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Category: Google | Dec 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 Erebor and try to outsmart Smaug 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 Thranduil’s Hall and Lake-town—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 Google+ Hangout 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 North Kingdom, 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.
Category: Google | Dec 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 switching to 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
Filter views 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 function help 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 conditional formatting, 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 one-time instructions 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 missing features 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, paste transpose and more. Let us know what you think on our Google+ page!
Posted by Zach Lloyd, Software Engineer
Category: Google | Dec 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 record-setting numbers 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
1. Ylvis – “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” by tvnorge
2. “Harlem Shake (original army edition)” by kennethaakonsen
3. “How Animals Eat Their Food” | MisterEpicMann by MisterEpicMann
4. “Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version)” by SteveKardynal
5. “baby&me / the new evian film” by EvianBabies
6. Volvo Trucks – “The Epic Split feat. Van Damme” by VolvoTrucks
7. “YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)” by thelonelyisland
8. “Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise” by CarrieNYC
9. “THE NFL : A Bad Lip Reading” by BadLipReading
10. “Mozart vs Skrillex. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2″ by ERB
Top Music Videos for 2013
1. PSY – “GENTLEMAN M/V” by officialpsy
2. Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball” by MileyCyrusVEVO
3. Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop” by MileyCyrusVEVO
4. Katy Perry – “Roar (Official)” by KatyPerryVEVO
5. P!nk – “Just Give Me A Reason ft. Nate Ruess” by PinkVEVO
6. Robin Thicke – “Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell” by RobinThickeVEVO
7. Rihanna – “Stay ft. Mikky Ekko” by RihannaVEVO
8. Naughty Boy – “La La La ft. Sam Smith” by NaughtyBoyVEVO
9. Selena Gomez – “Come & Get It” by SelenaGomezVEVO
10. Avicii – “Wake Me Up (Official Video)” by AviciiOfficialVEVO
… see 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 Google.com/zeitgeist 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
Category: Google | Dec 10, 2013
At the Cultural Institute 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.
Called Trompe l’oeil, 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 57,000 artworks.
Enter the wonderful world of Adriana Varejão—or not, it’s hard to tell. Varejão’s O Colecionador (Inhotim, Brazil)
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:
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: Caprice, 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?
Or take a look at the Musée d’Orsay’s exhibition of its unusual history, and then compare the details of the former station to the indoor Street View imagery of today’s modern museum:
The Musée d’Orsay on Street View
From Trompe l’oeil to archaeological artifacts, royal portraits and famous scientists, 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 Google+ page.
Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Cultural Institute
Category: Google | Dec 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 Village.
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 Chrome extension 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)
Category: Google | Dec 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 Giving Tuesday—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 Google+ page, 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 One Today, our Android app that lets you donate to a different nonprofit every day.
Posted by Ramya Raghavan, Head of Politics and Causes for Google+
Category: Google | Nov 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 celebrating the audacity of the attempt. 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 technology moonshots 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, AAAS fellows, 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 NanoSatisfi 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 Planetary Resources 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 submitting your own moonshot video, and contribute to our conversations on Google+ and Twitter—we’d love to hear from you.
Posted by Puneet Ahira, Moonshot Evangelist and Project Lead, Solve for X
Category: Google | Nov 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 Google Shopping 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 Hot Toys, Electronics, Google & Android Gadgets, Gifts for the Home, Gifts for Her and 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:
And for those of us wanting to relive our childhoods, we’re also seeing many nostalgic toys making a comeback this year:
Browse more quickly and easily
A new shopping experience 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 camera, a ski jacket or an 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
Category: Google | Nov 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 goo.gl/TheHobbit on your laptop, phone or tablet to check out “Journey through Middle-earth,” the latest Chrome Experiment.
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.
Your adventure starts 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 now supported 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.
Circle +Google Chrome to stay updated as more Middle-earth locations get released in the coming weeks. You can also check out the Chromium Blog and read the team’s technical case study if you feel like geeking out a bit more.
Adventure is a click away. Just watch out for the trolls!
Posted by Posted by Christos Apartoglou, Product Marketing Manager & Part-time Dragon-slayer
Category: Google | Nov 19, 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:
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