01 Jul 2022

feedThe Official Google Blog

Protecting people’s privacy on health topics

Protecting our users' privacy and securing their data is core to Google's work. That's why we design products to help people keep their personal information private, safe, and secure - with easy-to-use tools and built-in protections.

Privacy matters to people - especially around topics such as their health. Given that these issues apply to healthcare providers, telecommunications companies, banks, tech platforms, and many more, we know privacy protections cannot be solely up to individual companies or states acting individually. That's why we've long advocated for a comprehensive and nationwide U.S. privacy law that guarantees protections for everyone, and we're pleased to see recent progress in Congress.

But we haven't waited for a law to take action. We understand that people rely on Google to keep their personal data secure. We've long been committed to this work, and today we're sharing additional steps we're taking to protect user privacy around health issues.

Protecting user privacy

We offer a variety of easy-to-use privacy tools and settings that put people in control of their data. This is particularly important to people around health topics, which is why our data policies include a number of restrictions. In addition, we have protections around:

  • Location History: Location History is a Google account setting that is off by default, and for those that turn it on, we provide simple controls like auto-delete so users can easily delete parts, or all, of their data at any time. Some of the places people visit - including medical facilities like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others - can be particularly personal. Today, we're announcing that if our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit. This change will take effect in the coming weeks.
  • User Data on Apps: Google Play has strict protocols to protect user privacy - including policies that prohibit developers from selling personal and sensitive user data and a requirement that they handle that data securely and only for purposes directly related to operating the app. To further promote transparency and control for users, we also recently introduced Play's new data safety section that developers use to give people more information about how apps collect, share, and secure their data. For Google Fit and Fitbit, we give users settings and tools to easily access and control their personal data, including the option to change and delete personal information, at any time. For example, Fitbit users who have chosen to track their menstrual cycles in the app can currently delete menstruation logs one at a time, and we will be rolling out updates that let users delete multiple logs at once.
  • Law Enforcement Demands for User Data: Google has a long track record of pushing back on overly broad demands from law enforcement, including objecting to some demands entirely. We take into account the privacy and security expectations of people using our products, and we notify people when we comply with government demands, unless we're prohibited from doing so or lives are at stake - such as in an emergency situation. In fact, we were the first major company to regularly share the number and types of government demands we receive in a Transparency Report. We remain committed to protecting our users against improper government demands for data, and we will continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable. We also will continue to support bipartisan legislation, such as the NDO Fairness Act recently passed by the House of Representatives, to reduce secrecy and increase transparency around government data demands.

We're committed to delivering robust privacy protections for people who use our products, and we will continue to look for new ways to strengthen and improve these protections. We support Congressional efforts to reach bipartisan agreement on nationwide privacy protections that move the burden of privacy off individuals and establish good data practices across the board. In the meantime, we will continue our focus on securing our products and protecting the privacy of our users around the world.

01 Jul 2022 8:00pm GMT

A milestone for King's Cross: a local innovation hub

Over the last few years, King's Cross has truly transformed, becoming a thriving hub of innovation and creativity. The transformation is a sign of the UK's strengths, with its incredible local talent and strong history of leading technological and scientific progress. These strengths inspired us to invest here in King's Cross, in one of our most ambitious developments to date.

Today, together with local MP, Keir Starmer, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, leader of Camden Council Georgia Gould, and our building partners, we celebrated a major milestone in the construction of our new King's Cross office - and in our long-standing commitment to the UK - as we placed the final beam on our new development.

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Holborn and St Pancras said:

"It's fantastic to attend not only as the leader of the Labour Party and local MP but as a proud local resident of more than 25 years. Congratulations to Google on your magnificent new building, and for all it represents - a seizing of opportunity, harnessing of talent, the creation of good, sustainable jobs and an immense contribution to our community. You're showing what can be achieved when forward looking local government partners with the ingenuity of the private sector."

We have long believed that creativity is spurred by environments that promote connection and wellbeing. This is more important than ever as we adapt to a future of flexible, hybrid working. Our new King's Cross building will be equipped with new workplace technologies to help global and remote teams collaborate more effectively, build relationships, learn from colleagues and dream up new ways to solve complex challenges.

It will also bea place for community and connection thanks to the ground floor retail and community spaces, which are being curated with - and for - the local community. In the coming weeks, in partnership with more than 30 youth organisations in Camden, we're excited to open our doors to 500 local young people for a week of taster sessions to inspire school students and job seekers with careers in technology, as well as more than 100 local work experience students.

Innovation extends to the design of the building itself, which is playing an important role in helping us to achieve our goal of going carbon free by 2030. We're pioneering new technologies that will make our King's Cross office our most ambitious smart building to date, including a system of 13,500 interconnected devices that will work together to improve energy efficiency in real time.

While the doors of our new King's Cross development won't open until 2024, incredible work is already underway nearby. The neighbourhood is home to thousands of our engineers working on products like Android, Wear OS, Search and Google Business Profiles, which are used the world over. In fact, many of the team behind some of our newest products - to be released later this year - are based right here in King's Cross. We look forward to growing these teams and being a part of the local community's future growth and development.

Sadiq Khan, London Mayor signing a whiteboard

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan commented:

"London has built a reputation as a world leader in technology and innovation, so I'm delighted to see Google reaffirming its commitment to London with the first wholly owned and designed Google building outside of the United States. I was lucky enough to be present for the original ground-breaking at this site back in 2017. So, it's incredible to see the progress that's been made since then on this hugely ambitious project.

"My ambition, as Mayor, is to build a better London for everyone - one that is fairer, greener and more prosperous for all. And this magnificent building is a shining example of confidence in our city."

01 Jul 2022 4:00pm GMT

30 Jun 2022

feedThe Official Google Blog

Google and U.S. developers find agreement over Google Play store

The Android app economy has helped create nearly two million American jobs; developers around the world have earned more than $120 billion using the Google Play Store. We're proud that Google Play helps developers build great apps and rewards them for doing so. And we know that a successful ecosystem must benefit both developers and consumers, which is why we have rules of the road to keep the store secure, protect privacy and prevent fraud. While we strive to make Google Play the best platform for everyone, Android also provides consumers and developers the opportunity to use other app store options.

Today, we're pleased to share a proposed agreement that will help ensure that both developers and consumers can continue to benefit from Google Play. Google and a group of U.S. developers have reached a proposed settlement that allows both parties to move forward and avoids years of uncertain and distracting litigation.

As part of the settlement, we're establishing a $90 million fund to support U.S. developers who earned two million dollars or less in annual revenue through Google Play during each year from 2016-2021. A vast majority of U.S. developers who earned revenue through Google Play will be eligible to receive money from this fund, if they choose. If the Court approves the settlement, developers that qualify will be notified and allowed to receive a distribution from the fund.

In addition to the fund, we're committing to maintain a number of existing practices and implement new benefits that help developers innovate and communicate with their users:

  • To continue to provide developers with a tiered pricing model, we'll maintain Google's 15% commission rate for the first $1 million in annual revenue earned from the Google Play Store for U.S. developers, which we implemented in 2021.
  • We're revising our Developer Distribution Agreement to make it clear that developers can continue to use contact information obtained in-app to communicate with users out-of-app, including about subscription offers or lower-cost offerings on a rival app store or the developer's website.
  • In new versions of Android, Google will maintain certain changes implemented in Android 12 that make it even easier for people to use other app stores on their devices, while being careful not to compromise the safety measures Android has in place.
  • To showcase independent and small startup developers building unique high-quality apps, we're creating an "Indie Apps Corner" that will appear on the apps tab on the U.S. Google Play homepage and shine a spotlight on these developers.

These commitments, including the $90 million fund, build on a number of ways we already support developers, such as providing tools that help developers build great apps, lower their costs, and grow their businesses. In fact, compared to other prominent digital content stores, we provide developers more ways to interact with their customers.

Finally, we've heard developers want to understand more about how Google Play operates, which is why we've agreed to publish annual transparency reports. The reports will share information about the Google Play Store, including statistics such as apps removed from Google Play, account terminations, and other data regarding how users interact with Google Play.

We're pleased that we worked with the developers to propose this agreement for the Court's approval. As the agreement notes, we remain confident in our arguments and case, but this settlement will avoid protracted and unnecessary litigation with developers, whom we see as vital partners in the Android ecosystem. We remain steadfast in our commitment to building thriving, open platforms that empower consumers and help developers succeed.

30 Jun 2022 11:55pm GMT

New Google Workspace features to help solo business owners

Over the past few years, we've seen more people forging their own path and turning their personal passions into businesses. These individual business owners, sometimes called "solopreneurs," wear many hats as they run and grow their businesses: salesperson, marketer, accountant, the list goes on.

That's why one year ago, we launched Google Workspace Individual as a new offering to help these solo business owners grow their businesses with the familiar apps they're likely already using in their personal life. We've heard from customers that Google Workspace Individual helps them focus their time on doing what they love - like meeting with customers and designing personalized services - and less time on recurring tasks like scheduling appointments and sending emails. Since launch, we've delivered a number of improvements to provide even more value to customers, and today we're announcing what's coming next - electronic signatures right within Google Docs.

Coming soon: Easily sign important documents right in Google Docs

Whether you're an event planner or digital creator, it can be a challenge to stay on top of contracts and customer agreements that need to be signed as you're constantly context switching and jumping between different apps to get work done. That's why we're natively integrating eSignature in Google Docs, so you can quickly execute agreements from the familiar interface of Docs without having to switch tabs or apps.

Animation of the process of inserting electronic signature fields in Google Docs

Coming soon: Easily request electronic signatures directly in Google Docs

eSignature in Google Docs will take advantage of the same secure-by-design infrastructure and built-in protections Google uses to help secure your information and safeguard your privacy. Let's take a look at how eSignature can help you create agreements:

  • Collaborate in documents: Collaborate on changes directly in Google Docs with comments and suggestions - no need to export the file to send a draft contract over email.
  • Add fields to documents: Within the familiar Google Docs interface, you can easily drag and drop signature and date fields in branded documents you create.
  • Request a signature: Once you resolve all comments and suggestions, requesting a signature is as easy as sharing a file in Drive.
  • Add signatures: When ready to sign, the signee can easily add their signature, no downloads needed. Once the signature is added, a completed PDF contract is emailed to both parties.
  • Monitor and track progress: Quickly see the status of pending signatures and easily find completed, signed contracts.
  • Create copies of contracts: For signature workflows that need to be repeated regularly, you can streamline the process by creating copies of existing contracts and then modifying as needed.

eSignature in Google Docs is coming soon in Beta to Google Workspace Individual users and is the latest in a series of improvements we've announced for the subscription in the past year. If you're already using a dedicated eSignature solution, Google Workspace integrates with a number of leading providers. Learn more about how these eSignature and other integrations can help you optimize your workspace on our blog post.

ICYMI: Google Workspace Individual updates from this past year

Email marketing updates for engaging campaigns

For any business, it's vital to connect with customers and prospects, both on a one-to-one basis and at a large scale. Google Workspace Individual makes it easy to do both, so you can easily send communications like monthly newsletters and also offer items like scheduled consultations.

Animation of the process of creating and sending customized marketing emails from Gmail

Create and send customized marketing emails from Gmail

To help you reach many customers at once, last year we added a way to run simple email campaigns directly in Gmail. We started first by providing professionally designed templates that you can customize with your own branding and images in just a few clicks. Then earlier this year, we added multi-send, which allows you to deliver individual emails to a large number of recipients with a unique unsubscribe link for each recipient. With the combination of these improvements, it's easy to make communications as targeted as you like, because you can create multiple email mailing lists within Google Contacts for different audiences and easily tailor the message to each audience. Gmail layouts and multi-send are generally available in Google Workspace Individual today.

Appointment scheduling updates for easier bookings

For scheduling in-person appointments or virtual meetings, Google Calendar helps streamline the appointment scheduling process and avoid back-and-forth communication to find a time that works. Since launching, we've made a number of enhancements that improve the experience for both the business owner and scheduler, including the ability to:

  • Help prevent no-shows by customizing the timing of reminder emails and having users verify their email before booking for added security.
  • Reflect your operational needs by setting flexible appointment durations, adding buffer time between appointments and limiting the number of bookings per day.
  • Easily update your availability with one-off exceptions like regional holidays and customizable start and end dates.
Animation of creating a shareable appointment schedule that clients can use to book appointments online by setting your availability and appointment offerings directly in Google Calendar.

Get your own professional booking page that stays up to date

Customized appointment scheduling with the above features are generally available in Google Workspace Individual today, on the web and your mobile device.

Google Meet updates for your customer and partner calls

Once an appointment is on the books and it's time to connect, Google Meet provides an easy way for you to deepen customer and partner relationships through secure video meetings. Helpful features in Meet ensure you can be clearly seen and heard. Noise cancellation removes background distractions like barking dogs, while low-light mode automatically adjusts your video in poorly lit settings. Here are a few notable Meet announcements from this past year:

  • Mimic taking your call from a real-life cafe or condo with immersive backgrounds.
  • Filter out the echoes in spaces with hard surfaces so that you can have conference-room audio quality whether you're in a basement, a kitchen, or a big empty room.
  • Clearly see participants on a call while you're presenting or multi-tasking with picture-in-picture on Chrome browsers.
  • Review your forecast or business proposal with meetings directly in Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Animation of joining a Google Meet video call directly from Google Docs.

Quickly join a Google Meet call from Google Docs, Sheets and Slides

Sign up today to take advantage of promotional pricing

Save 20% until October 2022[3bdee8]when you sign up for Google Workspace Individual today or learn more about Google Workspace Individual on our website.

30 Jun 2022 5:30pm GMT

Google for Mexico: Economic recovery through technology

During the pandemic, different technological tools allowed us to stay connected, collaborate and find the best responses to overcome the challenges in front of us.

As we move forward, we want to become Mexico's trusted technology ally and contribute to the country with programs, products and initiatives that promote economic, social and cultural development. Today, at our second Google for Mexico event, we aim to accelerate the country's economic recovery, helping people find more and better jobs, making it easier for businesses to grow, reduce the gender gap and promote financial inclusion.

Improving Mexicans' lives through technology

In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Education, we helped students across the country to continue their school year by providing more than 20 million free Google for Education accounts. We have trained more than 1.9 million people in Mexico through Grow with Google and Google.org grants. And we have worked together with the Ministry of Tourism to create a joint strategy to digitize the travel sector, and partnered with the Ministry of Economy on gender gap reduction projects and a technological innovation program for manufacturing companies in the southeast region of the country.

According to a study we conducted with AlphaBeta, in 2021 we estimated that companies in the country obtained annual economic benefits worth more than $7.7 billion dollars from Google products (Google Search & Ads, AdSense, Google Play and YouTube), approximately three times the impact in 2018 ($2.3 billion dollars).

Today, more people in the world are using their smartphones to save credit and debit cards and to buy new things. Over the last few years, we have seen rapid digitization of essentials that we carry with us every day, such as car keys, digital IDs and vaccine records.

That's why we are announcing that Mexico is part of the global launch of Google Wallet on Android and Wear OS. Google Wallet will initially launch with support for payment cards and loyalty passes and eventually expand to new experiences like transit and event tickets, boarding passes, car keys and digital IDs.

$10 million from Google.org

Mexico's Southeast region is home to more than 50% of the country's indigenous population; it is also a place affected by poverty and with big social vulnerability. Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, is allocating $10 million - the largest amount of funding provided by the organization in the country - to this region's transformation. This initiative will mostly benefit women during the upcoming three years, supporting programs focused on promoting economic opportunities that accelerate financial inclusion, reducing the gender gap.

A Mexican woman wearing a red dress with a white ruffle stands in front of hills, looking slightly away from the camera.

Women from Mexico's Southeast region will benefit from Google.org 10 million dollars fund through local and regional NGOs.

Technology as a booster for jobs

In 2019, during the first edition of Google for Mexico, we announced the launch of Google Career Certificates alongside a grant of $1.1 million for International Youth Foundation Mexico (IYF). Through this grant, IYF has trained 1,200 young people. Seventy percent of the graduates managed to get a new job, while the participants who were already employed raised their income by more than 30%. To expand this initiative, and as part of the $10M fund to support Mexico's Southeast region, we are announcing a $2 million grant to support IYF to take their project into the region and train 2300 women from the community.

Supporting the news industry

In late 2020, we launched Google News Showcase, an initiative that offers a better experience for readers and news editors. Google News Showcase is a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content. This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories and stay informed about different issues and interests.

Today we are announcing the beginning of negotiations with local media to soon launch a News Showcase in México. We are excited to continue contributing to the country's media ecosystem, and offer our users relevant, truthful and quality information on local, national and international news.

Illustration of a finger swiping through Google News panels on a screen

Google News Showcase will bring a better experience for readers and news publishers in Mexico.

Preserving and promoting native languages

Every 14 days, a language becomes extinct. This means that out of the 7,000 existing tongues in the world, more than 3,000 are in danger of vanishing. To support the efforts of groups dedicated to language preservation, Google Arts & Culture is collaborating with partners around the world to launch Woolaroo, an experiment that uses machine learning to identify objects and show them in native languages.

Through their mobile cameras, users can take a photo or check their surroundings to receive a translation, and its correct pronunciation. In the beginning, Woolaroo could do this in 10 languages, and today seven more have been added, including Maya and Tepehua.

Animated GIF of a hand holding a phone that shows nature pictures that reflect the background.

Woolaroo, a language preservation experiment powered by machine learning, will include ancestral languages Maya and Tepehua.

At Google, we believe technology is the fuel to be helpful for Mexicans across the country, providing intelligent solutions for millions of people.

30 Jun 2022 5:00pm GMT

Staying safe online with our updated Google Password Manager

Strong, unique passwords are key to helping keep your personal information secure online. That's why Google Password Manager can help you create, remember and autofill passwords on your computer or phone: on the web in Chrome, and in your favorite Android and iOS apps.

Video showing how Google Password Manager is built into Chrome and Android, and how you can set it up as your passwords' provider on your iPhone.
10:25

Today we've started rolling out a number of updates that help make the experience easier to use, with even stronger protections built in.

A consistent look and feel, across web and apps

We're always grateful for feedback, and many of you have shared that managing passwords between Chrome and Android has been confusing at times: "It's the same info in both places, so why does it look so different?" With this release, we're rolling out a simplified and unified management experience that's the same in Chrome and Android settings. If you have multiple passwords for the same sites or apps, we'll automatically group them. And for your convenience, you can create a shortcut on your Android home screen to access your passwords with a single tap.

GIF showing new Google Password Manager shortcut on an Android homescreen.

You can now add a shortcut to Google Password Manager to your Android homescreen.

More powerful password protections

Google Password Manager can create unique, strong passwords for you across platforms, and helps ensure your passwords aren't compromised as you browse the web. We're constantly working to expand these capabilities, which is why we're giving you the ability to generate passwords for your iOS apps when you set Chrome as your autofill provider.

Image showing how Chrome can automatically generate strong passwords on iOS

You can now create strong passwords on your computer or mobile, on any operating system.

Chrome can automatically check your passwords when you enter them into a site, but you can have an added layer of confidence by checking them in bulk with Password Checkup. We'll now flag not only compromised credentials, but also weak and re-used passwords on Android. If Google warns you about a password, you can now fix them without hassle with our automated password change feature on Android.

Image showing how the Password Checkup feature flags compromised passwords on Android

For your peace of mind, Password Checkup on Android can flag compromised, weak and reused passwords.

To help protect even more people, we're expanding our compromised password warnings to all Chrome users on Android, Chrome OS, iOS, Windows, MacOS and Linux.

Simplified access and password management

Google built its password manager to stay out of your way - letting you save passwords when you log in, filling them when you need them and ensuring they aren't compromised. However, you might want to add your passwords to the app directly, too. That's why, due to popular demand, we're adding this functionality to Google Password Manager on all platforms.

GIF showing how you can add your passwords directly on all platforms.

Adding your passwords directly is now possible on all platforms.

In 2020, we announced Touch-to-Fill to help you fill your passwords in a convenient and recognizable way. We're now bringing Touch-to-Login to Chrome on Android to make logging in even quicker by allowing you to securely log in to sites directly from the overlay at the bottom of your screen.

GIF showing new touch-to-login feature

Touch-to-Login signs you in directly from a recognizable overlay.

Many of these features were developed at the Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC), a hub of privacy and security experts based in Munich, so Guten Tag from the team! Of course, our efforts to create a safer web are a truly global effort - from our early work on 2-step verification, to our future investments in technologies like passkeys - and these updates that we are rolling out over the next months are an important part of that work.

30 Jun 2022 4:00pm GMT

Mahima Pushkarna is making data easier to understand

Five years ago, information designer Mahima Pushkarna joined Google to make data easier to understand. As a senior interaction designer on the People + AI Research (PAIR) team, she designed Data Cards to help everyone better understand the contexts of the data they are using. The Data Cards Playbook puts Google's AI Principles into practice by providing opportunities for feedback, relevant explanations and appeal.

Recently, Mahima's paper on Data Cards (co-written with Googlers Andrew Zaldivar and Oddur Kjartansson) was accepted to the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency (ACM FAccT). Let's catch up with her and find out more about what brought her to Google.

How did your background lead you to the work you're doing now?

I've always been fascinated by conjuring up solutions to things. The kind of questions that I've found meaningful are those that are never truly solved, or never have one correct answer. (The kind of questions that exasperate us!) Those have been the problems I am always drawn towards.

Early in my career, I realized the power in visualizing data, but spreadsheets were intimidating. I wondered how design could make communicating complexity easier. So I found myself in grad school in Boston studying information design and data visualization. I focused on how people experience data and how our relationships to each other and our contexts are mediated.

I joined Google Brain as the first visual designer in a full-time capacity, though I had no background in artificial intelligence or machine learning - this was the deep end of the pool. This opened up the space to explore human-AI interaction, and make AI more accessible to a broader class of developers. At PAIR, my work focuses on making information experiences more meaningful for developers, researchers and others who build AI technologies.

What's it like to have a unique background as a designer on a technical AI research team?

When you're an engineer and immersed in building technology, it's easy to assume everyone has a similar experience to your own - especially when you're surrounded by peers who share your expertise. The actual user experience is very personal and varies drastically across users and contexts. That particular clarity is what designers bring to the table.

I've been able to engage my engineering and research colleagues with simple, people-centered questions right in the very beginning. How are people using an AI tool? What are they learning from it? Who else might be involved in the conversation? Do they have the proficiency we assume they have?

Pull quote: "Identifying what we don't know about data is just as important as articulating what we do know."

How did you begin designing Data Cards?

This project started when I was working on another visualization toolkit, Facets, to communicate the skews and imbalances within datasets to help machine learning practitioners make informed decisions. At the time, transparency was a moving target. Andrew, Tulsee Doshi and I started to proactively think about fairness in data, and saw a huge gap in the documentation of human decisions that dot a dataset's lifecycle.

This "invisible" information shapes how we use data and the outcomes of models trained on them. For example, a model trained on a dataset that captures age in just two or three buckets will have very different outcomes compared to a dataset with ten buckets. The goal of Data Cards is to make both visible and invisible information about datasets available and simple to understand, so people from a variety of backgrounds can knowledgeably make decisions.

As we cover in our FAccT paper, Andrew and Oddur and I arrived at two insights. The first is that identifying what we don't know about data is just as important as articulating what we do know. In capturing these nuances, it is possible to narrow those knowledge gaps before even collecting data. The second thing that surprised us was the sheer number of people involved in a dataset's life cycle, and how fragile knowledge is. Context is easily lost in translation both between and within teams, across documents, emails, people and time.

Data Cards stand on the shoulders of giants, like Data Sheets (Gebru, et al.) and Model Cards (Mitchell et al.). We've been immensely lucky to have had the support of many original authors on these seminal papers that have paved our path to FAccT.

How do you hope the paper is used across the tech industry?

Imagine a world in which finding verifiable information about the motivations of a dataset's creators or performance of a model is as easy as learning about the ethical beliefs of a celebrity or the rating of a movie. Our vision for Data Cards is that they become a cultural mainstay - invisible, but their absence would be missed by ML practitioners.

In this paper, we introduce frameworks that other teams can use in their work. Alongside that, we've open-sourced the Data Cards Playbook, so we're trying to lower the barrier to access in every way possible.

30 Jun 2022 4:00pm GMT

Countering hack-for-hire groups

As part of TAG's mission to counter serious threats to Google and our users, we've published analysis on a range of persistent threats including government-backed attackers, commercial surveillance vendors, and serious criminal operators. Today, we're sharing intelligence on a segment of attackers we call hack-for-hire, whose niche focuses on compromising accounts and exfiltrating data as a service.

In contrast to commercial surveillance vendors, who we generally observe selling a capability for the end user to operate, hack-for-hire firms conduct attacks themselves. They target a wide range of users and opportunistically take advantage of known security flaws when undertaking their campaigns. Both, however, enable attacks by those who would otherwise lack the capabilities to do so.

We have seen hack-for-hire groups target human rights and political activists, journalists, and other high-risk users around the world, putting their privacy, safety and security at risk. They also conduct corporate espionage, handily obscuring their clients' role.

To help users and defenders, we will provide examples of the hack-for-hire ecosystem from India, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates and context around their capabilities and persistence mechanisms.

How Hack-For-Hire Operations Work

The hack-for-hire landscape is fluid, both in how the attackers organize themselves and in the wide range of targets they pursue in a single campaign at the behest of disparate clients. Some hack-for-hire attackers openly advertise their products and services to anyone willing to pay, while others operate more discreetly selling to a limited audience.

For example, TAG has observed Indian hack-for-hire firms work with third party private investigative services - intermediaries that reach out for services when a client requires them - and provide data exfiltrated from a successful operation. This is detailed in depth in today's Reuters investigation into the Indian hack-for-hire ecosystem. We have also observed Indian hack-for-hire firms work with freelance actors not directly employed by the firms themselves.

The breadth of targets in hack-for-hire campaigns stands in contrast to many government-backed operations, which often have a clearer delineation of mission and targets. A recent campaign from an Indian hack-for-hire operator was observed targeting an IT company in Cyprus, an education institution in Nigeria, a fintech company in the Balkans and a shopping company in Israel.

Recent Hack-for-Hire Campaigns

India

Since 2012, TAG has been tracking an interwoven set of Indian hack-for-hire actors, with many having previously worked for Indian offensive security providers Appin and Belltrox.

One cluster of this activity frequently targets government, healthcare, and telecom sectors in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain with credential phishing campaigns. These credential phishing campaigns have ranged from targeting specific government organizations to AWS accounts to Gmail accounts.

Sample AWS Phishing Email

Sample AWS phishing email

Sample AWS phishing page

Sample AWS phishing page

TAG has linked former employees of both Appin and Belltrox to Rebsec, a new firm that openly advertises corporate espionage as an offering on its company website.

Rebsec’s offerings as per the company’s website

Rebsec's offerings as per the company's website

Russia

While investigating a 2017 credential phishing campaign that targeted a prominent Russian anti-corruption journalist, we discovered the Russian attacker targeting other journalists, politicians across Europe, and various NGOs and non-profit organizations. But what stuck out during this investigation was the breadth of targeting, which also included individuals that had no affiliation with the selected organizations, and appeared to be regular, everyday citizens in Russia and surrounding countries. This hack-for-hire actor has been publicly referred to as 'Void Balaur'.

These campaigns were similar regardless of target, consisting of a credential phishing email with a link to an attacker-controlled phishing page. The lures ranged from fake Gmail and other webmail provider notifications to messages spoofing Russian government organizations. After the target account was compromised, the attacker generally maintained persistence by granting an OAuth token to a legitimate email application like Thunderbird or generating an App Password to access the account via IMAP. Both OAuth tokens and App Passwords are revoked when a user changes their password.

Russian hack-for-hire phishing email

Russian hack-for-hire phishing email

Russian hack-for-hire phishing site

Russian hack-for-hire phishing site

During our early investigation, TAG discovered the attacker's public website (no longer available) advertising account hacking capabilities for email and social media services. The site claimed to have received positive reviews on Russian underground forums such as Dublikat and Probiv.cc. Over the past five years, TAG has observed the group targeting accounts at major webmail providers like Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! and regional webmail providers like abv.bg, mail.ru, inbox.lv, and UKR.net.

Pricing list from hacknet-service.com in 2018

Pricing list from hacknet-service.com in 2018

United Arab Emirates

TAG is also tracking a hack-for-hire group now based in the United Arab Emirates that is mostly active in the Middle East and North Africa. They have primarily targeted government, education, and political organizations including Middle East focused NGOs in Europe and the Palestinian political party Fatah. Amnesty International has also reported on their campaigns.

The group commonly uses Google or OWA password reset lures to steal credentials from targets, often using the MailJet or SendGrid API to send phishing emails. Unlike many hack-for-hire actors that use open source phishing frameworks like Evilginx or GoPhish, this group uses a custom phishing kit that utilizes Selenium, a self described 'suite of tools for automating web browsers.' Previously described by Amnesty, this phishing kit has remained under active development over the past five years.

Google Security Alert phishing page

Google Security Alert phishing page

After compromising an account, the actor maintains persistence by granting themselves an OAuth token to a legitimate email app like Thunderbird, or by linking the victim Gmail account to an attacker-owned account on a third-party mail provider. The attacker would then use a custom tool to download the mailbox contents via IMAP.

This group also has links to the original developers of H-Worm, also known as njRAT. In 2014, Microsoft filed a civil suit against the developer, Mohammed Benabdellah, for the development and dissemination of H-Worm. Benabdellah, who also goes by the moniker Houdini, has been actively involved in the day-to-day development and operational deployment of the credential phishing capabilities used by this group since its inception.

Protecting Our Users

As part of our efforts to combat serious threat actors, we use results of our research to improve the safety and security of our products. Upon discovery, all identified websites and domains were added to Safe Browsing to protect users from further harm. We encourage any high risk user to enable Advanced Protection and Google Account Level Enhanced Safe Browsing and ensure that all devices are updated. Additionally, our CyberCrime Investigation Group is sharing relevant details and indicators with law enforcement.

TAG is committed to sharing our findings as a way of raising awareness with the security community, and with companies and individuals that might have been targeted. We hope that improved understanding of the tactics and techniques will enhance threat hunting capability and lead to stronger user protections across the industry.

With contributions from Winnona DeSombre

Indicators of Compromise

UAE hack-for-hire Group Domains:

  • myproject-login[.]shop
  • mysite-log[.]shop
  • supp-help[.]me
  • account-noreply3[.]xyz
  • goolge[.]ltd
  • goolge[.]help
  • account-noreply8[.]info
  • account-server[.]xyz
  • kcynvd-mail[.]com
  • mail-goolge[.]com
  • kcynve-mail[.]com

Indian hack-for-hire Group Domains:

  • dtiwa.app[.]link
  • share-team.app[.]link
  • mipim.app[.]link
  • processs.app[.]link
  • aws-amazon.app[.]ink
  • clik[.]sbs
  • loading[.]sbs
  • userprofile[.]live
  • requestservice[.]live
  • unt-log[.]com
  • webtech-portal[.]com
  • id-apl[.]info
  • rnanage-icloud[.]com
  • apl[.]onl
  • go-gl[.]io

Russian hack-for-hire Group Domains:

  • login-my-oauth-mail[.]ru
  • oauth-login-accounts-mail[.]ru
  • my-oauth-accounts-mail[.]ru
  • login-cloud-myaccount-mail[.]ru
  • myaccounts-auth[.]ru
  • security-my-account[.]ru
  • source-place-preference[.]ru
  • safe-place-smartlink[.]ru
  • safe-place-experience[.]ru
  • preference-community-place[.]ru

30 Jun 2022 4:00pm GMT

How this Google intern is spending her summer

Welcome to the latest edition of "My Path to Google," where we talk to Googlers, interns, apprentices and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today's post is all about Micka Alencar, an intern from Brazil who's spending her summer on the Google Cloud team.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I study production engineering at the Federal University of São Carlos in Sorocaba, Brazil. This summer, I'm interning for the Google Cloud team! Helping people really energizes me, so I also volunteer with local community projects in my free time, like teaching English classes to children. Outside of that, I like to watch anime and spend time with my family.

What do you do at Google?

I'm a Google Cloud Strategy and Sales Operations intern. In this role, I research cloud market trends and look for opportunities to grow our Google Cloud business in Latin America. Right now, I'm working on two main projects: developing a more structured onboarding process for our sales team, and building a framework for measuring our team's progress.

Why did you apply to Google?

I decided to apply for an internship at Google because of how closely the company's values ​​align with mine. I've always dreamed of working at a place where I wouldn't just be a number, but an important part of something bigger. At Google, my work is relevant, I'm heard and I can be myself without any judgment or fear.

How did your interview process go?

Google's interview process was different from what I was used to. Here, you're evaluated across a broad set of skills, not just your technical abilities. Both of my interviewers were very kind, and they made me feel comfortable from the start. They helped turn that evaluative moment into a pressure-free conversation where I could share my points of view, ideas and, ultimately, who I truly am.

Micka, in a black dress, poses with three other family members. They are wearing formal clothing and have bouquets of flowers behind them.

Micka and her family, who she credits with playing a big role in her professional development.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

To prepare for my interviews, I reflected on critical moments in my life and career and crafted a narrative around them. I also visited Google's Careers site for interview tips and did several rounds of mock interviews with my friends.

How has it been working remotely?

Amazing! My onboarding process was so well organized, and my team has given me the support I need to succeed in this internship. And even though I'm working remotely, I recently met my team in person at the São Paulo office. This was an important moment for us to get to know each other even better.

Any advice you'd give to aspiring Google interns?

First, be authentic and don't try to fit into patterns or create false appearances. At Google, individuality is highly appreciated and is an important part of the candidate selection process. Second, don't diminish yourself in any way - you can be whoever you want to be. And if you think you can work at Google, then you can! And finally, dedicate yourself to your dream and believe strongly in your capabilities.

30 Jun 2022 2:00pm GMT

A Queer Eye on Art History with Google Arts & Culture

Editor's Note: In honor of Pride Month and beyond, and in collaboration with over 60 cultural institutions, Google Arts & Culture presents the "A Queer Eye on Art History" hub. It's a place where you can explore archives and collections to celebrate LGBTQIA+ lives and art and dive into more than 20 newly curated stories, new collections from partners, and much more. Today, one of our partners, Andrew Shaffer, Interim Co-Executive Director, from the GLBT Historical Society, shares his perspective.

Queer art has a long history. From a leather version of Michelangelo's David to giant rainbow flags to outrageous drag outfits, queer people have been making art - and queering existing artworks - since time immemorial. The GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco preserves thousands of pieces that document a vast range of queer arts, from sculpture and painting to poetry, and dance.

Many of these belong to our Art & Artifacts collection, which is something of a cabinet of curiosities, or, as we call them, "queeriosities." With over 1,000 items, it is one of the world's largest collections of two and three-dimensional objects that illustrate historical LGBTQIA+ material culture. Our archives hold these artworks along with documents and artifacts that tell the stories of countless LGBTQIA+ lives and communities.

Our archives hold diaries by gay and trans historian Lou Sullivan; outfits from icons like José Sarria,Sylvester, andGilbert Baker; a rich trove of writing and correspondence from Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin; the suit Harvey Milk was wearing the day of his murder; the only known remnant of the original rainbow flags; and so much more. We keep these objects safe and accessible so current and future generations can learn their history, and find their own place in it.

Visit Google Arts & Culture's new hub 'A Queer Eye on Art History' to learn more about our stories and more from more than 60 other cultural institutions, such as:

Uncovering hidden histories

  • Did you know that famous art could be... queer? Discover new perspectives of iconic classical artworks with creators Rainbow History Class as they deep dive into figures and homoerotic motifs found in Renaissance Art.
  • Hear more about the history and symbols behind Pride, or queering the art canon with Youtuber and Author Rowan Ellis. Could retrospectively inserting queerness into the canon give LGBTQIA+ artists their place in the spotlight?

Amplifying LGBTQIA+ lives and community

Celebrating queer artists

  • From Rosa Bonheur, Keith Haring and Frida Khalo, to Zanele Muholi and Kehinde Wiley, discover the artists who made an impact to queer art and history.
  • Learn more about the intimate works of Zanele Muholi and how they celebrate South Africa's Black and queer community, or take a closer look at Kehinde Wiley's iconic portraits.

Ready to explore more?

Visit g.co/prideculture or download Google Arts & Culture's Android or iOS app. To learn more about the GLBT Historical Society, and support our work, visit glbthistory.org. Happy Pride to everyone!

30 Jun 2022 1:00pm GMT

Preserving languages and the stories behind them

To celebrate the first year of UNESCO's International Decade of Indigenous Languages, seven more indigenous languages are now available on Woolaroo - a Google Arts & Culture experiment that uses machine learning to preserve and help people explore endangered languages.

On average, a different language becomes extinct every 14 days. And of the 7,000 languages currently spoken around the world, more than 3,000 are under threat of disappearing - along with the rich cultures they represent.

Thanks to a collaboration with our global partners, ranging from language communities to national language institutes, you can now discover the languages of Maya, Tepehua, Sanskrit, Vurës, Kumeyaay/Diegueño, Potawatomi and Serravallese, spoken across Mexico, South Asia, the South Pacific, the United States and Italy. Simply choose a language, take a picture of an object, and Woolaroo will return the translation for it thanks to the Google Cloud Vision API.

Discover stories from endangered language speakers

For the first time on Google Arts & Culture, you can findstories written by the speakers of these languages. In these accounts, they share the cultures they're connected to and how they're using technology to promote language learning and preservation.

  • A mobile phone uses the Woolaroo app to take a picture of a tree to find the name for it in Calabrian Greek.

    Using Woolaroo is easy: Simply take a photo, and see the words for your surroundings appear in the language of your choice.

  • A Maya language speaker smiles at the camera against a red, rocky background.

    In partnership with Mexico's National Institute of Indigenous Languages (INALI), Woolaroo now supports two of Mexico's indigenous languages, Maya and Tepehua. Google Arts & Culture also now houses the stories behind these languages and photography celebrating the people who speak them.

  • A Vurës speaker sits on a boat on the shore.

    The Vurës speakers on the South Pacific's most linguistically diverse island nation share what makes their language and culture "... different from all others in Vanuatu and around the world."

  • A Potawatomi tribe member is dressed in regalia.

    Potawatomi tribe members don traditional regalia and share perspectives on their language and culture through a story and photography collection.

  • A young person takes part in a festival on Rapa Nui. They are outside with palm trees and a blue sky behind them.

    Explore a collection of stories and photography that shares the perspectives of speakers from Rapa Nui to North Africa.

Our Potawatomi tribe partner, Justin Neely, is using Woolaroo to promote and preserve the Potawatomi's language, Bodéwadmimwen, among students and young people. "Words, phrases and verb conjugations show how the Potawatomi see the world - with an emphasis on connection to the earth, a high regard for mother nature and living beings, and a communal lifestyle," says Neely. Neely felt that Woolaroo would suit children in particular, allowing them to use technology as a way to explore their heritage.

Explore more languages and communities on Google Arts & Culture, in the iOS or Android app and, and at g.co/woolaroo.

30 Jun 2022 9:00am GMT

29 Jun 2022

feedThe Official Google Blog

10 reasons to switch to Android

In the last year, over a billion new Android phones were activated. Ready to join the fun, but not sure which phone is best for you? Consider one that's loaded with the best of Google, that can fold to fit in your pocket or fit your budget, or has a camera that can capture any shot. Regardless of which phone you choose, making the switch from iPhone to Android has never been easier.

Starting today, support for the Switch to Android app on iOS is rolling out to all Android 12 phones, so you can move over some important information from your iPhone to your new Android seamlessly. Once you've got your new Android phone, follow our easy setup instructions to go through the data transfer process. You'll be prompted to connect your old iPhone with your new Android phone either with your iPhone cable or wirelessly via the new Switch to Android app. The instructions will walk you through how to easily transfer your data like your contacts, calendars and photos over to your new phone.

Once you're all set up, you can get started on your new Android device by checking out our favorite features.

  1. Express yourself in new ways: With the Messages app and Gboard, it's easy and enjoyable to send messages - especially between friends who use Android. Group chats, high-quality photo and video sharing, read receipts and emoji reactions are all available thanks to RCS, and thousands of emoji mashup stickers are there to help you express your feelings. (Rest assured, your iPhone friends will still receive your messages as well.)
  2. Video chat with anyone, anywhere: If your friends and family have Google accounts, it's easier than ever to video chat with Google Meet on Android. Or if you prefer FaceTime, you can still use that in the latest version of Chrome. Or with apps like WhatsApp in Google Play, you can chat with whomever you like for free around the globe. Android has so many options, it's easy to stay connected with those that matter to you the most.
  3. Tune into your favorite music: Catch up on the latest hits with your preferred streaming service available on Android. And if you had previously purchased and downloaded music on your iPhone, your music will transfer over to your Android phone, as long as it's digital rights management (DRM)-free. Your purchases and downloaded content from Apple Music will still be accessible on your new Android device by downloading the Apple Music app.
  4. Your favorite apps and more: With Google Play, you'll find the apps you already use and love, and quickly start to discover so many more. Looking to plan an outdoorsy getaway? Hipcamp will help you book your next camping spot, Skyview Lite will be your stargazing guide to the sky, and AllTrails will help you find a hike that's perfect for you and your friends. A summer of fun made possible with your new Android.
  5. A privacy-first approach: On your new phone, your data is proactively protected by Android. Android helps defeat bad apps, malware, phishing and spam, and helps keep you one step ahead of threats. Messages, for example, helps protect people against 1.5 billion spam messages per month. Android also provides timely recommendations, like prompting you to select your location-sharing preferences when opening an app to help you make the best decisions for your privacy. Read more about how to keep your data private and secure.
  6. More devices that work better together: Choose from a wide variety of Chromebooks, Wear OS smartwatches, Google TV devices and Fast Pair supported headphones, like Pixel Buds, that work better together with your phone. In fact, some of your Apple products will still work with your Android device, like AirPods.
  7. Get more done with Google apps and services: Traveling on vacation and can't read the local signs? Scan the text forinstant translation so you can get to your destination quickly. Editing a Google Doc on your laptop, but need to finish on the go? You can easily keep work going on your Android phone, too. Google prides itself on being helpful, and the best of Google is built into Android phones.
  8. Share music, photos and more across devices: Nearby Share lets you easily share music, photos and other files between your nearby Android and Chrome OS devices. To share content like photos and videos with non-Android devices, you can easily use sharing built into Google Photos or several other apps that allow you to share with friends and family and keep them in an organized memory bank for the future.
  9. Customize your Home screen with Android Widgets: Widgets are helpful additions to any Home screen, putting the information that's most important to you right at your fingertips. There will soon be 35 Google widgets available on Android, so whether you want to have easy access to Google Maps' real-time traffic predictions or have translations at the ready so you can communicate with family and friends, Android is there to make your life a little easier.
  10. Technology that's useful for everyone: Everyone has their own way of using their devices. That's why we build accessible features and products that work for the various ways people want to experience the world. Whether you want to use your device without ever needing the screen using TalkBack, or you want to take what's being said out loud and create a real-time transcript with Live Transcribe, Android has you covered when and how you need it.

And that's not all. Between our major annual updates, we're always adding new features to Android.

29 Jun 2022 6:00pm GMT

Hear from app and game founders in #WeArePlay USA

Last week, we launched #WeArePlay, a new series featuring the people behind your favorite Google Play apps and games. To celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, we're putting a special spotlight on app founders and developers across every U.S. state. #WeArePlay USA introduces you to the passionate professionals behind more than 150 growing businesses.

A gif of a collage of headshots that turns into the shape of a U.S. map. The gif ends with the text “#WeArePlay” and the URL g.co/play/weareplay-usa

Let's take a quick road trip across the #WeArePlay USA collection, starting in the Big Apple. New Yorker Tanya was so inspired when her eight-year-old daughter asked to open an investment account that she created Goalsetter - an app that helps kids learn about finance through fun activities. She wants to help kids, and their parents, build stronger financial futures: "Part of my mission is to close the wealth gap in America by educating the next generation." Read more stories from New York.

A graphic featuring a photo of Tanya with her kids, her name, her location of “New York, New York,” the name of her app “Goalsetter” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Our next stop is Raleigh, North Carolina to meet Joe, John and Grant. They created JouleBug to help people better understand their environmental impact through interactive challenges - like competing with friends to save the most energy or reduce the most waste. "As we go through our days, it's become easy to waste resources and not even notice it," says Grant. "We want to draw attention to this and show how simple it is to change your habits." Discover more stories from North Carolina.

A graphic featuring a photo of Joe, John and Grant on a mountain, their names, their location of “Raleigh, North Carolina” the name of their app “Joulebug” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Making our way west, we meet Clarence and Edna in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They both share a passion for education and worked together to create Boddle - a 3D game that motivates kids to learn math. Using AI, Boddle also helps parents and teachers tailor learning content and track performance. Check out more stories from Oklahoma.

A graphic featuring a photo of Clarence and Edna, their names, their location of “Tulsa, Oklahoma” the name of their app “Boddle Learning” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Our final stop brings us to Santa Monica, California with Jenova. While he was in film school, Jenova asked himself - could a game make you cry the same way a movie can? He launched thatgamecompany and started building games that tug at players' heartstrings. His company now has close to 100 employees. Read more stories from California.

A graphic featuring a photo of Jenova, his name, his location of “Santa Monica, California” the name of his app “thatgamecompany” and the #WeArePlay logo and URL.

Explore the rest of the #WeArePlay USA collection, and stay tuned for more stories from around the world.

29 Jun 2022 5:00pm GMT

Reducing gender-based harms in AI with Sunipa Dev

Natural language processing (NLP) is a form of artificial intelligence that teaches computer programs how to take in, interpret, and produce language from large data sets. For example, grammar checkers use NLP to come up with grammar suggestions that help people write grammatically correct phrases. But as Google's AI Principles note, it's sometimes necessary to have human intervention to identify risks of unfair bias.

Sunipa Dev is a research scientist at Google who focuses on Responsible AI. Some of her work focuses specifically on ways to evaluate unfair bias in NLP outcomes, reducing harms for people with queer and non-binary identities. Sunipa's work was recently featured at a workshop at the ACM Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAcct) conference in Seoul, Korea.

In our interview, she emphasizes that her work is achievable only through forging collaborative partnerships between researchers, engineers, and AI practitioners with everyday users and communities.

What inspired you to take on this career path?

While working on my PhD at the University of Utah, I explored research questions such as, "How do we evaluate NLP tech if they contain biases?" As language models evolved, our questions about potential harms did, too. During my postdoc work at UCLA, we ran a study to evaluate challenges in various language models by surveying respondents who identified as non-binary and had some experience with AI. With a focus on gender bias, our respondents helped us understand that experiences with language technologies cannot be understood in isolation. Rather, we must consider how these technologies intersect with systemic discrimination, erasure, and marginalization. For example, the harm of misgendering by a language technology can be compounded for trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse individuals who are already fighting against society to defend their identities. And when it's in your personal space, like on your devices while emailing or texting, these small jabs can build up to larger psychological damage.

What is your current role at Google?

I am currently a Research Scientist at the Responsible AI - Human Centered Technology team. In my current role, I am working to build a better understanding of how to avoid unfair bias in AI language models across different cultures and geographies, aligned with Google's AI Principles.

This is a challenge because language changes, and so do cultures and regional laws as we move from one place to another. This can all impact how people express themselves, what identities they choose and how they experience discrimination on a daily basis. Gender bias can manifest in entirely different ways in different parts of the world. In some of my ongoing work that focuses on a non-Western point of view, we are working with social scientists and NGOs in India while engaging with local communities. We are using the voices of many people who are living in a specific region and asking, "What are the biases prevalent in their society?"

What is gender bias in NLP?

Written text and training data for language technologies can lack representation or misrepresent different gender identities; this can reflect social biases. As a result, some NLP technologies can reinforce gender stereotypes and slurs, erase people's gender identities, or have reduced quality of service for marginalized communities. What drives me in my work is my goal to make language technologies more inclusive and usable.

Why does this matter for AI?

Gender can be such an integral part of someone's identity, and having that wrongly assumed by an AI system can be triggering, unfair, and harmful. We need to work towards systems and societies that do not encode unfair biases and harmful stereotypes in order to break out of the cycle of perpetuating harms of stereotyping, misgendering, and erasure.

How can people who are not researchers, engineers or AI practitioners engage in this work?

A very direct way is for people to report potential harms as bugs within products they use. People can also participate in open discussions in workshops, panels and town halls. These are all helpful ways to build inclusive AI.

I want to emphasize, however, that the onus can't only be on the user. It's also on the side of the researcher, engineer and AI practitioner. The goal is to create a continuous feedback loop between humans and machines, with real people stepping in to ensure the creation of more responsible AI. As AI practitioners, we need to work with the people we're trying to serve and have users collaborate with us to tell us what we need to do better.

29 Jun 2022 4:00pm GMT

Mentorship and support for Black and women founders

Women-led startups received just 2.3% of venture capital funding in 2020. The venture capital industry remains male-dominated, both among decision-makers and the entrepreneurs who are successful in their pitches for investment. For Black founders, the gap is even wider, with only 1.2% of VC funding in the U.S. going to Black-led startups in 2021.

Mentorship and access to resources are critical to closing the startup funding gap. To connect underrepresented founders to the right people and practices to help them grow, today we're opening up applications for the Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders and Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders in North America. Applications are open now through July 28, 2022.

Google for Startups Accelerators are ten-week programs of intensive workshops and expert mentorship for revenue-generating tech startups. Founders receive virtual mentoring and technical support from Google engineers and external experts tailored to their business, without giving up equity in return.

To learn more about the impact of Google for Startups Accelerator mentorship on participating founders, we sat down with alumnae Ingrid Polini, cofounder and CEO of document management startup SAFETYDOCS Global, and Tiffany Whitlow, cofounder and Chief Development Officer of Acclinate, a digital health startup helping pharmaceutical companies diversify clinical trials by accessing and engaging communities of color. Ingrid was part of the 2021 Accelerator: Women Founders class, and Tiffany and her cofounder Del Smith were selected for both Accelerator: Black Founders and the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund in 2021.

What is one piece of advice you would share with founders who are considering applying for a Google for Startups Accelerator?

Ingrid: Be as open as you can about your business, so the team can really help you. Be present, participate and ask questions, because in the end, you're applying your scarce time to it as a founder.

Tiffany: Go for it. The resources and ecosystem are invaluable.

Visit Google for Startups Accelerator: Black Founders and Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders to learn more about the programs, including details on how to apply.

29 Jun 2022 4:00pm GMT

4 ways creators can bounce back from setbacks

Life is never completely smooth sailing, and challenges can strike even with the best-laid plans in place. We asked creators how they handle challenges and how these obstacles - while often difficult in the moment - can serve as opportunities to learn, grow and build resilience.

Learn from your mistakes, and do better next time

Take Monique Elise, an author, financial analyst and lifestyle influencer passionate about empowering women. After her first brand collaboration failed, Monique realized these campaigns require more work than they appear to on the surface, and that being an influencer means much more than taking pretty photos. "I underestimated just how much work, preparation and organization goes into creating content that I'm truly proud of," she shares. While initially disappointed in her results, she quickly shifted her mindset and learned what to do differently in the future. "Truthfully, that experience was so necessary," she says, "because it made me understand how important it is to be prepared, especially if I want to represent my business in a meaningful way."

Monique wears a pink suit and black shirt while sitting on a desk.

Monique builds her confidence from a support group of family members, friends and peers.

Be prepared for the unexpected

As Monique shared, being prepared is key - and that includes being prepared for the unexpected. Rae Allen learned this as she was building her brand as a fitness and style creator. Rae's goal was to run a mile every day, and just as she was getting started, she found out she needed a series of back-to-back surgeries. She quickly turned this setback into an opportunity to grow her platform in an authentic way.

"At first, I felt like a failure because I couldn't technically run," Rae shares. "But I realized I set the rules." After her surgeries, she started walking, jogging, then finally running again - regularly posting about her recovery, and her favorite workout outfits, on Instagram. "If it weren't for this setback, I never would have found my true passion for creating," she says. "My platform changed immensely, as did my fitness journey as an athlete. Today people look to me for inspiration, motivation and empowerment."

Rae Allen runs down the street next to her father, who rides a bicycle next to her.

Rae Allen recently celebrated 2,700 days of running a mile every day.

Lean on your support group

When a challenge inevitably arises, it can feel like you need to solve it on your own. But that doesn't have to be the case. Monique depends on her support group of "friends, fellow creators and my boyfriend." She shares, "Having a support system really helps when you're suffering from self-doubt. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help. You'd be surprised at how many people want to help you and see you succeed." Having a peer group to share your experiences with can be especially comforting, because they can empathize with the nature of your work and offer actionable suggestions.

Channel resilience

No matter the endeavor, it's important to keep moving forward and reaching for your goals. Monique and Rae both found strength in the face of disappointment, and the determination to press onward. It's something that still inspires Rae today, and she wants to share that spirit of resilience with every creator: "Keep going! Whatever it is you're facing - just keep going with one foot in front of the other. There will be highs and lows and it will be hard. No matter what we do in life, we will always face obstacles. So why not face obstacles doing something you love? The journey is worth it."

29 Jun 2022 4:00pm GMT

04 Jan 2022

feedGoogle Operating System

Bring Back YouTube Dislikes

YouTube has recently hidden the number of dislikes for YouTube videos. In a blog post from November, YouTube announced that this was done to "help better protect our creators from harassment, and reduce dislike attacks". The dislike button hasn't disappeared, but the dislike counts were made private, so that only video creators could see them.

If you install this Chrome extension, you can bring back the number of dislikes next to the "dislike" button. Unfortunately, YouTube removed the ability to obtain the number of dislikes from the API, so the extension uses archived data and the number of dislikes from the extension's users. The extension has "200+ million videos likes/dislikes data stored before December 13th, 2021". This means that the number of dislikes displayed by the extension may be inaccurate, but it's still better than no information.




04 Jan 2022 6:55pm 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

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

01 Nov 2011

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Grow a moustache and fight cancer!

For my next 30 day challenge, I'll be growing a mustache to raise awareness and money for men's health issues, and specifically prostate cancer research. Men of search and SEO, please join our team. You can raise awareness, or raise cash. And it's super simple: just don't shave your moustache for 30 days. The name [...]

01 Nov 2011 6:16pm GMT

31 Oct 2011

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween costume: stickman from xkcd

For Halloween this year I asked people on Google+ what I should be for Halloween, and someone suggested going as the blackhat stick man from xkcd. You know, this guy: That sounded like a good challenge. I finished the costume and taped a video, but unfortunately I didn't have enough time to get the video [...]

31 Oct 2011 5:16pm GMT

24 Oct 2011

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween Pumpkin: Portal Turret!

I made a Portal turret for my Halloween pumpkin! I was trying to think of things to carve: vampire Android? R2-D2? Zoidberg? Then I thought: I could do a character from Portal 2! I was going to carve something like GLaDOS or Wheatley, but then I realized that a portal turret would be perfect: To [...]

24 Oct 2011 3:26pm GMT

02 Oct 2011

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

New 30 day challenge: going vegan!

Okay, I'm starting up a new 30 day challenge: I'm going to eat vegan for the next 30 days. That means no meat, dairy, or eggs. I'm curious to see how it will go.

02 Oct 2011 5:58am GMT

20 Sep 2011

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

What cool new websearch ideas should Google launch in 2012?

Even though this year is nowhere near finished, a lot of people at Google are already thinking about things to launch next year. So I wanted to put the question out: what cool things would you like to see Google launch in 2012? For example, in 2011, we launched hundreds of search quality changes that [...]

20 Sep 2011 2:40pm GMT

Busy few weeks

I've been out of town (hiking in Yosemite and traveling to the East Coast) for two out of the last three weeks, so things are a bit crazy. Besides the usual email overload, there's a project at work-not related to webspam-that will need some attention for the next 4-5 weeks. I'm triaging email as best [...]

20 Sep 2011 1:55pm 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

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Traveling for a week

For the next week or so, I'm going to be hiking in the back country of Yosemite. That's assuming that my legs hold up: after finishing the San Francisco Marathon at the end of July, my knees and ankles have been a little creaky recently. I've been trying to get my email under control in [...]

26 Aug 2011 6:15am 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

11 Jul 2011

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Submit video topics for mid-2011

This submission round is now closed-thanks! Sometime soon I'm planning to record some new webmaster videos. I created a Google Moderator page where you can post video suggestions and vote topics up and down. Instead of short 1-2 minute video answers to quick questions, I'd like to try something new this time. I'd like to [...]

11 Jul 2011 10:21pm GMT

27 Jun 2011

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Good Books for Summer Reading?

It's summertime, so I'm looking for a bunch of fun books to read. I just ordered two books by John Scalzi (Fuzzy Nation and The God Engines), two books by Dean Karnazes because I'm training to run a marathon (Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss and Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner), plus [...]

27 Jun 2011 3:54pm GMT

23 Jun 2011

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Goal: getting email under control

Each year I try to settle on a small set of big goals for the year. Last year my big goal was to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. This year, I settled on 2-3 goals I wanted to achieve: 1. Go skydiving. I was with a group of ~15 people in January and we realized that no [...]

23 Jun 2011 7:08am 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