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Bringing virtual expeditions to classrooms in Spain

Category: Google | Oct 28, 2016

Discover the secrets of the ocean floor, soar through space, discover the hidden corners of famous museums or tiptoe through the house where Cervantes lived — all without getting up from your chair.

Google Expeditions are virtual reality (VR) tours designed for the classroom, and the app is now available to educators and students in Spain and the rest of Europe. Photos and 3D imagery become reality through simple cardboard viewers, which kids can assemble in class. Each adventure comes with detailed descriptions and points of interest, and offers suggested questions so teachers can easily integrate them into the day’s lesson.

Students experiencing Expeditions

First-year pupils at Madrid’s Cervantes High School experience Google Expeditions for the first time using Google Cardboard, a simple, low-cost virtual reality viewer

Teachers guide the experience, from choosing the day’s journey to setting the pace. They can direct their students’ attention to the relevant areas or choose to let them explore on their own. In “From the Stratosphere,” children can watch as a helium balloon is sent into space to gather panoramic images of Earth. “Undersea Expedition” opens a window onto the ocean depths and some of the world’s most fascinating coral reefs.

And, in honor of this year’s Cervantes celebrations, we worked with experts to develop VR collections dedicated to the author and his work. Now, kids can virtually experience four brand new journeys to some of the places where Cervantes lived and traveled, like his birthplace in Alcalá de Henares, the navy port at Lepanto and the huge windmills that inspired Don Quixote’s adventures.

All of our Expeditions content comes from collaborations with cultural institutions around the world — National Geographic and the Guggenheim, to name a few. But for this launch, we’re particularly proud of the partnership between Google Arts & Culture and Spain’s National Museum of Natural Sciences, which resulted in a unique virtual tour of the museum.

We partnered with the regional Ministers of Education in Castilla y León, Andalucía and Castilla-La Mancha, who wanted to host and support the launch, and raise awareness of the tool. To celebrate, our Google Expeditions team went on a one-month tour to Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Toledo, Valladolid and Valencia, reaching more than 2,500 Spanish children.


Live the Day of the Dead

Category: Google | Oct 27, 2016

Mexican poet Octavio Paz once wrote, “Our cult of death is also our cult of life.” Those words capture the spirit with which Mexicans celebrate Día de Muertos. On November 1 and 2, families in Mexico honor those who have departed, setting up colorful altars at home and in public places with the images of loved ones. These ancestors are greeted with their favorite foods, drinks, sugar skulls, colored paper, marigold flowers, candles and incense. It’s a true celebration of culture and family — and has even been declared “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO.

Day of the Dead: A Celebration of Life (English Subtitles)

Day of the Dead: A Celebration of Life (English Subtitles)

Today, we want to invite everyone to experience Mexico’s tradition of paying tribute to life, through the Day of the Dead exhibition on Google Arts & Culture. The content is curated by 10 cultural organizations from Mexico, Peru and the United States and explores the Pre-Columbian roots of this festivity, its many transformations through history and its contemporary manifestations as told by pieces of archaeology, folk art, prints, paintings, sculptures, street art and many other artforms. The collection includes over 500 artworks and artifacts, 20 exhibits, 11 Street View virtual tours through cemeteries and museums and two guided tours that users can experience with a Cardboard viewer. A Google Expedition also allows teachers around the world to take their classes on a virtual field trip through the history of the Day of the Dead.


Without Hope (1945) by Frida Kahlo at Museo Dolores Olmedo

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Colossal Skulls from James Bond movie (2015) by Colectivo Última Hora at Museo de Arte Popular

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Catrina (2015) by D*Face at All City Canvas

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Cráneo by Vicente Barroco Reyes at Museo de Arte Popular


La Catrina (1910/1913) by José Guadalupe Posada at the Smithsonian Latino Center


Besitos a mamá (2011) by Felipe Mendiola Velázques at Museo Mexicano del Diseño

Start the exhibition online at or download the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS or Android to dive into the ancient roots of the Day of the Dead through codices and sculptures.  You can explore the different representations of death in folk art pieces from all over the country; savor the paintings of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and learn about Jose Guadalupe Posada, Mexico’s most famous illustrator and father of the iconic Catrina.

If you’re new to this tradition, get to know the elements that make up an Offering; enjoy the calaveras crafted by the legendary family Linares, visit the colossal skulls made by Mexican artisans for the 2015 James Bond movie, Spectre and even take a stroll through the San Andrés Mixquic’s cemetery during Día de Muertos.

Whichever route you choose, we invite you to explore death as a celebration of life.


3 secrets to Chromebook success from teachers of the 2016 graduating class

Category: Google | Oct 27, 2016

Editor’s note: In 2012, Google CEO Sundar Pichai shared his excitement that the Council Bluffs, Leyden, Fond Du Lac and Richland Two school districts were about to go “all in” on technology by providing Chromebooks for their students. Pichai said, “I can’t wait to see the impact it has on the education dynamics in the classroom.” Now, four years later, the first wave of students who used Chromebooks throughout high school have graduated, so we reached out to the schools to find out what they learned along the way. To learn more tips on using Chromebooks in the classroom, join us for Education on Air on December 3rd.

Four years ago the Council Bluffs, Leyden, Fond Du Lac and Richland Two school districts gave each incoming ninth-grader a Chromebook to use in class and at home as part of a 1:1 program. Here are tips that teachers and administrators from each of these schools on how to be successful introducing Chromebooks:

Allow for a transition period

It takes time for people to adapt to any new device or technology, so be patient when integrating it in schools. “Our faculty loves using Chromebooks in the classroom, almost as much as our students do, but first they needed an initial transition period to adapt to the new technology,” says Dr. Tatiana Bonuma, a principal for Leyden School District in Illinois. To make the transition easier, Leyden has student technical support interns who are available to answer teachers’ questions and troubleshoot any issues that arise.

Students also may go through a short transition period while they learn different ways to use the devices, not just as word processors, but for research and deep learning. “At first, our students used Chromebooks as a replacement for paper and pens,” says Samantha Adams, a high school language arts teacher for Council Bluffs School District in Iowa. However, this changed fast as students dived into the internet to do research for science projects, history papers and other assignments.


A high school student shares his latest class project on a Chromebook with Dr. Tatiana Bonuma, principal for Leyden School District in Illinois

Level the playing field

In many schools students with computers and internet access at home have a significant advantage over those that don’t. But with a Chromebook in every student’s backpack, every student in the class has the same opportunity to spend time learning, working on projects and expanding their knowledge. “There has been a significant shift at our school in student technological and research capabilities because we use Chromebooks and Google Apps. This program has been a great equalizer, giving every student the ability to learn and understand technology,” says Susanne Liggett, a high school teacher at Richland County School District Two in South Carolina.

Using Chromebooks on a daily basis means students are more prepared for college and that they are learning skills that will help them throughout their lives, no matter what field they choose. “All of our graduating students are now able to use technology to work on digital projects, such as creating websites, YouTube channels and interactive Google Drawings, at the level a university will expect,” says Renee Nolan, an educational technology coach at Fond du Lac School District in Wisconsin.


2016 graduates from Fond Du Lac School District in Wisconsin using Chromebooks in the classroom

Balance online and offline interactions

Chromebooks can be powerful communications tools for young people who are developing social, interpersonal and other life skills. “Some of our students who were shy or reluctant to work with their classmates on a project became more willing to do so electronically,” says Michaela Gray, a high school teacher at Council Bluffs School District. For example, students who might normally avoid engaging in the classroom are eager to use Hangouts and Docs to communicate about assignments and collaborate. At Council Bluffs, Gray saw an increase in student participation as a result of Chromebooks.

The devices are so easy and fun to use that students take to them very fast. This is a good thing, but the enthusiasm must be balanced with face-to-face interactions. “Sometimes I have to remind students of the importance of discussion and collaborating in person to build communication skills,” explains Liggett.

It’s been exciting to observe these freshman classes learn to use Chromebooks for the first time and learn that they feel better prepared for the next chapters in their lives because of their experience with the technology. “Students that visit after graduating say their experience with Chromebooks makes them feel ready to take on college and the professional world,” says Dr. Tatiana Bonuma, Principal at West Leyden High School. Imagine what we will be able to learn from graduating classes in the future as the role of technology continues to expand in the classroom.

To learn more tips on using Chromebooks in the classroom, join us for Education on Air on December 3rd.


Virtually explore Indonesia’s wonders with Google Arts & Culture

Category: Google | Oct 27, 2016

In Jakarta today, we invited kids from SDN 03 Menteng Elementary School to join us on a virtual field trip to cultural heritage sites around the country. With new 360 degree imagery of the temples at Borobodur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko, the Sangiran Early Man Site, and some of the country’s top museums, a class of 3rd graders was able to experience these wonders of Indonesia in an immersive way with a simple virtual reality viewer like Google Cardboard. 

Look at how delighted everyone was!

Menteng Elementary School (3)

 A visit to Sangiran Early Man Site — a trip that normally takes at least 12 hours by bus from Jakarta — is now within easy reach to anyone with an Internet connection on the Google Arts & Culture platform. 

Menteng Elementary School kids

Menteng Elementary School kids (2)

Art Camera captures batik

Art Camera captures batik

There was plenty more of Indonesia’s rich heritage for them to explore on the Google Arts & Culture platform. 

We recently brought our new Art Camera to Indonesia to capture and digitally preserve collections at Museum Tekstil and Galeri Batik YBI. Using the custom-built Art Camera, we’re able to digitize more artwork—including very fragile pieces such as decades-old batik fabric—in ultra high resolution, more quickly than ever possible before. This in turn allows more people to explore artwork in much greater detail.

We have over 200 examples of the finest batik for you to explore in high resolution. Zoom in to see every detail of these colorfully printed textiles, discovering secret patterns and hidden stories that bring these national treasures to life. 

#0157 Kain Panjang, artist unknown (Collection: Museum Tekstil, Unit Pengelola Museum Seni)

Zoom into a ultra-high resolution image of historical and fragile batik.  #0157 Kain Panjang, artist unknown (Collection: Museum Tekstil, Unit Pengelola Museum Seni)

We invite you to explore more of these wonders from all our partners in Indonesia — Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), Galeri Batik YBI, Museum Nasional Indonesia, Museum Tekstil dan Museum Seni Rupa & Keramik, Museum Purbakala Sangiran, Monumen Nasional, Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan & Ratu Boko, and Yayasan Biennale Yogyakarta

Go on your own field trip today by visiting Google Arts & Culture on the web, on iOS and Android


Experiments and YouTube creators from the International Space Station

Category: Google | Oct 27, 2016

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

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

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

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

Kibo Science 360

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


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

Category: Google | Oct 26, 2016

new Google Home app logo

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

Google Home app UI

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

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

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

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

Control and manage your Chromecast and Google Home devices.

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

Google Home app Device Management

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


Machine learning turns photos into works of art

Category: Google | Oct 26, 2016

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

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

NatLo Style Transfer_Photo

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


Jamboard — the whiteboard, reimagined for collaboration in the cloud

Category: Google | Oct 25, 2016

The newest addition to G Suite, Jamboard is a collaborative, digital whiteboard that makes it easy for your team to share ideas and create without boundaries.


Helping universities build what’s next with Google Cloud Platform

Category: Google | Oct 25, 2016

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

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

Supporting university research and infrastructure with Internet2

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

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

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


Powering computer science teaching

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

Connecting with universities at EDUCAUSE

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

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


Field Trips to our National Parks

Category: Google | Oct 24, 2016

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

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

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

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




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