Coming soon: Your Google Assistant on Android TV and more

When we announced the Google Assistant, we said that we wanted to help you get things done across a number of different places, contexts and situations. As we usher in the new year — and with it, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — we wanted to share an update on just a few of the ways you can expect to interact with your Assistant in the coming year.

Android TV and more

The Google Assistant is making its way to Android TV in the coming months. As part of an upcoming update on supported TVs and set-top boxes powered by Android TV, you’ll be able to ask the Google Assistant for help so you can enjoy the content you love, faster than ever, on the best screen in your house. No more typing or struggling to get to what you’re looking for — just ask the Google Assistant for help and you’re off to the races.

Assistant and Android TV

Netflix streaming membership required.

From playing media to planning for your day, here are some ways the Google Assistant on Android TV can help:

Play content: “Play Stranger Things on Netflix.”Discover content: “Search YouTube for Jimmy Kimmel.” And you can also ask a follow-up if you’re interested in more videos by saying: “Play the second one.”Get answers: “Tell me about Jurassic Park?”Set the right mood: “Dim the lights.”Get ready for your day: “How long will it take to get to work?”  

In the coming months, the Google Assistant on Android TV will come to the NVIDIA SHIELD, along with all Android TVs in the US running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or Android 7.0 Nougat, such as the AirTV Player, Sharp Aquos, Sony Bravia, Xiaomi Mi Box, and more. And once available, the NVIDIA SHIELD will be the first TV device to offer a hands-free Assistant experience — so “Dim the lights” will only be an “Ok Google” away!

Over time, you’ll also see the Assistant come to other new surfaces, like smartwatches running Android Wear 2.0, Android-powered in-car infotainment systems and many other types of devices through the Embedded Google Assistant SDK.

Actions on Google

Last month we announced Actions on Google, the developer platform for the Google Assistant. Since then, we’ve had a number of services release new and interesting ways for Google Home users to have a conversation with them — from meditating with Headspace to getting things done in the kitchen with Food Network.

This week at CES, you’ll hear from a handful of other partners, including Daimler and Hyundai. For both, the Google Assistant on Google Home will soon help make sure you’re ready to hit the road, just ask “Ok Google, ask Mercedes how much gas is in the tank.”

All of these announcements and more will be part of this week’s CES. You can expect to start using some of these Assistant integrations over the coming months and we’ll share more information as they become available.

Happy New Year and happy CES!

Google’s updated iOS app pulls in YouTube videos, menus & more

Version 22 gives searchers fewer reasons to need to leave the app.

The post Google’s updated iOS app pulls in YouTube videos, menus & more appeared first on Search Engine Land.

A new generation of Chromebooks, designed to work with millions of apps

Last year at Google I/O, we shared our plans for bringing the Google Play store to Chromebooks.  Today we’re excited to announce that we’re working with Samsung to launch the first Chromebooks built from the ground up for Android apps: the Samsung Chromebook Pro and the Samsung Chromebook Plus.

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These new Chromebooks offer greater mobility, together with all your favorite apps, so you can use Chromebooks in entirely new ways. Top apps for productivity like Slack™ help you get more done. When you want to play, you can enjoy popular games like Plants vs. Zombies Heroes™ on the high-resolution, large touch screen.  And with apps like Google Play Movies and Spotify™, you can download movies, shows and music to keep watching or listening when you’re on the go.

Thin and lightweight, the Samsung Chromebook Pro and Chromebook Plus are easily convertible from a laptop with a full keyboard to a tablet that’s comfortable to hold at only 2.38 lbs. In addition to a Quad HD high-resolution touch screen, these devices are the first Chromebooks to come with a built-in pen. This pen can be used with apps like Samsung ArtCanvas™ to make detailed drawing easy and fun.  And you can not only capture handwritten notes but also search them with Google Keep.

All the great Chromebook features, like simple automatic updates and built-in virus protection, haven’t changed. You can also run multiple apps at the same time — online or offline — helping you enjoy all the entertainment and productivity from Google Play apps anytime and anywhere.  

The Samsung Chromebook Pro, featuring an  Intel® Core™m3 processor, will be available in April.  The Samsung Chromebook Plus with an ARM microprocessor is available for pre-order starting today and in stores in early February, starting at $449.  Learn more at BestBuy.com.

We look forward to seeing what you do with this new generation of Chromebooks!

BMW i and Tango test drive a new app

Purchasing a car can be a huge decision, and there are seemingly limitless options, from the technology and machinery under the hood to the colors and options that make it yours. Reading about cars online can be helpful, but it doesn’t give you the full experience of what it will be and look like. Test drives are another way to go, but often a dealership doesn’t have a car with all the specifications you want.

BMW Group wants to make car shopping easier and more experiential, so with the help of Accenture, they built the BMW i Visualiser, a Tango enabled app that allows you to configure, customize and walk around a BMW i3 and i8 before you buy one. Within the coming weeks, you can try out the app with a Product Genius in select BMW dealerships internationally including the US, UK, Germany, Norway, Spain, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Netherlands, China and Japan. And later in the year, you’ll be able to download the app on Google Play, so you can design your car from anywhere.

BMW i Tango app

So far, the new BMW app has been tested at a dealership in Munich where Product Geniuses were up and running with the new Tango app in minutes. The app provides an immersive experience for potential buyers. Andrea Castronovo, BMW Group Vice President of Sales Strategy and Future Retail says, “In our initial tests, as people entered the car virtually in the app, we saw them ducking down, as if there really were a roof there for them to bang their heads on. It’s that level of detail which means this technology offers the customers real added value.”

Being able to visualize and experience the car like this means the app helps customers in a way no printed list of option or pictures on a computer screen can. Castronovo explains, “You can list out a car’s features on a sheet of paper or a webpage, but this doesn’t help customers with the emotional side of their decision-making process. To create that emotional connection, people really need to experience a car. Videos can help, but Tango gives people a much more immersive experience.”

We’re excited to see how companies like BMW are adopting Tango and smartphone augmented reality technology to help people shop more effectively in stores and at home. You can experience similar AR apps on Tango enabled devices including the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus ZenFone AR coming soon.  

What the Rise of Video Tells Us About User Behavior

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In 2016, a trend emerged that pushed content marketing in an exciting, albeit challenging, direction. True to the inclination towards visuals, video marketing became a powerhouse way to connect with and engage users. The numbers are in, and all studies seem to support the idea that there is a gradual shift happening that points towards video. It’s why major platforms like Facebook and Instagram pushed their live video features so aggressively in 2016, and why video clips and memes dominated the internet all year.

One study by Newswhip revealed that videos are getting significantly more likes, comments, and shares than other content forms, citing a decline in overall engagements for the top 10 publishers online. While that might not sound like a big deal, it does indicate an important and noteworthy shift happening that has and will continue to impact the way brands content with their audience.

Video Engagement on Social Media

If you consider how brands use social media to promote content and connect with users, the importance of shares and likes is apparent. And, given that many people actually regard platforms like Facebook as a valid source of news and preferred content, there really is no other choice than for publishers to share their content on social channels.

Interestingly, Buffer conducted a study in engagements across Facebook and Twitter that measured the engagement on different types of content:

snapshot What the Rise of Video Tells Us About User Behavior

Despite videos being about the same as everything else on Twitter, it far out-performs other content types on Facebook at more than twice that of just text.

…So?

So, given the intersection of e-commerce, content production, and the role of social media within the whole picture, video is now becoming less of a good idea than it is a mandatory content form. This is especially important for brands and businesses that rely heavily on online sales, because as Adobe’s research found:

Shoppers who view a video are 1.81x more likely to purchase than non-viewers9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROIMobile shoppers are 3x as likely to view a video than desktop shoppers (read more about mobile user behavior here)In an eye-mapping study of SERPs, video results commanded more attention than any other listing

It’s becoming increasingly evident that, much like the shift to mobile, the shift in user preference for video will be something that marketers will have to adapt to and factor into their strategy to remain competitive.

From an optimization standpoint, if videos command more attention than other results, then it’s only fair to assume that videos will return the most clicks. While video optimization (will it have sound, will it have text, etc.) is another subject, we can conclude that the rise of video tells us how users are interacting with products and people.

Introducing the Tilt Brush Artist in Residence Program

When your paintbrush and canvas have as many possibilities as your imagination, amazing things can happen.

Tilt Brush, a virtual reality app from Google, lets you paint in three-dimensional space, walk around your brush strokes from any angle, and use fantastical materials like fire, stars and rainbows. Since we launched Tilt Brush in April, we’ve seen professional artists and everyday doodlers alike make some incredible creations.

We’ve also been working closely with more than 60 artists to help them explore their style in virtual reality as part of the Tilt Brush Artist in Residence program (AiR). Coming from a wide range of disciplines, these graffiti artists, painters, illustrators, graphic designers, dancers, concept artists, creative technologists and cartoonists have all brought their passion and talent to create some amazing art with Tilt Brush. Beginning today, you can explore the AiR site to see their creations, and we’ll be continually adding to it moving forward.

The Tilt Brush team created AiR to help artists explore the possibilities in virtual reality as a medium. But by working side by side with our engineering teams, these artists have also given feedback to inspire new features for Tilt Brush.

For example, Steve Teeple and Sougwen Chung suggested new ideas for how to export Tilt Brush sketches in new formats, making it easier to render and animate. Glen Keane, long time Disney animator, inspired the Media Library feature that lets you import 3D models into your sketches. And when Antonio Canobbio, creative director at Titmouse Animation, needed a very tapered marker for one of his pieces, we created a slimmer brush for him. Another resident artist, Peter Chan, quickly discovered the new brush and used it exclusively to paint “The Rescue,” seen below. Now anyone with Tilt Brush can use the new brush. Finally, our new YouTube export feature was a top request from artists in the AiR program.

Peter Chan - Tilt Brush Artist in Residence

The Rescue by Peter Chan, Artist

Sougwen Chung - Tilt Brush Artist in Residence

Sougwen Chung – Artist and Creative Technologist

Alex Hirsch - Tilt Brush Artist in Residence

Alex Hirsch – Writer, Director, Voice Actor & Producer

Steve Teeps - Tilt Brush Artist in Residence

Steve Teeps – Artist and Creative Technologist

There’s much more to come from Tilt Brush and our Artists in Residence. We’ll continue working with more artists over time and updating our site with what they create. If you’re using Tilt Brush, we’d love to see what you’ve made — share it with us using #TiltBrush.

Google’s iOS App Updated With Native YouTube Support, Built-in Gboard, + More by @MattGSouthern

Google’s iOS app received a fairly significant update, bringing with it several new features that will help users do more without having to leave the app.

The post Google’s iOS App Updated With Native YouTube Support, Built-in Gboard, + More by @MattGSouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

SearchCap: Google updates its iOS app, a guide to SSL certificates & Bing Ads

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google updates its iOS app, a guide to SSL certificates & Bing Ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

17 of the Best Tools to Find and Interview Remote Candidates

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You don’t know it yet, but you need Kelsey.

She’s an ideal fit, the right mix of smarts and experience, temperament and personality. She’s the missing link your department has been looking for, needing. Thankfully, the need is mutual. Kelsey is looking for a job.

Unfortunately, you don’t know Kelsey exists because she lives 1,691 miles away. And you probably never will because, right now, there’s a room full of candidates sitting outside your office, eager to impress in a face-to-face interview.

You’d hire one of them before spending the time and money to source long-distance talent, right? It’s more convenient, after all. Not to mention less expensive, less risky. Kelsey can’t compete with that local, in-person pool … right?

Wrong. There’s a trove of online tools designed to help you easily find and confidently hire Kelsey. You just need to start using them.

17 Tools to Find & Interview Remote Candidates

If you’re not sourcing talent outside of your zip code, then that’s too bad because your competitors are. They’re using a variety of tools that streamline how they find and connect with candidates, specifically knowledge workers.

Most of these tools fall under one of three categories:

Basic video conferencing tools, which create authentic connections.

Applicant tracking systems, which automate the recruitment process.

Technical assessment platforms, which test critical knowledge and skills.

Let’s take a closer look …

Basic Video Conferencing Tools

I live in Chicago. My three nephews live in Maryland. Physically, we’re hundreds of miles apart. But that reality, somehow, melts away as soon as my sister picks up my FaceTime call. That’s when the boys rush in from every direction, vying for their piece of on-screen real estate, giggling through their gap-toothed smiles.

It’s a wonderful experience, warm and personal. It feels real, like I’m there with them.

That’s what makes video calls so potent and powerful: They help us forget we’re not in-person. They cut through the distance. They put Kelsey on the same plane as all those in-person candidates.

Use these tools to achieve an authentic connection with anyone, regardless of how many miles separate you:

1) Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is available to anyone with a Google account. Beautiful, simple, and intuitive, the Hangouts icon has become a standard fixture on desktops around the world. Your candidate will have it.

Price: Free.

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2) Skype

Skype is proven. In addition to video chats, it can also be used to place high-quality global calls.

Price: Free. The “Business” plan, however, runs around $2 per user per month.

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3) Spark Hire

Spark Hire is like Google Hangouts or Skype, except you don’t have to be present during the interview. The tool lets candidates record their video answers on their own time, while you’re off in another meeting, or eating lunch, or sleeping.

You can then watch and evaluate on your time, when you’re ready.

Price: $99 a month will get you started.

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4) VidCruiter

VidCruiter can display your logo in the corner of the screen during a video interview, giving the process a professional, official veneer. The platform offers a variety of similar customizations that are simple to test and apply.

Price: Tailored to each customer, true to the platform itself.

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Applicant Tracking Systems

Hiring only one person can be a long, involved process. Hiring many people, all at once, successfully, can be impossible. There are too many boxes to check, too many tasks to juggle. You’d need a team to make the process efficient and economical … or would you?

An applicant tracking system, or ATS, is software that helps managers and recruiters streamline the hiring process by digitizing and automating essential hiring functions, like scheduling interviews or performing background checks.

An ATS can also be programed to crawl resumes and find great-fit candidates, like Kelsey. This will save you time and energy. There is no doubt it’s a valuable tool, especially if you’re hiring several positions at once.

Curious? Here’s our list of standout platforms:

5) Jobvite

Jobvite, like any ATS, does a lot. It’s a CRM. It performs crisp video interviews. It also sports a highly customizable interface that’ll give candidates an honest representation of your brand as they carve through the interview process.

Price: $500 per month for less than 100 employees plus a $1500 ‘activation charge’ (which includes training).

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6) Betterteam

Betterteam can automatically write your job ad for you. It can then post that ad to more than a hundred popular job boards and sites, like Glassdoor, Monster, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn.

Want to add a job board to your website? Betterteam lets you do that, too. No coding skills necessary.

Price: Free to start.

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7) HireVue

HireVue uses predictive analytics and machine learning to determine, for example, if an applicant will turnover quickly, among other invaluable tidbits. Also, if you’re having trouble configuring one of the platform’s many features, HireVue’s paramount customer service will help you get back on your feet.

Price: The “On-Site” package will run you $499 — $899 for unlimited interviews per location. There are also “Recorded” and “Live” packages.

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8) Homerun

Homerun lets you set up a dedicated career site that you can easily tailor to perfectly reflect your brand and culture: Control every image and word, every font and color and form.

Unlike other platforms, Homerun lets companies categorically be themselves, a quality candidates will always recognize, even if they’re 1,691 miles away.

Price: €19 per active job opening per month, which is the “Pay For What You Use” plan.

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9) Hyrell

Hyrell has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an ATS: Easy interview scheduling, seamless communication features, job board posting, stellar account management, responsive technical support. Except Hyrell is optimized for franchise-based businesses.

Price: Ranges between $200 – $800 per month. There’s also an “Enterprise” package.

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10) Lever

Lever helps companies source, interview, and hire “top-tier” talent, people who may not even be job hunting at the moment.

Price: You’ll have to contact Lever to get a custom quote, which, depending on the features, typically falls between $300 and $3,000.

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11) LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter leverages the network’s more than 400 million users — along with premium features, like InMail and analytics tools — to help you find the ideal person. You can also source from anywhere with Recruiter Mobile, a convenient app.

Price: It’s $899.99 per month for the “Corporate” plan. The “Lite” version comes in at $239.99 per month.

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12) Newton

Newton uses smart, decision-assistance tools to help small- and medium-sized organizations manage every stage of the hiring process. The platform also has a baked-in compliance feature that helps protect employers against fines and lawsuits.

Price: The basic package will run you $399.99 per month.

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13) Proven

Proven streamlines the hiring process for small businesses, letting you post a job ad to more than a hundred popular job board sites, then categorize your responses into buckets for quick, convenient reference.

Price: Your first job ad is free. After that, you can pay-as-you-go for about $10 a pop.

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The Technical Assessment Platforms

Kelsey, by the way, is a coder. A very good one, in fact. Based on her experience, you have every reason to believe her. But you can’t know for sure until you test her … live.

You could fly her in and go through the expensive motions: Airfare, lunch, hotel. Or you can send her a link and watch her work, in real time on your screen, as she takes your test remotely. The latter is easy thanks to these platforms:

14) CoderPad

CoderPad lets you watch engineers code in real-time. It supports over 20 languages, including C/C++, Swift, Java, Ruby, and Python. The platform also allows you to playback an interview, stroke-for-stroke, so you can show others involved in the selection process.

Price: You’ll pay $50 per month for a “Personal” account, which allows one user to conduct a maximum of 20 monthly interviews. The cost goes up from there.

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15) HackerRank

HackerRank is rooted in crowdsourced coding competitions called CodeChallenges, which you can post directly on your career page to attract candidates. You can also use the platform to run a CodeSprint, which brings thousands of programmers together to compete in the same competitions.

This process lets the best talent organically rise to the surface.

Price: You’ll have to speak with sales after your 14-day free trial is up.

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16) Interview Zen

Interview Zen lets you create open-ended coding interviews that are as unique and role-specific as necessary. Here’s an example from the site:

Write a program that prints the numbers from 1 to 100. But for multiples of three print “Fizz” instead of the number and for the multiples of five print “Buzz”. For numbers which are multiples of both three and five print “FizzBuzz”.

Price: Free.

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17) Codility

Codility, like the other tools on this list, will help you source, screen, and interview technical talent. But the platform’s insightful and objective assessment scores help non-technical recruiters make more informed decisions.

Price: Single users pay $159 monthly. Equipping multiple users, however, will require a conversation.

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“Hi, Kelsey,” you say, “how was your flight?”

“It was quick and easy, thank you for asking,” she says, smiling. “It’s so nice to finally meet you in person.”

You smile back, eager to make her an offer.

“I know,” you say, “it feels like I already know you.”

What are your favorite tools for finding and interviewing remote talent? Share them in the comments below.

learn how to hire an all-star marketing team

One-click software Test Drives by Orbitera, now on GCP

Since joining the Google Cloud team in August, we’ve been hard at work bringing Orbitera to Google Cloud Platform customers and partners. Today, we’re excited to announce that Orbitera supports Test Drives that run on GCP and we’ve completed a successful Test Drive beta that includes software providers like Barracuda, DivvyCloud, Looker, and Vormetric. Thanks to the support of our partners and great team we continue to provide immediate value to customers looking to experience third-party solutions on GCP.

Orbitera Test Drives are fully functioning and interactive software demonstrations offered on the cloud. This is a popular way for businesses to try software before buying it — no software license, credit card or even cloud account required.

At Orbitera we make it easier for businesses to try, buy, deploy and manage complex software in the cloud. One-click Test Drives empower businesses to try software before buying it, and comprehensive consumption billing management gives corporate IT unprecedented visibility and control.

Here’s what some leading software providers had to say about their Orbitera Test Drives on GCP:

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Looker is a Data Platform that makes it easy for everyone to find, explore and understand the data that drives their business.

“First impressions are very important, and that’s why we chose Orbitera Test Drives to increase lead-to-deal conversions. Trying a fully-functional instance of Looker’s Analytics Platform with just a few clicks and no procurement or deployment hassle is a great introduction to Looker.”

– Keenan Rice, VP, Alliances at Looker

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Vormetric’s comprehensive high performance data security platform protects data wherever it resides with transparent encryption, powerful access controls, and centralized key management.

“Comprehensive solutions like ours can be a challenge for prospective customers to get up and running in a test environment, making it hard for them to really get to know the product and its capabilities. With an Orbitera Test Drive on GCP, customers can get a fully functional environment in minutes, and that makes for a very favorable first impression and gives our sales team a real head start on closing the deal.”

– CJ Radford, VP, Cloud at Vormetric

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DivvyCloud’s BotFactory is a simple point-and-click tool for users to configure, build and deploy bots that automate cloud management tasks.

“We’ve worked with some of the leading cloud adopters in the world to solve common cloud problems through automation of policies. We’re very excited to bring this solution to the broader market through our bot system in BotFactory. This Test Drive will show customers how they can connect a cloud account to BotFactory and find and fix these cloud problems in a matter of minutes.”

– Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, creators of BotFactory

Test drive Orbitera today

See how easy it is to try full-stack software with Orbitera — take a Test Drive for yourself. Try Looker and BotFactory by DivvyCloud, and come back soon for more Test Drives by leading software providers.

Google Cloud Partners: for a limited time, we’re running a promotion to let you create, operate, and run a Test Drive of your software on GCP at no cost for up to one year. Follow this link to sign up.