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Category: Google | Aug 15, 2013
The Edinburgh Fringe festival is one of the largest arts festivals in the world, where thousands of people descend upon Edinburgh to see hundreds of up-and-coming comedians and artists perform in bars, basements and venues around the city.
For those of you who have always wanted to go to the Fringe, now you can enjoy great new talent, laugh ‘til your belly hurts and even heckle a comedian from the comfort of your own home. This summer, you can be in the front row of a live comedy show wherever you are thanks to Google+ Hangouts and YouTube. While you’re at it, your laughs can raise money for a good cause.
We’re partnering with the U.K. charity Comic Relief to bring you the first online comedy club—the “Hangout Comedy Club.” We’ve created a clever gizmo called the “Laughometer,” which will measure how much you enjoy the show and turn your lol’s into an optional donation to Comic Relief. They use the funds they raise to tackle the root causes of poverty and social injustice.
To be part of the Hangout Comedy Club, simply join a Google+ Hangout hosted by one of our famous comedians, including Katherine Ryan, Sanderson Jones and Joey Page. Just like a real comedy club, if you’re brave enough, you can join the front row with up to eight others. If you’d rather sit out of sight, join a Hangout, add your friends, and watch from the safety of the back row.
The next Hangout is today, Thursday, August 15, 10pm BST with Sanderson Jones. Find out who else is starring and get your free seat at www.youtube.com/user/rednoseday/hangoutcomedyclub.
So even if you can’t make it to the Fringe, we’ll bring the best new talent directly to you—and your laugh could help change a life.
Posted by Steve Vranakis, Executive Creative Director, Creative Lab London
Category: Google | Aug 14, 2013
Ever had trouble checking your flight’s status on the go because it meant digging through your email for the flight number? Or wanted to just quickly see whether your package would arrive on time, without having to look up the tracking info first? You’ve told us it would be much easier if you could skip the fuss and just ask Google.
Soon you’ll be able to find this info instantly in Google Search if it’s in your Gmail, Google Calendar or Google+. For example, just ask or type, “What’s my flight status?” or “When will my package arrive?”
Over the next several days, we’ll be rolling this out to all U.S., English-speaking users on desktop, tablet and smartphone, with voice search (so you don’t have to type). Here are just a few of the time savers that will be available this week, with more to come:
- Flights: Ask Google “Is my flight on time?” to get info on your upcoming flights and live status on your current flights.
- Reservations: Ask for “my reservations” to see your dining plans or “my hotel” to get your hotel name and address. With one tap, you can get driving or public transit directions straight there, saving you lots of steps.
- Purchases: Ask for “my purchases,” and you’ll get the status of your current orders, so you know whether your mom’s birthday present will arrive on time.
- Plans: Ask Google “What are my plans for tomorrow?” to see a summary of upcoming flights, hotels, restaurant reservations and events—very useful when you’re traveling.
- Photos: Say “Show me my photos from Thailand” to see the photos you uploaded to Google+. You can also ask for “my photos of sunsets” if you want to show off the shots you’ve taken over the year; Google will try to automatically recognize the type of photo you’re asking for.
We’ve been offering this kind of info—flights, reservations, appointments and more—for more than a year in Google Now. We’ve gotten great feedback on how convenient it is, especially when you’re on the go. Now that it’s in Google Search, you can get it anytime you need it.
This information is just for you—secure, via encrypted connection, and visible only to you when you’re signed in to Google. Likewise, you can also control whether you want the service on or off. Whenever you don’t want to see it, simply click the globe icon at the top of the search results page to turn it off for that search session. To turn it off permanently, visit the “Private results” section in search settings.
We hope this makes your day a little easier. Visit our Inside Search site to learn more about the questions you can ask.
Posted by Roy Livne, Product Manager
Category: Google | Aug 12, 2013
On the eve of India’s independence day, we’re celebrating the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship of the world’s largest democracy by spotlighting the best local nonprofits that are using technology to make the world better.
Today we’re launching the Google Impact Challenge in India, inviting Indian nonprofits to tell us how they’d use technology to improve people’s lives. At the end of the challenge, four nonprofits will each receive a Rs 3 crore (around $500,000) Global Impact Award and technical assistance from Google to bring their projects to life.
Get started on your application today: registered Indian nonprofits can apply online until September 5 at g.co/indiachallenge. Googlers from India, and around the world, will review applications and announce the 10 best projects on October 21. You can learn more about the top 10 finalists then, and cast a vote for who you think should receive the Fan Favorite award.
On October 31, I’ll join Ram Shriram, Jacquelline Fuller, Anu Aga and Jayant Sinha in Delhi to hear the 10 finalists pitch live. As judges, we’ll select three awardees based on their potential impact, scalability and ingenuity. We’ll also announce the winner of the Fan Favorite, according to your vote.
Growing up in India, I’ve seen firsthand the vibrancy and innovativeness of India’s social entrepreneurs. I’m excited to see their projects and support their ideas for how to use technology and Rs 3 crores to change the world.
Posted by Nikesh Arora, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer
Category: Google | Aug 2, 2013
This summer we’re posting regularly with privacy and security tips. Knowing how to stay safe and secure online is important, which is why we created our Good to Know site with advice and tips for safe and savvy Internet use. -Ed.
With summer vacation in full swing, you’re likely out and about, using your smartphone or tablet to get answers on the go or check out the latest cool apps and games. But you don’t have to leave safety at home! In this post, we’re sharing a few tips and tools that you can easily set up if you’re on an Android phone or tablet to keep your device—and the contents inside—safe and secure, including a new service that makes it easy to locate a misplaced device.
1. Lock your device screen. Whether you’re on a phone or a tablet, it’s easy to set up a screen lock. This is important to do in case your device gets left in the back of a car, or you’re worried about someone picking up your phone and scrolling through your stuff. You can lock your device with a pin, password, pattern (or even your face!) by going to Settings > Personal > Security > Screen Lock.
2. Protect your phone from suspicious apps. We automatically scan Google Play to block and remove harmful apps. That makes Google Play the safest place to get Android apps. But Google Play can also help protect you even for apps you get elsewhere, like the web or a third-party app store. The first time you start to install an app from an unknown source, a message will pop up asking if you’d like Google to scan the file to make sure it’s not harmful. Tap “OK” to let Google help protect you from harmful apps.
3. Locate, ring and wipe a misplaced device. Have you ever lost your phone in between the couch cushions or left it in a restaurant? Later this month, you will be able to use a new service called Android Device Manager, which can quickly ring your phone at maximum volume so you can find it (even if it’s been silenced), or locate it on a map, in real time, using Android Device Manager. If your phone can’t be recovered, or has been stolen, you can quickly and securely erase all of the data on your device to keep your data from ending up in the wrong hands. The Android Device Manager will be available for devices running Android 2.2 and above, as part of Google Play. You can read the full announcement on the Android blog.
For more advice on how to protect yourself and your family online, visit our Good to Know site, and stay tuned for more posts in our security series.
Posted by Adrian Ludwig, Android Security Engineer
Category: Google | Aug 1, 2013
Inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers is crucially important—breakthroughs don’t happen without people to make them. We want students to not just be consumers of technology, but also creators of it; to enrich not only their own lives, but those of their communities. That’s the motivation behind the Google RISE (Roots in Science and Engineering) Awards.
Given once a year, Google RISE Awards are designed to promote and support education initiatives to increase engagement in science and technology, especially computer science. Google grants awards of $15,000 – $50,000 USD to non-for-profit organizations around the world working to expand access to these fields for K-12/Pre-University students, specifically girls and underrepresented groups.
In 2013, 30 organizations received RISE grants—with projects ranging from robotics contests in Germany to programming challenge days for girls in New Zealand. In June, we brought all of our partners together for a Global Summit. It was an inspiring meeting, and since the Summit several organizations have begun to work together to expand their reach.
For example, our RISE partners in Nigeria, WAAW Foundation and W-TEC, have teamed up to organize a one-week residential Advanced STEM Camp. The program launched this week and will provide 27 public school girls exposure to robotics. Over in Argentina, an organization already connecting Belgium to Argentina is is now collaborating with another on programming workshops for students and teachers. And organizations in Liberia and India are sharing resources to overcome common challenges in access to technology for girls.
The hard work of RISE organizations has also drawn support from leading figures such as President Obama, Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny and HRH Prince Andrew.
We’re looking for more organizations to partner with in 2014. Submit your application by September 30, 2013. You can submit your application in English, French, Japanese, Russian or Spanish; all eligible countries are listed on our website. Show us what you can do to get students excited about STEM and CS!
Posted by Marielena Ivory, K12/Pre-University Education Outreach
Category: Google | Jul 31, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, I took a summer trip with friends. I found myself using plenty of Google tools while we were on vacation: from finding the best flight there and a last-minute hostel reservation, to discovering hidden gems in each city we visited, even I was surprised by how much Google made everything easier and smoother.
With that inspiration, we’ve created a one stop shop at g.co/summer with tips to help you also make the most of these last few weeks of summer.
Here are a few tips you might find useful too:
Meanwhile, my mom back home in New York found some great local activities and museum exhibits, like the MOMA Rain Room, using Google Now in her Google Search app. She even tried some Google+ MakerCamp classes, which inspired her to create her own DIY projects at home.
Post about your summer using hashtag #SummerTimes, and see what other folks are up to.
Posted by Liz Wessel, Marketing Manager and Summer Traveler
Category: Google | Jul 31, 2013
Coffee shop + Internet—it’s a pairing that many of us have come to rely on. WiFi access makes work time, downtime, travel time and lots of in-between times more enjoyable and productive. That’s why we’re teaming up with Starbucks to bring faster, free WiFi connections to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States over the next 18 months. When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.
Google has long invested in helping the Internet grow stronger, including projects to make Internet access speedier, more affordable, and more widely available. The free Internet connection at Starbucks has become an important part of many communities over the years, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or for students without Internet at home who do their homework at Starbucks.
We’ll start rolling out the new networks this August. We appreciate your patience if it’s still a little while before we get to your favorite Starbucks—you’ll know your new network is ready to go when you can log in to the “Google Starbucks” SSID.
Posted by Kevin Lo, General Manager, Google Access
Category: Google | Jul 29, 2013
Today we’re launching a new Zagat website and mobile app for Android and iPhone that puts the very best restaurants and nightspots right at your fingertips. And for the first time, our trusted Zagat ratings and reviews are available for free with no registration required.
The new Zagat features the latest news and video content from our expert local editors, curated lists (think “10 Hidden Restaurant Gardens Around DC”), powerful search and map-based browsing to help you find the local gems.
These days, the challenge in deciding where to go is not about about a lack of information or user reviews, but finding accurate information and trusted opinions so you can quickly make informed decisions. Through our digital products—and the Google products you use every day like the new Google Maps for Mobile—you can rely on Zagat’s curated lists and summary reviews to cut through the clutter so you can find the perfect spot.
The new Zagat covers restaurants and nightlife in nine cities, and over the coming months we plan to expand to 50 U.S. and international destinations and cover shopping, hotels and other places of interest. We know that many of you are eager to have continued access to our content in these markets, so in advance of this expansion, we’ll soon make our existing ratings and reviews available on Zagat.com.
For more than 34 years we’ve been surveying passionate locals about the places that matter to them most. This is the foundation on which Zagat was built—and we hope that through our featured surveys on Zagat.com, you’ll continue to share your opinions with us as you rate and review the places you visit.
Posted by Gannon Hall, Group Product Manager and Head of Zagat
Category: Google | Jul 24, 2013
When I was growing up, my family had a single screen we huddled around every day: the television set in the living room. Nowadays, we “huddle” around multiple screens—laptops, smartphones and tablets—using them almost interchangeably as we navigate through our day. In a world of ubiquitous computing, life would be a lot simpler if we didn’t have to learn new behaviors and interfaces each time we switched screens—if we could have one consistent, intuitive experience no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Today, with the launch of Chromecast and the new Nexus 7 tablet, it’s even more effortless to enjoy content you care about—whether it’s video, music, movies, games—wherever you are, across your devices.
To help make it easy to bring your favorite online entertainment to the biggest screen in your house—the TV—we’re introducing Chromecast. Chromecast is a small and affordable ($35) device that you simply plug in to your high-definition (HD) TV and it allows you to use your phone, tablet or laptop to “cast” online content to your TV screen. It works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music, with more apps like Pandora coming soon. With Chromecast, we wanted to create an easy solution that works for everyone, for every TV in the house.
Once your Chromecast is set up, you can use your phone, tablet or laptop to browse and cast content to your TV, play and pause, control the volume, and more. But unlike other streaming solutions, you can still multitask—send emails or surf the web—while enjoying what’s on the TV screen. It works across platforms—Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Chrome for Mac and Windows (more to come), so your personal device is also now your remote control.
Cast the web to your TV
In addition to apps like Netflix, you can use Chromecast to bring a broad range of content available on the web to your big screen, thanks to a new feature in the Chrome browser that allows you to project any browser tab to your TV. From sharing your family photos to enjoying a video clip from your favorite news site, it’s as simple as pressing a button. This feature is launching in beta, but we’re excited for people to try it out and give us their feedback.
Google Cast SDK preview for developers
To ensure a great Chromecast experience over time, we’ve built Google Cast, a technology that enables developers to build consistent, intuitive multi-screen experiences across mobile devices and TVs. Today, we’re launching a preview version of Google Cast with more information for developers on our Google Developers blog. A handful of early developers are already working on enabling Google Cast technology in their apps, so more supported apps are coming soon. And while the Chromecast device is the first instantiation of Google Cast, we expect the technology to be embedded in a range of hardware from our partners in the future.
The new Nexus 7—the sharpest 7” tablet screen ever
Together with ASUS, we took what you loved about the original Nexus 7 and made it even better. The first thing you’ll notice is the sharpness of the screen: the 323 pixels packed into every inch of the screen makes it the world’s highest-resolution 7-inch tablet. It’s lighter than ever, with more than nine hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing or reading. Nexus 7 now features stereo speakers and virtual surround sound from Fraunhofer (the inventors of the MP3 format), giving you rich and immersive audio.
Android 4.3—a sweeter Jelly Bean
Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with Android 4.3, the newest version of Android. Tablets are perfect for sharing with others, so in Android 4.3, we’re introducing restricted profiles, which let you limit access to apps and content. For example, restricted profiles enable parental controls, so certain family members are prevented from accessing mature content. Likewise, retail stores can use tablets to show off product information, and shops can use tablets as point of sale systems. Android 4.3 also now supports Bluetooth Smart technology, opening the door to mobile apps that connect to new devices like fitness sensors. Android 4.3 is rolling out to Nexus devices starting today.
Ready to Play
The new Google Play Games app brings your friends together with the games you love, where you can invite a friend and start challenging gamers around the world, compete for top achievements, and race to the top of the leaderboard. You can also enjoy the world’s largest collection of eBooks, listen to millions of music tracks and immerse yourself in thousands of movies, TV shows, magazines and apps on Google Play. Plus, Nexus 7 comes loaded with your favorite Google apps, like Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Gmail and Google Now.
How to get Chromecast and the new Nexus 7
Starting today, the Chromecast device is available for $35 on Google Play, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. It will be available in Best Buy stores across the U.S. starting July 28. For a limited time, you also get three months of Netflix included. More info available in Google Play.
Nexus 7 starts at $229, and is available in the U.S. beginning July 30 (with more countries coming soon!). Buy Nexus 7 online on Google Play, or check it out at Best Buy, Gamestop, Walmart, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, Amazon, Home Shopping Network, Radio Shack, J&R and B&H Photo. Nexus 7 (LTE) is coming soon with support for T-Mobile and Verizon in the coming weeks.
Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps
Category: Google | Jul 17, 2013
Since opening our Campus Tel Aviv last December, we’ve hosted thousands of promising entrepreneurs and developers at events, workshops, lectures and hackathons. Many of these entrepreneurs refer to their start-ups as their “baby,” and it’s easy to understand why. Like having a newborn, a start-up is super-exciting, yet the days are hectic and the nights are… sleepless.
What’s really inspiring (and just a little bit crazy) is that some people do both at the same time. Take, for example, Israeli entrepreneur Hilla Brenner, who raised $5 million for her first start-up when she was nine months pregnant. Earlier this year, I had the chance to meet Hilla and we began talking about how juggling work and kids doesn’t leave much time to invest in learning and developing new skills. We also discussed how maternity leave can be one of the few times when women can stop and think about their career. We asked ourselves: what could we do to help women with young children get access to self-development and career support and, in doing so, to help more women become tech entrepreneurs?
Campus for Moms is a baby-friendly start-up school for new moms, run by Google in partnership with Yazamiyot, a networking group for Israeli women entrepreneurs. The first course, which ended this week, included nine sessions led by successful entrepreneurs, investors, technology experts and others. The sessions covered personal success stories, finance, legal and presentation skills, and tech knowledge, like cloud computing. We arranged mattresses, bean bags and diaper-changing facilities so that the moms could take care of their young ones during the sessions. Four babies were born during the course and one new mum returned to the program less than a week after giving birth!
At the end of the course, participants presented their initiatives to venture capital funds and the course speakers. Their ideas are exciting—including a platform for teachers to create apps for their students, a fashion-tech meet up to encourage cooperation between local fashion-related start-ups, a 2G mobile ecommerce gateway for emerging markets and a bunch of other great initiatives.
The participants are continuing to develop their skills: two of the start-ups have joined the Campus Tel Aviv “Launch Pad” program, an intensive week-long bootcamp for entrepreneurs, and another will be visiting Campus London to meet with U.K.-based entrepreneurs.
The first course of “Campus for Moms” is over, but we’re gearing up for another course in October. We’re also looking forward to sharing the tools and best practices we’ve developed at Campus for Moms with others, so they can help entrepreneurial moms in their communities. After all, whether they’re moms or not, entrepreneurs can always do with a helping hand with their “baby.”
Posted by Tal Sarig-Avraham, Product Marketing Manager