25 Apr 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Remember where you parked with Google Maps

Some say it's about the journey, not the destination-but we think it's about a little of both. Now, Google Maps for Android and iOS will not only help you get where you're going, but it'll help you remember where you parked once you've arrived. Here's how it works:

For Android users, tap the blue dot and then tap "Save your parking" to add your parking location to the map. You'll see a label on the map itself identifying where you parked your car. Tap on that label to open up your parking card, where you can add additional details about your parking spot. You can add a note like "level 3, spot 35," add the amount of time left before the meter expires (and even get a reminder alert 15 minutes before it does), save an image of your parking spot, and send your parking location to friends.

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On iOS, the new experience is pretty similar. Tap on the blue dot and then tap on "Set as parking location" to add your parking spot to the map itself. Tap on the parking label on the map to open up your parking card and do things like share it with friends and view pictures of your parking area. This is in addition to the automatic parking detection you might have already noticed in Google Maps for iOS. If you connect to your car using USB audio or bluetooth, your parking spot will be automatically added to the map when you disconnect and exit the vehicle.

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With Google Maps, you get guidance far beyond arrival at your destination, with the ability to save your parking location, explore places you've saved to lists, easily find friends and family, and more.

25 Apr 2017 9:00pm GMT

Making the internet more inclusive in India

More than 400 million people in India use the internet, and more are coming online every day. But the vast majority of India's online content is in English, which only 20 percent of the country's population speaks-meaning most Indians have a hard time finding content and services in their language.

Building for everyone means first and foremost making things work in the languages people speak. That's why we've now brought our new neural machine translation technology to translations between English and nine widely used Indian languages-Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

Neural machine translation translates full sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence, using this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation. The result is higher-quality, more human sounding translations.

Just like it's easier to learn a language when you already know a related language, our neural technology speaks each language better when it learns several at a time. For example, we have a whole lot more sample data for Hindi than its relatives Marathi and Bengali, but when we train them all together, the translations for all improve more than if we'd trained each individually.

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Left: Phrase-based translation; right: neural machine translation

These improvements to Google Translate in India join several other updates we announced at an event in New Delhi today, including neutral machine translation in Chrome and bringing the Rajpal & Sons Hindi dictionary online so it's easier for Hindi speakers to find word meanings right in search results. All these improvements help make the web more useful for hundreds of millions of Indians, and bring them closer to benefiting from the full value of the internet.

25 Apr 2017 7:30pm GMT

Even better translations in Chrome, with one tap

Half the world's webpages are in English, but less than 15 percent of the global population speaks it as a primary or secondary language. It's no surprise that Chrome's built-in Translate functionality is one of the most beloved Chrome features. Every day Chrome users translate more than 150 million webpages with just one click or tap.

Last year, Google Translate introduced neural machine translation, which uses deep neural networks to translate entire sentences, rather than just phrases, to figure out the most relevant translation. Since then we've been gradually making these improvements available for Chrome's built-in translation for select language pairs. The result is higher-quality, full-page translations that are more accurate and easier to read.

Today, neural machine translation improvement is coming to Translate in Chrome for nine more language pairs. Neural machine translation will be used for most pages to and from English for Indonesian and eight Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. This means higher quality translations on pages containing everything from song lyrics to news articles to cricket discussions.
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From left: A webpage in Indonesian; the page translated into English without neural machine translation; the page translated into English with neural machine translation. As you can see, the translations after neural machine translation are more fluid and natural.

The addition of these nine languages brings the total number of languages enabled with neural machine translations in Chrome to more than 20. You can already translate to and from English for Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, and one-way from Spanish to English.

We'll bring neural machine translation to even more languages in the future. Until then, learn more about enabling Translate in Chrome in our help center.

25 Apr 2017 6:30pm GMT

How maps and machine learning are helping to eliminate malaria

Today is World Malaria Day, a moment dedicated to raising awareness and improving access to tools to prevent malaria. The World Health Organization says nearly half of the world's population is at risk for malaria, and estimates that in 2015 there were 212 million malaria cases resulting in 429,000 deaths. In places with high transmission rates, children under five account for 70 percent of malaria deaths.

DiSARM (Disease Surveillance and Risk Monitoring), a project led by the Malaria Elimination Initiative and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Clinton Health Access Initiative, is fighting the spread of malaria by mapping the places where malaria could occur. With the help of Google Earth Engine, DiSARM creates high resolution "risk maps" that help malaria control programs identify the areas where they should direct resources for prevention and treatment.

We sat down with Hugh Sturrock, who leads the DiSARM project and is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the University of California, San Francisco's Global Health Group, to learn more about DiSARM's fight against malaria, and how Google fits in.

As an epidemiologist, why did you choose to focus your efforts on malaria?

I first became interested in 2005, during my undergraduate days at the University of Edinburgh when I worked on a project examining the fungal control of mosquitoes with Professor Andrew Read. I suddenly realized that my research could have a positive impact on people's lives and from that point on I was hooked. While malaria deaths have decreased dramatically since then, it's still a huge public health problem.

Which regions is DiSARM targeting first?

We're piloting DiSARM in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, two regions that are on the cusp of malaria elimination. Between 2000-2014, reported malaria cases in Swaziland decreased by 99 percent, and in 2015, Swaziland reported fewer than 400 local cases. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe achieved a 74 percent decline in reported cases from 2005-2015.

When a small number of cases in a region remain, precise intervention is required to fully eliminate malaria, and DiSARM can help fully close the gap. By focusing our resources more strategically, we can shrink the malaria map and eliminate the disease entirely in these countries.

How does DiSARM use Google Earth Engine to help fight malaria?

If we map where malaria is most likely to occur, we can target those areas for action. Every time someone is diagnosed with malaria in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, a team goes to the village where the infection occurred and collects a GPS point with the precise infection location. Just looking at these points won't allow you to accurately determine the risk of malaria, though. You also need satellite imagery of conditions like rainfall, temperature, slope and elevation, which affect mosquito breeding and parasite development.
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To determine the risk of malaria, DiSARM combines the precise location of the malaria infection, with satellite data of conditions like rainfall, temperature, vegetation, elevation, which affect mosquito breeding. DiSARM's mobile app can be used by the malaria programs and field teams to target interventions.

Google Earth Engine collects and organizes the public satellite imagery data we need. In the past we had to obtain those images from a range of sources: NASA, USGS and different universities around the world. But with Google Earth Engine, it's all in one place and can be processed using Google computers. We combine satellite imagery data from Google Earth Engine with the locations of malaria cases collected by a country's national malaria control program, and create models that let us generate maps identifying areas at greatest risk.

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The DiSARM interface gives malaria programs a near real-time view of malaria and predicts risk at specific locations, such as health facility service areas, villages and schools. Overlaying data allows malaria control programs to identify high-risk areas that have insufficient levels of protection and better distribute their interventions.

How are the risk maps used?

The Swaziland and Zimbabwe national malaria control programs use risk maps to help track progress and make decisions about how best to use their resources-for example, where to spray insecticides and where to conduct health promotion campaigns. With this data, they can make these decisions in a matter of minutes, rather than days or weeks. And they have much more precise information about where to target their efforts. They can drill down and direct their spray teams to go to the individual houses most at risk. This technique improves the targeting of interventions, saving money and time for the malaria programs.
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DiSARM's targeting module uses the risk map to prioritize areas for interventions such as indoor residual spraying (IRS), insecticide treated nets (ITNs) and mass drug administration (MDA).

We've also developed a mobile app with instructions for field teams and the locations of buildings they need to target on an offline map. They can also use the app to collect data even if they don't have connectivity while they're in remote locations.

What's next for DiSARM?

Over the next year, we're planning to expand the platform to show not just the current malaria risk, but a forecast for the future. We believe Swaziland and Zimbabwe can eliminate malaria and we hope this tool can get them-and other countries-closer to achieving that goal. To learn more, visit disarm.io.

25 Apr 2017 3:00pm GMT

Our latest quality improvements for Search

Search can always be improved. We knew it when I started working on Search in 1999, and it's still true today. Back then, the Internet was expanding at an incredible rate. We had to make sense of this explosion of information, organize it, and present it in a way so that people could find what they were looking for, right on the Google results page. The work then was around PageRank, the core algorithm used to measure the importance of webpages so they could be ranked in results. In addition to trying to organize information, our algorithms have always had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to "game" our systems in order to appear higher in search results-using low-quality "content farms," hidden text and other deceptive practices. We've tackled these problems, and others over the years, by making regular updates to our algorithms and introducing other features that prevent people from gaming the system.

Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of "fake news," where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information. While this problem is different from issues in the past, our goal remains the same-to provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may not always get it right, we're making good progress in tackling the problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed.

With that longer-term effort in mind, today we're taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web. This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.

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Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index. However, it's become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we've improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.
  • New Search Quality Rater guidelines: Developing changes to Search involves a process of experimentation. As part of that process, we have evaluators-real people who assess the quality of Google's search results-give us feedback on our experiments. These ratings don't determine individual page rankings, but are used to help us gather data on the quality of our results and identify areas where we need to improve. Last month, we updated our Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over time.
  • Ranking changes: We combine hundreds of signals to determine which results we show for a given query-from the freshness of the content, to the number of times your search queries appear on the page. We've adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear.

Direct feedback tools

When you visit Google, we aim to speed up your experience with features like Autocomplete, which helps predict the searches you might be typing to quickly get to the info you need, and Featured Snippets, which shows a highlight of the information relevant to what you're looking for at the top of your search results. The content that appears in these features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what's available on the web. This can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive. Starting today, we're making it much easier for people to directly flag content that appears in both Autocomplete predictions and Featured Snippets. These new feedback mechanisms include clearly labeled categories so you can inform us directly if you find sensitive or unhelpful content. We plan to use this feedback to help improve our algorithms.
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New feedback link for Autocomplete
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Updated feedback link for Featured Snippets

Greater transparency about our products

Over the last few months, we've been asked tough questions about why shocking or offensive predictions were appearing in Autocomplete. Based on this, we evaluated where we can improve our content policies and updated them appropriately. Now we're publishing this policy to the Help Center so anyone can learn more about Autocomplete and our approach to removals.

For those looking to delve a little deeper, we recently updated our How Search Works site to provide more information to users and website owners about the technology behind Search. The site includes a description of how Google ranking systems sort through hundreds of billions of pages to return your results, as well as an overview of our user testing process.

There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, 15 percent of searches we see every day are new-which means there's always more work for us to do to present people with the best answers to their queries from a wide variety of legitimate sources. While our search results will never be perfect, we're as committed as always to preserving your trust and to ensuring our products continue to be useful for everyone.

25 Apr 2017 2:00pm GMT

Imperial Nepal Treks: An entrepreneur's journey to rebuild his tourism business after the great earthquake

Two years ago, Nepal experienced its most devastating earthquake in more than 80 years. Thousands of lives were lost, and many more lost their homes and livelihoods. Slowly, the community has been able to recover and rebuild their lives and businesses. Today, we hear from Anz "Anuj" Bajracharya, Director of Treks, Tours & Mountaineering at Imperial Nepal Treks about what he remembers from the day the earthquake hit, the impact it had on his company, and how he has restored and grown the business with a little help from the Internet.

Imperial Nepal Treks team

The Imperial Nepal Treks team. Anuj is sporting sunglasses in the front row.

Tell us, what do you remember from April 25, 2015?
It was a quarter to noon on a Saturday, and my family and I were going to the movies. I was driving a car in the middle of the road. First there was just a shake, then there was another quake. Then there was panic. We couldn't go back to our homes because walls were falling down, the roads were falling down.

For four nights, we lived in the car on the road, cut off from communication. No mobile phones, no telephones, we didn't have any contact or way to talk to my parents or our relatives. All that time we had no information about our families and friends. It was so sad to see the destruction around us. But we were the lucky ones. The Imperial Nepal Treks team didn't lose anyone. Everyone in my family and my wife's family was okay. Our house didn't totally collapse, though we eventually had to demolish it.

Imperial Nepal Treks earthquake reconstruction
The company assisted the W-Foundation and Black Yak in distributing supplies as a part of the rebuilding effort in the earthquake epicenter of Gorkha.

What impact did the earthquake have on your business?
Nepal's economy heavily depends on tourism, so the earthquake affected all of us in the industry. Most of our guides were from Gorkha, the epicenter of the earthquake. And no tourist wanted to visit Nepal then, so we had to stop our business for a time. We almost gave up, but we didn't. Slowly people from overseas started emailing us again, saying they wanted to visit Nepal. Many wanted to help with reconstruction efforts, so we helped with these campaigns.

Imperial Nepal Treks leads a group to the Annapurna base camp
Imperial Nepal Treks leads a group to the Annapurna base camp which has an altitude of 4,130 meters (13,549 feet).
Imperial Nepal Treks' partners
Imperial Nepal Treks' partners

At the time of the earthquake, you had a team of nine people. Today, you employ 30 guides who are permanent employees. How did you rebuild and grow your business in this short time?
Our business comes not from Nepal but from abroad-Singapore, the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries. I knew the best way to reach people was through the Internet.


For many visitors, their first question is, "Is it safe to go up to the mountain [Everest]?" The online community helped us recover through word of mouth, recommendations, and reassuring reviews. What our guests tell us and share with others online after finishing their trek matters a lot.

Being found on Google Search is also important for an online-based business like ours. After the earthquake, I saw companies investing in AdWords. I talked to my partners and colleagues and said we should give it a try. We rely on online marketing to reach our customers, and AdWords is a large part of this.

Given what you've been through in the past two years, what's your advice for other entrepreneurs?
Everyone wants a quick result, but we should learn to wait and watch sometimes. Business is not always about earning money, sometimes it's about how we pause, learn, and adapt. Before I was working for Imperial Nepal Treks, I was a professional drummer. Because tourism is such a big industry here, I adapted to the market. I changed my profession and became a website designer for tourism businesses. You don't have to always be a professional IT person or a business person to succeed.

What's next for your business?
Our success with Imperial Nepal Treks really motivated us to do something new, so in 2017 we registered a new company, Ecstatic Himalaya. A lot of this is possible because of Google AdWords, which has helped grow our business. While Imperial Nepal focuses on opportunities for budget-conscious and backpacker trekkers, Ecstatic Himalaya will focus on more upscale and customizable itineraries.

25 Apr 2017 12:01am GMT

24 Apr 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

NAB 2017: How AI is remaking Hollywood

Greetings from Las Vegas, where the National Association of Broadcasters is having its annual conference. At NAB, 1,700 exhibitors and more than 100,000 attendees take over the Las Vegas Convention Center, representing a dozen industries including TV, movies, radio-and now, virtual reality.

And everybody here agrees. This is a big year for media.

Media/entertainment and cloud technologies are coming together. This changes the economics of the business, the ways people make and distribute content and how they relate to their audience. As the NAB put it introducing this year's show, "It's redesigning the very nature of how we live, work and play."

Large-scale computing systems, next gen software and ubiquitous networks simplify and enable the recording, editing and transmission of content to billions of personal devices. Companies now broadcast more content than ever, in a direct relationship with each audience member. The quality of this relationship relies heavily on the seamlessness and personalization of the experience. The cost benefits and ease of use of the cloud-based model is driving change in all aspects of the business.

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As president of the customer team at Google Cloud, this is a familiar and exciting story. In media, our customers are seeing cost and time to market reductions of 90 percent or better, with substantial performance improvements, by taking advantage of Google Cloud. Spotify, has seen up to 35x improvement in analytic performance, allowing them to greatly improve their personalization experience. For example, on-premises, their algorithms to identify top tracks took five hours; on BigQuery in Google Cloud it takes eight minutes.

Lead VFX studio on Disney's The Jungle Book, MPC artists built a complex photo-real world

Scripps Networks Interactive saw its livestream TV Everywhere video plays grow by 844 percent in 2016.

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They use the cloud to not only run their multiscreen video experiences on mobile and connected devices, but also deliver personalized ads targeted to each and every user.

What excites me most is not simply that our customers have new ways to create, personalize or monetize their content, or that they have a new level of agility in their business, with storage and network charges below what they're paying just for the real estate where they keep their own servers.

These are both important, but most exciting is the way their digital assets are, like all data-rich businesses, coming into the age of artificial intelligence, particularly through machine learning.

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In the case of media, machine learning allows customers to greatly scale activities that have historically been time-consuming and hard - for example, high quality translation and captioning to make content accessible to more audiences everywhere. It also enables completely new experiences - for example, companies can automatically create and deliver highlight reels of multi-hour sports matches for consumption on mobile devices, and build recommendation systems to ensure that their vast unmonetized long tail of content gets discovered by eager fans.

This isn't science fiction or a long-term research project. It's here now. Those examples are just a few of the ways our customers already use machine learning.

We look forward to doing much, much more, and hope you'll join us on the journey.

24 Apr 2017 11:00pm GMT

Drumroll please! The nominees for the Google Play Awards are...

The Google Play Awards are back! Today we're announcing the 2017 nominees for outstanding app or game across 12 categories, including Best VR and AR Experiences, Best TV Experience, Best App for Kids, and Best Game. The winners of each category will be announced at Google I/O in May.

Nominees were selected by a set of specific criteria, including high star rating, technical performance, requiring a launch or major update since April 2016. Take a look at the full list of categories and nominees below or visit g.co/play/gpa2017 to see if any of your favorite apps or games made the cut.

Standout Indie

Games from indie developers that focus on artistic design, gameplay mechanics and overall polish. And the nominees are…

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Standout Startup

Apps from new developers that offer a unique experience while achieving strong organic install growth. And the nominees are…

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Best Android Wear Experience

New wear 2.0 apps offering great design, user delight and functionality. And the nominees are…

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Best TV Experience

Apps or games using innovative features for the large-screen format to provide an immersive and intuitive experience. And the nominees are…

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Best VR Experience

Highly engaging and immersive experience with optimal use of Daydream UI. And the nominees are…

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Best AR Experience

Apps or games harnessing the creative and imaginative technology of AR. And the nominees are…

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Best App for Kids

Apps or games with family friendly design that encourage creativity, exploration and education. And the nominees are…


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Best Multiplayer Game

Games built to connect gamers in competitive and engaging multiplayer experiences. And the nominees are…

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Best App

A true representation of beautiful design, intuitive UX and high user appeal. And the nominees are…

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Best Game

Games with strong mechanics, stellar graphics and strong engagement and retention tactics. And the nominees are…

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Best Accessibility Experience

Apps or games enabling device interaction in an innovative way that serves people with disabilities or special needs. And the nominees are…

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Best Social Impact

Apps that creates meaningful social impact for a broad spectrum of people around the world. And the nominees are…

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24 Apr 2017 5:00pm GMT

Introducing the next generation of Jump

Virtual reality video lets you experience the world in amazing ways-it can put you in the front row for your favorite band, take you on the field during the championship game, or bring you under the sea to explore coral reefs. However, VR filmmakers still face challenges bringing their stories to the world-cameras are bulky, post-production is time-intensive, and each step can be difficult and expensive.

To enable more great VR films, today we're introducing the next generation Jump camera- the YI HALO-and Jump Start, a program to get Jump cameras into the hands of more filmmakers than ever before.

We launched Jump in 2015 to simplify VR video production at every step from capture to playback. The Jump team partners with top camera manufacturers to build professional, high-quality VR cameras. Footage from those cameras runs through the Jump Assembler, which uses sophisticated computer vision algorithms and the computing power of Google's data centers to create 3D 360 video. Amazing VR videos have been made with Jump, such as The New York Times' Great Performers collection, Within's "The Possible" series, the NFL Immersed series, and Wevr's "Internet Surfer" video.

Introducing YI HALO - the next generation Jump camera

Built in partnership with YI Technology, the YI HALO is simple to use, gives creators the control and flexibility to explore, and works seamlessly with the Jump Assembler.

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The next generation Jump camera - YI HALO
YI Halo - Top
YI HALO is built from 17 cameras including the new Up camera.
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Live camera preview with the Android companion app.

YI HALO makes production easier than ever for VR filmmakers. It has 17 4K unit cameras, including an optimally-placed Up camera, to capture immersive scenes that transport viewers. Derin Turner, Production Director at VR Playhouse, noted "This camera and Jump ranks as one of the best and easiest pieces of equipment and platform to use on the market."

Creators also get more control and flexibility with the YI HALO. At less than 8 pounds, the YI HALO can be transported anywhere, and doesn't limit them when they're trying to capture a tricky shot. The internal battery lasts for 100 minutes of continuous shooting, so creators can get "one more take." Filmmakers also love the YI HALO Android app that doubles as a remote control and live preview tool.

Filmmakers' visions come together via the Jump Assembler, which ensures seamless, artifact-free stitches that are ready in a few short hours. The YI HALO camera has been built to natively work with the Assembler. "The camera combined with the stitching algorithm is the best 360 video solution in the industry," said Jay Spangler, Executive VR Producer for Two Bit Circus.

YI HALO will go on sale this summer, with units available today to select creators. Interested creators can find more info on the YI HALO website. To see more of what the camera can do, check out this footage (best viewed in VR).

Jump Start - bringing Jump cameras to more creators

To get Jump cameras into the hands of more filmmakers than ever before, today we're also announcing Jump Start. Jump Start gives selected filmmakers both free access to a Jump camera and free unlimited use of the Jump Assembler for their VR film. Over the next year, the program will give over 100 creators these tools and enable them to make their vision a reality. Applications to Jump Start open today, and filmmakers have until May 22nd to apply.

We've been wowed with VR filmmakers' creations, which included treks up glaciers and mesmerizing music videos. We can't wait to see more.

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Jump Start creator, Anthony Bonello directing from the side of a glacier.
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Anthony's film takes you to the wilds of the backcountry.
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Jump Start creator, Jenn Duong on the set of Banks' "3 Corners to the Recollection of My Future." Photo credit: Brandon Fuller, 1215creative
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Another behind the scenes look at Jenn directing "3 Corners to the Recollection of My Future." Photo credit: Brandon Fuller, 1215creative

We're excited to bring Jump to more creators with the YI HALO and Jump Start. If you're at NAB in Las Vegas this week, come see the camera in person at the Google booth.

24 Apr 2017 4:00pm GMT

Local reviews in your language–wherever you are

When you're traveling somewhere new, two of your biggest challenges can be figuring out where to go and understanding the native language of wherever you are. The next time you're in a foreign place and want to check out a restaurant or point of interest, Google will translate the review into the language you've set on your device.

The best part is that you don't have to do a thing. Just open Google Maps or Search, search for what you're interested in and the reviews are automatically translated. Most people will see the translated review in the language they prefer and then see the review in the native language below-eliminating the hassle of copying and pasting into a translation app or trying to decipher reviews using your pocket-sized translation book. Here's what it looks like in action:

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So next time you find yourself in a faraway land wondering which ramen shop is the best or which gelato place is most authentic-just sit back, relax and let Google Maps and Search bridge the language barrier.

24 Apr 2017 3:00pm GMT

22 Apr 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Exploring home with Google Earth

This week we're giving you a taste of what you can find in Voyager, a showcase of interactive tours and stories from experts, nonprofits and more in the new Google Earth.

When you opened Google Earth for the very first time, where did you go? For most people there's a common destination: We all want to see our home. The definition of "home" changes by country, culture and climate.

In the Voyager story This is Home, you can explore how humans have adapted to their own unique landscapes across our planet by looking at the most personal of places. Visit igloos inhabited by generations of Inuit people long ago; listen to stories in the colorful home of Kancha Sherpa; or head to the desert and learn how an extended drought has changed the lives of the Bedouin people. Visit a welcoming and tightknit community in Greenland with more sheep than people.

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To tell these stories, we worked with partners and communities to digitally preserve homes of different cultures in Street View. The 360-degree imagery provides a snapshot in time of cultures facing economic, environmental and population pressures. For example, the Inuit people of Sanikiluaq have been building igloos for schoolchildren to learn in for decades, but in recent winters conditions haven't been cold enough to create the right type of snow. It's important to record this snapshot in time now, because some of these lifestyles may be disappearing.

Check back in the coming months as we take you to dozens more homes and cultures. And thank you to the families who invited us into their homes and the partners who made it possible!

22 Apr 2017 7:00pm GMT

Your tree-loving, earth-celebrating Google Assistant

Today is Earth Day and your Google Assistant is here to help you make the most of it. Whether your day is full of clean-ups on the beach, enjoying nature in the forest or sitting at a park-basically the Earth Day of our dreams-your Assistant can help you give a little love back to our earth.

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  • Ask your Assistant on Android phones, "where is the nearest community garden?" Put your green thumb to work, meet some new people or just stop to smell the flowers.
  • Have your Assistant in Allo "Tell me some earth day tips." Paperless bills, turning off the water, biking and more!
  • "Play some nature sounds" on your Google Home to bring the outside in.
  • "Ok Google, tell me a fact about nature." From the Chocolate Hills in the Philippines to the North Pole, learn about the world.
  • Do some good and ask your Assistant on Pixel "Where is the closest recycling center?"

Close your eyes, listen to the sounds of nature (from your Assistant, a seashell or otherwise) and have a great weekend!

22 Apr 2017 1:00pm GMT

21 Apr 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Happy Earth Day, world!

The Earth is more than 4.543 billion years old, home to more than 8.7 million species-and still the only known planet in the universe known to harbor life. That's right, we're pretty special.😉 So on Earth Day, let's all celebrate our planet and learn about ways to help preserve it.

Today's Earth Day Doodle tells the story of a friendly fox whose bad dream about about climate change jolts it into action. The fox goes on a quest to care for the Earth-meeting some familiar faces along the way.

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Clicking through to Google Search, you'll see a list of quick and easy tips to help you do your part in saving the planet. Whether it's planting a tree, conserving energy or carpooling on your way to work, no act is too small.

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Now by searching for "Earth Day" or a similar query, you'll see a carousel of posts on Google with info on Earth Day events, museum exhibits from Oakland to Switzerland, and history of how Earth Day came to be from the History Channel.

made with code
Teen girls coding at a Change is Made with Code event in New York City

Sometimes a call to action can help motivate your friends and family to get involved and learn about ways to protect the environment. In this spirit, Google's Made with Code has launched a new environment coding project that calls on teen girls to code a statement about environmental issues they care about. By learning and using the Blockly coding language, these young coders can code personalized statements in support of the critical work of the World Wildlife Fund, The Ocean Agency and the Jane Goodall Institute.

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Coded statements made on madewithcode.com in support of The Ocean Agency, NGO's World Wildlife Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute

We've always supported advocates who are working to protect our environment, and we're committed to do our part to run Google in a way that works for the planet. We recently shared that we'll reach 100 percent renewable energy this year, and we continue to push ourselves to run the most energy efficient data centers in the world. You can learn more about these efforts in our Environmental Report.

In the words of Jane Goodall in the new Google Earth: "Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved."

21 Apr 2017 7:00pm GMT

The High Five: this week in sweet and sparkly searches

You made it through your week, but Earth has made it through billions of years. High five, Earth. Here's a look at a rainbow of top trending Google searches from the week of April 17.

What a time to be alive

Starbucks has a new (temporary) spirit animal: the unicorn. Described as "sweet and fruity transforming to pleasantly sour," the Unicorn Frappuccino has whipped up a mix of reactions from sweet tooths, neiiiggghhh (is that the sound a unicorn makes?)-sayers and even Starbucks employees. Coming in cold with 59g of sugar (the equivalent of three Twinkies), the Unicorn Frappucino also has people wondering "What flavor is the unicorn frappuccino?" and "Where can I get the unicorn frappuccino?" The drink caused so much buzz this week that search interest in "unicorn" spiked 3x over coffee searches.
uni

NBA Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs are here. Some teams might be Cavalier, others are Bulling over their opponents, while a couple teams seem to be Pacing themselves to bring the Thunder later. Who will get Bucked out of the playoffs and who will Rocket toward the finals? Basketball fans are watching the scores like a Hawk, Spurring them to search, "What are the NBA playoff scores?" and "What are the playoff games tonight?"

Earth to Google

This Saturday is Earth Day, and people are looking for ways to contribute and get outside. Search interest in "tree planting" spikes every April, and people also search for for National Parks, like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Others are curious about the history of Earth Day, with questions like "When did the first international earth day occur?" and "Who founded international earth day?"

Kids these days

As if high school wasn't complicated/awkward/stressful enough, students are now expected to come up with a "promposal"-an elaborate gesture to ask someone to prom. High schoolers are looking for clever ideas with Google searches for "promposal puns" and "cute promposal ideas." Some are even themed, like "Disney promposal" or "basketball promposal." It's a whole new world in high school these days-hope your prom is a slam dunk, kids.

Future tennis star

Serena Williams served some big news this week-she's pregnant. The announcement, made on Snapchat, left fans wondering "Who is the father of Serena Williams' baby?" and "How far along is Serena Williams?" The father is her fiancé Alexis Ohanian, and she is 20 weeks along, which means she won the Australian Open while she was pregnant … whoa, baby.

21 Apr 2017 6:00pm GMT

Walk, climb and swim with wildlife in Google Earth

This week we're giving you a taste of what you can find in Voyager, a showcase of interactive tours and stories from experts, nonprofits and more in the new Google Earth.

For 10 years, Google Earth Outreach has empowered nonprofits to create positive change in the world with Google's mapping tools. Learn more about the efforts of many of these organizations in today's Voyager spotlight.

Start with Dr. Jane Goodall, as she introduces you to the G-Family-that's chimpanzees Gremlin, Gaia and Google (!)-in Tanzania's Gombe National Park. From East Africa, head to the Gulf of California with Dr. Sylvia Earle and dive into the vibrant waters off Baja, Mexico, to witness leaping mobula rays and other vibrant ocean life. Finally, walk alongside the Hardwoods elephant family of Kenya's Samburu National Reserve with the organization working to save them, Save the Elephants.

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In addition to chimpanzees, we've got lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), along with most of the other species on the planet. Visit Voyager today to dive with sharks, waddle with penguins and learn about wildlife conservation efforts around the globe.

21 Apr 2017 3:00pm GMT

Google Play Music teams up with Samsung to deliver the right music for you

With the new Google Play Music-a smarter, more assistive music streaming service-we strive to deliver the right song at the right time and place to more people. That's why we've teamed up with Samsung, the world's largest Android smartphone maker, in a partnership to make it even easier and faster for Samsung customers to get the right music no matter where they are or what they're doing.

Starting today with the launch of the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, Google Play Music will be the default music player and music service on new Samsung phones and tablets globally. We're also collaborating with Samsung to create special features in Google Play Music just for Samsung customers.

For starters, if you have a new Samsung phone or tablet, you can now upload and stream up to 100,000 of your own songs to Google Play Music for free. With twice as much storage capacity offered exclusively to Samsung customers, it's easier than ever to migrate your personal music collection from any service to Google Play Music.

GPM + Samsung v6

In addition, new Samsung phones and tablets will now come with a free three-month trial of Google Play Music. With a subscription, you'll get ad-free and on-demand access to more than 40 million songs and thousands of playlists tailored for any mood or occasion. You'll also get access to YouTube Red (where available), so you can enjoy all of your favorite videos with no ads.

It doesn't stop there-just like our integration with the Assistant on Google Home, Google Play Music will work with Bixby, Samsung's new intelligent interface, when it launches later this spring. Subscribers will be able to ask Bixby to play their favorite song or music for dancing and it'll start playing on Google Play Music instantly.

We're thrilled to bring this special version of Google Play Music to Samsung customers anywhere, and we look forward to bringing the best music experience to your Samsung device. Together, we're committed to delivering the perfect soundtrack to make your everyday moments better.

21 Apr 2017 1:00pm 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

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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

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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

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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

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

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

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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

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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

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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