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Through the Google lens: Search Trends August 14-20

Category: Google | Aug 21, 2015

Inspirational women. A surreal theme park. And a third-party candidate we can all get behind. This week had a little of everything—read on for a look at the top topics on Google Search.

Top tabs
Lieutenant Shaye Haver and Lieutenant Kristen Griest are the first women to break a major gender barrier and graduate from the rigorous Army Ranger School this week. The course is known for its tough physical challenges and a high dropout rate, and this was the first year women were admitted. Search interest in Haver and Griest has spiked more than 150X since Tuesday; at today’s graduation, they earned their tabs—and a place in history.

This Presidential campaign is Nuts
The Republican Presidential candidates continue to draw headlines in the long lead-up to the 2016 election. One of the top topics this week? Immigration, after Donald Trump said in an interview that he would overturn the law that grants citizenship to people born in the U.S.—a law better known as the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It didn’t take long for the other candidates to take a stand one way or the other on the “birthright citizenship” issue, while searchers turned to the web to learn more about the Amendment and the ongoing debate. In less political political news, Trump also drew ire this week when he said that supermodel Heidi Klum—a knockout at 42—was “no longer a 10.” More than 200,000 searches—and a smart comeback from Heidi—weren’t far behind.

Meanwhile, there’s a new presidential candidate on the scene in Iowa. A 15-year-old high school sophomore named Brady Olson made quite the splash after he submitted his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission as “Deez Nuts.” Not only is he polling at a not-too-shabby 9 percent against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in North Carolina—Nuts was a trending topic on Twitter and he’s surpassed Clinton in search interest, too.

Cheater, beware
The cheating site Ashley Madison was a top trending term this week, after hackers stole user account and payment information and posted the data online. There were more than 1 million searches for [Ashley Madison] on Tuesday, with more than half a million for [Ashley Madison List] as people tried to find out whether someone they knew had a profile. But questions about the hacking were myriad, and sometimes innocent. Many wanted to know “who is Ashley Madison?” (spoiler: not a real person) while others asked “What is the dark web?” in an effort to find out more about the anonymous and hidden network where the data was released.

Be careful what you wish for
A new tourist attraction in the U.K. is already living up to its name. “Dismaland,” an art exhibit by the elusive Banksy, and “the U.K.’s most disappointing new visitor attraction,” features a derelict castle with a dirty moat, gloomy park attendants, and bizarre works by 50+ artists. After being shrouded in secrecy, the “bemusement park” debuted this week to the tune of 200,000+ searches, and today search interest in Dismaland surpassed that of Disneyland’s. (One of searchers’ top questions: “What does Disney say about Dismaland?”) Unfortunately (or, appropriately, depending on your viewpoint), the park has also had its fair share of troubles already. As its website crashed under the weight of 6 million hits, and hundreds of people lined up outside the resort, many are wondering whether they’re on their way to see a conceptual art work, or already a part of one.

Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [best restaurants bon appetit]


Meet OnHub: a new router for a new way to Wi-Fi

Category: Google | Aug 18, 2015

Ugh…not again. You get home at the end of the day, and sit down to stream a new movie or upload vacation photos — and your Wi-Fi slows to a crawl or just stops working. Instead of relaxing in front of the screen or sharing those photos with friends, you spend it unplugging and re-plugging cords, trying to decipher blinking lights, or contemplating a call to customer support.

While we count on Wi-Fi more than ever to be entertained, productive, and stay connected, we’re streaming and sharing in new ways our old routers were never built to handle. So today, with our partner TP-LINK, we’re launching OnHub, a different kind of router for a new way to Wi-Fi. Instead of headaches and spotty connections, OnHub gives you Wi-Fi that’s fast, secure, and easy to use.

Designed for the Home
Many of us keep our router on the floor and out of sight, where it doesn’t work as well. We replaced unruly cords and blinking lights with internal antennas and subtle, useful lighting, so you’ll be happy placing OnHub out in the open, where your router performs its best.

Starts Fast, Stays Fast
During setup, OnHub searches the airwaves and selects the best channel for the fastest connection. A unique antenna design and smart software keep working in the background, automatically adjusting OnHub to avoid interference and keep your network at peak performance. You can even prioritize a device, so that your most important activity — like streaming your favorite show — gets the fastest speed.

A simple mobile app
OnHub makes it simple to set up and manage your Wi-Fi, all from the Google On app, available on Android or iOS. The Google On app tells you how much bandwidth your devices are using, lets you run a network check, and if there’s an issue with your Wi-Fi, the app offers suggestions to help. And, instead of lost passwords and sticky notes, it even reveals your password with a single tap and lets you text or email it to friends.

Just gets better
OnHub automatically updates with new features and the latest security upgrades, without interrupting your connection. In the future, OnHub can support smart devices that you bring into your home, whether they use Bluetooth® Smart Ready, Weave, or 802.15.4. We also plan to design new OnHub devices with other hardware partners in the future. Stay tuned for news from our second partner, ASUS, later this year.

Starting today, OnHub is available for pre-order for $199.99 from online retailers in the U.S. including the Google Store, Amazon, and It will be available for sale in retail stores in the U.S. and in Canada in the coming weeks.

At the end of the day, we want our Wi-Fi to just work, so that we can do all the things we love to do online. Here’s to Wi-Fi with the reliability, speed, and security you want at home, without the frustrations you don’t.

Posted by Trond Wuellner, Group Product Manager


Through the Google Lens: Search Trends August 8-14

Category: Google | Aug 14, 2015

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for an A-through-Z of the week’s Google Search trends (see what I did there?)

Per-see … what is it?
As the skies lit up with the Perseid Meteor shower this week, there were more than a million Google searches around the topic from people on the hunt for shooting stars. Along with questions on how to pronounce it (that would be something in the region of “percy-id”), people were asking where to watch and how to photograph the summer show, with NASA promising up to a hundred meteors an hour if you got up early enough. These meteors streak through the Earth’s atmosphere for our viewing pleasure every year — check out the annual spike in Google searches over the last decade for a record of when we spotted them.

Headlines from China
Shocking images of destruction continue to come out of China’s northern port city of Tianjin after a massive chemical explosion Wednesday. This eye-witness video posted on YouTube by Daniel Van Duren — who says he was watching for shooting stars when the explosions happened — has more than 60,000 views in 24 hours. With news outlets reporting that smoke is still rising from the industrial area where the blasts occurred, the million Google searches about Tianjin are focused on the “who, what, where, when, why” of the disaster.

This was the second time news from China appeared in the world’s Hot Trends this week. China’s surprise decision to devalue its currency prompted an additional 50,000 searches Tuesday.

Because there’s apparently a day for everything
It was an awesome week for left-handed middle children everywhere. Wednesday was National Middle Child Day, where the top rising search on Google was for this meme, which pretty much sums it up. Then Thursday was Left Handers Day, prompting a spike of more than 100,000 Google searches. Looking at the top questions asked on Google around this important day for southpaws, you all wanted to know how many people in general are left-handed, and how many US presidents in particular (hard to confirm, but the White House tweeted that President Obama is one of them). Which brings us, naturally, to the next burning question on people’s minds: “Is Donald Trump left-handed?” File that one under “August.”

Posted by Abbi Tatton, who searched this week for [left-handed kangaroos].


G is for Google

Category: Google | Aug 10, 2015

As Sergey and I wrote in the original founders letter 11 years ago, “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” As part of that, we also said that you could expect us to make “smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses.” From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have.

We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.

We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.

Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet ( I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President.

What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We’ll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.

This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google. A key part of this is Sundar Pichai. Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our Internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that. Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation — continuing to stretch boundaries. I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information. Recent launches like Google Photos and Google Now using machine learning are amazing progress. Google also has some services that are run with their own identity, like YouTube. Susan is doing a great job as CEO, running a strong brand and driving incredible growth.

Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort. We are also stoked about growing our investment arms, Ventures and Capital, as part of this new structure.

Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all of the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.

For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google — the birth of Alphabet. We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products–the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands.

We are excited about…

  • Getting more ambitious things done. 
  • Taking the long-term view. 
  • Empowering great entrepreneurs and companies to flourish. 
  • Investing at the scale of the opportunities and resources we see. 
  • Improving the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing. 
  • Making Google even better through greater focus. 
  • And hopefully…as a result of all this, improving the lives of as many people as we can.

What could be better? No wonder we are excited to get to work with everyone in the Alphabet family. Don’t worry, we’re still getting used to the name too!

Posted by Larry Page, CEO


Google Hangouts: now simpler, faster, more beautiful

Category: Google | Aug 10, 2015

The best conversations just flow: you barely have to think about what to say. With Hangouts, we want to help you stay in the moment, no matter what device you’re using or how you’re getting your voice across, from texting to talking to video. So we’ve been hard at work on big improvements to make Hangouts faster, simpler, and easier on the eyes.

Today, we’re releasing Google Hangouts 4.0 for Android, with a fresh new look, improved speed, and features that make it even easier to reach people the way you want to reach them.

New ways to compose, attach and use your watch make Hangouts simpler than ever

Here’s what’s new:

  • Hangouts is sleeker. Now updated with material design, Hangouts has a new look and feel: items respond to your touch in more intuitive ways and transitions between tasks are more fluid. 
  • Hangouts is simpler. The new Compose button makes it easier for you to start a new group or conversation. Our streamlined contacts list helps you find the right person quickly. And attachments have been revamped and simplified, so sharing—of emoji, GIFs, your location, even multiple photos at once—is a snap. 
  • Hangouts is faster. Whether you’re sending a quick message or video chatting with family, you don’t want hold-ups. We’ve been obsessively fixing bugs and speeding up message delivery to make Hangouts faster and more reliable. Bonus: less battery consumption.

And more…
Make affordable calls from the Hangouts Dialer, now with Outbound Caller ID (so your friends won’t get any more calls from the great “Unknown”). Receive and reply to group MMS messages in Hangouts using Google Voice. Use Hangouts on Android Wear when you really have an eye on the time (just say, “Ok Google, send a Hangouts message,” into your watch). And if you’re not around but want friends to know what’s on your mind? Custom status messages are back.

The new Hangouts starts rolling out to Android users today and will be available in the Play Store (iOS users recently got many of the same updates). We hope you enjoy the new look and feel. And we look forward to keeping the conversation flowing!

Posted by Amit Fulay, Product Manager, Communications


Through the Google Lens: Search Trends July 31 – August 7

Category: Google | Aug 7, 2015

Has it been a week or what? It most definitely has, which means it’s time to kick back, relax and read on as we dig into Google’s trending searches list to find out what the world wanted to learn more about this week.

The Grand Old Party
With 10 candidates on stage for the prime-time event, Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate debate did seem quite a bit like a party. An estimated 24 million people tuned in to watch the broadcast on the Fox News Channel (a record for the network, and cable TV, it turns out), and searches for “Republican debate” topped 5 million.

Not surprisingly, the candidates themselves generated some serious search action. Donald Trump claimed the “most searched” position in the days before and hours after the event, and held on to the spot for nearly all of the debate itself, save a few appearances from Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Lindsey Graham.

See a full-size version of this incredible data viz here. You can also explore the most searched issues during the debate as well — education, taxes and abortion all took turns in the top spot.

All good things come to an end, and this week the world said goodbye to Jon Stewart — at least as host of The Daily Show. Airing just moments after a debate that was ripe for Stewart’s particular brand of editorializing, Thursday night’s show was his last. Searches for the (now former) host topped 500,000 this week.

Check out another cool data viz — this one on search interest in Jon Stewart across the United States — right here.

The Doctor is in
Artist turned producer turned mogul Dr. Dre gave us all a gift this week — his first new album in 16 years. Compton — which Dre is calling his grand finale — is self-reflective and grand in all the best ways, and dripping with appearances and collaborations from generations of other artists. It also brought in an impressive 200,000 searches.

Makeups and breakups
Continuing what seems like a very common theme this summer, the week’s trending searches had no shortage of celebrity couple gossip. Jennifer Aniston, who pulled off a surprise backyard wedding to Justin Theroux, made the list with 200,000+ searches. The world panicked (and searched 100,000+ times) following news that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were divorcing — news that turned out not to be true at all, according to the couple. Reba McEntire, however, is definitely separating from her husband (100,000+ searches for that news), as are Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale (200,000+ searches) — and there’s no doubt about that one, either.

Posted by Megan Slack, who searched this week for [japanese candy delivery]


See the world in your language with Google Translate

Category: Google | Jul 29, 2015

The Google Translate app already lets you instantly visually translate printed text in seven languages. Just open the app, click on the camera, and point it at the text you need to translate—a street sign, ingredient list, instruction manual, dials on a washing machine. You’ll see the text transform live on your screen into the other language. No Internet connection or cell phone data needed.

Today, we’re updating the Google Translate app again—expanding instant visual translation to 20 more languages (for a total of 27!), and making real-time voice translations a lot faster and smoother—so even more people can experience the world in their language.

Instantly translate printed text in 27 languages

We started out with seven languages—English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish—and today we’re adding 20 more. You can now translate to and from English and Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Hungarian, Indonesian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian. You can also do one-way translations from English to Hindi and Thai. (Or, try snapping a pic of the text you’d like translated—we have a total of 37 languages in camera mode.)

To try out the new languages, go to the Google Translate app, set “English” along with the language you’d like to translate, and click the camera button; you’ll be prompted to download a small (~2 MB) language pack for each.

Ready to see all of these languages in action?

And how exactly did we get so many new languages running on a device with no data connection? It’s all about convolutional neural networks (whew)—geek out on that over on our Research blog.

Have a natural, smoother conversation—even with a slower mobile network
In many emerging markets, slow mobile networks can make it challenging to access many online tools – so if you live in an area with unreliable mobile networks, our other update today is for you. In addition to instant visual translation, we’ve also improved our voice conversation mode (enabling real-time translation of conversations across 32 languages), so it’s even faster and more natural on slow networks.

These updates are coming to both Android and iOS, rolling out over the next few days.

Translate Community helps us get better every day
On top of today’s updates, we’re also continuously working to improve the quality of the translations themselves and to add new languages. A year ago this week, we launched Translate Community, a place for multilingual people from anywhere in the world to provide and correct translations. Thanks to the millions of language lovers who have already pitched in—more than 100 million words so far!—we’ve been updating our translations for over 90 language pairs, and plan to update many more as our community grows.

We’ve still got lots of work to do: more than half of the content on the Internet is in English, but only around 20% of the world’s population speaks English. Today’s updates knock down a few more language barriers, helping you communicate better and get the information you need.

Posted by Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate


Everything in its right place

Category: Google | Jul 27, 2015

When we launched Google+, we set out to help people discover, share and connect across Google like they do in real life. While we got certain things right, we made a few choices that, in hindsight, we’ve needed to rethink. So over the next few months, we’re going to be making some important changes. Here’s more about what you can expect:

A more focused Google+ experience
Google+ is quickly becoming a place where people engage around their shared interests, with the content and people who inspire them. In line with that focus, we’re continuing to add new features like Google+ Collections, where you can share and enjoy posts organized by the topics you care about. At the same time, we’ll also move some features that aren’t essential to an interest-based social experience out of Google+. For example, many elements of Google+ Photos have been moved into the new Google Photos app, and we’re well underway putting location sharing into Hangouts and other apps, where it really belongs. We think changes like these will lead to a more focused, more useful, more engaging Google+.

Using Google without a Google+ profile
People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier. But we’ve also heard that it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use.

So in the coming months, a Google Account will be all you’ll need to share content, communicate with contacts, create a YouTube channel and more, all across Google. YouTube will be one of the first products to make this change, and you can learn more on their blog. As always, your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles. And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles.

You’ll see these changes roll out in stages over several months. While they won’t happen overnight, they’re right for Google’s users—both the people who are on Google+ every single day, and the people who aren’t.

Posted by Bradley Horowitz, VP of Streams, Photos, and Sharing


Rising to the climate challenge

Category: Google | Jul 27, 2015

In less than five months, policymakers from around the world will gather in Paris to finalize a new global agreement on combating climate change. Already, many governments are putting forth ambitious emissions reduction goals. And companies are taking action, too, by reducing their own footprints and investing in clean energy.

Reaching a strong deal in Paris is an absolute and urgent necessity. The data is clear and the science is beyond dispute: a warming planet poses enormous threats to society.

Public health experts recently warned that climate change threatens to “undermine the last half century of gains in development and global health,” through forces like extreme weather, drought, malnutrition, and disease. The U.S. government has asserted that climate change poses “immediate risks to U.S. national security,” as increased natural disasters and humanitarian crises fuel instability and violence. And many studies have revealed that critical infrastructure, like electricity and water, is vulnerable to rising sea levels and intensifying storms.

Climate change is one of the most significant global challenges of our time. Rising to that challenge involves a complex mix of policy, technology, and international cooperation. This won’t be easy, but Google is committed to doing its part.

Google has been carbon neutral since 2007. Our data centers, the physical infrastructure behind web services used by billions of people, now get 3.5 times the computing power out of the same amount of electricity, as compared to five years ago. We are also the biggest corporate purchaser of renewable power on the planet. Just today at the White House, we pledged to triple those purchases over the next decade. In addition, we’re a major climate-minded investor, so far committing more than $2 billion to clean energy projects, from America’s largest wind farm to Africa’s largest solar power plant.

We’re serious about environmental sustainability not because it’s trendy, but because it’s core to our values and also makes good business sense. After all, the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place. And in many places clean power is cost-competitive with conventional power.

We’re making progress, but averting catastrophic climate change will require significant investment and bold innovations. Google and our private-sector peers are ready to lead. But something fundamental is required: clear policy. The global business community needs certainty to bring climate solutions to scale. We need the world’s political leaders to confirm that investments in clean energy are sound, and that the laws and policies meant to enable such investment will be designed for the long term and rooted in what science tells us needs to be done.

It’s encouraging to see the world’s major economies set ambitious climate targets, but it’s time to get a strong international climate agreement on the books. This December in Paris, it’s imperative that policymakers reach a deal that moves us toward a zero-carbon economy. That’s the kind of future that we’re committed to helping build, and that future generations deserve.

Posted by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman


Through the Google lens: Search trends July 17-24

Category: Google | Jul 24, 2015

Anyone up for a look back at the last week on Google Search? We are! Read on to find out what the world was looking for this week.

Bad Blood
Phew, where to start with this one. Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj had a spat over VMA nominations (Taylor was nominated for Video of the Year; Nicki was not), worked through it and made up — all on Twitter. It was a good lesson in the art of the subtweet, as well as the “sincere apology after responding to a subtweet that wasn’t directly about you” tweet. Searches about the incident topped 500,000.

But Minaj v. Swift wasn’t the only music-related drama to make the list of Trending Searches. Meek Mill, hip hop artist and Nicki Minaj’s significant other, started a Twitter rant of his own, alleging that rapper Drake doesn’t write his own material and inspiring more than a million searches. The two artists haven’t settled up yet, so stay tuned for more on that front.

Last but not least, country stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are calling it quits after four years of marriage and guess what — they both had stuff to say about it on Twitter. More than 1 million searchers took to Google to find out more.

But wait, there’s more
It was the week of the sequel. (The weequel?) James Bond is back — the trailer for the upcoming “Spectre” was released this week, which got more than 100,000 people searching for the movie. And nearly as surprising as the idea of a shark-filled tornado itself, the Sharknado is back. “Sharknado 3” — featuring 90s all-stars Tara Reid and Ian Ziering — aired on Wednesday night and pulled in a cool 500,000 searches.


Speaking of all-stars (and also of the 90s) remember the days when an NBA superstar could star in a wide-release film with his Looney Tunes pals? Well, it’s happening again. This time, it’s not Michael Jordan, but Lebron James who inked a deal with Warner Bros. The company announced the partnership on Wednesday, leading to 200,000 searches. Reports suggest that while Michael Jordan will be replaced, Bugs Bunny will play himself, though there has been speculation about a case of cartoon patellar tendonitis he’s been coping with quietly for years.

Posted by Megan Slack, who searched this week for [public pools in San Francisco].