A new skills partnership for Singaporeans

Singaporeans have built one of the most competitive economies in the world. But right now, the country’s workers are facing a challenging outlook. There are fewer jobs available, while the jobs that are available require different skills. COVID-19 means more people are working from home, more roles are reliant on technology, and more small businesses are adopting digital tools—trends that we know will continue beyond the pandemic.

Today, in partnership with several government agencies, we’re launching Skills Ignition SG: a Grow with Google program that will help 3,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents get the skills they need for changing technology and a shifting job market.

Learning skills, building experience

Skills Ignition SG has two elements. One is a six-month vocational course for mid-career job seekers, designed to teach them skills in digital marketing and cloud technology and give them the chance to earn professional certificates recognised around the world.

The second element is a ‘place and train’ program, where participants will do three months of online training before moving on to six months of work experience with employers.

To kick off the placement program, we’ll be offering 100 Singaporeans work experience with Google, across a range of different roles. The remaining 500  placements will be offered in batches by our agency partners, including Dentsu Aegis Network, Publicis and Omnicom Media Group, and we’ve also secured commitments from Sephora, financial technology company FNZ, travel companies RedDoorz and Trip.com, and local furniture retailer Castlery. We’ll continue to open up new opportunities, and we’re asking more companies to join the program and create job placements in their own workforce.

For Google, Skills Ignition SG is the next step in our long-standing commitment to Singapore, a commitment we’re deepening in response to the pandemic.

Empowering Singaporeans today, for tomorrow

In January, we renewed our Code in the Community program with the Infocomm Media Development Authority, bringing free coding classes to 6,700 students aged eight to 16, and in April, together with UOB, we expanded our SME Leadership Academy to help 4,000 small businesses from the retail, tourism and food and beverage sectors. We’re also working with nonprofits to support SMEs, seniors, migrant workers and the most disadvantaged in society. Over the past few months, we’ve given about US$760,000 in Google.org and data center grants to local charities and NGOs, as well as providing $1.6M in ads credits to small businesses and government agencies.

Looking ahead, we feel a responsibility not just to help Singaporeans get through COVID-19, but to empower them for the longer term—so that when the job market recovers and opportunities are available, they have the ability to transition into new kinds of jobs.

Singapore was the first office we opened in Southeast Asia, back in 2007. Today, it’s our headquarters in Asia Pacific, and a community we love being part of. We’re going to do all we can to help Singaporeans rebuild and emerge stronger from this crisis.

A digital jobs program to help America’s economic recovery

Technology has been a lifeline to help many small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. And online tools can help people get new skills and find good-paying jobs. Nearly two-thirds of all new jobs created since 2010 require either high-level or medium-level digital skills. This presents a challenge for many job seekers, as well as to America’s long-term economic security. People need good jobs, and the broader economy needs their energy and skills to support our future growth.

College degrees are out of reach for many Americans, and you shouldn’t need a college diploma to have economic security. We need new, accessible job-training solutions—from enhanced vocational programs to online education—to help America recover and rebuild.

Our Grow with Google initiative helps people get the skills they need to get a job or grow their business.  Today we’re announcing a new suite of Google Career Certificates that will help Americans get qualifications in high-paying high-growth job fields—no college degree required. We will fund 100,000 need-based scholarships and at Google we will consider our new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related roles.  We’re also committing $10 million in job training Google.org grants for communities across America, working with partners like YWCA, NPower and JFF.

Here are more details on today’s announcements:

  • Three new Google Career Certificates in the high-paying, high-growth career fields of Data Analytics, Project Management, and User Experience (UX) Design. Like our IT Support and Automation in Python Certificates, these new career programs are designed and taught by Google employees who work in these fields. The programs equip participants with the essential skills they need to get a job. No degree or prior experience is required to take the courses.
  • 100,000 need-based scholarships, funded by Google, to complete any of these career certificates.
  • An expansion of our IT Certificate Employer Consortium, which currently includes over 50 employers like Walmart, Hulu, Sprint and of course Google.
  • Hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities at Google for people completing these career certificate programs to provide real on-the-job training.
  • The Google Career Certificates in Career and Technical Education high schools throughout America, starting with our IT Support Certificate this Fall. These certificates build on our established partnership with more than 100 community colleges.
  • $10 million in Google.org grants to the YWCA, NPower and JFF to help workforce boards and nonprofits improve their job training programs and increase access to digital skills for women, veterans, and underserved Americans. As part of our Future of Work initiative, since 2017 Google.org has provided over $200 million in grants to nonprofits working to promote economic opportunity.

The new Google Career Certificates build on our existing programs to create pathways into IT Support careers for people without college degrees. Launched in 2018, the Google IT Certificate program has become the single most popular certificate on Coursera, and thousands of people have found new jobs and increased their earnings after completing the course. Take Yves Cooper, who enrolled in the program through our Grow with Google Partner, Merit America, while working as a van driver. Within five days of completing the program, he was offered a role as an IT helpdesk technician at a nonprofit in his hometown of Washington, D.C. We’re especially proud that the Google IT Certificate provides a pathway to jobs for groups that are underrepresented in the tech industry: 58 percent of IT Certificate learners identify as Black, Latino, female or veteran.

As America rebuilds our local communities, it’s important to start with the people that give them life. Since 2017, we’ve helped 5 million Americans learn digital skills through Grow with Google and we promise to do our part to help even more people prepare for jobs, creating economic opportunity for everyone.

Meet your marketing objectives with helpful tools and automation

Consumer behaviors, habits and schedules are shifting faster than ever. Google data shows that searches have surged in the past month for sprinkler controls in the United States, mechanical puzzles in Germany, and powered hand fans in Japan. Keeping pace with these trends can be difficult, especially if the pandemic has impacted your business. 

Marketers have more work to do than ever before, and less time to do it. That’s why we’re introducing improved tools and automated solutions to help you get things done, respond to changes, and grow your business.

Finding new opportunities in a dynamic market

It’s never easy to keep up with shifts in consumer demand, and it’s especially challenging in a dynamic market. The Recommendations page is your best source for real-time, personalized guidance to adjust to these changes. With optimization score, you can prioritize the recommendations that help you discover new opportunities for your campaigns.

For example, “Keywords & Targeting” recommendations make it easy for you to find new trends that are relevant to your business. More than 16 million keyword recommendations in Google Ads are based on market trends, with new recommendations added every day. In March, consumer goods company Artnaturals noticed that demand was increasing for organic hand sanitizer and soaps. Using keyword recommendations, they were able to quickly pivot their advertising to these new trends. As a result, the brand’s monthly site traffic increased by 700 percent.

You can currently find recommendations throughout your campaigns, on the Recommendations page, and in the Google Ads mobile app. Soon, you’ll be able to see them in Google Ads Editor as well. We’ve also added support for recommendations and campaign level optimization score to the Google Ads API, and account level optimization score will be coming soon. This will make it even easier for you to review, manage and act on your recommendations at scale.

Planning with confidence

There are many new growth opportunities emerging in search due to shifts in consumer behavior. Performance Planner removes the guesswork in this process by giving you a performance plan with predicted clicks, conversions and conversion values based on different spend levels and return-on-investment targets.   

In the meal delivery sector, Cook it used Performance Planner to optimize campaign budgets and make the most of rising search interest in meal kits in March. Paired with Smart Bidding, the brand saw a 200 percent increase in conversions in just two weeks.

Starting today, you can now use Performance Planner to plan Search campaigns using shared budgets. Performance Planner is currently available for Search and Shopping campaigns, and will soon be available to Display and App campaigns.

Performance Planner is a great way to make sure your budgets are set at the right level to capture new growth opportunities on search.

Optimizing campaigns in real time

These days, marketers have to deliver on performance while dealing with limited time and resources. Smart Bidding is key to helping you balance these constraints; it can help you automatically drive more performance out of every dollar you spend while freeing up time. Over the last few months, we’ve built new Smart Bidding features based on your feedback.

In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to create, monitor and manage your portfolio bid strategies across accounts at the manager account level. By combining campaigns from different accounts into a single portfolio, it’ll be easier to drive more performance across those accounts. As part of this update to portfolio bidding, bid strategy reports will be available for your new cross-account bid strategies. These reports give you more visibility into how your bid strategy is working via status updates, advanced performance reports, and top signals.

It’s important to provide more transparency into your bids, especially right now—so in the coming months, we’ll make explanations available for Smart Bidding campaigns. This will make it easier for you to understand what caused clicks, impressions, costs and conversions to change.

Over the rest of the year, we plan to roll out even more reporting updates to give you further insight into your automated bidding—such as limited inventory status for Maximize conversions and Target CPA, improved top signals, and conversion value estimates.

Monitoring performance to take action

In an ever-changing market, it’s important to check your performance on a regular basis. The Google Ads mobile app makes it easy for you to monitor campaigns in real time, helping you take quick action from wherever you are. We’ve been listening to your feedback and continue to invest in new features to make the app a helpful and personalized companion for your marketing efforts.

As part of that investment, we’ve launched manager accounts in the mobile app. This means you can view and manage all your Google Ads accounts in one place, on the go. With manager accounts in the app, you’re now able to:

  • Discover business-wide trends and performance insights for all your accounts on the Overview page.

  • Improve performance at scale with optimization score, and prioritize recommendations across all your accounts.

  • Manage campaigns and compare performance across your accounts.

  • Use push notifications to monitor all your accounts, wherever you are.

AGY47, an agency based in the UK, saved over two hours per week using the mobile app to check in on performance, make improvements, and keep their accounts organized on the go. As Sarah Williams, AGY47’s head of paid marketing, put it: “We never miss a beat with the Google Ads mobile app.”

Download the Google Ads mobile app now on Android or iOS.

Looking at the road ahead

Through the end of the year, we’ll continue to roll out improvements that help you adapt and drive performance in this dynamic environment. To stay up to date with new product deep dives and best practices, register for Ads on air. You can also stay tuned to The Update to learn about new insights and features that can help you meet your marketing objectives. Please continue to share your feedback as we partner together to navigate the road ahead. 

Bedtime tools to help improve your sleep

With sleep, the quality is just as important as the quantity. Right now, those of us who no longer commute and are staying close to home may be able to sleep in, but how well and how much we’re sleeping can still be a struggle. In fact, there’s been a rise in sleep-related searches like “insomnia” and “can’t sleep,” which reached all-time highs in April and May. At Google, we believe that technology should improve life, not distract from it–including your sleep. Today we’re sharing a few tips and new bedtime tools to help you get better and more restful sleep.

Turn on Bedtime mode to limit interruptions

A dark, quiet environment can help with falling and staying asleep. With Bedtime mode, formerly known as Wind Down in the Digital Wellbeing settings, your Android phone can stay dark and quiet while you sleep. While Bedtime mode is on, it uses Do Not Disturb to silence calls, texts and other notifications that might disturb your sleep. Grayscale fades the colors on your phone to black and white to reduce the draw from enticing colors that keep you up.

We’ve now made it easier to customize how and when you turn on Bedtime mode. Based on your bedtime schedule, you can choose to have it turn on automatically or after your phone is plugged in to charge. You can also add Bedtime mode to your phone’s Quick Settings panel to instantly turn it on or off with a single tap. And if you need a few more minutes, you can pause Bedtime mode without needing to adjust your schedule. Bedtime mode is available on all devices with Digital Wellbeing and parental controls settings.

Get more consistent sleep with Clock

A regular bedtime and wake-up schedule (including on your off days) helps your body establish a strong circadian rhythm and can improve the quality of your sleep. With the new Bedtime tab in the Clock app, you can set daily sleep and wake times to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

While sticking to a schedule is something to strive for, real life often requires flexibility. It’s helpful to start with a wake-up time and work backwards when you set your bedtime schedule. In Clock, you’ll see a preview of tomorrow’s calendar and a tally of the total hours of sleep you’d get, and you can adjust your bedtime if needed.

To help you get to bed and fall asleep, you’ll receive a reminder before bedtime and an option to play calming sounds from Calm, Spotify, YouTube Music and more. For those with Digital Wellbeing installed, you can pair with Bedtime mode to limit interruptions while you sleep. And if you happen to stay on your phone later than planned, you can see how much time you’re spending and which apps you’ve used after your set bedtime.

Being woken up by an alarm can be jarring. To avoid interrupting deep sleep and wake up more gently, the Sunrise Alarm gives a visual cue that your wake up time is approaching, 15 minutes prior to your audio alarm. Make it an even more pleasant experience by adding your favorite song or sounds.

The new bedtime experience is rolling out to Pixel devices starting today and will be available in the Clock app on other Android devices later this summer.

Set a bedtime reminder in YouTube

We also made it easier to manage how much time you spend watching on YouTube on your phone after bedtime.You can now get a reminder that it’s time for bed in the YouTube app. You can choose to see the reminder at bedtime or after your video completes. And if you need a bit more time, you can snooze to continue watching and be reminded again in 10 minutes.

Keep devices locked at bedtime with Family Link

Family Link helps you set digital ground rules for your children, including managing their screen time activity, app downloads, in-app purchases and even bedtime for their device. You can create a daily bedtime schedule, adjusting it on certain days or weekends as needed. Once bedtime rolls around, your child’s device will lock, but will still allow calls in case your child needs to reach you.

We hope these bedtime tools can help you and your family unplug and get the consistent, restful sleep you need.

Buy on Google is now open and commission-free

Over the past few months, we’ve made significant changes to help businesses reach more consumers and help people find the best products, prices and places to buy online. We made it free for retailers to list products on Google Shopping in the U.S., and we brought these free listings to Search as well.

Today, we’re taking another important step to make it easier for retailers to sell on Google. Soon, sellers who participate in our Buy on Google checkout experience will no longer have to pay us a commission fee. And, we’re giving retailers more choice by opening our platform to third-party providers—starting with PayPal and Shopify.

These changes are about providing all businesses—from small stores to national chains and online marketplaces—the best place to connect with customers, regardless of where a purchase eventually occurs. With more products and stores available for discovery and the option to buy directly on Google or on a retailer’s site, shoppers will have more choice across the board.

Here’s more on what’s new for retailers:

Zero commission fees when customers buy your products on Google

While retailers have several options for driving traffic to their website with free listings or with Shopping ads, many also use Buy on Google to give shoppers a convenient way to purchase something right when they discover it. By removing our commission fees, we’re lowering the cost of doing business and making it even easier for retailers of all sizes to sell directly on Google, starting with a pilot that we’ll expand to all eligible sellers in the U.S. over the coming months. Learn more about the requirements for the pilot and sign up to join the waitlist.

Bring your own third-party providers, starting with PayPal and Shopify

We’ve heard from retailers that they want the ability to choose their preferred services for things like payment processing, inventory, and order management. That’s why we’re opening our platform to more digital commerce providers, beginning with Shopify for inventory and order management and PayPal and Shopify for payment processing. So, if a retailer wants to sell directly on Google, they can get started even faster and continue using the tools and services that already work for their business. Or, if they’re new to selling online, they’ll be able to choose from multiple options when they sign up in our Merchant Center.

Import your inventory with just a few clicks

To simplify our tools and make them more compatible with merchants’ existing processes, we’re enabling commonly-used product feed formats. This means retailers can connect their inventory to sell directly on Google without having to reformat their data. We’re also adding a new option to let retailers add product information (like images or technical specs) by pulling from our existing database rather than having to upload it themselves.

More products, more sellers, more choice

As we’ve made it easier for a broader set of retailers to sell on Google this year, we’re also seeing a significant increase in demand to buy from and support small businesses. To help people discover these smaller merchants, we also plan to add a new small business filter on the Google Shopping tab and will continue adding features to help small businesses participate in online commerce.

Everything we’re announcing today will roll out first in the U.S., and we’re looking toward international launches later this year and in 2021. While we still have much work ahead of us, our goal is to make digital commerce more accessible for retailers of all sizes all around the world, giving consumers more choice and more ways to find the best products, stores, and prices.