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Unlock your superpowers with Android Pay and Justice League

Category: Google | Nov 13, 2017

If you use Android Pay today, you’re in for a surprise. Like our beloved animations of space explorers, Halloween haunts, and Wimbledon players in the past, five of our Android bots have channeled their superpowers to become Justice League Super Heroes in celebration of the movie. Starting in the next few days through December 31, you can see them sprint, soar, and fight to defend the planet when you pay with your phone.

How did these heroic characters make their way into the app? It began back in 2016, when the Android Pay team designed an animation–an Android bot dressed up as a space explorer–to surprise our fans. This little space traveler sparked so much delight that the team created more, drawing inspiration from Diwali, Halloween and Chinese New Year, among other celebrations.


So far, these charming bots have always been fleeting, but our fans liked them so much we wanted to find a way to let you keep them beyond the checkout line. And with these action-packed animations, you can do just that–by collecting them in your app after you pay in stores. Here’s how it works.


1. Pay in stores with Android Pay

Make sure you’ve downloaded the latest version of the Android Pay app and added a credit or debit card. Then you’ll have the chance to collect Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg or Aquaman when you pay in stores–you won’t know who until you try.

2. Unite the Justice League

Keep using Android Pay to recruit all the characters. You can see how you’re doing in the app.  

3. Share with friends and family

You can’t save the world alone! Tap on your bots to share them with friends and family–and invite them to join in.

Ready to unlock your superpowers? You’ll find them starting in the next few days in the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, Russia, Canada, Spain, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

JUSTICE LEAGUE © 2017 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved TM & © DC Comics


Dynamic Hybrid-SMR: an OCP proposal to improve data center disk drives

Category: Google | Nov 13, 2017

Early last year, we published a whitepaper on the need for new disks in data centers, and announced we were joining the Open Compute Project (OCP) to help drive innovation in IT infrastructure. Since then, we’ve been collaborating with members of the OCP storage project to align on a collection of common Cloud Hard Disk Drive (HDD) features and interfaces to adapt to exponentially growing storage needs in data centers.

Today, we’re announcing that we’re sharing a proposal with OCP for Dynamic Hybrid Shingled Magnetic Recording (HSMR) HDD Product Requirements. Our goal is to work with major cloud HDD vendors, customers and partners to collaborate on defining such an HDD behavior and interface.

As we explained in detail in the Disks for Data Center whitepaper, a regular Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) HDD enables physical data compression through recording layout optimizations that lower the cost per byte of an HDD by up to 10-20 percent. While such a cost reduction for cloud storage is highly sought after, the complexity of a distributed file system managing data placement onto separate SMR and CMR drives, while eliminating IOP stranding, is significant. An HSMR HDD, on the other hand, allows IOPs to be shared across SMR and CMR data, reducing the likelihood of stranding.

We believe Hybrid-SMR is the next major milestone in our ongoing pursuit to lower the cost of storage in data centers. We look forward to continued collaboration with adopters and contributors as we draft and innovate on this new HDD technology together through OCP.  To learn more, and participate in the discussion, join us at the OCP storage project meetings.


The High Five: Just like the movies—breakfast at Tiffany’s and uniting with wizards

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2017

Grab your holiday beverage and check out this week’s trends, with data from the Google News Lab.

It’s that time of year

Starbucks holiday drinks are in full swing (or swig, in this case). People are searching about the “buy one get one free” deal happening this weekend, trying to find out “what drinks are included in the Starbucks BOGO?” and “what time is Starbucks buy one get one free?” Some may be surprised that the fall favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte is missing from the list of most-searched Starbucks drinks this week, which includes hot chocolate, peppermint mocha and flat white.

I’ll take a coffee and a croissant

Starting today, you can actually eat breakfast at Tiffany’s. With the opening of Tiffany and Co.’s “Blue Box Cafe” in New York, people are are searching, “How much would breakfast at Tiffany’s cost,” and “What was Audrey eating in Breakfast at Tiffany’s opening scene?” The most searches are coming from New Yorkers themselves, followed by Holly Golightly fans in New Jersey and Maryland.

Wands Phones at the ready

Where can you find fantastic beasts? In your own backyard (no matter what House you’re in). In 2018 Niantic will debut a Harry Potter augmented reality game called Wizards Unite, in the style of Pokemon Go. The Muggles among us have been searching: “Harry Potter Wizards Unite come out?” and “Is Harry Potter Wizards Unite real?” Harry himself, Hermione Granger and Voldemort were the most-searched characters this week, while Slytherin prevailed over Gryffindor as the most-searched House.

Elle Woods and Rachel Green come together

This week, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston announced they will co-star in and executive produce a series about the lives of two morning TV anchors. Fans are wondering, “What have Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon been in together?” and “Are Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston friends?” Though this latest venture will be a TV series, people are searching for the actresses’ movies this week too. “Just Go With It” was Jen’s most-searched movie, and Reese’s was “Home Again.”

A Little Bit Country

On Wednesday, country music stars came together for the 51st annual CMA awards. Despite Garth Brooks’s lip-sync snafu, fans remained most interested in the winners (search interest in “CMA Award winners” was 520 percent higher than “CMA lip sync”). The most searches for CMA awards came from Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama; and Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Chris Stapleton were the most searched CMA winners.


What we’re doing to support veterans

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2017

Before leading Google’s Global Security team, I was proud to serve as a member of the Navy SEALS. There are some great similarities between the military and our company. In both organizations, people genuinely appreciate each other’s skills and talents, and we’re all focused on delivering toward a mission.

Veterans have not just contributed to our military but to our arts, our culture and workplaces. This Veterans Day, we hope to play a small part in shedding light on the service our veterans have done (and continue to do) to make our communities strong.

Sharing veteran histories and stories

Google Arts and Culture has partnered with organizations and museums to share a vast collection of art, photography, historical artifacts and stories, and make them accessible to the world. Visit the Veterans Day page to explore works from the U.S. National Archives, the National WWI Museum and more.

Thanking vets in our lives today

From heartwarming homecoming videos to personal vlogs about their experiences both in the armed services and post-military life, veterans turn to YouTube to help share their stories and build community. For this year’s Veterans Day, YouTube is sharing a new video to honor veterans for their service.  

Preparing vets with IT skills for the future

Every year, we support the Student Veterans of America to encourage veterans obtaining academic degrees in computer science and IT certification. Our initial $1.5 million grant in 2013 enabled SVA to analyze student veteran education data with the aim to increase graduation rates. Since then, we’ve invested in SVA students through scholarships and participation in our annual Google Student Veterans Summit.

We’re also proud to support SVA through our recently launched Grow with Google initiative. Grow with Google aims to help people across America by providing training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses. As part of Grow with Google, we announced a first-of-its-kind IT Support Certificate program, launching in January, in partnership with Coursera. The training program will take learners to entry-level job readiness in 8-12 months. We’re proud to provide SVA with a new $258,500 grant that will enable 160 SVA students across the country to enroll in the program with full scholarships, coaching and additional support.

Through technology, finding new ways to help vets

Meditation-based treatments are known to help manage stress and anxiety, and bring about focus and optimism—which can be important for veterans returning home. Bravo Tango Brain Training, a new meditation app designed specifically for veterans by National Geographic and 360i, is now accessible through the Google Assistant. When you say, “Ok Google, talk to Bravo Tango,” it will guide you to an exercise based on a mood or emotional state, whether that’s anger, loneliness, anxiety, or something else.

Whether it’s sharing the stories of veterans, helping them tell their own, or providing resources to help them succeed after their service, these are just a few ways to show our gratitude. We’re thankful for the veterans who have dedicated their lives to our country, and to those who continue to serve in the military today.


#teampixel is on the move

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2017

Team Pixel is on the move this week, capturing everything from Italian chapels to a serene sunrise scene. So grab your favorite fall beverage and let these adventures inspire you to see more of the world.

If you just joined #teampixel, make sure to tag your photos with the hashtag for an opportunity to be featured!


Businesses from Brazil to India build free websites with Google

Category: Google | Nov 9, 2017

Having a website helps local businesses reach new, interested customers, and when those business link to a website on their Google listing, they get 25-35% more clicks (according to internal research). But building a website takes time, and it can feel like a distraction from the work small business owners do to turn their dreams into success stories—whether that’s managing a hotel, perfecting their secret recipe, or opening a second store one day. Our new website builder lets business owners, who are new to creating a website, set up a professional site in under 10 minutes, for free.

Around the globe, more than one million small business owners have already used their first websites from Google to connect with new customers and grow.

How a local getaway found a global audience


Ever since he was 17, Glaucinei Andrade Duarte dreamed of running a hotel that highlights the beauty of his hometown, Armação dos Búzios, Brazil. So he worked as a concierge, took hotel management courses, and eventually opened Pousada Atlantica—an independently owned boutique hotel east of Rio de Janeiro.

Glaucinei knew that a website would help his business grow, but he didn’t have the time to learn web design or the budget to hire a developer. Instead, he tried the free website builder from Google and used custom layouts to create a professional, mobile-ready site. Within 10 minutes, this first-time developer was uploading pictures of his pousada’s incredible beachfront and publishing them for the world to see.

In the short time Pousada Atlantica has been online, Glaucinei’s website has reached nearly 2,000 pageviews, helping him connect with hundreds of potential customers. With the attention its new site has earned, Pousada Atlantica has booked weekends at 80% capacity from August to December.

A couple’s passion for Malaysian cuisine, halfway around the world

Thyme For Lunch Site.png

While living in Malaysia, Anang and Morgan Mehta had a vision of bringing the bold flavors and healthy ingredients of their country’s cuisine to the U.S. Their vision became a reality when they moved to San Antonio, Texas and started Thyme for Lunch.

Growing a customer base was slow at first, because their restaurant is located off the beaten path. But when Anang and Morgan built their website with Google and completed their Google listing, people started finding them online.

By featuring photos of their delicious meals and a simple call button on their site, Thyme for Lunch is reaching new local customers every day. Since July, they’ve seen more than 1,500 pageviews, and are now bringing their signature meals to a second location.

Local attention for an eye care specialist 

Copy of Shree Optical GMB Wide.png

Sanjay Doshi noticed a lack of high-quality eye care in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. That’s why he founded Shree Optical, a local optician’s office that focuses on personalized care. At first, Sanjay relied on word-of-mouth to bring in customers, but he knew that having a website would help him reach more people.

As an expert optician, Sanjay had little experience building an online presence, but that didn’t stop him. He used Google’s free website builder to create Shree Optical’s entire site from his phone.

In the past month, Shree Optical’s website has reached more than 1,000 people online. “Customers have come from a distance of even 4-5 kilometers to our shop,” said Sanjay. With this increase in business, he is hoping to open two new branches in the next two years.

Join more than one million business owners who are reaching new customers with their websites from Google. Sign up with Google My Business for free and publish your website in minutes.


Banding Together to support North Bay fire relief

Category: Google | Nov 9, 2017

Our neighbors in the North Bay have shown incredible strength and resolve while facing the recent wildfires, the deadliest natural disaster in California since the 1906 earthquake. Many have lost loved ones, homes, and land; and thousands are still displaced as the region starts to rebuild. As soon as the fires began, Google and Googlers committed $1 million to support relief efforts, but we know there’s more work to be done.

Google and Youtube are proud to be a founding sponsor of Band Together Bay Area, a benefit concert happening tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco, featuring Metallica, G-Eazy, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Rancid, Dead & Company, and Raphael Saadiq.

Band Together Bay Area

To make it easier to watch the event, and donate to relief efforts, we’re livestreaming the event on Metallica’s YouTube Channel. Donations will go toward the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund, which supports low-income, vulnerable communities impacted by the crisis. 100% of what you give will go where it is needed most.

Google will be matching donations up to $1 million made on the livestream, the website and via the concert’s Text to Donate option. You can text “TOGETHER” to 20222 to donate $25 to the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund.

Together, we hope to contribute $3 million in total from Google, Googlers, and all of you to help support relief and recovery efforts for those affected by the fires as they continue to rebuild.


Work hacks from G Suite: onboard new employees like a boss

Category: Google | Nov 8, 2017

We’ve talked about how corporate training can positively impact employee engagement. The same is true for efficient onboarding. The faster new employees are onboarded, the faster they  feel they’re part of the team and can contribute to your company’s mission.

Here are a few tips to help you onboard new employees without a hitch.

1. Set up an onboarding checklist, save to Team Drives

Google Keep work hacks

To help new employees get up-to-speed quickly, create centralized resources like an onboard checklist or company backgrounder in Google Keep or Docs.

Your new team member can track to-dos by listing out key tasks in Keep. Create a note in Keep and select “Show checkboxes” in the three dots menu. Type in to-dos like “set up HR benefits,” “outline goals” or “meet with Anish about process.”

Pro-tip: Keep integrates directly into Docs. If you’re in Keep, pick a specific note, click the three dots menu and select “Copy to Google Doc.” Or if you’re in Docs, drag-and-drop your note over from Keep.

You can also prepare a more detailed company background for your teammate in Docs. List upcoming projects, assign action items or include other reference material like key contacts. Once you’ve created these resources, be sure to save them to your Team Drives so that the “newbie” knows where to find or upload files for team use.

2. Create an onboarding portal with Google Sites

Now that you’ve created individual resources for an employee, create a mini-onboarding portal in Sites to house them. What’s great about Sites is that you don’t have to be handy with code to build a website—you can spin one up quickly without design, programming or IT resources. Sites also syncs with your favorite G Suite apps, like Drive and Calendar.

Sites GIF

3. Request access to IT systems and equipment using Forms

Sometimes it can take a while to get access to the tools we need to do our jobs, but G Suite apps can help you get around the lag. Help your IT department set up equipment and system access on day one using Forms and Sheets.

If you’re a manager or work in the human resources department, try using Forms to submit requests to IT before a new employee starts. Create a form for equipment and access needs, like computers (shameless plug: Chromebooks), keyboards, phones or IT system permissions. The IT team can then import requests from Forms into Sheets and keep track of needs in real-time.

GIF 3 work hacks

4. Introduce new employees to the team with Google+

G+ work hacks

During your first few days on the job, it’s hard to remember all of the new names and faces. Try setting up a welcome community on Google+ to help your newbie get to know the team.

To get started, go into G+ and click Communities > Yours > Create a Community. Enter the name of the community you want to create and manage who can see the community in your settings. Click “done,” invite people to join your community and started posting.

Employees are a company’s greatest asset. Try these tips to make new folks feel engaged and productive right from the start, or learn more at the G Suite Learning Center or the Google Cloud Transformation Gallery.


Portraits of veteran scholars across America

Category: Google | Nov 8, 2017

As Veterans Day approaches, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the military and veterans community. From local artists to community leaders to technology innovators, veterans contribute not only to our workplace, but to our neighborhoods and culture. This dedication to serving the community is what inspired me to enlist in the California Army National Guard four years ago. I was already working at Google, but was inspired by some of the Googlers I met who had served in the military. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’m one of the leaders of the Google Veterans Network, a volunteer employee resource group that strives to make Google one of the best workplaces for veterans and service members. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Google Veterans Network and since 2014, employees have volunteered over 7,300 hours of service with veteran organizations.

As part of our ongoing commitment to veterans, Google works closely with the Student Veterans of America to support the Google SVA scholarship and invites SVA scholars to the company’s annual student veterans summit. This SVA scholarship helps encourage veterans on their path to attaining a computer science or IT-related degree; applications for 2018 are still open.

I’m continuously humbled by the contributions of our service members and their willingness to share their experiences. So as part of the multiple ways we’re recognizing veterans this week, we’re taking the moment to highlight incredible Google SVA scholars that are strengthening their communities and themselves.


Gabriel De La Cruz, 2014 recipient

In 2005, Gabriel De La Cruz, a newly arrived immigrant from the Philippines, decided to join the Navy. As a Hospital Corpsman with the Marines, Gabriel was deployed on three separate combat missions to Iraq and Afghanistan, which instilled in him a deep sense of mission and passion for helping others.

Back in the Philippines, he’d gone to school for IT, and upon leaving the military, he decided to resume his studies in that area. He searched on Google for “scholarships for veterans,”  and learned about the Google SVA scholarship. He says it changed the way he saw his future in pursuing a degree for computer science.

“It was a humbling opportunity, and allowed me to understand that there’s a potential of changing people’s lives,” he says.

Today, Gabriel is a graduate researcher,  pursuing a Ph.D. at Washington State University. His goal is to build more intelligent robots that accomplish tasks ranging from helping older generations who have cognitive disorders to reducing casualties on the frontlines. He says his time in the Navy and his interest in robotics are coming full circle.

“I’m most satisfied when I’m able to help the people around me,” he says.


Elizabeth Jones, 2016 recipient

When Elizabeth Jones joined the Marines in 2005, she was confident she’d be in for life. But soon after she enlisted she began experiencing seizures, and left the corps in 2007.

Her transition back to civilian life was jarring. She felt she’d lost the camaraderie of her fellow Marines, and struggled to find a new purpose in life. Ultimately, Elizabeth decided to go back to school at the University of West Florida. There she pursued a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering after a trusted professor told her she’d be “wasting her intelligence” if she didn’t. She applied for the Google SVA scholarship at the urging of a fellow student veteran, and found the experience incredibly rewarding.

“It helped me push through and not give up when it was really hard,” she says. “And Google’s done a lot more for me than just giving me a scholarship.  I feel like it really showed me that there are people like me doing great things with their degrees.”

Elizabeth is putting her electrical engineering degree to work as a systems engineer for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, in Keyport, WA. There, she works on anti-submarine warfare systems to protect American soldiers at sea.

“I think that people take their place in life for granted, and I don’t feel that way,” Elizabeth says. “I feel very grateful that this is where I’m at in life, and it was made easier than it could have been with the Google SVA Scholarship.”


James Matthew Landis, 2015 recipient

Army Veteran James Matthew (Matt) Landis always knew he’d join the military. His grandfathers and uncles had all served, and he decided to enlist after college. During his 10 years in the Army as an Apache Longbow helicopter pilot, Matt sustained several head injuries that left him disabled. Upon leaving active duty in 2009, he decided to go back to college, first for art, and later for computer engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. There, he was awarded the Google SVA scholarship for his degree, which had a huge impact on his career.

“It was one of the first real affirmations that I was actually talented and worth investing in,” he says. He also met a community of veterans working in tech who he could relate to. “People didn’t just say, ‘Thank you for your service.’ All they cared about was ‘can you code?’ That was so refreshing,” he says.

Today, Matt is an embedded systems engineer for the University of Pittsburgh where he works on software for robotics technology with healthcare applications, including prosthetics and adaptive sports technology.

Matt is also committed to his work at  No One Left Behind, an organization dedicated to saving the lives of America’s Wartime Allies—interpreters and others that assisted U.S. troops—and their families. Already they’ve brought eight families from Iraq and Afghanistan who served as interpreters and helped them acclimate to their new lives. In addition, he’s running programs to bring STEM education to these same communities. He says, “When I start to imagine what it’ll be like when these families have their children and children’s children in 50 years … I’m incredibly proud.“


Meet a few of our machine learning makers

Category: Google | Nov 8, 2017

From reinventing your smartphone to helping you play rock-paper-scissors, AI is changing the way we use technology today. And while we hear about all the new things we’re able to do thanks to machine learning, we don’t always hear about the people shaping machine learning itself. Who are they? What inspired them to get into the field? And what do they geek out about when it comes to AI?

To answer some of these questions, we went behind the scenes with the Google Brain team, a research group that’s part of Google AI. The Brain team works on deep learning research, a sub-field of machine learning focused on neural networks. For the non-researchers among us, a neural network is a kind of machine learning model that uses raw forms of data to understand patterns and concepts. Neural networks tackle difficult problems in computer vision, speech recognition, language understanding, and many other areas.

You can experience some of the Brain team’s work for yourself by using products like Google Photos or Translate, or by trying out our open-source machine learning framework, TensorFlow. The team also does general research in the field of AI and explores how to apply this technology to new spaces like healthcare, robotics, and even music and art.

Watch below to hear more from the team about the basics of machine learning, puzzles, and one researcher’s hope for using AI as her back-up band.

To learn more about the Brain team, check out, or take a look at the team’s recent Reddit AMA ( “Ask Me Anything”), as well as their AMA from 2016