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Category: Google | Sep 5, 2014
Earlier this year, we launched Android Wear, bringing Android to wearables. Since then, the first watches powered by Android Wear, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, have gone on sale, developers have already built thousands of apps enhanced for Wear, and great new watches are becoming available from more partners.
Our goal with Wear is to build technology that helps you connect with others and get stuff done. So often, technology can become something that gets in the way of everything else. But we want to build devices that you can use when you need and forget about when you don’t—technology that’s built for your sake, rather than its own sake. Coming throughout the rest of this year, we’re making some updates to Wear that will help you get even more out of your watch—and the rest of your life, too.
First, we’re bringing offline music playback and GPS support to Android Wear. Go for a run or bike ride with your Android wearable and leave your phone at home. You’ll be able to listen to music stored on your watch via Bluetooth headphones. And if your watch includes a GPS sensor, you can track your distance and speed too.
The second update will enable downloadable watch faces, so you can customize the visual design of your watch’s home screen to show the information you want to see most—like your calendar or fitness sensors. Developers will soon be working on watch faces, making them available on Google Play.
We’re also continuing to work with manufacturers to bring you even more watch options, with different shapes, styles and sensors.
- The Moto 360, the first Android wearable with a round display, is now available for sale in the U.S.
- The Asus Zen Watch, coming later this year, includes a bio sensor, so you can keep tabs on your fitness and relaxation levels throughout the day.
- The LG G Watch R uses a circular display, includes a heart rate monitor, and will be available later this year.
- Last, but not least, we’re happy to welcome Sony to the Android Wear family with the Sony SmartWatch 3. It uses a transflective display for easier readability in sunlight, includes a GPS sensor, and will be available later this year.
These watches, as well as those unveiled earlier this summer, will all get the new software updates described above as soon as they’re ready in the coming months. We’re also working with our partners on even more improvements, which means your device will continue to get better, with updates provided directly to you.
Whether it’s giving you directions, letting you stay in touch more easily or keeping track of your steps so you can stay fit, Wear is designed to help you out without getting in your way. With new features and many new devices to choose from, chances are there’s a watch that’s just right for you.
Posted by David Singleton, Engineering Director, Android Wear
Category: Google | Sep 4, 2014
Bring on the heart-pounding highs and the gut-wrenching lows; the crazy rituals and the bitter rivalries. Football season is back!
Whether you’re a “12th Man” or wearing a cheesehead, chances are you’ll be watching the game with smartphone in hand. Eighty-four percent of us now watch TV while multi-tasking on other devices nearby. And today, the language of fan rivalries is a visual one. Just look at the resurgence of search interest for GIFs on Google Trends. Why say it in words when you can throw shade with a meme?
This year, there’s a way for mobile-clutching NFL fans to take their smack talk to the next level. Madden GIFERATOR is a new project created by our Art, Copy & Code team, in partnership with EA Sports and agencies Heat and Grow, to help launch EA Sports’ signature football game Madden NFL 15.
During every NFL game, the Madden GIFERATOR will create a live stream of memes using Madden NFL 15 video game footage (as GIFs), triggered by the action on the field. The GIFs will appear in real time on MaddenGIFERATOR.com, on social media, as well as in ads on popular sports and gaming related apps and sites across the the Google Display Network. For example, if Seattle’s Richard Sherman picks off Aaron Rodgers tonight, you might see a GIF of Sherman with the headline “Weren’t you supposed to catch that? Aawwwwwkward” in the stream, alongside a real-time update on the score and game clock.
You can also take control of the GIFERATOR and design your own GIFs, choosing the team, the player, the background and the headline, ready for sharing across the web.
The Madden GIFERATOR is the latest in our Art, Copy & Code series, where we partner with brands and their agencies to create useful and fun experiences, powered by Google technology. We wanted to tap into the growing trend for fans to comment on and interact with games from their phones—plus, we have a weakness for GIFs. The GIFERATOR fuses live NFL game data with a database of Madden images, players, backgrounds and headlines to create relevant memes on the fly.
So this season, when your team delivers those clutch plays, head over to MaddenGIFERATOR.com, choose the perfect image, customize it with your best smack talk, and send it to your fellow fans (if you want to be nice) or your rivals (if you’ve got a wicked streak). Here’s a little inspiration before tonight’s Seahawks vs. Packers standoff:
Posted by Mike Glaser, Marketing Manager, Creative Partnerships
Category: Google | Sep 3, 2014
The is the first of several posts taking you behind the scenes of how Google makes its Maps. Stay tuned to the Lat Long blog over the next few days for the rest of the series. —Ed.
When you head out your door, you’ve got directions in your pocket—whether you’re driving to your aunt’s place in the mountains, cycling to a new biergarten or taking the train downtown. For Google Maps to get you there, it needs to be a digital mirror of the real world. But the real world is always changing. So to make sure your map is an accurate reflection of your world, we started Ground Truth, a project that brings the freshest, most relevant information to Google Maps.
Today, we’ve reached our 50th Ground Truth country with the addition of five new countries: Taiwan, Malaysia, Poland, Romania, and the last regions of Russia. We’re also rolling out Google Map Maker and Report a Problem—our crowdsourcing map tools—to Taiwan, Russia and Malaysia, giving anyone in those locations the ability to share and contribute their local knowledge directly to Google Maps.
For these countries, that means clearer, more detailed depictions of points of interest like walking paths in parks or department labels in universities, a reworking of the road network with new street names and turn restrictions, and faster updates to the map. In the unique case of Poland and Romania, both of which have Map Maker communities that were instrumental in building the map from scratch, it also means providing more resources to bring the same level of map detail to all regions in these places.
Over the next week, we’re pulling back the curtain to show you how Ground Truth and Map Maker work together to build Google Maps. Much of the magic behind Maps comes from people—from the Googlers who spend hours perfecting every road in the world, to the users who come together to improve the quality of maps in their local communities. To build the map, we have to gather high-quality information; in the next post, we’ll show you what that process looks like—and show off a new mapping technology. Stay tuned to the Lat Long Blog for more on how Google Maps is made!
Posted by Manik Gupta, Group Product Manager, Google Maps
Category: Google | Sep 2, 2014
Work is where you spend a lot of your time. So we’ve always believed that it should be meaningful—not a daily grind, done in isolation on an old desktop in a sea of cubicles. Even more, we believe that technology should make work better. It should make it easy not just to get things done, but to get things done with people who inspire you, at the times and in the places where you work best, and in a way that lets you make an impact, no matter what your job is, or what industry you’re in.
Ten years ago, we started bringing Google’s consumer technology—along with the features, controls and services businesses need—to work. We first brought search and then Gmail to businesses. Today we also offer the scale and reliability of Google’s infrastructure to developers with Google Maps and Google Cloud Platform, and have extended into hardware with Android and Chromebooks. Along the way we’ve invested in what matters to our customers and partners—security, transparency, compliance and customer support. And our team, the breadth of our offerings, and our commitment to business customers have all increased substantially.
Work today is very different from 10 years ago. Cloud computing, once a new idea, is abundantly available, and collaboration is possible across offices, cities, countries and continents. Ideas can go from prototype to development to launch in a matter of days. Working from a computer, tablet or phone is no longer just a trend—it’s a reality. And millions of companies, large and small, have turned to Google’s products to help them launch, build and transform their businesses, and help their employees work the way they live. In other words, work is already better than it used to be.
But technology for the workplace isn’t just about a better way of doing business. It’s about empowering anyone, whether they’re a developer with an idea in their basement or a baker with a better cupcake or a company with thousands of employees, to have an impact. We never set out to create a traditional “enterprise” business—we wanted to create a new way of doing work. So the time has come for our name to catch up with our ambition. As of today, what was called Google Enterprise is now, simply, Google for Work. When we use the tools that make our lives easier—Google Apps, Maps, Search, Chrome, Android, Cloud Platform and more—work gets better. And that’s what we’re working on—the best of Google, now for work.
Posted by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman
Category: Google | Aug 29, 2014
It was a busy week for entertainment junkies with the Emmys and VMAs, and the cat was out of the bag for Sanrio fans after a surprising piece of news. Read on for more on the last week in search:
And the Emmy goes to…
Though Breaking Bad took home the top honors at Monday’s Emmy Awards, people searched less for the acclaimed drama than for some of the event’s other, more unexpected happenings. American Horror Story’s Jessica Lange proved she’s still got it—she was the top search of the night. Meanwhile, Hayden Panettiere accidentally revealed the gender of her forthcoming baby, leading people to search for information about the actress and her fiancé Wladimir Klitschko. And it was a night of funny women: Julia Louis-Dreyfus did justice to her award for best actress in a comedy with a Seinfeld-inspired bit on stage… and a Seinfeld-throwback kiss just offstage; and Sarah Silverman won an award for best variety special (and showed off some unusual accessories). Other popular Emmys searches included HBO’s The Normal Heart, which was nominated for 16 awards and won two, and True Detective, which won for directing but did not capture the acting awards some expected.
I want my MTV
The other awards show making news this week was MTV’s Video Music Awards. As can only be expected at this point, Beyoncé’s performance was the highlight of the night; the day after the show, there were more than 50,000 searches for [beyonce vma performance] as people scrambled to re-live (or catch up with) the spectacle. But part of Bey’s appeal this time was actually her daughter, Blue Ivy, who appeared on stage (as well as in multiple GIFs, natch) to steal the show like only an adorable child can. Searchers were dazzled by performances by Ariana Grande (in a crystal onesie), Rita Ora (with diamonds in her manicure) and Iggy Azalea. Finally, Katy Perry and Riff Raff’s double denim red carpet tribute to that VMA power couple of the past, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, had people giggling—and searching.
Trouble out west
After a nine-year-old in Arizona accidentally shot and killed her shooting instructor with an Uzi, people came to Google to learn more about the incident, which has sparked debates throughout the country. And the largest earthquake to hit the San Francisco Bay Area in 20+ years shook up Napa and surrounding counties this weekend, leading people to the web to learn more about the damage.
Raining [searches for] cats and dogs
Sanrio fans worldwide got some startling news this week: Hello Kitty is not a kitty. According to the Japanese company, she is a little girl. Whatever her species, she was a top trend in search this week. And for those of you who aren’t cat fans (in which case, do you even like the Internet?), there was National Dog Day, Tuesday’s top search and—if you ask us—a great excuse for thousands of people to share photos of their own favorite man’s best friend.
Tip of the week
Don’t let delays ruin your long weekend. To help you decide whether it’s faster to bike or take transit to your Labor Day destination, Google Search can show you all of your transportation options and estimated travel times on a single card. Just tap the mic and say “Ok Google, what’s the traffic like to AT&T Park” and easily switch between transportation modes to determine which route works best for you.
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [brandy creek beach] and [delirium series]
Category: Google | Aug 22, 2014
It was an emotional rollercoaster on search this week. Read on to learn more about what made people laugh and cry.
Tragedies and scandals
The world was shocked by a video showing the execution of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Questions remain about how the United States will respond to the incident. And there was sad news closer to home too. TV lost an icon when Saturday Night Live’s announcer of 40+ years, Don Pardo, passed away at 96.
While some searchers were in mourning, others were looking for answers. Texas Governor and potential GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry was indicted this week on charges of abuse of power. Perry pleaded not guilty to all charges, but that didn’t stop searchers from investigating. And while people had their detective hats on, they also looked into the Louisville Purge, a social media hoax based off the horror movie series The Purge. The hoax claimed that all residents of Louisville, Kentucky would have 24 hours to commit any crime they want—without repercussion. Does anyone take social media that seriously?
“J” as in “J is the only letter that matters”
You’d think our favorite letter would be the letter “G,” and normally that’s the case—but not this week as J-named celebrities jacked the trends charts. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Julianna Hough is taking off her dancing shoes and getting comfortable behind the judge’s table in a new role on the show. Meanwhile, rumors flew like mockingjays this week that actress Jennifer Lawrence has a new beau— the consciously uncoupled Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. And when there’s action going on you know Johnny Manziel won’t be too far away. Searchers were baffled this week when Johnny Football decided to show the Washington bench that he, um, was “number one.”
Deep sea video gaming
Searchers took a trip down memory lane when former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan went head-to-head with Jimmy Fallon in the classic Nintendo 64 game “GoldenEye 007.” Unfortunately, Brosnan’s experience as the untouchable Bond didn’t quite translate into video games skills. But Bond wasn’t the only one sleeping with the fishes. There were rough waters this week for sharks… more specifically this shark, who was swallowed whole in one bite by a goliath Grouper. Consider shark week officially over. (^^^)
Tip of the week
Want a fast way to calculate the tip? Stop counting on your fingers and just ask Google “How much is the tip on a $27 bill?” to get the amount. You can also adjust the tip percent and divide the bill by the number of people in your party, right in the search results.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched was [live from new york] and searched for [giant fish].
Category: Google | Aug 15, 2014
Demonstrations in Missouri and the death of Robin Williams had people searching for a greater understanding this week.
Losing a Hollywood legend
First up, the news of Robin Williams’ death sparked tens of millions of searches about the beloved actor’s life and career. Legions of fans searched for every one of their favorite films from Williams’ decades-long career; top topics include Hook, Jumanji and Good Morning Vietnam. Many were looking up his most memorable quotes and roles, including the “O captain, my captain” monologue in Dead Poets Society, Genie’s first scene in Aladdin, and a standup bit about golf. Others searched for tributes by Williams’ fellow actors and comedians, like Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien. And just yesterday, news that the actor had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease led people to the web once again.
Two days after Williams’ death, Lauren Bacall passed away at the age of 89, inspiring people to search for more information on the actress, in particular her marriage to Humphrey Bogart back in Hollywood’s golden age.
Unrest in Missouri
Protests ignited in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri this weekend after an unarmed teenager named Mike Brown was shot and killed by police on Saturday. People turned to search to learn more about the conflict, and searches for terms like [ferguson riot] and [ferguson shooting] rose by more than 1,000%.
Math and science phenomena
Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor of mathematics at Stanford, was awarded the 2014 Fields Medal this week for her work on understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces such as spheres. She is the first woman and first Iranian to win the prize, considered the Nobel Prize of mathematics.
Turning from one sphere to a celestial one, two astronomical events led searchers to the web to learn more. The Perseid meteor shower had its annual peak this week—and got a doodle for the occasion—and the brightest super moon of the year had everyone a little lun-y.
Ice ice bucket
This week saw a rise in searches for [als] thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral campaign to raise money to fight what’s better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. From Martha Stewart to Justin Timberlake to your college roommate, odds are you know someone who’s dumped a bucket of icy water on themselves for the cause. The ALS Association has received millions of dollars in donations as a result, though we don’t have any numbers on how many brave folks took the plunge.
Tip of the week
Still basking in the glow of that super moon? Learn more about our familiar friend in the sky by asking your Google Search app on iPhone or Android, “How far away is the moon?” and get an answer spoken back to you. You can then ask, “How big is it?” Google will understand what “it” you’re talking about and give you the 411.
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [is handedness genetic] and [play it again dick]
Category: Google | Aug 8, 2014
We may be hitting the last days of summer but the heat is still picking up, especially on search. Read on to learn what sizzled on the trends charts this past week.
Trouble in paradise
Would you turn down a free trip to Hawaii? Julio and Iselle aren’t. The two hurricanes are barreling towards the islands, bringing 90 mph winds, flash floods and hordes of searches with them. If Iselle makes landfall, she’ll be the first hurricane to hit the Big Island since 1950. Julio, like the tag-a-long younger brother, is right on Iselle’s tail. You can review tips on how to stay safe during hurricane season here.
A Hawaiian hurricane isn’t the only trouble brewing in the air. Searchers had a virtual panic attack when Facebook went down for a couple hours last Friday. In a state of shock, some people even called the police to assist with their social media emergency. Meanwhile, a toxin called microcystin is contaminating the waters in parts of Ohio, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to stockpile bottled water and look for answers on the Internet.
But there’s only one thing that can distract us from the craziness of real life… and that’s the sheer absurdity of reality TV. Viewers and searchers tuned in to watch the premiere of the Bachelor in Paradise, an elimination-style show where contestants compete for love. This is probably not what Cervantes meant when he wrote that all’s fair in love and war.
First let me take a selfie
As if the world couldn’t get any more litigious, a British photographer is taking on Wikimedia over a selfie—and not just any selfie, a monkey selfie. After a curious crested black macaque came upon David Slater’s camera equipment and fulfilled nature’s call by taking a selfie, the photo went viral and was eventually uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, an online repository of free to use images, sound, and other media. Slater asked Wikimedia to take it down on copyright infringement grounds, and Wikimedia said no. Their argument: the photo wasn’t Slater’s work — it was the monkey’s. We’ll leave it up to you to decide who you think is right.
Fortunately, at least one dispute this week was resolved: The stars of the hit science geek themed show, The Big Bang Theory, signed new contracts that would pay them $1 million per episode. We’re betting that somehow the line “Show me the Money” is going to make it into the script. A real-life scientist also managed to crack the trends charts when our doodle celebrating John Venn, the creator of the Venn Diagram, got searchers excited to discover what the intersections between sea-life and something with wings.
Who runs the world? Girls!
Let’s be honest, can anyone really get enough Beyonce in their life? Her “On the Run” tour with that other mildly successful artist/mogul just topped $100 million in ticket sales and now the remix of her song “Flawless” featuring Nicki Minaj is getting searchers into a frenzy. This woman can do no wrong (except maybe).
Beyonce may cast a shadow that dwarfs us all, but two other women are holding their own on the search charts. WBNA star Becky Hammon became the NBA’s first female assistant coach when she joined the staff of the San Antonio Spurs. (We’ll call that a crack in the glass backboard.) And First Daughter Malia Obama nearly stole the show at Lollapalooza following her appearance among fellow festival-goers in Chicago.
Tip of the Week
Taking a hike is one of the best ways to enjoy the last days of summer. But it’s always safer to hike in the daylight hours. Before you head out, remember to ask the Google App, “When is sunset?” to help you plan accordingly.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [reality tv is better than sitcoms] and [fomo].
Category: Google | Aug 6, 2014
Kenneth Shinozuka, from New York City, wants to help people with Alzheimer’s Disease, like his grandfather. Kenneth developed a small, wearable sensor to be worn on his grandfather’s foot. When pressure is applied to the sensor, it alerts his family via a mobile app, which allows them to monitor when his grandfather is on the move. By monitoring this behavior, Kenneth hopes to understand the causes of wandering brought on by Alzheimer’s, and to ultimately find a way to mitigate or prevent it.
Samuel Burrow, from the U.K., wants to improve the environment by reducing pollution. Taking inspiration from the chemical used in sunscreen, Samuel created a special coating that reduces waste chemicals in the air when subjected to ambient light. And Cynthia Sin Nga Lam, from Australia, thinks everyone deserves access to clean water and created an eco-friendly and economical device to do just that.
These are just a few examples of the 15 incredible projects we’ve named as the global finalists for 2014 Google Science Fair. This is our fourth time hosting the competition as a way to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers. From Russia to Australia, India to Canada, this year’s finalists (ages 13-18) are already well on their way to greatness. See all 15 projects on the Google Science Fair website.
Special recognition also goes to Kenneth, who has also been awarded the Scientific American Science In Action Award. The prize celebrates a project that addresses a health, resource or environmental challenge, and comes with a year’s mentoring from Scientific American and a $50,000 grant toward the project.
What’s next for our young scientists? Well, next month, they’ll be California-bound to compete at Google HQ for the three Age Category Awards (ages 13-14, 15-16, 17-18) and of course, the overall Google Science Fair Grand Prize Award. The competition will end in style with an awards ceremony, which will be live streamed on the Science Fair YouTube channel and on our website. Tune in to be one of the first to find out this year’s winners!
But first, you get to have your say! We need you to pick your favorite project for the 2014 Voter’s Choice Award. Show your support for the finalists and cast a vote on the Google Science Fair website beginning September 1. Every year, we’re blown away by the projects and ideas these young people come up with, and you will be too.
Posted by Clare Conway, on behalf of the Google Science Fair team
Category: Google | Aug 5, 2014
Cross-posted on the Official Gmail Blog
Whether your email address is firstname.lastname@ or something more expressive like corgicrazy@, an email address says something about who you are. But from the start, email addresses have always required you to use non-accented Latin characters when signing up. Less than half of the world’s population has a mother tongue that uses the Latin alphabet. And even fewer people use only the letters A-Z. So if your name (or that of your favorite pet) contains accented characters (like “José Ramón”) or is written in another script like Chinese or Devanagari, your email address options are limited.
But all that could change. In 2012, an organization called the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) created a new email standard that supports addresses with non-Latin and accented Latin characters (e.g. 武＠メール.グーグル). In order for this standard to become a reality, every email provider and every website that asks you for your email address must adopt it. That’s obviously a tough hill to climb. The technology is there, but someone has to take the first step.
Today we’re ready to be that someone. Starting now, Gmail (and shortly, Calendar) will recognize addresses that contain accented or non-Latin characters. This means Gmail users can send emails to, and receive emails from, people who have these characters in their email addresses. Of course, this is just a first step and there’s still a ways to go. In the future, we want to make it possible for you to use them to create Gmail accounts.
Last month, we announced the addition of 13 new languages in Gmail. Language should never be a barrier when it comes to connecting with others and with this step forward, truly global email is now even closer to becoming a reality.
Posted by Pedro Chaparro Monferrer, Software Engineer