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5 new ways Google Assistant can make the day a little easier

Spring is here, and with it, a helping hand from Google Assistant. Today we’re introducing five new features that help you tackle small things around the house (and from the car).  1) Can’t remember where you put down your phone?Don’t sweat it. Already one of the most popular features for Google Assistant, you can tell your Nest…

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Spring is here, and with it, a helping hand from Google Assistant. Today we’re introducing five new features that help you tackle small things around the house (and from the car).  

1) Can’t remember where you put down your phone?Don’t sweat it. Already one of the most popular features for Google Assistant, you can tell your Nest smart speaker or smart display, “Hey Google, find my phone,” for all devices, now including iPhones. For iPhones, once you opt in to receiving notifications and critical alerts from the Google Home app, you’ll get a notification and hear a custom ringing sound (even when the phone is on silent or if Do Not Disturb is enabled).

2) Get your takeout faster. Over the last year, more and more people started ordering takeout and delivery on Google, and more restaurants added the “order” button to their Business Profiles on Search and Maps. To make online food orders even easier, Assistant can now help you complete your purchase in only a few steps powered by Duplex on the web. To get started, you’ll need to first search for a restaurant near you from the Google App on Android and select “Order Online” or “Order Pickup.”  When you finish your online takeout order from a restaurant we partner with and click “check out,” Assistant will automatically navigate the site and fill out your contact and payment details saved in Google Pay and synced to Chrome Autofill. At launch, we’re partnering with select restaurant chains and will be adding more across the U.S. later this year.  

3) Try a new sunrise or sunset Routine for your smart home devices. Now available globally, these Routines are based on your  location. For example, you can automatically have your living room lights turn on and the sprinklers start when the sun goes down. It’s easy to set up: 

  • Select the “New” routine tab in the Google Home app or Assistant settings. 
  • Under “how to start,” you’ll need to “add starter,” then you’ll see an option for “Sunrise/sunset.”
  • From there, you can customize the time and specific actions you want them to trigger. 

4) Need routine ideas?Assistant Routines make it easy to automatically perform multiple actions at once with a single command. We’ve included a dedicated section in Ready-Made Routines to highlight popular “suggested actions” to  inspire you, such as “Tell me if my battery is low” or “Tell me what happened today in history.” You can also add a “shortcut” icon to your Android home screen for your favorite Routines. Head to the overview screen for Routines in the Google Home app or Assistant Settings and click the “Add to Home Screen” icon in the top app bar.

5) Have questions about the Oscars?You can get the inside scoop from your Google Assistant. Just ask: “Hey Google, when are the Oscars?” or “Hey Google, who’s nominated for Animated Feature Film at the Oscars?” to hear the list of nominees. To hear some predictions ahead of the red carpet, try “Hey Google, what are your Oscar predictions? or “Hey Google, who do you think is best dressed at the Oscars?” You can also join in on the award night fun by saying, “Hey Google, give me an award.”

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Fostering inclusive spaces through Disability Alliance

I was 2 when my parents discovered I had polio, which impacted my ability to stand and walk. Growing up in China, I still remember the challenges I faced when I wanted to go to college. Back then, all potential candidates had to pass a physical test, which posed a challenge. Knowing this, my parents,…

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I was 2 when my parents discovered I had polio, which impacted my ability to stand and walk. Growing up in China, I still remember the challenges I faced when I wanted to go to college. Back then, all potential candidates had to pass a physical test, which posed a challenge. Knowing this, my parents, my teachers and even the local government advocated for me. Thanks to their support, I was granted an exception to attend college, where I graduated with a degree in computer science.

When I joined Google in Shanghai in 2011, the real estate team was working to open a new office space. I was part of the planning process to ensure we designed an inclusive workspace, especially for individuals with physical disabilities. When I discovered the desks at the office were too high, or if the meeting space was not designed wide enough for someone in a wheelchair to enter, I worked with the team to solve the problem. I also suggested building wheelchair-accessible restrooms when they were not available on the floor I was working on.

These experiences showed me everyone has the voice to drive change — including myself. I decided to co-lead our Disability Alliance (DA), one of Google’s resource groups in China, with other passionate Googlers. We wanted to create a space to help address challenges Googlers with disabilities face, and build allyship among the wider Google community. We also wanted to create a platform to increase awareness of different forms of disabilities. For example, some people don’t think about invisible disabilities, but it’s equally important to build awareness of disabilities you might not immediately see. I’m incredibly excited to see how we continue to grow our community in the coming year across China.

Having a disability doesn’t limit me, and I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by people who value my abilities instead of my disability. Over the years, I’ve achieved my goals and dreams from leading an incredible team of 50 at Google, taking on physical activities such as skiing and marathons, and driving change for the broader disability community.

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Office spotlight: Chicago

“It almost feels like the first day back at school,” says Rob Biederman as he waits in line for breakfast at the Fulton Market cafe. It’s April 4, and Chicago Googlers like Rob have just started their first official week of hybrid work.Opened in 2000 with only two employees, the Google Chicago office in the…

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“It almost feels like the first day back at school,” says Rob Biederman as he waits in line for breakfast at the Fulton Market cafe. It’s April 4, and Chicago Googlers like Rob have just started their first official week of hybrid work.

Opened in 2000 with only two employees, the Google Chicago office in the West Loop neighborhood has now grown to more than 1,800 employees across two buildings. In 2021 alone, more than 500 “Nooglers” — what we call new employees — joined the campus.

Chicago Googlers work on all kinds of products and teams. You’ll meet engineers designing Pixel devices and working on Search, Ads and Cloud projects; salespeople helping businesses across North America grow; and folks working across finance, human resources and product management. “It’s amazing to now see all the different organizations and product areas represented in Chicago,” says Britton Picciolini, who was the office’s tenth hire in 2002. “It feels like such a great cross section of what we do at Google.”

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Building a secure world

Securing users in Ukraine and the broader regionAs the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Google mobilized to help the people of Ukraine and protect the security of our users and services – an area where we are uniquely positioned to help in this conflict.We have our own specialized teams dedicated to identifying, tracking, and countering…

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Securing users in Ukraine and the broader region

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Google mobilized to help the people of Ukraine and protect the security of our users and services – an area where we are uniquely positioned to help in this conflict.

We have our own specialized teams dedicated to identifying, tracking, and countering threats from government-backed actors.

Russia-backed hacking and influence operations are not new to us; we’ve been tracking and taking action against them for years. To put this into perspective, we’ve seen and worked to disrupt Russian operations targeting the U.S. elections in 2016 and 2017 and campaigns targeting the 2018 Olympic games. In October, we blocked a Russian campaign targeting 14,000 Google users.

And we’ve seen first hand the targeting of Ukraine by Russia. It has been ongoing for years with both espionage and occasional cyber attacks tracked by our teams. As the war intensified, we also saw Russian threat actors shift focus to targets elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

Our Threat Analysis Group (TAG), regularly publishes details on campaigns it detects, and disrupts these efforts to help governments and private sector companies better defend their systems.

We’ve seen threat actors beyond Russia shift their focus and targeting, including a growing number of threat actors using the war as a lure in phishing and malware campaigns. This includes government-backed actors from China, Iran, North Korea, Belarus and financially-motivated, criminal actors using current events as a means for targeting users.

For example, we’ve seen one cyber crime group impersonating military personnel to extort money for rescuing relatives in Ukraine.

In addition to disrupting threats, we are doing everything we can to increase protections for high risk users and organizations in Ukraine. We’ve redoubled our efforts to offer free tools to help – including protecting hundreds of high risk users on the ground with our Advanced Protection Program, and expanding eligibility of Project Shield to include the Ukraine government. Shield is currently protecting over 200 websites in Ukraine from distributed denial of service attacks.

It is in this spirit of action that we are expanding our partnerships and investment in the broader region on cybersecurity.

In fact, this week a delegation of our top security engineers and leaders are on the ground across Eastern Europe to provide hands-on training to high risk groups, deliver security keys and support local businesses as they look to improve their security posture.

To share what we know about the threat, we are engaging in technical exchanges with governments in the region.

We’re providing free tools and expertise to democratic institutions and civil society, such as the Protect Your Democracy Toolkit — which we launched today in partnership with our Jigsaw team.

We’re also investing in, and shaping, the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. For example, Google has committed to provide scholarships for 150,000 people in Europe, the Middle East and Africa through the new Google Career Certificate training.

We’re also helping governments and businesses stay ahead of the threat, including helping government agencies, companies and utilities who rely on outdated hardware and software to replace old systems with better foundations and we are here to build up businesses and governments’ confidence to embrace digital transformation securely.

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