Collaborating to protect nearly anonymous animals
(ven., 17 mai 2019)
When you have a lot of people working in a Google Doc it can look like a zoo, with anonymous animals popping into your document to write (or howl, bark or moo) their feedback. Today, 13
new animals—like the african wild dog, grey reef shark and cheetah—are joining the pack. Though they may be excellent collaborators, they also need our help.
It’s Endangered Species Day, and we’re teaming up with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Netflix's “Our Planet” to raise awareness around animals
that are at risk.
According to WWF, wildlife populations have dwindled by 60 percent in less than five decades. And with nearly 50 species
threatened with extinction today, technology has a role to play in preventing endangerment.
With artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and apps that speed up collaboration, Google is helping companies like WWF in their work to save our precious planets’ species. Here
are some of the ways.
Curating wildlife data quickly. A big part of increasing conservation efforts is having access to reliable data about the animals that are threatened. To help, WWF and Google
have joined a number of other partners to create the
Wildlife Insights platform, a way for people to share wildlife camera trap images. Using AI, the species are automatically identified, so that conservationists can act quicker to
help recover global wildlife populations.
Predicting wildlife trade trends. Using Google search queries and known web page content, Google can help organizations like WWF predict wildlife trade trends similar to how we
can help see flu outbreaks coming. This way, we can help prevent a wildlife trafficking crisis quicker.
Collaborating globally with people who can help. Using G Suite, which includes productivity and collaboration apps like Docs and Slides, Google Cloud, WWF and Netflix partnered
together to draft materials and share information quickly to help raise awareness for Endangered Species Day (not to mention, cut back on paper).
What you can do to help
Conservation can seem like a big, hairy problem that’s best left to the experts to solve. But there are small changes we can make right now in our everyday lives. When we all collaborate
together to make these changes, they can make a big difference.
Check out this Slides presentation to find out more about how together, we can
help our friends. You can also take direct action to help protect our planet on the “Our Planet” website.
Make your smart home more accessible with new tutorials
(Thu, 16 May 2019)
I’m legally blind, so from the moment I pop out of bed each morning, I use technology to help me go about my day. When I wake up, I ask my Google Assistant for my custom-made morning
Routine which turns on my lights, reads my calendar and plays the news. I use
other products as well, like screen readers and a refreshable braille display, to help me be as productive as possible.
I bring my understanding of what it's like to have a disability to work with me, where I lead accessibility for Google Search, Google News and the Google Assistant. I work with
cross-functional teams to help fulfill Google’s mission of building products for everyone—including those of us in the disabled community.
The Assistant can be particularly useful for helping people with disabilities get things done. So today, Global Accessibility
Awareness Day, we’re releasing a series of how-to videos with visual and audible directions, designed to help the accessibility community set up and get the most out of their
Assistant-enabled smart devices.
You can find step-by-step tutorials to learn how to interact with your Assistant, from setting up your Assistant-enabled device to using your voice to control your home appliances, at our
YouTube playlist which we’ll continue to update throughout the year.
This playlist came out of conversations within the team about how we can use our products to make life a little easier. Many of us have some form of disability, or have a friend,
co-worker or family member who does. For example, Stephanie Wilson, an engineer on the Google Home team, helped
set up her parents’ smart home after her dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
In addition to our own teammates, we're always listening to suggestions from the broader community on how we can make our products more accessible. Last week at I/O, we showed how we’re
making the Google Assistant more accessible, using AI to improve products for people with a speech impairment, and added Live Caption in Android Q to give the Deaf community automatic captions for media that’s playing audio on your phone. All these
changes were made after receiving feedback from people like you.
Head over to our Accessibility website to learn more, and if you have questions or feedback on accessibility within
Google products, please share your feedback with us via our dedicated Disability Support team.
Three new machine learning courses
(Thu, 16 May 2019)
Many years ago, I took a dance lesson in Budapest to learn the csárdás, a Hungarian folk dance. The instructor shouted directions to me in enthusiastic Hungarian, a language I didn't
understand, yet I still learned the dance by mimicking the instructor and the expert students. Now, I do love clear directions in a lesson—I am a technical writer, after all—but it’s
remarkable what a person can learn by emulating the experts.
In fact, you can learn a lot about machine learning by emulating the experts. That’s why we’ve teamed with ML experts to create online courses to help researchers, developers, and
students. Here are three new courses:
Introduces clustering techniques, which help find patterns and related groups in complex data. This course focuses on k-means, which is the most popular clustering algorithm. Although
k-means is relatively easy to understand, defining similarity measures for k-means is challenging and fascinating.
Recommendation Systems: Teaches you how to create ML models that suggest relevant content to users, leveraging the experiences of Google's recommendation system experts. You'll
discover both content-based and collaborative filtering, and uncover the mathematical alchemy of matrix factorization. To get the most out of this course, you'll need at least a
little background in linear algebra.
Testing and Debugging: Explains the tricks that Google's ML experts use to test and debug ML models. Google's ML experts have spent thousands of hours deciphering the signals that
faulty ML models emit. Learn from their mistakes.
These new courses are engaging, practical, and helpful. They build on a series of courses we released last year, starting with Machine
Learning Course Crash (MLCC), which teaches the fundamentals of ML. If you enjoyed MLCC, you're ready for these new courses. They will push you to think differently about the way you
approach your work. Take these courses to copy the moves of the world's best ML experts.
Building for all learners with new apps, tools, and resources
(Thu, 16 May 2019)
Everyone deserves access to a quality education—no matter your background, where you live, or your abilities. We’re recognizing this on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, an effort to
promote digital accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities, by sharing new features, training, and partners, along with the many new products announced at Google I/O.
Since everyone learns in different ways, we design technology that can adapt to a broad range of needs and learning styles. For example, you can now add captions in Slides and turn on live captions in Hangouts
Meet, and we’ve improved discoverability in the G Suite toolbar. By making these features available—with even more in the works—teachers can help students learn in ways that work best
Working with our partners to expand access
We’re not the only ones trying to make learning more accessible, so we’ve partnered with companies who are building apps to make it easier for teachers to communicate with all students.
One of our partners, Crick Software, just launched Clicker Communicator, a child-friendly communication tool for
the classroom: bridging the gap between needs/wants and curriculum access, empowering non-verbal students with the tools to initiate and lead conversations, and enabling proactive
participation in the classroom. It’s one of the first augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) apps specifically created for Chromebook users.
Learn more about Clicker Communicator, an AAC app for Chromebooks.
Assessing with accessibility in mind
Teachers use locked mode when giving Quizzes in Google Forms, only on
managed Chromebooks, to eliminate distractions. Locked mode is now used millions of times per month, and many students use additional apps for accommodations when taking quizzes. We’ve
been working with many developers to make sure their tools work with locked mode. One of those developers is our partner Texthelp®. Coming soon,
when you enable locked mode in Quizzes in Google Forms, your students will be able to access Read&Write for Google Chrome and EquatIO® for Google that they rely on daily.
Another partner, Don Johnston, supports students with their apps including Co:Writer for word prediction, translation, and speech recognition and Snap&Read for read aloud, highlighting, and note-taking. Students signed into these extensions can use them on the
quiz—even in locked mode. This integration will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks.
Learn more about the accessibility features available in locked mode, including ChromeVox, select-to-speak, and
visual aids including high contrast mode and magnifiers.
Locked mode with Texthelp extensions
Texthelp extension Read&Write in locked mode in Quizzes in Google Forms.
Locked mode with Don Johnston extension
Don Johnston extension Co:Writer in locked mode in Quizzes in Google Forms.
Locked mode in Quizzes in Google Forms
Locked mode in Quizzes in Google Forms, only on managed Chromebooks.
Tools, training, and more resources
Assistive technology has the power to transform learning for more students, but educators need training, support, and tutorials to help their students get the most from the technology.
The new Accessibility section on our Google for Education website has information on Chromebooks and G Suite for
Education, a module on our Teacher Center and printable flashcards, and EDU in 90
YouTube videos on G Suite and Chromebook accessibility features. Check
out our accessibility tools and find training on how to use them to create more engaging, accessible learning experiences.
Watch the EDU in 90 on Chrome accessibility features.
We love hearing stories of how technology is making learning more accessible for more learners, so please share how you're using
accessibility tools to support all types of learners, and requests for how we can continue to improve to meet the needs of more learners.
Affirming the identities of teachers and students in the classroom
(Thu, 16 May 2019)
Editor’s note: In this post, Kristina Joye Lyles from DonorsChoose.org shares about teaming up with Google.org to launch the #ISeeMe campaign.
I joined DonorsChoose.org in 2013 and have long been working with organizations like Google.org who share our belief in the power of teachers.
To date, Google.org has provided over $25 million to support classrooms on DonorsChoose.org, and last week, they committed an additional $5 million to teachers, with a focus on supporting diverse and inclusive
classrooms. Together, we’re kicking off #ISeeMe, a new effort to celebrate the identities of teachers and students in their classrooms.
As a military brat, I attended many public schools across the U.S. but only had two teachers of color from kindergarten through twelfth grade. My teachers and professors of color had a
particularly strong impact on me as mentors and role models; I was encouraged to see them as leaders in our school community, and their presence alone showed me that diversity and
My story is like those of so many others. Research shows that students benefit from seeing themselves in their teachers and learning resources. For example, black students who have just
one black teacher between third and fifth grade are 33 percent more likely to stay in school. Girls who attend high schools with a higher
proportion of female STEM teachers are 19 percent more likely to graduate from
college with a science or math major.
With this support from Google.org, teachers who are underrepresented in today’s public school classrooms—like teachers of color and female math and science teachers—as well as all
teachers looking to create more inclusive classrooms will get the support they need and deserve. Teachers from all backgrounds can take steps toward creating classrooms that reflect
their students, whether they’re selecting novels with diverse characters to discuss or taking trainings to meet the needs of culturally diverse students. And we’re eager to help them
bring their ideas to life so that more students can see themselves reflected in their classrooms.
I’m thrilled that many teachers on DonorsChoose.org are already coming up with inspiring ways to foster classroom environments where every student can feel important and included.
Mr. Yung sees the power of food to bring his students together across different
cultural backgrounds. Ms. McLeod is determined to bring her students from Lumberton, North
Carolina, to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Toro-Maysaspires to bring her bilingual students books with culturally relevant heroes and
We hope you’ll join us and the philanthropists of various backgrounds who have lit the torch for #ISeeMe today. If you are a public school teacher, you can set up an #ISeeMe classroom project right now
at DonorsChoose.org. You can also access free inclusive classroom resources and ideas created
for educators, by educators at any time in Google’s Teacher Center. And for those of you who have been inspired by a teacher, we invite you to explore classroom projects that are eligible
for Google.org’s #ISeeMe donation matching—we would love to have your support for these teachers and classrooms.