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The Google Cambridge (MA) office is pretty darn awesome! :-)

For my visit there this past week, I tackled lots of work, ingested copious amounts of delicious caffeine, and for the first time really put my new Pixel XL camera to the test!

https://goo.gl/photos/NfU1QgbjmcsjgsW57

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I wasn't part of this launch, but I'm glad it happened! Definitely appreciate the transparency when booking.
Price sensitive travelers can now find Basic Economy airfare options with several airlines. To make sure you’re aware of baggage restrictions before you book, Google Flights now shows you when your selected flights have carry-on bag limits. Find your next flight on google.com/flights
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Pixel phones are finally (sorta) back in stock!

Just bought an XL 128gb (+Daydream VR) for myself. Annoyingly, ship time is estimated at 4-5 weeks, but in my experience the Google Store's tended to be conservative about such estimates.

Other thoughts:
1) Yes, Pixels are expensive... about on par with iPhone prices.
2) Everyone I know who has one loves it.
3) Then again, most iPhone owners I know love their phones, too.

Takeaway: High end smart phones nowadays are all pretty awesome :).

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This is super-cool!

Have you tried Word Lens yet? :)

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This is super-cool... highlighting and empowering outstanding contributors on Google+

I'm delighted to see this new initiative led by +Daniel Raynaud, a colleague of mine who cares deeply about helping people build and discover respectful & interesting communities online.

There are already lots of great conversations on Google+ and I know many have resulted in awesome "real-life" friendships.

Here's to more of all of that positivity, sharing, and connecting!
Introducing Google+ Create

Today we are launching Google+ Create (g.co/PlusCreate), a unique program that gives amazing content creators the recognition and audience they deserve.

When we introduced Google+ Collections last May, we were blown away by the amazing things people began sharing, from the beautiful (goo.gl/ryi0jv) to the breathtaking (goo.gl/n0KpR6), from the profound (goo.gl/XfBB0y) to the playful (goo.gl/zdDVsf), from the whimsical (goo.gl/zLOMgy) to the wonderfully eclectic (goo.gl/kgtI38).

And people on Google+ agree. Since launching the redesigned Google+ in November, Collection follows have more than doubled.

But these Collections don’t create themselves. Behind them are fascinating individuals who bring their flair, imagination and craft to engage and inspire others. There are food alchemists like +maria nasir in Lahore, Pakistan, writers and woodturners like +Ellie Kennard and +Steven Kennard in Nova Scotia, and daredevil acrobats like +Randy T on a mountain top near you.

We want to celebrate these inspiring creators and amplify their unique voices. Google+ Create members get a verified profile, early access to new product features, a private channel with the Google+ team, and special opportunities to build their audiences.

Visit g.co/PlusCreate to meet some of our members, learn about the benefits, and apply to join if you’re interested. Or just immerse yourself in the diversity of Collections already on Google+ (g.co/Collections).
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So... how IS your private data protected internally at Google?

Googler Brian White shares his personal (unofficial but quite informed) thoughts and info.  Worth a read!
After being asked personally a few times and reading claims by others a few more, I thought I'd set the record straight....

Working at Google does not give you access to the data of users!

It's an easy assumption to make.  After all, most companies don't put internal access controls on data making it easy for every employee to access everything inside the firewall.  Google does not work that way.

Though there are many groups at Google, we'll simplify it into Software Engineering ("SWE") and Site Reliability Engineering ("SRE").  I was the latter for 5 years and I've been the former for 3.

SWE, in general, has access to nothing.  They run their code on their own workstations and sometimes test clusters with test data.  A few get access to anonymized user data for their service -- more on that later.

SRE is the group that owns the keys to the kingdom.  They're the group (actually many small groups) responsible for running Google services "in production".  They almost always have access to anonymized user data for their service and the ability to access "raw" logs if necessary, again for only their service.  The kicker is that, since around 2011, this latter access comes through a specific interface where you must explain with each request why you're doing this.  All those actions are logged and those logs are audited.  Misuse of the access will get you fired.

What is "misuse"?  I can't even look up my own queries.  I could be on-call for my service, have you on the phone fixing a problem with you saying, "go ahead" , and I still couldn't do it.  In five years, I only used raw logs twice, both on myself during training just so we'd know how.

So, for any given service, there may be somewhere between 10 and 100 people worldwide who could potentially access Personally Identifiable Information ("PII") of a user, but doing so without a good reason would be the end of them at the company.  And should that abusive employee somehow cause "material damage" to the company...  I don't even want to speculate.

On top of that, any attempt to track a single user, whether the user can be identified personally or not, will also get you fired.  Every user with any form of logs access has signed a paper (real paper, even) stating that they understand all this and the consequences.

This is serious stuff.  My own team would turn me in without a second thought if I did any of this.  And I'd do the same to them.

What are "anonymized" logs?  They're the requests that have had all PII stripped.  No IP address.  No account identifier.  No geo-locating finer than the city, etc.

Disclaimer:  I work for Google (obviously).  These thoughts are mine and mine alone.  Mine, I tell you!  Mine!!!
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This is a great way to share not only where you're going, but where you're thinking of going... with friends, family, or colleagues.  e.g., 

- "Hey, does this sound like a good itinerary..."
- "Anyone up for joining me for Sakura season in Japan next year?!"
- "Should I transit via Chicago or New York?"

Or, okay, you could just brag about your upcoming trip :D
Tell friends (or the world) where you're flying with new #GoogleFlights sharing options.

You can share the flights you pick via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.  Or even just grab a link to send any way you like.

Let us know what you think, either here in the comments, or -- as always -- via our Feedback link on Google Flights:
1) Go to http://www.google.com/flights
2) Click the handy lefthand menu button
3) Click "Feedback" at the bottom.

We always read and appreciate your feedback.  Thanks for using Google Flights, and have a great week! :)
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2015-11-02
4 Photos - View album

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[Europe] More TRAIN info in Google Flights! :)
I'm really happy to note that we've integrated more info on train schedules and prices and such into Google Flights (http://www.google.com/flights).  In particular, we just added info for Deutsche Bahn.

Here's a great example: Frankfurt to Zurich
https://www.google.com/flights/#search;f=FRA,ZRB;t=ZRH,ZLP;d=2015-11-11;r=2015-11-15

Happy travels!

Disclaimer/reminder:  I work on Google Flights, so I'm biased :).  

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[US-only] Amazing music jukebox, no ads, money going to artists...
I've been dogfooding YouTube Red and it's awesome!

1) It includes a free subscription to Google Play Music All Access (which I'm henceforth shortening to "Google Music" ).  We're talking tens of millions of tracks here w/ unlimited streaming, easy offline access, etc.

2) It removes all the video ads from YouTube.  Not just from music videos, ALL video ads :o.  

3) YouTube videos offline!  And access to an upcoming YouTube Music app.

3) YouTube Red subscriptions help financially support the talented artists that make YTR worth subscribing to in the first place :).

"More countries coming soon" according to the blog post (sorry, I have no idea re timeline!)

Anyway, make a mental note to subscribe to this the moment it's available to you (Oct 28th in the U.S. I believe).  Or, hey, you could get a jump start and sign up for Google Music*, and you'll automatically get YouTubeRed when it comes out ;).

Got a Chromecast?  You might be eligible to get a free *90 day trial of Google Music! https://cast.google.com/chromecast/offers/

DISCLAIMER:  As a reminder, I work at Google (on the Travel team), so I'm biased :).  I've had nothing to do with YouTube Red except as someone who enjoyed testing it out early.

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Well, this was fun! A traveler posted a humorous tweet [1], and I decided to drop him a handwritten note + lucky dollar plane [2] on behalf of the #GoogleFlights  team.

A bit later, we got back something rather unexpected and delightful! (see below) :-) ---

[1] https://twitter.com/TylerKurbat/status/623337835228041217
[2] https://goo.gl/photos/JRkDLWg6iKCFp5iF8
We're pretty stoked that a traveler's #GoogleFlights  love led to some fun exchanges and, ultimately, these impressive & creative Doodles from +Kitchen Sink Studios :)

Visit http://goo.gl/jSyHYm to learn more about how this went down and see higher res versions of these neat fan Doodles.
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