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Celebrating Hedy Lamarr

Category: Google | Nov 9, 2015

We love highlighting great stories about women’s achievements in science and technology. When the story involves a 1940s Hollywood star-turned-inventor who helped develop technologies we all use with our smartphones today … well, we just have to share it with the world.

Today on Google’s homepage we’re celebrating Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-born actress Hollywood once dubbed “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Lamarr’s own story reads like a movie script: bored by the film industry and feeling typecast, Lamarr was more interested in helping the Allied war effort as World War II broke out than in the roles she was being offered. She had some background in military munitions (yes, really), and together with a composer friend, George Antheil, used the principles of how pianos worked (yep, pianos) to identify a way to prevent German submarines from jamming Ally radio signals. The patent for “frequency hopping” Lamarr co-authored laid the groundwork for widely-used technologies like Bluetooth, GPS and wifi that we rely upon daily.

It’s no wonder, then, that Lamarr has kind of a mythical status at Google, and I was pretty excited at the chance to tell her story in Doodle form. This took some tinkering of my own—after deciding on the movie format as a nod to her Hollywood career, I dug through old fashion illustrations and movie posters to try to capture the look and feel of the 1940s. Sketching storyboards on a yellow notepad helped me figure out how to show Lamarr in very different scenarios—movie star by day, inventor by night—which we then animated and set to the awesome soundtrack created by composer Adam Ever-Hadani.

So in the spirit of celebrating women in technology everywhere, here’s to Hedy Lamarr, who fused the arts with science and never let herself be typecast. Happy birthday, Hedy, on what would have been your 101st birthday. And thank you.

Posted by Jennifer Hom, Doodler

Day one of sketches and exploration
Storyboard organizing
Alternative ending from an early draft

Author Full Name
Author Title
Author Team


Rewriting the code for girls in CS

Category: Google | Nov 1, 2015

When it comes to computer science, millions of girls are being left out of the conversation. Despite earning the majority of bachelor’s degrees in the U.S., women earn fewer than 20 percent of computer science degrees, with serious implications for our economy and for women at large.

The problem of getting girls more interested in tech has many sources, but according to Google’s own research, one of them is optics. Girls don’t see positive role models of other girls and women in popular culture. In a study of popular films in 11 countries, fewer than 20 percent of computer science or tech roles were held by women.

As someone who runs a company at the intersection of technology and media, I want to help change the perceptions of women and technology we see today. So, as part of our Made with Code and media perception initiatives, I’m excited that we’re supporting award-winning documentary filmmaker Lesley Chilcott—of “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Waiting for Superman” fame—on her next film, “CODEGIRL.”

“CODEGIRL” follows the story of 5,000 girls from 60 countries as they compete in a global entrepreneurship and coding competition by Technovation. The girls have three months to develop an app that attempts to solve a problem in their local community. In the film, they size up their competition, interact with teachers and local mentors, learn to code, and pitch their ideas all in hopes of winning $10,000 in funding and support.

Starting today and until November 5, Lesley’s film will be available for free on YouTube, before its theatrical debut in the next few weeks. You can watch the film below and use the hashtag #rallyforcodegirl to show your support.

Our goal is to inspire as many students as possible during this special five-day free viewing period before it hits theaters. With your help, we’ll be able to inspire more girls around the world to pursue their passions in tech.

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube


Trend or treat: Searching for the top Halloween costumes

Category: Google | Oct 29, 2015

“How many days until Halloween?”
“What should I be for Halloween?”

In the weeks leading up to All Hallows’ Eve you turn to Google Search to ask these two crucial questions. So with just days left to perfect a costume for yourself, your kid, your pooch or your partner, here’s a look at some of the top Halloween costume trends across the United States. For more, see Frightgeist, our Google Trends Halloween hub.

If your costume involves a certain familiar ‘do, prepare to have company. Get-ups based on the bombastic GOP candidate for President are spiking, with the top-related search being “Donald Trump wig.” And don’t go looking for blue or purple hair-dye at the last minute on Saturday: chances are it will already have been bought up by kids dressing up as Disney’s “Descendants” characters Mal and Evie.

And if you’re aiming for a unique costume, you might want to avoid buns on the side of your head too. “Star Wars” is the second most searched costume nationwide, and within that Princess Leia reigns supreme above Dark Side standbys Stormtrooper and Darth Vader.

Superhero Squad
“Suicide Squad” may not hit box offices until next summer, but one character from the film is already making a killing in costume searches. “Harley Quinn” takes the top search spot nationwide (rival Batman is in fifth place). But Harley and Bruce Wayne are just a few of the superheroes (and super villains) you can look for this weekend: People are also donning their cuffs for Wonder Woman, their creepy facepaint for Joker, their bodysuits for Catwoman, and their half shell as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (T-U-R-T-L-E Power!). Even lesser-known characters like Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wasp are getting a boost from film franchises like “The Avengers” and “Ant-Man.”

Frightful Fidos
“Dog costume” is always a top search around Halloween—but not because you’re dressing up as Snoopy or Scooby. No, you’re searching for the cutest costume for your four-legged friend. In addition to being adorable, the top dog costumes are just as “Star Wars”-filled as the top human costumes. We assume that’s because they’ve already got the fur and/or ears to make it work.

If dressing your pooch as Chewy feels like asking for trouble, other popular canine costumes include “lion,” “dinosaur,” “shark” and … Olaf. Because—ahem—you still can’t let “Frozen” go.

Better together
When you want a partner in crime or just want insurance against looking silly solo, couples costumes are the way to go. This year, you’re dressing up as famous pop culture pairs like Bonnie and Clyde (the top couples costume overall), Jasmine and Aladdin, Woody and Jessie from “Toy Story,” Danny and Sandy from “Grease,” and Barbie and Ken. You’re keeping that Halloween realness with searches for Gomez and Morticia Addams and Beetlejuice (#2 on the list, and based on Google Images subject to lots of interpretation). And you’re bringing new meaning to the phrase “I’m dressing up with my boo” with searches for a “Boo and Sully” costume from “Monsters, Inc.”

The treat in “trick or treat”
Even for adults, Halloween is an excuse to eat junk food. In the past month you’ve searched for candy corn, candy apples and Halloween variations on all of your favorite sweets, from donuts to pudding cups to Kit Kats. But one candy reigns supreme: marshmallows (no, not that marshmallow) are the top searched candy over the past month.

Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who, despite the above, is still taking recommendations for this year’s costume


Bringing the Internet within reach of 100 million Indonesians

Category: Google | Oct 28, 2015

Starting next year, the top three mobile network operators in Indonesia will begin testing Project Loon balloon-powered Internet. Over the next few years, we’re hoping that Loon will help put high-speed LTE Internet connections within reach of more than 100 million Indonesians, giving them access to the limitless educational, cultural, and economic opportunities of the Internet.

From left to right: Ririek Adriansyah, CEO of Telkomsel; Dian Siswarini, CEO of XL Axiata; Alexander Rusli, Indosat CEO; Mike Cassidy, VP, Loon; Sergey Brin, President, Alphabet Inc 

In Indonesia today, only about 1 out of every 3 people are connected to the web, and most of their connections are painfully slow. Many people live in areas without existing Internet infrastructure; on an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, with mountains and jungles, it’s difficult to run fiber optic cable or install mobile phone towers. That’s where Loon comes in. Loon balloons act like floating cell phone towers in the sky. Flying on the winds at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, each one beams a connection down to the ground; as one balloon drifts out of range, another moves in to take its place. We hope this could help local operators extend the coverage of their existing networks, and reach further into rural and remote areas.

Project Loon balloons travel approximately 20 km above the Earth’s surface in the stratosphere. Winds in the stratosphere are stratified, and each layer of wind varies in speed and direction. By moving with the wind, the balloons can be arranged to form one large communications network.

These tests with Indosat, Telkomsel, and XL Axiata are an important step toward bringing all of Indonesia online, and a key milestone for the Loon team as we continue to test, learn and expand the project.

Of course, to make the Internet not just accessible but useful, there’s more to do, and we have a wide variety of efforts underway in Indonesia and elsewhere to help achieve that goal. For example, Android One phones are helping to make affordable high-quality smartphones more accessible in places where most people first access the Internet on a mobile device. We’ve also built features for when connections are slow or nonexistent, such as Search Lite and offline videos on YouTube. And Google Translate for Bahasa and Sundanese can help knock down the language barrier between Indonesia and the rest of the web.

The Internet is still out of reach for too many people, but we’re making progress. If all goes well, soon many more millions of people in Indonesia will be able to bring their ideas, culture and businesses online. At that point, the sky’s the limit.

Posted by Mike Cassidy, Vice President, Project Loon


More ways to Wi-Fi with the new ASUS OnHub

Category: Google | Oct 27, 2015

Whether you’re chatting with friends, streaming music or video calling family, Wi-Fi matters. You should have more router options that don’t involve spotty connections, messy cords and complicated settings. That’s why we introduced the first OnHub router this summer, designed to be fast, secure and easy to use—not to mention attractive enough to put out in the open, where Wi-Fi works best. Now, with our partner ASUS, we’re introducing the second member of our growing OnHub family.

OnHub routers are meant to be displayed proudly, and to get rid of the headaches you usually associate with home Wi-Fi. That makes ASUS a great partner, since they design intuitive products that focus on the ways real people use them. Like our first router, the ASUS OnHub comes with faster Wi-Fi, easy set-up, and simple management with the Google On app.

With the ASUS OnHub, we’re also introducing Wave Control, which lets you boost the Wi-Fi speed for a particular device by simply waving your hand over the top of the ASUS OnHub—great for busy houses.

OnHub routers are designed to stay fresh and get better over time. So in addition to the new ASUS router, in the coming week we’re rolling out our first software update with several performance improvements, including a new smart antenna algorithm. Phone in the kitchen? Laptop in the living room? OnHub will intelligently select the best combination of antennas to direct Wi-Fi to your devices, based on their location and orientation. The best part is, if you already have an OnHub, your router will automatically update when your network is quiet so it won’t interrupt your connection. Learn more about OnHub’s platform:

Beginning this week, select retailers will open pre-orders for the ASUS OnHub for $219.99. Visit our website to pre-order the ASUS OnHub—available in the U.S.—or purchase the TP-LINK OnHub, available in the U.S. and in Canada.

Posted by Trond Wuellner, Group Product Manager, OnHub


An update on our response to the refugee and migrants crisis

Category: Google | Oct 23, 2015

Millions of people around the world want to do what they can to help refugees and migrants caught up in the crisis in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. We wanted to give you an update on where things stand as we continue to think about what Google—and all of us—can do to help.

A month ago we invited everyone to make a donation to support the work of organizations providing essential assistance to refugees and migrants. We were amazed that in just over 48 hours people around the world donated €5M ($5.5. million) to support the work of Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. As promised, we then matched your donations with €5M in grants to support high-impact projects, like offering wireless connectivity solutions in refugee camps, providing emergency cash transfers to refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, and enabling access to education. Googlers around the world also gave, donating more than €1.2M (matched by Google) to charities working on the humanitarian efforts.

These organizations and their staff are doing incredible work in very difficult circumstances, and have the skills and contacts necessary on the ground. With that in mind, we’ve been working with them to better understand how our technology expertise can be put to work, too. One issue identified was the the lack of timely, hyperlocal information for refugees. Working with the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps, we’ve developed an open source project called “Crisis Info Hub” to disseminate such information in a lightweight, battery-saving way. Already live in Lesvos (with more locations coming online shortly) and being run by our NGO partners, Crisis Info Hub is providing refugees—most of whom carry smartphones—with critical information for their journeys: lodging, transportation, medical facilities, etc. And we’re working to make connectivity in the region more widespread and reliable by partnering with NetHope to deploy robust access solutions where they’re needed most.

When refugees travel across different countries, they’re confronted with languages they don’t speak, which can make it even more difficult to know where to turn to access the most basic needs. Just this year, we saw a 5X growth in Arabic translations in Germany, which got us thinking about what we could do to make our products work better for Arabic speakers in these places. We’ve since added Arabic as our 28th language for instant visual translation, enabling immediate, offline translation of signs and other printed text from English or German to Arabic. We’re also asking anyone who knows the languages spoken by refugees or the countries they’re traveling through to help us improve translations through Google Translate Community—our goal is 2 million community contributions. Hundreds of thousands of people have helped out already; if you speak Arabic and German, we’d love your help.

In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to work closely with our partners on the ground to evaluate how else we can bring the best of Google’s resources to help out with this tragic situation. Thank you for all your generosity and support so far.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director of


11 things to know about Google Photos

Category: Google | Oct 20, 2015

There’s nothing like reminiscing over family albums, capturing that perfect sunset pic, or finding the throwbackiest of throwbacks for #TBT. When we launched Google Photos in May, we wanted to make all these experiences even better—with unlimited high quality storage so you never need to worry about where to store your snapshots, automatic organization and great search so you can quickly find the photo you’re looking for, and easy sharing so you can send any photo to anyone with just a link. Five months later, we’ve crossed more than 100 million monthly active users—and to celebrate, we’ve collected a few factoids we’ve discovered about people and the things we photograph, along with a few tips.

1. One hundred million of you are using Google Photos.

Thanks to everyone who’s given Google Photos a whirl!

2. You’re all foodies… or at least you want people to think you are.

Note: Search for “pizza” on an empty stomach at your own risk.

3. Let the good times roll.

Try searching “Halloween” (“pumpkins” and “costumes,” too) for a seasonal trip down memory lane.

4. Dogs rule.

We can’t make your dog Internet-famous, but we can help you find the photo that will get them there. Try searching for breeds of dogs, from French bulldogs to Great Danes.

5. Dude, where’s my car?

Search for car types (truck, sedan, convertible) to find it fast. Sweet!

6. Paris, nous t’aimons

We’d recognize the Eiffel Tower anywhere. No, really: we’ll add it to your Places even without a geotag. Baguette not included.

7. You really aren’t sick of baby photos.

Pro tip: in the U.S., you can even add a private name label with their nicknames to find pictures of your favorite little ones fast.

8. The GIF that keeps on GIFing

Haven’t made a GIF yet? Start by selecting photos, tapping the + button, then select “Animation.”

9. You need some space.

You can safely delete backed-up photos and videos from your device, and still access them using Google Photos. Never run out of space on your phone again!

10. It’s Adventure Time.

Proving you’re outdoorsy has never been easier. Create a collage of your #NoFilter sunsets by selecting a few photos, tapping the + button, and selecting “Collage.”

11. We’re so vain.

Searching for “selfie” works, too, the next time you need a dose of self-confidence.

Posted by Chris Perry, Product Manager and Data Guru, Google Photos


Fútbol, translated

Category: Google | Oct 19, 2015

We’re always amazed by the power of technology to connect people. Not long ago we heard a story involving the Google Translate app and a boy named Alberto who had recently moved from Spain to a small town in Northern Ireland, with little knowledge of English. When Alberto joined Portadown’s youth soccer club, his coaches Gary and Glen turned to Google Translate to communicate with Alberto and his mother, on and off the field. As they progressed from protección de la pelota to retroceso de bicicleta, Alberto grew to feel a part of the team.

We loved this story (and wanted to share it with you) because what Gary and Glen did was so much bigger than translating sentences from one language into another. They didn’t just find a way to coach Alberto in football—they found a way to invite someone who was on the outside into their community.

¡Vamos, Alberto!

Posted by Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate


Doodle 4 Google is back! Show the world what makes you unique

Category: Google | Oct 19, 2015

Today we’re kicking off the 2015 Doodle 4 Google art competition, where creative and curious students across the U.S. vie to take over the Google homepage for a day with their artwork. This year’s theme, “What makes me…me,” invites students K-12 to express themselves in the form of a doodle highlighting what makes them unique.

But wait don’t get out those pencils just yet. This year, there’s a twist.

Doodle 4 Google is now in its eighth year (if Doodle 4 Google were a kid, it’d be a third grader)—so we decided to mix things up a bit to let kids’ imaginations really run wild. For the first time, there are no constraints on medium: students can cook, build, cut, spin, paint, or mold their doodle–basically use any material they like as long as they incorporate the letters G-O-O-G-L-E. The Doodle team itself has used a variety of unexpected materials over the years; for example, one Earth Day, we grew a bed of flowers to spell out the doodle. So we figured: let’s open the doors for all the creative kids out there do the same.

Here you can see how I decided to express “me”! I made my doodle out of clay, baked it in the oven, and painted it with acrylic paint. The succulent was taken from my garden. See more tips from my team of Doodlers on the Doodle 4 Google website.

We anticipate a whole lot of creative use of pottery, crochet, cookie dough and more by students (although of course we want all the drawings and paintings too!), so we figured we need some help picking out the winning artwork. We have an amazing group of guest judges: professional basketball player Stephen Curry, astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle, director and author BJ Novak, professional soccer player Alex Morgan, Emmy-award winner Julie Bowen and animator Glen Keane (more on the judges on our site).

Together, with the Doodle Team, we’ll pick one National Winner who will have their artwork displayed on the Google homepage for millions to see, receive $30,000 towards a college scholarship, and meet and work with the Doodle team on a visit to Mountain View, Calif. Plus, their school will get to spend $50,000 on technology.

Submissions are open until December 7. And for teachers, check out some classroom ideas and activities to get your young artists ready to Doodle!

Posted by Sophie Diao, Doodler, on behalf of the Doodle Team


Introducing the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, for a faster, open mobile web

Category: Google | Oct 7, 2015

Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way we access information, and today people consume a tremendous amount of news on their phones. Publishers around the world use the mobile web to reach these readers, but the experience can often leave a lot to be desired. Every time a webpage takes too long to load, they lose a reader—and the opportunity to earn revenue through advertising or subscriptions. That’s because advertisers on these websites have a hard time getting consumers to pay attention to their ads when the pages load so slowly that people abandon them entirely.

Today, after discussions with publishers and technology companies around the world, we’re announcing a new open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages, which aims to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web. We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously. We also want the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant—no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you’re using.

The project relies on AMP HTML, a new open framework built entirely out of existing web technologies, which allows websites to build light-weight webpages. To give you a sense of what a faster mobile web might look like, we’ve developed this demo on Google Search:

Over time we anticipate that other Google products such as Google News will also integrate AMP HTML pages. And today we’re announcing that nearly 30 publishers from around the world are taking part too.

This is the start of an exciting collaboration with publishers and technology companies, who have all come together to make the mobile web work better for everyone. Twitter, Pinterest,, Chartbeat,, Adobe Analytics and LinkedIn are among the first group of technology partners planning to integrate AMP HTML pages.

In the coming months we’ll work with other participants in the project to build more features and functionality focused on some key areas:

  • Content: Publishers increasingly rely on rich content like image carousels, maps, social plug-ins, data visualizations, and videos to make their stories more interactive and stand out. They also need to implement ads and analytics in order to monetize the content and to understand what their readers like and dislike. The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project provides an open source approach, allowing publishers to focus on producing great content, while relying on the shared components for high performance and great user experience. The initial technical specification—developed with input and code from our partners in the publishing and technology sectors—is being released today on GitHub.
  • Distribution: Publishers want people to enjoy the great journalism they create anywhere and everywhere, so stories or content produced in Spain can be served in an instant across the globe in, say, Chile. That means distribution across all kinds of devices and platforms is crucial. So, as part of this effort, we’ve designed a new approach to caching that allows the publisher to continue to host their content while allowing for efficient distribution through Google’s high performance global cache. We intend to open our cache servers to be used by anyone free of charge.
  • Advertising: Ads help fund free services and content on the web. With Accelerated Mobile Pages, we want to support a comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies. Any sites using AMP HTML will retain their choice of ad networks, as well as any formats that don’t detract from the user experience. It’s also a core goal of the project to support subscriptions and paywalls. We’ll work with publishers and those in the industry to help define the parameters of an ad experience that still provides the speed we’re striving for with AMP.

We hope the open nature of Accelerated Mobile Pages will protect the free flow of information by ensuring the mobile web works better and faster for everyone, everywhere.

Posted by David Besbris, Vice President Engineering, Search