Protecting our Google Cloud customers from new vulnerabilities without impacting performance

If you’ve been keeping up on the latest tech news, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the CPU security flaw that Google’s Project Zero disclosed last Wednesday. On Friday, we answered some of your questions and detailed how we are protecting Cloud customer…

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.

What Google Cloud, G Suite and Chrome customers need to know about the industry-wide CPU vulnerability

Last year, Google’s Project Zero security team discovered a vulnerability affecting modern microprocessors. Since then, Google engineering teams have been working to protect our customers from the vulnerability across the entire suite of Google product…

Higher quality neural translations for a bunch more languages

Last November, people from Brazil to Turkey to Japan discovered that Google Translate for their language was suddenly more accurate and easier to understand. That’s because we introduced neural machine translation—using deep neural networks to translate entire sentences, rather than just phrases—for eight languages overall. Over the next couple of weeks, these improvements are coming to Google Translate in many more languages, starting right now with Hindi, Russian and Vietnamese.

Neural translation is a lot better than our previous technology, because we translate whole sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence. (Of course there’s lots of machine learning magic powering this under the hood, which you can read about on the Research blog.) This makes for translations that are usually more accurate and sound closer to the way people speak the language. Here’s one example to show how much it’s improved:

hindi translate

You’ll get these new translations automatically in most places Google Translate is available: in the iOS and Android apps, at translate.google.com, and through Google Search and the Google app. We’ll be introducing neural machine translation to even more languages over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for smoother, more fluent translations.

Finally, please keep contributing to Translate Community! Our translations are still far from perfect, and it helps everyone using Google Translate when you suggest improvements.

Higher quality neural translations for a bunch more languages

Last November, people from Brazil to Turkey to Japan discovered that Google Translate for their language was suddenly more accurate and easier to understand. That’s because we introduced neural machine translation—using deep neural networks to translate entire sentences, rather than just phrases—for eight languages overall. Over the next couple of weeks, these improvements are coming to Google Translate in many more languages, starting right now with Hindi, Russian and Vietnamese.

Neural translation is a lot better than our previous technology, because we translate whole sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence. (Of course there’s lots of machine learning magic powering this under the hood, which you can read about on the Research blog.) This makes for translations that are usually more accurate and sound closer to the way people speak the language. Here’s one example to show how much it’s improved:

hindi translate

You’ll get these new translations automatically in most places Google Translate is available: in the iOS and Android apps, at translate.google.com, and through Google Search and the Google app. We’ll be introducing neural machine translation to even more languages over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for smoother, more fluent translations.

Finally, please keep contributing to Translate Community! Our translations are still far from perfect, and it helps everyone using Google Translate when you suggest improvements.

Higher quality neural translations for a bunch more languages

Last November, people from Brazil to Turkey to Japan discovered that Google Translate for their language was suddenly more accurate and easier to understand. That’s because we introduced neural machine translation—using deep neural networks to translate entire sentences, rather than just phrases—for eight languages overall. Over the next couple of weeks, these improvements are coming to Google Translate in many more languages, starting right now with Hindi, Russian and Vietnamese.

Neural translation is a lot better than our previous technology, because we translate whole sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence. (Of course there’s lots of machine learning magic powering this under the hood, which you can read about on the Research blog.) This makes for translations that are usually more accurate and sound closer to the way people speak the language. Here’s one example to show how much it’s improved:

Hindi_GoogleTranslate_v4_Blog.gif

You’ll get these new translations automatically in most places Google Translate is available: in the iOS and Android apps, at translate.google.com, and through Google Search and the Google app. We’ll be introducing neural machine translation to even more languages over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for smoother, more fluent translations.

Finally, please keep contributing to Translate Community! Our translations are still far from perfect, and it helps everyone using Google Translate when you suggest improvements.

Lowering barriers to technology adoption: three tips from City Schools of Decatur

Editor’s note: Schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors for the ExploreEDU event series, which invites neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools. To see if there’s an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. Today’s guest author is Eston Melton, Director of Technology from City Schools of Decatur in Decatur, GA. The district hosted an event on February 22 at Google’s Atlanta office with their partner Promevo.

At City Schools of Decatur, we believe that technology should feel like an instinctive part of teaching and learning. Since adopting G Suite for Education in 2015 and Chromebooks in 2016, we’ve focused on making it as easy as possible for teachers and students to use new technology. Here are our main takeaways for lowering barriers to integrating technology:

1. Anticipate future needs

Four years ago, our fourth graders were issued one-to-one tablets. As these students approached eighth grade, our middle school’s leadership wanted to transition them to a device that would be easier to maintain while still meeting the requirements of our students’ learning; Chromebooks were identified as the solution. But after we deployed Chromebooks, we realized that we could have expanded the device vetting process district-wide to identify good fits for lower and higher grade levels at the same time. For instance, some elementary schools were keen to add Chromebooks, but needed a different type of Chromebook to fit smaller learners. To help us better anticipate such needs in the future, we’re creating a diverse team of IT staff, teachers, students and parents to standardize how we vet services and devices for all corners of our instructional program. This team will ensure that we can support successful initiatives that others could adopt down the road—not only for devices, but also the critical training and ongoing support needed to get the most from them.

2. Create clear access policies for teachers and students

Being thoughtful about how files and other materials are shared between students, teachers and administrators is critical. In one of my previous districts, students and staff initially had separate G Suite domains, which meant teachers and students struggled to share materials with each other. We avoided this issue at City Schools of Decatur because we set up both students and staff on a single G Suite domain, and our IT department created G Suite organizational units for staff and students that made setting different levels of permissions easy. That ease of sharing also meant that it was important to train staff on being deliberate with their sharing permissions in Drive. Comfort with Drive has allowed many of our teachers to use Google Classroom to share materials and assignments.

CitySchools_Decatur_teacher.png
Students using Chromebooks for online coursework guided by their teacher in the background. Photo credit: Katie Meyer.

3. Encourage experimentation in the classroom

We encourage students and teachers to experiment with technology so they can learn what works best for their own styles and needs. G Suite for Education lets students try new presentation styles by giving them access to collaborative tools such as Sheets and Slides. Students can also reach audiences beyond their peers by sharing their work with the public on channels such as our 3ten Convergence Media’s YouTube channel or our English students’ creative writing Blogger sites.

Students aren’t the only ones who experiment—we see staff use Google tools to implement quick improvements in their work as well. For example, when it was time for students to select their courses, our staff recognized that our course selection site featuring static PDFs was not user-friendly. Using Google Sites, our staff was able to rapidly implement several cycles of feedback to create an improved site, made better with an instructional video and cleaner layout.

Over the past few years, we’ve learned that technology adoption requires a balance of careful planning and open-mindedness. We believe this mindset is key to our district’s long-term success, and to the success of our students.

Lowering barriers to technology adoption: three tips from City Schools of Decatur

Editor’s note: Schools are working with Google for Education Premier Partners to throw open their doors for the ExploreEDU event series, which invites neighboring educators to learn first-hand from their own experiences using Google tools. To see if there’s an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site. Today’s guest author is Eston Melton, Director of Technology from City Schools of Decatur in Decatur, GA. The district hosted an event on February 22 at Google’s Atlanta office with their partner Promevo.

At City Schools of Decatur, we believe that technology should feel like an instinctive part of teaching and learning. Since adopting G Suite for Education in 2015 and Chromebooks in 2016, we’ve focused on making it as easy as possible for teachers and students to use new technology. Here are our main takeaways for lowering barriers to integrating technology:

1. Anticipate future needs

Four years ago, our fourth graders were issued one-to-one tablets. As these students approached eighth grade, our middle school’s leadership wanted to transition them to a device that would be easier to maintain while still meeting the requirements of our students’ learning; Chromebooks were identified as the solution. But after we deployed Chromebooks, we realized that we could have expanded the device vetting process district-wide to identify good fits for lower and higher grade levels at the same time. For instance, some elementary schools were keen to add Chromebooks, but needed a different type of Chromebook to fit smaller learners. To help us better anticipate such needs in the future, we’re creating a diverse team of IT staff, teachers, students and parents to standardize how we vet services and devices for all corners of our instructional program. This team will ensure that we can support successful initiatives that others could adopt down the road—not only for devices, but also the critical training and ongoing support needed to get the most from them.

2. Create clear access policies for teachers and students

Being thoughtful about how files and other materials are shared between students, teachers and administrators is critical. In one of my previous districts, students and staff initially had separate G Suite domains, which meant teachers and students struggled to share materials with each other. We avoided this issue at City Schools of Decatur because we set up both students and staff on a single G Suite domain, and our IT department created G Suite organizational units for staff and students that made setting different levels of permissions easy. That ease of sharing also meant that it was important to train staff on being deliberate with their sharing permissions in Drive. Comfort with Drive has allowed many of our teachers to use Google Classroom to share materials and assignments.

CitySchools_Decatur_teacher.png
Students using Chromebooks for online coursework guided by their teacher in the background. Photo credit: Katie Meyer.

3. Encourage experimentation in the classroom

We encourage students and teachers to experiment with technology so they can learn what works best for their own styles and needs. G Suite for Education lets students try new presentation styles by giving them access to collaborative tools such as Sheets and Slides. Students can also reach audiences beyond their peers by sharing their work with the public on channels such as our 3ten Convergence Media’s YouTube channel or our English students’ creative writing Blogger sites.

Students aren’t the only ones who experiment—we see staff use Google tools to implement quick improvements in their work as well. For example, when it was time for students to select their courses, our staff recognized that our course selection site featuring static PDFs was not user-friendly. Using Google Sites, our staff was able to rapidly implement several cycles of feedback to create an improved site, made better with an instructional video and cleaner layout.

Over the past few years, we’ve learned that technology adoption requires a balance of careful planning and open-mindedness. We believe this mindset is key to our district’s long-term success, and to the success of our students.