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XWP helps publishers get creative using Web Stories

“It’s a different way of telling a story online, unlike anything that anybody’s doing out there,” says COWGIRL Magazine Founder and CEO Ken Amorosano. “[Social media stories are] rapid fire…but they’re not really telling a story. A blog post is telling a story, but it’s out of sequence, as a photo doesn’t necessarily link with…

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“It’s a different way of telling a story online, unlike anything that anybody’s doing out there,” says COWGIRL Magazine Founder and CEO Ken Amorosano. “[Social media stories are] rapid fire…but they’re not really telling a story. A blog post is telling a story, but it’s out of sequence, as a photo doesn’t necessarily link with a paragraph. With Web Stories, every word with that image, with that video, matters. And it matters to the actual flow of the story. It has a beginning, middle and an end. And it’s very, very, very powerful.” Check out my interview with Ken to learn more about their experience using Web Stories.

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how to develop, deploy and enhance Web Stories for publishers. We’ve found that you can’t just take an article and break it up into pages with text — it has to be more engaging. Web Stories offer the ability to add video, sound and images, and publishers need to find the right balance of using multiple media to tell their stories. When we start with publishers, the first thing we do is look at some existing stories. Then we encourage them to think about how to transform them into immersive Web Stories.

We can’t wait to see where Web Stories take XWP and our publishers next. That includes working with Google to develop Web Stories for WordPress, and helping even more of our customers experiment with Web Stories to grow their audiences and create new reader experiences.

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Creating new career opportunities with Google Cloud

A year ago, in a forum with chief technology officers from our Google Cloud Partner network, there was one topic on everybody’s mind: talent. Or more specifically, a lack of it. All the leaders in the room were finding it incredibly difficult to hire, train and retain top cloud talent. I was hosting this forum…

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A year ago, in a forum with chief technology officers from our Google Cloud Partner network, there was one topic on everybody’s mind: talent. Or more specifically, a lack of it. All the leaders in the room were finding it incredibly difficult to hire, train and retain top cloud talent. I was hosting this forum and so went away to think how we could best solve this challenge and grow the pool of available cloud-skilled individuals.

In my day job, I lead a team of engineers in the U.K. and Ireland who work with our partners’ technical teams to enable and support them in delivering Google Cloud technologies to our customers. So I was motivated to solve this skills gap. This is not unique to us, either: we know from Gartner that through 2022, insufficient cloud Infrastructure as a service skills will delay half of enterprise IT organisations’ migration to the cloud by two years or more. So this is an industry-wide challenge.

We wanted to do something locally, to help grow the pool of available skilled individuals, ideally tapping into underrepresented groups. This was the genesis of Project Katalyst: to create a programme that would provide equal access to job opportunities for young people who may not have had the chance to go university, giving underrepresented groups a path into a rewarding, well-paid and growing tech sector. Yes, it’s Katalyst with a K, not the traditional C; this is a nod to Kubernetes, a key component of the training. In the recent LinuxFoundation 2021 Jobs Report, cloud and container technologies were ranked as the hottest skill.

To do this quickly at a large scale, we needed to work with a partner with experience in this area. We were introduced to Generation UK, a charity which already does exactly what we are looking to achieve. After our first meeting, it was clear we were completely aligned. Over the following months, as we developed the programme with Generation UK, their drive and expertise has been invaluable in creating the ideal way to prepare, place and support people into careers that would otherwise be inaccessible, all on Google Cloud.

Google already does a lot to make the workplace as inclusive as possible. For me, the Katalyst programme helps us to bring part of that inclusivity to our partners and the wider communities we live in. Growing up, I always thought one day I would be a teacher, following in my mother’s footsteps. While I took a different career path, for me it’s fantastic to have the opportunity, through this programme, to enable life-changing careers, supporting others to learn and hopefully enjoy working with Google Cloud as much as I do, fulfilling, in part, a dream I once had.

The Katalyst programme is 12 weeks long, with the initial pilot running this summer 2022, covering both technical and soft skills training. On the course, participants will go through the Google Cloud Digital Leader certification,and will also do much of the training for the Google Cloud Associate Cloud Engineer certification, which they will be expected to complete in the first six months of their new roles, once they start at our Google Cloud Partners.

Participants will then get to meet and interview for confirmed roles at our Google Cloud Partners with an expected annual salary of up to £30,000 in London. To grow the pool of underrepresented people working on our technology and the workplace in general, the programme is aimed at participants representing a balance of genders, ethnic minority communities, young people who are furthest away from the labour market through no fault of their own, individuals who are not in education, employment or training for more than 6 months, or those with a mental or physical challenge, who’ve not had a chance to develop their skills. The hope is to then expand this out to other locations in the U.K. and beyond, as well as our customers’ organisations, after we deliver a successful pilot.

If you would like to offer a place to one of our participants at your organisation, you can learn more here or if you are interested in applying for one of the places, or know someone who might, you can apply on Generation UK’s site

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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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