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A long way home with help from Google Earth

Category: Google | Oct 15, 2013

In 1986, a five-year-old boy named Saroo Munshi Khan accidentally fell asleep on a stationary train in India. He woke up hours later, alone and in an unfamiliar place. This fateful train ride ripped Saroo away from his home and family. For more than a quarter century, he searched for them before finding his way back home with the help of Google Earth.

This incredible true story spans decades, miles and continents. If it weren’t for hope, determination and technology, Saroo would have remained forever lost.

On that day 27 years ago, Saroo and his 14-year-old brother, Guddu, were searching a train station for change to help support their family. Guddu wandered beyond the station and Saroo fell asleep on a stationary train waiting for his brother’s return. When he woke up, the train had left the station, separating Saroo from his home and family.

The train Saroo boarded was in Berhanpur, India, and he ended up 1,500 kilometers away, in Calcutta. For weeks, he survived on the streets. Eventually, he was taken into an orphanage, where he was adopted by the Brierleys, an Australian family. He moved across an ocean to the town of Hobart in Tasmania. At six years old, Saroo had a new family, home, country and name. Though Saroo Munshi Khan couldn’t find his home, Saroo Brierley never gave up the search.

In 2011, using vague memories and Google Earth imagery, Saroo identified his home town. Using the ruler feature in Google Earth, he mapped out a search radius by making an educated guess about how far he traveled by train. After countless hours of scouring this area of Google Earth imagery, he came upon a proverbial needle in a haystack. Saroo spotted one vague landmark that led him to the next, helping him unlock a five-year-old child’s memories. He eventually spotted a neighborhood, street and tin roof that looked familiar.

In Saroo’s words, “It was just like being Superman. You are able to go over and take a photo mentally and ask, ‘Does this match?’ And when you say, ‘No,’ you keep on going and going and going.”

In 2012, Saroo embarked on a trip from Australia back to Khandwa, India. Once he arrived, he shared his story with locals, who helped him find his way back home to his mother and surviving brother and sister. Twenty-six years after accidentally leaving home, he finally found his way back.

The Google Earth imagery that brought Saroo home.

Maps can affect our lives in many ways, big and small—but hopefully they always help us find our way. You can now read Saroo’s book, “A Long Way Home,” for a detailed account of his journey of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit—hope.

Posted by Peter Birch, Google Earth Product Manager

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/aNU24dY27vQ/a-long-way-home-with-help-from-google.html

Saying thank you to our Google Top Contributors

Category: Google | Oct 10, 2013

Every day, Google Top Contributors from around the world share their product expertise with people in Google’s official forums, from sharing helpful tips to answering burning user questions. Top Contributors not only help users directly, they champion user feedback, which gives our teams valuable insight on opportunities for improvement across various products. They contribute to 250 product communities in 26 different languages, and their expertise touches hundreds of millions of users each year. These Top Contributors are a critical part of the Google family and we brought many of them together at this year’s Top Contributor Summit to say thank you.

Building on our first summit in 2011, we kicked off the second Top Contributor Summit last week near Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Over three days, Top Contributors came together to discuss their favorite Google products, meet with our engineers and product managers, see demos of new products and collaborate with fellow Top Contributors.

Sebastian Miśniakiewicz, Top Contributor in the Webmasters Polish forum, talks with Program Manager Oahn Nguyen and Map Maker Program Manager Nicole Drobeck

Top Contributors met with product managers and community managers to learn the latest about some of Google’s products, and had the unique opportunity to give their feedback directly to the product team. They also sat down with designers and support team members to discuss the long and short-term vision for various products. Multi-product Top Contributor Manny Barwin (known as “The C Man” in our forums) said, “what impressed me most was the interest taken in our feedback.”

Yogi Anand, Docs Top Contributor from Michigan, tries Google Glass

Top Contributors also got a sneak peek at recently released Google products. After hearing a presentation directly from the Google Glass team, each Top Contributor was given the opportunity to try Glass for themselves. AdWords Top Contributor Adam Briggs said, “I found the best part was being able to try out Glass; it’s such an awesome product and I’m really looking forward to it becoming public.”

We also put on several social events where the group was able to meet Googlers, chat with their fellow Top Contributors, and have a little fun!

Top Contributors play air hockey during a social event at the San Jose Convention Center
Photograph by Paciano Triunfo

We had a great time at the summit saying thanks to our Top Contributors for all they do for our users. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, get started by becoming active in your favorite Google product’s forum or learn more about the Top Contributor Program.

Top Contributors and Googlers show their excitement on campus
Photograph by Paciano Triunfo

Posted by Sarah Claxton Deming, Top Contributor Summit Organizer

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/msExRFh8gGI/saying-thank-you-to-our-google-top.html

Saying thank you to our Google Top Contributors

Category: Google | Oct 10, 2013

Every day, Google Top Contributors from around the world share their product expertise with people in Google’s official forums, from sharing helpful tips to answering burning user questions. Top Contributors not only help users directly, they champion user feedback, which gives our teams valuable insight on opportunities for improvement across various products. They contribute to 250 product communities in 26 different languages, and their expertise touches hundreds of millions of users each year. These Top Contributors are a critical part of the Google family and we brought many of them together at this year’s Top Contributor Summit to say thank you.

Building on our first summit in 2011, we kicked off the second Top Contributor Summit last week near Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Over three days, Top Contributors came together to discuss their favorite Google products, meet with our engineers and product managers, see demos of new products and collaborate with fellow Top Contributors.

Sebastian Miśniakiewicz, Top Contributor in the Webmasters Polish forum, talks with Program Manager Oahn Nguyen and Map Maker Program Manager Nicole Drobeck

Top Contributors met with product managers and community managers to learn the latest about some of Google’s products, and had the unique opportunity to give their feedback directly to the product team. They also sat down with designers and support team members to discuss the long and short-term vision for various products. Multi-product Top Contributor Manny Barwin (known as “The C Man” in our forums) said, “what impressed me most was the interest taken in our feedback.”

Yogi Anand, Docs Top Contributor from Michigan, tries Google Glass

Top Contributors also got a sneak peek at recently released Google products. After hearing a presentation directly from the Google Glass team, each Top Contributor was given the opportunity to try Glass for themselves. AdWords Top Contributor Adam Briggs said, “I found the best part was being able to try out Glass; it’s such an awesome product and I’m really looking forward to it becoming public.”

We also put on several social events where the group was able to meet Googlers, chat with their fellow Top Contributors, and have a little fun!

Top Contributors play air hockey during a social event at the San Jose Convention Center
Photograph by Paciano Triunfo

We had a great time at the summit saying thanks to our Top Contributors for all they do for our users. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, get started by becoming active in your favorite Google product’s forum or learn more about the Top Contributor Program.

Top Contributors and Googlers show their excitement on campus
Photograph by Paciano Triunfo

Posted by Sarah Claxton Deming, Top Contributor Summit Organizer

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/oITuJZA_PDQ/saying-thank-you-to-our-google-top.html

Saying thank you to our Google Top Contributors

Category: Google | Oct 10, 2013

Every day, Google Top Contributors from around the world share their product expertise with people in Google’s official forums, from sharing helpful tips to answering burning user questions. Top Contributors not only help users directly, they champion user feedback, which gives our teams valuable insight on opportunities for improvement across various products. They contribute to 250 product communities in 26 different languages, and their expertise touches hundreds of millions of users each year. These Top Contributors are a critical part of the Google family and we brought many of them together at this year’s Top Contributor Summit to say thank you.

Building on our first summit in 2011, we kicked off the second Top Contributor Summit last week near Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Over three days, Top Contributors came together to discuss their favorite Google products, meet with our engineers and product managers, see demos of new products and collaborate with fellow Top Contributors.

Sebastian Miśniakiewicz, Top Contributor in the Webmasters Polish forum, talks with Program Manager Oahn Nguyen and Map Maker Program Manager Nicole Drobeck

Top Contributors met with product managers and community managers to learn the latest about some of Google’s products, and had the unique opportunity to give their feedback directly to the product team. They also sat down with designers and support team members to discuss the long and short-term vision for various products. Multi-product Top Contributor Manny Barwin (known as “The C Man” in our forums) said, “what impressed me most was the interest taken in our feedback.”

Yogi Anand, Docs Top Contributor from Michigan, tries Google Glass

Top Contributors also got a sneak peek at recently released Google products. After hearing a presentation directly from the Google Glass team, each Top Contributor was given the opportunity to try Glass for themselves. AdWords Top Contributor Adam Briggs said, “I found the best part was being able to try out Glass; it’s such an awesome product and I’m really looking forward to it becoming public.”

We also put on several social events where the group was able to meet Googlers, chat with their fellow Top Contributors, and have a little fun!

Top Contributors play air hockey during a social event at the San Jose Convention Center
Photograph by Paciano Triunfo

We had a great time at the summit saying thanks to our Top Contributors for all they do for our users. If you’re interested in becoming a Top Contributor, get started by becoming active in your favorite Google product’s forum or learn more about the Top Contributor Program.

Top Contributors and Googlers show their excitement on campus
Photograph by Paciano Triunfo

Posted by Sarah Claxton Deming, Top Contributor Summit Organizer

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/r6vdjpZdTtw/saying-thank-you-to-our-google-top.html

The web is working for part-time businesses

Category: Google | Oct 10, 2013

Part-time businesses play an important role in our lives and in our economy. From the gardening mom who sells her plants, to the hobbyist antiques dealer, to the weekend wedding photographer, people everywhere are earning extra money while doing what they love.

Research released yesterday by The Internet Association shows that the web is powering American part-time businesses. Nine out of 10 part-time business owners rely on the Internet to conduct their business, and the impact is significant. Internet enabled part-time businesses employ 6.6 million people and contribute $141 billion to the U.S. GDP.

We’re proud to play our part to support these business owners as they grow their businesses online. Technology is at its best when it makes lives easier—and every day, our products help businesses find new customers and publishers earn money from their content while running more efficiently. With the power of the web, businesses can build better lives for their families and strengthen our economy while doing what they love.

Posted by Lisa Gevelber, VP, Americas Marketing

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/S9hXv6LI9gA/the-web-is-working-for-part-time.html

The web is working for part-time businesses

Category: Google | Oct 10, 2013

Part-time businesses play an important role in our lives and in our economy. From the gardening mom who sells her plants, to the hobbyist antiques dealer, to the weekend wedding photographer, people everywhere are earning extra money while doing what they love.

Research released yesterday by The Internet Association shows that the web is powering American part-time businesses. Nine out of 10 part-time business owners rely on the Internet to conduct their business, and the impact is significant. Internet enabled part-time businesses employ 6.6 million people and contribute $141 billion to the U.S. GDP.

We’re proud to play our part to support these business owners as they grow their businesses online. Technology is at its best when it makes lives easier—and every day, our products help businesses find new customers and publishers earn money from their content while running more efficiently. With the power of the web, businesses can build better lives for their families and strengthen our economy while doing what they love.

Posted by Lisa Gevelber, VP, Americas Marketing

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/UUacYYrpEh0/the-web-is-working-for-part-time.html

The Web is Working for Part-Time Businesses

Category: Google | Oct 10, 2013

Part-time businesses play an important role in our lives and in our economy. From the gardening mom who sells her plants, to the hobbyist antiques dealer, to the weekend wedding photographer, people everywhere are earning extra money while doing what they love.

Research released yesterday by The Internet Association shows that the web is powering American part-time businesses. Nine out of ten part-time business owners rely on the Internet to conduct their business, and the impact is significant. Internet enabled part-time businesses employ 6.6 million people and contribute $141 billion to the US GDP.

We’re proud to play our part to support these business owners as they grow their businesses online. Technology is at its best when it makes lives easier — and every day, our products help businesses find new customers and publishers earn money from their content while running more efficiently. With the power of the web, businesses can build better lives for their families and strengthen our economy while doing what they love.

Posted by Lisa Gevelber, VP, Americas Marketing

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/5ifjwx8tRgk/the-web-is-working-for-part-time.html

50 million lines of code and counting: supporting students in open source

Category: Google | Oct 8, 2013

Back in 2005, we had an idea to get university students interested in open source software during their summer breaks. That year, we launched the Google Summer of Code. This annual program brings student developers from all over the world together with open source software organizations to mentor them through a summer project.

To date, the program has produced 50 million lines of open source code from more than 8,500 student developers—and in 2014, we’ll mark the 10th anniversary of Google Summer of Code.

To celebrate the previous nine years of student contributions and set the stage for the best Google Summer of Code yet, we’re launching 10 things to make the program better than ever. Here’s a peek at what we’ll be up to, stay tuned to the Open Source blog for updates:

  • We’re planning 10 visits to countries with the highest participation throughout the year to promote the program and celebrate local students and mentors.

  • A 10 percent increase in the student stipend, bringing the amount to $5,500.
  • We’re also accepting 10 percent more students than ever before—more than 1,300 students will spend their summer coding as part of the program next year
  • A 10-year reunion mentor summit held at Google’s Mountain View campus for our Google Summer of Code organization alumni.

We’re excited to be running a program that touches a lot of lives around the world every year, and we want to celebrate all of the accomplishments we’ve seen from our participants.

We’re also committed to getting younger students involved in open source software. For the fourth consecutive year, in November we’ll run Google Code-in, an international contest designed to introduce 13-17 year old students to the world of open source development. You don’t have to be a coder to get involved in this contest; there are a variety of ways students can contribute to open source projects.

Each year, open source software is becoming more important to governments and industries such as healthcare, gaming and technology. We believe that investing in youth and open source will improve both technology and society. Applications for Google Summer of Code open in March and students interested in Google Code-in can apply starting November 18. See our Open Source blog post for more details on both programs. Here’s to the next year in open source!

Posted by Carol Smith, Open Source Programs Office

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/GgyuLb1yf1Y/50-million-lines-of-code-and-counting.html

The new HP Chromebook, made with Google

Category: Google | Oct 8, 2013

We need our computers to be as fast and mobile as we are. We want to work across multiple screens—often at the same time. We want the latest and greatest software and we want to be able to get to our stuff from wherever we are. Chromebooks offer all of that, making computers that are simpler, more secure and more affordable, for everyone.

Earlier today, HP introduced the HP Chromebook 11. Designed and built in partnership with our friends at HP, it has all of the speed, simplicity and security benefits you’d expect from a Chromebook, and some unique design elements that address many of the challenges people face with computers today.

First, a laptop should be light and mobile. So the new Chromebook is really thin with no extra fluff. It weighs in at just over two pounds—one of the lightest laptops on the market. There are also no sharp edges so nothing digs into your wrists while you type. And when you’re traveling, you don’t need to throw an extra charger into your bag. The HP Chromebook 11 is powered by a micro-USB charger, which can also be used to juice up your Android phone or tablet.

Second, a computer should look good—something you’re proud to take out at a coffee shop. So the new Chromebook has a sleek, distinctive and super simple look. The fanless design means it doesn’t need any grills for venting. And it comes in a variety of colors to match your mood (or your wardrobe).

And there are a bunch of other things that we hope will make your computing experience even more awesome:

  • Brilliant display. Often when folks gather around a screen, everyone tries to gently nudge the computer in their own direction so they can see better. No more nudging. The new Chromebook’s screen has a 176-degree viewing angles so you can see even when looking at it almost completely sideways. And the super bright display brings all of your favorite photos, shows and videos to life.
  • Light but sturdy. We wanted the Chromebook to hold up well against everyday bumps and bruises. So it has a magnesium frame that makes it incredibly sturdy. You can hold it from a single corner without it bending or flexing.
  • Finely-tuned speakers. Many computers have speakers on the bottom, which is great if you have ears in your lap. Instead, the speakers on the new Chromebook are under the keyboard, which means the sound is crisp, clear and pointed up towards your ears.
  • Goodies built-in. And, of course, many Google apps come built-in, including 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage (free for two years) and a 60-day free trial of Google Play Music All Access.

This Chromebook is crafted with the same obsessive attention to detail as the Chromebook Pixel. But we worked hard with HP to keep the price low: the new HP Chromebook 11 is available for just $279.

Look for it starting today at Best Buy, Amazon, Google Play and HP Shopping in the U.S., as well as at Currys, PC World and many other retailers in the U.K. It will be available in other countries that sell Chromebooks in time for the holidays.

So if you’ve been looking for a computer that makes it easier to get stuff done (and look good doing it), we hope you give the new HP Chromebook 11 a try—or add it to your gift list this holiday season. We designed it to make computing faster, simpler and more secure, for everyone.

Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/bQLFL8mvtBs/the-new-hp-chromebook-made-with-google.html

The cultural catwalk: 5000+ new works in the Cultural Institute

Category: Google | Oct 8, 2013

The past few weeks, Fashion Week in New York, London, Paris and Milan have given us a feast for the eyes with parades of creativity, color and design. At the Cultural Institute, we’re putting on a fashion show of a different kind with new content from 36 partners. Many of these cultural treasures, from China, Hungary, Mexico and 16 other countries, have a strong link to fashion and design through the ages.

Fabrics are the starting point of many designs. You can see this in the wonderful costumes added by the Textile Museum of Canada to the Google Art Project. Highlights include a kimono from Japan, a cape from Polynesia and an 1800s jacket with beautiful detail from Greece. The creation of these fabrics is highly skilled work; in an online exhibition, The Craft Revival Trust gives us an insight into the 5,000-year-old Indian textile tradition which creates the prints, motifs and colors that are still used today, while the The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg exhibits quilts of delicate beauty.

If regalia and royal jewels are more your thing, then then be sure to see new exhibits from La Venaria Reale in Italy and the Palace of Versailles in France. Zoom in at brushstroke level to the gigapixel painting of Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia to appreciate the jewellery, metallics, fabrics and lace of the King’s royal mantle, scepter and crown. And accessories were as important in the 17th century as they are today: an online exhibition entitled “Louis XIV: the construction of a political image” curated by experts in Versailles features an amazing wax portrait moulded from the monarch’s face, complete with a real wig.

The fashion world has long taken inspiration from tribal traditions. In a new photographic archive named “African ceremonies,” the diversity and beauty of 100+ unique African cultures is on full display—the work of two world-class artists who spent 30 years criss-crossing the continent. From the painted Karo Dancers of Ethiopia to The Hands of the Ashanti King, you’d be hard-pressed to find more elaborate body art and ceremonial dress.

You can also browse the interiors of the first two museums in China to open their doors to Street View; enjoy our first collection of children’s art from Norway; learn about Sumatra’s Pustaha book of spells reflecting the wisdom of nine generations of magicians; or simply sit back and let yourself be taken on a tour by a museum director through one of the 12 new galleries they’ve created.

With 5,400 new items to explore, there’s some style inspiration for all of us!

Posted by Piotr Adamczyk, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/GG-Dlu5hp94/the-cultural-catwalk-5000-new-works-in.html