If We Solve the Software Generalist Anti-Pattern, Who Writes the Code?

4 weeks 2 days ago

I am, strangely, not an expert in my own history.  Chronicling my own exploits through digests and Prime Photos have helped somewhat in this regard, but I nevertheless struggle to remember the sequence of my life. So I think it was 2015 when I was writing about the tales of Emma in Developer Hegemony.  And I […]

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Erik Dietrich

DaedTech Digest: Here We Are in Austin

1 month ago

In last week’s digest, I chronicled our packing for Austin, and I described how packing for several months is different from packing for one month.  Now, here I am, a week older and wiser, and relocated as planned to Austin, Texas. Slow travel is always interesting.  There’s a fair bit of prep in selecting the […]

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Erik Dietrich

Pick up where you left off on Search

1 month ago

While we’ve probably all turned to Google to settle a bet, often we need more than just a quick answer.


You might be looking for information to help you complete a longer-running task, whether it’s meal planning for a new food regimen, researching new stretching routines for post-gym recovery or picking up a new hobby. You might come back to Search to find information on the same topic, hoping to retrace your steps or discover new, related ideas.


To help you with these ongoing search journeys, we’re launching new activity cards to help you pick up where you left off. If you’re logged into your Google account and search for topics and hobbies like cooking, interior design, fashion, skincare and beauty, fitness, photography and more, you may find an activity card at the top of the results page that provides easy ways to continue your exploration.

You’ll find links to pages you’ve visited in the past along with searches you’ve done. From there, you can easily click back to that recipe that you tried and loved, or re-issue a search to discover new facets of that topic.


If you want to mark a page to read or reference later, just touch and hold the link to quickly add items on your activity card to a collection. You can access  your collections by tapping the menu on the top left of the Search page (on mobile web), or through the bottom bar of the Google app.

You can control what appears in your activity card by pressing to delete an item or turn off cards by tapping the 3-dot icon. For more options to customize your Search experience, you can access your full history and settings right in Search.


Activity cards will roll out today on mobile web and the Google app in English in the U.S. As you’re looking to build new habits or pick up new tasks in the new year--whether sticking to an exercise regimen, sprucing up your winter wardrobe, or collecting new ideas for your home--we hope this new feature helps you along your way and makes your search history more accessible and useful.

Software Consulting: What This Really Means and How to Start

1 month ago

On this blog, I’ve talked at length about both software development and consulting.  In fact, I have an entire posting tag devoted to transitioning from being a developer to being a consultant.  This includes a take on why everyone should want to.  So I’ve got the subject of software consulting surrounded.  But now, I’d like […]

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Erik Dietrich

DaedTech Digest: Goodbye, Frozen North, and Hello, Texas

1 month 1 week ago

Happy New Year, everyone!  I’ve gone quiet since post the last digest, a couple of weeks ago.  We managed to take some real time off, getting much needed R&R. But that’s all over now, following New Years.  Not only are we back to work full time, but we’re also spending our evenings prepping to leave […]

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Erik Dietrich

DaedTech Digest: The Results of Our Winter Destination Lottery Are In

1 month 3 weeks ago

Last week, I asked for everyone’s help in picking a refuge from winter cold for Amanda and me.  And that went well!  Thanks, everyone, for your comments through the various media.  It was fun to read and discuss. This week, we’ve arrived at a decision. I carefully took all of the input from last week, […]

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Erik Dietrich

The Developer Hegemony Vision for 2019

1 month 3 weeks ago

This evening, I found myself staring at my post topics Trello board, uninspired.  I have a lot of post topic ideas there: rants, screeds, opinion pieces, helpful how-tos.  None of it really inspired tonight. Usually, when that happens, I can dig into the backlog of reader questions.  You awesome folks ask me more of those […]

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Erik Dietrich

Test your knowledge of the year’s top trends with Game of the Year

1 month 4 weeks ago

Is Wakanda real? What’s up with that racoon on the skyscraper? Is it Laurel, or is it Yanny? And who exactly is Kiki?

Take a stroll through Google Search trends and you’ll discover a lot of fun stuff about the year, from royal weddings and major news events to unexpected memes and breakthrough stars. And while the headlines of 2018 will look pretty familiar, what trended the most on Search can be quite surprising. How well do you know what the world searched for this year?

Game of the Year preview

Meet Game of the Year. Part of Year in Search 2018—our annual roundup of top trends of the past 12 months—Game of the Year is the first game based on Google Search trends that puts your knowledge of 2018 to the test in an interactive way.

The game is simple: Each player must answer a series of questions about this year’s trending searches, collecting points along the way. The questions get harder as you progress through the game. A special bonus round increases the difficulty even more. Players can also challenge their friends to test their own Google Search trendiness. 

The game’s host was built using Google Cloud and WaveNet, Google’s text-to-speech technology powered by machine learning. Players can adjust the pitch and speed of the game host’s voice, and if a player enters their name at the start, the audio updates on the fly, providing encouragement to players as they progress through the game.

Want to test your own Google Search trendiness? You might even find the answer to the burning question on everyone’s mind: which famous Justin won the Search battle— Bieber, Timberlake, or Trudeau? Play Game of the Year to find out.

Say مرحبا, msawa, mihofnima or hello! to 500 languages on Gboard

1 month 4 weeks ago

Our goal with Gboard is to help you communicate in a way that’s comfortable and natural, regardless of the language you speak. While the ten most common languages cover about half of the world's population, many more thousands of languages are spoken by the other half. As the Next Billion Users come online, technology needs to support their languages so they can get the most out of using the internet. Today, Gboard offers more than 500 language varieties on Android, bringing a smart, AI-driven typing experience to many more people around the world. This means that more than 90% of the world can now type in their first language with Gboard, with keyboard layouts tailored to each language and typing smarts like autocorrect and predictive text.


In December 2016, Gboard first launched on Android with about 100 language varieties. Over the last few months, more than one hundred new languages have been added to Gboard, such as Nigerian Pidgin (~30 million speakers), Rangpuri (~15 million speakers), Balinese (~3 million speakers), Pontic Greek (~800,000 speakers) and many more.


A quick look at the layouts below shows the sheer diversity of input methods used across the world every day:

Gboard currently supports more than 40 writing systems across the world, ranging from alphabets used across many languages, like Roman and Cyrillic, to scripts that are used for only one language, like Ol Chiki (used for Santali).

Building technology that works across languages is important: without a keyboard tailored to your language, simple things like messaging friends or family can be a challenge. Often, keyboard apps don’t support the characters and scripts used for languages with a smaller speaking population. As an example, the Nigerian language "Ásụ̀sụ̀ Ị̀gbò" is impossible to type on an English keyboard. Plus, wouldn't it be frustrating to see nearly every word you type incorrectly autocorrected into another language?


Many of Gboard’s newly added languages are traditionally not widely written, such as in newspapers or books, so they’re rarely found online. But as we spend more time on our phones on messaging apps and social media, people are now typing in these languages more than ever. The ability to easily type in these languages lets people communicate with others in the language they would normally speak face-to-face as well.


How we add new languages to Gboard

In addition to designing a new keyboard layout, every time a new language is added to Gboard we create a new machine learning language model. This model trains Gboard to know when and how to autocorrect your typing, or to predict your next word. For languages like English, which has only about 30 characters and large amounts of written materials widely available, this is easy. For many of the world's languages, though, this process is much harder.


In order to train our machine learning language models, we need a text corpus (which is a database of lots of available texts written in a particular language). Often, finding text data in these languages can be challenging. When we can’t find data online, we’ll share a list of writing prompts with native speakers, so we can create new text corpora from scratch. (You can read more about our crawling efforts for these languages in one of our recent research papers.)


Next, we focus on the layout design. Layout design for a new language on Gboard requires careful investigation and research to fit in all the characters in a way that makes sense to native speakers. If there isn’t a lot of information for the language available online, we'll analyze text corpora to figure out which characters to include and to determine how frequently they’re used.


Depending on the language, we may tailor aspects of the layout, like the set of digits—for example, while English uses 0123456789, Hindi and other Indian languages written in Devanagari use ०१२३४५६७८९. Once we've built support for a language, we always invite a group of native speakers to test and fill out a survey to understand their typing experience.


To see if your language is already supported in our latest Gboard release in the Play Store, check out the list of supported languages in our help center.

DaedTech Digest: Where To Go This Winter? Seriously, What Do You Think?

2 months ago

Let’s do something a little different today. With the digest posts, I’ve been answering questions about slow travel and chronicling our adventures.  But today, I’d like to get a little more interactive. Where Should We Go for the Winter? It’s that time of year again, and I don’t mean the Christmas holiday.  I mean, it is that time […]

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Erik Dietrich

Year in Search: Movies, TV, music and sports we searched for in 2018

2 months ago

Curious which flicks, footballers and masters of falsetto have the fiercest fans? Year in Search might have a clue for you.

You can explore both the global and country-specific trend lists here, but we also wanted to dive deeper into the leagues, genres and styles that captured people’s attention in the world of sports and entertainment in 2018.

MusicOur feet were tapping and our fingers were typing as we searched for these artists, the top trending in each major musical genre this year:

MoviesThese are the big gainers from the big screen, trending the most in 2018:

TVAny of these shows have you glued to the tube? Here are the binge watches that shot up the charts as top trending shows in 2018.

Sports TeamsFrom championship teams to blockbuster trades, these are the franchises that got people searching this year and are top trending within their leagues:

The Year in Search 2018

2 months ago

Every day, people turn to Search to explore the world of information on the web. They come looking for everything from news and helpful how-tos to song lyrics and easy dinner recipes.


As each year closes, Google Trends data reflects not only these everyday queries, but also the moments, people, ideas, and questions that made that trip around the sun so unique. During a year of highs and lows, the Year in Search highlights all the ways people continued to search for “good”—and this year, it was more than ever.

2018 saw a number of major elections around the world—in the U.S. the top searched “how to” question was “how to register to vote.” In a year when we said goodbye to many cultural icons, like Anthony Bourdain and Aretha Franklin, people searched for how they, too, could influence the next generation, asking ”how to be a good role model.” And when first responders rescued a team of soccer players from a cave in Thailand, the world was inspired — searches for “scuba diving lessons near me” increased by 110 percent that week.


We searched for good news of championships, medal counts and royal weddings, and sought out bright spots throughout the year. We also searched for how to be a good citizen, how to be a good friend, and how to be a good dancer. (Perhaps with the help of some Fortnite GIFs.)


Celebrate all the good the world searched for in 2018, and explore the top trending lists this year at Google.com/2018.

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Is It Possible to Have a Company with No Office Politics?

2 months ago

It’s been a little while since my last reader question post, hasn’t it?  Well, let’s do something about that today. Today’s subject is office politics.  I’m pretty much always game to talk about this subject, as regular readers know.  Except, rather than dissecting them in-situ, I’ll talk about the idea of companies avoid them altogether. […]

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Erik Dietrich