Six ways your Google Assistant can help you spruce up for spring

Google Assistant

Spring is in the air, which also means it’s the season to freshen up your home. If you’re like me, cleaning your house doesn’t top your list of favorite things to do—but it still needs to get done. This year, get a little help from your Google Assistant on your phone, speaker or Smart Display—so you spend less time cleaning, and more time enjoying the outdoors.

As we bid adieu to winter layers and welcome longer, warmer days, here are six ways your Assistant can help with spring cleaning:

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Finding a place to charge your EV is easy with Google Maps

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If you’ve ever driven to an electric vehicle (EV) charging station only to find that all ports are occupied, you know that you could end up waiting in line for anywhere between minutes to hours—which can really put a damper on your day when you have places to go and things to do.

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Our commitments to the environment, today and every day

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Talking about the environment shouldn't be limited to one day (or week) of the year, but this week Mother Earth deserves some extra recognition. Here’s a bit more about how we're putting sustainability at the center of everything we build—and how our technology can help make businesses, communities, and our everyday lives more sustainable, too.

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Steps toward a more sustainable future

Sustainability

Steps toward a more sustainable future

People perform trillions of searches on Google each year, upload hundreds of hours of videos to YouTube each minute, and receive more than 120 billion emails every week. Making all of these Google services work for everyone requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work, like operating a global network of data centers around the clock and manufacturing products for people around the world.

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Being a mom is hard work. Becoming one is, too.

For seven years, Mother’s Day was the worst day of the year for me. It was an observance that felt completely out of reach, yet commercially and socially it was a reminder that I couldn't escape. I wanted to be a mom, but I was having trouble becoming one. For my husband and I, the inner walls of our bedroom became clinical, timed and invaded by fertility specialists. The outside world didn’t understand what we were going through—they saw us as a couple who decided to "take their time" to start a family. I began doing my own research and found out that 1 in 8 women in America are struggling, too. There are over 7 million of us who want a child but have a disease or other barrier that stands in our way.

Using Google and YouTube, I found support groups, blogs and resources. I wasn’t as alone as I thought—like many, I had been silent about my struggles with infertility. It’s a less-than-tasty casserole of heartache, injections and surgeries, failed adoption placements and financial devastation.

So I learned how to be my own advocate. I’ve spoken out, written articles and—most recently—lent my voice to the video above to raise awareness about the barriers to building a family. I want to better educate people on how to support their friends and family who are struggling with infertility.

As today marks the start of National Infertility Awareness Week, I—along with the other brave women in this video—am dedicated to sparking a bigger conversation, and overcoming the stigmas and barriers that surround infertility. I'm excited Google is using its platform to help put this message out into the world ahead of Mother's Day. I hope that this year, even one more person out there will realize they’re not alone.

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Go green with your Google Assistant

Google Assistant

It can be hard to know how to chip in and make a difference to protect the environment. You can recycle, take shorter showers, or carpool to work—and now you can lower your carbon footprint just by asking your Google Assistant.

With new advancements in smart home technology, it’s actually pretty easy to incorporate energy and water-saving actions into your daily routine (and save some money while you’re at it). This Earth Day, we’re sharing a few ways the Assistant can help make your home more environmentally-friendly.

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From kids' music to the tech world, without missing a beat

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Matan Ariel, who works in Google's New York City office.

Matan Ariel’s young nieces and nephew live on the other side of the world, but they keep up with their uncle thanks to his music—and thanks to Google, too. Though they live in Israel and he lives in New York, the three kids love to ask the Google Assistant to play his songs, which have gone double platinum in their country.

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Visit the U.S. National Parks in Google Earth

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Each spring, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation dedicate a week to celebrating the protected spaces in our communities. Today, we’re bringing the national parks to you in a Google Earth guided tour through 31 different parks around the country.

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Presenting search app and browser options to Android users in Europe

Google in Europe

People have always been able to customize their Android devices to suit their preferences. That includes personalizing the design, installing any apps they want and choosing which services to use as defaults in apps like Google Chrome.

Following the changes we made to comply with the European Commission's ruling last year, we’ll start presenting new screens to Android users in Europe with an option to download search apps and browsers.  

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On World Heritage Day, explore historic sites in 3D

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Mexico City’s Cathedral.

Last year on World Heritage Day, CyArk launched Open Heritage on Google Arts & Culture to showcase the technology used for heritage preservation around the world. This year, we’re expanding the project further. Our goal isn’t just to digitally preserve heritage sites at risk, but to make their stories and the data we collected available to future generations of researchers, educators and students.

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Spring into healthy habits with help from Google Home

Spring is (finally) here. Not only am I using the warmer weather and longer days as a reason to clean out my closet, but I'm also taking the opportunity to clean up my routine and stick to my wellness goals. I'd like to read one book per week, cook more healthy recipes for my family and get at least seven hours of sleep per night… with a full time job and two toddlers. Life is a lot to manage, so I use my Google Home products to keep track of everything I want to accomplish.

Here are a few ways that your Google Assistant on Google Home devices can help with your wellness goals and put some spring in your step:

Get more sleep

Starting today, our Gentle Sleep & Wake feature lets you use any Google Home device to set a routine that gradually turns your Philips Hue smart lights on (wake) or off (sleep) over the course of 30 minutes, to mimic the sunrise or help you prepare for bed. This gradual change of light helps improve the quality of your sleep. Just say, “Hey Google,” then:

“Turn on Gentle Wake up" to have your daily morning alarms pair with gradual brightening. Make sure to enable Gentle Wake Up on the same Google Home device you’ll  set your alarms on."Wake up my lights." You can also say, “Hey Google, wake up my lights in the bedroom at 6:30 a.m.” This will start to gradually brighten your Philips Hue lights at the time that you set and can be set up to 24 hours in advance. 
"Sleep my lights." You can also say, “Hey Google, sleep the lights in the living room.” This will gradually start to dim your Philips Hue lights and can be programmed up to 24 hours in advance. 

The Gentle Sleep & Wake feature is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Singapore and India in English only. For other ways to wind down at the end of the day, you can also tune out noises from street traffic or construction next door by saying, “Hey Google, play white noise.”

Put your mind to bed

With Headspace on Google Home, you can try out a short meditation or a sleep exercise. Just say, "Hey Google, tell Headspace I'm ready for bed.” You can also say, “Hey Google, I want to meditate” to get recommendations like healing sounds, sleep sounds and more.

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With the Roav Bolt, use your Google Assistant safely when driving

I spend so much time on the road every day, whether I’m hustling to the office or picking up the kids at school. While I’m driving, it can be very tempting to pull out my phone to check text messages, make phone calls or fumble around to find my favorite podcast. 

One way to safely stay connected and use your phone hands-free while on the road is by using the Roav Bolt, an affordable aftermarket device by Anker Innovations. The Roav Bolt is built to work with Android devices, and brings the Google Assistant to almost any car. Just say, “Hey Google,” when you’re in the car or tap the button on Roav Bolt to find the nearest coffee shop, play your favorite song or podcast, navigate home, read texts, make calls, set reminders and check your schedule for the day. 

Roav Bolt plugs into your car’s charging socket, connecting to your phone’s Bluetooth and then to your car’s stereo. The far-field built-in mics on the Roav Bolt ensure that your Assistant hears you clearly, whether your phone is locked or stashed away or if you’re blasting music.

Here’s a closer look at what you can do with the Assistant using Roav Bolt, starting with “Hey Google”: 

Navigation

Ask the Google Assistant to help you get to your destination and find the things you need as you’re driving, such as current traffic along your route, nearby gas stations, or restaurants and businesses.

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At Tech Day, hundreds of kids dive deep into STEM

On April 13 and 14, Google’s Mountain View campus suddenly had a much younger population. That’s because 875 high school students stopped by for Google’s fourth annual Tech Day. Over 150 Google and Alphabet volunteers joined the kids in 129 interactive STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities to empower them with knowledge and inspire them to get started in disciplines like computer science.

But Tech Day isn’t just about fun and games. The event was designed for students who may not have regular access to technology classes at their schools. The students who attend Tech Day have very little experience in technology and computing, but they might leave the event inspired to pursue a new career path.

Software engineer Matthew Dierker started Tech Day in 2016, based on a similar event at his alma mater. He started his university’s program along with a friend at the University of Illinois, and decided to bring the idea to the Bay Area. “I thought it'd be a natural fit here, given the large number of passionate engineers in Silicon Valley, plus I like organizing stuff,” he says. “I gathered a few friends and that effort found a good home in Google's engEDU initiative.”

Since then, Tech Day has expanded to a full weekend, with three times the students it had in 2016. And the list of activities has grown beyond just classes. Kids can now participate in games and breakout sessions that help them loosen up around technology. The event’s organizers say one of the biggest obstacles the kids face is not seeing all the career options they may have. “They might think they can’t work in any role in tech just because they struggle with math. This isn’t the case,” says Melaena Roberts, a software engineer and volunteer team lead.

User experience designer Bingying Xia says she volunteers at Tech Day because she’d like to let students know that there's more to tech than computer science. “The world also needs smart, creative designers to find user problems and come up with innovative design solutions,” she says.

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New research shows how Android helps companies build a digital workforce

IDC reports that by 2022, 75 percent of CIOs who don’t transition their organization to flexible IT product teams that use technology to solve problems in new ways will fall behind the competition. According to IDC, mobility is the key to building a connected workforce that’s agile, particularly when the organization is going through rapid change.  

In new research sponsored by Google, IDC asserts that teams can thrive with platforms that feature a diversity of hardware, offer strong security, and support IT management that balances with user experience. This series of whitepapers, videos and blog posts detail the critical role that mobility plays in achieving these core pillars and the strengths that Android offers as a strategic platform of choice for enterprise.

Phil Hochmuth, Program Director of IDC Mobility, said that for businesses to transform how their workers do their jobs with mobility, they must address key challenges around mobile computing risk, device capabilities, and form-factor selection, as well as the underlying provisioning and management of mobile end-user technology. IDC sees Android as a strategic platform that addresses each pillar to consider when choosing a mobile platform: Overall security, solution breath, and IT management capabilities balanced with user experience.

Android security extends from the hardware to the application stack, ensuring corporate data is kept secure. Our broad set of OEM partners offers a wide range of both price points as well as form factors that can enable every worker. And Android IT management capabilities span from the Work Profile, which separates personal data from corporate data access on a BYOD or personally enabled device, to locked down modes that control the device experience to a set of IT approved applications. Combined with innovative tools that bring machine learning, immersive experiences, and both native and web apps to users, Android is well suited to powering an organization’s digital transformation efforts.

Explore the IDC findingsto discover how Android powers a mobile, connected workforce and can help your company take the next steps toward transitioning to a digital workforce.

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Gathering insights in Google Analytics can be as easy as A-B-C

Today’s customers are deeply curious, searching high and low for information about a product before making a purchase. And this curiosity applies to purchases big and small—just consider the fact that mobile searches for “best earbuds” have grown by over 130 percent over the last two years. (Google Data, US, Oct 2015 - Sep 2016 vs. Oct 2017 - Sep 2018. ) To keep up with this curious customer, marketers are putting insights at the center of the strategy so that they can understand customers’ intentions and deliver a helpful, timely experience.

In our new guide about linking Google Analytics and Google Ads, we explore the broad range of reports available in Analytics. These reports give you crucial insights about the customer journey that can then be used to inform your campaigns in Google Ads. Here’s what you should know about the A-B-Cs of reporting.

Acquisition reports

How did your customers end up on your site in the first place? Acquisition reports answer this question, offering insights about how effectively your ads drive users to your site, which keywords and search queries are bringing new users to your site, and much more. This video gives you a quick overview of how Acquisition reports work.  

Behavior reports

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Want to Change the Game? Design your own with Google Play

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Google Play Change the Game Design Challenge

Calling all future game creators and designers! We’re looking for teens to share their game idea and vision for the future of gaming for a chance to see their game come to life on Google Play.

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Suit up with Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame and Pixel

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Want to defeat a villain like Thanos and save the world?

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How we’re supporting economic opportunity in Iowa

For some, Iowa may call to mind images of rolling corn fields, or the Field of Dreams. But those in the know will tell you that the Hawkeye state has a storied history of technological innovation. The first electronic digital computer was created in a lab at Iowa State and Lee de Forest, the “Father of Radio,” was born and raised in Council Bluffs. Perhaps most impressively,  sliced bread is an Iowan invention, with the first single loaf bread-slicing machine patented here in 1928.

In 2009, Iowa also became home to a Google Data Center, where I—along with hundreds of Iowans—work to connect billions of people around the world to Google. When someone logs onto Gmail, watches a YouTube video or searches for an answer to some burning question, they might not think of Iowa, but they should.

With such a strong track record of fostering creative answers to difficult questions, Iowa is the perfect place for Google to kick off a statewide $1 million Google.org Impact Challenge, where we’re inviting local nonprofits to share their most ambitious ideas to create economic opportunity in their community. Then, a panel of local advisors will select the top five to receive a $175,000 grant to bring their ideas to life. Our advisors, listed below, represent all corners of the state:

Dr. Dan Kinney, President, Iowa Western Community College
Georgia Van Gundy, Executive Director and Board Secretary, Iowa Business Council
Monica Chavez-Silva, Assistant Vice President for Community Enhancement, Grinnell College
Sherry Ristau, President, Quad Cities Community Foundation
Tej Dhawan, Chief Data Officer, Principal Financial Group

To cap off the competition, Google will invite Iowans to select one of the five projects they believe will have the greatest impact.

We kicked the Challenge off this morning in Des Moines at the first stop of a three-city Grow with Google Iowa Tour, where we’re teaming up with local libraries and partner organizations across the state to offer free trainings so that Iowans have the opportunity to learn digital skills to grow their careers or businesses. Tomorrow and the following day, we’ll visit libraries in Council Bluffs and Davenport as part of a larger commitment to support economic opportunity in America and bring in-person digital skills workshops to libraries to all 50 states.

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See Brighter in the Dark with Pixel at Coachella

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Brighter in the Dark

This weekend, Coachella festival-goers will wander the desert, heading to and from performances by some of their favorite artists. If you're one of them, head over to Brighter in the Dark—a tech and music installation we created with Childish Gambino.

The installation—a multisensory sight and sound experience that uses a mixture of light and music to give attendees a sneak peek into Childish Gambino’s creative world—uses the power of Pixel’s camera features to provide an interactive and Instagrammable moment for festival-goers.

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More science in more places with Science Journal and Google Drive

We first launched Science Journal in 2016 so that students, teachers and science enthusiasts could conduct hands-on science experiments using their phones, tablets and Chromebooks. Since then, we've heard one request from teachers loud and clear: students need to be able to access their experiments no matter what device they're using or where they are. Learning doesn't just happen in the classroom, it happens outdoors, at home and everywhere in between. So today, we’re bringing a new Google Drive syncing feature to Science Journal. Now, you can access your experiments on any device using a Google Account.

Accessing your experiment from Google Drive is easy: you can sign in with any Google Account and all of your experiments will be backed up to a Science Journal folder in Google Drive. If you have existing experiments on your device, you can add them to your Google Drive account. Many viewing, sharing and collaboration features will be coming to Science Journal in the future.

If you don't have a Google Account or you don't want to sign in, you can still use Science Journal—but your data won't be saved to Google Drive. If your school doesn't have Google Accounts, you can sign up for G Suite for free—just remember that G Suite for Education accounts need a domain administrator to activate Science Journal in the G Suite Admin console.

In addition to today’s syncing feature, we have a lot of new resources in Science Journal, just for teachers. Check out the new fundamentals and advanced professional development modules in the Google for Education Teacher Center. For introductory science activities, head over to Scholastic's Science in Action initiative, and for more hands-on physics content, you can pre-order Arduino's Science Kit. If you're looking for new ways to enhance Science Journal's capabilities, check out Vernier's Go Direct line of classroom sensors. Science Journal activities can now be found on the Workbench site, and you can always find activities and more on the Science Journal website and get support in our new help center. Finally, the Science Journal iOS app is now open source, so the app's code is available to the public, making it a great opportunity for students, hobbyists and companies who want to see how Science Journal works and even contribute code back to us.


Our goal with Science Journal is to help you enhance scientific thinking and data literacy in your classroom. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months, and let us know what you think on ourforum. You can tweet at us@GScienceJournal, or just use the #myScienceJournal hashtag on Twitter.

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