Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture
Santa’s sleigh is ready for lift-off
December 24, 2013
The countdown is over. Santa and his elves have been preparing around the clock for the big day, opening up new pieces of
throughout the month. Santa’s been
, the elves
, and Santa even sent
custom voice messages
to friends and family.
The elves are now reporting that the sleigh is ready for takeoff!
Join Santa as he delivers presents around the globe. Whether you’re in Sydney or South Dakota, hop in the driver’s seat by checking out
Santa’s Dash(er) Board
. See where Santa’s been, where he’s going, and his real-time jolly status ("mmm, those cookies were delicious!”). Don’t forget to check out the photos and local info for places he visits on the route.
For the next 24 hours, tune in on your desktop, tablet, or phone to the
website. Still worried you’ll miss a minute of Santa’s big day? The developer elves have been hard at work so you can:
Stay updated on Santa’s real-time location with the
Santa Tracker app for Android
Light up your TV by
casting from the Android app
Keep tabs on Santa across the web with the
Santa Tracker Chrome extension
View the journey in 3D in the Tour Guide feature of
Google Earth mobile
And follow Google Maps on
to get up-to-the-minute details on Santa’s journey around the world.
With more than 300,000 kilometers to go, Santa’s got a lot of the map to cover. So set out those cookies and a glass of milk and get ready to
Posted by Brian McClendon, Vice President, Google Maps
Transparency Report: Government removal requests continue to rise
December 19, 2013
in 2010 to provide hard evidence of how laws and policies affect access to information online. Today, for the eighth time, we’re releasing new numbers showing
requests from governments to remove content
from our services. From January to June 2013, we received 3,846 government requests to remove 24,737 pieces of content—a 68 percent increase over the second half of 2012.
Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content. Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes. These officials often cite defamation, privacy and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services. In this particular reporting period, we received 93 requests to take down government criticism and removed content in response to less than one third of them. Four of the requests were submitted as copyright claims.
You can read more about these requests in the
section of the Transparency Report. In addition, we saw a significant increase in the number of requests we received from two countries in the first half of 2013:
There was a sharp increase in requests from
. We received 1,673 requests from Turkish authorities to remove content from our platforms, nearly a tenfold increase over the second half of last year. About two-thirds of the total requests—1,126 to be exact—called for the removal of 1,345 pieces of content related to alleged violations of
Another place where we saw an increase was
, where there has been an uptick in requests since a
took effect last fall. We received 257 removal requests during this reporting period, which is more than double the number of requests we received throughout 2012.
While the information we present in our Transparency Report is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online, it does demonstrate a worrying upward trend in the number of government requests, and underscores the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests. As we continue to add data, we hope it will become increasingly useful and informative in policy debates and decisions around the world.
Posted by Susan Infantino, Legal Director
2013 in Search: Heroes, tragedies and the Harlem Shake
December 17, 2013
Every day, around the world, we search. We want to find out more about our heroes, explore far-away destinations, or settle a dinner table dispute between friends. And sometimes we just search to find out how many calories are in an avocado.
In our annual
(“spirit of the times”), we reflect on the people, places, and moments that captured the world’s attention throughout the year. This year marks our most global Zeitgeist to date—with 1,000+ top 10 lists across categories like Trending People, Most-Searched Events and Top Trending Searches from 72 countries.
As we get ready to turn the page to 2014, we invite you to take a global journey through the biggest moments from the past 12 months in our
Year in Review video
It’s perhaps unsurprising that the #1 trending search of 2013 was an international symbol of strength and peace:
. Global search interest in the former President of South Africa was already high this year, and after his passing, people from around the world turned to Google to learn more about Madiba and his legacy.
Tragedies like the
, the 6th trending term globally, and
, #2 on our global events list, also captured the world’s attention. And our human desire to help came through, with [
donate to the Philippines
] ranking highly around the world.
2013 also had moments that made us move. People uploaded more than 1.7 million video versions of the Harlem Shake to YouTube, propelling it to the
on our global list; it was also the
second most trending video on YouTube
. And unashamedly, we all wanted to learn about twerking, which topped this year’s "what is…" list of search terms (although I’m still not sure I understand that one!).
Here’s a full look at our top 10 global trending searches of 2013:
Samsung Galaxy s4
You can also explore more global trends this year—directly from our
. Check out the top 100 trending searches of 2013, and simply click one to dig deeper on Google Trends. Or if you’d rather be nostalgic, you can take a look back at each year's Zeitgeist from
Finally, we've made an interactive
3D global map
showcasing the top search trends of 2013 by day in cities around the world. You can easily spin the globe, select a city and explore the topics that brought people to search on any day of the year—from local sports games to international news stories.
As I reflect on the year behind us, I’m excited about what’s to come in the year ahead. What will you be searching for?
, Senior Vice President and Google Fellow
Remembering Nelson Mandela
December 12, 2013
Nelson Mandela devoted his life to promoting democracy and equality, and he leaves behind a legacy of peaceful change. In advance of Mandela’s funeral service on Sunday in Qunu, South Africa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Mpho Tutu, the first female Irish president, Mary Robinson, and Sir Richard Branson will come together for a digital eulogy using Google+ Hangouts.
Join them tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. EST. The conversation will be hosted by
The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
, and moderated by CNN’s
Share your questions for the participants with #MandelaTribute.
to celebrate the life of an individual who changed the world.
Posted by the Google Blog Team
‘Tis the season to give back
December 12, 2013
The holidays are here, and that means eggnog lattes, festive lights and spending time with the people you love. It’s also the season to give back and help make the world brighter for those in need. Today we’re unveiling six new
Global Impact Awards
—totaling $11.5 million in grants—to innovators using technology to tackle the world’s toughest challenges.
This year, we’re inviting you to get in the giving groove with
12 Days of Giving
—an interactive holiday calendar where you can explore a Google-backed cause, donate to what inspires you and unwrap a surprise each day—such as meeting Pamela the polar bear or experiencing how far people walk to reach clean water. To spread cheer throughout the year, download
for a daily reminder to give back.
The 12 Days of Giving include our six newest Global Impact Awardees. Join me in celebrating these tech-fueled initiatives:
: Advanced crowdsourced research hub that allows anyone, anywhere to help create scientific breakthroughs as a citizen scientist.
: Finance lab that enables anyone to provide affordable loans to entrepreneurs, students and farmers in poor countries, to support people left out of traditional finance.
Landesa and FrontlineSMS
: Mobile system that transforms the inefficient and confusing process to establish land rights into an accessible, efficient way for poor farmers to get title to their land.
: Online platform that provides free college prep for underserved students by aggregating resources on scholarships, tests and applications, and setting personal reminders for staying on track.
: Platform to train data workers in developing countries and provide jobs.
: Comprehensive data initiative to empower more young people to lead and share powerful and effective social impact campaigns.
In 2013, we donated more than $100 million in grants, $1 billion in free ads and apps and 60,000 volunteer hours to nonprofits around the globe.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google.org
Conquer the Lonely Mountain in Chrome
December 12, 2013
In “The Hobbit,” a company of Dwarves tries to reclaim the lost kingdom of Erebor from Smaug the Terrible, a fire-breathing Dragon. While the Dwarves’ quest is fraught with danger, your journey to Erebor is just a click away in “
A Journey Through Middle-earth
,” the Chrome Experiment
released a few weeks ago
from Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM).
You can now follow the Dwarves’ journey to
and try to
on your desktop, mobile phone or tablet. But it might be wise to first pay a little visit to the folks who live in nearby
—locations that recently became accessible in this Chrome Experiment—just in case you need their help against the mighty Dragon.
To best equip you on your journey, you may want to
stop by Google Play
. There you'll find all sorts of Hobbit-related apps, games, books, music and films*. Together with the recent recording of a
with director Peter Jackson and actors Evangeline Lilly and Richard Armitage, these can also help you get up to speed for the upcoming release in theaters of “
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
And for those of you more interested in web development than Dragon-slaying, check out the
second technical case study
on “A Journey Through Middle-earth” (the first one is
already available on HTML5 Rocks
). You can also watch a Hangout with
, the team of designers and hackers who built it, on December 18. We'll be posting more updates for the developer community on
+Google Chrome Developers
Posted by Adrian Soghoian, Product Marketing Manager & a Fool of a Took
*Available content and promotions vary by country.
New Google Sheets: faster, more powerful, and works offline
December 11, 2013
Whether you’re crunching big data or tracking your family budget, you don’t want to waste time waiting for files to load or re-doing edits that were lost because your Internet connection dropped. You can now get more done by
the new version of Google Sheets. It’s faster, supports larger spreadsheets, has a number of new features, and works offline.
Bigger, faster spreadsheets
The new Sheets supports millions of cells and kicks many of the old size and complexity limits to the curb. Scrolling, loading and calculation are all snappier, even in more complex spreadsheets.
New features based on your feedback and requests
is a new feature unique to Google Sheets that lets you quickly name, save and share different views of your data. This comes in handy when you’re collaborating so you can sort a spreadsheet without affecting how others see it.
Whether you’re new to formulas or a whiz at running complex functions, it’s now easier to set up and perform calculations. New
and examples guide you as you type, and error highlighting and coloring make it easy to spot and fix mistakes.
As another time-saving improvement,
text now automatically flows
into empty adjacent cells—no manual merge needed.
With the improved
, you can add rules to change the colors and styles of cells in your spreadsheet based on custom formulas.
No Internet connection? Work offline with Chrome
You shouldn’t have to think about whether you have a WiFi connection when you want to work. So just like Google Docs and Slides, you can now make edits to Sheets offline. When you reconnect to the Internet, your edits will automatically sync. If you've edited Docs or Slides offline in the past, then you’re already set up to edit Sheets offline. If not, follow these
for setting up offline in Chrome.
Ready to try it out?
Turn on the new Sheets by checking the “Try the new Google Sheets” box in
Google Drive settings
. From then on, all new spreadsheets you create will work offline and include these new features. We’ll be adding a small list of
in the coming months, so if you rely on any of them, you may want to wait a little longer before opting in.
We hope you enjoy these and the many other updates that come along with the new Google Sheets, including
colored sheet tabs
custom number formatting
and more. Let us know what you think on our
Posted by Zach Lloyd, Software Engineer
YouTube Rewind: What you watched in 2013
December 11, 2013
A Norwegian Army Dance Troupe. An Epic Split. The Fox. And a Rap Battle with an 18th century Austrian composer.
As 2013 comes to a close, these are some of the videos, channels and moments that shaped our year. While each annual list is unpredictable (what's up, Mr. Miley Cyrus impersonator), trending videos just get bigger each year. And with 80 percent of all views on YouTube coming from outside the U.S., the global community is driving pop culture unlike ever before.
You watched The Fox more than 275 million times, making it the top trending video of 2013. You also made it a
top searched Halloween costume
, and you’ll maybe even read it as
a children’s book
. You turned out in
to see PSY’s post-"Gangnam Style" performance. You even made more “Harlem Shake” videos than there are people in Manhattan (1.7 million videos if you’re counting).
To celebrate all these moments, more than 60 top creators on YouTube got together and made a little video for everyone:
Here are the top trending and music videos for 2013:
Top Trending Videos for 2013
Ylvis - "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)"
"Harlem Shake (original army edition)"
"How Animals Eat Their Food" | MisterEpicMann
"Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version)"
"baby&me / the new evian film"
Volvo Trucks - "The Epic Split feat. Van Damme"
"YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)"
"Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise"
"THE NFL : A Bad Lip Reading"
"Mozart vs Skrillex. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2"
Top Music Videos for 2013
PSY - "GENTLEMAN M/V"
Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball"
Miley Cyrus - "We Can't Stop"
Katy Perry - "Roar (Official)"
P!nk - "Just Give Me A Reason ft. Nate Ruess"
Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell"
Rihanna - "Stay ft. Mikky Ekko"
Naughty Boy - "La La La ft. Sam Smith"
Selena Gomez - "Come & Get It"
Avicii - "Wake Me Up (Official Video)"
even more top music videos
Check out the
YouTube Rewind 2013 channel
for even more top lists of the year from around the world, and stay tuned at
next week for Google's annual look at the people, places and events that captured the world's attention this year.
Posted by Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture and Trends
youtube and video
Feast your eyes on new works added today to the Cultural Institute
December 10, 2013
we’ve been taking a break from our holiday shopping to feast our eyes on a different kind of gift—the gift of ingenious art that plays tricks on our eyes.
, which means “fool the eye” in French, these techniques require complete control over every detail of size, color, light and gradation of color so that a two-dimensional work appears to be three-dimensional. You can see several examples amongst the
new content being launched by 34 global partners
today on the Cultural Institute and across our entire collection of more than
Enter the wonderful world of Adriana Varejão—or not, it’s hard to tell. Varejão’s
Trompe l'oeil has been used on things as large as a ceiling—like this fresco at the National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara which uses clever architectural form to momentarily confuse:
Don’t drop that lute!
Treasure Room Fresco
, 1503-1506 (National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara, Italy)
And as small as a vase:
Manufacture royale de Sèvres:
Vase "ferré" en première grandeur
, Vers 1765-1770 (Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa & Gardens, Italy)
Sometimes the trickery lies in the deft organization of the elements in the picture, like this one. Can you find the secret image lurking within this seemingly innocent painting of a young man and woman?
Bernardino Montañés Pérez:
, 1891 (Museo de Huesca, Spain)
Other new works exhibit a similar visual trickery. This relic from the Qing dynasty comes from the National Palace Museum of Taiwan—does the cabbage look good enough to eat?
, Qing Dynasty (National Palace Museum, Taiwan)
Or take a look at the
of its unusual history, and then c
ompare the details of the former station to the indoor Street View imagery of today's modern museum:
The station d'Orsay in its heyday
d’Orsay on Street View
, there’s a lot to discover in the latest collection, which comes from all over the world. Enjoyed the visual trickery? See what else can you spot and tell us your favorite examples on our
Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Cultural Institute
Join Santa and his elves in the countdown to Christmas Eve
December 4, 2013
After 11 months soaking up the sun in the tropics, Santa and his elves are back at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas Eve. In addition to making toys, they need to clear the snow off 23 elf homes, candy factories and command centers in
Santa's jet-skiing all the way to the North Pole from his tropical vacation
To join in the flurry of preparations for Christmas Eve, visit the Village every day through December 24. You'll have the chance to join the elves as they catapult presents and
race with reindeer
—and you'll be able to send holiday wishes to friends and family from Santa himself. The elves make a little more progress each day, so be sure to stop by the Village to see the latest.
Come back to Santa's Village every day to see the newest games and scenes
Meanwhile, a team of Google engineers are working hard to track Santa’s sleigh with the most advanced maps and holiday technology available. On December 24, grab some cookies and apple cider and settle down in front of your computer, phone or TV to follow the big guy across the globe with our Santa Tracker. See where Santa’s going, the number of presents he’s delivered, and what he’s thinking throughout the evening.
Keep up the holiday cheer across all of your screens. Once the elves approve, we’ll launch the Google Santa Tracker app for Android in mid-December. Use your phone for on-the-go flight practice with the elves or cozy up near the fireplace with your tablet to follow Santa around the world as he delivers presents Christmas Eve. If you have Chromecast, cast from the Santa Tracker Android app to explore the Village or track his route right from your TV. Or, worried you’ll forget the big day? Download the
to count down to Santa’s takeoff while browsing the web for holiday gifts.
Help the elves get ready across all your devices
Download the Chrome extension for easy Santa tracking from your browser
Be sure to come back to Santa’s Village each day to find new ways to celebrate—and from all of us at Google, happy holidays!
Posted by Sandy Russell, Elf Creative Director
(Cross-posted from the
Lat Long Blog
Give back with the first-ever donatable Hangout-a-thon on Google+
December 2, 2013
As the holidays approach and our calendars become full, it can be hard to find time to give back to the causes you care about most. Tomorrow, on
—an annual one-day event that encourages people to make donations to their favorite charities—we’re making it easier for you to connect with a worthy cause through the first-ever “Hangout-a-thon” on Google+.
Starting at 9 a.m. EST tomorrow on the Giving Tuesday
, you can join nonprofit organizations working to improve clean water access, eliminate bullying, and provide disaster relief in the Philippines. Learn more about their work, ask questions and connect directly to the people they’re helping. Celebrities such as Jennifer Garner, Chris Daughtry and Sophia Bush will stop by to join in on the fun, and you can also donate to the charity of your choice while watching the Hangout.
Here’s a preview of what you can do:
Connect with people engaging in relief efforts on the ground in the Philippines through Save the Children and UNICEF
Join conversations with the founders of Warby Parker and TOMS about gifts that give back, moderated by our partner Mashable
Get inspired during a morning yoga tutorial with the Africa Yoga Project in Kenya
Hear how the Malala Fund is working to promote education as a peace-building tool in developing nations
Participate in a quick coding lesson from Code.org, Girls Who Code and Code2040 and learn what you can do to support digital literacy
We hope you’ll participate by
watching the Hangout-a-thon
, donating to a cause you care about and posting about the event with #givingtuesday on Google+. And to keep the giving going throughout the holiday season, download
, our Android app that lets you donate to a different nonprofit every day.
Posted by Ramya Raghavan, Head of Politics and Causes for Google+
Solve for X: Help us work towards a radically better future
November 22, 2013
If we’re going to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, we need more people and teams to take on "moonshots"—audacious projects that create
10x improvement, not 10 percent
. Part of that involves encouraging and
the audacity of the
. So last week we partnered with Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer to run a special session of
Solve for X
on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to discuss and debate audacious science and
that could transform the world.
Neil Gershenfeld holding up a "Pop FabLab" with Nadya Peek as an example of how 21st century manufacturing won’t just happen in large factories, but out of portable briefcases like this one.
Solve for X is a community of individuals and organizations that work together to accelerate progress on moonshots—and what better group of people to work with than those already thinking about our country’s future? As Susan Molinari, our VP of public policy and government affairs, said at the event: "Policymakers are trying to solve big, intractable problems—and so are engineers. Engineers are tackling challenges that have no answers to date, and so are our policymakers.”
The D.C. event brought together a group of exceptional technologists, entrepreneurs, polymaths-at-large,
, Members of Congress and their staff. Pioneers in their respective fields proposed moonshots in manufacturing, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and access to natural resources:
Neil Gershenfeld and Nadya Peek from the
MIT Center for Bits and Atoms
proposed setting up FabLabs to bring manufacturing back to America—and in a way appropriate to the 21st century
Theresa Condor from
proposed an inexpensive way to give all students direct access to personal satellites to conduct their own science experiments and to transform adoption of STEM
Chris Lewicki from
proposed mining asteroids for natural resources
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (above) said in his opening remarks: “We work in a world of problems, that frankly, any given day somebody could tell you we’ve got a solution for—it’s just about summoning the will to try and actually accomplish it.”
Following the moonshot proposals, we broke into small groups to brainstorm resources, technology and people that could help make the ideas better and happen faster. At Solve for X, brainstorming means two-thirds "yes and"—creating stepping stones to build on an idea—and one-third "yes but—providing critical feedback on blind spots or suggesting alternate implementations.
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told us: “You have a psychology of creation. A psychology of ‘what can we imagine?’ And then make it be reality. And that of course is the kind of thinking we need.”
Solve for X co-creators Astro Teller and Megan Smith closed out the event reminding us that moonshots can come from anywhere—people of all ages and places, companies, academia, government, inspired experts, enthusiastic newcomers, even accidental discoveries. So join our 160 moonshot pioneers by
your own moonshot video, and contribute to our conversations on
—we'd love to hear from you.
Posted by Puneet Ahira, Moonshot Evangelist and Project Lead, Solve for X
Check off your holiday gift list with Google Shopping
November 21, 2013
Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and if you’re like us, you still have loads of stuff to buy on your expanding holiday gift list. If you can’t imagine braving the crowds to get everything picked and purchased, don’t worry: our elves have made some improvements to
in time for the holidays.
Find the hottest toys and get inspired with our holiday shortlists
We’ve curated holiday shortlists for top gift categories including
Google & Android Gadgets
Gifts for the Home
Gifts for Her
Gifts for Him
. For those of you looking for something to delight the kids in your life, here are some of the top trending toy searches on Google Shopping this month:
Monster High Sets
Doc McStuffins Playsets
Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow Blaster
And for those of us wanting to relive our childhoods, we’re also seeing many nostalgic toys making a comeback this year:
My Little Pony
Browse more quickly and easily
on desktop, tablet and mobile makes it easier than ever to browse and hone in on items you want to buy, whether it’s a
ice cream maker
. Click on a product to preview details like sizes, colors and description, and find out if it’s available at a nearby local store. If you see an item that’s almost perfect but not quite, click to view “visually similar” items.
Make your shortlist and check it twice
Shortlists help you keep track of products that catch your eye, compare them at a glance, and share ideas with friends and family. Your shortlist now also stays with you at the top of each page while you browse Google Shopping, so you can keep track of items as you go.
Check out the product from all angles
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what an item actually looks like from the online picture. Now, for many items on Google Shopping, you can see a 360° view of the products. These interactive images bring you the in-store feeling of holding and touching a product.
Once you’ve got something for everyone on your shopping list, we encourage you to buy something for yourself. You’ve earned it.
Posted by Karen Corby, Senior Product Manager, Google Shopping
Bringing hobbits, dwarves and dragons to screens everywhere
November 20, 2013
You don’t need to be besties with a Wizard to share an adventure in Middle-earth—just point your favorite browser to
on your laptop, phone or tablet to check out “
Journey through Middle-earth
,” the latest
Inspired by the upcoming motion picture "
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
,” “Journey through Middle-earth” brings the locations and characters from the movie trilogy to life with a mix of modern web technologies. It was developed by North Kingdom in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.
on a beautiful, interactive map of Middle-earth. Zoom in to explore Trollshaw Forest, Rivendell and Dol Guldur (with more locations to come in the next few weeks). Click on each one to learn its history and meet the characters who inhabit it, or dive further to test your wits on a unique survival challenge.
The immersive 3D graphics in “Journey through Middle-earth” were built with CSS3 and WebGL, which you might recognize from
previous Chrome Experiments
. But “Journey through Middle-earth” is the first Chrome Experiment designed to bring this beautiful, 3D experience to mobile, thanks to
support for WebGL in Chrome for Android
on devices with high-end graphics cards.
The rich audio effects and sound manipulation are delivered through the Web Audio API, which is
on both Chrome for Android and Chrome for iPhone and iPad. Although WebGL isn’t supported on iOS, Chrome users can still experience most of “Journey through Middle-earth” on their iPhones and iPads. We can’t wait to see what sort of rich experiences developers will build as modern web technologies become available on more types of devices.
to stay updated as more Middle-earth locations get released in the coming weeks. You can also check out the
and read the team’s
technical case study
if you feel like geeking out a bit more.
a click away
. Just watch out for the trolls!
Posted by Christos Apartoglou, Product Marketing Manager & Part-time Dragon-slayer
See all five copies of Lincoln’s handwritten Gettysburg Address on the Google Cultural Institute
November 18, 2013
Not quite four score and seven years ago, I was an elementary school student, staring at a classroom map, gripped by the (mistaken) deduction that since Los Angeles was in the southern half of the country, Civil War battles must have clattered on the ground outside my home. While a teacher eventually helped me understand that California wasn’t in the Confederacy, the moment led me to understand the weight of history and that it has shaped the world into what it is today.
Today, on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, we’re helping make the past come a little bit more alive.
Three new exhibits
now available on the Google Cultural Institute focus on President Lincoln and the 272 words that shaped a nation’s understanding of its identity. Thanks to our friends at the White House, the Lincoln Library, Cornell University, Dickinson College and the Library of Congress, you can browse high-resolution digital versions of all five Lincoln-handwritten copies of the address. You can also:
Learn why there are five different versions, and
explore how they differ
that hangs in the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom
Enjoy multimedia exhibits
written by Lincoln experts for interpretation of and context around the speech
Read the 272-word reflections of our contemporaries like former President
, former chairman of the NAACP
, and our very own
on the legacy of Lincoln and his address
Comparing two copies,
side by side
You can also contribute your own version of the Gettysburg Address to
Learn the Address
, a project by documentarian Ken Burns, who has also been reaching schoolchildren across the U.S. with
Google+ Connected Classrooms
Most of us will never stand in the Lincoln Bedroom and see the handwritten draft exhibited there. But now anyone with access to an Internet connection can explore all these artifacts from this defining moment in history—perhaps a bit more accurately than when I gazed at that map.
Posted by Amrit Dhir, Partner Development Manager
From your CS class to the real world: a deep dive into open source
November 18, 2013
Today marks the start of
, a global online contest for pre-university students (13-17 years old) interested in learning more about open source software. Participating students have an opportunity to work on real world software projects and earn cool prizes for their effort.
For the next seven weeks students from around the world will be able to choose from an extensive list of tasks created by
10 open source projects
. Some tasks require coding in a variety of programming languages, creating documentation, doing marketing outreach or working on user interfaces.
Participants earn points for each task they successfully complete to win T-shirts and certificates. At the end of the contest, 20 students will be selected as grand prize winners and flown to Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters. Winners will receive a trip to San Francisco, a tour of the Googleplex and a chance to meet with Google engineers.
Google Code-in 2012 grand prize winners at the Googleplex with a self driving car
More than 1,200 students from 71 countries and 730 schools have participated in Google Code-in over the past three years. Last year, our 20 grand prize winners came from 12 countries on five continents!
We hope this year’s participants will enjoy learning about open source development while building their technical skills and making an impact on these organizations. Please review our
for contest rules, frequently asked questions and to get started.
Posted by Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs
Solar in California and Arizona: More of a good thing
November 14, 2013
You’d think the thrill might wear off this whole
renewable energy investing thing
after a while. Nope—we’re still as into it as ever, which is why we’re so pleased to announce our 14th investment: We’re partnering with global investment firm KKR to invest in six utility-scale solar facilities in California and Arizona. Developed by leading solar developer Recurrent Energy, the projects have a combined capacity of 106MW and will generate enough electricity to power over 17,000 U.S. homes. Google will make an approximately $80 million investment into these facilities.
The 17.5 MWac/22 MWp Victor Phelan project (pictured), located in San Bernardino, Calif., is part of six Recurrent Energy developed projects acquired by Google and KKR. The six-project portfolio is expected to operational by early 2014 and will generate enough clean electricity to power more than 17,000 U.S. homes.
This investment is similar to one we made
back in 2011
, when we teamed up with KKR and invested $94 million in four solar facilities developed by Recurrent. Those facilities have since started generating electricity, and we’ve committed hundreds of millions more—more than $1 billion in total—to renewable energy projects around the world.
These investments are all part of our drive toward a clean energy future—where renewable energy is abundant, accessible and affordable. By
continuing to invest
in renewable energy projects,
clean energy for our operations and
working with our utility partners
to create new options for ourselves and for other companies interest in buying renewable energy, we’re working hard to make that future a reality.
Posted by Kojo Ako-Asare, Head of Corporate Finance
Government requests for user information double over three years
November 14, 2013
In a year in which government surveillance has dominated the headlines, today we’re
updating our Transparency Report
for the eighth time. Since we began sharing these figures with you
, requests from governments for user information have increased by more than 100 percent. This comes as usage of our services continues to grow, but also as more governments have made requests than ever before. And these numbers only include the requests we’re allowed to publish.
Over the past three years, we’ve continued to add more details to the report, and we’re doing so again today. We’re including additional information about legal process for U.S. criminal requests: breaking out emergency disclosures, wiretap orders,
orders and other court orders.
We want to go even further. We believe it’s your right to know what kinds of requests and how many each government is making of us and other companies. However, the U.S. Department of Justice contends that U.S. law does not allow us to share information about some national security requests that we might receive. Specifically, the U.S. government argues that we cannot share information about the requests we receive (if any) under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But you deserve to know.
Earlier this year, we brought a federal case to assert that we do indeed have the right to shine more light on the FISA process. In addition, we recently wrote
a letter of support
(PDF) for two pieces of legislation currently proposed in the U.S. Congress. And we’re asking governments around the world to uphold international legal agreements that respect the laws of different countries and guarantee standards for due process are met.
Our promise to you is to continue to make this report robust, to defend your information from overly broad government requests, and to push for greater transparency around the world.
Posted by Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security
privacy and security
Street View floats into Venice
November 13, 2013
Venice was once described as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man,” and from these pictures it’s hard to disagree. You can now explore panoramic imagery of one of the most romantic spots in the world, captured with our Street View
It was impossible for us to collect images of Venice with a Street View car or trike—blame the picturesque canals and narrow cobbled walkways—but our team of backpackers took to the streets to give Google Maps a truly
backdrop. And not just the streets—we also loaded the Trekker onto a boat and floated by the famous gondolas to give you the best experience of Venice short of being there.
Our Trekker operator taking a well-earned rest while the gondolier does the hard work
Piazza San Marco
, where you can discover Doge's Palace, St. Marks' Cathedral, the bell tower, the Marciana National Library and the clocktower
We covered a lot of ground—about 265 miles on foot and 114 miles by boat—capturing not only iconic landmarks but several hidden gems, such as the
of the first Jewish
, the Devil’s Bridge in Torcello island, a
to scare the same Devil off the church of Santa Maria Formosa and the
where the typographer
created the Italics font. Unfortunately, Street View can’t serve you a
(local appetizer) in a classic
(a typical Venetian bar), though we can show you how to get there.
in Torcello Island
Once you’ve explored the city streets of today, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of Venice’s past by diving deep in to the artworks of the
, which has joined the
Google Cultural Institute
Museo del Vetro
Ca’ Pesaro - International Gallery of Modern Art
Click on a pin under "Take a tour"
to compare the modern streets with paintings of the same spots by artists such as Carpaccio and Cesare Vecellio
Or delve into historical maps of Venice, like this one showing the Frari Church, built in 1396
Finally, take a look
behind the scenes
showing how we captured our Street View imagery in Venice.
The Floating City is steeped in culture; it’s easy to see why it’s retained a unique fascination and romance for artists, filmmakers, musicians, playwrights and pilgrims through the centuries—and now, we hope, for Street View tourists too.
Posted by Daniele Rizzetto, Street View Operations Manager (and proud Venetian!)
maps and earth
Global Impact Award to improve veterans’ higher education
November 13, 2013
When veterans return home, a college degree is often a great next step for a successful transition to civilian life. But college can be a tough place for veterans, especially when they’re juggling classes with personal, family and financial pressures. Unfortunately there’s very little data about what can help veterans thrive in school. We want to change that.
Today, we’re granting a $3.2 million
Global Impact Award
Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Student Veterans of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars
to support data analysis of U.S. veterans’ higher education. The study will be made public and answer critical questions:
Which colleges are most successful at supporting veterans through to graduation day?
What on-campus programs have the biggest impact?
How do veterans’ education majors stack up against employment opportunities?
Based on the report, we’ll fund the expansion of the veterans’ programs found to be most effective—whether it’s on-campus child care, access to dedicated mental health services or physical gathering spaces—and will also provide Googler support to make this project a reality.
This award builds on our work to train and mentor student veterans through the
Google Veterans Network
. We’re proud to serve those who’ve served.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google Giving
Attachments in Gmail, now with the power of Google Drive
November 12, 2013
You're probably used to downloading email attachments, but each of those files takes time to download, eats up space on your device, and can get buried deep inside your "Downloads" folder. With today's update to Gmail, you can skip that whole process. Instead, you can view attachments
save files directly to Google Drive without ever leaving Gmail, making it easy to access them later from whatever device you’re on—computer, phone or tablet.
The next time you open an email with attachments, you’ll see new previews of the files at the bottom of the email, from photos and videos to spreadsheets and PDFs.
When you click on one of those previews, a full-screen view of the image or document will appear. You can read, search for a particular phrase, and even browse through multiple attachments right in Gmail.
You can now also save your attachments directly to Drive simply by clicking the Drive button that appears when you hover over the preview. Of course, if you prefer to download the attachment to your computer, you can—just click the arrow button.
This new attachment experience is available on desktop and will be rolling out over the next week. If you’re one of the more than 120 million active Drive users, you know that saving your files to Drive lets you get to them from any computer, phone or tablet. And if you aren’t taking advantage of Drive just yet, give it a try with your next Gmail attachment.
Posted by Scott Johnston, Director of Product Management
(Cross-posted on the
Google Drive Blog
Growing our support for veterans and military families
November 11, 2013
Over the past year, more and more Googlers have had the chance to meet service members and hear their stories through the Google Veterans Network—our employee resource group. These interactions have led to a greater understanding of the challenges the veteran community faces and have inspired many teams across Google to find additional ways for our technology to help.
This Veterans Day, on behalf of the Google Veterans Network and all Googlers, we’re proud to share some of the new ways we’re working with partners to support the military veteran community.
Helpouts by Google
allows anyone to give and receive help over live video, and we think it can be an effective platform for nonprofit and veteran service organizations to connect with veterans and their families. Helpouts for veterans are already available, ranging from guidance for
veteran education benefits
. Because Helpouts is
-compliant, providers such as
Give an Hour
can provide secure and confidential
mental health care sessions
online—particularly useful for those veterans who are physically unable to travel from their homes.
is a storytelling tool in beta that enables anyone to record memories of their travels in Google Earth. Tour Builder was inspired by the accomplishments of military service members around the globe. We hope it will give veterans an easy way to share their journeys with loved ones at home and to preserve the legacy of their service for generations to come.
13.5 percent of the nation's businesses are run by veterans, employing a collective 8.2 million people. In recognition of the contributions veterans make to the economy, the Google Enterprise
will share stories throughout the week from veteran-owned business and service organizations that achieved success with the help of Google Apps—like
RuckPack Combat Nutrition
Our professional development programs that pair Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with Google mentors continue to grow. This past summer, we hosted resume writing workshops for 350+ student veterans in 12 Google offices in partnership with
Student Veterans of America
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
. Last week, working collaboratively with the
Bob Woodruff Foundation
, we welcomed more than 100 injured post-9/11 veterans and their loved ones to Google NYC for a tech immersion and mentoring day. Finally,
, the Google+ career services platform we
last year with the
Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Hire Heroes USA
, has helped thousands of veterans prepare for civilian careers.
Follow us at
to let us know how else we can help and to stay up to date on our activities througout the year. Happy Veterans Day!
Posted by Carrie Laureno, Audience Evangelist & Founder, Google Veterans Network
Introducing Helpouts: Help when you need it over live video
November 4, 2013
What if getting help for a computer glitch, a leaky pipe, or a homework problem was as easy as clicking a button? What if you could connect via real-time video to a music teacher or a yoga instructor from the comfort of your home? What if you could get someone knowledgeable to get you “unstuck” when you really need it?
Today, we’re announcing
—a new way to get and give help over live video. Our goal is simple: help people help each other. We want to use the convenience and efficiency of the web to enable everyone, no matter where they are or what time it is, to easily connect with someone who can help.
Help might be a quick answer to a problem you’re having right now, like how to fix your garage door, or how to remove a computer virus; or it might be guidance completing a project, like building a deck. It might be learning a new skill, like how to speak conversational French or how to draw cartoons; or it might be general advice on how to improve your fitness or your writing (I could use this right now).
With Helpouts, you can choose who you get help from based on their qualifications, their availability, their price, their ratings and reviews. You can connect instantly or book in advance. You can get help from individuals or from brands you already know and trust, like
(a Home Depot company), and
. Once you’re in a Helpout, you can do more than just talk—you can share your computer screen, collaboratively edit a presentation, or record your Helpout. And if the experience doesn’t meet your expectations, we offer a full money back guarantee.
Today is just the beginning. We’re starting small and in a few categories. The number of people giving help on Helpouts and the type of help available will grow over time. Helpouts may not be suitable for every occasion, and it will take time to get used to interactions via real time video. We hope that the efficiency, convenience and global reach of Helpouts will make people’s lives easier in the long term.
We hope you’ll give Helpouts a try and give us your feedback through ratings and reviews, or talk to us on
. And if you’re interested in giving help on Helpouts yourself,
let us know
It’s time to make getting good help a whole lot easier.
Posted by Udi Manber, VP Engineering
Google+: Explore the world, right from the classroom
November 4, 2013
We all remember the days when we’d arrive at school, permission slips and bag lunches in tow, ready to venture forth on a field trip. Those were the days we waited for all year. Yet most field trips cost money, require lots of planning, and can only go as far as a school bus can take you.
Today we’re launching a new initiative on Google+ called
that enables students around the world to take “virtual field trips” through Google+ Hangouts, visiting places they would otherwise never be able to explore. We’re kicking things off today with field trips to the
hangar. Later, teachers can sign up to take their classrooms on virtual field trips hosted by organizations like National Geographic, Matilda the Musical, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more than 20 other partners.
Teachers are already using Google+ to make learning more relevant, collaborative and accessible—from
exploring a world-class art museum
staging a play
venturing into space
. Connected Classrooms aims to make it easier for teachers to access exciting educational content to share with their students. In addition to the virtual field trips, teachers who visit the Connected Classrooms site will have the opportunity to join a Google+ Community with other educators to collaborate on field trips and share best practices for using digital tools in the classroom.
If you’re a K-12 teacher, head over to the Connected Classrooms site and
learn how your classroom can participate
Posted by Lisa Jiang, Google+ Education Partnerships Lead
Android for all and the new Nexus 5
October 31, 2013
Just in time for Halloween, we have two new treats for Android fans. First, we're excited to unwrap our latest platform release, KitKat, which delivers a smarter, more immersive Android experience to even more people. And second, we're introducing Nexus 5—a new Nexus phone developed with LG.
The first thing you’ll notice about KitKat is we’ve made the experience much more engaging: the book you're reading, the game you're playing, or the movie you're watching—now all of these take center stage with the new immersive mode, which automatically hides everything except what you really want to see.
Bringing more Google smarts to Android
Behind the polish on the screen is the power under the hood. Take the Phone app, which for most people hasn’t really changed since the days of flip phones. Now, we’re making calling easier than ever, by helping you search across your contacts, nearby places, or even Google Apps accounts (like your company’s directory), directly from within the app. And with the
new Hangouts app
, all of your SMS and MMS messages are together in the same place, alongside your other conversations and video calls, so you’ll never miss a message no matter how your friends send it. This is just a small taste of KitKat—learn more on our
Google has always focused on helping users get immediate access to the information they need, and we want to bring this same convenience and power to users on Android. With the new Nexus 5 launcher, Google smarts are deeply integrated into the phone you carry around with you, so getting to the information you need is simple, easy and fast. Swipe once from the home screen to get Google Now literally at your fingertips. Put Google to work for you by saying “OK, Google” to launch voice search, send a text, get directions or even play a song you want to hear. And in the coming weeks, we’re enhancing Now with important new card types that bring you information about contextual topics that interest you such as updates from a favorite website or blog.
Reaching the next 1 billion users
Building a platform that makes mobile phones accessible for everyone has always been at the heart of Android. Until now, some lower-end Android phones couldn't benefit from more recent Android releases due to memory constraints. With KitKat, we've slimmed down Android’s memory footprint by doing things like removing unnecessary background services and reducing the memory consumption of features that you use all the time. We did this not only within Android but across Google services like Chrome and YouTube. RAM (or memory) is one of the most expensive parts of a phone, and now Android can run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of the world, bringing the latest goodies in Android 4.4 within reach for the next billion smartphone users.
Introducing Nexus 5
Along with our
sweet naming tradition
, we also introduce a new device with each platform release to showcase the latest Android innovations. For KitKat, we partnered with LG to develop Nexus 5 -- the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made. Its design is simple and refined to showcase the 5” Full HD display. Nexus 5 also keeps you connected at blazing speeds with 4G/LTE and ultra fast wifi. The advanced new lens on Nexus 5 captures more light for brighter night and sharper action shots. And with optical image stabilization, you no longer have to worry about shaky hands and blurry pictures. A new HDR+ mode automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot. Learn more on our
Nexus 5 is available today, unlocked and without a contract, on
in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and coming soon to India), starting at $349. Just in the time for the holidays, Nexus 5 will be available soon at the following retailers: Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.
Android 4.4, KitKat, which comes on Nexus 5, will also soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.
How’s that for a treat?
Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps
How not to get tricked: Your favorite online safety tips
October 31, 2013
Whether it’s defending yourself from identity thieves or removing bad software from your family’s computer, it’s important to know how to stay safe online. Over the course of the past few months, we’ve explored
the simple steps you can take
to help keep yourself, your family and the web safer. And in celebration of October's National Cyber Security Awareness Month, for the past 30 days we’ve posted a daily tip on how to
Even though our favorite month of the year is about to end, it’s good to know how to stay safe all year round. Here are the top five most popular tips from the month:
Add 2-step verification to keep the bad guys out of your Google account.
Use a password to secure your router.
Avoid malware—review permissions and ratings before installing a new app.
Think before you share.
Learn how to locate and remote wipe your mobile device in case it’s lost or stolen.
Security and privacy are important and Google provides
to help you protect yourself and your information. For example,
adds another layer of security to your Google Account.
help you control what you share and keep your information private if you want to keep it to yourself.
helps protect your phone from malware, and
Android Device Manager
will ring your phone and locate it on a map to help you find your device if you lose it (and remotely delete your information from the device if you can’t get it back).
For more information on how to stay safe and improve your online security and privacy, visit our
Good to Know site
, which has more information and details about Google’s tools and helpful advice on staying safe.
Posted by Diana Smetters, Software Engineer
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