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Seeing is believing in the fight against climate change

Category: Google | Aug 4, 2017

In 2005, more than a thousand of acres of land in my hometown in the Santa Cruz mountains were under threat from a proposed logging contract that would have severely damaged our ecosystem by tearing down ancient Redwoods, increasing potential fire danger and endangering public safety. As part of the community group Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging, I used Google Earth to build a flyover of the area to show how closely this logging would take place to residential life, and the dangers it would create. Making geographic data visible and easily intelligible helped to bring together the community to defeat the logging proposal. Seeing is often believing.

That’s the core mission behind Google Earth. We aim to build the most detailed and realistic digital replica of our changing planet and make it universally accessible to the public—a utility for all. We’re trying to fix what former Vice President Al Gore, in his speech on the Digital Earth, called the challenge of “turning raw data into understandable information.”

Emerging technologies like our own Google Earth Engine and Google Cloud Machine Learning, and artificial intelligence in general are doing just that: empowering scientists and practitioners to create solutions at the cutting edge of global sustainability, and turning the mountains of geo-data we have into the insights and knowledge needed to guide better decision-making. This work helps drive adoption of renewable energy technologies such as solar, and allows us to better understand and manage the world’s forests, oceans, water and air.


Global Fishing Watch using big geo-data and machine learning to support sustainable fisheries


Global Forest Watch and Hansen/UMD showing Amazonian forest loss


Project Sunroof showing Manhattan’s solar potential


Environmental Defense Fund pinpointing climate pollution by mapping Boston’s methane leaks with Street View cars

Google Keyword Chasing Coral Image 001.jpg

Ocean Agency taking us underwater to explore disappearing coral reefs

Our team had the chance to sit down with former Vice President Al Gore to discuss the roles of data, tools and technology in solving the climate crisis.

We’re grateful to leaders like Al Gore, and all who act as stewards of our shared planetary home. The last decade has seen immense technological progress—and we’ll continue to work on data and tools to guide us to a more sustainable world.


The High Five: A GOAT, a pig and a calf

Category: Google | Aug 4, 2017

A GOAT, a pig and a calf walk into a barn … and you get a few of the most popular searches from this week.

GOAT = greatest of all time

Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady is taking a pass at writing. The cover of his first book—which explains how Brady has stayed in wicked good shape throughout his career—was revealed this week. Brady’s big four-oh was Thursday (other trending birthdays this week include Harry Potter, Jennifer Lopez and Khloe Kardashian), and top searched questions about Brady were, “Why is Tom Brady a GOAT?” and “What type of diet is Tom Brady on?” Not surprisingly, the most search traffic for Tom Brady came from New England: Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.  


Some farm

“Was E.B. White a vegetarian?” That was a top searched question this week, now that the farm that inspired “Charlotte’s Web” (and its lovable protagonist pig Wilbur) is up for sale. Other searchers wondered: “Who illustrated Charlotte’s Web?” and “Where was E.B. White’s farm in Maine?” Now that White’s farm is on the market, search interest for Charlotte’s Web spun up 300 percent this week.

You don’t see this everyday

While some were asking about E.B White’s meat intake, we’re wondering whether Gene Simmons will ever touch a hamburger again. This week a baby calf that looks exactly the KISS frontman was born, causing search interest in Gene Simmons cow to spike 1,400 percent. But apparently Gene Simmons can take the shape of several animals … other trending searches included “Gene simmons goat” and “cat looks like Gene Simmons.”


In a scientific first, researchers used genetic-engineering tool CRISPR to “cut and paste” DNA for a disease-causing gene in human embryos. Search interest in genome editing reached its highest point this month and spiked 800 percent this week, with questions like “What are designer gene editing babies?” and “What does God say about gene editing?” About CRISPR specifically, people want to know: “How does CRISPR insert genetic information?” and “Who owns the CRISPR patent?”

Movin’ on

This week soccer superstar Neymar announced his move from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain F.C. The total cost of the deal is expected to be $528 million, making Neymar the world’s most expensive soccer player and the subject of many search queries, like “Why did Neymar leave?” and “How much did Neymar cost for PSG?” This week search interest in Neymar was 5x more than his former teammate Lionel Messi (who said everything has to be a competition?).


Your Back-to-School Assistant

Category: Google | Aug 4, 2017

We’re in no to rush to get through summer, but it’s officially August and time to start thinking about going back to school! Here’s how your Assistant can help you get back into the school days groove:

back to school

  • Brush up on history: “Ok Google, when was World War II?”
  • Pop quiz: “Ok Google, play American Presidents Quiz
  • Plan your wardrobe: “Ok Google, when’s the first day of Fall?
  • Dust off your French skills: “Ok Google, how do you say ‘how was your summer’ in French?”
  • Keep track with your phone: “Ok Google, remember my locker combo is 6437”
  • Be the first one in: “Ok Google, set my alarm for 7 a.m.” 
  • Order supplies on Google Home: “Ok Google, order three notebooks”

Give me an A! Give me an S… and another S, plus an ISTANT.  What’s that spell? Assistant! Go team!


Partnering with Italy’s leaders for safer, smarter web use

Category: Google | Aug 4, 2017

With both the amount of time spent online and the number of connected devices in Italy increasing dramatically year after year, it’s more important than ever for the country to stay web-savvy.

But not everyone’s getting it right. For example, research tells us most millennials use the same password for some—or even the majority!—of their accounts online, and a surprising number think the word “password” is safe (YouGov data, Jan 2017).

In order to help Italians course-correct, we’ve partnered with the country’s Data Protection Authority and the Communications Regulatory Authority to launch “Digitali e Responsabili” with the support of the Postal Police and the consumer association Altroconsumo.

Rome digital skills launch

The launch of our new partnership in Rome.

Building on successful campaigns we’ve run in Italy over the past year, Digitali e Responsabili aims to promote the importance of civic education in the digital age. Through workshops hosted in five different universities across the country, we’ll help to facilitate an informed debate on the responsible use of the internet. From Google’s perspective, this means making sure Italian web users understand how to use the tools we’ve developed to put them in control, like My Account and Content ID.

From Rome to Milan, through Naples, Palermo and Florence, the workshops will cover a range of topics outlining both the opportunities and responsibilities of digital citizens—including concrete tips on safe internet browsing. We’ll share scenarios using digital technology for the promotion and protection of information and with our partners look at issues of creativity and responsible growth of technologies.

Partnerships like these are important to us, because we believe that civic education in the digital age, in Italy as well as across Europe, should be a shared responsibility—and priority—across the private and public sectors.


#teampixel always gets the shot

Category: Google | Aug 3, 2017

Pixel photographers know that the best image isn’t always the most obvious one. Sometimes you get it by looking up—sometimes by looking down. It might be close up, or framed by something unexpected. But if you keep your eyes open, it’s there. Take a look at what #teampixel saw this week:


Left: guigurui finds a ventana to the sky (Spain). Right: A Dali-esque double helix from jhuntley82


A Brooklyn diptych? Left: rht_3 hits the streets near the Manhattan Bridge. Right: Don’t fence bri_fii in.

Pixel_803_3.jpg brings new meaning to the term “sidewalk art”


Left: kt_adventure branches out in Death Valley. Right: sophiashahaha gets the shot in Hong Kong


Left: This door from patrickenste gets the green light. Right: theculinarybee’s flatlay is the cat’s meow

Visit #teampixel on Instagram for more great shots and don’t forget to tag your own—we’d love a peek at the world the way you see it. 


Save that thought: How Instrument uses Jamboard to capture and share ideas

Category: Google | Aug 3, 2017

We all brainstorm differently. As Avi Couillard, a Senior Strategist at the digital agency Instrument, puts it: “Some people need to noodle on an idea, some need to converse with their team about it, and some need to visit it on their own terms.” For agencies like Instrument, inspiration can strike at any place and time. 

Instrument’s creative team has been using Jamboard for 10 months as a part of early testing cycles to facilitate brainstorms and execute on big ideas for clients, including Google. Along the way, the team has noticed an interesting shift in their creative process.

Jamboard 1

We interviewed members of Instrument’s creative team to tell us about this shift, and how Jamboard has changed their team’s approach to brainstorming.

Brainstorming before and after Jamboard

For Avi and his colleagues at Instrument, brainstorms looked different last year. “It used to be one person with bad handwriting, translating whiteboard notes into a spreadsheet,” says Avi. His colleague, UX Illustrator Sheri Smith, jokes: “That handwriting was usually mine.”

They’d leave meetings with a ton of ideas that were then assigned to other designers, illustrators or animators to interpret. “It was time-consuming and the process sometimes diluted creativity,” says Avi.

Jamboard and Instrument team

Now, instead of deciphering half-formulated ideas after the fact, Sheri visualizes concepts right away by sketching them on Jamboard as they’re mentioned. Avi and Sheri also bring remote colleagues into a brainstorm session. Other designers or programmers can join meetings via Hangout within the Jamboard, have PDF versions of work sent to them, or view “jams” from their phone, tablet or computer and rev on a concept right away.

Jamboard helps us focus more on the ideas, and less on translating creative direction to different teams.

Avi Couillard

Senior Strategist, Instrument

“Jamboard helps us focus more on the ideas, and less on translating or assigning creative direction to different teams,” says Avi. His team is able to keep working on ideas after meetings wrap, too. “Because ideas from ‘jams’ are saved in Drive, they’re captured in their original form for everyone on the team. This provides the whole team with access so they can keep adding to them to make them better.” Once the work is complete, the team adds the final output into a Slides presentation to share with internal teams or clients to review.

Ideas from everywhere, everyone

With Jamboard, more team members are involved in the creative process earlier, including those who may not be viewed as traditional “creatives.” Says Andrew Barden, Senior Producer: “Jamboard democratizes brainstorms. Sometimes it’s easy to think ‘oh, I’m not a creative,’ but that’s not true. Ideas come from everywhere, and being able to iterate early in the process helps you produce your best work.”

Jamboard democratizes brainstorms. Ideas come from everywhere, and being able to iterate early in the process helps you produce your best work.

Andrew Barden

Senior Producer, Instrument

Jamboard can also impact how organizations present work. Instead of a “grand unveil” of a polished product, other business units or your clients become broader extensions of your creative team. If you involve more team members in the thinking early on, they’re more likely to be invested in the end result. “Using Jamboard, I’ve had to get more comfortable with sharing my rough sketches or unfinished work to clients early on,” says Sheri. “But they like that. It’s like if you buy a painting that you watched someone paint. That’s more valuable to you than buying it off the shelf.”

It’s like if you buy a painting that you watched someone paint. That’s more valuable to you than buying it off the shelf.

Sheri Smith

UX Illustrator, Instrument

Learn more about how your organization can get started with Jamboard.


Around the Globe – Fundación Todo Mejora supports LGBT youth

Category: Google | Aug 2, 2017

Todo Mejora means “it gets better”—and it’s this message that the Chile-based nonprofit has worked tirelessly to advocate for. In the wake of continual LGBT discrimination around the world, Fundación Todo Mejora strives to support the LGBT adolescents who face discrimination, including those considering committing suicide. Chile has one of the highest levels of suicide and school violence in Latin America. It’s projected that if nothing is done, in four years, one adolescent in Chile will end his or her life  nearly each day—an astounding metric that Fundación Todo Mejora hopes to change.1,2

Continuing  with our series about impactful organizations using Google for Nonprofits tools, this week we’re highlighting how Fundación Todo Mejora uses technology to spread its message and creates a safe space for these teenagers to find refuge in times of need.

Showing up when searching for help—Google Ad Grants

By implementing a strategic campaign using Google Ad Grants, the nonprofit targeted Google searches common to suicidal thoughts such as “I want to commit suicide”, “Who should I call if I want to kill myself?”, or “Help me, I want to die”. When a local person searches this on Google, Fundación Todo Mejora’s ads show up to intervene with supportive messages, and provide links to resources to find help. One 19-year-old girl who found support from these ads said, “Amidst my depression, I Googled how to commit suicide. Your foundation, ’Todo Mejora,’ popped up in my search results. It made me smile and reminded me the reason to go on.”

These ads have allowed Fundación Todo Mejora to save lives and navigate people to their website where they can find resources and support. As a result, website traffic increased by 20% in one year alone, which means the organization found a way to reach more people in need. This increase also prompted Fundación Todo Mejora to expand their suicide hotline support to 30 hours/week up from 7 hours/week.

Spreading the word—YouTube

To further increase visibility, Fundación Todo Mejora created a YouTube channel where adolescents share their personal stories, which have helped create a community of support, coupled with the call-to-action overlays inspiring others to follow suit, take initiative, and send donations. In their most popular video, with over 62,000 views, Demi Lovato speaks out against homophobic and transgender bullying and encourages victims to reach out for help.

TODO MEJORA - Demi Lovato, cantante

Storage & syncing—G Suite

Fundación Todo Mejora now uses G Suite exclusively for all its day-to-day operations, relying on Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar to work productively. The unlimited user accounts and 30GB of storage per user has saved them time and money that once went towards paying for other storage products. Now, they can save important data in a shared and collaborative space which has helped them streamline their processes, preserve historical documents, and improve communication.

With more time, funding, and organizational processes, Fundación Todo Mejora can focus on expanding their support for youth in need and the LGBT community. Read more about their story on our Community Stories page on our Google for Nonprofits site.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers products at no charge to qualified nonprofits.

1 OECD (2016). Low Performing Students: Why They Fall Behind and How To Help Them Succeed. PISA. OECD Publishing. Paris

2.Ministerio de Salud de Chile (2013). Situación Actual del Suicidio Adolescente en Chile, con perspectiva de Género [Current Situation of Adolescent Suicide in Chile, with a gender perspective]. Programa Nacional de Salud Integral de Adolescentes y Jóvenes. Chile.


Plan your next adventure with the new Google Earth for iOS app

Category: Google | Aug 2, 2017

Summer is one of my favorite seasons. It’s a time to travel with my family, for discovering new places and creating new memories. Google Earth is where I turn to for travel ideas. Just last month I was exploring Canada’s National Parks. Inspired by the beautiful outdoor imagery, I’m planning to hit the road with my wife and kids in a couple weeks, up the coast to Hoh Rain Forest in Washington, and then onward to beautiful Victoria, Canada, home of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

And starting today, if you’re an iOS user, you can download Google Earth and discover your next travel destination, too.

Swipe to explore

In April, we introduced a brand-new version of Google Earth on the web and Android, and with  Google Earth for iOS, you’ll see the same major upgrade.


Find travel inspiration with Voyager

Half the fun of travel is planning your trip. Voyager, our new interactive stories feature in Google Earth, can inspire your next travel destination. Under the Travel category, you’ll find detailed multi-day itineraries for 17 cities, from Paris with Kids to Beyond the Beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

Maybe you’re a lover of the outdoors? Visit the brown bears of Alaska’s Katmai National Park, ride the curl with Super Surf Spots, or trek Machu Picchu. Culture buff? Discover a new exhibit with Museums Around the World or follow in the footsteps of the Fab Four with Beatlemania. With more than 140 stories in eight languages, Voyager has travel ideas for just about everybody.


Find the curl with Super Surf Spots



Become an expert with Knowledge Cards

Once you’ve got a few destinations in mind, your inner tour guide will want to brush up on history and trivia with Knowledge Cards. These cards feature rich information about thousands of places and landmarks around the world. Perfect while you lead your friends around a new city.


Search for a place and see related facts with Knowledge Cards.

For the wanderers, try “I’m Feeling Lucky”

Some of us like to leave our travel up to chance—serendipity can often lead to our most memorable experiences. Roll the dice with “I’m Feeling Lucky” and see where the world takes you.


Tap (or roll) the dice in the toolbar to jump to someplace new.

Share your finds with Postcards

Finally, to get your family excited for that upcoming trip—and maybe inspire a little envy from those in your social network—share a Postcard of the beautiful places you find in Earth. Here’s a tip: To get the camera angle just right, use the 3D button or tilt the map with two fingers to see places in stunning 3D. Then tap the camera icon in the toolbar to snap a pic.

earthpostcards on ios.png

Postcards from Earth: Golden Gate Bridge and Christ the Redeemer

Download the new Google Earth from the iTunes App Store, and let it inspire your next summer adventure.


10 ways we’re making Classroom and Forms easier for teachers this school year

Category: Google | Aug 1, 2017

We’ve seen educators do incredible things with G Suite for Education tools: creatively teach classroom material, collaborate with students, and design innovative assignments to achieve meaningful outcomes. Classroom is a useful tool for teachers, and since it launched three years ago, students have submitted more than 1 billion assignments.

This year, we’re sending teachers back to school with updates designed to help them do what they do best—teach. Today, we’re announcing 10 updates to Google Classroom and Google Forms to help teachers save time and stay organized.


  1. Single view of student work: To help teachers track individual student progress, we’ve created a dedicated page for each student in Classroom that shows all of their work in a class. With this new view, teachers and students can see the status of every assignment, and can use filters to see assigned work, missing work, or returned and graded work. Teachers and students can use this information to make personalized learning decisions that help students set goals and build skills that will serve them in the future.
  2. Reorder classes: Teachers can now order their classes to organize them based on daily schedule, workload priorities or however will help them keep organized throughout the school year. And students can use this feature too. “For teachers and students, organization is important, and being able to reorder class cards allows us to keep our classes organized in a simple and personalized way,” notes Ross Berman, a 7th and 8th grade math teacher. “Students can move classes around so that the first thing they see is the class they know they have work for coming up.”
  3. Decimal grading: As teachers know, grading is often more complicated than a simple point value. To be as accurate with feedback as possible, educators can now use decimal points when grading assignments in Google Classroom.
  4. Transfer class ownership: Things can change a lot over the summer, including who’s teaching which class. Now, admins and teachers can transfer ownership of Google Classroom classes to other teachers, without the need to recreate the class. The new class owner can get up to speed quickly with a complete view of past student work and resources in Drive.
  5. Add profile picture on mobile: Today’s users log a lot of hours on their phones. Soon, teachers and students will be able to make changes to their Classroom mobile profiles directly from their mobile devices too, including changing their profile picture from the Google Classroom mobile app. Ready the selfies!
  6. Provision classes with School Directory Sync: Google School Directory Sync now supports syncing Google Classroom classes from your student or management information system using IMS OneRoster CSV files. Admins can save teachers and students time by handling class setup before the opening bell.
  7. New Classroom integrations: Apps that integrate with Classroom offer educators a seamless experience, and allow them to easily share information between Classroom and other tools they love. Please welcome the newest A+ apps to the #withClassroom family: Quizizz, Edcite, Kami and coming soon,
  8. Display class code: Joining Google Classroom classes is easier than ever thanks to this new update. Teachers can now display their class code in full screen so students can quickly join new classes.
  9. Sneak Peak! Import Google Forms Quiz scores into Classroom: Using Quizzes in Google Forms allows educators to take real-time assessments of students’ understanding of a topic. Soon, teachers will be able to import grades from Quizzes directly into Google Classroom.
  10. Add feedback in question-by-question grading in Quizzes: More than test grades, meaningful feedback can improve learning. At ISTE this year, we launched question-by-question grading in Quizzes in Google Forms to help teachers save time by batch grading assessments. We’re taking it one step further and now, teachers will have the option to add feedback as well.

As educators head back to school, we want our newest Classroom teachers to get the most out of their experience. In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching a new resource hub to help teachers get set up on their first day of Classroom. If you’re already a Classroom pro, help your fellow teachers by sharing your favorite Classroom tips, tricks, resources and tutorials on social media using the hashtag #FirstDayofClassroom. Stay tuned on Twitter this Back to School season for more.

From all of us here at Google, we wish you a successful start to the school year! We hope these Google Classroom and Forms updates help you save time, stay organized and most importantly, teach effectively during back to school and beyond.


New badges to help you discover and take action on Image Search

Category: Google | Aug 1, 2017

Google Image Search helps you surf shots of your favorite people, places and things as well as research products, destinations, dishes and styles. Now on the Google app for Android and mobile web, we’re adding relevant badges to images indicating what else you can discover with a single tap. These badges will help you uncover images where next steps or more in-depth information is available—everything from bags to buy, to recipes to try.

Now in the bottom lefthand corner of the image, you’ll see a badge that categorizes the image you’re viewing, as well as text to help clarify the action you can take. So for example, if you look for “cupcakes” in Image Search, you’ll see badges for both video and recipe results. For other queries, you may also see badges for products and GIFs as well.


We hope this new feature will help you jumpstart your journey of visual discovery—connecting you with the right info and sites to suit your needs.