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Matt Cutts
334,650 followers -
Acting Administrator of the US Digital Service
Acting Administrator of the US Digital Service

334,650 followers
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If you work at Google, I hope you'll make time for my talk at 10am today (Wednesday) in Charlie's! Please join and spread the word!
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Hey folks who work at Google! In just a couple days, I'm going to be back on the Google campus giving a talk about the US Digital Service. Come join me! Wednesday, 10am, in Charlie's cafeteria. Hope to see you there! Please spread the word!
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A reminder about the US Digital Service

Sridhar and Niels? Hmm. Maybe I should drop this link now: https://www.usds.gov/ The USDS does non-partisan work that helps veterans, doctors, students, immigrants, farmers, service members, and small businesses. We have high-impact, meaningful projects that make government work better for its people. And we need engineers, product managers, UX researchers, and designers. Please come help.

One sample project: helping veterans update their address in a single place instead of in dozens of places, so they don't get notices and forms sent to places where they don't live anymore.

We don't get to do much blockchain or AI. But we have helped 400,000+ Veterans get health benefits online instead of using slow paper forms. We've worked to reduce backlogs for green card holders. We've produced data that helps students decide on the right colleges. We've made it easier and less stressful for soldiers to move their family across the country. We've made it easier for doctors to submit data to get paid for Medicare. We've made it smoother for women-owned and socially-disadvantaged businesses to compete for federal contracts. The work is hard, but it's the kind of work you can be proud of and tell your family about.

You can make a difference here. Please apply. You can do it in 10 minutes.
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Dial tone moments

The idea behind "dial tone moments" is that before you add a bunch of fancy stuff, make sure you really nail the basics. The essential things should work all the time, just like a dial tone.

For example, earlier this year I was dealing with a stressful situation. In the middle of that, I wanted to make a shared photo album. The "pick people to share with" dialog just would not work. It would spin and spin and spin, but nothing ever happened. I tried multiple times over the course of (several hours? a day?) and couldn't get it to work. I've seen that happen multiple times with the "share a photo album" picker in the following months.

Stuff like that makes people start to question whether they've chosen the right ecosystem. It didn't help that at the same time, I also had a spammer try to chat me, and then a different spammer try to do a hangout.

None of these are currently problems that need to be fixed. It's just a reminder to nail the basics: the camera on the phone should pop up immediately, ready to go. Phones should shut down and boot up quickly. Today I was trying to call my parents on my Pixel 2 XL and the phone went into a weird state where the proximity sensor wasn't turning off the screen when I held it to my ear. Last week I had to remove my printer from Cloud Print and re-add it to make it work again. I still can't get email verification to work on my Google Domains account over multiple weeks.

Nail the basics. Delight is wonderful. I was recently delighted when I asked my Google Home to tell me a story and it did. But it's much more important to make sure the dial tone is always there.
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9/30/18
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For the last few weeks, Google Domains has told me that I need to verify my email address. I've clicked on the "Resend verification email" link 5-6 times, and each time it claims to have sent a verification email, but it never shows up in my inbox. I've checked the spam folder and under All Mail. No dice.

This is using only Google tools, but it's not working. Stuff like this makes me unwilling to move any more domains to Google.

Dial tone moments folks: first keep the dial tone working before you attempt the fancy stuff.
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In the last week I've heard from two different reputable organizations that are both having issues with deliverability of their large-scale email to Gmail. I wonder if someone tweaked some thresholds down or just re-tuned a model?
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Wait, they're renaming the payment stuff again? So Android Pay is now Google Pay, and Google Wallet is Google Pay Send? I wish I could see the internal memes about this.
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Why not try something new for 2018?

January is a great month for goal setting and thinking about what you'd like to accomplish in 2018. If you feel like your life has been in a little bit of a rut, have you considered trying something completely different? The US Digital Service offers engineers and product managers and designers the chance to tackle important problems. The Federal government needs a lot of help on technology to help students, veterans, small businesses, and patients.

Here's one quick example. If you're a veteran applying for health benefits, you had to use a proprietary system that needed exactly the correct version of Internet Explorer and another piece of software. If you didn't have the right version of both, you wouldn't be able to apply for benefits online. That meant waiting (on average) 137 days for a paper form to be processed. The USDS deployed an amazing thing called a "web form." It's responsive, so it works on mobile phones. It's accessible, so it works with screen readers for blind users. With the new solution, 50% of veterans find out if they're eligible for health benefits in 10 minutes instead of 137 days. Over 300,000 veterans have used that web form to apply for their health benefits. Check it out yourself at https://www.vets.gov/ if you know a veteran!

Working at the USDS can be frustrating at times, but it's also deeply, deeply meaningful. You can apply by answering just a few questions and uploading a resume. We'd be delighted to tell you about some of the ways that you can help the American public with your tech skills. Please apply today: https://www.usds.gov/join
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Talking about biking to work and the US Digital Service with Mr. Money Mustache.
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