Posted by Jeannie Zhang and Kevin Po; Product Managers, Nest
As the smart home industry prepares for a major shift in usability and interoperability with Matter launching later this year, we are working to help you build more devices and connections with Google products and beyond.
At Google I/O this year, we shared updates on how Google is continuing to support smart home developers, including the launch of our new and improved Google Home Developer Center. Today, we are excited to share that the Google Home Developer Console is now in Developer Preview at console.home.google.com.
What is the Google Home Developer Console?
The Google Home Developer Console is a guided flow for developers looking to integrate with Google. It provides everything needed to build intelligent and innovative smart home products with Matter. By simplifying the process of building Matter-enabled smart home products, you can spend more time innovating with your devices and less time on the basics.
The console is a part of the Google Home Developer Center we announced earlier this year; the go-to starting place for anyone interested in developing smart home devices and apps with Google.
Google Home Device SDK
Along with this new console, we have also released two new software development kits to make building Matter devices with Google easier. We’ve created the Google Home Device SDK, which extends the open-source Matter SDK with development, testing, and go-to market tools; making it the fastest and easiest way to build Matter devices.
Created with both new and experienced smart home developers in mind, the Google Home Device SDK has tools such as code samples, code labs and a Matter virtual device to help you start building, integrating and testing your Matter devices with Google easily.
At I/O this year, we announced Intelligence Clusters, which will allow you to access Google intelligence about the home locally and directly on your Matter devices, using a similar structure to clusters within Matter. To protect the privacy and security of our users, we have built guardrails into our Intelligence Clusters, beginning with Home & Away, to ensure that user information is always encrypted, processed locally, and only with user consent and visibility. You can learn more about these guardrails and fill out our interest form here.
Google Home Mobile SDK
Apps are invaluable to the user experience for your devices, so we have also deployed the Google Home Mobile SDK, a tool to build Android Apps that connect directly with Matter devices. Our mobile SDK streamlines the setup process, creating a more consistent and reliable experience for Android users. These APIs make it easier to set up devices in your app, Google Home, and third party ecosystems, and to share devices with other ecosystems and apps.
Why build with Google?
Even with Matter making interoperability the standard, determining the best platform for your smart devices is still an important consideration. Google’s end-to-end tools for Matter devices and apps complement your existing development platforms, accelerate time-to-market for your devices, improve reliability, and let you differentiate with Google Home while having interoperability with other Matter platforms.
Looking to get started building with Matter? Before hopping into the Google Home Developer Console, head over to our Get Started page to gather all the information you need to know before building.
We’re committed to supporting smart home developers that build and innovate with Google, by providing easy and high-quality resources. The latest tools are just an example of our ongoing commitment to be partners in this industry. We can’t wait to see what you build!
Posted by Kevin Hernandez, , Developer Relations Community Manager
Kevin Davin speaking at the SnowCamp Conference in 2019
Kevin Davin has always had a passion for learning and helping others learn, no matter their background or unique challenges they may face. He explains, “I want to learn something new every day, I want to help others learn, and I’m addicted to learning.” This mantra is evident in everything he does from giving talks at numerous conferences to helping people from underrepresented groups overcome imposter syndrome and even helping them become GDEs. In addition to learning, Kevin is also passionate about diversity and inclusion efforts, partly inspired by navigating the world with partial blindness.
Kevin has been a professional programmer for 10 years now and has been in the field of Computer Science for about 20 years. Through the years, he has emphasized the importance of learning how and where to learn. For example, while he learned a lot while he was studying at a university, he was able to learn just as much through his colleagues. In fact, it was through his colleagues that he picked up lessons in teamwork and the ability to learn from people with different points of view and experience. Since he was able to learn so much from those around him, Kevin also wanted to pay it forward and started volunteering at a school for people with disabilities. Guided by the Departmental Centers for People with Disabilities, the aim of the program is to teach coding languages and reintegrate students into a technical profession. During his time at this center, Kevin helped students practice what they learned and ultimately successfully transition into a new career.
During these experiences, Kevin was always involved in the developer community through open-source projects. It was through these projects that he learned about the GDE program and was connected to Google Developer advocates. Kevin was drawn to the GDE program because he wanted to share his knowledge with others and have direct access to Google in order to become an advocate on behalf of developers. In 2016, he discovered Kubernetes and helped his company at the time move to Google Cloud. He always felt like this model was the right solution and invested a lot of time to learn it and practice it. “Google Cloud is made for developers. It’s like a Lego set because you can take the parts you want and put it together,” he remarked.
The GDE program has given him access to the things he values most: being a part of a developer community, being an advocate for developers, helping people from all backgrounds feel included, and above all, an opportunity to learn something new every day. Kevin’s parting advice for hopeful GDEs is: “Even if you can’t reach the goal of being a GDE now, you can always get accepted in the future. Don’t be afraid to fail because without failure, you won’t learn anything.” With his involvement in the program, Kevin hopes to continue connecting with the developer community and learning while supporting diversity efforts.
The Google Developer Experts (GDE) program is a global network of highly experienced technology experts, influencers, and thought leaders who actively support developers, companies, and tech communities by speaking at events and publishing content.
Welcome to the 13th Issue: ‘Google Dev Library letters’ is a technology newsletter curated to bring you some of the best projects developed with Google tech and submitted to the Google Dev Library platform. We are back with another boost of inspiration for your next project!
Hero Content of the month
Check out shortlisted content from the Google technologies of your choice.
Learn how to create a stream in 6 simple steps now that Google Cloud recently made Datastream CDC generally available.
Meet our curators who have been working behind the scenes to bring you the best content submissions
“Android development changes fast and it’s great to see developers write blogs to help others learn.
It’s a pleasure to be part of the Android community. I enjoy seeing the android community. I enjoy seeing the Android community flourish by collaborating with each other and sharing their learnings”
Sr. Strategist, Google
“We are loving the TensorFlow.js submissions we have seen so far, and have no doubt future ones will continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible in this space, and because it is web powered anyone anywhere can try the demos typically with the click of a link!”
Web ML Developer Relations Lead, Google
Liked what you read? Checkout the latest projects and community-authored content by visiting our home page or subscribing to our newsletter.
Posted by Janelle Kuhlman, Developer Relations Program Manager
Liza Goldberg, Google Earth GDE
Google Earth Engine GDE Liza Goldberg uses tech to fight climate change
Liza Goldberg learned to code through Google Earth Engine at age fourteen, when her mentors at NASA, where she was an intern, introduced the tool as a way to model global trends in environmental change. Liza, who had arrived at NASA with no coding or remote sensing experience, gradually gained expertise in the platform, thanks to strong mentorship, Google training, and guidance from the Google Earth Engine developer community. The fact that Google Earth Engine is built for scientists and has a clear world impact aligned with Liza’s commitment to using technology to combat climate change. “Earth Engine enabled me to write each line of code knowing that my algorithms could eventually make true change in climate monitoring,” she says. “The visualization-focused interface of Earth Engine showed me that coding could be simple, data focused, and broadly influential across all fields of climate science.”
Liza Goldberg speaking at the Geo for Good Summit
Becoming a GDE
Liza used Earth Engine for years at her NASA internship, which grew into a part-time research position. In 2022, her longtime collaborator on the Google Earth Engine team, Tyler Erickson, nominated Liza for the GDE Program, and she became a GDE in April 2022.
“When I found out about my nomination, I felt admittedly nostalgic,” she says. “I remembered my 14-year-old excitement when I first opened Earth Engine – how the whole world suddenly seemed open to me. Becoming a GDE felt like coming full-circle; in many ways, I grew up with Earth Engine.”
Liza hopes her GDE role encourages other young students to explore new technologies.
“I hope that my position as a GDE can show other young students – particularly women – that starting with no knowledge of a field doesn’t need to be a barrier towards accomplishing your ultimate goals,” she says. “As the youngest female GDE in North America, I hope to break the barriers that prevent other young women from chasing down their passions in male-dominated arenas.”
In her GDE role, Liza is collaborating with Google India and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) to launch a series of Google Earth Engine trainings across the country, building technical capacity among the next generation of climate scientists.
“We’ll be guiding students in basic geospatial skills, preparing them for fellowships with partner conservation organizations in the coming year,” she says. “I’m optimistic that this program can distribute the advanced computing power of Earth Engine to students who can leverage its tools for local-to-national scale change.”
Working at NASA
Liza has continued her longtime work on global mangrove ecosystem vulnerability at NASA, analyzing the impact of various mangrove protection and governance models on the degree of forest disturbance. Liza is spending the summer in West Africa with her NASA colleagues, completing mangrove-based fieldwork and delivering Google Earth Engine trainings to academic and conservation institutions in the area.
Liza is also currently leading The Atlantis Project, a global initiative to enable the Earth’s most climate vulnerable populations to develop community disaster response capacity, at NASA.
“We’re using Google Earth Engine to map the key barriers toward a community’s recovery from impending climatic disasters, enabling aid organizations to more effectively target the right stressors in the right communities,” she says. “We’re currently training highly flood vulnerable communities in early warning system deployment and household disaster preparation and response.”
Her team is also collaborating with NGOs in India to educate communities on their post-disaster aid rights.
Studying at Stanford
Liza is also a college student, studying Earth Systems and international development policy at Stanford University.
“I seek to better understand how climate change can further trap the extreme poor in cycles of lagging economic growth,” she says. “I will then combine my remote sensing knowledge with this policy and climate change background to develop new solutions for climate adaptation across the developing world.”
Ultimately, Liza seeks to use technology to help the planet’s most climate-vulnerable populations respond most effectively to climate impacts.
“I’ve found that satellite analysis is among the most effective ways to tackle many of these challenges, but I’ve fallen in love with the problem, not any particular solution to it,” she says. “In my professional future, I seek to continue applying satellite tech towards building these critical bridges between technical capacity and on-the-ground need.”
The Google Developer Experts (GDE) program is a global network of highly experienced technology experts, influencers, and thought leaders who actively support developers, companies, and tech communities by speaking at events and publishing content.
Posted by Baris Yesugey – Regional Lead, Google Developers Turkey and Central Asia
We recently spoke with Ceren Tunay, a Google Developer Group Organizer in Edirne, Turkey. who notes, “while we were organizing events, I noticed people have a huge passion for tech. I asked myself, “what is that thing in tech that makes people so impassioned? And after that, I started to better understand the tech industry, thanks to the programs offered by Google Developer Groups. Then I decided to learn to code. After a while, now I know that I am where I want to be, and realized I have worked towards finding my dream job.”
Tell us about yourself
I am a mobile developer & community builder who aims to be a restless learner. I am strongly passionate about how innovation can help communities advance and grow. I engage in public speaking on topics like development, community, women in tech, and motivation. I am a co-founder & mentor for the Android Developers Group Turkey.
I serve as an organizer for the Google Developer Groups Edirne. I am also a Google Women Techmakers Ambassador – among all of these groups and the collaborations among them, we reach over 90 Google Developer Student Clubs chapters in Turkey and throughout Central Asia. In that spirit, I personally believe that more colors make a better rainbow in the tech community. My dream is to build a future where the lack of diversity is no longer an issue in the tech community.
What is your job, and how does it relate to the tech community?
My major is chemical engineering, and I am working as a community manager at a game development company called Game Factory. My community-facing role allows me to be a person who motivates and helps people to navigate the learning process on their journey to becoming a developer. I feel able to create inspiration because I have been through what others feel and experience when learning to code, so I can easily empathize with them.
How did you get your start in this field?
In studying the field of chemical engineering, I came across the Google Developer Groups (GDG) and I participated in the organizing team to help and support the organization. While we were organizing events, I noticed people have a huge passion for tech. I asked myself, “what is that thing in tech that makes people so impassioned?”
And after that, I started to better understand the tech industry, thanks to the programs offered by GDG. Then I decided to learn to code. After a while, now I know that I am where I want to be, and I have worked towards finding my dream job.
Can you tell me about how you became interested in technology?
I got introduced to technology in this way through GDG. When I first participated in the community, I was actually only planning to improve my organization and project management skills. But I was lucky that I had the chance to watch people and see what they are doing in tech and in the broader industry. When I saw people’s passion and curiosity in this space, I started to also be interested. But the moment that I wanted to learn to code is when I realized how people get to enjoy the time when they are coding and improve themselves altogether.
What is unique about your GDG community or developers in Turkey?
We are a community that remains close, supportive, and sensitive to each other’s needs. It is easy to reach someone on the other side of Turkey in the community. GDG as a program helps this cause because when people start to learn to code but have a problem, they can easily be demoralized, which might lead them to quit learning and never try again. But with the GDG community, they support each other and help to solve problems. If they realized that they do not like the language they are learning, it is so easy to switch to another tech. They become braver to learn and achieve with the GDG program.
With a goal of creating a space for learning new developer tools, we organize workshops, trainings, and icebreakers for our community, to strengthen its ability to connect people around technical concepts. We hold sessions on technical tools, community management, project management, personal goal setting, and many more topics. The events we host show the power of community. The important thing for me is that the programs and content remain open-minded, equal, and diverse.
What is a recent highlight from your community work?
We hosted an Android DevFest and received wonderful feedback from our participants. We wanted to do something and get together when events were starting to take place physically again. We organized an in-person event with expert speakers and various content.
An in-person gather for DevFest Android in Turkey
These speakers accompanied us with wonderful presentations throughout the event. We had fun conversations on many topics, from the Jetpack library and Compose to application architecture. We had a great day as people united by our passion for Android, having fun, drinking a lot of coffee, and bringing each other a lot of new gains.
What is the moment where you feel like everything changed for you or you “had a breakthrough” as a developer and mentor?
When I started to learn Android, I fell in love with the technology. When I started to feel like I knew it well enough, I, along with my teammate, organized an Android Bootcamp. This took two and a half months. At the end of this Bootcamp, I participated in an “I am Remarkable” workshop, which is an initiative empowering women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond.
What is an example of community work you’re proud to share?
At the “I am Remarkable” workshop we hosted, before the workshop started, one man who was about 40 years old came up to me and thanked me for our community initiatives. At first, I did not understand what he was looking to ask me about, but then as he shared his story of impact, which made me proud.
He said that he was a teacher before our bootcamp and then changed jobs by attending our Android Bootcamp and other programs we led. During that time, he started to learn Android with us and began to complete all classes. Now, fast forward, and he is working as an actual Android developer! That represents the moment that I recognized that my life changed. This is because that was the moment I realized I was not only improving myself, but I was also growing and running with the community.
Ceren leads a “Why Kotlin” workshop for beginners and technologists in the community
What are some technical resources you have found the most helpful for your professional development?
What are your plans for the future, in your career as a GDG organizer?
I am still exploring, career-wise, but I definitely plan to remain in the tech industry and aim to have connections with people. Now, I am working as a community manager, along with my teammate Serkan Alc, who is a great team worker and supporter. We are building a community through GDG. So we can say for both domains of my work and community, the most exciting projects are creating Bootcamps and webinars that help and motivate people to take a step into the field of tech.
Want to start growing your career and coding knowledge with developers like Ceren? Then join a Google Developer Group near you, here. Learn more about upcoming DevFests here!
‘Google Dev Library Letters’ is curated to bring you some of the latest projects developed with Google tech submitted to Google Dev Library Platform. We hope this brings you the inspiration you need for your next project!
Written by Shuyu (Asher) Guo, Dart & Flutter GDE, China
At the end of May 2022, after more than a month of Google Developer Expert interviews, I finally became the fourth Flutter & Dart GDE in China.
I believe that the title of GDE should be very familiar for Android or Machine Learning developers. If you’re not familiar, the Google Developer Experts program is a global network of highly experienced technology experts, influencers, and thought leaders who have expertise in Google technologies, and are active leaders in the space and contribute to the wider developer and startup ecosystem.
My journey to becoming a GDE
In 2013, Android Bus was my first exposure to the Android community and it was at the ApkBus conference that I came into contact with the first GDE I’ve ever met. At that conference, I made Android developer friends and I also met some event organizers who invited me to speak at future events.
After the conference, I started my public speaking journey and spoke about Flutter because of the opportunities that came from networking and meeting the right people. By being more active in the community through speaking, I received an invitation to become a GDE in 2020. However, I learned that the application process is conducted in English and because of this, I ultimately didn’t complete the application process.
In 2021, while I was speaking at the Google DevFest conference, a GDE friend asked me again if I was interested in becoming a GDE, and with the encouragement of a team member from Google, I finally started preparing for the GDE application.
During the application process, the Google team pays careful attention to two aspects:
Technical competence: your technical expertise in the field you are applying for
Technical influence: such as output in areas such as public speaking, articles, and open source
I was not confident in speaking in English so I practiced before my interviews and I also translated some of my articles and posted them to Medium in English. Then I started my interview journey. The first interviewer mainly focused on the technical content of Flutter and Dart and despite my little experience with Flutter, my first community interview was completed.
The day after I completed the initial interview, I received a notification that I was assigned an interviewer for the product interview. The content of the product interview mainly revolved around some of my experience with Flutter technology. The interviewer was interested in the content of the books I had written and some awards I won that happened to be in the bookcase behind me, proving to be an excellent conversation starter. The next day, I received an email letting me know that I passed the interview – and after I signed the various agreements and terms and conditions, I had a final meeting with the team to become a GDE! Once I officially received the confirmation email from the GDE program, I was pulled into various groups, Slack, and projects. As a developer, I consider accomplishing the feat of becoming a GDE a major milestone.
Whether it is the GDE community or a Googler conducting the interviews, everyone was very friendly. I received a lot of support throughout my journey to becoming a GDE and offer my support to anyone interested in joining the community. Please feel free to connect with me at https://github.com/carguo!
Posted by Erica Hanson, Global Program Manager, Google Developer Student Clubs
With every new challenge ahead comes a new opportunity for finding a solution. Today’s challenges, and those we will continue to face, remind us all of how vital it remains to protect our planet and the people living on it. Enter the Solution Challenge, Google’s annual contest inviting the global Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC) community to develop solutions to real world problems utilizing Google technologies.
The top 50 semi-finalists and the top 10 finalists were announced earlier this month. Now, it all comes down to Demo Day on July 28th, where the finalists will present their solutions to Google and developers all around the world, live on YouTube.
At Demo Day, our judges will review the projects, ask questions, and choose the top 3 grand prize winners! You can RSVP here to be a part of Demo Day, vote for the People’s Choice Award, and watch all the action as it unfolds live.
Ahead of the event, let’s get to know the top 10 finalists and their incredible solutions below.
The Top 10 Projects
. . .
BloodCall – Greece, Harokopio University of Athens
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #3: Good Health & Wellbeing
BloodCall aims to make blood donation an easier task for everyone involved by leveraging Android, Firebase, and the Google Maps SDK. It was built by Athanasios Bimpas, Georgios Kitsakis and Stefanos Togias.
“Our main inspiration was based on two specific findings, we noticed that especially in Greece the willingness to donate blood is significantly high but information is not readily available. We also have noticed lots of individuals trying to reach as many people as possible through sharing their (or a loved one’s) need of blood on social media, so we concluded that there exists a major need for blood especially in periods of heightened activity like summertime.”
Blossom – Canada, University of Waterloo
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #3: Good Health & Wellbeing, #4: Quality Education, #5: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, #10: Reduced Inequalities
Blossom provides an integrated solution for young girls to get access to accurate and reliable menstrual education and resources and uses Android, Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform. It was built by Aditi Sandhu, Het Patel, Mehak Dhaliwal, and Jinal Rajawat.
“As all group members of this project are of South Asian descent, we know firsthand how difficult it is to talk about the female reproductive system within our families. We wanted to develop an application that would target youth so they can begin this conversation at an earlier age. Blossom allows users to learn from the safety of their own devices. Simply by knowing more about their bodies, individuals are more confident with them, thereby solving Goal 5: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
Gateway – Vietnam, Hoa Sen University
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #3: Good Health & Wellbeing, #11: Sustainable Cities, #17: Partnerships
Gateway creates an open covid-19 digital check-in system. Through an open-source, IoT solution that pairs with an application on a mobile device and communicates with an embedded system over Bluetooth connection protocol. It uses Angular, Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, TensorFlow, Progressive Web Apps and connects users with a COVID-19 digital check-in system.It was built by: Cao Nguyen Vo Dang, Duy Truong Hoang, Khuong Nguyen Dang, and Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng.
“Problems are still happening in our community where the support of technology is still lacking when it comes to covid. Vaccination in our country is still continuing. We still have to manually (paper) when it comes to registering for vaccination results. And “back to school/office” are now the biggest challenges for business, community. Contact tracing solutions are fully overloaded with crowded areas. We’re focused on improving the crowded situation by creating an open-source automatic checking gateway, allowing users to interact with the system more intuitively.”
GetWage – India, G.H. Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #1: No Poverty, #4: Quality Education, #8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
GetWage provides a tool to help those impacted by unemployment and unfilled positions in the local economy find and post daily wage work with ease. It uses Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, TensorFlow. It was built by Aaliya Ali, Aniket Singh, Neenad Sahasrabuddhe, and Shivam.
“When COVID struck the world, daily wage laborers were hit the hardest. Data from Lucknow shows how the average working days pre-Covid for most workers were around 21 days a month, which fell to nine days a month post the lockdown. In the city of Pune, average working days in a month came down from 12 to two days. All of this inspired us to do something in order to help the needy by connecting them with those looking to hire laborers and educating them.“
Isak – South Korea, Soonchunhyang University
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #3: Good Health & Wellbeing, #12: Responsible Consumption & Production
Isak is an application that combines the activity of jogging and trash collection to make picking up trash more impactful. It uses Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, TensorFlow. It was built by Choo Chang Woo, Jang Hyeon Wook, Jeong Hyeong Lee, and JeongWoo Han.
“COVID-19 has increased people’s time to stay at home, and disposable garbage generated by the increase in packaging and delivery orders has been increasing exponentially and people are home more as a result. Our team decided to solve both garbage reduction and exercise. We thought that if we picked up trash while jogging, we could take care of our health and environment at the same time, and if we added additional functions, we could arouse interest from users and encourage them to participate.”
SaveONE life – Kenya, Taita Taveta University
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #1: No Poverty, #2: Zero Hunger, #4:Quality Education, #10: Reduced Inequality
SaveONE life helps donors locate and donate goods to home orphanages in Kenya that are in need of basic items, food, clothing, and other educational resources. It’s built with Android, Assistant / Actions on Google, Firebase, Google Cloud Platform, and Google Maps. It was built by David Kinyanjui, Nasubo Imelda, and Wycliff Njenga.
“We visited one of the orphanage homes near our campus and we talked to the Orphanage Manager and his feedback he told us that their challenge is food. Some of the kids are suffering from malnutrition because they are not getting enough food, water, clothing and educational materials including school fees for the kids. The major inspiration for use is helping donors around our campus better know where the home orphanage is, when, and how orphans can get donations.
SIGNify – Canada, University of Toronto, Mississauga
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #10: Reduced Inequalities, #4: Quality Education
SIGNify provides an interface where deaf and non-deaf people can easily understand sign language through a graphical context. It leverages Android, Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, and TensorFlow. It was built by Kavya Mehta, Milind Vishnoi, Mitesh Ghimire, and Wentao Zhou.
“Approximately 70 million deaf people around the world use sign language for communication. These are all people that have great ideas, thoughts, and opinions that need to be heard. However, their talent and skills will be of no use if people are not able to understand what they have to say; this has lead to 1 in 4 deaf people leaving a job due to discrimination. If we fail to learn sign language, we are depriving ourselves of the knowledge resources that deaf people have to provide. By learning sign language and hiring deaf people in the workspace, we are promoting equal rights and increasing employment opportunities for disabled people.”
Starvelp – Turkey, İzmir University of Economics
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #2: Zero Hunger
Starvelp aims to tackle the problems of food waste and hunger by enabling more ways to share local resources with those in need. It leverages Firebase, Flutter, and Google Cloud Platform. It was built by Akash Srivastava and Selin Doğa Orhan.
“We found that the prevalence of undernourishment is impacting a huge population. Prevalence of food insecurity and not being able to feed themselves and their families are related to poor financial conditions. We were inspired to build this, because in many countries, there are a large number of slum areas and many people who are in the farming sector are not able to get sufficient food. It is really shocking for us to see news about how people are getting impacted each year and have different diseases due to improper nutrition. In fact, they have to skip many meals which ultimately leads to undernourishment, and this is a big problem.”
Xtrinsic – Germany, Faculty of Engineering Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #3: Good Health & Wellbeing
Xtrinsic is an application for mental health research and therapy – it adapts your environment to your personal habits and needs. Using a wearable device and TensorFlow, the team aims to detect and help users get through their struggles throughout the day and at night with behavioral suggestions. It’s built using Android, Assistant / Actions on Google, Firebase, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, TensorFlow, WearOS, DialogFlow, and Google Health Services. It was built by Alexander Monneret, Chikordili Fabian Okeke, Emma Rein, and Vandysh Kateryna.
“Our inspiration comes from our own experience with mental health issues. Two of our team members were directly impacted by the recently waged wars in Syria and Ukraine. And all of us have experienced mental health conditions during the pandemic. We learned through our hardships how to overcome these tough situations and stay strong and positive. We believe that with our know-how and Google technologies we can make a difference and help make the world a better place.”
Zero-zone – South Korea, Sookmyung Women’s University
UN Sustainable Goals Addressed: #4: Quality Education, #10: Reduced Inequalities
Zero-zone supports active communication for, and with, the hearing impaired and helps individuals with hearing impairments practice lip reading. The tool leverages Android, Assistant / Actions on Google, Flutter, Google Cloud Platform, and TensorFlow. It was built by DoEun Kim, Hwi Min, Hyemin Song, and Hyomin Kim.
“About 39% of Korean hearing impaired people find it difficult to learn lip-reading, even if they have enrolled in special schools. The project aims to refine lip-reading so that hearing impaired can learn lip-reading anytime, anywhere and communicate actively. Our tool provides equal educational opportunities for deaf users who want to practice oral speech. In addition, the active communication of the hearing impaired, will give them confidence and develop a power to overcome inequality due to difficulties in communication.”
Feeling inspired and ready to learn more about Google Developer Student Clubs? Find a club near you here, and be sure to RSVP here and tune in for the livestream of the upcoming Solution Challenge Demo Day on July 28th.
Posted by Kübra Zengin, North America Regional Lead, Google Developers
A Path to Programming
“I was hooked from the start,” says Jennifer Bailey about programming. Always interested in the way systems work, Jennifer, now an educator in Colorado, found her path to programming in an unconventional way. She first earned a General Educational Development degree, otherwise known as a “GED” in the United States, from Aims Community College, when she was only 15 years old.
Ever a quick learner with the ambition to excel, she then secured an associate’s degree, bachelor’s, and master’s degree in Applied Science. With degrees in hand, she taught herself C Sharp while working at a local firm as a software developer building desktop applications.
When one of her mentors from Aims Community College was retiring, the school recognized Jennifer’s programming expertise and hired her to teach computer science in 2011. The administration then asked her to create the college’s certificate in mobile application development from scratch. To build out a curriculum for her new assignment, she needed to find some inspiration. As Jennifer sought out resources to curate the content for the college’s new program in mobile development, she found a local Google Developer Group (GDG), an organization where local developers came together to discuss cutting-edge programming topics.
Finding a Google Developer Group in Northern Colorado
She attended her first event with the group that same week. At the event, the group’s leader was teaching attendees to build Android apps, and other developers taught Jennifer how to use GitHub.
“I went to that in-person event, and it was everything I was hoping it would be,” Jennifer says. “I was just blown away that I was able to find that resource at exactly the time when I needed it for my professional development, and I was really happy because I had so much fun.”
The community of welcoming developers that Jennifer found in GDG drew her in, and for the first time at a technical networking event like this one, she felt comfortable meeting new people. “That initial event was the first time I felt like I had met actual friends, and I’ve been involved with GDG ever since,” she says.
A Life-Changing Community
As time progressed, Jennifer started attending GDG events more often, and eventually offered the meeting space at Aims Community College where the group could gather. After she made the offer, the group’s organizers invited her to become a co-leader of the group. Fast-forward to the present, and her leadership role has led to numerous exciting opportunities, like attending Google I/O and meeting Google developers from all over the world.
“By participating in GDG, I ended up being able to attend Google I/O,” says Jennifer. “This community has had a massive impact in my life.”
Jennifer’s local GDG provides support for Android that helps other learners while also remaining helpful to her teaching of computer science subjects and the Android IOS mobile developer certificate.
“What keeps me engaged with Google technology, especially with Android, is all of the updates, changes, new ideas and new technology,” she says.
Jennifer notes that she appreciates the Android ecosystem’s constantly evolving technology and open source tools.
After becoming fascinated with Android, Jennifer discovered that the more time she spent learning and delving into Android, the more she learned and gained expertise that she could apply to other platforms.
She served as editor on an article about “Lazy Composables” on lists.
Positive Career Impact
In Jennifer’s view, involvement with Google Developer Groups positively impacted her career by exposing her to a local group of developers with whom she is deeply connected, providing resources and instruction on Android, and providing her with a leadership opportunity.
“I have met such a diverse sampling of people in Google Developer Groups, from all different industries, with all different levels of experience–from students, self-taught, to someone who’s been in technology longer than I have,” Jennifer says. “You never know who you will meet out there because GDG is filled with interesting people, and you never know what opportunities you will find by mixing with those people and comparing notes.”
Posted by Janelle Kuhlman, Developer Relations Program Manager
The second of two interviews with GDEs about mental health, during Mental Health Awareness Month
Angular GDE Todd Motto would love to see people talk about mental health more freely–in tech and in other areas of life.
“Everyone struggles inside,” he says. “I see talking about it a good thing. Our brains are highly complex and need maintenance and good fuel.”
Todd says he silently struggled through most of his life with depression and anxiety, so it has become increasingly important to him to be forthright about it. He says ignoring feelings often makes things worse.
“The thing is, you can go through life just thinking it’s normal to feel this way, and you assume everyone else has bad days like that, as well, but things can slowly progress to become worse, without you realizing,” he says. “It took me a very long time to realize I had mental health issues–some issues were from my past, and I had adapted unhealthy lifestyle patterns to deal with those. I was pouring fuel on my own fire and not realizing it. That’s why it is important to me to raise awareness.”
He sees mental health as a balancing act and believes it’s important to take care of your body and mind every day. He recommends choosing your work projects and responsibilities carefully, if possible, to avoid taking on too much, and to pay attention to your internal thoughts.
“It’s important to be in tune with your body and also how your mind feels,” he says. “We all feel stress, but sometimes we just sit on autopilot and ignore it. This is when it’s time to protect your mental health. Keep an eye on your stress levels, as, at least for me, this played a huge role in the rest of my mental health.”
Todd copes with stress by carefully managing his workload, learning new things away from the keyboard, taking breaks from work throughout the day, and taking down time.
“To cope, I don’t overwhelm myself, and I take regular breaks, even if it’s just 1-2 minutes to walk into the kitchen and grab water,” he says. “Maybe I’ll walk into the garden and research a personal topic I’m interested in for a few moments.”
He also incorporates daily exercise, like running, swimming, and weight training, which he says helps his concentration, sleep, and mood.
“I have been running and swimming for years now, and swimming gives you time out from reality,” he says. “When you get physically stronger, you will unlock new levels of mental strength. That is my guarantee.”
Todd’s version of physical and mental challenges might be running up mountains and swimming in lakes, but your version might be going on a walk around the block, picking up a new instrument, or learning how to cook a new meal. Whatever it is, Todd feels it’s important to make time for these challenges, in order to achieve that balancing act he mentioned. He reminds other developers to keep work, life, body, and mind in balance as much as possible.
“I aim to have regular breaks and not overwhelm myself,” he says. “It’s easy to get stressed and have a bad work/life balance. Take breaks, and keep your stress levels low by doing so. You are more than worth it!”
Posted by Janelle Kuhlman, Developer Relations Program Manager
The first of two interviews with GDEs about mental health, during Mental Health Awareness Month
“I don’t think I have work-life balance,” says Google Workplace GDE Alice Keeler. “I could use some. I’m not very good at self-care, either…my idea of a good time is coding.”
Alice may be humble, but she juggles numerous responsibilities successfully. In addition to her freelance programming work and the books she has published, she has five children, all of whom have various mental health challenges. An educator known for publishing add-ons, schedulers, and Google Classroom tips, Alice teaches math to high school seniors. She says they also struggle with mental health, often due to poverty and family issues.
“I see firsthand as an employer, mom, and teacher how mental health challenges affect people, yet we expect everyone to suck it up and go to work, attend school, and respond to family events,” she says. “I’ve really been thinking about this a lot, as I see the challenges my family and students are going through. I try to offer lots of grace and flexibility to others.”
She points out that mental health is very personal. “Of the 20 people I feel closest to in my life, no one solution would work for all of them,” she says.
Coding as self-care
In Alice’s experience, tech has provided a means of self-care, professional opportunity, and academic support. “I think one of the benefits of coding is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be done at a certain time and can offer some flexible creative options for people,” she says. “I can code at 3am, and no one cares. It’s not very social, which is helpful for people who struggle with social expectations.”
And during those coding sessions, Keeler builds creative solutions.
“You can make really cool things,” she says. “When I solve a problem with ten lines of code, it’s a nice way for me to feel valued.”
Alice has found the GDE community to be tremendously supportive, even though at first, she worried no one would want to hear from her.
“I post in the GDE chat, and people respond with, ‘Alice!’,” she says. “I teach math; I’m not a full-time coder. I’m self taught; everything I do, I figure out myself. I don’t feel like an imposter anymore. I’ve gotten 14 add-ons approved.”
She has realized over time that even “experts” are still learning.
“You think everyone knows everything, but they don’t, and people may be considered experts, but you can put something out there they hadn’t even thought of,” she says. “You realize quickly that it’s not like a tower, and you’ve reached the top, it’s more like scattered LEGOs: I know some of this, and some of that, and you know this, and it’s scattered.”
Alice’s coding expertise grew out of her desire to create technological solutions for herself and other teachers that simplified their processes and reduced stress. She’s enthusiastic about the educational technology tools that help both teachers and students decrease stress and improve well-being.
Educational technology for improved well-being
Alice appreciates classroom technology that makes life easier for teachers and students. For example, she cites the tablet as “one of the best things that ever happened to special education,” because it provides students with learning challenges an alternative way to share their thoughts and demonstrate their understanding of academic material. Alice explains that tablets and Chromebooks make it easy to give students extra time on assignments and assessments when needed.
“It brought in an enormous amount of inclusivity that had been impossible,” she says. “It literally gives some kids a voice; they can submit questions and responses digitally, without raising their hands.”
Alice’s focus, as an educator, developer, and parent, is on using technology to streamline tasks and balance responsibility, which reduces stress, improves well-being, and benefits her mental health. During the pandemic, she appreciated how technology allowed her to teach online, write code, and also be present for her family. She had more time to go to her kids’ events and was able to dial down her stress. Like all of us, she’s still figuring out what comes next, but she’s committed to supporting her loved ones and students.
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.
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.
“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 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.