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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
Category: Google | Aug 1, 2014
The dog days of summer are upon us (just look at the last time we posted on this here blog), but there’s still plenty of excitement to keep search buzzing. From big baseball news to blockbusters, here’s a look at the last seven days in search:
This season’s MLB trade deadline was yesterday, and as news of surprise trades emerged, people were quick to catch the latest via search. More than half of the day’s hot trends were baseball-related, and searches for the blogs [mlb trade rumors] reached their highest volume all year. From the three-way trade that landed David Price in Detroit and Austin Jackson in Seattle to the A’s-Red Sox swap of Jon Lester and Yoenis Céspedes, it was quite the active Deadline Day.
Thanks in large part to nerdfest Comic-Con, it was a week of sneak peeks for movie fans. First up: the reboot of Mad Max. The long-awaited remake of the Australian classic premiered its trailer at the conference last weekend, and fans got their first real glimpse of
Bane Tom Hardy as Max. Meanwhile, a sneak peek of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the forthcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice made waves. And a new teaser trailer for Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 gave us a new glimpse at Katniss as the face of the rebellion.
Though neither film will be in theaters for some time, fans are keeping busy in the meantime: searches for new releases Guardians of the Galaxy, Lucy and Hercules were all high on the charts. And those who prefer their movies with a hefty serving of camp to go with their popcorn had more than enough to satisfy them with Sharknado 2: The Second One. Searches for [sharknado 2 trailer] were up 95 percent over the past month, and the movie was one of the top topics Wednesday when it premiered on Syfy. Simply stunning. Finally, the trailer for the movie version of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods had musical theater lovers ready for more.
Searching for symptoms
An ebola outbreak in West Africa has people concerned about the spread of the deadly epidemic. Searches for [ebola] are at their highest ever, up 2,000%, and related searches like [ebola in nigeria], [ebola symptoms] and [what is ebola] grew too. Worldwide, Liberia had the highest search volume of any country.
Tip of the week
Next time you’re invited to a summer barbecue, let Google help you remember to pick up a snack or six-pack to contribute to the fiesta. On your Android or iPhone, just say “Ok Google, remind me to buy a watermelon when I’m at Safeway.” Next time you’re near the store, you’ll get a prompt. No more showing up with empty hands!
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [beyonce surfboard] and [arcade fire tour costumes]
Category: Google | Jul 25, 2014
Based on search, it seems like a lot of you spent the last seven days slurping ice cream cones, jamming to pop parodies and starting the countdown to a certain February flick. Could be worse. Here’s a look at what people were searching for last week:
Fifty shades of search
Searchers were “Crazy in Love” with the new trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey, set to a special Beyonce recording of her 2003 hit. There were more than a million searches this week for the ….ahem… hotly anticipated movie, which comes out next Valentine’s Day. In addition to the trailer, people were also looking for information on stars [jamie dornan] and [dakota johnson]. Beyonce was in the spotlight for other reasons too, following rumors that her marriage to Jay-Z was on the rocks.
“Mandatory” and musical marriages
After three decades in the biz, Weird Al has finally made his way into the Billboard No. 1 spot with his latest album, “Mandatory Fun.” Though his shtick hasn’t changed, when it comes to promoting his parodies, the artist has adapted to the Internet era, releasing eight new videos in as many days to generate buzz—and more search volume than at any other point in the past five years. As an editor, of course, I’m partial to “Word Crimes” (which has more than 10 million views on YouTube), but it’s just one of the many “breakout” titles searchers are looking for, along with [tacky], [foil] and [first world problems].
In other musical news, Adam Levine’s bride [behati prinsloo] was trending this week after the two got married in Cabo San Lucas. And another Mexico wedding had people searching for information on [ryan dorsey], the new husband (after a surprise ceremony) of Glee star Naya Rivera.
Foodie ups and downs
A national fruit recall at stores like Costco and Whole Foods led people to the web to learn more about [listeria]. For many, the possible contamination may have been an extra incentive to celebrate several less than healthful food holidays: Last Sunday (or should we say sundae?) marked National Ice Cream Day, and people were searching for their favorite flavor. National Hot Dog Day took place just a few days later, though sausage searches paled in comparison. And just in case all that junk food made you thirsty, yesterday’s National Tequila Day had searchers looking for the perfect margarita recipe.
Tip of the week
Overindulged on ice cream last weekend? It’s easy to get back on the healthy eating train with a quick search. Just ask Google “how many calories in hummus?” or “compare coleslaw and potato salad” to get nutrition info on your favorite summer foods.
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [coming of age in samoa] and [how old is weird al]
Category: Google | Jul 22, 2014
These days, if you’re an engineer, inventor or just a tinkerer with a garage, you don’t have to look far for a juicy opportunity: there are cash prize challenges dedicated to landing on the moon, building a self-driving car, cleaning the oceans, or inventing an extra-clever robot. Today, together with the IEEE, we’re adding one more: shrinking a big box into a little box.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. Especially when the big box is a power inverter, a picnic cooler-sized device used to convert the energy that comes from solar, electric vehicles & wind (DC power) into something you can use in your home (AC power). We want to shrink it down to the size of a small laptop, roughly 1/10th of its current size. Put a little more technically, we’re looking for someone to build a kW-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50W per cubic inch. Do it best and we’ll give you a million bucks.
There will be obstacles to overcome (like the conventional wisdom of engineering). But whoever gets it done will help change the future of electricity. A smaller inverter could help create low-cost microgrids in remote parts of the world. Or allow you to keep the lights on during a blackout via your electric car’s battery. Or enable advances we haven’t even thought of yet.
Either way, we think it’s time to shine a light on the humble inverter, and the potential that lies in making it much, much smaller. Enter at littleboxchallenge.com—we want to know how small you can go.
Posted by Eric Raymond, Google Green Team
Category: Google | Jul 18, 2014
The World Cup is over and order has finally been restored to the universe. Now that football mania is behind us, searchers are getting the latest info about the world off the pitch. From Tesla announcing their cheapest car ever, the $35,000 Model 3 (OK, so “cheap” is relative) to the tragic events surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, read on to see what trended this week.
Cutting the cord … but not really
Netflix binge-watchers had a near-panic attack when rumors swirled that beloved show Orange is the New Black was getting the axe. But have no fear, friends—the show lives to see another 13 episodes and quite humorously reassured us of its existence. On the other side of the entertainment galaxy, comic book fans were shocked to learn that Marvel’s Thor is now a woman—and a rather ripped one at that! “Thorita” won’t be taking up her hammer against Ultron, the new villain in the upcoming Avengers movie—that role will still be held by Chris Hemsworth. Still, if producers do decide to change it up, we’re pretty sure Kacy Catanzaro deserves the role after her performance on American Ninja Warrior left searchers pumped for more.
The sports stars are out tonight
Athletes put on their best three-piece suits and gowns for the ESPYs on Wednesday, and people turned to search to see which of their favorite stars took home the honors. (FYI OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook, as usual, won the red carpet battle for fashion supremacy, hands down.) While Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe couldn’t make it to the awards show, he still managed to make a splash on the trends charts when he came out as gay. Back on the field, it was the end of an era in baseball as New York Yankees legend Derek (er, Michael?) Jeter played in his last all-star game.
It was a tale of two Brookses this week as searchers were surprised to find out Brooks Wheelan got the boot from Saturday Night Live after just one season—tough crowd. Garth Brooks, on the other hand, had a great week when he announced his upcoming fall tour to much fanfare (“searchfare”?). In the reality TV scene, Claire Leeson from England spent more than $30,000 (so, basically a Tesla Model 3) to look like her celebrity idol Kim Kardashian. And another Kardashian lookalike made it to the trends charts when Lilit Avagyan married Kim’s ex-boyfriend Reggie Bush—six degrees of Kim Kardashian anyone?
Tip of the week
Didn’t catch the ESPYs? Just ask Google, “who won best male athlete?” to see who took the crown this year and find a list of past winners.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who’s [on the run] and searching for [crazy eyes] and [dandelions]
Category: Google | Jul 17, 2014
Over the past few months, we’ve had the chance to talk to businesses all over the country and hear stories of how they’ve become successful. For many, it’s pretty simple: the Internet. The web is helping businesses and communities across the U.S. to grow and succeed. In fact, last year Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $111 billion of economic activity for more than 1.5 million businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits—across the U.S.
Take Go2marine, a boat supply company located on Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Washington State. Because of their remote location, bringing traffic to their website using Google AdWords plays an important role in their ability to sell their 250,000+ boat supplies to customers in 176 countries. When it’s winter in the U.S., they rely on customers located in other parts of the world where it’s boating season, with the web bringing them business from any place, in any season.
Or meet Don Morton, who taught reading, writing and language in lower-income neighborhoods in my home town of Chicago for nine years. In 2005, he began creating his own materials to supplement what the school system provided. Realizing that his worksheets could be useful for students and teachers everywhere, he created ereadingworksheets.com to provide his worksheets for free. Don started using Google AdSense to offset his costs by placing ads next to his content, and today he’s able to work full-time on his website and make an impact on students around the world.
These are just two examples of enterprising people making the most of Google tools to find new customers, connect with existing ones and grow their businesses; you can find plenty more of them in our Economic Impact Report. Our tools help connect business owners to their customers, whether they’re around the corner or across the world from each other. And when businesses flourish, it’s good news for the rest of us. Recent data shows that businesses that are online are expected to grow 40 percent faster and hire twice as many workers as businesses that aren’t. Every year, it gets clearer that the web helps lead to more successful businesses, stronger economies, more vibrant towns, and more prosperous communities.
Learn more about our economic impact in all 50 U.S. states, and how businesses are finding success through the web. Whether it’s a part for a boat or a grammar worksheet, we’re proud to play a role in giving businesses the tools they need to do more–to grow and thrive and connect with customers and communities all over the world.
Posted by Jim Lecinski, Vice President, Customer Solutions
Category: Google | Jul 14, 2014
Yesterday, Germany won their fourth world championship, and, over the course of the last month, the world watched them do it—in Brazil, in bars and living rooms around the world, on their phones and laptops and tablets. This World Cup was the most digital, most connected, and most searched global event we’ve seen to date. There were more than 2.1 billion tournament-related searches on Google, many of which we shared on our trends hub.
Looking at the trends from each match, you’ll see some topics that you’d expect to catch the world’s attention, such as top players and highly-anticipated matches. But who would have guessed that there were 10x more searches in the U.S. for the World Cup than for the NBA Playoffs? Or that Clint Dempsey, American soccer star who also has a rap single, had 2x more search interest than Jay-Z? Or that after Ángel di María’s divine goal against Switzerland, he netted 4x more global searches than his fellow countryman, Pope Francis?
Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa was the most searched goalie in the tournament, but Tim Howard’s heroics could hardly be forgotten. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer not only snagged third place in search, but took home the 2014 Golden Glove award and a World Cup championship to boot.
The Germany vs. Brazil semifinal was the most searched match throughout the tournament, leaving many people around the world asking, “What is the biggest win in World Cup history?” Meanwhile, some countries were ready to move on to the next opportunity: after the third place game, Brazilians searched more for “World Cup 2018” than for the final game between Argentina and Germany.
No World Cup would be complete without a few surprises—and the creative people of the web were ready to weigh in. Uruguay’s Luis Suarez was the most searched player meme, and at the time of the Uruguay-Italy game, there were 20x more searches globally for “Suarez Bite” than for snake, spider, tick, fly, dog and mosquito bites combined.
And if a search Dream Team was created, you’d see these 11 players strutting their stuff on the field. While German star Mario Götze didn’t make this list, he was a favorite on search. Even before his goal won it all in the final, he attracted 4x more search attention than Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, who presented Germany with the championship trophy.
Beyond the impressive stats on the field, we’ve got some numbers of our own to share:
Our team watched 107+ hours of football (we didn’t even need a water break!) and spent 250+ hours bringing you regular insights from our first ever World Cup trends hub. We hope you enjoyed the excitement of the tournament as much as we did, and for more trends, visit google.com/worldcup or check out our Google+ album.
Posted by Roya Soleimani, Communications Manager, who searched for [iran vs. argentina], [brazil’s 12th player], and of course [world cup schedule] throughout the tournament
Category: Google | Jul 11, 2014
Though the World Cup continued to draw search attention, this week it had some company. So in addition to Neymar, people were searching for Lebron James (who’s taking his talents back to Cleveland) and Roger Federer (who lost at Wimbledon after a tough match). And following the announcement of this year’s Emmy Award nominations, people turned to search to learn more about the snubs and surprises, including Laverne Cox, the first openly transgender nominee. Here’s a look at some more top trends in search this week, from the Quidditch World Cup to the world’s highest-valued potato salad:
A literary thrill
Author J.K. Rowling was in the news this week after she posted a new Harry Potter story to the fan site Pottermore.com. There were more than 200,000 searches for the site itself (an increase of more than 100 percent over 30 days), as people speculated about whether the new tale signified the coming of more stories about Harry, Hermione and the rest of Dumbledore’s Army. Meanwhile, people turned to search to find the new trailer for another, very different book-turned-movie: the twisty, turny Gone Girl. Searches for [gone girl trailer] have nearly doubled in the last month.
And baby makes three
The Internet experienced a collective shock on Wednesday when news emerged that beloved actor/meme Ryan Gosling and girlfriend [eva mendes] are expecting. (With apologies to Mila Kunis.) Hundreds of thousands of people turned to search
in denial, determined to find out the truth. Oddly enough, the phrase [ryan gosling father] had already spiked in June, after a recent Father’s Day hoax that claimed the Gos had previously adopted a child. And there’s no doubt that many were fervently hoping this, too, was merely a rumor and that they still had a chance with His “Hey Girl”-ness. Disappointed fans will have to console themselves by (re)watching The Notebook, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and generated a few searches of its own. Oh, and congratulations to Ms. Mendes, too.
Summer snack time
Finally, during a week of Fourth of July barbecues, it’s only fitting that there was an unusual number of food-related subjects among this week’s trending topics, starting with a picnic table classic. Last week, a fellow named Zach Danger Brown set up a [kickstarter] project to raise funds for… potato salad. Literally. Despite some controversy over its merits, fundraising for Zach’s project is now $45,326—and counting—past the original $10 goal, and searches for potato salad were nearly as high on Tuesday as on Independence Day itself. But that’s nothing compared to another Kickstarter project focused on a summer staple. With more than $1.5 million raised so far, the [coolest cooler] promises not just to keep your drinks chilled (elementary, my dear Coleman), but also offers a bevy of bells and whistles worthy of “Pimp My Ride.” Not only have 50,000+ searches been done on the subject, but the campaign is well on its way to Kickstarter records. Finally, [joey chestnut] won hearts as well as the mustard winner’s belt at this year’s Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island when he proposed to his girlfriend at the event. More than 100,000 people searched to learn more about this champion of chowing down.
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [seersucker etymology] and [dragons love tacos]
Category: Google | Jul 11, 2014
In May, the Court of Justice of the European Union established a “right to be forgotten.” Today, we published an op-ed by David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, in the U.K.’s The Guardian, Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, France’s Le Figaro and Spain’s El Pais, discussing the ruling and our response. We’re republishing the op-ed in full below. -Ed.
When you search online, there’s an unwritten assumption that you’ll get an instant answer, as well as additional information if you need to dig deeper. This is all possible because of two decades worth of investment and innovation by many different companies. Today, however, search engines across Europe face a new challenge—one we’ve had just two months to get our heads around. That challenge is figuring out what information we must deliberately omit from our results, following a new ruling from the European Court of Justice.
In the past we’ve restricted the removals we make from search to a very short list. It includes information deemed illegal by a court, such as defamation, pirated content (once we’re notified by the rights holder), malware, personal information such as bank details, child sexual abuse imagery and other things prohibited by local law (like material that glorifies Nazism in Germany).
We’ve taken this approach because, as article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
But the European Court found that people have the right to ask for information to be removed from search results that include their names if it is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.” In deciding what to remove, search engines must also have regard to the public interest. These are, of course, very vague and subjective tests. The court also decided that search engines don’t qualify for a “journalistic exception.” This means that The Guardian could have an article on its website about an individual that’s perfectly legal, but we might not legally be able to show links to it in our results when you search for that person’s name. It’s a bit like saying the book can stay in the library, it just cannot be included in the library’s card catalogue.
It’s for these reasons that we disagree with the ruling. That said, we obviously respect the court’s authority and are doing our very best to comply quickly and responsibly. It’s a huge task as we’ve had over 70,000 take-down requests covering 250,000 webpages since May. So we now have a team of people individually reviewing each application, in most cases with limited information and almost no context.
The examples we’ve seen so far highlight the difficult value judgments search engines and European society now face: former politicians wanting posts removed that criticize their policies in office; serious, violent criminals asking for articles about their crimes to be deleted; bad reviews for professionals like architects and teachers; comments that people have written themselves (and now regret). In each case, someone wants the information hidden, while others might argue it should be out in the open.
When it comes to determining what’s in the the public interest, we’re taking into account a number of factors. These include whether: the information relates to a politician, celebrity, or other public figure; if the material comes from a reputable news source, and how recent it is; whether it involves political speech; questions of professional conduct that might be relevant to consumers; the involvement of criminal convictions that are not yet “spent”; and if the information is being published by a government. But these will always be difficult and debatable judgments.
We’re also doing our best to be transparent about removals: for example, we’re informing websites when one of their pages has been removed. But we cannot be specific about why we have removed the information because that could violate the individual’s privacy rights under the court’s decision.
Of course, only two months in, our process is still very much a work in progress. It’s why we incorrectly removed links to some articles last week (they have since been reinstated). But the good news is that the ongoing, active debate that’s happening will inform the development of our principles, policies and practices—in particular about how to balance one person’s right to privacy with another’s right to know.
That’s why we’ve also set up an advisory council of experts, the final membership of which we’re announcing today. These external experts from the worlds of academia, the media, data protection, civil society and the tech sector are serving as independent advisors to Google. The council will be asking for evidence and recommendations from different groups, and will hold public meetings this autumn across Europe to examine these issues more deeply. Its public report will include recommendations for particularly difficult removal requests (like criminal convictions); thoughts on the implications of the court’s decision for European Internet users, news publishers, search engines and others; and procedural steps that could improve accountability and transparency for websites and citizens.
The issues here at stake are important and difficult, but we’re committed to complying with the court’s decision. Indeed it’s hard not to empathize with some of the requests we’ve seen—from the man who asked that we not show a news article saying he had been questioned in connection with a crime (he’s able to demonstrate that he was never charged) to the mother who requested that we remove news articles for her daughter’s name as she had been the victim of abuse. It’s a complex issue, with no easy answers. So a robust debate is both welcome and necessary, as, on this issue at least, no search engine has an instant or perfect answer.
Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer