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Sheep View: Where there’s a wool, there’s a way

Category: Google | Aug 31, 2016

Over the past three months, Durita Andreassen and a few friendly sheep equipped with solar-powered cameras strapped to their woolly backs set out to collect imagery of the Faroe Islands for Street View. The 18 Faroe Islands are home to just 50,000 people, but — fittingly for a country whose name means “Sheep Island” — there are 70,000 sheep roaming the green hills and volcanic cliffs of the archipelago. So when Durita decided to document the country for Street View, sheep weren’t a baaad place to start.

Sheep View 360

When we herd about the Sheep View project, we thought it was shear brilliance. So we decided to help the Faroese by supplying them with a Street View trekker and 360 cameras via our Street View camera loan program. Last week, the Google Maps team arrived in the Faroe Islands to help train and equip the local community to capture even more (but slightly less woolly) Street View imagery.

Now that the Faroe Islands is supplied with a Trekker and 360 cameras, residents and tourists can assist the sheep in collecting Street View imagery of their beautiful lands using selfie-sticks, bikes, backpacks, cars, kayaks, horses, ships and even wheelbarrows. The Visit Faroe Islands office in Tórshavn and Atlantic Airways at the airport will be lending out Street View 360 cameras to visitors willing to lend a hoof.

The Faroe Islands have shown us that even sheep can contribute to Street View. If your hometown or favorite hiking trail hasn’t made it into Google Maps yet, grab your own 360 camera or apply to borrow one from us through our Street View camera loan program. We’re excited to see what ewe map!

Posted by David Castro González de Vega, Google Maps Program Manager David Castro González de Vega Google Maps Program Manager Google <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>


Search is a Jack of all trades

Category: Google | Aug 25, 2016

Today we’re dealing two new hands from the Google Search deck: solitaire and tic-tac-toe. Now you can play two of the oldest and most popular games for all ages, on desktop and in the Google app.

It’s been said solitaire’s roots are in fortune telling. If that’s true, today your fate rests on your quick wit and the luck of the draw. When you search for “solitaire” on Google, the familiar patience game may test yours!

If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, tic-tac-toe is your best bet. In this game of naughts and crosses, you can select your level of difficulty or even go head to head against a friend. Xs and Os to the winner (hugs and kisses, that is!).

For some other fun tips, try asking Google, “what sound does a pig make?” Or if you’re looking to settle a bet and feeling lucky, “flip a coin” may come in handy.

These are just a sample of the delightful surprises that await you on Google. After all, Search is for so much more than research and practical matters — it’s for fun, too!

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Explore the hidden worlds of the National Parks

Category: Google | Aug 25, 2016

In the Kenai Fjords, the ice is so dense it forms blues brighter than the clear Alaskan sky above. The molten rock around the (very) active Kīlauea Volcano appears to swirl and move — and sometimes it really does! At Bryce Canyon, one of the darkest places in North America, you can see the massive Milky Way glittering across the night sky.

The U.S. National Parks are full of wonders, but most people don’t get the chance to visit in person. While nothing beats the real thing, for this month’s 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, we wanted to see if we could use Google’s technology to help share the parks with everyone.
Starting today anyone can take a virtual tour of some of our most breathtaking National Parks, no matter where you are, with Google’s The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.

This Google Arts & Culture exhibit and interactive documentary in honor of this month’s NPS Centennial is available on the web and in the Google Arts & Culture App on iOS/Android. You can immerse yourself in 360-degree video tours through some of the most remote and breathtaking places in five different National Parks. And if you want to learn more about what you’re seeing, you can browse the fascinating archive of artifacts from the National Parks’ many museums.

At each park, a local ranger guides you through places most people never get to go — spelunking through ancient caves at Carlsbad Caverns, flying above active volcanoes in Hawai’i, and swimming through the coral reefs of the Dry Tortugas in Florida.

We’ve also created the Hidden Worlds Expedition for educators to help open up new learning opportunities and share these experiences with even more people. The Expedition can be accessed on the Expeditions App (available on Google Play and iOS in the U.S.).

Today’s Doodle celebrating U.S. National Parks & monuments. More info at

The National Parks are American treasures, and everyone should see what they have to offer. We hope that by making it easy for people to get a taste of the wilderness, we can encourage a new generation of parks goers to head out and explore in person. Get ready for an adventure!

Posted by Nick Carbonaro, Creative Lead Nick Carbonaro Creative Lead


Meet Google Duo, a simple 1-to-1 video calling app for everyone

Category: Google | Aug 16, 2016

Video calling is the next best thing to being with someone in person, but too often it can be a frustrating or complicated experience. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether your call will connect, or if your friend is using the same type of device as you are. It’s no wonder that nearly half of us never make video calls on mobile*.

Today, we’re releasing Google Duo — a simple 1-to-1 video calling app available for Android and iOS. Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are.

Google Duo works across Android and iOS — all you need is a phone number

Simple interface

Duo is simple from start to finish. To get started, all you need is your phone number and you’ll be able to reach people in your phone’s contacts list. No separate account is required, so you can sign up in just a few steps. From there, you can instantly begin a video call with a single tap.

Fast and reliable
We all know how it feels when a call fails to connect or when video gets choppy. We’ve built Duo to be fast and reliable, so that video calls connect quickly and work well even on slower networks. Call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected — when bandwidth is limited, Duo will gracefully reduce the resolution to keep the call going smoothly. For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call. You can start your call at home, and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door.

Human design
We designed Duo to feel warm and inviting, focused on just you and the person you’re calling. To make calls feel more like an invitation rather than an interruption, we created a feature in Duo called Knock Knock which lets you see live video of your caller before you answer, giving you a sense of what they’re up to and why they want to chat. Knock Knock makes video calling more spontaneous and welcoming, helping you connect with the person before you even pick up.

Knock Knock in Duo lets you see who’s calling before you pick up

Finally, we built Duo with an emphasis on privacy and security, and all Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted.

Give your friends a wave with Duo! We’re beginning to roll out Duo for Android and iOS today, and it will be live worldwide in the next few days.

Posted by Justin Uberti, Principal Software Engineer Justin Uberti Principal Software Engineer Google <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: Justin Uberti Principal Software Engineer Google –>


Dive (or run, swim, vault…) into the Olympics with Google Trends

Category: Google | Aug 9, 2016

This year’s Olympics in Rio brings together 10,500 athletes from 200+ countries to participate in 306 events, from archery to wrestling. To help you get even more out of the Games, we’ve created a Google Trends Olympic Hub where you can find fun facts, data insights, feature pages on sports and athletes, and more.

Olympics Trends Hub
Throughout the next few weeks, Google Trends will give you a unique view into the games with a new Trends Hub just for the Olympics. There, you’ll be able to see which athletes, events and moments are captivating audiences—and searches—worldwide. For example, which country is searching for beach volleyball the most? Landlocked Switzerland. And the title of most searched grandmother in the world goes to British swimmer Adam Peaty’s nan.

Here’s some of what you can expect from Trends over the next few weeks:

  • Search insights revealing what the world is wondering about the events—from fencing to synchronized swimming (and every moment in between!)
  • Data interactives like our alternative medal table and top searched sports per country
  • Trending sports and athletes lists, showing what’s of interest at any given moment

Explore Trends in a new way
As you explore the site, you may notice something else—a new Google Trends Explore page. With a fresh design and features like a color-coded map, you can analyze search data in new ways. For example, you can compare interest in previous Olympic Games over the years:

Every four years, the Olympics captivate the world’s attention. We’re excited to be able to help fans get even more out of the Games with insights from Search.

Posted by Lisa Creed, Product Manager Lisa Creed Product Manager <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: Abbi Tatton Editorial Elf Google –>


Go bananas for the 2016 Doodle Fruit Games

Category: Google | Aug 4, 2016

The summer just got sweeter. Today marks the season opener of the 2016 Doodle Fruit Games. For the next couple of weeks in the latest Google app for Android and iOS, journey to an otherwise unassuming fruit stand in Rio, where produce from all over the market are ripe to compete for the title of freshest fruit.

The name of today’s featured game is to see who’s the fastest fruit on the track in this berry special race. Don’t be MELONcholy if your sprint turns into more of a smoothie.

If you like the taste of that, be sure to weave your way through the ice cooler to see if you’re the chillest lemon around. Remember: No one likes sour losers!

We hope you find these fruits as apPEELing as we do. And don’t forget to share your cherry impressive results with friends to see who claims the top seed. These two games are just a taste of what’s in store, so come back to the Google app throughout the week to catch the featured game of the day.


Posted by Matt Cruickshank, Google Doodler Matt Cruickshank Google Doodler Google <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: Matt Cruickshank Google Doodler Google –>


Let Google be your guide to Rio de Janeiro

Category: Google | Aug 1, 2016

The modern Olympic Games have been a defining moment for athletes and fans alike dating back to 1896. Next week, the 2016 cauldron will be lit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where thousands of athletes will come together to represent the strength and pride of their home countries with the world as their audience.

In celebration of the next chapter in Olympics history, we’re bringing the best our products have to offer to help people around the world stay up-to-date with the Olympic Games Rio 2016:

  • Discover the event schedule, medal counts, and athlete information in Search
  • Get results and view TV schedules in 30+ countries
  • Watch official broadcasters’ event highlights on YouTube in 60+ countries
  • Explore Rio and venues in Google Maps
  • Keep up to date with the latest search Trends from around the world

On Google, searching for information about your favorite athletes and sports, the medal race, or your country’s schedule has never been easier. Pro tip: if you search on the Google app on Android and iOS, you’ll also see an option to get automatic updates on top event and medal wins, so you’ll never miss a beat.

To give you a glimpse into the Games, watch official broadcasters’ video highlights on YouTube in more than 60 countries around the world. And as an added bonus, YouTube is sending 15 top creators to Rio, giving you a taste of what it’s like to be there with mobile live streaming.

With Street View in Google Maps, everyone can enjoy the magic of Rio de Janeiro. Even if you’re a world away, preview the places where the world’s most talented athletes will make history and explore the breathtaking beauty of Brazil.

Google Trekker operator captures 360-degree imagery from inside Rio’s Olympic Park

Great triumphs, victories and stunning surprises await us all this summer. This is just a hint of what’s to come—we hope you’ll let Google be your guide.

Posted by Jonathan Livni, Product Manager Jonathan Livni Product Manager <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: Jonathan Livni Product Manager Google –>


Explore Rio from every angle

Category: Google | Jul 29, 2016

With its beautiful beaches and breathtaking landscape, Rio de Janeiro is a city that appears on every traveler’s bucket list. Now, thanks to the wonders of technology, you can now explore the “Marvelous City” and its rich cultural heritage even if you can’t make the trip. We partnered with eight of Rio’s top cultural institutions to create an interactive online collection of some of the city’s most famous art exhibits and landmarks on Google Arts & Culture. Bem-vindos ao Rio!

Arts, monuments and more
The collection includes 360° panoramas with Street View technology, some 3,000 images from photo archives and art exhibits, virtual reality tours with Google Cardboard and videos showcasing a new generation of Cariocas making their mark in the city’s cultural landscape. From iconic monuments and spectacular views, to the history of Guanabara Bay and the majestic Theatro Municipal, these online exhibits capture Rio from every angle.

Take an interactive tour of Rio’s best-known monument—the Christ the Redeemer statue perched atop Corcovado mountain—or explore its storied musical history through album covers designed by Elifas Andreato.

Left: Bronze statue of Carlos Drummond de Andrade Right: Exploring Elifas’ album covers through time

You can also go back in time by taking a peek at one of the richest collections of archival photographs of Rio, or tag along on a guided tour of the works of Rio-based artist and author Ziraldo, whose comics and children’s books have marked the lives of generations of Brazilians.

Take a virtual reality tour with Cardboard

Mapping the whole city
A huge part of Rio’s history and culture resides in the hillside favelas that dot the landscape. In fact, one in five Rio residents live in favelas, but only 0.001 percent of the city’s favelas appear on the map. That means 1.4 million people have no addresses to list on job applications or bank accounts, and aren’t able to access many economic opportunities, essential services, even basic rights as citizens. So we teamed up with local NGO Grupo Cultural AfroReggae to map the favelas. Two years later, streets and 10,000+ local businesses in 26 favelas now appear on Google Maps, thanks to “Tá no Mapa,” our “On the Map” project.

The Rocinha favela before and after our mapping project

This new online collection opens its virtual doors today at on Google Arts & Culture. It is available on the web on mobile, tablet and desktop, and on the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS and Android devices.

With the world’s eyes on Rio, we’re excited to give you a glimpse of all the splendor and creativity the city has to offer!

Posted by Alessandro Germano, Global Product Partnerships
Alessandro Germano Global Product Partnerships


Google Play Family Library: Share what you love with the ones you love

Category: Google | Jul 27, 2016

Friday night is movie night at our home, and my wife and I look forward to our weekly ritual of putting the kids to bed, getting some takeout, and catching up on our movie wishlist. Whether it’s making the BLUE STEEL face from Zoolander, swapping tips on playing Monument Valley, or reading Dragons Love Tacos to the kids at bedtime, these shared moments bring us closer together.

For families like mine, who bond over shared entertainment, we’re introducing Family Library, a way for up to six family members to share purchases on Google Play. When you buy an eligible app, game, movie, TV show, or book in the Play Store, you can now share it with your family—across devices—with no additional sign-up fee.

Share across your family’s devices
Today’s families have a lot of devices, and it should be easy to share content no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Everyone in my family loves the Star Wars movies and we all want to be able to watch them, on our phones, tablets, laptops, or TV. All purchases added to Family Library are available across Android devices, and movies, TV shows, and books can be enjoyed on iOS devices and the web.

Easily manage sharing and family purchases
As with most family matters, flexibility and choice is important. With Family Library, you can choose which items you want to share and which to keep to yourself—for example, I’ll probably keep my collection of comic books in my personal library. Flexibility is also built into your purchasing options. When you sign up, you’ll select a credit card to share as your family payment method, but your family members will always have the option of buying stuff with their personal credit cards or gift cards. And for your younger family members, you’ll have the option to approve each of their purchases.

Share a Music subscription with your family
Finally, if your family loves music, you can also subscribe to the Google Play Music family plan. On this plan, up to six family members can stream millions of songs on demand for $14.99 a month. We launched the family plan late last year, and today we’re expanding it to Ireland, Italy, Mexico, and New Zealand. And you can now sign up on the web, in addition to your Android device.

Starting today, Family Library will be rolling out over the next few days and will be available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. To get started, sign up in Google Play, invite your family members, and start sharing what you love!

Posted by Raj Iyengar, Product Manager, Google Play Raj Iyengar Product Manager Google Play <!– INSTRUCTIONS Enter info below to be used in site blog syndication. Leave elements empty if there is no valid data. Example: Raj Iyengar Product Manager Google Play –>


The art of collaboration

Category: Google | Jul 20, 2016

Warhol & Basquiat. Buñuel & Dalí. Rauschenberg & Johns. There are countless examples of artists collaborating to bring a shared creative vision to life. So we wondered: Could technology help bring together two artists who might not otherwise meet? What would they create…if their canvas was a spreadsheet? And how could we celebrate and share their work of art with the world?

In partnership with Refinery29, a lifestyle digital media company, we linked up with renowned illustrators Marina Esmeraldo in Barcelona, and Mallory Heyer in NYC. We gave them a simple creative assignment—to “break the grid”—which literally can mean pushing the “grid” of Google Sheets to its limits, but also taps into the idea of supporting and celebrating women globally who break free of confined roles and ways of thinking, which is core to Refinery29’s mission.

Marina and Mallory connected a handful of times on Google Hangouts to plan and sketch out ideas, and creatively “hack” Sheets in order to make art: resizing cells into thousands of pixel-like squares, merging cells to create color blocks, creating vibrant color gradients with conditional formatting and cell values, and other cool things we had no idea you could do with Sheets.

The result was a bright, beautiful design that celebrates the diversity and strength of women, and we wanted to share their finished project in a BIG way.

The final step was to convert Marina and Mallory’s final piece from the cells of a spreadsheet to the bricks of a giant wall—to go from Sheets to the streets. So, we turned to Colossal Media, a Brooklyn-based company that hand-paints murals all over the world.

After hand-mixing each of the colors and prepping the artwork for large-scale painting, Colossal spent five days painting each cell, letter, and gradient by hand, to create a 13’ x 34’ mural of the spreadsheet.

And that’s how art was #madewithGoogleSheets.

To see it for yourself, check out Marina & Mallory’s spreadsheet or head to Bogart & Thames in Brooklyn to visit the wall in person (until August 14). We’re delighted by the creativity and imagination brought about by artistic collaboration, and proud to be associated with the work’s inspirational message supporting strong women everywhere.

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