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Category: Google | Jun 25, 2013
Museums, libraries and galleries are a tourist staple of the summer holiday season. Often they’re the first place we head to when visiting a new city or town in order to learn about the heritage of that country. Though only a lucky few have the chance to travel to see these treasures first-hand, the Internet is helping to bring access to culture even when you can’t visit in person.
At the Google Cultural Institute, we’ve been busy working with our partners to add a range of new online exhibitions to our existing collection. With more than 6 million photos, videos and documents, the diversity and range of subject matter is large—a reflection of the fact that culture means different things to different people. What the exhibitions have in common is that they tell stories; objects are one thing but it’s the people and places they link to that make them fascinating.
The British Museum is the U.K.’s most popular visitor attraction and the 4th most visited museum in the world. It’s well known for housing one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries ever made—the 1,400 year old Anglo-Saxon burial from Sutton Hoo, untouched until its discovery in 1939. Their online exhibition “Sutton Hoo: Anglo-Saxon ship burial” explores the discovery of the ship, featuring videos of the excavation and photos of the iconic helmet and a solid gold belt buckle. All this tells the story of how the burial and its contents changed our understanding of what Anglo-Saxon society was like.
From archaeology we take you to sport, which is integral to the culture of many nations, including Brazil. In the lead-up to Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup, the Museu do Futebol has told the story of how the “beautiful game” came to Brazil. The photos, videos and posters in “The Game and the People” track the social impact of the sport and its transition from a past time for the wealthy (with their pleated pants and satin belts) to the modern game.
Science remains a perennially fascinating topic and the Museo Galileo in Italy has put together a series of three exhibitions looking at the link between art and science. The Medici Collections, the Lorraine Collections and the Library Collections examine the beginnings of science and technology 500 years ago and chart developments from the discovery of the sun dial to the Google Maps of today. As well as being informative, the exhibitions include beautiful objects such as the Jovilabe, which was used to calculate the periods of Jupiter’s moons.
So if broadening your cultural horizons through travel isn’t in the cards this summer, settle down in your armchair and browse through through some of the world’s heritage and history online. Keep up to date with new material on the Cultural Institute Google+ page.
Posted by James Davis, program manager, Google Cultural Institute
Category: Google | Jun 24, 2013
What does it feel like to stand on top of the tallest building in the world? To give you a better sense of how that may feel, we took Street View to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, our first-ever collection in the Arab World. Described as a “vertical city,” the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest manmade structure, towering over the Dubai skyline at 828 meters (2,717 ft).
This is the first time we’ve captured a skyscraper on Street View—making Google Maps even more comprehensive and useful for you. The imagery was collected over three days using the Street View Trekker and Trolley, capturing high-resolution 360-degree panoramic imagery of several indoor and outdoor locations of the building.
In addition to the breathtaking views from the world’s tallest observation deck on the 124th floor, you can also see what it feels like to hang off one of the building’s maintenance units on the 80th floor, normally used for cleaning windows!
Visit the highest occupied floor in the world on the 163rd floor, experience being in the fastest-moving elevators in the world (at 22 mph) and check out the highest swimming pool in the world on the 76th floor.
Even if you’re afraid of heights, we hope you enjoy the view from the top! To see highlights from the Burj Khalifa Street View collection, visit www.google.ae/streetview.
Posted by Tarek Abdalla, Head of Marketing – Middle East & North Africa, Google
Category: Google | Jun 21, 2013
Sixty-five years ago today, the Manchester Small Scale Experimental Machine—nicknamed “Baby”—became the earliest computer in the world to run a program electronically stored in its memory. This was a flagship moment: the first implementation of the stored program concept that underpins modern computing.
Earlier computers had their instructions hardwired into their physical design or held externally on punched paper tape or cards. Reprogramming them to do a different task entailed internal rewiring or altering the physical storage media. The Baby marked a new computing era, described by some as the “birth of software,” in which swapping programs was far simpler—requiring only an update to the electronic memory. Both instructions and data were held in the Baby’s memory and the contents could be altered automatically at electronic speeds during the course of computation.
Developed at Manchester University by “Freddie” Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill, in size the Baby was anything but: more than 5m long and weighing a tonne (PDF). Its moniker was due to its role as a testbed for the experimental Williams-Kilburn tube, a means of storing binary digits (“bits”) using a cathode ray tube. This was a big deal because up until this point, computers had no cost-effective means of storing and flexibly accessing information in electronic form.
In technical terms, the Williams-Kilburn tube was the earliest form of random access memory, or RAM. The Baby’s memory consisted of one of these tubes, able to store up to 1,024 bits—equivalent to just 128 bytes. In contrast, the average computer today has RAM in multiples of gigabytes, more than a billion times bigger.
The Baby was only ever intended to be a proof-of-concept rather than to serve as a useful calculation tool. So once it had shown the new memory was reliable, attention shifted to building a more powerful and practical machine using the same concepts. This resulted in the Manchester Mark 1, which in turn was the model for the Ferranti Mark 1, the world’s first computer to be sold commercially, in February 1951.
While today nothing remains of the original Baby, a working replica is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester. It’s well worth a visit to reflect on just how far computing has come.
Posted by Lynette Webb, Senior Manager, External Relations
Category: Google | Jun 20, 2013
Michael Edlavitch was a middle school math teacher in Minnesota when he started a website with free math games to engage his students. With free online tools, a passion for math and an initial investment of just $10 to register his domain, www.hoodamath.com was born. Eventually Michael’s website became popular with more than just his students. So Michael gave Google AdSense a try as a way to earn money by placing ads next to his content. As word spread and traffic grew, the revenue generated from his site allowed Michael to devote himself full time to Hooda Math. Today, www.hoodamath.com has more than 350 educational games and has had more than 100 million unique visitors to the site. Beyond building a business for himself, Michael is helping students everywhere learn math while having fun.
Over in New York, Roberto Gil designs and builds children’s furniture—loft beds, bunk beds and entire custom rooms. Casa Kids’ furniture is custom designed for the family to grow along with the child. Roberto works out of his Brooklyn workshop and doesn’t sell to large furniture stores, which means the Casa Kids website is an essential tool for him to connect with potential customers. To grow even further, Roberto began using AdWords in 2010. In the first few months traffic to his site went up 30 percent. Today, two-thirds of his new customers come from Google. Meet Roberto and learn more about how he’s making the web work for Casa Kids:
These are just two examples of how the web is working for American businesses. According to a McKinsey study, small businesses that make use of the web are growing twice as fast as those that aren’t on the web. That’s because the web is where we go for information and inspiration—from math games to practice over the summer to someone to design and build that perfect bunk bed for your kids. Ninety-seven percent of American Internet users look online for local products and services. Whether we’re on our smartphones, tablets or computers, the web helps us find what we’re looking for.
Here at Google, we see firsthand how the web is helping American businesses grow and thrive. Through our search and advertising programs, businesses like Casa Kids find customers, publishers like Hooda Math earn money from their content, and nonprofits solicit donations and volunteers. These tools are how we make money, and they’re how millions of other U.S. businesses do, too.
In 2012, Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $94 billion of economic activity for more than 1.9 million American businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits. This represents a 17 percent increase from 2011. Check out the impact made in each state, along with stories of local businesses using the web to grow.
Whether it’s building skills or building furniture, Google helps to build businesses. We’re thrilled to be part of such a vibrant industry and are committed to continuing to help make the web work for people and businesses everywhere.
Posted by Allan Thygesen, Vice President, Global SMB Sales
Category: Google | Jun 19, 2013
We’d like to recognize and congratulate the 84 recipients and finalists of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship and Google Scholarship for Students with Disabilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The full list of the 2013 scholars and finalists and the universities they attend can be found in this PDF.
Both scholarships aim to encourage underrepresented students to enter the computing field. The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship honours the memory of Dr. Anita Borg who devoted her life to encouraging the presence of women in computing; we recently announced the U.S. recipients of this scholarship. The Google Europe Scholarship for Students with Disabilities aims to help dismantle barriers for students with disabilities as well as encourage them to excel in their studies and become active role models and leaders in creating technology.
All of the students receiving the scholarships are pursuing degrees in computer science or related fields at universities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This summer, they’ll attend the annual Google EMEA Scholarships Retreat in Zurich, where they’ll have the opportunity to attend tech talks on Google products, participate in developmental sessions, network with Googlers and attend social activities. Notable speakers at the 2013 retreat include Alan Eustace, SVP of Knowledge, Megan Smith, VP of Google [x], and Carolyn Casey, Founder of Kanchi.org.
Applications for the scholarships will be open again in just a few short months. Learn more about how the scholarships impacted the lives of previous recipients:
For more information on all of our scholarships and programs, please visit the Google Students site.
Posted by Efrat Aghassy, EMEA scholarships program manager
Category: Google | Jun 18, 2013
Ten years ago we launched AdSense to help publishers earn money by placing relevant ads on their websites. I can still remember the excitement and anticipation as AdSense went live that first day. Our small team huddled together in a cramped conference room, and right away we saw that publishers were as excited about AdSense as we were.
Fast-forward 10 years, and AdSense has become a core part of Google’s advertising business. The AdSense community has grown to include more than 2 million publishers, and last year alone, publishers earned more than $7 billion from AdSense. AdSense is a community that thrives because of all the content creators we are so fortunate to partner with. Their stories inspire us to do our part to make AdSense great.
On this occasion, it’s especially inspiring to hear the stories of partners who have been with us since the very beginning—like a retiree in New Zealand who was able to pursue her dream of writing about her garden, a tech support expert in Colorado who can spend more time with his kids, and a theme park reviewer who now sends employees around the world to test and review rides—all thanks to money earned from AdSense.
As part of our 10th anniversary celebration, we hope you’ll tune into our live Hangout on Air today at 10 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. GMT) on the AdSense Google+ page. I look forward to joining several of our partners to share stories from the early days of AdSense, talk about how we’ve all grown since then, and discuss the future for publishers and online advertising. And if you want even more 10th anniversary celebration, just visit our AdSense 10th anniversary page at any time.
Posted by Susan Wojcicki, SVP, Ads and Commerce
Category: Google | Jun 17, 2013
In Northern California where I live, summer is here, which means family vacations, kids’ camps, BBQs and hopefully some relaxation. But it also means back-to-school shopping is just around the corner. So in case you’re on the hunt for a laptop in addition to pens, paper, and stylish new outfits, your search just got a whole lot easier. Chromebooks—a fast, simple, secure laptop that won’t break the bank—will now be carried in over 3 times more stores than before, or more than 6,600 stores around the world.
In addition to Best Buy and Amazon.com, we’re excited to welcome several new retailers to the family. Starting today, Walmart will be making the newest Acer Chromebook, which has a 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD), available in approximately 2,800 stores across the U.S., for just $199. Look for Chromebooks coming to the laptop sections of a Walmart near you this summer.
And beginning this weekend, Staples will bring a mix of Chromebooks from Acer, HP and Samsung to every store in the U.S.—more than 1,500 in total. You can also purchase via Staples online, while businesses can purchase through the Staples Advantage B2B program. In the coming months select Office Depot, OfficeMax, and regional chains Fry’s and TigerDirect locations will begin selling Chromebooks.
In the 10 other markets worldwide where Chromebooks are sold, availability in national retailers continues to expand. In addition to Dixons in the UK, now 116 Tesco stores are selling Chromebooks, as well as all Mediamarket and Saturn stores in the Netherlands, FNAC stores in France and Elgiganten stores in Sweden. In Australia, all JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores will be carrying Chromebooks for their customers as well. We’re working hard to bring Chromebooks to even more countries later this year.
Chromebooks make great computers for everyone in the family—and now you shouldn’t have to look very far to find one. Happy summer!
Posted by David Shapiro, Director of Chromebook Marketing
Category: Google | Jun 17, 2013
Our first AdWords customer was a small business selling live mail-order lobsters. It’s been a long time since then, but a majority of our customers are still small businesses, who play a vital role not only for Google, but for the American economy. More than 60 percent of new jobs each year come from small businesses.
This Small Business Week, we want to celebrate you. We’re grateful to you for everything you do for us and our communities. Whether you fix people’s cars, offer music lessons to aspiring musicians, or make the world’s best homemade ice cream—when you do what you love, our lives get better.
As part of the celebration, we’ll be highlighting some amazing small businesses across the country, so keep an eye on the Google+ Your Business page. And in the meantime, check out some of the Google tools that are designed to help you take care of business.
Happy Small Business Week.
Posted by Lisa Gevelber, VP Marketing, Americas
Category: Google | Jun 16, 2013
The Internet has been a tremendous force for good—increasing access to information, improving people’s ability to communicate and driving economic growth. But like the physical world, there are dark corners on the web where criminal behavior exists.
In 2011, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC’s) Cybertipline received 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child abuse. This is four times more than what their Exploited Children’s Division (ECD) saw in 2007. And the number is still growing. Behind these images are real, vulnerable kids who are sexually victimized and victimized further through the distribution of their images.
It is critical that we take action as a community—as concerned parents, guardians, teachers and companies—to help combat this problem.
Child sexual exploitation is a global problem that needs a global solution. More than half of the images and videos reported to NCMEC are from outside of the U.S. With this in mind, we need to sustain and encourage borderless communication between organizations fighting this problem on the ground. For example, NCMEC’s CyberTipline is accessible to 60 countries, helping local law enforcement agencies effectively execute their investigations.
Google has been working on fighting child exploitation since as early as 2006 when we joined the Technology Coalition, teaming up with other tech industry companies to develop technical solutions. Since then, we’ve been providing software and hardware to helping organizations all around the world to fight child abuse images on the web and help locate missing children.
There is much more that can be done, and Google is taking our commitment another step further through a $5 million effort to eradicate child abuse imagery online. Part of this commitment will go to global child protection partners like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation. We’re providing additional support to similar heroic organizations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America.
Since 2008, we’ve used “hashing” technology to tag known child sexual abuse images, allowing us to identify duplicate images which may exist elsewhere. Each offending image in effect gets a unique ID that our computers can recognize without humans having to view them again. Recently, we’ve started working to incorporate encrypted “fingerprints” of child sexual abuse images into a cross-industry database. This will enable companies, law enforcement and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing these images, and to take action against the criminals. Today we’ve also announced a $2 million Child Protection Technology Fund to encourage the development of ever more effective tools.
We’re in the business of making information widely available, but there’s certain “information” that should never be created or found. We can do a lot to ensure it’s not available online—and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are caught and prosecuted.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google Giving
Category: Google | Jun 14, 2013
The Internet is one of the most transformative technologies of our lifetimes. But for 2 out of every 3 people on earth, a fast, affordable Internet connection is still out of reach. And this is far from being a solved problem.
There are many terrestrial challenges to Internet connectivity—jungles, archipelagos, mountains. There are also major cost challenges. Right now, for example, in most of the countries in the southern hemisphere, the cost of an Internet connection is more than a month’s income.
Solving these problems isn’t simply a question of time: it requires looking at the problem of access from new angles. So today we’re unveiling our latest moonshot from Google[x]: balloon-powered Internet access.
We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it.
Balloons, with all their effortless elegance, present some challenges. Many projects have looked at high-altitude platforms to provide Internet access to fixed areas on the ground, but trying to stay in one place like this requires a system with major cost and complexity. So the idea we pursued was based on freeing the balloons and letting them sail freely on the winds. All we had to do was figure out how to control their path through the sky. We’ve now found a way to do that, using just wind and solar power: we can move the balloons up or down to catch the winds we want them to travel in. That solution then led us to a new problem: how to manage a fleet of balloons sailing around the world so that each balloon is in the area you want it right when you need it. We’re solving this with some complex algorithms and lots of computing power.
Now we need some help—this experiment is going to take way more than our team alone. This week we started a pilot program in the Canterbury area of New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect to our balloons. This is the first time we’ve launched this many balloons (30 this week, in fact) and tried to connect to this many receivers on the ground, and we’re going to learn a lot that will help us improve our technology and balloon design.
Over time, we’d like to set up pilots in countries at the same latitude as New Zealand. We also want to find partners for the next phase of our project—we can’t wait to hear feedback and ideas from people who’ve been working for far longer than we have on this enormous problem of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. We imagine someday you’ll be able to use your cell phone with your existing service provider to connect to the balloons and get connectivity where there is none today.
This is still highly experimental technology and we have a long way to go—we’d love your support as we keep trying and keep flying! Follow our Google+ page to keep up with Project Loon’s progress.
Onward and upward.
Posted by Mike Cassidy, Project Lead