17 Aug 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

The High Five: Put some R-E-S-P-E-C-T on it

Daydreaming and I'm thinking of Trends. This week, with a little help from the Google News Lab we honor the Queen of Soul, celebrate birthdays, shine some light on the left-handed among us and much more. Here's a look at this week's top trends.

Paying respect to a legend

On Thursday, we said goodbye to Aretha "Queen of Soul" Franklin who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer at 76. This musical legend gave the world iconic hits like "Respect," "Natural Woman," "Think," "I Say A Little Prayer," and "Chain of Fools," all of which came in as the most-searched Aretha Franklin songs this week. She never shied away from the opportunity to flaunt her dramatic furs and show-stopping hats, all while reaching octaves and bravados that could make anyone drown in their own tears. Celebrities, world leaders and fans alike took time to pay their respects with folks in D.C., Michigan, Maryland, Georgia and Mississippi continuing to Rock Steady and search for details on the Queen of Soul. May we forever ride the midnight train of soul and take a drive down the Freeway of Love because that's what Aretha would want us to do.

Dodging traffic in Los Angeles

Traffic is a way of life in Los Angeles and Elon Musk's Boring Company is looking to make life a little bit easier, at least if you're going to Dodger Stadium. The company is proposing a 3.6-mile underground tunnel in an effort to curb congestion on L.A. roads and people are intrigued. So much so that search interest in "boring company tunnel" spiked more than 60 percent over the past week in the U.S. Some people had tunnel vision, also searching for the North River Tunnels, Twin Peaks tunnel and Hezekiah's Tunnel.

Sixty going on thirty

Madonna and Angela Bassett celebrated their sixtieth birthdays this week and people were in utter disbelief. Questions like "How old was Madonna when she had her daughter?" and "How does Angela Bassett stay looking so young?" were trending, as the mystery behind their fountain of youth glow remains unsolved. Washington D.C. was one of the top regions searching for both Madonna and Angela Bassett and the top search question on turning 60 was "What to say to someone turning 60?" Uhhh … Happy Birthday?

Righty tighty, lefty loosey

Left-handers day was this past Monday and to celebrate, Oreo created a special left handers package and even sent a free package of cookies to all the residents of Left Hand, West Virginia. Lefties and righties alike took to Search to find out, "What percentage of people are left handed," "Is there a left handers day club," and "Is LeBron James left handed." They also wanted to know if there were products and perks made especially for lefties such as "Best pens for lefties" and "Scholarships for lefties." Looks like this week was the right week to be a left-handed.

Representation matters

Crazy Rich Asians, the first major studio production in 25 years to star an all-Asian cast, opened in theaters this week and is on track to net $30 million dollars by the end of the weekend. The top five states searching for the film include D.C., California, Hawaii, New York and Washington, and people searching for Crazy Rich Asians also searched for Geetha Govindam, Mile 22, and BlacKkKlansman over the past week in the U.S. Double-feature weekend at the theater anyone?

17 Aug 2018 5:20pm GMT

Safety-first AI for autonomous data center cooling and industrial control

Many of society's most pressing problems have grown increasingly complex, so the search for solutions can feel overwhelming. At DeepMind and Google, we believe that if we can use AI as a tool to discover new knowledge, solutions will be easier to reach.

In 2016, we jointly developed an AI-powered recommendation system to improve the energy efficiency of Google's already highly-optimized data centers. Our thinking was simple: Even minor improvements would provide significant energy savings and reduce CO2 emissions to help combat climate change.

Now we're taking this system to the next level: instead of human-implemented recommendations, our AI system is directly controlling data center cooling, while remaining under the expert supervision of our data center operators. This first-of-its-kind cloud-based control system is now safely delivering energy savings in multiple Google data centers.

How it works

Every five minutes, our cloud-based AI pulls a snapshot of the data center cooling system from thousands of sensors and feeds it into our deep neural networks, which predict how different combinations of potential actions will affect future energy consumption. The AI system then identifies which actions will minimize the energy consumption while satisfying a robust set of safety constraints. Those actions are sent back to the data center, where the actions are verified by the local control system and then implemented.

  • DME_DCIQ_v09-01.jpg
  • DME_DCIQ_v09-02.jpg
  • DME_DCIQ_v09-03.jpg
  • DME_DCIQ_v09-04.jpg

The idea evolved out of feedback from our data center operators who had been using our AI recommendation system. They told us that although the system had taught them some new best practices-such as spreading the cooling load across more, rather than less, equipment-implementing the recommendations required too much operator effort and supervision. Naturally, they wanted to know whether we could achieve similar energy savings without manual implementation.


We're pleased to say the answer was yes!

We wanted to achieve energy savings with less operator overhead. Automating the system enabled us to implement more granular actions at greater frequency, while making fewer mistakes. Dan FuenffingerDan Fuenffinger
Data Center Operator, Google

Designed for safety and reliability

Google's data centers contain thousands of servers that power popular services including Google Search, Gmail and YouTube. Ensuring that they run reliably and efficiently is mission-critical. We've designed our AI agents and the underlying control infrastructure from the ground up with safety and reliability in mind, and use eight different mechanisms to ensure the system will behave as intended at all times.

One simple method we've implemented is to estimate uncertainty. For every potential action-and there are billions-our AI agent calculates its confidence that this is a good action. Actions with low confidence are eliminated from consideration.

Another method is two-layer verification. Optimal actions computed by the AI are vetted against an internal list of safety constraints defined by our data center operators. Once the instructions are sent from the cloud to the physical data center, the local control system verifies the instructions against its own set of constraints. This redundant check ensures that the system remains within local constraints and operators retain full control of the operating boundaries.

Most importantly, our data center operators are always in control and can choose to exit AI control mode at any time. In these scenarios, the control system will transfer seamlessly from AI control to the on-site rules and heuristics that define the automation industry today.

Find out about the other safety mechanisms we've developed below:

DME_DCIQ_v08-05.png

Increasing energy savings over time

Whereas our original recommendation system had operators vetting and implementing actions, our new AI control system directly implements the actions. We've purposefully constrained the system's optimization boundaries to a narrower operating regime to prioritize safety and reliability, meaning there is a risk/reward trade off in terms of energy reductions.

Despite being in place for only a matter of months, the system is already delivering consistent energy savings of around 30 percent on average, with further expected improvements. That's because these systems get better over time with more data, as the graph below demonstrates. Our optimization boundaries will also be expanded as the technology matures, for even greater reductions.

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This graph plots AI performance over time relative to the historical baseline before AI control. Performance is measured by a common industry metric for cooling energy efficiency, kW/ton (or energy input per ton of cooling achieved). Over nine months, our AI control system performance increases from a 12 percent improvement (the initial launch of autonomous control) to around a 30 percent improvement.

Our direct AI control system is finding yet more novel ways to manage cooling that have surprised even the data center operators. Dan Fuenffinger, one of Google's data center operators who has worked extensively alongside the system, remarked: "It was amazing to see the AI learn to take advantage of winter conditions and produce colder than normal water, which reduces the energy required for cooling within the data center. Rules don't get better over time, but AI does."

We're excited that our direct AI control system is operating safely and dependably, while consistently delivering energy savings. However, data centers are just the beginning. In the long term, we think there's potential to apply this technology in other industrial settings, and help tackle climate change on an even grander scale.

17 Aug 2018 1:00pm GMT

16 Aug 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

Simplifying Data Studio embeds and social sharing

Today we are introducing two new features to make sharing your Data Studio visualizations easier, including enhanced support for embedding your reports across the web, and rich snippets of your reports when you share them on social networks.

Embed with Embed.ly

Data Studio now supports embedding interactive reports on Medium, Reddit and hundreds of other sites that use Embed.ly. To embed your report, simply paste the report URL in your article. Simply embed your report and it will sync in real time, making it possible for you to distribute your interactive reports. Learn more.

Here are some examples of embedded reports:

DS Embed 1

Medium article showing Stack Overflow trends. Link

DS Embed 2

Reddit post showing real time departures for BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Link

Share rich snippets on social

When you share your report link on social platforms or messaging apps, you will now see a rich snippet including the title, thumbnail and description of the report. Your audience will know what to expect from the link and have better visibility to your reports. Rich snippets also help make your content more searchable on social networks.

To generate rich snippets, post the report URL you intend to share.

Here's an example of a rich snippet:

DS Embed 3

Rich snippets work on any social platform or messaging app that supports Open Graph Protocol including Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and apps like Hangouts, iMessage and Slack.

16 Aug 2018 7:00pm GMT

Helping you find useful information fast on Search

Imagine you're remodeling your kitchen, and you want information about how quartz compares to granite for your new countertops. Sure, Google can tell you what quartz and granite are, but that's perhaps not what you had in mind. Chances are you're hoping to learn more about the differences in cost, benefits, and durability of each, and may be looking for guidance on other subtopics to explore.


For these types of queries, we're introducing a new way to get you to relevant information fast and help you get a glimpse of multiple aspects of a topic with a single search.


quarts vs. granite

Now when you search for something like [quartz vs. granite], you'll see a panel with a set of relevant subtopics to explore. As another example, when you search [emergency fund], you'll get a quick view of information that relates to the recommended size, purpose, and importance of an emergency fund, and you can easily click the links to these relevant sources to learn more. This new format is meant to help guide you with what we understand to be common, useful aspects of the topic and help you sift through the information available, all with the goal of delivering the most relevant results for you.


These new panels are automatically generated based on our understanding of these topics from content on the web, and we hope you find them useful as they roll out over the next few days.


This update is the latest in a series of improvements we've been making to help you get information quickly with Search. As always, if you have any feedback on the information you see, please let us know via the feedback link at the bottom of the search results page. To learn more about how these types of features work, check out our post on featured snippets.

16 Aug 2018 5:00pm GMT

Announcing the 10 startups that will take the stage at Demo Day Asia

After our open call for startups to apply and pitch to top global investors at Demo Day Asia-taking place this September in Shanghai-we received hundreds of submissions. They came from founders from every corner of Asia-Pacific, across industries as diverse as agriculture, entertainment, and healthcare.


While difficult to narrow down this impressive field, after painstaking deliberation, the results are finally in. Out of 305 qualifying applications, the 10 finalists that will take the final stage at Demo Day Asia are... (drum-roll!):


  • DycodeX from Indonesia develops Internet of Things solutions for livestock farming

  • FreightExchange from Australia is an online platform for freight carriers to sell their unused space to shippers.

  • GITAI from Japan specializes in building robots that can help humans conduct scientific experiments in space.

  • Marham from Pakistan is a healthcare platform that helps people search, book appointments, and consult with doctors online.

  • Miotech from China is a fintech startup developing artificial intelligence-based software for financial services firms.

  • OneStockHome from Thailand offers an e-commerce platform for construction materials.

  • Origami Labs from Hong Kong makes smart rings that allow people to hear and send text messages without taking out their phones.

  • SigTuple from India creates AI-based solutions to automate healthcare screening.

  • SkyMagic from Singapore produces drone swarming technology for live entertainment and traffic management systems.

  • Swingvy from Korea provides human resources solutions for businesses.

  • Gitai Demo Day Asia

    GITAI from Japan builds robots that help humans conduct scientific experiments in space.

  • skymagic demodayasia

    SkyMagic from Singapore works on drone technology for live entertainment and traffic management systems.

  • Freight exchange demo day asia

    FreightExchange from Australia connects Australian shippers and carriers with their online platform.

  • origamilabs DemoDayAsia

    Origami Labs from Hong Kong produces smart rings that let people hear and send text messages without taking out their phones.

We're proud that several of these companies belong to organisations that are a part of the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network, a community of over 35 member spaces globally and programs supporting startups. They include startups from Kibar in Indonesia, Fishburners in Australia, Hubba in Thailand, Found in Singapore and People Squared in China.


Congratulations to these outstanding startups and their founders! They will pitch to a distinguished panel of leaders from Google for Entrepreneurs, Sequoia Capital China, and Venturra Capital on September 20th in Shanghai. The startups that impress could come home with funding from investors and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud Platform credits. Most importantly, we hope these incredible startups blaze a path forward for other founders and continue to improve the lives of others with their innovative products. Good luck in Shanghai!

16 Aug 2018 2:00am GMT

15 Aug 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

Upgrading your paid storage with Google One

Since introducing Google Photos, we've aspired to be the home for all of your photos, helping you bring together a lifetime of memories in one place.


We offer two options to back up your photos and videos: original quality and high quality. Starting today in the U.S., those of you who back up in original quality and pay for expanded storage will be upgraded to Google One. For the same price or in some cases less, you'll now have extra space and additional benefits-like 24/7 support from Google experts-to help you get more out of Google. There are no changes to our high quality backup option.

Check out what backup plan you're currently using and, if you'd like to upgrade to Google One, visit the Google One website. Google One is rolling out to more countries over the next few weeks.

15 Aug 2018 6:00pm GMT

Introducing a new transparency report for political ads

We first launched our Transparency Report in 2010 with the goal of fostering important conversations about the relationship between governments, companies, and the free flow of information on the internet.

Over the years, we've evolved the report, adding sections about content removed from Google Search due to European privacy laws, adoption of encryption on websites (HTTPS), and more. And today, we're adding another new section to our Transparency Report: Political Advertising on Google.

Earlier this year, we took important steps to increase transparency in political advertising. We implemented new requirements for any advertiser purchasing election ads on Google in the U.S.-these advertisers now have to provide a government-issued ID and other key information that confirms they are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, as required by law. We also required that election ads incorporate a clear "paid for by" disclosure. Now, we're continuing to roll out new transparency features with the addition of the political advertising report as well as a new political Ad Library.

political advertising transparency report locations

The new political advertising section in our Transparency Report shows how much money is spent across states and congressional districts

The new political advertising report shows who buys federal election ads in the U.S., how much money is spent across states and congressional districts on such ads, and who the top advertisers are overall. We designed this report for anyone interested in transparency-the information is searchable and downloadable, so that you can easily access and sort through the data. We're updating the report every week, so as we head into election season, anyone can see new ads that get uploaded or new advertisers that decide to run Google ads.

political advertising transparency report top keywords

The new political advertising section in our Transparency Report

Meanwhile, our new, searchable election Ad Library shows things like which ads had the highest views, what the latest election ads running on our platform are, and deep dives into specific advertisers' campaigns. In addition, the data from the report and Ad Library is publicly available on Google Cloud's BigQuery. Using BigQuery's API, anyone can write code and run their own unique queries on this data set. Researchers, political watchdog groups and private citizens can use our data set to develop charts, graphs, tables or other visualizations of political advertising on Google Ads services. Together with the Transparency Report, we hope this provides unprecedented, data-driven insights into election ads on our platform.

Even though the political advertising report and Ad Library provide many new insights, we know there is more work to be done. We're working with experts in the U.S. and around the world to explore tools that capture a wider range of political ads-including ads about political issues (beyond just candidate ads), state and local election ads, and political ads in other countries. We're also continuing to share our Protect Your Election tools to safeguard campaigns from digital attacks. As we approach the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S, we've introduced new tools to help protect political campaigns, provide voters with accurate information, and increase transparency on our platforms, and we'll continue to do more.

15 Aug 2018 5:48pm GMT

Search, Trends and fact checking during the Mexican elections

On July 1, more than 88 million Mexican citizens voted for over 16,000 candidates in the largest election in Mexican history. In the lead up to the Mexican national elections, we aimed to help people navigate election information.


In Search, we made it easier for people to find information about the democratic process: our search results helped find their local polling, in partnership with the National Electoral Institute (INE).

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We also made it easier for people to explore the data around Google searches for candidates and key elections issues. The Google Trends team created the Election Trends Hub and partnered with news organizations like Animal Politico, to create election visualizations that helped synthesize and contextualize what people were searching in the lead up to the elections.

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As part of the Google News Initiaitive's efforts to empower news organizations with technology, we supportedVerificado 2018 a joint effort across over 90 news organizations and NGOs to fact check claims and prevent the spread of misinformation. To assist with the fact checking efforts, over the past year we've trained over 1000 journalists across Mexico on Google verification tools, such as reverse image Search. In three and a half months leading up to the election, the Verificado coalition identified over 180 false stories and reached more than 1.3 million people on their website and social media channels.

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Reporters who participated in Verificado 2018

With presidential elections in Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, 2018 is an important year for politics in Latin America. As voters across the world prepare to vote, we're building tools and partnerships helps users engage more seamlessly in their democratic processes.

You can learn more about our work at google.com/elections and about the Google News Initiative's work to support the news industry to fight misinformation atg.co/newsinitiative.


15 Aug 2018 5:30pm GMT

Android 9 Pie (Go edition): New features and more options this fall

We believe everyone across the globe should have powerful, high-quality device experiences. That's why we introduced Android (Go edition) last year, with the goal to provide a fast and smooth experience optimized for first-time and entry-level smartphone owners.

We welcomed our first wave of Android (Go edition) phones this April, and now there are more than 200 devices available in 120+ countries including India, South Africa, U.S., Nigeria and Brazil. We also continued to refine the core operating system and have added a variety of new useful features to apps like Google Go, YouTube Go, Files Go and more.

Whether it comes with a HD or regular VGA screen, 4GB or 8GB or 16GB of storage, or 3G or 4G support, there's a Go edition device for everyone. In some countries, devices are available for as little as $30 USD. With more than 100 manufacturers planned to release devices before the end of the year, you can expect even more options when choosing your first Go edition device.

Go phones

Android 9 Pie (Go edition)

With Android (Go edition), we aim to bring the latest Android improvements to more entry-level phone buyers. As part of the release of Android 9 Pie, we're introducing a brand new Go edition experience. Pie (Go edition) includes:

  • Up to an additional 500MB of storage available out of the box

  • Faster device boot times

  • Top-of-the-line security features like verified boot

  • A accessible dashboard for tracking and monitoring data consumption

Comparing OOB storage across Pie, Oreo and non Go phones

Android Pie (Go edition) comes with up to an additional 500MB out of the box compared to Oreo (Go edition), and more than twice what you'd find on a non-Go edition phone

Collectively, these features help solve some of the most common pain points for entry-level device owners: storage, performance, data management and security. Keep an eye out for the first devices offering the new Pie (Go edition) experience to hit shelves later this fall.

Go with Google

A core part of the Go edition experience is the fully redesigned set of Google apps, which are specifically built to serve the needs of first-time smartphone owners. These apps include unique features, like free downloading in YouTube Go, that aren't found in the classic app. Since February we've introduced a number of improvements to our suite of apps:

  • Google Go now offers the ability to read webpages aloud and highlights each word so you can follow along.
Google Go
  • YouTube Go makes it easier to enjoy videos while using less data with new features like gallery mode for downloaded content.

  • Maps Go now features navigation, making it possible for people with Go edition devices or unstable connections to use turn-by-turn directions whether you're traveling by car, by bus, or on foot.

maps go navigation
  • Files Go, which has saved users ~90TB of space since launch, is now capable of transferring data peer-to-peer, without using mobile data, at speeds up to ~490Mbips.

  • Assistant Go now supports additional languages including Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Indonesian, and has expanded support for device actions like controlling Bluetooth, camera and flashlight, and added reminders.

  • Android Messages App for Android (Go edition) is now ~50 percent smaller in size and the Phone App includes caller ID and spam detection.

With a broader range of options and better performing phones, more people can come online for the first time and have access to essential, helpful information. We're excited to keep the momentum going.

15 Aug 2018 5:00pm GMT

Upgrade to Google One to get more out of Google

Recently, we introduced Google One, a plan that gives you expanded storage and helps you get more out of Google. Over the past few months, people with Google Drive paid plans have been upgraded to Google One. And starting today, people in the U.S. can choose to upgrade to Google One.

Google One

More storage for what matters

Google One gives you more storage across Drive, Gmail, and Photos. With plenty of space, your most important memories and files are stored safely in the cloud and available on all your devices. We've improved the price of some of our plans and added new plan options, so you can find one that works for you.

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More help when you need it

As a Google One member, you can easily get in touch with a team of Google experts 24/7 to answer your questions-whether you need help recovering a file you accidentally deleted or want to learn how to use Gmail when you're offline.


More benefits for members

With Google One, you'll also get extra benefits across Google. We've started with credits on Google Play and deals on hotels found in Google Search. In the coming months, keep an eye out for Google Store and Google Express benefits and more.


More for your family

You can also share your plan with up to five additional family members. That means simplified storage under one bill, and access to the benefits of Google One.


We're just getting started and will be rolling out to more countries over the next few weeks. If you're in the U.S. and would like to upgrade, visit the Google One website.

15 Aug 2018 3:40pm GMT

On your mark, get set, go! Stay up to speed with the 2018 Asian Games

After 56 years, the Asian Games are coming back to Indonesia. This Saturday, thousands of athletes from 45 nations in Asia will go for gold in Jakarta and Palembang, the two cities hosting the games this year. Here are some ways you can get in on the action.


Track your country's victories with Search

When you search for Asian Games on Google Search, you'll find up-to-date information at the top of Search results. Sprint through the medal tally rankings and recent results to see if your country is in the lead. You can also watch videos of highlights and catch up on top news related to the Asian Games.

asiangamessearch2

Up your Games on Google Maps and Google Earth

If you're lucky enough to catch the action live in Indonesia, Atung, one of the friendly Asian Games mascots, will show you the best route on Maps when you search for directions. Wondering where your seat in the stadium is? You can sail through the gantries and find it quickly with indoor maps of event venues. And even if you aren't in Indonesia for the games, you can explore its amazing archipelago, and get inspiration on where to go on Voyager in Google Earth to make the most of your trip.

  • discover indonesia

    Explore the Komodo islands (pictured) and other amazing Indonesian attractions with Google Earth.

  • indonesia stadium

    Check out Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and other Asian Games venues on Street View.

  • indoormap-asiangames

    Find your seat quick with indoor maps of event venues.

  • Atung-english

    Let Atung, one of the Asian Games mascots, show you the way around Jakarta and Palembang on his jet ski.

Can I Play, too? Yes you can.

Head to the Google Play Store and check out selected Asian Games content and deals from Google Play.

asiangames-play

Judo-n't want to miss out on the 18th Asian Games, and with a few helpful tools from Google you will stay close to the action.

15 Aug 2018 6:00am GMT

14 Aug 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

Getting started with Google Analytics for Firebase

With Google Analytics for Firebase, you can understand and measure the impact of your mobile app or apps on your business. And with the Firebase updates announced earlier this year, we're bringing even more depth and analysis capabilities to Google Analytics for Firebase-including project level reporting and flexible filters.

We continue to build and improve our app measurement solutions, and are showcasing this new feature set with the Firebase Demo Project. If you've never played with Firebase before, this is a great place to start in order to get a good idea of what features are available and how they work together.

We're also releasing our new "Getting Started with Google Analytics for Firebase" mini-course. These videos use the Firebase Demo Project as well as live demos to walk you through getting up and running with Google Analytics for Firebase. We cover everything from creating a Firebase project, to understanding your dashboard metrics and events, to integrating across other areas of Firebase.

Overview of Google Analytics for Firebase
Google Analytics for Firebase Dashboard Walkthrough
Exporting Data to BigQuery and Data Studio

The above videos are just a subset of the content we're bringing you through this new mini-course. Check out the full playlist-Getting Started with Google Analytics for Firebase-to get a comprehensive overview.

14 Aug 2018 7:00pm GMT

Pump up the jams: New music streaming services now available on Google Home

Cue the music: You can now ask your Google Assistant on Google Home, Mini and Max to play some of your favorite songs with Pandora Premium and Deezer.

Both services are now available on the Google Assistant across supported devices like Google Home, Smart Displays and more. Pandora Premium subscribers can search and play their favorite songs, albums and playlists, just by using their voice.

Plus, Deezer now allows you to stream music hands-free with access to more than 36 million HiFi tracks from around the world. So if you've got a Google Home Max, get ready to turn it all the way up.

To play music from Pandora or Deezer, link your accounts in the Google Home app. Then all you have to do is say, "Hey Google, play my Chill Vibes playlist on Deezer," or "Hey Google, play my Chill playlist on Pandora."

If you have a Google Home, you can try Pandora Premium free for 90 days. Deezer on Google Home is available for HiFi and Premium users in the U.S., Canada, Italy, Australia, U.K., France and Germany. Check the Google Home app on Android or visit store.google.com to see if your region is eligible for a special 90-day Deezer Premium trial offer

With the addition of Pandora Premium and Deezer, you have even more choices when it comes to music streaming services. So, next time you're throwing a party or hanging out with friends, we've got the DJ booth covered.


14 Aug 2018 4:00pm GMT

13 Aug 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

Google Cloud’s continuing commitment to advance healthcare data interoperability

Patient needs are at the forefront of everything Google Cloud builds for healthcare. And as patient expectations for seamless experiences have increased, so has our commitment to eliminating the technological barriers that make it challenging for providers to deliver connected care.

Data interoperability is one important element to delivering connected care to patients. At HIMSS 2017, we announced our support for the HL7 FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) Foundation to help the developer community advance data interoperability. Earlier this year we launched our Cloud Healthcare API to provide a scalable and security-focused infrastructure solution designed to ingest, process, and manage key healthcare data types. The Cloud Healthcare API empowers customers to use their healthcare data-including HL7v2, FHIR, and DICOM-for analytics and machine learning in the cloud.

To deliver true healthcare data interoperability, many stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem need to engage to develop collaboratively and support open standards, open specifications, and open source tools that facilitate a frictionless healthcare data exchange with appropriate permissions and controls.

To that end, today at the Blue Button 2.0 Developer Conference at the White House, Google along with Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce are announcing our joint commitment to removing barriers for the adoption of technologies for healthcare interoperability, particularly those that are enabled through the cloud and AI. The common goal of this program is to deliver better patient care, higher user satisfaction, and lower costs across the entire health ecosystem.

The statement is available here on ITIC.org.

13 Aug 2018 5:00pm GMT

10 Aug 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

A Trek through Search trends, starring popular films and Croc-ular shoes

If there was a category for "popular shoe," would Crocs be nominated? Take a minute to think about that, while we take you through a few of the most-searched trends of the week:

This guy knows how to live long and prosper

Patrick Stewart is reprising his role as Star Trek's Captain Jean Luc Picard in a new spinoff, which caused the largest spike in Star Trek searches in the past 12 months (up 150 percent). There was a 2,200 percent spike in searches for "Patrick Stewart return to Star Trek" in the wake of the announcement, along with the top-searched question: "Who was Patrick Stewart's competition for Star Trek?" (Apparently there's not much competition, he keeps coming back for more!)

When the rubber hits the runway

Searches for "Crocs going out of business" went up 4,700 percent this week, signaling that fashion offenders everywhere were in a panic (they eventually breathed a sigh of relief after the company confirmed it's here to stay despite closing down a few manufacturing facilities). Search interest in Crocs surpassed search interest in Uggs (usually the more-searched brand) by 180 percent over the past week in the U.S. And top regions searching for the infamous footwear this week include West Virginia, Maine and North Carolina.

Popularity contest

"How many Oscars categories are there?" was a top-searched question this week after a new category was announced dedicated to popular film. Not everyone was thanking the Academy after the news came out. Meanwhile, trending movie searches this week included old Oscar winners and nominees like "The Godfather 2" and "When Harry Met Sally," as well as the newly- released "Crazy Rich Asians."

Bring it on

People in Georgia, Louisiana and DC were particularly interested in the NFL's announcement that male cheerleaders will be on the sidelines of Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints games this season. This week's most-searched football teams overall (regardless of cheer squads) include the ever-popular Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

Ride-hailing

If you live in New York, you might be facing delays for your Uber and Lyft pickups now that the city has decided to cap the number of rideshare licences it awards. As people sought to understand the new policy, we saw searches asking about the number of rideshare vehicles on the road overall. Meanwhile, search interest in Uber is still 100 percent higher on average than search interest in Lyft. Showing drivers aren't easily dissuaded, we also saw a rise in searches for "how to make the most money with ridesharing apps."

10 Aug 2018 9:00pm GMT

AI4ALL participants tell all—summer camps get girls involved in AI and tech

AI4ALL, a nonprofit working to increase diversity and inclusion in artificial intelligence, believes that all students should have the opportunity to learn about AI and explore its applications. We share the same belief, and have gotten more kids involved in computer science and technology by donating to organizations like Code.org, building programs like Made with Code and CS First, and most recently helping AI4ALL expand learning resources for underrepresented youth. With a $1 million grant from Google.org, AI4ALL can scale their nationwide summer camps that spark student interest in AI and help them build foundational technical skills. The Google.org grant will also create a new digital curriculum that will introduce students to fundamental AI concepts.

To learn more about AI4ALL's impact, we caught up with Tess Posner, CEO of AI4ALL, as well as two program alums: Ananya Karthik, who recently led an AI and art workshop in Oakland for Bay Area middle and high school girls, and 15-year old Ekanem Okeke, who participated in the AI4ALL Stanford camp this summer. Hear from Tess and Ananya in this video, and read on for an interview with Ekanem.

Supporting diversity and inclusion in AI with AI4ALL
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Here's Ekanem at the AI4ALL Stanford camp

Ekanem Okeke participated in the AI4ALL Stanford camp this summer. We chatted with her about her experience:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Ekanem Okeke. I am 15 years old. I was born in Ottawa, Canada, but for the past three years I've been living in Michigan with my family. I have two sisters and one brother. Having lived in Canada for the majority of my life so far, I am fluent in French, but I would really love to learn Korean and Japanese. I also enjoy reading, drawing, playing soccer and basketball, and watching anime. Lastly, I am fascinated with astronomy, biology and science in general.

What was your experience with computer science and AI before camp?
Prior to attending AI4ALL, I hadn't seriously coded. I'd heard of the development of autonomous cars using AI, but other than that, I didn't know all that much of the applications of AI. Of course, I was curious about AI and programming before attending AI4ALL, but I hadn't acted on that curiosity yet. Nevertheless, I am in a very CS-heavy family as both my parents are engineers and my sister is also on her way to becoming one.

What was your favorite part of camp and who were your fellow participants?
I don't think that I could pick a favorite! I really enjoyed listening to guest speakers, like Professor Jeanette Bohg's talk comparing computer vision to human vision. Prof. Dan Jurafsky's talk on Natural Language Processing (NLP) was also very fascinating as he discussed using NLP to evaluate police bias. Along with these talks, we watched technical demonstrations and even managed to fit in field trips to Google's headquarters and the beach!

My fellow participants were really cool and helpful-bonding with them was a high point of the experience. We also had a pretty diverse class, with people from nine states and nine different countries. I even met a fellow Canadian!

What did you think about your field trip to Google?
I definitely think that the most enriching part of the whole experience was the panel we attended at Google. I found that all the panelists had something interesting that they were working on and something unique about their history with AI. It displayed the interdisciplinary nature of AI, as the panelists had very different jobs that all still related to AI, such as health research with machine learning.

What was the subject of your team project and what did you learn while working on it?
While at camp, I was in the robotics group that focused on autonomous vehicles. In our group, we attempted to model the navigation system that would be implemented in an autonomous vehicle. To accomplish this, we used proportional-integral-derivative controller (PIDs) and Dijkstra's algorithm. The PID controllers worked to enable our robots to follow the lines on our map, while Dijkstra's algorithm enabled the robots to plan efficient routes. By combining these two algorithms, the robots were able to navigate themselves from one destination to the next.

Leaving camp, has your perspective on AI changed? How?
I've learned how AI can solve problems. Before camp, I saw AI as somewhat of a super tool, a technology that could be used to change the world. However, I didn't really understand what AI actually does. After the camp, I've come to understand AI in a more realistic sense. I now understand how to utilize AI as an actual concrete piece of technology.

What excites you the most about AI?
I think the most exciting thing about AI is that it is very much a blank canvas. The broad scope of how interdisciplinary AI is makes it such an interesting and curious field. Although AI is not some kind of all-powerful tool, it is a new technology that can improve one's daily life. AI's usefulness is really just limited to our own imagination, and there's many more possibilities available beyond an autonomous car.

As you look to the future (no pressure!), do you have a sense for what you might be interested in pursuing?
Through this program, I was exposed to many things, which allowed me to picture my own future in any career. I've really come to understand that there are a lot of amazing specialized careers that I haven't heard of before. Attending AI4ALL really encouraged me to follow my passions and turn my passions into a career. As a result, I feel like it would be a waste for me to decide what I want to do right now when there's so much out there and so much to come.

10 Aug 2018 5:00pm GMT

08 Mar 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Some terrible personal news

Cindy Cutts, my wife and best friend, passed away earlier this week. While I was traveling for work recently, Cindy went to visit her family in Omaha, Nebraska. On Sunday, while enjoying time with family, Cindy started having trouble breathing. Her family quickly called 911 and paramedics took Cindy to the hospital, but Cindy lost […]

08 Mar 2018 12:17am GMT

22 Jan 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Talking to Mr. Money Mustache about the US Digital Service

Last week, I passed my one year anniversary as head of the US Digital Service (USDS). So when Mr. Money Mustache asked for an interview, I was delighted to talk about some of the work that the USDS does. If you aren't familiar with Mr. Money Mustache, he writes about a philosophy of badassity in […]

22 Jan 2018 6:58pm 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

26 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

The Emperor's Garden

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

26 Aug 2011 12:12pm GMT

15 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

15 Aug 2011 4:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google drops reverse phone number lookup

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

25 Feb 2011 11:23am GMT

16 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Idea: Topical Chat

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

16 Dec 2010 2:55pm GMT

Idea: CrowdChat

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

16 Dec 2010 7:26am GMT

Google Body Browser

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

16 Dec 2010 2:17am GMT

10 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Pictures of the Cr-48

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

10 Dec 2010 5:23am GMT

09 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Chromedroidpad

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

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Device Evolution

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

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

How to Disable Google Instant Previews

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

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

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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