Monthly:November 2017

Preventing unauthorized inventory

Advertising should be free of invalid activity – including unauthorized, misrepresented, and fake ad inventory – which diverts revenue from legitimate publishers and tricks marketers into wasting their money. Earlier this year we worked with the IAB Tech Lab to create the ads.txt standard, a simple solution to help stop bad actors from selling unauthorized inventory across the industry. Since then, we’ve shared our plans to integrate the standard into our advertiser and publisher advertising platforms.

As of November 8th, Google’s advertising platforms filter all unauthorized ad inventory identified by published ads.txt files:

  • Marketers and agencies using DoubleClick Bid Manager and AdWords will not buy unauthorized impressions as identified by publishers’ ads.txt files.
  • DoubleClick Ad Exchange and AdSense publishers that use ads.txt are protected against unauthorized inventory being sold in our auctions.

Preventing the sale of unauthorized inventory depends on having complete and accurate ads.txt information. So, to make sure our systems are filtering traffic as accurately as possible, we built an ads.txt crawler based on concepts used in our search index technology. It scans all active sites across our network daily, over 30m domains, for ads.txt files, to prevent unauthorized inventory from entering our systems.

The adoption of ads.txt has been growing quickly and the standard is reaching scale across publishers:

  • Over 100,000 ads.txt files have been published
  • 750 of the comScore 2,000 have ads.txt files
  • Over 50% of inventory seen by DBM comes from domains with ads.txt files

We believe ads.txt is a significant step in cleaning up bad inventory and it’s great to have the broad support of our partners like L’Oreal, Omnicom Media Group, and the Financial Times.

“Consumers place enormous value on the ability to trust brands, which is why transparency in advertising is a top priority at L’Oreal. We look forward to collaborating with Google on this initiative as we continue to encourage the industry to follow suit.”
– Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO L’Oreal USA

“Removing counterfeit inventory from the ecosystem is critical to maintaining trust in digital. The simple act of publishing an ads.txt file helps provide the transparency we need to quickly reduce counterfeit inventory from harming our clients.”
– Steve Katelman, EVP Global Strategic Partnerships, Omnicom Media Group

“It’s great to see adoption of ads.txt across the industry and we’re happy to see Google put their support behind this initiative. By eliminating counterfeit inventory from the ecosystem, marketers’ budgets will work that much harder and revenue will reach real working media to fund the independent, high-quality journalism which society depends upon.”
– Anthony Hitchings, Digital Advertising Operations Director, Financial Times

It’s amazing to see how fast the industry is adopting ads.txt, but there is still more to be done. Supporting industry initiatives like ads.txt is critical to maintaining the health of the digital advertising ecosystem. That’s why we’ll continue to invest and innovate to make the ecosystem more valuable, transparent, and trusted for everyone.

Posted by Per Bjorke
Product Manager, Google Ad Traffic QualityRead More

Why doesn’t Streams use AI?

One of the questions Im most often asked about Streams, our secure mobile healthcare app, is why is DeepMind making something that doesnt use artificial intelligence?Its a fair question to ask of an artificial intelligence (AI) company. When we first started thinking about working in healthcare, our natural focus was on AI and how it could be used to help the NHS and its patients. We see huge potential for AI to revolutionise our understanding of diseases – how they develop and are diagnosed – which could, in turn, help scientists discover new treatments, care pathways and cures.In the early days of DeepMind Health, we met with clinicians at the Royal Free Hospital in London who wanted to know if AI could improve care for patients at risk of acute kidney injury (AKI). AKI is notoriously difficult to spot, and can result in serious illness or even death if left untreated. AKI is currently detected by applying a formula (called the AKI algorithm) to NHS patients blood tests. This algorithm is good, but its widely known that it isnt perfect. For example, it has a tendency to generate false positives for patients with chronic (as opposed to acute) kidney disease.Read More

Specifying AI safety problems in simple environments

As AI systems become more general and more useful in the real world, ensuring they behave safely will become even more important. To date, the majority of technical AI safety research has focused on developing a theoretical understanding about the nature and causes of unsafe behaviour. Our new paper builds on a recent shift towards empirical testing (see Concrete Problems in AI Safety) and introduces a selection of simple reinforcement learning environments designed specifically to measure safe behaviours.These nine environments are called gridworlds. Each consists of a chessboard-like two-dimensional grid. In addition to the standard reward function, we designed a performance function for each environment. An agent acts to maximise its reward function; for example collecting as many apples as possible or reaching a particular location in the fewest moves. But the performance function – which is hidden from the agent – measures what we actually want the agent to do: achieve the objective while acting safely.The following three examples demonstrate how gridworlds can be used to define and measure safe behaviour:1. The off-switch environment: how can we prevent agents from learning to avoid interruptions?Sometimes it might be necessary to turn off an agent; for maintenance, upgrades, or if the agent presents an imminent danger to itself or its surroundings.Read More

Population based training of neural networks

Neural networks have shown great success in everything from playing Go and Atari games to image recognition and language translation. But often overlooked is that the success of a neural network at a particular application is often determined by a series of choices made at the start of the research, including what type of network to use and the data and method used to train it. Currently, these choices – known as hyperparameters – are chosen through experience, random search or a computationally intensive search processes.In our most recent paper, we introduce a new method for training neural networks which allows an experimenter to quickly choose the best set of hyperparameters and model for the task. This technique – known as Population Based Training (PBT) – trains and optimises a series of networks at the same time, allowing the optimal set-up to be quickly found. Crucially, this adds no computational overhead, can be done as quickly as traditional techniques and is easy to integrate into existing machine learning pipelines.The technique is a hybrid of the two most commonly used methods for hyperparameter optimisation: random search and hand-tuning. In random search, a population of neural networks are trained independently in parallel and at the end of training the highest performing model is selected.Read More

Applying machine learning to mammography screening for breast cancer

We founded DeepMind Health to develop technologies that could help address some of societys toughest challenges. So were very excited to announce that our latest research partnership will focus on breast cancer.Well be working with a group of leading research institutions, led by the Cancer Research UK Centre at Imperial College London, and alongside the AI health research team at Google, to determine if cutting-edge machine learning technology could help improve the detection of breast cancer.Breast cancer is a significant global health problem. Every single year, over 1.6 million people are diagnosed with the disease, and while advances in early detection and treatment have improved survival rates, breast cancer still claims the lives of 500,000 people around the world every year, around 11,000 of whom are here in the UK.Thats partly because accurately detecting and diagnosing breast cancer still remains a huge challenge.Currently, clinicians use mammograms (an X-ray of the breasts) to spot cancers early and determine the correct treatment, but this process is far from perfect. Thousands of cancer cases are not picked up by mammograms every year, including around 30% of interval cancers, which are cancers that are diagnosed between screenings.Read More

Tune in for the world’s first Google Translate music tour

Eleven years ago, Google Translate was created to break down language barriers. Since then, it has enabled billions of people and businesses all over the world to talk, connect and understand each other in new ways.

And we’re still re-imagining how it can be used—most recently, with music. The music industry in Sweden is one of the world’s most successful exporters of hit music in English—with artists such Abba, The Cardigans and Avicii originating from the country. But there are still many talented Swedish artists who may not get the recognition or success they deserve except for in a small country up in the north.

This sparked an idea: might it be possible to use Google Translate with the sole purpose of breaking a Swedish band internationally?

Today, we’re presenting Translate Tour, in which up and coming Swedish indie pop group Vita Bergen will be using Google Translate to perform their new single “Tänd Ljusen” in three different languages—English, Spanish and French—on the streets of three different European cities. In just a couple of days, the band will set off to London, Paris and Madrid to sing their locally adapted songs in front of the eyes of the public—with the aim of spreading Swedish music culture and inviting people all over the world to tune into the band’s cross-European indie pop music.

Translate Tour 2_Credit Anton Olin.jpg

William Hellström from Vita Bergen will be performing his song in English, Spanish and French.

Last year Google Translate switched from phrase-based translation to Google Neural Machine Translation, which means that the tool now translates whole sentences at a time, rather than just piece by piece. It uses this broader context to figure out the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to be more like a human speaking with proper grammar.

Using this updated version of Google Translate, the English, Spanish and French translations of the song were close to flawless. The translations will also continue to improve, as the system learns from the more people using it.

Tune in to Vita Bergen’s release event, live streamed on YouTube today at 5:00 p.m. CEST, or listen to the songs in Swedish (“Tänd Ljusen”), English (“Light the Lights”), Spanish (“Enciende las Luces”) and French (“Allumez les Lumières”).

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High-fidelity speech synthesis with WaveNet

In October we announced that our state-of-the-art speech synthesis model WaveNet was being used to generate realistic-sounding voices for the Google Assistant globally in Japanese and the US English. This production model – known as parallel WaveNet – is more than 1000 times faster than the original and also capable of creating higher quality audio.Our latest paper introduces details of the new model and the probability density distillation technique we developed to allow the system to work in a massively parallel computing environment.The original WaveNet model used autoregressive connections to synthesise the waveform one sample at a time, with each new sample conditioned on the previous samples. While this produces high-quality audio with up to 24,000 samples per second, this sequential generation is too slow for production environments.Read More

Three new tools to improve the performance of your holiday campaigns

With the all important holiday shopping season about to begin, you can’t afford to miss any revenue opportunity. But you also need to be careful about how much you push your already stretched team. This is why we recently introduced three new tools, available to all DoubleClick Bid Manager accounts, that will help you reach more consumers while reducing manual work.

Expand your reach

First, as part of the new planning workflow in DoubleClick Bid Manager, we recently launched a new campaign object that lets you group Insertion Orders (IOs), so you can more efficiently manage your ad buys. For example, this will help you improve the reach of your campaign by allowing you to set up frequency capping across Programmatic Direct deals and open auction IOs, so you can be sure that your open auction campaigns reach consumers who haven’t been already exposed to your ads. You can create a new campaign in just a few simple steps*.

Second, we have introduced a slider that lets you expand your similar audience lists* so you can choose if you want maximum reach, higher similarity or a balance of the two. For example if you’re a toy retailer, your sales during the holiday season are likely going to be critical in determining your success for the entire year. To capture the increased holiday demand, you can use the slider to choose to reach the most possible consumers who look like your frequent purchasers. Once the sales peak has passed, you can scale your similar audience campaigns back to focus on more similarity.

You can find the new expansion slider in the Audience lists targeting tab of your line item level settings.

Optimize campaigns faster

By following the steps above, you can improve the setup of your campaigns and give them the best chance of success, but once your campaigns are up and running, you need a fast way to spot if things are not going according to plan. To help you with this, we recently introduced a new optimization view that allows you to quickly focus on campaigns that are not on track to achieve their spend and performance goals.

Once you know where you should focus your attention, you’ll be able to quickly determine what is driving the poor performance. By segmenting the data along dimensions (site, time of day, day of week, environment and more), you can easily see what is impacting performance.

In addition to surfacing key insights, the optimization view also provides suggestions on how you could optimize Line Item budgets within an IO. This way you can spend time making strategic decisions and not calculating how you should re-allocate budget across different Line Items.

Since using the new optimization view, our partner OMD Australia has been getting more granular insights faster:

“The optimization view has been helping us get quick insights, such as top performing placements and times of day. With this information we can immediately change our strategies to boost campaign performance without having to manually pull reports.”
– Jiff Kumar, Programmatic Trader at OMD Sydney

You can access the new optimization view* at the IO or Line Item level by selecting Optimization from the drop down menu next to the New Insertion Order or New Line Item buttons in the DoubleClick Bid Manager.

Posted by Deirdre Athaide and Rod Lopez
Product Managers, DoubleClick Bid Manager

*A DoubleClick Bid Manager account is required to visualize the article.

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The Google Home app keeps getting better

Your Google Home and Chromecast are all set up and ready to go. Now, what to watch or listen to? The refreshed Google Home app makes it easier for you to find some of your favorite movies, shows and music. It’s not just a new look—we’ve added new smarts, too. Here are a few ways the updated Google Home app gives you a better browsing experience:

  1. Ready for our close-up:We’ve given the app a full makeover, and it’s much more intuitive. Key navigation buttons are now at the bottom, closer to your fingers.

  2. Browse your faves: You’ll see recommended content from all your streaming services—making it easy to find the movies, music and shows you want to watch and jump directly into your favorite streaming services to play them.

  3. Better search: When you want to watch that one rom-com but can’t remember the name of it, you can search by actor, artist, genre or category.

  4. Movie trailers:Android users can now cast movie trailers for everyone to watch on TV, while still using their phone to seamlessly swipe and play trailers for related content.

  5. More control:Have more say over your entire viewing and listening experience with redesigned controllers. You can even adjust advanced sound settings like bass and treble on your Google Assistant supported speakers, like Google Home.

home app controller

Update your app today!

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Sharing our insights from designing with clinicians

[Editors note: this is the first in a series of blog posts about what weve learned about working in healthcare. Its both exceptionally hard and exceptionally important to get right, and we hope that by sharing our experiences well help other health innovators along the way]In our design studio, we have Indi Youngs mantra on the wall as a reminder to fall in love with the problem, not the solution. Nowhere is this more true than in health, where there are so many real problems to address, and where introducing theoretically clever but practically flawed software could easily do more harm than good.Over the course of hundreds of hours of shadowing, interviews and workshops with nurses, doctors and patients, weve been privileged to learn a lot about some of the problems they all face – and were still learning a ton every day. We are constantly impressed by the skill and care that clinicians across the NHS deliver every day, and this is the primary motivation for our team to ensure that these people get the tools they need to appropriately support them in their quest to help patients.Read More