News > Google
Category: Google | Nov 29, 2012
If you’ve ever asked a question in the Google Help Forums, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve met a Google Top Contributor. Last September, we told you a little bit about the Top Contributors when we hosted our 2011 Top Contributor Summit. Since then, Top Contributors continue to help millions of people get the most out of Google’s products by answering questions in Google’s Help Forums.
They also continue to give important feedback to Google. Top Contributors have advocated for features and improvements like custom colors in Google Calendar, more locations for offline Google Maps on Android devices, and protected ranges in Google Sheets. In short, they help Google build better products.
Starting today, you can find out more about Top Contributors on our new website for the program. You can learn about Google Help Forums, meet a few of the Top Contributors, and get a better understanding of what these incredible folks do to impact people’s lives in the forums every day.
We hope that the website brings the world of Google Help Forums to light and shows our thanks for the dedication Top Contributors show each day. To meet a Top Contributor or get some help, just stop by a forum and say hello. And let us know if you want more information on joining the Top Contributor Program!
Posted by Adrienne Ludwick, Top Contributor Program Manager
Category: Google | Nov 28, 2012
For several years now, we’ve been working to help the veteran community through outreach programs and by connecting veterans and their families to useful Google products and services. For example, we’ve built tools like the Veterans Job Bank to connect veterans with employers, today populated with more than a million jobs. And we created a Resume Builder to help job-seekers represent their experience in just a few clicks with Google Docs.
After years of working with the community, we’ve come to realize that it isn’t more tools that are needed, but rather organizing the ones that already exist, and making them easier to find. Perhaps the most complex challenge facing the veteran community today is the sheer volume of resources available to help them transition to civilian life. While this abundance is the measure of a grateful nation, and a tribute to those who served, in the end, the most important result is individuals and families getting the help they need.
With this in mind, we’ve put the powers of Google+ behind a single hub called VetNet. Today, VetNet launches as a partnership with three founding organizations: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and Hire Heroes USA. In the long run, other organizations will be able to offer their services to the veteran community, all in the same easy-to-use place.
Through VetNet, these founding partners offer a full spectrum of employment resources for members of the community. Whether starting a job search from scratch, looking for mentors in a specific industry or starting a business, transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses will be able to connect with career services, job opportunities and each other.
All of the content and resources are organized into three tracks by objective, each hosted on its own Google+ page.
To stay abreast of the most exciting events happening across all tracks, follow +VetNetHQ on Google+.
We’re proud to join forces with the Chamber, IVMF and Hire Heroes USA—to help them do what they do so well, and to simplify the process of finding and using resources for the veterans community. Our hope is simply to connect help to those who need it. If you’re a member of the community looking any career advice or help, get started at VetNetHQ.com. For those of us who have not served, please do what you can to spread word of VetNet to those who have.
Posted by Andy Berndt, Creative Lab
Category: Google | Nov 28, 2012
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping. To help prepare for the winter ahead, we’re adding more detail and imagery to the map for a variety of chilly destinations, making them more comprehensive and accurate than ever. Starting today, you can virtually experience the Canadian Arctic through new panoramic Street View images of Cambridge Bay and detailed maps created with the help of local community members. And if you’re planning a winter getaway, you can preview the slopes of more than 90 ski and snow resorts around the world, adding to dozens that are already available via Street View today.
When we visited Canada’s far north this past August, we worked with the nonprofit group Nunavut Tunngavik and the residents of Cambridge Bay to improve the map of this remote, but culturally rich, Nunavut hamlet. The map this community helped build using Google Map Maker, as well as the 360-degree images we collected using Street View trike and tripod technologies, is now available for all the world to see on Google Maps.
To get a sense of what it’s like to live up in the north, you can walk down Omingmak Street, make your way the bridge (where locals fish for Arctic Char) and head out to the Old Stone Church. Check out some Arctic souvenirs in the Arctic Closet, or visit the Ice Hockey and Curling Arena—it’s uninsulated and freezes over once they flood it in the winter! You can also learn more about Inuit history and culture at the Kitikmeot Heritage Society and the Arctic Coast Visitors Centre.
Explore the intersection of Omingmak (“musk ox”) Street and Tigiganiak (“fox”) Road
Ski and snow resorts across the globe
You can also view some of the world’s best runs right on Google Maps before you get there. Whether you’re looking to discover a piste you’ve never tried before, or just want to take in some winter wonderland scenery, we’ve added Street View imagery for resorts across Europe (including runs in Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Italy and Spain), Canada (including runs in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontorio) and the U.S. (including runs in Utah and Michigan).
For example, take a look at Sölden, a popular ski resort in the Ötztal valley of Tyrol, Austria. It’s not just tourists who flock there every year, but fans of professional skiing—Sölden regularly hosts the giant slalom competition as part of the Alpine World Cup in late October.
You can also visit Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah. With 19 chairlifts, 4,000 acres of skiable terrain and an average of 355 inches of snow each winter, Canyons is the largest ski and snowboard terrain park in the state.
Visit the to see some of our favorite images of the Arctic and resorts available on Google Maps. As winter sets in, we encourage you to experience it all from the comfort (and warmth) of your couch—or check it out online, then dig out your thermal underwear and snow boots to hit the slopes!
Posted by Ulf Spitzer, Program Manager, Google Street View
Category: Google | Nov 20, 2012
Arabic content on the web represents just 3 percent of the total digital content online—yet Arabic speakers make up more than 5 percent of the global population. To help build a vibrant Arabic web, we’ve created Arabic Web Days, an initiative in the Middle East and North Africa focused on boosting the amount of Arabic content online. (Note: the video below is in Arabic only.)
For the next 30 days, we’re holding a series of online and offline events along with our partners Vinelab, Wamda, Yamli and Taghreedat, as well as Twitter, Wikipedia, TED, Soundcloud, and regional organizations Al Arabiya, TwoFour54 and Qatar Foundation’s Qatari Computing Research Institute. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Participate in a series of Hangouts on Google+ to get tips and tricks from industry experts on contributing Arabic content to the web—through online journalism, YouTube videos, Wikipedia editing, translation of English content, SEO and more
- Join the YouTube Tweet Up in Doha, Qatar on December 15 to learn how to create viral Arabic videos and make money through YouTube
- Participate in the region’s first Arabic infographics competition with Tajseed
- Volunteer to be part of a TED initiative to create quality Arabic digital content via Arabic subtitling during a kick-off event with TED, twofour54 and Taghreedat in Abu Dhabi on December 4
- Sign up for developer training at g|days in Jordan on December 5-6 and Egypt on December 9-10 to learn about Arabic localization, webmaster tools, SEO and YouTube for Business
- Learn about the Egyptian Ministry of Education’s educational channels on YouTube which include different curricula from first to twelfth grade, as well as e-Lessons via video and Google+ Hangouts.
- Celebrate 12/12/12 as National Arabic Web Day
- Connect with us: add the Arabic Web Days badge to your site, upload a video to youtube.com/arabicwebdays, visit our website: www.arabicwebdays.com and follow us on Google+ and Twitter (in Arabic)
To get more details and to sign up for any of the above events, visit Arabic Web Days on Google+ or see the Arabia Blog. Until then, let’s go Arabic!
Posted by Maha Abouelenein, Head of Communications, Middle East and North Africa
Category: Google | Nov 20, 2012
Every time you send a text, check a webpage or post a status update, you’re using open source software. The Internet is made of open source. But have you ever created any yourself? With the Google Code-in contest, pre-university students (13-17 years old) can learn more and create open source software that people all over the world can use—and win cool prizes along the way.
Starting Monday, November 26 and for the following 50 days, contest participants will work on fun online tasks for 10 different open source organizations. Possible challenges include documentation, marketing outreach, software coding, user experience research and more.
Participants earn points for each task they successfully complete and can earn prizes like T-shirts and certificates of completion. This year we’re doubling the number of grand prize winners to 20 talented students, who will win a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. They’ll spend a day getting a tour of the “Googleplex,” meeting and talking with Google engineers, plus enjoy another full day exploring San Francisco and other surprises.
Some of the 2011 Google Code-in Grand Prize Winners by the Golden Gate Bridge
Last year, 542 students from 56 countries and 360 schools completed 3,054 tasks during the eight-week contest. This year we want to encourage even more students to participate in the contest and learn about open source development. If you’d like to sign up, please review our Frequently Asked Questions and the contest rules on our program site. You can also watch our screencast, check out some sample tasks from last year’s contest and join our discussion list for any other questions. For details on important dates for the contest, see the timeline. You can register for your account on the program site when the contest opens on Monday, November 26 at 9:00am PST.
Finally, our Open Source Programs team will be hosting a Hangout on Air on the Google in Education page November 26 at 2:00pm PST to discuss the details of the Google Code-in contest and answer any questions.
We hope you’ll spend your winter (or summer, for our friends in the southern hemisphere) learning about the ins and outs of open source development through hands-on experience. Ready…set…
Posted by Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs
Category: Google | Nov 19, 2012
Thanksgiving is about sharing, giving thanks and connecting with family and friends. Yet, all too often we get caught up in the holiday rat race—the mad dash to the airport, the supermarket, the mall—and forget to take time out to enjoy the holiday.
To kick off the holidays this year, we wanted to crank up the fun and tone down the stress. So we did a little planning for you and created a one-stop-Google-shop to get you through the week.
With tools like recipe search and YouTube cooking videos that show you the right (and wrong) ways to carve a deep-fried turkey, Google can help you master your Thanksgiving meal with lots of laughs along the way. You can also join members of the Google+ cooking community for cooking lessons over live hangouts. Learn how to make new dishes like pumpkin brulee for the sweet tooths at the table or mix things up this year with a vegan-friendly feast.
Though we can’t control the skies and guarantee a turbulence-free flight home, we can help minimize the time you spend waiting around, with real-time flight updates. Download the Google Search App to get flight updates on the go. And don’t forget to download TV shows, music and more from Google Play to stay entertained on board.
Of course, for those of you who couldn’t make it home this year, you can still get everyone together with Google+ Hangouts. Try scheduling a hangout to video chat with up to nine people you’d otherwise miss this holiday.
Whether you’re rooting for the Cowboys or the Jets, Texans or the Patriots, we can help you stay on top of all the scores and stats. If you’re on the run, ask for real time scores or game details using Voice Search on the Google Search App.
This year Black Friday starts on Thursday, with Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us all kicking off sales on Thanksgiving night. To help you get a head start on the deal-seekers, try our new shortlists, a super-simple alternative to sharing lists of links or bookmarks, as well as 360-degree imagery for many of the season’s hottest toys on Google Shopping. For those of you brave enough to face the masses at the store, use indoor Google Maps to get in and get out of the mall fast.
By putting all your favorite Google features in one place, we hope we can help make things just a little bit easier this Thanksgiving—giving you more time to make memories with those who matter most and enjoy every last bite of that much deserved pumpkin pie. Visit our Thanksgiving hub to get started.
Posted by Carolyn Witte, Search Marketing Team
Category: Google | Nov 19, 2012
Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. For U.S. Marine Sgt. Winston Fiore, it was a news article about the International Children’s Surgical Foundation (ICSF) and Dr. Geoff Williams, who provides free facial-reconstructive surgeries for children with cleft lips/palates in developing countries. Although cleft palates are quite correctable, if left untreated the deformity can cause serious health issues. Many children don’t have the surgery because the cost of each procedure ($250 USD) is out of reach for their families.
Inspired to do something to help, Winston set out on a 5,000-mile trek across Southeast Asia to raise money and awareness for the ICSF—a mission he dubbed Smile Trek. Armed with sturdy boots, a 20-pound vest carrying essentials and an Android phone with Google Maps, Winston set off on his mission in October 2011. In the last year, he has walked (yes, walked!) through Brunei, China, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Along the way he’s met countless individuals who have contributed to his cause, whether it was a place to stay, a hot meal or a monetary donation on his website.
Trekking along: Winston, standing in front of a durian fruit stand near Sematan, the westernmost town of Malaysian Borneo
Out on the road, Winston’s Android phone and Google Maps became “the hub” of his entire operation. He used Google Maps to find accurate and easy-to-use walking directions everywhere he went, whether it was through remote villages and farms, down tiny dirt roads, or across rice paddies and desolate sugar cane fields. “Walking directions in Google Maps were critical to my trek. The directions were accurate and efficient—it’s essential to take the shortest route when you’re walking 20-25 miles each day,” said Winston. “But the best part was being routed onto roads and trails through areas I otherwise never would have discovered with, say, driving directions, or even a physical map.”
View the complete map of Winston’s journey on his site
In addition to using Google Maps, Winston relied on many other Google products during his trek. He used Google Latitude to keep his family, friends and supporters informed of his whereabouts, and MyTracks to record his speed, distance and the places he visited. He also used Google Translate to communicate with locals, and in one case found it essential: when bit by a stray dog outside of Bangkok, he typed “I got bit by a dog, can someone take me to a hospital?” into his app. A taxi driver took him to the hospital, where he got 11 shots!
Today, after walking 5,000 miles in 408 days, Sgt. Fiore completes his journey, with more than $65,000 raised for ICSF. The money will help to fund more than 200 life-saving surgeries for children in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. If you’d like to contribute to the International Children’s Surgery Fund and Winston Fiore’s effort, we encourage you to visit smiletrek.org.
Posted by Jennifer J. Chen, Product Manager, Google Maps
Category: Google | Nov 19, 2012
Globally, there are approximately 285 million visually impaired people in the world—and each one of those people has networks of family and friends. Increasing the accessibility of products impacts not only the millions of people with disabilities, but also the lives of the people connected to them.
It’s because of the wide impact better accessibility tools can have that we partner with organizations like the Vision Serve Alliance, which brings together the CEOs of U.S. nonprofits that serve the blind and visually impaired to network and share best practices.
On Thursday, November 8 we welcomed 63 of these executives to Google’s San Francisco, Calif. office. There, we showed how we’re making Google’s products more accessible to blind and visually impaired users. We also shared insight into Google’s culture—our commitment to openness, transparency and encouraging Googlers to bring their whole selves to work.
The attendees talked with representatives from the Google self-driving car team about the technology’s potential impact on mobility for the blind and visually impaired, as previously demoed by Steve Mahan from the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center. Other teams of Googlers also joined the event to demonstrate accessibility features in products like Chrome and Android. Chromevox is a screen reader that’s built into Chrome OS and the Chrome browser. Android’s built-in accessibility features include text-to-speech, haptic feedback, gesture navigation, trackball and directional-pad navigation, all of which help visually impaired users navigate their mobile devices.
In line with our efforts to empower all people with disabilities, on December 3 we’re celebrating the International Day of Disability in Google offices in North America. We’ll have 7-minute flash talks about how Google’s work on accessibility empowers different communities, and a global product accessibility improvement day where Googlers test our products for accessibility bugs.
Posted by Seval Oz, New Business Development Senior Manager
Category: Google | Nov 15, 2012
If you drive northwest from Des Moines, Iowa, you’ll see a lot of corn fields. From time to time, you’ll also see wind turbines rising out of those fields, making efficient use of our natural resources to produce renewable energy. It’s places like these that are home to a vibrant, emerging clean energy economy.
Today we‘re announcing that we’ve made an equity investment of $75 million in a 50MW wind farm in Rippey, a small town in Greene County, about an hour outside of Des Moines. The Rippey project, developed by RPM Access, is expected to produce enough energy to power over 15,000 Iowa homes. The project, which is now in operation, uses turbines produced by Nordex USA at their Jonesboro, Ark. facility.
Investment team members Nick Coons and Steffi Russell-Egbert visiting the Rippey project on a (windy) day in October.
We’ve taken two approaches to greening the grid in Iowa, a state where we operate a data center. Back in 2010, we entered into a long-term contract to purchase wind energy from NextEra Energy Resources’ Story County II wind farm. This time, we’re investing directly into a wind project, which has been contracted to sell all of the energy to the Central Iowa Power Cooperative, an Iowa-based utility that will deliver the energy to local consumers. We’re happy to help make more renewable energy available to Iowans and to support the growing wind energy industry in the state.
This project brings our committed investment to the renewable energy sector to more than $990 million. Read more about our previous investments on our Google Green site.
Posted by Axel Martinez, Assistant Treasurer, Head of Capital Markets
Category: Google | Nov 14, 2012
To help people find the best places to eat in 46 U.S. cities and regions, we’re revealing the results of our 2013 America’s Top Restaurants Survey covering 1,822 of the nation’s top-rated restaurants. From Boston to Portland and Chicago to Miami, the results of this year’s Zagat Survey are based on millions of reviews from everyday diners who shared their experiences through their favorite Google products.
Winners include perennial favorites like the “exceptional” American Gary Danko (San Francisco), Eric Ripert’s French “seafood shrine” Le Bernardin (New York), and the “flawless” New American Bacchanalia (Atlanta), as well as top spots like Alinea (Chicago), Urasawa (Los Angeles) and Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas).
While many of the top restaurants break out the china and crystal, a number of standouts included in the guide are casual gourmet places like pizzerias: Settebello (Vegas and Salt Lake City), Supino Pizzeria (Detroit’s No.1 restaurant), Serious Pie (Seattle) and Dough (San Antonio); sandwich specialists: Bäco Mercat (LA), Cochon Butcher (New Orleans) and Melt Bar & Grilled (Cleveland); burger specialists: B Spot (Cleveland), Flip Burger Boutique (Atlanta) and Sketch (Philadelphia); and BBQs: Union Woodshop, Slows Bar BQ and Zingerman’s Roadhouse (Detroit).
Thanks to those of you who share your restaurant adventures with us, we also have a snapshot of what dining out in America looks like. Based on surveyors in 10 major cities, we have found that the average number of meals cooked at home (7.0 per week) outpaces the average number of meals they eat/take out (6.1)—a trend that has been building since the Great Recession. We also know that diners in Houston eat out the most (4.1 times per week vs. the 3.2 national average), and that at 19.6 percent, the City of Brotherly Love is also the city of most generous tippers.
Zagat ratings and reviews for tens of thousands of restaurants at every price point and cuisine are available via the Google products you use every day, like search, Google+, Maps and mobile.
Congratulations to this year’s winners and bon appétit!
Posted by Bernardo Hernandez, Managing Director, Zagat