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How District 99 supports students and teachers through 1:1 learning

Category: Google | Feb 1, 2017

Editor’s note: Schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors for the ExploreEDU event series, which invites neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools. To see if there’s an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. Today’s guest authors are Jon Orech and Lisa Lichtman, Instructional Technology Coordinators from Community High School District 99 in Downers Grove, IL. They hosted an ExploreEDU event on Jan. 26–27 with CDW.

At District 99, we want to help students be better learners. In 2014, we decided to launch a 1:1 pilot with Chromebooks, involving more than 40 teachers and 1,500 students. Students that participated in the pilot reported that these tools increased collaboration and encouraged self-directed learning, and we launched the program district-wide last fall. We’ve learned a lot of lessons about how to introduce and get the most out of technology—here are a few tips.

1. Take the time to help everyone understand why the new technology was chosen

To get support for new technology and ensure its success, it’s important for everyone to understand the reasons behind the change. Before we introduced Chromebooks and G Suite for Education, we spent a lot of time talking to students, parents and faculty members, and organized professional development training for teachers customized based on their technology comfort levels. We made sure everyone understood how Google solutions aligned with our district’s values, one of which is collaboration. We demonstrated how G Suite could help students be more collaborative by allowing them to work with their classmates on the same document at the same time no matter where they were, while also benefiting from immediate feedback through live comments.

2. Provide teachers with a safe and trusted place for sharing

We wanted to make sure our teachers had the resources they needed to be successful in a 1:1 learning environment, so we created a private Google+ community for our 400 teachers to share knowledge across campuses, subject areas and grade levels; giving them access to a richer peer network. For example, in response to a thread about differentiating instruction based on unique student needs, a special ed teacher shared how she was able to push out different assignments to a subset of students using a recently launched feature in Google Classroom. Her post piqued the interest of other educators in a way other announcements couldn’t, since it was coming from a fellow colleague who had a positive first-hand experience with the feature.

3. Empower students to be creators and interact with their communities

A 1:1 Chromebook model gives every student the tools to be creative anytime, anywhere. In one health class, students made documentaries about diseases that affect their families with WeVideo on their Chromebooks. In the past, activities like this required reserving time for research on a desktop in the library, but now, students have access to these creative tools whenever they want.


Students using their Chromebooks in class.

Chromebooks also make it easy for students to share their projects with the community. Our digital photography teacher asked her students to share their photos in an online Google community, where both their peers and invited professional photographers provided helpful critique on their photos. Through projects like this, students at District 99 are learning in new ways.

Our experience has taught us how technology and a 1:1 environment can support students and teachers to be better learners and educators. We hope sharing these tips helps others looking for ways to improve learning and teaching in their districts.


Celebrating Black History Month

Category: Google | Feb 1, 2017

Every February Googlers come together to celebrate and reflect on the many contributions the Black community has made to our company, the United States, and the world. We’re starting off Black History Month with a Doodle honoring the life and work of Edmonia Lewis, the first woman of both African- and Native-American descent to achieve international praise for her work as a sculptor.


Lewis, whose Native American name was Wildfire, was born in upstate New York in 1844. As a woman of color, she faced significant adversity and discrimination in her quest to become a sculptor, but she persevered, eventually moving to Europe where she found her first success in a solo exhibition that paid tribute to American abolitionists.


Lewis’ lifelong dedication to her craft has been a source of inspiration for many, and we’re honored to display her work, which is archived at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC, in a new exhibit from Google Arts & Culture. Throughout BHM, we’ll be adding additional exhibits featuring Black modern photography and dance—part of our continued work to make Google Arts & Culture more inclusive of America’s diverse history and culture, and to make it accessible for everyone.

Stay tuned this February for more on what we’re doing to celebrate and support Black Googlers and the Black community.


Zaha Hadid at the Serpentine Galleries: the legendary architect’s early paintings in virtual reality

Category: Google | Feb 1, 2017

‘I know from my experience that without research and experimentation not much can be discovered. With experimentation, you think you’re going to find out one thing, but you actually discover something else. That’s what I think is really exciting. You discover much more than you bargain for. I think there should be no end to experimentation.’  -Zaha Hadid.

Zaha Hadid (1950 – 2016) was a pioneering and visionary architect and artist who left behind an extraordinary body of work. Many of Hadid’s architectural proposals took the form of paintings which prophesied the potential of the digital age and the application of software in architecture. Technology grew to be central to the the work of Zaha Hadid and in honour to Hadid’s legacy of profound experimentation and innovation, the London exhibition of Zaha Hadid: Early Paintings and Drawings at the Serpentine Galleries was born.

In the words of the great Zaha Hadid, “there should be no end to experimentation”. Continuing with her legacy of experimentation and innovation, the Serpentine Galleries and Google Arts & Culture have collaborated on a new virtual reality project – Zaha Hadid: Virtual Reality Experiences 2016. Viewers from around the world can now experience four of her early paintings translated into virtual reality, offering groundbreaking 360 degree video experiences at

As a prolific painter and visionary architect, Hadid changed the way we think about the relationship between mediums. This experience, previously only available at the galleries, is now available to a global audience online, with the four paintings now accessible as 360 degree video experiences. You can see the videos online on Google Arts & Culture and for an immersive experience, you can see them through a virtual reality headset.

We also worked with Google’s ultra-high resolution Art Camera to document the paintings to enable a close up and intimate relationship with the viewer:

It is important to note that none of these architectural painting proposals were ever realised as completed buildings. They remain heroic unrealised projects, which makes the VR experience all the more poignant for its ability to show how their spatial qualities unfold. The four 360 degree films translate some of the key aspects and DNA contained inside the paintings, offering a dynamic and immersive experience of the paintings on display in the exhibition.

Hans Ulrich Obrist (b. 1968, Zurich, Switzerland) is Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show World Soup (The Kitchen Show) in 1991, he has curated more than 300 shows.

Zaha Hadid (1950–2016) was widely regarded as a pioneering and visionary architect whose contribution to the world of architecture was ground-breaking and innovative. Born in Baghdad, Hadid moved to London in 1972 to attend the Architectural Association (AA) and later, in 1979, founded Zaha Hadid Architects. Each of her projects spans over thirty years of exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture and design including Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London (2013), London Aquatics Centre (2011) and Guangzhou Opera House (2010).


Announcing new enterprise-grade controls and visibility in G Suite

Category: Google | Jan 31, 2017

Scale. Speed. Lower total cost of ownership. The cloud offers enterprises significant benefits and gives their teams a freedom that’s as big as their ambitions. G Suite supports such businesses around the world with our unified suite of intelligent apps. Today, more than 3 million paying businesses rely on G Suite to make working together easier, including Whirlpool, PWC, and Woolworths.

Having greater control and visibility when protecting sensitive assets, however, should also be a top concern in today’s world. That’s why starting today, we’re giving customers the critical control and visibility they expect (and their CTOs and regulators often require) in G Suite with:

  • More powerful access control for administrators with security key enforcement
  • More data control with Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Google Drive, DLP for Gmail, and S/MIME for Gmail
  • More analytics and insights by connecting BigQuery with Gmail

Manage who can access your company’s devices and systems

  • Security key enforcement:  In 2011, we introduced 2-step verification for added protection when users log into their Google accounts. With 2-step verification, admins can opt for their company to use Security Keys, which are both easier for users and more secure against common (phishing) attacks than other methods. Security Keys plug directly into a laptop or pair with a mobile device using Bluetooth or NFC, instead of receiving a code via text. Today, we’re adding the ability for admins to enforce this measure by restricting login solely to users with a Security Key. Admins will also be able to manage the deployment of Security Keys and view usage reports.

See how stripe enhances account security with G Suite

Stripe, a software platform for running an internet business, processes billions of dollars a year for hundreds of thousands of companies around the world. Everyday, Stripe employees rely on G Suite to communicate and collaborate quickly, effectively and securely. Security Key enforcement provides an added layer of protections for Stripe, with advanced authentication controls to combat phishing attempts and unauthorized email access. 

“Businesses that run on Stripe trust us with some of their most sensitive information, and we take the security of that information extremely seriously. We’ve found Security Keys to be ideal second factors because they balance ease-of-use with increased account security. G Suite Security Key enforcement gives us a way to easily enforce secure logins for all employees, across both their desktop and now mobile devices, ” says Bryan Berg, security team member at Stripe.

Control how data is shared beyond your company

  • Data loss prevention (DLP) for Google Drive: In 2015, we launched DLP for Gmail with easy-to-set-up rules, OCR image scan recognition and advanced customization. Today, we’re extending DLP to Google Drive, making it even easier for admins to secure sensitive data, control what content can be stored and protect users from accidentally sharing confidential information externally. G Suite’s DLP protection goes beyond standard DLP with easy-to-configure rules and OCR recognition of content stored in images so admins can easily enforce policies and control how data is shared.

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  • S/MIME for Gmail: When it comes to Gmail security, there are dozens of security measures running behind the scenes to keep your emails safe, and we support industry-standard authentication to help combat email spoofing. Unfortunately, other email services that you exchange emails with might not take similar measures to protect your data. That’s why we’re offering additional protection by giving you the option to bring your own certificates for S/MIME encryption. Administrators will be able to enforce S/MIME usage and can set DLP rules based on specific organizational unit needs.

Understand employee behavior and activity

  • Gmail logs + BigQuery integration: Gmail logs contain valuable information that can help administrators diagnose issues or unlock insights. Today, we are making it easier to analyze Gmail logs with a preconfigured BigQuery integration so administrators can run sophisticated, high-performing custom queries, analyze their data and build custom dashboards.

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  • Third-party email archiving: Google Vault helps you easily archive Gmail content while also complying with retention for legal holds and audit reporting. That said, some organizations use other third-party SMTP archiving solutions like HP Autonomy or Veritas. Today, we’re making it simple for you to integrate third-party archiving solutions of your choice with Gmail.

Part of the new G Suite Enterprise edition, today’s announcement is designed to provide the peace-of-mind our enterprise customers demand and deserve.

See how your business can innovate faster — and now even more securely — with G Suite by Google Cloud.


Start the Lunar New Year with Google Arts & Culture

Category: Google | Jan 28, 2017

Today marks the start of the Lunar New Year—we’ve entered the Year of the Rooster.


Across Asia and around the world, families are coming together, houses and neighborhoods are being dressed up in red and traditional lanterns are being hung. If you’re still wondering about what the fireworks are all about, Google Arts & Culture is here to help you learn more about this centuries-old tradition.

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Google Arts & Culture

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Google Arts & Culture

Google Arts & Culture teamed up with 12 museums from Beijing to Washington to create a new online exhibition, so everyone can discover the craftsmanship and arts that make this holiday so colorful. Follow the zodiac animals across 1,000 years of art history, learn about the art of the New Year prints with which people decorate their homes, or find out how to give and accept a traditional red envelope.


The exhibition is available for everyone online and through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android. And if you follow us on Instagram, you can join the celebrations and learn how to create lanterns or fold a pretty paper rooster to celebrate Lunar New Year.

May the Year of the Rooster be a great one for you all!


Know before you go: parking difficulty on Google Maps

Category: Google | Jan 26, 2017

It’s Friday night and you hit the road early enough to make it to a movie, grab some buttery popcorn, and catch the previews. But when you get to the theater, parking is hard to come by and you spend the next 20 minutes circling the lot and side streets until a spot finally opens up. You get to your seat just in time for the opening credits…and no popcorn!  

Factoring in time for parking can make or break a night out, let alone making it to that big meeting on time. So in 25 metro areas throughout the U.S., we’ve introduced a new parking difficulty icon in Google Maps for Android that’ll give you a heads up on what kind of parking crunch to prepare for when you’re on the go.


To see how hard it might be to park where you’re headed, just get directions to your destination and look for the parking difficulty icon in the directions card at the bottom of the screen. Parking difficulties range from limited to medium to easy and are based on historical parking data (similar to how we calculate Popular Times and Visit Duration).

For now, look out for parking difficulty icons in the following metro areas across the U.S.: San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Houston, Phoenix, Portland and Sacramento.


Ecology at Google brings holistic design to our outdoor environments

Category: Google | Jan 26, 2017

Along the Southern edge of the San Francisco Bay, our headquarters sit at the intersection of Silicon Valley’s physical footprint and a diverse and increasingly fragile ecosystem. From an ecological standpoint, the area presents both unique challenges and singular opportunities. Federally protected Burrowing Owls call this area home, and Snowy and Great Egrets return every spring to raise their chicks in sycamore trees on our campus. Far above, the Pacific Flyway buzzes with migratory birds in search of once vast willow groves.

It’s with this in mind that our real estate and workplace services group launched the Ecology Program in 2014. The program seeks to incorporate the best available science into the design of Google’s outdoor spaces, create partnerships to support the implementation and growth of this science, and share programmatic resources publicly for all to use.

Google Ecology Program

Google Ecology Program

We’ve long been an industry leader in the design of healthy and sustainable indoor environments, but only recently have we formalized a science-based strategy to create and maintain healthy and resilient outdoor environments. Traditional landscape designs, while well-intentioned, don’t always implement data-driven strategies to promote diverse and enduring habitats—habitats that can withstand climate change, include drought-tolerant and native plantings, and support pollinators, birds and native biodiversity. To lay this foundation for our campus’ outdoor spaces, we’ve created resources for design teams and initiated efforts to “re-oak” Silicon Valley with native valley oaks, expand the footprint of vanishing willow groves, and create new habitat through projects such as Charleston East and the expansion of the Charleston Retention Basin.

Ecology Tenets Infographic

The program also seeks to engage and enhance the experience of individual Googlers and local residents with interactive learning sessions and home planting guidance. During each of the last two springs, we’ve partnered with the Santa Clara Audubon Society to sponsor informational “Egret Office Hours” and birding tours for the public throughout our South Bay Campus.

Google Ecology Program Infographic

From the onset, we’ve known that we can’t “go it alone” in implementing successful ecological initiatives. We partnered with the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) to create the Resilient Silicon Valley vision, a roadmap to guide ecological planning in the region. Through this partnership, we can engage with the regional community while providing a framework for a science-based approach to ecology that anyone can access. We also launched a small Resilient Silicon Valley Awards program in 2016, providing financial sponsorships to support 10 regional environmental organizations, creating a coalition to advance this shared Bay Area vision.

We see great potential to transform our local and regional landscapes through engagement and collaboration. While ecology and tech may not be obvious partners, science, data-driven analysis and transparency are the pillars that will guide meaningful and lasting change in the outdoor environments that we and so many others call home.


Lost in Translation no more with Word Lens in Japanese

Category: Google | Jan 26, 2017

If you don’t speak Japanese, Tokyo can be a confusing and sometimes daunting place to visit. Even if you make it through the complex subway system, you’ll be faced by street signs, menus or products on supermarket shelves that are only in Japanese. 

With Word Lens now available in Japanese, you’ll never have to worry about taking a wrong turn on a busy Shibuya street or ordering something you wouldn’t normally eat. 

The Google Translate app already lets you snap a photo of Japanese text and get a translation for it in English. But it’s a whole lot more convenient if you can just point your camera and instantly translate text on the go. With Word Lens, you just need to fire up the Translate app, point your camera at the Japanese text, and the English translations will appear overlaid on your screen—even if you don’t have an Internet or data connection. It’s every savvy traveller’s dream! 

Google Translate: Cash only

To turn your smartphone into a powerful instant translation tool for English to Japanese (and vice versa), all you need to do is download the Google Translate app, either on Android or iOS


How we fought bad ads, sites and scammers in 2016

Category: Google | Jan 25, 2017

A free and open web is a vital resource for people and businesses around the world. And ads play a key role in ensuring you have access to accurate, quality information online. But bad ads can ruin the online experience for everyone. They promote illegal products and unrealistic offers. They can trick people into sharing personal information and infect devices with harmful software. Ultimately, bad ads pose a threat to users, Google’s partners, and the sustainability of the open web itself.

We have a strict set of policies that govern the types of ads we do and don’t allow on Google in order to protect people from misleading, inappropriate, or harmful ads. And we have a team of engineers, policy experts, product managers and others who are waging a daily fight against bad actors. Over the years, this commitment has made the web a better place for you—and a worse place for those who seek to abuse advertising systems for their own gain.

In 2016, we took down 1.7 billion ads that violated our advertising policies, more than double the amount of bad ads we took down in 2015. If you spent one second taking down each of those bad ads, it’d take you more than 50 years to finish. But our technology is built to work much faster.

Last year, we did two key things to take down more bad ads. First, we expanded our policies to better protect users from misleading and predatory offers. For example, in July we introduced a policy to ban ads for payday loans, which often result in unaffordable payments and high default rates for users. In the six months since launching this policy, we disabled more than 5 million payday loan ads. Second, we beefed up our technology so we can spot and disable bad ads even faster. For example, “trick to click” ads often appear as system warnings to deceive users into clicking on them, not realizing they are often downloading harmful software or malware. In 2016, our systems detected and disabled a total of 112 million ads for “trick to click,” 6X more than in 2015.

Here are a few more examples of bad ads we took action against in 2016:


We took down more than 17 million bad ads for illegal gambling violations in 2016.

Ads for illegal products

Some of the most common bad ads we find online are ads promoting illegal activities or products. Although we’ve long had a policy against bad ads for pharmaceuticals, last year our systems detected an increase online. We disabled more than 68 million bad ads for healthcare violations, up from 12.5 million in 2015.

Similarly, we saw more attempts to advertise gambling-related promotions without proper authorization from regulators in the countries they operate. We took down more than 17 million bad ads for illegal gambling violations in 2016.


We took action on 47,000 sites for promoting content and products related to weight-loss scams.

Misleading ads

We don’t want you to feel misled by ads that we deliver, so we require our advertisers to provide upfront information for people to make informed decisions. Some ads try to drive clicks and views by intentionally misleading people with false information like asking, “Are you at risk for this rare, skin-eating disease?” or offering miracle cures like a pill that will help you lose 50 pounds in three days without lifting a finger. In 2016, we took down nearly 80 million bad ads for deceiving, misleading and shocking users.

Bad ads on mobile

If you’ve ever been on your phone and suddenly, without warning, ended up in the app store downloading an app you’ve never heard of, a “self-clicking ad” could be to blame. In 2015, we disabled only a few thousand of these bad ads, but in 2016, our systems detected and disabled more than 23,000 self-clicking ads on our platforms, a huge increase year over year.


In 2016, we suspended more than 1,300 accounts for tabloid cloaking.

Ads trying to game the system

Bad actors know that ads for certain products—like weight-loss supplements or payday loans—aren’t allowed by Google’s policies, so they try to trick our systems into letting them through. Last year, we took down almost 7 million bad ads for intentionally attempting to trick our detection systems.

In 2016, we saw the rise of tabloid cloakers, a new type of scammer that tries to game our system by pretending to be news. Cloakers often take advantage of timely topics—a government election, a trending news story or a popular celebrity—and their ads can look like headlines on a news website. But when people click on that story about Ellen DeGeneres and aliens, they go to a site selling weight-loss products, not a news story.

To fight cloakers, we take down the scammers themselves, and prevent them from advertising with us again. In 2016, we suspended more than 1,300 accounts for tabloid cloaking. Unfortunately, this type of bad ad is gaining in popularity because people are clicking on them. And a handful of scammers can pump out a lot of bad ads: During a single sweep for tabloid cloaking in December 2016, we took down 22 cloakers that were responsible for ads seen more than 20 million times by people online in a single week.


We suspended around 6,000 sites and 6,000 accounts for attempting to advertise counterfeit goods, like imitation designer watches.

Promoting and profiting from bad sites

When we find ads that violate our policies, we block the ad or the advertiser, depending on the violation. But sometimes we also need to suspend the website promoted in the ad (the site people see after they click on it). So, for example, while we disabled more than 5 million payday loan ads last year, we also took action on 8,000 sites promoting payday loans.

Here are some examples of common policy violations we saw among bad sites in 2016:

  • We took action on 47,000 sites for promoting content and products related to weight-loss scams.
  • We took action on more than 15,000 sites for unwanted software and disabled 900,000 ads for containing malware.
  • And we suspended around 6,000 sites and 6,000 accounts for attempting to advertise counterfeit goods, like imitation designer watches.

Publishers and website owners use our AdSense platform to make money by running ads on their sites and content, so we have strict policies in place to keep Google’s content and search networks safe and clean for our advertisers, users and publishers. When a publisher violates our policies, we may stop showing ads on their site, or even terminate their account.

We’ve had long-standing policies prohibiting AdSense publishers from running ads on sites that help people deceive others, like a site where you buy fake diplomas or plagiarized term papers. In November, we expanded on these policies, introducing a new AdSense misrepresentative content policy, that helps us to take action against website owners misrepresenting who they are and that deceive people with their content. From November to December 2016, we reviewed 550 sites that were suspected of misrepresenting content to users, including impersonating news organizations.  We took action against 340 of them for violating our policies, both misrepresentation and other offenses, and nearly 200 publishers were kicked out of our network permanently.

In addition to all the above, we support industry efforts like the Coalition for Better Ads to protect people from bad experiences across the web. While we took down more bad ads in 2016 than ever before, the battle doesn’t end here. As we invest in better detection, the scammers invest in more elaborate attempts to trick our systems. Continuing to find and fight them is essential to protecting people online and ensuring you get the very best from the open web.


Goodbye Monkey, hello Rooster—Celebrate Lunar New Year with Google

Category: Google | Jan 24, 2017

Many people from across Asia and around the world are eagerly awaiting Lunar New Year—a time to gather with family and friends and celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rooster. 

With global interest in the Lunar Calendar growing every year, we wanted to bring people together by celebrating six Lunar New Year traditions from around the world at over the next few weeks.

If you’re busily cleaning your house right now to cast away bad luck and clean up before your extended family arrives, you’ll definitely know how the Rooster is feeling in our opening video:

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Google: Spring Cleaning

Celebrate Lunar New Year with Google: Spring Cleaning

Check back on the site over the coming days to pick out your favorite reunion dishes and learn the meaning behind each one, work together with your friends to perform a digital dragon dance, draw your own New Year couplets to share with loved ones, cast a “Lo Hei” blessing by virtually shredding food (far less messy), and finally launch your own sky lantern high into cyberspace to bring the Lunar New Year celebrations to a close.

We’d tell you more, but we don’t want to ruin the surprise!