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Category: Google | Feb 10, 2015
Online security is on everyone’s mind these days. According to a recent Gallup poll, more people are worried about their online accounts being hacked than having their home broken into.
Security has always been a top priority for Google. Our Safe Browsing technology identifies unsafe websites and warns people before they visit them, protecting more than one billion Chrome, Firefox, and Safari users everyday. 2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security, beyond your password, to your Google account; it’s like a second padlock on your account’s door. And our research teams regularly release new findings about nefarious online activity, like Gmail account hijacking attempts, so people can stay informed.
We have many protections in place to keep people, and their information, secure, but there’s also a lot that you can do to protect yourself. Today, on Safer Internet Day, take a quick Security Checkup, an easy way to review and manage your Google Account’s security settings.
Here are some of the important items you can review during your Security Checkup:
- Recovery information: Adding a phone number can help us get in touch if you’re locked out of your account. We’ll only use your phone number to protect your account, unless you say otherwise.
- Recent activity: This is a quick overview of your recent sign-ins to Google. If you see any activity from a location or device you don’t recognize, change your password immediately.
- Account permissions: These are the apps, websites and devices connected to your Google account. Take a look and make sure you trust—and actually use—all of them. You might want to remove an old phone, or that dusty app you never use.
It takes just a few minutes to make sure your information is accurate and up to date. And as an extra thank you, we’ll add 2GB to your Drive storage plan if you complete the Security Checkup by February 17. Visit your Account Settings and take your Security Checkup today.
Posted by Andreas Tuerk, Product Manager
Category: Google | Feb 10, 2015
Think of the last time you searched on Google for health information. Maybe you heard a news story about gluten-free diets and pulled up the Google app to ask, “What is celiac disease?” Maybe a co-worker shook your hand and later found out she had pink eye, so you looked up “pink eye” to see whether it’s contagious. Or maybe you were worried about a loved one—like I was, recently, when my infant son Veer fell off a bed in a hotel in rural Vermont, and I was concerned that he might have a concussion. I wasn’t able to search and quickly find the information I urgently needed (and I work at Google!).
Thankfully my son was OK, but the point is this stuff really matters: one in 20 Google searches are for health-related information. And you should find the health information you need more quickly and easily.
So starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.
We worked with a team of medical doctors (led by our own Dr. Kapil Parakh, M.D., MPH, Ph.D.) to carefully compile, curate, and review this information. All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.
That doesn’t mean these search results are intended as medical advice. We know that cases can vary in severity from person to person, and that there are bound to be exceptions. What we present is intended for informational purposes only—and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.
But we hope this can empower you in your health decisions by helping you learn more about common conditions. We’re rolling it out over the next few days, in the U.S. in English to start. In the long run, not only do we plan to cover many more medical conditions, but we also want to extend this to other parts of the world. So the next time you need info on frostbite symptoms, or treatments for tennis elbow, or the basics on measles, the Google app will be a better place to start.
Posted by Prem Ramaswami, Product Manager
Category: Google | Feb 6, 2015
From a shark with two left feet to a sequel that has everyone buzzing, here’s what trended on search this week.
Haven’t we been here before?
This past Monday, the U.S. turned to its dirt-dwelling psychic, the groundhog, to determine if it was finally time to put our snow boots back in the closet. Searches for “Did the groundhog see his shadow?” hit 100,000+ while other questions like “What is a groundhog?” also peaked on February 2. So did little Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow and curse us with another six weeks of winter? In fact, he did. Can we get a do-over?
Sports news 101
Now that the dust has settled from this past Sunday’s Super Bowl, there are several things we can take away from the game. First, Tom Brady might be the best quarterback in football history after winning his fourth championship—he was also the most searched Superbowl quarterback. Second, either Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll made the worst call ever or New England’s victory is all part of a conspiracy (you decide). Last but not least, Left Shark put on the best half-time performance of all time… with help from Katy Perry. The Internet fell hook, line and sinker for the choreographically inept shark. Searchers were also curious about Missy Elliot after her appearance in the show.
Model Ashley Graham also made a splash this week. Don’t know her? You will soon enough. Graham is set to appear Sport Illustrated’s famous swimsuit issue, making her the first plus-size model to be featured in an ad in the magazine.
Back in the headlines
The spotlight is back on Lance Armstrong and it’s not helping the cyclist’s already damaged reputation. Back in December, Armstrong and his girlfriend Anna Hansen were involved in a hit-and-run accident involving parked cars. At the time, Hansen said she was driving the car during the incident—but it turns out Armstrong was actually the one behind the wheel, leading to two misdemeanor charges, rising interest on trends and more embarrassment for the star.
Iconic and reclusive writer Harper Lee topped the search charts when news emerged that she will be releasing a new book, a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, in July. The book comes 55 years after Lee’s first novel and the writer has a long history of avoiding the spotlight: She hasn’t granted any interviews or public appearances since Mockingbird came out. While many fans are rejoicing, the surprising announcement is leaving others skeptical. Lee turns 89 this April and is reportedly in ill health, leading some people to feel that the author might be being taken advantage of. We’ll have to wait and see how this story—as well as the one in Go Set A Watchman—unfolds.
Tip of the week
Ready for the long Presidents Day weekend? Look up flights for a last-minute escape. Just say, “Ok Google, show me flights from San Francisco,” to find where you can go to enjoy the day off.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched this week for [whistle pig] and [a girl named scout]
Category: Google | Feb 2, 2015
(Cross-posted on the Google for EDU Blog)
When Aboriginals from the Torres Strait Island need support, they turn to their daughters. No, really. In a culture whose history goes back 50,000 years, 70 young girls are using technology to give their families a new way to call for help in emergencies. Last year, Engineers Without Borders Australia taught a group of students to build an emergency response beacon using basic hardware and some code to transmit a user’s location and distress message via radio.
The Torres Strait Aboriginals make up less than 3 percent of Australia’s population, and they’ve historically faced discrimination in society, including in education. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, dropout rates exceed 60 percent in certain regions and Aboriginal students are, on average, 2.5 years behind their peers in scientific and mathematical literacy. The problem is often compounded for girls, who tend to be left out of educational opportunities.
So Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWBA) set out to close the educational and digital divide, teaching the Torres Strait girls how to create emergency beacons from scratch by coding a Raspberry Pi to work with an an LED, GPS module and FM transmitter. Now, their families can use these beacons to signal if brush fires, often used for light, become widespread—or in cases of poisonous snake and spider bites.
A girl works on an LED light for one of EWBA’s projects. EWBA teaches girls in Australia to make emergency response signals by coding a Raspberry Pi to flash morse code through an LED.
This is just one example of an organization doing extraordinary work to make computer science (CS) education available to women and other underrepresented minorities. Computer science has tremendous potential to make a real difference in the world—but only when more people can access and harness it.
That’s the idea behind Google’s RISE Awards, through which we support organizations in their work to inspire students around the world with CS. Since 2010, more than 200 organizations have received an award, and this year, 37 organizations are recieving a culmulative $1.5 million to keep this vital effort humming along. Our partners facilitate programs and activities including teaching girls about the intersection of coding and music production in California, promoting computational thinking through game-design in Mexico, and inspiring children in Brazil to program alongside their parents.
This year, three nonprofits will receive a new “RISE Partnership Award”—a grant to work with one or two partner organizations to help grow their CS outreach to a wider scale. One of the three is Engineers Without Borders Australia, which plans to work with MEET—an organization with expertise on how coding skills can build relationships and break down stereotypes—to integrate their curriculum to reach up to 2,000 girls across Australia, including in Aboriginal communities.
With access to hands-on CS education, the girls of Torres Strait are preparing themselves for the digital economy, contributing to the diversity of our future’s technology, and taking concrete steps to rise above the inequities their community has faced for decades. They’re not alone. We hope that through the RISE Awards and our other efforts to support diversity in technology, these girls and others like them can have an even greater impact. We can’t wait to see it.
Posted by Roxana Shirkhoda, K12/Pre-University Education Outreach
Category: Google | Feb 2, 2015
From a “super brawl” to a giant lion, yesterday’s big game was filled with many notable moments. That’s true on YouTube and Google too—people watched more game-day ads and teaser videos on YouTube than ever before, YouTube hosted its first-ever halftime show, and a throwback PSA became a top trending search term. Here’s a look at the top trending searches, videos and more across Google and YouTube:
Battle of the brands
As the battle for football supremacy was taking place on the field, a very different one was raging across the country: Which ad would reign supreme? Whether via smartphone, tablet or laptop, people spent nearly 4 million hours watching game-day ads and teaser videos on YouTube—up from 2.2 million hours from this time last year.
This year’s most popular ads came from a wide range of advertisers—newcomers and veterans alike. But one thing’s for certain—puppies, pranks, and Kim Kardashian continue to “break the Internet.” Here are some of the ads that scored big on YouTube so far:
Tom Brady and Missy Elliott dominate on search
While people turned to YouTube to watch the ads, people turned to Google to search for everything from “how old is Tom Brady” to “buffalo chicken dip recipes” to “Katy Perry Halftime performance.” Before kickoff, people asked Google “Why did John Travolta call Idina ‘Adele’?”—a throwback to John Travolta’s infamous mispronunciation of National Anthem performer Idina Menzel’s name at the 2014 Oscars. Searchers were also interested in Menzel’s performance, asking “How long will it take Idina to sing the National Anthem?”
Tom Brady, Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson were the top three searched players before, during and after the game. Thanks to some standout in-game performances, by the end they were sharing the spotlight with Rob Gronkowski and Chris Matthews (replacing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor). And MVP Tom Brady wasn’t just a winner on the field—he captured the title of “Most Searched Quarterback” in every state except for the Seahawks’ home Washington.
Of course, for many people the halftime show is the highlight of the night, and Katy Perry’s performance delivered. She came in on a lion, danced with sharks and went out on a star—one that was, for some, reminiscent of NBC’s old “The More You Know” PSAs. The phrase “the more you know” spiked 190x in search for the 10 minutes after Katy’s starry flight. And although Missy Elliott was a late addition to the halftime lineup, she was a popular topic in search. Top questions related to Missy Elliott included “When was Missy Elliott popular?” and “How does Katy Perry know Missy Elliott?”
A very YouTube halftime show
For the first time ever, this year YouTube hosted a halftime show produced by Collective Digital Studio, with the help of more than 25 YouTube creators including Epic Meal Time‘s Harley Morenstein as host, Rhett & Link, Toby Turner, Freddie Wong and Tyler Ward. From Kurt Hugo Schneider’s “Epic Patty Cake Song” to the “Elephant’s Toothpaste” science experiment with Science Bob, the show delivered a one-of-a-kind experience for YouTube fans.
With the last touchdown scored, we’re taking votes for your favorite ad, so visit our AdBlitz channel to cast your ballot before voting ends on February 9 at 11:59pm ET.
Whether you’re a loyal 12th man or a Boston fan for life, chances are you turned to YouTube and Google to watch your favorite ads, answer your questions or witness a new generation of halftime entertainment. We’re happy we could be a part of your game.
Posted by Riki Nakasuji, Sports & Gaming Sponsorships Manager, YouTube
Category: Google | Jan 30, 2015
Between a spookily resilient cat, and a new bunch of ghostbusters, there was a lot of (paranormal) activity in search this week:
“It’s a great day for a ball game…”
People across the country are gearing up for this weekend’s Super Bowl, starting with the basics: “When is the Super Bowl?” They’re also researching some of the major characters of Sunday’s face-off—namely Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and Patriots coach Bill Belichick—and getting the jump on the ads on YouTube (you’ve already watched more than 100 million minutes’ worth!), including a controversial GoDaddy ad. Plus, no game day is complete without the food: top recipes searched this week include [easy chili], [fajitas], [baked chicken wings] and [barbacoa]. Don’t forget to tune in to @Google over the weekend for more trends!
With all the football hubbub, people still found time to search for other sports happenings. Last Friday, baseball fans mourned the death of Ernie Banks, a.k.a. Mr. Cub, a beloved shortstop and Hall of Famer. And that same night, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors scored a record-breaking 37 points in one quarter.
Who you gonna call?
An all-female Ghostbusters, that’s who. Rumors about next year’s reboot of the 80’s classic have been looming over us like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man for a while now, but now it’s all but confirmed that the 2016 film will feature Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Searches for each of the actresses spiked faster than you could say “proton pack,” and Kate McKinnon was the #2 search overall on Tuesday. In other leading-lady casting news, Harry Potter alum Emma Watson announced that she’ll play Belle in Disney’s forthcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Tempest in a teacup
Headed into this week, the weather was on everyone’s mind, at least on the East Coast. Searches for terms like [weather], [blizzard 2015], [juno], [National Weather Service] and [weather NYC] were all hot—or, cold, as the case may be. People were also looking for info on the [mta], [nj transit] and [school closings]. Though the storm in New York amounted to little more than an excuse for a snow day, it dumped up to three feet of snow in parts of New England. Definitely enough to merit all those pre-storm searches!
And moving from the blizzard to the desert, Michelle Obama made headlines when she appeared in Riyadh to mark the death of King Abdullah—without a veil or headscarf. Searches spiked as people tried to find out if the First Lady intended her attire as a political statement. Others noted that she’s certainly not the first to go bareheaded: Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice have, too.
One down, eight to go
File under “stranger than fiction”: [zombie cat] was trending in search this week after a 23-month old kitten in Florida seemingly came back from the dead. After being hit by a car and buried, Bart proved the old “nine lives” adage true when he reappeared in a neighbor’s yard five days later. We’d say that after his trials, Bart deserves a cozy new bed at home, like a Serenity Cat Pod from Skymall, but, well…
Tip of the week
Don’t show up empty-handed on Sunday: say “Ok Google, remind me to pick up guacamole when I’m at Safeway” and the Google app will help you be a good guest.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [garden district walking tour new orleans] and [kitten ducklings]
Category: Google | Jan 27, 2015
It’s been nearly five years since we offered to build a fiber-optic network in one U.S. city as an experiment — and were met with overwhelming enthusiasm. Now, Google Fiber is live in Kansas City, Provo and Austin, and we’ve started to see how gigabit Internet, with speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s basic broadband, can transform cities. It can give them new platforms for economic development and new ways of using technology to improve life for their citizens. And, around the country, it seems to be catching on.
Check out the Kansas City Startup Village and Provo learn-how-to-code hub DevMountain. Take a look at the work of a geneticist whose speedy connection could one day help newborns in intensive care, or how one city’s network is connecting a high school classroom to an underwater microscope so students can study oceanic life in the Pacific… from Chattanooga, Tenn. There are many more stories like this—stories about how people are using gigabit internet to spark innovation, inspire creativity, and collaborate in ways they simply couldn’t before. And we want to see even more.
So, today, we’re happy to announce that Google Fiber is coming to 18 cities across four new metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh-Durham. We can’t wait to see what people and businesses across the Southeast U.S. do with gigabit speeds.
Bringing Google Fiber to these cities is a long-term investment. We’ve been working closely with city leaders over the past year on a joint planning process to get their communities ready for Google Fiber—and now the really hard work begins. Our next step is to work with cities to create a detailed map of where we can put our thousands of miles of fiber, using existing infrastructure such as utility poles and underground conduit, and making sure to avoid things like gas and water lines. Then a team of surveyors and engineers will hit the streets to fill in missing details. Once we’re done designing the network (which we expect to wrap up in a few months), we’ll start construction.
We’re also continuing to explore bringing fiber to five additional metro areas—Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose, and will have updates on these potential Fiber cities later this year.
Today, we aren’t the only ones talking about gigabit broadband. From the White House to main street, a chorus of new voices is standing up for speed. Just last week during the State of the Union, the President called for faster networks so that innovators and entrepreneurs can build the next big idea. New research from the Fiber to the Home Council shows gigabit networks are contributing billions of dollars in economic growth. Communities across America are demanding more speed for their own homes and businesses, and we’re going to keep doing our part to help.
Posted by Dennis Kish, Vice President, Google Fiber
Category: Google | Jan 23, 2015
Here’s a side of search trends to go along with your Friday. Read on to find out what got people talking–and searching–this week.
Deflate-gate and other scandals
Super Bowl drama is already here, and it’s not even February 1. After the New England Patriots dominated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 to win the AFC Championship, news broke out that 11 out of the 12 balls used by New England quarterback Tom Brady were under inflated, which is a no-no in the NFL. The league has strict rules about the air pressure in game day balls since alterations could give one team an advantage. Both Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are singing Shaggy’s greatest hit “It Wasn’t Me,” so we’ll all have to wait and see how the mystery unfolds.
On the other “football” field, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team goalkeeper Hope Solo is back in trouble with the law after she and her husband, Jerramy Stevens, were pulled over for suspicions of driving under the influence. The kicker? This all happened while Stevens was driving the U.S. team van, which promptly resulted in a 30-day suspension for Solo. This event comes just seven days after charges of domestic violence were dropped against the athlete.
The last laugh
On Tuesday, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address to outline his legislative agenda for the year ahead. Then, on Thursday, the President took questions about his remarks from YouTube Creators. While topics like education, the economy and foreign relations got people searching, the Internet had a field day after Obama dropped the proverbial mic at the expense of his Republican counterparts during his speech. In the midst of his talk, Obama stated “I have no more campaigns to run,” generating applause from some of his opponents. But Obama — not one to be the butt of a joke — responded as smooth as butter: “I know because I won both of them.” Burn.
Not what you expected
Search left people salivating after news that milk’s favorite cookie, the Oreo, was getting a new flavor inspired by Valentine’s Day. Confection-maker Nabisco decided to bring cupcake and cookie together in holy matrimony with the launch of a red velvet version of their snack on February 2. And as some people tried to satisfy their sweet tooth, it looks like Tiger Woods may have lost his…literally. The famed golfer made an appearance at his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup skiing race in Italy sporting a missing tooth, causing a stir on the web as people tried to find an explanation for his gap-toothed smile.
Meanwhile, things took a turn for the worse at the happiest place on earth. Disneyland was linked to an outbreak of more than 50 cases of the measles. Health officials are declaring the park safe for those who have their immunizations, but the situation has drummed up more controversy around the anti-vaccination movement.
Tip of the Week
Still sticking to your diet resolution? If you need a little help knowing the number of calories you’re eating just ask, “Ok Google, how many calories are in an avocado?” to stay in tip-top shape.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [hope for hope] and [all scandals that end in -gate]
Category: Google | Jan 16, 2015
This time of year may be cold and dark, but there was plenty to brighten our days—and keep us searching—this week.
Top of the pack
El Capitan is a stunning sight on a normal day—the sheer granite face rising above the valley in Yosemite National Park is hard to miss. But this week, people around the world had an extra reason to keep their eyes on El Cap: two mountain climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, made history on Wednesday when they completed the first ever free climb of the 3,000-foot wall. Searches for [el capitan climb] went up more than 1,000% as people looked to learn more about the feat.
Back on firm ground, Ohio State beat #2-ranked Oregon in an upset victory in the College Football Playoff championship. Though the Buckeyes may have won on the field, the Ducks still held the top of the search charts, with more than 2 million searches on Monday. People were also searching for the teams’ top players, especially Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, who announced this week that he had decided to stay with the team for another year, passing on the NFL draft. (His Oregon counterpart in Monday’s game, Marcus Mariota, made the opposite call.)
Glitter and glamour
We’re officially in peak entertainment awards season. The “72nd and final” Golden Globes took place on Sunday with hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Of particular interest on search were Jane the Virgin and its star Gina Rodriguez, whose win was considered a surprise and whose speech was considered a win, and The Honourable Woman’s Maggie Gyllenhaal, who gave a quietly passionate speech about women in Hollywood. And Michael Keaton, who won best actor in a drama for the film Birdman, brought some company with him to search, as well as the ceremony: his son and “best friend,” Sean Douglas, who spiked in search after Keaton sang his praises in his acceptance speech.
Then just when we’d finished analyzing the Globes’ winners and losers, the Oscar nominations were announced, meaning we officially have just over a month to catch up on all the films before the ceremony on February 22. Top nominees include Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Boyhood. (Someone get Sean Douglas a tux rental for February.) Want help with your Oscar pool? There’s no telling which film will win, but over the past year, the title of top film in Search is a close race between Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Finally, in addition to all the glitz on the red carpet, there was a different kind of glitter in search this week. A start-up business that lets you “ship your enemies glitter” went viral, giving you a new way to show that special (un)loved one how you feel. Millions of clicks and a website crash later, the founder is now saying he wants to quit. All that glitters is, apparently, not gold.
Tip of the week
Time to catch up on all those movies you haven’t seen. Just say “Ok Google” then “movie times” or “Selma movies times” and you’ll get a list of theaters and films playing near you.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched for [lucy parks and rec] and [spanish homophones]
Category: Google | Jan 16, 2015
This Monday, January 19, we’re celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and marking the national MLK Day of Service. It’s a holiday that’s especially meaningful this year: 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, and it’s a time when civil rights is at the forefront of our national conversation.
Next Monday, Googlers across the country are heeding the call to give back to their communities, and we hope you’ll join us. Take some time to honor Dr. King by volunteering in your community—you can find opportunities at All for Good. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the projects Googlers will be participating in, and the reasons why they’ve made the commitment to serve this MLK Day.
Dona Bellow, a legal assistant, will be helping middle school students in New York with computer science and STEM activities. She says, “doing something to help further the goals of someone else is reclaiming power: power to choose love over conflict, power to recognize and celebrate our differences, power to achieve an equitable outcome for all.”
In California, Googlers will be volunteering with the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation as it hosts a full day of festivities including the annual parade/march in San Francisco. Eliana Murillo, who is head of multicultural marketing and will be participating in Monday’s event, told us that “giving a hand to those in need helps build compassion and understanding of the diversity of life experiences.”
Leadership coordinator Aerica Banks says that she serves to ”break down barriers and build community. We are all able to serve, and we all stand to benefit.” She helped organize volunteers in our Atlanta office for the Atlanta Food Bank Kids In Need program event, which provides school supplies free of charge to teachers in low-income schools.
And Fabian Elliott, from our ads team in Chicago, helped organize Google volunteers in the Windy City to help middle school students practice compassion by writing letters to children struggling with terminal illnesses. He says, “Even the most obscure challenges of the world impact each of us at varying levels…It’s as simple as doing something that you love that supports a cause you believe in. What are you waiting for?”
Dr. King said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” Googler volunteers are joining in the national efforts to honor the legacy of Dr. King—and we know that a commitment to service goes well beyond Monday. So we also support projects throughout the year to help to deepen our connections with local communities. Together, let’s make Martin Luther King Jr. Day “a day on, not a day off!”
Posted by Johanne Sterling, on behalf of the Black Googlers Network and GooglersGive