February 26, 2015

Android is ready for work

[Cross posted from the Official Android Blog]

Over a billion people today carry Android smartphones—devices that are more powerful than the computers we used just a few years ago.

For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals. But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped.

Today we're announcing the Android for Work program to tap into that potential. With a group of partners, we're helping businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform.

Android for Work features four key technology components:

  • Work profiles – We’ve built on the default encryption, enhanced SELinux security enforcement and multi-user support in Android 5.0, Lollipop to create a dedicated work profile that isolates and protects work data. IT can deploy approved work apps right alongside their users' personal apps knowing their sensitive data remains secured. People can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and won’t erase or view their personal content.
  • Android for Work app – For devices running Ice Cream Sandwich through Kitkat, or that don’t run work profiles natively, we’ve created the Android for Work app. The app, which delivers secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps, can be completely managed by IT.
  • Google Play for Work – Google Play for Work allows businesses to securely deploy and manage apps across all users running Android for Work, simplifying the process of distributing apps to employees and ensuring that IT approves every deployed app.
  • Built-in productivity tools – For everyday business tasks, we’ve created a suite of business apps for email, contacts and calendar, which supports both Exchange and Notes and provides document editing capabilities for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

We’re joined by a number of partners as part of the Android for Work program, including many familiar names within the Android ecosystem:

Our partners bring IT:
  • Consistent management – Enterprise mobility management (EMM) providers integrate with standardized management APIs to create a simple way to manage all Android devices, new and old, from one dashboard. All Android for Work capabilities are delivered through EMM partners, with more providers available soon.
  • Secure business apps – Software vendors and developers can create a single version of any Google Play app that can be securely deployed to any Android device without alterations or wrapping. And they can create standard management configurations that allow IT to apply policies per app.
  • Innovative devices – Android smartphone and tablet makers are a key part of the Android for Work program, as they create devices and experiences that add additional value for customers.

Together with a wide range of management, application and device makers, we believe the Android for Work program provides businesses and workers with the choice and flexibility they need to get things done at work.

Learn more by visiting google.com/work/android.

Posted by Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management, Android and Chrome for Work

February 19, 2015

Google Science Fair 2015: what will you try?

[Cross posted from the Official Google for Education Blog]

Science is about observing and experimenting. It’s about exploring unanswered questions, solving problems through curiosity, learning as you go and always trying again.

That’s the spirit behind the fifth annual Google Science Fair, kicking off today. Together with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic, we’re calling on all young researchers, explorers, builders, technologists and inventors to try something ambitious. Something imaginative, or maybe even unimaginable. Something that might just change the world around us.

From now through May 18, students around the world ages 13-18 can submit projects online across all scientific fields, from biology to computer science to anthropology and everything in between. Prizes include  $100,000 in scholarships and classroom grants from Scientific American and Google, a National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos, an opportunity to visit LEGO designers at their Denmark headquarters, and the chance to tour Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship at their Mojave Air and Spaceport. This year we’re also introducing an award to recognize an Inspiring Educator, as well as a Community Impact Award honoring a project that addresses an environmental or health challenge.

It’s only through trying something that we can get somewhere. Flashlights required batteries, then Ann Makosinski tried the heat of her hand. His grandfather would wander out of bed at night, until Kenneth Shinozuka tried a wearable sensor. The power supply was constantly unstable in her Indian village, so Harine Ravichandran tried to build a different kind of regulator. Previous Science Fair winners have blown us away with their ideas. Now it’s your turn.

Big ideas that have the potential to make a big impact often start from something small. Something that makes you curious. Something you love, you’re good at, and want to try.

So...what will you try?

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google for Education Team

February 13, 2015

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Enjoy your Cricket with Google

Cricket fans rejoice: the Cricket World Cup is here again! Can the all-round prowess of the South Africans put aside the “chokers” tag? Or will the Lankan lions roar again after almost two decades? Indian fans will keenly follow the team’s attempts to bring the cup back home, starting with their first match against archrivals Pakistan, while red-hot Australia and New Zealand will be keen to exploit home turf advantage.  

We know how exciting the next few weeks are for you, and we have a bunch of fun experiences lined up. To stay updated, join the party with the largest community of cricket fans from around the world, by following Google India on Google+ and Twitter.

Scores faster than Lee or Akhtar
Over the next two months and 49 matches, a simple Google search for [cricket] will be your quickest source for the latest scores and team schedules. We have partnered with Star Sports, and fans in India will be able to see pre-game videos, in-game highlights, and post-match recaps for the match’s most exciting moments, right from within the search results. These features will also trigger in Hindi if you search for [क्रिकेट]. Rest assured that you’ll stay tuned to the action anytime, anywhere.  

You can also stay updated on your favourite teams in the Google App with Now cards — you don’t even have to search. Download the ESPN Cricinfo app onto your phone, and you’ll start seeing Cricinfo’s Now cards pop up in the Google app.

Take the tournament’s pulse with Google Trends
Millions of fans will be searching on Google for noteworthy moments of the tournament, from the Duckworth-Lewis method to Virat Kohli’s hairstyle. Get into the conversation about what other cricket fans are buzzing about with Google Trends on +Google India throughout the tournament.

Real fans paint their face
Even if you can’t watch the games live, you can still show your support by painting your face like a true cricket fan— without ever getting your hands dirty. Take a photo of yourself and of up to four friends who’d like their faces painted and upload it to Google+ with hashtag #PaintIndia (see details at g.co/CricketFacePaint). Refresh the page to see the effect!

You can add the hashtag #CWC15Fans and publicly share your photo on Google+ for a chance to be shown on ICC’s official website. If you also add the hashtag #CastrolCheerForTheCup to a publicly shared photo on Google+, it might land on the big screen during the actual games.


And last but not the least, keep an eye out for special Doodles during the tournament on the Google India homepage, as well as Hangouts on Air with cricketers and commentators. We will post about these Hangouts on  +Google India over the coming weeks, and many of them will also be simulcasted on 94.3 Radio One.

Have a blast following great cricket, and may the best team win!

Posted by Varun Sud, Product Marketing Manager, Google India

February 10, 2015

Today is Safer Internet Day - Can you spot the scam site?

[Cross posted from the Official Google APAC Blog]

When you last logged into your email, banking or social networking site, how did you know it was the real deal and not a fake site set up to steal your password?

Is this site real of fake? Can you spot the tell-tale signs of a “phishing” attempt?

Many of us know friends and family who have had their online accounts hijacked. But what many people don’t know is how it happens and what you can do to stop criminals in their tracks.  

Most hijackers get into accounts through “phishing” - sending emails or text messages which appear to come from a genuine source such as your bank, but are really created to steal your usernames, passwords or credit card details.

Don’t think you would so easily take the bait? Phishing is actually more effective than you might think.  According to research from our security engineers, some targeted phishing scams fool up to 45% of their victims, and once hijackers have your information, they can break into your account in as little as 30 minutes.  

So, to mark Safer Internet Day today here in India, we’ve put together this Phishing challenge!  

Can you spot the tell-tale signs of a phishing scam? Grab your kids or a friend and take a minute to scroll through the images of common online situations below. Make a note of what looks fishy and when you’re done, head on over to this gallery for the answers.

If you’re stuck, here are some quick tips (no cheating now, only read once you’ve completed the challenge!) on what you should have been on the lookout for, and should keep in mind for the future:
  • Check the URL in the address bar. It might look right in the email, but it could take you scam site designed to steal your personal details.  Also check for ‘HTTPS’ in the address bar which means the site is secure.
  • Always check the sender’s email address. Does it look right to you?  Phishing emails will often contain spelling mistakes and other irregularities.
  • Recognise scare tactics. Genuine sites never use scare tactics to get you to enter your username, password or credit card numbers.  This is a red flag that the site may not be genuine.
  • Always check the spelling.  Even though phishing can be sophisticated, hijackers are not always great spellers.  Typos on a website or email could indicate that they are not the real deal.  

If you’ve got a few more minutes, take your Google Account through our refreshed Security Check-Up tool - it’ll only take a minute, and could help you not become one of those friends everyone knows who’s had their account hijacked by phishing.

Posted by Taj Meadows, Policy Communications Manager, Google APAC

February 9, 2015

Today we turn 10!

[Cross posted from the Official Lat Long Blog]

For 10 years Google Maps has made it easier to navigate and explore your world. If you hopped in your DeLorean for a trip back to before 2005, you’d remember the days when we were all dependent on paper maps, print-outs, post-its and sometimes even a compass for directions! Getting from point A to B is something we do all day, every day—from finding the fastest way to get to work, to dropping the kids off on a carpool route, to meeting friends for drinks at a new spot—so it should be as easy as possible. That’s why we created Google Maps and why we’ve spent the last 10 years figuring out better ways for you to get around.   

Through projects like Ground Truth and passionate communities like Map Maker, we strive to provide you with the most comprehensive, accurate and useful maps. And with Google Maps for mobile, you no longer have to worry about getting lost or deciding where to go next when you’re on the move.

As we look ahead to the next 10 years, we hope you're as excited as we are to navigate uncharted territory in pursuit of the perfect map—together. A planet-size thank you to everyone who has navigated, explored and contributed to the map with us over the past decade. 

Time for cake!

Posted by the Google Maps Team

February 4, 2015

Fighting Bad Advertising Practices on the Web — 2014 Year in Review

[Cross posted from Official AdWords Blog]

Online advertising helps fund content and businesses on the web, from small family-owned shops to large publishers. While online advertising helps the web to work for all of us, this ecosystem can also attract bad actors that aim to misuse ads for harmful or deceptive purposes. 

We work hard to keep our advertising ecosystem clean for users, advertisers, and publishers, and continue to invest substantial resources to stop bad advertising practices. We have a team of analysts who work around the clock to protect users, and continue to hone our detection technology to identify bad ads and stop bad actors as it’s a vital part of keeping our ads ecosystem clean. 

As an example, last summer our analysis technology flagged a set of accounts as suspicious. To the human eye, the ads looked like ordinary rental property ads that met our policies. After we dug in deeper, we discovered that the system was right to be suspicious - the vacation rentals turned out to be a scam and the rental properties didn't exist. Our systems learn from incidents like these, helping us more effectively catch and remove bad ads and advertisers.

For the past several years, we’ve shared insight into our efforts to fight bad actors on the web. Today, we’re sharing new data on how we fought bad advertising practices over the past year. Overall, we disabled more than 524 million bad ads and banned more than 214,000 advertisers in 2014. While this represents a tiny fraction of the total ads on our platform - the vast majority of advertisers follow our policies and act responsibly - we continue to remain vigilant to protect users against bad advertising practices.

Here’s a look into some of the trends we fought against last year:
  • Combating counterfeiters: Our relentless crackdown on counterfeit goods is producing powerful results. We banned 7,000 advertisers for promoting counterfeit goods, down from 14,000 in 2013 (and 82,000 in 2012), demonstrating that counterfeiters are increasingly unable to circumvent our advanced enforcement systems.
  • Protecting against malicious software: To protect the safety and security of our users, we stop all ads pointing to sites where we find malware - whether it’s spyware, adware or other types of malicious software. Last year we removed 250,000 sites from our network for hiding forms of malware.
  • Weighing in against weight loss scams: While many advertisers selling dietary supplements provide accurate information, some bad actors use outrageous claims to entice consumers. In 2014 TrustInAds.org, a group which includes Google, AOL, Yahoo and others, released a report showing that we had collectively removed or rejected more than 2.5 million ads related to weight loss and dietary supplements over the past 18 months.

Here’s a look at our work to get rid of bad advertising practices in 2014:


This is a constantly evolving fight. Bad actors continually create more sophisticated systems and scams, so we too are continually evolving our practices, technology, and methodology in fighting these bad ads. The security of our users is the foundation of our ecosystem, and we’ll continue to work tirelessly to keep people safe online. If you’d like to provide feedback on specific ads or our policies, check out our online form.

Posted by Vikaram Gupta, Director, Ads Engineering

February 2, 2015

Google app update: get Now cards from your favorite apps

[Cross posted from the Official India Search Blog]

Now cards in the Google app give you relevant information at the right time, without you having to ask for it — whether it’s the score from the cricket game, your flight status, or the latest story on Greece’s new government. But a lot of useful information lives inside apps on your phone, from last-minute hotel deals to home-buying tips. Today, you have two ways to get information from these apps — either remember to constantly open them up and look, or get a notification, which you may forget to act on if they show up at the wrong time.

Starting today, the Google app on Android can help you keep up with all the good stuff in your apps — it’ll bring you Now cards from many different apps at a glance, giving you information that’s helpful to you, right when you need it.

You’ll get cards to help you out in your day-to-day life. In the morning, catch up on news of the day with Now cards from The Economic Times. If you’ve booked your ride through Meru Cabs, you’ll get a Now card showing you details of your reservation. On your commute, you can catch up on the latest cricket scores with ESPNcricinfo, or have BookMyShow remind you about that Bollywood film you want to watch on the weekend. To making banking easier, you’ll see helpful reminder cards from ICICI, and property-hunters with an eye on choice listings can receive alerts from Housing.com. Shaadi users can even get Now cards to alert you of a new potential romantic match based on your preferences. If you are planning a trip and looked up places to stay on your Airbnb app but couldn't make up your mind, you’ll get Now cards from Airbnb in the Google app for the location and dates you’ve researched.

We’ve teamed up with seven developers in India (30+ in total worldwide) to bring you these new cards and more, which are rolling out over the next few weeks. Check out some examples on our site — we plan to add more cards and expand this feature over time. Until then, make sure to update to the latest version of the Google app and of your favorite app, and be on the lookout for handy new Now cards to help you with tasks big and small.

Posted by Aparna Chennapragada, Director of Product Management