19 Jan 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

App Security Improvements: Looking back at 2016

In April 2016, the Android Security team described how the Google Play App Security Improvement (ASI) program has helped developers fix security issues in 100,000 applications. Since then, we have detected and notified developers of 11 new security issues and provided developers with resources and guidance to update their apps. Because of this, over 90,000 developers have updated over 275,000 apps!

Android app security improvements

ASI now notifies developers of 26 potential security issues. To make this process more transparent, we introduced a new page where developers can find information about all these security issues in one place. This page includes links to help center articles containing instructions and additional support contacts. Developers can use this page as a resource to learn about new issues and keep track of all past issues.

Developers can also refer to our security best practices documents and security checklist, which are aimed at improving the understanding of general security concepts and providing examples that can help tackle app-specific issues.

How you can help:

For feedback or questions, please reach out to us through the Google Play Developer Help Center. To report potential security issues in apps, email us at security+asi@android.com.

19 Jan 2017 10:00pm GMT

See how G Suite and DocuSign help real estate brokers close deals faster

G Suite helps teams cut through clutter and get right down to business: accomplishing more with less rigmarole. In November, we welcomed DocuSign to the Recommended for G Suite Program to trim time businesses spend on e-signatures and approvals. This G Suite integration makes it easy to fast-track signatures with multiple signers, which is especially valuable for our customers in the real estate industry.

Sereno Group, a real estate brokerage firm in California, uses DocuSign and G Suite to schedule signings, maintain communication between agents and clients, and easily exchange paperwork. By using less complicated tools, agents can build their business and clientele faster.

"When our tools are easier to use, agents can spend less time managing paperwork and devote more time to their clients," said Tim Proschold, VP of Group Strategy & Success at Sereno Group.

gif 2

Sereno Group agents save time by using other G Suite integrations, like DocuSign for Google Drive and the DocuSign Gmail extension. Agents use Zipforms, online forms used by real estate agents, to store important deal information. Then others can go into these Zipforms, assemble important real estate, add in files or documents stored in Google Drive with the DocuSign for Google Drive integration and send materials to clients for them to sign. Tracking the status of signatures is easy with the DocuSign Gmail extension. Sereno Group agents can see the status of signatures directly in Gmail to know what's pending and what's complete.

Other brokers are catching on too. Chris Lopez, broker with World Class Properties, is saving time with DocuSign and G Suite: "I sign between five and 10 documents every day and I save up to 10 minutes on each document. That frees up nearly eight hours a week for me to focus on what's important for my clients."

These real estate agents are clearly on to something. According to DocuSign, Sereno Group real estate agents are using DocuSign tools more and more - last year they used 18,000 envelope signatures up from 5,500 the year before. To learn more about how to use G Suite and DocuSign for your business, sign up for this webinar on February 7, 2017 at 10am PST / 1pm EST.

19 Jan 2017 9:00pm GMT

How Devonport Boys High School is building the next generation of entrepreneurs

Editor's note: Leading up to Bett, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world, we're highlighting teachers, students and administrators who are using educational technology to make learning more interactive and impactful for their students. From our Impact Portraits series, Ben Forte shares how Devonport is creating a more collaborative, entrepreneurial environment for its 1,200 students using technology. Check out @GoogleForEdu and #BETT2017 to learn what we're talking about at Bett. To hear more from Ben, visit Google's teaching theater at Bett on Thursday Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m.

When you walk into a startup or big tech office, it's not out of the ordinary to see ping pong tables, vending machines for gadgets or open spaces without walls or cubicles. But these environments aren't standard in the education system. In fact, most schools think that this type of modern, open space would create chaos and limit the ability to learn.

When I joined Devonport Boys High School, I set out to prove the opposite. I believed that by creating open spaces and giving students the technology and tools they need to think like entrepreneurs, they'd learn far more than in a rule-bound, confined environment. To support this idea, we created the Learning Commons: a dedicated space including a big room with an artificial lawn and bean bags, a separate room with whiteboard-ready desks, and small meeting rooms, custom built for collaboration and group discussions.

Learning-Commons-Space.jpg

At the same time, we overhauled our technology. Chromebooks and G Suite for Education were so affordable that each student was allotted a device, letting us distribute technology to more students and teachers than ever before. We replaced outdated systems with Google tools to personalize learning and encourage greater collaboration. The result was a measurable increase in student participation, including a 60 percent increase in students accessing their accounts outside of school.

Devonport 1a.png

Empowering students to be digital ambassadors

Often when schools adopt new learning technology, teachers and administrators take responsibility for introducing the required resources and processes. At Devonport, we asked students to participate in the roll-out, and they embraced the opportunity. They created department- and subject-specific websites using Google Sites, and set up others for clubs and extracurriculars like Biology Society, Chess Club, Astronomy Club and Debate Club. This student-led project helped foster an entrepreneurial mindset and reorganize the departments and clubs. And now students, teachers and administrators can easily access shared event calendars, photos and resources with Google Drive.

Students also use Hangouts and Chromebooks outside of the classroom to hold meetings for student-run clubs and extracurricular activities. During the meetings, they take notes in Google Docs for everyone to view, and to help those who missed the meeting get up to speed. The portability of Chromebooks allows students to collaborate regardless of their physical location.

Devonport 2a.png

Meeting students where they are with personalized resources and parent involvement

With G Suite for Education, teachers can create a customized learning path by sharing videos, articles and additional assignments with each student based on their areas of improvement. By tracking their progress and giving every student one-on-one feedback during and after class, teachers are meeting students where they are, and challenging students to push themselves.

Devonport 3.JPG
Collaborative spaces and tools allow students and teachers to work closely together.

Parents are a big part of students' education, and we wanted to create a better communication channel between parents and teachers. We created a Parent Portal on Google Sites, which lets teachers share updates and feedback with parents about their child's learning. This not only creates a positive relationship for the school and parents, but also helps parents identify how they can help their children at home and outside of the classroom.

Teachers are also making learning content more dynamic by incorporating videos and online activities. Our psychology department truly adopted the digital mindset and replaced the textbook with Google Sites, including online videos, links to articles and recorded lesson plans.

We want our students to be inspired to think creatively, to become the next generation of digital entrepreneurs, inventing ways to improve our schools, their lives and the world through technology. With the help of G Suite and Chromebooks, we're on our way.

Read the full Devonport Impact Portrait and check out g.co/EduImpact for stories of impact from around the world.

19 Jan 2017 5:00pm GMT

Showcase your art in new ways with Tilt Brush Toolkit

Tilt Brush is a tool for creators of all backgrounds and styles to make art in virtual reality. Sketches made in Tilt Brush stand on their own - you can film your sketches, take 2D snapshots, export them as 3D objects. However there hasn't been an easy way to add animation, interactivity, or sequencing to your art. That is, until now.

Today, we're introducing the Tilt Brush Toolkit, an open source library for bringing your Tilt Brush art to other creative projects. With the toolkit, the next generation of artists can create narrative, interactive, and immersive content using Tilt Brush sketches.

The Tilt Brush Toolkit includes Python scripts and a Unity SDK with everything you need to make movies, interactive stories, video games, music videos, or other projects using assets created in Tilt Brush. We're sharing all of our brush shaders, our audio reactive code, a streamlined Unity import pipeline, file format conversion utilities, and several great examples so hobbyists and professionals can showcase their Tilt Brush art in new places, on new platforms, and in new ways.

Tilt Brush Toolkit: Racing Game
Tilt Brush Toolkit: Dungeon
Tilt Brush Toolkit: Audio Reactive

Share your projects using the #TiltBrush hashtag, and we'll highlight our favorites from @googlevr.

19 Jan 2017 4:00pm GMT

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

18 Jan 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

A virtual trek through Petra with Google Cardboard

Last year, we launched a virtual tour of Petra and more than 30 historical sites across Jordan in Google Street View. The interactive Maps experience took visitors on an intimate journey into Jordan's lost city of stone-and now, we've made this historic trek even more immersive with a 360º experience for Google Cardboard.

Petra_Blog_Cardboard_Creative_V2_grey.png

We've used 360º mapping, aerial imagery and millions of photos stitched together, to recreate six of Petra's most beautiful and iconic panoramas for you to explore. Audio narration, interactive hotspots and sound effects guide you as you follow the footsteps of the ancient Nabataeans. This 2000-year-old civilization miraculously transformed the harshest of deserts into an oasis of life and culture.

Wander through the winding pathway of Al Siq to the Treasury, Petra's most famous landmark. Look all around in 360º to explore every detail of this elaborate carved facade recognizable from movies like "Indiana Jones" and "Transformers."

Treasury_600x338_Grey.gif

Make your way past Petra's carved theatre and hidden tombs until you reach Al Deir, or the Monastery. No trip to Petra is complete without staring up in awe at its grandeur. The doorway alone is eight meters tall!

Monastery_600x338_blog_grey.gif

Of course, nothing can compare to visiting Petra in real life. But now anyone with an internet connection can trek this remarkable UNESCO Heritage Site like never before-and we hope this 360º experience inspires a new generation of tourists to come to visit the rose-red city for themselves. Start your tour now on your mobile phone at g.co/PetraVR.

18 Jan 2017 4:00pm GMT

Don’t let a spotty connection stop you from searching

Whether you're a commuter reading the news with a spotty network, a farmer looking up crop prices with no service in the fields, or just driving through a tunnel, all is not lost when your search is interrupted by a bad connection. Now on the Google app for Android, even if your search fails, Google will deliver your results as soon as a connection is available-so you can keep searching with a single tap.

Mobile networks can sometimes be inconsistent or spotty, which means that even if you have a connection when you start your search, it might fail before you get your results back. With this change, search results are saved as soon as they are retrieved, even if you lose connection afterwards or go into airplane mode. So the next time you lose service, feel free to queue up your searches, put your phone away and carry on with your day. The Google app will work behind-the-scenes to detect when a connection is available again and deliver your search results once completed.

english_1A.gif

And if you're worried about data charges or preserving battery life, don't fret. This feature won't drain your battery, and by fetching streamlined search results pages, it minimally impacts data usage.

So before you head out the door, make sure the Google app is running the latest version for Android, and the next time you hit a spotty network, your results are covered.

18 Jan 2017 12:05am GMT

17 Jan 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Silence speaks louder than words when finding malware

In Android Security, we're constantly working to better understand how to make Android devices operate more smoothly and securely. One security solution included on all devices with Google Play is Verify apps. Verify apps checks if there are Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs) on your device. If a PHA is found, Verify apps warns the user and enables them to uninstall the app.

But, sometimes devices stop checking up with Verify apps. This may happen for a non-security related reason, like buying a new phone, or, it could mean something more concerning is going on. When a device stops checking up with Verify apps, it is considered Dead or Insecure (DOI). An app with a high enough percentage of DOI devices downloading it, is considered a DOI app. We use the DOI metric, along with the other security systems to help determine if an app is a PHA to protect Android users. Additionally, when we discover vulnerabilities, we patch Android devices with our security update system.

This blog post explores the Android Security team's research to identify the security-related reasons that devices stop working and prevent it from happening in the future.

Flagging DOI Apps

To understand this problem more deeply, the Android Security team correlates app install attempts and DOI devices to find apps that harm the device in order to protect our users.

With these factors in mind, we then focus on 'retention'. A device is considered retained if it continues to perform periodic Verify apps security check ups after an app download. If it doesn't, it's considered potentially dead or insecure (DOI). An app's retention rate is the percentage of all retained devices that downloaded the app in one day. Because retention is a strong indicator of device health, we work to maximize the ecosystem's retention rate.

Therefore, we use an app DOI scorer, which assumes that all apps should have a similar device retention rate. If an app's retention rate is a couple of standard deviations lower than average, the DOI scorer flags it. A common way to calculate the number of standard deviations from the average is called a Z-score. The equation for the Z-score is below.

Z-score for Dead or Insecure devices
  • N = Number of devices that downloaded the app.
  • x = Number of retained devices that downloaded the app.
  • p = Probability of a device downloading any app will be retained.

In this context, we call the Z-score of an app's retention rate a DOI score. The DOI score indicates an app has a statistically significant lower retention rate if the Z-score is much less than -3.7. This means that if the null hypothesis is true, there is much less than a 0.01% chance the magnitude of the Z-score being as high. In this case, the null hypothesis means the app accidently correlated with lower retention rate independent of what the app does.

This allows for percolation of extreme apps (with low retention rate and high number of downloads) to the top of the DOI list. From there, we combine the DOI score with other information to determine whether to classify the app as a PHA. We then use Verify apps to remove existing installs of the app and prevent future installs of the app.
Android security checkups for DOI devices
Difference between a regular and DOI app download on the same device

Results in the wild

Among others, the DOI score flagged many apps in three well known malware families- Hummingbad, Ghost Push, and Gooligan. Although they behave differently, the DOI scorer flagged over 25,000 apps in these three families of malware because they can degrade the Android experience to such an extent that a non-negligible amount of users factory reset or abandon their devices. This approach provides us with another perspective to discover PHAs and block them before they gain popularity. Without the DOI scorer, many of these apps would have escaped the extra scrutiny of a manual review.

The DOI scorer and all of Android's anti-malware work is one of multiple layers protecting users and developers on Android. For an overview of Android's security and transparency efforts, check out our page.

17 Jan 2017 10:00pm GMT

Making Google+ work better for you

For the past few years, we've been doing a lot of listening on the Google+ team, and we've learned a lot.

Listening to your feedback inspired us to introduce a new Google+ focused on helping you connect around shared interests a little over a year ago. Your feedback led us to launch more than 50 updates across Android, iOS and web to ensure the new experience serves you even better than the previous one. Big changes like powerful tools for Community moderators, image comments and joining the G Suite family were all thanks to your input.

After all of these updates, more people are discovering vibrant Communities and creating inspiring Collections than ever before. So it's in this same spirit that we're pleased to add three new much requested updates, rolling out over the next couple of weeks, to Google+.

Hiding low-quality comments

We're making it easier to have good conversations by hiding lower quality comments on posts, so you can focus on the comments that matter most. If you'd like to see all the comments on a post, you can always click or tap "View more comments."
Hiding low quality comments

Showing you more of what matters

To help you see more of the stuff you care about, we've adjusted Google+ to make the best use of your screen size and show you less white space and more posts. Photographers share big, beautiful images on Google+ every day, so we've also added zoom functionality to photos on Google+ web to let you get up close and personal with the images you're interested in.

Paris full and zoom

Bringing back Events

Finally (drumroll please!), we're bringing Events over to the new Google+. While there's more to be done to improve the experience, beginning January 24th you'll be able to create and join events on Google+ web as you have in the past. Please note that Events will not be available for G Suite at this time.

With this latest round of updates, we believe the new Google+ is really your Google+- designed around your suggestions, requests and needs. It also means it's time to say goodbye to classic Google+ on the web, which we'll be turning down on January 24.

Just because we're bidding adieu to classic Google+ doesn't mean we're done working on the new one. Our aim is to make Google+ the best place to connect around the things you care about, so please use the "Send Feedback" link in the apps and on the web to keep the feedback coming. We're listening.

17 Jan 2017 5:22pm GMT

Zurich calling – Expanding our European tech hub

The future of research and development for Google in Europe may well lie in Zurich. Currently housing over 2,000 Googlers from 75 countries, this winter we've expanded our presence along the Limmat River, giving us room to expand to 5,000 people. Zurich, already the largest Google development centre outside of the U.S. and housing teams working on Google Search, Maps, Calendar, YouTube and Gmail, will now be the European homebase for our exploration of research and implementation of machine learning.

Millions of people around the world are already using internet services developed and managed by the Google teams in Zurich--products used by individuals or, like many leading European companies do, to improve the efficiency of business processes. By adding new offices in Europaallee next to the Zurich train station, Google Switzerland is creating even more space for innovation.

The new Google Europe Research Team has been based in Zurich since June 2016, working on the future issue of machine learning and focusing on natural speech recognition and reproduction. The work is used in services such as Google Assistant, Google Photos or Google Translate.

"Google is now deeply rooted in Zurich. I am very pleased that Google has chosen to invest in Zurich - both in jobs and new offices. The opening of the new office shows that Zurich - with its high quality of life, close proximity to institutions of applied sciences and universities, and modern infrastructure - is an attractive location for ICT companies and businesses in general," Zurich's mayor Corine Mauch said, expressing her pleasure at Google's additional investment in Zurich.

In addition to fostering in-house talent, Google Switzerland is campaigning for stronger education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education in the country including partnerships designed to strengthen programming skills and media competency in Switzerland. Starting in autumn 2017, Google will begin training IT apprentices in the new offices, and together with the academic community, including ETH in Zurich and EPFL, we're working on research partnerships on machine learning, machine perception, and computer systems.

We're also working to support Switzerland's SME community via the exportdigital.ch platform, created in collaboration with Switzerland Global Enterprise. Through this online portal, part of Google's Growth Engine efforts, companies and individuals can access digital know-how to open doors to potential export markets around the world. During the past three years, more than 30,000 people have taken these courses.

And because Google itself started out in a garage--we believe that big ideas often start small--Google is a founding member of the digitalswitzerland association working to position Switzerland as an international digital hub.

We believe that partnerships--in economics, research, and policy--are important factors in this success for Switzerland. That's why we're delighted for the opportunity to be at the heart of Zurich during such exciting times through research agreements, continuing education initiatives for SMEs, and initiatives like digitalswitzerland to promote innovation at and for the site. We're optimistic about the latest expansion and to continue working together with our partners to increase innovation in Switzerland and to shape the future.


17 Jan 2017 12:30pm 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

feedThe Official Google Blog

Five ways retailers can provide personal, convenient customer service using Chrome

Successful retail outlets are always striving to improve customer service. Brick-and-mortar stores are borrowing a page from their online counterparts and turning to new technologies like Chrome to help make shopping easier and more fun for customers. Here are five ways retailers are using Chrome to personalize shopping, manage ad campaigns, offer local information and speed up the ordering process:

Personalized shopping

The best retail experience is personalized and relevant. Putting umbrellas and raincoats in front of a store during a rainstorm, for example, boosts inbound traffic and makes satisfied - and dry - customers. But other than displaying umbrellas in the windows, how can a store advertise a spur of the moment promotion like that?

Chico's, a women's apparel and accessories chain, uses Chromeboxes to tailor promotions across its U.S. stores. While bikinis are featured in digital displays in Florida, coats might be featured in Chicago and cocktail dresses in Las Vegas. Chico's is working on bringing personalized content to 5,000 screens in its stores.

Express ordering

Australia's Famous Fish by Steve Costi restaurant chain is mixing the best of self-service technology with old-world aesthetics. They introduced kiosk-based interactive menu boards based on Chrome which let people place their orders. This means customers have shorter lines and they get their food faster too.

Customer order kiosk at Famous Fish

Customers are pleased, and there's been a noticeable boost to the bottom line. At the company's Fountain Gate location, for example, average orders are 28.7% higher when customers use the kiosks. "Combining self-service touch screens with dynamic menu boards, the commercial Chrome technology is already providing a huge return on investment," says Jon Sully, director of Famous Fish. "We're seeing a noticeable increase in brand awareness and a large boost in customer spend."

Going local

Where are the fish biting today? If you're a sporting goods store and answer that for your customers, they'll stay loyal for life. Scheels, a sporting-goods chain with 26 stores in 11 states, uses Chrome digital signs to display information about nearby river conditions and advice on the latest equipment and local fishing techniques. "They're incredibly popular features that have helped build customer loyalty," says Josh Diemert, lead systems administrator for Scheels.

Scheels also lets customers place orders using in-store kiosks. That frees up staff to provide more specialized service to individual customers. "We've taken the in-store experience to a new level by leveraging technology to make shopping fun, while at the same time empowering our sales team to deliver a better quality of service," says Diemert.

Managing hundreds of campaigns

Store managers have a lot on their plates, and managing in-store digital signage campaigns can distract them from their most important work of helping customers and supporting their staff. Compass Group Canada turned to Chrome digital signage for promoting in-store offers in its restaurants and coffee shops. One marketer can now manage dozens of campaigns using Chrome Device Management, saving hundreds of hours of work a week. And campaigns are carefully tracked to make sure they perform well, leading to a 2% to 4% sales boost, which adds up for a company with $2 billion in annual revenue.

Bring more employees and processes online

If more retail employees have better access to computing, stores can move many of their processes online and make them more efficient. This includes everything from inventory checks, HR tasks, employee training on new store offerings, shift coordination, and marketing activities. The challenge has always been that it's expensive to get a device for each employee, and it's insecure to share a typical PC amongst multiple employees.

Chromebooks can be shared seamlessly between many employees, and any employee can pick up any device, log in, and get a secure workspace with access to all of their applications By deploying a few Chromebooks in the back office of a store, retailers can give all of their employees secure access to computing, operate their stores more efficiently, and make sure that their employees are well trained on the latest products.

Find out more about how Google is ready to support and grow your retail business at our NRF BIG Show booth (#4333) in New York City, January 15th - 17th. Those who can't attend the show can learn more here about how retailers can use Chrome digital signage and devices to engage customers.

13 Jan 2017 6:00pm GMT

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

12 Jan 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communication

Whether you have a team of five or 500 a seamless, collaborative workflow is critical in the digital age. Our goal is to make sure that your nonprofit is able to focus on changing the world by using technology to save time -- not waste it. In the digital age though, information sharing can often be complex; your team might not work in the same office, or even the same timezone. Some team members might be in an office with computer access, while others are in the field on mobile devices. Who from your team should be able to access confidential documents?

This brings us to a key question: How do you empower team members to work together towards a common goal, and use technology to enable it?

Great question. We'd like to introduce you to G Suite - (formerly Google Apps for Work ). G Suite aims to help teams work together in real-time -- no matter where they are in the world.

Today, we're spotlighting a few nonprofits to share how their teams are using Google tools and apps to improve workflow and internal communication.

Mercy Beyond Borders - Internal Communication with Sheets & Sites

Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is a U.S. nonprofit that aims to forge opportunities for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect, and lead. Utilizing a small office in the U.S. as home base, MBB targets rural areas in Haiti and South Sudan. In both of these areas, cultural norms and poverty prohibit full participation of women. In fact, these areas offer minimal education and opportunities for employment, which often impedes the development of leadership skills or positions. Mercy Beyond Borders focuses its programs on providing trainings, scholarships, leadership camps, and business loans for women.

To achieve their mission, Mercy Beyond Borders faces the challenge of balancing US-based operations with field work in remote areas like South Sudan and Haiti. Their nonprofit partners range from large organizations to local schools to individuals. So how does Mercy Beyond Borders ensure that all staff, vendors, and partners stay connected and working together in sync?
MBB-trained nurse in South-Sudan village
MBB-trained nurse in South Sudan village. Photo credit: Mercy Beyond Borders

Mercy Beyond Border began using G Suite to streamline its workflow, connecting their team across the globe. Using G Suite, MBB's team is able to access, share, and collaborate together in real-time. Take a glimpse into how they do it:

  • Track Finances: MBB manages their overseas program budget expenditures in Google Sheets. Using this tool, the domestic office tracks monthly vendor payments in Haiti. This enables the staff to wire more money as needed in order to ensure program success. Additionally, using Sheets enables the team to provide transparency in the organization, clarifying spending and creating a simple overview of total annual expenses. This standardized and collaborative approach to data enables better efficiency and communication between domestic and international offices.

  • Store images: Mercy Beyond Borders regularly takes photos in the field to keep the domestic office up to date on progress and communicate stories to their donors. The team overseas is able to upload the pictures to Google Drive, which allows them to share or retrieve the images at any time.

  • Share Information: It's imperative that MBB shares frequent updates with the Board of Directors, highlighting current developments, areas for growth, and new opportunities. To keep the Board of Directors apprised of progress, the team created a MBB Board website with Google Sites as a way to provide updates outside of meetings. The site functions as a central hub, where the Board can find all relevant information and resources at their discretion. The website is organized in subsections including internal updates from the Executive Director, background articles on country conditions and descriptions of new partnerships. To take it one step further, MBB also added a comment section for board members to engage in open communication.

"It [G Suite] helps to better connect, engage, and keep Board members up-to-date in between meetings, or if they are unable to make a meeting (in which case they can view the Meeting Archives page)," said Adrienne Perez.


MyFace - Increasing productivity and improving internal workflow by remote access

Established in 1951, MyFace was founded to address the medical, surgical and psychological needs of those living with facial deformities. The organization offers access to care and treatments --- regardless of the severity of the anomaly, the length of treatment, or the family's ability to afford care. In America alone, 1 in 650 children is born with an facial cleft. Every year, MyFace helps more than 1,000 patients seek treatment. Of this population, 85% are children, 70% live in poverty, and 95% require long-term care. The costs involved in this are high and verges on insurmountable for low income families. With this in mind, MyFace ensures that all children receive highest quality interdisciplinary and comprehensive reconstructive care by doctors who provide their services pro bono.

As a small nonprofit (their staff of eight including their therapy dog, Bentley), employees are required to perform a variety of different tasks. On any given day, team members might be responsible for website design, grant proposal writing, and marketing strategy. And oftentimes, what one employee starts today is picked up by another employee tomorrow. Because it's often all-hands-on-deck, collaboration is particularly key for MyFace.

Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP Carolyn Spector Executive Director MyFace

To address their challenge, MyFace began using Google Drive to centrally store, access, and share information from anywhere at anytime. Drive helped decrease the amount of time that MyFace spends on administrative tasks, like sending documents back and forth or working with out-of-date data or information. Drive's tools like Docs and Sheets enable the team to collaborate both in and out of office.

MyFace also deals with an overwhelming amount of data and information. The team needs this data to not only be easy to store, retrieve, and share - it needs to be secure, since it contains confidential and personal patient information. G Suite offers that as well, ensuring that all information is kept private and secure. (Want to know more about G Suite security and how safe they really are? Read more about it here).

"Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP because it offers invaluable resources to nonprofits of any size at no cost," stated Carolyn Spector, Executive Director of MyFace.

MyFace Staff photo
MyFace team. Photo credit: MyFace

Having global teams of different sizes with varying access to technology can make timely communication difficult, if not impossible. While nonprofits like Mercy Beyond Borders and myFace strive to accomplish unique missions, both organizations are passionate about changing the world. And about using the right technology to help. Utilizing tools like G Suite has been key for nonprofits like these in order to improve internal workflow and communications. For Mercy and my Face, making information shared, up-to-date, and secure has been crucial for navigating the Technology Age.

Interested in learning more about the tools available to your nonprofit? Check out our website to see how G4NP can help your nonprofit with real-time, up-to-date communication and data sharing.

//

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit's story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote: Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received free products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers free products to qualified nonprofits.

12 Jan 2017 5:00pm GMT

New year, new look: ride services mode gets an update

Last year, we introduced a new ride services mode to Google Maps as a convenient option for people to easily get where they need to go. Since then we've added a number of new ride service partners in the U.S. and worldwide. Today, we're starting to roll out an updated ride services experience to make it even easier for you to book a ride directly from Google Maps, on both Android and iOS globally.


A new look

With today's updates, you'll now see more types of ride options and more actionable information. When you open ride services mode, instead of a long list of ride service providers and ride options, you'll see the map you know and love, along with a carousel of ride service providers in your area. Just tap on your preferred provider to see a complete list of ride options and special offers or promotions.

Past ride services experience (left), new ride services experience (right)


Book an Uber ride directly within Google Maps

We're also trying out a new integration that lets you book, complete and pay for an Uber ride without ever leaving Google Maps-even if you don't have the Uber app installed on your device. Once you sign into your existing Uber account (or create one), you can book an Uber ride, track your driver on the map, and connect with your driver-all from within the Google Maps app. Here's how it works:

Video

You can even take a look at information about your destination while en route. So menus, hours and other helpful details are only a swipe away.

Video2

From booking a ride to reserving a table at a local restaurant, booking your favorite fitness class to ordering delivery for a night in, Google Maps no longer just shows you the information you're looking for. It also makes it easier to get things done in the real world - all in one place.


12 Jan 2017 5:00pm GMT

Google Play Music’s “Ones to Watch” Artists in 2017

Everyone loves to be one of the first to discover a new up-and-coming artist before they make it, but with thousands of thriving artists out there launching new music daily, discovering the next big musical breakthrough isn't easy. Google Play Music has you covered! After hours of listening, analyzing and discussing who you should keep your eye (or ear) on this year, our team of music experts put together a list of the top 10 "Ones to Watch" in 2017-and a new playlist featuring top tracks from these rising stars.

Google Play Music's 'Ones to Watch' for 2017

  1. Lost Kings
  2. Kodie Shane
  3. Bishop Briggs
  4. Midland
  5. Allison Crutchfield
  6. Aminé
  7. Maggie Rogers
  8. Kamaiyah
  9. Kehlani
  10. Rag'n'Bone Man

So, how did we select our "Ones to Watch" list? Our Google Play Music editorial team locked themselves in a room (well, sort of) and considered everything from track performance on Pop Before It Breaks and Blogged 50 to Google search counts and social media reach, to just pure, inalienable music expert gut instinct. Then, by way of committee, lots of strong coffee, some heated debates, and even more coffee, the final 10 artists were chosen.

Listen now so that when one of their singles hits the radio, you can say with confidence that you heard it first.


Learn more about the 2017 "Ones to Watch" Artists:

Lost Kings

EDM duo Lost Kings scored an Internet hit in 2015 with the Carl Carlton via Chris Brown "Bad." Their latest single, "Phone Down," with singer and hit songwriter Emily Warren shows how they could follow in the The Chainsmokers' footsteps from the blogs onto the pop charts. For fans of: The Chainsmokers, Classixx, Matoma.

Kodie Shane

Atlanta's Kodie Shane opened her debut mixtape with "Drip In My Walk," one of the best do-it-for-the-Vine,Travolta-in-white-polyester swagger anthems we heard in 2016. "Baby, you know I'm a star!" Here's hoping 2017 is the year that becomes incontrovertible. For fans of Lil Yachty, Dreezy, D.R.A.M.

Bishop Briggs

Bound to be a festival favorite this year, Bishop Briggs brings energy and an almost manic array of beats to her dark synth-pop. With a soulful voice that packs a punch, Briggs snagged an opening spot on Coldplay's stadium tour, a long way from the karaoke bars she performed in growing up. For fans of: BANKS, Alessia Cara, St. Vincent.

Midland

Gracefully nodding to '70s and '80s country with a modern twist, Texas trio Midland are poised to bring back traditionalism to the country airwaves. Their harmonies and classic steel guitar evoke the Old West erasing the bro-country invasion of recent years. For fans of: George Strait, Dwight Yoakam, The Eagles.

Allison Crutchfield

Twin sister and erstwhile bandmate of Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield, Allison Crutchfield is a powerful indie rock singer-songwriter in her own right. "Dean's Room" is a propulsive and buoyant power-pop number from forthcoming the album "Tourists in This Town," which showcases Crutchfield's softer songwriting. For fans of: Angel Olsen, Mitski, Courtney Barnett.

Aminé

If Clipse and Pharrell wrote a love song, it would probably sound like "Caroline," the off-kilter and impossibly catchy debut song from Portland, OR native Aminé. We'll be eagerly anticipating his debut album this year. For fans of: Rae Sremmurd, The Neptunes, Tarantino movies.

Maggie Rogers

Hand-picked and boosted to viral fame by no less powerful a taste-maker than Pharrell, young singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers is bound for big things in 2017 and beyond. "Alaska," the song that started it all, is an infectious, alternately frosty and thawed-out blend of electro-pop, R&B, and Rogers' roots in indie folk. For fans of: BANKS, Tove Lo, Låpsley.

Kamaiyah

This Bay Area MC has already held her own against Drake and Y.G., when she released a critically acclaimed mixtape and rhymed her own name with "please retire." When that flat, unflappably boss flow of hers rolls by, you will sit up and pay attention. For fans of: Lil Yachty, Young Jeezy, D.R.A.M.

Kehlani

Listen to this Oakland R&B singer's cooing confession about needing a "Gangsta" on the "Suicide Squad" soundtrack. If you prefer your slinky, intimate soul sans the Jared Leto association, there was also the commanding, ubiquitous 2016 single "CRZY" to get you hooked. The first tracks off her major label debut (out Jan. 27) suggests an even wider range. For fans of: Jhené Aiko, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Tinashe.

Rag'n'Bone Man

Rag'n'Bone Man has already scored a top 10 hit in Germany and his native U.K. with the hip-hop meets blues stomper "Human." Expect this aggro-tender song to turn up in every "gritty" movie trailer after his debut album drops in February. For fans of: Hozier, Imagine Dragons, impressive beards.


12 Jan 2017 5:00pm GMT

Introducing Toontastic 3D: a playful storytelling app for kids

Today's digital devices and tools offer amazing opportunities for kids to imagine, invent and explore with technology-and perhaps most important of all, have fun! Over the years, we've worked closely with educators to build programs for kids to create through code, doodle their dreams, explore exotic locales with virtual reality, and even tour the Himalayas with a very friendly Yeti named Verne. Today, we're unveiling our latest project for kids-one that will give voice to their imaginations and transform their devices into playful and powerful tools for learning creative skills. It's called Toontastic 3D.

Toontastic 3D

With Toontastic 3D, kids can draw, animate and narrate their own adventures, news stories, school reports, and anything else they might dream up. All they need to do is move characters around on the screen and tell their story. It's like a digital puppet theater… but with enormous interactive 3D worlds, dozens of customizable characters, 3D drawing tools, and an idea lab with sample stories to inspire new creations.

Like the original Toontastic (released in 2011 and widely praised by educators, kids, and parents around the globe), Toontastic 3D enables kids to build whatever they like-including book or science reports for school, design pitches, short stories and cartoons.

Toontastic 3D is available and free to download today for phones, tablets and select Chromebooks, on both the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. We hope the app will empower kids to imagine, invent and explore while developing skills for the creative jobs of tomorrow-whether they dream of becoming a filmmaker, a teacher, a designer, a cartoonist, or just want to explore the boundaries of their imaginations.

12 Jan 2017 2:00pm GMT

11 Jan 2017

feedThe Official Google Blog

Saving you bandwidth through machine learning

Photographers of all specialities, skills and genres have long made their home on Google+, sharing their work with a supportive community. Whether it's of toys, travel or street art, each photo has a unique story to tell, and deserves to be viewed at the best possible resolution.

Traditionally, viewing images at high resolution has also meant using lots of bandwidth, leading to slower loading speeds and higher data costs. For many folks, especially those where data is pricey or the internet is spotty, this is a significant concern.

To help everyone be able to see the beautiful photos that photographers share to Google+ in their full glory, we've turned to machine learning and a new technology called RAISR. RAISR, which was introduced in November, uses machine learning to produce great quality versions of low-resolution images, allowing you to see beautiful photos as the photographers intended them to be seen. By using RAISR to display some of the large images on Google+, we've been able to use up to 75 percent less bandwidth per image we've applied it to.
How RAISR works

While we've only begun to roll this out for high-resolution images when they appear in the streams of a subset of Android devices, we're already applying RAISR to more than 1 billion images per week, reducing these users' total bandwidth by about a third. In the coming weeks we plan to roll this technology out more broadly - and we're excited to see what further time and data savings we can offer.

11 Jan 2017 9:00pm GMT

New Google Classroom features make it easier to learn, teach, manage and build

Google Classroom is designed for everyone involved in a student's education. More than 20 million educators and students use it to teach and learn together, as do administrators who oversee how this tool is used across classrooms, and developers who are building educational technology for the next generation. As everyone heads back to school to start the new semester, we're releasing new Classroom updates designed specifically for each of these groups.

For students: individualized work for differentiated learning

We know that one-size-fits-all teaching doesn't always meet students' needs, and we've been impressed with the workarounds Classroom teachers have found to differentiate their instruction. Starting today, Classroom makes it a lot easier for teachers to assign work to individual students and groups based on their unique needs. As they're creating an assignment, post or question, teachers can choose whether to share it with the entire class or just with a subset of students.

Juli Dalzell, a seventh-grade teacher at Thomas A. Blake Middle School in Medfield, MA, says she likes how the new feature lets her teach students who may grasp concepts at different paces. "I can assign different levels of questions or quantities of assignments," says Dalzell. "Also, I can push out documents, such as answer keys, as students complete their assignments."

With this feature, students can also discreetly receive extra practice if they're struggling with a new subject. Sara Enberg, a library media specialist at Willow River Elementary School in Hudson, WI, says that the new update creates "an easy way to assign a reteaching or extension activity for students who are struggling... Just a quick simple video for a couple of students and they were back on track."

Classroom-PersonalizedPosts.gif

For teachers: new notifications to manage student work

We understand the information overload that teachers feel as they balance a busy class schedule, a sea of papers to grade, and after-school activities. To help them stay on top of it all, teachers will now receive two new types of Classroom notifications-one when students submit work after the due date, and one for when students re-submit work. Busy teachers can also continue to use Classroom's other notifications-like updates on their scheduled posts and comments on student work-to help keep them organized throughout the school year.
Classroom-Notifications.gif

For administrators: metrics to make the most of Classroom

Many administrators rely on the Admin Console to see how Google technology is being used in their schools. Starting today, Classroom data will be included in the Admin Console Reports, letting administrators see metrics on overall Classroom usage and how many classes and posts are being created, both in aggregate and by user. With these reports, as well as new ones to be added in the future, we hope administrators will have the insights they need to provide the best support possible to their teachers and students.

For developers: even more coursework integrations

Finally, we've added new capabilities to the Classroom API to make integrations with Classroom more seamless for developers. Integrated applications can now programmatically add materials to coursework or student submissions and can modify existing coursework they've created. Hundreds of educational applications have integrated with Classroom since the launch of the API, including tools like Flat.IO, Classcraft and Little SIS, and we're eager to see what developers will create with these new capabilities.


With all these new features, we hope that students, teachers, administrators and developers will have a happy and productive return to school and work in the new year.

11 Jan 2017 5:00pm 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

10 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Color Converter

Google has a special card that's both a color picker and a color converter. For example, you can search for HEX color codes like #123456 and Google shows the color and converts it to other formats: RGB, HSV, HSL, CMYK. Google's card also shows up when you search for RGB values like rgb(255,0,255). The most interesting feature of the card lets you pick a color interactively.


Other queries that trigger Google's card: RGB to HEX, color picker.

This is not a new feature, but it's worth pointing out that Chrome has its own color picker and converter in the developer tools. Click a color in the styles tab to open the color picker and shift-click a color to convert it to a different format.


{ via Android Police }

10 Oct 2016 12:00pm GMT

08 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Will Shut Down Panoramio

Google intended to discontinue Panoramio back in 2014, shortly after Google Maps Views was launched, but a lot of users complained and Panoramio continued to exist. Now Google announces that Panoramio will become read-only on November 4th and it'll be shut down one year later, in November 2017.


"Today, with photo upload tools in Google Maps and our Local Guides program, we are providing easy ways for you to share your photos with an active and growing community. As such, we've decided to move forward with closing down Panoramio," informs Google. If you've linked your Panoramio account with a Google account, you'll be able to find your photos in Google Album Archive and they'll not use your storage quota. You can also export your photos in Google Takeout.

Google encourages Panoramio users to join the Local Guides program for Google Maps and share photos, add reviews and information about places. "It's all about that warm feeling you get from helping others discover new, enriching experiences. That, and the benefits. Every place you improve on Google Maps gets you closer to unlocking something new - from early access to new products to exclusive contests and events."

If you don't like Google's options, you can delete your Panoramio photos or go to Panoramio's settings page and delete your account.

Google acquired Panoramio in 2007. It was a Spanish startup which had a site that enabled "digital photographers to geolocate, store and organize their photographs and to view those photographs in Google Earth and Google Maps."

08 Oct 2016 7:49pm GMT

More Related Searches in Mobile Google Search

Google's mobile search interface shows a new box with related searches after clicking a result and going back to the search page. There's a list called "people also search for", which shows queries that are related to both the original search and the search result you've previously visited. Swipe left to see the entire the list.


Tap a different search result and you'll get different suggestions:


Google tested this feature back in June and now it's no longer an experiment.

08 Oct 2016 8:39am 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

01 Apr 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

My next project: AutoSEO

This was an April Fool's joke. I've been working really hard with some friends on a project to handle SEO automatically. Now we're ready to take the wraps off it over at seo.ninja. One of the ideas that helped the World Wide Web succeed was that it separated presentation and content. You could write your […]

01 Apr 2015 12:23am GMT

01 Mar 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Next 30 day challenge: social media/news cleanse

For January 2015, I tried to declutter around the house for 15 minutes a day. We now have a couple rooms that are much cleaner, and I gave away a bunch of magazines. For February 2015, my 30 day challenge was to go on daily 15 minute walks with my wife. That was nice. Lately […]

01 Mar 2015 4:40am GMT

19 Feb 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Fixing “full path disclosure” issues

Whether you're running a web service or a blog, you should always keep your software fully patched to prevent attacks and minimize your attack surface. Another smart step is to prevent full path disclosures. For example, if your blog or service throws an error like "Warning: require(ABSPATHwp-includes/load.php) [function.require]: failed to open stream: No such file […]

19 Feb 2015 6:43am GMT

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