Our 17 favorite education moments from 2017

Editor’s Note: Happy New Year from all of us on the Google for Education team! We know you count on Google for Education in your classrooms, and we take that responsibility seriously. We remain deeply committed to bringing the best of Google to education, and to expanding learning for everyone. As we look to the year ahead, we’re looking back on our 17 favorite moments from 2017.

In 2017, we…

1. Did an hour of code with Chance the Rapper for Computer Science Education Week, surprising a Chicago classroom and announcing a $1.5 million Google.org grant to provide CS for students across Chicago Public Schools. We also released the first-ever programmable Google Doodle and invited students to code their own Google logos.

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2. Announced a new initiative called Grow with Google which provides access to digital tools and training for students, teachers, job-seekers and lifelong learners. As part of the announcement, our CEO Sundar Pichai visited one of the Pittsburgh classrooms participating in our new Dynamic Learning Project, a pilot that empowers educators to use technology in meaningful ways.

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As part of Grow with Google, our CEO Sundar visited a school in Pittsburgh to learn about their experience participating in the Dynamic Learning Project

3. Introduced a new generation of Chromebooks that let you use a stylus and flip from laptop to tablet mode. These Chromebooks have cameras on two sides and USB-C charging. New devices from Acer, Asus, HP, Dell and Lenovo come in all shapes, sizes, and price points to meet the needs of different teachers, students, schools and districts.

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A next generation Chromebook with dual camera flipped into tablet mode.

4. Went back to school with a new resource hub for teachers. On #FirstDayOfClassroom, there’s helpful Google for Education tips and tricks from the people who know our tools the best—educators. Thanks to input from our dedicated community, we were also able to introduce the most-requested features in Google Classroom and Forms.

5. Met the Internaut, a digital citizenship guru and mascot of Be Internet Awesome, a program to help students make smart decisions online. With resources for students (including the online game Interland), educators, and families, everyone has the tools to learn and participate in digital safety and citizenship. Bonus: we also launched a Digital Citizenship and Safety course.

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6. Celebrated International Literacy Day by creating and translating more than 1,000 children’s books for StoryWeaver, a Google.org grantee, with the #1000books campaign. Our support of Storyweaver is part of our 2016-2017 $50 million philanthropic commitment to nonprofit organizations working to close global learning gaps.

7. Were inspired by more than 11,000 girls from 103 countries during the Technovation Challenge. Finalists came to Google’s Mountain View headquarters to pitch their projects, which address issues in categories including peace, poverty, environment, equality, education, and health.

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Our CEO Sundar Pichai takes a selfie with members of the winning team behind QamCare

8. Used technology to amplify student stories. Working with the non-profit 826 Valencia, Googlers helped under-resourced students create A Planet Ruled by Love using Tilt Brush. The result was a virtual reality movie that helped kids express themselves through storytelling and technology.

826 Valencia and Google

826 Valencia and Google

A new way to experience Daydream and capture memories in VR

Since we launched Cardboard, our goal has been to create virtual reality experiences that are accessible, useful, and relevant to as many people as possible. With Daydream, we’ve been building a platform for high-quality mobile VR: we’ve worked with lots of different partners to bring fifteen Daydream-ready phones to market for smartphone VR. And today marks another step, with Lenovo unveiling new details about the Mirage Solo, a Daydream standalone headset we first announced at Google I/O. With it, you’ll have a more immersive and streamlined way to experience the best of what Daydream has to offer without needing a smartphone.

We’ve also been investing in ways to help you capture your life’s most important moments in VR. We’ve designed high-quality, yet simple and pocket-sized cameras that anyone can use with just the click of a button. Our partners Lenovo and YI are sharing more on these, and they’ll be available beginning in the second quarter this year.

Experience Daydream in a new way

The Lenovo Mirage Solo builds on everything that’s great about smartphone-based VR—portability and ease of use—and it delivers an even more immersive virtual reality experience. You don’t need a smartphone to use it: you just pick it up, put it on, and you’re ready to go. The headset is more comfortable and natural because of a new technology we created at Google called WorldSense. Based on years of investment in simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), it enables PC-quality positional tracking on a mobile device without the need for any additional external sensors. WorldSense lets you duck, dodge and lean, and step backwards, forwards or side to side, unlocking new gameplay elements that bring the virtual world to life. WorldSense tracking and Mirage Solo’s high performance graphics mean that the objects you see will stay fixed in place just like in the real world, no matter which way you tilt or move your head. The Lenovo Mirage Solo will also have a wide field of view for great immersion, and an advanced display optimized for virtual reality, so everything you see stays crystal clear. It’s the best way to access Daydream.

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Lenovo Mirage Solo

We’re working closely with developers to bring new experiences to the platform that take advantage of all these new technologies, including a new game based on the iconic universe of Blade Runner called Blade Runner: Revelations. You’ll also have access to the entire Daydream catalog of over 250 apps, including Google apps like Street View, Photos, and Expeditions. With YouTube VR, you can watch the best VR video content, from powerful short pieces chronicling extraordinary role models to music, fashion, sports and epic journeys around the world. The Lenovo Mirage Solo also has built-in casting support, so you’re just a couple clicks away from sharing your virtual experiences onto a television for your friends and family to follow along. It will hit shelves beginning in the second quarter this year.

Capture your most important memories with VR180 cameras

Photos and videos matter to us because they help us remember the special moments in our lives. But what if you could do more than just remember a moment; what if you could relive it? That’s the idea behind the VR180 format, and we created VR180 cameras so that anyone could have an easy way to capture and then re-experience the past.

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For the full effect, check out this video in a VR headset like Cardboard or Daydream View.

New devices and more: what’s in store for the Google Assistant this year

The Google Assistant is your personal Google. It lets you have a conversation and ask about everything under the sun and, best of all, it’s available wherever you need help—at home or on the go. Over the past year, we’ve been working to bring the Assistant to more devices in more places and now it’s available on more than 400 million devices.

Tuesday marks the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV, and we’ll be there to showcase some of the exciting stuff we have in store for 2018. So if you’re at CES, stop on by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-21). Here we go!

At home

The Google Assistant gives you an easy, hands-free way to control your home, whether it’s helping you dim the lights from the comfort of your couch or play your dinner party playlist. It’s already lending a helping hand in speakers like Google Home, Mini and Max. In fact, we’ve sold more than one Google Home every second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October. And with so much excitement around speakers, we’re making the Assistant even more available—this week we’re announcing that the Assistant is coming to new voice-activated speakers from Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio and SōLIS.

But there are also moments when a screen would make the Assistant even more helpful, like when you need to learn how to cut a pineapple, and the best way is to watch a video. Today, we’re announcing that the Assistant is coming to smart displays. These new devices have the Google Assistant built in, and with the added benefit of a touch screen, they can help you get even more done. You can watch videos from YouTube, video call with Google Duo, find photos from Google Photos and more. You can also get recommendations for your favorite content, right on the home screen.

Starting later this year, the Assistant is coming to new smart displays from four companies, including JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony. To learn more about how smart displays were built, visit the Android Developers blog.

Google for Nonprofits: 2017 in review

Every year nonprofits worldwide work tirelessly to make a positive impact in their communities, and in a year where many people were looking to help, 2017 was no exception. We’re looking back to celebrate the nonprofits around the globe using Google tools to help in their philanthropic efforts. Here are some successes from last year—we hope they give you some ideas for how you can improve your nonprofit’s productivity and have even more impact in 2018.

Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits

G Suite allows teams to access data anywhere, update files in real time, and collaborate efficiently. Mercy Beyond Borders, a U.S.-based nonprofit with employees deployed in various countries, uses these tools to stay in sync with each other no matter where they are—from tracking finances on Google Sheets to sharing information with board members through Google Sites. And nonprofit MyFace takes advantage of Google’s security and privacy settings to store personal medical data for their patients. Read more about how these nonprofits used G Suite, and find out how to get started with G Suite, in this post.


Learn from “G4NP in Three,” a new YouTube Series

This year we launched our first-ever G4NP YouTube series, “G4NP in Three,” aiming to help nonprofits learn the basics about the Google for Nonprofits program and the process to get enrolled for each product. The videos also cover tips and tricks on how to make the most of the tools available, all in three minutes! Check out the videos and subscribe to stay updated on our latest content.