When we launched Android Nougat, we were excited to deliver even more ways to make Android your own. Today we’re rolling out Android 7.1.1, an update to Nougat that showcases more ways to express yourself, along with a handful of other sweet features and improvements to stability and performance. Android 7.1.1 brings many of the cool features of Pixel to everyone.
More ways to communicate
Earlier this year we announced a proposal to promote gender equality by adding new emoji that reflect the pivotal roles women play in the world, and represent a wider range of professions for both women and men. We included gender counterparts for emoji that previously only had male or female representation. Now there are female welders and men getting haircuts. Our new set of emoji launched with the Pixel phones and now are available to all devices running Android 7.1.1. So you can jam like a rock star or explore the galaxy like an astronaut.
And if you’re looking for more ways to express yourself, you also can now send GIFs directly from your keyboard on supported apps such as Google Allo, Google Messenger and Hangouts.
And for everyone looking for just one more way to make life easier, Android 7.1.1 brings you app shortcuts directly from your home screen. Launch actions on your favorite apps, such as Twitter or Google Maps, by simply long pressing the app icon. Jump directly into an existing conversation on Google Messenger or start an entirely new one – all straight from the app icon.
Today, and over the next several weeks, the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One) will get an over the air (OTA) software update to Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version.
Editor’s Note: Every year during Computer Science Education Week, partners and educators come together to help encourage millions of students to try computer science (CS). This year, Google is focusing on improving perceptions of CS while making it more accessible for underrepresented students. Follow along here throughout this week (Dec 5 – 11) to find out what we’ve learned from the latest research about CS education, what we’re doing for CSEdWeek and how each of us can help champion #CSForAll.
Since Computer Science Education Week started in 2009, it’s become an important event we look forward to every year. And as one of the CSEdWeek founding partners, we’re excited to help more students learn computer science (CS) principles, build confidence with technical skills, and have fun, too!
From our research, we know that narrow perceptions and stereotypes about computer science and who can succeed in CS can create barriers to engaging all students. For example, many girls today don’t think it’s relevant to their passions (and parents and teachers don’t think girls are interested), don’t think they would be good at it and don’t see other women and girls in the field.
We want to break those stereotypes and help students reimagine who computer scientists are, what they look like, and what they can accomplish.
Here are a few fun ways you can you can encourage positive images of computer science during CSEdWeek:
Explore the magic of coding with YouTube stars
Coding is one of those things a lot of people hear about but not a lot of people actually know about.
YouTube Kids has partnered with model Karlie Kloss to show that CS can be a superpower! Popular creators Grace’s World, ActOutGames, Talking Tom and Friends, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, and SciShow Kids have also made videos encouraging kids to explore CS. You can find the latest CS-inspired content on the YouTube Kids app homepage starting today to see how coding opens countless doors to creativity and fun.
Code your own festive emoji
To help more girls try coding for the first time, Made with Code is inviting teens to create festive emoji that are as diverse and unique as they are—with variety of skin tones, hairstyles, and holiday and career accessories. Launched in 2014, Made with Code inspires teen girls to explore the things they love through code, while showing them cool careers with CS and positive role models.
Learn about coding careers in sports, fashion and more
To help students discover how CS can help them find a dream career in any field including sports, fashion, and social impact, we’ve partnered with Refraction Media to launch Careers with Code, a magazine for 14-18 year olds. For CSEdWeek, we’re debuting a new computational thinking activity with an educator guide so teachers can help their students see how their passions and computer science intersect.
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the power and possibilities of computer science during this CSEdWeek! And stay tuned for more ways you can get any student involved.
When we launched Google Allo earlier this year, we started with a preview of our smart features in English to help you say more and do more, right in your chats. Today, we’re adding support for Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi for the Google Assistant and Smart Reply, bringing these features to even more people.
Google Assistant ready to help in new languages
With Google Allo, you can get help from your Assistant without ever leaving the conversation. Sharing sports scores, recipes, or travel plans is now easy to do right in your chats with friends. People are getting help from their Assistant every day — one in every 12 messages in group chats are messages to the Google Assistant.
To start using the Assistant in Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi, just say “Talk to me in Hindi” or “Talk to me in Portuguese” when you’re chatting with your Assistant in Allo. You can also adjust the language setting on your device. So whether you’re chatting with friends about the latest cricket standing for the Mumbai Indians team, or looking into weather forecasts for your trip to the Barra da Tijuca beach, add @google to your chat and your Assistant is ready to help.
Say it rápido with Smart Reply
We’ve found that Smart Reply in English has been helpful in sending quick responses while you’re chatting on the go — in fact, every day more than half of people on Allo use Smart Reply. We’re now adding support for Smart Reply in Brazilian Portuguese and Hindi, so you can quickly send a “muito bem!” in response to a friend asking “Como você está?”
Smart Reply will recognize the language you’re chatting in and begin to show suggested responses in that language. If you’re chatting in English, it will continue to show English responses. But if you start chatting in Hindi or Brazilian Portuguese, it will show you suggestions in that language. You can also adjust the language through your device settings.
Sticker packs with Brazilian edge
Lastly, we’ve added new local stickers for Brazil in Google Allo. Illustrator Daniel Semanas covers a typical day at the beach with “Mari by the Sea,” while Florence Dagostini brings slang words to life with everyday objects in “There, I Said It.” Additional stickers focus on Brazilian food, gamer culture, and city life.
We’re beginning to roll out these new features in Hindi and Brazilian Portuguese for Google Allo on Android and iOS, and they will be available to all users in the next few days. We’ll continue to bring the Google Assistant and Smart Reply to more languages over time — for now they’re available in English, Hindi, Hinglish, German and Brazilian Portuguese.
Whether it’s hiking alone or walking down a street after dark — sometimes you want to know someone’s got your back. To help you feel safe and give your friends and family peace of mind, today we’re launching Trusted Contacts. This new personal safety app lets you share your location with loved ones in everyday situations and when emergencies arise — even if your phone is offline or you can’t get to it.
Here’s how it works: Once you install the Android app, you can assign “trusted” status to your closest friends and family. Your trusted contacts will be able to see your activity status — whether you’ve moved around recently and are online — to quickly know if you’re OK. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe, you can share your actual location with your trusted contacts. And if your trusted contacts are really worried about you, they can request to see your location. If everything’s fine, you can deny the request. But if you’re unable to respond within a reasonable timeframe, your location is shared automatically and your loved ones can determine the best way to help you out. Of course, you can stop sharing your location or change your trusted contacts whenever you want.
Here’s a little more detail on how Trusted Contacts might work, starring Elliot and Thelma:
Get help even if your phone’s offline
Elliot heads out for a hike on his own, telling Thelma he’ll meet her for coffee later. About an hour in, Elliot realizes he’s strayed off the path and lost service. When Elliot doesn’t show up at the coffee shop, Thelma starts to worry. Because Trusted Contacts works even if a phone is offline, Thelma requests Elliot’s location and in five minutes can see that his last known location was in the middle of the canyon. Thelma calls the nearest ranger station, they send out a rescue party, and find Elliot in a few hours.
Invite a trusted friend to virtually walk you home if you feel unsafe
Elliot stayed at the office later than normal and notices it’s awfully dark out. He opens Trusted Contacts and shares his location with Thelma. Now Thelma can walk him home — virtually. When Elliot gets home, he simply taps the banner at the top of the screen or from the lockscreen and stops sharing his location.
Whether you just need a little reassurance or you’re actually in an emergency, Trusted Contacts helps connect you with the people you care about most — at the times you need them most. Download Trusted Contacts today from the Play Store and visit the help center for more info.
Creativity? Craftsmanship? Iconic Design? Count us in.
With our shared passion for great design, Google and the British Fashion Council are teaming up to bring to life the creativity, heritage and craftsmanship of British fashion–for anyone around the world to enjoy, for free. The project, found at g.co/britishfashion, will support the Council’s Education Foundation and aims to educate and inspire future generations of young fashion creatives, designers and students.
To celebrate its rich history and create new experiences around British fashion, the British Fashion Council has invited fashion icons – designers, makers and craftspeople, creatives, photographers, stylists and models – to come together and use advanced technologies to share their stories.
As part of the collaboration, Sarah Mower MBE, the American Vogue Chief Critic and BFC Ambassador, has directed an immersive short film – Fashioning the Future – bringing viewers face-to-face with industry luminaries in virtual reality. Using Google Cardboard or on YouTube via a 360 video, users can be part of a conversation with supermodel Naomi Campbell, designer Anya Hindmarch, creative director Edward Enninful and Joan Burstein, founder of Browns Fashion.
More highlights of the digital collection include:
Users will also be able to go behind-the-scenes of top craftspeople and producers of British fashion, learning about the methods and histories of enduring symbols of British heritage. And, in anticipation of London Fashion Week Men’s in January, the site will feature a ‘Spotlight on Menswear’ featuring content from fashion insiders such as Dylan Jones, Jim Chapman and Nick Knight.
To mark the launch of the project, Britain’s Paul Smith has designed a special-edition Google Cardboard and created an online experience around five objects that represent his creative vision and brand.
The online exhibition opens today at g.co/britishfashion and is available for free online and through the new Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android. You can watch all the 360 degree videos on YouTube.
Android Pay, Google’s app that allows you to make contactless payments, is becoming one of the UK’s favorite ways to shop since its launch this past May. Adoption of Android Pay is growing rapidly as people are tapping on the Tube, in stores, and in their favorite apps.
Let the Gifting Begin
As we head into the festive season, the Android Pay team is thrilled to announce the launch of shop. tap. reward. Each time you use Android Pay in store in the UK or on the Transport for London network from now until the end of the year*, you’ll receive a virtual cracker in the app. Open the cracker to see if you’ve won one of over 100,000 gift cards that could be inside, including a £10 Costa Coffee gift card, a pair of tickets for ODEON Cinemas, a £500 House of Fraser gift card or a £500 Currys PC World gift card.
With each of your first five taps you can also collect a virtual coin, and after you collect five coins, you’ll earn a free £3 Costa Coffee gift card. Learn more about these festive surprises and share your excitement with #shoptapreward and #AndroidPay.
Fa la la all the Way Home
In the UK, more and more people are using Android Pay to tap and pay for their journey on the Transport for London network. To make their experience even better, this week Google and TfL introduced some new features for their riders:
Incomplete journey notifications: If you forget to tap in or out at any TfL station, Android Pay will notify you the following day that you have an incomplete journey, so you can request a refund on the TfL website.
Daily travel summary: Station names and bus numbers will now be tracked within the Android Pay app, so at the end of the day you will be able to see a summary of your daily journey added to your TfL transaction.
And it gets even better. Starting today, UK users will see the Android Pay button in the Uber app. Not only is it a great transit option for getting those oversized shopping bags home, but starting later this week, you can get up to 50% off your next 10 rides (up to £5 per ride) when you use Android Pay**.
Festive Fun Everywhere
We’re delighted to share that Android Pay is currently available in in seven countries: United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Poland and New Zealand, with more countries coming soon.
In the upcoming weeks, users everywhere will be able to enjoy fun celebratory animations as they tap and pay with Android Pay. Here is a sneak peek of a few designs:
Let us know your favorite by sharing your posts on social with #AndroidPay.
We welcome you to tap on and enjoy the festive fun.
*While supplies last.
**Promoter is: Uber BV, Vijzelstraat 68-78, 4th floor, 1017 HL Amsterdam. Google and its affiliates are not the promoter(s) of this offer, and have no liability in connection with it. Offer available until 31/12/2016. Please refer to the full terms & conditions here.
Editor’s Note: Next week kicks off #CSEdWeek, the 8th annual celebration of Computer Science Education. Today we’re looking back at an inspiring story from last year’s CSEdWeek — a Los Angeles school that kickstarted a movement to bring computer science education to students after participating in a CSFirst activity. Stay tuned to hear more #CSEdWeek announcements next week. And if you have a great story to share with us about CS First in your district or school, we’d love to hear! Please share with us on Twitter or in our CS First Google+ Community.
Lynwood Unified School District is south of Los Angeles, nestled among Watts, Compton and Downey. William Gideon, LUSD’s director of research and evaluation and a former engineer, has been working towards bringing more educational resources to the district. He recognized the need for more computer science (CS) resources in the school system, yet wanted to be strategic about the programs he brought to Lynwood.
Last year, while Mr. Gideon attended the California STEM Symposium, he discovered Google CS First, a program that provides free CS curriculum for classroom and after-school programs. Looking back on that time, he said: “I was immediately skeptical because there have been many times before when I’ve heard corporate America claim to support education, but they really didn’t. It was all talk, no action or true support.”
Despite his misgivings, Mr. Gideon spoke with the Google team and found out more information about the resources for students as well as teachers. They also told him more about Hour of Code, a one-hour coding tutorial designed for all ages. In the end, he was persuaded to try Hour of Code with LUSD’s elementary and middle schools.
LUSD had never participated in Hour of Code or CSEdweek before, so LUSD’s Technology Services jumped into action to ensure teachers had what they needed to do the activity in their classrooms. The district also tried to get local university students to help out, but when that proved impossible due to college exam schedules, they forged ahead. Says Mr. Gideon: “We were on our own. However, we didn’t let that stop us.”
Despite these challenges, the effort was a success. In fact, teachers, students and staff were so inspired and excited that the district leadership decided to implement the full CS First program for all schools in Lynwood. Within a few weeks, 18 teachers were up and running after learning the tool, resulting in 200 students participating in CS First in the spring of 2016.
Lynwood Unified School District’s success with Google CS First and Hour of Code helped kickstart more efforts to get students and teachers engaged with computer science, like digital learning coaches and summer clubs. This fall, they’ve added additional CS-focused resources for K-8 students, with programs like Tynker, Code.org, Osmo, Dash and Dot, and of course, CS First.
With technology support for students, no one stays behind.
One year later, LUSD elementary/middle school students and teachers are excited and optimistic about STEM and CS. More than 1,200 LUSD students have coded for a total of 9,735 hours in 76 CS First Clubs. Students have access to 8,000 computers to share via Chromebook carts — up from zero just a year ago. And LUSD staff is getting ready for this year’s CSEdweek and the newest Hour of Code activity, Gumball’s Coding Adventure.
Lynwood has made huge strides in its CS education offerings… and it all started with just one Hour of Code. This CSEdWeek, we hope you’ll see for yourself what an Hour of Code can do. Learn more about Google’s CSEdWeek offerings on our website.
Santa’s elves are back at the North Pole working to make sure old Kris Kringle is ready for his journey around the world on December 24 — and that means Santa’s Village is now officially open. Each day until the sleigh takes off, we’ll unlock a new experience that’ll get even the biggest grinch into the holiday spirit.
From sliding penguins to dancing elves, the residents of the North Pole are having the time of their lives, and now you can join in the merriment. This year you’ll find several new games in Santa’s Village, including four new ones only available on the Android app — including Present Quest, where you try your hand at recovering Santa’s misplaced gifts out in the real world.
Just in time for CSEdWeek this December 5 through 11, we’ll unwrap three coding games to help kids of all ages learn the basics of coding. In Code Boogie, for example, you can help Santa’s elves learn dance moves by combining patterns and creating sequences.
Within the gates of Santa’s Village, the new educator resource page is filled with lesson plans and educational games spanning subjects from computer science to geography. Teachers and parents can sort by category to easily find and download lesson plans for use in the classroom or at home.
Be on the lookout for more holiday cheer throughout the month, and don’t forget to return on December 23-24 (depending on your time zone) to track Santa’s journey around the world as he brings gifts and joy to people worldwide. Until then, make merry with the residents of the North Pole on web (desktop and mobile Android/iOS), Android app, Google Maps (desktop and mobile), Android TV and Chrome.
Editor’s note: At Education on Air, Google’s free online conference tomorrow, December 3, we’ll be celebrating educators and exploring the future of education and technology. During the event, Jennie Magiera will be moderating a live panel featuring educators who have pioneered technology at their schools, along with two students who have benefited from these teachers’ work. Register now to hear from the panelists live tomorrow, December 3.
“Too often, teachers are the last people to sing their own praises, even though they’re constantly inspiring their students, their colleagues and their students’ parents, ” says Jennie Magiera, chief technology officer at Des Plaines School District 62. “We’ve all had at least one teacher who inspired us to become who we are today.”
Tomorrow, December 3, Jennie will be moderating a live panel during Education on Air featuring educators who have pioneered technology at their schools, along with two students who have benefited from these teachers’ work. The panel will include:
Kevin Brookhouser, teacher at York School
Maria, Kevin’s student
Rafranz Davis, executive director of professional and digital learning at Lufkin ISD
Andrew, Rafranz’s student
Jennie shared a few questions with our panelists to learn more about the teachers who helped shape them into who they are today. To hear from the panelists live, join us for Education on Air tomorrow, December 3.
Jennie: Our theme for this panel is “It takes a teacher.” When you were a student, who inspired you and how?
Kevin: I took a video writing class in high school with Jim Talone, who is now retired. For our final project he asked us to go into the community and find stories that we would then produce and distribute to a real-world audience. This was the first time a teacher gave me creative autonomy, allowing me to pursue what I thought was meaningful and share that project with a real audience. It motivated me to invest more time and work harder than I had ever worked. That experience has stuck with me.
Rafranz: I was inspired by Dr. Vanessa Huse, a professor of math education for pre-service teaching (education provided to student teachers). She was an important mentor to me and is still part of my life now. She was one of the only people who understood the struggles that I’d face as a teacher of color, even though she doesn’t come from the same background that I do. She made sure I had mentors who were veteran teachers — people I could learn from and collaborate with. She even introduced me to Dr. Evelyn Boyd Granville, the second African American woman to hold a degree in math. She invited Dr. Granville to speak to our class and share her story. In many ways, Dr. Huse knew what I needed before I did.
Jennie: We couldn’t invite every teacher that inspires us to be on this panel, though I’m sure you would agree that we wish we could. If you could have brought along one colleague, who would you have picked?
Kevin: There are so many teachers I’d pick. The first colleague who comes to mind is our high school art teacher, Logan Parsons. She has all of her students create self-portraits. She guides the students to think about how they want to portray themselves, whether in an abstract way or something more realistic. The results are unique and reflective of each individual. I’m inspired by how much students seem to get out of this project and from working with Logan.
Rafranz: It’s so hard to pick one teacher! One of our first and second-grade teachers, Jamie Mayhan, stands out to me because she has such a passion for her students and really thinks outside of the box. She overcomes every challenge in her way. For example, she personally took on the cause of creating better access to technology for her students. She started a BYOD [bring your own device] program in her classroom, which required working with parents to get students devices. To make sure every student had access, she even gathered extra devices on her own by helping students to borrow devices from parents and coordinating device loans from digital learning department.
Jennie: We’ll be talking a lot about what it takes a teacher to do, but what does it take a student to do? How have your students inspired you?
Kevin: My students inspire me with their ability to take risks and try new things before they know whether they’ll succeed. Their willingness to experiment, learn new skills, and participate in new activities motivates me to do the same. That bravery is how real learning happens. I’m also inspired by my students who have a deep desire to help others. They request to work on projects that will positively impact on other people. Their optimism and generosity gives me a lot of hope for the future.
Rafranz: We put a lot of emphasis on teaching kids grit and resilience to help them overcome adversity, but if we listen, we might be surprised to find out how much strength they already have. I’m inspired by our students who have come from difficult backgrounds — whether they were raised in poverty or affluence — and have been able to rise above challenges and pursue their dreams. Even though they may grow up with circumstances they can’t control, they show up to school and work hard, learn new things and think creatively.
As the year draws to a close, we’re thrilled to announce Google Play’s most popular apps, games, music, movies, TV shows and books globally in 2016.
The Force and Harry Potter were no match for a different kind of superhero as Deadpool and “Deadpool Kills the Universe” dominated the movie and book charts this year. Game of Thrones kept The Walking Dead away to once again claim the Iron Throne as the most popular TV show of 2016. Twenty One Pilots had no need to feel “Stressed Out” as their single came in as the number one most streamed song of the year, but don’t feel “Sorry” for Justin Bieber who came in at number two. And, of course, Pokemon GO captured the top trending game spot.
Check out Google Play’s top five lists for the most popular content around the world in 2016 below. For complete local lists, visit Google Play.