21 Oct 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Why virtualized servers are like apples, and how they work

With fall around the corner here in the U.S., our thoughts at Google Cloud are turning to … baking. Apple pies, applesauce, apple crisps-we've got it all covered.

Because, for us, when we think of apples, what comes to mind is virtualization, which is the way computer servers are divided up to be more efficient. No, really. Bear with us while we explain why. Most of the computers running the applications you use, like email and web browsing, are not just one computer. They're a set of computers, divided up into virtual computers, also called virtual machines. (There are millions upon millions of VMs in the world, so you have an idea of the scale.)

When this concept first arrived, it changed computing entirely. Instead of one computer in one physical box (remember those desktop towers we all used to have at work?), that one physical box could now hold multiple computers that members of the IT team managed through software (called a hypervisor). So the one computer that held all of the HR department's applications and files, for example, could now also hold the finance team's applications and files too, without having to buy another computer. Here's where the apples come in: If you think of a single, non-virtualized computer as a single apple, virtualization is that apple, but sliced up.

But what about virtualization in the cloud?
In the years since virtualization was invented, it's come a long way, especially as the cloud has come into the picture. Now, each of those virtual computers (known as virtual machines, or VMs) don't need to be managed by that special software on-premises, but can actually be moved to the cloud and managed there. So there are different ways a company might choose to move their VMs-usually containing most or all of the applications and data that actually run their companies-into the cloud. They might just move those apple slices as is from their grocery store package (on-prem) to a plate (the cloud).

But they might want to update those servers to work better in the cloud and be more efficient, so people get the information they need easily and quickly. In that case, they may modernize the servers-so those apple slices might now be mixed with some cinnamon and baked into a pie. You can still make out the actual slices, but they're different from raw slices and have different pros and cons. Or, the IT teams moving the virtual servers might go even further with changing and modernizing them, so now they're applesauce. You can't make out the individual servers, or slices, anymore. But they maintain the same data and information they had before, but that data can be used and accessed more easily and by more computers and users than before.

What we find at Google Cloud is that moving those sliced apples into the cloud as they are is a good place to start. They're familiar, and look like they did before, so it's a successful first step in the overall move to cloud. From an IT perspective, it's easier to keep managing those apple slices because you're already familiar with them.

But, eventually, your business might yearn for something beyond apple slices. And that's when you have to start cooking a little bit. A logical step might be to turn those virtual machines into containers instead, which is somewhat akin to baking an apple pie. There are clearly similarities you can see between the virtual machines and your new containers, but it's still different-and tastier. And, from IT's perspective, easier to manage, since there aren't as many separate tools to keep track of. Plus, containers let you pack even more applications in because you can use fewer computing resources for each container vs. those virtual servers you started with.

We see lots of different journeys to cloud and those are just two examples. For us, though, we like to help customers plan how they'll get all those servers to the cloud. So no matter what you want to do with your "apple slices," we'll figure out the best recipe for you based on your goals, requirements and constraints.

Learn more about cloud migration.

21 Oct 2019 4:00pm GMT

13 ways to conjure up a spooky smart home this Halloween

Growing up, I loved everything about Halloween: the candy, staying up past my bedtime and my small suburban town that came to life at night. But I always struggled with finding the right costume. I'd ask my friends and roam party stores for hours to no avail. One time, I even dressed up as "binary code"-I wore head-to-toe silver and wrote "Happy Halloween" in binary on my costume-in a moment of last-minute desperation.

Had I worked at Google then, I'm sure this idea would have been more popular with my peers, but it didn't quite land at the time. But thanks to the tech available today, it's much easier to come up with a great costume idea. Now, a simple search or voice command can lead me to thousands of ideas instantly, and show me step-by-step how to recreate them myself.

Come to think of it, technology has made so many things about Halloween easier. In celebration of that, we're sharing 13 tips and tricks from Google Nest for Halloween-whether you're trick-or-treating, hosting a party or staying in with a scary movie.

1. New! Enable spooky ringtones on Nest Hello.Starting today through early November, all Nest Hello users in the U.S. will have the ability to transform their doorbell chime into a cackling witch, a ghost, a vampire or a scary monster to make your front door a neighborhood destination on Halloween night. And the festive features don't stop there: Winter ringtones are coming in late November.
2. Get costume and makeup inspiration. With Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, you can watch YouTube videos with a simple command. For costume inspiration and DIY tips, just say "Hey Google, show me DIY Halloween costume videos," or "show me Halloween makeup videos on YouTube," and scroll through the list.
3. "Hey Google, get spooky."Say this command to one of your Google Nest speakers or displays and your device will start an hour-long playlist of "spooktacular" sounds and music to greet your trick-or-treaters or party guests.
4. Enjoy your favorite scary movie.Use Chromecast to cast your favorite scary movie to your TV (media content subscriptions may be required). To take your experience up a notch, you can create a speaker group for cast-enabled speakers around your entertainment center for room-filling sound effects, too.
5. Get the family involved. If Grandma or Grandpa can't see your trick-or-treaters all dressed up, simply give them a quick video call using Nest Hub Max and Duo: "Hey Google, video call Grandma."
6. Conquer your to-do list.Busy families have lots to prep for in the lead-up to Hallow's Eve. As you remember things you have to do, just add them to a running list of reminders: "Hey Google, remind me to pick up cupcakes for school," and when you head out for the day, you'll have the reminder on your phone.
7. Add candy to your shopping list with ease.Just say, "Hey Google, create a list," which you can then name "Candy Shopping," and your Google Assistant will ask what you want to add.
8. Learn a festive new recipe.Say "Hey Google, show me recipes for pan de muerto" to your Nest Hub display and see a list of traditional Day of the Dead bread recipes to choose from and follow along, completely hands-free.
9. Protect your home from Mischief Night.Nest cameras like Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Hello notify you when activity is detected around your house, and you can talk and listen through the Nest app to deter trespassers and TP'ers.
10. Find one-stop shopping near you.Just say, "Hey Google, show me Halloween stores nearby" to one of your smart displays to see options near you. Once you tap on one, you can say "Hey Google, call this store" to give them a ring (in the U.S., U.K., and Canada only).
11. Hear your favorite Halloween playlist in a heartbeat.Google Home Max is our smart speaker made for music lovers. Use it to blast your favorite playlist-whether your ideal Halloween tunes involve "The Monster Mash" or indie rock.
12. Set up a ghostly guest network for your party.Using Google Wifi, you can create a separate network for your party guests and give it a fun name and password, like "Hocus Pocus."
13. A party to remember, with help from our partners. Google Nest products work with over 30,000 partners in the U.S.-everything from smart lights to Wi-Fi plugs for smoke machines-so you can throw the ultimate Halloween party with a little help from tech.

21 Oct 2019 2:00pm GMT

Upgrade your banner ads with new adaptive anchor banners

In today's mobile-first world, people use a wide range of device types. As a result, app publishers who use banner ads must now serve them across a greater variety of screen sizes and layouts. While some responsive banner ad formats exist, they often produce ads that are too small and not sufficiently tailored to the height and aspect ratio of each device.


To address this, we've created a new banner type called adaptive anchor banners. These ads dynamically adjust banner sizes to deliver a creative that is ideally sized across your user's devices without the need for any custom code.

The adaptive anchor banner advantage

Adaptive anchor banners are designed to be a drop-in replacement for the industry standard 320x50 banner size and the smart banner format. Standard sized banners return the same sized creative across every screen, which often results in ads that appear too small or too large. Smart banners only support fixed heights, so they often return creative that appears too small on high-res devices.


Unlike other banner APIs on the market, adaptive anchor banners consider the device in use, the ad width you're comfortable using, and the aspect ratios and performance of all available demand. Adaptive anchor banners return creatives with the best height and aspect ratio for each device, with hard limits to prevent the wrong sizes from being served.


Your banners will look better than ever in your app, and writing custom code to handle different devices will be a task of the past. Using this format in place of standard and/or smart banners can help you maximize revenue while also making managing your ads less complex and more efficient.

Adaptive Anchor Comparison Screenshot Shortened

Standard banner vs. smart banner vs. AdMob's adaptive anchor banner

Getting started with adaptive anchor banners

Adaptive anchor banners are a great option for AdMob publishers who want the simplest solution to getting the best banner ad returned across any device. This format is still in beta on Google Ad Manager, so publishers who want to try it out on that platform should reach out to their account managers or contact our support team.


Adaptive anchor banners are currently only available for anchored placements-banners locked to the top or bottom of the screen. However, AdMob is actively developing another adaptive algorithm for in-line banners placed in scroll views or within content.


To get started with adaptive anchor banners for AdMob, check out our implementation guides (iOS, Android). We walk you through when it's appropriate to use adaptive banners, implementation notes, and code examples.


We recommend testing adaptive banners against some of your existing banner ads to understand how they can help you maximize fill rates, engagement, and revenue.

21 Oct 2019 1:00pm GMT

Breast cancer and tech...a reason for optimism

I was diagnosed with breast cancer twice, in 2001 and again in 2004. Thanks to early detection and access to extraordinary care-including multiple rounds of chemo, radiation and more surgery than any one person should ever have in a lifetime-I'm still here and able to write this piece. In fact, I've probably never been healthier.

I remember receiving the news. I was initially terrified. Our three kids were only five, seven, and nine at the time of my first diagnosis, and all I wanted was to live to see them grow up. I'm grateful I had options and access to treatments, but no aspect of it was pleasant. Last year, I had the joy of seeing our youngest son graduate from college. In the years since I first learned of my cancer, there's been remarkable progress in global health care, augmented with pioneering work from medical researchers and technology companies. I know how incredibly fortunate I am, but I also know that for far too many, a diagnosis comes too late and the best care is beyond reach.

And that's where Google has focused its work: to bring healthcare innovations to everyone.Working at Google, I have had a front-row seat to these technological breakthroughs.

During the past few years, teams at Google have applied artificial intelligence (AI) to problems in healthcare-from predicting patient outcomes in medical records to helping detect diseases like lung cancer. We're still early on in developing these technologies, but the results are promising.

When it comes to breast cancer, Google is looking at how AI can help specialists improve detection and diagnosis. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women worldwide, taking the lives of more than 600,000 people each year. Thankfully, that number is on the decline because of huge advances in care. However, that number could be even lower if we continue to accelerate progress and make sure that progress reaches as many people as possible. Google hopes AI research will further fuel progress on both detection and diagnosis.

Early detection depends on patients and technologies, such as mammography. Currently, we rely on mammograms to screen for cancer in otherwise healthy women, but thousands of cases go undiagnosed each year and thousands more result in confusing or worrying findings that are not cancer or are low risk. Today we can't easily distinguish the cancers we need to find from those that are unlikely to cause further harm. We believe that technology can help with detection, and thus improve the experience for both patients and doctors.

Just as important as detecting cancer is determining how advanced and aggressive the cancer is. A process called staging helps determine how far the cancer has spread, which impacts the course of treatment. Staging largely depends on clinicians and radiologists looking at patient histories, physical examinations and images. In addition, pathologists examine tissue samples obtained from a biopsy to assess the microscopic appearance and biological properties of each individual patient's cancer and judge aggressiveness. However, pathologic assessment is a laborious and costly process that--incredibly--continues to rely on an individual evaluating microscopic features in biological tissue with the human eye and microscope!

Last year, Google created a deep learning algorithm that could help pathologists assess tissue and detect the spread and extent of disease better in virtually every case. By pinpointing the location of the cancer more accurately, quickly and at a lower cost, care providers might be able to deliver better treatment for more patients. But doing this will require that these insights be paired with human intelligence and placed in the hands of skilled researchers, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists and others. Google's research showed that the best results come when medical professionals and technology work together, rather than either working alone.

During my treatment, I was taken care of by extraordinary teams at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York where they had access to the latest developments in breast cancer care. My oncologist (and now good friend), Dr. Clifford Hudis, is now CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which has developed a nonprofit big data initiative, CancerLinQ, to give oncologists and researchers access to health information to inform better care for everyone. He told me: "CancerLinQ seeks to identify hidden signals in the routine record of care from millions of de-identified patients so that doctors have deeper and faster insights into their own practices and opportunities for improvement." He and his colleagues don't think they'll be able to deliver optimally without robust AI.

What medical professionals, like Dr. Hudis and his colleagues across ASCO and CancerLinQ, and engineers at companies like Google have accomplished since the time I joined the Club in 2001 is remarkable.

I will always remember words passed on to me by another cancer survivor, which helped me throughout my treatment. He said when you're having a good day and you've temporarily pushed the disease out of your mind, a little bird might land on your shoulder to remind you that you have cancer. Eventually, that bird comes around less and less. It took many years but I am relieved to say that I haven't seen that bird in a long time, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I am optimistic that the combination of great doctors and technology could allow us to get rid of those birds for so many more people.

21 Oct 2019 10:00am GMT

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

18 Oct 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

How accessible design helps everyone

I was born cross-eyed, and after two corrective surgeries, I thought I could see like everyone else. But I still had trouble driving, navigating stairs, and playing sports. In my late twenties, I learned that I mostly saw with one eye, and I couldn't see in 3D. This is considered a hidden disability (similar to dyslexia or color blindness), and people with hidden disabilities could go years without knowing why some basic daily activities and interactions with technology are challenging.

There are millions of people with hidden disabilities and over 2.2 billion people who have a vision impairment around the world, but more than 70 percent of all websites are inaccessible to them. Often, there is a lack of awareness among developers and designers about both the challenges as well as how best to design and code for accessibility.

To bridge this gap, our Material Design team updated the accessibility guidelines on how to make images more accessible for websites and applications. The new guidelines explain how to write HTML code in the correct order for images to be read aloud by a screen reader, how to write alt text and captions for sighted and non-sighted people to understand images, and which types of images have to follow accessibility requirements. By following these guidelines, designers and developers can prevent common mistakes that may leave beautifully designed websites and apps difficult to use for people with visual impairments. We've started applying these rules to images in the Material Design guidelines, but there's more to do to make the web more inclusive. Here are a few of the key lessons we learned:

Designing and coding should start with inclusivity in mind

Imagine how someone with a visual impairment experiences your website or app.When text is embedded in images, it may not be read aloud by screen reader software used by people with visual impairments. By implementing captions that describe how the images relate to the topic and alt text to explain the contents of the images, screen reader users will hear what the images are about.

1920s antique rocking chair in Presidential library

The captions appear below the photo and explain the who, what, when, and where about the image. The alt text describes the colors, sizes, and location of the objects in the image.


Designers put images in a specific order on a website, such as a four-step recipe with photos showing what to do for each step. However, if the HTML is not in the correct order, the screen reader will read out the alt text for each image in the wrong order, and the screen reader user may follow the recipe incorrectly. To prevent such (untasty) problems, we provided visual and text examples of the correct HTML code order.

HTML code showing the order of a four-step recipe

The HTML reflects the visual hierarchy by reading the content from the top left (Step 1) to the top right (Step 2), bottom left (Step 3) to bottom right (Step 4).

Not all images are alike

Decorative images such as illustrations of fruit on a recipe website may not have to follow accessibility guidelines because they don't contain critical information. However, informative images such as the foods in a recipe, should follow the guidelines because they convey information that is relevant to the adjacent text. The updated accessibility guidelines contain information about color contrast, text size, captions, and alt text. Images such as logos, icons, images within a button, and images that are links, benefit from alt text that describes their function and not what they look like.

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Inclusivity helps everyone

Making products accessible means that even people beyond your target users may benefit. Captions help sighted people understand images. Alt text appears when images don't load, helping sighted users understand what they are missing. People reading an online menu in poor lighting, such as during an electricity outage, might experience a temporary disability. They are more likely to be able to read the menu if it has good color contrast and large text.

Disabilities have too often stayed hidden and taboo. I believe we are entering a new age where disabilities can serve as a precursor to improving the world for others. The first time somebody at Google saw me looking at a document that was enlarged to 125 percent, I was absolutely mortified because I wasn't keen on sharing my visual impairment. But then I realized that, in fact, being open and vocal could help make products more useful and accessible for everyone. I hope that these guidelines can help ensure that developers and designers implement accessibility so that those of us with visual impairments can fully access the content of their websites and apps.

18 Oct 2019 6:30pm GMT

17 Oct 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

15 years of Google Books

Books are the windows to new worlds. Through them, I've explored the wintery lands of Narnia and cast a spell at Hogwarts. I've danced with the Bennet sisters and attended the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. I've delved into coding languages and learned about the Egyptian pyramids. Each world I've discovered has shown me the importance of preserving and protecting these stories for the future.


Fifteen years ago, Google Books set out on an audacious journey to bring the world's books online so that anyone can access them. Libraries and publishers around the world helped us chase this goal, and together we've created a universal collection where people can discover more than 40 million books in over 400 languages. But, there's still more we can do to make Google Books more useful for people.


Today we're unveiling a new design for Google Books on desktop and helpful features for anyone looking to read, research or simply hunt for literary treasures. We've redesigned Google Books so people can now quickly access details like the book's description, author's history and other works, reader reviews and options for where you can purchase or borrow the book. And for those using Google Books for research, each book's bibliographies are located prominently on the page and the citation tool allows you to cite the source in your preferred format, all in one spot.
Google Books Redesign.gif

Have you ever heard a phrase or quote and wondered what the original context was? With Google Books, you can search for key phrases or excerpts within books, and we'll show you where it's from, down to the page number and paragraph. Take "tesseract", for example. Simply search the word with the "Search Inside" feature and Google Books will show you where it appears in Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time."

Search Inside Feature.png


Explore the stories behind rare books

For more literary exploration, Google Arts & Culture is recognizing iconic and rare books in an online project that features several works from Google Books' collection. People can learn about the history of books and dive into unique stories, like four books that made a mark as the first of their kind.


There's also an interactive experiment that gives people a fun way to browse the Google Books collection using artwork from Google Arts & Culture. Tap on an image and get recommendations for books written on related themes.
Google Arts and Culture.png

Over the last 15 years, Google Books has preserved the books that help people with academic and professional achievements, as well as personal discoveries. For me, Google Books is a place where I know I can go to discover new worlds I've yet to see. Turn the page to see what you'll discover next.

17 Oct 2019 5:00pm GMT

New ways to report driving incidents on Google Maps

Google Maps has always helped people get from point A to B in the easiest way possible. Today, we're adding more tools that reflect real-time contributions from the community so you can stay even more informed when you're behind the wheel. Here's what's changing:


First, we're adding the ability for people to report crashes, speed traps and traffic slowdowns right from their iPhone. This feature has been one of our most popular on Android, and we're excited to expand it to iOS.


mid trip gif

Second, we're introducing the ability to report four new types of incidents-construction, lane closures, disabled vehicles, and objects on the road (like debris)-so you can quickly know if you'll encounter one of these potential obstructions on your ride, and plan accordingly. To report an incident, simply tap on the + sign and then on "Add a report."


Both features start rolling out globally on Android and iOS this week.


17 Oct 2019 4:00pm GMT

New Google One benefits for Made By Google devices

If you haven't heard, we just announced a few new things Made By Google, including the Pixel 4 and the Google Nest Mini. New Google One benefits help you get more from your Made By Google devices with Google Store member rewards, a free trial with Pixel 4, and Pro Sessions.

Rewards on the Google Store

Google One members on select plans who buy any Google device or accessory from the Google Store can earn up to 10 percent back in Google Store credit. As long as you're signed in to the Google Store with the same account you use for Google One, the credit amount will automatically be calculated and issued 30 days after your purchase ships.

Pixel 4 comes with a Google One trial and Pro Sessions

Pixel 4 owners can now try Google One free for three months. You'll get access to our entry plan with 100 GB of cloud storage, expert support across Google, and Pro Sessions. The Google One trial is available everywhere Pixel 4 is sold, except in Italy.

With Pro Sessions from Google One, you can schedule online Hangouts sessions with a Google expert to help you set up your Pixel phone and show you tips like customizing your device and taking the perfect photo.

Benefits vary depending on the Google One plan:

Google one discounts

More Google One plans are available. Pro Sessionsare currently offered in English and available in the United States and Canada, and Google Store rewards are available in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, and Germany.

To learn more or become a Google One member, you can get more information here.

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17 Oct 2019 4:00pm GMT

16 Oct 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Annie Leibovitz unveils photo series with Google Pixel

Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz is unveiling a series of portraits of individuals who are changing the landscape of their time. Using her Google Pixel exclusively, Annie encountered her subjects in the places they live and work and are inspired into action.

image1.jpg

Annie photographed equal justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson in Alabama.

The pictures portray extraordinary people who are defined by their fierce desire to make the world a better place, no matter how daunting the obstacles. The individuals photographed include soccer player Megan Rapinoe, equal justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson, artist James Turrell, journalist Noor Tagouri, hip-hop activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Army Officer Sarah Zorn, global-health scientist Jack Andraka and more.

Everyone can check out the full collection of these stunning portraits online, along with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Annie's work. The Face Forward series will expand with new images as Annie continues to tell the story of today's changemakers.

image3.jpg

Annie on a shoot with soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

This project pushed Annie, who rarely has shot professional portraits on a camera phone. "I wanted to challenge myself to shoot with the camera that's always in your pocket," she says. "I'd heard so much about the Pixel and was intrigued."

image2.jpg

Annie with Marc Levoy from the Pixel camera team.

Working closely with Pixel's camera team, Annie tested new tools on the Pixel 4 including astrophotography. "I've been really impressed with the camera. It took me a beat, but it really started clicking when I relaxed and let the camera do the work."

Finally-for those who are hoping to channel your own inner photographer, we'll leave you with a piece of advice from Annie: "It's all inside you. You just go do it. It's all there."

16 Oct 2019 7:00pm GMT

The latest Pixel 4 accessories

Before you head out to pick up your new Pixel 4 later this month, check out the latest Google accessories and the accessories our partners have been working on. Like Pixel 4, these new accessories are designed to help you capture the best photos, get a fast wireless charge, and in some cases, help the planet, thanks to sustainable materials.

Signature Knit Fabric Cases.png

Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL fabric cases

Our signature knit fabric cases come in four colors that complement the Pixel 4. Whether you dress up your phone with Could Be Coral or Sorta Smoky, your Pixel will stay protected and in style. New this year, we're using a type of fabric that requires less water in the dyeing process which helps to minimize environmental impact.

Sustainability in your pocket

Pela, one of our more than 50 Made for Google partners, created a Compostable Protective phone case for Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL. Beautifully designed and eco-friendly, Pela makes one of the first sustainable phone cases, which are 100 percent compostable in just three months.

Fast, wireless charging

Pixel Stand is still available to quickly charge your Pixel while displaying your favorite Google Photos album in a slideshow while you charge your phone. For a helpful, quick charge on the go, iOttie is launching the Easy One Touch Wireless 2 car charger with Pixel 4 compatibility and 10 watts charging speed; so even while driving and using Google Maps, Waze, or Android Auto features, Pixel 4 can charge wirelessly.

A helpful photography sidekick

The Joby Standpoint Tripod phone case is the perfect photography companion for the Pixel 4's latest camera features. The aluminum legs offer on-the-go stability whether you're capturing a group shot, a time lapse or making a video.
  • Pixel Accessories_Carousel1.jpg

    Pela's Compostable Protective Phone Case

  • Pixel Accessories_Carousel2.jpg

    iOttie's Easy One Touch Wireless 2 car charger

  • Pixel Accessories_Carousel3.png

    Joby Standpoint Tripod Phone Case

If you live in the U.S. and Canada and purchase a Pixel 4 between October 15 and 24, you'll get a $100 Google Store credit to put toward Pixel 4 accessories (terms apply).

Our partners in the Made for Google program work closely with Google engineers to make sure that their accessories are compatible with all of Pixel's exciting new features. To check out all of the new Pixel accessories, visit the Google Store.

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16 Oct 2019 4:00pm GMT

Investing in the next generation of measurement on YouTube

Ad reporting and measurement is an important part of getting digital advertising right. We invest a lot to help our advertisers understand the value of running ads on services like YouTube.

Advertisers use different tools to understand the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. One type, called pixels, has played an important role across the web for over a decade, but was built for a world of single screens, not for the ways many people watch YouTube today. While more than 70 percent of time spent watching YouTube globally occurs on mobile devices, pixels can't report on the effectiveness of ads that appear in mobile apps. And many third-party pixels lack the privacy controls and user protections of newer technology. That's why, for the past several years, we've been taking action to limit the pixels we allow on YouTube while investing in a cloud-based measurement solution called Ads Data Hub that allows our advertisers to understand the effectiveness of their ads in a secure, privacy-safe environment.

Over the last year, we've been working with key measurement companies including Nielsen, Comscore, DoubleVerify, Dynata, Kantar and Integral Ad Science to migrate their services to Ads Data Hub. Once the migrations are complete early next year, we will stop allowing third-party pixels on YouTube.

Unlike pixel-based measurement, Ads Data Hub allows advertisers to understand how their advertising is performing across screens, including mobile apps, through aggregated insights from Google ad platforms, including YouTube, Google Ads and Display & Video 360. Because Ads Data Hub limits the use of user data, it adds another layer of privacy protection for users while still enabling marketers to measure their YouTube ad campaigns.

Ads Data Hub


Over the past year, we've invested significantly in infrastructure improvements to Ads Data Hub to make it faster, easier to use and more reliable. This has allowed us to dramatically increase the number of advertisers and technology providers we can serve and the use cases supported in Ads Data Hub. Advertisers have run millions of successful queries to date.

While there is still more work to be done, we think this change will be beneficial to consumers and advertisers. With the migration from pixels to Ads Data Hub, our third-party measurement partners will be able to provide YouTube advertisers with more comprehensive reporting and measurement, using technology that's built to enhance user privacy.


16 Oct 2019 1:30pm GMT

If it has audio, now it can have captions

A decade ago, we added automatic captions to videos on YouTube, making online videos more accessible. However, they're not always available on other types of content-like audio messages from your friends, trending videos on social media feeds or even the stuff you record yourself. It's hard to enjoy that content if you forgot your headphones and can't play the audio out loud-or if you're one of the 466 million people in the world who are Deaf or hard of hearing, that content may be entirely inaccessible.


That's why we created Live Caption, an automatic captioning system that is fast and small enough to fit on a smartphone. Live Caption is helpful whether you're on a loud commuter train, trying not to wake a baby, or want to follow along the conversation more closely.


With the launch of Pixel 4, Live Caption is now officially available to make digital media more accessible. With a single tap, Live Caption automatically captions videos and spoken audio on your device (except phone and video calls). It happens in real time and completely on-device, so it works even if you don't have cell data or Wi-Fi, and the captions always stay private and never leave your phone. The captions won't get in the way of whatever you're looking at because you can position them anywhere on the screen. If you want to see more text, simply double tap to expand the caption box.

Google_Live_Caption_UIDemo@720-16MB.gif

Live Caption wouldn't have been possible without the Deaf and hard of hearing communities who helped guide us from the very beginning. Similar to how we designed Live Transcribe earlier this year, we developed Live Caption in collaboration with individuals from the community and partners like Gallaudet University, the world's premier university for Deaf and hard of hearing people. An early Deaf tester, Naiajah Wilson, explained how Live Caption would impact her daily life: "Now I don't have to wake up my mom or dad and ask what's being said."

Today, Live Caption supports English with plans to support more languages in the near future. And while the captions may not always be perfect as it depends on the quality of the sound, we'll continue to improve the technology over time.

In addition to Pixel 4, Live Caption will roll out to Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL later this year, and we're working closely with other Android phone manufacturers to make it more widely available in the coming year.

You can learn more about our broader commitment to build for everyone on our new Android Accessibility site.

More from this Collection

Making technology accessible for everyone

To mark National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we're sharing more about our efforts to make technology, and the world around us, more accessible.

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16 Oct 2019 1:00pm GMT

Jacquard and Google Arts and Culture weave tech into art

Words that appear out of white tapestries. Music that streams out of black fabric. A mysterious blue cloth-draped spiral that guides you with light and sound.

It may sound like a fantasy novel, but these are real works of art made possible with Jacquard by Google. Combining advanced hardware and software technology with textile and manufacturing know-how, Jacquard helps designers make digital experiences out of everyday objects. An ordinary denim jacket or a backpack transforms into something that answers calls, plays music and takes photos.

In March, Jacquard (part of Google ATAP) and Google Arts & Culture created an artists in residency program to bring together technology, art and fashion. It was a unique opportunity for creative communities to enhance their work digitally-by weaving Jacquard technology into physical installations-while remaining focused on their original design.

We received more than 200 fascinating project ideas from artists, collectives and technologists all over the world. Chloé Bensahel, Amor Muñoz and OMA Space were selected to turn their proposals into monumental installations. Over the past six months, they collaborated with Google ATAP and Google Arts & Culture Lab engineers to deploy Jacquard technology within the hallowed exhibition rooms of Paris's Mobilier national, a historic mainstay of furniture and textile manufacturing. Two of the installations were even produced in collaboration with the Mobilier national's own weaving and pleating experts.

The result is "Please Touch the Thread," a multisensory exhibition that triggers sounds and light effects when you touch the art. "Tree of Light" by OMA Space is a ten-meter-wide meditative walk. Bensahel's "Words Wear Worlds" is an ensemble of seven tapestries that took 840 hours of weaving to create. Muñoz's "Notes & Folds" is a tribute to the works of mathematician Ada Lovelace and composer Conlon Nancarrow.

  • OMA Space's "Tree of Light"

    OMA Space's "Tree of Light"

  • Chloé Bensahel's "Words Weave Worlds"

    Chloé Bensahel's "Words Weave Worlds"

  • Amor Muñoz's "Notes and Folds"

    Amor Muñoz's "Notes and Folds

  • Behind the scenes with OMA Space

    Behind the scenes with OMA Space


  • "Notes and Folds" installation

    Muñoz prototyping "Notes and Folds" installation.

  • The making of Bensahel's installation

    The making of Bensahel's installation at Google Arts & Culture Lab in Paris.

  • OMA Space

    OMA Space, Muñoz and Bensahel with the exhibition's curator, Pamela Golbin & mentor artist Memo Atken.

  • testing light

    Daniel Kapelian (from OMA Space) testing light effect on a scale model of Tree of Light installation, Seoul (South Korea)

  • Chloe Bensahe

    Chloe Bensahel weaving Words Weave Worlds tapestries at Mobilier national, Paris (France).

Touching, tapping or skimming the art corresponds to hundreds of different combinations, and each visitor has a different experience of the exhibit. Press one letter of Bensahel's tapestry, and you'll hear that letter being sung. Swipe over a word, and you'll hear that instead. The volume goes up or down depending on the strength of your touch.

The exhibition is open to the public from October 16 to 20, during the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC), but will also live on digitally on Google Arts & Culture. Online visitors can navigate through 3D models of the installations and dig deeper into each artist's creative process through exclusive video content.

16 Oct 2019 9:00am GMT

15 Oct 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Explore the Maya world with the British Museum

At first glance, the British Museum and Google may not seem like natural partners. One is a 266-year-old institution venerated as the first national public museum in the world. The other is a 21-year-old former startup and now the world's largest digital company.

But if you take a closer look, you'll see some strong ties. The British Museum was created to host the knowledge of the world in objects and to unlock their stories. Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. So when we discovered an opportunity to work together with Google Arts & Culture, it turned out to be a natural fit.

Exploring the Maya World is a bold project to bring a rarely seen collection out of the British Museum repository and into the world. By harnessing the power of new technology to capture and communicate stories about the collections, the project helps bring important stories to a global audience.

This project has fully digitized the remarkable collection of ancient Maya art and architecture gathered by Alfred Maudslay in the late 19th century. Maudslay used the latest technology of his time to record the stories of ancient Maya cities in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. He developed the first dry glass plate photographs of iconic sites like Palenque, Chichen Itza and Tikal, spending years living and working throughout the region. He also created more than 400 large plaster cast replicas of building facades and monuments, which have been stored in the British Museum for more than 100 years.

This collection represents some of the best preserved records of ancient Maya writing. By working closely with our colleagues in Mexico and Guatemala, we've made this entire collection available online for anyone to enjoy and research themselves. The incredible stories that have emerged during this project have also been put online for people to enjoy in Spanish, Portuguese and English anywhere in the world.

The power of this project has been its exceptionally collaborative approach: We've brought together curators, indigenous communities, scholars and technology specialists across Mexico, Guatemala, the U.K., Denmark, France and the U.S. Everyone has been united by a common mission to communicate the true value of conserving shared cultural heritage. By working together, I think we've achieved that goal. Exploring the Maya World brings to life the energy and dynamism of culture in a way that can be hard to generate within a physical environment. The voices in this project are vibrant and full of color. They tell their own stories and the stories of those that have lived before.

The British Museum already enjoys welcoming more than 6 million visitors to our galleries every year. But we have the potential to reach millions more by bringing our museum to the world virtually. Only a few years ago it would have seemed unrealistic to create a catalog of 3D objects viewable from anywhere in the world, let alone walk around ancient Maya cities while sitting in your living room. These journeys of discovery are critical to help engage all communities with the value and wonder of cultural heritage.

I believe that these are exactly the kinds of research projects that international museums need to take on. Only by taking risks and pushing the boundaries of what is possible can we begin to expand the reach and role of the 21st-century global museum. This project has inspired me to think differently about the future, and I am excited to see where this technology of imagination will take us next.

You can discover these stories by visiting Exploring the Maya World.

15 Oct 2019 6:00pm GMT

Better privacy and more flexibility with Nest devices

Homes are evolving quickly. We all started with one simple smart device (like a thermostat or a light bulb), but now many of us find ourselves living in homes with multiple devices from multiple companies. But privacy and data security hasn't evolved with the growth of these devices.

Getting this right is the basis for the decisions we have been making at Nest. We're living the commitments we published in May, putting your privacy and data safety first. While we're focused on developing a more open platform, it must be grounded in security and safety, and that's a tough balance to achieve.

Earlier this year, we announced that we're moving from the Works with Nest program to Works with Google Assistant. Many of you had questions on how this will work. Today, we're providing an update on what we're doing to create an ecosystem that offers you greater flexibility to create a helpful home-one that's just right for you. The Works with Google Assistant lets you control more than 40,000 devices from more than 5,000 partners, giving you lots of choices.

We're also adding new solutions to make Works with Assistant an even more flexible platform. That includes offering three additional ways to give you the integrations you've told us are important, and they're combined with protections to keep your data private and secure. Here's what you should know about our partners and your integrations:

  • With the Device Access program, we are enabling qualified partners to request secure access and control of your Nest devices in their apps and solutions, providing you more choices to control your home. You'll be able to opt-into the program, and you can always control which partners have access to which devices in your home. As an example, if you have a security system that offers a Device Access integration, you'll be able to view and control your Nest cameras and other devices directly from your security provider's app. Device Access partners must pass an annual security assessment from one of our authorized testers. You can rest easy knowing we're doing the hard work to safeguard your Google data to our standards.

  • Routines allow you to automate smart home experiences, and we're expanding the Works with Google Assistant capabilities. Home Routineswill give you more flexibility to get the most out of your smart home devices. Soon we'll be giving you a few new ways to experience Routines. First, you can choose to have your Nest devices trigger routines. For instance, if your connected smoke alarm identifies an emergency in your home, a Home Routine can flash your connected lights and turn them red to give you a visual cue. Or when it's clear there's nobody home, a Home Routine can turn down your thermostat, turn off your lights, and run your smart vacuum. Second, you can build your own Routines from scratch, or opt into common ones we've made for you. Third, some of the most innovative integrations were built by third party partners, so we're also allowing partners to build custom routines. You'll be able to browse and opt-in to using approved routines and choose to have Nest and other devices react and participate in that routine. You'll always be in control, and can decide to opt in or out of these actions. All the while, your sensitive information won't be shared, so your home data remains private.

  • We'll also invite smart home developer enthusiasts to participate in our Device Access for Individualssandbox, allowing you to directly control your own Nest devices for your private integrations and automations.

The Device Access API is available today, and we have several partners with new integrations coming soon. Home Routines will be coming early next year, with partner-made routines available later in 2020. If you're a developer or a Nest customer interested in the Device Access API, or access to the sandbox, you can find more information on our Device Access site.

We're doing the hard work to make your Nest devices more secure and protect your privacy long into the future. What this means for you is better privacy and data security, and the flexibility to safely work with thousands of products from partners to create your helpful home.

15 Oct 2019 3:05pm GMT

Made by Google, made to help

15 Oct 2019 3:00pm 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

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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

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Chromedroidpad

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

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

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Device Evolution

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

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

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How to Disable Google Instant Previews

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

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

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

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

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

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

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

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

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

12 Nov 2010 7:00am GMT

04 Nov 2010

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

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

04 Nov 2010 2:58am GMT

24 Oct 2010

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See a Random Street View Location

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

24 Oct 2010 6:42am GMT