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5 tips to make your home Wi-Fi even better

These days, access to a reliable Wi-Fi signal can feel as crucial as having basic electricity or plumbing. In fact, a recent study conducted by Kelton Research and commissioned by Google found that 28 percent of people don’t think they could last a single day without Wi-Fi. But in that same study, a whopping 81 percent of people said they have experienced issues with their Wi-Fi at home. So why is something so essential considered such a hassle?Luckily, there are some simple strategies to maximize your home Wi-Fi network to avoid slow loading times or grumbling when you’re trying to get online. Here are a few tips for making the most out of your Wi-Fi.Place your router as centrally as possible. Wi-Fi signals get weaker the farther away you go from your router, so if you keep your router by the front door, your videos might load more slowly if you’re trying to watch them by the back door. So if you can, place your router as centrally as possible within your home, though this may not always be possible depending on where your internet provider brings in the connection. And if you don’t mind your router sitting on the counter top, keep it out in the open. If you can avoid hiding it by a bookcase or filing cabinet, you can really help boost your Wi-Fi signal.Consider a mesh network. A mesh network is a group of routers that wirelessly communicate with each other to create a single, connected Wi-Fi network over a large area. It allows you to have multiple sources of powerful Wi-Fi throughout your home, not just one from the main router. Having a mesh network solves the problem of having the router just relegated to a corner in the house. We created Google Wifi as a mesh system because having multiple points work together to create a seamless single network provides consistently strong coverage for all connected devices in every room of the house. Make sure your router is up to date. If your existing router is more than three or four years old, check to make sure it supports 5GHz Wi-Fi signals. Some older routers only support 2.4GHz signals, which can make your devices much slower. Think of it as having a car that isn’t fast enough to drive on the freeway. Upgrade your router to at least an 802.11ac system so you can also use 5GHz frequencies, which are like the autobahn of Wi-Fi. (There are more lanes, and higher speed limits.) Always, always make your network password-protected. Having an “open network” without a password might seem convenient, since there’s no need to remember a complicated password. But if you do that, anyone even driving by your home could join your Wi-Fi network and compromise your network, devices and data by accessing your drives or slowing down your network. Choose a strong password that’s tough for anyone to guess, but easy for you to remember. Create a separate Wi-Fi network for guests. If you have kids at home, or just get a lot of guests, chances are you’ve handed out your Wi-Fi password a lot. Setting up a guest network creates a second Wi-Fi network in your home so your guests can have a great experience while your own devices stay secure and private. Related ArticleAsk a Techspert: How does Wi-Fi actually work?We can’t live without Wi-Fi. But how does it work, and how can you make it better?Read Article


Accessibility for the digital world and beyond

When I joined Google’s central Accessibility team in 2013, our mission was to make our products work better for everyone. That mission hasn’t changed, but our ambition has. We’ve always worked to make it easier for people with accessibility needs to navigate the digital world, whether it’s watching a YouTube video or reading a website. Today, we also want to help people navigate the physical world.The start of National Disability Employment Awareness Month provides a moment to reflect on the journey we’re on and what lies ahead as we deliver on our commitment to create technology that has a positive impact. A clear example of how we’re thinking through our approach can be seen via two apps: Live Transcribe and Lookout. Tale of two appsThe first version of Live Transcribe was built to take real-world speech and turn it into real-time captions using just the microphone on a phone. This app helps bridge the connection between people who are deaf and those who can hear. A few months ago we went a step further to provide a visual indicator of sounds, like a dog barking nearby, someone knocking on their door or a speeding vehicle whizzing past them. This is important to those who may not be able to hear non-speech audio cues, providing more color or information to help understand what is going on around them. The shift to the physical world however presents challenges that are not easy to control for. After all, we're trying to provide people with context for environments that aren’t easily understood or readily documented. This is the ambition behind Lookout, which aims to help the more than 250 million blind or visually impaired people in the world deal with the ever-changing environment we live in. The app gives auditory cues as people encounter objects, text and others around them. These spoken notifications are designed to be used with minimal interaction and provide useful information in any given environment, like if you’re standing near an elevator or what a nearby sign says.The power of working together As assistive technologies, both these apps were built using a combination of an “accessibility-first” design mentality coupled with advances in technologies, like AI. But in order to ensure these products meaningfully impact the lives of the more than 1 billion people in the world with a disability, we also had to collaborate with people and communities directly affected by disabilities. Working together, we’re able to get real-time feedback that helps improve a product or feature and make sure we are on the right track. For Live Transcribe we worked closely with Gallaudet University, a world renowned university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. They helped us design, test and validate that Live Transcribe met the needs of their community.Similarly, with Lookout we relied on our Trusted Tester Program. Artist and teacher Maya Scott—along with other testers—used early prototypes to make sure it was truly beneficial for people who are blind or have low vision. Future focusNext on our roadmap is building technology that benefits people with cognitive disabilities—an umbrella term used to describe someone’s inability to sufficiently process information, use their memory, make decisions or learn. Circumstances can range from mild to profound, and the population of people who have cognitive disabilities is on the rise because as we age, our cognitive functions age with us.We’re working to understand the needs of this community so that we can build the right products. An early signpost of the direction we’re headed can be seen with Project Diva. Lorenzo Cagglioni, a Googler in our Milan office, created this app to make the Assistant more accessible for his brother Giovanni, who is legally blind and deaf and has Downs and West Syndrome. Lorenzo has since joined the Accessibility team so he can scale his work to help others like Giovanni. Like most accessibility advancements, these technologies will also benefit people without a disability—all the more reason that we should never assume that accessibility is someone else's problem. In the end, we’re all in this together.


Build security into your next website

If you wanted to send a secret message by mail, would you rather send it in an envelope, or on a postcard? If you send it on a postcard, anyone who saw the postcard on its way to the recipient could read the message, or even make changes to what’s written.Encryption on a website functions like an envelope, protecting information passed between your website and its visitors so it can’t be snooped on or changed. It’s what keeps your visitors safe from bad actors who may try to alter your site’s content, misdirect traffic, spy on open Wi-Fi networks, and inject malware or tracking. You achieve encryption on a website by installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This certificate ensures that the data passed between a web server and a browser remains private. To kick off National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’re highlighting something that many website owners don’t realize—a single page that isn’t encrypted could potentially be used to gain access to the rest of the website. To avoid this, you need encryption on your entire website, not just for pages that are collecting credit card numbers or log-in info. Even unencrypted landing pages that redirect to an HTTPS page can pose risks. A single unprotected page can become a backdoor for bad actors to snoop on the rest of the site. How do you ensure your entire website is encrypted?Use a top-level domain that is HSTS preloaded. The HSTS preload list tells modern browsers which websites  to only load over an encrypted connection. The fastest way to get on this list is to use a top-level domain that’s already on the HSTS preload list, such as .app, .dev, or .page. Any website on those extensions gets the security benefits of HSTS preloading from day one, so all you need to do is install your SSL certificate.Add your website to the HSTS preload list yourself. Websites can be individually added to the HSTS preload list by the website owner at hstspreload.org. Keep in mind this can be a slow process because the list is manually built into the browser. That means updates to the list are made as new browser releases come out, which can take months to occur for all browsers.More people are creating websites than ever before, with 48 percent of the U.S. population planning to create one.  To help make building your secure website a bit easier, we’ve teamed up with some of our registrar partners, who are offering free SSL certificates during the month of October. We’re also kicking off a video series where existing creators will share their tips for launching a website. You can check them out at safe.page/buildsecurely.


How a psychiatry pioneer helped me understand my mother

Editor’s note: To help families dealing with addiction, Google has given over $1 million worth of contributions to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (PDFK) this year and worked with PDFK to show up for people who are seeking support. When someone searches for relevant queries such as "teen drug addiction" on Google or YouTube, they get the number to call an experienced parent coach who works with caregivers to develop individualized plans for helping loved ones with substance use. You can also find local and national helplines on our Recover Together site.I can still vividly remember confronting my mother when I was in my late teens. After a lifetime of dealing with her unreliability, I had just had it. In a blowup conversation, I told her that she had chosen drugs over me. At the time, I looked at her years of being incarcerated or held up in halfway homes as abandonment. But I now know that there was no other place she would have rather been than to be home with me—clean and sober. While my mother ultimately died of an opioid overdose, truthfully the drug had been slowly taking her over the years. I’ve come to understand that she only chose drugs once. She started using at 13 years old, and that was the one and only time it was her decision. After that, the drugs had her and never let go.Today’s global Google Doodle honors the late Dr. Herbert D. Kleber, who followed a calling in his life to study patients with addictions, like my mother. It was a direction he didn’t plan for in his professional career as a psychiatrist. However, his pioneering work on understanding and treating addiction brought the scientific community to the understanding that drug addictions are physiological shortcomings, and not moral ones. I’m grateful for Dr. Kleber’s work, because it has certainly helped me better understand my mother’s plight. An excerpt from Jarrett’s memoir, “Hey, Kiddo.”Like Dr. Kleber, I also followed a calling. I didn’t expect to write a memoir about my relationship with my mother and her drug use. But after meeting so many young readers who also walked a similar path in life to the one I had, I truly felt the need to tell my story. It’s why I was also moved to work on this Google Doodle honoring Dr. Kleber. I hope that both offer people, especially young readers, the opportunity to see their experiences reflected in media that is visible to all.I hear from my readers often as they recount their own complicated relationships with a parent suffering from opioid addiction disorder. When they ask what it was like to write and draw a book that recounts so many traumatic moments, I let them know that it helped me come to an important conclusion: My mother wasn’t the antagonist in the story of my life. The drugs were.Related ArticleThe courage to change: sharing resources for recoverySupporting the 23 million Americans in recovery, and their communities, with inspiring videos, resource maps and more.Read Article


Make the Palace of Versailles yours on Google Arts & Culture

One of the first things I saw when I arrived at the Palace of Versailles in 2011 was a construction site. In partnership with Google, we were building the History Gallery, an exhibit that brought together our art collections and digital reconstructions of the palace in 3D. The History Gallery gave people a better understanding of Versailles, and eight years later, the partnership between the Palace of Versailles and Google Arts & Culture continues to give everyone access to this cultural treasure through technology. Today, we’re launching a new online exhibition for everyone who can’t make it to Paris or who wants to explore this majestic place in a new way: Versailles: The Palace is Yours.Our new app VersaillesVR—a technological first in the cultural world—takes visitors on a virtual reality tour of the Royal Grand Apartments, the Chapel and the Opera. To capture the imagery, we used photogrammetry—a technology that reconstructs three-dimensional models of objects and landmarks from two-dimensional photographs. It’s an invitation to discover the secrets of Versailles, and a magnificent sneak peek for those who might plan to visit in person. Though nothing will ever replace the emotion of actually stepping into the Palace, we hope this visual immersion might inspire you to do just that.©THOMAS GARNIER_DSC00404.jpgView of the Palace of Versailles ©THOMAS GARNIERScreenshot 2019-09-24 at 19.05.08.pngExplore 24 rooms and 150 objects in the Palace of Versailles  through a new VR app available on HTC vive and Oculus RiftVersailles 23_09_2019 17_38_15.pngInside the VR experience (here the famous Hall of Mirrors)Royal Opera - Opéra Royal.png3D model of the Royal Opera HouseArt Camera at Versailles.jpgBehind the scene of a high resolution Art Camera captureMarie-Antoinette with the Rose - Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun - 1783 © EPV -Jean-Marc Manaï 1.jpgPortrait of Marie Antoinette by Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun A place at the Royal table 1.pngCome and take a seat at the King’s table and learn about delicacies served in the royal dining roomThere are also 18 new online exhibitions featuring 340 artworks—including portraits of the royal family digitized in ultra high resolution and archival photos of Versailles dating from the 19th century—as well as 18 never-before-seen 3D models of iconic rooms and objects. Explore the 73-meter long Hall of Mirrors,  the King’s Bed or Marie-Antoinette’s jewelry cabinet.Versailles has always been an incredible place to visit. Today, opening the doors of Versailles to the world means opening them virtually, too.


First-ever summit connects hundreds of Latina Googlers

At the end of a two-day summit in Sunnyvale, California, keynote speaker Dolores Huerta led a chant with the audience. She asked the crowd, “Who’s got the power?” And we responded, “We’ve got the power!” She continued: “What kind of power?” We responded: “Latina power!” We were at the first-ever Latinas at Google Summit, which took place earlier this month. The summit, called “Building for the Future,” aimed to create community and discuss the unique U.S. experience of being a Latina at Google. Five hundred Googlers attended the summit, which featured guest speakers Huerta and “Orange Is the New Black” actress Jackie Cruz, as well as conversations with senior leaders at Google. A group of Google volunteers, myself included, took seven months to carefully plan workshops, music, art exhibits and food inspired by our heritage. The size of the group was awe-inspiring, and so was their response after the event. When they gave us feedback, they told us they found community in the personal stories they shared and left the summit feeling more connected. At the event, they said, they learned new ways to amplify the work they do at Google—and in turn, reach people beyond our walls.Latinas at Google carousel 1Dolores Huerta and Laura Marquez speak on stage.Latinas at Google carousel 2Jackie Cruz addresses the crowd.Latinas at Google carousel 3The author, along with other event organizers, kicks off the summit.Latinas at Google carousel 4Ana Corrales, Chief Operating Officer, Hardware, sits for a fireside chat with Lisa Martinez, Global Head of Android Security and Privacy.Latinas at Google carousel 5Attendees pose for a group photo outside the event space in Sunnyvale.One of the most inspirational moments involved Huerta, who is widely known for her advocacy, especially around farmworker rights, and her foundation, which focuses on civic engagement for young people and families. She delivered a keynote speech and later sat down for an interview with Laura Marquez, Google’s head of Latino community engagement. Huerta urged the crowd to use their voice to reach out to their own families and communities to educate and get involved in issues that affect our everyday lives. With one of her 11 children in the audience, Huerta shared her experience and insights that continue to guide her through her 90th birthday, and the work she’ll continue doing in the future. Here are a few key lessons Huerta shared with the crowd:Own your power. “As women, sometimes we’re afraid of that word, power. We see it in a negative connotation. A lot of times, we as women kind of hold ourselves back a little bit from the positions we aspire to. And we think, well, maybe I’m not experienced enough, not qualified enough. And I just say: Do it like the guys do. Pretend! Think of yourselves as being the decision makers.  It takes courage to do the things we need to do. And the biggest courage of all is to stand up for ourselves.”Don’t discount people without formal education. “In our organization, many of our women never had a chance to go to high school or college. But does that mean they’re not educated? You know, in Spanish, the word educado has a whole different meaning than it does in English. It means if you’re educated, you’re civil, you have a conscience, you have compassion for other people, you have good manners. That means what educado means in Spanish. It doesn’t mean you have to have a formal education. So that means that many of our parents or our grandparents who never had a chance to go to school, that doesn’t mean they’re not educated. They are educated!”Research your history. “My family has been here for many generations. My great-grandfather was in the Civil War on the Union side. But when I went to Mexico, it was such a revelation to me, even though both of my parents were born in the United States of America. When I saw how many people there were who were so proud of being Mexicans, that really saved me. Because in high school, there was so much racial discrimination, I thought I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. That really saved me in terms of my identity. I want to make sure that [Latino history] is introduced into our school books so people are proud of who they are and can stand up to racial discrimination. If we don’t know our own history, we don’t know our own identity.”Related ArticleThe She Word: Laura Marquez, helping Google show up in the Latino communityWe’re talking with dynamic female Googlers about who they are, what they do and why they inspire us.Read Article


Beyond the ad: Conversion Optimization

Today, using data for driving business decisions has become common practice for most companies, with many having a dedicated analytics team checking the impact of marketing investments, which channels to invest in and effect. But the majority of these activities are focused on optimizing parameters before the audience click the ad. The question is: are you taking the same data driven approach to your website design?If you don’t use data to optimize your site’s user experience, you risk low conversion rates and lost revenue. A well-designed user interface could increase your website’s conversion rate by up to 200 percent, and a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400 percent. Now take your revenue, check your conversion rate, and calculate what it would be if the conversion rate would increase +200%. The number right there is why the companies that will thrive in the future most likely will be the ones that are data driven in, and focus as much on, both crucial moments during the user journey—before and beyond the ad.The solutionBuilding this strength comes down to working with the research methods within conversion optimization and step by step A/B testing your way to a website your customers will love using.Here are three steps on how to get started:Find the weak spots on the site. Combine quantitative research in Google Analytics, qualitative research such as user testing (in the Optimize Resource Hub you can find easy instructions) and inspiration from best practices. The Optimize Resource Hub gives you best practice suggestions from Google and a library of test results from other companies. Prioritize the most impactful tests. Give each test idea a score of one to ten according to the uplift you think it will generate, and subtract a score of one to ten depending on the effort the test will require. Start testing. You can get started today by setting up Google Optimize—the tool that uses the full power of Google Analytics. A free version is available so you can have a test up and running within a few minutes. For more in-depth knowledge around the process of conversion optimization, check out the CRO tips in the Optimize Resource Hub.Learn from expertsWe have one more treat for you, in the form of a new series of articles that will be published here on the blog: The Optimize CRO Series—Experts share their secrets. In this series, CRO experts from all over the world will give their best advice around these topics:Research methodsPrioritizing testsFavorite frameworks for analyzing sitesHow to do a QA (quality assurance) of an A/B test The experts’ best testsLearn from the failing testsEager to know more? Make sure you start following the Google Analytics products blog through the channel that fits you to get the upcoming guides.


Putting your heart first on World Heart Day

World Heart Day is this Sunday, and it raises awareness around the cause and prevention of cardiovascular diseases around the world. As part of these efforts, the World Heart Federation recognizes “people from all walks of life who have shown commitment, courage, empathy and care in relation to heart health” as heart heroes. It’s an honor to have been included this year for my focus on using technology to promote lifestyle interventions such as increasing physical activity to help people lead healthier lives.Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the U.S., so it’s more important than ever to identify and share simple ways to keep your heart healthy. I have two kids under the age of five and life can get really busy. When juggling between patients, children, work and errands, it’s easy to feel active when in reality, I’ve lost track of healthy habits.With Google Fit’s smart activity goals and Heart Point tracking, I realized I wasn’t reaching American Heart Association and World Health Organization’s recommended amount of weekly physical activity and I needed to make changes to earn more Heart Points throughout the week.Meeting weekly Heart Point goals improve overall wellness and healthOn busy days, I’ve started to use a 7-minute workout app every evening that provides video overviews and audio descriptions of each exercise. It’s quick, easy and fun. And to top it off, my kids will often join in on a wall sit or climb on me for some extra weight during a plank. I’ve found these exercises to be a quick and efficient way to earn 14 Heart Points, which quickly adds up to help me reach my weekly goal.Using a workout app may not be for everyone—there are many ways to incorporate incremental changes throughout your week that will help you be more active. Here are a few other things to try out: Get your body moving and rake the leaves outside or mow the lawn.Pick up the pace when you’re on a walk, with yourself, your friends or your dog.Wear sneakers and make it a walking meeting—this way you and your co-workers get health benefits. Sign up for a workout class! A 45-minute indoor cycling class earns you 90 Heart Points.Before you shower, take a few minutes to do simple exercises like jumping jacks, squats, wall sits, push ups or planks.The beauty of it all is that you don’t have to go to a gym or buy special equipment. Just getting moving can have health benefits that add up. For World Heart Day, I challenge you to find opportunities that work with your schedule to earn more Heart Points.


5 memories to celebrate Google Classroom’s 5th birthday

Five years ago, the world watched feats of human strength and spirit at the Olympics in Socci and the World Cup in Rio. A robot made the first-ever landing on a comet. Citizens of the internet dumped buckets of ice on their heads to raise awareness and funds for ALS research. And while millions of teachers and students headed back to school in 2014, a team of passionate engineers, former teachers and ed tech experts at Google launched a new program—Google Classroom. Since then, the community of educators and students using Classroom has grown to over 40 million worldwide. Thoughtful feedback from teachers has helped us build new features to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s schools.Here are five stories of how Google Classroom has evolved over the years.1. Building a mission control center designed to save teachers time When talking with educators, we learned that their biggest need was a tool that allowed them to spend less time on administrative tasks and spend more time teaching. The first iteration of Google Classroom helped them create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with students easily.Classroom was launched in the fall of 2014.2. Listening to educators and incorporating their feedbackAs Google Classroom spread to more schools, we heard lots of inspiring success stories. We also listened for ways to make improvements and launched hundreds of new features based on educator feedback. And in year four, it was time for a refresh. This led to the Classwork page which organizes assignments and questions by grouping them into customizable modules and units. In 2018, we added the Classwork page to help educators organize assignments, materials and more.Teachers needed more ways to quickly find resources in Classroom, especially when juggling multiple classes. So we changed the Stream page into a conversation hub and improved the Settings page to allow teachers to turn off notifications. We also built a way for educators to copy and reuse classwork. The result? A more streamlined way to set up and manage classes, coursework and student rosters. After hearing that educators were spending too much time giving actionable feedback, we built a comment bank, which gives them a place to easily save, reuse and modify common feedback. Earlier this year, Classroom was refreshed further when it was redesigned with the intuitive look and feel that’s used across Google tools.  In 2018, we added a comment bank to save and reuse commonly used feedback when grading.3. Enhancing Classroom by integrating partner appsWe know there are lots of A+ education apps out there. It’s easy to feel bogged down by all the separate logins and applications to access your favorite tools. By partnering with some of the top EdTech companies—including Classcraft, GoGuardian, Pearson and others—we’ve helped integrate popular education apps with Classroom. Today, these partnerships allow teachers to share information between Classroom and other tools they love, without switching platforms.4. Better feedback with rubrics, Gradebook, and syncing grades to your SISEarlier this year we introduced rubrics, a tool currently in beta that helps students clearly understand how their assignments will be evaluated, while also giving educators a standardized way to grade. This feature works alongside other feedback tools to help teachers personalize instruction and improve learning. In 2019, we introduced rubrics.Other new developments include the ability to sync grades between a Student Information System (SIS) and Classroom, and Gradebook, a tool that keeps assignments and grades organized. Gradebook allows teachers to see a holistic view of their students’ grades across assignments, and offers quick ways to grade and return work. Teachers can also choose how grades are calculated (either by weighted average or total points) and set up grade categories for easier organization. Earlier this year, we launched an early access beta program that allows educators to sync grades from Classroom to their school information system (SIS) of record.5. Help students keep their ideas authenticOriginality reports in Google Docs help students balance outside inspiration with authenticity in their own work. This beta feature is designed to allow both teachers and students to compare coursework against hundreds of billions of web pages and tens of millions of books. To use originality reports with Classroom, apply to join the testing program by filling out our form. In 2019, we added a beta for originality reports in Google Classroom.Bring Google to your ClassroomReady to try some of the new features mentioned? Syncing grades with your SIS, rubrics, and originality reports are available in beta. Sign up to test these tools today at g.co/classroom/betas.Don’t have access to Google Classroom, but still want the benefits of collaborative teaching tools? Check out our new tool, Assignments.


Game on: Your Xbox One now works with the Google Assistant

When you’re in the zone playing a video game, multitasking becomes difficult. You might miss capturing a fun in-game moment to share with friends, or forget to turn down the volume late at night.  We think the Assistant can be a great teammate to help you stay focused on playing while still getting things done. Available in beta starting today, your Xbox One now works with the Google Assistant, letting you control your gaming experience by voice with any Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker or smart display, like the Google Nest Hub Max, or any Android mobile device.With the new Xbox Action for the Google Assistant, you can ask the Assistant to launch a game and your console will automatically turn on and load the game so it’s ready for you to start playing. To save you even more time, you can also easily search for games by voice, so there’s no more need to use the on-screen keyboard. After you save humanity from the Swarm or finish a match with your friends in “Gears 5” co-op multiplayer, the Assistant is able to take a screenshot or record video of your gameplay. Just say “Hey Google, take a screenshot on Xbox,” and your favorite moment will be captured to share with friends. Your Assistant is also the ideal companion to help you launch media apps from your console, in case you want to finish a show or pull up some music in between games. Just try saying, “Hey Google, open Netflix on Xbox.”The beta will be available only in English, wherever Google Assistant is supported. We hope to expand to more languages this fall with the full roll out of the experience. For a full list of commands, setup instructions, or for troubleshooting, please visit the Xbox Insider subreddit.With Google Assistant on Xbox, we’re excited to offer an extra companion for you while gaming. We will also work with Xbox to continue to improve the experience over time, offering even more ways for you to use the Assistant while gaming on Xbox in the future.


A new tool to help Italian companies grow with AI

Saccheria Franceschetti, a family business based in Brescia, Italy, has seen a lot of change in the 80 years since it was founded. Originally set up to produce bags from old fabric, it has now adopted 21st-century solutions like artificial intelligence to keep its competitive edge. As the third largest distributor of flexible packaging in Europe today, the 50-employee business uses AI to optimize its warehouses and logistics, and to monitor business processes in real time.At Google, we’re inspired by the tech savvy of companies like Saccheria Franceschetti, and we think there are thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses in Italy that could benefit from the same knowledge. That’s why Google has collaborated with the School of Management of the Politecnico University of Milan to develop Machine Learning Checkup, a free tool that enables companies to evaluate their readiness for artificial intelligence, and to understand how to make the most of the solutions offered by this technology.For Saccheria Franceschetti, adopting AI solutions has been well worth the effort. Its revenues have grown from €16 million in 2015 to almost €20 million in 2019, and its profit margins have doubled. And, as an unexpected bonus, it’s getting substantially fewer customer complaints.Artificial intelligence is also an important tool for Agrintesa, a farming cooperative in Faenza serving 4,000 small- and medium-sized farms. AI-powered image recognition helps the business sort part of their 440,000 tons of produce a year, quickly categorizing fruits by size, quality, shape and imperfections. In the two years since introducing AI, Agrintesa has sped up its processes and improved product quality. People at the company say the changes have made customers happier, and Agrintesa expects to see a 10 percent increase in profit margins within two years.Agrintesa uses visual recognition to sort its fruit production.Companies that use the new Machine Learning Checkup will receive a customized report laying out the potential benefits and best applications of AI. The tool also helps businesses take practical next steps toward implementation: Along with the report, it points them to free dedicated consultant services through their local chambers of commerce, and financial incentives to invest in their businesses from the Ministry of Economic Development.We’ve focused on the industries with the greatest potential for AI in Italy: agriculture, livestock farming, textiles, furniture, mechanics and iron and steel. The most effective applications come from the areas of sound and image recognition—like what Agrintesa is doing to sort produce—and predictive analytics, which can help with things like optimizing planting and harvesting times. For some areas of agriculture and farming, the research we commissioned has identified potential savings of up to 80 percent.There are many areas of business where AI can bring important benefits—from packaging logistics to produce selection—and we’re proud to be able to partner with Italian companies to help figure out what works for them. It’s part of our commitment to developing tools to ensure that everyone can access artificial intelligence.


More improvements for Android on entry-level phones

In many places in the world, entry-level smartphones are often the first and only way people get access to the internet. As we build Android for everyone, making sure that these devices are affordable and high quality is a top priority. That’s why we launched Android (Go edition) in 2018—a platform tailored for smartphones with 1.5GB of memory or less. As we release Android 10 (Go edition), here's a look at how we're making experiences for entry-level device owners better, across the platform and apps.Android 10 (Go edition)With Android 10 (Go edition), we've made Android faster and more secure. First, this new release helps you switch between apps faster and in a memory-efficient way. Speed and reliability are also enhanced—apps now launch 10 percent faster than they did on Android 9 (Go edition). Encryption underpins our digital security, as it protects your data even if your device falls into the wrong hands. That’s why Android 10 (Go edition) includes a new form of encryption, built by Google for entry-level smartphones, called Adiantum. Up until now, not all entry-level smartphones were able to encrypt data without affecting device performance. Adiantum is built to run efficiently without specialized hardware, meaning all Go edition users will have the same level of data security as any Android device, without compromising performance. This will make the next generation of devices more secure than their predecessors, and allow the next billion people coming online for the first time to do so safely.Keep an eye out for the new phones with Android 10 (Go edition) launching later this fall.New app experiencesApps designed for Go edition phones are also improving to better serve the needs of first-time smartphone owners.For example, we’ve introduced a number of updates to Google Go. With the AI-powered read-out-loud feature that makes consuming long-form text as easy as listening to the radio, people feel more comfortable using the web in their daily lives. Lens in Google Go helps people who struggle to read things in real life by reading out and translating the text that you point with your camera. Since the launch, people have told us that it helps them read and understand important things like bus schedules and bank forms.YouTube Go, which helps people watch videos on low-speed connections, is also receiving positive responses. People tell us they encounter less buffering while streaming videos, and are now saving on their data consumption.The new Gallery Go by Google Photos makes it easier to find photos on your entry-level phone. Just 10MB in size and powered by on-device machine learning, it automatically organizes your photos by the people and things you take photos of—and it works offline, too. Google GoCaption: Google Go's read-out-aloud featureLens in GoCaption: Lens in Google GoGallery GoCaption: Gallery Go by Google PhotosAcross the ecosystem, more Android developers are now enhancing their apps to work well on Android (Go edition) devices. In the past year, popular apps like Uber, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Spotify have been redesigned to be Go-ready. If you’re a developer, visit our developer site to learn how to build for the next billion.Go for everyoneIn the last 18 months, over 500 manufacturers have launched more than 1,600 Android (Go edition) device models to 180+ countries including India, South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, and the United States. These devices, including the Samsung A2, Xiaomi Redmi Go, Tecno Spark 2, and Mobicel Astro, make up over 80 percent of entry-level Android phones activating today.In some countries, devices are now available for as low as $27. Whether it comes with a high-definition or regular display, 4GB or 16GB of storage, or 3G or 4G support, there’s a Go edition device for everyone. With the new platform release and more app choices, Android (Go edition) brings a broader range of options and better performing phones to more people coming online for the first time.


Follow the journey of 13 Latino Trailblazers

Fondly referred to as “El Barrio,” East Harlem is home to one of the largest Latino communities in New York City. It was here that I grew up learning about and celebrating my Puerto Rican and Dominican heritage. From the vibrant murals depicting Latino legends to the salsa music playing from apartment windows, a walk through the neighborhood was a constant reminder of the pride my community felt for our culture. At my bilingual elementary school, our teachers taught us about Latino artists, scientists, athletes and other cultural icons. We learned about how Roberto Clemente, an Afro-Boricua who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was not only one of the most accomplished baseball players of all time, but was also well known for his philanthropic and humanitarian efforts. And how Celia Cruz, whose music was often played at my family gatherings, brought Latin music to the mainstream with her powerful voice and Afro-Latino rhythms.The societal contributions of Latinos reach far beyond East Harlem. To celebrate this diversity during Hispanic Heritage Month, members and allies of HOLA, the Hispanic Googler Network, partnered with Google Earth to show the impact Latinos have made around the world. Get a glimpse of how Roberto Clemente, Celia Cruz and 11 other Trailblazing Latinos have broken barriers and paved the way in industries from fashion to medicine.


How Google invests in news

Every time you search on Google, there are thousands, sometimes millions, of webpages with helpful information. When you’re looking for news, those pages could be from a large traditional news publisher or a new digital outlet. They could be from a local news site, or a small publisher specializing in health or fitness or food or fashion. Our job is to sort through those and connect you with the most relevant information. At the same time, we recognize that the internet has changed the way we find and access information, and that publishers are facing challenging business environments as a result. So I’d like to talk about how we connect people with news and how we support news publishers around the world. Our approach to search People trust Google to help them find useful and authoritative information, from a diverse range of sources. To uphold that trust, search results must be determined by relevance—not by commercial partnerships. That’s why we don’t accept payment from anyone to be included in search results. We sell ads, not search results, and every ad on Google is clearly marked. That’s also why we don’t pay publishers when people click on their links in a search result. To operate in any other way would reduce the choice and relevance to our users—and would ultimately result in the loss of their trust in our services.At the same time, we work closely with the news industry to provide value to publishers and journalists around the world. We do this in many ways—through Google Search and Google News, which help people find and access news content and enables us to send large amounts of traffic to publishers. We’ve also created advertising and subscription tools that help publishers grow new revenue, and our funding of programs and training as part of the Google News Initiative provides benefits to the news industry.The changing news industryWhen I was growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s, my local newspaper was, in a sense, the internet of my community. It was where I kept up with local events but also where my dad found my first car, where I found my first job, where my mom found recipes for Sunday dinner and discount coupons for the ingredients. Today the internet has dramatically changed how we do all of those things through the vast array of information and services found there.This shift has affected the revenue streams that publishers have traditionally relied on. Readers no longer go to newspapers for classified listings of jobs, apartments, or used cars. Instead, they go online to access a new world of options, whether that’s apartment listings, or for the latest food and fashion tips, movie reviews and recipes. Advertisers have followed suit, increasing spending on the websites of thousands of online publishers and service providers; they now have enormous choice in how they reach people online. How Google provides value to publishersAdvertising remains a key revenue stream for publishers (along with subscriptions)—but they have also shifted their focus to digital. Publishers want to be found by users so they can then grow revenue through ads or by converting readers into loyal subscribers. And Google helps publishers and journalists by helping people find news content and sending them to news sites.In the world of print, publishers pay newsstands to display their newspapers and magazines so readers can discover them. Google provides this benefit to publishers at no cost. This creates real value: In Europe alone, people click on the news content Google links to more than 8 billion times a month—that’s 3,000 clicks per second we drive to publishers’ own websites. For large news publishers, a study byDeloitte puts the value of each click between 4-6 euro cents. Beyond the traffic we send to publishers, we continue to invest in and provide value to the news industry in other ways. Google’s advertising technologies are used by many websites, including news publishers, where publishers retain the vast majority of the ad revenue. In 2018, Google sent more than 14 billion dollars to publishers around the world. Our Google News Initiative is investing $300 million to help news publishers around the world develop new products and business models that fit the different publishing marketplace the Internet has enabled. And we continue to make improvements to connect people with news from our products. Giving everyone better access to relevant and authoritative news, from a range of diverse sources, helps them stay informed about the news that matters to them. The news industry is fundamental to the health of our open societies and we’re committed to playing our part in ensuring a successful and sustainable future for news.


6 Chromebook keyboard shortcuts that save time

Chrome Browser keyboard shortcuts (which also work on Chromebook) can be major timesavers. Keyboard shortcuts, also called “hot keys,”  help you speed up a wide variety of tasks, including taking a screenshot, locking your screen, and even (fittingly) viewing all keyboard shortcuts—just click Ctrl + Alt + /.These six Chromebook keyboard shortcuts are among the most popular shortcuts that can help you do more in less time. While these tips are especially helpful for those of you who use Chromebooks at work, you might find they help you get things done faster, regardless of whether you're at work or home.1. Dock browser windows.Digging into projects often requires opening more than one browser window—also called a “browser instance”—at a time. This can be an effective way to organize work. You can open one browser instance for dashboards, one for apps, another for Gmail, a third for Google Docs you’re working on, and, perhaps, one for music.If you find yourself going back and forth between two browser instances, it’s a good idea to “dock” your screens, or anchor them in place on your screen so they don’t move around. This way, you can access two screens side-by-side. Hit Alt + ] to dock one browser instance to the left and Alt + [ to dock the other browser instance to the right.2. Switch between browser instances or browser tabs.Docking browser instances is one way to work more efficiently when you’re juggling projects. Another strategy is to quickly switch between what you have open. Within each browser instance, it’s not uncommon to have multiple tabs open on your screen. People do this often when they’re searching the web or working in different apps, like Gmail or Drive. You can use keyboard shortcuts to switch between browser instances and between tabs.Click Alt + tab to switch between the two most recent browser instances. Continue to hold Alt after pressing tab and you’ll get a tiled view of all of your open browser instances. Click Ctrl + tab (no point and click necessary) to navigate between browser tabs.3. Recover closed tabs.If you accidentally close Chrome, there’s no need to worry. Simply hit Ctrl + Shift + T and your most recently closed tab (or browser instance) comes right back. If you closed more than one, just hit that combination of keys again, and Chrome will keep restoring. 4. Use Caps Lock.One of the first things you might notice when you switch to Chrome OS is that there’s no Caps Lock key. But let’s face it, sometimes you need to shout your enthusiasm (COOKIES IN THE BREAKROOM!). In such instances, Caps Lock is just a keyboard shortcut away.Use Alt + search to activate and deactivate Caps Lock. The search key typically features a magnifying glass and is located on the far left side of your keyboard where Caps Lock is on other laptops. On some Chromebooks, you want to press Alt + Assistant , which is the key that resembles bubbles and is located between the Ctrl and Alt keys on the bottom left side of the keyboard. A notification will pop up and  let you know when you’ve activated Caps Lock and again when you deactivate it.If you use Caps Lock frequently, you can also enable the search key to be a permanent Caps Lock button in Settings. Here’s how:Click the time in the bottom right corner of your screen. It will pull up different tools for you to use. Click the gear/settings icon in the top right.Scroll to Device and click Keyboard.Use the drop-down menu to the right of Search to select Caps Lock.5. Switch between work and personal accounts.Setting up a personal account on your Chromebook to coincide with your work account makes it easy to switch between personal and work email on one device. This post explains how to set up a personal account on a Chromebook. Once you’ve set that up, use Alt + Ctrl + > or Alt + Ctrl + < to quickly switch between accounts. 6.  Launch applications located on Chrome OS’s “shelf,” or taskbar.At the bottom of the screen of your Chromebook, you’ll see a row of icons representing applications. We call this bottom part of the screen the “app shelf.” Keyboard shortcuts let you launch a specific application on the app shelf. Alt + 1 will launch the first app from the left on your shelf, Alt + 2 will open the second app from the left on your shelf, and so on.For more help on how to work efficiently on Chromebooks, check out our posts on how to set up a new Chromebook, 6 common questions for former Mac users who are new to Chromebook, how to use a Chromebook if you’ve switched from a PC, and (for IT admins) 5 Google IT tips for driving and sustaining Chromebook adoption. Whether you’re new to Chromebooks or have used them for a while, these tips can help you—and your company—complete your work faster.


Neha Palmer keeps Google's data centers green

When Neha Palmer was a kid, she idolized Marie Curie. Reading a book about the pioneering scientist inspired her to pursue the field herself. “I think of it as the geek’s princess story,” she says. And now, both in and out of her role at Google, she’s working to inspire others who want to find a way to translate their passion for science and the environment into a career. Neha leads the team responsible for purchasing clean energy to fuel Google’s data centers. She's helping to reach our goal of remaining carbon neutral, which we have been since 2007, and matching all of Google’s energy consumption with 100 percent renewable energy, which we have achieved for two years in a row. Thanks to the work of Neha’s team, Google recently announced our largest ever purchase of renewable energy and was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency with its Green Power Leadership Partner of the Year award.For this installment of The She Word, Neha explains why renewable energy is so important, how Google has inspired companies to take action themselves and the one trick that keeps her productive, even on the busiest days. How do you describe your job at a dinner party?When you use Search, YouTube and Gmail, all of that sits on a computer somewhere, and that somewhere is our network of data centers around the world. My job is to buy as much clean energy in the locations we have data centers as we can. Data centers are the largest portion of our carbon footprint as a company, driven by the amount of electricity they consume.How does Google define clean energy? We define 100 percent renewable as: For every year, across the globe, we match every single kilowatt hour of electricity we use with a kilowatt hour of renewable energy. So far, that has meant wind and solar. But now we’re thinking: How do we get beyond that? If you have a solar farm, for example, it’s going to produce energy during the day, but when it’s dark, we still have to use the power that’s on the grid, which often includes carbon-emitting resources. Our next big goal is to buy 100 percent clean, carbon-free energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. That would mean resources that don’t emit carbon. I feel lucky that I have a job where I feel like I can make a difference.Why is it so important to focus on clean energy? The production of electricity results in around 30 percent of all the emissions in the world. From my perspective, it’s the most important thing that we can do as a company to make sure we’re operating in an environmentally sustainable way. What we’ve seen is that a lot of companies from all sectors have followed. We see the automotive industry, consumer products, even candy bar companies moving toward clean energy. Corporations have realized that this is something that is not only beneficial for their environment, but also for their business. Climate is top of mind for many people right now, but a lot of people are confused about what they can do as individuals. I feel lucky that I have a job where I feel like I can make a difference. Seeing the impact of the work is really satisfying. What do you do in a typical day? I try to get big projects out of the way in the morning. If there’s something I need to sit down and think about critically, I try to block out at least an hour to focus on that. If I do have a bunch of things that are top of mind, but I know I’ll only have that one hour, I usually start the day by writing exactly one thing, and only one thing, on a sticky note. I stick it on my computer, and I won’t leave for the day until it is done. I spend a lot of time in meetings, since I’m on a very large team. And I try to sit down and have an actual lunch and be technology-free, to let my mind clear and re-energize. In the afternoons it’s a scramble—I’ve got two small children, so I get home and spend time with them before they go to bed and end the day. What’s one habit that makes you successful?There’s so much discussion right now about work-life balance. One thing I’ve learned is that it's going to be seasonal. There are plenty of times where you feel stressed and you’re not going to have that balance, but there are  plenty of times where you feel like you are in control. Knowing that you can get back to that place gives me enough mental stability to get through the hectic times. You spent most of your career in the utilities industry, which is historically male-dominated. How have you navigated that?I’ve always sought out strong female leaders, whether it’s within my company or outside the company, I’ve also tried to think about how I can help pull people up. It might be talking to a group of high schoolers about STEM and engineering careers, or it might be talking to an MBA class about how you convert your passion for the environment into a job. There are plenty of people who are interested in the energy industry, it’s just making sure that we find them, engage them and then hire them. Related ArticleOur biggest renewable energy purchase everThese deals will increase our worldwide portfolio of wind and solar agreements by more than 40 percent.Read Article


What's new in Chrome OS: Google Assistant comes to more Chromebooks

The latest version of Chrome OS brings the Google Assistant to more Chromebooks. It’s starting to roll out now to more non-managed, consumer devices.  The Assistant on Chromebook helps you stay productive, control your smart devices, and have a little fun along the way. To get started, enable the Assistant in your Chromebook’s settings and then try asking or typing some of these queries: “Hey Google, create a new document”Quickly create new Docs, Sheets and Slides in your Google Drive. Or open a pre-existing file by specifying its title in your query. With your Assistant, access files in Drive even faster than before.  “Hey Google, what’s next on my calendar?”Your Assistant can help you stay on top of your busy schedule. You can ask it when your next meeting starts, find out when your next flight is scheduled, or add an event to your calendar. “Hey Google, remind me to buy a cake for Ciara’s birthday”Set helpful reminders with the Assistant. If you’re working on a project and remember something you need to do later, set a quick reminder. That way, you can stay focused on your current task without dropping the ball on your to-do list. “Hey Google, play some party music” Use your Assistant to help set the mood.  Now you can use your Chromebook to play music through speakers like the Google Nest Hub Max or control other devices like smart lights. You can even type a query into your Chromebook to control devices in different parts of your home—without using your voice. Enable your Assistant on ChromebookOn Chromebook, you can communicate with the Assistant by using your voice or typing.  Here’s how to enable the Assistant and access it with your voice: On your Chromebook, go to Settings > Search and Assistant > Google AssistantEnable voice input and train your Assistant to recognize your voice.Just say “Hey Google” and your Assistant will respond.After enabling the Assistant in Settings, you can also access it by using your keyboard:Use the keyboard shortcut: “Search”+ “a”Type a query. You can even skip writing, “Hey Google.”There are thousands of actions that you can do on your Assistant, and it’s always learning and getting better. Try saying or typing, “Hey Google, what can you do?” to explore more.We’ll be back in around six weeks to let you know more about what’s new in Chrome OS.


Score big and try Google News for the Rugby World Cup

Grab your flags and jerseys: The 2019 Rugby World Cup, hosted in Japan, is running from September 20 through November 2 this year. The tournament, which began in 1987, is held every four years between the top 20 international teams. They’re competing for the illustrious Webb Ellis Cup, named after William Webb Ellis, the alleged inventor of rugby. This will be the ninth Rugby World Cup and will mark the first time the tournament is held in Asia, and Google News is helping you get access to all the biggest moments. When you search and follow the Rugby World Cup on mobile, our interactive tournament wheel will transport you straight into the action. Follow your team through the pool stage, knockouts and finals with live coverage of every match including post-game reactions and analyses, player stats, injury reports, win probabilities and more.No matter where you are or what device you have, we’ve got you covered. Our experience will be available across iOS and Android platforms across all 50+ languages we cover.This feature also compliments our efforts across Google, specifically for YouTube, which will feature comprehensive match highlights from World Rugby and official tournament broadcasters, as well as interviews, a daily review show and behind-the-scenes action.Will your team win? Join in on the scrum and find out with Google News.


Google Play Pass: Enjoy apps and games without ads or in-app purchases

Google Play has always been about connecting you to the best apps, games and digital content out there. Since everyone plays a little differently, we’re introducing a new way to enjoy many of these digital experiences: Google Play Pass.Play Pass is a new subscription service that gives you access to more than 350 apps and games that are completely unlocked—all free of ads, in-app purchases and upfront payments. Play Pass offers a high-quality, curated collection of titles from Stardew Valley to AccuWeather, with new apps and games added every month.Play Pass is coming to Android devices in the U.S. this week, and we’ll be bringing it to additional countries soon. You can get started with a 10-day free trial and subscribe for just $4.99/month. And for a limited time, you can get Play Pass for only $1.99/month for your first twelve months, then $4.99/month (see full terms).Apps and games you already love, plus more to discoverThe Play Pass collection spans hundreds of titles, from games that help you unwind to apps that power productivity. We think the creators of Monument Valley put it best: “Play Pass helps encourage people to try new experiences they would not have otherwise," says Maria Sayans, CEO of Ustwo games.You’ll find well-known apps and games like Terraria, Monument Valley, Risk, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and AccuWeather. And others you might be less familiar with that are just as amazing, like LIMBO, Lichtspeer, Mini Metro, Old Man’s Journey and many more. With new additions every month—including titles like This War of Mine and Cytus coming soon—there’s always something new to discover.To make all of these apps and games easier to find, we’ve added a new Play Pass tab for subscribers. Play Pass apps and games can still be found throughout the Play Store–just look for the Play Pass “ticket.” All apps and games found on the Play Pass homepage or throughout the Play Store with the ticket are completely unlocked with your subscription.Share with the whole familyJust like Google Play Family Library, family managers can share their Play Pass subscription with up to five other family members. Each family member can access Play Pass individually, so your experience won’t be affected by what others download. Play Pass also has a great selection of family-friendly content—from Toca Boca classics to the My Town series—so the whole family can enjoy. Get startedOnce Play Pass is available on your Android device this week, you can start your free trial by simply opening the Play Store app, tapping the menu at the top left, and looking for “Play Pass.”  Learn more about Play Pass—and have fun!


Latino genealogists use Google to search for their roots

Editor’s note: For National Hispanic Heritage Month, we teamed up with Los Angeles-based artist and photographer Arlene Mejorado, whose work explores themes of racial identity and cultural experience. She brought the family stories of Joana Diaz and Lenny Trujillo to life for this article.Mimi Lozano says genealogy has been a way to dispel the many stereotypes and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latino families. Photo provided by the author.When 85-year-old Mimi Lozano began looking into her Mexican heritage in the 1980s, she had a hard time accessing any information about her ancestors. It turns out the same was true for other people with her background, so she and other local genealogists took action. They decided to start the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research, which has been helping people find their roots for over 30 years. Mimi, who recently retired as head of the organization, has seen how technology has made genealogy research easier, particularly for Latino and Hispanic genealogists. "That's what I tell people. Don't get frustrated,” she says. “If you Google it, someone will have some information."But Mimi isn’t alone in her search. Around the country, Hispanic and Latino genealogy enthusiasts are using Google technology to help them track down records, connect with other researchers and even reunite with long-lost relatives, to piece together a richer picture of the past.Lenny TrujilloLenny at the Agua Mansa Cemetery, where many of his relatives and other early Hispanic settlers of California are buried.Lenny TrujilloThrough his research, Lenny discovered more information about his great-great-great grandfather, Lorenzo Trujillo. "At some point Lorenzo made the decision to make a better life,” Lenny says. “It takes a lot to leave your homeland and totally uproot and go more than 1,000 miles to somewhere brand new."Lenny TrujilloLorenzo’s story inspired Lenny to work with an artist to build a memorial with a design he felt embodied Lorenzo’s intrepid spirit. He loved the symbol so much that he made it into a family icon, and had a pendant made to wear around his neck, along with other commissioned artwork that now hangs on the walls of his Los Angeles home. Growing up, Lenny Trujillo only knew bits and pieces of his family history. As a young boy, his father would take him to the Agua Mansa Cemetery in Colton, California, where dozens of his relatives are buried. After retiring from the U.S. Postal Service, Lenny, who is 67, wanted to learn more about the patriarch of his family, Lorenzo Trujillo. In 1841, Lorenzo brought his entire family over from New Mexico to modern-day California, becoming one of the early non-indigenous settlers of the San Bernardino and Riverside areas.Using Search, Lenny could look at the burial records of all the Trujillos at the cemetery and research the Old Spanish Trail, which his great-great-great grandfather Lorenzo traversed with his family over a thousand miles by foot. Lorenzo's journey made a deep impression on Lenny. He wanted to memorialize Lorenzo in a significant way, so he enlisted a sculptor and chose one of his artworks to place near the unmarked gravesite. The design, he says, reminds him of a hurricane. “The center is bringing force in but it's also distributing everything at the same time," he says.Joana DiazJoana Diaz grew up in Philadelphia without a lot of extended family around. She started her first family tree at age 10 because it made her feel connected to family in Puerto Rico.Joana DiazJoana built a website called Puerto Rican Genealogy, where she shares information with others looking into their Puerto Rican history, while also providing a place to celebrate the mix of Spanish, indigenous Taíno and African lines that make up Puerto Rican heritage.Joana DiazJoana, with her mother, father and daughter.For 42-year-old Joana Diaz of Philadelphia, genealogy became a way to feel proud of who she is. Growing up, she would spend most summers in Puerto Rico, staying intermittently with both sets of grandparents, then back home, where she had very little family. So she started to look into her genealogy to feel closer to her family back in Puerto Rico. Using Search, she found an old census and history books about Puerto Rico. She learned more about the line of family who came to Puerto Rico from Corsica, deciphering these documents with the help of Google Translate. One of her favorite finds was an old photograph of the church in Cidra, Puerto Rico, where she spent a number of summers. "It's important to remember the struggles before you and what our ancestors went through,” she says. “On the island, time moves slowly. But it's also where people are still very connected to the earth, to the culture and who they are."Kat Romero displays the family heirlooms that belonged to her great-grandmother Antonita Alires, which she uncovered by tracking down a relative using Search. Photo by Sabi Rivera.Like Lenny, Kat Romero, 37, of Norman, Oklahoma, wanted to learn more about her Hispanic-New Mexican lineage. As a child, Kat mostly grew up with her mother's side of the family. But she longed to know more about her father's family.She found a book, made available on Google Books, that showed that her father’s maternal side was from a long line of prominent Hispanic families. The platform, she says, has been valuable. "You would have to read countless books that would be in academic libraries just to find a mention of your ancestor," she says.She went on to look into her father’s paternal line. Then, she heard that one of her relatives had many of the family keepsakes. The only problem: Due to a family rift, no one knew her whereabouts.  She did some research in Google Search, then called each phone number and wrote letters to each address she found. When she had a good feeling about one of the addresses, she went to investigate. Her hunch was right, and her long-lost cousin greeted her warmly, bringing out bins of photos and family memorabilia. Kat inherited her great grandmother’s tobacco box, hair comb and rosary—things she now treasures.At age 15, Gabriel Garcia started an online social networking group with other Cuban Americans researching their roots because many of them did not know about their history.  Photo courtesy of Gabriel Garcia. A link to a place was also the reason for 23-year-old Gabriel Garcia to start digging into his ancestry. Gabriel came to Miami when he was 4 years old. His grandfather had been a political prisoner, and as a result his family was given asylum. Coming to the U.S. at such a young age, he thought genealogy might be a way to connect to the country he left behind. In his family, he's gained the nickname el investigadorbecause of his relentlessness. He interviewed all the relatives he could find. Through Search, he found some key information about his great-great grandfather, who migrated from the Canary Islands to Cuba: an article that listed the date he became a Cuban citizen. With additional digging, he found an image in a digitized book that showed his great-great grandfather in his tobacco field.  His research led him to meet with relatives he never knew existed. Not only that, he says it has also made him more open-minded. "It opens up another way to interpret and see the world," he says.Related ArticleMariate Arnal wants everyone in Mexico to get onlineGoogle Mexico’s Managing Director, Mariate Arnal, talks about her role leading a Next Billion Users market, and her passion for fighting ...Read Article