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Android: Choice at every turn

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2016

In 2007, we launched Android, a free and open-source operating system. Smartphones back then were an expensive rarity. We wanted to change that — to stimulate innovation and increase choice for consumers — and it worked.

Android means manufacturers don’t have to buy or build expensive mobile operating systems. As a result, smartphones are now available at dramatically lower prices — as little as 45 euros — and have become much more accessible to many more people. Today, more than 24,000 devices from over 1,300 brands run on Android. And European developers are able to distribute their apps to over a billion people around the world. Android is not a ‘one way street’; it’s a multi-lane highway of choice.

Last April, the European Commission issued a Statement of Objections raising concerns over how we manage Android compatibility and distribute our own apps. The response we filed today shows how the Android ecosystem carefully balances the interests of users, developers, hardware makers, and mobile network operators. Android hasn’t hurt competition, it’s expanded it.

First, the Commission’s case is based on the idea that Android doesn’t compete with Apple’s iOS. We don’t see it that way.  We don’t think Apple does either. Or phone makers. Or developers. Or users. In fact, 89% of respondents to the Commission’s own market survey confirmed that Android and Apple compete. To ignore competition with Apple is to miss the defining feature of today’s competitive smartphone landscape.  

Second, we are concerned that the Commission’s preliminary findings underestimate the importance of developers and the dangers of fragmentation in a mobile ecosystem.  Developers — and there were at least 1.3 million of them in Europe in 2015 — depend on a stable and consistent framework to do their work. Any phone maker can download Android and modify it in any way they choose. But that flexibility makes Android vulnerable to fragmentation, a problem that plagued previous operating systems like Unix and Symbian. When anyone can modify your code, how do you ensure there’s a common, consistent version of the operating system, so that developers don’t have to go through the hassle and expense of building multiple versions of their apps?

To manage this challenge, we work with hardware makers to establish a minimum level of compatibility among Android devices.  Critically, we give phone makers wide latitude to build devices that go above that baseline, which is why you see such a varied universe of Android devices. That’s the key: our voluntary compatibility agreements enable variety while giving developers confidence to create apps that run seamlessly across thousands of different phones and tablets. This balance stimulates competition between Android devices as well as between Android and Apple’s iPhone.

Compatibility

Android’s compatibility rules help minimize fragmentation and sustain a healthy ecosystem for developers. Ninety-four percent of respondents who answered questions on fragmentation in a Commission market survey said that it harms the Android platform. Developers worry about it, and our competitors with proprietary platforms (who don’t face the same risk) regularly criticize us for it. The Commission’s proposal risks making fragmentation worse, hurting the Android platform and mobile phone competition.

Third, the Commission argues that we shouldn’t offer some Google apps as part of a suite. No manufacturer is obliged to preload any Google apps on an Android phone. But we do offer manufacturers a suite of apps so that when you buy a new phone you can access a familiar set of basic services. Android’s competitors, including Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Windows phone, not only do the same, but they allow much less choice in the apps that come with their phones. On Android, Google’s apps typically account for less than one-third of the preloaded apps on the device (and only a small fraction of device memory). A consumer can swipe away any of our apps at any time. And, uniquely, hardware makers and carriers can pre-install rival apps right next to ours. In competition-speak, that means there’s no “foreclosure”.

Real Estate

There’s also plenty of evidence that consumers can easily choose which apps they want — something the Commission has recognized in other investigations. The average Android user in Europe downloads an additional 50 apps over the lifetime of their device. Downloading and replacing an app or widget is simple — you can do it in thirty seconds. Users downloaded 65 billion apps from Google Play in 2015 — an average of more than 175 million apps a day. Since 2011, apps offering similar functionality to those in our suite have been downloaded almost 15 billion times. Again, there’s no evidence of foreclosure.

Many pre-installed apps don’t succeed, and many have been extremely successful through user downloads — think of Spotify or Snapchat. Our apps suite approach explicitly preserves users’ freedom to choose the apps they want on their phones.

App Competition

Finally, distributing products like Google Search together with Google Play permits us to offer our entire suite for free — as opposed to, for example, charging upfront licensing fees. This free distribution is an efficient solution for everyone — it lowers prices for phone makers and consumers, while still letting us sustain our substantial investment in Android and Play.

Today’s mobile devices show all the signs of fierce competition with a wide range of business models: from vertically integrated ones like Apple’s iOS to open-source systems like Android. The rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices we see in smartphones represent the hallmarks of robust competition.

Android has unleashed a new generation of innovation and inter-platform competition. By any measure, it is the most open, flexible, and differentiated of the mobile computing platforms.

But open-source platforms are fragile. They survive and grow by balancing the needs of all participants, including users and developers. The Commission’s approach would upset this balance, and send an unintended signal favouring closed over open platforms.  It would mean less innovation, less choice, less competition, and higher prices. That wouldn’t be just a bad outcome for us. It would be a bad outcome for developers, for phone makers and carriers, and, most critically, for consumers.  

That’s the case we are making to the Commission in our filing today. We look forward to continuing the dialogue.

For more Android facts, visit android.com/everyone

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/BlTq2Ekjn44/

A new home for Google in Singapore

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2016

We opened our first Singapore office in 2007, a tiny space along Collyer Quay occupied by just 24 people. Since then, Asia’s grown, Singapore’s grown and we’ve grown in Singapore. We now need room for 1,000 Googlers working on new products and projects across Asia for our users, customers and partners. And we also want more room for the community around us—the kind of place that’s useful for gatherings of developers, students, founders, and kids to connect with Googlers and, sometimes, even prime ministers and ministers of trade. So we’re excited Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister for Trade and Industry Mr. S. Iswaran could join us at the opening of our new office today. 

Prime Minister Lee and Minister Iswaran at our housewarming

We’ve moved! We’re honored to have Prime Minister Lee and Minister Iswaran join us at our housewarming.

Wefie with Prime Minister Lee and Minister Iswaran -- and a room full of Googlers

Wefie with Prime Minister Lee, Minister Iswaran and a roomful of Googlers

Prime Minister tries out Tilt Brush

Prime Minister Lee tried his hand at painting in 3D space with virtual reality using Tilt Brush. He also explored Ink&Clog’s virtual illustration of Singapore’s urban landscape. 

As our Asia Pacific headquarters, Googlers here are focused on many areas, industries and countries in the region. We have a growing engineering team, and Googlers working across sales, partnerships, marketing, people operations and many more. We wanted our office to reflect that diversity and regional range, and built it in a way that enables everyone to work together effortlessly. You’ll see that the new space is also designed to inspire Googlers to perform at their best every day. Put together, we believe this fosters collaboration and creativity — the key ingredients for innovation, which in turn is key to our long-term success. 

A brainstorm room at Google Singapore

Googlers are empowered to choose the kind of workspace that best suits their working style and the tasks they need to focus on for the day. There are open spaces for collaboration and more quiet spaces for individual work.

Adventure Cove at Google Singapore

Bringing the Garden City indoors: scientific evidence shows that spaces that evoke nature enhance our physical and mental well-being, so we do our best to bring the outdoors inside.

Diwali at Google Singapore

We encourage Googlers to celebrate occasions like Deepavali. We’re a diverse bunch in Google and getting to know each other’s culture is important to us.

Googleween

And we love to have fun! Here’s one taken of Googlers celebrating Halloween on our rooftop garden.


Nurturing more tech innovators

A passion for solving problems—big and small—through innovation and technology is at the core of everything that we do at Google. Over the past nine years, we’ve contributed to Singapore’s tech community by training young graduates in advertising technology through Digitize, bringing small businesses online with GoGlobal, and growing a pool of data analysts through Squared Data Analytics

But we can do more. We feel we can play an important role in inspiring more Singaporeans, especially young Singaporeans, to take up technology and the creative industries as careers. I’m especially inspired whenever I meet young girls and boys who are using technology to solve global challenges in creative and meaningful ways. For example, Marion, Joy, and Sonia, all 18-year-olds from NUS High School, recently wowed our judges at the Google Science Fair with their concept for ‘paint on’ energy storage. We want to encourage many more Singaporeans to become future technologists and leave their mark on the world.  

This is why today, we also announced that we’re bringing Code in the Community to 3,000 young Singaporeans from less well-to-do backgrounds. It’s a multi-year, multi-level computer science and computational thinking course to get even more Singaporean kids excited about the potential of technology. 

We’re partnering with Singapore’s four ethnic Self-Help Groups—the Chinese Development Assistance Council, Singapore Indian Development Association, The Eurasian Association and Yayasan Mendaki—to hold weekend classes for kids aged 8 to 15, with an equal mix of boys and girls. The program, which starts in early 2017, will be run by 21C Girls and Saturday Kids at four Community Centers around the island for three years. Google’s support for Code in the Community is made possible through our Data Center Community Grants and RISE Awards programs. We will share more details when sign-ups open next month.

Code in the Community partners

Singaporean Google engineers with leaders from CDAC, Eurasian Association, MENDAKI and SINDA. From left to right: Jing Lim (Google), Mdm Tuminah Sapawi (CEO, Yayasan MENDAKI), Mr K Barathan (CEO, SINDA), Mr Pok Cheng Chong (Executive Director, CDAC), Mr Alexius A. Pereira (Vice President, The Eurasian Association), Ian Leow (Google)

Each batch of participants and their parents will start off with a visit to our new office where they will hear from Googlers about how they started their careers and what a technical job really has to offer.  We will also be engaging with the community through a series of tech talks, meet-ups and interview workshops that we we hope will give Singaporeans aspiring to pursue a career in tech a head start. 

As a Singaporean, I can’t tell you how excited I am about our new home and welcoming many more of you here. Just imagine the ideas and innovations we’ll see when a greater diversity of Singaporeans develop a passion for technology, and the better and more useful outcomes this will lead to for all. 

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/gRVmaTiVCUM/

Build data-rich presentations in seconds with integrated apps and the Slides API

Category: Google | Nov 9, 2016

Presentations are a staple in business communication. When done right, they help tell a story that can captivate, persuade, or inspire audiences. But crafting that story can be tedious, especially if you’re constantly flipping between screens to copy and paste charts, images, or figures into your slides.

If only there was an API for that….

Today, we’re announcing the general availability of the Google Slides API which gives developers programmatic access to create and update presentations in Slides from any data source. We previewed the Slides API at I/O earlier this year to change how business presentations are built. Now, your teams can use a number of ready-to-go integrations to turn your business data into presentations, with just a click.

Build beautiful, up-to-date presentations in seconds using Conga, Trello, Lucidchart and Zapier

Whether you’re looking to populate a quarterly business review (QBR) deck, add specs for weekly design review slides, or refresh event registration data for your daily update, the third-party apps below let you quickly and easily build beautiful, data-rich presentations.

  • Generate your next QBR deck with Conga: Conga makes document creation and reporting for Salesforce easy. With its Slides API integration you can create a quarterly business review presentation in Slides from your standard Salesforce Account records in seconds. Read more here.

Conga gif

  • Create vivid project updates with Trello: Trello helps you organize and prioritize project information in highly visual ways. With its Slide API integration, you can turn any Trello board or set of cards into a Slides presentation with just a click. Read more here.

trello gif

  • Review complex visualizations with Lucidchart: Lucidchart helps you create complex diagrams and visuals easily. With its Slides API integration you can export flowcharts, mockups, and other such visuals, break them into slides to cover specifics in more detail, and rapidly iterate on the content. You can find Lucidchart on the G Suite Marketplace and read more about the integration here.
  • Create and respond to custom proposals requests with Zapier: Zapier lets you create and automate business workflows. With its Slides API integration you can create, collaborate, and share dynamic presentations using Slides with just a few workflow rules. You can get started with the Slides integration on Zapier or learn more about it here.

All of these app integrations are available to try today — and this is just the beginning. We’re working with many other software vendors, including ProsperWorks, AODocs and Form Publisher to help you do more in less time in all sorts of ways.

Developers can start using the Slides API today. Documentation and demos are available at developers.google.com/slides and they can read more about it here.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/PlpjIBGUZ6k/

Could machine learning save this sea cow?

Category: Google | Nov 9, 2016

Dugong - Peter Shanks.jpg

It’s hard to imagine this adorable sea cow getting caught in a fishing net, or losing its home to coastal development. Unfortunately that’s what’s happening to many populations of large marine mammals around the world. It’s urgent—sea cows are under threat of extinction.

Sea cows might be cute, but it turns out they’re also really hard to keep track of. And keeping accurate data on populations is critical for conservation efforts.

For decades, scientists had to spend days peering out of small planes to count populations, which was expensive and sometimes hazardous. Dr. Amanda Hodgson of Murdoch University has helped to change that, using drones to take aerial photography of the ocean. But now that they can collect aerial photos remotely, there’s a new challenge: how can they find the sea cows in 45,000 photos?

Try it yourself—look for the sea cow in this image, which you can click to get in full resolution:

Can’t find it? Hint: it’s in the middle of the lower-left quarter. Yes, that little gray smaller-than-fingernail-sized sliver. To see where it is, check out the image with the sea cow circled

Now, what if you had to do this manually on tens of thousands of images? It would really slow down research, and it wouldn’t scale to other regions and other species of sea mammals.

So Dr. Hodgson and team decided to apply a little magic: machine learning. She teamed up with Dr. Frederic Maire, a computer scientist at Queensland University of Technology. Using TensorFlow, the free open source machine learning platform that’s now been out for exactly one year, they built a detector that could learn to find sea cows in these photos automatically. (It’s a little like the image recognition that lets you search Google Photos for shots of particular dog species, or sunsets, or whatnot—but much more specialized for this scientific task.)

The results are encouraging: an early version of their detector could find 80% of the sea cows they’d found manually in images, and they expect to improve performance over time. This suggests the approach may scale well—not only for sea cows, but for other sea mammals such as humpback whales and certain dolphins as well. Eventually if they’re able to track these threatened populations on a large scale, conservationists have a much better shot at knowing how they’re impacted by human activities, and where it’s most urgent we protect their habitats. In a small way, machine learning might help save the humble sea cow.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/pzxAmBWJgWs/

Learning is the work of the future

Category: Google | Nov 8, 2016

Editor’s Note: Four years ago, we held our first Global Education Symposium, where we invited ministries of education and thought leaders from around the world to join us in a discussion about education in our rapidly changing global landscape. Each year since, we’ve been humbled to learn alongside the folks who make important country and system-wide policy decisions that impact the world’s teachers and learners. This article is part of that ongoing effort – on the eve of our fourth Symposium –  to explore and understand the issues facing the education industry and share what we learn along the way.  You can find more at https://www.google.com/edu/resources/global-education/.    

[edu] Google_GES_Andreas

A generation ago, teachers could expect that what they taught would last for the life of their students. Today, schools need to prepare students for more rapid economic and social change than ever before, for jobs that haven’t been created, to use technologies that haven’t yet been invented, and to solve social problems that we can’t yet imagine. That’s why Google’s Education Symposium is taking education head-on, with the premise that the future is not about more of the same, but about transformation.

In traditional school systems, teachers have been provided an exact prescription for what to teach and then left alone in classrooms. The past was about delivered wisdom, the future is about user-generated wisdom.

The past was divided: you had teachers and content divided by subjects and student destinations; and the past was isolated: schools were designed to keep students inside, and the rest of the world outside. The future needs to be integrated, that means emphasising integration of subjects, integration of students and integration of learning contexts; and it needs to be connected: that means connected with real-world contexts, and also permeable to the rich resources in the community. Instruction in the past was subject-based, instruction in the future will be project based. The past was hierarchical, students were recipients and teachers the dominant resource, the future is co-created, and that means we need to recognise both students and adults as resources for the co-creation of communities, for the design of learning and for the success of students.

The future also needs to be collaborative, and that means changing working norms. In the flat world, everything that is our proprietary knowledge today will be a commodity available to everyone tomorrow. Because technology has enabled us to act on our imaginations in ways that we could never before, value is less and less created vertically through command and control, but increasingly so horizontally by whom we connect and work with. Success will be with those who master the new forms of collaboration. Expressed differently, we are seeing a shift from a world of stocks – with knowledge that is stacked up somewhere depreciating rapidly in value – to a world in which the enriching power of collaboration is rising.

In the past, different students were taught in similar ways. Now we need to embrace diversity with differentiated pedagogical practices. The past was curriculum-centered, the future is learner centered. The goals of the past were standardisation and compliance, that is, students are educated in batches of age, following the same standard curriculum, all assessed at the same time. The future is about personalising educational experiences, that is building instruction from student passions and capacities, helping students personalise their learning and assessment in ways that foster engagement and talents. In the past, schools were technological islands, that is technology was deployed mostly to support existing practices for efficiency gains. Future schools are empowered and use the potential of technologies to liberate learning from past conventions and connect learners in new and powerful ways. The past was interactive, the future is participative.

Traditionally, the policy focus was on the provision of education, we now need to shift from looking upwards in the bureaucracy towards looking outwards to the next teacher, the next school. The future is also about more innovative partnerships. Isolation in a world of complex learning systems will seriously limit potential. Powerful learning environments are constantly creating synergies and finding new ways to enhance professional, social and cultural capital with others. They do that with families and communities, with higher education, with other schools and learning environments, and with businesses. We still have far too few innovators and game changers in education. We need to find better ways to recognise, reward and give exposure to their successes. And we need to make it easier for them to take risks and encourage the emergence of new actors. This is challenging, but it is possible. The symposium is an opportunity to move this agenda forward.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/kesNMb4gxy0/

Google Cloud Platform Tokyo region now open for business

Category: Google | Nov 7, 2016

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) continues to rapidly expand our global footprint. Today, we’re lighting up our latest cloud region in Tokyo – asia-northeast1.

As one of the fastest growing technology markets, the Asia-Pacific region has been important to GCP since the beginning. Building on our existing Taiwan cloud region, Tokyo doubles our presence in Asia, for a total of six zones.

These cloud regions build upon Google’s networking backbone, including recent investments in FASTER and PLCN submarine cables. Google has an immense worldwide networking presence, in Asia and around the world, resulting in high performance for GCP customers.

tokyo-region-ga

Low latency and high performance are key considerations when choosing a region to deploy resources. By opening a dedicated cloud region in Tokyo, we’re bringing Google’s compute, storage and networking services directly to Japanese businesses. Based on our testing, customers in cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and Nagoya experience 50-85% lower latency on average when served from the Tokyo region compared to Taiwan.

tokyo-region-ga-mercari

“Our mercari atte service provides the best user experience with GCP’s highly available network capability and edge caching. Now that the Tokyo region is open, we can use GCP for other services that have low-latency requirements.” – Tatsuya Tsuruoka, Principal Engineer, Mercari

tokyo-region-ga-recruit

“We have been using GCP services in big data analysis for the entire Recruit Group. We are very glad to hear this news and really appreciate the launch of GCP Tokyo region, which will enable us to leverage more GCP technology and services that require low latency. We would like to use the advanced services of GCP Tokyo region, such as machine learning, and are looking forward to growing our business through our mutual partnership with Google.”      – Keiichiro Maeda, Corporate Executive Officer (Big Data, ID Point), Recruit Technologies Co.,Ltd.

Available now, the Cloud Region in Tokyo offers the following core services:

To help onboard customers, we’re also working with several partners in Japan who will provide their services from the new Tokyo region. Some of our early partners include JSOL, a provider of data analytics and machine learning solutions, and Groovenauts, which develops online gaming technology.

In the last few years, GCP has grown to serve a diverse set of customers from mobile gaming studios to traditional enterprises, all of whom depend on our cloud regions and network to reach their customers across Asia and beyond. We look forward to welcoming businesses to the Tokyo region and are excited to see what they build with our platform.

You can follow our locations page for updates on the availability of additional services, including new regions in Singapore and Sydney coming in 2017. For more information about how to deploy your resources, visit our zones and regions page. Fill out this survey to request early access to our future regions, and to help us prioritize which regions Google open next.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/smwfopFIekM/

Google Flights lands in Indonesia

Category: Google | Nov 7, 2016

Whether you’re traveling from Jakarta to Sydney or Medan to Bandung, Google Flights can offer inspiration and help you find the best flights available. Starting today, you can search www.google.co.id/flights to quickly and easily compare and book flights — from your mobile device, tablet or desktop. And you’ll be able to see local content and pricing in Rupiah.

Explore.width-1410.png

Still trying to figure out where you’d like to visit and the best time to go? Try using our new Explore feature on mobile to find ideas on destinations to visit based on dates and trip duration.

For example, if you want to get away for a holiday next month you can choose “1 week” and “December” to see popular destinations — with the best time to visit and the lowest price available to get there. Scroll through the suggestions and click on one of the tiles that interests you. You’ll see a snapshot of the least expensive flights available (with price, stops and duration for flights).

Tablet_Explore.width-2000.png

Once you select your departure and return dates, you’ll be presented with a list of ‘Best flights’; which represents the best tradeoff of convenience and price.

If you’re not ready to book yet, you can choose to track a flight and receive email notifications when prices are expected to change or when the price actually does increase or decrease significantly.

Tracking_Id_Jakarta_Bali.width-2000.png

Our goal is to provide you with fast results as you easily explore where you want to go, figure out the best time to travel, quickly review flight options and book a ticket. We hope you’ll enjoy planning your next domestic or international trip with Google Flights!

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/WFHeR7ZeOSk/

Gmail and Google Calendar get a whole lot better on iOS

Category: Google | Nov 7, 2016

Today we’re making some changes to the Gmail and Google Calendar apps on iOS.

The new Gmail app for iOS

When you get the next Gmail iOS app update, you’ll notice some exciting changes: The biggest overhaul of the app in nearly four years. It’s the Gmail you know and love, with a fresh new look, sleeker transitions and some highly-requested features. It’s a lot faster, too.

With the new app, getting things done on the go is a lot easier — whether you’re trying to find a message your colleague sent you last month, or trying to get through your work inbox on a Monday morning.

Gmail-on-iOS_new-app_2.width-1716.png

Starting today, you’ll be able to:

  • Undo Send, just like you do on the desktop, to prevent embarrassing email mistakes

  • Search faster with instant results and spelling suggestions (like when you type “flighht,” but you really meant “flight”)

  • Swipe to archive or delete, to quickly clear items out of your inbox

Gmail_on_iOS_Undo-Send_0.gif

Google Calendar: Updated for you

Based on your feedback (thank you!), the Calendar app on iOS has some shiny, new features:

  • Month view and week in landscape view, so you have even more ways to see your schedule at a glance.

  • Spotlight Search support, so you can search for events, Reminders and Goals in Apple’s Spotlight Search and find what you’re looking for faster.

  • Alternate calendars. If you often look up dates in a non-Gregorian calendar — like Lunar, Islamic, or Hindu — you can now add that calendar to easily see those dates alongside your current calendar.

Calendar_on_iOS_week_and_month_view.width-2000.png

We’ll continue to improve both Gmail and Calendar for iOS so you can be more productive on the go.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/7BwAmY7dsBc/

Android Auto: now available in every car

Category: Google | Nov 7, 2016

We launched Android Auto two years ago with the goal to better integrate phones and cars, and give drivers an easier way to access the information they need. There are now over 200 new car models supporting Android Auto offered from more than 50 brands, and many more launching every day.

But we know there are millions of older cars on the road that are not compatible with Android Auto, and many don’t have a screen at all. We wanted to bring the same connected experience to these drivers too.

So today we’re excited to introduce a whole new way to use Android Auto: right on your phone screen! This update allows anyone with an Android phone (running 5.0 or later) to use a driver friendly interface to access the key stuff you need on the road ― directions, music, communications ― without the distraction of things that aren’t essential while driving.

Android Auto on your phone screen

Whether your phone is connected to a compatible car display, or placed in a car mount on the dashboard, Android Auto brings your favorite apps and services into one place, making them accessible in safer and seamless ways. You can bring your music with you with apps like Spotify, Pandora or Google Play Music, and make calls or send messages with hands-free voice commands. And of course, get turn-by-turn directions to your next destination with Google Maps.

This update also brings the ability to automatically start the app when the phone is paired with Bluetooth. While you can put your phone in any car mount, please keep an eye out for Bluetooth-supported car mounts such as Logitech’s SmartCar mount, which is coming soon to the Google Store and select retail locations.

We’re also enhancing the support for hands-free voice commands in the coming weeks. You will soon be able to easily access existing features like maps, music and messaging by just saying “Ok Google” so you can stay focused on the road.

The latest version (2.0) with the phone screen experience will be rolling out in the coming days to more than 30 countries where Android Auto is currently available. Sign up on the Android Auto website to receive an email when the update is available for your phone.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/FSqrqSzMWgA/

The Elbphilharmonie is ready on Google. Come on in!

Category: Google | Nov 7, 2016

Since laying the foundation stone on April 2, 2007, Hamburg citizens and more have been waiting for the opening of the new cultural centerpiece of the Hansestadt: the Elbphilharmonie. Over the weekend the Plaza is finally opened, and architectural fans and music lovers alike can get a first impression of the impressive building in the HafenCity. At 37 meters tall, the public viewing balcony between the brick harbor storage and the glassy new building now offers an all-round view of the city and the port.

Elbphilharmonie

But a little patience is still needed for visitors: the concert area of ​​the Elbphilharmonie will not open its doors until January 2017. At Google, we didn’t want to wait that long. That is why, in partnership with the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, we’re giving an early preview of the Grand Hall on Google Arts & Culture and Google Maps!

With the help of Google Street View you can virtually walk from the main entrance over an 82 meter long, slightly arched escalator called the Tube which leads to the large panoramic window with harbor view. From there, you can take a second short escalator and a staircase to the Plaza and continue your way to the Grand Hall, the heart of the Elbphilharmonie. The large concert hall, which can accommodate as many as 2,100 visitors, is built according to the vineyard principle–which means the stage is in the middle and is surrounded by terraced audience seats. Above the stage you can see the great sound reflector hovering.

Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall

A Street View colleague is photographing the Grand Hall.

Speaking of sound: Have you already discovered the Klais organ with its 4,765 pipes? You can count them going to the 15th floor between seating sections P and Q  behind the acoustic wall (also called the “White Skin”).

But that’s not all: we’re going to travel with you into the history of the space at g.co/elbphilharmonie. You can also access the content via mobile app of Google Arts & Culture (available free of charge for all iOS and Android devices). With just a few clicks, you can see how the Elbphilharmonie was created – from idea to reality. In this virtual exhibition, we are showing the architectural history of the Elbphilharmonie in numerous pictures and videos, making it for everyone possible to explore the impressive performance of the architects.

Harbor

The 1,111 reinforced concrete beamers of the foundation had to be supplemented by a further 650 piles, to carry the 200,000 tonne weight of the Elbphilharmonie.

We’re also taking an additional step further into the past. Historical photos show the history of the former Kaispeicher A, on which today the glassy new building of the Elbphilharmonie stands.

Historical Harbor

The Kaiserspeicher was severely damaged in the Second World War, and therefore was blown up in 1963. On its own site, the second Kaispeicher A was constructed: a straightforward, solid brick building.

A particularly impressive experience is provided if you’re using a Google Cardboard, on which the tour through the building becomes a virtual reality experience – and the organ in the Grand Hall is close at hand. And with Google Expeditions, whole school classes can virtually travel to the Elbphilharmonie.

We are very happy to be able to take you to the new cultural heart of Hamburg and wish you a lot of fun discovering it!

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/ag6_kpj1YVo/