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August 6th, 2014 | Published in Google Apps
August 6th, 2014 | Published in Google Blog
August 6th, 2014 | Published in Google DoubleClick
August 5th, 2014 | Published in Google Adsense
August 5th, 2014 | Published in Google Enterprise
August 5th, 2014 | Published in Google Student Blog
August 5th, 2014 | Published in Google Adwords
August 5th, 2014 | Published in Gmail (Google Mail)
August 5th, 2014 | Published in Google Blog
August 5th, 2014 | Published in Google Android
By Roman Nurik, lead designer for the Google I/O Android App
Every year for Google I/O, we publish an Android app for the conference that serves two purposes. First, it serves as a companion for conference attendees and those tuning in from home, with a personalized schedule, a browsing interface for talks, and more. Second, and arguably more importantly, it serves as a reference demo for Android design and development best practices.
Last week, we announced that the Google I/O 2014 app source code is now available, so you can go check out how we implemented some of the features and design details you got to play with during the conference. In this post, I’ll share a glimpse into some of our design thinking for this year’s app.
On the design front, this year’s I/O app uses the new material design approach and features of the Android L Developer Preview to present content in a rational, consistent, adaptive and beautiful way. Let’s take a look at some of the design decisions and outcomes that informed the design of the app.
In material design, surfaces and shadows play an important role in conveying the structure of your app. The material design spec outlines a set of layout principles that helps guide decisions like when and where shadows should appear. As an example, here are some of the iterations we went through for the schedule screen:
The first iteration was problematic for a number of reasons. First, the single shadow below the app bar conveyed that there were two “sheets” of paper: one for the app bar and another for the tabs and screen contents. The bottom sheet was too complex: the “ink” that represents the contents of a sheet should be pretty simple; here ink was doing too much work, and the result was visual noise. An alternative could be to make the tabs a third sheet, sitting between the app bar and content, but too much layering can also be distracting.
The second and third iterations were stronger, creating a clear separation between chrome and content, and letting the ink focus on painting text, icons, and accent strips.
Another area where the concept of “surfaces” played a role was in our details page. In our first release, as you scroll the details screen, the top banner fades from the session image to the session color, and the photo scrolls at half the speed beneath the session title, producing a parallax effect. Our concern was that this design bent the physics of material design too far. It’s as if the text was sliding along a piece of paper whose transparency changed throughout the animation.
A better approach, which we introduced in the app update on June 25th, was to introduce a new, shorter surface on which the title text was printed. This surface has a consistent color and opacity. Before scrolling, it’s adjacent to the sheet containing the body text, forming a seam. As you scroll, this surface (and the floating action button attached to it) rises above the body text sheet, allowing the body text to scroll beneath it.
A key principle of material design is also that interfaces should be “bold, graphic, intentional” and that the foundational elements of print-based design should guide visual treatments. Let’s take a look at two such elements: color and margins.
In material design, UI element color palettes generally consist of one primary and one accent color. Large color fields (like the app bar background) take on the main 500 shade of the primary color, while smaller areas like the status bar use a darker shade, e.g. 700.
The accent color is used more subtly throughout the app, to call attention to key elements. The resulting juxtaposition of a tamer primary color and a brighter accent, gives apps a bold, colorful look without overwhelming the app’s actual content.
In the I/O app, we chose two accents, used in various situations. Most accents were Pink 500, while the more conservative Light Blue 500 was a better fit for the Add to Schedule button, which was often adjacent to session colors. (See the code: XML color definitions, Theme XML)
And speaking of session colors, we color each session’s detail screen based on the session’s primary topic. We used the base material design color palette with minor tweaks to ensure consistent brightness and optimal contrast with the floating action button and session images.
Below is an excerpt from our final session color palette exploration file.
Another important “traditional print design” element that we thought about was margins, and more specifically keylines. While we’d already been accustomed to using a 4dp grid for vertical sizing (buttons and simple list items were 48dp, the standard action bar was 56dp, etc.), guidance on keylines was new in material design. Particularly, aligning titles and other textual items to keyline 2 (72dp on phones and 80dp on tablets) immediately instilled a clean, print-like rhythm to our screens, and allowed for very fast scanning of information on a screen. Gestalt principles, for the win!
Another key principle in material design is “one adaptive design”:
A single underlying design system organizes interactions and space. Each device reflects a different view of the same underlying system. Each view is tailored to the size and interaction appropriate for that device. Colors, iconography, hierarchy, and spatial relationships remain constant.
Now, many of the screens in the I/O app represent collections of sessions. For presenting collections, material design offers a number of containers: cards, lists, and grids. We originally thought to use cards to represent session items, but since we’re mostly showing homogenous content, we deemed cards inappropriate for our use case. The shadows and rounded edges of the cards would add too much visual clutter, and wouldn’t aid in visually grouping content. An adaptive grid was a better choice here; we could vary the number of columns on screen size (see the code), and we were free to integrate text and images in places where we needed to conserve space.
Two of the little details we spent a lot of time perfecting in the app, especially with the L Developer Preview, were touch ripples and the Add to Schedule floating action button.
We used both the clipped and unclipped ripple styles throughout the app, and made sure to customize the ripple color to ensure the ripples were visible (but still subtle) regardless of the background. (See the code: Light ripples, Dark ripples)
But one of our favorite details in the app is the floating action button that toggles whether a session shows up in your personalized schedule or not:
We used a number of new API methods in the L preview (along with a fallback implementation) to ensure this felt right:
setClipToOutlinefor circle-clipping and dynamic shadow rendering.
android:stateListAnimatorto lift the button toward your finger on press (increase the drop shadow)
RippleDrawablefor ink touch feedback on press
ViewAnimationUtils.createCircularRevealfor the blue/white background state reveal
AnimatedStateListDrawableto define the frame animations for changes to icon states (from checked to unchecked)
The end result is a delightful and whimsical UI element that we’re really proud of, and hope that you can draw inspiration from or simply drop into your own apps.
And speaking of dropping code into your own apps, remember that all the source behind the app, including L Developer Preview features and fallback code paths, is now available, so go check it out to see how we implemented these designs.
We hope this post has given you some ideas for how you can use material design to build beautiful Android apps that make the most of the platform. Stay tuned for more posts related to this year’s I/O app open source release over the coming weeks to get even more great ideas for ways to deliver the best experience to your users.
August 5th, 2014 | Published in Google DoubleClick
August 4th, 2014 | Published in Google Student Blog
August 4th, 2014 | Published in Google Apps
Today we have a post from Michael Howden, Google Summer of Code mentor since 2010, contributor to the Sahana Open Source Disaster Management Software and as of June 2014 CEO of the Sahana Software Foundation. Sahana recently held it’s annual conference in Sri Lanka, bringing contributors together from around the globe.
The Sahana Software Foundation helps organizations and communities prepare for and respond to disasters by providing open source information management tools. There is not much overlap between the people engaged in disaster management activities using our software and the people who contribute code to it, so it’s important to ensure that our contributors see how their code supports our mission of helping organizations and communities. This is especially important while working with students during Google Summer of Code (GSoC)—and is often hard to do over the mailing list or a Hangout—so we wanted to bring them to the Sahara Annual Conference in Sri Lanka. The conference was sponsored by Google, AidIQ, Virtusa, The University of Colombo School of Computing and LIRNEAsia which made it possible for the following GSoC mentors and students to attend:
The Sahana Annual Conference consisted of a number of separate events which were being held in parallel with the Indian Ocean Tsunami 10th Anniversary convention (IOTX). This gave the students broad exposure to the Sahana community, users, history, strategy, and of course the code of our open source project.
The main event of the week was the SahanaCamp workshop. These workshops are conducted to help encourage collaboration between coders and disaster management experts. Our students were very impressed to learn about all the places around the world where Sahana was used. It occurred to me that we need to improve our introduction documents so students can have this information before they start work on their projects. One of the highlights of the day for me was having our students give demonstrations of Sahana to people from various disaster management organisations who were attending the SahanaCamp. I was really impressed with their knowledge and professionalism.
There was no way we could get everyone together without cranking out some code— the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Code-Fest was a great opportunity for this. A number of CAP experts had been consulted and were also present to work with the Sahana Team. During the day our mentors and students were able to work together to implement new support for sharing alert messages between organizations.
The week wrapped up with our Annual General Meeting, during which we held a number of unconference sessions allowing us to dive into a number of really important areas:
The conference allowed our students to see that there is much more to open source than what they saw on their computer screens. But more importantly it gave them a chance to come together, see the bigger picture they are a part of, meet each other face to face, build relationships and make friendships.
“Open source is nothing but a few people with a common goal working together for the betterment of a community by developing software. This I saw in person and this will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about the conference, please take a look at the blog posts prepared by our students!
By Michael Howden, CEO, Sahana Software Foundation
People want tools that are both powerful and easy to use. For employees, that means they should be able to access their work wherever they are, on their favorite device or share their work securely with their colleagues, even if they’re in different offices, cities or countries. For IT managers, that means never worrying about storage quotas again, or being able to track access and sharing across users and files. We realize how important this is, so earlier this summer we introduced Google Drive for Work, a package that wraps all of this together for just $10 per user per month. Here’s a look at what’s been brewing with Drive for Work over the past two months.
Helping employees collaborate on the go
Before we introduced Drive for Work, businesses like retailer Chico’s and aerospace and defense company Rockwell Collins were using Drive to increase collaboration across distributed teams. Travis Perkins relies on Google Drive to store and share more than 1.3 million documents across thousands of physical locations, to help reduce employee travel and save time. OVS uses Google Drive to streamline its supply chain by sharing and syncing their files across desktops, tablets and smartphones so people have the information they need, no matter where they are or what device they’re using.
Today more than 1,800 businesses sign up for Drive for Work each week. Customers like WeddingWire are taking advantage of the full capabilities of Drive for Work to help provide their employees with the collaboration and file sharing tools they need on any device, whether they’re in the office or on the road.
Extending the Drive ecosystem
Drive for Work includes everything you need to keep all your work safe, easy to share and available anywhere. A growing number of partners are building tools on top of the Drive platform to meet the particular needs of our customers. In addition to the new Audit view built into the admin console, Drive for Work also includes an Audit API that partners have used to build advanced insight and security extensions like Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Other partners have built tools to help move business content into Drive from any location, including old file servers, local hard drives or other cloud storage products.
Keeping your work safe and available
To help keep your work safe, all files uploaded to Google Drive will be encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers. Our reliability engineers monitor Google’s systems 24×7 in order to quickly identify and address any issues that might arise. Last year, Google Drive achieved 99.985% availability, which averages to less than 90 minutes of disruption per year (our SLA guarantees 99.9%). If there’s ever an issue, you can read up-to-date status information on the Status Dashboard, and if you ever need to speak to someone, help is just a call away in over a dozen languages across 50 countries.
If you’d like to join the more than 190 million people actively using Drive, you can learn more about Drive for Work online or contact us for more information. If you’re already a Google Apps customer, you can upgrade with just a couple of clicks in the Admin console.
Collaborating should be easy. Let technology do the hard work and help you get back to what’s most important — your business.
Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Chris Williams, Director of IT and Support Services for Chapters Health System, which provides post-acute, palliative, and hospice care to patients in west-central Florida. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
At Chapters Health System, the role of IT is to provide software, connectivity and hardware to caregivers so they can spend less time wrestling with technology, and more time caring for patients. Our goal is to make the IT portion transparent to providing superior patient care. Most of our nurses and caregivers are mobile – they visit patients in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities or in their homes.
To best support them, we virtualized our clinical and business software applications, and provide access to them via Citrix XenApp via Receiver. We also make sure our caregivers can stay connected through a Verizon 4G Mifi device. As for hardware, caregivers were using Windows notebooks but boot-up delays, long setup times for new machines, and the bulkiness of the devices were slowing down and frustrating our caregivers. In addition, the devices were hard to manage by the IT support staff.
To find a solution, we took a democratic approach and asked caregivers to evaluate four devices: the HP Chromebook 14 for Business, Apple iPad, a Windows thin client, and a traditional Windows notebook. Caregivers rated the HP Chromebook 14 higher than any other device in all areas, including form factor, battery life, ease of use, speed and performance of virtualized applications like Microsoft Outlook and clinical applications, as well as web applications. Ninety-two out of 139 caregivers who participated in our study voted the Chromebook as their favorite device for work.
Luckily for us in IT, Chromebooks for Business are also the easiest devices to deploy and manage, freeing up our own time for other projects. The biggest change we’ve heard about so far is improved speed. With a traditional Windows notebook, caregivers faced three to four minute boot times, plus multiple logins to Windows, their VPN, and then finally Citrix and the applications. With Chromebooks, boot time shrank dramatically and Chromebooks start up right at the Citrix login screen, so caregivers can access clinical data right away.
Speed benefits extend to setup time as well. Some of our supplemental and weekend caregivers borrow from a pool of shared devices, and it took 40 minutes to set up each Windows notebook. With Chromebooks for Business, we can hop into the management console and set up a new Chromebook in under five minutes. Even better, we use the management console to configure access for users so that if they need to borrow a machine we don’t have to get involved at all—they just pick up a Chromebook and log in. Since each caregiver can get his or her specific user experience on any Chromebook, it’s easy for the devices to be shared.
For additional security and simplicity, we use Chromebook for Business’s Kiosk mode to offer one single application, the Citrix login screen, but we’ll be extending it other web applications soon. We also use the management console to mandate the proxy server for Internet access—a feature that’s built-in to each Chromebook for Business.
Chromebooks are giving back precious time to caregivers and their patients. In fact, we’re looking at purchasing many more Chromebooks in the near future so we can extend the benefits to even more Chapters Health employees.
Whether you’re into D.C. intrigue or Khaleesi’s conquests, chances are you’re watching the Emmy Awards on Monday. To get ready for the show, relive your favorite moments from this year’s nominees with Google Maps. Let’s take a peek at a highlight reel of some hot spots and scenes!
Warlords, the Night’s Watch and royalty from all the Seven Kingdoms can agree that the scenery in HBO’s Game of Thrones seems like it’s from another world. Google Maps lets you fly over Marrakech to visit Aït-Ben-Haddou, the set of Yunkai, one of the cities conquered by the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen.
While we can’t get you a ticket to the awards, Google Maps can at least make you feel like an extra on the set of your favorite show. Happy (Street) viewing!
Posted by Susan Cadrecha, Google Maps and TV Fanatic
Our interns have the opportunity to work on some of Google’s most cutting edge and innovative projects – not only in engineering, but across sales and other business functions, bringing a fresh perspective to the work done at Google. To show you just how much of an impact interns make and to highlight their unique experiences, we’re bringing you a special blog series: Google Intern Insights. Make sure to look out for the different interns being featured on the blog throughout the summer!
Tell us one fun, outlandish fact about you!
I once petted a cheetah and fed a giraffe.
What inspired you to apply for this internship, and what made Google appealing to you as a potential intern?
Google products have changed the way the world works and I wanted to be a part of that. Eleven years ago, I googled “USA University” from a 10 cent-per-minute cyber-cafe in Nairobi, Kenya. That led me to applying to Yale, coming to the US and completely changing my life.
What team are you working on at Google? Can you provide us with a high-level description of your summer project?
I’m working in Google Apps as a Product Manager Intern. My job this summer is to figure out how developers can build great apps that integrate with Google. As a former Software Engineer, it’s exciting to be on the other side of the table and have the freedom to craft a product vision.
What’s the best part about working with your manager? What about your team?
My manager Ronald has really great product insights and truly cares about how to make user experiences better. I’ve found the same to be true about the rest of my team as well. Everyone’s also really open and excited about helping the interns!
We all know Googlers and interns love the food and the other benefits. Outside of some of the well-known perks, what’s your favorite part about working at Google?
My favorite part is learning about Googlers and their amazing lives. I’ve chatted with one Engineering Director who started, developed and sold her start-up while raising an infant. Another PM and his team ran with a 20% project and came up with Google Cardboard in six weeks. I’m surrounded by truly remarkable people.
What’s something you’ve accomplished during your internship (thus far) that you’re most proud of? Or something you’re looking forward to working on?
I’m excited to have biked to work almost every day using Google’s free intern bike program. I haven’t done that since I was a kid. I’m also looking forward to sharing my summer presentation with my team.
What does “being Googley” mean to you?
Being Googley means being smart, humble and a big dreamer.
If you could give one piece of advice to potential student applicants, what would it be?
Talk to as many Googlers as you can find!
Best meal at Google so far?
I’ve had delicious Indian food at Baadal, Google’s sit-down restaurant, with some other PM interns and Ken Norton, a former PM and partner at Google Ventures. The chai (milk tea) was amazing!
Outside of being a Google intern, what are some fun things you do outside the classroom/office throughout the year?
I’m interested in social innovation, and I’ve co-invented a new type of splint for burn survivors in Nepal.
Best overheard conversation in a MK/cafe/elevator
If you don’t get here by 9am, forget about it. The Dang [toasted coconut chips] are gone!
What is something that you’ve learned thus far about working on a team and/or in a professional environment?
Meetings are more fun when you get from the fourth floor to the third in a giant tube slide!
Posted by Shawn Dye, University Programs Team
Don’t wait to upgrade
As a final reminder, upgrade your campaigns before September to ensure they are set up as you’d like. We recommend using the upgrade tool as it walks you through the upgrade process step by step.
For more information, visit this help center article on the retirement of regular PLA campaigns and the automatic upgrade to Shopping campaigns. If you have any questions, reach out to the AdWords Community Forum or contact us.
Posted by Eric Tholomé, Director of Product Management, Google Shopping
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