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Category: Google | Jun 27, 2013
Creating a world-class science project is no easy task, but this year thousands of 13-18 year olds from more than 120 countries submitted their project to the third annual Google Science Fair. After further judging and deliberation, today we’re announcing the 15 finalists from our top 90 regional finalists, as well as the winner of the Scientific American Science in Action Award.
From the creation of an exoskeletal glove to support the human hand to managing the impact of infrastructure projects on endangered species to an early-warning system for emergency vehicles, the caliber, ingenuity and diversity of this year’s projects is a testament to the fact that young minds really can produce world-changing ideas.
The 15 finalists will join us at our Mountain View headquarters on September 23 to present their projects to an international panel of esteemed scientists for the final round of judging. The Grand Prize winner will receive a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions, $50,000 in scholarship funding and more.
Congratulations to our finalists:
Alex Spiride (USA): Squid-Jet: Bio-Inspired Propulsion System for Underwater Vehicles
Venkat Sankar (USA): Ecology or Economy: Managing the Impact of Infrastructure Projects on Endangered Species
Kavita Selva (USA): Superconductor Tapes: A Solution to the Rare Earth Shortage Crisis
Liza Sosnova and Tina Kabir (Russia): Lyytinen – Universal hydrostatic densitometer
Viney Kumar (Australia): The PART (Police and Ambulances Regulating Traffic) Program
Elif Bilgin (Turkey): Going Bananas!-Using Banana Peels in the Production of Bio-Plastic As A Replacement of the Traditional Petroleum Based Plastic
Ann Makosinski (Canada): The Hollow Flashlight
Yi Xi Kang, Kwok Ling Yi and Tricia Lim (Singapore): Efficacy of Estrogens and Progesterone in Hepatic Fibrosuppression
Valerie Ding (USA): Rapid Quantum Dot Solar Cell Optimization: Integrating Quantum Mechanical Modeling and Novel Solar Absorption Algorithm
Shrishti Asthana (India): Solar Light Assisted nanoZnO Photo Catalytic Mineralization – The Green Technique for the Degradation of Detergents
Charalampos Ioannou (Greece): An Exoskeleton Glove which Enhances and Supports the Movement of the Human Palm
Esha Maiti (USA): Stochastic Monte Carlo Simulations to Determine Breast Cancer Metastasis Rates from Patient Survival Data
Elizabeth Zhao (USA): A Novel Implementation of Image Processing and Machine Learning for Early Diagnosis of Melanoma
Eric Chen (USA): Computer-aided Discovery of Novel Influenza Endonuclease Inhibitors to Combat Flu Pandemic
Vinay Iyengar (USA): Efficient Characteristic 3 Galois Field Operations for Elliptic Curve Cryptographic Applications
We’re also announcing the winner of the Scientific American Science in Action Award, which honors a project that makes a practical difference by addressing an environmental, health or resources challenge. An independent panel has selected Elif Bilgin from Turkey for this award for her work using banana peels to produce bioplastics. Congratulations to Elif, who will receive $50,000 and and a year’s worth of mentoring from Scientific American to help develop her project. Elif’s project is also one of the 15 finalists, and she is still in the running for the Grand Prize Award.
Which of the 15 finalist projects do you think has the potential to change the world? While the official judges will decide the 2013 Grand Prize Winner, in August you’ll be able to participate in this year’s competition by voting for the Inspired Idea Award. Visit the Google Science Fair website August 1-30 to vote for the project you think has the greatest potential to change the world.
Check back for more details, and tune in live to see the finalist gala on September 23, which will be broadcast on our website, Google+ page and YouTube channel. Congratulations to all our finalists. We look forward to meeting in Mountain View!
Posted by Clare Conway, Google Science Fair team
Category: Google | Jun 27, 2013
This post is part of a regular series of privacy and security tips to help you and your family stay safe and secure online. Privacy and security are important topics—they matter to us, and they matter to you. Building on our Good to Know site with advice for safe and savvy Internet use, we hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.
More than a quarter of Internet users worldwide use WiFi at home to connect to the web, but many aren’t sure how to protect their home network, or why it is important to do so. The best way to think of your home WiFi network is to think of it like your front door: you want a strong lock on both to ensure your safety and security.
When data is in transit over an unsecured WiFi network, the information you’re sending or receiving could be intercepted by someone nearby. Your neighbors might also be able to use the network for their own Internet activities, which might slow down your connection. Securing your network can help keep your information safe when you’re connecting wirelessly, and can also help protect the devices that are connected to your network.
If you’re interested in improving your home WiFi security, the steps below can help make your home network safer.
1. Check to see what kind of home WiFi security you already have.
Do your friends need to enter a password to get on your network when they visit your house for the first time and ask to use your WiFi? If they don’t, your network isn’t as secure as it could be. Even if they do need to enter a password, there are a few different methods of securing your network, and some are better than others. Check what kind of security you have for your network at home by looking at your WiFi settings. Your network will likely either be unsecured, or secured with WEP, WPA or WPA2. WEP is the oldest wireless security protocol, and it’s pretty weak. WPA is better than WEP, but WPA2 is best.
2. Change your network security settings to WPA2.
Your wireless router is the machine that creates the WiFi network. If you don’t have your home network secured with WPA2, you’ll need to access your router’s settings page to make the change. You can check your router’s user manual to figure out how to access this page, or look for instructions online for your specific router. Any device with a WiFi trademark sold since 2006 is required to support WPA2. If you have a router that was made before then, we suggest upgrading to a new router that does offer WPA2. It’s safer and can be much faster.
3. Create a strong password for your WiFi network.
To secure your network with WPA2, you’ll need to create a password. It’s important that you choose a unique password, with a long mix of numbers, letters and symbols so others can’t easily guess it. If you’re in a private space such as your home, it’s OK to write this password down so you can remember it, and keep it somewhere safe so you don’t lose it. You might also need it handy in case your friends come to visit and want to connect to the Internet via your network. Just like you wouldn’t give a stranger a key to your house, you should only give your WiFi password to people you trust.
4. Secure your router too, so nobody can change your settings.
Your router needs its own password, separate from the password you use to secure your network. Routers come without a password, or if they do have one, it’s a simple default password that many online criminals may already know. If you don’t reset your router password, criminals anywhere in the world have an easy way to launch an attack on your network, the data shared on it and the computers connected to your network. For many routers, you can reset the password from the router settings page. Keep this password to yourself, and make it different from the one you use to connect to the WiFi network (as described in step 3). If you make these passwords the same, then anyone who has the password to connect to your network will also be able to change your wireless router settings.
5. If you need help, look up the instructions.
If you’ve misplaced your router’s manual, type the model number of your base station or router into a search engine—in many cases the info is available online. Otherwise, contact the company that manufactured the router or your Internet Service Provider for assistance.
Please check out the video below to learn more about the simple but important steps you can take to improve the security of your Internet browsing.
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 John Munoz, Technical Program Manager
Category: Google | Jun 26, 2013
To celebrate the sunny days of summer (in the northern hemisphere at least), today we’re launching new satellite imagery for Google’s mapping products. This stunning global view is virtually cloud-free and includes refreshed imagery in more locations—giving you an even more accurate and comprehensive view of our planet’s landscape.
The new, even more beautiful global view in Maps and Earth.
Our satellite imagery is usually created like a quilt: we stitch together imagery of different parts of the world. Using a process similar to how we produced the global time-lapse imagery of the Earth, we took hundreds of terabytes of data from the USGS’s and NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite—sometimes dozens of photos of a single spot in the world—and analyzed the photos to compute a clear view of every place, even in tropical regions that are always at least partly cloudy.
The result is a single, beautiful 800,000 megapixel image of the world, which can be viewed in Earth and Maps when you’re zoomed out to a global view. This global image is so big, if you wanted to print it at a standard resolution of 300 dots per inch you’d need a piece of paper the size of a city block! This image is then blended into our highest resolution imagery, giving a beautiful cloud-free global view and detailed images in the same seamless map.
Central Papua, Indonesia: before and after.
This update also includes refreshed imagery in many regions of the world, especially in areas where high-resolution imagery is not available, including parts of Russia, Indonesia and central Africa.
Saudi Arabia: before and after, showing increased agricultural expansion
You can see the new satellite imagery by going to Google Maps and turning on satellite view, or by opening Google Earth, and zooming out. And to read more about what went into creating this imagery, check out our detailed post on the Lat Long blog. Have fun exploring!
Posted by Matt Hancher, Tech Lead, Google Earth Engine
Category: Google | Jun 25, 2013
Two of the biggest threats online are malicious software (known as malware) that can take control of your computer, and phishing scams that try to trick you into sharing passwords or other private information.
So in 2006 we started a Safe Browsing program to find and flag suspect websites. This means that when you are surfing the web, we can now warn you when a site is unsafe. We’re currently flagging up to 10,000 sites a day—and because we share this technology with other browsers there are about 1 billion users we can help keep safe.
But we’re always looking for new ways to protect users’ security. So today we’re launching a new section on our Transparency Report that will shed more light on the sources of malware and phishing attacks. You can now learn how many people see Safe Browsing warnings each week, where malicious sites are hosted around the world, how quickly websites become reinfected after their owners clean malware from their sites, and other tidbits we’ve surfaced.
Sharing this information also aligns well with our Transparency Report, which already gives information about government requests for user data, government requests to remove content, and current disruptions to our services.
To learn more, explore the new Safe Browsing information on this page. Webmasters and network administrators can find recommendations for dealing with malware infections, including resources like Google Webmaster Tools and Safe Browsing Alerts for Network Administrators.
Posted by Lucas Ballard, Software Engineer
Category: Google | Jun 25, 2013
Museums, libraries and galleries are a tourist staple of the summer holiday season. Often they’re the first place we head to when visiting a new city or town in order to learn about the heritage of that country. Though only a lucky few have the chance to travel to see these treasures first-hand, the Internet is helping to bring access to culture even when you can’t visit in person.
At the Google Cultural Institute, we’ve been busy working with our partners to add a range of new online exhibitions to our existing collection. With more than 6 million photos, videos and documents, the diversity and range of subject matter is large—a reflection of the fact that culture means different things to different people. What the exhibitions have in common is that they tell stories; objects are one thing but it’s the people and places they link to that make them fascinating.
The British Museum is the U.K.’s most popular visitor attraction and the 4th most visited museum in the world. It’s well known for housing one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries ever made—the 1,400 year old Anglo-Saxon burial from Sutton Hoo, untouched until its discovery in 1939. Their online exhibition “Sutton Hoo: Anglo-Saxon ship burial” explores the discovery of the ship, featuring videos of the excavation and photos of the iconic helmet and a solid gold belt buckle. All this tells the story of how the burial and its contents changed our understanding of what Anglo-Saxon society was like.
From archaeology we take you to sport, which is integral to the culture of many nations, including Brazil. In the lead-up to Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup, the Museu do Futebol has told the story of how the “beautiful game” came to Brazil. The photos, videos and posters in “The Game and the People” track the social impact of the sport and its transition from a past time for the wealthy (with their pleated pants and satin belts) to the modern game.
Science remains a perennially fascinating topic and the Museo Galileo in Italy has put together a series of three exhibitions looking at the link between art and science. The Medici Collections, the Lorraine Collections and the Library Collections examine the beginnings of science and technology 500 years ago and chart developments from the discovery of the sun dial to the Google Maps of today. As well as being informative, the exhibitions include beautiful objects such as the Jovilabe, which was used to calculate the periods of Jupiter’s moons.
So if broadening your cultural horizons through travel isn’t in the cards this summer, settle down in your armchair and browse through through some of the world’s heritage and history online. Keep up to date with new material on the Cultural Institute Google+ page.
Posted by James Davis, program manager, Google Cultural Institute
Category: Google | Jun 24, 2013
What does it feel like to stand on top of the tallest building in the world? To give you a better sense of how that may feel, we took Street View to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, our first-ever collection in the Arab World. Described as a “vertical city,” the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest manmade structure, towering over the Dubai skyline at 828 meters (2,717 ft).
This is the first time we’ve captured a skyscraper on Street View—making Google Maps even more comprehensive and useful for you. The imagery was collected over three days using the Street View Trekker and Trolley, capturing high-resolution 360-degree panoramic imagery of several indoor and outdoor locations of the building.
In addition to the breathtaking views from the world’s tallest observation deck on the 124th floor, you can also see what it feels like to hang off one of the building’s maintenance units on the 80th floor, normally used for cleaning windows!
Visit the highest occupied floor in the world on the 163rd floor, experience being in the fastest-moving elevators in the world (at 22 mph) and check out the highest swimming pool in the world on the 76th floor.
Even if you’re afraid of heights, we hope you enjoy the view from the top! To see highlights from the Burj Khalifa Street View collection, visit www.google.ae/streetview.
Posted by Tarek Abdalla, Head of Marketing – Middle East & North Africa, Google
Category: Google | Jun 21, 2013
Sixty-five years ago today, the Manchester Small Scale Experimental Machine—nicknamed “Baby”—became the earliest computer in the world to run a program electronically stored in its memory. This was a flagship moment: the first implementation of the stored program concept that underpins modern computing.
Earlier computers had their instructions hardwired into their physical design or held externally on punched paper tape or cards. Reprogramming them to do a different task entailed internal rewiring or altering the physical storage media. The Baby marked a new computing era, described by some as the “birth of software,” in which swapping programs was far simpler—requiring only an update to the electronic memory. Both instructions and data were held in the Baby’s memory and the contents could be altered automatically at electronic speeds during the course of computation.
Developed at Manchester University by “Freddie” Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill, in size the Baby was anything but: more than 5m long and weighing a tonne (PDF). Its moniker was due to its role as a testbed for the experimental Williams-Kilburn tube, a means of storing binary digits (“bits”) using a cathode ray tube. This was a big deal because up until this point, computers had no cost-effective means of storing and flexibly accessing information in electronic form.
In technical terms, the Williams-Kilburn tube was the earliest form of random access memory, or RAM. The Baby’s memory consisted of one of these tubes, able to store up to 1,024 bits—equivalent to just 128 bytes. In contrast, the average computer today has RAM in multiples of gigabytes, more than a billion times bigger.
The Baby was only ever intended to be a proof-of-concept rather than to serve as a useful calculation tool. So once it had shown the new memory was reliable, attention shifted to building a more powerful and practical machine using the same concepts. This resulted in the Manchester Mark 1, which in turn was the model for the Ferranti Mark 1, the world’s first computer to be sold commercially, in February 1951.
While today nothing remains of the original Baby, a working replica is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester. It’s well worth a visit to reflect on just how far computing has come.
Posted by Lynette Webb, Senior Manager, External Relations
Category: Google | Jun 20, 2013
Michael Edlavitch was a middle school math teacher in Minnesota when he started a website with free math games to engage his students. With free online tools, a passion for math and an initial investment of just $10 to register his domain, www.hoodamath.com was born. Eventually Michael’s website became popular with more than just his students. So Michael gave Google AdSense a try as a way to earn money by placing ads next to his content. As word spread and traffic grew, the revenue generated from his site allowed Michael to devote himself full time to Hooda Math. Today, www.hoodamath.com has more than 350 educational games and has had more than 100 million unique visitors to the site. Beyond building a business for himself, Michael is helping students everywhere learn math while having fun.
Over in New York, Roberto Gil designs and builds children’s furniture—loft beds, bunk beds and entire custom rooms. Casa Kids’ furniture is custom designed for the family to grow along with the child. Roberto works out of his Brooklyn workshop and doesn’t sell to large furniture stores, which means the Casa Kids website is an essential tool for him to connect with potential customers. To grow even further, Roberto began using AdWords in 2010. In the first few months traffic to his site went up 30 percent. Today, two-thirds of his new customers come from Google. Meet Roberto and learn more about how he’s making the web work for Casa Kids:
These are just two examples of how the web is working for American businesses. According to a McKinsey study, small businesses that make use of the web are growing twice as fast as those that aren’t on the web. That’s because the web is where we go for information and inspiration—from math games to practice over the summer to someone to design and build that perfect bunk bed for your kids. Ninety-seven percent of American Internet users look online for local products and services. Whether we’re on our smartphones, tablets or computers, the web helps us find what we’re looking for.
Here at Google, we see firsthand how the web is helping American businesses grow and thrive. Through our search and advertising programs, businesses like Casa Kids find customers, publishers like Hooda Math earn money from their content, and nonprofits solicit donations and volunteers. These tools are how we make money, and they’re how millions of other U.S. businesses do, too.
In 2012, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $94 billion of economic activity for more than 1.9 million American businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits. This represents a 17 percent increase from 2011. Check out the impact made in each state, along with stories of local businesses using the web to grow.
Whether it’s building skills or building furniture, Google helps to build businesses. We’re thrilled to be part of such a vibrant industry and are committed to continuing to help make the web work for people and businesses everywhere.
Posted by Allan Thygesen, Vice President, Global SMB Sales
Category: Google | Jun 19, 2013
We’d like to recognize and congratulate the 84 recipients and finalists of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship and Google Scholarship for Students with Disabilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The full list of the 2013 scholars and finalists and the universities they attend can be found in this PDF.
Both scholarships aim to encourage underrepresented students to enter the computing field. The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship honours the memory of Dr. Anita Borg who devoted her life to encouraging the presence of women in computing; we recently announced the U.S. recipients of this scholarship. The Google Europe Scholarship for Students with Disabilities aims to help dismantle barriers for students with disabilities as well as encourage them to excel in their studies and become active role models and leaders in creating technology.
All of the students receiving the scholarships are pursuing degrees in computer science or related fields at universities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This summer, they’ll attend the annual Google EMEA Scholarships Retreat in Zurich, where they’ll have the opportunity to attend tech talks on Google products, participate in developmental sessions, network with Googlers and attend social activities. Notable speakers at the 2013 retreat include Alan Eustace, SVP of Knowledge, Megan Smith, VP of Google [x], and Carolyn Casey, Founder of Kanchi.org.
Applications for the scholarships will be open again in just a few short months. Learn more about how the scholarships impacted the lives of previous recipients:
For more information on all of our scholarships and programs, please visit the Google Students site.
Posted by Efrat Aghassy, EMEA scholarships program manager
Category: Google | Jun 18, 2013
Ten years ago we launched AdSense to help publishers earn money by placing relevant ads on their websites. I can still remember the excitement and anticipation as AdSense went live that first day. Our small team huddled together in a cramped conference room, and right away we saw that publishers were as excited about AdSense as we were.
Fast-forward 10 years, and AdSense has become a core part of Google’s advertising business. The AdSense community has grown to include more than 2 million publishers, and last year alone, publishers earned more than $7 billion from AdSense. AdSense is a community that thrives because of all the content creators we are so fortunate to partner with. Their stories inspire us to do our part to make AdSense great.
On this occasion, it’s especially inspiring to hear the stories of partners who have been with us since the very beginning—like a retiree in New Zealand who was able to pursue her dream of writing about her garden, a tech support expert in Colorado who can spend more time with his kids, and a theme park reviewer who now sends employees around the world to test and review rides—all thanks to money earned from AdSense.
As part of our 10th anniversary celebration, we hope you’ll tune into our live Hangout on Air today at 10 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. GMT) on the AdSense Google+ page. I look forward to joining several of our partners to share stories from the early days of AdSense, talk about how we’ve all grown since then, and discuss the future for publishers and online advertising. And if you want even more 10th anniversary celebration, just visit our AdSense 10th anniversary page at any time.
Posted by Susan Wojcicki, SVP, Ads and Commerce