23 Apr 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Six ways your Google Assistant can help you spruce up for spring


Spring is in the air, which also means it's the season to freshen up your home. If you're like me, cleaning your house doesn't top your list of favorite things to do-but it still needs to get done. This year, get a little help from your Google Assistant on your phone, speaker or Smart Display-so you spend less time cleaning, and more time enjoying the outdoors.

As we bid adieu to winter layers and welcome longer, warmer days, here are six ways your Assistant can help with spring cleaning:

  1. You can't get something done if you don't remember to do it. Set a friendly reminder to tackle your cleaning projects around the house. Just say, "Hey Google, remind me to clean my closet" or "Hey Google, remind me to store my winter clothes."

  2. Kickstart your cleaning session by setting up a custom routine so your Assistant automatically gets things done for you-like playing your cleaning playlist (because music makes even the most mundane chores better!), turning on your Whirlpool or Samsung dishwasher, and starting a load of laundry with Whirlpool, LG, GE or Samsung connected appliances. It's easy to get this set up in your Assistant app for Android or iOS and link smart devices: Just add a custom command like "let's start cleaning" and then add each action you want your Assistant to take (e.g. start the washer). Once complete, say, "Hey Google, let's start cleaning," and watch each action start at the same time.

  3. Who said cleaning was a one-person job? Broadcast a message via the Assistant on your phone or voice-activated speaker (like Google Home) to get some help from your family. Say, "Hey Google, broadcast 'it's time to clean!'" to rally your family. They can even reply back to let you know they're on their way.

  4. Delegate tasks by telling your Assistant exactly which room to clean. If you have an iRobot i7 Roomba, simply say, "Hey Google, vacuum the kitchen" or "Hey Google, vacuum the living room."

  5. In the middle of a cleaning session and almost out of cleaning supplies? Just ask the Assistant to get more. Give it a go by saying, "Hey Google, order more disinfecting wipes" or "Hey Google, order more paper towels."

  6. With all of this cleaning, chances are you'll have clothes or other household items that you want to give away. To find the nearest drop-off, just ask, "Hey Google, where is the nearest donation drop-off?"

While the Assistant can't do all of the cleaning for you, it can help you streamline the process and make organizing your home more enjoyable.

23 Apr 2019 2:00pm GMT

Finding a place to charge your EV is easy with Google Maps

If you've ever driven to an electric vehicle (EV) charging station only to find that all ports are occupied, you know that you could end up waiting in line for anywhere between minutes to hours-which can really put a damper on your day when you have places to go and things to do.


Starting today, you can see the real time availability of charging ports in the U.S. and U.K, right from Google Maps-so you can know if chargers are available before you head to a station. Simply search for "ev charging stations" to see up to date information from networks like Chargemaster, EVgo, SemaConnect and soon, Chargepoint. You'll then see how many ports are currently available, along with other helpful details, like the business where the station is located, port types and charging speeds. You'll also see information about the station from other drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.
realtime

You can search for real time EV charging information on Google Maps on desktop, Android, iOS and on Google Maps for Android Auto. To get started, update your Google Maps app from the App Store or Play Store.


23 Apr 2019 10:00am GMT

22 Apr 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Our commitments to the environment, today and every day

22 Apr 2019 10:00pm GMT

Steps toward a more sustainable future

People perform trillions of searches on Google each year, upload hundreds of hours of videos to YouTube each minute, and receive more than 120 billion emails every week. Making all of these Google services work for everyone requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work, like operating a global network of data centers around the clock and manufacturing products for people around the world.

It's not only our responsibility to build products and services that are fast and reliable for everyone, but also to make sure we do so with minimal impact to our planet. So this Earth Day, we're taking inventory of the progress we've made when it comes to sustainability and where we plan to do more.

We've scaled up our use of renewable energy.

  • In 2017, we hit a goal that we set five years earlier and matched 100 percent of the electricity consumption of our operations with purchases of renewable energy. This means that for each unit of energy we used that year, we purchased an equivalent unit of energy from a renewable source, such as wind or solar.

  • When we buy renewable energy, we only do so from projects that are constructed for Google. This helps us bring on new clean energy supply to the grids where we operate our facilities.

  • Today, a Google data center uses 50 percent less energy than a typical data center, while delivering seven times more computing power than we did five years ago.

  • We use AI to help safely run our data center cooling systems-already this has resulted in 30 percent energy savings.

  • We're weaving circularity into our operations. In our data centers, we use components from old servers to upgrade machines and build remanufactured machines with refurbished parts.

We build products and services that help others become a part of the solution.

  • To date, Nest Thermostats have helped people save a total of more than 35 billion kilowatt hours of energy-that's enough energy to power the city of San Francisco for three years.

  • Researchers and policy makers use our Google Geo platforms to better take care of our planet. Product like Google Earth Engine help people combat overfishing, monitor forest change and protect the freshwater supply.

  • Businesses that switch from locally hosted solutions to G Suite have reported reductions in IT energy use and carbon emissions up to 85 percent.

  • Organizations that move IT infrastructure and collaboration applications, like Gmail and Google Docs, from a self managed data center or colocation facility to Google Cloud reduce the net carbon emissions of their computing to zero.

Our sustainability work isn't over. When we think long term, we're working toward directly sourcing carbon-free energy for our operations--24 hours a day, 7 days a week-in all the places we operate. Already, we're working with governments and utility companies to chart a course toward making a 24x7 carbon-free grid a reality so more companies and people can decrease their carbon footprint. We know that it is the right path forward, and we have just begun.

Along the way we'll continue to find more ways to protect our planet with our sustainability efforts. Follow along with us in this collection that we'll be updating all week long in celebration of Earth Day.

22 Apr 2019 6:00pm GMT

Being a mom is hard work. Becoming one is, too.

For seven years, Mother's Day was the worst day of the year for me. It was an observance that felt completely out of reach, yet commercially and socially it was a reminder that I couldn't escape. I wanted to be a mom, but I was having trouble becoming one. For my husband and I, the inner walls of our bedroom became clinical, timed and invaded by fertility specialists. The outside world didn't understand what we were going through-they saw us as a couple who decided to "take their time" to start a family. I began doing my own research and found out that 1 in 8 women in America are struggling, too. There are over 7 million of us who want a child but have a disease or other barrier that stands in our way.

Using Google and YouTube, I found support groups, blogs and resources. I wasn't as alone as I thought-like many, I had been silent about my struggles with infertility. It's a less-than-tasty casserole of heartache, injections and surgeries, failed adoption placements and financial devastation.

So I learned how to be my own advocate. I've spoken out, written articles and-most recently-lent my voice to the video above to raise awareness about the barriers to building a family. I want to better educate people on how to support their friends and family who are struggling with infertility.

As today marks the start of National Infertility Awareness Week, I-along with the other brave women in this video-am dedicated to sparking a bigger conversation, and overcoming the stigmas and barriers that surround infertility. I'm excited Google is using its platform to help put this message out into the world ahead of Mother's Day. I hope that this year, even one more person out there will realize they're not alone.

22 Apr 2019 5:00pm GMT

Go green with your Google Assistant

It can be hard to know how to chip in and make a difference to protect the environment. You can recycle, take shorter showers, or carpool to work-and now you can lower your carbon footprint just by asking your Google Assistant.

With new advancements in smart home technology, it's actually pretty easy to incorporate energy and water-saving actions into your daily routine (and save some money while you're at it). This Earth Day, we're sharing a few ways the Assistant can help make your home more environmentally-friendly.

Simple ways to save energy and automate

  1. Switch to LEDs.Swapping out just five incandescent bulbs with LED lights can save you up to $75 per year-plus, LEDs also last up to 50 times longer than incandescents, with a total life of at least 35,000 hours. Even better, pairing ENERGY STAR-certified smart bulbs like Philips Hue with the Assistant can help you control the lights with just your voice, or set lighting schedules to use electricity only when you need it.

  2. Choose ENERGY STAR certified appliances.Did you know that appliances contribute to a quarter of your home's energy use? To optimize how that energy is used, choose an ENERGY STAR-certified brand like GE Appliances, LG, Samsung or Whirlpool, and connect it with the Assistant to easily control appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens and air purifiers. Certain window air conditioning units and ceiling fans also work with the Assistant: Just say, "Hey Google, turn off the fan" to a Haiku fan as you leave a room or schedule your LG, Midea or Toshiba AC to turn off at the same time each day.

  3. Upgrade your thermostat.Many utilities offer rebates on smart thermostats because they make saving energy easy. Smart thermostats like the Nest Learning Thermostat can save an average of $131 to $145 a year (of course, individual savings are not guaranteed). That's because Nest thermostats make smart, automatic temperature adjustments to save energy based on your habits. And you can even say "Hey Google, set the thermostat to eco mode" to make your home even more efficient.

  4. Monitor and protect from leaks.According to the EPA, the average family can lose 9,400 gallons of water annually from household leaks alone. To curb this waste, you can use leak detectors like LeakSmart, or install Flo by Moen to immediately get notifications if pipes leak, and use the Assistant to shut off the water.

  5. Curb your outdoor water use.You can still keep your lush lawn looking beautiful while using less water. Smart sprinkler systems like the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller reduce water usage and now work with the Assistant, so you can easily control and monitor these systems with simple voice commands. As part of your Routine, you can also set the sprinklers for early morning or at night to prevent evaporation. We're also adding support for Rain Bird's family of Irrigation Controllers in the coming weeks.

How to set up everything with the Assistant

Download the Google Assistant or Google Home app and then click "Add device." You can get started right away with commands like "Hey Google, turn down the temperature" with your Nest Thermostat. Or set up quick Routines that can help you automate energy savings by controlling multiple devices with a single command.

Our commitment to supporting families and the environment

There are lots of changes we can make as individuals to combat climate change, but we're taking steps as a company to reduce energy in U.S. households, too. ThePower Project is our pledge to bring one million Nest thermostats to low income families by 2023. Along with a coalition of partners-nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and the National Housing Trust and energy companies like Georgia Power- we've brought more than 150,000 Nest thermostats to homes over the last year to help families reduce their energy costs. This year, the Power Project is expanding to include partners Philips Hue and Whirlpool. Along with Nest, they'll donate thousands of energy-saving technology products to Habitat for Humanity in the coming year. You can join us in providing energy-saving technology to those who need it most in your community by donating to nonprofits at nest.com/powerproject.

Making consistent changes to reduce energy consumption in our day-to-day lives is the key to long-term conservation; even the smallest changes add up to measurable impact. With the Assistant and the right energy-saving technology, these changes are easier to make than ever.


22 Apr 2019 4:00pm GMT

19 Apr 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

From kids' music to the tech world, without missing a beat

Matan Ariel's young nieces and nephew live on the other side of the world, but they keep up with their uncle thanks to his music-and thanks to Google, too. Though they live in Israel and he lives in New York, the three kids love to ask the Google Assistant to play his songs, which have gone double platinum in their country.

Matan, or "Uncle Matani" as they call him, works in sales in Google's New York office. But he also has another love, children's music, which brought him a level of success he never expected before he headed to Google.

He first started singing full-time during his three years serving in the Israeli military. He was part of an entertainment unit for the navy, traveling from base to base to perform at various ceremonies, whether they were celebrations or memorials or something in between. "Think about it as a cover band for Israeli pop songs," he says. "It was a range of different performances."

It was during his years in the navy that he decided to record children's music. Some people in his entertainment unit were babysitters on the side, and they lamented the lack of quality songs for kids. Matan took action, setting up time in a recording studio and coming up with a plan to record as Matan Ariel & Friends. They chose classic Hanukkah songs, since they were in the public domain, and recorded the album immediately after their service officially ended.

One of the Hannukah songs from Matan Ariel & Friends.

Matan and his group recorded modern covers of classic Jewish holiday songs, in Hebrew, and they filled an important need for families in Israel. "There were either the classic songs we all knew growing up, but recordings from the '50s and '60s that hadn't been digitally enhanced. You could even hear hissing sounds from the original vinyl records," he says. "Or there were newer albums where people were saying, 'I'm going to create my own Passover or Purim songs,' and they just weren't as good."

And to Matan's surprise, the album took off, selling out its initial run in just a few weeks. "I got an email a few weeks later, saying, 'We sold out of the Hanukkah songs, so can we have more, because Hanukkah is still not here yet? And do you have Passover songs, and something you can sell year-round?'" he says. "I said, Sure, I'll get you that!'"

A Passover song recorded by Matan Ariel & Friends.

Eventually, the album of Hanukkah songs exceeded Israeli double platinum status. Matan Ariel & Friends recorded 17 albums and five DVDs, about themes like birthdays and animals and around holidays like Passover, Purim and Sukkot. Two of his favorites are an album of Israeli lullabies and an album of Israeli memorial day songs.


After he graduated from college, though, Matan decided to step back from music and focus on the business world. These days, he leads a team of ad sales executives who work with agencies to help small and medium businesses use Google ads. He saves his singing voice for karaoke nights with friends and the occasional Googler cover band. At work, sometimes he'll hand out CDs to his coworkers with children, but there's one problem: many of them don't have CD players anymore, so they just stream his music instead.


Matan says the biggest reward he's seen from his music has been with his young nieces and nephew, who he doesn't get to see as often as he'd like. "I wasn't a stranger to them because [my brother and sister-in-law] would play my albums to the children, and they would show the DVDs to the children. So Uncle Matani was someone the kids knew," he says. "I would come to Tel Aviv and they would see me, and run to me and hug me. That to me is an impact that goes even beyond the sales."

19 Apr 2019 4:00pm GMT

Visit the U.S. National Parks in Google Earth

Each spring, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation dedicate a week to celebrating the protected spaces in our communities. Today, we're bringing the national parks to you in a Google Earth guided tour through 31 different parks around the country.


From the breathtaking vistas of the Shenandoah Valley to the awe-inspiring hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, the National Parks allow us to truly experience the natural wonders of our country. Start with the pink granite formations of Otter Cliff in Maine's Acadia National Park, then head west to explore the ancient Pueblo dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Finally, complete your journey with a peek through the North Window arch in Utah's Arches National Park.

  • Acadia National Park.png

    Acadia National Park

  • Mesa Verde National Park.png

    Mesa Verde National Park

  • Arches National Park.png

    Arches National Park

Once you've virtually explored the national parks in Google Earth, we encourage you to put down your phone, put on some sunscreen and get outside to explore the wonders that our parks system has to offer. Start by finding the park closest to you.


19 Apr 2019 1:00pm GMT

18 Apr 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Presenting search app and browser options to Android users in Europe

People have always been able to customize their Android devices to suit their preferences. That includes personalizing the design, installing any apps they want and choosing which services to use as defaults in apps like Google Chrome.

Following the changes we made to comply with the European Commission's ruling last year, we'll start presenting new screens to Android users in Europe with an option to download search apps and browsers.

These new screens will be displayed the first time a user opens Google Play after receiving an upcoming update. Two screens will surface: one for search apps and another for browsers, each containing a total of five apps, including any that are already installed. Apps that are not already installed on the device will be included based on their popularity and shown in a random order.

Android screen

An illustration of how the screens will look. The apps shown will vary by country.

Users can tap to install as many apps as they want. If an additional search app or browser is installed, the user will be shown an additional screen with instructions on how to set up the new app (e.g., placing app icons and widgets or setting defaults). Where a user downloads a search app from the screen, we'll also ask them whether they want to change Chrome's default search engine the next time they open Chrome.

Chrome

The prompt in Google Chrome to ask the user whether they want to change their default search engine.

The screens are rolling out over the next few weeks and will apply to both existing and new Android phones in Europe.

These changes are being made in response to feedback from the European Commission. We will be evolving the implementation over time.

18 Apr 2019 12:00pm GMT

On World Heritage Day, explore historic sites in 3D

Last year on World Heritage Day, CyArk launched Open Heritage on Google Arts & Culture to showcase the technology used for heritage preservation around the world. This year, we're expanding the project further. Our goal isn't just to digitally preserve heritage sites at risk, but to make their stories and the data we collected available to future generations of researchers, educators and students.

In addition to bringing new heritage locations and their stories to Google Arts & Culture, this year Historic Environment Scotland and the University of South Florida-organizations with a shared commitment to opening their 3D datasets to the world-have also joined the Open Heritage project. Together, we're launching Open Heritage 3D, a dedicated portal for sharing 3D cultural heritage data and its results with everyone.

  • The Temple of Apollo, a structure at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean.

    Explore the Temple of Apollo, or Portara-an unfinished Greek temple said to offer one of the most enchanting sunsets in Greece.

  • The Neolithic Orkely, ceremonial stone circles.

    Discover the 5,000 year old ceremonial buildings at the heart of Neolithic Orkney.

  • The Jefferson Memorial, a large white building with columns in West Potomac Park, in Washington, D.C.

    The Thomas Jefferson Memorialhonors one of America's founding fathers.

  • The "spider web" wooden ceiling of the Lukang Longshan Temple.

    Discover Lukang Longshan Temple's impressive architectural features including painted murals, wood carvings and the largest spider web wooden ceiling in Taiwan.

  • The front of the Masjid Wazir Khan, an ornately decorated Mughal-era mosque.

    Dive into the intricate details of the Masjid Wazir Khan, the most ornately decorated Mughal-era mosque.

  • Launch Complex 34, a rocket launch site.

    Historic photo from 1963 of Launch Complex 34 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

  • The Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, surrounded by trees and a pond.

    Wander the streets of Vietnam's old imperial city and explore the majestic Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc.

At CyArk, we carry out this mission through 3D documentation. In 2018, we traveled to Mexico City to support restoration efforts following the devastating earthquake that struck there in 2017. Our efforts included the 3D documentation of the city's enormous cathedral. It's one of many cultural heritage sites across the world facing unprecedented challenges from natural disasters, climate change, human conflict and urban encroachment. Today, we're adding the data collected during the Mexico City project to Google Arts & Culture, along with 29 other endangered sites around the globe, including the Temple of Apollo in Greece, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the U.S. and the Tomb of Tu Ducin Vietnam.

A 3D rendering of Mexico City's cathedral.

3D model of Mexico City's Cathedral.

Since we began this project last year, the data has been downloaded thousands of times, used to create 3D printed temples from Thailand and incorporated into VR experiences that let you explore an ancient city. Five of the new locations available today are in Damascus, Syria, a city impacted by civil war. From 2016 to 2017, we embarked upon an extensive training program for young professionals from the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Lebanon, providing them with the tools and skills to document their heritage. Teaching our 3D documentation methodology is a core part of our mission and is becoming increasingly more important as organizations around the world adopt the use of 3D recording technologies.

Two people standing behind a camera at the Temple of Eshmun.

Photogrammetry at the Temple of Eshmun.

You can explore more stories by visiting g.co/openheritage, downloading the Android or iOS app or visiting Google Arts & Culture.

18 Apr 2019 8:00am GMT

17 Apr 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Spring into healthy habits with help from Google Home

Spring is (finally) here. Not only am I using the warmer weather and longer days as a reason to clean out my closet, but I'm also taking the opportunity to clean up my routine and stick to my wellness goals. I'd like to read one book per week, cook more healthy recipes for my family and get at least seven hours of sleep per night… with a full time job and two toddlers. Life is a lot to manage, so I use my Google Home products to keep track of everything I want to accomplish.

Here are a few ways that your Google Assistant on Google Home devices can help with your wellness goals and put some spring in your step:

Get more sleep

Starting today, our Gentle Sleep & Wake feature lets you use any Google Home device to set a routine that gradually turns your Philips Hue smart lights on (wake) or off (sleep) over the course of 30 minutes, to mimic the sunrise or help you prepare for bed. This gradual change of light helps improve the quality of your sleep. Just say, "Hey Google," then:

  • "Turn on Gentle Wake up" to have your daily morning alarms pair with gradual brightening. Make sure to enable Gentle Wake Up on the same Google Home device you'll set your alarms on.
  • "Wake up my lights." You can also say, "Hey Google, wake up my lights in the bedroom at 6:30 a.m." This will start to gradually brighten your Philips Hue lights at the time that you set and can be set up to 24 hours in advance.
  • "Sleep my lights." You can also say, "Hey Google, sleep the lights in the living room." This will gradually start to dim your Philips Hue lights and can be programmed up to 24 hours in advance.

The Gentle Sleep & Wake feature is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Singapore and India in English only. For other ways to wind down at the end of the day, you can also tune out noises from street traffic or construction next door by saying, "Hey Google, play white noise."

Put your mind to bed

With Headspace on Google Home, you can try out a short meditation or a sleep exercise. Just say, "Hey Google, tell Headspace I'm ready for bed." You can also say, "Hey Google, I want to meditate" to get recommendations like healing sounds, sleep sounds and more.

Cook healthy recipes

Cooking is easy with Google Home's step-by-step recipes, and the convenience of a screen on Google Home Hub means that I can search for healthy family recipes and save them to "My Cookbook" for later. Use your voice to browse millions of recipes, get guided cooking instructions, set cooking timers and more.

Get some exercise

Use your Google Home to play your workout playlist, set alarms for working out or cast workout videos from YouTube to your TV with Google Home and Chromecast. If you've got a Google Home Hub, you can also watch workout videos right on the device. Try "Hey Google, show me barre workout videos" to get started.

Read more books

With Audiobooks on Google Play, you can buy an audiobook and listen to it on Google Home. Say, "Hey Google, read my book" to listen to your favorite audiobook hands-free with the Google Assistant. You can also use the Assistant on your phone to pick up where you left off. You can say, "Hey Google, stop playing in 20 minutes" to set a timer for bedtime reading each night, or multitask by listening to a book while tackling laundry or doing the dishes.


Hopefully your Google Home Hub, Mini or Max can help keep you healthy, happy and mindful for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.


17 Apr 2019 3:00pm GMT

With the Roav Bolt, use your Google Assistant safely when driving

I spend so much time on the road every day, whether I'm hustling to the office or picking up the kids at school. While I'm driving, it can be very tempting to pull out my phone to check text messages, make phone calls or fumble around to find my favorite podcast.

ARB

One way to safely stay connected and use your phone hands-free while on the road is by using the Roav Bolt, an affordable aftermarket device by Anker Innovations. The Roav Bolt is built to work with Android devices, and brings the Google Assistant to almost any car. Just say, "Hey Google," when you're in the car or tap the button on Roav Bolt to find the nearest coffee shop, play your favorite song or podcast, navigate home, read texts, make calls, set reminders and check your schedule for the day.

Roav Bolt plugs into your car's charging socket, connecting to your phone's Bluetooth and then to your car's stereo. The far-field built-in mics on the Roav Bolt ensure that your Assistant hears you clearly, whether your phone is locked or stashed away or if you're blasting music.

Here's a closer look at what you can do with the Assistant using Roav Bolt, starting with "Hey Google":

Navigation

Ask the Google Assistant to help you get to your destination and find the things you need as you're driving, such as current traffic along your route, nearby gas stations, or restaurants and businesses.

  • "Navigate home/to work"
  • "How's the traffic to Los Angeles?"
  • "Share my ETA with Evelyn"
  • "Find a gas station on the way"
  • "Find dry cleaners nearby"

Entertainment

The Google Assistant can play your favorite songs, radio stations, audiobooks and podcasts through your car's sound system.

  • "Play {song / artist / album}"
  • "Play {Jazz / Country / Top 40}"
  • "Play {content} on {app name}"
  • "Play the latest episode of {podcast}"
  • "What's on the news?"

Communication

Call, send a message and have your notifications read out loud while you're driving, all with just with your voice. And with proactive notifications, stay connected without needing to look at your phone so you don't miss important updates while you're in the car.

  • "Call" or "text [contact, or business name]"
  • "Send message to [name] on [App: Whatsapp / Wechat / Hangouts]"
  • "Read my messages"

Get things done

Control compatible smart home devices on the go-check that the lights are turned off when you leave home and adjust the thermostat when you're on your way home. You can also check what's on your calendar, add things to a shopping list and set up important reminders like picking up your dry cleaning at a specific time.

  • "What's on my agenda today?"
  • "Turn off all the lights at home"
  • "Remind me to pick up dry cleaning at 6:00 p.m."
  • "Add milk to my shopping list"


The Roav Bolt will also be available for iOS in a beta experience with limited capabilities to begin with. You can find the Roav Bolt online and in store at major retailers, including Best Buy retail locations, bestbuy.com and walmart.com for $49.99.


17 Apr 2019 1:00pm GMT

16 Apr 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

At Tech Day, hundreds of kids dive deep into STEM

On April 13 and 14, Google's Mountain View campus suddenly had a much younger population. That's because 875 high school students stopped by for Google's fourth annual Tech Day. Over 150 Google and Alphabet volunteers joined the kids in 129 interactive STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities to empower them with knowledge and inspire them to get started in disciplines like computer science.

But Tech Day isn't just about fun and games. The event was designed for students who may not have regular access to technology classes at their schools. The students who attend Tech Day have very little experience in technology and computing, but they might leave the event inspired to pursue a new career path.

Software engineer Matthew Dierker started Tech Day in 2016, based on a similar event at his alma mater. He started his university's program along with a friend at the University of Illinois, and decided to bring the idea to the Bay Area. "I thought it'd be a natural fit here, given the large number of passionate engineers in Silicon Valley, plus I like organizing stuff," he says. "I gathered a few friends and that effort found a good home in Google's engEDU initiative."

Students learn technology at Google's Tech Day event.

Photo by Tim Andres

Since then, Tech Day has expanded to a full weekend, with three times the students it had in 2016. And the list of activities has grown beyond just classes. Kids can now participate in games and breakout sessions that help them loosen up around technology. The event's organizers say one of the biggest obstacles the kids face is not seeing all the career options they may have. "They might think they can't work in any role in tech just because they struggle with math. This isn't the case," says Melaena Roberts, a software engineer and volunteer team lead.

User experience designer Bingying Xia says she volunteers at Tech Day because she'd like to let students know that there's more to tech than computer science. "The world also needs smart, creative designers to find user problems and come up with innovative design solutions," she says.

Even if students aren't interested in pursuing a career in the industry, one of Tech Day's biggest goals is to make technology seem less intimidating. "Technological skills apply to any job, even outside of the technology industry. Tech isn't all sitting at a desk in front of a computer," Matthew says. "If that inspires enough curiosity to keep someone learning, the skills they learn will almost certainly be useful regardless of what they wind up doing."

Organizers and volunteers really invest themselves during Tech Day to give students as much knowledge as they can, but they learn a lot from the students, too. Melaena says student feedback has informed how Tech Day has changed over the years. Volunteer Volker Grabe, a software engineer at Waymo, says he notices kids speak their minds more as the day goes on and they realize the day isn't as tough or competitive as they expected.

Their main takeaway from the students? They're curious about tech and excited to learn outside the classroom. "I saw raw passion, curiosity, and excitement in the students," says volunteer Hannah Huynh, a product design engineer. "I was impressed that these students were so dedicated to give up their weekend to learn about engineering."

16 Apr 2019 5:00pm GMT

New research shows how Android helps companies build a digital workforce

IDC reports that by 2022, 75 percent of CIOs who don't transition their organization to flexible IT product teams that use technology to solve problems in new ways will fall behind the competition. According to IDC, mobility is the key to building a connected workforce that's agile, particularly when the organization is going through rapid change.


In new research sponsored by Google, IDC asserts that teams can thrive with platforms that feature a diversity of hardware, offer strong security, and support IT management that balances with user experience. This series of whitepapers, videos and blog posts detail the critical role that mobility plays in achieving these core pillars and the strengths that Android offers as a strategic platform of choice for enterprise.


Phil Hochmuth, Program Director of IDC Mobility, said that for businesses to transform how their workers do their jobs with mobility, they must address key challenges around mobile computing risk, device capabilities, and form-factor selection, as well as the underlying provisioning and management of mobile end-user technology. IDC sees Android as a strategic platform that addresses each pillar to consider when choosing a mobile platform: Overall security, solution breath, and IT management capabilities balanced with user experience.

Android security extends from the hardware to the application stack, ensuring corporate data is kept secure. Our broad set of OEM partners offers a wide range of both price points as well as form factors that can enable every worker. And Android IT management capabilities span from the Work Profile, which separates personal data from corporate data access on a BYOD or personally enabled device, to locked down modes that control the device experience to a set of IT approved applications. Combined with innovative tools that bring machine learning, immersive experiences, and both native and web apps to users, Android is well suited to powering an organization's digital transformation efforts.

Explore the IDC findings to discover how Android powers a mobile, connected workforce and can help your company take the next steps toward transitioning to a digital workforce.

16 Apr 2019 4:00pm GMT

15 Apr 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

Want to Change the Game? Design your own with Google Play

Calling all future game creators and designers! We're looking for teens to share their game idea and vision for the future of gaming for a chance to see their game come to life on Google Play.

Today, we're opening up our second annual Change the Game Design Challenge with Girls Make Games to inspire teens to consider a career in gaming-and celebrate women as players and creators. The Grand Prize Winner will win a $15,000 college scholarship and $15,000 for their school or community center's technology program.

The top five finalists will serve as the creative directors for their game, teaming up with Girls Make Games and game industry veterans to develop and launch their game on Google Play. They'll also receive an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to showcase their game design and meet the mentors who will be helping to build their game. The finalists will join a celebration of women in gaming, get a VIP tour of Google Los Angeles, a scholarship to attend Girls Make Games Summer Camp and more.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only. For more information, including submission guidelines and how to enter, please visit g.co/ctgdesignchallenge. Looking for inspiration on what kind of game to create? Check out what last year's finalists dreamed up.

15 Apr 2019 5:00pm GMT

Gathering insights in Google Analytics can be as easy as A-B-C

Today's customers are deeply curious, searching high and low for information about a product before making a purchase. And this curiosity applies to purchases big and small-just consider the fact that mobile searches for "best earbuds" have grown by over 130 percent over the last two years. (Google Data, US, Oct 2015 - Sep 2016 vs. Oct 2017 - Sep 2018. ) To keep up with this curious customer, marketers are putting insights at the center of the strategy so that they can understand customers' intentions and deliver a helpful, timely experience.

In our new guide about linking Google Analytics and Google Ads, we explore the broad range of reports available in Analytics. These reports give you crucial insights about the customer journey that can then be used to inform your campaigns in Google Ads. Here's what you should know about the A-B-Cs of reporting.


Acquisition reports

How did your customers end up on your site in the first place? Acquisition reports answer this question, offering insights about how effectively your ads drive users to your site, which keywords and search queries are bringing new users to your site, and much more. This video gives you a quick overview of how Acquisition reports work.


Behavior reports

How do you users engage with your site once they visit? Behavior reports give you valuable insights about how users respond to the content on your site. You can learn how each page is performing, what actions users are taking on your site, and much more about the site experience. Learn more about behavior reporting here.


Conversion reports

What path are users taking towards conversion? Conversion reporting in Analytics gathers valuable insights about those actions that are important to the success of your business-such as a purchase or completed sign-up for your email newsletter. Goal Flow reports help you see how a user engages as they move toward a conversion while Ecommerce reports are specifically designed to deliver insights for sites centered around purchases.


Reports open up a world of actionable insights that help you deeply understand and then quickly enhance a customer journey that is more complex than ever.


Missed the other posts in this series? Catch up now to read how creating effective campaigns for the modern customer journey can be achieved by bringing Google Analytics and Google Ads together.

And, download our new guide and learn how getting started with these reports is easy as A-B-C.

15 Apr 2019 5:00pm 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

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

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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