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Ask a Techspert: What’s a subsea cable?

Whenever I try to picture the internet at work, I see little pixels of information moving through the air and above our heads in space, getting where they need to go thanks to 5G towers and satellites in the sky. But it’s a lot deeper than that — literally. Google Cloud’s Vijay Vusirikala recently talked with me about why the coolest part of the internet is really underwater. So today, we’re diving into one of the best-kept secrets in submarine life: There wouldn’t be an internet without the ocean.

First question: How does the internet get underwater?

We use something called a subsea cable that runs along the ocean floor and transmits bits of information.

What’s a subsea cable made of?

These cables are about the same diameter as the average garden hose, but on the inside they contain thin optical fibers. Those fibers are surrounded by several layers of protection, including two layers of ultra-high strength steel wires, water-blocking structures and a copper sheath. Why so much protection? Imagine the pressure they are under. These cables are laid directly on the sea bed and have tons of ocean water on top of them! They need to be super durable.

A true inside look at subsea cables: On the left, a piece of the Curie subsea cable showing the additional steel armoring for protection close to the beach landing. On the right, a cross-sectional view of a typical deep water subsea cable showing the optical fibers, copper sheath, and steel wires for protection.

Why are subsea cables important?

Subsea cables are faster, can carry higher traffic loads and are more cost effective than satellite networks. Subsea cables are like a highway that has the right amount of lanes to handle rush-hour traffic without getting bogged down in standstill jams. Subsea cables combine high bandwidths (upwards of 300 to 400 terabytes of data per second) with low lag time. To put that into context, 300 to 400 terabytes per second is roughly the same as 17.5 million people streaming high quality videos — at the same time!

So when you send a customer an email, share a YouTube video with a family member or talk with a friend or coworker on Google Meet, these underwater cables are like the "tubes" that deliver those things to the recipient.

Plus, they help increase internet access in places that have had limited connectivity in the past, like countries in South America and Africa. This leads to job creation and economic growth in the places where they’re constructed.

How many subsea cables are there?

There are around 400 subsea cables criss-crossing the planet in total. Currently, Google invests in 19 of them — a mix of cables we build ourselves and projects we’re a part of, where we work together with telecommunications providers and other companies.

10:25

Wow, 400! Does the world need more of them?

Yes! Telecommunications providers alongside technology companies are still building them around the world. At Google, we invest in subsea cables for a few reasons: One, our Google applications and Cloud services keep growing. This means more network demand from people and businesses in every country around the world. And more demand means building more cables and upgrading existing ones, which have less capacity than their modern counterparts.

Two, you cannot have a single point of failure when you're on a mission to connect the world’s information and make it universally accessible. Repairing a subsea cable that goes down can take weeks, so to guard against this we place multiple cables in each cross section. This gives us sufficient extra cable capacity so that services aren’t affected for people around the world.

What’s your favorite fact about subsea cables?

Three facts, if I may!

First, I love that we name many of our cables after pioneering women, like Curie for Marie Curie, which connects California to Chile, and Grace Hopper, which links the U.S., Spain and the U.K. Firmina, which links the U.S., Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, is named after Brazil’s first novelist, Maria Firmina dos Reis.

Second, I’m proud that the cables are kind to their undersea homes. They’re environmentally friendly and are made of chemically inactive materials that don't harm the flora and fauna of the ocean, and they generally don’t move around much! We’re very careful about where we place them; we study each beach’s marine life conditions and we adjust our attachment timeline so we don’t disrupt a natural lifecycle process, like sea turtle nesting season. For the most part they’re stationary and don't disrupt the ocean floor or marine life. Our goal is to integrate into the underwater landscape, not bother it.

And lastly, my favorite fact is actually a myth: Most people think sharks regularly attack our subsea cables, but I’m aware of exactly one shark attack on a subsea cable that took place more than 15 years ago. Truly, the most common problems for our cables are caused by people doing things like fishing, trawling (which is when a fishing net is pulled through the water behind a boat) and anchor drags (when a ship drifts without holding power even though it has been anchored).


Offers on Google Play: a new destination to find great deals

Since 2012, Google Play has been a one-stop shop for discovering and enjoying your favorite apps, games and digital content. This week we’re launching “Offers” — a new tab in the Google Play Store app to help you discover deals in games and apps across travel, shopping, media & entertainment, fitness, and more. The rollout is underway and it will be available to more people in the United States, India and Indonesia over the coming weeks, and more countries later in 2022.

Sections like “Offers for apps you might like” help you easily find deals that are relevant to you. We’re partnering with developers of some of the top apps and games on Google Play to add new, fresh deals every day. As Allison Boyd of Strava explains, “Offers is a win-win. We get an additional touchpoint with people to share information about a valuable promotion or update, and people can easily redeem the offer by opening the Strava app from the Offers tab.”

Find limited time deals, in-app rewards and more

Here are a few of the deal types that you can expect to find over time:

  • Sales on games and in-game items: find limited-time deals on magic orbs, tokens, and more.
  • Rewards and bundled offers: see what apps are offering you free delivery, free rides, and other rewards.
  • Discounts on movies and books: find the latest sales on movies and books to rent or buy.
  • Try something new: browse apps that are offering 30 days free, and other extended trials at no cost.

When you see Offers in the bottom bar of the Google Play Store app on your Android mobile device, be sure to check it out.


How Divya believed and bet on herself to get to Google

Welcome to the latest edition of “My Path to Google,” where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today’s post is all about Divya Gonnabathula, a Client Success Acceleration manager based in Hyderabad, India who’s always gravitated toward new experiences — including here at Google!

What do you do at Google?

I’m a Client Success Acceleration manager leading a team of digital marketing strategists. We collaborate with sales teams in the UK to help our customers succeed using Google Ads. As a manager, I also make sure I spend time with my reports in team and individual meetings — I’m passionate about leading with respect.

What’s something about you that might surprise us?

I consider myself a nomad. Over the years, I’ve lived in many different parts of India. I was born in Vijayawada, went to school in Kolkata, attended college in Bhubaneswar and worked in many cities around the country. Thanks to these experiences, I can easily connect with people from different cultural backgrounds and have a keen interest in languages — I speak six and I’m picking up a seventh!

Why did you apply to Google?

Like so many others, Google’s products and services are part of my daily routine. I can’t imagine a day without searching for things online, watching YouTube or checking emails. The opportunity to create such impact at scale inspired me to look for open roles on the Google Careers website. Once I found one that matched my career goals, I applied.

What was the journey to your current role like?

I’m a sales and marketing professional, and I’ve spent most of my career in the Indian consumer goods industry. A few years ago, I jumped to consumer tech — which led me to Google. By the time I started, I was eight months pregnant. Joining a new organization always comes with a lot of change — but the thought of going on maternity leave in just one month, combined with onboarding remotely, was pretty overwhelming. Luckily, Google made things easy. My recruiter, manager and onboarding “buddy” helped me ease into the company, creating a custom onboarding plan and encouraging me to build a support network on my team.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

I started by brainstorming questions the interviewer might ask and practicing my responses. I also reflected on my previous roles, including my strengths, management experiences and leadership philosophies. I brushed up on my knowledge of Google Ads products, too.

What’s one of your favorite things about working at Google?

My teammates! The opportunity to work with some of the greatest minds in the industry is a very big motivator, because I believe we learn so much from the people around us. In order to bring my best self to work, it’s important that I have colleagues and managers who inspire me.

Any advice for your past self?

Don’t doubt yourself. I was in a marketing role when I applied for this sales position at Google, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be a good fit. But I realized through the hiring process that having diverse skills and experiences is actually really valuable.

Any tips for aspiring Googlers?

Throughout my Google interview process, I was determined to be myself. I made sure to show my personality in all of my interviews and approached them as candid conversations with future colleagues and managers. This gave me a better understanding of what I was signing up for, and helped my interviewers see how I would really fit into the role.


Get ready for Smart Shopping and Local campaign upgrades

New year, same trend: Consumers continue to tap into an ever-growing number of places to get inspiration and find what they need. This past holiday season, 54% of shoppers used five or more channels, like video and social media, to shop over a two-day period.[ec0303]

Performance Max uses Google’s automation to help advertisers reach shoppers as they browse for things they love — online and in stores.[053cc9]It builds on Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to deliver the same foundational features, while adding brand new inventory and automation insights. Starting in April, you can begin upgrading your Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to Performance Max to access additional inventory and formats across YouTube, Search text ads and Discover.[d34fff]Based on early testing, advertisers who upgrade Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max see an average increase of 12% in conversion value at the same or better return on ad spend (ROAS).[7cb4f9]

Performance Max allows you to grow online, offline or omnichannel sales by unlocking all of Google’s ad inventory from a single campaign with a product feed. For example, you can transform your Video ads into your digital storefront and highlight your top products on YouTube — right where valuable customers are watching relevant video content every day.

Learn how to upgrade Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to Performance Max

Here’s a preview of the upgrade process so you know what to expect and how to plan ahead to set your campaigns up for success.[c7f14c]

Keep these key milestones in mind as you prepare for the upgrade:

  • Create new campaigns with Performance Max: You can continue using your existing Smart Shopping and Local campaigns until you’ve upgraded them to Performance Max later this year. For any new campaigns you create in Google Ads, start using Performance Max. You’ll access ad inventory that’s already available in Smart Shopping and Local campaigns plus new inventory and formats — including across YouTube, Search text ads and Discover.[d34fff]
  • Upgrade with a one-click tool: Starting in April, you can easily upgrade your Smart Shopping campaigns with a new “one-click” tool in Google Ads. You’ll be able to upgrade your Local campaigns with the tool starting in June. The tool gives you flexibility to upgrade specific campaigns or all of your campaigns at once.[076e64]Learnings from your existing campaigns will be used in your new Performance Max campaigns to maintain consistent performance.
  • Upgrade automatically: From July through September, your Smart Shopping campaigns will be automatically upgraded for you. Your Local campaigns will be automatically upgraded from August through September. You will no longer be able to create new Smart Shopping and Local campaigns once your existing campaigns are automatically upgraded. The automatic upgrade process will conclude by the end of September to ensure you’re well prepared to use Performance Max for the 2022 holiday season.

Leading e-commerce partners like Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce are already working to support Performance Max so more merchants can benefit from new inventory and formats to connect with their customers. All merchants and partners will be able to upgrade their Smart Shopping and Local campaigns through the Google Ads API later this year. Learn more about the process in our developer blog.

Prepare for campaign upgrades with new resources

Tune in to our upcoming webinar in February, where product experts will demonstrate the one-click upgrade tool and dive into best practices for creating new Performance Max campaigns. They’ll also explain the new technology used in your campaign upgrades to help you get better results, faster.

Meanwhile, our updated Performance Max best practices guide has new recommendations geared towards achieving your online and offline goals. You can also explore the infographic below to understand how to use Performance Max with other Google Ads campaigns.

In the coming months, we’ll share tools and tips to help you at each milestone and make your upgrade process as smooth as possible. In the meantime, share your questions and comments and we’ll address them in our upcoming webinar. You can also follow @AdsLiasion to stay updated throughout the process.


Hash Code 2022 returns with a new look

Registration is officially open for Hash Code, Google’s team-based programming competition! On February 24, developers around the globe will team up to test their coding skills and have some fun. Whether you’re new to coding or a seasoned expert, there’s something for everyone. Here’s what you can expect from Hash Code 2022:

Compete on a new platform

Hash Code is excited to announce that participants will compete on a new platform — the same one used by Code Jam and Kick Start — so participants will all get the same experience across Google's Coding Competitions. You can test it out after you and your team register for the competition and try out the practice problem available at g.co/hashcode.

Work like a software engineer

Hash Code problems are written by Google software engineers and are based on real engineering problems. Hash Code is a great way to build your engineering skills and learn something new. Because there is no right answer, your team can submit multiple solutions during a round. — which is exactly how our engineers work on a daily basis at Google.

Want a taste of what Hash Code problems look like? You can find all problems from previous years of Hash Code in the archive.

Team up with friends (or meet some new ones)!

In order to compete in the Qualification Round, you must be on a team of 2-4 people. If you don't have a team, don't worry! You can still register today and find teammates later using our Facebook group.

Amp up your resume

Hash Code is a great way to grow your coding skills and experience how real software engineers solve real problems. Every team that submits a solution and scores one point in the Qualification Round will receive a certificate in their Coding Competitions profile. This certificate can be posted to social media, added to a job profile or used for your resume.

Hash Code 2022 kicks off with the Qualification Round on Thursday, February 24 at 9:30 a.m. PT and wraps up with the World Finals in April. Register at g.co/hashcode by February 23 and spread the word!


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