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Category: Google | Jun 20, 2016
Picture this: you woke up today with a headache. It’s been getting worse all day, and you aren’t sure if you should be worried or not. So you open the Google app and start searching for your symptoms. After 20 minutes digging through health forums, chances are you’re overwhelmed by all the complicated medical terms and breaking out in a sweat—whether that’s related to the headache or the overdose of info is unclear!
You’re not alone. Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google (think: millions!) are symptom-related. But health content on the web can be difficult to navigate, and tends to lead people from mild symptoms to scary and unlikely conditions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.
So starting in the coming days, when you ask Google about symptoms like “headache on one side,” we’ll show you a list of related conditions (“headache,” “migraine,” “tension headache,” “cluster headache,” “sinusitis,” and “common cold”). For individual symptoms like “headache,” we’ll also give you an overview description along with information on self-treatment options and what might warrant a doctor’s visit. By doing this, our goal is to help you to navigate and explore health conditions related to your symptoms, and quickly get to the point where you can do more in-depth research on the web or talk to a health professional.
We create the list of symptoms by looking for health conditions mentioned in web results, and then checking them against high-quality medical information we’ve collected from doctors for our Knowledge Graph. We worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information, and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve the lists we show.
That said, symptom search (like all medical information on Google) is intended for informational purposes only, and you should always consult a doctor for medical advice. We rely on search results, and we reflect what’s on the web. Because of this, your feedback is especially important to us; we’ll use it to keep improving the results we show. You’ll notice in the weeks following launch that when we show symptom search we’ll automatically ask you if the results are helpful.
We’re rolling this update out on mobile over the next few days, in English in the U.S. to start. Over time, we hope to cover more symptoms, and we also want to extend this to other languages and internationally. So the next time you’re worried about your “child with knee pain” (even though it’s probably just growing pains), or have some symptoms you’re too embarrassed to run by your roommate, a Google search will be a helpful place to start.
Posted by Veronica Pinchin, Product Manager https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xmPv09K0V3Y/V2XKa-8W73I/AAAAAAAASkg/-80cw-ml6Uglf5XzIDzzdPBAilWILTRzwCLcB/s1600/Symptoms.jpg <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in google.com/about site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xmPv09K0V3Y/V2XKa-8W73I/AAAAAAAASkg/-80cw-ml6Uglf5XzIDzzdPBAilWILTRzwCLcB/s1600/Symptoms.jpg Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>
Category: Google | Jun 20, 2016
When Walaa posted a picture on social media that spoke out against violence in his hometown of Jairoud, Syria, it earned him three months of violent detention. He fled the country with his family through Turkey and into Greece, where they now live in a refugee camp near the Macedonian border.
Though the Internet played a role in his flight from Syria, connectivity has played a crucial role in helping him rebuild his life in Greece. While living in Greek refugee camps, Walaa used YouTube to learn English, and his language skills are now so good that he’s served as a community advocate and translator. He says he’s far from done: next, he hopes to learn Greek.
As refugees across Europe adapt to new contexts, access to information and education are crucial to help them develop the skills they need. Last fall we encouraged you to donate to a public matching campaign to help refugees access not only basic humanitarian aid, but also resources to create a bridge to their new communities. Since then we’ve helped the International Rescue Committee build an online information hub for refugees, Mercy Corps develop Translation Cards to allow field workers to communicate across languages more easily, partner with NetHope to install low-cost WiFi in refugee camps, and support refugee education through Kiron, a nonprofit providing refugee-tailored university courses available both online and offline.
In addition to Walaa, we’ve heard from other refugees who are finding ways to adjust thanks to Internet and education access. For example, Ahmed is a former Iraqi computer science student now living in Berlin. While waiting for his work permit, he began teaching coding classes at refugee welcome centers as part of Project Reconnect, an initiative we launched with NetHope to equip NGOs with Chromebooks. Kashif, who traveled through seven countries from a small Pakistani town to Berlin, is studying online with Kiron and dreams of working as an engineer at NASA.
Ahmed giving CODE.org classes to young refugees through the Chromebooks in a refugee center in Berlin
On World Refugee Day, we hope you’ll take time to hear stories of more refugees who are working so hard to rebuild their lives.
We also want to thank everyone across the globe who donated last year, and encourage you to continue to support our partners in their critical work. Though the impact of this refugee crisis will be felt for many years to come, we’ll continue to look for ways to contribute.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google.org https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Ya7jH9LzpcU/V2XHIvzDKQI/AAAAAAAASj8/PHTWtKB8uBAXEUPJpT6f_Q15nSiILL-zQCLcB/s1600/Reconnect_hero.jpg <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in google.com/about site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>
Category: Google | Jun 17, 2016
This past Mother’s Day, we shared #LoveLetters, a partnership among nonprofits to give the children of incarcerated parents a chance to have their voices heard. Today, in celebration of Father’s Day, you can watch Love Letters for incarcerated fathers. This work is part of our continued commitment to raising awareness about racial injustice, and to bearing witness to the human costs of mass incarceration.
The costs of mass incarceration have disproportionately affected the lives of Black men. From 1980 to 2007, about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African-American. And if that current trend continues, one in three Black boys born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. All in all, we’re now at a point where there are more African-American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations of India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.
Children share digital “Love Letters” for their fathers who are incarcerated
Many of these men are also fathers—and their children have suffered greatly. The loss of a father to incarceration adversely affects children’s educational, social and emotional well-being, even decades later. Children with an incarcerated parent are three times more likely to have behavioral problems or depression, and at least twice as likely to suffer from learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety.
This is what Love Letters conveys: the hurt of the children left behind—and the enduring bond between a child and a parent despite the barrier of prison walls. So for Father’s Day, we worked with the NGOs Pops the Club and Place4Grace to encourage children and youth in California to share their love letters to their fathers behind bars. We’re also working with the California Department of Corrections to share the video with fathers behind bars throughout the state.
To learn about criminal justice reform legislation now going through Congress, visit sentencingproject.org, vera.org, or brennancenter.org. As David Drummond, Alphabet’s vice president of corporate development, said at an event this week: “We like disruption, and if there’s a system worth disrupting, it’s the criminal justice system.” We hope that by raising awareness about the impact of mass incarceration on children and families, we can help to change it. Please join us in this effort—watch the video and share with #LoveLetters on social media.
Posted by Malika Saada Saar, Public Policy and Government Relations Senior Counsel – Civil and Human Rights https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-q1FqwRo0CB8/V2Qft3evOOI/AAAAAAAASjM/8cA-afsn7KE6M_48TrVj9jEs3ZOjmsLtwCLcB/s1600/LoveLetters.jpg <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in google.com/about site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Lxo8Kqmqig4/V2B1-lZyU5I/AAAAAAAASes/m1K7agqAQbkj57bWc_twtJwB1K9uNe2AQCLcB/s1600/LoveLetters.jpg Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>
Category: Google | Jun 9, 2016
Your phone can help you navigate from one side of the country to the other, help you share memories with friends, or even identify the song that’s playing right now. But it can’t answer basic (and important) questions like, “Where’s the nearest building exit?” or “Will this couch actually fit in my apartment?” That’s because while your phone may know where you are in the world, it doesn’t know where you are in the room.
But, for the past three years, the Project Tango team has been working to help devices understand physical space and motion more like people do. Today we’re taking the next step with the first Tango-enabled phone (Lenovo’s PHAB2 Pro). We’re also graduating the effort from Project Tango to, simply, Tango.
Tango helps you answer a new set of questions about your world through specialized hardware and apps. Some of the coolest apps that work with Tango are the ones that overlay digital objects on top of your surroundings. For example if you’re shopping for a new bed, Tango lets you view your bedroom through your phone and visualize different options—even walk around the virtual furniture like it’s actually there.
With a Tango-enabled phone, you also have a toy box, a solar system, and a pet shop in your pocket. You can play with a huge set of dominoes, explore the planets, defend yourself from invading aliens, or feed your virtual dog—all through your phone. The best part is that you don’t have to clean up afterwards.
In the future, we hope Tango can help you navigate a mall, museum or place you’ve never been. Tango can overlay directions to your destination, then provide more info once you arrive. We’ve already started to work on this—we previewed it in February with the National Art Museum of Catalunya, and we plan to bring select locations online later this year.
Whether you’re shopping, playing, or just finding your way around, Tango helps you explore the world in a new way. There are already lots of great apps exploring these new capabilities, and as Tango finds its way into more devices, there will be more to come. If you’d like to learn more, visit the Tango website, or tune in to Nat and Lo for a behind-the-scenes look at Tango.
Posted by Johnny Lee, Director of Engineering https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-G2kndpgyNqU/V1cNAla-6PI/AAAAAAAASds/S0UjCr_hY7wDoTVQ2roMCN_IWS09aqDPQCLcB/s1600/dinogif.gif <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in google.com/about site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IPur0dyM0as/V1Xdxf8AuNI/AAAAAAAASdY/dASYq4RC92of7Mpu95zmcYF-ACj_lXefACLcB/s1600/doglicking2.gif Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>
Category: Google | Jun 1, 2016
A year ago today, we launched My Account, a hub that gives you quick access to controls for safeguarding your data and protecting your privacy on Google. My Account puts privacy and security tools in one place, including long-standing features like Ads Settings and newer ones like the Privacy and Security Checkups. Collectively, these tools make it easy for you to control your privacy and security from any device.
In the past year, more than one billion people around the world have used My Account. Now, on the first anniversary of its launch, we’re excited to introduce three new features to easily access your controls and protect your data.
A helping hand when you lose your phone
We entrust our phones with some of our most personal data: texts from loved ones, family photos, work emails, bank account information, and more. In the wrong hands, that data could cause trouble. Unfortunately, millions of phones are stolen every year in the U.S. alone, and countless more are lost in taxis, cafes, and couch cushions around the world. But when your phone goes missing, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, who to call, or how to keep your information safe.
Find your phone is a new feature that will help you if your phone is ever lost or stolen. In a few simple steps, you can not only locate your phone, but also lock and call it, secure your account, leave a callback number on the screen, and more. The feature can be used to find lost Android and iOS devices, and soon, you’ll also be able to access it by searching Google for “I lost my phone.”
New ways to access My Account
People are increasingly using their voices to navigate apps and services—for example, mobile voice searches on Google have tripled in the past two years. So, we’re making it easier to get to My Account just by using your voice. In the latest Google app you can simply say, “Ok Google, show me my Google account,” and we’ll take you right there. This is available today in English, with other languages coming soon.
We’re also making it easier than ever to find My Account by searching Google. Coming soon, you’ll be able to simply search for your own name, and if you’re signed in, you’ll see a shortcut to My Account.
When you entrust your data to Google, you should expect powerful security and privacy controls. These features are just the latest in our ongoing efforts to protect you and your personal information. We’ll continue to make updates based on your feedback.
Posted by Guemmy Kim, Product Manager, Account Controls and Settings https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vIUHbY4iisE/V04c8WG9lAI/AAAAAAAASaU/1WErcDVt8WAxBLwRZ6n68bJlDWYH9VJ-QCLcB/s1600/Security.jpg <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in google.com/about site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vIUHbY4iisE/V04c8WG9lAI/AAAAAAAASaU/1WErcDVt8WAxBLwRZ6n68bJlDWYH9VJ-QCLcB/s1600/Security.jpg Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>
Category: Google | May 26, 2016
If you’ve ever asked a question about a Google product in the Google Product Help Forums or on Twitter, chances are you’ve encountered a Top Contributor—passionate Google product experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge with their fellow users. We introduced you to two of the super users in this program yesterday, and now we’re shining a spotlight on a few more. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, start participating in a Google Product Forum or on social media, and let us know you’re interested.
Leonika Sari says: I’m a developer and founder of the startup Reblood, which aims to awareness and promote blood donation in Indonesia. But in my downtime, I help people regain access to their Gmail accounts. Imagine not being able to access your Gmail or finding out your account was hijacked—it’s quite scary! I like helping people get back into their accounts so they can continue living their life.
Answering posts in the Google Product Help Forums has also taught me a lot about how to run my startup. It’s shown me the importance of listening and replying to users. Google treats every piece of user feedback as a useful resource to improve the product—which inspires me to pay more attention to feedback about my own product and quickly turn that into product improvements. I also see parallels between the community of volunteers in the Top Contributor program and my own company Reblood’s community of donors. It makes me happy that I can help people, even those I’ve never met.
José says: I work in the Systems and Education Innovation Department for Colegio Alameda de Osuna in Madrid. My son, Jorge, is studying psychology at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. We’re both passionate about helping and are members of the Top Contributor Program. I’m a TC and Jorge is a Rising Star, the entry level into the Top Contributor program.
I was the first one to discover Google Product Help Forums. Helping people in the forums is very similar to teaching. It allows me to do something I like—teach—while enabling me to reach a much larger number of people than I would in the classroom. Plus, I get to learn more about tools I use in my job on a daily basis.
Jorge says: My dad told me about the forums last summer when I was off from school. I thought I’d give it a try and now I’m hooked. I like it because helping others makes me feel good. When I was first starting, my dad would help me by suggesting solutions or showing me other ways of answering a question. Now that I’m back in school and busy with classes, the Top Contributor program helps us stay in touch. In fact, I think it improves our relationship.
The Top Contributor program has brought us many great connections. The forums bring you closer to people, whether it’s through the questions you answer or the motivation to help that all the TCs share. And those bonds are something I wouldn’t change for anything.
Posted by Brenna Robertson, Program Manager https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-4wrE6JaDuHg/V0X_bMLjbnI/AAAAAAAASXQ/RjqXaudd0qQXgK5wpvwg6cIMj-zcFRx4gCLcB/s1600/Contributors2.jpg <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in google.com/about site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5ZWYMlLdPW8/V0X2xnTn2wI/AAAAAAAASWg/9MKD-Ka9qYggMXKdzHsYjIr8QgSC3G8wgCLcB/s1600/Contributor.jpg Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>
Category: Google | May 25, 2016
If you’ve ever asked a question about a Google product in the Google Product Help Forums or on Twitter, chances are you’ve encountered a Top Contributor—passionate Google product experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge with their fellow users. Last year, Top Contributors helped more than 55 million people with 30 different Google products, answering questions and providing tips.
The super users in the Top Contributor program come from 60+ different countries. Their passion for our products and willingness to help others make them a community. To showcase the faces and stories behind this group of helpful users, we asked a few Top Contributors to share a bit about themselves. This is the first of two posts—come back tomorrow to learn more.
Jo says: As a writer, editor, and all-around book enthusiast, I spend a lot of time using word-processing programs. I first discovered Google Docs when I saw a Chromebook ad on TV. I was intrigued by the idea of working in the cloud and not needing an external hard drive to backup my work.
I use Docs for both my professional and personal writing and have completed works of nonfiction as well as novels in it. As senior editorial director at Book Publishing Co., I use Docs for reviewing and editing manuscripts, writing copy, and communicating with authors and colleagues. My authors and colleagues are fascinated when we’re in a document at the same time and they see me making changes. It looks like magic to them!
Helping others navigate Docs might seem like an unusual hobby, but I love it. I like exercising my brain by exploring all that an app can do. It’s rewarding to answer users’ questions and help them solve conundrums, especially knowing that my reply could potentially reach hundreds or even thousands of others users who visit the forum with a similar issue. The occasional “thank you” or “you saved the day” is icing on the cake.
Kojo says: I grew up in a small town in the central region of Ghana, the oldest of five children—which meant I learned how to work hard. Being the oldest meant I had to set a positive example for my siblings and cousins. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with honors from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where I’m now a teaching and research assistant.
I first got involved with Google products as a Google Student Ambassador, a program that gives students the opportunity to be a liaison between their university and Google. During that time, I gave tutorials to anyone from first year students to senior faculty in my department, teaching them how to incorporate Google apps like Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides into their day-to-day.
When I became a teaching and research assistant, I started using Google Forms to create short quizzes and Google Groups to send assignments and notes to the students in my lab experiment groups. Those experiences inspired me to start helping out in the forums, where I specialize in Nexus and Photos—products I don’t often get to use in the classroom.
I love troubleshooting issues with products because it challenges me to pinpoint issues given very little information. It not only teaches me to solve problems, but it also shows me how I can interrelate things when teaching in order to help students. My experience there inspires me to take on more challenges elsewhere. Next up: grad school.
Get involved with the Top Contributor Program
We’re always looking for people around the world who have strong Google product knowledge, a friendly attitude, and enjoy helping others. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, start participating in a Google Product Forum or on social media, and let us know you’re interested. Once you’re helping people on a regular basis, you may be invited to become a Rising Star, the first level in the Top Contributor program.
Posted by Brenna Robertson, Program Manager https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5ZWYMlLdPW8/V0X2xnTn2wI/AAAAAAAASWg/9MKD-Ka9qYggMXKdzHsYjIr8QgSC3G8wgCLcB/s1600/Contributor.jpg <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in google.com/about site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5ZWYMlLdPW8/V0X2xnTn2wI/AAAAAAAASWg/9MKD-Ka9qYggMXKdzHsYjIr8QgSC3G8wgCLcB/s1600/Contributor.jpg Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>
Category: Google | May 24, 2016
Last week thousands of developers joined us at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, at Google I/O, our annual developer conference, for three days of talks, sandboxes, and some festival fun. Here’s a look at I/O beyond the keynote:
1. It’s not just for grown-ups.
A day before Google I/O officially began, we hosted I/O Youth. Over the course of the day, 120 students from Bay Area-based schools engaged in four hands-on activities focused on storytelling, designing, and coding. They heard from inspiring speakers that bring creative solutions to their jobs like Brent Bushnell, CEO of the entertainment company Two Bit Circus, and Pavni Dijwanji, who leads our Google-wide efforts to create a better experience for kids online. Check out 11-year-old Cindy Zhou’s coverage of I/O Youth for Time for Kids.
2. Machine learning is already making products smarter.
As Sundar said during his keynote, machine learning and artificial intelligence are changing computing in incredible ways. One of the biggest uncracked nuts in A.I. is understanding natural language. But we’re making progress, and we can see people are eager for it—on the Google app on Android, over 20 percent of the searches we get in the U.S. are now by voice. Ok Google!
3. ATAP is bridging the physical and the digital.
On Friday, ATAP took the stage to share a glimpse of what’s going on in the ATAP garage. In “Pearl,” an interactive 360 story made for mobile by Academy award-winning director Patrick Osborne, a girl and her dad crisscross the country in their beloved hatchback. Project Jacquard introduced a twist on the iconic denim jacket—the Levi’s® Commuter™ Trucker Jacket, with Jacquard’s interactive fabrics woven in. With the LG Electronics Inc. smartwatch and JBL by Harman speaker prototypes Project Soli demonstrated, you don’t have to touch a screen to view a message or change a song. And Ara showed off a developer version of their modular phone and provided a peek into a future where phones can be customized for function and style.
The Soli smartwatch prototype (developed in collaboration with LG Electronics Inc.) is controlled without touching the screen
4. We’re working to make I/O more inclusive for everyone.
As in past years, we made an effort to make I/O a diverse and welcoming conference for women and minorities who are underrepresented in technology. Women at I/O made up 23 percent of our 7,000+ attendees (at last year’s conference, women made up a similar percentage of our 5,000 attendees). We partnered with 13 community groups for women in technology, and offered travel grants to attendees making the trip. On Tuesday night, we hosted a Women Techmakers dinner for 1,000 women.
Women Techmakers dinner
We also want I/O to be more accessible for people with disabilities. To that end, we worked with Googlers and attendees with disabilities to provide things like real-time captioning for all breakout sessions at the conference.
Finally, this was also the first year we released ethnicity and race information for a Google conference.
5. We’ve made custom hardware for machine learning.
We designed and built a chip (of the silicon variety) that’s specifically made for machine learning. We call it a Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) because it’s tailored for TensorFlow, our machine learning software that’s openly available to all. A TPU is an order of magnitude (10x) more power efficient than a traditional computer chip—and TPUs were also the secret hardware sauce for AlphaGo, our machine learning system that played and won 4 of 5 matches with Lee Sedol in Korea.
6. The Google Play Music experience blended Google smarts with musical discovery.
Not far from the dancing paint robot, I/O’s Google Play Music room brought Google Search and Google Play Music together in perfect harmony. On the Play Connections Wall, you could explore connections between different artists, albums, and songs, powered by the Knowledge Graph. Nearby, a display with 3,000+ earphone jacks let you listen to songs from Google Play Music’s many different playlists, complete with LED lights that matched the mood of each song. The audio cables powering the display added up to 18,000 feet (3.4 miles)—almost as tall as Mount Kilimanjaro.
7. Android Pay is powering commutes in the U.K. and ATMs in the U.S.
Last week we announced the first countries outside of the U.S. to get Android Pay, starting with the U.K. Londoners will also be able to use Android Pay across the Tube for London network, including on the tube, bus, and rail. That’s 13 million journeys where you can now just tap and pay. In the U.S., Bank of America customers will be able to start using their phones to withdraw money in ATMs across the country starting in June.
8. Your favorite Google apps are coming to Daydream.
As part of our effort to make VR even more accessible and immersive, we’re planning to bring some of your favorite Google apps to Daydream, including Play Movies, Street View, Google Photos, and YouTube. The YouTube VR app will provide an easier, more immersive way to find and experience virtual reality content on YouTube. Look out for it sometime later this year.
9. Android apps are coming to a Chromebook near you.
Chromebooks are now the #2 most popular PC operating system in the U.S., and soon you’ll be able to do even more with them. We’re bringing the Google Play Store to Chromebooks, so you can download and use all your favorite Android apps, right on your Chromebook.
10. It was full of festival fun.
Bringing I/O to Shoreline Amphitheatre meant a conference with a festival feel. Interactive experiments let people from around the world send paper planes and splashes of virtual paint zooming onto the keynote stage. That night, Charli XCX and Kygo performed for a crowd lit up with glow sticks. And at After Hours, acrobats mingled alongside a karaoke rickshaw, DJs spun from the tops of art cars, and domes that held tech talks during the day were converted into underwater discos and a planetarium.
For more from #io16, check out this photo album from the event or take a tour of the sandbox in 360 degrees:
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, Google Blogs <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in google.com/about site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mX0dxJxp8dg/Vo8MSdxypWI/AAAAAAAARsI/EjaFhvgAEgc/s1600/Beutler_Google_Giftwrap_-v2TW.png Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>
Category: Google | May 18, 2016
This morning in our Mountain View, CA backyard, we kicked off Google I/O, our annual developer conference. Much has changed since our first developer event 10 years ago, and even more since Google started 17 years ago. Back then, there were 300 million people online, connecting through desktop machines; today that number is over 3 billion, with the majority using mobile devices as their primary way to get information, organize their day, get from point A to point B, and stay in touch. In a world in which the mobile phone has become the remote control for our daily lives, Google’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is truer and more important than ever before.
The Google assistant
When we think of the Google search experience today—a rich panel of information on [Zika virus], or an alert telling you your flight is delayed—it’s striking to see how far things have come from the early days of 10 blue links. Many of these advances have been thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence—specifically, areas like natural language processing, voice recognition and translation—and they have helped us build an increasingly useful and assistive experience for users. They are the ingredients that make Google speech recognition the most accurate in the world, and that let you take a picture of a sign in Chinese and see it translated into English.
Progress in all of these areas is accelerating, and we believe we are at a seminal moment. People are increasingly interacting naturally with Google, and aren’t just looking for the world’s information but actually expecting Google to help them with their daily tasks.
Which is why we’re pleased to introduce…the Google assistant.
The assistant is conversational—an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done. It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater. It’s a Google for you, by you.
The assistant is an ambient experience that will work seamlessly across devices and contexts. So you can summon Google’s help no matter where you are or what the context. It builds on all our years of investment in deeply understanding users’ questions.
Today we gave a preview of two new products where you’ll soon be able to draw on the Google assistant.
Google Home is a voice-activated product that brings the Google assistant to any room in your house. It lets you enjoy entertainment, manage everyday tasks, and get answers from Google—all using conversational speech. With a simple voice command, you can ask Google Home to play a song, set a timer for the oven, check your flight, or turn on your lights. It’s designed to fit your home with customizable bases in different colors and materials. Google Home will be released later this year.
Allo and Duo
Allo is a new messaging app that also comes complete with the Google assistant, so you can interact with it directly in your chats, either one-on-one or with friends. Because the assistant understands your world, you can ask for things like your agenda for the day or photos from your last trip. If you’re planning a dinner with friends, you can ask the assistant to suggest restaurants nearby, all in one thread.
Allo includes Smart Reply, which suggests responses to messages based on context, and comes with fun ways to make your chats more expressive, including emojis, stickers, and the ability to get creative with photos. There’s also an Incognito mode that provides end-to-end encryption, discreet notifications, and message expiration.
In addition to Allo, we’re introducing Duo, a companion app for one-to-one video calling. With Duo, our goal is to make video calling faster and more reliable, even on slower network speeds. We also introduced a feature called Knock Knock, which gives you a live video of the other caller before you answer.
Best of all, both Allo and Duo are based on your phone number, so you can communicate with anyone regardless of whether they’re on Android or iOS. Both apps will be available this summer. Read more here.
Android N, Wear, VR, and Instant Apps
Today we shared details about what’s coming in Android N, including better performance for graphics and effects, reduced battery consumption and storage, background downloads of system updates, and streamlined notifications so you can power through them faster, and updated emojis including 72 new ones. And we want your help coming up with a name for N that can be a sweet successor to Marshmallow. Read more and help us #NameAndroidN at Android.com/N.
On top of Android N, we’ve built a new platform for high quality mobile VR called Daydream. Together with Android manufacturers, we’re working on upcoming phones, and sharing designs with them for a VR viewer and controller that will be really immersive, comfortable and intuitive to use. Your favorite apps and games will be coming to Daydream too, including Google’s—like YouTube, Street View, Play Movies, Google Photos and the Play Store. More to come this fall.
We also previewed Android Wear 2.0, including a revamped user experience and standalone apps that run right on the watch, no matter where your phone is or even if it’s off.
Finally, we’re introducing Android Instant Apps—which let you run Android apps instantly, without requiring installation.
Today we launched a big expansion of Firebase, our most comprehensive developer offering to date. Going beyond a mobile backend, the platform helps developers quickly build high-quality apps, grow their user base, and earn more money across iOS, Android and the mobile web.
Tackling global challenges with smarter tools
Machine learning and AI are changing not only computing, but also the way in which we tackle problems we’ve never been able to solve before. The opportunities are even greater when we harness the powers of open-source tools to make them available to the broader developer and researcher community. Imagine what we could do if we work together and use these technologies to tackle challenges in climate change, health care or education. As our machine learning and AI capabilities get smarter and more versatile, these possibilities are starting to appear on the horizon. These are very exciting times indeed.
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Category: Google | May 18, 2016
Whether it’s welcoming a new baby, celebrating the winning shot in overtime, or discovering the best taco stand ever—we all want to share these moments with friends and family the instant they happen. Most of the time, this means picking up our phones and sending a message or starting a call. Today we’re sharing a preview of two new apps that take a fresh look at how people connect.
Allo, a smart messaging app
Allo is a smart messaging app that makes your conversations easier and more expressive. It’s based on your phone number, so you can get in touch with anyone in your phonebook. And with deeply integrated machine learning, Allo has smart features to keep your conversations flowing and help you get things done.
Emojis, stickers, Ink, and our Whisper Shout feature in Allo
Allo has Smart Reply built in (similar to Inbox), so you can respond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply learns over time and will show suggestions that are in your style. For example, it will learn whether you’re more of a “haha” vs. “lol” kind of person. The more you use Allo the more “you” the suggestions will become. Smart Reply also works with photos, providing intelligent suggestions related to the content of the photo. If your friend sends you a photo of tacos, for example, you may see Smart Reply suggestions like “yummy” or “I love tacos.”
Smart Reply suggestions in Allo
Allo also features the Google assistant, bringing the richness of Google directly into your chats—helping you find information, get things done, and have fun. You can chat one-on-one with the assistant, or call on Google in a group chat with friends. Either way, you no longer have to jump between apps to do things like book a dinner reservation with friends, get up-to-date sports scores, settle a bet, or play a game. The assistant in Allo lets you bring things like Search, Maps, YouTube and Translate to all your conversations, so that you and your friends can use Google together.
The Google assistant in Allo understands your world, so you can ask for things like your agenda for the day, details of your flight and hotel, or photos from your last trip. And since it understands natural language patterns, you can just chat like yourself and it’ll understand what you’re saying. For example, “Is my flight delayed?” will return information about your flight status.
Google assistant in Allo
Privacy and security are important in messaging, so following in the footsteps of Chrome, we created Incognito mode in Allo. Chats in Incognito mode will have end-to-end encryption and discreet notifications, and we’ll continue to add new features to this mode.
Duo, a video calling app for everyone
Duo is a simple, fast one-to-one video calling app for everyone—whether you’re on Android or iOS, a fast or slow connection, in New York or New Delhi. Like Allo, Duo is based on your phone number, allowing you to reach anyone in your phonebook. And its simple interface fades away when you’re in a call, so it’s just the two of you.
Video call in Duo
One of our favorite features of Duo is Knock Knock, which shows you a live video preview of the caller before you pick up. Knock Knock invites you into the moment, making calls feel spontaneous and fun. Once you answer, Duo seamlessly transitions you right into the call.
Duo calls are in crisp HD video (up to 720p) and audio. We’ve optimized Duo to work well even on spotty networks, so if bandwidth is limited it gracefully adjusts quality so you’re still able to connect. We also seamlessly transition calls between cellular and Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to worry about what network you’re on. Finally, we built Duo with privacy and security in mind and all calls on Duo are end-to-end encrypted.
Both Allo and Duo will be available this summer on Android and iOS. We can’t wait for you to try them.
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