News > Google
Category: Google | Aug 10, 2015
As Sergey and I wrote in the original founders letter 11 years ago, “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” As part of that, we also said that you could expect us to make “smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses.” From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have.
We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.
We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.
Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet (http://abc.xyz). I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President.
What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We’ll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.
This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google. A key part of this is Sundar Pichai. Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our Internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that. Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation — continuing to stretch boundaries. I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information. Recent launches like Google Photos and Google Now using machine learning are amazing progress. Google also has some services that are run with their own identity, like YouTube. Susan is doing a great job as CEO, running a strong brand and driving incredible growth.
Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort. We are also stoked about growing our investment arms, Ventures and Capital, as part of this new structure.
Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all of the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.
For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google — the birth of Alphabet. We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products–the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands.
We are excited about…
- Getting more ambitious things done.
- Taking the long-term view.
- Empowering great entrepreneurs and companies to flourish.
- Investing at the scale of the opportunities and resources we see.
- Improving the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing.
- Making Google even better through greater focus.
- And hopefully…as a result of all this, improving the lives of as many people as we can.
What could be better? No wonder we are excited to get to work with everyone in the Alphabet family. Don’t worry, we’re still getting used to the name too!
Posted by Larry Page, CEO
Category: Google | Aug 10, 2015
The best conversations just flow: you barely have to think about what to say. With Hangouts, we want to help you stay in the moment, no matter what device you’re using or how you’re getting your voice across, from texting to talking to video. So we’ve been hard at work on big improvements to make Hangouts faster, simpler, and easier on the eyes.
Today, we’re releasing Google Hangouts 4.0 for Android, with a fresh new look, improved speed, and features that make it even easier to reach people the way you want to reach them.
|New ways to compose, attach and use your watch make Hangouts simpler than ever
Here’s what’s new:
- Hangouts is sleeker. Now updated with material design, Hangouts has a new look and feel: items respond to your touch in more intuitive ways and transitions between tasks are more fluid.
- Hangouts is simpler. The new Compose button makes it easier for you to start a new group or conversation. Our streamlined contacts list helps you find the right person quickly. And attachments have been revamped and simplified, so sharing—of emoji, GIFs, your location, even multiple photos at once—is a snap.
- Hangouts is faster. Whether you’re sending a quick message or video chatting with family, you don’t want hold-ups. We’ve been obsessively fixing bugs and speeding up message delivery to make Hangouts faster and more reliable. Bonus: less battery consumption.
Make affordable calls from the Hangouts Dialer, now with Outbound Caller ID (so your friends won’t get any more calls from the great “Unknown”). Receive and reply to group MMS messages in Hangouts using Google Voice. Use Hangouts on Android Wear when you really have an eye on the time (just say, “Ok Google, send a Hangouts message,” into your watch). And if you’re not around but want friends to know what’s on your mind? Custom status messages are back.
The new Hangouts starts rolling out to Android users today and will be available in the Play Store (iOS users recently got many of the same updates). We hope you enjoy the new look and feel. And we look forward to keeping the conversation flowing!
Posted by Amit Fulay, Product Manager, Communications
Category: Google | Aug 7, 2015
Has it been a week or what? It most definitely has, which means it’s time to kick back, relax and read on as we dig into Google’s trending searches list to find out what the world wanted to learn more about this week.
The Grand Old Party
With 10 candidates on stage for the prime-time event, Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate debate did seem quite a bit like a party. An estimated 24 million people tuned in to watch the broadcast on the Fox News Channel (a record for the network, and cable TV, it turns out), and searches for “Republican debate” topped 5 million.
Not surprisingly, the candidates themselves generated some serious search action. Donald Trump claimed the “most searched” position in the days before and hours after the event, and held on to the spot for nearly all of the debate itself, save a few appearances from Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham.
See a full-size version of this incredible data viz here. You can also explore the most searched issues during the debate as well — education, taxes and abortion all took turns in the top spot.
All good things come to an end, and this week the world said goodbye to Jon Stewart — at least as host of The Daily Show. Airing just moments after a debate that was ripe for Stewart’s particular brand of editorializing, Thursday night’s show was his last. Searches for the (now former) host topped 500,000 this week.
Check out another cool data viz — this one on search interest in Jon Stewart across the United States — right here.
The Doctor is in
Artist turned producer turned mogul Dr. Dre gave us all a gift this week — his first new album in 16 years. Compton — which Dre is calling his grand finale — is self-reflective and grand in all the best ways, and dripping with appearances and collaborations from generations of other artists. It also brought in an impressive 200,000 searches.
Makeups and breakups
Continuing what seems like a very common theme this summer, the week’s trending searches had no shortage of celebrity couple gossip. Jennifer Aniston, who pulled off a surprise backyard wedding to Justin Theroux, made the list with 200,000+ searches. The world panicked (and searched 100,000+ times) following news that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were divorcing — news that turned out not to be true at all, according to the couple. Reba McEntire, however, is definitely separating from her husband (100,000+ searches for that news), as are Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale (200,000+ searches) — and there’s no doubt about that one, either.
Posted by Megan Slack, who searched this week for [japanese candy delivery]
Category: Google | Jul 29, 2015
The Google Translate app already lets you instantly visually translate printed text in seven languages. Just open the app, click on the camera, and point it at the text you need to translate—a street sign, ingredient list, instruction manual, dials on a washing machine. You’ll see the text transform live on your screen into the other language. No Internet connection or cell phone data needed.
Today, we’re updating the Google Translate app again—expanding instant visual translation to 20 more languages (for a total of 27!), and making real-time voice translations a lot faster and smoother—so even more people can experience the world in their language.
Instantly translate printed text in 27 languages
We started out with seven languages—English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish—and today we’re adding 20 more. You can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. You can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai. (Or, try snapping a pic of the text you’d like translated—we have a total of 37 languages in camera mode.)
To try out the new languages, go to the Google Translate app, set “English” along with the language you’d like to translate, and click the camera button; you’ll be prompted to download a small (~2 MB) language pack for each.
Ready to see all of these languages in action?
And how exactly did we get so many new languages running on a device with no data connection? It’s all about convolutional neural networks (whew)—geek out on that over on our Research blog.
Have a natural, smoother conversation—even with a slower mobile network
In many emerging markets, slow mobile networks can make it challenging to access many online tools – so if you live in an area with unreliable mobile networks, our other update today is for you. In addition to instant visual translation, we’ve also improved our voice conversation mode (enabling real-time translation of conversations across 32 languages), so it’s even faster and more natural on slow networks.
These updates are coming to both Android and iOS, rolling out over the next few days.
Translate Community helps us get better every day
On top of today’s updates, we’re also continuously working to improve the quality of the translations themselves and to add new languages. A year ago this week, we launched Translate Community, a place for multilingual people from anywhere in the world to provide and correct translations. Thanks to the millions of language lovers who have already pitched in—more than 100 million words so far!—we’ve been updating our translations for over 90 language pairs, and plan to update many more as our community grows.
We’ve still got lots of work to do: more than half of the content on the Internet is in English, but only around 20% of the world’s population speaks English. Today’s updates knock down a few more language barriers, helping you communicate better and get the information you need.
Posted by Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate
Category: Google | Jul 27, 2015
When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes. Here’s more about what you can expect:
A more focused Google+ experience
Google+ is quickly becoming a place where people engage around their shared interests, with the content and people who inspire them. In line with that focus, we’re continuing to add new features like Google+ Collections, where you can share and enjoy posts organized by the topics you care about. At the same time, we’ll also move some features that aren’t essential to an interest-based social experience out of Google+. For example, many elements of Google+ Photos have been moved into the new Google Photos app, and we’re well underway putting location sharing into Hangouts and other apps, where it really belongs. We think changes like these will lead to a more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+.
Using Google without a Google+ profile
People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier. But we’ve also heard that it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use.
So in the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google. YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change, and you can learn more on their blog. As always, your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles. And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles.
You’ll see these changes roll out in stages over several months. While they won’t happen overnight, they’re right for Google’s users—both the people who are on Google+ every single day, and the people who aren’t.
Posted by Bradley Horowitz, VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing
Category: Google | Jul 27, 2015
In less than five months, policymakers from around the world will gather in Paris to finalize a new global agreement on combating climate change. Already, many governments are putting forth ambitious emissions reduction goals. And companies are taking action, too, by reducing their own footprints and investing in clean energy.
Reaching a strong deal in Paris is an absolute and urgent necessity. The data is clear and the science is beyond dispute: a warming planet poses enormous threats to society.
Public health experts recently warned that climate change threatens to “undermine the last half century of gains in development and global health,” through forces like extreme weather, drought, malnutrition, and disease. The U.S. government has asserted that climate change poses “immediate risks to U.S. national security,” as increased natural disasters and humanitarian crises fuel instability and violence. And many studies have revealed that critical infrastructure, like electricity and water, is vulnerable to rising sea levels and intensifying storms.
Climate change is one of the most significant global challenges of our time. Rising to that challenge involves a complex mix of policy, technology, and international cooperation. This won’t be easy, but Google is committed to doing its part.
Google has been carbon neutral since 2007. Our data centers, the physical infrastructure behind web services used by billions of people, now get 3.5 times the computing power out of the same amount of electricity, as compared to five years ago. We are also the biggest corporate purchaser of renewable power on the planet. Just today at the White House, we pledged to triple those purchases over the next decade. In addition, we’re a major climate-minded investor, so far committing more than $2 billion to clean energy projects, from America’s largest wind farm to Africa’s largest solar power plant.
We’re serious about environmental sustainability not because it’s trendy, but because it’s core to our values and also makes good business sense. After all, the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place. And in many places clean power is cost-competitive with conventional power.
We’re making progress, but averting catastrophic climate change will require significant investment and bold innovations. Google and our private-sector peers are ready to lead. But something fundamental is required: clear policy. The global business community needs certainty to bring climate solutions to scale. We need the world’s political leaders to confirm that investments in clean energy are sound, and that the laws and policies meant to enable such investment will be designed for the long term and rooted in what science tells us needs to be done.
It’s encouraging to see the world’s major economies set ambitious climate targets, but it’s time to get a strong international climate agreement on the books. This December in Paris, it’s imperative that policymakers reach a deal that moves us toward a zero-carbon economy. That’s the kind of future that we’re committed to helping build, and that future generations deserve.
Posted by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman
Category: Google | Jul 24, 2015
Anyone up for a look back at the last week on Google Search? We are! Read on to find out what the world was looking for this week.
Phew, where to start with this one. Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj had a spat over VMA nominations (Taylor was nominated for Video of the Year; Nicki was not), worked through it and made up — all on Twitter. It was a good lesson in the art of the subtweet, as well as the “sincere apology after responding to a subtweet that wasn’t directly about you” tweet. Searches about the incident topped 500,000.
But Minaj v. Swift wasn’t the only music-related drama to make the list of Trending Searches. Meek Mill, hip hop artist and Nicki Minaj’s significant other, started a Twitter rant of his own, alleging that rapper Drake doesn’t write his own material and inspiring more than a million searches. The two artists haven’t settled up yet, so stay tuned for more on that front.
Last but not least, country stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are calling it quits after four years of marriage and guess what — they both had stuff to say about it on Twitter. More than 1 million searchers took to Google to find out more.
But wait, there’s more
It was the week of the sequel. (The weequel?) James Bond is back — the trailer for the upcoming “Spectre” was released this week, which got more than 100,000 people searching for the movie. And nearly as surprising as the idea of a shark-filled tornado itself, the Sharknado is back. “Sharknado 3” — featuring 90s all-stars Tara Reid and Ian Ziering — aired on Wednesday night and pulled in a cool 500,000 searches.
Speaking of all-stars (and also of the 90s) remember the days when an NBA superstar could star in a wide-release film with his Looney Tunes pals? Well, it’s happening again. This time, it’s not Michael Jordan, but Lebron James who inked a deal with Warner Bros. The company announced the partnership on Wednesday, leading to 200,000 searches. Reports suggest that while Michael Jordan will be replaced, Bugs Bunny will play himself, though there has been speculation about a case of cartoon patellar tendonitis he’s been coping with quietly for years.
Posted by Megan Slack, who searched this week for [public pools in San Francisco].
Category: Google | Jul 24, 2015
“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” -Special Olympics Athlete Oath
Standing in Soldier Field in Chicago, 47 years ago, Eunice Shriver kicked off the first Special Olympics in history–1,000 people with intellectual disabilities from the U.S. and Canada competed in track & field, swimming and diving. Even though it was a small inaugural event, its historical impact–giving a platform to the civil rights struggles of people with disabilities that were so often overlooked– was massive. The Games were meant to give children with cognitive disabilities, in Eunice’s words, “the chance to play, the chance to compete and the chance to grow.”
Ambitious, inclusive thinking like Eunice’s is contagious, and has inspired us to support this year’s Special Olympics World Games as part of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities. Launched in May, this effort is focused on supporting the development of assistive technologies for people with disabilities around the world with $20 million in Google.org grants. This weekend, to mark the Games as well as the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation that advanced the civil rights of people with disabilities when it was signed into law in 1990, we’re honoring the community in the following ways:
Google Doodle. We’ve created a homepage Doodle that shows a track inspired by the Special Olympics World Games’ “circle of inclusion,” featuring athletes of all backgrounds. In the spirit of getting moving, since we’ve heard from users that they love seeing doodles on the go, we’re now starting to make them easier to see and share on our mobile search results in addition to desktop and the Google app.
Special Olympics World Games. Over the next nine days, the Special Olympics World Games will draw more than half a million spectators to cheer on 7,000 athletes from 177 countries in events from judo to powerlifting to kayaking and more. We’re powering the World Games’ social media nerve center, contributing as a financial supporter and are packing more than 300 Googlers into the stands.
Cheer an athlete. If you’re in Los Angeles, come visit us from July 25 until August 2 at the World Games Festival Space at USC’s Alumni Park to support the athletes. For those who can’t make it in person, you can visit g.co/WorldGames2015 to send a cheer to the athletes. Every day during the competition, we’ll decorate the dorm walls of the athletes with your cheers to encourage them to “be brave in the attempt.”
|Portraits, like these at the National Portrait Gallery featuring leaders Judy Heumann and Ed Roberts, who have campaigned tirelessly for the rights of people with disabilities and Tatyana McFadden, who inspires athletes today, will decorate Washington, D.C. this weekend. See the photo gallery
Painting the town. In Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, we’re marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. From men and women like Judy Heumann and Ed Roberts, who campaigned tirelessly for the rights of people with disabilities, to President George H.W. Bush, who signed the ADA into law in 1990, we’re telling the stories of 10 great leaders who have fought — and continue to fight — for equal rights of people living with disabilities. We’ve installed massive portraits on the stairs of historic landmarks around the nation’s capital and in L.A.’s Grand Park.
|Audio description available here
Telling stories. We’re featuring the little-known history of a number of unsung heroes of the ADA movement at g.co/ADA. While people with disabilities benefit from their hard-won battles with every curb cut street corner and closed-caption film, their names are not widely known. We’d like to change that.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director Google.org
Category: Google | Jul 23, 2015
You may have been there before…open your voicemail transcriptions in Google Voice to find that at times they aren’t completely intelligible. Or, they are humorously intelligible. Either way, they might not have been the message the caller meant to leave you.
So, we asked users if they would kindly share some of their voicemails for research and system improvements. Thanks to those who participated, we are happy to announce an improved voicemail system in Google Voice and Project Fi that delivers more accurate transcriptions. Using a (deep breath) long short-term memory deep recurrent neural network (whew!), we cut our transcription errors by 49%.
To start receiving improved voicemail transcriptions, you don’t need to do a thing — just continue to use Google Voice as you have been. For those not using Google Voice but want to give it a try, sign up for a Google Voice (or Google Voice Lite) account here, it’s quick and easy to get started.
Many thanks to the Google Voice users who shared their voicemails, they really helped us make the product better. While this is a big improvement, it is just the beginning and with your input, we will continue improving voicemail transcriptions over time. We hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing what you link—er, think!
Posted by Zander Danko, Software Engineer
Category: Google | Jul 17, 2015
It’s Friday, which means it’s time for a good, old-fashioned Search trends round up. Read on to see what the world wanted to know this week.
To Pluto and Beyond
It may have lost its planetary title, but Pluto officially became the most distant solid object to be visited by spacecraft as NASA’s New Horizons successfully completed its “flyby” this week. The mission to explore the dwarf giant took a mere nine years and 3 billion miles of space travel and has already returned some truly incredible high-resolution images of Pluto and its moons, including the most epic vacation Instagram of all time. Searches for news about the mission topped 5 million, plus another 100,000+ searches for photos.
In other historic and out of this world news, Louis Tomlinson is the first member of One Direction to announce he’s going to be a dad. While this was likely upsetting news for many 1D fans, it didn’t stop the searches–Louis racked up more than 500,000 of them this week. And, we’ve all got Jimmy Fallon to thank for this week’s most disgusting search trend, a truly horrifying finger injury called ring avulsion. Fallon, who was sporting a bandaged hand from behind “The Tonight Show” desk, explained that he had surgery following a freak accident involving a kitchen counter and his wedding ring. Searchers took to Google to find out more and with search interest in images of ring avulsion up 50x over the last week, we’re willing to bet at least a few of them probably wish they hadn’t.
Nominations for the 2015 Emmy Awards were announced this week, inspiring more than 200,000 searches. Gone but definitely not forgotten “Parks and Recreation” was the most searched Emmy nominee for a comedy series, though Amy Schumer (whose new movie “Trainwreck” opens today) edged out Amy Poehler as the most searched lead actress in a comedy. In a potential preview of the 2016 Emmy Awards, Rachel McAdams, who co-stars in the new season of HBO’s “True Detective,” was searched more than 50,000 times this week.
It was a good week all around, and to play us out, we recommend Wilco’s new album, Star Wars. The surprise, free-to-download release this week resulted in more than 50,000 searches–and a lot of excited Tweedy fans.
Posted by Megan Slack, who searched this week for [ring avulsion]./span>