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Category: Google | Oct 10, 2013
Part-time businesses play an important role in our lives and in our economy. From the gardening mom who sells her plants, to the hobbyist antiques dealer, to the weekend wedding photographer, people everywhere are earning extra money while doing what they love.
Research released yesterday by The Internet Association shows that the web is powering American part-time businesses. Nine out of ten part-time business owners rely on the Internet to conduct their business, and the impact is significant. Internet enabled part-time businesses employ 6.6 million people and contribute $141 billion to the US GDP.
We’re proud to play our part to support these business owners as they grow their businesses online. Technology is at its best when it makes lives easier — and every day, our products help businesses find new customers and publishers earn money from their content while running more efficiently. With the power of the web, businesses can build better lives for their families and strengthen our economy while doing what they love.
Posted by Lisa Gevelber, VP, Americas Marketing
Category: Google | Oct 8, 2013
Back in 2005, we had an idea to get university students interested in open source software during their summer breaks. That year, we launched the Google Summer of Code. This annual program brings student developers from all over the world together with open source software organizations to mentor them through a summer project.
To date, the program has produced 50 million lines of open source code from more than 8,500 student developers—and in 2014, we’ll mark the 10th anniversary of Google Summer of Code.
To celebrate the previous nine years of student contributions and set the stage for the best Google Summer of Code yet, we’re launching 10 things to make the program better than ever. Here’s a peek at what we’ll be up to, stay tuned to the Open Source blog for updates:
- We’re planning 10 visits to countries with the highest participation throughout the year to promote the program and celebrate local students and mentors.
- A 10 percent increase in the student stipend, bringing the amount to $5,500.
- We’re also accepting 10 percent more students than ever before—more than 1,300 students will spend their summer coding as part of the program next year
- A 10-year reunion mentor summit held at Google’s Mountain View campus for our Google Summer of Code organization alumni.
We’re excited to be running a program that touches a lot of lives around the world every year, and we want to celebrate all of the accomplishments we’ve seen from our participants.
We’re also committed to getting younger students involved in open source software. For the fourth consecutive year, in November we’ll run Google Code-in, an international contest designed to introduce 13-17 year old students to the world of open source development. You don’t have to be a coder to get involved in this contest; there are a variety of ways students can contribute to open source projects.
Each year, open source software is becoming more important to governments and industries such as healthcare, gaming and technology. We believe that investing in youth and open source will improve both technology and society. Applications for Google Summer of Code open in March and students interested in Google Code-in can apply starting November 18. See our Open Source blog post for more details on both programs. Here’s to the next year in open source!
Posted by Carol Smith, Open Source Programs Office
Category: Google | Oct 8, 2013
We need our computers to be as fast and mobile as we are. We want to work across multiple screens—often at the same time. We want the latest and greatest software and we want to be able to get to our stuff from wherever we are. Chromebooks offer all of that, making computers that are simpler, more secure and more affordable, for everyone.
Earlier today, HP introduced the HP Chromebook 11. Designed and built in partnership with our friends at HP, it has all of the speed, simplicity and security benefits you’d expect from a Chromebook, and some unique design elements that address many of the challenges people face with computers today.
First, a laptop should be light and mobile. So the new Chromebook is really thin with no extra fluff. It weighs in at just over two pounds—one of the lightest laptops on the market. There are also no sharp edges so nothing digs into your wrists while you type. And when you’re traveling, you don’t need to throw an extra charger into your bag. The HP Chromebook 11 is powered by a micro-USB charger, which can also be used to juice up your Android phone or tablet.
Second, a computer should look good—something you’re proud to take out at a coffee shop. So the new Chromebook has a sleek, distinctive and super simple look. The fanless design means it doesn’t need any grills for venting. And it comes in a variety of colors to match your mood (or your wardrobe).
And there are a bunch of other things that we hope will make your computing experience even more awesome:
- Brilliant display. Often when folks gather around a screen, everyone tries to gently nudge the computer in their own direction so they can see better. No more nudging. The new Chromebook’s screen has a 176-degree viewing angles so you can see even when looking at it almost completely sideways. And the super bright display brings all of your favorite photos, shows and videos to life.
- Light but sturdy. We wanted the Chromebook to hold up well against everyday bumps and bruises. So it has a magnesium frame that makes it incredibly sturdy. You can hold it from a single corner without it bending or flexing.
- Finely-tuned speakers. Many computers have speakers on the bottom, which is great if you have ears in your lap. Instead, the speakers on the new Chromebook are under the keyboard, which means the sound is crisp, clear and pointed up towards your ears.
- Goodies built-in. And, of course, many Google apps come built-in, including 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage (free for two years) and a 60-day free trial of Google Play Music All Access.
This Chromebook is crafted with the same obsessive attention to detail as the Chromebook Pixel. But we worked hard with HP to keep the price low: the new HP Chromebook 11 is available for just $279.
Look for it starting today at Best Buy, Amazon, Google Play and HP Shopping in the U.S., as well as at Currys, PC World and many other retailers in the U.K. It will be available in other countries that sell Chromebooks in time for the holidays.
So if you’ve been looking for a computer that makes it easier to get stuff done (and look good doing it), we hope you give the new HP Chromebook 11 a try—or add it to your gift list this holiday season. We designed it to make computing faster, simpler and more secure, for everyone.
Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management
Category: Google | Oct 8, 2013
The past few weeks, Fashion Week in New York, London, Paris and Milan have given us a feast for the eyes with parades of creativity, color and design. At the Cultural Institute, we’re putting on a fashion show of a different kind with new content from 36 partners. Many of these cultural treasures, from China, Hungary, Mexico and 16 other countries, have a strong link to fashion and design through the ages.
Fabrics are the starting point of many designs. You can see this in the wonderful costumes added by the Textile Museum of Canada to the Google Art Project. Highlights include a kimono from Japan, a cape from Polynesia and an 1800s jacket with beautiful detail from Greece. The creation of these fabrics is highly skilled work; in an online exhibition, The Craft Revival Trust gives us an insight into the 5,000-year-old Indian textile tradition which creates the prints, motifs and colors that are still used today, while the The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg exhibits quilts of delicate beauty.
If regalia and royal jewels are more your thing, then then be sure to see new exhibits from La Venaria Reale in Italy and the Palace of Versailles in France. Zoom in at brushstroke level to the gigapixel painting of Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia to appreciate the jewellery, metallics, fabrics and lace of the King’s royal mantle, scepter and crown. And accessories were as important in the 17th century as they are today: an online exhibition entitled “Louis XIV: the construction of a political image” curated by experts in Versailles features an amazing wax portrait moulded from the monarch’s face, complete with a real wig.
The fashion world has long taken inspiration from tribal traditions. In a new photographic archive named “African ceremonies,” the diversity and beauty of 100+ unique African cultures is on full display—the work of two world-class artists who spent 30 years criss-crossing the continent. From the painted Karo Dancers of Ethiopia to The Hands of the Ashanti King, you’d be hard-pressed to find more elaborate body art and ceremonial dress.
You can also browse the interiors of the first two museums in China to open their doors to Street View; enjoy our first collection of children’s art from Norway; learn about Sumatra’s Pustaha book of spells reflecting the wisdom of nine generations of magicians; or simply sit back and let yourself be taken on a tour by a museum director through one of the 12 new galleries they’ve created.
With 5,400 new items to explore, there’s some style inspiration for all of us!
Posted by Piotr Adamczyk, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute
Category: Google | Oct 2, 2013
Hulu has added Chromecast support to their Hulu Plus app—just in time for the fall television season. Now you can easily enjoy your favorite shows, such as “Modern Family,” “New Girl” and “Parks and Recreation,” on your big-screen TV by casting from Hulu Plus on your mobile phone or tablet. It’s the same intuitive, remote-free experience you’ve come to enjoy with the other Chromecast-supported apps, and is as simple as pressing the Cast button which will now appear in the app.
Chromecast, which we launched in July, is designed to be small, affordable ($35) and the simplest way to watch online video on your TV. It’s been exciting to receive such positive feedback from many of you (thank you!)—and to see Chromecast currently listed as the #1 best seller on Amazon in Electronics.
To start casting your favorite Hulu Plus content from your Android phone, tablet or iPad (support for iPhone coming very soon), just check that you have the latest version of the Hulu Plus app for Android or iOS that’s rolling out today. And if you don’t already own a Chromecast device, they’re in stock and available on Google Play, Amazon, BestBuy.com or at your local Best Buy store.
Posted by Shanna Prevé, Global Head of Content Partnerships and TV junkie
Category: Google | Oct 1, 2013
Google started as a graduate school project. So it’s apt that the next film in our computing heritage series pays homage to the work of another student team, nearly 60 years ago in Austria.
In the mid 1950’s, computer design was in the midst of a major transition, going from vacuum tubes to transistors. Transistors performed a similar function electronically, but generated less heat and were a fraction of the size, allowing machines to be made that were both smaller and more powerful.
Heinz Zemanek, then an assistant professor at the Vienna University of Technology, had long been interested in computers. In 1956, he enlisted a team of students to build one based on this new transistor technology.
Zemanek’s project didn’t have university backing, so the team relied on donations. One student’s work was sponsored by Konrad Zuse, the German computer pioneer, on the understanding he would join Zuse’s company after completing his doctorate. Additional money came from an Austrian bankers association, thanks to connections Zemanek had made through his role leading Austria’s Boy Scouts. Overall more than 35 companies contributed materials, in particular Philips, who donated all the transistors and diodes. The only drawback was the transistors were relatively slow, originally designed for hearing aids.
At the time, leading U.S. machines were named after types of wind, such as MIT’s Whirlwind and RCA Laboratory’s Typhoon. In a gentle nod to this, Zemanek nicknamed his computer Mailüfterl, meaning “May Breeze.” As he joked (PDF): “We are not going to produce… any of those big American storms, but we will have a very nice little Viennese spring breeze!”
On May 27, 1958 the Mailüfterl ran its first calculation and became mainland Europe’s first fully transistorized computer—and one of the earliest in the world. It remained at the university for its first few years, financed in part by the European Research Office of the American Army. In 1960 Zemanek signed a contract with IBM, and in September 1961 the Mailüfterl was moved to a new research laboratory in Vienna that IBM created for Zemanek and his team.
Today the Mailüfterl is on display at the Technical Museum in Vienna—a fitting reminder of Austria’s time at the vanguard of European computing.
Posted by Wolfgang Fasching-Kapfenberger, Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Austria
Category: Google | Sep 25, 2013
Over the past few years, tech hubs have sprung up in cities across the globe, making it possible to start a high-growth company from almost anywhere, not just London or Silicon Valley. Tech hubs help make that happen—providing desks for entrepreneurs who are chasing their dreams, mentorship and educational opportunities for talented developers, and a vibrant community for innovative startups.
We started Google for Entrepreneurs to help foster entrepreneurship in communities around the world. Through our work in more than 100 countries, we’ve been incredibly impressed with the catalyzing impact that tech hubs have had: helping startups grow, and creating jobs in local communities in the process. So today we’re announcing a Tech Hub Network with seven partners, initially located in North America. 1871 (Chicago), American Underground (Durham), Coco (Minneapolis), Communitech (Waterloo), Galvanize (Denver), Grand Circus (Detroit) and Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville) are all top notch spaces fueling entrepreneurship. We believe these hubs have pioneered a new approach to launching a business, and it’s our mission to help support them.
We’re partnering to create a strong network, providing each hub with financial support alongside access to Google technology, platforms and mentors, and ensuring that entrepreneurs at these hubs have access to an even larger network of startups. We’re excited to exchange ideas and connect hubs with each other and with Google to have an even bigger economic impact on local communities.
Posted by John Lyman, Head of Partnerships, Google for Entrepreneurs
Category: Google | Sep 24, 2013
Do you have an idea to change the world? That’s what we asked the 2013 Google Science Fair participants back in January, and students ages 13-18 from around the world met our challenge. Today, the finalists—representing eight different countries—gathered at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. and presented their projects to a panel of esteemed judges. Attendees of the Fair and judges alike were wowed by the finalists’ passion for science and their drive to change the world.
The top 15 projects were selected from thousands of entries submitted by talented young scientists from more than 120 countries around the world. These projects were impressive and represented a vast range of scientific ingenuity—from a multi-step system created for early diagnosis of melanoma cancers to the invention of a metallic exoskeleton glove that assists, supports and enhances the movement of the human palm to help people who suffer from upper hand disabilities.
It was a tough decision, but we’re proud to name the three winners of this year’s Google Science Fair:
- 13-14 age category: Viney Kumar (Australia) — The PART (Police and Ambulances Regulating Traffic) Program. Viney’s project looked for new ways to to provide drivers with more notice when an emergency vehicle is approaching, so they can can take evasive action to get out of the emergency vehicle’s way.
- 15-16 age category: Ann Makosinski (Canada) — The Hollow Flashlight. Using Peltier tiles and the temperature difference between the palm of the hand and ambient air, Ann designed a flashlight that provides bright light without batteries or moving parts.
- 17-18 age category AND Grand Prize Winner: Eric Chen (USA) — Computer-aided Discovery of Novel Influenza Endonuclease Inhibitors to Combat Flu Pandemic. Combining computer modeling and biological studies, Eric’s project looks at influenza endonuclease inhibitors as leads for a new type of anti-flu medicine, effective against all influenza viruses including pandemic strains.
Viney, Ann, Elif and Eric
Each of the winners will receive prizes from Google and our Science Fair partners: CERN, LEGO, National Geographic and “Scientific American.” This evening, we also recognized Elif Bilgin, from Istanbul, Turkey, the winner of the “Scientific American” Science in Action Award and the winner of the Voter’s Choice award with her project creating plastic from banana peel.
Thanks to all our 2013 finalists for their amazing projects and love for science. For updates on next year’s competition, see the Google Science Fair website.
Science and technology are crucial to solving many of the world’s greatest challenges. We started the Google Science Fair to support and foster the next generation of scientists and engineers. We look forward to seeing you change the world!
Posted by Clare Conway, Google Science Fair team
Category: Google | Sep 23, 2013
Constitutions are as unique as the people they govern, and have been around in one form or another for millennia. But did you know that every year approximately five new constitutions are written, and 20-30 are amended or revised? Or that Africa has the youngest set of constitutions, with 19 out of the 39 constitutions written globally since 2000 from the region?
The process of redesigning and drafting a new constitution can play a critical role in uniting a country, especially following periods of conflict and instability. In the past, it’s been difficult to access and compare existing constitutional documents and language—which is critical to drafters—because the texts are locked up in libraries or on the hard drives of constitutional experts. Although the process of drafting constitutions has evolved from chisels and stone tablets to pens and modern computers, there has been little innovation in how their content is sourced and referenced.
With this in mind, Google Ideas supported the Comparative Constitutions Project to build Constitute, a new site that digitizes and makes searchable the world’s constitutions. Constitute enables people to browse and search constitutions via curated and tagged topics, as well as by country and year. The Comparative Constitutions Project cataloged and tagged nearly 350 themes, so people can easily find and compare specific constitutional material. This ranges from the fairly general, such as “Citizenship” and “Foreign Policy,” to the very specific, such as “Suffrage and turnouts” and “Judicial Autonomy and Power.”
Our aim is to arm drafters with a better tool for constitution design and writing. We also hope citizens will use Constitute to learn more about their own constitutions, and those of countries around the world.
Posted by Sara “Scout” Sinclair Brody, Google Ideas Product Manager
Category: Google | Sep 17, 2013
As part of our quest to power our operations with 100% renewable energy, we’ve agreed to purchase the entire output of the 240 MW Happy Hereford wind farm outside of Amarillo, Texas. This agreement represents our fifth long-term agreement and our largest commitment yet; we’ve now contracted for more than 570 MW of wind energy, which is enough energy to power approximately 170,000 U.S. households.
The Happy Hereford wind farm, which is expected to start producing energy in late 2014, is being developed by Chermac Energy, a small, Native American-owned company based in Oklahoma. The wind farm will provide energy to the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the regional grid that serves our Mayes County, Okla. data center.
Some (happy) cows on the future site of the wind farm.
The cows will still have plenty of room to graze between the turbines.
The structure of this agreement is similar to our earlier commitments in Iowa and Oklahoma. Due to the current structure of the market, we can’t consume the renewable energy produced by the wind farm directly, but the impact on our overall carbon footprint and the amount of renewable energy on the grid is the same as if we could consume it. After purchasing the renewable energy, we’ll retire the renewable energy credits (RECs) and sell the energy itself to the wholesale market. We’ll apply any additional RECs produced under this agreement to reduce our carbon footprint elsewhere.
This type of power purchase agreement represents one of several ways we’re working to make additional renewable energy available for both our data centers and the communities in which we operate. In Scandinavia, due to the region’s unified power market and grid system, we’re able to purchase wind energy in Sweden and directly consume it at our Hamina, Finland data center. We’re also working with our local utility partners to develop new options. In 2012, we signed an agreement with GRDA, our utility partner in Oklahoma, to green the energy supply to our Oklahoma data center with 48 MW of wind energy from the Canadian Hills Wind Project. Earlier this year, we began working with Duke Energy to develop a new renewable energy tariff (PDF) in North Carolina.
We take a comprehensive approach to acquiring renewable energy for our operations. We’ll continue working directly with utility providers, collaborating with industry regulators and pursuing creative agreements (PDF) like the Happy Hereford PPA.
Posted by Matt Pfile, Senior Manager, Data Center Energy and Location Strategy