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Redefine reading practice with Rivet

Reading is one of the most important skills students will learn in their lives. After the third grade, students who have mastered reading use it to learn just about everything else. Struggling readers, on the other hand, are unlikely to catch up and four times less likely to graduate from high school. Unfortunately, 64 percent of fourth grade students in the United States perform below the proficient level in reading.Rivet is a new reading app from Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental projects, that addresses the most common barriers to effective reading practice through a free, easy-to-use reading experience optimized for kids. Evidence shows that one of the major differences between poor and strong readers is the amount of time spent reading, so we're introducing Rivet to make high-quality reading practice available to all.Improving access to booksWith a rapidly growing digital library of over 2,000 free books, Rivet makes it easy to find interesting reading material at the right level. There are engaging books covering a wide array of topics, from planets in outer space to Harriet Tubman. Every book in our library is carefully reviewed and leveled by content quality experts to ensure young readers are shown appropriate content at the right level of difficulty.A knowledgeable reading buddyRivet uses advanced speech technology to provide support on every word and give kids feedback on their reading, so they can practice independently without getting stuck. Here are a few Rivet features you can try out during reading practice:Tap for Help: Stuck on a word? Just tap to hear it pronounced.Say the Word: Kids can practice reading a word and the app will show them exactly which parts of the word were said correctly and which parts they need to work on.Definitions and Translations: Definitions are available for every word, along with translations into more than 25 languages for non-native speakers.Follow Along: Rivet can read full-pages aloud on a selection of books, highlighting each word as it’s read so kids can follow along. (Parents have the option to disable this feature.)Real-time Feedback: On Android (and coming soon to iOS), Rivet can provide even more real-time help. Just tap the microphone icon and read the page aloud—the app will follow along and proactively offer support if it detects a reader struggling. At the end of the page, readers can see which words were read correctly, and try again on the words they missed. All speech processing is performed on-device to respect your child’s privacy.Motivation and encouragementIt takes hard work and plenty of patience to master reading. Rivet rewards dedication with points and badges, and personalizes the experience with avatars, themes and recommended books based on each reader’s level and interests. Surprises designed to encourage more practice, energizing games and a playful interface keep kids engaged in the reading experience.Our goal is to deliver high-quality reading practice to children everywhere, along with peace of mind for the busy parents accompanying them on their reading journey. In the upcoming months, we’ll introduce features to support reading practice in classrooms, add new content for a wider range of reading levels and expand to more countries around the world.Rivet is now available on Android smartphones, tablets, iPads, iPhones and Chromebooks in eleven countries worldwide. If you know a little reader who could benefit from better reading practice, check us out in the Play Store or App Store today.

With the Google Assistant, your Sonos system gets even smarter

When your hands are full hosting a party with family and friends, or when you’re just chilling at home, your Google Assistant can help you find your favorite playlist, skip to the next song or turn up the volume. Today, we’re bringing the Assistant to your Sonos system so that you can easily play music on any speaker in your house. Plus, you'll get all the usual help from the Assistant to better manage your day, like traffic to work or your next appointment. With this software update, you can activate the Assistant on your Sonos One and Sonos Beam, or control any other Sonos product from a Google Assistant-enabled device, such as your phone, a smart speaker, or a Smart Display.Here are a few things you can do with the Google Assistant on Sonos:Listen to some tunes. Or news. Or podcasts:While you’re able to play music from all the services the Assistant already supports—including YouTube Music, Pandora, and Spotify—you can also use the Assistant to skip to the next track, pause the music and change volume from the 100+ music services already available on Sonos. It’s also easy to catch up on the latest episode of your favorite podcast just by asking the Assistant.Enjoy entertainment:With the Google Assistant on Sonos Beam and a Chromecast-enabled TV, you can turn on the TV, switch from music to TV, and adjust the volume. You can also stream videos from popular services.Plan your day: Get help with things like your flight information, or traffic on your commute to work.Manage tasks:Set alarms and timers, pull up your calendar appointments, or add items to your shopping list.Get answers: Ask all your questions on sports, weather, calculations, translations and more.Control your home:Ask your Assistant on your speakers to adjust the temperature, lighting, and other smart home devices connected in your home.Get started with the Assistant on your Sonos speaker or soundbarIf you already own a Sonos One or Sonos Beam, it’s easy to set up the Assistant. Your speaker and soundbar will automatically receive a software update introducing the Google Assistant as a voice assistant option. To add Google Assistant to your Sonos speakers,Go to "Voice Services" in the Sonos app under SettingsSelect Google AssistantFollow the guided setup processWe’re starting in the U.S. and then will expand support to the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, France, The Netherlands and more over the coming months.To showcase Sonos’ sound experience paired with the smart control of the Google Assistant, we invite you to attend an immersive, multi-sensory experience in New York, June 7-9. Featuring new music from The National and Holly Herndon, alongside tracks curated by the iconic Beggars Group labels (Rough Trade, 4AD, XL, Matador and Young Turks), we’ll help you explore how sound works, how it layers into music, and how music sparks emotion. Learn more and RSVP.Your Sonos system, now paired with the helpfulness of the Google Assistant, gives you more choices than ever to enjoy and control your music and entertainment.

A global hub for privacy engineering, in the heart of Europe

Last week at I/O, our annual developer conference in California, I shared how we’re working to build a more helpful Google for everyone. Keeping people safe online, and their information private and secure, is a big part of how we do this. We believe that privacy and safety must be equally available to everyone in the world, and we bring that to life with products that empower everyone with clear and meaningful choices around their data.To build on that commitment, this week, we’re officially opening the Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) in Munich, Germany. We’re growing our operations and doubling the number of privacy engineers in Munich to more than 200 by the end of 2019, making Germany a global hub for Google’s cross-product privacy engineering efforts. The team will work hand-in-hand with privacy specialists in Google offices across Europe and globally, and the products built there will be used around the world.It’s no accident that we’re building our privacy hub in the heart of Europe, and in a country that in many ways reflects how Europeans think about online safety, privacy and security. Many of our privacy products have been built in Munich, including Google Account, a central place where you can control your privacy when you use Google products. Today, more than 20 million people visit Google Account every day to review their settings, using tools like Privacy Checkup, which provides a quick and easy walk-through of your privacy settings.Our Munich-based privacy engineers have also made it easier for you to make decisions about your data by making privacy controls easy to find, without ever leaving the app. This capability is already in Search, and we’re rolling it out to Maps, the Assistant and YouTube, too.  Building privacy and security into the core of our products doesn’t just mean keeping people safe while using Google’s products—it also means keeping people safe when they browse the web. Munich is also home to engineering teams who have built our privacy and security features into the Chrome browser—like enhanced password management and tools and improvements for our cookie controls.This is a major milestone in our investments in Europe. Since 2007, we’ve grown in Munich to more than 750 people, hailing from more than 60 countries. We’ll continue to invest in all parts of our operation, including the GSEC team. This year’s expansion will take us beyond 1,000 employees for the first time, making the office a true global hub not only for privacy engineering, but for research and product development, as well.We’re also working to empower more organizations to do this important work with a new Google Impact Challenge on Safety. It’s a 10 million euro grant fund to support nonprofits, universities, academic research institutions, for-profit social enterprises and other organizations that are already working across Europe on a range of safety issues, from keeping young people safe online to addressing hate crimes in their communities.These announcements mark a significant step forward in making privacy and security a reality for everyone, and we’re excited our teams in Munich are leading the way.

Supporting the vital work of European safety organizations

All of us have a responsibility to help keep people safe online. At Google that means doing all we can to make our products safe and combat abuse of our platforms. It also means thinking beyond just our corner of the internet and supporting the work of others in Europe.That’s why we’re launching a €10 million European grant fund—the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety—to support nonprofits, universities, academic research institutions, for-profit social enterprises and other expert organisations across Europe working on safety issues. These organisations might be focused on tackling hate and extremism in their communities, or helping young people stay safe online. They’re working on topics that don’t necessarily start when you open a laptop or end when you close one, but where technology can still play a role. Through a long partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), we’ve already started on this work. It’s crucial for us to support and partner with safety experts on the ground who are working to foster a safer online experience. These organizations might need funding to develop new ways to use technology to solve age-old problems. Other groups might need more resources to help deal with areas where technology has added a new dimension to an existing topic, like education. In both cases, we’ll open up access to funding and scope volunteer opportunities for Googlers to support expert organizations across Europe. Learning from experts is key to our ongoing work to make our own products safer and help people enjoy all the web has to offer, safely and with confidence. Our partnership with ISD and our Google.org Innovation Fund in the U.K. led to the creation of new programs and technologies designed to keep people safer on and offline, and build empathy and tolerance. Take KO Racism by Limehouse Boxing Academy, which runs boxing workshops with a twist: each session includes an open discussion about racism and prejudice supplemented with impactful videos. Or Virtual Inclusion by The Open University, which uses virtual reality to immerse the viewer in a day in the life of a socially-discriminated young person, and ultimately builds trust and empathy. We’ve seen real impact with this fund and partnership on a U.K. level and now we want to achieve even more at the European level. Already our existing partnerships with expert safety organizations in Europe mean we’ve been able to train well over 1 million young people through our Be Internet Awesome and Be Internet Citizens safety programs in 2018.So now, we’ll offer grants of up to €1,000,000 to selected applicants from across Europe, and we’ll consider both online and offline projects. We’ll be running events and workshops from May onwards in countries around Europe to engage with organizations and support their application processes. Applications are now open and grant applications will be reviewed by an expert board of European safety experts and thought-leaders, including Helle Thorning Schmidt, outgoing Save the Children CEO; Renske van der Veer, director of the Netherlands’ International Centre for Counter Terrorism; and Thomas Krüger, President of Germany’s Federal Agency for Civic Education. We understand our responsibility to drive a free, open and safer internet and we’re honored to support this important work to make meaningful progress together.

Ask a Techspert: What’s so interesting about spreadsheets?

Editor’s Note: Do you ever feel like a fish out of water? Try being a tech novice and talking to an engineer at a place like Google. Ask a Techspert is a new series on the Keyword asking Googler experts to explain complicated technology for the rest of us. This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but just enough to make you sound smart at a dinner party.The spreadsheet wizard: Every office has one. They’re masters of functions and pivot tables. It’s as if they hold the secrets of the universe, while I fumble around just trying to alphabetize something.In today’s workplace, spreadsheets are in, and endless stacks of paper containing years of information are out. That got me wondering: Since when did spreadsheets become “a thing,” anyway? How did they become the de facto way to organize data? And what does the future of spreadsheets look like?For this edition of Ask a Techspert, I sat down with Ryan Weber, a G Suite Product Manager who works on Google Sheets, to get an expert’s take on how users look to spreadsheets to manage their data. Ryan and his team not only know how we use spreadsheets today, but also have a good idea of how we’ll use them in the future.How did spreadsheets and computers first meet?  “Spreadsheets were the first ‘killer app’ of the personal computer,” Ryan told me. “People got them for their home and for their business, and it allowed people to really unlock the true value of a computer.” By “killer app,” Ryan means software so popular that it becomes one of the main reasons many people use a device.  Essentially, spreadsheets were one of the reasons to actually go out buy a computer for the first time. They presented a technological alternative to all of those paper ledgers and books that, for centuries, have been used to organize information. We take it for granted now, but consider what a game changer it was to have a new, more efficient way to organize data. The advent of spreadsheets made computers useful to millions, who use spreadsheets for anything from wedding guest lists to financial projections for Fortune 500 companies.How are spreadsheets used in computing today?These days, you don’t have to write code or know how to create complex formulas in a spreadsheet to make data work for you. “Sheets allows someone to easily generate valuable analysis by using simple tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI),” Ryan says. “AI allows you to play with data in new ways, including automatically getting suggestions for formulas, charts and pivot tables, or even being able to use natural language to ask questions via Sheets Explore.”This capability means they’re usable by anyone, not just experts, which Ryan calls “democratizing data analysis.” And as the uses and capabilities of Sheets continues to evolve, it will continue to expand to even more people, helping them in more ways in both their personal and professional lives.Because Sheets is stored in the cloud, it allows everyone to see and edit the same file at the same time. This is particularly helpful for businesses which rely on G Suite apps, like Sheets, to collaborate on heavy duty analyses with multiple people. “Historically, this idea of a single source coupled with real-time collaboration was what made Sheets stand out from other spreadsheets from its inception,” Ryan says. “You don’t have to worry about sending around spreadsheet attachments and then trying to merge them later. This seamless collaboration in G Suite is what makes our tools different.”What is the future of spreadsheets?After 40 years, it’s clear that spreadsheets are here to stay. But like many other technologies, AI can dramatically affect how useful spreadsheets are to us. Ryan says Google is developing new ways to incorporate AI into Sheets for just that reason. Now, the team is looking into using AI to automatically clean and format data so it’s in good shape and ready to be used in your analysis.The team is also looking to increase the types of data available for analysis, since information can come from all sorts of places, especially at work. “We’re making it easier to connect large datasets to Sheets from other critical data sources in your company, or even connect important data from outside of your company into Sheets. We want to ensure that data is easy to access and analyze so you can do what you need to do,” Ryan says.So, will futuristic AI-powered spreadsheets know where to seat your mother’s mahjong friends at your wedding? As of now, that’s sadly unlikely. You’re still on your own to figure out that social minefield.

Helping businesses grow across all 50 U.S. states

Small businesses play a vital role in American life. From the restaurants that serve as places to gather over a meal, to the bookshops and hardware stores that treat customers like family and sponsor local soccer teams, small businesses are the backbone of our communities.So I’m really proud of the work Google does to help local businesses across the United States use the power of the web to grow and thrive. Our U.S. Economic Impact Report, released today, shows that in 2018, our Search and Advertising tools helped create $335 billion in economic activity for millions of businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits across the country—up from $283 billion in 2017. Each month, we drive over 1 billion connections for businesses nationwide, like phone calls or online reservations. We’re also connecting businesses with customers overseas: in fact, in 2018 more than 35 percent of clicks for U.S. business advertising on Google came from places outside the U.S.We’re also working with business owners in their own hometowns through Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity for everyone. Since 2017, Googlers have traveled to more than 50 cities around the country, training over 3 million Americans in digital skills to help them prepare for work, find jobs and grow their businesses. Digital skills are a must-have in today’s economy, and our goal is to ensure that every business owner has the skills they need to succeed.One of those business owners is Sara Irvani, who runs Okabashi, an American footwear company her family founded after arriving to the U.S. during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Okabashi is located in Buford, Georgia, a small town that was once a major American shoemaking hub. While other American shoe manufacturers have moved their operations abroad, Sara is committed to keeping her business in Buford and bringing economic opportunity to her hometown and her 200 employees.To make this possible, Sara has made a big investment in bolstering the company’s digital presence. It’s a smart decision—data shows that small businesses that use advanced digital tools, such as online advertising and data analytics, experienced revenue growth in the previous year that was nearly four times as high. In Sara’s case, she uses Google Analytics to better understand the kind of shoe designs her customers are most excited about, and those insights help her team design new products that keep people coming back to purchase Okabashi shoes. She’s also able to reach customers—both here and abroad—by using Google Ads. Now, 64 percent of the company’s online sales come in through the platform. To date, her company has sold 35 million pairs of shoes to customers in 11 countries.Some of my other favorite stories from the 2018 report include how Google employees have  helped Amini’s, a specialty furniture store in St. Louis build a new website and a robust e-commerce strategy. In rural New Hampshire, Fuller’s Sugarhouse was able to share its maple syrup with customers in Switzerland, France, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. We’ve also helped many veteran-owned businesses, nonprofits, and digital businesses to make Google products and programs work for them.While the U.S. Economic Impact Report only focuses on activity in the U.S., we’re working with partners to expand economic opportunity all over the world. Last week we announced that Grow with Google has helped to train more than 10 million with digital skills in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and earlier this year, we released a report detailing our impact in Brazil, with more reports to come in other countries later this year.Supporting the success of businesses, partners, and communities is an important part of our overall vision of building a more helpful Google for everyone. To learn more about how Google can help businesses, go to google.com/economicimpact.

"Dancing with a machine:" Bill T. Jones on AI and art

In early 2019, the Google Creative Lab partnered with Bill T. Jones, a pioneering choreographer, two-time Tony Award Winner, MacArthur Fellow, National Medal of the Arts Honoree, and artistic director and co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company of New York Live Arts. We teamed up to explore the creative possibilities of speech recognition and PoseNet, which is Google’s machine-learning model that estimates human poses in real time in the browser.We sat down with Bill to hear his reflections on working at the intersection of art, technology, identity and the body. Try out the experiments and watch a short film about the collaboration at g.co/billtjonesai. Why did you collaborate with Google on AI experiments?The idea of machine learning intrigues me. The theme of our company’s Live Ideas Fest this year is artificial intelligence. AI is supposed to take us into the next century and important things are supposed to be happening with this technology, so I wanted to see if we could use it to stir real human emotion. Maybe it’s ego, but I want to be the one to know how to use PoseNet to make somebody cry. How do you get the technology to be weighted with meaning and import?How have you experimented with technology over the course of your career?Back in the ‘80s, Arnie Zane [Jones’s partner and company co-founder] and I decided we didn’t want to work with technology anymore because the pure art of sweat and bodies on stage should be enough. Technology just steals your thunder. Then a friend said, “Technology can suggest the beyond. Technology can project what is at stake when you die. When you see these figures, they’re no longer human, they’re something else.” So we started working with more state-of-the-art technologies. Later, I did a project called “Ghostcatching” with 3D motion capture. At that time, the team was saying, “we want to capture your movement so that in 50 years we could reconstitute your performance.” That’s how people were thinking years ago, and seems to still be a preoccupation now. They said they wanted to “decouple me from my personality.” Maybe I’m romantic, but I don't think that’s possible. So, my focus with this project was not on how to replace the performer, but complement them.What was it like experimenting with AI?I’ve never collaborated with a machine before. It's a whole other learning curve. We are taught in the art world that you don’t get many chances. This experience contrasted that notion. It was refreshing to co-create with the Google team whose approach was playful and iterative.Were there moments you felt this technology was in the service of dance? In the service of dance? I say this with great respect: it's almost antithetical to everything I thought dance was. The webcam’s field of vision determines a lot about how we move. Dance for us is often times in an empty room that implies infinite space. But working with a webcam, there is a very prescribed space. Limitations are not bad in art making, but they were a new challenge. It was a shift creating something for the screen and not the stage.What was it like shifting from creating for the stage to the screen?I felt like I was being asked: Come out of the place that you as an artist come from, the avant-garde. Come and work with a medium that's available to millions of people. That's wonderful, but it's also a responsibility. The meaningful things people make with this are going to be very weird in a way, aren't they? Very kind of exciting. I'm appreciative of being part of the development of this.Where do you see AI going? Will you work with it more in the future? I understand context is the next frontier in machine learning. This seems paramount for art making. I hope one day soon they make a machine I can dance with. I’d like to dance with a machine, just to see what that’s like.

New career tools to help military spouses thrive

Service members aren’t alone in making great sacrifices for the good of our country. Military spouses are the backbone of their families and communities, often serving alongside service members and assuming responsibilities on the homefront. As a military spouse, I’ve experienced the challenges that this life brings. While separated from my husband for two and a half years, I took on all responsibilities for our home and managed several out-of-state moves.The realities I’ve faced being part of a military family made it incredibly difficult to balance my husband’s military career with my own career goals and aspirations. Military spouses are resilient leaders with diverse perspectives, making them powerful assets to the workplace. To ensure that this community continues to thrive in the workplace, this Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Google is excited to share new initiatives that will empower military spouses to build meaningful careers, wherever they’re located.According to a 2017 report from Hiring Our Heroes, 16 percent of military spouses are unemployed–a figure that’s four times higher than the national rate. And more than 55 percent are underemployed, working in roles below their abilities or education levels.Despite this hurdle, there are spouses around the world who’ve built fulfilling careers that fit a military lifestyle. In Durham, North Carolina, the Grow with Google team met Kelly Grivner-Kelly, a military spouse whose frequent moves were holding her back in her job search. This changed when she found a job as a program manager where she can work from home–and stay on remotely after her next move.In Fayetteville, North Carolina, the team met Krystel Spell, who started the blog Army Wife 101 and founded an influencer agency for military spouses after noticing a lack of resources available to her community. Through flexible career paths and entrepreneurial endeavours, more military spouses are pursuing their career goals, becoming breadwinners, and taking their work with them from place to place. And technology is making it easier.Last year, Grow with Google developed tools and resources for the U.S. military community. Knowing the important role military spouses play, we want to continue using technology to address the unique challenges military spouses face as they build their careers.Our improved experience within jobs on Google Search makes it easier to find quality remote jobs. Now, you can search for jobs that match your skill set, like “sales jobs” and filter your location to “work from home” to see a list of relevant job listings that meet your criteria. Remote work requires its own kind of expertise, so we created hands-on training that offers helpful tools and advice to set military spouses up for success in remote jobs. A new course from Google’s Applied Digital Skills program, a free online curriculum for digital skills, helps users learn about workplace collaboration tools like Docs, Calendar and Hangouts. We’ve also added two minicourses specifically for military spouses to the Primer app, a free resource for learning business and marketing skills. These minicourses share tips for transitioning to remote work, working from home and the basics of starting and growing an online business.To ensure that military spouses across the country can benefit from these tools and resources, we’re supporting two organizations with a long history of supporting military spouses. We’ll be providing a Google.org grant to the Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) to offer IT training and career guidance to their network. The grant will enable IVMF to provide 1,500 scholarships for the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program, along with professional support and career navigation. Google’s IT Certificate program prepares beginners for entry-level jobs in IT support in about six months. We’ll also be partnering with Blue Star Families, an organization that provides support to military families, including career guidance for spouses. Blue Star Families will share our career preparation training with at least 10,000 spouses across its nationwide network of military families.My vision is that these new resources empower military spouses to build meaningful careers, regardless of their location or balance of responsibilities. I hope these new efforts ease some of the career challenges military spouses often face as they plan for and build toward their futures. To learn more about our free tools and resources to help military spouses build flexible careers, visit grow.google/militaryspouses.

An update on first price auctions for Google Ad Manager

We’ve heard from many of our partners that they want our help to simplify how they manage their revenue from advertising. That’s why Google Ad Manager will be transitioning to a unified, first price auction this year. This change will simplify our publisher platform and create a fair and transparent auction for everyone, helping our partners create sustainable businesses with advertising. Today, we’d like to share additional details as we prepare to transition to a first price auction.Reducing complexityCurrently, Ad Manager may run two different auctions for a specific ad. A second price, real-time bidding auction run with Authorized Buyers — which includes Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and other Demand Side Platforms — followed by a first price auction that compares the winning price from the second price auction with a publisher’s guaranteed and non-guaranteed advertising campaigns, as well as bids from Exchange Bidding buyers. By switching to a unified first price auction, we can reduce this multi-stage process and provide all non-guaranteed advertising sources the same opportunity to win an auction.After the transition, Ad Manager will have a single auction that compares the prices from a publisher’s guaranteed campaigns with all of a publisher’s non-guaranteed advertising sources — including real-time bidding partners, such as Authorized Buyers and Exchange Bidding partners — and prices from non-guaranteed line items, like those from a publisher’s header bidding implementation. Going forward, no price from any of a publisher’s non-guaranteed advertising sources will be shared with another buyer before they bid in the auction. As has always been the case, all real-time bidding partners integrated with Ad Manager — including Google Ads and Display & Video 360 — will be notified of an auction at the same time.Increasing transparencyMoving to a unified first price auction will allow us to provide additional auction transparency to both publishers and advertisers. Today, not all Authorized Buyers choose to share and receive bid data, resulting in gaps in historical auction data we can share with publishers and Authorized Buyers. When Ad Manager changes to a unified first price auction, we plan to require all Ad Manager partners to share and receive bid data. This change will allow us to provide publishers reporting on all bids submitted for their ads (including bids from Google Ads and Display & Video 360) and give all Authorized Buyers and Exchange Bidding buyers access to the price that was needed to win for auctions they submitted a bid to.“Moving to a first price auction puts Google at parity with other exchanges and SSPs in the market, and will contribute to a much fairer transactional process across demand sources. The move also provides significantly greater information transparency to both advertisers looking to understand their working media dollars, and publishers looking to assess the fair market value of their supply.” - Scott Mulqueen, VP Programmatic and Data Product Operations, Trusted Media Brands"Google’s move to first-price auctions and unified pricing is an opportunity to improve transparency throughout the ecosystem, including improved visibility of their own actions and practices, which I believe should benefit everyone.” - Richard Caccappolo, Chief Operating Officer, MailOnline"Brands and agencies are demanding a scaled, open, and unified approach to the modern marketing platform. MediaMath supports Google's effort to simplify the programmatic supply chain and provide more transparency in the media buying and selling process. These updates should help reduce friction between advertisers, publishers, and the broader tech ecosystem."- Jeremy Steinberg, Global Head of Ecosystem, MediaMathHow floor price strategy will changeOur shift to a unified, first price auction will require publishers to rethink how they use floor prices. In a second price auction, floor prices can be used to prevent advertisers from buying inventory below a specified price. But because of how second price auctions work — the highest bidder pays the second highest price — floor prices can also be used by publishers to increase the closing price of their auctions. This strategy is executed today when a publisher reviews their bid landscape data and compares it to their revenue reporting. If they notice that their auction closing prices (the auction second price) are significantly lower than their highest bids, oftentimes the publisher will raise their floor prices to increase their revenue in the short term. Over time, this behavior can erode trust in the benefits of a second price auction.After transitioning to a first price auction, price floor strategies created to influence the second price auction closing will no longer be relevant. When approaching floor strategy, publishers should focus on understanding the true value of their inventory and adjust pricing based on their existing advertising deals and how buyers are valuing their inventory.  How pricing rules will changeIn addition to impacting how publishers are using floor price rules, changing to a first price auction in Ad Manager requires a change in how our rules function. Our existing price rules that only apply to our second price auction will no longer work in a first price auction.That’s why we released a new feature to all publishers globally, called unified pricing rules. Our new unified pricing rules will help publishers more easily manage floor prices across all non-guaranteed partners. For example, instead of setting up the same floor prices in multiple places — in the auction in Ad Manager, and with their Exchange Bidding and other non-guaranteed advertising sources — which can take a lot of time and can lead to errors, a publisher can set up a single unified pricing rule to control pricing from one place. To maintain a fair and transparent auction, these rules will be applied to all partners equally, and cannot be set for individual buying platforms. We have set an initial limit of 100 rules, though as we roll out these changes we’ll be working with our partners to understand if this limit can support all use cases, or if a higher limit is necessary.“We welcome Google's move to first price auctions and unified pricing rules. These changes will help us simplify how we implement our most advanced pricing strategies between our header bidding partners, Ad Manager and Exchange Bidders. We believe this will help create a level playing field for non-guaranteed transactions and help us review the performance of our demand partners.” - Alex Payne, VP of Global Programmatic Solutions, VICE Media“We’ve built our technology to work with Ad Manager through Prebid and Exchange Bidding to help publishers monetize their inventory however they choose. We're glad to see Google shifting toward a more transparent and simplified approach to auctions, and we look forward to collaborating with them to ensure these changes are executed in a way that works for publishers and buyers alike.”  - Tom Kershaw, Chief Technical Officer, Rubicon ProjectThe switch to unified pricing rules and a unified first price auction will help our partners simplify how they manage advertising revenue and increase transparency for everyone in the ecosystem. We understand these changes will impact how publishers operate their advertising businesses, so over the next few months our teams will be working with our partners to help them with this transition. We are excited to take this next step together.

Count ‘em up: 100 things we announced at I/O ‘19

Another I/O is in the books! We played in sandboxes, watched eye-popping product demos and listened to AI-powered music. But the fun isn’t over! In case you missed it, here are 100 announcements we made at I/O:Hardware1. Hold the phone! Our new smartphones—the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL—hit the shelves this week, bringing together all the essential Google features at a lower price ($399 for the 5.6-inch display and $479 for the 6-inch model)..2. Good things come in threes, like Pixel 3a’s color options. Choose from Purple-ish, Clearly White and Just Black.3. And no matter what color your phone is, it has the same great Pixel camera. Capture shots in portrait mode and HDR+, or use Night Sight to take magical photos in low light (think outdoor concerts, swanky restaurants or night hikes with friends).4. To add to the creativity, Time Lapse is coming to Pixel 3a. Soon you can capture an entire sunset within a few seconds of video.5. All-day battery, baby! The Pixel 3a charges seven hours of battery life in 15 minutes and full battery can last up to 30 hours.6. Squeeze the Pixel 3a to get the Google Assistant to send texts, find directions, set reminders and a lot more—simply by using your voice.7. Hi, who’s there? The Google Assistant’s Call Screen feature (available in English in the U.S. and Canada) gives more information about who’s calling before you even answer your phone. Best of all, it helps save you from robocalls once and for all.8. The Pixel 3a is protected against new threats with three years of security and operating system updates.9. It also comes with the custom-built Titan M chip to help protect your most sensitive data.10. All Pixel phones will get a preview of AR in Google Maps. So the next time you're getting around town, you can see walking directions overlaid on the world itself, rather than looking at a blue dot on a map.11. Say hello to Google Nest. We’re bringing the Home products and Nest brand together to create a helpful home.12. We welcomed the newest member of the Google Nest family: Google Nest Hub Max. Hub Max has a 10-inch screen, premium stereo sound, a camera with built-in Nest Cam features and the power of Google Assistant.13. Live Albums on Nest Hub Max lets you select pictures of family and friends from your Google Photos to be displayed on the screen.14. The built-in Nest Cam helps you keep an eye on things at home. You can turn the camera on when you’re away and check on things right from the Nest App on your phone.15. The camera on Hub Max also lets you make video calls and leave personalized messages with Google’s video calling app, Duo.  16. If you’re listening to music or watching a cooking tutorial, turn down the volume with a wave of your hand. With Gestures, you simply have to look at the Nest Hub Max and raise your hand to pause media.17. The home view dashboard lets you control all your connected devices from one dashboard—and the Google Assistant now controls more than 30,000 smart devices from 3,500 brands.18. Similar to Voice Match, you have the option to enable Nest Hub Max’s Face Match feature that recognizes who’s using the device and shares the most relevant information, like their calendar and estimated commute time.19. We shared our new privacy commitments, explaining our security and privacy options for Google Nest products.20. There’s a green light on the front of Hub Max that indicates when the camera is streaming. In addition, you have multiple controls to disable camera features, like the Nest Cam and Face Match.21. Hub Max will be available in the U.S., U.K. and Australia this summer.22. Google Nest Hub, formerly Google Home Hub, is now available in 12 more countries—Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain and Sweden.23. And our prices are lower: Google Nest Hub available in the U.S. for $129, and starting today Google Home is $99 and Google Home Max is $299.Assistant 24. The Assistant is now on more than one billion devices, available in more than 30 languages across 80 countries. 25. The next generation Assistant will run on-device and answer queries up to 10 times faster, with almost zero latency. It will come to Pixel phones later this year. 26. Keep the conversation going. Now with Continued Conversation, you can make several requests in a row without having to say “Hey Google” each time. 27. We’re extending Duplex to the web to help you complete tasks faster. Just ask the Assistant, “Book a car with for my next trip,” and it will figure out the rest. 28. Sound the alarm! You can now stop a timer or alarm that you set on Google Home speakers and Smart Displays by simply saying, “stop.” 29. Help is on the way! With a new feature called Personal References, the Assistant will better understand you and reference to the important things in your life. Say you’ve told the Assistant which contact “Mom” is. You can then ask, “Hey Google, what’s the weather like at my mom’s house this weekend?” and get the answer without any additional details. 30. Choose your next recipe to try, event to attend or podcast to listen to with Picks for You. This Assistant feature draws from past searches and other contextual cues to give you more personalized results. 31. Over the coming weeks, you’ll be able to access all of the helpfulness of the Assistant directly within Waze.32. Take advantage of Google Assistant Driving Mode when you’re behind the wheel. The new dashboard automatically starts when you’re driving and displays the most relevant activities like navigation, messaging, calling and media. 33. It’s easier to use the Assistant to control your car remotely, so you can adjust your car’s temperature, check your fuel level or make sure your doors are locked without leaving the house.34. Control your Assistant data and make privacy choices that are right for you from the “You” tab in your Assistant settings. 35. Ever Googled a “how-to” question? We’re giving content creators easy-to-use developer tools so in the coming months when you ask, “Hey Google, how do I install a dog door?” you’ll get a helpful step-by-step experience from a trusted source like DIY Networks. 36. The Assistant can now help you do specific things in some of your favorite apps. For example, you can say, “Hey Google, start my run in Nike Run Club.” 37. Game makers can now take full advantage of developing for Smart Displays' interactive screens, so you'll start seeing more games that combine voice, visuals and touch.AI and ML38. And the winner is…we unveiled the 20 Google AI Impact Challenge grantees  who are using AI to address societal challenges. 39. We’ve made progress on flood forecasting in India. Now we can better use AI to predict flood timing, location and severity across 90 percent of India, and share that information with Google Public Alerts. 40. Two bands took the stage at I/O—with a little help from machine learning. Both YACHT and The Flaming Lips worked with Google engineers to create music with Magenta, our AI tool for artistic creativity41. Check out our new PAIR Guidebook, an external toolkit that will help ML practitioners make better, user-centered decisions when building with AI. 42. We’re taking the same AI research that makes our products better and using it to enhance user privacy. Federated learning allows Google’s AI products to work better for you, and work better for everyone, without collecting raw data from your devices.Google News and Search 43. Now it’s easier to stay in the know. The technology that powers Full Coverage in Google News is coming to Search to better organize search results for news-related topics and give you the context you need to understand a story.  44. When you search for a news topic, you’ll have the option to see different points of a story—from a timeline of events to the key people involved—and surface a breadth of content including articles, tweets and even podcasts.45. In the coming months, we’ll start including podcasts in Google Search results so you can listen to podcasts directly from the search results page or save an episode for later. Augmented Reality and Google Lens46. Seeing is believing! Soon you’ll be able to view 3D objects right from Search and place them into your own space.47. Lens now provides more visual answers by using AR to overlay useful information and content onto the things you see. For example, if you see a dish you’d like to cook in an upcoming issue of Bon Appetit magazine, you’ll be able to point your camera at a recipe and have the page come to life and show you exactly how to make it.48. Lens can help you decide what to order. Just point your camera at the menu, and Lens highlights which dishes are popular, right on the menu. Tap on a dish to see photos and snippets of reviews from Google Maps.49. Now, you can point your camera at text and Lens will automatically overlay the translation right on top of the original words—it works in more than 100 languages.50. Say what? When you point your camera at text, Lens can now read it out loud. You can also tap on a specific word to search for its definition. This feature is launching first in Google Go, our Search app for first-time smartphone users.Privacy 51. You’ll start seeing your Google Account profile icon appear more prominently across all Google products, so takes just one tap to access your privacy and security settings.52. Now we’re making it easier to manage your data in Maps, the Assistant and YouTube (coming soon). For example, you'll be able to review and delete your location activity data directly in Google Maps, and then quickly get back to your directions.53. New auto-delete controls for Location History and Web & App Activity allow you to choose to automatically and continuously delete your data.54. We’re expanding Incognito mode—the option in Chrome that clears your browsing history after every session—to more of our products, including Maps.55. Thanks to federated learning, Gboard has improved predictive typing as well as emoji predictions across tens of millions of devices.56. We’ve built security keys directly into your Android phone, giving you easier and more convenient protection against phishing attacks. This is rolling out to all devices running Android 7.0 and above.Android57. Android Q’s newest features are centered around innovation, security, privacy and digital wellbeing. 58. A new gesture-based navigation lets you easily move between tasks and utilize a bigger screen.59. Android Q has tools for developers to build cool apps for foldable phones and 5G, opening up new possibilities for experiences like gaming on your device.60. Live Caption will automatically caption media playing on your phone—like videos podcasts, audio messages, even stuff you record yourself—across any app.61. Smart Reply is getting even smarter! Not only will your phone show suggested replies, it’ll also help you take action, like opening addresses from a text message in an app like Maps.62. You asked, we listened! Android Q brings Dark Theme. You can activate in Settings, or by turning on Battery Saver.63. We’re bringing privacy to the top level of Settings so you can find all the important controls in one place.64. Android Q arms you with new permission controls so you can share your location (or not) with apps on your own terms.65. Time for a time out? With the new Focus Mode, you can get things done without distraction, by selecting the apps you want to stay active and pausing everything you don't.66. And to help children and families find a better balance with technology, we’re making Family Link part of every device that has Digital Wellbeing, starting with Android Q.67. Signed, sealed, delivered! There’s a new way to deliver important updates. With Project Mainline, we can update core OS components without a full OS update.68. All Android devices with Q—including phones, tablets, TVs, and Android Auto—are required to encrypt user data.69. Some of these features are available today in Android Q Beta which is available on 15 devices from 12 manufacturers (in addition to all Pixel phones).70. Android Q brings lots of new emoji, including 53 new non-binary designs for emoji that Unicode defines as "genderless.”71. Buckle up! Android Auto’s new design coming out this summer will help you get on the road faster, show you useful information at a glance and simplify common tasks while driving.72. Now media developers will be able to build new entertainment experiences for Android-powered infotainment systems.73. With Tiles on Wear OS by Google you have more swipeable access to things right from your wrist like your goals, next event, weather forecast, heart rate and timer.74. Android TV platform now has more than 140 pay TV partners, 6 of the 10 top smart TV OEMs using the Android TV platform; and more than 5,000 apps and games in its ecosystem.Chrome75. It’s now easier to share files between Linux, Android, and Chrome OS using file manager.76. Android Studio on Chrome OS helps you optimize your apps for Chrome OS—directly on your Chromebook.77. All Chromebooks launched this year will be Linux-ready right out of the box.78. We have more user transparency and controls, like improved cookie controls and more restrictions for fingerprinting across the web.Ads79. With the option to bid on tROAS, advertisers will soon be able to automatically pay more for users who are likely to spend more in apps, and pay less for users likely to spend less.80. We’re teaming up with eight agencieshttps://blog.google/products/ads/google-io-ads-announcements/—Vidmob, Consumer Acquisition, Bamboo, Apptamin, Webpals, Creadits, Kaizen Ad and Kuaizi—to provide advertisers end-to-end creative development and consultation services.81. We’ll be expanding a new monetization program, called Open Bidding, to all publishers later this year so developers can automatically  maximize the value of every impression automatically.82. New transparency tools across browsershttps://blog.google/products/ads/transparency-choice-and-control-digital-advertising/ will give people greater visibility into the data that Google uses to personalize ads.83. We also launched new AdMob tools for developers that help give more control over ad content, easily access metrics and quickly identify and remove bad ads.Accessibility84. Project Euphonia is using AI to improve computer's' abilities to understand and transcribe a diverse set of speech patterns, including impaired speech.85. Live Relay uses on-device speech recognition and text-to-speech conversion to allow the phone to listen and speak on people’s behalf while they type.86. Project Diva is a research effort that makes Google Assistant more accessible for people with disabilities.More developer announcements87. We’re launching a preview for Local Home SDK that lets smart home developers bring a new level of speed and reliability to smart home devices.88. The next version of our Maps Android SDK is now available for public beta. It’s built on a common platform with the Google Maps mobile app, which means better performance and feature support.89. A new Google Maps Platform integration with deck.gl will make high-quality data visualizations at scale possible.90. We’re unifying our efforts around third-party connected home devices under a single platform for developers. Now we’ll be delivering a single consumer and developer experience through the Works with Google Assistant program. 91. We introduced updates in ARCore to Augmented Images and Light Estimation— features that let you build more interactive, and realistic experiences. 92. Scene Viewer is a new tool that lets users view 3D objects in AR right from your website.93. Android development will become increasingly Kotlin-first.94. We released 11 new Jetpack libraries and open-sourced an early preview of Jetpack Compose, a new unbundled toolkit designed to simplify UI development.95. Android Studio 3.5 Beta is available for download and includes improvements in three core areas: system health, feature polish and bugs.96. Flutter 1.5 includes hundreds of changes in response to developer feedback, including updates for new App Store iOS SDK requirements, updates to the iOS and Material widgets, engine support for new device types, and Dart 2.3 featuring new UI-as-code language features.97. We released the first technical preview of Flutter for the web.98. Our in-app updates API is out of beta. Now people can install updates without ever leaving the app.99. New metrics and insights in the Google Play Console help developers better measure app health and analyze performance.100.A new change is coming to Chrome Canary to help image-heavy websites can load more quickly.

Enhanced security and IT tools for enterprises in Android Q

With each version of Android, we’ve focused on improving the work experience for people and providing more control, security and flexibility for IT and business owners. Android Q, the newest release in beta, offers up more features that deliver on this promise and continue to push the boundaries of enterprise mobility.Here’s a look at some of the features available in beta.Improved work experienceIn Android Q, we’ve tackled some of the top feature requests that give people more functionality when using the work profile, our platform level separation for work apps and data. People will be able to see work events in their personal calendar and other apps in the personal profile, with a simple transition to the work calendar for more details or event editing. IT admins, meanwhile, can set limits on work event sharing by policy.Employees can also use their favorite keyboard or input method for their personal profile, while IT can require a different method for the work profile. This gives employees more freedom for personalized usage and allows IT to apply more security to the work profile.We’re also providing companies with more flexibility in deploying work profiles on corporate-owned devices. IT admins can now use zero-touch enrollment, QR codes or NFC tags to provision a work profile directly during the setup wizard.More IT controlPreviously, IT admins could freeze device updates for up to 90 days to help with testing and scheduling updates. In Android Q, admins now have the ability to manually install system updates locally from a file. That allows organizations to stagger rollouts to preserve network bandwidth or take advantage of times when devices are idle.Apps can soon send feedback to IT admins, such as providing the status of managed configurations, or giving impromptu device error reports. This functionality will be available in the coming weeks and will be supported on devices going back to Android 5.0.The same app feedback channel bolsters our OEM Config offering. With OEM Config, device manufacturers can include bundled apps that call custom privileged APIs, allowing admins to set OEM policies via managed configurations, without any extra integration work from enterprise mobility management (EMM) providers. For example, Samsung uses our updated OEM config offering to improve the availability of their Knox Platform for Enterprise.  Improvements to OEM Config include the feedback channel, an enhanced configurations schema and an update broadcast which informs an app immediately when new configurations are available, even when the app is not open.IT admins can also now also configure certificate-based WiFi networks during setup by including the credentials in the enrollment QR code or NFC tag. This will simplify setup and streamline connectivity for work devices.Enhanced securityAndroid Q brings a host of updates for organizations looking to secure their mobile fleet. IT admins can take advantage of new delegation capabilities that enable offloading of certain tasks to specific apps outside of the device policy controller. For example, IT admins can appoint their preferred app to handle network activity logging or the selection of certificates.On devices with a work profile, IT admins can now block the installation of apps from unknown sources across the entire device, adding additional protections against potential malware in the personal profile. And with the deprecation of Device Admin APIs in Android Q, we’re enabling apps that require a lock-screen to check the quality of screen lock credentials and direct a user to set a stronger passcode.These are just some of the new Android Q features available in beta that will benefit enterprise customers. Take a look at a fuller list of features at the Android developers website and try out the beta today.

Mobilizing for summer: Google Marketing Live 2019

We are just five days away from Google Marketing Live, my favorite event of the year. It’s when we unveil our newest products and get your insights on what to build for the future. If you haven’t yet, register for this year’s live stream so you can be one of the first to check out the newest innovations and hear how we’re working to better serve you and your customers.We know today’s consumers are more curious than ever. And as a result of mobile, they are able to get what they want, when they want it. Indeed, being on the go no longer means being out of reach. For businesses, this creates even more opportunities to connect with current and potential customers—on and offline. Ahead of next week’s show, here’s a sneak peek at our latest innovations, designed to help you delight your customers and deliver results from anywhere at any time.Stay on-the-go and in-the-know with the Google Ads mobile appYour customers aren’t the only people always on the go. You are too! So we’re making a lot of updates to the Google Ads mobile app (Android, iOS) to help you stay on top of your accounts no matter where your business takes you.Starting this week, you can create and edit responsive search ads directly from the app. So if you’re on your morning train and need to launch a last-minute holiday promotion, you can write the creative, fine-tune the headline and set bids and budgets–right from your mobile phone!To make the mobile app even more useful for the on-the-go marketer, new recommendations and notifications will soon be rolling out. These new recommendations will let you add new or negative keywords, pause poorly performing keywords and opt into all Smart Bidding strategies. You’ll also get notifications on your mobile app so you know when there are new opportunities to improve your performance, for all the accounts you manage.More accessible and effective Local campaignsConsumers increasingly turn to their mobile phones to do research and plan before they head into a store. This means you have a huge opportunity to assist and influence customers’ purchase decisions before they even walk through your doors.Local campaigns are the first campaign type in Google Ads specifically designed to help marketers drive foot traffic to stores, restaurants, auto dealerships and more. Early adopters are already seeing great results. In recent global studies with 10 advertisers across several verticals, we found that Local campaigns helped brands drive a median 5x incremental return-on-ad-spend from their business locations.Dunkin’ is one example of a brand that used Local campaigns to promote its new “store of the future” experience and to highlight new beverage items like espresso. As a result, Dunkin' increased its monthly visits from Google Ads by over 400% and is planning to run Local campaigns as an always-on strategy throughout 2019.“Dunkin’ may be a nearly 70-year-old brand, but we’re constantly looking for cutting-edge ways to deliver on consumer expectations and needs. We have over 11,000 locations worldwide and over 8,500 locations in the U.S. alone. Local marketing is at the heart of our business. Local campaigns in Google Ads has given us a new and scalable way to reach customers who are increasingly looking for information online before visiting.”  -Tony Weisman, CMO, Dunkin'Soon, Local campaigns will expand to help even more advertisers–including small businesses—drive other types of local actions like calls or directions to your business, even if you don’t have store visits measurement enabled. We’re also enhancing ads in Local campaigns to help you showcase product-specific information and offers. New inventory in Google Maps will allow you to highlight your business in more places. This includes promoting your locations when users are planning or navigating along their route, and in Maps search suggestions based on signals like the area of the map a person is viewing or what they've searched for in the past.Promote your business to users planning their routePromote your business in Google Maps search suggestionsJoin us live next weekGet ready for the ads, analytics, and platforms innovations live stream. Register to watch to learn more about Google’s latest announcements.

Seven ways retailers can better connect with shoppers online

Consumers have high expectations these days. They want to quickly find what they are looking for, even if they don’t yet know exactly what they want to purchase. To keep up, retailers are challenged to uncover valuable insights so the path from discovery to purchase is as smooth as it can be. But this is often easier said than done, as siloed insights and legacy systems make it difficult for retailers to piece it all together.Google Ad Manager is designed to help retailers deliver meaningful shopping experiences by combining powerful ad management software with actionable audience insights. By creating segments based on combinations of unique signals, you can connect consumers with relevant promotions on your sites and apps at the right time, so they can quickly take action.Create segments to match your goalsPut your onsite ad inventory to work by optimizing how you organize and align it to your retail goals. With Ad Manager, you can be as granular as you need to be in your planning, and manage the delivery of your promotions to improve the shopping experience and maximize revenue.Here are five examples of segmentation possibilities:1. Key-values: Use key-values, such as search keywords, to create audience segments that you and your advertising partners are looking to reach.2. Topical interest: Organize segments across your sites and apps according to the topics or types of products that interest your audiences.3. Devices, browsers and OS: Organize your inventory by device type, operating system, browser, or even browser language.4. Geography: Connect with consumers by segmenting your inventory based on countries, regions, U.S. metro areas, U.K. TV regions, cities, and postal codes. You can also specify places to exclude.5. Delivery: Use delivery tools to manage segment delivery speed, frequency caps, and day and time segmenting (dayparting) to maximize impact.Integrate your business insights to boost performanceWhen you bring first-party signals such as conversion history or brand affinity into Ad Manager, you can unlock even more value by creating advanced segments. By using products like Google Analytics 360, BigQuery, and Data Studio, you can build highly tailored campaigns to help improve performance and increase revenue. Here are two signals retailers use to drive consumer actions:6. Shopper interests, and conversion history: Signals like these can help determine certain products and brands that shoppers might prefer. 7. Shopping history, product and/or brand affinity: Signals from your site can help you personalize experiences by delivering on-the-fly creative featuring relevant products and promotions. A data-driven strategy means happy, loyal customersA timely and personalized shopping experience helps shoppers find and purchase products more efficiently, and retailers grow their customer base and revenue. For more details, download our new guide, Transforming Shopping Experiences on eCommerce Platforms, to learn how you can use Ad Manager to power relevant eCommerce experiences and promotional strategies across your sites and apps.

Grow with Google: ten million people trained, here’s what’s next

This year, we’re celebrating 30 years of the world wide web, at a moment when half the world's population is online. While the web creates more opportunity than ever before, it's also changing the way we work. In the next 10 to 15 years, 90 percent of all jobs will require some level of digital skills, leading to a skills gap. New jobs will be created from technology, but it’s also estimated that 14 percent could be replaced by automation and another 32 percent are set to change radically in terms of their scope and focus.  That's why we launched Grow with Google: free training, products and tools designed to help people find a job, advance their career or grow their business. In 2015, I was excited (and nervous) to announce our goal of training one million Europeans by the end of 2016. At the time, we didn’t know if we could reach as many as one million people.We’ve been blown away by the demand and and inspired by the achievements of so many of the people who took the training. Four years later, Grow with Google has reached job seekers, business owners, teachers, developers and students in more than 80 countries around the world. As of today, we've trained five million people in Europe and five million people across Africa and the Middle East, bringing us to a total of 10 million people who have participated in training across these regions alone.10 million people trained across Europe, the Middle East and Africa This training is making a difference. Since 2016, 45 percent of Digital Workshop trainees reported they’d found a job, accelerated their career or grown their business by hiring new staff or increasing revenue (from IPSOS research). In Europe, 48 percent of the people trained were women; a quarter were unemployed and 90 percent of business trainees came from small businesses. This scale of impact has led to recognition and awards from the European Commission and others.  I’ve attended many training sessions and events in different countries over the last four years. I’ve heard from people like Segun Abodunrin from Nigeria, who went from being unemployed to founding his own agency as a result of our Digital Skills for Africa training. And we’ve seen success stories from people like Loubna, Donia and Youcef, three chefs who set up the catering company Meet my Mama with help from our French Grow with Google program Google Ateliers Numériques. They’ve now provided catering at more than 350 business events, creating work for 30 women.So many of these stories show how anyone with internet access and the right set of skills can create a global business or start a new career. We want to do more for them. So we’ve committed to help an additional one million more people in Europe find a job, grow their business or build their career by 2020 as well as training an additional 10 million people in Africa.To make that a reality, we need to do more to help people access training. Research tells us that people in jobs most at risk from automation do less training than those at low risk, so we’re expanding our programs and offerings to better reach those people. This includes partnering with Trade Unions in the Netherlands to reach workers in logistics and transportation, helping women build business confidence with IAmRemarkable and using AI to help people find jobs with our Recommendation Engine. We’re also continuing to build products that help people find a job, attract new customers, expand globally and harness the power of AI.Nothing that Grow with Google aims to do in the coming years would be possible without the expertise of our many partners. We’re grateful to them all, from e-learning experts like FutureLearn and Udacity, to collaboration with many universities, governments, chambers of commerce, city authorities, unions and others. We’ll be working with our partners to develop new types of training to provide the right skills for tomorrow’s workforce. According to the latest World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, these skills range from technology design and programming to critical thinking and emotional intelligence.Governments, businesses, educators and communities will need to work ever more closely to equip workers for success and to create new opportunities for work to benefit society. It’s our shared responsibility to help make technology and the web work for everyone. At Google, we’ve learned so much from training ten million bright and determined people and we’re inspired by their achievements to play our part for the long term.

Android Enterprise security assessed by Gartner

Data and device security are among the most important aspects to any enterprise mobility initiative. With Android, we’ve invested in a wide range of protections, both on-device defenses and corporate-managed tools, to help companies keep their devices and data safe.Gartner’s 2019 Mobile OSs and Device Security: A Comparison of Platforms report (subscription required) is a comprehensive assessment of mobile security controls and enterprise management features. The report helps security and risk management technical professionals through analysis of and recommendations for security controls of popular mobile device operating systems.In the report, which was published on Monday, Gartner evaluates a number of operating systems and device implementations including Android, Chrome OS and the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 3. Android 9 received strong ratings in 26 of 30 categories, including 12 of the 13 categories in the corp-managed section.Check out the video below for more details.Gartner senior director analyst Patrick Hevesi provides an overview of the 2019 Mobile OSs and Device Security: A Comparison of Platforms report You can also see a breakdown of all of the categories in the table below :For more information, visit the Android Enterprise security page, where you can learn about security features like built-in anti-malware through Google Play Protect and workplace isolation with the Android work profile. Also learn more by reading the Android Security & Privacy 2018 Year in Review report.

Smart strategies for growing your app business with ads

Every year Google I/O showcases the delight that technology can bring to our lives. Mobile apps have extended that delight to billions of people around the world, paving the way for app developers to unlock new business opportunities.  Today we’re sharing a few ways to help scale your business using Google’s growth and monetization solutions.Find the right app usersSmart user acquisition starts with reaching the people who will be most engaged with your app and help you generate the most revenue. With Google App campaigns, you can choose a bidding option that best supports your growth goals. Target CPA bidding, for example, makes it easy for you to find new users who install your app and take an in-app action.To grow profitably, it’s also important to also consider how much revenue you generate relative to the cost of driving those installs and actions. That’s why, you’ll soon be able to bid on a target return on ad spend (tROAS) so you can automatically pay more for users likely to spend more, and pay less for users likely to spend less. If you’re looking for users who will spend twice as much as they cost to acquire, you can set that multiplier for your tROAS bid, and it will find you the right users accordingly. tROAS will be available next month for Google App campaigns on iOS and Android globally. Learn more.Bidding is a great lever to reach the customers you want. The next step is to win and keep these customers’ attention. That’s why we’re giving you new ways to develop and manage your creatives, making it easier for you to show your customers more relevant ads in more places.YouTube–you automatically qualify to promote your app in two new YouTube placements when you have at least one landscape image and one video. The first placement is on the YouTube homepage feed, and the second is on in-stream video.Ad groups–starting later this month, you can set up multiple ad groups in the same campaign and tailor the assets in each ad group around a different “theme” or message for different customers. Learn more.Agency partnerships–we’re teaming up with 8 trusted agencies including Vidmob, Consumer Acquisition, Bamboo, Apptamin, Webpals, Creadits, Kaizen Ad and Kuaizi to help you manage creatives end-to-end, from design to reporting.Monetize more easilyThe second piece to building a profitable apps business is creating a sustainable revenue stream. In other words, you need to keep users engaged with your app, while still monetizing it effectively, which can be tough to balance. That’s why AdMob is investing in automated solutions to help you earn more from your app while delivering a great user experience.Last year we announced a new monetization model called Open Bidding that helps you maximize the value of every impression automatically. Since then, dozens of developers have joined the beta and are seeing meaningful revenue lift, including Korea-based game developer Sticky Hands.“We’re really excited about Open Bidding. In one month, revenue and ARPDAU have grown by 14% and 15% respectively, and we expect them to keep climbing as more demand sources come online. What’s even better is that we’re spending almost no time managing it.“- Minu Kim, CEO of Sticky HandsIn addition to the revenue lift, Open Bidding offers simplicity and time savings compared to traditional mediation--fewer SDKs means less time spent on integrations and more stability for your app. Stay tuned, as we’ll be expanding the program to all publishers later this year.In the meantime, here are a few more ways AdMob can help you grow your overall app revenue and protect user experience more easily:Image search is a robust new search tool that helps identify and remove bad ads across every size, campaign, and rotation, using just a screenshot of the ad. Learn more.Maximum ad content rating can prevent inappropriate ads from being shown to young users. Learn more.User metrics, such as daily active users and average session time, will be available soon in a new dashboard card, so you can quickly see how changes to your monetization strategy (e.g. adding a rewarded ad) impact key indicators of user engagement. These insights can help you optimize the lifetime value of your users across all your revenue sources - ads, in-app purchases, and commerce. Learn more.To learn more about how these solutions will help you save time while growing your business, join our ads keynote at 10:30am PDT, Wednesday May 8th at Stage 1 of Google I/O or watch the livestream.Also, stay tuned for more app advertising news at Google Marketing Live, kicking off next week at 9am PDT, Tuesday May 14th. Sign up for the livestream here.

How DIVA makes Google Assistant more accessible

My 21 year old brother Giovanni loves to listen to music and movies. But because he was born with congenital cataracts, Down syndrome and West syndrome, he is non-verbal. This means he relies on our parents and friends to start or stop music or a movie.  Over the years, Giovanni has used everything from DVDs to tablets to YouTube to Chromecast to fill his entertainment needs. But as new voice-driven technologies started to emerge, they also came with a different set of challenges that required him to be able to use his voice or a touchscreen. That’s when I decided to find a way to let my brother control access to his music and movies on voice-driven devices without any help. It was a way for me to give him some independence and autonomy.Working alongside my colleagues in the Milan Google office, I set up Project DIVA, which stands for DIVersely Assisted. The goal was to create a way to let people like Giovanni trigger commands to the Google Assistant without using their voice. We looked at many different scenarios and methodologies that people could use to trigger commands, like pressing a big button with their chin or their foot, or with a bite.  For several months we brainstormed different approaches and presented them at different accessibility and tech events to get feedback.We had a bunch of ideas on paper that looked promising. But in order to turn those ideas into something real, we took part in an Alphabet-wide accessibility innovation challenge and built a prototype which went on to win the competition. We identified that many assistive buttons available on the market come with a 3.5mm jack, which is the kind many people have on their wired headphones. For our prototype, we created a box to connect those buttons and convert the signal coming from the button to a command sent to the Google Assistant.To move from a prototype to reality, we started working with the team behind Google Assistant Connect, and today we are announcing DIVA at Google I/O 2019.The real test, however, was giving this to Giovanni to try out. By touching the button with his hand, the signal is converted into a command sent to the Assistant. Now he can listen to music on the same devices and services our family and all his friends use,  and his smile tells the best story.Getting this to work for Giovanni was just the start for Project DIVA. We started with single-purpose buttons, but this could be extended to more flexible and configurable scenarios. Now, we are investigating attaching RFID tags to objects and associating a command to each tag. That way, a person might have a cartoon puppet trigger a cartoon on the TV, or a physical CD trigger the music on their speaker.Learn more about the idea behind the DIVA project at our publication site, and learn how to build your own device at our technical site.

Raising the bar on transparency, choice and control in digital advertising

Advertising has made possible open access to quality information and communication on the web—it’s changed the way people learn, play and earn, and it’s made the internet open for everyone.But the ad-supported internet is at risk if digital advertising practices don’t evolve to reflect people’s changing expectations around how data is collected and used. Our experience shows that people prefer ads that are personalized to their needs and interests—but only if those ads offer transparency, choice and control. However, the digital advertising ecosystem can be complex and opaque, and many people don’t feel they have enough visibility into, or control over, their web experience.New protections and controls in ChromeAs you may have seen, today Chrome announced its plans to improve cookie controls. To better protect user privacy and choice on the web, Chrome intends to make it easier for users to block or clear cookies used in a third-party context, with minimal disruption to cookies used in a first-party context. While Chrome has long enabled users to block cookies, these changes will let users continue to allow their online banking site, for example, to remember their login preferences—a function that first-party cookies enable.Chrome also announced that it will more aggressively restrict fingerprinting across the web. When a user opts out of third-party tracking, that choice is not an invitation for companies to work around this preference using methods like fingerprinting, which is an opaque tracking technique. Google doesn’t use fingerprinting for ads personalization because it doesn't allow reasonable user control and transparency. Nor do we let others bring fingerprinting data into our advertising products.The changes in Chrome will empower users to make informed decisions about how to control the use of their data for personalized advertising. They will also ensure users are able to continue accessing a broad range of quality ad-supported content, with confidence that their privacy and choices will be respected.A new level of ads transparencyAs the Chrome announcements demonstrate, transparency, choice and control form the foundation of Google’s commitment to users—and advertising is no different. With tools like My Activity, Ad Settings, Why this Ad and Mute this Ad, we make it easy for people to see how Google tailors ads for them, switch off individual factors we use to tailor ads, stop seeing ads from a specific company or simply opt out of personalized ads entirely.But all of this is not enough. We believe you should also know what data is used for ads personalization and by whom.  That’s why today we’re committing to a new level of ads transparency. We want to give users more visibility into the data used to personalize ads and the companies involved in the process.As a first step, for the ads that Google shows on our own properties and those of our publishing partners, we will disclose new information through an open-source browser extension that will work across different browsers. The new information will include the names of other companies that we know were involved in the process that resulted in an ad—for example, ad tech companies that acted as intermediaries between the advertiser and publisher, and companies with ad trackers present in an ad. The browser extension will also surface the factors used to tailor an ad to a user, which we provide today.The extension will display information for each ad we show a user, and will present an aggregated snapshot for all the ads Google has shown a user recently. In the future, we will look for additional ways to make it even easier for people to access this information.In addition, we want to offer a simple means for others in the advertising industry to surface this kind of information. To that end, we will build APIs that enable other advertising companies, should they choose, to disclose this same type of information to users through the extension. We expect to begin rolling out both the browser extension and APIs in the coming months.While offering more information privately to individual users is important, we also believe that making this type of information available publicly will help increase transparency at the ecosystem level. That’s why we plan to build tools that allow researchers and others to view and analyze aggregated and anonymized data from Google and other providers that elect to use these new APIs.As we introduce these enhanced ads transparency measures, we’re eager to receive feedback from users, partners and other stakeholders so that, together, we can identify industry-wide best practices around data transparency and ads personalization, including ways that people can take action to shape their experiences.All of the changes announced today represent an important step in ensuring that the ad supported web provides people with access to high-quality content, while protecting their privacy. We will continue to explore opportunities to evolve our tools and practices in ways that enhance user transparency, choice and control.

At I/O '19: Building a more helpful Google for everyone

Today, we welcomed thousands of people to I/O, our annual developer’s conference. It’s one of my favorite events of the year because it gives us a chance to show how we’re bringing Google’s mission to life through new technological breakthroughs and products.Our mission to make information universally accessible and useful hasn’t changed over the past 21 years, but our approach has evolved over time. Google is no longer a company that just helps you find answers. Today, Google products also help you get stuff done, whether it’s finding the right words with Smart Compose in Gmail, or the fastest way home with Maps.Simply put, our vision is to build a more helpful Google for everyone, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you’re hoping to accomplish. When we say helpful, we mean giving you the tools to increase your knowledge, success, health, and happiness. I’m excited to share some of the products and features we announced today that are bringing us closer to that goal.Helping you get better answers to your questionsPeople turn to Google to ask billions of questions every day. But there’s still more we can do to help you find the information you need. Today, we announced that we’ll bring the popular Full Coverage feature from Google News to Search. Using machine learning, we’ll identify different points of a story—from a timeline of events to the key people involved—and surface a breadth of content including articles, tweets and even podcasts.Sometimes the best way to understand new information is to see it. New features in Google Search and Google Lens use the camera, computer vision and augmented reality (AR) to provide visual answers to visual questions. And now we’re bringing AR directly into Search. If you’re searching for new shoes online, you can see shoes up close from different angles and even see how they go with your current wardrobe. You can also use Google Lens to get more information about what you’re seeing in the real world. So if you’re at a restaurant and point your camera at the menu, Google Lens will highlight which dishes are popular and show you pictures and reviews from people who have been there before. In GoogleGo, a search app for first-time smartphone users, Google Lens will read out loud the words you see, helping the millions of adults around the world who struggle to read everyday things like street signs or ATM instructions.Google Lens: Urmila’s StoryHelping to make your day easierLast year at I/O we introduced our Duplex technology, which can make a restaurant reservation through the Google Assistant by placing a phone call on your behalf. Now, we’re expanding Duplex beyond voice to help you get things done on the web. To start, we’re focusing on two specific tasks: booking rental cars and movie tickets. Using “Duplex on the Web,” the Assistant will automatically enter information, navigate a booking flow, and complete a purchase on your behalf. And with massive advances in deep learning, it’s now possible to bring much more accurate speech and natural language understanding to mobile devices—enabling the Google Assistant to work faster for you.We continue to believe that the biggest breakthroughs happen at the intersection of AI, software and hardware, and today we announced two Made by Google products: the new Pixel 3a (and 3a XL), and the Google Nest Hub Max. With Pixel 3a, we’re giving people the same features they love on more affordable hardware. Google Nest Hub Max brings the helpfulness of the Assistant to any room in your house, and much more.Building for everyoneBuilding a more helpful Google is important, but it’s equally important to us that we are doing this for everyone. From our earliest days, Search has worked the same, whether you’re a professor at Stanford or a student in rural Indonesia. We extend this approach to developing technology responsibly, securely, and in a way that benefits all.This is especially important in the development of AI. Through a new research approach called TCAV—or testing with concept activation vectors—we’re working to address bias in machine learning and make models more interpretable. For example, TCAV could reveal if a model trained to detect images of “doctors” mistakenly assumed that being male was an important characteristic of being a doctor because there were more images of male doctors in the training data. We’ve open-sourced TCAV so everyone can make their AI systems fairer and more interpretable, and we’ll be releasing more tools and open datasets soon.Another way we’re building responsibly for everyone is by ensuring that our products are safe and private. We’re making a set of privacy improvements so that people have clear choices around their data. Google Account, which provides a single view of your privacy control settings, will now be easily accessible in more products with one tap. Incognito mode is coming to Maps, which means you can search and navigate without linking this activity with your Google account, and new auto-delete controls let you choose how long to save your data. We’re also making several security improvements on Android Q, and we’re building the protection of a security key right into the phone for two-step verification.As we look ahead, we’re challenging the notion that products need more data to be more helpful. A new technique called federated learning allows us to train AI models and make products smarter without raw data ever leaving your device. With federated learning, Gboard can learn new words like “zoodles” or “Targaryen” after thousands of people start using them, without us knowing what you’re typing. In the future, AI advancements will provide even more ways to make products more helpful with less data.Building for everyone also means ensuring that everyone can access and enjoy our products, including people with disabilities. Today we introduced several products with new tools and accessibility features, including Live Caption, which can caption a conversation in a video, a podcast or one that’s happening in your home. In the future, Live Relay and Euphonia will help people who have trouble communicating verbally, whether because of a speech disorder or hearing loss.Project Euphonia: Helping everyone be better understoodProject Euphonia: Helping everyone be better understoodDeveloping products for people with disabilities often leads to advances that improve products for all of our users. This is exactly what we mean when we say we want to build a more helpful Google for everyone. We also want to empower other organizations who are using technology to improve people’s lives. Today, we recognized the winners of the Google AI Impact Challenge, 20 organizations using AI to solve the world’s biggest problems—from creating better air quality monitoring systems to speeding up emergency responses.Our vision to build a more helpful Google for everyone can’t be realized without our amazing global developer community. Together, we’re working to give everyone the tools to increase their knowledge, success, health and happiness. There’s a lot happening, so make sure to keep up with all the I/O-related news.

Here are the grantees of the Google AI Impact Challenge

As part of Google’s AI for Social Good program, we launched the Google AI Impact Challenge, based on our strong belief that emerging technologies will help us address big social, humanitarian and environmental problems. We were blown away by the number of thoughtful proposals we received: 2,602 applications from 119 countries, nearly two thirds of the world’s countries.Forty percent of the applications came from organizations with no previous experience with artificial intelligence, which is still a developing concept in the social impact field. Our job, as we thoroughly vetted the applications, was to choose the best projects based on feasibility, potential for impact, scalability and the responsible use of AI.  Today, at I/O, we are announcing 20 organizations that will share $25 million in grants from Google.org, credit and consulting from Google Cloud, mentoring from Google AI experts and the opportunity to join a customized accelerator program from Google Developers Launchpad. The selected projects address issues in the areas of health, economic opportunity and empowerment, environmental protection and conservation, education, misinformation and crisis and emergency response. Here’s the full list of grantees.Google AI Impact Challenge winners 1Grantees: American University of Beirut, Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Crisis Text Line, Inc. and Eastern HealthGoogle AI Impact Challenge grantees 2Grantees: Fondation MSF, Full Fact, Gringgo Indonesia Foundation and Hand Talk Serviços LTDA Google AI Impact Challenge grantees 3Grantees: HURIDOCS, Makerere University, New York University and Nexleaf AnalyticsGoogle AI Impact Challenge grantees 4Grantees: The Pennsylvania State University, Quill.org, Rainforest Connection and Skilllab BVGoogle AI Impact Challenge grantees 5Grantees: TalkingPoints, The Trevor Project, Wadhwani AI and WattTime CorporationAmerican University of Beirut (Lebanon): Applying machine learning to weather and agricultural data to improve irrigation for resource-strapped farmers in Africa and the Middle East.Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Colombia): Using satellite imagery to detect illegal mines, enabling communities and the government to protect people and natural resources.Crisis Text Line, Inc. (USA): Using natural language processing to optimize assignment of texters in crisis to counselors, reducing wait times and maintaining effective communication.Eastern Health (Australia): Analyzing clinical records from ambulances to uncover trends and potential points of intervention to inform policy and public health responses around suicide.Fondation MSF (France): Detecting patterns in antimicrobial imagery to help medical staff in low-resource areas prescribe the right antibiotics for bacterial infections.Full Fact (UK): Developing trend monitoring and clustering tools to aid fact checkers’ analysis, so they can help contextualize the news and enable informed decisions.Gringgo Indonesia Foundation (Indonesia): Building an image recognition tool to improve plastic recycling rates, reduce ocean plastic pollution and strengthen waste management in under-resourced communities.Hand Talk (Brazil) Using AI to translate Portuguese into Brazilian Sign Language through a digital avatar, enabling digital communication for Brazilians who are deaf and and hard-of-hearing.HURIDOCS (Switzerland): Using natural language processing and ML to extract and connect relevant information in case-related documents, allowing human rights lawyers to effectively research and defend their cases.Makerere University (Uganda): Tracking and predicting air pollution patterns via low-cost sensors in Kampala, Uganda, improving air quality forecasting and intervention.New York University (USA): Partnering with the New York City Fire Department’s analytics team to optimize response to its yearly 1.7 million emergencies, accounting for factors like weather, traffic and location.Nexleaf Analytics (USA): Building data models to predict vaccine viability throughout the cold vaccine supply chain and ensure effective delivery.The Pennsylvania State University (USA): Using deep learning tools to better predict locations and times at risk for landslides, creating a warning system to minimize the impact of natural disasters.  Quill.org (USA): Using deep learning to provide low-income students with immediate feedback on their writing, enabling students to revise their work and quickly improve their skills.Rainforest Connection(USA): Using deep learning for bioacoustic monitoring and commonplace mobile technology to track rainforest health and detect threats.Skilllab BV (Netherlands): Helping refugees translate their skills to the European labor market and recommend relevant career pathways to explore.TalkingPoints (USA): Using AI to enable two-way translated parent/teacher engagement and coaching when language represents a barrier to communication.The Trevor Project (USA): Using natural language processing and sentiment analysis to determine a LGBTQ youth’s suicide risk level to better tailor services for individuals seeking help.Wadhwani AI (India): Using image recognition to track and analyze pest control efforts, enabling timely and localized intervention to stabilize crop production and reduce pesticide usage.WattTime Corporation (USA): Using image processing algorithms and satellite networks to replace on-site power plant emissions monitors with open-source monitoring platforms.Next week, the grantees will converge in San Francisco for the kickoff of the Google AI Impact Challenge Accelerator, the six-month program run by Google Developers Launchpad. We look forward to working with these organizations, and to seeing the impact of their projects on such a wide variety of issues around the world.