24 Mar 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Take your shot. Let Google give you the Assist(ant).

Your Google Assistant can help you follow all of the ups and downs of college hoops, from South Carolina's surprise win to Villanova's bracket-busting loss to this weekend's nail-biting matchups.

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Here are some questions to ask your Assistant:

  • Tell me the latest sports news
  • How do you make queso dip?
  • What time's the Wisconsin game tonight?
  • And when you're with your friends, try: "Tell me a sports joke."

Whether you're cheering along with friends or already looking ahead to when you'll definitely win the pool next year... the Google Assistant is on your team.

24 Mar 2017 11:00pm GMT

The High Five: game time and morphin’ time

This week, we saw lots of high fives on the basketball court and among Power Rangers fans … but not on a particular episode of "Wheel of Fortune." Here are a few of the top five trending Google searches from the week of March 20.

Tragedy in London

People turned to Google find out more information about the tragic attack in front of the U.K. Parliament in London, and developments in the days that followed. Many questions centered on the identity of the attacker, who killed four people in the deadliest terror attack in the U.K. in over a decade.

It's searchin' time

Children of the '90s, rejoice-and go, go to the movies. The Power Rangers are back, with a reboot hitting theaters today. Some people are nostalgic and searching about past Power Rangers, while others want to know who's who in the new movie. One thing's for sure, the graphics and costumes have improved over the last couple of decades.

Bracket racket

The NCAA Basketball Tournament is in full swing (oops, wrong sport). In addition to bracket updates and scores, people wanted to know: "What are the conference records for the NCAA tournament?" And "Gonzaga Men's Basketball" is a trending search now that they're one win away from their first-ever Final Four.

The other type of Court

Searches about Neil Gorsuch continued to rise this week, as the Supreme Court nominee's confirmation hearing took place in Washington. So far, searchers seem to be in the "small talk at a dinner party" phase-they're curious about his age, where he lives and his marital status.

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Not so fortunate

This week on "Wheel of Fortune," Tennessee Williams fans groaned. And so did the contestant whose performance left something to be desired. With $600 on the line, Kevin was one letter away from solving a puzzle that read, "A Streetcar N-A-blank-E-D Desire." He went with K (the correct letter was M). STELLLLAAAAAAA!!!!

24 Mar 2017 6:30pm GMT

23 Mar 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Work hacks from G Suite: a new corporate training regimen (no weights required)

In our first G Suite Hacks article, we shared tips from the Transformation Gallery to help employees automate everyday workflows and save time. Today, we're focusing on corporate training tips that will help your employees stay engaged so they can do their best work.

According to last year's Global Human Capital Trends report by Deloitte, employees at all levels expect their employers to provide consistent opportunities to learn and develop new skills, and 30% of executives see learning as a primary driver of employee development. But training employees has its own set of challenges, like scaling programs and trainers, ensuring easy access to training materials, accommodating learning styles and tracking progress.

Here are a few ways you can improve your corporate training with G Suite:

1. Scale your training program with an online hub

Create one place where employees can access training material any time. Start by uploading or creating your training files in Team Drives, a central place within Drive for teams to house files. Organize these files into shared folders by topic or course level. Next, set up a Site to display all of the content from Drive and add relevant pages, like training videos, slides, guidelines or handbooks. Share your new hub with employees so that they can easily access training materials, even on mobile. And anytime you need to update training materials, just go into Drive and update the files there. Sites will automatically reflect changes.

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2. Provide live training options, too

It's also important to provide face-to-face training for your employees. You can create a live training option with Hangouts Meet so that employees can join training sessions from a conference room, their favorite coffee shop, or another remote location. Simply set up Calendar invites for training events and send them to your employees (It's a good idea to post these events to your new training Site so that anyone who missed the invite can join.). Then, track employee attendance with Forms.

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3. Quiz employees on their knowledge

Once your employees have completed their training course, you'll want to track their learning progress. You can do this easily by setting up quizzes in Forms and assigning point values for each question. Let your employees see which questions they missed and explain why so that they can continue to master concepts. And to improve your training course, ask for real-time feedback within the Form. Quiz data is tracked in Sheets so you can keep a pulse on who's completed training courses and who might need some additional help.

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With these quick tips, you can help your employees to do their best work. Check out this G Suite Show episode to learn more, and let the training begin!

23 Mar 2017 5:00pm GMT

The She Word: Kawana T. King, lawyer and “force for good”

In honor of Women's History Month, we're celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we'll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.

In this installment of the She Word, we talked to Kawana T. King, a lawyer in our New York office. In addition to JD, she's earned the title of "hostess with the mostess"-just ask anyone who's attended her annual Christmas party.

How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

I usually don't ... I like leaving work at work. But if I need to explain, I say that I provide legal counsel for our advertising products.

Why are you proud to be a woman at Google?

In Google's legal department, we have four female vice presidents. There's a lot of talk in tech about needing more women in leadership positions, but I get to witness that everyday. It's really inspiring.

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Why did you decide to pursue law, and why practice it at Google?

Growing up I was always told that I argued too much, so becoming a lawyer seemed to be a "natural fit." Throughout my career, I've practiced law across various industries, like entertainment and financial services. Working at Google, I get to bring legal expertise to the development of groundbreaking products and services. And one of the best parts about Google is that I'm not just here to be a lawyer-there are opportunities to pursue personal interests, like our diversity efforts, as well.

If you could ask one woman from history a question … who would it be and what would you ask?

I would ask Harriet Tubman what gave her the strength to face her fears and take action. We are all faced with obstacles that we must overcome, but it's hard to get past the intimidation. All tips help!

What advice would you give to women starting out in their careers?

Know your worth, display confidence and don't be afraid to ask for what you want. If you doubt yourself, you invite others to do the same.

What do you hope to accomplish on behalf of women everywhere?

Quite simply ... I'll pay it forward. I've been lucky to have powerful and positive female influences in my life (hi Mom!). By exhibiting character, confidence, and a strong work ethic, I hope to be a force for good in another young girl's life.

How do you spend most of your time outside of work?

I love traveling-Paris and Thailand are my all-time favorite spots. I've also gotten hooked on traveling for Carnival, which is an annual festival that occurs in various countries. So far, I've celebrated Carnival in Trinidad, Barbados and Miami. My next trip is to Italy-I'm taking my mom for her 65th birthday!

23 Mar 2017 5:00pm GMT

Using technology to empower students and turn them into critical thinkers

Editor's note: Google for Education Premier Partners are working with schools to host the ExploreEDU event series, where schools can share their first-hand experiences with other educators. Today's guest author is Kyle Black, a high school English teacher from First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School, which hosted an ExploreEDU event on March 21-22 with Promevo. To see if there's an event near you, visit the ExploreEDU site.

In a world dominated by technology, a good education depends on digital know-how-in addition to problem solving, clear communication and organizational skills. Students need both digital and soft skills to guide them through college, into the workplace and beyond.

In my five years on the job, here's what I've learned about teaching a generation of students to use technology in responsible and impactful ways:

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A student uses Google Classroom to turn in an assignment.

1. Empower students to take control of their learning

High school students are learning how to work independently and use technology to explore new concepts. When AP English students come across a word they don't know in Shakespeare's "King Lear," for example, they can look it up on their Chromebooks rather than ask me for the definition. Students love proving me wrong about facts related to classic literature like "The Crucible" by researching on their Chromebooks-and their eyes light up when their point of view is validated. With classroom technology, we're teaching students to take charge of their own learning and engage in healthy debate.

2. Quiz students often to assess understanding

Every day my students take mini-quizzes via Google Forms so I can gauge whether they understand the topic I just covered or if I need to modify my instruction. When teaching semicolons, for instance, my students take a four-question quiz using their Chromebooks to identify sentences that use semicolons correctly. If 75 percent of the class gets a question wrong, I know to back up and explain the concept in a different way or provide more examples. This not only improves their academic performance, but it also it teaches them the importance of clear communication and continuous feedback.
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A student works on a Google Doc where feedback was provided via comments.

3. Turn feedback into a critical thinking exercise

It's common for students to accept a teacher's revisions to their work without considering why specific changes are made. By making the feedback process interactive, students are encouraged to think critically before accepting edits at face value. For example, when I'm reviewing essays or creative writing, I often suggest incorrect or ridiculous changes using comments and suggested edits in Google Docs-and my students know this type of feedback is coming. Typically, half of my edits will require students to think deeply before hitting the "accept" button. It forces them to play a more active role in their learning, and to constantly challenge ideas.

I believe that teaching students digital and critical thinking skills matters more than teaching them how to ace a test. To prepare students for lifelong success, we must encourage them to brainstorm new ideas and embrace the new tools at their fingertips.

23 Mar 2017 4:00pm GMT

Howard University opens a new campus at the Googleplex

When I joined Google a decade ago, there was hardly any discussion of diversity in tech. This was long before we published our diversity numbers or understood how important it was for our workforce to reflect the diversity of our users. This was also long before we started formally recruiting from Howard University, a historically Black institution.

Howard happens to be my alma mater, so I am especially proud to share that our formal recruiting from the university has evolved into a residency for Black CS majors right here at the Googleplex. "Howard West" is now the centerpiece of Google's effort to recruit more Black software engineers from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)-and to make them feel right at home here in Mountain View.

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from acclaimed management consultant Peter Drucker: "The best way to predict the future is to create it." This is exactly the thinking behind Howard West, as the program is a way to create a future that reflects the values of diversity and inclusion Google has held since day one. With a physical space on campus where Howard students and Googlers can grow together, I can only imagine what innovation and creativity will come to light.

Rising juniors and seniors in Howard's computer science (CS) program can attend Howard West, for three months at a time. Senior Google engineers and Howard faculty will serve as instructors. The program kicks off this summer and we plan to scale it to accommodate students from other HBCUs in the near future.

HBCUs are a pillar in the CS education community, producing more than a third of all Black CS graduates in the U.S. Google already has a strong partnership with Howard through Google in Residence (GIR), a program that embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and other HBCUs.

Through GIR we've learned a lot about the hurdles Black students face in acquiring full-time work in the tech industry. The lack of exposure, access to mentors and role models are critical gaps that Howard West will solve. We've also heard that many CS students struggle to find the time to practice coding while juggling a full course load and part-time jobs. Left unchecked, systematic barriers lead to low engagement and enrollment in CS, low retention in CS programs and a lack of proximity and strong relationships between Silicon Valley, HBCUs and the larger African American Community.

We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind-to advance a strategy that leverages Howard's high quality faculty and Google's expertise.

"Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us. We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind-to advance a strategy that leverages Howard's high quality faculty and Google's expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve," says Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University.

During my time at Howard, I worked side-by-side with future lawyers, doctors, writers, entertainers, architects and business leaders. The spirit of total possibility put me on my path to Harvard Business School and ultimately Google. Howard West will continue Howard's tradition of providing unprecedented access to opportunity, only now with a presence in the heart of Silicon Valley.

23 Mar 2017 12:00pm GMT

22 Mar 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Diverse protections for a diverse ecosystem: Android Security 2016 Year in Review

Today, we're sharing the third annual Android Security Year In Review, a comprehensive look at our work to protect more than 1.4 billion Android users and their data.

Our goal is simple: keep our users safe. In 2016, we improved our abilities to stop dangerous apps, built new security features into Android 7.0 Nougat, and collaborated with device manufacturers, researchers, and other members of the Android ecosystem. For more details, you can read the full Year in Review report or watch our webinar.

Android Security: 2016 Year in Review

Protecting you from PHAs

It's critical to keep people safe from Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) that may put their data or devices at risk. Our ongoing work in this area requires us to find ways to track and stop existing PHAs, and anticipate new ones that haven't even emerged yet.

PHA protections Android 2016

Over the years, we've built a variety of systems to address these threats, such as application analyzers that constantly review apps for unsafe behavior, and Verify Apps which regularly checks users' devices for PHAs. When these systems detect PHAs, we warn users, suggest they think twice about downloading a particular app, or even remove the app from their devices entirely.

We constantly monitor threats and improve our systems over time. Last year's data reflected those improvements: Verify Apps conducted 750 million daily checks in 2016, up from 450 million the previous year, enabling us to reduce the PHA installation rate in the top 50 countries for Android usage.

Google Play continues to be the safest place for Android users to download their apps. Installs of PHAs from Google Play decreased in nearly every category:

  • Now 0.016 percent of installs, trojans dropped by 51.5 percent compared to 2015
  • Now 0.003 percent of installs, hostile downloaders dropped by 54.6 percent compared to 2015
  • Now 0.003 percent of installs, backdoors dropped by 30.5 percent compared to 2015
  • Now 0.0018 percent of installs, phishing apps dropped by 73.4 percent compared to 2015

By the end of 2016, only 0.05 percent of devices that downloaded apps exclusively from Play contained a PHA; down from 0.15 percent in 2015.

Still, there's more work to do for devices overall, especially those that install apps from multiple sources. While only 0.71 percent of all Android devices had PHAs installed at the end of 2016, that was a slight increase from about 0.5 percent in the beginning of 2015. Using improved tools and the knowledge we gained in 2016, we think we can reduce the number of devices affected by PHAs in 2017, no matter where people get their apps.

Working together to secure the Android ecosystem

Android security updates in 2016

Sharing information about security threats between Google, device manufacturers, the research community, and others helps keep all Android users safer. In 2016, our biggest collaborations were via our monthly security updates program and ongoing partnership with the security research community.

Security updates are regularly highlighted as a pillar of mobile security-and rightly so. We launched our monthly security updates program in 2015, following the public disclosure of a bug in Stagefright, to help accelerate patching security vulnerabilities across devices from many different device makers. This program expanded significantly in 2016:

  • More than 735 million devices from 200+ manufacturers received a platform security update in 2016.
  • We released monthly Android security updates throughout the year for devices running Android 4.4.4 and up-that accounts for 86.3 percent of all active Android devices worldwide.
  • Our carrier and hardware partners helped expand deployment of these updates, releasing updates for over half of the top 50 devices worldwide in the last quarter of 2016.

We provided monthly security updates for all supported Pixel and Nexus devices throughout 2016, and we're thrilled to see our partners invest significantly in regular updates as well. There's still a lot of room for improvement however. About half of devices in use at the end of 2016 had not received a platform security update in the previous year. We're working to increase device security updates by streamlining our security update program to make it easier for manufacturers to deploy security patches and releasing A/B updates to make it easier for users to apply those patches.

On the research side, our Android Security Rewards program grew rapidly: we paid researchers nearly $1 million dollars for their reports in 2016. In parallel, we worked closely with various security firms to identify and quickly fix issues that may have posed risks to our users.

We appreciate all of the hard work by Android partners, external researchers, and teams at Google that led to the progress the ecosystem has made with security in 2016. But it doesn't stop there. Keeping users safe requires constant vigilance and effort. We're looking forward to new insights and progress in 2017 and beyond.

22 Mar 2017 5:00pm GMT

Securing your devices: Android Security Year in Review

Security is critical for every single one of our 1.4 billion Android users - from consumers to enterprise users in highly regulated industries. That's why, in addition to all the work we do to make Android devices secure out of the box, we also provide additional features for enterprises that want to control their own security protocols.

Today, we released the third annual Android Security Year in Review, which details the measures taken to protect Android users and their data over the last year, as well as the results of those efforts.

In 2016, we released many enterprise capabilities to strengthen Android security, such as "always-on" VPN, security policy transparency, process logging, improved WiFi certification handling and client certification improvements. Android's security and management features are simple to use for businesses of any size, with powerful tools for admins.

Overall, we improved our abilities to stop dangerous apps, built new security features into Android 7.0 Nougat and collaborated with device manufacturers, researchers and other members of the Android ecosystem.

The results have been tangible. We saw dramatic decreases in Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) that may put users' data or devices at risk, worked with partners to improve security device update rates and grew our Android Security Rewards program.

Whether talking about consumers or enterprises, our goal is simple: keep our users safe. For more details about our findings, read the full Year in Review report or watch our webinar.

22 Mar 2017 4:00pm GMT

Google for Brazil: Building a more inclusive internet for everyone, everywhere

Google for Brazil: Building a more inclusive internet for everyone, everywhere

Brazilians love the internet. With more than 139 million people online, Brazil ranks among the top five internet populations in the world. Brazilians are also heavy users of Google products, from Search and Android to YouTube and Maps to Photos and Waze. And Brazil is an innovation hub for Google. Our engineering team in Belo Horizonte has made remarkable contributions to our products globally, such as improving health-related searches.

But we know there is still a lot of work to do in Brazil and elsewhere to make technology work better for more people. So today at our Google for Brazil event in São Paulo, we made several announcements about how we're working to make the internet more inclusive and to make our products work better for people in Brazil-and around the world.

Google Duo audio calling

Last year we created Google Duo to bring simple, high-quality video calling to users on Android and iOS. Now we're adding audio-only calling in Duo. So in those moments when video calling isn't an option-like when you're about to hop on a crowded bus or have a poor network connection-you can stay connected with family and friends through audio calling. Duo audio calls work well on all connection speeds and won't eat up your data. This feature will be available starting today first in Brazil, and we'll be rolling it out to users around the world in the coming days.

Google Allo file sharing and Smart Smiley in Brazilian Portuguese

Since launching Google Allo last September, users in countries like Brazil have requested the ability to share documents in group chats. Starting today, Android users everywhere will be able to share documents and other files (.pdf, .docs, .apk, .zip, and mp3) with friends on Allo. And for users in Brazil, we're also rolling out Smart Smiley in Portuguese, which uses machine learning to help you find the right emoji faster. Tap the Smart Smiley icon on the compose bar, and the app will suggest relevant emojis and stickers to help you finish your thought.

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Google Photos: Faster backup and sharing, no matter the connection

We built Google Photos to help people store, organize and share photos and videos in a hassle-free way. But it can sometimes be difficult to back up and share photos and videos, especially when you're on the go and don't have an internet connection. So today we're rolling out two new features to make backup and sharing easier on low connectivity. Now on Android your photos will back up automatically in a lightweight preview quality if you aren't able to back up in high quality, and still look great on a smartphone. And when a good Wi-Fi connection becomes available, your backed up photos will be replaced with high-quality versions. We're also making it easier to share many photos at once even on low connectivity. Never mind if you're at the beach or hiking in the mountains, with Google Photos on Android and iOS you can now share pictures quickly even with a spotty connection by sending first in low resolution so friends and family can view them right away. They'll later update in higher resolution when connectivity permits.

It can be hard to find time to organize your pictures, so Google Photos automatically creates animations, movies, collages, and albums. For movies, Google Photos will select the best moments, put them together with professional-style transitions, and set it all to music. With Brazil in mind, we recently rolled out a great example of these kinds of movies-your best photos from Carnival, set to a soundtrack of samba.

Maps location sharing

We're adding a new location sharing feature in Google Maps that lets you tell your friends and family where you are and when you'll arrive at your destination. You have complete control over whether you share your location, who you share it with, and how long you share it. You can stop sharing at any time. No more "where are you now?" messages back and forth. To manage your location sharing settings across Google products go to the "Your personal info" section of My Account and select Location Sharing.

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Posts on Google

Last year we started experimenting with allowing people and places to post directly on Google Search. We started out with the U.S. election and have completed dozens of other experiments around the world. Starting today, in the U.S. and Brazil, we're taking it to the next step and opening up the application process so that organizations and people within specific categories can post directly on Google.

Now, when you search for museums, sports teams, sports leagues, movies and, in Brazil for now, musicians, you can find content from that participating organization or person, right on Google. So if you're searching for the Henry Ford Museum in the U.S. or for Vanessa da Mata in Brazil, you'll see updates directly from the source with relevant information, like new exhibits, timely updates and interesting facts. Beyond these categories in the U.S. and Brazil, we'll continue to experiment globally and look forward to making Search even more useful and timely.

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We made some Brazil-specific announcements at our event in São Paulo today as well, including plans to roll out the Google Assistant in Brazilian Portuguese on Android phones running Marshmallow or Nougat. We also extended a $5 million Google.org grant to the Lemann Foundation for an exciting tech-based education project in Brazil, launched the iconic São Paulo Museum of Art on Google Arts & Culture, and announced plans to roll out Waze Carpool in Brazil later this year.

All of today's announcements were inspired by your feedback. We do extensive research in places like Brazil, and we use those insights to make new product features tailored to people's needs in mobile-first countries. The great thing about building products for the most difficult, limited internet conditions is that you end up creating great products for everyone, everywhere.

22 Mar 2017 3:00pm GMT

Share your trips and real-time location from Google Maps

"Where are you now?" and "What's your ETA?" Whether you're heading to a party or meeting up for dinner, you probably hear questions like this pretty often from family and friends. Soon Google Maps users worldwide will be able to answer those questions in just a few taps, without ever leaving the app. On both Android and iOS, you'll be able to share your real-time location with anyone. And the people you share with will be able to see your location on Android, iPhone, mobile web, and even desktop. Here's how it works in a real-world scenario:

Location Sharing in Google Maps

Whenever you want to let someone know where you are, just open the side menu or tap the blue dot that represents where you are. Tap "Share location" and then select who to share with and how long to share-and you're done! You can share your real-time location with your Google contacts, or even share with friends and family by sending a link on your favorite messenger apps. When you're sharing your location, the people you've chosen to share with will see you on their map. And you'll see an icon above the compass on your own map reminding you that you're actively sharing your location. You can change your mind and stop sharing at any time-it's entirely up to you.

Sharing Your Location

Next time you're on your way or running late, you can share your real-time location and trip progress from navigation as well. During your next trip, tap the "More" button on the bottom on the navigation screen, and then tap "Share trip." When you share your trip with people, they'll see your expected arrival time and can follow your journey as you head toward your destination. Sharing automatically ends when you arrive.

Sharing a Trip

Location sharing on Google Maps is rolling out soon worldwide, and you'll be able to quickly let your friends and family know where you are and when you'll get where you're going. The answer to "where are you?" is only a tap away.

22 Mar 2017 2:00pm GMT

Google Business Group is helping entrepreneurs around the world—vote for your favorite

As a part of our effort to inspire entrepreneurs to take their businesses online, we invited members of our global Google Business Group (GBG) to participate in a competition and share how the internet and technology empower them to do extraordinary things. We received 469 submissions from GBG members and independent entrepreneurs in 26 countries. These entries presented the big ideas of intrepid entrepreneurs from all around the world, including Brazil, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and Uganda.

Google selected nine global finalists, including an app working to ease the supply shortage in Indonesia's blood banks, an online pet food social enterprise, and a digital platform matching qualified entry-level job seekers with employers in India. These enterprises demonstrate how bringing businesses online can increase a business's positive social contributions-locally, nationally, and even globally.

Now it's your turn to get involved. Tell us which story inspires you most by casting a vote by next Tuesday, March 28th by 11:59 pm PST. The top winners will get an all-expenses paid trip to Mountain View, California and a much-coveted access pass to the annual Google I/O conference in April 2017. While there, the winners will have the opportunity to meet with other tech thinkers, innovators, and business leaders.

We hope you'll feel as inspired as we are after seeing these stories. On March 30th, we'll update this post with the winners!

22 Mar 2017 1:00am GMT

21 Mar 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

More news in Google News & Weather

The world of news is broad, deep and ever-changing. The News & Weather app shows the top three stories from various sections on its Home page, but beneath this surface lie many more informative and engaging stories. In fact, we find that many people regularly hit the bottom of our Home page looking for more to read. To offer you further opportunities to discover great content, we've added over 200 news stories to the Home screen in a browsable stream called More Headlines

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Get a deeper view into the latest from Business, Tech, Entertainment, Sports and various other sections, ranked and classified for easy reading. The More Headlines section loads stories on demand as you keep scrolling, quenching your thirst for news.

You'll also enjoy fast-loading AMP articles, as an increasing number of publishers adopt the AMP format. As usual, each story retains the goodness of a comprehensive perspective-expand a card to gain insight from different articles such as Highly Cited, Local Source and Fact Check. Everything stays algorithmic-from clustering articles to classifying stories to ranking the stream.

More Headlines will be rolled out over the coming days to News & Weather users on iOS and Android. To see it in action, read through the Home sections and simply keep going.

21 Mar 2017 6:00pm GMT

Helping to close the education gap

Even after four years of primary education, 130 million students around the world haven't mastered basic subjects like reading and math. Limited access to quality materials, under-resourced teachers, and barriers to learning outside the classroom present challenges for many children.

Through Google.org, we've given more than $110 million over the past five years to help close gaps in education-whether globally through early and ongoing support for innovators like Khan Academy or focused specifically on how we can support future technologists through our support for CS education organizations. Today, we're expanding on those commitments with our largest dedicated portfolio of $50 million over the next two years to support nonprofits who are building tech-based learning solutions that tackle these challenges. To start, we're funding nine organizations around the world that we will also support with Googler volunteers in areas like user experience design, translation, offline functionality and data analytics. By the end of 2017, our goal is to give grants to education nonprofits in 20 countries. And later this year, we'll be looking for the next round of innovators to join them.

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Our education grants will focus on three areas where technology can help: giving more students access to quality learning materials, supporting teacher development, and reaching students in conflict zones. Get to know some of our grantees below, and learn about the ways they're using technology to help close the education gap.

Giving kids the right materials

Around the world, students in low-income communities have to learn with fewer books, out-of-date texts, and materials that are culturally irrelevant or even in the wrong language. Technology can bypass the geographic and financial boundaries that block educational resources from reaching students, while also making those resources more engaging, interactive and effective.

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One of our first grantees in this area is the Foundation for Learning Equality, which builds free open-source software to bring online materials-including books, video tutorials and quizzes-to the 4.3 billion people who lack consistent access to the internet. Their new platform, Kolibri, runs on numerous devices and helps educators access, organize and customize digital content, even in the most remote locations. So far they've brought 7,000 videos and 26,000 interactive exercises offline for students in about 160 countries.

Our funding, along with Google volunteers providing technical support, will help Learning Equality build a bigger content library and scale their reach to hundreds of thousands of new students. This summer, Google engineers and product experts are volunteering to spend four weeks working side-by-side with Learning Equality's product team in areas such as UX/UI, content integration, and video compression technology.

Keeping teachers trained and engaged

Having a great teacher is one of the best predictors of a student's academic success, but in many countries there simply aren't enough of them. By 2030, India alone will need 3 million new primary school teachers just to keep up with its growing population of students.

Google.org is helping local leaders invest in digital tools that offer teachers quality training and confidence-building tools that encourage creativity in the classroom. The first of these grants goes to Million Sparks Foundation's ChalkLit, an app-based platform that combines bite-sized, curriculum-aligned content with an online community to support first-rate teaching. Google engineers volunteering their time and skills will advise the Million Sparks team on how to optimize the ChalkLit app for teachers in low-bandwidth and offline environments.

Helping students learn in crisis

Thirty-two million primary school-aged students can't reach traditional classrooms because of violent conflict and displacement. Quality primary education is especially important to kids who, living in camps or other hard-to-reach settings, are highly vulnerable to poverty and exploitative labor.

One interesting approach to this problem comes from Google.org grantee War Child Holland, whose game-based method, Can't Wait To Learn, children affected by conflict from falling behind by providing a year of lessons and exercises that align with a host country's curriculum.

Data collected from Can't Wait To Learn's first deployments in Sudan showed that students learned significantly from the approach, with boys and girls progressing at equal rates. Supported by Google product experts who are volunteering to help build their product road map and expand their tech team, War Child Holland aims to reach significant numbers of children in the Middle East and Africa the next five years.

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Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Education lead Google.org in SF office
GEI EDU Grant_2.png

We're continuing to work with these grantees, and are aiming to expand our efforts throughout the next year. If you'd like updates on our program, please let us know. We look forward to continuing this work to make education more equitable for children around the world.

21 Mar 2017 1:30pm GMT

New shortcuts in Search help keep you in the know

These days, you expect information at your fingertips. Starting today, we're making it easier than ever to stay in the know and get the information you need quickly and easily. Starting today in the U.S., we're introducing tappable shortcuts on the Google app for Android and iOS and Google.com on the mobile web that give you easy access to great tools and the ability to explore deeper within topics you care about.

Shortcuts for quick access to answers you need

Getting up-to-the-minute info is as easy as a single tap. With shortcuts right on the home screen, you now have access to in-depth experiences across sports, eat & drink, entertainment and weather. Need to know whether to bring a raincoat tomorrow? Want the score to last night's basketball game? Looking for what's on TV tonight or who's nominated for best supporting actress? Shortcuts on Google will get you there.

Android users will find dozens of other useful shortcuts too-translate, nearby attractions, flights, hotels, internet speed test, currency converter, and more. Plus, if you're looking for fun, there are shortcuts like tic-tac-toe, roll a die, animal sounds, solitaire, and always a Google favorite: I'm feeling curious.

Shortcuts in Google Search

Shortcuts to explore and keep up with your areas of interest

The Google search box is great when you're looking for a specific answer, but there are also moments when you just want to catch up on the latest for topics of interest.

Now with a tap on the entertainment shortcut, you can see what's playing this weekend at your local theater or what to watch on TV. You can also get the latest news from both the small and silver screens. You can tap into news, trailers and reviews that are relevant for you or swipe through listings to catch up on your favorite show.

When you're curious about nearby lunch options or outdoor dining for your weekend getaway, the eat & drink shortcut is your local scout. Access nearby dining options, explore recommendations and stay updated on the dining scene in your neighborhood. It's the easiest way to uncover nearby must-try spots while you're out and about.

Similarly on sports, whether you love basketball, hockey or football, now you don't need to type anything when you want the latest scores. Just tap into game times, scores and team news, so you never miss a play. You can customize your experience for the teams you cheer for-or against-whether it's the playoffs or a regular season game.

1sports.width-800.png

Don't let bad weather rain on your parade. Tap the weather shortcut and be ready for the day before you walk out the door. You'll have access to updated information every time you tap-from hourly sky conditions and chance of rain, severe weather alerts, a detailed 10-day forecast, and more.

To find the most timely and recently used shortcuts, make sure your Google app is updated to the latest version and then look for your shortcuts right underneath the search box. You'll see new shortcuts appear for big moments and events moving forward. Search on!

21 Mar 2017 1:00pm GMT

Expanded safeguards for advertisers

The web has opened a door for new communities and platforms that help people find diverse views and have a voice. Today, anyone with a smartphone can be a content creator, app developer or entrepreneur. And Google has enabled millions of content creators and publishers to be heard, find an audience, earn a living, or even build a business. Much of this is made possible through advertising. Thousands of sites are added every day to our ad network, and more than 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. We have a responsibility to protect this vibrant, creative world-from emerging creators to established publishers-even when we don't always agree with the views being expressed.

But we also have a responsibility to our advertisers who help these publishers and creators thrive. We have strict policies that define where Google ads should appear, and in the vast majority of cases, our policies and tools work as intended. But at times we don't get it right.

Recently, we had a number of cases where brands' ads appeared on content that was not aligned with their values. For this, we deeply apologize. We know that this is unacceptable to the advertisers and agencies who put their trust in us. That's why we've been conducting an extensive review of our advertising policies and tools, and why we made a public commitment last week to put in place changes that would give brands more control over where their ads appear.

I wanted to share that we've already begun ramping up changes around three areas: our ad policies, our enforcement of these policies and new controls for advertisers.

Raising the bar for our ad policies

We know advertisers don't want their ads next to content that doesn't align with their values. So starting today, we're taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. This includes removing ads more effectively from content that is attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories. This change will enable us to take action, where appropriate, on a larger set of ads and sites.

We'll also tighten safeguards to ensure that ads show up only against legitimate creators in our YouTube Partner Program-as opposed to those who impersonate other channels or violate our community guidelines. Finally, we won't stop at taking down ads. The YouTube team is taking a hard look at our existing community guidelines to determine what content is allowed on the platform-not just what content can be monetized.

Increased brand safety levels and controls for advertisers

Every company has brand guidelines that inform where and when they want their ads to appear. We already offer some controls for advertisers that respond to these needs. In the coming days and months, we're introducing new tools for advertisers to more easily and consistently manage where their ads appear across YouTube and the web.

  • Safer default for brands. We're changing the default settings for ads so that they show on content that meets a higher level of brand safety and excludes potentially objectionable content that advertisers may prefer not to advertise against. Brands can opt in to advertise on broader types of content if they choose.

  • Simplified management of exclusions. We'll introduce new account-level controls to make it easier for advertisers to exclude specific sites and channels from all of their AdWords for Video and Google Display Network campaigns, and manage brand safety settings across all their campaigns with a push of a button.

  • More fine-tuned controls. In addition, we'll introduce new controls to make it easier for brands to exclude higher risk content and fine-tune where they want their ads to appear.

Increasing resources, accelerating reviews and improving transparency

We'll offer advertisers and agencies more transparency and visibility on where their ads are running, and in the coming months we'll expand availability of video-level reporting to all advertisers.

We'll be hiring significant numbers of people and developing new tools powered by our latest advancements in AI and machine learning to increase our capacity to review questionable content for advertising. In cases where advertisers find their ads were served where they shouldn't have been, we plan to offer a new escalation path to make it easier for them to raise issues. In addition, we'll soon be able to resolve these cases in less than a few hours.

We believe the combination of these new policies and controls will significantly strengthen our ability to help advertisers reach audiences at scale, while respecting their values. We will continue to act swiftly to put these new policies and processes in place across our ad network and YouTube. But we also intend to act carefully, preserving the value we currently provide to advertisers, publishers and creators of all sizes. In the end, there's nothing more important to Google than the trust we've built amongst our users, advertisers, creators and publishers. Brand safety is an ongoing commitment for us, and we'll continue to listen to your feedback.

21 Mar 2017 6:00am GMT

20 Mar 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

See how companies are using G Suite and Xero to keep their finances on track

As a business leader, whether you're keeping books up-to-date, sharing data with investors, or connecting with advisors in real-time, combining cloud-based technologies like G Suite and Xero can help you collaborate quickly and securely to keep company financials on target.

Gimme Vending is a great example of a company that's taking advantage of real-time collaboration. The company specializes in hardware that retrofits dated vending machines to communicate wirelessly with a mobile app. It partners with Acuity Accounting to drive growth. Together, the two use G Suite and Xero to manage Gimme Vending's financials in the cloud.

Xero's deep integrations with G Suite lets you connect directly to Gmail to manage invoices and quotes. And with Xero's "Smart Lists," you can filter contacts based on purchase history and location for targeted emails and sales campaigns, or check in on overdue items. You can also more securely export financial reports straight to Sheets and Docs to collaborate and analyze in real-time.

With these integrations Gimme Vending and Acuity Accounting can:

  • Send messages in Gmail directly from Xero to stay up-to-date on the status of documents
  • Push accounting files out of Xero into Sheets and Docs to generate reports quickly
  • Sign in to G Suite through Xero using single sign-on to speed up productivity
  • Use Hangouts to serve clients nationwide
GIF

Now, Gimme Vending can more securely manage their books and speed up investor reporting. "Thanks to Google Docs, we've been able to provide confidential data and financial reports to investors almost immediately, and manage who has access just as quickly," says Cory Hewett, CEO of Gimme Vending.

To learn more about how your business can use Xero and G Suite to track and improve your bottom line, sign up for this free webinar on March 29, 2017 at 1pm ET / 10am PT.

20 Mar 2017 5:00pm 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

10 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Color Converter

Google has a special card that's both a color picker and a color converter. For example, you can search for HEX color codes like #123456 and Google shows the color and converts it to other formats: RGB, HSV, HSL, CMYK. Google's card also shows up when you search for RGB values like rgb(255,0,255). The most interesting feature of the card lets you pick a color interactively.


Other queries that trigger Google's card: RGB to HEX, color picker.

This is not a new feature, but it's worth pointing out that Chrome has its own color picker and converter in the developer tools. Click a color in the styles tab to open the color picker and shift-click a color to convert it to a different format.


{ via Android Police }

10 Oct 2016 12:00pm 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

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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