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  • Android Enterprise Recommended validates top management solutions

    Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) providers play a vital role in enabling and managing the business features and services in Android — helping customers deploy devices and applications consistently at scale. Today, we’re launching the Android Enterprise Recommended program for Enterprise Mobility Management to help customers find the best equipped EMMs to successfully deploy Android.Since we’ve collaborated closely with EMM partners over the years, we understand what it takes to demonstrate excellence in this area. With this program, we’re recognizing partners who provide the most comprehensive technical solutions and have knowledgeable teams focused on modern Android security and management. We’re pleased to welcome BlackBerry, Google Cloud, I3 Systems, IBM, Microsoft, MobileIron, Softbank, SOTI, and VMware to the program. These partners have validated solutions or will be launching their offerings throughout 2019, and we’ll add more approved partners over time. More details about our partners can be found here.Customers can expect Android Enterprise Recommended EMMs to demonstrate the following qualities (and the full list of guidelines can be found on our site):Experience across multiple Android Enterprise management sets  Proven ability to deliver advanced security and management featuresA consistent deployment experience, with admin consoles that simplify set-up of Android EnterpriseDocumentation and guides that provide best practices for Android Enterprise set-up and configurationGoogle-trained personnel across field sales, technical pre-sales and deployment supportCommitment to staying current on the latest Android product features and training requirementsSimilar to last year’s launch of the Android Enterprise Recommendedprogram for devices, where we validated knowledge worker and rugged devices against an elevated set of requirements, we’re taking a similar approach to EMMs. By raising the bar of excellence, we’re helping customers select which partners are best equipped to help them fully leverage the robust security and management capabilities in the Android platform.  There’s so much more companies can achieve through mobility. With the Android Enterprise Recommended program, Google and the Android ecosystem are stepping up to help customers enjoy a more powerful, versatile and best-in-class enterprise mobility experience. […]

  • Applications are open for the Google North America Public Policy Fellowship

    Starting today, we’re accepting applications for the 2019 North America Google Policy Fellowship. Our fellowship gives undergraduate and graduate students a paid opportunity to spend 10-weeks diving head first into Internet policy at leading nonprofits, think tanks and advocacy groups. In addition to opportunities in Washington, D.C. and California, we’ve expanded our program to include academic institutions and advocacy groups in New York and Utah, where students will have the chance to be at the forefront of debates on internet freedom and economic opportunity. We’re looking for students from all majors and degree programs who are passionate about technology and want to gain hands on experience exploring important intersections of tech policy.The application period opens today for the North America region and all applications must be received by 12:00 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT, Friday, February, 15th. This year's program will run from early June through early August, with regular programming throughout the summer. More specific information, including a list of this year’s hosts and locations, can be found on our site.You can learn about the program, application process and host organizations on the Google Public Policy Fellowship website. […]

  • Around the world and back with Google for Education

    Editor’s note: This week, we’re joining thousands of educators and students at BETT in London. Visit us at booth C230, where you can demo a range of Chromebooks designed for education, including the brand new Chrome OS tablet. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.It started with an idea in 2006: how might teaching and learning improve if we brought Google’s suite of productivity tools to schools? 13 years later, there are 80 million educators and students around the world using what has become G Suite for Education. 40 million students and educators rely on Google Classroom to stay organized and support creative teaching techniques. 30 million more use Chromebooks to open up a world of possibilities both inside and outside the classroom. We’ve introduced new devices to adapt to the needs of educators, schools and students, and created features that work across our products, like locked mode in Quizzes through Google Forms. As we kick off the week at BETT, let’s take a look at how classrooms have used Google for Education across the globe over the years.Asia Pacific collaborates and prioritizes CS education on Chromebooks In Japan, public schools are using G Suite and Chromebooks to help meet the nationwide goal of teaching computer programming to all children by 2020. In all 139 high schools in Saitama Prefecture, Chromebooks aren’t just helping students learn programming—they’re also fostering better collaboration between students and teachers when combined with G Suite tools.Down under in Australia and New Zealand, schools are also using Chromebooks in the classroom. All secondary students in Canberra were provided with Chromebooks in 2018. In New Zealand, Chromebooks have been the top choice for schools since 2017. To keep devices secure while saving teachers and IT administrators time and money, the Ministry of Education in New Zealand began providing Chrome Education licenses to all state and state-integrated schools in November 2018.Making technology more accessible in Latin AmericaSchools across Latin America are making technology more accessible to more people in the region. Recently, the Secretary of Education of Bahia, Brazil partnered with Google for Education to make computers more accessible to all students and teachers in public schools across the state. Now, dozens of states and municipalities are following in Bahia’s footsteps. Brazil is also home to the first-ever Google reference University, UNIT, where 23,000 students are using G Suite and Chromebooks to build and learn.Many different states in Mexico are choosing Google for Education’s tools for schools, too. @prende, an office in the Ministry of Education, chose to implement Chromebooks because of the Chrome Education license. The license gives teachers an easier time managing their classroom, thanks to features like the shared identity model (where multiple students can use the same device, while ensuring workspace and data isolation). Opting for a simple solution helped the Ministry make teacher training a priority.Improving engagement in European classroomsIn Europe, Filey Junior School and Leeds City College brought Chromebooks into the classroom as they were trying to improve student retention and engagement. Students at Leeds College, who range from being full-time parents to Olympic divers, balance their studies with outside of school commitments since they’re able to use their Chromebooks no matter where they are. To work on improving their writing skills, Filey Junior students used Google Docs to review one another’s work. They focused on peer editing, giving constructive criticism and experimented with writing styles—while also learning how to communicate in a new format.Elsewhere in the UK, we’ve been working with London Grid for Learning to help over 90 percent of schools across the city bring technology to more students. The project includes free training in Classroom, G Suite and other tools to upskill teachers.Chromebook popularity continues to grow in the Nordics—for instance, the city of Vantaa, Finland adopted 13,000 devices in March 2018. The Director of Education cited the user-friendliness as a reason why they implemented Chromebooks. And in Trondheim, Norway, the Trondheim Kommune adopted the new G Suite Enterprise for Education as a result of the additional security features offered, for all 40,000 students and educators.Preparing U.S. students for the future with 21st century skillsIn North America, we’ve been improving our products and spending time in schools. Down in Texas, Burleson ISD has a vision for every learner to graduate with 21st century problem-solving and reasoning skills. This led them to redesign their learning spaces—they replaced traditional desks with work spaces to encourage the collaborative and self-directed ways students learn today. They also created makerspace areas, where students can learn about 3D printing, engineering and other STEM activities.In South Carolina, students who recently graduated from Fairfield County School District feel that they have a competitive advantage in college and the workforce from having used G Suite and Chromebooks throughout middle and high school. Even at the college level, schools like Lafayette College are beginning to use the enterprise-grade capabilities within G Suite Enterprise for Education. And with the addition of Dartmouth, all eight Ivy League schools now use G Suite for Education as a productivity tool of choice for their faculty, staff and students.To teachers, administrators, and students around the world, thank you for continuing to inspire us, learn with us, and grow with us. […]

  • Become a Google for Education Certified Innovator in 2019

    The Google for Education Certified Innovator Program supports educators in developing new projects for their classrooms and school districts. Members participate in a year-long mentorship program that begins with workshops called Innovator Academies where teachers, coaches and Google experts learn from each other. Today, applications for the 2019 Innovator Academies are open.We’re sharing a few of the projects that have been started at past Innovator Academies—plus, alumni tips for educators who might want to develop their own.Start in your own backyardTai Preuninger, Mesquite Independent School District in TexasAfter discovering that my students had no idea their hometown (Mesquite) was ten miles away from Dallas, I created Hometown 360, which uses VR to document the history and geography of the city. With sections on local institutions and time-lapse maps tracking changes in the area over time, students can see a panoramic view of their hometown. There’s even a Make It Your Own page, so that teachers and students can use it as a model for similar projects elsewhere.Get connected and share informationJoanna Carroll, Princeville School District in IllinoisWith LocatEd, a free app I developed to connect educators with each other, I wanted to make a resource where people can ask questions, share ideas and find professional learning. The app has 300 users in 24 countries and is organized into three sections: locate guidance, locate innovative ideas, and locate professional development. Recently, an educator in the U.S. used LocatEd to ask a question about 3D printing—and soon after, had an answer from a teacher in Spain.Let people come to youDiana Gill, East Porter School District in IndianaFor my Innovator Academy project, I used Google Slides to develop several handy guides to copyright and fair use that I can customize for different situations. With these guides, I set out to make the topic of copyright fun—for example, one of my guides draws on Beastie Boys lyrics to explain how to attribute images through Creative Commons.Learn by doingJohn Zingale, Vancouver iTech Preparatory in WashingtonI believe history should be taught using hands-on, individualized, project-based (“HiP”) methods that give students real-world experience and help them retain more information. For my own Innovator Academy project, I created the HiPStory Network, where educators can share their social studies projects in one central location. On the Contribute page, teachers can mentor one another or share projects that worked in their classrooms.Keep at itTodd DeSando, Windermere Preparatory School in FloridaTo get through to one of my students, a non-native English speaker who had moved around a lot growing up, I began using emojis at the beginning of every day to check in with him about how he was feeling. This inspired me to come up with GIFs4Kids: a resource of GIFs for education that uses Google Translate to automatically make them accessible in 24 languages, with 400 GIFs already available. I encourage anyone thinking through an idea to keep at it—after a few tries submitting my project, I was able to develop and share it at the Academy in Washington DC.Fall in love with your problemDerek Doucet, Peterborough, OntarioI’m passionate about teaching foreign languages, but I believe language training needs to be immersive and start at younger ages. That’s why I created Au Bear, an app for kids that uses Google Translate and Google Maps’ geotagging function to let students have contextual conversations in a foreign language. Parents control the settings on their own phones, and can choose from additional features like Storytelling or Playing Music from libraries of stored content for their kids.You don’t need to know how to code!Becky Shorey, Green Mountain High School, ColoradoI never saw myself as a tech whiz, but through my experience in the classroom saw how technology can make teachers’ jobs easier. So I created NaviGlobe Treks, a tool to allow for collaborative creation of VR trips using Google Earth, 360 video and Street View Maps across academic subjects. I had zero background in coding, but still was able to create this tech project at the Academy by collaborating with those around me.Inspired? Find out more and apply to become a Certified Innovator. […]

  • Cloud Covered: 6 things you might have missed from Google Cloud last year

    What was new with Google Cloud in 2018? Well, it depends on what particular cloud technology you’re interested in. There was plenty of news on the AI and machine learning front, along with developments on a variety of enterprise cloud components. The open cloud community continued to be a thriving place to collaborate, and Google Cloud user productivity and efficiency grew, too.These popular stories from last year illustrate some of what you can do with Google Cloud technology.Machine and deep learning made leaps. On the hardware front, special chips designed for high performance, called Cloud TPUs, are now broadly available to speed up machine learning tasks. And we partnered with NASA’s Frontier Development Lab to use ML to build simulations and algorithms to answer one big question: Is there life on other planets?Organizations are starting to extract more value from their data. Tools like BigQuery and the Ethereum digital currency dataset, which we recently made available to everyone, help businesses find insights from their data. And The New York Times is digitizing its huge photo archive, along with all its associated data, using Google Cloud storage and database technology.There’s a new way to keep your information secure. The Titan Security Key arrived in the Google Store in 2018. Use these security keys to add two-factor verification to your Google Accounts and other services. They’re designed to defend against attacks like phishing that steal user credentials.The cloud opened the door to creating all kinds of applications and projects. For game developers, the OpenMatch open source project cuts down on development time for building multiplayer games with its matchmaking framework. And a novelist is using the new Cloud Speech-to-Text API to add visuals to poetry readings.Productivity gains with cloud came in all shapes and sizes. Check out the new developer hub for G Suite, providinglots of pro tips for developers to create, manage, and track their projects, including this tip on automatically adding a schedule from Google Sheets into Calendar.You can build on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) even more easily. A new type of containers called gVisor arrived to give developersmore options when building applications. Plus, we brought the infrastructure that powers Google Search to developers with Cloud Source Repositories for easier code search. And the Cloud Services Platform arrived in 2018—this integrated family of cloud services lets you build an end-to-end cloud while removing manual tasks from the daily workload.  For even more of what was popular last year in Google Cloud, take a look at the top Google Cloud Platform stories of 2018. And if one of your goals this year is to start using cloud more, mark your calendar to attend Google Cloud Next ’19. […]

  • Engaging policy stakeholders on issues in AI governance

    AI has become part of the fabric of modern life, with applications in sectors ranging from agriculture to retail to health to education. We believe that AI, used appropriately, can deliver great benefit for economies and society, and help people to make decisions that are fairer, safer, and more inclusive and informed.As with other technologies, there are new policy questions that arise with the use of AI, and governments and civil society groups worldwide have a key role to play in the AI governance discussion. In a white paper we’re publishing today, we outline five areas where government can work with civil society and AI practitioners to provide important guidance on responsible AI development and use: explainability standards, fairness appraisal, safety considerations, human-AI collaboration and liability frameworks.There are many trade-offs within each of these areas and the details are paramount for responsible implementation. For example, how should explainability and the need to hold an algorithm accountable be balanced with safeguarding the security of the system against hackers, protecting proprietary information and the desire to make AI experiences user-friendly? How should benchmarks and testing to ensure the safety of an AI system be balanced with the potential safety costs of not using the system?No one company, country, or community has all the answers; on the contrary, it’s crucial for policy stakeholders worldwide to engage in these conversations. In the majority of cases, general legal frameworks and existing sector-specific processes will continue to provide an appropriate governance structure; for example, medical device regulations should continue to govern medical devices, regardless of whether AI is used in the device or not. However, in cases where additional oversight is needed, we hope this paper can help to promote pragmatic and forward-looking “rules of the road” and approaches to governance that keep pace with changing attitudes and technology. […]

  • Expanding knowledge access with the Wikimedia Foundation

    For 18 years, Wikipedia has been the internet’s encyclopedia, contributing to the vast knowledge available on the open web, and the Wikimedia Foundation has long shared in our mission of making information accessible to people around the world.Our organizations have partnered throughout the years on initiatives that further our joint goals around knowledge access, including making information available through Google Search. Many individual Googlers also show their support for Wikimedia, through donations and from active participation in the community. We look forward to continuing our close partnership with new initiatives and commitments to achieving our shared goals.As the next billion people come online, it’s critical that the content on the web reflect the diversity of its users. Currently, the web is lacking content in many local languages and thus restricts the information that people can access. By collaborating on programs to increase the availability of local language content and providing technology tools for Wikipedia editors, we aim to bridge this gap and empower local editors to serve their communities with relevant content in their native languages.Creating new articles from scratch can be time and resource intensive for volunteer editors, and translation tools can be useful to help generate local language content. To make it easier for editors to create this native language content, we’re providing access to the Google Translate API through Wikipedia’s content translation tool at no cost. We’re also working with Wikimedia and their editor community to expand our Project Tiger initiative (now collectively referred to as GLOW - Growing Local Language Content on Wikipedia), which we piloted last year as a competition between 12 language communities in India to create more native language content. We will expand these programs with Wikimedia affiliates and volunteers to provide editors with resources and insights to drive the creation of new Wikipedia articles across 10 languages in India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and the Middle East and North Africa region.Bringing local language information online comes with new challenges in maintaining Wikipedia’s content and citation standards. Google Cloud Custom Search API helps editors ensure contributions are appropriately cited from sources. Our Cloud Vision API enables editors to digitize public domain books in Indic languages to include more diverse, reputable sources for citations. Both of these tools will be provided to Wikimedia at no cost.While efforts to empower editors will help them continue to add more information and knowledge to the web, we also aim to support the long-term health of the Wikimedia projects so they are  available for generations to come. To that end, Google.org is donating $2 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, the first of Google’s contributions to its fund for long term sustainability. This brings our total support to more than $7.5 million, which includes an additional $1.1 million to the Wikimedia Foundation annual fund during a special campaign last year where Google employees helped decide where to direct Google's donation dollars.With this continued partnership, we look forward to the strides we can make in bringing more of the world’s information online and making knowledge accessible to all. […]

  • Get more shut-eye in 2019 with help from Google

    After a long day, it should be easy to hit the hay at night. But far too often, just as you’re about to drift off, you decide to check why your phone just buzzed...and you’re back to square one.According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults should aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Many of us, including yours truly, usually don’t get there.If you want a fresh start in the new year, here are some tech tips and healthy habits that will help you catch more zzzzs (and get better at counting sheep) in 2019.1. Set up a bedtime schedule and stick to it with Wind Down.If you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social feeds or trying to finish just one more level of your favorite game late at night, Wind Down on your Android phone can help you take back control. Wind Down automatically turns on Do Not Disturb and makes your phone less interesting by turning everything grayscale to help you get to sleep at the time you want.2. Set up Quiet Hours on YouTube.Users on both iOS and Android devices can ask the YouTube app to silently send notifications to their phone during a specified time period each day. That means no more sounds or vibrations while you sleep. By default, all sounds and vibrations will be disabled between 10pm and 8am, but you can customize the start and end times to suit your schedule. And don’t worry, updates from your favorite creators will still be right there for you when you wake up.3. Lull yourself to sleep with soothing sounds.While complete silence is crucial for some people, others prefer consistent ambient noise to help them get to sleep. If you say “OK Google, help me relax”, the Google Assistant will randomly pick from more than 10 soothing sounds to quietly deliver you to the Land of Nod. You can also pick specific sounds by saying “play fireplace sounds” or “play white noise” once you work out which sounds work best for you.4. Keep your phone out of reach, and out of mind.5. Turn off your lights, and your Wi-Fi.If you have trouble getting your kids to sleep, Google Wifi has family-friendly controls that allow you to schedule a regular Wi-Fi pause on your kids' devices. That way, your kids aren’t sneakily playing online games under the covers. (And neither are you.)6. Keep up with the #GetFitWithGoogle challenge.With all this extra sleep, you’ll have even more energy to spend on your other New Year resolutions like getting fit. For those following along at home from last week, here’s an update on the #GetFitWithGoogle global challenge — a four-week-long competition to see which country’s team of social influencers can earn the most Heart Points during January with Google Fit.Congrats to Team Colombia for taking the lead on the global leaderboard after week 2!Keep an eye on the #GetFitWithGoogle hashtag on Instagram and follow the teams below to follow their fitness journeys.Team BelgiumTeam Belgium: Lieke_Hemelaer, Tiny Tinne, Alextravocado, Vigor.vincentTeam ColombiaTeam Colombia: Tata2fit, JuanEcheverry, Melipelaez, CaroFerrerbTeam IndiaTeam India: Sheenafit, Knot_me_pretty, Woodstock_witch, DumbbellsndramaTeam ItalyTeam Italy: Daniele Doesn't Matter, Shanti Lives, Space Valley, CaneSeccoTeam SwitzerlandTeam Switzerland: StrangeSte, Carmensegattini, Corih_, BeatricelessiTeam USATeam USA: NothingButTech, Krystal Lora, PocketNow, Qbking77Don’t forget to share your own Heart Points progress using #GetFitWithGoogle to help others like you stay motivated. […]

  • Google AI Impact Challenge: a week to apply, plus research on why you should

    In my twelve years at Google, I've seen that big things happen when you don't shy away from big ideas—especially when you pair those ideas with emerging technology. We're trying to encourage more of that kind of thinking with the Google AI Impact Challenge, a call for organizations to use AI to help address social, humanitarian and environmental problems. Before you read on, remember this: there are only seven days left to apply to the Challenge!Hundreds of nonprofits and research organizations have already applied, and there’s good reason for all the excitement. Recently, we collaborated with McKinsey on research to identify ways AI can drive social change. The resulting report shows that AI projects have the potential to improve all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: end poverty and hunger, promote good health and wellbeing for all, and several more.What works?According to the research, AI has the greatest potential for impact in four areas: health and hunger, education, justice, equality and inclusion. AI can have the largest and most immediate impact through the application of computer vision, giving machines the ability to understand images and videos, and natural language processing, teaching computers to parse and understand human languages.Computer vision can be used to improve health through better disease detection, our environment through wildlife tracking, and our education through new forms of learning for people with different learning capabilities. You’ve seen natural language processing at work in chatbots, which make the job-seeking process more efficient, or allow for better interaction between people seeking medical help and health providers.What’s the hold up?While AI cannot solve every problem, its potential is profound. So why isn’t every nonprofit and social entrepreneur embracing it? Three of the greatest challenges are access to talent, access to relevant data, and the capacity to deploy and sustain an AI project once it’s created. Nonprofits and their funders, the private sector and governments will need to work together to address these challenges.To solve for talent scarcity, we need to continue to push for more education globally—especially for professionals willing to pursue AI. Private and public sector organizations may be able to open access to subsets of their data that could serve the clear public interest. Tools like Dataset Search are making it easier to discover potentially relevant datasets. Also, Nonprofits should look for opportunities to collect and share data most relevant to the problems they are looking to address. Finally, funders should consider how they can best support the ongoing deployment of AI projects and ensure social sector professionals have access to basic AI training.McKinsey’s findings also show that to be successful, AI tools and techniques must be applied responsibly: clear principles must be established so that the solutions consider potential negative impacts—like the perpetuation of bias—on disadvantaged populations.So, back to what I told you to remember: applications for the AI Impact Challenge close in seven days, on January 22 (@ 11:59:59 PST, to be exact). I’ll be part of an international panel of expert reviewers that will review all finalists and ultimately decide which ones will receive funds from our $25 million pool as well as other resources. We're excited to see what you come up with. […]

  • Helping teens root out misinformation and get media savvy

    Editor’s Note: Katy Byron is the Editor and Program Manager of MediaWise at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies. MediaWise is part of the Google News Initiative and is a Google.org funded partnership between The Poynter Institute, the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), the Local Media Association (LMA) and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). Mediawise aims to teach one million students how to discern fact from fiction online by 2020.Misinformation is nothing new, but in the digital age, it can spread like a virus. This is especially true for teenagers growing up with mobile phones as an extension of how they engage with the world and their friends. You might think teens are more digitally savvy, but research shows they can just as easily be fooled by misleading online content.MediaWise helps teens figure out what’s real and what’s not by teaching them fact-checking skills that professional journalists use. I like to think of it this way: if misinformation online is a disease, then MediaWise is the Red Cross. Our work is based on a curriculum the Stanford History Education Group is currently writing and testing, which will be available for any middle school and high school teachers to download online for free this fall.To kick off the new year, we spoke to 2,000 students and teachers at three schools in Houston, while 3,000 more watched online in class. We introduced them to tools like Reverse Google Image Search to help fact check the origin of a photo, shared tips and tricks on what to look out for, and heard from students and teachers about their concerns and experiences.MediaWise reporters Allison Graves and Hiwot Hailu teaching the sophomore class at Spring Woods High School on January 9.At Memorial High School, we spent the day with more than 600 students and had them do their own fact-checking online, using real-world examples of posts (like this one and this one)  on social media. They voted through a live Instagram poll on whether or not they thought a post was legit. Most got the first few examples wrong, but as their fact checking skills improved, got more right.And at Spring Forest Middle School, less than half the 8th grade class of 300 students could tell whether a viral photo claiming Jason Derulo falling down the stairs at the Met Gala was fake. Afterwards, students said they’ll do more research before sharing information online and felt these skills should be taught in all classrooms by their teachers.MediaWise wants students to lead this work themselves. Last week, we launched theMediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network: a stellar crew of 24 students from across the country ranging from 15 to 18 years old. They’ll create original fact-checking videos for YouTube,Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to help us reach our target teen audience.MediaWise multimedia reporters Allison Graves and Hiwot Hailu are leading this squad and guiding them on our quest to “fact-check the Internet.” This crew is the real deal—many work for their high school newspaper or TV station. Madeleine Katz, a 16-year-old from St. Petersburg, Florida with a popular Instagram account reviewing young adult books, joined because she feels strongly about the mission to empower her generation to be informed decision makers. Yasmeen Saadi from Kansas joined because she thinks it’s hard for teens to determine real from fake news on the internet.MediaWise also partnered with best-selling author John Green to create a 10 part series on his CrashCourse YouTube channel called Navigating Digital Information, which launched last week. Each episode is chock-full of fact-checking tips and tricks and gives a sneak peek into the curriculum that will be available in the fall.Teens want to learn how to discern fact from fiction online and teachers want new tools to help them teach their students to be smarter consumers of information. If your school is interested in MediaWise, or you want to be a part of the Teen Fact Checking Network, we’d love to hear from you. Check out our website to learn more and if you see something suspect online, tag us on social media with #isthislegit and our handle @MediaWise and we’ll check it out. […]

  • 2018, celebrating our global Webmaster community

    2018 has been a very important year for our webmaster support community. What has happened? There’s been a program rebranding, a global summit, and loads of community hangouts.In October, the former Top Contributors became Gold Product Experts, and the Rising Stars, Silver Product Experts. This rebranding happened throughout all of the product forums and these are some of the new badges and names:Silver Product Expert: Newer members who are developing their product knowledgeGold Product Expert: Trusted members who are knowledgeable and active contributorsIn November, we invited all of our Gold Product Experts from every Google help forum (such as Blogger or Google My Business) to a global summit. This meetup happened in the Google campus in Sunnyvale, California. Out of the almost 550 attendees from all over the world, around 70 were Webmaster Gold Product Experts. Coming from 25 different countries, this was the second biggest community that attended the event. Later that month, another very successful meetup took place in Moscow, gathering 23 Russian speaking Product Experts (of which 10 were Webmasters).Gold Webmaster Product Experts at this year’s global summit in Sunnyvale.Many of the attendees acknowledged that this “was a really valuable time”, that the “sessions were very insightful and interesting” and that “the entire event was fantastic!”.This knowledgeable group of super users provides invaluable help in 16 languages to more than 2 million users a year, about everything related to Search, Structured Data or Search Console in the forums.And what is the profile of our community? Many of our Product Experts (Silver and Gold) are site owners who started out on the Webmaster forums (some more than a decade ago) by asking questions about their own sites. After their issues were fixed, most of them stayed to give back to the community, as they realized that their expertise could be of use to others. We want to thank all of our experts for their dedication and constant knowledge sharing to help users who are having trouble with their websites.Throughout the year, we’ve held 75 live office hours hangouts on the Webmaster YouTube channel, in English, Japanese, German, Hindi, French, and we’ve also kick started the calls in Spanish. On those hangouts, anyone can raise their questions to the Google team directly and interact with one another.If you’re interested in joining the community, meeting everyone and helping other users on the Webmaster forums, you can learn more on the Product Experts program website. We are always excited to meet users from diverse backgrounds and skill-sets!Looking forward to what 2019 will bring to our community... And looking forward to meeting you!Written by Aurora Morales, Trust & Safety Outreach team […]

  • An update on the Google Webmaster Central blog comments

    For every train there's a passenger, but it turns out comments are not our train.Over the years we read thousands of comments we've received on our blog posts on the Google Webmaster Central blog. Sometimes they were extremely thoughtful, other times they made us laugh out loud, but most of the time they were off-topic or even outright spammy; if you think about it, the latter is rather ironic, considering this is the Google Webmaster Blog.Effective today, we're closing the commenting feature on the Google Webmaster Central blog. Instead of reading the comments here on the blog, we're going to focus on interacting with the community on our other channels. For all of our subsequent posts, if you have comments, feedback, or funny stories, you can find us in our help forums or on Twitter.Posted by Gary, House elf […]

  • An update to referral source URLs for Google Images

    UPDATE: After testing and further consideration, we have determined that the best place to measure query and click traffic from Google Images is in the Search Console Performance Report. Accordingly, we will continue to use https://www.google.com (or the appropriate ccTLD) as the referrer URL for all traffic from Google Images, and will not be providing a Google Images specific referrer URL (images.google.com).Every day, hundreds of millions of people use Google Images to visually discover and explore content on the web. Whether it be finding ideas for your next baking project, or visual instructions on how to fix a flat tire, exploring image results can sometimes be much more helpful than exploring text. Updating the referral sourceFor webmasters, it hasn't always been easy to understand the role Google Images plays in driving site traffic. To address this, we will roll out a new referrer URL specific to Google Images over the next few months. The referrer URL is part of the HTTP header, and indicates the last page the user was on and clicked to visit the destination webpage. If you create software to track or analyze website traffic, we want you to be prepared for this change. Make sure that you are ingesting the new referer URL, and attribute the traffic to Google Images. The new referer URL is: https://images.google.com. If you use Google Analytics to track site data, the new referral URL will be automatically ingested and traffic will be attributed to Google Images appropriately. Just to be clear, this change will not affect Search Console. Webmasters will continue to receive an aggregate list of top search queries that drive traffic to their site. How this affects country-specific queriesThe new referer URL has the same country code top level domain (ccTLD) as the URL used for searching on Google Images. In practice, this means that most visitors worldwide come from images.google.com. That's because last year, we made a change so that google.com became the default choice for searchers worldwide. However, some users may still choose to go directly to a country specific service, such as google.co.uk for the UK. For this use case, the referer uses that country TLD (for example, images.google.co.uk). We hope this change will foster a healthy visual content ecosystem. If you're interested in learning how to optimize your pages for Google Images, please refer to the Google Image Publishing Guidelines. If you have questions, feedback or suggestions, please let us know through the Webmaster Tools Help Forum. Posted by Ashutosh Agarwal, Product Manager, Google Images […]

  • Collaboration and user management in the new Search Console

    As part of our reinvention of Search Console, we have been rethinking the models of facilitating cooperation and accountability for our users. We decided to redesign the product around cooperative team usage and transparency of action history. The new Search Console will gradually provide better history tracking to show who performed which significant property-affecting modifications, such as changing a setting, validating an issue or submitting a new sitemap. In that spirit we also plan to enable all users to see critical site messages. New featuresUser management is now an integral part of Search Console.The new Search Console enables you to share a read-only view of many reports, including Index coverage, AMP, and Mobile Usability. Learn more.A new user management interface that enables all users to see and (if appropriate), manage user roles for all property users. New Role definitionIn order to provide a simpler permission model, we are planning to limit the "restricted" user role to read-only status. While being able to see all information, read-only users will no longer be able to perform any state-changing actions, including starting a fix validation or sharing an issue. Best practicesAs a reminder, here are some best practices for managing user permissions in Search Console: Grant users only the permission level that they need to do their work. See the permissions descriptions.If you need to share an issue details report, click the Share link on that page.Revoke permissions from users who no longer work on a property.When removing a previous verified owner, be sure to remove all verification tokens for that user.Regularly audit and update the user permissions using the Users & Permissions page in new Search Console. User feedbackAs part of our Beta exploration, we released visibility of the user management interface to all user roles. Some users reached out to request more time to prepare for the updated user management model, including the ability of restricted and full users to easily see a list of other collaborators on the site. We’ve taken that feedback and will hold off on that part of the launch. Stay tuned for more updates relating to collaboration tools and changes on our permission models. As always, we love to hear feedback from our users. Feel free to use the feedback form within Search Console, and we welcome your discussions in our help forums as well! Posted by John Mueller, Google Switzerland […]

  • Distrust of the Symantec PKI: Immediate action needed by site operators

    Cross-posted from the Google Security Blog. We previously announced plans to deprecate Chrome’s trust in the Symantec certificate authority (including Symantec-owned brands like Thawte, VeriSign, Equifax, GeoTrust, and RapidSSL). This post outlines how site operators can determine if they’re affected by this deprecation, and if so, what needs to be done and by when. Failure to replace these certificates will result in site breakage in upcoming versions of major browsers, including Chrome.Chrome 66If your site is using a SSL/TLS certificate from Symantec that was issued before June 1, 2016, it will stop functioning in Chrome 66, which could already be impacting your users.If you are uncertain about whether your site is using such a certificate, you can preview these changes in Chrome Canary to see if your site is affected. If connecting to your site displays a certificate error or a warning in DevTools as shown below, you’ll need to replace your certificate. You can get a new certificate from any trusted CA, including Digicert, which recently acquired Symantec’s CA business.An example of a certificate error that Chrome 66 users might see if you are using a Legacy Symantec SSL/TLS certificate that was issued before June 1, 2016. The DevTools message you will see if you need to replace your certificate before Chrome 66.Chrome 66 has already been released to the Canary and Dev channels, meaning affected sites are already impacting users of these Chrome channels. If affected sites do not replace their certificates by March 15, 2018, Chrome Beta users will begin experiencing the failures as well. You are strongly encouraged to replace your certificate as soon as possible if your site is currently showing an error in Chrome Canary.Chrome 70Starting in Chrome 70, all remaining Symantec SSL/TLS certificates will stop working, resulting in a certificate error like the one shown above. To check if your certificate will be affected, visit your site in Chrome today and open up DevTools. You’ll see a message in the console telling you if you need to replace your certificate.The DevTools message you will see if you need to replace your certificate before Chrome 70.If you see this message in DevTools, you’ll want to replace your certificate as soon as possible. If the certificates are not replaced, users will begin seeing certificate errors on your site as early as July 20, 2018. The first Chrome 70 Beta release will be around September 13, 2018.Expected Chrome Release TimelineThe table below shows the First Canary, First Beta and Stable Release for Chrome 66 and 70. The first impact from a given release will coincide with the First Canary, reaching a steadily widening audience as the release hits Beta and then ultimately Stable. Site operators are strongly encouraged to make the necessary changes to their sites before the First Canary release for Chrome 66 and 70, and no later than the corresponding Beta release dates.ReleaseFirst CanaryFirst BetaStable ReleaseChrome 66January 20, 2018~ March 15, 2018~ April 17, 2018Chrome 70~ July 20, 2018~ September 13, 2018~ October 16, 2018For information about the release timeline for a particular version of Chrome, you can also refer to the Chromium Development Calendar which will be updated should release schedules change.In order to address the needs of certain enterprise users, Chrome will also implement an Enterprise Policy that allows disabling the Legacy Symantec PKI distrust starting with Chrome 66. As of January 1, 2019, this policy will no longer be available and the Legacy Symantec PKI will be distrusted for all users.Special Mention: Chrome 65As noted in the previous announcement, SSL/TLS certificates from the Legacy Symantec PKI issued after December 1, 2017 are no longer trusted. This should not affect most site operators, as it requires entering in to special agreement with DigiCert to obtain such certificates. Accessing a site serving such a certificate will fail and the request will be blocked as of Chrome 65. To avoid such errors, ensure that such certificates are only served to legacy devices and not to browsers such as Chrome.Posted by Devon O’Brien, Ryan Sleevi, Emily Stark, Chrome security team […]

  • Google I/O 2018 - What sessions should SEOs and Webmasters watch live ?

    Google I/O 2018 is starting today in California, to an international audience of 7,000+ developers. It will run until Thursday night. It is our annual developers festival, where product announcements are made, new APIs and frameworks are introduced, and Product Managers present the latest from Google.However, you don't have to physically attend the event to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity: many conferences and talks are live streamed on YouTube for anyone to watch. You will find the full-event schedule here.Dozens upon dozens of talks will take place over the next 3 days. We have hand picked the talks that we think will be the most interesting for webmasters and SEO professionals. Each link shared will bring you to pages with more details about each talk, and you will find out how to tune in to the live stream. All times are California time (PCT). We might add other sessions to this list.Tuesday, May 8th3pm - Web Security post Spectre/Meltdown, with Emily Schechter and Chris Palmer - more info.5pm - Dru Knox and Stephan Somogyi talk about building a seamless web with Chrome - more info.Wednesday, May 9th9.30am - Ewa Gasperowicz and Addy Osmani talk about Web Performance and increasing control over the loading experience - more info.10.30am - Alberto Medina and Thierry Muller will explain how to make a WordPress site progressive - more info.11.30am - Rob Dodson and Dominic Mazzoni will cover "What's new in web accessibility" - more info.3.30pm - Michael Bleigh will introduce how to leverage AMP in Firebase for a blazing fast website - more info.4.30pm - Rick Viscomi and Vinamrata Singal will introduce the latest with Lighthouse and Chrome UX Report for Web Performance - more info.Thursday, May 10th8.30am - John Mueller and Tom Greenaway will talk about building Search-friendly JavaScript websites - more info.9.30am - Build e-commerce sites for the modern web with AMP, PWA, and more, with Adam Greenberg and Rowan Merewood - more info.12.30pm - Session on "Building a successful web presence with Google Search" by John Mueller and Mariya Moeva - more info.This list is only a sample of the content at this year's Google I/O, and there might be many more that are interesting to you! To find out about those other talks, check out the full list of web sessions, but also the sessions about Design, the Cloud sessions, the machine learning sessions, and more… We hope you can make the time to watch the talks online, and participate in the excitement of I/O ! The videos will also be available on Youtube after the event, in case you can't tune in live.Posted by Vincent Courson, Search Outreach Specialist, and the Google Webmasters team […]

  • Google Search at I/O 2018

    With the eleventh annual Google I/O wrapped up, it’s a great time to reflect on some of the highlights.What we did at I/OThe event was a wonderful way to meet many great people from various communities across the globe, exchange ideas, and gather feedback. Besides many great web sessions, codelabs, and office hours we shared a few things with the community in two sessions specific to Search:Deliver search-friendly JavaScript-powered websites with John Mueller and Tom GreenawayBuild a successful web presence with Google Search with Mariya Moeva and John MuellerThe sessions included the launch of JavaScript error reporting in the Mobile Friendly Test tool, dynamic rendering (we will discuss this in more detail in a future post), and an explanation of how CMS can use the Indexing and Search Console APIs to provide users with insights. For example, Wix lets their users submit their homepage to the index and see it in Search results instantly, and Squarespace created a Google Search keywords report to help webmasters understand what prospective users search for.During the event, we also presented the new Search Console in the Sandbox area for people to try and were happy to get a lot of positive feedback, from people being excited about the AMP Status report to others exploring how to improve their content for Search.Hands-on codelabs, case studies and moreWe presented the Structured Data Codelab that walks you through adding and testing structured data. We were really happy to see that it ended up being one of the top 20 codelabs by completions at I/O. If you want to learn more about the benefits of using Structured Data, check out our case studies.During the in-person office hours we saw a lot of interest around HTTPS, mobile-first indexing, AMP, and many other topics. The in-person Office Hours were a wonderful addition to our monthly Webmaster Office Hours hangout. The questions and comments will help us adjust our documentation and tools by making them clearer and easier to use for everyone.Highlights and key takeawaysWe also repeated a few key points that web developers should have an eye on when building websites, such as:Indexing and rendering don’t happen at the same time. We may defer the rendering to a later point in time.Make sure the content you want in Search has metadata, correct HTTP statuses, and the intended canonical tag.Hash-based routing (URLs with "#") should be deprecated in favour of the JavaScript History API in Single Page Apps.Links should have an href attribute pointing to a URL, so Googlebot can follow the links properly.Make sure to watch this talk for more on indexing, dynamic rendering and troubleshooting your site. If you wanna learn more about things to do as a CMS developer or theme author or Structured Data, watch this talk.We were excited to meet some of you at I/O as well as the global I/O extended events and share the latest developments in Search. To stay in touch, join the Webmaster Forum or follow us on Twitter, Google+, and YouTube. Posted by Martin Splitt, Webmaster Trends Analyst […]

  • Google is introducing its Product Experts Program!

    Over 12 years ago, we started answering webmaster questions and listening to feedback on our webmaster forums (although at the time, it was a Google Group for questions about sitemaps - original announcement). From a small mailing list, these forums have evolved to cover 15 languages and over 50,000 threads per year. These days, we learn a lot from some of the cases surfaced on this platform, and constantly use it to gather feedback to pass on to our teams.Google’s Top Contributors () and Rising Stars () are some of our most active and helpful members on these forums. With over 100 members globally just for the Webmaster Forums (1000 members if you count all product forums), this community of experts helps thousands of people every year by sharing their knowledge and helping others get the most out of Google products.Some of the Webmaster forum participantsToday, we’re excited to announce that we’re rebranding and relaunching the Top Contributor program as Google’s Product Experts program! Same community of experts, shiny new brand.Over the following days, we’ll be updating our badges in the forums so you can recognize who our most passionate and dedicated Product Experts are:   Silver Product Expert: Newer members who are developing their product knowledge   Gold Product Expert: Trusted members who are knowledgeable and active contributors   Platinum Product Expert: Seasoned members who contribute beyond providing help through mentoring, creating content, and more   Product Expert Alumni: Past members who are no longer active, but were previously recognized for their helpfulnessMore information about the new badges and names.Those Product Experts are users who are passionate about Google products and enjoy helping other users. They also help us by giving feedback on the tools we all use, like the Search Console, by surfacing questions they think Google should answer better, etc… Obtaining feedback from our users is one of Google’s core values, and Product Experts often have a great understanding of what affects a lot of our users. For example, here is a blog post detailing how Product Expert feedback about the Search Console was used to build the new version of the tool.Visit the new Product Experts program website to get information on how to become a Product Expert yourself, and come and join us on our Webmaster forums, we’d love to hear from you!Written by Vincent Courson, Search Outreach team […]

  • Hey Google, what's the latest news?

    Since launching the Google Assistant in 2016, we have seen users ask questions about everything from weather to recipes and news. In order to fulfill news queries with results people can count on, we collaborated on a new schema.org structured data specification called speakable for eligible publishers to mark up sections of a news article that are most relevant to be read aloud by the Google Assistant. When people ask the Google Assistant -- "Hey Google, what's the latest news on NASA?", the Google Assistant responds with an excerpt from a news article and the name of the news organization. Then the Google Assistant asks if the user would like to hear another news article and also sends the relevant links to the user's mobile device. As a news publisher, you can surface your content on the Google Assistant by implementing Speakable markup according to the developer documentation. This feature is now available for English language users in the US and we hope to launch in other languages and countries as soon as a sufficient number of publishers have implemented speakable. As this is a new feature, we are experimenting over time to refine the publisher and user experience. If you have any questions, ask us in the Webmaster Help Forum. We look forward to hearing from you! Posted by TV Raman, Senior Staff Software Engineer […]

  • How we fought webspam - Webspam Report 2017

    We always want to make sure that when you use Google Search to find information, you get the highest quality results. But, we are aware of many bad actors who are trying to manipulate search ranking and profit from it, which is at odds with our core mission: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Over the years, we've devoted a huge effort toward combating abuse and spam on Search. Here's a look at how we fought abuse in 2017. We call these various types of abuse that violate the webmaster guidelines “spam.” Our evaluation indicated that for many years, less than 1 percent of search results users visited are spammy. In the last couple of years, we’ve managed to further reduce this by half. Google webspam trends and how we fought webspam in 2017As we continued to improve, spammers also evolved. One of the trends in 2017 was an increase in website hacking—both for spamming search ranking and for spreading malware. Hacked websites are serious threats to users because hackers can take complete control of a site, deface homepages, erase relevant content, or insert malware and harmful code. They may also record keystrokes, stealing login credentials for online banking or financial transactions. In 2017 we focused on reducing this threat, and were able to detect and remove from search results more than 80 percent of these sites. But hacking is not just a spam problem for search users—it affects the owners of websites as well. To help website owners keep their websites safe, we created a hands-on resource to help webmasters strengthen their websites’ security and revamped our help resources to help webmasters recover from a hacked website. The guides are available in 19 languages.We’re also recognizing the importance of robust content management systems (CMSs). A large percentage of websites are run on one of several popular CMSs, and subsequently spammers exploited them by finding ways to abuse their provisions for user-generated content, such as posting spam content in comment sections or forums. We’re working closely with many of the providers of popular content management systems like WordPress and Joomla to help them also fight spammers that abuse their forums, comment sections and websites.Another abuse vector is the manipulation of links, which is one of the foundation ranking signals for Search. In 2017 we doubled down our effort in removing unnatural links via ranking improvements and scalable manual actions. We have observed a year-over-year reduction of spam links by almost half. Working with users and webmasters for a better webWe’re here to listen: Our automated systems are constantly working to detect and block spam. Still, we always welcome hearing from you when something seems … phishy. Last year, we were able to take action on nearly 90,000 user reports of search spam.Reporting spam, malware and other issues you find helps us protect the site owner and other searchers from this abuse. You can file a spam report, a phishing report or a malware report. We very much appreciate these reports—a big THANK YOU to all of you who submitted them.We also actively work with webmasters to maintain the health of the web ecosystem. Last year, we sent 45 million messages to registered website owners via Search Console letting them know about issues we identified with their websites. More than 6 million of these messages are related to manual actions, providing transparency to webmasters so they understand why their sites got manual actions and how to resolve the issue.Last year, we released a beta version of a new Search Console to a limited number of users and afterwards, to all users of Search Console. We listened to what matters most to the users, and started with popular functionalities such as Search performance, Index Coverage and others. These can help webmasters optimize their websites' Google Search presence more easily.Through enhanced Safe Browsing protections, we continue to protect more users from bad actors online. In the last year, we have made significant improvements to our safe browsing protection, such as broadening our protection of macOS devices, enabling predictive phishing protection in Chrome, cracked down on mobile unwanted software, and launched significant improvements to our ability to protect users from deceptive Chrome extension installation.We have a multitude of channels to engage directly with webmasters. We have dedicated team members who meet with webmasters regularly both online and in-person. We conducted more than 250 online office hours, online events and offline events around the world in more than 60 cities to audiences totaling over 220,000 website owners, webmasters and digital marketers. In addition, our official support forum has answered a high volume of questions in many languages. Last year, the forum had 63,000 threads generating over 280,000 contributing posts by 100+ Top Contributors globally. For more details, see this post. Apart from the forums, blogs and the SEO starter guide, the Google Webmaster YouTube channel is another channel to find more tips and insights. We launched a new SEO snippets video series to help with short and to-the-point answers to specific questions. Be sure to subscribe to the channel!Despite all these improvements, we know we’re not yet done. We’re relentless in our pursue of an abuse-free user experience, and will keep improving our collaboration with the ecosystem to make it happen.Posted by Cody Kwok, Principal Engineer […]


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