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All things are possible: Grow with Google and Google.org Impact Challenge come to OKC

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2017

As an Oklahoman, it’s exciting to work for a company like Google in Oklahoma City—a community I’m proud to call home and that has given me every opportunity in life to succeed. The homesteader Angelo Scott said our city’s spirit has “an attitude that all things are possible if people are willing to take a chance and embrace the future without hesitation or reservation.” As Oklahoma City has developed a diverse economic base as a center for energy, healthcare, aerospace and technology, its spirit remains evident.

Many Oklahoma City businesses are using technology to grow, reach new customers, and adapt to changing markets. For example, Langston’s Western Wear, a century-old family business, found new momentum when it put its products on the web. Now, online sales account for more than 25 percent of their overall business. Watch their story:

Grow with Google aims to support more students, educators, job seekers and businesses like Langston’s as they adapt and grow. This national initiative provides training, tools and workshops to help everyone build the digital skills they need.

The Google.org Impact Challenge Oklahoma City is the latest component of this initiative. Nonprofit organizations in Oklahoma City are invited to submit innovative ideas for economic development and job creation. A panel of local advisors will select four winners, and each will receive $50,000 in funding as well as training from Google employees. The local community will then have the opportunity to vote on which of the four projects it believes will have the greatest impact, and the winner will receive an additional $50,000 grant.

We announced the Challenge at the Grow with Google event in Oklahoma City this week, where—with the support of 33 local partners—we met a thousand Oklahoman small businesses, job seekers, educators and students. They participated in training sessions, hands-on demos, workshops, and one-on-one coaching from Googlers. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Secretary of Education Workforce Development Natalie Shirley, and General Manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder Sam Presti, who is an advisor for the Challenge, also joined us to kick off the day.

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    Rumble the Bison (of the Oklahoma City Thunder) learning something new in the Coding for Kids workshop
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    Native Oklahoman Googler Christie Clark sharing tips in a 1-1 coaching session
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    Getting in the holiday spirit with Google Cardboard
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    Oklahomans building digital skills in one of more than a dozen workshops
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    A young Oklahoman in the “Coding for Kids” workshop
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    Checking out Google Primer, an app to build digital marketing skills, at the Grow with Google event in Devon Boathouse

Google has called Oklahoma home since 2011, and we’ll continue to work with local partners to bring Grow with Google programming to OKC. Grow with Google will come to more cities and towns next year—see where we’re headed at g.co/grow/events.

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

A look at one billion drawings from around the world

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2017

Since November 2016, people all around the world have drawn one billion doodles in Quick, Draw!, a web game where a neural network tries to recognize your drawings.

That includes 2.9 million cats, 2.9 million hot dogs, and 2.9 million drawings of snowflakes.

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Each drawing is unique. But when you step back and look at one billion of them, the differences fade away. Turns out, one billion drawings can remind us of how similar we are.

Take drawings people made of faces. Some have eyebrows.

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Some have ears.

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Some have hair.

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Some are round.

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Some are oval.

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But when if you look at them all together and squint, you notice something interesting: Most people seem to draw faces that are smiling.

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These sorts of interesting patterns emerge with lots of drawings. Like how people all over the world have trouble drawing bicycles.

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With some exceptions from the rare bicycle-drawing experts.

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If you overlay these drawings, you’ll also notice some interesting patterns based on geography. Like the directions that chairs might point:

Or the number of scoops you might get on an ice cream cone.

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(Source: Kyle McDonald)

And the strategy you might use to draw a star.

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Still, no matter the drawing method, over the last 12 months, people have drawn more stars in Quick, Draw! than there are actual stars visible to the naked eye in the night sky.

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If there’s one thing one billion drawings has taught us, it’s that no matter who we are or where we’re from, we’re united by the fun of making silly drawings of the things around us.

Quick, Draw! began as a simple way to let anyone play with machine learning. But these billions of drawings are also a valuable resource for improving machine learning. Researchers at Google have used them to train models like sketch-rnn, which lets people draw with a neural network. And the data we gathered from the game powers tools like AutoDraw, which pairs machine learning with drawings from talented artists to help everyone create anything visual, fast.

There is so much we have yet to discover. To explore a subset of the billion drawings, visit our open dataset. To learn more about how Quick, Draw! was built, read this post. And to draw your own star (or ice cream cone, or bicycle), play a round of Quick, Draw!

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/bR2nbVNCSSk/

Building tools with GCP to help developers be more efficient

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2017

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Tomoaki Kobayakawa and Yoshiyuki Mineo of Rocro Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Network Communications. They take us through how they used Google Cloud Platform to create three SaaS products to help developers both inside and outside of Sony.

SaaS services are becoming more critical for developers working large-scale software developments. At Sony we know this all too well. So back in spring 2015, we set off to create three CI SaaS products that could dramatically reduce the amount of time it took to review source code, generate and manage API documents, and perform load testing. After enthusiastic results internally, we decided this year to establish a new company, Rocro Inc, and release those three products—Inspecode, Docstand and Loadroid—to the public.

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Even though our chief objective was to create robust tools that would be embraced by our internal developers, our goal from the beginning was to release our services externally as well. So, to build tools that had the speed, flexibility and reliability to serve all our users—whether inside or outside Sony—we turned to Google Cloud Platform.

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Google App Engine was the main reason we chose GCP. When we started out, our team was very small, and we couldn’t afford to hire a dedicated infrastructure engineer. App Engine is a fully managed platform that provides the user with an infrastructure abstraction, so you don’t need an infrastructure engineer to begin with. With App Engine, we’re able to work more efficiently because each developer can deploy services whenever they want. Our team has now grown substantially in size, yet to this day we haven’t needed a dedicated infrastructure engineer.

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In addition to App Engine, we also use Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Storage, and Cloud Datastore for our storage and database systems. The Kubernetes Engine kubernetes management service is very helpful for us. Both Inspecode and Docstand use the “Job” feature of Kubernetes—every time you use the git push command, it runs a new job, automating the source code analysis and documentation process. Each job functions in an isolated environment, which means it’s safe and stable to operate with individual containers for each user. Plus, jobs can be easily removed, which reduces both unnecessary labor and costs. Kubernetes can also restrict the use of CPU per job, so even if a particular user were to run a job under a heavy load, it wouldn’t have a negative impact on other users. This is essential for operating multi-tenant services in a stable manner.

GCP updates frequently, so our team benefits from access to the latest technologies relatively early. We’re now experimenting with Cloud Functions, and we hope the trend towards using serverless technologies can help us reduce the cost of keeping instances up and running for less frequently used features.

Both Rocro and Google Cloud save engineers a lot of trouble, helping them focus on the more creative elements of their work. We’re looking forward to experimenting with what’s next from GCP.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/xNtsHYjY7-4/

With Tilt Brush, an artist turns his virtual world into reality

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2017

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from British portrait painter Jonathan Yeo.

From photography to the printing press, to modern computing, art and technology have always influenced one another. And the artist’s toolkit is expanding with new mediums like virtual reality. As a portrait artist who primarily works with oil paint in two dimensions, drawing in three- dimensional space was unknown territory for me. Until recently, I’ve never created art using VR technology, but with Google Arts and Culture and the help of Tilt Brush engineers, I brought VR and sculpture together to create something that was more than just an experiment.

This week at the Royal Academy in London, I’m unveiling a metal sculpture l created using Tilt Brush’s unique “brushstrokes.” This is part of the Royal Academy’s “From Life” exhibition, which opens on the eve of their 250th anniversary, and explores the history of life drawing—the practice of drawing from live models.  

Using advanced 3D scanning and Tilt Brush technology, I was able to virtually sculpt “from life.” I first scanned my head using LightStage (facial-scanning technology from the optical company OTOY), then imported this into Tilt Brush and began painting my self-portrait with a virtual brush. This was then 3D printed directly from Tilt Brush and cast in bronze at Pangolin, one of the world’s leading foundries.

Using virtual reality, I could explore sculpting using the skills developed in my painting practice and within my own studio environment. What’s really exciting is how the final bronze structure precisely captures the free, expressive movements that were previously only possible in paintings. The result is a hybrid of painting and virtual creation, and could open up a world of possibilities for other artists to experiment and take this new medium much further.

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    Jonathan’s painted sculpture, cast in bronze at Pangolin.
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    Jonathan stood next to his artwork exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, From Life exhibition.
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    Casting the sculpture at Pangolin
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    Preparing the 3d model for 3d printing.

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    Jonathan sculpting his self portrait in virtual reality with Tilt Brush.

Jonathan Yeo’s artwork, “Homage to Paolozzi (Self Portrait),” will be exhibited in From Life at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, which runs from December 11, 2017 – March 11, 2018.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/FP7y9cU6eIk/

Announcing Google Cloud Next 2018

Category: Google | Dec 7, 2017

Google Cloud Next ’18 is coming! Mark your calendars for July 24-27, 2018 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Google Cloud Next is where customers, partners, developers, influencers and the greater global cloud community get inspired and learn. Together, we’re working to make the cloud useful and accessible to everyone.

Dive deep into Google Cloud technology through hundreds of breakout sessions, code labs, demos and hands-on training, covering everything from infrastructure to devices, and security to machine learning. You’ll get the chance to connect with the entire Google Cloud team, including our engineers, product leadership, developer advocates and more to unlock new opportunities for your business.

At Next ’17, more than 250 Google speakers and 70+ customer speakers presented at 200 breakout sessions. We made 100 announcements at Next ’17, and we’re gearing up for more big news next year. Next ’18 will feature tracks that encompass all aspects of our Google Cloud portfolio: application development, containerization, collaboration & productivity, data & analytics, infrastructure & operations, hybrid cloud, machine learning & artificial intelligence, maps, security, mobility & devices and much more. Be on the lookout for information on how to register coming in March 2018.

Know someone we can all learn from, or want to contribute yourself? We’re actively soliciting proposals for speaking sessions that will educate and engage attendees. If you have an interesting idea or expertise that you would like to share at Next ’18, please submit your proposal by January 26, 2018. The earlier the better.

We’re excited to create an inclusive space that brings people together, fosters collaboration and inspires innovation at Next ’18. We can’t wait to see you in July!

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/CW8HSL0HVl4/

AdWords Express helps small businesses grow online in 14 new countries

Category: Google | Dec 7, 2017

AdWords Express was created in 2011 to make advertising on Google accessible to businesses owners without advanced online advertising skills or the resources to hire an expert. AdWords Express has since expanded and, as of this month, is available in 14 new countries and 10 new languages. This expansion follows a recent launch that allows your business to prioritize ad goals, whether those are customer calls, visits to your store, or actions to your website.

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AdWords Express launched in these 14 countries. 

Gourmet treats become a local hit in Ukraine with AdWords Express

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Earlier this year, Daryna Pletnyova was looking for a fruit bouquet for her father’s birthday but couldn’t find a local shop in Kiev that could make one. After buying the supplies and arranging her own fruit bouquet, she decided she loved arranging so much that she started Tasty Bouquets, which makes custom bouquets out of gourmet treats, like sausage.

Daryna heard about AdWords Express at a small business event and decided to give it a try. She had used online advertising tools before but found they didn’t drive actual sales. “With AdWords Express though, I only spent 15 to 20 minutes setting up three ads,” says Daryna, “and I got my first calls from customers the next day.”

Advertisers like Daryna are getting results based on their advertising goal. Since Daryna’s goal is to receive calls, AdWords Express optimizes her ads to deliver more calls, not just clicks. “Now my phone is always ringing, and I’m selling 2-3 bouquets every day,” she says.

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Daryna used Google’s free website builder to create a landing page for her ads

The web isn’t just a place for businesses with big budgets or advertising expertise. With AdWords Express now available in 42 countries and 41 languages, we’re excited to help more small businesses across the world reach new customers online.

You can start advertising on Google today by signing up here.

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

New government removals and National Security Letter data

Category: Google | Dec 7, 2017

Since 2010, we’ve shared regular updates in our Transparency Report about the effects of government and corporate policies on users’ data and content. Our goal has always been to make this information as accessible as possible, and to continue expanding this report with new and relevant data.

Today, we’re announcing three updates to our Transparency Report. We’re expanding the National Security Letters (NSL) section, releasing new data on requests from governments to remove content from services like YouTube and Blogger, and making it easier for people to share select data and charts from the Transparency Report.

National Security Letters

Following the 2015 USA Freedom Act, the FBI started lifting indefinite gag restrictions—prohibitions against publicly sharing details—on particular NSLs. Last year, we began publishing NSLs we have received where, either through litigation or legislation, we have been freed of these nondisclosure obligations. We have added a new subsection to the NSL page of the Transparency Report where we publish these letters. We also added letters to the collection, and look to update this section regularly.

Government requests for content removals

As usage of our services increases, we remain committed to keeping internet users safe, working with law enforcement to remove illegal content, and complying with local laws. During this latest reporting period, we’ve continued to expand our work with local law enforcement. From January to June 2017, we received 19,176 requests from governments around the world to remove 76,714 pieces of content. This was a 20 percent percent increase in removal requests over the second half of 2016.

Making our Transparency Report easier to use

Finally, we’ve implemented a new “deep linking” feature that makes it easier to bookmark and share specific charts in the Transparency Report. Sorting data by country, time period, and other categories now generates a distinct web address at the top of your browser window. This allows you to create a link that will show, for example, just government removals data in France, by Google product, for the first half of 2015. We hope this will make it easier for citizens to find and reference information in the report, and for journalists and researchers to highlight specific details that they may be examining as well.

By continuing to make updates like these, we aim to spark new conversations about transparency, accountability and the role of governments and companies in the flow of information online.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/F0DS7md9t3g/

Celebrating and empowering women in mobile gaming with CHANGE THE GAME

Category: Google | Dec 7, 2017

Together, Android and Google Play bring millions of games to more than one billion people in 190 countries, making games accessible to almost everyone. As we continue to create entertainment experiences that cater to each individual person; and with more people gaming on mobile devices than ever before, there’s an opportunity to be even more inclusive—starting with women.

There’s little existing research about women and mobile gaming—so we partnered with Newzoo to learn more about the experiences and perceptions of female mobile players in the U.S. Our study found that 65% of women play mobile games, making-up half of all mobile gamers. In fact, female mobile gamers play more frequently than men with 43% of of them playing more than five days a week compared to just 38% of men.

Despite the fact that women are playing mobile games like never before, only 24.8% of people in the industry identify as women or transgender. This has an impact on women’s behaviors and perceptions of mobile games—for example, we found that the majority of female gamers think that only 30% of those games are actually made for them. Additionally, we found that women are less likely than men to explore multiple genres, talk with friends about mobile games, or identify as a “gamer.”

To tackle this issue, we’re launching CHANGE THE GAME, a new Google Play initiative promoting diversity in games, celebrating all women who play games, and empowering the next generation of game-makers through ongoing research, development programs, and partnerships. The program includes:

  • An interactive experience shining light on the relationship between women and mobile games in the U.S. 
  • A short film celebrating the diversity of women who play mobile games and inviting all women to be part of the game
  • A collection highlighting games with great female protagonists on Google Play’s Indie corner 

This builds on our work to inspire teen girls with the power of games through Wonder Woman, our support of Girls Make Games and the launch of a mobile game development program for emerging game designers. While moving the needle won’t be easy, we hope our commitments to change the game will influence long-term change for women as both players and creators.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/tqnNdH4NpP0/

More great stuff to watch and a holiday sale on popular Daydream apps

Category: Google | Dec 7, 2017

With cold weather outside and the holidays fast approaching, now’s the perfect time to take a moment and kick back with Daydream. We’re launching an update to make it easier to discover great content both in and out of VR, plus loads of new VR experiences to keep you entertained.

Find great VR content easily

With the latest Daydream app, you can now see what’s new and trending on the Google Play store in VR. And when you’re on the go without your headset, you can still search for apps and games, or explore content categories that refresh weekly right in the app on your phone.

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Watch immersive VR videos

There’s more and more VR content available all the time. From music and comedy to travel, check out some of our recent favorites.

Go behind the scenes with your favorite musicians

  • Why Don’t We: Step inside the house of Why Don’t We in VR180. Take a behind-the-scenes tour with band members as they walk you through their house and talk about the milestones and memories made in their house, including songs recorded, deals signed and videos shot.

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Looking for a laugh?


  • The Confessional – Episode 4: Hear from Judd Apatow in the latest episode of “The Confessional,” a series where today’s biggest comedy stars share intimate (and funny) stories from their lives in a virtual confessional booth.

See new sights and meet extraordinary people

  • Discovery TRVLR – Continents 1 to 4: Travel around the world—starting with Auckland, Hanoi, Mexico City and Yerevan—and connect with personalities and adventurers across the globe.

  • Female Planet – Episode 2: Discover the world of Inna Braverman, co-founder of Eco Wave Power, a company that converts wave power into usable energy.

Looking for cutting-edge VR creations?

Explore new apps—and get favorites on sale

Developers have been busy building some awesome new experiences for Daydream. Here are some of our favorites:

A timeless classic now in VR

  • Rez Infinite: Blast through waves of enemies and giant transforming bosses, with colors and sounds that sync and blend to the beat of the app’s techno soundtrack.

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Coming soon to Daydream

  • ASTEROIDS!: Following the initial teaser, the highly-anticipated full-length film will be launching next week. From the director of Madagascar comes the follow-up episode to the Emmy award-winning film INVASION!. The film follows the journey of quirky aliens Mac and Cheez (voiced by Elizabeth Banks), and their sidekick Peas as they traverse the challenges of space.
  • Flutter VR: Explore the beauty of the Amazonian rainforest as you discover real butterfly species and see the environment change from day to night and rain to sunshine as you meet and discover new creatures. 

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Some original VR favorites are now 50% off for a limited time, too (discounts valid 12/7/17 to 12/14/17). Explore imaginary worlds with Beartopia and So Let Us Melt, embark on new adventures with Hunters Gate and Spark of Light, and hone your reflexes with Ultrawings, Drift, The Arcslinger, and Fishing Star VR.

We have lots more new features and exciting experiences in the works for 2018. If you’re new to Daydream, or you haven’t tried it in a while, now’s a great time to jump in. And remember, you can always bring your friends and family along on your VR adventures by casting what you see to a TV.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/MszhWYkjq2Y/

All the data you need to cover 500 local elections

Category: Google | Dec 7, 2017

Next year, nearly 500 local elections for Senate and House seats are taking place across the United States. As part of our mission to help journalists report on the stories that matter, we  worked with ProPublica to build the Election Databot: a tool that provides data about all of those elections, from campaign spending to Google Search Trends for candidates.

We launched the Databot for the 2016 general election, but this new version shows complete information for all the House and Senate races through November 8, 2018. It also includes this year’s special election on December 12 between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones, who are vying for one of Alabama’s Senate seats.

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The new version of the Databot includes key data for national and local reporters writing about the hundreds of local races taking place across America, including:

  • Google Search Trends for each candidate and incumbent with real-time search data
  • YouTube videos from candidates and incumbents
  • Candidate spending data from the FEC
  • Voting records and Congressional data
  • Articles from Google News, including local news sources about each candidate
  • Press statements from each incumbent candidate
  • Cook report race ratings for each election
  • Deleted Tweets from Politwoops

You can explore either national or local data, and can set up notifications for a particular race. 2018 will be a big year for politics, and the Databot can help journalists report on election stories in new and exciting ways.

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