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Additional safeguards to protect the quality of our ad network

Supporting a healthy ads ecosystem that works for publishers, advertisers, and users continues to be a top priority in our effort to sustain a free and open web. As the ecosystem evolves, our ad systems and defenses must adapt as well. Today, we’d like to highlight some of our efforts to protect the quality of our ad network, and the benefits to our publishers and the advertising ecosystem. Last year, we introduced a site verification process in AdSense to provide additional safeguards before a publisher can serve ads. This feature allows us to provide more direct feedback to our publishers on the eligibility of their site, while allowing us to communicate issues sooner and lessen the likelihood of future violations. As an added benefit, confirming which websites a publisher intends to monetize allows us to reduce potential misuse of a publisher's ad code, such as when a bad actor tries to claim a website as their own, or when they use a legitimate publisher's ad code to serve ads on bad content in an attempt to demonetize the good website — each day, we now block more than 120 million ad requests with this feature. This year, we’re enhancing our defenses even more by improving the systems that identify potentially invalid traffic or high risk activities before ads are served. These defenses allow us to limit ad serving as needed to further protect our advertisers and users, while maximizing revenue opportunities for legitimate publishers. While most publishers will not notice any changes to their ad traffic, we are working on improving the experience for those that may be impacted, by providing more transparency around these actions. Publishers on AdSense and AdMob that are affected will soon be notified of these ad traffic restrictions directly in their Policy Center. This will allow them to understand why they may be experiencing reduced ad serving, and what steps they can take to resolve any issues and continue partnering with us.We’re excited for what’s to come, and will continue to roll out improvements to these systems with all of our users in mind. Look out for future updates on our ongoing efforts to promote and sustain a healthy ads ecosystem.


“Lite” but packs a punch: Google Go comes to Android everywhere

Google Go is a lightweight, fast app that helps you access information, both online and in the world around you, even with an unstable connection. It does this while using less storage and memory, helping your phone stay fast. Google Go has been available in a few countries and on Android (Go edition) devices since 2017, and starting today, it’s available on the Play Store worldwide. Millions of people have already used Google Go to find information on the web and make sense of the world around them. But we know that people everywhere can sometimes struggle with spotty connections, phone storage, and reading or translating text.Reading made easierEarlier this year at I/O, we showcased Lens in Google Go, a way for you to read, translate and search the words you see by using your camera. When you find text you’d like help with, open Lens and point your camera at it to hear the words read out loud to you, translate them, or both.Some people would rather listen to content instead of reading on the web, especially if it’s lengthy. Google Go also offers an AI-powered read-out-loud feature that lets you listen to any web page, with words highlighted as they’re read so you can follow along. Use less storage, and worry less about your connectionGoogle Go helps you use less storage on your device, and keeps an unreliable connection from slowing you down. At just over 7MB, Google Go helps make sure your phone stays speedy when you’re traversing the web. It also puts web versions of your favorite apps at your fingertips, giving you the option of downloading fewer apps on your phone. And if you lose connectivity when you using Google Go, it will remember your place and even retrieve your search results for you once you’re back online. Starting today, Google Go is available on the Play Store globally for all Android devices using Lollipop and above.


New tools to help Spanish speakers build their careers

Spanish is my first language, and it’s what I spoke with my family growing up in Costa Rica. Even today, after making the U.S. my home for more than two decades, it’s the language my brain thinks in. So I understand well the challenges of living in a country where the spoken language is your second language, or even completely new to you. Especially for those trying to get ahead—taking classes, learning new skills, finding work—it can be really hard.That’s why I’m thrilled that today, through Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity for everyone, we’re making new resources available to help Spanish speakers learn skills they need to prepare for a job or grow a business in today’s economy.For example, our Applied Digital Skills curriculum helps learners develop crucial digital skills to thrive in the workplace through free, video-based lessons. We also offer minicourses in Spanish for local businesses and job seekers on our free Google Primer app, which teaches business and digital marketing skills through short and easy interactive lessons. Our IT Support Professional Certificate, which is designed to prepare beginners for entry-level IT support jobs in as little as six months, will be available in Spanish starting September 16. These resources and more can be accessed at grow.google/espanol. Skills like these help people thrive in today's jobs. According to Brookings, nearly two thirds of all new jobs created since 2010 required either high or medium-level digital skills. The Latino community makes up 16 percent of the U.S. labor market and will make up half of the people entering the workforce by 2025. Latino nonprofits are key resources for educating and training community members. Google.org is making a grant to the Hispanic Federation to launch an accelerator to strengthen institutions serving the Latino community with workforce development and digital training programs. Through this grant, the Hispanic Federation will enhance the capacity of 20 Latino-led and Latino-serving nonprofit organizations, which in turn will provide career-aligned digital skills training to more than 10,000 Latinos over the next two years. This builds on our ongoing commitment to the Latino community, which includes a $5 million grant announced earlier this year to bring computer science education to over one million Latino students and their families by 2022. The LULAC Institute will integrate Applied Digital Skills and Primer into their programming, to bring digital skills training in Spanish to more than 60 local technology centers around the country. Community organizations across the U.S. can also apply to join the Grow with Google Partner Program, to access bilingual resources and trainers that help community members learn essential skills like creating a resume or growing a business through digital marketing.I’m proud that the company I work for is helping provide more opportunities for Spanish speakers to grow their skills all across the U.S.El español es mi primer idioma, y es el que utilice con mi familia, mientras crecía en Costa Rica. Aún ahora, después de que los Estados Unidos se convirtió en mi hogar, durante más de dos décadas, es el idioma en el que mi cerebro piensa en la mañana. Así que entiendo las dificultades de vivir en un país donde el idioma hablado es tu segundo idioma. Especialmente para aquellos que quieren salir adelante—tomar clases, aprender nuevas habilidades, encontrar trabajo—puede ser muy difícil.Por eso estoy emocionada que hoy, por medio de Grow with Google, nuestra iniciativa para crear oportunidades económicas para todos, estamos proporcionando  nuevos recursos a los hispanohablantes, para aprender las habilidades que necesitan, prepararse para un trabajo, o hacer negocios en la economía digital.Por ejemplo, nuestro plan de estudios,Habilidades Digitales Aplicadas, ayuda a desarrollar habilidades digitales cruciales para prosperar en el trabajo, por medio de lecciones gratuitas basadas en video. También ofrecemos mini cursos en español para pequeños negocios y personas buscando trabajo en nuestra aplicación gratuitaGoogle Primer, que enseña habilidades comerciales y de marketing digital, a través de breves lecciones interactivas y fáciles.  NuestroCertificado Profesional de Soporte de TI, está diseñado para preparar a principiantes para trabajos de nivel de entrada de TI, en solo seis meses, y estará disponible en español a partir del 16 de septiembre. Se puede acceder a estos recursos y más en grow.google/espanol.Habilidades como estas, ayudan a las personas a prosperar en los trabajos actuales. De acuerdo conBrookings, casi dos tercios de todos los nuevos empleos, creados desde 2010, requieren habilidades digitales de nivel alto o medio.La comunidad latina representa el16 por ciento del mercado laboral de los Estados Unidos, y será la mitad de los trabajadores que ingresen a la fuerza laboral para 2025. Las organizaciones latinas, sin fines de lucro,  son instrumentos clave para educar y capacitar a los miembros de la comunidad. Es por eso que Google.org está otorgando una donación a la Federación Hispana (Hispanic Federation), para lanzar un acelerador que fortalezca las instituciones que sirven a la comunidad latina, con programas para el desarrollo y capacitación digital de la fuerza laboral. Con esta donación, la Federación Hispana acelerará la capacidad de 20 organizaciones sin fines de lucro, dirigidas a los  latinos que, a su vez, proporcionarán capacitación en habilidades digitales a más de 10,000 personas durante los próximos dos años. Esto aumenta nuestro compromiso con la comunidad latina, e incluye una donación de$5 millones de dólares, anunciada a principios de este año, para brindar educación en ciencias de la computación a más de un millón de estudiantes y familias latinas para el 2022.ElInstituto LULAC integrará lasHabilidades Digitales Aplicadas yPrimer en su programación, para brindar capacitación en español a más de 60 centros de tecnología comunitarios en todo el país. Organizaciones comunitarias en los Estados Unidos también pueden solicitar unirse al programaGrow with Google Partner Program para tener acceso a recursos, así como entrenadores bilingües, que ayudan al aprendizaje comunitario de  habilidades y destrezas esenciales, como crear un currículum o hacer crecer un negocio a través del marketing digital.Me siento orgullosa de que la compañía, para la cual trabajo, esté ayudando a brindar más oportunidades de crecimiento para los hispanohablantes en los Estados Unidos.


“Great Sporting Land” tours Australia’s sports-mad history

Australians have a passion for sports—so much that it was perfectly normal for the Prime Minister to give the entire country the day off when they won a boat race back in 1983. Over generations, Australia’s favorite pastimes have shaped the country’s identity, values and culture. Along with the Melbourne Cricket Club, Australian Football League, National Portrait Gallery and the North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club, Google Arts & Culture is showcasing the people, moments and places that led Australia to become the “Great Sporting Land” it is today. The exhibition features over 11,000 archived images and videos, and more than 100 original stories from more than 30 partners. To do so, Google’s Art Camera technology has been on a marathon between sporting institutions across the country to capture over 200 pieces of art, archival materials and artifacts in high resolution gigapixel quality.Bradman MuseumZoom into the details of Don Bradman’s original bat (held here by Steve Waugh).Fanny DurackLearn about the lives of Australian sporting pioneers and female icons, including Sarah “Fanny” Durack.MCGExplore The Melbourne Cricket Ground (affectionately known as ‘“he G.”)AFL FansA Crows and a Dockers fan pose for a photograph at a Women's AFL game.Mark WarrenSee thousands of new surf  images online from North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club, the National Archives and the Australian National Surfing Museumhttps://artsandculture.google.com/partner/australian-national-surfing-museum?e=StellaAccess.Andrew RugbyAustralian All Stars: Tune in to interviews with sporting stars.Ashes“Australia defeats England on home soil for the first time 1882.” This is where the term “Ashes” was first coined.Blind Cricket BallSports can be an incredible vehicle for the inclusion of people with disabilities, including Blind Cricket.Join cricket legend Steve Waugh who will take you on a tour of the archives of the world-famous Bradman Museumwhere you can zoom in to the hand-etched scores on the back of Don Bradman’s first bat. Or take a trip to a changing room at The Sydney Cricket Ground, where visiting players have drawn their standout batting and bowling figures on the changing room door. You can also follow Steve Waugh through a video seriesthat offers never-before-seen insight into his work and memories of the sport. Then put on your cossies or your togs (swimwear) to feel the vibes of a trip into Summers Past from the National Archives of Australia —an exhibition celebrating the golden days in the Australian sunshine. The surf’s up when you Watch the Waves, a selection of photographs by the National Archives, or explore the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club in Google Street View.For Australians, sports are a part of national identity, pride and belonging, whether played by everyday people or world known icons. To discover more moments from Australia’s sporting history by visiting g.co/GreatSportingLand, or download the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS or Android.


It’s time: Nest users can now switch to Google Accounts

Back in May, Nest and Google Home joined together as Google Nest to create a more helpful home. And now, the next step involves you: starting today, you can migrate your Nest account to a Google Account. It's easy to do and only takes a few minutes—here's what you need to know.Migrating to a Google Account gives you new benefits, like:Automatic security protections such as Suspicious activity detection, 2-Step Verification and Security Checkup. Your Google Nest devices and services will work together. For example, if you have a Nest Cam and a Chromecast, just say, "Hey Google, show me the backyard camera” to cast your camera stream to your TV without any additional setup. One account to sign into both the Nest and Google Home apps. Your homes and home members will be aligned across the Nest and Google Home apps.You’ll receive an email invitation from Nest to migrate, but if you’d like to migrate now, you can select the “Sign in with Google” option in the most recent version of the Nest app. If you already have a Google Account that you use to sign into Google Home, just select that account when migrating your Nest Account. If you don't, it’s easy to create one. If you’re a first-time Nest user, you can use your existing Google Account to sign in. We’ve worked with Amazon on an updated Nest skill that will work with Google Accounts, so if you want to enable the Alexa integration with your Nest Thermostat or Nest Cam, you can click here to activate the updated skill. If you’re using Works with Nest with other partners, we suggest waiting to migrate your account until you receive an email invitation. If you decide to migrate before receiving your email, your Works with Nest integrations will no longer work and you won’t be able to get them back. We’re currently working with partners to provide similar integrations through Assistant Routines, and you'll receive your email invitation to migrate when these integrations are ready. If you don’t migrate your Nest Account, your existing Works with Nest integrations will continue to work.You should make sure that you’ve downloaded the most recent Nest app on Android or iOS before you start your migration. If you have questions about migrating you can find help here or contact Nest Support.


By day and by night: video call, no matter the lighting

To make sure we’re constantly improving Google Duo, we visit people from around the world to understand the challenges they face in video calling their loved ones. There was one particular condition we saw people consistently struggle with across cultures and environments: poor lighting.In many places, electric lighting is a significant challenge, preventing people from connecting face to face. People often light their homes with a single bulb when electricity is expensive, and even then, power outages remain common in many areas, leaving people in the dark during the evening when many video calls with family and friends happen. Even when electricity is not an issue, many people just want to video call to say good night right before bed, keep each other company as they watch TV together or enjoy a quick chat while they’re outside in the evening. These challenges are the reasons why we are bringing low light mode to Duo. Low light mode helps people connect with each other face to face, even when the lighting conditions aren’t optimal. The video call will adjust so people in the frame are more visible when the phone detects dim lighting. Low light mode will start rolling out globally to iOS and Android users this week.With low light mode on Duo, just start a video call and you can toggle the feature on or off as part of your in-call controls. Now, there will be no more leaving each other in the dark.


Tackling cardiovascular disease with AI

Westmead team with Google’s Mel Silva and Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Hon Karen Andrews MPHeart disease and cardiovascular health are a major challenge around the world, and in Australia, one in six people is affected by cardiovascular disease. The University of Sydney’s Westmead Applied Research Centre is working on a digital health program for people at risk of cardiovascular disease, and they recently received a $1 million Google.org grant that will help them apply AI to give patients more personalised advice and support.  We sat down with Professor Clara Chow, Professor of Medicine and Academic Director at Westmead Applied Research Centre, and Dr. Harry Klimis, a cardiologist and Westmead PhD student, to hear more about the program.   Why is cardiac health such a big issue? Professor Chow: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of premature death and disability worldwide. In Australia, cardiovascular disease affects approximately 4.2 million people, has resulted in more than 1 million hospitalizations, and caused 1 in 3 deaths in 2016. That’s one death every 12 minutes, and these deaths are largely preventable.How are you proposing to address this problem? Chow: Our goal is to support people at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease by encouraging them to adopt healthy habits, such as diet and exercise, and connecting them to health services when they need them. Data and mobile technology means we can do this in ways that weren’t possible before. Dr Klimis: We’ve already developed mobile health text-message programs using basic algorithms to customise programs to individuals. We now plan to use machine learning and AI to keep improving how we support participants and help them self-monitor measures like cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, physical activity, diet and smoking.How will you use the funding and support from Google.org? Chow: The grant will help us create digital tools that enable clinicians and health services to provide personalized advice without the need to meet face to face. Initially, we’ll link data from existing secondary sources like hospital and clinic presentations to create programs tailored to individuals, and the system will learn from there. How does AI help?  Klimis: An example would be if “John” went to the emergency room at hospital with chest pain and had type 2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension. After being assessed and treated, he could be flagged as a patient at high risk of heart attack and added to the mobile health prevention program. The AI program would learn from John’s activities and deliver health advice via SMS or through an app. If John was less active at a particular time of day, the program might register this and prompt him to take a 5-minute walk. What do you think is going to be the most challenging part of your project?Klimis: Making sure we have reliable enough data to support a program capable of AI and machine learning. Our original program sent out standard text messages to over 3000 people, which allowed us—with their permission—to collect data on their characteristics, how they respond to different messages, and how this affects health outcomes. That data will be crucial in building an AI model for the current project.  What are you most optimistic about?Chow: We have the potential to help more people at risk of cardiovascular disease by giving them high-quality prevention programs developed by clinicians and researchers, without requiring frequent clinic or hospital visits. Over the long term, mobile and digital health solutions could reduce hospitalizations, bring down healthcare costs, and make healthcare more accessible.


What’s new in Chrome OS: better audio, camera and notifications

Every Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, which updates every six weeks to keep your device speedy, smart and secure. Each Chrome OS update happens in the background, without interrupting what you’re doing. Here’s some of what’s new on Chromebook this August. Control your media in one placeNew media controls make it easier for you to pause or play sound from a tab or an app. Have you ever had dozens of tabs and apps open and struggled to turn off a specific tab’s audio? If so, we think you’ll find this change helpful—especially for those moments when you start watching a YouTube video and you want to quickly pause your music.Starting this month, you can open your system menu and see all of the tabs or apps on your Chromebook that are playing audio tracks and control them from one place.Take great photos on your ChromebookThe Chromebook camera app has been updated to make taking photos and videos easier. Portrait mode is now available on Google Pixel Slate and we are working on bringing it to other Chromebooks. We’ve introduced an updated interface for navigating between new modes, like square mode and portrait mode.Now, open your camera app, take a selfie with a landscape or square crop, and access it easily in your Downloads folder.Clear your notifications fasterWith Chrome OS, you can access all your favorite apps from the Google Play Store. In response to your feedback, it’s now easier for you to check and clear notifications from Play Store apps on your Chromebook. Starting this month, easily dismiss your notifications with the “Clear all” button.We’ll be back in around six weeks to share more of what’s new in Chrome OS.


Explore college opportunities with new Search features

Summer is winding down, and students across the country are heading back to the classroom. For many students in high school, it’s time to think about their next steps after graduation. While some students may have a certain school or cost considerations in mind, many others may not know where to start or what options are available to them.The college search feature we launched last year helps students get quick access to information about four-year U.S. universities, including acceptance rates, costs and student outcomes like graduation rates. As this year’s college search season kicks off, we’re expanding our college search features to include two-year colleges and popular certificate and associate programs available at four-year institutions. A new list feature makes it easier to discover a wide range of schools and explore different fields of study.Considering 2-year collegesWhen you use your mobile device to  search for any two-year college in the U.S, you’ll get information about the programs offered, cost of attendance and more. Because many community college students often stay close to home while enrolled in these programs, we show the in-state tuition, as well as total cost with books and housing, to give a better view into what you’ll pay depending on your individual circumstances.sb_cc_2_RESIZE.gifItasca_cc_RESIZE.gifnm_mi_RESIZE.gifA new take on college lists If you’re still narrowing your options, our new exploration tool—available on both mobile and desktop—lets you explore a range of schools based on factors like fields of study or geography. Search for something like “hotel management schools in Georgia” and click “more” to jump into the list.This feature makes it easy to compare costs, graduation rates, campus life and other characteristics to find the college that best fits your needs. You can also filter by specific location or distance, region, size and acceptance rates.These features use public information from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (comprehensive datasets available for U.S. colleges and universities). We’ve worked with education researchers, experts, nonprofit organizations, high school counselors, and admissions professionals to build these features to meet the needs of students.These features will be available today in the U.S., and we’ll continue to find new ways to make information easily available and helpful as you search for future education opportunities.


How a love of reading turned into new features for Play Books

Have you ever wondered how new features are developed at Google? We start with a problem that needs to be solved, then consider what the best solution might be, so that our products can be more helpful. And, when we can, we like to get feedback from you (and Googlers themselves) before we officially launch so we can refine and improve.Beta Features is new from Play Books, and it lets you test out experimental features on the web. This project originated with Dan Kimberg, a software engineer who joined the Play Books team to perfect a product he’d been a longtime fan of. Self-proclaimed bookworm and lifetime lover of literature, Dan was eager to personalize his library and make it easier to browse and organize his collection of books. He knew that other readers out there probably felt the same way—so he got to work.These features may lack a bit of polish; they might evolve, improve, disappear or transform into new Play Books product updates. They’re experimental, and Dan and the team want to hear what’s most helpful to you. We sat down with Dan to learn more about the inspiration behind Beta Features.What led you to the Play Books team?I’ve been an avid reader my whole life, but I wasn’t always working in the world of books. I've been a software engineer at Google for eight years on different teams. And before coming to Google, I spent nearly 20 years as a researcher in cognitive neuroscience, using brain imaging to try to understand how the mind works. Before joining the Play Books team I filed around 50 feature requests, and I'd been thinking idle thoughts about how technology could improve reading, listening, (and writing) since I was a teenager. What inspired you to develop Beta Features?As a constant reader, I used to go on vacation and pack 20 books because I didn’t know what I’d end up wanting to read. Throughout my years of reading physical books, there were some fundamental frustrations that inspired me to think differently about how technology can make reading more enjoyable. Physical books don’t give you the flexibility of selecting the right font size for you, not all printed books are well bound, page size varies and long lines of text may not be conducive to your reading style. Now, with the help of technology, I can try to solve some of those frustrations for others (and now I can bring as many books as I want on vacation).Which Beta Features are available now to test out—and which is your favorite?First, there’s Custom Shelves—my personal favorite and the most frequently requested feature from our users. It lets you organize your shelves in a more useful and personal way. For example, I’ve titled one of my Custom Shelves "Re-read me"—this is for books I've read but would like to revisit, so they don't get lost in the jumble of other books.You’ll also be able to search quickly for a particular book within your library, or sort your library using different criteria—like author, title, last read and price. The last Beta Feature is a new shelf called Ready to Read, which shows you the books you haven’t finished yet to help you quickly pick up where you left off. How can you get started testing?Head to play.google.com/books, click the Settings button, and select “Beta Features” to get started. You can enable all features or just the ones you find most useful. If you’d like to submit feedback on the Beta Features after you’ve tried them out, or want to send us a feature request you’ve been dreaming up, click on the Settings icon and then select Send Feedback.


When students get stuck, Socratic can help

In building educational resources for teachers and students, we’ve spent a lot of time talking to them about challenges they face and how we can help. We’ve heard that students often get “stuck” while studying. When they have questions in the classroom, a teacher can quickly clarify—but it’s frustrating for students who spend hours trying to find answers while studying on their own. Socratic, a mobile learning app we acquired last year, now uses AI technology to help high school and university students when they’re doing school work outside the classroom. It guides them through the resources that are available, and identifies the core underlying concepts that will lead them to answers to their questions.With the latest improvements, here are a few ways Socratic has become even more helpful for students.Get help at any momentStudents can take a photo of a question or use their voice to ask a question, and we’ll find the most relevant resources from across the web.  If they’re struggling to understand textbook content or handouts, they can take a picture of the page and check out alternative explanations of the same concepts. Solving a math equation and a physics problem with Socratic’s helpUnderstand the underlying conceptsTo help students working on complex problems, we’ve built and trained algorithms that look at a student’s question and automatically identify the relevant underlying concepts. From there, we can find the videos, concept explanations, and online resources to help them work through their questions. For students who want to learn even more, we break down the concepts into smaller, easy-to-understand lessons. Socratic takes a problem, X-rays it, and extracts the underlying concepts.Browse helpful topic explanations for quick referenceTo help students who are reviewing what they’ve learned or studying for a test, we’ve worked with educators to create subject guides on over 1,000 higher education and high school topics. It takes two taps to look up any topic they need to brush up on, get the key points, and then go deeper with helpful resources on the web.Scroll on the Socratic app to find study guides and resourcesYou can leave feedback in the app- we’d love to hear from you. It’s available today on iOS and will be available on Android in the fall.


Five ways to make your app video-ad friendly

Video ads are one of the most effective ad formats to use in your app. Increasingly, people expect to see ads that are relevant to them and that don’t interrupt their app experience—and video ads deliver on both counts. They’re a powerful canvas that you can use to engage users, for you and your advertisers. With a variety of formats, such as rewarded, interstitial, or native video, you can integrate video ads into your app to provide an enhanced experience. But using video ads goes beyond selecting them as an option in Google AdMob. To make sure users have the best experience with video ads, you need to optimize your app to play them. If the video doesn’t play correctly, users often blame the app, not the ad. Playback needs to start promptly and reliably, and continue without interruption. But serving an ad in a mobile app is not always easy—a number of factors can degrade the experience. The network connection might be poor, or the phone itself might be busy with other things.Video ads use more memory, network, and device resources than other types of ads. The key to optimal video quality is to use these resources as efficiently and as intelligently as you can. And when your video quality is better, your ads will perform better too, and you may find that your app becomes more stable overall.Load ads well in advance to permit bufferingThe moment you load a video ad, behind the scenes the ad starts buffering (essentially pre-loading) the video. In this instance, the network is the bottleneck. For example, if the phone is connected to WiFi or 4G, buffering should happen fast. But if the user is on a slower network, it can degrade or interrupt playback. The more time you allow for the ad to fill its buffer, the more reliable playback will be.Seconds matter. Load your ad at least 15 seconds in advance of showing it. Even a few seconds in advance will prevent some users from seeing a blank ad.Free unused adsIf you load an ad that you won't need, like a rewarded ad where the user declined the reward, then be sure to release it right away. This frees up memory and video decoders, which will help the phone run faster and reduce the possibility of interruption on your app. On Android, we recommend you null your reference to the ad, and if you're using native ads, call UnifiedNativeAd.destroy() on the main thread. On iOS, set your reference to nil.Avoid loading multiple concurrent adsEvery phone has a limit to the number of videos it can hold in a prepared state. The Google Mobile Ads SDK doesn't know which video ad will be shown next, so it keeps them all prepared. Lots of phones can't hold more than one prepared video at a time. So whether your app is used in developing or developed markets, it’s very important to always free up memory as soon as possible.Load only the ads that you need to give them the best chance at successful playback. For example, if you show multiple video ads, like native video ads in a news feed, then be sure to recycle ads that have scrolled offscreen so video players don't just pile up in memory. This should also lead to better overall app performance.Don’t show an ad before receiving a notification that it has loadedThe Google Mobile Ads SDK uses notifications to inform the app when a video is prepared to play. On Android, it is possible to show an ad before this notification--a legacy from the days of static content ads--but it's not a good idea to do that. Video performance will be poor and users may think something is wrong not just with playback, but with the app itself.On Android, this notification arrives through AdListener.onAdLoaded().Be extra cautious combining video ads with video contentThe recommended approach of not loading multiple concurrent video ads applies equally to content video and ad video. If your app plays video outside of ads, then freeing content video resources before video ads are shown will help reliability, too.As developers, you put a huge amount of time and energy into creating an engaging app. And a great app experience should provide a great ad experience. We hope these tips help you make the most out of video ads as part of your monetization strategy.


Growing in-app viewability coverage with Open Measurement

People are spending more time on their mobile phones, especially in apps, and move across screens frequently. As people’s usage of mobile apps has grown, so has the importance of standardizing the way viewability is measured on mobile devices.Today we’re sharing how we’ve made in-app inventory more measurable through the IAB Tech Lab’s Open Measurement standard. Integrating the Open Measurement Software Development Kit (SDK) into both our Google Mobile Ads (GMA) and Interactive Mobile Ads (IMA) SDKs has allowed us to enable Open Measurement on 85+ percent of in-app display and video impressions on Google AdMob and Google Ad Manager publishers. This means that buyers of this inventory can now take viewability measurements using solutions like Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify, Comscore, and Moat in addition to measurement that was previously available with Active View.  “IAB Tech Lab’s Open Measurement (OM) initiative makes it easier for ad buyers and sellers to work together for viewability measurement and other verification needs,” said Dennis Buchheim, Executive Vice President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “The sell-side has been adopting OM quickly, and we ask brands, agencies, and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to get more active and take advantage of what OM offers.” Advertisers can get started today by appending Open Measurement enabled tags from their viewability vendor of choice to their creatives.Measurement vendors are lauding this development as progress for a more measurable future. Joseph Ranzenbach, Director of Product Management, IAS says, "Google's adoption of the Open Measurement SDK is a huge step in moving the industry forward and creating more transparency for advertisers." Sumit Shukla, SVP, Strategic Partnerships, Comscore says, "It’s important for Brands to consistently measure viewability across the entirety of their media buys. With Comscore’s cross-platform campaign measurement as a trusted market currency, this close partnership with Google further helps Brands measure what matters."  Viewability measurement unlocks high-performing In-app inventory for advertisersViewability continues to be an integral part of measuring ad effectiveness—it helps advertisers understand if their ad had the opportunity to be seen and it helps publishers offer more high-quality inventory.In-app viewability means that advertisers can confidently take advantage of this high-value inventory. In 2018 we worked with Ipsos MORI to understand the impact of in-app advertising and found it was successful in driving action. People were 50 percent more likely to interact with a brand, buy a product or service, follow a call-to-action or recommend a brand to their family or friends after seeing its ad in an app, compared with those who saw it via a browser. Display & Video 360 customers can now confidently extend their brand campaigns to apps knowing they are able to measure ad viewability at the impression level as they would in other environments.Publishers like Pandora recognize the importance of holistic viewability measurement. Maria Breza, VP, Ad Quality Measurement and Audience Data Operations at Pandora said, “Advertisers should be able to seamlessly use one viewability provider to measure their buys across all publishers and platforms. Open Measurement has allowed Pandora to make this a reality for our clients with less latency, less maintenance and more stability.”What’s next for Open MeasurementWe’re continuing to work with the IAB’s Tech Lab Open Measurement Working Group to expand Open Measurement to use cases beyond viewability, as well as to other environments such as web video. We believe Open Measurement has the potential to create a more transparent and accountable digital media ecosystem across all screens. Reach out to your measurement partners and Google representative to find out how you can take advantage of this new measurement technology.


Stay organized and productive with new Assignable reminders

If you’re a fellow parent, you probably spend a lot of time coordinating with your partner through on-the-fly conversations, text messages or phone calls. From figuring out who’s picking up the kids from dance practice to who’s tackling the weekly grocery shopping, managing various schedules can be especially stressful this time of year when kids are heading back to school.Assignable reminders on the Google Assistant help families and housemates better collaborate and stay organized while at home or on the go. This means you can now create reminders for your partner or roommate to do things like pick up the groceries, pay a recurring bill, walk the dog—or send them a note of encouragement when they need it the most (“Hey Google, remind Mary that she will do great on tomorrow’s exam.”) The feature will be available over the next few weeks in English on phones, speakers and Smart Displays in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and will work with Google Nest Hub Max when it’s available later this fall.To assign a reminder, ask your Assistant, “Hey Google, remind Greg to take out the trash at 8pm.” Greg will get a notification on both his Assistant-enabled Smart Display, speaker and phone when the reminder is created, so that it’s on his radar. Greg will get notified again at the exact time you asked your Assistant to remind him. You can even quickly see which reminders you’ve assigned to Greg, simply by saying, “Hey Google, what are my reminders for Greg?” This feature will also work for location-based reminders with a specific address or landmark. For example, if you want to remind Claire to pick up flowers—and you don’t know the exact time she’ll be going shopping—just say, “Hey Google, remind Claire to pick up flowers when she gets to the San Francisco Ferry Building.” The Assistant will then create a reminder that will pop-up for Claire when the Assistant recognizes that she has arrived at the Ferry Building.You can send and receive reminders only from people who are in your Google family group or those who have their accounts linked to the same Smart Display or speaker as you and are Voice Matched. The recipient must also be in a senders' Google Contacts. For parents who want to give their kids access to the Assistant on Google Home, you can create an account for kids under 13 (or the applicable age in your country) through Family Link, then link their Google Account and voice to Google Home. In addition, you have the control to block anyone from sending you reminders at any time through the new Assignable reminders section in Assistant Settings.We think this feature will be a great tool to help families (and housemates) manage tasks this new school year and beyond.


A new way to help students turn in their best work

Today’s students face a tricky challenge: In an age when they can explore every idea imaginable on the internet, how do they balance outside inspiration with authenticity in their own work? Students have to learn to navigate the line between other people’s ideas and their own, and how and when to properly cite sources.We've heard from instructors that they copy and paste passages into Google Search to check if student work is authentic, which can be repetitive, inefficient and biased. They also often spend a lot of time giving feedback about missed citations and improper paraphrasing. By integrating the power of Search into our assignment and grading tools, we can make this quicker and easier. That’s why Google is introducing originality reports. This new feature—with several reports included free in every course—will be part of Classroom and Assignments, which was also announced today. We create originality reports by scanning student work for matched phrases across hundreds of billions of web pages and tens of millions of books. When assigning work in Classroom and Assignments, instructors will have the option to enable originality reports. Students will then be able to run up to three originality reports on documents they attach to the assignment before submitting their work. This heads-up gives students an opportunity to proactively improve their work, and also saves time for instructors. After submission, a fresh originality report will automatically be available to instructors when grading the assignment. These reports will flag text that has missed citations and has high similarity with text on the web or in books.But comparing work to search results isn’t the only way to ensure authentic work. Coming soon, schools can choose to have their own private repository of past student submissions, so instructors can receive originality reports that include student-to-student matches within the same school. Once the feature is generally available, instructors will be able to access originality reports at no charge for up to three assignments in each course they teach. Schools that would like unlimited access can upgrade their instructors to G Suite Enterprise for Education.  During the initial, limited testing period, all instructors can use originality reports as much as they would like to, at no charge. We’ll continue to add features at no additional cost to G Suite for Education. To use originality reports with Classroom, sign up to apply to be part of the testing program by filling out our form. To try Assignments, which includes originality reports automatically, sign up through our website.We’re looking forward to seeing how teachers and students alike use the tool to create work that’s both authentic and original.


Google Assignments, your new grading companion

Instructors lose valuable time doing cumbersome tasks: writing the same comment on multiple essays, returning piles of paper assignments, and battling copy machine jams. These frustrations are most often felt by instructors with the highest teaching workloads and the least time. For the last five years, we’ve been building tools—like Classroom and Quizzes in Google Forms—to address these challenges. Now you can take advantage of these tools if you use a traditional Learning Management System (LMS). Assignments brings together the capabilities of Google Docs, Drive and Search into a new tool for collecting and grading student work. It helps you save time with streamlined assignment workflows, ensure student work is authentic with originality reports, and give constructive feedback with comment banks. You can use Assignments as a standalone tool and a companion to your LMS (no setup required!) or your school admin can integrate it with your LMS. Sign up today to try Assignments.If you're one of the 40 million people using Classroom: you've got the best of Assignments already baked in, including our new originality reports. For everyone else, Assignments gives you access to these features as a compliment to your school’s LMS. Assignments is your tireless grading companionUsing an LMS can create more work than it saves: students turn in all kinds of files, you have to download and re-upload student files one-by-one, and what if students can keep editing after they already turned in their work? Assignments handles all this for you.Assignments streamlines the creation and management of coursework, and tackles some of your biggest frustrations:Stop typing the same feedback over and over by using a comment bank, and never worry about pressing the “save” button againCheck student work for originality and automatically lock work once it’s turned inAssign files with the option to send each student a copy (no more copy machines!)Grade assignments for an entire class with a student switcher and rubrics, and review any file type without leaving your grading interfaceComment and leave suggestions on student work with Google DocsInstructors and students can attach anything to assignments: Docs or Word files for papers, spreadsheets for data analysis, slides for presentations, sites for digital portfolios or final projects, Colab notebooks for programming exercises, and much more. Help students turn in their best work with originality reportsWith originality reports in Assignments, you can check student work for missed citations and possible plagiarism without interrupting your grading workflow. When students turn in a document, Assignments will check students’ text against hundreds of billions of web pages and tens of millions of books. If you enable originality reports on an assignment, students can also check their work for authenticity (a limited number of times) to correct issues, turn in their best work, and save instructors time grading. Since both you and your students can see originality reports, they’re designed to help you teach your students about authenticity and academic integrity. Getting started with AssignmentsStarting today, you can sign up to get access to Assignments when it becomes available in a few weeks. Assignments will be available for free as part of G Suite for Education and can be used by instructors alongside or integrated with an LMS. Instructors can use Assignments even if your school has an LMS. There’s no setup required, all you need is to sign up and have a school-issued Google account. Admins can turn on access to Assignments within your LMS. Assignments is available as an LTI tool, which provides a more integrated experience and enables roster syncing and grade transmission to your LMS gradebook. Assignments is an improved and expanded version of Course Kit, so if you’re already in the Course Kit beta, you’ll automatically have access to Assignments. If you use Canvas, we’ve worked with their team to complement the Assignments LTI tool with a set of additional features that make Docs and Drive work seamlessly across all Canvas assignments.


A proactive approach to disaster relief

"It was as if someone had thrown an atomic bomb. Everything was destroyed." Fisherman Luciano Morales says this was the damage that Hurricane Maria brought his small Puerto Rican village of Punta Santiago. One of three residents who decided to stay back to protect his household and belongings, Luciano soon realized that a generator and gasoline weren’t enough to weather the storm, or “Mrs. Maria” as he called it. His home and belongings, along with most of the village’s infrastructure, turned to rubble.Following the hurricane, GiveDirectly, a nonprofit that gives money to the poor, no strings attached, applied it’s model in response to Maria, and gave cash to Luciano and over 4,700 families, empowering them to solve their most pressing needs. Historically, following major disasters, charitable organizations and aid agencies supply bottles of water, sheets of drywall or any number of other goods and services that those affected may need. While this support can at times be critical, it’s impossible for a pre-set bundle of goods and services to meet the diverse needs of those affected by a disaster. Some people need life preserving pharmaceuticals that require refrigeration. Some have medical conditions that call for a very specific kind of diet. And some have jobs for which they’re paid only when they show up. It’s impossible to forecast every person or family's most pressing needs. Research on direct cash transfers has shown wide-ranging positive outcomes and immediate improvement on recipients’ lives. Affected individuals largely prefer it over traditional forms of aid—yet cash giving makes up a very small share of disaster response spending. Ahead of this year’s storm season, Google.org is contributing $3 million to GiveDirectly to support large-scale cash transfers when a natural disaster hits the U.S. The grant will allow GiveDirectly to support more than 2,400 low-income families and help them better understand how people like Luciano want to be helped during different points of the recovery process. A team of four Google.org Fellows is working full-time to combine government data on socioeconomic indicators and storm damage data into a single tool that will help GiveDirectly better identify and support the people most in need.In a study published by GiveDirectly, the organization found cash transfers had a significant impact on the poorest populations following the 2017 hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico. Cash allowed families to expand their children’s nutritional intake, improve the quality of their homes, avoid debt, reduce stress and improve living conditions.There are still important questions remaining about direct cash giving after natural disasters. Our collaboration with GiveDirectly on this work will be guided by some of these outstanding questions: How does the impact change if you give the cash several weeks after a disaster, as opposed to several months later, as was the case in the pilot study? Does giving money at different intervals have different impacts? Do large cash transfer programs impact the economy beyond individual recipients?Crisis response has always been a key focus area of Google.org. We’ve supported communities and nonprofits on the front lines through immediate and long-term recovery via our products, technical volunteers and over $60 million in funding since 2005. With GiveDirectly, we look forward to evolving the way we respond to ensure that we’re providing support to those who need it most in times of crisis in the most effective, data-driven and efficient way possible.  Related ArticleAn environmental nonprofit takes on AI "sprint week"WattTime, an environmental tech nonprofit, shares their experience from the AI Challenge Accelerator’s Tech Sprint Week.Read Article


When journalists collaborate instead of compete

At ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news organization, collaboration is part of our DNA. Since we first started publishing 11 years ago, we've partnered with news organizations all over the U.S., from the Des Moines Register to the New York Times, and from NPR to CBS News. Those collaborations have taken many forms. In the past few years, we’ve taken on very large scale partnerships, working with many newsrooms at once, sharing a data set that hundreds of reporters could use to do their jobs.We’ve learned that it's not easy to wrangle hundreds of journalists on a single project—but we’ve developed some strategies and tools to help. With the support of the Google News Initiative, we're publishing a guidebook to collaborative data journalism, including big crowdsourced projects like the ones we've done. The guide provides tips for establishing collaboratives, managing workflows and tracking your work. Our collaborative reporting guidebook is available on our website. Our database tool will be available in the fall.For the past few years, we’ve been working with the Google News Initiative on making large-scale collaborations possible. In 2016 and 2018, we worked together on the Electionland project, which monitored voting problems in real time. (Google provided financial support for the 2016 Electionland.) That project allowed ProPublica and our partners to tell stories about long lines, voter check-in issues, voter ID and much more, reporting on these problems as they arose so that authorities could have the opportunity to address them. Starting in 2017, Google and ProPublica have worked together on building tools for Documenting Hate, which tracks hate crimes and bias incidents. We've reported on how hate manifests itself in communities big and small, from schools and universities to superstores and supermarkets. We are now taking what we’ve learned and the tools we’ve built and giving them away so that other newsrooms can launch and run their own collaborations around data. When we start a large collaboration, local and national newsrooms sign up to get access to the data we’ve collected, which they can use to report their own stories. That way, we can make the most out of a big set of data, and help reporters all over the country tell stories. We’ve also built software to help organize, verify and share tips; we’ll be making that available for other newsrooms to use later this fall. You can sign up using our form to learn when our collaborative reporting tool is ready.While collaboration in journalism has grown considerably in the last few years, we know that some newsrooms are still hesitant due to concerns about competing with other media organizations and getting exclusive access to sources. But through our experience with these projects, we know that journalists can do great reporting through collaborations. This guide demonstrates that by working together, newsrooms can benefit by reaching larger audiences, finding new stories and making the most out of large data sets. We hope it will be helpful and will inspire more journalists to work together.


7 ways to grow programmatic video revenue with Google Ad Manager

Advances in programmatic video technology present exciting opportunities for publishers to package and sell their video inventory in new ways and ultimately increase efficiency, fill rates, and revenue. As advertisers continue to embrace video as their storytelling medium, and as programmatic spend increases, publishers can use this technology to grow their business.Below are seven best practices my team has identified that can help you win with programmatic video. These best practices are based on our experience working with leading video partners and building programmatic technology that empowers publishers to deliver seamless, personalized, and measurable ad experiences everywhere.Share more information about your inventory to drive more valueThere’s a strong correlation between how much information you share about your video inventory and higher CPMs and fill rates. When video inventory contains viewability, brand safety, and demographic data, it’s more desirable to advertisers who want to reach audiences on premium content. As shared in our recent video viewability guide, increasing the viewability of your video ads from 50 percent to 90 percent, can result in more than an 80 percent revenue uplift (averaged across desktop and mobile sites) according to internal data.If your video inventory contains signals like Device ID, App ID, Package Name, Show Name, TMSID, Description URL and Viewability signals it will likely drive the highest possible value for you and your advertising partners. When it comes to Device ID, Google Ad Manager supports the IAB's Identifier for Advertisers (IFA) guidelines and we recommend that partners adopt these guidelines to provide better ad experiences in a privacy-focused way.Establish a responsible first-party data strategy If you have first-party data or unique insights from your audiences or content that you have the right to use for advertising purposes, consider ways to use your custom data to help maximize the value of your programmatic inventory. Use Google Ad Manager’s audience solutions to help your advertising partners benefit from your first-party data whilst protecting against data leakage. This can improve advertising effectiveness and result in a high-quality advertising experience for audiences.Create organizational alignment between direct and programmatic sales teams One of the biggest challenges our broadcaster research revealed is achieving organizational alignment between direct and digital sales teams. Programmatic guaranteed deals represent a good opportunity to educate your sales organization on your programmatic offering and strategically cultivate relationships with agencies, demand-side platforms, and brands—with the benefit of improved efficiency. According to our programmatic guaranteed report, publishers save 57 percent more time when using Programmatic Guaranteed deals versus traditional reservations, all while maintaining the same level of control over their campaigns. Create alignment by empowering your sales team to sell programmatic guaranteed video ads and compensate them for programmatic revenue.Maximize yield across all transaction types Google Ad Manager offers flexibility over how your inventory can be sold—including transaction types like Open Auction and Exchange Bidding. Partners like DAZN have been able to increase programmatic video revenue by 150 percent using Exchange Bidding for instream video. No matter how you sell, Ad Manager offers a unified platform with comprehensive yield management features that work across both direct and programmatic sales.When it comes to pricing, we recommend: Using Unified Pricing for Open Auction and Exchange Bidding to centrally manage your target CPM or floor prices across all programmatic demand.Setting Programmatic Guaranteed pricing on par with your traditional reservation rate card. Setting higher pricing for Programmatic Guaranteed with Audience Lists and for buyers who would like to retain the ability to pass on impressions through non-guaranteed private marketplaces.Conduct technical video audits periodicallyTechnical errors can result in missed opportunities or cause a poor user experience. The Ad Manager technical consultant team, that works with partners to identify and fix video issues, recommends your audit include the following steps: Review sites and apps for latency, render rates, and prefetching opportunities.Audit for VAST errors, timeout windows, and issues passing user agent.Use Ad Manager inventory controls, like the ability to block VPAID creatives on connected TV devices, or create network level duration settings and player profiles for a better ad experience. Use Ad Manager’s Dynamic Ad Insertion to ensure a seamless experience across content and ads.Maintain your brand with Ad Manager's publisher protectionsMaintain your brand by using Ad Manager’s spam protections, including standards like Ads.txt and apps-ads.txt. You can reduce the risk of fraud by sending all programmatic video inventory to Ad Manager through the Interactive Media Ads SDK. We also recommend using Ad Manager’s Ad Review Center to review individual ads and decide whether you want to continue showing them on your pages or blog, or report ads in real-time. With these protections in place, you can rest assured that you’ve taken steps to minimize the risk that your inventory will be compromised by bad actors, and advertisers will increasingly feel comfortable that the video inventory they buy through Ad Manager is from the declared, trusted source they set out to run on. Grow your revenue with Ad Manager’s demand-side connectionsGoogle Ad Manager can also help you grow awareness and revenue for your inventory through our integrated demand-side connections to Google Authorized Buyers, including Display & Video 360, Google Ads, and agencies. You can easily strike curated deals through your publisher profile in Ad Manager. Our teams may also be able to help you highlight your inventory in the Display and Video 360 Marketplace program or by incorporating your brand in other marketing programs throughout the year.Implementing these best practices can help you successfully monetize your video programmatically, grow demand from advertisers, and allow you to continue to create more great content for audiences everywhere. Learn more on the Google Ad Manager website.


Meet this year's Doodle for Google contest winner

I’m still not sure if I know what I want to be when I grow up. But by looking at all of the Doodle for Google submissions we have received this year, I’ve learned that kids have a lot more figured out than I do. Around 222,000 students entered this year’s contest and responded to the theme “When I grow up, I hope…”  Yesterday, one of our guest judges this year, Jimmy Fallon, announced this year’s National Winner, Arantza Peña Popo. She stopped by "The Tonight Show" to chat about her winning Doodle, called “Once you get it, you give back,” which she drew in honor of her mom. “When I grow up, I hope to care for my mom as much as she cared for me my entire life,” she said. “My mom has done so much for me and sacrificed a lot.”Today, millions of people will be able to see Arantza’s Doodle on the biggest “refrigerator door” around: the Google homepage. Additionally, Arantza will receive $30,000 toward a college scholarship and her school, Arabia Mountain High School (where she was recently named valedictorian), will receive a $50,000 technology package. Thank you to Arantza and all of the students who entered this year for sharing your hopes with us. And maybe one day, we grownups will figure out what we want to do when we grow up. Related ArticleReady for takeoff: Meet the Doodle for Google national finalistsThe five national finalists for the 11th year of the Doodle for Google contest have been announced.Read Article