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This year the holidays are Made with Code

Category: Google | Dec 2, 2014

Carol-singing, hot chocolate, latkes and ice skating are all things that get us into the spirit of the holidays. But now there’s a new way to deck the halls: with code.

Earlier this year, we introduced a program called Made with Code to inspire millions of girls to try coding, and help them understand the creative things they can do with computer science. Starting today on madewithcode.com, girls can use the introductory programming language Blockly to animate the lights of the state and territory trees that will decorate President’s Park, one of America’s 401 national parks and home to the White House, through the holiday season.

The programmed lights will debut at the 92nd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, which will be livestreamed by the White House on Thursday and air on PBS nationally throughout December in partnership with the National Park Foundation and National Park Service. The tradition of the tree lighting ceremony dates back to 1923 when President Calvin Coolidge lit the first fir tree outside the White House, and this is the first year kids from across the country will be in control of the state and territory holiday tree lights!

As the mom of two girls, I know that technology is a pathway for their future success. Still, even as coding becomes more important, less than 1% of high school girls say they’re interested in pursuing computer sciences in college. But I’m also an engineer, so I’ve seen firsthand how exciting CS can be. I fell in love with code early—my dad was an engineer and he encouraged me to enter a programming competition in the seventh grade. I gave it a shot, and I’ve never looked back. Ever since that day, I’ve known that when I program something, I’m creating something totally new for the world.

That’s what Made with Code is about: discovering that creating something new and exciting—whether it’s a holiday tree, a video game or a driverless car—can be accomplished with the power of code.

But it’s also about building an ecosystem of support for girls through parents and teachers, and to show girls other women who are using CS to achieve their dreams. This challenge also kicks off Google’s commitment to CSEdWeek, a week dedicated to inspiring students to get interested in computer science that’s become one of the biggest education initiatives online. Over the coming week, thousands of Googlers will join the hour of code, and announce a few other special projects that we will fund through the holiday season and coming year.

I’m heading to Washington, D.C. this week to be a part of the ceremony, and I’m looking forward to watching the designs from girls across the country lighting up the nation’s capital—and inspiring my daughters and so many others with the power of code.

Posted by Pavni Diwanji, Vice President, Engineering

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/ggUKKGji8Ps/this-year-holidays-are-made-with-code_2.html

Race with Rudolph and skydive with Santa in the countdown to December 24

Category: Google | Dec 1, 2014

December may mean snow days in Denver, Colo. or beach days in Sydney, Australia, but in Santa’s Village, it means the countdown to Santa’s big night. Starting today, the elves are back on the clock in the North Pole—and throughout the month of December, you can join the elves as they unlock a new project or game each day in preparation for Santa’s annual journey around the world.

The elves have a busy month ahead of them—the reindeers need training and the presents need packing. They’re studying up on Santa’s upcoming stops with candy cane cartography, holiday tradition tests, and even jolly JavaScript courses.

Throughout the holiday celebration, our own developer elves here at Google have also been hard at work getting the sleigh tracking algorithm ready for prime time. They’ve been adding finishing touches to the Santa Tracker App for Android so Santa’s just a tap away on phones, tablets, and TVs. The developer elves have been busy, so check out the chrome extension and keep a watch out for Santa surprises throughout the month.

Whether you’re wearing snow goggles or sunnies this December, come back to
www.google.com/santatracker each day to join in on present parachute practice and reindeer races, or to send a call to friends from Santa. There’s only 23 days to go, so follow Google Maps on Google+, Facebook and Twitter in the countdown to #tracksanta!

Mappy holidays!

Posted by Sandy Russell, Santa Launch Strategist

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/0naYPxJILk4/race-with-rudolph-and-skydive-with.html

‘Tis is the season for mobile shopping

Category: Google | Nov 24, 2014

It used to be that heading out to stores on Black Friday — one of the biggest holiday shopping days of the season — was the best way to find great deals. Now, we may be carrying the best tool for finding deals in our pockets.

This coming weekend, expect to see many of your fellow shoppers checking for deals on their smartphones while braving the lines and crowds at the mall. Nearly 50% of 25-34 year-olds use their phone to shop online while standing in line at a store. And because we want to help you research products more easily this holiday weekend, we’re rolling out new mobile features to Google Shopping.

Starting this week, when you search for a specific product on your smartphone or tablet you’ll see more detailed information about the product and where to buy it, like which stores have it available and product reviews from customers. You’ll also be able to rotate selected products on Google Shopping in 360 degrees to see them in more detail.

nexus@1x.gif Nexus10_3D@1x.gif


Getting a head start on Black Friday
Shoppers are already prepping for Black Friday shopping by researching purchases and deals online. We found that 27% of shoppers have already begun hunting for Black Friday deals online. Here are the top questions people are asking about Black Friday on Google Search. For more trends, visit our Shopping blog.

  • what time do stores open on black friday
  • what time does black friday start
  • when does black friday end
  • what to buy on black friday
Black Friday Frenzy.jpg

Let Google Shopping and your smartphone help you check off what’s on that shopping list of yours and go enjoy everything else about the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Posted by Jennifer Liu, Product Manager, Google Shopping

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/8ZGhw41Gz3c/tis-is-season-for-mobile-shopping.html

‘Tis the season for mobile shopping

Category: Google | Nov 24, 2014

It used to be that heading out to stores on Black Friday — one of the biggest holiday shopping days of the season — was the best way to find great deals. Now, we may be carrying the best tool for finding deals in our pockets.

This coming weekend, expect to see many of your fellow shoppers checking for deals on their smartphones while braving the lines and crowds at the mall. Nearly 50% of 25-34 year-olds use their phone to shop online while standing in line at a store. And because we want to help you research products more easily this holiday weekend, we’re rolling out new mobile features to Google Shopping.

Starting this week, when you search for a specific product on your smartphone or tablet you’ll see more detailed information about the product and where to buy it, like which stores have it available and product reviews from customers. You’ll also be able to rotate selected products on Google Shopping in 360 degrees to see them in more detail.

nexus@1x.gif Nexus10_3D@1x.gif


Getting a head start on Black Friday
Shoppers are already prepping for Black Friday shopping by researching purchases and deals online. We found that 27% of shoppers have already begun hunting for Black Friday deals online. Here are the top questions people are asking about Black Friday on Google Search. For more trends, visit our Shopping blog.

  • what time do stores open on black friday
  • what time does black friday start
  • when does black friday end
  • what to buy on black friday
Black Friday Frenzy.jpg

Let Google Shopping and your smartphone help you check off what’s on that shopping list of yours and go enjoy everything else about the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Posted by Jennifer Liu, Product Manager, Google Shopping

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/8ZGhw41Gz3c/tis-is-season-for-mobile-shopping.html

Through the Google lens: search trends November 14-20

Category: Google | Nov 21, 2014

Devastating snowstorms, bizarre interviews and addictive podcasts? It was an unusual week on the search charts this time around.

A frosty reception
If you looked on Maps for Buffalo, you wouldn’t find it. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the city is buried underneath six feet of snow… literally. While people across the country are just getting ready for Turkey Day, Buffalonians are dealing with a snowstorm that’s set to break several records and may keep them trapped in their houses for a while–white Thanksgiving, anyone?

In the court of public opinion
People were searching for more information about famed comedian Bill Cosby this week after sexual abuse allegations made headlines.

And in the political world, Democrats in the Senate blocked the Keystone XL proposal, a hotly contested initiative to build an oil pipeline from Canada to Nebraska. While searchers were wondering how this bill would affect gas prices, the door is closed on the issue at the moment.

Teens Aren’t What They Used To Be
A toymaker with a mission decided it was makeover time for Barbie, the doll everyone loves to hate. Nickolay Lamm created “normal Barbie,” a doll that everyone could relate to — less “material girl” and more “girl next door”—non-size zero waist included. Reflecting the body of the average 19-year old woman, both parents and kids have taken a liking to the fact that toy actually…looks like a real person (she looks like my sister!) Complete with freckles and acne sticker expansion packs, we think Lamm’s got the awkward teenage years down pat.

Speaking of teenagers: 16-year-old and 14-year-old celebrity siblings Jaden and Willow Smith, heirs to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s throne, were in the spotlight this week after giving what some might describe as a pretty spacey interview to the New York Times’ T Magazine. The wide-ranging piece covered their thoughts on topics like Prana energy (what?), the duality of the mind (how??) and goals of imprinting yourself on everything (why???) — and baffled social media and searchers alike. Time Magazine got in on the fun and released a poem generator made from the interview’s most interesting quotes. Here’s our Jaden and Willow Smith haiku (spoiler: it doesn’t make any sense).

             Babies remember

             The most craziest person of all time
             Driver’s ed? What’s up?

Colonel Mustard in the library
There’s always time for a tale of murder and mystery. This week the Internet played the role of detective as people were curious to learn more about NPR’s new serial Podcast which explores a 15-year-old real life homicide case. The series is insanely popular, hitting the 5 million downloads and streams mark more quickly than any other podcast before it, but not without its fair share of controversy. The victim’s family members have expressed concern about the sensationalization of the case.

Tip of the week
Bored on the bus or subway? Just say “OK Google, flip a coin.” What do yo have to lose?

Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [the opposite of apple] and [cellulite stickers].

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/s0ZFzMYVvHY/through-google-lens-search-trends_21.html

Seven traffic tips to get you to the Thanksgiving table

Category: Google | Nov 18, 2014

Thanksgiving means gearing up for a turkey feast, Thanksgiving Day parades, local Turkey Trots and annual football showdowns. It also means braving some of the worst holiday traffic conditions of the year.

You’ve got enough on your plate this Thanksgiving without having to worry about traffic, too. So, Google Maps looked at Thanksgiving traffic conditions over the last two years for 21 cities across the U.S.1 to find the most useful information to make your holiday trip a little easier.

Whether you’re traveling near or far, Google Maps’ traffic tips will help you navigate the roads like a pro, so you’ll be feasting on Turkey Day delights with friends and family in no time. Here are seven tips in pictures to guide you through the holiday:

1. Avoid traveling on Wednesday:

2. But if you must leave on Wednesday:

3. Good news for local travelers—Thanksgiving Day traffic is a breeze:

4. Travel back home on Sunday, not Saturday:

5. Expect to spend more time in traffic than average if you live in these three cities: Philadelphia, Austin and Washington, D.C. saw the three biggest increases in traffic during Thanksgiving week.

6. Get these three items ahead of time: Last-minute runs to the corner store can be unavoidable as you prep for the big day, but not all last minute trips are created equal.

7. Leave extra time for Christmas shopping:

Your biggest worry this Thanksgiving should be whether to go for the cranberry sauce or gravy. And with these traffic tips in hand, plus real-time traffic info provided by Google Maps on Android or iOS, you’ll be spending less time in traffic and more time with the people you care about this Thanksgiving. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Posted by Aaron Nelson, Google Maps Product Manager



1 Google Maps looked at 21 cities across the U.S. from the Monday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after Thanksgiving for both 2012 & 2013: Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, D.C.

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/qHTZvPpc-X8/seven-traffic-tips-to-get-you-to.html

Through the Google lens: search trends November 7-13

Category: Google | Nov 14, 2014

Taylor, Kim, Kobe—this trio of familiar faces was all over search this week.

Oh my God, look at that face
She may not have broken the Internet, but Kim Kardashian certainly got our collective attention this week with her saucy Paper magazine cover shoot showing off her famous derriere. Millions of searches, memes and (unsuccessful) imitators were not far, um, behind. Even Kim, however, had some company in the trending ranks from Taylor Swift, who has come close to breaking the Internet a few times herself. This week, Swift released a new video (and app) for her song “Blank Space,” putting a new spin on the “boy-crazy” meme and garnering more than 25 million YouTube views—that’s more than 10 times as many as last week’s viral video sensation “Too Many Cooks.”

Sky high
Ten years after leaving Earth, on Wednesday the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission achieved history. It successfully landed its Philae probe on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and began sending pictures of the surface back to scientists. People turned to search to learn more, including “what is next for the probe?” It’s a good question, since the probe bounced twice before settling into a position about 1km off its target, and may not be able to get enough battery life from its solar panels to continue operating as intended.

Our doodle celebrated the Philae landing on Wednesday

And all eyes were on the New York skyline this week—or at least on 1 World Trade Center, where a pair of window washers were trapped 69 stories high on the side of the building for over an hour on Wednesday before being rescued. The 1,776-foot tall skyscraper had just opened for business last week, more than a decade after the September 11 attacks.

Numbers game
Kobe Bryant set a new record on Tuesday night, but he might wish he hadn’t. The shooting guard missed his 13,418th career field goal in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, earning him the dubious honor of the most missed field goals in the NBA. Of course, Bryant also has the fourth-most points in league history—and five championship rings. So, he’s probably doing OK.

Tip of the week
For those times you’ve gotten an email about something (say, “dinner with Shari” or “brunch with Aaron”) but forgotten to follow up, Google can help. Keep an eye on your Google app, which can now catch buried plans in your Gmail, prompt you to add them to your calendar, and remind you to stay in touch.

Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [two eagles flying together/being friends] and [birdman tracking shot]

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/77lotcIYZQ4/through-google-lens-search-trends_14.html

The doors are open for veterans at Google

Category: Google | Nov 11, 2014

My father was a Tuskegee Airman, one of the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. military. He got his wings in 1944 and stayed in the Army for 30 years. When I think of him—and all the other veterans I grew up knowing—I’m reminded of the unique characteristics they shared: their innate courage, sense of purpose, and their ability to lead under pressure. Most remarkable to me, though, is their belief in the power of sacrificing and fighting for something bigger than yourself.

For everyone who has served our country, I join 1,000+ members of the Google Veterans Network in celebrating Veterans Day today. And I am incredibly proud of what Google has done to honor veterans, including two initiatives new this year.

Veterans make great Googlers
We hire leaders, team builders and problem solvers and many veterans are already doing amazing things at the company. But we also know that not all veterans have the same skills and interests; there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and it can be hard to understand how you might fit into a corporate environment. So we’ve created a new Veterans Careers website to help servicemembers and veterans find the right role to apply for at Google. The site breaks down some of the ways our own veterans are succeeding in both technical and general roles. In their own words, they explain how their skills translated and how they are continuing to serve through their work at Google.

And for those who have other career goals in mind, we’ve included a few resources—like mentoring programs and virtual classes—to help veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life.

Sharing veterans’ stories
In addition to making Google a great place to work for veterans, we want to use our technology to build greater awareness and understanding of their achievements and sacrifices. Last Friday, the 9/11 Memorial opened a new exhibit that explores the immediate and heroic actions of U.S. servicemembers, alongside those of the emergency workers who responded on and after September 11, 2001. “The Call to Serve,” an interactive installation powered by Google Tour Builder, follows the stories of nine veterans and military personnel to honor their service and that of all who followed in their footsteps. You can visit the exhibit in person at the 9/11 Museum during Veterans Week or online at 911memorial.org/calltoserve.

This effort also builds on other historical preservation projects we announced earlier this year, including bringing Arlington National Cemetery, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and The Eternal Flame, to Street View; and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the landings at Normandy in partnership with museums and archives in the U.S., U.K. and France.

We’re proud to pay tribute to veterans’ service and and to support them in their careers. Veterans have unique skills and experience, and arrive with a devotion to teamwork that goes a long way around here. They’re among our greatest assets, both as a company and as a nation. And after all they’ve given us, we need to give them every opportunity to succeed.

Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer; Founding Executive Sponsor, Google Veterans Network

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/g9WxS4LGvF0/the-doors-are-open-for-veterans-at.html

With Chromebooks, students find new ways to learn

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2014

Cross-posted on the Google for Education blog

Students and schools have done some amazing things with Chromebooks since we first launched in 2011. At the Urban Promise Academy in Oakland, Calif., students are using the Scratch program to create their own video games on Chromebooks. In Chesterfield County, Virginia, students get access to feedback and support from teachers after school hours using their Chromebooks. And in Fairfield County, South Carolina, schools saw double-digit gains on their state performance tests after they started to offer Chromebooks, Google Apps for Education and other technologies to their students, who often don’t have Internet access at home.

A student at Urban Promise Academy uses a Chromebook to design video games

Schools tell us that Chromebooks fill three big needs: they’re easy for students and teachers to use, they’re easy to share, and they’re easy to manage. That’s critical for schools that often want to give their students the best technology, but don’t have a large IT department to support it. And it’s part of what has made Chromebooks such a hit in schools. In fact, according to IDC’s latest report on tablets and laptops in K-12 education, Chromebooks are the best-selling device in the U.S. this year. And they’re continuing to grow in popularity—in districts like Montgomery County, MD (more than 50,000 devices), Charlotte-Mecklenberg, NC (32,000 devices) and Cherry Creek, CO (26,000 devices), who have all begun using Chromebooks in 2014.

Beyond the U.S., countries are looking at how they can use technology in the classroom on a large scale—like in Malaysia, where the entire national school system is using Chromebooks. This week, we’re hosting the Global Education Symposium, a gathering of education ministers from 18 countries working to implement technology that will help them meet their country’s educational agenda. We’ll hear from education leaders who are exploring new educational models, and look at how innovative local schools are using technology to help teachers and students excel.

It’s been thrilling to see how Chromebooks—alongside Android tablets, Google Play for Education, Classroom and Google Apps for Education, which is now used by 40 million students and teachers around the world—can help students meet their learning goals. We can’t wait to see what’s ahead as more students around the world gain access to new learning opportunities through technology.

Posted by Cyrus Mistry, Lead Product Manager, Chromebooks for Education

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/iHe-O46RVFA/with-chromebooks-students-find-new-ways.html

Doubling down on Ebola donations

Category: Google | Nov 10, 2014

Today, Google is launching a public giving campaign to fight Ebola. For every dollar you give, Google will donate two dollars. In addition, we’re donating $10 million right away to support nonprofits such as InSTEDD, International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontieres, NetHope, Partners in Health, Save the Children and U.S. Fund for UNICEF. These organizations are doing remarkable work in very difficult circumstances to help contain this outbreak, and we hope our contribution will help them have an even greater impact.

Separately, our family foundation will also be giving $15 million. Our hearts go out to everyone whose lives have been touched by this tragedy.

Posted by Larry Page, CEO

From: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/MKuf/~3/dNE7D2rYsrA/doubling-down-on-ebola-donations.html