Spring has sprung and, along with sunshine and flowers, The Google Games 2014 is sweeping across the United States. The Google Games brings together Googlers and current college students for a day of fun and challenging competition. Student teams are tested in everything from trivia to coding and must complete challenges designed by Google engineers to earn points and attempt to reign supreme.

Team spirit and mental mettle abound and with this year’s theme of “Greats of the 1980s” the Games are set to be totally radical!

After kicking off on March 29th in Washington, DC, The Google Games visited Boulder, Seattle, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and New York City with seven more events scheduled to take place across North America in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for more fun photos and the list of champions from each of the Games’ sites and in the meantime, be sure to check out photos from last year’s superhero-themed Games.

Posted by Rachael Johns, University Programs team

Cross-posted from the Google Public Policy Blog.

The Internet policy world ripe with fascinating policy issues. From government surveillance and data security to patent reform and copyright to free expression and open access to information, there has never been a more exciting time to get involved. We’re excited to launch the 7th summer of the Google Policy Fellowship, connecting students of all levels and disciplines with organizations working on the forefront of these and other critical issues for the future of the Internet. Applications are open today for North America and Latin America, and students of all levels and disciplines are welcome to apply before Friday, April 14, 2014.

This year’s organizations include:

  • American Library Association
  • National Consumers League
  • National Hispanic Media Coalition
  • Open Technology Institute, New America Foundation
  • Public Knowledge
  • TechFreedom
  • Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Global Network Initiative
  • R Street
  • iKeepSafe
  • ConnectSafely
  • The Citizen Lab
  • Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic
  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Future of Privacy Forum
  • Technology Policy Institute
  • Future of Music
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Internet Education Foundation
  • FundaciĆ³n Karisma
  • AsociaciĆ³n por los Derechos Civiles
  • Derechos Digitales
  • Article 19 Mexico

More fellowship opportunities in Asia, Africa, and Europe will be coming soon. You can learn about the program, application process and host organizations on the Google Public Policy Fellowship website.

In collaboration with The AdMob Student App Challenge, AdMob has developed a comprehensive developer business kit for review as various developers to reference as they are building their apps. Some highlights of the AdMob App Developer Kit include:

  • Consumer research in key markets to unlock the secrets of building a great app.
  • The latest case studies and best practices.
  • Interviews with app developers and established industry experts.

Developers will also find content related to turning a great idea into a great app, with insight into app design and development, funding, and how to actually make a business out the app. As a reminder, today is the last day for students to submit their apps through this link, and business reports are due on 15 April 2014.

Cross posted from the Google Korea blog.

Ever wondered what it’s like to work as a marketing intern in Google Seoul? Meet Hyungjun Lim, a student at Seoul National University majoring in Political Science, who just finished six months interning on the marketing team in Google Korea.

Tell us a bit about your marketing project.
Google’s marketing process varies according to each of its products. For example, our marketing activities cover specific products as YouTube, Android and G+ but we also do marketing for Google’s advertisers (both large companies and SMB). Although my title on the team was “intern,” my responsibilities went far beyond that. I had to go through the entire marketing process beginning with planning, budget confirmation, execution and finishing with review & analysis. Each step has to be carried out efficiently and meticulously.

During my internship, I was in charge of G+ marketing. My task was to increase brand awareness of G+ among Korean users and on-stream engagement of current G+ users. As an effort to achieve the given goals, we planned various marketing activities including the Beyond K-Pop Live Concert Series and Plus Photobook Project with Korean Air. I was also the project manager for Eric Schmidt’s 1-hour talk session with college students. Although this project was not directly related to my original responsibility, I gratefully took on the project as part of a cross-functional coordination with the Google PR team.

Clear and efficient communication is essential when you are going through a marketing project. Communication is also not limited to just your team--it extends to your relationships with external partners. Successful marketing campaigns can never be accomplished by our efforts alone. We constantly work with agencies and other stakeholders, which means that many different people have to share one common plan. If a change is made, it has to be timely and it must be precisely informed to everyone.

Communication here is more than just an interaction of words. People usually digest external information in their own way. That is, each individual may interpret one message in different ways. The process of reading other people’s intentions and clearly conveying my creative ideas to colleagues was difficult at first. But over the course of my internship, I learned through many interactions how to communicate effectively. I believe this skill of explaining my ideas logically and clearly to my counterparts and understanding other people’s ideas were a few of the most important assets I gained from my internship and this will definitely give me an advantage in the future.

What makes you Googley?
We often use the phrase “Googley” when we are describing Google culture from the inside. But what does Googley mean exactly? For me, Googley can be categorized into 3 keywords. This is my own definition of Googley so none of these are officially endorsed.

Big picture: Googlers always think about bigger objectives. They don’t stop after immediate necessities are satisfied. They contemplate on measures to maximize the result and consider the ultimate impact of their actions. This attitude is commonly shared with all Googlers from engineers to sales and marketing managers and has become the foundation of Google’s innovation.

Respect: Googlers respect fellow Googlers. Every opinion counts regardless of work experience. Also, Googlers are welcome to healthy criticism when there’s a mistake and are always ready to learn from peers.

Ownership: My internship at Google gave me the opportunity to develop new strengths and learn a lot. It was an honor to meet and work with fellow Googlers who stay humble, find ways for self-improvement, and always want to share thoughts and advice.

Google provides a work environment with a lot of resources for its employees. But if you take a closer look inside, you’ll find that all the resources Google provides exist so that Googlers can fully concentrate on their jobs and have the greatest output possible. An ideal environment to allows employees to be the most productive, high-achieving employees possible in their respective roles.

Interested in learning more about internships at Google? Visit and search for opportunities in Business or related fields.

Google offers a variety of opportunities for PhD students who wish to gain industry experience. Through our Getting to Know a PhD series, we’ll provide a glimpse into some of these opportunities as well as the impactful projects PhD students at Google work on. Today we’re featuring Cynthia Liem, a PhD student, Google European Doctoral Fellowship Recipient and former Google Anita Borg Scholarship recipient who interned as a Software Engineer on the research team in Mountain View, CA last summer.

So Cynthia, tell us about yourself and your PhD topic ...
I’m a PhD student at the Multimedia Computing Group of Delft University of Technology. My research is in the field of music information retrieval; I’m working on technologies to analyze, organize and present the considerable amount of digital music information we currently have at our disposal. I’m particularly interested in making sense of music data by obtaining richer perspectives on it by taking into account information from multiple data sources. These can be recordings of multiple interpretations of the same music piece, but also related information in non-audio modalities, such as videos of performing musicians and textual information from collaborative web resources describing songs and their usage contexts.

How did you get to work in this area?
Music has always been an important part of my life. I was young when I started playing the piano and obtained a bachelor and master degree in Classical Piano Performance at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague. I’m happy to still be an active musician but I’ve always had diverse interests.
In my final year of high school I discovered computer science. The concept of using programs to make a computer do difficult things intrigued me and I realized how much impact CS could have on daily life.

My music and computer science studies largely went on in parallel. The combination of instrumental practice and computer assignments caused a very dense daily schedule but I was also never bored.
Music information retrieval looked like an ideal synthesis of my two fields of expertise. That’s how I decided to do a PhD in this area. I was fortunate to be the first Google European Doctoral Fellowship Recipient in Multimedia, which allowed me to fund the research project I’d hoped for!

Why did you apply for an internship at Google?
Through the Google European Doctoral Fellowship, I was assigned a Google mentor who works on topics related to my PhD interests. In my case, this was Dr. Douglas Eck in Mountain View, who is part of Google Research and leads a team focusing on music recommendation. Since Delft and Silicon Valley are quite far apart, we do not get to collaborate daily. However, Doug has remotely been advising and encouraging me in several of my academic activities, most notably the initiation of the ACM MIRUM Workshop, which managed to successfully bring music retrieval into the spotlight of the prestigious ACM Multimedia conference. While the conference used to be very vision-oriented, thanks to the MIRUM efforts we now have a dedicated music-related submission area in the main track.
Still, the best way to really work together is being in the same office. As soon as internship hiring started, I got in touch with Doug regarding opportunities. This allowed me to do an internship with his team in Fall 2011, Summer 2013 and I have another one coming up in Summer 2014.

What did you work on in your most recent internship at Google?
My task was to find and implement ways to improve classical music recommendation in Google Music. Recommendation for popular music genres which have many listeners work quite well, but in the classical music genre the problem becomes harder, as there both are fewer listeners and more ‘diffusion issues’.

In this genre, the representation of a ‘song’ with a certain ‘title’ by a certain ‘artist’ is not sufficient. As for the ‘song’, we often deal with pieces that might be built out of different related movements. As for the ‘title’, classical music pieces often are characterized by a tempo indication, so for example, Beethoven (or any other composer) wrote several pieces named ‘Allegro’, which definitely are not the same pieces. Then, there still is the matter who should be accredited as ‘artist’. In classical music, we usually mention composer names with a piece, but usually, the musician who performs and records the piece is not the composer, but someone reinterpreting the score that the composer originally wrote. So we can have many renditions of the same piece by different performers, and all of these will differ a bit in the audio domain. This causes a lot of challenges around the concept of ‘similarity’: when are two recordings considered ‘the same’ or ‘similar’, also from a recommendation perspective?

In my internship, I focused on this problem, and looked for ways to get a richer representation of the ‘artist’ as input for the recommendation algorithms, which are aware of both performer and composer contributions. This led to some clear quality improvements, not just for classical music, but also for other genres in which music tends to be reinterpreted by different musicians.

How closely connected was your internship to your PhD topic?
In my PhD work I am not focusing on music recommendation that strongly but my internship definitely dealt with getting a richer representation of music data. In that sense it perfectly aligned with my research interests.

I didn’t expect it at first, but for this internship I was able to draw upon my background as a musician, and became the "expert" on classical music on the team. Not only did this benefit me personally, but I felt I was really able to contribute by addressing some information scheme challenges unique to the classical music genre. I even had the opportunity to give some tutorial talks, and in the end prepared a lecture-recital in which I demonstrated some key concepts at the piano.

Did you write your own code?
Definitely! As a software engineering intern you will be expected to code, and often your contributions will not be restricted to a fully isolated package, but be part of regular pipeline code. It can be quite intimidating at first to be so close to complex Google code which actually runs in production. At the same time, code health at Google is exceptional, so as soon as you get the hang of inspecting the codebase, it’s very easy to contribute to it.

What’s been your favorite part of the internship?
I really liked that it was a multidisciplinary endeavor. Since my topic was relevant to the broader group of people working on Google Music, I had the opportunity to interact with many teams, e.g. the engineers working on the Android Music application, and the content specialists who also are genre experts, and already were looking into quality-improving mechanisms.

I also enjoyed life at Google’s Mountain View Campus in California, they even have some pianos on campus so I could keep practicing. The culture inside Google also is remarkable, you meet many inspiring people who share similar interests with you. I also ran into the most famous faces of the company; I once realized Sergey Brin was having lunch at the table right next to me!

At one point during the summer a special event was held bringing together all female Engineering interns based in US offices. This was really impressive - I don’t often get to be in a room with more than 100 female engineers. We networked, met several female VPs of the company, who talked about their experiences working as engineers in leadership roles. This was really inspiring and having role models like them is vital to the whole discussion about tackling gender and diversity issues in software engineering.

What key skills have you gained during your internship?
The internship was a good chance to polish and improve my coding skills. My project was multidisciplinary and so I also developed my communication skills a lot.

How does your internship experience compare against your experiences as a PhD in the lab?
Working at an applied university, I am familiar with conducting research with some concrete application and societal or economic impact in mind. At Google, the concrete practical problems are more strongly steering and driving the work. Also, things move really fast. As a PhD, I would spend a few months to elaborate on a problem, come up with possible solutions, and then carefully figure out the most optimal or sophisticated way to fix it. At Google, you are expected to have results within a few weeks. So you need to approach the problem in a very practical way, coming up with a straightforward solution which quickly can be tested. It’s really thinking the agile way: work on small improvements and ensure to always have results, even if they are not optimal at first, since you can (and likely will) go into that at a later iteration.

At Google, a strong measure of success is whether you manage to achieve practical impact in the product or service you’re working on. Regarding that product or service, in a company like Google, you are right in the middle of it, and you are expected to help building it. In academia this final application usually is a bit further away, and not the thing you would primarily be co-developing.

What impact do you think this internship experience will have on your PhD?
Obviously, I can use my improved coding and communication skills very well in my regular PhD work. Now that I have seen the practical side of the topics I definitely have a better understanding of deployment- and adaptation-related opportunities and the pitfalls in technology focusing on these topics. I also have some good ideas on how to maintain good code health in my own work. My internship also sparked some new ideas and inspiration regarding research directions I would like to pursue.

Has this internship experience impacted the way you think about your future career?
Yes. While I am quite happy in academia, the internship certainly made me see that industry is an interesting career option. I have only had a few years of coding experience from my studies and mostly did scripting in my current academic life so I haven't seriously considered the option of working for a company like Google. I didn't think I would pass the software development hiring bar that would allow me to contribute to Google. Furthermore, for both of my internships I needed to code in C++, a language that I had no experience with. However, I wanted to gain professional experience in this particular team, so in the end I just went for it. It worked out remarkably well! While I would not have believed a few years ago that working in a company like Google was possible, I could potentially see myself in that position now.

Why should a PhD student apply for an internship at Google?
During an internship you will get tons of practical experience. If you get the chance to join a team with interests close to yours, it’s a unique opportunity to be ‘close to the fire’ and help building solutions in your field with the potential to affect lots of users. You get to do this in a quite unusual, but really nice environment, where you surely will meet interesting people and get a chance to be inspired.

Any advice to offer?
Go for it! If you are passionate about something, let this be your driving force.
Google offers several outreach programs and scholarships for students; apply for them, it is really worth it. If you’re a PhD student: Google is very active at academic conferences. So if you are interested in an internship in a particular area, that is your chance to meet Googlers working in your field. So be brave, step up and have a chat!

For more information on our outreach programs and scholarships, please visit our Google Students Job site.

Most apps for The AdMob Student App Challenge are finished at this point; it’s now time to think developing a product marketing plan for your teams app. For a more in-depth pre-launch guide, take a look at the Android checklist here. The goal of this post is to provide some context around the best way for your team to prep your app for launch, and to make sure it’s as successful as possible on the Google Play store.

  1. Understand the publishing process.
  2. Understand Google Play policies and agreements.
  3. Test for core app quality.
  4. Determine your app’s content rating.
    • Choose from: Everyone, Low Maturity, Medium, High.
  5. Determine county distribution.
    • Once you determine what countries you want to offer to, you can begin the process of localization. Here’s a handy checklist to use when considering localization.
  6. Confirm the app’s overall size.
    • Currently, the maximum size for an APK published on Google Play is 50 MB.
  7. Confirm the app’s platform and screen compatibility ranges.
    • Before publishing, it's important to make sure that your app is designed to run properly on the Android platform versions and device screen sizes that you want to target.
  8. Decide whether your app will be free or priced.
    • Deciding whether you app will be free or paid is important because, on Google Play, free apps must remain free.
    • Consider using in-app billing.
    • Set prices for your products (if necessary).
  9. Prepare promotional graphics and materials.
    • When you publish on Google Play, you can supply a variety of high-quality graphic assets to showcase your app or brand. After you publish, these appear on your product details page, in store listings and search results, and elsewhere.
  10. Build and upload the release-ready APK.
  11. Plan a beta release.
  12. Complete the app’s product details.
    • On Google Play, your app's product information is shown to users on its product details page, the page that users visit to learn more about your app and the page from which they will decide to purchase or download your app, on their Android devices or on the web.
  13. Link to Google Play in your various marketing campaigns.
    • Using a Google Play badge gives you an officially branded way to promote your app to Android users; doing so can really help drive downloads.
  14. Final checks and publishing
    • When you think you are ready to publish, sign in to the Developer Console and take a few moments for a few final checks.
  15. Support users after launch.

As always, follow AdMob on G+ for any new updates about the Challenge, and enjoy building the marketing strategy for your apps; as any Google product marketer would tell you, what happens after the launch is what determines whether a project was successful or not.

Ever wondered what it is like to work as an SMB Account Strategist in Google EMEA? Then read on!

Magda Gameel is an SMB Account Strategist (German) in Google Wroclaw. Magda will be taking part in our ‘Day in the Life of an SMB Account Strategist’ Hangout on Air on March 13th. You can find out more information about the Hangout and how you can get involved at the end of this post.

1. Introduce Yourself!
Hi, my name is Magda and I’m working for SMB Services for the DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) market. I studied International Management in Berlin and have been working at Google for one year now. I am based in Wroclaw, Poland.

2. What's the coolest thing about your job?
My Team. I get to work in a great environment with amazing people. We work together very well and I learn a lot from others, be it, team Leaders or peers. I really enjoy the fact that hierarchy is less important than in other companies; even though people may be more senior and have more responsibilities, everyone is approachable and interested in what you have to say.

In my core role I get to learn about Google’s products; not only AdWords, but also YouTube, G+, Local and other fun stuff you can use. With every client interaction, you get to know Google a bit more and it is a great learning path.

3. How did you get here?
I always dreamt about working in Wroclaw ever since I heard from friends that there is a Google office there. At some point, I visited Wroclaw (I was studying in Berlin back at the time) and came to the office during a Start-Up event.

I fell in love with the atmosphere and the unique work place with great, approachable people. I immediately felt at home and applied for a job the following week.

4. What makes you Googley?
I was very lucky to be born into a multicultural environment. On top of the ability to master different languages at the youngest age, I also learned about differences in cultures, habits and approaches. In a company like Google, this is definitely an asset, because we are working with people from different nationalities and backgrounds on a day-to-day basis.

I am very energetic and I am also always glad to help in any possible way. It is important to be a good team player and to enjoy this vibrant environment we have in our young Wroclaw office.

The University Programmes Team EMEA proudly presents ‘Day in the Life of an SMB Account Strategist’ Hangout on Air on 13th March 2014 from 14:30 - 15:30 GMT. You can find out more information here; don’t forget to click attending! To read more about the roles available, please visit our SMB Sales and SMB Services roles on our job site.