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Category: Google | Mar 12, 2015
Online security is on everybody’s minds these days, so we want to give you updates about various ways Google keeps you safe online. Today, on the web’s birthday, we’re highlighting recent improvements to Safe Browsing, technology that protects more than 1.1 billion people all over the world. -Ed.
As the web continues to evolve, it’s important that user protections develop in lockstep so that people stay safe online. Our Safe Browsing technology may not be quite as old as the web—which celebrates its 26th birthday today—but ever since Safe Browsing launched nearly eight years ago, it’s continually adapted to protect web users, everywhere.
Safe Browsing gives users—both on Google and across on the web—information they need to steer clear of danger. The dangerous sites detected by Safe Browsing generally fall into two categories: sites that attack users intentionally with either malware, phishing, or unwanted software that is deceptive or hard to uninstall, or sites that attack users unintentionally because they have been compromised, often without the site’s owner realizing this has happened.
Once we detect these sites, Safe Browsing warns people about them in a variety of ways. You’ve probably come across a warning like this in Chrome, Firefox or Safari; it’s powered by Safe Browsing:
Today, Safe Browsing shows people more than 5 million warnings per day for all sorts of malicious sites and unwanted software, and discovers more than 50,000 malware sites and more than 90,000 phishing sites every month. If you’re interested, you can see information about the dangerous sites that are detected by this technology anytime in our Safe Browsing Transparency Report.
We also use Safe Browsing technology to warn website owners or operators about issues with their sites so they can quickly fix them. We provide basic site maintenance tips, as well as specific Safe Browsing notifications in Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. Often site owners don’t realize there are issues with their sites until they get these notifications.
Since its earliest days, Safe Browsing has been widely available, and free—for users, site owners, and other companies—to use and integrate into their own products. In the early days, we focused on detecting dangerous sites and then showing people warnings:
An early Safe Browsing notification, c. 2007. These would appear in the top right corner of people’s web browsers when they visited a site that had been flagged by Safe Browsing as potentially dangerous.
But, just as attacks become more sophisticated, we’ve made sure our own technologies have kept up. Over the years, we’ve built Safe Browsing into other Google products to help protect people in more places:
- Safe Browsing API: We already make Safe Browsing data available for free to developers. This week we’re adding information about sites that host unwanted software, allowing developers to better protect their users as well.
- Chrome: Before people visit a site delivering unwanted software, or try to download some of it, we show them a clear warning.
- Google Analytics: We recently integrated Safe Browsing notifications into Google Analytics, so site owners can quickly take action to protect their users if there are issues with their websites. Previously, we’d only provided these warnings via our Webmaster Tools service.
- Ads: We’ve also recently begun to identify ads that target people with unwanted software.
As the web grows up, Safe Browsing technology will, too. We’re looking forward to protecting the web, and its users, for many birthdays to come.
Posted by Panayiotis Mavrommatis, Safe Browsing Team
Category: Google | Mar 11, 2015
Two years ago, we introduced the first Chromebook Pixel. The idea was to bring together the best in hardware, software and design to inspire the next generation of Chromebooks. It’s been exciting to see how the entire range of Chromebooks—from classroom-proof to high-end—has made a difference to people at school, at home, and at work. Today, we’re introducing an updated and more powerful Pixel to fuel the imaginations of another wave of Chromebook enthusiasts. Plus, we’ve created a new, online Google Store where you can get the Pixel and other devices made with Google, all in one place.
One charger for all your stuff
These days, packing for a trip means remembering to bring all your different chargers—for your phone, laptop, tablet, watch, etc. We think you should be able to use just one charger for all your electronics. So for the new Pixel, we’ve joined forces with some of the biggest names in the industry to create a new standard for charging, called USB Type C. The Pixel is one of the first products to launch with this new standard, with more Chromebooks and Android devices following suit soon.
Not only does Type-C enable multi-device charging, but it also allows high-speed data and display over the same connector and cable. It’s small enough to work with smartphones, powerful enough to charge computers, and conveniently symmetrical (no more guessing which side is up!). Speaking of symmetry, the new Pixel doesn’t just have one Type C port—it has two, one on each side, so you can plug in wherever is convenient.
Like the original Pixel, the new Chromebook has a high-resolution touchscreen, a sleek aluminum body, and smooth glass trackpad. We’ve also made a few other enhancements, including a new wide-angle camera lens.
Of course, the Pixel is also great on the inside. It’s got a powerful Intel® Core™ i5 with 8GB RAM and a 32GB SSD. If that’s not enough for you, we’re making an LS (yup, that stands for “Ludicrous Speed”) version that’s even faster. And even with the new charger, you probably won’t be carrying it around much, since the new Pixel has 12 hours of battery life.* When you do need to top up, it’s fast—you’ll get up to two hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charging.*
Shop for the Pixel and more at the Google Store
We’ve been selling our devices on Google Play for years, but as we’ve added more products to the family, we thought it was time to make it easier for you to learn more about them. So today we’re also launching the Google Store, the new home for the latest devices made with Google.
At store.google.com, you can shop Nexus phones and tablets, Chromecast and Chromebooks, learn more about newer technology like Android Wear, Nexus Player and Nest, and stock up on accessories like cases, keyboards and chargers. You’ll see how the Google apps you already know—like Search, Maps and YouTube—work seamlessly with all these products. The Google Store is available on your phone, tablet, or laptop, and right now you’ll get free shipping on everything** (consider it our way of saying hello).
Once you’ve found the right device at the Google Store, you can still head to Google Play to find apps, games, music, movies, TV shows and more. If you recently bought a device on Google Play, don’t worry—your order info will automatically be transferred to the Google Store. See our Help Center for more information.
The Chromebook Pixel is available for purchase starting today in the U.S. on the new Google Store for $999 and $1299 for the LS version. Come check it out, and see what else is in store.
Posted by Andrew Bowers, Director of Consumer Hardware
*Battery life tested using Chromium standard PowerLoadTest at default brightness. The PowerLoadTest was created to emulate average user behavior and measure the resultant battery life. Charge time testing is measured by battery capacity increase with lid closed divided by average energy usage during PowerLoadtest. Battery life and charge time may vary depending on usage and other conditions.
**Free shipping applies to the lowest cost shipping option. Free shipping promotion may be modified or discontinued at any time.
Category: Google | Mar 8, 2015
Ask Liz Liao what accomplishment she’s most proud of, and she’ll tell you it’s not her master’s degree in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, her numerous published articles, or even the autonomous industrial robot she helped develop as a senior software engineer at Seegrid. Nope—according to Liz, her greatest achievement is co-founding Girl Develop It Minneapolis, a chapter in the national non-profit Girl Develop It, which provides hands-on programs and a network of support to women interested in learning web and software development.
3D imaging from the industrial robot, designed and built by Liz and her team
Liz often remembers being the only woman engineer on her team, but it wasn’t until she moved to a new city and spent more time working remotely that she began to feel isolated—and realized how important it was for her to have a community of like-minded people to connect with. She started volunteering with a few local organizations and started the local Girl Develop It chapter in 2014. In just seven months, her chapter has more than 500 members and Liz has found a network of people she can connect to.
There are many women like Liz who never find that sense of community and instead end up leaving tech permanently. Not only does that mean our industry is less diverse than it should be, but it also leads to less innovative products. That’s why it’s so important for Google to do our part in creating environments, programs and policies that help women in technology thrive. We’ve partnered with organizations like Girl Develop It, Women Who Code, Anita Borg Institute and the National Center for Women & Information Technology to create a more supportive environment for women in tech. And this International Women’s Day, we’re building on our efforts to empower women to become makers of technology. Here’s a look at what we’re up to:
Last year, Google started our Women Techmakers program to provide visibility, resources and a community for women in technology worldwide. This month we kicked off our second annual Women Techmakers Global Event Series, and we encourage you to attend an event to meet incredible women from around the world who are leading the technology industry. Create the future of wearables at a summit or from home with a brand new Android Wear Watch Face Codelab, and engage with the community using our hashtag #WTM15. For event highlights, photos and more check out Women Techmakers on Twitter and YouTube.
Share your wisdom with a #DearMe video letter
For many young girls, the path to finding themselves is filled with uncertainty. It’s hard to figure out what you want to do or who you want to be when you’re dealing with gossip, self-doubt and pressure from all sides. As part of our International Women’s Day celebration, we’re encouraging you to think back on the advice you wish you’d gotten when you were a young, and to share those words of wisdom with today’s teenage girls. Submit a video letter on YouTube tagged with #DearMe telling your younger self what you wish someone had told you. We’re looking forward to what you have to say.
A Doodle honoring women who transform the world
Finally, we couldn’t let International Women’s Day pass without a Doodle. So our homepage today celebrates the many ways women scientists, engineers, athletes, doctors, artists, explorers and more are changing the world.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Posted by Pavni Diwanji, VP of Engineering
Category: Google | Mar 6, 2015
This week we saw troll hunting, email drama and flying weasels top the trends charts. Read on to learn the details.
Yes, you did just see that
What’s furry, has wings and hits the trends charts with 50,000+ searches? A weasel woodpecker…or more accurately a weasel riding a woodpecker. Nature’s most unlikely pair was a top search on Monday after amateur photographer Martin Le-May snapped an incredible photo which went viral. Like most online phenomena, this one has its dissenters: many are speculating that the photo is a fake.
That wasn’t this week’s only unusual sight. Actor Jared Leto stepped out without his trademark flowing locks, instead sporting platinum blond short hair for his role in the new movie Suicide Squad. Leto’s new look leaves behind strands of ombre hair, the tears of thousands of fans, and 100,000+ searches.
Email: more trouble than it’s worth?
There was a spike in searches for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after news broke that she used her private email rather than an official government account while she was in office. The potential Democratic presidential candidate’s actions are drawing criticism from the media, although Republicans have remained surprisingly silent on the issue. To quell fears that she’s got something to hide, Clinton tweeted: “I want the public to see my email”—guess there aren’t any skeletons in this inbox.
Trolls exit here
Karma, meet Internet trolls. This week several prominent figures struck back at their online harassers, starting with baseball player Curt Schilling, who called out on his personal blog cyber bullies who had made offensive comments about his daughter on Twitter. Two of the commenters have already lost their jobs due to Schilling’s response, leading some people to dub him an “Internet Vigilante.” The situation has certainly raised Shilling’s profile: Searches for the former Red Sox player have hit their highest in years.
American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson was next to take a swing at the haters. When British TV personality Katie Hopkins tweeted multiple derogatory remarks about Clarkson’s weight, the singer stood up for herself and against body shaming. Clarkson responded saying, “I’m awesome,” and that she doesn’t seek acceptance from others. The social media universe gave the singer a collective “You go girl,” and pushed Clarkson to the top of the search charts.
Tip of the week
Daylight Savings Time is upon us! If you have a tendency to forget to change your (analog) clocks, just tell Google, “Remind me to change my clock,” and handle the issue while it’s still fresh in your memory.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [how to bleach] and [texts from hillary]
Category: Google | Feb 27, 2015
If you’re the kind of person who loves the Internet when it’s at its most Internet-ty, you had a good week. From llamas to retro cartoons to that darn dress, here’s a look at the past week in search:
Is it white and gold? Or blue and black? That’s the question that had everyone searching, tweeting and generally freaking out Thursday after a Tumblr user posted a photo of a dress that seemed to appear different colors to different people. Debate over the true color of the dress raged for hours, while others tried to solve the mystery of its divisiveness. All we know is, there were more than two million searches for [white and gold dress] yesterday—more than for [blue and black dress]—proving once and for all that it’s white and gold… right?
Before #thedress, though, there were the llamas. In Phoenix, Ariz., yesterday, two llamas got loose from their handlers and took off on a trot through neighborhood streets, yards and sidewalks. Searchers were captivated by the “llama drama,” which ended when police (l)lassoed the animals after a low-speed chase.
Obama says (K)nope
Armed with waffles, Lagavulin and a lot of tissues, we said farewell to NBC’s Parks and Recreation on Tuesday after a seven-year run. Searchers turned to the web to revisit favorite characters, quotes and episodes from the show that brought us “Treat Yo’ Self” and the Cones of Dunshire, while (wackily) celebrating the value of hard work, friendship and public service.
Moving from the small-town politics of Pawnee to the big-time in D.C., this week President Obama issued his third-ever Presidential veto, rejecting a bill that would have approved the Keystone XL Pipeline project. People turned to the web to learn more about Presidential veto power throughout history and the pipeline itself. What would Leslie and Ron make of all this, we wonder?
Woo-oo! Nineties kids are rejoicing following news that the Disney cartoon DuckTales is getting a reboot. Searches for the show spiked 8x the day after the announcement. Sounds like a lot of you are ready for some tales of derring-do in 2017.
And Madonna had a bit of a shaky week, after she fell backwards down a flight of stairs during her first performance at the Brit Awards in 20 years. But the Queen of Pop recovered quickly to finish her song “Living for Love.” She’s still an icon for a reason.
Tip of the week
This will be illuminating: if you have an Android device running Lollipop, you can flip the on/off switch on your phone’s flashlight just by saying “Ok Google, turn on my flashlight.” You can do the same trick to turn on or off WiFi or Bluetooth.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched for [lil sebastian] and [duck tales real ducks]
Category: Google | Feb 27, 2015
Not the sexiest title for a blog post, I know. But as we’ve inhabited a variety of workplaces—including a garage in Menlo Park, a farmhouse in Denmark and an entire New York city block—we’ve learned something about what makes an office space great. And we’re excited to put that into practice, starting here at our home in Mountain View.
Today we’re submitting a plan to redevelop four sites—places where we already have offices but hope to significantly increase our square footage—to the Mountain View City Council. It’s the first time we’ll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working.
The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. (Our self-driving car team, for example, has very different needs when it comes to office space from our Search engineers.) Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.
Of course, this project is about much more than just office space; it’s about doing more with the local community as well. So we’re adding lots of bike paths and retail opportunities, like restaurants, for local businesses. We also hope to bring new life to the unique local environment, from enhancing burrowing owl habitats to widening creek beds. And we’re committed to do everything we can to save energy—our recent agreement to offset our energy consumption in North Bayshore with renewable energy includes the development of this proposal.
We chose Mountain View for our headquarters 15 years ago because we love the beauty of the bay, the close proximity to great universities, the family-friendly environment and the chance to work in a city at the heart of Silicon Valley. Today, we want to create office spaces that don’t just provide a great home for Google, but which also work for the city that has given us so much.
We look forward to working with our neighbors at the City Council on this proposal—and the future of Mountain View’s North Bayshore.
Posted by David Radcliffe, Vice President, Real Estate
Category: Google | Feb 25, 2015
While winds howl, frost bites and snow falls, people dream of getting away from it all. Every year around this time, we see an uptick in searches for spring and summer travel from people who have had it up to here with winter. And in the middle of one of the coldest, snowiest, iciest winters on record in the U.S., you better believe people are gearing up to grab their suntan lotion and their carry-ons, and hop on a plane. Enter Google Flights, which makes it easy to plan the trip that’s right for you. Here are a few tips to help you book this year’s dream vacation.
Flexibility is key when finding great deals
There’s a travel myth that you can always find the best deals on Tuesday. But actually, you can find good deals any day of the week—especially if you’re flexible with your travel dates. Though it’s sometimes hard to pull the trigger because you’re afraid the price will drop tomorrow (or next Tuesday, maybe?), our experience shows it’s usually best to book right away.
Regardless of which day you sit down to plan your trip, you can use the calendar in Google Flights to scroll through months and see the lowest fare highlighted for each day. If you’re planning even further out, use the lowest fares graph beneath the calendar to see how prices may fluctuate based on the season, holidays or other events. You can also set preferences (such as direct flights only) and our calendar will adjust to show you just those flights and fares that fit the bill. Finally, if you can save more by using a nearby airport or flying on a different day, we’ll show you a tip at the top of your results.
Not sure about your destination? No problem
Sometimes, you know exactly where your destination needs to be—say, when you’re taking a business trip, or headed to a wedding or family reunion. But there are times when all you know is that you want to go somewhere. Maybe you want to go somewhere with a beach, but don’t care if it’s in Greece or the Caribbean. Or you want to visit Southeast Asia, but aren’t sure which countries to visit.
Our research shows more than half of searchers don’t know where they’re going to travel when they sit down to plan. With Google Flights, you can search for regions or whole countries, like “Flights to Europe” and “Flights to Mexico.” Or, expand the map to scan the entire world and see accurate prices for all the different cities you can fly to, along with filters for your flight preferences. If you’re in a particularly adventurous—or lazy—mood, select the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the map and we’ll suggest ideas for where to go based on popular destinations and your past search history.
But… cheaper isn’t always better
We all love a good deal, but when it comes to choosing flights, cheaper doesn’t always win—and no wonder, when sometimes that means two connections instead of none. On Google Flights, the vast majority of people choose one of the Best flights—considered to be flights that are the best combination of price and convenience. Try it out next time you’re looking for something that fits your schedule, not just your budget.
So once you’ve warmed your hands on that cup of hot cocoa, put them to work on your keyboard or phone. Google Flights is ready to find the best destinations, dates, fares and flights for you to get away from it all.
Posted by Eric Zimmerman, Product Manager, Google Flights (dreaming of warmth from my Boston ice prison)
Category: Google | Feb 23, 2015
One student celebrated Martin Luther King Day. Another created a music video with a nod to a Frozen princess. A third invited a cold polar bear in for holiday cheer. All these students are participants in Google CS First, a program that teaches 9- to 14-year-olds how to use computer science (CS) to express themselves and their interests. In the process, they get a window into the world of coding and learn skills that may be useful to them in the future.
We launched CS First back in 2013, and since then more than 19,000 students have participated at one of 1,300+ CS First clubs around the country, most run by teachers, parents and volunteers. All our CS First materials are free and available online, and the curriculum is designed for everyone to work at their own pace, meaning it’s accessible even to people who are new to technology. It’s also designed to tap into students’ existing interests, showing them how CS can integrate with the rest of their lives. Inspired by fashion, art, music, politics and more, students have used code to build videos, games and stories on topics big and small, from how they met their best friends to solving global hunger.
CS First participants at Sedgefield Middle School in Goose Creek, SC look over a friend’s shoulder at her project
Now, we’re partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Corporation for National and Community Service to bring CS First to even more students across the country. A new group of 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members will spend a year helping local Boys & Girls Clubs incorporate CS First and other educational programs into their slate of activities, giving more young people, especially those who might not otherwise be exposed to coding, greater access to computer science education.
Computer science is increasingly important to building a successful career, in fields varying from medicine to architecture to music. But today, there aren’t enough computer scientists to fill the available jobs—and on top of that, many populations aren’t equally represented in the field. According to code.org, only 8 percent of people who take the Advanced Placement Computer Science Exam are students of color, and only 15 percent are women. And while women earn 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, only 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women. We want to expand the pool of technologists, and make sure that all young people, regardless of background or resources, have access to high-quality CS education from an early age.
That’s what this new effort is all about. Our partners have long been committed to supporting young people and communities. Boys & Girls Clubs of America gives young people access to opportunities to help them become productive and responsible citizens during out of school time. And AmeriCorps VISTA taps the skills and passion of more than 7,000 Americans annually to support community efforts to overcome poverty. Working together, we can empower more young people with the technical know-how they need to succeed in today’s society and economy.
Join us in making CS more accessible to more kids, and apply on the AmeriCorps website by March 1. If accepted, you’ll come to the Google headquarters in Mountain View for training before spending a year in one of six cities. Best of all, your year of service will make a real difference in the lives of young people.
Posted by Kate Berrio, Google CS First Program Manager
Category: Google | Feb 23, 2015
When we were kids, if we wanted to learn more about gorillas or how to make friendship bracelets, our parents pointed us to an encyclopedia, or took us to the library. When we wanted to watch cartoons, we eagerly awaited Saturday morning. Today’s kids have it even better—they have all of these options, plus a world of knowledge and information at their fingertips via the Internet. That opens up wonderful opportunities, but also can cause some worry for those of us who are parents.
So over the past year, teams across Google—including many passionate parents—have been looking at how families are using our products, and how we can make it easier for children and parents to explore and play together. We decided to start with YouTube.
For years, families have come to YouTube, watching countless hours of videos on a variety of topics. And today, we’re launching YouTube Kids, a new family-friendly app that makes it easy for kids to explore a vast selection of videos on any topic.
In the new YouTube Kids app, available on Android and iOS in the U.S., videos are narrowed to focus on content that is appropriate for the whole family. You might explore DIY arts and crafts, learn how to find the circumference of a circle, or watch favorites from Mother Goose Club to Minecraft, as well as new series from National Geographic Kids and Reading Rainbow. And there are more train videos than even you can count.
We’ve designed the app to be easier for kids to use, with a brighter and bigger interface that’s perfect for small thumbs and pudgy fingers. For parents, we’ve built in options that let you decide how your family uses the app, including the ability to set viewing limits with a timer.
Head over to YouTube’s blog to learn more. This is just our first step—we’ll keep tinkering and hope to have more great products for your family soon.
Posted by Pavni Diwanji, VP of Engineering, and Shimrit Ben-Yair, Product Manager, both moms of two
Category: Google | Feb 20, 2015
What we learned this week on search: New England’s stuck in a winter wonderland, Cindy Crawford doesn’t need makeup to look better than the rest of us and Lady Gaga’s caught in a good romance. Read on to learn the details.
Baby, it’s (still) cold outside
What better way to start your morning than with seven feet of snow? That’s what the lucky people of New England are saying (or not saying) as they endure the wrath of the aptly named Thundersnow. This type of storm occurs when a thunderstorm features snow instead of rain, and is just the latest storm in a record-breaking month of winter weather. The phenomena led to 20,000+ searches, which might have at least a little to do with The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore’s on-air celebration when the storm hit. Whatever makes you happy, Jim.
A date with destiny
All eyes will be on the Academy Awards this Sunday, and people are prepping for their Oscar parties turning to the Internet to find out who’s up for Best Actor and Best Actress. But the highlight of the event is the Best Picture Category, which many consider to be a tight race this year. The favorites are Boyhood and Birdman, but if searches this past month determined the winner, it would be Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
And if we’re talking about a night out with the stars, does anyone know where Cindy Crawford is? This past week, unretouched photos of the American supermodel appeared online and, well—she still looked stunning. The photo went viral and drummed up a discussion on the media’s portrayal of female beauty.
Last call is in…
The party didn’t stop at midnight this past Tuesday as people started their Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday celebrations. Searches for the holiday spiked on February 17, and there was an increase in searches for New Orleans delicacies beignets and King Cake. On the other side of the world, many people in Asia welcomed the Year of the Goat (or sheep…or ram…whichever you prefer) as they rang in the Lunar New Year with style, not to mention topping the charts with more than 2 million searches.
Sparks are flying
Lady Gaga electrified search this week when she announced that she’s switching her Poker Face for a wedding veil to marry boyfriend Taylor Kinney. Fans of the pop queen took to the web to find photos of her heart-shaped engagement ring and new fiancé, causing searches for Kinney to hit an all-time high. Doesn’t sound like a bad romance to us.
Speaking of electricity, this past Wednesday our doodle marked the 270th birthday of the godfather of all Energizer Bunnies, Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the first electrical battery. Searches for “Who is Alessandro Volta” and the “voltaic pile” hit highs, ensuring that the great inventor will be remembered for years to come.
Tip of the week
Don’t have time to watch the three-hour-long Academy Awards this weekend? Just search for the Oscars in the Google App and you’ll find the latest info on what just happened, from acceptance speeches to behind-the-scenes moments.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [mother monster] and [doogie howser takes the oscars]