18 Sep 2020

feedThe Official Google Blog

Easier access to Search, Chrome and Gmail in iOS 14

iOS 14 has launched, and with it comes new features that make it easier to access some of the Google apps you use most often. Starting today, you can add a Google Search Widget to your Home Screen to let you find information even faster. You can also set Chrome as your default browser app on your iPhone or iPad, and in the coming days, you'll be able to set Gmail as your default email app.

Find it even faster with new iOS Home Screen Widget for the Google app

In iOS 14, you can add Widgets to your Home Screen so you can access apps more quickly or get information at a glance. Starting today, we're giving you lightning-fast access to Search with a Widget in two sizes: one with just Search, and one with shortcuts to three additional ways to search, depending on your preference.

The Google app is a great way to find relevant and helpful information on your iPhone or iPad-- from web pages and quick answers to images, products, news, even life-size AR animals. And you can choose from several different ways to search, including typing, talking, or using your camera with Lens.

With the Quick Search Widget, you can search for anything, right from your Home Screen. The Shortcuts Widget includes a quick Search bar and additional search modes: Lens, which lets you search what you see through your camera; Voice Search if you don't feel like typing; and Incognito mode for an extra layer of privacy.

iOS Homescreen Google Search Widget

To set up Search as a Home Screen Widget, first make sure you have the Google app downloaded from the App Store. Then follow these steps:


  1. Press and hold on the home screen of your iPhone or iPad

  2. Tap the plus icon on the upper left corner to open the widget gallery

  3. Search for & tap the Google app

  4. Swipe right/left to select the widget size

  5. Tap "Add Widget"

  6. Place the widget and tap "Done" at the upper right corner

Google Search Widget

Set Chrome and Gmail as your default browser and email app

If you set Chrome as your default browser, when you open a link from another app, it will open in Chrome. Similarly, if you set Gmail as your default email app, any time you tap on an email icon on the web, it will open the Gmail app.


With Chrome and Gmail, you can:


Chrome

  • Sync Chrome on your computer or tablet to automatically access your bookmarks, saved passwords and payment methods, settings, and recently opened tabs

  • Get answers quickly with personalized search results from Google that instantly appear as you type

  • Browse safely with advanced protection from threats like phishing and dangerous websites

  • Easily view and open your tabs with an uncluttered tab grid design

Gmail

  • Easily retract an email right after you send it with undo send

  • Write emails faster with Smart Compose or respond to emails quickly with Smart Reply

  • Schedule emails to send at a later time or date with schedule send

  • Protect sensitive information from unauthorized access, set an expiration date for messages or remove options to forward, copy, print, and download with confidential mode

To set Chrome and Gmail as your default browser and email apps, first, make sure you have both Chrome and Gmail downloaded from the App Store. Then follow these steps:


Chrome

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, scroll down until you see "Chrome" and tap on it

2. Tap on "Default Browser App"

3. Choose "Chrome"

How to make Chrome your default browser in iOS

Gmail

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, scroll down until you see "Gmail" and tap on it

2. Tap on "Default Mail App"

3. Choose "Gmail"

How to make Gmail your default email app in iOS

Now that you're set up with Google on iOS 14, take it for a spin! And stay tuned for more Google Widgets in the coming weeks to make your iPhone even more helpful.

18 Sep 2020 2:00pm GMT

17 Sep 2020

feedThe Official Google Blog

Making data useful for public health

Researchers around the world have used modelling techniques to find patterns in data and map the spread of COVID-19, in order to combat the disease. Modelling a complex global event is challenging, particularly when there are many variables-human behavior, evolving science and policy, and socio-economic issues-as well as unknowns about the virus itself. Teams across Google are contributing tools and resources to the broader scientific community of epidemiologists, analysts and researchers who are working to address the health and economic impacts of the virus.

Organizing the world's data for epidemiological researchers

Lack of access to useful high-quality data has posed a significant challenge, and much of the publicly available data is scattered, incomplete, or compiled in many different formats. To help researchers spend more of their time understanding the disease instead of wrangling data, we've developed a set of tools and processes to make it simpler for researchers to discover and work with normalized high-quality public datasets.


With the help of Google Cloud, we developed a COVID-19 Open Data repository-a comprehensive, open-source resource of COVID-19 epidemiological data and related variables like economic indicators or population statistics from over 50 countries. Each data source contains information on its origin, and how it's processed so that researchers can confirm its validity and reliability. It can also be used with Data Commons, BigQuery datasets, as well as other initiatives which aggregate regional datasets.


This repository also includes two Google datasets developed to help researchers study the impact of the disease in a privacy-preserving manner. In April, we began publishing the COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which provide anonymized insights into movement trends to understand the impact of policies like shelter in place. These reports have been downloaded over 16 million times and are now updated three times a week in 64 languages, with localized insights covering 12,000 regions, cities and counties for 135 countries. Groups including the OECD, World Bank and Bruegel have used these reports in their research, and the insights inform strategies like how public health could safely unwind social distancing policies.


The latest addition to the repository is the Search Trends symptoms dataset, which aggregates anonymized search trends for over 400 symptoms. This will help researchers better understand the spread of COVID-19 and its potential secondary health impacts.

Tools for managing complex prediction modeling

The data that models rely upon may be imperfect due a range of factors, including a lack of widespread testing or inconsistent reporting. That's why COVID-19 models need to account for uncertainty in order for their predictions to be reliable and useful. To help address this challenge, we're providing researchers examples of how to implement bespoke epidemiological models using TensorFlow Probability (TFP), a library for building probabilistic models that can measure confidence in their own predictions. With TFP, researchers can use a range of data sources with different granularities, properties, or confidence levels, and factor that uncertainty into the overall prediction models. This could be particularly useful in fine-tuning the increasingly complex models that epidemiologists are using to understand the spread of COVID-19, particularly in gaining city or county-level insights when only state or national-level datasets exist.


While models can help predict what happens next, researchers and policymakers are also turning to simulations to better understand the potential impact of their interventions. Simulating these "what if" scenarios involve calculating highly variable social interactions at a massive scale. Simulators can help trial different social distancing techniques and gauge how changes to the movement of people may impact the spread of disease.


Google researchers have developed an open-source agent-based simulator that utilizes real-world data to simulate populations to help public health organizations fine tune their exposure notification parameters. For example, the simulator can consider different disease and transmission characteristics, the number of places people visit, as well as the time spent in those locations. We also contributed to Oxford's agent-based simulator by factoring in real world mobility and representative models of interactions within different workplace sectors to understand the effect of an exposure notification app on the COVID-19 pandemic.


The scientific and developer community are working on important work to understand and manage the pandemic. Whether it's by contributing to open source initiatives or funding data science projects and providing Google.org Fellows, we're committed to collaborating with researchers on efforts to build a more equitable and resilient future.

17 Sep 2020 4:00pm GMT

Levelling up gaming on Chromebooks

In the last few months, we've seen the amount of time people use gaming apps on their Chromebooks nearly triple. So, we've worked with our partners to expand our gaming offerings. We're increasing the breadth of high quality games on the Google Play Store and are also enhancing Chromebooks' gaming credentials with support for hugely popular titles on Stadia and through GeForce NOW.

A new premium gaming section on Google Play

The Google Play Store on Chromebooks now has a Premium gaming section that makes it easier for you to discover exciting games designed for Chromebook. These include favorites like Incredibox, Gamedev Tycoon and Bridge Constructor Portal.

Premium Gaming.png

Score special perks on popular hits

With special gaming perks that come with your Chromebook, you can be a winner even before you play. Enjoy hits like House of Da Vinci and Project Highrise on us or try out special bundles on favorites like Fallout Shelter. Visit chromebook.com/perks from your Chromebook to find and redeem these offers and more.

Gaming Perks.gif

Instantly play your favorite games with Stadia and GeForce NOW

Playing high quality video games on your Chromebook is now easier than ever. With Stadia, you can instantly stream and play games like PUBG, Destiny 2 and more on your Chromebook1 without waiting for installation, downloads or updates. Chromebook users also get three months of Stadia Pro free2, giving you access to more than 20 popular titles to play. Visit chromebook.com/perks to redeem the offer and get playing.

Stadia Blog Post Image.png

NVIDIA GeForce NOW, which launched on Chromebooks last month, makes it easy to instantly play your favorite PC games across different game libraries including Steam, Uplay store and more. Visit play.geforcenow.com to subscribe to the service and enjoy favorites like Fortnite, Apex LegendsTM, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2 and more.


Controllers to enhance your gaming experience

Pick up your perfect teammate for gaming on Chromebooks from our Works with Chromebook-certified controllers. Take control of Stadia gameplay with the Stadia controller or try out Logitech F710 and F310 wireless gamepads to play games from the Play Store on your Chromebook.

Stadia Controller.png

We're working to bring more updates in the coming months to make Chromebooks even better for work and play-watch this space for more. In the meantime, check out our app showcase on chromebook.com, where you just might find your new favorite game.


1Chromebooks launched before June 2017 may not provide an optimal gameplay experience. Find here a list of devices launched before then.

2This offer is only available to Chromebooks launched June 2017 onwards. Please see here for a list of devices launched before June 2017. Stadia Pro is $9.99/mo after trial, cancel anytime. Terms apply.


17 Sep 2020 3:00pm GMT

Powering live events with Ad Manager’s Dynamic Ad Insertion

In our new reality of live events-whether it's sports, concerts, or performances-we enjoy the excitement from the comfort and safety of our own homes. Over-the-top (OTT) streaming has become even more important during this time, offering viewers access to relevant information and entertainment on a variety of devices. But delivering a great viewing experience during live events can be especially challenging for the ads ecosystem, since there can be millions of concurrent viewers, unknown commercial break times, and ad request spikes that occur simultaneously. This can make it difficult for the ads ecosystem to scale with the high demand of viewership spikes, which can lead to choppy ads, repetitive ads, or house or slate placeholder ads-all resulting in a poor user experience.

With an uptick in live streaming as more sports events resume globally, we're announcing new features in Google Ad Manager's Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) to help programmers, distributors, and sports leagues power their live events with seamless, broadcast-quality ads across screens. This includes working closely with our partners, like Asahi Television Broadcasting Corporation (ABC TV), Major League Baseball (MLB), NASCAR, SonyLiv, Univision, World Surf League, and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to power their live sports events with relevant ads.


Deliver high-quality ad experiences at scale with DAI Prefetch

Google Ad Manager's DAI, which is the first server-side ad insertion (SSAI) solution to be accredited by the Media Rating Council (MRC) for its client-initiated impression measurement of video ads on live and on-demand content, is launching DAI Prefetch for live events. This feature uses a 2-staged approach, first allowing partners to prefetch a portion of their next ad break, say the first ad for each viewer, at the end of the prior ad break. Then, when the ad break begins, Ad Manager serves the first ad that was prefetched and in parallel fetches the subsequent ads based on information such as ad break duration or custom parameters related to events in a game like a goal or touchdown. DAI Prefetch distributes ad requests more evenly and accommodates longer ad decisioning times, which helps solve for surges in traffic during live events. This enables partners to deliver a high-quality ad experience to millions of concurrent viewers while maximizing fill rates and revenue, and increases the ability for the broader ads ecosystem to handle the scale of large live events.

DAI Live Events v3

Sports partners globally like SonyLiv, World Surf League, and ABC TV (JP) are using Dynamic Ad Insertion with prefetch to successfully monetize their live events. SonyLiv uses DAI to deliver ads to its livestream viewers across screens, including for its India tour of West Indies 2019 cricket match. World Surf League uses DAI Prefetch to deliver seamless, innovative ad experiences for its live surfing events. And ABC TV uses DAI and DAI Prefetch to power ads for livestream events, including their Japanese National High School Baseball Championship Tournament known as Summer Koshien.

"We were able to use DAI to provide a quality user experience and absolutely no buffering-even with sudden traffic spikes during the live event," says Yasuharu Ikeda, Section Chief of Content Strategy Department, General Programming Division at ABC TV.


Grow demand with Early Break Notification API

We're also launching an Early Break Notification API in Ad Manager's DAI to make it easier for partners to use real-time ad break data to monetize live events. This API lets partners send ad break data to Ad Manager, such as program information from SCTE-35 or custom parameters, in advance of an ad break so that they can deliver relevant ads and adhere to brand safety requirements. Data may include program ID, break number, or custom parameters such as whether the ad break is at half-time or the end of a game. This enables partners to deliver ads based on these circumstances, such as a food delivery ad, sponsorship ad, or an ad based on who won the game. Sending ad break data in advance also provides additional ad decisioning time across programmatic demand sources, which is especially important during live events and can help partners increase fill rates. Partners can use DAI Prefetch and Early Break Notification API together to optimize for a great viewing experience while maximizing yield.


Resuming live streamed sports with our partners

Google Ad Manager's DAI has already delivered relevant ads to more than 1 million concurrent livestream viewers at the same time during multiple events, including during the recent UEFA Champions League final, which was broadcast by Univision and four of our other partners across three continents.1 Now, as sports return and viewership grows as live streamed games become the primary way for fans to watch sporting events, we're working closely with our partners to help them continue to deliver broadcast-quality viewing experiences with DAI.

Partners like NASCAR, WWE, Univision, and MLB are using DAI to power ads for their live sporting events. For example, NASCAR Digital Media uses DAI to deliver ads for its in-car camera streams on NASCAR.com during live races including the Daytona 500. WWE is planning to expand its use of DAI to power live events on its network. Univision is using DAI for its live broadcasts of UEFA League games and other sporting events. And MLB is using DAI on MLB.tv to power out-of-market live streamed games.

"With sports back in full swing, we're using Dynamic Ad Insertion to deliver high-quality, relevant ad experiences to our fans across screens, whether they're watching MLB.tv on TV, mobile or web," says Jason Gaedtke, Chief Technology Officer, MLB.

To help our partners continue to identify the best way to use Dynamic Ad Insertion to power their live events, we've published a DAI best practice guide, which offers implementation and live event best practices. As more live events resume, we'll be ready to provide our partners with advanced technology, global support, and best practices to grow their businesses.

1 Google Ad Manager Internal Data, Global, August 2019 - August 2020

17 Sep 2020 1:00pm GMT

How we’re helping military spouses find job success

Having grown up with a Marine veteran father, and then marrying a commissioned Air Force officer, I know firsthand the challenges that spouses and families face when it comes to military life. One month before my wedding, I learned that my partner would be relocating for his role in the military. Though my career was flourishing, I needed to quickly find a new role, in a new office, with a completely different culture. Though it all worked out in the end, my spouse and I had to live apart for some time, making the first few months of our marriage a little more challenging than your typical newlywed experience.


These days, I'm proud to work at Google, a company that supports transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses in meaningful ways every day, whether they are looking to grow their skills, find a job, or start a business. One of those ways is with Google committing to offering paid leave benefits up to 5 days to military spouses and domestic partners experiencing changes of location due to military orders or those preparing for a deployment or activation. We recently conducted research surveying more than 1,500 military spouses to learn more about the military spouse experience. Below are some of our key learnings from the survey, which was conducted in partnership with Hiring our Heroes, a nationwide initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, with the support of a Google.org grant. As I read through this report, I related to so much of what these spouses said, and saw their stories reflected in my own.


COVID-19 has changed a lot about the way we work, in a very short period of time. And even though the landscape of work has changed, this research remains relevant as so many Americans are looking to adjust to the new normal of remote work, while still others are seeking out opportunities to up-skill, re-skill or start new businesses.


Many military spouses face challenges when looking for work, but we always get creative to make career and business choices that work for us and our families. Some want to open their own businesses, in an attempt to maximize flexibility and portability. While 76 percent of military spouses indicated that they were interested in starting a business, fewer had actually made the leap into business ownership.

Those who had already started their own businesses often did so with an initial investment of less than $1,000, but felt that aside from raising capital, they lacked skills in marketing and social media to maximize their business potential.


To help military spouses learn the skills they need to help their businesses succeed, we've worked with Hiring our Heroes to curate a series of custom-made minicourses in the Primer app for military spouses, on topics like running a business and maximizing productivity while maintaining work-life balance. These new minicourses build on a series Grow with Google launched last year.


Whether starting a business, finding a new position or exploring training and education opportunities, military spouses said they often felt overwhelmed and unsure of how to get started. While the outpouring of support for the military spouse community has been incredibly positive, navigating the vast array of government, nonprofit and corporate programs designed to support our community sometimes creates anxiety and confusion.


That's why Google is continuing our work with Hiring our Heroes by launching the MilSpouse Career Roadmap. This interactive hub combines a variety of tools and resources that support military spouses in building careers that move with them, like Google's remote work search feature, and education and employment resources provided by the Department of Defense's Spouse Education and Career Opportunities office.


More than 80 percent of survey respondents said they would pursue additional training and education to build careers that were portable. To help, we've made Google.org grants to support scholarships through Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families to make Google's IT Professional Certificate available to military spouses to get them the skills they need to find work in a fast-growing field.


Audri Vergara, a mom who left her career to become a stay-at-home parent, is one heartening example from the research. Though working at home and taking care of her son kept Audri busy, she decided to complete the Google IT Professional Certificate through the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. Afterwhich, Audri was able to boost her resume and find a new full-time position where she uses skills from the certificate program.


I hope that Google's research and actions to support military families will continue to support people like Audri while also encouraging other organizations to help empower military spouses, too. To learn more about Grow with Google's tools and resources for the military community, visit grow.google/militaryspouses.


17 Sep 2020 1:00pm GMT

Helping global publishers accelerate business growth

Since launching the Google News Initiative in 2018, we've worked with news organizations of all sizes as they've adapted to the challenges of an increasingly digital world, which has impacted their business models and consumer behavior. Programs like our GNI Labs have helped publishers tackle specific business challenges, like digital subscriptions, advertising and data, while tools like News Consumer Insights have helped thousands of newsrooms grow their audiences online.

During this time, we've learned from our partners that the shift to digital doesn't happen overnight. It takes months and even years of hard work to attract and develop digitally-minded talent, adopt data-driven thinking and build an audience-first culture. Through the GNI, we want to support publishers with this transition.

That's why today, we're introducing a global program to help news publishers navigate the complexity of digital transformation. The GNI Digital Growth Program is a free program aimed at helping small and mid-sized news publishers around the world develop the capabilities required to accelerate the growth of their businesses online. The program is informed by the lessons learned from GNI projects and programs, and was built in collaboration with industry experts including FT Strategies, FTI Consulting and Mather Economics, plus news industry associations including INMA, Local Media Association and WAN-IFRA.

The GNI Digital Growth Program will initially focus on five topic areas: Reader Revenue, Audience Development, Advertising Revenue, Data and Product. Our curriculum includes playbooks full of real-world examples, interactive exercises to help solve business problems, workshops to bring these lessons to life and Labs to provide hands-on advisory support. At first, we're focusing on our Reader Revenue pillar, with other topic areas coming over the next few months. Participating publishers can anticipate access to:


  • A comprehensive playbook that offers publishers strategies and real-world examples to help with building and optimizing a reader revenue model

  • A set of interactive exercises, including an Opportunity Sizing exercise to help publishers estimate their potential reader revenue opportunity, a User Funnel diagnostic to identify areas for improvement across key reader revenue performance metrics and a Goal Setting exercise to build a plan for long-term reader revenue growth

  • Workshops led by top industry experts offering business recommendations

  • GNI Labs which provide a group of publishers with personalized support and one-on-one coaching from our industry partners

Publishers can access the free playbooks and exercises at any time on our online hub. The workshops are available on a first-come-first-served basis, while Labs will be available upon application. To sign up for our first series of workshops, please visit our GNI Digital Growth Program page.

This program builds on our recently launched edition in Europe. We've now expanded to ten languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, German, Korean, Japanese and Bahasa Indonesia. And as the curriculum evolves over time, we will introduce specialty sessions for publishers, such as Print-to-Digital Transformation and Digital Startups.

Google has long invested in supporting news organizations as they adapt their business models in an evolving media landscape. That's why widely sharing our findings with the news industry has always been a cornerstone of the Google News Initiative's approach. Through the GNI Digital Growth Program, we look forward to working with more news companies to think differently about their digital business, unlock new revenue opportunities and build sustainable growth online.



17 Sep 2020 1:00pm GMT

Travel to Croatia with Google Arts & Culture

Croatia, the country of a thousand islands, is well known for its spectacular beaches and national parks, and as one of the sunniest places in Europe. But it also has a rich cultural history, with one of the highest counts of items on UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Google Arts & Culture partnered with the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb and the Museum Alka of Sinjto let the world experience the colors and sounds of Croatia. Learn about the local crafts, dance like there is no music, join best-in-class festivals or learn about the national delicacy strukli.

1. The Crafts

Croatia Crafts.jpg

Decorating licitars Photo: Luka Smuk / Croatian National Tourist Board

Toy making from the region of Hrvatsko Zagorje Photo: Julien Duval / Croatian National Tourist Board

It's the little things that give a place a distinct personality. In virtually every gift shop and souvenir stand in Croatia, the sweet biscuits called licitars are ubiquitous. The bright red, decorated hearts, birds and other shapes aren't just colorful mementos-they're part of Croatia's intangible cultural heritage and a symbol of the country itself. Another tradition that survived centuries is the skill of handcrafting wooden toys. They are ubiquitous to the region, so much that in 2009, the traditional manufacturing of children's wooden toys in the Hrvatsko Zagorje region of Croatia was inscribed to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Check out the whole toy-making process.

2. The Fashion

Croatia Fashion.jpg

Ljelja singing Photo: Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Slavonika beret Photo: LFP Studio / Croatian National Tourist Board

When people think of the cultural heritage of Croatia, they often look to centuries-old traditions being kept alive by a small handful of practitioners. Croatia is vibrant with colors and traditional regional costumes, from Dalmatia's floral handkerchiefs to Gorjani's hats literally made out of flowers. Historical men's fashion includes Alkar lancers, whose dark blue uniforms and plumes in their hats will take you back in time to the Ottoman Empire. And for an unforgettable celebration of color, there is nothing quite like the Rijeka Carnival. A new wave of young Croatian designers is taking inspiration from the country's rich history of folk arts and crafts and applying it to contemporary fashion and accessories. See herehow Croatian crafts are influencing today's design and fashion.

3. The Festivals

Croatia Festivals.jpg
Lastovo Poklad festival with firecrackers: photographer: Stjepan Tafra / Croatian National Tourist Board

Bell ringers festival Photographer: Ivan Vranjić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Croatia is rich in music festivals, historic reenactments and religious festivities. Throughout the year, but especially in the spring and summer, annual festivities celebrate Croatia's local, regional and national traditions. There is the loud and empowering Bell Ringers' Pageant in Kastav, a historic Alka Tournament in Sinj, the beautifully costumed Spring Procession of Ljelje and the hilarious donkey race in Tribunj. On the opposite side of the country, on far-off Korčula Island, the locals cultivate the saber dance, a choreographed mock sword battle between two kings fighting for the love of a princess-quite a spectacle to see!

4. The Places

Drywall on Kaprije island _ Croatian National Tourist Board _ Photo_ Ivo Pervan.jpg

Dry stone wall on Kaprije island Photo: Ivo Pervan

Though Croatia is full of beautiful beaches and vibrant cities, the country's foundations rest on dry stonewalls, which dates as far back as the 9th century BCE. That was when the ancient Liburnians began to erect defensive hill forts and walls using stone but no mortar or other binding material. They were such good builders that remnants of these constructions remain even today. Bavljenac Island has the densest concentration of dry stone walls, and when viewed from above it looks like a giant fingertip.

Curious to see more? Stroll around these top five locations and immerse yourself in the lush naturescapes of the country. Alternatively, check out g.co/travelcroatia, download the Android or iOS app or visit Google Arts & Culture. Uživaj!


17 Sep 2020 8:00am GMT

16 Sep 2020

feedThe Official Google Blog

Supporting a greener future in Europe

This week, Google announced that we've eliminated our entire carbon legacy since the company was founded, as well as our most ambitious sustainability goal yet-we aim to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy in all our data centres and campuses worldwide by 2030.

That means that every email you send through Gmail, every question you ask Google Search and every YouTube video you watch is already carbon neutral. In the future, our services will be supplied only by carbon-free energy every hour of every day.

Here in Europe, the European Commission has set its sights on another ambitious goal with the European Green deal: to make Europe the world's first carbon-neutral continent, reduce emissions, drive clean growth and create green jobs.

We applaud this vision. Dating back to the first energy-efficient data centre we built in Belgium in 2007, we've made many investments to support Europe's leadership in clean energy and climate policy. Today, at the GreenTech festival in Berlin, our CEO Sundar Pichai shared how we will support Europe's green vision further, in three main ways:

  • We'll drive billions of euros in investment and thousands of new green jobs in Europe
  • We'll help European business and partners increase energy efficiency through AI
  • We'll boost innovation in cities and support European nonprofits with a €10 million Google.org Impact Challenge
We'll also support public policies that strengthen global action on climate through the Paris Agreement, help create carbon-free electricity systems, and ensure that the clean energy transition provides economic opportunity for all. Indeed, we know that strong public policy action is critical to making carbon-free solutions available to everyone, helping all communities prosper equally.


Investing in green infrastructure and creating thousands of jobs

By 2025, we expect to anchor over €2 billion of investment in new carbon-free energy generation projects and green infrastructure in Europe, helping to develop new technologies to make round-the-clock carbon-free energy cheaper and more widely available. This will help create more than 2,000 new clean energy jobs in Europe by 2025.

This comes on top of other investments we've made in Europe. Between 2007-2018, Google invested approximately €7 billion in constructing some of the world's most energy-efficient data centres in Europe, supporting 9,600 full-time jobs across Europe each year on average. And last year, we announced we would purchase energy from 10 new renewable energy infrastructure projects, which spurred more than €1 billion of investment in renewable energy in Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, and created approximately 1,000 jobs in the process.

In the coming decade we'll invest in green skills training in Europe. For example, we're partnering with SolarPower Europe to host introductory courses on careers in the solar industry, to support their goal of driving more than half a million solar jobs in Europe and power 20 percent of Europe's electricity demand with solar by 2030.


Helping other business and organisations increase energy efficiency with AI

We're committed to creating tools, sharing expertise and investing in technologies that help others in the transition to a carbon-free world. We'll do even more to help our partners increase energy efficiency and reduce waste.

Using machine learning, we've reduced by 30 percent the energy needed for cooling our data centres. Now, we're making this proven cloud technology solution available for use by commercial buildings and industrial facilities around the world-such as airports, shopping malls and other data centres, helping them reduce their own carbon impact.

For example, by using Google AI to analyse large data sets and forecast demand, the French retailer Carrefour managed to drastically reduce food waste. The German electric utility company E.ON is using Cloud Data Analytics to help energy managers make decisions that reduce costs and CO2 footprint.


Boosting innovation, helping cities and local governments, supporting reforestation

Nonprofits, civil society organisations, and universities play a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change. We've seen the positive impact of funding innovative ideas and leaders, such as U.K.-based Carbon Tracker's partnership with WattTime and others to track global carbon emissions from satellite imagery.

To help further support Europe's green pioneers, we're launching a new Google.org Impact Challenge. We're making available €10 million for the most promising European ideas and projects that support increased access to, or use of, renewable energy, decarbonization of transportation, improved air quality, natural resource planning and protection, or circular economy and design. Applications are open today. Recipients will receive up to €2 million in funding and in some cases support from the Google.org Impact Challenge Accelerator. They will be selected by independent experts, including Greentech founder Nico Rosberg, scientist Dr. Maggie Adderin-Pocock, Director General of the Finnish Environment Institute Lea Kauppi, and Former Irish Minister for the Environment John Gormley.

In addition, we've pledged to help 500 cities and local governments globally reduce an aggregate of one gigaton (that's 1 billion tons) of carbon emissions per year by 2030-more than a country the size of Germany emits. This adds to the €2.7 million from Google.org we committed last year to support European cities in implementing climate action plans. For example, with funding from the Google.org ICLEI Action Fund, the Birmingham-based nonprofit Centre for Sustainable Energy is launching an open-source, city-wide data set, along with tools to model decarbonization options for buildings in the city and other interventions.

Finally, as part of our work to remove carbon from the atmosphere, we're launching a science-based reforestation program and pledging $1 million in funding from Google.org to develop tools that will help increase the likelihood of success for ecosystem restoration projects around the world, including in Northern Spain.

We're optimistic that this can be a decisive decade for climate action. We're committed to supporting Europe's ambition to become the first carbon-neutral continent and to playing our part to move the world closer to a carbon-free future.


16 Sep 2020 3:00pm GMT

Zain Masri went from globe-trotting intern to marketing lead

Welcome to the latest installment of our blog series "My Path to Google." These are real stories from Googlers, interns, and alumni highlighting how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

In today's post, meet Zain Kamal Masri from our Dubai office and learn about some of the many paths to joining the Google marketing team. You'll also find out why she once carried a Street View trekker through the ancient city of Petra.

What first sparked your interest in working at Google?

When I was a university student, I participated in the Google Ad Grants Online Marketing Challenge, where students get real-world experience creating online marketing campaigns for nonprofits. I created my first-ever Google Ads campaign and experienced how the web can help any nonprofit, business or individual reach a global audience.

I wanted to learn more about Google products, which led me to take part in Google AdCamp. I competed in a team-based advertising challenge: we went through a market and consumer analysis, developed a creative strategy and presented a final proposal to sales product experts.

This motivated me to apply for an internship with Google's marketing team while I completed my master's degree. One of my internship highlights was helping capture the ancient city of Petra, Jordan for Street View-you can catch a glimpse of me carrying the Street View trekker (a device with a built-in 360-degree camera, hard drive and batteries to capture Street View imagery) in the launch film which was narrated by Queen Rania!

Zain in Petra 2

Zain with the Street View trekker in Petra, Jordan

Tell us about becoming a full-time Googler.

After completing my internship, a full-time role became available and I applied right away. While I was super nervous, I was (and continue to be) passionate about working at Google. I tried my best to reframe my nervousness as excitement and hoped that my passion and dedication would shine through. When I received the job offer email, I had to read it several times to fully register what I was reading. I felt so proud and immediately called my parents to share the good news. They were over the moon!

What do you wish you'd known when you started the process?

Google has a wealth of programs for students and fresh graduates to gain experience and knowledge. I wish I knew more about the Associate Product Marketing Manager (APMM) program back when I was a student. As an APMM, you become part of a diverse community of the next generation of marketers and can access unique opportunities like rotations, bootcamps and mentorship.

What resources did you use to prepare for your interview or role?

Reading through the Google Arabia blog was extremely helpful as it gave me a deeper perspective on Google's role in the Arab world and the top priorities and products in the region. It also helped to browse through the global Keyword blog and social channels.

What's your role at Google now?

I am currently the Head of Brand and Reputation at Google in the Middle East and North Africa. My role focuses on programs like Maharat min Google, which is a digital skills education program that helps youth, especially women, gain the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly digital economy. As part of the program, we created a series of short films that follow the journeys of six Arab women who have become entrepreneurs, women's rights advocates and groundbreaking YouTube creators. We've trained more than 800,000 individuals, of which 50 percent are women, and 54 percent have found a job or grown in their business or career as a result of the program.

What inspires you to log in every day?

As part of my role, I manage Google Doodles for the Arab world. My main focus has been increasing female representation. Some of my personal favorite Doodles include Doria Shafik (one of the leading activists who helped women in Egypt win the right to vote) and Zaha Hadid (first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize).

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Zain and her fellow Googlers at the Dubai office

16 Sep 2020 2:34pm GMT

Shop safely and easily from stores in your community

Convenience and safety are important when you're deciding how to shop-in fact, we've seen Google searches for "curbside pickup" and "safe shopping" increase tenfold in the last few months. And while you may want to support the stores nearby that have opened their doors, figuring out the best way to do so can be challenging. Which stores have reopened? Do they have the item you want in stock? Do they offer any services to minimize contact and time in store for shoppers?

We want to help take away some of the unknowns when it comes to shopping in person. Here are a few ways we've improved Shopping results on Google Search, to help you safely and easily support the stores in your community.

Filter to see what's locally available

Want to see an item in person before purchasing, or can't wait for shipping and delivery? Whatever you're looking for, whether it's a new laptop for working from home, a baby jacket for fall or a grill for backyard barbeques, Google makes it easy for you to see what's available locally. Simply tap the Shopping tab, and select the Nearby filter at the top of the page or add "near me" to your search to view product options available from stores located near you.

Google Shopping Nearby


Compare hours, locations and inventory before you go

It's now easier to see what's in stores near you before committing to going in person, with a map view and list of stores in the area. You can check each business's opening and closing hours, as well as how far each store is from you. You'll also get a preview of the items they sell that match what you searched for, with a carousel you can scroll through to see pictures and prices of the available products.

Google Shopping Compare


Safely pick up what you need with curbside or in-store pickup

If you're worried about how to shop safely, we make it easy to see which stores offer ways to minimize contact while shopping with labels to indicate if shops offer curbside or in-store pickup.

If you're concerned an item will be out of stock when you get to the store, you can just click to call and speak with someone to confirm inventory. There's also a direct link to navigation to get you there right away if you're in a rush.

Shopping in person comes with new challenges these days, but luckily stores are making it easier to adjust. And if you're a local business interested in helping shoppers find your store hours, locations, products, and pickup options on Google, you can create or update your Google My Business profile or upload your local product feed through Google Merchant Center.

We'll keep working to provide more helpful answers to your shopping questions and needs, so that you can safely and easily pick up what you're looking for while supporting the stores in your community.

16 Sep 2020 1:00pm GMT

How sobriety has helped me cope through a pandemic

I never considered myself an addict until the day I found myself huddled under my covers at four in the afternoon, hungover and wishing my surroundings would disappear. This wasn't the first time that had happened-in fact, it had become a weekly occurrence-but as I curled up into a ball, feeling pathetic and utterly alone, I realized I had no other options. I grabbed my phone from my nightstand and searched "rehab centers near me."

I'd been dealing with major depression for years, and up until that moment I thought I had tried everything to find a cure. Special diets, an alphabet soup of antidepressant regimens, group therapy, solo therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, ketamine infusions. The only thing I hadn't tried was sobriety. Drugs and alcohol were my only escape. I couldn't fathom giving up the one thing that freed myself from the darkest grips of my own mind.

My Google search surfaced a number of local treatment centers, and after making some calls, I found one with a program that could help me. That was more than two years ago. Since then, thanks to hard work that continues today, I've remained sober and depression-free.

Most people in recovery would agree: you can't do it alone. It's a reciprocal relationship-my recovery community helps to keep me sober, and my sobriety allows me to play an active role in that community. Twelve-step programs, new habits and the support of others with similar experiences provide a foundation, and then I can build a life I never thought was possible to live when depression controlled my every moment.

That foundation has carried me through COVID-19. Staying sober during a global pandemic is a bit of a paradox. During a time when people are more isolated than ever before, turning to substances to self-soothe seems like a natural response. And the data backs that up: Google searches for "how to get clean" reached an all-time high in June, and "how to get sober" surged in June and then again in August. In the past 30 days, searches for "rehab near me" hit their second-highest peak in recorded history.

And yet sobriety-in an era where it's harder than ever to stay sober-is precisely what's gotten me through this time. Staying sober has let me be present with my emotions, to face my anxieties and difficulties head-on. While I can't numb my feelings, I can protect my mental health. My recovery practice has allowed me to do just that: Daily gratitude lists remind me how fortunate I still am, my sponsor regularly offers wisdom and advice, my peers hold space for my challenges and I do the same for them.

In the throes of my own crisis, the first place I turned to for help was Google. I ended up at a rehab center that profoundly transformed the way I move through the world. Last September, as part of National Recovery Month, Google made these resources even easier to find with its Recover Together site. This year, Google is adding even more features, including a mapping tool that allows you to search for local support groups by simply typing in your zip code. Of course, the search results also include virtual meetings, now that many programs have moved online.

Map of addiction support groups in Boston area

Our new Recover Together map shows nearby (and virtual) support groups.

I'm proud to work for a company that prioritizes an issue that affects an estimated one in eight American adults and their loved ones. I'm proud to work for a company where I can take time from my day to attend 12-step meetings, no questions asked, and where I can bring my whole self to work and speak freely about my struggles. And I'm proud to work for a company that celebrates my experience as one of triumph rather than shame. That's committed to reducing the stigma around addiction by providing resources for people like me.

Recovery doesn't happen in a vacuum. I can't do it all by myself, which is why I'm sharing my story today. I hope that even one person who has fought similar battles will read what I have to say and realize that they, too, aren't in this alone.

16 Sep 2020 1:00pm GMT

Build your brand with YouTube: New ways to drive reach and engage your audience at scale

The digital video boom is here. As people spend more time at home and the need for relevant, fresh content is at an all time high, the shift from linear to digital video is accelerating.

On YouTube in particular, over 2 billion people globally are gravitating toward timely content, from live entertainment like Post Malone's livestreamed living room concerts to transformative current events like rallying cries for racial justice from creators. They are also favoring the TV screen-with watch time growing across regions. In the US for example, watch time on YouTube and YouTube TV on TV screens jumped 80 percent year over year.

Leading brands are making the most of YouTube's massive reach and deeply relevant content to build brand awareness, and ultimately, drive results at scale. Today, we're sharing new ways to help advertisers achieve these goals, including expanded reach planning solutions and advanced contextual targeting-a new and better way to show up in the right contexts for your customers.


Expanded tools to drive efficient reach and fuel your awareness strategy on YouTube

More viewership and the right mix of tools to reach a growing audience means that YouTube can offer incremental reach for the same budget. In the US, our relationship with Nielsen helps advertisers find the right mix. On average, advertisers saw that shifting just 20% of spend from TV to YouTube generated a 25% increase to the total campaign reach within their target audience, lowering the cost per reach point by almost 20%, across 21 Share Shift studies we've commissioned from Nielsen.1 To help global marketers, we are expanding our evaluation of Nielsen's Total Ad Ratings to the UK and Italy.

When marketers include YouTube to drive efficient reach, they are seeing it pay off in real business results. Katie Haniffy, Head of Media, PepsiCo Beverages, turned to YouTube to drive scale and extend reach of Pepsi's "Gift it Forward" Holiday campaign. The creative, starring Cardi B, celebrated the gifting mindset during the holiday season. "We knew YouTube had to play a critical role in 'Gift it Forward' as it continues to deliver strong performance across the beverage portfolio. The 'Gift it Forward' campaign did not disappoint-YouTube drove new brand buyers during the holiday season to the unique audience we wanted to reach."

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To help you easily plan campaign strategies that take advantage of this incremental reach beyond TV, soon we are also expanding TV data in Reach Planner to more countries, including France, Spain and Vietnam.

Additionally, if you're looking to plan YouTube with other online video partners, we're enabling reach planning capabilities across your entire campaign in Display & Video 360 including YouTube, auction and programmatic deals.

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Use Video reach campaigns for a simpler way to buy efficient reach across ad formats.

Since launch, we've seen when advertisers combine skippable in-stream ads and bumpers into one campaign optimized for unique reach, they see higher lifts in Brand Awareness than advertisers who bought either format on its own.4 Marion Carpentier, Omni Business Leader at French men's wear brand, Jules, says "By combining multiple formats into one campaign on YouTube, we were not only able to reach incremental audiences at a more optimal frequency compared to other video partners, but were able to drive a relative brand lift of 4.9 percent."


A new way to show up in the right contexts for your brand

YouTube's ability to drive mass reach means we can also deliver scale in specific contexts that matter for consumers and your brand. To make it easier to discover the content that's best for you, today we are announcing YouTube dynamic lineups-powered by advanced contextual targeting.

Advanced contextual targeting is the next generation of content targeting on YouTube. It uses Google's machine learning to better understand each channel on YouTube, including analysis of video imagery, sound, speech and text.

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How advanced contextual targeting works

This allows us to create lineups5 that are scalable across content based on specific topics, cultural moments or popularity. For example, in addition to home or lifestyle lineups in most markets, you can find more nuanced choices like "home and garden" and "home improvement." This means better access to customers with unique interests and needs-all with the brand suitability controls that are most important for your business.

It also means you're able to drive greater impact for your brand. A recent study conducted by Google and Ipsos in the US found that video advertising based on consumer interest and intent has significantly more impact than demo-with a 32 percent higher lift in ad recall and 100 percent higher lift in purchase intent.

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Complement your audience strategy with dynamic lineups to maximize reach.

Early adopters like OMD are seeing strong results using YouTube dynamic lineups to complement their existing audience strategies. Chrissie Hanson, Global Chief Strategy Officer at OMD says, "Using lineups powered by advanced contextual targeting delivers a more relevant and empathetic understanding of audiences. This in turn serves to drive more relevant reach and efficiencies for our customers, as part of a broader program that leverages audiences and other tactics across YouTube."

YouTube dynamic lineups are launching on a rolling basis starting today and will be fully available by the end of September in ten markets. They are available across both Google Ads and Display & Video 360, with more countries coming soon.


From sales to ROI-deliver the results that matter

Most importantly, efficient reach and relevant ad experiences must drive not only awareness, but also business results. Across global Marketing Mix Modeling studies we've commissioned from Nielsen, we've seen YouTube deliver the bottom line results you care about.

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Check out our new awareness collection-from success stories to trends

We're sharing a new collection of resources on our Advertising Solutions Center to help you build awareness for this new world. You'll hear first-hand perspectives from companies like PepsiCo, Domino's and Jules, delve into trends driving YouTube viewership and learn about our newest product innovations built to better meet your awareness objectives. We'll continue to roll out more content on the Advertising Solutions Center in the coming weeks.

We hope these latest updates will help you build your brand for today, and create resiliency for tomorrow.

Reach out to your Google sales rep to learn more about the solutions above, including best practices on campaign set-up, how to apply for the Video reach campaigns beta and how to access YouTube dynamic lineups in your market.


1. Nielsen Share Shift Meta Analysis commissioned by Google including 21 NMI Share Shift US studies inclusive of YouTube in-app traffic utilizing target audiences running 1/1/19-5/5/20 across desktop, mobile and TV; across 9 demos; average total TV+YouTube budget $17.3M.
2. Nielsen Total Ad Ratings, Pepsi Holiday campaign across TV and YouTube among P18-49, 11/11/19-12/29/19
3. IRI Lift for YouTube, Pepsi TM Q4'19 Holiday Sales Impact Analysis, June 2020
4. Google Brand Lift, Global, Jan 2019 - May 2020
5. Lineups are packages of channels based on a topic, cultural moment or popularity.
6. Commissioned Nielsen MMM Meta-Analysis, 2016-2018. Base: a list of studies selected and compiled by Nielsen, consisting of all available CPG studies completed in 2016-2018 that contain YouTube Select, Other Digital, and TV results. This list includes 45 studies for US Brands across all CPG categories. ROI is "Retail ROI," defined as total incremental sales divided by total media spend. Incremental offline retail sales measured for TV represents average across all TV broadcasters.
7. Commissioned Nielsen MMM Meta-Analysis, 2016-2018. Base: a list of studies selected and compiled by Nielsen, consisting of all available CPG studies completed in 2016-2018 that contain YouTube, Other Digital, and TV results. This list includes 117 studies for German Brands across all CPG categories. ROI is "Retail ROI," defined as total incremental sales divided by total media spend. Incremental offline retail sales measured for TV represents average across all TV broadcasters.
8. Commissioned Nielsen MMM meta-analysis, 2016-2018. YouTube effectiveness was 8.4 compared to TV effectiveness of 0.19. Base: A list of studies selected and compiled by Nielsen, consisting of all available CPG studies completed in 2016-2018 that contain YouTube, Other Digital and TV results. This list includes 96 studies for Brazil Brands across all CPG categories.Incremental offline retail sales measured for TV represents average across all TV broadcasters. Effectiveness is defined as total incremental sales per 1,000 impressions. Studies were excluded if either channel had fewer than 500 impressions. The Effectiveness numbers in the claim are impression-weighted averages across all studies for each channel.
9. Commissioned Nielsen MMM meta-analysis, 2016-2018. YouTube effectiveness was $9.69 compared to TV effectiveness of $3.20. Base: A list of studies selected and compiled by Nielsen, consisting of all available CPG studies completed in 2017-2018 that contain YouTube, Other Digital and TV results. This list includes 37 studies for Japan Brands across all CPG categories.Incremental offline retail sales measured for TV represents average across all TV broadcasters. Effectiveness is defined as total incremental sales per 1,000 impressions (in USD). Studies were excluded if either channel had fewer than 500 impressions. The Effectiveness numbers in the claim are impression-weighted averages across all studies for each channel.

16 Sep 2020 1:00pm GMT

Grow your brand with new Google Marketing Platform tools

In the past months, we've seen a breakthrough in searches for terms such as "online graduation," "staycation" and "virtual classroom." As people form new consumption habits, a strong brand is more valuable than ever. It allows you to stand out in the marketplace at a time when customers are on the lookout for the products and services that will be part of their new routines.

Today, we're introducing a series of tools in Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager to help you grow your brand and navigate the connected TV and digital video boom-including improved reach forecasting and measurement capabilities, more TV and video ad placements, and a solution to reach new engaged audiences on connected TV.

Real time reach forecasting that takes your deals into account

With most TV production shut down for parts of the spring and summer months, and the upfronts heavily disrupted, you may be approaching show premieres seasons with less visibility into your media plans than in years' past. While forecasting ad spend has been more difficult than ever, planning tools that are tightly connected to your media buying platform can help you assess your media plans on the go and quickly optimize your ad strategy.

We're further improving Display & Video 360's forecasting tool by adding support for programmatic deals. In a few weeks, you'll be able to include deals in your deduplicated reach estimate, which already includes open auction and YouTube. This is particularly helpful for media planners working with brands that want to connect with TV viewers because most connected TV ads are secured via deals. With this added functionality, planners will be able to more easily answer questions such as, "How much incremental reach could I get by combining a network CTV deal with YouTube reservation and open auction video ads?"

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Forecasting the combined reach of a connected TV deal, a YouTube lineup and in-stream video ads in Display & Video 360.

New streaming opportunities to reach your audiences where they are

Brands that can connect with their audiences as their interests and needs evolve have a head start on driving brand awareness for the long term. Buying media with a platform that gives you access to a large and varied portfolio of streaming content helps you reach these audiences in a more flexible way.

Today, Display & Video 360 provides access to the top 50 most watched ad supported connected TV apps in the US, according to Comscore. And to give you even more options to find your audience, we're making more popular YouTube inventory available in Display & Video 360. For example, we integrated YouTube TV into the list of YouTube content you can reserve and manage - accessible via the streaming TV lineup. We've also just opened up access to Masthead ads, the prominent space in YouTube's Home feed. This beta feature includes the YouTube Masthead on TV screens.

Lastly, we're exploring other innovative canvases for brands to increase awareness. For instance, media and entertainment marketers in the US are currently testing a new cinematic teaser format that fits the look and feel of Android TV's home screen.

Find new engaged connected TV audiences

Life in the new normal includes more connected TV watch time than before. To help marketers make the most of this extra reach opportunity, we've recently extended our similar audience functionality to connected TV devices in Display & Video 360. This feature allows you to find new connected TV viewers who share similarities with the audiences you already know.

For example, if you're an auto brand who has seen success in reaching "Truck & SUV Enthusiasts" with Google affinity audiences, you will now be able to easily reach additional connected TV viewers who have similar attributes to this group. Or if you know that people who use your mobile app are more likely to schedule a test drive, you can show your ads to connected TV viewers who have similarities with your app users.

Similar audiences can be used to extend your reach across connected TV inventory sources in Display & Video 360.

Durable reach measurement in Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager

Marketers are on the hook to connect marketing spend with tangible results. This includes being able to provide a clear picture of any ad campaign's reach and frequency performance. To give marketers an accurate and durable view of how they reach people across Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager, we're increasing our investment in Unique Reach solutions.

First, we've launched Unique Reach Audience reporting. This report further extends unique reach measurement to include demographic insights. So while you could already answer the question 'How many unique users did my ad reach?', you can now also answer the question 'How many unique users within a particular demographic did my ad reach?'

Second, using the IAB's Identifier for Advertising (IFA) standard, we've added Unique Reach support for connected TV devices. This capability gives brands a more precise understanding of the impact of ads on connected TVs and better articulates their contribution to the overall reach and frequency performance of digital advertising.

Building for the future, we're continuing to replace cookie-based reach with Unique Reach across our products. Next up, frequency distribution and viewable reach measurement will soon be based off of Unique Reach. This will help you report on these metrics even when cookies aren't available.

To learn more ways to build your brand in this new world, check out this new collection of resources on our Advertising Solutions Center.

16 Sep 2020 9:00am GMT

15 Sep 2020

feedThe Official Google Blog

TAG Bulletin: Q3 2020

This bulletin includes coordinated influence operation campaigns terminated on our platforms in July of 2020. We will continue to update this bulletin with data from Q3 as it becomes available. It was last updated on Sept 15, 2020.

July

We terminated 1 advertising account and 7 YouTube channels as part of our actions against a coordinated influence operation linked to Ecuador. The campaign was linked to the PR firm Estraterra, and posted content in Spanish about former Ecuador government employees. These findings are consistent with similar findings reported by Facebook.


We terminated 299 YouTube channels as part of our ongoing investigation into coordinated influence operations linked to China. These channels mostly uploaded spammy content in Chinese about music, entertainment, and lifestyle. A very small subset uploaded content in Chinese about COVID-19 and current events in Hong Kong. These findings are consistent with our previous reports in the Q2 TAG bulletin.

15 Sep 2020 11:05pm GMT

"Buscándole:" Finding ways to help Latino small businesses

Every day for the past 47 years, my mother-in-law, who my kids and I love to call Nana, wakes up, has her required cup of cafecito and gets ready to go to work. She's a hairstylist and the owner of Carmen's Beauty Salon in Imperial Beach, California, and she wouldn't give it up for anything in the world. She's seen her regulars for decades, cutting and styling their hair through weddings, graduations and more.

Carmen's Beauty Salon

My mother-in-law giving my son a trim at her salon.

But in 2020, being a hairstylist-or any type of business owner-is tough. She is just one of the more than 30 million small business owners across the country who are struggling with the impact from the global pandemic. In many cases they are also trying to juggle other responsibilities like distance learning, taking care of sick or elderly family members and simply making ends meet. People like my Nana have been top of mind for me as we all cope with our current reality.

As we kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Latino culture, regardless of who you are or how you identify-whether it's Hispanic, Latinx, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Black, Brazilian, Latino or any other way. I also can't help but try to buscarle, which means to find a way around a problem or challenge, how to help small businesses like my Nana's hair salon. And I'm glad to say Google is finding a way, too.

Today, we're announcing a $3 million Google.org grant to the Hispanics in Philanthropy PowerUp Fund, to directly support hundreds of Latino-owned small businesses with access to capital and the training they need to successfully recover and continue to grow. This grant builds on Google's $180 million commitment to support minority- and women-led small businesses across the country through the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Google.org Grants Program.

We're also providing free tools and training to help any Latino-owned businesses adapt and grow through Grow with Google's "Paso a Paso" workshops and online training programs. Businesses can sign up for our new Google Ads workshop in Spanish, a special panel featuring resilient Latino entrepreneurs via OnAir En Español and continue their digital marketing training with Primer app minicourses in English or Spanish. We're expanding our Digital Coaches program and kicking off a partnership with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce so Latino-owned businesses can get more localized support in their communities.

Beyond helping small businesses, we have lots more in store during Hispanic Heritage Month at Google. I encourage you to explore our updated Latino Cultures in the U.S. collection within Google Arts & Culture, where J. Balvin can share with you the untold story behind Fernando Botero's "July 20th." Also, be on the lookout for our collaboration with Pop-Up Magazine, where we'll celebrate Latinos across the country through virtual storytelling and art.

You'll also see us spotlighting Latino businesses around the country in our new "Buscándole" national campaign encouraging people to support neighborhood businesses. And today's Doodle features Felicitas Mendez, a Puerto Rican American civil rights pioneer who was a small business owner herself. Combined, we hope all these efforts can not only celebrate the Latino community during Hispanic Heritage Month, but also help members of our community thrive for the long term.

15 Sep 2020 5:00pm GMT

Art Zoom: Music superstars take you on a global cultural tour

The common thread between J.Balvin,Ellie Goulding, FKA twigs, Grimes, Matty Healy from The 1975 and Chaeyoung from TWICE beyond being global music icons? They're all starring in the new season of Google Arts & Culture's Art Zoom series, which takes viewers on a guided tour of some of the world's most famous masterpieces through the narration of famous musicians. Through Google's "gigapixel" Art Camera-a robotic camera custom-made to create the highest possible resolution images of paintings-you can zoom into an artwork at brushstroke-level detail and explore its hidden depths.

This second season, our musical guides invite you to embark on a world tour across art history starting from the European Renaissance with Bruegel's daunting vision of hell to Botero's modern Colombia and Youngkuk's Korean mountains.

  • Journey through Renaissance Belgium with Grimes, who takes us on a lively exploration of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's "The Fall of Rebel Angels"-an apocalyptic yet comic vision of monsters invading Earth as angels struggle to repel them.

  • Join FKA twigs' expedition to brighter spaces as she takes on Artemisia Gentileschi's "Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy." She observes Mary Magdalene as she appears to enjoy a moment of peaceful oblivion.

  • Explore love, peace and calm with Ellie Goulding through her musings on "escapism" in Julie Mehretu's piece to "strength" with Yves Klein and "chaos" with Cy Twombly.

  • Fast forward in time with Matty Healy to the 20th century. Starting in Italy, we dive into Piet Mondrian's "Grande composizione A con nero, rosso, grigio, giallo e blu." Healy sees this abstract masterpiece as an "infinite portal" of interpretations, taking us beyond the real world into the corners of our mind.

  • Transport to Medellin, Colombia with J.Balvin, who shares the untold story behind Fernando Botero's "July 20th." Beyond the joyful colors, he sheds light on the gloomy faces of the painting's characters, and the role of art as a safe space in dark times.

  • Travel to Korea, with TWICE lead-singer Chaeyoung hiking to the top of Yoo Youngkuk's "Mountain," where she questions his interpretation of nature, one made of strong colors, shades, flowy lines and touchable textures.

Ready for more? Check out the first season featuring Jarvis Cocker and Feist to Maggie Rogers, Lolo Zouaï and Girl in Red. Explore Art Zoom online at g.co/ArtZoom, or download our free app on Android or iOS.

15 Sep 2020 1:00pm GMT

21 Oct 2019

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

All the Fitbit activity badges

Fitbit has discontinued their Fitbit One step trackers, which seems like a good opportunity to step back and reflect on wearing one for the last decade or so. I've enjoyed using Fitbit trackers, but the One devices seemed like they broke down way too often. I'm pretty proud that I ended up earning all the […]

21 Oct 2019 3:06am GMT

04 Nov 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2018: Crab claws!

Do you need something to cheer you up? You got it: I should explain this costume a little bit. At the US Digital Service, we do a thing called "crab claws." Crab claws is like visual applause-you pinch your fingers up and down to say "great job" or "congratulations" or "way to go." We do […]

04 Nov 2018 8:02pm 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

26 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

The Emperor's Garden

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

26 Aug 2011 12:12pm GMT

15 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

15 Aug 2011 4:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google drops reverse phone number lookup

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

25 Feb 2011 11:23am GMT

16 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Idea: Topical Chat

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

16 Dec 2010 2:55pm GMT

Idea: CrowdChat

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

16 Dec 2010 7:26am GMT

Google Body Browser

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

16 Dec 2010 2:17am GMT

10 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Pictures of the Cr-48

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

10 Dec 2010 5:23am GMT

09 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Chromedroidpad

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

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Device Evolution

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

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

How to Disable Google Instant Previews

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

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

12 Nov 2010 7:00am GMT

04 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

04 Nov 2010 2:58am GMT

24 Oct 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

See a Random Street View Location

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

24 Oct 2010 6:42am GMT