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Category: Google | Aug 22, 2014
It was an emotional rollercoaster on search this week. Read on to learn more about what made people laugh and cry.
Tragedies and scandals
The world was shocked by a video showing the execution of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Questions remain about how the United States will respond to the incident. And there was sad news closer to home too. TV lost an icon when Saturday Night Live’s announcer of 40+ years, Don Pardo, passed away at 96.
While some searchers were in mourning, others were looking for answers. Texas Governor and potential GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry was indicted this week on charges of abuse of power. Perry pleaded not guilty to all charges, but that didn’t stop searchers from investigating. And while people had their detective hats on, they also looked into the Louisville Purge, a social media hoax based off the horror movie series The Purge. The hoax claimed that all residents of Louisville, Kentucky would have 24 hours to commit any crime they want—without repercussion. Does anyone take social media that seriously?
“J” as in “J is the only letter that matters”
You’d think our favorite letter would be the letter “G,” and normally that’s the case—but not this week as J-named celebrities jacked the trends charts. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champion Julianna Hough is taking off her dancing shoes and getting comfortable behind the judge’s table in a new role on the show. Meanwhile, rumors flew like mockingjays this week that actress Jennifer Lawrence has a new beau— the consciously uncoupled Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. And when there’s action going on you know Johnny Manziel won’t be too far away. Searchers were baffled this week when Johnny Football decided to show the Washington bench that he, um, was “number one.”
Deep sea video gaming
Searchers took a trip down memory lane when former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan went head-to-head with Jimmy Fallon in the classic Nintendo 64 game “GoldenEye 007.” Unfortunately, Brosnan’s experience as the untouchable Bond didn’t quite translate into video games skills. But Bond wasn’t the only one sleeping with the fishes. There were rough waters this week for sharks… more specifically this shark, who was swallowed whole in one bite by a goliath Grouper. Consider shark week officially over. (^^^)
Tip of the week
Want a fast way to calculate the tip? Stop counting on your fingers and just ask Google “How much is the tip on a $27 bill?” to get the amount. You can also adjust the tip percent and divide the bill by the number of people in your party, right in the search results.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched was [live from new york] and searched for [giant fish].
Category: Google | Aug 15, 2014
Demonstrations in Missouri and the death of Robin Williams had people searching for a greater understanding this week.
Losing a Hollywood legend
First up, the news of Robin Williams’ death sparked tens of millions of searches about the beloved actor’s life and career. Legions of fans searched for every one of their favorite films from Williams’ decades-long career; top topics include Hook, Jumanji and Good Morning Vietnam. Many were looking up his most memorable quotes and roles, including the “O captain, my captain” monologue in Dead Poets Society, Genie’s first scene in Aladdin, and a standup bit about golf. Others searched for tributes by Williams’ fellow actors and comedians, like Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien. And just yesterday, news that the actor had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease led people to the web once again.
Two days after Williams’ death, Lauren Bacall passed away at the age of 89, inspiring people to search for more information on the actress, in particular her marriage to Humphrey Bogart back in Hollywood’s golden age.
Unrest in Missouri
Protests ignited in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri this weekend after an unarmed teenager named Mike Brown was shot and killed by police on Saturday. People turned to search to learn more about the conflict, and searches for terms like [ferguson riot] and [ferguson shooting] rose by more than 1,000%.
Math and science phenomena
Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor of mathematics at Stanford, was awarded the 2014 Fields Medal this week for her work on understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces such as spheres. She is the first woman and first Iranian to win the prize, considered the Nobel Prize of mathematics.
Turning from one sphere to a celestial one, two astronomical events led searchers to the web to learn more. The Perseid meteor shower had its annual peak this week—and got a doodle for the occasion—and the brightest super moon of the year had everyone a little lun-y.
Ice ice bucket
This week saw a rise in searches for [als] thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral campaign to raise money to fight what’s better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. From Martha Stewart to Justin Timberlake to your college roommate, odds are you know someone who’s dumped a bucket of icy water on themselves for the cause. The ALS Association has received millions of dollars in donations as a result, though we don’t have any numbers on how many brave folks took the plunge.
Tip of the week
Still basking in the glow of that super moon? Learn more about our familiar friend in the sky by asking your Google Search app on iPhone or Android, “How far away is the moon?” and get an answer spoken back to you. You can then ask, “How big is it?” Google will understand what “it” you’re talking about and give you the 411.
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [is handedness genetic] and [play it again dick]
Category: Google | Aug 8, 2014
We may be hitting the last days of summer but the heat is still picking up, especially on search. Read on to learn what sizzled on the trends charts this past week.
Trouble in paradise
Would you turn down a free trip to Hawaii? Julio and Iselle aren’t. The two hurricanes are barreling towards the islands, bringing 90 mph winds, flash floods and hordes of searches with them. If Iselle makes landfall, she’ll be the first hurricane to hit the Big Island since 1950. Julio, like the tag-a-long younger brother, is right on Iselle’s tail. You can review tips on how to stay safe during hurricane season here.
A Hawaiian hurricane isn’t the only trouble brewing in the air. Searchers had a virtual panic attack when Facebook went down for a couple hours last Friday. In a state of shock, some people even called the police to assist with their social media emergency. Meanwhile, a toxin called microcystin is contaminating the waters in parts of Ohio, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to stockpile bottled water and look for answers on the Internet.
But there’s only one thing that can distract us from the craziness of real life… and that’s the sheer absurdity of reality TV. Viewers and searchers tuned in to watch the premiere of the Bachelor in Paradise, an elimination-style show where contestants compete for love. This is probably not what Cervantes meant when he wrote that all’s fair in love and war.
First let me take a selfie
As if the world couldn’t get any more litigious, a British photographer is taking on Wikimedia over a selfie—and not just any selfie, a monkey selfie. After a curious crested black macaque came upon David Slater’s camera equipment and fulfilled nature’s call by taking a selfie, the photo went viral and was eventually uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, an online repository of free to use images, sound, and other media. Slater asked Wikimedia to take it down on copyright infringement grounds, and Wikimedia said no. Their argument: the photo wasn’t Slater’s work — it was the monkey’s. We’ll leave it up to you to decide who you think is right.
Fortunately, at least one dispute this week was resolved: The stars of the hit science geek themed show, The Big Bang Theory, signed new contracts that would pay them $1 million per episode. We’re betting that somehow the line “Show me the Money” is going to make it into the script. A real-life scientist also managed to crack the trends charts when our doodle celebrating John Venn, the creator of the Venn Diagram, got searchers excited to discover what the intersections between sea-life and something with wings.
Who runs the world? Girls!
Let’s be honest, can anyone really get enough Beyonce in their life? Her “On the Run” tour with that other mildly successful artist/mogul just topped $100 million in ticket sales and now the remix of her song “Flawless” featuring Nicki Minaj is getting searchers into a frenzy. This woman can do no wrong (except maybe).
Beyonce may cast a shadow that dwarfs us all, but two other women are holding their own on the search charts. WBNA star Becky Hammon became the NBA’s first female assistant coach when she joined the staff of the San Antonio Spurs. (We’ll call that a crack in the glass backboard.) And First Daughter Malia Obama nearly stole the show at Lollapalooza following her appearance among fellow festival-goers in Chicago.
Tip of the Week
Taking a hike is one of the best ways to enjoy the last days of summer. But it’s always safer to hike in the daylight hours. Before you head out, remember to ask the Google App, “When is sunset?” to help you plan accordingly.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [reality tv is better than sitcoms] and [fomo].
Category: Google | Aug 6, 2014
Kenneth Shinozuka, from New York City, wants to help people with Alzheimer’s Disease, like his grandfather. Kenneth developed a small, wearable sensor to be worn on his grandfather’s foot. When pressure is applied to the sensor, it alerts his family via a mobile app, which allows them to monitor when his grandfather is on the move. By monitoring this behavior, Kenneth hopes to understand the causes of wandering brought on by Alzheimer’s, and to ultimately find a way to mitigate or prevent it.
Samuel Burrow, from the U.K., wants to improve the environment by reducing pollution. Taking inspiration from the chemical used in sunscreen, Samuel created a special coating that reduces waste chemicals in the air when subjected to ambient light. And Cynthia Sin Nga Lam, from Australia, thinks everyone deserves access to clean water and created an eco-friendly and economical device to do just that.
These are just a few examples of the 15 incredible projects we’ve named as the global finalists for 2014 Google Science Fair. This is our fourth time hosting the competition as a way to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers. From Russia to Australia, India to Canada, this year’s finalists (ages 13-18) are already well on their way to greatness. See all 15 projects on the Google Science Fair website.
Special recognition also goes to Kenneth, who has also been awarded the Scientific American Science In Action Award. The prize celebrates a project that addresses a health, resource or environmental challenge, and comes with a year’s mentoring from Scientific American and a $50,000 grant toward the project.
What’s next for our young scientists? Well, next month, they’ll be California-bound to compete at Google HQ for the three Age Category Awards (ages 13-14, 15-16, 17-18) and of course, the overall Google Science Fair Grand Prize Award. The competition will end in style with an awards ceremony, which will be live streamed on the Science Fair YouTube channel and on our website. Tune in to be one of the first to find out this year’s winners!
But first, you get to have your say! We need you to pick your favorite project for the 2014 Voter’s Choice Award. Show your support for the finalists and cast a vote on the Google Science Fair website beginning September 1. Every year, we’re blown away by the projects and ideas these young people come up with, and you will be too.
Posted by Clare Conway, on behalf of the Google Science Fair team
Category: Google | Aug 5, 2014
Cross-posted on the Official Gmail Blog
Whether your email address is firstname.lastname@ or something more expressive like corgicrazy@, an email address says something about who you are. But from the start, email addresses have always required you to use non-accented Latin characters when signing up. Less than half of the world’s population has a mother tongue that uses the Latin alphabet. And even fewer people use only the letters A-Z. So if your name (or that of your favorite pet) contains accented characters (like “José Ramón”) or is written in another script like Chinese or Devanagari, your email address options are limited.
But all that could change. In 2012, an organization called the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) created a new email standard that supports addresses with non-Latin and accented Latin characters (e.g. 武＠メール.グーグル). In order for this standard to become a reality, every email provider and every website that asks you for your email address must adopt it. That’s obviously a tough hill to climb. The technology is there, but someone has to take the first step.
Today we’re ready to be that someone. Starting now, Gmail (and shortly, Calendar) will recognize addresses that contain accented or non-Latin characters. This means Gmail users can send emails to, and receive emails from, people who have these characters in their email addresses. Of course, this is just a first step and there’s still a ways to go. In the future, we want to make it possible for you to use them to create Gmail accounts.
Last month, we announced the addition of 13 new languages in Gmail. Language should never be a barrier when it comes to connecting with others and with this step forward, truly global email is now even closer to becoming a reality.
Posted by Pedro Chaparro Monferrer, Software Engineer
Category: Google | Aug 1, 2014
The dog days of summer are upon us (just look at the last time we posted on this here blog), but there’s still plenty of excitement to keep search buzzing. From big baseball news to blockbusters, here’s a look at the last seven days in search:
This season’s MLB trade deadline was yesterday, and as news of surprise trades emerged, people were quick to catch the latest via search. More than half of the day’s hot trends were baseball-related, and searches for the blogs [mlb trade rumors] reached their highest volume all year. From the three-way trade that landed David Price in Detroit and Austin Jackson in Seattle to the A’s-Red Sox swap of Jon Lester and Yoenis Céspedes, it was quite the active Deadline Day.
Thanks in large part to nerdfest Comic-Con, it was a week of sneak peeks for movie fans. First up: the reboot of Mad Max. The long-awaited remake of the Australian classic premiered its trailer at the conference last weekend, and fans got their first real glimpse of
Bane Tom Hardy as Max. Meanwhile, a sneak peek of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the forthcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice made waves. And a new teaser trailer for Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 gave us a new glimpse at Katniss as the face of the rebellion.
Though neither film will be in theaters for some time, fans are keeping busy in the meantime: searches for new releases Guardians of the Galaxy, Lucy and Hercules were all high on the charts. And those who prefer their movies with a hefty serving of camp to go with their popcorn had more than enough to satisfy them with Sharknado 2: The Second One. Searches for [sharknado 2 trailer] were up 95 percent over the past month, and the movie was one of the top topics Wednesday when it premiered on Syfy. Simply stunning. Finally, the trailer for the movie version of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods had musical theater lovers ready for more.
Searching for symptoms
An ebola outbreak in West Africa has people concerned about the spread of the deadly epidemic. Searches for [ebola] are at their highest ever, up 2,000%, and related searches like [ebola in nigeria], [ebola symptoms] and [what is ebola] grew too. Worldwide, Liberia had the highest search volume of any country.
Tip of the week
Next time you’re invited to a summer barbecue, let Google help you remember to pick up a snack or six-pack to contribute to the fiesta. On your Android or iPhone, just say “Ok Google, remind me to buy a watermelon when I’m at Safeway.” Next time you’re near the store, you’ll get a prompt. No more showing up with empty hands!
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [beyonce surfboard] and [arcade fire tour costumes]
Category: Google | Jul 25, 2014
Based on search, it seems like a lot of you spent the last seven days slurping ice cream cones, jamming to pop parodies and starting the countdown to a certain February flick. Could be worse. Here’s a look at what people were searching for last week:
Fifty shades of search
Searchers were “Crazy in Love” with the new trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey, set to a special Beyonce recording of her 2003 hit. There were more than a million searches this week for the ….ahem… hotly anticipated movie, which comes out next Valentine’s Day. In addition to the trailer, people were also looking for information on stars [jamie dornan] and [dakota johnson]. Beyonce was in the spotlight for other reasons too, following rumors that her marriage to Jay-Z was on the rocks.
“Mandatory” and musical marriages
After three decades in the biz, Weird Al has finally made his way into the Billboard No. 1 spot with his latest album, “Mandatory Fun.” Though his shtick hasn’t changed, when it comes to promoting his parodies, the artist has adapted to the Internet era, releasing eight new videos in as many days to generate buzz—and more search volume than at any other point in the past five years. As an editor, of course, I’m partial to “Word Crimes” (which has more than 10 million views on YouTube), but it’s just one of the many “breakout” titles searchers are looking for, along with [tacky], [foil] and [first world problems].
In other musical news, Adam Levine’s bride [behati prinsloo] was trending this week after the two got married in Cabo San Lucas. And another Mexico wedding had people searching for information on [ryan dorsey], the new husband (after a surprise ceremony) of Glee star Naya Rivera.
Foodie ups and downs
A national fruit recall at stores like Costco and Whole Foods led people to the web to learn more about [listeria]. For many, the possible contamination may have been an extra incentive to celebrate several less than healthful food holidays: Last Sunday (or should we say sundae?) marked National Ice Cream Day, and people were searching for their favorite flavor. National Hot Dog Day took place just a few days later, though sausage searches paled in comparison. And just in case all that junk food made you thirsty, yesterday’s National Tequila Day had searchers looking for the perfect margarita recipe.
Tip of the week
Overindulged on ice cream last weekend? It’s easy to get back on the healthy eating train with a quick search. Just ask Google “how many calories in hummus?” or “compare coleslaw and potato salad” to get nutrition info on your favorite summer foods.
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [coming of age in samoa] and [how old is weird al]
Category: Google | Jul 22, 2014
These days, if you’re an engineer, inventor or just a tinkerer with a garage, you don’t have to look far for a juicy opportunity: there are cash prize challenges dedicated to landing on the moon, building a self-driving car, cleaning the oceans, or inventing an extra-clever robot. Today, together with the IEEE, we’re adding one more: shrinking a big box into a little box.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. Especially when the big box is a power inverter, a picnic cooler-sized device used to convert the energy that comes from solar, electric vehicles & wind (DC power) into something you can use in your home (AC power). We want to shrink it down to the size of a small laptop, roughly 1/10th of its current size. Put a little more technically, we’re looking for someone to build a kW-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50W per cubic inch. Do it best and we’ll give you a million bucks.
There will be obstacles to overcome (like the conventional wisdom of engineering). But whoever gets it done will help change the future of electricity. A smaller inverter could help create low-cost microgrids in remote parts of the world. Or allow you to keep the lights on during a blackout via your electric car’s battery. Or enable advances we haven’t even thought of yet.
Either way, we think it’s time to shine a light on the humble inverter, and the potential that lies in making it much, much smaller. Enter at littleboxchallenge.com—we want to know how small you can go.
Posted by Eric Raymond, Google Green Team
Category: Google | Jul 18, 2014
The World Cup is over and order has finally been restored to the universe. Now that football mania is behind us, searchers are getting the latest info about the world off the pitch. From Tesla announcing their cheapest car ever, the $35,000 Model 3 (OK, so “cheap” is relative) to the tragic events surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, read on to see what trended this week.
Cutting the cord … but not really
Netflix binge-watchers had a near-panic attack when rumors swirled that beloved show Orange is the New Black was getting the axe. But have no fear, friends—the show lives to see another 13 episodes and quite humorously reassured us of its existence. On the other side of the entertainment galaxy, comic book fans were shocked to learn that Marvel’s Thor is now a woman—and a rather ripped one at that! “Thorita” won’t be taking up her hammer against Ultron, the new villain in the upcoming Avengers movie—that role will still be held by Chris Hemsworth. Still, if producers do decide to change it up, we’re pretty sure Kacy Catanzaro deserves the role after her performance on American Ninja Warrior left searchers pumped for more.
The sports stars are out tonight
Athletes put on their best three-piece suits and gowns for the ESPYs on Wednesday, and people turned to search to see which of their favorite stars took home the honors. (FYI OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook, as usual, won the red carpet battle for fashion supremacy, hands down.) While Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe couldn’t make it to the awards show, he still managed to make a splash on the trends charts when he came out as gay. Back on the field, it was the end of an era in baseball as New York Yankees legend Derek (er, Michael?) Jeter played in his last all-star game.
It was a tale of two Brookses this week as searchers were surprised to find out Brooks Wheelan got the boot from Saturday Night Live after just one season—tough crowd. Garth Brooks, on the other hand, had a great week when he announced his upcoming fall tour to much fanfare (“searchfare”?). In the reality TV scene, Claire Leeson from England spent more than $30,000 (so, basically a Tesla Model 3) to look like her celebrity idol Kim Kardashian. And another Kardashian lookalike made it to the trends charts when Lilit Avagyan married Kim’s ex-boyfriend Reggie Bush—six degrees of Kim Kardashian anyone?
Tip of the week
Didn’t catch the ESPYs? Just ask Google, “who won best male athlete?” to see who took the crown this year and find a list of past winners.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who’s [on the run] and searching for [crazy eyes] and [dandelions]
Category: Google | Jul 17, 2014
Over the past few months, we’ve had the chance to talk to businesses all over the country and hear stories of how they’ve become successful. For many, it’s pretty simple: the Internet. The web is helping businesses and communities across the U.S. to grow and succeed. In fact, last year Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $111 billion of economic activity for more than 1.5 million businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits—across the U.S.
Take Go2marine, a boat supply company located on Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Washington State. Because of their remote location, bringing traffic to their website using Google AdWords plays an important role in their ability to sell their 250,000+ boat supplies to customers in 176 countries. When it’s winter in the U.S., they rely on customers located in other parts of the world where it’s boating season, with the web bringing them business from any place, in any season.
Or meet Don Morton, who taught reading, writing and language in lower-income neighborhoods in my home town of Chicago for nine years. In 2005, he began creating his own materials to supplement what the school system provided. Realizing that his worksheets could be useful for students and teachers everywhere, he created ereadingworksheets.com to provide his worksheets for free. Don started using Google AdSense to offset his costs by placing ads next to his content, and today he’s able to work full-time on his website and make an impact on students around the world.
These are just two examples of enterprising people making the most of Google tools to find new customers, connect with existing ones and grow their businesses; you can find plenty more of them in our Economic Impact Report. Our tools help connect business owners to their customers, whether they’re around the corner or across the world from each other. And when businesses flourish, it’s good news for the rest of us. Recent data shows that businesses that are online are expected to grow 40 percent faster and hire twice as many workers as businesses that aren’t. Every year, it gets clearer that the web helps lead to more successful businesses, stronger economies, more vibrant towns, and more prosperous communities.
Learn more about our economic impact in all 50 U.S. states, and how businesses are finding success through the web. Whether it’s a part for a boat or a grammar worksheet, we’re proud to play a role in giving businesses the tools they need to do more–to grow and thrive and connect with customers and communities all over the world.
Posted by Jim Lecinski, Vice President, Customer Solutions