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Introducing a Web Component and Data API for Quick, Draw!

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Over the past couple years, the Creative Lab in collaboration with the Handwriting Recognition team have released a few experiments in the realm of “doodle” recognition.  First, in 2016, there was Quick, Draw!, which uses a neural network to guess what you’re drawing.  Since Quick, Draw! launched we have collected over 1 billion drawings across 345 categories.  In the wake of that popularity, we open sourced a collection of 50 million drawings giving developers around the world access to the data set and the ability to conduct research with it.

"The different ways in which people draw are like different notes in some universally human scale" - Ian Johnson, UX Engineer @ Google

Since the initial dataset was released, it has been incredible to see how graphs, t-sne clusters, and simply overlapping millions of these doodles have given us the ability to infer interesting human behaviors, across different cultures.  One example, from the Quartz study, is that 86% of Americans (from a sample of 50,000) draw their circles counterclockwise, while 80% of Japanese (from a sample of 800) draw them clockwise. Part of this pattern in behavior can be attributed to the strict stroke order in Japanese writing, from the top left to the bottom right.


It’s also interesting to see how the data looks when it’s overlaid by country, as Kyle McDonald did, when he discovered that some countries draw their chairs in perspective while others draw them straight on.


On the more fun, artistic spectrum, there are some simple but clever uses of the data like Neil Mendoza’s face tracking experiment and Deborah Schmidt’s letter collages.
See the video here of Neil Mendoza mapping Quick, Draw! facial features to your own face in front of a webcam


See the process video here of Deborah Schmidt packing QuickDraw data into letters using OpenFrameworks
Some handy tools have also been released from the community since the release of all this data, and one of those that we’re releasing now is a Polymer component that allows you to display a doodle in your web-based project with one line of markup:

The Polymer component is coupled with a Data API that layers a massive file directory (50 million files) and returns a JSON object or an HTML canvas rendering for each drawing.  Without downloading all the data, you can start creating right away in prototyping your ideas.  We’ve also provided instructions for how to host the data and API yourself on Google Cloud Platform (for more serious projects that demand a higher request limit).  

One really handy tool when hosting an API on Google Cloud is Cloud Endpoints.  It allowed us to launch a demo API with a quota limit and authentication via an API key.  

By defining an OpenAPI specification (here is the Quick, Draw! Data API spec) and adding these three lines to our app.yaml file, an Extensible Service Proxy (ESP) gets deployed with our API backend code (more instructions here):
endpoints_api_service:
  name: quickdrawfiles.appspot.com
  rollout_strategy: managed
Based on the OpenAPI spec, documentation is also automatically generated for you:


We used a public Google Group as an access control list, so anyone who joins can then have the API available in their API library.
The Google Group used as an Access Control List
This component and Data API will make it easier for  creatives out there to manipulate the data for their own research.  Looking to the future, a potential next step for the project could be to store everything in a single database for more complex queries (i.e. “give me an recognized drawing from China in March 2017”).  Feedback is always welcome, and we hope this inspires even more types of projects using the data! More details on the project and the incredible research projects done using it can be found on our GitHub repo

By Nick Jonas, Creative Technologist, Creative Lab

Editor's Note: Some may notice that this isn’t the only dataset we’ve open sourced recently! You can find many more datasets in our open source project directory.

Google Summer of Code: 15 years strong!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Google Open Source is proud to announce Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2019 – the 15th year of the program! We look forward to introducing the 15th batch of student developers to the world of open source and matching them with open source projects.

Over the last 14 years GSoC has provided over 14,000 university students from 109 countries with an opportunity to hone their skills by contributing to open source projects during their summer break. Participants gain invaluable experience working directly with mentors on open source projects, and earn a stipend upon successful completion of their project.

We’re excited to keep the tradition going! Applications for interested open source project organizations open on January 15, 2019, and student applications open March 25.

Are you an open source project interested in learning more? Visit the program site and read the mentor guide to learn more about what it means to be a mentor organization and how to prepare your community and your application. We welcome all types of organizations – large and small – and are eager to involve first time projects. Each year, about 20% of the organizations we accept are completely new to GSoC.

Are you a university student keen on learning about how to prepare for the 2019 GSoC program? It’s never too early to start thinking about your proposal or about what type of open source organization you may want to work with. You should read the student guide for important tips on preparing your proposal and what to consider if you wish to apply for the program in March. You can also get inspired by checking out the 200+ organizations that participated in Google Summer of Code 2018 as well as the projects that students worked on.

We encourage you to explore other resources and you can learn more on the program website.

By Stephanie Taylor, GSoC Program Lead

Google Code-in 2018 contest for teenagers begins today

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Today marks the start of the 9th consecutive year of Google Code-in (GCI). This is the biggest and best contest ever and we hope you’ll join us for the fun!

What is Google Code-in?

Our global, online contest introducing students to open source development. The contest runs for 7 weeks until December 12, 2018.

Who can register?

Pre-university students ages 13-17 that have their parent or guardian’s permission to register for the contest.

How do students register and participate?

Students can register for the contest beginning today at g.co/gci. Once students have registered and the parental consent form has been submitted and approved by Program Administrators students can choose which contest “task” they want to work on first. Students choose the task they find interesting from a list of thousands of available tasks created by 27 participating open source organizations. Tasks take an average of 3-5 hours to complete. There are even beginner tasks that are a wonderful way for students to get started in the contest.

The task categories are:
  • Coding
  • Design
  • Documentation/Training
  • Outreach/Research
  • Quality Assurance

Why should students participate?

Students not only have the opportunity to work on a real open source software project, thus gaining invaluable skills and experience, but they also have the opportunity to be a part of the open source community. Mentors are readily available to help answer their questions while they work through the tasks.

Google Code-in is a contest so there are prizes! Complete one task and receive a digital certificate, three completed tasks and you’ll also get a fun Google t-shirt. Finalists earn the coveted hoodie. Grand Prize winners (2 from each organization) will receive a trip to Google headquarters in California!

Details

Over the last 8 years, more than 8,100 students from 107 countries have successfully completed over 40,000 tasks in GCI. Curious? Learn more about GCI by checking out the Contest Rules and FAQs. And please visit our contest site and read the Getting Started Guide.

Teachers, if you are interested in getting your students involved in Google Code-in we have resources available to help you get started.

By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source
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