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Category: Google | May 1, 2013
Students from across the country sent in more than 130,000 doodles for our 2013 U.S. Doodle 4 Google competition. Today, we’re proud to share with you our 50 amazingly talented state winners. Exploring their “Best Day Ever…” from life down under to flying from planet to planet in outer space, we were wowed by the imaginations and talent of young aspiring artists from coast to coast.
To reveal the local winners in all 50 states, we’ve sent Googlers to their schools, where they’re celebrating the winning artists along with their parents, classmates, teachers and friends.
Now it’s time to make your voice heard. Starting today and through May 10, we’re inviting the public to vote for their favorite doodle from each of the five different grade groups. Your votes will determine the five national finalists, from which the national winner will be selected and announced at our May 22 awards ceremony in New York City.
We’ll display the winning doodle on the Google homepage on May 23 for millions to see. In addition, you’ll be able to see all 50 doodles created by our state winners in person at a special exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City from May 22 to July 14.
We’d like to send a special thank you to the parents, teachers and administrators who supported young artists and helped students across the country bring their “Best Day Ever” to life. We’ve loved looking at each and every entry that came in this year, and we hope you all enjoy the talent and creativity these 50 students have shared with us.
Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead
Category: Google | Apr 29, 2013
Today is International Dance Day, a celebration of a universal art form that spans cultures and countries. But dancing isn’t just limited to holidays. Since 2003, Matt Harding has famously been dancing his way across the globe with people from all walks of life and sharing to millions on his YouTube channel. His mission is simple: Dance. Dance with everyone. Dance everywhere. Dance to spread joy.
Matt’s journey began with a serendipitous, single dance step in Hanoi. While traveling through Southeast Asia, his friend encouraged him to dance for the camera—and he just kept dancing. At first, he was amused by the idea of capturing himself dancing in front of famous landmarks and in famous cities around the world. Since then, Matt’s videos have evolved beyond a single man dancing; his videos now focus on individuals that gather together to share in the fun of dance, as you can see in his 2012 YouTube film.
The joy that goes into Matt’s work is apparent—and well documented. However, there’s also a fair amount of planning involved to choreograph his efforts. Matt relies on Google Maps for comprehensive, accurate and useful tools to execute and track his steps.
Before he sets off on each adventure, Matt uses Google Maps to scout various locations. Using Street View and photos in Google Maps, he finds landmarks and points of interest around the globe that are prefect dance spots. For instance, he came across Piazza del Popolo while exploring Rome with Street View. These tools come in handy to help Matt choose a backdrop to highlight his assembly of exuberant, local dancers.
Scouting is only part of the process. Once Matt has coordinated a group in a city, he helps everyone get to the designated destination by creating a customized My Map and sharing it with the participants so they can easily navigate to the planned meetup location. The end result is something everyone around the world can relate to.
Follow Matt as he continues to travel the world on his site www.wherethehellismatt.com.
Posted by Dave Kim, Google Maps Marketing Manager
Category: Google | Apr 29, 2013
Many of us can no longer imagine life without our smartphones. We use them for all sorts of things, like getting reminders of important calendar appointments (say, a first date), and driving directions to the Italian restaurant where your table for two awaits. Today, with the launch of Google Now on iPhone and iPad, your smartphone will become even smarter.
Google Now is about giving you just the right information at just the right time. It can show you the day’s weather as you get dressed in the morning, or alert you that there’s heavy traffic between you and your butterfly-inducing date—so you’d better leave now! It can also share news updates on a story you’ve been following, remind you to leave for the airport so you can make your flight and much more. There’s no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most—and the more you use Google Now, the more you get out of it.
Google Now for iPhone and iPad is available as part of the updated Google Search app. Together, Google Now and voice search will make your day run a little smoother.
In addition to the handy cards in Google Now, the Google Search app still gives you instant answers to all your questions. Try tapping the microphone and speak to your phone—you’ll get quick answers spoken back to you. For example, ask Google, “Do I need an umbrella this weekend?” and you’ll get the forecast. Or ask “Who’s in the cast of ‘Oblivion’?” to decide if you want to see it. Voice Search is particularly handy on the go—try “Show me nearby pizza places” and you’ll see a map of restaurants around you with directions, phone numbers, ratings and hours.
Get the Google Search app with Google Now from the App Store. Drag it to the tray, open it, sign in and you’re ready to go.
Posted by Andrea Huey, Engineer
Category: Google | Apr 26, 2013
When we started holding our Big Tent events in London two years ago, we wanted to stir up lively conversation about some of the hot topics relating to the Internet and society. After all, the political meaning of a “big tent” is to attract diverse viewpoints to come together in one place. Since then, we’ve held more than 20 Big Tents on three different continents to debate issues ranging from arts and culture online to the economic impact of the web.
Later today, the Big Tent is coming to Washington, D.C. for the first time. Along with our partner Bloomberg, we’ll hear from some of the top names in media, government and the arts for discussions about one of the values we hold most dear: the right to free expression.
Can free speech survive in the digital age? At a time when too many governments deny their citizens the right to dissent, we’ll ask if the Internet is reaching its promise of empowering people around the world. We’ll have sessions on the limits to free speech online, national security in the Internet age, and creativity and freedom on the web.
Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and senior vice president and chief legal officer David Drummond will be joined by a variety of speakers, including former U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales, deputy secretary of homeland security Jane Holl Lute, Bloomberg chief content officer Norman Pearlstine, former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, and Saudi Arabian comedian and YouTube star Omar Hussein.
Things kick off at 1:30pm EDT today—you can watch the entire event on Bloomberg’s live stream and tune in to the Big Tent Google+ page for updates as the event unfolds. Later on, we’ll also upload video clips to the Big Tent YouTube channel. We hope you’ll join us for exciting conversations about how to best keep the Internet free and open.
Posted by Susan Molinari, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations
Category: Google | Apr 25, 2013
On Tuesday, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced its list of 2013 elected members. We’re proud to congratulate Peter Norvig, director of research, and Arun Majumdar, vice president for energy; two Googlers who are among the new members elected this year.
Membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is considered one of the nation’s highest honors, with those elected recognized as leaders in the arts, public affairs, business, and academic disciplines. With more than 250 Nobel Prize laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners among its fellows, the American Academy celebrates the exceptional contributions of the elected members to critical social and intellectual issues.
With their election, Peter and Arun join seven other Googlers as American Academy members: Eric Schmidt, Vint Cerf, Alfred Spector, Hal Varian, Ray Kurzweil and founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, all of whom embody our commitment to innovation and real-world impact. You can read more detailed summaries of Peter and Arun’s achievements below.
Dr. Peter Norvig, currently director of research at Google, is known most for his broad expertise in computer science and artificial intelligence, exemplified by his co-authorship (with Stuart Russell) of the leading college text, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. With more than 50 publications and a plethora of webpages, essays and software programs on a wide variety of CS topics, Peter is a catalyst of fundamental research across a wide range of disciplines while remaining a hands-on scientist who writes his own code. Recently, he has taught courses on artificial intelligence and the design of computer programs via massively open online courses (MOOC). Learn more about Peter and his research on norvig.com.
Dr. Arun Majumdar leads Google.org’s energy initiatives and advises Google on its broader energy strategy. Prior to joining Google last year, he was the founding director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), where he served from October 2009 until June 2012. Earlier, he was a professor of mechanical engineering as well as materials science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and headed the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has published several hundred papers, patents and conference proceedings. Find out more about Arun.
Posted by Alfred Spector, Vice President, Engineering
Category: Google | Apr 25, 2013
Three years ago when we launched the Transparency Report, we said we hoped it would shine some light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe. Today, for the seventh time, we’re releasing new numbers showing requests from governments to remove content from our services. From July to December 2012, we received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content—an increase from the 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content that we received during the first half of 2012.
As we’ve gathered and released more data over time, it’s become increasingly clear that the scope of government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown. In more places than ever, we’ve been asked by governments to remove political content that people post on our services. In this particular time period, we received court orders in several countries to remove blog posts criticizing government officials or their associates.
You can read more about these requests by looking at the annotations section of the Transparency Report. Of particular note were three occurrences that took place in the second half of 2012:
- There was a sharp increase in requests from Brazil, where we received 697 requests to remove content from our platforms (of which 640 were court orders—meaning we received an average of 3.5 court orders per day during this time period), up from 191 during the first half of the year. The big reason for the spike was the municipal elections, which took place last fall. Nearly half of the total requests—316 to be exact—called for the removal of 756 pieces of content related to alleged violations of the Brazilian Electoral Code, which forbids defamation and commentary that offends candidates. We’re appealing many of these cases, on the basis that the content is protected by freedom of expression under the Brazilian Constitution.
- Another place where we saw an increase was from Russia, where a new law took effect last fall. In the first half of 2012, we received six requests, the most we had ever received in any given six-month period from Russia. But in the second half of the year, we received 114 requests to remove content—107 of them citing this new law.
- During this period, we received inquiries from 20 countries regarding YouTube videos containing clips of the movie “Innocence of Muslims.” While the videos were within our Community Guidelines, we restricted videos from view in several countries in accordance with local law after receiving formal legal complaints. We also temporarily restricted videos from view in Egypt and Libya due to the particularly difficult circumstances there.
We’ve also made a couple of improvements to the Transparency Report since our last update:
- We’re now breaking down government requests about YouTube videos to clarify whether we removed videos in response to government requests for violating Community Guidelines, or whether we restricted videos from view due to local laws. You can see the details by scrolling to the bottom of each country-specific page.
- We’ve also refreshed the look of the Traffic section, making it easier to see where and when disruptions have occurred to Google services. You can see a map where our services are currently disrupted; you can see a map of all known disruptions since 2009; and you can more easily navigate between time periods and regions.
The information we share on the Transparency Report is just a sliver of what happens on the Internet. But as we disclose more data and continue to expand it over time, we hope it helps draw attention to the laws around the world that govern the free flow of information online.
Posted by Susan Infantino, Legal Director
Category: Google | Apr 23, 2013
Whether you’re planning a summer vacation to visit the Colosseum or exploring potential neighborhoods for your next move, Street View gives you instant access to the places you want to see—even before you leave the house. We launched Street View in 2007 in five U.S. cities to give you what we called a “feet on the ground” experience and have since been growing the program to make it more comprehensive, accurate and useful for everyone.
Today, we’ve reached 50 countries with the launch of Street View in Hungary and Lesotho and are significantly expanding our coverage in Poland and Romania, among other locations around the world. This is also the largest single update of Street View imagery we’ve ever pushed, including new and updated imagery for nearly 350,000 miles of roads across 14 countries.
Now you can take a virtual stroll through the historic center of Budapest, right along the Danube (the river that carves the city in two). See the Hungarian Parliament building or the famous Chain bridge.
Budapest, Lánchíd (Chain bridge)
Other Hungarian treasures to be discovered include the Széchenyi thermal bath, the largest medicinal bath in Europe, as well as the wonders of Buda castle.
Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South Africa, is the only independent state that sits entirely 1,000m or more above sea level. Explore some of the mountainous imagery captured by our Street View cars, including the winding roads and lakes.
Leribe District, Lesotho
Other sights include the Lesotho Evangelical Church, which is one of Africa’s oldest Protestant churches, founded in 1833 by missionaries from Paris, and the traditional architecture in Nkesi, Maseru.
We’re also refreshing and expanding existing Street View coverage in France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore and Thailand. And, we’ve added new special collections of a host of picturesque spots—using our Street View Trike technology—including Portugal’s Pena National Palace, or the Sha Tin Che Kung Temple in Hong Kong or the Kilkenny Castle in Ireland.
Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
From the first handful of U.S. cities, to the now thousands of cities and villages worldwide, we’ve spent the past six years updating Google Maps for you. From Antarctica to Australia, from South Korea to South Africa, from the snow-capped peaks of Everest to the Great Barrier Reef, you can navigate more than 5 million miles of the world, without ever leaving home. So spin the globe and take a walk through any one of the 50 countries now on Street View.
Posted by Ulf Spitzer, Program Manager, Google Street View
Category: Google | Apr 22, 2013
If you’re a university student with CS chops looking to earn real-world experience this summer, consider writing code for a cool open source project with the Google Summer of Code program.
Over the past eight years more than 6,000 students have “graduated” from this global program, working with almost 400 different open source projects. Students who are accepted into the program will put the skills they have learned in university to good use by working on an actual software project over the summer. Students are paired with mentors to help address technical questions and concerns throughout the course of the project. With the knowledge and hands-on experience students gain during the summer they strengthen their future employment opportunities in fields related to their academic pursuits. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.
Interested students can submit proposals on the website starting now through Friday, May 3 at 12:00pm PDT. Get started by reviewing the ideas pages of the 177 open source projects in this year’s program, and decide which projects you’re interested in. Because Google Summer of Code has a limited number of spots for students, writing a great project proposal is essential to being selected to the program—be sure to check out the Student Manual for advice.
For ongoing information throughout the application period and beyond, see the Google Open Source blog, join our Summer of Code mailing lists or join us on Internet relay chat at #gsoc on Freenode.
Good luck to all the open source coders out there, and remember to submit your proposals early—you only have until May 3 to apply!
Posted by Stephanie Taylor, Open Source team
Category: Google | Apr 22, 2013
Last year, while hosting the White House Science Fair, President Obama said, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.” We agree—and we think the best science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers who inspire those young people should be honored and supported as well.
That’s why Google and our partner organizations support a national STEM Teacher Corps to acknowledge the great teachers who help students achieve amazing things in the fields of science and technology. We’re excited that the President has recommended funding for a STEM Teacher Corps in his budget (PDF).
Today we’re co-publishing a white paper (PDF) with Math For America and the Broad Institute that outlines some of the key features of such a corps. We gathered input from more than 80 organizations to make recommendations for a program that will reward teachers and schools with significant stipends, foster a community of teachers empowered to make broad improvements in STEM education, and recognize a larger percentage of teachers than any existing recognition program.
We must do more to retain the best teachers so our students have the opportunity to succeed in these growing fields, and we applaud the many organizations already working to elevate and celebrate the top STEM teachers nationwide. We look forward to continuing to support the development of the STEM Teacher Corps and doing our part to ensure that every student has access to truly great STEM teachers.
Posted by Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Head of K-12 Education Outreach and Nancy Lee, Director of People Operations
Category: Google | Apr 22, 2013
It’s no surprise that Google appreciates engineers. And this Earth Day, we’re looking at some of our favorite engineers from nature to see how they can teach us to treat the environment better. We’ve created a website where we can see the beauty and ingenuity of the natural world through photos from National Geographic. We also want to provide easy ways to be greener in our own lives, so this site shows us how we can all be like those organisms by taking simple actions to care for the environment.
For instance, until recently I’d never heard of a remora. Turns out that these fish latch on to other ocean creatures such as whales and turtles to catch rides. In a way, these fish are using their own form of mass transit. To be like the remora and travel with a lighter footprint, we can plan trips using rapid transit. Or we can be inspired by bears—the true experts on “sleep mode”—to save energy in our own lives by adjusting our home thermostat and using energy efficient appliances.
Our doodle today also acknowledges the interconnections of the natural world. You can interact with elements of the environment to affect the seasons, weather and wildlife.
As another way to move from awareness to action, we’re hosting a Google+ Hangout On Air series focused on pressing environmental issues. We’ll kick it off today at 12pm ET with a Hangout on Air connecting NASA (live from Greenland), National Geographic explorers from around the world, and Underwater Earth (live from the Great Barrier reef). Throughout the week, we’ll hold daily Hangouts on Air covering topics such as clean water and animal conservation.
This Earth Day and every day, let’s take a moment to marvel at the wonder of nature and do our part to protect the natural ecosystem we all depend on. A salute to nature’s engineers!
Posted by Erin Reilly, Google Green team