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Empowering changemakers with Daydream Impact

Category: Google | Nov 29, 2017

It’s one thing to read a news report about polar ice caps melting, but it’s another to hear the wind whipping against a towering glacier as you watch huge chunks of ice break off and tumble into the water below. With VR video, it’s possible to experience things that are rare or places that are far away or even impossible to get to. And short of actually being there, there’s no better way to understand the great challenges and opportunities of our world. Virtual reality can help people learn more and feel a part of important but distant problems.

Awareness is the first step toward driving social change, but organizations and changemakers often lack the resources or knowledge to use VR to shine a light on the causes they care about. That’s why we’re launching Daydream Impact to help organizations, creators, and changemakers make their programs even more powerful using virtual reality.

Daydream Impact focuses on three common bottlenecks we have identified: a lack of training on how to create VR video, difficulties accessing camera equipment and tools to showcase their content, and little exposure to how VR has been used creatively to tackle big challenges.

To help provide changemakers with training, we’ve created a VR filmmaking course on Coursera, which anyone can take. The course begins by outlining basic hardware requirements and pre-production checklists, and it shares tips for getting the best VR footage including best practices from other creators. The training also covers all the post-production work required to create the video and concludes with guidance on how to publish and promote the video.

Second, we’re launching a loaner program to give qualified projects access to equipment to capture and showcase VR pieces—this means a Jump Camera, an Expeditions kit, Google Daydream View and a Daydream-ready phone. Similar to our Jump Start program for creators, organization leaders will be able to apply for the program. Successful applicants will have six months to capture and refine their work and showcase it to their stakeholders.

  • VR Action Lab
    VR Action Lab – Daydream Impact project
  • Eastern Congo Initiative Coffee COOP
    Eastern Congo Initiative – Daydream Impact project
  • Springbok Cares
    Springbok Cares – Daydream Impact project
  • Rising Seas – Today and Tomorrow
    Rising Seas – Today & Tomorrow – Daydream Impact project

We’ve been working with several organizations to help shape and refine this program, and they’ve already created VR content and programs that’s helping them advocate for their causes:

  • Harmony Labs partnered with media makers, researchers, and other experts to create three VR anti-bullying pieces and pilot these experiences in schools, ultimately creating a toolkit to highlight learnings about using VR for social impact.

  • Springbok Cares worked with Daydream Impact to study how VR can reduce anxiety for cancer patients during treatment, and how to integrate large-scale VR programs into hospital environments. At the same time, they also launched a program to provide virtual reality entertainment to hospital patients and staff.

  • Eastern Congo Initiative partnered with Daydream Impact to create a VR film and Expeditions that explore the struggles in the Congo and the resilience of its people. Through these platforms, ECI offers policymakers, donors and students an immersive experience and an emotional connection to the cause. By doing so, ECI believes that these partnerships, education efforts and advocacy will inform and inspire change for the Congolese people.

  • The Rising Seas project and oceanographer Juliette Finzi Hart are leveraging 360 videos, depth maps and VR simulations to let people experience their future coastlines now, believing that allowing people to see the future they want to be will inspire them to take action—today.

We’ll share more on upcoming projects and case studies in 2018 with World Wildlife Fund & Condition One, UNAIDS, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Protect our Winters, and Novo Media.

It’s our hope that Daydream Impact will help organizations tell their stories more effectively, or even change the way they operate, using VR. In a world full of information, virtual reality can help advocates inspire, connect, and bring change.


Tackling the "homework gap" with the National AfterSchool Association

Category: Google | Nov 29, 2017

Editor’s note: We’re providing a $500,000 grant to support the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) as a part of our ongoing commitment to help underserved communities deliver on the promise of educational technology. In this post, Gina Warner, president and CEO of the National AfterSchool Association, describes how we’re helping students access the technology they need to learn and grow beyond classroom walls.

Learning doesn’t stop after the school bell rings. Students actually spend 80 percent of their time outside of a classroom, where they develop essential skills by trying out new hobbies, forming important relationships and completing their schoolwork. But there’s a big issue here: While a majority of teachers increasingly assign homework that requires the internet, millions of students—primarily those from low-income and rural communities—don’t have access at home. This is known as “the homework gap” and it’s causing too many students to fall behind.

We believe that afterschool programs can play a big role in closing this gap, but they often need more support and guidance in order to do so. That’s why we’re so thrilled that Google is stepping up to provide this grant to support the 4 million students our members serve.


The National AfterSchool Association works with the Connecticut AfterSchool Network to support organizations like DOMUS Kids in Stamford, CT, that help young people learn and challenge themselves socially, emotionally, and academically.

For 30 years, the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has supported more than 520,000 people who are there for students during out-of-school hours: the professionals who keep kids engaged, help them do their homework, and make sure they’re safe and supported. Through a new $500,000 grant from Google, we’ll help to make sure that afterschool professionals and their students have access to the technology they need. We’re proud to build on the work of Google’s Dynamic Learning Project and Grow with Google to provide educators—including those outside of traditional classroom settings—with the skills, trainings and resources they need to help tackle the homework gap.

With Google’s support, we’ve started by commissioning a research review to learn more about how afterschool programs can help close the homework gap. Our initial report, “Empowering Afterschool Professionals for Digital Learning,” found that afterschool programs have the capacity to offer deeper digital learning opportunities. But to fully help young people access and best use technology, our afterschool professionals need guidance, skills and knowledge. Over the upcoming months, with volunteer support from Googlers, we’ll create a toolkit and hands-on trainings for afterschool professionals looking to provide students with access to technology outside of classroom hours. As these are available, these resources will be shared on our NAA site and will be made freely available to the public.

With better support from afterschool professionals, we can’t wait to see how our students will develop into digital citizens ready to tackle whatever the future brings.


A look inside 2017 Europe Code Week

Category: Google | Nov 29, 2017

Last month, we announced our support of Europe Code Week 2017, an initiative from the European Commission to encourage programming by showing educators, families and young people how to bring ideas to life with code, demystifying these skills and bringing motivated people together to learn. We provided sponsorships to 60 organizations in 33 countries that take creative, interactive and inspiring approaches to get students excited about computer science. And we’re excited that in total, 56,000 students had the chance to gain more exposure to CS as part of these efforts. Here’s a look at a few of the organizations we supported, and the events they held this month:

  • Europe_CodeWeek_1.jpg
    The “Rising Technologists Coding Roadshow” by Stichting NewTechKids introduced CS concepts to 200 students in four primary schools in Amsterdam Southeast, a predominantly low-income and minority community.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_2.jpg
    In Italy, awardee Associazione DSchola Le scuole per le scuole ran a three-hour coding and Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) workshop for 400+ elementary and middle school students.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_3.jpg
    In Turkey, Anabilim Eğitim Kurumları ran “Code Forest,” workshops that use Scratch, Arduino, Google Cardboard and Makey Makey to inspire and inform students and parents about CS.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_4.JPG
    In Spain, IES Penyagolosa organized the first “Raspberry Jam” event in Castellón. Students and their parents attended three workshops: Raspberry Pi programming, mBot programming and 3D design and printing.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_5.JPG
    In Lithuania, Association “Langas į ateitį” organized seven events which introduced 460+ students to coding and trained 19 teachers. As a result, Kurmaičiai primary school initiated after-school IT activities for children and will host a monthly Micro Bit activity with a local robotics school.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_6.JPG
    In Tabasalu Gymnasium, Estonia, 400+ students with no prior experience in programming joined workshops run by more experienced student teachers. Participants expressed they liked this methodology and students who taught enjoyed sharing their own knowledge.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_7.jpg
    In Donegal, Ireland, Saint Eunan’s College hosted a week-long promotion of computer science that reached 650 students.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_8.JPG
    In the Czech Republic, Czechitas opened 14 workshops for beginners in computer science in the Municipal Library of Prague, as well as two classes for schools, reaching 250 students.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_9.png
    A full-day event for girls age 9-15 was run in Sweden by the Luleå University of Technology.
  • Europe_CodeWeek_10.jpg
    In Cyprus, CARDET organized a robotics day for more than 200 students in which students themselves taught how to program to other students.

We’re delighted to have helped these 56,000 students gain more coding experiences in just two weeks, and to collaborate with the European Commission on this successful initiative. See Code Week’s events page to find activities still taking place, and find resources for France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. For all other countries please visit


The British Museum and Google Arts & Culture: Decoding the secrets of the ancient Maya

Category: Google | Nov 29, 2017

In the 19th century, the explorer Alfred Maudslay set out to capture and preserve the stories the Maya of Central America, one of the largest and most successful indigenous cultures in the world, with more than 2000 years of rich and vibrant history. For decades, he travelled through the region carrying tons of equipment on mule trains through the jungle and created the first glass plate photographs and plaster casts of some of the most important ancient Maya art from the region.

More than 100 years later, Google Arts & Culture and the British Museum are picking up where Maudslay left off. Now, visitors from around the world can explore the Maya’s rich heritage online and learn about their achievements in art, architecture, astronomy, mathematics and language.

In a new set of exhibits, you can rotate incredibly detailed 3D models of ancient Maya art, take 360 virtual tours of the ancient sites of Tikal and Quirigua, and dive into numerous multimedia exhibits and 12 magical Street View panoramas of ancient sites and museums across Guatemala. Here are just a few things you can discover about one of the largest indigenous American populations, who their ancestors were, and what we can learn from them today:

  • 3D model of Zoomorph B from Quirigua, Guatemala.gif
    Explore a monstrous Maya sculpture, called a Zoomorph, from the 8th century in 3D from the Maya site of Quirigua, Guatemala. Can you spot the intermingled forms of a jaguar, turtle, snake, and a crocodile?
  • 3D model of Maya Full Figure Glyph from Zoomorph B Cast in Maudslay Collection, British Museum .gif
    Zoom in and explore this intricate Maya glyph in 3D from the Zoomorph, created by 3D scanning the plaster cast created in Guatemala jungle in the 19th century. Today this cast is part of the extensive Maudslay Collection of the British Museum.
  • Photograph from Tikal, 2017.png
    Discover the heart of ancient Maya world in curated 360 tours of Tikal and Quirigua and Street View of many more sites across Guatemala.
  • Image of Contemporary Maya.png
    Writer and BBC presenter Kanishk Tharoor shines a light on the Maya people, past and present
  • Photograph of Tikal taken by A.P. Maudslay.png
  • Quiriguá Stela D in 1881 and 2017 – two photos combined..png
    What happens when you overlay a photo from the 19th century and today of the same Maya sculpture? An eye-catching juxtaposition of Quirigua Stela D
  • The beautiful Fenton Vase from ancient Guatemalan highlands.png
    The decorative Fenton Vase from the ancient Guatemalan highlands
  • Google Expedition of Quirigua, Guatemala for school children.png
    Google Expedition to Quirigua, Guatemala for school children

We’re proud to have partnered together to bring stories of this important civilization online, while digitally preserving them for the future. The British Museum collections can be viewed online with Google Arts & Culture and on our iOS and Android apps.


With Google Maps APIs, Toyota Europe keeps teen drivers safe and sound

Category: Google | Nov 28, 2017

Editor’s note: Today’s post is from Christophe Hardy, Toyota Motor Europe’s Manager of Social Business. He’ll explain how Toyota used Google Maps APIs to build an Android app to keep teen drivers safe.

It’s a milestone that teenagers celebrate and parents fear: getting that first driver’s license. For teens, a license means freedom and a gateway to adulthood. For parents, it means worrying about their kid’s safety, with no way to make sure they’re doing the right thing behind the wheel.

We know that one in five new drivers will get into an accident in their first year, and that speeding and using smartphones are two of the main causes. So as part of Toyota’s efforts to eliminate accidents and fatalities, we worked with Molamil and MapsPeople to build Safe and Sound, an Android app for European teen drivers. It takes a lighthearted but effective approach to help young drivers stay focused on speed limits and the rules of the road, not on their cellphones. And it can be used by anyone, not just Toyota owners.

One way Safe and Sound combats speeding and distracted driving is by using music. Before parents turn over their car keys, parents and teens download and run the app to set it up. The app syncs with Spotify, and uses the Google Maps Roads API to monitor a teen’s driving behavior. If Safe and Sound determines the teen is speeding, it’ll override the teen’s music with a Spotify playlist specifically chosen by the parent—and the teen can’t turn it off. As any parent knows, parents and kids don’t always agree on music. And there’s nothing less cool to a teen than being forced to listen to folk ballads or ‘70s soft rock. (The embarrassment doubles if their friends are in the car.) The parents’ playlist turns off and switches back to the teen’s only when the teen drives at the speed limit.

The app also helps prevent distracted driving. When it detects the car is moving above nine miles an hour, it switches on a “do not disturb” mode that blocks social media notifications, incoming and outgoing texts, and phone calls. If the teen touches the phone, the app will detect that too, and play the parents’ Spotify playlist until the teen removes his or her hand. At the end of the drive, Safe and Sound alerts parents to how many times their teen exceeded the speed limit or touched the phone. Parents can also tap a link in the app that displays the route the teen drove in Google Maps.

Google Maps provided us the ideal platform for building Safe and Sound. It has accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive map data, including road speed limits. The documentation is great, which made using the Google Maps Roads API simple. It also scales to handle millions of users, an important consideration as we roll out the app to more of Europe.

Safe and Sound is currently available in English throughout the continent, with a Spanish version launching soon in Spain, and a Dutch and French version coming to Belgium. And we’re looking to localize Safe and Sound into even more languages.

We hope Safe and Sound helps keep more teens safe, and brings more parents peace of mind. Plus, there’s never been a better use for that playlist of yacht rock classics.


Searching for new ways to give this season

Category: Google | Nov 28, 2017

Search has always been a place to find information about events, news, people, entertainment, music and organizations you want to learn more about. Now you can take your searches one step further by donating directly to organizations you care about using Google Search.

Starting today, when you search for a growing list of U.S.-based nonprofits, you’ll see a new “Donate” option. Tap or click on Donate, and you’ll see an easy donation flow that lets you give to your favorite organization as easily as you can look up its history, phone number, or website.

Search for a nonprofit and donate with a few clicks or taps.

Simply search for a nonprofit like [Direct Relief], and you’ll be able to easily donate with a few clicks or taps.

We’ve seen people’s generosity throughout 2017, especially in times of crisis and need. And earlier this year, we made a commitment to continue to bring the best of our people, products, and philanthropy to make an impact and help create opportunity for everyone. We pledged $1 billion in grants over five years to nonprofits around the world, and 1 million hours that Googlers can volunteer to nonprofits. And we’ll continue to find new ways to support nonprofits through products like Search.   

We’re starting with organizations in the U.S. across causes and locales who have opted in through Google for Nonprofits, and we hope that more opt in moving forward. For those organizations who would like to learn more or be a part of this feature, please visit

By some estimates, nearly 30 percent of all giving happens during the holiday season. This spirit shines in our search trends, too, with many people looking for ways to donate and support nonprofits. We hope this feature makes it easier for nonprofits to reach potential supporters, and for you to donate to important causes, this holiday season and beyond.


Stay on top of finance information on Google

Category: Google | Nov 28, 2017

Global Search interest in finance and stocks has more than doubled in the last five years. That’s why we’re introducing an expanded finance experience directly inside Google Search on desktop and the mobile web.

Now under a new search navigation tab called “Finance,” you’ll have easier access to finance information based on your interests, keeping you in the know about the latest market news and helping you get in-depth insights about companies. On this page, you can see performance information about stocks you’ve chosen to follow, recommendations on other stocks to follow based on your interests, related news, market indices, and currencies.

You can find this new experience by clicking “more” after conducting a search on Google for finance-related information or “Market summary” in the finance section of Search. For those who visit, you’ll see this new experience as well.


As part of this revamped experience, we’re retiring a few features of the original Google Finance, including the portfolio, the ability to download your portfolio, and historical tables. However, a list of the stocks from your portfolio will be accessible through Your Stocks in the search result, and you can get notifications when there are any notable changes on their performance.

We hope to continue to improve this experience in the future. For now, we’d love to hear your feedback—just click the “Send feedback” link at the bottom of the page to let us know what you think.


Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Category: Google | Nov 27, 2017

Shekoli (hello)! My Oneida name is Yakohahi, my English name is Olivia, and I am a proud member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, one of the six tribal nations that make up the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. In Indigenous communities, we often introduce ourselves in this manner, in both English and our traditional tribal languages, to share our connection to people or places. It’s a way to honor, celebrate, and translate our cultures into our daily lives. As a Googler, I’ve been fortunate to find another community to add to my introduction, as a member of the Google American Indian Network, GAIN.

This Native American Heritage Month, I’m excited to share some of our efforts to bring diverse perspectives to our products, so that technology can serve our Native communities.

This month, we worked with the Indian Community School of Milwaukee to show how easy it is to start a computer science program, take learning beyond the walls of the classroom using Expeditions, and share some online safety tips with students.

Outside the classroom, we’re extending our knowledge panel functionality to surface information about tribes in relevant search results. We also put together a set of YouTube playlists with user-based content on Native foods and endangered languages, and in Google Earth’s storytelling platform Voyager, we shared a Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, celebrating tribal government success.

knowledge panels.png

Earlier this year, Google Doodles honored Richard Oakes (Mohawk) for his contributions in social justice and education, as well as Susan LaFlesche Picotte (Omaha) for her influence on public health and social reform. New updates to Google Earth and Maps allow you to see and search for Indigenous lands in North and South America. We also continue to collaborate with tribal language communities to create web-based virtual keyboards for their languages. With Google Input Tools, people can now text, email, and search in mobile apps, or create content for websites or blogs in their Native language, helping tribes to preserve their languages online.


As Native American Heritage Month wraps up, we will continue to engage with native communities and provide tools to help everyone tell their stories.

Yaw^ko (thank you)!


More realtime data on Google Trends

Category: Google | Nov 27, 2017

Google Trends can be window into the world, giving us a peek into what people are searching for—whether it’s elections, music, sports or games. Now you can see the world in realtime through more lenses: News, Shopping, Images and YouTube. We’re opening up more data to show what people in the world are looking for, as they’re looking for it—whether it’s just out of curiosity, to write a story or something else.

And it’s really easy to do: say you’re curious about search interest in Taylor Swift following the recent release of her latest album. You now have the option to explore that data in different ways, like finding the related videos that people are searching for on YouTube.

How it works

First, type your search at the top of the Trends screen, in this box:


As you can see, the topic of “American singer-songwriter” comes up—that’s the one you want to click on, otherwise it will only look for searches for the words “Taylor” and “Swift.”

That takes you to a page like this, which shows search interest in Taylor, worldwide. You can then change the time range to within the last seven days and the geography to the United States. That’s now showing search interest in the U.S. for the past week, and looks like this.


But that’s just web search. Click on the button on the right and more options appear:


We search in different ways on different platforms. So, when you look at the search on YouTube, you can see the spike in searches for video of Taylor’s performance on “The Tonight Show.”


But switch it to Google Images and you can see a 700 percent spike in searches for “Saturday Night Live,” after her performance on the show.


You can also use the tool to see where interest is strongest (in this case, Utah and Nebraska are top states for YouTube searches):


Explore the Google Trends site and see more of how the world searches for Taylor, her music or anything that you’re interested in. And you can read more about how Trends data works here.


MedXM keeps patients healthy, with help from G Suite and Chrome

Category: Google | Nov 27, 2017

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Sy Zahedi, CEO of MedXM, which works with health plan providers to offer preventive care and health education to patients. MedXM is using G Suite and Chrome to operate more efficiently and help outreach agents and clinicians improve care for patients.

Every day, 5,000 MedXM healthcare workers visit patients in their homes or in nearby clinics. Our clinicians and health aides make sure patients are taking medications, following doctor instructions and making progress in managing chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. We believe that focusing on things like prevention, education and early detection will keep our patients healthy, and detect or deter illnesses before they become critical or require hospital stays.

Meeting with patients face to face is our strategy for keeping people healthy.  That’s why we rely on technology to remain connected with our patients.  Our outreach center agents need to be able to field calls from patients with questions or emergencies. Other employees communicate with health insurers about our wellness programs or to obtain documentation on patient progress. To meet our mission of delivering great person-to-person care, we chose G Suite, Chromebooks, and Chrome browser.

Switching to faster, more secure applications.

Before Google, we relied on laptops equipped with Microsoft Office. Healthcare workers and remote employees had to use VPNs to log in to our network. The process was slow and not user friendly. Plus, we plan to hire more remote workers in the future, so we needed easy and secure tools that allowed workers to share and update documents no matter where they were.

Once we determined that G Suite could allow employees to securely communicate with each other and with healthcare providers, we rolled out Gmail first, then moved on to Google Drive, Google Docs and Google Hangouts. We also deployed Chrome browser across all worker computers. Switching employees and outreach center agents to G Suite took very little time—many of our employees already used tools like Gmail and Google Docs at home. And once our IT team showed employees how multiple people could work on a Google Sheets spreadsheet at the same time, they never wanted to use anything but Google Sheets from then on.

Decreased costs. Increased productivity.

Since we began using G Suite and Chrome, productivity increased significantly, while software costs decreased by 40 percent. Since staff can share information with clinicians using Google Drive, employees no longer waste time with complicated VPNs when they need to upload work orders to healthcare providers. Plus, they can complete routine tasks faster, such as filling out vacation requests in Google Forms instead of passing around sheets of paper.

Switching to Google also reduced the workload for the MedXM IT team, which used to spend about 25 percent of its time supporting legacy desktop applications. Today, they need to provide very little support for G Suite so they can spend more time on creative projects, like using Google Apps Script to create custom dashboards for staff.

After adding up all of the benefits of using G Suite and Chrome, we’re taking the next step: replacing our outreach center and clinician computers with Chromebooks.

Because Google makes us more efficient, employees have more time to spend caring for patients. With more time tending to patients’ needs, we can fulfill our company mission: preventative healthcare, education and early detection. Now that’s good medicine.