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Android Pay goes local in Ukraine, Czech Republic, Brazil and Slovakia

Category: Google | Nov 14, 2017

Whenever we launch Android Pay in a new market, we think about how to enable faster, easier checkout while taking into account the distinct payment habits of each place. Working with partners is a key part of creating a local experience.

A few weeks ago, we launched Android Pay in Ukraine. Today, it’s available in Czech Republic and Brazil, and soon it’ll be live in Slovakia, too. Here’s a look at how two different approaches simplify checkout in two unique parts of the world.

Leave your wallet at home in Central and Eastern Europe

Paying contactless isn’t new in Central and Eastern Europe–in fact, in many places it’s the norm. With Android Pay, we wanted to make it easier for locals to leave their wallets at home at places they know and love. Starting today in Czech Republic, you can pick up a loaf of traditional Šumava bread at your favorite bakery or an ice-cold Kofola at Albert using nothing but your phone.

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Oleksandr Danylyuk, Ukraine’s Finance Minister, demonstrating Android Pay at the launch event

And in a region full of Android fans, we’re excited to see it’s already taking off! Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk was the country’s first person to try Android Pay when we launched on November 1, demonstrating how it works on the Kiev Metro.

Pay for pão de queijo with your phone in Brazil

On the other side of the globe in Brazil, contactless payments are just picking up speed. So we partnered with merchants like Ipiranga and Casa do Pão de Queijo to help us merge new experiences (like paying with your phone) with familiar ones (like buying groceries or Brigadeiros). Brazil is also the first Latin American country to get Android Pay, and we’re looking forward to helping contactless payments become part of people’s everyday routines.

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We’ll be bringing Android Pay to even more places soon.

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

Spend more time around the table (not in traffic) this Thanksgiving

Category: Google | Nov 14, 2017

Many Americans will spend next Thursday surrounded by family and friends around a table full of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce (or whatever your family favorites are). Because traveling for Thanksgiving can be stressful, we looked at historical Google Maps traffic data to identify the best and worst times for your Thanksgiving road trips. And just for fun, we took a peek at the places Google Maps users are most often getting directions to during the holiday week. To look at this a bit more closely, we’ve created an interactive experience where you can explore Thanksgiving trends in your area.

Tips for a traffic-free Turkey Day

Because many of us can’t or don’t take off extra days leading up to Thanksgiving, we looked at last year’s traffic trends the day before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after. As you might expect, Wednesday late afternoon is the busiest time to hit the road, but it’s pretty much smooth sailing the morning of Thanksgiving. So if you can wait until Turkey Day, you might be able to avoid the crowds on the road.

To make your travels as efficient as possible, don’t forget to share your trip with the in-laws so they’ll know exactly when you’ll arrive. And if you forgot the stuffing you promised to bring to the potluck, just search for an open supermarket along your route to quickly pick it up without adding a long detour—you can even see how much time you can expect to spend in the checkout line with our new wait times feature (now available on Google Maps for Android).

When the eating is all over and it’s time to head home, early morning on Saturday or Sunday are your best bets (just make sure to avoid the road when traffic heats up on Friday and Saturday in the late afternoon).

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Trending places over Thanksgiving  

Every family has their unique holiday traditions—like Dad’s dash to the tree lot the day after Thanksgiving. According to historical Google Maps search data, the most popular destinations over the Thanksgiving holiday period are ham shops, outlet malls, tree farms, natural features (think outdoor experiences), and electronics stores.

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When you’re not digging into your food, dig into the Turkey Day traffic and Google Maps search trends for your city in our interactive experience. Happy Thanksgiving!

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/mjpH6fAqwcE/

Accelerating the journey to the cloud for SAP customers—access transparency preview and new certifications

Category: Google | Nov 14, 2017

From the moment we announced a partnership with SAP at Google Cloud Next in March, we’ve been busy readying SAP systems to run effectively on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Our momentum with SAP offers solutions for all types of business, from SMBs to the largest enterprises around the world, including developments with data access transparency, a sandbox environment, application migration and integrations for business systems. We’re also continuing to build on our progress with larger HANA certifications.  

This week, we’ll be on-site talking about the latest at SAP TechEd in Barcelona. Here’s an  update on what we’re launching.

Access Transparency and the data custodian model

Managing and mitigating risk is a priority for any organization adopting the public cloud. As part of our partnership, SAP and Google have proposed a data custodian model that will allow enterprises to continuously monitor risk and help with their data protection and access control policies. Today, we’re announcing a preview of Access Transparency, a new GCP security feature that helps enable this model.  

Access Transparency provides visibility into operational access by Google employees to cloud systems that store, secure or process customer data. Cloud providers may require operational access to address a customer support request, or, more rarely, to review whether a service can meet its availability and performance objectives. Access Transparency log entries include justification for access, the specific resource that was accessed, the time of access, and the corporate location of the accessor. Access Transparency enables security and compliance teams to gain meaningful oversight of their cloud provider.  

We’re opening up an early access preview of Access Transparency to customers. The early access preview will provide visibility into operational access for a select set of GCP services—Google Cloud Storage (GCS), Identity and Access Management (IAM), Key Management Service (KMS) and Google App Engine (GAE). We intend to progressively roll out this capability to other GCP services that store, secure or process customer data.

To express interest in our Access Transparency early access preview, please complete the online request form.

SAP platform certifications

SAP offers an extensive ecosystem of products to address the needs of SMBs to the largest enterprises. The following systems are now all certified by SAP to run on GCP:

  • SAP HANA: SAP HANA is now certified to run in Compute Engine instances (VMs) of up to 1.4TBs of memory. For customers running analytics applications like SAP BW or SAP Customer Activity Repository (SAP CAR), we can now support scale-out configurations with up to 16 instances, for 22TB of total memory. Additionally, we have already announced our intention to quickly enable VMs with 4TB of memory in the short term.

  • The SAP Data Migration Option (DMO) is now certified for migrating on-premise SAP HANA and any DB-based SAP applications to SAP HANA on GCP.

  • SAP Hybris e-commerce and marketing solutions are now officially supported on GCP, enabling joint customers like Smyths Toys to further integrate its business systems and drive efficiency and value.

  • SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) platform is certified to run on both Windows and Linux environments on GCP.

  • SAP Business One, SAP’s small business software for ERP, is now certified to run on GCP. Customers like Sale Stock in Indonesia are leveraging GCP to run their mission critical Business One solutions.

  • For customers who want bring up non-production SAP applications on GCP, the SAP Cloud Appliance Library now supports GCP. With the click of a button, you can spin up a sandbox environment with SAP applications like S/4 HANA on GCP and incubate exploratory projects.

  • SAP Vora – Version 1.4 of SAP’s in-memory distributed computing system for big data analytics is supported on GCP and what’s more, version 2.2 leverages Kubernetes and will have support for Google Container Engine and Google’s managed Hadoop service Google Cloud DataProc in Q1 2018.

Manage, monitor and extend SAP

Running SAP on GCP is one thing. Integrating it into your larger IT environment is another. Together, Google Cloud and SAP have been working hard to certify the tools you need to make the most of your SAP environment.

  • Customers can now implement data tiering between SAP HANA and Google BigQuery using sample tools published by Google Cloud.

  • It’s now easier than ever to monitor performance from within the GCP console. A new monitoring agent is available to reliably collect and publish metrics from your SAP HANA instance to GCP Stackdriver, letting you set event notifications so you can have actionable insights around aggregated data. Get started now with this user guide.

Visit us online and at SAP TechEd Barcelona

We’re working hard to make Google Cloud the best place to run SAP applications. Visit us anytime online to learn more about the SAP Google partnership. And if you’re attending SAP TechEd in Barcelona, be sure to stop by the Google Cloud booth P13 to say hello, see some demos in action and share your thoughts on how we can help accelerate your journey to the cloud.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/W7hRIp8hfio/

Indianapolis revs up with Grow with Google

Category: Google | Nov 13, 2017

For more than a hundred years, Indiana has been a powerhouse in American manufacturing. Its factories assembled the vehicles that would take the country into a new automotive era in the 20th century. Historic auto companies like Studebaker, Cord and Duesenberg called the state home.

Though Indiana remains a domestic manufacturing hub, the economy continues to evolve. Technology has emerged as a new force, and digital skills have become a baseline in businesses and classrooms. The growth of tech jobs in Indianapolis is the fifth-highest in the country. Despite this, only 48 percent of workers have the required skills to compete in the current job market.

We want to help everyone find new opportunities in the digital economy. That’s why we brought Grow with Google—our new initiative to help Americans gain the skills they need to prepare for work, find jobs, and grow their businesses—to Indianapolis this weekend.

Over the course of two days at the Indiana State Museum, thousands of job seekers, educators, students, and local businesses joined us for more than 20 workshops and 100+ one-on-one coaching sessions, as well as panel discussions that put a spotlight on success stories from the local small business community. We were joined by best-selling author and YouTube creator John Green (an Indy native), and our partners EmployIndy, The Indianapolis Public Library, Ivy Tech Community College, Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, Indy Chamber, TechPoint and Student Veterans of America.

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    Packed house for the Get Started with Code workshop.
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    One-on-one coaching session with a Googler and Hoosier attendee.

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    Attendees stopped by the Google Developer Training & Certification booth on the expo floor.

One of the featured success stories on our panel was Janus Motorcycles, founded in 2011 by Devin Biek and Richard Worsham, two friends who shared a vision to build their dream motorcycle. Today, the company sells handmade bikes directly to customers online, using videos to showcase their craftsmanship and digital ads to drive sales. From their small production shop in northern Indiana, they bring together the the best of Midwestern handmade craftsmanship and modern manufacturing. Plus, many of their fabricated parts are made within 20 miles of their production facility.

Janus’ story is an example of how two individuals with a vision can use technology to create economic opportunities for many more.

We’re excited about the many Hoosiers who came out this past weekend, and look forward to working alongside them to help bring their ideas and dreams to life. Keep an eye out for Grow with Google events in even more cities in the months to come, and you can always access tools, resources and programs at google.com/grow.

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

Maximizing art assets for VR

Category: Google | Nov 13, 2017

In line with previous tips we shared about creating art assets for VR, we’ve put together a few specific techniques for VR artists to get the most out of polygons and UV space.

Tiling textures: Instead of making one giant texture that covers lots of space, create a smaller tileable texture that can be used in more spaces. The example below uses UV space with a tileable texture repeated eight times to create high resolution on this ladder.  Through mirroring and flipping, the user will likely not notice the reused UV spaces, but the overall look is higher-res.

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Use more polygons: While keeping the poly count low is important, texture and pixel resolution is more valuable. Plan ahead when designing an asset to account for the fact that you may need to add more polygons or model an asset in a less polygonally-optimized way, because doing so will increase resolution and result in a more detailed and overall optimized asset. On the left is a 13k poly model which was intended to be 6” tall in VR.  When the user approached the model, it became pixelated and didn’t look good. Instead of using large sheets of UV space, the model on the right was built with more careful polygon placement. It’s a 9k poly with a higher resolution of textures that holds up to close inspection in VR.

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Maximize that UV space: Strive for higher resolution by making larger UV spaces to achieve a higher resolution per asset.  Because almost every asset has a unique UV space, the image on the left uses the large green leaf area for the entire balloon, which looks pixelated at close distances in VR. By making larger and higher resolution UV spaces and duplicating the geometry instead of relying on unique UV sections, the final asset on the right looks sharper when viewed up close.

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Use geometry to make something unique, not textures: One drawback with reusing UV space is that things can look repetitive. To make areas of your asset look more unique, use geometry to add a new color splash or add a few edge loops to bend or scale a duplicated asset into a different silhouette.

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Plan ahead when creating assets, so they can be reused and combined with other assets: A good workflow in the tight constraints of VR is to build the individual parts of a final asset and then assemble them. Always be considering whether or not that next unique part is needed at the cost of an overall smaller UV layout, thus less lower resolution per asset.  The entire final asset on the left was built with the parts on the right.

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Hopefully, these tips will be useful as you create and optimize your assets for VR. What are some of your favorite tips and tricks? Let’s get a conversation going; use #VRArtTips to share.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/G0Ef4I-qi5U/

Unlock your superpowers with Android Pay and Justice League

Category: Google | Nov 13, 2017

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

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

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

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1. Pay in stores with Android Pay

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

2. Unite the Justice League

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

3. Share with friends and family

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

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

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

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

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

Category: Google | Nov 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/QXGi-N5YgiQ/

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

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2017

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

It’s that time of year

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

I’ll take a coffee and a croissant

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

Wands Phones at the ready

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

Elle Woods and Rachel Green come together

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

A Little Bit Country

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

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/vuog9IAH-7k/

What we’re doing to support veterans

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2017

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

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

Sharing veteran histories and stories

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

Thanking vets in our lives today

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

Preparing vets with IT skills for the future

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

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

Through technology, finding new ways to help vets

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

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

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

#teampixel is on the move

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2017

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

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

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/9ChqeWI4iqo/