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Category: Google | Apr 10, 2015
If you’ve ever searched Google for the lyrics to Don McLean’s “American Pie,” this was your lucky week. The manuscript of the classic song sold for $1.2 million this week, prompting its writer to speak publicly for the first time ever about what it all meant—giving searchers some new answers. There was plenty else to search for this week, though, with drama taking place on the diamond, in the courtroom, and on TV screens.
Take me out to the ballgame
When one door closes, another opens. The same could be said of sporting seasons. March Madness came to a nail-biting close on Monday with a Duke victory over Wisconsin, and on Tuesday UConn took their third win in a row in the women’s tournament. But while the Blue Devils and Huskies were celebrating, the focus shifted to Major League Baseball, which kicked off its new season on Sunday. As bats cracked across the country, people searched for their favorite teams, players, and game schedules.
If baseball’s not for you, maybe the grass is greener on the golf course? This year’s Masters Golf Tournament is now in full swing in Augusta, Ga. There were more than a million searches for the “tradition unlike any other” on Wednesday alone—and search interest in [hole in one] increased by more than 1,000 percent after six-time Masters champ Jack Nicklaus scored an ace at the tournament’s par-3 contest.
Crime and punishment
A white police officer in South Carolina was charged with the murder of an unarmed 50-year old black man this week. The officer, Michael T. Slager, claimed that he fired at Walter Scott because he feared for his safety, but a bystander’s video of the shooting showed Slager fire eight shots at Scott’s back as the man ran away. The video reignited debates about the use of lethal force by police, particularly against black men—a topic that has been in the news for months following the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York. Search interest in police brutality increased by 150 percent, and there were more than half a million searches for Walter Scott as people turned to the web to ask questions about how and why the event unfolded:
On Wednesday, a jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 charges for his role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. People turned to search to learn more about the trial and what’s next for Tsarnaev, who could face the death penalty. Between the trial and the upcoming 2015 Boston Marathon, it’s no surprise the term “Boston Strong” is trending on search as well.
Drama on demand
It was a good week for TV fans. On Sunday, “Mad Men” returned for its final season, bringing people to search for the show’s history, cast and more. Then, on Tuesday, cord cutters rejoiced—and searched—when HBO introduced its long-awaited standalone streaming app HBO Now just in time for the fifth season of “Game of Thrones.” Plus, trailers dropped for the upcoming seasons of both “True Detective” and “Orange is the New Black.” And finally, when news broke that David Lynch won’t be part of Showtime’s “Twin Peaks” reboot, the cast protested with a video campaign that just happened to overlap with the 25th anniversary of the show’s premiere. Whew. Now you just have to find time to watch all that.
Tip of the week
“Ok Google, when do the Nationals play?” Stay up to date with upcoming games and scores for all your favorite teams this baseball season with the Google app.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [brian krakow mad men] and [vhs covers modern movies]
Category: Google | Apr 3, 2015
From political drama to the mobile resurrection of Pac-Man, here’s what trended on search this week.
If you can’t stand the heat…
This week, the hammer came down on the state of Indiana after Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would have allowed businesses to refuse service to individuals based on their sexual orientation. The law quickly drew a firestorm of criticism from the public— Apple CEO Tim Cook and the NCAA condemned it, while Walmart spoke out against similar legislation in Arkansas. Amidst outcry against the law, searches for [indiana law] passed 200,000+ and left state officials squirming. Eventually, the attention forced Pence to pass a “fix” to the bill that would prohibit businesses from using the law as a justification to deny people services based on race, disability, religion and sexual orientation.
Over in California, an ongoing four-year drought is pushing the state into a near-crisis. This week, Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order calling for water supply agencies across the state to reduce their use by 25 percent—a first in California history. News of the mandate is drawing interest online with the term [california drought] spiking on the web after the announcement. People are also looking for alternative methods to get through the dry spell—searches for drought-resistant plants spiked three times in the past seven days.
The joke’s on you
The Internet is normally a funny place, but on April Fools’ day it takes the gags and laughs to a whole new level. Searches for the best pranks and jokes topped out at more than 200,000,
with Petco’s dog selfie stick and Cottonelle’s toilet paper for the left-handed earning top honors from the media. Even our own “PAC-Maps” got the web chomping—searches for the game soared to 2 million.
This week was no joke for comedian Trevor Noah, who was introduced as the new host of The Daily Show on Monday. The Twitterverse criticized the decision after discovering several old distasteful jokes the comedian had made on Twitter. Calling the tweets anti-semitic and sexist, some are already threatening to boycott the show. But not everyone is pulling out their pitchforks just yet: The network is standing by their choice while others are labeling the tweets a case of bad jokes. Either way, searches for the comedian hit an all-time high.
Mark your calendars
As Easter and Passover begin this weekend, people turned to the web to look for desserts, recipes and activities to celebrate the holidays. Searches for Easter-related topics like egg hunts, the Easter bunny and Easter brunch trended across the U.S. And people wore their lightest blue this past Thursday to mark Autism Awareness Day—which made it to the top 10 on the search charts that day.
Tip of the week
Struggling with your Easter egg decorations? Tell Google to, “Show me picture of Easter eggs,” to find a little design inspiration.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched this week for [new host new problems] and [pranksters]
Category: Google | Mar 31, 2015
Mail is a wondrous thing. From the early days of the homing pigeon to the herculean efforts of the Pony Express, mail has connected us for generations. The advent of email brought the world even closer together. And yet, despite this leap forward, physical mail still just sits there. In a box. All day.
So today we’re excited to introduce Smartbox—a better, smarter mailbox that fuses physical mail with everything you love about the electronic kind:
Smartbox is currently in field trial—stuck in the ground, in a field—for Inbox by Gmail customers. If you’re not yet using Inbox, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org anytime before April 2 to be invited, and to reserve your spot on the Smartbox waitlist.
Posted by Merrill Anovick, Project Manager
(Cross-posted from the Gmail Blog)
Category: Google | Mar 27, 2015
Searches for March Madness are still surviving and advancing, but this week brought with it a host of other stories to spur your search questions. Here’s a look at what people were searching for this week:
Germanwings Flight 9525
On Tuesday, Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people who were onboard. In the wake of the tragedy, people around the world have turned to search to learn more about the crash and subsequent investigation. Early searches included questions about Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent company, and about the type of plane that had crashed; search interest in the Airbus A320 family spiked 100x in the first four hours. But after investigations revealed that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz appears to have deliberately locked himself in the cockpit and flown the plane into a mountain, the questions got more specific. People asked questions like “How do you access the plane’s cockpit?” and worried: “Is it safe to fly after the Germanwings crash?” and “Is flying becoming more dangerous?”
Election Day 2016 is more than a year-and-a-half away, but the presidential race is already underway. On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz announced his candidacy. The Texas Republican is known for his fervent opposition to the Affordable Care Act, in particular a 21-hour filibuster-style speech on the floor of the Senate in 2013 (at one point, he read aloud from Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham). Searchers turned to the web to answer all kinds of questions about Cruz and his beliefs, sending searches for [cruz liberty], [cruz obamacare] and [cruz wiki] to spike more than a thousand percent in the last 30 days. The top questions, though, were around whether Cruz is eligible to become President because he was born in Canada. (The answer is yes, BTW.)
Pop culture mania
This week Zayn Malik confirmed he is leaving boy band One Direction, sending teens worldwide into a tailspin as they asked (and searched): “Why is Zayn leaving One Direction?” The British star said that he is leaving to “be a normal 22-year-old…out of the spotlight,” which may be tough given there were more than a million searches for him on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the rest of the band will go on without him—in fact, search interest in One Direction tours spiked 5x in the U.S. the day of the announcement.
If freaking out about Zayn isn’t your thing, maybe freaking out about “A” is? The mysterious villain of the ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars was revealed—sorta—on Tuesday night, leading to hundreds of thousands of searches for the show. We won’t spoil it here, even though it was frankly a little hard to miss amidst the outcry. Let’s just say, the truth is out there. ;)
Finally, it’s barely spring but it’s already time to start thinking about your summer festival agenda. The line-ups of both San Francisco’s Outside Lands and Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festivals were announced this week. The top festival searched in each state breaks down almost exclusively along geographic lines and leaves us wondering: Are Massachusetts residents big Elton John fans?
Taking charge of your health
In a New York Times op-ed, Angelina Jolie revealed that she had undergone surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes to prevent cancer. This was the second preventative surgery for Jolie (she wrote about her double mastectomy in 2013), who made this decision because she carries a mutation in her BRCA1 gene, putting her at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. There were more than 100,000 searches for Angelina Jolie on Tuesday, and people turned to the web to ask related questions about women’s health and cancer prevention.
Tip of the week
Who says National Puppy Day has to be just once a year? When you’re need of a furry pick-me-up, just ask the Google app “Ok Google, show me pictures of puppies.” Smiles are practically guaranteed.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [rural studio] and [izombie]
Category: Google | Mar 25, 2015
If you searched for “Dependable Care near Garland, TX” a few months ago, you would have seen a lot of search results—but not the one that mattered to Marieshia Hicks. Marieshia runs Dependable Care Health Service in Garland, and it was her business that was missing. But that all changed last month when she attended a workshop at the Garland Chamber of Commerce called Let’s Put Garland on the Map.
The workshop, run by our Get Your Business Online team, showed her how to use Google My Business—a tool that allows businesses owners to control the info listed about their business on Google Search and Maps—to help more people find Dependable. Marieshia added an updated phone number, hours of operation, and a description to her business listing. Within a few months, she had more customers come through the door and referrals from doctors who could reach her. This one simple adjustment made a difference. In Marieshia’s words: “It’s huge.”
Huge might be an understatement. Four out of five people use search engines to find local information, like business hours and addresses, and research shows that businesses with complete listings are twice as likely (PDF) to be considered reputable by customers. Consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with complete listings. Yet only 37 percent of businesses (PDF) have claimed a local business listing on a search engine. That’s a lot of missed opportunities for small businesses.
With this in mind, our Get Your Business Online team set out in 2011 to help businesses like Marieshia’s get found online. We’ve gone to every state in the U.S. and worked with thousands of business owners to create free websites and update their Google Search and Maps listings. But there’s a lot more work to do to help businesses take advantage of the vast opportunities yielded by the web. So today, we’re introducing Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map, a new program to help 30,000 cities get their local businesses online.
If we want to help every business in the U.S., we need to reach businesses where they are. So this tailor-made program provides each city with a custom website where local businesses can find helpful resources, including a new diagnostic tool that shows businesses how they appear on Search and Maps, a step-by-step guide for getting online with Google My Business, and a free website and domain name for one year with our partner, Startlogic.
We’re also forming partnerships with local organizations—like chambers and small business development centers—and equipping them with free trainings and customized city materials to run workshops just like the one Marieshia attended in Garland. These local partners know the challenges for local businesses more than anyone—and they recognize the value of getting businesses online. After all, getting Dependable’s information online not only means the world for Marieshia, it means even more for the city of Garland. Complete business info can help generate economic value up to $300,000 a year for a small city or up to $7 million for a large one (PDF). So when our local businesses are online, our local economies benefit.
If you have a favorite local business—a day care, a dentist, a dry cleaner—show your support by helping them get their info online and on the map. Visit your city’s website at www.gybo.com to find out how you can get involved.
Let’s put our cities on the map!
Posted by Soo Young Kim, Head of Marketing, Get Your Business Online
Category: Google | Mar 20, 2015
Whether you’re glued to the small screen or you’ve got your eyes on the sky this week, search is there to answer your questions. Here’s a look at this week in search:
FOX’s “Empire” has built a kingdom of fans during its first season on the air. This week’s finale not only brought the TV show its highest number of viewers—it also had its largest spike in search interest to date with 200,000+ searches Wednesday night. The two-hour finale delivered a king-sized serving of soap opera-esque surprises, ending in a cliffhanger that had fans eager for more (“When does ‘Empire’ season 2 air?” was trending question this week). And “Empire” is making waves in the real-life music industry too: its soundtrack debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top 200 list this week. Here’s a look at the top searched songs:
Moving from TV fiction to fact, news broke last Saturday that real estate scion Robert Durst had been arrested in connection to several unsolved murders. Durst was the subject of “The Jinx,” the HBO documentary that aired its final episode Sunday night—in which Durst appears to confess to the crimes. Needless to say, though the police said the arrest was not connected to the show, the timing was great for HBO. Search interest in Robert Durst increased by 1,700 percent in the U.S.
March Madness tipped off this week, with fans across the nation rushing to fill out their brackets and come up with excuses to be out of the office. Ten of the top 20 searches yesterday were related to college basketball, and people are turning to search to ask important questions like “Who can beat Kentucky?” (They’re undefeated this season.) And everyone wants to know who President Obama is rooting for: his is the most searched celebrity bracket so far.
If your bracket is already busted, you’ve got something else to be happy about: today marks the first day of spring, and the vernal equinox. Even though it’s still cold or even snowy in some spots today, the arrival of spring has people very excited. There were more than 2 million searches for [vernal equinox] yesterday—even more than searches for [march madness live].
Still, the sun’s position over the Equator isn’t the only celestial event that’s got people searching. On Friday, we’ll see both a Supermoon as well as the only total solar eclipse of the year—the first since 2013. Searches for [solar eclipse glasses] are up more than 2,000 percent as people figure out how to catch a glimpse. And an intense solar storm brought the aurora borealis south on Tuesday night, making the Northern Lights visible as far south as Oregon and as far out as outer space. The green lights lit up search as well as the skies: search interest went up more than 1,250 percent this week!
Who says it needs to be hot out to eat ice cream? Dairy Queen kicked off its 75th anniversary celebrations on Monday by treating everyone to a free cone, and more than 200,000 searches followed. And it turns out that when it comes to comfort food, ice cream was a better choice this week than the good ol’ blue box. Kraft announced a recall of more than 6 million boxes its classic macaroni and cheese after metal was found in some boxes. There were more than 100,000+ searches for [kraft mac and cheese recall] as people tried to determine whether their pantries were affected.
Tip of the week
Keep up with the NCAA tournament with the Google app. Just say “Ok Google, show me the latest on March Madness” to get real-time scores, in-game and recap videos, and live streams for each game.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [heisler beer tv] and [little women reboot]
Category: Google | Mar 17, 2015
For more than 20 years, New Yorkers and street art lovers worldwide made the pilgrimage to 5Pointz, a building in Long Island City called the “Graffiti Mecca” because of its brightly colored, ever-changing walls. Artists from around the world covered every inch of the 200,000-square foot exterior with more than 350 technicolor murals. But last summer, this building on Davis Street was whitewashed over by developers, then demolished.
Street art like that at 5Pointz transforms public spaces into open-air galleries, adding vibrancy to urban landscapes. But using the city as a canvas often means these artworks are here today, gone tomorrow. With the Google Art Project, we’re working to preserve this ephemeral art form and make it available to fans around the world, anywhere and anytime.
Last June, we added street art from all over the globe—including 5Pointz—to the Google Art Project. Today, we’re doubling the number of public artworks to more than 10,000 high-resolution images. Eighty-five art organizations from 34 countries are sharing pieces, ranging from Sweden’s most famous street festival, to water tanks wrapped with art among New York city’s rooftops, to the abandoned walls of Buenos Aires that are a source of inspiration for street artists from all over the world.
A water tank in New York City. Photo by TF Cornerstone
You don’t need to be tied to your desktop to enjoy these fantastic collections. All these images are now available on a device near you with Chrome, Chromecast, Android Wear and your mobile devices. Turn your TV screen into a vibrant backdrop and add some color to your smartwatch with our new Street Art Watch Faces. On your phone or tablet, browse through our partners’ new apps to take a tour of Melbourne’s famous laneways or visit the multicolored murals in Delhi, Lima and Honolulu.
Wall by Brendan Monroe and Candybird. Photo by Pow! Wow! Hawaii
Street artists have also been using technology to play with their medium. Our collection includes animated “GIF-iti” images by artists like INSA and Cheko. The walls come to life with murals that are painted, filmed, and re-painted to create captivating moving images.
GIF-iti by Cheko
So much goes into making a piece of street art. Yet its transient nature puts it at risk of being scrubbed out and lost forever. The Google Art Project allows these works of art to transcend the walls, be transported to your screen and live on. Follow @googleart to discover more.
Posted by Lucy Schwartz, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute
Category: Google | Mar 17, 2015
When you visited Google today, we’re pretty sure you didn’t type 184.108.40.206 into your browser. This string of numbers separated by periods—an IP address—isn’t nearly as easy or memorable as typing google.com. Domain names ending in things like .COM, .NET and .EDU make browsing the web and telling people where to find you online easier. Since this month marks the 30-year anniversary of .COM and several other domain endings, we’re taking a minute to celebrate these often-overlooked suffixes that have changed the way we use the web.
Though they were introduced in 1985, domain names didn’t gain much awareness and use amongst the public until the World Wide Web became available to all during the ‘90s and it became clear they were an important part in unlocking its power. Using these online addresses, people began to spread messages, start businesses and access information that otherwise would have been nearly impossible to find. Popularity and demand for these names grew so much that people were soon willing to pay millions of dollars for the perfect one.
Today there are 270+ million registered domain names; in fact, about 17 million were added just last year. To create more naming options for people online, hundreds of new top-level domains are being added, and many, like .TODAY, .NINJA and .BIKE are already available. We wrote about this back in 2012, and since then we’ve launched three of our own: .HOW, .SOY and .みんな.
As .COM turns 30, we’re looking back on the history of domain endings and all they’ve made possible. Today there are more choices than ever before for people to find the perfect name for their businesses, projects and ideas on the web. If you’re interested in learning more about this history, or you’d like to register your own piece of the web, head over to Google Domains to claim your .DOMAINS from a .COM to a .GURU.
Here’s to .COM’s 30th, and all that’s yet to come in how we name destinations on the Internet.
Posted by Ben Fried, CIO
Category: Google | Mar 13, 2015
This week, runways, verdicts and diapers were the the talk of the town on search. Read on to learn more.
“Dude, where’s my baby changing table?” That’s what actor Ashton Kutcher was wondering on social media after he observed a lack of diaper-changing facilities in men’s restrooms. Kutcher offered to give a shout-out on his Facebook page to the the first business he could find with diaper-friendly bathrooms. While the actor’s call to arms might not move the needle in terms of shifting societal perceptions on parenting, it did get the celebrity trending on the search charts.
Runways and sun tans
Peering into our search crystal ball, we think we see a little more breakdance fighting in our future. This past Tuesday, actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson surprised fans and fashionistas everywhere when they unexpectedly took to the catwalk during Valentino’s display for Paris Fashion Week—all just to announce the sequel to their cult classic Zoolander. The news cracked the top 10 on trends for that day as searchers looked for videos of Stiller and Wilson strutting their stuff in full Zoolander and Hansel persona. One thing is clear: Blue steel is back in season.
You know who else is excited right now? College kids, thanks to a little annual tradition called spring break. Students are all packed up and ready to hit the sun-drenched beaches of Panama City and South Padre Island, and searches for last-minute destinations and travel suggestions are heating up.
Ferguson, Mo., is in the headlines again, and the reasons aren’t getting any better. First, the city’s police chief resigned following an investigation into his department that found evidence of racism. Then, two police officers were shot and injured during a demonstration at the Ferguson Police Department. Both officers are out of the hospital, but no arrests have been made, and protests are erupting in a city still traumatized by recent events—stirring people to get on the web to find the latest updates and causing sustained interest in the small city.
Imitation is the sincerest form of payment
Musicians Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were found guilty of plagiarism after a jury determined that the duo infringed on soul singer Marvin Gaye’s track “Got to Give it Up” in 2013’s summer jam “Blurred Lines.” The artists were hit with a whopping $7.4 million fine and generated 200,000+ searches. Some are already deriding the decision as a vote against creative expression and a terrible precedent to set for the music industry. But the fight is far from over as both Thicke and Williams plan to appeal the verdict.
Tip of the week
This spring break, skip the overpriced frozen pina coladas and jello shots and make your own cocktails with help from Google. Just say, “Okay Google, how do I make a Snakebite?” and you’ll be making tips in no time.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [there’s a lot more to life than being good looking] and [spring breakers]
Category: Google | Mar 12, 2015
Online security is on everybody’s minds these days, so we want to give you updates about various ways Google keeps you safe online. Today, on the web’s birthday, we’re highlighting recent improvements to Safe Browsing, technology that protects more than 1.1 billion people all over the world. -Ed.
As the web continues to evolve, it’s important that user protections develop in lockstep so that people stay safe online. Our Safe Browsing technology may not be quite as old as the web—which celebrates its 26th birthday today—but ever since Safe Browsing launched nearly eight years ago, it’s continually adapted to protect web users, everywhere.
Safe Browsing gives users—both on Google and across on the web—information they need to steer clear of danger. The dangerous sites detected by Safe Browsing generally fall into two categories: sites that attack users intentionally with either malware, phishing, or unwanted software that is deceptive or hard to uninstall, or sites that attack users unintentionally because they have been compromised, often without the site’s owner realizing this has happened.
Once we detect these sites, Safe Browsing warns people about them in a variety of ways. You’ve probably come across a warning like this in Chrome, Firefox or Safari; it’s powered by Safe Browsing:
Today, Safe Browsing shows people more than 5 million warnings per day for all sorts of malicious sites and unwanted software, and discovers more than 50,000 malware sites and more than 90,000 phishing sites every month. If you’re interested, you can see information about the dangerous sites that are detected by this technology anytime in our Safe Browsing Transparency Report.
We also use Safe Browsing technology to warn website owners or operators about issues with their sites so they can quickly fix them. We provide basic site maintenance tips, as well as specific Safe Browsing notifications in Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Often site owners don’t realize there are issues with their sites until they get these notifications.
Since its earliest days, Safe Browsing has been widely available, and free—for users, site owners, and other companies—to use and integrate into their own products. In the early days, we focused on detecting dangerous sites and then showing people warnings:
An early Safe Browsing notification, c. 2007. These would appear in the top right corner of people’s web browsers when they visited a site that had been flagged by Safe Browsing as potentially dangerous.
But, just as attacks become more sophisticated, we’ve made sure our own technologies have kept up. Over the years, we’ve built Safe Browsing into other Google products to help protect people in more places:
- Safe Browsing API: We already make Safe Browsing data available for free to developers. This week we’re adding information about sites that host unwanted software, allowing developers to better protect their users as well.
- Chrome: Before people visit a site delivering unwanted software, or try to download some of it, we show them a clear warning.
- Google Analytics: We recently integrated Safe Browsing notifications into Google Analytics, so site owners can quickly take action to protect their users if there are issues with their websites. Previously, we’d only provided these warnings via our Webmaster Tools service.
- Ads: We’ve also recently begun to identify ads that target people with unwanted software.
As the web grows up, Safe Browsing technology will, too. We’re looking forward to protecting the web, and its users, for many birthdays to come.
Posted by Panayiotis Mavrommatis, Safe Browsing Team