Posted by Andre Tauladan in googlers and culture on Friday, June 28, 2013
Every year in June comes a week where Googlers around the world stop reviewing code, ignore their inboxes and leave their cubicles behind to participate in GoogleServe, our global week of service.
This year, more than 8,500 Googlers from 75+ offices participated in 500 projects. Not only was this our largest GoogleServe to date, but it was also one of the more unique, as many projects were designed to expand the notion of what it means to give back to the community. Here’s a glimpse at some of what we were up to this year:
- In Thimphu, Bhutan, Googlers led a workshop about media literacy at the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy helping youth prepare to participate in shaping the future of this young democracy.
- Googlers in Mountain View, Calif., created a bone marrow donation drive and partnered with the Asian American Donor Program to raise awareness about the need for more donors from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
- Googlers from our Hyderabad, India office volunteered at Sri Vidhya's Centre for the Special Children, helping children who suffer from a wide range of cognitive disabilities to learn how to identify colors, write their own names, and prepare meals for themselves.
- A team of Googlers walked the New York, N.Y., streets gathering information to improve AXS Map, a crowd-sourced platform for mapping wheelchair accessibility which is populated with data from Google Maps and Google Places APIs.
- In Lagos, Nigeria, Googlers mentored entrepreneurs at Generation Enterprise, a small business incubator that equips at-risk youth to start sustainable businesses in slum communities.
- In Randwick, Australia, Googlers taught computer and Internet skills with the Australian Red Cross Young Parents Program which aims to develop the capacities of young parents to live independently and to parent successfully.
- A group of gourmet Googlers cooked a meal for families with children undergoing cancer treatment with Ronald McDonald House in London, U.K.
- Googlers tutored and mentored youth in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the Dignity For Children Foundation.
- Googlers partnered with Un Techo Para Mi País to help build a new house for a family living below the poverty line in Bogota, Colombia.
- In Dublin, Ireland, Google engineers taught youth how to program interactive stories and games with Scratch in partnership with Coder Dojo.
Over the past six years, GoogleServe has transformed from a single week of service into a week of celebration and inspiration for ongoing giving. Googlers also give back year-round through our GooglersGive programs which include 20 hours of work time annually to volunteer with an approved charitable organization. If you’re inspired to join us, please check out All for Good or VolunteerMatch for opportunities to give back in your community.
Posted by Zanoon Nissar, on behalf of the GoogleServe Global Leadership Team
There’s only so much students can learn about the world from the static pages of a textbook. Meeting people from other countries face-to-face provides unique insight into the world’s varied cultures, and the Internet is making this possible in unprecedented ways. To increase global connections, we’re working with First Lady Michelle Obama, the State Department and the Global Nomads Group, to connect students across continents over Google+ Hangouts.
As a keystone event in The White House’s Africa Tour, the First Lady will host a Google+ Hangout On Air from the SciBono Discovery Center in Johannesburg this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. EDT. After Mrs. Obama shares her thoughts on the importance of education, students in Johannesburg, L.A., Houston, New York, and Kansas City will get the chance to talk with one another directly, sharing ideas about education in their countries face-to-face-to-face—it’s a 21st-Century pen pal program, hosted by the First Lady. (RSVP to watch.)
The discussion won’t stop there. This Hangout On Air kick-starts a series of global exchanges on Google+, organized by the State Department and the Global Nomads Group, a nonprofit organization that facilitates cultural exchanges, launching early in the new school year. During the summer, students are encouraged to join the Global Nomads Group’s Google+ Community, “Connecting Continents,” to discover and connect with peers around the world. We look forward to announcing the next hangouts in the near future—stay tuned to the Global Nomads Community for details.
Posted by Will Houghteling, Lead, Google+ Education Partnerships
Posted by Andre Tauladan
Creating a world-class science project is no easy task, but this year thousands of 13-18 year olds from more than 120 countries submitted their project to the third annual Google Science Fair. After further judging and deliberation, today we’re announcing the 15 finalists from our top 90 regional finalists, as well as the winner of the Scientific American Science in Action Award.
From the creation of an exoskeletal glove to support the human hand to managing the impact of infrastructure projects on endangered species to an early-warning system for emergency vehicles, the caliber, ingenuity and diversity of this year’s projects is a testament to the fact that young minds really can produce world-changing ideas.
The 15 finalists will join us at our Mountain View headquarters on September 23 to present their projects to an international panel of esteemed scientists for the final round of judging. The Grand Prize winner will receive a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions, $50,000 in scholarship funding and more.
Congratulations to our finalists:
Alex Spiride (USA): Squid-Jet: Bio-Inspired Propulsion System for Underwater Vehicles
Venkat Sankar (USA): Ecology or Economy: Managing the Impact of Infrastructure Projects on Endangered Species
Kavita Selva (USA): Superconductor Tapes: A Solution to the Rare Earth Shortage Crisis
Liza Sosnova and Tina Kabir (Russia): Lyytinen - Universal hydrostatic densitometer
Viney Kumar (Australia): The PART (Police and Ambulances Regulating Traffic) Program
Elif Bilgin (Turkey): Going Bananas!-Using Banana Peels in the Production of Bio-Plastic As A Replacement of the Traditional Petroleum Based Plastic
Ann Makosinski (Canada): The Hollow Flashlight
Yi Xi Kang, Kwok Ling Yi and Tricia Lim (Singapore): Efficacy of Estrogens and Progesterone in Hepatic Fibrosuppression
Valerie Ding (USA): Rapid Quantum Dot Solar Cell Optimization: Integrating Quantum Mechanical Modeling and Novel Solar Absorption Algorithm
Shrishti Asthana (India): Solar Light Assisted nanoZnO Photo Catalytic Mineralization - The Green Technique for the Degradation of Detergents
Charalampos Ioannou (Greece): An Exoskeleton Glove which Enhances and Supports the Movement of the Human Palm
Esha Maiti (USA): Stochastic Monte Carlo Simulations to Determine Breast Cancer Metastasis Rates from Patient Survival Data
Elizabeth Zhao (USA): A Novel Implementation of Image Processing and Machine Learning for Early Diagnosis of Melanoma
Eric Chen (USA): Computer-aided Discovery of Novel Influenza Endonuclease Inhibitors to Combat Flu Pandemic
Vinay Iyengar (USA): Efficient Characteristic 3 Galois Field Operations for Elliptic Curve Cryptographic Applications
We’re also announcing the winner of the Scientific American Science in Action Award, which honors a project that makes a practical difference by addressing an environmental, health or resources challenge. An independent panel has selected Elif Bilgin from Turkey for this award for her work using banana peels to produce bioplastics. Congratulations to Elif, who will receive $50,000 and and a year’s worth of mentoring from Scientific American to help develop her project. Elif’s project is also one of the 15 finalists, and she is still in the running for the Grand Prize Award.
Which of the 15 finalist projects do you think has the potential to change the world? While the official judges will decide the 2013 Grand Prize Winner, in August you’ll be able to participate in this year’s competition by voting for the Voter's Choice Award. Visit the Google Science Fair website August 1-30 to vote for the project you think has the greatest potential to change the world.
Check back for more details, and tune in live to see the finalist gala on September 23, which will be broadcast on our website, Google+ page and YouTube channel. Congratulations to all our finalists. We look forward to meeting in Mountain View!
Posted by Clare Conway, Google Science Fair team
Update July 30: Updated the name of the Voter's Choice Award (previously the Inspired Idea Award).
This post is part of a regular series of privacy and security tips to help you and your family stay safe and secure online. Privacy and security are important topics—they matter to us, and they matter to you. Building on our Good to Know site with advice for safe and savvy Internet use, we hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.
More than a quarter of Internet users worldwide use WiFi at home to connect to the web, but many aren't sure how to protect their home network, or why it is important to do so. The best way to think of your home WiFi network is to think of it like your front door: you want a strong lock on both to ensure your safety and security.
When data is in transit over an unsecured WiFi network, the information you’re sending or receiving could be intercepted by someone nearby. Your neighbors might also be able to use the network for their own Internet activities, which might slow down your connection. Securing your network can help keep your information safe when you’re connecting wirelessly, and can also help protect the devices that are connected to your network.
If you’re interested in improving your home WiFi security, the steps below can help make your home network safer.
1. Check to see what kind of home WiFi security you already have.
Do your friends need to enter a password to get on your network when they visit your house for the first time and ask to use your WiFi? If they don’t, your network isn’t as secure as it could be. Even if they do need to enter a password, there are a few different methods of securing your network, and some are better than others. Check what kind of security you have for your network at home by looking at your WiFi settings. Your network will likely either be unsecured, or secured with WEP, WPA or WPA2. WEP is the oldest wireless security protocol, and it’s pretty weak. WPA is better than WEP, but WPA2 is best.
2. Change your network security settings to WPA2.
Your wireless router is the machine that creates the WiFi network. If you don’t have your home network secured with WPA2, you’ll need to access your router’s settings page to make the change. You can check your router’s user manual to figure out how to access this page, or look for instructions online for your specific router. Any device with a WiFi trademark sold since 2006 is required to support WPA2. If you have a router that was made before then, we suggest upgrading to a new router that does offer WPA2. It’s safer and can be much faster.
3. Create a strong password for your WiFi network.
To secure your network with WPA2, you’ll need to create a password. It’s important that you choose a unique password, with a long mix of numbers, letters and symbols so others can’t easily guess it. If you’re in a private space such as your home, it’s OK to write this password down so you can remember it, and keep it somewhere safe so you don’t lose it. You might also need it handy in case your friends come to visit and want to connect to the Internet via your network. Just like you wouldn’t give a stranger a key to your house, you should only give your WiFi password to people you trust.
4. Secure your router too, so nobody can change your settings.
Your router needs its own password, separate from the password you use to secure your network. Routers come without a password, or if they do have one, it’s a simple default password that many online criminals may already know. If you don’t reset your router password, criminals anywhere in the world have an easy way to launch an attack on your network, the data shared on it and the computers connected to your network. For many routers, you can reset the password from the router settings page. Keep this password to yourself, and make it different from the one you use to connect to the WiFi network (as described in step 3). If you make these passwords the same, then anyone who has the password to connect to your network will also be able to change your wireless router settings.
5. If you need help, look up the instructions.
If you’ve misplaced your router’s manual, type the model number of your base station or router into a search engine—in many cases the info is available online. Otherwise, contact the company that manufactured the router or your Internet Service Provider for assistance.
Please check out the video below to learn more about the simple but important steps you can take to improve the security of your Internet browsing.
For more advice on how to protect yourself and your family online, visit our Good to Know site, and stay tuned for more posts in our security series.
Posted by John Munoz, Technical Program Manager
Posted by Andre Tauladan in maps and earth on Wednesday, June 26, 2013
To celebrate the sunny days of summer (in the northern hemisphere at least), today we're launching new satellite imagery for Google’s mapping products. This stunning global view is virtually cloud-free and includes refreshed imagery in more locations—giving you an even more accurate and comprehensive view of our planet's landscape.
Our satellite imagery is usually created like a quilt: we stitch together imagery of different parts of the world. Using a process similar to how we produced the global time-lapse imagery of the Earth, we took hundreds of terabytes of data from the USGS's and NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite—sometimes dozens of photos of a single spot in the world—and analyzed the photos to compute a clear view of every place, even in tropical regions that are always at least partly cloudy.
The result is a single, beautiful 800,000 megapixel image of the world, which can be viewed in Earth and Maps when you're zoomed out to a global view. This global image is so big, if you wanted to print it at a standard resolution of 300 dots per inch you’d need a piece of paper the size of a city block! This image is then blended into our highest resolution imagery, giving a beautiful cloud-free global view and detailed images in the same seamless map.
This update also includes refreshed imagery in many regions of the world, especially in areas where high-resolution imagery is not available, including parts of Russia, Indonesia and central Africa.
You can see the new satellite imagery by going to Google Maps and turning on satellite view, or by opening Google Earth, and zooming out. And to read more about what went into creating this imagery, check out our detailed post on the Lat Long blog. Have fun exploring!
Posted by Matt Hancher, Tech Lead, Google Earth Engine
Posted by Andre Tauladan on Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Two of the biggest threats online are malicious software (known as malware) that can take control of your computer, and phishing scams that try to trick you into sharing passwords or other private information.
So in 2006 we started a Safe Browsing program to find and flag suspect websites. This means that when you are surfing the web, we can now warn you when a site is unsafe. We're currently flagging up to 10,000 sites a day—and because we share this technology with other browsers there are about 1 billion users we can help keep safe.
But we're always looking for new ways to protect users' security. So today we're launching a new section on our Transparency Report that will shed more light on the sources of malware and phishing attacks. You can now learn how many people see Safe Browsing warnings each week, where malicious sites are hosted around the world, how quickly websites become reinfected after their owners clean malware from their sites, and other tidbits we’ve surfaced.
Sharing this information also aligns well with our Transparency Report, which already gives information about government requests for user data, government requests to remove content, and current disruptions to our services.
To learn more, explore the new Safe Browsing information on this page. Webmasters and network administrators can find recommendations for dealing with malware infections, including resources like Google Webmaster Tools and Safe Browsing Alerts for Network Administrators.
Posted by Lucas Ballard, Software Engineer
Museums, libraries and galleries are a tourist staple of the summer holiday season. Often they’re the first place we head to when visiting a new city or town in order to learn about the heritage of that country. Though only a lucky few have the chance to travel to see these treasures first-hand, the Internet is helping to bring access to culture even when you can’t visit in person.
At the Google Cultural Institute, we’ve been busy working with our partners to add a range of new online exhibitions to our existing collection. With more than 6 million photos, videos and documents, the diversity and range of subject matter is large—a reflection of the fact that culture means different things to different people. What the exhibitions have in common is that they tell stories; objects are one thing but it’s the people and places they link to that make them fascinating.
The British Museum is the U.K.’s most popular visitor attraction and the 4th most visited museum in the world. It’s well known for housing one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries ever made—the 1,400 year old Anglo-Saxon burial from Sutton Hoo, untouched until its discovery in 1939. Their online exhibition “Sutton Hoo: Anglo-Saxon ship burial” explores the discovery of the ship, featuring videos of the excavation and photos of the iconic helmet and a solid gold belt buckle. All this tells the story of how the burial and its contents changed our understanding of what Anglo-Saxon society was like.
From archaeology we take you to sport, which is integral to the culture of many nations, including Brazil. In the lead-up to Brazil's hosting of the 2014 World Cup, the Museu do Futebol has told the story of how the “beautiful game” came to Brazil. The photos, videos and posters in “The Game and the People” track the social impact of the sport and its transition from a past time for the wealthy (with their pleated pants and satin belts) to the modern game.
Science remains a perennially fascinating topic and the Museo Galileo in Italy has put together a series of three exhibitions looking at the link between art and science. The Medici Collections, the Lorraine Collections and the Library Collections examine the beginnings of science and technology 500 years ago and chart developments from the discovery of the sun dial to the Google Maps of today. As well as being informative, the exhibitions include beautiful objects such as the Jovilabe, which was used to calculate the periods of Jupiter’s moons.
So if broadening your cultural horizons through travel isn’t in the cards this summer, settle down in your armchair and browse through through some of the world’s heritage and history online. Keep up to date with new material on the Cultural Institute Google+ page.
Posted by James Davis, program manager, Google Cultural Institute
Posted by Andre Tauladan in maps and earth on Monday, June 24, 2013
What does it feel like to stand on top of the tallest building in the world? To give you a better sense of how that may feel, we took Street View to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, our first-ever collection in the Arab World. Described as a “vertical city,” the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest manmade structure, towering over the Dubai skyline at 828 meters (2,717 ft).
This is the first time we’ve captured a skyscraper on Street View—making Google Maps even more comprehensive and useful for you. The imagery was collected over three days using the Street View Trekker and Trolley, capturing high-resolution 360-degree panoramic imagery of several indoor and outdoor locations of the building.
In addition to the breathtaking views from the world’s tallest observation deck on the 124th floor, you can also see what it feels like to hang off one of the building’s maintenance units on the 80th floor, normally used for cleaning windows!
Visit the highest occupied floor in the world on the 163rd floor, experience being in the fastest-moving elevators in the world (at 22 mph) and check out the highest swimming pool in the world on the 76th floor.
Even if you’re afraid of heights, we hope you enjoy the view from the top! To see highlights from the Burj Khalifa Street View collection, visit www.google.ae/streetview.
Posted by Tarek Abdalla, Head of Marketing - Middle East & North Africa, Google
Posted by Andre Tauladan in computing history on Friday, June 21, 2013
Sixty-five years ago today, the Manchester Small Scale Experimental Machine—nicknamed “Baby”—became the earliest computer in the world to run a program electronically stored in its memory. This was a flagship moment: the first implementation of the stored program concept that underpins modern computing.
Earlier computers had their instructions hardwired into their physical design or held externally on punched paper tape or cards. Reprogramming them to do a different task entailed internal rewiring or altering the physical storage media. The Baby marked a new computing era, described by some as the “birth of software,” in which swapping programs was far simpler—requiring only an update to the electronic memory. Both instructions and data were held in the Baby’s memory and the contents could be altered automatically at electronic speeds during the course of computation.
Developed at Manchester University by “Freddie” Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill, in size the Baby was anything but: more than 5m long and weighing a tonne (PDF). Its moniker was due to its role as a testbed for the experimental Williams-Kilburn tube, a means of storing binary digits (“bits”) using a cathode ray tube. This was a big deal because up until this point, computers had no cost-effective means of storing and flexibly accessing information in electronic form.
In technical terms, the Williams-Kilburn tube was the earliest form of random access memory, or RAM. The Baby’s memory consisted of one of these tubes, able to store up to 1,024 bits—equivalent to just 128 bytes. In contrast, the average computer today has RAM in multiples of gigabytes, more than a billion times bigger.
The Baby was only ever intended to be a proof-of-concept rather than to serve as a useful calculation tool. So once it had shown the new memory was reliable, attention shifted to building a more powerful and practical machine using the same concepts. This resulted in the Manchester Mark 1, which in turn was the model for the Ferranti Mark 1, the world’s first computer to be sold commercially, in February 1951.
While today nothing remains of the original Baby, a working replica is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester. It’s well worth a visit to reflect on just how far computing has come.
Posted by Lynette Webb, Senior Manager, External Relations
By guest blogger Emily Pace Glad
First, a little toll rate setting 101
Tolls on the SR 520 bridge help pay for a new, safer bridge set to open in 2015 and also help manage congestion. Tolling on the Tacoma Narrows bridge helps pay back the construction bonds used to build the new eastbound span which opened to traffic in 2007.
The Washington State Transportation Commission sets toll rates at a sufficient amount to cover debt payments for construction, operational costs and maintenance. Basically, toll rate increases are necessary to ensure enough revenue is generated to cover costs to operate the bridge.
Myth #1: You’re raising tolls because traffic has dropped off
Traffic and revenue is right on track for both the SR 520 and Tacoma Narrows bridges. The economy is returning and we're seeing more people using the bridges to head to work, go shopping and more.
It's been a year and a half since tolling started on the SR 520 bridge and we've seen more traffic return to the span. Traffic volumes are nearly 70 percent of pre-toll levels. We knew traffic would decrease initially once tolling started then slowly return. And if you remember, this is the second of four 2.5 percent increases for SR 520 planned through 2015 to ensure revenue continues to meet costs.
On the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traffic and revenue is also trending well, however, the bridge was financed with an escalating debt repayment plan which means our payments were low when the bridge first opened and rise over time. This also means tolls must increase over time. For example, between 2007 and 2009 the state made $41 million in debt payments and in the current 2011-2013 budget debt payments are nearly $90 million.
Myth #2: Why don't you just cut the toll rate in half? More people will use the bridge
It might seem counterintuitive, but a lower toll rate doesn't necessarily mean more revenue. Instead, it could mean congestion. For example, if the toll rate was reduced by 50 percent, twice as many vehicles would need to pay a toll to make the same amount of revenue. For the SR 520 bridge that means traffic volumes would need to be higher than before tolling started.
Myth #3: Tolls are increasing to cover operational costs
Our costs to operate and collect tolls are actually shrinking, however, we still have to pay back our construction debt. We are always looking for ways to reduce our costs. On the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, we have actually reduced operating costs every year since the bridge opened in 2007. We hope to do the same with our existing facilities and as we bring on new facilities – such as the I-405 express toll lanes in 2015.
If you would like to know how your toll dollar is being spent, take a look at financial statements we post regularly for each toll facility.
Michael Edlavitch was a middle school math teacher in Minnesota when he started a website with free math games to engage his students. With free online tools, a passion for math and an initial investment of just $10 to register his domain, www.hoodamath.com was born. Eventually Michael’s website became popular with more than just his students. So Michael gave Google AdSense a try as a way to earn money by placing ads next to his content. As word spread and traffic grew, the revenue generated from his site allowed Michael to devote himself full time to Hooda Math. Today, www.hoodamath.com has more than 350 educational games and has had more than 100 million unique visitors to the site. Beyond building a business for himself, Michael is helping students everywhere learn math while having fun.
Over in New York, Roberto Gil designs and builds children’s furniture—loft beds, bunk beds and entire custom rooms. Casa Kids’ furniture is custom designed for the family to grow along with the child. Roberto works out of his Brooklyn workshop and doesn’t sell to large furniture stores, which means the Casa Kids website is an essential tool for him to connect with potential customers. To grow even further, Roberto began using AdWords in 2010. In the first few months traffic to his site went up 30 percent. Today, two-thirds of his new customers come from Google. Meet Roberto and learn more about how he’s making the web work for Casa Kids:
These are just two examples of how the web is working for American businesses. According to a McKinsey study, small businesses that make use of the web are growing twice as fast as those that aren’t on the web. That’s because the web is where we go for information and inspiration—from math games to practice over the summer to someone to design and build that perfect bunk bed for your kids. Ninety-seven percent of American Internet users look online for local products and services. Whether we’re on our smartphones, tablets or computers, the web helps us find what we’re looking for.
Here at Google, we see firsthand how the web is helping American businesses grow and thrive. Through our search and advertising programs, businesses like Casa Kids find customers, publishers like Hooda Math earn money from their content, and nonprofits solicit donations and volunteers. These tools are how we make money, and they’re how millions of other U.S. businesses do, too.
In 2012, Google's search and advertising tools helped provide $94 billion of economic activity for more than 1.9 million American businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits. This represents a 17 percent increase from 2011. Check out the impact made in each state, along with stories of local businesses using the web to grow.
Whether it’s building skills or building furniture, Google helps to build businesses. We’re thrilled to be part of such a vibrant industry and are committed to continuing to help make the web work for people and businesses everywhere.
Posted by Allan Thygesen, Vice President, Global SMB Sales
Posted by Andre Tauladan in education and research on Wednesday, June 19, 2013
We’d like to recognize and congratulate the 84 recipients and finalists of the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship and Google Scholarship for Students with Disabilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The full list of the 2013 scholars and finalists and the universities they attend can be found in this PDF.
Both scholarships aim to encourage underrepresented students to enter the computing field. The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship honours the memory of Dr. Anita Borg who devoted her life to encouraging the presence of women in computing; we recently announced the U.S. recipients of this scholarship. The Google Europe Scholarship for Students with Disabilities aims to help dismantle barriers for students with disabilities as well as encourage them to excel in their studies and become active role models and leaders in creating technology.
All of the students receiving the scholarships are pursuing degrees in computer science or related fields at universities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This summer, they’ll attend the annual Google EMEA Scholarships Retreat in Zurich, where they’ll have the opportunity to attend tech talks on Google products, participate in developmental sessions, network with Googlers and attend social activities. Notable speakers at the 2013 retreat include Alan Eustace, SVP of Knowledge, Megan Smith, VP of Google [x], and Caroline Casey, Founder of Kanchi.org.
Applications for the scholarships will be open again in just a few short months. Learn more about how the scholarships impacted the lives of previous recipients:
For more information on all of our scholarships and programs, please visit the Google Students site.
Posted by Efrat Aghassy, EMEA scholarships program manager
Posted by Andre Tauladan in ads on Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Ten years ago we launched AdSense to help publishers earn money by placing relevant ads on their websites. I can still remember the excitement and anticipation as AdSense went live that first day. Our small team huddled together in a cramped conference room, and right away we saw that publishers were as excited about AdSense as we were.
Fast-forward 10 years, and AdSense has become a core part of Google’s advertising business. The AdSense community has grown to include more than 2 million publishers, and last year alone, publishers earned more than $7 billion from AdSense. AdSense is a community that thrives because of all the content creators we are so fortunate to partner with. Their stories inspire us to do our part to make AdSense great.
On this occasion, it’s especially inspiring to hear the stories of partners who have been with us since the very beginning—like a retiree in New Zealand who was able to pursue her dream of writing about her garden, a tech support expert in Colorado who can spend more time with his kids, and a theme park reviewer who now sends employees around the world to test and review rides—all thanks to money earned from AdSense.
As part of our 10th anniversary celebration, we hope you’ll tune into our live Hangout on Air today at 10 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. GMT) on the AdSense Google+ page. I look forward to joining several of our partners to share stories from the early days of AdSense, talk about how we’ve all grown since then, and discuss the future for publishers and online advertising. And if you want even more 10th anniversary celebration, just visit our AdSense 10th anniversary page at any time.
Posted by Susan Wojcicki, SVP, Ads and Commerce
Posted by Andre Tauladan in chrome on Monday, June 17, 2013
In Northern California where I live, summer is here, which means family vacations, kids’ camps, BBQs and hopefully some relaxation. But it also means back-to-school shopping is just around the corner. So in case you’re on the hunt for a laptop in addition to pens, paper, and stylish new outfits, your search just got a whole lot easier. Chromebooks—a fast, simple, secure laptop that won't break the bank—will now be carried in over 3 times more stores than before, or more than 6,600 stores around the world.
In addition to Best Buy and Amazon.com, we’re excited to welcome several new retailers to the family. Starting today, Walmart will be making the newest Acer Chromebook, which has a 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD), available in approximately 2,800 stores across the U.S., for just $199. Look for Chromebooks coming to the laptop sections of a Walmart near you this summer.
And beginning this weekend, Staples will bring a mix of Chromebooks from Acer, HP and Samsung to every store in the U.S.—more than 1,500 in total. You can also purchase via Staples online, while businesses can purchase through the Staples Advantage B2B program. In the coming months select Office Depot, OfficeMax, and regional chains Fry’s and TigerDirect locations will begin selling Chromebooks.
In the 10 other markets worldwide where Chromebooks are sold, availability in national retailers continues to expand. In addition to Dixons in the UK, now 116 Tesco stores are selling Chromebooks, as well as all Media Markt and Saturn stores in the Netherlands, FNAC stores in France and Elgiganten stores in Sweden. In Australia, all JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores will be carrying Chromebooks for their customers as well. We’re working hard to bring Chromebooks to even more countries later this year.
Chromebooks make great computers for everyone in the family—and now you shouldn’t have to look very far to find one. Happy summer!
Posted by David Shapiro, Director of Chromebook Marketing
Posted by Andre Tauladan in small business
Our first AdWords customer was a small business selling live mail-order lobsters. It’s been a long time since then, but a majority of our customers are still small businesses, who play a vital role not only for Google, but for the American economy. More than 60 percent of new jobs each year come from small businesses.
This Small Business Week, we want to celebrate you. We’re grateful to you for everything you do for us and our communities. Whether you fix people’s cars, offer music lessons to aspiring musicians, or make the world’s best homemade ice cream—when you do what you love, our lives get better.
As part of the celebration, we’ll be highlighting some amazing small businesses across the country, so keep an eye on the Google+ Your Business page. And in the meantime, check out some of the Google tools that are designed to help you take care of business.
Happy Small Business Week.
Posted by Lisa Gevelber, VP Marketing, Americas
Posted by Andre Tauladan on Saturday, June 15, 2013
The Internet has been a tremendous force for good—increasing access to information, improving people’s ability to communicate and driving economic growth. But like the physical world, there are dark corners on the web where criminal behavior exists.
In 2011, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC’s) Cybertipline Child Victim Identification Program reviewed 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child sexual abuse. This is four times more than what their Exploited Children's Division (ECD) saw in 2007. And the number is still growing. Behind these images are real, vulnerable kids who are sexually victimized and victimized further through the distribution of their images.
It is critical that we take action as a community—as concerned parents, guardians, teachers and companies—to help combat this problem.
Child sexual exploitation is a global problem that needs a global solution. More than half of the images and videos sent to NCMEC for analysis are found to have been uploaded to U.S. servers from outside the country. With this in mind, we need to sustain and encourage borderless communication between organizations fighting this problem on the ground. For example, NCMEC’s CyberTipline is able to refer reports regarding online child sexual exploitation to 66 countries, helping local law enforcement agencies effectively execute their investigations.
Google has been working on fighting child exploitation since as early as 2006 when we joined the Technology Coalition, teaming up with other tech industry companies to develop technical solutions. Since then, we’ve been providing software and hardware to helping organizations all around the world to fight child abuse images on the web and help locate missing children.
There is much more that can be done, and Google is taking our commitment another step further through a $5 million effort to eradicate child abuse imagery online. Part of this commitment will go to global child protection partners like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation. We’re providing additional support to similar heroic organizations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America.
Since 2008, we’ve used “hashing” technology to tag known child sexual abuse images, allowing us to identify duplicate images which may exist elsewhere. Each offending image in effect gets a unique ID that our computers can recognize without humans having to view them again. Recently, we’ve started working to incorporate encrypted “fingerprints” of child sexual abuse images into a cross-industry database. This will enable companies, law enforcement and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing these images, and to take action against the criminals. Today we’ve also announced a $2 million Child Protection Technology Fund to encourage the development of ever more effective tools.
We’re in the business of making information widely available, but there’s certain “information” that should never be created or found. We can do a lot to ensure it’s not available online—and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are caught and prosecuted.
Update June 17: Clarified language around NCMEC's Child Victim Identification Program and CyberTipline.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google Giving
Posted by Andre Tauladan on Friday, June 14, 2013
The Internet is one of the most transformative technologies of our lifetimes. But for 2 out of every 3 people on earth, a fast, affordable Internet connection is still out of reach. And this is far from being a solved problem.
There are many terrestrial challenges to Internet connectivity—jungles, archipelagos, mountains. There are also major cost challenges. Right now, for example, in most of the countries in the southern hemisphere, the cost of an Internet connection is more than a month’s income.
Solving these problems isn’t simply a question of time: it requires looking at the problem of access from new angles. So today we’re unveiling our latest moonshot from Google[x]: balloon-powered Internet access.
We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it.
Balloons, with all their effortless elegance, present some challenges. Many projects have looked at high-altitude platforms to provide Internet access to fixed areas on the ground, but trying to stay in one place like this requires a system with major cost and complexity. So the idea we pursued was based on freeing the balloons and letting them sail freely on the winds. All we had to do was figure out how to control their path through the sky. We’ve now found a way to do that, using just wind and solar power: we can move the balloons up or down to catch the winds we want them to travel in. That solution then led us to a new problem: how to manage a fleet of balloons sailing around the world so that each balloon is in the area you want it right when you need it. We’re solving this with some complex algorithms and lots of computing power.
Now we need some help—this experiment is going to take way more than our team alone. This week we started a pilot program in the Canterbury area of New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect to our balloons. This is the first time we’ve launched this many balloons (30 this week, in fact) and tried to connect to this many receivers on the ground, and we’re going to learn a lot that will help us improve our technology and balloon design.
Over time, we’d like to set up pilots in countries at the same latitude as New Zealand. We also want to find partners for the next phase of our project—we can’t wait to hear feedback and ideas from people who’ve been working for far longer than we have on this enormous problem of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. We imagine someday you'll be able to use your cell phone with your existing service provider to connect to the balloons and get connectivity where there is none today.
This is still highly experimental technology and we have a long way to go—we’d love your support as we keep trying and keep flying! Follow our Google+ page to keep up with Project Loon’s progress.
Onward and upward.
Posted by Mike Cassidy, Project Lead
We’re all looking for ways to get a little healthier and smarter about the choices we make. Having tools and information at your fingertips might help bring a bit of motivation to your routine, and of course good tunes and a strong community doesn’t hurt either.
What’s in that cupcake?
Want to know how many calories are in a cupcake, or how much potassium is in a banana? You can now find nutrition information for over 1,000 foods in search - helping you stay informed about what you eat more quickly and easily. While using voice search, on desktop, your iPhone, or Android device you can ask, “how many calories are in a cupcake?” and you can follow-up and ask, “how about a cookie?” without needing to repeat parts of your question. Fruits and vegetables don’t have labels, and it’s often hard to track down the nutritional info for wine or more complex dishes like a burrito, so type or tap the microphone and easily ask your question for these foods and more.
If you want a change of scenery from the gym, use Google Maps on your Android device to find nearby biking routes. Mount your device on your handlebars to see the turn-by-turn directions and navigation, or use speaker-mode to hear voice-guided directions for more than 330,000 miles of trails and paths around the world. Dark green lines on the map show dedicated bike trails and paths without cars, light green lines show streets with dedicated bike lanes, and dashed green lines show other streets recommended for cycling.
Team up to get fit
Looking to get healthy with a friend? Join a Google+ Community and connect with others that share your diet and exercise goals. Check out Communities such as Eating Right and Fitness & Weight Loss for motivation, tips and inspiration to keep you on track. Use Hangouts On Air to learn what experts like The Biggest Loser are saying about nutrition or jump into a yoga class.
Don’t stop the music
A good beat will keep you moving and motivated. Sign up for All Access, our new music subscription service, and you can listen to millions of songs from Google Play Music. Build an awesome workout mix or start a radio station from your favorite pop song like “We Can’t Stop!” Miley Cyrus says it best.
Keep track—no matter which device you’re on
Counting calories? Apps such as Diet Diary can be easily accessed through Chrome or on your mobile device—that way it’s with you when it‘s on your mind. If spreadsheets are more your style, try one of several Google Docs templates, like this weekly meal planner.
Get inspired by the pros
Need a little more motivation? Why not watch fitness gurus do their thing on YouTube: you can watch Sadie Nardini and her amazing yoga classes, or Cassey Ho will get you in top shape for summer - all in the comfort of your own living room.
Posted by Roya Soleimani, Google Search team
Posted by Andre Tauladan in chrome on Wednesday, June 12, 2013
My friends and I used to play videogames all the time, squashed together on the couch, engaged in structured intellectual discourse about exactly how badly we were going to destroy each other. Now that we live spread out around the world, it’s a bit harder to dance in each other’s faces and yell “booyah!” every time we win a game. Enter: Cube Slam.
Cube Slam is a video game that you can play face-to-face against your friends. It’s a Chrome Experiment built using WebRTC, an open web technology that lets you video chat right in the browser without installing any plug-ins. That means you can quickly and easily play Cube Slam with your friends, no matter where they are in the world, just by sharing a link.
To win Cube Slam, hit the cube against your friend’s screen three times until the screen explodes. Shields, obstacles, and gravity fields change with every new level, and you can unlock power-ups including fireballs, lasers, multi-balls, mirrored controls, bulletproof shields, fog, ghost balls, time bombs, resized paddles, extra lives and death balls––though you might want to avoid the death balls. If none of your friends are online, you can always play against Bob the Bear and see what level you can reach. If you install the Cube Slam app, you can even play Bob when you’re offline.
Cube Slam’s graphics are rendered in WebGL and CSS 3D, and its custom soundtrack is delivered dynamically through Web Audio. WebRTC, which enables the two-person game, is available on desktop Chrome and Chrome OS, and will be available on mobile later this year. In the meantime, you can play Cube Slam against Bob the Bear on your phone or tablet. To learn more about what’s going on under the hood, see our technology page and Chromium blog post.
Play a friend. Play a bear. Have fun!
Posted by Clem Wright, Google Creative Lab, Ursine Diversion Division
Posted by Andre Tauladan in ads
Thanks to modern technology you can connect with your loved ones by sending a quick note, a photo of your cat, even a smile :) around the world in seconds. But one of humanity’s most iconic forms of communication—the kiss—has been left out in the cold. Now, though, you can send a kiss to anyone, anywhere in the world, through Burberry Kisses, a new campaign from Burberry and Google. And not just any kiss, but your kiss.
To get started, simply visit kisses.burberry.com and pucker up in front of your webcam (this works best on Chrome). Using unique kiss-detection technology, the site will detect the outline of your actual lips, which you can choose to dress up with a Burberry lipstick color. If you’re using your touch screen mobile or tablet, you can actually kiss your screen (you might want to wipe it off first) and your lip outline will be taken from there. After that, write a short message and send it to someone from your Google+ friends list or via email. Then sit back and see the envelope with your message fly from your city to the receiver’s destination across a 3D landscape. The receiver gets an email, from which they can see the same journey, read your message and hopefully respond with a kiss of their own.
For an example, see this message I sent to my mom this morning. All the kisses being sent around the world can be seen in a real-time interactive map, capturing the story of the world’s love. You don’t have to kiss and tell: all kisses are private unless you choose to share.
Burberry Kisses is the latest campaign in our Art, Copy & Code project, an ongoing series of brand partnerships to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. With this project, we’ve tried to create a beautiful experience that comes to life across all screens, and helps connect you to the people who are important to you, wherever they are. For more details on the campaign, see our agency blog or visit our website.
Posted by Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead
Posted by Andre Tauladan on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
This morning we sent the following letter to the offices of the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Read the full text below. -Ed.
Dear Attorney General Holder and Director Mueller
Google has worked tremendously hard over the past fifteen years to earn our users’ trust. For example, we offer encryption across our services; we have hired some of the best security engineers in the world; and we have consistently pushed back on overly broad government requests for our users’ data.
We have always made clear that we comply with valid legal requests. And last week, the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged that service providers have received Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests.
Assertions in the press that our compliance with these requests gives the U.S. government unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue. However, government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation.
We therefore ask you to help make it possible for Google to publish in our Transparency Report aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures—in terms of both the number we receive and their scope. Google’s numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide.
Google appreciates that you authorized the recent disclosure of general numbers for national security letters. There have been no adverse consequences arising from their publication, and in fact more companies are receiving your approval to do so as a result of Google’s initiative. Transparency here will likewise serve the public interest without harming national security.
We will be making this letter public and await your response.
Chief Legal Officer
Posted by Andre Tauladan in education and research
Many great scientists developed their curiosity for science at an early age and in January we called on the brightest young minds from around the world to send us their ideas to change the world. Our 2013 Google Science Fair attracted an exciting and diverse range of entries, with thousands of submissions from more than 120 countries.
After a busy few months for the judges, we’re ready to reveal our 90 regional finalists for the 2013 Google Science Fair. It was no easy task selecting these projects, but in the end their creativity, scientific merit and global relevance shined through. This year’s finalists projects range from using banana peels to produce bioplastics to research into a green treatment for contaminated water. Other projects include a study on the effects of video gaming on the cognitive function of the brain and the evaluation of wireless transmission of electricity.
For the second year, we’ll also be recognizing the Scientific American Science in Action Award. This award honors a project that makes a practical difference by addressing an environmental, health or resources challenge. From the 90 finalists’ projects, 15 were nominated for this year’s award.
On June 27 we’ll announce the 15 global finalists and the winner of the Science in Action Award. These young scientists will then be flown to Google’s California headquarters for the last round of judging and a celebratory event on September 23.
Thank you to everyone who submitted a project—we really appreciate all your hard work. Congratulations to our 90 regional finalists!
Posted by Sam Peter, Google Science Fair team
More than ever, people are using the Internet to shop, read, listen to music and learn. And businesses rely on Internet-based tools to operate and deliver their services efficiently. The Internet has created all kinds of new opportunities for society and the economy—but what does it mean for the environment?
We’ve been working to answer that question and enlisted the help of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to gather more data. Their study (PDF), released today, shows that migrating all U.S. office workers to the cloud could save up to 87 percent of IT energy use—about 23 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, or enough to power the city of Los Angeles for a year. The savings are associated with shifting people in the workforce to Internet-based applications like email, word processing and customer relationship software.
These results indicate that the Internet offers huge potential for energy savings. We’re especially excited that Berkeley Lab has made its model publicly available so other researchers and experts can plug in their own assumptions and help refine and improve the results.
Of course, understanding the impact of shifting office applications to the cloud is only part of the story, which is why last week we hosted a summit called “How Green is the Internet?” to explore these questions in greater detail. At the summit, experts presented data on how the growth of Internet infrastructure, including devices like phones and tablets, can impact the environment. We also saw great excitement about the potential for entirely new Internet-enabled tools in areas like transportation, e-commerce and digital content to deliver huge energy and carbon savings. We’ve posted the videos from those sessions and invite you to take a look.
One of our goals in hosting the summit and supporting the Berkeley Lab study was to identify and encourage new research on this topic. We’ll continue to work to answer some of these questions, and we hope others will too.
Posted by Michael Terrell, Senior Policy Counsel, Energy & Sustainability
We’ve all been there: stuck in traffic, frustrated that you chose the wrong route on the drive to work. But imagine if you could see real-time traffic updates from friends and fellow travelers ahead of you, calling out “fender bender...totally stuck in left lane!” and showing faster routes that others are taking.
To help you outsmart traffic, today we’re excited to announce we’ve closed the acquisition of Waze. This fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers is working together to find the best routes from home to work, every day.
The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.
We’ll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what’s needed to grow and prosper.
The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates. We welcome them to Google and look forward to working with them in our ongoing effort to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world.
Posted by Brian McClendon, Vice President, Geo
Posted by Andre Tauladan in computing history on Saturday, June 8, 2013
Israel is now one of the world’s tech powerhouses, second only to Silicon Valley as a hub for startups, but it wasn’t always this way. Today, in honour of the 84th birthday of Professor Aviezri Fraenkel, we’re delighted to share a short film sharing his story of working on the WEIZAC, Israel’s first computer.
Short film produced with support from Google as part of our ongoing computing heritage series
The impetus to build a computer in Israel came from Professor Chaim Pekeris, an MIT-trained geophysicist and mathematician, who made it a condition of accepting a job at the then-fledgling Weizmann Institute. An illustrious committee was set up to consider Pekeris’s request and initially opinion was divided. In particular, Albert Einstein was skeptical a computer in Israel would receive sufficient use and queried whether the skilled resources to build it were available. It took much convincing by another committee member, mathematician and computing luminary John Von Neumann, before the project got the go-ahead.
Construction of the WEIZAC (“Weizmann Automatic Calculator”) got underway in late 1953 under the leadership of Professor Pekeris and Jerry Estrin. A protege of Von Neumann, Estrin arrived in Israel armed with design drawings based on the computer at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. After advertising for recruits, a small team of engineers and technicians was assembled, among them Aviezri Fraenkel.
It took the team a lot of ingenuity to source the necessary materials. Some were imported, but others were clever adaptations, such as the thin copper strips that came from a small local bicycle-part shop! Despite such hurdles, progress was steady, and the major components were in place by the time Estrin returned to the U.S. 15 months later.
The WEIZAC performed its first calculation in October 1955 and was soon much in demand by Israeli scientists. It remained operational until the end of 1963—50 years ago this year. Nowadays it resides in the Weizmann Institute’s Ziskind Building as a fitting memorial to where computing in Israel began.
I have fond memories of passing by the WEIZAC every day when I studied at the Weizmann Institute, where I also had the privilege to attend a class by Professor Fraenkel. With the release of this short film, I’m delighted to be learning more from him about such an important chapter in Israel’s tech history.
Posted by Yossi Matias, Senior Engineering Director, Head of Israel R&D Centre
Posted by Andre Tauladan on Friday, June 7, 2013
Dear Google users—
You may be aware of press reports alleging that Internet companies have joined a secret U.S. government program called PRISM to give the National Security Agency direct access to our servers. As Google’s CEO and Chief Legal Officer, we wanted you to have the facts.
First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.
Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users’ data are false, period. Until this week’s reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon received—an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of users’ call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.
Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believed—there needs to be a more transparent approach. Google has worked hard, within the confines of the current laws, to be open about the data requests we receive. We post this information on our Transparency Report whenever possible. We were the first company to do this. And, of course, we understand that the U.S. and other governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety—including sometimes by using surveillance. But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish.
Posted by Larry Page, CEO and David Drummond, Chief Legal Officer
There’s a lot of hubbub surrounding the I-5 closure in Vancouver this weekend. Crews will close all lanes of I-5 in Salmon Creek at 11 p.m. Friday, June 7. The interstate will reopen to traffic by 5 a.m. Monday, June 10.
In the meantime…
Drivers are doing their prep work – making detour plans, downloading the WSDOT mobile app and planning for delays. We’re also preparing for this massive closure – here’s what it looks like in our world this morning.
Line ‘em up!
Six of the 12 girders are lined up on the side of I-5, waiting to be hoisted into the air over the interstate. Crews are looking to make the most of every second that I-5 is closed. By staging girders on site ahead of time, they won’t waste any down-time between girders.
Bracing for impact…
Ready for heavy lifting…
Crews are currently assembling the three, 500-ton cranes that will be doing all the heavy lifting this weekend. The size of the crane gives a little perspective to the scale of this weekend’s undertaking. Each girder is 175,000 lbs. – it will take three of these monster cranes to install them.
Fill ‘er up!
This one should be self-explanatory. It’s going to be a long weekend, and we’re in it with you.
Plan for delays if you’re traveling through Vancouver this weekend, and make sure to visit the project website to find more information about the closure location and detour routes. Good luck, all – we’ll see you on the other side!