Meet a teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get onlineMeet a teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get online

Schools in Latin America and around the world are searching for ways to take student impact beyond the classroom. In Mexico, we wanted to explore how teachers and students are using technology to empower a rising generation of innovative changemakers—and this week, we’re sharing some of the stories we found. Tune into the hashtag #innovarparami to see how education leaders in Latin America are thinking about innovation.

Miroslava Silva is a teacher, social scientist and activist who has dedicated much of her career to studying the digital literacy gap and its ramifications. Across cultures, women often lack access to technology and digital education—and in Miroslava’s native Mexico, communities of indigenous women are the most affected by the digital literacy gap. Determined to change this, she founded a technology class specifically for Otomí women at the University of Querétaro.

The teacher helping indigenous women in Mexico get online #innovarparami

Since the class’s inception two years ago, Miroslava’s students have engaged in activities that range from learning to search for information, to building slide decks and documents, to designing personal websites. Miroslava’s only rule? All content must be relevant and useful in her students’ unique contexts and lives. To this end, she enlists her students to help craft their own curricula, and the class looks different for every student as a result. Some of her students are working on launching sites for their businesses. Others are conducting individual research projects on topics that interest them. And some even co-founded a movement to digitize and preserve the indigenous language Otomí.

Angélica Ruiz, who has taken Miroslava’s digital literacy class for two years, had never used a computer before enrolling. Now, she has launched and manages her own website to promote her handmade doll business, connect other women to education technology resources, and foment interest in the Otomí language. Recently, she built an online campaign to raise awareness about violence against women.

Pursuing a digital education has been no small feat for Angélica. A mother of five, she travels two hours from her home to the University of Querétaro each week, but says that the sheer empowerment she feels makes her efforts worth it. Indeed, the ability to design websites and to use the internet for social activism is the tip of the iceberg when Angélica thinks about what she gets out of the class. What she values most is being able to serve as a role model for other women striving to overcome institutional barriers and access education. Dozens of Otomí women have begun to pursue the digital literacy classes, following her lead.

I want every other woman to know that if I can do it, so can you. If somebody’s cut your wings off, put them back on so they can keep growing. Angélica Miroslava’s student

For Miroslava and her student Angélica, innovation means breaking down barriers and forging the path for others to do the same. We’d love to hear what innovation means to you—tell us with the hashtag #innovarparami.

Miroslava Silva founded a technology class specifically for Otomí women at the University of Querétaro in Mexico.

Daydream brings you inside Vogue Supermodel ClosetsDaydream brings you inside Vogue Supermodel ClosetsDirector, VR Video

Everyone has items of clothing that hold sentimental value. For Kendall Jenner, it could be that pair of boots that Kanye got for her or the matching snuggies that the Jenner/Kardashian clan wore on Christmas morning. Supermodels, they’re just like us! (Minus the boots gifted by Kanye part).

In partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment and Vogue, we created a VR series to give you a peek into the closets of models and hear about the stories (and sentimental value) behind their favorite articles of clothing. “Supermodel Closets” was created to celebrate Vogue’s 125th anniversary and their upcoming September issue. In the first of five episodes, you’ll hear from Kendall Jenner and see the Christmas snuggies for yourself.

This is one of the first productions to use YI HALO cameras, which are the next generation of Jump cameras for high quality, professional VR capture. You can look around (and even up!) thanks to the up camera and immersive 4k stereoscopic capture. Julina Tatlock, executive producer for 30 Ninjas, was able to easily use Jump even in tight spaces in each closet. Combined with unique graphics and post-production elements, this brings you even closer to the clothes.

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If you’ve got Cardboard or Daydream View at home, check out the first episode of Supermodel Closet Secrets on Vogue’s YouTube channel, with more episodes available in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more Daydream and Jump productions coming this fall.

In partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment and Vogue, we created a VR series to give you a peek into the closets of models and hear about the stories (and sentimental value) behind their favorite articles of clothing.

Type less, talk moreType less, talk moreTechnical Program Manager, Speech

Using your voice to dictate a message can be up to three times faster than typing. With this in mind, today we’re bringing voice typing (aka talking to your phone instead of typing) to 30 languages and locales around the world, covering more than a billion people. With this update, Google’s speech recognition supports 119 language varieties, in Gboard on Android, Voice Search and more. And now in the U.S. in English, you can use use voice dictation to express yourself with emoji.

Bringing voice input to more global users

To honor languages around the world, speech recognition will support ancient languages such as Georgian, which has an alphabet that dates back to the 10th century. We’re also adding Swahili and Amharic, two of Africa’s largest languages, as well as many Indian languages on our quest to make the internet more inclusive.

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For your reference, here’s the full list of newly supported languages and locales:

  • Amharic (Ethiopia)
  • Armenian (Armenia)
  • Azerbaijani (Azerbaijani)
  • Bengali (Bangladesh, India)
  • English (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania)
  • Georgian (Georgia)
  • Gujarati (India)
  • Javanese (Indonesia)
  • Kannada (India)
  • Khmer (Cambodian)
  • Lao (Laos)
  • Latvian (Latvia)
  • Malayalam (India)
  • Marathi (India)
  • Nepali (Nepal)
  • Sinhala (Sri Lanka)
  • Sundanese (Indonesia)
  • Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya)
  • Tamil (India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia)
  • Telugu (India)
  • Urdu (Pakistan, India)

To incorporate 30 new language varieties, we worked with native speakers to collect speech samples, asking them to read common phrases. This process trained our machine learning models to understand the sounds and words of the new languages and to improve their accuracy when exposed to more examples over time.

These new languages are also available starting today in Cloud Speech API and will soon be available across other Google apps and products, including the Translate app. To enable Voice Typing in your keyboard, install Gboard from the Play Store and pick your language (press the G in the suggestion strip and select the Settings wheel). Then just tap the microphone to start speaking. To enable Voice Search, open the Google app and pick your language in the Voice settings menu (tap the top-left menu and go to Settings, then pick Voice and select your language).

Speak your emoji

In addition to drawing or searching for your favorite emoji, in English in the U.S. you can now say something like “winky face emoji” to express yourself  😉. Or even “Colbert emoji” to your friends when the occasion calls. We will be bringing this to more languages soon!

We’re bringing voice typing (aka talking to your phone instead of typing) to 30 languages and locales around the world, covering more than a billion people.

Helping 4-H equip students with skills they’ll need for the futureHelping 4-H equip students with skills they’ll need for the futureVP Google & President, Google.org

The world is changing rapidly, creating new opportunities and careers we can’t yet predict. But even with a lot of unknowns, skills like collaboration, problem solving and technical know-how can be the tools students need to adapt and thrive, no matter what the future holds.

Today, at the Illinois State Fair, where hundreds of 4-H youth are exhibiting projects, we announced our support of 4-H with a $1.5 million Google.org grant to provide students around the country the opportunity to grow future skills through computer science programming like CS First and virtual field trips via Expeditions. 4-H is the United States’ largest youth development organization, with more than 6 million students participating. By supporting this work, we’re excited to see how more kids across the country use technology to achieve their goals and improve their communities.

While there are thousands of 4-H’ers at any state fair this summer, you can find hundreds of 4-H alums within Google—and I had the opportunity to chat with one. Julie Eddleman grew up in Indianapolis, spent 10 years in 4-H, and is now a Senior Director at Google working with some of our largest corporate partners. I talked with Julie about her experience in 4-H and how the skills she learned there continue to help her at Google.  

Jacquelline Fuller: How were you personally involved in 4-H and what did that look like?

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Julie at the Illinois State Fair Demonstration competition in 1981 showing judges how to build a terrarium

Julie Eddleman: I started going to 4-H meetings as early as two years old, tagging along with my older sisters. Through 10 years of hands-on projects, we learned anything you can imagine, from rocketry to water conservation. I was a very curious child and couldn’t choose just one subject! When I think back to why I stayed in 4-H so long, I think it was because of the variety of the education styles—there was reading, workshops, hands-on projects, team events and, of course, the competitions filled with ribbons and trophies.

JF: Can you tell us what skills you developed during your time in 4-H and how they’re still helping you in this chapter of your life?

JE: Where do I even start? I think I’d have to point to the skills I didn’t even realize I was learning like leadership, public speaking and problem-solving. When I’m talking to students visiting Google’s campus, my team at work, or even just my kids at home, I always talk about about developing these skills, and remember 4-H as being the first place I practiced them. 4-H even taught me how to write a check, pay our 4-H Club’s bills and balance a checkbook at the age of 11!

JF: Let’s talk more about the technical skills you learned; you mentioned rocketry and computer classes. Why do you think these are important skills for students?

JE: Coding and basic technology skills are a must for the next generation. I have five children, ages 11-31, and they all use technology every day—from video games to social media to coding puzzles. The combination of understanding tech, and working with diverse people has helped me find different ways to approach or solve a problem. These skills are critically important in any career, from agriculture to computer programming to fashion design.

Looking ahead

It’s hard to imagine that there are 6 million students around the U.S. with stories similar to Julie. And regardless of where they come from, 97 percent (across urban, suburban, rural, small city communities) think computer science can be used in many kinds of jobs—from agricultural science to fashion to engineers. We’re excited to support 4-H to help make sure that students across the country have more opportunities to build their technical skills, confidence and leadership.

We’re supporting 4-H to lay the groundwork for more than 6 million students across the country to learn skills they’ll need to be prepared for their future.

#teampixel becomes one with nature#teampixel becomes one with natureTeam Pixel

Looking for a breath of fresh air? You came to the right place. This week #teampixel is becoming one with nature and capturing everything from surreal sunrises to the scenic views outside their tents. Check out another round of stellar contributions, pitch a tent and celebrate the final weeks of summer with us.

Grab the bug spray and explore the world’s wide open spaces with #teampixel.

“A whole new world” of ideas at the Technovation Challenge“A whole new world” of ideas at the Technovation ChallengeVice President

“Programming opens new horizons. It gives me full space to [create things] I couldn’t even imagine.” These are the words of Diana Zhanakbayeva, a young woman from Kazakhstan who, along with three classmates, just took home the top prize at an international coding challenge.

Great ideas can come from anywhere and from anyone. That’s what’s behind the 2017 Technovation Challenge,  run by nonprofit Iridescent, announced last fall in partnership with Google’s Made with Code and UN Women to offer young women from around the world the chance to code an app that solves a real-world challenge. More than 11,000 girls from 103 countries formed teams to address issues in those categories: peace, poverty, environment, equality, education, and health. This week, the finalists traveled to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View to pitch their ideas to a panel of tech leaders and other experts. And tonight, in front of 900+ supporters, educators, mentors and past participants, the four girls behind a safety app called QamCare were crowned the winner of the Senior Division.

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The 2017 Technovation Challenge Senior Division Finalists

To girls around the world who participated in the Challenge, or who are considering a career in computer science, or any field: we believe you should be encouraged and empowered to become the coders, entrepreneurs and inventors that shape the world around you. We will never stop working to create an industry and environment in which women feel welcome and can thrive.

Meet the girls behind QamCare, and the other finalist teams:

QamCare (Peace)

Aruzhan Koshkarova, Azhar Sultansikh, Dianna Zhanakbayeva, Diyara Beisenbekova

“QamCare” comes from the Kazakh word-Qamqor, which stands for care and support. The team behind this winning app describes it as a “potential life-saving tool,” which can be used in case of emergency to provide your location information to your contacts. With the press of a button, you can alert trusted friends and family via SMS. Azhar Sultansikh says the app is designed to give people “peace of mind.”

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai takes a selfie with members of the winning team behind QamCare

QamCare’s creators describe a number of other hobbies and interests beyond CS: Diana Zhanakbayeva has dabbled in fashion and creating YouTube videos; Aruzhan Koshkarova says she used the cognitive skills learned from playing chess to work in programming; Azhar’s first loyalty is to art; and Diyara Beisenbekova is interested in medicine and chemistry. But all share a motivation to keep learning—and making a difference. Aruzhan says that the team was inspired to participate in the Challenge to “make change in [her] community” and for “women’s empowerment”—hoping to blaze the trail for more young Kazakh women to participate in science and tech.

One Step Ahead (Education)

Aghavni Hakobyan, Sona Avetisyan, Svetlana Davtyan, Violeta Mkrtchyan, Vardanush Nazaretyan

When a deaf classmate visited their school, this team of five girls from Karbi, Armenia, came up with the idea for an app to help people learn Armenian Sign Language using videos of sign gestures. The One Step Ahead team demonstrates how experiences like Technovation can inspire young people to pursue a wide variety of career paths. While Aghavni Hakobyan, 17, says that the program inspired her to want to become a programmer, her teammate Sona Avetisyan, 16,  wants to become a doctor to “help with hearing loss problems and help people communicate.”

PregCare (Health)

Aamanat Kang, Anoushka Bhalla, Mehak Joshi, Priyaja Bakshi, Vanshika Baijal

The PregCare team, in India, created an app that provides pregnant women, especially those in rural areas, with healthcare information, even offering alerts for appointments; it also connects women with donors and other organizations. Aamanat Kang says of the challenge, “The interesting part of technology is its ability to change and evolve in the blink of an eye. What keeps me hooked on to computers is that we do not know what to expect in the world of technology tomorrow or 10 years from now.“

Go WaCo (Environment)

Aida Khamiyeva Ardakkyzy, Arlana Yessenbayeva, Askar Zhibek Askarkyzy, Diana Zhanakbayeva

In Almaty, Kazakhstan, a city of more than 1.5 million people, only 2 percent of waste is recycled, with the remaining 98 percent going to landfills. The four girls behind Go WaCo (short for “Go, Waste Conscious”) wanted to come up with a way to encourage people to recycle, so they created an app that challenges students from different schools to participate in recycling competitions and compete for rewards. Arlana Yessenbayeva, 16, says of the project: “Go WaCo is my first big step in changing this world for the better. In the future I want to connect people, inspire them to invent, share, and solve the world’s problems.”

iCut (Equality)

Ivy Akinyi, Macrine Akinyi, Purity Achieng, Stacy Dina Owino, Cynthia Awuor

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has been banned in Kenya since 2011, but in many areas of the country it continues to be practiced. The iCut app is designed to provide a platform for people to report cases of FGM, as well as for victims to seek help. Several of the girls behind iCut described how coding helped them discover new kinds of potential: Stacy Dina, 17, says “When my mentor … introduced programming to us, I was elated. [I] felt empowered.“ Synthia Awuor, 17, adds: “Joining [Technovation] opened my eyes to a whole new world.”  

Wishcraft (Poverty)

Jigisha Kamal, Krithika Sunil, Rida Shafeek

Our second team from India designed an Android app that lets donors fulfill “wishes” for underserved children. Nonprofits or charitable trusts who work on children’s issues can upload three wishes for each child, which donors can select from to provide the amount quoted for each gift. The idea is to “bring a little joy into [children’s] everyday lives through donations in the form of gifts,” as Jigisha Kamal puts it. Rida Shafeek, 17, says of their app, “It was a chance to make a change… to provide opportunities to underprivileged kids to embrace every bit of their childhood and to provide a door to a better future.”

The projects we saw this week demonstrate that code is a potent tool to create change—and show that there is a generation of young people eager to wield it. We’re inspired by the energy and enthusiasm we saw at the Technovation Challenge—and excited to continue to help more future leaders make a difference through technology.

More than 11,000 girls entered the 2017 Technovation Challenge, which asks young women to code an app that solves a real-world challenge.

It all started with a party: the story behind today’s Hip Hop DoodleIt all started with a party: the story behind today’s Hip Hop DoodleDoodler and non-traditional media enthusiast

On August 11, 1973, there was a party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx—and four decades later, we’re still talking about it. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 44th anniversary of that party, which is widely credited as the birth of the Hip Hop movement.

To learn more about the Doodle and the movement that inspired it, the Keyword team chatted with three of the Googlers behind the Doodle—Kevin Burke, Ryan Germick and Perla Campos. We also talked with two legendary hip hop pioneers who served as close partners in the project: Fab 5 Freddy, former host of “Yo! MTV Raps” and narrator of the Doodle, and Cey Adams, visual artist and founding creative director of Def Jam records, who designed the Doodle logo image that you see on the homepage today. Here’s what they had to say.

Keyword: How did you come up with the idea for this Doodle?

Kevin: I’m a huge Hip Hop fan. Growing up outside New Orleans, it was a part of my DNA—performing Hip Hop in my high school band, adding Hip Hop to my college radio station’s rotation, and working on the set of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” music video in my first job out of college. Hip Hop has been a constant thread through my life and I wanted to bring my love of it to a Doodle. I developed the concept for interactive turntables, showed it to my manager Ryan (also a fan of Hip Hop), and he lost it. He said, “let’s make it tomorrow!”

OK, so people were into the idea. But Hip Hop is such a big topic. How did you decide what to focus on?

Perla: From the beginning, we were thinking big. I mean, Hip Hop touches so many parts of culture but a lot of people don’t know much about its origins. So, we anchored the Doodle to the birth of Hip Hop, and wanted to celebrate the people who pioneered the movement. We hope to give them the voice and the recognition they deserve, which is what Doodles are all about—shining light on times of history that maybe you didn’t know about.

Kevin: It all started with DJ Kool Herc, an 18-year old Jamaican DJ in the Bronx. He and his sister threw a party in August 1973, and when he DJ’d the party, he used two turntables to extend the instrumental break in the music where people did their craziest dance moves (that’s actually how “break” dancing got its name!). And the Hip Hop movement was born.

Ryan: With each Doodle, we try to touch a different part of the human experience. But we hadn’t yet touched on a massive part of U.S. and global culture—Hip Hop. And by bringing in elements like “Achievements,” we can also make it about the real people behind the Hip Hop movement.

Speaking of the real people … Fab and Cey, how did you feel when you first heard about this project?

Fab: It was a full circle experience for me. I first went online in 1994—I even remember doing a segment on “Yo! MTV Raps” about email. And going back to when I first got on the internet, I was looking for likeminded people who were part of the culture. And now, Hip Hop is on one of the biggest digital platforms out there, in a way that acknowledges and recognizes what this culture is, and what it continues to be. It’s pretty amazing.

Cey: Everybody on this project was so excited to be a part of it, which made me excited too. I could add an authentic point of view and represent all the people who helped start the movement, even the ones who are no longer here. The project is rooted in honoring the past.

The Doodle pays homage to many early pioneers of Hip Hop. How did you decide who to include?

Perla: We started with a big list of people and narrowed it down based on a ton of research and conversations with close partners versed in all things Hip Hop—like Lyor Cohen, current head of YouTube music and a legend in the music industry who has signed some of the greatest Hip Hop artists ever. We also wanted to make sure we represented the diversity in Hip Hop and featured the women who were a huge part of the early days but often aren’t talked about.

Kevin: Part of the Doodle is a “record crate” that has legendary samples you can listen to. You’ve probably heard these samples in a Jay-Z or Kanye West song but few people know who actually created them. Perla and I were in tears one day because we added a bunch of fresh beats from our childhood—the samples behind the Puff Daddy, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. songs we loved growing up. We were totally going down memory lane.

How does this compare to other Doodles?

Perla: We’ve never done a Doodle like this before, both because of the technical challenges and the many voices and collaborators we wanted to include. It was both unnerving and exciting to tackle this because so many people have been touched by Hip Hop in some way—so how do you do it justice?

Ryan: There’s a lot that went into figuring out what bitrate of audio you needed to scratch records, how to sync up the beats correctly, and the complexities around animations were firsts for us. We’re always trying to one-up ourselves, to exceed the expectations of people who love our Doodles. This one represented all the things Doodles are good at: storytelling, interactivity and education.

How did you get into Hip Hop? What’s your earliest memory of Hip Hop?

Kevin: I got a lot of exposure to Hip Hop growing up in Louisiana. I was this artist kid in a suburban conservative area—I identified with the spirit, angst and celebratory energy of Hip Hop. I’m also a music trivia nerd—when I was a kid, my dad would quiz me whenever a song came on the radio. I’ve tried to work that music trivia into this Doodle at every chance.

Ryan: Hip Hop was part of the fabric of my upbringing. I grew up in suburban Indiana—in an environment dramatically different from the Bronx where Hip Hop was born—but as soon as we got cable, I started watching “Yo! MTV Raps.” One of the most exciting things about working on this Doodle was that we got to collaborate with people like Fab 5 Freddy and Prince Paul, one of my all-time favorite hip hop producers.

Cey: One of my earliest memories is when I went to the Jamaica Armory to see Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. I realized that Hip Hop belonged to us—it was music for myself and my friends, something that nobody could take away from us.

Fab: The guys who wanted to be DJs and rappers had this sense of wonder and energy about them. They were like engineers in the way they worked with their sound systems—the cables, the speakers, the amps. Those DJs were a bunch of smart cats figuring out something that was advanced and revolutionary during that time. I felt comfortable around them during a time when there was rough stuff going on in the streets.

How do you view the evolution of Hip Hop over the last 44 years? Where is it going?

Fab: The essence of Hip Hop culture at its base is like an algorithm—it can be done in any language and by any nationality out there, and when done right it grows exponentially. From the very beginnings in the 70s, this culture was generated by those who had very little, and took those bare essentials to say: “I’m here, I matter.” And that has reverberated continuously for decades. So I don’t like to think of old school vs. new school, I’m a “now school” person. Hip Hop marches on—it will always reinvent itself.

Cey, you’ve worked as an artist for decades, across a huge variety of mediums. What was it like to design something for the Google homepage?

Cey: Graffiti has always been associated with vandalism to some degree—in the early days, I had to tell people that my art was different from people who were just tagging. But we’re capital “A” artists. All we’re doing is using a spray can instead of a paintbrush. And now Google is putting this piece of art on the homepage, which will be seen by people all over the world. That’s really exciting to me.

What do you hope the audience gets from this Doodle?

Perla: My biggest aspiration for the Doodle is that people see themselves in it, that there’s something that speaks to and represents them on the Google homepage. Hip Hop originated as a way for young people to focus on something positive in the midst of the negative forces around them, so I want people to feel that same hope and positivity from this Doodle.

Ryan: I hope people can cut through some of the negative stereotypes associated with Hip Hop —it’s not without its shortcomings but it’s such an important part of our culture. The Bronx was not an easy place to grow up in the 70’s, but such a vibrant culture was born out of it.

Cey: I want people to get a Hip Hop education, and to understand that the music, the art, the dance, the fashion, it’s all part of a collective lifestyle of people who wanted to change their circumstances. And it will always be there—and will continue to spread around the world—because there’s always some young person who wants to change their circumstances.

Fab: For those who have have grown up with this, they’re gonna be amazed to see such a huge part of their lives acknowledged. I want people to see that Hip Hop affects everybody, not just youth culture. It continues to be important, relevant and alive. And it’s happening in every corner of the globe.

Kevin: I love that we’re celebrating a party—people dancing and performing, there’s something really positive about that.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Hip Hop music and culture for the first time in Doodle history.

Exploring strategies to decarbonize electricityExploring strategies to decarbonize electricityPrincipal Scientist

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and the way we generate and use electricity now is a major contributor to that issue. To solve it, we need to find a way to eliminate the carbon emissions associated with our electricity as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

Many analysts have come up with a number of possible solutions: renewable energy plus increased energy storage capacity, nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration from fossil fuels, or a mixture of these. But we realized that the different answers came from different assumptions that people were making about what combination of those technologies and policies would lead to a positive change.

To help our team understand these dynamics, we created a tool that allows us to quickly see how different assumptions—wind, solar, coal, nuclear, for example—affect the future cost to generate electricity and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted.

We created a simplified model of the electrical grid, where demand is always fulfilled at least cost. By “least cost,” we mean the cost of constructing and maintaining power plants, and generating electricity (with fuel, if required). For a given set of assumptions, the model determines the amount of generation capacity to build and when to turn on which type of generator. Our model is similar to others proposed in other research, but we’ve simplified the model to make it run fast.

We then ran the model hundreds of thousands of times with different assumptions, using our computing infrastructure. We gather all of the runs of the model and present them in a simple web page. Anyone —from students to energy policy wonks—can try different assumptions and see how those assumptions will affect the cost and CO2. The web UI is available for you to try: you can explore the how utilities decide to dispatch their generation capacity, then can test different assumptions. Finally, you can compare different assumptions and share them with others.

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We’ve written up the technical details of the model in this paper. In case you want to change the assumptions in the model, we are also releasing the code on Github. The paper shows how the cost of generation technologies change as a function of the fraction of demand that they fulfill. The paper also discusses the limitations and validity of the model.

One interesting conclusion of the paper: if we can find a zero-carbon, 24×7 electricity source that costs about $2200/kW to build, it can displace carbon emission from the electricity grid in less than 27 years. We hope that the tool and the paper help people understand their assumptions about the future of electricity, and stimulate research into climate and energy.

The Google Research team built a tool that allows users to quickly see how different factors affect the future cost to generate electricity and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted.

Daydream Summer SaleDaydream Summer SaleContent Partnerships

Take a break from the summer heat and jump into virtual reality. Starting today until August 17, you can grab some of our favorite Daydream apps for up to 60% off.

No matter where you are this summer, make your own adventure with two of our favorite adventure apps:  

Lola and the Giant: Embark on an journey full of puzzles and fantastic creatures, and download the companion app to play with a friend.

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Along Together: Explore extraordinary worlds and use your Daydream controller to make new paths when there are none to follow.

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Want to stay sharp over summer? Check out three of our top puzzle apps:

Mekorama :  Help B, a little robot, find his way home by solving different puzzles.

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Claro: Travel to a zen-like world where you can manipulate the sun to grow a tree in each of 38 different puzzles.

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Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes : Race against the clock to defuse bombs with a friend.

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Feeling competitive? Battle your enemies in beautiful, dynamic and otherworldly settings:

Battle Planet:  You’re alone on a micro-planet. Defend yourself against a gigantic army of enemies.

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Wands: Challenge other Wielders with your own set of spells and skills.

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Toy Clash: Your desk has been invaded! Use your toys and magic to defend your towers.

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Feeling artsy? Grab a comfy chair and let your inner sculptor shine with SculptrVR. You can build incredible worlds in VR with an entire 3D canvas at your disposal.

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Check out all the apps on sale on Google Play or your Daydream app.

Starting today, you’ll be able to find some of our favorite Daydream apps up to 60% off. The sale runs from August 10th to August 17th.

From Uganda to Korea—teaching English, one chat at a timeFrom Uganda to Korea—teaching English, one chat at a timeProduct Manager

As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we sat down with Tella founder and CEO, Yuha Jin. Tella provides one-on-one English-language tutoring through mobile chats for Korean students. Now in its third year, the startup teaches more than 2,000 Korean students while providing an avenue of employment for talented Ugandan college graduates, all while leveraging machine learning to get the job done. 

I am a Tella tutor
Founder and CEO Yuha Jin, third from the right, with members of her Tella team in Uganda

What led you to start Tella?
I’ve always wanted to make an impact, and I really like to do work no one has really done yet. In college, I studied social enterprise and became interested in startups. Six years ago, I spent three  weeks in East Africa, helping a friend’s missionary group. While there, I learned there are many college graduates who are fluent in English and other languages, but they’re unemployed.  

It’s always exciting to see how a problem can be solved if it’s viewed as a business opportunity. That’s how I thought of linking online English language education needs in Korea to unemployed graduates in Uganda. 

We now have a growing team of English language tutors in Uganda. The average monthly wage for employees with tertiary education and higher in Uganda is UGX 335,000, or $92. Tella provides double this, a minimum of $200 per month in salary to each one of our tutors. Supporting our tutors is at the heart of our business.  In the next three to five years, we want to expand our pool of tutors to employ around 500 people in Uganda.

How did you decide to establish Tella as a mobile phone-based startup?
When I traveled to East Africa for the first time I noticed everybody had a mobile phone, and that many people used it to do business using “mobile money.” This inspired the idea of  starting an online English education business on mobile, in particular, via online chat. 

Students and their tutors chat in English on the app, and we use machine learning and Google Cloud’s natural language processing API to analyze their lessons and provide a “before” look at their original English sentences and an “after” look with their tutor’s feedback. We provide data analysis for each lesson, too—the number of words used and the average length of sentences, which helps to diagnose their proficiency. Students love this. They believe this analysis of the chat information really helps them study. We have 2,000 students now! 

What helped to really transform your business and make it more successful? 
Being located at the Outbox Hub, a Google for Entrepreneurs tech hub partner, means our teachers are part of a vibrant community of Ugandan entrepreneurs and creative thinkers—this is really inspiring for us. 

Also, we were lucky to be selected to participate in Google’s Customer Success Lab in Seoul. By working closely with the Google team, we learned how to improve our online advertising strategy. As a result, our quarterly business revenues grew by 15%. The results are paying off. Over half of our students repurchase their subscriptions for more tutoring. 

Tella team
Tutors at Tella’s offices in the Outbox Hub in Kampala, Uganda (clockwise from top left): Simon Aguma, Sydney Mugerwa, Esther Namukasa, Shiphrah Mirembe,and Evelyn Mwasa.

What sets your business apart from others in Korea and the region?
We’re really diverse. We have both Ugandan and Filipino tutors. We have nine tutors and one manager in Uganda. I lead a team of six others in Seoul. In the beginning, we were worried about hiring tutors from a country that’s unfamiliar to most students. However, once students experience a trial lesson, they have no doubt about the talents of our Ugandan tutors. I believe getting to know young, professional Africans naturally raises Uganda’s national brand in Korea and eventually in all over the world. I’m really motivated to provide our learners with the opportunity to get to know Uganda and more of Africa by interacting with their gifted tutors.

What’s next for your business?
By 2018, the plan is to expand to Japan and China—both countries have great opportunities for digital learning and education. Tella’s next step is to provide customized learning content catered to providing even more detailed analysis of each learner’s proficiency, such as vocabulary, fluency, and accuracy in expression and grammar. We have already started this with recommending new words for our students to study and use, thanks to the analysis we run with machine learning. Our business grows as our students grow, and we’re excited to hire more tutors from Uganda. 

Find out how social enterprise Tella uses the internet and machine learning to empower Ugandan teachers to tutor Korean students.

Welcome to your first day of ClassroomWelcome to your first day of Classroom

We launched Google Classroom in 2014 to help teachers save time, organize classes, and improve communication with students. Since then, educators around the globe have helped teach their peers how to use Classroom. There’s been such an outpouring of instructional videos, blogs and resources, we’ve curated some of our favorites into a new collection called #FirstDayofClassroom.

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#FirstDayofClassroom is designed around a simple premise: When teachers need help, they don’t need to look any further than their fellow teachers.

On the hub, you’ll find short tutorials explaining how to get started with Classroom, teacher-created videos on best practices, as well as teacher-tested tips. Want a hard copy? Printable resources, including a Getting Started guide and Group Study guide, are available on the hub for teachers to use right at their desks. It’s like being in your school’s teachers’ lounge or at a collaborative professional development event—except it’s all online.

Teachers have questions. Teachers have answers.

For every teacher ready to use Classroom, there’s a teacher ready to help. Here are just a few examples of the tips from teachers on the resource hub:

  • Lindy Hockenbary, Digital Learning Coach, stays organized by adding class resources to the materials section of the “About” tab.
  • Katie Nieves, Special Education ELA Teacher, personalizes learning by providing different projects and resources when posting an assignment.
  • Jessica Levine, Instructional Technologist, builds relationships between home and school by connecting parents and guardians to their student’s class through guardian email summaries.

We’re also organizing five interactive YouTube live sessions hosted by educators who will help you get started with Classroom. Add a session to your calendar today to join in on the training.

Join the #FirstDayofClassroom community

#FirstDayofClassroom is about expanding the community of teachers dedicated to improving the day-to-day efficiency of teaching. Whether you’re a Classroom pro or have a tried-and-true trick, help your fellow teachers by sharing your favorite tips, resources and tutorials on social media using the hashtag #FirstDayofClassroom. Then, stay tuned on Twitter where we’ll share our favorites throughout the back to school season.

Ready to get started? Visit the hub today and get all the information you need to set up your first class in no time.

This back to school season, we’re rolling out a new resource hub to help teachers get started on their first day of Google Classroom.

Your bookworm AssistantYour bookworm AssistantThe Google Assistant Team

Get Wilde and re-Joyce on National Book Lovers day by going down the Plath less traveled with your Assistant. Stowe your books and get ready with these questions (we promise you’ll get Thoreau answers).

  • Prepare your shelves: “Ok Google, add that new book about meditation to my shopping list.”
  • There’s nothing like the smell of old books: Say “Ok Google, where’s the nearest library?” to your Assistant on Google Home. 
  • Channel your inner Hemingway: Ask your Assistant on your phone to “take me to the closest café.”
  • Learn a truth universally acknowledged about your favorite author: “Ok Google, tell me about Jane Austen.”
  • Don’t forget your other reading glasses (to pair with your book): “Ok Google, talk to Wine Guide.”
  • Set the scene: “Ok Google, set the reading room lights to 60% brightness”

So with that, we bid you adieu. Parting is such sweet sorrow…but happy National Book Lovers Day!

8 tips to help you keep up in Google Keep8 tips to help you keep up in Google KeepProduct Manager, Google Keep

Google Keep makes organizing information a cinch. You can easily jot down ideas or share to-dos with co-workers. We asked Mario Anima, product manager for Google Keep, to share some of his favorite Keep tips. This is what we learned.

1. Record voice notes.

For recording thoughts on the go, you can record voice memos within Google Keep on your Android or iOS device. Open up the Keep mobile app, click on the microphone icon at the bottom right of your screen and record your message. When you’re done talking, the recording will automatically end and a new screen will pop up with the text of your message and an audio file.

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Click on “title” at the top of your audio file and name your note. Your note is automatically synced with the web app, too, so you can access it on your desktop.

2. Transcribe notes from pictures.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Keep can transcribe text from pictures for you, so you don’t have to worry about typing up notes from a meeting or whiteboard session (shameless plug: you can also use Jamboard for that).

Just take a photo, select “Grab Image Text”  and Keep will transcribe your note.

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3. Create drawings and even search handwritten notes.

You can sketch images in Keep. Select the pen icon at the bottom of your mobile screen and a bunch of options will appear. Play with colors, shades and more. Once you’re finished with your drawing, you can share it right away with coworkers. Or, you can come back to handwritten memos later by searching for what you wrote.

Speaking of search, you can also find images by searching for words contained within them. Say you snap a photo from a whiteboard and the image contains the word “Proposal.” Just search Keep for “proposal” and your image will appear.

4. Drag and drop notes from Keep into Google Docs.

Now you can use Keep directly within Docs—take notes you’ve created in Keep and drag them into client proposals and more.

If you’re in a Doc: click “Tools” on the menu bar, and then “Keep Notepad.” A sidebar will pop up with all of your note options. You can scroll through the list or use the search bar to jump right to the note you need. Once you’ve found it, drag-and-drop the note into your doc.

If you’re in the Keep app: select the note you want to send, click the three dots menu and click “Copy to Google Doc.”

You can also create notes in the Keep notepad while viewing a Doc. One bonus is that when you create a note in Docs, Keep creates a source backlink—so you can access the note in Keep and it will link back to the source document where the note was created.

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5. Use the Chrome Extension.

Create notes while you browse the web by downloading the Chrome Extension. One cool thing is that when you create a note using the extension, it saves the site URL with it. So if you browse back to that same URL, the extension will show your note in context.

Chrome Extension

6. Send notes from Keep to other apps you use.

Some teams save content from other messaging or social media apps in Keep to reference later. Or, vice versa, you might use Keep to draft emails or social media posts on-the-go. Click on the three dots in the bottom right corner of your Keep app, select “send” and choose the app you want to share your note with.

7. Color-code or label your notes to find them quicker.

To organize your notes by color-coding them in Keep, at the bottom of a Keep note, select the three dots menu and choose from several colors to help you quickly identify a note. You might consider color-coding by task or deadline. If you’re working on your desktop, you can also use the Category Tabs for Google Keep Extension in Chrome to assign category names by color. It will look like this:

Changing colors in Keep

You can also add labels to your notes. Another way to locate your information in Keep is to add and create labels using #hashtags. When you create a note in the Keep app, you can type #label-name and Keep will prompt you to either apply a label if it already exists, or create one if it doesn’t. It’s a pretty handy shortcut.

8. Set reminders for yourself.

Notes matter only if you can execute on what your record. Keep lets you set up reminders which can help.

Select a note and click the finger icon at the top right of your screen in Keep (it has a string on it). When you do that, a pop-up window will give you options to set reminders. The great thing about this is that these reminders will alert you in other Google tools, like Calendar, Chrome or on your Android device.

Note: make sure you have Reminders enabled inside your Calendar app in order to see them. You can check out how to do that on our Help Center under the “Don’t see your Reminder” or “Switch between Tasks and Reminders” section.

Try Keep today

Keep is a great way to keep track of your work tasks. Learn more about how you can get started on our site.

Helping publishers bust annoying adsHelping publishers bust annoying adsDirector of Product Management

At some point, we’ve all been caught off guard by an annoying ad online—like a video automatically playing at full volume, or a pop-up standing in the way to the one thing we’re trying to find. Thanks to research conducted by the Coalition for Better Ads, we now know which ad experiences rank lowest among consumers and are most likely to drive people to install ad blockers.

Ads, good and bad, help fund the open web. But 69 percent of people who installed ad blockers said they were motivated by annoying or intrusive ads. When ads are blocked, publishers don’t make money.

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In June we launched the Ad Experience Report to help publishers understand if their site has ads that violate the Coalition’s Better Ads Standards. In just two months, 140,000 publishers worldwide have viewed the report.

“This report is great for helping publishers adapt to the Better Ads Standards. The level of transparency and data is incredibly actionable. It literally says here’s the issue, here’s how to fix it. I think it will be helpful for all publishers.
-Katya Moukhina, Director of Programmatic Operations, POLITICO

We’re already starting to see data trends that can give publishers insights into the most common offending ads. Here’s a look at what we know so far.

It’s official: Popups are the most annoying ads on the web

Pop-up ads are the most common annoying ads found on publisher sites. On desktop they account for 97 percent of the violations!  These experiences can be bad for business: 50 percent of users surveyed say they would not revisit or recommend a page that had a pop-up ad.

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Instead of pop-ups, publishers can use less disruptive alternatives like full-screen inline ads. They offer the same amount of screen real estate as pop-ups—without covering up any content. Publishers can find more tips and alternatives in our best practices guide.

Mobile and desktop have different issues

On mobile the issues are more varied. Pop-ups account for 54 percent of issues found, while 21 percent of issues are due to high ad density: A mobile page flooded with ads takes longer to load, and this makes it harder for people to find what they’re looking for.

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Most issues come from smaller sites with fewer resources

Our early reporting shows that most issues are not coming from mainstream publishers, like daily newspapers or business publications. They come from smaller sites, who often don’t have the same access to quality control resources as larger publishers.

To help these publishers improve their ads experiences, we review sites daily and record videos of the ad experiences that have been found non-compliant with the Better Ads Standards. If a site is in a “failing” or “warning” state, their Ad Experience Report will include these visuals, along with information about the Better Ad Standards and how the issues may impact their site.

Looking ahead

Over the next few weeks we’ll begin notifying sites with issues. For even more insights on the types of sites and violations found, publishers can visit The Ad Experience Report API.

The good news is that people don’t hate all ads—just annoying ones. Replacing annoying ads with more acceptable ones will help ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to sustain their work with online advertising. This is why we support the Coalition’s efforts to develop marketplace guidelines for supporting the Better Ads Standards and will continue working with them on the standards as they evolve.

In June we launched the Ad Experience Report to help publishers understand if their site has ads that violate the Coalition’s Better Ads Standards. These data trends can give publishers insights into the most common offending ads.

Eclipse Megamovie Volunteer Wrangler tells allEclipse Megamovie Volunteer Wrangler tells allManaging Editor

On August 21, a total solar eclipse will cross the the United States. That’s a big deal (a “once in a hundred years” kind of big deal).

Most observers outside of the path of total eclipse from Salem, OR to Charleston, SC will only see the partial eclipse. So, Google teamed up with UC Berkeley to give the rest of the world a view of the eclipse and to provide scientists with data to better understand how the sun’s atmosphere behaves. We’re calling on amateur astronomers and photographers to capture photos of the eclipse as the moon’s shadow passes over their part of the country, then we’ll algorithmically align and stitch together the images to create a continuous view of the eclipse: the Eclipse Megamovie.

Vivian White is not just a Megamovie volunteer—she is coordinating other volunteers, too. By day, she is an astronomy educator and Director of Free Choice Learning with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in San Francisco, CA (we’ll explain exactly what that means below). And since 2016 (well, longer if you count how long it’s been on her calendar!) she’s been gearing up for the solar eclipse. The Keyword team caught up with Vivian to learn about her career as an amateur astronomer and how she got involved with the Megamovie project.

Keyword team: How did you get into astronomy?

Vivian: I started out pursuing physics. I love figuring out the way things work. I went to college for the first time in my late twenties, and when I was almost to the end of my physics degree, I took an observing class and fell madly in love with astronomy.

And now you use that love of astronomy in your day job. Tell us more about that.

I’m the Director of Free Choice Learning (a title they let me make up!) at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in San Francisco. I explore how we learn as adults when we’re not in school and work with amateur astronomers—anyone who with an interest in astronomy and a different day job. They are fascinated by everything they learn.

Mostly I run a network of 430 astronomy clubs, and create demonstrations and activities students can use at the telescope. I create toolkits for NASA’s Night Sky Network, a coalition of amateur astronomy clubs that brings NASA’s mission to the general public, on any particular subject from black holes, to the solar system, to the sun.

In the astronomy world, how big of a deal is this solar eclipse? The Super Bowl of activities in space?

This has been on my my radar for more than two decades. I’m from Nashville, and the eclipse will go through there. When I was in high school, I wondered where I would be for the eclipse. This is all hands on deck. Almost every astronomer is on their way to the path.

Tell us about the Megamovie project. How did you get involved?

The ASP has been working with UC Berkeley for decades now, and we were part of the initial grant in 2016. We had a hard time getting funding—there was concern that we couldn’t get enough volunteers or couldn’t create the right algorithm to stitch all the photos together. Now, here we are with 1,500 volunteers (20-30 new volunteers a day).

As the Volunteer Wrangler (another title I made up!), I create and give webinars, write tutorials in collaboration with UC Berkeley scientists, answer dozens of questions every day from volunteers, and generally (cheer)lead the dedicated, enthusiastic group. It’s definitely a lot of work, and a lot of the scientists are doing this in their spare time. I’m not alone in looking forward to Aug 22!

The Megamovie is probably the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on. I love that we’re doing real science—we don’t know if it’s going to work, but we’re figuring it out as we go along. The volunteers are so excited for this to happen—they’ve made official hats and pins to wear so that they can identify each other on the path. They aren’t professionals, so they haven’t contributed to science in a meaningful way until now.

It’s such a cool thing to be able to contribute to something bigger than yourself. Vivian White Astronomy educator
Vivian White

Space has a powerful hold on people … Why do you think that is? What is it that first captured your attention?

It’s a great reminder of perspective. Now, I’ll get a parking ticket, and I’m like: “Here we are on this tiny piece of rock orbiting a star in a huge galaxy.” It’s changed my outlook on life—I let a lot of stuff slide. There’s also just so much to learn! I get to study a whole new subject every year.

Do you have a favorite subject in astronomy?

I’m the most interested in the possibility of life in the universe. I get a lot of questions about aliens, but the most interesting one I’ve heard was from a twelve-year-old who asked, “If aliens came to Earth, would they be able to understand our emotions?”

You’ve traveled to a lot of your places in your life, including to Dharamsala, India to teach Buddhist monks and nuns about astronomy. What’s different about these projects from your normal education work?

It’s a completely different cultural experience, Monks are an amazing group of students, at ease with questioning and logic. But they have no exposure to ideas of science—they don’t know that our sun is a star, they don’t know what a fossil is. They haven’t experienced or thought about it at all yet, but when I teach them, they want to know how we know all of this. It makes me think about things differently.

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Vivian modeling an eclipse with Buddhist monks in India. Photo credit: Eric Chudler, courtesy of Vivian White.

Astronomy educator Vivian White is helping coordinate volunteer photographers to capture imagery of this summer’s complete solar eclipse. We chatted with Vivian ahead of this once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event.