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Bringing it all together with Google Pay

Category: Google | Jan 8, 2018

If you’ve ever paid for groceries with Android Pay, used Chrome to automatically fill in your payment info, or purchased an app on Google Play, then you’ve already experienced some of the ways Google helps you pay for things online and in stores. Over the past year, we’ve been working to make these experiences simpler, safer, and more consistent.

Today, we’re excited to announce we’ll be bringing together all the different ways to pay with Google, including Android Pay and Google Wallet, into a single brand: Google Pay.

Google Pay Lockup

With Google Pay, it’ll be easier for you to use the payment information saved to your Google Account, so you can speed through checkout with peace of mind. Over the coming weeks, you’ll see Google Pay online, in store, and across Google products, as well as when you’re paying friends*.

Google Pay

Look for Google Pay at checkout in Google apps, online, and in stores

Google Pay is already available on Airbnb, Dice, Fandango, HungryHouse, Instacart, and other apps and websites you love. (Be sure to take advantage of our current offers to save time and money.)

If you’re a developer, visit our Payments Solutions site to see how you can implement Google Pay, or work with one of our processor partners for even simpler integration.

Bringing everything into one brand is just the first step for Google Pay. We can’t wait to share more. 

Pali Bhat
VP of Product Management, Payments

*We will also be bringing these experiences to Tez users in India—stay tuned. 

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/qiNidO3GWao/

Answering your questions about “Meltdown” and “Spectre”

Category: Google | Jan 5, 2018

This week, security vulnerabilities dubbed “Spectre” and “Meltdown” made news headlines. On Wednesday, we explained what these vulnerabilities are and how we’re protecting you against them.

Since then, there’s been considerable discussion about what this means for Google Cloud and the industry at large. Today, we’d like to clear up some confusion and highlight several key considerations for our customers.

What are “Spectre” and “Meltdown”?

Last year, Google’s Project Zero team discovered serious security flaws caused by “speculative execution,” a technique used by most modern processors (CPUs) to optimize performance.

Independent researchers separately discovered and named these vulnerabilities “Spectre” and “Meltdown.” 

Project Zero described three variants of this new class of speculative execution attack. Variant 1 and Variant 2 have been referred to as “Spectre.” Variant 3 has been referred to as “Meltdown.” Most vendors are referring to them by Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures aka “CVE” labels, which are an industry standard way of identifying vulnerabilities.

security-1

There’s no single fix for all three attack variants; each requires protection individually.

Here’s an overview of each variant:

  • Variant 1 (CVE-2017-5753), “bounds check bypass.” This vulnerability affects specific sequences within compiled applications, which must be addressed on a per-binary basis. This variant is currently the basis for concern around browser attacks, Javascript exploitation and vulnerabilities within individual binaries.

  • Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715), “branch target injection.” This variant may either be fixed by a CPU microcode update from the CPU vendor, or by applying a software protection called “Retpoline” to binaries where concern about information leakage is present. This variant is currently the basis for concern around Cloud Virtualization and “Hypervisor Bypass” concerns that affect entire systems.

  • Variant 3 (CVE-2017-5754), “rogue data cache load.”  This variant is the basis behind the discussion around “KPTI,” or “Kernel Page Table Isolation.” When an attacker already has the ability to run code on a system, they can access memory which they do not have permission to access.

For more information on these variants, please read this week’s Google Security post.

Am I protected from Spectre and Meltdown?  

Google’s engineering teams began working to protect our customers from these vulnerabilities upon our learning of them in June 2017. We applied solutions across the entire suite of Google products, and we collaborated with the industry at large to help protect users across the web.

G Suite and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are updated to protect against all known attack vectors. Some customers may worry that they have not been protected since they were not asked to reboot their instance. Google Cloud is architected in a manner that enables us to update the environment while providing operational continuity for our customers. Via live migration we can patch our infrastructure without requiring customers to reboot their instances.

Customers who use their own operating systems with Google Cloud services should continue to follow security best practices and apply security updates to their images just as they would for any other operating system vulnerability. We’re providing an up-to-date reference on the availability of vendor patches for common operating systems on our GCE Security Bulletin page.

I’ve heard that Spectre is nearly impossible to protect against. Is this true?

There has been significant concern in particular about “Spectre.” The use of the name “Spectre” to refer to both Variants 1 and 2 has caused some confusion over whether it’s “fixed” or not.

Google Cloud instances are protected against all known inter-VM attacks, regardless of the patch status of the guest environments, and attackers do not have access to any other customers’ data as a result of these vulnerabilities. Google Cloud and other public clouds use virtualization technology to isolate neighboring customer workloads. A virtualization component known as a hypervisor connects the physical machine to virtual machines. This hypervisor can be updated to address Variant 2 threats. Google Cloud has updated its hypervisor using “Retpoline,” which addresses all currently known Variant 2 attack methods.

Variant 1 is the basis behind claims that Spectre is nearly impossible to protect against. The difficulty is that Variant 1 affects individual software binaries, so it must be handled by discovering and addressing exploits within each binary.

Risks that Variant 1 would pose to the infrastructure underpinning Google Cloud are addressed by the multiple security controls that make up our layered “defense in depth” security posture. Because Google is in full control of our infrastructure from the hardware up to our secure software development practices, our infrastructure is protected against Variant 1. You can read more about the security foundations of our infrastructure in our whitepaper.

We work continuously to stay ahead of the constantly-evolving threat landscape and will continue to roll out additional protections to address potential risks.

As a user of the public cloud, am I more vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown than others?

In many respects, public cloud users are better-protected from security vulnerabilities than are users of traditional datacenter-hosted applications. Security best practices rely on discovering vulnerabilities early, and patching them promptly and completely. Each of these activities is aided by the scale and automation that top public cloud providers can offer — for example, few companies maintain a several-hundred-person security research team to find vulnerabilities and patch them before they’re discovered by others or disclosed. Having the ability to update millions of servers in days, without causing user disruption or requiring maintenance windows, is difficult technology to develop but it allows patches and updates to be deployed quickly after they become available, and without user disruption that can damage productivity.

Spectre and Meltdown are new and troubling vulnerabilities, but it’s important to remember that there are many different types of threats that Google (and other cloud providers) protect against every single day. Google’s cloud infrastructure doesn’t rely on any single technology to make it secure. Our stack builds security through progressive layers that deliver defense in depth. From the physical premises to the purpose-built servers, networking equipment, and custom security chips to the low-level software stack running on every machine, our entire hardware infrastructure is Google-controlled, -secured, -built and -hardened.

Is performance impacted?

On most of Google’s workloads, including our cloud infrastructure, we’ve seen negligible impact on performance after applying remediations. This was explained further in our follow-up Security blog post on January 4.

There are many conflicting reports about patch impacts being publicly discussed. In some cases, people have published results of tests that focus solely on making API calls to the operating system, which does not represent the real-world scenario that customer software will encounter. There’s no substitute for testing to determine for yourself what performance you can expect in your actual situation. We believe solutions exist that introduce minimal performance impact, and expect such techniques will be adopted by software vendors over time. We designed and tested our mitigations for this issue to have minimal performance impact, and the rollout has been uneventful.

Where can I get additional information?

  • Our Support page offers a list of affected Google products and will be updated with their current status of mitigation against these risks

  • Our GCP Security Bulletins page will provide notifications as other operating system maintainers publish patches for this vulnerability and as Compute Engine releases updated OS images

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/SXrx-hk_fMY/

New year, new searches: resolutions, "bomb cyclone" and Coachella

Category: Google | Jan 5, 2018

It’s a new year, and some of this week’s trends (with data from Google News Lab) are about adjusting: to a new gym routine, unexpected weather, and a new law in California.

Treadmill time

New Year’s resolutions = more searches for “gyms near me.” In fact, search interest in the phrase hit an all-time high this month. Despite a heightened desire to hit the gym, interest in “new year diet” was 200 percent higher than “new year exercise” this week. Looking ahead to the new year, people are wondering: “What is a New Year’s resolution for kids?” “What is the history behind New Year’s resolutions?” and “Who made the first New Year’s resolution?”

Do you wanna build a snowman?

“What is a bomb cyclone?” was a top-searched question this week as a massive winter storm hits the east coast of the U.S. Snow is showing up in unexpected places around the country as well. When people search for “Snow in…” the post popular locations are Florida, Tallahassee and Orlando. And with cold weather taking over, search interest in “frozen pipes” has reached its highest point this week since 2004. Top “how to” searches include “how to thaw frozen pipes,” “how to keep pipes from freezing,” and “how to fix frozen pipes.”

Desert calling

Despite the cold weather, people have something warm to look forward to: The lineup for Coachella 2018 was announced this week, and search interest in “Coachella tickets” went up nearly 6,500 percent. Coachella-goers are already looking into lodging, with “Coachella airbnb” searched 100 percent more than “Coachella hotel.” The top-searched Coachella performers were Cardi B, Eminem, Beyoncé, Post Malone and Migos.

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Coachella isn’t even the biggest news in California …

Recreational marijuana was people’s minds (and on sale for the first time in California) this week. In California, top questions included “where to buy legal weed in Los Angeles,” “What is the tax on weed in California,” and “Where can I buy marijuana?” Meanwhile, following the announcement that the Justice Department is rescinding a policy that enabled legalized marijuana to flourish in many states, the top trending question nationwide was “Why are marijuana stocks down?”

Ready for the coin toss in the South

For the first time, two SEC teams—University of Alabama and University of Georgia—will face off in the College Football National Championship on Monday. Though the game’s outcome is yet to be decided, search interest in “Alabama Crimson Tide football” is beating “Georgia Bulldogs football” by 190 percent. After Georgia’s overtime win in the semi-final, the top trending college football questions this week were about overtime: “How does overtime work in college football?” “How many overtimes are in college football?” and “How long is overtime in college football?”

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/u6YRTNxKljk/

How Google Home and the Google Assistant helped you get more done in 2017

Category: Google | Jan 5, 2018

Both the Google Assistant and Google Home had a very big year in 2017, with new devices, new languages and new features. The Assistant is now available on more than 400 million devices, including speakers like Google Home, Android phones and tablets, iPhones, headphones, TVs, watches and more. We brought the Google Assistant to a dozen countries, from France to Japan, offering help in 8 languages around the globe.

With Google Home Mini and Google Home Max in addition to our original Google Home, we brought you even more ways to use the Assistant in your home. So it’s no wonder we’ve sold tens of millions of all our Google devices for the home over this last year. And in fact, we sold more than one Google Home device every second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October.

As we’ve added more features—like Voice Match,  Broadcast and Hands-Free Calling—the Google Assistant has become even more helpful. Your Assistant now gives you the power to voice control more than 1,500 compatible smart home devices from over 225 brands. With all these choices, you’ve connected millions of new smart home devices to Google Home every month. All told, Google Home usage increased 9X this holiday season over last year’s, as you controlled more smart devices, asked more questions, listened to more music, and tried out all the new things you can do with your Assistant on Google Home.

No matter where you are, the Google Assistant is here to help you make the most of 2018. And next week, we have even more things in store for the Assistant at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you’re at CES, stop by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-21) to check out some of our new integrations, devices, and the newest ways you can use your Assistant.

ces

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/WVr2ESKCixc/

Google for Nonprofits: 2017 in review

Category: Google | Jan 4, 2018

Every year nonprofits worldwide work tirelessly to make a positive impact in their communities, and in a year where many people were looking to help, 2017 was no exception. We’re looking back to celebrate the nonprofits around the globe using Google tools to help in their philanthropic efforts. Here are some successes from last year—we hope they give you some ideas for how you can improve your nonprofit’s productivity and have even more impact in 2018.

Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits

G Suite allows teams to access data anywhere, update files in real time, and collaborate efficiently. Mercy Beyond Borders, a U.S.-based nonprofit with employees deployed in various countries, uses these tools to stay in sync with each other no matter where they are—from tracking finances on Google Sheets to sharing information with board members through Google Sites. And nonprofit MyFace takes advantage of Google’s security and privacy settings to store personal medical data for their patients. Read more about how these nonprofits used G Suite, and find out how to get started with G Suite, in this post.


Learn from “G4NP in Three,” a new YouTube Series

This year we launched our first-ever G4NP YouTube series, “G4NP in Three,” aiming to help nonprofits learn the basics about the Google for Nonprofits program and the process to get enrolled for each product. The videos also cover tips and tricks on how to make the most of the tools available, all in three minutes! Check out the videos and subscribe to stay updated on our latest content.

Get inspired

By using tech in new ways, Action Against Hunger, Girl Scouts of Japan and Fundación Todo Mejora are able to focus their efforts on the work they do and care about most. Through our series “G4NP Around the Globe,” we highlighted how each of these nonprofits benefited with the help of Google tools. Action Against Hunger fundraised more than $20,000 from YouTube donations and used Google Ad Grants to increase site traffic—resulting in $66,000 worth of donations, which equates to feeding 1,466 children in need. Fundación Todo Mejora uses G Suite to easily share and store files, spread their message on their YouTube channel, and with the help of Ad Grants, they can reach suicidal teens who are searching for help. And Girl Scouts of Japan created a virtual tour using Google’s mapping tools, and used Google Forms to create quizzes that helps scouts earn badges.

Thanks to all nonprofits around the world for the work you do. We look forward to another year of working together to improve the lives of everyone around us!

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/4tS994a6wIQ/

5 new ways to connect with your customers on Google

Category: Google | Jan 4, 2018

Last year, we introduced five new ways to build an eye-catching online presence that shows customers what your business is all about. And the best part? They’re all free.

1. Create a free website in minutes

According to internal Google research, business listings with a website get 25-35% more clicks. And building your site doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. You can create a simple mobile-ready site for your business in less than 10 minutes with our automated website builder. Check out how Vince from Village Tailor in New York used his new website to bring in more customers.

2. Post about events, promotions, and more right on Google

It’s now easy to share Posts that show up when people find your business on Search and Maps. According to Ipsos research, 50 percent people look for promotions or discounts online, so it’s important to share offers, upcoming events, your latest news and more with potential customers right when they find your business.

3. Connect with your customers by answering their questions directly

As a business owner, you have the most reliable answers to your customers’ questions. With Questions and Answers, it’s easy to add frequently asked questions to your listing, answer questions from potential customers, and highlight top responses, so that people can get the most important info about your business right away.

4. Update your business listing without leaving Search

People trust businesses with current and relevant info online, and according to internal Google research, complete Google listings get seven times more clicks. Keep your listing updated with our easy-to-access business dashboard. Simply type your business name on Google Search, and you can complete your listing, share photos and posts related to your business, respond to reviews, and see how many views you’re getting.

5. Start messaging with your customers from Google

Customers don’t always have time to call when they want to reach out to your business. With messaging, people can text your business directly through your listing on Search. Your phone number remains private, so you and your customers can communicate safely, quickly, and easily. (Available in the US, Brazil, Canada and India).

You can use these simple features with your Google listing to stand out and attract new customers online. Get started today.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/wtuL-EUjDqI/

What Google Cloud, G Suite and Chrome customers need to know about the industry-wide CPU vulnerability

Category: Google | Jan 3, 2018

Last year, Google’s Project Zero security team discovered a vulnerability affecting modern microprocessors. Since then, Google engineering teams have been working to protect our customers from the vulnerability across the entire suite of Google products, including Google Cloud Platform (GCP), G Suite applications, and the Google Chrome and Chrome OS products. We also collaborated with hardware and software manufacturers across the industry to help protect their users and the broader web.

All G Suite applications have already been updated to prevent all known attack vectors. G Suite customers and users do not need to take any action to be protected from the vulnerability.

GCP has already been updated to prevent all known vulnerabilities. Google Cloud is architected in a manner that enables us to update the environment while providing operational continuity for our customers. We used our VM Live Migration technology to perform the updates with no user impact, no forced maintenance windows and no required restarts.

Customers who use their own operating systems with GCP services may need to apply additional updates to their images; please refer to the GCP section of the Google Security blog post concerning this vulnerability for additional details. As more updates become available, they will be tracked on the the Compute Engine Security Bulletins page.

Finally, customers using Chrome browser—including for G Suite or GCP—can take advantage of Site Isolation as an additional hardening feature across desktop platforms, including Chrome OS. Customers can turn on Site Isolation for a specific set of websites, or all websites.

The Google Security blog includes more detailed information about this vulnerability and mitigations across all Google products.  

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/ylKN8blHj0Y/

The making of "A Ride to Remember," a film about BikeAround

Category: Google | Jan 3, 2018

Editor’s Note: Orlando von Einsiedel is the director of the Oscar-winning Netflix short documentary, “The White Helmets.” His first feature, “Virunga,” won more than 50 international awards including an EMMY, a Peabody, a Grierson and a duPont-Columbia Award for outstanding journalism. Last year, we had the opportunity to work with Orlando on a short film about Laila and Bengt Ivarsson. Bengt was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is testing an experimental technology that triggers memory using Google Maps. Orlando’s documentary is a powerful account of the couple and their experiences.

Like many people, I’ve experienced the sadness of seeing an older relative losing their memory. It’s a strange and painful experience, to see someone you know and love become confused and disorientated—to see them lose their grasp on the world.

It makes you realize how our memories provide us with much of the context and structure for who we are today. The interactions we have with friends and family aren’t static, isolated in time and place. They are ever evolving, informed by what has happened in our shared and personal histories. To lose the context for those interactions must be terrifying.

That’s why I was excited to hear about the BikeAround project—which pairs a stationary bike with Google Street View to give patients a virtual visit to a place from their past—and the way it helps spark memories in people suffering from dementia.

I first worked with Google on the Moon Shot film in 2016. Then earlier this year they came to me with an idea to tell the story about the developing BikeAround technology and how it’s affecting individuals who suffer from dementia. Google released a short version of the film in September, and you can watch the full version now.

It’s one thing to be shown a photo and to remember the place. It’s quite another to feel that you are visiting a location, and to have that experience trigger memories that you thought had gone. But this is indeed what BikeAround does. We saw numerous people using the device, and each of them was able to travel to a time and place that they clearly hadn’t visited for a long while. Just as importantly, it also allowed these men and women to take control. The elderly, and those with dementia, often lose autonomy and become isolated. But with BikeAround, they were not only free to explore the world—they were also in charge of the journey. They could revisit places they had been to decades before. They were able to take their husband or wife to the church where they were married. And they could show their grandchildren the places of their youth.

Bengt and Laila Ivarsson were so generous in candidly sharing their lives with us, and it was this experience that made working on this project so special. Their love and support for one another in the face of growing difficulty is something that has really stayed with me, and to see the memories BikeAround triggered for Bengt was incredibly moving. I hope you find the Ivarssons’ story as enriching to watch as it was for us to film.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/N_xpssW9Nb8/

Year in Search: The most fantastic fads of 2017

Category: Google | Dec 29, 2017

Here today, gone tomorrow. Our annual Year in Search is always a fun look back at the fads that captured our fancy and then fizzled out fast. See what this year’s biggest crazes were, through the lens of Google Search:

Unicorn everything

The unofficial mascot of 2017 was the unicorn—the magical creature that had the internet abuzz. While we may have reached peak Unicorn with Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, the craze didn’t stop there. People gave a unicorn twist to all kinds of foods and searched for unicorn cake, unicorn hot chocolate, unicorn cheesecake and unicorn lemonade. While this colorful trend spanned the globe, the most searches came from the cities of San Francisco, New York, London and Bengaluru. Those who jumped on the unicorn food train were likely responsible for making “How many calories are in a Unicorn Frappuccino?” the number one trending calorie-related query.

fads YIS

Slimy searches

Slime also had a very big year: “How to make slime?” was the number one globally trending “how to make” question of 2017. We wanted to know how to make slime of all types: fluffy, butter, stretchy, jiggly, cloud, clear and glow-in-the-dark. But as our slimy obsession grew, so did its mess. “How to get slime out of carpet?” made its way to one of the 100 globally trending “How to” questions of the year.

The dog days aren’t over

While unicorns and slime may be have had their five minutes of fame, some internet loves last forever—like our collective adoration of cute creatures. This year’s most searched celebrity animal was April, the mama giraffe that gained worldwide fame after a live video stream of her pregnancy. April’s moment in the spotlight had the question “How long are giraffes pregnant for?” trending in Alaska. Next up in top-searched celebrity animals was Fiona, the premature baby hippo, followed by Marnie, the Instagram-famous senior rescue dog.

Meme, myself and I

From a dancing hot dog to a distracted boyfriend, the viral images that graced our feeds brought comedic relief, heavy doses of sarcasm and unending creativity to the internet. According to search data, the five most trending memes of 2017 were: “Cash Me Outside,” “United Airlines,” “Elf on the Shelf,” “What in Tarnation?” and “Mocking SpongeBob” as people sought to get in on the joke.

Say what?

It’s not just memes—the internet has a language all its own that can leave people asking “huh?”. Thankfully, the internet is also a helpful tool to quickly decode the latest slang. Trending acronyms we had to look up this year included WCW (woman crush wednesday), TFW (that feeling when), STG (swear to God), GOAT (greatest of all time), and OFC (of course). And from “what does despacito mean?” to “what does bodak yellow mean?” to “What does bibia be ye ye mean?”, we searched for the meanings of popular songs—then got back to the dance floor.

And those are the wacky, weird and unexpected searches of 2017. Who knows what 2018 will bring? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/ZwHV5Zl0un8/

Extending domain opt-out and AdWords API tools

Category: Google | Dec 26, 2017

In 2012, Google made voluntary commitments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that are set to expire on December 27th, 2017. At that time, we agreed to remove certain clauses from our AdWords API Terms and Conditions. We also agreed to provide a mechanism for websites to opt out of the display of their crawled content on certain Google web pages linked to google.com in the United States on a domain-by-domain basis.  

We believe that these policies provide continued flexibility for developers and websites, and we will be continuing our current practices regarding the AdWords API Terms and Conditions and the domain-by-domain opt-out following the expiration of the voluntary commitments. Additional information can be found here:

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/LYnSZ-zo8K4/