Machine Learning Communities: Q2 ‘22 highlights and achievements

Posted by Nari Yoon, Hee Jung, DevRel Community Manager / Soonson Kwon, DevRel Program Manager

Let’s explore highlights and accomplishments of vast Google Machine Learning communities over the second quarter of the year! We are enthusiastic and grateful about all the activities by the global network of ML communities. Here are the highlights!

TensorFlow/Keras

TFUG Agadir hosted #MLReady phase as a part of #30DaysOfML. #MLReady aimed to prepare the attendees with the knowledge required to understand the different types of problems which deep learning can solve, and helped attendees be prepared for the TensorFlow Certificate.

TFUG Taipei hosted the basic Python and TensorFlow courses named From Python to TensorFlow. The aim of these events is to help everyone learn about the basics of Python and TensorFlow, including TensorFlow Hub, TensorFlow API. The event videos are shared every week via Youtube playlist.

TFUG New York hosted Introduction to Neural Radiance Fields for TensorFlow users. The talk included Volume Rendering, 3D view synthesis, and links to a minimal implementation of NeRF using Keras and TensorFlow. In the event, ML GDE Aritra Roy Gosthipaty (India) had a talk focusing on breaking the concepts of the academic paper, NeRF: Representing Scenes as Neural Radiance Fields for View Synthesis into simpler and more ingestible snippets.

TFUG Turkey, GDG Edirne and GDG Mersin organized a TensorFlow Bootcamp 22 and ML GDE M. Yusuf Sarıgöz (Turkey) participated as a speaker, TensorFlow Ecosystem: Get most out of auxiliary packages. Yusuf demonstrated the inner workings of TensorFlow, how variables, tensors and operations interact with each other, and how auxiliary packages are built upon this skeleton.

TFUG Mumbai hosted the June Meetup and 110 folks gathered. ML GDE Sayak Paul (India) and TFUG mentor Darshan Despande shared knowledge through sessions. And ML workshops for beginners went on and participants built up machine learning models without writing a single line of code.

ML GDE Hugo Zanini (Brazil) wrote Realtime SKU detection in the browser using TensorFlow.js. He shared a solution for a well-known problem in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry: real-time and offline SKU detection using TensorFlow.js.

ML GDE Gad Benram (Portugal) wrote Can a couple TensorFlow lines reduce overfitting? He explained how just a few lines of code can generate data augmentations and boost a model’s performance on the validation set.

ML GDE Victor Dibia (USA) wrote How to Build An Android App and Integrate Tensorflow ML Models sharing how to run machine learning models locally on Android mobile devices, How to Implement Gradient Explanations for a HuggingFace Text Classification Model (Tensorflow 2.0) explaining in 5 steps about how to verify the model is focusing on the right tokens to classify text. He also wrote how to finetune a HuggingFace model for text classification, using Tensorflow 2.0.

ML GDE Karthic Rao (India) released a new series ML for JS developers with TFJS. This series is a combination of short portrait and long landscape videos. You can learn how to build a toxic word detector using TensorFlow.js.

ML GDE Sayak Paul (India) implemented the DeiT family of ViT models, ported the pre-trained params into the implementation, and provided code for off-the-shelf inference, fine-tuning, visualizing attention rollout plots, distilling ViT models through attention. (code | pretrained model | tutorial)

ML GDE Sayak Paul (India) and ML GDE Aritra Roy Gosthipaty (India) inspected various phenomena of a Vision Transformer, shared insights from various relevant works done in the area, and provided concise implementations that are compatible with Keras models. They provide tools to probe into the representations learned by different families of Vision Transformers. (tutorial | code)

JAX/Flax

ML GDE Aakash Nain (India) had a special talk, Introduction to JAX for ML GDEs, TFUG organizers and ML community network organizers. He covered the fundamentals of JAX/Flax so that more and more people try out JAX in the near future.

ML GDE Seunghyun Lee (Korea) started a project, Training and Lightweighting Cookbook in JAX/FLAX. This project attempts to build a neural network training and lightweighting cookbook including three kinds of lightweighting solutions, i.e., knowledge distillation, filter pruning, and quantization.

ML GDE Yucheng Wang (China) wrote History and features of JAX and explained the difference between JAX and Tensorflow.

ML GDE Martin Andrews (Singapore) shared a video, Practical JAX : Using Hugging Face BERT on TPUs. He reviewed the Hugging Face BERT code, written in JAX/Flax, being fine-tuned on Google’s Colab using Google TPUs. (Notebook for the video)

ML GDE Soumik Rakshit (India) wrote Implementing NeRF in JAX. He attempts to create a minimal implementation of 3D volumetric rendering of scenes represented by Neural Radiance Fields.

Kaggle

ML GDEs’ Kaggle notebooks were announced as the winner of Google OSS Expert Prize on Kaggle: Sayak Paul and Aritra Roy Gosthipaty’s Masked Image Modeling with Autoencoders in March; Sayak Paul’s Distilling Vision Transformers in April; Sayak Paul & Aritra Roy Gosthipaty’s Investigating Vision Transformer Representations; Soumik Rakshit’s Tensorflow Implementation of Zero-Reference Deep Curve Estimation in May and Aakash Nain’s The Definitive Guide to Augmentation in TensorFlow and JAX in June.

ML GDE Luca Massaron (Italy) published The Kaggle Book with Konrad Banachewicz. This book details competition analysis, sample code, end-to-end pipelines, best practices, and tips & tricks. And in the online event, Luca and the co-author talked about how to compete on Kaggle.

ML GDE Ertuğrul Demir (Turkey) wrote Kaggle Handbook: Fundamentals to Survive a Kaggle Shake-up covering bias-variance tradeoff, validation set, and cross validation approach. In the second post of the series, he showed more techniques using analogies and case studies.

TFUG Chennai hosted ML Study Jam with Kaggle and created study groups for the interested participants. More than 60% of members were active during the whole program and many of them shared their completion certificates.

TFUG Mysuru organizer Usha Rengaraju shared a Kaggle notebook which contains the implementation of the research paper: UNETR – Transformers for 3D Biomedical Image Segmentation. The model automatically segments the stomach and intestines on MRI scans.

TFX

ML GDE Sayak Paul (India) and ML GDE Chansung Park (Korea) shared how to deploy a deep learning model with Docker, Kubernetes, and Github actions, with two promising ways – FastAPI (for REST) and TF Serving (for gRPC).

ML GDE Ukjae Jeong (Korea) and ML Engineers at Karrot Market, a mobile commerce unicorn with 23M users, wrote Why Karrot Uses TFX, and How to Improve Productivity on ML Pipeline Development.

ML GDE Jun Jiang (China) had a talk introducing the concept of MLOps, the production-level end-to-end solutions of Google & TensorFlow, and how to use TFX to build the search and recommendation system & scientific research platform for large-scale machine learning training.

ML GDE Piero Esposito (Brazil) wrote Building Deep Learning Pipelines with Tensorflow Extended. He showed how to get started with TFX locally and how to move a TFX pipeline from local environment to Vertex AI; and provided code samples to adapt and get started with TFX.

TFUG São Paulo (Brazil) had a series of online webinars on TensorFlow and TFX. In the TFX session, they focused on how to put the models into production. They talked about the data structures in TFX and implementation of the first pipeline in TFX: ingesting and validating data.

TFUG Stockholm hosted MLOps, TensorFlow in Production, and TFX covering why, what and how you can effectively leverage MLOps best practices to scale ML efforts and had a look at how TFX can be used for designing and deploying ML pipelines.

Cloud AI

ML GDE Chansung Park (Korea) wrote MLOps System with AutoML and Pipeline in Vertex AI on GCP official blog. He showed how Google Cloud Storage and Google Cloud Functions can help manage data and handle events in the MLOps system.

He also shared the Github repository, Continuous Adaptation with VertexAI’s AutoML and Pipeline. This contains two notebooks to demonstrate how to automate to produce a new AutoML model when the new dataset comes in.

TFUG Northwest (Portland) hosted The State and Future of AI + ML/MLOps/VertexAI lab walkthrough. In this event, ML GDE Al Kari (USA) outlined the technology landscape of AI, ML, MLOps and frameworks. Googler Andrew Ferlitsch had a talk about Google Cloud AI’s definition of the 8 stages of MLOps for enterprise scale production and how Vertex AI fits into each stage. And MLOps engineer Chris Thompson covered how easy it is to deploy a model using the Vertex AI tools.

Research

ML GDE Qinghua Duan (China) released a video which introduces Google’s latest 540 billion parameter model. He introduced the paper PaLM, and described the basic training process and innovations.

ML GDE Rumei LI (China) wrote blog postings reviewing papers, DeepMind’s Flamingo and Google’s PaLM.

Using research to make code review more equitable

Posted by Emerson Murphy-Hill, Research Scientist, Central Product Inclusion, Equity, and Accessibility

At Google, we often study our own software development work as a means to better understand and make improvements to our engineering practices. In a study that we recently published in Communications of the ACM, we describe how code review pushback varies depending on an author’s demographics. Such pushback, defined as “the perception of unnecessary interpersonal conflict in code review while a reviewer is blocking a change request”, turns out to affect some developers more than others.

The study looked at pushback during the code review process and, in short, we found that:

  • Women faced 21% higher odds of pushback than men
  • Black+ developers faced 54% higher odds than White+ developers
  • Latinx+ developers faced 15% higher odds than White+ developers
  • Asian+ developers faced 42% higher odds than White+ developers
  • Older developers faced higher odds of pushback than younger developers

We estimate that this excess pushback roughly costs Google more than 1,000 engineer hours per day – something we’re working to significantly reduce, along with unconscious bias during the review process, through solutions like anonymous code review.

Last year, we explored the effectiveness of anonymous code review by asking 300 developers to do their code reviews without the author’s name at the top. Through this research, we found that code review times and review quality appeared consistent with and without anonymous review. We also found that, for certain types of review, it was more difficult for reviewers to guess the code’s author. To give you an idea, here’s what anonymous code review looks like today at Google in the Critique code review tool:

In the screenshot above, changelist author names are replaced by anonymous animals, like in Google Docs, helping reviewers focus more on the code changes and less on the people making those changes.

At Google, we strive to ensure there is equity in all that we do, including in our engineering processes and tools. Through continued experimentation with anonymous code review, we’re hoping to reduce gaps in pushback faced by developers from different demographic groups. And through this work, we want to inspire other companies to take a hard look at their own code reviews and to consider adopting anonymous author code review as part of their process as well.

In the long run, we expect that increasing equity in developers’ experience will help Google – and our industry – make meaningful progress towards an inclusive development experience for all.

Migrating from App Engine Memcache to Cloud Memorystore (Module 13)

Posted by Wesley Chun (@wescpy), Developer Advocate, Google Cloud

Introduction and background

The previous Module 12 episode of the Serverless Migration Station video series demonstrated how to add App Engine Memcache usage to an existing app that has transitioned from the webapp2 framework to Flask. Today’s Module 13 episode continues its modernization by demonstrating how to migrate that app from Memcache to Cloud Memorystore. Moving from legacy APIs to standalone Cloud services makes apps more portable and provides an easier transition from Python 2 to 3. It also makes it possible to shift to other Cloud compute platforms should that be desired or advantageous. Developers benefit from upgrading to modern language releases and gain added flexibility in application-hosting options.

While App Engine Memcache provides a basic, low-overhead, serverless caching service, Cloud Memorystore “takes it to the next level” as a standalone product. Rather than a proprietary caching engine, Cloud Memorystore gives users the option to select from a pair of open source engines, Memcached or Redis, each of which provides additional features unavailable from App Engine Memcache. Cloud Memorystore is typically more cost efficient at-scale, offers high availability, provides automatic backups, etc. On top of this, one Memorystore instance can be used across many applications as well as incorporates improvements to memory handling, configuration tuning, etc., gained from experience managing a huge fleet of Redis and Memcached instances.

While Memcached is more similar to Memcache in usage/features, Redis has a much richer set of data structures that enable powerful application functionality if utilized. Redis has also been recognized as the most loved database by developers in StackOverflow’s annual developers survey, and it’s a great skill to pick up. For these reasons, we chose Redis as the caching engine for our sample app. However, if your apps’ usage of App Engine Memcache is deeper or more complex, a migration to Cloud Memorystore for Memcached may be a better option as a closer analog to Memcache.

Migrating to Cloud Memorystore for Redis featured video


Performing the migration

The sample application registers individual web page “visits,” storing visitor information such as IP address and user agent. In the original app, the most recent visits are cached into Memcache for an hour and used for display if the same user continuously refreshes their browser during this period; caching is a one way to counter this abuse. New visitors or cache expiration results new visits as well as updating the cache with the most recent visits. Such functionality must be preserved when migrating to Cloud Memorystore for Redis.

Below is pseudocode representing the core part of the app that saves new visits and queries for the most recent visits. Before, you can see how the most recent visits are cached into Memcache. After completing the migration, the underlying caching infrastructure has been swapped out in favor of Memorystore (via language-specific Redis client libraries). In this migration, we chose Redis version 5.0, and we recommend the latest versions, 5.0 and 6.x at the time of this writing, as the newest releases feature additional performance benefits, fixes to improve availability, and so on. In the code snippets below, notice how the calls between both caching systems are nearly identical. The bolded lines represent the migration-affected code managing the cached data.

Switching from App Engine Memcache to Cloud Memorystore for Redis

Wrap-up

The migration covered begins with the Module 12 sample app (“START”). Migrating the caching system to Cloud Memorystore and other requisite updates results in the Module 13 sample app (“FINISH”) along with an optional port to Python 3. To practice this migration on your own to help prepare for your own migrations, follow the codelab to do it by-hand while following along in the video.

While the code migration demonstrated seems straightforward, the most critical change is that Cloud Memorystore requires dedicated server instances. For this reason, a Serverless VPC connector is also needed to connect your App Engine app to those Memorystore instances, requiring more dedicated servers. Furthermore, neither Cloud Memorystore nor Cloud VPC are free services, and neither has an “Always free” tier quota. Before moving forward this migration, check the pricing documentation for Cloud Memorystore for Redis and Serverless VPC access to determine cost considerations before making a commitment.

One key development that may affect your decision: In Fall 2021, the App Engine team extended support of many of the legacy bundled services like Memcache to next-generation runtimes, meaning you are no longer required to migrate to Cloud Memorystore when porting your app to Python 3. You can continue using Memcache even when upgrading to 3.x so long as you retrofit your code to access bundled services from next-generation runtimes.

A move to Cloud Memorystore and today’s migration techniques will be here if and when you decide this is the direction you want to take for your App Engine apps. All Serverless Migration Station content (codelabs, videos, source code [when available]) can be accessed at its open source repo. While our content initially focuses on Python users, we plan to cover other language runtimes, so stay tuned. For additional video content, check out our broader Serverless Expeditions series.

Reach global markets as a Recommended for Google Workspace app

Posted by Elena Kingbo, Program Manager, Google Workspace

Today we announced our 2022 Recommended for Google Workspace apps. This program offers a distinct way for third-party developers to better reach Google Workspace users and attract new customers to their apps. So, for those developers who may be interested in it in the future, we wanted to walk through the basics of what the program is and how to apply for it.

What is the Google Workspace Marketplace?

The Google Workspace Marketplace is the first place Google Workspace administrators and users look when they want to extend or enhance their Google Workspace experience. The Marketplace can be accessed within most first-party Google Workspace apps, including Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Calendar, and Classroom, as well as at workspace.google.com/marketplace.

Launch Marketplace from your favorite Google Workspace app by clicking the “+”.

The Google Workspace Marketplace is the first place Google Workspace administrators and users look when they want to extend or enhance their Google Workspace experience. The Marketplace can be accessed within most first-party Google Workspace apps, including Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Calendar, and Classroom, as well as at workspace.google.com/marketplace.

Developers who want to build and deploy apps to the Marketplace can either use their own preferred coding language or leverage Google Apps Script, our serverless platform. You can learn more about building apps and publishing them to the Marketplace in our developer documentation.

What is the Recommended for Google Workspace program?

The Recommended for Google Workspace program identifies and promotes a select number of Google Workspace applications that are secure, reliable, well-integrated with Google Workspace, and loved by users.

Partners who submit their apps will be evaluated based on the quality of their solution, their strategic investment in Google Workspace integrations, and security and privacy posture. In addition, all partners will be required to complete a third-party security assessment in the final stage of the assessment. You can sign up for our Google Workspace developers newsletter to be notified when the next application window opens up.

What it means to be a Recommended app

Google Workspace customers are often looking for high-quality, secure apps they can install to enhance their Workspace experience. Since recommended apps have exceeded our highest security and reliability standards, they are the first apps we recommend to customers and among the first apps users see when they visit the Marketplace. Recommended partners will also receive new and enhanced benefits, including technical advisory services and early access to APIs.

There have been more than 4.8 billion app installs on the Marketplace. These apps are an integral part of the Google Workspace experience and users are continually looking for new ways to extend the value of Google Workspace. Creating a Google Workspace app is a fantastic opportunity for innovative developers interested in enhancing the Google Workspace experience. And, for those developers who truly want to be set apart as a trusted app on the Marketplace, the Recommended for Google Workspace program offers an unique way to reach new customers.

Explore our Recommended for Google Workspace apps on the Google Workspace Marketplace.

South African developers build web application to help local athletes

Posted by Aniedi Udo-Obong, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Lead, Google Developer Groups

Lesego Ndlovu and Simon Mokgotlhoa have stayed friends since they were eight years old, trading GameBoy cartridges and playing soccer. They live three houses away from each other in Soweto, the biggest township in South Africa, with over one million residents. The two friends have always been fascinated by technology, and by the time the duo attended university, they wanted to start a business together that would also help their community.

Lesego Ndlovu and Simon Mokgotlhoa sitting at a desk on their computers

After teaching themselves to code and attending Google Developer Groups (GDG) events in Johannesburg, they built a prototype and launched a chapter of their own (GDG Soweto) to teach other new developers how to code and build technology careers.

Building an app to help their community

Lesego and Simon wanted to build an application that would help the talented soccer players in their community get discovered and recruited by professional soccer teams. To do that, they had to learn to code.

Lesego Ndlovu and Simon Mokgotlhoa holding their phones towards the screen showcasing the Ball Talent app

“We always played soccer, and we saw talented players not get discovered, so, given our interest in sports and passion for technology, we wanted to make something that could change that narrative,” Lesego says. “We watched videos on the Chrome Developers YouTube channel and learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but we didn’t know how to make an app, deliver a product, or start a business. Our tech journey became a business journey. We learned about the code as the business grew. It’s been a great journey.”

After many all-nighters learning frontend development using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and working on their project, they built BallTalent, a Progressive Web App (PWA), that helps local soccer players in their neighborhood get discovered by professional soccer clubs. They record games in their neighborhood and upload them to the app, so clubs can identify new talent.

“We tested our prototype with people, and it seemed like they really loved it, which pushed us to keep coding and improving on the project,” says Simon. “The application is currently focused on soccer, but it’s built it in a way that it can focus on other sports.”

In 2019, when BallTalent launched, the project placed in the top 5 of one of South Africa’s most prestigious competitions, Diageo Social Tech Startup Challenge. BallTalent has helped local soccer players match with professional teams, benefiting the community. Simon and Lesego plan to release version two soon, with a goal of expanding to other sports.

Learning to code with web technologies and resources

Lesego and Simon chose to watch the Chrome Developers YouTube channel to learn to code, because it was free, accessible, and taught programming in ways that were easy to understand. Preferring to continue to use free Google tools because of their availability and ease of use, Lesego and Simon used Google developer tools on Chrome to build and test the BallTalent app, which is hosted on Google Cloud Platform.

BallTalent Shows Youth Talent to the Worlds Best Scouts and Clubs

They used NodeJS as their backend runtime environment to stay within the Google ecosystem–NodeJS is powered by the V8 JavaScript engine, which is developed by the Chromium Project. They used a service worker codelab from Google to allow users to install the BallTalent PWA and see partial content, even without an internet connection.

We are focused on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, frontend frameworks like Angular, and Cloud tools like Firebase, to be able to equip people with the knowledge of how to set up an application,” says Simon.

Moving gif of soccer players playing on a soccer field

BallTalent shares sample footage of a previous match: Mangaung United Vs Bizana Pondo Chiefs, during the ABC Motsepe Play Offs

“Google has been with us the whole way,” says Simon.

Contributing to the Google Developer community

Because of their enthusiasm for web technologies and positive experience learning to code using Google tools, Lesego and Simon were enthusiastic about joining a Google Developer Community. They became regular members at GDG Johannesburg and went to DevFest South Africa in 2018, where they got inspired to start their own GDG chapter in Soweto. The chapter focuses on frontend development to meet the needs of a largely beginner developer membership and has grown to 500+ members.

Looking forward to continued growth

The duo is now preparing to launch the second version of their BallTalent app, which gives back to their community by pairing local soccer talent with professional teams seeking players. In addition, they’re teaching new developers in their township how to build their own apps, building community and creating opportunities for new developers. Google Developer Groups are local community groups for developers interested in learning new skills, teaching others, and connecting with other developers. We encourage you to join us, and if you’re interested in becoming a GDG organizer like Simon and Lesego, we encourage you to apply.

Finding courage and inspiration in the developer community

Posted by Monika Janota

How do we empower women in tech and equip them with the skills to help them become true leaders? One way is learning from others’ successes and failures. Web GDEs—Debbie O’Brien, Julia Miocene, and Glafira Zhur—discuss the value of one to one mentoring and the impact it has made on their own professional and personal development.

A 2019 study showed that only 25% of keynote speakers at tech events are women, meanwhile 70% of female speakers mentioned being the only woman on a conference panel. One way of changing that is by running programs and workshops with the aim of empowering women and providing them with the relevant soft skills training, including public speaking, content creation, and leadership. Among such programs are the Women Developer Academy (WDA) and the Road to GDE, both run by Google’s developer communities.

With more than 1000 graduates around the world, WDA is a program run by Women Techmakers for professional IT practitioners. To equip women in tech with speaking and presentation skills, along with confidence and courage, training sessions, workshops, and mentoring meetings are organized. Road to GDE, on the other hand, is a three-month mentoring program created to support people from historically underrepresented groups in tech on their path to becoming experts. What makes both programs special is the fact that they’re based on a unique connection between mentor and mentee, direct knowledge sharing, and an individualized approach.

Photo of Julia Miocene speaking at a conference Julia Miocene

Some Web GDE community members have had a chance to be part of the mentoring programs for women as both mentors and mentees. Frontend developers Julia Miocene and Glafira Zhur are relatively new to the GDE program. They became Google Developers Experts in October 2021 and January 2022 respectively, after graduating from the first edition of both the Women Developer Academy and the Road to GDE; whilst Debbie O’Brien has been a member of the community and an active mentor for both programs for several years. They have all shared their experiences with the programs in order to encourage other women in tech to believe in themselves, take a chance, and to become true leaders.

Different paths, one goal

Although all three share an interest in frontend development, each has followed a very different path. Glafira Zhur, now a team leader with 12 years of professional experience, originally planned to become a musician, but decided to follow her other passion instead. A technology fan thanks to her father, she was able to reinstall Windows at the age of 11. Julia Miocene, after more than ten years in product design, was really passionate about CSS. She became a GDE because she wanted to work with Chrome and DevTools. Debbie is a Developer Advocate working in the frontend area, with a strong passion for user experience and performance. For her, mentoring is a way of giving back to the community, helping other people achieve their dreams, and become the programmers they want to be. At one point while learning JavaScript, she was so discouraged she wanted to give it up, but her mentor convinced her she could be successful. Now she’s returning the favor.

Photo of Debbie O'Brien and another woman in a room smiling at the camera

Debbie O’Brien

As GDEs, Debbie, Glafira, and Julia all mention that the most valuable part of becoming experts is the chance to meet people with similar interests in technology, to network, and to provide early feedback for the web team. Mentoring, on the other hand, enables them to create, it boosts their confidence and empowers them to share their skills and knowledge—regardless of whether they’re a mentor or a mentee.

Sharing knowledge

A huge part of being a mentee in Google’s programs is learning how to share knowledge with other developers and help them in the most effective way. Many WDA and Road to GDE participants become mentors themselves. According to Julia, it’s important to remember that a mentor is not a teacher—they are much more. The aim of mentoring, she says, is to create something together, whether it’s an idea, a lasting connection, a piece of knowledge, or a plan for the future.

Glafira mentioned that she learned to perceive social media in a new way—as a hub for sharing knowledge, no matter how small the piece of advice might seem. It’s because, she says, even the shortest Tweet may help someone who’s stuck on a technical issue that they might not be able to resolve without such content being available online. Every piece of knowledge is valuable. Glafira adds that, “Social media is now my tool, I can use it to inspire people, invite them to join the activities I organize. It’s not only about sharing rough knowledge, but also my energy.”

Working with mentors who have successfully built an audience for their own channels allows the participants to learn more about the technical aspects of content creation—how to choose topics that might be interesting for readers, set up the lighting in the studio, or prepare an engaging conference speech.

Learning while teaching

From the other side of the mentor—mentee relationship, Debbie O’Brien says the best thing about mentoring is seeing the mentees grow and succeed: “We see in them something they can’t see in themselves, we believe in them, and help guide them to achieve their goals. The funny thing is that sometimes the advice we give them is also useful for ourselves, so as mentors we end up learning a lot from the experience too.”

TV screenin a room showing and image od Glafira Zhur

Glafira Zhur

Both Glafira and Julia state that they’re willing to mentor other women on their way to success. Asked what is the most important learning from a mentorship program, they mention confidence—believing in yourself is something they want for every female developer out there.

Growing as a part of the community

Both Glafira and Julia mentioned that during the programs they met many inspiring people from their local developer communities. Being able to ask others for help, share insights and doubts, and get feedback was a valuable lesson for both women.

Mentors may become role models for the programs’ participants. Julia mentioned how important it was for her to see someone else succeed and follow in their footsteps, to map out exactly where you want to be professionally, and how you can get there. This means learning not just from someone else’s failures, but also from their victories and achievements.

Networking within the developer community is also a great opportunity to grow your audience by visiting other contributors’ podcasts and YouTube channels. Glafira recalls that during the Academy, she received multiple invites and had an opportunity to share her knowledge on different channels.

Overall, what’s even more important than growing your audience is finding your own voice. As Debbie states: “We need more women speaking at conferences, sharing knowledge online, and being part of the community. So I encourage you all to be brave and follow your dreams. I believe in you, so now it’s time to start believing in yourself.”

How to use App Engine Memcache in Flask apps (Module 12)

Posted by Wesley Chun

Background

In our ongoing Serverless Migration Station series aimed at helping developers modernize their serverless applications, one of the key objectives for Google App Engine developers is to upgrade to the latest language runtimes, such as from Python 2 to 3 or Java 8 to 17. Another objective is to help developers learn how to move away from App Engine legacy APIs (now called “bundled services”) to Cloud standalone equivalent services. Once this has been accomplished, apps are much more portable, making them flexible enough to:

In today’s Module 12 video, we’re going to start our journey by implementing App Engine’s Memcache bundled service, setting us up for our next move to a more complete in-cloud caching service, Cloud Memorystore. Most apps typically rely on some database, and in many situations, they can benefit from a caching layer to reduce the number of queries and improve response latency. In the video, we add use of Memcache to a Python 2 app that has already migrated web frameworks from webapp2 to Flask, providing greater portability and execution options. More importantly, it paves the way for an eventual 3.x upgrade because the Python 3 App Engine runtime does not support webapp2. We’ll cover both the 3.x and Cloud Memorystore ports next in Module 13.

Got an older app needing an update? We can help with that.

Adding use of Memcache

The sample application registers individual web page “visits,” storing visitor information such as the IP address and user agent. In the original app, these values are stored immediately, and then the most recent visits are queried to display in the browser. If the same user continuously refreshes their browser, each refresh constitutes a new visit. To discourage this type of abuse, we cache the same user’s visit for an hour, returning the same cached list of most recent visits unless a new visitor arrives or an hour has elapsed since their initial visit.

Below is pseudocode representing the core part of the app that saves new visits and queries for the most recent visits. Before, you can see how each visit is registered. After the update, the app attempts to fetch these visits from the cache. If cached results are available and “fresh” (within the hour), they’re used immediately, but if cache is empty, or a new visitor arrives, the current visit is stored as before, and this latest collection of visits is cached for an hour. The bolded lines represent the new code that manages the cached data.

Adding App Engine Memcache usage to sample app

Wrap-up

Today’s “migration” began with the Module 1 sample app. We added a Memcache-based caching layer and arrived at the finish line with the Module 12 sample app. To practice this on your own, follow the codelab doing it by-hand while following the video. The Module 12 app will then be ready to upgrade to Cloud Memorystore should you choose to do so.

In Fall 2021, the App Engine team extended support of many of the bundled services to next-generation runtimes, meaning you are no longer required to migrate to Cloud Memorystore when porting your app to Python 3. You can continue using Memcache in your Python 3 app so long as you retrofit the code to access bundled services from next-generation runtimes.

If you do want to move to Cloud Memorystore, stay tuned for the Module 13 video or try its codelab to get a sneak peek. All Serverless Migration Station content (codelabs, videos, source code [when available]) can be accessed at its open source repo. While our content initially focuses on Python users, we hope to one day cover other language runtimes, so stay tuned. For additional video content, check out our broader Serverless Expeditions series.

Celebrating leaders in AAPI communities

Posted by Google Developer Studio

In recognition of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, we are speaking with mentors and leaders in tech and who identify as part of the AAPI community. Many of the influential figures we feature are involved with and help champion inclusivity programs like Google Developer Experts and Google Developer Student Clubs, while others work on leading in product areas like TensorFlow and drive impact through their line of work and communities.

On that note, we are honoring this year’s theme of “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration” by learning more about the power of mentorship, advice they’ve received from other leaders, and their biggest accomplishments.

Read more about leads in the AAPI community below.

Ben Hong

Senior Staff Developer Experience Engineer at Netlify

What’s the best piece of advice you can offer new/junior developers looking to grow into leadership roles?

There is a lot of advice out there on how to get the most out of your career by climbing the ladder and getting leadership roles. Before you embark on that journey, first ask yourself the question “Why do I want this?”

Becoming a leader comes with a lot of glitz and glamor, but the reality is that it carries a huge weight of responsibility because the decisions and actions you take as a leader will impact the lives of those around you in significant ways you can’t foresee.

As a result, the key to becoming the best leader you can be is to:

  1. Establish what your values and principles are
  2. Align them to the actions you take each and every day

Because at the end of the day, leaders are often faced with difficult decisions that lead to an uncertain future. And without core values and principles to guide you as an individual, you run the risk of being easily swayed by short term trade offs that could result in a long term loss.

This world needs leaders who can stand their ground against the temptations of short-term wins and make the best decisions they can while fighting for those that follow them. If you stand firm in your values and listen to those around you, you’ll be able to create profound impact in your community.

Taha Bouhsine

Data Scientist and GDSCUIZ Lead

What’s the best piece of advice you can offer new/junior developers looking to grow into leadership roles?

Create a journey worth taking. You will face many challenges and a new set of problems. You will start asking a lot of questions as everything seems to be unfamiliar.

Things get much lighter if you are guided by a mentor, as you will get guidance on how to act in this new chapter of life. In your early days, invest as much as you can in building and nurturing a team, as it will save you a lot of time along the road. Surround yourself with real people who take the initiative, get to the action, and are willing to grow and learn, nurture their skills and guide them towards your common goal. Don’t try to be a people pleaser as it’s an impossible mission.

Your actions will offend some people one way or the other. That’s ok as you should believe in your mission, create a clear plan with well-defined tasks and milestones, and be firm with your decision. In the end, responsibility is yours to bear, so at least take it on something you decided, not something that was forced upon you by others.

Finally, when there is fire, look for ways to put it out. Take care of your soul, and enjoy the journey!

Huyen Tue Dao

Android Developer, Trello

What do you love most about being a part of the developer community?

It has been the most rewarding and critical part of my career to meet other developers, learning and sharing knowledge and getting to know them as human beings.

Development is a job of constant learning, whether it is the latest technology, trends, issues, and challenges or the day-to-day intricacies and nuances of writing specialized code and solving problems in efficient and elegant ways. I don’t think I’d have the tools to solve issues large and small without the sharing of knowledge and experience of the developer community. If you’re having a problem of any kind, chances are that someone has had the same challenges. You can take comfort that you can probably find the answer or at least find people that can help you. You can also feel confident that if you discovered something new or learned important lessons, someone will want to hear what you have to say.

I love seeing and being part of this cycle and interchange; as we pool our experience, our knowledge, and insights, we become stronger and more skilled as a community. I would not be the engineer or person that I am without the opportunities of this exchange.

Just as important, though, is the camaraderie and support of those who do what I do and love it. I have been so fortunate to have been in communities that have been open and welcoming, ready to make connections and form networks, eager to celebrate victories and commiserate with challenges. Regardless of the technical and personal challenges of the everyday that may get to me, there are people that understand and can support me and provide brilliantly diverse perspectives of different industries, countries, cultures, and ages.

Malak Magdy Ali

Google Developer Student Club Lead at Canadian International College, Egypt

What’s the best piece of advice you can offer new/junior developers looking to grow into leadership roles?

The best piece of advice I can give to new leaders is to have empathy. Having empathy will make you understand people’s actions and respect their feelings. This will make for stronger teams.

Also, give others a space to lead. Involve your team in making decisions; they come up with great ideas that can help you and teammates learn from each other. In this process, trust is also built, resulting in a better quality product.

Finally, don’t underestimate yourself. Do your best and involve your team to discuss the overall quality of your work and let them make recommendations.

Introducing the Google Meet Live Sharing SDK

Posted by Mai Lowe, Product Manager & Ken Cenerelli, Technical Writer

The Google Meet Live Sharing SDK is in preview. To use the SDK, developers can apply for access through our Early Access Program.

Today at Google I/O 2022, we announced new functionality for app developers to leverage the Google Meet video conferencing product through our new Meet Live Sharing SDK. Users can now come together and share experiences with each other inside an app, such as streaming a TV show, queuing up videos to watch on YouTube, collaborating on a music playlist, joining in a dance party, or working out together though Google Meet. This SDK joins the large set of offerings available to developers under the Google Workspace Platform.

Partners like YouTube, Heads Up!, UNO!™ Mobile, and Kahoot! are already integrating our SDK into their applications so that their users can participate in these new, shared interactive experiences later this year.

Supports multiple use cases

The Live Sharing SDK allows developers to sync content across devices in real time and incorporate Meet into their apps, enabling them to bring new, fun, and genuinely connecting experiences to their users. It’s also a great way to reach new audiences as current users can introduce your app to friends and family.

The SDK supports two key use cases:

  • Co-Watching—Syncs streaming app content across devices in real time, and allows users to take turns sharing videos and playing the latest hits from their favorite artist. This allows for users to share controls such as starting and pausing a video, or selecting new content in the app.
  • Co-Doing—Syncs arbitrary app content, allowing users to get together to perform an activity like playing video games or follow the same workout regime.


The co-watching and co-doing APIs are independent but can be used in parallel with each other.


Example workflow illustration of a user starting live sharing within an app using the Live Sharing SDK.


Get started

To learn more, watch our I/O 2022 session on the Google Meet Live Sharing SDK and check out the documentation for the Android version.

If you want to try out the SDK, developers can apply for access through our Early Access Program.

What’s next?

We’re also continuing to improve features by working to build the video-content experience you want to bring to your users. For more announcements like this and for info about the Google Workspace Platform and APIs, subscribe to our developer newsletter.

Now in Developer Preview: Create Spaces and Add Members with the Google Chat API

Posted by Mike Rhemtulla, Product Manager & Charles Maxson, Developer Advocate

The Google Chat API updates are in developer preview. To use the API, developers can apply for access through our Google Workspace Developer Preview Program.

In Google Chat, Spaces serve as a central place for team collaboration—instead of starting an email chain or scheduling a meeting, teams can move conversations and collaboration into a space, giving everybody the ability to stay connected, reference team or project info and revisit work asynchronously.

Programmatically create and populate Google Chat spaces

We are pleased to announce that you can programmatically create new Spaces and add members on behalf of users, through the Google Workspace Developer Preview Program via the Google Chat API.

These latest additions to the Chat API unlock some sought after scenarios for developers looking to add new dimensions to how they can leverage Chat. For example, organizations that need to create Spaces based on various business needs will now be able to do so programmatically. This will open up the door for Chat solutions that can build out Spaces modeled to represent new teams, projects, working groups, or whatever the specific use case may be that can benefit from automatically creating new Spaces.

Coming soon, example from an early developer preview partner

One of our developer preview partners, PagerDuty, is already leveraging the API as part of their upcoming release of PagerDuty for Google Chat. The app will allow users of their incident management solution to take quick actions around an incident with the right team members needed. PagerDuty for Chat will allow the incident team to isolate and focus on the problem at hand without being distracted by having to set up a new space, or further distract any folks in the current space who aren’t a part of the resolution team for a specific incident. All of this will be done seamlessly through PagerDuty for Chat as part of the natural flow of working with Google Chat.

Example of how a Chat app with the new APIs can enable users to easily create new Spaces and add members to an incident.

Learn more and get started

As you can imagine, there are many use cases that show off the potential of what you can build with the Chat API and the new Create methods. Whether it’s creating Spaces with specified members or extending Chat apps that spawn off new collaboration Spaces for use with help desk, HR, sales, customer support or any endless number of scenarios, we encourage you to explore what you can do today.

How to get started:

Building better products for new internet users

Since the launch of Google’s Next Billion Users (NBU) initiative in 2015, nearly 3 billion people worldwide came online for the very first time. In the next four years, we expect another 1.2 billion new internet users, and building for and with these users allows us to build better for the rest of the world.

For this year’s I/O, the NBU team has created sessions that will showcase how organizations can address representation bias in data, learn how new users experience the web, and understand Africa’s fast-growing developer ecosystem to drive digital inclusion and equity in the world around us.

We invite you to join these developers sessions and hear perspectives on how to build for the next billion users. Together, we can make technology helpful, relevant, and inclusive for people new to the internet.

Session: Building for everyone: the importance of representative data

Mike Knapp, Hannah Highfill and Emila Yang from Google’s Next Billion Users team, in partnership with Ben Hutchinson from Google’s Responsible AI team, will be leading a session on how to crowdsource data to build more inclusive products.

Data gathering is often the most overlooked aspect of AI, yet the data used for machine learning directly impacts a project’s success and lasting potential. Many organizations—Google included—struggle to gather the right datasets required to build inclusively and equitably for the next billion users. “We are going to talk about a very experimental product and solution to building more inclusive technology,” says Knapp of his session. “Google is testing a paid crowdsourcing app [Task Mate] to better serve underrepresented communities. This tool enables developers to reach ‘crowds’ in previously underrepresented regions. It is an incredible step forward in the mission to create more inclusive technology.”

Bookmark this session to your I/O developer profile.

Session: What we can learn from the internet’s newest users

“The first impression that your product makes matters,” says Nicole Naurath, Sr. UX Researcher – Next Billion Users at Google. “It can either spark curiosity and engagement, or confuse your audience.”

Everyday, thousands of people are coming online for the first time. Their experience can be directly impacted by how familiar they are with technology. People with limited digital experience, or novice internet users, experience the web differently and sometimes developers are not used to building for them. Design elements such as images, icons, and colors play a key role in digital experience. If images are not relatable, icons are irrelevant, and colors are not grounded in cultural context, the experience can confuse anyone, especially someone new to the internet.

Nicole Naurath and Neha Malhotra, from Google’s Next Billion Users team, will be leading the session on what we can learn from the internet’s newest users, how users experience the web and share a framework for evaluating products that work for novice internet users.”

Bookmark this session to your I/O developer profile.

Session: Africa’s booming developer ecosystem

Software developers are the catalyst for digital transformation in Africa. They empower local communities, spark growth for businesses, and drive innovation in a continent which more than 1.3 billion people call home. Demand for African developers reached an all-time high last year, driven by both local and remote opportunities, and is growing even faster than the continent’s developer population.

Andy Volk and John Kimani from the Developer and Startup Ecosystem team in Sub-Saharan Africa will share findings from the Africa Developer Ecosystem 2021 report.

In their words, “This session is for anyone who wants to find out more about how African developers are building for the world or who is curious to find out more about this fast-growing opportunity on the continent. We are presenting trends, case studies and new research from Google and its partners to illustrate how people and organizations are coming together to support the rapid growth of the developer ecosystem.”

Bookmark this session to your I/O developer profile.

To learn more about Google’s Next Billion Users initiative, visit nextbillionusers.google

How GDSC students are using their skills to support communities in Ukraine

Posted by Laura Cincera, Program Manager Google Developer Student Clubs, Europe

Revealing character in moments of crisis

The conflict in Ukraine is a humanitarian crisis that presents complex challenges. During this time of uncertainty, communities of student developers are demonstrating extraordinary leadership skills and empathy as they come together to support those affected by the ongoing situation. Student Patricijia Čerkaitė and her Google Developer Student Club (GDSC) community at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands organized Code4Ukraine, an international hackathon that brought diverse groups of over 80 student developers together on March 3-4, 2022, to develop technology solutions to support people affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

Even far from the conflict in the Netherlands, they felt compelled to make an impact. “I have relatives in Ukraine; they live in Crimea,” says Patricijia. “In my childhood, I used to spend summer holidays there, eating ice cream and swimming in the Black Sea.”

Patricijia sitting at desk in black chair looking back and smiling

Patricijia working on the details for Code4Ukraine.

Rushing to help others in need with technology

Time was of the essence. The organizing team in Eindhoven contacted other students, connected with communities near and far, and sprang into action. The team invited Ukrainian Google Developer Expert Artem Nikulchenko to share his technology knowledge and first-hand experience of what is happening in his country. Students discussed issues faced by Ukrainians, reviewed problems citizens faced, and ideated around technology-centric solutions. Feelings of exasperation, frustration, and most importantly, hope became lines of code. Together, students built solutions to answer the call: Code4Ukraine.

Blue and yellow emblem that says Code 4 Ukraine

Then, gradually, through a collaborative effort, problem solving, and hours of hard work, the winners of the Code4Ukraine Hackathon emerged: Medicine Warriors, a project built by a diverse, cross-cultural group of undergraduate students and IT professionals from Ukraine, Poland, and Georgia, aiming to address the insulin shortage in Ukraine. The project gathers publicly available data from Ukrainian government notices on insulin availability across Ukraine and presents it in an easily readable way.

Photograph of the Medicine Warriors application design

Photograph of the Medicine Warriors application design

Helping: at the heart of their community

One member of the winning team is the GDSC chapter lead at the National Technical University of Ukraine Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Ekaterina Gricaenko. “In Ukraine, there is a saying: ‘друг пізнається в біді,’ which translates to, ‘you will know who your friends are when the rough times arrive,’” says Ekaterina. “And now, I can say that the GDSC community is definitely on my family list.”

Photograph of Ekaterina Gricaenko, GDSC Lead

Ekaterina Gricaenko, GDSC Lead, Kyiv Polytechnic Institute

The Code4Ukraine initiative’s goal of bringing others together to make an impact offers a prime example of what the Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) program aims to achieve: empowering student developers in universities to impact their communities through technology.

Reflecting on her experience leading the Kyiv GDSC chapter, Ekaterina says, “I started my journey with GDSC as a Core Team member, and during that time, I fell in love with our community, goals, and key concepts. Then, I decided to become a lead, to share my enthusiasm and support students as they pursue their professional dreams.

The Kyiv GDSC has organized over 18 workshops, written over 200 articles, run multiple study groups, and reached over a thousand followers on social media. “It’s incredible to realize how far we have come,” Ekaterina says.

A visual collage displays multiple activities organized by GDSC KPI

A visual collage displays multiple activities organized by GDSC KPI, led by Ekaterina Gricaenko.

Getting involved in your community

Through efforts like Code4Ukraine and other inspiring solutions like the 2022 Solution Challenge, students globally are giving communities hope as they tackle challenges and propose technical solutions. By joining a GDSC, students can grow their knowledge in a peer-to-peer learning environment and put theory into practice by building projects that solve for community problems and make a significant impact.

Photo of students in class in the upper right hand corner with a sign in the center that says Become a leader at your university

Learn more about Google Developer Student Clubs

If you feel inspired to make a positive change through technology, applications for GDSC leads for the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year are now open. Students can apply at goo.gle/gdsc-leads. If you’re passionate about technology and are ready to use your skills to help your student developer community, then you should consider becoming a Google Developer Student Clubs Lead!

We encourage all interested students to apply here and submit their applications as soon as possible. The applications in Europe will be open until 31st May 2022.