Google Knol And Internet News
If you’ve ever asked a question about a Google product in the Google Product Help Forums
or on Twitter
, chances are you’ve encountered a Top Contributor
—passionate Google product experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge with their fellow users. Last year, Top Contributors helped more than 55 million people with 30 different Google products, answering questions and providing tips.
The super users in the Top Contributor program come from 60+ different countries. Their passion for our products and willingness to help others make them a community. To showcase the faces and stories behind this group of helpful users, we asked a few Top Contributors to share a bit about themselves. This is the first of two posts—come back tomorrow to learn more. Jo says:
As a writer, editor, and all-around book enthusiast, I spend a lot of time using word-processing programs. I first discovered Google Docs when I saw a Chromebook ad on TV. I was intrigued by the idea of working in the cloud and not needing an external hard drive to backup my work.
I use Docs for both my professional and personal writing and have completed works of nonfiction as well as novels in it. As senior editorial director at Book Publishing Co.
, I use Docs for reviewing and editing manuscripts, writing copy, and communicating with authors and colleagues. My authors and colleagues are fascinated when we're in a document at the same time and they see me making changes. It looks like magic to them!
Helping others navigate Docs might seem like an unusual hobby, but I love it. I like exercising my brain by exploring all that an app can do. It’s rewarding to answer users’ questions and help them solve conundrums, especially knowing that my reply could potentially reach hundreds or even thousands of others users who visit the forum with a similar issue. The occasional “thank you” or “you saved the day” is icing on the cake. Kojo says:
I grew up in a small town in the central region of Ghana, the oldest of five children—which meant I learned how to work hard. Being the oldest meant I had to set a positive example for my siblings and cousins. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with honors from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where I’m now a teaching and research assistant.
I first got involved with Google products as a Google Student Ambassador
, a program that gives students the opportunity to be a liaison between their university and Google. During that time, I gave tutorials to anyone from first year students to senior faculty in my department, teaching them how to incorporate Google apps like Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides into their day-to-day.
When I became a teaching and research assistant, I started using Google Forms to create short quizzes and Google Groups to send assignments and notes to the students in my lab experiment groups. Those experiences inspired me to start helping out in the forums, where I specialize in Nexus and Photos—products I don’t often get to use in the classroom.
I love troubleshooting issues with products because it challenges me to pinpoint issues given very little information. It not only teaches me to solve problems, but it also shows me how I can interrelate things when teaching in order to help students. My experience there inspires me to take on more challenges elsewhere. Next up: grad school.Get involved with the Top Contributor Program
We’re always looking for people around the world who have strong Google product knowledge, a friendly attitude, and enjoy helping others. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, start participating in a Google Product Forum
or on social media
, and let us know you’re interested
. Once you’re helping people on a regular basis, you may be invited to become a Rising Star, the first level in the Top Contributor program.
Last week thousands of developers joined us at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, at Google I/O, our annual developer conference, for three days of talks, sandboxes, and some festival fun. Here’s a look at I/O beyond the keynote:1. It’s not just for grown-ups.
A day before Google I/O officially began, we hosted I/O Youth
. Over the course of the day, 120 students from Bay Area-based schools engaged in four hands-on activities focused on storytelling, designing, and coding. They heard from inspiring speakers that bring creative solutions to their jobs like Brent Bushnell, CEO of the entertainment company Two Bit Circus
, and Pavni Diwanji, who leads our Google-wide efforts to create a better experience for kids online. Check out 11-year-old Cindy Zhou’s coverage of I/O Youth for Time for Kids
2. Machine learning is already making products smarter.
As Sundar said during his keynote, machine learning and artificial intelligence are changing computing in incredible ways. One of the biggest uncracked nuts in A.I. is understanding natural language. But we’re making progress, and we can see people are eager for it—on the Google app on Android, over 20 percent of the searches we get in the U.S. are now by voice. Ok Google!3. ATAP is bridging the physical and the digital.
On Friday, ATAP took the stage to share a glimpse of what’s going on in the ATAP garage. In “Pearl,” an interactive 360 story
made for mobile by Academy award-winning director Patrick Osborne, a girl and her dad crisscross the country in their beloved hatchback. Project Jacquard introduced a twist on the iconic denim jacket—the Levi’s® Commuter™ Trucker Jacket
, with Jacquard’s interactive fabrics
woven in. With the LG Electronics Inc. smartwatch and JBL by Harman speaker prototypes Project Soli demonstrated, you don’t have to touch a screen to view a message or change a song. And Ara showed off a developer version of their modular phone and provided a peek
into a future where phones can be customized for function and style.
The Soli smartwatch prototype (developed in collaboration with LG Electronics Inc.) is controlled without touching the screen
4. We're working to make I/O more inclusive for everyone.
As in past years, we made an effort to make I/O a diverse and welcoming conference for women and minorities who are underrepresented in technology. Women at I/O made up 23 percent of our 7,000+ attendees (at last year’s conference, women made up a similar percentage of our 5,000 attendees). We partnered with 13 community groups for women in technology, and offered travel grants to attendees making the trip. On Tuesday night, we hosted a Women Techmakers
dinner for 1,000 women.
Women Techmakers dinner
We also want I/O to be more accessible for people with disabilities. To that end, we worked with Googlers and attendees with disabilities to provide things like real-time captioning for all breakout sessions at the conference.
Finally, this was also the first year we released ethnicity and race information
for a Google conference.5. We’ve made custom hardware for machine learning.
We designed and built a chip (of the silicon variety) that’s specifically made for machine learning. We call it a Tensor Processing Unit (TPU)
because it's tailored for TensorFlow, our machine learning software that’s openly available to all. A TPU is an order of magnitude (10x) more power efficient than a traditional computer chip—and TPUs were also the secret hardware sauce for AlphaGo, our machine learning system that played and won 4 of 5 matches
with Lee Sedol in Korea.6. The Google Play Music experience blended Google smarts with musical discovery.
Not far from the dancing paint robot
, I/O’s Google Play Music room brought Google Search and Google Play Music together in perfect harmony. On the Play Connections Wall, you could explore connections between different artists, albums, and songs, powered by the Knowledge Graph. Nearby, a display with 3,000+ earphone jacks let you listen to songs from Google Play Music’s many different playlists, complete with LED lights that matched the mood of each song. The audio cables powering the display added up to 18,000 feet (3.4 miles)—almost as tall as Mount Kilimanjaro.
7. Android Pay is powering commutes in the U.K. and ATMs in the U.S.
Last week we announced the first countries outside of the U.S. to get Android Pay, starting with the U.K.
Londoners will also be able to use Android Pay across the Transport for London network, including on the tube, bus, and rail. That’s 13 million journeys where you can now just tap and pay. In the U.S., Bank of America customers will be able to start using their phones to withdraw money in ATMs across the country starting in June. 8. Your favorite Google apps are coming to Daydream.
As part of our effort to make VR even more accessible and immersive
, we’re planning to bring some of your favorite Google apps to Daydream, including Play Movies, Street View, Google Photos, and YouTube. The YouTube VR app
will provide an easier, more immersive way to find and experience virtual reality content on YouTube. Look out for it sometime later this year.
9. Android apps are coming to a Chromebook near you.
Chromebooks are now the #2 most popular PC operating system in the U.S.
, and soon you’ll be able to do even more with them. We’re bringing the Google Play Store to Chromebooks
, so you can download and use all your favorite Android apps, right on your Chromebook. 10. It was full of festival fun.
Bringing I/O to Shoreline Amphitheatre meant a conference with a festival feel. Interactive experiments let people from around the world send paper planes and splashes of virtual paint zooming onto the keynote stage. That night, Charli XCX and Kygo performed for a crowd lit up with glow sticks. And at After Hours, acrobats mingled alongside a karaoke rickshaw, DJs spun from the tops of art cars, and domes that held tech talks during the day were converted into underwater discos and a planetarium.
For more from #io16, check out this photo album from the event
or take a tour of the sandbox in 360 degrees:
This morning in our Mountain View, CA backyard, we kicked off Google I/O, our annual developer conference. Much has changed since our first developer event 10 years ago, and even more since Google started 17 years ago. Back then, there were 300 million people online, connecting through desktop machines; today that number is over 3 billion, with the majority using mobile devices as their primary way to get information, organize their day, get from point A to point B, and stay in touch. In a world in which the mobile phone has become the remote control for our daily lives, Google’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is truer and more important than ever before. The Google assistant
When we think of the Google search experience today—a rich panel of information on [Zika virus], or an alert telling you your flight is delayed—it’s striking to see how far things have come from the early days of 10 blue links. Many of these advances have been thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence—specifically, areas like natural language processing, voice recognition and translation—and they have helped us build an increasingly useful and assistive experience for users. They are the ingredients that make Google speech recognition the most accurate in the world, and that let you take a picture of a sign in Chinese and see it translated into English.
Progress in all of these areas is accelerating, and we believe we are at a seminal moment. People are increasingly interacting naturally with Google, and aren’t just looking for the world’s information but actually expecting Google to help them with their daily tasks.
Which is why we’re pleased to introduce...the Google assistant.
The assistant is conversational—an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done. It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater. It’s a Google for you, by you.
The assistant is an ambient experience that will work seamlessly across devices and contexts. So you can summon Google’s help no matter where you are or what the context. It builds on all our years of investment in deeply understanding users' questions.
Today we gave a preview of two new products where you’ll soon be able to draw on the Google assistant. Google Home
Google Home is a voice-activated product that brings the Google assistant to any room in your house. It lets you enjoy entertainment, manage everyday tasks, and get answers from Google—all using conversational speech. With a simple voice command, you can ask Google Home to play a song, set a timer for the oven, check your flight, or turn on your lights. It’s designed to fit your home with customizable bases in different colors and materials. Google Home will be released later this year.
Allo and Duo
Allo is a new messaging app that also comes complete with the Google assistant, so you can interact with it directly in your chats, either one-on-one or with friends. Because the assistant understands your world, you can ask for things like your agenda for the day or photos from your last trip. If you’re planning a dinner with friends, you can ask the assistant to suggest restaurants nearby, all in one thread.
Allo includes Smart Reply, which suggests responses to messages based on context, and comes with fun ways to make your chats more expressive, including emojis, stickers, and the ability to get creative with photos. There’s also an Incognito mode that provides end-to-end encryption, discreet notifications, and message expiration.
In addition to Allo, we’re introducing Duo, a companion app for one-to-one video calling. With Duo, our goal is to make video calling faster and more reliable, even on slower network speeds. We also introduced a feature called Knock Knock, which gives you a live video of the other caller before you answer.
Best of all, both Allo and Duo are based on your phone number, so you can communicate with anyone regardless of whether they’re on Android or iOS. Both apps will be available this summer. Read more here
. Android N, Wear, VR, and Instant Apps
Today we shared details about what’s coming in Android N, including better performance for graphics and effects, reduced battery consumption and storage, background downloads of system updates, and streamlined notifications so you can power through them faster, and updated emojis including 72 new ones. And we want your help coming up with a name for N that can be a sweet successor to Marshmallow. Read more
and help us #NameAndroidN at Android.com/N
On top of Android N, we’ve built a new platform for high quality mobile VR called Daydream
. Together with Android manufacturers, we're working on upcoming phones, and sharing designs with them for a VR viewer and controller that will be really immersive, comfortable and intuitive to use. Your favorite apps and games will be coming to Daydream too, including Google's—like YouTube, Street View, Play Movies, Google Photos and the Play Store. More to come this fall.
We also previewed Android Wear 2.0
, including a revamped user experience and standalone apps that run right on the watch, no matter where your phone is or even if it's off.
Finally, we’re introducing Android Instant Apps
—which let you run Android apps instantly, without requiring installation.Firebase
Today we launched a big expansion of Firebase
, our most comprehensive developer offering to date. Going beyond a mobile backend, the platform helps developers quickly build high-quality apps, grow their user base, and earn more money across iOS, Android and the mobile web.
Tackling global challenges with smarter tools
Machine learning and AI are changing not only computing, but also the way in which we tackle problems we’ve never been able to solve before. The opportunities are even greater when we harness the powers of open-source tools
to make them available to the broader developer and researcher community. Imagine what we could do if we work together and use these technologies to tackle challenges in climate change, health care or education. As our machine learning and AI capabilities get smarter and more versatile, these possibilities are starting to appear on the horizon. These are very exciting times indeed.
Whether it’s welcoming a new baby, celebrating the winning shot in overtime, or discovering the best taco stand ever—we all want to share these moments with friends and family the instant they happen. Most of the time, this means picking up our phones and sending a message or starting a call. Today we’re sharing a preview of two new apps that take a fresh look at how people connect.
Allo, a smart messaging app
Allo is a smart messaging app that makes your conversations easier and more expressive. It’s based on your phone number, so you can get in touch with anyone in your phonebook. And with deeply integrated machine learning, Allo has smart features to keep your conversations flowing and help you get things done.
Emojis, stickers, Ink, and our Whisper Shout feature in Allo
Allo has Smart Reply built in (similar to Inbox
), so you can respond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply learns over time and will show suggestions that are in your style. For example, it will learn whether you’re more of a “haha” vs. “lol” kind of person. The more you use Allo the more “you” the suggestions will become. Smart Reply also works with photos, providing intelligent suggestions related to the content of the photo. If your friend sends you a photo of tacos, for example, you may see Smart Reply suggestions like “yummy” or “I love tacos.”
Smart Reply suggestions in Allo
Allo also features the Google assistant, bringing the richness of Google directly into your chats—helping you find information, get things done, and have fun. You can chat one-on-one with the assistant, or call on Google in a group chat with friends. Either way, you no longer have to jump between apps to do things like book a dinner reservation with friends, get up-to-date sports scores, settle a bet, or play a game. The assistant in Allo lets you bring things like Search, Maps, YouTube and Translate to all your conversations, so that you and your friends can use Google together.
The Google assistant in Allo understands your world, so you can ask for things like your agenda for the day, details of your flight and hotel, or photos from your last trip. And since it understands natural language patterns, you can just chat like yourself and it’ll understand what you’re saying. For example, "Is my flight delayed?" will return information about your flight status.
Google assistant in Allo
Privacy and security are important in messaging, so following in the footsteps of Chrome, we created Incognito mode in Allo. Chats in Incognito mode will have end-to-end encryption and discreet notifications, and we’ll continue to add new features to this mode. Duo, a video calling app for everyone
Duo is a simple, fast one-to-one video calling app for everyone—whether you’re on Android or iOS, a fast or slow connection, in New York or New Delhi. Like Allo, Duo is based on your phone number, allowing you to reach anyone in your phonebook. And its simple interface fades away when you’re in a call, so it’s just the two of you.
Video call in Duo
One of our favorite features of Duo is Knock Knock, which shows you a live video preview of the caller before you pick up. Knock Knock invites you into the moment, making calls feel spontaneous and fun. Once you answer, Duo seamlessly transitions you right into the call.
Duo calls are in crisp HD video (up to 720p) and audio. We’ve optimized Duo to work well even on spotty networks, so if bandwidth is limited it gracefully adjusts quality so you’re still able to connect. We also seamlessly transition calls between cellular and Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to worry about what network you’re on. Finally, we built Duo with privacy and security in mind and all calls on Duo are end-to-end encrypted.
Both apps will be available this summer on Android and iOS. Head over to Google Play and register to be notified when Allo
are available. We can't wait for you to try them.