24 Nov 2020

feedThe Official Google Blog

7 creative tips to improve your Web Stories

Since Google launched a new home for Web Stories on Discover, we have seen a diverse group of content creators using the format to tell engaging stories, everything from product reviews to a history of the U.S. postal service. Thanks to new and improved creation tools, it's easier than ever to create a high-quality and interactive story.


Web Stories are a web-based version of the popular "Stories" format that blend video, audio, images, animation and text to create a whole new way to learn something new. We have seen publishers recut, reuse, or reinvent their brands using Web Stories. If you are new to Web Stories, check out our new YouTube series, Storytime. And if you want to create some yourself, follow these tips to make them as interesting and beautiful as possible.


Web Stories carousel on Google Discover

Learn more about how to enable Web Stories.

1. Use video.


Video is a great way to engage users. Optimize your landscape videos by converting them into videos in portrait ratio (9:16) to take advantage of the mobile screen. Making the video full bleed helps readers focus on a single key subject. And if you have video with audio, use closed captions. Here is a great example from VICE. Without captions, your audience needs to be able to listen to audio to follow your story. If you only have horizontal video, try using a conversion tool, like Kapwing to make them vertical.


2. Try first-person storytelling.


Be the protagonist of your own story. Stories are the first mobile-native medium. It's perfectly possible and expected to capture the assets for your story using your mobile device's front-facing camera. Since most consumption happens and continues to grow on mobile devices, the creator is able to deliver a full-screen portrait experience to the viewer in the same way they captured it. First person allows you to give a personal touch by adding in additional commentary and perspective.


3. Take advantage of your brand identity.


A brand identity is the face of your brand. That can include your visual style, the colors you use and your logo; these visible elements identify and distinguish your brand in consumers' minds. People should know at a moment's glance that this Web Story is from your brand. For many readers, consistency in branding leads to comfort and loyalty.


Be sure to import your color palette and logo into your favorite Web Story creation tool. Use your brand's typography, and if you don't use specific typography, select a font that complements your colors and style. Fonts can be very powerful, so keep it simple and legible. Here are some general rules to follow. Avoid having a story that contains text that blends into the background image or video, which may make some pages difficult to read. Be sure to provide contrast between the text and background images on the page.



4. Display infographics and dynamic visuals.


Web Stories blend video, audio, images, animation and text to create an easy to consume narrative. One great way to engage readers is by using dynamic visuals and infographics. Graphs and charts make it easy to understand a topic while using minimal text. This can be a great way to inform your reader quickly and clearly. We commonly see great graphics and visuals in recipes, explainers and investigative journalism.


5. Get a boost from illustrations.


Sometimes stock images and videos won't cut it. If you have the ability, try to work in some illustrations into your story. Animations and illustrations can bring your story to life. This could be anything from funny comics to hand-drawn cartoons. You can create illustrations in other popular design tools, optimize them and import them into your creation tool as a PNG file.


6. Post quizzes and polls.


Web Stories are getting more interactive with quizzes and polls, or what the Stories team calls Interactive Components. Several visual editors are working on supporting these new features so you can use them without any coding necessary on your end. Quizzes and polls can increase engagement and make your stories more compelling. You can also use the quizzes and polls to gather feedback and educate your audience about your brand.


7. Build excitement through animations.


Animating objects separately makes visuals more interesting and enjoyable, helping each item stand out. Timing and style add to the tone and message of your story. Choose an animation style that suits your aesthetic, then be mindful of how quickly things move. Here is a great example from USAT. Your story may automatically advance to the next page before some users are able to fully read the text. Consider slowing down auto advance to allow users ample time to read the text on each page.

24 Nov 2020 2:00pm GMT

How I’m giving thanks (and staying safe) this Thanksgiving

Read this post in Spanish.

I love Thanksgiving. It's a time to be with those you love, eating fabulous food and sharing memories. In my family, my mother always made the holiday a time when we welcomed people into our home who had nowhere else to go that day. And then we'd take long afternoon walks after our big meal.

With COVID-19 infections rising to record levels across the U.S, families are changing how they celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Like much else in 2020, we'll need to develop new and creative traditions to replace the ones that put those we love at risk for COVID.

This year, please follow the tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and avoid large family gatherings.

This disease is highly contagious and getting together physically with extended family is a real risk. Every event that brings people together creates yet another chance for transmission. I'm often asked, "Can't I just get a COVID test and then see my family?" Unfortunately, the answer I give my friends and family is an unequivocal "No." Tests are often negative early in the course of disease, which means you can test negative today but be highly infectious tomorrow. So even if you have a negative test, still practice these measures. The best way to show your love is to not have a big family gathering.

There are many ways to celebrate from a distance. You can video call friends and family from the Thanksgiving table. You could spend in-person time outdoors at a distance, wearing masks and avoiding shared dishes. I have even heard of some families even getting creative offering "curbside pickup" of their signature pumpkin pie, green bean casserole or oyster dressing for loved ones to pick up and enjoy in the safety of their own homes.


Tips for celebrating Thanksgiving safely

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shared some tips on how you could celebrate Thanksgiving this year and limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask

  • Rethink traveling

  • Keep gatherings small

  • Celebrate virtually if you can


This year, my immediate family is planning a small meal with just our household followed by a brief, outdoor visit with our grandmother. We will also have a virtual Friendsgiving with friends across the country, which is actually allowing us to share memories with more people than we usually do. I will miss the meals, hugs and in-person laughter, but am willing to sacrifice that for this one year so we can have many more memories together in years to come.

Though this has been a difficult year for so many around the world, I find I have much to be grateful for this holiday. I am thankful for my medical colleagues-the doctors, nurses, respiratory techs and other responders who are going to work on Thanksgiving to care for COVID-19 patients. I am thankful for my public health colleagues who have worked tirelessly for nearly a year to keep us safe, as they do even when pandemics aren't raging.

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I am thankful for the many unsung first responders working to see that we have safe water to drink, food to eat and electricity to light and heat our homes. I am particularly thankful for the committed scientists who have advanced sound research so we have efficacious and safe treatments, and yes, COVID vaccines in sight. They are giving us so much optimism about the potential for robust countermeasures to bring this pandemic to an end.

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And I am thankful for everyone who is putting the public's health as a priority, and doing all they can to not be a link in the chain of COVID transmission. I know everyone is weary and wants to go back to normal, or at least a new normal. But I encourage everyone to be patient and dig deep inside for the stamina to carry us through these next few months. Now is not the time to let up-it is a time to double down. If scientific progress continues, then by this time next year we might be able to have family gatherings with those we love.

This Thanksgiving, I see staying home as the ultimate form of giving thanks and showing love to your family.
This Thanksgiving, I see staying home as the ultimate form of giving thanks and showing love to your family. So I hope you will join me in following the tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are what I am recommending to family and friends, what I would recommend to my patients and what I am asking of our community. This year, let's give thanks. Not COVID.

24 Nov 2020 2:30am GMT

Cómo estoy dando gracias (y manteniéndome a salvo) este Día de Acción de Gracias

Read this post in English // Blog en inglés aquí.

Amo el Día de Acción de Gracias. Es un momento para estar con tus seres queridos, comer comida fabulosa y compartir recuerdos. En mi familia, mi madre siempre hizo del día festivo un momento en el que recibíamos en nuestra casa a personas que no tenían ningún otro lugar adónde ir ese día. Y luego dábamos largas caminatas por la tarde después de nuestra gran cena.

Con las infecciones por COVID-19 aumentando a niveles récord en los Estados Unidos, las familias están cambiando la forma en que celebran el Día de Acción de Gracias este año. Como muchas otras cosas en 2020, tendremos que desarrollar tradiciones nuevas y creativas para reemplazar las que ponen a quienes amamos en riesgo de COVID.

Este año, sigue los consejos de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades y evita las grandes reuniones familiares.

Esta enfermedad es muy contagiosa y reunirse físicamente con la familia extendida es un riesgo real. Cada evento que reúne a personas crea una nueva oportunidad de transmisión. A menudo me preguntan: "¿No puedo hacerme una prueba de COVID y luego ver a mi familia?" Desafortunadamente, la respuesta que le doy a mis amigos y familiares es un "No" inequívoco. Las pruebas suelen ser negativas en las primeras etapas del curso de la enfermedad, lo que significa que puede dar negativo hoy pero ser muy infeccioso mañana. Entonces, incluso si tienes una prueba negativa, practica aún estas medidas. La mejor manera de demostrar tu amor es no tener una gran reunión familiar.

Hay muchas formas de celebrar a distancia. Puedes realizar videollamadas con amigos y familiares desde la mesa de Acción de Gracias. Podrías pasar tiempo en persona al aire libre a distancia, usando máscaras y evitando compartir platillos. Incluso he oído hablar de algunas familias que se han vuelto creativas al ofrecer "recoger en la acera" su emblemático pastel de calabaza, cazuela de ejotes o aderezo de ostras para que los seres queridos lo recojan y disfruten en la seguridad de sus propios hogares.


Consejos para celebrar el Día de Acción de Gracias de forma segura

Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades han compartido algunos consejos sobre cómo celebrar el Día de Acción de Gracias este año y limitar la propagación del COVID-19.


  • Usa mascarilla

  • Reconsidera viajes

  • Mantén las reuniones pequeñas

  • Celebra virtualmente si puedes


Este año, mi familia inmediata está planeando una pequeña comida en nuestro hogar seguida de una breve visita al aire libre a nuestra abuela. También tendremos un Friendsgiving virtual con amigos de todo el país, que en realidad nos permite compartir recuerdos con más personas de las que solemos compartir. Extrañaré las comidas, los abrazos y las risas en persona, pero estoy dispuesta a sacrificar eso por este año para que podamos tener muchos más recuerdos juntos en los próximos años.

Aunque este ha sido un año difícil para muchos en todo el mundo, se que tengo mucho que agradecer por estos días festivos. Estoy agradecida por mis colegas médicos: los médicos, enfermeras, técnicos en terapia pulmonar y otros socorristas que trabajarán en el Día de Acción de Gracias para atender a los pacientes con COVID-19. Estoy agradecida por mis colegas de salud pública que han trabajado incansablemente durante casi un año para mantenernos a salvo, como lo hacen incluso cuando las pandemias no están en auge.

Estoy agradecida por los muchos socorristas no reconocidos que trabajan para asegurarse de que tengamos agua potable para beber, alimentos y electricidad para iluminar y calentar nuestros hogares. Estoy particularmente agradecido por los científicos comprometidos que han avanzado en investigaciones sólidas para que tengamos tratamientos eficaces y seguros, y sí, vacunas contra COVID a la vista. Nos están dando tanto optimismo sobre el potencial de contramedidas sólidas para poner fin a esta pandemia.

Y estoy agradecida por todos los que ponen la salud pública como una prioridad y hacen todo lo posible para NO ser un eslabón en la cadena de transmisión del COVID. Sé que todos están cansados ​​y quieren volver a la normalidad, o al menos a una nueva normalidad. Pero animo a todos a que sean pacientes y busquen dentro de sí la resistencia que nos ayude a superar estos próximos meses. Ahora no es el momento de ceder, es el momento de redoblar. Si el progreso científico continúa, entonces para esta temporada el próximo año podríamos tener reuniones familiares con aquellos a quienes amamos.

Este Día de Acción de Gracias, veo que quedarse en casa es la mejor forma de agradecer y mostrar amor a tu familia.
Este Día de Acción de Gracias, veo que quedarse en casa es la mejor forma de agradecer y mostrar amor a tu familia. Así que espero que te unas a mí para seguir los consejos de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades. Son lo que recomiendo a familiares y amigos, lo que recomendaría a mis pacientes y lo que le estoy pidiendo a nuestra comunidad. Este año, demos gracias. No COVID.

24 Nov 2020 2:30am GMT

23 Nov 2020

feedThe Official Google Blog

Make your own turkey trot with Google Maps

Every Thanksgiving, before I settle into the couch to watch football or load my plate with multiple servings of stuffing, there's another tradition I have to accomplish first: a turkey trot.

If you don't already know, a turkey trot is a Thanksgiving Day run. It's usually a casual way to log a few miles before sitting down for the big meal. There are lots of community-led, organized Turkey Trots, but plenty of people do them casually as well. I've done them with running clubs, alongside family and friends and even participated in an official race or two.

Even though I'm practicing social distancing this year, the turkey trot isn't canceled. Instead, thanks to some help from Google Maps, it will be a semi-solo operation, with the option for friends and family-or really, anyone in the area-to virtually run "along" the route with me. Below, you can follow a few easy steps to create your own turkey trot as well. (These directions are for using Google Maps on desktop.)

Step 1. First, open Google Maps and select the hamburger menu at left (the three lines in a row). When that opens, choose "Terrain." Then, the map at right will show you the topography of your location, which is helpful if you want to avoid (or add) some hills to your run.

Animated GIF showing Google Maps and the "terrain" option opening.

I also found it helpful to select the "Bicycling" option in this panel. This highlights the bike lanes and trails in your area, and I've found it particularly useful to find paths that cut through parks that are great for cyclists and pedestrians. Another great way to get an idea of what your run will look like is to jump into Street View so you can get a more accurate idea of what you'll be running through.

Step 2. I'm going to start and end my race at a park, but you can start from wherever you want. I decided an eight-mile run sounds right, so I chose a half point of four miles on the map. This is a bit of trial and error ("Oops, that was only three miles away, and this point is about five") until you find the best spot. And of course, this doesn't have to be exact if you're not trying to be too official.

When you're doing this, make sure you choose the "walking" icon, and also know that you can select the direction line on Google Maps to make the path a little longer or shorter. For example, I saw a bike trail that went through a park and dragged the dotted line through it. Just play around with this until you find the halfway mark that works for you.

Animated GIF showing Google Maps and directions being entered.

Step 3. On the left-hand side, choose "add destination," and re-enter your original starting point. Follow the instructions from step three again to drag and adjust your path as desired to get to the mileage you want. You can also take advantage of some of Maps' new features if you want to make sure you get your fill of fall foliage. Or if you want to run by the homes of friends and family for a quick hello as you go, use Maps' list feature to mark them, or any other landmarks that you want to include in the route.

Step 4. After you've completed creating your route, you can choose "Send directions to your phone" so you'll have the map while you're running. And if you select "Details," you'll see a share icon in the upper right-hand corner of this panel. There, you'll get a link that you can share with family and friends. This way, they can try and recreate a similar path in their own neighborhood.

Step 5. When I'm running a specific path like this, I like to turn on the detailed voice guide feature, which gives you more frequent alerts for navigation. It was built to help people who are visually impaired, but it's also great for runners who don't want to constantly glance at their phone for directions. In your Google Maps settings, select "Navigation," and you'll see an option at the bottom of the list under "Walking options" for "Detailed voice guidance."

Step 6. Now this is optional, but if you really want the full turkey trot experience, you can all choose a time to start your race and "run" together. There are a handful of apps that let you track and time your run. You can be as competitive (or non-competitive) as you want, with prizes for winners, or most-spirited. Get creative and add a scavenger hunt element to it: Runners get points for photos of Thanksgiving decorations, or local landmarks. Make it yours, and more importantly, make it fun.

23 Nov 2020 6:00pm GMT

Find your inner poet with help from America's greats

Behold! the living thrilling lines

That course the blood like madd'ning wines,

And leap with scintillating spray

Across the guards of ecstasy.

The flame that lights the lurid spell

Springs from the soul's artesian well,

Its fairy filament of art

Entwines the fragments of a heart.

Poetry by Georgia Douglas Johnson

When you write the living thrilling lines of a poem, you put yourself into each verse. Whether you're writing for family, friends or an audience of thousands, each poem carries a part of you. When composing such a poem, each line is carefully crafted, which requires a lot of creative energy. Verse by Verse can help get those creative juices flowing: it's our experiment using AI to augment the creative process of composing a poem. It will offer ideas that you can use, alter, or reject as you see fit. Verse by Verse is a creative helper, an inspiration-not a replacement. Here's how it works.

Your muses

Using Verse by Verse, you can compose a poem with suggestions coming from some of America's classic poets: Dickinson, Whitman, Poe, Wheatley, Longfellow and others. In order to make this possible, we've trained AI systems that provide suggestions in the style of each individual poet to act as your muses while you compose a poem of your own.

Poets featured in this tool

Composing

After choosing which poets to act as your muses and the structure of your poem, you can begin composing. Once you've written the first line of verse, Verse by Verse will start to suggest possible next verses.

Writing a poem

We give you full control of this creative process. You can choose to continue writing your own verses, use one of the suggestions, or even edit one of the suggestions to make it more personal. Once you're satisfied with your poem, give it a title and finalize it. We give you two options: copy the text itself, or download the poem as an image. In either case, you can easily save the poem and share it with others.

Finished poem

Verse suggestions

Verse by Verse's suggestions are not the original lines of verse the poets had written, but novel verses generated to sound like lines of verse the poets could have written. We did this by first training our generative models on a large collection of classic poetry, then fine tuning the models on each individual poet's body of work to try to capture their style of writing.

Additionally, to be able to suggest relevant verses, the system was trained to have a general semantic understanding of what lines of verse would best follow a previous line of verse. So even if you write on topics not commonly seen in classic poetry, the system will try its best to make suggestions that are relevant.

Get writing

Verse by Verse can be used as a tool for inspiration, offering suggestions for ways of writing you may have never thought of. You can use it as an aid to learn about these various poets and the styles that they wrote in.

Have fun, and see where it takes you-perhaps down the road less traveled.

23 Nov 2020 6:00pm GMT

The new conversational Search experience we’re thankful for

When you're having a conversation with someone, you might ask multiple questions in a row on the same topic. Wouldn't it be weird if, in between every question, the person forgot what you were talking about? Well until recently, that's kind of what would happen on Search.

Many Google searches are part of a longer series of queries, but Google didn't always carry over the context from one query to another. Especially if that next search has multiple interpretations, the results might have felt a little off, leading you to spend more time rewriting your search until you found what you were looking for.

This year, Google Search rolled out new ways to get you to the information you want, using context from your recent activity. Thanks to our newest language understanding capabilities, it's now easier for you to get to a more specific, on-topic search, navigate a topic you're interested in and find additional information relevant to that topic. Let's check out how this improved understanding can help around this time of year.

Understanding what you're looking for

Say you're planning your Thanksgiving and you start your research to get ready. Previously you may have found yourself lost when, after searching for turkey recipes, you started searching "carving" and weren't expecting the results you received, especially if you missed the search suggestion for "carving a turkey."

Search for turkey recipes

Since "carving" is a search with many meanings, previously Google would use the most common interpretation in ranking results. But with this change, we can determine that you're looking to learn more about preparing and serving a turkey and we'll provide you with a helpful suggestion at the top of your search results page to get you to what you were actually looking for:

Search for carving

Making your exploration easier

These new language understanding capabilities can also identify when you're exploring a topic and make that exploration easier.

Say you're looking for a movie the whole family can enjoy. As you search through family-friendly holiday flicks like The Polar Express and A Christmas Story, Google may detect that you're exploring related ideas and show a list of similar movies to help you more easily browse for the perfect pick.

Search for christmas movies

Surfacing more relevant information

This understanding of context also enables Google to surface more relevant follow-up questions to help you take the next step in exploring a topic.

Prior to introducing these features, if you had searched for "how to make a napkin fan," Google might have helped you discover additional information by showing you similar questions such as "How do you make a cone napkin?" With contextual learning, Google can source even more relevant questions in the "People also ask" section, like "How do you make a turkey out of a cloth napkin?" Now, after searching for turkey recipes, your upgraded search results can help you find more relevant follow-ups faster and up-level your Thanksgiving tablescape.

Search for folding cloth napkins

We're always improving our ability to understand your searches, so whether you're planning ahead for your celebration or scrambling to set the table, we hope we can help you get the information you need.

23 Nov 2020 5:00pm GMT

Preserving endangered languages with Noto fonts

Minority or endangered languages are facing a crisis. According to UNESCO, at least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Even though my grandparents spoke an endangered language and language preservation has been my passion for many years, I only recently understood that fonts-the symbols that appear when you type on a keyboard-play a key role in enabling minority language speakers to digitize and preserve their languages on the internet and in print. Until now, many minority languages lacked fonts.

From billions of readers to very small language communities, the freely available, open source Noto font family from Google Fonts supports literacy for hundreds of languages. The Cherokee Nation, with an estimated 20,000 speakers, uses Noto on phones for texting, email and teaching their language in the USA. Noto is used every day for Tibetan, millions of African users, and hundreds of languages of Asia. The government of British Columbia in Canada, with a population of 5 million people, wanted to cover all their languages, including indigenous ones, in a single font and merged Noto Sans + Noto Sans Canadian Aboriginal into a single font, BC Sans font.

  • image_1_XWHQeTU.jpg

    This text is in the indigenous language of Cree in the BC Sans text (in Cree, transliterated in Latin, and in English). (Text source: Government of British Columbia, Canada)

  • Screen_Shot_2020-10-21_at_12.16.28_PM.max-2800x2800.png

    This text is in Noto Sans Adlam. Adlam is one of the scripts used in the Sahel and West Africa.

  • San_Sorang.max-2800x2800.png

    This text is in Noto Sans Sorang Sompeng, a script used in India to write in Sora, a Munda language used by around 300,000 people.

The Noto name comes from the mission, "NO TOfu"-eliminating the tofu-like boxes (𛲢𛲡𛲠) that appear when no font is available for a user's text. Noto offers fonts for 146 scripts (writing systems) and over 800 languages, and is opening the door to reading and writing for minority language speakers. Noto is the largest source of fonts for endangered languages. Aligned with Google.org's support of the Endangered Languages Project and Google's private sponsorship of UNESCO's International Conference Language Technologies for All, the Noto project is Google's ambitious Unicode font project, aiming to continually support 100% of all Unicode characters each year with fully functional fonts. Noto won the Beazley Design Museum Designs of the Year award in 2017.

Noto, which has been in development since 2012, recently updated its page on GitHub. The new home at github.com/notofonts has one git project per script, with all sources either available in the widely supported Unified Font Object (UFO) font source or using the .glyphs format. We also have a new on-demand build system triggered as soon as someone updates a font source that uses the Google Fonts open source 'fontmake' compiler. This means Noto fonts are now more truly open source, will be better documented and available for contributions by many more people.

Digitizing endangered languages

A font and a keyboard to type it are critical needs for languages in the digital era, but the most important thing is Unicode support.

Type design is the discipline of creating physical or digital typefaces, the coherent collections of letterforms that today are more commonly referred to as fonts, which are the digital representations of type. With fonts, communities can digitize written documents, publish cultural and religious texts online, or teach their children with digital media. This digitization process saves knowledge, and enables connections and communication across generations. It allows people to keep connected with their villages and family, even if they are physically far away. People in an urban diaspora can keep in touch with other urbanites in the same language community, by using the font to produce printed material for posters, educational material, books, newsletters, and so on. Younger generations of language learners can use Noto fonts to learn to read and write in endangered tongues, text and write emails to each other and communicate via social media.

Ultimately, typefaces are a kind of "critical infrastructure" for each culture, a medium to store and transmit emotional tone.

Accessibility

The ability to read minority languages digitally via text magnification improves the accessibility of both historical and modern content in these languages. Languages and their scripts are important to me because I am multilingual and an endangered language activist. While I was preparing the documentary film, Saved by Language, about a boy who saved his life in the Holocaust by speaking the endangered language of Ladino/Judeo-Spanish and my TedX talk on preserving endangered languages with music, I had to read through many old printed materials from a century ago. Since I am partially blind, it was difficult to read the small text with dense typography on discolored paper. If these documents had been digitized and users could easily use zoom mode to read on a computer or device, they would be more accessible and useful to everyone. Unicode fonts, such as Noto, resolve the problems that previously existed when minority language communities had to publish images of text without Unicode encodings. These images were not readable by screen readers and would often be hard to read when enlarged.

For some communities, the Noto font for their writing system may be the only way to use their language digitally because there are no other fonts available for their scripts. I encourage you to learn about which Noto fonts are available for the languages you care about.

23 Nov 2020 5:00pm GMT

Expanded funding for Indigenous businesses in the U.S.

Danielle Greendeer is the owner of Wampanoag Trading Post and Gallery in Massachusetts, which sells handmade Eastern Woodland art made by Indigenous artists. She is also a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation. The Wampanoag are associated with what became known as the "first Thanksgiving."

Danielle Greendeer

"The year 2020 marks the 400th year since the arrival of the Mayflower and the introduction of the Pilgrims to the Wampanoag Nation," she told our team at Google.org earlier this month. "For the Mashpee Wampanoag people, it is important to tell the history from our perspective and educate the public on the challenges that our Tribe is still trying to overcome. The survival and evolution of our art is an example of how resilient our culture is."

November is also Native American Heritage Month. As an Indigenous person, I see this moment as a reminder for society to reflect on, honor and celebrate the resilience of the people who are the first inhabitants of the United States.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit these communities especially hard, both in terms of health and economic stability. Earlier this year, we awarded $1 million in loans to Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Center through Grow with Google, and $250,000 in Google.org grants to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), to provide immediate relief to small businesses owned by Native Americans/American Indians. We're also working with NCAI to offer Grow with Google training for small businesses and job seekers in Native American communities. This embedded digital training program will train more than 5,000 Native businesses owners to better leverage their online presence by April 2021.

Danielle's business received financial support from Google.org and NCAI, which helped her hire temporary part-time workers, support six more Indigenous artisans and schedule workshops and screenings of Native films. For Native American Heritage Month, they have opened an extension space and are screening a documentary film called Mashpee Nine. "Offering this film to the public at no charge is part of our commitment to educate our community about the history of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe," she says.

We know there are many more amazing businesses like Danielle's, which is why we're announcing an additional $1 million in funding through Google.org to NCAI which will directly support hundreds of businesses. The fund is open to Native American/American Indian business owners for applications today. Head to the NCAI fund website for more information or to apply.

23 Nov 2020 5:00pm GMT

Stop, drop and pass the rolls! Thanksgiving fun with Google

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, which can only mean the approach of a classic dinner table debate: stuffing or dressing? If your family is busy dishing out their hot food takes, they're hardly alone: Google searches for "stuffing vs dressing" in the U.S. spiked more than 350 percent this past week.

But let's not forget about other Thanksgiving favorites. We took a look at uniquely searched side dishes in each state this year. It seems California is feeling just gravy, while Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky are ready to casse-roll. Check out what's being searched in your state for some meal prep inspiration.

Thanksgiving Trends Map

Speaking of prep, taking charge of the Thanksgiving meal, even for small groups this year, is no easy feat. If you're looking for some insider tips on how to make that perfect stuffing (or dressing!), search for "Thanksgiving" on Google to hear from expert chefs like Mary Ann Esposito and Jess Pryles. They'll answer some of your top questions and share some expert advice. You'll feel like a top chef in no time.

Chef Cameo

If you need an extra hand finding recipes, staying on track in the kitchen or figuring out ingredient substitutes, Google Assistant can help. Try asking, "Hey Google, give me Thanksgiving recipes," for step-by-step guided instructions on Smart Displays, like Nest Hub Max. Here are a few other ways Assistant can help out in the kitchen:

  • Set a timer. You can already ask Google to set timers for help when your hands are full, but new for this year, say "Hey Google, set a turkey timer" for a visual and audio surprise on Assistant-enabled smart speakers and Smart Displays

  • Quickly convert measurements or figure out a substitute ingredient. Just ask, "Hey Google, how many tablespoons in a cup?" or "Hey Google, what's a substitute for buttermilk?"

  • Learn a new cooking technique. Try saying, "Hey Google, show me videos for how to roll pie dough" or "Hey Google, show me how to brown butter."

  • Search for recipes based on specific dietary needs. Just say, "Hey Google, show me vegan stuffing recipes" or "Hey Google, show me gluten-free cornbread recipes."

But not everyone wants to commit to cooking on Thanksgiving; maybe this year takeout is more your style. You can use Google to order dinner-and now, once you've placed your order, Google Maps will show you the live status of when it'll be ready for pickup or arrive at your doorstep…which could come in handy if you want to pretend you made it all yourself (we won't tell). And even if you opt for take-out this Turkey Day, you can always up the game on your table scape with ideas from Google Images.

Whatever you decide on for dinner and whether you're with family or sitting around the virtual table, there are still ways to connect with loved ones and make this year feel festive. Try recording a special moment with them and adding it to "The Great Thanksgiving Listen," a StoryCorps campaign that encourages people across the country to contribute audio stories to a collective oral history. Google Cloud also recently partnered with StoryCorps to make its entire catalog of stories available and searchable for everyone, with help from AI.

As a fun bonus, search "Happy Thanksgiving" on Google for a hidden surprise. We figured it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a slice of something sweet.

23 Nov 2020 3:00pm GMT

“The Mandalorian” in AR? This is the way.

In a galaxy far, far away, the Mandalorian and the Child continue their journey, facing enemies and rallying allies in the tumultuous era after the collapse of the Galactic Empire. But you don't need a tracking fob to explore the world of the hit STAR WARS streaming series. Google and Lucasfilm have teamed up to bring iconic moments from the first season of "The Mandalorian" to life with "The Mandalorian" AR Experience (available on the Play Store for 5G Google Pixels and other select 5G Android phones) as fans follow the show's second season. (Check your phone to see if it meets app requirements.)

Animated GIF showing a person's hand holding a Pixel phone while using the Mandalorian AR app.

From dinosaurs to astronauts, Google has been bringing objects and creatures to life with augmented reality. Now, people using compatible Android 5G devices can interact with heroes from the Mandalorian in their own space.

"The Mandalorian" AR Experience puts you in the shoes of a bounty hunter following the trail of Mando himself, Din Djarin and the Child. Explore the world of "The Mandalorian," interact with characters in augmented reality and capture your very own scenes to share with friends.

To create this original experience, Google, Disney and Lucasfilm worked together to imagine a next-generation augmented reality app optimized for 5G devices. Our teams collaborated to build hyper-detailed models and life-like animations-all while packing scenes with fun surprises.

UsingARCore,Google's developer platform for building augmented reality experiences, we created scenes that interact with your environment and respond to your surroundings. You can discover and unlock even more effects based on your actions. And thanks to the new ARCore Depth API, we also enabled occlusion, allowing 3D scenes to blend more naturally with our world.

Animated GIF showing the character the Mandalorian in AR standing in someone's kitchen on the screen of a Pixel phone.

New content will keep rolling out in the app each week onMando Mondays, so stay tuned-and Pixel owners should keep an eye out for additional exclusive content outside of the app as well.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & ™ 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

23 Nov 2020 2:00pm GMT

A Fair Code for an Open Internet

The debate over Australia's News Media Bargaining Code is part of a bigger conversation about the nature and direction of the internet itself.


The modern internet was designed to empower individuals - as a free, open and democratic system for the exchange of information. From its early origins in the 1960s and 70s to the massive expansion of the world wide web in the 1990s and 2000s, this design made it possible for anyone to improve the net with new ideas and applications.


At the same time, it opened up unprecedented access to information and services, with the number of websites globally growing from a few million two decades ago to more than 1.7 billion in 2019. As the internet expanded, these new websites - and the people and businesses that owned them - captured the growth in advertising revenues that came with the digital age.


Google was founded to help users find information in this ocean of webpages. It helps to connect people to millions of businesses, service providers and knowledge sources, and enables website owners to earn money through online advertising.


But while Google - and YouTube - open up a vast range of information, products and services, only a small portion of it relates to traditional news sources. The truth is that news content makes up a tiny proportion of the things people search for online (1 percent, in Australia). People's searches reflect the priorities in their lives. Even if Google disappeared overnight, Australians would still need to use the internet to find a job, car, restaurant or plumber; to learn a language or get a red wine stain out of the carpet.


The reason news businesses are making less revenue is not because Google exists. It is because in a much more open and diverse digital market, news businesses began to face competition from websites that have taken classified advertising online, including Australian platforms like Seek and Domain. In Australia, recent research from AlphaBeta makes clear that these companies have contributed to the vast majority of the recent decline in newspaper revenues. Google's impact has been completely different: opening up an entirely new market, search advertising, helping small-to-medium businesses establish an online presence.


It would be no more reasonable to try to return to an environment where publishers' revenues were protected than it would be to expect Australians to go back to the Yellow Pages, Encyclopedia Britannica or Microfiche for their sources of information. The world has changed. Yet in advocating a code that serves their interests only, certain Australian news businesses are effectively arguing for the Australian Government to turn back time - to make the open internet significantly less open and its business models dramatically less diverse.


One of the key arguments behind the code is the idea that Google should pay for news content that 'is made available' through Search results. But that's not how search engines work, or should work, nor how people use them. When you search online, no matter what you're looking for, you get links and in most cases one or two lines of text (called 'snippets'). In the case of a news article, you only get the chance to read the full piece after clicking through to the publisher's site. Links are the cornerstones of open access to information online; requiring a search engine (or anyone else) to pay for them undermines one of the fundamental principles of the internet as we know it today.


The draft code would distort the open internet in other ways. Under a law forcing digital platforms to turn over information about algorithm changes, news businesses would gain access to privileged knowledge above every other business striving to compete for visibility and grow. Not only that, by imposing an arbitration model that considers only publishers' costs and claims, it incorrectly supposes that news content always has a higher value to users than any other kind of online information or service. Raw data and human behaviour tell us this is a fallacy.


As it is currently framed, both the premise of the code and the approach it sets out are deeply flawed. Digital platforms do not owe publishers compensation for the emergence of an internet-based economy. And undermining the foundations of a democratic internet is not a sustainable solution to one industry's economic challenges.


None of this is to deny that the news industry has a vital role in the working of democracy and the spread of knowledge. It does, and that role should be supported appropriately - as Google is seeking to do through commercial partnerships.


Nor is this an argument about the merits of regulating technology at all. Around the world, as the internet expands and evolves for the better in areas like health and education, it also poses new challenges. Governments are rightly seeking to design sensible rules that can keep pace - and, where needed, keep people from harm.


The draft news media bargaining code is not this kind of regulation. On the contrary, it is an intervention that would distort access to information and disadvantage Australians who rely on Google to share their voice and run their business. It would introduce bias into systems that were designed to be fair, and undercut a democratic internet where people compete not on their political influence, but on the value of their content.


Google is working with the Australian Government to resolve the evident issues with the draft code and bring balance into the final version of the law. Anything else would represent a backward step towards a world that no longer exists-not just for Australia's digital economy, but for the open internet globally.


23 Nov 2020 7:00am GMT

Help for Asia’s change-making nonprofit leaders

As someone who came to Google from the nonprofit world, I understand how challenging it can be for nonprofit organizations to find the right resources and talent to tackle some of the world's complex challenges.


COVID-19 doesn't make it easier. So in June this year, Google.org granted $600,000 to Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, helping them launch a six-month capacity-building program for 28 nonprofits from Singapore, Indonesia and India. The Changemaker Journey program has two main goals. First, to help nonprofits get the tools, knowledge and skills to meet their immediate priorities and sustain their efforts over the long-term. Second, to build a community where organizations can learn from one another, collaborate, and discover new ideas together.


I spoke to Janine Teo, founder and CEO of Solve Education, a Singapore-based nonprofit working to make high-quality education more accessible, to learn about her personal journey and how the program has helped her during the pandemic.
The Source team

Tell me about yourself. What led you to the nonprofit world?

It started with two questions from my mentor. He first asked, "What are you working so hard for?" My parents grew up in poverty. Both of them had to drop out of school to support the family, but they knew the importance of education. My father put himself back to school and graduated when he was 30. My mother paid off her brothers' education fees then enrolled herself in night school to get her diploma. My parents showed me how you could still learn and grow even at a later age.


He then asked, "What's your purpose?" I was trained as a software engineer but tried different industries, including hospitality. While I appreciated these experiences, I knew I wanted to solve deeper problems, contribute to society and help others. So five years ago, and with my mentor's support, I'd started Solve Education to help people of all ages, nationalities, and backgrounds get a high-quality education.


Has it been challenging being a social entrepreneur in 2020?

Definitely-we can all agree education creates opportunities. But COVID-19 has made learning challenging, especially for those in underserved communities. Some of the families we support in India don't have the luxury to socially distance themselves - or even study - because of the lack of space. For others, being a daily wage worker means they need to find work every day to put food on the table. The people we serve are more afraid of dying of hunger than the pandemic-it's survival mode for many of them. We had to be creative to solve this problem, so we introduced Game for Charity, a point-based program where beneficiaries could earn points by completing learning modules and exchange these points for food packages.


What inspired you to be part of the capacity-building program, and how did it help your organization?

The concept of finding solutions to complex problems that have positive effects in changing the system fascinates me. As a social entrepreneur, I think it's important to look at the root causes of the problems we're looking to solve. I also wanted to widen my network through the Ashoka Foundation and Google.org-and continue learning, too. In fact, one of my most memorable sessions from the program was attending a Google Ads coaching session led by Google volunteers with my team. The session was so useful because it was exactly what we needed help with!


This program also gave us a fresh perspective one some of the issues we're dealing with. It helped us question ourselves more and home in on projects that will have the biggest impact.


The truth is, capacity-building is often overlooked. It's hard to expect nonprofits to contribute to systemic change without building their ability to think critically, as well as the broader skills they need to run their organization effectively. After all, we are solving problems that no one has solved before. When we look at education, we still have a world where 263 million children and youth aren't attending school. We are nowhere near solving the problem, but joining this program gave me and my team the inspiration and excitement to continue challenging ourselves.

23 Nov 2020 2:00am GMT

20 Nov 2020

feedThe Official Google Blog

Music from the heart, with an AI assist

The next time you hear a popular song on the radio, listen to the beat behind the lyrics. Usually, a high-powered production team came up with it-but in the future, that beat could be created with help from artificial intelligence. That's what Googler MJ Jacob predicts, as he combines his job as an engineer with his love for writing and performing rap music.

Usually based in Google's offices in New York City, MJ is working from his Manhattan apartment these days as a customer engineer for Google Cloud, helping companies figure out how to use machine learning and AI to accomplish their business goals. But in his free time, he's writing lyrics, producing hip-hop tracks and creating YouTube videos detailing how he does it all.

MJ has balanced an interest in technology with a love for hip-hop since he was a 13-year-old living in Virginia. His family was struggling financially, and he found rappers' rags-to-riches lyrics to be inspirational. "Almost every rapper I listened to was broke and then they made it," he recalls. "These rappers had very hard childhoods, whether it was because of money, parental issues or anger from insecurities, and all of that is what I felt in that moment."

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His favorite rappers felt like personal mentors, and he decided to imitate them and try rapping himself. He recorded songs using the microphone on his MP3 player; he says they were a crucial way for him to vent. "From when I was 13 until today, being able to write about my life and how I'm feeling, it's the most therapeutic thing for me," he says.

Around the same time he discovered hip-hop, MJ became fascinated by technology. His family couldn't afford a computer, but someone at his local church built a computer for them, complete with a see-through CPU tower. MJ first used it just to edit music, but always loved looking at the computer parts light up. One day, he spent six hours taking the tower apart and putting the pieces back together. "It was very overwhelming but exciting the entire time," he says, "and I think that's a similar emotion I feel when I make music."

Most recently, he posted a video showcasing how he used AI to create a hip-hop beat. He collected instrumental tracks that he and his producer friends had created over the years, and uploaded the files to Google Cloud. Then he used Magenta, Google's open-source tool that uses machine learning to help create music and art. (Musicians like YACHT have used Magenta to create entire albums.) Based on how he identified "hip-hop" in his dataset, the machine learning model created entirely new melodies and drum beats. MJ then used those new sounds to craft his track, and wrote and performed lyrics to go along with it.

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At Google I/O 2019, YACHT and The Flaming Lips performed with help from Magenta machine learning.

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Even though it was made with the help of machine learning, the finished product still sounded like his music. And that's the whole point: MJ wants to show that AI doesn't take away the human side of his art-it adds to it. "AI never replaced anything," he explains. "It only assisted."

MJ Jacob shows how he created hip-hop beats using AI.
10:25

Authenticity is important to MJ (whose musical alias is MJx Music), because he sees music as an important emotional outlet. His most popular song, "Time Will Heal," which has more than a million streams, is inspired by his sister, a survivor of sexual abuse. The lyrics are written from her perspective. "She taught me so much about what it means to be a strong human, to go through hell and back and still be able to make it," MJ says. "We decided it would be a cool opportunity to not only share her story, but also help anyone who's ever been abused or felt they've been taken advantage of."

"Time Will Heal" by MJx Music
10:25

Next, MJ is hoping to take his experiments with music and machine learning to a new level. In fact, he's so inspired by the combination that he's looking to create a three or four-track EP co-produced by AI.


"Both music and tech are so fulfilling for me that they have the ability to intertwine so well," he says. "Now I'm pushing myself even more musically, and I'm pushing myself even more technically. It's cool to be able to contribute to a new concept in the world."

20 Nov 2020 5:00pm GMT

Honoring Black Consciousness Day in Brazil

Editor's note: Last night, on the eve of the Black Consciousness Day in Brazil, a Black man, João Alberto Silveira Freitas, died after being beaten at a supermarket in Porto Alegre, in the south of the country. We would like to express our sentiments to the Black community in Brazil.

In Brazil, November 20 is Black Consciousness Day, or Dia da Consciência Negra in Portuguese, a public holiday celebrated in more than 830 cities around the country. It's a tribute to Zumbi dos Palmares, the most prominent resistance leader against slavery and a symbol of the fight for freedom and recognition.

In a country where more than half the population of 212 million people identify as Black, Brazilians celebrate this day to raise awareness about the history and the achievements of the Black community. It's also a moment to further debate the struggles Black Brazilians face: structural racism, inequality, displacement, exploitation, poverty and more.

Following Google's commitments to racial equity, we created a series of initiatives to celebrate Black Consciousness Day: a wealth of new material on Google Arts & Culture; a Google Play Store collection and a film showcasing local Black founders and developers of apps, games and websites; a new group of Black-led startups will be funded by Google for Startups; and Google.org grants to advance racial justice.

Honoring Black art

In partnership with 15 cultural institutions, Google Arts & Culture created "Celebrating Black Brazil," a hub dedicated to Afro-Brazilian art and culture that features more than 30 exhibitions about the history behind this celebration. Thanks to the Geledés Black Women Institute, you can learn more about the artistic representation of the Black community, or explore African culture in over 600 artworks from the Museo de Arte de Bahia digitized in super high-resolution. You can also examine the artistic and cultural expressions at the Port of Rio, one of the main harbors for slave trade in the Americas.

Restoring history

Four young Brazilian artists worked with the Museu Afro Brasil and a team of historians and curators to uncover unknown stories of Black Brazil.

The stories range from an empowering tale of sisterhood and entrepreneurship in Salvador, to an exploration of how African design and technology have influenced Brazil's development. The artworks represent Black communities beyond stereotypes, integrating elements from African legacy.

  • jess (1).png

    Sisterhood of the Good Death - by Jess Vieira

    The artist portrays the Sisterhood of the Good Death, exploring the sense of community and sisterhood that culminated in female entrepreneurship.

  • Design and Technology in the age of slavery

    Design and Technology in the age of slavery - by Heloísa Hariadne

    The technologies mastered by Africans in farming, mining, metallurgy and astronomy were essential to the colonizers, demystifying the idea that black people contribute only to art and culture.

  • robinho-santana.jpg

    Ibejis - by Robinho Santana

    The Ibejis are entities that express general aspects of human dualities and are represented by twins in the Yoruba tradition.The artwork proposes to build an opportunity to present black childhood with dignity and reality.

  • pegge.jpg

    Timóteo brothers - by Pegge

    The Timóteo Brothers were the first black artists to receive national and international recognition after slavery, and to portray common unstereotyped black people. The artist builds on their "insistence on being seen" in this piece.

To explore these remarkable stories in more detail, and to discover collections from more than 2,000 cultural institutions around the world, visit Google Arts & Culture online or download the free mobile app (iOS and Android).

Helping Black job seekers and entrepreneurs

Unemployment in Brazil increased 43 percent between May and September, leaving 4.1 million people out of work. To help Black job seekers discover, prepare and apply for jobs around the country, the Grow with Google team launched the mentorship program "Black Careers Matter," a guide to your next professional move.

Google for Startups' Black Founders Fund in Brazil provides non-dilutive, equity-free cash awards up to $1 million for startups founded and led by Black entrepreneurs in Brazil. The goal is to support around 30 startups by the end of 2021.

In addition to the first startups announced in September (Afropolitan, CREATORS and TrazFavela), six new startups from different business areas and regions of the country will receive financial resources from Google: EasyJur, LegAut, Treinus, Wellbe, WeUse and Aoca Game Lab.

Aoca, for example, is a small studio in Salvador, the cradle of Afro-Brazilian culture. Since September 2016, the studio has focused on the development of Árida, a series of survival games for PC that tells the story of Cícera, a girl on a journey of discovery in the Brazilian hinterland of the 19th century.
Google employees and startup founders on a video call

The Google team welcomes the founders of the 6 new startups that will be funded by Google for Startups' Black Founders Fund in Brazil.

Celebrating Black developers and creators

We caught up with some Black founders and developers who create apps, games and websites in Brazil. They shared their journeys, tips and passions in this video:
Celebrating devs from Brazil
10:25

Through November 26, the Google Play Store will highlight content celebrating Afro-Brazilian culture. This special collection features apps by some of these Black Brazilian entrepreneurs alongside movies, books, and a game showcasing Black Brazilian protagonists and stories of courage and resilience.

Starting on November 20, Google Podcasts will showcase a collection of local Black podcasters running shows such as Afetos, História Preta, Afropausa and many more.

Supporting organizations fighting for racial justice

2020 has been a year of racial reckoning that led to more global awareness and solidarity. In June, our CEO Sundar Pichai reinforced the importance of addressing systemic racism in regions beyond the United States, such as Brazil, and across Europe and Africa.

Google.org will provide $500,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations working to advance racial justice in Brazil. To start that work, we are announcing two grants:

Fundo Baobá

Fundo Baobá is the first and only fund solely focused on racial equity in Brazil. Google.org will make a $400,000 grant to support an open call for organizations from all 27 states of the country to submit ideas for funding, centered on how they are tackling racial justice locally, and ultimately funding 10 organizations in all of the five regions of Brazil. Stay tuned on how to apply by following Fundo Baobá on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Fundação Getúlio Vargas - FGV

To improve information-gathering about the state of racial justice in Brazil, Google.org will make a $100,000 grant to the Racial Justice and the Law Research Center (Núcleo de Pesquisa em Justiça Racial e Direito) at FGV. The research will be led by Black scholars and thought leaders in the field, and will focus on data analysis and visualization of the racial dimensions of police violence in Brazil.

We know that Brazil still has a long way to go to reduce racial inequality. With initiatives like these, we hope to continue contributing to build a more equitable future.

20 Nov 2020 12:00pm GMT

19 Nov 2020

feedThe Official Google Blog

How Project Guideline gave me the freedom to run solo

Editor's Note: At Google Research, we're interested in exploring how technology can help improve people's daily lives and experiences. So it's been an incredible opportunity to work with Thomas Panek, avid runner and President & CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, to apply computer vision for something important in his everyday life: independent exercise. Project Guideline is an early-stage research project that leverages on-device machine learning to allow Thomas to use a phone, headphones and a guideline painted on the ground to run independently. Below, Thomas shares why he collaborated with us on this research project, and what the journey has been like for him.

I've always loved to run. Ever since I was a boy, running has made me feel free. But when I was eight-years-old, I noticed that I couldn't see the leaves on a tree so well, and that the stars in the night sky began to slowly disappear-and then they did forever. By the time I was a young adult, I was diagnosed as legally blind due to a genetic condition. I had to rely on a cane or a canine to guide me. For years, I gave up running.

Then I heard about running with human guides, and I decided to give it a try. It gave me a sense of belonging, holding a tether and following the guide runner in front of me. I even qualified for the New York City and Boston Marathons five years in a row. But as grateful as I was to my human guides, I wanted more independence. So in 2019, I decided to run the first half-marathon assisted only by guide dogs.

But I know it's not possible for everyone to have a brilliant, fast companion like my guide dog, Blaze. I run an organization called Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and we work tirelessly to help people with vision loss receive running guide dogs that can help them live more active and independent lives. The problem is that there are millions more people with vision loss than there are available guide dogs. So I started asking a question: "Would it be possible to help guide a blind runner, independently?"

In the fall of 2019, I asked that question to a group of designers and technologists at a Google hackathon. I wasn't anticipating much more than an interesting conversation, but by the end of the day they'd built a rough demo that allowed a phone to recognize a line taped to the ground, and give audio cues to me while I walked with Blaze. We were excited, and hopeful to see if we could develop it into something more.

We began by sketching out how the prototype would work, settling on a simple concept: I'd wear a phone on a waistband, and bone-conducting headphones. The phone's camera would look for a physical guideline on the ground and send audio signals depending on my position. If I drifted to the left of the line, the sound would get louder and more dissonant in my left ear. If I drifted to the right, the same thing would happen, but in my right ear. Within a few months, we were ready to test it on an indoor oval track. After a few adjustments, I was able to run eight laps. It was a short distance, and all with my Google teammates close by, but it was the first unguided mile I had run in decades.

Our next step was to see if the tech could work where I love running most: in the peace and serenity of a park. This brought a whole new batch of challenges to work through: variables in weather and lighting conditions and the need for new data to train the model, for starters. After months of building an on-device machine learning model to accurately detect the guideline in different environments, the team was finally ready to test the tech outside for the first time.

I'd been waiting 25 years to run outdoors, on my own. I stood at the start of the guideline, hopping up and down with excitement. When the team gave me the go-ahead, I began sprinting on my toes, as fast as my legs could carry me, down the hill and around a gentle bend in the road. As I tightened my form, my stride was getting more confident and longer with every step. I felt free, like I was effortlessly running through the clouds.

When I arrived at the finish line, I was completely overcome with emotion. My wife, Melissa, and my kids hugged me. My guide dog Blaze licked the salt off of my hand. They were happy for me, too. For the first time in a lifetime, I didn't feel like a blind man. I felt free.

Today, we're testing this technology further. I'll be attempting to run NYRR's Virtual Run for Thanks 5K along a line temporarily painted in Central Park in New York City. I want to thank NYRR, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Central Park Conservancy, NYPD, NYC Department of Sanitation and the NYC Department of Transportation for helping to make today's 5K run possible. We want to see how this system works in urban environments, just one of the many challenges to complete before it can be used more widely.

Collaborating on this project helped me realize a personal dream of mine. I'm so grateful to the Google team, and whoever came up with the idea of a hackathon in the first place. I hope there will be more runs with Project Guideline in my future, and for many other runners as well.

By sharing the story of how this project got started and how the tech works today, we hope to start new conversations with the larger blind and low-vision community about how, and if, this technology might be useful for them, too. As we continue our research, we hope to gather feedback from more organizations and explore painting guidelines in their communities. To learn more, please visit: goo.gle/ProjectGuideline.

19 Nov 2020 8:00pm GMT

Earn more this holiday season with engaging ad formats

The holiday season presents a great opportunity for app publishers to earn more from rising CPMs. This year, as consumers continue to spend more time in apps, it's even more critical for publishers to optimize their monetization strategy. Finding the right combination of ad formats is key to maximize revenue while creating engaging user experiences. In this post, we'll share some of the latest ad format innovations to help publishers achieve their goals.

Unlock new placement with app open ads

App open ads are a great way to monetize an app's loading experience. They unlock a new ad placement opportunity when a user opens or switches back to the app. The format is specially designed to seamlessly integrate into these loading screens to maximize engagement. We first announced app open ads at this year's Think Games event and have since enhanced its performance and usability with features like standardized publisher branding. Publishers who have implemented the latest version of app open ads have seen up to twice as much revenue. We're excited to share that app open ads are now in open beta. To learn more and get started with app open ads, start here or reach out to your account manager.

admob app open ads

Increase impressions and engagement with rewarded interstitial ads

Rewarded interstitial is a new format that helps deliver more impressions with an engaging ad experience. It allows publishers to engage users who do not opt-in to traditional rewarded ads by offering meaningful in-app rewards for watching full-page interstitial ads. Rewarded interstitial can help deliver better monetization results in the following ways:

  • Increase overall ARPDAU by adding rewarded interstitials in new placements with contextual in-app rewards

  • Improve engagement and retention by replacing interstitial ads with rewarded interstitials

  • Generate more impressions by replacing rewarded ads that have low opt-in rate with rewarded interstitials

Rewarded interstitial was first announced at Think Games. The product is in closed beta. To learn more and get started with this ad format, start here or reach out to your account manager.

admob rewarded interstitial ads

Optimize performance with adaptive banners

Adaptive banners offer an easy and effective way for app publishers to enhance the performance of banner ads. With the ability to return the optimal ad size tailored for each user's device, adaptive banners can help publishers maximize the performance of banner ads with minimal coding.

Adaptive banners can be placed in two ways:

  • Anchored placement: banners will appear locked to the top or bottom of the screen. Adaptive anchor banners were first introduced in late 2019 and are now available for all publishers to use.

  • Inline placement: banners will appear in scroll view within app content. This is a new placement that is now available in closed beta.

To learn more and get started with adaptive banner ads, start here or reach out to your account manager.

admob adaptive banner ads

Optimizing ad format strategy with the right combination and placement is key to earning more while creating engaging user experiences. As we approach the holiday season this year, we encourage publishers to consider integrating some of the latest formats from AdMob to maximize revenue.

19 Nov 2020 6:00pm GMT

21 Oct 2019

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

All the Fitbit activity badges

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

21 Oct 2019 3:06am GMT

04 Nov 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2018: Crab claws!

Do you need something to cheer you up? You got it: I should explain this costume a little bit. At the US Digital Service, we do a thing called "crab claws." Crab claws is like visual applause-you pinch your fingers up and down to say "great job" or "congratulations" or "way to go." We do […]

04 Nov 2018 8:02pm GMT

08 Mar 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Some terrible personal news

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

08 Mar 2018 12:17am GMT

22 Jan 2018

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Talking to Mr. Money Mustache about the US Digital Service

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

22 Jan 2018 6:58pm GMT

01 Apr 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google April Fools' Day 2017

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

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



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



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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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

01 Apr 2017 7:25am GMT

19 Feb 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Gmail Blocks JavaScript Attachments

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


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

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

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

19 Feb 2017 10:39am GMT

25 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Shows Colorful Suggestions

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


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




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

25 Jan 2017 9:39pm GMT

19 Jan 2017

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Staying with the US Digital Service

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

19 Jan 2017 3:47am GMT

16 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Image Search Starts Playing YouTube Videos

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



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

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

16 Jan 2017 10:49am GMT

13 Jan 2017

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Desktop Notifications, Now For Everyone

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

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


13 Jan 2017 2:08pm GMT

29 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

YouTube Notifications in the Navigation Bar

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

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


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

29 Dec 2016 12:24pm GMT

Google's New Mobile UI for Recipe Search

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


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



29 Dec 2016 11:09am GMT

08 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Translate's 5000 Character Limit

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


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

08 Dec 2016 6:18pm GMT

Google Tests Movie Ratings

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


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


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

08 Dec 2016 11:45am GMT

06 Dec 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google's Holiday Decorations

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

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


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




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

06 Dec 2016 2:21pm GMT

New Interface for Google Search

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


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


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


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


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



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

06 Dec 2016 1:31pm GMT

17 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Random Facts About Animals in Google Search

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

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



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

17 Oct 2016 9:00pm GMT

15 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Found in Related Searches

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

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


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



15 Oct 2016 7:34am GMT

14 Oct 2016

feedGoogle Operating System

Google Converts Queries Into Questions

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

14 Oct 2016 10:29pm GMT

Google's Card for Directions

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


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


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


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

14 Oct 2016 9:27pm GMT

Add Home Screen Shortcuts to Google Maps Directions

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



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


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

14 Oct 2016 8:48pm GMT

18 Jun 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

A brief update

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

18 Jun 2016 1:57am GMT

03 Feb 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Thanks, Amit

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

03 Feb 2016 7:49pm GMT

19 Jan 2016

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Solving a Verizon issue (Nexus 5X)

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

19 Jan 2016 2:00am GMT

31 Oct 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Halloween 2015: USB Drive

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

31 Oct 2015 8:02pm GMT

24 Sep 2015

feedMatt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO

Give Google Contributor a try

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

24 Sep 2015 3:09pm GMT

26 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

The Emperor's Garden

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

26 Aug 2011 12:12pm GMT

15 Aug 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

15 Aug 2011 4:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2011

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Google drops reverse phone number lookup

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

25 Feb 2011 11:23am GMT

16 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Idea: Topical Chat

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

16 Dec 2010 2:55pm GMT

Idea: CrowdChat

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

16 Dec 2010 7:26am GMT

Google Body Browser

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

16 Dec 2010 2:17am GMT

10 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Pictures of the Cr-48

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

10 Dec 2010 5:23am GMT

09 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Chromedroidpad

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

09 Dec 2010 12:40pm GMT

08 Dec 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

Device Evolution

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

08 Dec 2010 5:17am GMT

17 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

How to Disable Google Instant Previews

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

17 Nov 2010 3:08am GMT

16 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

16 Nov 2010 4:20am GMT

15 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

15 Nov 2010 8:26am GMT

12 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

12 Nov 2010 7:00am GMT

04 Nov 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

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

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

04 Nov 2010 2:58am GMT

24 Oct 2010

feedGoogle Blogoscoped

See a Random Street View Location

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

24 Oct 2010 6:42am GMT