May 18, 2015

Chromebooks for everyone

When we introduced Chromebooks four years ago, we wanted to build a laptop for the way people use computers today. They needed to be fast, easy to use, and secure by default. Since then, we’ve worked with our partners to build many laptops that solve those everyday hassles.

Since launching Chromebooks here in India, we’ve been working to ensure that Chromebooks work in an environment where connectivity can be spotty, and many people’s first experiences with technology are through a phone rather than a laptop. There are now many more apps that work offline and more Android apps coming to the Chrome Web Store.

New affordable and quality Chromebooks
Following on from last year’s releases, a host of new Chromebooks will soon be available in India.
  • The XOLO Chromebook, featuring 8 hours of battery life, will be available in the next few days at Snapdeal.
  • The Nexian Chromebook, featuring a rugged construction, is now available from Amazon at from Rs 12999.
  • And in the coming months, the latest units from ASUS including the Chromebook Flip and C201 and Samsung will be available from local retailers.

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Chromebooks come to school
Easy to use, easy to share, and easy to manage, Chromebooks have proved a hit with teachers and students around the world. In fact, according to IDC’s latest report on tablets and laptops in K-12 education, Chromebooks were the best-selling device in the U.S. last year. Now Chromebooks are available for schools and educational institutions nationally.

Super-fast to boot up with built in security and virus protection, Chromebooks help teachers and students get straight down to learning. They also come with Google Apps for Education which make it easy to create, learn and collaborate. With the Chromebook Management Console administrators can set up and manage up to thousands of Chromebooks from a computer or phone. Plus, regular updates from Google mean that Chromebooks actually get better over time, reducing schools’ maintenance and software costs.

Chrome OS heads to work
We’re also helping you bring the productivity benefits of Chromebooks to work with the launch of Chromebooks for Businesses and Chromebox for meetings. Chromebox for meetings brings together Hangouts, Google Apps and easy-to-manage chromebox, making it simple and affordable for any company to have high-definition video meetings.


You can find out more about Chromebooks for Education, Chromebooks for Business and Chromebox for Meetings here.

Posted by Smita Hashim, Global Product Manager and Frequent Flier

May 14, 2015

Three grants to help keep kids safe in India

Many in India and around the world are working very hard to fight against child exploitation in India - from governments to companies to civil society to inspiring individuals.  Most of these efforts, rightly so, have been offline, boots on the ground, and they continue to make great progress.


Now, we’d like to see if smart applications of technology can help some of these initiatives reach more people, more efficiently.  We're working with three leading non-profits in India, including piloting smart new applications of technology, with $500,000 in grants through Google.org:
  • Childline India Foundation - Childline provides a free phone service for children in need of help or protection. By dialing 1098 any time of day or night, children or concerned adults can access care from trained providers who can connect them to government or NGO services. Google’s grant will support the Childline and help them develop an online platform for its services.


  • Bachpan Bachao Andolan - BBA's mission is to protect and rescue children from slavery, trafficking, and forced labor. Google’s grant will contribute to BBA's campaign on child rights, with a specific focus on child sexual abuse, including the development of an online information site, an advocacy campaign and a national conference for experts and providers.


  • Tulir - Tulir works to prevent and heal child sexual abuse across India. It offers a school-based curriculum to help children stay safe, education for professionals who work with children, resources for healing victims, and does advocacy around the issues. This grant will allow them to work at a larger scale, using technology and innovation.


We know this is a big problem, without a simple solution. But our hope is that these three grants can help reach at least one of these kids in New Delhi or elsewhere.

Posted by Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director, Google India and Southeast Asia

May 12, 2015

Plan more trips to more places with Google Transit

Sometimes planning trips to another city via public transport can be complicated. Should you catch the bus or the metro to the nearest railway station? Next time you’re planning a trip using public transport in India, Google Maps can help. From today you’ll be able to see Indian Railways schedules for 12,000  trains on Google Transit, as well updated bus and metro information from Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune cities.

Google Transit is a feature in Google Maps which helps you plan your public transport trips quickly and easily. It is available on Google Maps on Android and iOS, as well as on desktop. To get started, simply type your destination into Google Maps, click on the “Get Directions” button, and then select the “Public Transit” icon to find which metro, train or bus options are available. Google Maps will then show you door-to-door directions to your destination using the public transport options available and walking directions to and from transit points making it easier to plan your trip.  

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Say you’re based in Delhi and going to visit your relatives in Hyderabad. You can choose if you’d like to take the metro or the bus to the nearest railways station, as well as the time you’d like to depart from Delhi or arrive in Hyderabad. Transit Mode will then give you point-to-point directions at the times you’ve said you’d like to leave at or arrive by to help you plan your itinerary the same way you would in real life.  

Being able to see your entire train route and all the stops, means you know which stop is coming up next and roughly how far it is. And for those times when you want to see everything at a glance, the Schedule Explorer menu on desktop helps you easily see and scroll through all the options on the big screen.

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We hope that these additions to Google Maps Transit will make it a little easier to plan your next trip.

Posted by Suren Ruhela, Director, Program Management, Google Maps

April 30, 2015

New in the Google app: more Now cards from your apps

[Cross posted from the Official Inside Search blog]

Our phones help us keep track of our busy lives, find answers to questions large and small, and get things done quickly. That's the idea behind the Google app—to help you do all that, faster, and in one place. And with Now cards, you can keep up with what’s most important without even having to ask—even if that content is in your apps.

Earlier this year, we started showing Now cards from some of your favorite apps on Android devices. Now, we’ve worked with many new Indian app developers, to bring you even more Now cards from  the apps you have on your phone, whether you use them daily or just occasionally. Here are a few new ways cards in the Google app can help you out; you can see all the new apps you can get cards from on our site.



Make sure to update to the latest version of the Google app and your other favorite apps that work with this feature – then look out for helpful Now cards from those apps on Android over the next few weeks. Stay tuned as we add more apps and functionality in the future!

Posted by Varun Sud, Product Marketing Manager

April 26, 2015

Responding to the Nepal earthquake

Last night, Nepal experienced the worst earthquake in more than 80 years, registering 7.8 on the Richter Scale. Our team is doing a few things to try to aid the response.

The first is Person Finder, which we launched in English, Nepali and Hindi, with other languages coming soon, just after the quake hit. Person Finder gives people a way to post and search for family or friends affected by the disaster. If you’re worried about someone, click on “I’m looking for someone” and type in their name. If you want to let people know you’re safe or have heard from someone in the area, then click on “I have information about someone” and put in their names and details. 

We’ve also made the Search function of Person Finder available through SMS. In India and the U.S., simply text “search ” to +91.977.330.0000 in India or +1.650.800.3978 in the U.S.



The Person Finder tool can also be embedded on any website using the following HTML code:
<iframe src="http://google.org/personfinder/2015-nepal-earthquake/?ui=small" width=400 height=300 frameborder=0style="border: dashed 2px #77c"></iframe>

We are also working to get updated satellite imagery to aid in the recovery effort by, among other things, identifying impacted areas and evacuation routes, which we’ll update here. And Google.org is committing $1 million to the response, with up to an additional $250,000 in employee gift-matching from Google.

Sadly, we also lost one of our own to this tragedy, Dan Fredinburg, who was on his way to try to summit Everest.  He was a long-time member of our Privacy team and an all around just amazing person. Our thoughts are with the people of Nepal, and with Dan’s family and friends during this terrible time.

Posted by Payal Patel, Product Manager, Google Crisis Response

April 22, 2015

Ranking change to help you find mobile-friendly sites rolling out today

[Cross posted from the Official Inside Search Blog]

We’ve all been there: you’re on your phone and click through to a website, only to find it’s hard to read or burdensome to navigate because it isn’t formatted for a mobile screen. With mobile phones increasingly becoming the primary way for people to search the Internet, we want to ensure that when you search on Google you find content that is not just relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens.

A lack of mobile friendliness is also a problem for web publishers: visitors abandon websites that aren’t mobile friendly at higher rates. And research shows 74% of users say they are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly site.

That’s why we’ve been encouraging webmasters to create sites that avoid the pitfalls of small text and hard to navigate formatting in order to provide a great experience for mobile visitors to their pages. Back in November, we introduced a “mobile-friendly badge” to notify users when a link in search results led to a mobile friendly-page, and provided resources to help webmasters become mobile-friendly. And today we’re starting to roll out a change that we announced two months ago to take into account whether a site is mobile-friendly when we rank search results on mobile phones.

Note that this is just one of over 200 signals we use to evaluate the best results. Non-mobile-friendly sites won’t disappear from mobile Search results—they may still rank high if they hold great content the user wants.

If you use Google search on your mobile phone, you can now more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling. In just the two months since we announced this change, we’ve seen a 4.7 percentage point uptick in the proportion of sites that are mobile friendly, and we hope to see even more in the coming months.

Our mobile ranking will now use mobile-friendliness as a signal that weighs in favor of pages that are formatted for mobile phones, like the image on the right.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming: it could be as simple as adjusting website settings or picking out a design you like. Even if you opt to fully redesign your site, a small business website with 10-20 pages could be completed in a day or so.

Webmasters can check if their site is mobile-friendly by examining individual pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test or checking the status of the entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools. Once a site becomes mobile-friendly, we will automatically re-process those pages (and webmasters can expedite the process by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index).

Posted by Cody Kwok, Principal Software Engineer

April 1, 2015

More Chromebooks, for everyone

[Cross-posted from the Chrome Blog]

“Get more done and worry less.” That’s what teachers, businesses, and everyday people have told us they can do, thanks to Chromebooks. Since we introduced them four years ago, Chromebooks have made computers faster, simpler, and more secure, while eliminating everyday hassles like waiting for your computer to boot up, having to constantly charge it, and remembering to install software updates. And a lot of people love them—Chromebooks were the best selling laptops on Amazon last holiday season, and teachers and students made them the #1 device in schools last year.

Quality and affordability

You shouldn't have to choose between a computer that performs well and one that you can afford. Today we're introducing two new devices that meet both criteria: the Haier Chromebook 11 (available at Amazon) and the Hisense Chromebook (available at Walmart). These new Chromebooks are fast, lightweight, have long-life batteries and are available for pre-order today for $149. 

They join new partners like TRUE, XOLO, and Nexian and our existing range of Chrome devices —ranging from 11.6” Chromebooks for $199 to 15” Chromebooks for $499 rolling out over the next few months from partners like Acer, AOPEN, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and LG.


A Chromebook you’ll flip for

We’re also excited about the ASUS Chromebook Flip. A premium, all-metal convertible, it’s ultra-portable—just 15mm thin and weighing less than two pounds. The Chromebook Flip has a great keyboard and a touch screen for immersive experiences like gaming and educational apps. It will be available later this spring for $249.


A little bit more...

This summer, ASUS will launch a new type of Chrome device: the Chromebit. Smaller than a candy bar, the Chromebit is a full computer that will be available for less than $100. By simply plugging this device into any display, you can turn it into a computer. It’s the perfect upgrade for an existing desktop and will be really useful for schools and businesses.


So whether you’re looking for a smaller Chrome device that packs a big punch or a laptop that can do back bends, there’s a Chromebook for you...and for everyone else, too.

Posted by Katie Roberts-Hoffman, Engineer and ARM Wrestler