13 Dec 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

Helping families develop healthy digital habits with Chromebooks

Parents care deeply about helping their kids build a positive and healthy relationship with technology. Last year, we introduced the Family Link app to help parents stay in the loop with how their children are using Android devices. Laptops also play an important role at home, with just over 50% of kids between 6-12 sharing or owning a laptop device. Today we're sharing more Family Link features that can help parents of kids who use Chromebooks, like setting time limits, managing the apps kids can download and more.

Chromebooks enable families to work, play, and learn on the same device. The Family Link app can help parents set some digital ground rules as their kids are exploring online on their Chromebooks.

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Child view of Family Link on a Chromebook, and Parent view of Family Link on an Android device.

Keep an eye on screen time

It's up to parents to decide the right amount of screen time for their kids. Family Link supports you by making it easy to set screen time limits and establish bedtime hours. Family Link also offers activity reports to show parents and kids how much time is spent on their favorite apps.

Guide kids to good content

It's not just about how much time kids spend on their devices, it's about the quality of that time as well. Family Link allows parents to customize a list of websites that kids can visit, and review and approve the apps they can download from Google Play, such as YouTube Kids or Google Play Books. Parents can also hide individual apps when necessary, and manage in-app purchases within apps already installed on the Chromebook.

Manage Google Accounts and Chromebooks from anywhere

Parents can also manage settings for their child's Google account, and remotely lock supervised accounts on the Chromebook if necessary. This holds true whether the Chromebook is shared by the whole family, or is used only by the child.

These are just the latest features we're rolling out to help families. As we continue to build new tools for families, please share your ideas and feedback with us, so we can learn how we can continue building features that matter to you.

13 Dec 2018 5:30pm GMT

Say “G’day” and “Cheerio” to new accents for your Google Assistant

Starting today, if you're an English speaker in the U.S., you can choose between an Australian-accented voice and a British-accented voice for your Google Assistant across devices.

All of the features you use are still the same-like setting a timer, checking the weather and getting an overview of your commute-only now, your Assistant will speak with a new accent. Try asking "Hey Google, what's the exchange rate from British pound to U.S. dollar?," "Hey Google, what's the capital of Australia?," or "Hey Google, where can I get fish and chips nearby?"

The Google Assistant speaking in an Australian-accented voice and a British-accented voice.

These voices are built using DeepMind's speech synthesis model WaveNet, which uses deep neural networks to generate raw audio waveforms-resulting in more realistic and natural-sounding voices for the Google Assistant.

To try out these new voices on your Assistant, navigate to "Settings" on your phone, tap on the "Assistant" tab, and select "Assistant voice." You'll now see two new voices that you can select, either "Sydney Harbour Blue" for the Australian voice, or "British Racing Green" for the British voice.

We hope you enjoy these new voices as much as we do. Cheers!

13 Dec 2018 5:00pm GMT

Inside Brazil’s National Museum on Google Arts & Culture

On September 2nd 2018, a fire struck the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, one of the largest collections of natural history in the world. An estimated 20 million pieces were lost, including indigenous artifacts, dinosaur remains and the oldest human skeleton ever discovered in the Americas.

Starting back in 2016, Google Arts & Culture had begun working with the museum to bring their collection online-so that anyone, anywhere in the world could see and learn about these ancient artifacts. Now for the first time ever, you can virtually step inside the museum and learn about its lost collection through Street View imagery and online exhibits.

Inside Brazil's Museu Nacional

The incredible diversity of artifacts in Brazil's National Museum reflected centuries of Brazil's culture and natural history, from the Amazon's endangered butterflies to beautifully-crafted indigenous masks and decorated pottery. Unfortunately, the destruction of collections like these reminds us of the diverse threats that exist to the world's heritage-and how important it is to protect it. Advances in technology-like high-resolution photography, photogrammetry, 3D laser scanning, and virtual and augmented reality-have not only introduced new forms of art, but help us preserve the world's most precious heritage. Even though images cannot replace what has been lost, they offer us a way to remember.

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    Luzia is the oldest human skeleton found in the Americas, believed to be 11,500 years old.

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    Visitors can explore inside the museum via immersive Street View imagery captured before the fire.

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    The Bendegó Meteorite, one of the largest in the world, was discovered by a boy looking for a lost cow in 1784.

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    A mummified cat from ancient Egypt, an offering to the cat goddess Bastet.

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    A Titanosaurus skeleton replica, whose original bones were discovered near Sao Paulo in the 1950s.

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    A vase from the Marajoara, a Pre-Columbian society located near the mouth of the Amazon.

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    Indigenous masks from the Awetí, Waurá and Mehináku people.

Learn more about the National Museum of Brazil by exploring the exhibition on Google Arts & Culture and on our iOS and Android apps.

13 Dec 2018 2:00pm GMT

Find a better balance with our tips for Digital Wellbeing

A good tool should make your life easier. That's as true in the digital world as it is anywhere else. Today, people use digital tools to simplify and speed up tasks from finding a playground for their children to checking the weather forecast, giving them more space to focus on what matters most to them. Technology is transforming the way we spend time, and our Digital Wellbeing efforts can help you make the most of that time-so that technology fits comfortably into your life, without the unwanted distractions. On Pixel, Android, YouTube, Family Link and Gmail, we've already released new tools and features to help people better balance their lives. But our products are only part of the story.

To get the word out about healthy habits, we created a new series of Digital Wellbeing videos as part of Google's Digital Workshop. Each video encourages you to think about how you use technology and suggests ways to find the right balance for you. Because Digital Wellbeing means something different for each of us, we've partnered with a team of psychologists, anthropologists and mindfulness experts. There are medical professionals, like Mario Alonso Puig, recognized worldwide for his studies on brain activity, and educators like Greta Rossi, co-founder of Recipes for Wellbeing. By drawing on each of their perspectives, the series takes an honest look at the way we live with tech, from how smartphone notifications affect productivity, to exploring how to set physical boundaries for technology use, and the ways you can become more self-aware of your online habits.

This course is just the beginning of a wide range of educational materials we're working on, covering topics from how kids use technology to how to manage mobile phone usage. In the coming months, we'll make the new course available in more than 30 languages across 64 countries.The next time you need to find a better balance-whether you want to disconnect on your vacation or reduce the number of distractions in your day-check out the videos.

13 Dec 2018 9:00am GMT

AI for Social Good in Asia Pacific

More than 400 million people in the world have diabetes. A third of them have diabetic retinopathy, a complication that can cause permanent blindness. The good news is that this blindness can be prevented if diabetic retinopathy is detected early. The not-so-good news-the illness is often going undetected because people don't always get screenings. In major part, this is due to limited access to eye care specialists and staff capable of screening for the disease. In Thailand, for example, there are only about 1,400 eye doctors for approximately five million diabetics.


This is a problem that AI can help us solve. A few years ago, we worked with eye specialists in India and the U.S. on an AI system to help doctors analyze images of the back of the eye for signs of diabetic retinopathy. The results were promising. Our AI model now detects diabetic retinopathy with a level of accuracy on par with human retinal specialists. This means doctors and staff can use this assistive technology to screen more patients in less time, sparing people from blindness through a more timely diagnosis. Deploying this technology in underserved communities that don't have enough eye specialists could be life-changing for many.


We should work to make the benefits of AI available to everyone. Besides rolling out this diabetic retinopathy initiative in clinics in India with our partner Verily, we've also been conducting research in Thailand over the past few months. At the AI for Social Good Summit in Bangkok hosted by Google and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) today, we announced a partnership with the Rajavithi Hospital, which is operated by the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, kicking off a forward looking research pilot using AI to detect diabetic retinopathy in Thailand.


AI's potential for social good extends to areas beyond healthcare. For several years, we've applied Google AI research and engineering to projects in Asia Pacific with positive societal impact, including stopping illegal fishing in Indonesia, forecasting floods in India, and conserving native bird species in New Zealand. We want to support more Asia Pacific organizations in using AI to help society. And we know from experience that when we involve everyone-governments, non-profit organizations, universities and businesses-better ideas emerge.


To gather more of these ideas, we recently launched the Google AI Impact Challenge. Selected organizations who apply to the challenge will receive support from Google's AI experts and Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool.


To ensure that all sectors contribute to the responsible development of AI in Asia Pacific, we're supporting the creation of an Asia Pacific AI for Social Good Research Network with a grant. This network will bring together leading academics from the Association of Pacific Rim Universities to produce research on AI for social good, as well as governance frameworks, to guide the responsible development of AI. The network will also be a forum for researchers to discuss these issues with government, civil society and the private sector.


Google has long been committed to the responsible development of AI. These principles guide our decisions on what types of features to build and research to pursue. As one example, facial recognition technology has benefits in areas like new assistive technologies and tools to help find missing persons, with more promising applications on the horizon. However, like many technologies with multiple uses, facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes. We continue to work with many organizations to identify and address these challenges, and unlike some other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before working through important technology and policy questions.


It's up to all of us to ensure that AI is developed responsibly for social good. We hope that these partnerships will help us achieve that in Asia Pacific.


13 Dec 2018 9:00am GMT

Travel that last mile with Google Maps and Lime

You just got off your train and you have seven minutes to get to your first meeting on time-but it'll take you 15 minutes to walk the rest of the way. You don't have time to walk, your bus is delayed and the next ridesharing vehicle isn't set to arrive for another 10 minutes. So close, yet so far.


Today, we're teaming up with Lime to help you find a better way to travel these short distances. In 13 cities around the world, you'll now be able to see nearby Lime scooters, pedal bikes and e-bikes as a transportation option right from Google Maps. Simply navigate to your destination and tap on the transit icon to see your nearby options. If a Lime vehicle is available, you'll see how long it'll take to walk to the vehicle, an estimate of how much your ride could cost, and your total journey time and ETA. Tapping on the Lime card will take you right to the Lime app, where you can see the exact location of the vehicle and easily unlock it. If you don't have the Lime app installed, you'll be taken to the App or Play store.


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Tap on the transit tab to see nearby Lime vehicles. Vehicle options vary by city.


You can now see Lime scooters and bikes on Google Maps on Android and iOS in Auckland, Austin, Baltimore, Brisbane (AU), Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Antonio, San Jose, Scottsdale and Seattle with more cities coming soon-so you can get to that meeting right on Lime.

13 Dec 2018 8:00am GMT

12 Dec 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

On the 12th day of holiday shopping, Made by Google gave to me...

On the final days of holiday shopping, Made by Google gave to me … lots of awesome gift options.

Twelve ways (at least!) to make your home smarter and safer

Holiday lights are aglow when you turn them on with Google Home (and a compatible smart plug). And to turn on the rest of the lights using just your voice, get our Smart Home Starter Kit. A Nest Hello video doorbell will help you spot holiday visitors at your front door and our Nest Cam will reveal who's eating Santa's cookies.


Eleven personalized My Cases

With My Case, gift-giving gets personal. Create a case from your saved photos, a favorite map location, or pick one of our curated collections from various artists. It's the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone on #teampixel. And while we love a good ugly sweater, all images for My Cases are subject to our copyright and content policy.


Ten levels of volume on Google Home Max

Blast the holiday music with Google Home Max. If you have your hands full making cookies or decorating the tree, you can use your voice to tell it to play your next tune (you may need a subscription to hear your favorite song).


Nine decades of Mickey Mouse

To celebrate 90 years of Mickey, we teamed up with Disney and Otterbox to make your Google Home Mini look like your favorite mouse with a custom base accessory. You can also make storytime more magical with Read Along, which adds sound effects and music to stories like "Mickey's Christmas Carol." Parents can create an account for kids under 13 through Family Link, and then link their Google Account and voice to Google Home.


Eight gigs of Pixelbook RAM

This one is a bit harder to wrap, but it's the gift that keeps on giving. With 8GB of RAM on your Pixelbook, you can do multi-task with multiple tabs open. And, Pixelbook's battery lasts all Silent Night.


Seven colors of Nest Thermostats

Our Nest thermostats come in two versions and seven colors. So turn up the heater in style this holiday season, and get the peace of mind that you're saving energy while celebrating.


Six uses for Pixel Stand

You can do countless things with Pixel Stand, but here are six of our favorites: it provides Pixel 3 with a fast (up to 10W) wireless charge, you can check the weather before you head out, rock out to your favorite carol, get out of bed on dark December days with Sunrise Alarm, check on packages with Nest Hello (sold separately), and display your favorite holiday memories with Google Photos.


Five years of Chromecast

It's the perfect time of year to snuggle up inside and binge watch your favorite show (but you may need a subscription). Chromecast brings countless hours of entertainment to your TV-loving friend or family member. And isn't that really the holiday gift that keeps on giving?

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Four colors of Google Home Hub

Who needs elves when you've got Google Home Hub to bring you help at a glance? With the Google Assistant built-in, you can use your voice to get the best of Google-Calendar, Maps, Search, YouTube, Google Photos, and more-right on Google Home Hub's display. Compact, and available in four colors -Chalk, Charcoal, Aqua and Sand-Hub's right for any room at home.


Three generations of Pixel

The best things in life come in threes. This year, we introduced the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, with the power of Google Assistant. Pixel's award-winning camera gives you the ability to capture your holiday magic in style. And, Pixel 3 brings the best premium smartphone experience to Android, in-you guessed it-three beautiful colors, including the new Not Pink.


Two accessories to use with Pixel Slate

Pixel Slate-our first Made by Google Chrome OS tablet-is a touchscreen experience that brings the best Google design and Chrome OS functionality together. Whether you're typing your letter to Santa on the Pixel Slate Keyboard or writing out your holiday wish list using Pixelbook Pen, these two gifts are the perfect stocking stuffers to go along with Pixel Slate.


One place to buy it all

The Google Store is a one-stop shop for all things Made by Google. In addition to the perfect holiday gifts mentioned above, the Google Store also features products from our Made for Google partners. And perfect for the holiday season, you can send gifts on Google Store with custom gift messages printed on Google-branded greeting cards. Check out all of the amazing holiday deals at store.google.com.


12 Dec 2018 9:30pm GMT

New Google Marketing Platform connectors available in Data Studio

When marketers can access all of their data in one place, they are able to make smarter decisions about where and how to spend their resources. While data tends to be siloed and it can be a challenge to connect all of it in one place, your marketing investment will go further if you do.

Data Studio gives marketers access to a diverse and growing catalogue of connectors for over 500 data sources to help centralize your datasets for simple reporting and visualization in one place. And we've recently added two more. Earlier this fall we launched connectors for Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360. These two connectors enable access to your Google Marketing Platform advertising data in your Data Studio dashboards and reports. Explore the data independently, or join it with your other marketing data from Google Analytics, Google Sheets, Google Ads, and other first party data sources to surface powerful insights you can easily share and take action on.

Once your Google Marketing Platform data is in Data Studio, you can customize your reports based on your needs. For example, you can add custom branding or repurpose visualizations like charts or graphs that your team already uses elsewhere to make it your own. And, Data Studio reports are easily shareable outside of the interface. With Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360 data now accessible in Data Studio, you can share dynamic Google Marketing Platform advertising reports with anyone, using Google Drive sharing permissions you have complete control of.

Let's say you want to build a report to compare how your advertising is performing across Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360 and Google Ads. You can use the out-of-the-box, new Google advertising performance template to view top-line metrics with your own data, or create a custom report, using connectors to import your data. From there, you can use the Explorer functionality to experiment with visualizations and organize the data to your liking. You can also blend the data together and do analysis across all three (or more) datasets. Add your Google Analytics data for example, and see aggregate trends in customer behavior on your site alongside your advertising campaign performance. Then share with your media team or agency and take action to optimize your campaigns based on the insights you find.

Google Advertising Performance Dashboard Template

Google Advertising Performance Dashboard Template

With Data Studio's rich visualization and reporting features, marketers can elevate insights from their ad campaigns and breakdown silos among many disparate datasets. By bringing Google Marketing Platform advertising data into Data Studio, you can now see a fuller picture across your customer touchpoints and make more informed, faster marketing decisions.

12 Dec 2018 9:23pm GMT

Six ways to take Playground home for the holidays with Pixel

In October, we launched Playground on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, giving you the power to create and play with the world around you through your camera. Playground helps you bring more of your imagination to your photos and videos with interactive Playmoji-characters that react to each other and to you-and tell a richer story by adding animated stickers and creative captions. Starting today, Playground is available on Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, so now all of #teampixel can join in on the fun.

Just in time for the holidays, we're also introducing festive new Playmoji and stickers soon that can help bring your photos and videos to life. Whether you're celebrating at home or hitting the road, here are six ways you can take Playground home for the holidays with the Pixel camera.

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1. Share your journey.Whether your holiday travels take you away on a plane, train or automobile, getting there is all the fun with the speedy new Travel Playmoji pack. Document your adventures from the window seat, or spice up snaps from your road trip.

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2. Send a virtual postcard. Wish loved ones a happy holiday from wherever you are with Playmoji, stickers and captions. Or say it all in a selfie by posing with characters who react to you. Once you've lined up the perfect shot, sharing with Playground is easy-just a few taps straight from the camera.

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3. Let your creativity snow. Brrr! Chillier temperatures mean a chance to use snowy Weather Playmoji and the Winter Playmoji pack during your favorite seasonal activities like ice skating and hockey.

Oy to the World

4. Put your spin on a scene. Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel! We made you out of…pixels. Hanukkah may be over, but you can use these themed stickers year-round, complete with dancing menorah candles, spinning dreidels and latkes galore.

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5. Deck the halls. Make an old tradition new again by challenging your family to a tree decorating contest with Playground. One tree, endless possibilities!

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6. Tell an imaginative story. Add some flair to holiday scenes with the jolly new "Christmas Cheer" stickers. Throw a Santa hat on your friend, stick mistletoe where it belongs or place a one-of-a-kind "gift" under the tree.

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You can spread the holiday cheer with Playground this season by sharing your creations with #teampixel. We can't wait to see what you create!

12 Dec 2018 8:00pm GMT

Year in Search: Movies, TV, music and sports we searched for in 2018

Curious which flicks, footballers and masters of falsetto have the fiercest fans? Year in Search might have a clue for you.

You can explore both the global and country-specific trend lists here, but we also wanted to dive deeper into the leagues, genres and styles that captured people's attention in the world of sports and entertainment in 2018.

Music

Our feet were tapping and our fingers were typing as we searched for these artists, the top trending in each major musical genre this year:
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Movies

These are the big gainers from the big screen, trending the most in 2018:
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TV

Any of these shows have you glued to the tube? Here are the binge watches that shot up the charts as top trending shows in 2018.
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Sports Teams

From championship teams to blockbuster trades, these are the franchises that got people searching this year and are top trending within their leagues:
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12 Dec 2018 6:00pm GMT

Give back with charitable donations on Google Play

In celebration of the holiday giving season, you can make charitable donations to inspiring nonprofits from the Google Play Store. If you're in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Taiwan and Indonesia, you'll see this update over the next few days.

Making a donation on Google Play is quick, easy and 100% of your contributions go directly to the nonprofits you choose. On your Android device, you can head to play.google.com/donate to learn more about these incredible organizations and give to the cause-or causes-that move you.

Take a look at the participating nonprofits below:

American Red Cross: The American National Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

charity: water: charity: water is on a mission to solve the water crisis and reinvent charity for a new generation by bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

Doctors Without Borders USA: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides medical relief to the victims of war, disease, and natural or man-made disasters, without regard to race, religion or political affiliation.

Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code programs work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.

International Rescue Committee: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 25 offices across the U.S.

Room to Read: Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.

Save the Children: Save the Children works to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm. From providing emergency assistance to promoting children's rights, they transform children's lives and futures.

UNICEF: The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories. They help save children's lives by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

World Food Program USA: World Food Program USA brings people together to support the lifesaving work of the United Nations World Food Programme, the global leader in the fight to end hunger.

World Wildlife Fund US: World Wildlife Fund US is part of a global network which has worked for more than 50 years to protect the future of nature. World Wildlife Fund's mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

We're inspired by the many ways that the Play community shares resources, supports each other and creates positive change. We hope this update offers a way to help other communities outside of our own in need.

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12 Dec 2018 6:00pm GMT

Some changes to our service model in Europe

Today, we started notifying our users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland about some changes we're making to how we provide our services. These changes will be reflected in updates to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy that you can read now, but that will come into effect on January 22, 2019.

The first change we're making is that for users based in the EEA and Switzerland, Google Ireland Limited-based in Dublin, where Google has its European headquarters-will become the "service provider" responsible for most of our consumer services, from Search to Gmail to Maps and beyond. These changes will be reflected in our general Terms of Service, where the "service provider" that offers these services is currently Google LLC, based in the U.S. We are also making similar changes in the separate terms for Drive, Play, YouTube, and YouTube Paid Service.

We're also making a number of updates to Google's Privacy Policy. The most important of these is that Google Ireland Limited will become the "data controller" legally responsible for EEA and Swiss users' information. This means that Google Ireland Limited becomes responsible for responding to requests for its user data, including from EU law enforcement, consistent with Irish law. It is also responsible for compliance with applicable privacy laws, including Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We're making the data controller change to facilitate engagement with EU data protection authorities via the GDPR's "One Stop Shop" mechanism, which was created to ensure consistency of regulatory decisions for companies and EU citizens.

It's important to note these changes do not in any way alter how our products work or how we collect or process user data within our services. Nothing changes about your current settings, and you will continue to have granular control over the data you share with us when you use our services. And of course, we remain fully committed to compliance with the GDPR across all of the services we provide in the European Union.

12 Dec 2018 10:00am GMT

The Year in Search 2018

Every day, people turn to Search to explore the world of information on the web. They come looking for everything from news and helpful how-tos to song lyrics and easy dinner recipes.


As each year closes, Google Trends data reflects not only these everyday queries, but also the moments, people, ideas, and questions that made that trip around the sun so unique. During a year of highs and lows, the Year in Search highlights all the ways people continued to search for "good"-and this year, it was more than ever.
Searching for good

2018 saw a number of major elections around the world-in the U.S. the top searched "how to" question was "how to register to vote." In a year when we said goodbye to many cultural icons, like Anthony Bourdain and Aretha Franklin, people searched for how they, too, could influence the next generation, asking "how to be a good role model." And when first responders rescued a team of soccer players from a cave in Thailand, the world was inspired - searches for "scuba diving lessons near me" increased by 110 percent that week.


We searched for good news of championships, medal counts and royal weddings, and sought out bright spots throughout the year. We also searched for how to be a good citizen, how to be a good friend, and how to be a good dancer. (Perhaps with the help of some Fortnite GIFs.)


Celebrate all the good the world searched for in 2018, and explore the top trending lists this year at Google.com/2018..

12 Dec 2018 8:00am GMT

10 Dec 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

Unwrap the season’s trending holiday gifts

As the year wraps up, holiday shoppers are getting busy wrapping, too. And they're looking for a wide range of gifts, according to data from Shopping Insights over the last few weeks. Here are just some of the trends we've seen nationwide for toy tinkerers, bookworms, makeup pros, sneakerheads and home decorators.

Tech toys cast a spell

While holiday favorites like dolls and LEGO kits remain popular, tech toys are drawing lots of attention-from the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX to the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit, which teaches kids to code using a programmable magic wand. Among other trending products, we see three L.O.L. Surprise! toy sets: Pearl Surprise, Bigger Surprise and Pets Series 3-all very popular in YouTube unboxing videos.


trending toys

Books to read on holiday vacation

The winter months are perfect for curling up on the couch with a mug of cocoa and a good read. This year, the most popular book for adults is former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama's memoir "Becoming," and the book they'll most likely be reading to their kids is The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, the illustrated storybook that comes with the Elf itself.

Worth watching

Newcomer analog watch brand MVMT steals the show this year. Vans Old Skool sneakers, Nike's classic Windrunner jacket for men, and Canada Goose's Solaris parka for women also stand out as winter favorites. The Ray-Ban Erika Classic has a sunny outlook-but the retro, round Ray-Ban Ja-Jo style is quickly catching up.

A fresh look

The eyeshadow palette is a makeup bag staple and a favorite stocking stuffer. Urban Decay's "Naked 12-Color" palette and Huda Beauty's "The New Nude" palette are among the most searched. Meanwhile, Urban Decay's new "Naked Petite Heat" palette is on the rise, adding warm hues to the trend.

Setting the bar

Wireless soundbars get lots of attention in December, perhaps because a cozy movie night has special appeal during the cold winter months. The Sonos PLAYBAR is hugely popular among audio aficionados, while the Vizio SB3621N-E8 is piquing interest. We also see a growing demand for waterproof, shower-ready Bluetooth speakers, with Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM making a big splash. As for headphones and headsets, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Jabra Elite 65t are in demand, with Under Armour's Project Rock Sport On-Ear Headphones growing very fast.

Caffeine fiends

If holiday shopping gives you the urge to have a strong cup of coffee, you're not alone: coffee makers are hot this winter, especially in black. The Keurig K-Select B Single Serve and the Cuisinart Coffee Center are favorites, but the contemporary Ninja Coffee Bar CF091 is also on the rise.

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For more insights behind this season's trends, and to see how a product is trending in your region, check out the Shopping Insights tool.

That's a wrap!

10 Dec 2018 8:00pm GMT

ICYMI in November: here’s what happened in G Suite

Sorry we missed you these past two months. Next Tokyo and London were at the top of our to-dos. Check out the keynotes to catch the highlights.

In case you're curious, we improved the G Suite Developer hub this past month to make it easier for developers to track projects from one place. We also launched a way for you to integrate content from third-party apps directly into your email drafts. With Compose Actions in Gmail, you can do things like add attachments from other apps into emails.

Subhead 1 ICYMI G Suite

Now you can make a Google Doc even faster. Type in "doc.new," "docs.new" or "document.new" into your web browser and a new Google Doc will appear. Less clicks!

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Subhead 2 ICYMI G Suite

→With one click, you can get others to join your meeting as you're hosting it. Click "add people" at the top of your participant list in Hangouts Meet-up to 100 people can join now. Bring your friends!

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→ Admins can make even stricter password requirements for users. Check it out.

→ Formatting presentations takes time, but we're making it even easier in Slides. Now, you can double-click the tool icon to enter "persistent" mode to make changes all at once.

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→ You might've noticed a new icon at the top of your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides or Drawings. Use the squiggly-line icon to access the activity dashboard-a great place to see stats or adjust privacy settings in documents.

activity dashboard.png

Check out the full recap of product updates in November. See you next month.

10 Dec 2018 6:00pm GMT

Expediting changes to Google+

In October, weannounced that we'd be sunsetting the consumer version of Google+ and its APIs because of the significant challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers' expectations, as well as the platform's low usage.

We've recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API. We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced. No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.

With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days. In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019. While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users.

Details about the bug and our investigation

Our testing revealed that a Google+ API was not operating as intended. We fixed the bug promptly and began an investigation into the issue.

Our investigation into the impact of the bug is ongoing, but here is what we have learned so far:

  • We have confirmed that the bug impacted approximately 52.5 million users in connection with a Google+ API.
  • With respect to this API, apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile-like their name, email address, occupation, age (full list here)-were granted permission to view profile information about that user even when set to not-public.
  • In addition, apps with access to a user's Google+ profile data also had access to the profile data that had been shared with the consenting user by another Google+ user but that was not shared publicly.
  • The bug did not give developers access to information such as financial data, national identification numbers, passwords, or similar data typically used for fraud or identity theft.
  • No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the developers who inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.

We have begun the process of notifying consumer users and enterprise customers that were impacted by this bug. Our investigation is ongoing as to any potential impact to other Google+ APIs.

Next steps for Consumer Google+

We will sunset all Google+ APIs in the next 90 days. Developers can expect to hear more from us on this topic in the coming days, and can stay informed by continuing to check the Google+ developer page.

We have also decided to accelerate sunsetting consumer Google+, bringing it forward from August 2019 to April 2019. We want to give users ample opportunity to transition off of consumer Google+, and over the coming months, we will continue to provide users with additional information, including ways they can safely and securely download and migrate their data.

A note for our enterprise customers

We are in the process of notifying any enterprise customers that were impacted by this bug. A list of impacted users in those domains is being sent to system administrators, and we will reach out again if any additional impacted users or issues are discovered.

G Suite administrators are always in control of their users' apps. This ensures that G Suite users can give access only to apps that have been vetted and are trusted by their organization. In addition, we want to reiterate that we will continue to invest in Google+ for enterprise. More details were announced in October.

We understand that our ability to build reliable products that protect your data drives user trust. We have always taken this seriously, and we continue to invest in our privacy programs to refine internal privacy review processes, create powerful data controls, and engage with users, researchers, and policymakers to get their feedback and improve our programs. We will never stop our work to build privacy protections that work for everyone.


10 Dec 2018 5:30pm 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

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

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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