13 Dec 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

The Grow with Google veteran-led business hall of fame

On Saturday, the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen will take the field in Philadelphia for the Army-Navy Football Game, a tradition that goes back 129 years. Students from the U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy, and fans from all over the U.S. turn out in droves each year to root for their teams and celebrate the military community.

We'll be there too, sharing our tools for veterans and military families, including our new resource hub for veteran-led businesses. These efforts are close to home for me, both as a service member and as the son of a small business owner. I watched my dad build his business and know it's never a straightforward process. But I also know that the mindset service members develop in the military gives us the ability to overcome any challenge. It's that determination that makes veterans such successful business owners.

We're not picking sides in this storied rivalry-after all, some do consider it "the greatest rivalry in sports." Instead we're highlighting 10 veteran-led businesses-five with Army roots, and five with Navy roots-through a Hall of Fame display at the game. These businesses are just a small sample of the thousands of outstanding veteran-owned businesses contributing to their communities all across the U.S.

Sword & Plough, Denver, Colorado

Sisters Betsy Núñez and Emily Núñez Cavness grew up at West Point in a military family, and for five years, Emily served as an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army. While Emily was serving, the pair founded Sword & Plough, which uses surplus military materials to create tote bags, handbags, backpacks and other accessories.

When Emily was deployed in Afghanistan and the rest of the team worked remotely throughout the U.S., they used G Suite and Google Hangouts to stay connected and build their company. And to give back to the veteran community, Sword & Plough donates 10 percent of their profits to veteran-focused organizations.

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Betsy Núñez of Sword & Plough

Old School Boxing, San Diego, California

Ernest Johnson was in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a member of the USMC boxing team. After leaving the military, he found success as a professional boxer, until an eye injury forced him to retire early. Within a few years, he'd gone to college and landed an office job, but he longed to build a career around his passion for boxing.

He left his job and began coaching, which led him to open his own business, Old School Boxing. He uses his Business Profile on Google to share photos and information about the gym's location, hours, and services. And to show customers in his community that the gym is owned by a veteran, Ernest added the "Veteran-Led" attribute to his profile.

Over the years, Ernest has trained many professional boxers, but it's training local youth in his community that brings him the most satisfaction. He takes pride in teaching them the importance of discipline and hard work-lessons he brought back from his time in service.

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Ernest Johnson of Old School Boxing

GoRuck, Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Jason McCarthy is a decorated combat veteran who served in the Special Forces. While visiting his wife, Emily, a Foreign Service Officer working in Côte d'Ivoire, Jason assembled a "go-bag" with medical supplies and radios to keep in her truck, in case of emergency. Emily's colleagues began requesting bags of their own, and soon GoRuck was born.

With no business experience, Jason turned to YouTube to learn how to design backpacks from online tutorials. He also uses Google Ads to speak directly with customers, and today, Google Ads generates 15 percent of the company's sales revenue. In addition to selling packs, GoRuck hosts hundreds of events each year focused on building teamwork and camaraderie, and testing physical fitness, based on Special Forces training.

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Jason and Emily McCarthy of GoRuck

Sword & Plough, Old School Boxing, and GoRuck are just three of the 10 businesses joining us at the game this weekend to talk about their accomplishments and cheer on their teams. (Maybe they'll even grab cheesesteaks!) Saturday's game will cap off our visit to Philly--earlier this week, we partnered with local tech space WorkMerk to host a workshop for veterans on using digital tools to start or grow a business. If you're looking to grow your own skills, check out Grow with Google to learn more about our free tools and resources for veterans and military families.

13 Dec 2019 8:00pm GMT

Meet the Googlers making coding education more equitable

Within the Education Equity team at Google, three women are changing the education landscape for the next generation of black and Latinx engineers-and I'm lucky enough to call them coworkers.

April Alvarez, Peta-Gay Clarke and Bianca Okafor are part of my team at Google that's leading two education initiatives: Code Next is a free computer science education program for black and Latinx high schoolers, and Tech Exchange is a semester-long program for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) where computer science majors immerse themselves in coding instruction on the Google campus in Mountain View. Both of these programs are part of Code with Google, our commitment focused on ensuring every student has access to the collaborative, coding, and technical skills that unlock opportunities in the classroom and beyond-no matter what their future goals may be.

In the latest installment of The She Word, and in celebration of Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9-15), we sat down with the ladies to discuss mentorship, the lack of diversity in tech and advice for young women of color looking to get into the coding space.

Why are the programs you work on described as "Education Equity"?

April:When we design and develop programs for the Education Equity team, we start by acknowledging that advantages and barriers to success in education do exist, and that not all students have the same starting point. For example, when designing the Code Next program, we realized that access is a big barrier for Black and Latinx students interested in computer science, so we designed lab spaces that are proximate to where students live; we brought the labs to them.

For Code Next and Tech Exchange, we focus on helping students cultivate their tech "social capital" (meaning their networks of connections) by bringing in folks who work in the tech industry and connecting them to one of our students through our mentorship programs.

What are Code Next and Tech Exchange doing differently compared to other coding education programs in the space?

Bianca: From the beginning, Tech Exchange has focused on providing an immersive and enriching experience both inside and outside of the classroom. The program takes a thoughtful approach to engaging the HBCU/HSI students with social and career development programming to further bolster and add meaning to their experience on Google's campus. We make an effort to expose students to a variety of community groups and product teams to broaden their perspective on opportunities available to them in the tech industry.

Peta:With Code Next, we work with students from 9th-12th grade in a physical lab close to their homes and communities. These labs were intentionally built by Google and architects experienced in designing inspirational learning spaces. Our goal is to expose youth traditionally underrepresented in the tech industry to the wonderful world of computer science and give them the agency to immerse themselves into the areas that most interest them. We met our first cohort of students when they were in middle school, and they're now applying to college!

When you look at a Code Next student's resume, you will see the impact of our program-they take computer science classes at a Code Next Lab, they work with a Google mentor, and they spend the last few years of high school immersing themselves in emerging tech like app development, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and more.

You all came from different industries to work in this space-April from K-12 schools, Peta from government and higher education, Bianca from her earlier years in Google's R&D departments. How does that affect the work that you do together?

April: First, it makes for a fun and interesting team to be a part of! Second, it allows us to make design decisions from multiple angles and perspectives. When I'm making decisions, I'm thinking about learning outcomes, the student experience and the educational pathway. Bianca and Peta do this as well, but they're also able to chime in and share industry knowledge and experience, and then work this into the design of the program.

The tech space is working to improve diversity among its ranks. In your experience, what is one thing that could address that situation?

Peta: There isn't one thing that will address the issue of underrepresentation in the tech industry. Instead, there are a number of ways industry leaders can have impact. For starters, we can increase focus on collaboration and partnership within and across industries. We can improve education and understanding of how to foster a diverse and inclusive culture and more importantly, what it looks like in practice. We can broaden our understanding of the internal and external systems that lead to heterogeneous workforces, and better communicate the interventions needed for changing or dismantling those systems, to produce more equitable outcomes. Lastly, we can increase investment in finding and supporting the next generation of talent from underrepresented communities.

It's Computer Science Education Week! What's one recommendation you have for young women of color who are interested in careers in coding?

Bianca: Mentorship is powerful. Seek out individuals who are doing the things you want to do. They can act as sounding boards and help support and motivate you.

Lastly, what gets you up in the morning? Why do you do what you do?

Peta:It comes down to empathy. Initiatives like Code Next and Tech Exchange are near and dear to my heart. I am an engineer. I am where I am today because I was exposed to tech at an early age. I come from the same communities that we are trying to uplift.

Bianca: For me, it's engaging with and supporting our students. I'm continually inspired and amazed by the level of talent, energy and enthusiasm our Tech Exchange students bring to the program and to Google. It's an honor to run a program that's preparing the next generation of Black and Latinx technologists.

April: Any time I get to see the direct impact of our programs, it motivates me to keep pushing and reassures me that all of this hard work is so worth it. In a lot of ways, I relate to our students and their educational experience, so it keeps me grounded in the work. I went to school with a lot of friends and family who hit barriers in their career paths, and being able to remove some of those barriers for a whole new generation of students will always keep me energized.


13 Dec 2019 5:00pm GMT

Google Maps 101: how imagery powers our map

Earlier this year, we gave you a look at how Google Maps maps the world. Today, we'll dive deeper into a main ingredient of the map making process- imagery-and how it powers one of our most popular features.


More than just pictures

When you think of imagery and Google Maps, you probably think of the Street View cars and trekkers that collect billions of images from all around the world. Today, we've captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery-a distance that could circle the globe more than 400 times!


Or your thoughts may jump to Google Earth, our platform that lets you browse more than 36 million square miles of high definition satellite images from various providers-covering more than 98% of the entire population-to see the world from above. While these stunning photos show us parts of the world we may never get a chance to visit, they also help Google Maps accurately model a world that is changing each day.


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How global Street View coverage has increased since 2007

How we collect imagery: cars, trekkers, flocks of sheep and laser beams

Gathering imagery is no small task. It can take anywhere from days to weeks, and requires a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible. These cameras are athermal, meaning that they're designed to handle extreme temperatures without changing focus so they can function in a range of environments-- from Death Valley during the peak of the summer to the snowy mountains of Nepal in the winter. Each Street View car includes its own photo processing center and lidar sensors that use laser beams to accurately measure distance.

There's also the Street View trekker, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn't possible. These trekkers are carried by boats, sheep, camels, and even scout troops to gather high quality photos from multiple angles, often in some of the hardest-to-map places around the world. In 2019 alone, Street View images from the Google Maps community have helped us assign addresses to nearly seven million buildings in previously under-mapped places like Armenia, Bermuda, Lebanon, Myanmar, Tonga, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.
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Buildings mapped in Bermuda

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Buildings mapped in Zimbabwe

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Buildings mapped in Myanmar

How we process imagery: a vintage technique made new

Once we've collected photos, we use a technique called photogrammetry to align and stitch together a single set of images. These images show us critically important details about an area-things like roads, lane markings, buildings and rivers, along with the precise distance between each of these objects. All of this information is gathered without ever needing to set foot in the location itself.


Photogrammetry is not new. While it originated in the early 1900s, Google's approach is unique in that it utilizes billions of images, similar to putting a giant jigsaw puzzle together that spans the entire globe. By refining our photogrammetry technique over the last 10 years, we're now able to align imagery from multiple sources-Street View, aerial, and satellite imagery, along with authoritative datasets-with accuracy down to the meter.



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A 3D model of the Arc de Triomphe created using photogrammetry with Street View and aerial imagery

How Google Maps uses imagery: (hint - it's everywhere)

Photos are great, but how are they useful for someone using Google Maps? Well, imagery is woven into every product that Maps provides.


Live View, for example, is a tool that uses augmented reality to show you which way to walk, with large arrows and directions overlaid on top of walking navigation. For Live View to work, Google Maps needs to know two things: where your phone is located, and where this location is relative to the rest of your surroundings. Live View requires orientation precision down to just a few degrees, which simply isn't possible using traditional tools like GPS signals. Being off by a short distance is fine when you're driving, but this discrepancy can actually point you in the entirely wrong direction when you're traveling on foot!


This is where imagery comes in. To see the most precise location possible, Live View uses a new technology invented at Google called global localization that matches up tens of billions of Street View images with what is on your phone to help you identify where you are and which way you should go - all in under half a second!


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Live View matches live imagery against tens of billions of Street View images in under half a second.

What's next

The idea of Street View started as a side project more than 12 years ago as part of a lofty goal to map the entire world. Since then, Street View combined with satellite and aerial imagery has become the foundation of our entire map making process and the reason why we can build useful products that people turn to every single day. Mapmaking is never done-and we're constantly working to build new tools and techniques to make imagery collection faster, more accurate and safer for everyone.


Join us for our next deep dive in the series to learn more about how we work to create a more useful, up-to-date map.



13 Dec 2019 5:00pm GMT

Google Docs unveils one writer’s creative process to the world

When Viviana Rivero set out to write her short story "Just do it!" she decided to experiment with her process. Instead of writing alone and revealing her work to readers later, she invited thousands of people to watch her write-and comment on her writing-in real-time with Google Docs.

More than 10,000 people watched the Argentinian writer's story come to life as she wrote it. We sat down with Rivero to learn more about how she incorporated technology into her creative process, and how it changed the final product.

Tell us about using Google Docs to publicly write your story.

Believe it or not, this was my first time using Google Docs. First, I created a new document and selected "comment-only" in the share permissions. Next, I hosted a few "live sessions" where I wrote a short story in the document and invited readers to watch and comment. To my surprise, thousands of people contributed! The short story from this session became a part of a printed book called "Zafiros en la Piel" ("Sapphires on the skin"). The book's back cover even has a QR code that takes the reader to the story on Google Docs, bringing these worlds together.

What was it like to write in front of other people?

It was a challenging thing to do. Usually, when a writer creates a story, they don't find out what the reader thinks until afterward, and even then, there's no way of gauging how people react the moment they read the words. It was different and exciting because it allowed me to see their reactions as they had them.

Did your story change as a result of readers' comments?

Yes! There's a character in the story who talks with his dog. People fell in love with the dog-they wrote so many comments about it. I decided to make the dog more important to the story and gave him and his owner more dialogue.

Did using Google Docs affect your creative process?

Reading and writing can be lonely activities. While my creative process wasn't necessarily altered (I already had the general idea for the story), the way in which we experienced the story changed. Docs helped bring the writer and reader together. These two things that are usually done in isolation were shared. It made the process much more enriching.

It also meant I showed everything that happens behind the scenes. For example, I don't use punctuation when I write at first, just to make it faster. I typically put accents, periods and commas in after the story is written. At first I felt vulnerable because I didn't want people to see unpolished work, but in the end, I think the readers appreciated seeing how a writer works.

Were there any interesting results from the experiment?

I was surprised by the amount of new readers who participated. I expected many people to be fans already, but there were many new readers who joined the live sessions by chance. Since writing the story, we've seen a 170 percent increase in sales of the paper book. It was also awarded a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Lions Film Festival.

Do you suggest other authors try using Google Docs and inviting readers to watch their process?

Many of my writer friends ask what it was like to write in front of thousands of people, something not many of them would dare to do. I tell them: Stories are something that will never die, and the way we tell them will continue to evolve. Before paper existed, people shared stories with their voices. And even if paper ceases to exist, the storyteller will remain, because people love stories.

Being able to interact with readers so closely motivated me; I hope to be able to do it again someday.

13 Dec 2019 5:00pm GMT

Google.org Fellows bring transparency to local jail data nationwide

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Click here to explore Interactive Map with Localized Data

In recent years, we've seen a bipartisan focus on criminal justice reform in the U.S., but to measure progress-and understand the breadth of the issue-we need data on who is being incarcerated and why. The last nationwide jail census was conducted in 2013, and the federal government's most recent estimate of the U.S. jail population is from 2017. Because it takes so long to get up-to-date information on jail populations, Vera--an organization working to improve justice systems--started a project to collect the data themselves.

In Our Backyards looks at jail population data from state and local government websites to understand who's behind bars simply because they can't afford bail, or who's being charged with a non-criminal offense like unpaid child support. As part of our work using data science and technology to help solve some of humanity's biggest challenges, Google.org contributed to the project with a $4 million grant. Additionally, 12 Google.org Fellows spent six months doing full-time pro-bono work on the project.

Today, Vera released the results of this project: People In Jails in 2019. We learned that while the U.S. has made strides in prison reform, rural jail occupancy is actually on the rise. Cities like Chicago, New York and Philadelphia are reducing jail populations, but over the last several years, rural counties and smaller cities have sent more people to jail, driving an increase in the nation's total jail population.

I sat down with Google.org Fellow, Aria Ashton, who participated in the Fellowship with Vera.


What exactly did your team set out to achieve during the Fellowship with Vera?

Our goal was to support Vera in building a nationwide jail monitoring and alerting system that shines a light on local justice systems in the United States. The ambition was to get a full picture of how many people are in county jails in near real-time, and for what reasons. Compiling this kind of data allows Vera to derive data-based insights about how county jails are being used. For example, in one county, 50 percent of the jailed population was incarcerated with bond amounts under $500. If we presume that these are individuals who would otherwise be free but cannot afford a $500 bail amount, does this mean that half of the beds in this particular jail are low-level offenders below the poverty line?

What motivated you to spend six months working full-time with Vera on this Fellowship project?

My brother spent a lot of his life incarcerated. He'd always been troubled with mental illness which led to drug dependency. If it weren't for these two factors, my brother wouldn't have been incarcerated at all. One year, after spending six years in a correctional facility in California, he was released to a halfway house where he eventually succumbed to his addiction and died. At this point I began to wonder, "How many brothers and sisters, how many mothers and fathers are cycling in and out of the system because they can't find proper treatment for mental health and addiction issues?" Using jails and prisons to address mental illness and addiction is unfortunately widespread, and I hope our work with Vera will put an end to these practices.

Aria

Aria with her brother.

What do you want the world to know about the Vera project?

Society is losing so much because of the lack of visibility into the use of county jails. I hope that when the data is shared, and personal stories are told, everyone gets a sense that this is a black box and someone needs to shine a light on it. There are so many people who are lost in this system. Even though Vera understands this world holistically, they couldn't get an accurate picture of the jail population through existing data.

How did Google help move this ambitious project along?

First, we had a ton of technical expertise on our Google.org Fellowship team-engineering resources can go a long way toward developing a technical solution like this. Second, we hadn't been in this space for as long as Vera, so we brought a fresh perspective. We didn't have the same assumptions, so we were able to question approaches and offer new solutions.

What surprised you about the Fellowship experience and this project in particular?

When you think about the millions of people who go in and out of jails, inevitably you start to wonder what their stories might be. Many have lost their jobs, can't pay bills, and no longer have access to their children. Immersing ourselves with Vera and this project drove home that this system has a real human cost.Many corporations are trying to raise awareness about social justice issues, but awareness doesn't always translate into action or advance a cause. This Fellowship is a "put your money where your mouth is" program. I hope the Google.org Fellowship can inspire more corporations to do the same.

What did you learn from the Fellowship experience and how have you applied that to your life?

First, I'm proud of the work the Fellowship team did. I'll have that with me for the rest of my life. Working on something that really matters made me become the most efficient and effective version of myself. Second, I met a lot of people who are involved in criminal justice reform and learned about the ways advocates are trying to change the system. I realized the importance of my voice as a person who hasn't been incarcerated but has been directly impacted by the dysfunction of the system. By raising my voice, I can perhaps help policymakers and ordinary citizens understand how much suffering this system causes. As a result of the contacts I made doing this kind of work, I am taking part in restorative justice events in prisons, so that I can do as much as I can to drive change and hopefully save other families from bleak futures, punctuated by tragedies.

13 Dec 2019 2:00pm GMT

Let Google be your holiday travel tour guide

When it comes to travel, I'm a planner. I'm content to spend weeks preparing the perfect holiday getaway: deciding on the ideal destination, finding the cheapest flights and sniffing out the best accommodations. I've been dreaming about a trip to Greece next year, and-true story-I've already got a spreadsheet to compare potential destinations, organized by flight length and hotel perks.

But the thing I don't like to do is plot out the nitty-gritty details. I want to visit the important museums and landmarks, but I don't want to write up a daily itinerary ahead of time. I'm a vegetarian, so I need to find veggie-friendly restaurants, but I'd prefer to stumble upon a good local spot than plan in advance. And, since I don't speak Greek, I want to be able to navigate transportation options without having to stop and ask people for help all the time.

So I've come to rely on some useful Google tools to make my trips work for the way I like to travel. Here's what I've learned so far.

Let Maps do the talking

Getting dropped into a new city is disorienting, and all the more so when you need to ask for help but don't know how to pronounce the name of the place you're trying to get to. Google Maps now has a fix for this: When you've got a place name up in Maps, just press the new little speaker button next to it, and it will speak out a place's name and address in the local lingo. And if you want to continue the conversation, Google Maps will quickly link you to the Google Translate app.

gif of Google Translate feature in Google Maps

Let your phone be your guidebook

New cities are full of new buildings, new foods and even new foliage. But I don't want to just see these things; I want to learn more about them. That's where Google Lens comes in as my know-it-all tour guide and interpreter. It can translate a menu, tell me about the landmark I'm standing in front of or identify a tree I've never seen before. So whenever I think, "I wonder what that building is for," I can just use my camera to get an answer in real time.

using Google Lens to identify a flower

Photo credit: Joao Nogueira

Get translation help on the go

The Google Assistant's real-time translation feature, interpreter mode, is now available on Android and iOS phones worldwide, enabling you to have a conversation with someone speaking a foreign language. So if I say, "Hey Google, be my Greek translator," I can easily communicate with, say, a restaurant server who doesn't speak English. Interpreter mode works across 44 languages, and it features different ways to communicate suited to your situation: you can type using a keyboard for quiet environments, or manually select what language to speak.

gif of Google Assistant interpreter mode

Use your voice to get things done

Typing is fine, but talking is easier, especially when I'm on vacation and want to make everything as simple as possible. The Google Assistant makes it faster to find what I'm looking for and plan what's next, like weather forecasts, reminders and wake-up alarms. It can also help me with conversions, like "Hey Google, how much is 20 Euros in pounds?"

Using Google Assistant to answer questions

Photo credit: Joao Nogueira

Take pics, then chill

When I'm in a new place, my camera is always out. But sorting through all those pictures is the opposite of relaxing. So I offload that work onto Google Photos: It backs up my photos for free and lets me search for things in them . And when I want to see all the photos my partner has taken, I can create an album that we can both add photos to. And Photos will remind me of our vacation in the future, too, with story-style highlights at the top of the app.

photo of leafy old town street

Photo credit: Joao Nogueira

Look up

I live in a big city, which means I don't get to see the stars much. Traveling somewhere a little less built up means I can hone my Pixel 4 astrophotography skills. It's easy to use something stable, like a wall, as a makeshift tripod, and then just let the camera do its thing.

a stone tower at night with a starry sky in the background

Photo credit: DDay

Vacation unplugged

As useful as my phone is, I try to be mindful about putting it down and ignoring it as much as I can. And that goes double for when I'm on vacation. Android phones have a whole assortment of Digital Wellbeing features to help you disconnect. My favorite is definitely flip to shhh: Just place your phone screen-side down and it silences notifications until you pick it back up.

someone sitting on a boat at sunset watching the shoreline

Photo credit: Joao Nogueira

13 Dec 2019 10:00am GMT

12 Dec 2019

feedThe Official Google Blog

7 ways Google Lens can help during the holidays

This holiday season, your phone's camera can do more than just capture your favorite moments. Whether you're jet-setting off to a new place, brainstorming gift ideas, or learning a family holiday recipe, here are 7 ways Google Lens can help:

Get style recommendations

If you're in need of style inspiration for your holiday festivities, look no further. Point Lens at a piece of clothing, like a dress or jacket, to get style ideas from across the web. Lens will show you how others are wearing-and pairing-similar pieces so you can make the most of your closet over the season.

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Get style inspiration

Find gifts in a snap

Do you like something you see in the real world? Use Lens to identify products similar to it. You can even sort by prices to help you get the best deal. Just remember to ask before taking a photo of a random person's shoes.

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Find similar items

Track your packages

Gift shopping can be fun, but it can also be difficult to keep track of all your orders and be assured that they'll arrive in time. Point Lens at a tracking number to quickly see the delivery status of your package.

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Easily track packages

Make your camera your travel companion

If you're taking a holiday trip where you don't speak the local language, Lens can instantly translate the text in front of you, whether you're looking at a menu or street sign. Point Lens at any text and it will automatically detect the language and overlay the translations right on top of the original worlds-in more than 100 languages.


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Quickly translate text

Don't just snap food pics, get dish
recommendations too

When you're out celebrating at a restaurant, Lens can help you decide what to order. Point your camera at a menu to see popular dishes highlighted. Tap on a dish to see what it actually looks like and what other customers are saying about it with photos and reviews from Google Maps.

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See popular menu items

Settle the bill with ease

Unless you're playing credit card roulette, splitting the bill can be a pain. With Lens, you can easily figure out everyone's share of the tab or calculate the tip by pointing your camera at the receipt.

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Split the tab

Copy and paste written text

If you don't want to-do lists scattered everywhere, Lens makes it easy to copy handwritten or printed text directly to your phone. Whether you're scanning a grocery list, a gift card code, a family recipe, or even a long Wi-Fi password you don't want to manually enter, use Lens to copy it to your device.

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Copy text to your device

To check out these features, download the Google Lens app on the Play Store or the Google app on the App Store. You can also find Lens in your Google Assistant or Google Photos.

We hope these Lens tips provide you with new, fun ways to use your smartphone camera this holiday season and throughout the year.


12 Dec 2019 8:00pm GMT

Get into the holiday spirit with Google

12 Dec 2019 5:05pm GMT

How a college student became a planet hunter

I didn't grow up thinking I was going to be an astronomer. There wasn't a moment when I looked up at the moon and realized my destiny. I grew up loving math and science and in college, I gradually discovered that I loved learning everything I could about stars and planets. When I started studying and doing research in astronomy, I felt like I was given secrets about the universe.

During my junior year, I took a class on planets. My professor was away for a week, so we had a guest lecturer come in. That's when I met Andrew Vanderburg and heard about his work with former Google engineer Chris Shallue (he recently left to pursue his PhD at Harvard in astrophysics). A few years ago, Andrew and Chris built an AI system with TensorFlow that sifted through the approximately 14 billion data points captured from NASA's Kepler mission. In doing so, they discovered two new planets: Kepler 80g and Kepler 90i.

When I walked into that classroom, I couldn't have imagined that it would lead to the discovery of two new planets.

When I started, I had zero experience with machine learning. I had no idea what a neural network was or how I could build one. I learned everything as I went along using YouTube tutorials and TensorFlow and collaborating with incredible people. Using TensorFlow, I built a way to look through space telescope data and identify signs that planets could be around those stars. By the end of the summer, my neural network was successful and could recognize planets we already knew about, and discover new ones.

I discovered two new planets, but I also created a method that makes it possible for people to find many more. (If you want to learn how to hunt for planets, you can read my tutorial). Accessible technologies and open-source data allowed me to do this work, and because of that, it's never been easier to discover not only planets, but also other mysteries of the universe. The possibilities for what we might find are endless.

12 Dec 2019 5:00pm GMT

Searching for style: trending fashion searches in 2019

Searching for fashion inspiration never goes out of style, and in 2019, people were busy investigating all the latest trends. For our annual Year in Search, we looked not only at the people, places and moments that made the year unique, but also the style icons and lewks that set 2019 apart.

Check out some of your favorite searches for celebs, red carpet get-ups, signature styles and fashion how-tos that trended this year.

Top Trending Celeb "Style" Searches

  1. Billie Eilish

  2. Audrey Hepburn

  3. Ariana Grande

  4. Kylie Jenner

  5. Amal Clooney

  6. Shia LaBeouf

  7. Cam Newton

Top Trending "Style" Searches

  1. Camp

  2. E Girl

  3. E Boy

  4. Steampunk

  5. Harajuku

  6. Preppy

  7. Yankii

  8. Vintage

  9. VSCO

  10. Emo

Top Trending Red Carpet Searches

  1. Billy Porter

  2. Cardi B

  3. Lady Gaga

  4. Amy Schumer husband

  5. Jenny McCarthy

  6. BTS Grammy

  7. Caitlyn Jenner

  8. Richard Madden Golden Globes

  9. Brie Larson

  10. Brienne of Tarth

Top Trending "How to wear" Searches

  1. How to wear a beret

  2. How to wear a flannel

  3. How to wear duck boots

  4. How to wear an infinity scarf

  5. How to wear booties with jeans

  6. How to wear suspenders

  7. How to wear beanies

  8. How to wear a jean jacket

  9. How to wear a fanny pack

  10. How to wear a headband

Top Trending Female Celeb Looks

  1. Tana Mongeau Coachella outfit
  2. Serena Williams outfit
  3. Cardi B Grammy outfit
  4. Katy Perry Ursula outfit
  5. Josie Canseco outfit
  6. Cardi B yellow outfit
  7. Miley Cyrus Coachella outfit
  8. Kelly Clarkson outfit on The Voice
  9. Billie Eilish outfit
  10. Beyonce Formation outfit

Top Trending Male Celeb Looks

  1. Cam Newton outfit
  2. Gardner Minshew outfit
  3. Lil Wayne outfit
  4. Devin Bush outfit
  5. The Rock fanny pack outfit
  6. James Charles Coachella outfit
  7. James Charles Met Gala outfit
  8. Drake Million Dollar outfit
  9. Brad Calipari outfit

Here's to closing out 2019 in style, and looking (fashion-)forward to 2020.

12 Dec 2019 4:00pm GMT

Screen surfers, unite: 2019 TV and movie Search trends

Whether you get your entertainment in the theater or on the couch, Year in Search captured the movies and TV shows that we couldn't stop watching-and searching.

A variety of categories that kept us glued to screens everywhere. For more, you can explore the global and country-specific lists here.

Movies

The big screen felt even bigger this year thanks to the release of several blockbuster films that made us laugh, cry and crave adventure. Here are the top trending movies in the U.S. this year.


Action and Adventure

  1. Avengers Endgame

  2. Captain Marvel

  3. Aquaman

  4. John Wick 3

  5. Dark Phoenix

  6. Spider Man Far From Home

  7. Midway

  8. Bumblebee

  9. Hobbs and Shaw

  10. Alita Battle Angel

Comedies

  1. Isn't It Romantic

  2. Little

  3. Playing with Fire

  4. Good Boys

  5. Jojo Rabbit

  6. Booksmart

  7. Fighting with my Family

  8. Zombieland 2

  9. Blinded by the Light

  10. Late Night

Dramas

  1. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

  2. Hustlers

  3. Green Book

  4. The Upside

  5. Rocketman

  6. Bohemian Rhapsody

  7. Brightburn

  8. Breakthrough

  9. The Mule

  10. Ad Astra

Family

  1. Toy Story 4

  2. Lion King

  3. Frozen 2

  4. Aladdin

  5. Detective Pikachu

  6. Descendants 3

  7. Dragon Ball Super Broly

  8. The Art of Racing in the Rain

  9. Dumbo

  10. Missing Link

Thrillers

  1. Joker

  2. IT Chapter Two

  3. Midsommar

  4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  5. Us

  6. Pet Sematary

  7. Glass

  8. The Intruder

  9. Crawl

  10. Cold Pursuit

Romance

  1. Five Feet Apart

  2. Last Christmas

  3. A Star is Born

  4. What Men Want

  5. After

  6. Second Act

  7. Downton Abbey

  8. The Sun is also a Star

  9. Always Be My Maybe

  10. If Beale Street Could Talk

TV Shows

What shows kept you on the couch this year? New TV series like "Euphoria" and returning favorites like "Game of Thrones" had us staying in and binge-watching. Here are the top trending TV shows across several genres in the U.S.


Comedies

  1. Dead to Me

  2. The Boys

  3. Rick and Morty Season 4

  4. Victorious

  5. Fleabag

Dramas

  1. When They See Us

  2. Chernobyl

  3. Euphoria

  4. Surviving R. Kelly

  5. Russian Doll

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

  1. Game of Thrones

  2. Strangers Things

  3. The Mandalorian

  4. Umbrella Academy

  5. Carnival Row

Reality TV

  1. Jeopardy

  2. Paradise Hotel

  3. Temptation Island

  4. Double Shot at Love

  5. Dog the Bounty Hunter

12 Dec 2019 4:00pm GMT

Safer conversations in Messages with Verified SMS and Spam Protection

In addition to enhancing messaging on Android with Rich Communication Services (RCS) and bringing you helpful features with Messages, we also want to provide a safer messaging experience. Today we have two new updates to share on that front.


Trustworthy business messages with Verified SMS


SMS messages help businesses share useful information with consumers, things like one-time passwords, account alerts or appointment confirmations. Yet sometimes it can be difficult to trust the identity of these messages, which are often sent from a random number. Some messages may even come from bad actors pretending to be from businesses you trust and ask for private information or link to dangerous websites-this is called phishing.


Verified SMS for Messages, rolling out today in a number of countries, will help you confirm the true identity of the business that's texting you. The feature works by verifying, on a per-message basis, that content is sent by a specific business. When a message is verified-which is done without sending your messages to Google-you'll see the business name and logo as well as a verification badge in the message thread.


1-800-Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, Payback, and SoFi are among the first brands to send messages with Verified SMS. Google Pay India and verification codes from Google will also be enrolled in Verified SMS. And more businesses are signing up to use Verified SMS every day.
blogpost-vSMS.png

Verified SMS is rolling out gradually on Messages in nine countries, starting in the U.S., India, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., France, Philippines, Spain and Canada, with more to come. Verified SMS is just one of our efforts to improve your messages with businesses; we also continue to work on enhancing the chats you have on Messages with Rich Business Messaging (RBM).


Real-time spam detection


In addition to verifying the businesses sending you messages, we are working on protecting you from spam in Messages.


With Spam protection for Messages, we warn you of suspected spam and unsafe websites we've detected. If you see a suspected spam warning in Messages you can help us improve our spam models by letting us know if it's spam or not. You can also report spam texts in Messages at anytime, and block the conversation so you won't receive future messages.
blogpost-spam.png

Spam protection, which works with your message data while keeping your messages private, has been available over the past year in a number of countries and is now rolling out broadly in the U.S.

12 Dec 2019 4:00pm GMT

Here’s what music and sports fans searched for in 2019

Music lovers and sports fans, gather round! Wondering if everyone else is as fascinated by your favorite musician or sports team as you? Year in Search may have your answer.

We took a closer look at the artists from different genres and teams across various leagues that kept us entertained in 2019. For more, you can explore the global and country-specific lists here.

Musicians

Musicians in pop, rap and country had us singing and searching in 2019. Here are the top five trending musicians from these categories in the U.S.

Pop

  1. Billie Eilish

  2. Lizzo

  3. Jonas Brothers

  4. Cody Simpson

  5. Aaron Carter

Rap

  1. 21 Savage

  2. Lil Nas X

  3. A$AP Rocky

  4. Tekashi69

  5. Soulja Boy

Country

  1. Granger Smith

  2. Kacey Musgraves

  3. Billy Ray Cyrus

  4. Marty Stuart

  5. Dolly Parton

Sports Teams

From knocking it out of the park to scoring a touchdown, these sports teams had people on the edge of their seats this year in the U.S. Here are the top trending sports teams.

NFL

  1. Dallas Cowboys

  2. New England Patriots

  3. Green Bay Packers

  4. Kansas City Chiefs

  5. Chicago Bears

  6. Cleveland Browns

  7. San Francisco 49ers

  8. New Orleans Saints

  9. Oakland Raiders

  10. Los Angeles Rams

MLB

  1. New York Yankees

  2. Houston Astros

  3. St. Louis Cardinals

  4. Atlanta Braves

  5. Washington Nationals

  6. Philadelphia Phillies

  7. Minnesota Twins

  8. New York Mets

  9. Cleveland Indians

  10. Cincinnati Red

NBA

  1. Los Angeles Lakers

  2. Golden State Warriors

  3. Toronto Raptors

  4. Philadelphia 76ers

  5. Milwaukee Bucks

  6. Portland Trail Blazers

  7. New York Knicks

  8. Los Angeles Clippers

  9. Denver Nuggets

  10. Miami Heat

WNBA

  1. Washington Mystics

  2. Los Angeles Sparks

  3. Las Vegas Aces

  4. New York Liberty

  5. Connecticut Sun

  6. Chicago Sky

  7. Dallas Wings

  8. Indiana Fever

NHL

  1. Boston Bruins

  2. St. Louis Blues

  3. Chicago Blackhawks

  4. San Jose Sharks

  5. Detroit Red Wings

  6. New York Rangers

  7. Dallas Stars

  8. New York Islanders

  9. Buffalo Sabres

  10. Carolina Hurricanes

MLS

  1. Los Angeles FC

  2. Seattle Sounders FC

  3. LA Galaxy

  4. FC Dallas

  5. Philadelphia Union

  6. New England Revolution

  7. Real Salt Lake

  8. Houston Dynamo

  9. Chicago Fire Soccer Club

  10. San Jose Earthquakes

12 Dec 2019 4:00pm GMT

Explore the angst and beauty in famous works of art

The "Mona Lisa" is probably the most famous painting in art history. But what's the second most famous? It could very well be "The Scream" by Edvard Munch. The image has withstood the test of time to become a modern icon, inspiring the famous '90s horror film series and even an emoji you may have used on occasion.


In time for Munch's birthday on Dec. 12, Google Arts & Culture invited YouTube Music rising star Girl in Red to give us her take on the howling cultural icon. It's the latest in our Art Zoom video series, where pop musicians bring their storytelling lens to masterpieces from art history. And who better than Marie Ulven (aka Girl in Red), who sings about a "pretty face with pretty bad dreams," to take us through "The Scream's" hidden details? Follow her and get down to brushstroke level, zooming in and out of the image thanks to our Art Camera's high-resolution capabilities.
Art Zoom: Girl in Red x Edvard Munch

On a slightly less angsty note, we asked Lolo Zouai, a newcomer on the international R&B scene, to take us on a cheeky tour of Botticcelli's "Birth of Venus." If you've ever wondered about the story behind the beautiful woman in the giant shell, now you can just click to learn all about about the Uffizi Gallery's most famous painting.

Art Zoom: Lolo Zouaï x Sandro Botticelli

Give us a shout (or a scream) if you'd like to see more of these collaborations, and join the conversation on #artzoom.


12 Dec 2019 4:00pm GMT

Interpreter mode brings real-time translation to your phone

You've booked your flights, found the perfect hotel and mapped out all of the must-see local attractions. Only one slight issue-you weren't able to brush up on a new foreign language in time for your trip. The Google Assistant is here to help.


Travelers already turn to the Assistant for help researching and checking into flights, finding local restaurant recommendations and more. To give you even more help during your trip, the Assistant's real-time translation feature, interpreter mode, is starting to roll out today on Assistant-enabled Android and iOS phones worldwide. Using your phone, you can have a back and forth conversation with someone speaking a foreign language.


To get started, just say "Hey Google, be my German translator" or "Hey Google, help me speak Spanish" and you'll see and hear the translated conversation on your phone. After each translation, the Assistant may present Smart Replies, giving you suggestions that let you quickly respond without speaking-which can make your conversations faster and even more seamless.
Google Assistant_interpreter mode on mobile.gif

Interpreter mode helps you translate across 44 languages, and since it's integrated with the Assistant, it's already on your Android phone. To access it on iOS, simply download the latest Google Assistant app. Interpreter mode also features different ways to communicate suited to your situation: you can type using a keyboard for quiet environments, or manually select what language to speak.


Whether you're heading on a trip this holiday season, gearing up for international travel in the New Year, or simply want to communicate with family members who speak another language, interpreter mode is here to remove language barriers no matter where you are.


Gute Reise! Translation: "Enjoy your trip!"

12 Dec 2019 3:00pm GMT

How digital skills are helping me prepare for the future

When you're responsible for seven kids, you're constantly on your toes. It's my responsibility to find ways to help my family thrive, and that includes making sure I have the job skills I need to provide for them. The workplace is changing rapidly, and I knew that finding ways to expand my digital skills could be a great way to stay competitive.


I found that opportunity at the Academy of Music Production Education and Development (AMPED) in Louisville, an organization that teaches music production to local kids, while also providing free adult learning courses to their parents. So while my children were tapping into their creative sides, I decided to take a course on practical computer skills.


At AMPED, my course instructor introduced me to Applied Digital Skills, a free online curriculum from Grow with Google. Each video-based lesson teaches computer skills I can use both at work and in my day-to-day life, like how to create a spreadsheet, start a document or organize an inbox. And in turn, I can add skills my resume to make myself more marketable to employers. I'm able to take these lessons at AMPED while my children learn music production, but the lessons can also be done anywhere, anytime. That means I'm able to build my skills on my own time and at my own pace.


AMPED isn't the only organization that's incorporated Applied Digital Skills into its programming. More than 50 nonprofits and community colleges, like New Mexico Community Capital in Albuquerque and the Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, are using the free curriculum to teach people the digital skills they can use to find jobs, thrive in the workplace or grow their small businesses. Now that some of the curriculum's most popular lessons are available on YouTube, it's easier than ever for people to conveniently access them. And with courses geared toward veterans, small business owners and Spanish speakers, there's something for everyone.


Adding new digital skills to my resume has been an empowering experience. Now more than ever, I feel prepared to compete for the types of opportunities I'm interested in as I work toward my next career move. If you, like me, are considering your next steps and looking to grow your skills in the coming year, explore the Applied Digital Skills curriculum to find a lesson that interests you.


12 Dec 2019 2:00pm GMT

21 Oct 2019

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

All the Fitbit activity badges

Fitbit has discontinued their Fitbit One step trackers, which seems like a good opportunity to step back and reflect on wearing one for the last decade or so. I've enjoyed using Fitbit trackers, but the One devices seemed like they broke down way too often. I'm pretty proud that I ended up earning all the […]

21 Oct 2019 3:06am 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

26 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

The Emperor's Garden

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

26 Aug 2011 12:12pm GMT

15 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

15 Aug 2011 4:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google drops reverse phone number lookup

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

25 Feb 2011 11:23am GMT

16 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Idea: Topical Chat

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

16 Dec 2010 2:55pm GMT

Idea: CrowdChat

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

16 Dec 2010 7:26am GMT

Google Body Browser

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

16 Dec 2010 2:17am GMT

10 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Pictures of the Cr-48

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

10 Dec 2010 5:23am GMT

09 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Chromedroidpad

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

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Device Evolution

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

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

How to Disable Google Instant Previews

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

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

12 Nov 2010 7:00am GMT

04 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

04 Nov 2010 2:58am GMT

24 Oct 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

See a Random Street View Location

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

24 Oct 2010 6:42am GMT