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The She Word: Tory Voight’s climb through her career

Category: Google | Nov 3, 2017

Editor’s note: Last week we hosted a Women who VRock panel at the Google Pop Up space in Los Angeles, bringing together women across the VR industry. Tory Voight, a engineering program manager on the Google AR/VR team (and oil painter and rock climber on the side), moderated the discussion. Today shares her own perspective for the She Word, our Keyword series focused on amazing women at Google.

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Women who VRock

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

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I work closely with engineers and creators to dream up new ideas and ways to use VR. I spend most of my time building the Artist in Residency (AiR) program, which engages creators to use our products in new ways and provide valuable product feedback to push VR forward.  

What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?

If you’re interested in something, don’t hesitate to reach out. Many great relationships, lessons, and even job positions have resulted from doing just that. Back in 2015, I contacted the VR team and offered to lend 20 percent of my time to help out with Cardboard. I did that for a few months, and eventually got a full time job on the team. If I had never sent that first email, I wouldn’t have ended up where I am now. Offering to help with projects helps you understand the field you want to be in—and what to expect.

Who has been a strong female influence in your life?

From an early age, it was my mother, a single parent of five children who worked two or even three jobs to support our family. I learned the value of perseverance through the adversity we faced together, and through all the wonderful women I met in our various jobs—from cleaning houses, to working in a truck stop Wendy’s. They inspire me to give back in my career as a purpose-driven individual, and to work for a company like Google that builds tools to democratize experiences and opportunities, regardless of one’s background. That’s why I’m so excited about VR products we’re building—they give people access to experiences.

You’ve mentioned that giving back is important. How do you give back to the community?

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Tory and Sookie at the top. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, NV.

As a rock climber, I love volunteering for the Yosemite Climbers Association’s “Facelift” program. I help pick up trash around Yosemite Valley (volunteers have collected more than 10 tons of trash over the past 14 years!), and I feel like this small contribution makes the park more enjoyable for everyone.

I also spend time mentoring young women in high school and college. When I was their age, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up—higher education and a career seemed like an unobtainable, abstract idea for a kid from my background. Now I want to take my experience and help them understand what to expect and encourage them, despite any perceived odds or barriers. I give back in honor of all the individuals who pushed me think I could do anything, even if it seemed insurmountable at the time.

What’s an experience you’ve had in VR that really had an impact on you?

This is Bears Ears National Park” opened my eyes to how VR can be used to inform and build empathy over an issue. The park is stunningly beautiful, but continues to face a lot of political and environmental threats. And because I love being outdoors, this content had a particularly strong impact on me. I’m proud that we’re lending a hand to Bears Ears through our Jump Start program, which pairs filmmakers with the resources to create their own stories in VR.

What do you find most challenging about working in VR? 

The exciting and the challenging thing about VR is that it’s still in its technical infancy. We’re in a new field where there aren’t necessarily answers. We have to find them and validate them, and we’re learning all the time. That’s why programs like AiR, and taking user feedback to heart while we play with concepts, are important.

Why is it important to have a wide variety of people and artists explore VR as a medium?

For the past year, I’ve worked closely with artists from different disciplines and mediums—graffiti artists, painters, illustrators, graphic designers, and cartoonists—in the AiR program. When building products, a diverse set of voices is essential to ensuring that those products are delightful and useful for everyone—a successful product simply can’t be achieved from a homogeneous atmosphere.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/fBso4Od1pdA/

Get a new perspective on the world with Discovery TRVLR

Category: Google | Nov 3, 2017

One of the richest ways to explore and learn about a place is to get to know it from someone who calls that place home. What if you could experience the subtle mysticism of standing in a pagoda in Thailand watching warrior monks train, or hear the echoes of ancient Aztec gods in the rhythmic stomping of feet during a traditional Mexican cleansing ritual?

Virtual reality makes this possible, so you can go on adventures that transcend the mundane—all without booking a single airplane ticket. That’s the idea behind a new series we created in partnership with Discovery, called TRVLR.

Discovery has been showing you new parts of the world for over 35 years, and with TRVLR, you’ll get to explore it in vivid VR video filmed on Jump cameras. TRVLR takes you on voyages to all seven continents, and by focusing on locals you’ll uncover the hidden stories of these places and learn things you’d never see in a travel guidebook.

Available today, the first chapter takes you to Auckland, Australia—hold on tight as you descend into the seemingly bottomless depths of a pitch black cave. New ones will follow every week. In Mexico City, venture south of the capital to the haunting Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls). In Hanoi, keep your eyes peeled for slumbering demons as you explore a ghostly forest. In Yerevan, walk a tightrope with the last member of a generation of Armenian acrobats. In La Paz, meet female wrestlers giving hope to domestic violence victims. And in Cape Town, explore the underside of the city with a charming, though not strictly licensed, cab operator.

Find all episodes of Discovery TRVLR on YouTube or the Discovery VR app on Daydream, and watch them with your Cardboard or Daydream View. Here’s hoping you catch your own glimpse of something truly special.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/THu6YHJ4LIY/

Playing in the leaves with #teampixel

Category: Google | Nov 2, 2017

Sweater weather is here, and #teampixel is out there playing in the leaves. From urban art adventures in LA and Chicago to ancient exploration in Petra, plus picturesque autumnal scenes, treat yourself to some of our favorite #teampixel photos from the past week.

We’d love to share your Pixel shots, so be sure to tag your work on Instagram with #teampixel for an opportunity to be featured.

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    Reflect in nature with @photolazer at Emerald Lake and rowing along in Central Park by @bdojcinovski

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    Cupid’s arrow found among the leaves by @cg_slaughter

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    Colorful signs in the Southwest by @graeme_nicholl and art meets architecture in Downtown LA with @arjunkachru

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    A foggy stroll through the forest with @shawnsblog
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    Road trip against the mountains with @imperor_1 and ancient view through a narrow Petra valley by @stevenpint0

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    Nighttime at Chicago’s Cloud Gate with @optomanishk

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/P2JLoc7c1Cw/

Protecting our Google Docs and Drive Users

Category: Google | Nov 2, 2017

Protecting all Google users from viruses, malware, and other abusive content is central to user cyber-safety and sometimes we remove access to certain files in order to provide these protections.

On Tuesday, October 31, we mistakenly blocked access to some of our users’ files, including Google Docs. This was due to a short-lived bug that incorrectly flagged some files as violating our terms of service (TOS). The blocking raised questions in the community and we would like to address those questions here.

The Google Docs and Drive products have unparalleled automatic, preventive security precautions in place to protect our users from malware, phishing and spam, using both static and dynamic antivirus techniques. Virus and malware scanning is an industry best practice that performs automated comparisons against known samples and indicators; the process does not involve human intervention.

Tuesday’s bug caused the Google Docs and Drive services to misinterpret the response from these protection systems and erroneously mark some files as TOS violations, thus causing access denials for users of those files. As soon as our teams identified the problem, we removed the bug and worked to restore access to all affected files.

We apologize to our users for any inconvenience this incident caused and remain committed to offering high-quality systems that keep their content safe while fully securing their files.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/tNk4uW4M9aU/

Connecting students across space and time with Google Cloud

Category: Google | Nov 2, 2017

Editor’s note: This week the Google team is in Philadelphia for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 2017, an important gathering of higher education technology leaders. If you’re at the event, visit us at booth #1100 to see the latest demos of Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite, devices like Jamboard and virtual reality and augmented reality tools. If you want to be a part of the action from home follow at #EDU17 and our @GoogleForEdu account. If you want to connect with our team but cannot make it to the event contact us.

Yesterday we shared some of the inspiring ways we’ve seen researchers, faculty and students in higher education work with GCP to power their big ideas. But it’s not just researchers that can benefit from the cloud. From virtual reality tools like Jump & Tilt Brush to G Suite for Education to GCP, Google tools are helping educators create new, strong connections amongst students, with faculty, and with new parts of the curriculum.

Brown University connects students with the past with virtual reality

The Gaspee Affair is an important, but largely forgotten moment in U.S. history. And with its “cannon fire and gunshots and boat chases,” it was also a perfect candidate for reconstruction in virtual reality (VR), says Adam Blumenthal, Virtual Reality Artist-in-Residence and Professor of the Practice at Brown University.  

With a team of students and a Jump camera from Google, Blumenthal drafted scripts, designed sets and built a detailed virtual world so that students could interact with the past. “One of the things I love about VR is its ability to put people in places that are otherwise impossible, and in this case that’s stepping back in time in these very authentic recreations,” he says. During production the team has used Tilt Brush, Google’s 3D painting tool, to quickly produce storyboards of 3D scenes as well as to create what Blumenthal calls “virtual reality dioramas” that combine Tilt Brush paint with 2D and 3D assets. Today the prototype of their Gaspee Affair project functions like a virtual museum: students can view the spaces from any angle and interact with its objects. Click here to read the full Brown case study.

We want to help more institutions create their own VR experiences for learning. Google’s Daydream team is excited to launch a pilot program to give higher ed institutions the skills and tools to bring these ideas to life. You can get notified about the upcoming 360 video training course, express interest in the Daydream higher education pilot program or learn more about Google’s AR and VR tools.

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Brown University students and faculty create the historic Gaspee Affair in 3D using a Jump camera from Google.

Central Wyoming connects its students and faculty across large distances with G Suite for Education

At Central Wyoming College (CWC), students and staff previously had to be on campus in order to access email and documents—this was especially challenging in a rural region where people commute long distances. Now that CWC uses cloud-based tools through G Suite for Education, it helps them respond to the unique challenges of their campus community.

The school’s 2,000 students are spread across four campuses, and in the case of its Outdoor Education program, remote wilderness. “It’s extremely hard for our students to get together in person,” says CIO John Wood. Now professors and staff can choose to work live or remotely as needed, cutting down on long commutes to CWC campuses. “Their collaboration can now take place in other ways,” Wood says. “Hangouts are becoming popular, since students can use them to meet face-to-face when they’re not on campus.”  Read the Central Wyoming case study and sign up for G Site for Education.

Manhattan College powers critical campus IT systems with GCP

Manhattan College began using Google Cloud in 2008, and “in most cases, it has been the best answer,” says Manhattan College Chief Information Officer Jake Holmquist. First came the transition to Gmail; that “was the foot in the door that we in IT needed to show the rest of campus that it was okay to operate in the cloud,” says Holmquist.

Then last July, building on the trust and familiarity they had gained using Google tools, Manhattan College moved to implement “Banner 9,” an upgrade to their prior system, on top of GCP. In the past “a typical deployment in our datacenter meant a six-figure hardware purchase that we were not guaranteed to be delivered and provisioned in time for ample testing,” Holmquist said. “Instead, we took the unprecedented approach of deploying these new Banner 9 components in GCP’s Compute Engine. We were able to quickly and easily spin up various components during the installation and upgrade testing.”

They were able to deploy a production environment with “excellent performance and a level of high-availability that we could not have achieved on campus.” This has freed Holmquist and his team up for important work. “Instead of maintaining servers, replacing failed components, and applying patches, we are now focusing on making our applications run more efficiently which results in a more measurable benefit to our end-users.” Read the Manhattan College case study or express your interest in Google Cloud Platform.

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From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/nWpzskI8EgA/

Welcome HTC to the Android One family

Category: Google | Nov 2, 2017

Android One took some important steps two months ago in an effort to give people a fresh, secure software experience designed by Google on more high quality devices. In a short amount of time, our partners have already announced some amazing phones, including the Xiaomi Mi A1 and Android One moto x4 on Project Fi.

Today, HTC is joining the Android One family with their HTC U11 life. Designed with the latest touch interactions, a powerful camera, and immersive audio experience, here’s a closer look at what you’ll get with the Android One version of the new phone.

  • Smarts: All Android One devices and are optimized for the Google Assistant, meaning you can get help simply by saying “Ok Google” or long pressing on the home button. With the Android One HTC U11 life, we’ve taken this one step farther; you can now launch the Google Assistant with a squeeze of your phone, thanks to HTC’s Edge Sense technology. With HTC U11 life, you can take a selfie, look up directions, manage your tasks on the go and more with just a squeeze.

  • Fresh and secure: This is the first Android One phone to launch with Android Oreo. This means the HTC U11 life is more powerful than ever, with minimized background activity for your battery to last longer, or even do two things at once with Picture-in-Picture. Android One phones are guaranteed to stay fresh over time, and are among the most secure with monthly security updates and built-in malware protection with Google Play Protect. Moreover,  the HTC U11 life will receive an upgrade to Android P when available.

  • Powerful camera: Take faster, clearer photos and HDR Boost on the 16MP main camera, even in low light. Google Photos will be the default gallery on this device, giving you free and unlimited storage of your photos and videos at high quality.

The Android One version of the HTC U11 life will launch first in Germany in Media Markt stores and on Amazon.de. We look forward to bringing this device to other countries in Europe and Asia Pacific later this year and into in 2018.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/L8g_fxaxCKc/

Taking your business global just got easier with Market Finder

Category: Google | Nov 1, 2017

Thanks to global e-commerce, there have never been so many opportunities available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, there are also challenges in the global market. Reports show that though exports provide an average of GBP £287,000 (the equivalent of about $25,000) in extra revenue to UK businesses, SME owners who haven’t exported to a new market still don’t know where to start.

SME owners are experts when it comes to local customers, but are less knowledgeable about finding new markets and everything that entails: culture, buying trends, export legalities, and payment options for their product in other countries. This is a key problem; our 2017 consumer survey shows that UK SMEs cite international marketing and operational barriers as the biggest barriers to success abroad.

Today, we’re announcing Market Finder, a new tool that helps businesses identify new customers, plan for success, and grow their export sales online. It also offers freely available guides, videos, and tips—making it as easy as possible for businesses to take the first steps into the export market.

Step 1: Finding the best markets for your business: Once you enter your website into the Market Finder tool, it will suggest which export markets are best for your product or service. It shows the number of monthly Google searches for your product as well as a potential market’s gross domestic product. Market Finder analyzes consumer internet use, demographics and disposable income, giving clear indicators and valuable insights into a market’s growth potential.

Step 2: Preparing your business for a global market: Market Finder sets you up for international success by getting you export-ready. Extensive localization tools, guides and tips show how to communicate effectively to a new market, whether it’s language, customs or preferred payment methods. Logistics resources outline the rules of international delivery and transportation for your chosen market. Payment guides explore the many payment options available globally—and pinpoint which ones are best for each market.

Step 3: Getting your business in front of customers: Market Finder provides training resources on digital marketing to ensure that users looking for your business can find it. For instance, it shows how to create AdWords campaigns that are effective and geared to your chosen market through a series of accessible case studies, guides and videos.

Market Finder was launched at a Google event today, where Greg Hands, Minister of State for Trade Policy, representatives from the London School of Economics, the UK Federation of Small Businesses,and Google discussed how Market Finder facilitates exporting products and services to new regions for small businesses.

Greg Hands emphasized the importance of digital technology in reaching global customers: “Today, 3.7 billion people are online around the globe, so every business, no matter how small, should be going digital to reach new customers around the world. The new Market Finder tool is just one part of the huge range of support we offer as an international economic department, so British companies can seize on exporting opportunities and make the UK a global trading nation.”

Chris McDonald Enterprise and Innovation Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, spoke about the need for a stronger focus on exports in the UK: “Digital innovation is blurring the distinction between goods and services. By fully exploiting new digital technologies such as Google’s Markets Finder, more small firms can compete effectively in the global market, with no business too small to export.”

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/Sp7YhdOvDKM/

For #MyFutureMe finalists, a geofilter shows dreams for the future

Category: Google | Nov 1, 2017

A better and brighter future. A world that accepts people for who they are. Voicing opinions for those who may not be able to.

These are just a few elements of a future envisioned by five special teenage girls. Along with Snap Inc., we created the #MyFutureMe contest to challenge teens to design a geofilter based on the future they imagine for themselves. More than 22,000 teens entered the contest, and five finalists—chosen by Snap—are attending TEDWomen in New Orleans this week, where they’ll hear from entrepreneurs, innovators, artists and activists. They’ll receive mentoring sessions from three Google engineers, and each girl will work with the Snap Design team to create her own, unique Snapchat Lens.

These finalists were chosen from 22,000 teens who entered the contest. Here are the geofilters they created, as well as their vision for the future they not only imagine, but are determined to create.

Anna Nesbitt
Pittsburgh, PA

My dream is to bring computer science and robotics to third world countries. I’m taking coding classes right now and I am a part of a FIRST Robotics Team (Girls of Steel 3504) to learn as much as I can about coding and robotics so I can apply it to my aspirations. I started and ran a robotics team at my elementary school last year in 8th grade for a group of third graders. I taught them basic engineering and CS concepts. I hope to expand my program to two more teams this year, focusing on inspiring girls!

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Zoe Lynch
South Orange, NJ

7.5 billion people make up the world’s population; each with their own unique set of skills and talents. My vision for the future is one where innovation is accessible to all. As a multiracial girl, I believe it’s important for everyone to be included. Whether it’s tutoring math, volunteering, creating problem-solving applications, or doing something as simple as spreading positivity; I am doing as much as I can to make my vision for the future a reality. Together the possibilities are endless. 7.5 billion people—that’ s a lot of brainpower!

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Aishwarya Rane
Diamond Bar, CA

My vision for the future is to have greater gender, racial, and social equality and increase representation for minorities. I hope to develop interpersonal skills as well as public speaking skills. I believe these skills will allow me to voice my opinions for those who may not be able to. I am a part of Girl Up, a campaign by the UN to empower girls around the world, and Society of Women Engineers at my high school. I actively work to bring awareness about contemporary issues (i.e., human trafficking) and increase female representation in STEM.

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Maria Wangamez
San Francisco, CA

An educated world. A world that accepts people for who they are. A world without barriers to education, whether those be financial, geographical, or social. I want to develop a comprehensive education system that can be instituted across the globe; one that is not standardized, but can be changed and suited to varying levels of different types of intelligence (mathematical, scientific, linguistic, artistic, athletic…). To accomplish this, I will start a company, and gather creative, forward-thinking people around me; ones with unique and fantastic skills in coding, educating, animating, advertising and calculating. Together, we will educate the world.

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Sasha Williams
Danville, CA

The future I envision is a better and brighter one. A future where everyone is equal, and confident in who they are, and not judged or mistreated for that. I am currently trying to make this possible through my skill set around gaming and coding. I advocate for young African American girls and inspire them to become creators of their own future, through technology. I have also made a social justice video game about Black History, that won me a trip to the White House! My future me wants to make a difference. I’m kind of a big deal.

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

The Google Assistant on phones, now in Spanish and Italian

Category: Google | Nov 1, 2017

The Google Assistant is already available on phones in a number of languages around the world and this week we’re adding a few new ones to the roster—Spanish in the U.S., Mexico and Spain as well as Italian in Italy. So now you can say “Ok Google” and ask the Assistant to play your favorite song, tell you about the weather, navigate home and more. Or try something fun and say “¿Ok Google, sabes nadar?”

Our goal is for the Assistant to be available to help you get things done, no matter what language you speak, what device you’re using or what question you’re asking. Today’s update is another step in that direction, as these new languages join English in Australia, Canada, U.S. and U.K.; Portuguese in Brazil; French in Canada and France; German in Germany; Japanese in Japan; and Korean in Korea. Rolling out over the coming weeks, these new languages will soon automatically be available on eligible Android phones running Android 6.0 or higher with Google Play Services, and later in the year, they’ll also be available on iPhones.

Ci sentiamo presto.

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

How Chrome helped LafargeHolcim stay productive during a merger

Category: Google | Nov 1, 2017

Editor’s note: Based in Switzerland, LafargeHolcim is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials, with a presence in 80 countries. Paul Young, their head of collaboration and knowledge, tells us how they relied on Chrome and Android devices to stay business ready during a merger.

Merging two large companies, with two large IT systems, is a challenge even under the best of circumstances. So when the world’s two largest cement manufacturers, Lafarge and Holcim, merged in 2015, ensuring business continuity while integrating these two IT systems was a top priority. Fortunately we had Chrome to help.

Before the merger, Lafarge and Holcim both migrated to Chrome, making the transition easier, faster and more cost-effective. The merger increased the company’s global presence to 80 countries, but with Chrome, updates were automatic. Chrome was also pre-installed on each desktop and mobile device, so we saved time because we didn’t need to deploy it region by region. 

Google’s admin console has made it easy for our IT department to manage both Chrome browser and Android devices from a web-based application. Since we have offices around the globe, this was crucial. Not only are Android devices affordable, but our IT department finds them easy to set up and manage from one administrative panel. And with Chrome, our IT staff can manage browser settings for our employees’ devices no matter where they are. Overall, the combination of Chrome and Android devices has saved the company thousands of dollars every year.

Since the merger, LafargeHolcim has become a leader in manufacturing cement, concrete, aggregates and asphalt, but our growth hasn’t diminished our pace of innovation. In 1864, Lafarge won the “contract of the century” and delivered materials to build the Suez Canal. In 1942, Holcim created one of the world’s first cement research and testing facilities. Combined, LafargeHolcim has over 180 years of experience. And with Google, we’re able to help our employees do their jobs better as more of their work moves online and goes mobile—and continue to innovate.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/STY6Ta77GXg/