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Introducing the New App Policy Center

Advertising policies help ensure a good user experience while maintaining a healthy advertising environment for app publishers. However, we also understand that without the right tools to streamline and simplify the process, handling policy violations can be frustrating for publishers. That’s why we’re excited to introduce the new App Policy Center for Google AdMob and Ad Manager. The App Policy Center is part of our effort to protect quality AdMob and Ad Manager publishers while building and maintaining a healthy and trustworthy advertising ecosystem. It is designed to provide publishers with a single centralized hub to review and monitor policy violations and appeals, providing publishers with greater insight into our policy enforcement process. With all the information needed to remain policy compliant in one place, the App Policy Center will help reduce the risk of potential revenue loss resulting from honest mistakes.The App Policy Center is available now for both Google AdMob and Ad Manager users. You can access it from the homepage dashboard once you sign in to your account. More about the App Policy CenterThe App Policy Center is a single, convenient destination for you to understand everything related to policies and take action as needed. More specifically, you’ll be able to:View current warnings, violations, and appeals in progressAppeal policy warnings for certain violations within a 30-day window Request review after addressing a violation and track the statusApp Policy Center for Google AdMobApp Policy Center for Google Ad ManagerIn addition to surfacing this information in the App Policy Center, we will continue to notify you of important policy issues through email when any of the following events occur:When a policy is enforced on an app App receives policy violation warningWarning turns into an enforcement Review request is received Review request gets accepted and an app is remonetizedReview request is rejected We are constantly looking for ways to improve the experience on AdMob and Ad Manager, and hope the App Policy Center helps you handle policy issues with more ease and confidence.To learn more about the App Policy Center and best practices about policies, visit the AdMob Help Center or the Ad Manager Help Center.

Create a personalized poem, with the help of AI

POEMPORTRAITS is an online collective artwork, experimenting at the boundaries of AI and human collaboration—a combination of poetry, design and machine learning. A POEMPORTRAIT is your self portrait overlaid with a unique poem, created by AI. Starting today, you can create your own and contribute to the evolving, collective poem.To create your POEMPORTAIT, head to g.co/poemportraits. Once you get there, you’ll be asked to donate a word of your choice and take a self portrait. Each word you donate will be expanded into original lines of poetry by an algorithm that’s trained on millions of words of nineteenth century poetry. You’ll then receive a unique POEMPORTRAIT of your face, illuminated by your original lines of poetry. All of the lines of poetry are then combined to form an ever-evolving, collective poem.To create the technology behind POEMPORTRAITS, I collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab and Ross Goodwin. Ross trained an algorithm to learn to write poems by reading over 25 million words written by 19th century poets. It works a bit like predictive text: it doesn’t copy or rework existing phrases, but uses its training material to build a complex statistical model. As a result, the algorithm generates original phrases emulating the style of what it’s been trained on. The resulting poems can be surprisingly poignant, and at other times nonsensical. And it’s the profoundly human way that we seek and find personal resonance in machine-generated text that’s the essence of this project. I was inspired by the writing of Shoshana Zuboff on the “information civilization”—she writes, “If the digital future is to be our home then it is we who must make it so.”Here’s my POEMPORTRAIT; the word I chose to donate was “convergence.”Create your unique POEMPORTRAIT and become part of this ever-growing global poem atg.co/poemportraits.

Introducing auto-delete controls for your Location History and activity data

Whether you’re looking for the latest news or the quickest driving route, we aim to make our products helpful for everyone. And when you turn on settings like Location History or Web & App Activity, the data can make Google products more useful for you—like recommending a restaurant that you might enjoy, or helping you pick up where you left off on a previous search. We work to keep your data private and secure, and we’ve heard your feedback that we need to provide simpler ways for you to manage or delete it.You can already use your Google Account to access simple on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity, and if you choose—to delete all or part of that data manually. In addition to these options, we’re announcing auto-delete controls that make it even easier to manage your data. Here’s how they’ll work:Choose a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved—3 or 18 months—and any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis. These controls are coming first to Location History and Web & App Activity and will roll out in the coming weeks.You should always be able to manage your data in a way that works best for you--and we’re committed to giving you the best controls to make that happen.

Swipe for more: Tiles on Wear OS by Google

Whether you’re at home or on the go, your time is valuable. Five years ago, we built Wear OS by Google to help you get information and get things done quickly, at a glance. Over the past few months, we’ve introduced a new design that provides swipeable access to health coaching from Google Fit and proactive help from the Google Assistant. Now, we’re debuting new Tiles that give you more swipeable access to the things you need to know and get done right from your wrist.How Tiles workMeet all of the Tiles: Goals, Next event, Forecast (weather), Heart rate, Headlines and Timer. With a swipe left, you’ll be greeted by these Tiles and can check your progress towards your fitness goals or start a workout, know where you need to be next, plan ahead with the latest forecast, check your heart rate, follow the latest breaking headlines and set a timer.Whether you're into headlines or heartbeats, you can tailor your watch to meet your needs. To arrange the Tiles in the order you wish to see them, touch and hold any Tile on your smartwatch, or touch and drag one in your Wear OS by Google app. You’ll be able to stay connected to what’s important to you, and still keep tabs on other information and actions. We’ll continue to add more Tiles over time to help you stay connected to what matters most.These new Tiles will be rolling out to your Wear OS by Google smartwatch over the next month. Certain features will vary by phone OS, watch or country. If you’ll be joining us at I/O 2019, stop by the Android Sandbox to see and experience Tiles in person.

How a small business shares Indian culture, one dancer at a time

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a month-long celebration of the achievements and contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. We’re highlighting Asian and Pacific Islander-owned small businesses and the important role they play in sharing their cultures and impacting local communities.These are businesses like Kruti Dance Academy, in Atlanta, Georgia. Its founder, Dina Sheth, is a former microbiologist and trained classical Indian dancer. She wanted her daughter, Shemoni, to know the beauty of their culture, so she started teaching her dance in the basement of their home. As other parents in the community learned what Dina was doing, her classes started to grow, and Kruti Dance Academy officially came to life in 1995. What started as a basement class with four students is now a 9,000-square-foot facility with hundreds of dancers, and Shemoni is Kruti’s Artistic Director.With the help of digital tools, they continue to expand Kruti Dance Academy’s reach. For example, YouTube has allowed them to connect with people across the world: their channel has over 27,000 subscribers and eight million views. Closer to home, the photos and reviews on their Business Profile on Google provide a way for those unfamiliar with Indian dance to catch a glimpse of what Kruti Dance Academy is all about.Dina and Shemoni have received wide acclaim for their commitment to the advancement of the arts and their community. Watch this video to learn more about how Kruti Dance Academy is sharing the richness of Indian culture and heritage through dance in their community and around the world.

Helping small business phones get smart with CallJoy

Think about how many times you’ve called a small business lately. I call local businesses near my home and office all the time—just last weekend, I was on the phone with the nearest exotic pet store to see if they had food in stock for our family's pet lizard.My team within Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental projects, conducted testing and found that small businesses receive an average of 13 phone calls every day. If you apply that average to America's 30.2 million small businesses, that would equal roughly 400 million incoming daily calls to local businesses from consumers placing a to-go order, booking an appointment, inquiring about inventory and more. That’s why we built CallJoy, a cloud-based phone agent that enables small business owners to measure, improve and automate customer service.Meet CallJoyWith CallJoy, small businesses have access to the same customer service options that have historically only been available to larger corporations. If you’re associated with small business using CallJoy, here’s how it works: After a quick setup, you’ll receive a local phone number. CallJoy will immediately begin blocking unwanted spam calls so you receive the calls that matter—the ones from customers. Then, when the phone rings, the automated CallJoy agent answers, greets callers with a custom message and provides basic business information (like hours of operation).If the customer calling would like to complete a task which can be done online, like place a to-go order or book an appointment, CallJoy’s virtual agent will send the customer an SMS text message containing a URL. Whether the customer speaks with you, talks to an employee, or just interacts directly with the CallJoy agent, the call will be recorded and transcribed for quality purposes. This allows small business owners to tag and search each conversation based on topic. For example, a hair salon owner can search how many times a day callers ask about “men’s haircut pricing” or “wedding hairstyles.” From here, CallJoy compiles your data in an online dashboard and emails you a daily update, which includes metrics like call volume and new versus returning callers.Untie the phone line, improve customer service, grow salesHigh call volume can overwhelm any small business, especially when coupled with peak call times and the ever-increasing monsoon of spam callers. In fact, nearly half of small business calls go unanswered because owners are just too busy or assume the caller is another spammer. When that happens, business owners can experience customer disloyalty, loss of revenue and negative online reviews.Take for example one of the top Chinese fusion takeout eateries in Austin, Texas. Before joining CallJoy’s beta program, the restaurant staff didn’t have the bandwidth to answer incoming calls while juggling food preparation and in-restaurant diner needs. Since adding CallJoy’s textback feature, the restaurant has decreased hold times and increased productivity by automatically texting callers a URL to place their orders online.CallJoy helps small business owners offer better customer service, make more informed business decisions and ultimately increase productivity. Starting today, small business owners can sign up for early access to this phone technology by clicking here, and for a flat monthly fee of $39.

Moving toward a gender equitable internet

Lavinia, a student from Brazil, doesn’t put a photo of her face on social apps out of fear that it will be copied and circulated in men’s private groups. In fact, 68 percent of women in our research across seven countries (compared to 49 percent of men) don’t use a profile picture that shows their face. Online threats—like cyberstalking, malicious editing and the fear of strangers sharing personal content without consent—can result in destroyed reputations and even physical harm. Because of these safety threats, women limit their participation online.The internet isn’t gender equitable. Estimates show there are fewer women online than men in two-thirds of countries worldwide. Stories like Lavinia’s begin to tell us why. To understand why these inequities exist and how to address them, we conducted interviews and surveys with nearly 4,000 participants in Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan over the course of a year. We spoke to people across the gender spectrum, including cis women, trans women and men. We wanted to represent diverse voices and experiences in our research. To protect participant identity, we use pseudonyms in this blog post.In a new report published today, Towards Gender Equity Online, we’ve identified four areas that need to be addressed to move us toward a more representative internet: access, content and community, privacy, and safety.Women often share devices with their families, heightening the need for privacy on devices. (Note: survey participants aren’t reflected in these photos.)Each of these areas reveals deeper insights. Women can’t get online when, where and how they want even if they do own a personal device. Many don’t have enough free time; others don’t have permission. If women are able to access the internet, many aren’t discovering relevant content and online communities, and many don’t feel comfortable creating content or participating either. Women don’t often feel fully in control of their online identities, and they regularly experience privacy and safety issues.Online services tend to be designed with “one device, one user” in mind, but this principle doesn’t hold true for all women. Many women that we spoke to share their devices with family members. For example, when Shaina, a woman in her late thirties from Kanpur, India, watches a video that she thinks is a “little bit not nice,” she searches for five or six more to change her recommended video list. Since she shares a phone with her family, she doesn’t want the next person who uses the phone to guess what she was watching. Women like Shaina also delete their searches or use special applications to hide files. But these workarounds aren’t perfect, and as a result many women avoid using apps or seeking out content because they don’t feel in control of their privacy.We identified steps that technology creators can take to help create a more gender equitable internet:Gather metrics, like 28-day active users, and break them down by gender to identify and address any gender gapsConduct interviews with people across the gender spectrum to understand their user experiencesAnalyze existing data, like surveys, and look for gender-related themes and correlationsBased on this research, many Google products are already adapting. Neighbourly is an app in India that allows people to tap into local, community-based knowledge to ask and answer questions. The Neighbourly team built additional privacy features into the app experience, like preventing profile photos from being enlarged or copied through screenshot, not allowing one-on-one direct messaging and only sharing the account owner’s first name.Our commitment is to continue to look for ways to help ensure that our products represent everyone—men, women and gender non-binary people equally. As a billion more people come online, we see a great opportunity to be fair and equitable to all gender experiences.

Protect your budget and your brand with Display & Video 360

We support efforts to increase transparency in the digital advertising ecosystem and we’re committed to making it easier for marketers to monitor their digital campaigns and protect their brand. That’s why we’re introducing new ways for Display & Video 360 to help you avoid buying unauthorized web and app ad inventory, and control where your digital ads are appearing.New default setting to ads.txt-only web inventorySince it was first conceived in May 2017, Google has supported and contributed to the IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt standard. It’s a text file that lets publishers openly declare who is authorized to sell their inventory programmatically. Ads.txt increases transparency throughout the advertising supply chain: marketers know they're buying inventory from the actual property owner, or an authorized reseller, and legitimate publishers receive payment. Because of its simplicity and effectiveness, over 93 percent of the web inventory available in Display & Video 360 is authorized by ads.txt files. In fact, ads.txt is one of the most rapidly adopted standards that our industry has seen.Starting in August, we’ll make ads.txt-only the default setting for all new campaigns created in Display & Video 360 and running on web inventory. This ensures that by default you only buy authorized inventory and is the next step in our ongoing support of the standard.Support for IAB Tech Lab’s app-ads.txtAds.txt was created to reduce fraud for your campaigns running on the web by making it easier to avoid transacting unauthorized inventory. To give you the same level of protection against misrepresented app inventory, the IAB Tech Lab recently introduced the new app-ads.txt standard which supports apps running on mobile, connected TVs and other devices.While it’s very early days for app-ads.txt adoption, we’re actively working to encourage app developers to publish app-ads.txt files. In the next few months, Display & Video 360 will stop buying unauthorized app inventory as identified by app-ads.txt files. When adoption of app-ads.txt reaches sufficient levels, we will allow marketers and agencies to choose to buy only app inventory that is authorized.A new home for all brand protectionsIn addition to knowing that you’re buying inventory from authorized sellers, you also need to ensure your ads appear only in contexts that you define as suitable for your brand. Display & Video 360 offers a comprehensive set of controls to protect your brand, but we’ve heard feedback that it can be difficult to apply these controls consistently—especially if you are managing a large number of campaigns.To help solve this challenge, we’ve introduced Brand Controls, a new resource available to all Display & Video 360 users that gives you a single view of the brand suitability settings, campaigns using ads.txt-only authorized sellers, and verification services across all of your campaigns. With the Brand Controls dashboard, you can also more easily see how your campaigns are using different controls including content labels, sensitive categories, and keyword exclusions.The Brand Controls dashboard gives you a snapshot of all the brand protections used in all your campaigns.Now you can manage and make changes to all of these settings across all the campaigns in your Display & Video 360 account at once--including display, video, apps and TrueView. For example, let’s say you realize that some of your campaigns are not using any digital content label exclusions. You can quickly make bulk edits with Structured Data Files and immediately change the settings across multiple campaigns, right from the Brand Controls dashboard.With Brand Controls you can also get a report that shows you what percentage of traffic was filtered before a bid was placed using our built-in fraud detection and brand suitability safeguards, and the reasons why. This way you can get full transparency on how Display & Video 360 is protecting your media buys.With Brand Controls you can get a detailed report of the invalid traffic filtered pre-bid for all your campaigns.Finally, the Brand Controls dashboard makes it easy to track any edits that are made to your brand suitability, authorized sellers, and verification settings. This helps you ensure that your media team follows the guidelines you’ve setup to protect your campaigns.By making ads.txt-only the default setting for new campaigns, supporting the new app-ads.txt standard, and creating the new Brand Controls center, we're making Display & Video 360 a more effective solution to help you protect your budget and your brand.

Sharing what’s new and coming next with Android Enterprise

We’ve built Android to help power the connected workforce of the future. With a growing lineup of Android Enterprise Recommended devices and services, leadership in mobile security and flexible platform tools, Android gives organizations plenty of options. At Google Cloud Next ’19, we shared more about how Android can benefit your organization, and offered a preview of some of the features we’re working on for Android Q.If you weren’t able to attend the event, or would just like a refresher on any of the sessions, here’s an overview of the ones that are now available on YouTube:What’s New and Next in Android Enterprise: Android has become the platform of choice for enterprise mobility. According to IDC, 78 percent of business phones shipping in 2019 will run Android. In this session we discussed how we balance security and privacy to provide an optimal user experience.How Android Enterprise Recommended can simplify your mobility strategy: This Google-backed program is making it simpler to deploy and manage Android devices across an organization and is becoming a key factor in mobility purchase decisions.How Android has Redefined the Approach to Mobile Security:  Learn how Android enterprise-grade protections and controls can help ensure that devices and data are secure.How Android Enterprise is Disrupting Mobility: In this session, we talked about how Accenture and Google used Android Enterprise and Google Cloud technologies to accelerate productivity.Privacy & Wellbeing: A New Approach to Mobility: Android Enterprise features were built with employees in mind, delivering industry-leading privacy and digital wellbeing features.Beyond the smartphone: New Use Cases for Android: Learn how Android devices are used and managed across industries to transform workflows and improve data sharing.Web vs Native—Choosing the Right Approach For Your Digital Journey: Get guidance on how to best implement mobile web and native application technologies into your organization.My engineering team’s work on Android Q has focused on an improved end user experience, more controls for IT, and enhanced security tools. For example, we've addressed many top feature requests, such as an API for consolidating personal and work calendars and separate input methods for work and personal apps.As 2019 rolls on, we’re looking forward to continuing Android’s momentum and impact on organizations of all sizes.

How a Google office became a sticky-note art gallery

At one of Google’s offices, windows have become canvases...for art made from sticky notes. The “pixel art” is not only a way to decompress after a long day of work, but also a way to make the office personal—and a lot of fun, too.The decorations all started when a neighbor wanted to say hello. A company located across the street used brightly colored sticky notes to spell out a greeting in their windows. Googlers decided to join in on the fun and reply with art of their own. Their initial response was a shyly-assembled team logo, but soon after, a massive pink pixelated pony took shape on the windows of the office.And they weren’t stopping there. Their office centers around a glass atrium, and they wanted to make their new home a place they could personalize. What started with a handful of Googlers creating their favorite cartoon characters took on a life of its own. Applying the principle of 10x, that a creation should be ten times better than its predecessor, Googlers upped the ante quickly.A group would construct a pixelated Mario and Luigi, and see Pikachu popping up across the courtyard. Overnight, a colorful unicorn would appear. Soon, the characters from “Doctor Who” and “Mega Man” were presiding over upper floors. For Chrome’s 10th birthday, the local Chrome team assembled a large-scale Chrome logo—and a sidekick dinosaur—that spanned two entire floors.Jakub Gielzak and Tyler Wagner, early members of the crew of sticky art enthusiasts, say there’s no organized structure to the notes. No team presides over planning, and no one says what can or cannot be posted where and when, as long as Googlers use their best judgment. (And not take too much time from their actual work, of course.)Sticky Note art featuring Calvin and HobbesSticky note art featuring Game of Thrones and moreSticky note art featuring a unicornSticky note art featuring MinionsSticky note art featuring fighting cartoon charactersBut there are some guidelines: Use an outline of black sticky notes to make an image pop. Beware of glass that is frequently exposed to the sun’s glare, because heat can take the “sticky” out of “sticky note.” Keep a strict two-sticky note distance between the art and the floor, because a well-mopped base can be deadly, even to lightsaber-wielding Yoda. And, most importantly, obey the sticky rule of thumb: To prevent curl, pull a sticky note down directly from the stack, instead of to the side or, heaven forbid, up.There are multiple Google offices that embrace windows as canvas. Back in 2015, Googlers in San Francisco once replied to a “hi” in a neighbor’s window with a sticky-note “yo” and a huge QR code which, when scanned, played Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”What’s next for these pixel artists? It’s anyone’s guess. Googlers are often the first to take their own pieces down, in eager anticipation of what someone will make of the available space. Sticky-note art is designed to be temporary and adaptable, just like the stack of notes you keep at your desk.

Newsmakers: Storytelling through numbers with Alberto Cairo

Editor’s note: We’re celebrating innovation in journalism through a series of interviews with changemakers from across the news industry. Through the “Newsmakers” series, you’ll get to know a few of the journalists, newsroom leaders, researchers and technologists who are shaping the future of news.When a major news event takes place, we’re all familiar with reading written stories. But sometimes journalism goes beyond the written word, conveying information visually.  Beyond photographs, data visualizations are an emerging field where journalists take large sets of data—think the US census or statistics around Android users around the world—and turn that information into charts, graphs and maps.Alberto Cairo has spent his career making data more accessible, and visually interesting, too. The University of Miami professor is also an author and a  freelance visualization designer. His new book, How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information, will be published this Fall. Alberto is collaborating with Google to showcase Trends data on projects like the lifespan of a news story and tutorials for emerging data journalists, plus the ever-important questions around the habits of cats and dogs.This week, Alberto shares his thoughts on the skills that are necessary to tell visual stories with data and the evolution of this emerging field in journalism.How did you get started working in data journalism?I began by happenstance. I studied journalism and visual design, but my original goal was to become a radio journalist. I even interned at the local branch of my national public radio station in A Coruña, Spain, where I was born.In the last year of getting my journalism degree at Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, one of my professors, Marita Otero, recommended me for an internship in the graphics department of my hometown newspaper, La Voz de Galicia. Professor Otero knew that I could sketch stuff out and think visually. I've always used diagrams and illustrations to communicate complex concepts or to help myself remember things. I fell in love with information graphics thanks to the team at La Voz de Galicia, and I have been in this business ever since.Break this down for the non-experts. How do you approach a new collection of data full that’s of unfamiliar facts and statistics?To deal with data  you need to have subject matter expertise, which is something that we journalists lack. My recommendation is to always try to partner up with people who know more than you do about the data, because they will help you interpret it, avoid mistakes, and answer questions like where the data came from and what it’s measuring. I’ve made too many mistakes myself for not following my own advice.The expertise that I can provide is not around the data itself, but about how to represent it graphically.  I don't consider myself a data journalist in the sense of someone who analyzes data, but I can design visual representations of numbers in collaboration with scientists or statisticians.MorphMorph is a free and open-source tool for creating designs, animations or interactive visualization through data Dogs data visualizationThis data visualization uses Google Trends data to show the top searches around why cats and dogs act the way they do. Lifespan of a story 2The Lifespan of News Stories data visualization demonstrates how different news stories hold the public’s attention.How has technology enabled you to tell stories in new and innovative ways?I began my career more than 20 years ago when visualization software tools weren’t nearly as advanced as they are today. Nowadays, there is a huge variety of powerful and often free or open-source tools to design data visualizations. Point and click software solutions like Flourish have lowered the barrier to entering visualization, making it possible for anyone to get started in our field.Pairing the existence of plentiful, easy to learn tools with a strong understanding of best practices in presenting data is the key for the future of data visualization.A template in Flourish, a data visualization program. What do you think the future of your job and you industry will look like?There are many emerging trends that may signal where visualizations are going. Some of the techniques are coming from other fields. Building off approaches from traditional film documentaries, I expect to see a rise in narrative visualizations that have additional layers, like voiceovers, to help explain data. We are also borrowing from the world of video games. Graphics that let you create alternative scenarios, see different explanations of the same phenomena, or compare yourself to other people are becoming popular because they increase understanding and engagement.Data visualizations as we think of them today may not be the limit. Data is currently being printed into 3D space to create physical representations, and data sonification has been around for a while. We recently launched TwoTone, a browser-based tool to sonify data, created by Datavized in collaboration with the Google News initiative. Presenting data beyond sight through other senses —hearing, smell, taste, or touch — gets me really excited. These techniques may increase accessibility.

After school, this teen tracks climate change with NASA

Editor's Note: Liza Goldberg is a 17-year-old scientist interning at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Biospheric Sciences Lab. Today, she shares how Google Earth Engine helps her monitor mangroves, which are ecosystems vital to the sustainability of coastal communities around the world.  I first heard the words “climate change” when I was 9. As a fourth-grade student in Maryland, my class studied the local Chesapeake Bay; we raised horseshoe crabs and observed the effects of extreme weather and sea level rise on the ecosystem. After studying the human-environment interactions in my community and the broader region, I decided I wanted to dedicate my life to curbing climate change.Two years later, I began a science fair project to study the impacts of simulated warming on the carbon dioxide exchange of red maple saplings. Every weekend for three years, I used a gas analyzer to test eight trees I planted in my backyard, and submitted the project to a local fair. I explained my research to a judge, who connected me with scientists in NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Biospheric Sciences Lab. Thanks to that connection, I went from testing saplings in my backyard to working with a world-renowned team of forest change scientists at age 14.Building the artificial warming chambers for my science project in my backyard.My research group studies mangrove forests, which are vital coastal ecosystems that buffer infrastructure during extreme weather and support local fisheries. When I first began my internship at NASA in 2016, I had never heard of mangroves or learned about the scope of global forest losses, but I began reading news articles about a series of widespread mangrove losses occurring in the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia. Thousands of hectares of forests died that year, and scientists didn’t gain a complete understanding of what caused the devastation until much later. I decided to build a program that could use satellite imagery to monitor the location and drivers of mangrove loss, potentially helping to prevent another large-scale dieback in the future.Google Earth Engine provided me with the scope of datasets and computing power necessary to analyze forest change on a global scale. I began my project at NASA with no knowledge of satellites or image processing, but guidance from my mentors, Dr. David Lagomasino and Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo, and my intensive studying of the Earth Engine developer resources helped me move from endless notes and plans to actual working code.In mapping past global mangrove losses and drivers, we used long-term Landsat satellite imagery to identify regions of disturbance. Machine learning algorithms helped to identify where mangroves were converted to urban regions, agriculture, aquaculture or mudflats. Using the Earth Engine Apps interface, we’re working towards making our data both openly accessible and widely understandable for users of any background. Communicating our results at a comprehensible level is arguably as important as the science itself, as the ultimate goal of the project is to deliver our data to mangrove-reliant communities on the ground.The beginning stages of EcoMap, a global mangrove loss and vulnerability systemWe’re currently working with conservationists and researchers at The Everglades Foundation to use our mangrove loss driver data to understand the impacts of sea level rise and hurricanes in Everglades National Park. In the future, we also aim to provide coastal communities in East Africa with the real-time loss and loss driver data necessary to sustainably manage and conserve local forests.My story is just one example of the impact of mentorship and resources on research development, regardless of age. I entered my NASA project with a set of seemingly unattainable goals, and the combination of my mentors’ guidance and Earth Engine’s power helped to make them reality. As this field progresses, I am excited to continue using Earth Engine as a means of monitoring a changing planet and balancing its needs with those of society.

An update on our workplace commitments

Editor’s note: Today, our Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker sent an email to Google employees about progress made to improve our workplace. You can read the note in its entirety below.It’s been nearly six months since we announced several changes to improve our workplace. I’ve been working on these commitments from day one and I’m pleased to share we’re marking the completion of six of them today.I recently stepped up to lead Employee Engagement in addition to our diversity, equity and inclusion teams. Making good on these commitments and pushing the company to meet our OKR to progress a representative and inclusive workplace are my top priorities. I care about these issues deeply. I’ve dedicated myself to this work for my entire career, and I’m proud to lead this work at Google.A big part of my job is to listen to ideas that Googlers have and take feedback on ways we can improve our workplace. We won't implement every idea that our employees (or the outside world) raise, but we always listen, and we consider constructive feedback. For example, earlier this year we announced we will no longer require current and future Google employees to arbitrate employment disputes. We made significant improvements to the standards we require for our temp and vendor workforce.  I will be meeting regularly with Google’s leaders and Alphabet’s Board of Directors to discuss these important issues. And I promise to keep you all updated on our progress. These are all big changes that I hope show our real commitment.Here’s what we’re announcing today:We’ve simplified and clarified the way employees can raise concerns by bringing multiple channels together on a new dedicated site. We’re also providing a similar site for our temp and vendor workforce, which will be completed by June.We just published (internally) our Investigations Report, the fifth annual summary of employee-related misconduct investigations, including discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, with an expanded section on sexual harassment investigations.After a four-month pilot, we’re expanding our Support Person Program so that Googlers can bring a colleague to harassment and discrimination investigations.We’re rolling out a new Investigations Care Program to provide better care to Googlers during and after an investigation.We’re sharing a new Investigations Practice Guide outlining how concerns are handled within Employee Relations to explain what employees can expect during the investigations process.We are publicly sharing our workplace policies—including our very clear policies on harassment, discrimination, retaliation, standards of conduct, and workplace conduct.The commitments we made in November aren’t just about changing policies or launching new programs. We want every Googler to walk into a workplace filled with dignity and respect. Thank you all for the feedback and ideas you’ve shared with us.

Why "healthy" materials are key to Google's new buildings

As a New Yorker, I’m struck by California’s  natural beauty. When I visit Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, I walk along the sidewalk and exclaim things like, “Is that wild sage?” (My coworkers find it amusing.)The tree-lined scenery of the San Francisco Bay Area gives some much-needed refreshment to my senses, which tend to be dulled by subway cars and honking car horns.When I’m in the Bay Area, I often wonder how two completely different worlds—one of computer chips and algorithms and another of sprawling shoreline and wildlife—can coexist peacefully in one place. When I spoke with Robin Bass, Sustainability Lead for Google’s Real Estate and Workplace Services team, for our latest She Word interview, she shed light on how Google approaches this question every day, and what we’re doing to make sure we give back to the land we build on.How would you describe your job at a dinner party?I usually refer to myself as a recovering architect. I’ve worked in architecture for 20 years and sustainability has always been my focus. At Google, my responsibility is to ensure that our buildings provide healthy spaces for the people in them and that we leave the spaces between the buildings better than we found them.How did you initially become interested in sustainability?When I was an architecture student, it was the only direction that made sense to me. In school, the culture was to critique. If you don’t have a strong point of view about why you’re doing things it can come across as “because it’s pretty,” and that’s architecture at its worst. Instead, leading with “this is the way the sun moves across the site,” or “this is the way water moves in and out of the site” is an irrefutable argument. There’s no stronger footing than orienting your buildings for people and nature, so sustainability was my go-to design aesthetic.Have you found strong female influences or mentors in your career?Architecture is very male dominated—and I would even go so far as to say it’s white male dominated—but sustainability is different. I was able to find so many female mentors in the industry who shared the same alignment toward the future about the world we wanted to create. It was life-changing for me. Now I’m at a point in my career where I can buoy the next generation, and diversity and inclusion in particular is a huge priority for me. In the same way that landscapes have greater resilience when they are diverse, the community of designers and builders creating those landscapes should be inclusive and diverse as well.This video shows the inside of one of Google's offices, Spruce Goose.How did these sustainability elements play out in some of your recent projects at Google’s offices, like Charleston East, Bay View and Spruce Goose?The most sustainable building is the one you don’t build, so at Spruce Goose in the Los Angeles area, using an old airplane hangar rather than building a new office is capitalizing on the carbon that has already been invested there, and anyone who walks in is struck by the magical and unusual space.At Charleston East and Bay View in Mountain View, our team is pursuing the Living Building Challenge, which stipulates that a building should exist on its site like a flower in a field. It’s all about net positive energy, waste and water, which is radical, aspirational and really hard to accomplish. These two buildings have a common design—both roof structures are unique, which makes the interior spaces remarkable—but they have different sustainability goals because of where they’re located, even though they are just a few miles apart.Charleston East’s goal is about healthy materials. We’re vetting every product that comes onto the site against a red list of chemicals, and we’re working toward net positive waste, which means integrating waste back into the production of new materials instead of sending it to a landfill after one use. Bay View backs up close to the San Francisco Bay, so we’re pursuing net positive water. The goal is to have no connection to a central plumbing utility or a sewer; all of the water on that site will come from a closed loop.What is one habit that makes you successful?I am genuinely curious about people. When I’m sitting across a table from someone who doesn’t share my worldview, I find it’s important to be really curious about who they are, what motivates them and what’s hard for them so we can find common ground. You can turn someone who is not an advocate into your biggest supporter by authentically wanting to know them.What advice do you have for women starting out in their careers?Explore! Don’t be afraid of trying something that you ultimately don’t like. Failure is a really great feedback mechanism, and it’s not about how many times you fail, it’s about getting back up and sharpening all the tools you’re bringing to the table because the world needs you, and it’s never needed you more.

This National Tell a Story Day, take a page from your Assistant

National Tell a Story Day is coming up this weekend (April 27th), and my day is already completely booked with plans to curl up on the couch and read with my kids. The Google Assistant is also getting in on the literary action: starting today, Tell Me a Story is available in English on your Android or iOS phone in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and India.Whether you’re on the way to school drop-off or waiting for soccer practice to start, you can hear stories like “Let’s Be Firefighters!” (Blaze and the Monster Machines), “Robot Rampage” (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and more. To get started, just say, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” If you’re trying to get the kids ready for bed after a long day, try, “Hey Google, tell me a bedtime story.” You’ll need to have the latest version of Google Play Books for Android or iOS installed to listen to all of these great stories.Families in the U.S. can also make storytime a little more magical with a feature called read along, available on Google Home smart speakers (Home, Mini, Max and Hub). The Assistant brings stories to life with sound effects as you read select Disney Little Golden Books aloud, like “Coco,” “The Three Little Pigs,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan,” and “Toy Story 3”—my daughter’s personal favorite. To try it out, just grab one of the compatible books and say, "Hey Google, let's read along" and the Assistant will ask you which book you’d like to read. Another great reading option is “Ara the Star Engineer”: Authored by my colleague Komal Singh, the book inspires young children to explore the magic of STEM by highlighting themes like courage, creativity, coding and collaboration. Just say “Hey Google, read along with Ara the Star Engineer.” With their parent's permission, children under 13 can also have their own personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.And if you’re looking for more ways to get your family excited about reading together, consider asking your Assistant to read an audiobook on Google Play. Just make sure to log into your Google Play Books account and say, “Hey Google, read Charlotte’s Web,” or any audiobook title, and you’ll hear a free sample if you don’t already own the audiobook. Ready to start listening? Check out some family favorites available for download:“Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White“The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom” by Christopher Healy“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss“The Collected Stories of Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne“Penny and Her Marble” by Kevin HenkesAudiobooks are available on the Assistant in English in the U.S., Australia, Canada and Great Britain, in addition to German and Japanese. You can pause, resume or skip forward or backward in your audiobook just by using your voice. Test it out by saying, “Hey Google, read my book,” to resume your place, or ask, “Hey Google, skip to the next chapter.”No matter where or how you or your kids choose to read or listen to a book, the Google Assistant can help out at storytime.

Get lost in the new Earth Timelapse, now on mobile

Today we’re introducing several updates to Google Earth Timelapse, a global, zoomable time-lapse video that lets anyone explore the last 35 years of our changing planet’s surface—from the global scale to the local scale. This update adds two additional years of imagery to the time-series visualization, now spanning from 1984 to 2018, along with mobile support and visual upgrades to make exploring more accessible and intuitive.Timelapse provides a comprehensive picture of our changing Earth—including stunning phenomena like the sprouting of Dubai’s Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier and the impressive urban expansion of Las Vegas, Nevada (seen below).VegasSee the growth of cities around the world, including Las Vegas, Nevada.BrazilSee the impact of large-scale infrastructure on a local level such as hydropower dams in the Brazilian Amazon.AustraliaGaze in awe at the scale of change, sometimes rapid, like bushfires in Australia's Northern Territory.CaliforniaSee the complex dynamics of many different things at play in a small place like volcanoes, deforestation and wildfires.WyomingExplore patterns of human activity, like surface mining, which takes many diverse forms across the world.Scientists, documentarians and journalists have used this dataset to help us better understand the complex dynamics at work on our planet. News outlets have brought their reporting to life with Timelapse imagery, from coverage of the floods in Houston, Texas to population monitoring. Recently, a team of scientists at the University of Ottawa published an article Nature based on the Timelapse dataset which revealed a 6,000 percent increase in landslides on a Canadian Arctic island since 1984. Starting this week, if you’re in the U.K., you can see Timelapse imagery featured in Earth From Space, a new BBC series about the incredible discoveries and perspectives captured from above. Zeit Online uses Timelapse to show the extent to which jungles are cleared for soy production in Brazil.Using Google Earth Engine, Google's cloud platform for petabyte-scale geospatial analysis, we combined more than 15 million satellite images (roughly 10 quadrillion pixels) to create the 35 global cloud-free images that make up Timelapse. These images come from the U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Landsat and European Sentinel programs. Once again, we joined forces with our friends at Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE Lab, whose Time Machine video technology makes Timelapse interactively explorable.Today's update also adds mobile and tablet support, making it a little easier for you to explore, research or get lost in the imagery—from wherever you are. Up until recently, mobile browsers disabled the ability to autoplay videos, which is critical for Timelapse (since it’s made up of tens of millions of multi-resolution, overlapping videos). Chrome and Firefox reinstated support for autoplay (with sound muted), so we’ve added mobile support with this latest update.Earth Timelapse, now available on phones and tablets, includes a handy new "Maps Mode" toggle to let you navigate the map using Google Maps.The design of the new Timelapse interface leverages Material Design with simple, clean lines and clear focal areas, so you can easily navigate the immense dataset. We contributed this new user interface to the open-source Time Machine project, used by Carnegie Mellon and others. Read more about our design approach at Google Design.We’re committed to creating products like Timelapse with the planet in mind, and hope that making this data easily accessible will ground debates, encourage discovery, and inform the global community’s thinking about how we live on our planet. Get started with Timelapse on the Earth Engine website, or take a mesmerizing tour of the world through YouTube.

Level up on Android with Indie Games Accelerator

Games are a powerful medium of creative expression, and at Google Play we’re inspired by the passion of game developers everywhere. Last year we announced the Indie Games Accelerator, a special edition of Launchpad Accelerator, to help top indie game developers from emerging markets achieve their full potential on Google Play.Our team of program mentors coached some of the best gaming talent from India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia. Thanks to the positive feedback we received around the program, we are bringing it back in 2019. Applications for the class of 2019 are now open, and we’re expanding the program to developers from select countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.Selected participants will be invited to attend two all-expenses-paid gaming bootcamps at the Google Asia-Pacific office in Singapore. There, they’ll receive personalized mentorship from Google teams and industry experts. Additional benefits include Google hardware, invites to exclusive Google and industry events and more.Howard Go, the co-founder of Mochibits LLC, talks about how the program helped him improve his game's downloads and ratings.Head to our website to find out more about our program and apply. Applications are due May 19, 2019.

A new way to find work-from-home (or wherever) opportunities

Whether you’re a parent needing more flexibility or someone looking for the freedom to work wherever you’d like, a work from home job might meet your lifestyle needs. Many people already use Search to find work-from-home roles, and today we’re announcing an improved experience within job search in the U.S. to connect people with quality remote jobs.Now, you can search for jobs that match your skill set, like “customer support jobs” and filter your location to “work from home” to see a list of relevant job listings that meet your criteria. Whether the jobs are listed as “remote,” “work from home” or “telecommute” opportunities, this filter does the work for you, and helps you explore the opportunities available. Unsure what kind of job you want? Try searching “work from home jobs” to explore open roles across industries.For employers looking to help potential remote workers better discover these opportunities, we’re using new Schema.org markup for job locations and applicant location requirements to indicate work-from-home roles and any related geographic restrictions. Regardless of the specific words employers use to describe remote jobs, those marked up listings will be discoverable through this new feature.We’re already working with a wide range of job listing sites, including Working Nomads, We Work Remotely and ZipRecruiter, and the number of remote jobs you can find via Google is growing by the day as providers from across the web implement this markup. We’re also making this capability available to any employer or job board to use on their own property through our Cloud Talent Solution.We hope these tools are useful in finding your next work from home opportunity or finding the right candidates, regardless of where they call home.

From food waste to tasty treats in Google’s kitchens

For Kristen Rainey, a carrot is more than a vegetable. It’s the opportunity to cook “from root to stem” and make anything from salads and juice to ice cream and candy. Cooking this way helps combat food waste, an issue that affects everyone—particularly the 800 million people who suffer from hunger each year.One third of all food produced for human consumption, or about 1.3 billion pounds of food, is wasted every year. Plus,  wasted food emits potent greenhouse gases when it decomposes. “The situation is a lose-lose-lose,” Kristen says. “When you consider all of the resources that went into making the food that’s ultimately wasted, it becomes clear that we have a problem.”Kristen, a Procurement & Resource Utilization Manager based in Google’s Portland office, leads strategy to reduce food waste, water and energy in company kitchens and cafes. When it comes to food, they take a “circular economy” approach, meaning that they prioritize reusing ingredients and raw materials rather than buying new ones and tossing leftovers in the trash.Using these strategies, Google has prevented six million pounds of food waste since 2014. Here are four strategies that made that happen.1. Use technology to cut back on waste.A LeanPath setup in a Google kitchen.Google’s offices partner with LeanPath in 189 cafes in 26 different countries. The system features a camera that takes pictures of the food waste items, a scale that weighs it and a tablet for a team member to enter additional information about the item.This info then gets uploaded to the cloud, and those numbers allow Google to track and gain insights about food waste. Using this data, chefs are able to make adjustments in the kitchen, such as scaling back the purchasing of ingredients or teaching team members how to trim vegetables in order to utilize a greater percentage of the product.2. Consider the ingredients.So-called “imperfect” produce is often used in Google’s kitchens.When thinking of ingredients, Google’s chefs make sustainability a priority. For example, many dishes can be made with imperfect-looking produce, meaning fruits and vegetables that might look misshapen or have slight discolorations, but are still just as delicious. They are also focused on finding innovative suppliers like CoffeeCherry, which creates flour from coffee bean byproduct, or Toast, beer brewed with leftover bread.Chefs at Google also consider using the entire vegetable, from root to stem, and an entire animal when cooking meat. Whether it’s using the skin of a sweet potato or carrot tops in a vegetable dish or using turkey neck and giblets for a stock or gravy, it’s easy to utilize food that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill.3. Get creative in the kitchen.Inevitably, some food is going to be left over, but that doesn’t mean it’s hitting the trash. Scott Giambastiani, Google’s food program manager based in Sunnyvale, California, says chefs in Google kitchens have come up with inventive solutions to repurpose food. They've used trimmings from leafy greens to make smoothies and the stems from those greens and root vegetables to make sauces like pesto and chimichurri. “All of these practices not only reduce food waste but they also enhance the nutritional value of the final dish,” Scott says.Google chefs also cook in small batches as they go, looking at crowd sizes and estimating how much to cook rather than preparing a large quantity at once. This practice, combined with careful planning of how many ingredients to purchase, prevents a good deal of food waste.4. Don’t just toss waste in the garbage.If leftovers can’t be repurposed into new dishes, that doesn’t mean they always end up in a landfill. Google cafes make it a point to donate leftovers to local shelters and food banks, and compost whenever possible. They’re also focused on ways to stop food waste before it starts, by encouraging Googlers to be mindful of how much food they put on their plates—and reminding them they can always go back for seconds.

Step into Childish Gambino's world with augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) lets you bring digital content into the real world—transforming the way you shop, learn, create and experience what’s around you. For artists and creators, AR can be used as an outlet for artistic expression and a way for fans to explore and interact with their content in a new way.Earlier this year, we partnered with recording artist Childish Gambino to create an AR version of himself in Playground, a creative mode in the Pixel camera. The Playmoji looks and feels lifelike as it dances and reacts to you in your photos and videos. Today, Childish Gambino fans can try his new multiplayer AR app called PHAROS AR and journey through his universe to the tune of his latest sounds.The experience begins with the opening of an AR portal. Walk through it to explore an augmented cave where you can find and interact with hidden glyphs while still being able to see out into the real world.A screenshot of the AR portal into PHAROS opening.Stepping into the AR portal through a neon pink doorframe.Once inside the PHAROS app, you'll see neon lights and glyphs.After finding all the hidden glyphs, your journey continues to more worlds throughout Childish Gambino’s universe. You can go on the adventure alone, or share the experience with friends as you view and interact with visual elements simultaneously.The app is built with ARCore, Google’s developer platform for building AR experiences, and Unity, a real-time 3D development platform. With ARCore, developers can build apps that blend the digital and physical worlds—creating experiences that bring what you see on your phone into your actual surroundings. PHAROS AR uses ARCore’s Cloud Anchors API for the multiplayer experience across Android and iOS, so you can use it along with your friends regardless of your device.Put on your headphones and download PHAROS AR on Android now (coming soon to iOS) as you step inside Childish Gambino’s world with AR.