22 Sep 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Andra Day sings "Strange Fruit" in support of Google.org grantee Equal Justice Initiative

Music has the power to ignite change-to encourage introspection and galvanize people.

Earlier this year Google.org grantee the Equal Justice Initiative launched the Lynching in America digital experience. This platform, built with support from Google, brings together the Equal Justice Initiative's data and research on the 4,000+ victims of lynchings with the oral histories of families who still suffer the legacy of lynching today.

This week, Grammy-nominated artist Andra Day released a new cover of the anti-lynching protest song "Strange Fruit," originally sung by Billie Holiday in 1939. Andra's cover-recorded to raise awareness for the Lynching in America project-encourages us to take an honest look at this painful period in American history.

Our struggle does not stop. It simply continues. Black history does not repeat itself. It evolves. Andra Day

Since EJI launched the Lynching in America platform earlier this summer, the oral histories and site content have been viewed more than 35 million times. We're proud to help EJI make this data and research more broadly accessible, and to support their efforts to memorialize the more than 4,000 victims of lynching and racial terror.

Tomorrow, Andra will perform "Strange Fruit" at the Global Citizen Festival, the annual concert in Central Park promoting freedom and justice for all. Tune into the live stream to watch her performance and join us in supporting EJI in their movement for truth and reconciliation in America.

22 Sep 2017 9:14pm GMT

Tackle football season with your Assistant by your side

Football season is officially underway and your Google Assistant is ready to help you keep up with your favorite teams. With your Assistant on your phone or Google Home, start with "Ok Google" and...

football
  1. Stock up on the essentials by asking your Assistant to "Add chips and dip to my shopping list"
  2. Ask your Assistant about the competition: "Who does [insert your 🏈 team] play on Sunday?"
  3. Prepare for the game: "What's the weather in Chicago going to be like today?"
  4. Double check the game date: "When does [insert your 🏈 team] play again?"
  5. Get to know your Assistant by asking "Who's your favorite football team?"

Ready, set, hut.

22 Sep 2017 7:00pm GMT

The High Five: Searching to help Mexico City and other top trends this week

Each week, we take a look at the most-searched trends (with help and data from the team at Google News Lab). Here are a few top trends from this week:

Mexico City earthquake

A fatal earthquake rocked Mexico City this week, and people turned to Google to find out how they can aid the recovery. Two of the top questions in the U.S. were "What fault line is Mexico City on?" and "Where to donate for the earthquake in Mexico?" Those questions were both in the top five searched questions in Mexico City as well, along with "What is needed in the shelters?" and "Where is the school that collapsed from the earthquake?"

From court to screen

Wednesday marked the anniversary of the famed tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, and starting today, Emma Stone and Steve Carell portray them on the big screen. The release caused a racket in Search: Interest in "women's tennis" spiked 140 percent higher than "men's tennis." (Game.) Billie Jean King was searched 230 percent more than Bobby Riggs. (Set.) And interest in Emma Stone was 290 percent higher than Steve Carell (match!).

Demagor-gone searching

One a scale from one to Eleven, how excited are you for "Stranger Things" season two? Unless you've been trapped in the Upside Down, you know that the show is coming back soon. We'll help you out with a few of the top-searched questions this week: "When is season 2 of Stranger Things coming out?" (October 27), "Who went missing on Stranger Things?" (RIP Barb), and "How many Emmys did Stranger Things win?" (Zero.) It may have lost to "Handmaid's Tale" at the Emmy's, but it's spooking the competition in other ways-"Stranger Things costume" was searched 1,040 percent more than "Handmaid's Tale costume" in the last week. There's only a few weeks to go, so get your Eggos ready.

Will it be a Graceful comeback?

Fans thought they said goodbye to "Will & Grace" in 2006 but now they're searching, "What time will Will & Grace be on Hulu?" That's right, the beloved NBC series is making a comeback on Hulu next week (all one hundred and ninety four episodes are now on Hulu as well). Other popular questions include, "How many episodes are there in Will & Grace season 1?" and "Is Leslie Jordan returning to the Will & Grace reboot?" (Karen Walker isn't happy about that one.) There are a lot of "Will & Grace" lovers in Rhode Island, Iowa and North Dakota, the states that searched the most for the show this week.

Flu fighters

Flu season is around the corner, and people are aching to learn more. Search was congested with lots of queries, but the top ones were: "How long is a flu shot good for?" "How bad is flu season this year?" and "How to stay healthy during flu season? People are searching the most for "stomach flu," followed by "keto flu." Top regions searching for "flu season" were Delaware, North Carolina and Louisiana.

22 Sep 2017 4:45pm GMT

Building film experiences through WebVR with Powster

Editor's Note: When you build with WebVR, anyone can explore VR experiences with Chrome and Daydream View. Ste Thompson is CEO and Creative Director at Powster. In this post for developers, he explains how Powster uses WebVR to create immersive experiences in film environments that reach as wide an audience as possible.

Web-based VR experiences are key to making virtual reality accessible for everyone. Using a standard internet browser with WebVR technology, anyone can visit virtual worlds. At Powster, we've been using WebVR to create immersive film experiences. By taking 360º settings from actual movie scenes, we create environments that give audiences a sneak preview of that world.

Powster1
Looking around the WebVR experience

It's straightforward to create native WebVR experiences on Google Chrome thanks to Google Origin Trials. Native WebVR enables Google Daydream users to access the experience directly inside Daydream View. To do it, we had to set up HTTPS on our server and apply for a token, which provides access to experimental features. We also modified our code to fit the specifications of WebVR; the polyfill is less strict than the native WebVR, especially regarding the way a new frame is requested.

powster2
A sci-fi interface to select showtimes at a movie theater

There's another way to enable WebVR by using the Google Chrome flags: chrome://flags/#enable-webvr. This is generally more convenient during the development phase of your WebVR project, as you may not have an HTTPS server ready when developing. For the Valerian VR experience, we also updated our copy of Three.js (a 3D JavaScript library ready for WebVR) to the latest stable version in order to be compatible with the WebVR 1.1 specification.

Powster3
Viewing the trailer takes you to your own private WebVR cinema

The result is a native WebVR experience that's fun, immersive and accessible to many. One recent example is STX's "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," created in partnership with RealD. For the Valerian experience, you'll find yourself on board the epic Intruder spaceship, looking out of its massive viewing window where the movie trailer plays. Check it out here.

22 Sep 2017 4:00pm GMT

21 Sep 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Cooling off with #teampixel

We enjoyed all the fun in the sun with #teampixel this summer. From a whirlwind tour around the globe to getting one with nature, our Pixel photographers shared some stunning shots that gave us the chills (in a good way). Before we head into fall, we're paying one last homage to the warmer months with a series spotlighting the cooler tones. Thanks for keeping us cool this summer, #teampixel. 😎

Shout out to @nemod96, whose photo is featured above and makes an appearance on our Instagram today. Tag your photos with #teampixel and you could be featured, too.

21 Sep 2017 6:45pm GMT

How Google went all in on video meetings (and you can, too)

Editor's note: this is the first article in a five-part series on Google Hangouts.

I've worked at Google for more than a decade and have seen the company expand across geographies-including to Stockholm where I have worked from day one. My coworkers and I build video conferencing technology to help global teams work better together.

It's sometimes easy to forget what life was like before face-to-face video conferencing (VC) at work, but we struggled with many of the same issues that other companies deal with-cobbled together communication technologies, dropped calls, expensive solutions. Here's a look at how we transitioned Google to be a cloud video meeting-first company.

2004 - 2007: Life before Hangouts

In the mid-2000s, Google underwent explosive growth. We grew from nearly 3,000 employees to more than 17,000 across 40 offices globally. Historically, we relied on traditional conference phone bridging and email to communicate across time zones, but phone calls don't exactly inspire creativity and tone gets lost in translation with email threads.

We realized that the technology we used didn't mirror how our teams actually like to work together. If I want to sort out a problem or present an idea, I'd rather be face-to-face with my team, not waiting idly on a conference bridge line.

Google decided to go all in on video meetings. We outsourced proprietary video conferencing (VC) technology and outfitted large meeting rooms with these devices.

If I need to sort out a problem or present an idea, I'd rather be face-to-face with my team, not waiting idly on a conference bridge line.
Hangouts 1
A conference room in Google's Zurich office in 2007 which had outsourced VC technology.

While revolutionary, this VC technology was extremely costly. Each unit could cost upwards of $50,000, and that did not include support, licensing and network maintenance fees. To complicate matters, the units were powered by complex, on-prem infrastructure and required several support technicians. By 2007, nearly 2,400 rooms were equipped with the technology.

Then we broke it.

The system was built to host meetings for team members in the office, but didn't cater to people on the go. As more and more Googlers used video meetings, we reached maximum capacity on the technology's infrastructure and experienced frequent dropped calls and poor audio/visual (AV) quality. I even remember one of the VC bridges catching on fire! We had to make a change.

2008 - 2013: Taking matters into our own hands

In 2008, we built our own VC solution that could keep up with the rate at which we were growing. We scaled with software and moved meetings to the cloud.

Our earliest "Hangouts" prototype was Gmail Video Chat, a way to connect with contacts directly in Gmail. Hours after releasing the service to the public, it had hundreds of thousands of users.

Gmail voice and video chat

The earliest software prototype for video conferencing at Google, Gmail Video Chat.

Hangouts 2

Arthur van der Geer tests out the earliest prototype for Hangouts, go/meet.

While a good start, we knew we couldn't scale group video conferencing within Gmail. We built our second iteration, which tied meeting rooms to unique URLs. We introduced it to Googlers in 2009 and the product took off.

During this journey, we also built our own infrastructure (WebRTC) so we no longer had to rely on third-party audio and video components. Our internal IT team created our own VC hardware prototypes; we used touchscreen computers and custom software with the first version of Hangouts and called it "Google Video Conferencing" ("GVC" for short).

First Google Video Conferencing Prototype | 2008

Google engineers test the first Google Video Conferencing hardware prototype in 2008.

With each of these elements, we had now built our earliest version of Hangouts. After a few years of testing-and widespread adoption by Googlers-we made the platform available externally to customers in 2014 ("Chromebox for Meetings"). In the first two weeks, we sold more than 2,000 units. By the end of the year, every Google conference room and company device had access to VC.

2014 - today: Transforming how businesses do business

GIF test

Nearly a decade has passed since we built the first prototype. Face-to-face collaboration is ingrained in Google's DNA now-more than 16,500 meetings rooms are VC-equipped at Google and our employees join Hangouts 240,000 times per day! That's equivalent to spending more than 10 years per day collaborating in video meetings. And, now, more than 3 million businesses are using Hangouts to transform how they work too.

We learned a lot about what it takes to successfully collaborate as a scaling business. If you're looking to transition your meetings to the cloud with VC, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Encourage video engagement from the start. Every good idea needs a champion. Be seen as an innovator by evangelizing video engagement in company meetings from the start. Your team will thank you for it.
  2. If you're going to move to VC, make it available everywhere. We transformed our work culture to be video meeting-first because we made VC ubiquitous. Hangouts Meet brings you a consistent experience across web, mobile and conference rooms. If you're going to make the switch, go all in and make it accessible to everyone.
  3. Focus on the benefits. Video meetings can help distributed teams feel more engaged and help employees collaborate whenever, and wherever, inspiration strikes. This means you'll have more diverse perspectives which makes for better quality output.

What's next? Impactful additions and improvements to Hangouts Meet will be announced soon. All the while, we're continuing to research how teams work together and how we can evolve VC technology to reflect that collaboration. For example, we're experimenting with making scheduling easier for teams thanks to the @meet AI bot in the early adopter version of Hangouts Chat.

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21 Sep 2017 5:00pm GMT

Transforming Chile’s health sector with connectivity

Editor's note: From instant access to medical records, to telemedicine in rural areas, connectivity in the health sector has the power to improve lives. In this guest post, Soledad Munoz Lopez, CIO of the Chilean Ministry of Health, shares with us how Chile implemented a national API-based architecture to help bring better health to millions.

Not long ago, Chile's Ministry of Health (MINSAL) faced an enormous challenge. Chile's 1,400 connected health facilities and 1,000 remote medical facilities lacked connectivity, and many of its healthcare systems could not easily interoperate. This meant healthcare providers couldn't always expect to have fast and easy access to medical records.

Earlier efforts to centralize and manage medical records across facilities fell apart because they were costly and far too laborious. And as a result, we missed out on a lot of opportunities. We came to realize that we needed a new approach to IT architecture.

To help ensure that data, applications and services are securely available when and where they're needed, I'm helping to lead the implementation of a national API-based architecture, powered by Google Cloud's Apigee. From facilitating smoother public-private partnerships to enabling wider use of services such as telemedicine, we see this as a critical and aggressive move to rapidly improve wellness for our millions of citizens and visitors.

The API-first architecture aligns with a variety of MINSAL's healthcare efforts, including a national program to connect unconnected healthcare centers, and a plan to digitize all clinic and administrative processes, both for major hospitals and local clinics and primary care centers. It also helps MINSAL's strategic work, such as better leveraging data and connectivity for public alerts, population health management programs and the Public Health Surveillance initiatives needed for planning and execution of public health policy.

Connecting Chile's healthcare system

One of the primary areas of concern addressed by the new digital architecture is the ease and speed of integration. As noted above, it's important that whenever a patient is treated anywhere in Chile, the clinical teams and the patient have access to all the information that has been generated for that patient, regardless of where this information was recorded. This includes data from other health clinics, public or private institutions, laboratories, radiology and images and clinical equipment.

This variety of data sources typifies the diverse heterogenous environment that an API-first architecture needs to address: applications, devices, patient record systems, management systems, scheduling and so on. Most of these pieces within the MINSAL ecosystem were never designed to interoperate. We chose an API-first approach because APIs abstract all of this back-end complexity into predictable, consistent interfaces that allow developers to more quickly and efficiently connect data, services and apps across the nationwide system. The result is a more seamless experience for doctors and patients and a secure but agile infrastructure for MINSAL.

In a previous attempt to efficiently and scalably integrate health records, started in 2005, Chile utilized a centralized SOA-based architecture. This strategy turned out to be an expensive and inflexible way to try and achieve interoperability. The integration expenses were projected to require at least three times the current budget-untenable in a country where the total budget for development of clinical records is about $40 million annually.

Yet far larger are the costs to the users of an unconnected system, including unnecessary travel, duplication of exams and out of pocket costs in general.

Working with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and local system integrators such as Tecnodata, MINSAL is implementing a health systems technology investment strategy that is much more efficient. The API-based architecture enables any IT professional in any of Chile's organizations, facilities, institutions and providers to onboard their information systems in an organized, more secure, self-service manner.

This helps make the national program much more scalable, and involves local industry experts more closely. In addition, these entities can continue to evolve their own local systems as they need, as long as they're compliant with the common integration strategy. MINSAL has established the policy that all data records be based on API-centric standards like FHIR and HL7, with images based on DICOM.

All of these connectivity and interoperability efforts help enable important services that benefit Chilean citizens, such as telemedicine. Telemedicine, which enables patients to avoid unnecessary travel and relocation while under medical care, is highly developed in five specialties in Chile: teledermatology, teleophthalmology, telenephrology, teleradiology and tele-electrocardiography.

An API platform for a healthy future

The Apigee platform has been the accelerator for the entire program, providing visibility and controls that make APIs easier to manage. It also saves MINSAL from needing to develop API management features that Apigee provides built right into the platform, such as key management, identity brokering, traffic routing, cyber-threat management, data caching, collection of analytics, developer management, developer portal and many others. As a result of the success of this program, we're moving towards API-based strategies in more than just the health sector. Here are a few examples:

  • A single registry of individual and institutional health providers

  • An identity service integrated with the National Identity Registry

  • A birth pre-registry

  • A verification of identity service for use during emergency medical services

  • A national pharmaceutical terminology service

  • A patient portal (including pregnancy support, for example)

  • Electronic immunization records

  • Traceability and management of national health insurance accounts

  • An electronic medical prescription model


The API platform helps professionals in the entire network of healthcare systems in Chile access patient information throughout the care cycle. MINSAL was able to reduce costs through sharing information, eliminating delays and reducing the duplication of medical tests. The platform also provides information to apps and websites used by patients, enabling them to see and gradually empower themselves with their own health data.

The promotion of preventive healthcare is a critically important initiative in Chile. API technology supports the monitoring of epidemiological changes in the population, consuming information from operational systems, through the same Apigee API platform that is already interfacing with all the health establishments. This means we now have far better data to begin testing machine learning and use our big data to help focus our health programs on impactful outcomes.

Chile is a leader among Latin American national health programs, and works closely with other countries and organizations to develop and coordinate programs and policies. By working with GCP and adopting an API-based architecture with the explicit goal of improving outcomes and the efficacy of the health care system, we hope to inspire others and pave the way to better health for billions of people.

21 Sep 2017 4:00pm GMT

Android zero-touch enrollment: seamless and secure enterprise deployment


Companies around the world deploy Android to mobilize employees and transform their businesses. No matter the use case, we know that a successful deployment is about more than just selecting the right devices; it's about getting them configured and rolled out into the hands of users as quickly and easily as possible.

Today we're launching a new deployment method called zero-touch enrollment to make Android rollouts more seamless and secure. With zero-touch enrollment, companies can configure the devices they purchase and have them shipped with management and settings pre-configured, so employees can get up and running out of the box.

Zero touch pixel demo

For administrators, zero-touch enrollment removes the need for users to configure their devices manually and ensures that devices always have corporate policies in place. Support is also much easier, with no extra steps for end-users; they just sign in and get access to their work apps and data.

Zero-touch is available on devices purchased from our zero-touch carrier partners, and we're excited to partner with Verizon to offer zero-touch enrollment on the Pixel, phone by Google, starting today.

"For our business customers, deploying new devices and services securely with the ability to enforce device-specific policies is critical for protecting proprietary information and an organization's brand," says Ryan O'Shea, vice president of National Business Channels with Verizon Wireless. "The Android zero-touch enrollment program allows our business customers to get up and running seamlessly and securely, and we are excited today to introduce this initiative on the Pixel phone and other future Android devices."

We're working with our device partners including Samsung, Huawei, Sony, LG Electronics, HMD Global Oy Home of Nokia Phones, BlackBerry smartphones, HTC, Motorola, Honeywell, Zebra, and Sonim with additional OEMs to be added soon to deliver the zero-touch experience to enterprises. The Huawei Mate 10, Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact specifically will be among the first devices to support zero-touch in the coming weeks and of course, other devices from our OEM partners will launch soon.

Organizations can use software from leading enterprise mobility management providers (EMMs) including VMware AirWatch, BlackBerry, MobileIron, IBM, SOTI, GSuite and others to specify configurations and device policies that are automatically applied to employees' mobile devices during the initial setup.

If your company already uses other enrollment methods, don't worry - you can mix enrollment methods to suit your particular needs. Samsung will continue to offer Knox Mobile Enrollment (KME) on Samsung devices, including pre-Oreo devices. Samsung devices that upgrade to, or ship with, Android Oreo will have zero-touch as an additional option. Other existing enrollment methods like QR code and NFC bump will continue to be supported across Android.

Keen to get started with zero-touch? Talk to our carrier partners who plan to offer zero-touch:


  • USA: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile

  • Europe: BT, Deutsche Telekom


  • Asia-Pacific: Softbank, Telstra


To learn more, visit our zero-touch page.

21 Sep 2017 4:00pm GMT

Something’s coming … “West Side Story” on Google Arts & Culture

"In the olden days, everybody sang."


Those are the words of Leonard Bernstein, composer behind the iconic musical "West Side Story," where everyone danced and snapped through the streets, too. Whether you're a Jet all the way or you side with the Sharks, Tony and Maria's love story is as poignant today as it was 60 years ago, when the Broadway musical first debuted.


In partnership with Carnegie Hall, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Museum of the City of New York and the National Museum of American Jewish History, Google Arts & Culture is launching a new collection honoring "West Side Story." Bringing together artifacts and mementos from the making of the musical and movie, behind-the-scenes photographs, and a peek into the modern-day representation of the musical, this collection explores the history, artistic value and social relevance of "West Side Story." Check it out at g.co/westsidestory and on the Google Arts & Culture app (available on Android and iOS).

  • Stephen Sondheim on piano and Leonard Bernstein standing amongst female singers rehearsing for West Side Story (variant)_NYPL.jpg

    Stephen Sondheim on piano and Leonard Bernstein standing amongst female singers rehearsing for "West Side Story."

  • i
    Leonard Bernstein's personal annotated copy of "Romeo and Juliet." He made several notes for adapting Shakespeare's play into a contemporary musical.
  • Outside Philadelphia's Erlanger Theatre before the Broadway Opening_NYPL.jpg
    Excited crowds gathered outside the Erlanger Theatre in Philadelphia to see "West Side Story," during its two week out-of-town tryout before it opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957.
  • Jerome Robbins & actress Natalie Wood LIFE.jpg
    Natalie Wood (pictured at piano with Jerome Robbins) was the last principal cast in the movie. She recorded Maria's songs, but ultimately her singing was dubbed by an uncredited Marni Nixon.
  • West Side Story dancers on the NYC streets _NYPL (1).jpg
    The Prologue sequence lasted twice as long on screen as on stage. The magic of cinema blended locations on the Upper West Side and East Harlem (where the playground scenes were shot).
  • 66

    In 1959, photographer Bruce Davidson observed and photographed a teenage gang in Brooklyn, New York, capturing the spirit of post-war youth culture that inspired the rival gangs of "West Side Story." This photo is one is called "Man in sunglasses smoking."

  • Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert on location (West 56th street between 9th and 10th ave) for West Side Story publicity shoot_NYPL.jpg
    In an interview, Carol Lawrence (who played Maria in "West Side Story" on Broadway) remembers the photo shoot for the iconic image of Maria and Tony running down the street.
  • WestSideStory4.jpg
    A 360-video of "Cool", one of the most popular songs of the musical, performed at the Knockdown Center in Queens, NY as part of Carnegie Hall's, The Somewhere Project.
  • -West Side Story Production- Performances 4_CH.jpg

    From March 4-6, 2016, three extraordinary performances of "West Side Story" were presented at the Knockdown Center, a restored factory in Queens. The production brought together high school-aged apprentice performers joining the cast, and a 200-voice youth choir adding a new dimension to Leonard Bernstein's iconic score.

  • West Side Story Production Performances_CH (1).jpg
    With a colorblind approach to casting, the audience was able to identify the Sharks and the Jets through their clothing rather than by the color of the members' hair or skin.

21 Sep 2017 1:00pm GMT

Headphones optimized for the Google Assistant

Your Assistant is already available to help on phones, speakers and more. But sometimes you need something a bit more personal, just for you to hear. And that's where headphones come into play. Like when you're commuting on the train or reading at home. It would be nice to get on-the-go help from your Assistant, without glancing at your phone.

To help with those "in between" moments, together with Bose, we're announcing headphones that are optimized for the Assistant, starting with the QC35 II. So now, you can keep up to date on your messages, music and more-with headphones that you've paired with your eligible Android phone or iPhone.

To get started, connect your QC 35 II headphones to your phone via Bluetooth, open your Google Assistant app and follow the instructions. From there, your Assistant is just a button away-push (and hold) the Action button on your headphones to easily and quickly talk to your Assistant.

  • Stay connected to what matters: Hear your incoming messages, calendar events and more, automatically, right from your headphones. So if you're listening to your favorite song and you get a text, your Assistant can read it to you, no extra steps.
  • Listen to music, news and more: Now it's easier to access a playlist, skip a track or go to a new song when you're listening to music-and the music experience will continue to get better over time. You can also keep up with news while you take walk, jump in a cab or go for a run. Just ask your Assistant to "play the news" and you'll get a read-out of the current hot topics. You can choose from a variety of news sources, like CNBC, CNN, NPR and others.
  • Keep in touch with friends: You can make a call with just a few simple words-"Call dad"-take the call from your headphones and continue on your way. No stopping or dialing, just talking.
Bose

We've worked together with Bose to create a great Assistant experience on the QC35 II-whether you're on a crowded street or squished on a bus, Bose's active noise cancellation will help eliminate unwanted sounds around you, so you're able to hear your Assistant, your music and more. The Assistant on the QC35 II will be available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, France and the U.K.

21 Sep 2017 12:00pm GMT

A ride to remember on World Alzheimer’s Day

Editor's note: Anne-Christine Hertz is a Swedish inventor who works at Health Technology Centre of Halland. Today, she shares a story of how the Centre used Street View to invent a device that helps elderly with Alzheimer's.

A few weeks ago I met 75-year-old Lars Jonsson and his wife Ingrid. They married when Lars was 40 and have lived a happy, fulfilling life together. Lars also suffers from dementia.

Every three seconds someone develops dementia, a condition that creates disability and dependency among many elderly, robbing them of memory and judgment. It's not only overwhelming and stressful for those suffering, but also their loved ones. It was tough on Ingrid when her husband suddenly had trouble recalling the memories they'd spent a lifetime creating.

We met Lars and Ingrid when they came to test a device we invented to improve the lives of dementia patients. It's called BikeAround, and it pairs a stationary bike with Google Street View projected on a big screen to take patients on a virtual ride down memory lane, letting them pedal around a place they have visited in the past. As Lars sat in the saddle, Ingrid suggested we take him back to the city and church in which they got married. Lars's face flickered with happiness as the church rose up before him. The expression on his wife's face when she knew for sure that he remembered was heartwarming

The development of the BikeAround system, which is now owned by health care company Camanio Care, started back in 2010 at Health Technology Center in Halland, Sweden. We were conducting research on dementia, and noticed people living with the disease were given different access to physical activity depending on which municipality they were living in. Since it's often recommended that dementia patients perform physical activities to stimulate both physical and mental health, this was an issue. We wanted to find a way to motivate the elderly with dementia to exercise more, in a safe and secure way.

Dementia patient Bengt and his wife Laila test the BikeAround system.

Our strongest memories are tied inexorably to location. It's no coincidence, when you think about any big memory or past event, your first thought is often "Where was I when that happened?" BikeAround taps into this idea by combining mental and physical stimulation-surrounding the patient with places they recognize through the Street View images, and then having them pedal and steer through them. Scientists think this kind of pairing produces dopamine in the brain and has the potential to affect memory management in a profound way.

Today is World Alzheimer's Day, a time when people and organizations from all over the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness of this disease for which there's no cure. Researchers all over the world are trying to find new ways to increase quality of life for the people affected by the disease. The experience with Lars-and many others patients-proves we've developed not just a product for improving health, but something that creates emotion and connects people. Patients often find the BikeAround solution so fascinating-so comforting-they don't want to get off. Neighborhoods they grew up in. Parks they played in as a child. Family visits to the seaside. They remember again. That's a feeling of freedom.

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Bengt Ivarsson tests BikeAround, a stationary bike that's paired with Google Street View to take dementia patients on a virtual ride down memory lane.

I have always looked at digitization and technology as a catalyst to open up the world not just to the tech savvy, but also to the elderly, who often live in digital exclusion. We're excited about having found a way to bring happiness to many people living with dementia and their relatives. But what's also exciting to me is that this is just one example of how technology can be harnessed to make a real impact on people's lives. If we look beyond ourselves and unleash our imaginations, there's no limit to what we can do to help others.

21 Sep 2017 7:05am GMT

Google signs agreement with HTC, continuing our big bet on hardware

About a year and a half ago, I joined Google to pursue my dream job to create compelling hardware products, built with Google's smarts at their core. As a first step, we brought together various consumer hardware-related efforts and established a single hardware organization within the company. Our team's goal is to offer the best Google experience-across hardware, software and services-to people around the world. Last fall, we introduced our first family of Made by Google products, including Pixel smartphones, Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View and Chromecast Ultra, and we're preparing to unveil our second generation of products on October 4. We're excited about the 2017 lineup, but even more inspired by what's in store over the next five, 10, even 20 years. Creating beautiful products that people rely on every single day is a journey, and we are investing for the long run.

That's why we've signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead. With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we've already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we're excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.

In many ways, this agreement is a testament to the decade-long history of teamwork between HTC and Google. Together, we've achieved several mobile-industry firsts, including the first ever Android smartphone, the HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1 (I loved mine!); as well as the Nexus One in 2010, the Nexus 9 tablet in 2014, and the first Pixel smartphone just last year.

It's still early days for Google's hardware business. We're focused on building our core capabilities, while creating a portfolio of products that offers people a unique yet delightful experience only made possible by bringing together the best of Google software-like the Google Assistant-with thoughtfully designed hardware. HTC has been a longtime partner and has created some of the most beautiful, high-end devices on the market. We can't wait to welcome members of the HTC team to join us on this journey.

21 Sep 2017 2:04am GMT

20 Sep 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Working together to combat terrorists online

Editor's note: This is a revised and abbreviated version of a speech Kent delivered today at the United Nations in New York City, NY, on behalf of the members of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism is a group of four technology companies-Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube-that are committed to working together and with governments and civil society to address the problem of online terrorist content.

For our companies, terrorism isn't just a business concern or a technical challenge. These are deeply personal threats. We are citizens of London, Paris, Jakarta, and New York. And in the wake of each terrorist attack we too frantically check in on our families and co-workers to make sure they are safe. We've all had to do this far too often.

The products that our companies build lower barriers to innovation and empower billions of people around the world. But we recognize that the internet and other tools have also been abused by terrorists in their efforts to recruit, fundraise, and organize. And we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that our platforms aren't used to distribute terrorist material.

The Forum's efforts are focused on three areas: leveraging technology, conducting research on patterns of radicalization and misuse of online platforms, and sharing best practices to accelerate our joint efforts against dangerous radicalization. Let me say more about each pillar.

First, when it comes to technology, you should know that our companies are putting our best talent and technology against the task of getting terrorist content off our services. There is no silver bullet when it comes to finding and removing this content, but we're getting much better.

One early success in collaboration has been our "hash sharing" database, which allows a company that discovers terrorist content on one of their sites to create a digital fingerprint and share it with the other companies in the coalition, who can then more easily detect and review similar content for removal.

We have to deal with these problems at tremendous scale. The haystacks are unimaginably large and the needles are both very small and constantly changing. People upload over 400 hours of content to YouTube every minute. Our software engineers have spent years developing technology that can spot certain telltale cues and markers. In recent months we have more than doubled the number of videos we've removed for violent extremism and have located these videos twice as fast. And what's more, 75 percent of the violent extremism videos we've removed in recent months were found using technology before they received a single human flag.

These efforts are working. Between August 2015 and June 2017, Twitter suspended more than 935,000 accounts for the promotion of terrorism. During the first half of 2017, over 95 percent of the accounts it removed were detected using its in-house technology. Facebook is using new advances in artificial intelligence to root out "terrorist clusters" by mapping out the pages, posts, and profiles with terrorist material and then shutting them down.

Despite this recent progress, machines are simply not at the stage where they can replace human judgment. For example, portions of a terrorist video in a news broadcast might be entirely legitimate, but a computer program will have difficulty distinguishing documentary coverage from incitement.

The Forum's second pillar is focused on conducting and sharing research about how terrorists use the internet to influence their audiences so that we can stay one step ahead.

Today, the members of the Forum are pleased to announce that we are making a multi-million dollar commitment to support research on terrorist abuse of the internet and how governments, tech companies, and civil society can fight back against online radicalization.

The Forum has also set a goal of working with 50 smaller tech companies to help them better tackle terrorist content on their platforms. On Monday, we hosted dozens of companies for a workshop with our partners under the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate. There will be a workshop in Brussels in December and another in Indonesia in the coming months. And we are also working to expand the hash-sharing database to smaller companies.

The Forum's final pillar is working together to find powerful messages and avenues to reach out to those at greatest risk of radicalization.

Members of the forum are doing a better job of sharing breakthroughs with each other. One success we've seen is with the Redirect Method developed at Alphabet's Jigsaw group. Redirect uses targeted advertising to reach people searching for terrorist content and presents videos that undermine extremist recruiting efforts. During a recent eight-week study more than 300,000 users clicked on our targeted ads and watched more than 500,000 minutes of video. This past April, Microsoft started a similar program on Bing. And Jigsaw and Bing are now exploring a partnership to share best practices and expertise.

At the same time, we're elevating the voices that are most credible in speaking out against terrorism, hate, and violence. YouTube's Creators for Change program highlights online stars taking a stand against xenophobia and extremism. And Facebook's P2P program has brought together more than 5,000 students from 68 countries to create campaigns to combat hate speech. And together the companies have participated in hundreds of meetings and trainings to counter violent extremism including events in Beirut, Bosnia, and Brussels and summits at the White House, here at the United Nations, London, and Sydney to empower credible non-governmental voices against violent extremism.

There is no magic computer program that will eliminate online terrorist content, but we are committed to working with everyone in this room as we continue to ramp up our own efforts to stop terrorists' abuse of our services. This forum is an important step in the right direction. We look forward to working with national and local governments, and civil society, to prevent extremist ideology from spreading in communities and online.

20 Sep 2017 9:20pm GMT

Best Practices: Creating Art Assets for VR

Editor's Note: This is a design-focused post for anyone interested in creating art assets for virtual reality.

As a VR and AR artist, I've noticed two trends. First, new tools and practices that can make us better artists are appearing all the time. But also, techniques and skills from the late 90's and early 00's are making a comeback, and they apply to virtual reality because computing resources in VR are limited. If you're just starting out, there's a lot to consider. So if you're an artist and you're new to VR, here are some of my favorite tips for creating great assets.

vrart1copy
  • Never drop a frame. You need to keep your frame rate as high as possible, because the lower it goes, the greater the chance of discomfort and motion sickness due to conflicts between your inner ear and your visual inputs. One technique to keep your frame rate high is to create levels of detail (LODs). A character with 10,000 polygons only needs such a high resolution really close up. At further distances, you could swap in a 5,000 poly version, and then even lower poly models as the distance increases, all the way to a single polygon (LOD 4 in the diagram below). This will help with performance, and it works especially well for large groups of background characters that are always seen at a distance.
vrart2
  • Be aware of the textures you're using. Busy, noisy and contrasting textures can be nauseating in VR, as they tend to cause a jittering look. However, flat textures with no detail can pose problems as well, because without texture it's hard to measure motion or depth. Although extremes can work in non-VR experiences, avoid them in VR.
leafwrong
LeafRight
  • How it looks in VR is what matters. When designing assets in 2D, be sure to constantly check and see what it looks like in VR. It can be cumbersome to jump back and forth, but your perspective will be different: volume and size are extremely present in VR. Putting that tree on a hill may look like a fine distance to cover when you're designing in 2D, but once you're in VR and comparing distances, it might not work at all.
Cave
  • Make exploration fun, not hard. Exploration should be fun and available, but in VR you really want to clearly point out where to go. Create a visual language, like having orange torches near the proper dungeon exit, or street lights in a zombie apocalypse. These are subtle yet important indicators, because it's very easy to become lost in VR.

Hopefully, these tips will be useful as you get started creating art in VR. We're all on the edge of a new frontier, and because of that, we're learning all the time. It's great. What are some of your favorite tips and tricks? Let's get a conversation going; use #VRArtTips to share.

20 Sep 2017 8:00pm GMT

Project Fi welcomes Android One, with the moto x4

With Project Fi, we set out to make your wireless experience fast, easy and fair-with access to three national 4G LTE networks, and international roaming at no extra cost. But many of you have asked us for more options for high quality, affordable devices that work with Project Fi. We've heard you and we're excited to launch our newest phone for Project Fi: the Android One moto x4.

We took some important steps with Android One earlier this month by expanding the program to bring a fresh, secure software experience designed by Google to more high-quality devices no matter the price point. The launch of Android One moto x4 on Project Fi is the next step in our commitment to work with more partners and expand Android One to new places.



  • Google Assistant
    Your Google Assistant experience is fully optimized on the Android One moto x4
  • Unlimited storage from Google Photos
    Unlimited high-quality photo storage built-in with Google Photos
  • Security
    Enjoy top of the line security with Google Play Protect and regular security updates
  • Android updates
    Stay fresh with the latest updates from Android

Packed with a pure Android experience, advanced hardware and great network connectivity, here's a closer look at what you'll get with the new Android One moto x4.

Best-in-class software experience designed by Google

Like all Android One phones, Android One moto x4 runs a pure Android experience, with a clean software design and a carefully curated set of preinstalled apps to give you just what you need. For example, it comes optimized for the Google Assistant to help you get more done, and offers high-quality video calling with Google Duo. You'll also get access to the latest updates from Android, such as Android Oreo before the end of the year. Android One moto x4 will be among the first to receive an upgrade to Android P.


Powerful cameras and unlimited high-quality photo storage

The Android One moto x4 comes with three cameras. A 12MP + 8MP dual rear camera system lets you capture wide-angle photos and detailed portraits. The front-facing camera comes packed with 16MP and an adaptive low light mode. And with free high quality storage from Google Photos, you never have to worry about running out of space.


All day battery and ultra-fast charging

Power through the day and enjoy your favorite Android software features like battery saver. When you need to recharge, TurboPower™ charging makes it ultra fast: You can get up to six hours of power in just 15 minutes.


Top of the line security

The Android One moto x4 will receive timely security updates and built-in malware protection from Google Play Protect, working around the clock to keep your device, data and apps safe.


The Android One moto x4 is priced at $399, comes in Super Black and Sterling Blue, and is available only in the U.S. on Project Fi's network. You can pre-order it on the Project Fi website starting today. If you've got an older Nexus phone and want to trade it in for a new device, we're making it easier than ever with our new trade-in program. We'll give you up to $165 for select Nexus devices, and if you start your trade-in for an Android One moto x4 by October 5, you'll earn an extra $50 Fi credit.

20 Sep 2017 6:40pm GMT

Hector Mujica on “showing grace to those in the margins” and his social impact work at Google

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we're celebrating the fascinating stories and important contributions of our Hispanic Googlers-their histories, their families, and what keeps them busy inside and outside of work.

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Any Venezuelan football fans out there? Here I am showing some love for "Vino Tinto."

Next up is Hector Mujica, social justice champion, enthusiast of the outdoors, and self-proclaimed acronym inventor (SPAI).

Give us the 10-second, one-sentence version of what you do at Google.

I work on Google.org, Google's philanthropy team, where I manage our programs across Latin America, and support our disaster relief giving and volunteering work globally.

When did you (or generations before you) immigrate to the U.S.?

My family immigrated to the U.S. from Venezuela when I was a young child, after my dad landed a job at Oracle in Miami. Of all the places to start in America, South Florida must be one of the best-with the rich cultural diversity and ample Latin food, it made the transition smooth, and kept me close to my Hispanic heritage.

How are you involved in the Hispanic community at Google, and why is it important to you?

I worked closely on the founding of HOLA, our Hispanic employee resource group (ERG). Through HOLA, I've gotten to meet many of our Latino Googlers over the years-all of whom continue to amaze me with their stories, talents, and passions to make this company, and the world, a better, more equitable place. The Hispanic community is vital to Google because it brings in people who might otherwise feel like cultural strangers and tells them, "come as you are-you belong."

The Hispanic community is vital to Google because it brings in people who might otherwise feel like cultural strangers and tells them, "come as you are-you belong."

How did you find your way to Google? Have you always pictured yourself working here?

I actually never had ambitions to work in tech or at Google. While in my junior year of undergrad at Florida International University, I looked for internships around the country, and was intrigued by working at company that was breaking all the established norms in corporate America. I applied to Google's BOLD internship program, thinking it was a long shot, and after a few interviews, I found myself living out the coldest summer of my life in San Francisco, interning at Google on the People Operations team. I fell in love with Northern California and Google, and anxiously awaited the opportunities that lay ahead.

40279_10150238167060245_4366738_n.jpg
Day one of my BOLD internship at Google in 2010, before I learned that dress shirts and ties are not part of the dress code at Google.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My dad's hustle, grit, passion and optimism have taught me much about life and the world. As a first-generation immigrant, he taught me about risk-taking and tenacity. As a man of faith, he's taught me about unapologetically straying true to my convictions. As a family man, he's been a caretaker and steward of not only his nuclear family, but-like a good Latino-his extended family as well. He's always balanced family life with the needs of the community. Whether it meant taking immigrant families into our home while they got on their feet, working with the homeless to help them rehabilitate, or volunteering to feed the needy at nearby shelters, my dad never turned down a chance show grace to those in the margins. These experiences shaped my worldview and gave me sense of social justice and altruism, which continues to influence the work I do today at Google.org.

Kilimanjaro.jpg
Sunrise on top of the world, at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbing mountains is tough, but the summit is always worth it.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

Outdoors. Or traveling to experience the outdoors in the rest of the world. I've always been in awe of nature. Oceans and mountains both scare me and inspire me. Whenever I have a chance to see the natural world from a new angle, I usually take it. That wanderlust has taken me to nearly every continent (Antarctica, I'm coming for you!), 51 countries, and from the deepest depths (I'm a scuba diver) to some of the highest highs (just did Kilimanjaro last year!).

What career advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Invest wisely in people and moments. The networks of people around you will help shape your perspectives, career and open doors to new opportunities ... and when these opportunities present themselves, capitalize on the moments. They will teach you more than any classroom can.

What has been a big moment for you at Google?

I've had many Google "magic moments," but the one that comes to mind was Googlers' collective reaction to the travel ban earlier this year. Within days of the ban, Googlers organized a demonstration and showed up in full force, with messages of encouragement and enthusiasm during grim times. My team and I assembled a $4 million crisis fund to support key organizations that were leading the way in fighting injustice and intolerance. This moment reinforced in me the power of unity and comradery at Google, and within immigrant communities, who bring their best selves to this great country of ours.

As a Venezuelan-American that has benefited from ample opportunity, I am compelled to give back to my community. That's why I'm so thankful of the opportunity I have at Google.org to invest in a better, most just, and more equitable world, for everyone.

  • Extended Family.jpg
    "La familia lo es todo." Here is most of my extended family, who never misses a chance to get together and build new memories.
  • DSC_0120.jpg
    Volunteering with my teammates during GoogleServe 2016, our annual month of service at Google.
  • 16422771_10107484261002770_823508372964323153_o.jpg

    Participating in demonstration with my team, who showed up in full force to support our immigrant communities and colleagues earlier this year.

20 Sep 2017 4:25pm GMT

01 Apr 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google April Fools' Day 2017

April Fools' Day should probably be called Google Fools' Day, since there are so many Google hoaxes.

Google Japan developed a "bubble wrap" version of the Japanese keyboard. "The Google Japanese input bubble wrap version is a keyboard that realizes 'I want to press in my mind, I want to keep pressing'," according to Google Translate.



Another product for your smart home? Meet Google Gnome, "a voice-activated, hands-free tool designed to make backyard living effortless. Need to know what animal is squeaking in your bushes? Stay still and ask Gnome what sound an opossum makes. Running low on birdseed? That's where Gnome comes in. You can even use Gnome's proprietary high-intensity lasers to trim your hedges into whatever shape your heart desires."



The Chrome OS team brings the most popular mobile accessories to the Chromebook, which already blurs the line between mobile and desktop. Chromebook Groupie Stick, Chromebook Cardboard, Chromebook Workout Armband will soon be available in the Google Store. "To take advantage of beautiful, high-resolution displays, as well as great photo editing apps, we've carefully engineered the first Chromebook-sized selfie stick. Never again will you miss the perfect groupie."


Haptic Helpers make VR even more immersive. "We're taking VR to the next level with Haptic Helpers. Using a modest set of everyday tools, these VR virtuosos can simulate more than 10,000 unique experiences, all from the comfort of your own home. Smell the roses. Listen to the ocean. Feel a fluffy dog!"


You can now play the classic arcade game MS. PAC-MAN in Google Maps. "Avoid Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Sue as you swerve the streets of real places around the world. But eat the pac-dots fast, because this game will only be around for a little while." Just go to the Google Maps site or open the Google Maps app for Android or iOS and click or tap MS. PAC-MAN at the bottom.


Google Cloud Platform expands to Mars. "By opening a dedicated extraterrestrial cloud region, we're bringing the power of Google's compute, network, and storage to the rest of the solar system, unlocking a plethora of possibilities for astronomy research, exploration of Martian natural resources and interplanetary life sciences. This region will also serve as an important node in an extensive network throughout the solar system. Our first interplanetary data center - affectionately nicknamed 'Ziggy Stardust' - will open in 2018," mentions Google.


Google Netherlands came up with Google Wind, a machine learning technology that controls the weather. "The Netherlands has many windmills, some no longer in use, we can connect to Google Cloud Platform. So we use the existing Dutch infrastructure, machine learning, weather patterns to control the network of windmills when rain is approaching. The first test results are very promising: we seem to be able to provide sun and clear skies for everyone in the Netherlands," mentions Google Netherlands blog.



Google's search app for iOS is now optimized for cats and dogs. "On the Google app for iOS, you can now use 3D Touch on the app icon or head to settings and select I'm Feeling Woof or I'm Feeling Meow to let your dogs and cats get info on topics they care about-whether that means squeaky toys or a bowl of milk!"


Google also launched Google Play for Pets, a new category of Android games designed for cats, dogs and other pets.


Google Translate's Word Lens feature supports a new language: Heptapod B, the alien language from the movie "Arrival". "The challenge with understanding Heptapod B is its nonlinear orthography. Fortunately, Google's neural machine translation system employs an encoder/decoder system that internally represents sentences as high-dimensional vectors. These vectors map well to the non-linear orthography of the Heptapod language and they are really the enabling technical factor in translating Heptapod B."

01 Apr 2017 7:25am GMT

19 Feb 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Gmail Blocks JavaScript Attachments

If you try to send a JavaScript attachment using Gmail or if you want to download a .js attachment, you'll get a new anti-virus warning: "Blocked for security reasons", "1 attachment contains a virus or blocked file. Downloading this attachment is disabled".


.JS has been added to the long list of file types that are blocked by Gmail for security reasons. The full list: .ADE, .ADP, .BAT, .CHM, .CMD, .COM, .CPL, .EXE, .HTA, .INS, .ISP, .JAR, .JS (NEW), .JSE, .LIB, .LNK, .MDE, .MSC, .MSI, .MSP, .MST, .NSH .PIF, .SCR, .SCT, .SHB, .SYS, .VB, .VBE, .VBS, .VXD, .WSC, .WSF, .WSH. "To prevent against potential viruses, Gmail doesn't allow you to attach certain types of files, including: certain file types (listed above), including their compressed form (like .gz or .bz2 files) or when found within archives (like .zip or .tgz files), documents with malicious macros, archives whose listed file content is password protected, archives whose content includes a password protected archive."

The GSuite Blog informs that "for inbound mail, senders will get a bounce message explaining why the email was blocked. If you still need to send .js files for legitimate reasons, you can use Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, or other storage solutions to share or send your files."

You can still send JavaScript files using Gmail if you change the extension. What about downloading old .js attachments? Try the workarounds from this post.

19 Feb 2017 10:39am GMT

25 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Shows Colorful Suggestions

Google Image Search has a different way to display suggestions: it now shows a long list of colorful boxes with related searches. You can click one or more boxes to dynamically refine search results.


For example, when searching for [sportswear], Google shows suggestions like: [women basketball], [tennis], [badminton], [golf], [volleyball], [nike woman], [alexander wang], [adidas], [fashion], [performance], [vintage], [trendy], [urban], [school], [gym], [90's], [70's], [vogue], [luxe], [avant garde], [korean], [italian], [french] and more. It's interesting to notice that each category of suggestions has a different color.




Here's the old interface, which had fewer suggestions and displayed thumbnails next to suggestions:

25 Jan 2017 9:39pm GMT

19 Jan 2017

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Staying with the US Digital Service

A few months ago, I took a leave of absence from Google to do a stint with the US Digital Service. A lot of people know about the US Digital Service because they helped rescue the healthcare.gov website. But you might not realize that the US Digital Service has helped veterans get their health benefits, […]

19 Jan 2017 3:47am GMT

16 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Starts Playing YouTube Videos

Google Image Search's mobile interface tests a new feature that starts playing snippets from a YouTube video at the top of the search results page. It's not disclosed as an ad, there's no sound and you can't stop or hide the video, which continues to play on repeat.



Right now, the experiment seems to be limited to fashion-related queries like [men jackets], [lookbook], [winter outfit], which match videos from YouTube channels like New Look and River Island. "New Look is a South African-owned British global fashion retailer with a chain of high street shops. (...) The chain sells womenswear, menswear, and clothing for teens," according to Wikipedia.

Google only shows labels like: "New Look on YouTube", even though this looks like an experimental ad format. I hope it will never become a regular feature, as it's pretty annoying and it wastes Internet bandwidth.

16 Jan 2017 10:49am GMT

13 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Desktop Notifications, Now For Everyone

It looks like YouTube's notification experiment is now a regular feature and you can no longer disable it by clearing cookies. When sign in to your Google account, YouTube's desktop site no longer shows Google+ notifications in the navigation bar: it replaces them with YouTube notifications.

"Your notifications live here. Subscribe to your favorite channels to get notified about their latest videos," informs the new notification box.


13 Jan 2017 2:08pm GMT

29 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Notifications in the Navigation Bar

YouTube has recently started to experiment with replacing Google+ notifications in the navigation bar with YouTube notifications. You get notifications for recently uploaded videos from your subscribed channels, but only if you've enabled notifications for those channels. For example, you can go to the subscription manager and click the bell icon next to a channel to enable or disable notifications.

The settings button sends you to the Notifications section from YouTube's Settings page and the 3-dot icon next to each notification lets you turn off notifications from the corresponding channel.


If you don't like this experiment, you can always clear cookies for youtube.com in your browser's settings and opt out.

29 Dec 2016 12:24pm GMT

Google's New Mobile UI for Recipe Search

Just in time for New Year's dinner, Google has a new mobile interface for recipe search. I searched for [avocado mayo] and noticed a long list of keywords below the search box and ads: salad, chicken, shrimp, vegan, bacon and more. You can select more than one keyword and this helps you refine the results.


When selecting a related search, you get a completely different interface that only shows recipes: bigger expandable cards, bigger thumbnails, infinite scrolling.



29 Dec 2016 11:09am GMT

08 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Translate's 5000 Character Limit

For some reason, Google Translate now has a limit of 5000 characters per translation. There's even a character counter at the bottom of the input box. If you happen to paste a long text that has more than 5000 characters, you'll get an error message ("maximum characters exceeded: X characters over 5000 maximum") and a "translate more" option that lets you translate the rest of the text.


I don't understand the purpose of this restriction, considering that Google doesn't impose any limitation when translating web pages. It's worth pointing out that Google Translate's API has a similar limitation: "the maximum size of each text to be translated is 5000 characters, not including any HTML tags". Google's translation card from Google Search has a different limit: about 2800 characters.

08 Dec 2016 6:18pm GMT

Google Tests Movie Ratings

Google's knowledge graph card tests a feature that lets you like or dislike movies and TV shows. For example, when you search for "It's a Wonderful Life", you can click like or dislike and check the percentage of Google users who liked it.


The same buttons show up when you search for a TV show like "Saturday Night Live".


Search Engine Land reports that Google confirmed this experiment, which was first spotted last month.

08 Dec 2016 11:45am GMT

06 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google's Holiday Decorations

When you search Google for [Christmas], [Hanukkah], [Kwanzaa], [Festivus] or other related queries, you'll see some special decorations related to each holiday. Festivus is "a holiday celebrated by those seeking an alternative to the commercialism and pressures of the Christmas holiday season."

Christmas trees, Santa Claus, the Christmas star adorn the Google search page and bring the hoiday spirit.


The Hanukkah menorah and Kwanzaa's Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles) are lighting up Google's search pages.




Here are the decorations from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

06 Dec 2016 2:21pm GMT

New Interface for Google Search

Google's desktop search pages have a new interface for navigating between search results. The search box is bigger, there's a new search icon and Google now only shows 2 or 3 specialized search engines next to "all", down from 4. Apps and shopping seem to be missing from the list of search engines, so you can only pick from image search, video search, Google News, Google Maps, Google Flights and Google Books.


The settings dropdown is now placed below the search box and it includes the option that lets you hide private results. You can still change search settings, languages, turn on or turn off SafeSearch, use advanced search options, open Web History or go to the help center.


Search tools are now simply called tools and they include the same options: search by date and verbatim.


Image search lets you quickly go to the saved images page and change SafeSearch setting.


Google Shopping is broken. While the homepage still loads, when you click a product image or search for something, Google shows an empty page.



Here's the old Google Search interface, via Wikipedia:

06 Dec 2016 1:31pm GMT

17 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Random Facts About Animals in Google Search

Did you know that "male lions defend the pride's territory while females do most of the hunting"? Did you know that "the name humpback whale describes the motion it makes as it arches its back out of the water in preparation for a dive"? What about this one: "ostriches have the largest eyes of any land living animal and they measure 50 mm (2 inches) in diameter"?

Google now shows random facts about animals in the "did you know" section of the Knowledge Graph card. They're extracted from various sites and Google actually links to the source.



Some example of queries that return random facts: [cat], [lion], [tiger], [alpaca], [giraffe], [ostrich], [duck], [elk], [raccoon], [shark]. It's worth pointing out that you can get another random fact by reloading the page or searching again for the same animal.

17 Oct 2016 9:00pm GMT

15 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Found in Related Searches

Google Knowledge Graph has more than one billion entities and more than 70 billion facts about these entities (people, places, things). It's huge and it brings a different dimension to search: understanding concepts and the relation between them.

Mobile Google Search now has a section called "found in related search", which shows a few entities frequently mentioned in other related searches. For example, I searched for [ethanol molar mass] and Google showed 2 lists of organic and inorganic compounds: one of them was found in the related search [properties of alkanes] and the other was for [polar solvents]. Ethanol is a polar solvent which can be obtained from alkenes, while alkenes can be derived from alkanes, so Google's suggestions are somewhat useful.


This feature is not limited to chemistry, it also works for other topics. Here's a different query: [tour eiffel design], which shows other "towers of the world" and "tourist attractions in France".



15 Oct 2016 7:34am GMT

14 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Converts Queries Into Questions

I noticed an interesting Google Search experiment in the mobile/tablet interface. When searching for [alcohol with the highest boiling], Google converted my query into a question: "Which alcohol has the highest boiling point?", then it tried to answer the question using a snippet from a web page and then it added a "more results" link. Google's link sent to me to the search results page for the question inferred by Google.

14 Oct 2016 10:29pm GMT

Google's Card for Directions

When you search Google for [directions] or [get directions], you get an error message: "No results for that place. Try entering it below to get suggestions." Google shows a special card for directions with cool features like autocomplete, but the error message is out of place because you haven't typed a location.


Suggestions aren't very smart. For example, I typed "Brisbane, Australia" as the starting point and then I started to type "Mel" as the destination. Google suggested 3 places from California, strictly based on my location, while ignoring that Melbourne is a much better suggestion.


Google shows directions inside the card and you can pick between driving, walking, cycling or using public transportation.


To see the directions, just click the text that describes your favorite route. If there is only one route, pick that one. Another option is to click "directions" and go to the Google Maps site.

14 Oct 2016 9:27pm GMT

Add Home Screen Shortcuts to Google Maps Directions

I'm not sure if this is a new feature, but it must be pretty recent. Google Maps for Android lets you add home screen shortcuts to directions directly from the app. Just search for directions, tap the menu icon and pick "add route to Home screen". This works best when you select the current location, but it's not a requirement.



You may also see this message: "Go here often? Add this route. Tap here to add a Home screen shortcut to this route."


Another option is to add the directions widget, which lets you pick the shortcut name, whether to start turn-by-turn navigation and more.

14 Oct 2016 8:48pm GMT

18 Jun 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

A brief update

Over the last couple years, I've seen more and more people in technology trying to make government work better. They're idealists who are also making a large impact. These are people that I respect-some of them worked to fix healthcare.gov, for example. From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy […]

18 Jun 2016 1:57am GMT

03 Feb 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Thanks, Amit

Amit Singhal just announced that he's retiring toward the end of the month. Amit has been a formative part of Google's search team, but he's also a good friend. Last year, after he marked 15 years with Google, I wrote this about Amit's contributions: Amit Singhal, one of the unsung heroes of Google, just celebrated […]

03 Feb 2016 7:49pm GMT

19 Jan 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Solving a Verizon issue (Nexus 5X)

I solved a problem today and figured that I'd document it for the rest of the world. Every time someone left me a voicemail on Verizon, I would get a cryptic text from Verizon at 900080006202 that looked like "//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=NM;id=1;c=1;t=v;s=1XXXXXXXXXX;dt=18/01/2016 13:40-0900;l=13;dev_t=5" or "//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=MBU;dev_t=5". Here's what happened. It turns out that Verizon has three kinds of […]

19 Jan 2016 2:00am GMT

31 Oct 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2015: USB Drive

I went a little overboard for Halloween last year. And as you can tell from my the Halloween category on my blog, sometimes I get a little too excited about Halloween. So this year I decided to go quick, easy, and lo-fi as a USB drive: To make a thumb drive/USB key, I just took […]

31 Oct 2015 8:02pm GMT

24 Sep 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Give Google Contributor a try

Recently I've seen several interesting conversations about ad blocking, and I wanted to remind people about a great offering called Google Contributor. With Google Contributor, you contribute a certain amount of money each month. That subscription means that you see fewer ads on the web, and you support the sites that you visit with your […]

24 Sep 2015 3:09pm GMT

09 Apr 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Berkshire Hathaway

My taste in financial advice runs toward the simple and the lessons I've learned the hard way. But I still like reading about investing/finance, and I recently read through the 2014 annual report for Berkshire Hathaway. Given that it was the 50th anniversary of Warren Buffett taking charge of Berkshire, I have to admit that […]

09 Apr 2015 6:47am GMT

01 Apr 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

My next project: AutoSEO

This was an April Fool's joke. I've been working really hard with some friends on a project to handle SEO automatically. Now we're ready to take the wraps off it over at seo.ninja. One of the ideas that helped the World Wide Web succeed was that it separated presentation and content. You could write your […]

01 Apr 2015 12:23am GMT

01 Mar 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Next 30 day challenge: social media/news cleanse

For January 2015, I tried to declutter around the house for 15 minutes a day. We now have a couple rooms that are much cleaner, and I gave away a bunch of magazines. For February 2015, my 30 day challenge was to go on daily 15 minute walks with my wife. That was nice. Lately […]

01 Mar 2015 4:40am GMT

19 Feb 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Fixing “full path disclosure” issues

Whether you're running a web service or a blog, you should always keep your software fully patched to prevent attacks and minimize your attack surface. Another smart step is to prevent full path disclosures. For example, if your blog or service throws an error like "Warning: require(ABSPATHwp-includes/load.php) [function.require]: failed to open stream: No such file […]

19 Feb 2015 6:43am GMT

26 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

The Emperor's Garden

The Emperor instructed the gardener to set up the new court's garden. "I want you to plant five trees growing the Crataan fruit," the Emperor said, "Because we asked people what fruit they like best, and most named the Crataan fruit!" The gardener replied, "Emperor, that is excellent thinking! But let me make some suggestions: First, how about we make one of the five trees bear the Muran fruit. Only one out of ten citizens loves it, but those peculiar citizens tend to love multiple times as much!" "Second," the gardener continued, "How about we make one of the five trees bear the Dratean fruit. No one loves it, but that's because no one knows it yet!" "Third," the gardener said, "How about we leave one spot in the garden empty. Who knows what new type of tree we'll discover that we can put there in the fut ...

26 Aug 2011 12:12pm GMT

15 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Color Sound Machine (and what else I've been doing lately)

For those of you who've been wondering whether I had turned to stone, fallen into a bottomless pit, or been climbing the Himalaya... no, none of that is true, even though you probably did notice I'm not actively blogging about Google here anymore*! Just now, a new iPad app I've been working on called Color Sound Machine went live, and this -- and all the other apps and games at Versus Pad** -- are actually what I am doing while not blogoscoping. *I've drafted unpublished posts explaining much more about past, present and future of Blogoscoped, and the history of Google news reporting, but ... oh, for now le ...

15 Aug 2011 4:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google drops reverse phone number lookup

One of the earliest specialist services provided by Google was reverse phone number lookup. If you used the "phonebook:" or "rphonebook:" operators together with a 10-digit US phone number, Google would show you the owner of that phone number, unless the number was unlisted. Google no longer provides that service. Not surprisingly, there was no press release marking the closure, but Google employee Daniel Russell has acknowledged the closure of the service in his blog. He hints at the possible pressures leading to the shuttering of the service: "As you can imagine, this was an endless source of hassles for people (who were surprised to see themselves searchable on Google) and for Google (who had to constantly de ...

25 Feb 2011 11:23am GMT

16 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Idea: Topical Chat

This website would take the top headlines from a tech or political site for that day -- at first just from Reddit (you gotta start somewhere), but later, from other sites too, in aggregated form, similar to Techmeme, but across different topics you can navigate to from the frontpage (entertainment, politics, technology etc.). It would present them in some sort of list of headlines with a link to the discussion source. Below every headline on the frontpage there's an expandable chat box window. You log-in once into the site and then you can expand any one of these chat boxes, and see who's in there, and read the chat log, and join yourself with remarks by typing them in a box, similar to IRC and others. The chat wouldn't be a replacement of the discussion going on at the other site, but an addition to it. One benefit: a discus ...

16 Dec 2010 2:55pm GMT

Idea: CrowdChat

Two groups have a text chat using a web interface, arguing about a certain topic. For Group B to reply to what Group A says, each member of Group B proposes a sentence. Then, each member of Group B quickly votes on which sentence of another member of their group they like best. (You don't have to propose a sentence, and you don't have to vote on one; both proposing a sentence as well as voting on one are time-limited to just a certain amount of seconds, though.) Then, the highest-voted sentence will be shown to Crowd A as answer. Crowd A now goes through the same process to formulate a reply directed at Crowd B, and so on. To join, you can pick any of the two crowds based on reading the chat log, provided this group hasn't reach its limit of X members (beyond just group size that limit may also depend on how active current me ...

16 Dec 2010 7:26am GMT

Google Body Browser

If you're using the Google Chrome developer channel (or Firefox 4 Beta) have a look at the new Body Browser to explore a body in 3D. [Via Google OS.]

16 Dec 2010 2:17am GMT

10 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Pictures of the Cr-48

MBegin in the forum writes: I ran home for lunch today and was VERY pleasantly surprised to find a Cr-48 Chrome OS Notebook at my doorstep!! -Thanks Google! I took a few quick pics and I'll post more about my experiences later... Feel free to bug MBegin with questions in this post's comments, just in case he finds time to get around answering them!

10 Dec 2010 5:23am GMT

09 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Chromedroidpad

Using open source technologies from Google, could someone create a tablet that would let you add both Chrome Web Store apps/ web apps in general, as well as Android Market place apps, and you as user wouldn't even need to bother much about which comes from where as you'd only see a single merged Store, and apps would all be added to a nice homescreen with icons like on the iPad, and apps would always open full-screen no matter if the app maker made it that way or not, and Flash would work too? And would anyone want that thing?

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Device Evolution

Watching evolution is fun, especially when it happens right around you, and happens so fast. A mutation we saw yesterday was a new animal scientists gave the name "Chrome OS Notebook", but it's surrounded by other smart animals of all kinds and shapes. What do they fight for? Their nature are our offices, living rooms, cafes and parks; their food are our individual interests. Computing devices: the more we have, the less we notice them. Sneaky things, changing the color of their skin on different backgrounds... we don't even know they're computers anymore! The sneakier they fade in, the more likely they'll hunt down our interest when it appears. You're in your room, and you just had the idea of going to a cafe to read a newspaper, and perhaps chat with some friends. You can now hear small leafs crack, the surroundin ...

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

How to Disable Google Instant Previews

If you find Google's Instant Previews feature as useless as I do -- you know, those images popping up near search results, often similarly unwanted (when triggered by a wrong click) as Snap site previews -- maybe this User script is for you. I use several machines and browsers, though, so always installing add-ons when Google rolls out something unwanted is suboptimal in the long run (opening links in a new window is something else I don't like, for instance, and whenever I disable it -- even if I would do so across browsers and machines -- it'll come back the next time I empty my cache, because Google thinks that's best for people located in China; another feature which I practically never use is the left-hand side bar... perhaps one day we'll need a Simple Google add-on to get r ...

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google's Newest Q&A Service: "baraza"

Google's newest Question and Answer service is Google baraza beta, launched on 25 October 2010. Baraza is offered in English and French, although Google's links to the French questions aren't working for me. Baraza operates on a Points basis. You get 20 points for signing up, and 4 points each day you log in. If you are already logged into your Google account, there isn't actually any signup process. Your name and photo from your Google profile are automatically used, although you can change your username and avatar if you like. Asking a question costs 5 points, and you earn 5 points for choosing a "best answer" for your question, so you can use the service on an ongoing ...

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Taped an iPhone to my remote-controlled car and hit the Record button

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Playable JavaScript app of my new iPad game Knights vs Knightesses (Google Chrome/ Safari needed)

Here's a fully playable web demo of my new free iPad two-player game Knights vs Knightesses... it runs in Google Chrome and Safari. Note the graphics load much slower than the iPad app because it's online. If you're interested, the full source is viewable. It's all JavaScript because I'm using the PhoneGap wrapper for this one.

12 Nov 2010 7:00am GMT

04 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Which of your websites, deleted or lost years ago (or on a backup in a box you can't seem to find), would you most like to get back?

The release of a massive but not complete Geocities archive made me wonder about all the past stuff we probably can't recover anymore (and the usage of stylesheets over time makes design changes so easy that they're also easily undocumented) -- so my question: Which of your lost websites would you most love to get back?

04 Nov 2010 2:58am GMT

24 Oct 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

See a Random Street View Location

Click the MapCrunch Go button and you'll be transported to a random (Google Street View covered) place in the world. [Via Reddit.]

24 Oct 2010 6:42am GMT