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Posted by Ellie Powers, Google Play team
Fueled by the Nexus 7 and other great devices, more than 70 million Android tablets have been activated. Thousands of developers have already designed their apps to look great on tablets, and with the holidays fast approaching, we’re making it even easier for the next wave of tablet owners to discover great apps and games.
Last year, Google Play added a “designed for tablets” section, where users could easily discover apps that look great on their 7”- and 10”-tablets. This section includes only apps and games which meet criteria and guidelines we established last year. (Here’s an overview if you missed it.) Developers who invest the time to meet the criteria are seeing great results; take Remember The Milk, which saw an 83% increase in tablet downloads from being in this section. (see the whole story here).
On November 21 2013, the Play Store made a series of changes so it’s even easier for tablet users to find those apps that are best for their devices. First, by default, users browsing Google Play on a tablet will now see apps and games that are designed for tablets on the top lists (Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, Top New Paid, Top New Free, and Trending). Tablet users will still be able to switch the view so they can see all apps or games if they choose. Also starting November 21, apps and games that do not meet the “designed for tablets” criteria will be marked as “designed for phones” for users who browse the Play Store on tablets.
You’ll want to make sure that your app is designed for tablets; read more about how to do this at the end of this blog post.
If you want to be sure your app is included in the “Designed for tablets” view, go to the Developer Console to check your tablet optimization tips. If you see any issues listed there, you’ll need to address them in your app and upload a new binary for distribution. If there are no issues listed, your app is eligible to be included in the “Designed for tablets” view in the top lists.
Also, make sure to read the full tablet quality checklist to understand how to build outstanding tablet experiences.
Everyday, thousands of Android developers are taking advantage of the tremendous Android tablet opportunity. The flood of new users coupled with the increased screen size means new user experiences, more engagement and more monetization opportunities. We’re excited to see what you do!
Following their announcement at IDF, we’re delighted to officially welcome the Acer C720 as the latest addition to the Chromebook family. Featuring Intel’s latest Haswell processor and a battery that lasts all day, the C720 is an ideal balance of power and portability.
The C720 is available online at Best Buy and Amazon for $249.99 in the U.S., with devices arriving in stores soon. The C720 will also be available in Germany, UK, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Finland. We’re also happy to see that Acer is bringing their Chromebooks to India for the first time, available at Flipkart.
Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management
At Google, building, managing and safely securing some of the world’s largest storage systems requires complex analysis of filesystem metadata. This is an important part of making sure that the information stored within those systems is quickly accessible and always secure. We’re always looking for ways to make our data storage systems more efficient, and often times, this requires understanding the age, size and access patterns of the data stored, the failure rates of servers and disks, and more. You can imagine how complex this becomes with each new data center added.
Given the number of files and servers that are relevant for this performance analysis, we bin the metadata into a compact histogram form. We use these output histograms for many purposes, such as (i) building Markov models of data availability, (ii) statistical forecasting of resource usage, and (iii) formulating and solving optimization problems to determine optimal allocation of flash devices.
We rely on several open source tools to make our work easier. The most common tool we use for statistical analysis of the performance, availability, and resource needs of our internal systems is the R programming language. We’ve released two package updates that make R particularly suitable for interacting with other distributed systems.
Both packages are available on CRAN and include extensive documentation and examples.
If you’re interested to learn more, we have shared some of our research findings at conferences such as OSDI, USENIX ATC, and JSM.
By Murray Stokely, Storage Analytics Team Lead
Every day, Google Top Contributors from around the world share their product expertise with people in Google’s official forums, from sharing helpful tips to answering burning user questions. Top Contributors not only help users directly, they champion user feedback, which gives our teams valuable insight on opportunities for improvement across various products. They contribute to 250 product communities in 26 different languages, and their expertise touches hundreds of millions of users each year. These Top Contributors are a critical part of the Google family and we brought many of them together at this year’s Top Contributor Summit to say thank you.
Building on our first summit in 2011, we kicked off the second Top Contributor Summit last week near Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Over three days, Top Contributors came together to discuss their favorite Google products, meet with our engineers and product managers, see demos of new products and collaborate with fellow Top Contributors.
Top Contributors met with product managers and community managers to learn the latest about some of Google’s products, and had the unique opportunity to give their feedback directly to the product team. They also sat down with designers and support team members to discuss the long and short-term vision for various products. Multi-product Top Contributor Manny Barwin (known as “The C Man” in our forums) said, “what impressed me most was the interest taken in our feedback.”
Top Contributors also got a sneak peek at recently released Google products. After hearing a presentation directly from the Google Glass team, each Top Contributor was given the opportunity to try Glass for themselves. AdWords Top Contributor Adam Briggs said, “I found the best part was being able to try out Glass; it’s such an awesome product and I’m really looking forward to it becoming public.”
We also put on several social events where the group was able to meet Googlers, chat with their fellow Top Contributors, and have a little fun!
We had a great time at the summit saying thanks to our Top Contributors for all they do for our users. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, get started by becoming active in your favorite Google product’s forum or learn more about the Top Contributor Program.
Posted by Sarah Claxton Deming, Top Contributor Summit Organizer
Can you tell us about Keller Williams and your decision to move to Google Apps?
Keller Williams is the largest real estate franchise company in North America. We have 200 employees in our Austin, Texas headquarters and support 90,000 agents across our 670 franchise locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Having a central corporate team and a vast network of independent associates puts us in a unique position from an IT standpoint: we’re responsible for making decisions that help both our internal employees and our agents in the field, whose day-to-day roles differ quite a bit.
Our path to Google Apps was driven by two immediate features both groups needed: a better email platform and a more integrated calendar system. We ran on-premise Microsoft Exchange in our headquarters and a separate system built on an open source platform for our associates. It was an antiquated solution, to say the least. We evaluated Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, and what clinched it for Google Apps was the future we saw with it. At the 80,000-foot view, our decision wasn’t just about solving our two biggest problems today, but about innovating for the years ahead. We’re betting on a great platform that we know will only get better.
Real estate agents are always on the go. How did mobile play into your decision to use Google Apps?
Mobile, mobile, mobile is our rallying cry. Our agents don’t succeed sitting behind a desk, and when it comes to mobile apps, they want it to “just work” – whether they’re using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. We’ve spent plenty of time imagining a typical day once we’ve got our associates on Apps. Let’s say an agent and her office team receive an email from a client asking to schedule a showing. The office team sets up an appointment in Calendar for 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. The agent, who is out showing properties, gets an alert on her smartphone for the 4:00 p.m. meeting and shows up at the property at the appointed time. If the meeting changes to 5:00 p.m., no problem, she’ll get an instant alert on her smartphone. What’s more, the back-office team has already uploaded a video presentation of the property and the full disclosure packet to Drive. During the viewing, the agent can pull up the video and documents on her tablet to give a very polished presentation.
That fact that this scenario can play out on whatever device our agents prefer is a game-changer for both us and them, and everyone wins.
What excites you most about the future with Google Apps?
What excites us most is the potential with Google Apps. Yes, we’re thrilled to roll out the core products, like Gmail, Calendar and Drive, with the help of Cloud Sherpas, and our employees and agents are thrilled to upgrade to a system they’re so familiar with. From where I stand, I see endless possibilities beyond the core products. I imagine agents using YouTube to feature videos of properties, Drive to upload disclosure packets, Voice to manage their client calls, and Blogger to create blogs on local real estate trends. Google Apps are the building blocks to create a whole new technology infrastructure for our company.
Google Apps Marketplace will also play a big role at our company. Keller Williams is unique, in that our 90,000 associates are independent operators, not employees. Our agents are free to use many different technology tools to run their businesses. For example, some agents use MailChimp or ConstantContact for email marketing. With the Marketplace, our agents will be able to download these and hundreds of other business apps for use within our Google Apps universe. Our agents use the tools they’re most familiar with, and we support them in their choices however we can.
Part-time businesses play an important role in our lives and in our economy. From the gardening mom who sells her plants, to the hobbyist antiques dealer, to the weekend wedding photographer, people everywhere are earning extra money while doing what they love.
Research released yesterday by The Internet Association shows that the web is powering American part-time businesses. Nine out of 10 part-time business owners rely on the Internet to conduct their business, and the impact is significant. Internet enabled part-time businesses employ 6.6 million people and contribute $141 billion to the U.S. GDP.
We’re proud to play our part to support these business owners as they grow their businesses online. Technology is at its best when it makes lives easier—and every day, our products help businesses find new customers and publishers earn money from their content while running more efficiently. With the power of the web, businesses can build better lives for their families and strengthen our economy while doing what they love.
Posted by Lisa Gevelber, VP, Americas Marketing
Posted by Michal Zalewski, Google Security Team
We all benefit from the amazing volunteer work done by the open source community. That’s why we keep asking ourselves how to take the model pioneered with our Vulnerability Reward Program – and employ it to improve the security of key third-party software critical to the health of the entire Internet.
We thought about simply kicking off an OSS bug-hunting program, but this approach can easily backfire. In addition to valid reports, bug bounties invite a significant volume of spurious traffic – enough to completely overwhelm a small community of volunteers. On top of this, fixing a problem often requires more effort than finding it.
So we decided to try something new: provide financial incentives for down-to-earth, proactive improvements that go beyond merely fixing a known security bug. Whether you want to switch to a more secure allocator, to add privilege separation, to clean up a bunch of sketchy calls to strcat(), or even just to enable ASLR – we want to help!
We intend to roll out the program gradually, based on the quality of the received submissions and the feedback from the developer community. For the initial run, we decided to limit the scope to the following projects:
We intend to soon extend the program to:
How to participate?
Please submit your patches directly to the maintainers of the individual projects. Once your patch is accepted and merged into the repository, please send all the relevant details to . If we think that the submission has a demonstrable, positive impact on the security of the project, you will qualify for a reward ranging from $500 to $3,133.7.
Before participating, please read the official rules posted on this page; the document provides additional information about eligibility, rewards, and other important stuff.
Though summer has come to an end – at least in the Northern Hemisphere – your feedback on the new Google Maps preview these past three months has been a great help in our continuing quest to build a better map, more tailored to you. Based on your input, we’re pleased to announce one of your most requested features – directions for multiple destinations – will begin rolling out today. And with two new tools to help manage your reservations and discover upcoming events, it’s never too early to plan your next road trip or adventure.
Directions for multiple destinations
Whether you’re running weekend errands or planning a cross-country tour, you can plot multiple destinations for your trip with ease – now available for driving, walking and biking directions. Once you’ve chosen a starting point, click ‘+’ and add stops to your route by typing in the search box or clicking on the map.
When you’re exploring a new city, find the best way to museums, historic squares, and other attractions by dragging and dropping your destinations in the order that works for you. And if you’re curious before you go, the Views carousel, located in the bottom right corner, is a great way to preview Street View, Photo Tours, and other imagery.
See your flight, hotel, and restaurant reservations
Similar to Google Search, find your flight, hotel, and restaurant reservations faster right in Maps. Just search for your departing airport or dining destination, and we’ll instantly show your upcoming plans. Having all your stuff in one place makes it easier to manage your appointment details and plan your commute. This info is available when you’re signed into Google, and only you can see it.
Then, when you’re ready to go, you can quickly access your recent search history on the Google Maps app for your iPhone or Android device and hit the road
This feature is currently rolling out to Maps users in the U.S. and is available in English only.
Search for Radio City Music Hall, the O2 Arena, or your favorite local performance venues, and click
on the Upcoming Events card to see a schedule of concerts, sports matches, and other events happening near you. Or if you’re new to an area, start with “music venues.”
It’s been a busy summer for the Maps team, and we wanted to share a few things we’ve been working on, but there’s a lot more coming soon. Keep sending us your feedback using the “Help & Feedback” menu in the upper right corner of the screen.
Posted by Florian Goerisch, Product Manager, Google Maps
Posted by John Cox and Pavel Simakov, Course Builder Team, Google Research
Course Builder is an experimental, open source platform for delivering massive online open courses. When you run Course Builder, you own everything from the production instance to the student data that builds up while your course is running.
Part of being open is making it easy for you to access and work with your data. Earlier this year we shipped a tool called ETL (short for extract-transform-load) that you can use to pull your data out of Course Builder, run arbitrary computations on it, and load it back. We wrote a post that goes into detail on how you can use ETL to get copies of your data in an open, easy-to-read format, as well as write custom jobs for processing that data offline.
Now we’ve taken the next step and added richer data processing tools to ETL. With them, you can build data processing pipelines that analyze large datasets with MapReduce. Inside Google we’ve used these tools to learn from the courses we’ve run. We provide example pipelines ranging from the simple to the complex, along with formatters to convert your data into open formats (CSV, JSON, plain text, and XML) that play nice with third-party data analysis tools.
We hope that adding robust data processing features to Course Builder will not only provide direct utility to organizations that need to process data to meet their internal business goals, but also make it easier for educators and researchers to gauge the efficacy of the massive online open courses run on the Course Builder platform.
(Cross-posted on the Google Drive blog.)
Presentations give you the ability to bring a story to life in a visually compelling way—whether it’s a pitch for a new product idea, a deck for a history class assignment, or an introduction to your surfing club. Today you can take the magic up a notch with two new features in Slides—widescreen format and editable master slides.
With widescreen presentations, you get a ton of new space to fill with words, charts, tables or even a simple, beautiful image.
Since the majority of monitors and displays are now widescreen, new presentations will be widescreen by default. You can change the size of your slides using the pull down menu in the theme chooser, or by visiting Page setup in the File menu.
Every presentation you make with Slides has a theme that comes with a set of preset colors, font styles and sizes, backgrounds, etc. to give you a consistent look and feel throughout your deck.
One of your top requests has been to customize these presets throughout your presentation. With editable master slides, you can now easily tailor how content appears on every slide by selecting “Edit master” from the Slide menu. For example, you can set all of your header fonts to Alconica, make all of your first level bullets bold, and add a logo in the bottom right corner.
Voila! The thumbnail previews alongside the master show that all of these changes are made instantly across all of the slides in your presentation.
And that’s not all. Each theme consists of a variety of slide layouts, which can also now be individually customized or created from scratch.
We hope that these new ways to customize Slides help you tell better stories, and look forward to seeing the beautiful themes that you come up with. Look out for these updates throughout the course of the day.