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100 announcements (!) from Google Cloud Next '17100 announcements (!) from Google Cloud Next '17

  • San Francisco — What a week! Google Cloud Next ‘17 has come to the end, but really, it’s just the beginning. We welcomed 10,000+ attendees including customers, partners, developers, IT leaders, engineers, press, analysts, cloud enthusiasts (and skeptics). Together we engaged in 3 days of keynotes, 200+ sessions, and 4 invitation-only summits. Hard to believe this was our first show as all of Google Cloud with GCP, G Suite, Chrome, Maps and Education. Thank you to all who were here with us in San Francisco this week, and we hope to see you next year.

    If you’re a fan of video highlights, we’ve got you covered. Check out our Day 1 keynote (in less than 4 minutes) and Day 2 keynote (in under 5!).

    One of the common refrains from customers and partners throughout the conference was “Wow, you’ve been busy. I can’t believe how many announcements you’ve had at Next!” So we decided to count all the announcements from across Google Cloud and in fact we had 100 (!) announcements this week.

    For the list lovers amongst you, we’ve compiled a handy-dandy run-down of our announcements from the past few days:

    Google Cloud is excited to welcome two new acquisitions to the Google Cloud family this week, Kaggle and AppBridge.

    1Kaggle - Kaggle is one of the world's largest communities of data scientists and machine learning enthusiasts. Kaggle and Google Cloud will continue to support machine learning training and deployment services in addition to offering the community the ability to store and query large datasets.

    2AppBridge - Google Cloud acquired Vancouver-based AppBridge this week, which helps you migrate data from on-prem file servers into G Suite and Google Drive.

    Google Cloud brings a suite of new security features to Google Cloud Platform and G Suite designed to help safeguard your company’s assets and prevent disruption to your business: 

    3Identity-Aware Proxy (IAP) for Google Cloud Platform (Beta) - Identity-Aware Proxy lets you provide access to applications based on risk, rather than using a VPN. It provides secure application access from anywhere, restricts access by user, identity and group, deploys with integrated phishing resistant Security Key and is easier to setup than end-user VPN.

    4Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Google Cloud Platform (Beta) - Data Loss Prevention API lets you scan data for 40+ sensitive data types, and is used as part of DLP in Gmail and Drive. You can find and redact sensitive data stored in GCP, invigorate old applications with new sensitive data sensing “smarts” and use predefined detectors as well as customize your own.

    5Key Management Service (KMS) for Google Cloud Platform (GA) - Key Management Service allows you to generate, use, rotate, and destroy symmetric encryption keys for use in the cloud.

    6Security Key Enforcement (SKE) for Google Cloud Platform (GA) - Security Key Enforcement allows you to require security keys be used as the 2-Step verification factor for enhanced anti-phishing security whenever a GCP application is accessed.

    7Vault for Google Drive (GA) - Google Vault is the eDiscovery and archiving solution for G Suite. Vault enables admins to easily manage their G Suite data lifecycle and search, preview and export the G Suite data in their domain. Vault for Drive enables full support for Google Drive content, including Team Drive files.

    8Google-designed security chip, Titan - Google uses Titan to establish hardware root of trust, allowing us to securely identify and authenticate legitimate access at the hardware level. Titan includes a hardware random number generator, performs cryptographic operations in the isolated memory, and has a dedicated secure processor (on-chip).

    New GCP data analytics products and services help organizations solve business problems with data, rather than spending time and resources building, integrating and managing the underlying infrastructure:

    9BigQuery Data Transfer Service (Private Beta) - BigQuery Data Transfer Service makes it easy for users to quickly get value from all their Google-managed advertising datasets. With just a few clicks, marketing analysts can schedule data imports from Google Adwords, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick for Publishers and YouTube Content and Channel Owner reports.

    10Cloud Dataprep (Private Beta) - Cloud Dataprep is a new managed data service, built in collaboration with Trifacta, that makes it faster and easier for BigQuery end-users to visually explore and prepare data for analysis without the need for dedicated data engineer resources.

    11New Commercial Datasets - Businesses often look for datasets (public or commercial) outside their organizational boundaries. Commercial datasets offered include financial market data from Xignite, residential real-estate valuations (historical and projected) from HouseCanary, predictions for when a house will go on sale from Remine, historical weather data from AccuWeather, and news archives from Dow Jones, all immediately ready for use in BigQuery (with more to come as new partners join the program).

    12Python for Google Cloud Dataflow in GA - Cloud Dataflow is a fully managed data processing service supporting both batch and stream execution of pipelines. Until recently, these benefits have been available solely to Java developers. Now there’s a Python SDK for Cloud Dataflow in GA.

    13Stackdriver Monitoring for Cloud Dataflow (Beta) - We’ve integrated Cloud Dataflow with Stackdriver Monitoring so that you can access and analyze Cloud Dataflow job metrics and create alerts for specific Dataflow job conditions.

    14Google Cloud Datalab in GA - This interactive data science workflow tool makes it easy to do iterative model and data analysis in a Jupyter notebook-based environment using standard SQL, Python and shell commands.

    15Cloud Dataproc updates - Our fully managed service for running Apache Spark, Flink and Hadoop pipelines has new support for restarting failed jobs (including automatic restart as needed) in beta, the ability to create single-node clusters for lightweight sandbox development, in beta, GPU support, and the cloud labels feature, for more flexibility managing your Dataproc resources, is now GA.

    New GCP databases and database features round out a platform on which developers can build great applications across a spectrum of use cases:

    16Cloud SQL for Postgre SQL (Beta) - Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL implements the same design principles currently reflected in Cloud SQL for MySQL, namely, the ability to securely store and connect to your relational data via open standards.

    17Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise (GA) - Available on Google Compute Engine, plus support for Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) and SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability (GA).

    18Cloud SQL for MySQL improvements - Increased performance for demanding workloads via 32-core instances with up to 208GB of RAM, and central management of resources via Identity and Access Management (IAM) controls.

    19Cloud Spanner - Launched a month ago, but still, it would be remiss not to mention it because, hello, it’s Cloud Spanner! The industry’s first horizontally scalable, globally consistent, relational database service.

    20SSD persistent-disk performance improvements - SSD persistent disks now have increased throughput and IOPS performance, which are particularly beneficial for database and analytics workloads. Read these docs for complete details about persistent-disk performance.

    21Federated query on Cloud Bigtable - We’ve extended BigQuery’s reach to query data inside Cloud Bigtable, the NoSQL database service for massive analytic or operational workloads that require low latency and high throughput (particularly common in Financial Services and IoT use cases).

    New GCP Cloud Machine Learning services bolster our efforts to make machine learning accessible to organizations of all sizes and sophistication:

    22.  Cloud Machine Learning Engine (GA) - Cloud ML Engine, now generally available, is for organizations that want to train and deploy their own models into production in the cloud.

    23Cloud Video Intelligence API (Private Beta) - A first of its kind, Cloud Video Intelligence API lets developers easily search and discover video content by providing information about entities (nouns such as “dog,” “flower”, or “human” or verbs such as “run,” “swim,” or “fly”) inside video content.

    24Cloud Vision API (GA) - Cloud Vision API reaches GA and offers new capabilities for enterprises and partners to classify a more diverse set of images. The API can now recognize millions of entities from Google’s Knowledge Graph and offers enhanced OCR capabilities that can extract text from scans of text-heavy documents such as legal contracts or research papers or books.

    25Machine learning Advanced Solution Lab (ASL) - ASL provides dedicated facilities for our customers to directly collaborate with Google’s machine-learning experts to apply ML to their most pressing challenges.

    26. Cloud Jobs API - A powerful aid to job search and discovery, Cloud Jobs API now has new features such as Commute Search, which will return relevant jobs based on desired commute time and preferred mode of transportation.

    27Machine Learning Startup Competition - We announced a Machine Learning Startup Competition in collaboration with venture capital firms Data Collective and Emergence Capital, and with additional support from a16z, Greylock Partners, GV, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

    New GCP pricing continues our intention to create customer-friendly pricing that’s as smart as our products; and support services that are geared towards meeting our customers where they are:

    28Compute Engine price cuts - Continuing our history of pricing leadership, we’ve cut Google Compute Engine prices by up to 8%.

    29Committed Use Discounts - With Committed Use Discounts, customers can receive a discount of up to 57% off our list price, in exchange for a one or three year purchase commitment paid monthly, with no upfront costs.

    30Free trial extended to 12 months - We’ve extended our free trial from 60 days to 12 months, allowing you to use your $300 credit across all GCP services and APIs, at your own pace and schedule. Plus, we’re introduced new Always Free products -- non-expiring usage limits that you can use to test and develop applications at no cost. Visit the Google Cloud Platform Free Tier page for details.

    31Engineering Support - Our new Engineering Support offering is a role-based subscription model that allows us to match engineer to engineer, to meet you where your business is, no matter what stage of development you’re in. It has 3 tiers:

    • Development engineering support - ideal for developers or QA engineers that can manage with a response within four to eight business hours, priced at $100/user per month.
    • Production engineering support provides a one-hour response time for critical issues at $250/user per month.
    • On-call engineering support pages a Google engineer and delivers a 15-minute response time 24x7 for critical issues at $1,500/user per month.

    32Cloud.google.com/community site - Google Cloud Platform Community is a new site to learn, connect and share with other people like you, who are interested in GCP. You can follow along with tutorials or submit one yourself, find meetups in your area, and learn about community resources for GCP support, open source projects and more.

    New GCP developer platforms and tools reinforce our commitment to openness and choice and giving you what you need to move fast and focus on great code.

    33Google AppEngine Flex (GA) - We announced a major expansion of our popular App Engine platform to new developer communities that emphasizes openness, developer choice, and application portability.

    34Cloud Functions (Beta) - Google Cloud Functions has launched into public beta. It is a serverless environment for creating event-driven applications and microservices, letting you build and connect cloud services with code.

    35Firebase integration with GCP (GA) - Firebase Storage is now Google Cloud Storage for Firebase and adds support for multiple buckets, support for linking to existing buckets, and integrates with Google Cloud Functions.

    36Cloud Container Builder - Cloud Container Builder is a standalone tool that lets you build your Docker containers on GCP regardless of deployment environment. It’s a fast, reliable, and consistent way to package your software into containers as part of an automated workflow.

    37. Community Tutorials (Beta)  - With community tutorials, anyone can now submit or request a technical how-to for Google Cloud Platform.

    Secure, global and high-performance, we’ve built our cloud for the long haul. This week we announced a slew of new infrastructure updates. 

    38. New data center region: California - This new GCP region delivers lower latency for customers on the West Coast of the U.S. and adjacent geographic areas. Like other Google Cloud regions, it will feature a minimum of three zones, benefit from Google’s global, private fibre network, and offer a complement of GCP services.

    39. New data center region: Montreal - This new GCP region delivers lower latency for customers in Canada and adjacent geographic areas. Like other Google Cloud regions, it will feature a minimum of three zones, benefit from Google’s global, private fibre network, and offer a complement of GCP services.

    40. New data center region: Netherlands - This new GCP region delivers lower latency for customers in Western Europe and adjacent geographic areas. Like other Google Cloud regions, it will feature a minimum of three zones, benefit from Google’s global, private fibre network, and offer a complement of GCP services.

    41. Google Container Engine - Managed Nodes - Google Container Engine (GKE) has added Automated Monitoring and Repair of your GKE nodes, letting you focus on your applications while Google ensures your cluster is available and up-to-date.

    42. 64 Core machines + more memory - We have doubled the number of vCPUs you can run in an instance from 32 to 64 and up to 416GB of memory per instance.

    43. Internal Load balancing (GA) - Internal Load Balancing, now GA, lets you run and scale your services behind a private load balancing IP address which is accessible only to your internal instances, not the internet.

    44. Cross-Project Networking (Beta) - Cross-Project Networking (XPN), now in beta, is a virtual network that provides a common network across several Google Cloud Platform projects, enabling simple multi-tenant deployments.

    In the past year, we’ve launched 300+ features and updates for G Suite and this week we announced our next generation of collaboration and communication tools.

    45. Team Drives (GA for G Suite Business, Education and Enterprise customers) - Team Drives help teams simply and securely manage permissions, ownership and file access for an organization within Google Drive.

    46. Drive File Stream (EAP) - Drive File Stream is a way to quickly stream files directly from the cloud to your computer With Drive File Steam, company data can be accessed directly from your laptop, even if you don’t have much space on your hard drive.

    47. Google Vault for Drive (GA for G Suite Business, Education and Enterprise customers) - Google Vault for Drive now gives admins the governance controls they need to manage and secure all of their files, including employee Drives and Team Drives. Google Vault for Drive also lets admins set retention policies that automatically keep what’s needed and delete what’s not.

    48. Quick Access in Team Drives (GA) - powered by Google’s machine intelligence, Quick Access helps to surface the right information for employees at the right time within Google Drive. Quick Access now works with Team Drives on iOS and Android devices, and is coming soon to the web.

    49. Hangouts Meet (GA to existing customers) - Hangouts Meet is a new video meeting experience built on the Hangouts that can run 30-person video conferences without accounts, plugins or downloads. For G Suite Enterprise customers, each call comes with a dedicated dial-in phone number so that team members on the road can join meetings without wifi or data issues.

    50. Hangouts Chat (EAP) - Hangouts Chat is an intelligent communication app in Hangouts with dedicated, virtual rooms that connect cross-functional enterprise teams. Hangouts Chat integrates with G Suite apps like Drive and Docs, as well as photos, videos and other third-party enterprise apps.

    51. @meet - @meet is an intelligent bot built on top of the Hangouts platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to automatically schedule meetings for your team with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar.

    52. Gmail Add-ons for G Suite (Developer Preview) - Gmail Add-ons provide a way to surface the functionality of your app or service directly in Gmail. With Add-ons, developers only build their integration once, and it runs natively in Gmail on web, Android and iOS.

    53. Edit Opportunities in Google Sheets - with Edit Opportunities in Google Sheets, sales reps can sync a Salesforce Opportunity List View to Sheets to bulk edit data and changes are synced automatically to Salesforce, no upload required.

    54. Jamboard - Our whiteboard in the cloud goes GA in May! Jamboard merges the worlds of physical and digital creativity. It’s real time collaboration on a brilliant scale, whether your team is together in the conference room or spread all over the world.

    Building on the momentum from a growing number of businesses using Chrome digital signage and kiosks, we added new management tools and APIs in addition to introducing support for Android Kiosk apps on supported Chrome devices. 

    55. Android Kiosk Apps for Chrome - Android Kiosk for Chrome lets users manage and deploy Chrome digital signage and kiosks for both web and Android apps. And with Public Session Kiosks, IT admins can now add a number of Chrome packaged apps alongside hosted apps.

    56. Chrome Kiosk Management Free trial - This free trial gives customers an easy way to test out Chrome for signage and kiosk deployments.

    57. Chrome Device Management (CDM) APIs for Kiosks - These APIs offer programmatic access to various Kiosk policies. IT admins can schedule a device reboot through the new APIs and integrate that functionality directly in a third- party console.

    58. Chrome Stability API - This new API allows Kiosk app developers to improve the reliability of the application and the system.

    Attendees at Google Cloud Next ‘17 heard stories from many of our valued customers:

    59. Colgate - Colgate-Palmolive partnered with Google Cloud and SAP to bring thousands of employees together through G Suite collaboration and productivity tools. The company deployed G Suite to 28,000 employees in less than six months.

    60. Disney Consumer Products & Interactive (DCPI) - DCPI is on target to migrate out of its legacy infrastructure this year, and is leveraging machine learning to power next generation guest experiences.

    61. eBay - eBay uses Google Cloud technologies including Google Container Engine, Machine Learning and AI for its ShopBot, a personal shopping bot on Facebook Messenger.

    62. HSBC - HSBC is one of the world's largest financial and banking institutions and making a large investment in transforming its global IT. The company is working closely with Google to deploy Cloud DataFlow, BigQuery and other data services to power critical proof of concept projects.

    63. LUSH - LUSH migrated its global e-commerce site from AWS to GCP in less than six weeks, significantly improving the reliability and stability of its site. LUSH benefits from GCP’s ability to scale as transaction volume surges, which is critical for a retail business. In addition, Google's commitment to renewable energy sources aligns with LUSH's ethical principles.

    64. Oden Technologies - Oden was part of Google Cloud’s startup program, and switched its entire platform to GCP from AWS. GCP offers Oden the ability to reliably scale while keeping costs low, perform under heavy loads and consistently delivers sophisticated features including machine learning and data analytics.

    65. Planet - Planet migrated to GCP in February, looking to accelerate their workloads and leverage Google Cloud for several key advantages: price stability and predictability, custom instances, first-class Kubernetes support, and Machine Learning technology. Planet also announced the beta release of their Explorer platform.

    66. Schlumberger - Schlumberger is making a critical investment in the cloud, turning to GCP to enable high-performance computing, remote visualization and development velocity. GCP is helping Schlumberger deliver innovative products and services to its customers by using HPC to scale data processing, workflow and advanced algorithms.

    67. The Home Depot - The Home Depot collaborated with GCP’s Customer Reliability Engineering team to migrate HomeDepot.com to the cloud in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Moving to GCP has allowed the company to better manage huge traffic spikes at peak shopping times throughout the year.

    68. Verizon - Verizon is deploying G Suite to more than 150,000 of its employees, allowing for collaboration and flexibility in the workplace while maintaining security and compliance standards. Verizon and Google Cloud have been working together for more than a year to bring simple and secure productivity solutions to Verizon’s workforce.

    We brought together Google Cloud partners from our growing ecosystem across G Suite, GCP, Maps, Devices and Education. Our partnering philosophy is driven by a set of principles that emphasize openness, innovation, fairness, transparency and shared success in the cloud market. Here are some of our partners who were out in force at the show:

    69. Accenture - Accenture announced that it has designed a mobility solution for Rentokil, a global pest control company, built in collaboration with Google as part of the partnership announced at Horizon in September.

    70. Alooma - Alooma announced the integration of the Alooma service with Google Cloud SQL and BigQuery.

    71. Authorized Training Partner Program - To help companies scale their training offerings more quickly, and to enable Google to add other training partners to the ecosystem, we are introducing a new track within our partner program to support their unique offerings and needs.

    72. Check Point - Check Point® Software Technologies announced Check Point vSEC for Google Cloud Platform, delivering advanced security integrated with GCP as well as their joining of the Google Cloud Technology Partner Program.

    73. CloudEndure - We’re collaborating with CloudEndure to offer a no cost, self-service migration tool for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) customers.

    74. Coursera - Coursera announced that it is collaborating with Google Cloud Platform to provide an extensive range of Google Cloud training course. To celebrate this announcement  Coursera is offering all NEXT attendees a 100% discount for the GCP fundamentals class.

    75. DocuSign - DocuSign announced deeper integrations with Google Docs.

    76. Egnyte - Egnyte announced an enhanced integration with Google Docs that will allow our joint customers to create, edit, and store Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files right from within the Egnyte Connect.

    77. Google Cloud Global Partner Awards - We recognized 12 Google Cloud partners that demonstrated strong customer success and solution innovation over the past year: Accenture, Pivotal, LumApps, Slack, Looker, Palo Alto Networks, Virtru, SoftBank, DoIT, Snowdrop Solutions, CDW Corporation, and SYNNEX Corporation.

    78. iCharts - iCharts announced additional support for several GCP databases, free pivot tables for current Google BigQuery users, and a new product dubbed “iCharts for SaaS.”

    79. Intel - In addition to the progress with Skylake, Intel and Google Cloud launched several technology initiatives and market education efforts covering IoT, Kubernetes and TensorFlow, including optimizations, a developer program and tool kits.

    80. Intuit - Intuit announced Gmail Add-Ons, which are designed to integrate custom workflows into Gmail based on the context of a given email.

    81. Liftigniter - Liftigniter is a member of Google Cloud’s startup program and focused on machine learning personalization using predictive analytics to improve CTR on web and in-app.

    82. Looker - Looker launched a suite of Looker Blocks, compatible with Google BigQuery Data Transfer Service, designed to give marketers the tools to enhance analysis of their critical data.

    83. Low interest loans for partners - To help Premier Partners grow their teams, Google announced that capital investment are available to qualified partners in the form of low interest loans.

    84. MicroStrategy - MicroStrategy announced an integration with Google Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL and Google Cloud SQL for MySQL.

    85. New incentives to accelerate partner growth - We are increasing our investments in multiple existing and new incentive programs; including, low interest loans to help Premier Partners grow their teams, increasing co-funding to accelerate deals, and expanding our rebate programs.

    86. Orbitera Test Drives for GCP Partners - Test Drives allow customers to try partners’ software and generate high quality leads that can be passed directly to the partners’ sales teams. Google is offering Premier Cloud Partners one year of free Test Drives on Orbitera.

    87. Partner specializations - Partners demonstrating strong customer success and technical proficiency in certain solution areas will now qualify to apply for a specialization. We’re launching specializations in application development, data analytics, machine learning and infrastructure.

    88. Pivotal - GCP announced Pivotal as our first CRE technology partner. CRE technology partners will work hand-in-hand with Google to thoroughly review their solutions and implement changes to address identified risks to reliability.

    89. ProsperWorks - ProsperWorks announced Gmail Add-Ons, which are designed to integrate custom workflows into Gmail based on the context of a given email.

    90. Qwiklabs - This recent acquisition will provide Authorized Training Partners the ability to offer hands-on labs and comprehensive courses developed by Google experts to our customers.

    91. Rackspace - Rackspace announced a strategic relationship with Google Cloud to become its first managed services support partner for GCP, with plans to collaborate on a new managed services offering for GCP customers set to launch later this year.

    92. Rocket.Chat - Rocket.Chat, a member of Google Cloud’s startup program, is adding a number of new product integrations with GCP including Autotranslate via Translate API, integration with Vision API to screen for inappropriate content, integration to NLP API to perform sentiment analysis on public channels, integration with GSuite for authentication and a full move of back-end storage to Google Cloud Storage.

    93. Salesforce - Salesforce announced Gmail Add-Ons, which are designed to integrate custom workflows into Gmail based on the context of a given email.

    94. SAP - This strategic partnership includes certification of SAP HANA on GCP, new G Suite integrations and future collaboration on building machine learning features into intelligent applications like conversational apps that guide users through complex workflows and transactions.

    95. Smyte - Smyte participated in the Google Cloud startup program and protects millions of actions a day on websites and mobile applications. Smyte recently moved from self-hosted Kubernetes to Google Container Engine (GKE).

    96. Veritas - Veritas expanded its partnership with Google Cloud to provide joint customers with 360 Data Management capabilities. The partnership will help reduce data storage costs, increase compliance and eDiscovery readiness and accelerate the customer’s journey to Google Cloud Platform.

    97. VMware Airwatch - Airwatch provides enterprise mobility management solutions for Android and continues to drive the Google Device ecosystem to enterprise customers.

    98. Windows Partner Program- We’re working with top systems integrators in the Windows community to help GCP customers take full advantage of Windows and .NET apps and services on our platform.

    99. Xplenty - Xplenty announced the addition of two new services from Google Cloud into their available integrations: Google Cloud Spanner and Google Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL.

    100. Zoomdata - Zoomdata announced support for Google’s Cloud Spanner and PostgreSQL on GCP, as well as enhancements to the existing Zoomdata Smart Connector for Google BigQuery. With these new capabilities Zoomdata offers deeply integrated and optimized support for Google Cloud Platform’s Cloud Spanner, PostgreSQL, Google BigQuery, and Cloud DataProc services.

    We’re thrilled to have so many new products and partners that can help all of our customers grow. And as our final announcement for Google Cloud Next ’17 — please save the date for Next 2018: June 4–6 in San Francisco.

    I guess that makes it 101. :-)


    What a week we’ve had at Google Cloud Next ‘17! Take a look our 100 announcements, including new partnerships and customers, major product releases and updates and more.

    3 months 2 weeks ago

Active listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skillsActive listening apps on Chromebooks foster future skills

  • Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Michael F. Opitz, professor emeritus of reading education at the University of Northern Colorado and author of Listen Hear! 25 Effective Listening Comprehension Strategies. At today’s Google Next event, we’re announcing a new program to offer active listening apps on Chromebooks. Visit g.co/educhromebookapps and follow @GoogleForEdu for details.

    In school, students are often told  “be a good listener,” but listening is not just about paying attention and following instructions in class. Active listening helps students develop skills for future success and is a highly desirable quality for new hires, according to a report by Fast Company. Active listening is the backbone of communication and literacy: if students learn to listen critically, and take away value from what they’re listening to, their comprehension improves—and so does their ability to communicate.

    As teachers, we’re good at reminding students to listen, but we need to teach them how to listen. There are techniques to doing this. For example, if a librarian is explaining how to get a library card, a teacher can preface the listening exercise by asking students what they think the librarian will talk about. When the librarian starts talking, the students know what to expect. After the exercise, the teacher can ask students about the steps the librarian outlined for getting a card. This is the essence of teaching active listening: letting students know what to listen for, and assessing their comprehension of the material.

    To support students’ active listening skills, Google spoke with educators around the country about the most helpful active listening apps to use with Chromebooks and two kept popping up—Fluency Tutor and Listenwise. These apps integrate active listening into classrooms and lessons, and both apps can be used across a range of grades and subjects.

    Developed by Texthelp, Fluency Tutor lets students record themselves reading different types of texts, like web content, Google Docs, and almost 500 leveled reading passages. Students can listen to their recordings and self-reflect before submitting for teacher feedback. Practice happens at each student’s own pace, which is less stressful than asking reluctant students to read aloud in front of the class. Reading assistance tools, like text-to-speech, picture dictionary and translate tools, are available to help students practice and reach proficiency.

    Students may not have confidence to read out loud. Practicing with Fluency Tutor—rehearsing, recording themselves and listening back—is invaluable. Mandy Marlowe 6th grade teacher, Chagrin Falls, OH

    Teachers can use Fluency Tutor to gain a view into student struggles with reading. They listen to the recordings and use features like comprehension questions to gauge understanding of the text and track progress over time. They also see the tools that students use to help them get through the assignment, so they can determine how to help students in the future – for example, supporting their vocabulary skills.

    Listenwise is a collection of podcasts and public radio stories featuring NPR content that improves students’ listening comprehension while also drawing them into the world around them. Students can listen and read along with transcripts, and even slow down the recording to get a better grasp on complex subjects. Teachers can assign quizzes at the end of each listening assignment to assess which skills students need to improve. Teachers are able to gauge student comprehension in several areas, such as their understanding of the story’s main idea, knowledge of vocabulary, and ability to summarize the story.

    “Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider,” says Lisa Goldman, a 7th grade teacher at Bird Middle School in East Walpole, Massachusetts. “Whether the story is war’s impact on preservation of historical artifacts, or how democracy in Athens is not so different from democracy today, each one gets my students contemplating topics outside the norm.”

    Listenwise helps me present interesting, timely and thought-provoking topics that students might not otherwise have a chance to consider. Lisa Goldman 7th grade teacher, East Walpole, MA

    To make these apps on Chromebooks accessible to a wide range of school districts, Google worked with Chromebook partners to create a special price when both apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

    To learn more about these apps and other content programs including creative apps on Chromebooks, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

    Announcing active listening apps on Chromebooks, new tools for students to develop critical communication skills for the future.

    3 months 3 weeks ago

Schools in Sweden have made Chromebooks nummer ett (number one)!Schools in Sweden have made Chromebooks nummer ett (number one)!

  • Editor’s note: We’ve seen strong momentum with Chromebooks worldwide, and today we reached a new milestone: Leading education analyst Futuresource has announced Chromebooks are the top-selling device across laptops and tablets for schools in Sweden. As we build out a new generation of Chromebooks with a world of apps for education, we are excited to see global educators lead this growth.

    Technology is transforming the classroom experience worldwide, and in Sweden, schools are putting digital tools at the heart of learning. Sweden is embracing the power of innovative educational apps and digital learning throughout its education system—and Chromebooks are the device of choice.

    A new report by Futuresource shows Chromebooks were the top-selling device across laptops and tablets in Swedish schools in 2016. According to the analyst firm’s data, Chromebooks now account for 38 percent of device sales in Swedish classrooms, up from 18 percent in 2015. Worldwide more than 20 million teachers and students are using Chromebooks and Google Classroom, and more than 70 million are using G Suite for Education.

    This is significant. Sweden is a leading innovator in EdTech adoption—seeing Chromebooks achieve #1 shows Google's momentum within education. Mike Fisher Associate Director, Futuresource

    Nordic countries are at the forefront of effective technology use in Europe, and Sweden is no exception. In 2011, Sweden established a Digital Agenda requiring that every student should “be able to use modern technology as a tool for knowledge-seeking, communication, creation and learning.” Digital Advisers have been appointed across municipalities to provide advice, centralized technical support and professional development programs for teachers.

    Swedish educators say Chromebooks are now a core part of their students’ learning. “We have a one to one philosophy which means that every student has a Chromebook and that it is used to support learning, often in place of old books and pencils” said Jens Falkljung, IT Architect, Uddevalla Municipality.

    We chose Chromebooks for their ease of use and the speed at which students can access their digital work. Mats Johnson Head of ICT, Malmo City Schools More versatile Chromebooks and new content options

    As global Chromebook momentum continues, this year at Bett we announced a new generation of Chromebooks for Education. These versatile devices bring even more mobility to a wider range of classrooms worldwide, including in the US where, according to Futuresource data, Chromebooks reached 58 percent of device sales in 2016.

    Today we’re excited to announce HP is bringing its addition to the family with the HP Chromebook x360 11 G1 Education Edition, available in mid-April. HP’s rugged 360 degree convertible Chromebook will feature USB-CTM charging and optional stylus and world-facing camera capabilities designed for the specific needs of schools.

    These new devices—and the dynamic ecosystem of content and apps they support—help evolve technology usage into one that is anchored in student content creation. For example creative apps on Chromebooks are now available in Sweden and other European countries at a discount from select resellers. In addition, Chromebook administrators are now able to approve a library of Android apps and install them on select managed Chromebooks.

    The role of technology in education will continue to grow in 2017 as students and teachers share their stories of digital success across the world. We’re proud to see Chromebooks at the centre of this transformation, powering global classrooms into the future.

    Chromebooks were the top-selling education device in Sweden for 2016 and see continued momentum with new devices and content.

    3 months 4 weeks ago

The new, improved ChromeVox screen readerThe new, improved ChromeVox screen reader

  • Worldwide, 285 million people are visually impaired; 39 million are blind and 246 million experience low vision. As two people with visual impairments, we’ve experienced firsthand the transformational effects of assistive technology—specifically screen readers, which enable people to “read” the screen with synthesized speech or braille, and provide keyboard shortcuts to help people quickly navigate complex sites and apps. Today we’re introducing a new, more efficient and powerful version of ChromeVox, which is now the default screen reader on every Chromebook running on Chrome OS 56 or above. ChromeVox can be enabled at any time by pressing the key combination Ctrl + Alt + Z.

    Our new version of ChromeVox makes the existing set of keyboard commands even easier, helping you navigate through sites, apps and the Chromebook interface without a mouse. The keyboard commands not only work in web pages, but also across other key parts of the interface, like the Chromebook status tray menu.

    We’ve also added new ChromeVox menus that make it easy to find, learn and use all available commands. These menus feature a list of your open tabs, ChromeVox options, speech options, and lists of key items on the given page, such as links, headings or tables. Press Search + Period, or click on the ChromeVox icon in the upper-left corner to open the menus and explore.

    Chromebooks are compatible with most USB braille displays, which generate braille based on what is currently on the computer screen. In the updated ChromeVox, you can use commands on the braille display keyboard to navigate through Chrome, rather than switch back and forth to the Chromebook keyboard. The result is a more fluid and streamlined experience for braille users.

    A new ChromeVox Panel makes it easier for teachers who work with students who are visually impaired. The Panel shows text (and Braille captions if you choose) at the top of the Chromebook screen, so that a teacher can follow along with what a student is hearing or reading on a connected braille display.

    Finally, we’ve added a new set of auditory features—known as “earcons”—that provide contextual information, like when you’ve reached a button, link or checkbox on a page, or when a page is still loading. Earcons have built-in stereo audio positioning that provide insight into how a given page or app is visually designed—for example, if you navigate to a button on the left side of the screen, you’ll hear the button earcon from the left speaker or headphone.

    To send feedback or report issues from within ChromeVox, press Search + A then I. You can also post in the forum, or consider joining our ChromeVox-Discuss Google Group. We hope you love the new ChromeVox—but if you’re not ready to make the switch, you can still use the original version for now. Just press Search + Q to switch back to ChromeVox Classic. For more information, visit the Accessibility section of the Chromebook Help Center or watch our video about transitioning to the new version of ChromeVox.

    The new version of ChromeVox is now the default screen reader on all Chromebooks.

    4 months 2 weeks ago

Experience Virtual Reality on the web with ChromeExperience Virtual Reality on the web with Chrome

  • Virtual reality (VR) lets you tour the Turkish palace featured in “Die Another Day,” learn about life in a Syrian refugee camp firsthand, and walk through your dream home right from your living room. With the latest version of Chrome, we’re bringing VR to the web—making it as easy to step inside Air Force One as it is to access your favorite webpage.

    For a fully immersive experience, use Chrome with your Daydream-ready phone and Daydream View—just browse to a VR experience you want to view, choose to enter VR, and put the phone in your Daydream View headset. If you don’t have a headset you can view VR content on any phone or desktop computer and interact using your finger or mouse.

    You can already try out some great VR-enabled sites, with more coming soon. For example, explore the intersection of humans, nature and technology in the interactive documentary Bear 71. Questioning how we see the world through the lens of technology, this story blurs the lines between the wild world and the wired one.

    Bear 71: The intersection between humans, animals and technology.

    Tour Matterport’s library of 300,000+ celebrity homes, museums, canyons, iconic architecture and other real places.

    Matterport VR: The largest library of real world places in VR

    Watch more than two dozen award-winning VR films with Within—from gripping tales set in worlds of pure imagination to documentaries taking you further inside the news than ever before.

    Within: Extraordinary stories in virtual reality

    Discover​ more than a million stunning 3D scenes in VR with ​Sketchfab, from your favorite anime and video game characters to famous works of art. Join the community and contribute your own creations, or just enjoy and share your favorites.

    Sketchfab VR: enter new dimensions

    Experiment and play in the WebVR Lab from PlayCanvas. Try teleporting around the space or playing a record with your Daydream controller.

    Explore the WebVR Lab from PlayCanvas

    We want to bring VR to everyone on any device, and in the coming months we’ll add support for more headsets, including Google Cardboard. Try out these VR-enabled sites to be one of the first to experience the magic of VR on the web.

    We want to bring Virtual Reality (VR) to everyone on any device, and in the coming months we’ll add support for more headsets, including Google Cardboard. Try out these VR-enabled sites to be one of the first to experience the magic of VR on the web.

    4 months 2 weeks ago

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