03 May 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Helping for the long term in Flint, Michigan

Access to clean drinking water is a concern all over the world, but in the United States it's often a foregone conclusion. That is not the case recently for the residents of Flint, Michigan, many of whom we now know have been exposed to lead in their tap water. It's a crisis, one to which the American people readily responded by donating water and resources to help alleviate the immediate pain. But the problem won't go away quickly, and understanding its extent is both challenging and an absolute necessity. Today, Google.org is providing $250,000 to partners in the Flint community to help, with a special focus on a technical solution for understanding and resolving the crisis for the long term.

First, we're making a $150,000 grant to the University of Michigan-Flint to enable the University of Michigan-Flint to develop a comprehensive data platform that will assist government and community leaders in making more informed decisions about the crisis and providing critical information to citizens. The funds will support student researchers at the University of Michigan, Flint and Ann Arbor campuses, to do this work under the leadership of Professors Mark Allison (Flint) and Jake Abernathy (Ann Arbor) to answer key questions about the crisis and response, such as the probability of lead levels before they are tested. The team plans to develop a platform and app that visualizes the data and also provides the ability for citizens to seek out and request key services, such as reporting concerns about water and requesting testing kits. Google volunteers will provide guidance and mentoring on the technology and product design.

We're also making a $100,000 donation to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint for the Flint Child Health & Development Fund. The Flint Child Health & Development Fund was founded to ensure the long-term health of Flint families, especially newborns to children 6 years old-the group most vulnerable to developmental issues from lead. The Fund is a supplemental resource to state and federal funding and gives grants for childcare-related initiatives such as early childhood education, student support services, continuous access to a pediatric medical home, access to infant and child behavioral health services, and research.

With Google offices in Ann Arbor and Birmingham, Flint and its residents are also our neighbors. In the immediate aftermath of the crisis, a group of 20 Google volunteers went to Flint and volunteered at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, where they helped with distributing bottled water and food in the greater Flint area. Around $35,000 has been donated through employees and Google's gift match program to the United Way of Genesee County and the Flint Water Fund to aid in the crisis, and our employee groups, like the Black Googler Network, continue to explore more ways to help.

As a native Michigander, I'm proud that we can help our neighbors in Flint. We hope we can support a resolution to this crisis and assist the residents of Flint in getting the resources they need and deserve, both for the short and long term.

Posted by Mike Miller, Head of Google Michigan

03 May 2016 10:00am GMT

01 May 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Automatic Translation in Google Search

If you search for a word in a foreign language, Google now automatically shows the translation. For example, you can search for [amanecer] to get the English translation of the Spanish word, instead of typing [translate amanecer] or [translate amanecer to english].


This only works for words, and some expressions, not for longer texts. It works for [buenas noches], but not for [buenas noches señora], so you'll still have to search for [translate buenas noches señora] or [buenas noches señora to english].

01 May 2016 9:22am GMT

30 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Import Chrome Bookmarks Into Google Save

If you install the "Save to Google" extension for Chrome, you can now import your Chrome bookmarks into the Google Save site. Just open the sidebar menu from the Google Save site, click "import Chrome bookmarks" and wait a few minutes until all your bookmarks are saved online. Reload the pages and you'll see all of your Chrome bookmarks next to the pages and images you've previously saved.


Folders and subfolders are converted into tags. Let's assume that the folder "Google" has a subfolder called "Blogs". The two folders are converted into two tags: "Google" and "Google > Blogs", while the bookmarks from the "Blogs" subfolders get both tags.


For now, there's no way to sync Google Save with Chrome bookmarks and the Bookmark Manager extension doesn't integrate with Google Save, even if they're closely related.

{ Thanks, Mukil Elango. }

30 Apr 2016 3:25pm GMT

29 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

This year’s Founders' Letter

Every year, Larry and Sergey write a Founders' Letter to our stockholders updating them with some of our recent highlights and sharing our vision for the future. This year, they decided to try something new. - Ed.


In August, I announced Alphabet and our new structure and shared my thoughts on how we were thinking about the future of our business. (It is reprinted here in case you missed it, as it seems to apply just as much today.) I'm really pleased with how Alphabet is going. I am also very pleased with Sundar's performance as our new Google CEO. Since the majority of our big bets are in Google, I wanted to give him most of the bully-pulpit here to reflect on Google's accomplishments and share his vision. In the future, you should expect that Sundar, Sergey and I will use this space to give you a good personal overview of where we are and where we are going.

- Larry Page, CEO, Alphabet



When Larry and Sergey founded Google in 1998, there were about 300 million people online. By and large, they were sitting in a chair, logging on to a desktop machine, typing searches on a big keyboard connected to a big, bulky monitor. Today, that number is around 3 billion people, many of them searching for information on tiny devices they carry with them wherever they go.

In many ways, the founding mission of Google back in '98-"to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful"-is even truer and more important to tackle today, in a world where people look to their devices to help organize their day, get them from one place to another, and keep in touch. The mobile phone really has become the remote control for our daily lives, and we're communicating, consuming, educating, and entertaining ourselves, on our phones, in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.

Knowledge for everyone: search and assistance
As we said when we announced Alphabet, "the new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google." Those opportunities live within our mission, and today we are about one thing above all else: making information and knowledge available for everyone.

This of course brings us to Search-the very core of this company. It's easy to take Search for granted after so many years, but it's amazing to think just how far it has come and still has to go. I still remember the days when 10 bare blue links on a desktop page helped you navigate to different parts of the Internet. Contrast that to today, where the majority of our searches come from mobile, and an increasing number of them via voice. These queries get harder and harder with each passing year-people want more local, more context-specific information, and they want it at their fingertips. So we've made it possible for you to search for [Leonardo DiCaprio movies] or [Zika virus] and get a rich panel of facts and visuals. You can also get answers via Google Now-like the weather in your upcoming vacation spot, or when you should leave for the airport-without you even needing to ask the question.

Helping you find information that gets you through your day extends well beyond the classic search query. Think, for example, of the number of photos you and your family have taken throughout your life, all of your memories. Collectively, people will take 1 trillion photos this year with their devices. So we launched Google Photos to make it easier for people to organize their photos and videos, keep them safe, and be able to find them when they want to, on whatever device they are using. Photos launched less than a year ago and already has more than 100 million monthly active users. Or take Google Maps. When you ask us about a location, you don't just want to know how to get from point A to point B. Depending on the context, you may want to know what time is best to avoid the crowds, whether the store you're looking for is open right now, or what the best things to do are in a destination you're visiting for the first time.

But all of this is just a start. There is still much work to be done to make Search and our Google services more helpful to you throughout your day. You should be able to move seamlessly across Google services in a natural way, and get assistance that understands your context, situation, and needs-all while respecting your privacy and protecting your data. The average parent has different needs than the average college student. Similarly, a user wants different help when in the car versus the living room. Smart assistance should understand all of these things and be helpful at the right time, in the right way.

The power of machine learning and artificial intelligence
A key driver behind all of this work has been our long-term investment in machine learning and AI. It's what allows you to use your voice to search for information, to translate the web from one language to another, to filter the spam from your inbox, to search for "hugs" in your photos and actually pull up pictures of people hugging ... to solve many of the problems we encounter in daily life. It's what has allowed us to build products that get better over time, making them increasingly useful and helpful.

We've been building the best AI team and tools for years, and recent breakthroughs will allow us
to do even more. This past March, DeepMind's AlphaGo took on Lee Sedol, a legendary Go master, becoming the first program to beat a professional at the most complex game mankind ever devised. The implications for this victory are, literally, game changing-and the ultimate winner is humanity. This is another important step toward creating artificial intelligence that can help us in everything from accomplishing our daily tasks and travels, to eventually tackling even bigger challenges like climate change and cancer diagnosis.

More great content, in more places
In the early days of the Internet, people thought of information primarily in terms of web pages. Our focus on our core mission has led us to many efforts over the years to improve discovery, creation, and monetization of content-from indexing images, video, and the news, to building platforms like Google Play and YouTube. And with the migration to mobile, people are watching more videos, playing more games, listening to more music, reading more books, and using more apps than ever before.

That's why we have worked hard to make YouTube and Google Play useful platforms for discovering and delivering great content from creators and developers to our users, when they want it, on whatever screen is in front of them. Google Play reaches more than 1 billion Android users. And YouTube is the number-one destination for video-over 1 billion users per month visit the site-and ranks among the year's most downloaded mobile apps. In fact, the amount of time people spend watching videos on YouTube continues to grow rapidly-and more than half of this watchtime now happens on mobile. As we look to the future, we aim to provide more choice to YouTube fans-more ways for them to engage with creators and each other, and more ways for them to get great content. We've started down this journey with specialized apps like YouTube Kids, as well as through our YouTube Red subscription service, which allows fans to get all of YouTube without ads, a premium YouTube Music experience and exclusive access to new original series and movies from top YouTube creators like PewDiePie and Lilly Singh.

We also continue to invest in the mobile web-which is a vital source of traffic for the vast majority of websites. Over this past year, Google has worked closely with publishers, developers, and others in the ecosystem to help make the mobile web a smoother, faster experience for users. A good example is the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which we launched as an open-source initiative in partnership with news publishers, to help them create mobile-optimized content that loads instantly everywhere. The other example is Progressive Web Apps (PWA), which combine the best of the web and the best of apps-allowing companies to build mobile sites that load quickly, send push notifications, have home screen icons, and much more. And finally, we continue to invest in improving Chrome on mobile-in the four short years since launch, it has just passed 1 billion monthly active users on mobile.

Of course, great content requires investment. Whether you're talking about Google's web search, or a compelling news article you read in The New York Times or The Guardian, or watching a video on YouTube, advertising helps fund content for millions and millions of people. So we work hard to build great ad products that people find useful-and that give revenue back to creators and publishers.

Powerful computing platforms
Just a decade ago, computing was still synonymous with big computers that sat on our desks. Then, over just a few years, the keys to powerful computing-processors and sensors-became so small and cheap that they allowed for the proliferation of supercomputers that fit into our pockets: mobile phones. Android has helped drive this scale: it has more than 1.4 billion 30-day-active devices-and growing.

Today's proliferation of "screens" goes well beyond phones, desktops, and tablets. Already, there are exciting developments as screens extend to your car, like Android Auto, or your wrist, like Android Wear. Virtual reality is also showing incredible promise-Google Cardboard has introduced more than 5 million people to the incredible, immersive and educational possibilities of VR.

Looking to the future, the next big step will be for the very concept of the "device" to fade away. Over time, the computer itself-whatever its form factor-will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. We will move from mobile first to an AI first world.

Enterprise
Most of these computing experiences are very likely to be built in the cloud. The cloud is more secure, more cost effective, and it provides the ability to easily take advantage of the latest technology advances, be it more automated operations, machine learning, or more intelligent office productivity tools.

Google started in the cloud and has been investing in infrastructure, data management, analytics, and AI from the very beginning. We now have a broad and growing set of enterprise offerings: Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Google Apps, Chromebooks, Android, image recognition, speech translation, maps, machine learning for customers' proprietary data sets, and more. Our customers like Whirlpool, Land O'Lakes and Spotify are transforming their businesses by using our enterprise productivity suite of Google Apps and Google Cloud Platform services.

As we look to our long-term investments in our productivity tools supported by our machine learning and artificial intelligence efforts, we see huge opportunities to dramatically improve how people work. Your phone should proactively bring up the right documents, schedule and map your meetings, let people know if you are late, suggest responses to messages, handle your payments and expenses, etc.

Building for everyone
Whether it's a developer using Google Cloud Platform to power their new application, or a creator finding new income and viewers via YouTube, we believe in leveling the playing field for everyone. The Internet is one of the world's most powerful equalizers, and we see it as our job to make it available to as many people as possible.

This belief has been a core Google principle from the very start-remember that Google Search was in the hands of millions long before the idea for Google advertising was born. We work on advertising because it's what allows us to make our services free; Google Search works the same for anyone with an Internet connection, whether it is in a modern high-rise or a rural schoolhouse.

Making this possible is a lot more complicated than simply translating a product or launching a local country domain. Poor infrastructure keeps billions of people around the world locked out of all of the possibilities the web may offer them. That's why we make it possible for there to be a $50 Android phone, or a $100 Chromebook. It's why this year we launched Maps with turn-by-turn navigation that works even without an Internet connection, and made it possible for people to get faster-loading, streamlined Google Search if they are on a slower network. We want to make sure that no matter who you are or where you are or how advanced the device you are using ... Google works for you.

In all we do, Google will continue to strive to make sure that remains true-to build technology for everyone. Farmers in Kenya use Google Search to keep up with crop prices and make sure they can make a good living. A classroom in Wisconsin can take a field trip to the Sistine Chapel ... just by holding a pair of Cardboard goggles. People everywhere can use their voices to share new perspectives, and connect with others, by creating and watching videos on YouTube. Information can be shared-knowledge can flow-from anyone, to anywhere. In 17 years, it's remarkable to me the degree to which the company has stayed true to our original vision for what Google should do, and what we should become.

For us, technology is not about the devices or the products we build. Those aren't the end-goals. Technology is a democratizing force, empowering people through information. Google is an information company. It was when it was founded, and it is today. And it's what people do with that information that amazes and inspires me every day.

Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google Sundar Pichai CEO Google

29 Apr 2016 2:02am GMT

28 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Ten years of Google Translate

Ten years ago, we launched Google Translate. Our goal was to break language barriers and to make the world more accessible. Since then we've grown from supporting two languages to 103, and from hundreds of users to hundreds of millions. And just like anyone's first 10 years, we've learned to see and understand, talk, listen, have a conversation, write, and lean on friends for help.

But what we're most inspired by is how Google Translate connects people in communities around the world, in ways we never could have imagined-like two farmers with a shared passion for tomato farming, a couple discovering they're pregnant in a foreign country, and a young immigrant on his way to soccer stardom.

Here's a look at Google Translate today, 10 years in:

1. Google Translate helps people make connections.
Translate can help people help each other, often in the most difficult of times. Recently we visited a community in Canada that is using Translate to break down barriers and make a refugee family feel more welcome:
2. There are more than 500 million of you using Google Translate.
The most common translations are between English and Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Indonesian.

3. Together we translate more than 100 billion words a day.
4. Translations reflect trends and events.
In addition to common phrases like "I love you," we also see people looking for translations related to current events and trends. For instance, last year we saw a big spike in translations for the word "selfie," and this past week, translations for "purple rain" spiked by more than 25,000 percent.

5. You're helping to make Google Translate better with Translate Community.
So far, 3.5 million people have made 90 million contributions through Translate Community, helping us improve and add new languages to Google Translate. A few properly translated sentences can make a huge difference when faced with a foreign language or country. By reviewing, validating and recommending translations, we're able to improve the Google Translate on a daily basis.

6. Brazil uses Google Translate more than any other country.
Ninety-two percent of our translations come from outside of the United States, with Brazil topping the list.

7. You can see the world in your language.
Word Lens is your friend when reading menus, street signs and more. This feature in the Google Translate App lets you instantly see translations in 28 languages.

8. You can have a conversation no matter what language you speak.
In 2011, we first introduced the ability to have a bilingual conversation on Google Translate. The app will recognize which language is being spoken when you're talking with someone, allowing you to have a natural conversation in 32 languages.

9. You don't need an Internet connection to connect.
Many countries don't have reliable Internet, so it's important to be able to translate on the go. You can instantly translate signs and menus offline with Word Lens on both Android and iOS, and translate typed text offline with Android.

10. There's always more to translate.
We're excited and proud of what we've accomplished together over the last 10 years-but there's lots more to do to break language barriers and help people communicate no matter where they're from or what language they speak. Thank you for using Google Translate-here's to another 10!
Posted by Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zgn9UxvjSb4/VyGkFV1XZTI/AAAAAAAASPY/E2_FbLDul3gFhDfmQ4KtsTjrPFzTHjv6gCLcB/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-04-26%2Bat%2B4.19.42%2BPM.png Barak Turovsky Product Lead Google Translate

28 Apr 2016 3:12pm GMT

Expeditions career tours can take kids to work, virtually

Soledad O'Brien is a broadcast journalist and founder of Starfish Media Group. She is also CEO of the Starfish Foundation, which provides financial assistance and mentoring to help kids go to college. Recently, the Starfish Foundation launched virtual career tours using Google Expeditions, about which O'Brien joins us to talk about today. To become part of the Expeditions Pioneer beta program, sign up via this form. -Ed.

Kids dream about what they want to be when they grow up, but these dreams are often limited-built around the few professional people they know. What if children don't know a veterinarian, an airplane pilot, a paleontologist, or someone in dozens of other careers? What if they lack access to internships or mentors? Can they ever dream big?

I know from watching my own kids visit me at work, and from the scholars I mentor, that exposure to all kinds of professionals is the key to inspiring young people. When I first found out about Expeditions, I saw its potential for broadening the horizons of the student scholars we help at Starfish Foundation. I envisioned creating virtual reality Expeditions that let kids step into someone's work day, simply by using phones and Google Cardboard viewers. So that's what we did.

Soledad O'Brien with scholars from the Starfish Foundation.

Working with the Google Expeditions team, we created virtual reality tours that show kids the ins and out of careers they might not ever learn about otherwise. From flying an airplane to testing fossil samples, kids can see with their own eyes exactly what people do in many different scenarios. They can watch Carolyn Brown, director of surgery for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, perform a procedure on a cat. Or join Mark Norell, a paleontology professor with the American Museum of Natural History, as he examines a velociraptor specimen up close. And today, schools participating in the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program and Expeditions beta will be able to go on an Expedition of the Google Mountain View campus to see what it's like to work at Google.

A career Expedition on American Airlines Pilot, Pam Torell. The view is from the cockpit of one of her scheduled flights.

These Expeditions reveal what professionals like about their jobs, what they studied in school, and how they apply their knowledge to their work. Regular field trips are logistically challenging, and they don't usually focus on careers. But with Expeditions, teachers can share an experience with students right in the classroom. You can't fit 30 students in the cockpit of a plane, but you can get a virtual reality tour of one using Expeditions. And today, on "Take Your Kids to Work Day," there's no better time to get creative about exposing students to different types of jobs and workplace environments.

Children won't know what jobs are possible if they don't know the careers exist. Rather than just telling them, teachers can actually show them. With these career Expeditions, students can travel outside the classroom walls and be exposed to more ideas, places and opportunities than ever before.

Posted by Soledad O'Brien

(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog)


https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-KP8iBDEQkQI/VyInM3bFYbI/AAAAAAAASPw/Ae89NIr84L0cv5VSZTeUEs2df68M2uWlwCLcB/s1600/EDU-Expeditions-b-13.png Soledad O'Brien

28 Apr 2016 3:09pm GMT

27 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

A new digital stage for The Sydney Opera House

Just say the word Australia, and people immediately think of the elegant sails of the Sydney Opera House, jutting out into the water of Circular Quay. An Australian icon, this architectural wonder transcends its location. And starting today it's easier for anyone, anywhere in the world to experience the many sights and sounds of this masterpiece, with the opening of the Sydney Opera House on the Google Cultural Institute.

The Google Cultural Institute provides a new digital home for the Sydney Opera House, bringing together more than 1,000 artifacts and 60 years of history in a single online platform. From architect Jørn Utzon's early designs, to the inner workings of the world's biggest mechanical organ, to spectacular late night shows, these 50 online exhibits capture the Sydney Opera House from every angle.

"The Story Begins Here" exhibit explores the history of the building, the performances and events that have taken place on Bennelong Point.

This new collection showcases the variety of culture on offer at one of the world's busiest performing arts centers, and brings many treasures out of the archives and into the spotlight for people to appreciate. Some of the rare content includes photographs of the opening with Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, roof design sketches from master builder and lead engineer Ove Arup, the diaries of architect Peter Hall, and Utzon's personal collection of photographs from the project, spanning nearly a decade.

The sculptural elegance of the Opera House has made it one of the most recognizable buildings of the 20th century. In addition to exhibits which tell the stories of the history and development of this architectural masterpiece, today's launch includes a brand new 360° experience offering insights into the between-the-acts magic of the House. Starting at dawn beneath the sails, you can continue on to enjoy incidental performances by Soprano Nicole Car and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and then journey to many seldom seen areas of the House.

See the Opera House as never before-from dusk till dawn in an immersive 360° experience


With new Street View imagery, you can virtually wander in and around the Opera House at your own pace, taking in stunning views from all angles. Gaze at the white sails overlooking Sydney's picturesque harbor, feel what it's like to stand on the Joan Sutherland Theatre stage and look up at the acoustic clouds of the Concert Hall.

The iconic acoustic clouds of the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall


The new collection opens today at g.co/sydneyoperahouse on the Google Cultural Institute website and is available for anyone on mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers. You can also view it via the new Google Arts & Culture mobile app from your iOS or Android device. We hope you enjoy experiencing the past, present and future of this World Heritage masterpiece.

Posted by Kate Lauterbach, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TnmEizYVMP4/VyAIxNRpBcI/AAAAAAAASPA/8yZNyjpTQgghp7DVngmJLS9WlISJwzJxwCLcB/s1600/dusktodawn.png Kate Lauterbach Program Manager Google Cultural Institute

27 Apr 2016 3:40pm GMT

25 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Bolder YouTube Player

YouTube's HTML5 player looks different. There are new icons, text is bolder, menus are much bigger and the settings menu no longer closes when you pick an option, unless you change video quality.


When you click "copy video URL", "copy video URL at current time" or "copy embed code", the player copies the text to the clipboard and no longer displays it.


Here's a screenshot of the old UI for the contextual menu:

25 Apr 2016 9:21pm GMT

24 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Play Music Still Requires Flash

I uninstalled Flash Player on my computer, now that most sites no longer need it. Adobe's Flash Player is still bundled with Chrome, so I had to disable it from the chrome://plugins/ page.

One of the only Google services that still requires Flash is Google Play Music, but only if you don't use Chrome or Internet Explorer 11. I tried opening Google Play Music in Firefox and Safari and got this message: "Missing Flash Player. You need the latest Adobe Flash Player to listen to music."


There's actually a Lab experiment called "HTML5 audio" in the settings and it's grayed out and disabled. It claims that it allows you to "listen to your music without the need for Flash. Support for this lab is still experimental, and it may not work in all cases," informs the description.


Well, it looks like the Lab experiment only works in Chrome, not in other browsers. It's hard to tell why HTML5 audio is still an experiment and not a regular feature that works in all browsers. YouTube's HTML5 player works well in most browsers and Google Play Music uses the same back-end.

24 Apr 2016 3:11pm GMT

20 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Chrome Extension for Google Keep

There must be an internal contest at Google for creating Chrome extensions that save links. After "Save to Google" and "Save to Inbox", there's now a Chrome extension for Google Keep that lets you create notes about the page you're currently visiting. "The next time you're on a website that you want to remember or reference later on, use the new Keep Chrome extension to add it - or any part of it - to a note in Keep. Just click the Keep badge to add a site's link to a note, or select some text or an image and create a new note from the right-click menu," suggests Google.


If you have an Android device, you can now create notes directly from your favorite browser: just use the sharing feature and pick Google Keep. You'll be able to write your note right inside Chrome and other browsers, without having to open Google Keep.

Another useful feature in Google Keep: you can now add labels to your notes as #hashtags. For example, you can write: "#work #todo #readlater" and Google Keep will add 3 labels to your note. The nice thing is that Google Keep uses autocomplete, so you can quickly select an existing label. If the label doesn't exist, you need to click the "create" option and the hashtag will become a link.



{ Thanks, Allan Medeiros de Azevedo. }

20 Apr 2016 8:12pm GMT

Save Links to Google Inbox

Google Inbox has a new bundle called "saved". When you click it, you get this description: "Don't forget the articles, videos and other links you want to get back to. Use the Inbox Chrome extension or mobile share button to add links here."

The Inbox Chrome extension has been launched today and it's only useful for saving links and sharing pages via email.



Now you no longer have to send yourself messages with links to pages you want to read later. The links are added to the inbox and they're also saved as reminders. It's strange that you can't add links from the Google Inbox interface and you have to use a Chrome extension or the share feature from Android.

Another interesting feature groups the messages related to a Google Calendar event. "Inbox now gathers emails from a single event together and shows you what's changed at a glance. When you tap on an event, you'll see a comprehensive overview, all in one place," informs Gmail's blog.


Inbox has a new interface for newsletters, which highlights the articles, so you can open them faster. Apparently, the new interface is only displayed for newsletters you read often and it also includes a preview that's hidden after you've opened the newsletter.


{ Thanks, Allan Medeiros de Azevedo. }

20 Apr 2016 7:45pm GMT

19 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Helping people stay informed and connected in Japan and Ecuador

Over the last few days, Japan and Ecuador have been affected by significant earthquakes. Hundreds have been killed, and many thousands injured or displaced. We're doing a few things to try to help.

Find and call loved ones
To help people post and search for family or friends affected by the disaster we activated Person Finder in Spanish and Japanese. We're also offering free calls via Hangouts, Hangouts Dialer or Google Voice to and within Ecuador to help people communicate with loved ones.

Learn more on the ground
For people in and around the affected areas, we have Google Now cards with critical crisis-related information like missing person resources, safety zones, and aftershock safety tips. We've made the same information available on search for earthquake-related searches. In Japan, we launched a landing page and crisis map showing accessible roads and places where people can get disaster resources like fresh water. In Ecuador, we updated Waze with more than 90 safe place locations, including local shelter information.

Support for the response
Given the scope of the damage and need in Ecuador, Google.org has committed $250,000 to support relief efforts on the ground. We're also providing up to $250,000 in Google employee gift-matching for both Japan and Ecuador.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google.org Jacquelline Fuller Director Google.org

19 Apr 2016 6:11pm GMT

Celebrate National Park Week with Street View and the Cultural Institute

The National Parks have famously been called "America's Best Idea." The 400+ parks, preserves, historic sites and other areas in the National Park System are a source of national pride, home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna, a place for researchers to study and discover-and above all, destinations for explorers and adventurers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

This week (April 16-24) marks National Park Week, and we thought we'd do our part in celebrating the occasion by helping you get one step closer to visiting these amazing places. With Street View in Google Maps and the Cultural Institute, you can park hop your way through 50 states, from sea to shining sea.

Start at the southern tip of Florida with the Everglades-the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. and a UNESCO heritage site. Go deep inside the longest known cave system in the world at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, or take in the sun and the scene at Fire Island National Seashore. On your way, wave to Lady Liberty in New York.

Next stop: The homes of some of our U.S. presidents. Peek inside Truman's desk, or compare and contrast the Lincoln home's refined hall chairs with Mary Lincoln's wooden commode. Then take a trip to see battle sites and memorials including Gettysburg and Valley Forge National Historic Sites.

Tour locations and objects from civil rights history, including the homes of activists Frederick Douglass and Maggie L. Walker. With Google Expeditions, you can see the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in 360 degrees, then explore photos from its archives in the Cultural Institute.

Group of Tuskegee Airmen, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

Now it's time to hit the road and ride off into the west. There's a little something for everyone this side of the Mississippi. Get some "me time" on some of Glacier National Park's 700 miles of trials. Gaze at the puffy white clouds above Grand Teton National Park, you can see why they call this Big Sky country. And no visit to the parks is complete without Yellowstone, which was first designated as a park "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" back in 1872.

Once you've seen Old Faithful erupt, it's time to marvel at the crystal colors of the Petrified Forest and the amazing rock formations of Natural Bridges Monument. Take in the Seussian world of Joshua Tree, or the lunar landscape at Death Valley.

For some shade, head for California's forests. Sequoia is home to the largest tree in the world, while the Redwoods boast the tallest. Either way, even in Street View it's hard not to relax as you look up at the sun filtering through the branches.

Compare the real thing with artistic interpretations from the National Park Service Collection on the Google Cultural Institute

Climb up El Cap, then cool off in the mist at some of Yosemite's famous falls. Or head north for the icy blue waters of Crater Lake in Oregon and the glacier-capped peaks of Olympic National Park a stone's throw from Seattle.

Last but not least, take a virtual ferry to Alcatraz, home of the infamous federal penitentiary on the San Francisco Bay. There, you can see objects from the famous June 1962 escape from Alcatraz, including the fake heads the escapees put in their beds to cover their absence. Luckily, you're also free to go beyond the bars to learn about the first lighthouse on the West Coast and see Street View of the island's gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views. Welcome to the Rock.

Whether you visit in person or online, we hope you #FindYourPark this week!

Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kNAiFoheDGs/VxUpVI1_B3I/AAAAAAAASM4/4I8q4Webw1A3lrRievRbt3-x6VzTxea4ACLcB/s320/Redwoods1.jpg Managing Editor

19 Apr 2016 3:43pm GMT

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Adds 360-Degree Live Streams, Spatial Audio

YouTube gets closer to virtual reality. Last year, it added support for 360-degree videos and now it supports 360-degree live streaming. "And after years of live streaming Coachella for fans around the world who can't attend the festival, this year we're bringing you the festival like never before by live streaming select artist performances in 360 degrees this weekend," mentions YouTube's blog.

The new interactive live streaming feature will be especially useful for concerts, news and sport events. You can better understand what happens there by customizing your viewing experience and changing your perspective.



YouTube also added support for spacial audio, but only for on-demand YouTube videos (not for live streams). "Just as watching a concert in 360 degrees can give you an unmatched immersive experience, spatial audio allows you to listen along as you do in real life, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role," informs YouTube. There's a playlist of 6 immersive videos with spatial audio. "Enjoy these 360° and VR videos with spatial audio on Android devices. Spatial audio lets you listen to audio from all directions just as in real world. Put on headphones for the best listening experience," suggests the description of the playlist.

19 Apr 2016 12:47pm GMT

Podcasts in Google Play Music

Google Play Music is no longer only about music, now it also lets you listen to podcasts. The podcasts section is already available in the web interface and it's rolling out to the Android app in the US and Canada.

"We'll connect you with podcasts based on what you're doing, how you're feeling and what you're interested in. Similar to our contextual playlists for music, we want to make it easy to find the right podcast - whether you're a podcast aficionado or listening for the first time," informs Google.

Here are some podcasts that are available: "Freakonomics Radio", "The Nerdist", "Radiolab", "Stuff You Should Know", "TED Radio Hour", "This Week in Tech", "WTF with Marc Maron", "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!".




When you subscribe to a podcast, the Android app will automatically download the most recent episodes or notify you when there's a new episode.

19 Apr 2016 9:47am GMT

Google's Package Tracking Card

Google Search has a new card for tracking packages. Google has always displayed a package tracking link when searching for a tracking code from UPS, USPS, FedEx and other carriers, but now you can search for [track package] and enter the tracking number. Click "Find carrier" and Google shows a link like "Track via UPS" or "Track via FedEx". If Google can't find a carrier, it will show this message: "Can't match this number to a carrier".



The same card is also displayed when you search for the tracking number.

Another option to track your parcels is to search for [my packages], [my purchases] or [my orders] and Google will show a summary of your orders, including the tracking links, but only if they're available in the confirmation emails. When you search for [track my packages], [track my purchases] or [track my orders], Google also expands the most recent order.

19 Apr 2016 9:06am GMT

18 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

How technology can help us become more sustainable

We want to create technology that helps millions of others understand our changing world and live more sustainably-whether it's connecting people with public transit routes, or using the data that powers Google Earth to help you see if your roof is good for solar panels. In honor of Earth Day this month, we've gathered together some of the ways Google can help you reduce your everyday emissions and learn more about preserving our world.

Monitoring forests and wildlife
Google Earth satellite technology gives scientists and environmentalists a way to measure and visualize changes of the world on both land and water. This technology can have great impact on monitoring endangered animal populations around the world. For example, with the help of Global Forest Watch, powered by Google Earth Engine, scientists at the University of Minnesota are suggesting that wild tiger populations may rebound by 2022, due to the efforts to restore tiger habitats in key regions.

Anyone can now view tiger conservation areas (in orange and yellow above) using Global Forest Watch.
Going solar
Looking to generate clean energy savings with solar power on your home? Check out Project Sunroof, a solar calculator that estimates the impact and potential savings of installing solar on the roof of your home. Taking Google Earth imagery and overlaying annual sun exposure and weather patterns, Sunroof is able to assess viable roof space for solar panel installation, estimate the value of solar and savings based on local energy costs, and connect you with providers of solar panels in your area.

As of this week, Sunroof expanded to 42 states across the U.S. (from 10 states in December), which makes imagery and data available for a solar analysis to 43 million rooftops. We're also working with organizations like Sierra Club and their Ready for 100 campaign to help analyze the solar potential of cities across the U.S.

Project Sunroof shows you the solar potential of your home and city, allowing you to realize its renewable potential. The image on the right shows how much sunshine Denver, CO residents can capture with solar.
Measuring air pollutants
For the past few years, Google Earth Outreach and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have been working together to map methane leaks from natural gas pipelines under our streets. Since methane is a very potent greenhouse gas (GHG), even small leaks can add up to big emissions that can hurt our climate. By attaching methane analyzers to select Street View cars, we've driven more than 7,500 miles and have mapped 4,200+ leaks in 10 cities. What we found ranges from an average of one leak per mile (in Boston) to one leak every 200 miles (in Indianapolis), demonstrating the effectiveness of techniques like using plastic piping instead of steel for pipeline construction. We hope utilities can use this data to prioritize the replacement of gas mains and service lines (like New Jersey's PSE&G announced last fall). We're also partnering with Aclima to measure many more pollutants with Street View cars in California communities through this year.

Anyone can explore the maps at www.edf.org/methanemaps.


Technology is crucial to increasing energy efficiency, raising climate change awareness, and sustainability efforts. To learn more about what you can do to help, take a moment to explore our Google Earth Outreach site, where these tools and more are described in depth.

Posted by Rebecca Moore, Engineering Director, Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-bBL7AjTqQAk/VxU0akbSNEI/AAAAAAAASNs/x5Gzb7AxO2wujXWTCEboZUf1qbgZ_kjTgCLcB/s1600/1032%2Blupine.png Rebecca Moore Engineering Director Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach

18 Apr 2016 7:24pm GMT

Welcome to Google Play Music, the podcast episode

Hello, and welcome to the latest episode of Google Play Music. Today we're going to talk about something near and dear to my heart: podcasts.

People love podcasts. In fact, these days, there are so many podcasts to choose from, it can be hard to pick which one to listen to at any given time. That's where Google Play Music comes in. Google Play Music already gives you the right kind of music for the right moment-whether you want to have fun at work, prepare for a dance party, or just need to focus-and now, that includes podcasts.

Starting today on the web and rolling out on Android in the U.S. and Canada, we'll connect you with podcasts based on what you're doing, how you're feeling and what you're interested in. Similar to our contextual playlists for music, we want to make it easy to find the right podcast-whether you're a podcast aficionado or listening for the first time.

Try "Learning Something New" to talk about at a dinner party and listen to our favorite episodes from Stuff You Should Know or How To Do Everything. Enjoy a Sunday afternoon by "Getting Lost in a Story" with episodes from Radiolab or Reply All, or relax after a long day by "Laughing Out Loud" to Marc Maron's WTF or Chris Hardwick's The Nerdist. If you find something you love, subscribe to download the last several episodes automatically on your device or choose to be notified every time a new episode comes out.

And to all you creators who want to make your podcast available in Google Play Music, check out the podcast portal for more details.

Thanks to our invaluable partners without whom the world would be a boring place. And to all you podcast lovers, keep listening!

This week's episode is brought to you by Google Play. With Google Play, you can get millions of apps, games, songs, movies & TV shows, books and news sources-all your favorites, all in one place.

Posted by Ilia Malkovitch, Product Manager, Google Play Music
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Ea_awEX3vmo/VxUy25epNNI/AAAAAAAASNg/5qDhM3rEbZQsK2F33MWZWGAiNVy6aYV_QCLcB/s1600/Play.jpg Ilia Malkovitch Product Manager Google Play Music

18 Apr 2016 7:18pm GMT

Find time for your goals with Google Calendar

Whether it's reading more books, learning a new language or working out regularly, achieving your goals can be really hard. One day it's "I got called into a last-minute meeting." The next day it's "I have a friend in town." And before you know it, your goals are delayed or forgotten. In fact, with all the things you need to do in a given week, it's probably harder than ever to find the time-even when your goal really matters to you.

That's why starting today, we're introducing Goals in Google Calendar. Just add a personal goal-like "run 3 times a week"-and Calendar will help you find the time and stick to it.

Goals are easy to set up
To set a goal (like "Work out more"), simply answer a few questions (like "How often?" and "Best time?"), and you're all set. From there Calendar will look at your schedule and find the best windows to pencil in time for that goal.

Goals adjust to your busy life
Goals aren't easy-especially when the unexpected comes up-but Calendar can help you adjust in a number of important ways. For example, Calendar will automatically reschedule if you add another event that's a direct conflict with a goal.

You can also defer a goal at any time, and Calendar will make time for it later.

Finally, Calendar actually gets better at scheduling the more you use it-just defer, edit or complete your goals like normal, and Calendar will choose even better times in the future.

Calendars should help you make the most of your time-not just be tools to track events. So as Google Calendar turns 10 today (🎉), we're excited to invest in more updates like Goals, and to help you find time for everything that matters-from your daily must-dos, to exercising more, to just a little "me time."

To get started, download the Google Calendar app for Android or iPhone, and set your first goal.

Posted by Jyoti Ramnath, Product Manager

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lU0tgNyzpzQ/VxUwPjEEjLI/AAAAAAAASNQ/ozR8-C_xTnIOzGqmXkIeZqxxe8Z5XNMwgCLcB/s1600/Calendar_hero.jpg Jyoti Ramnath Product Manager

18 Apr 2016 7:07pm GMT

16 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Background Buffer in YouTube's Android App

I paused a video in YouTube's app for Android and got this message: "paused videos keep buffering if you leave the app". There's a background buffering feature and YouTube shows the how much data has been buffered. For example, "buffering 11.8/39 MB". YouTube videos are actually cached, so that's the reason why YouTube's cache can become huge.


When YouTube caches the entire video, you'll receive a notification which shows that the video is "ready to watch".


This is useful if you have a slow Internet connection: play a YouTube video, pause it, leave the app and wait until the video is cached. Then you can watch it.

An article from Indian Express mentioned in December that "Google will introduce pause buffer feature soon allowing users to pause video, leave it to buffer, even leave the app or site and let it continue buffering". Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivered a keynote speech at a Google India event in New Delhi and announced a lot of interesting features: "tap to translate" will be released this year, "Google will crowd source the data for its translate feature", "1.4 billion Android users in the world", "free WiFi at 100 railway stations in India by December 2016", "Internet access to Indians in their own language is the focus for Google in India".

Android Police reported in December that YouTube was testing background buffering.

16 Apr 2016 6:26am GMT

15 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Better Google Drive Sync

Google Drive's apps for Windows and Mac got better. You can now select which subfolders to sync with your computer. Until now, you could only select the top-level folders.


Google Drive's sync options show the size of your individual subfolders and the space remaining on your computer, just in case you're running out of free disk space. Another new feature shows a warning when you're deleting or moving a file that's shared with other people.

15 Apr 2016 6:15pm GMT

Sleep Timer in Google Play Music for iOS

The latest version of the Google Play Music app for iOS brings a new icon, a timer feature in the settings and an updated search bar that helps you find music faster.

There's a new "sleep timer" feature in the settings, which stops the music when timer ends. For example, you can set the timer and play your favorite tunes for falling asleep. A similar feature is available in the built-in Clock app for iOS and it works for any music app.


The new app icon is less recognizable than the old one and it's also asymmetric.


Here's the old icon:


Apparently, Google's music service will add support for podcasts next Monday.

15 Apr 2016 5:48pm GMT

14 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Tips for Saving to Google

If you're using the Save to Google Chrome extension, here are a few tips:


1. Select some text from the page before clicking the star icon to use this text as a note. You can change it later.


2. You can change the title of the page you save in the small box that's displayed after clicking the star icon. Just click the title and it becomes editable.


3. Pick an image to illustrate the page. From the same box, you can click the arrow icons to choose an image from the page.

4. If you don't like the images, there's a default thumbnail that uses the first character from the title. Click the right arrow icon until you reach the end of the list.


5. Add a tag to group similar pages.



6. If you clicked the star icon by mistake, click the delete icon to remove the page from your list of saved pages.

7. Use the Google Save site to manage your saved pages. You can select multiple pages to add tags or delete the pages. If this link doesn't work for you: google.com/save, then try google.com/save?gl=us.

8. The search feature is very powerful because it searches the entire text of your saved pages, not just the title and description.


9. The only keyboard shortcuts I could find are the left and right arrow keys, which allow you to navigate between your saved pages, just like in Google Image Search.

10. How to save pages without using the extension? Use Google Image Search and search for site:URL, where URL is the address of the page. Pick one of the images you like and click "save". Please note that this only works for pages that include images and only if the pages and images are indexed by Google.

14 Apr 2016 8:56pm GMT

Google Brings Back the Old Weather Cards

Back in January, Google redesigned the weather card for mobile. Now the old interface is back, but it's not clear if this is a bug or Googlers realized that the redesigned card wasn't good enough.


Google's attempt to build an even more powerful web application for weather brought some new information (air quality, UV index, sunrise and sunset times), but also a few extra taps. For example, you had to tap the "10 days" tab to see the forecast for the next 10 days.

Here's a screenshot of the ill-fated redesign:

14 Apr 2016 8:15pm GMT

13 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Save to Google

It looks the Google Save site is not restricted to bookmarking image search results. The "Save to Google" Chrome extension lets you save any web page and add tags. "One spot for webpages and Images: Your saved webpages and saved images from Google Image Search will live together at google.com/save," mentions Google.

In fact, the saving feature from Google Image Search actually bookmarks the web page that includes the image and automatically selects the image you are saving to display it next to the site's name. The Chrome extension lets you save any web page and you can pick an image from that page.


If there's no image to pick, Google shows the first letter from the title of the page.



If Google wants to create a general-purpose bookmarking site, then it could also integrate with Google Web Search and sync with Chrome bookmarks.

{ Thanks, Carlos. }

13 Apr 2016 8:18pm GMT

12 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Creating a world that works for everyone with Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities

More than a billion people have a disability. And regardless of the country or community they live in, the gaps in opportunity for people with disabilities are striking: One in three people with a disability lives in poverty. In places like the United States, 50 to 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed; in developing countries that number increases to 80 to 90 percent. And only 10 percent of people with disabilities in developing countries have access to the assistive devices they need.

Last spring, Google.org kicked off the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, an open call to global nonprofits who are building transformative technologies for the billion people around the world with disabilities. We've been amazed by the ideas we've received, coming from 1,000+ organizations spanning 88 countries. We've shared a handful of the organizations we're supporting already-and today we're excited to share the full list of 30 winners.

Infographic listing all grantees

The organizations we're supporting all have big ideas for how technology can help create new solutions, and each of their ideas has the potential to scale. Each organization has also committed to open sourcing their technology-which helps encourage and speed up innovation in a sector that has historically been siloed. Meet some of our incredible grantees below, and learn more about all 30 organizations working to improve mobility, communication, and independence for people living with disabilities at g.co/disabilities.

The Center for Discovery, $1.125 million Google.org grant
Power wheelchairs help provide greater independence to people with mobility limitations-allowing them to get around without a caregiver, or travel longer distances. But power chairs are expensive and often not covered by insurance, leaving many people limited to manual wheelchairs.

With their Google.org grant, the Center for Discovery will continue developing an open source power add-on device, the indieGo, which quickly converts any manual wheelchair into a power chair. The power add-on will provide the mobility and freedom of a power chair for around one-seventh the average cost, and will allow people who mainly use a manual wheelchair to have the option of using power when they need it. The device design will be open sourced to increase its reach-potentially improving mobility for hundreds of thousands of people.

A young man using the indieGo to greet friends.


Perkins School for the Blind, $750,000 Google.org grant
Turn-by-turn GPS navigation allows people with visual impairments to get around, but once they get in vicinity of their destination, they often struggle to find specific locations like bus stops or building entrances that GPS isn't precise enough to identify. (This is often called the "last 50 feet problem.") Lacking the detailed information they need to find specific new places, people tend to limit themselves to familiar routes, leading to a less independent lifestyle.

With the support of Google.org, Perkins School for the Blind is building tools to crowdsource data from people with sight to help people navigate the last 50 feet. Using an app, people will log navigation clues in a standard format, which will be used to create directions that lead vision-impaired people precisely to their intended destination. Perkins School for the Blind is collaborating with transit authorities who will provide access to transportation data and support Perkin's mission of making public transportation accessible to everyone.

Joann Becker walking near bus stop

Perkins School for the Blind employee, Joann Becker, travels by bus. It can be hard for people with visual impairments to locate the exact location of bus stops and other landmarks.

Miraclefeet, $1 million Google.org grant
An estimated 1 million children currently live with untreated clubfoot, a lifelong disability that often leads to isolation, limited access to education, and poverty. Clubfoot can be treated without surgery, but treatment practices are not widely used in many countries around the world.

Miraclefeet partners with local healthcare providers to increase access to proper treatment for children born with clubfoot. They will use Google.org support to offer support to families via SMS, monitor patient progress through updated software, and provide extensive online training to local clinicians. To date, Miraclefeet has helped facilitate treatment for more than 13,000 children in 13 different countries; this effort will help them significantly scale up their work to reach thousands more.

Miraclefeet helps partners use a simple, affordable brace as part of the clubfoot treatment. Here, a doctor in India shows a mother how to use the miraclefeet brace.

Ezer Mizion and Click2Speak, $400,000 Google.org grant
People with high cognitive function but impaired motor skills often have a hard time communicating-both speaking or using standard keyboards to type. Augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) help people more easily communicate, but are often unaffordable and restricted to specific platforms or inputs. Without an AAC, people may have difficulty maintaining personal relationships and professional productivity.

Ezer Mizion is working with Click2Speak to build an affordable, flexible, and customizable on-screen keyboard that allows people to type without use of their hands. With the grant from Google.org, Ezer Mizion and Click2Speak will gather more user feedback to improve the technology, including support for additional languages, operating systems, and different devices like switches, joysticks, or eye-tracking devices.

A young girl learns to use the Click2Speak on-screen keyboard with a joystick controller.

From employment to education, communication to mobility, each of our grantees is pushing innovation for people with disabilities forward. In addition to these grants, we're always working to make our own technology more accessible, and yesterday we shared some of the latest on this front, including voice typing in Google Docs and a new tool that helps Android developers build more accessible apps. With all these efforts, our aim to create a world that works for everyone.

Posted by Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities Project Lead for Google.org https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-J50ZW-AEU9c/VwyJfVtGC0I/AAAAAAAASJs/geghloVcOQwGeoxmy2bURYFoZipAMIe0gCLcB/s1600/miraclefeet.jpg Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities Project Lead Google.org

12 Apr 2016 7:01am GMT

11 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Building more accessible technology

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population will have a disability during their lifetime, which can make it hard for them to access and interact with technology, and limits the opportunity that technology can bring. That's why it's so important to build tools to make technology accessible to everyone-from people with visual impairments who need screen readers or larger text, to people with motor restrictions that prevent them from interacting with a touch screen, to people with hearing impairments who cannot hear their device's sounds. Here are some updates we've made recently to make our technology more accessible:

A tool to help develop accessible apps
Accessibility Scanner is a new tool for Android that lets developers test their own apps and receive suggestions on ways to enhance accessibility. For example, the tool might recommend enlarging small buttons, increasing the contrast between text and its background and more.

Example screens from accessibility scanner

Improvements for the visually impaired in Android N
A few weeks ago we announced a preview of Android N for developers. As part of this update we're bringing Vision Settings-which lets people control settings like magnification, font size, display size and TalkBack-to the Welcome screen that appears when people activate new Android devices. Putting Vision Settings front and center means someone with a visual impairment can independently set up their own device and activate the features they need, right from the start.

Example screens from Vision Settings
An improved screen reader on Chromebooks

Every Chromebook comes with a built-in screen reader called ChromeVox, which enables people with visual impairments to navigate the screen using text to speech software. Our newest version, ChromeVox Next Beta, includes a simplified keyboard shortcut model, a new caption panel to display speech and Braille output, and a new set of navigation sounds. For more information, visit chromevox.com.

Edit documents with your voice
Google Docs now allows typing, editing and formatting using voice commands-for example, "copy" or "insert table"-making it easier for people who can't use a touchscreen to edit documents. We've also continued to work closely with Freedom Scientific, a leading provider of assistive technology products, to improve the Google Docs and Drive experience with the JAWS screen reader.

Example of voice typing in Google Docs

Voice commands on Android devices
We recently launched Voice Access Beta, an app that allows people who have difficulty manipulating a touch screen due to paralysis, tremor, temporary injury or other reasons to control their Android devices by voice. For example, you can say "open Chrome" or "go home" to navigate around the phone, or interact with the screen by saying "click next" or "scroll down." To download, follow the instructions at http://g.co/voiceaccess.

Example showing Voice Access Beta

To learn more about Google accessibility as a whole, visit google.com/accessibility.

Posted by Eve Andersson, Manager, Accessibility Engineering Eve Andersson Manager Accessibility Engineering

11 Apr 2016 6:58pm GMT

05 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Tilt Brush: painting from a new perspective

From the earliest cave drawings, to classical paintings, to crayon scribbles, humans just have a thing for visual expression. These days digital art has spurred new opportunities for creativity, going well beyond good old pencils and paper. It's against this canvas that we bring you Tilt Brush-a new virtual reality (VR) app that lets you paint from an entirely new perspective, available today on the HTC Vive.

With Tilt Brush, you can paint in three-dimensional space. Just select your colors and brushes and get going with a wave of your hand. Your room is a blank slate. You can step around, in and through your drawings as you go. And, because it's in virtual reality, you can even choose to use otherwise-impossible materials like fire, stars or snowflakes.

3D artwork drawn in Tilt Brush

One of the best parts about any new medium is just seeing what's possible. So, we brought Tilt Brush to The Lab at Google Cultural Institute-a space in Paris created to bring tech and creative communities together to discover new ways to experience art. Since then, artists from around the world and from every discipline have come to explore their style in VR for the very first time.

We've already seen some incredible pieces from professional animators, painters, and street artists, but even casual doodlers can start painting in seconds. To get inspired, check out #TiltBrush on Twitter for even more art created with Tilt Brush.

Posted by Andrey Doronichev, Group Product Manager, Google VR https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-avD7HjpYPe8/VwQnoRHuXgI/AAAAAAAASHo/FYhf0ActxxUHaq5XnxiYLsiEIKV4tXOQw/s1600/Tilt%2BBrush%2B%25281%2529.jpg Andrey Doronichev Group Product Manager Google VR

05 Apr 2016 9:07pm GMT

04 Apr 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Animal Sounds

Google has a special card for animal sounds. Search for [cat sound], [what sound does a zebra make], [animal sounds] and you can actually play the sound directly from the search page, whether you're using the desktop Google site or the mobile sites and apps.


This works for 19 animals: tiger, lion, elephant, zebra, ape, sheep, duck, rooster, turkey, owl, cat, pig, cow, dog, moose, raccoon, horse, humpback whale, bowhead whale.

Google uses MP3 files like www.google.com/logos/fnbx/animal_sounds/cat.mp3 for playing animal sounds, so they work in almost any modern browser that supports HTML5 audio. For some reason, turtles are no longer available in the card, but you can still find the MP3 file: www.google.com/logos/fnbx/animal_sounds/turtle.mp3.

An article from Indian Express mentions that "the sounds have been recorded from live animals" and the feature works for "the top searched for animals in Google and animals with some of the most iconic sounds". It was supposed to be launched back in January, but Google announced it in March.

{via Mashable}

04 Apr 2016 10:17am GMT

01 Apr 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Putting the “real” in “virtual reality”

Virtual reality has brought us to places ranging from the bottom of the ocean to the surface of Mars. But as good as VR is, it's never been quite as real as, well… real life. Google Cardboard Plastic, launching today, changes all that. It's our latest step toward truly immersive technology-a new viewer that lets you see, touch, smell and hear the world just like you do in real life.

Cardboard Plastic is the world's first actual reality headset, complete with 4D integrated perspective, 360° spatially accurate sound, 20/20 resolution, and advanced haptics for realistic touch sensations. Expertly crafted from polymethyl methacrylate, Cardboard Plastic is lightweight, waterproof, and engineered to last a lifetime-no batteries, no wires. And unlike other VR headsets, it integrates seamlessly into your life-so you'll never miss a thing. Unless you blink.

Find more about Cardboard Plastic at google.com/cardboardplastic. The future is clear.

Posted by Jon Wiley, Director of Immersive Design, Google Cardboard Plastic https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_NDBFo_zubo/Vv3KupxthPI/AAAAAAAASGs/PX838Bywdmkt0k6yG3RBVELrxI5w0ubyQ/s1600/cardboardPlastic2.jpg Jon Wiley Director of Immersive Design Google Cardboard Plastic

01 Apr 2016 1:15am GMT

31 Mar 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Take a virtual step into Abbey Road Studios

Last year, we opened the doors to the music landmark Abbey Road Studios, where musical legends like the Beatles and Pink Floyd have recorded. With a click of a mouse or a tap of a screen, more than 2 million fans from around the world have stepped Inside Abbey Road to explore the famous studios. Now you can go even further and experience what it actually feels like-and sounds like-inside the studios, using Google Cardboard and your smartphone.

To get this virtual reality experience, download the app on Android (iOS coming soon), then start your journey with a nine-part guided tour narrated by Giles Martin, the son of the late Beatles producer, George Martin, who shares the history of the studios from the 1930's to present day.

After the tour, you can quite literally move around the studios at your leisure to see hidden treasures like Studio 3's Mirrored Drum Room, where the mirrors help to create a close, bright and loud sound quality. Uncover one of Abbey Road's Mastering Suites, where a record gets its finishing touches before a release. In Studio 1, experience what it's like to be in a recording session with the London Symphony Orchestra with surround sound.

With Inside Abbey Road for Cardboard, you can get even closer to the history, stories and innovation of the most famous music studios in the world.

Posted by Tom Seymour, Creative Lead and VR sightseer, Google Creative Lab London
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-e6n8OBG9qn8/VvxsceGGcgI/AAAAAAAASGQ/ulbZa58NrEU2QvROv0bxmL991NijWP6Kg/s1600/Inside%2BAbbey%2BRoad.jpg Tom Seymour Creative Lead Google Creative Lab London

31 Mar 2016 6:36am GMT

25 Mar 2016

feedOfficial Google Blog

Smarter photo albums, without the work

Remember the last time you went on a trip or had a fun weekend? You probably took photos and videos-lots of them-but didn't do much beyond posting a couple on social media. Maybe you thought about making an album to share with your family or friends, but picking out the best photos and organizing them can feel as fun as unpacking your suitcase-so more often than not, they just sit on your phone or computer.

Starting today, after an event or trip, Google Photos will suggest a new album for you, curated with just your best shots. It'll also add maps to show how far you traveled and location pins to remember where you went-because it's not always easy to recall the late-night diner you hit on your road trip, or which campsite you pitched the tent in when arriving after dark.

You can add text captions to the album to describe the view from the small hill huge mountain you climbed, and turn on collaboration to let others add their own photos. Or if you want to create one yourself, any existing album can now be customized with maps, location pins, and text. Voilà: You have a beautiful album ready to share.

This new album experience is rolling out today on Android, iOS, and the web. We're taking the best of stories and bringing them to albums, so your adventures are easier to browse, edit, collaborate on, and share.

Posted by Francois de Halleux, Product Manager, Google Photos https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qq83GxJkd4w/VvGYMwhfGWI/AAAAAAAASFU/lrewBIdZ75gkI5lYDbkK9NjtkBAAxGLQw/s1600/GooglePhotos.jpg Francois de Halleux Product Manager Google Photos

25 Mar 2016 6:16pm 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

23 Jan 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Lessons learned from the early days of Google

Earlier this month I did a talk at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill about lessons learned from the early days of Google. The video is now online and watchable, or you can watch it on YouTube: We did the talk in a pretty large room, and the camera at the back of […]

23 Jan 2015 8:44pm GMT

02 Jan 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

My two favorite books of 2014

I'd like to mention two books that stood out for me in 2014: Nonfiction: The First 20 Minutes. Gretchen Reynolds is a New York Times columnist who distills health and exercise research down to practical, readable advice. I've never dog-eared as many pages in a book as The First 20 Minutes. Reynolds writes about why […]

02 Jan 2015 4:08am GMT

26 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

The Emperor's Garden

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

26 Aug 2011 12:12pm GMT

15 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

15 Aug 2011 4:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google drops reverse phone number lookup

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

25 Feb 2011 11:23am GMT

16 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Idea: Topical Chat

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

16 Dec 2010 2:55pm GMT

Idea: CrowdChat

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

16 Dec 2010 7:26am GMT

Google Body Browser

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

16 Dec 2010 2:17am GMT

10 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Pictures of the Cr-48

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

10 Dec 2010 5:23am GMT

09 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Chromedroidpad

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

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Device Evolution

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

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

How to Disable Google Instant Previews

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

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

12 Nov 2010 7:00am GMT

04 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

04 Nov 2010 2:58am GMT

24 Oct 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

See a Random Street View Location

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

24 Oct 2010 6:42am GMT