26 Feb 2021

feedThe Official Google Blog

For Rich Jones, starting a finance podcast just made cents

In this post: Rich Jones, who works in people operations at Google, is the host of a personal finance podcast called "Paychecks & Balances." He hopes his show can help people learn from his mistakes - and now he's helping others start podcasts, too.


Several years ago, Rich Jones was on the hunt for personal finance podcasts. But none were right for him. "It felt like every podcast that I listened to either made me feel dumb, or made me feel like I was being lectured by an old white guy in a suit," he says. "Or it just was really boring." So he decided to create his own.


These days, his podcast, "Paychecks & Balances," has been downloaded more than two million times and recently won an award from the Plutus Foundation, which highlights excellence in financial media. He often records episodes from his Mountain View home in the early-morning hours, then logs on for his job working in People Operations at Google.


For years, Rich has turned to the internet to express himself. But even though his name is, well, Rich, he didn't first think of money as a topic to talk about. In fact, he had first blogged about relationships for several years, and then co-hosted a podcast called "2 Guys, 1 Show," that was about more general topics, including money.


Rich realized that if he felt lectured by finance podcasters, other people like him - and possibly younger people learning about money for the first time - likely felt the same way. So he and his co-host decided to focus on finances and rename the podcast "Paychecks & Balances." They wanted to reach out to younger versions of themselves - and Rich also wanted to represent people like him as well as reach them. "Even now, you won't find a whole lot of Black men in the personal finance space in particular," he says. "I think it's important to be out there as a Black male and show a perspective that you might not be getting elsewhere."

For the current season of the show, Rich is hosting the show solo, and he's continuing to share his own financial progress while also teaching others. When he started the show, he was grappling with credit-card debt after treating his cards like "free money." Because of his experience, he knows to talk about money in a way that's relatable and simple, for people just starting to manage their finances. "I don't call myself an expert," he says. "Podcasting is a medium for me to talk about my experience. And not just my successes, but the mistakes I've made along the way as well."

It felt like every podcast that I listened to either made me feel dumb, or made me feel like I was being lectured by an old white guy in a suit.

Rich is constantly surprised that he keeps getting the same questions over and over - like how to balance a budget, or why not to sign up for a credit card in exchange for a free T-shirt. And over the past year, he's seen friends fall prey to get-rich-quick scams and even try to sign him up. Rich says this is a symptom of a lack of financial education. "The interesting problem to me is: How do we close that gap where this information feels accessible to everyone, and people are accessing that information a lot sooner?" he says.


With the growth of his podcast, Rich says people have come to him asking for advice on starting their own podcasts. So this month he launched a YouTube page, The Show Starter, which breaks down advice for people who might not have a technical audio background. "It'll be a combination of tutorials, reviews and some motivational content, but not the cheesy, corny kind," he says. "It's very similar to the approach I take with personal finance topics, where I try to simplify things as much as possible and take out the jargon." He hopes to one day expand his work into a multimedia company, with multiple brands under the "Paychecks & Balances" umbrella.

The Show Starter trailer
10:25

Rich says both his podcast and his YouTube channel have the same goal: helping others. "While the podcast is about money, for me this has never been about the money," Rich says. "I love seeing people achieve freedom in their lives, whatever that means for them. I think continuing to focus on that is what has kept people along for the ride."

26 Feb 2021 5:00pm GMT

Furthering our work with HBCUs

Melonie Parker in a graduation cap and gown receiving her diploma from Hampton University.

Melonie Parker graduating from Hampton University, a historically Black research university in Hampton, Virginia.

We have a responsibility to not only increase representation of our workforce, but also work with higher education institutions to provide access and opportunities for underrepresented groups in the tech industry. As Google's Chief Diversity Officer, it gives me great pride to continue our long-standing partnership with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUS) in order to achieve these goals.

For example, this year, we expanded our Grow with Google Career Readiness Program to 20 schools, and in our recent Tech Exchange cohort, 95% of students rated their overall experience as positive. We've also reached more than 4,000 students through our Google in Residence program. I'm proud that we've hired hundreds of students from HBCUs as a part of these joint efforts with our HBCU partners.

Now, we're deepening our partnership with HBCUs with a new "Pathways to Tech" initiative, designed to build equity for HBCU computing education, help job seekers find tech roles, and ensure that Black employees have growth opportunities and feel included at work. To help us drive this work, we are working with HBCUs to form a tech advisory board that strengthens our existing partnership. The HBCU Tech Advisory Board is composed of four parts:

  1. HBCU Tech Advisory Board:The board will be involved in shaping "Pathways to Tech" efforts and will expand to include additional corporations in the future.

  2. HBCU Presidents' Council: Dr. Michael Lomax of UNCF and Dr. Harry Williams of TMCF will lead an HBCU Presidents' Council, which will advise the board and ensure that we're creating and executing meaningful programming that meets the needs of HBCU students.

  3. Joint Steering Committee: To set goals and drive this work forward, I will sit on a steering committee alongside Dr. Kamau Bobb, Global Lead, Diversity Strategy and Research at Google; Maria Medrano, Senior Director, Diversity Strategy at Google; Eric Hart, Chief Programs Officer at Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Chad Womack, Senior Director of STEM Programs and Initiatives; Angela Van Croft, Director, Corporations and Foundations at United Negro College Fund; and Alycia Onowho, Program Manager at Howard University.

  4. Internal Advisory Committee:I will lead an HBCU Advisory Committee that consists of senior vice presidents across Google, including product leaders and executives across Talent Acquisition, Grow with Google, Google.org and Engineering Education, to organize our efforts across the company.

As we deepen our work together, here's a look at some of the areas we're focused on.

Helping to build equity for HBCU computing education

We'll continue to invest in programs that help students develop skills and immerse themselves in tech, and help universities and faculty establish the infrastructure and tools they need to support these students. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that when HBCU students graduate, they'll have the skills they need to succeed in tech.

This year, our Tech Exchange program will host 114 computer science majors, providing them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in coding classes at Google. This first-of-its-kind program is now in its fourth year, and we've continued to update, broaden and improve the program over the years. Through our Google in Residence program, which sends experienced Google Software Engineers to HBCU campuses for a semester to teach introductory computer science classes, we've reached more than 4,000 students. Through this initiative, students gain practical knowledge about what it's like to work in the tech industry.

Our Faculty in Residence program is an immersive professional development program that brings CS faculty from HBCUs and HSIs to Google for a four week summer residency, where they design project-based, industry-informed content and implement that content back in their classrooms.

Since 2017, we've invited more than 50 faculty members from 30 HBCUs to join the program.

Helping students find jobs in tech

We'll also remain focused on helping HBCU students find and secure internships and jobs that will help them build successful careers. Last year, we launched the Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program, a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which brings Grow with Google digital skills training into the career centers of HBCUs. The program recently expanded to 20 HBCUs, and aims to help 20,000 students learn digital skills by the end of the current school year. As we have in the past, we'll continue our HBCU Campus Outreach efforts to prepare students for the tech industry with resume workshops, mock interviews and opportunities for students to develop their soft skills and technical skills through events like coding challenges and hackathons.

Creating a workplace where everyone belongs

For students who choose to pursue a career at Google, we're also accelerating efforts to ensure every Googler - and in particular Black students and those from other underrepresented groups - experience Google as an inclusive workplace and have the opportunity to accelerate their careers.

We have a responsibility to help provide access and opportunities for underrepresented talent to join the tech industry. Many of the initiatives we're working on are the first of their kind in our industry. It's so important that we keep this momentum going.

26 Feb 2021 4:00pm GMT

A Matter of Impact: February updates from Google.org

Editor's note: Welcome to A Matter of Impact, Google.org's monthly digest, where we highlight what the team's been up to and spotlight some of the incredible nonprofits and Google.org Fellows helping solve some of society's biggest challenges through technology and innovation.

It didn't take long for the effects of COVID-19 to reveal a devastating, but predictable, truth: the pandemic has had an outsized impact on marginalized groups, especially people of color. At Google.org, we aim to bring the best of Google to support underserved communities. So when we made a $100 million grant and 50,000 pro bono hour commitment to support COVID-19 relief, we focused our efforts on addressing the compounding racial and social inequities of this crisis.

As we join forces to fight this pandemic, we must put equity at the center of our response and lift up our most vulnerable communities. Here you'll find updates about our work that's at the intersection of COVID-19 relief and equity and two themes that remain top priorities for us.

Equitable distribution of vaccines and health information

Data shows that COVID-19 affects people of color at much higher rates: about 71% percent of Black Americans and 61% of Hispanic Americans know someone who has died or been hospitalized from the virus compared to 48% of white Americans. Yet data also shows that Black Americans are getting vaccinated at lower rates than their peers. That's why we have a team of Google.org Fellows working full-time with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine to help create a Health Equity Tracker to map and contextualize COVID-19 health disparities in communities of color throughout the U.S. We're also committing $5 million in grants to organizations addressing racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations.

Support for minority-owned small businesses

Turning to the economy, reports have shown that 41% of Black-owned businesses - about 440,000 businesses - have shuttered due to COVID-19 compared to 17% of businesses owned by white people. To support minority business owners through the pandemic, we've supported Common Future with grant funding to provide capital and technical assistance to 2,000 women and minority small-business entrepreneurs in the U.S. We'll also provide opportunities for Google volunteers to assist them with skill-based coaching and mentoring.

Read the rest of our Google.org updates below.


In case you missed it

Yesterday, leading academic organizations with support from a team of Google.org Fellows, shared the launch of Global.health, a data platform that helps model the trajectory of COVID-19 and future disease. Last month, we launched a Google.org Impact Challenge to help bridge the digital divide in Central and Eastern Europe, and announced $3 million in grants to help underserved communities in Kenya during a virtual summit with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, and H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya.
Watch this video on YouTube to learn more about the Global.health platform.
10:25

Hear from one of our grantees: Common Future

Rodney Foxworth is the CEO of Common Future, a network of leaders helping to build an economy that includes everyone. Last spring, Common Future received a $5 million Google.org grant to provide capital and technical assistance to women and minority small business entrepreneurs in the U.S.

Headshot of Rodney Foxworth laughing in front of a red brick wall.

Rodney Foxworth is the CEO of Common Future, a Google.org grantee.


"As we think about long-term COVID-19 recovery, we need to stabilize and uplift small businesses. Common Future, with support from Google.org, has been able to give grants to over 30 organizations that do just that. These entrepreneurial-support organizations (ESOs) that we supported serve roughly 2,000 small businesses across the U.S. - 76% of these organizations are run by people of color and 62% are run by women - and center on inclusive lending models. For example, a few organizations that we work with are pioneering character-based lending models, as many business-owners of color are excluded from the traditional banking sector due to traditional credit and collateral requirements."

A few words with a Google.org Fellow: Colin Jackson

Colin Jackson is a product manager who recently completed a Google.org Fellowship with Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse School of Medicine.

A headshot of Colin Jackson.

Colin Jackson is a Google.org Fellow with Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

"I grew up Black in America, but I was raised by a white family. This gave me a unique perspective on health inequity. I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a child since my little sister was diagnosed with cancer when she was two years old. In the midst of that pain I very quickly became aware of the different ways I was treated in medical spaces when I was alone compared to when I was with my family. Helping develop SHLI's Health Equity Tracker was such a natural fit for me, and the experience was deeply rewarding. I felt like I was returning to those hospitals I spent so much time in as a child, but this time with the power to make a difference."

26 Feb 2021 2:00pm GMT

25 Feb 2021

feedThe Official Google Blog

Using AI to explore the future of news audio

Radio reaches more Americans every week than any other platform. Public radio stations in the United States have over 3,000 local journalists and each day they create audio news reports about the communities they serve. But news audio is in a similar place as newspaper articles were in the 1990s: hard to find, and difficult to sort by topic, source, relevance or recency. News audio can not delay in improving its discoverability.

KQED is the most listened to public radio station in the United States, and one of the largest news organizations in the Bay Area. In partnership with Google, KQED and KUNGFU.AI, an AI services provider and leader in applied machine learning, ran a series of tests on KQED's audio to determine how we might reduce the errors and time to publish our news audio transcripts, and ultimately, make radio news audio more findable.

"One of the pillars of the Google New Initiative is incubating new approaches to difficult problems," said David Stoller, Partner Lead for News & Publishing at Google "Once complete, this technology and associated best practices will be openly shared, greatly expanding the anticipated impact."


What makes finding audio so much harder?

In order for news audio to be searched or sorted, the speech must first be converted to text. This added step is trickier than it seems, and currently puts news audio at a disadvantage for being found quickly and accurately. Transcription takes time, effort and bandwidth from newsrooms - not something that is in abundance these days. Even though there have been great advances in speech to text, when it comes to news, the bar for accuracy is very high. As someone who works to make KQED's reporting widely available, it is frustrating when KQED's audio isn't prominent in search engines and news aggregators.


The challenge of correctly identifying who, what and where

For our tests, KQED and KUNGFU.AI, applied the latest speech-to-text tools to a collection of KQED's news audio. News stories try to address the "five Ws:" who, what, when, where and why. Unfortunately, because AI typically lacks the context in which the speech was made (i.e. identity of the speaker, location of the story), one of the most difficult challenges of automated speech-to-text is correctly identifying these types of proper nouns, known as named entities. KQED's local news audio is rich in references of named entities related to topics, people, places, and organizations that are contextual to the Bay Area region. Speakers use acronyms like "CHP" for California Highway Patrol and "the Peninsula" for the area spanning San Francisco to San Jose. These are more difficult for artificial intelligence to identify.

When named entities aren't understood, machine learning models make their best estimation of what was said. For example, in our test, "The Asia Foundation" was incorrectly transcribed as "age of Foundations" and "misgendered" was incorrectly transcribed as "Miss Gendered." For news publishers, these are not just transcription errors, but editorial problems that change the meaning of a topic and can cause embarrassment for the news outlet. This means people have to go in and correct these transcriptions, which is expensive to do for every audio segment. Without transcriptions, search engines can't find these stories, limiting the amount of quality local news people can find online.

An illustration showing a new proposed process for audio transcription where the human correcting the mistakes in the first version helps inform it to make the transcription more clear, accurate for the future.

A machine learning ↔ human ↔ machine learning feedback loop

At KQED, our editors can correct common machine learning errors in our transcripts. But right now, the machine learning model isn't learning from its mistakes. We're beginning to test out a feedback loop in which newsrooms could identify common transcription errors to improve the machine learning model.

We're confident that in the near future, improvements into these speech-to-text models will help convert audio to text faster, ultimately helping people find audio news more effectively.


25 Feb 2021 5:00pm GMT

Using artificial intelligence in breast cancer screening

Every year, approximately 40 million women undergo breast-cancer screening in the U.S. using a procedure called mammography. For some, this can be a nerve-wracking experience; many wait days or weeks before a radiologist can review their scan and provide initial screening results. Between 10 and 15 percent of women must return for a second visit and undergo more scans before receiving a final diagnostic assessment - drawing out the process further.


Together with Northwestern Medicine, Google Health is working on a new clinical research study to explore whether artificial intelligence (AI) models can help reduce the time to diagnosis, narrowing the assessment gap and improving the patient experience.


Women who choose to take part in the study may have their mammograms reviewed by an investigational AI model that flags scans for immediate review by a radiologist if they show a higher likelihood of breast cancer. If a radiologist determines that further imaging is required, the woman will have the option to undergo this imaging on the same day. This study will evaluate whether this prioritization could reduce the amount of time that women spend waiting for a diagnostic assessment. Women whose mammograms are not flagged will continue to have their images reviewed within regular timeframes.


"Through this study, Northwestern Medicine aims to improve the excellent care we deliver to our patients every day. With the use of artificial intelligence, we hope to expedite the process to diagnosis of breast cancer by identifying suspicious findings on patients' screening examinations earlier than the standard of care," says study principal investigator Dr. Sarah Friedewald, chief of breast imaging at Northwestern Medicine and vice chair for women's imaging in radiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "Every patient in the study will continue to have their mammograms interpreted by a radiologist, but the artificial intelligence will flag and prioritize patients that need additional imaging, facilitating the flow of care."


This research study with Northwestern Medicine builds on previous research which demonstrated the potential of AI models to analyze de-identified retrospectively collected screening mammograms with similar or better accuracy than clinicians.


Artificial intelligence has shown great potential to improve health care outcomes; the next challenge is to demonstrate how AI can be applied in the real-world. At Google Health, we're committed to working with clinicians, patients and others to harness advances in research and ultimately bring about better and more accessible care.

25 Feb 2021 2:00pm GMT

Three easy ways to support Black-owned businesses

Image of Marcus Davis, owner of The Breakfast Klub, standing in front of a mural.

Marcus Davis, owner of The Breakfast Klub.

As a Black businessman and owner of The Breakfast Klub for nearly 20 years, I've seen a lot of things and overcome a breadth of adversity - from the 2007 recession and Hurricane Harvey to, most recently, the snowstorms in Texas and the pandemic. It should come as a surprise to no one that 2020 dealt an entirely new set of challenges. Challenges that, unfortunately, have affected the Black community disproportionately.

Through said challenges, we've also heard a rallying cry. Many Americans have come together to lift us up and support our businesses. As we continue to reflect, teach, learn and grow together throughout 2021, I am offering three easy steps you can take to help support the Black-owned businesses in your community beyond the end of Black History Month:

1. Be intentional

The best tip I can share to help support Black-owned businesses in your community is to start with an open mindset. If the intent and the willingness to help are there, then you've already taken a big step in supporting these businesses.

There's an old saying that says, "when America catches a cold, a Black man catches a flu." The barriers that minority communities face are currently being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Black-owned businesses have closed at double the rate of white-owned businesses due to the pandemic. This is a direct reflection of the unconscious bias that exists in America today, and further proves why mindfulness is so important.

Do the research. Understand the opportunity and the need. And be deliberate and intentional in showing up for the Black-owned businesses in your community.

2. Show your support in whichever way works best for you

Once you've made the decision to support Black-owned businesses, there are so many ways you can help uplift them.

You can show up for the business by ordering takeout, delivery, goods and gift cards online. If you can't afford to regularly spend money on the goods and services these businesses offer, you can also upload photos or leave a positive review on their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps. Word of mouth and positive affirmations help us keep our heads high and our doors open.

3. Exercise patience

During The Breakfast Klub's first year providing breakfast to the Houston community, we had a customer who kept supporting us as we figured out how to gracefully support our customers. He'd come in and say, "Hey, I see you trying. And as long as you keep trying to get it right, I'm here for you." His patience meant the world to us as we figured out how to operate our business.

A lot of small businesses hadn't been exposed to certain challenges and business opportunities prior to the pandemic. For restaurants, transitioning to curbside pickup and delivery isn't just a flip of a switch. (If you're a Houston-based business owner, there's an upcoming free training that can help make this switch a little easier.)

You can help rebuild your neighborhood by showing patience for Black-owned businesses as they try to sustain themselves through a very tough time. If you're not sure which businesses in your community are Black-owned, Google is a great place to start. By searching for Black-owned restaurants, clothing stores, salons - you name it - you're already taking the first step.

25 Feb 2021 2:00pm GMT

Let’s finalize an international tax deal

For several years, governments around the world have been meeting at the OECD to reform the international corporate tax system. Not surprisingly, success hasn't come quickly. This isn't an easy task - but it remains a critical one. As the world economy seeks to recover from the global pandemic and governments face new fiscal pressures, an agreed solution is needed now more than ever to ensure a durable framework for cross-border trade and investment.

Tomorrow's meeting of G20 finance ministers represents an important opportunity to give this process new momentum. For the new Biden Administration, the meeting represents a chance to underscore its commitment to the OECD-led multilateral process and to fair, comprehensive, and coordinated changes to corporate tax policies. And it represents an equally important opportunity for finance ministers from France, the UK, India, Indonesia, and other leading economies to commit to end the headlong rush to discriminatory tax measures that we've seen in recent years and work with the U.S. on a durable agreement.

The central question is less about how much corporate income tax companies pay than where they pay it. For Google's part, our effective tax rate over the past decade has exceeded 20% of our profits, in line with average statutory tax rates. While we're one of the largest corporate taxpayers in the world, roughly 80% of our corporate income tax has been due in the United States, where Google was founded and where most of our products are developed. The concentration of our tax obligations in our home market mirrors many other multinational companies spanning various industries and countries; foreign firms operating in the U.S. and other countries, for example, also pay the majority of their corporate income taxes in their home countries.

These tax practices are the product of international rules - specifically, international tax treaties that historically have attributed a smaller share of profits to the countries where products and services are consumed, leaving the bulk of taxing rights to the countries where products and services are created.

We have long supported efforts to update international tax rules to arrive at a system where more taxing rights are shifted to countries where products and services are consumed. So, U.S. exports, including a range of technologies, might incur more income tax abroad, while foreign companies exporting to the U.S. would pay more to the U.S. public purse. Like any good agreement, this will require a healthy amount of give-and-take.

Unfortunately, in the absence of multilateral consensus, the world has seen the growth in recent years of taxes targeted at foreign companies. Most prominently, we have seen the growth of so-called "digital services taxes" that aim to raise revenue from a small subset of firms, narrowly defined by revenue thresholds and business models. This selective approach has sparked tensions between the U.S. and some of its allies, pushing countries toward trade disputes that could further damage fragile economies.

Some of the countries imposing these targeted taxes claim they help build momentum for broader international tax reform. But these digital services taxes are complicating efforts to reach a balanced agreement that works for all countries - they're simply laying claim to income that would otherwise be taxed in the U.S. We encourage these governments to roll back what are essentially tariffs or, at a minimum, suspend them while negotiations continue.

The next few months will test commitments countries have made to reinvigorate international cooperation. Left on the current trajectory, tax discord could quickly yield beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism that would weaken cooperation on many issues. But serious steps forward - starting with the rescission or suspension of existing unilateral taxes - could create new momentum for multilateralism, supporting collaboration on many other important fronts. We urge countries to work together on this critical project, building a firmer foundation for international cooperation in the 21st Century.

25 Feb 2021 2:00pm GMT

From managing Google Poland to leading Google for Startups

Welcome to the latest edition of "My Path to Google," where we talk to Googlers, interns and alumni about how they got to Google, what their roles are like and even some tips on how to prepare for interviews.

Today's post is all about Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, the Global Director of Google for Startups. She shares what it was like to first serve as Country Manager for Google Poland and eventually move to a new team focused on supporting startups in the region and around the world.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm Agnieszka Hryniewicz-Bieniek, but please call me Agni. During my first 11 years at Google, I first managed a sales team for a few years before going on to serve as the Country Manager. Later, I was promoted to Country Director for Poland, a position I held for nearly six years. Then, I led Google for Startups in the region as the Head of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) prior to my current role as the Global Director of Google for Startups. I like to say that I used to represent my country in Google, and now I advocate for startups around the world within Google.

While my non-linear career path has spanned fast-moving consumer goods, telecommunications, banking, publishing, entertainment and technology, two things have remained constant: I love applying my knowledge from one industry to another to learn and discover new perspectives, and I thrive when helping other entrepreneurs pursue their dreams.

What was it like transitioning from Country Director for Google Poland to the Google for Startups team?

My transition came naturally because, for a long time, Google Poland felt like a startup itself. When I started in 2008, we had a team of only 10 people. By the time I left, Google Poland had more than 500 employees and had just signed a deal in Poland to build a local Google Cloudregion to ensure that all Polish companies have access to Cloud technology.

I still love leading small, agile teams in big organizations to drive high impact - and Google for Startups is exactly that. Managing such a multicultural and international team is a unique opportunity to hone my own skills while supporting startups in over 125 countries around the world.

Agni standing on a stage, addressing an audience. Behind her is a slide that says “Agni Bieniek, Director Google for Startups.”

Agni speaking at our annual Trailblazers Summit.

How did the recruitment process go for you?

I appreciated that my interviews were dialogues. They felt more like interesting conversations. I was thrilled to speak to Googlers from Turkey, Germany and the United States. They each brought a fresh point of view to the conversation, and I knew that I wanted to work with international colleagues to broaden my own perspectives.

What do you wish you'd known before applying?

Actually, I will reverse that question - I am so glad I didn't know more! I applied based on curiosity, which kept my mind open and positive. I encourage applicants to be more curious, more open and more sincere when thinking about their careers.

Even when I applied for the head of Google for Startups role, I knew I was taking a risk. You design your own path - don't let someone else design it for you.

OurAI Principles prioritize creatingtechnology that's socially beneficial. How does this keep you inspired?

Founders keep us on our toes because they have a high level of awareness of how Google technology and products work. Not only is supporting entrepreneurs the right thing to do because it makes good business sense, Google for Startups is the gateway to supporting founders of all backgrounds as they grow the businesses that will shape our world. That's why we're proud to have initiatives such as the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, which provides equity-free cash awards to Black-led startups in the U.S, Brazil and Europe.

I've seen firsthand how digital transformation and startup ecosystems can transform economies for the better. Poland is part of Central Eastern Europe, a region that has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Growth was initially fueled by traditional industries, but entrepreneurship has really put CEE on the map. I'd love to do the same for other emerging regions around the globe.

Do you have any tips you'd like to share with aspiring Googlers?

Ultimately, the company you work for is more important than the role itself. The company fosters the culture that will create your professional experience. Rather than getting hung up on a job title or moving up the ladder, consider the opportunities that the organization may open for you. Do you connect with the people, and do they share your values? Who you work with is just as important as who you work for.


25 Feb 2021 9:07am GMT

VaxCare simplifies vaccine management with Android Enterprise

Editor's note: Today's post is by Evan Landis, Chief Product Officer with VaxCare. The company aims to simplify vaccination for healthcare providers. VaxCare partnered with Social Mobile to create custom devices managed with Android Enterprise for its customers.

The intense worldwide effort to vaccinate against COVID-19 has highlighted some of the core challenges that have always existed in expanding protections against preventable diseases.

At VaxCare, our mission for more than 10 years has been to simplify vaccination programs, easing the logistical barriers to increasing vaccination rates. Our digital platform is designed to help healthcare professionals modernize their vaccination programs, reduce costs and focus on their patients.

Android devices are central to this strategy. Recently, we partnered with Social Mobile who designed and built bespoke, Google Mobile Services-certified devices that interface with our digital platform. The flexibility of Android Enterprise enabled us to build solutions aligned to our customer needs with simple, flexible management and security tools.

A better customer experience with Android

Social Mobile helped us create custom devices that are simple to set up, use and update, while still meeting HIPAA and HITRUST certification compliance. We were inspired by consumer-facing, point-of-sale devices and the flexibility of the Android platform to create an ideal hardware solution for our customers.

The VaxCare Hub is our stationary, in-practice integrated device with a 13-inch touchscreen, a camera and a scanner that is the main gateway to our platform. When vaccinating patients, healthcare providers scan the dose and view the vaccine and patient information, ensuring accuracy before administering the vaccine.

As a dedicated device tied to our service, healthcare providers always have access to quickly look up the status of their inventory and get updates on new vaccine shipments.


vaxcare hub

The VaxCare Hub, a custom device powered by Android Enterprise, is the key portal to our service.

To design for the new contexts and places where vaccines are administered, we also worked with Social Mobile to create the VaxCare Mobile Hub. This smaller dedicated Android Enterprise device also connects to our Portal service and gives healthcare providers the flexibility to get the information they need no matter where they are administering vaccines.


vaxcare mobile hub

The VaxCare Mobile Hub helps our customers ensure accurate vaccine administration.

Having this vital information readily available in this purpose-built, rugged device has produced efficiency for our network of over 10,000 providers. Since launching the Mobile Hub device in September 2020, they administered over 650,000 flu shots during the 2020 season. One partner practice saw their immunization rates increase 54 percent year-over-year.

Flexible management solutions

Android Enterprise provides comprehensive tools for rapid and secure device enrollment and flexible management, which we enable for our devices through Social Mobile's Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) platform, Mambo.

With zero-touch enrollment, we enable a quick and simple device startup experience for customers. After unboxing and powering on the device, it's automatically enrolled and configured for use with our application. Devices are managed in lock task mode, which locks a device to a specific set of apps, so customers are always connected to our VaxCare Portal.

Security and privacy are critical to any healthcare setting. As a device with Google Mobile Services, the VaxCare Hub and Mobile Hub use Android multi-layered security to continually monitor and protect critical data. We have confidence in the platform security features to ensure we meet the security and privacy promise we make to our customers.

Help for a vaccine surge

With Android Enterprise, we've set ourselves up to scale as we see an increased demand for vaccines and offerings like VaxCare. We've been able to quickly bring online support for our partners in the public phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. We've optimized our platform to assist any of our providers who enroll in a public vaccination program to manage inventory, record-keeping and billing.

As we continue our mission of helping the healthcare community more simply deliver vaccines, we're confident that Android and Social Mobile's custom solutions will continue to be a major component of our hardware and software strategy to support the healthcare community.

25 Feb 2021 9:00am GMT

South Africa is an explorer’s paradise

Nelson Mandela once described South Africa as the most beautiful place on earth, with its breathtaking scenery, wildlife safaris, active adventures, vibrant culture and friendly people. I'm thrilled to announce that, starting today, you can explore what makes the country so spectacular through our new online exhibition - South Africa: an explorer's paradise. Through over 500 high-resolution photographs and videos, 20 expertly-curated stories and 60 Street Views, you can join a safari to meet lions and elephants, or feel the rhythm of the cities and visit ancient geological sites. Step inside the oldest caves in the world and zoom into vast savannas, lush forests and sparkling oceans.

Here are four places to start:

A lioness in Kruger National Park

A lioness photographed on a night drive at the Kruger National Park, from the collection of South African Tourism

Aerial view of Hole in the Wall in the Eastern Cape, from the collection of South African Tourism

Aerial view of Hole in the Wall in the Eastern Cape, from the collection of South African Tourism

1. Meet the Big Five in the South African bush

South Africa is famous for its awe-inspiring safaris, which allow visitors to experience the raw wonder of nature. Part of what makes the experience so special is the opportunity to see the Big Five: lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinos and elephants. Get to know these remarkable animals through exhibitions like Superstars of the South African Bush, or explore breathtaking views of the South African bushveld in Game Drives: A South African Experience.
White River Rafting

White River Rafting in Free State, South Africa, from the collection of South African Tourism

2. Explore the country's hidden gems

Do you know the myth of Hole in the Wall, about a young woman who falls in love with a sea deity? Or that Table Mountain is home to species that can't be found anywhere else on earth, like the Table Mountain Ghost Frog? Get to know some of our country's best kept secrets.


the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga

View of the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga, from the collection of the South African Tourism Board

3. Take a virtual active adventure

If you're the outdoorsy sort, South Africa has a lot to offer, from multi-day hikes and panoramic mountain views to rock climbing and rafting down roaring waters. Be sure to Head over to the Place of Great Noise where the raging waters of the Augrabies Falls meet the Orange River, South Africa's longest river.

4. Travel to 60 locations with Google Street View

Use Street View to explore South Africa's most breathtakingly beautiful sites: Visit Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain; experience the rocky plains of the Cederberg, where you can view the five-meter-high Maltese Cross; or amble through the lush Big Forest Tree Walk, taking in the ancient foliage around you.

For us at South African Tourism, today marks the start of formalizing a relationship and partnership with Google that will play a crucial part in the sector's recovery. We know that digitally-led is the norm and through our partnership we hope to equip the sector with the necessary skills to thrive and adapt in a digital environment.

Curious to see more? Check out g.co/sharesouthafrica or download the Google Arts & Culture app.

25 Feb 2021 9:00am GMT

24 Feb 2021

feedThe Official Google Blog

Our efforts to fight child sexual abuse online

Across Google and YouTube, we are always working to protect our users from harmful content, especially the kind of horrific, illegal content referred to as child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Since our earliest days, we've been committed to fighting online child sexual exploitation and abuse both on our platforms and in the broader online ecosystem. We have invested in the teams, tools, and resources to deter, remove, and report this kind of content, and to help other companies do so. But we know this issue cannot be solved by any one company alone, and we're committed to tackling it with others in our industry and partners who are dedicated to protecting children around the world. Today, we're sharing more information about our work, including new efforts to combat this abuse, and how we're supporting organizations that are committed to protecting kids online.

How we identify and remove CSAM

We identify and report CSAM with a combination of specialized, trained teams of people and cutting-edge technology. We use both hash-matching software like CSAI Match (a technology developed by YouTube engineers to identify re-uploads of previously identified child sexual abuse in videos) and machine learning classifiers that can identify never-before-seen CSAM imagery. These tools allow us to proactively scan our platforms for potential CSAM and identify potentially abusive content so that it can be removed and reported - and the corresponding accounts disabled - as quickly as possible. A crucial part of our efforts to tackle this kind of abuse is working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the U.S.-based reporting center for CSAM. NCMEC tracks reports from platforms and individuals and then sends those reports to law enforcement agencies around the world.

New insights into our work to fight CSAM

We recently launched a new transparency report on Google's Efforts to Combat Online Child Sexual Abuse Material, where we detail the number of reports we made to NCMEC in the first and second half of 2020. The report also provides data around our efforts on YouTube, how we detect and remove CSAM results from Google Search, and how many accounts are disabled for CSAM violations across our services. We also include information on the number of "hashes" of newly identified CSAM we share with NCMEC. These hashes (unique digital fingerprints) help other platforms identify CSAM automatically at scale. Contributing to the NCMEC hash database is one of the most important ways we, and others in the industry, can help in the effort to combat CSAM because it helps reduce the recirculation of this material and the associated re-victimization of children who have been abused.

Working to combat CSAM across the internet

Because CSAM is an issue that spans beyond any one platform, in 2018 we developed and launched the Content Safety API. Using AI classifiers we built for our own products, the API helps organizations classify and prioritize the most likely CSAM content for review. Today, the API is being used by NGOs like SaferNet Brazil and companies including Facebook and Yubo. Along with CSAI Match, these tools are offered free-of-charge for qualifying organizations and companies. In 2020, the Content Safety API was used by our partners to classify more than 2 billion images, helping them identify the small fraction of violative content faster and with more precision. We encourage organizations who are interested to apply to use CSAI Match or Content Safety API.


For many years, we've had dedicated teams working to prevent access to CSAM on google.com by de-indexing and reporting illegal sites and filtering autocompletes for search terms associated with CSAM. Last summer, we redesigned and expanded a feature we've been running since 2013 where users who enter CSAM-related queries are shown a prominent message that CSAM is illegal and instructions on how to report this content to their local authorities. We also provide information about local resources to connect users with NGOs that support children or families who may have been victims of abuse. We're already seeing an impact from these efforts: hundreds of thousands of users each month are clicking through to the reporting hotlines we surface, including the Internet Watch Foundation in the UK, the Canadian Center for Child Protection and Te Protejo in Colombia. And, crucially, we've seen when these warning boxes are shown, we're less likely to see follow-up searches seeking similar material. We will be expanding this feature over the course of this year.

Supporting organizations to fight CSAM globally

The scale and complexity of fighting CSAM online means we must take a global and multi-stakeholder approach. That's why we're working together across industry and with leading child safety organizations like the WeProtect Global Alliance, Thorn, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. And we continue to work to empower and support organizations that are creating real and lasting change for children. For example, we've funded a three-year Google Fellow at NCMEC to modernize and integrate their systems. We've also extended our Ad Grants program to qualifying child protection nonprofits during the pandemic, providing funding and campaign help for organizations like the INHOPE hotline network and ECPAT International. Since 2003, we've given almost $90 million in Ad Grants to global child protection organizations. We also supported the Five Country Ministerial Forum Voluntary Principles to Counter Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and collaborated across industry to produce a practical guide for companies considering applying these principles. This builds on our work on Project Protect as part of the Technology Coalition.


Working together, we can make meaningful progress in the global fight against CSAM.

24 Feb 2021 6:00pm GMT

3 things we learned from the second season of ‘Founded’

Last year, Google's Women Techmakers launched "Founded," a podcast celebrating the real, honest stories of women leaders in the tech industry and their journeys to entrepreneurship. Now, we're back with a second season that will follow six women in tech with a common goal: to build a successful business.

We'll hear from women like Hana Hassan, who's working to diversify tech companies' hiring practices, and Laura Rodriguez O'Dwyer, CEO of a startup that's demystifying certain parts of learning languages.

  • Image shows a headshot of a woman with long brown hair and a black blazer smiling at the camera against a black background.

    Cristina De La Peña is the o-founder of Synapbox, a content-testing platform using AI to help brands better understand consumer engagement towards advertisements.

  • Image shows a woman with short curly pink hair smiling at the camera against a black background.

    Shelly Bell is the founder of Black Girl Ventures Foundation, an organization transforming entrepreneurship by reimagining the way Black and brown women founders access financial and social capital.

  • Image shows a woman in a red shirt smiling at the camera against a black background.

    Laura Rodriguez O'Dwyer is the founder of Glot Learning!, an education startup that created an app to help people learn difficult aspects of foreign languages.

  • Image shows a woman with dark hair smiling at the camera against a black background.

    Yasmine El Baggari is the founder of Voyaj, a platform that connects people from around the globe for meaningful, one-on-one exchanges to help foster understanding and peace.

  • Image shows a woman with dark hair smiling at the camera against a black background.

    Sandeep Ahuja is the co-founder of cove.tool, an automated sustainability consultant for building performance modeling, 3D performance visualization and parametric optimization

  • Image shows a woman with curly dark hair and glasses smiling at the camera against a black background.

    Hana Hassan is the CEO of Blackmaple.io, a global talent marketplace dedicated to the diversification of hiring in the technology industry.

As the host of "Founded," I've learned so much from these incredibly driven women. So to give you a sneak peek to the season, here are three lessons you'll hear throughout the episodes:

  1. Just start. In the interviews, you'll hear that most of the founders we spoke to didn't have the "perfect" financial or social circumstances to launch a tech startup. What they did have was ambition and drive; the moment they put their foot to the pedal, their ideas took off. Sometimes this take-off was very slow, and sometimes it was fast. What mattered is that they began their journeys and made their ideas a reality.
  2. Be bold in your ask. You can't build a company on your own. You'll need a team, and you'll probably need other people's money. These people are investing in you and your vision. To get that investment, you have to make "the ask." The initial ask might be challenging, but you need to grow your resources and knowledge base if you want to build a company beyond one person and one idea. We heard from people who demonstrated how one relationship, one investor, one supporter could transform a startup's direction. So never miss that opportunity!
  3. Stay rooted in a clear sense of purpose. From ensuring financial stability to building and nurturing a team, founding and running a startup is hard work. But a common thread between these founders was they always reminded themselves of why they started their businesses in the first place. What makes them get up in the morning is the same drive that helps them overcome obstacles.

Season two of "Founded" is available now, and you can find it on Google Podcasts or wherever you listen.

24 Feb 2021 4:00pm GMT

How anonymized data helps fight against disease

Data has always been a vital tool in understanding and fighting disease - from Florence Nightingale's 1800s hand drawn illustrations that showed how poor sanitation contributed to preventable diseases to the first open source repository of datadeveloped in response to the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa. When the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wuhan, data again became one of the most critical tools to combat the pandemic.

A group of researchers, who documented the initial outbreak, quickly joined forces and started collecting data that could help epidemiologists around the world model the trajectory of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The researchers came from University of Oxford, Tsinghua University, Northeastern University and Boston Children's Hospital, among others.

However, their initial workflow was not designed for the exponential rise in cases. The researchers turned to Google.org for help. As part of Google's $100 million contribution to COVID relief, Google.org granted $1.25 million in funding and provided a team of 10 fulltime Google.org Fellows and 7 part-time Google volunteers to assist with the project.

Google volunteers worked with the researchers to create Global.health, a scalable and open-access platform that pulls together millions of anonymized COVID-19 cases from over 100 countries. This platform helps epidemiologists around the world model the trajectory of COVID-19, and track its variants and future infectious diseases.


The need for trusted and anonymized case data

When an outbreak occurs, timely access to organized, trustworthy and anonymized data is critical for public health leaders to inform early policy decisions, medical interventions, and allocations of resources - all of which can slow disease spread and save lives. The insights derived from "line-list" data (e.g. anonymized case level information), as opposed to aggregated data such as case counts, are essential for epidemiologists to perform more detailed statistical analyses and model the effectiveness of interventions.

Volunteers at the University of Oxford started manually curating this data, but it was spread over hundreds of websites, in dozens of formats, in multiple languages. The HealthMap team at Boston Children's Hospital also identified early reports of COVID-19 through automated indexing of news sites and official sources. These two teams joined forces, shared the data, and published peer-reviewed findings to create a trusted resource for the global community.


Enter the Google.org Fellowship

To help the global community of researchers in this meaningful endeavour, Google.org decided to offer the support of 10 Google.org Fellows who spent 6 months working full-time onGlobal.health, in addition to $1.25M in grant funding. Working hand in hand with the University of Oxford and Boston Children's Hospital, the Google.org team spoke to researchers and public health officials working on the frontline to understand real-life challenges they faced when finding and using high-quality trusted data - a tedious and manual process that often takes hours.

Upholding data privacy is key to the platform's design. The anonymized data used at Global.health comes from open-access authoritative public health sources, and a panel of data experts rigorously checks it to make sure it meets strict anonymity requirements. The Google.org Fellows assisted the Global.health team to design the data ingestion flow to implement best practices for data verification and quality checks to make sure that no personal data made its way into the platform. (All line-list data added to the platform is stored and hosted in Boston Children's Hospital's secure data infrastructure, not Google's.)


Looking to the future

With the support of Google.org and The Rockefeller Foundation, Global.health has grown into an international consortium of researchers at leading universities curating the most comprehensive line-list COVID-19 database in the world. It includes millions of anonymized records from trusted sources spanning over 100 countries.

Today, Global.health helps researchers across the globe access data in a matter of minutes and a series of clicks. The flexibility of the Global.health platform means that it can be adapted to any infectious disease data and local context as new outbreaks occur. Global.health lays a foundation for researchers and public health officials to access this data no matter their location, be it New York, São Paulo, Munich, Kyoto or Nairobi.

24 Feb 2021 9:00am GMT

23 Feb 2021

feedThe Official Google Blog

Our all-new TalkBack screen reader

To blind traveling bluesman Joshua Pearson, songwriting is more than just a good melody. "Songwriting gave me a language to talk about my frustrations. And by putting my music out there, I could hopefully let somebody else feel some of what I was feeling." For Joshua, TalkBack is his main pen and paper for writing songs; it lets him dictate lyrics into his phone and hear them told back to him.


Screen readers, such as Android's TalkBack, are the primary interface through which Joshua and many other people who are blind or low vision read, write, send emails, share social media, order delivery and even write music. TalkBack speaks the screen aloud, navigates through apps, and facilitates communication with braille, voice and keyboard input. And today we're releasing an all-new version of TalkBack that includes some of the most highly requested features from the blind and low vision community.

Tap as you please with multi-finger gestures

We've added a dozen easy-to-learn and easy-to-use multi-finger gestures that are available with the latest version of TalkBack on Pixel and ​Samsung Galaxy devices from One UI 3 onwards. These gestures make it easier for you to interact with apps and let you perform common actions, such as selecting and editing text, controlling media and finding help.

We worked closely with people in the blind and low vision community to develop these easy-to-remember gestures and make sure they felt natural. For example, instead of navigating through multiple menus and announcements to start or stop your favorite podcast, it's now as simple as double tapping the screen with two fingers.

Read or skim with just a swipe

Reading and listening is easier with new controls that help you find the most relevant information. For instance, you can swipe right or left with three fingers to hear only the headlines, listen word-by-word or even character-by-character. And then with a single swipe up or down you can navigate through the text.

Say what? There's new Voice Commands

Starting with TalkBack 9.1, you can now swipe up and right to use TalkBack's new voice commands. TalkBack will stop talking and await your instructions. With over 25 different commands, you can say "find" to locate text on the screen or "increase speech rate" to make TalkBack speak more quickly.

Do things your way with more customization and language options

While we put a lot of thought into this redesign, one thing we've learned from working with the community is that everyone interacts with their phones in their own way - which makes customization important. You can now add or remove options in the TalkBack menu or reading controls. Additionally, gestures can be assigned or reassigned to scores of settings, actions and navigation controls.

Lastly, we're adding support for two new languages in TalkBack's braille keyboard: Arabic and Spanish.

Joining forces for accessibility

The all-new TalkBack is the result of our collaboration with trusted testers and Samsung, who co-developed this release. We will continue to work with Samsung to improve TalkBack capability, and TalkBack is now the default screen reader on all Samsung Galaxy devices from One UI 3 onwards, making it easier to enjoy a consistent and productive screen reader experience across even more devices.

To help everyone keep up with all the changes, we've created an entirely new tutorial to make it easier to make the most of TalkBack - there's even a test pad to practice new gestures. With these new features and collaborations we hope that more people can find useful and creative ways to use TalkBack. Who knows, you might even find lyrical inspiration like Joshua.

Video of Joshua Pearson's story of using TalkBack to write music.
10:25

23 Feb 2021 5:00pm GMT

How one trailblazer uses Maps to explore the outdoors

Lydia Kluge is an active member of the Google Maps Local Guides community, the everyday people passionate about sharing their experiences on Maps. In 2020, she added more than 1,100 contributions on Google Maps in the form of reviews, photos, and places. Coincidentally, Lydia also hiked, ran, and biked 1,100 miles last year. All those adventures earned her the well-deserved Expert Trailblazer and Expert Fact Finder badges on Google Maps.


But Lydia's journey has been full of adventures long before 2020. Originally from England, Lydia landed in Utah in 2005 for what was meant to be a six-month stint as a ski instructor. She's been there ever since after falling in love with (and on) the slopes where she met her now-husband.


Over the past fifteen years, the couple traveled to over 30 countries. Along the way, Lydia used Google Maps to find hidden gems - from the best restaurants in Paris to snorkeling spots in Australia.


  • Lydia and her daughter stand by a river in a national park

    Lydia with her daughter by Virgin River in Zion National Park (near the trailhead of Watchman Trail)

  • Lydia Kluge with her daughter standing near a lake with mountains and trees

    Lydia and her daughter took a lakeside hike at Pine Valley Reservoir, in Utah.


  • A photo of Lydia and her daughter walking together on The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah

    Lydia and her daughter stroll The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah

In 2019, Lydia and her husband welcomed their beautiful baby girl into their family and couldn't wait to travel with her. But COVID-19 changed their international jet-setting plans. Like many of us, Lydia's spending more time closer to home. She's explored Utah's mountains, deserts, and national and state parks. And, just like in her international travels, Google Maps has been her companion. She's added and reviewed dozens of nature trails, trailheads, and parks, and created lists of family-friendly activities in Utah. "One thing I've missed about working outside of the home is how I can contribute to others and my community," Lydia said. "Adding these things to Google Maps is a way I can give back."


Here are Lydia's tips on how to use Google Maps to explore natural attractions near you:


Find parks and hiking trails on Google Maps

Search outdoor terms like "hiking trails" or "parks near me" to find nearby treks. For most hiking trails, you'll be able to find ratings, reviews and photos from other hikers. Some may also have useful details like open hours and phone numbers. You can also use the Lists feature on Google Maps to see curated recommendations, like Lydia's Things to See and Do in St. George and Food and Fun in Park City. Simply search for a town and scroll down to see Featured Lists.
A photo of a search for hiking trails in Google Maps

Use the search bar in Google Maps to find things to do, like hiking trails nearby or in a specific town or city

Quickly sort through reviews to find popular topics or search for specific words

Lydia leaves detailed reviews on parks and hikes with searchable terms like "family," "steep," or "kid-friendly." Search for specific words to quickly sort through reviews and get a better sense of the place. If you want an idea of what most people are talking about, you can see a list of popular keywords in reviews - from "banana slug" and "poison ivy" to "parking lot" and "sunset."
An image showing popular topics in Google Maps reviews

You can see what the popular topics are for hikes and places by seeing the most common keywords. Tap a topic to see what people are saying.

Preview your trek with photos

Lydia has left more than 3,500 photos on Google Maps that have been viewed more than 25 million times. To get a sense of what your outdoor trip will look like, browse photos that people like Lydia have uploaded. Sort photos to see the latest, pan through Street View and 360-degree images, and even see videos. Pay it forward to the next trekker and leave photos of what made your hike memorable.
A photo of the castle-like rock formations at Turret Arch in Moab, Utah.

A photo of the castle-like rock formations at Turret Arch in Moab, Utah.

Add and update hiking areas yourself

Some trails may not have traditional signage and could be hard to find. If you know where an unmarked (or poorly marked) trailhead is, you can confirm that the pin locations are in the appropriate spot. To do so, open your Google Maps app and navigate to the place. Tap "suggest an edit" to update information about the hiking area.
An image of a hiking trail added to Google Maps by Lydia

Lydia added Limber Pine Nature Trail to Google Maps

To follow Lydia's adventures, check out and follow her Google Maps profile.

23 Feb 2021 5:00pm GMT

GameSnacks brings HTML5 games to Google products

Last February we announced GameSnacks, a HTML5 gaming platform from Area 120, Google's workshop for experimental products. We launched GameSnacks to test whether lightweight, casual games would resonate with people who use the internet via low memory devices on 2G and 3G networks, especially in countries like India and Indonesia.

Since then, millions of people from around the world have played our games. GameSnacks now has more than 100 games built by early game development partners. These games span multiple genres: classics (e.g. Chess), racing games (e.g. Retro Drift), puzzle games (e.g. Element Blocks), and hypercasual games (e.g. Cake Slice Ninja) to list a few. You can check out the full catalog by visiting gamesnacks.com.


Today, we're sharing how we've broadened our efforts by bringing HTML5 games to Google products. We're also inviting more game developers to join us as we grow the platform.

Finding HTML5 games to play is hard

When I mention HTML5 web gaming to friends and family, they fondly remember Flash gaming sites from 10 or 15 years ago. Web games have come a long way since then. Mobile browsers can now render rich graphics, and engines like Phaser, Construct and Cocos make it easier for developers to build HTML5 games.

HTML5 games tend to be small, enabling them to load quickly in a variety of network conditions, whether on 2G near the outskirts of New Delhi or on an intermittent connection on a New York City subway. Users can play them on any device with a web browser: Android, iOS, and desktop. And across these devices, users don't need to install anything to play. They simply tap on a link and start playing games immediately.

However, the distribution landscape for HTML5 games is fragmented. Developers have to painstakingly modify their HTML5 games to work across each app they integrate with or web portal they upload to. Discovering HTML5 games to play is often difficult.

We've been thinking about how we can make HTML5 game developers' lives easier to ultimately get more HTML5 games out to more users. Here's a closer look at how we're doing this.

A new way to discover HTML5 games across Google products

Back in February 2020, we announced our partnership with Gojek to bring HTML5 games to their users and give developers a new distribution opportunity. Since then, we've been bringing the GameSnacks catalog to users across a variety of different Google apps.

First, we've made it easy to access GameSnacks games directly from the New Tab page in Chrome, starting with users in India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Kenya. Users can get to gamesnacks.com via the Top Sites icon on Chrome on Android. The Games section is one of the most frequently visited sections of the page.

The game Stack Bounce played on Google Chrome in mobile.

Blast through blocks in Stack Bounce on GameSnacks on Google Chrome.

Second, we've brought GameSnacks games to Google Pay users in India. Google Pay initially started as a way to help users pay friends. Increasingly, they allow users to get many more things done: book rides, order food and now, entertain themselves.


Google Pay users in India can play GameSnacks games from the Games section of the app.

Bolly Beat played on Google Pay in India

Bounce to the rhythm in Bolly Beat on GameSnacks on Google Pay.

Third, we're experimenting with bringing GameSnacks games to the Google Assistant. When select Android Assistant users ask to play a GameSnacks game, they can start playing instantly.


The game 99 Balls played on Google Assistant.

Ask Google to play 99 Balls on GameSnacks on Google Assistant.

And finally, we're experimenting with surfacing GameSnacks games in Discover. Select users in India will see GameSnacks games appear in their feed:

The game Tiger Run on Google Discover.

See how far you can run in Tiger Run on GameSnacks on Google Discover.


GameSnacks will be a one-stop shop for developers to bring their HTML5 games to Google users, no matter what product they're using. Over the coming months, we'll look for more opportunities to bring GameSnacks games to more Google products.

An open call to game developers

We're committed to helping game developers succeed with HTML5. Beyond continuing to help developers reach more users, we'll help developers build meaningful gaming businesses by helping them better monetize HTML5 games. We'll soon start experimenting with next-generation AdSense for Games ad formats with a select number of GameSnacks games.

Meanwhile, we're continuing to add more high quality HTML5 games to our catalog. If you're a game developer interested in being an early GameSnacks partner, reach out and let's work together.

23 Feb 2021 5:00pm 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 too often. I'm pretty proud that I ended up earning all the activity-related […]

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