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Making computer science accessible to more students in Africa

Category: Google | Oct 18, 2017

Computer Science (CS) fosters innovation, critical thinking and empowers students with the skills to create powerful tools to solve major challenges. Yet, many students, especially in their the early years, do not have access to opportunities to develop their technical skills.

At Google, we believe that all students deserve these opportunities. That is why,  in line with our commitment to prepare 10 million people in Africa for jobs of the future, we are funding 60 community organisations to hold training workshops during Africa Code Week 2017.These workshops will give over 50,000 students a chance to engage with CS and learn programming and computational-thinking skills.

Africa Code Week is a grassroots movement that encourages programming by showing how to bring ideas to life with code, demystifying these skills and bringing motivated students together to learn. Google has been involved in this campaign as a primary partner to SAP since 2015, providing sponsorships to organizations running initiatives to introduce students to CS.

This year, we received more than 300 applications from community organizations across Africa. We worked with the Cape Town Science Centre to select and fund 60 of these organizations that will deliver CS workshops to children and teens (ages 8 to 18) from October 18-25 in 10 African countries (Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Gambia and Togo).

Some of the initiatives we are supporting include:

Google is delighted to support these great efforts. Congratulations to the recipient organizations. Step into the world of Google in Computer Science Education at edu.google.com/cs.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/4oXQC6V7TfY/

Stream YouTube TV using your voice on Google Home

Category: Google | Oct 17, 2017

Google Home, Google Home Mini, and soon Google Home Max, let you enjoy your entertainment hands-free with the Google Assistant. With Chromecast, you can already stream your favorite YouTube clips, Netflix shows (if you have a subscription, of course), and more straight to your TV with a simple voice command.  

Starting today, voice control gets even better on Google Home with support for YouTube TV. Available in most major U.S. cities, YouTube TV now offers live local broadcast feeds from ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, as well as popular cable networks like ESPN, AMC and FX, and regional sports networks.

Getting started is simple

Once you’ve set up Google Home and Chromecast, open the Google Home app to link the two. After that, simply use your voice to control your YouTube TV experience. Just start with “Ok Google” to ask your Assistant to:

  • Play “This Is Us”
  • Play the MLB game
  • Play MSNBC
  • Play the latest episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”
  • Play last week’s “NCIS”
  • Record “Empire”
  • Play, pause, stop, rewind 15 seconds, turn captions on, or fast forward two minutes

Subscribe to YouTube TV, get a Chromecast on us

If you already have Google Home, you’re halfway there. After a free trial, YouTube TV is only $35 per month and you can cancel any time. And for a limited time, we’re offering new YouTube TV members a complimentary Chromecast so you can start streaming on your big screen.

We’re excited about bringing together three of our favorite family members—Google Home, Chromecast, and YouTube TV—so you can enjoy a new way to watch live TV.

Learn more about Google Home and visit YouTube TV to find out if it’s available in your area.

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

Pixel Visual Core: image processing and machine learning on Pixel 2

Category: Google | Oct 17, 2017

The camera on the new Pixel 2 is packed full of great hardware, software and machine learning (ML), so all you need to do is point and shoot to take amazing photos and videos. One of the technologies that helps you take great photos is HDR+, which makes it possible to get excellent photos of scenes with a large range of brightness levels, from dimly lit landscapes to a very sunny sky.

HDR+ produces beautiful images, and we’ve evolved the algorithm that powers it over the past year to use the Pixel 2’s application processor efficiently, and enable you to take multiple pictures in sequence by intelligently processing HDR+ in the background. In parallel, we’ve also been working on creating hardware capabilities that enable significantly greater computing power—beyond existing hardware—to bring HDR+ to third-party photography applications.

To expand the reach of HDR+, handle the most challenging imaging and ML applications, and deliver lower-latency and even more power-efficient HDR+ processing, we’ve created Pixel Visual Core.

Pixel Visual Core is Google’s first custom-designed co-processor for consumer products. It’s built into every Pixel 2, and in the coming months, we’ll turn it on through a software update to enable more applications to use Pixel 2’s camera for taking HDR+ quality pictures.

pixel visual core

Magnified image of Pixel Visual Core

Let’s delve into the details for you technical folks out there: The centerpiece of Pixel Visual Core is the Google-designed Image Processing Unit (IPU)—a fully programmable, domain-specific processor designed from scratch to deliver maximum performance at low power. With eight Google-designed custom cores, each with 512 arithmetic logic units (ALUs), the IPU delivers raw performance of more than 3 trillion operations per second on a mobile power budget. Using Pixel Visual Core, HDR+ can run 5x faster and at less than one-tenth the energy than running on the application processor (AP). A key ingredient to the IPU’s efficiency is the tight coupling of hardware and software—our software controls many more details of the hardware than in a typical processor. Handing more control to the software makes the hardware simpler and more efficient, but it also makes the IPU challenging to program using traditional programming languages. To avoid this, the IPU leverages domain-specific languages that ease the burden on both developers and the compiler: Halide for image processing and TensorFlow for machine learning. A custom Google-made compiler optimizes the code for the underlying hardware.

In the coming weeks, we’ll enable Pixel Visual Core as a developer option in the developer preview of Android Oreo 8.1 (MR1). Later, we’ll enable it for all third-party apps using the Android Camera API, giving them access to the Pixel 2’s HDR+ technology. We can’t wait to see the beautiful HDR+ photography that you already get through your Pixel 2 camera become available in your favorite photography apps.

  • Sidebyside2.jpg
    Pictures taken on Pixel 2 on a third-party app. Picture on the right is HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core
  • Sidebyside5.jpg
    Pictures taken on Pixel 2 on a third-party app. Picture on the right is HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core
  • Sidebyside1.jpg
    Pictures taken on Pixel 2 on a third-party app. Picture on the right is HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core
  • Sidebyside4.jpg
    Pictures taken on Pixel 2 on a third-party app. Picture on the right is HDR+ on Pixel Visual Core

HDR+ will be the first application to run on Pixel Visual Core. Notably, because Pixel Visual Core is programmable, we’re already preparing the next set of applications. The great thing is that as we port more machine learning and imaging applications to use Pixel Visual Core, Pixel 2 will continuously improve. So keep an eye out!

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/Wirg4Qvkpv0/

Time for a refresh: meet the new Google Calendar for web

Category: Google | Oct 17, 2017

Check your schedule. Starting today, a fresh look and new features are coming to Google Calendar on the web to help you manage your time more efficiently and get more done.

We’re taking a lot of what you know and love from Calendar’s mobile application, like the modern color palette and sleek design, and bringing it to the web with a responsive layout that auto-adjusts to your screen size. We’ve also added more features for enterprises to help teams schedule and prepare for meetings.

New Calendar UI on web

Over the years, you’ve shared valuable feedback on how we can enhance Calendar to better fit your needs and we’re excited to bring new improvements. Now, it’s even easier to manage your schedule at your desk. In the new Calendar for web, you can:

  • See conference room details when booking a room. G Suite admins can now enter detailed information about their organization’s meeting rooms—so employees know where a conference room is located, how large it is, and whether it has audio/video equipment or is wheelchair accessible. Employees can simply hover over the room name in Calendar when they want to book a space, and a hovercard will pop up with details about the conference location and resources.

SRI in Calendar - GIF

  • Add rich formatting and hyperlinks to your Calendar invites. Link to relevant spreadsheets, documents or presentations in your Calendar invite and open them directly from the new “Event Detail” view. This can help you create more detailed agendas and ensure all materials are in one place before your meeting starts.

Rich text formatting in Calendar

  • Manage multiple calendars side by side in “Day” view. Now you can view and manage calendars in separate columns. This makes it easier for employees who manage multiple calendars, like administrative assistants, to schedule meetings on behalf of their teams. Click “Day” view and select the calendars you want to compare.

Side-by-side Day view in Calendar

There are a number of other changes in Calendar, too. Now you can see contact information of meeting participants when you hover over their names in a Calendar invite. There’s also a new way to view and restore deleted items in one place in case you accidentally delete a meeting. Additionally, “Day,” “Week,” and “Month” views are now more accessible, featuring better compatibility with screen readers. For more detail on changes, check out this post.

These new changes in Calendar can help your teams better manage their time, and G Suite admins can enable these new updates starting today. Read this post for more information on rollout options.

And if you use Calendar for personal use, click “Use new Calendar” in the upper righthand corner of the main Calendar view to get started.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/IMjyhbKsn7w/

Google’s strongest security, for those who need it most

Category: Google | Oct 17, 2017

Editor’s note: October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we’re celebrating with a series of security announcements this week. This is the second post; see our first one here.

When operating at the scale of Google, we usually strive to build products that serve the needs of billions of people. Today we’re introducing a different kind of product—one that we specifically tailored to protect the online security of a much smaller set of users.

We took this unusual step because there is an overlooked minority of our users that are at particularly high risk of targeted online attacks. For example, these might be campaign staffers preparing for an upcoming election, journalists who need to protect the confidentiality of their sources, or people in abusive relationships seeking safety. Sometimes even the most careful and security-minded users are successfully attacked through phishing scams, especially if those phishing scams were individually targeted at the user in question.

To address this need, we’re introducing the Advanced Protection Program. Advanced Protection provides Google’s strongest security, designed for those who are at an elevated risk of attack and are willing to trade off a bit of convenience for more protection of their personal Google Accounts.

Once you enroll in Advanced Protection, we’ll continually update the security of your account to meet emerging threats—meaning Advanced Protection will always use the strongest defenses that Google has to offer.

At the start, the program focuses on three core defenses.

The strongest defense against phishing: Advanced Protection requires the use of Security Keys to sign into your account. Security Keys are small USB or wireless devices and have long been considered the most secure version of 2-Step Verification, and the best protection against phishing. They use public-key cryptography and digital signatures to prove to Google that it’s really you. An attacker who doesn’t have your Security Key is automatically blocked, even if they have your password.

Protecting your most sensitive data from accidental sharing: Sometimes people inadvertently grant malicious applications access to their Google data. Advanced Protection prevents this by automatically limiting full access to your Gmail and Drive to specific apps. For now, these will only be Google apps, but we expect to expand these in the future.

Blocking fraudulent account access: Another common way hackers try to access your account is by impersonating you and pretending they have been locked out. For Advanced Protection users, extra steps will be put in place to prevent this during the the account recovery process—including additional reviews and requests for more details about why you’ve lost access to your account.

advanced protection

We’ve been testing Advanced Protection for the last several weeks and learning from people like Andrew Ford Lyons, a Technologist at Internews, an international nonprofit organization that has supported the development of thousands of media outlets worldwide. “Journalists, human rights defenders, environment campaigners and civil society activists working on any number of sensitive issues can quickly find themselves targeted by well-resourced and highly capable adversaries,” says Andrew. “For those whose work may cause their profile to become more visible, setting this up could be seen as an essential preventative step.” The testers’ feedback was hugely helpful; we’re very appreciative of the time they spent with the product.

Anyone with a personal Google Account can enroll in Advanced Protection.Today, you’ll need Chrome to sign up for Advanced Protection because it supports the U2F standard for Security Keys. We expect other browsers to incorporate this soon.

For now, Advanced Protection is only available for consumer Google Accounts. To provide comparable protections on G Suite Accounts, G Suite admins can look into Security Key Enforcement and OAuth apps whitelisting.

Sign up for Advanced Protection at g.co/advancedprotection.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/hSJj4hguRjI/

AGDATA Australia: from family farm to global partners

Category: Google | Oct 17, 2017

Editor’s note: As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we chatted with Glenn Skerman, who, together with his brother Brendan, are directors of AGDATA Australia, a farming accounting software company. Founded in 1984, their working family farm has grown into a software business that employs 18 team members with over 10,000 customers. AGDATA products are used by farmers all around the world, from the Falkland Islands to Papua New Guinea.

Keyword: Can you tell us a bit about yourselves, what inspired you to become entrepreneurs and create this platform for farmers? 

Glenn Skerman: Actually, our father founded the business back in the 1980s. Originally, he was only trying to solve a problem for himself on the family cattle and grain farm. He was tired of trying to make existing accounting products meet our farm business management needs. Once word got out, others wanted what he had created. And so we formed AGDATA Australia. Business is thriving—we have more than  22,000 active software licenses. We offer solutions that allow farmers to organise their data on crops, livestock and land.

Our Phoenix software integrates farm production and financial data to provide farmers with a cost-effective solution that was previously only available to larger manufacturing industries. This levels the playing field a bit more for small and medium businesses.

We’re very proud that we’re still a family-owned business. 

Glenn and Brendan Skerman

Glenn Skerman on the left with his brother Brendan on the right at AGDATA’s office.

What difference has the internet made for your business?

It has completely changed the way we do business.

 We continue to manage our product development, helpdesk support and administration functions locally, providing jobs for the local economy. Thanks to the internet, we can share data that our customers would otherwise be unable to access. For example, we’re able to share government spatial data directly with users. This provides them information to help them make farm planning decisions.

 We’ve got greater access to customers all over the world thanks to Google. Our customers once had to learn about our products in person. Now, they can access our products anywhere by jumping onto Google Search, or finding out more about us on YouTube. They can also try our products immediately online, and communicate directly with us.

The internet has also allowed us to become more environmentally-friendly. We used to deliver our software on physical disks. Now our customers can access our software online. People used to write cheques as a payment solution; now they’re paying online. We use a lot less paper products and packaging today. We now also deliver online training to our customers around the country.  This is more efficient for both the customers and AGDATA.

Can you tell us how AGDATA has helped your customers?

Customers benefit from our software in many ways. One said that by using our software, she was able to better monitor her business finances, saving over A$16,000 in interest payments on her loans. Another customer saved over A$30,000 in equipment and labour costs by planning out the irrigation and piping on her farm by overlaying Google Maps using the 3D capability in our Phoenix Mapping software. 

We’re also proud to help the community. We have an active “Community Involvement Program” and provide software to not-for-profit groups in Regional Australia, which includes all the areas that lie beyond major cities. Last year we were recognised at one of the Regional Australia Institute and Google’s regional online heroes.

 

What’s next for your business?

We see greater use of the Internet of Things, and building on the connectivity of devices to the primary database we have. Ultimately, we want to provide a single database for the farmer to manage their farming enterprise more effectively.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/WsU0Hf5rTyg/

Siempre Selena

Category: Google | Oct 17, 2017

My love of music started with Selena Quintanilla. One of my dearest childhood memories is of my mom and I belting her classics like “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Techno Cumbia” in the family van during our annual road trips to Mexico. But Selena’s influence in my life goes so much further than that.

I’m the daughter of a Mexican immigrant single mother and grew up in a small, primarily white town in rural Texas. Selena taught me that being Latina was a powerful thing, and that with hard work and focus, I could do whatever I set my mind to. She showed me that my hybrid cultural identity was a valuable gift I should embrace. Watching her made me proud to be Mexicana.

Today we celebrate Selena’s legacy with a Google Doodle. Set to her iconic song (and my roadtrip favorite jam) “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” today’s Doodle follows Selena’s early life through the milestones that solidify her legacy as “The Queen of Tejano” and one of the most successful and iconic Mexican-American entertainers of all time.

She released “Selena,” her first studio album with Capitol EMI, on this day in 1989. Among many notable accomplishments throughout her career, she consistently stayed at the top of the billboard charts, and won a Grammy for best Mexican-American album of 1993—making her the first female and youngest Tejano artist to win the award. But she was much more than a talented musician and entertainer. A fashionista and trendsetter, she often designed and created entire outfits for her performance wardrobe. In her free time, she was active in community service, and a strong advocate for education.

heyyy

Above all, Selena is a beacon of inspiration and hope for Latinx, immigrant, and bicultural communities around the globe. By embracing and celebrating all parts of her cultural heritage and persevering in the face of adversity, she forged an emotional connection with millions.

In addition to today’s Doodle, we partnered with the Quintanilla family and The Selena Museum to create a new Google Arts & Culture exhibit in honor of Selena. In the experience, you can tour beautiful high-resolution imagery of some of her most prized possessions, including iconic outfits, her first Grammy, her favorite car, and artwork from her adoring fans. We were also honored to host Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister, for a Talk at Google last week, which you can check out here.

cultural

So thank you, Selena, for being a role model and a hero to a little Latina girl in Granbury, TX and to countless others. And thank you for all the inspiration and joy your music and legacy continues to bring to the world.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/SxotjTEv-QA/

New security protections, tailored to you

Category: Google | Oct 16, 2017

Editor’s Note: October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we’re celebrating with a series of security announcements this week.

Security is top of mind for everyone these days, and with one troubling headline after another, you may be concerned about the security of your information online.

Rest assured: your Google data is secured by the best protections on the planet, and we’ll never stop improving them to ensure your information remains safe.

Today, we’re announcing two new protections to help you stay safer online—an upgrade to our Security Checkup and new phishing protections in Chrome.

Personalized advice from your new Security Checkup

We’re rolling out a revamped Security Checkup, which now provides personalized guidance to help you improve the security of your account. Instead of the same, passive checklist for everyone, the Security Checkup is now a tailored guide to securing your data.

security checkup update - en

The Security Checkup provides a clear security status and personalized recommendations to strengthen your account security

When you visit the checkup, you’ll automatically see your security status—a green check mark icon means you’re good to go, and a yellow or red exclamation point icon means there’s at least one issue for you to take care of. The checkup is now your personal security advisor—a useful sidekick that makes it really easy to keep your account secure.

The new Security Checkup will keep evolving as new threats arise—you can count on it to provide you with relevant, up-to-date security advice that you can use to keep your account safe. Take the new Security Checkup at g.co/securitycheckup.


Predictive phishing protection in Chrome

Google Safe Browsing has helped protect Chrome users from phishing attacks for over 10 years, and now helps protect more than 3 billion devices every day by showing warnings to people before they visit dangerous sites or download dangerous files.

Safe Browsing has always scanned the web for these dangerous sites. But, if a phishing site is created and used for attack moments later, even the quickest scanners can’t warn people fast enough. From our years of experience detecting phishing sites, Safe Browsing’s insights can now enable us to make predictions about risks in real time.

We’re using this knowledge to test new predictive phishing protections in Chrome. Soon, when you type your Google account password into a suspected phishing site, we’ll add additional protections to ensure your account isn’t compromised. Those protections will apply even if you use a different browser afterwards.

chrome phishing image

Example of what a user might see if they enter their Google credentials into a suspected phishing page

We plan to expand predictive phishing protection to all other passwords you’ve saved in Chrome’s password manager, and enable other apps and browsers that use Safe Browsing technology, like Safari, Firefox and Snapchat, to use it as well.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/oUc4Q9LM-KY/

Meow it’s even easier to find your furry friends in Google Photos

Category: Google | Oct 16, 2017

If you have a bunch of photos of your furry friends, you now have the oppawtunity to see them all in one place in Google Photos.

When you want to look back on old photos of Oliver as a puppy or Mr. Whiskers as a kitten, you no longer need to type “dog” or “cat” into search in Google Photos. Rolling out in most countries today, you’ll be able to see photos of the cats and dogs now grouped alongside people, and you can label them by name, search to quickly find photos of them, or even better, photos of you and them. This makes it even easier to create albums, movies, or even a photo book of your pet.

PetsGIF

In addition to now grouping your pets, Google Photos fur-tunately already has a few other features to help you honor your paw-some pet. You can search by breed to see photos of your Poodle or Maine Coon or search by emoji to see all those or photos.

Check the Assistant view in Google Photos to see if we’ve made a pawesome movie starring your pet, which we began rolling out in May. Or if you want to make one yourself, just tap on the new photo group of your pet, select your favorite photos, tap “+” and create a movie (this also works to create a photo book). If you want to swap the soundtrack or create your own movie, we have six pet-inspired songs to choose from in the movie editor—whether you want to raise-the-ruff or add some cattitude.

We hope these features help you better celebrate your four-legged family members in all of their paw-some-ness.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/0xRsRGfu1KA/

A cleaner, safer web with Chrome Cleanup

Category: Google | Oct 16, 2017

Unwanted software impacts the browsing experience of millions of web users every day. Effects of this harmful software are often quite subtle—search results are modified to redirect users to other pages or additional ads are injected in the pages that users visit. But in some cases, the changes are so severe that they can make the web unusable—people are redirected to unwanted sites full of ads, and it can be next to impossible to navigate away from these pages.

Chrome already has tools to help people avoid unwanted software. For example, Safe Browsing prevents many infections from taking place by warning millions of users. But sometimes harmful software slips through.

Recently, we rolled out three changes to help Chrome for Windows users recover from unwanted software infections.

Hijacked settings detection

Extensions can help make Chrome more useful—like by customizing tab management. But some extensions may change your settings without you even realizing it. Now, when Chrome detects that user settings have been changed without your consent, it will offer to restore the modified settings. In the past month, this feature has helped millions of people recover from unwanted settings.

reset-prompt-screenshot.png

You can also reset your profile settings at any time by visiting chrome://settings/resetProfileSettings.

A simpler Chrome Cleanup

Sometimes when you download software or other content, it might bundle unwanted software as part of the installation process without you knowing. That’s why on Chrome for Windows, the Chrome Cleanup feature alerts people when it detects unwanted software and offers a quick way to remove the software and return Chrome to its default settings. We’ve recently completed a full redesign of Chrome Cleanup. The new interface is simpler and makes it easier to see what software will be removed.

Prompt dialog.PNG

A more powerful Cleanup engine

Under the hood, we upgraded the technology we use in Chrome Cleanup to detect and remove unwanted software. We worked with IT security company ESET to combine their detection engine with Chrome’s sandbox technology. We can now detect and remove more unwanted software than ever before, meaning more people can benefit from Chrome Cleanup. Note this new sandboxed engine is not a general-purpose antivirus—it only removes software that doesn’t comply with our unwanted software policy.

We’ve begun to roll this out to Chrome for Windows users now. Over the next few days, it will help tens of millions of Chrome users get back to a cleaner, safer web.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/YS3cCiJIE2M/