News > Google
Category: Google | Sep 22, 2015
Mariette DiChristina is the Editor in Chief and senior vice president of Scientific American—the first woman to hold the role in the magazine’s 170-year history. She has been a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2011 and served as president of the National Association of Science Writers in 2009 and 2010. She joins us here today to share her perspective on the Google Science Fair, which is in its fifth edition this year. -Ed.
This marks my fifth year with the Google Science Fair. In October 2010, when I had my first conversations with my friends at Google about their idea to create a global online science fair that any kid 13–18 could participate in, I thought it sounded pretty cool. But I couldn’t then imagine just how inspiring and powerful such a competition would turn out to be in reality.
At the time, I hadn’t even been editor in chief of Scientific American for a year, but I had real ambitions to try to do something to make a difference in educating our young people about science. You see, I believe that science is the engine of human prosperity—it’s the way we grapple with some of the world’s most challenging problems, from cures for diseases to living sustainably in a finite world. So I’ve always seen the idea of fostering evidence-based thinking in our next generation of global citizens as vital.
Now, five years later and working with partners LEGO Education, National Geographic and Virgin Galactic, the Google Science Fair has an impressive track record of enabling our world’s young scientists to shine. Over the years, they’ve tackled serious issues, like world hunger and the energy crisis. Their projects have worked on how to diagnose and treat diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. They’ve engineered flashlights powered by their hands and plastics made of banana peels. And to date, the fair has provided almost $1 million in scholarships, and sent four grand prize winners on trips around the world to further their scientific passions.
Tonight we added some new winners to that list as we recognized and celebrated the 2015 top 20 finalist projects and the bright young scientists behind them:
- The Grand Prize went to Olivia Hallisey for creating a novel way to detect Ebola.
- Girish Kumar won the Google Technologist Award for helping improve learning through auto-generated study questions.
- The National Geographic Explorer Award went to Deepika Kurup for her idea to use solar-powered silver to create clean drinking water.
- Krtin Nithiyanadam’s project focused on improved diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and won him the Scientific American Innovator Award.
- Pranav Sivakumar‘s automated search for gravitationally lensed quasars earned him the Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award.
- And Anurudh Ganesan took home The LEGO Education Builder Award for his unique twist on effectively transporting vaccines.
If you didn’t get to tune in, you can still watch the Awards Show live stream and check out the complete list of impressive finalists and winners, including our first ever Inspiring Educator, Aydan Meydan from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In all of these finalists and the thousands of submissions from students in 100+ countries, we see something common. These students are inventive, thoughtful, and determined to help make the world a better place. All they need is a chance and a platform to do so. And, unlike some of us adults, they are ready to try things that other people think are “impossible.” I find them inspiring.
It’s imperative for us to support and encourage our young people to explore and challenge the world around them through scientific discovery. So we’re especially glad that Ahmed Mohamed—the 14-year-old clock maker from Texas—took us up on our invite to attend this year’s event. Curious young scientists, inventors and builders like him should be encouraged and empowered.
The past decades have brought tremendous innovations and challenges, and none of us knows what the future of scientific discovery holds. But I can tell you one thing: it’s going to be better thanks to these kids. They will be part of building a brighter future for us all—and as they do, those of us at Scientific American, Google, LEGO Education, National Geographic and Virgin Galactic will be cheering them on.
So start thinking of your ideas for next year! We can’t wait to see what you’ll try next.
Posted by Mariette DiChristina, Editor in Chief of Scientific American and Chief Judge of the Google Science Fair
Category: Google | Sep 18, 2015
Another week flown by—sometimes the pace is enough to make you need a dislike button. Here’s a look at the past seven days as seen through Google Search:
A 14-year-old teenager named Ahmed Mohamed found himself in the spotlight this week, with searches for his name soaring above 500K. Mohamed, who lives in Texas and is Muslim, was arrested on Monday after he brought a clock that he’d made himself to school and it was mistaken for a bomb. In the days that followed, thousands of people expressed their support for Mohamed online with the hashtag #IStandwithAhmed, and he received invitations to visit the White House, MIT, Facebook—and yes, even Google. As more and more people heard about the story, they turned to search with questions like “What did Ahmed’s clock look like?” and “What was Obama’s response to Ahmed’s clock?”
California has been battling brutal wildfires this year, as the drought has dried up fields and forests across the state. Last week’s Butte Fire threatened thousands of acres and burned hundreds of homes, and it seemed like as soon as it was contained the Valley Fire in Lake County was blazing. Searchers turned to the web with questions like “How does a wildfire create its own weather?” and “Why are the wildfires getting worse?” But while firefighters worked around the clock up north to stop the inferno, southern California was breaking records for rainfall. Really. Tuesday was the second-wettest day in L.A. in September since 1877, with 50,000+ searches for [weather Los Angeles] as astonished Angelenos looked to learn more about this unfamiliar wet stuff falling from the sky.
Mother Nature wasn’t through with her surprises, though. Wednesday, an 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chile, forcing 1 million people to evacuate—and causing 2 million searches for [Chile earthquake]. Tsunami warnings were in effect as far away as California, Japan and New Zealand. Despite some casualties and billions of dollars’ worth of damages, experts say that Chile’s investments in structural reinforcements and other earthquake preparedness prevented the disaster from being much worse.
The Republican presidential debate was the subject of more than 5 million searches this week as people looked for more about the candidates and issues. While Donald Trump was the most searched candidate both overall and in nearly every state, he had some competition from former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. Fiorina drew attention for her performance in the debate, in particular her opposition to Planned Parenthood (the subject of more than 200K searches this week) and her reaction to comments Trump had made about her in the press. Taking Trump to task for past comments was a theme on Wednesday; in fact, the top searched moment of the night was when Jeb Bush asked Trump for an apology to his wife.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [drywall anchors] and [pine state biscuits]
Category: Google | Sep 15, 2015
My name is Rita Masoud and I am a refugee. I was born in war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan. When I was seven, my family and I fled to Europe with our belongings in a single suitcase, hoping for a safer and better future. Our journey involved many dark train and bus rides, as well as hunger, thirst, cold and fear. Fortunately, we received asylum in The Netherlands, where I grew up in a safe environment and was able to find my way in life. Today, I work for Google in California.
I was lucky. But as the refugee and migrant crisis has grown, many people like my family are desperate for help. Last week, Google announced a €1 million (~$1.1 million) donation to organizations who are providing front-line humanitarian relief to refugees and migrants around the world. Today, we’re inviting you to join us. To double the impact of your contribution, we’ll match the first €5 million (~$5.5 million) in donations globally, until together we raise €10 million (~$11 million) for relief efforts.
Your donation will be distributed to four nonprofits providing aid to refugees and migrants: Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and UN High Commissioner for Refugees. These nonprofits are helping deliver essential assistance—including shelter, food and water, and medical care—and looking after the security and rights of people in need.
Visit google.com/refugeerelief to make your donation. Thank you for giving.
En route with a train from Afghanistan, with my family and some belongings. You can read more about my journey on my blog.
Posted by Rita Masoud, Product Marketing Manager, Google.org
Category: Google | Sep 15, 2015
Today for the first time, we’re releasing Street View imagery of Kenya—including the Samburu National Reserve, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust—in partnership with Save the Elephants and with the support of the Samburu County Government. We’ll let Save the Elephants’ David Daballen take it from here. -Ed.
It’s a wild life at the Save the Elephants research camp in Samburu, in the heart of northern Kenya’s wilderness. For the last 15 years at Save the Elephants, I’ve spent my days among the elephants, working alongside my fellow Samburu people to study and protect them. Research shows that 100,000 elephants across Africa were killed for their ivory between 2010-2012, but thanks to our work in the Samburu National Reserve their numbers are now slowly increasing. Today, a visit to Samburu is a chance not only to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, but also discover a uniquely beautiful landscape where people’s lives are interwoven with the landscape’s wildlife. It’s my honour to invite you on a journey to my homeland with Street View in Google Maps.
Every time I drive into the Reserve, I can see the trust on the elephants’ faces and feel a warm welcome. When I’m out and about, I never know which of my fellow citizens I’ll bump into next. It could be some of the 600+ elephants I can recognize—like the Hardwood family—frolicking together, a group of Samburu warriors walking along the Ewaso Nyiro River, a pride of lions enjoying a bit of shade, or a leopard crossing the path. While you make your journey through Street View, you may be surprised what awaits.
South of Samburu, up into the hills of Kenya, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy awaits exploration. In this greener landscape, you can cross the open savannah, where animals like zebras and rhinoceroses live protected from poachers and hunters. Every day, the Lewa radio command center plots the movements of elephants (and other GPS-collared wildlife) onto Google Earth to help rangers determine where elephants are and when they might be in danger. If an elephant’s GPS collar sends an alert to indicate the elephant has stopped moving, a team of rangers and tracking dogs will investigate. Save the Elephants was one of the first organizations to use this technology, having collared 266 elephants across Africa since 1998.
Visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can see the devastating effect of poaching and other causes of elephant deaths in Kenya. Founded in 1977, the Trust provides lifesaving assistance to wild animals in need, including orphaned elephants and rhinos. At their Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, elephant caretakers stand in for an elephant’s lost family, providing 24/7 care and specially formulated milk. As the orphans grow, they are gradually reintegrated back into the wild, where they are protected by the charity’s Anti-Poaching and Aerial Surveillance Teams. To date, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has hand-raised more than 180 orphaned infant elephants, including little Sokotei, who I helped to rescue in Samburu after his mother died of natural causes when he was six months old. He’s just one elephant amid thousands that have been lost across the continent, but when you’re up against a challenge of this scale, every elephant counts.
I hope this glimpse into life in Samburu has inspired you to learn more about elephants’ plight and how you can help. Samburu is my home and is full of life. To ensure it remains that way, please consider supporting the research of Save the Elephants, making a donation to the anti-poaching efforts of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, or fostering an orphaned elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. After exploring in Street View, come and see us here in Kenya in person—we’d love to have you!
Posted by David Daballen, Head of Field Operations at Save the Elephants
Category: Google | Sep 11, 2015
Alongside star athletes, royals and vice presidents, an unpronounceable village in Wales had its moment in the search spotlight this week. Read on for seven days of search trends.
Stephen Colbert took to the air as the new host of CBS’ The Late Show Tuesday, with an impressive 6.6 million viewers and half a million Google searches for the premiere, and a search spike every night since. The week’s star-studded line-up included actors George Clooney and Scarlett Johanssen, but by Friday morning it was guest Vice President Joe Biden who was driving the search buzz for the frank and emotional conversation he had with Colbert about the family tragedies both have suffered. The interview wasn’t all serious—the VP joked about the host’s 2008 run for the presidency, and proposed joining forces for 2016. A Colbert-Biden ticket would be tough to beat (in searches, at least).
Venus vs. Serena (vs. Roberta)
Game on. As Venus and Serena Williams faced each other this week in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, the sisters generated a combined one+ million searches from people following the action online. Serena ultimately beat out older sister Venus both on the court and on Google—topping Venus Tuesday in search volume. Heading into the weekend, all eyes continued to be on Serena and her bid for the first tennis Grand Slam win since Steffi Graf’s in 1988. But it wasn’t to be. As Serena suffered a shocking semifinal upset by Roberta Vinci of Italy this afternoon, people from Jamaica to Romania to Zimbabwe followed the action on Google.
This week, Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, surpassing the record set by great-great-grandmum Queen Victoria. (According to the BBC, this happened at 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes … but who’s counting?) This milestone was popular across the pond—the U.S. was the top country outside the Commonwealth searching for information about Her Royal Highness. But her loyal subjects in the U.K. also had questions. Besides some basics like the Queen’s age and her cash flow, one question Brits repeatedly searched on Google this week was: Why does the Queen celebrate two birthdays? The lengthy official answer on the royal website references the weather, King Edward VII, and horses. An alternative answer? Because she can.
It’s Welsh, and it starts with an L (two, actually)
At 58 letters, the Welsh village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch has the longest and most notoriously difficult-to-say place name in the United Kingdom. And after Welsh weatherman Liam Dutton nailed its pronunciation live on air Wednesday (and subsequently on YouTube), people around the world turned to Google with a collective “Whoa!” Along with wanting to know if this is a real place (yes, indeed), and how it got its name (unconfirmed, but one YouTube commenter suggests it was named by a cat taking a walk on a keyboard), the top search on Google was, of course, how to pronounce it. With 7 million views and counting, here’s weatherman Dutton with the answer. Show-off.
Posted by Abbi Tatton, who searched this week for [the war of 1812]
Category: Google | Sep 11, 2015
Over the past three years, filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand travelled to 60 countries, interviewing more than 2,000 people in dozens of languages, in an attempt to answer the question: What is it that makes us human? The result is HUMAN, a documentary film that weaves together a rich collection of stories from freedom fighters in Ukraine, farmers in Mali, death row inmates in the United States, and more—on topics that unite us all: love, justice, family, and the future of our planet.
Now we’re partnering with Arthus-Bertrand, the Goodplanet Foundation and Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, to bring HUMAN to you on Google Play, YouTube and the Google Cultural Institute so we can share this project with the widest audience throughout the world.
Watch an extended version of the film on YouTube and Google Play
We’re making HUMAN available on YouTube starting September 12, and later on Google Play. This “director’s cut”of three 90-minute films will be available in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. On YouTube, you can also watch extra footage including interviews with figures like United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, animal rights activist Jane Goodall and actress Cameron Diaz, all of whom participated in the film.
Explore HUMAN with the Google Cultural Institute
Over at the Google Cultural Institute, you can learn about the origin of the film and listen to anecdotes from the people who brought it to life. You can also meet the characters in and around the movie in their daily lives, with six exhibits of behind the scenes photos and videos that let you explore how HUMAN was made over three years. This includes a collection highlighting how the director shot the aerial views that are a signature of Arthus-Bertrand’s filmmaking.
Exhibitions on Google the Cultural Institute platform
Learn more about this project at g.co/humanthemovie or on the HUMAN Behind The Scenes mobile app, available on Google Play. With HUMAN, we want to help citizens around the world connect together. So we’d like to hear your answer to the question of what makes us human. Add your voice to the conversation with #WhatMakesUsHUMAN.
Posted by Raphael Goumain, Head of Consumer Marketing, France
Category: Google | Sep 8, 2015
Increasingly, the worlds of fashion and technology are becoming intertwined—from wristbands that track your heart rate to responsive fabrics that adjust to your temperature. And just like you can sew together different pieces of fabric to make a dress, or choose different items from your closet to create an unexpected outfit, you can also put together code to make something that’s never existed before.
Today, as New York’s Fashion Week kicks off, fashion and technology are coming together in a new way. Made with Code and ZAC Zac Posen are teaming up to show how computer science can push the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of fashion. A dress designed by Zac Posen and with designs coded online by teen girls will debut as the finale look of Zac’s show—and hopefully inspire young girls who have an interest in fashion to see what code can help them create.
Made with Code started with the mission of inspiring girls to try coding and to see it as a means to pursue their dream careers—regardless of what field those careers are in. For this project, girls from organizations like Black Girls Code, the Flatiron School, Girls Who Code and Lower East Side Girls Club, coded designs for an LED dress using an introductory coding project online. Fashion engineer and Made with Code mentor, Maddy Maxey, coded and fabricated the LED technology of the dress, working alongside Zac as he designed. When the dress goes down the runway, it will displays girls’ patterns in 500 LED lights, using a micro controller specially tuned to match Zac’s Spring Summer 2016 runway collection—from Catalina Blue to Acid Yellow. Meanwhile, 50 girls will get seats at the show to see their designs light up the runway.
In the past year, we’ve seen many encouraging signs that more girls are exploring computer science. More than 5 million coding projects have been tried since Made with Code began a year ago. And Googlers, teen girls and partners like Girls Inc, Technovation and Girl Scouts have thrown 300+ Made with Code parties across the U.S., reaching tens of thousands teen girls in person. But with less than one percent of high school girls still expressing interest in computer science, it’s obvious we have so much more work to do—so, let’s start now. After today, girls all over the country can also head to madewithcode.com to create their own design. We hope the digital dress inspires more teens to discover what they can make with code.
Posted by Pavni Diwanji, VP of engineering for Kids and Families
Category: Google | Sep 4, 2015
With the long Labor Day weekend beckoning, we’ll spare you the introduction and dive right into the past week of search trends.
Party at the VMAs
It’s been nearly a week since it all went down, but given the number of trending topics related to the Sunday evening spectacle known as the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, we feel almost obligated to recap how it played out on Search. So, here are the highlights: bizarre but wonderful host Miley Cyrus pulled in a cool 5 million searches, while her onstage confrontation with Nicki Minaj (which may or may not have been planned) got another 500,000+. Kanye West accepted the show’s highest honor—the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award—in a rambling 13-minute speech (during which he may or may not have committed to running for president in 2020), racking up more than 200,000 searches.
Justin Bieber cried while performing his new single, “What Do You Mean,” inspiring 500,000+ searches for the performance and another 500,000+ for the song; and finally, Taylor Swift—no stranger to VMA drama featuring Kanye West and acceptance speeches, as well as public spats with Nicki Minaj—premiered her video for “Wildest Dreams,” (100,000+ searchers wanted to know more). For more trends from the show (and to find out which of these artists claimed the “Most Searched” title), check out the trends page.
Kentucky courthouse drama
A Kentucky county clerk found new notoriety this week, appearing in Hot Trends not just once but three times. Kim Davis has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming it would infringe on her religious beliefs. Multiple couples sued her, and Judge David L. Bunning ordered her to issue the licenses. Finally, after her request for a stay from the Supreme Court was denied, yesterday Davis was held in contempt of court. With Davis in jail, her deputies began issuing licenses to couples today. As the saga played out in Rowan County, people turned to the web with inquiries ranging from “What religion is Kim Davis?” and “What law did Kim Davis break?” to more broad questions like “Why do we need marriage licenses?” and “How long have there been marriage licenses in the U.S.?”
The days are getting shorter (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) and the long Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. In the U.S., people have turned to the web to learn more about the origins of Labor Day and to ask an important fashion question: “Why can’t you wear white after Labor Day?” Our advice: don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.)
Autumn may make some melancholy, but for football fans it’s a time to rejoice. Tomorrow marks the first college football Saturday of the season, and searchers are gearing up in anticipation. Yesterday’s Michigan game against Utah drew 500,000+ searches as people looked to find more about the game. As the debut game for new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, expectations were high, but deflated (see below) when Utah won 24-17. But it’s Michigan rival—and defending national champs—Ohio State that lit up the scoreboard as the most searched team over the past month:
Finally, though the NFL season doesn’t officially start until next Thursday, the league is in the news after Patriots QB Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for “Deflategate” was overturned. Brady was the top trend Thursday, with 1 million searches, as people asked questions like “Is Tom Brady suspended?” and “What does ‘nullified’ mean?”
Posted by Emily Wood, who searched this week for [elena ferrante vanity fair]
Category: Google | Sep 2, 2015
School’s in! As you settle into your classes and start to juggle soccer practice, club meetings and homework, we’re here to help. We’ve been spending the summer “break” creating new tools to help you save time, collaborate with classmates and create your best work—all for free.
Schoolwork, minus the work
Writing papers is now a lot easier with the Research
tool in Docs for Android
. You can search Google without leaving Docs, and once you find the quotes, facts or images you’re looking for, you can add them to your document with just a couple taps. That means less time switching between apps, and more time perfecting your thesis statement.
With Voice typing, you can record ideas or even compose an entire essay without touching your keyboard. To get started, activate Voice typing in the Tools menu when you’re using Docs in Chrome. Then, when you’re on the go, just tap the microphone button on your phone’s keyboard and speak your mind. Voice typing is available in more than 40 languages, so we can help with your French homework, too. Voilà!
Do more, together
We’ve made it easier for you to tell what was added or deleted in Docs—and who made the changes. Now when you’ve left a document and you come back to it later, you can just click “See new changes” to pick up right where your classmates left off.
Forms helps you get a lot of information easily and in one place—so when you want to vote on your class field trip or collect T-shirt sizes for your team, you don’t have to sort through dozens of emails. With the new Forms
, you can survey with style—choose one of the colorful new themes or customize your form with your own photo or logo, and we’ll choose the right color palette to match. Easily insert images, GIFs or videos and pick from a selection of question formats
. Then send out your survey and watch as the responses roll in!
Your best work, your best you
Creating presentations, crafting newsletters and managing your team’s budget is hard enough without having to worry about making everything look good. With the new collection of templates in Docs, Sheets and Slides, you can focus on your content while we make sure it gets the expert polish it deserves. Choose from a wide variety of reports, portfolios, resumes and other pre-made templates designed to make your work that much better, and your life that much easier.
With Explore in Sheets
, you can now spend less time trying to decipher your data, and more time making a point. Explore
creates charts and insights automatically, so you can visualize trends and understand your data in seconds on the web or on your Android
. It’s like having an expert analyst right by your side.
Mission control, for teachers and students
A year ago, we launched Classroom
to save teachers and students time and make it easier to keep classwork organized. Today we’re launching a Share to Classroom Chrome extension
to make it easy for teachers to share a website with the entire class at the same time—no matter what kind of laptop students have. Now the whole class can head to a web page together, without losing precious minutes and focus to typos.
Rock this school year with Google Docs and Classroom. Your first assignment? Try these new features, which are rolling out today.
Posted by Ritcha Ranjan, Product Manager
Category: Google | Sep 1, 2015
Google has changed a lot over the past 17 years—from the range of our products to the evolution of their look and feel. And today we’re changing things up once again:
So why are we doing this now? Once upon a time, Google was one destination that you reached from one device: a desktop PC. These days, people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices—sometimes all in a single day. You expect Google to help you whenever and wherever you need it, whether it’s on your mobile phone, TV, watch, the dashboard in your car, and yes, even a desktop!
Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens. As you’ll see, we’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).
It doesn’t simply tell you that you’re using Google, but also shows you how Google is working for you. For example, new elements like a colorful Google mic help you identify and interact with Google whether you’re talking, tapping or typing. Meanwhile, we’re bidding adieu to the little blue “g” icon and replacing it with a four-color “G” that matches the logo.
This isn’t the first time we’ve changed our look and it probably won’t be the last, but we think today’s update is a great reflection of all the ways Google works for you across Search, Maps, Gmail, Chrome and many others. We think we’ve taken the best of Google (simple, uncluttered, colorful, friendly), and recast it not just for the Google of today, but for the Google of the future.
You’ll see the new design roll out across our products soon. Hope you enjoy it!
Posted by Tamar Yehoshua, VP, Product Management & Bobby Nath, Director of User Experience
Google has changed a lot over the past 17 years—from the range of our products to the evolution of their look and feel. And today we’re changing things up once again.