal is to help you to navigate and explore health conditions related to your symptoms, and quickly get to the point where you can do more in-depth research on the web or talk to a health professional.

We create the list of symptoms by looking for health conditions mentioned in web results, and then checking them against high-quality medical information we’ve collected from doctors for our Knowledge Graph. We worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information, and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve the lists we show.

That said, symptom search (like all medical information on Google) is intended for informational purposes only, and you should always consult a doctor for medical advice. We rely on search results, and we reflect what’s on the web. Because of this, your feedback is especially important to us; we’ll use it to keep improving the results we show. You’ll notice in the weeks following launch that when we show symptom search we’ll automatically ask you if the results are helpful.

We’re rolling this update out on mobile over the next few days, in English in the U.S. to start. Over time, we hope to cover more symptoms, and we also want to extend this to other languages and internationally. So the next time you’re worried about your “child with knee pain” (even though it’s probably just growing pains), or have some symptoms you’re too embarrassed to run by your roommate, a Google search will be a helpful place to start.

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Showing support on World Refugee Day

Category: Google | Jun 20, 2016

When Walaa posted a picture on social media that spoke out against violence in his hometown of Jairoud, Syria, it earned him three months of violent detention. He fled the country with his family through Turkey and into Greece, where they now live in a refugee camp near the Macedonian border.

Though the Internet played a role in his flight from Syria, connectivity has played a crucial role in helping him rebuild his life in Greece. While living in Greek refugee camps, Walaa used YouTube to learn English, and his language skills are now so good that he’s served as a community advocate and translator. He says he’s far from done: next, he hopes to learn Greek.

As refugees across Europe adapt to new contexts, access to information and education are crucial to help them develop the skills they need. Last fall we encouraged you to donate to a public matching campaign to help refugees access not only basic humanitarian aid, but also resources to create a bridge to their new communities. Since then we’ve helped the International Rescue Committee build an online information hub for refugees, Mercy Corps develop Translation Cards to allow field workers to communicate across languages more easily, partner with NetHope to install low-cost WiFi in refugee camps, and support refugee education through Kiron, a nonprofit providing refugee-tailored university courses available both online and offline.

In addition to Walaa, we’ve heard from other refugees who are finding ways to adjust thanks to Internet and education access. For example, Ahmed is a former Iraqi computer science student now living in Berlin. While waiting for his work permit, he began teaching coding classes at refugee welcome centers as part of Project Reconnect, an initiative we launched with NetHope to equip NGOs with Chromebooks. Kashif, who traveled through seven countries from a small Pakistani town to Berlin, is studying online with Kiron and dreams of working as an engineer at NASA.

Ahmed giving classes to young refugees through the Chromebooks in a refugee center in Berlin

On World Refugee Day, we hope you’ll take time to hear stories of more refugees who are working so hard to rebuild their lives.

We also want to thank everyone across the globe who donated last year, and encourage you to continue to support our partners in their critical work. Though the impact of this refugee crisis will be felt for many years to come, we’ll continue to look for ways to contribute.

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Digital Love Letters for fathers who are incarcerated

Category: Google | Jun 17, 2016

This past Mother’s Day, we shared #LoveLetters, a partnership among nonprofits to give the children of incarcerated parents a chance to have their voices heard. Today, in celebration of Father’s Day, you can watch Love Letters for incarcerated fathers. This work is part of our continued commitment to raising awareness about racial injustice, and to bearing witness to the human costs of mass incarceration.

The costs of mass incarceration have disproportionately affected the lives of Black men. From 1980 to 2007, about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African-American. And if that current trend continues, one in three Black boys born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. All in all, we’re now at a point where there are more African-American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations of India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.

Children share digital “Love Letters” for their fathers who are incarcerated

Many of these men are also fathers—and their children have suffered greatly. The loss of a father to incarceration adversely affects children’s educational, social and emotional well-being, even decades later. Children with an incarcerated parent are three times more likely to have behavioral problems or depression, and at least twice as likely to suffer from learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety.

This is what Love Letters conveys: the hurt of the children left behind—and the enduring bond between a child and a parent despite the barrier of prison walls. So for Father’s Day, we worked with the NGOs Pops the Club and Place4Grace to encourage children and youth in California to share their love letters to their fathers behind bars. We’re also working with the California Department of Corrections to share the video with fathers behind bars throughout the state.

To learn about criminal justice reform legislation now going through Congress, visit,, or As David Drummond, Alphabet’s vice president of corporate development, said at an event this week: “We like disruption, and if there’s a system worth disrupting, it’s the criminal justice system.” We hope that by raising awareness about the impact of mass incarceration on children and families, we can help to change it. Please join us in this effort—watch the video and share with #LoveLetters on social media.

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Tango: See more with a new kind of phone

Category: Google | Jun 9, 2016

Your phone can help you navigate from one side of the country to the other, help you share memories with friends, or even identify the song that’s playing right now. But it can’t answer basic (and important) questions like, “Where’s the nearest building exit?” or “Will this couch actually fit in my apartment?” That’s because while your phone may know where you are in the world, it doesn’t know where you are in the room.

But, for the past three years, the Project Tango team has been working to help devices understand physical space and motion more like people do. Today we’re taking the next step with the first Tango-enabled phone (Lenovo’s PHAB2 Pro). We’re also graduating the effort from Project Tango to, simply, Tango.

Tango helps you answer a new set of questions about your world through specialized hardware and apps. Some of the coolest apps that work with Tango are the ones that overlay digital objects on top of your surroundings. For example if you’re shopping for a new bed, Tango lets you view your bedroom through your phone and visualize different options—even walk around the virtual furniture like it’s actually there.

With a Tango-enabled phone, you also have a toy box, a solar system, and a pet shop in your pocket. You can play with a huge set of dominoes, explore the planets, defend yourself from invading aliens, or feed your virtual dog—all through your phone. The best part is that you don’t have to clean up afterwards.

In the future, we hope Tango can help you navigate a mall, museum or place you’ve never been. Tango can overlay directions to your destination, then provide more info once you arrive. We’ve already started to work on this—we previewed it in February with the National Art Museum of Catalunya, and we plan to bring select locations online later this year.

Whether you’re shopping, playing, or just finding your way around, Tango helps you explore the world in a new way. There are already lots of great apps exploring these new capabilities, and as Tango finds its way into more devices, there will be more to come. If you’d like to learn more, visit the Tango website, or tune in to Nat and Lo for a behind-the-scenes look at Tango.

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Celebrating My Account’s first birthday with improvements and new controls

Category: Google | Jun 1, 2016

A year ago today, we launched My Account, a hub that gives you quick access to controls for safeguarding your data and protecting your privacy on Google. My Account puts privacy and security tools in one place, including long-standing features like Ads Settings and newer ones like the Privacy and Security Checkups. Collectively, these tools make it easy for you to control your privacy and security from any device.

In the past year, more than one billion people around the world have used My Account. Now, on the first anniversary of its launch, we’re excited to introduce three new features to easily access your controls and protect your data.

A helping hand when you lose your phone
We entrust our phones with some of our most personal data: texts from loved ones, family photos, work emails, bank account information, and more. In the wrong hands, that data could cause trouble. Unfortunately, millions of phones are stolen every year in the U.S. alone, and countless more are lost in taxis, cafes, and couch cushions around the world. But when your phone goes missing, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, who to call, or how to keep your information safe.

Find your phone is a new feature that will help you if your phone is ever lost or stolen. In a few simple steps, you can not only locate your phone, but also lock and call it, secure your account, leave a callback number on the screen, and more. The feature can be used to find lost Android and iOS devices, and soon, you’ll also be able to access it by searching Google for “I lost my phone.”

New ways to access My Account
People are increasingly using their voices to navigate apps and services—for example, mobile voice searches on Google have tripled in the past two years. So, we’re making it easier to get to My Account just by using your voice. In the latest Google app you can simply say, “Ok Google, show me my Google account,” and we’ll take you right there. This is available today in English, with other languages coming soon.

We’re also making it easier than ever to find My Account by searching Google. Coming soon, you’ll be able to simply search for your own name, and if you’re signed in, you’ll see a shortcut to My Account.

When you entrust your data to Google, you should expect powerful security and privacy controls. These features are just the latest in our ongoing efforts to protect you and your personal information. We’ll continue to make updates based on your feedback.

Posted by Guemmy Kim, Product Manager, Account Controls and Settings <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>


Meet more of our Top Contributors

Category: Google | May 26, 2016

If you’ve ever asked a question about a Google product in the Google Product Help Forums or on Twitter, chances are you’ve encountered a Top Contributor—passionate Google product experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge with their fellow users. We introduced you to two of the super users in this program yesterday, and now we’re shining a spotlight on a few more. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, start participating in a Google Product Forum or on social media, and let us know you’re interested.

Leonika Sari says: I’m a developer and founder of the startup Reblood, which aims to awareness and promote blood donation in Indonesia. But in my downtime, I help people regain access to their Gmail accounts. Imagine not being able to access your Gmail or finding out your account was hijacked—it’s quite scary! I like helping people get back into their accounts so they can continue living their life.

Answering posts in the Google Product Help Forums has also taught me a lot about how to run my startup. It’s shown me the importance of listening and replying to users. Google treats every piece of user feedback as a useful resource to improve the product—which inspires me to pay more attention to feedback about my own product and quickly turn that into product improvements. I also see parallels between the community of volunteers in the Top Contributor program and my own company Reblood’s community of donors. It makes me happy that I can help people, even those I’ve never met.

José says: ​I work in the Systems and Education Innovation Department for Colegio Alameda de Osuna in Madrid. My son, Jorge, is studying psychology at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. We’re both passionate about helping and are members of the Top Contributor Program. I’m a TC and Jorge is a Rising Star, the entry level into the Top Contributor program.

I was the first one to discover Google Product Help Forums. Helping people in the forums is very similar to teaching. It allows me to do something I like—teach—while enabling me to reach a much larger number of people than I would in the classroom. Plus, I get to learn more about tools I use in my job on a daily basis.

Jorge says: My dad told me about the forums last summer when I was off from school. I thought I’d give it a try and now I’m hooked. I like it because helping others makes me feel good. When I was first starting, my dad would help me by suggesting solutions or showing me other ways of answering a question. Now that I’m back in school and busy with classes, the Top Contributor program helps us stay in touch. In fact, I think it improves our relationship.

The Top Contributor program has brought us many great connections. The forums bring you closer to people, whether it’s through the questions you answer or the motivation to help that all the TCs share. And those bonds are something I wouldn’t change for anything.

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Passionate Google users helping others with Google products

Category: Google | May 25, 2016

If you’ve ever asked a question about a Google product in the Google Product Help Forums or on Twitter, chances are you’ve encountered a Top Contributor—passionate Google product experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge with their fellow users. Last year, Top Contributors helped more than 55 million people with 30 different Google products, answering questions and providing tips.

The super users in the Top Contributor program come from 60+ different countries. Their passion for our products and willingness to help others make them a community. To showcase the faces and stories behind this group of helpful users, we asked a few Top Contributors to share a bit about themselves. This is the first of two posts—come back tomorrow to learn more.

Jo says: As a writer, editor, and all-around book enthusiast, I spend a lot of time using word-processing programs. I first discovered Google Docs when I saw a Chromebook ad on TV. I was intrigued by the idea of working in the cloud and not needing an external hard drive to backup my work.

I use Docs for both my professional and personal writing and have completed works of nonfiction as well as novels in it. As senior editorial director at Book Publishing Co., I use Docs for reviewing and editing manuscripts, writing copy, and communicating with authors and colleagues. My authors and colleagues are fascinated when we’re in a document at the same time and they see me making changes. It looks like magic to them!

Helping others navigate Docs might seem like an unusual hobby, but I love it. I like exercising my brain by exploring all that an app can do. It’s rewarding to answer users’ questions and help them solve conundrums, especially knowing that my reply could potentially reach hundreds or even thousands of others users who visit the forum with a similar issue. The occasional “thank you” or “you saved the day” is icing on the cake.

Kojo says: I grew up in a small town in the central region of Ghana, the oldest of five children—which meant I learned how to work hard. Being the oldest meant I had to set a positive example for my siblings and cousins. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with honors from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where I’m now a teaching and research assistant.

I first got involved with Google products as a Google Student Ambassador, a program that gives students the opportunity to be a liaison between their university and Google. During that time, I gave tutorials to anyone from first year students to senior faculty in my department, teaching them how to incorporate Google apps like Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides into their day-to-day.

When I became a teaching and research assistant, I started using Google Forms to create short quizzes and Google Groups to send assignments and notes to the students in my lab experiment groups. Those experiences inspired me to start helping out in the forums, where I specialize in Nexus and Photos—products I don’t often get to use in the classroom.

I love troubleshooting issues with products because it challenges me to pinpoint issues given very little information. It not only teaches me to solve problems, but it also shows me how I can interrelate things when teaching in order to help students. My experience there inspires me to take on more challenges elsewhere. Next up: grad school.

Get involved with the Top Contributor Program
We’re always looking for people around the world who have strong Google product knowledge, a friendly attitude, and enjoy helping others. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, start participating in a Google Product Forum or on social media, and let us know you’re interested. Once you’re helping people on a regular basis, you may be invited to become a Rising Star, the first level in the Top Contributor program.

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