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Bringing a virtual Pride parade to students in Bogota, Colombia

Category: Google | Dec 13, 2016

Editor’s note: Earlier this year, we launched #prideforeveryone, a global virtual reality Pride parade that anyone, anywhere could join. Since then, we’ve distributed Google Cardboard and the virtual Pride experience to more than 20 groups and nonprofits, worldwide. This is the story of Alba Reyes, founder of the Sergio Urrego Foundation, who brought the parade to students in Bogota, Colombia.

In 2014, my son Sergio took his own life because he was suspended and discriminated by his school for kissing another boy. Unfortunately, neither I nor his friends were able to prevent the harassment and isolation he felt.

Since then, I’ve made it my mission to make sure what happened to Sergio doesn’t happen to any other young person in my country. I started the Fundacion Sergio Urrego to travel to schools across Colombia and lead inclusion workshops with local students. Although LGBTQ children may be more likely to feel isolated, many young people don’t feel accepted by their families, friends or teachers. My workshops create activities and safe spaces that help students understand how it feels to be discriminated against – reinforcing the importance of diversity and inclusion.

An important part of these workshops is helping students put themselves in another person’s shoes. This summer, we used Google Cardboard to give students in my workshops a way to experience Pride parades from across the globe. Most of these students have never seen a LGBTQ Pride parade. But with virtual reality, they can learn more about the global LGBT community, and feel supported by a global community that celebrates diversity.


After seeing the impact of my workshop and virtual Pride parade on children in Colombia, institutions like the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies have have showed their support to scale my workshops to even more children across the country.

My fight is not just for my child. It’s for all children who have endured discrimination and bullying from their peers, teachers and community.

If you’d like to join Alba, teachers, and community leaders around the world in bringing this virtual reality experience to your group, you can use this discussion guide created by one of our Google Educators. Interested in creating your own #prideforeveryone lesson plan based on the 360 film? Share your lesson on TES, the world’s largest online community of teachers


Upgrading SMS for Rogers customers on Android

Category: Google | Dec 13, 2016

Many of us rely on SMS every day — to make plans, confirm an appointment, or stay in touch with friends. But even as smartphones have become more powerful and the apps we use on them more vibrant, SMS hasn’t changed a lot. It’s still just plain text. We believe this standard messaging experience should be better, so through a mobile industry initiative called RCS (Rich Communications Services), we’ve committed to working with carriers and manufacturers to upgrade SMS to a more enhanced messaging experience for people everywhere.

Last month, we announced our first carrier supporting this richer messaging experience. Now we’re bringing RCS to even more people by working with Rogers Communications to launch RCS messaging to their Android customers in Canada.

Rogers customers will have access to enhanced features — including group chat, high-res photo sharing and read receipts — as part of their standard messaging experience on Android. You can access the upgraded messaging experience by downloading the Messenger app for Android devices from the Google Play Store, and the service will be powered by the Jibe RCS cloud. We’re beginning to roll out the enhanced messaging experience today, and it will be available to all Rogers customers soon.

Rogers RCS gif

Next year, Rogers intends to preload Messenger as the standard messaging app for new Android devices. We’re excited to provide a better messaging experience to Canadians, and look forward to launching RCS with more partners in the coming months.


Learning about the ho-ho-holidays with Google

Category: Google | Dec 12, 2016

The holidays are a time for celebrating traditions. Year after year, we tell favorite holiday stories and sing favorite holiday songs, whether for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. This season, you can help your students discover some of the history and heritage of popular holiday icons with two new Google Expeditions, which add a virtual-reality twist to learning. The first Expedition whisks students off to the Victorian London of Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Christmas Past, while the second takes them to the snowy world of Kris Kringle. For Hanukkah, students can also take a virtual museum visit to view photos and artifacts highlighting the richness of Jewish traditions from around the world.

Take a virtual visit to the Charles Dickens Museum

Many readers consider Charles Dickens the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His beloved 19th-century books include “Oliver Twist” and “A Christmas Carol.” The brick house at 48 Doughty Street is now the only remaining home in London where Dickens lived as an adult. His two eldest daughters were born here, as were some of his most important novels.

Now the Charles Dickens Museum, the house contains thousands of artifacts related to the author and his era. With the Charles Dickens Expedition, you can explore the house, learn the stories behind items on display, and discover what life in Victorian London was like for Dickens and his family. English teachers can lead students on a virtual visit while reading his classics to help students gain a greater appreciation for the life and times of the man who created Ebenezer Scrooge and other vivid characters.


Learn the science behind Santa

Mystery and wonder have always surrounded the jolly, bearded man who makes the holidays bright for children around the world. Now the Santa’s Journey Expedition offers lessons in some of the real science, technology, and ecology involved in this annual tradition. Students will marvel at the electrically-charged Northern Lights, glimpse at the camouflage and hibernation of Arctic wildlife, and learn why Santa really travels in a sleigh.

This Expedition will also delight students with five colorful panoramas of holiday moments, which teachers can use in conjunction with the lesson plan available on TES. They’ll see how different people and myths have contributed to making modern Santa, visit the wooden kota he calls home, and learn about his very own post office in Finland. They can peek into the stables where the nimble little Svalbard reindeer live, explore the great warehouse where elves make millions of gifts while playing international games, and learn how Santa achieves his incredible feat on Christmas Eve thanks to physics and technology — an unexpected science lesson that any kid will enjoy.


Teachers and students exploring the history of Judaism this Hanukkah can pay a virtual visit to Google Arts & Culture’s online exhibit of Judaica artifacts from Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. It showcases a fascinating array of items from the everyday lives and holiday celebrations of Russian Jews dating back to Peter the Great. The exhibit serves as a history lesson on how Jewish culture and traditions in Russia have been sustained across generations and centuries despite major migrations, wars, and geopolitical changes.

As we wrap up our year and look forward to a new year of learning in 2017, our teams here at Google Expeditions and Google Arts & Culture wish everyone joy and happiness this season!


Android Pay says “hajimemashite”

Category: Google | Dec 12, 2016

The next time you pop into your local “conbini”, your Android phone will be all you need to take with you. Starting today, Android Pay — the new digital wallet for Android smartphones — is available in Japan, helping you pay for things and earn loyalty points quickly and conveniently when you are on-the-go.

Android Pay Japan

We are launching with Rakuten Edy, so you can use Android Pay at over 470,000 locations in Japan that accept Rakuten Edy eMoney – including shops like Bic Camera, Family Mart, Lawson, McDonald’s and Yodobashi Camera.

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To start using Android Pay, download the app from the Google Play store onto an eligible Android smartphone running Kitkat 4.4 or above. You can create a new Edy card in seconds directly in the app, or, if you already have a mobile Rakuten Edy, you can also enable it in Android Pay. Adding money to your Edy card is quick and easy in Android Pay – you can top-up instantly in the app with your credit card, or at any local store that supports Rakuten Edy top-up.

To pay,  just tap your phone to the eMoney reader and see your balance update. It’s easy to keep track of your purchases, with a long-term transaction history viewable right in the app. You can also add your plastic loyalty cards for supported point programs like Rakuten Super Points.

JP_UI final

And there’s more to come. In 2017, we plan to continue working with FeliCa Networks to support more eMoney providers and are working with payments companies like The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Visa and Mastercard in many new ways – such as helping you speed through checkout with Android Pay in your favorite apps. Stay tuned for more announcements.

Get started with Android Pay in Japan today: download the app on Google Play, create a card and start shopping. And, as an added bonus, for a limited time, new users will receive a 400 yen sign-up gift when they create a Rakuten Edy card in Android Pay. It’s as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.


Investing in educators to meet the global demand for computer scientists

Category: Google | Dec 12, 2016

As underscored during CSEdWeek, navigating the 21st-century world requires new kinds of problem solving skills — and therefore a deeper investment in educators to prepare them to teach the next generation. Google is committed to providing educators with the preparation, resources and support necessary to boost their confidence and skills as computer science educators through CS4HS (Computer Science for High School).

The annual CS4HS awards support Professional Development (PD) providers (research institutions, universities, community colleges, school districts and educational non-profits) dedicated to creating and delivering Computer Science (CS) PD to local communities of teachers. Applications for 2017-2018 funding are now open.

We need to equip educators with the knowledge, resources, and support to create CS content that meets students’ needs. CS educators provide students with lifelong skills that enable them to solve problems and develop unique solutions. “A lot of students come out of school able to push the right buttons, but don’t know how to approach real-world problem solving. We need to teach students how to tackle problems that seem unsolvable,” says Leanne Cameron, lecturer of educational studies at Australian Catholic University.

While not every child will become a computer scientist, every child should have the opportunity to explore and create with computing. “When students learn to code, they open the door to invent powerful things that can empower them and their communities,” says Dr. Yue Li, a teacher at South China University of Technology.  All students need to develop the computational thinking (CT) skills that will help them develop critical workplace skills for the new global economy.

CS4HS funding enables computer science education experts to meet teachers where they are and deepen their skills and confidence in CS and CT. Since 2009, the program has impacted more than 40,000 teachers and one million students in 40 countries. Here are a few of their stories:

Uniting a nation in CS education

Australian Catholic University responded to Australia’s newly mandated Digital Technologies curriculum by creating a compulsory course that will help all pre-service teachers in their Bachelor of Education programs learn how to teach CS and CT. Over 2,000 pre-service teachers have completed the course to date. This course has also been open-sourced so that other universities can use the content to prepare their teachers. Beyond their open source content, ACU’s nationwide workshops have connected in-service teachers to Google partners such as CS Unplugged and Adelaide University’s free online MOOCs for teachers to help scale professional development and online communities of practice.

Meeting teachers where they are, based on local needs

South China University of Technology works with the Guangzhou Education Information Center to expand the availability of MIT App Inventor throughout China, for example, by establishing a China-based App Inventor server. App Inventor was specifically chosen because an overwhelming majority of students have access to mobile technology rather than traditional non-mobile computers. With App Inventor, students can create their own mobile technology. South China University of Technology used CS4HS funding to organize App Inventor workshops for over 200 local teachers from 2014 to 2016, helping them build programming skills so they can encourage their students to design and build their own apps.

Building scalable platforms and content

Catrobat, a non-profit initiative based at Austria’s Graz University of Technology, used CS4HS funding to help teachers gamify computer science concepts. Catrobat built Pocket Code, a free app that students can use to create games and animations on their Android phones. To date, Pocket Code has approximately 26,000 installs on active devices and 250,000 downloads on Google Play. Alongside the game, they also created a free online course to teach users how to use the app to teach CS in their classrooms, with over 650 teacher users thus far. The app and course make coding education easy, accessible and fun and students just need internet access and a smartphone to get started.


Pocket Code students use their self-designed app, a hybrid project of art, German, and programming,  which connects a tablet to a skateboard to control student-generated artwork in the vocabulary game.

Creating institutional partnerships for lasting success

Western Wyoming Community College professor Carla Hester-Croff used CS4HS funding to create a workshop for Wyoming middle and high school teachers. Working alongside the University of Colorado Boulder’s Scalable Game Design project, Hester-Croff built upon the success of other CS education experts and customized the workshop content to local teachers’ needs. This resulted in incredible impact in a rural area with few CS resources. Teachers now incorporate game design and programming into classes like biology and environmental science – for example, creating a computer simulation to predict the spread of a communicable disease. “Our workshops have shown teachers that they don’t need to be afraid of computer science,” Hester-Croff says.

You can read more about the organizations and individuals who are doing great work in CS professional development on our website. You can also watch our Hangout on Air on Dec. 14 to learn about the ripple effect of CS4HS and how it is growing and supporting local communities of teachers. By supporting teachers, we help them to inspire their students and equip them with critical problem solving strategies to solve the complex challenges of the future.


New Google Allo stickers that will help you get ready for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Category: Google | Dec 9, 2016

Between AT-ATs, TIE fighters, a new droid, and of course Darth Vader himself — there are a lot of reasons to look forward to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” in theaters on December 16. Starting today, exclusive stickers are available in Google Allo to help you prepare for the newest “Star Wars” adventure.

Our stickers feature new characters Jyn, Cassian and K-2SO, as well as some familiar ones — Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and the Death Star (in all its glory). Here are five stickers that help you make plans (even if they’re not to steal the plans to the Death Star):

1. When your BFF is free to go to opening night with you

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2. When you already bought your tickets and can skip the line

The Force is Strong.gif

3. When you’re running late to dinner before the movie

On my way.gif

4. That moment when someone’s phone rings during the final scene

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5. Trying to focus at work after the midnight showing


Our “Rogue One” sticker pack is available starting today. You can download it from the sticker store in Google Allo on Android and iOS.


Reflecting on the Right to be Forgotten

Category: Google | Dec 9, 2016

What if links to stories about someone’s past—stories about defrauding an international business or about medical tourism malpractice—were removed from Google search in your country, not because of your local laws but because someone was able to use the laws of another country. How would you feel about that?

That question may seem simplistic.  But it goes to the heart of a very important debate that is taking place now in Europe, initially between some Data Protection Authorities and, next year, in court. At stake: whether Europe’s right to be forgotten—which allows people in EU countries to request removal of certain links from name search results—should reach beyond the borders of Europe and into countries which have different laws.

Google believes it should not. That’s why, for much of the last year, we’ve been  defending the idea that each country should be able to balance freedom of expression and privacy in the way that it chooses, not in the way that another country chooses.

To be clear: we are not disputing that Google should comply with the right to be forgotten in Europe. We have worked diligently to give effect to the rights confirmed by the European Court of Justice. We have delisted approximately 780,000 URLs to date and have granted fast and effective responses to individuals who assert their rights.  

We have also worked efficiently with Data Protection Authorities when they are asked to review (the small number of) cases that are appealed to them.  Our approach to delisting takes into account the criteria set out by the European Court, as well as guidance from each country’s regulators and courts.  And from the outset, we have delisted links on all European versions of Google Search simultaneously. So links would no longer appear on, and, and so on.

But some Data Protection Authorities argued that people could still find delisted links by searching on a non-European version of Google such as  So in March 2016, in response to the concerns of a number of Data Protection Authorities, we made some changes.  As a result, people using Google from the same country as the person who requested the removal can no longer find the delisted link, even on,, or

But one Data Protection Authority, the French Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (the CNIL), has ordered Google to go much further, effectively instructing us to apply the French balance between privacy and free expression in every country by delisting French right to be forgotten removals for users everywhere.  Ultimately, we might have to implement French standards on Google search sites from Australia ( to Zambia ( and everywhere in between. And any such precedent would open the door to countries around the world, including non-democratic countries, to demand the same global power.

We agree with the CNIL that privacy is a fundamental right—but so too is the right to free expression. Any balance that is struck between those two rights must be accompanied by territorial limits, consistent with the basic principles of international law. Aside from anything else, it’s plain common sense that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of another, especially not when it comes to lawful content.

We are not alone in this view.   A wide range of organisations from all over the world have also expressed fears about the CNIL’s decision and its impact on freedom of speech, press freedom and the right to access information on the Internet, including The Wikimedia Foundation, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, The International Federation of Library Associations, and The Article 19 Coalition of Human Rights organizations.

The right to be forgotten can sometimes seem complex, and discussions about jurisdiction online certainly are complicated. But this issue is simple: should the balance between the right to free expression and the right to privacy be struck by each country—based on its culture, its traditions, its courts—or should one view apply for all?


CSEdWeek 2016: Proud to be part of the CS community

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2016

Editor’s Note: Every year during Computer Science Education Week, partners and educators come together to encourage millions of students to try computer science (CS). This year, Google is focusing on improving perceptions of CS while making it more accessible for underrepresented students. Follow along here throughout this week (Dec 5 – 11) to find out what we’ve learned from the latest research about CS education, what we’re doing for CSEdWeek and how each of us can help champion #CSForAll.

It takes countless hours and dedication to fill the CS gap in today’s schools. Thanks to a lot of hard work by organizations and educators, the CS education landscape in the U.S. is changing for the better — 40 percent of K-12 principals say they’re offering CS classes this year with programming and coding, up from 25 percent last year.

We’re grateful to have collaborative partnerships with many organizations, educators and others working to make computer science accessible to students every day. As this year’s CSEdWeek comes to a close, we’d like to acknowledge some of our partners dedicated to making #CSforall a reality. To all of the nonprofits, institutions, and the students themselves, committed to CS education: We’re proud to be a part of your community.

Supporting nonprofits working to close the CS education gap

We partner with many nonprofits to bring CS education opportunities to every student.  Here are some recent projects:

CS OPEN: helping underrepresented minorities and girls pursue STEM

Last year, National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) announced a new initiative at the White House: the Computer Science Outreach Program Evaluation Network (CS OPEN). This program provides community-building opportunities and grants so that nonprofits can evaluate their work in order to improve it. With support from Google, CS OPEN currently funds 12 organizations helping underrepresented minorities and girls pursue their STEM interests, including the STEM Academy at Oregon State University. The Academy engages K-12 youth in programs designed to increase college attendance and participation in the STEM fields. Through a recent CS OPEN grant, the Academy was able to move from a 1-page survey evaluation to full interviews and observations in order to understand how their programs were truly engaging youth.

“With the support for full evaluation of our initiatives, we were able to make real, actionable changes to our program that will actually make more impact for the students we serve.”  – Cathy Smith, Director, STEM Academy @ OSU

Next year, we’ll be helping provide an additional $50K in seed funding in 2017 to help even more nonprofits evaluate and learn from their inspiring work.

MentorNet: empowering college students to pursue CS careers

Sometimes, students just need a little advice from someone who’s done it before. MentorNet has made it possible for professionals to use their skills to offer career insights, project assistance, and guidance to university students pursuing a career in STEM. MentorNet partners with igniteCS, an initiative at Google, that provides funding and resources for groups of college and university students to make a difference in their local communities through CS mentorship. The 2017 funding round opens in January, so If you’re a current university student, learn more on our website.

I can say without a doubt, that having a MentorNet mentor while in college is one of the most eye-opening and impactful things for a student.

Aza T

Student, Boise State University

If you’re a student studying STEM, check out free opportunities for mentors through MentorNet.

Meet the new generation of computer scientists

Making CS accessible for all takes more than programs and partnerships. Research shows that students and parents see fewer portrayals of women, Hispanic or Black computer scientists in today’s media. That makes us especially inspired by the many students who are helping redefine what it means to be a computer scientist. These role models are using CS to solve real-world problems and make a difference. Here are a few of their stories:

Lilia, 18: code can connect passionate people to volunteer opportunities


“OOL is a bridge between passionate people who want to change the world and projects that need that passion”


Lilia, an 18-year-old student from Mexico, recently won an award in the 2016 Technovation World Pitch competition, for her app, OOL. The first app of its kind in Mexico, OOL creates a bridge between nonprofit organizations and the people of Mexico, by connecting them to each other. Volunteer opportunities are presented to the user through a dynamic interface and, with a single click, the volunteer match is complete.

Made with Code is joining forces with Iridescent to launch the 2017 Technovation Challenge, and we’re excited to see Lilia inspire next year’s participants to create their own apps to tackle real-life issues. 

Anika, 14: code can help diagnose Alzheimer’s and predict breast cancer

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Computer science doesn’t just mean coding in your basement” – Anika

Anika, a high school sophomore in Cupertino, CA volunteered in a senior care facility last year, which led her to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease. She was shocked to learn that with no standard test for diagnosis, most doctors rely on their own opinions. By extracting image features from MRI scans, Anika built an interface for doctors to upload an image, enter some basic patient information, and get a reliable Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Anika’s innovative app won her a Global Finalist seat at the 2015 Google Science Fair and again in 2016, when she used code to predict the likelihood of a patient developing breast cancer by analyzing images from previous mammograms. We can’t wait to see what Anika does next.

We’re humbled to be a part of the community of organizations that are making CS education accessible to all students. As CSEdWeek comes to a close, we’re humbled to be a part of the community of organizations that are making CS education accessible to all students.


Update on Android and Google Play’s progress in enterprise

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2016

Two years ago, we launched Android for Work to help connect organizations and enable their employees to work smarter and more efficiently. As a program, Android for Work introduced a common set of APIs built directly into Android and Play, providing a consistent way of managing any Android device.

Android has extended enterprise support significantly since Lollipop, with security as a top priority. Android helps protect enterprise data and user privacy at a platform level by storing work and personal data separately on personal devices. Most recently, with Nougat, we added support for file-based encryption, always-on VPN, and a separate password for work apps. These and other management capabilities expand on the multiple layers of protection that come built-in with Android.

With the expansion of capabilities in Android, we’ve also seen partners unlock new use cases for customers. As an open platform that can fit any form factor, Android now powers a growing range of purpose-built devices from leading manufacturers such as Zebra and Honeywell that can help companies and their employees work in new ways.

Android: Powering the world's work devices

Android: Powering the world's work devices

Thanks to these investments and the work of our partners, Android has become the most popular operating system on enterprise smartphones shipped globally. Android devices account for 62 percent of worldwide enterprise smartphone shipments, according to IDC*.

Worldwide share of enterprise device shipments 2Q2016

Worldwide enterprise smartphone shipments by platform

To match the progress of enterprise support in Android, going forward we’ll refer to enterprise capabilities simply as part of Android and Google Play. With platform-level support shipping with every GMS compatible device, Android for Work and Play for Work have become a core part of Android and Google Play. We think this change better reflects the built-in nature of enterprise features of Android and our commitment to enterprise mobility.

We’ve only begun to see how mobile technology can benefit businesses, and as a platform, we rely on the innovation that comes from our ecosystem partners. To further that collaboration, our London office will be hosting an Android Enterprise Partner Summit in January for our Android partners — to apply for a spot to attend and learn more, go here.

Customers interested in how Android can improve their business can learn more or get started and try it here.

Source: *IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker 2016 H1.


Android Wear: The Magic Minute Project

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2016

What’s possible in a minute? You can fall in love. Launch a rocket ship. Set a rap world record.

Today, Android Wear is teaming up with with makers, doers, and dreamers to launch The Magic Minute Project. It’s a collection of one-minute films celebrating what time means to all of us—told one #MagicMinute at a time.

A music and video producer, Andrew Huang has a penchant for working within absurd, self-imposed limitations. Using his Android Wear watch to time his performance, Andrew attempts to rap 300 words in one #MagicMinute.

Bruna Kajiya is a Brazilian kiteboarder and World Champion and the first woman to land a double handle pass in kiteboarding. The final minute of a competition is always the most intense: The riders perform their “all or nothing” tricks and everything is on the line.

Time trials have become popular in Parkour. Setting a route across an urban landscape, leaping between rooftops—it’s seen as the highest test of practice. Kie Willis, one of the most well known freerunners in the world, attempts a one-minute Parkour while keeping his heart rate low.

Putting together the perfect look takes time, but a versatile accessory can help. Zanita Whittington—model, photographer, and creative director—completes her look by personalizing her Android Wear watch face.

Mike Relm is a world renowned turntablist and director, known for sampling music in surprisingly innovative ways to create new sounds. He has sampled and scratched many sounds in his life, but this is the first time using his wife’s voice!

Just as traditional watches help tell the time, Android Wear watches help make the most of our time. Whatever makes a minute magical to you, why not share it with the world too? It can be anything you imagine: paint, play, code, cook, rap or render.

Submit your own #MagicMinute for a chance to be featured in The Magic Minute Project film. Follow @AndroidWear on Twitter or visit to explore the best #MagicMinute videos.