September 15, 2014

For the next five billion: Android One


[Cross posted from the Official Asia Pacific Blog]

Knowledge is a game changer. I’ve long been inspired by the Internet and how it opens the doors to opportunity. It provides access to knowledge, no matter who you are or where you are. For instance, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Nobel Laureate at a world-class research center or a young student at a rural school in Indonesia, with Google Search, you have the same information at your fingertips as anyone else.

If we look at how people are getting online and accessing information today, increasingly it’s through a smartphone. While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population—over five billion more—do not. That means most people are only able to make simple voice calls, rather than connect with family through a live video chat, use mapping apps to find the closest hospital, or simply search the web. We want to bring these experiences to more people.

That’s where Android One comes in. At I/O, we first talked about this initiative to make high-quality smartphones accessible to as many people as possible. And today we’re introducing the first family of Android One phones in India.


Addressing key barriers—hardware, software and connectivity
There are three big reasons why it’s hard for people in countries such as India, Indonesia or the Philippines to get their hands on a high-quality smartphone. First, is the hardware itself. Even entry-level smartphones still remain out of reach for many (bear in mind that in some of these countries the average monthly income is around $250). Second, many people in these markets do not have access to the latest Android software and popular applications. Finally, even where 3G and 4G networks are available, not enough people have phones that can support data and the plans can be expensive.

Android One aims to help tackle these challenges. By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we’re making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable. They have lots of processing power, so you can get information quickly. They have high-quality front- and rear-facing cameras. And for all those pictures, along with your apps and videos, Android One phones will have expandable storage. We also added features that people in India will find particularly useful, like dual SIM cards, a replaceable battery and built-in FM radio.
To help ensure a consistent experience, Android One devices will receive the latest versions of Android directly from Google. So you’ll get all the latest features, up-to-date security patches, and peace of mind knowing your stuff is always backed up. It also means Android One devices will be some of the first to be updated to the Android L release later this year. For our hardware partners, they’ll be able to create customized experiences and differentiate their devices without having to change the core software.

In an effort to reduce data costs, if you have an Airtel SIM card, you’ll get these software updates for free for the first six months. As part of this same Airtel offer, you’ll also be able to download up to 200MB per month worth of your favorite apps (that’s about 50 apps overall) from Google Play—all without counting toward your mobile data usage.

More to come
This is just the beginning of the Android One journey. The first phones, from our hardware partners Micromax, Karbonn, Spice and chipmaker MediaTek, are available starting today in India from leading retailers starting at Rs 6,399. We’re also excited to welcome more partners to the program, including phone manufacturers Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm. We expect to see even more high-quality, affordable devices with different screen sizes, colors, hardware configurations and customized software experiences. Finally, we plan to expand the Android One program to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.


Access for access’s sake is not enough. With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the web holds for everyone.


Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps, Google

September 12, 2014

Crisis Response Map for Jammu and Kashmir Floods

As the flood waters recede in Jammu and Kashmir, the rescue teams will now be able to reach thousands of stranded people. To aid this rescue process, we’ve created a Crisis map for Jammu and Kashmir with updated satellite imagery.  Our hope is that this will help rescue agencies, volunteers and others involved in rescue operations respond to this crisis by identifying flood zones, evacuation routes and weather conditions.

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This image from the Jammu and Kashmir Crisis Map shows a before and after cross section from the city of Srinagar

You can click the “Share” button at the top of the crisis map to embed or share by email or social media. We are also still operating Person Finder, which as of the posting of this blog has a little more than 7000 records.



We hope the crisis map can accelerate the efforts of responding agencies and people affected by the disaster.
We continue to work on providing more relevant tools for rescue agencies, volunteers and non profits.


Posted by Google Crisis Response Team

September 10, 2014

Crisis tools launched for the Jammu and Kashmir floods

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is facing its worst floods in 60 years. Given that the flood has uprooted communication modes making the area almost inaccessible, we have launched several tools, to help gather and relay information about people affected by the devastation.

Here are some of the tools we’ve been working on:

Google Person Finder, a web application that allows individuals to post the details of, and search for the status of, family members or friends affected by the disaster. If you’re worried about someone in the disaster affected area, then click on “I’m Looking for Someone” and type in their name. If you want to let people know you’re safe, or if you have heard from someone in the disaster affected area, then click on “I have information about someone” and put in their names and details. As the number of names and records increases, the tool will make it easier for those who are safe to pass on their status to people worried about them. It is available in both English and Hindi.


The People finder tool can be embedded on any website - here are instructions for embedding person finder:

Use the following HTML code:
<iframe src="http://google.org/personfinder/2014-jammu-kashmir-floods/?ui=small"
   width=400 height=300 frameborder=0
   style="border: dashed 2px #77c"></iframe>

We’ve also made Person Finder available on mobile phones. You can request status via SMS by sending the message “Search”, followed by the person’s name i.e. “Search” <name>, to the number 9773300000 . For example, if you are searching for Rohan Gupta, send the message “Search Rohan Gupta”

To make emergency information available  immediately, we have also launched a Onebox on Google Search in Hindi and English. This provides helpline information of the Army, Home Ministry, and NDRF Control Room, listed below:
Emergency Army Helpline:(+91) 011-23019831
Home Ministry Helpline:(+91) 011-23093054 · (+91) 011-23092763
NDRF Control Room:(+91) 011-26107953 · (+91) 0-9711077372

While on-ground disaster response is being carried out by specialised entities, everyone can do their bit to help by sharing information.


Posted by the Google Crisis Response Team


September 4, 2014

Introducing Google for Work (the artist formerly known as Enterprise)


[Cross posted from the Official Google for Work Blog]

Work is where you spend a lot of your time. So we’ve always believed that it should be meaningful—not a daily grind, done in isolation on an old desktop in a sea of cubicles. Even more, we believe that technology should make work better. It should make it easy not just to get things done, but to get things done with people who inspire you, at the times and in the places where you work best, and in a way that lets you make an impact, no matter what your job is, or what industry you’re in.

Ten years ago, we started bringing Google’s consumer technology—along with the features, controls and services businesses need—to work. We first brought search and then Gmail to businesses. Today we also offer the scale and reliability of Google’s infrastructure to developers with Google Maps and Google Cloud Platform, and have extended into hardware with Android and Chromebooks. Along the way we’ve invested in what matters to our customers and partners—security, transparency, compliance and customer support. And our team, the breadth of our offerings, and our commitment to business customers have all increased substantially.


Work today is very different from 10 years ago. Cloud computing, once a new idea, is abundantly available, and collaboration is possible across offices, cities, countries and continents. Ideas can go from prototype to development to launch in a matter of days. Working from a computer, tablet or phone is no longer just a trend—it’s a reality. And millions of companies, large and small, have turned to Google’s products to help them launch, build and transform their businesses, and help their employees work the way they live. In other words, work is already better than it used to be.

But technology for the workplace isn't just about a better way of doing business. It's about empowering anyone, whether they're a developer with an idea in their basement or a baker with a better cupcake or a company with thousands of employees, to have an impact. We never set out to create a traditional “enterprise” business—we wanted to create a new way of doing work. So the time has come for our name to catch up with our ambition. As of today, what was called Google Enterprise is now, simply, Google for Work. When we use the tools that make our lives easier - Google Apps, Maps, Search, Chrome, Android, Cloud Platform and more—work gets better. And that’s what we’re working on—the best of Google, now for work.


Posted by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman

September 1, 2014

Online Courses from NPTEL - powered by Google

The recent phenomenon of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has caused ripples in the otherwise serious business of higher education. In a country such as India, MOOCs and what they promise to offer appear to be a natural solution to the challenge of delivering high quality education to a large number of young engineering students bridging the employability gap. However, the phenomenon is in its early years, and several lacunae have been discovered and some have been addressed as well.  While the promise of educating everyone in a scalable manner is probably some years away, several simple and practical goals are immediately achievable through MOOCs, particularly in a country such as India.

The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has been focussed on online learning for more than a decade now. NPTEL is a project run by the IITs and IISc Bangalore, and is funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. Through its portal http://nptel.ac.in, NPTEL offers one of the largest collections of video and web courses in engineering and allied areas.

NPTEL has recently embarked on offering online courses through its new portal https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/. The portal is powered by Google, and the certification is in partnership with NASSCOM, India's umbrella organisation for IT and other high tech industry. This new effort has been termed NPTEL Online Certification or NOC, in short.

While the delivery of courses is similar to MOOCs, a few important innovations in NOC make for a good fit in the Indian milieu. Firstly, the certification is based on a proctored exam through a test administration service. Secondly, the certification is being provided along with an industry recognised body. Thirdly, the certification has an eligibility clause - only students who score above a certain cut-off can get the certificate.

NPTEL's partnership with Google has been enduring. All NPTEL courses have been available through a dedicated YouTube channel for several years now. The online courses portal is built on Course Builder - an open-source MOOC platform released by Google. The portal has important innovations such as an online edit/compile/run system which is useful for programming assignments.

From March to July 2014, an online course on Programming, Data Structures and Algorithms was run on the portal https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/ with great success. The certification process is in the final stages of completion. Currently, two new courses - Introduction to Programming in C and Basic Electrical Circuits - are open for registration. It is our hope that

NPTEL Online Certification (NOC) proves to be invaluable for both students and employers, who can benefit from high quality learning and certification in the future.
a guest post by Professor K. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras and Chairman, Programme Implementation Committee (PIC), NPTEL

August 27, 2014

Register for Learn with Google - Ads & Search Conference, Gurgaon

learn+with+google.png


Following the success of the Learn with Google events in Bangalore and Mumbai, we are happy to announce that registration is now open for our next event in Gurgaon.

Similar to the events in Bangalore and Mumbai, we will be hosting advertisers and webmasters over two days - one day dedicated to ads and the other to search. The Ads day will cover topics like Remarketing, Google Analytics, building a mobile business and more. The Search day is aimed at helping webmasters better understand Google Search and what will make their websites thrive in its organic results.

This is an invite-only event and you’ll need to register if you are interested in attending. Please remember that filling out the form does not guarantee your spot at the event. Below are the details:

Gurgaon:
Thursday, 18th September [Ads]
Friday, 19th September [Search]


Registration closes Wednesday, September 3rd.


Posted by Vivaik Bharadwaaj, Director, Product Quality Operations, Google India

August 19, 2014

Doodle 4 Google 2014: Your Doodle on the Google homepage!

Doodle for Google

If you’re a fan of the Google Doodle and love the way Google has fun with its logo then here’s your chance to showcase your creativity and get your doodle on Google India’s Homepage on Children’s Day, November 14th 2014.

With the launch of the 6th Annual Doodle 4 Google Contest, we invite bright young minds of India to send in their creative, aesthetic and innovative Doodles based on the theme ‘A place in India I wish to visit’.

The contest is open for all children from Class 1st to 10th . They need to put on their thinking hats, get out their colors and get creative with the Google logo. Let the imagination flow and bring alive the beautiful country that is India and your dream destination basis the theme.

Last year, we asked young doodlers across India to make creative, aesthetic, innovative doodles celebrating Indian woman. Gayatri Ketharaman from The Bishop's Co-Ed School, Pune made this winning doodle.  

Participating in Doodle4Google 2014 is simple! Just visit www.google.co.in/doodle4google, download the form, doodle and submit it. Just make sure your entries reach us by October, 12 2014.  We’ll also be visiting hundreds of schools in more than 40 cities across India to collect your entries, so watch out for the Google team!

Finalist will be invited to Delhi for a prize distribution event on 12th November 2014 where the winners of the Doodle 4 Google 2014 will be announced and awarded.

Posted by Sandeep Menon, Director of Marketing, Google India