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Category: Google | Feb 13, 2015
Happy Valentine’s Day (and long weekend!) to all you searchers out there. Here’s a look at the past week in Google Search:
Artists in the spotlight
Around The Grammy’s last week, two artists were at the front of the search pack: Beck, who took home the Album of the Year award, and Kanye West. Kanye almost pulled a Kanye (of 2009 VMA’s fame) when he appeared on the verge of interrupting Beck’s acceptance speech; West was upset that Beck won the award over Beyonce, who (according to West) had the best album of all time.
Other top artists in search include Sia—along with Kristen Wiig, who appeared in Sia’s Grammy performance, although Sia’s face did not—and Annie Lennox, who’s still got it. Finally, searchers were struck by a sober moment during the ceremony: after domestic abuse survivor Brooke Axtell shared her personal story on stage, search interest in [domestic violence] spiked 93x.
News in the news
Shock followed shock for news hounds this week. First, a week after Brian Williams admitted that he had wrongly claimed to have been on a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq in 2003, he was suspended for six months by NBC’s Nightly News. Now he’s at an all-time high in search. Meanwhile, Jon Stewart announced he will leave The Daily Show after 16 years, devastating loyal fans everywhere and inspiring speculation over who will replace him. And finally, we said goodbye to two legends of journalism: Bob Simon, CBS News reporter and 60 Minutes correspondent for decades, and The New York Times’ media columnist David Carr are being mourned by colleagues and readers.
Some lucky viewers got a sneak peek at the third season of Netflix drama House of Cards when new episodes were accidentally posted online. More than 50,000 searches followed as people tried to get a glimpse before they were taken down. And speaking of lucky, this week’s $500+ million Powerball jackpot had people searching like crazy in hopes of winning the big bucks. There were 2 million searches for [Powerball] on Wednesday, and more for [mega millions] and [lottery numbers]. So far, one person has come forward to claim one of the three winning tickets, so maybe you should check your pockets…
Searching for love
Valentine’s Day has people scrambling and searching for flowers and gift ideas. Interestingly, there are three times as many searches for [gifts for a boyfriend], than [gifts for a girlfriend], but when it comes to married couples things are reversed: there are more searches for [gifts for wife] than for [gifts for husband]. (We’ll just leave that there.) People turn to search for planning all kinds of Valentine’s Day activities, from “What should I wear on a first date?” to choosing a romantic movie.
Tip of the week
Go on, tell that special someone how you feel this weekend. The Google app can help—when your own words just aren’t good enough, say “Ok Google, show me a love quote.” Pro tip: give credit where credit is due. No one likes a plagiarist.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [cut onion without crying] and [why is it called shrove tuesday]
Category: Google | Feb 11, 2015
Technology can help us do more with less. For example, making use of natural climates has helped us make our data centers 50% more efficient than the industry average, and green building technology has helped us limit energy consumption in our offices around the world. Now, we’re doing more with less to power Google’s North Bayshore campus in Mountain View.
We’ve recently signed a long-term agreement to purchase enough local wind energy to offset the electrical consumption of our North Bayshore headquarters on an annual basis. While we’ve been committed to being a carbon-neutral company since 2007, and we purchase clean energy for our data centers, this agreement is the first of its kind when it comes to our offices.
The agreement with NextEra Energy Resources will help to repower an iconic Bay Area wind farm at California’s Altamont Pass with new turbines that will pour 43 MW of electricity onto the grid starting in 2016. This new technology is twice as efficient, and also safer—especially for wildlife.
The new turbines will generate energy that feeds into the grid that powers our North Bayshore buildings in Mountain View. While these electrons can’t be traced once they enter the grid, we can measure how many of them leave the turbines, as well as how many we use on campus on an annual basis (tracked through a system of renewable energy credits, or RECs). So even though the electrons follow an untraceable path through the California electricity grid, we can be sure that we’re offsetting the electrical consumption of our North Bayshore headquarters with the renewable energy from the new turbines.
Since our first wind investment in 2010, we’ve developed close relationships with renewable energy providers, helping us secure renewable energy agreements like this one for our campus and data centers—more than 1.1 gigawatt’s worth to date—and it’s also made it possible for us to make equity investments in 17 utility-scale renewable energy projects. And over the years we’ve been thrilled to see other California leaders, from tech companies to universities, also working to bring more renewable energy online.
Finally, if we can geek out for a minute: We think this project is especially cool because back in the 1980’s, the golden hills of Altamont Pass were an early test bed for the first large-scale wind power technology in the U.S. We’ve been blown away (pun intended :)) by how far turbine technology has come since then. Once the installation is complete, and the 370 legacy turbines are replaced, it will take just 24 new ones to generate as much power as our campus uses in a year. Talk about doing more with less.
Posted by David Radcliffe, VP, Real Estate and Workplace Services
Category: Google | Feb 10, 2015
Online security is on everyone’s mind these days. According to a recent Gallup poll, more people are worried about their online accounts being hacked than having their home broken into.
Security has always been a top priority for Google. Our Safe Browsing technology identifies unsafe websites and warns people before they visit them, protecting more than one billion Chrome, Firefox, and Safari users everyday. 2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security, beyond your password, to your Google account; it’s like a second padlock on your account’s door. And our research teams regularly release new findings about nefarious online activity, like Gmail account hijacking attempts, so people can stay informed.
We have many protections in place to keep people, and their information, secure, but there’s also a lot that you can do to protect yourself. Today, on Safer Internet Day, take a quick Security Checkup, an easy way to review and manage your Google Account’s security settings.
Here are some of the important items you can review during your Security Checkup:
- Recovery information: Adding a phone number can help us get in touch if you’re locked out of your account. We’ll only use your phone number to protect your account, unless you say otherwise.
- Recent activity: This is a quick overview of your recent sign-ins to Google. If you see any activity from a location or device you don’t recognize, change your password immediately.
- Account permissions: These are the apps, websites and devices connected to your Google account. Take a look and make sure you trust—and actually use—all of them. You might want to remove an old phone, or that dusty app you never use.
It takes just a few minutes to make sure your information is accurate and up to date. And as an extra thank you, we’ll add 2GB to your Drive storage plan if you complete the Security Checkup by February 17. Visit your Account Settings and take your Security Checkup today.
Posted by Andreas Tuerk, Product Manager
Category: Google | Feb 10, 2015
Think of the last time you searched on Google for health information. Maybe you heard a news story about gluten-free diets and pulled up the Google app to ask, “What is celiac disease?” Maybe a co-worker shook your hand and later found out she had pink eye, so you looked up “pink eye” to see whether it’s contagious. Or maybe you were worried about a loved one—like I was, recently, when my infant son Veer fell off a bed in a hotel in rural Vermont, and I was concerned that he might have a concussion. I wasn’t able to search and quickly find the information I urgently needed (and I work at Google!).
Thankfully my son was OK, but the point is this stuff really matters: one in 20 Google searches are for health-related information. And you should find the health information you need more quickly and easily.
So starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.
We worked with a team of medical doctors (led by our own Dr. Kapil Parakh, M.D., MPH, Ph.D.) to carefully compile, curate, and review this information. All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.
That doesn’t mean these search results are intended as medical advice. We know that cases can vary in severity from person to person, and that there are bound to be exceptions. What we present is intended for informational purposes only—and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.
But we hope this can empower you in your health decisions by helping you learn more about common conditions. We’re rolling it out over the next few days, in the U.S. in English to start. In the long run, not only do we plan to cover many more medical conditions, but we also want to extend this to other parts of the world. So the next time you need info on frostbite symptoms, or treatments for tennis elbow, or the basics on measles, the Google app will be a better place to start.
Posted by Prem Ramaswami, Product Manager
Category: Google | Feb 6, 2015
From a shark with two left feet to a sequel that has everyone buzzing, here’s what trended on search this week.
Haven’t we been here before?
This past Monday, the U.S. turned to its dirt-dwelling psychic, the groundhog, to determine if it was finally time to put our snow boots back in the closet. Searches for “Did the groundhog see his shadow?” hit 100,000+ while other questions like “What is a groundhog?” also peaked on February 2. So did little Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow and curse us with another six weeks of winter? In fact, he did. Can we get a do-over?
Sports news 101
Now that the dust has settled from this past Sunday’s Super Bowl, there are several things we can take away from the game. First, Tom Brady might be the best quarterback in football history after winning his fourth championship—he was also the most searched Superbowl quarterback. Second, either Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll made the worst call ever or New England’s victory is all part of a conspiracy (you decide). Last but not least, Left Shark put on the best half-time performance of all time… with help from Katy Perry. The Internet fell hook, line and sinker for the choreographically inept shark. Searchers were also curious about Missy Elliot after her appearance in the show.
Model Ashley Graham also made a splash this week. Don’t know her? You will soon enough. Graham is set to appear Sport Illustrated’s famous swimsuit issue, making her the first plus-size model to be featured in an ad in the magazine.
Back in the headlines
The spotlight is back on Lance Armstrong and it’s not helping the cyclist’s already damaged reputation. Back in December, Armstrong and his girlfriend Anna Hansen were involved in a hit-and-run accident involving parked cars. At the time, Hansen said she was driving the car during the incident—but it turns out Armstrong was actually the one behind the wheel, leading to two misdemeanor charges, rising interest on trends and more embarrassment for the star.
Iconic and reclusive writer Harper Lee topped the search charts when news emerged that she will be releasing a new book, a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, in July. The book comes 55 years after Lee’s first novel and the writer has a long history of avoiding the spotlight: She hasn’t granted any interviews or public appearances since Mockingbird came out. While many fans are rejoicing, the surprising announcement is leaving others skeptical. Lee turns 89 this April and is reportedly in ill health, leading some people to feel that the author might be being taken advantage of. We’ll have to wait and see how this story—as well as the one in Go Set A Watchman—unfolds.
Tip of the week
Ready for the long Presidents Day weekend? Look up flights for a last-minute escape. Just say, “Ok Google, show me flights from San Francisco,” to find where you can go to enjoy the day off.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched this week for [whistle pig] and [a girl named scout]
Category: Google | Feb 2, 2015
(Cross-posted on the Google for EDU Blog)
When Aboriginals from the Torres Strait Island need support, they turn to their daughters. No, really. In a culture whose history goes back 50,000 years, 70 young girls are using technology to give their families a new way to call for help in emergencies. Last year, Engineers Without Borders Australia taught a group of students to build an emergency response beacon using basic hardware and some code to transmit a user’s location and distress message via radio.
The Torres Strait Aboriginals make up less than 3 percent of Australia’s population, and they’ve historically faced discrimination in society, including in education. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, dropout rates exceed 60 percent in certain regions and Aboriginal students are, on average, 2.5 years behind their peers in scientific and mathematical literacy. The problem is often compounded for girls, who tend to be left out of educational opportunities.
So Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWBA) set out to close the educational and digital divide, teaching the Torres Strait girls how to create emergency beacons from scratch by coding a Raspberry Pi to work with an an LED, GPS module and FM transmitter. Now, their families can use these beacons to signal if brush fires, often used for light, become widespread—or in cases of poisonous snake and spider bites.
A girl works on an LED light for one of EWBA’s projects. EWBA teaches girls in Australia to make emergency response signals by coding a Raspberry Pi to flash morse code through an LED.
This is just one example of an organization doing extraordinary work to make computer science (CS) education available to women and other underrepresented minorities. Computer science has tremendous potential to make a real difference in the world—but only when more people can access and harness it.
That’s the idea behind Google’s RISE Awards, through which we support organizations in their work to inspire students around the world with CS. Since 2010, more than 200 organizations have received an award, and this year, 37 organizations are recieving a culmulative $1.5 million to keep this vital effort humming along. Our partners facilitate programs and activities including teaching girls about the intersection of coding and music production in California, promoting computational thinking through game-design in Mexico, and inspiring children in Brazil to program alongside their parents.
This year, three nonprofits will receive a new “RISE Partnership Award”—a grant to work with one or two partner organizations to help grow their CS outreach to a wider scale. One of the three is Engineers Without Borders Australia, which plans to work with MEET—an organization with expertise on how coding skills can build relationships and break down stereotypes—to integrate their curriculum to reach up to 2,000 girls across Australia, including in Aboriginal communities.
With access to hands-on CS education, the girls of Torres Strait are preparing themselves for the digital economy, contributing to the diversity of our future’s technology, and taking concrete steps to rise above the inequities their community has faced for decades. They’re not alone. We hope that through the RISE Awards and our other efforts to support diversity in technology, these girls and others like them can have an even greater impact. We can’t wait to see it.
Posted by Roxana Shirkhoda, K12/Pre-University Education Outreach
Category: Google | Feb 2, 2015
From a “super brawl” to a giant lion, yesterday’s big game was filled with many notable moments. That’s true on YouTube and Google too—people watched more game-day ads and teaser videos on YouTube than ever before, YouTube hosted its first-ever halftime show, and a throwback PSA became a top trending search term. Here’s a look at the top trending searches, videos and more across Google and YouTube:
Battle of the brands
As the battle for football supremacy was taking place on the field, a very different one was raging across the country: Which ad would reign supreme? Whether via smartphone, tablet or laptop, people spent nearly 4 million hours watching game-day ads and teaser videos on YouTube—up from 2.2 million hours from this time last year.
This year’s most popular ads came from a wide range of advertisers—newcomers and veterans alike. But one thing’s for certain—puppies, pranks, and Kim Kardashian continue to “break the Internet.” Here are some of the ads that scored big on YouTube so far:
Tom Brady and Missy Elliott dominate on search
While people turned to YouTube to watch the ads, people turned to Google to search for everything from “how old is Tom Brady” to “buffalo chicken dip recipes” to “Katy Perry Halftime performance.” Before kickoff, people asked Google “Why did John Travolta call Idina ‘Adele’?”—a throwback to John Travolta’s infamous mispronunciation of National Anthem performer Idina Menzel’s name at the 2014 Oscars. Searchers were also interested in Menzel’s performance, asking “How long will it take Idina to sing the National Anthem?”
Tom Brady, Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson were the top three searched players before, during and after the game. Thanks to some standout in-game performances, by the end they were sharing the spotlight with Rob Gronkowski and Chris Matthews (replacing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor). And MVP Tom Brady wasn’t just a winner on the field—he captured the title of “Most Searched Quarterback” in every state except for the Seahawks’ home Washington.
Of course, for many people the halftime show is the highlight of the night, and Katy Perry’s performance delivered. She came in on a lion, danced with sharks and went out on a star—one that was, for some, reminiscent of NBC’s old “The More You Know” PSAs. The phrase “the more you know” spiked 190x in search for the 10 minutes after Katy’s starry flight. And although Missy Elliott was a late addition to the halftime lineup, she was a popular topic in search. Top questions related to Missy Elliott included “When was Missy Elliott popular?” and “How does Katy Perry know Missy Elliott?”
A very YouTube halftime show
For the first time ever, this year YouTube hosted a halftime show produced by Collective Digital Studio, with the help of more than 25 YouTube creators including Epic Meal Time‘s Harley Morenstein as host, Rhett & Link, Toby Turner, Freddie Wong and Tyler Ward. From Kurt Hugo Schneider’s “Epic Patty Cake Song” to the “Elephant’s Toothpaste” science experiment with Science Bob, the show delivered a one-of-a-kind experience for YouTube fans.
With the last touchdown scored, we’re taking votes for your favorite ad, so visit our AdBlitz channel to cast your ballot before voting ends on February 9 at 11:59pm ET.
Whether you’re a loyal 12th man or a Boston fan for life, chances are you turned to YouTube and Google to watch your favorite ads, answer your questions or witness a new generation of halftime entertainment. We’re happy we could be a part of your game.
Posted by Riki Nakasuji, Sports & Gaming Sponsorships Manager, YouTube
Category: Google | Jan 30, 2015
Between a spookily resilient cat, and a new bunch of ghostbusters, there was a lot of (paranormal) activity in search this week:
“It’s a great day for a ball game…”
People across the country are gearing up for this weekend’s Super Bowl, starting with the basics: “When is the Super Bowl?” They’re also researching some of the major characters of Sunday’s face-off—namely Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and Patriots coach Bill Belichick—and getting the jump on the ads on YouTube (you’ve already watched more than 100 million minutes’ worth!), including a controversial GoDaddy ad. Plus, no game day is complete without the food: top recipes searched this week include [easy chili], [fajitas], [baked chicken wings] and [barbacoa]. Don’t forget to tune in to @Google over the weekend for more trends!
With all the football hubbub, people still found time to search for other sports happenings. Last Friday, baseball fans mourned the death of Ernie Banks, a.k.a. Mr. Cub, a beloved shortstop and Hall of Famer. And that same night, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors scored a record-breaking 37 points in one quarter.
Who you gonna call?
An all-female Ghostbusters, that’s who. Rumors about next year’s reboot of the 80’s classic have been looming over us like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man for a while now, but now it’s all but confirmed that the 2016 film will feature Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Searches for each of the actresses spiked faster than you could say “proton pack,” and Kate McKinnon was the #2 search overall on Tuesday. In other leading-lady casting news, Harry Potter alum Emma Watson announced that she’ll play Belle in Disney’s forthcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Tempest in a teacup
Headed into this week, the weather was on everyone’s mind, at least on the East Coast. Searches for terms like [weather], [blizzard 2015], [juno], [National Weather Service] and [weather NYC] were all hot—or, cold, as the case may be. People were also looking for info on the [mta], [nj transit] and [school closings]. Though the storm in New York amounted to little more than an excuse for a snow day, it dumped up to three feet of snow in parts of New England. Definitely enough to merit all those pre-storm searches!
And moving from the blizzard to the desert, Michelle Obama made headlines when she appeared in Riyadh to mark the death of King Abdullah—without a veil or headscarf. Searches spiked as people tried to find out if the First Lady intended her attire as a political statement. Others noted that she’s certainly not the first to go bareheaded: Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice have, too.
One down, eight to go
File under “stranger than fiction”: [zombie cat] was trending in search this week after a 23-month old kitten in Florida seemingly came back from the dead. After being hit by a car and buried, Bart proved the old “nine lives” adage true when he reappeared in a neighbor’s yard five days later. We’d say that after his trials, Bart deserves a cozy new bed at home, like a Serenity Cat Pod from Skymall, but, well…
Tip of the week
Don’t show up empty-handed on Sunday: say “Ok Google, remind me to pick up guacamole when I’m at Safeway” and the Google app will help you be a good guest.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [garden district walking tour new orleans] and [kitten ducklings]
Category: Google | Jan 27, 2015
It’s been nearly five years since we offered to build a fiber-optic network in one U.S. city as an experiment — and were met with overwhelming enthusiasm. Now, Google Fiber is live in Kansas City, Provo and Austin, and we’ve started to see how gigabit Internet, with speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s basic broadband, can transform cities. It can give them new platforms for economic development and new ways of using technology to improve life for their citizens. And, around the country, it seems to be catching on.
Check out the Kansas City Startup Village and Provo learn-how-to-code hub DevMountain. Take a look at the work of a geneticist whose speedy connection could one day help newborns in intensive care, or how one city’s network is connecting a high school classroom to an underwater microscope so students can study oceanic life in the Pacific… from Chattanooga, Tenn. There are many more stories like this—stories about how people are using gigabit internet to spark innovation, inspire creativity, and collaborate in ways they simply couldn’t before. And we want to see even more.
So, today, we’re happy to announce that Google Fiber is coming to 18 cities across four new metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh-Durham. We can’t wait to see what people and businesses across the Southeast U.S. do with gigabit speeds.
Bringing Google Fiber to these cities is a long-term investment. We’ve been working closely with city leaders over the past year on a joint planning process to get their communities ready for Google Fiber—and now the really hard work begins. Our next step is to work with cities to create a detailed map of where we can put our thousands of miles of fiber, using existing infrastructure such as utility poles and underground conduit, and making sure to avoid things like gas and water lines. Then a team of surveyors and engineers will hit the streets to fill in missing details. Once we’re done designing the network (which we expect to wrap up in a few months), we’ll start construction.
We’re also continuing to explore bringing fiber to five additional metro areas—Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose, and will have updates on these potential Fiber cities later this year.
Today, we aren’t the only ones talking about gigabit broadband. From the White House to main street, a chorus of new voices is standing up for speed. Just last week during the State of the Union, the President called for faster networks so that innovators and entrepreneurs can build the next big idea. New research from the Fiber to the Home Council shows gigabit networks are contributing billions of dollars in economic growth. Communities across America are demanding more speed for their own homes and businesses, and we’re going to keep doing our part to help.
Posted by Dennis Kish, Vice President, Google Fiber
Category: Google | Jan 23, 2015
Here’s a side of search trends to go along with your Friday. Read on to find out what got people talking–and searching–this week.
Deflate-gate and other scandals
Super Bowl drama is already here, and it’s not even February 1. After the New England Patriots dominated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 to win the AFC Championship, news broke out that 11 out of the 12 balls used by New England quarterback Tom Brady were under inflated, which is a no-no in the NFL. The league has strict rules about the air pressure in game day balls since alterations could give one team an advantage. Both Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are singing Shaggy’s greatest hit “It Wasn’t Me,” so we’ll all have to wait and see how the mystery unfolds.
On the other “football” field, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team goalkeeper Hope Solo is back in trouble with the law after she and her husband, Jerramy Stevens, were pulled over for suspicions of driving under the influence. The kicker? This all happened while Stevens was driving the U.S. team van, which promptly resulted in a 30-day suspension for Solo. This event comes just seven days after charges of domestic violence were dropped against the athlete.
The last laugh
On Tuesday, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address to outline his legislative agenda for the year ahead. Then, on Thursday, the President took questions about his remarks from YouTube Creators. While topics like education, the economy and foreign relations got people searching, the Internet had a field day after Obama dropped the proverbial mic at the expense of his Republican counterparts during his speech. In the midst of his talk, Obama stated “I have no more campaigns to run,” generating applause from some of his opponents. But Obama — not one to be the butt of a joke — responded as smooth as butter: “I know because I won both of them.” Burn.
Not what you expected
Search left people salivating after news that milk’s favorite cookie, the Oreo, was getting a new flavor inspired by Valentine’s Day. Confection-maker Nabisco decided to bring cupcake and cookie together in holy matrimony with the launch of a red velvet version of their snack on February 2. And as some people tried to satisfy their sweet tooth, it looks like Tiger Woods may have lost his…literally. The famed golfer made an appearance at his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup skiing race in Italy sporting a missing tooth, causing a stir on the web as people tried to find an explanation for his gap-toothed smile.
Meanwhile, things took a turn for the worse at the happiest place on earth. Disneyland was linked to an outbreak of more than 50 cases of the measles. Health officials are declaring the park safe for those who have their immunizations, but the situation has drummed up more controversy around the anti-vaccination movement.
Tip of the Week
Still sticking to your diet resolution? If you need a little help knowing the number of calories you’re eating just ask, “Ok Google, how many calories are in an avocado?” to stay in tip-top shape.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [hope for hope] and [all scandals that end in -gate]