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Google app update: making it easier to keep up with the things you need to know

Category: Google | Dec 6, 2016

With constant news updates, changing schedules, and traffic delays, staying on top of everything can be challenging. The Google app has useful cards ready to help you keep track of everything you care about — from sports scores to that package you ordered — and we’ve been thinking up ways to make the experience even more helpful. That’s why we’re rolling out an update to help you stay organized and in the know about the things that matter to you. Starting today, in the Google app on Android (and coming soon to iOS), your cards will be organized into two sections: a feed that keeps you current on your interests like sports, news, and entertainment, and a section for your upcoming personal info, like flights, appointments and more.

split stream

Feed – To stay current on topics you care about

The feed is an ongoing and updated look at the things you care about, keeping you updated with the freshest info on your sports teams, people of interest, music, and news stories. The more you use Google, the more tailored and relevant your feed will become. To update your interests and add others at any time, just tap “Customize” in the Google app’s settings menu.

For those in the U.S. — and rolling out to other countries in the coming months — we’re also giving you an additional way to tell Google what you care about. You’ll see a card in your feed that lets you select topics of interest that you’d like to see more info and stories on.

Upcoming – To keep up with your day

You can also toggle over to your upcoming dashboard for a dependable view of your personal info — keeping details of your daily schedule, travel time for your commute, package delivery info and more, all in one place. With the holiday travel season upon us, you’ll never need to dig through your email to find your boarding pass or flight info. Tap to ta-da!

With this latest refresh of the Google app, a single tap will load your life’s interests and updates. We hope these go-to guides will help you stay organized and on top of the things you care about.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/ROwldgY35rY/

Exploring the significance of Pearl Harbor with Google Expeditions

Category: Google | Dec 6, 2016

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest author is Michael Fricano II, an Education Architect at The Janus Group. As a longtime educator and resident of Hawaii, Michael shares his experience of teaching students about Pearl Harbor with Google Expeditions.

Many students learn about World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor by reading facts and figures from a history book, but today teachers are using technology to provide a richer understanding of Hawaii’s vital role in World War II. Having lived in Hawaii for many years, I’ll always hold Pearl Harbor and December 7th in a special place in my heart. This year, I’m particularly inspired to hear how teachers are using technology to explain the cultural and political significance of the Japanese attack.

To honor the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ms. Marielle Beaudet, a fifth grade teacher at Pearl Harbor Elementary School, used one of our lesson plans that integrates Google Expeditions to show students important locations on Oahu, from the naval base to Punchbowl Cemetery to the USS Bowfin. Many students had already visited these places in person but hadn’t learned about their historical significance.

As students virtually stood on top of Diamond Head overlooking the Pacific Ocean, they saw the 360 degree view that made it a vital defensive bunker, called Fort Ruger. One student commented, “I had no idea there was a bunker at the top of Diamond Head!” Another student said, “You can see all over the island from up here!” realizing why it was such an important location.

pearlharbor2 cropped.png

Students explored inside one of the most famous American submarines from the war, USS Bowfin, using Google Expeditions to see the Torpedo Room, Control Room and the Galley. Using a lesson that incorporates different G Suite tools, students brainstormed questions they would want to ask a sailor aboard the submarine. This type of virtual reality experience encouraged students to think about day-to-day life aboard a submarine and made them curious about the sailors’ food, sleeping conditions and leisure activities. One student, who noticed a bed above one of the torpedos, yelled out, “I wouldn’t want to sleep on top of those. You’d have to be really brave!” Reading about the submarine is fascinating, but showing students the space helps paint a clearer picture of how sailors lived leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Visiting these historical locations through Expeditions gave students a stronger connection to their homeland and sparked new curiosity about the places they pass every day. I was moved when I heard one student say, “[National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day] is meant for us to show our appreciation to those that fought for us. We have to show our respect and never forget what happened.”

If you want to bring this experience to your class, check out one of the many Expeditions featuring Pearl Harbor — The Battleship USS Missouri, Onboard the USS Bowfin Submarine, World War II, and Pearl Harbor and Hawaii During World War II. To get started with Expeditions download the free app for iOS or Android, or look into Google Expeditions Kits.

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

We’re set to reach 100% renewable energy — and it’s just the beginning

Category: Google | Dec 6, 2016

Every year people search on Google trillions of times; every minute people upload more than 400 hours of YouTube videos. All of that takes an incredible amount of processing power — which means energy. Our engineers have spent years perfecting Google’s data centers, making them 50 percent more energy efficient than the industry average. But we still need a lot of energy to power the products and services that our users depend on. We began purchasing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change — but it also makes business sense.

I’m thrilled to announce that in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations — including both our data centers and offices. We were one of the first corporations to create large-scale, long-term contracts to buy renewable energy directly; we signed our first agreement to purchase all the electricity from a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa, in 2010. Today, we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. That’s bigger than many large utilities and more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future.

greent-wp-charts-Cumulative-Corporate-Renewal.png

To reach this goal we’ll be directly buying enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally. And we’re focusing on creating new energy from renewable sources, so we only buy from projects that are funded by our purchases.

Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60 percent and 80 percent, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option. Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.

Our 20 renewable energy projects also help support communities, from Grady County, OK, to Rutherford County, NC, to the Atacama Region of Chile to municipalities in Sweden. To date, our purchasing commitments will result in infrastructure investments of more than $3.5 billion globally, about two-thirds of that in the United States. These projects also generate tens of millions of dollars per year in revenue to local property owners, and tens of millions more to local and national governments in tax revenue.

So, we’re on track to match our global energy consumption on an annual basis by next year. But this is just the first step. As we look to the immediate future, we’ll continue to pursue these direct contracts as we grow, with an even greater focus on regional renewable energy purchases in places where we have data centers and significant operations. Since the wind doesn’t blow 24 hours a day, we’ll also broaden our purchases to a variety of energy sources that can enable renewable power, every hour of every day. Our ultimate goal is to create a world where everyone — not just Google — has access to clean energy. For more on these next steps, read our white paper.   

google_ppa.jpg

How Google purchases and uses renewable energy.

Operating our business in an environmentally sustainable way has been a core value from the beginning, and we’re always working on new ideas to make sustainability a reality — like enabling the building of healthy workplaces and creating a living, breathing dashboard for the planet. We’ve reported our carbon footprint and published information on our sustainability programs for many years in white papers, blog posts, and on our website. Now, we’ve put all this information together in a new Environmental Report.

You can also check out our new environment website, where we share stories of how we are finding new ways to do more while using less. Most of our on-campus sustainability initiatives were started by a few passionate Googlers, and have now grown into company-wide efforts. From the solar panels on our roofs to our bike-to-work program, these initiatives sit at the heart of our company culture and help both us and our users reduce our impact on the environment.

economic impact

Google is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world.

The science tells us that tackling climate change is an urgent global priority. We believe the private sector, in partnership with policy leaders, must take bold steps and that we can do so in a way that leads to growth and opportunity. And we have a responsibility to do so — to our users and the environment.

We have lots of progress left to make, but these achievements we’re announcing today feel like a breath of fresh air. Now, back to work.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/Ey8Dge9QIk4/

Partnering to Help Curb the Spread of Terrorist Content Online

Category: Google | Dec 5, 2016

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube are coming together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online. There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.

Starting today, we commit to the creation of a shared industry database of “hashes” — unique digital “fingerprints” — for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that we have removed from our services. By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms. We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.

Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services — content most likely to violate all of our respective companies’ content policies. Participating companies can add hashes of terrorist images or videos that are identified on one of our platforms to the database. Other participating companies can then use those hashes to identify such content on their services, review against their respective policies and definitions, and remove matching content as appropriate.

As we continue to collaborate and share best practices, each company will independently determine what image and video hashes to contribute to the shared database. No personally identifiable information will be shared, and matching content will not be automatically removed. Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found. And each company will continue to apply its practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances. As part of this collaboration, we will all focus on how to involve additional companies in the future.

Throughout this collaboration, we are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and their ability to express themselves freely and safely on our platforms. We also seek to engage with the wider community of interested stakeholders in a transparent, thoughtful and responsible way as we further our shared objective to prevent the spread of terrorist content online while respecting human rights.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/bH5fOs-8ROQ/

Partnering to help curb the spread of terrorist content online

Category: Google | Dec 5, 2016

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube are coming together to help curb the spread of terrorist content online. There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services. When alerted, we take swift action against this kind of content in accordance with our respective policies.

Starting today, we commit to the creation of a shared industry database of “hashes” — unique digital “fingerprints” — for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images that we have removed from our services. By sharing this information with each other, we may use the shared hashes to help identify potential terrorist content on our respective hosted consumer platforms. We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online.

Our companies will begin sharing hashes of the most extreme and egregious terrorist images and videos we have removed from our services — content most likely to violate all of our respective companies’ content policies. Participating companies can add hashes of terrorist images or videos that are identified on one of our platforms to the database. Other participating companies can then use those hashes to identify such content on their services, review against their respective policies and definitions, and remove matching content as appropriate.

As we continue to collaborate and share best practices, each company will independently determine what image and video hashes to contribute to the shared database. No personally identifiable information will be shared, and matching content will not be automatically removed. Each company will continue to apply its own policies and definitions of terrorist content when deciding whether to remove content when a match to a shared hash is found. And each company will continue to apply its practice of transparency and review for any government requests, as well as retain its own appeal process for removal decisions and grievances. As part of this collaboration, we will all focus on how to involve additional companies in the future.

Throughout this collaboration, we are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and their ability to express themselves freely and safely on our platforms. We also seek to engage with the wider community of interested stakeholders in a transparent, thoughtful and responsible way as we further our shared objective to prevent the spread of terrorist content online while respecting human rights.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/bH5fOs-8ROQ/

How teachers and students can develop learning skills for school – and beyond

Category: Google | Dec 5, 2016

Editor’s note: As part of the ExploreEDU event series, schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors and invite neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools to innovate and improve. To see if there is an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. For those who can’t join in person, we’ll also share the schools’ experiences here. Today’s guest author is Shanna Schwarzer, assistant principal from Jefferson City High School. The district is hosting an event on December 8 with Tierney Brothers.

We use the word “professional” often when we talk to students about their performance and behavior. We want them to view classrooms as workplaces, and take their “jobs” as students just as seriously as employees in the corporate world do – that is, the job of learning. Today, technology plays a larger role in helping our students become enthusiastic and curious learners.  Now that we’re a 1:1 school, with every student using a device, we make sure every teacher is prepared for guiding students in using technology. Here’s what we’ve done to support students and teachers on this journey.

1. Creating an in-house help desk staffed by students

We’ve created a class called “Help Desk,” in which students learn how to make basic repairs on our devices or help fix Wi-Fi networks. They also learn business communication skills, like how to greet fellow students and teachers who visit the help desk. Teachers use lesson plans from the nonprofit group GenYES, which promotes technology training for students.

Not only does our help desk educate students on understanding technology, it saves time for our IT team, since students make minor repairs and solve simple tech issues in our classrooms.

Help desk image; [Caption] Students learn how to solve common IT issues in Jefferson City High School’s “Help Desk” class.

2. Scheduling monthly “tech summits” for teachers

We help teachers keep their tech skills sharp with required monthly tech summits. These 45-minute sessions focus on a specific topic, such as how to organize files in Google Drive and the SAMR (substitution/augmentation/modification/redefinition) model for understanding how technology can impact teaching and learning. Some summits are roundtables, where teachers can discuss current tech and learning challenges. After one summit on blended learning and setting up station rotations, teachers felt confident to set up these rotations in their own classrooms, based on their lessons plans.

3. Go all in and embrace occasional failures

Not all students will learn how to use technology at the same pace. We decided it was best for us to go all in because both students and teachers can reap the benefits right away. For example, some students may resist using Google Classroom at first, because they’re more comfortable with completing assignments on paper. If you allow their hesitation to delay implementation, students will miss out on the opportunity to get feedback from teachers or share ideas with classmates.

When we try to change student learning and our efforts falter, we talk about it – we don’t cover it up. Teachers and students will learn from the failed attempts and improve next time. One big obstacle teachers have to overcome has been grading. When they are trying to use Classroom and grade electronically, it becomes a hurdle. Early on, we found many teachers weren’t using Classroom for grading, because they were used to paper. We recognized that we had to go back and “teach the teachers” why grading within Classroom made sense. Now they understand how online grading frees them up from the hassles of mounds of paperwork!

4. Allow teachers to create their own paths with technology

We recognize that teachers will use technology differently based on their preferences and subjects. For instance, some teachers simply use Classroom to supplement their teaching with online articles posted in the “About” stream. Others may use Classroom as a place for students to turn in homework assignments. Teachers’ comfort level can grow throughout the year as they gain confidence and share ideas with their colleagues.

Don’t throw out good teaching methods just because they don’t fit into what’s expected in a 1:1 program. Let the technology complement the teaching.

Preparing students to become lifelong learners isn’t an overnight process, and it certainly isn’t easy. When you hit rough spots, remind yourself that you’re positioning students for success in college and the workforce, where they’ll use technology to collaborate and learn every day. You’re preparing them for the real world.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/z6sGNEmkEUI/

A sweet update to Nougat: Android 7.1.1

Category: Google | Dec 5, 2016

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.

Emoji

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.

Image Keyboard

Send GIFs directly from your keyboard

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.

App shortcuts

Launch actions on your favorite apps by simply long pressing 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.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/QfwG8IGrAnQ/

CSEdWeek 2016: Changing the face of computer science

Category: Google | Dec 5, 2016

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.

Karlie Kloss

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.

[edu] Karlie_Kloss YTK

Check out YouTube Kids to find out all the cool things you can do with CS #CSforAll

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.

[edu] MwC emoji strip

Diverse holiday emoji, coded on MadewithCode.com

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.

[edu] careers with code

Explore Careers with Code with an educator guide

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.   

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/7wWkF7C8a9U/

Say olá and namaste to your Assistant in Google Allo

Category: Google | Dec 5, 2016

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.

Hindi Assistant Allo

Say it rápido with Smart Reply

Hindi new 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.

Brazil new stickers

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.

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

Let your loved ones know you’re safe with our new personal safety app

Category: Google | Dec 5, 2016

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.

TrustedContactsGIF

Here’s a little more detail on how Trusted Contacts might work, starring Elliot and Thelma:

Elliot & 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.

Requesting Location

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.

Sharing 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.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/5ttuiBkNl2k/