50 million lines of code and counting: supporting students in open source

Back in 2005, we had an idea to get university students interested in open source software during their summer breaks. That year, we launched the Google Summer of Code. This annual program brings student developers from all over the world together with open source software organizations to mentor them through a summer project.

To date, the program has produced 50 million lines of open source code from more than 8,500 student developers—and in 2014, we'll mark the 10th anniversary of Google Summer of Code.

To celebrate the previous nine years of student contributions and set the stage for the best Google Summer of Code yet, we’re launching 10 things to make the program better than ever. Here’s a peek at what we’ll be up to, stay tuned to the Open Source blog for updates:

  • We’re planning 10 visits to countries with the highest participation throughout the year to promote the program and celebrate local students and mentors.
  • A 10 percent increase in the student stipend, bringing the amount to $5,500.
  • We’re also accepting 10 percent more students than ever before—more than 1,300 students will spend their summer coding as part of the program next year
  • A 10-year reunion mentor summit held at Google’s Mountain View campus for our Google Summer of Code organization alumni.

We’re excited to be running a program that touches a lot of lives around the world every year, and we want to celebrate all of the accomplishments we’ve seen from our participants.

We’re also committed to getting younger students involved in open source software. For the fourth consecutive year, in November we’ll run Google Code-in, an international contest designed to introduce 13-17 year old students to the world of open source development. You don’t have to be a coder to get involved in this contest; there are a variety of ways students can contribute to open source projects.

Each year, open source software is becoming more important to governments and industries such as healthcare, gaming and technology. We believe that investing in youth and open source will improve both technology and society. Applications for Google Summer of Code open in March and students interested in Google Code-in can apply starting November 18. See our Open Source blog post for more details on both programs. Here’s to the next year in open source!

A new kind of summer job: open source coding with Google Summer of Code

If you’re a university student with CS chops looking to earn real-world experience this summer, consider writing code for a cool open source project with the Google Summer of Code program.

Over the past eight years more than 6,000 students have “graduated” from this global program, working with almost 400 different open source projects. Students who are accepted into the program will put the skills they have learned in university to good use by working on an actual software project over the summer. Students are paired with mentors to help address technical questions and concerns throughout the course of the project. With the knowledge and hands-on experience students gain during the summer they strengthen their future employment opportunities in fields related to their academic pursuits. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.

Interested students can submit proposals on the website starting now through Friday, May 3 at 12:00pm PDT. Get started by reviewing the ideas pages of the 177 open source projects in this year’s program, and decide which projects you’re interested in. Because Google Summer of Code has a limited number of spots for students, writing a great project proposal is essential to being selected to the program—be sure to check out the Student Manual for advice.

For ongoing information throughout the application period and beyond, see the Google Open Source blog, join our Summer of Code mailing lists or join us on Internet relay chat at #gsoc on Freenode.

Good luck to all the open source coders out there, and remember to submit your proposals early—you only have until May 3 to apply!

Discover the world of open source with Google Code-in 2012

Every time you send a text, check a webpage or post a status update, you’re using open source software. The Internet is made of open source. But have you ever created any yourself? With the Google Code-in contest, pre-university students (13-17 years old) can learn more and create open source software that people all over the world can use—and win cool prizes along the way.

Starting Monday, November 26 and for the following 50 days, contest participants will work on fun online tasks for 10 different open source organizations. Possible challenges include documentation, marketing outreach, software coding, user experience research and more.

Participants earn points for each task they successfully complete and can earn prizes like T-shirts and certificates of completion. This year we’re doubling the number of grand prize winners to 20 talented students, who will win a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. They’ll spend a day getting a tour of the “Googleplex,” meeting and talking with Google engineers, plus enjoy another full day exploring San Francisco and other surprises.

Some of the 2011 Google Code-in Grand Prize Winners by the Golden Gate Bridge

Last year, 542 students from 56 countries and 360 schools completed 3,054 tasks during the eight-week contest. This year we want to encourage even more students to participate in the contest and learn about open source development. If you’d like to sign up, please review our Frequently Asked Questions and the contest rules on our program site. You can also watch our screencast, check out some sample tasks from last year’s contest and join our discussion list for any other questions. For details on important dates for the contest, see the timeline. You can register for your account on the program site when the contest opens on Monday, November 26 at 9:00am PST.

Finally, our Open Source Programs team will be hosting a Hangout on Air on the Google in Education page November 26 at 2:00pm PST to discuss the details of the Google Code-in contest and answer any questions.

We hope you’ll spend your winter (or summer, for our friends in the southern hemisphere) learning about the ins and outs of open source development through hands-on experience. Ready...set...

A new kind of summer job: open source coding with Google Summer of Code

It's only Spring Break for most college students, but summer vacation will be here before you know it. Instead of getting stuck babysitting your little sister or mowing your neighbor's lawn, apply for Google Summer of Code and spend the summer of 2012 earning money writing code for open source projects.

Google Summer of Code is a global program that gives university students a stipend to write code for open source projects over a three month period. Accepted students are paired with a mentor from the participating projects, gaining exposure to real-world software development and the opportunity for future employment in areas related to their academic pursuits. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.

For the past ten days, interested students have had the opportunity to review the ideas pages for this year’s 180 accepted projects and research which projects they would like to contribute to this year. We hope all interested students will apply! Submit your proposal to the mentoring organizations via the Google Summer of Code program website from today through Friday, April 6 at 19:00 UTC.

Google Summer of Code is a highly competitive program with a limited number of spots. Students should consult the Google Summer of Code student manual for suggestions on how to write a quality proposal that will grab the attention of the mentoring organizations. Multiple proposals are allowed but we highly recommend focusing on quality over quantity. The mentoring organizations have many proposals to review, so it is important to follow each organization’s specific guidelines or templates and we advise you to submit your proposal early so you can receive timely feedback.

For more tips, see a list of some helpful dos and don’ts for successful student participation written by a group of experienced Google Summer of Code administrators, our user’s guide for the program site, Frequently Asked Questions and timeline. You can also stay up-to-date on all things Google Summer of Code on our Google Open Source blog, mailing lists or on Internet relay chat at #gsoc on Freenode.

To learn more about Google Summer of Code, tune in to the Google Students page on Google+ next Monday, April 2 at 3:30pm PT for a Hangout on Air with open source programs manager Chris DiBona. He'll be talking about Google Summer of Code with other members of the open source team at Google. Submit your questions about the program between now and next Monday using the hashtag #gsochangout, and Chris and the open source team will answer them live during the Hangout On Air.

Good luck to all the open source coders out there, and remember to submit your proposals early—you only have until April 6!

Explore open source with the Google Code-in contest

Every time you send a text, check a webpage or post a status update, you are using open source software. The Internet is made of open source. But have you ever created any yourself? If you’re a pre-university student between 13 and 17 years old, now you can—and win prizes along the way. Our Google Code-in contest starts this coming Monday, November 21, and you can sign up now. During the contest, which lasts for 57 days, participants can work on cool online tasks for 18 different open source organizations. Possible challenges include document translations, marketing outreach, software coding, user experience research and a variety of other tasks related to open source software development.

Participants earn points for each task they successfully complete and can earn prizes like t-shirts, cash and certificates of completion. The ten participants with the highest points earned by the end of the competition receive a grand prize trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. next spring for themselves and a parent or legal guardian. They’ll spend the day getting a tour of campus, meeting Google engineers and enjoying other fun surprises.

Last year's winners at the Googleplex

Last year’s Google Code-in had 361 students from 48 countries completing 2,167 tasks over the course of the the eight-week contest. We hope to have even more students participate this year. Help us spread the word by telling your friends, classmates, children, colleagues, teachers—everyone!

If you’d like to sign up, please review our Frequently Asked Questions and the contest rules on our program site. You can also join our discussion list for any other questions. For details on important dates for the contest, see the timeline. You can go ahead and register for your account now on the program site so you will be able to start claiming tasks right away when the contest opens on Monday, November 21 at 12:00am (midnight) PST.

We hope you’ll spend your winter (or summer, for our friends in the southern hemisphere) learning about the ins and outs of open-source development through hands-on experience. On your marks...

Android in spaaaace! (Part 2)

Back in December, Android ventured into near space, thanks to a weekend of DIY work, a couple of Nexus S phones, some weather balloons and the help of this little guy. After this first adventure, we knew it was only a matter of time before Android went further into space.

On the last manned space shuttle, Atlantis, NASA sent two Nexus S phones along for the ride as part of the STS-135 mission. The goal is to use Nexus S on the International Space Station to explore how robots can help humans experiment and live in space more efficiently.

NASA is using Nexus S phones to upgrade a trio of volleyball-sized SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), originally developed by MIT. The phones help the robotic satellites perform tasks the astronauts used to do, like recording sensor data and capturing video footage. In the future, the phones will control and maneuver the SPHERES using the IOIO board and possibly the Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK).

A couple of our engineers built an open source sensor logging app that NASA decided was perfect for running diagnostics with the SPHERES. You can download the same app yourself from Android Market. NASA was interested in Android because it’s an open source platform, which makes it easy to customize the software on the phone to meet the specifications required to fly in space and work with the SPHERES. Nexus S was also a good fit because of its various sensors and low-powered, but high-performing, processor.

You can learn more about the project on NASA’s website. We loved being a part of the final Space Shuttle mission and working to bring the power of the Android platform to space exploration.

Hacking for humanity in Silicon Valley and around the globe

(Cross-posted on the Code Blog and Google.org Blog)

Two years ago representatives from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Hewlett-Packard, NASA and the World Bank came together to form the Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) program. The idea was simple: technology can and should be used for good. RHoK brings together subject matter experts, volunteer software developers and designers to create open source and technology agnostic software solutions that address challenges facing humanity. On June 4-5, 2011 we’ll hold the third Random Hacks of Kindness global event at five U.S. locations and 13 international sites, giving local developer communities the opportunity to collaborate on problems in person.

The RHoK community has already developed some applications focused on crisis response such as I’mOK, a mobile messaging application for disaster response that was used on the ground in Haiti and Chile; and CHASM, a visual tool to map landslide risk currently being piloted by the World Bank in landslide affected areas in the Caribbean. Person Finder, a tool created by Google’s crisis response team to help people find friends and loved ones after a natural disaster, was also refined at RHoK events and effectively deployed in Haiti, Chile and Japan.

We’re inviting all developers, designers and anyone else who wants to help “hack for humanity,” to attend one of the local events on June 4-5. There, you’ll meet other open source developers, work with experts in disaster and climate issues and contribute code to exciting projects that make a difference. If you’re in Northern California, come join us at the Silicon Valley RHoK event at Google headquarters.

And if you’re part of an organization that works in the fields of crisis response or climate change, you can submit a problem definition online, so that developers and volunteers can work on developing technology to address the challenge.

Visit http://www.rhok.org/ for more information and to sign up for your local event, and get set to put your hacking skills to good use.

Now accepting student applications for Google Summer of Code

Starting today, we’re accepting applications from students for the 2011 Google Summer of Code. In this global program, now in its seventh year, university students receive a stipend to write code for open source projects, gaining experience in real-world software development and creating more source code which benefits everyone on the web.

To apply, visit the program website, where you can review this year’s 175 accepted projects and submit your proposal. Space in the program is limited, so be sure to consult the Google Summer of Code student manual and read over some tips on crafting the best proposal and suggested dos and don’ts for participating in the program.

You can find more information on the Open Source blog. Applications are due Friday, April 8 at 12pm PDT. Good luck!

Sixth annual Summer of Code flexes some serious geek girl muscle

Our sixth annual Google Summer of Code program has wrapped up and we want to highlight some of this year’s amazing participants and projects. Summer of Code offers students developers all over the world the chance to get paid to write code for open source projects as an alternative to a summer job.

Kicked off in 2005, the Summer of Code has brought together more than 3,400 students with more than 200 open source projects from all over the world to create millions of lines of code. We work with several open source, free software and technology-related groups to identify and fund projects through three months of coding.

There was some really awesome work done by more than 1,000 students from 69 countries in this year’s Summer of Code. Of those students, 6.5 percent were women representing 23 countries—six times higher than the estimated proportion of women in the open source community. Here are just a few of the women:

25 reference manuals in her purse
Ann Marie Horcher, an information systems security Ph.D. candidate at Nova Southeastern University was mentored by Docbook.org. Ann Marie worked over the summer to create an application that transformed a docbook file to epub format used in ebook readers such as the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes and Noble Nook and the iPad. As a result of Ann Marie’s project, it’s now easier to move technical documentation to a portable format so she “can carry my 25 reference manuals for my project with me in my purse.” And now, so can everyone else.

Check out Ann Marie’s YouTube video illustrating her work and its results here.

Geophylogenies now displayed on Google Earth
Kathryn Iverson, a University of Michigan bioinformatics graduate student was mentored by National Evolutionary Biology Synthesis Center and wrote a library implemented in Java with KML to build geophylogenies—geographical evolutionary histories of organisms. She told us: "Since I was starting from scratch it was up to me to decide in what direction I should move the project and make decisions about everything from what input filetypes to support to the color and size of the geophylogenies when they are displayed in Google Earth."

When asked about her key takeaways, she said, "Working remotely required me to be clear and verbose about what I needed because with the time difference (my mentor was on the other side of the globe), I may not get a response until the next day, which can slow down work tremendously if you're not clear in asking your questions."

Bridesmaid brings word tag clouds to biological networks
Layla Oesper, a Brown University computer science Ph.D. candidate mentored by Cytoscape, was attracted to Summer of Code because she was looking for a summer job that would give her the flexibility to work and still participate in two weddings. Layla built a plugin for Cytoscape that would allow people to create word tag clouds from biological networks they’d already created in Cytoscape, giving users a visual semantic summary of a biological network. The final product has all sorts of configurable features, including the ability to cluster together words that appear near each other in the original network in the order in which the words appear.

Check out what Layla learned during her Summer of Code experience on YouTube.

Drupal gets more content management friendly
Emily Brand, a computer science graduate student from Loyola University Chicago, was mentored by Drupal.org, an open source content management platform. During her summer, she worked on QueryPath—an essential part of the Drupal and PHP communities. Her goal was to keep and increase Drupal’s popularity by making it a go-to content management system for websites focused on web services using PHP.

Emily says she learned “how to effectively work on an open source project while keeping and improving the users and developers requirements as well as how to effectively integrate web services in Drupal.”

You can find out more about this year’s program and projects on the Open Source Blog, and if you’re in college looking to write some open source code, we hope we’ll see you next summer.

Releasing the Chromium OS open source project

In July we announced that we were working on Google Chrome OS, an open source operating system for people who spend most of their time on the web.

Today we are open-sourcing the project as Chromium OS. We are doing this early, a year before Google Chrome OS will be ready for users, because we are eager to engage with partners, the open source community and developers. As with the Google Chrome browser, development will be done in the open from this point on. This means the code is free, accessible to anyone and open for contributions. The Chromium OS project includes our current code base, user interface experiments and some initial designs for ongoing development. This is the initial sketch and we will color it in over the course of the next year.

We want to take this opportunity to explain why we're excited about the project and how it is a fundamentally different model of computing.

First, it's all about the web. All apps are web apps. The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs.

Second, because all apps live within the browser, there are significant benefits to security. Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn't trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer. Furthermore, Chrome OS barely trusts itself. Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code. If your system has been compromised, it is designed to fix itself with a reboot. While no computer can be made completely secure, we're going to make life much harder (and less profitable) for the bad guys. If you dig security, read the Chrome OS Security Overview or watch the video.

Most of all, we are obsessed with speed. We are taking out every unnecessary process, optimizing many operations and running everything possible in parallel. This means you can go from turning on the computer to surfing the web in a few seconds. Our obsession with speed goes all the way down to the metal. We are specifying reference hardware components to create the fastest experience for Google Chrome OS.

There is still a lot of work to do, and we're excited to work with the open source community. We have benefited hugely from projects like GNU, the Linux Kernel, Moblin, Ubuntu, WebKit and many more. We will be contributing our code upstream and engaging closely with these and other open source efforts.

Google Chrome OS will be ready for consumers this time next year. Sign up here for updates or if you like building your operating system from source, get involved at chromium.org.

Lastly, here is a short video that explains why we're so excited about Google Chrome OS.

Update at 8:55PM: Watch the video of our Google Chrome OS event, which took place earlier today.