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Bringing slave dwellings out of the shadows with Google Street View

Editor’s note:In honor of Juneteenth, we’re sharing this story about a Google Earth Outreach project that highlights African American history. In today’s post, Justin Reid, Director of African American programs, and Peter Hedlund, Director of Encyclopedia Virginia—both of the state humanities council Virginia Humanities—talk about documenting slave dwellings using Google Street View.On Virginia’s rural farms, in city townhouses, and beneath grand plantations are spaces where enslaved African-Americans lived from the 1600s until sometimes long after Emancipation. Every day, people pass by these slave dwellings, which are often in disrepair, with no idea who lived there. These dwellings and other African-American historic sites are an important part of Virginia’s history—yet out of the nearly 250,000 cultural and historic resources documented by the state, only one percent are officially identified as reflecting African-American history.It’s easy to forget about the painful yet important parts of American history when we can’t see them. By immersing ourselves in the places where enslaved communities once lived, we are confronted with a history that cannot be ignored. So to virtually preserve these living spaces and give people access to them, we created custom Street View imagery for tours of a dozen slave dwellings throughout Virginia, which date from the late 1700s to the mid 1800s.How virtual preservation opens doors to slave dwellingsSeveral years ago, when Google Street View began to include views of interiors, we saw an opportunity to document slave dwellings for Encyclopedia Virginia, where we collect resources about the state’s history and culture. Most of the former housing sites for enslaved people are on private property, and therefore not open to visitors. Our virtual tours give access to places that people can’t visit in person.The Street View tours also play a role in virtual preservation. Many of the dwellings are in poor condition—even in worse shape than when we started photographing them a few years ago. By creating the virtual tours, we preserve the dwellings for future generations.For the tours, we consciously chose a range of dwelling types and locations to highlight how ubiquitous slavery was throughout Virginia—from the Eastern Shore to Mecklenburg County. People tend to think that enslaved people only lived on rural plantations. But we have tours of slave dwellings in urban cities like Alexandriaand Richmond, which challenge the stereotypes of how enslaved people lived.Ensuring enslaved people’s place in historyJustin has a personal connection to the Street View tour of a slave dwelling at Ampthill, a former plantation in Cumberland County. His great-great grandfather, Reverend Jacob Randolph Sr., was born into slavery at Ampthill in 1859. The dwelling in the tour, a brick two-story structure, is beside the main plantation house; the kitchen quarters building, where enslaved people also lived, still stands.The Ampthill slave quarters, where Justin’s great-grandfather may have lived as a child, illustrate the challenges of documenting dwellings. Previous owners of Ampthill thought one of the structures was a post-Civil War weaver’s cottage. When we brought Jobie Hill, a preservation architect and founder of Saving Slave Houses, to Ampthill, she immediately identified the building as a pre-Civil War slave dwelling. So many slave houses are misidentified, which hurts efforts to document them.We hope that if more people are aware of slave dwellings and view our Street View tours, more sites can be documented and perhaps preserved—and more of us recall the enslaved people who are too often left out of our historical narratives. The people and the places they lived in deserve to be part of the American story.


Art Zoom: Masterpieces up close through the eyes of famous musicians

What if you could see art through an artist’s eyes? On the occasion of the 130th anniversary of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Google Arts & Culture is introducing Art Zoom, a new way to discover details of iconic works of art. Produced by musical experience creators La Blogothèque, the video series introduces you to visual masterpieces through the eyes of your favorite musicians.Follow the blue and yellow undulating brush strokes of “Starry Night” with Maggie Rogers, who finds inspiration in the “psychedelic” scene as well as exposed pieces of canvas that Van Gogh chose not to paint. These gaps in the oil are easy to miss with the naked eye, but can be seen in surprising detail with Art Camera.Maggie Rogers on "Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh (MoMA The Museum of Modern Art)British rockstar Jarvis Cocker is your guide through a hectic morning at Monet’s “La Gare Saint Lazare.” From the dark figures congregating on the platform to the subtle red glow of burning coal, the Pulp frontman explores his favorite features from Monet’s impressionist masterpiece.Jarvis Cocker on "The Gare St-Lazare" by Claude Monet (The National Gallery - London)“The Tower of Babel” by Pieter Bruegel the Great hangs in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, its miniature residents difficult to discern. Zooming in with Art Camera, Canadian pop star Feist introduces you to the quirky inhabitants who inspire her work.Feist on "The Tower of Babel" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien)More than 10,000 artworks from 208 partners worldwide have been captured with Art Cameraand digitized in ultra-high resolution, from the fluffy fabric from which Vivienne Westwood tailored the Keith Haring “Witches” dress, to the almost photographic View of Delft by Vermeer. You can see these works in intricate detail simply by browsing on the Google Arts & Culture app. Explore Art Zoom online at g.co/ArtZoom, or download our free app for iOS or Android.


Create with Google: Inspiration, resources, and tools to fuel your next big idea

The case for creativity has never been greater. Big thinking and bold ideas are in high demand, and creative execution is consistently confirmed as the largest contributor to driving sales. And as we see from the brands we partner with, success occurs when data and technology inspire creativity.But that doesn't mean it's easy. There are more platforms, more signals, and more data sources informing creative than ever before. We want our clients and partners to grow and thrive on our platforms, and that’s why we've made it a priority to invest in resources and tools to support creative makers and agencies at every stage of the creative process.This year at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, we’re expanding a new resource for the global creative community: Create with Google. Made for creatives by creatives, this platform is designed to inspire, inform and enable creative makers from ideation to execution. The global site is currently available in English, Spanish, Korean and Japanese, with a plan to expand to more languages throughout the year.Get inspired for your next big campaignWe’ve searched the globe to find the most innovative, intelligent, and imaginative work across Google’s creative canvas. Filter by format, vertical and platform, or search by keyword to inspire your creative thinking.Master Google’s platforms, formats and toolsRead up on a range of resources and get insider tips on how to build work across Google’s creative canvas—from ARCore to Display and YouTube Director Mix.Access tools to support your idea, from pitch to productionTwo new tools, Audience Connect and YouTube Mockup Tool, make it easier for you to create and sell in work on our platforms—from pitching in concepts right through production.Audience Connect transforms creative presentations from broadcast into conversation, by tracking client engagement in response to any video. When pitching in a TrueView concept, for example, the tool provides real-time feedback on when your audience is more leaned in and when they would skip. Sign up for access here.YouTube Mockup Tool lets you upload and showcase work to clients and colleagues in an authentic YouTube environment, simulating your creative across desktop, tablet and mobile.We want to champion and challenge creative makers to experiment and make better work, recognizing we only succeed when our partners do. We hope Create with Google can become a genuine global community where the industry comes together to find the inspiration, resources and tools for their next project.


How we help you find lyrics in Google Search

When you’re searching for a song’s lyrics, often you’ll see an information box in Search that shows the lyrics on the page. This feature has been under scrutiny this week, so we wanted to explain how it works and where the lyrics come from.How lyrics appear in SearchLyrics can appear in information boxes and on Knowledge Panels in Search when you’re looking for songs or lyrics. While we do this to help you find that information quickly, we also ensure that the songwriters are paid for their creative work. To do that, we pay music publishers for the right to display lyrics, since they manage the rights to these lyrics on behalf of the songwriters.Where the lyrics text comes fromHere’s something you might not know: music publishers often don’t have digital copies of the lyrics text. In these cases, we—like music streaming services and other companies—license the lyrics text from third parties.We do not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics. The lyrics that you see in information boxes on Search come directly from lyrics content providers, and they are updated automatically as we receive new lyrics and corrections on a regular basis.News reports this week suggested that one of our lyrics content providers is in a dispute with a lyrics site about where their written lyrics come from. We’ve asked our lyrics partner to investigate the issue to ensure that they’re following industry best practices in their approach. We always strive to uphold high standards of conduct for ourselves and from the partners we work with.To help make it clearer where the lyrics come from, we’ll soon include attribution to the third party providing the digital lyrics text. We will continue to take an approach that respects and compensates rights-holders, and ensures that music publishers and songwriters are paid for their work.


$1 billion for 20,000 Bay Area homes

As we work to build a more helpful Google, we know our responsibility to help starts at home. For us, that means being a good neighbor in the place where it all began over 20 years ago: the San Francisco Bay Area.Today, Google is one of the Bay Area’s largest employers. Across the region, one issue stands out as particularly urgent and complex: housing. The lack of new supply, combined with the rising cost of living, has resulted in a severe shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents. As Google grows throughout the Bay Area—whether it’s in our home town of Mountain View, in San Francisco, or in our future developments in San Jose and Sunnyvale—we’ve invested in developing housing that meets the needs of these communities. But there’s more to do.Today we’re announcing an additional $1 billion investment in housing across the Bay Area.First, over the next 10 years, we’ll repurpose at least $750 million of Google’s land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing. This will enable us to support the development of at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle and low-income families. (By way of comparison, 3,000 total homes were built in the South Bay in 2018). We hope this plays a role in addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents.Second, we’ll establish a $250 million investment fund so that we can provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market.In addition to the increased supply of affordable housing these investments will help create, we will give $50 million in grants through Google.org to nonprofits focused on the issues of homelessness and displacement. This builds on the $18 million in grants we’ve given to help address homelessness over the last five years, including $3 million we gave to the newly openedSF Navigation Center and $1.5 million toaffordable housing for low income veterans and households in Mountain View.In the coming months, we’ll continue to work with local municipalities to support plans that allow residential developers to build quickly and economically. Our goal is to get housing construction started immediately, and for homes to be available in the next few years. In Mountain View, we’ve already worked with the city to change zoning in the North Bayshore area to free up land for housing, and we’re currently in productive conversations with Sunnyvale and San Jose.Of course, affordable and quality housing is only one way we’re investing in Bay Area communities. We’re also fundingcommunity spaces that provide free access to co-working areas for nonprofits, improving transit options forthe community and our employees (taking 9,000 cars off the road per day), and supporting programs forcareer development,education andlocal businesses.Across all of this, our goal is to help communities succeed over the long term, and make sure that everyone has access to opportunity, whether or not they work in tech. Solving a big issue like the housing shortage will take collaboration across business, government and community organizations, and we look forward to working alongside others to make the Bay Area a place where everyone who lives here can thrive.


Deliver more interactive ad experiences with Display & Video 360

Marketers have more opportunities than ever before to deliver engaging ad experiences through immersive creative. Many companies are investing in creating 3D assets to bring their products to life and allow consumers to interact with products as they would in real life. For example, a person can explore the interior and exterior of a car before taking it for a test drive, all from the comfort of their home. But it can be challenging to scale these experiences. Now you can extend the reach of these 3D assets to produce more captivating ads, with two new updates coming today.Showcase your products with Immersive DisplaySwirl is a new immersive display format designed for mobile web and available on Display & Video 360. People can explore every angle of your product by rotating the 3D object in all directions and zooming in and out, interacting from their device as if the product was in front of them. Customers like Guerlain, a leading perfume and cosmetics company, are using Swirl to deliver better ad experiences that draw people’s attention and let them interact with the perfume bottle directly and discover more about the scent.Swirl is opening up a whole new creative canvas for us. We're able to tell a more dynamic story about our products and give customers a powerful new way to interact with them. Jean-Denis Mariani Chief Digital Officer of GuerlainBrands that already have 3D assets can easily create a Swirl ad unit by using the 3D/Swirl component in Google Web Designer, our creative authoring tool. And with a new editor coming to Poly, Google’s 3D platform, it’s easier for brands and agencies to edit, configure, and publish high-quality, photorealistic models to use in immersive display ads. You can learn more in this post. If you’re interested in exploring Swirl but need help building 3D assets, we also have certified 3D production partners to help.Expand the reach of your YouTube live streamsIncreasingly, people are tuning in to live events like concerts, sports and shows through live streams. Brands are noticing this shift and are investing in live stream content through sponsorships and their own branded content. We know it takes a lot of time and resources to build these assets and we want to make it easier to get more out of your live stream investment.The new live stream format in Display & Video 360 allows you to run your YouTube live stream content in display ads across screens and devices. You can quickly get started by using assets from your existing YouTube live stream campaigns with a new template in Google Web Designer.With the live stream format people will be able to interact with the video using familiar YouTube player controls. People can preview your live stream, watch full screen, and exit when they’re done, giving them full control over how they interact with your content.Building better ad experiencesLive stream and Swirl are just two examples of how we’re enabling brands to deliver more interactive ad experiences at scale with Display & Video 360. We want to make it easier for you to build ads that are engaging and valuable to consumers. We’ll continue to share creative solutions to help you build beautiful creative and deliver better ad experiences to users wherever they are online.Both Swirl and the new live stream format are in a limited beta. To learn more about these new interactive formats, reach out to your Display & Video 360 account manager.


Immersive branded experiences in YouTube and display ads

As a three-dimensional, visual medium, augmented reality (AR) is a powerful tool for brands looking to tell richer, more engaging stories about their products to consumers. Recently, we brought AR to Google products like Search, and made updates to our developer platform, ARCore, to help creators build more immersive experiences. Starting this week, we’re also bringing AR to YouTube and interactive 3D assets to display ads.Helping YouTube beauty fans pick their next lipstickMany consumers look to YouTube creators for help when deciding on new products to purchase. And brands have long been teaming up with creators to connect with audiences. Now, brands and creators can make that experience even more personalized and useful for viewers in AR.Today, we’re introducing AR Beauty Try-On, which lets viewers virtually try on makeup while following along with YouTube creators to get tips, product reviews, and more. Thanks to machine learning and AR technology, it offers realistic, virtual product samples that work on a full range of skin tones. Currently in alpha, AR Beauty Try-On is available through FameBit by YouTube, Google’s in-house branded content platform.M·A·C Cosmetics is the first brand to partner with FameBit to launch an AR Beauty Try-On campaign. Using this new format, brands like M·A·C will be able to tap into YouTube’s vibrant creator community, deploy influencer campaigns to YouTube’s 2 billion monthly active users, and measure their results in real time.Viewers will be able to try on different shades of M·A·C lipstick as their favorite beauty creator tries on the same shades. After trying on a lipstick, they can click to visit M·A·C’s website to purchase it.We tested this experience earlier this year with several beauty brands and found that 30 percent of viewers activated the AR experience in the YouTube iOS app, spending over 80 seconds on average trying on lipstick virtually.Bringing three-dimensional assets to display adsWe're also offering brands a new canvas for creativity with Swirl, our first immersive display format. Swirl brings three-dimensional assets to display advertising on the mobile web, which can help educate consumers before making a purchase. They can directly zoom in and out, rotate a product, or play an animation. Swirl is available exclusively through Display and Video 360.In this example from New Balance, people can rotate to explore the Fresh Foam 1080 running shoe. Objects like a mobile phone (right) can expand to show additional layered content.To help brands more easily edit, configure and publish high-quality, realistic models to use in Swirl display ads, we’re introducing a new editor on Poly, Google’s 3D platform. It provides more editorial control over 3D objects, including new ways to change animation settings, customize backgrounds, and add realistic reflections.The new Poly editor lets you easily edit photorealistic three-dimensional objects for use in Swirl display ads.These new tools will be available to brands and advertisers this summer. We think they’ll help brands and advertisers make content more engaging, educational, and ultimately effective in driving purchase decisions. If you’re interested, check out our getting started guide for tips. We look forward to seeing you bring your products to life!


A circular Google in a sustainable world

A circular Google and how we plan to get therePeople love stuff. During the 20th Century, the use of raw materials rose globally at twice the rate as the population. All of this consumption puts a strain on resources. In fact, just last year, humanity’s consumption of resources--such as metals, timber and even land--required 1.7 planet Earths to sustain.So, is all this demand for ‘stuff’ inherently unsustainable, or is the problem with how we take, make and waste it?The sheer scale of our resource economy is almost unimaginable: Billions of tons of materials, from plastic straws and  blocks of concrete to bales of wheat and sheets of metal, all of these things are constantly being taken, made, moved around, built with, used up, and disposed of, all across the world. For too long, the damaging environmental consequences of these linear systems remained relatively invisible. Today, however, the impact cannot be ignored. One garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans every minute, landfills are overflowing, and our climate crisis is fueled by energy used to sustain  this take-make-waste model.The ‘circular economy’ concept challenges this disconnect between consumption and consequences. In a circular economy abundance become possible, livelihoods raised and progress fueled, all by keeping stuff, circular.  Our vision is simple: we want a circular Google within a sustainable world.The challenges to making this vision a reality are as daunting as it is exciting. It demands that we redefine how systems work—from what we value and the choices we make, to the assumptions and industrial processes that have been standard practice across our economy for decades. Our new circular Google strategy is part of our wider effort to build sustainability into everything we do.As we built out this strategy, an intriguing insight emerged. An element of reaching a fully circular economy requires identifying, tracking and managing the overwhelming and globe-spanning swirl of materials. Thankfully, technological developments in the 21st century suggest a way to do so: to view all this stuff as information.Considering the circular economy as an information challenge is inspiring for us at Google. It suggests that we can leverage our scale, resources and technological expertise to help the world meet resource needs.It’s been estimated that transitioning to a circular economy could generate $4.5 trillion in new economic output by 2030. That fact illustrates the potential to achieve abundance and make progress, while also significantly improving human and environmental systems.So we are excited to announce a new goal: Maximize the reuse of finite resources across our operations, products and supply chains and enable others to do the same.But we can’t do it alone. A truly systemic shift to a circular economy goes way beyond Google. We’ll need to create new, and even unlikely, partnerships across industries. The scale of the change required to reach circularity will touch every part of society and span the entire global economy.If you are a Google team member, partner, supplier or one of the billions of people who use Google every day, we hope you will come on this exciting journey with us.


Carmen Sandiego is back for a final assignment in Google Earth

Nothing gets past you, super sleuth! You helped Carmen Sandiego recover the stolen Crown Jewels of England and Tutankhamun’s Mask. Now we need you for a third and final assignment: Recover the Keys to the Kremlin in Google Earth.We’ve teamed up with Carmen Sandiego and learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt once again to track down a new VILE operative—Paperstar, master origamist—and return this treasure to the people of Moscow.  To get your assignment, look for the special edition Pegman icon in Google Earth for Chrome, Android and iOS. And catch us next week at ISTE 2019 in Philadelphia, where we’ll be talking with teachers about how to use these educational capers in the classroom.


Meet David Feinberg, head of Google Health

Dr. David Feinberg has spent his entire career caring for people’s health and wellbeing. And after years in the healthcare system, he now leads Google Health, which brings together groups from across Google and Alphabet that are using AI, product expertise and hardware to take on big healthcare challenges. We sat down with David to hear more about his pre-Google life, what he’s learned as a “Noogler” (new Googler), and what’s next for Google Health.You joined Google after a career path that led you from child psychiatrist to hospital executive. Tell us how this journey brought you to Google Health.I’m driven by the urgency to help people live longer, healthier lives. I started as a child psychiatrist at UCLA helping young patients with serious mental health needs. Over the course of my 25 years at UCLA, I moved from treating dozens of patients, to overseeing the UCLA health system and the more than a million patients in our care. Then, at Geisinger, I had the opportunity to support a community of more than 3 million patients.I recall my mom being very confused by my logic of stepping away from clinical duties and moving toward administrative duties as a way of helping more people. However, in these roles, the impact lies in initiatives that have boosted patient experience, improved people’s access to healthcare, and (I hope!) helped people get more time back to live their lives.When I began speaking with Google, I immediately saw the potential to help billions of people, in part because I believe Google is already a health company. It’s been in the company’s DNA from the start.You say Google is already a health company. How so?We’re already making strides in organizing and making health data more useful thanks to work being done by Cloud and AI teams. And looking across the rest of Google’s portfolio of helpful products, we’re already addressing aspects of people’s health. Search helps people answer everyday health questions, Maps helps get people to the nearest hospital, and other tools and products are addressing issues tangential to health—for instance, literacy, safer driving, and air pollution.We already have the foundation, and I’m excited by the potential to tap into Google’s strengths, its brilliant people, and its amazing products to do more for people’s health (and lives).I believe Google is already a health company. It’s been in the company’s DNA from the start.This isn’t the first time Google has invested directly in health efforts. What has changed over the years about Google’s solving health-related problems? Some of Google’s early efforts didn’t gain traction due to various challenges the entire industry was facing at the time. During this period, I was a hospital administrator and no one talked about interoperability—a term familiar to those of us in the industry today. We were only just starting to think about the behemoth task of adopting electronic health records and bringing health data online, which is why some of the early projects didn’t really get off the ground. Today we take some of this for granted as we navigate today’s more digitized healthcare systems.The last few years have changed the healthcare landscape—offering up new opportunities and challenges. And in response, Google and Alphabet have invested in efforts that complement their strengths and put users, patients, and care providers first. Look no further than the promising AI research and mobile applications coming from Google and DeepMind Health, or Verily’s Project Baseline that is pushing the boundaries of what we think we know about human health. And there’s so much more we can and will do.Speaking of AI, it features prominently in many of Google’s current health efforts. What’s next for this research?There’s little doubt that AI will power the next wave of tools that can improve many facets of healthcare: delivery, access, and so much more. When I consider the future of research, I see us continuing to be deliberate and thoughtful about sharing our findings with the research and medical communities, incorporating feedback, and generally making sure our work actually adds value to patients, doctors and care providers.Of course, we have to work toward getting solutions out in the wild, and into the hands of the pathologist scanning slides for breast cancer, or the nurse scanning a patient’s record for the latest lab results on the go. But this needs to be executed safely, working with and listening to our users to ensure that we get this right.Now that you’ve been here for six months, what’s been most surprising to you about Google or the team?I can’t believe how fantastic it is to not wear a suit after decades of formal business attire. When I got the job I ended up donating most of my suits. I kept a few, you know, for weddings.On a more serious note, I’m blown away every day by the teams I’m surrounded by, and the drive and commitment they have for the work they do. I’m thrilled to be a part of this team. What's your life motto?I know this sounds cheesy, but there are three words I really do say every morning when I arrive in the parking lot for work: passion, humility, integrity. These are words that ground me, and also ground the work we are doing at Google Health. Passion means we have to get this right, and feel that health is a cause worth fighting for, every day. We need humility, because at the end of the day, if we move too quickly or mess up, people’s lives are on the line. And integrity means that we should come to work with the aim of leaving the place—and the world—better than when we found it.


Enterprise app management made simpler with managed Google Play iframe

Managed Google Play lets enterprise organizations distribute and administer apps for their teams to use at work. By using managed Google Play, IT departments can help to reduce the security risks that come from sideloading applications. Admins can give their teams full access to the Android app ecosystem or curate just the right apps for getting the job done.Managed Google Play iframe makes app distribution even easier, as IT admins can do so without leaving the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) console. The iframe has tools for publishing private and web apps, as well as curating public applications into collections. Admins can then configure apps and securely distribute them to their teams.The managed Google Play iframe showing the Search apps page.To help users find the apps they need, IT admins can now group whitelisted Android apps into “collections” that users can access from the managed Google Play store on their device. For example, admins can create a collection for frequently used apps or one for apps in a category related to expenses. They can then change the order in which those collections appear and the order of the apps bundled in those collections.Admins can now publish a private Android app directly from an EMM Admin console. Simply upload the APK and give the app a title. It will then appear in the managed Play store —  within minutes as opposed to the hours previously required by using the Google Play Console.Admins can also distribute web applications to their managed Google Play store—these run in a standalone mode in Chrome and provide similar functionality to a dedicated Android app. The UI can be customized to fill the entire screen or show the device’s navigation bars.Admins can publish a web app for their teams and customize display elements.Enterprise mobility developers can visit the Google Developers documentation to add the iframe to the console and get specifics on implementing app management, distribution, permissions, and other essential features. We recommend that customers contact their EMM provider to determine their support for the managed Google Play iframe. To get started with device management, explore the Android Enterprise Solutions Directory.


Coming soon to the Lone Star State: more office space and a data center

We're expanding in Texas. Austin has been home to Google for over a decade and today, we’re extending our commitment to the state with a new data center in Midlothian, and the lease of two new buildings for our Austin workforce. These new commitments are part of our larger $13 billion investment in offices and data centers across the United States, which we announced earlier this year.We’re investing $600 million to develop the Midlothian site, which will create a number of full-time jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs to build the new data center. As part of this investment, we’re also making a $100,000 grant to the Midlothian Independent School District to support the continued growth and development of the region’s STEM programs in schools.In Austin, we already have more than 1,100 employees working across Android, G Suite, Google Play, Cloud, staffing and recruiting, people operations, finance and marketing. As we continue to grow, we’ve leased additional office space at Block 185 and Saltillo—located in downtown Austin and east Austin, respectively—to accommodate our short and long-term growth.Our current downtown Austin office on W 2nd Street. We will maintain our presence there while expanding to new locations at Saltillo and Block 185.The Lone Star state has become a hub for tech innovation and we’ve been fortunate to be a part of its growth from the very beginning. It’s the amazing talent and spirit of work and play that brought us to Texas 12 years ago and it’s what keeps us here today. We look forward to meeting our new neighbors in the Midlothian-Dallas Metro area and we’re excited to be a part of these communities for many years to come.


A father-son team uses technology to grow a 144-year-old business

Founded in 1875, Merz Apothecary is considered a Chicago landmark. For five generations, the pharmacy has been home to a collection of unique, hard-to-find goods from all over the world. Abdul Qaiyum bought the business in 1972, managing to grow the business during a time when most independent pharmacies were giving way to large chain drug stores. Abdul’s three sons worked there growing up and today, Merz Apothecary is run by Abdul and his son, Anthony. “We’re not your traditional pharmacy,” says Anthony. “We carry everything from natural remedies to grooming products to home fragrances.”One of the secrets to their continued success? Quickly embracing the power of technology. They turned to the internet while it was still in its early days, taking their first online order in 1997 and starting an e-commerce site, smallflower.com, in 1998. In 2001 they started using Google Ads to reach customers searching for their specialty products and their business began to double. They now have 60 employees and the web continues to play a critical role in their business. A YouTube channel has expanded their reach—videos sharing fun and informative product reviews have garnered over 1.5 million views. “I view the web as a way that we can deliver what we do, to everybody,” says Anthony. “Everyone is going online searching for information all the time. Google is the place where most of that gets done, so I want to be there and I want to be seen.”Abdul & Anthony in 1973 and in 2018Check out their video to learn more about how this father-son duo continues to grow a business and preserve an American landmark.


Why giving blood matters, and how you can help

My father was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a teenager. He spent most of his life on insulin, until he went into kidney failure when I was four years old. After years on the donor list, a kidney and pancreas became available. He received seven blood transfusions in his 14-hour surgery. But two years later, his body rejected the kidney and he was back to square one. Through the kindness of his brother who was a match, my father received his second kidney transplant, along with several pints of blood. Without blood donors, my father wouldn’t have survived those surgeries and might not be alive today, 20 years later.Katen and her dadMy father's journey has made me passionate about ensuring that people like him have access to blood when they need it. Although 45 percent of Americans have been personally affected by blood donation, only 3 percent of Americans regularly donate blood.I’m personally unable to donate blood, but I’ve found another way to give back to the cause: organizing blood drives at Google. Through my work organizing 20 blood drives, I’ve encountered countless others who have personal ties to blood donation, including Googlers like Daniel Otts, who regularly donates blood in memory of his son Ferris who required plasma infusions after being born prematurely. Losing Ferris forever changed Daniel’s outlook on blood donation. “I remember how thankful I was that someone, an anonymous stranger, had given of themselves so unselfishly for the benefit of someone else, quite possibly in a life or death situation,” Daniel told me.Through these drives, we’ve collected thousands of pints of blood. And through Google’s partnership with the American Red Cross, which uses Google Maps Platform to help people find a blood drive near them, we’ve reached thousands more people across the U.S.This technology also helped Temie Giwa-Tubosun, a Nigerian native and founder of LifeBank, an app that uses Google Maps Platform to connect blood banks with drivers, hospitals, and patients in need. To date, Temie’s app has drastically cut delivery time of blood from 24 hours to less than 45 minutes and helped save more than 4,000 lives.Through my own experience, I know how important it is to give blood. And Daniel and Temie are proof of that, too. On World Blood Donor Day, we hope you’ll visit the Red Cross site to find a blood drive near you and plan your donation.


Banks, governments and tech need to work together to digitize economies and increase financial inclusion

Editor’s note: This article is a condensed version of a speech Caesar gave at the G20 Finance Leaders Meeting in Japan on Saturday, June 8, 2019.Let me introduce you to Vijay Babu. Vijay owns a small laundry shop in Bangalore, India. He can’t read or write, but he was eager to go digital to cater to smartphone savvy millennials.Vijay Babu used Google Pay, formerly known as Tez in India, to help grow his business.A year ago, he would have to pay $100 for a credit card terminal, deal with cumbersome printed receipts, and wait days to get paid. That’s no longer the case.  Vijay Babu’s daughter helped him set up Google Pay on his Android smartphone. Today, he’s able to keep track of his transactions better, accept payments remotely and build relationships with his customers through Google Pay’s chat-based interface.I believe technology is about solving the big problems, not just for a few, but for everyone.That’s more possible today than ever before because of the smartphone. Smartphones are likely the first electronic device that all of humanity will possess. There are about four billion internet users in the world today, with another one billion coming online in the next few years. Almost all of them will be using smartphones. And here’s what’s amazing about the smartphone in your pocket: Today, it has more computing power and access to information than NASA had in 1969 when they put a man on the moon.One of the biggest opportunities in front of us is how we apply that technology to the world of money. Whether you are an individual, a business or a country, your ability to access modern financial systems is pivotal to your success.Unfortunately, in today’s smartphone-enabled, always connected world, payments don’t work for everyone. Younger demographics find banking experiences too antiquated. A recent study showed that 48 percent of millennials in the U.S, are considering moving to a digital only bank, and one in three millennials plan to switch banks in the next 90 days.On the other hand, there are 2.5 billion adults in the world who are unbanked or underbanked—and the majority of them are women. This lack of access has huge implications for families, children, commerce and society at large. Besides consumers, payment challenges have an outsized impact on small businesses, the backbone of every economy.We need to use technology and deploy it at scale to solve these hard and real problems. Doing so will help move countries from cash to digital, accelerate economic growth, and drive financial inclusion in economies.At Google, building for everyone is a core philosophy. We know that we do better when everyone is invited in. Because Android is open source, there are 2.5 billion active Android devices today, made by over 1,300 different companies. And because Android is an open ecosystem, there are more than one million apps on the Google Play store. It took a global community to put smartphones in everyone’s hands. Today, it’s time for that global community to come together again to digitize economies.Caesar Sengupta speaking at the G20 Finance Leaders Meeting in Japan about how tech, governments and banks serve people better when they work together.There's a popular but deeply mistaken belief that companies and banks are rivals that are working against each other. We believe that when tech and banks work together as partners, they're better able to help people.For Google, partnering with banks helps us build products that work for everyone. By using our global infrastructure and technology platform to connect more customers to a formal financial system, we can support governments as they move societies from cash to digital and transform economies.Four years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a Digital India. We supported the Indian government and financial institutions in realizing their vision for payments. With Google tech and our knowledge of user experience, we created a simple payments app to work on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), India’s real-time payments ecosystem. Since the launch of Google Pay in India (formerly known as Tez), transactions on UPI have increased 43 times, reaching 734 million transactions in May. Now, the cumulative value has overtaken that of credit and debit cards in India.Google Pay has grown together with the rest of the digital payments ecosystem in India. Now, two out of every three transactions on Google Pay in India take place outside of India’s top six cities in more than 300,000 towns and villages across India made by millions of people like Vijay every day.Stories like Vijay’s are examples of what is possible when governments, finance and tech work together. Together, we can and absolutely must empower billions more.


Cloud Covered: What was new with Google Cloud in May

As May flowers bloomed, we watched our garden of blog posts grow. New features in Android phones and Gmail cropped up, and we’ve got some updates for cloud developers. Plus, check out photos and details about our new machine learning supercomputers. Here’s what was new.Android phones help add security.Android phones (versions 7.0+, Nougat) now come with a built-in security key. This is the FIDO type of security key, an industry standard that can be used for two-factor authentication—an extra verification step on top of a password that makes your sign-ins resistant to phishing scams.Calendar now comes in dark mode.When you’re looking at your Google Calendar, or at Keep, our task management tool, you can now see it in dark mode. This is nice in low light, for those of you checking the next day’s schedule in the dark, since it reduces screen brightness. Whether it’s enabled by default will depend on your version of Android and your settings. Plus, we announced the launch of Gmail confidential mode last month, so you’ll soon be able to send messages with built-in information rights management controls. This means you can create expiration dates and revoke sent messages, plus these messages can’t be forwarded, copied, printed or downloaded.Learn lots more about these and other topics in the brand-new G Suite Learning Center.Supercomputers for machine learning arrived.Machine learning (ML) can help with tasks ranging from image recognition to disease research and medical diagnoses. Machine learning requires data scientists to build a model and train it with examples so that the computer can eventually learn a pattern. This requires a lot of computing power. Super powerful and expensive data centers full of servers were not enough to handle the growth of AI workloads and computational horsepower, so we created TPUs, our own hardware chips, just for the purpose of speeding up machine learning. Now, those TPUs are publicly available in pods, which are essentially stacks of these TPUs linked together to form an AI supercomputer. Data scientists and researchers can use them to do machine learning tasks much faster, in minutes or hours compared to days or weeks previously. Make sure to take a look at the photos in the post—when it comes to massive modern supercomputers, a picture is worth a thousand words. What cloud developers are learning aboutBehind many of the apps and websites you use everyday are these things called APIs (short for application programming interface), which essentially allow these apps and sites to talk to each other. Think of a website that has a Google map embedded, for example—there’s an API in use there. API design is a hot topic among developers, since they have to make sure that different applications can all talk to each other to make a website or app run more smoothly for users. One popular post last month was about a newer way to design APIs that is simpler and requires less documentation for developers and software.That’s a wrap for May. Stay tuned to the Google Cloud blog for more.


With 4-H, helping more students learn computer science

As our CEO Sundar Pichai announced today in my home state of Oklahoma, we’re making our largest ever computer science education grant from Google.org to support 4-H, the largest youth development organization in the country. This $6 million grant—made as part of Grow with Google's efforts to ensure that everyone has access to future opportunities—will help provide more than 1 million youth across the country with computer science skills, plus computer science training for their educators.4-H is a second home for students like Decklan Thomas, a high schooler from Bruceton Mills, West Virginia (population 86). Following three generations in the trucking industry, Decklan was certain that he was on a path to becoming a diesel mechanic. The field was appealing not only because of family tradition, but also because it allowed him to do something he liked: identifying problems and fixing them.One day, he learned about computer science through his local 4-H chapter. He didn’t even know he was coding at first—it just felt like solving a puzzle on the computer. As he began to do more coding, he quickly saw the parallels between the skills you need to be a mechanic and the computer science he was learning at 4-H. He says, “You see something wrong, then fix it—and end up with something amazing.” Decklan is still enthusiastic about becoming a diesel mechanic, but he’s now also exploring other opportunities like becoming a biomedical engineer or even going into the Navy.I know the impact of these types of programs because I grew up going to my local 4-H chapter in Oklahoma. I loved learning about animal care, teamwork, and practical farm skills—a hallmark of 4-H. Like Decklan, those skills inspired me to learn how to fix things—I went to the Oklahoma State University and went on to work for Google here in Pryor. And I still fix things: the servers in our data centers that power our internet products for people across the country.Decklan and I are representative of the many students across the United States who lack access to computer science learning opportunities. It’s estimated that computer science-related jobs are created at nearly four times the rate of other jobs, but students in small towns are less likely to have access to classes and clubs at school compared to suburban students, and their parents are less likely to know about CS opportunities outside of school.Together with 4-H, we believe in the potential of technology–and youth—to change and improve our lives, industries and communities. Today’s Google.org grant will provide 4-H educators with the resources they need to ensure that students can access the skills they’ll need—both technical and non-technical—to create the technology that may improve our future.


Investing in Oklahoma and across the U.S.

Editor’s Note: This week we’re making some big moves around the $13 billion U.S. investment we announced in February. On Monday, our CFO Ruth Porat was in Michigan to announce an additional investment in our offices in Ann Arbor and Detroit. And tomorrow, we’re breaking ground on a new data center in Midlothian, TX, and expanding our office in Austin.Today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was in Oklahoma to announce a $600 million investment to expand our data center in Mayes County, as well as our biggest computer science education grant in Google.org’s history. Read his edited remarks below.I enjoy visiting the places our data centers call home. I especially love to see the local touches. In the case of Pryor, it’s the mechanical bull in the lobby, which I’m told is a lot of fun. It requires good positioning, strong balance, and sometimes digging in your heels. So, not much different from my day job.But the real reason I look forward to these visits is the community. It’s a privilege to meet the people who are making Pryor a great place to live and work.At Google, we are technology optimists. Not because we believe in technology, but because we believe in people. The people of Mayes County shared our sense of optimism from the very start. That optimism is why, when Google proposed building a data center here in 2007, you welcomed us with open arms. And that optimism is what’s made it possible for Google to continue our expansion in Pryor in the years since—not once, not twice...but three times. Today’s announcement will make it four.Pryor is already home to one of Google’s largest data centers in the country. I am pleased to announce that we will be investing another $600 million to expand the data center here and create an additional 100 jobs for the Pryor community. This brings the total investment in Oklahoma to over $3 billion, and total jobs created to more than 500.It’s part of our $13 billion investment in expanding our data centers across the U.S. This week we also announced new investments in Michigan, and we’re breaking ground on a new data center in Texas.This national expansion comes at a significant moment for Google. For 21 years we’ve pursued a timeless mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. In that time, we’ve evolved from a company that helps people find answers to a company that helps people throughout their day.Pryor is a part of our effort to build a more helpful Google for everyone. We’ve spent more than two decades scaling our technical infrastructure to match the growth of information. And we are continuously working to make it more efficient and more reliable.This site is an important part of our global network of data centers. This network is what powers your searches, your email, all of the photos you store and treasure, and the maps that help you find the fastest way home. And that network includes 13 locations around the world, with new data centers underway in eight additional locations.It's a privilege to serve billions of people every day. With that privilege comes a big responsibility to ensure that information truly serves everyone. Every day, millions of Americans go online to find answers, learn new skills, and grow their businesses. Two years ago, Google announced Grow with Google, a new effort to expand economic opportunity to all Americans. A big way we do this is through digital skills training. Our partnership with Goodwill is already helping thousands of Oklahomans learn new skills and find jobs.We’re also excited to help young people learn computer science to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. Since 2017, we’ve been working with the National 4-H Council to create a computer science curriculum.Today we are pleased to be able to build on this work with a $6 million grant to support computer science education in 4-H chapters across the country. This is our largest ever computer science education grant from Google.org. It will help ensure that young people in Oklahoma and 25 other states have access to the curriculum, training, and devices to learn and grow their coding skills. I look forward to joining students to do some coding later today!Thank you to everyone who has a hand in keeping our data center running smoothly. We’re proud to call Oklahoma home, and look forward to Pryor being a vital part of the engine that powers the internet for years to come.


Create 3D games with friends, no experience required

Let’s say you have an idea for a video game. It could be a first-person action game starring a snail on the (slow) run from the law, or a multiplayer game featuring only pugs. There’s only one problem: You’ve never built a game before. You don’t know how to program.You don’t know any 3D artists. And every tool you find won’t let you collaborate with friends.What if creating games could be as easy and fun as playing them? What if you could enter a virtual world with your friends and build a game together in real time? Our team within Area 120, Google’s workshop for experimental projects, took on this challenge. Our prototype is called Game Builder, and it is free on Steam for PC and Mac.Built for gamersGame Builder aims to make building a game feel like playing a game. If you’ve crafted a fort or dug a mine in a game, you already know how to build a 3D level in Game Builder.Always-on multiplayerMultiple users can build (or play) simultaneously. You can even have friends play the game as you work on it.No code requiredBring your games to life with Game Builder’s card-based visual programming system. Drag and drop cards to “answer” questions, such as, “How do I move?” You can make moving platforms, scoreboards, healing potions, drivable cars and more.Real-time JavaScriptBring your games to life with Game Builder’s card-based visual programming system. Drag and drop cards to “answer” questions, such as, “How do I move?” You can make moving platforms, scoreboards, healing potions, drivable cars and more.Thousands of 3D modelsFrom pugs to rocket ships, there are thousands of options available to craft your characters. Find 3D models on Google Poly and use them in your game instantly.If you’ve ever wanted to build a video game, but didn’t know where to start, check out Game Builder on Steam. (And if you end up making that snail-on-the-run game, we can’t wait to play.)


Changing how Google Drive and Google Photos work together

Many of you store your photos and videos on both Google Drive and Google Photos, which keeps them safe and easy to access. We’ve heard feedback that the connection between these services is confusing, so next month, we’re making some changes to simplify the experience across Drive and Photos.Changes to automatic sync between Google Drive and Google PhotosStarting in July, new photos and videos from Drive won’t automatically show in Photos. Similarly, new photos and videos in Photos will not be added to the Photos folder in Drive. Photos and videos you delete in Drive will not be removed from Photos. Similarly, items you delete in Photos will not be removed from Drive. This change is designed to help prevent accidental deletion of items across products. New “Upload from Drive” feature in Google PhotosWe’ve heard that many of you would like more granular control when copying photos and videos from Drive into Photos. So we’re bringing a new feature to photos.google.com called “Upload from Drive,” which lets you manually choose photos and videos from Drive, including “Shared with Me” items, to import into Photos. Once copied, these items are not connected between the two products. Since photos and videos will no longer sync across both products, items copied in Original Quality will count towards your storage quota in both Drive and Photos. Backup and Sync for Windows and Mac will continue to workYou’ll still be able to use Backup and Sync on Windows or macOS to upload to both services in High Quality or Original Quality. As before, items uploaded in High Quality won’t count against your account storage quota, and items uploaded using Backup and Sync in Original Quality to both services will count only once towards your quota. Your existing photos and videos will stay in Google Drive and Google PhotosAny photos or videos from Drive in Photos that you have uploaded prior to this change will remain in Photos. If you have a “Google Photos” folder in Drive, it will remain in Drive, but will no longer update automatically. Our goal with these changes is to simplify some features that caused confusion for our users, based on feedback and our own research. We’ll continue to look for more ways to help support Drive and Photos users going forward. If you want to take a closer look at these new changes, please check out our guide.