Posted by Andre Tauladan in maps and earth on Thursday, January 31, 2013
Whether you’re planning an upcoming hike, or want to learn more about the Earth’s geological history, Google Maps can help. Today, we’re releasing panoramic imagery of one of the world’s most spectacular national monuments: the Grand Canyon. These beautiful, interactive images cover more than 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads, making our map of this area even more comprehensive, accurate and easy to use than ever before.
This breathtaking imagery collection was made possible with the Trekker. Our team strapped on the Android-operated 40-pound backpacks carrying the 15-lens camera system and wound along the rocky terrain on foot, enduring temperature swings and a few muscle cramps along the way. Together, more than 9,500 panoramas of this masterpiece of nature are now available on Google Maps.
So no matter where you are, you don’t have to travel far or wait for warmer weather to explore Grand Canyon National Park. Check out some of our favorite views on our World Wonders site where you can find more information, facts and figures about the Grand Canyon, or in the updated Street View gallery, and happy (virtual) hiking!
Posted by Ryan Falor, Product Manager, Google Maps
Google Science Fair: Looking for the next generation of scientists and engineers to change the world
Posted by Andre Tauladan in education and research on Wednesday, January 30, 2013
At age 16, Louis Braille invented an alphabet for the blind. When she was 13, Ada Lovelace became fascinated with math and went on to write the first computer program. And at 18, Alexander Graham Bell started experimenting with sound and went on to invent the telephone. Throughout history many great scientists developed their curiosity for science at an early age and went on to make groundbreaking discoveries that changed the way we live.
Today, we’re launching the third annual Google Science Fair in partnership with CERN, the LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American to find the next generation of scientists and engineers. We’re inviting students ages 13-18 to participate in the largest online science competition and submit their ideas to change the world.
For the past two years, thousands of students from more than 90 countries have submitted research projects that address some of the most challenging problems we face today. Previous winners tackled issues such as the early diagnosis of breast cancer, improving the experience of listening to music for people with hearing loss and cataloguing the ecosystem found in water. This year we hope to once again inspire scientific exploration among young people and receive even more entries for our third competition.
Here’s some key information for this year’s Science Fair:
- Students can enter the Science Fair in 13 languages.
- The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm PDT.
- In June, we’ll recognize 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa).
- Judges will then select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live, final event on September 23, 2013.
- At the finals, a panel of distinguished international judges consisting of renowned scientists and tech innovators will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18). One will be selected as the Grand Prize winner.
- In August, the public will have the opportunity to get to know our 15 finalists through a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air and will then vote for the Voter's Choice Award—an award selected by the public for the project with the greatest potential to change the world.
- We also recognize that behind every great student there’s often a great teacher and a supportive school, so this year we’ll award a $10,000 cash grant from Google and an exclusive Google+ Hangout with CERN to the Grand Prize winner’s school.
Visit www.googlesciencefair.com to get started now—your idea might just change the world.
Posted by Sam Peter, Google Science Fair Team
Update July 30: Updated the name of the Voter's Choice Award (previously the Inspired Idea Award).
Twenty years ago, we used paper maps and printed guides to help us navigate the world. Today, the most advanced digital mapping technologies—satellite imagery, GPS devices, location data and of course Google Maps—are much more accessible. This sea change in mapping technology is improving our lives and helping businesses realize untold efficiencies.
The transformation of the maps we use everyday is driven by a growing industry that creates jobs and economic growth globally. To present a clearer picture of the importance of the geo services industry, we commissioned studies from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Oxera. What we found is that maps make a big economic splash around the world.
In summary, the global geo services industry is valued at up to $270 billion per year and pays out $90 billion in wages. In the U.S., it employs more than 500,000 people and is worth $73 billion. The infographic below illustrates some examples of the many benefits of maps, whether it’s improving agriculture irrigation systems or helping emergency response teams save lives.
1.1 billion hours of travel time saved each year? That’s a lot of time. Also, consider UPS, which uses map technology to optimize delivery routes—saving 5.3 million miles and more than 650,000 gallons of fuel in 2011. And every eight seconds, a user hails a taxi with Hailo, which used maps and GPS to deliver more than 1 million journeys in London alone last year. Finally, Zipcar uses maps to connect more than 760,000 customers to a growing fleet of cars in locations around the world.
Because maps are such an integral part of how we live and do business, the list of examples goes on and on. That’s why it’s important we all understand the need to invest in the geo services industry so it continues to grow and drive the global economy. Investments can come from the public and private sectors in many forms—product innovation, support of open data policies, more geography education programs in schools and more.
We’re proud of the contributions that Google Maps and Earth, the Google Maps APIs and our Enterprise solutions have made to the geo services industry and to making maps more widely available, but there’s a long way to go. To learn more about the impact of the maps industry, see the full reports.
Posted by Brian McClendon, VP Google Geo
Posted by Andre Tauladan in Outsourcing
Top and popular ways to make money online
1. Freelancing: Many people get their works done by others through internet. This is called freelancing. For this, you have to sign up in an online marketplace where you have to work. Then you have to complete your profile 100%. For this you need to complete some test. When you will complete the necessary test, your job application quota will increase. Search for projects that you can complete and bid for that. Though it is tough, it is sure to get job one day. The popular and most trusted online marketplaces are:
Posted by Andre Tauladan in Website
Posted by Andre Tauladan on Sunday, January 27, 2013
Today, January 28, is Data Privacy Day, when the world recognizes the importance of preserving your online privacy and security.
If it’s like most other days, Google—like many companies that provide online services to users—will receive dozens of letters, faxes and emails from government agencies and courts around the world requesting access to our users’ private account information. Typically this happens in connection with government investigations.
It’s important for law enforcement agencies to pursue illegal activity and keep the public safe. We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways. But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information.
To strike this balance, we’re focused on three initiatives that I’d like to share, so you know what Google is doing to protect your privacy and security.
First, for several years we have advocated for updating laws like the U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act, so the same protections that apply to your personal documents that you keep in your home also apply to your email and online documents. We’ll continue this effort strongly in 2013 through our membership in the Digital Due Process coalition and other initiatives.
Second, we’ll continue our long-standing strict process for handling these kinds of requests. When government agencies ask for our users’ personal information—like what you provide when you sign up for a Google Account, or the contents of an email—our team does several things:
- We scrutinize the request carefully to make sure it satisfies the law and our policies. For us to consider complying, it generally must be made in writing, signed by an authorized official of the requesting agency and issued under an appropriate law.
- We evaluate the scope of the request. If it’s overly broad, we may refuse to provide the information or seek to narrow the request. We do this frequently.
- We notify users about legal demands when appropriate so that they can contact the entity requesting it or consult a lawyer. Sometimes we can’t, either because we’re legally prohibited (in which case we sometimes seek to lift gag orders or unseal search warrants) or we don’t have their verified contact information.
- We require that government agencies conducting criminal investigations use a search warrant to compel us to provide a user’s search query information and private content stored in a Google Account—such as Gmail messages, documents, photos and YouTube videos. We believe a warrant is required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and overrides conflicting provisions in ECPA.
We’re proud of our approach, and we believe it’s the right way to make sure governments can pursue legitimate investigations while we do our best to protect your privacy and security.
Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
Posted by Andre Tauladan in H.S.C English
by Guest blogger Mike Allende
Hockey is a winter sport and WSDOT is getting in on the puck action. Well, kind of. While it doesn’t involve goalies, slap shots or penalty boxes, this action may end up helping traffic move more efficiently.
Soon we’ll be giving Sensys Puck road sensors their first Seattle-area tryout when we install them on northbound I-5 near Northgate. It’s a test project pitting the youthful technology of these wireless sensors against the veteran savvy of existing loop detectors embedded in the roadway in a heated matchup to see which performs best in gathering traffic and vehicle information.
Loop detectors only work with good pavement, and funding for pavement preservation is looking grim. We still need to have reliable traffic information, so as an alternative, the plucky pucks may be the answer.
The pucks are compact and solid, just 3 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter, but don’t let their size fool you. There’s plenty of power and versatility packed in those little bodies and they hold up well under pressure, whether it’s a semi-truck or heavy rain.
What can these little guys do? Plenty. They count every car as it goes by, measuring speed, lane occupancy, gaps between vehicles, direction of travel and even vehicle length. This information is valuable in evaluating traffic flow and signal control, and letting drivers know if a road is congested or not on our flow map. That’s some MVP ability.
Inductive loops have similar skills but require pavement that is in good shape in order to work well. Pucks are also easier to handle than the gangly and awkward loops. That means they can get in position quicker, usually just 10 to 15 minutes per puck, leading to a much shorter disruption of traffic. Two loops, on the other hand, take about two hours to install.
To prepare for the puck’s debut, crews bore a circular hole in the pavement, about 4 inches wide and 4 inches deep. We want to put the puck in the best position to be successful, so crews level the holes so that each sensor gets an accurate reading.
After the pucks are in position, they're well protected with a strong epoxy. These guys are valuable and they need to be taken care of. They look sharp and impressive in their black uniforms, but at the same time aren't distracting. They'll fit right in.
The pucks aren’t going to be on their own, though. They team with a local controller, which receives transmissions and crunches data from each individual sensor. The controller can give an overall report about the presence of vehicles, average number of vehicles at any time, average speeds and lane occupancy, among other information. That’s some great teamwork! Loops also work in tandem but have to be hard-wired to a controller device, meaning there are only particular areas they can work without incurring a huge cost.
The pucks often make their appearance overnight to little fanfare, and can even be installed using a brief traffic slowdown rather than lane closures, unlike the loop sensors. They are run by battery and expect to have a long 10-year career. They’re also healthy, and unless the battery dies or there’s an epoxy failure, there shouldn’t be any other maintenance necessary. If maintenance is needed, the pucks can easily be popped out of the pavement, minimizing concrete damage. The health of loops is more questionable, as maintenance is a big issue with these guys. Some loops hold up well over time, others have to retire after 2 or 3 years. Maintenance involves digging up the concrete, dealing with the loop, and replacing the concrete, a much more invasive process. These are huge factors as pavement preservation is vital with increasing traffic. The less the ground has to be dug up, the longer it will last.
So who’s it going to be, the grizzled veteran or the intriguing rookie? The Northgate project costs about $20,000 while a comparable setup with the loops would be about $15,000. The signing bonus is higher for the pucks but add in the costs of maintenance down the road and the potential traffic disruptions and the up-front cost may be worth it. Clearly there are pluses and minuses with both, so the result of this tryout is going to be interesting and exciting to watch!
Entertain your visitors with Online Radio
By guest blogger Michell Mouton
We’re collecting tolls on SR 520 to generate $1 billion in funding to help fund construction of a new SR 520 bridge – but we still need to close a $1.4 billion funding gap to complete SR 520 improvements between the west side of the bridge and I-5.
We’re studying the possibility of adding tolls on I-90, between Seattle and Bellevue to help address both of the challenges: balance Cross-Lake Washington traffic and generate revenue to fill the SR 520 construction funding gap.
Deciding whether to toll I-90 involves several steps including an environmental assessment (EA) that’s required as part of the National Environmental Protection Policy Act (NEPA). Basically, NEPA is in place to ensure that we understand, document and if necessary, mitigate the effects of I-90 tolling. That’s why it’s important we hear from you as we start this comment period. We want to learn about any project effects - good or bad - because the EA helps inform decision-making around this project.
How can you get involved?
The 30-day public comment period extends from Jan. 22 to midnight Feb. 22. There are many ways to share your feedback:
Go to a public scoping meeting: Learn more about the project, talk to project team members and comment in person.
The following meetings take place from 4-7 p.m.:
- Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Mercer Island Community Center, 8236 SE 24th St., Mercer Island.
- Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Bellevue City Hall, 450 11th Ave. NE, Bellevue.
- Thursday, Jan. 31 at Yesler Community Center, 917 E. Yesler Way, Seattle.
Send us an email: You can also submit comments by e-mail at I90EAcomments@wsdot.wa.gov or by writing to Ms. Angela Angove at 999 Third Avenue, Suite 2200, Seattle, WA 98104. Mailed comments must be postmarked by Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2013.
What do I comment about? Ask yourself these questions to help get your ideas flowing:
- How will I be affected by tolling on I-90?
- What should WSDOT consider as they look at the social and environmental influences of tolling I-90?
- The comment period runs until February 22, 2013
- More opportunity for public comment will be available at a public hearing in November where we will share the findings of the environmental assessment. The final environmental document is scheduled to be complete in late 2013.
As President Obama and his cabinet begin their second term in the White House, they’re renewing a series of conversations on Google+ with top administration officials. These “Fireside Hangouts," a 21st-century spin on FDR’s famous radio addresses, bring top Administration officials to Google+ to discuss the most important issues in the country, face-to-face-to-face with fellow citizens in a hangout. The next hangout will take place Thursday, January 24 at 1:45 pm ET with Vice President Joe Biden on a topic that’s on everyone’s mind: reducing gun violence.
During his 30-minute hangout, Vice President Biden will discuss the White House policy recommendations on reducing gun violence with participants including Guy Kawasaki, Phil DeFranco and moderator Hari Sreenivasan from PBS NewsHour. If you'd like to suggest a question, just follow the participants on Google+, and look for posts about tomorrow's Hangout. To view the broadcast live, just tune in to the White House's Google+ page or YouTube channel on Thursday afternoon.
The White House will continue to host Hangouts with key members of the President’s cabinet on a range of second term priorities. Follow the White House on Google+ for more information about how you can join the conversation... or an upcoming Hangout.
Posted by Ramya Raghavan, Google+ Politics
Today we’re releasing new data for the Transparency Report, showing that the steady increase in government requests for our users’ data continued in the second half of 2012, as usage of our services continued to grow. We’ve shared figures like this since 2010 because it’s important for people to understand how government actions affect them.
We’re always looking for ways to make the report even more informative. So for the first time we’re now including a breakdown of the kinds of legal process that government entities in the U.S. use when compelling communications and technology companies to hand over user data. From July through December 2012:
- 68 percent of the requests Google received from government entities in the U.S. were through subpoenas. These are requests for user-identifying information, issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”), and are the easiest to get because they typically don’t involve judges.
- 22 percent were through ECPA search warrants. These are, generally speaking, orders issued by judges under ECPA, based on a demonstration of “probable cause” to believe that certain information related to a crime is presently in the place to be searched.
- The remaining 10 percent were mostly court orders issued under ECPA by judges or other processes that are difficult to categorize.
User data requests of all kinds have increased by more than 70 percent since 2009, as you can see in our new visualizations of overall trends. In total, we received 21,389 requests for information about 33,634 users from July through December 2012.
We’ll keep looking for more ways to inform you about government requests and how we handle them. We hope more companies and governments themselves join us in this effort by releasing similar kinds of data.
One last thing: You may have noticed that the latest Transparency Report doesn’t include new data on content removals. That’s because we’ve decided to release those numbers separately going forward. Stay tuned for that data.
Posted by Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security