Find the perfect playlist to stream with the Google Home app

Finding the right song, album or playlist can make anything you do during your day that much more enjoyable. Maybe start your day off with a cup of coffee and some Relaxing Film Scores. Want something more upbeat? Get a pick-me-up with Rave-Up Wake-Up: EDM Morning. Need to make dinner? How about some Classic Bossa Nova or Today’s Biggest Hits? All told there are more than 40 million songs available, on 200+ cast-compatible music and audio apps, to listen to on your favorite speakers.

ListenTab_GoogleHomeApp

That’s a lot of music to choose from, so today we’re making it easier for you to find the perfect playlist, album or artist to listen to with the new Listen tab in the Google Home app, a dedicated space for all your favorite music.

The new Listen tab shows you curated lists of ready-to-stream, personalized albums and playlists from your favorite music apps, like Google Play Music and Spotify. You’ll also find compatible music and audio apps you already have on your phone or tablet, as well as a section to discover new apps to download.

So whether you’re looking for an upbeat playlist to listen to while you cook, or a something to unwind after dinner, the Google Home app is ready to help you find the perfect entertainment to cast to your TV or speakers.

To download the Google Home app, go to the Google Play Store or the App Store, or to learn more about the Listen tab, head to this Chromecast Help Center article.

The She Word: Nishma Robb, storytelling for change

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.

In our fourth installment of the “She Word” series, we talked to Nishma Robb. At Google, she is the Head of Ads Marketing for the UK and Ireland. But at home, she’s best known for helping her twins chase unicorns and search for rainbows.

nishma

Why are you proud to be a woman at Google?

I am proud of all the women I work with and encounter at Google—we are a community that embraces every type of woman. I’m inspired by these women who are bursting with ideas and the ability to make things happen. They have the passion and force to change the world and make a difference for women today and for future generations to come.

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

I tell stories to shape people’s perspectives of how we help businesses and brands grow through our advertising solutions.

If you could ask one woman from history a question … who would it be and what would you ask?

I loved “Jane Eyre” when I was a little girl. And my twins are reading about the Brontë sisters in Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls—they pour over the book every night, learning about the wonderful stories of incredible women (and I recently invested in a Kickstarter campaign to bring the book to print!). At one point in her career, the wonderful Charlotte Brontë (the eldest of the sisters) sent her poetry to a famous poet and his response was “I do not like your poems at all: literature is a man’s business.” If I could go back in time, I’d ask Charlotte how she picked herself up at that moment and persevered.

What’s the last book you read or show/movie you binged?

I recently saw “Hidden Figures.” I love this movie for so many reasons. It’s empowering, uplifting and joyful. Please go and see it! The last book I read is “Mad Girl” by Bryony Gordon—it’s an honest, insightful autobiography about her experiences with OCD, depression, bulimia, alopecia and drug dependency. I hope it helps to remove the stigma of talking about mental health, and gets the message out that there is no such thing as “normal.”

What advice would you give to women starting out in
their careers?

Take your time. Pacing your journey is so important. Sometimes in our constant rush to progress and achieve, we do not savor opportunities or take advantage of exploring new challenges to discover our strengths. It is okay to make mistakes—it’s good to take risks and make mistakes, so long as you learn and build from them.  

What do you hope to accomplish on behalf of women everywhere?

I want to radically change the way women are represented in our world—in film, media and advertising—so that little girls (and boys) realize there is no such thing as “girls’ jobs” or “boys’ jobs.”  

Bringing pixels front and center in VR video

Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a new series where we take a more in-depth and technical look at ways to improve the virtual reality experience. Today, we’re deep diving into Equi-Angular Cubemaps, which is a new technique to stream higher quality VR video.

Since ancient times, cartographers have strived to make maps that accurately reflect the world. A central challenge of the art is projecting the Earth, which is curved, onto flat paper and screens. Many methods of projection have been proposed over the centuries, but to date no universally good answer has been found: every choice is always a tradeoff tuned for its intended use. Because new services like Google Maps and applications like VR video seek to provide accurate and meaningful information about our curved, 3D world on a 2D screen, this challenge persists even today.

While traditional cartography techniques must address the basic challenge of how to represent the world in 2D, video streaming also faces a new constraint that early mapmakers didn’t have: making efficient use of bandwidth. Streaming high quality video pushes the limits of network bandwidth, particularly for mobile networks. And when considering VR video, the bandwidth demands are vastly increased since it must represent imagery from a full sphere rather than just a small window onto the world. Stereo video roughly doubles the data yet again. Therefore making the most of available bandwidth is a top concern.

Now, in a joint effort between YouTube and Daydream, we’re adding new ways to make 360 and VR videos look even more realistic in a bandwidth-constrained world. This post delves into how these techniques work thanks to Equi-Angular Cubemaps (EACs). To benefit from them, consider putting your content on YouTube. EACs are likely to be useful in many other contexts as well, so we look forward to seeing what can be done with them.

Equirectangular Projection

The most familiar representation is one where latitudes and longitudes are used to form a square grid. This is known as the Equirectangular Projection.

EquirectGlobe

Equirectangular projection of the Tissot Indicatrix

The equirectangular projection has the advantages of being both rectangular and straightforward to visualize. It’s also relatively easy to manipulate using existing video editing tools. However, when used for video transmission, it has serious problems. First, the poles get a lot of pixels, and the equator gets relatively few. This is challenging, because spherical videos usually have their important content distributed around the equatorial regions (the middle), which is the viewer’s horizon. It also has high distortion, which makes existing video compression technology work harder.

Taken together, these shortcomings highlight the fundamental challenge of spherical video projection: evenly allocating video pixels over the surface of the display sphere.

Traditional Cube Maps

An improvement on equirectangular projections frequently used in the gaming industry is the cube map. This is conceptually simple: deform a sphere into a cube, then unfold the cube’s six faces and lay them flat.

StandardCubemapGlobe

The most straightforward way to do this is with a simple radial projection: you embed the sphere in a cube and project the image on the sphere outwards onto the surface of the cube.

This is an improvement over equirectangular projections, but it still causes substantial variation in pixel density. The problem is that the centers of the cube faces are close to the sphere, while the corners are further away.

StandardCubemap2DViz

In the figure above, the rays have all been equally spaced over the circle, but the points where the rays intersect the square are not equally spaced. As a result, the corners get more video pixels than the centers, because the longer blue line spans more pixels on the square edge than the red line, which again shortchanges the equator. In the full three dimensional case, the effect is even more pronounced.

The Equi-Angular Cubemap (EAC)

You can correct for this variation by changing where you take the video’s pixel samples.

EAC2DViz

The rays emanating from the center represent a viewer’s line of sight, equally spaced by angular change. On the left is the traditional cubemap, where the mapping from face location to pixel location is linear. On the right is the more efficient EAC mapping.

The traditional cubemap has samples of varying length depending on the sample’s location on the cube face. EAC is specifically constructed to keep these lengths equal, creating uniformly allocated pixels. For all the reasons that cartography is hard, this 2D picture does not extend perfectly into 3D: if you choose to preserve one important feature of the mapping you invariably give up something else. Check out Conformal Mapping and Equal Area Projections for more information on preserving some characteristics at the cost of others. The EAC formula is mathematically precise in 2D, but only an approximation of an equal angle pixel distribution in 3D, albeit a pretty good approximation with manageable distortion.

Uniformity Comparisons

A useful method to visually compare different projection types is to use saturation maps. A saturation map shows a color-coded ratio of video pixel to display pixel density. The color coding goes from red to orange, yellow, green and finally blue. Green indicates an optimal pixel density ratio that’s near 1:1. Red, orange and yellow indicate insufficient density (too few video pixels for the available display pixels), and blue indicates wasted resources (too many video pixels for the available display pixels). You can change the overall colors on a saturation map by increasing the resolution of the video. But for a saturation map with lots of variation, as you bring the least saturated areas to green, you also increase the area of the video where resources are being wasted. Therefore, the ideal projection has a saturation map that is uniform in color – because it can be uniformly green with sufficient resolution.

Saturation is highly dependent on the size of the image as well as the resolution of the output device. Different choices of resolutions will alter the overall greenness or orangeness. The saturation maps below were generated from a specific case study, chosen to maximize the visibility of variation in saturation.

SaturationComp

Equirectangular Projection (left), Standard Cubemap (middle), Equi-Angular Cubemap (right)

Unsurprisingly, in the Equirectangular projection the poles are blue (wasteful, too many video pixels) and the equator orange (poor quality, too few video pixels).

In comparison, the Standard Cubemap moves the optimal green regions from near the poles towards the equator. The wasteful blue regions at the poles are gone altogether. On the other hand, the cubemap is better at the corners of the cube as compared to the center of its faces. Moreover, the equatorial region has the most variation in saturation, and the centers of the cube faces are actually lower quality than the worst regions of the equirectangular projection.

Finally, the EAC projection’s saturation is significantly more uniform than either of the previous two, while further improving quality around the equator. This uniformity allows maximal use of available bandwidth, thereby permitting a choice of whichever resolution delivers optimal pixel density in a given circumstance.

The Proof is in the Pudding

The end result of all this work is an easily visible improvement in viewer video quality. The image shows screen captures of the left eye for 360 stereo video at 720p displayed in a 1080p Google Cardboard viewer. The bigger image is for context of the scene, while the smaller callouts are zoomed in regions to make the differences more apparent. The callouts compare what this scene looks like with an equirectangular projection as opposed to the new Equi-Angular Cubemap. As you can see, the image is clearer with an EAC projection.

FrameCompare

The Devil is in the Details…

That covers how the EAC projection works in principle. But it’s worth addressing the layout of the cube faces in the video’s rectangular bounds and the actual math. The equations mapping a point on a cube face to a video pixel sample are straightforward.

MathPic3EAC

An analogous operation is done for each face.

Now all six sets of [0, 1] texture coordinates need to be packed into a single video texture. If video shape and size are constrained by hardware or streaming limitations, these layouts can be nontrivial, and they may require analysis in their own right.  There are many different ways to layout the six faces of the cube into a video rectangle.  In addition, there might be discontinuities where faces meet each other, which can cause problems with video encoding and pixel interpolation when rendering. Texture atlases used in games have similar issues, and they are usually addressed by adding padding at the discontinuities. These details offer an opportunity for making choices and tradeoffs for the way the abstract EAC concept is deployed.

For those of you who are familiar with OpenGL, you may have noticed that this can all be done with a cubemap texture and a fragment shader which alters the texture lookups. You’re correct! The actual math is left as an exercise for the reader.

Image quality matters a lot for VR, and it’s important to balance accurate projections with the realities of bandwidth constraints. Having reviewed some of the challenges with equirectangular projections and traditional cubemaps, it’s clear that Equi-Angular Cubemaps offer better results and more efficient use of resources. We believe it’s worth understanding EAC projections, since this is how we’re achieving higher quality streaming at lower bandwidth on YouTube. We’re excited to see how you use them in other contexts as well.

Send and request money in your Gmail app on Android

You can already reliably and safely share photos and files on the go with Gmail. Starting today, you can share money, too. Whether you’re splitting a dinner bill or planning a group trip, you now have a fee-free way to work out the details and settle up without ever leaving the Gmail app on Android, just like you can already do on the web. Plus, you can exchange money with anyone—not just people with Gmail addresses.

Sending money in Gmail is as easy as sending any other attachment. Just tap on the attachment icon and choose whether you want to send or request money.

send money_medium

Recipients are able to receive or request money right from the email itself—without having to install another payment app. They can even arrange for money they receive to go directly into their bank account. Either way, it’s completely free for both of you.

transfer money_medium

This feature is currently available in the U.S. only on Gmail on the web or Android.

With your Google Assistant, the weekend’s golden

Ready to get your green on for St. Patty’s celebrations? With parades going on across the country, you’re in luck—with a little help from your Google Assistant. Just touch and hold the Home button on your Android phone* and try this for a weekend that’s over the… rainbow:

  • Play Irish River Dance videos on YouTube
  • Text my bestie, “we’re learning this routine this weekend”
  • How do you say “we’re going to rock the parade” in Gaelic?
  • Give me walking directions to the Chicago River
  • Remind me to pick up something green in the morning

irish dance

For more things to try, check this out. Sláinte!

*The Google Assistant is available on Android Marshmallow and Nougat Phones with Google Play Services. To get started, simply touch and hold the Home button on your phone.

The High Five: vibrant women, colorful blooms and (less) colorful donuts

You made it to Friday. Can we get a High Five? In this new series, we’ll show you what’s trending on Google with a look at five of the top searches from the week of March 6th.

International Women’s Day

On Wednesday March 8th, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. People searched on Google to learn more about the day, iconic women throughout history, and how people celebrated this week. Here at Google, we had a lot going on with Doodles, on VR and YouTube, and in media.   

gif

ed

Ed Sheeran

People aren’t just Thinking Out Loud about Ed Sheeran, they’re searching for him. This week he announced a world tour, and all 16 songs on his latest album, “Divide,” are expected to make it into Billboard’s Top 40 … solidifying his spot on the A Team. His album on YouTube already has more than a billion views—looks like All of the Stars are aligning for Ed.

Super Blooms

Everything’s bigger in Texas, but there are “super blooms” in California. The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is seeing its biggest super bloom in 12 years, but flower-lovers have to act fast. This oasis of wildflower blossoms could disappear soon, thanks to high winds and the area’s infamously hungry caterpillars.   

blooms

tim

Tim Tebow

Heisman trophy winner and former NFL star Tim Tebow is trading touchdowns for home runs. The former Broncos quarterback made his baseball debut this week at spring training with the New York Mets.

Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins

Donut and ice cream lovers might see a change in some of their favorite flavors. Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins announced that they will eliminate synthetic colors from their food and beverages by the end of 2018.  

donut

100 announcements (!) from Google Cloud Next ’17

San Francisco — What a week! Google Cloud Next ‘17 has come to the end, but really, it’s just the beginning. We welcomed 10,000+ attendees including customers, partners, developers, IT leaders, engineers, press, analysts, cloud enthusiasts (and skeptics). Together we engaged in 3 days of keynotes, 200+ sessions, and 4 invitation-only summits. Hard to believe this was our first show as all of Google Cloud with GCP, G Suite, Chrome, Maps and Education. Thank you to all who were here with us in San Francisco this week, and we hope to see you next year.

If you’re a fan of video highlights, we’ve got you covered. Check out our Day 1 keynote (in less than 4 minutes) and Day 2 keynote (in under 5!).

One of the common refrains from customers and partners throughout the conference was “Wow, you’ve been busy. I can’t believe how many announcements you’ve had at Next!” So we decided to count all the announcements from across Google Cloud and in fact we had 100 (!) announcements this week.

For the list lovers amongst you, we’ve compiled a handy-dandy run-down of our announcements from the past few days:

100-announcements-15

Google Cloud is excited to welcome two new acquisitions to the Google Cloud family this week, Kaggle and AppBridge.

1Kaggle – Kaggle is one of the world’s largest communities of data scientists and machine learning enthusiasts. Kaggle and Google Cloud will continue to support machine learning training and deployment services in addition to offering the community the ability to store and query large datasets.

2AppBridge – Google Cloud acquired Vancouver-based AppBridge this week, which helps you migrate data from on-prem file servers into G Suite and Google Drive.

100-announcements-4

Google Cloud brings a suite of new security features to Google Cloud Platform and G Suite designed to help safeguard your company’s assets and prevent disruption to your business: 

3Identity-Aware Proxy (IAP) for Google Cloud Platform (Beta) – Identity-Aware Proxy lets you provide access to applications based on risk, rather than using a VPN. It provides secure application access from anywhere, restricts access by user, identity and group, deploys with integrated phishing resistant Security Key and is easier to setup than end-user VPN.

4Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Google Cloud Platform (Beta) – Data Loss Prevention API lets you scan data for 40+ sensitive data types, and is used as part of DLP in Gmail and Drive. You can find and redact sensitive data stored in GCP, invigorate old applications with new sensitive data sensing “smarts” and use predefined detectors as well as customize your own.

5Key Management Service (KMS) for Google Cloud Platform (GA) – Key Management Service allows you to generate, use, rotate, and destroy symmetric encryption keys for use in the cloud.

6Security Key Enforcement (SKE) for Google Cloud Platform (GA) – Security Key Enforcement allows you to require security keys be used as the 2-Step verification factor for enhanced anti-phishing security whenever a GCP application is accessed.

7Vault for Google Drive (GA) – Google Vault is the eDiscovery and archiving solution for G Suite. Vault enables admins to easily manage their G Suite data lifecycle and search, preview and export the G Suite data in their domain. Vault for Drive enables full support for Google Drive content, including Team Drive files.

8Google-designed security chip, Titan – Google uses Titan to establish hardware root of trust, allowing us to securely identify and authenticate legitimate access at the hardware level. Titan includes a hardware random number generator, performs cryptographic operations in the isolated memory, and has a dedicated secure processor (on-chip).

100-announcements-7

New GCP data analytics products and services help organizations solve business problems with data, rather than spending time and resources building, integrating and managing the underlying infrastructure:

9BigQuery Data Transfer Service (Private Beta) – BigQuery Data Transfer Service makes it easy for users to quickly get value from all their Google-managed advertising datasets. With just a few clicks, marketing analysts can schedule data imports from Google Adwords, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick for Publishers and YouTube Content and Channel Owner reports.

10Cloud Dataprep (Private Beta) – Cloud Dataprep is a new managed data service, built in collaboration with Trifacta, that makes it faster and easier for BigQuery end-users to visually explore and prepare data for analysis without the need for dedicated data engineer resources.

11New Commercial Datasets – Businesses often look for datasets (public or commercial) outside their organizational boundaries. Commercial datasets offered include financial market data from Xignite, residential real-estate valuations (historical and projected) from HouseCanary, predictions for when a house will go on sale from Remine, historical weather data from AccuWeather, and news archives from Dow Jones, all immediately ready for use in BigQuery (with more to come as new partners join the program).

12Python for Google Cloud Dataflow in GA – Cloud Dataflow is a fully managed data processing service supporting both batch and stream execution of pipelines. Until recently, these benefits have been available solely to Java developers. Now there’s a Python SDK for Cloud Dataflow in GA.

13Stackdriver Monitoring for Cloud Dataflow (Beta) – We’ve integrated Cloud Dataflow with Stackdriver Monitoring so that you can access and analyze Cloud Dataflow job metrics and create alerts for specific Dataflow job conditions.

14Google Cloud Datalab in GA – This interactive data science workflow tool makes it easy to do iterative model and data analysis in a Jupyter notebook-based environment using standard SQL, Python and shell commands.

15Cloud Dataproc updates – Our fully managed service for running Apache Spark, Flink and Hadoop pipelines has new support for restarting failed jobs (including automatic restart as needed) in beta, the ability to create single-node clusters for lightweight sandbox development, in beta, GPU support, and the cloud labels feature, for more flexibility managing your Dataproc resources, is now GA.

100-announcements-9

New GCP databases and database features round out a platform on which developers can build great applications across a spectrum of use cases:

16Cloud SQL for Postgre SQL (Beta) – Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL implements the same design principles currently reflected in Cloud SQL for MySQL, namely, the ability to securely store and connect to your relational data via open standards.

17Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise (GA) – Available on Google Compute Engine, plus support for Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) and SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability (GA).

18Cloud SQL for MySQL improvements – Increased performance for demanding workloads via 32-core instances with up to 208GB of RAM, and central management of resources via Identity and Access Management (IAM) controls.

19Cloud Spanner – Launched a month ago, but still, it would be remiss not to mention it because, hello, it’s Cloud Spanner! The industry’s first horizontally scalable, globally consistent, relational database service.

20SSD persistent-disk performance improvements – SSD persistent disks now have increased throughput and IOPS performance, which are particularly beneficial for database and analytics workloads. Read these docs for complete details about persistent-disk performance.

21Federated query on Cloud Bigtable – We’ve extended BigQuery’s reach to query data inside Cloud Bigtable, the NoSQL database service for massive analytic or operational workloads that require low latency and high throughput (particularly common in Financial Services and IoT use cases).

100-announcements-11

New GCP Cloud Machine Learning services bolster our efforts to make machine learning accessible to organizations of all sizes and sophistication:

22.  Cloud Machine Learning Engine (GA) – Cloud ML Engine, now generally available, is for organizations that want to train and deploy their own models into production in the cloud.

23Cloud Video Intelligence API (Private Beta) – A first of its kind, Cloud Video Intelligence API lets developers easily search and discover video content by providing information about entities (nouns such as “dog,” “flower”, or “human” or verbs such as “run,” “swim,” or “fly”) inside video content.

24Cloud Vision API (GA) – Cloud Vision API reaches GA and offers new capabilities for enterprises and partners to classify a more diverse set of images. The API can now recognize millions of entities from Google’s Knowledge Graph and offers enhanced OCR capabilities that can extract text from scans of text-heavy documents such as legal contracts or research papers or books.

25Machine learning Advanced Solution Lab (ASL) – ASL provides dedicated facilities for our customers to directly collaborate with Google’s machine-learning experts to apply ML to their most pressing challenges.

26. Cloud Jobs API – A powerful aid to job search and discovery, Cloud Jobs API now has new features such as Commute Search, which will return relevant jobs based on desired commute time and preferred mode of transportation.

27Machine Learning Startup Competition – We announced a Machine Learning Startup Competition in collaboration with venture capital firms Data Collective and Emergence Capital, and with additional support from a16z, Greylock Partners, GV, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

100-announcements-10

New GCP pricing continues our intention to create customer-friendly pricing that’s as smart as our products; and support services that are geared towards meeting our customers where they are:

28Compute Engine price cuts – Continuing our history of pricing leadership, we’ve cut Google Compute Engine prices by up to 8%.

29Committed Use Discounts – With Committed Use Discounts, customers can receive a discount of up to 57% off our list price, in exchange for a one or three year purchase commitment paid monthly, with no upfront costs.

30Free trial extended to 12 months – We’ve extended our free trial from 60 days to 12 months, allowing you to use your $300 credit across all GCP services and APIs, at your own pace and schedule. Plus, we’re introduced new Always Free products — non-expiring usage limits that you can use to test and develop applications at no cost. Visit the Google Cloud Platform Free Tier page for details.

31Engineering Support – Our new Engineering Support offering is a role-based subscription model that allows us to match engineer to engineer, to meet you where your business is, no matter what stage of development you’re in. It has 3 tiers:

  • Development engineering support – ideal for developers or QA engineers that can manage with a response within four to eight business hours, priced at $100/user per month.
  • Production engineering support provides a one-hour response time for critical issues at $250/user per month.
  • On-call engineering support pages a Google engineer and delivers a 15-minute response time 24×7 for critical issues at $1,500/user per month.

32Cloud.google.com/community site – Google Cloud Platform Community is a new site to learn, connect and share with other people like you, who are interested in GCP. You can follow along with tutorials or submit one yourself, find meetups in your area, and learn about community resources for GCP support, open source projects and more.

100-announcements-8

New GCP developer platforms and tools reinforce our commitment to openness and choice and giving you what you need to move fast and focus on great code.

33Google AppEngine Flex (GA) – We announced a major expansion of our popular App Engine platform to new developer communities that emphasizes openness, developer choice, and application portability.

34Cloud Functions (Beta) – Google Cloud Functions has launched into public beta. It is a serverless environment for creating event-driven applications and microservices, letting you build and connect cloud services with code.

35Firebase integration with GCP (GA) – Firebase Storage is now Google Cloud Storage for Firebase and adds support for multiple buckets, support for linking to existing buckets, and integrates with Google Cloud Functions.

36Cloud Container Builder – Cloud Container Builder is a standalone tool that lets you build your Docker containers on GCP regardless of deployment environment. It’s a fast, reliable, and consistent way to package your software into containers as part of an automated workflow.

37. Community Tutorials (Beta)  – With community tutorials, anyone can now submit or request a technical how-to for Google Cloud Platform.

100-announcements-9

Secure, global and high-performance, we’ve built our cloud for the long haul. This week we announced a slew of new infrastructure updates. 

38. New data center region: California – This new GCP region delivers lower latency for customers on the West Coast of the U.S. and adjacent geographic areas. Like other Google Cloud regions, it will feature a minimum of three zones, benefit from Google’s global, private fibre network, and offer a complement of GCP services.

39. New data center region: Montreal – This new GCP region delivers lower latency for customers in Canada and adjacent geographic areas. Like other Google Cloud regions, it will feature a minimum of three zones, benefit from Google’s global, private fibre network, and offer a complement of GCP services.

40. New data center region: Netherlands – This new GCP region delivers lower latency for customers in Western Europe and adjacent geographic areas. Like other Google Cloud regions, it will feature a minimum of three zones, benefit from Google’s global, private fibre network, and offer a complement of GCP services.

41. Google Container Engine – Managed Nodes – Google Container Engine (GKE) has added Automated Monitoring and Repair of your GKE nodes, letting you focus on your applications while Google ensures your cluster is available and up-to-date.

42. 64 Core machines + more memory – We have doubled the number of vCPUs you can run in an instance from 32 to 64 and up to 416GB of memory per instance.

43. Internal Load balancing (GA) – Internal Load Balancing, now GA, lets you run and scale your services behind a private load balancing IP address which is accessible only to your internal instances, not the internet.

44. Cross-Project Networking (Beta) – Cross-Project Networking (XPN), now in beta, is a virtual network that provides a common network across several Google Cloud Platform projects, enabling simple multi-tenant deployments.

100-announcements-16

In the past year, we’ve launched 300+ features and updates for G Suite and this week we announced our next generation of collaboration and communication tools.

45. Team Drives (GA for G Suite Business, Education and Enterprise customers) – Team Drives help teams simply and securely manage permissions, ownership and file access for an organization within Google Drive.

46. Drive File Stream (EAP) – Drive File Stream is a way to quickly stream files directly from the cloud to your computer With Drive File Steam, company data can be accessed directly from your laptop, even if you don’t have much space on your hard drive.

47. Google Vault for Drive (GA for G Suite Business, Education and Enterprise customers) – Google Vault for Drive now gives admins the governance controls they need to manage and secure all of their files, including employee Drives and Team Drives. Google Vault for Drive also lets admins set retention policies that automatically keep what’s needed and delete what’s not.

48. Quick Access in Team Drives (GA) – powered by Google’s machine intelligence, Quick Access helps to surface the right information for employees at the right time within Google Drive. Quick Access now works with Team Drives on iOS and Android devices, and is coming soon to the web.

49. Hangouts Meet (GA to existing customers) – Hangouts Meet is a new video meeting experience built on the Hangouts that can run 30-person video conferences without accounts, plugins or downloads. For G Suite Enterprise customers, each call comes with a dedicated dial-in phone number so that team members on the road can join meetings without wifi or data issues.

50. Hangouts Chat (EAP) – Hangouts Chat is an intelligent communication app in Hangouts with dedicated, virtual rooms that connect cross-functional enterprise teams. Hangouts Chat integrates with G Suite apps like Drive and Docs, as well as photos, videos and other third-party enterprise apps.

51. @meet – @meet is an intelligent bot built on top of the Hangouts platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to automatically schedule meetings for your team with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar.

52. Gmail Add-ons for G Suite (Developer Preview) – Gmail Add-ons provide a way to surface the functionality of your app or service directly in Gmail. With Add-ons, developers only build their integration once, and it runs natively in Gmail on web, Android and iOS.

53. Edit Opportunities in Google Sheets – with Edit Opportunities in Google Sheets, sales reps can sync a Salesforce Opportunity List View to Sheets to bulk edit data and changes are synced automatically to Salesforce, no upload required.

54. Jamboard – Our whiteboard in the cloud goes GA in May! Jamboard merges the worlds of physical and digital creativity. It’s real time collaboration on a brilliant scale, whether your team is together in the conference room or spread all over the world.

100-announcements-17

Building on the momentum from a growing number of businesses using Chrome digital signage and kiosks, we added new management tools and APIs in addition to introducing support for Android Kiosk apps on supported Chrome devices. 

55. Android Kiosk Apps for Chrome – Android Kiosk for Chrome lets users manage and deploy Chrome digital signage and kiosks for both web and Android apps. And with Public Session Kiosks, IT admins can now add a number of Chrome packaged apps alongside hosted apps.

56. Chrome Kiosk Management Free trial – This free trial gives customers an easy way to test out Chrome for signage and kiosk deployments.

57. Chrome Device Management (CDM) APIs for Kiosks – These APIs offer programmatic access to various Kiosk policies. IT admins can schedule a device reboot through the new APIs and integrate that functionality directly in a third- party console.

58. Chrome Stability API – This new API allows Kiosk app developers to improve the reliability of the application and the system.

100-announcements-2

Attendees at Google Cloud Next ‘17 heard stories from many of our valued customers:

59. Colgate – Colgate-Palmolive partnered with Google Cloud and SAP to bring thousands of employees together through G Suite collaboration and productivity tools. The company deployed G Suite to 28,000 employees in less than six months.

60. Disney Consumer Products & Interactive (DCPI) – DCPI is on target to migrate out of its legacy infrastructure this year, and is leveraging machine learning to power next generation guest experiences.

61. eBay – eBay uses Google Cloud technologies including Google Container Engine, Machine Learning and AI for its ShopBot, a personal shopping bot on Facebook Messenger.

62. HSBC – HSBC is one of the world’s largest financial and banking institutions and making a large investment in transforming its global IT. The company is working closely with Google to deploy Cloud DataFlow, BigQuery and other data services to power critical proof of concept projects.

63. LUSH – LUSH migrated its global e-commerce site from AWS to GCP in less than six weeks, significantly improving the reliability and stability of its site. LUSH benefits from GCP’s ability to scale as transaction volume surges, which is critical for a retail business. In addition, Google’s commitment to renewable energy sources aligns with LUSH’s ethical principles.

64. Oden Technologies – Oden was part of Google Cloud’s startup program, and switched its entire platform to GCP from AWS. GCP offers Oden the ability to reliably scale while keeping costs low, perform under heavy loads and consistently delivers sophisticated features including machine learning and data analytics.

65. Planet – Planet migrated to GCP in February, looking to accelerate their workloads and leverage Google Cloud for several key advantages: price stability and predictability, custom instances, first-class Kubernetes support, and Machine Learning technology. Planet also announced the beta release of their Explorer platform.

66. Schlumberger – Schlumberger is making a critical investment in the cloud, turning to GCP to enable high-performance computing, remote visualization and development velocity. GCP is helping Schlumberger deliver innovative products and services to its customers by using HPC to scale data processing, workflow and advanced algorithms.

67. The Home Depot – The Home Depot collaborated with GCP’s Customer Reliability Engineering team to migrate HomeDepot.com to the cloud in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Moving to GCP has allowed the company to better manage huge traffic spikes at peak shopping times throughout the year.

68. Verizon – Verizon is deploying G Suite to more than 150,000 of its employees, allowing for collaboration and flexibility in the workplace while maintaining security and compliance standards. Verizon and Google Cloud have been working together for more than a year to bring simple and secure productivity solutions to Verizon’s workforce.

100-announcements-3

We brought together Google Cloud partners from our growing ecosystem across G Suite, GCP, Maps, Devices and Education. Our partnering philosophy is driven by a set of principles that emphasize openness, innovation, fairness, transparency and shared success in the cloud market. Here are some of our partners who were out in force at the show:

69. Accenture – Accenture announced that it has designed a mobility solution for Rentokil, a global pest control company, built in collaboration with Google as part of the partnership announced at Horizon in September.

70. Alooma – Alooma announced the integration of the Alooma service with Google Cloud SQL and BigQuery.

71. Authorized Training Partner Program – To help companies scale their training offerings more quickly, and to enable Google to add other training partners to the ecosystem, we are introducing a new track within our partner program to support their unique offerings and needs.

72. Check Point – Check Point® Software Technologies announced Check Point vSEC for Google Cloud Platform, delivering advanced security integrated with GCP as well as their joining of the Google Cloud Technology Partner Program.

73. CloudEndure – We’re collaborating with CloudEndure to offer a no cost, self-service migration tool for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) customers.

74. Coursera – Coursera announced that it is collaborating with Google Cloud Platform to provide an extensive range of Google Cloud training course. To celebrate this announcement  Coursera is offering all NEXT attendees a 100% discount for the GCP fundamentals class.

75. DocuSign – DocuSign announced deeper integrations with Google Docs.

76. Egnyte – Egnyte announced an enhanced integration with Google Docs that will allow our joint customers to create, edit, and store Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files right from within the Egnyte Connect.

77. Google Cloud Global Partner Awards – We recognized 12 Google Cloud partners that demonstrated strong customer success and solution innovation over the past year: Accenture, Pivotal, LumApps, Slack, Looker, Palo Alto Networks, Virtru, SoftBank, DoIT, Snowdrop Solutions, CDW Corporation, and SYNNEX Corporation.

78. iCharts – iCharts announced additional support for several GCP databases, free pivot tables for current Google BigQuery users, and a new product dubbed “iCharts for SaaS.”

79. Intel – In addition to the progress with Skylake, Intel and Google Cloud launched several technology initiatives and market education efforts covering IoT, Kubernetes and TensorFlow, including optimizations, a developer program and tool kits.

80. Intuit – Intuit announced Gmail Add-Ons, which are designed to integrate custom workflows into Gmail based on the context of a given email.

81. Liftigniter – Liftigniter is a member of Google Cloud’s startup program and focused on machine learning personalization using predictive analytics to improve CTR on web and in-app.

82. Looker – Looker launched a suite of Looker Blocks, compatible with Google BigQuery Data Transfer Service, designed to give marketers the tools to enhance analysis of their critical data.

83. Low interest loans for partners – To help Premier Partners grow their teams, Google announced that capital investment are available to qualified partners in the form of low interest loans.

84. MicroStrategy – MicroStrategy announced an integration with Google Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL and Google Cloud SQL for MySQL.

85. New incentives to accelerate partner growth – We are increasing our investments in multiple existing and new incentive programs; including, low interest loans to help Premier Partners grow their teams, increasing co-funding to accelerate deals, and expanding our rebate programs.

86. Orbitera Test Drives for GCP Partners – Test Drives allow customers to try partners’ software and generate high quality leads that can be passed directly to the partners’ sales teams. Google is offering Premier Cloud Partners one year of free Test Drives on Orbitera.

87. Partner specializations – Partners demonstrating strong customer success and technical proficiency in certain solution areas will now qualify to apply for a specialization. We’re launching specializations in application development, data analytics, machine learning and infrastructure.

88. Pivotal – GCP announced Pivotal as our first CRE technology partner. CRE technology partners will work hand-in-hand with Google to thoroughly review their solutions and implement changes to address identified risks to reliability.

89. ProsperWorks – ProsperWorks announced Gmail Add-Ons, which are designed to integrate custom workflows into Gmail based on the context of a given email.

90. Qwiklabs – This recent acquisition will provide Authorized Training Partners the ability to offer hands-on labs and comprehensive courses developed by Google experts to our customers.

91. Rackspace – Rackspace announced a strategic relationship with Google Cloud to become its first managed services support partner for GCP, with plans to collaborate on a new managed services offering for GCP customers set to launch later this year.

92. Rocket.Chat – Rocket.Chat, a member of Google Cloud’s startup program, is adding a number of new product integrations with GCP including Autotranslate via Translate API, integration with Vision API to screen for inappropriate content, integration to NLP API to perform sentiment analysis on public channels, integration with GSuite for authentication and a full move of back-end storage to Google Cloud Storage.

93. Salesforce – Salesforce announced Gmail Add-Ons, which are designed to integrate custom workflows into Gmail based on the context of a given email.

94. SAP – This strategic partnership includes certification of SAP HANA on GCP, new G Suite integrations and future collaboration on building machine learning features into intelligent applications like conversational apps that guide users through complex workflows and transactions.

95. Smyte – Smyte participated in the Google Cloud startup program and protects millions of actions a day on websites and mobile applications. Smyte recently moved from self-hosted Kubernetes to Google Container Engine (GKE).

96. Veritas – Veritas expanded its partnership with Google Cloud to provide joint customers with 360 Data Management capabilities. The partnership will help reduce data storage costs, increase compliance and eDiscovery readiness and accelerate the customer’s journey to Google Cloud Platform.

97. VMware Airwatch – Airwatch provides enterprise mobility management solutions for Android and continues to drive the Google Device ecosystem to enterprise customers.

98. Windows Partner Program– We’re working with top systems integrators in the Windows community to help GCP customers take full advantage of Windows and .NET apps and services on our platform.

99. Xplenty – Xplenty announced the addition of two new services from Google Cloud into their available integrations: Google Cloud Spanner and Google Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL.

100. Zoomdata – Zoomdata announced support for Google’s Cloud Spanner and PostgreSQL on GCP, as well as enhancements to the existing Zoomdata Smart Connector for Google BigQuery. With these new capabilities Zoomdata offers deeply integrated and optimized support for Google Cloud Platform’s Cloud Spanner, PostgreSQL, Google BigQuery, and Cloud DataProc services.

We’re thrilled to have so many new products and partners that can help all of our customers grow. And as our final announcement for Google Cloud Next ’17 — please save the date for Next 2018: June 4–6 in San Francisco.

I guess that makes it 101. 🙂

Google Cloud announces Machine Learning Startup Competition

Today, Google Cloud is excited to announce a Machine Learning Startup Competition in collaboration with venture capital firms Data Collective and Emergence Capital.  

Startups are eager to use machine learning to build new products and services for their customers. As Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist for Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, said this week, we want to do everything we can to make sure this technology is broadly available, powerful and simple to use for everyone.

The competition brings together promising early-stage startups using machine learning for an opportunity to receive up to $1M in Google Cloud Platform (GCP) credits and the potential to receive up to $1M of equity investment from our partners, Data Collective and Emergence Capital.

Startups invited to participate in our final pitch-off event will also have an opportunity to meet and receive feedback from our supporting partners, a16z, Greylock Partners, GV, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

In keeping with Google’s spirit of openness, teams don’t need to use GCP to be eligible for the competition. U.S.-based startups working in any sector — from health to financial services and from retail to mobile apps — are encouraged to apply.

Entries are due April 16, 2017. You can find all the details on eligibility, timeline and prizes on our competition website. Applications are open now! We look forward to learning more about your company!

2017 Google North America Public Policy Fellowship now accepting applications

The intersection of innovation and technology has never been more exciting. Over the last few of summers, we’ve shared this excitement with students from all over the U.S. who have participated in Google’s Public Policy Fellowship. The students are given the opportunity to work  at a diverse group of organizations and think tanks at the forefront of addressing some of today’s most challenging policy questions. Whether working on data security standards at a leading consumer group or innovation economy issues at a preeminent think tank, students gain hands-on experience tackling critical technology policy issues.

We’re excited to announce the 2017 North America Google Policy Fellowship, a paid fellowship that will continue to connect students interested in emerging technology policy issues with leading nonprofits, think tanks, and advocacy groups in Washington, DC and California. Below are the basic application guidelines. More specific information, including a list of this year’s hosts, can be found here.

  • You must be 18 years of age or older by January 1, 2017.

  • In order to participate in the program, you must be a student. Google defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs.

  • Eligibility is based on enrollment in an accredited university by January 1, 2017.You must be eligible and authorized to work in the country of your fellowship.

  • Program timeline is June 5th – August 11th, with regular programming throughout the summer.  

  • The application period opens today for the North America region and all applications must be received by 12:00AM midnight ET, Friday, March 24th.  

Acceptance will be announced the week of April 18th.  More fellowship opportunities in Asia, Africa, and Europe will be coming soon. You can learn about the program, application process and host organizations on the Google Public Policy Fellowship website.

The Torwali language and its new Android keyboard

Editor’s note: We invited Zubair Torwali, ​Executive Director​ of ​Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi​, an organization that works to promote northern Pakistan’s languages, to tell us how the new Torwali language Android keyboard will help preserve the language.

Torwali, a Dardic language with around 80,000 speakers in the Swat Valley, is one of Pakistan’s 27 highly endangered languages. With mounting pressures to speak the dominant Pashto language, Torwali is neither used at the public schools nor part of the formal curriculum.

For a long time, Torwali had no written alphabet, and therefore, little in the way of a written tradition. Around a decade ago, however, a team of language activists associated with Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi designed a spelling system (orthography) for Torwali under the expert guidance of linguists and educationists from the Summer Institute of Linguistics. The orthography was adapted from Arabic, much like Urdu, Pakistan’s national language.

Torwali needs four special phonemes (distinct units of sound) which are not in Urdu:

/ɶ/; /ɕ/; /ʐ/; /ʂ/

represented in Torwali writing as

“ݜ”, “ڙ” , “ڇ”, “ٲ”

In the Swat Valley, people primarily use Android smartphones to get access to the Internet and interact on social media.There are special keyboards for writing Torwali on computers, but only a few people in the Swat Valley have access to PCs. The question is then, how can people write in Torwali on their smartphones to communicate in their own language?

Wanting to make a specific Torwali script keyboard on Android smartphones, we contacted Google and worked with engineer Richard Sproat. Richard had experience building Tibetan and Khmer keyboards, and he helped us build  a Torwali keyboard into the Android Gboard keyboard. So now anyone with an Android phone running Jellybean or higher will be able to type in Torwali. To turn it on, just go to Settings in Android and then choose Languages & input > Virtual keyboard > Gboard > Languages > Torwali. (If you don’t have Gboard already, you can always download it from the Google Play Store here.)

Now people in the Swat Valley can use the keyboard to text their friends and family or update their status on social media. Endangered languages like Torwali can only be maintained by linking them with modern information technology, and a Gboard keyboard for Torwali is one step toward that goal​.