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Why I Ride with Waymo: Barb

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Editor’s Note: In 2017, Waymo joined forces with a diverse group of organizations to create Let’s Talk Autonomous Driving — the world’s first public education campaign to increase education and understanding around autonomous driving technology. In this Why I Ride with Waymo, we’ll hear from Barb Hoffman, who is a former executive director of our partner Red Means Stop, a traffic advocate organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the dangers and consequences of red light running.


Hi there, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Barb. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma for college; then married and had two children. We moved to Mesa, Arizona in 1991 where I later received my B.S. in marketing from Arizona State University and worked there for almost 23 years.

In 2004, my 14-year-old son, Michael, was hit and killed by a red-light runner in Mesa. The man who killed my son was only given a red-light running ticket, but no further punishment. I was an angry mom. I began researching laws that could punish my son’s killer when I came across the Red Means Stop Traffic Safety Alliance and gave them a call. I started as a volunteer with the organization and served as the executive director for five years.

That must have been extremely difficult. Is that what also spurred your interest in autonomous driving technology?

Working in traffic safety since 2004, I’ve found, and data verifies, that most car crashes are caused by human error. So, when I heard that autonomously driven cars were coming to the Phoenix area, I wanted in. With autonomous driving technology, I see a world where lives will be saved on our now-deadly roadways.

Do you use Waymo One yourself?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I had multiple events in Chandler, Arizona, every week, so I parked my car at a Park and Ride and hailed a car from Waymo One. I took it to my weekly breakfast meetings, then to the mall and my Toastmasters meeting, and oftentimes to meet with friends for lunch. During the COVID-19 pandemic, and since I retired, I haven’t had the chance to ride as much. Once I get a vaccination, I plan on riding again and taking some friends for a ride.

While I have always been a nervous passenger when I have no control of the human driver, I have no fear while riding with Waymo and have found comfort with the Waymo Driver in control.

That’s great to hear. You’ve mentioned how autonomous driving technology could help make our roads safer for everyone, but how has it changed your life personally as a driver?

I really don’t enjoy driving. I see so many aggressive, distracted, selfish drivers every day, and I don’t want to be the cause of a crash that takes another person’s life. Everyone is just one distraction away from possibly doing just that.

What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you while riding in Waymo One?

One time, I was pulling up to my destination, where a man was painting the fire zone curb. The Waymo Driver pulled up behind him and waited, with the goal of dropping me off just beyond where the man was working. I called Rider Support just to confirm if the car was waiting for the man to move before it pulled over at my spot, and it was. It was pretty funny, and I understood the safety aspect to the dilemma. I still chuckle when I think of that day. No harm was done, and I am glad the car put safety first for both me and the painter.

How do you think the dialogue around autonomous driving technology will change in the future?

As time goes on, I believe people will have a more positive outlook toward autonomously driven cars. When people realize how much more they can get done when letting the car drive, they will come around to the positive aspects of autonomous driving technology. Also, when statistics show the safety aspects, lower fatalities, and higher productivity, autonomous driving technology will be the norm and positively accepted.


Reigniting the “Recommended for Google Workspace” program

The launch of Google Workspace last October marked a major milestone in our  journey to give all our customers—from global enterprises to small businesses—the best way to connect, create, and collaborate, regardless of where and how they work. And recently we announced new ways we’re delivering on our mission to build for the future of work with a solution that’s flexible, helpful, and inspires innovation. 

We recognize that to bring this future of work to their teams, our customers depend on many business applications. In fact, research from Okta suggests that the average enterprise uses 129 different applications. This is why from the start we’ve been partnering with leading software vendors to make Google Workspace an open platform and to support our customers’ software and tool choices. We do this by making it easy for our partners to securely build and grow innovative solutions that integrate with Google Workspace.

To help our customers make the best decisions about their business apps, today we are introducing the enhanced “Recommended for Google Workspace” program. 

This program features a selection of market-leading applications built by software vendors across a wide range of categories, including project management, customer support, and finance. These apps will undergo rigorous usability and security testing to make sure they meet our requirements for high quality integrations. They must also have an exemplary track record of user satisfaction, reliability, and privacy.

Recommended for Google Workspace partners will receive new and enhanced benefits from Google, including specialized technical support, early access to APIs, and roadmap reviews. On the promotional side, selected partners will receive featured placement in Google Workspace Marketplace and the benefit of coordinated co-marketing efforts with Google.

Interested partners can get started by applying here. Google will announce selected “Recommended for Google Workspace partners” later this year.

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Introducing Cloud CISO perspectives

Since I joined Google Cloud as Chief Information Security Officer three short months ago, I’ve seen firsthand the unique point of view we have to improve security for our customers and society at large through the cloud. I started in this new role as the security industry was rattled by a major breach impacting the software supply chain, and I was reminded of one of the reasons I joined Google – the opportunity to push the industry forward in addressing challenging security issues and helping lay the foundation for a more secure future

Today, I’m excited to begin a new blog series that we will use to share our perspectives on the biggest announcements and trends in cybersecurity from Google Cloud and from across the industry – whether it’s conference highlights, new research or achievements from our Google-wide security teams. My hope is this series serves as your one-stop-shop to learn about our most important security updates and why they matter straight from a CISO’s perspective. 

Thoughts from around the industry

  • Global Supply Chains in the Era of COVID-19 – Last month, I participated in a Council on Foreign Relations panel about the supply chain risks brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest takeaways is the need for organizations and governments to discuss the ongoing steady state of risk management of supply chains as they exist today, such as risk mapping across a global supply chain. Just as physical supply chains have to prepare for natural risks, every supply chain has a digital element that could be disrupted and requires thinking through cyber prevention measures. 

  • IDC Multicloud Paper – We supported IDC in their work to investigate how multicloud can help regulated organizations mitigate risks of using a single cloud vendor. The paper looks at different approaches to multi-vendor and hybrid clouds taken by European organizations and how these strategies can help organizations address concentration risk and vendor-lock in, improve their compliance posture and demonstrate an exit strategy.

  • Operational resilience is a key area of focus for financial services firms, and regulators around the world have been evolving their guidance on the use of outsourcers, including cloud service providers, in this context. We’ve worked closely with our FSI customers in this area and as a result produced a new paper on how migrating to cloud can help ensure the operational resilience required by customers, shareholders and regulators.

  • #ShareTheMicInCyber – We celebrated an important industry effort called  #ShareTheMicInCyber for Women’s History Month, co-founded by one of our very own Googlers Camille Stewart. The benefits of DEI apply in all domains, but especially cyber, where we’ve learned first hand that diverse security teams are more innovative, produce better products and enhance our ability to defend against cyber threats. 

Google security corner 

  • Spectre proof-of-concept – Google’s security team published results from recent research on the exploitability of Spectre against web users. The research presented proof-of-concept (PoC) written in JavaScript which could leak information from a browser’s memory. There is immense value in sharing these types of findings with the security community. Additionally the team’s work highlighted protections available to web authors and best practices for enabling them in web applications, based on our experience across Google.

  • Open Source Security – We continue to see tremendous activity and support for the work of the Open Source Security Foundation that Google helped establish. Membership is open to all to help drive security on many critical projects. Learn how to get involved here. We also welcomed the announcement of sigstore, a new project in the Linux Foundation that aims to improve software supply chain integrity and verification.

Google Cloud security highlights 

Our Cloud security teams have been busy this quarter. We hit major milestones with product announcements like BeyondCorp Enterprise, Risk Protection Program and launched our new Google Cloud Security podcast. Here are some of my biggest takeaways:

  • BeyondCorp Enterprise – Earlier this year, we announced our comprehensive zero-trust offering, BeyondCorp Enterprise, that brings our modern, proven BeyondCorp technology to organizations so they can get started on their own zero trust journey. 

  • Trusted Cloud– We outlined our vision to deliver a truly trusted Cloud built on three pillars: transparency and sovereignty, zero trust, and shared fate.

  • Risk Protection Program – Google Cloud announced a partnership with two leading insurers to provide specialized cybersecurity insurance coverage for Google Cloud customers who adhere to specific security best practices and provide automated documentation of their security posture through our platform.

  • Active Assist account security recommendations – Active Assist provides recommendations for our users on how to optimize their cloud deployments. We launched a new “Account security” recommender that will automatically detect when a user with elevated permissions, such as a Project Owner is not using strong authentication. They will see a notification prompting them to enable their phone as a phishing-resistant second factor, helping to further protect their account. 

  • New Security Best Practices documentation – We released two new comprehensive papers: A CISO’s Guide to Cloud Security Transformation and updated our Google Cloud security foundations guide.

Over the next few months, we’ll be busy working on a number of new papers on cloud risk management for Risk and Compliance Officers and Heads of IT Audit as well some pieces on reimagining the Security Operations Center of the future. Thanks for checking out our first post in a series of many. I look forward to sharing more CISO perspectives with you soon.

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A training network to support diversity in journalism

Since 2015, Google and our partners have trained more than 400,000 journalists around the world. Last year in the United States through the Google News Initiative, our training was focused on giving journalists the tools necessary to cover the 2020 presidential election. This year, we’re continuing our training efforts with our trusted partners to train a diverse range of journalists across the U.S. in digital skills, media literacy and skills in covering marginalized communities.

In partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association, we’ll be training professional and student journalists on tools like Google Trends and Pinpoint, as well as relying on the expertise of our association partners to help connect journalists of color to valuable training resources. With the help of NAHJ, our training materials will also be translated into Spanish.

Cultural competency in reporting will be a key aspect of the trainings our partners lead, because true diversity needs to include not only who is telling the story, but also how the story is told. As part of our ongoing partnership, the Native American Journalists Association will also be creating an Indigenous Media Directory, which will connect journalists and readers to indigenous-led outlets. 

“As we shifted our approach from in-person to virtual during the pandemic, we were able to deliver training to more tribal media and mainstream newsrooms and connect with members and allies across Indian Country from Alaska to New York to Winnipeg,” says Rebecca Landsbury-Baker, Executive Director of NAJA. “We are grateful for the continued support of this important work under the NAJA Red Press Initiative.”

To learn more about our training network and resources and to request a newsroom training, visit our training center website.

Introducing SAP Integration with Cloud Data Fusion

Businesses today have a growing demand for data analysis and insight-based action. More often than not, the valuable data driving these actions is in mission critical operational systems. Among all the applications that are in the market today, SAP is the leading provider of ERP software and Google Cloud is introducing integration with SAP to help unlock the value of SAP data quickly and easily. 

Google Cloud native data integration platform Cloud Data Fusion now offers the capability to seamlessly get data out of SAP Business Suite, SAP ERP and S/4HANA. Cloud Data Fusion is a fully managed, cloud-native data integration and ingestion service that helps ETL developers, data engineers and business analysts efficiently build and manage ETL/ELT pipelines that accelerate the building of data warehouses, data marts, and data lakes on BigQuery or operational reporting systems on CloudSQL, Spanner or other systems. To simplify the unlocking of SAP data, today we’re announcing the public launch of the SAP Table Batch Source. With this capability, you can now use Cloud Data Fusion to easily integrate SAP application data to gain invaluable insights via Looker. You can also leverage the best in class machine learning products on Google Cloud to help you gain insight into your business by combining SAP data with other datasets. Some examples include running machine learning on IoT data joined with ERP transactional data to do predictive maintenance, application to application integration with SAP and CloudSQL based applications, fraud detection, spend analytics, demand forecasting etc.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of the SAP Table Batch Source in Cloud Data Fusion:

Developer Productivity

As Cloud Data Fusion is a complete, visual environment, users can use the Pipeline Studio to quickly design pipelines that read from SAP ECC or S/4HANA. With Data Fusion’s prebuilt transformations, you can easily join data from SAP and non SAP systems, and perform complex transformations like data cleansing, aggregations, data preparation, and lookups to rapidly get insights from the data. 

Time to Value

In traditional approaches, users are forced to define models on data warehousing systems. In Cloud Data Fusion, this is automatically performed for the users when using BigQuery. After you design and execute a data pipeline that writes to BigQuery, Data Fusion auto generates the schema in BigQuery for you. As users don’t need to pre build models, you get insight into your data faster, which results in improved productivity  for your organization.

Performance and Scalability

Cloud Data Fusion scales horizontally to  execute pipelines. Users can leverage the ephemeral clusters or dedicated clusters to run the pipelines. The SAP Batch Source plugin automatically tunes the data pipelines for optimal performance when it extracts data from your SAP systems, based on both SAP application server resources and Cloud Data Fusion runtime resources. If parallelism is misconfigured, a failsafe mechanism in the plugin prevents any issues in your source system.

How does SAP Table Batch Source work?

Transfer full table data from SAP to BigQuery or other systems

In the Pipeline Studio, you can add multiple SAP source tables to a data pipeline, and then join the other SAP source tables with joiner transformations. As the joiner is executed in the Cloud Data Fusion processing layer, there is no additional impact on the SAP system.  For example, To create a Customer Master data mart, you can join all relevant tables from SAP using the plugin, and then build complex pipelines for that data in Cloud Data Fusion’s Pipeline Studio. 

Data Fusion SAP

Extract table records in parallel

To extract records in parallel, you can configure the SAP Table Batch Source plugin using the Number of Splits to Generate property. If this property is left blank, the system determines the appropriate value for optimal performance. 

Extract records based on conditions

The SAP Table Batch source plugin allows you to specify filter conditions by using the property Filter Options.  You specify the conditions in OpenSQL syntax. The plugin uses the SQL WHERE clause to filter the tables. Records can be extracted based on conditions like certain columns having a defined set of values or a range of values.  You can also specify complex conditions that combine multiple conditions with AND or OR clauses (e.g. TIMESTAMP >= ‘ 20210130100000’ AND TIMESTAMP <= ‘ 20210226000000’).

Limit the number of records to be extracted

Users can also limit the number for records extracted from the specified table by using the property Number of Rows to Fetch. This is particularly useful in development and testing scenarios.

Maximizing the returns on data

With Google Cloud Platform, you can already scale and process huge amounts of social, operational, transaction and IoT data to extract value and gain rapid insights. Cloud Data Fusion provides many connectors to existing enterprise applications and data warehouses. With the native capabilities to unlock SAP data with Cloud Data Fusion into BigQuery, you can now go a step further and get more by driving rapid and intelligent decision making.

Ready to try out the SAP Table Batch connector? Create a new instance of Data Fusion and deploy the SAP plugin from the Hub. Please refer to the SAP Table Batch Source user guide for additional details. To learn more about how leading companies are powering innovation with our data solutions including data integration, check out Google Cloud’s Data Cloud Summit on May 26th.

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Customize the KPIs on your Google Play Console dashboard

Posted by Tom Grinsted, Product Manager, Google Play

Google Play Console metrics can help you understand your app’s performance across growth and acquisition, engagement and monetization, quality, and churn. But with dozens of metrics — and thousands of variations — we know not every metric is relevant to every person. One of the challenges you’ve shared with us is that it can sometimes be difficult to find exactly the metrics that you need for your personal job role, and to access them quickly and regularly once you have found them. .

That’s why today, we’re pleased to announce that you can now customize and pin the precise metrics that matter to you in a personalized KPIs section at the top of your app dashboard. These customizations are unique to you, so you can configure your KPIs however you want without affecting the rest of your team.

Getting started is easy. On the dashboard for any app, scroll down to the KPI section and select “choose KPIs.” You can either build your own or start with suggested KPIs for job specialities, such as Growth, Quality and Health, or Monetization.

There’s an extensive list of available metrics, including our new engagement data and peer comparisons. Search filters make it easy to find just what you want, and once selected you can edit the dimensions and filters to suit your exact needs. For instance, you could display Daily Active Users for your top-five languages; or if you’re a country manager, only show revenue from a specific country or territory.

You can name any of your KPIs to make them easy to remember, and even include emojis!

🤯

Once you’ve configured a list of KPIs that suit you, you can order them to control where they appear. This way, you can make sure that your most important metrics are always first to be seen.

You can include up to 20 KPIs, so your dashboard can be as robust or as streamlined as you want.

In addition to our suggested metrics, you can also pin any other dashboard card to your KPIs. For even finer control, you can even add any reports you’ve saved from the Statistics page. This allows you to create hyper-specific custom KPI cards from any of our core metrics.

There are as many ways to customize your KPIs as there are people using the console. Instead of seeing default KPIs, now everyone can have a customized dashboard showing exactly the metrics that matter to their individual workflows.

Ready to see for yourself? Just log into Google Play Console to try it out.

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Building for the future: Google Marketing Livestream May 27, 2021

Text says "Register now. Thursday, May 27 at 8 a.m. PT

Businesses play a critical role in helping our communities thrive. As the world around us continues to change, our commitment to you remains the same: helping you grow your business and meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Many of you — who run businesses large and small, around the world — have shared what you need from partners like Google to be successful. We heard you. So we’ve been busy building new solutions to help you be ready for what comes next. 

Join us on May 27 at 8 a.m. PT for Google Marketing Livestream 2021 — a virtual keynote where we’ll announce new products and share the latest trends and insights. You’ll also hear from industry leaders who have transformed their businesses to adapt to the new realities.

It’s a virtual experience like no other. 

Register now to get a front row seat. And join the conversation at #GML2021.

Gif says: Building for the future of digital marketing, measurement, commerce, privacy

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More options for nonprofits with Google Workspace

Over 150,000 nonprofits use Google productivity tools every day to get more done for their communities. PlanetRead is an organization based in India that’s bringing literacy to millions by making reading a part of entertainment through Same Language Subtitling. They rely on Google Workspace — especially Gmail, Calendar, and Docs — to maximize their impact. Other mission-focused organizations use Google Workspace to better serve their communities, like Norway-based nonprofit ISFO Innherred Seniorforum. With the help of Google tools, they developed the SeniorSmart app to help seniors fight loneliness. To meet needs of organizations like these, we’re providing nonprofits with greater choice and flexibility.

Say hello to Google Workspace for Nonprofits 

G Suite for Nonprofits is now Google Workspace for Nonprofits. Like its predecessor, Google Workspace for Nonprofits helps teams collaborate more effectively. As was the case with G Suite, Google Workspace for Nonprofits is available at no cost and includes the productivity apps you know and love — Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet and many more. 

Get continued access to Google Classroom at no additional cost

With Google Workspace for Nonprofits, organizations focused on education will still have access to Google Classroom to create and manage classes, assignments and grades online. Virginia-based MySecureKid is an organization that equips disadvantaged children for life and job readiness. They rely on Classroom — and will continue to do so —  for their online courses that covering topics ranging from entrepreneurship and financial literacy to internet safety and self-esteem. 

Image of three women in front of a sign that says, "Connecting to the future".

MySecureKid provides positive role models and hosts training, workshops and activities to help people feel confident in themselves to achieve their dreams. 

Find a plan that meets your needs 

For nonprofits that need access to more advanced tools to drive their mission forward, we have new discounts with you in mind. These discounts are designed specifically for nonprofit organizations that want to access the Business Standard, Business Plus and Enterprise editions of Google Workspace. Compare features and discounts of each edition here, so you can pick what works for your organization. 

With over 375,000 organizations across more than 60 countries in the program, Google for Nonprofits is on a mission to equip nonprofits with the best of Google tools. For organizations looking to get started with Google Workspace, check out our video tutorial and help center. You can also learn more about new Google Workspace features on the Cloud Blog.

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Announcing the Sustainable Monetized Websites video series

The new series Sustainable Monetized Websites is now available on the Search Central and the Google AdSense YouTube channels.
This series focuses on the best practices for people who create or manage content online and monetize it, acknowledging how
challenging this can be and assisting them with resources and focus areas.


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From the kitchen to the Maison to low orbit: 3 surprising Google Cloud stories from this week

A new era of cloud computing is upon us, and organizations of all shapes and sizes are building their transformation clouds to create what’s next. You can see this manifesting everywhere—including in a few places you might not immediately expect. 

Back in December, we published a story about using Google Cloud AI to create baking recipes. This resulted in Mars, Inc. approaching us for a Maltesers + AI kitchen collaboration featuring our very own Sara Robinson, co-author of our original blog post. Maltesers are a popular British candy made by Mars that have an airy malted milk center with a delicious chocolate coating. We saw this opportunity as a way to partner with a storied and innovative company like Mars and also a chance to showcase the magic that can happen when AI and humans work together. Find out what happened, and even try the recipe.

Maltesers AI Cakes.jpg

Maison Cartier is globally renowned for the timeless design of its jewelry and watchmaking creations. And while it prides itself on the vastness of its collection, manually browsing its catalog to find specific models, or comparing several models at once, could sometimes take quite some time for a sales associate at one of the Maison’s 265 boutiques. This was not ideal for a brand that is known for its swift and efficient client service. Thus, in 2020, Cartier turned to Google Cloud and its advanced AI and machine learning capabilities for a solution. This week, we shared how we helped the Maison create an app that enables boutique teams to take a picture of a desired watch model (or use any existing photo of it as reference) and quickly find its equivalent product page online. Learn how they did it.

Cartier

Satellites play a critical role in our daily lives, whether its studying the Earth’s weather and environment, helping people and things communicate in remote locations, or monitoring critical infrastructure. Many new satellites are launched into low Earth orbit (LEO), which requires a worldwide network of antennas to operate. Ground Station-as-a-Service (GSaaS) companies such as Leaf Space give satellite operators the ability to lease time on a ground network, and when a satellite is within its field of view, use Leaf Space’s antennas and other equipment to communicate between the satellite and ground. Leaf Space built their GSaaS solution on Google Cloud, and you can learn the nitty gritty on how they did it in this blog post.

A YouTube video depicting the Leaf Space control center.

Leaf Space Control Center

That’s a wrap for this week. Stay tuned for more transformation cloud stories in the weeks ahead.

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