Providing more CS professional development for K-12 teachers with an expanded CS4HS

For more than five years, we’ve provided free and inexpensive teacher professional development trainings in computer science education through Computer Science for High School (CS4HS). In this program, Google provides funding and support for experts to create hands-on professional development training in CS education for K-12 educators. The goal is to arm teachers with the knowledge they need to help their students succeed in the field. The program has already trained more than 12,000 teachers, and reached more than 600,000 students—and we’ve gotten great feedback over the years (a 95% satisfaction rate!).

It’s been a great success, but there is still much more to do. So this year, we’re taking the first steps toward extending CS4HS across the globe. We’re piloting CS4HS projects in Latin America for the first time—an area where computer science education is often mistaken for computer literacy (think word processing, typing, or changing settings on your operating system rather than robotics or coding a game). We’re also introducing eight new online workshops, so teachers no longer need to be located near a CS4HS event to get quality training.

It’s not just the “where” we’re expanding, but the “when,” as well. We’re now providing new resources for teachers to get ongoing, year-round help. Our Google+ Community page hosts Hangouts on Air with CS industry leaders, Googlers, and top educators on a regular basis. And we’ve added a new Resources page with online workshops, tutorials and information on computational thinking, robotics and more. Finally, if you happen to be in the neighborhood at the right time, sign up for one of our in-person workshops available around the world in these locations:

Posted by Erin Mindell Cannon, Google Education Program Manager

Get Your Business Online Week starts today

Since getting online, Green Mountain Bee Farm in Fairfax, Vt. experienced a 5x increase in sales, and Christine Fitzpatrick Hair and Makeup in Birmingham, Mich. attracted 50 percent more clients. Getting online can make a big difference for small businesses—and stronger businesses makes for stronger communities. Online businesses are expected to grow 40 percent faster and create twice as many jobs as those that aren’t online,* but more than half of America’s small businesses currently don’t have a website.

That’s the inspiration behind Get Your Business Online Week, when we come together with local partners to get businesses in our communities online and growing. Starting today, we’ll broadcast free virtual workshops for business owners, available to anyone with an Internet connection. Here’s a glimpse of what you can look forward to:

  • Conversations with businesses that have prospered online, like Barkbox, GoldieBlox and Dollar Shave Club
  • Step-by-step demos on building a website and getting found on Search and Maps
  • Interviews with small business experts like SmallBizLady Melinda Emerson
  • Workshops on Google tools for businesses (Google Apps, Google Trends, Google Alerts), online advertising (AdWords), and measuring your success online (Analytics)
  • Free help and advice from experts over Helpouts by Google

We’re also teaming up with small business organizations across the country including local chambers of commerce, Small Business Development Centers and SCORE chapters to host live broadcasts of our trainings. You can find a screening closest to you on our website.

We’re excited to welcome small business everywhere to join us for this special week. Even if you don’t own a business, we encourage you to take part by spreading the word and inviting your favorite businesses to sign up.

See you on the web!

Posted by Amber Shapiro, on behalf of the Get Your Business Online team

*Source: BCG Report, “The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity,” March 2012

Encouraging the next generation of journalists: Google Journalism Fellowship Winners 2014

The Google Journalism Fellowship connects students interested in using technology to tell stories in new ways to the organizations that are pushing the boundaries of newsgathering and reporting. Over 10 weeks, Fellows work on projects ranging from building interactive news apps to researching stories, finding data and writing code. In this post, one of last year’s Fellows, Jan Lauren Boyles, shares her perspective on the benefits of the program and what this year’s Fellows stand to get out of it. -Ed.

At first, I thought it was just my imagination.

In the middle of my exams for my doctorate at American University last year, I got a call from the Pew Research Center offering me a Google Journalism Fellowship. Low on sleep, my first thought: “Was this offer all just a reverie, rendered by my foggy mind?”

In some ways, it turned out that that call really was the beginning of a dream.

I had applied for the Fellowship because I wanted to work with the brightest minds in media research and broaden my understanding of the intersections between journalism and technology. I was thrilled to work with leading experts at Pew Research to collect and analyze data that examined how social media is transforming the way Americans consume and share news. I also had a chance to learn from Google’s own mapping and data visualization specialists. But I never imagined we’d also shadow an editorial meeting at The Miami Herald, discuss the future of news with Knight Foundation staff, talk directly with news startup leaders and take part in a design sprint at a CIR/Google conference around data and the news.

The 2013 Google Journalism Fellows. The author is third from the right.

Many of the inaugural class of Google Fellows has gone on to carve out careers in the newsrooms of the 21st century. The Fellowship helped me land a full-time position at the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project as a research associate—a dream job, where I’ll use various research methods—from surveys to content analysis to good ol’ reporting—to help examine how news and information functions today. One key project that I’ll work on this year will be a deep examination of the flow of local news in society today.

Now a new class of Google Fellows gets a chance to fulfill their own dreams. These 11 students are people to watch—young scholars, computer scientists and practitioners who will likely create new journalism products and platforms that will change our engagement with news in the digital age.

This year’s organizations and Fellows are:

Congratulations to this year’s Fellows! We look forward to the energy you’ll bring to the host organizations this summer—and to watching your dreams become a reality.

Posted by Jan Lauren Boyles, Research Associate at Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project

Celebrating inspiring women around the world

Picture the women in your life—the women you admire. Your grandma. Your daughter. Toni Morrison. Maria Klawe. Temple Grandin. Malala. Somaly Mam. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate these phenomenal women and all the others around the world—to recognize their impact on society, and to focus on what still needs to be done to achieve gender equality. Today, Google is joining in and showcasing inspiring women of the past and present through a series of events, new content on the Cultural Institute and—of course—a doodle. Join us in celebrating women worldwide!

Celebrating technical women on stage at global Women Techmakers events
To help increase visibility, community and resources for technical women, we’re launching a series of 100+ Women Techmakers events in 52 countries to celebrate and support passionate techmakers around the world. Starting today and throughout March, the event series will feature panel discussions with talented female technology leaders, hands-on career planning workshops, networking opportunities and more. To learn more about the program and find an event near you, visit g.co/womentechmakers.

Shining a light on women in history and their collective impact
The Google Cultural Institute is launching Women in Culture, a new channel featuring exhibits that tell stories of women—some familiar and some lesser-known—and their impact on the world. Starting today, you can browse 18 new exhibits, from both new and existing Cultural Institute partners, including:

Since history has so often been biased, leaving out or sidelining contributions from women, the channel is also integrated with the rest of the Cultural Institute collections, making it easier for people to discover even more amazing stories about women throughout history.

A homepage homage
Women have been underrepresented in the history-telling of almost all fields: science, school curricula, business, politics—and, sadly, doodles. In addition to our continued effort for doodle diversity and inclusion, today’s truly International Women’s Day doodle features a host of more than 100 inspiring women from around the world, including the President of Lithuania, a brave Pakistani education activist, the most recorded artist in music history, an ever-curious explorer and dozens more.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Posted by Kyle Ewing, People Operations

#40Forward: 40 startup communities rethinking the gender gap

At age 40, my mom quit her job to start an employment agency for people with disabilities. Over the next few years and without a college degree or any formal funding, she grew her business to employ more than 30 people and serve thousands of clients.

Though to me she’s one-of-a-kind, it turns out there are other women like my mom out there. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, women make up 30 percent of U.S. business owners and employ nearly 7.8 million workers. Even though women-owned enterprises operate with far less capital, in the venture-backed tech industry, they produce 12 percent higher returns. That means that not only is supporting women in business the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.

In an effort to find new ways to advance female entrepreneurs, this week Google for Entrepreneurs is committing $1 million in aggregate to 40 startup-focused organizations, challenging them to increase the representation of women in their respective tech communities. From simply changing the times of events to accommodate busy moms to teaching young girls to see themselves as entrepreneurs, 40 of our partner communities will soon launch new programs and outreach initiatives to encourage women founders. We’re calling this collective effort #40Forward. Here are a few highlights from our global community:

  • 1871 in Chicago is launching a new accelerator program for women founded or co-founded companies that’s more flexible and family-friendly, with a customized plan for each startup.
  • Gaza Sky Geeks in Gaza is providing rewards for women attending startup events to demonstrate the economic value of them getting involved in tech to their families.
  • Startup Grind chapters all over the world are hosting Women Take the Stage fireside chats featuring successful women business leaders in their communities.
  • Outbox in Uganda is launching a year-long training to teach young women programming and entrepreneurial skills.
  • Astia is increasing female entrepreneurs’ access to capital by creating monthly opportunities for women-led companies to pitch to world-class investors.

Along with our 40 partners, we hope to create more inclusive networks and to move the needle for entrepreneurs like my mom—and young women like me who aspire to be like her. Follow and participate in the conversation throughout the month of March using #40Forward on Google+ and Twitter.

Posted by Bridgette Sexton Beam, Global Entrepreneurship Manager

Solve for X 2014: Celebrating and accelerating moonshot pioneers

Last week, Solve for X gathered 60 entrepreneurs and scientists from around the world to discuss 18 moonshot proposals—world-changing projects that work to address a huge problem, suggest a radical solution and use some form of breakthrough technology to make it work.

Solve for X attendee Sara Menker shares ideas and critique from her group’s brainstorming session.

Ira Glass opened the summit with a talk on climate change entitled “Ira Glass tries to boss you into a moonshot.” Ira mixed data, devastating personal experiences, potential technical solutions and insightful ways to think about the issue and made an excellent case that generalists should consider shifting focus to climate change.

Following Ira’s talk, we heard proposals on a wide variety of topics, including: Leslie Dewan’s proposal for generating power from nuclear waste building on technology ideas abandoned in the 1950s; Lonnie Johnson’s JTEC invention, which would allow us to convert heat directly into electricity; Howard Shapiro’s global collaboration that uses some of the newest and oldest technologies in agriculture to end stunting for rural poor; Julia Greer’s exploration of the relationship between a material’s strength and its weight through 3D architected nanomaterials; Yael Hanein’s artificial solar retina, which has the potential to cure blindness; Erez Livneh’s virus decoys, which could slow and eliminate disease; and Asel Sartbeava’s proposal for thermally stable vaccines that remove the need for refrigeration cold chain during transport.

Ido Bachelet explains how certain surgical interventions could be accomplished through nanorobots.

During a “show and tell” session, participants from previous Solve for X events shared updates on their moonshots. Omri Amirav-Drory showed us plants that glow when activated; Dr. Keith Black brought delicious Dr. Black’s Brain Bars; Karen Gleason brought solar cells printed on paper; Andras Forgacs brought the first “steak chips” that Modern Meadow is beta-“tasting.”

Suchitra Sebastian’s demonstration during her proposal on a new generation of superconductors.

In an effort to include more people in the Solve for X experience, this year we ran 10 experiments to bring our exploration session format into other organizations’ events, including TEDx Beacon Street, SXSW and Tribeca Film Festival; we even held an event on Capitol Hill. FabLab, ReWork and AAAS recently became collaborators, joining Singularity University, XPrize, TED and others. We hope we’ll run into you at an event in your area.

To learn more, watch our video “On Taking Moonshots” in which several moonshot pioneers talk about the mindset needed to do this kind of breakthrough work. You can find all 18 of the proposals from the 2014 Summit, as well as 200+ moonshots posted by other pioneers, at SolveforX.com. You can also submit moonshots—your own or others that fit the tech moonshot proposal format. Join our #TechMoonshots conversations on Google+ and Twitter.

Posted by Megan Smith and Astro Teller, co-hosts/creators of Solve for X

Remembering Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela devoted his life to promoting democracy and equality, and he leaves behind a legacy of peaceful change. In advance of Mandela’s funeral service on Sunday in Qunu, South Africa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Mpho Tutu, the first female Irish president, Mary Robinson, and Sir Richard Branson will come together for a digital eulogy using Google+ Hangouts.

Join them tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. EST. The conversation will be hosted by PeaceJam and The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, and moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Share your questions for the participants with #MandelaTribute. Tune in to celebrate the life of an individual who changed the world.

Posted by the Google Blog Team

Growing our support for veterans and military families

Over the past year, more and more Googlers have had the chance to meet service members and hear their stories through the Google Veterans Network—our employee resource group. These interactions have led to a greater understanding of the challenges the veteran community faces and have inspired many teams across Google to find additional ways for our technology to help.

This Veterans Day, on behalf of the Google Veterans Network and all Googlers, we’re proud to share some of the new ways we’re working with partners to support the military veteran community.

  • Helpouts by Google allows anyone to give and receive help over live video, and we think it can be an effective platform for nonprofit and veteran service organizations to connect with veterans and their families. Helpouts for veterans are already available, ranging from guidance for veteran education benefits to entrepreneurship/business planning. Because Helpouts is HIPAA-compliant, providers such as Give an Hour can provide secure and confidential mental health care sessions online—particularly useful for those veterans who are physically unable to travel from their homes.
  • Tour Builder is a storytelling tool in beta that enables anyone to record memories of their travels in Google Earth. Tour Builder was inspired by the accomplishments of military service members around the globe. We hope it will give veterans an easy way to share their journeys with loved ones at home and to preserve the legacy of their service for generations to come.
  • 13.5 percent of the nation’s businesses are run by veterans, employing a collective 8.2 million people. In recognition of the contributions veterans make to the economy, the Google Enterprise blog and Google+ page will share stories throughout the week from veteran-owned business and service organizations that achieved success with the help of Google Apps—like RuckPack Combat Nutrition:

Our professional development programs that pair Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with Google mentors continue to grow. This past summer, we hosted resume writing workshops for 350+ student veterans in 12 Google offices in partnership with Student Veterans of America and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Last week, working collaboratively with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, we welcomed more than 100 injured post-9/11 veterans and their loved ones to Google NYC for a tech immersion and mentoring day. Finally, VetNet, the Google+ career services platform we launched last year with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Hire Heroes USA, has helped thousands of veterans prepare for civilian careers.

Follow us at google.com/+GoogleForVeterans to let us know how else we can help and to stay up to date on our activities througout the year. Happy Veterans Day!

Posted by Carrie Laureno, Audience Evangelist & Founder, Google Veterans Network

New free expression tools from Google Ideas

As long as people have expressed ideas, others have tried to silence them. Today one out of every three people lives in a society that is severely censored. Online barriers can include everything from filters that block content to targeted attacks designed to take down websites. For many people, these obstacles are more than an inconvenience—they represent full-scale repression.

This week, in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Gen Next Foundation, Google Ideas—our “think/do tank”—is hosting a summit in New York entitled “Conflict in a Connected World.”

The summit brings together “hacktivists,” security experts, entrepreneurs, dissidents and others to explore the changing nature of conflict and how online tools and can both harm and protect. We’re also assessing what might be done to better protect people confronting online censorship. With our partners, we will launch several new products and initiatives designed to help:

  • Project Shield is an initiative that enables people to use Google’s technology to better protect websites that might otherwise have been taken offline by “distributed denial of service” (DDoS) attacks. We’re currently inviting webmasters serving independent news, human rights, and elections-related content to apply to join our next round of trusted testers.
  • The Digital Attack Map is a live data visualization, built through a collaboration between Arbor Networks and Google Ideas, that maps DDoS attacks designed to take down websites—and their content—around the globe. This tool shows real-time anonymous traffic data related to these attacks on free speech, and also lets people explore historic trends and see related news reports of outages happening on a given day.
  • uProxy is a new browser extension under development that lets friends provide each other with a trusted pathway to the web, helping protect an Internet connection from filtering, surveillance or misdirection. The University of Washington and Brave New Software developed the tool, which was seeded by Google Ideas. To learn more about the challenges uProxy aims to address, watch our video.

Information technologies have transformed conflict in our connected world, and access to the free flow of information is increasingly critical. This week’s summit—as well as Shield, the Digital Attack Map and uProxy—are all steps we’re taking to help those fighting for free expression around the globe.

Posted by Jared Cohen, Director, Google Ideas

Make the most of the last weeks of summer

A couple of weeks ago, I took a summer trip with friends. I found myself using plenty of Google tools while we were on vacation: from finding the best flight there and a last-minute hostel reservation, to discovering hidden gems in each city we visited, even I was surprised by how much Google made everything easier and smoother.

With that inspiration, we’ve created a one stop shop at g.co/summer with tips to help you also make the most of these last few weeks of summer.

Here are a few tips you might find useful too:

Meanwhile, my mom back home in New York found some great local activities and museum exhibits, like the MOMA Rain Room, using Google Now in her Google Search app. She even tried some Google+ MakerCamp classes, which inspired her to create her own DIY projects at home.

Post about your summer using hashtag #SummerTimes, and see what other folks are up to.

Happy summer!

Posted by Liz Wessel, Marketing Manager and Summer Traveler