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.

Google Research and Daydream Labs: Seeing eye to eye in mixed reality

Virtual reality lets you experience amazing things—from exploring new worlds, to painting with trails of stars, to defending your fleet to save the world. But, headsets can get in the way. If you’re watching someone else use VR, it’s hard to tell what’s going on and what they’re seeing. And if you’re in VR with someone else, there aren’t easy ways to see their facial expressions without an avatar representation.

Daydream Labs and Google Research teamed up to start exploring how to solve these problems. Using a combination of machine learning, 3D computer vision, and advanced rendering techniques, we’re now able to “remove” headsets and show a person’s identity, focus and full face in mixed reality. Mixed reality is a way to convey what’s happening inside and outside a virtual place in a two dimensional format. With this new technology, we’re able to make a more complete picture of the person in VR.

Using a calibrated VR setup including a headset (like the HTC Vive), a green screen, and a video camera, combined with accurate tracking and segmentation, you can see the “real world” and the interactive virtual elements together. We used it to show you what Tilt Brush can do and took Conan O’Brien on a virtual trip to outer space from our YouTube Space in New York. Unfortunately, in mixed reality, faces are obstructed by headsets. 

Steve Teeps in Tilt Brush

Artist Steve Teeple in Tilt Brush, shown in traditional mixed reality on the left and with headset removal on the right, which reveals the face and eyes for a more engaging experience.

The first step to removing the VR headset is to construct a dynamic 3D model of the person’s face, capturing facial variations as they blink or look in different directions. This model allows us to mimic where the person is looking, even though it’s hidden under the headset.

Next, we use an HTC Vive, modified by SMI to include eye-tracking, to capture the person’s eye-gaze from inside the headset. From there, we create the illusion of the person’s face by aligning and blending the 3D face model with a camera’s video stream. A translucent “scuba mask” look helps avoid an “uncanny valley” effect.

Finally, we composite the person into the virtual world, which requires calibrating between the Vive tracking system and the external camera. We’re able to automate this and make it highly accurate so movement looks natural. The end result is a complete view of both the virtual world and the person in it, including their entire face and where they’re looking.

Google Research and Daydream Labs headset removal

Our initial work focused on mixed reality is just one potential application of this technology. Seeing beyond VR headsets could help enhance communication and social interaction in VR. Imagine being able to VR video conference and see the expressions and nonverbal cues of the people you are talking to, or seeing your friend’s reactions as you play your favorite game together.

It’s just the beginning for this technology and we’ll share more moving forward. But, if you’re game to go deeper, we’ve described the technical details on the Google Research blog. This is an ongoing collaboration between Google Research, Daydream Labs, and the YouTube team. We’re making mixed reality capabilities available in select YouTube Spaces and are exploring how to bring this technology to select creators in the future. 

Google Research and Daydream Labs: Seeing eye to eye in mixed reality

Virtual reality lets you experience amazing things—from exploring new worlds, to painting with trails of stars, to defending your fleet to save the world. But, headsets can get in the way. If you’re watching someone else use VR, it’s hard to tell what’s going on and what they’re seeing. And if you’re in VR with someone else, there aren’t easy ways to see their facial expressions without an avatar representation.

Daydream Labs and Google Research teamed up to start exploring how to solve these problems. Using a combination of machine learning, 3D computer vision, and advanced rendering techniques, we’re now able to “remove” headsets and show a person’s identity, focus and full face in mixed reality. Mixed reality is a way to convey what’s happening inside and outside a virtual place in a two dimensional format. With this new technology, we’re able to make a more complete picture of the person in VR.

Using a calibrated VR setup including a headset (like the HTC Vive), a green screen, and a video camera, combined with accurate tracking and segmentation, you can see the “real world” and the interactive virtual elements together. We used it to show you what Tilt Brush can do and took Conan O’Brien on a virtual trip to outer space from our YouTube Space in New York. Unfortunately, in mixed reality, faces are obstructed by headsets. 

Steve Teeps in Tilt Brush

Artist Steve Teeple in Tilt Brush, shown in traditional mixed reality on the left and with headset removal on the right, which reveals the face and eyes for a more engaging experience.

The first step to removing the VR headset is to construct a dynamic 3D model of the person’s face, capturing facial variations as they blink or look in different directions. This model allows us to mimic where the person is looking, even though it’s hidden under the headset.

Next, we use an HTC Vive, modified by SMI to include eye-tracking, to capture the person’s eye-gaze from inside the headset. From there, we create the illusion of the person’s face by aligning and blending the 3D face model with a camera’s video stream. A translucent “scuba mask” look helps avoid an “uncanny valley” effect.

Finally, we composite the person into the virtual world, which requires calibrating between the Vive tracking system and the external camera. We’re able to automate this and make it highly accurate so movement looks natural. The end result is a complete view of both the virtual world and the person in it, including their entire face and where they’re looking.

Google Research and Daydream Labs headset removal

Our initial work focused on mixed reality is just one potential application of this technology. Seeing beyond VR headsets could help enhance communication and social interaction in VR. Imagine being able to VR video conference and see the expressions and nonverbal cues of the people you are talking to, or seeing your friend’s reactions as you play your favorite game together.

It’s just the beginning for this technology and we’ll share more moving forward. But, if you’re game to go deeper, we’ve described the technical details on the Google Research blog. This is an ongoing collaboration between Google Research, Daydream Labs, and the YouTube team. We’re making mixed reality capabilities available in select YouTube Spaces and are exploring how to bring this technology to select creators in the future.