Posts tagged "Google"

Google, Microsoft and Michelle Obama want to meet this 10-year-old coder

April 30, 2019 Posted by News, Programming 0 thoughts on “Google, Microsoft and Michelle Obama want to meet this 10-year-old coder”

Scroll through Samaira Mehta’s Instagram and you’ll see that she is a lot like other kids her age. She posts about having a lemonade stand, going swimming and doing the “In My Feelings” dance challenge.

But she also stands out from other 10-year-olds — Mehta is CEO, founder and inventor of CoderBunnyz, a board game that teaches players as young as 4 basic coding concepts. Players draw and move their bunny piece along the board with the goal of eating carrots and hopping to their final destination.

“CoderBunnyz will basically teach you all the concepts you ever need in computer programming,” Mehta tells CNBC Make It. “There’s the very basic concepts like sequencing and conditionals to more advanced concepts like loops, functions, stack, queue, lists, parallelism, inheritance and many others.”

Mehta says she first conceptualized the board game when she was “about 6½, maybe 7,” after her father, an engineer who serves as an official advisor for the company, started teaching her how to code. As she researched learning materials for first-time coders, Mehta noticed there was an opening in the market for a product that helped young people pick up programming.

She started by sketching how she wanted the game to be designed. Then, with the help of her family, she connected with graphic designers and game manufacturers in China and New Zealand. After exchanging dozens of emails, Mehta settled on a product that she says she’s very proud of.

“My family is very much involved in my business,” she says. Her mother oversees marketing and social media for CoderBunnyz and her little brother tests the games.

Since inventing CoderBunnyz, Mehta also invented a second game called CoderMindz, a coding-based artificial intelligence board game that teachers basic AI concepts using the Java programming language.

“I’m really passionate about coding,” says the budding entrepreneur. “I want the kids to be the same way, because coding is the future and coding is what the world will depend on in the next 10 to 15 years. So if kids learn to code now, [when] they grow up they can think of coding maybe as a career option.”

So far, Mehta says her company has generated about $200,000 in revenue since April 2018 and sold about 6,000 games. She says she is reinvesting that money in the company, saving for college and donating to charities that address homelessness in her community.

At first, Mehta sold the board games through her website and stored the games in her garage.

“We used to pack every order we got,” she says. “And when it started building up, and we started getting more orders, we were not able to fulfill that many, so we were seeing if we could get it on Amazon, and luckily within almost just the first year, we got it on Amazon.”

Today, Mehta has a team that helps package the games and Amazon helps fulfill shipping.

The business venture has taken Mehta to schools, libraries and companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Intel, where she has held workshops for employers and their kids about how to get young people involved with coding.

But it was her trip to Google, and the opportunity to meet Google’s chief cultural officer, Stacy Sullivan, that left the strongest impression on the 10-year-old. “She said if I grew up I could probably work at Google if I like. And then she also said ‘Oh but you’ll probably have your own company by then,’” says Mehta. “She inspired me to work harder and it was just a great moment in my life.”

Mehta has also gotten words of encouragement from former first lady Michelle Obama, who wrote the girl a letter in 2016 offering her words of support. “It was really cool receiving a letter from her,” says Mehta. “She just told me to keep working harder and that I’m an inspiration to all.”

For now, Mehta is focused on making CoderBunnyz a success and doing well in school. She says her dream college is Stanford University, and that her dream job is being an entrepreneur.

“I would say I already have it now, because I am an entrepreneur,” she says. “But I want to expand on that and I want to become an entrepreneur that helps people and does good for the community.”

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Google Cloud

Google Responds To Critics By Open Sourcing Google Cloud Platform

April 11, 2019 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Google Responds To Critics By Open Sourcing Google Cloud Platform”

When Google fully released Anthos and priced it at $10,000/month per 100 vCPU block, developers weren’t exactly brimming with joy. Many questioned the direction of Google Cloud’s CEO Thomas Kurian in light of the fact that he mentioned wanting to use Oracle and Amazon’s playbook; AWS has notoriously abused open source principles. In recent times, however, Google has actively taken part in the development of Go, Kubernets, Tenserflow, Firebase and many more projects. So, perhaps to reinforce Google’s image as a supporter of open source,  Google Cloud  has announced that they would be extending their cloud support to even more open source projects.

Here’s a statement put out by their PR team:

We’ve always seen our friends in the open-source community as equal collaborators, and not simply a resource to be mined. With that in mind, we’ll be offering managed services operated by these partners that are tightly integrated into Google Cloud Platform (GCP), providing a seamless user experience across management, billing and support. This makes it easier for our enterprise customers to build on open-source technologies, and it delivers on our commitment to continually support and grow these open-source communities.

These following projects will be given Google Cloud’s support:

  • Confluent
  • DataStax
  • Elastic
  • InfluxData
  • MongoDB
  • Neo4j
  • Redis Labs

By supporting these database projects, Google Cloud hopes to benefit the vast  number of apps that depend on the open source technologies listed above. According to Google, the benefits include:

  • Fully managed services running in the cloud, with best efforts made to optimize performance and latency between the service and application.
  • A single user interface to manage apps, which includes the ability to provision and manage the service from the Google Cloud Console.
  • Unified billing, so you get one invoice from Google Cloud that includes the partner’s service.
  • Google Cloud support for the majority of these partners, so you can manage and log support tickets in a single window and not have to deal with different providers.

 

Only time will tell if Google maintains its promise to create an open partnership with open source communities. What we can takeaway however is that even notoriously private companies like Microsoft have seen the need to join open source. Skepticism aside, more support can’t hurt.

 

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Google hiring developers to bring better JavaScript support to Fuchsia with Node.js

March 21, 2019 Posted by News, Programming 0 thoughts on “Google hiring developers to bring better JavaScript support to Fuchsia with Node.js”

Thanks to the near universal nature of web technology, JavaScript has become an almost equally universal programming language. With this in mind, Google is continuing to appeal to JavaScript developers by bringing proper Node.js support to their upcoming Fuchsia OS.

According to the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, JavaScript is the most used language, with almost 70% of all developers claiming to use it. Last year, we covered Google’s plans for web technologies and JavaScript in Fuchsia extensively, including work being done to bring Chrome as the platform’s default browser and additional JavaScript support via Apple’s JavaScriptCore.

At the time, it seemed odd that JavaScriptCore was chosen instead of Node.js for Fuchsia usage. Node.js is based on Google’s own V8 JavaScript engine which has already been ported to Fuchsia for use by Chrome. Node.js is also at the core of web-based technology like Electron, which powers popular desktop apps like Slack and Visual Studio Code.

Google is now looking for Node.js to join the Fuchsia party, according to a hiring advertisement tweeted out by V8 developer Yang Guo, spotted by Android Police.

If you or anyone you know would like to live in Germany and work for Google on making their next operating system more accessible to 70% of developers globally who work with JavaScript, be sure to respond to the tweets above (assuming you meet the criteria).

Otherwise, for the rest of us, this tweet gives us a tiny bit of insight into Fuchsia’s future. For example, Node.js does not support creating applications for Android (officially anyway). However, as Fuchsia is intended for both desktop and mobile, the door will be open to smartphones having access to full “desktop” applications built on Node.js (like Visual Studio Code, mentioned earlier). As if Fuchsia wasn’t already breaking enough boundaries between desktop and mobile, with developments like Ledger.

Regardless of their intentions for Node.js on the platform, Google is clearly marketing to as many developer communities as it can with Fuchsia. Apple developers are covered by Swift support, low-level developers by Rust, Android developers with Java, and now web and JavaScript developers with Node.js.

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Google previews TensorFlow 2.0 alpha with focus on simplicity and ML beginners

March 7, 2019 Posted by News, Programming 0 thoughts on “Google previews TensorFlow 2.0 alpha with focus on simplicity and ML beginners”

At the 2019 TensorFlow Dev Summit today, Google announced a number of updates for its open-source machine learning library aimed at research and production. The TensorFlow 2.0 alpha provides a preview of upcoming changes aimed at making ML easier for beginners.

TensorFlow celebrated its third birthday last November with a total of 41 million downloads and 1,800 contributions from around the world. Google has been detailing the next iteration for the past several months with a focus on increasing developer productivity, simplicity, and ease of use.

One way Google is making TensorFlow 2.0 easier to use — especially for developers new to machine learning — is by designating Keras as the high-level API for building and training deep learning models. Other deprecated and redundant APIs have been removed or replaced with equivalents. Meanwhile, another focus with 2.0 is improved ‘out of the box’ performance and enhancing TensorFlow for researchers.

The alpha provides an early preview of API changes, with Google offering conversion and migration tools, as well as a documentation to help with the transition from 1.x code to 2.0. Tensorflow.org has similarly been revised with new content and resources.

Meanwhile, TensorFlow Lite for ML on phones and other embedded systems is now running on 2 billion mobile devices. Real-world examples include first-party products like Search, Assistant, Photos, and the Pixel Visual Core. Over the coming year, Google is improving on-device training and MCU support.

TensorFlow for Javascript has seen 300,000 downloads and 100 contributors. Version 1.0 of TensorFlow.js today includes performance improvements like a 9x boost for MobileNet v1 inference in the browser. There are also new off-the-shelf models for web developers and wider platform support.

Lastly, the Swift for TensorFlow package just hit version 0.2 with increased usability.

To further developer adoption, Google is partnering with several online learning courses. Fast.ai is creating an ML course using Swift for TensorFlow, while others from Udacity and Coursea are especially targeted at beginners:

The first one is deeplearning.ai’s Course 1 – “Intro to TensorFlow for AI, ML and DL”, part of the TensorFlow: from Basics to Mastery series hosted on Coursera. The second one is Udacity’s Intro to TensorFlow for Deep Learning. Both courses are designed with developers in mind and require no prior machine learning experience. These courses will be available on March 6.

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Report: Digital advertising to surpass print and TV for the first time

February 21, 2019 Posted by Digital Marketing, News 0 thoughts on “Report: Digital advertising to surpass print and TV for the first time”

 

This year, the money spent on digital advertising in the United States will surpass that spent on traditional ads for the first time, according to forecasts by eMarketer, representing a landmark inversion of how advertisers budget their resources and highlighting the rise of digital media as platforms seek consumers’ attention.

By year end, eMarketer expects companies to spend nearly $130 billion on digital ads, compared with about $110 billion on traditional advertisements, or about 54.2 percent of the ad market vs. 46.8 percent, respectively. According to the research firm’s projections, spending on digital ads will continue to outpace that of traditional ads. By 2023, digital ads will capture more than two-thirds of all ad spending, according to the estimates.

The increase in digital ad dollars will come, in part, from sharp declines in key print ad formats including directories such as the Yellow Pages, whose ad spending will fall by 19 percent, and the print versions of newspapers and magazines where ad spending is expected to decrease by about 18 percent, eMarketer said. Ad spending on TV will decline 2.2 percent this year, to about $71 billion, eMarketer said, owing largely to the absence of elections and big sports events, such as the Olympics.

“The steady shift of consumer attention to digital platforms has hit an inflection point with advertisers, forcing them to now turn to digital to seek the incremental gains in reach and revenue which are disappearing in traditional media advertising,” eMarketer’s forecasting director Monica Peart said in a statement.

The top two digital advertisers in the United States — Google and Facebook — are expected to maintain their dominant hold on ad dollars, as the tech giants’ combined ad revenue will command about 59 percent of the market, according to the forecasts. EMarketer projects Google’s share will drop slightly from 38.2 percent to 37.2 percent; Facebook’s share is expected to remain “virtually unchanged,” rising by less than half of a percentage point from 21.8 percent to 22.1 percent this year.

Amazon, Microsoft and Verizon round out the top five digital advertisers, and the latter two are expected to lose ground in ad spending.

Amazon’s advertising business, the third largest in the United States, is projected to grow by more than 50 percent in 2019, claiming a total of nearly 9 percent of the digital ad market.

“The platform is rich with shoppers’ behavioral data for targeting and provides access to purchase data in real-time,” said Peart. “This type of access was once only available through the retail partner, to share at their discretion. But with Amazon’s suite of sponsored ads, marketers have unprecedented access to the ‘shelves’ where consumers are shopping.”

More than two-thirds of spending on digital ads this year will be dedicated to ads on mobile devices, eMarketer said, totaling more than $87 billion.

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Google Humanizes Speech Recognition With Live Transcribe

February 14, 2019 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Google Humanizes Speech Recognition With Live Transcribe”

Speech recognition software has existed for a long time now, aiding those who are physically disabled or handicapped to construct documents on their computers. According to Wikipedia, “Speech recognition is the inter-disciplinary sub-field of computational linguistics that develops methodologies and technologies that enables the recognition and translation of spoken language into text by computers. It is also known as automatic speech recognition (ASR), computer speech recognition or speech to text (STT).”

This subset of computational linguistics is of particular interest to Google, a company that has a large share in the voice assistant market. Within speech recognition, Google has already developed Google Docs Voice Typing. To add to that, in 2018, they offered an improved speech to text API for developers to create their own speech-to-text app. Now, Google has recently released launched Live Transcribe, a speech recognition product, by partnering with Gallaudet University. With Google’s engineering might and the University’s expertise with the deaf and hard of hearing, they were able to create a product that can translate spoken words from 70 different languages and dialects.

This release almost seemed like a response to a Quora post that asked in 2016, “Why doesn’t Google develop a Speech to Text app for the Deaf/Hard of hearing?” As observers, we can assume that this release is Google’s way of proving their prowess in the speech recognition market. Their Google Home products have been shown to have the highest accuracy when responding to prompts. So, it is only fitting that they create a tool that allows them to humanize their technology even further by aiding those who are hard of hearing or deaf.

 

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Google Launches ‘Play Academy’ Free E-Learning Platform for Android App Developers

November 14, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Google Launches ‘Play Academy’ Free E-Learning Platform for Android App Developers”

The Android ecosystem is one of the most flourishing app marketplaces and Google now wants to further bolster the same by giving its app developers access to free, bite-sized interactive sessions via its newly launched ‘Play Academy‘ e-learning platform.

While you could certainly head to YouTube today to learn pretty much anything, but Google has partnered with e-learning company Intellum to provide developers the right knowledge about managing their apps through the ‘Academy for App Success,’ as seen down below.

The ‘Play Academy’ offers Android app developers access to courses that can help them learn how to use the Play Console (the management back-end where you publish and manage Android apps), getting the most out of it, best practices for when you are ready to publish apps, and analyzing downloads (and other data) to grow your app.

These courses will ultimately enable them to upgrade their app, and add features to not just improve the quality of your app but bring in more business as well.

You can consume this material on either mobile or desktop to earn an achievement badge after you complete the task at hand. This will help you grow your know-how of the Play Console and managing Android apps, paving the way for you to become an industry expert.

While there are a number of sessions that are already live on Play Academy, Google says that more content, that too in languages other than English, will be added to the console shortly. So, you will be to learn the ABC of app development, managing the app and also monetizing it via this e-learning platform.

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Google Releases The Official Android Dev Summit App

November 2, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Google Releases The Official Android Dev Summit App”

With Google’s Android Developer Summit right around the corner, the company has announced the official app for the upcoming developer get-together.

The app lets you look through the conference schedule and all of the keynotes, sessions, and lightning talks that will take place over the two days. You can also save those events to your own calendar, they’re color-coded based on type (like breaks or sessions).

You can also stream the event from the app, though you can also stream it from the website if the app does not fit your needs.

As a nice bonus, the Android Dev Summit app also doubles as an Instant App. This lets you try out the app without needing to fully download it on your device. That is why you will see the “Open App” option when you get to the Android Dev Summit app on the Play Store.

As for the event itself, the Android Dev Summit is expected to bring together Android developers from various walks of life for two days of technical sessions with Google’s engineering team. There is even a keynote speech, which vice president of Android engineering Dave Burke and group product manager for Google Search and Ads Stephanie Cuthbertson hosted during 2017’s Android Dev Summit.

The discussions during this year’s Android Dev Summit will likely focus on the nitty-gritty of Android and its SDK tools. That compares drastically to Google I/O, which typically delivers more consumer-friendly news and developments.

You can download the Android Dev Summit 2018 app at the link below.The Android Dev Summit will be held in the Computer History Museum in California and go from November 7 through November 8.

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Google’s new rules for developers make Chrome extensions safer

October 3, 2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “Google’s new rules for developers make Chrome extensions safer”

Google has announced a range of security changes to its Chrome browser that will make the use of extensions more secure. The updates, to be introduced in version 70 of the popular browser, cover areas including extension permissions and developer accounts.

Browser extensions are small programs that enhance its functionality. The problem is that misbehaving extensions can steal data or invade users’ browser privacy. Chrome is a trusted application in most operating systems, meaning that if you give an extension permission to do things, the operating system will usually wave it through. This can leave users vulnerable to malicious extensions.

In the past, Google has taken steps to keep extensions in line by limiting what they can do. Late last year, for example, it introduced an optional site isolation feature that made it more difficult for malicious code on one site to steal secrets from another when open in the browser. It also enabled administrators to block extensions based on the kinds of permissions they request, such as access to the webcam or the clipboard.

Per-site permissions

Now, it has announced plans to take things further. In Chrome 70, the company will enable users to restrict an extension’s permissions to manipulate website data and services on a per-site basis. When users gave a Chrome extension permission to read and change website data in the past, the extension could use those permissions across all sites. The change allows users to be more selective about the sites that the extension can access.

While you may want a screen clipping extension to read information from a handful of news sites that you visit, say, you might want it to avoid reading anything else, including your online bank account. Chrome 70 will restrict host access permissions to specific sites allowed by the user, or it can be configured to request approval for host access when visiting any site. The user can also enable host permissions on all sites by default if they wish.

Google will also make the review process more stringent for extensions that request ‘powerful permissions’, it said, and will also monitor extensions that use code hosted remotely.

Obfuscated code banned

The company is also banning the use of obfuscated code. This is JavaScript code that is scrambled to avoid others finding out what it does, and while this can be a way for developers to protect their IP, a good reverse engineer would eventually work out what it was doing, Google pointed out.

In the meantime, obfuscated code also enables cybercriminals, such as cryptojackers, to execute nefarious code under the hood. From now on, Google’s Chromium team is having none of it. Not only will all new extension submissions have to carry usable code, but existing extensions with obfuscated code will be removed from the Chrome Web Store in early January if they don’t fix the issue. The company said:

Today over 70% of malicious and policy violating extensions that we block from Chrome Web Store contain obfuscated code. At the same time, because obfuscation is mainly used to conceal code functionality, it adds a great deal of complexity to our review process. This is no longer acceptable given the aforementioned review process changes.

Minification, which reduces side code by removing comments and unused code and shortening variables, is still fine, it added.

2FA for extension developers

Google also changed the requirements for developers to access their online accounts. They will be expected to use two-step verification (or 2FA) to access their accounts in the Chrome Web Store from next year, the company stated. This is a bid to protect developers of popular extensions from having their accounts hijacked and their published extensions tampered with by malicious actors.

These enhancements may go some way towards mitigating malicious Chrome extensions, of which there have been a few.

One popular legitimate extension called Web Developer for Chrome was hijacked last year after criminals compromised the developer’s account.

Another extension named “Desbloquear Conteúdo” was evil from the start, inserting a perfect overlay of username, password, and one time pad form fields on a bank’s site.

Another extension named “Desbloquear Conteúdo” was evil from the start, inserting a perfect overlay of username, password, and one time pad form fields on a bank’s site.

The security changes are a precursor to version 3 of Google’s extensions manifest, which will make it harder to write insecure extensions, the company claimed. These changes will include more narrowly-scoped application programming interfaces (APIs) so that developers can give extensions more selective access to webpages. Expect those new changes next year.

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