25 Jul 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Helping journalists experiment with 360 content

There's already a huge amount of innovation in virtual reality and immersive storytelling-with many newsrooms experimenting and succeeding in the field-but for some, the ability to create 360 content can still be limited.

Perhaps predicting the rise of 360 technology, in 2014 Australian creative agency Grumpy Sailor worked with Google's Creative Lab in Sydney on an experiment called Story Spheres, which stitches together photos and audio. It allows journalists, documentary makers and educators to tell powerful stories if they don't have access to video.

Working with the same team behind the first prototype, the Google News Lab is now supporting the next iteration of the project. Today new features will help publishers-from individual journalists to large newsrooms-create and brand their immersive audio experiences. A new website will help journalists brand their creations with their own logos, help them credit their work and embed it on their own website. It's now even simpler to upload a 360 image, edit the imagery, add an audio layer and navigate from one experience to another.

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In the UK, Trinity Mirror has already experimented with the new tool: The Liverpool Echo took their readers through the famous dockyards of the city, and the Manchester Evening News provided a snapshot of the flowers and balloons placed in St Ann's Square as a tribute for the Manchester terrorist attacks. In Norway, Nettavisen has been experimenting with the tool by giving their readers a glimpse at the best podcasts for their readers this summer.

Emily McCartney, a coder and "techxplorer" at Grumpy Sailor, says the improved tool will help users, too: "There's so much news to consume, and people want to be able to jump between stories without losing any time, and Story Spheres help you do that."

Discover the tool for yourself, made by Grumpy Sailor with the support of Creative Lab in Sydney and the Google News Lab.

25 Jul 2017 1:00pm GMT

Helping people in a crisis

In times of crisis, access to timely, actionable information is crucial. Working alongside trained responders and volunteers on the ground, technology plays a vital role in providing information to help keep you and loved ones safe and informed. SOS alerts is a new set of features in Google Search and Maps to help you quickly understand what's going on and decide what to do during a crisis.

How SOS Alerts Work

During a crisis, you may see an SOS Alert at the top of search results when searching for the incident or location. You'll see maps, top stories and-when available-authoritative local information such as emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases. Depending on how close you are to the affected area, you may also get a notification on your mobile device that directs you to this information.

If you're outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis. Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.

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Google Maps on mobile can also show SOS Alerts. In Maps, you'll see a specific icon on the map and a tappable card with more information about the crisis, such as helpful phone numbers and websites. The map will also include real-time updates, like road closures and traffic and transit updates.

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As we've developed our crisis response products, we've worked closely with organizations and government agencies that are on the front lines of relief efforts, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and many others. "Radio and television were once the only channels to quickly provide information in an emergency, but the internet and mobile phones have become increasingly important," said Robert Glenn, Director at FEMA.

In addition to SOS Alerts and other crisis response features-including Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts-our philanthropic arm Google.org provides grants and volunteers for communities impacted by crises. We hope you never need to use crisis response features, but if you do, they're designed to help keep you, and those you love, safe and informed.

25 Jul 2017 10:00am GMT

24 Jul 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

G4NP Around the Globe - Zooming in on Action Against Hunger

Every dollar and minute count to further your cause and focus on your mission. We're pleased to highlight nonprofits who were able to make greater impact with fewer resources by using Google tools-from G Suite to Google Ad Grants-made available through Google for Nonprofits (G4NP) at no charge.

Varying in size, scope, and timezones, these nonprofits from around the world share one thing in common: utilizing the G4NP suite of tools to help their specific needs. G4NP offers nonprofit organizations across 50 countries access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ad Grants and more at no cost. This week, we'll take a look at how the nonprofit Action Against Hunger utilizes these tools to increase productivity, visibility, and donations, in order to improve lives in the communities they serve.

Action Against Hunger

In 2016 alone, Action Against Hunger provided nourishment to over 1.5 million starving children(1). In order to save lives with nutritional programs, Action Against Hunger looked to Google for aid-not for food, but for technology. Action Against Hunger now utilizes five Google technologies that have drastically improved their ability to save lives around the globe.

Raising Awareness with Google Ad Grants & Analytics

For major international emergencies, like the Ebola outbreak or the South Sudan famine, Action Against Hunger needs a way to inform people and recommend ways to get involved. With Ad Grants, the nonprofit activates targeted keywords relating to the crises to drive people to their page and empower them to take action. Google Analytics then allows them to track their effectiveness and adjust accordingly to increase engagement and improve their fundraising techniques. With this data-driven strategy and the tools' ability to optimize campaigns, Action Against Hunger has nearly doubled funding year-over-year. In fact, Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children.

Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children.

Increasing Productivity with G Suite

When working with a global network and managing hundreds of programs abroad, collaboration and communication are key. After experiencing unnecessary latencies in their operations, Action Against Hunger has since adopted G Suite which streamlined their workflow. The nonprofit is especially fond of Gmail, Hangouts, and Drive where Action Against Hunger employees can message each other quickly, share files securely, and collaborate on Docs in real-time-avoiding duplication of efforts and saving time.

Fundraising with One Today & YouTube

To drive donations and expand awareness to broad audiences, Action Against Hunger uses One Today, a Google app that allows users to easily donate $1 or more towards causes they care about. Campaigning on One Today on World Food Day in 2016, Action Against Hunger raised more than $1,200 in support of their cause with each dollar going directly helping those in need-the equivalent of feeding 1,000 hungry children. Additionally, Action Against Hunger creates and shares content on YouTube to reach their global audience, and is beginning to use the YouTube donation cards to further increase donations. The large exposure and website referrals from both YouTube and Google+ helped Action Against Hunger raise over $20,000.

Using Google products Action Against Hunger gained extra time and energy to focus on what really matters: feeding the hungry.

To read more about Action Against Hunger's story and learn how they used Google tools so effectively, visit our Google for Nonprofits Community Stories page. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more inspirational stories about nonprofits using technology to help their cause.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit's story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote: Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.


24 Jul 2017 6:30pm GMT

Experience Tunisia’s rich culture with Street View Imagery

My Street View journey took me to Tunisia, home to beautiful sun soaked beaches, ancient Roman ruins, and Islamic monuments. And now you can explore Tunisia on Street view too.

The first stop is the Amphitheatre of El Djem, the largest Roman amphitheatre in North Africa, located in the heart of Tunisia. This beautiful monument stands in the midst of a lively and vibrant town-El Djem--previously known as "Thysdrus," a prosperous town during the reign of the Roman Empire.

As you walk through the arena, imagine 35,000 cheering spectators gathered in the auditorium to watch gladiators and lions raised and lowered from cells to meet their fate. As the cheering crowd fades, you are brought back to the present, and the crowd's roars are replaced with sound of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the cornerstone of El Djem.

Then I went on to explore the massive city of Carthage, founded in the 9th Century B.C and home to an iconic civilization. It is also the hometown of the famed warrior and military leader, Hannibal, who grew to lead victorious battles. Today, Tunisians regard Carthage and the memory of Hannibal with a strong sense of pride. Use Street View to take a stroll through the Theatre of Carthage, Cisterns of La Malaga, Basilica of Damus al-Karita and the Baths of Antoninus which face the stunning view of the Mediterranean.

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The Cisterns of La Malga provided the water supply for Carthage-especially the Baths of Antonius-during the Roman Empire.
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Located in Carthage and overlooking the Mediterranean, the Baths of Antoninus are the largest set of Roman Thermae built on the African continent dating back to the Roman Empire era.
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Built in the mid-second century, the Theatre of Carthage could contain 10,000 spectators. Now it is where Carthage's major international and musical festivals are held.
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The Basilica of Damus al-Karita, within the archaeological site of Carthage, was a cemetery church dating back to the Byzantine times.

Next we visited Dougga, an ancient Roman Town that was built on a hill and flourished during the Roman and Byzantine times. Take a walk through its beautiful ruins which have been around for more than six centuries, and envision the daily life of people in a typical Roman town. Let the monuments left behind give you a glimpse into the Numidian, Punic, Hellenistic, and Roman cultures. Stroll around the site with Street View and stop to gaze up at The Capitol, a Roman Temple dedicated to Rome's protective triad; Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

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To delve into some of Tunisia's beautiful Islamic architecture during the early centuries, we stopped by Sousse. This gorgeous city lies on the Tunisian Sahel with monuments to admire such as the Ribat of Sousse as well as the city's Great Mosque. Take a walk through the vast courtyard of the mosque, the stairs will lead you to the watchtowers where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the mosque and its surroundings.

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The Ribat of Sousse is a soaring structure that was used as a minaret and a watch tower. It is one of the best conserved fortresses built along the North African coastline as a defence against assailants.
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According to a Kufic inscription in the Great Mosque's courtyard, the stunning structure was built in AD 851 during the time of Aghlabid dynasty.
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The Archaeological Museum of Sousse was established in 1951 and contains the second largest collection of mosaics in the world after that of the Bardo National Museum in Tunis.

Finally, my favorite part of the journey was going to the different Museums spread across Tunisia. Some of these include The National Bardo Museum, Sbeïtla Archaeological Museum, Utique Museum and The National Museum of Carthage. The rich collection of artifacts displayed tell their own stories, especially the beautiful collection of Roman Mosaics in The Bardo. Make sure to take a tour of your own.

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Originally, The National Bardo Museum was a 15th Century Hafsid Palace. Now, it is the second largest Museum in Africa tracing the history of Tunisia over several millennia.
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Enjoy the three sections of the archaeological museum of Sbeitla: the Capsian culture, the Dionysus empire, and the Mosaic Exhibition.
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Utique Museum was built in 1990 and is located in the Utique archaeological site.
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Explore the magnitude of Carthage during the Punic and Roman eras in the National Museum of Carthage.

We hope that we have inspired you to take a moment to step into the wonder that is Tunisia. For more highlights from Tunisia Street View collection, visit Tunisia Highlights

24 Jul 2017 5:00pm GMT

21 Jul 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Chatting with the National Spelling Bee champ on her success and what’s next

Last month, Ananya Vinay clinched the National Spelling Bee with the word "marocain." (I'm guessing she has never needed to use the "Did you mean" feature in Google Search.) When we ascertained that Ananya endeavored to visit the Googleplex, we invited her for lunch and a peregrination around campus. I had the chance to confabulate with her about her predilection for spelling, her multifarious approach to practicing a preponderance of words, how Google Hangouts helped her maintain equanimity at the Bee, and which venture she plans to vanquish next.

Ananya at Google

Keyword: What was your favorite part of the tour at Google?

Ananya: I really liked seeing the first server (known as the "corkboard server") at the Visitors Center. Then I got to use Google Earth, and zoomed in on my grandmother's house in Kerala, India.

If you could work at Google one day, what kind of job would you want to do?

I'd like to work in the division where they do research on AI and medicine. I'd want to diagnose diseases. This summer I went to a camp called "mini medical school" where I got to do a bunch of dissections-I really like that stuff.

We heard you used Google Hangouts to practice for the spelling bee, can you tell us more about that?

There's a spellers chat on Hangouts, and when you make it to the National Spelling Bee, another speller will add you to the chat. People use the chat to share resources on how to study and quiz each other, which helped expand my knowledge of words. When we used Hangouts Chat (instead of video), autocorrect got in the way of spelling, which is really hilarious. The words are so strange that autocorrect doesn't recognize them. I've beaten autocorrect a lot.

Is there a word that always trips you up? Or does that only happen to me?

When I was younger I always messed up "mozzarella." Now it's easier for me to guess words because I go off of language patterns and word rules, so I can figure out a word based on language of origin. There's a lower chance I'll miss a word because I have a larger word base.

What's next? Are you going to keep doing spelling bees?

I can't compete again because I already won the national competition, but next year I get to open up the Bee. Now I'm going deep into math and science. I'm going into seventh grade, and my new hobby is going to be debate.

If you could have a dress made of marocain, what color would it be?

I'm going to use a spelling bee word: cerulean* (which means sky blue).

*Editor's Note: While I was taking notes during the interview, Ananya immediately called me out on my misspelling of cerulean (not cirulian, as I thought). She's good.


21 Jul 2017 7:00pm GMT

The High Five: Live every week like you’ll discover a dinosaur fossil

This week a human races a shark, and a dinosaur was discovered a million years after it walked the Earth. It's a whole new world out there. Here's what people are searching for this week:

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Phelps has the gold, now he's going for the White

Shark Week returns Sunday night on the Discovery Channel, and this year it's going to the next level with a "race" between Olympian Michael Phelps and a great white shark. So far Phelps is beating "great white shark" in search traffic, but all bets are off in the water. Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are the regions with the most searches for "Shark Week," but people are also interested in Amity Island's resident killer "Jaws," which was the top searched shark movie of the week.

Stumbling on history

This week's excavation of a million-year old Stegomastadon is making news after a boy tripped over its fossilized skull while hiking with his family in New Mexico. Search interest in Stegomastadon went up than 700 percent with queries like, "What does a stegomastodon look like?" and "How long ago did dinosaurs live?" Even with its moment in the limelight this week, Stegomastadon was searched less than Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor.

Get those people a croissant

After 23 days, 21 stages, and more than 2,000 miles, cyclists will cross the Tour de France finish line in Paris this weekend. Curious about how that is physically possible, people are searching: "How many rest days are there in the Tour de France?" and "How long is a stage in the Tour de France?" Search interest in "yellow jersey" (worn by the leader of the race and ultimately presented to the winner) spiked 200 percent this week.

O.J. stirs things up

After serving an eight-year prison sentence for armed robbery, O.J. Simpson was released on parole this week. Leading up to the hearing, people searched: "What did O.J. Simpson do?" "What time is OJ's parole hearing?" and "What is a parole hearing?" Search interest in O.J. spiked 350 percent this week, and interest in his now-deceased attorney Robert Kardashian-yup that Kardashian, father of Kim, Khloe and Kourtney-went up 200 percent.

Harry goes in a new direction

"Dunkirk," Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated movie about the World War II battle in which 300,000 troops were evacuated from a French beach, opened in theaters this week. This month search interest in "Dunkirk evacuation" reached its highest since 2004, and it spiked more than 200 percent this week alone. People are also looking for info on one cast member in particular: One Direction frontman Harry Styles, who makes his acting debut in the movie. Search interest in "Harry Styles Dunkirk" was searched 900 percent more than "Harry Styles songs."


21 Jul 2017 6:00pm GMT

Your swimming-with-the-sharks Assistant

We're gonna need a bigger boat.

I don't know about you, but we've been hearing a lot about sharks this week. So grab your Assistant and let's sink our teeth into summer-or at least learn some fun shark facts.

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  • Let's start with the basics: "Ok Google, tell me a shark fact."
  • The more you know: "What's the fastest shark?" And follow up with "how fast can it swim?" (That would be the shortfin mako shark at 60 MPH.)
  • Don't forget your show! Just say "Ok Google, remind me to tune into my favorite show on Sunday" to your Assistant on your phone.
  • Fish are friends … and sometimes food. To prepare for your watch party: say "Ok Google, add fish gummies to my shopping list."
  • Look for the real thing: "Ok Google, where's the closest beach?"

Duuunnnn dunnnn. Duuunnnnn duunnn… well, you get the point. 🦈

P.S. In case you missed it, the Assistant on Google Home is now available in Australia-home to 180 shark species-saying G'Day to a whole new set of fins friends.

21 Jul 2017 3:00pm GMT

20 Jul 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Around the world with #teampixel

With vacation mode in full swing, #teampixel members are steadily trekking into the far corners of the globe. This week's picks range from a peaceful afternoon in a Beijing temple to the windy roads of the Great St. Bernard Pass. Take a look at our summer faves in this week's #pixelperfect slideshow, and don't forget to pack the sunscreen.

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@zu.fuss - Great St. Bernard Pass in Switzerland
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Left: @chxtagram - Natural History Museum in London, England. Right: @jjthehoser - A bubble on the move in Canada
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@johnsocharlotte - Lakeside sunset in Chicog, Wisconsin
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Left: @doppiosogno - Colorful confetti at a Coldplay concert. Right: @rht_3 - Brooklyn Bridge in NYC
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@mrtroiano - Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, France
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Left: @vasuagarwal - Cube House in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Right: @suluhpandu - An airport tunnel in Indonesia
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Left: @audiphotography - A shadow cast seat in Haryana, India. Right: @bloganotherfeckintravel - Temple of Heaven in Bejiing, China

Have a Pixel? Tag your photos with #teampixel, and you might get featured on the 'gram.

20 Jul 2017 6:30pm GMT

How we’re collaborating with Citrix to deliver cloud-based desktop apps

Businesses of all types are accelerating their transition to the cloud, and for many, desktop infrastructure and applications are part of this journey. Customers often tell us they want to be able to use their current desktop applications from any device and any place just as easily and securely as they can use G Suite.

That's why today, we're announcing a collaboration with Citrix to help deliver desktop applications running in a cloud-hosted environment.

Managing and delivering hosted desktop applications requires several pieces of technology: Google brings highly scalable and reliable infrastructure, a global network to reach customers and employees wherever they may be, and a team of security engineers who work to keep Google Cloud customers secure. Citrix brings the application management, backup and redundancy from XenApp, its desktop virtualization suite, and application delivery with Netscaler. Finally, Google Chromebooks and Android devices together with Citrix XenApp offer a highly secure, managed end-point that provide users a safe and user friendly experience on which to use applications.

All this requires close partnership and excellence in engineering. Google and Citrix have collaborated for years and we're expanding that relationship today in a few key ways:

  • Simplifying the path for customers to more securely transition to the cloud by bringing Citrix Cloud to Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

  • Bringing the application load balancing expertise of Netscaler to the world of containers via Netscaler CPX on GCP

  • Integrating Sharefile with G Suite to use Gmail and edit and store Google Docs natively.

  • Expanding use of secure devices with Citrix Receiver for Chrome and Android link

This collaboration helps address key challenges faced by enterprises moving to the cloud quickly and securely. Both Google and Citrix look forward to making our products work together and to delivering a great combined experience for our customers.

20 Jul 2017 4:00pm GMT

Daydream Labs: Teaching Skills in VR

You can read every recipe, but to really learn how to cook, you need time in the kitchen. Wouldn't it be great if you could slip on a VR headset and have a famous chef walk you through the basics step by step? In the future, you might be able to learn how to cook a delicious five-course meal-all in VR. In fact, virtual reality could help people learn all kinds of skills.

At Daydream Labs, we tried to better understand how interactive learning might work in VR. So we set up an experiment, which aimed at teaching coffee making. We built a training prototype featuring a 3D model of an espresso machine which reacts like a real one would when you press the buttons, turn the knobs or drop the milk. We also added a detailed tutorial. Then, we tasked one group of people to learn how to pull espresso shots by doing it in VR. (At the end, we gave people a detailed report on how they'd done, including an analysis of the quality of their coffee.) For the purpose of comparison, another group learned by watching YouTube videos. Both groups were able to train for as long as they liked before trying to make a coffee in the real world; people assigned to watch the YouTube tutorial normally did so three times, and people who took the VR training normally went through it twice.

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A scene from our coffee training prototype

We were excited to find out that people learned faster and better in VR. Both the number of mistakes made and the time to complete an espresso were significantly lower for those trained in VR (although, in fairness, our tasting panel wasn't terribly impressed with the espressos made by either group!) It's impossible to tell from one experiment, of course, but these early results are promising. We also learned a lot of about how to design future experiments. Here's a glimpse at some of those insights.

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Another scene from our coffee training prototype

First, milk coffee was a bad choice. The physical sensation of tamping simply can't be replicated with a haptic buzz. And no matter what warning we flashed if someone virtually touched a hot steam nozzle, they frequently got too close to it in the real world, and we needed a chaperone at the ready to grab their hand away. This suggests that VR technology isn't quite there when it comes to learning some skills. Until gloves with much better tracking and haptics are mainstream, VR training will be limited to inputs like moving things around or pressing buttons. And if the digital analog is too far removed from the thing it's simulating, it probably won't help all that much with actually learning the skill.

We also learned that people don't follow instructions. We see this in all of the prototypes made in Daydream Labs, but it was especially problematic in the trainer. Instructions on controllers? People left their hands by their sides. Written on a backboard? They were too busy with what was right in front of them. Delivered as a voiceover? They rushed ahead without waiting. We even added a "hint" button, but people thought that it was cheating-and forgot about it after a step or two anyways. We ended up needing to combine all of these methods and add in-scene markers, too. Large green arrows pointing at whatever the user was supposed to interact with next worked well enough to allow us to run the test. But we've by no means solved this problem, and we learned that lots more work needs to be done about incorporating instructions effectively.

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Scenes from our coffee training prototype
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Scenes from our coffee training prototype
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Scenes from our coffee training prototype
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Scenes from our coffee training prototype

Finally, we discovered that it was too difficult to track all the steps a person took. Every choice we gave a user led to an exponential growth in the number of paths through the tutorial. Worse, people didn't always follow our linear "railroad-style" path, so we had to model all kinds of situations; for example, letting the user steam the milk before grinding the coffee. In the end, it was much easier to model the trainer like a video game, where every object has its own state. So instead of the trainer keeping track of all the steps the user did in order ("user has added milk to cup", we had it track whether a key step had been achieved ("cup contains milk").

Despite these challenges, we consider this prototype a success: people learned something new in VR and enjoyed the process. Some of them even came back to use the espresso trainer again after they'd tried to make a real coffee. In fact, once they had the real-world experience, the virtual training had more context and was more meaningful to them. It may be that VR is a useful way to introduce people to a new skill, and then can help them practice and consolidate once they've tried it in the real world. One thing's for sure-there's a lot more to learn about learning in VR!

20 Jul 2017 4:00pm GMT

Applications now open for the Google Policy Fellowship in Europe and Africa

Are you an undergraduate, graduate or law student interested in internet and technology policy? Do you want to get involved in the public dialogue on these issues? If so, the new Google Policy Fellowship pilot programs in Italy, Belgium (Brussels), and three African countries may be for you.

Successful applicants to the program will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on internet policy issues. They will be assigned a mentor at their host organizations and will have the opportunity to work with senior staff members.

Fellows will be expected to make substantive contributions to the work of their organization, including conducting policy research and analysis, drafting reports and white papers, attending government and industry meetings and conferences, and participating in other advocacy activities.

The work of the fellows is decided between the individuals and the organizations. Google provides a small stipend during the period of the fellowship, but has no involvement in defining or conducting the research. Typically, the fellows are postgraduates and they work with the organization on an area of research or study.

For example, in previous years, a fellow with the Strathmore Law School in Nairobi, Kenya, carried out a review of cyber-security conventions around the world, and a fellow at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT in Ghana helped to establish the Creative Commons chapter for Ghana before returning to university to finish her Ph.D. All work is carried out independently of Google.

Who should apply?

The organisations in the program are looking for students who are passionate about technology, and want to gain experience of working on public policy. Students from all majors and degree programs who possess the following qualities are encouraged to apply:

  • Demonstrated or stated interest in Internet and technology policy
  • Excellent academic record, professional/extracurricular/volunteer activities, subject matter expertise
  • First-rate analytical, communications, research, and writing skills
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and efficiently, and to work smartly and resourcefully in a fast-paced environment

Brussels pilot

We are pleased to offer three fellowships, starting in September 2017, at the organizations listed below. These placements will run for six months and the stipend will vary slightly from organization to organization. To apply, please use the link below and send a short email, together with a CV. Deadline for applications is July 31, 2017.

Italy pilot

We're pleased to offer six fellowships, starting in October 2017, and lasting up to six months, at the organizations listed below. To apply, please send a short email to the address below, together with a CV. Deadline for applications is August 27, 2017.

Africa program

We're pleased to offer eight fellowships, starting from late August 2017, across Sub-Saharan Africa. The program will run for six to twelve months, with exact duration varying by organization. Detailed job descriptions can be viewed here. To apply, please complete the form at 2017 Africa Google Policy Fellowship Application. Deadline for applications is August 5, 2017. Beneath is a list of organization and locations for the fellowships.

20 Jul 2017 2:00pm GMT

Welcome to Outer Space View

Editor's note: Starting today, you can now explore the International Space Station in Street View in Google Maps. Thomas Pesquet, Astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), spent six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight engineer. He returned to Earth in June 2017, and in this post he tells us about what it's like to live on the ISS and his experience capturing Street View imagery in zero gravity.

In the six months that I spent on the International Space Station, it was difficult to find the words or take a picture that accurately describes the feeling of being in space. Working with Google on my latest mission, I captured Street View imagery to show what the ISS looks like from the inside, and share what it's like to look down on Earth from outer space.

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Cupola Observation Module

For 16 years, astronauts have been working and living on the ISS, a structure made up of 15 connected modules that floats 250 miles above Earth. The ISS acts as a base for space exploration-possible future missions to the Moon,Mars and asteroids-and gives us a unique perspective on Earth itself. We can collect data on the Earth's oceans, atmosphere, and land surface. We can conduct experiments and studies that we wouldn't be able to do from Earth, like monitoring how the human body reacts to microgravity, solving mysteries of the immune system, studying cyclones in order to alert populations and governments when a storm is approaching, or monitoring marine litter-the rapidly increasing amount of waste found in our oceans.

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US Laboratory Module

There were a few "firsts" on my mission. It was led by Peggy Whitson who, at age 56, became the oldest woman to fly into space and the first woman in history to command two expeditions. The mission was the first time Street View imagery was captured beyond planet Earth, and the first time annotations-helpful little notes that pop up as you explore the ISS-have been added to the imagery. They provide additional information or fun facts like where we work out to stay physically fit, what kind of food we eat, and where we conduct scientific experiments.

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Node 1 (Unity) Peggy Whitson and friends dining at the galley table - big enough for six astronauts.

Because of the particular constraints of living and working in space, it wasn't possible to collect Street View using Google's usual methods. Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS. Then I collected still photos in space, that were sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create panoramic 360 degree imagery of the ISS.

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Node 2 (Harmony) Crew Quarters - Astronaut Sandra Magnus, Expedition 18 flight engineer, poses for a photo in her crew compartment.

We did a lot of troubleshooting before collecting the final imagery that you see today in Street View. The ISS has technical equipment on all surfaces, with lots of cables and a complicated layout with modules shooting off in all directions-left, right, up, down. And it's a busy place, with six crew members carrying out research and maintenance activities 12 hours a day. There are a lot of obstacles up there, and we had limited time to capture the imagery, so we had to be confident that our approach would work. Oh, and there's that whole zero gravity thing.

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Joint Airlock (Quest) - This area contains space suits also known as Extravehicular Mobility Units. They provide crew members with life support that enables extravehicular activity.

None of this would have been possible without the work of the team on the ground, my colleagues (turned roommates) on the ISS, and the countries that came together to send us up to space. Looking at Earth from above made me think about my own world a little differently, and I hope that the ISS on Street View changes your view of the world too.

Click here to go behind the scenes with Thomas and the team.

20 Jul 2017 1:00pm GMT

19 Jul 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Find great apps and games on Google Play with the Editors' Choice update

Summer road trips are always a great way to unplug and enjoy time with friends and family. But how do you go about choosing the best app to navigate unfamiliar roads, edit your vacation photos and videos to post online, or find a fun game to pass time during the long drive?

play

The Editors' Choice section on Google Play has long been a fan favorite, but we're kicking it up a notch by adding better curation to help you find high quality apps and games that you'll love. With the introduction of new editorial pages in our revamped Editors' Choice section, our Google Play editors hand-select apps and games with the best experiences on Android and compile them around popular themes, while offering context on why they love each individual app or game.

Editors' Choice helps you explore different game genres and app categories with reviews on each theme, such as fitness, selling & buying goods, epic role-playing games (RPGs) and top racing games.

Here are some editorial pages we recently put together:

Apps

Games

Available on mobile and desktop in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S., With expansion to more countries soon, our new editorial pages take out the guesswork so that you can quickly decide what apps and games fit best for your travel plans.

19 Jul 2017 5:00pm GMT

Adventures abound: Explore Google Expeditions on your own

Google Expeditions makes it possible for teachers to take their classrooms on virtual reality field trips to amazing places like the Taj Mahal or Machu Picchu. Today, we're starting to roll out a new solo mode of Expeditions for Android, so that anybody can explore more than 600 different tours on their own. Just download the Expeditions app (coming soon for iOS), drop your phone into Cardboard and get ready for an adventure.

For the past two years, Expeditions has been a tool to extend learning inside the classroom, helping students to see and experience the world in new ways, visit college campuses, gain exposure to new career paths and role models, and learn about various social impact initiatives happening around the globe. During this time, we've heard from students, teachers, and even our friends, that they'd love to explore and learn from Expeditions outside the classroom .

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Self-Guided Expeditions let anyone explore anywhere. Students can go on tours at home and share the experience with their family. Teachers can assign tours as homework to complement in-class work. What better way to round out textbook reading about the Founding Fathers than an Expedition about the Hamilton-Burr duel narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda? And of course, anybody who loves to learn and explore can experience all the tours for themselves.

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It's easy to use. All you need is your smartphone, Google Cardboard and the Expeditions app. If you have a Daydream-ready phone, it also works with Daydream View. Simply launch the app, pop your phone in your viewer and you're ready to go. You can take tours as either an Explorer or a Guide. As an Explorer, you experience the tour on your own, and you'll see points of interest highlighted with more information about the incredible sights you're seeing. Guide mode is especially handy if you're a teacher and you want to preview a tour before leading your students on it.

We've also heard from teachers that they want more tools to help explain and highlight things within Expeditions panoramas and environments. The new "Annotations" tool lets a Guide draw within a scene using their finger or a stylus. Each of the connected Explorers will instantly see that same annotation in the scene.

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To get started with Self-Guided Expeditions, check out the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, or dive into the beautiful and fragile Great Barrier Reef. Or, if you love baseball, check out one of the game's great cathedrals with a tour of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Wherever you choose to go, there'll be something amazing to see.

19 Jul 2017 4:00pm GMT

Feed your need to know

As the late, great Dr Seuss once said, "there is no one alive who is you-er than you." At Google, we know this statement is truer than true. Sure, we all have many things in common, but none of us has quite the same mix of passions, interests and goals as the next person. And, while we each keep up to date on the things that matter to us in different ways-social media, news apps, talking to friends-it's hard to find one place to stay in the know about exactly what matters to you. Today that's changing.

People have long turned to Google to get answers, learn about the world, and dig deeper on topics they're passionate about. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app, making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you-even when you don't have a query in mind.

A smart feed that changes with you

Since introducing the feed in December, we've advanced our machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what's interesting and important to you. You'll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what's trending in your area and around the world. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be.

As the world and your interests change, your feed will continue to grow and evolve along with you. You'll notice that your feed will also reflect your interest level for various topics-for example, if you're a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that. But if you see something that isn't up your alley, unfollowing topics is easy too. Just tap on a given card in your feed or visit your Google app settings.

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Follow your favorites

While we've been getting better at understanding your interests, it hasn't always been easy for you to choose new topics for your feed. To help you keep up with exactly what you care about, you'll now be able to follow topics, right from Search results. Look out for a new "Follow" button next to certain types of search results-including movies, sports teams, your favorite bands or music artists, famous people, and more. A quick tap of the the follow button and you'll start getting updates and stories about that topic in your feed.


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Broader context and deeper exploration

To provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources, as well as other related information and articles. And when available, you'll be able to fact check and see other relevant information to help get a more holistic understanding about the topics in your feed.


just news

We're also making it easier to dive deeper into any of the topics you see in your feed. At the top of every card, you'll see a header that puts your interests front and center, letting you search that topic on Google with one tap.

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Get more of the stuff you care about

With these updates to the feed, it's easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you. You'll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them. Whether you're a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head and burgeoning brewmaster; or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy.


The new feed experience is available in the Google app for Android (including the Pixel Launcher) and iOS, launching today in the U.S. and rolling out internationally in the next couple of weeks. Just open the Google app and scroll up to get started.

We'll leave you with some final words from Dr. Seuss: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

19 Jul 2017 7:05am GMT

Empowering Indonesian entrepreneurs to take action

Editor's note: This post comes from Yansen Kamto, Chief Executive and Founder of KIBAR, which mentors and nurtures startups through tech incubator programs, and by building innovation hubs. Today, they're officially joining the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network.

Indonesia is home to 17,504 islands, 1,128 ethnic groups and 746 local languages. Half of our country is under 30 years old. These numbers are impressive, and they capture how we're a nation with big potential. There's an Indonesian saying that comes to mind, though: Tong kosong nyaring bunyinya. Metaphorically speaking, all talk and no action won't get us very far.

That's why I'm so inspired by entrepreneurs like Leonika Sari and Ray Rezky Ananda, who are taking action and making a real difference each day. Leonika is the founder and CEO of Reblood, an app that is saving lives daily by making blood donations in Indonesia easier than ever. Bantuternak founder Ray set up a peer-to-peer lending platform to help local farmers raise cows and increase the quality of cattle. Bantuternak empowers local economic growth by connecting potential investors to farmers and providing training on livestock farming.

I'm especially proud of these inspiring entrepreneurs because they're graduates of KIBAR's incubation programs. They show us how technology, business and an entrepreneurial spirit can come together to lift up our society at home, and help support and encourage innovation in other communities around the world.

I started KIBAR in 2011 to help make Indonesia the region's tech leader, and ultimately, a place where we build meaningful technological solutions for the world. At KIBAR, our goal is to build an end-to-end ecosystem for young Indonesian entrepreneurs, equipping them with the best resources. That's why I'm so excited we're joining the global Google for Entrepreneurs partner network today.

KIBAR - 2nd floor - GfE mural.jpg
Google for Entrepreneurs fits right in with our colorful traditional Indonesian art motifs.
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Entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and innovators at work in the Google Lounge at the newly constructed KIBAR Menara Space
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Entrepreneurs are Indonesia's greatest hope for the future, as our "Hope Wall" attests.

KIBAR is the first member from Indonesia joining a worldwide community of more than 50 partners. Through this Google for Entrepreneurs partnership, KIBAR members can now participate in GFE Exchanges, a series of week-long, industry-specific global immersion programs aimed at helping startups gain access to new markets and insights. We'll also have the opportunity to represent Indonesia at Google Demo Day, an event that brings together a diverse group of startups from around the world to showcase their technology and meet top investors and mentors in Silicon Valley.

We're thrilled to have Google's resources and shared expertise for our community. Thanks to this partnership, KIBAR members will have access to resources and workspace from more than 30 spaces worldwide-from Denver to Dubai to Dublin and other cities across North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. They can network more than ever, meeting new people and building their businesses from any one or all of Google's six Campuses, too. This means we're one step closer to helping Indonesia's entrepreneurs quickly scale and succeed at home and in larger international markets.

Yes, we're a country rich in talent and natural resources, but we're not yet leading global conversations about some of the most important issues affecting each one of us. These matters include health, agriculture, education, infrastructure and tourism. Indonesia's entrepreneurs are critical to addressing these issues.

As Reblood, Bantuternak and other amazing startups show us, this is the most amazing time for Indonesians to be entrepreneurs. I welcome everyone to become a part of Indonesia's tech revolution. Come join us and Google in this global network. Together we're going to work to provide innovative and meaningful solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.

19 Jul 2017 6:15am GMT

01 Apr 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google April Fools' Day 2017

April Fools' Day should probably be called Google Fools' Day, since there are so many Google hoaxes.

Google Japan developed a "bubble wrap" version of the Japanese keyboard. "The Google Japanese input bubble wrap version is a keyboard that realizes 'I want to press in my mind, I want to keep pressing'," according to Google Translate.



Another product for your smart home? Meet Google Gnome, "a voice-activated, hands-free tool designed to make backyard living effortless. Need to know what animal is squeaking in your bushes? Stay still and ask Gnome what sound an opossum makes. Running low on birdseed? That's where Gnome comes in. You can even use Gnome's proprietary high-intensity lasers to trim your hedges into whatever shape your heart desires."



The Chrome OS team brings the most popular mobile accessories to the Chromebook, which already blurs the line between mobile and desktop. Chromebook Groupie Stick, Chromebook Cardboard, Chromebook Workout Armband will soon be available in the Google Store. "To take advantage of beautiful, high-resolution displays, as well as great photo editing apps, we've carefully engineered the first Chromebook-sized selfie stick. Never again will you miss the perfect groupie."


Haptic Helpers make VR even more immersive. "We're taking VR to the next level with Haptic Helpers. Using a modest set of everyday tools, these VR virtuosos can simulate more than 10,000 unique experiences, all from the comfort of your own home. Smell the roses. Listen to the ocean. Feel a fluffy dog!"


You can now play the classic arcade game MS. PAC-MAN in Google Maps. "Avoid Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Sue as you swerve the streets of real places around the world. But eat the pac-dots fast, because this game will only be around for a little while." Just go to the Google Maps site or open the Google Maps app for Android or iOS and click or tap MS. PAC-MAN at the bottom.


Google Cloud Platform expands to Mars. "By opening a dedicated extraterrestrial cloud region, we're bringing the power of Google's compute, network, and storage to the rest of the solar system, unlocking a plethora of possibilities for astronomy research, exploration of Martian natural resources and interplanetary life sciences. This region will also serve as an important node in an extensive network throughout the solar system. Our first interplanetary data center - affectionately nicknamed 'Ziggy Stardust' - will open in 2018," mentions Google.


Google Netherlands came up with Google Wind, a machine learning technology that controls the weather. "The Netherlands has many windmills, some no longer in use, we can connect to Google Cloud Platform. So we use the existing Dutch infrastructure, machine learning, weather patterns to control the network of windmills when rain is approaching. The first test results are very promising: we seem to be able to provide sun and clear skies for everyone in the Netherlands," mentions Google Netherlands blog.



Google's search app for iOS is now optimized for cats and dogs. "On the Google app for iOS, you can now use 3D Touch on the app icon or head to settings and select I'm Feeling Woof or I'm Feeling Meow to let your dogs and cats get info on topics they care about-whether that means squeaky toys or a bowl of milk!"


Google also launched Google Play for Pets, a new category of Android games designed for cats, dogs and other pets.


Google Translate's Word Lens feature supports a new language: Heptapod B, the alien language from the movie "Arrival". "The challenge with understanding Heptapod B is its nonlinear orthography. Fortunately, Google's neural machine translation system employs an encoder/decoder system that internally represents sentences as high-dimensional vectors. These vectors map well to the non-linear orthography of the Heptapod language and they are really the enabling technical factor in translating Heptapod B."

01 Apr 2017 7:25am GMT

19 Feb 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Gmail Blocks JavaScript Attachments

If you try to send a JavaScript attachment using Gmail or if you want to download a .js attachment, you'll get a new anti-virus warning: "Blocked for security reasons", "1 attachment contains a virus or blocked file. Downloading this attachment is disabled".


.JS has been added to the long list of file types that are blocked by Gmail for security reasons. The full list: .ADE, .ADP, .BAT, .CHM, .CMD, .COM, .CPL, .EXE, .HTA, .INS, .ISP, .JAR, .JS (NEW), .JSE, .LIB, .LNK, .MDE, .MSC, .MSI, .MSP, .MST, .NSH .PIF, .SCR, .SCT, .SHB, .SYS, .VB, .VBE, .VBS, .VXD, .WSC, .WSF, .WSH. "To prevent against potential viruses, Gmail doesn't allow you to attach certain types of files, including: certain file types (listed above), including their compressed form (like .gz or .bz2 files) or when found within archives (like .zip or .tgz files), documents with malicious macros, archives whose listed file content is password protected, archives whose content includes a password protected archive."

The GSuite Blog informs that "for inbound mail, senders will get a bounce message explaining why the email was blocked. If you still need to send .js files for legitimate reasons, you can use Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, or other storage solutions to share or send your files."

You can still send JavaScript files using Gmail if you change the extension. What about downloading old .js attachments? Try the workarounds from this post.

19 Feb 2017 10:39am GMT

25 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Shows Colorful Suggestions

Google Image Search has a different way to display suggestions: it now shows a long list of colorful boxes with related searches. You can click one or more boxes to dynamically refine search results.


For example, when searching for [sportswear], Google shows suggestions like: [women basketball], [tennis], [badminton], [golf], [volleyball], [nike woman], [alexander wang], [adidas], [fashion], [performance], [vintage], [trendy], [urban], [school], [gym], [90's], [70's], [vogue], [luxe], [avant garde], [korean], [italian], [french] and more. It's interesting to notice that each category of suggestions has a different color.




Here's the old interface, which had fewer suggestions and displayed thumbnails next to suggestions:

25 Jan 2017 9:39pm GMT

19 Jan 2017

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Staying with the US Digital Service

A few months ago, I took a leave of absence from Google to do a stint with the US Digital Service. A lot of people know about the US Digital Service because they helped rescue the healthcare.gov website. But you might not realize that the US Digital Service has helped veterans get their health benefits, […]

19 Jan 2017 3:47am GMT

16 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Starts Playing YouTube Videos

Google Image Search's mobile interface tests a new feature that starts playing snippets from a YouTube video at the top of the search results page. It's not disclosed as an ad, there's no sound and you can't stop or hide the video, which continues to play on repeat.



Right now, the experiment seems to be limited to fashion-related queries like [men jackets], [lookbook], [winter outfit], which match videos from YouTube channels like New Look and River Island. "New Look is a South African-owned British global fashion retailer with a chain of high street shops. (...) The chain sells womenswear, menswear, and clothing for teens," according to Wikipedia.

Google only shows labels like: "New Look on YouTube", even though this looks like an experimental ad format. I hope it will never become a regular feature, as it's pretty annoying and it wastes Internet bandwidth.

16 Jan 2017 10:49am GMT

13 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Desktop Notifications, Now For Everyone

It looks like YouTube's notification experiment is now a regular feature and you can no longer disable it by clearing cookies. When sign in to your Google account, YouTube's desktop site no longer shows Google+ notifications in the navigation bar: it replaces them with YouTube notifications.

"Your notifications live here. Subscribe to your favorite channels to get notified about their latest videos," informs the new notification box.


13 Jan 2017 2:08pm GMT

29 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Notifications in the Navigation Bar

YouTube has recently started to experiment with replacing Google+ notifications in the navigation bar with YouTube notifications. You get notifications for recently uploaded videos from your subscribed channels, but only if you've enabled notifications for those channels. For example, you can go to the subscription manager and click the bell icon next to a channel to enable or disable notifications.

The settings button sends you to the Notifications section from YouTube's Settings page and the 3-dot icon next to each notification lets you turn off notifications from the corresponding channel.


If you don't like this experiment, you can always clear cookies for youtube.com in your browser's settings and opt out.

29 Dec 2016 12:24pm GMT

Google's New Mobile UI for Recipe Search

Just in time for New Year's dinner, Google has a new mobile interface for recipe search. I searched for [avocado mayo] and noticed a long list of keywords below the search box and ads: salad, chicken, shrimp, vegan, bacon and more. You can select more than one keyword and this helps you refine the results.


When selecting a related search, you get a completely different interface that only shows recipes: bigger expandable cards, bigger thumbnails, infinite scrolling.



29 Dec 2016 11:09am GMT

08 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Translate's 5000 Character Limit

For some reason, Google Translate now has a limit of 5000 characters per translation. There's even a character counter at the bottom of the input box. If you happen to paste a long text that has more than 5000 characters, you'll get an error message ("maximum characters exceeded: X characters over 5000 maximum") and a "translate more" option that lets you translate the rest of the text.


I don't understand the purpose of this restriction, considering that Google doesn't impose any limitation when translating web pages. It's worth pointing out that Google Translate's API has a similar limitation: "the maximum size of each text to be translated is 5000 characters, not including any HTML tags". Google's translation card from Google Search has a different limit: about 2800 characters.

08 Dec 2016 6:18pm GMT

Google Tests Movie Ratings

Google's knowledge graph card tests a feature that lets you like or dislike movies and TV shows. For example, when you search for "It's a Wonderful Life", you can click like or dislike and check the percentage of Google users who liked it.


The same buttons show up when you search for a TV show like "Saturday Night Live".


Search Engine Land reports that Google confirmed this experiment, which was first spotted last month.

08 Dec 2016 11:45am GMT

06 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google's Holiday Decorations

When you search Google for [Christmas], [Hanukkah], [Kwanzaa], [Festivus] or other related queries, you'll see some special decorations related to each holiday. Festivus is "a holiday celebrated by those seeking an alternative to the commercialism and pressures of the Christmas holiday season."

Christmas trees, Santa Claus, the Christmas star adorn the Google search page and bring the hoiday spirit.


The Hanukkah menorah and Kwanzaa's Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles) are lighting up Google's search pages.




Here are the decorations from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

06 Dec 2016 2:21pm GMT

New Interface for Google Search

Google's desktop search pages have a new interface for navigating between search results. The search box is bigger, there's a new search icon and Google now only shows 2 or 3 specialized search engines next to "all", down from 4. Apps and shopping seem to be missing from the list of search engines, so you can only pick from image search, video search, Google News, Google Maps, Google Flights and Google Books.


The settings dropdown is now placed below the search box and it includes the option that lets you hide private results. You can still change search settings, languages, turn on or turn off SafeSearch, use advanced search options, open Web History or go to the help center.


Search tools are now simply called tools and they include the same options: search by date and verbatim.


Image search lets you quickly go to the saved images page and change SafeSearch setting.


Google Shopping is broken. While the homepage still loads, when you click a product image or search for something, Google shows an empty page.



Here's the old Google Search interface, via Wikipedia:

06 Dec 2016 1:31pm GMT

17 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Random Facts About Animals in Google Search

Did you know that "male lions defend the pride's territory while females do most of the hunting"? Did you know that "the name humpback whale describes the motion it makes as it arches its back out of the water in preparation for a dive"? What about this one: "ostriches have the largest eyes of any land living animal and they measure 50 mm (2 inches) in diameter"?

Google now shows random facts about animals in the "did you know" section of the Knowledge Graph card. They're extracted from various sites and Google actually links to the source.



Some example of queries that return random facts: [cat], [lion], [tiger], [alpaca], [giraffe], [ostrich], [duck], [elk], [raccoon], [shark]. It's worth pointing out that you can get another random fact by reloading the page or searching again for the same animal.

17 Oct 2016 9:00pm GMT

15 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Found in Related Searches

Google Knowledge Graph has more than one billion entities and more than 70 billion facts about these entities (people, places, things). It's huge and it brings a different dimension to search: understanding concepts and the relation between them.

Mobile Google Search now has a section called "found in related search", which shows a few entities frequently mentioned in other related searches. For example, I searched for [ethanol molar mass] and Google showed 2 lists of organic and inorganic compounds: one of them was found in the related search [properties of alkanes] and the other was for [polar solvents]. Ethanol is a polar solvent which can be obtained from alkenes, while alkenes can be derived from alkanes, so Google's suggestions are somewhat useful.


This feature is not limited to chemistry, it also works for other topics. Here's a different query: [tour eiffel design], which shows other "towers of the world" and "tourist attractions in France".



15 Oct 2016 7:34am GMT

14 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Converts Queries Into Questions

I noticed an interesting Google Search experiment in the mobile/tablet interface. When searching for [alcohol with the highest boiling], Google converted my query into a question: "Which alcohol has the highest boiling point?", then it tried to answer the question using a snippet from a web page and then it added a "more results" link. Google's link sent to me to the search results page for the question inferred by Google.

14 Oct 2016 10:29pm GMT

Google's Card for Directions

When you search Google for [directions] or [get directions], you get an error message: "No results for that place. Try entering it below to get suggestions." Google shows a special card for directions with cool features like autocomplete, but the error message is out of place because you haven't typed a location.


Suggestions aren't very smart. For example, I typed "Brisbane, Australia" as the starting point and then I started to type "Mel" as the destination. Google suggested 3 places from California, strictly based on my location, while ignoring that Melbourne is a much better suggestion.


Google shows directions inside the card and you can pick between driving, walking, cycling or using public transportation.


To see the directions, just click the text that describes your favorite route. If there is only one route, pick that one. Another option is to click "directions" and go to the Google Maps site.

14 Oct 2016 9:27pm GMT

Add Home Screen Shortcuts to Google Maps Directions

I'm not sure if this is a new feature, but it must be pretty recent. Google Maps for Android lets you add home screen shortcuts to directions directly from the app. Just search for directions, tap the menu icon and pick "add route to Home screen". This works best when you select the current location, but it's not a requirement.



You may also see this message: "Go here often? Add this route. Tap here to add a Home screen shortcut to this route."


Another option is to add the directions widget, which lets you pick the shortcut name, whether to start turn-by-turn navigation and more.

14 Oct 2016 8:48pm GMT

18 Jun 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

A brief update

Over the last couple years, I've seen more and more people in technology trying to make government work better. They're idealists who are also making a large impact. These are people that I respect-some of them worked to fix healthcare.gov, for example. From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy […]

18 Jun 2016 1:57am GMT

03 Feb 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Thanks, Amit

Amit Singhal just announced that he's retiring toward the end of the month. Amit has been a formative part of Google's search team, but he's also a good friend. Last year, after he marked 15 years with Google, I wrote this about Amit's contributions: Amit Singhal, one of the unsung heroes of Google, just celebrated […]

03 Feb 2016 7:49pm GMT

19 Jan 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Solving a Verizon issue (Nexus 5X)

I solved a problem today and figured that I'd document it for the rest of the world. Every time someone left me a voicemail on Verizon, I would get a cryptic text from Verizon at 900080006202 that looked like "//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=NM;id=1;c=1;t=v;s=1XXXXXXXXXX;dt=18/01/2016 13:40-0900;l=13;dev_t=5" or "//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=MBU;dev_t=5". Here's what happened. It turns out that Verizon has three kinds of […]

19 Jan 2016 2:00am GMT

31 Oct 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2015: USB Drive

I went a little overboard for Halloween last year. And as you can tell from my the Halloween category on my blog, sometimes I get a little too excited about Halloween. So this year I decided to go quick, easy, and lo-fi as a USB drive: To make a thumb drive/USB key, I just took […]

31 Oct 2015 8:02pm GMT

24 Sep 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Give Google Contributor a try

Recently I've seen several interesting conversations about ad blocking, and I wanted to remind people about a great offering called Google Contributor. With Google Contributor, you contribute a certain amount of money each month. That subscription means that you see fewer ads on the web, and you support the sites that you visit with your […]

24 Sep 2015 3:09pm GMT

09 Apr 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Berkshire Hathaway

My taste in financial advice runs toward the simple and the lessons I've learned the hard way. But I still like reading about investing/finance, and I recently read through the 2014 annual report for Berkshire Hathaway. Given that it was the 50th anniversary of Warren Buffett taking charge of Berkshire, I have to admit that […]

09 Apr 2015 6:47am GMT

01 Apr 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

My next project: AutoSEO

This was an April Fool's joke. I've been working really hard with some friends on a project to handle SEO automatically. Now we're ready to take the wraps off it over at seo.ninja. One of the ideas that helped the World Wide Web succeed was that it separated presentation and content. You could write your […]

01 Apr 2015 12:23am GMT

01 Mar 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Next 30 day challenge: social media/news cleanse

For January 2015, I tried to declutter around the house for 15 minutes a day. We now have a couple rooms that are much cleaner, and I gave away a bunch of magazines. For February 2015, my 30 day challenge was to go on daily 15 minute walks with my wife. That was nice. Lately […]

01 Mar 2015 4:40am GMT

19 Feb 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Fixing “full path disclosure” issues

Whether you're running a web service or a blog, you should always keep your software fully patched to prevent attacks and minimize your attack surface. Another smart step is to prevent full path disclosures. For example, if your blog or service throws an error like "Warning: require(ABSPATHwp-includes/load.php) [function.require]: failed to open stream: No such file […]

19 Feb 2015 6:43am GMT

26 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

The Emperor's Garden

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

26 Aug 2011 12:12pm GMT

15 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

15 Aug 2011 4:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2011

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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

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Idea: Topical Chat

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

16 Dec 2010 2:55pm GMT

Idea: CrowdChat

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

16 Dec 2010 7:26am GMT

Google Body Browser

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

16 Dec 2010 2:17am GMT

10 Dec 2010

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Pictures of the Cr-48

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

10 Dec 2010 5:23am GMT

09 Dec 2010

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Chromedroidpad

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

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

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Device Evolution

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

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

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How to Disable Google Instant Previews

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

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

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

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

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

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

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

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

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

12 Nov 2010 7:00am GMT

04 Nov 2010

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

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

04 Nov 2010 2:58am GMT

24 Oct 2010

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See a Random Street View Location

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

24 Oct 2010 6:42am GMT