Partnering with global carriers to upgrade SMS

Nov 4 9:00am Official Android Blog
SMS is one of the most ubiquitous forms of communication today, used by billions of people worldwide. Over the course of this year, we’ve worked with the mobile industry on an initiative to upgrade SMS for users, to provide a better, more enhanced messaging experience through RCS (Rich Communications Services). And now more than 58 carriers and manufacturers, collectively covering a subscriber base of 4.7 billion people globally, have committed to supporting a single, standard implementation of RCS.Today, we’re excited to announce the next step in this initiative with our first carrier launch supporting the new universal RCS profile. Together with Sprint, we’re launching RCS messaging to their customers using Android devices, starting today. This will bring enhanced features including group chat, high-res photo sharing, read receipts, and more to the standard messaging experience on Android. Sprint subscribers will have their standard SMS experience upgraded through the Messenger app for Android devices, developed by Google. The service will be powered by the Jibe RCS cloud from Google. Next year, all new Android devices from Sprint will come with Messenger for Android preloaded as the default SMS and RCS messaging experience. Subscribers currently using select LG and Nexus phones from Sprint will have the messaging experience upgraded automatically through an app update, and subscribers using other Android devices can download Messenger from the Play store.We’re excited to see this first launch of RCS come to life, providing a better carrier messaging experience for millions of people in the U.S. We look forward to launching RCS with more partners in the coming months.
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Project Sunroof New Data Explorer Tool

Nov 3 5:00am Google LatLong
Google has always been a proponent of  clean energy, and solar power has been a central part of our vision. Over the past year, Project Sunroof has been helping homeowners explore whether they should go solar - offering solar estimates for over 43 million houses across 42 states. Solar installations today are growing rapidly, but there remains tremendous untapped potential as only a half a percent of US electricity comes from solar power.Today we’re excited to be taking Project Sunroof a step further by launching a new data explorer tool to enable solar estimates for entire communities, in addition to individual homes, by leveraging 3D rooftop geometry from Google Earth to estimate the solar potential for millions of rooftops in America.  The tool helps communities, cities and municipalities easily visualize how many rooftops are suitable to install solar, how much power they could collectively generate, as well as how much carbon could be displaced by deploying rooftop solar at scale. Sunroof’s solar potential reports can also be easily shared amongst community members, researchers and policymakers directly from the the tool itself. Anyone can use this tool for free, by simply entering in a state, county, city, or zip code to receive a custom analysis. Click here to see the solar potential of your community Rooftop solar is a viable option for many cities today. Sunroof’s data explorer found that in more than 90\% of communities that the tool covers within 42 states nationwide, well over half the rooftops are viable for solar. Today, cities like Denver and organizations like League of Cities see great value in using the data explorer tool to evaluate whether solar can drive economic savings and growth, as well as help transition energy consumption to lower carbon sources for their communities. Here’s what they have to say;Cooper Martin, Program Director of the Sustainable Cities Institute,  League of Cities “Our Sustainable Cities Institute program aims to provide guidance and information for governments that want to pursue sustainability and ensuring that solar is easy, fast and cheap to install. Sunroof's Data Explorer tool can help inform city stakeholders about the opportunity of solar energy, and the work that is needed to support solar-friendly policies. ” Thomas J. Herrod, Climate and Policy analyst, City of Denver“As a City with a bold and ambitious goal of reducing 80\% of Greenhouse Gas emissions by the year 2050,  Project Sunroof data is a key tool in our arsenal of potential strategies.  Rooftop solar is already a viable option within Denver, but this tool helps us refine our efforts to ensure equity in our outreach, efficiency in our efforts, and measurement in our management resources.  Of equal importance is the ability to identify where rooftop solar may not be an option – helping us identify areas where other renewable energy programs offered by our Utility can fill the gap.  We are thrilled to be able to utilize Project Sunroof in our Climate mitigation efforts and help inform our community about the bountiful resource that renewable energy can provide.”Mark Trout, CIO, Vivint“In previous analysis we've done, comparing Project Sunroof data estimates to actual systems performing in the field, we've found Google's information to be a highly accurate source for predicting the solar performance of a rooftop system. At Vivint Solar we are constantly focusing on how to better delight our customers and advance the solar industry through leading innovation. Project Sunroof is a prime example how how technology can improve the consumer experience and accelerate solar deployment here in the US.”The release of the data explorer tool marks another milestone across the Project Sunroof initiative where the use of Google’s high quality infor...
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Cast a spell with Google and Warner Bros. Pictures

Nov 1 9:00am Google LatLong
Now anyone can try their hand at magic with a little help from Google and the new Warner Bros. Pictures film set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Taking place decades before Harry Potter first arrives at Hogwarts, “Fantastic Beasts” follows the adventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander in a whole new era of the wizarding world — New York in 1926.If you want to try being a wizard, try casting spells on your Android phone: Just say “Ok Google” followed by “Lumos” or “Nox” to turn your flashlight on and off. Try “Silencio” to silence the ringer and notifications. You can also explore the world of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” with Google Street View. Visit New York in 1926 as brought to life in the film, as well as the real locations today. Fans can visit MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA); Steen National Bank, where Newt first meets Jacob Kowalski; the underground speakeasy The Blind Pig; and the magical apartment of Tina and Queenie Goldstein, two of the film’s key characters. Once you’ve mastered charms and found the lay of the land, help Newt find his escaped beasts before they come to harm in a city already on edge from dark forces. Using our new Daydream View virtual reality headset, you can wave a wand to explore the magic of Newt’s case, a treasure trove full of everything he needs to cast spells, solve puzzles and find his beasts. The experience will be available when Daydream View goes on sale in November. Don’t forget to share your adventures with your friends by downloading an exclusive “Fantastic Beasts” sticker pack (coming soon) in our messaging app, Google Allo. You can also watch content inspired by the wizarding world from your favorite YouTube creators starting November 1.To start your journey and discover more magic with Newt and friends, visit g.co/fantasticbeasts. “Fantastic Beasts” is in cinemas in November.
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Spooky Street View Treats

Oct 31 7:00am Google LatLong
Whether you’re dressed like the divine or the spookiest kind, get ready for some of Street View’s most frightening and freakiest finds.Few places have more horrors than the Amsterdam Dungeons in the Netherlands. Enter the Dungeon and descend into the vaults for an unworldly immersive experience where actors take you through some of Amsterdam’s most terrifying tales. Quick, get your ticket! It’s a grueling good time. Amsterdam Dungeons, Netherlands If you like to feel shivers up your spine from a ghost trailing not so far behind, head over to the Winchester Mystery House in California, for a real twisted time. Mrs. Sarah L. Winchester built this creepy estate to escape ghosts that haunted her after the death of her husband a child. This one of a kind mansion contains miles of winding hallways, scattered with secret passageways hidden in the walls. It’s said that Mrs. Winchester traveled through the corridors in a roundabout fashion, to confuse any mischievous ghosts that might be following. Winchester Mystery House, California USA Haw Par Villa in Singapore is not your average theme park. Limbless rats, frogs riding ostriches, and the Ten Courts of Hell depicted by more than 1,000 statues and brightly painted dioramas, make up a gruesome recreation of the afterlife. A stroll through this disturbing park is an education in morality complete with morbid visuals, sure to to deter anyone from misbehaving. Haw Par Villa, Singapore No chilling tour is complete without a visit to the home of the deceased. The Cemetery of Dissidents is located on the Panteón hill, at one side of the old city jail, in Valparaíso, Chile. It was created in 1825 to hold the remains of those that differed from the official religion of the State. Take a stroll through the grounds and see tombstones that mince no words in revealing the adventurous lives and often dramatic deaths of its deceased residents. Cementerio de Disidentes, Valparaiso Chile You made it through the spookiest, the creepiest and the weepiest, so it’s now time to celebrate with some terrifying tunes! Wipe off that dusty cobweb covered boombox, throw your magic dancing shoes on, and join the monsters, the zombies and the vampires for a mashing good time. Happy Halloween!...
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Android Pay partners with Visa and Mastercard to bring simple checkout to more places online

Oct 24 12:00pm Official Android Blog
Today, Google announces strategic partnerships with Visa and Mastercard to bring Android Pay to more places on the mobile web.Android Pay users will soon be able to pay on hundreds of thousands of new sites where Visa Checkout or Masterpass are accepted using their preferred device authentication method - like fingerprint recognition. No longer will users have to remember multiple usernames and passwords in order to checkout, saving them time and hassle. Visa Checkout and Masterpass users who link their accounts with Android Pay can look forward to easy and secure payments in stores and online with a simple tap.Android Pay’s open platform also makes the payment integration easy for merchants and developers. Merchants who have enabled Visa Checkout or Masterpass on their sites will instantly benefit from these enhanced payment experiences as the buttons will update automatically. And just as apps such as Fancy and Luxe have seen with Android Pay, these merchants can look forward to faster checkout times, fewer abandoned carts, higher conversions and increased sales.This latest partnership with Visa and Mastercard is an example of how Android Pay can work with partners’ existing solutions to improve the payments experience for users and merchants alike. Look for the new integrations with Visa Checkout and Masterpass within the Android Pay app in early 2017.
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Android Pay says Nei hou to Hong Kong

Oct 19 5:00pm Official Android Blog
Whether you’re heading out to buy groceries, grabbing a cup of coffee, or picking up some egg tarts for your family and friends, now your Android phone is all you need as you walk out the door. Starting today, Android Pay is available in Hong Kong to help you speed through purchases in stores and in apps.  Hongkongers can now use Android Pay at over 5,000 locations in Hong Kong where contactless payments are accepted, including stores such as at 7-Eleven, Circle K, Fortress, Mannings, Maxim’s Cakes, MX, McDonald’s, Pacific Coffee, PARKnSHOP, SmarTone, Watsons, Wellcome and more. Android Pay also stores your gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers right on your phone. Android Pay can also help you breeze through checkout in your favorite apps, including Boutir Collect, Deliveroo, Kaligo, Klook, Snaptee, and coming soon, Uber and more. Just look for the Android Pay button, and say goodbye to entering your payment and address details each time you buy. To get started, download the app from Google Play. It’s available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled, supporting Google Play Services, and running on KitKat 4.4 or higher. Android Pay works with MasterCard and Visa cards from BEA, DBS, Dah Sing Bank, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong. You can add multiple cards (there’s no limit to how many you can add) and select which card you want to use before you pay, so you can always enjoy the best deals available. Merchants, want to accept Android Pay?As an open platform, Android Pay is available to merchants that want to push mobile payments forward. In-store merchants can access the Android Pay Merchant Help Centre or reach out to acquirer partners such as DBS, First Data and Hang Seng to learn more about accepting contactless payments.For online merchants, just visit the Android Pay API developer site to learn how to accept Android Pay in your app. We’re working with payment processors such as: Adyen, Braintree, First Data, Global Payments, Stripe and Worldpay to make enabling Android Pay in Hong Kong simple and easy. Get started with Android Pay in Hong Kong today: Download from Google Play, add your card and start tapping and shopping!...
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Introducing Sprayscape: a perfectly imperfect VR-ish camera app for Android

Oct 12 1:00pm Official Android Blog
Last year, we launched Android Experiments, a celebration of the creative, ingenious, and surprising things developers are making with Android. With so many great projects being sent in each month, we were inspired to make and share an experiment of our own. We love virtual reality (VR). And we love taking pictures. So why not try smashing the two together? Sprayscape is a quick hack using the phone’s gyroscope to take pictures on the inside of a 360-degree sphere. Just point your phone and tap the screen to spray faces, places, or anything else onto your canvas.Like what you’ve captured? You can easily share your creations via a link in a text message or on social media with friends. They can jump into your scapes and have a look around using their phones or even Google Cardboard for a more immersive experience.Download Sprayscape on Google Play to get started or, if you’re feeling curious, take a look at the open-source code to see how Sprayscape works.
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Building on Surveillance Reform

Oct 12 10:19am Google Public Policy Blog
Today, we've updated our Transparency Report on government requests for user data.  Globally, we received 44,943 government requests for information regarding 76,713 accounts during the first half of 2016.  We provided user information in response to 64\% of those requests, which remains unchanged from the previous reporting period (i.e. the second half of 2015).  We also received our first ever requests from the following countries: Algeria, Belarus, Cayman Islands, El Salvador, Fiji, and Saudi Arabia. In addition, pursuant to the USA Freedom Act, the FBI lifted a gag restriction on an NSL issued in the second half of 2015. To reflect this, we have updated the range of NSLs received in that period — July to December 2015 — from 0-499 to 1-499.As we have noted in the past, when we receive a request for user information, we review it carefully and only provide information within the scope and authority of the request.  The privacy and security of the data that users store with Google is central to our approach.  Before producing data in response to a government request, we make sure it strictly follows the law, for example to compel us to disclose content in criminal cases we require the government use a search warrant, and that it complies with Google's strict policies (to prevent overreach that can compromise users’ privacy).  In the US, in the current reporting period, Google saw an increase in the number of accounts covered by requests made under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (21,000-21,499), compared to the previous reporting period (16,000-16,499). (Note that the USA Freedom Act authorizes companies like Google to report these figures in ranges, but not precise numbers.) In recent years, the United States has implemented or enacted meaningful surveillance reforms.  And the U.S. Congress is beginning the process of assessing potential reforms to Section 702 of FISA, which authorizes surveillance of non-U.S. persons outside of the United States.   We look forward to working together with others in our industry on continuing surveillance reform in the U.S. and around the world.
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Introducing Pixel, our new phone made by Google

Oct 4 12:38pm Official Android Blog
Pixel is the first phone made by Google inside and out.
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Now you can see your Google Calendar events in Google Maps

Sep 30 2:00pm Google LatLong
See your Google Calendar events and future reservations in Google Maps for Android.
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Try these new Google Maps voice commands on your next road trip

Sep 29 9:00am Google LatLong
Get traffic info, find gas stations, or call home — without needing to tap or even look at the screen.
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Strengthening the security of your Google account

Sep 28 8:00am Google Public Policy Blog
Reminding everyone about the different two-step verification options available to protect your Google account.
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Tap. Pay. Yes! Android Pay welcomes Chase and more

Sep 7 6:00am Official Android Blog
Starting today, Android Chase customers can add their eligible Chase Visa cards to Android Pay.
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A brief update

Jun 17 9:57pm Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO
Over the last couple years, I’ve seen more and more people in technology trying to make government work better. They’re idealists who are also making a large impact. These are people that I respect–some of them worked to fix healthcare.gov, for example. From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy […]...
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Google Maps Now Lets Customize and Label Your Favorite Locations for Quick Access to Directions, Routes, Traffic Conditions and More

Mar 18 8:17pm Google Directions
Google Maps for Android just received a major update, nothing earth shattering, but it brings new features that are both fun and useful at the same time. Today, Google announced in a blog post that Android users can now customize and label their favorite locations in Google Maps, such as their work and home addresses […]...
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