22 Aug 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Next steps to ensure transparency, choice and control in digital advertising

Ads play a major role in sustaining the free and open web. They underwrite the great content and services that people enjoy and support a diverse universe of creators and publishers. But the ad-supported web is at risk if digital advertising practices don't evolve to reflect people's changing expectations around how data is collected and used.

The mission is clear: we need to ensure that people all around the world can continue to access ad supported content on the web while also feeling confident that their privacy is protected. As we shared in May, we believe the path to making this happen is also clear: increase transparency into how digital advertising works, offer users additional controls, and ensure that people's choices about the use of their data are respected.

Working together across the ecosystem

The web ecosystem is complex-it includes users, publishers, advertisers, technology and service providers, advocacy groups, regulatory bodies and more. We've seen that approaches that don't account for the whole ecosystem-or that aren't supported by the whole ecosystem-will not succeed. For example, efforts by individual browsers to block cookies used for ads personalization without suitable, broadly accepted alternatives have fallen down on two accounts.

First, blocking cookies materially reduces publisher revenue. Based on an analysis of a randomly selected fraction of traffic on each of the 500 largest Google Ad Manager publishers globally over the last three months, we evaluated how the presence of a cookie affected programmatic revenue. Traffic for which there was no cookie present yielded an average of 52 percent less revenue for the publisher than traffic for which there was a cookie present. Lower revenue for traffic without a cookie was consistent for publishers across verticals-and was especially notable for publishers in the news vertical. For the news publishers in the studied group, traffic for which there was no cookie present yielded an average of 62 percent less revenue than traffic for which there was a cookie present.1

Second, broad cookie restrictions have led some industry participants to use workarounds like fingerprinting, an opaque tracking technique that bypasses user choice and doesn't allow reasonable transparency or control. Adoption of such workarounds represents a step back for user privacy, not a step forward.

Exploring new privacy-forward standards for the web

Today, Chrome shared an update on their efforts to explore new foundational technologies for the web that will deliver on the vision laid out above-widespread access to free content and strong privacy for users. Chrome has offered a number of preliminary proposals to the web standards community in areas such as conversion measurement, fraud protection and audience selection. The goal of these proposals is to promote a dialog on ways browsers could advance user privacy, while still ensuring publishers can earn what they need to fund great content and user experiences, and advertisers can deliver relevant ads to the right people and measure their impact.

Getting the web standards community to work on developing a new set of technologies is a tall order, but it's not unprecedented. The community has worked together on a number of similar challenges over the years-such as gaining consensus to phase out browser plug-ins and reaching agreement to move away from Flash. We expect this will take years, not months, and we don't anticipate any near-term changes to how our ads products work on Chrome. But this is important work and we support the effort.

Pursuing a new level of ads transparency and user control

While Chrome explores new technologies for the web, we're also acting on the commitment we made in May of this year to increase the transparency of digital ads and offer users more control. Over the past few months, we've been listening to feedback from users and partners, and have arrived at an initial proposal to give people more visibility into and control of the data used for advertising. We've begun sharing this proposal for discussion to key industry and stakeholder groups and we're eager to hear and incorporate feedback.

Whether it's working with the standards community to explore a new set of technologies, or getting feedback from participants across the digital ads industry on a proposal to increase transparency and offer users more control, Google is committed to partnering with others to raise the bar for how data is collected and used. Only by working together can we define and implement new practices that result in better, more privacy-focused experiences for users while addressing the requirements of publishers and advertisers that fund and ensure access to free content on the web.


1. Google Ad Manager data; n=500 global publishers; Analysis based on an A/B experiment where cookies are disabled on a randomly selected fraction of each publisher's traffic; May-August 2019

22 Aug 2019 1:00pm GMT

Building a more private web

Privacy is paramount to us, in everything we do. So today, we are announcing a new initiative to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web. We're calling this a Privacy Sandbox.


Technology that publishers and advertisers use to make advertising even more relevant to people is now being used far beyond its original design intent - to a point where some data practices don't match up to user expectations for privacy. Recently, some other browsers have attempted to address this problem, but without an agreed upon set of standards, attempts to improve user privacy are having unintended consequences.


First, large scale blocking of cookies undermine people's privacy by encouraging opaque techniques such as fingerprinting. With fingerprinting, developers have found ways to use tiny bits of information that vary between users, such as what device they have or what fonts they have installed to generate a unique identifier which can then be used to match a user across websites. Unlike cookies, users cannot clear their fingerprint, and therefore cannot control how their information is collected. We think this subverts user choice and is wrong.


Second, blocking cookies without another way to deliver relevant ads significantly reduces publishers' primary means of funding, which jeopardizes the future of the vibrant web. Many publishers have been able to continue to invest in freely accessible content because they can be confident that their advertising will fund their costs. If this funding is cut, we are concerned that we will see much less accessible content for everyone. Recent studies have shown that when advertising is made less relevant by removing cookies, funding for publishers falls by 52% on average1.


So we are doing something different. We want to find a solution that both really protects user privacy and also helps content remain freely accessible on the web. At I/O, we announced a plan to improve the classification of cookies, give clarity and visibility to cookie settings, as well as plans to more aggressively block fingerprinting. We are making progress on this, and today we are providing more details on our plans to restrict fingerprinting. Collectively we believe all these changes will improve transparency, choice, and control.


But, we can go further. Starting with today's announcements, we will work with the web community to develop new standards that advance privacy, while continuing to support free access to content. Over the last couple of weeks, we've started sharing our preliminary ideas for a Privacy Sandbox - a secure environment for personalization that also protects user privacy. Some ideas include new approaches to ensure that ads continue to be relevant for users, but user data shared with websites and advertisers would be minimized by anonymously aggregating user information, and keeping much more user information on-device only. Our goal is to create a set of standards that is more consistent with users' expectations of privacy.


We are following the web standards process and seeking industry feedback on our initial ideas for the Privacy Sandbox. While Chrome can take action quickly in some areas (for instance, restrictions on fingerprinting) developing web standards is a complex process, and we know from experience that ecosystem changes of this scope take time. They require significant thought, debate, and input from many stakeholders, and generally take multiple years.


To move things forward as quickly as possible, we have documented the specific problems we are trying to solve together, and we are sharing a series of explainers with the web community. We have also summarized these ideas today on the Chromium blog.


We look forward to getting feedback on this approach from the web platform community, including other browsers, publishers, and their advertising partners. Thank you in advance for your help and input on this process - we believe that we must solve these problems together to ensure that the incredible benefits of the open, accessible web continue into the next generation of the internet.

1 Google Ad Manager data; n=500 global publishers; Analysis based on an A/B experiment where cookies are disabled on a randomly selected fraction of each publisher's traffic; May-August 2019. More information available on the Google ads blog.


22 Aug 2019 1:00pm GMT

A pop of color and more: updates to Android’s brand

Over the last decade, Android's open platform has created a thriving community of manufacturers and developers that reach a global audience with their devices and apps. This has expanded beyond phones to tablets, cars, watches, TVs and more-with more than 2.5 billion active devices around the world. As we continue to build Android for everyone in the community, our brand should be as inclusive and accessible as possible-and we think we can do better in a few ways.

Android Q is Android 10

Android with map

First, we're changing the way we name our releases. Our engineering team has always used internal code names for each version, based off of tasty treats, or desserts, in alphabetical order. This naming tradition has become a fun part of the release each year externally, too. But we've heard feedback over the years that the names weren't always understood by everyone in the global community.

For example, L and R are not distinguishable when spoken in some languages. So when some people heard us say Android Lollipop out loud, it wasn't intuitively clear that it referred to the version after KitKat. It's even harder for new Android users, who are unfamiliar with the naming convention, to understand if their phone is running the latest version. We also know that pies are not a dessert in some places, and that marshmallows, while delicious, are not a popular treat in many parts of the world.

As a global operating system, it's important that these names are clear and relatable for everyone in the world. So, this next release of Android will simply use the version number and be called Android 10. We think this change helps make release names simpler and more intuitive for our global community. And while there were many tempting "Q" desserts out there, we think that at version 10 and 2.5 billion active devices, it was time to make this change.

A refreshed look for the brand

The Android brand has evolved over time. Back in 2014, we updated our logo and brand color, and this year, we're introducing a more modern, accessible look.

Android new logo with robot

The design of the logo draws inspiration from the most recognizable non-human member of the community, the Android robot. The robot belongs to everyone in the community, and has long been a symbol of the fun and curiosity at the heart of Android. Now, it has a special place in our logo.

We also changed the logo from green to black. It's a small change, but we found the green was hard to read, especially for people with visual impairments. The logo is often paired with colors that can make it hard to see-so we came up with a new set of color combinations that improve contrast.

Video explaining new logo and brand identity

The next evolution of Android

We'll officially start using the updated logo in the coming weeks with the final release of Android 10. Thank you to the community for supporting Android and inspiring us over the years.

22 Aug 2019 1:00pm GMT

21 Aug 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Additional safeguards to protect the quality of our ad network

Supporting a healthy ads ecosystem that works for publishers, advertisers, and users continues to be a top priority in our effort to sustain a free and open web. As the ecosystem evolves, our ad systems and defenses must adapt as well. Today, we'd like to highlight some of our efforts to protect the quality of our ad network, and the benefits to our publishers and the advertising ecosystem.

Last year, we introduced a site verification process in AdSense to provide additional safeguards before a publisher can serve ads. This feature allows us to provide more direct feedback to our publishers on the eligibility of their site, while allowing us to communicate issues sooner and lessen the likelihood of future violations. As an added benefit, confirming which websites a publisher intends to monetize allows us to reduce potential misuse of a publisher's ad code, such as when a bad actor tries to claim a website as their own, or when they use a legitimate publisher's ad code to serve ads on bad content in an attempt to demonetize the good website - each day, we now block more than 120 million ad requests with this feature.

This year, we're enhancing our defenses even more by improving the systems that identify potentially invalid traffic or high risk activities before ads are served. These defenses allow us to limit ad serving as needed to further protect our advertisers and users, while maximizing revenue opportunities for legitimate publishers. While most publishers will not notice any changes to their ad traffic, we are working on improving the experience for those that may be impacted, by providing more transparency around these actions. Publishers on AdSense and AdMob that are affected will soon be notified of these ad traffic restrictions directly in their Policy Center. This will allow them to understand why they may be experiencing reduced ad serving, and what steps they can take to resolve any issues and continue partnering with us.

We're excited for what's to come, and will continue to roll out improvements to these systems with all of our users in mind. Look out for future updates on our ongoing efforts to promote and sustain a healthy ads ecosystem.

21 Aug 2019 1:00pm GMT

20 Aug 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

“Lite” but packs a punch: Google Go comes to Android everywhere

Google Go is a lightweight, fast app that helps you access information, both online and in the world around you, even with an unstable connection. It does this while using less storage and memory, helping your phone stay fast. Google Go has been available in a few countries and on Android (Go edition) devices since 2017, and starting today, it's available on the Play Store worldwide.


Millions of people have already used Google Go to find information on the web and make sense of the world around them. But we know that people everywhere can sometimes struggle with spotty connections, phone storage, and reading or translating text.


Reading made easier

Earlier this year at I/O, we showcased Lens in Google Go, a way for you to read, translate and search the words you see by using your camera. When you find text you'd like help with, open Lens and point your camera at it to hear the words read out loud to you, translate them, or both.
Lens in Google Go

Some people would rather listen to content instead of reading on the web, especially if it's lengthy. Google Go also offers an AI-powered read-out-loud feature that lets you listen to any web page, with words highlighted as they're read so you can follow along.

Read out loud Google Go

Use less storage, and worry less about your connection

Google Go helps you use less storage on your device, and keeps an unreliable connection from slowing you down. At just over 7MB, Google Go helps make sure your phone stays speedy when you're traversing the web. It also puts web versions of your favorite apps at your fingertips, giving you the option of downloading fewer apps on your phone. And if you lose connectivity when you using Google Go, it will remember your place and even retrieve your search results for you once you're back online.


Starting today, Google Go is available on the Play Store globally for all Android devices using Lollipop and above.

20 Aug 2019 4:00pm GMT

New tools to help Spanish speakers build their careers

Spanish is my first language, and it's what I spoke with my family growing up in Costa Rica. Even today, after making the U.S. my home for more than two decades, it's the language my brain thinks in. So I understand well the challenges of living in a country where the spoken language is your second language, or even completely new to you. Especially for those trying to get ahead-taking classes, learning new skills, finding work-it can be really hard.

That's why I'm thrilled that today, through Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity for everyone, we're making new resources available to help Spanish speakers learn skills they need to prepare for a job or grow a business in today's economy.

For example, our Applied Digital Skills curriculum helps learners develop crucial digital skills to thrive in the workplace through free, video-based lessons. We also offer minicourses in Spanish for local businesses and job seekers on our free Google Primer app, which teaches business and digital marketing skills through short and easy interactive lessons. Our IT Support Professional Certificate, which is designed to prepare beginners for entry-level IT support jobs in as little as six months, will be available in Spanish starting September 16. These resources and more can be accessed at grow.google/espanol.

Skills like these help people thrive in today's jobs. According to Brookings, nearly two thirds of all new jobs created since 2010 required either high or medium-level digital skills.

The Latino community makes up 16 percent of the U.S. labor market and will make up half of the people entering the workforce by 2025. Latino nonprofits are key resources for educating and training community members. Google.org is making a grant to the Hispanic Federation to launch an accelerator to strengthen institutions serving the Latino community with workforce development and digital training programs. Through this grant, the Hispanic Federation will enhance the capacity of 20 Latino-led and Latino-serving nonprofit organizations, which in turn will provide career-aligned digital skills training to more than 10,000 Latinos over the next two years. This builds on our ongoing commitment to the Latino community, which includes a $5 million grant announced earlier this year to bring computer science education to over one million Latino students and their families by 2022.

The LULAC Institute will integrate Applied Digital Skills and Primer into their programming, to bring digital skills training in Spanish to more than 60 local technology centers around the country. Community organizations across the U.S. can also apply to join the Grow with Google Partner Program, to access bilingual resources and trainers that help community members learn essential skills like creating a resume or growing a business through digital marketing.

I'm proud that the company I work for is helping provide more opportunities for Spanish speakers to grow their skills all across the U.S.


El español es mi primer idioma, y es el que utilice con mi familia, mientras crecía en Costa Rica. Aún ahora, después de que los Estados Unidos se convirtió en mi hogar, durante más de dos décadas, es el idioma en el que mi cerebro piensa en la mañana. Así que entiendo las dificultades de vivir en un país donde el idioma hablado es tu segundo idioma. Especialmente para aquellos que quieren salir adelante-tomar clases, aprender nuevas habilidades, encontrar trabajo-puede ser muy difícil.

Por eso estoy emocionada que hoy, por medio de Grow with Google, nuestra iniciativa para crear oportunidades económicas para todos, estamos proporcionando nuevos recursos a los hispanohablantes, para aprender las habilidades que necesitan, prepararse para un trabajo, o hacer negocios en la economía digital.

Por ejemplo, nuestro plan de estudios,Habilidades Digitales Aplicadas, ayuda a desarrollar habilidades digitales cruciales para prosperar en el trabajo, por medio de lecciones gratuitas basadas en video. También ofrecemos mini cursos en español para pequeños negocios y personas buscando trabajo en nuestra aplicación gratuitaGoogle Primer, que enseña habilidades comerciales y de marketing digital, a través de breves lecciones interactivas y fáciles. NuestroCertificado Profesional de Soporte de TI, está diseñado para preparar a principiantes para trabajos de nivel de entrada de TI, en solo seis meses, y estará disponible en español a partir del 16 de septiembre. Se puede acceder a estos recursos y más en grow.google/espanol.

Habilidades como estas, ayudan a las personas a prosperar en los trabajos actuales. De acuerdo conBrookings, casi dos tercios de todos los nuevos empleos, creados desde 2010, requieren habilidades digitales de nivel alto o medio.

La comunidad latina representa el16 por ciento del mercado laboral de los Estados Unidos, y será la mitad de los trabajadores que ingresen a la fuerza laboral para 2025. Las organizaciones latinas, sin fines de lucro, son instrumentos clave para educar y capacitar a los miembros de la comunidad. Es por eso que Google.org está otorgando una donación a la Federación Hispana (Hispanic Federation), para lanzar un acelerador que fortalezca las instituciones que sirven a la comunidad latina, con programas para el desarrollo y capacitación digital de la fuerza laboral. Con esta donación, la Federación Hispana acelerará la capacidad de 20 organizaciones sin fines de lucro, dirigidas a los latinos que, a su vez, proporcionarán capacitación en habilidades digitales a más de 10,000 personas durante los próximos dos años. Esto aumenta nuestro compromiso con la comunidad latina, e incluye una donación de$5 millones de dólares, anunciada a principios de este año, para brindar educación en ciencias de la computación a más de un millón de estudiantes y familias latinas para el 2022.

ElInstituto LULAC integrará lasHabilidades Digitales Aplicadas yPrimer en su programación, para brindar capacitación en español a más de 60 centros de tecnología comunitarios en todo el país. Organizaciones comunitarias en los Estados Unidos también pueden solicitar unirse al programaGrow with Google Partner Program para tener acceso a recursos, así como entrenadores bilingües, que ayudan al aprendizaje comunitario de habilidades y destrezas esenciales, como crear un currículum o hacer crecer un negocio a través del marketing digital.

Me siento orgullosa de que la compañía, para la cual trabajo, esté ayudando a brindar más oportunidades de crecimiento para los hispanohablantes en los Estados Unidos.

20 Aug 2019 3:14pm GMT

“Great Sporting Land” tours Australia’s sports-mad history

Australians have a passion for sports-so much that it was perfectly normal for the Prime Minister to give the entire country the day off when they won a boat race back in 1983. Over generations, Australia's favorite pastimes have shaped the country's identity, values and culture. Along with the Melbourne Cricket Club, Australian Football League, National Portrait Gallery and the North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club, Google Arts & Culture is showcasing the people, moments and places that led Australia to become the "Great Sporting Land" it is today.

The exhibition features over 11,000 archived images and videos, and more than 100 original stories from more than 30 partners. To do so, Google's Art Camera technology has been on a marathon between sporting institutions across the country to capture over 200 pieces of art, archival materials and artifacts in high resolution gigapixel quality.

Join cricket legend Steve Waugh who will take you on a tour of the archives of the world-famous Bradman Museumwhere you can zoom in to the hand-etched scores on the back of Don Bradman's first bat. Or take a trip to a changing room at The Sydney Cricket Ground, where visiting players have drawn their standout batting and bowling figures on the changing room door. You can also follow Steve Waugh through a video seriesthat offers never-before-seen insight into his work and memories of the sport.

Then put on your cossies or your togs (swimwear) to feel the vibes of a trip into Summers Past from the National Archives of Australia -an exhibition celebrating the golden days in the Australian sunshine. The surf's up when you Watch the Waves, a selection of photographs by the National Archives, or explore the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club in Google Street View.


For Australians, sports are a part of national identity, pride and belonging, whether played by everyday people or world known icons. To discover more moments from Australia's sporting history by visiting g.co/GreatSportingLand, or download the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS or Android.

20 Aug 2019 5:00am GMT

19 Aug 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

It’s time: Nest users can now switch to Google Accounts

Back in May, Nest and Google Home joined together as Google Nest to create a more helpful home. And now, the next step involves you: starting today, you can migrate your Nest account to a Google Account. It's easy to do and only takes a few minutes-here's what you need to know.

Migrating to a Google Account gives you new benefits, like:

  • Automatic security protections such as Suspicious activity detection, 2-Step Verification and Security Checkup.
  • Your Google Nest devices and services will work together. For example, if you have a Nest Cam and a Chromecast, just say, "Hey Google, show me the backyard camera" to cast your camera stream to your TV without any additional setup.
  • One account to sign into both the Nest and Google Home apps.
  • Your homes and home members will be aligned across the Nest and Google Home apps.

You'll receive an email invitation from Nest to migrate, but if you'd like to migrate now, you can select the "Sign in with Google" option in the most recent version of the Nest app. If you already have a Google Account that you use to sign into Google Home, just select that account when migrating your Nest Account. If you don't, it's easy to create one. If you're a first-time Nest user, you can use your existing Google Account to sign in.

We've worked with Amazon on an updated Nest skill that will work with Google Accounts, so if you want to enable the Alexa integration with your Nest Thermostat or Nest Cam, you can click here to activate the updated skill.

If you're using Works with Nest with other partners, we suggest waiting to migrate your account until you receive an email invitation. If you decide to migrate before receiving your email, your Works with Nest integrations will no longer work and you won't be able to get them back. We're currently working with partners to provide similar integrations through Assistant Routines, and you'll receive your email invitation to migrate when these integrations are ready. If you don't migrate your Nest Account, your existing Works with Nest integrations will continue to work.

You should make sure that you've downloaded the most recent Nest app on Android or iOS before you start your migration. If you have questions about migrating you can find help here or contact Nest Support.


19 Aug 2019 11:25pm GMT

By day and by night: video call, no matter the lighting

To make sure we're constantly improving Google Duo, we visit people from around the world to understand the challenges they face in video calling their loved ones. There was one particular condition we saw people consistently struggle with across cultures and environments: poor lighting.

In many places, electric lighting is a significant challenge, preventing people from connecting face to face. People often light their homes with a single bulb when electricity is expensive, and even then, power outages remain common in many areas, leaving people in the dark during the evening when many video calls with family and friends happen. Even when electricity is not an issue, many people just want to video call to say good night right before bed, keep each other company as they watch TV together or enjoy a quick chat while they're outside in the evening.

These challenges are the reasons why we are bringing low light mode to Duo. Low light mode helps people connect with each other face to face, even when the lighting conditions aren't optimal. The video call will adjust so people in the frame are more visible when the phone detects dim lighting. Low light mode will start rolling out globally to iOS and Android users this week.

Google Duo low light

With low light mode on Duo, just start a video call and you can toggle the feature on or off as part of your in-call controls.


Now, there will be no more leaving each other in the dark.

19 Aug 2019 2:00pm GMT

Tackling cardiovascular disease with AI

Heart disease and cardiovascular health are a major challenge around the world, and in Australia, one in six people is affected by cardiovascular disease. The University of Sydney's Westmead Applied Research Centre is working on a digital health program for people at risk of cardiovascular disease, and they recently received a $1 million Google.org grant that will help them apply AI to give patients more personalised advice and support.

We sat down with Professor Clara Chow, Professor of Medicine and Academic Director at Westmead Applied Research Centre, and Dr. Harry Klimis, a cardiologist and Westmead PhD student, to hear more about the program.

Why is cardiac health such a big issue?

Professor Chow: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of premature death and disability worldwide. In Australia, cardiovascular disease affects approximately 4.2 million people, has resulted in more than 1 million hospitalizations, and caused 1 in 3 deaths in 2016. That's one death every 12 minutes, and these deaths are largely preventable.

How are you proposing to address this problem?

Chow: Our goal is to support people at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease by encouraging them to adopt healthy habits, such as diet and exercise, and connecting them to health services when they need them. Data and mobile technology means we can do this in ways that weren't possible before.

Dr Klimis: We've already developed mobile health text-message programs using basic algorithms to customise programs to individuals. We now plan to use machine learning and AI to keep improving how we support participants and help them self-monitor measures like cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, physical activity, diet and smoking.

How will you use the funding and support from Google.org?

Chow: The grant will help us create digital tools that enable clinicians and health services to provide personalized advice without the need to meet face to face. Initially, we'll link data from existing secondary sources like hospital and clinic presentations to create programs tailored to individuals, and the system will learn from there.

How does AI help?

Klimis: An example would be if "John" went to the emergency room at hospital with chest pain and had type 2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension. After being assessed and treated, he could be flagged as a patient at high risk of heart attack and added to the mobile health prevention program. The AI program would learn from John's activities and deliver health advice via SMS or through an app. If John was less active at a particular time of day, the program might register this and prompt him to take a 5-minute walk.

What do you think is going to be the most challenging part of your project?

Klimis: Making sure we have reliable enough data to support a program capable of AI and machine learning. Our original program sent out standard text messages to over 3000 people, which allowed us-with their permission-to collect data on their characteristics, how they respond to different messages, and how this affects health outcomes. That data will be crucial in building an AI model for the current project.

What are you most optimistic about?

Chow: We have the potential to help more people at risk of cardiovascular disease by giving them high-quality prevention programs developed by clinicians and researchers, without requiring frequent clinic or hospital visits. Over the long term, mobile and digital health solutions could reduce hospitalizations, bring down healthcare costs, and make healthcare more accessible.

Header image: Westmead team with Google's Mel Silva and Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Hon Karen Andrews MP

19 Aug 2019 9:30am GMT

15 Aug 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

What’s new in Chrome OS: better audio, camera and notifications

Every Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, which updates every six weeks to keep your device speedy, smart and secure. Each Chrome OS update happens in the background, without interrupting what you're doing. Here's some of what's new on Chromebook this August.

Control your media in one place

New media controls make it easier for you to pause or play sound from a tab or an app. Have you ever had dozens of tabs and apps open and struggled to turn off a specific tab's audio? If so, we think you'll find this change helpful-especially for those moments when you start watching a YouTube video and you want to quickly pause your music.

Starting this month, you can open your system menu and see all of the tabs or apps on your Chromebook that are playing audio tracks and control them from one place.

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Take great photos on your Chromebook

The Chromebook camera app has been updated to make taking photos and videos easier. Portrait mode is now available on Google Pixel Slate and we are working on bringing it to other Chromebooks. We've introduced an updated interface for navigating between new modes, like square mode and portrait mode.

Now, open your camera app, take a selfie with a landscape or square crop, and access it easily in your Downloads folder.

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Clear your notifications faster

With Chrome OS, you can access all your favorite apps from the Google Play Store. In response to your feedback, it's now easier for you to check and clear notifications from Play Store apps on your Chromebook. Starting this month, easily dismiss your notifications with the "Clear all" button.

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We'll be back in around six weeks to share more of what's new in Chrome OS.

15 Aug 2019 5:30pm GMT

Explore college opportunities with new Search features

Summer is winding down, and students across the country are heading back to the classroom. For many students in high school, it's time to think about their next steps after graduation. While some students may have a certain school or cost considerations in mind, many others may not know where to start or what options are available to them.


The college search feature we launched last year helps students get quick access to information about four-year U.S. universities, including acceptance rates, costs and student outcomes like graduation rates. As this year's college search season kicks off, we're expanding our college search features to include two-year colleges and popular certificate and associate programs available at four-year institutions. A new list feature makes it easier to discover a wide range of schools and explore different fields of study.

Considering 2-year colleges

When you use your mobile device to search for any two-year college in the U.S, you'll get information about the programs offered, cost of attendance and more. Because many community college students often stay close to home while enrolled in these programs, we show the in-state tuition, as well as total cost with books and housing, to give a better view into what you'll pay depending on your individual circumstances.


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A new take on college lists

If you're still narrowing your options, our new exploration tool-available on both mobile and desktop-lets you explore a range of schools based on factors like fields of study or geography. Search for something like "hotel management schools in Georgia" and click "more" to jump into the list.


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This feature makes it easy to compare costs, graduation rates, campus life and other characteristics to find the college that best fits your needs. You can also filter by specific location or distance, region, size and acceptance rates.

These features use public information from the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (comprehensive datasets available for U.S. colleges and universities). We've worked with education researchers, experts, nonprofit organizations, high school counselors, and admissions professionals to build these features to meet the needs of students.

These features will be available today in the U.S., and we'll continue to find new ways to make information easily available and helpful as you search for future education opportunities.


15 Aug 2019 5:00pm GMT

When students get stuck, Socratic can help

In building educational resources for teachers and students, we've spent a lot of time talking to them about challenges they face and how we can help. We've heard that students often get "stuck" while studying. When they have questions in the classroom, a teacher can quickly clarify-but it's frustrating for students who spend hours trying to find answers while studying on their own.

Socratic, a mobile learning app we acquired last year, now uses AI technology to help high school and university students when they're doing school work outside the classroom. It guides them through the resources that are available, and identifies the core underlying concepts that will lead them to answers to their questions.

With the latest improvements, here are a few ways Socratic has become even more helpful for students.

Get help at any moment

Students can take a photo of a question or use their voice to ask a question, and we'll find the most relevant resources from across the web. If they're struggling to understand textbook content or handouts, they can take a picture of the page and check out alternative explanations of the same concepts.

Solving a math equation and a physics problem with Socratic’s help

Solving a math equation and a physics problem with Socratic's help


Understand the underlying concepts

To help students working on complex problems, we've built and trained algorithms that look at a student's question and automatically identify the relevant underlying concepts. From there, we can find the videos, concept explanations, and online resources to help them work through their questions. For students who want to learn even more, we break down the concepts into smaller, easy-to-understand lessons.

Socratic takes a problem, X-rays it, and extracts the underlying concepts.

Socratic takes a problem, X-rays it, and extracts the underlying concepts.

Browse helpful topic explanations for quick reference

To help students who are reviewing what they've learned or studying for a test, we've worked with educators to create subject guides on over 1,000 higher education and high school topics. It takes two taps to look up any topic they need to brush up on, get the key points, and then go deeper with helpful resources on the web.

Scroll on the Socratic app to find study guides and resources

Scroll on the Socratic app to find study guides and resources

You can leave feedback in the app- we'd love to hear from you. It's available today on iOS and will be available on Android in the fall.

15 Aug 2019 4:00pm GMT

How a love of reading turned into new features for Play Books

Have you ever wondered how new features are developed at Google? We start with a problem that needs to be solved, then consider what the best solution might be, so that our products can be more helpful. And, when we can, we like to get feedback from you (and Googlers themselves) before we officially launch so we can refine and improve.

Beta Features is new from Play Books, and it lets you test out experimental features on the web. This project originated with Dan Kimberg, a software engineer who joined the Play Books team to perfect a product he'd been a longtime fan of. Self-proclaimed bookworm and lifetime lover of literature, Dan was eager to personalize his library and make it easier to browse and organize his collection of books. He knew that other readers out there probably felt the same way-so he got to work.

These features may lack a bit of polish; they might evolve, improve, disappear or transform into new Play Books product updates. They're experimental, and Dan and the team want to hear what's most helpful to you. We sat down with Dan to learn more about the inspiration behind Beta Features.

What led you to the Play Books team?

I've been an avid reader my whole life, but I wasn't always working in the world of books. I've been a software engineer at Google for eight years on different teams. And before coming to Google, I spent nearly 20 years as a researcher in cognitive neuroscience, using brain imaging to try to understand how the mind works.

Before joining the Play Books team I filed around 50 feature requests, and I'd been thinking idle thoughts about how technology could improve reading, listening, (and writing) since I was a teenager.

What inspired you to develop Beta Features?

As a constant reader, I used to go on vacation and pack 20 books because I didn't know what I'd end up wanting to read. Throughout my years of reading physical books, there were some fundamental frustrations that inspired me to think differently about how technology can make reading more enjoyable. Physical books don't give you the flexibility of selecting the right font size for you, not all printed books are well bound, page size varies and long lines of text may not be conducive to your reading style. Now, with the help of technology, I can try to solve some of those frustrations for others (and now I can bring as many books as I want on vacation).

Which Beta Features are available now to test out-and which is your favorite?

First, there's Custom Shelves-my personal favorite and the most frequently requested feature from our users. It lets you organize your shelves in a more useful and personal way. For example, I've titled one of my Custom Shelves "Re-read me"-this is for books I've read but would like to revisit, so they don't get lost in the jumble of other books.

You'll also be able to search quickly for a particular book within your library, or sort your library using different criteria-like author, title, last read and price. The last Beta Feature is a new shelf called Ready to Read, which shows you the books you haven't finished yet to help you quickly pick up where you left off.

How can you get started testing?

Head to play.google.com/books, click the Settings button, and select "Beta Features" to get started. You can enable all features or just the ones you find most useful. If you'd like to submit feedback on the Beta Features after you've tried them out, or want to send us a feature request you've been dreaming up, click on the Settings icon and then select Send Feedback.

15 Aug 2019 4:00pm GMT

Five ways to make your app video-ad friendly

Video ads are one of the most effective ad formats to use in your app. Increasingly, people expect to see ads that are relevant to them and that don't interrupt their app experience-and video ads deliver on both counts. They're a powerful canvas that you can use to engage users, for you and your advertisers. With a variety of formats, such as rewarded, interstitial, or native video, you can integrate video ads into your app to provide an enhanced experience.

But using video ads goes beyond selecting them as an option in Google AdMob. To make sure users have the best experience with video ads, you need to optimize your app to play them. If the video doesn't play correctly, users often blame the app, not the ad. Playback needs to start promptly and reliably, and continue without interruption. But serving an ad in a mobile app is not always easy-a number of factors can degrade the experience. The network connection might be poor, or the phone itself might be busy with other things.

Video ads use more memory, network, and device resources than other types of ads. The key to optimal video quality is to use these resources as efficiently and as intelligently as you can. And when your video quality is better, your ads will perform better too, and you may find that your app becomes more stable overall.

Load ads well in advance to permit buffering

4v2.png

The moment you load a video ad, behind the scenes the ad starts buffering (essentially pre-loading) the video. In this instance, the network is the bottleneck. For example, if the phone is connected to WiFi or 4G, buffering should happen fast. But if the user is on a slower network, it can degrade or interrupt playback. The more time you allow for the ad to fill its buffer, the more reliable playback will be.

Seconds matter. Load your ad at least 15 seconds in advance of showing it. Even a few seconds in advance will prevent some users from seeing a blank ad.

Free unused ads

2v2.png

If you load an ad that you won't need, like a rewarded ad where the user declined the reward, then be sure to release it right away. This frees up memory and video decoders, which will help the phone run faster and reduce the possibility of interruption on your app. On Android, we recommend you null your reference to the ad, and if you're using native ads, call UnifiedNativeAd.destroy() on the main thread. On iOS, set your reference to nil.

Avoid loading multiple concurrent ads

app-ads.txt image 1 cropped

Every phone has a limit to the number of videos it can hold in a prepared state. The Google Mobile Ads SDK doesn't know which video ad will be shown next, so it keeps them all prepared. Lots of phones can't hold more than one prepared video at a time. So whether your app is used in developing or developed markets, it's very important to always free up memory as soon as possible.

Load only the ads that you need to give them the best chance at successful playback. For example, if you show multiple video ads, like native video ads in a news feed, then be sure to recycle ads that have scrolled offscreen so video players don't just pile up in memory. This should also lead to better overall app performance.

Don't show an ad before receiving a notification that it has loaded

5v2.png

The Google Mobile Ads SDK uses notifications to inform the app when a video is prepared to play. On Android, it is possible to show an ad before this notification--a legacy from the days of static content ads--but it's not a good idea to do that. Video performance will be poor and users may think something is wrong not just with playback, but with the app itself.

On Android, this notification arrives through AdListener.onAdLoaded().

Be extra cautious combining video ads with video content

3v2.png

The recommended approach of not loading multiple concurrent video ads applies equally to content video and ad video. If your app plays video outside of ads, then freeing content video resources before video ads are shown will help reliability, too.

As developers, you put a huge amount of time and energy into creating an engaging app. And a great app experience should provide a great ad experience. We hope these tips help you make the most out of video ads as part of your monetization strategy.

15 Aug 2019 1:00pm GMT

Growing in-app viewability coverage with Open Measurement

People are spending more time on their mobile phones, especially in apps, and move across screens frequently. As people's usage of mobile apps has grown, so has the importance of standardizing the way viewability is measured on mobile devices.

Today we're sharing how we've made in-app inventory more measurable through the IAB Tech Lab's Open Measurement standard. Integrating the Open Measurement Software Development Kit (SDK) into both our Google Mobile Ads (GMA) and Interactive Mobile Ads (IMA) SDKs has allowed us to enable Open Measurement on 85+ percent of in-app display and video impressions on Google AdMob and Google Ad Manager publishers. This means that buyers of this inventory can now take viewability measurements using solutions like Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify, Comscore, and Moat in addition to measurement that was previously available with Active View.

"IAB Tech Lab's Open Measurement (OM) initiative makes it easier for ad buyers and sellers to work together for viewability measurement and other verification needs," said Dennis Buchheim, Executive Vice President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. "The sell-side has been adopting OM quickly, and we ask brands, agencies, and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) to get more active and take advantage of what OM offers."

Advertisers can get started today by appending Open Measurement enabled tags from their viewability vendor of choice to their creatives.

Measurement vendors are lauding this development as progress for a more measurable future. Joseph Ranzenbach, Director of Product Management, IAS says, "Google's adoption of the Open Measurement SDK is a huge step in moving the industry forward and creating more transparency for advertisers." Sumit Shukla, SVP, Strategic Partnerships, Comscore says, "It's important for Brands to consistently measure viewability across the entirety of their media buys. With Comscore's cross-platform campaign measurement as a trusted market currency, this close partnership with Google further helps Brands measure what matters."

Viewability measurement unlocks high-performing In-app inventory for advertisers

Viewability continues to be an integral part of measuring ad effectiveness-it helps advertisers understand if their ad had the opportunity to be seen and it helps publishers offer more high-quality inventory.

In-app viewability means that advertisers can confidently take advantage of this high-value inventory. In 2018 we worked with Ipsos MORI to understand the impact of in-app advertising and found it was successful in driving action. People were 50 percent more likely to interact with a brand, buy a product or service, follow a call-to-action or recommend a brand to their family or friends after seeing its ad in an app, compared with those who saw it via a browser. Display & Video 360 customers can now confidently extend their brand campaigns to apps knowing they are able to measure ad viewability at the impression level as they would in other environments.

Publishers like Pandora recognize the importance of holistic viewability measurement. Maria Breza, VP, Ad Quality Measurement and Audience Data Operations at Pandora said, "Advertisers should be able to seamlessly use one viewability provider to measure their buys across all publishers and platforms. Open Measurement has allowed Pandora to make this a reality for our clients with less latency, less maintenance and more stability."

What's next for Open Measurement

We're continuing to work with the IAB's Tech Lab Open Measurement Working Group to expand Open Measurement to use cases beyond viewability, as well as to other environments such as web video. We believe Open Measurement has the potential to create a more transparent and accountable digital media ecosystem across all screens. Reach out to your measurement partners and Google representative to find out how you can take advantage of this new measurement technology.



15 Aug 2019 12:00pm GMT

04 Nov 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2018: Crab claws!

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

04 Nov 2018 8:02pm GMT

08 Mar 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Some terrible personal news

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

08 Mar 2018 12:17am GMT

22 Jan 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Talking to Mr. Money Mustache about the US Digital Service

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

22 Jan 2018 6:58pm GMT

01 Apr 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google April Fools' Day 2017

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

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



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



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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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

01 Apr 2017 7:25am GMT

19 Feb 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Gmail Blocks JavaScript Attachments

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


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

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

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

19 Feb 2017 10:39am GMT

25 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Shows Colorful Suggestions

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


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




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

25 Jan 2017 9:39pm GMT

19 Jan 2017

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Staying with the US Digital Service

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

19 Jan 2017 3:47am GMT

16 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Starts Playing YouTube Videos

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



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

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

16 Jan 2017 10:49am GMT

13 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Desktop Notifications, Now For Everyone

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

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


13 Jan 2017 2:08pm GMT

29 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Notifications in the Navigation Bar

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

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


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

29 Dec 2016 12:24pm GMT

Google's New Mobile UI for Recipe Search

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


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



29 Dec 2016 11:09am GMT

08 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Translate's 5000 Character Limit

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


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

08 Dec 2016 6:18pm GMT

Google Tests Movie Ratings

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


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


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

08 Dec 2016 11:45am GMT

06 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google's Holiday Decorations

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

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


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




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

06 Dec 2016 2:21pm GMT

New Interface for Google Search

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


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


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


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


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



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

06 Dec 2016 1:31pm GMT

17 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Random Facts About Animals in Google Search

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

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



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

17 Oct 2016 9:00pm GMT

15 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Found in Related Searches

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

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


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



15 Oct 2016 7:34am GMT

14 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Converts Queries Into Questions

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

14 Oct 2016 10:29pm GMT

Google's Card for Directions

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


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


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


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

14 Oct 2016 9:27pm GMT

Add Home Screen Shortcuts to Google Maps Directions

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



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


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

14 Oct 2016 8:48pm GMT

18 Jun 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

A brief update

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

18 Jun 2016 1:57am GMT

03 Feb 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Thanks, Amit

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

03 Feb 2016 7:49pm GMT

19 Jan 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Solving a Verizon issue (Nexus 5X)

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

19 Jan 2016 2:00am GMT

31 Oct 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2015: USB Drive

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

31 Oct 2015 8:02pm GMT

24 Sep 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Give Google Contributor a try

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

24 Sep 2015 3:09pm GMT

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

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

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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