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18 years after Google Images, the Versace jungle print dress is back

Nearly 20 years ago, a green Versace dress broke the internet, and Google Images was born.It was February 2000 when Jennifer Lopez wore a jungle print dress, designed by Donatella Versace, to the Grammy Awards. Seemingly overnight it became a fashion legend, as well as the most popular search query Google had seen at the time. But back in 2000, search results were still just a list of blue links. When the Search team realized they weren’t able to directly surface the results that people wanted—a picture of Jennifer in the dress—they were inspired to create Google Images.Yesterday, at Milan Fashion Week, we reunited with Donatella Versace to celebrate nearly two decades since this iconic moment in fashion (and Google) history. We showed off a new, revamped green dress in the print, designed by Donatella Versace and modeled by J.Lo.Google Tilt Brush helped decorate the runway space with digital artwork inspired by the new print.The Google Assistant was on hand as well...No one predicted that the jungle print dress would have the technological impact that it did—not even J.Lo herself. Eighteen years later, Google Images is used by millions of people every day, not just to look for celebrity style or fashion photos, but to find ideas for redesigning a living room, creating a meal, or embarking on a DIY project. Who knows where our next big idea might come from?


Unleashing digital opportunities in Europe

Today I am in Helsinki, Finland, to meet with Finnish Prime Minister Rinne to discuss his priorities for the European Union Presidency, from building sustainable economic growth to achieving a carbon-free future. The Nordic countries are great examples of how the internet can help drive economic growth. As part of our vision to build a more helpful Google for everyone, we are supporting Europe’s digital ambitions in two ways. First, by continuing to invest in sustainable digital infrastructure across Europe. Today, I announced that we plan to invest 3 billion euros to expand our data centers across Europe over the next two years. That will bring our total investment in Europe’s internet infrastructure to 15 billion euros since 2007. Our investments generate economic activity for the region and support more than 13,000 full-time jobs in the EU every year, according to a study published today by Copenhagen Economics.As part of this new investment, we plan to invest another 600 million euros in 2020 to expand our data centre presence in Hamina, Finland, bringing the total investment by Google to 2 billion euros since 2009. Our investments will support approximately 4,300 jobs in Finland per year on average, over the next two years and beyond.Our Hamina data center is a significant driver of economic growth and opportunity. It also serves as a model of sustainability and energy efficiency for all of our data centers. This week we took another big step in our commitment to sustainability globally, by making the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history. Today I’m announcing that nearly half of the megawatts produced will be here in Europe, through the launch of 10 renewable energy projects. These agreements will spur the construction of more than 1 billion euros in new energy infrastructure in the EU, ranging from a new offshore wind project in Belgium, to five solar energy projects in Denmark, and two wind energy projects in Sweden. In Finland, we are committing to two new wind energy projects that will more than double our renewable energy capacity in the country, and ensure we continue to match almost all of the electricity consumption at our Finnish data center with local carbon-free sources, even as we grow our operations.If infrastructure is the backbone of a strong digital economy, people are at its heart. The second way we can help Europe harness its opportunities is through investments to reskill the workforce for the new digital economy. The Nordics have already shown strong leadership. For example, Finland is educating 1 percent of its population on artificial intelligence. But AI is only one area where more education is needed—in the next 10 to 15 years, 90 percent of all jobs will require some level of digital skills. That’s why we launched Grow with Google, a global effort to provide free trainings designed to help people find a job, advance their career or grow their business. In Europe, we’ve already trained more than 5 million people in digital skills, both online and in physical classrooms.  A couple weeks ago, we opened a Grow with Google skills hub, called a Digital Garage, in Helsinki. Today, I’ll have the chance to meet with several students who have already attended courses there. I look forward to discussing the challenges facing job-seekers today and the importance of digital skills in the fast-changing job market.To help even more people prepare for future jobs, Google.org, our philanthropy arm, is making a grant worth $2 million to Nesta, a foundation focused on innovation. With this grant, Nesta will organize training partnerships with trade unions in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. At Google, we feel a deep responsibility to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that technology creates. That applies not just to job training but the development of responsible innovation, as well. For example, last year, we announced a set of AI principles that guide our work and the types of projects we’ll pursue.This isn’t a job for one company, or one region, alone. Today, I’ll be joining a roundtable with stakeholders from across the Nordic countries, hosted by the Finnish government in our Google skills hub, to discuss how we can work together to advance these priorities. We will also discuss the role of smart regulation and global frameworks to guide the development of AI and other emerging technologies. We look forward to partnering with governments and other stakeholders in the months and years ahead. Together, we can make sure every European benefits from a strong and sustainable digital economy.


Google.org helps Nesta bring skills training to trade unions

Throughout history, technology has changed the nature of work. This has created new opportunities and jobs, but there are also concerns about technology’s impact on job security and displacement. Google.org’s $2 million grant to Nesta, a global innovation foundation, will set up partnerships with trade unions in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium. The program will provide training to workers whose jobs are changing rapidly as a result of automation or digitalization—for example, people working in administrative roles, manufacturing and the service industry. Nesta will deliver training through a new program called FutureFit, which will help workers get the skills they need to adapt to changes in their workplace. Using training methods such as nano learning—where trainings are broken down into small chunks—and gamification, the program will shed light on learner behavior and motivation. This evidence will be used to inform future training.While research from McKinsey shows that automation can actually increase the total number of jobs in the countries covered by this project, a recent poll showed that 40 percent of the Swedish workforce worries about not getting access to the training they need to compete in the future job market. And the OECD found that people in jobs most at risk from automation do less training than workers in jobs at low risk. The Nordics and Benelux countries are the perfect places to try Nesta’s techniques and build on Google.org’s engagement with nonprofits to equip people with the skills needed for the future labor market. The countries in the region are digital frontrunners, and have a tradition of investing in lifelong learning. We know this from Google initiatives we’ve introduced to the region: In Sweden, we toured the country with the national Swedish Public Employment Service to train thousands of people in digital skills. In the Netherlands, we worked with the trade union CNV to re-skill workers in transport and logistics. And in Denmark, we teamed up with the major trade union HK to educate administrative workers as “digital change agents.” Across Europe, we’ve now trained five million people in new skills. Since May 2018, we’ve also been building on the Digital Frontrunners program from Nesta, a collaborative program to help senior policymakers create a more inclusive digital economy.In Finland, Nesta will run a pilot program with The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), Finland’s largest labour confederation. The program will focus on helping workers whose professions are undergoing high rates of change due to technology, such as administrative roles or manufacturing. SAK President Jarkko Eloranta put it this way: “A third of employees in Finland find modern technology a source of anxiety at work, so learning opportunities of this kind should be part of regular duties at all workplaces. Employees need new digital skills to embrace smart technology at work.”We’re committed to providing one hundred million EUR in grants in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the next five years to better understand the changing nature of work, and to support nonprofits that help people navigate a changing labour market. The Nesta program will be a great addition to that effort, and we hope the grant will help to ensure that workers are equipped with the skills needed to support them in changes to their everyday work lives.


Our biggest renewable energy purchase ever

Sustainability has been one of Google’s core values from our earliest days. Over the years we’ve worked hard to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations, build products with people and planet in mind, and drive change at scale through our supply chains.A cornerstone of our sustainability efforts is our commitment to clean energy. We’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007. In 2017, we became the first company of our size to match our entire annual electricity consumption with renewable energy (and then we did it again in 2018). As a result, we became the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world.Today we’re taking another big step by making the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history. This purchase is made up of a 1,600-megawatt (MW) package of agreements and includes 18 new energy deals. Together, these deals will increase our worldwide portfolio of wind and solar agreements by more than 40 percent, to 5,500 MW—equivalent to the capacity of a million solar rooftops. Once all these projects come online, our carbon-free energy portfolio will produce more electricity than places like Washington D.C. or entire countries like Lithuania or Uruguay use each year. Our newest energy purchases will increase Google’s existing renewable energy portfolio by more than 40 percent.Our latest agreements will also spur the construction of more than $2 billion in new energy infrastructure, including millions of solar panels and hundreds of wind turbines spread across three continents. In all, our renewable energy fleet now stands at 52 projects, driving more than $7 billion in new construction and thousands of related jobs.   To ensure maximum impact, all of our latest deals meet the rigorous “additionality” criteria we set out long ago for our energy purchases. This means we’re not buying power from existing wind and solar farms but instead are making long-term purchase commitments that result in the development of new projects. Bringing incremental renewable energy to the grids where we consume energy is a critical component of pursuing 24x7 carbon-free energy for all of our operations.Clockwise from top left: Wind and solar projects that currently serve Google in Sweden; North Carolina; the Netherlands; Oklahoma; and Chile.These 18 new deals span the globe, and include investments in the U.S., Chile and Europe. In the U.S., we’ll purchase energy from 720 MW of solar farms in North Carolina (155 MW), South Carolina (75 MW), and Texas (490 MW)—more than doubling the capacity of our global solar portfolio to date. In South America, we’re adding 125 MW of renewable energy capacity to the grid that supplies our data center in Chile. And tomorrow I will be in Finland to share more detail on our sizeable new projects in Europe.These renewable energy purchases aren't only notable for their size. Up to now, most of our renewable energy purchases in the U.S. have been wind-driven, but the declining cost of solar (down more than 80 percent in the past decade) has made harnessing the sun increasingly cost-effective. Meanwhile, our Chile deal marks the first time we’ll buy power in a hybrid technology deal that combines solar and wind. Because the wind often blows at different times than the sun shines, pairing them will allow us to match our Chilean data center with carbon-free electricity for a larger portion of each day.The agreements announced today will bring additional large-scale solar and wind farms—representing more than $2 billion in new energy infrastructure—to electric grids worldwideBeyond our own operations, we’re working to make clean energy mainstream and break down the barriers for those who want to purchase renewable energy. Today we’re announcing two new grants from Google.org to provide further support for organizations that expand access to clean energy for all businesses—from flower shops to big-box retailers to startups. We’ll provide a $500,000 grant to Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) in the U.S. and a 500,000 euro grant to RE-Source in Europe. These grants will help fund the development of new purchasing models, provide training and resources for consumers, and enable more widespread access to clean power.As you can see in our newly released 2019 Environmental Report, these are just a few of the ways we’re working to tackle climate change at a global scale. We're also investing in AI and other technologies like Google Earth Engine to scale these efforts beyond our walls. Our goal is to make sure technology can benefit everyone—and the planet we call home. With today’s announcement, we're one step closer to that goal.


Get more done with a little help from Google Chrome

There are a million and one reasons you open your browser every day, and keeping track of tabs shouldn’t distract you from your goals. With tab improvements and more options to customize Chrome, you’ll be equipped to take on the day. Chrome updates frequently to bring you new features and security improvements, and our latest version will help you get back into your productivity groove. Here’s an overview of new features coming to Chrome this fall. Keep tabs on your tabsEver lost track of tabs on your phone? Us too. Over the next few weeks, you’ll see Android’s new grid layout, which helps you select tabs more easily and preview thumbnails of the tabs you have open. (iOS users will already see this tab grid layout). There’s also a new way to group tabs on your Android device, which helps you keep track of the tabs that are open. To do this, drag and drop one tab on top of another in the new tab grid layout. After opening one of the grouped tabs, you can easily switch between the tabs in the group using the new tab switcher at the bottom of your screen. The tab grid layout and tab grouping capabilities make it easier than ever to stay organized in Chrome on your Android deviceIf you have so many tabs open on your laptop that you can’t read the page titles anymore (guilty!), you can now preview your tabs by hovering over them with your cursor. For now you’ll see the page title, and soon you’ll see a thumbnail of the page too. Soon hovering over tabs will show the page title, and later this year the hover card will include a page thumbnail.If you want to save a link from your phone so you can open it later on your laptop (or vice versa), you no longer have to do the “email yourself but forget to read it” thing. Now you can use Chrome to send a tab to another computer, phone, or tablet on which you are signed in and have sync enabled.Share tabs between your devicesHelp from Google built inChrome’s address bar helps you get to your results faster than ever. Now on both desktop and Android, answers will show up inside the address bar where you type your query—whether you’re looking for results about sporting events or instant answers about the local weather or translations of a foreign word. Get answers to your important questions directly in the address barChrome automatically prompts translation when you need it, and you can access translation tools in the Chrome menu or from the address bar on desktop. Automatically translate the web into over 100 languages with translation tools built into ChromeMake Chrome yoursYour work environment impacts productivity and your mood. If plants and nature help you relax and unwind, change the background of your new tab page to a floral design. If you draw energy from the color yellow, use Chrome’s new color customization tool to change the color of your entire browser to the shade that brings you bliss. As for me, my browser color matches my hair—bright pink. Make Chrome yours by customizing the background, color, and themeThese features help boost your productivity, but these aren’t the only features we’re adding this year. Look for updates later in the fall about more improvements coming to Chrome.


Sharing stories and snacks at Take Your Parents to Work Day

When I was a kid, I loved when my dad took me to work at his office in downtown Milwaukee. He had good views for parades on the streets below, and had one of those handheld games with water and, like, little marbles that you’d try to move down chutes. He had a set of office keys that had this one super-cool blue key on it that, as far as I knew, was for some top-secret treasure closet, maybe? (Or the bathroom, probably.) I’d sit and play the game and watch some TV and hang out, while my dad did what I only assumed was Important Adult Stuff, and then we’d go home. Man, what good times!Back in those days, I’d think about the times I’d be able to take my parents to my job someday. I didn’t think I’d be taking them to a tech company, but instead to the NBA games I’d certainly be playing in. But things change! People stop getting any taller! Dreams get … deferred! And though it wasn’t on the basketball court, last week, at Google, I finally got to return the favor and show my parents what I do all day.Showing my parents the Googleplex in Mountain View.My parents tested out virtual reality at Take Your Parents to Work Day.One of the many absurdly fun things this company does is offer a full-day event for Take Your Parents to Work Day. Thousands of Googler parents and parental figures come to Mountain View and sit in meetings, roam the campus, eat the food, see product demos and hear from our CEO. In the office, as you can see in the video above, they answer questions from colleagues about what we were like as a kid and tell their own stories of how they ended up here, on this day, proud parents of a Googler.I have had the privilege in the last few months of taking my kid to work, and now, taking my parents. The sense of pride you feel in giving those you love a glimpse of this place—this company doing impossible things to help billions of people all over the world—that sense of pride radiates around you, everywhere you turn. Pride felt for our kids, pride felt by our parents and pride in ourselves for making all of them proud. It’s not the NBA, but it’s still very cool.I have two daughters, and when they come visit me, they hang out and play around and investigate the Google-verse around them. They stock up on free candy bars and examine the famous T-Rex and slide down the famous slide. I don’t know exactly what their version of the blue key is, but I am sure they have one in their minds: an emblem, years down the road, they’ll look back on as they remember being “taken to work.” Someday, they’ll take me to work, at some place that doesn’t exist now (or to a National Women’s Soccer League game), and I will walk around beaming the way my parents did last week, along with the thousands more who joined them on campus, filled with love and joy and wonder, thinking: Man, what good times!Related ArticleThe lessons Googlers have learned from their parentsTo celebrate Take Your Parents to Work Day at Google, five Googlers share the most important lessons their parents taught them.Read ArticleRelated ArticleWe went to Google with our daughters for the day. Here’s what we saw.Moms of the Keyword editors share their experience at Google's "Take Your Parents to Work Day."Read Article


A new way for job seekers to stand out to IT recruiters

Almost two years ago, Grow with Google introduced the IT Support Professional Certificate, a program that helps people prepare for entry-level roles in IT, with no experience or degree necessary. IT support skills are highly teachable, and a four-year degree isn’t typically required to build a successful career in this field. We knew that if we could train beginners on technical skills, we could create paths to real jobs—both at Google and at other companies across the country. So we created a hands-on curriculum and made it available on Coursera to prepare learners for IT support jobs in under six months.Now, Google is teaming up with CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association, to provide a dual badge of completion. Employers widely recognize the CompTIA A+ certification as a valued credential for high-growth IT support roles. Now, learners who complete the Google IT Support Professional Certificate and pass the CompTIA A+ certification exams will have access to a new dual credential from CompTIA and Google: a badge that can be posted on LinkedIn to catch the attention of potential employers. One recipient of the dual credential is Leo Chui, who was a personal trainer for 12 years when he decided he was ready for a career change. “I have always been passionate about technology and I always wanted to work in that field, but I didn’t have a university degree,” he says. “I simply did not have the means to take on student loans in order to pursue my dreams and also keep a roof over my head.” Leo believes that the IT Support Professional Certificate aligns with the training in CompTIA’s certification exams. He says the training and the badge gave him the confidence to start applying for positions in the field, and he just landed his first IT job. With this dual badge, people who complete the Google IT Support Professional Certificate and receive the CompTIA A+ certification are better set up to share their skills with potential employers.


Google Research India: an AI lab in Bangalore

People have been using technology to solve problems and improve their quality of life for centuries, from sharing knowledge with the printing press to going online to build a small business. These days, artificial intelligence is opening up the next phase of technological advances. And with its world-class engineering talent, strong computer science programs and entrepreneurial drive, India has the potential to lead the way in using AI to tackle big challenges. In fact, there are already many examples of this happening in India today: from detecting diabetic eye disease to improving flood forecasting and teaching kids to read. To take this to the next level we've created Google Research India—an AI lab we’re starting in Bangalore. This team will focus on two pillars: First, advancing fundamental computer science and AI research by building a strong team and partnering with the research community across the country. Second, applying this research to tackle big problems in fields like healthcare, agriculture, and education while also using it to make apps and services used by billions of people more helpful. Google Research India will be led by Manish Gupta, a renowned computer scientist and ACM Fellow with a background in deep learning across video analysis and education, compilers and computer systems. We’re also excited to have Professor Milind Tambe join us on a joint appointment from Harvard University as Director of AI for Social Good. Professor Tambe will build a research program around applying AI to tackle big problems in areas like healthcare, agriculture, or education. The lab in Bangalore will be part of and support Google’s global network of researchers: participating in conferences, publishing research in scientific papers, and collaborating closely with one another. We’re also exploring the potential for partnering with India’s scientific research community and academic institutions to help train top talent and support collaborative programs, tools and resources. Starting Google Research India is an important step for us, and for me personally, too. As someone who grew up in India, studied at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, and learned so much from the community there, I’m grateful that we now have the opportunity to help advance research and play a part in building the AI community in India. If you’re a scientist or researcher interested in learning more about Google Research India, click here.


A more accessible internet for Indians

Rama Devi has taught more than a thousand women how to use the internet in her role as a saathi—now she’s helping farmers become more productive. Amita Raghu has used digital tools to grow Krishne Tassels, her traditional saree tassel business, and trained 700 women in the art of tassel-making. Rajesh Jain, winner of Google’s AI Impact Challenge, has created an app that helps cotton farmers identify pests just by snapping a photo.These are some of the more than 460 million Indians using the internet to search, create, solve problems, build businesses—and help others. They show how technology isn’t just driving economic growth in India, but creating a ripple effect of opportunity across communities. Continuing that momentum was the focus of this year’s Google for India event, where we shared announcements aimed at making the internet more accessible, inclusive and empowering for Indians.   Expanding reliable Wi-Fi in IndiaFour years ago, we launched Google Station: a partnership with Railtel and Indian Railways to bring fast, reliable and secure WiFi to 400 train stations. We hit that milestone last May, and we’ve also expanded the program beyond train stations to include thousands of public buildings and spaces around the country.  Today we announced the next step: a partnership with BSNL to bring high-speed public WiFi to villages in Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra—places that haven’t had a WiFi connection before. We also announced an initiative to help the hundreds of millions of Indians who use 2G phones get the information they need, without requiring data or an internet connection. The Vodafone-Idea Phone Line—supported by the Google Assistant—enables Vodafone-Idea users to call a single number (000 0800 9191000) free of charge at any time, and ask for everything from sports scores, traffic conditions and weather forecasts to help with homework. The service will be available across India in English and Hindi.Speaking India’s languagesAs we improve access to the internet, we also need to make it relevant and helpful, with information Indians need in the languages they speak.  For many Indians, searching by voice rather than text is their first choice. Two years ago, we introduced voice search in nine Indian languages on Google Assistant.  Hindi is now the second-most used Assistant language globally after English. And from today, you can simply say, "Hey Google, talk to me in Hindi” (or the Indian language of your choice) to start using the Assistant, without needing to dig around in settings.We’re also adding more Indian languages to the Google apps Indians use, including Discover, Lens and Bolo (an AI-powered teaching app that’s already helped 700,000 young Indians learn to read).   Building platforms for economic opportunityOne of the biggest factors in India’s booming internet economy has been the rise of digital payments—from 17 million transactions in August 2017 to more than 900 million last month.We launched Google Pay to support this growth, giving Indians a fast, safe and reliable way of making and receiving payments.  It’s now used by millions of people to complete transactions with hundreds of thousands of offline and online merchants. But we think there’s an even bigger role for Google Pay as a tool to support small businesses. Starting today, we’re introducing the Spot platform: a way for businesses to create experiences and engage their customers within the Google Pay app.  Popular services like UrbanClap, Goibibo, MakeMyTrip, RedBus, Eat.Fit and Oven Story are already on board through our early access program, and we’re excited to see how other organizations use Spot to make life easier and more convenient for the Indians who rely on them. We’re deepening our support for small businesses through a new app called Google Pay for Business: a free and easy way for small merchants and storefronts to enable digital payments without the hassle of time-consuming verification process.  And we’re stepping up our support for job seekers too - introducing a Spot on Google Pay to help people find entry level positions that aren’t always easily discoverable online. We’ll be partnering with the National Skill Development Corporation to make sure Skill India students can take advantage of it.  Merchants can use Spot on Google Pay to provide a better customer experience. These are just some of our efforts to help more Indians share in the benefits of the internet economy, and we’re looking forward to continuing to contribute to India’s extraordinary progress and growth.


Tracking our progress on flood forecasting

Around the world, floods cause between 6,000 and 18,000 fatalities every year—20 percent of those are in India—and between $21 and $33 billion in economic damages. Reliable early warning systems have been shown to prevent a significant fraction of fatalities and economic damage, but many people don’t have access to those types of warning systems.Last year we began our flood forecasting pilot initiative in the Patna region of India, with the goal of providing accurate real-time flood forecasting information and alerts to those in affected regions. This is made possible through AI and physics-based modeling, which incorporate data from historical flooding events, river levels, terrain and elevation data. We generate high-resolution elevation maps and run up to hundreds of thousands of simulations in each location. With information obtained through our collaboration with Indian Central Water Commission, we create river flood forecasting models that can more accurately predict not only when and where a flood might occur, but the severity of the event as well. Here’s a bit more on the progress we’ve made over the past year.Expanding our coverage area and tracking accuracy Our coverage area is now twelve times greater than it was last year—covering 11,600 sq. kilometers in India along the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers, two of the most flood affected rivers in the world. We’ve also sent over 800,000 alerts to individuals in affected areas. Coverage area of our current operational flood forecasting systems.The alerts we send out include three tiers of risk (covering approximately equal areas): Some flood risk, greater flood risk, and greatest flood risk.Accuracy and reliability are paramount to the success of the initiative, and the safety of those in affected areas. Incorrect forecasts do more harm than good, and vague or overly-general warnings are consistently ignored by affected populations. We track the accuracy of our alerts across two main metrics:Some-risk recallThis tells us what percentage of the actual flood was covered by our “some risk” warning. If this metric is low, that means people who should be warned are not getting warned. During this monsoon season, our some-risk recall metric was well over 95 percent, which means the vast majority of affected areas were correctly forecasted to be flooded.Greatest-risk precisionThis tells us what percentage of our greatest-risk forecast ended up being flooded. If this metric is low, that means we’ve told a lot of people we’re confident they’re at risk while they weren’t, and we may lose people’s trust. During this monsoon season, our high-risk precision was around 80 percent, which means that people who received a high-risk warning were indeed very likely to be affected.To enable even faster progress in the future, we've increased the efficiency of our simulation models, automating manual tasks, and experimenting with new forecast methodologies. Read more about how we do this on the Google AI blog.A snapshot of a TPU-based simulation of flooding in Goalpara, mid-event.Distributing alertsAccurate and reliable flood forecasting can help keep people safe, if they’re getting the early warning. Over the past year, we’ve significantly improved our notification infrastructure. We’ve expanded the products we use to inform affected individuals, by adding better crisis information on Google Maps. Whether they find out about the flooding event through Search, Maps, or an alert push notification, people can quickly access an interactive map where they can see their location relative to where the flood is predicted to be.Flood-related informationKey partnerships in local communitiesMany people don’t have access to the internet, especially during a crisis, so we’ve partnered with the Indian nonprofit SEEDS to provide information to individuals on the ground. We provide SEEDS with our real-time forecasting information, and they directly interact with the community and local panchayats (village councils). This year we’ve piloted this system in Patna, sending alerts to local leaders across hundreds of villages in the district, and we’re actively collecting feedback about how well the system worked.Of course, our most important partner is the government itself, which not only provides us with critical real-time data, but is also best-placed to provide relief efforts in times of crises. In the past year, we’ve developed a partner notification infrastructure to provide our forecasts for the Central Water Commission and other organizational partners, and are continuously working with them to improve this system to be more useful for disaster management efforts.Flood management is an enormous challenge, and reducing the immense harms of floods globally will require a collaboration between governments, international organizations, the academic community, and operational experts. By continuing this work, we hope to help develop tools to make forecasts and response systems more accurate and accessible to everyone.


An experimental lab for local news in the U.K.

A sustainable digital model for local news: That’s the aim of a three-year partnership between Google and U.K. publisher Archant. Project Neon will rethink local news from every perspective, from storytelling to layout, from business models to website design. It builds on Archant’s open-minded approach to building new models for journalism, from the launch of The New European to the archive voice-search platform Local Recall.  Project Neon will target up to three U.K. communities, identified as being currently underserved by local news. The project will build new all-digital news platforms for those communities, created in a concerted effort to reverse the commercial challenges local news publishers have faced in the past decade.Archant’s project team will work closely with a team of experts at Google, who are providing funding for the project as part of the Local Experiments Project of the Google News Initiative. Archant is the second partner worldwide in this project, following McClatchy in the United States, which launched their Compass Experiment in March.The new businesses created under Project Neon will be 100 percent owned and operated by Archant. Google’s interest lies in developing digital business models and operational approaches that can be shared with the wider industry, and while they are providing expertise and funding, they will have no input whatsoever in editorial decision-making. We at Archant have been in the news business since 1845, when four free-thinking businessmen launched a weekly newspaper called The Norfolk News. Now, nearly 175 years later, we have a collection of more than 50 local news brands across the U.K. It's no secret that in recent years, our industry has been more challenged than at any other time in its history. But local news is as important as ever, and if we are going to find a sustainable digital-only model, it is bold experiments such as Project Neon that will help provide a pathway to thriving local news.With support and expertise from the Google News Initiative, I believe Archant has the potential to deliver exciting new solutions for local news brands, not only in the U.K. but also in other parts of the world where the local news business is in decline. We will release more details of the project in the near future, including the locations of our target communities. We will chronicle our successes (and, no doubt, our failures) and share them publicly with the industry at large, enabling other media companies to do similar work.Nobody can accurately predict how the future of local journalism will look. But with our shared vision for building strong communities, Archant and the Google News Initiative will break new ground towards the goal of a local news industry that not only survives, but thrives. Those interested can sign up to receive updates on Project Neon.Related ArticleMcClatchy and Google partner on an experimental lab for local newsThe Google News Initiative is launching the Local Experiments Project for local news with its first partner, McClatchy.Read Article


Bringing online safety training to Irish schools with Barnardos

As a parent, I know how challenging it is to keep up with everything that your children are doing on their laptops, tablets and mobile phones every day. It’s more important than ever that we learn about issues like cyberbullying and the effects of children spending a lot of time online. At Google, we’re finding ways to help children make smart choices and protect themselves online, and helping parents find the right balance for their families.Today, at an event in Dublin with Ireland’s Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, TD, our CEO, Sundar Pichai, unveiled a €1 million Google.org grant for online safety training with Irish children’s NGO Barnardos. The grant will help Barnardos bring it’s Online Safety Programme workshops to more than 75,000 Irish children over the next four years.Barnardos Online Safety Programme provides interactive classes for children and young people, teachers, parents and professionals on internet safety and cyberbullying. One of the goals is to promote ongoing communication between children and adults on these topics.We’ve also created an online resource for parents, children and teachers called Be Internet Legends, which is now available to everyone in Ireland. The program provides teaching resources, family guides and interactive online games, all focused on the five fundamentals of an Internet Legend: being sharp, alert, secure, kind and brave.We recognize our responsibility as a company to ensure that the internet is accessible and  used in a positive way. Through this program and the rollout of Be Internet Legends, we intend to make the internet a safer place for young people in Ireland and around the world.


Google Ads auction-time bidding comes to Search Ads 360

Smart Bidding in Google Ads uses machine learning to set bids at auction-time by factoring in a wide range of signals that help predict performance. Now you can take advantage of Google Ads auction-time bidding in your Search Ads 360 bid strategy. By activating auction-time bidding you can enhance your performance when bidding on Google Search, while still maintaining your cross-channel bidding strategy powered by Search Ads 360. During beta testing hundreds of Search Ads 360 advertisers enabled Google Ads auction-time bidding and saw an average lift in conversions of fifteen to thirty percent at the same or better ROI.Identify more opportunities with auction-time signalsEvery day billions of people turn to Google to find answers. While people are often searching for the same things, their searches are unique thanks to their context. This includes their device, browser, language, location, time of day, and other factors. Google Ads auction-time bidding automatically sets bids based on these signal combinations.For Vodafone, factoring these signals into its bidding strategy was mission critical. Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecom companies with mobile operations in 25 countries. During the beta period, Vodafone enabled Google Ads auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360 to ensure the right bid was being set for each auction across every location in which they operate. Now the team plans to activate Google Ads auction-time bidding across their Search Ads 360 bid strategies.Auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360 has enabled us to leverage the full potential of Google’s Smart Bidding technology in combination with Search Ads 360 Floodlights. As a result we have been able to lower our cost-per-conversion by 15%. Samantha Mikula Marketing Specialist, VodafoneReach more customers when they are ready to convertGoogle Ads auction-time bidding anticipates when a conversion is likely by analyzing your account history, Floodlight conversions, and exclusive signal combinations. This unique approach improves Search Ads 360 bidding results by helping you reach more customers when they are ready to convert.Head of Marketing, Jamima White, at Australian energy company AGL, discovered that Google Ads auction-time bidding helped drive results for her business in a competitive environment. With Google Ads auction-time bidding enabled, AGL saw conversion volume increase nineteen percent at the same cost per acquisition.With Search Ads 360 and Google Ads auction-time bidding we have been able to increase conversions by 19% while maintaining the same cost per acquisition efficiency. Jamima White Head of Marketing, AGLGive Smart Bidding time to learn and improveGoogle Ads auction-time bidding performance improves over time with more data. When enabling auction-time bidding, plan for a one-week window where Google Ads Smart Bidding learns about your business and doesn’t set auction-time bids. After the initial learning period, Google Ads will begin setting auction-time bids while continuously learning and adapting to changes in your performance. How to enable Google Ads auction-time bidding functionality in Search Ads 360Auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360 is generally available for Google Search campaigns, and launching in open beta for shopping campaigns. If you’d like your shopping campaigns in Google Ads added to the beta, reach out to your account representative.To get started with Google Search campaigns navigate to an existing bid strategy. Then, under “Engine features”, check the box for “Auction-time bidding.”Enable Google Ads auction-time bidding with one clickTo learn more about Google Ads auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360 visit the Help Center, or contact your account representative.


DeepMind’s health team joins Google Health

Over the last three years, DeepMind has built a team to tackle some of healthcare’s most complex problems—developing AI research and mobile tools that are already having a positive impact on patients and care teams. Today, with our healthcare partners, the team is excited to officially join the Google Health family. Under the leadership of Dr. David Feinberg, and alongside other teams at Google, we’ll now be able to tap into global expertise in areas like app development, data security, cloud storage and user-centered design to build products that support care teams and improve patient outcomes. During my time working in the UK National Health Service (NHS) as a surgeon and researcher, I saw first-hand how technology could help, or hinder, the important work of nurses and doctors. It’s remarkable that many frontline clinicians, even in the world’s most advanced hospitals, are still reliant on clunky desktop systems and pagers that make delivering fast and safe patient care challenging. Thousands of people die in hospitals every year from avoidable conditions like sepsis and acute kidney injury and we believe that better tools could save lives. That’s why I joined DeepMind, and why I will continue this work with Google Health. We’ve already seen how our mobile medical assistant for clinicians is helping patients and the clinicians looking after them, and we are looking forward to continuing our partnerships with The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.On the research side, we’ve seen major advances with Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in detecting eye disease from scansas accurately as experts; with University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on planning cancer radiotherapy treatment; and with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to predict patient deterioration up to 48 hours earlier than currently possible. We see enormous potential in continuing, and scaling, our work with all three partners in the coming years as part of Google Health. It’s clear that a transition like this takes time. Health data is sensitive, and we gave proper time and care to make sure that we had the full consent and cooperation of our partners. This included giving them the time to ask questions and fully understand our plans and to choose whether to continue our partnerships. As has always been the case, our partners are in full control of all patient data and we will only use patient data to help improve care, under their oversight and instructions.I know DeepMind is proud of our healthcare work to date. With the expertise and reach of Google behind us, we’ll now be able to develop tools and technology capable of helping millions of patients around the world.


The YouTube Masthead is coming to the TV screen

When people settle in to watch video on their TV, they’re increasingly turning to YouTube. Some come to watch original programming or their favorite creators. Some come to experience cultural moments like Coachellawith their family and friends—while others want hands-free learning through tutorials like baking with Rosanna Pansino or mastering a yoga pose with Adriene. Whatever their motivation, they find the content they’re most passionate about on YouTube. And with the big screen, they can experience it together. It’s changing consumer behaviors like these that make YouTube the #1 ad-supported streaming TV platform in reach and watch time, and TV screens our fastest growing device—where daily watch timetops 250 million hours per day. This means advertisers have a unique opportunity to reach people who are increasingly cutting the cord, right where they are watching. And, we know advertisers are looking for new and impactful ways to reach these audiences.  So today, we’re bringing our most prominent placement, the YouTube Masthead, to the TV screen. This means advertisers can now reach audiences right when they open the YouTube app on their TV—as they discover new content in the home feed. Additionally, the Masthead will autoplay for viewers after a few seconds on all compatible devices. This, coupled with the home feed placement, means brand creatives will be front and center of the YouTube app experience on TV screens.Through this globally-available beta, marketers can purchase the YouTube Masthead on TV screens on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis, and customize the audiences they want to see it. Like CPM-based Mastheads on the desktop and mobile home feed, it will be available as a reserved placement to ensure brands can drive the visibility they need on the dates that matter most. It can be purchased as part of a cross-screen or single-screen Masthead buy.Creative featured from one of our early testers, Ford.*mocks are subject to final adjustments prior to general availability We know the rich audio and visual experience of YouTube on TV screens means the potential to drive upper-funnel impact is bigger than ever. According to a recent experiment we conducted with Media Science, YouTube ads on TV screens drive a 10 percent greater lift in recall than ads on linear TV.1 This is just one example of our commitment to building out the most effective TV screen experience for advertisers. We are excited to announce more innovations coming to the TV screen early next year.Contact your Google sales team for more details on how to enroll in the beta.1. Google/MediaScience Lab study, 12 ads, 432 participants. Platforms included: YT OTT, Linear TV. US, November 2018


New voices for your Google Assistant in nine countries

One of the ways to personalize your Google Assistant is to choose its voice. As we’ve brought the Assistant to more languages—we’ve gone from eight in 2017 to more than 30 today—we’ve developed new voices in as many of those languages as possible.You can already choose between 11 English voices here in the U.S. (including John Legend), and today, we’re launching a new voice in nine more languages: German, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Italian, Korean, Japanese, English in the U.K. or English in India. All the new voices rolling out this week were built with DeepMind’s state-of-the-art WaveNet technology which make them sound natural, with great pitch and pacing. If you go into your Settings in the Assistant app, you can select from the different voices available. You’ll notice that we have a pretty unique way of displaying these voices too; the voices are displayed by color, rather than gender. We’ve learned that people enjoy choosing between voices to find the one that sounds right to them, and we think it’s important to present these voices to you without any labels.We’re also trying to help more people experiment with the different voices too. If you live in one of the countries that’s getting a new voice, you’ll notice that we randomly assign you a voice when you first set up your Assistant, giving you a 50/50 chance of getting one of two voices—either the “red” voice or the “orange” voice. A lot of people are surprised to learn that they don’t always stick with the voice they’ve been using, so give it a shot. You might just find one that sounds even better than the one you’ve been using.


Search helps you find key moments in videos

There are a lot of ways that Search helps you discover visual, textual, and even audio information, from finding the most useful podcasts to understanding elements within images. But what if what you’re searching for is inside a video? Videos aren’t skimmable like text, meaning it can be easy to overlook video content altogether. Now, just like we’ve worked to make other types of information more easily accessible, we’re developing new ways to understand and organize video content in Search to make it more useful for you.Starting today you can find key moments within videos and get to the information you’re looking for faster, with help from content creators. When you search for things like how-to videos that have multiple steps, or long videos like speeches or a documentary, Search will provide links to key moments within the video, based on timestamps provided by content creators. You’ll be able to easily scan to see whether a video has what you’re looking for, and find the relevant section of the content. For people who use screen readers, this change also makes video content more accessible.These links to key moments will appear in Search in English for YouTube videos where creators have provided timestamp information in the video description. We’re also introducing a way for more content creators across the web to mark up their videos so they can be more easily searchable. Soon you’ll be able to find these key moments from video publishers around the world, such as CBS Sports and NDTV, as they add markup to their videos, and we look forward to more creators adopting this helpful new feature.


Google Fi’s Unlimited plan: more data at home and abroad

Since Fi’s launch in 2015, we’ve had one plan, the Fi Flexible plan, that gives you the flexibility to pay for just the data you use.  As we’ve grown, we’ve heard that many of you want the simplicity and predictability that comes with paying the same price each month. So today, for the first time ever, Fi is adding a second plan: our Google Fi Unlimited plan.The new Unlimited plan gives you unlimited data, calls and texts at a low cost for multiple members of your family. You’ll also be covered when you connect with friends and family at home or abroad, as our plan includes free international calls from the U.S. to 50 countries and territories, and unlimited data and texting abroad in 200 destinations at no extra charge (and with no setup required). Our Unlimited plan also comes with a Google One membership with 100 GB of cloud storage and extra benefits like expert support across Google, discounts on Google products, and more. Plus, if you’re using an Android device, you can automatically backup your phone to keep all of your important files and photos safe.We want you to know that with our Unlimited plan, we will reduce speeds after 22GB of usage per person in a given month (this applies only to the heaviest data users, less than 1 percent of Fi's current users). We may also optimize video streaming quality to 480p (DVD quality).Our Unlimited plan gives you peace of mind knowing that you can reach family and friends wherever they are, while keeping costs low. If you prefer to just pay for the data you use, our Flexible plan isn’t going anywhere. And as always, Fi has no contracts or activation fees. To help you get started, until September 18 (or while our supply of phones lasts), you can get 50 percent off a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3XL when you purchase and activate on Google Fi. You can also join today with your own phone by checking its compatibility. Whether you already use Fi or are thinking about giving it a try, we hope you give one of our plans a spin.


AdMob’s new reporting delivers better insights

At AdMob, we’re focused on helping publishers make smarter decisions to grow their mobile app earnings and deliver the best experience to their users. Clear, comprehensive reporting is a big part of this, and we’ve recently released some updates to our reporting so that you can gain more actionable insights about your app users. More insights about how people use your appWe’ve enhanced our AdMob SDK to begin providing insights into how your users are interacting with your app and engaging with your rewarded ads.  To enable these new features, you need to do two things:Update your SDK to the latest version (Android SDK 18.1.0 or later, iOS SDK 7.44 or later)Log into AdMob and take a few simple steps to enable user metrics  (Help Center Article)Once you’ve done both, available new features will include:User engagement cardWhen you log into your AdMob account, we’ll now present you with important basic user engagement metrics on your App Overview dashboard.  This report helps you keep an eye on your app’s most important top-line user numbers so you always know how your apps are performing.           Basic metrics in the user engagement cardHolistic revenue report including in-app purchasesWe’ve updated our revenue reporting to look beyond AdMob earnings to also include in-app purchases and subscriptions. This will minimize time spent going back and forth between interfaces so you can spend more time working on your app. IAP reporting is currently only offered on iOS, but will be coming to Android soon.                           Holistic revenue report including in-app purchasesRewarded ads reportYou’ll now have access to the rewarded ads report, helping you understand how users are interacting with rewarded ads.  This report captures activity from the entire AdMob platform, including AdMob, Open Bidding, and 3rd-party inventory. We’re also working to provide additional reporting around each of your ad formats so you can make the most informed decision with your app business.                                             Example rewarded ads reportExpanded functionality and ease of useIn addition to adding new reports, we’ve also launched several new features that make it easier for you to access, analyze and understand your data: AdMob APITraditionally, developers have had to use the AdSense API to access AdMob stats.  This was a suboptimal solution, as AdSense uses different ad metric definitions than AdMob, resulting in inconsistent reporting.  To address this, we’re introducing a brand new AdMob API to help you retrieve your publisher reports programmatically. Metrics in the AdMob API will be consistent with those in the AdMob front-end interface and will be more accurate than those in the AdSense API.  This API is currently in beta, so reach out to your account manager or a mobile specialist if you’re interested in trying it out.Easy comparison reportingWhen looking at changes to a single AdMob metric, such as revenue, we know that context is key. So we’ve added the ability for you to compare two metrics within the same chart (see upper right in image below) so that you can more easily correlate trends within your data.You can also now break out metrics, such as estimated earnings, by dimensions like app, ad unit, format, and country (see upper left in image below).  Our improved graph interactivity allows you to add or remove dimensions by simply clicking on the corresponding circle in the key, as shown below on the upper left.                                 New comparison and usability chart featuresReporting is an integral part of optimizing any app ads business, and we’re continuously taking steps to make actionable insights easier to discover for publishers.  We hope these new features will help publishers better understand their users and ad performance so they can focus on driving more revenue and delighting their users.


How m.Paani seeks to boost 60 million Indian retailers

There are more than 60 million family-owned local businesses in India, that drive more than 90 percent of retail in the country. They also account for more than 40 percent of local employment.  Until recently, these retailers have enjoyed a consistent customer base for generations with little competition. Now, a billion Indians are coming online and there is a new digitally-driven Indian consumer to serve. With competition from new formats from e-commerce to big box stores, local retailers are presented with a new set of challenges that could put many of them out of business and leave a large portion of the population unemployed. Akanksha Hazari Ericson is using technology to provide a solution. The vast majority of local merchants in India are not digitized in any way. Akanksha’s startup, m.Paani, is empowering them with the tools to survive and thrive. The startup is currently working in India, and eventually plans to expand across other emerging markets. m.Paani was recently part of Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator, a program that supports startups with access to Google technology, mentorship, and network. From running seven acceleration programs around the world and supporting 341 startup founders, Launchpad has seen firsthand how global entrepreneurs are using technology and innovation to solve the world’s biggest problems. As part of our “Ideas to Reality” spotlight series, we caught up with Akanksha to talk about her journey in starting m.Paani and where she sees the company going over the next few years.When did you realize your mission to help local retailers? I got the entrepreneurial bug when I successfully built and grew my first venture at 21. I then decided that my next business would be built in India, contributing to the country’s economic development, and eventually other emerging markets as well. In 2009, I returned to India after completing my masters at Cambridge to work in the intersection of tech and agriculture. I spent a year living in villages across the country, looking at how we can use technology to increase farmers’ incomes. This is when I also fell in love with the local businesses with which I interacted, and realized the critical role they play in our economy. The beginnings of m.Paani were born.What is the first step you take when you turn your idea into a reality?Understand and build a relationship with my customer. I moved to Mumbai, a city in which I had never lived and knew no one, with a presentation and a dream. Walking the local markets every day, I signed up and sold our product to our first 50 retailers and a few hundred consumers myself. I strongly believe that if you don’t know your customer directly and can’t sell your vision, solution or service to them at the beginning, then you are in no position to ask anyone else to do so.Are there Google products you are using and would recommend to other startup founders?Yes, three core products help us run our business. First, we’re hosted on Google Cloud. Next, we’re using Firebase for event tracking, testing and marketing. We love the flexibility that Firebase gives us to keep being nimble. Finally, we use Google Analytics, which is an absolute must for any business and a pivotal part of each day.Tell us more about your experience in Launchpad Accelerator. If you have to learn, you might as well learn from the best. Launchpad has given us great insights, especially in machine learning. The one-to-one mentorship session with Peter Norvig, Google’s machine learning director, was a standout moment for our team. The entire experience was truly enriching and would recommend it to any entrepreneurs.What advice do you have for future entrepreneurs?Find a very very big, meaningful problem to solve. Something that has a deeper purpose for you, and makes our world a better place. It is more important than ever now that we all look to solve real problems in the world, from sustainability to economic empowerment. Don’t expect it to be glamorous—at all.  Expect it to be unfathomably hard, and expect yourself to be more tenacious and resilient than you have ever been. But trust me, because it is purpose-driven you will stay motivated, and if you stick with it until its solved, you will change the world. What is the most inspiring part of your work? Our retailers. These are family businesses built over generations, in some cases. My favorite part of my job is meeting our customers and learning from them. The most meaningful part of any day is hearing and seeing first hand our positive impact on empowering, transforming and growing a local business. This, more than anything else, is what gets me and our whole team up and excited every morning.