Startup with Google, a resource to help young companies succeedStartup with Google, a resource to help young companies succeedGoogle for Entrepreneurs

Since 2011, Google has partnered with over 50 community organizations to help startup communities around the world flourish. Startups within those communities and spaces we run have created more than 40,000 jobs and raised more than $3.9 billion in funding. Today we’re introducing a new resource to help young companies continue to make their big ideas a reality—Startup with Google.

Ivonna Dumanyan and Gabrielle Levac are lifelong athletes. When they started playing Division 1 sports in college, they were often sidelined by injuries, leaving them isolated from their teams and forcing them to miss precious opportunities to compete after months of training. They realized these recurring injuries could be avoidable—and decided to do something about it. They developed a small, wearable device that could detect fatigue, then alert coaches and training staff of elevated injury risk.

Their device was a big hit, and soon their idea grew into Fathom AI, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to help collegiate athletes avoid injuries. Based in Durham, NC, the Fathom team works out of the American Underground tech hub space, a Google for Entrepreneurs partner. There, the Fathom team receives mentorship, training, and access to a community as well as Google resources and programming. 

Ivonna and Gabrielle are just two of the many startup founders who have taken advantage of Google’s startup resources and communities to get the expertise and connections to help them grow, as well as tools like G Suite, Google Cloud, AdWords, Android and Google Play to help them build. Now, by bringing together all our resources for startups in one place with Startup with Google, we hope to make it even easier for startups like Fathom to thrive.

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Ivonna Dumanyan and Gabrielle Levac, founders of Fathom AI

At Startup with Google, you’ll find insights from startup founders and Google teams on hiring, improving team collaboration, and raising a round of funding. Startup with Google also features our network of Campus coworking spaces, Google Developers Launchpad programs, and partner communities, which provide opportunities for founders to connect with the local community, mentors, and investors who can help them succeed.

Startup founders like Ivonna and Gabrielle have big things to accomplish. We can help them, and other founders—check out startup.google.com to find Google’s resources for startups, all in one place.

Today we’re launching Startup with Google, a single destination that brings together all that Google has to offer startup teams so they can make progress.

Supporting local journalism with Report for AmericaSupporting local journalism with Report for AmericaDirector

I cut my teeth in journalism as a local reporter for my hometown paper, the Northfield News, and saw firsthand how local journalism impacts a community. Local reporters go to city council meetings to hold city governments accountable. They’re the first to show up when disaster strikes, getting critical information to their readers. And they provide the first draft of history for cities and towns, providing reporting that keeps their communities safe, informed and connected.

But not all communities in the U.S. are fortunate enough to have a strong local media presence—declining sales and revenues have led to local papers closing and local newsrooms shrinking. Despite this gloomy picture, there are lots of ideas about how to strengthen the local news ecosystem, and today we’re announcing our support of one new approach: Report for America.

An initiative of The GroundTruth Project, Report for America is taking its inspiration from Teach for America and applying it to local journalism. Its goal is to attract service-minded candidates and place them in local newsrooms for a year as reporters.

The first pilot, which will start early next year, aims to fill 12 reporting positions in newsrooms across the country, in areas underserved by local media. There will also be a community element to the work—a reporter might also help a local high school start or improve their student-run news site or newspaper.

As a founding member of this exciting initiative, the Google News Lab will provide in-depth training to the Report for America Corps members focusing on digital and data journalism, and equip them with the proper technology—Chromebooks, 360-degree cameras, and mobile phones.

Joining us in supporting Report for America are the Knight Foundation, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, Galloway Family Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Report for America is just one part of our efforts to strengthen local news here at Google. Here are a few others:

  • To provide the proper exposure for local news outlets covering national stories, Google News labels those stories so readers can easily find on-the-ground reporting. Additionally we’ve made it easier for people to follow local news sources with a dedicated local tab on the Google News home page. And just last week, in the U.S., Google News went hyperlocal by adding clearly labeled Community Updates that provide information about news and events happening in your area so you’ll always know what’s going on.
  • We want to help publishers succeed financially by monetizing their content online. We have a key partnership with the Local Media Consortium—which represents more than 1,600 local media outlets—to tap into the power of our ad technology to fund and support local journalism. At their annual summit the LMC announced combined savings and revenue of more than $110 million for partners, based on that collaboration with Google.
  • At the Google News Lab, journalism training is an important component of the work we do to help journalists and newsrooms develop new skills and access the latest digital tools. Through  a partnership with the Society for Professional Journalists we’ve trained more than 9,500 local reporters across America in the last year alone. And a collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal Labs has helped build the capacity of investigative teams in Mississippi and New Jersey, a model we’re looking to scale in 2018.

We hope Report for America will bring fresh thinking and a new approach to strengthening local news.

Report for America is a program that aims to attract civic-minded people to become reporters reporting from communities underserved by media

Five ways to co-host a dinner party with your AssistantFive ways to co-host a dinner party with your AssistantThe Google Assistant Team

Now that the temperatures have dropped and fall is moving in, it’s time to bring the party inside.

Let your Assistant be the perfect co-host for your next dinner party—here are a few ways your Assistant can help prepare:

  1. Take advantage of seasonal produce: “Ok Google, find a recipe for sweet potato fries.”
  2. Prepare for a feast: “Set a potato timer for 45 minutes” and “set a pie timer for 1 hour”
  3. Make an entrance: “Play my ‘girls night’ playlist”
  4. Set the mood: “Change the living room lights to coral”
  5. Have some fun: “Play Lucky Trivia”

Last step—enjoy!

#teampixel shows its soft side#teampixel shows its soft sideTeam Pixel

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—#teampixel, you continue to impress us! Each week we’re honored to share some of #teampixel’s best work, and today we’re spotlighting community member @fefefeng. Her tranquil image of a moonrise amid a soft pastel sky has us swooning.

If you’re looking for a few more moments of zen, make sure to scroll through our other featured images, which underscore #teampixel’s use of soft lighting.

#teampixel shows a softer side in this week’s photo roundup.

Tilt Brush Artist in Residence: Meet Liz EdwardsTilt Brush Artist in Residence: Meet Liz EdwardsCommunity Manager

Editor’s note: Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality. Earlier this year, we launched the Artist in Residence (AiR) program to showcase what’s possible when creative artists experiment with this new medium. The resulting works of art have been amazing, and you can check some of them out on our website, or right in the Tilt Brush app itself.

In this series, we go deeper into these artists’ processes, explore their creative influences, hear about their experience using Tilt Brush and share any tips they have for aspiring VR artists. For this post, we caught up with artist Liz Edwards. Want more? Check out our previous posts on Steve Teeps, Isaac Cohen, and Estella Tse.

1. Could you walk us through your creative process in Tilt Brush?

Working in Tilt Brush has always felt very natural. At no point during my first doodles did I ever feel intimidated by the software, and I think that’s a huge strength of Tilt Brush. Getting comfortable drawing in this new medium was just a matter of putting in the time and experimenting, which is easy to do when it’s so much fun. Lots of moments of, “I wonder if this would work?”—even a year into working with Tilt Brush.

Wonder Woman

2. How is Tilt Brush different from working in other mediums? Is the openness ever daunting?

I don’t find it daunting at all—it’s a very liberating way of working. I’ve spent years working in traditional professional 3D software, bogged down in the interfaces, clicking around for hours making 3D shapes on a 2D screen. Tilt Brush removes all of that tedium and places the artist directly into a creative space where they can conjure up anything with a few gestures in thin air. It’s magic.

3. What inspires you?

I come from a video game background, so I’ve kind of approached my VR art from that direction, creating places, vehicles and characters I’d like to see come to life in a game. All my spaceship stuff comes from a childhood of playing X-Wing, Wing Commander and the like. A cool thing—I’d never been interested in designing any kind of vehicle, even awesome spacecraft, before Tilt Brush. I’ve always much preferred drawing and sculpting characters over dealing with perspective in 2D or tedious (to me) hard surface modeling in 3D programs. Tilt Brush really opened the door for me in that regard and I’m getting to explore brand new, really fascinating subjects.

4. Were there any funny moments or cool things that happened while using Tilt Brush?

In the dark days before the ability to scale sketches was added, I had to work in some pretty silly positions to draw things like feet and the tops of heads. I nearly ended up standing on a chair to draw a tall tree but decided I didn’t want to be the first VR casualty! I have the opposite problem now—I’ll end up moving far, far above my environment to work on the sky and startle myself when I look down. I actually think it’s really cool that my own art can spook me like that!

Asteroids

5. Do you have any neat trips or tricks?

A lot of people ask how I get my sketches so solid. Here’s a secret: they’re not solid at all. I fill the space in between my lines with the “Wire” brush. This brush is 3D and unlit (no shadows or highlights), so even if the geometry it makes is a messy bunch of tubes, you’ll never see the mess—only the solid silhouette. As long as my silhouette looks good from most directions, the sketch looks solid and totally 3D. Same with the various “Marker” brushes— they’re all unlit, so you can get away with being a bit messy!

6. What’s your favorite piece?

My favorite personal piece has to be this spaceship in asteroid field (displayed above). The 3D-comic style I’d been pushing for finally started coming together with that piece, and I started feeling confident about doing more vehicle and hard surface work. When I look at it, I get excited to make more things in that style and world.

The piece I’m most proud of, though, has to be Wonder Woman: Art of Wonder (displayed above). It was a huge honor to bring the amazing Wonder Woman to life in Tilt Brush, and so much fun!

The High Five: the red carpet, a football field and other places visited in Search this weekThe High Five: the red carpet, a football field and other places visited in Search this weekManaging Editor

Our trends this week center around a night of awards, a month of celebrations, and a lifetime of friendship. Read on for more top-searched trends, with data from the Google News Lab.

The day all your binge watching pays off

While Hollywood stars prepare their acceptance speeches for Sunday’s 69th annual primetime Emmy Awards, others are searching: “Which child actor has the most Emmys?” “Why isn’t Game of Thrones nominated for Emmys?” and “What TV show won the most Emmys?” There’s no telling who will take home that coveted golden statue, but so far, Donald Glover, Elisabeth Moss and Kevin Spacey are the most-searched nominees for lead actor/actress.

Now that’s true friendship

Pop star Selena Gomez revealed that she took time out of the spotlight this summer for a kidney transplant related to lupus. Search interest for Francia Raisa, Selena’s longtime friend who gave her the kidney, went up more than 9,000 percent this week. People turned to Google to find out how the pair of BFFs met and ask “Why did Selena Gomez need a kidney transplant?”

The ruling on the field is a fumble

If you didn’t already know who Sergio Dipp was, you probably do now—assuming you’re one of the many people who searched “Who is Sergio Dipp?” this week. The ESPN broadcaster made his Monday Night Football debut and stumbled through an awkward sideline report during the Broncos/Chargers game. Sergio’s tweet about newfound notoriety prompted us to look for other top searches about the topic of fame. Fame-seekers want to know “How to get Instagram famous,” “How did Adele become famous,” and “What is Benjamin Franklin famous for?” (One thing we know for sure: He did it without Instagram!)

Let’s look at the (Equi)facts

Last week’s Equifax data breach—which may have compromised the personal information of 143 million Americans—raised lots of questions about security. Search interest for “credit freeze” reached all an-time high this month, with related questions like, “What is the difference between a fraud alert and a security freeze?” and “How do I freeze my credit?” Specifically related to the Equifax breach, people are searching “How to find out if I was affected by Equifax?” and “How do I freeze my credit report Equifax?”

Hispanic Heritage Month

Today is the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of people and cultures hailing from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. Top queries about the month-long tribute include: “How does the White House celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?” “Who first declared a Hispanic Heritage Month?” and “Why is Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated on September 15?” Google is celebrating too—check out our Arts & Culture Exhibit and our Keyword series featuring some of our amazing Hispanic Googlers.

Check out what’s trending on Google with a look at a few of the top searches from this week.

Googler Susanna Kohly on “building digital bridges” in Cuba, her family’s homelandGoogler Susanna Kohly on “building digital bridges” in Cuba, her family’s homelandManaging Editor

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers. Over the course of the month, we’ll share a bit about their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work. First up is Susanna Kohly, builder of “digital bridges,” San Francisco resident and mother of two boys (and mini Instagram celebrities).

Give us the ten-second, one-sentence version of what you do at Google.

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Here’s Susanna in Old Havana during a work trip this year.

My job has two parts (so I might need 20 seconds!). I work on the Hispanic Marketing team to help the 57 million U.S. Hispanics connect with Google as a company. Inspired by my Cuban heritage, I also co-founded Google Cuba, a team that brings greater access to connectivity, new technologies, and Google products to Cuba to “build digital bridges” between Cuba and the rest of the world.

When did you (or generations before you) immigrate to the U.S.?

I am a product of the Cuban diaspora. My mother is American, my father was born in Cuba, and I was born in Miami. I grew up speaking two languages, blending between two cultures and nationalities, so I understand the ambiguity of identity—how you can belong and not belong at the same time. This has helped me adapt to different environments and given me the ability to blend in, to understand, and to empathize. Growing up around other people who had left everything to make a new life for their families, I became obsessed with my own family’s story, Cuban history, and politics. I started reading and taking courses—anything I could learn that would make me feel closer to my heritage and where I came from.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

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My Abuela (translation: grandmother) Carmen

My abuela Carmen—a mother of eight, an immigrant, and the matriarch of our family. Upon leaving Cuba, she sold every valuable thing she owned (including her wedding ring!) to provide for her family and put her kids through school. She worked three jobs, learned English, and has never complained about what she lost. Growing up, she told me stories of survival, and instilled in me a notion of hard work and sacrifice.  

I’m grateful to Google for giving me the opportunity to work on projects that bridge generations of Cuban people. My hope is that my two sons will have a sense of their own Cuban identity, just like my abuela made sure I had.  

Tell us about something you’re proud of doing at Google

In December 2016, I accompanied our Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to Havana to sign the first-ever internet deal between Cuba and a U.S. internet company. The deal represented a barrier that hadn’t been bridged in more than five decades. I remember standing in the press room before the announcement, running on pure adrenaline and too much café Cubano. Despite our sheer exhaustion, the team was proud to help  to help set a precedent that will  hopefully open the door for more commercial and cultural exchanges between our two countries.

Like many Cuban-Americans, I feel a responsibility to reconnect with the island that our grandparents left. I’m a firm believer that we can grow stronger by working together as opposed to growing apart in isolation.

Like many Cuban-Americans, I have a responsibility to reconnect with the island that our forefathers left. I am a firm believer that we can grow stronger by working together.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are sharing the stories of a few Hispanic Googlers.

Get a Closer Look With Street View in Google Earth VRGet a Closer Look With Street View in Google Earth VRProduct Manager, Google Earth VR

With Google Earth VR, you can go anywhere in virtual reality. Whether you want to stroll along the canals of Venice, stand at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro or soar through the sky faster than a speeding bullet, there’s no shortage of things to do or ways to explore. We love this sense of possibility, so we’re bringing Street View to Earth VR to make it easier for you to see and experience the world.

This update lets you explore Street View imagery from 85 countries right within Earth VR. Just fly down closer to street level, check your controller to see if Street View is available and enter an immersive 360° photo. You’ll find photos from the Street View team and those shared by people all around the world.

ATTParkGif

If you need a fun place to start, check out a couple of our favorite spots. Make your way out to AT&T Park in San Francisco, or head to the Old Port in Westeros … er, Croatia to see King’s Landing from “Game of Thrones.

DubrovGif

The new version of Earth VR is available today for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. And if you don’t have one of those systems, you can still check out Street View in VR with your phone—just download the Street View app for Daydream and Cardboard.

Today, we’re bringing Street View to Earth VR. This update lets you explore Street View imagery from 85 countries right within Earth VR. When your controller indicates that Street View is available, you can peek into the preview lens for a quick look, or point and click to enter an immersive 360° photo.

Ending FOMO with Community UpdatesEnding FOMO with Community UpdatesProduct Manager

FOMO: that feeling you get when you fear you’re missing out on something super awesome, interesting or important to you: like a fun gig in the local park, an important school board meeting, or a community clean up down the road from your house.

Well, Community Updates could be your solution. It will bring you information about news and events happening right in your own backyard so you’ll always know what’s going on.

Even though Google News helps you understand what’s happening around the world, we realized that it wasn’t easy for people to get information about their own communities.

So we used machine learning techniques to find additional sources publishing local content— like hyperlocal bloggers and high school newspapers—and we realized these and other local sources deserved their own unique space. The redesign of the Google News earlier this year provided a place for this type of news to live—a tab at the top of the page called Local. That means everything from this outdoor donut and craft beer pairing event in Rochester, or students organizing a hackathon next door to the Googleplex at Mountain View High School, to this list of open restaurants and grocery stores in Houston during Hurricane Harvey will be easier than ever to find and keep tabs on.

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Community Updates are found under the “Local” tab on Google News.

Community Updates builds on the work we’ve been doing for the last decade in highlighting local information and publications (we first launched local sections in 2008). Last year we expanded to all 81 Google News editions and put a spotlight on local sources of national news.

We hope Community Updates will make Google News even more useful, so that you’re not worried about missing out on cool events and opportunities around you. At the moment this feature is only available in the U.S. in English on news.google.com and will be available in the Google News & Weather App later this fall. More information on Community Updates is available here. See our Publisher Center for more on Getting Into Google News.

New Google News feature connects users with what’s cool in their communities through more hyperlocal news you can use.

Small business success at National Entrepreneurs Week in MexicoSmall business success at National Entrepreneurs Week in MexicoVP, Growth Marketing

Yesterday, the small business team at Google went to Mexico for National Entrepreneurs Week. It was exciting to hear stories about how some of Mexico’s four million small businesses—the second largest number in Latin America—are using the internet to succeed and grow. Let’s look at three ways these business owners have turned their passion into their life’s work.

Turning handmade clothes into a reliable income

Someone Somewhere helps indigenous women turn their craft—making clothes–into a reliable income. The organization uses Google My Business, a free way to create and enhance your business listing on Search and Maps, to help these women reach new customers and sell their art to people from Chiapas and Puebla to Baja, California. By adding inspiring photos, updated info, and more, business owners can make connections with their customers and earn their trust.

The story of the organization, Someone Somewhere

Google My Business now allows you to share updates on Search and Maps with Posts. If your menu changes, you have a seasonal sale, or you’re open for special hours on the holidays, you can post about it. Businesses that already use Posts are seeing great results—La Casa del Mendrugo, a restaurant in downtown Puebla, Mexico, got more than 80,000 views from a single post about their business.

A local florist created a striking website in under 10 minutes

Flores de Oaxaca used our free website builder to create an eye-catching site in under 10 minutes. And they are in good company, with the 90 thousand websites we’ve helped small businesses in Mexico build. By using the information from your Google My Business listing and providing simple templates, we make it easy to get your mobile-ready website up and running.

Having a website opened up a new world for us. Dora Isabel
Founder of Flores de Oaxaca

A baker uses ads to connect with new customers

Once a business has a complete listing and an eye-catching website, it can reach more interested customers online with ads. When Pasteles Increibles started using AdWords Express, they went from getting 2 calls a day to getting 50.

Story of Pasteles Increibles

AdWords Express helps small businesses set up a custom ad campaign in 15 minutes, and lets you choose the real-world results you want—calls, in-store visits, or website actions.

Small businesses have as many unique backgrounds and goals as the people running them. They use what makes them different to become the lifeblood of their communities, bringing jobs and character to the places in which they thrive. And I believe that together we can do more. Juntos podemos hacer más.

Yesterday, the small business team at Google went to Mexico for National Entrepreneur’s Week to talk about how small businesses are using our products to succeed and grow online.

Facts, trends and unheard voices: empowering journalists during the upcoming German electionFacts, trends and unheard voices: empowering journalists during the upcoming German electionHead of News Lab, Germany

For the News Lab, elections are opportunities to empower journalists with the technology and data they need to keep their readers informed. For the German election on September 24th, our efforts are formed around three key themes: promoting accurate content, offering data that provides helpful context, and surfacing unheard voices.

Guiding all of these efforts is a spirit of experimentation and collaboration with news partners to address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities digital reporting presents.

Promoting accurate content

On September 4th, alongside Facebook, we began helping two organizations—First Draft and Correctiv—monitor misleading information during the German election. First Draft is a coalition of organizations dedicated to improving skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information that emerges online. Correctiv is the first nonprofit investigative newsroom in the German-speaking world. Its fact-checking team started a few months ago and is a member of the International Fact Checking Network.

As a part of our partnership with Corrective, we funded and supported a team of journalists from across Germany called WahlCheck17 (Election Check 17). The team will work in a pop-up newsroom opened at the Corrective office to verify and fact-check online news stories and conversations in real-time during the final few weeks before the election. The team includes fact-checking experts from First Draft and Corrective, experienced students and graduates from the Hamburg Media School, and freelance journalists.

In the same vein as First Draft’s work on CrossCheck in France and our partnership with Full Fact during the UK general election in May, the WahlCheck17 team will alert German newsrooms by publishing a daily newsletter that lists the most popular rumors, manipulated photos and videos, and misleading articles and data visualizations circulating online, and offers additional context on the sources.

Using Trends to offer additional context

Google Trends offers insight into the candidates, parties, and moments that dominate the election campaign. Our new Google Trends election hub highlights search interest in top political issues and parties, with embeddable graphics that show what people across Germany have been most interested in throughout the election campaign.

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2Q17, a unique data visualization created by the renowned data designer Moritz Stefaner, depicts queries that Germans are searching for in relation to the top candidates. This project is part of Google News Lab’s series of visual experiments to develop innovative and interactive storytelling formats to cover important news moments.

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Surfacing unheard voices

During the French presidential election, the News Lab partnered with a publisher to surface the views of voters across France in 360. Now we’re working with Euronews on a similar project to surface unheard voices in Germany. In partnership with German regional media outlets, who will provide context on the socioeconomic conditions of their respective regions, this project will provide an immersive journey through Germany in the weeks leading up to the election. Watch the first episode starring Masih Rahimi, an Afghan migrant and IT trainee living in Passau.

At the News Lab, we strongly believe in the importance of quality journalism and the power of collaboration between tech and media companies to strengthen it. During elections, this is more important than ever. If you want to find out more about Google‘s efforts for the German election read our German blog.

News Lab efforts ahead of the German election center around three themes: promoting accurate content, offering data that provides helpful context, and surfacing unheard voices.

We went to Google with our daughters for the day. Here’s what we saw.We went to Google with our daughters for the day. Here’s what we saw.Mom of the Editor-in-ChiefMom of the Managing Editor

Editor’s Note: Every other year, Google hosts “Take Your Parents to Work Day,” when parents of Googlers visit the campus and get a glimpse of what it’s like to work there. There are lots of activities to keep the parents busy, and snacks to keep them fed. To mark the occasion, the proud moms of the Keyword editors stepped in to share their perspective of the day’s activities.

First day of Google

Gregoria (mom of Elisabeth): When my husband and I arrived on campus, it felt like first day of school—but  this time, our daughter was the one taking us by the hand. We spent the morning checking out the activities at the “expo,” starting at the CodeLab where, after a few minutes of tinkering, I realized that I needed a basic knowledge of HTML. That was the end of that, so we moved on to a lesson on mindful eating and then a demo from the Google Ergonomics team, who help Googlers set up their desks to make them as comfortable as possible. A piece of feedback for next year: let me take a Google Ergonomics specialist with me to my office! 

Lisbeth (mom of Emily): The atmosphere was festive: part open house, part Renaissance Faire. Stations to braid Google-colored ribbons into our hair or paint the green Android guy on our faces would not have seemed out of place. Proud but slightly dazzled parents trailed after their Googlers, listening as the young folks took charge. Photo ops and pink shirts were everywhere.

Gregoria: Speaking of photo ops, one of the best moments of the day was learning how to do a Boomerang.

Lisbeth: We marveled at the bravery of guests trying out silent disco [ed note: yes, we definitely had to explain what this was]. There was a station where people could record themselves speaking to help improve the Google Assistant’s voice recognition, and I lent my not-very-unusual voice patterns to the “Ok, Google…” database of pronunciation in English.

Seeing the sights at the Googleplex

Lisbeth: We visited Stan, the T-rex; the bocce ball courts; the Oreo guy … the egrets! We shared some introductions with people we met along the paths and took turns taking each other’s photos. We ate lots of snacks.

Gregoria: You see the Google brand everywhere on campus, especially on the t-shirts of the happy, casually dressed Googlers. I love all the flair—the bikes, the adirondack chairs, a giant Android peeking out of the second floor of a building (I wonder what goes on in that building?), the many types of flavored spa water.

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Team meeting with parents in the room and on Google Hangouts.

Meeting of … the moms

Lisbeth: Emily and Elisabeth’s team had a special “parent edition” of their weekly meeting. Some parents even joined in via Google Hangouts. Now I have a better idea of where my Googler spends her days and a better feel for the personalities of her colleagues. Meeting other parents gave me another little window into the environments that shaped the team members. Listening to everyone describe​ themselves and​ their work was a favorite part of the event—second only to spending a whole day knocking around with my sweet Emily. 

Gregoria: For a lot of us parents it’s hard to understand what our kids do day-to-day at Google. I got a glimpse into my daughter’s work day and it was really special to see firsthand an environment that supports her and encourages her to grow and learn. I also enjoyed meeting the parents of her teammates—now I know why their children are brilliant!

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Elisabeth’s parents actually got to rest in the “rest-y things” before TGIF.

TGIF: the day ends in harmony

Gregoria: Lots of food trucks showed up before TGIF—Google’s weekly company-wide meeting—and per Elisabeth’s advice, we had to look at every truck before deciding what to order. After surveying our options, we listened to Googlepella, one of Google’s super talented a capella groups. Yes, Google has more than one a capella group … apparently we had just missed a performance from the Alphabeats. 

Lisbeth: Walking around before TGIF, I asked Emily, “What are those tents?” She replied, in her understated way​, “I think they’re just rest-y things.”

Lisbeth: We finished the day in the amphitheatre, where Sergey and Sundar fielded questions with quick wit and wisdom.

Gregoria: I admire a CEO who takes the time to answer questions from nosy parents. I liked the part of the presentation when they talked about the Google Assistant, which I downloaded on my iPhone. But I’m still waiting for my Googler to teach me how to use it …

Lisbeth: Google is still big and mysterious. The world’s future is uncertain as ever. But it is a comfort to know that smart, conscientious, dedicated people are working to meet the challenges we face.

Moms of the Keyword editors share their experience at Google’s “Take Your Parents to Work Day.”

Box: Bringing image recognition and OCR to cloud content managementBox: Bringing image recognition and OCR to cloud content managementSenior Director of Product Management

Editor’s note: In this guest editorial by Box’s Senior Director of Product Management, Ben Kus tells us how they used Google Cloud Vision to add a new level of image recognition to Box.

Images are the second most common and fastest growing type of file stored in Box. Trust us: that’s a lot of images.

Ranging from marketing assets to product photos to completed forms captured on a mobile device, these images are relevant to business processes and contain a ton of critical information. And yet, despite the wealth of value in these files, the methods that organizations use to identify, classify and tag images are still mostly manual.

Personal services like Google Photos, on the other hand, have gone far beyond simply storing images. These services intelligently organize photos, making them easier to discover. They also automatically recognize images, producing a list of relevant photos when users search for specific keywords. As we looked at this technology, we thought, “Why can’t we bring it to the enterprise?”

The idea was simple: find a way to help our customers get more value from the images they store in Box. We wanted to make image files as easy to find and search through as text documents. We needed the technology to provide high-quality image labeling, be cost-effective and scale to the massive amount of image files stored in Box. We also needed it to handle thousands of image uploads per second and had to ensure that users actually found the image recognition useful. But we didn’t want to build a team of machine learning experts to develop yet another image analysis technology—that just wasn’t the best use of our resources.

That’s where Google Cloud Vision came in. The image analysis results were high-quality, the pay-as-you-go pricing model enabled us to get something to market quickly without an upfront cost (aside from engineering resources), and we trusted that the service backed by Google expertise could seamlessly scale to support our needs. And, since many of the image files in Box contain text—such as licenses, forms and contracts—Cloud Vision’s optical character recognition (OCR) was a huge bonus. It could even recognize handwriting!

Using the Google Cloud Vision was straightforward. The API accepts an image file, analyzes the image’s content and extracts any printed words, and then returns labels and recognized characters in a JSON response. Google Cloud Vision classifies the image into categories based on similar images, analyzes the content based on the type of analysis provided in the developer’s request, and returns the results and a score of confidence in its analysis.

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Photo provided by Box

To securely communicate with Google Cloud Vision, we used the Google API Client Library for Java to establish an HTTPS connection via our proxy server. The simplest way to do this is to modify the JVM’s proxy settings (i.e., https.proxyHost and https.proxyPort) and use Java’s Authenticator class to provide credentials to the proxy. The downside of this approach is that it affects all of your outgoing connections, which may be undesirable (i.e., if you want other connections to not use the proxy). For this reason, we chose to use the ApacheHttpTransport class instead. It can be configured to use a proxy server only for the connections that it creates. For more information, see this post.

To access Google Cloud Vision, you need credentials—either an API key or a service account. Regardless of which credentials you use, you’ll want to keep them secret, so that no one else can use your account (and your money!). For example, do not store your credentials directly in your code or your source tree, do control access to them, do encrypt them at rest, and do cycle them periodically.

So, in order to bring these powerful capabilities to Box, we needed a set of images to send to the API and a destination for the results returned by the API. Now, when an image is uploaded to a folder in Box with the feature enabled—either via the web application or the API—the image is automatically labeled and text is automatically recognized and tagged using metadata. Plus, these metadata and representation values are then indexed for search, which means users can use our web application, a partner integration or even a custom application built on the Box Platform to search for keywords that might be found in their image content. And the search results will appear almost instantly based on the Google Cloud Vision’s analysis. Developers can also request the metadata on the image file via the Box API to use elsewhere in an application.

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Photo provided by Box

As you can imagine, the ability to automatically classify and label images provides dozens of powerful use cases for Box customers. In our beta, we’re working with companies across a number of industries:

  • A retail customer is using image recognition in Box to optimize digital asset management of product photos. With automatic object detection and metadata labels, they can cut out manual tagging and organization of critical images that are central to multi-channel processes.

  • A major media company is using image recognition in Box to automatically tag massive amounts of inbound photos from freelance photographers around the globe. Previously, there was no way they could preview and tag every single image. Now they can automatically analyze more images than ever before, and unlock new ways to derive value from that content.

  • A global real estate firm is leveraging optical character recognition in Box to digitize workflows for paper-based leases and agreements, allowing their employees to skip a manual tagging process while classifying sensitive assets more quickly.

We’re excited to continue experimenting with GCP’s APIs to help our customers get more out of their content in Box. You can learn more about this from our initial announcement.

Google’s Digital News Initiative FundGoogle’s Digital News Initiative FundUniversity of Groningen and Google DNI Innovation Fund Council Member

Editor’s note: In April 2015, Google announced the Digital News Initiative, a partnership with European news organizations to support high-quality journalism through technology and innovation. In this guest post, Bart Brouwers, a Dutch journalism professor at the University of Groningen and a council member of the Digital News Initiative’s Fund, looks back at what the Digital News Initiative’s fund has accomplished so far.

If the distribution of money from Google’s DNI Innovation Fund is any indicator of the state of innovation in Europe, then Britain and Germany are doing great.

With more than 90 funded projects between them in the first three rounds of funding, the two countries stand head and shoulders above the others. Germany’s projects have been allocated more than 13 million euros, with around 7 million in Britain. Spain (with 25 projects) is just behind them: 6.6 million euros. My home country the Netherlands is in the middle with 18 projects and allocated funding of 2.5 million euros.

So far, 73.5 million of the available 150 million euro have been distributed. The newest winners were announced on July 6 and we’ll begin accepting applications for Round 4 on September 13.

As a member of the DNI Innovation Fund Council, I often get questions about how the process works, how projects are evaluated and what role the Fund plays in furthering innovation in publishing. I’ll do my best to explain it here.

The DNI Council consists of three Google representatives and ten publishers, scientists and journalists from across Europe. The Chairman is Portugal’s Joao Palmeiro. For the 10 of us who are non-Googlers it’s voluntary work; For us, it’s an opportunity to see behind the scenes of European media innovation. Because of the overwhelming interest (some 3,082 initiatives were submitted for the first three rounds!), the Council focuses mainly on the category of large projects—that is, applications for more than 300,000 euros.

When we met in the Dutch innovation capital of Eindhoven this June to judge the applicants of the third round, the debate occasionally became heated; justifying the acceptance or rejection of a proposal isn’t something any of us takes lightly. The debate over each application, as well as the distribution of funding across countries takes time because, just as the level of innovation differs from country to country, so does the number of applications, the nature of the projects and more.

Because it’s difficult to weigh a blockchain application against a video project or a new distribution model for content we consider six aspects when evaluating projects: the potential impact on the European ecosystem, transformation for the organization, innovation, the use of technology, feasibility and income possibilities. In particular, in evaluating the aspect of transformation, organizations which may be lagging behind in digitization terms are given a bit of an extra chance. This means that sometimes a project receives assistance because the applicant’s organization or country might be transformed by the project—even if a similar project is already running elsewhere.

This is an important point for potential applicants to know: that the presence of a similar initiative elsewhere is not a reason to deny funding. Two initiatives working on a similar topic can sometimes have a better chance of succeeding than just one, and the circumstances between projects are always just a little bit different.

When reflecting upon the trends of which initiatives are receiving funding, I’d argue that it’s not a reflection of the Council’s taste, but of the breadth and variety of the applications. In the first two rounds, for example, as detailed in the DNI Innovation Fund Report, seven categories rose to the top: Intelligence, Workflow, Interface, Social, Business Model, Distribution and “Next Journalism.” This last group—far and away the largest—includes issues of verification (pretty much everything summed up in the battle against fake news, and restoring trust in journalism). Around 25 projects of this type received support in the first two rounds—and funding was decided before “fake news” became household language.

Of course through the Digital News Initiative, Google wants to display its friendliest face to the European media sector. That this image cannot be taken for granted recently became apparent again with the 2.4-billion fine imposed by the European Commission in its antitrust action for Google’s shopping comparison service, but the internet giant has also had other difficulties with Europe. Free news, a “captured” advertising market–these are just a few of the accusations which the publishers and the European Commission lay at Google’s door.

The DNI Fund meets a need, both for the news industry as a whole and for the individual players in it. Given the massive volume of applications, there certainly appears to be no shame in taking Google’s money.

Recently many DNI-Fund supported project teams from all over Europe met in Amsterdam to demonstrate their progress. For many, the DNI support was essential to the steps they have taken so far—and that progress should be celebrated. But it should not gloss over the fact that true innovation entails plenty of failure. For Council members, this comes up quite often: how important is it to support initiatives whose feasibility might be doubtful, but which could certainly inject new movement into the sector even if they fail? For the time being the need for media innovation in Europe is still so great that the answer is a full-throated yes.

Would you also like to submit an application to the DNI fund? Submissions will open again starting September 13 until October 12. More info on the DNI website. You can also download our first DNI Innovation Fund report 2016-2017 to read more about our funded projects and key insights.  

In this guest post, Bart Brouwers, a Dutch journalism professor at the University of Groningen and a council member of the Digital News Initiative’s Fund, looks back at what the Digital News Initiative’s fund has accomplished so far.

Safe Browsing: Protecting more than 3 billion devices worldwide, automaticallySafe Browsing: Protecting more than 3 billion devices worldwide, automatically

In 2007, we launched Safe Browsing, one of Google’s earliest anti-malware efforts. To keep our users safe, we’d show them a warning before they visited a site that might’ve harmed their computers.

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An early Safe Browsing notification

Computing has evolved a bit in the last decade, though. Smartphones created a more mobile internet, and now AI is increasingly changing how the world interacts with it. Safe Browsing also had to evolve to effectively protect users.

And it has: In May 2016, we announced that Safe Browsing was protecting more than 2 billion devices from badness on the internet. Today we’re announcing that Safe Browsing has crossed the threshold to 3 billion devices. We’re sharing a bit more about how we got here, and where we’re going.

What is Safe Browsing?

You may not know Safe Browsing by name, since most of the time we’re invisibly protecting you, without getting in the way. But you may have seen a warning like this at some point:

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This notification is one of the visible parts of Safe Browsing, a collection of Google technologies that hunt badness—typically websites that deceive users—on the internet. We identify sites that might try to phish you, or sites that install malware or other undesirable software. The systems that make up Safe Browsing work together to identify, analyze and continuously keep Safe Browsing’s knowledge of the harmful parts of the internet up to date.

This protective information that we generate—a curated list of places that are dangerous for people and their devices—is used across many of our products. It helps keep search results safe and keep ads free from badness; it’s integral to Google Play Protect and keeps you safe on Android; and it helps Gmail shield you from malicious messages.

And Safe Browsing doesn’t protect only Google’s products. For many years, Safari and Firefox have protected their users with Safe Browsing as well. If you use an up-to-date version of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, you’re protected by default. Safe Browsing is also used widely by web developers and app developers (including Snapchat), who integrate our protections by checking URLs before they’re presented to their users.

Protecting more people with fewer bits

In the days when web browsers were used only on personal computers, we didn’t worry much about the amount of data Safe Browsing sent over the internet to keep your browser current. Mobile devices changed all that: Slow connections, expensive mobile data plans, and scarce battery capacity became important new considerations.

So over the last few years, we’ve rethought how Safe Browsing delivers data. We built new technologies to make its data as compact as possible: We only send the information that’s most protective to a given device, and we make sure this data is compressed as tightly as possible. (All this work benefits desktop browsers, too!)

We initially introduced our new mobile-optimized method in late 2015 with Chrome on Android, made it more broadly available in mid-2016, when we also started actively encouraging Android developers to integrate it. With the release of iOS 10 in September 2016, Safari began using our new, efficient Safe Browsing update technology, giving iOS users a protection boost.

Safe Browsing in an AI-first world

The internet is at the start of another major shift. Safe Browsing has already been using machine learning for many years to detect much badness of many kinds. We’re continually evaluating and integrating cutting-edge new approaches to improve Safe Browsing.

Protecting all users across all their platforms makes the internet safer for everyone. Wherever the future of the internet takes us, Safe Browsing will be there, continuing to evolve, expand, and protect people wherever they are.

In 2007, we launched Safe Browsing, one of Google’s earliest anti-malware efforts. Today we’re announcing that Safe Browsing is protecting more than 3 billion devices from badness on the internet.