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(Google) Home for the Holidays

Category: Google | Dec 14, 2016

It’s that time of year. Holiday music, sweet treats, classic movies — all the reasons to cozy up and spend time at home with the ones you love. And with Google Home, there are countless ways to spread the holiday cheer.  

Play Netflix on your TV with the magic words “Ok Google”

Serve up the holiday classics that make your season bright, hands-free, right to your TV — when Google Home is paired with a Chromecast device. Now, in addition to YouTube videos, you can stream any movie or TV series from Netflix to the TV, using just your voice*. Start with “Ok Google, play Stranger Things from Netflix on my TV” or “Ok Google, play Love Actually on Netflix on my TV”. You can even control your media with commands like “Pause this episode”, without lifting a finger. Here’s how to link your Netflix account to the Google Assistant from the Google Home app (make sure you’re running the latest version). Netflix linking in the Google Home app is available now for iOS and rolling out to Android this week.

Enjoy your Google Photos on the big screen, hands-free.

The holidays is the perfect time to gather around and relive memories from the year. Google Photos now works with Google Home, so you can share your photos on your Chromecast-connected TV, using just your voice. Simply say, “Ok Google, show my photos of Lake Tahoe on my TV” to see your beautiful pictures bigger. Even if you can’t remember the name of the album, you can search for pictures. Try “Ok Google, show my photos of selfies at Christmas on my TV” or “Ok Google, show my photos of Brazil sunsets on Chromecast”. You can even use your voice to search for your places, things and people.

Learn how to link your Photos account to the Google Assistant here.

GoogleHome_Partner_GooglePhotos.gif

Enjoy holiday music from your favorite apps

Fill your home with festive tunes from your favorite music apps like Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, or YouTube Music with just a simple voice command. Say, “Ok Google, play Hanukkah music” or “Ok Google, play Christmas music” and you’ll get into the spirit in no time.

Keep track of Santa

Whether he’s preparing his sleigh or already in flight, your Assistant keeps you informed of Santa’s latest whereabouts (tracked by Google Maps). Just say “Ok Google, where’s Santa right now?”

Get YouTube Red FREE for six months

Keep the holiday glow going well into the new year as you enjoy a premium music experience — more songs, more versions, no ads — with YouTube Red. Get six months free of YouTube Red when you buy a Google Home before December 31, 2016**.

Make your holidays truly magical with Google Home.

*Netflix streaming membership required

**Offer expires 12/31/16. Terms apply. New subscribers only.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/THD0R6cI1yc/

The Year in Search: 2016

Category: Google | Dec 14, 2016

It’s that time of year — when we look back at the last 12 months and reflect on the trends that defined the year in Google Search. From Powerball numbers to Olympic champions, whether making dessert or becoming a mannequin, this year affected us all in different ways. Through all the highs and lows, people came to Search to learn more and understand.

Year in Search 2016

So to celebrate the end of 2016, here’s a peek at some of the trending U.S. topics that caught our attention as especially unique to this year.

  1. Powerball: It may seem like a distant memory now, but back in January a record-breaking jackpot made Powerball a hot topic. Search interest in Powerball spiked more than 166 percent, and it’s the top trending search for all of 2016.

  2. Politicians and athletes: In a year with the Olympics and U.S. Election, it’s not surprising that nine of our 10 top trending people of the year fell into one of these two categories — from Donald Trump to Michael Phelps and Hillary Clinton to Simone Biles. The one outlier? Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary.

  3. Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go took our lists — and the world — by storm this year. The addictive game appeared four times in our list of top 10 “How to…” questions, with “How to play Pokémon Go?” at the top. Clearly searchers were eager to learn how to catch ‘em all!

  4. Quinoa and Budweiser: From Big Macs to quinoa, Budweiser to Maui Brewing, Brussels sprouts to Buttercream Frosting, it’s clear from our trending calorie, recipe and beer lists that we’re a country of many tastes. One of the new trending recipes this year? Snow cream, a dessert that’s the perfect winter treat with some fresh snow, sugar, milk and vanilla.

  5. Slime and… mannequins: “How to make slime” isn’t a phrase we hear often — until now. Maybe it was the new “Ghostbusters” movie, but while voting and Pokémon dominated much of this year’s “How to…” list, one green, slimy question made its way up to #4. Meanwhile, on the “What is…?” list, the mannequin challenge is standing proud — and very, very still — at #7.

These are just a few of the trending terms that made up 2016. From remembering past icons like David Bowie and Prince, to searching for current ones like Beyoncé and Alexander Hamilton (a.k.a. Lin-Manuel Miranda), to looking for information on Brexit, Zika, Orlando and Brussels, Search brought us together in dozens of ways this year. Dive into google.com/2016 to see lists from around the world.

Here’s to finding what we’re searching for in 2017.

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

The Year in Search: 2016

Category: Google | Dec 14, 2016

It’s that time of year — when we look back at the last 12 months and reflect on the trends that defined the year in Google Search. From Powerball numbers to Olympic champions, whether making dessert or becoming a mannequin, this year affected us all in different ways. Through all the highs and lows, people came to Search to learn more and understand.

Year in Search 2016

So to celebrate the end of 2016, here’s a peek at some of the trending U.S. topics that caught our attention as especially unique to this year.

  1. Powerball: It may seem like a distant memory now, but back in January a record-breaking jackpot made Powerball a hot topic. Search interest in Powerball spiked more than 166 percent, and it’s the top trending search for all of 2016.

  2. Politicians and athletes: In a year with the Olympics and U.S. Election, it’s not surprising that nine of our 10 top trending people of the year fell into one of these two categories — from Donald Trump to Michael Phelps and Hillary Clinton to Simone Biles. The one outlier? Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary.

  3. Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go took our lists — and the world — by storm this year. The addictive game appeared four times in our list of top 10 “How to…” questions, with “How to play Pokémon Go?” at the top. Clearly searchers were eager to learn how to catch ‘em all!

  4. Quinoa and Budweiser: From Big Macs to quinoa, Budweiser to Maui Brewing, Brussels sprouts to Buttercream Frosting, it’s clear from our trending calorie, recipe and beer lists that we’re a country of many tastes. One of the new trending recipes this year? Snow cream, a dessert that’s the perfect winter treat with some fresh snow, sugar, milk and vanilla.

  5. Slime and… mannequins: “How to make slime” isn’t a phrase we hear often — until now. Maybe it was the new “Ghostbusters” movie, but while voting and Pokémon dominated much of this year’s “How to…” list, one green, slimy question made its way up to #4. Meanwhile, on the “What is…?” list, the mannequin challenge is standing proud — and very, very still — at #7.

These are just a few of the trending terms that made up 2016. From remembering past icons like David Bowie and Prince, to searching for current ones like Beyoncé and Alexander Hamilton (a.k.a. Lin-Manuel Miranda), to looking for information on Brexit, Zika, Orlando and Brussels, Search brought us together in dozens of ways this year. Dive into google.com/2016 to see lists from around the world.

Here’s to finding what we’re searching for in 2017.

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

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.

Celebrating Virtual Pride in Bogotà, Colombia #prideforeveryone

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

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/23LmR9mcBb8/

Grain Valley School District’s new approach to 21st-century education

Category: Google | Dec 13, 2016

Editor’s note: As part of the ExploreEDU event series, schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors and invite neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools to innovate and improve. To see if there is an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. For those who can’t join in person, we’ll also share the schools’ experiences here. Today’s guest author is Nicholas Gooch, Director of Technology, from Grain Valley School District. The school is hosting an event on Dec. 15-16 with Best Buy.

It’s daunting to realize that many of us are preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist and a world we can’t quite imagine. At Grain Valley School District, we’ve designed our schools to prepare students for the future workplace. We’ve created our curriculum to emphasize communication and creativity. We’ve done away with the traditional 100-point grading system to instead focus on helping students master their subjects. We’ve even started the process of redesigning our high school campus to create dedicated spaces for group and individual learning.

We see technology as critical to helping students master the skills they’ll need in the 21st-century workplace. We began integrating technology into everyday learning by launching G Suite for Education at our high school, two middle schools and four elementary schools during the 2014-15 school year. Last year our high school became the first of our schools to go 1:1 with Chromebooks. Each of our 1,250 high school students has access to a Chromebook that they can use in class and at home. With the help of technology and the support of our innovative teaching staff, here are a few ways we changed how we educate to better prepare students for the future:

Fostering teacher leadership and innovation

To empower our teachers to push the envelope and take more risks with technology in the classroom, we created Breakthrough Learning cohorts. The cohorts are made up of elementary and secondary teachers who applied for the program. One day each month, these teachers work with our instructional technology coaches to learn the best practices for integrating technology into their curriculum. These sessions go beyond typical “how-to” sessions and instead focus on helping teachers make learning, assessment, and digital citizenship a seamless component of the classroom. Not only does the program develop this capacity in our own teachers, it allows them to do the same for their fellow teachers.

GrainValley_Students.jpg

High school students using TV screens to collaborate on shared assignment.

Emphasizing subject-mastery over grades

In 2006, school and district leadership reexamined the 100-point grading system. They decided to try a new approach — helping students achieve subject mastery rather than measuring them on a graded scale. Standards-based grading and feedback practices have been fully integrated at the high school since the 2013-2014 school year. Today, we personalize each student’s learning program. Google Classroom has also helped us emphasize the learning process rather than a final grade. Teachers can easily give feedback on an assignment, even before a student has turned it in.

Building for collaboration

The new architecture for our high school is designed to make it easier for students to study together outside of class. We’re creating communal spaces with whiteboard walls and TV screens. Students can use these TV screens to visualize projects they’re working on together — for instance, a presentation they’ve made in Google Slides. We’re also providing WiFi access and ample charging stations for laptops and mobile devices across the campus. Over the next few years we hope to introduce similar changes to other schools in the district.

We’re excited to be hosting an ExploreEDU event on December 15-16. If you’re in the area, join us to hear more about how we redesigned our approach to teaching and learning for the 21st century, supported by technology and an openness to change.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/jlj5YeXU3AA/

How BlackDog Advertising engages Statue of Liberty visitors with Chrome

Category: Google | Dec 13, 2016

Editor’s note: Today we hear from John W. Penney, creative director and CEO of Miami-based BlackDog Advertising. Read how the company used Chrome devices to build engaging signage for Evelyn Hill, a vendor on New York City’s Liberty Island.

The Statue of Liberty towers 300 feet above Liberty Island, where visitors can admire its grandeur and explore the history leading to its construction. While most people know some of the statue’s history, few know Evelyn Hill, the family-owned business that has been selling food, refreshments and souvenirs beneath the Statue of Liberty for three generations. We took on the challenge of transforming Evelyn Hill’s gift shop and restaurant, the Crown Cafe, into a visitor destination, and driving traffic to thestatueofliberty.com.

Evelyn Hill wanted to replicate a photo contest my company, Blackdog Advertising, had created for Dry Tortugas, a remote national park off the Florida coast. This time, we’d be creating a live photo feed so visitors could see images as they were uploaded. My company had a great experience using Chrome devices before, so we decided to use Chrome digital signage devices because they are easy to deploy, cost effective and make content management a breeze.

Chrome signage at the Statue of Liberty

The photo contest has driven incredible engagement — both in person and online. Over 21,700 photo votes have been cast so far, and thestatueofliberty.com saw a 270 percent traffic spike as a result. Evelyn Hill is considering ways to expand the photo contest to other locations on the island because of the success we’ve seen so far.

To drive high engagement, we created live-updating digital signs to draw visitors into the Crown Cafe and engage them in the photo contest. Monitors are powered by Google Chromebits that are remotely operated using Chrome Device Management, so the cafe can easily display contest results. Meanwhile, visitors can use the #PictureLiberty hashtag to share their photos on the Statue of Liberty website and encourage their friends to vote for their submission.

The flexibility of Chrome lets us optimize signage solutions. With Chrome Device Management we were able to easily install WooBox, which collected contest photos from social media, on all of our managed devices (in this case, Chromebits). We don’t want to deliver cookie-cutter solutions to our customers, and Chrome enables us to build solutions that stand out from the crowd.

Using Chrome also helped keep the campaign cost effective. Since Chrome Sign Builder is free to use and the photo content is user-generated, hardware was the only cost. Each of Liberty Island’s four units cost just $109, including access to Chrome Device Management, which allowed us to easily install apps on the Chromebits. Achieving this low cost would have been impossible with any other digital signage solution.

Visitors remember their time on Liberty Island for the rest of their lives, and Evelyn Hill is part of that experience. Chrome helps make that experience better. The #PictureLiberty contest and others like it will ensure the Crown Cafe remains a visitor destination for decades to come.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/IisIVO4_gRY/

Booking fitness classes just got a whole lot easier

Category: Google | Dec 13, 2016

After a holiday season full of delightful indulging, millions of people make an optimistic New Year’s resolution to stay fit or lose the extra pounds they put on from those festive parties and family get-togethers. To help, starting today we’re piloting a new way to easily book fitness and wellness classes. Reserve with Google will be available in Los Angeles, New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, to make keeping up with your resolutions easier than ever.

To book a fitness class, visit the Reserve with Google site on desktop or mobile web. There you can search for fitness studios near you, get great recommendations for fun new classes, or book a spot in the session you already know and love.

How it Works

Over the coming days, you’ll be able to do this right from Google Maps and Google Search, as well.

Reserve with Google Google Maps on desktop

Reserve with Google on Mobile Search

Reserve with Google is possible through deep partnerships with top scheduling providers you may already use, including MINDBODY, Full Slate, Front Desk, Appointy — and we’ll be adding more, like zingFit, MyTime, and Genbook soon.

So pull out your yoga mat, dust off your running shoes, and fill up that water bottle. Reserve with Google will help make completing your New Year’s resolution as easy as click, click, booked.

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

One-click software Test Drives by Orbitera, now on GCP

Category: Google | Dec 13, 2016

Since joining the Google Cloud team in August, we’ve been hard at work bringing Orbitera to Google Cloud Platform customers and partners. Today, we’re excited to announce that Orbitera supports Test Drives that run on GCP and we’ve completed a successful Test Drive beta that includes software providers like Barracuda, DivvyCloud, Looker, and Vormetric. Thanks to the support of our partners and great team we continue to provide immediate value to customers looking to experience third-party solutions on GCP.

Orbitera Test Drives are fully functioning and interactive software demonstrations offered on the cloud. This is a popular way for businesses to try software before buying it — no software license, credit card or even cloud account required.

At Orbitera we make it easier for businesses to try, buy, deploy and manage complex software in the cloud. One-click Test Drives empower businesses to try software before buying it, and comprehensive consumption billing management gives corporate IT unprecedented visibility and control.

Here’s what some leading software providers had to say about their Orbitera Test Drives on GCP:

looker.png

Looker is a Data Platform that makes it easy for everyone to find, explore and understand the data that drives their business.

“First impressions are very important, and that’s why we chose Orbitera Test Drives to increase lead-to-deal conversions. Trying a fully-functional instance of Looker’s Analytics Platform with just a few clicks and no procurement or deployment hassle is a great introduction to Looker.”

– Keenan Rice, VP, Alliances at Looker

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Vormetric’s comprehensive high performance data security platform protects data wherever it resides with transparent encryption, powerful access controls, and centralized key management.

“Comprehensive solutions like ours can be a challenge for prospective customers to get up and running in a test environment, making it hard for them to really get to know the product and its capabilities. With an Orbitera Test Drive on GCP, customers can get a fully functional environment in minutes, and that makes for a very favorable first impression and gives our sales team a real head start on closing the deal.”

– CJ Radford, VP, Cloud at Vormetric

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DivvyCloud’s BotFactory is a simple point-and-click tool for users to configure, build and deploy bots that automate cloud management tasks.

“We’ve worked with some of the leading cloud adopters in the world to solve common cloud problems through automation of policies. We’re very excited to bring this solution to the broader market through our bot system in BotFactory. This Test Drive will show customers how they can connect a cloud account to BotFactory and find and fix these cloud problems in a matter of minutes.”

– Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, creators of BotFactory

Test drive Orbitera today

See how easy it is to try full-stack software with Orbitera — take a Test Drive for yourself. Try Looker and BotFactory by DivvyCloud, and come back soon for more Test Drives by leading software providers.

Google Cloud Partners: for a limited time, we’re running a promotion to let you create, operate, and run a Test Drive of your software on GCP at no cost for up to one year. Follow this link to sign up.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/d0tk4DR1LA0/

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.

PrideforEveryoneAlbasStory_Dec13.png

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

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/GuML8fddRGs/

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.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/dGNrKLUXD5s/