17 Oct 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

Open platforms like Android unlock potential

As a scientist, educator and businesswoman, my goal is to engage as many young minds as possible to get them excited about science and technology. That's why the explosion in affordable technology over the last few years has been so exciting for STEM evangelists like me. Technology is no longer available only to the affluent and the privileged; instead, computers, tablets and smartphones are in the hands of individuals across all income levels. Reaching such a diverse audience is critical to our society's ability to design the next generation of digital technologies and train the workforce of the future.

As a professor and the founder and Chief Technology Officer atZyrobotics, a company that develops interactive STEM games and learning tools for children, I want our company's educational programs to be available to the greatest number of people in order to have the greatest level of impact. In order to be successful, companies like mine need to reach kids where they spend their time-on their tablets, phones and other electronic learning devices. That means we want our apps to be compatible with as many devices as possible, and it's why we've chosen to use Android's open platform for our development. I've been able to reach far more people by building upon open platforms like Android than I ever could by teaching in a classroom.

As an app developer, I've benefited from Android's ease of use, open coding platform, and popularity within diverse segments of the population. We've been able to expand our reach to all audiences, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. Many lower-income people (and many in developing countries) rely on more affordable or older Android devices, and because Android lets us update apps on older-model phones, we can ensure we're providing the best experience to these users. Open platforms are also the main reason why most of our apps, including those that teach young children to code, are free.

Zyrobotics would be far less successful without the app stores housed on Android and Apple and the number of users we are able to reach through those platforms. Both Google and Apple's app stores have been especially useful in helping us maximize our apps' exposure to the children and parents with whom we want to connect, and helped us introduce important STEM concepts to children as early as five and six years old through30 STEM-focused apps and games, such as our award-winning Turtle "Learn to Code" app.

The United Statescontinues to lag behind other industrialized nations when it comes to preparing our children for STEM careers, and thattechnology workforce gap is partly a result of a lack of early engagement in STEM. Reaching children when their interests are just beginning to take shape is vital to building a more vibrant, diverse and successful STEM workforce for the future. Android helps us do that. I support smart regulation of technology companies that helps ensure that today's technology be made even more widely available, accessible and unbiased.

The benefits of technology to educate and empower the next generation are immeasurable. Open platforms create opportunities-for companies like mine, and the people we serve. Let's keep it that way.

Ayanna Howard, Ph.D., is Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Zyrobotics, an educational technology company, and the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and assistive technology research has resulted in more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and a number of commercialized products.

17 Oct 2018 9:45pm GMT

Finding my way back to Antarctica with the help of Google Earth

Editor's note: This guest post comes from Conrad Anker, a rock climber and adventurer who used Google Earth to aid his quest to explore Antarctica's remote Queen Maud Land with other athletes from The North Face team.


Nearly twenty-two years ago, my late friend Alex Lowe, Jon Krakauer and I huddled over a stack of tattered Norwegian maps from the"International Geophysical Year, 1957 - 58." These were the first maps of Antarctica's remote Queen Maud Land, a stark glacial landscape dotted with impossibly jagged granite spires protruding from thousands of feet of ice. As we scanned the only detailed account of this faraway land, the complex and cryptic landscape made it blatantly obvious why these were some of the last unclimbed peaks on earth.

Back in '98, our paper maps were a static window into this dynamic land. We peeked in with trepidation, knowing that once we arrived on the ice cap, our lives would depend on rough estimations and ballpark figures, which still left a lot to chance. How many days would it take to reach the towers from our base camp? What if a storm pinned us down? What if we were unable to cross a dangerously crevassed part of the glacier?

Two decades later, the same thirst for pushing limits in the face of the unknown is calling me back to Queen Maud Land. This time the adventure began with my family in the comfort of our living room in Bozeman, Montana-our paper maps are replaced with smartphones and laptops. With Google Earth, my family was able to explore Queen Maud Land with me before my boots ever touched the ground. Together, we flew over snow covered glaciers and found our way up the massive granite walls I hoped to scale with my fellow teammates who are climbing with me as a part of an expedition put together by The North Face. We understood the complexity and enormity of the expedition together.

North Face image 1

I always tell my family that the most important part of the mission is coming home-a goal that requires obsessive preparation, planning and training. Google Earth allowed us to drop pins on potential landing zones suitable for the fixed wing aircraft we were going to travel in. With the ability to visually assess the landscape in 3D, we could better see hazards and challenges before embarking on the expedition. Climate change has dramatically altered the landscape of the Antarctica I explored in the nineties and looking at up-to-date satellite imagery helped me come up with a new approach to navigating the terrain.

NF

When we finally touched down on the ice, my fellow climber Cedar Wright aptly mentioned that "it was pretty surreal to recognize a place you had never physically been by your time spent exploring it remotely using Google Earth." And he was right. After we got our bearings, we were able to confidently and strategically explore dozens of never-before-climbed peaks in this lunar landscape. The challenges of climbing in the frozen landscape were ever present, but the gift of being able to successfully put up so many stunning new climbs with a team of this caliber was an unforgettable privilege.

NF

Conrad Anker working his way up Ulvetanna, "The Wolf's Tooth," in the Drygalski Mountain Range, in Antarctica. Photo by Savannah Cummins.


On expeditions like these we are reminded of why we explore. They're a physical and mental challenge that demonstrate how we are capable of succeeding in places we never before thought possible. The spirit of exploration is alive and well across our society-and technology like Google Earth opens up even more possibilities to explore ... so, what will your next adventure be?

Learn more about the expedition and check out all of the photos and videos from The North Face expedition to Antarctica.

17 Oct 2018 5:00pm GMT

Titan M makes Pixel 3 our most secure phone yet


Security has always been a top priority for Pixel, spanning both the hardware and software of our devices. This includes monthly security updates and yearly OS updates, so Pixel always has the most secure version of Android, as well as Google Play Protect to help safeguard your phone from malware. Last year on Pixel 2, we also included a dedicated tamper-resistant hardware security module to protect your lock screen and strengthen disk encryption.

This year, with Pixel 3, we're advancing our investment in secure hardware with Titan M, an enterprise-grade security chip custom built for Pixel 3 to secure your most sensitive on-device data and operating system. With Titan M, we took the best features from the Titan chip used in Google Cloud data centers and tailored it for mobile.



Here are a few ways Titan M protects your phone.

Security in the Bootloader

First, to protect Android from outside tampering, we've integrated Titan M into Verified Boot, our secure boot process.

Titan M helps the bootloader-the program that validates and loads Android when the phone turns on-make sure that you're running the right version of Android. Specifically, Titan M stores the last known safe Android version and prevents "bad actors" from moving your device back to run on an older, potentially vulnerable, version of Android behind your back. Titan M also prevents attackers running in Android attempting to unlock the bootloader.

Lock Screen Protection & Disk Encryption On-Device

Pixel 3 also uses Titan M to verify your lock screen passcode. It makes the process of guessing multiple password combinations harder by limiting the amount of logon attempts, making it difficult for bad actors to unlock your phone. Only upon successful verification of your passcode will Titan M allow for decryption.

In addition, the secure flash and fully independent computation of Titan M makes it harder for an attacker to tamper with this process to gain the secrets to decrypt your data.

Secure Transactions in Third-Party Apps

Third, Titan M is used not only to protect Android and its functionality, but also to protect third-party apps and secure sensitive transactions. With Android 9, apps can now take advantage of StrongBox KeyStore APIs to generate and store their private keys in Titan M. The Google Pay team is actively testing out these new APIs to secure transactions.

For apps that rely on user interaction to confirm a transaction, Titan M also enables Android 9 Protected Confirmation, an API for protecting the most security-critical operations. As more processes come online and go mobile-like e-voting, and P2P money transfers-these APIs can help to ensure that the user (not malware) has confirmed the transaction. Pixel 3 is the first device to ship with this protection.

Insider Attack Resistance

Last, but not least, to prevent tampering, Titan M is built with insider attack resistance. The firmware on Titan M will never be updated unless you have entered your passcode, meaning bad actors cannot bypass your lock screen to update the firmware to a malicious version.

With the Pixel 3, we've increased our investment in security and put industry-leading hardware features into the device, so you can rest assured that your security and privacy are well protected. In the coming months, the security community will be able to audit Titan through its open-source firmware. In the meantime, you can test out Titan M and all of the smarts Pixel 3 brings, when it goes on sale on Thursday, October 18 in the U.S.

17 Oct 2018 4:00pm GMT

Tru Biz: A conversation with Deaf artist Jessica Flores about sign language, stickers, and more

Gboard, Google's on-screen keyboard, is a tool that helps people communicate exactly the way they want on a mobile device. Gboard supports over 400 languages, thousands of emoji and stickers, and an endless number of GIFs.


Part of helping people communicate is making sure Gboard is accessible for all people, and the languages they speak. One language not supported by Gboard, however, is American Sign Language. ASL isn't a written language, so it's not suited for a typical keyboard. However, ASL is one of the most expressive languages, and similar to other languages, has its own slang and regional variations. This makes it perfect for a visual communication format like stickers.


We collaborated with Jessica Flores, a Deaf artist, advocate and popular YouTube creator, to design a series of animated stickers for Gboard that feature ASL. We talked to Jessica about her background, her experience creating the stickers, and how she hopes people might use them.
Jessica

Ryan: How did you get started doing YouTube videos?


Jessica: I started my YouTube channel about two years ago. At the time, I was working at a coffee shop, and a lot of the customers would ask me the same questions about my hearing loss over and over again, which I totally don't mind. But once I started noticing this, I began to wonder if there was a way I could educate a much larger audience, instead of just one person at a time.


Ryan: What feedback have you received from other Deaf or Hard of Hearing people on your work?


Jessica: I grew up being the only Deaf person I really knew, so I felt very alone and isolated. When I started my YouTube channel years later, I thought there was only going to be a few people who could relate to my content, but boy, was I wrong! I get messages and comments all the time from both Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults and kids telling me they can relate to my videos. Whenever I get these messages, it's hands down, one of the best feelings in the world.


Ryan: How do you typically use expressions like stickers/GIFs/emoji? What do you like/dislike about this experience?


Jessica: I use stickers, emojis, and GIFs really often. Some might tell you, too often or, more-than-one-normally-should often. (Insert wide eye, straight big smile emoji here)


Personally, a text message just doesn't allow me to fully express what I am trying to say, or how I am feeling. I probably feel this way because I am a very animated person. Whenever I sign or talk, I feel like I always need to use all of my facial expressions and body language to express what I am trying to say. Even if it is just something simple like, "Hey can you pass the salt?" it ends up being very animated.


Ryan: What was your vision for these stickers? How did the end product compare to your vision?


Jessica: At the beginning of the project, I had no idea what direction these stickers were going to go in. I thought for sure the stickers would feature one character signing all the words.


But after looking at all of our sketches, I realized I wanted a sticker set that would help spread Deaf awareness and expose American Sign Language to more people, even just a little bit. I knew that if we designed a character for the stickers who signed, only those who knew ASL would know what the signs meant, and those who didn't know ASL might end up ignoring the set completely.


We settled on the perfect solution: making the words become the characters. Now, if you know ASL, you will understand the whole set, as well as the slang. And if you don't know ASL you will still be able to follow along with most of the signs their meanings.

asl stickers

Ryan: Were there any challenges you encountered as an artist creating the stickers?


Jessica: A lot of people don't realize that, in sign language, a simple change in facial expression or body language can change a sign's meaning completely. Just like how a tone of someone's voice will allow you to figure out if they are mad at you, or if they're asking you a question.


So when I had a word like "No", I had to think about what kind of "No" I wanted to sign. Did I want it to be a sad "no", a happy "no", a sarcastic "no"? Then, if I picked sad, I had to ask myself, "How sad is it? Is it so sad it's crying or is it just bummed out sad?" There are so many ways to sign and say "no" that it was hard to pick just one.


Ryan: How do you hope people will use them?


Jessica: I hope it will inspire people to start learning basic ASL or the other many different types of sign language: Mexican Sign Language, British Sign Language, Filipino Sign Language, etc.


My other hope is that the set will encourage people to start learning about Deaf/Hard of Hearing history, community, and culture. People still have a lot to learn about Deaf people. And the faster we can all learn about each other, the faster we can work towards making the world more accessible for one another.


17 Oct 2018 3:30pm GMT

Schools in London give new life to old computers

Replacing aging computers with new devices can be a strain on school budgets, which means that schools often find themselves with out-of-date hardware sitting in cupboards, collecting dust. However, there's a way to give old devices new life-by replacing their current operating system with one that's easy to use, manage and is ready for the cloud.


We're partnering with London Grid for Learning, a nonprofit organization focused on improving schools' access to technology and Neverware (creator of the CloudReady operating system), to help schools across London extend the life of their old devices. LGfL has committed to purchasing CloudReady licenses for over 85 percent of London's schools so they can transform their slow, older hardware into fast, nimble devices that run just like Chromebooks. As CloudReady is based on Google's Chromium OS, it perfectly complements a cloud-first digital approach, such as using G Suite for Education.

At Connaught School for Girls in East London, pupils and teachers were struggling to use old and slow machines, especially once the school started integrating more digital tools, including Google Classroom. Tight budgets hindered replacement of the devices. The school saw Neverware as a budget-friendly way to revive its old laptops for the Google Classroom adoption, without purchasing a fleet of new devices or paying for laptop disposal.

DQX9cmHX0AAh0k1.jpg

The results were transformative as the students started using the devices more. ''In the last academic year, the devices were booked four times. Now the laptops are booked 21 out of 25 periods per week, creating better access to IT for our students,'' Silk says. "The beauty of Neverware is that it just works and your older devices are no longer a liability; they can be an asset again."


Given current budgetary pressures and compliance demands, it's more important than ever to find practical solutions that increase secure, affordable access to technology in schools. By partnering with London Grid for Learning and Neverware, Google for Education is improving access to education technology in London schools, whilst also contributing to the sustainability of older technology. If you are an LGfL school, visit go.neverware.com/LGfL to learn how you can use CloudReady by Neverware to refresh your underperforming or underutilised devices. All other schools in the UK can check out CloudReady directly at their website.

17 Oct 2018 8:00am GMT

16 Oct 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

Pixel 3 and on-device AI: Putting superpowers in your pocket

Last week we announced Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL, our latest smartphones that combine the best of Google's AI, software, and hardware to deliver radically helpful experiences. AI is a key ingredient in Pixel that unlocks new, useful capabilities, dramatically changing how we interact with our phones and the world around us.

But what exactly is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a fancy term for all the technology that lets our devices learn by example and act a bit smarter, from understanding written or spoken language to recognizing people and objects in images. AI is built by "training" machine learning models-a computer learns patterns from lots of example data, and uses these patterns to generate predictions. We've built one of the most secure and robust cloud infrastructures for processing this data to make our products smarter. Today, AI helps with everything from filtering spam emails in Gmail to getting answers on Google Search.

What is AI

Machine learned models in the cloud are a secure way to make Google products smarter over time.

Bringing the best AI experiences to Pixel 3 involved some re-thinking from the ground up. Our phones are powerful computers with multiple sensors which enable new helpful and secure experiences when data is processed on your device. These AI-powered features can work offline and don't require a network connection. And they can keep data on device, private to you. With Pixel 3, we complement our traditional approach to AI, where machine learning and data processing is done in the cloud, with reliable, accessible AI on device, when you're on the go.

AI on device

The most powerful machine learning models can now run directly on your Pixel to power fast experiences which work even when you're offline.

Benefits of on-device AI

We've been working to miniaturize AI models to bring the power of machine learning and computing in the cloud directly to your Pixel. With on-device AI, new kinds of experiences become possible-that are lightning fast, are more battery efficient, and keep data on your device. We piloted this technology last year with Now Playing, bringing automatic music recognition to Pixel 2. This year, your Phone app and camera both use on-device AI to give you new superpowers, allowing you to interact more seamlessly with the world around you.

AI benefits

On-device AI works without having to go back to a server and consumes less of your battery life.

Take Call Screen, a new feature in the Phone app, initially launching in English in the U.S., where the Google Assistant helps you screen calls, including from unknown or unrecognized numbers. Anytime you receive an incoming call, just tap the "Screen Call" button and on-device speech recognition is used to transcribe the conversation from the caller (who is calling? why they are calling?) so you can decide whether to pick up, hang up, or mark as spam and block. Because everything happens on your device, neither the audio nor transcript from a screened call is sent to anyone other than you.

AI Call Screen

Call Screen uses on-device speech recognition to transcribe the caller's responses in real time, without sending audio or transcripts off your phone.

This year's Pixel camera helps you capture great moments and do more with what you see by building on-device AI right into your viewfinder. New low-power vision models can recognize facial expressions, objects, and text without having to send images off your device. Photobooth Mode is powered by an image scoring model that analyzes facial expressions and photo quality in real time. This will automatically capture smiles and funny faces so you can take selfies without having to reach for the shutter button. Top Shot uses the same kind of image analysis to suggest great, candid moments from a motion photo-recommending alternative shots in HDR+.

Playground creates an intelligent AR experience by using AI models to recommend Playmoji, stickers, and captions so that you can express yourself based on the scene you're in. And without having to take a photo at all, image recognition lets you act on info from the world around you-surfacing Google Lens suggestions to call phone numbers or show website addresses-right from your camera.

Pixel 3 is just the beginning. We want to empower people with new AI-driven abilities. With our advances in on-device AI, we can develop new, helpful experiences that run right on your phone and are fast, efficient, and private to you.

16 Oct 2018 9:00pm GMT

Complying with the EC’s Android decision

In July, in our response to the European Commission's competition decision against Android, we said that rapid innovation, wide choice and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition, and that Android has enabled all of them. We believe that Android has created more choice, not less. That's why last week we filed our appeal of the Commission's decision at the General Court of the European Union.

At the same time, we've been working on how to comply with the decision. We have now informed the European Commission of the changes we will make while the appeal is pending.

First, we're updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA).

Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source.

Third, we will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome.

We'll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours.

These new licensing options will come into effect on October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA. We'll be working closely with our Android partners in the coming weeks and months to transition to the new agreements. And of course, we remain deeply committed to continued innovation for the Android ecosystem.

16 Oct 2018 4:30pm GMT

When Octoberitis spooks your students, we’re here to help

It's October. Pencils-once sharp and eager to write in August-are starting to dull. Students are gazing out the window, and it's not just because of the falling leaves-this happens every October, when the newness of the new school year has worn off.

To fight this Octoberitis, some educators get students moving by doing a gravity experiment in the stairwell, or role play activities during history. While you're experimenting in the classroom, we'll be launching new tools to help you keep the learning spark alive, and make the longer days feel shorter.

And want to know something that's made our October a bit brighter? We're excited to announce that over 40 million students and educators are now using Google Classroom, and 30 million are using Chromebooks, on top of 80 million using G Suite for Education globally.

Bring the outside world into the classroom

Back when we learned with just pen and paper, math class and functions could seem dull. But now, augmented reality can add another dimension to your lesson. With the latest update to the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, it became the first ChromeOS device to support ARCore, Google's platform for building augmented reality experiences. Developers can build AR experiences for classrooms, like GeoGebra, an interactive geometry, algebra, statistics and calculus app. Students can toggle between 2D screens and AR in the 3D app as teachers guide them in exploring math in new ways.
GeoGebra

Using the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, educators can bring everything from a skeleton to the solar system into the classroom with the help of Expeditions AR. With content from partners like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Oxford University Press, the world comes to you when you can drop the works of Van Gogh into the middle of your Art History lesson, or a great Kapok tree when studying the rainforest. To unlock the power of AR, ask your IT administrator to enable these Android apps, and make sure your tablets are upgraded to the latest operating system.

To conduct a science experiment, the only equipment you'll need is a Chromebook. Students can complete more than 40 science labs which map to high school biology, chemistry, and physics standards with Labster Chromebook labs. These online labs allow schools to offer unlimited lab practice time without needing to buy any extra equipment. Not only that, but these labs can also be assigned and graded with the Classroom integration, and teachers can track how students are progressing. To get labs at your school, visit labster.com/chromebooklabs.

Collaborate to reach every learner

You spend hours planning and customizing lessons to engage every learner in your class, but it can be difficult for students to follow along in rigorous and fast paced learning environments. To support students and faculty who are deaf or hard of hearing, we built closed captions in Google Slides (only available on Chrome web browsers), which uses machine learning to turn on automated closed captioning when presenting. Captions are currently available for U.S. English language only, but stay tuned as we explore adding more languages. Learn more about accessibility features in G Suite and ChromeOS.

Slides closed captions

We've launched new Docs updates to make writing a paper in MLA format a smoother process. You can already set left and right indentations as well as set hanging indents via a dialog box. Now, students and faculty can also adjust the margins of headers and footers, and use a vertical ruler to adjust placement of table rows and header and footer margins.

Educators can also give feedback to students in Classroom or Course Kit, our free toolkit that allows instructors to use G Suite within their existing LMS. Using the new grading tool, educators can leverage the comment bank to give feedback on Docs and PDFs. Use G Suite for Education but have a different LMS? Request access to the Course Kit beta today.

Comment bank grading in Classroom

Jamboard - the collaborative whiteboard app - can also help shake things up. We're bringing the jam to the web, where anyone can create and collaborate on jams from individual Chromebooks, no Jamboard hardware required. And with the new View Only mode, teachers can share jam sessions from their lessons that day while restricting edit access. Have a BYOD policy, or enabling Device Off Hours? Jamboard on the web is an easy solution for collaboration.

If you're interested in trying out a Jamboard device in your classroom, you can apply for the new Jamboard Learning Space Transformation program. Continental U.S. based G Suite for Education customers can submit a proposal on how you'll transform your learning space with Jamboard today.

Jamboard web editor

Hopefully these new features and product tips are the antidote you need to the Octoberitis that's bound to hit your classrooms. If not, you have Halloween to look forward to...

Be sure to follow along on Google for Education's Twitter and Facebook pages. We love hearing from you, so please share your tips for the best October yet.

16 Oct 2018 4:00pm GMT

Reach YouTube users on connected TVs with new TV screen device category

On average, users watch over 180 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day1. We know that marketers want in on this shift in viewing behavior, so we've been hard at work building a rich YouTube experience for set-top boxes, gaming consoles, streaming devices like Chromecasts and smart TVs of all stripes.


Today we're launching the TV screens device type to make it easy for you to find engaged, valuable audiences while they are watching YouTube on that original device purpose-built for watching video: the TV. The TV screens device type joins computers, mobile phones and tablets in Google Ads and Display & Video 360, meaning you can tailor your campaigns for connected TVs - for example, by using a different creative or setting a specific device bid adjustment. You can also see reporting for ads that run on TV screens to help you determine the impact of these ads within your overall mix.
device_type

We've already seen that people react positively to ads on the TV screen - based on Ipsos Lab Experiments, YouTube ads shown on TV drove a significant lift in ad recall and purchase intent, with an average lift of 47 percent and 35 percent respectively2. And customers like Pixability are voicing their excitement for the feature:

"Consumers are cutting the cord and this is a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to reach their audiences in the living room with digital video. With the launch of TV Screens device targeting and measurement on YouTube, our customers are better able to understand how their audiences are watching TV screens, and connect with those audiences as they're engaged in leaned-back viewing." - David George, CEO, Pixability

Start reaching users on devices that stream TV content - such as smart TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming devices like Chromecast - today. To learn how, click here.

1 Google Internal Data, Global, June 2018. Based on 7 day average for TV watch time

2 Google/Ipsos Lab Experiment, US, March 2018 (32 ads, 800 US residents 18-64 y/o)

16 Oct 2018 4:00pm GMT

Get charged up with Google Maps

We built Google Maps to help people get where they need to go no matter what mode of transportation they use. Our newest feature brings helpful information about electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to the Map, so you can be confident that your car will be charged and ready for your ride, wherever you're headed. Here's how it works:

A quick search for keywords like "ev charging" or "EV charging stations" will display the nearest supported stations. To help you make a quick decision about which station to use, we'll show you information about the business where the station is located, the types of ports available, charging speeds, and how many ports there are. You'll also see information about the station from drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.

ev charging search

In addition, businesses that have charging stations will now feature a link to information about the chargers.


ev host

Google Maps now supports charging stations around the world, including:


Global: Tesla, Chargepoint

US:SemaConnect, EVgo, Blink

UK:Chargemaster, Pod Point

AU & NZ: Chargefox


The ability to search for electric vehicle charging stations starts rolling out today on Android and iOS, with desktop launching in the coming weeks. To get started on mobile, update your Google Maps app from the App Store or Play Store today.

16 Oct 2018 4:00pm GMT

Explore product search trends with Shopping Insights

With the world of commerce at their fingertips, consumers are more curious, more demanding and more impatient than ever before. As a result, retailers have to anticipate customers' needs in order to provide the products they're looking for and plan marketing strategies. In a recent study, we learned that 84 percent of Americans are shopping in any given 48-hour period, in up to six different categories.1 Whether they're looking up designer sneakers or DSLR cameras, Google is the first place they go to discover a new brand or product.2


Starting today, a new version of our Shopping Insights tool can help you uncover which products and brands are popular, trending up or down, and how these insights vary by regions in the U.S. This new version includes data for more than 55,000 products and 45,000 brands-significantly increasing coverage over the previous version-as well as nearly 5,000 categories. It's a free tool, available to everyone, that can help you follow trends in your categories.


In addition to more data, we've also added several key features to help you inform your strategies.


Compare the popularity of a brand within searches for a category

Nearly nine out of 10 smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the brand they want to buy when they begin looking for information online.3 That's a huge number of consumers looking to uncover new brands and products. With this new feature, retailers can track the relative popularity of various brands within a category and adjust their strategies accordingly.


For example, the most-searched backpack brands of last 12 months were JanSport, Fjällräven and The North Face, classic brands that have been around for at least 50 years. Searches for the category and all three brands peaked during back-to-school season in 2018, and saw slight growth during the holiday season.

Brand popularity

Example: Relative search volume for top backpack brands, Oct 2017 - Oct, 2018

But if you reset your time range in Shopping Insights to the holiday season in 2017 (see below), you'll find that a very different brand was popular in search. MCM, a luxury brand that specializes in "street luxe"-a fashion trend popular among millennial shoppers-was the most-searched brand when consumers were shopping for backpacks. It continued to grow in December, even when searches for other brands were tailing off, peaking on December 25. In fact, MCM was also the only luxury brand in the top 10. By tracking this data weekly, marketers can optimize their tactics in season, and respond to changing consumer preferences within different categories.

Brand popularity 2

Example: Relative search volume for top backpack brands, Nov 1 - Dec 31, 2017

You can also use Shopping Insights to understand the relative importance of brands within different categories, and how consumers search for products. In the example above, while MCM was the most searched brand, the top three brands were only mentioned in ~8 percent of the queries. This means most users were searching using keywords that described the category and characteristics of the products they were looking for, rather than specific brands.


In contrast, for video game consoles, the top three brands were mentioned in ~90 percent of the queries. Whether shoppers are searching for specific products, using broader shopping queries or brands, knowing this information will help you adjust your marketing strategy. Showcase Shopping ads, for example, can help retailers tap into consumer demand in such categories.
Brand popularity 3

Example: Shopping searches and top brands in Backpacks category, Nov 1 - Dec 31, 2017

Subscribe to personalized reports with weekly and monthly trends

You can now create up to 10 weekly and monthly email reports for the products and categories you want to follow, so you don't miss current or future trends. We'll send you additional data on popular, growing and trending products and brands. For example, in our monthly category reports, we determine which products are trending up or down by removing noise and seasonality effects from the product's search volume. In weekly reports, you can see which products grew the most in the previous week, as well as any outliers.

Monthly report shopping insights

Example: Monthly report about trends in Backpacks, September, 2018

Weekly report shopping insights

Example: Weekly highlights report for Backpacks, Sep 30 - Oct 06, 2018

Getting started with Shopping Insights


The Shopping Insights Tool is available on desktop and mobile in the U.S. Start exploring the data and subscribe for free reports on Shopping Insights today.




1. Google/Ipsos, "Shopping Tracker," Oct - Dec 2017, Online survey, US, n=3,613 online Americans 13+ who shopped in the past two days.

2. Google/Ipsos, "Shopping Tracker",April - June 2018, Online survey, US, n=2703 adults 18+ who shopped in the past two days

3. Google / Ipsos Connect, Jan. 2018, Playbook Omnibus 2018, n=1,604 US online smartphone users, A18+


16 Oct 2018 4:00pm GMT

The Applied Computing Series gets college students into computer science

What do fighting wildfires, searching for dogs in photos and using portrait mode on your phone have in common? Data science and machine learning. Experts across a range of businesses and industries are using data to give machines the ability to "learn" and complete tasks.


But as the field of data science is rapidly growing, workforce projections show that there isn't enough new talent to meet increasing demand for these roles, especially in machine learning. Given the nationwide scarcity of computer science faculty, we've been thinking about how to give students a hands-on computer science education, without CS PHD educators.


At a handful of colleges across the country, we're piloting the Applied Computing Series (ACS): two college-level introductory computer science and data science courses and a machine learning intensive. The Series will help students understand how to use the best available tools to manipulate and understand data and then solve critical business problems.

20180918-Google Edu-Bay Path U-173.jpg

Students at Bay Path University learning Python programming as part of our first ACS cohort of universities.


The machine learning intensive is meant for students who have already taken introductory computer science classes and who want to pursue more advanced coursework. The intensive will ultimately prepare them for opportunities as data engineers, technical program managers, or data analysts in industries ranging from healthcare to insurance to entertainment and media. Through partnerships with colleges and universities, we provide industry-relevant content and projects; and colleges and universities provide experienced faculty to lead in-class project work and provide coaching for students.


The Applied Computing courses are currently available to students at eight colleges and universities: Adrian College, Agnes Scott College, Bay Path University, Heidelberg University, Holy Names University, Lasell College, SUNY Buffalo State, and Sweet Briar College. If you're a university and want to apply to be a site for the Applied Computing courses in the fall of 2019, find out more on our website.


The machine learning intensive will start in February 2019 at Mills College and again during the summer session at Agnes Scott College, Bay Path University, Heidelberg University and Scripps College and is open for applications from all U.S. students. If you're a student who has already completed college-level computer and/or data science coursework and want to apply for the machine learning intensive, learn more at our website.

16 Oct 2018 2:00pm GMT

Helping shoppers buy effortlessly from Best Buy, Nike, and Sephora over the holidays

Today, 76% of U.S. holiday shoppers over 18 use three or more channels.1 At the same time, they expect their experiences to be fast, frictionless, and personalized wherever they are, on whatever device they use. A recent study shows that Google is the first place US shoppers go to discover or find a new brand or product. With Shopping Actions, they can move seamlessly from browsing to buying with a universal cart that works across Search, the Google Assistant, and Google Express whether they're on mobile, desktop or even a Google Home device.


Today, we're announcing new Shopping Actions partnerships with Nike, Best Buy, and Sephora, enabling shoppers to search and shop effortlessly for tens of thousands of products ahead of this holiday season.

Best Buy gives customers even more ways to shop

Best Buy knows that when it comes to buying tech, it's important that customers can shop how, when and where they want. With Shopping Actions, Best Buy's products are now available on Google Express. Shoppers can use their voice to ask the Google Assistant to check store hours, order status, or even place an order.

"We're committed to enriching lives with technology, and part of that means giving people the tools they need to research and buy in stores, online and at home. This partnership let's our customers explore the latest tech in a whole new way."

-Allison Peterson, President of E-commerce, Best Buy


Nike serves athletes wherever they shop

As the first brand from the Footwear and Apparel industry to join Shopping Actions, Nike makes it easy for shoppers to discover and buy from a rich online assortment. Whether they are shopping through Search or with their voice on the Google Assistant, later this month shoppers will be able to find and buy Nike products directly on Google's platforms.

"We're excited to partner with Google and together deliver premium Nike content and inspiring experiences to consumers. We'll enable frictionless discovery and purchase of Nike products across Google's ecosystem and elevate the consumer experience with direct access to Nike products and additional benefits when they add their NikePlus membership at checkout."

- Eric Wood, VP of Digital Partnerships, Nike


Sephora leads the way in seamless omnichannel experiences

Sephora is passionate about seamless shopping. Across their award-winning App, website, and 400+ stores, Sephora constantly innovates to offer a connected, smart and fast shopping experience. With 1 out of 3 last-minute shoppers saying they choose where to buy gifts based on how soon they can get them, Sephora saw a perfect fit with Shopping Actions.2 Sephora clients can now buy across Google's properties and earn valuable Beauty Insider points with each purchase as part of Sephora's robust loyalty program -- with overnight delivery to almost anywhere in the US.

Get started

Nike, Best Buy, and Sephora join hundreds of other merchants already taking part in the program, a 7x increase since we first launched the program. It's easier than ever to join Google Shopping Actions, thanks to integrations with e-commerce solution partners including ChannelAdvisor, CommerceHub, Feedonomics, and Zentail. Even more are coming soon.

However big or small your business, Shopping Actions can help you reach more customers faster and easier. Learn more: fill out our interest form.


1. Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday shoppers 18+ who shopped in previous 48 hours, n=5944, Nov. 2017-Jan. 2018.

2. Google/Ipsos, U.S., Omnichannel Holiday Study, Holiday shoppers 18+ who were last minute shoppers n=1121, Nov. 2017-Jan. 2018.


16 Oct 2018 2:00pm GMT

PolicyPal: a mobile-first assurance on insurance

Val Yap is the founder and CEO of PolicyPal, a digital insurance broker that lets people buy, understand and organize their insurance on their mobile phones. She's also a graduate from Start on Android, a program that helps developers perfect their apps with technical support and other perks from Google before launching on Google Play.


Why did you establish PolicyPal?

In 2013, I was working in London when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I left my job, packed my bags, and moved back to Singapore to be with her. Relocating and seeing my strong mother stricken with illness was stressful. The daily grind of dealing with medical appointments and bills made things worse, especially when her insurance claim for her treatment was rejected.


Thankfully, my mother recovered. But we unexpectedly lost my father to a heart attack later that year. We knew he had insurance, but we had no idea what. Even as we were grieving, I had to visit different insurance companies to check. That whole year was a nightmare for my family.


Coping with my father's passing and my mother's illness, the last thing I wanted to do was go through insurance policies. But we needed that information and there was no other choice. If we had easier access and better understanding of our coverage, this tough time for our family would have been a bit easier to bear.


We're sorry to hear about that. How did you go about solving similar problems for others?

Many of us have insurance, but we just pay the premiums and forget about it. When an emergency strikes, we're scrambling to understand how we're covered. I started PolicyPal as a digital folder for people to organize and retrieve their policies quickly and painlessly. You just need to take a photo of the insurance document, and PolicyPal stores a digital copy in your mobile phone. It also analyzes your insurance policies and recommends how to fill gaps in your coverage.


As we learned more about the problems faced in the insurance industry, we expanded our product offerings. We set up PALNetwork, an ecosystem which leverages blockchain technology to automate underwriting and claims processing, and empower partners to customize new financial products. We are also the first provider in Singapore to provide insurance for people holding cryptocurrency assets.

policypal-phone

How did the Start on Android program help you in launching your app?

With the support and help from Start on Android, we received valuable feedback ahead of time from the community, helping us improve our app's performance and user experience. We even managed to acquire and retain some early users through the program, which gave us a fantastic head start when it launched.


What are your plans for the future?

We're focusing our efforts on serving people in more countries in Asia. I think insurance technology will develop very differently in this region from mature markets like the U.S. or Europe. People in emerging Asia will leapfrog from being unbanked and uninsured to getting insurance through novel solutions, for example, mobile apps instead of agents. We're looking at expanding beyond Singapore to countries like Indonesia and Thailand.


You're a female startup founder. What advice do you have for other aspiring women entrepreneurs in tech?

Find a mentor. Working with female mentors has been a game-changer for me. We go through experiences that men don't and it's essential that you build friendships with people who can empathize.


My second piece of advice applies to all genders! Don't enter a sector just because it's fashionable. Think about what problems you want to solve first and who you're solving for. Go deep into your mission and make sure you feel it's something you're still going to be excited by in 10 years.

16 Oct 2018 3:00am GMT

12 Oct 2018

feedThe Official Google Blog

15 ways your Assistant can coach you through the MLB Postseason

Assistant MLB

More than 2,400 regular season Major League Baseball games are in the books and we're down to just four teams. The National League Championship Series and American League Championship Series are just getting underway-here are 15 ways the Google Assistant can help make sure you don't miss a minute of the action. Batter up.

To stay on top of MLB history, scores, schedules, and standings, start with
"Hey Google …"

1. "When does the World Series start?"

2. "When did Fenway Park open?"

3. "Who was the ALCS MVP in 2017?"

4. "When do the Astros and Red Sox play next?"

5. "Did the Dodgers win?"

6. "What's Minute Maid Park's capacity?"

7. "How are the Red Sox doing?

8. "Who do the Brewers play next?"

9. "Tell me about the Houston Astros"

10. "Who's the pitcher for the Dodgers?"

Do your own personal warm up before the game

11. Make sure you're ready for whatever the weather may bring. Before heading to the game, ask "Hey Google, what's the weather like at Dodger Stadium?"

12. Didn't score tickets but want to watch the game with fellow fans? Simply say "Hey Google, find the nearest sports bar."

When you're cheering from your couch instead of the stands

13. Set a reminder so you don't miss a second of the game. Say "Hey Google, remind me to turn on the game when I get home."

14. Hosting a watch party at your place? Whip up ballpark-worthy snacks for all of your friends to enjoy. Try asking, "Hey Google, what are some dip recipes?"

15. Fact: Baseball and loaded nachos are a match made in heaven. Throw them in the oven and when they're done, broadcast a message to the Google Homes throughout your house to let your guests know when it's time to dig in… and enjoy the Postseason!

12 Oct 2018 8:00pm GMT

Fortnite fever and verified Vermonsters: Frightgeist Halloween trends for 2018

We're a little bit more than a fortnight away from Halloween 2018, so it's time to head to Search for costume inspiration. This year's Frightgeist-brought to you by Google Trends-shows what's brewing in the costume cauldron near you and in other hot spots across the country.

Frightgeist homepage

The top searched costumes for 2018 are a not-so-macabre mix of Halloween classics (where my witches at?) and contemporary looks the kiddos will go crazy for. Here's your top ten, just a click away from Google Images ideas to bring each of these to life (or back from the dead):

  1. Fortnite

  2. Spider-Man

  3. Unicorn

  4. Dinosaur

  5. Witch

  6. Harley Quinn

  7. Superhero

  8. Pirate

  9. Rabbit

  10. Princess

Fortnite costume ranking

As you can see, Fortnite fever has swept the country-- so much that it's a top search costume in a whopping 43 states. Here are seven states that stand apart and the costumes that are capturing people's attention--look forward to some Utahcorns and Vermonsters in your neighborhood this year:

  • Alaska: Mermaid

  • Arkansas: Dinosaur

  • Idaho: Unicorn

  • Oregon: Dinosaur

  • South Dakota: Spiderman

  • Utah: Unicorn

  • Vermont: Monster

This year's top spot is occupied by a new-to-Frightgeist costume trend. Here are other additions to the top 100 for 2018, in order of popularity:

14. The Incredibles

23. Black Panther (Wakanda forever!)

44. Nun

59. Vampirina

70. 1970s (what a coincidence!)

Not all costumes have the staying power of pirates and princesses. Here are a few of the looks that fell from the top 100 for this year's list:

  1. Princess Leia

  2. Daenarys Targaryen

  3. Darth Vader

  4. Minions

  5. Emoji

If this sampling of scary isn't what you had in mind to land your perfect Halloween look, head to the Costume Wizard fright now and amp up the spookiness or uniqueness to find the ghoulish get-up you desire.


Have a gourd time this Halloween!

12 Oct 2018 5:00pm GMT

08 Mar 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Some terrible personal news

Cindy Cutts, my wife and best friend, passed away earlier this week. While I was traveling for work recently, Cindy went to visit her family in Omaha, Nebraska. On Sunday, while enjoying time with family, Cindy started having trouble breathing. Her family quickly called 911 and paramedics took Cindy to the hospital, but Cindy lost […]

08 Mar 2018 12:17am GMT

22 Jan 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Talking to Mr. Money Mustache about the US Digital Service

Last week, I passed my one year anniversary as head of the US Digital Service (USDS). So when Mr. Money Mustache asked for an interview, I was delighted to talk about some of the work that the USDS does. If you aren't familiar with Mr. Money Mustache, he writes about a philosophy of badassity in […]

22 Jan 2018 6:58pm GMT

01 Apr 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google April Fools' Day 2017

April Fools' Day should probably be called Google Fools' Day, since there are so many Google hoaxes.

Google Japan developed a "bubble wrap" version of the Japanese keyboard. "The Google Japanese input bubble wrap version is a keyboard that realizes 'I want to press in my mind, I want to keep pressing'," according to Google Translate.



Another product for your smart home? Meet Google Gnome, "a voice-activated, hands-free tool designed to make backyard living effortless. Need to know what animal is squeaking in your bushes? Stay still and ask Gnome what sound an opossum makes. Running low on birdseed? That's where Gnome comes in. You can even use Gnome's proprietary high-intensity lasers to trim your hedges into whatever shape your heart desires."



The Chrome OS team brings the most popular mobile accessories to the Chromebook, which already blurs the line between mobile and desktop. Chromebook Groupie Stick, Chromebook Cardboard, Chromebook Workout Armband will soon be available in the Google Store. "To take advantage of beautiful, high-resolution displays, as well as great photo editing apps, we've carefully engineered the first Chromebook-sized selfie stick. Never again will you miss the perfect groupie."


Haptic Helpers make VR even more immersive. "We're taking VR to the next level with Haptic Helpers. Using a modest set of everyday tools, these VR virtuosos can simulate more than 10,000 unique experiences, all from the comfort of your own home. Smell the roses. Listen to the ocean. Feel a fluffy dog!"


You can now play the classic arcade game MS. PAC-MAN in Google Maps. "Avoid Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Sue as you swerve the streets of real places around the world. But eat the pac-dots fast, because this game will only be around for a little while." Just go to the Google Maps site or open the Google Maps app for Android or iOS and click or tap MS. PAC-MAN at the bottom.


Google Cloud Platform expands to Mars. "By opening a dedicated extraterrestrial cloud region, we're bringing the power of Google's compute, network, and storage to the rest of the solar system, unlocking a plethora of possibilities for astronomy research, exploration of Martian natural resources and interplanetary life sciences. This region will also serve as an important node in an extensive network throughout the solar system. Our first interplanetary data center - affectionately nicknamed 'Ziggy Stardust' - will open in 2018," mentions Google.


Google Netherlands came up with Google Wind, a machine learning technology that controls the weather. "The Netherlands has many windmills, some no longer in use, we can connect to Google Cloud Platform. So we use the existing Dutch infrastructure, machine learning, weather patterns to control the network of windmills when rain is approaching. The first test results are very promising: we seem to be able to provide sun and clear skies for everyone in the Netherlands," mentions Google Netherlands blog.



Google's search app for iOS is now optimized for cats and dogs. "On the Google app for iOS, you can now use 3D Touch on the app icon or head to settings and select I'm Feeling Woof or I'm Feeling Meow to let your dogs and cats get info on topics they care about-whether that means squeaky toys or a bowl of milk!"


Google also launched Google Play for Pets, a new category of Android games designed for cats, dogs and other pets.


Google Translate's Word Lens feature supports a new language: Heptapod B, the alien language from the movie "Arrival". "The challenge with understanding Heptapod B is its nonlinear orthography. Fortunately, Google's neural machine translation system employs an encoder/decoder system that internally represents sentences as high-dimensional vectors. These vectors map well to the non-linear orthography of the Heptapod language and they are really the enabling technical factor in translating Heptapod B."

01 Apr 2017 7:25am GMT

19 Feb 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Gmail Blocks JavaScript Attachments

If you try to send a JavaScript attachment using Gmail or if you want to download a .js attachment, you'll get a new anti-virus warning: "Blocked for security reasons", "1 attachment contains a virus or blocked file. Downloading this attachment is disabled".


.JS has been added to the long list of file types that are blocked by Gmail for security reasons. The full list: .ADE, .ADP, .BAT, .CHM, .CMD, .COM, .CPL, .EXE, .HTA, .INS, .ISP, .JAR, .JS (NEW), .JSE, .LIB, .LNK, .MDE, .MSC, .MSI, .MSP, .MST, .NSH .PIF, .SCR, .SCT, .SHB, .SYS, .VB, .VBE, .VBS, .VXD, .WSC, .WSF, .WSH. "To prevent against potential viruses, Gmail doesn't allow you to attach certain types of files, including: certain file types (listed above), including their compressed form (like .gz or .bz2 files) or when found within archives (like .zip or .tgz files), documents with malicious macros, archives whose listed file content is password protected, archives whose content includes a password protected archive."

The GSuite Blog informs that "for inbound mail, senders will get a bounce message explaining why the email was blocked. If you still need to send .js files for legitimate reasons, you can use Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, or other storage solutions to share or send your files."

You can still send JavaScript files using Gmail if you change the extension. What about downloading old .js attachments? Try the workarounds from this post.

19 Feb 2017 10:39am GMT

25 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Shows Colorful Suggestions

Google Image Search has a different way to display suggestions: it now shows a long list of colorful boxes with related searches. You can click one or more boxes to dynamically refine search results.


For example, when searching for [sportswear], Google shows suggestions like: [women basketball], [tennis], [badminton], [golf], [volleyball], [nike woman], [alexander wang], [adidas], [fashion], [performance], [vintage], [trendy], [urban], [school], [gym], [90's], [70's], [vogue], [luxe], [avant garde], [korean], [italian], [french] and more. It's interesting to notice that each category of suggestions has a different color.




Here's the old interface, which had fewer suggestions and displayed thumbnails next to suggestions:

25 Jan 2017 9:39pm GMT

19 Jan 2017

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Staying with the US Digital Service

A few months ago, I took a leave of absence from Google to do a stint with the US Digital Service. A lot of people know about the US Digital Service because they helped rescue the healthcare.gov website. But you might not realize that the US Digital Service has helped veterans get their health benefits, […]

19 Jan 2017 3:47am GMT

16 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Starts Playing YouTube Videos

Google Image Search's mobile interface tests a new feature that starts playing snippets from a YouTube video at the top of the search results page. It's not disclosed as an ad, there's no sound and you can't stop or hide the video, which continues to play on repeat.



Right now, the experiment seems to be limited to fashion-related queries like [men jackets], [lookbook], [winter outfit], which match videos from YouTube channels like New Look and River Island. "New Look is a South African-owned British global fashion retailer with a chain of high street shops. (...) The chain sells womenswear, menswear, and clothing for teens," according to Wikipedia.

Google only shows labels like: "New Look on YouTube", even though this looks like an experimental ad format. I hope it will never become a regular feature, as it's pretty annoying and it wastes Internet bandwidth.

16 Jan 2017 10:49am GMT

13 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Desktop Notifications, Now For Everyone

It looks like YouTube's notification experiment is now a regular feature and you can no longer disable it by clearing cookies. When sign in to your Google account, YouTube's desktop site no longer shows Google+ notifications in the navigation bar: it replaces them with YouTube notifications.

"Your notifications live here. Subscribe to your favorite channels to get notified about their latest videos," informs the new notification box.


13 Jan 2017 2:08pm GMT

29 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Notifications in the Navigation Bar

YouTube has recently started to experiment with replacing Google+ notifications in the navigation bar with YouTube notifications. You get notifications for recently uploaded videos from your subscribed channels, but only if you've enabled notifications for those channels. For example, you can go to the subscription manager and click the bell icon next to a channel to enable or disable notifications.

The settings button sends you to the Notifications section from YouTube's Settings page and the 3-dot icon next to each notification lets you turn off notifications from the corresponding channel.


If you don't like this experiment, you can always clear cookies for youtube.com in your browser's settings and opt out.

29 Dec 2016 12:24pm GMT

Google's New Mobile UI for Recipe Search

Just in time for New Year's dinner, Google has a new mobile interface for recipe search. I searched for [avocado mayo] and noticed a long list of keywords below the search box and ads: salad, chicken, shrimp, vegan, bacon and more. You can select more than one keyword and this helps you refine the results.


When selecting a related search, you get a completely different interface that only shows recipes: bigger expandable cards, bigger thumbnails, infinite scrolling.



29 Dec 2016 11:09am GMT

08 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Translate's 5000 Character Limit

For some reason, Google Translate now has a limit of 5000 characters per translation. There's even a character counter at the bottom of the input box. If you happen to paste a long text that has more than 5000 characters, you'll get an error message ("maximum characters exceeded: X characters over 5000 maximum") and a "translate more" option that lets you translate the rest of the text.


I don't understand the purpose of this restriction, considering that Google doesn't impose any limitation when translating web pages. It's worth pointing out that Google Translate's API has a similar limitation: "the maximum size of each text to be translated is 5000 characters, not including any HTML tags". Google's translation card from Google Search has a different limit: about 2800 characters.

08 Dec 2016 6:18pm GMT

Google Tests Movie Ratings

Google's knowledge graph card tests a feature that lets you like or dislike movies and TV shows. For example, when you search for "It's a Wonderful Life", you can click like or dislike and check the percentage of Google users who liked it.


The same buttons show up when you search for a TV show like "Saturday Night Live".


Search Engine Land reports that Google confirmed this experiment, which was first spotted last month.

08 Dec 2016 11:45am GMT

06 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google's Holiday Decorations

When you search Google for [Christmas], [Hanukkah], [Kwanzaa], [Festivus] or other related queries, you'll see some special decorations related to each holiday. Festivus is "a holiday celebrated by those seeking an alternative to the commercialism and pressures of the Christmas holiday season."

Christmas trees, Santa Claus, the Christmas star adorn the Google search page and bring the hoiday spirit.


The Hanukkah menorah and Kwanzaa's Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles) are lighting up Google's search pages.




Here are the decorations from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

06 Dec 2016 2:21pm GMT

New Interface for Google Search

Google's desktop search pages have a new interface for navigating between search results. The search box is bigger, there's a new search icon and Google now only shows 2 or 3 specialized search engines next to "all", down from 4. Apps and shopping seem to be missing from the list of search engines, so you can only pick from image search, video search, Google News, Google Maps, Google Flights and Google Books.


The settings dropdown is now placed below the search box and it includes the option that lets you hide private results. You can still change search settings, languages, turn on or turn off SafeSearch, use advanced search options, open Web History or go to the help center.


Search tools are now simply called tools and they include the same options: search by date and verbatim.


Image search lets you quickly go to the saved images page and change SafeSearch setting.


Google Shopping is broken. While the homepage still loads, when you click a product image or search for something, Google shows an empty page.



Here's the old Google Search interface, via Wikipedia:

06 Dec 2016 1:31pm GMT

17 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Random Facts About Animals in Google Search

Did you know that "male lions defend the pride's territory while females do most of the hunting"? Did you know that "the name humpback whale describes the motion it makes as it arches its back out of the water in preparation for a dive"? What about this one: "ostriches have the largest eyes of any land living animal and they measure 50 mm (2 inches) in diameter"?

Google now shows random facts about animals in the "did you know" section of the Knowledge Graph card. They're extracted from various sites and Google actually links to the source.



Some example of queries that return random facts: [cat], [lion], [tiger], [alpaca], [giraffe], [ostrich], [duck], [elk], [raccoon], [shark]. It's worth pointing out that you can get another random fact by reloading the page or searching again for the same animal.

17 Oct 2016 9:00pm GMT

15 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Found in Related Searches

Google Knowledge Graph has more than one billion entities and more than 70 billion facts about these entities (people, places, things). It's huge and it brings a different dimension to search: understanding concepts and the relation between them.

Mobile Google Search now has a section called "found in related search", which shows a few entities frequently mentioned in other related searches. For example, I searched for [ethanol molar mass] and Google showed 2 lists of organic and inorganic compounds: one of them was found in the related search [properties of alkanes] and the other was for [polar solvents]. Ethanol is a polar solvent which can be obtained from alkenes, while alkenes can be derived from alkanes, so Google's suggestions are somewhat useful.


This feature is not limited to chemistry, it also works for other topics. Here's a different query: [tour eiffel design], which shows other "towers of the world" and "tourist attractions in France".



15 Oct 2016 7:34am GMT

14 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Converts Queries Into Questions

I noticed an interesting Google Search experiment in the mobile/tablet interface. When searching for [alcohol with the highest boiling], Google converted my query into a question: "Which alcohol has the highest boiling point?", then it tried to answer the question using a snippet from a web page and then it added a "more results" link. Google's link sent to me to the search results page for the question inferred by Google.

14 Oct 2016 10:29pm GMT

Google's Card for Directions

When you search Google for [directions] or [get directions], you get an error message: "No results for that place. Try entering it below to get suggestions." Google shows a special card for directions with cool features like autocomplete, but the error message is out of place because you haven't typed a location.


Suggestions aren't very smart. For example, I typed "Brisbane, Australia" as the starting point and then I started to type "Mel" as the destination. Google suggested 3 places from California, strictly based on my location, while ignoring that Melbourne is a much better suggestion.


Google shows directions inside the card and you can pick between driving, walking, cycling or using public transportation.


To see the directions, just click the text that describes your favorite route. If there is only one route, pick that one. Another option is to click "directions" and go to the Google Maps site.

14 Oct 2016 9:27pm GMT

Add Home Screen Shortcuts to Google Maps Directions

I'm not sure if this is a new feature, but it must be pretty recent. Google Maps for Android lets you add home screen shortcuts to directions directly from the app. Just search for directions, tap the menu icon and pick "add route to Home screen". This works best when you select the current location, but it's not a requirement.



You may also see this message: "Go here often? Add this route. Tap here to add a Home screen shortcut to this route."


Another option is to add the directions widget, which lets you pick the shortcut name, whether to start turn-by-turn navigation and more.

14 Oct 2016 8:48pm GMT

18 Jun 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

A brief update

Over the last couple years, I've seen more and more people in technology trying to make government work better. They're idealists who are also making a large impact. These are people that I respect-some of them worked to fix healthcare.gov, for example. From talking to many of them, I can tell you that their energy […]

18 Jun 2016 1:57am GMT

03 Feb 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Thanks, Amit

Amit Singhal just announced that he's retiring toward the end of the month. Amit has been a formative part of Google's search team, but he's also a good friend. Last year, after he marked 15 years with Google, I wrote this about Amit's contributions: Amit Singhal, one of the unsung heroes of Google, just celebrated […]

03 Feb 2016 7:49pm GMT

19 Jan 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Solving a Verizon issue (Nexus 5X)

I solved a problem today and figured that I'd document it for the rest of the world. Every time someone left me a voicemail on Verizon, I would get a cryptic text from Verizon at 900080006202 that looked like "//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=NM;id=1;c=1;t=v;s=1XXXXXXXXXX;dt=18/01/2016 13:40-0900;l=13;dev_t=5" or "//VZWVVM:SYNC:ev=MBU;dev_t=5". Here's what happened. It turns out that Verizon has three kinds of […]

19 Jan 2016 2:00am GMT

31 Oct 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2015: USB Drive

I went a little overboard for Halloween last year. And as you can tell from my the Halloween category on my blog, sometimes I get a little too excited about Halloween. So this year I decided to go quick, easy, and lo-fi as a USB drive: To make a thumb drive/USB key, I just took […]

31 Oct 2015 8:02pm GMT

24 Sep 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Give Google Contributor a try

Recently I've seen several interesting conversations about ad blocking, and I wanted to remind people about a great offering called Google Contributor. With Google Contributor, you contribute a certain amount of money each month. That subscription means that you see fewer ads on the web, and you support the sites that you visit with your […]

24 Sep 2015 3:09pm GMT

09 Apr 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Berkshire Hathaway

My taste in financial advice runs toward the simple and the lessons I've learned the hard way. But I still like reading about investing/finance, and I recently read through the 2014 annual report for Berkshire Hathaway. Given that it was the 50th anniversary of Warren Buffett taking charge of Berkshire, I have to admit that […]

09 Apr 2015 6:47am GMT

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

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