News > Google
Category: Google | Jun 24, 2015
Every time you check your Gmail, search on Google for a nearby restaurant, or watch a YouTube video, a server whirs to life in one of our data centers. Data centers are the engines of the Internet, bringing the power of the web to millions of people around the world. And as millions more people come online, our data centers are growing, too.
We’ve recently expanded our data centers in Iowa, Georgia, Singapore and Belgium. And today we’re announcing a new data center in Alabama—our 14th site globally.
This time, we’re doing something we’ve never done before: we’ll be building on the grounds of the Widows Creek coal power plant in Jackson County, which has been scheduled for shutdown. Data centers need a lot of infrastructure to run 24/7, and there’s a lot of potential in redeveloping large industrial sites like former coal power plants. Decades of investment shouldn’t go to waste just because a site has closed; we can repurpose existing electric and other infrastructure to make sure our data centers are reliably serving our users around the world.
At Widows Creek, we can use the plants’ many electric transmission lines to bring in lots of renewable energy to power our new data center. Thanks to an arrangement with Tennessee Valley Authority, our electric utility, we’ll be able to scout new renewable energy projects and work with TVA to bring the power onto their electrical grid. Ultimately, this contributes to our goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy.
In 2010, we were one of the first companies outside of the utility industry to buy large amounts of renewable energy. Since then, we’ve become the largest corporate renewable energy purchaser in the world (in fact we’ve bought the equivalent of over 1.5 percent of the installed wind power capacity in the U.S.). We’re glad to see this trend is catching on among other companies.
Of course, the cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use. Our Alabama data center will incorporate our state-of-the-art energy efficiency technologies. We’ve built our own super-efficient servers, invented more efficient ways to cool our data centers, and even used advanced machine learning to squeeze more out of every watt of power we consume. Compared to five years ago, we now get 3.5 times the computing power out of the same amount of energy.
Since the 1960s, Widows Creek has generated power for the region—now the site will be used to power Internet services and bring information to people around the world. We expect to begin construction early next year and look forward to bringing a Google data center to Alabama.
Posted by Patrick Gammons, Senior Manager, Data Center Energy and Location Strategy
Category: Google | Jun 24, 2015
Today we’re launching our first-ever vertical Street View collection, giving you the opportunity to climb 3,000 feet up the world’s most famous rock wall: Yosemite’s El Capitan. To bring you this new imagery, we partnered with legendary climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. Read more about the project from Tommy Caldwell, who completed the world’s hardest climb in Yosemite in January of 2015. -Ed.
“That is awesome. I definitely have to be a part of that.”
Maybe it was the sheer exhaustion from being in the middle of a 19-day climb of the Dawn Wall, but when the guys at Google Maps and Yosemite National Park asked if I wanted to help them with their first-ever vertical Street View collection of El Capitan in Yosemite, I didn’t hesitate. Yosemite has been such an important part of my life that telling the story of El Capitan through Street View was right up my alley—especially when it meant working with the Google engineers to figure out some absurd challenges.
Climbing is all about flirting with the impossible and pushing the boundaries of what you think you can be done. Capturing Street View imagery 3,000 feet up El Capitan proved to be an extension of that, especially when you take a camera meant for the inside of a restaurant and mount it thousands of feet up the world’s most iconic rock wall.
Doing anything thousands of feet high on a sheer granite face is complicated, but everyone up there had spent years of their lives on a rope and knew exactly what they were doing. After some testing, we used our tried-and-true climbing gear like cams and ropes to make sure the camera wouldn’t fall to the ground in the middle of our Street View collection.
Once we figured out how to keep the camera on El Cap, we created two sets of vertical Street View. First, we collected Street View of legendary Yosemite climbers—and my good friends—Lynn Hill and Alex Honnold in iconic spots up the sheer vertical face.
Lynn Hill’s ascent of El Capitan changed the paradigm of climbing, and she had an extraordinary effect on my climbing career. I’ll never forget when she became the first person, man or woman, to free-climb (using only her hands and feet) “The Nose” back in 1993. Now, you can see her navigate these epic moves— like climbing sideways on tiny holds of the Jardine Traverse, inventing a “Houdini” maneuver on the Changing Corners and traversing under the Great Roof.
Any story of El Capitan had to include my good friend Alex Honnold. He holds the speed record for climbing the Nose at 2 hours and 23 minutes – most people take 3-5 days. His unwavering confidence in himself is contagious; when I’m with him, I feel like the mountain has shrunk to half its size. As you make your way around Yosemite in Street View, you’ll see Alex doing what he does best: chimneying up the “Texas Flake,” racing up the bolt ladder, or getting dinner ready in the solar-powered van he calls home.
You’ll also see a glimpse of yours truly on the Dawn Wall. I spent some of my rest days during my January climb of the Dawn Wall testing out the Street View technology the Google team had sent me that month. El Cap is an intimidating environment for experimentation, but years of setting ropes proved pretty helpful in figuring out how to get the equipment rigged and ready to collect Street View.
Then, we really put Alex to work to collect the second set of Street View: the entire vertical route of “The Nose” on El Capitan. One of the few people that could do this efficiently and quickly, Alex took the camera and pretty much ran 3,000 feet up with photographer partner Brett Lowell. Now, anyone can get the beta (climbing speak for insider advice) before they climb the entire route.
Lynn, Alex and I also helped create a new Yosemite Treks page, where you can take a tour up El Cap and learn more about climbing, from what a “hand jam” is to why we wear such tiny shoes. And as a father, I’m excited kids will learn more about Yosemite when Google brings students to the park through NatureBridge later this year as a part of this project. Plus, its pretty awesome that students who can’t make it to Yosemite yet will be go on a virtual reality field trip to the Park with Google Expeditions.
Yosemite’s driven so much of my life that I’m excited to be able to share it with the world through my eyes. These 360-degree panoramic images are the closest thing I’ve ever witnessed to actually being thousands of feet up a vertical rock face—better than any video or photo. But my hope is that this new imagery will inspire you to get out there and see Yosemite for yourself… whether you travel up a rock wall or just down the trail.
Posted by Tommy Caldwell
Category: Google | Jun 23, 2015
Need some music right now to make whatever you’re doing better? Even if you’re not already a Google Play Music subscriber, we’ve got you covered. Google Play Music now has a free, ad-supported version in the U.S., giving you a new way to find just the right music—and giving artists another way to earn revenue. In less time than it takes you to read this sentence, you could be exercising with Drop-a-Beat Workout, cooling off with Poolside Chic, or spending quality time with Songs To Raise Your Kids To.
At any moment in your day, Google Play Music has whatever you need music for—from working, to working out, to working it on the dance floor—and gives you curated radio stations to make whatever you’re doing better. Our team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza, crafts each station song by song so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse our curated stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or you can search for your favorite artist, album or song to instantly create a station of similar music.
We hope you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll consider subscribing to Google Play Music to play without ads, take your music offline, create your own playlists, and listen to any of the 30 million songs in our library on any device and as much as you’d like. You’ll also get ad-free, offline and background features for music videos on YouTube. And with or without a subscription, you can store and play up to 50,000 songs from your own collection for free.
To help you get started, check out the top 10 most popular activities on Google Play Music, each of which offers several radio stations to choose from based on what you like:
- Brand New Music
- Working Out
- Boosting Your Energy
- Having Friends Over
- Having Fun at Work
- Entering Beast Mode
- Waking Up Happy
The new free, ad-supported version of Google Play Music is launching first in the U.S. It’s available on the web today, and is rolling out this week to Android and iOS. And while you’re checking it all out, we’ll be catching up on our Blogged 50.
Posted by Elias Roman, Product Manager
Category: Google | Jun 23, 2015
What if low-income kids had the same opportunity for jobs in the tech sector as students from the best computer science departments? What could that mean for their futures, or the future of their communities?
That’s the question asked by Oakland-based Hack the Hood, whose mission is to inspire Bay Area kids to pursue careers in technology. Hack the Hood trains young people by hiring them to build websites for small businesses in their communities. After applying for the Google Impact Challenge last spring, Hack the Hood went to work with $500,000 in Google.org funding and nearly 100 Googler volunteers. In the past year they’ve expanded their programs in SF, Oakland and Richmond to reach six times as many young people.
Last year we awarded $5 million to help “hometown hero” organizations like Hack the Hood make a greater impact. Today we’re announcing the 2015 Challenge, and issuing an open call for nonprofits who are asking big “what ifs” about how they can improve their communities and put innovative solutions to work in the Bay Area.
The Bay Area region has always been defined by the people who live here: people who question the status quo to help move our communities forward. From Harvey Milk’s fight for LGBT rights to Alice Waters’ movement for sustainable food to the technological advances of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area has long been at the forefront of positive social change.
We saw this passion in the 1,000+ nonprofit proposals we received for the 2014 Impact Challenge, and we see it in the 25 finalists. We see it in C.E.O., which is training formerly incarcerated people to reenter the workforce; in Lava Mae’s commitment to bringing showers with dignity to the homeless; and in Mission Asset Fund’s providing low-income people with zero-interest loans. We see it in our neighbors who are striving for a better Bay Area for all.
As this is our home, and thousands of Googlers live and work here, we want to work together towards an even better Bay Area. The Google Impact Challenge will be accepting proposals from nonprofits through Thursday July 23, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. To learn more or to nominate a nonprofit visit g.co/bayareachallenge.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google.org
Category: Google | Jun 22, 2015
It’s hard to think of a more important source of information in the world than quality journalism. At its best, news communicates truth to power, keeps societies free and open, and leads to more informed decision-making by people and leaders. In the past decade, better technology and an open Internet have led to a revolution in how news is created, distributed, and consumed. And given Google’s mission to ensure quality information is accessible and useful everywhere, we want to help ensure that innovation in news leads to a more informed, more democratic world.
That’s why we’ve created the News Lab, a new effort at Google to empower innovation at the intersection of technology and media. Our mission is to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to help build the future of media. And we’re tackling this in three ways: though ensuring our tools are made available to journalists around the world (and that newsrooms know how to use them); by getting helpful Google data sets in the hands of journalists everywhere; and through programs designed to build on some of the biggest opportunities that exist in the media industry today.
Tools for better reporting
From Maps to YouTube to Fusion Tables to Earth to Search, we offer many tools that newsrooms can use in their reporting and storytelling. Now, journalists around the world can access tutorials on these products created specifically for newsrooms, at g.co/newslab. We’ll post short written and video tutorials and case studies that highlight best practices from top newsrooms around the world. As Google develops new products that help journalists, we’ll update these resources regularly. You can also get updates by following us on Twitter and Google+, and by subscribing to our YouTube channel.
Data for more insightful storytelling
There’s a revolution in data journalism happening in newsrooms today, as more data sets and more tools for analysis are allowing journalists to create insights that were never before possible. To help journalists use our data to offer a unique window to the world, last week we announced an update to our Google Trends platform. The new Google Trends provides journalists with deeper, broader, and real-time data, and incorporates feedback we collected from newsrooms and data journalists around the world. We’re also helping newsrooms around the world tell stories using data, with a daily feed of curated Google Trends based on the headlines of the day, and through partnerships with newsrooms on specific data experiments.
Programs focused on the future of media
We’re also working with partners to build a series of programs focused on imagining the future of news and information, as well as on empowering new voices in media. One of the opportunities we’re focused on is increasing the number of media startups in the marketplace. We’ve launched partnerships with Matter, a media accelerator in San Francisco, and Hacks/Hackers, a global community group for developers and journalists, to provide financial support and mentorship from Google engineers that will help these organizations expand their impact to more startups around the world. We’re also holding a series of TechRaking summits with the Center for Investigative Reporting: hackathons focused on developing new investigative tools such as drones, online databases, and more.
Another area we’ve focused our programs on is citizen reporting. Now that mobile technology allows anyone to be a reporter, we want to do our part to ensure that user-generated news content is a positive and game-changing force in media. We’re doing that with three projects—First Draft, the WITNESS Media Lab, and the YouTube Newswire—each of which aims to make YouTube and other open platforms more useful places for first-hand news content from citizen reporters around the world.
The News Lab is a global effort, with teams in the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany to start—and we’re also powering the training and research arm of Google’s Digital News Initiative in Europe.
Google has created many technologies and platforms that have engaged the media industry. As both the media landscape and technology continue to evolve, we believe we can create a more informed world if technologists and journalists work together—and we’re excited to be part of the effort.
Posted by Steve Grove, Director, News Lab
Category: Google | Jun 19, 2015
The shooting in Charleston, S.C., was the top topic in search this week. Here’s a look at what people were searching for after the tragedy, plus a glimpse into what else was on searchers’ minds this week.
Tragedy in the south
On Wednesday night, a gunman shot and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. The suspect, Dylann Roof, was arrested Thursday morning, and charged today with nine counts of murder. As people tried to make sense of the story, many turned to the web, leading searches for “Charleston shooting” to climb to more than 5 million. Top questions in the early morning after the shooting include “What was the motive of the hate crime shooting in Charleston?” Many were also interested in the Confederate flag, which still flies above the S.C. Capitol building; interest in the flag spiked 20X in the past week in the U.S. as people asked questions like “What does the Confederate flag stand for?”
We’re still well more than a year away from the 2016 election but the presidential race is already crowded, and getting more so. This week two new candidates joined the fray: Jeb Bush and Donald Trump both announced they plan to run, bringing the total number of Republican candidates to a cool dozen. Though Bush was the most searched candidate in more than 25 states after his announcement, it didn’t last long. Following Trump’s announcement Tuesday, he became the most searched Republican Presidential candidate in every state in the U.S. Top questions on the newest candidates include “Is Jeb Bush related to George Bush?” (that would be a “yes”) and “What is Donald Trump’s net worth?” (he says more than $8 billion; the numbers are disputed).
This week was big for sports, with Google’s own hometown team Golden State Warriors beating the Cleveland Cavaliers to win their first NBA Championship title since 1975. The Warriors were at the top of the search charts on Tuesday with more than 2 million searches. Meanwhile, in hockey, the Chicago Blackhawks edged out the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons. Winning never gets old, though: interest in Blackhawks apparel spiked 8X in Chicago between June 9-16, and there were more than 20,000+ searches for the Blackhawks parade route, which took place Thursday with more than 2 million attendees.
Hockey and basketball not your game? Then perhaps you were one of the 8 million people watching the fifth-season finale of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” (Spoilers for the show follow.) The show was the subject of 2 million searches on Sunday night, as people watched with baited breath to find out what gruesome ends the show had in store for their favorite characters this season. One of the top questions about the show was simply “Who died on ‘Game of Thrones’?”, while others expressed their disbelief by asking “Is Jon Snow dead?” and “Is Stannis dead?” There were also more than 200K searches for Lena Headley, who plays Cersei Lannister, and another 20K later in the week for Rebecca Van Cleave, Headley’s body double for a scene where Cersei is forced to walk naked through the streets. Finally, there was a lot of interest in Arya Stark, one of few surviving Stark children, whose path on the show has also been one of the strangest.
Tip of the week
This weekend marks the first official day of summer, and that means BBQ season. If you’re watching what you eat, Google can help you figure out what to choose at the picnic table. Just ask Google to “compare coleslaw and potato salad” or “compare burgers and pulled pork.”
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [jurassic world showtimes]
Category: Google | Jun 18, 2015
Pride is one of the world’s greatest celebrations of diversity, one that we’re excited to support every year. For 2015, we’re doing something a little different: we’ve created an online parade, #AndProud, so that people from around the world can celebrate Pride together.
To join the global parade, visit Androidify, where you can create your own Android character with a fun new Pride wardrobe. During the weekend of June 27-28 your character will party side-by-side with others from around the world in the online parade.
But the celebration doesn’t end there. While the virtual parade happens online, thousands of Googlers will hit the streets of San Francisco, London and New York to show their support in those citywide Pride festivals. Some of the best #AndProud characters will appear on big screens as part of Google’s pride floats in all three cities.
From left to right, Sam Smith, Tom Daley and Jessie J celebrating the #AndProud parade
In addition to #AndProud and our floats in SF, London and NYC, we’re celebrating Pride in our offices around the world, and in all sorts of ways across our products. We’re excited to be able to extend the celebration and give people around the world a new way to share their Pride.
Hope to see you at the parade!
Posted by Eddie Kalletta and Rich Terry, #AndProud parade marchers
Category: Google | Jun 17, 2015
Today, more than a billion people around the world begin observing the holy month of Ramadan, fasting from dawn to sunset, gathering with families and loved ones for meals, laughs and stories.
Growing up, the best part about Ramadan was eating way too much lentil soup with my family and catching up on the latest episode of our favorite series, “Bab Al-Hara.” Today, living more than 1900 miles away from my family, I rely on technology to get close with them during Ramadan. Whether it’s sharing moments on Hangouts, my sister sending me pictures of the iftar spread of the day, or receiving an avalanche of recipes from my mother for me to save and try out, technology helps us stay connected and celebrate Ramadan together even when away.
In fact, technology helps more than 200 million Muslims living away from their families connect and share moments with loved ones. People look to Maps to navigate traffic and make it home from work for Iftar, download Google Play apps to plan their day around the sunset and sunrise, and look up Ramadan opening hours of their favorite local shops and restaurants.
To help you get the most out of Ramadan, we’ve launched My Ramadan Companion (g.co/Ramadan), which gives you customized and locally relevant information, tips, and other content highlighting the richness of what the web can offer during Ramadan around you. You can find out the sunset time in your location and plan your day accordingly, check out the traffic in your area, navigate to the closest charity Iftar, find and share recipes, and enjoy Ramadan content on YouTube ranging from drama series and comedy sketches and health tips to stay fit during the 30 days of fasting.
Depending on your location, Google Now will show you a range of relevant cards with popular YouTube videos, latest Ramadan news and information, and recommendations for apps that alert you to wake up for Suhur, enable you to design greeting cards for Ramadan to share with the family, find Halal restaurants around you, and countdown to Iftar time.
With My Ramadan Companion, we hope we can help you take care of the little things, so you can focus on the big things. Ramadan Kareem!
Posted by Zain Kamal Masri, Associate Product Marketing Manager, Middle East and North Africa
Category: Google | Jun 17, 2015
Every journey we take on the web is unique. Yet looked at together, the questions and topics we search for can tell us a great deal about who we are and what we care about. That’s why today we’re announcing the biggest expansion of Google Trends since 2012. You can now find real-time data on everything from the FIFA scandal to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign kick-off, and get a sense of what stories people are searching for. Many of these changes are based on feedback we’ve collected through conversations with hundreds of journalists and others around the world—so whether you’re a reporter, a researcher, or an armchair trend-tracker, the new site gives you a faster, deeper and more comprehensive view of our world through the lens of Google Search.
You can now explore minute-by-minute, real-time data behind the more than 100 billion searches that take place on Google every month, getting deeper into the topics you care about. During major events like the Oscars or the NBA Finals, you’ll be able to track the stories most people are searching for and where in the world interest is peaking. Explore this data by selecting any time range in the last week from the date picker.
A new story-centric homepage
On the new google.com/trends, you’ll find a ranked, real-time list of trending stories that are gaining traction across Google. In addition to Search, we now look at trends from YouTube and Google News and combine them to better understand what topics and stories are trending across the web right now. The redesigned homepage is now available in 28 countries around the world, and we’ll continue to add more locations in the coming months.
Better coverage for deeper insights
We’ve also increased the breadth and coverage of Google Trends data to allow for in-depth research on more niche topics in smaller geographies.
Curated data sets
To help you understand the data behind the headlines, our News Lab team examines trending topics every day and finds interesting nuggets of data that bring news stories to life. You can follow us on Twitter to stay up to date. And for data journalists who want to do their own analysis, starting today we’ll publish data sets on specific topics to our Github page.
Many newsrooms are already using Google data to inform and shape their reporting. Here are a few examples:
- The Washington Post launched an interactive data visualization on climate change where viewers can discover the most pressing environmental issues in various cities.
- The Guardian and Buzzfeed used Trends data to tell the story of the recent U.K. election; Buzzfeed produced a map of most-searched party leader in each constituency, and the Guardian used trends during the campaign to showcase what voters were asking Google about the candidates.
- HLN integrated Google Trends data into their television programming during LGBT Pride Month to explore when terms like “transgender” became widely used around the world.
- CNN Politics published monthly updates on search interest and top questions around U.S. Presidential candidates as they announce their candidacy.
We’re excited to contribute to the growing trend of data-driven storytelling. Watch our video to hear from some of our partners about the role data plays in their work, and how they’re helping shape the future of the field:
Without further ado, we’re going to dive into the minute-by-minute search interest around Steph Curry after last night’s Warriors’ win. No matter what your interests are, we hope you’ll visit the new Google Trends to explore your favorite topics and better understand the world around us.
Posted by Nimrod Tamir, Google Trends Team
Category: Google | Jun 12, 2015
LeBron and Steph. Marge and Homer. Matt and Sweat. These duos had people searching this week. Read on for more:
Two prisoners made headlines this week after escaping from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York. People are coming to Google to learn how the two broke out of the prison and about the status of the manhunt, which is still ongoing. In addition to more than 100K searches each for [prison escape] and the facility itself, people are asking questions like “How often do prisoners escape?” and “How many prison escapes are there per year?” The incident has also sparked interest in other prison escape tales; search interest in “The Shawshank Redemption” spiked 8X in the past week. And in happier, more fictional prison news, Netflix dropped the third season of “Orange is the New Black” six hours early yesterday, leading to a jump of 500,000K searches for the hit show.
Next, the NBA Finals are heating up as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are now tied at two games apiece, and searchers can’t get enough. There were more than 2 million searches for the Finals on Saturday, when the Cavs beat the Warriors in Game 2, and another 5 million when the Warriors went down 2-1 in Game 3 as people looked for scores, news, and players. There were more than 500K searches on Thursday for LeBron James, who got stitches after colliding with a cameraman during the game. Meanwhile, league MVP and Warriors point guard Steph Curry has been a hot topic on Search throughout the playoffs, but as his performance in the Finals faltered in the first few games, search interest in several of his teammates has risen. People have been looking for info about Curry’s fellow “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson and about Andre Iguodala, who started his first game of the season on Thursday and may have poked some fun at LeBron James in the process.
Off the court and onto the pitch, it’s also a great time to be a soccer fan, between the Champions League final, the Copa America, and the Women’s World Cup. The latter drew more than 5 million searches on Saturday alone, and as the U.S. faced off against Australia Monday, interest was high in players like Alex Morgan, Hope Solo and Sydney Leroux. Finally, we’d be remiss to write about sports this week without mentioning the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, American Pharoah, who won the Belmont Stakes last weekend and ran home with a million searches in the bargain.
Change is in the air
Beyonce was trending this week after revealing that she has adopted a vegan diet on Good Morning America. Many of Queen Bey’s fans were disappointed that her announcement was about her eating habits, and not the release of a new album or baby #2. Giving up cheese would be hard enough. But this week pop culture fans confronted the potential loss of something else dear: the long-running (fictional) marriage between Homer and Marge Simpson. With the 27th season of “The Simpsons” on deck in the fall, the show’s executive producer had hinted that TV’s longest-running couple might separate. Amidst the outrage and worry, searchers turned to the web to ask “Why are the Simpsons getting divorced?” Luckily, it seems the rumors are just that—the show cleared the air on Twitter and in chalk.
Tip of the week
Keep up with Hope, Alex and the rest of the Women’s World Cup on your phone. To get updates on all the matches, just open the Google app and click Customize (Settings in iOS) → Sports → Add a team. Goooaaalll!
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [flights from sfo to lhr] and [izombie max rager utopium]