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Blogger Blogspot Latest News
Partnering with the mobile industry to connect people and businesses with RCS

We’ve been partnering with the mobile industry to improve the messaging experience on Android with RCS (Rich Communication Services), bringing more enhanced features to the standard messaging experience on mobile devices. As of today, we are working with 43 carriers and device manufacturers to bring better native messaging to every Android user.

Rich messaging for brands

Last year we created an Early Access Program to make it easier for brands to start participating in RCS business messaging (the mobile industry's term for rich business-to-consumer messages). Today companies across food, travel, retail and delivery services in the U.S. and Mexico are starting to have better conversations with their customers using RCS as part of our Early Access Program.

With RCS, businesses can send more useful and interactive messages to their customers. This means, for example, that a retailer can send beautiful images of their products, rather than a text message, and even let the customer select and buy something, all without leaving the messaging app. Best of all, customers who have already opted in to SMS messages from a business get this upgraded experience automatically in Android Messages.

In the U.S., we’ve collaborated with Sprint to enable campaigns with 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, SnapTravel and Subway, among others, along with messaging partners 3C, CM.com, Mobivity, OpenMarket, Smooch and Twilio. We’re also working with Telcel to bring campaigns to Mexico soon with 5 Piso, Broxel, DHL Mexico and Secretaria de Salud along with messaging partners Airmovil, Auronix, Aldeamo and Tiaxa.

In the coming months alongside our partners, we’ll bring RCS messaging to businesses in more regions. And next week at Mobile World Congress, our partners will demonstrate how businesses can change the way they engage mobile customers using RCS.

RCS messaging growth in 2017 across Europe and Latin America

To help make RCS truly universal and give Android users a consistent and familiar experience with access to all that RCS messaging offers, we’ve been working closely with carriers and device makers around the world.

Over the past year, carriers across Europe, North America and Latin America including America Movil, AT&T in Mexico, Celcom Axiata Berhad, Freedom Mobile, Oi, Telia Company and Telefonica joined Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, Orange, Rogers Communications, Sprint and Telenor Group in their commitment to launch RCS messaging, powered by the Jibe RCS cloud from Google.They will also preload Android Messages as the default messaging app for their subscribers. Vodafone Group RCS service also supports Android Messages and has already launched across 10 of its 14 RCS markets globally. All carriers are committed to interconnecting through the Jibe RCS Hub to bring RCS messaging to users across networks. Collectively, they represent more than 1.8 billion mobile subscribers worldwide.

To bring better default messaging to hundreds of millions of users, device manufacturers including TCL/Alcatel/Blackberry, Transsion, BLU, Positivo, Multilaser, Mobiwire, Azumi, and Essential are joining Huawei, LG, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, HMD Global - Home of Nokia Phones, HTC, Kyocera, Lanix, Lava, Micromax, Motorola, MyPhone, QMobile, Sony Mobile, Symphony, Vodafone, Wiko, ZTE, along with Pixel and Android One devices in preloading Android Messages as the the default messaging app on their new devices.

We’re excited to see Android Messages and RCS connect more people and businesses, and look forward to expanding our collaboration with the industry to bring better messaging to every Android user.



Freedom of data movement in the cloud era

In January, we joined an amicus brief with other technology companies in a case pending before the Supreme Court involving Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Justice. The companies that joined the brief argue that Congress must act to resolve the complicated policy questions raised by the case, as Congress is best-suited to weigh the important interests of law enforcement, foreign countries, service providers and, of course, the people who use the services.

Pending legislation in the U.S. Congress—the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act—would make important strides in addressing the issues raised in the Microsoft case by updating the decades-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Notably, the bill clarifies that the physical location of data is not a relevant criterion in determining the data disclosure obligations of U.S. service providers.

We wanted to share a little more information on why we think this is important and what it means for our customers and users. Modern distributed networks function in ways that do not focus on data location. As more people and businesses turn to the cloud to keep their data secure and ensure their services are dependable, infrastructure has had to grow and evolve to meet those demands. Global networks offer end users a level of dependability that previously required the most sophisticated backup technologies and significant individual hardware investment. Understanding how a global distributed network like ours works is key to understanding the benefits it offers and the challenges that are presented by laws that focus on where data is stored.

Growth of the public cloud

It’s been an important goal of Internet companies like ours to offer services that can be accessed by hundreds-of-millions of users no matter where they are. These services have to be fast, reliable, robust, and resilient. From our earliest days, it was essential that our index, with its links to vast swaths of content, be as comprehensive as possible. But beyond that, it was also critical that the service be fast. Increasing the speed of search meant a vastly improved experience for users otherwise accustomed to long load times over slow internet connections.

Through the years, we’ve worked hard to continually improve how we serve users in all corners of the world. From an infrastructure perspective, this has meant focusing on how best to route data securely, balance processing loads and storage needs, and prevent data loss, corruption, and outages.

Public cloud services operate on a global basis, using geographically distributed infrastructure to ensure that the services that run on them have maximum availability and uptime. Data typically no longer resides on a single hard drive or server rack, or even in a single data center. Instead, it must be stored, secured, and made available in a way that allows it to be accessed by the users who depend on it just as easily in India as in Germany.

Focus on the user

The way we handle data is driven by what’s best for our users, regardless of whether that user is an individual or a large enterprise. To provide them with the reliability, efficiency, resiliency, and speed they depend on, data might need to be stored in many different configurations across a global network.

Cloud infrastructure also offers business customers more control over where and how their data is stored, depending on their needs. These customers may choose to store their data in a country or data center near their corporate headquarters, or as close to their users as possible.

With customer needs in mind, cloud providers balance factors ranging from internet bandwidth, the likelihood of power outages over available networks, and network throughput. This short video explains how these considerations come to life on a distributed network, using the photo a Gmail user attaches to a message as an example.

Enhancing the security and integrity of your data

As this video explains, individual data files may be broken up into smaller pieces, stored, or moved to keep them safe and accessible. Modern internet networks increasingly transmit and store data intelligently, often moving and replicating data seamlessly between data centers and across borders in order to protect the integrity of the data and maximize efficiency and security for users.

This technological reality underscores why it’s important that legislative solutions not use data location as a way of determining whether a particular country can exercise jurisdiction over a service provider. As internet providers continue to improve their global networks to better serve their users—whether they’re individuals, businesses, educational institutions or others—it’s important that the law reflects an understanding of technological innovation, and how modern distributed systems function.  


The best of Android and Google with Android Oreo (Go edition) and Android One

Monday kicks off Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—the mobile industry’s largest trade show. Our partners will be announcing amazing new Android devices, you'll be able to see the growing industry momentum around RCS, and we'll be showcasing the latest from Google including Google Assistant and Lens. Before the show gets underway, I want to take a moment to reflect on where Android is today and where it’s going.

Android

This fall marks 10 years since the release of the first Android device. Back in 2008, building software for mobile devices was pretty hard. Development was highly fragmented and resource intensive, and there was very limited compatibility across phones. Android began with a bold idea: to solve this problem with a new, open platform that would give mobile developers access to uniform tools and give customers a customized experience with the best mobile technology available.

Today, Android powers more than 2 billion active devices from 1,300 brands across 24,000 unique products. The platform has thrived because of our commitment to openness and the vibrant ecosystem of manufacturers, developers, mobile operators and component suppliers. And together with our partners, many of which you’ll see next week at MWC, we want to continue to push the boundaries of hardware and software to bring you new amazing experiences and capabilities.

Android has achieved unprecedented scale in just 10 years, but there are new markets emerging where consistency in experience is becoming even more important. With that in mind, we want to share an update on Android Oreo (Go edition) and Android One, two programs that help people know exactly what they can expect when they pick up an Android device.

Android Oreo (Go edition): Delivering on our core values of access and experience

We're inspired by the success of Android across a wide range of devices, including entry-level phones which in many cases are the first and only way people get access to the internet. These devices need to be affordable, and the experience needs to be great. We don’t just want to provide people with access—we also want to provide a useful, high-quality experience.

Last year we introduced Android Oreo (Go edition), an optimized version of Android Oreo tailored for smartphones with 1GB of RAM or less. With a smaller amount of storage and processing power, these phones are less expensive for manufacturers to produce and can be sold at affordable prices, in some cases less than $50. With Android Oreo (Go edition), these phones are able to provide a high-quality experience, with the latest version of Android, Google Play Protect, and dedicated areas in Google Play highlighting apps optimized for Go edition. Android Oreo (Go edition) phones also include a set of apps from Google that are designed to use less memory and storage space, but still offer excellent experiences. For example, Google Go is built specifically to help new smartphone users find the information they want, YouTube Go is optimized for limited connectivity, and the Google Assistant for Android (Go edition) lets people quickly send messages, make calls, set alarms, and more with their voice and a single touch of the screen.

Starting next week, you’ll see the first set of Android Oreo (Go edition) phones, and soon after they’ll be available for you to purchase.

Android One: Smart, secure, and simply amazing

While the openness of Android means manufacturers have the flexibility to offer unique experiences, we know people want some reassurance about what they can expect when they buy a device. That's why we introduced Android One, a program aimed at providing people with three key things: faster access to the latest Android OS updates and Google innovations, regular security updates, and an easy-to-use software design that’s intuitive and streamlined.

Android One combines Google’s latest software and services with beautifully designed hardware from top partners. With an Android One phones, you can expect:

  • Faster access to Android OS updates for two years, including the latest AI innovations from Google;
  • Amongst the most secure devices in the ecosystem with regular security updates for three years and Google Play Protect built in;
  • A simple, streamlined interface that includes the best of Google services including YouTube, the Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Photos and more; 
  • Performance-tested hardware so you can pick the right device for your needs and know that it will deliver a best-in-class experience for years to come.
We’re excited about the progress we’ve made with Android One in recent months, and at MWC you’ll see news from our partners about some great new Android One devices.

Android wouldn’t be what it is today without our partners. With Android Oreo (Go edition) providing a high-quality Google and Android experience at lower prices and Android One delivering the latest from Android and Google, we’re excited to see what amazing things the next 10 years of Android will bring.


Making an Impact in Pittsburgh

When we announced the Grow with Google initiative last October at our Pittsburgh office, we gave the city’s nonprofit organizations a challenge: come up with a bold idea to create lasting economic impact in your community, and Google.org will provide a grant to make that idea a reality.

Since then, more than 90 nonprofit organizations submitted proposals to spur economic opportunity right here in the Pittsburgh area. Ideas ranged from community-driven technology repair to mobile clothing deliveries for families in need, and we were impressed by the dedication to making a real difference  in the Pittsburgh area.

This week, our panel of advisors selected four nonprofits whose ideas were exceptionally impactful, innovative, scalable and feasible. Here are the winners of the Google.org Impact Challenge—Pittsburgh:

  • Idea Foundry: A nonprofit economic development organization and accelerator that aims to diversify entrepreneurship by offering hands-on, individualized business development support for young entrepreneurs and small business. With their grant, Idea Foundry will help establish up to 10 businesses led by underrepresented communities in Pittsburgh, each with the goal of creating five new jobs within five years.

  • Pittsburgh Conservation Corps: With their grant, PCC will scale Project Landforce to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to earn livable wages by training people for jobs in environmental restoration. Their project will help 150+ people previously on public assistance to earn over $10 million in income, and to facilitate almost 110,000 hours of restoration work.

  • Pittsburgh Community Kitchen: The Pittsburgh Community Kitchen works with neighborhoods that have average an unemployment rate of 18 percent, where residents do not have easy access to employment and training support. Through their grant, the Pittsburgh Community Kitchen will provide culinary training and sustainable employment opportunities for 100 people transitioning into the workforce from incarceration, homelessness, addiction or mental illness. 

  • Prototype PGH: Prototype PGH is a makerspace focused on women that seeks to build careers in technology and beyond by improving confidence and expertise. It equips its members with   access to a fully-stocked makerspace to experiment, an engaged community, and a growing series of workshops on a wide variety of skills.  With their grant, the organization aims to engage 1,000 women in 100 workshops with the goals of increasing each of the members’ salaries by at least $1,000, and incubate at least five women-owned start-ups. 

Each of the winners will receive $50,000 from Google.org and training from Google to make their proposal a reality.

Starting on February 28 and running through March 14, the the public is encouraged to vote for the idea they think holds the most promise, and the winner will get an extra $50,000 in grant funding.

In total, Pittsburgh nonprofits will receive $250,000 from Google.org, as part of Grow with Google’s continued commitment to create economic opportunity for individuals across the United States.


Google Pixel earns Android enterprise seal of approval

With Pixel 2, we set out to make a mobile experience that is smart, simple, and secure, with a great camera, the Google Assistant to help you get more done, long battery life, and much more. We’ve seen a great response from consumers, and we’ve also gotten fantastic reviews from businesses, employees, and industry analysts for the security and productivity features built into Pixel 2.


Today Pixel 2 and first generation Pixel phones have been recognized in the new Android Enterprise Recommended program, which means the phones are endorsed for the workplace. This new initiative from our colleagues on the Android team showcases enterprise devices and services that meet high standards for security, reliability, and productivity while also enabling the teams which deploy corporate devices to manage them easily and securely.

Not only does Pixel meet the baseline requirements of the program, it exceeds many of them. For example, while all devices in the Android Enterprise Recommended program must receive a security update within 90 days, Pixel goes further by delivering security patches and feature updates every month. Pixel gets the yearly Android operating system upgrades first, directly from Google, so that users have the latest software. Pixel 2 also offers a tamper-resistant hardware security modulethat reinforces the lock screen, to better defend against malware and hardware attacks.


Alongside its security protections, Pixel has lots of features to help you out at work: you can use the Google Assistant to find out when your next meeting is and the best route to get there, multitask with split-screen which lets you have two apps open on the screen, or check notes while on a video call with picture-in-picture mode.


With Pixel recognized in the Android Enterprise Recommended program, we offer peace-of-mind to administrators who manage corporate devices, while always helping employees get more out of their phones at work and beyond. We look forward to seeing how Pixel will power mobile productivity at work.