We’re already committed to initiatives such as the Better Ads Standards and we continue to strive to create a clean and fair ad network. Continuing our work on quality in AdSense makes it more attractive to advertisers which in turn leads to better outcomes for our partners. With this in mind, we’re making some changes to the way you monetize new sites with AdSense.
Before you can show ads on a new site, you now have to add the site to your AdSense account. Each new site will go through a verification process which checks that you own the domain or have the ability to modify its content. The process also reviews your site for compliance with the AdSense Program policies. After the checks are completed, your site will be marked as “Ready” and you can start showing ads.
We’re also renaming the My Sites tab to Sites and moving it further up the menu to make it easier to find. Any existing sites you’re monetizing should automatically appear in your sites list, accessed by clicking the new Sites tab. If you want to add more sites you’ll need to add them to this list.
How will this impact partners?
For the vast majority of AdSense users, the only change will be the new Sites tab. However, for some of you, we may ask for help to find the correct ad code when you add a new site. If we require your help, we’ll reach out through email and notify you when you sign in to AdSense. So don’t forget to make sure we have the correct email address for you and that your email preferences are up to date.
Stay tuned for more exciting updates!
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Before I got into the accessibility field, I worked as an art therapist where I met people from all walks of life. No matter the reason why they came to therapy, almost everyone I met seemed to benefit from engaging in the creative process. Art gives us the ability to point beyond spoken or written language, to unite us, delight, and satisfy. Done right, this process can be enhanced by technology—extending our ability and potential for play.
One of my first sessions as a therapist was with a middle school student on the autism spectrum. He had trouble communicating and socializing with his peers, but in our sessions together he drew, made elaborate scenes with clay, and made music.
Another key moment for me was when I met Chancey Fleet, a blind technology educator and accessibility advocate. I was learning how to program at the time, and together we built a tool to help her plan a dinner event. It was a visual and audio diagramming tool that paired with her screen reader technology. This collaboration got me excited about the potential of technology to make art and creativity more accessible, and it emphasized the importance of collaborative approaches to design.
This sentiment has carried over into the accessibility research and design work that I do at the NYU Ability Project, a research space where we explore the intersection of disability and technology. Our projects bring together engineers, designers, educators, artists and therapists within and beyond the accessibility community. Like so many technological innovations that have begun as assistive and rehabilitative tech, we hope our work will eventually benefit everyone. That’s why when Google reached out to me with an opportunity to explore ideas around creativity and accessibility, I jumped at the chance.
Together, we made Creatability, a set of experiments that explore how creative tools–drawing, music and more–can be made more accessible using web and AI technology. The project is a collaboration with creators and allies in the accessibility community, such as: Jay Alan Zimmerman, a composer who is deaf; Josh Miele, a blind scientist, designer, and educator; Chancey Fleet, a blind, accessibility advocate, and technology educator; as well as, Barry Farrimond and Doug Bott of Open Up Music, a group focused on empowering young disabled musicians to build inclusive youth orchestras.
The experiments explore a diverse set of inputs–from a computer mouse and keystrokes to your body, wrist, nose, or voice. For example, you can make music by moving your face, draw using sight or sound, and experience music visually.
The key technology we used was a machine learning model called Posenet that can detect key body joints in images and videos. This technology lets you control the experiments with your webcam, simply by moving your body. And it’s powered by Tensorflow.js—a library that runs machine learning models on-device and in your browser, which means your images are never stored or sent to a server.
We hope these experiments inspire others to unleash their inner artist regardless of ability. That’s why we’re open sourcing the code and have created helpful guides as starting points for people to create their own projects. If you create a new experiment or want to share your story of how you used the experiments, you can submit to be featured on the Creatability site at g.co/creatability.
How many times have you worked in a document only to realize halfway through that you’re editing an outdated version? Beyond being frustrating, this can cause confusion and slow down your project. One of the great things about working in cloud-native tools like G Suite is that everything is automatically saved. You never have to worry if you’re working on the most up-to-date version of a document because your apps do that for you.
But for the times that you need to go back and see changes, it’s simple. Go to File > Version history > See version history and view a complete list of changes to your document in one place. You can restore previous versions of a document there, too.
Another trick is to simply click the text at the top of your navigation bar that says “last edit was…” or “all changes saved” in Google Docs. If you hover over that text, it will actually tell you what the last change to the document was and who made it. Or if you’re returning to a document, you can click “See new changes” and the Doc will highlight edits that have been made since your last visit.
Read on for more tips on how to keep track of work in G Suite.
Take it a step further
Beyond viewing versions, there are other cool things you can do to keep track of work in G Suite. You can:
1. Make copies of specific versions.
This is great for sharing “before” and “after” versions of your work with your boss. You can make copies of specific versions within version history. Click the three dot icon next to your selected version and choose “make a copy” to have a second record.
2. Name specific versions of your work.
In version history, you can keep track of your work by naming individual versions in your list. Because all of your changes are saved in the cloud, it’s easy to go back and change version names instead of having ten different versions of a “Final” document floating in email threads. Bonus points for creative names!
3. See who’s viewed your work and when.
If you’ve ever wondered who specifically has looked at your work, there’s a way for you to view activity within Google Docs, Sheets or Slides. Those folks who use paid versions can go to Tools > Activity dashboard and see detail about the number of people reviewing their document, who specifically has reviewed and viewership trends. If you want to get there quicker, you can use this keyboard shortcut to see the activity dashboard: Ctrl + Alt/Option + T, then click Z.
4. Set up notifications to see when changes are made in Sheets.
If you’re working in a spreadsheet to track a project, you may want to see regular updates for when changes are made. You can set up notifications to alert you of changes immediately after someone changes data in a cell. Select Tools > Notification rules and choose the settings you prefer.
Don’t let version issues slow down your work. Use these tips to maneuver past mix-ups.
The ability to connect with people and services—whether that’s sending a message or streaming a video—has become part of our daily lives. Yet, far too often, we encounter situations where the connection is just too slow to use—or we have no connectivity at all.
In the U.S., while mobile Internet access is widely available, download speeds are among the slowest in the developed world. Why? You can think of wireless networks like a highway, and they’re getting congested as demand continues to grow, leading to slowdowns. So if we increase available wireless spectrum, it’s like adding lanes on a highway to carry additional traffic.
Together with a multitude of industries including mobile, cable, IoT and more, we’ve worked closely with the U.S. government to foster policies for a new shared spectrum approach to wireless connectivity. The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is a successful example of this approach. CBRS allows a wide array of business models to use shared spectrum—from mobile carriers to rural broadband providers to venue owners—without having to spend significant resources to acquire usage rights. A cloud-based Spectrum Access System (SAS) intelligently manages sharing between new and incumbent users. By sharing underutilized portions of spectrum, CBRS adds capacity, lowers barriers to commercial entry and paves a path to 5G.
Unlike today’s wireless networks, CBRS will consist of densely packed radios from multiple providers all sharing the same spectrum, and sometimes even the same network. This completely changes the way you plan, deploy and operate your network. We are bringing the best of Google, such as our geo-spatial insight, network infrastructure and computational capabilities to deliver a suite of products to enable CBRS networks, starting with Google’s SAS.
It is genuinely exciting to see the wireless ecosystem embrace CBRS and ultimately enhance wireless Internet for everyone. We’ve been at this for a long time, going back to a Presidential study that proposed the framework behind CBRS. Now, CBRS is rapidly approaching commercial availability with first deployments expected this year.
If you want to get started with CBRS, we’d love to hear from you.
Today we are open sourcing a new library of useful building blocks for writing reinforcement learning (RL) agents in TensorFlow. Named TRFL (pronounced truffle), it represents a collection of key algorithmic components that we have used internally for a large number of our most successful agents such as DQN, DDPG and the Importance Weighted Actor Learner Architecture.A typical deep reinforcement learning agent consists of a large number of interacting components: at the very least, these include the environment and some deep network representing values or policies, but they often also include components such as a learned model of the environment, pseudo-reward functions or a replay system.These parts tend to interact in subtle ways (often not well-documented in papers, as highlighted by Henderson and colleagues), thus making it difficult to identify bugs in such large computational graphs. A recent blog post by OpenAI highlighted this issue by analysing some of the most popular open-source implementations of reinforcement learning agents and finding that six out of 10 had subtle bugs found by a community member and confirmed by the author.One approach to addressing this issue, and helping those in the research community attempting to reproduce results from papers, is through open-sourcing complete agent implementations.Read More…
In real life (or IRL, as my son reminds me) I work hard to ensure my child is safe, confident, and kind. And whether he’s chatting with friends, doing homework or playing games, I want to make sure the same is true whenever he’s online. To make that happen, it’s up to me to have the right conversations and provide the right tools to guide him on making smart choices, no matter where he is.
However, parents often feel less tech savvy than their kids. That’s why, as part of October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness and National Bullying Prevention Month, we’re partnering with the National PTA and DonorsChoose.org on two new initiatives to help kids be safe and positive online. 😎 Our goal this year is to reach 5 million kids with Be Internet Awesome.
Helping parents teach their kids to make smart decisions online
Research shows us that parents want to teach their kids how to be safe online but are unsure how to get the conversation going. To help them, we created workshop kits so that parents can teach one another about how to spark productive discussions on digital safety and citizenship.
Each Be Internet Awesome kit is bilingual—English and Spanish—and includes:
- A Google Pixelbook to power the workshop
- A presentation developed in partnership with the Family Online Safety Institute including topics on online safety, digital citizenship, and tips and resources to create a positive digital experience for your family’s needs
- Family Guides to inspire co-learning at home about online reputation and social sharing, phishing and scams, privacy and security, cyberbullying and inappropriate content
- Posters for the school to remind students to Be Internet Awesome by being smart, alert, strong, kind, and brave
- A school banner as recognition for participating in Be Internet Awesome
In addition, we’ve partnered with the National PTA to award grants worth $1,000 to local PTAs in every state to help facilitate Be Internet Awesome workshops. Members interested in applying for one of the 200 workshop grants or a BIA kit can visit the national PTA site here. And later this fall, we are making the content from the kit (presentation and family guides) available digitally for everyone on the resources page of our website.
Supporting our teachers and their classrooms
Teachers often have a list of needs or a passion project they would love to bring to their students if only there was a little extra in the budget. So we’ve teamed up with DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit with a web platform that is part matchmaker, part Scholastic Fairy Godmother. Teachers post their school project wishes on the platform and people like you—or companies like us—find projects we’d love to sponsor.
With DonorsChoose.org, we’ve built a $1 million Classroom Rewards program to encourage and celebrate classroom achievement with Be Internet Awesome. Upon completion of the program, K-6 teachers can unlock a $100 credit towards their DonorsChoose.org project. Teachers can kick off the Be Internet Awesome lessons with one called #ItsCoolToBeKind. 💚 Check out the details on DonorsChoose.
As my son would say, TTYL.
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It’s a hot day in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the Google Accessibility User Experience team is being shown around the city. Their goal for the next 10 days is to understand the daily experience of various people living with disabilities in this city of more than 10 million people. Notebooks are out, cameras are rolling and Rachmad (a pseudonym), a student who is blind, is eager to share some of his experiences with the team to help us build products that help solve everyday obstacles for him and others.
As the group approaches a bus stop, Rachmad begins asking for help from passersby. A Jakarta local tells him which bus stop he’s at and where it will take him. He turns to the Google Accessibility team and says “Yeah, I kind of have to trust them and hope they are telling the truth.”
After a short bus ride and a long walk, the team returns to Rachmad’s home, where he shows them the four mobile devices he owns, each running different versions of operating systems depending on the task. A researcher notices he’s active within multiple online accessibility support communities and asks him about it. “Sometimes it can be difficult finding help for assistive tools. We try and help each other any way we can,” says Rachmad.
This is a user research field study and it’s demonstrating one of Google’s key values: Focus on the user and all else will follow. User research is core to success throughout a product’s life cycle, and fundamental to creating a product that works for as many people as possible, including people with disabilities. From defining product vision to development and onwards, here’s how the Google Accessibility team uses research to ensure our products are more inclusive:
Define the product vision
No matter what the product or service is, it’s important to first understand what problems need solving and how the current solutions could be improved. Observing and talking to a diverse set of users with and without disabilities about their challenges, needs, and workarounds can provide richer insights and drive designs that all users may benefit from. Identifying these insights during early brainstorms and design sprints can help approach problems from different perspectives and lead to more creative solutions.
Design with accessibility in mind
The insights gained from observing users can influence all aspects of design including interaction, visual, motion, and writing. Google’s Material Design Accessibility Guidelines and Designing for Global Accessibility principles summarize fundamental principles that help create more accessible products. For example, ensuring there is good contrast between text and the background will help people with low vision or people trying to read a phone screen in the sun. Tools like the Material Color Tool can help make choosing more accessible color palettes easier.
Our team often says that “accessible design is just good design.” Indeed, if you look at the bigger picture, the goal of creating products is to help people create things, find things, watch things—in short, to accomplish things. Why would any product team want to make it more challenging for a user to accomplish their goals? That’s why we encourage teams to use the accessibility design guidelines to influence early design choices. Like most things worth doing, designing with accessibility in mind takes practice and work. But it’s key to designing a robust user experience for all.
Develop and iterate
Throughout the design and development of a product, there are many opportunities to get additional input from diverse users. Any type of evaluative research, like usability studies, can be made more inclusive by testing with people with and without disabilities. At this stage, teams can gain more specific insights on the actual experience for the user. For example, an application could present a notification for a longer period so that it doesn’t disappear too quickly for someone with a learning disability or someone who was simply too distracted to read it. While design guidelines can help a product with fundamental accessibility, nothing substitutes for actually watching a person using a screen reader, switch access device, or other assistive technology to truly understand the quality of the user experience.
After a product launches
Once a product launches, teams can use feedback surveys, app ratings, customer support calls and emails to get a wealth of qualitative input. And filtering this feedback by users with accessibility needs can continue to paint the picture of their full experience.
This is also the perfect time to stop and understand what benefits were gained from designing inclusively from the beginning, and to apply lessons learned to the next product development cycle. Over time, it can become second nature to design inclusively.
Products are a product of user feedback
Returning to our researchers in Jakarta: After they came back from their trip, they worked to bring awareness to their findings by sharing insights and solutions with other teams at Google, including the Next Billion Users group to help them think about accessibility for people in emerging markets. Rachmad’s comments about how it can be difficult finding help for assistive tools informed the creation of a new Google support team dedicated to helping people with disabilities who have questions on assistive technology or accessibility within Google’s products. On a product level, the Jakarta team provided valuable input for the group behind Lookout, an app coming soon to the U.S. that helps people who are blind and visually impaired learn about their surroundings. Once available, people like Rachmad will hear cues from their Android phones, helping them gain more independence.
Focusing on accessibility from the beginning can influence product direction as well as develop robust insights that teams can learn from and build upon in future work—all in an effort to effectively build for everyone. If you’re interested in helping shape the future of accessibility at Google, sign up to participate in future user studies.
Electricity is the fuel that allows our data centers to deliver billions of Google searches, YouTube views, and much more—every single day, around the clock. Our commitment to carbon-free energy should be around the clock too.
Today we published an inside look at the sources of Google’s electricity around the globe, to gauge how we’re tracking toward our long-term aspiration of sourcing carbon-free energy on a truly 24×7 basis. Our new discussion paper highlights how some of our data centers—like the one in Hamina, Finland—are already performing remarkably well on this front. The paper shares location-specific “Carbon Heat Maps” to visualize how well a data center is matched with carbon-free energy on an hour-by-hour basis. For Hamina, a heat map shows that 97 percent of the facility’s electricity use last year was matched with carbon-free sources.
The predominance of carbon-free energy at our Finland data center is partly due to Google’s purchases of wind energy in the Nordic region. Indeed, our large-scale procurement of wind and solar power worldwide is a cornerstone of our sustainability efforts, and has made Google the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. Last year we matched 100 percent of our annual electricity consumption with renewable energy purchases, and will continue to do so as we grow.
In many cases, we’ve partnered with local utilities and governments to increase the supply of renewable energy in the regions where we operate. For example, near our data center in Lenoir, NC, we worked with our local electricity supplier to establish one of the first utility solar purchase programs in the U.S. Solar alone, however, is unable to provide electricity around the clock. When the sun is shining, our Lenoir data center is quite carbon-free (indicated by the midday green ribbon in the Carbon Heat Map below), but at nighttime it’s more carbon-intensive; we plan to tackle this issue in the coming years by procuring additional types of carbon-free energy.
The Carbon Heat Maps demonstrate that there are times and places where our electricity profile is not yet fully carbon-free. They suggest that our 100 percent renewable energy purchasing goal—which relies on buying surplus renewable energy when it’s sunny and windy, to offset the lack of renewable energy supply in other situations—is an important first step toward achieving a fully carbon-free future. Ultimately, we aspire to source carbon-free energy for our operations in all places, at all times.
Creating a carbon-free future will be no easy feat, but the urgency of climate change demands bold solutions. Our discussion paper identifies several key actions that we and the rest of the world must take—including doubling down on renewable energy purchases in a greater number of regions—to achieve 24×7 carbon-free energy. We have our work cut out for us and couldn’t be more excited to push forward.