News > Google
Category: Google | Nov 8, 2012
There are certain events in history that are momentous enough to make you remember where you were at the time. This Friday is the 23rd anniversary of one of those moments—the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
To mark this turning point in history, we’re releasing a collection of online exhibitions under the theme of The Fall of the Iron Curtain. Partners, including The DDR Museum in Berlin, Polish History Museum, Romanian broadcaster TVR and Getty Images, have created 13 exhibitions containing documents, videos and photos telling the stories behind how events unfolded.
Independent historians have also contributed their expertise. For example, Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Harvard University, provides video commentary on events as part of his exhibition The Fall of the Wall: Revelation, not Revolution.
Some of the other exhibitions include:
- Solidarity & the fall of The Iron Curtain – the creation and evolution of the Solidarity trade union leading to Lech Walesa’s election as President of Poland in 1990
- Visions of Division – Professor Patrick Major, a specialist in Cold War history, gives an account of life in a divided Germany and the everyday human cost of the Wall
- Years of change – diary of a fictitious author documenting events in Berlin such as the staged elections, the first protests and David Hasselhoff’s concert at the wall
- The Berlin Job – a personal account of life in East Berlin made by independent curator Peter Millar, one of the only non-German correspondents in East Berlin in the 1980s
- Romanian Revolution – a series of four exhibitions containing more than 50 videos documenting the live TV transmission of the overthrow of Romanian dictator Ceausescu
The Fall of the Iron Curtain is the latest chapter in the work of the Google Cultural Institute, following the launch last month of 42 online historical exhibitions telling the stories behind major events of the last century. You can explore all the exhibitions on www.google.com/culturalinstitute and follow us on our Google+ page.
If you’re a partner interested in working with the Google Cultural Institute to turn your archives into online exhibitions, we’d love to hear from you—please fill out this form.
Posted by Mark Yoshitake, Google Cultural Institute
(Cross-posted from the Google Europe blog)
Category: Google | Oct 31, 2012
Today we are launching AMBER Alerts coordinated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the Google Public Alerts platform. Public Alerts are designed to bring you emergency alerts when and where they’re relevant to you, and AMBER Alerts aim to help bring abducted children home safely.
If you’re using Google Search or Maps on desktop and mobile you’ll see an AMBER Alert if you search for related information in a particular location where a child has recently been abducted and an alert was issued. You’ll also see an alert if you conduct a targeted search for the situation. By increasing the availability of these alerts through our services, we hope that more people will assist in the search for children featured in AMBER Alerts and that the rates of safe recovery will rise.
AMBER Alerts will provide information about the abducted child and any other details about the case as they become available. Additional details could include the make and model of the vehicle he/she was abducted in or information about the alleged abductor.
Screenshot for a test version of an AMBER alert
The US Department of Justice’s AMBER Alert™ Program is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies and others to engage the entire community in the most serious child-abduction cases. We are working with the NCMEC, who will provide the AMBER Alert data to Google and make it possible to display information in Public Alerts.
We’re working closely with Missing Children Europe and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to try and scale this service to more countries. We’ll keep exploring different ways to improve child protection through innovative technologies, like what has been used to reduce exploitation and improve reporting to NCMEC.
Posted by Phil Coakley, software engineer, Google Public Alerts team
Category: Google | Oct 31, 2012
What does a cable car in Niagara Falls have to do with the world’s
first chess-playing machine? Surprisingly, both were inventions of Spanish civil engineer Leonardo Torres-Quevedo.
Next week, as part of our ongoing effort to celebrate Europe’s computing
heritage, we’re commemorating Torres-Quevedo’s legacy and his
Ajedrecista” (in English, “The Chess Player”)—in partnership with
the Telecommunication Engineering department of the
Technical University of Madrid.
Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons
Torres-Quevedo’s inventions span many fields. He was the second in
the world to demonstrate wireless remote control, beaten to the
post only by Nikola Tesla.
His designs for airships were used by both the French
and British during WWI. He was a global leader in cable car design,
creating the “Spanish aero car” over the Niagara Whirlpool
which, nearly a century on, remains a tourist attraction.
However, his most remarkable achievements were in the field of
automation, developing machines that are antecedents to what we now
call computers and robots.
Torres-Quevedo’s ambitions were bold. As Scientific American proclaimed in 1915: “He would substitute machinery
for the human mind.” In the 1890s, Torres-Quevedo built a series of mechanical devices that solved algebraic
equations. In 1920 he wowed a Paris audience with an
electromechanical arithmometer with a typewriter attachment. You
simply typed a formula—say, “24×48”—and the machine would calculate
and automatically type the answer “=1152” in reply.
But El Ajedrecista, an algorithmically powered machine that could
play an end-game of chess against a human opponent completely
automatically, is his most notable creation. Although it’s a far cry
from Deep Blue, El Ajedrecista can lay claim to being
the world’s first (analog) computer game.
Photos thanks to Museo Torres Quevedo
The machine didn’t just calculate its moves—it had mechanical arms
that physically moved its pieces, in the form of electrical jacks,
across a grid. In later models the arm mechanism was replaced by
magnets, and play took place on a more ordinary-looking chess board.
You couldn’t cheat the machine as it could spot illegal moves; and you
couldn’t win, as the game always started at a point (machine’s King
and Rook versus human’s King) from which the machine could never lose.
In honor of El Ajedrecista’s 100th birthday, we’re working with the Telecommunication
Engineering department of the Technical University of Madrid to
stage a conference commemorating Torres-Quevedo’s legacy. The
conference, taking place on November 7, will feature lectures and
panel discussions, as well as an exhibition of Torres-Quevedo’s
devices—including El Ajedrecista itself. Attendance is free—if you
want to join us, request an invitation.
Posted by Lynette Webb, Senior Manager,
Category: Google | Oct 30, 2012
When you have a question, finding the answer should be effortless—wherever you are and whatever device you’re using. The new Google Search app for iPhone and iPad helps you to do just that with enhanced voice search that answers any question with the comprehensive Google search results you know and love.
Fast and accurate voice recognition technology enables Google to understand exactly what you’re saying. Getting an answer is as simple as tapping on the microphone icon and asking a question like, “Is United Airlines flight 318 on time?” Your words appear as you speak, you get your answer immediately and—if it’s short and quick, like the status and departure time of your flight—Google tells you the answer aloud.
You can get answers to an increasingly wide variety of questions thanks to Knowledge Graph, which gives our search technology an understanding of people, places and things in the real world. Here are a few of the questions that Google can answer:
- “What does Yankee Stadium look like?” Google will show you hundreds pictures instantly.
- “Play me a trailer of the upcoming James Bond movie.” The trailer starts playing immediately right within Google Search.
- “When does daylight savings time end?” The answer will appear about the search results, so you can set your clock without have to click on a link.
- “Who’s in the cast of The Office?” See a complete cast list and find out who made you crack up last night.
Download the Google Search App on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and find out how much wood a woodchuck would chuck (if a woodchuck could chuck wood).
Posted by Kenneth Bongort, Engineer, Google Search
Category: Google | Oct 30, 2012
Earlier today we posted about efforts to provide information to those affected by the former hurricane and now superstorm Sandy.
We also want to let you know that Public Alerts are now available on Google Search & Maps in your browser, on Google Maps for Android and also on Google Now for Android devices running Jellybean.
Public Alerts provide warnings for natural disasters and emergency situations. They appear based on targeted Google searches, such as [Superstorm Sandy], or with location-based search queries like [New York]. In addition to the alert, you’ll also see relevant response information, such as evacuation routes, crisis maps or shelter locations.
We were planning on announcing the new features in a few days, but wanted to get them out as soon as possible so they can be helpful to people during this time.
This is part of our continuing mission to bring emergency information to people when and where it is relevant. Public Alerts are primarily available in English for the U.S., but we are working with data providers across the world to expand their reach.
If you are searching for superstorm Sandy, you’ll see content at the top of the Search page specific to this crisis. For other searches, you’ll see public alerts where and when they are live.
We’re able to gather relevant emergency safety information thanks to a strong network of partners, including NOAA and USGS. Their commitment to open standards like the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) is what makes this all possible. We’ve also developed partnerships to bring you even more relevant alerts in the future, including local emergency data from Nixle.
To learn more about Public Alerts, visit our Public Alerts homepage. If you’re a data provider, and would like to contribute to our efforts, please see our FAQ.
We hope that this information makes it easier for you to stay safe.
Posted by Nigel Snoad, product manager, Google Crisis Response
Category: Google | Oct 30, 2012
Back in April we announced a major expansion of the Google Art Project. Since then 15 million people have explored the paintings, sculptures, street art and photographs contributed by our partners. From today the number of treasures you can view is increasing by more than 10% as 29 new art organisations from 14 countries bring their collections online.
A wide range of global institutions, large and small, well-known and less traditional, are represented. Explore contemporary works at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, admire works from the Art Gallery of South Australia (who have contributed almost 600 objects) and access the treasures of the famous Museum of Palazzo Vecchio in Italy and Princeton University. This round has also seen contributions from more unusual sources including a collection from the National Ballet of Canada, pre-Columbian art from Peru, and decorative arts from China.
Now that the total number of objects online is more than 35,000, we’ve turned our attention towards thinking of different ways for you to experience the collections.
The first is a great educational tool for art students, enthusiasts or those who are simply curious. A “Compare” button has been added to the toolbar on the left of each painting. This allows you to examine two pieces of artwork side-by-side to look at how an artist’s style evolved over time, connect trends across cultures or delve deeply into two parts of the same work. Here’s an example: place an early sketch of Winslow Homer’s ‘The Life Line’ from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum next to the completed painting from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Comparing them in this way allows you to see how the artist’s vision altered (or not) over the life of the work.
Beyond following us and discussing great art on our Google+ page, we have also created a Hangout app within the Art Project so that you can share your favorite collections and perhaps give your friends a personal guided tour. If there is a budding museum guide or an art critic within any of you it can finally be unleashed! Watch this video to see how it works.
Around 180 partners have contributed their works to the Art Project so far, more than 300,000 of you have created your own online galleries and we’ve had more than 15 million visitors since our last launch in April. The cultural community has invested great time and effort to bring these masterpieces online. Watch this space for more to come.
Posted by Piotr Adamczyk, Google Art Project
Category: Google | Oct 29, 2012
Every four years in the United States, people prepare to head to the polls and increasingly search for information about how to register to vote, where to vote and who is on their ballot. Even though it is 2012, important voting information is disorganized and hard to find on the Internet. To help voters research candidates and successfully cast their ballot on Election Day, we’ve launched our new Voter Information Tool.
You can enter your address to find information on your polling place, early vote locations, ballot information with links to candidates’ social media sites and voting rules and requirements. The tool is easy to embed on any website and is open source so developers can modify it to create custom versions. We’re working with a number of media partners to ensure the tool is accessible across the web, and partners like Foursquare and AT&T are doing great work building apps on our Civic Information API.
We hope this tool will help make getting to the polls and casting your ballot as simple as possible.
Posted by Jesse Mwaura, Google Politics & Elections Team
(Cross-posted on the Politics and Elections blog)
Category: Google | Oct 29, 2012
Already responsible for a reported 41 deaths across the Caribbean, late-season Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall again early this week on the East Coast of the United States.
Some are calling the hurricane “Frankenstorm” due to its potential mix of both winter and tropical cyclone weather. Regardless of what you call it, we hope that you get the information you need to make preparations and stay safe if you are in the area. It has the potential to be one of the worst storms the area has seen in decades.
The Google Crisis Response team has assembled a Hurricane Sandy map to help you track the storm’s progress and provide updated emergency information.
On the map, you’ll find the following emergency preparedness information:
We’ve also launched a map specific to New York City, featuring evacuation zone information from NYC Open Data
, open shelters, weather information and live webcams.
You can easily share and embed these maps on your website — just hit the “Share” button at the top of the map to get the HTML code. We’ll continue to update these maps as more information becomes available.
Posted by Ka-Ping Yee, Software Engineer, Google Crisis Response
Category: Google | Oct 29, 2012
People increasingly have more than one device, and they switch between
them many times a day. Nexus—Google’s hardware line for Android
devices—gets rid of the hassle. Just sign in with your Google Account
and everything is there ready to go, whatever device you’re using:
photos, emails, contacts, bookmarks, even your entertainment on Google
Today, we’re excited to announce three great new Nexus devices … in
small, medium and large. And they all run Android 4.2, a new flavor of
Jelly Bean—which includes the latest version of Google Now and other
great new features.
Nexus 4 with Google Now and Photo Sphere
Nexus 4 is our latest smartphone, developed together with LG. It has a
quad-core processor which means it’s super fast, a crisp 4.7″ (320
ppi) display that’s perfect for looking at photos and watching
YouTube, and with wireless charging you just set the phone down on a
charging surface to power it up, no wires needed. While Nexus 4 is
incredibly powerful under the hood, it also features the latest
version of Jelly Bean, Android 4.2—the simplest and smartest version
of Android yet.
Starting with the camera, we’ve reinvented the photo experience with
Photo Sphere, which lets you capture images that are literally larger
than life. Snap shots up, down and in every direction to create
stunning 360-degree immersive experiences that you can share on
Google+ with friends and family—or you can add your Photo Sphere to
Google Maps for the world to see.
Android 4.2 brings other great goodies like Gesture Typing, which lets
you glide your finger over the letters you want to type on the
keyboard—it makes typing fast, fun and a whole lot simpler. Android 4.2 also adds support for wireless display so you can wirelessly watch movies, YouTube videos and play games right on your Miracast-compatible HDTV.
Learn more about all of the new features of Android 4.2, Jelly Bean, here.
Google Now—even more useful
We designed Google Now to make life simpler by giving you the right
information at just the right time in easy to read cards, before you
even ask. And the feedback has been awesome. So today we’re adding
more cards that we hope you’ll find useful. Flight information,
restaurant reservations, hotel confirmations and shipping details—how
often have you found yourself wading through your email to get this
information at the last moment? So next time you book a table for
dinner, you’ll get a reminder with all the details without ever having
to lift a finger. You’ll also get cards for nearby attractions,
interesting photo spots, movies times at nearby theaters or concerts
by your favorite artists.
Nexus 7: Thin, light and now even more portable
Nexus 7 brings you the best of Google–YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Maps–and
all the great content from Google Play in a slim, portable package
that fits perfectly in your hand. To give you more room for all that
great content you can now get Nexus 7 with 16GB ($199) or 32GB ($249)
of storage. But we also wanted to make this highly portable tablet
even more mobile. So we added HSPA+ mobile data. Nexus 7 is now also
available with 32GB and HSPA+ mobile ($299), which can operate on more
than 200 GSM providers worldwide, including AT&T in the US.
Nexus 10: Powerful and shareable
Nexus 10 is the ultimate tablet for watching movies or reading
magazines. We wanted to build a premium entertainment device, so we
partnered with Samsung to do just that. Nexus 10 is the highest
resolution tablet on the planet with a 10.055″ display at 2560-by-1600 (300ppi), that’s over
4 million pixels right in your hands. It comes with a powerful battery
that will get you up to nine hours of video playback and more than 500
hours of standby time. With a set of front-facing stereo speakers, you
can watch movies right from your Nexus 10 and they simply sound
But what makes Nexus 10 unique is that it’s the first truly shareable
tablet. With Android 4.2, you can add multiple users and switch
between them instantly right from the lockscreen. We believe that
everyone should have quick and easy access to their own stuff –
email, apps, bookmarks, and more. That way, everyone can have their
own home screens, their own music, and even their own high scores.
Google Play: More entertainment, more countries
We’ve recently added a ton of great new entertainment to Google Play, such as movies and TV shows from Twentieth Century Fox. Earlier this year we expanded our service beyond movie rentals and now you can purchase movies and build a library of your favorites in Google Play. Today we’re bringing movie purchasing to more countries – Canada, the U.K., France, Spain and Australia.
We’re also excited to announce two new partnerships. We’re now working with Time, Inc. to bring you even more magazines like InStyle, PEOPLE, TIME and others. And we’ve partnered with Warner Music Group who will be adding their full music catalog with new songs coming each day. We’re now working with all of the major record labels globally, and all the major U.S. magazine publishers, as well as many independent labels, artists and publishers.
On November 13, we’re bringing music on Google Play to Europe. Those of you in the U.K, France, Germany, Italy and Spain will be able to purchase music from the Google Play store and add up to 20,000 songs—for free—from your existing collection to the cloud for streaming to your Android devices or web browser. We’re also launching our new matching feature to streamline the process of uploading your personal music to Google Play. We’ll scan your music collection and any song we match against the Google Play catalog will be automatically added to your online library without needing to upload it, saving you time. This will be available in Europe at launch on November 13 and is coming to the U.S. soon after. This will all be for free—free storage of your music, free matching, free syncing across your devices and free listening.
We’ve always focused on building great devices at great value. And we think today’s devices offer the very best that money can buy. Here are more details on when and where you can pick up your next Nexus device:
- Nexus 4: 8GB for $299; 16GB for $349; available unlocked and without a contract on 11/13 on the Google Play store in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Canada. The 16GB version will also be available through T-Mobile for $199, with a 2-year contract (check here for more details).
- Nexus 7: 16GB for $199 and 32GB for $249; available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan, and also through our retail partners Gamestop, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples and Walmart.
- Nexus 10: 16GB for $399; 32GB for $499; available on 11/13 in the Google Play Store in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan.
A Nexus device is much more than simply a phone or tablet. It’s your connection to the best of Google—all of your stuff and entertainment, everywhere you go with no hassle. Now you have three new Nexus devices, a new improved version of Jelly Bean and more entertainment than ever before—all available on Google Play. The playground is open.
Posted by Andy Rubin, SVP, Mobile and Digital Content
Category: Google | Oct 26, 2012
If you’ve moved to Windows 8 and are getting acquainted with it, you may be looking for a couple of your favorite Google products that you use every day. To help you get the best experience possible on Google and across the web, we’ve designed and built a new Google Search app and Chrome browser for Windows 8 and created a simple site to help you get your Google back.
The Google Search app comes with a clean and recognizable user interface. Our new voice search lets you naturally speak questions. The image search and image previews are built for swiping. And, as usual, you get immediate results as you type with Google Instant. The doodles you enjoy on special occasions will be right there on the homepage and even show up on the Google tile on your start screen.
The Chrome browser is the same Chrome you know and love, with some customizations to optimize for touchscreens, including larger buttons and the ability to keep Chrome open next to your other favorite apps. It delivers the fast, secure web experience you’ve come to expect from Chrome on all your devices.
To get both Google Search and Chrome installed on your Windows 8 machine, head to our site and learn how to get your familiar Google apps back.
Posted by Tamar Yehoshua, Product Management Director, Search