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Category: Google | Feb 21, 2013
Are you a young artist from California? Alabama? Or Indiana (like me!)? Well, get doodling with the topic “My Best Day Ever…” for a chance to see your very own artwork on the Google homepage—and help represent your piece of the union.
Today marks the 30-day countdown to the March 22 submission deadline for the U.S. Doodle 4 Google competition. And in the spirit of friendly competition, we’re inviting you to rally fellow students and teachers in your state to take part in Doodle 4 Google’s 30-day Race to the Finish with an interactive map that shows the top submitting states. States are ranked in order of submissions relative to student population size.
Whether your state tops the submissions race or not, you still have the chance to become the individual state winner. The 50 state winners will win an all-expenses paid trip to New York City in May for the final awards ceremony, where we’ll reveal the winning doodle. The national winner will see his or her doodle on the Google homepage, win a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Download an entry form today to get doodling!
Fun fact for those of you who can’t get enough doodles: we run Doodle 4 Google competitions in many countries worldwide, year-round. Vote for your Irish favorites now—the winner will appear on www.google.ie on April 16.
As always, happy doodling!
Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead
Category: Google | Feb 21, 2013
We all love a night at the movies. Whether it’s romance, horror, or action adventure, there’s no better way to step into another world—even if just for a couple of hours. And for the past 85 years, millions of people throughout the world have gathered around their TVs to watch the Oscars and celebrate the people who make these moments possible.
For the first time, we’ve created a one-stop shop to help you get more of what you love about the Oscars.
First, if you missed any of the nominees in the theaters, don’t fret! We’ve put together a Year in Review video of 2012’s top movies. Take a whirlwind tour through your favorite moments, or see what you may have missed:
Want to explore more about the nominees? You can:
- Click through our movie and celebrity knowledge graphs to learn more about your favorite picks, directly on the page.
- Explore our customized Google Map, which shows you where some of your favorite nominated movies were filmed, as well as where the nominees were born. It’s geography with a celeb twist.
- Download the Official Oscars App for Android, available for the first time in the Play Store.
Or, maybe you’re making bets with your friends on who’s going to win… Try taking a hint from Google Trends and see who the most searched-for nominees of 2012 were. You never know—the actual winners may end up being pretty similar to Google’s Search “winners.”
For those of you with the itch to win an Oscar yourself, see what it feels like in a Google+ Hangout—we’ve got a new effect that will make you feel like a star. And if you end up being so inspired by the idea of holding an Oscar, then we’d also like to hear what you’d say if you won the real thing, using the Oscars “Acceptance Speech” widget.
Oscars night is about celebrating the movies—whether you starred in them or just dreamed about the stars. We hope this site will help you get the most out of the night, so go ahead and join Google on the red carpet at google.com/oscars. And don’t forget to tune in on February 24 at 7pm EST / 4pm PST on ABC to see who this year’s lucky winners are.
Posted by Liz Wessel, Associate Product Marketing Manager
Category: Google | Feb 20, 2013
In the past month, both the President and Vice President of the United States have come to Google+ to participate in “Fireside Hangouts“ to discuss the challenges the country faces and answer people’s questions. On March 4, it’s First Lady Michelle Obama’s turn as she joins her first-ever Fireside Hangout to discuss Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The First Lady will be joined by Kelly Ripa, Emmy award-winning co-host of popular daytime talk show ”LIVE with Kelly and Michael,” and families from around the country.
Three years ago, the First Lady launched the Let’s Move! initiative to unite the country around our kids’ health and create real support for families to live healthier lives. Since then communities across the United States have worked together to share, collaborate on and create ways to improve the health of our nation’s children. This year, the First Lady is using Google+ to celebrate the anniversary of Let’s Move! and to connect with communities on Google+ who are passionate about healthy eating, fitness and parenting.
For a chance to join the Google+ Hangout with First Lady Michelle Obama, share your thoughts and questions on raising healthier families and communities on the Let’s Move YouTube channel. Submit a video or text entry (video is preferred) telling us a bit about yourself, what your family does to stay healthy and a question for the First Lady by Thursday, February 28, 2013.
Then tune in to the First Lady’s Fireside Hangout live on the White House Google+ Page or Let’s Move YouTube channel at 11:10 am ET on March 4.
Posted by Ria Tobaccowala, Google+ Community Partnerships
Category: Google | Feb 19, 2013
Have you ever gotten a plea to wire money to a friend stranded at an international airport? An oddly written message from someone you haven’t heard from in ages? Compared to five years ago, more scams, illegal, fraudulent or spammy messages today come from someone you know. Although spam filters have become very powerful—in Gmail, less than 1 percent of spam emails make it into an inbox—these unwanted messages are much more likely to make it through if they come from someone you’ve been in contact with before. As a result, in 2010 spammers started changing their tactics—and we saw a large increase in fraudulent mail sent from Google Accounts. In turn, our security team has developed new ways to keep you safe, and dramatically reduced the amount of these messages.
Spammers’ new trick—hijacking accounts
To improve their chances of beating a spam filter by sending you spam from your contact’s account, the spammer first has to break into that account. This means many spammers are turning into account thieves. Every day, cyber criminals break into websites to steal databases of usernames and passwords—the online “keys” to accounts. They put the databases up for sale on the black market, or use them for their own nefarious purposes. Because many people re-use the same password across different accounts, stolen passwords from one site are often valid on others.
With stolen passwords in hand, attackers attempt to break into accounts across the web and across many different services. We’ve seen a single attacker using stolen passwords to attempt to break into a million different Google accounts every single day, for weeks at a time. A different gang attempted sign-ins at a rate of more than 100 accounts per second. Other services are often more vulnerable to this type of attack, but when someone tries to log into your Google Account, our security system does more than just check that a password is correct.
Legitimate accounts blocked for sending spam: Our security systems have dramatically reduced the number of Google Accounts used to send spam over the past few years
How Google Security helps protects your account
Every time you sign in to Google, whether via your web browser once a month or an email program that checks for new mail every five minutes, our system performs a complex risk analysis to determine how likely it is that the sign-in really comes from you. In fact, there are more than 120 variables that can factor into how a decision is made.
If a sign-in is deemed suspicious or risky for some reason—maybe it’s coming from a country oceans away from your last sign-in—we ask some simple questions about your account. For example, we may ask for the phone number associated with your account, or for the answer to your security question. These questions are normally hard for a hijacker to solve, but are easy for the real owner. Using security measures like these, we’ve dramatically reduced the number of compromised accounts by 99.7 percent since the peak of these hijacking attempts in 2011.
Help protect your account
While we do our best to keep spammers at bay, you can help protect your account by making sure you’re using a strong, unique password for your Google Account, upgrading your account to use 2-step verification, and updating the recovery options on your account such as your secondary email address and your phone number. Following these three steps can help prevent your account from being hijacked—this means less spam for your friends and contacts, and improved security and privacy for you.
Posted by Mike Hearn, Google Security Engineer
Category: Google | Feb 14, 2013
“I am standing in a partial enclosure made of sticks and plant fronds. This is the school for roughly 35 students, ranging in age from three to about 20 years old. There are no desks. There is only a single shared chalkboard, and it has gaping holes.” — David Rathmann-Bloch from the 21st Century Chalkboard Project, writing from rural Haiti.
These are just some of the many challenges faced by education organizations who applied for this year’s Google RISE Awards. The RISE (Roots in Science and Engineering) Awards program funds and supports organizations around the world that provide science and technology education at a grassroots level.
This year we’re delighted to give awards to 30 new organizations from 18 different countries. Combined they will reach more than 90,000 children in 2013, helping inspire and teach the scientists and engineers of the future.
- Some, such as Haiti’s 21st Century Chalkboard Project and the Uniristii Association (site in Romanian) in Romania, help those from underserved communities gain access to computing resources.
- Others, like the U.K.’s Code Club and the U.S.’s CodeNow, offer extracurricular activities that help interested children, especially those from underrepresented minority backgrounds, to learn programming.
- A few, such as the Middle East’s MEET and iLab Liberia, seek to use technology education as a platform to bridge wider social and cultural divides.
- Some, like Girlstart in the U.S. and New Zealand’s Programming Challenge 4 Girls, aim to empower girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
In addition to receiving funding and support to continue their outreach, RISE Award recipients will be brought together for a global summit this June in London.
To paraphrase an old saying, from small seeds, great things can grow. The recipients of the 2013 RISE Awards have already made a difference. Connecting with other like-minded organizations will help spread valuable and practical expertise, and spark opportunities for global collaboration and expansion.
Posted by Roxana Shirkhoda, Education Outreach Specialist
Category: Google | Feb 11, 2013
When President Obama heads to a joint session of Congress tomorrow night, he’ll be honoring the 200-year old tradition of delivering the State of the Union to Congress and the American people. Two days later, the President will turn to Google+ to continue a more recent tradition, by taking questions online after his speech. You can tune in to the Hangout this Thursday at 4:50 p.m. ET.
Much like the Fireside Hangouts held by Vice President Biden and Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Munoz over the past few weeks, the President’s Fireside Hangout will include a group of people who regularly discuss important issues of the day online. During the conversation, the selected participants will ask the President their own questions—but we’d also like to hear from you before the Hangout. To let the President know what’s on your mind, head to the White House YouTube channel and submit a video or text question. You can submit or vote on questions you’d like to hear him address until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 13.
Looking for inspiration for your question? Watch the President’s State of the Union speech on YouTube tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET, as well as the Republican response from Senator Marco Rubio directly afterwards.
Then tune in to Thursday’s Fireside Hangout on the White House Google+ page or YouTube channel for a unique online discussion between the President and the American people on Google+.
Posted by Ramya Raghavan, Google+ Politics
Category: Google | Feb 11, 2013
Last week we hosted our 2013 Solve for X event, where we gathered 50 experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world, who are taking on moonshots—proposals that address a huge problem, suggest a radical solution that could work, and use some form of breakthrough technology to make it happen.
We heard 18 technology moonshot proposals, which you can watch on SolveforX.com. Make sure to catch Danielle Fong, whose creativity, courage and persistence shine through as she describes her potentially game changing idea for renewable energy storage. Take a look at Peter Diamandis and Eric Anderson describing their new asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources—exactly the kind of moonshot thinking that Solve for X was created to celebrate. Watch Flaminia Catteruccia suggest an ingenious shift in our approach to stopping the spread of Malaria, and check out Keith Black’s proposal to diagnose Alzheimer’s 20 years before any symptoms appear using a test that could be included in a routine eye exam.
Solve for X: Moonshot Thinking
Supporting innovators in process, as they take risks and dream big
One of the reasons we created Solve for X was to provide a collaborative forum to celebrate and help innovators who are in the process of attempting to bring radically innovative solutions to reality—attempting moonshots. Moonshots aim to make something 10x better, not just 10 percent. We need many more of us to take on and support moonshots if we are to solve the seemingly intractable problems we face in the world. To do that, we need to better celebrate the audacity of the attempt itself—at the start and in process. Today we celebrate our greatest and most famous innovators after their success—especially those who overcame extreme hurdles and intense skepticism on their path to taking moonshots that solved huge problems. We don’t advocate for stopping this practice in any way—but we must also get better at supporting courageous innovators and their teams who take substantial risks to change the status quo as they begin and while they’re acting—without the security of knowing if the moonshot will work. (For more, read Astro’s piece on moonshot thinking today in Wired.)
Today we’re launching some updated features on SolveForX.com, a forum to encourage and amplify moonshot thinking and collaboration. We invite innovators everywhere to use SolveForX.com to promote and support one another, and we encourage everyone to join in, bring your passion and ingenuity, and think big.
SolveforX.com: A forum to encourage and amplify moonshot thinking and collaboration
- Submit moonshots: Whether it’s an early idea, something you’re already working on, a proposal you’d like to see others work on, or a moonshot idea from someone else that you’d like to promote, we’d like to hear from you—please submit those moonshot videos. Read more about what qualifies as a moonshot.
- Join and declare your X: We’ve added community areas and we hope you will join and create a profile declaring your X. Your “X” is something you are passionate about working on or solving in the world like learning access or robotics or climate change or raising happy kids. You can watch, share and rate moonshots. Search to find moonshot proposals that match your interests and join the innovation conversation.
- Check out even more moonshot ideas: Several new partners have joined Solve for X to amplify moonshot ideas, including X PRIZE, GE FOCUS FORWARD, TED, MIT Technology Review, Singularity University, and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination. Talks from their events and programs that are aligned with the moonshot ethos (huge problem, radical solution, breakthrough technology) are now cross-linked and hosted on SolveforX.com. Some of our favorites are The Invisible Bicycle Helmet, The Music Man, Solar Roadways, Bio-Integrated Electronics, Simple Designs, Slingshot and Gulf Oil Cleanup X PRIZE Winning Team Vor-Tek. Take a moment to watch them!
Our vision for Solve for X is that it becomes a forum where technology-based moonshot thinking is practiced, celebrated and amplified by all of us. We invite you to come collaborate with us at www.SolveforX.com.
Posted by Megan Smith and Astro Teller, co-hosts/creators of Solve for X
Category: Google | Feb 10, 2013
At Zagat we’re obsessed with helping the world find the very best places. We have 33 years of experience working in the field alongside passionate communities of local experts to uncover all the hidden gems in your city. So when you see the maroon Zagat brand—whether it’s in restaurant window or on a Google Search results page—you know you’re in good hands.
Quality of service is a big factor people consider when choosing a place to eat. With that in mind, and with one of the busiest dining nights of the year coming up on Valentine’s Day, we want to help you find the restaurants that get good service right. That’s why today we’re releasing our list of America’s “top service restaurants,” based on ratings from passionate diners like you.
Here’s the full list of top service restaurants in 25 cities throughout the U.S., from the “impeccable hospitality” of the French Room in Dallas, to San Francisco’s Gary Danko where you’ll be treated “like a millionaire”:
We hope this helps you find a restaurant to your liking, and we invite to share your dining experiences—the good, the bad and all that’s in between—by posting a review on Google+. In fact, why don’t you give your favorite restaurant a Valentine’s Day treat and give them props for their great service now? Happy dining.
Posted by Bernardo Hernandez, Zagat Managing Director
Category: Google | Feb 5, 2013
You won’t need magical powers to take a journey down the yellow brick road; just point your favorite browser to the latest Chrome Experiment, “Find Your Way to Oz.” Developed in collaboration with Disney and UNIT9 in anticipation of the upcoming film, Oz The Great and Powerful, this experiment takes you through a dusty Kansas circus and leads to a vibrant land, following in the footsteps of the Wizard himself.
Like any good circus, there’s plenty to keep you entertained: compose your own music, play with a fun photo booth and create your own movie with a zoetrope. The path to Oz also involves confronting an ominous tornado; surviving it completes the journey, enabling fans of the movie to watch an exclusive unreleased clip from the film.
Chrome Experiments like “Find Your Way to Oz” would have been impossible a few years ago. Since that time, the web has evolved and allowed developers and designers to create immersive beautiful experiences. For “Find Your Way to Oz” the 3D environment was built entirely with new technologies such as WebGL and CSS3. It’s enhanced by rich audio effects thanks to the Web Audio API. The photo booth and zoetrope were built using the getUserMedia feature of WebRTC, which grants webpages access to your computer’s camera and microphone (with your permission).
For the best experience, you’ll need to use an up-to-date computer built to handle intense graphics. It also works best with a webcam and a modern browser that supports WebGL and WebRTC, like Chrome. For tablet or smartphone users, we have a smaller scale yet equally enjoyable experience that you can try with the latest Chrome browser on your Android device, iPhone or iPad.
If you want to learn more, or run away and join the developer circus, you can get an explanation of the technologies used on the Chromium blog or in our technical case study.
Start your journey towards the yellow brick road at www.findyourwaytooz.com.
Posted by Christos Apartoglou, Marketing Manager
Category: Google | Feb 5, 2013
Technology can sometimes be complicated, but you shouldn’t have to be a computer scientist or security expert to stay safe online. Protecting our users is one of our top priorities at Google. Whether it’s creating easy-to-use tools to help you manage your information online or fighting the bad guys behind the scenes, we’re constantly investing to make Google the best service you can rely on, with security and privacy features that are on 24-7 and working for you.
Last year, we launched Good to Know, our biggest-ever consumer education campaign focused on making the web a safer, more comfortable place. Today, on Safer Internet Day, we’re updating Good to Know to include more tips and advice to help you protect yourself and your family from identity theft, scams and online fraud. You can also learn how to make your computer or mobile device more secure, and get more out of the web—from searching more effectively to making calls from your computer. And you can find out more about how Google works to make you, your device and the whole web safer.
For example, we encrypt the Gmail and Google Search traffic between your computer and Google—this protects your Google activity from being snooped on by others. We also make this protection, known as session-wide SSL encryption, the default when you’re signed into Google Drive. Because outdated software makes your computer more vulnerable to security problems, we built the Chrome browser to auto-update to the latest version every time you start it. It gives you up-to-date security protection without making you do any extra work.
Even if you don’t use Google, we work hard to make the web safer for you. Every day we identify more than 10,000 unsafe websites—and we inform users and other web companies what we’ve found. We show warnings on up to 14 million Google Search results and 300,000 downloads, telling our users that there might be something suspicious going on behind a particular website or link. We share that data with other online companies so they can warn their users.
We know staying safe online is important to you—and it is important to us too. Please take some time today to make your passwords stronger and turn on 2-step verification to protect your Google Account. Talk with friends and family about Internet safety. And visit our new Good to Know site to find more tips and resources to help you stay safe online.
Posted by Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering