News > 2010

Zeitgeist 2010: How the world searched

Category: Google | Dec 9, 2010

In the search team we talk a lot about that people are always looking for new things with Google. In fact, about 20% of our queries are new each day. As it gets to be the end of the year, it’s a great time to look at what searches we all have in common. In the 2010 Google Zeitgeist, we’ve gathered the most popular and fastest rising queries from the year to capture the joys, sorrows and curiosity that many of us felt—capturing the spirit of 2010.

For this year’s Zeitgeist, we’ve added interactive HTML5 data visualizations for the top queries and events from around the world. You can easily compare the popularity of the Olympics vs. the World Cup, see the world’s reaction to Haitian earthquake or the Gulf Oil Spill through the eyes of search trends. With these new visualizations, you can interact with, explore and obsess over search data just the way we do.

So who made the lists this year? Whether you call it soccer, futbol, 足球 or सॉकर, we all rushed to TV screens and keyboards and created a whole new search category: World Cup-related queries. In the U.S., Paul the Octopus, those incessant vuvuzelas and Ghana’s team all made the top 10 list. 2010 was also a big year for the tech-obsessed, with the iPad capturing the attention of gadget junkies, reaching the top 10 fastest rising list in no fewer than 13 countries as well as the global fastest rising list.

It’s also fun to look at this and see where my own interests match up with those of other searchers. For instance, I’ve found myself to be quite a fan of Lady Gaga, and have spent time looking for fun Halloween costumes for my children. Another thing that struck me on a personal level was the rising health search for Asperger’s. Having small children, I know this is a topic of interest for a lot of parents.

The devastating earthquakes in China, Chile and Haiti as well as the floods in Pakistan and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico led to a huge spike in all things charitable. Through our search lens, we saw worldwide outreach to help those in need and the use of technology to expedite aid with the spread of text-to-donate.

We hope you enjoy this look back before we embark on 2011 and learn what the world will search for next.

Update 7:14 AM: We’ve removed the video to make a correction. It will be back soon.

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director of Product Management, Search


Something for the Weekend on Google Maps

Category: Google Maps | Dec 9, 2010


SoWeTrip is a French website that provides a guide to user created weekend trips. Each of the trips is designed to highlight a number of activities that can be undertaken during a short break in a European city.

The home page of SoWeTrip features a Google Map that animates through the locations of the weekend guides submitted to the site. If you click on any of the displayed locations you are taken to a page featuring the guides created for that city.

Each individual guide also features a Google Map showing the location of all the suggested venues that you can visit as part of the user created guide. Each suggested venue, whether it is a museum, gallery, shop, club or other activity, includes a detailed guide to the venue.



A Google Maps Adventure Game

Category: Google Maps | Dec 9, 2010

Virtual Village II

Last year I wrote about Virtual Village II an online adventure game built on top of the Google Maps API. In the game you are able to move around on a map and interact with other players, with virtual players and with buildings and objects.

Virtual Village II has now been updated with a number of new features. It is now possible to log-in to the game with your Facebook account. The game also now features a number of YouTube cut scenes. When you move around the village there are a number of videos that show the locations of the village in real life.

More villages have also been added to the game and you can move between the different villages. The game now uses Open Layers but also features integration with the Google Earth browser plug-in.

The game supports English and Spanish. Here are some quick tips to help you explore the game world:

1. Walking – you can only walk short distances so click on the map fairly near your game avatar to walk to that position. You can not walk through buildings so stick to the roads.

2. Entering buildings – you can only enter some buildings. The game instructions tell you when you are near a building that you can enter. The instructions point you in the direction of the building and tell you how far away it is. When you are in the right position click enter and then click on the building in the map.

3. Virtual Players – it is important to interact with the virtual players as they can give you objects that you will need later.



More Street View for Denmark

Category: Google Maps | Dec 9, 2010

As well as launching Street View in Romania yesterday Google also added about 40% more Street View imagery in Denmark. According to Soren of there is now about 4,3000 km of Street View coverage in Denmark.

Amongst the new areas to get Street View imagery is the island of Bornholm.



Transfagarasan Highway in Street View

Category: Google Maps | Dec 8, 2010

Street View Drives

Earlier today Google Sightseeing found a beautiful Street View of the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania. I couldn’t resist the temptation to create a little animation of a drive down this amazingly twisty road.

The link to this latest Street View animation can be found at the bottom of Street View Drives. Essentially the animation just flicks through consecutive still images from Google Street View.

You can use the provided buttons to change the direction of the camera and to speed up the animation.

You can create something very similar yourself with Directions Map. Directions Map uses Google Maps to help users create an embedable driving directions map for their website or blog. This Google Maps based widget allows you to create an animated Street View tour. If you just add a starting point and a destination to Directions Map you can view the route entirely in Street View.

Here’s a link to Directions Map that I created for the Transfagarasan Highway.



Santa’s calling (from his Google Voice number)

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2010

(Cross-posted from the Google Voice Blog)

Growing up, December was always a favorite month of mine. School would let out for two weeks, snowflakes would start falling and I’d write my letter to Santa to remind him that I’d been especially good that year (and ask if he’d mind bringing me a few Ninja Turtles). He never answered those letters—he’s a busy guy, after all—but what if he could pick up the phone and call me instead? What if Santa had Google Voice and could easily call all the kids on his list?

Well, this year he can—with your help. If you know a kid (of any age) who’d like to hear from Santa, create and send a personalized phone call from the jolly man in the red suit himself at

There are hundreds of options to choose from, so you can send unique, customized phone calls to anyone you know, from your nieces and nephews to old college friends, over the phone (to U.S. numbers only) or via email, Facebook or Twitter.

If you or your kids have a special request or message for Santa, you can leave him a message at his Google Voice number: 855-34-SANTA. Although he’s too busy to return messages himself, you can always create one on his behalf at the Send a Call From Santa site.

Ready to spread some holiday cheer? Listen to a sample message, and visit to send a message of your own.

And don’t forget—if you want to keep up with Santa as he travels around the globe delivering presents on Christmas Eve, you can track his journey on Google Maps, on Google Earth with the plug-in and on your mobile phone, too.

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager


Dracula’s Castle Now on Street View

Category: Google Maps | Dec 8, 2010

Street View had been released in Romania. Imagery is available in Bucharest, Brasov, Constanta, Arad, Oradea, Cluj-Napoca and there is patchy coverage elsewhere.

Mark of Street View Funny has contacted me to say that the Street View imagery in Tokyo has also been updated. The imagery there used to be of poor quality. It is now in higher resolution.

Romanian Parliament

Dracula’s (Bran) Castle

Another View of Bran Castle

Arad City Hall

Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo



It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood: growing in Pittsburgh

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2010

Nearly five years ago, we announced that we would begin building an engineering presence in Pittsburgh, a city with a strong technology ecosystem as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and great quality of life. Since then, we’ve grown from two engineers to more than 150, and we’re continuing our commitment to growth in the region as we’ve officially opened a new Google Pittsburgh office in an old Nabisco factory in Bakery Square.

The Collaborative Innovation Center at Carnegie Mellon University had been our home since 2006, and our relationship with CMU remains invaluable to us. On top of the strong pipeline of brilliant engineers emerging from local universities, we’re seeing a “boomerang effect” of Pittsburghers who previously believed they had to go elsewhere to succeed with careers in computer science and engineering. We hope that the scrappy start-up culture we’ve maintained from the beginning at Google Pittsburgh as well as the burgeoning tech community throughout the city continues to encourage them to consider coming home.

In addition to teams focused on core initiatives related to Product Search and Ads Quality, we’re proud to be home to 20% time projects including the Sky Map planetarium app for Android phones, which combines astronomy, physics and computer science to put the galaxies in your pocket (and now includes the ability to time travel!) and Sky in Google Earth, which enables you to look upward from your position in Google Earth to view the heavenly objects above. Luis von Ahn and his reCAPTCHA team lead development of a technology that improves the process of converting scanned images into plain text, which powers initiatives like Google Books, and we welcome our first Enterprise sales leads who are working to help businesses and organizations in the region consider the benefits of cloud computing with Google Apps.

Our almost-40,000 square-foot space is Googley in many ways, but my favorite characteristics include a climbable trapeze net that extends from our second floor into thin air and a massive cookie-dough mixer preserved from the former Nabisco factory, which pays homage to Bakery Square’s manufacturing heritage.

If this sounds like the place for you, take a look at our open jobs and apply. We’re growing in Pittsburgh.

Posted by Andrew Moore, Engineering Director, Google Pittsburgh


HTC Desire HD

Category: Android, Google Mobile | Dec 8, 2010

HTC Desire HD rappresenta l’evoluzione dell’ottimo HTC Desire, e rispetto al suo predecessore integra delle caratteristiche hardware superiori. Ciò che si nota subito dell’HTC Desire HD è l’ampio schermo, esso infatti è dotato di un display touchscreen capacitivo da ben 4.3″ con risoluzione 480 x 800 WVGA.

Il processore è il famoso Snapdragon da 1 Ghz, e conta ben 768 MB di RAM. Tra i vari sensori inseriti citiamo il sensore di gravità, bussola digitale, GPS, sensori di luce e prossimità. La fotocamera ha una risoluzione di 8 megapixel con autofocus e flash dual LED e può registrare i video in HD a 720p.

A livello di connettività ricordiamo 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth e USB. Il sistema operativo installato è Android 2.2 (Froyo) con HTC Sense. Per vederlo in azione vi rimandiamo al video sottostante:

From: Android Planet

Share Location with A Short URL

Category: Google Maps | Dec 8, 2010


PinPoints is a clever short URL creator for locations, that will work with any mobile phone, no matter what mapping service it uses. PinPoints figures out what navigation software you have and will show the sent location on whatever map service you have available.

PinPoints allows an address, like “221B Baker Street, London” to be converted into something like This URL can then be shared by email, SMS, Tweet etc. When someone then clicks on the link it will show the location on an online map. If you click on it via a BlackBerry device it will open in BlackBerry Maps, when you click on it via a Nokia smartphone it will open in Nokia Maps and for iPhone users it will open Google Maps and so on.

If you open a PinPoint created link in a browser you will be asked if you want to view the location in Google Maps or Bing Maps.