Monthly:July 2020

11 Weeks of Android: Android Developer Tools

Posted by Jamal Eason, Product Manager, Android

11 Weeks of Android, Week 7 with badge

This blog post is part of a weekly series for #11WeeksOfAndroid. For each of the #11WeeksOfAndroid, we’re diving into a key area so you don’t miss anything. This week, we spotlighted Android Developer Tools; here’s a look at what you should know.

The big news

During the 11 weeks of Android, we launched a range of developer tool updates in Android Studio. As of today, you can find version 4.0 of Android Studio on the stable release channel, version 4.1 on the beta channel, and the very latest features of version 4.2 on the canary channel. The focus across each of these versions is a balance of app productivity and delivery of a high quality product that you can rely on for app development. For each day of this past week we highlighted improvements and tips in the key points of your development flow from app design, coding, deployment, build, app testing with the emulator, to app performance profiling. This blog highlights the content that we released during the Android Developer Tools week of 11 Weeks of Android.

What to watch and read

To see an overview of what is new in Android Developer Tools across the recent releases of Android Studio, check out this video from the #Android11 Beta launch which includes an exciting and in-depth demo.

What’s New in Android Development Tools

Design

At the beginning of the week we had a day of content focused on app design tools for developers. To start, watch this overview video of the latest updates in design tools:

What’s new in Design Tools

We also posted two in-depth blog posts for the design tools day:

  • Introducing the Motion Editor – provides a quick tour of the new Motion Editor and how to use the latest features to create animations for your app.

To debug your layouts, watch our video on the updates to the layout inspector:

Debugging UI issues with Layout Inspector

And lastly for design tools, we released a video about the latest developments for Jetpack Compose Design tools:

What’s new in Compose Design Tools

Coding & Deployment

During the week, we posted tips and tricks to improve your coding experience and app deployment flow in Android Studio. Check out the following social media channels to review the latest postings:

  • @androidstudio – the Twitter channel for the official IDE for Android app development.

A next-gen code-shrinker needs smart editor features for your code shrinker rules. Studio 4.0 brings you syntax highlighting, code completion, and error checking when writing rules for R8! pic.twitter.com/5lSANdYm5F

— Android Studio (@androidstudio) July 28, 2020

  • @androiddev – delivers news and announcements for developers from the Android team at Google

🤖 Crash reports made easy with Android Gradle plugin

Make your Android Vitals crash reports for production native code more actionable. The trick: packaging native debug symbols in your app bundle with a flip of a flag. #11WeeksOfAndroid

Learn more → https://t.co/zLlKROUZIO pic.twitter.com/XUhgP6z8bF

— Android Developers (@AndroidDev) July 28, 2020

We also shared a new video on how to use the new database inspector in Android Studio:

Database Inspector

Additionally, you will find an updated blog on the development tools we have in place for Jetpack Hilt:

Build

In the middle of the week, we released four blogs posts around the build system in Android developer tools, which included:

  • Configuration Caching deep dive – a technical explanation on this new preview feature from Gradle and how to try it out in your project to speed up your builds.
  • Shrinking Your App with R8 – provides an overview of the features available in R8, the reduction in code size you might expect, and show how to enable these features in R8.

Android Emulator

On top of sharing a series of best practices and tips on social media about using the Android Emulator during the week, you can also a full summary in the following in-depth article:

Performance Profilers

We know improving app performance is critical for a great user experience. Therefore, we ended the week with a day on performance profilers content. To start, we posted a video about System Trace and how you can use it to troubleshoot app performance issues:

Troubleshooting app performance issues with System Trace in Android Studio

Plus, we published a blog post on C++ memory profiling:

Learning path

If you’re looking for an easy way to pick up the highlights of this week, check out the Developer Tools pathway. A pathway is an ordered tutorial that allows users to complete a pre-defined module that culminates in a quiz. It includes videos and blog posts. A virtual badge is awarded to each user who passes the quiz. Test your knowledge of key takeaways about Developer Tools to earn a limited edition badge.

Key takeaways

Thank you for tuning in and learning about the latest in Android Development tools. Thanks to all of you who chatted with us during the Reddit AMA this week. Throughout this past week, we showcased features that can be found either in the latest stable release or the canary release channel of Android Studio. If you want to try out what you learned this week, download Android Studio today.

Below, you will find a quick listing of where you will find each of the major features. Note, that features in non-stable versions may not land in a particular version until they have reached our quality bar:

Features found in Android Studio 4.0 (Stable Channel)

  • Motion Editor
  • Layout Inspector
  • Layout Validation
  • Custom View Preview
  • CPU Profiler Update
  • R8 Rules Editing
  • Build Analyzer
  • Dynamic Feature Dependency
  • Clangd support
  • Intellij 2019.3

Features found in Android Studio 4.1 (Beta Channel)

  • Database Inspector
  • Dependency Injection Tools
  • Faster Apply Changes
  • Gradle Configuration Caching (Preview)
  • Custom View Preview
  • Android Emulator in IDE
  • Instrumentation Testing
  • Profiler UI Updates
  • Native Memory Profiling
  • System Trace 2.0
  • New Gradle API
  • MLKit & TFLite Model Import
  • Intellij 2020.1

Features found in Android Studio 4.2 + (Canary Channel)

  • Compose Interactive Preview
  • Compose Animation Visualization
  • Compose Deploy to Device
  • Sample Data API for Compose
  • Compose Editing Support
  • Test Failure Retention
  • Android Emulator- 5G Connectivity and Foldable Support
  • Intellij 2020.2 – coming soon

Resources

You can find the entire playlist of #11WeeksOfAndroid video content here, and learn more about each week here. We’ll continue to spotlight new areas each week, so keep an eye out and follow us on Twitter and YouTube. Thanks so much for letting us be a part of this experience with you!

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Stadia Savepoint: July updates

With July coming to a close, let’s take a look back at our latest Stadia Connect and some other updates we’ve brought to Stadia this month.

In our Stadia Connect, we announced 16 new games and five exclusives on their way to players, representing titles from publishers including Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, 2K Games, Square Enix and Activision. With titles like Outcasters and Orcs Must Die! 3 that are Only on Stadia and exclusive for a limited time, plus new partnerships with Harmonix, Uppercut Games and Supermassive Games for upcoming games, we’re bringing an immense amount of content for players to look forward to. And if you want to try out our first Stadia Games and Entertainment title, Orcs Must Die! 3, click here to play instantly if you already own the game or are a Pro subscriber.

As for other news in July, Stadia players created and played multiplayer games in Crayta and tore up the track in F1® 2020, in addition to many other games now available for purchase on the Stadia store. We also worked with our partners to announce new games coming soon to Stadia including Strange Brigade on August 1, Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break on August 14 into Stadia Pro, plus Celeste, El Hijo: A Wild West Tale, Far Cry 6 and Sniper Elite 4 arriving soon. Stay tuned for these games, plus PGA Tour 2K21 on August 21.

Play Stadia with mobile data

Opt in to a new Experiment rolling out within the Stadia app to play games using 4G and 5G on your Android mobile device. This feature may increase mobile data usage up to 2.7GB/hr. Gameplay is service-, network-, connection-, and game-dependent, and this Experiment may not be available for all games in all areas. 

State Share Beta with Crayta

Experience State Share Beta, an early version of the Stadia Enhanced Feature called State Share, within Crayta. Just create a link and share it with other players, sending them instantly into your game to collaborate while creating games or to play together.

Game stats on web

We’ve added support for developers to introduce player statistics, such as total time played and games won. They’re visible within the Achievements list on Stadia.com

More important features

  • Find your friends on Stadia via their Gmail address.
  • Browse the Stadia store and Home page via Landscape mode, now supported in the Stadia app on mobile devices.
  • Use the Google Assistant button on the Stadia Controller while playing games on Chromecast to get access to quick answers and actions.

Stadia Pro updates

Recent content launches on Stadia

New games coming to Stadia

That’s it for July—we’ll be back soon to share more updates. As always, stay tuned to the Stadia Community Blog, Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

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Infrastructure for all: What happened at Next OnAir this week

Week three of Google Cloud Next ‘20: OnAir was all about our best-in-class cloud infrastructure, and how to use it to easily run your most demanding applications. From opening remarks from VP of Cloud Infrastructure Brad Calder, Networking GM Shailesh Shukla, and Compute GM June Yang, to deep dives from Google Cloud experts, to breakout sessions from customers, there was a lot to take in. 

Key announcements from the week

Google Cloud’s global footprint continues to expand. On Tuesday, we announced Grace Hopper, a private subsea cable connecting the U.S., U.K., and Spain. When it is commissioned in 2022, Grace Hopper will be one of the first new transatlantic cables to connect the U.S. and U.K. since 2003, with 16 fibre pairs and 340 Tbps of capacity for services like Gmail, Meet and of course Google Cloud.

Tapping into that networking infrastructure is getting easier, too. The new Private Service Connect takes a service-centric approach to networking and abstracting the underlying infrastructure, so you can easily connect services across different networks and organizations, and protect your network traffic. Read more here

Speaking of protecting your network, we made it easier to use Google Cloud Armor to help protect your websites and applications from exploit attempts, as well as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Learn more here

Finally, we’re streamlining how to get your workloads onto Google Cloud infrastructure, with the new Rapid Assessment & Migration Program (RAMP). With a variety of templates, training, and tools, RAMP will help you craft a simple, repeatable and predictable cloud migration path with the help of Google Cloud Professional Services and our partners. 

For a full list of announcements from infrastructure week, see this roll-up blog.

Thanks for joining us this week at Google Cloud Next ’20: OnAir. The theme was infrastructure, and there were plenty of digital learning opportunities, including a keynote (or two) plus breakouts for a deeper dive into a topic. It was all fresh content too, delivered on demand. Ready for week 4? Let’s get solving.

Watch demos

A conference isn’t complete without demos, and Next OnAir is no different. For infrastructure week, we debuted nine interactive demos, plus three video demos, to educate you about infrastructure fundamentals, or to get you up to speed about Google Cloud’s latest products and features. To wit: go on a network journey and watch as your data passes through each of our data centers and travels back to you. Visualize your Cloud Storage traffic. Learn how to reduce complexity with Active Assist. Click here for the full list of interactive demo content from the week. 

Go deep 

Google Cloud experts went into nitty-gritty detail about our best-in-class infrastructure portfolio. In A Peek Behind the VM at the Google Storage Infrastructure, Googlers Dean Hildebrand and Denis Serenyi did a deep dive into Google storage infrastructure and architecture. In Build an Enterprise-Grade Service Mesh with Traffic Director, Kelsey Hightower and Stewart Reichling talk about how to use the next-generation managed networking service to scale your backends. And in Monitoring as Code, Google Cloud SRE Yuri Grinshteyn is accompanied by Schlumberger SRE Pardeep Sandhu to talk about how to automate your monitoring signals. These are just a few of the advanced infrastructure and operations topics you can delve into. 

Don’t just take our word for it

Perhaps the most important part of Next OnAir is hearing from your peers at companies that have adopted Google Cloud. Twitter took to the airwaves to talk about how it uses Google’s edge network to support millions of users every day. Schrodinger is using Google Cloud’s massive compute capacity for drug development. Fitbit migrated its infrastructure to Google Cloud with zero downtime, and Viacom is migrating decades of old content to Google Cloud and giving it new life with AI/ML. Macy’s is reimagining traditional retail, and Etsy is protecting its next-generation marketplace with HA and data protection technologies. Check out all these customer stories and others from the infrastructure week session guide

Looking ahead: Security

Can’t get enough Next OnAir? Next week is all about security. On Tuesday, August 4, Security and VP & GM Sunil Potti is joined by none other than Vint Cerf to talk about the importance of security in the cloud era. 

Of course, we’ll also bring you live technical talks and learning opportunities, aligned with each week’s content. Click “Learn” on the Explore page to find each week’s schedule. Haven’t yet registered for Google Cloud ’20 Next: OnAir? Get started at g.co/cloudnext.

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New features and resources that help make the business case to switch to Chrome Enterprise

Whether their businesses are making strategic shifts or supporting a growing remote workforce, IT departments have been the stabilizing force keeping workers productive, secure, and happy in 2020. And many rely on the cloud to help them reduce high-maintenance infrastructure, enable flexible working environments, and maintain the highest level of security for their employees. According to a recent study conducted by Forrester, 85% of enterprises either have a cloud-first strategy or are prioritizing cloud for select use cases1

Whether transitioning a call center to a work from home environment like Synchrony Financial, or migrating 4,000 government employees to a solution that ensures essential public services can be provided remotely like the London Borough of Hackney, IT departments have been tasked with providing innovative solutions to keep their businesses running. Challenged to provide a remote working experience without physical access to the user, device or network, IT departments are turning to Chrome Enterprise to keep business running. 

In this post, we’ll share three reasons why businesses are making the switch to Chrome Enterprise. We’ll also introduce resources and features, including a recent Chrome Enterprise deployment report, a new solution for running full-featured and legacy applications, and new functionality currently available with Chrome 84 that helps IT departments reach their technology goals.

Reason 1: Chrome Enterprise improves operational efficiency throughout the entire device lifecycle
Chromebooks can help IT admins achieve a high standard for security, end user productivity, and IT oversight, all at a lower cost than the competition. However, total cost of ownership is about more than just saving on device cost; it’s about improving operational efficiency. Customers see time savings throughout the entire device lifecycle—from the initial deployment of a device, to redeploying Chromebooks to new users, to deprovisioning a device when it’s at the end of its life.

Recently, Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) ran a study to define the time savings throughout the lifecycle in comparison to deployment of PCs. In their lab, ESG reported on the steps required to deploy, redeploy, and deprovision devices, along with the amount of time it took. Their study found a 76% time savings during device deployment, a 96% time savings during redeployment to new users, and a 92% time savings during deprovisioning when using Chromebooks over PCs. To read more about their findings, check out their report.

chrome enterprise time to deploy.jpg

Reason 2: Chrome Enterprise provides a bridge for full-featured and proprietary enterprise applications
Whether accessing websites, progressive web apps or Android Apps, Chromebooks provide a surface that promotes secure collaboration across each of these ecosystems. However, as businesses move workflows to the cloud, they may still need access to some proprietary and full-featured legacy applications to keep workers productive.

We recently announced a partnership with Parallels Desktop to provide IT departments a solution to bridge the gap as they transition to alternative cloud-based applications. Three facts to know about the solution as we move toward launch:

  1. Parallels Desktop runs locally on Chrome devices within a Chrome OS user session—no internet connection required. 

  2. Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise is designed for business users. IT administrators can enable access to devices that are enrolled with Chrome Enterprise Upgrade only.

  3. Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise will be available for purchase through select Chrome device manufacturers and reseller partners.

To be notified when Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise is available, please fill out this form to stay up to date. You can also visit the Parallels Desktop site here.

Reason 3: Chrome Enterprise continuously evolves to enhance security and user experience
With OS updates that happen in the background, end users have access to the most recent feature enhancements and security updates without interruption. Chrome OS has new updates every six weeks that improve experience for both end users & IT.

Recently, we launched Chrome 84, which introduced new end user productivity and IT oversight features. Some of these include:

Easier extension and app management: Admins can now add domain-restricted apps and extensions from Chrome Web Store within the Google Admin console, making it easier to manage and deploy custom extensions for enterprise users on both Chrome OS and Chrome Browser.

Easier extension and app management.jpg
  • Enhanced overview mode: In overview mode, drag windows to the left or right edge to quickly split the screen. Overview mode also now supports multi-monitor setups, where windows can be moved between overview mode across two displays.

  • Accessibility management for Chrome OS devices: Fifteen new policies have been added to the Google Admin console to improve accessibility for Chrome OS device users. These policies enable accessibility features by default or restrict access to them. Accessibility policies include spoken feedback, screen magnifier, larger cursor, and select to speak.

To dive deeper into Chrome 84, check out our release notes, and to be updated whenever new release notes are available, please be sure to sign up for email updates with this form.

And lastly, as today is Sysadmin Appreciation Day, we’d like to take a moment to thank all IT administrators for not only supporting your businesses through good times and bad, but for continuing to find innovative solutions that keep businesses moving.


1. Cloud Workers Are Key To Disruption Preparedness, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Google, May 2020

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An update on Exposure Notifications

In May, we partnered with Apple to launch the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) and made it available to public health authorities around the world in their fight against COVID-19. The ENS allows public health authorities to develop apps that augment manual contact tracing efforts while preserving the privacy of their citizens. As of today, public health authorities have used ENS to launch in 16 countries and regions across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America, with more apps currently under development.  

In the United States, 20 states and territories—representing approximately 45 percent of the U.S. population—are exploring apps based on ENS. We expect to see the first set of these apps roll out over the coming weeks. The Association of Public Health Laboratories also announced recently that it will host a national key server to support all U.S. states, which will allow people with Exposure Notification apps to receive alerts even if they travel across state borders.

We’ve continued to improve the technology and provide more transparency based on feedback we’ve received from public health authorities and other experts. Public health authorities will continue to make their own decisions about how exposure notifications become part of their plans in controlling COVID-19, and we will work to improve the technology in response to their feedback. Here are some of the changes we’ve already made, as well as some upcoming additional changes.

Improvements to the Exposure Notification API

Since the Exposure Notification API was publicly released in May, we’ve spoken with dozens of public health authorities to understand how the API could be improved to help them better manage the COVID-19 pandemic while preserving privacy. Based on this feedback, we recently launched an update to the API, which includes the following changes:

  • When an exposure is detected, public health authorities now have more flexibility in determining the level of risk associated with that exposure based on technical information from the API.

  • Bluetooth calibration values for hundreds of devices have been updated to improve the detection of nearby devices.

  • The API now supports interoperability between countries, following feedback from governments that have launched Exposure Notification apps.

  • To help public health authorities build apps more efficiently, we’ve added reliability improvements for apps and developer debug tools. 

  • We’ve improved clarity, transparency and control for users. For example, the Exposure Notifications settings on Android now include a simple on/off toggle at the top of the page. In addition, users will also see a periodic reminder if ENS is turned on.

Technical guidance and transparency

We’ve heard feedback that public health authorities and developers want more technical guidance about how ENS works. In response, we’ve published the following resources over the last few weeks:

  • Reference verification server to help guide public health authorities in building a server that allows verification of test results when users report themselves as positive for COVID-19.

  • Implementation code showing how the Exposure Notification API works underneath the hood.

  • Telemetry design explaining what de-identified diagnostics data is collected to ensure that ENS is functioning properly and securely.

Additional technical resources will be publicly shared as we continue to improve ENS.

Education and privacy protections 

The Exposure Notifications website has more information about ENS, and offers educational and technical resources, as well as the latest updates. 

As a quick reminder, here are some of the core privacy protections that were built into ENS: 

  • You decide whether you want to use Exposure Notifications—it’s off unless you turn it on.

  • ENS doesn’t use location data from your device.

  • Your identity is not shared with Google, Apple or other users.

  • Only public health authorities can use this system.

Finally, we’ve received questions about why your Android device location setting has to be turned on if you want to use an Exposure Notification app. We want to explain why this particular setting needs to be on, and how you can control your location settings on Android.  

To be absolutely clear, ENS does not use device location, and the policies for using ENS prohibit public health authority apps from requesting or collecting device location. Instead, ENS uses Bluetooth technology to detect when two devices are near each other, without revealing the location of either device. While Bluetooth scanning doesn’t necessarily reveal location, it can in some cases be used to infer your device’s location. For example, if a shopping app scans for the Bluetooth signals of a stationary Bluetooth beacon located inside a store, then the app could infer that you went to that store. So in 2015, with privacy in mind, we designed the Android operating system to prevent Bluetooth scanning unless the device location setting is on. At that time no one could have anticipated that Bluetooth scanning might one day be helpful in controlling a global pandemic like COVID-19. 

Our engineering teams have been working to update the next version of Android with Exposure Notifications in mind. On Android 11, which will soon be released, users will be able to use Exposure Notification apps without turning on the device location setting. We’re making this update for Exposure Notifications only, given that ENS has been designed in such a way that neither the system nor the apps using it can infer device location through Bluetooth scanning, and apps that are allowed to use ENS are subject to additional policies that disallow automatic collection of location. All other apps and services will still be prohibited from performing Bluetooth scanning unless the device location setting is on. 

But even in current versions of Android, when you turn on the device location setting, your phone continues to prohibit access to any apps, including Google apps, that don’t have permission to use device location. The device location setting is like a circuit breaker in a house: When it’s on, power is flowing to the house, but you can turn the lights on or off in each room. If you turn on the device location setting to use ENS, it won’t affect the decisions you’ve already made about specific apps. You can always view and change which apps have access to your device location by going to Settings > Location > App permissions.

We’re committed to supporting public health authorities as they build tools to fight COVID-19. We’ll continue to improve ENS based on feedback, while ensuring that people can trust in the privacy-preserving design of this technology.

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Updates on our work to improve user privacy in digital advertising

Privacy is core to our work at Google, and to our vision for a thriving internet where people around the world can continue to access ad-supported content, while also feeling confident that their data is protected. But in order to get there, we must increase transparency into how digital advertising works, offer users additional controls, and ensure that people’s choices about the use of their data are respected—not worked around or ignored. 

Today we’re sharing updates on our work in these areas, including new tools that provide people more information about the ads they see. We’re also introducing new resources for marketers and publishers that offer guidance on how to navigate today’s privacy environment, along with real-world examples from brands and media companies who are delivering effective, privacy-forward ad experiences that use data responsibly.

Greater transparency, more control

For many years Google has offered a feature called Why this ad, where from an icon in a digital ad, users can get more information on some of the factors that were used to select the ad for them, or choose to stop seeing that ad. There are over 15 million user interactions per day with Why this ad as people seek to learn more about and control the ads they see, and we recently extended this feature to ads on connected TVs. 

Over the next few months, we’ll be making improvements to the experience with a new feature called About this ad, which will also show users the verified name of the advertiser behind each ad. About this ad will initially be available for display ads purchased through Google Ads and Display & Video 360, and we’ll bring it to other ad surfaces throughout 2021.

About-this-cropped_600pxwide.gif

Our commitment to increase transparency and offer users more control goes beyond the ads Google shows. Due to the complexity of the digital ads ecosystem and the large number of entities involved, it’s typically not clear to users which companies are even involved in showing them an ad. To provide people with detailed information about all the ads they see on the web, we’re releasing a new tool called Ads Transparency Spotlight, now available to try out as an alpha extension from the Chrome Web Store. We’ll continue to improve this extension based on feedback from users, and over time we expect to offer additional disclosures about ads, as well as introduce controls. Our hope is that other technology providers will build similar transparency and control capabilities into the experiences they offer as well.

Evolving the ad-supported internet

Chrome continues to explore more privacy-forward ways for the web browser to support digital ads with the Privacy Sandbox open standards initiative. As part of the Privacy Sandbox, several proposals have been published for new APIs that would solve for use cases like ad selection, conversion measurement, and fraud protection in a way that doesn’t reveal identifying information about individual users. One of the proposed APIs, for trust tokens that could combat ad fraud by distinguishing between bots and real users, is now available for testing by developers, and more will move to live testing soon.

Once these approaches have addressed the needs of users, publishers and advertisers, Chrome plans to phase out support for third-party cookies. These proposals are being actively discussed in forums like the W3C. Our ads team is actively contributing to this dialog—as we encourage any interested party to do—and we expect to incorporate the new solutions into our products in the years ahead.

We’re also exploring a range of other approaches to improve user privacy while ensuring publishers can earn what they need to fund great content and advertisers can reach the right people for their products. For example, we support the use of advertiser and publisher first-party data (based on direct interactions with customers they have relationships with) to deliver more relevant and helpful experiences—as long as users have transparency and control over the use of that data. What is not acceptable is the use of opaque or hidden techniques that transfer data about individual users and allow them to be tracked in a covert manner, such as fingerprinting. We believe that any attempts to track people or obtain information that could identify them, without their knowledge and permission, should be blocked. We’ll continue to take a strong position against these practices.

Much of the recent conversation about improving the privacy of digital ads has been focused on the web, but there are a range of environments in which people engage with digital ads. Our technical approach and the implementation details may vary based on the unique characteristics of each, but our vision to uplevel user privacy while preserving access to free content is consistent across web, mobile app, connected TV, digital audio—and whatever the next area to emerge may be.

Guidance for advertisers and publishers

The future state of digital advertising promises new technologies, new standards, and better, more sustainable approaches, but it will take some time to get there. We recognize the unease that many in the industry feel during this period of transition. While there is certainly more change on the horizon, it’s critical that marketers and publishers do not wait to take action. 

To help you prepare, we’ve assembled a number of recommendations for marketers and publishers to consider today. From best practices for building direct relationships with your customers and managing data, to tips for evaluating your partner and vendor relationships, to actionable examples for using machine learning and the cloud, these playbooks offer practical guidance and numerous real-world examples of companies that are successfully navigating today’s changing privacy landscape. 

We’ll continue our work to move the digital ads industry towards a more privacy-forward future. In the meantime, make sure your organization is having an active discussion about privacy and that you are taking steps now to plan for what lies ahead.

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Take control of how data is used in Google Analytics

Rising consumer expectations and changing industry regulations have set higher standards for user privacy and data protection. This has led many businesses to revisit how they are managing data in their Google Analytics accounts. To help, Analytics provides businesses with a variety of features to control how their data is used. Here is an updated overview of controls in Analytics that govern how data is collected, stored, and used–all of which can be adjusted at any time.

Three ways businesses can manage data in Google Analytics:

E02557942-Google-GMP-Control-&-Protect-Blog-Graphic-Jul20-v02_InlineImages1_GoogleKeywordBlogHeader.png

Control the data settings in your account

You can access various settings in your Analytics account to control how you collect, retain, and share data.

Decide if you need to accept the Data Processing Terms.

The optional Data Processing Terms are meant for businesses affected by the European Economic Area General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other similar regulations. You can review and accept the terms if needed in your Analytics account, under Account Settings.

Anonymize IP addresses for your Web property.

When you enable IP anonymization in your Web property, Analytics will anonymize the addresses as soon as technically feasible. This may be useful for you to comply with your company’s privacy policies or government regulations. For Apps properties and App + Web properties, IP anonymization is enabled by default.

Disable some or all data collection.

You also have the ability to partially or completely disable data collection for any of your Analytics properties. Chrome users have the ability to opt out from data collection using the Analytics opt-out Add-on.

Set the data retention period.

You can select how long user-level and event-level data is stored by Analytics, and whether new events can reset that time period. Once that amount of time has passed, the data will be scheduled for automatic deletion from your account and Google’s servers.

Select what data you share with your support team and Google.

The data sharing settings allow you to customize whether to share Analytics data with Google, including whether to allow Google technical support representatives and Google marketing specialists to access your account when you want support using the product or performance recommendations.

Review your Google signals setting.

The Google signals setting allows you to enable additional features in Analytics like remarketing, demographics and interests reports, and Cross Device reports. You can also further customize this setting to keep Google signals enabled for reporting while limiting or disabling advertising personalization.

Choose whether your data is used for ads personalization

Digital advertising helps you reach people online and drive conversions on your app and website. When you enable ads personalization in Analytics, for example by activating Google signals, you gain the ability to use your Analytics audiences to personalize your digital ads which can improve the performance of your campaigns. You can customize how your Analytics data is used for ads personalization.

Control ads personalization for your entire Analytics property.

You can choose to disable ads personalization for an entire property, which will cause all incoming events for that property to be marked as not for use in ads personalization. You can manage this in the property settings of your account.

Control ads personalization by geography.

If you need to set the ads personalization setting for your property at the geographic level, you now have the ability to enable or disable this setting by country. And in the United States, you can adjust the setting at the state level.

Blog-geo-ads-personalization 0723.png

Allow or disallow ads personalization by state in the United States

Control ads personalization by event type or user property.

In App + Web properties, you can adjust the ads personalization setting for a specific event type or user property. For example you can exclude specific events or user properties from being used to personalize ads and only use that data for measurement purposes.

Control ads personalization for an individual event or session.

You can also manage whether an individual event or session is used for ads personalization. For example, if you need to obtain consent before enabling the setting you can dynamically disable ads personalization at the beginning of the session and on each subsequent event until consent is obtained.

Independent of these ads personalization controls that Analytics offers to advertisers, users can control their own ads personalization setting for their Google account. Once they’ve turned off this setting, Google will no longer use information about them for ads personalization.

Remove data from Analytics

You can remove your data from Analytics for any reason and at any time. You can request the data to be deleted from the Analytics servers or delete information for a single user.

Request data to be deleted.

If you need to delete data from the Analytics servers, you can submit a request for its removal. There is a seven-day grace period starting from the time you make the request before Analytics will begin the deletion process. All administrators and users with edit permission for your account will be informed of your request and have the ability to cancel the request during the grace period. Similar functionality will be available in App + Web properties soon.

Delete data for individual users.

You are able to delete a single user’s data from your Analytics account. If you have edit permission for the account, you can do this through the User Explorer report in Web properties or the User Explorer technique in the Analysis module in App + Web properties. Data associated with this user will be removed from the report within 72 hours and then deleted from the Analytics servers in the next deletion process. Your reports based on previously aggregated data, for example user counts in the Audience Overview report, won’t be affected. If you need to delete data for multiple users, you can use the Analytics User Deletion API.

Delete a property.

If you have edit permission, you can delete a property from your Analytics account. Your property and all the reporting views in the property will be permanently deleted 35 days after being moved to the Trash Can. Once deleted, you are not able to retrieve any historical data or reinstate reports.

All of the above features are available to use right now. For more information, please visit the Help Center.

We hope that you found this overview of current controls helpful. Google Analytics is continuously investing in capabilities to ensure businesses can access durable, privacy-centric, and easy to use analytics that work with and without cookies or identifiers. Please stay tuned for more in the coming months.

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A digital exhibit to elevate Indigenous art

In March 2020, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney opened to wide acclaim—only to close after 10 days because of COVID-19. The Biennale has since physically reopened to limited audiences, but now, through a virtual exhibit on Google Arts & Culture, people all over the world can experience it.
This year’s Biennale is led by First Nations artists, and showcases work from marginalised communities around the world, under the artistic direction of the Indigenous Australian artist, Brook Andrew. It’s titled NIRIN—meaning “edge”—a word of Brook’s mother’s Nation, the Wiradjuri people of western New South Wales.

To commemorate the opening of this unique exhibition, and learn more about its origins and purpose, we spoke with Jodie Polutele, Head of Communications and Community Engagement at the Biennale of Sydney.

Tell us about the theme of this year’s exhibition. 
NIRIN is historic in its focus on the unresolved nature of Australian and global colonial history. It presents the work of artists and communities that are often relegated to the edge and whose practices challenge dominant narratives.
As a community, we’re at a critical point in time where the voices, histories and spheres of knowledge that have been historically pushed to “the edge” are being heard and shared. The recent Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and in other parts of the world have triggered a belated awakening in many people—particularly in Australia—about the real-life impacts of systemic racism and inequality. But we have a long way to go, and the art and ideas presented in NIRIN are one way to start (or continue) the conversation.
What does this offer audiences, both in Australia, and all over the world, particularly during this time? 
Many of the artworks ask audiences to be critical of dominant historical narratives, and our own perspective and privilege; we are forced to recognise and question our own discomfort. In doing so, they also present an opportunity to inspire truly meaningful action.
What are some of the highlights of the exhibition? 
Some highlights include Healing Land, Remembering Country by Tony Albert, a sustainable greenhouse which raises awareness of the Stolen Generations and poses important questions about how we remember, give justice to and rewrite complex and traumatic histories. Latai Taumoepeau’s endurance performance installation on Cockatoo Island explores the fragility of Pacific Island nations and the struggle of rising sea levels and displacement. Zanele Muholi’s three bodies of work at the Museum of Contemporary Art look at the politics of race, gender and sexuality. Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens’ installation A Dickensian Circus presents a dramatic collection of objects inside the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ grand vestibule, reclaiming the space to share the hidden stories and histories of Indigenous people.

Tony Albert’s sustainable greenhouse posing important questions about historical and intergenerational trauma

This virtual exhibit was not what you originally imagined. Can you tell us what hurdles you have had to overcome? 
The Biennale of Sydney takes more than two years to produce with a team of dedicated people. Closing the exhibitions and cancelling or postponing a program of more than 600 events was devastating. But with the enormous support of the Google Arts & Culture team, we have delivered a virtual exhibition that is respectful of artists’ works and conveys the true vision of NIRIN—inspiring conversation and action through a meaningful arts experience. We hope that NIRIN on Google Arts & Culture will be an enduring legacy for the exhibition, and also for the talented team who made it happen.

Watch Latal Taumoepeau’s endurance performance, The Last Resort 

Posted Elisabeth Callot, Program Manager, Google Arts & CultureRead More

Know who’s in the know: Get community updates in Maps

More than a billion people turn to Google Maps to navigate and explore the world and their communities. And thanks to the hundreds of millions people who contribute information to Google Maps each year—like the best takeaway dish to order at a local restaurant or a photo of a nearby park’s new open hours—people can get local recommendations and up-to-date information about where to go and what to do. We’re now making it easier to uncover community-powered updates and recommendations in Google Maps.   

Last year we announced a Google Maps pilot feature that allowed people to follow select Local Guides, the everyday people who are passionate about sharing their experiences on Google Maps. It was exciting to see many of the Local Guides we invited in our initial pilot opt in and participate. Equally exciting was the interest we saw from many Google Maps users who began following top Local Guides to receive helpful recommendations about the places around them.

Today we’re expanding this feature and beginning to roll it out globally. If a Google Maps user has shared photos, reviews or lists publicly, you can now follow them and get their recommendations, advice and updates delivered to your Updates tab in Google Maps. So the next time you find someone sharing helpful photos of takeout menus, handy lists of your city’s most spacious parks or inspiring photos of local shops and services, you can keep up-to-date on all of their recommendations. 

Google Maps public profile

Topic filters add color and flavor to your Google Maps profile

There will also be new topic filters on Google Maps profiles, so you can see the topics and places people share about the most, like pizza, brunch, camping and parks. Whether they’re a coffee enthusiast documenting every last latte, or a hometown expert reviewing all things Perth or Phoenix, you can follow other Google Maps users with public profiles to get helpful recommendations about the places around you.

Control your Google Maps experience and profile

People want to be in control of their digital footprint. That’s why we’ve built in settings so you can easily manage and personalize your Google Maps profile. As always, everyone has the option to show (or not show) their reviews, photos and posts on their public Maps profile. To become followable in Google Maps, an eligible user can go to their profile and follow a simple process. And users who are followable on Google Maps can make their profile restricted. With a restricted profile, you approve new followers before they can see contributions on your profile. 

Want to share your personality on your Google Maps profile? Create a short tagline that sparks a sense of adventure. Or simply drop in a pasta emoji if there are no words to describe how much you love Italian food.

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    Easily access your profile settings right from your profile page

  • Restricted profile setting.png

    Turn on a restricted profile to limit who can see your Google Maps profile

  • Google Maps followers and following.png

    See whose recommendations you’re following and who’s following your recommendations in Google Maps

It’s people’s personal recommendations and access to reliable, local information that make Google Maps a helpful tool in your pocket. Now all of that is easier to find and follow.

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More secure and convenient Autofill coming to Chrome

Chrome can help you fill in forms securely – everywhere on the web. Whether it is your username and password to sign in to your email account, or your credit card number when you’re about to purchase your new favorite pair of sneakers. Today we’re announcing new tools to make your Autofill experience even more convenient and secure.

Confirming credit cards with biometrics

If you choose to save credit cards to your Google Account, your payment information is only transferred to Chrome when it is needed for a transaction. This is why Chrome asks you to confirm your credit card by entering its CVC before the full credit card number is autofilled into a form.

Going forward, Chrome will allow you to enroll your device to retrieve card numbers via biometric authentication, such as your fingerprint. You still need to provide your CVC the first time you use your credit card, but for future transactions, you will be able to confirm your credit card using biometric authentication ᠆ instead of requiring you to pull out your wallet and type in its CVC. Biometric authentication is optional. You can choose to confirm your card with its CVC and you can also turn this feature on and off in Chrome Settings at any time.

Chrome uses the W3C standard WebAuthn to securely enroll you for biometric authentication. Biometric information never leaves your device. The feature is already available on Windows and Mac and is coming to Chrome on Android in the coming weeks.

Biometric authentication for payment methods in Chrome on Android.

Touch-to-fill for passwords

Chrome’s password manager can help you save passwords for the sites you visit so that you don’t need to memorize them. It also helps you fill your passwords the next time you sign in. A big advantage of using a password manager is that it helps prevent phishing attacks, because it cannot be tricked into filling your password into look-alike websites.

Whenever you sign in, Chrome’s new touch-to-fill feature presents your saved accounts for the current website in a convenient and recognizable dialog. It allows for one-handed sign-in without requiring you to scroll to the respective form fields to choose an account.

Signing in is now easier with touch-to-fill controls.

The feature is coming to Chrome on Android in the coming weeks, but this is only the start. We’ll continue to focus on creating intuitive features that keep you safe while you sign-in and pay on the web, and look forward to sharing more in the future.

Patrick Nepper, Google Chrome Product Manager 

Stan Li, Google Payments Product Manager

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