Make the most of the last weeks of summer

A couple of weeks ago, I took a summer trip with friends. I found myself using plenty of Google tools while we were on vacation: from finding the best flight there and a last-minute hostel reservation, to discovering hidden gems in each city we visited, even I was surprised by how much Google made everything easier and smoother.

With that inspiration, we’ve created a one stop shop at with tips to help you also make the most of these last few weeks of summer.

Here are a few tips you might find useful too:

Meanwhile, my mom back home in New York found some great local activities and museum exhibits, like the MOMA Rain Room, using Google Now in her Google Search app. She even tried some Google+ MakerCamp classes, which inspired her to create her own DIY projects at home.

Post about your summer using hashtag #SummerTimes, and see what other folks are up to.

Happy summer!

Starbucks’ WiFi goes Google

Coffee shop + Internet—it’s a pairing that many of us have come to rely on. WiFi access makes work time, downtime, travel time and lots of in-between times more enjoyable and productive. That’s why we’re teaming up with Starbucks to bring faster, free WiFi connections to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States over the next 18 months. When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.

Google has long invested in helping the Internet grow stronger, including projects to make Internet access speedier, more affordable, and more widely available. The free Internet connection at Starbucks has become an important part of many communities over the years, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or for students without Internet at home who do their homework at Starbucks.

We’ll start rolling out the new networks this August. We appreciate your patience if it’s still a little while before we get to your favorite Starbucks—you’ll know your new network is ready to go when you can log in to the “Google Starbucks” SSID.

High-flying jets of Seafair, mean closures on the ground

Even though the Blue Angels are not flying over Seattle this year, there will still be closures of the Interstate 90 floating bridge while the Patriots Jet Team takes to the skies.

Similar to when the Blue Angels practiced and performed for Seafair, the I-90 floating bridge will still close to drivers, cyclists and walkers. The Federal Aviation Administration requires a Safety Zone for the area below the performance. We call it “The Box,” but really it’s more like a few rectangles crossing over each other. The northern part of the box covers the I-90 floating bridges, which is why they are closed during performances by both the Blue Angels and the Patriots Jet Team.

Courtesy: Patriots Jet Team

Some minor changes from years past, the closures on I-90 will take less time, and there is no Thursday practice, therefore, no Thursday closure.

Here’s the schedule:
Friday, Aug. 2:  1:15 p.m. - 2:40 p.m. (Practice)
Saturday, Aug. 3:  1:15 p.m. - 2:40 p.m. (Full show)
Sunday, Aug. 4:  1:15 p.m. - 2:40 p.m. (Full show)

Additionally, several ramps will be closed at that time. The I-90 express lanes will also be closed from 12:30 to 3 p.m. each day, but are available in the event of a medical emergency that requires a trip to the hospital. Just call 911.

SR 520
The State Route 520 bridge will remain open for traffic and tolls will be collected according to the rate schedule. Good news for drivers, the bridge will not open for any boats during Patriots Jet Team flights. The bridge will be busy. If you need to take a cross-lake trip while the Patriots are in the air, just plan ahead. Outside of those times during Seafair weekend, the east navigation channel will be open to boats up to 59 feet, which should reduce the number of marine openings.
Whether you’re heading out to enjoy Seafair festivities, or just plain going somewhere else, remember to plan ahead and know before you go.

A new Zagat for finding the very best places

Today we’re launching a new Zagat website and mobile app for Android and iPhone that puts the very best restaurants and nightspots right at your fingertips. And for the first time, our trusted Zagat ratings and reviews are available for free with no registration required.

The new Zagat features the latest news and video content from our expert local editors, curated lists (think “10 Hidden Restaurant Gardens Around DC”), powerful search and map-based browsing to help you find the local gems.

These days, the challenge in deciding where to go is not about about a lack of information or user reviews, but finding accurate information and trusted opinions so you can quickly make informed decisions. Through our digital products—and the Google products you use every day like the new Google Maps for Mobile—you can rely on Zagat’s curated lists and summary reviews to cut through the clutter so you can find the perfect spot.

The new Zagat covers restaurants and nightlife in nine cities, and over the coming months we plan to expand to 50 U.S. and international destinations and cover shopping, hotels and other places of interest. We know that many of you are eager to have continued access to our content in these markets, so in advance of this expansion, we'll soon make our existing ratings and reviews available on

For more than 34 years we’ve been surveying passionate locals about the places that matter to them most. This is the foundation on which Zagat was built—and we hope that through our featured surveys on, you’ll continue to share your opinions with us as you rate and review the places you visit.

From TVs to tablets: Everything you love, across all your screens

When I was growing up, my family had a single screen we huddled around every day: the television set in the living room. Nowadays, we “huddle” around multiple screens—laptops, smartphones and tablets—using them almost interchangeably as we navigate through our day. In a world of ubiquitous computing, life would be a lot simpler if we didn’t have to learn new behaviors and interfaces each time we switched screens—if we could have one consistent, intuitive experience no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Today, with the launch of Chromecast and the new Nexus 7 tablet, it’s even more effortless to enjoy content you care about—whether it’s video, music, movies, games—wherever you are, across your devices.

Introducing Chromecast
To help make it easy to bring your favorite online entertainment to the biggest screen in your house—the TV—we’re introducing Chromecast. Chromecast is a small and affordable ($35) device that you simply plug in to your high-definition (HD) TV and it allows you to use your phone, tablet or laptop to "cast" online content to your TV screen. It works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music, with more apps like Pandora coming soon. With Chromecast, we wanted to create an easy solution that works for everyone, for every TV in the house.

Once your Chromecast is set up, you can use your phone, tablet or laptop to browse and cast content to your TV, play and pause, control the volume, and more. But unlike other streaming solutions, you can still multitask—send emails or surf the web—while enjoying what’s on the TV screen. It works across platforms—Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Chrome for Mac and Windows (more to come), so your personal device is also now your remote control.

Cast the web to your TV
In addition to apps like Netflix, you can use Chromecast to bring a broad range of content available on the web to your big screen, thanks to a new feature in the Chrome browser that allows you to project any browser tab to your TV. From sharing your family photos to enjoying a video clip from your favorite news site, it’s as simple as pressing a button. This feature is launching in beta, but we’re excited for people to try it out and give us their feedback.

Google Cast SDK preview for developers
To ensure a great Chromecast experience over time, we've built Google Cast, a technology that enables developers to build consistent, intuitive multi-screen experiences across mobile devices and TVs. Today, we’re launching a preview version of Google Cast with more information for developers on our Google Developers blog. A handful of early developers are already working on enabling Google Cast technology in their apps, so more supported apps are coming soon. And while the Chromecast device is the first instantiation of Google Cast, we expect the technology to be embedded in a range of hardware from our partners in the future.
The new Nexus 7—the sharpest 7” tablet screen ever
Together with ASUS, we took what you loved about the original Nexus 7 and made it even better. The first thing you’ll notice is the sharpness of the screen: the 323 pixels packed into every inch of the screen makes it the world's highest-resolution 7-inch tablet. It’s lighter than ever, with more than nine hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing or reading. Nexus 7 now features stereo speakers and virtual surround sound from Fraunhofer (the inventors of the MP3 format), giving you rich and immersive audio.

Android 4.3—a sweeter Jelly Bean
Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with Android 4.3, the newest version of Android. Tablets are perfect for sharing with others, so in Android 4.3, we're introducing restricted profiles, which let you limit access to apps and content. For example, restricted profiles enable parental controls, so certain family members are prevented from accessing mature content. Likewise, retail stores can use tablets to show off product information, and shops can use tablets as point of sale systems. Android 4.3 also now supports Bluetooth Smart technology, opening the door to mobile apps that connect to new devices like fitness sensors. Android 4.3 is rolling out to Nexus devices starting today.

Ready to Play
The new Google Play Games app brings your friends together with the games you love, where you can invite a friend and start challenging gamers around the world, compete for top achievements, and race to the top of the leaderboard. You can also enjoy the world’s largest collection of eBooks, listen to millions of music tracks and immerse yourself in thousands of movies, TV shows, magazines and apps on Google Play. Plus, Nexus 7 comes loaded with your favorite Google apps, like Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Gmail and Google Now.

How to get Chromecast and the new Nexus 7
Starting today, the Chromecast device is available for $35 on Google Play, and It will be available in Best Buy stores across the U.S. starting July 28. For a limited time, you also get three months of Netflix included. More info available in Google Play.

Nexus 7 starts at $229, and is available in the U.S. beginning July 30 (with more countries coming soon!). Buy Nexus 7 online on Google Play, or check it out at Best Buy, Gamestop, Walmart, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, Amazon, Home Shopping Network, Radio Shack, J&R and B&H Photo. Nexus 7 (LTE) is coming soon with support for T-Mobile and Verizon in the coming weeks. Learn more on our Nexus site.

Added visibility comes to Olive Way crosswalk

By guest blogger Mike Allende

People walking up and down the hill on Olive Way between Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle – and that’s a lot of you – know that crossing in front of the on-ramp to northbound I-5 was a bit dicey. We recognized that too, and took some action.

Recently, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Seattle Department of Transportation collaborated on a project that improved the Olive Way crosswalk at the I-5 ramp. The crosswalk is one of the busiest we have at freeway interchanges in King County and the work brings more visibility to people crossing with the addition of new pavement markings, curbs and a bright flashing light indicating someone is waiting to cross.

Photo of Olive Way crosswalk at the I-5 ramp before.

Previously, the crosswalk was tucked a bit off the main street towards the ramp and the sidewalk on the east side of the crosswalk wasn’t a great landing platform. Pavement markings were starting to wear down and while there were signs indicating the crosswalk, we felt more visibility would help.

Photo of Olive Way crosswalk at the I-5 ramp after.


The first step was moving the crosswalk closer to Olive, giving pedestrians more visibility to drivers looking to turn onto the I-5 ramp. Taking away a little parking on the eastside of the crosswalk, we installed a new sidewalk landing platform and two new pedestrian signs, making the walk across shorter and more direct with a more pronounced area to go to and from. The new sidewalk layout improves the views between pedestrians and drivers.

Photo of pedestrian warning light.
To add even more visibility to pedestrians, we’ve installed a warning light on both sides of the ramp to call attention to people waiting to cross. Pedestrians can push a button and emit a bright flashing light easily visible to oncoming vehicles. This is the first time this type of beacon has been used in Seattle. It sits next to an improved ramp installed for wheelchairs so that the light is accessible to all pedestrians.

Of course, it’s still up to drivers to be aware of pedestrians at crosswalks, and it’s up to pedestrians to exercise caution when moving through a crosswalk. Marked and signalized crosswalks improve awareness to those waiting to cross a street but ultimately it’s up to all of us to look out for each other.

New way to get real-time information about highways into your inbox

By guest blogger Claudia Bingham Baker

We are pleased to expand its service for receiving real-time and pre-planned information on highways in Olympic and Southwest Regions. We invite you to visit our GovDelivery self-subscription service and sign up for information by following the directions below. Once you’ve subscribed, you may modify or cancel your subscription at any time by signing in and clicking on ‘subscriber preferences.’ 

  1. Follow this link to our self-subscription page.
  2. Choose a subscription type (either email or text) using the pull-down menu.  Please note that depending on your data plan, you may incur costs associated with receiving text messages.
  3. Enter your email address in the e-mail address box.
  4. Click on the GO button.
  5. You will come to a “Quick Subscribe” page.  On that page you will see an extensive list.  Scroll through the list to see the myriad options you have available. You may choose to receive information on as many or as few topics as you wish. 
Options include:

Traffic and Traveler Updates (focuses on Puget Sound and urban highways)
  • Mountain Pass Conditions
  • Eastern Region Traffic
  • Olympic Traffic (new under GovDelivery pilot project).  This list will send you information about unplanned, real-time highway alerts about collisions or other highway incidents.  
    • If you click the “Olympic Region – All Traffic Alerts” box, you will get notifications of real-time events within Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap, Mason, Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor counties.
    • If you wish to limit the geographic area of interest, choose box(es) listed under Kitsap Peninsula, South Puget Sound, or Olympic Peninsula.
Southwest Traffic (new under GovDelivery pilot project).   
  • If you click on “Southwest Region – All Traffic Alerts,” you will receive information about unplanned, real-time alerts about collisions and other highway incidents in Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties. 
  • If you have interest in a more limited geographic area, click on the appropriate geographic list under that.
Similar information is available on planned, scheduled events. Should you wish to receive information about scheduled construction and maintenance work, please go through the same exercise in the next section under “Construction Reports.”

Once you choose your area(s) of interest, click on the Submit button at the bottom of the lists. Your subscription has now been recorded and you will start receiving information immediately.

FOR MEDIA ONLY:  Please note that contact numbers will no longer be included with each roadway notification.  To contact communications specialists, please refer to the Communications contact page.

Benefits to the new system:
  • Information will be more timely.
  • Information will be brief and succinct, easily read on mobile devices.
  • Information will be more comprehensive.  You will now receive notifications of scheduled roadway work as well as unscheduled roadway incidents.
  • Information will be more relevant.  You can subscribe to as many or as few lists as you wish.

The pilot project will last through December 2013, after which we will evaluate the program’s effectiveness and the level of public satisfaction. We welcome your feedback any time during this six-month project.  Please send comments or suggestions to

Campus for Moms: Helping women entrepreneurs in Israel

Since opening our Campus Tel Aviv last December, we’ve hosted thousands of promising entrepreneurs and developers at events, workshops, lectures and hackathons. Many of these entrepreneurs refer to their start-ups as their “baby,” and it’s easy to understand why. Like having a newborn, a start-up is super-exciting, yet the days are hectic and the nights are... sleepless.

What’s really inspiring (and just a little bit crazy) is that some people do both at the same time. Take, for example, Israeli entrepreneur Hilla Brenner, who raised $5 million for her first start-up when she was nine months pregnant. Earlier this year, I had the chance to meet Hilla and we began talking about how juggling work and kids doesn’t leave much time to invest in learning and developing new skills. We also discussed how maternity leave can be one of the few times when women can stop and think about their career. We asked ourselves: what could we do to help women with young children get access to self-development and career support and, in doing so, to help more women become tech entrepreneurs?

Campus for Moms is a baby-friendly start-up school for new moms, run by Google in partnership with Yazamiyot, a networking group for Israeli women entrepreneurs. The first course, which ended this week, included nine sessions led by successful entrepreneurs, investors, technology experts and others. The sessions covered personal success stories, finance, legal and presentation skills, and tech knowledge, like cloud computing. We arranged mattresses, bean bags and diaper-changing facilities so that the moms could take care of their young ones during the sessions. Four babies were born during the course and one new mum returned to the program less than a week after giving birth!

At the end of the course, participants presented their initiatives to venture capital funds and the course speakers. Their ideas are exciting—including a platform for teachers to create apps for their students, a fashion-tech meet up to encourage cooperation between local fashion-related start-ups, a 2G mobile ecommerce gateway for emerging markets and a bunch of other great initiatives.

The participants are continuing to develop their skills: two of the start-ups have joined the Campus Tel Aviv “Launch Pad” program, an intensive week-long bootcamp for entrepreneurs, and another will be visiting Campus London to meet with U.K.-based entrepreneurs.

The first course of “Campus for Moms” is over, but we’re gearing up for another course in October. We're also looking forward to sharing the tools and best practices we've developed at Campus for Moms with others, so they can help entrepreneurial moms in their communities. After all, whether they’re moms or not, entrepreneurs can always do with a helping hand with their “baby.”

Scaling the heights of the Eiffel Tower

Since its construction in 1889, more than 250 million people have visited Paris’ iconic Eiffel Tower. The highest monument in the world for more than 40 years (today that title is held by Burj Khalifa in Dubai), the Eiffel Tower remains the most visited monument globally. But not everyone has been or can hope to go—until now. If you’ve ever wondered what the view is like from above the City of Light or wanted to learn more about the Tower’s history, now’s your chance to find out.

The Google Cultural Institute and the Eiffel Tower Operating Company have teamed up to create three immersive online exhibitions which blend fascinating historical material with a sprinkling of technological magic. In order to capture the imagery, the Street View team followed in the footsteps of 7 million annual visitors and ascended multiple floors of the Tower. Using the Street View Trolley (designed especially for monuments and museums) they filmed 360-degree views of the monument’s architecture and its views over Paris.

These modern-day Street View panoramas sit alongside nearly 50 archival images, plans, engravings and photos telling the story of the Eiffel Tower’s development and social impact in the 19th century. Some of the archive material is quite rare and precious such as a recording of Gustave Eiffel’s voice by Thomas Edison.

The first exhibition presents the birth of the Eiffel Tower from the initial idea until its realization. You can then follow the construction of the monument step-by-step through photos and sketches. Details on the inauguration and the first visitors lie in the third exhibition, with photos of people admiring the Paris vista on the opening day leading into today’s Street View imagery from the top floor. Did you know that during the Tower’s inauguration for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, the elevators were not yet in service but 12,000 people per day rushed to climb the 1710 steps leading to the top?

As a product manager and designer, it’s been awe-inspiring to get to see the spectacular vision and the detailed architectural capabilities exemplified by the plans more than 100 years ago. It required tremendous knowledge of special planning and physics to ensure that 18,000 separately made pieces would come together as one. So if you’ve never visited the Eiffel Tower before, want to get insider knowledge or simply want to re-discover it in a new way, visit our site and immerse yourself in one of the most well-known attractions on the planet.

Two weeks in Silicon Valley: Startups from many nations join together at Blackbox

Entrepreneurs have transformative power to build great products and companies that change our communities and improve our lives. With Google for Entrepreneurs, we’re working in more than 100 countries, in cities from Raleigh to Ramallah, Krakow to Cairo, to fuel the global entrepreneurial movement.

One of our goals is to connect our thriving partner network of entrepreneur communities worldwide with one another, and back to Silicon Valley. Today we’re taking another step in that direction with a partnership with Blackbox, a global startup accelerator.

Blackbox Connect brings founders from top accelerators around the world to take part in a two-week, fully immersive program where they live and work at the “Blackbox Mansion” in Silicon Valley, collaborate with like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, experts and executives from the Silicon Valley community. They then return home to their native countries to scale their big ideas.

Google for Entrepreneurs is teaming up to power Blackbox Connect’s summer 2013 program. Several of our partners around the world have each nominated a top startup from their program, and eight startups have just arrived for the program kickoff today. Over the course of the next two weeks, they’ll receive pitch coaching, hear from over a dozen founders and investors, pitch their companies to the Silicon Valley community, even cook and dine together.

We’d like to congratulate the selected teams:

These companies represent the thriving startup communities growing around the world. For example, EgzoTech is a Polish startup designing robots to help patients doing muscle recovery. They've developed robots integrated with video games to motivate patients to test and improve muscle control. You can check our EgzoTech's product video and learn more about all the selected startups on YouTube.

We’ve already seen the power that individual communities have in elevating successful entrepreneurs. We can’t wait to see the impact of bringing these communities together to live, learn and share insights. Stay tuned for more updates this week on our Google+ page.

Bertha’s Big Day: Your chance to visit the leading lady July 20

 by guest blogger Natalie Graves

The SR 99 Tunneling Machine (Bertha) in the launch pit.
The power is on, the cutterhead is hooked up and two miles of Seattle soil await the teeth of Bertha, the world’s largest tunneling machine. Aside from running final tests, there’s only one thing left to do before the massive machine’s launch beneath downtown Seattle later this month: say goodbye.

On July 20, Gov. Jay Inslee, WSDOT and Seattle Tunnel Partners will host a public celebration at Bertha’s launch site, west of CenturyLink Field, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Following the brief dedication ceremony at 11:30 a.m., attendees can walk the construction site, talk with project staff, learn about the tunneling operation and view Bertha from one of the walkways that span her 80-foot-deep launch pit. This is your chance to meet Bertha face-to-cutterhead-face.

It isn’t the first time WSDOT has hosted a “come one, come all” event along Seattle’s waterfront. In 2011, WSDOT closed the Alaskan Way Viaduct to demolish the southern mile, and hosted a final walk on the viaduct that attracted more than 3,000 attendees. WSDOT and the SR 99 tunnel contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners are prepping the construction site for visitors and Bertha is ready to meet her fans. The event includes activities designed to teach kids about science and engineering and provides the opportunity for attendees to sign their names on one of the concrete segments that will form the tunnel’s walls. To add a little flavor to the day, food trucks will also be on-site.

The celebration is one for the history books, so don’t miss out. Tunneling starts at the end of July after final testing is complete and we won’t see Bertha again until she emerges near South Lake Union in approximately 14 months. For more important information, such as directions to the event site and restrictions, visit the program’s website.

More tools, more ways to plan your trip over Snoqualmie Pass

By guest blogger Meagan McFadden

More communication tools on the road means you will have an easier time planning your trip on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass. We have been adding features and improving communications from North Bend to Ellensburg for the past three years.

Recently, crews installed fiber optic cable to extend reliable communication to weather stations and highway message signs in locations that have been hard to reach along the I-90 corridor. Three new electronic signs will provide current travel times between specific destinations. Eastbound travelers will see two new signs, one near North Bend and the other near the summit of Snoqualmie Pass. Westbound travelers will see a new sign near Easton.

We installed five Highway Advisory Radio transmitters to provide drivers with quick, accurate information across a broader area regarding traffic and weather conditions on 1610 AM and 530 AM radio.

We replaced the worn out faces on the electronic message signs between North Bend and Easton making the messages easier to read.

By the end of July, we will be unveiling the new travel time signs and other upgrades. Combine these tools and updates with the flow maps on our What’s Happening on I-90 web page, our Travel Alerts and the Snoqualmie Mountain Pass pages and you have an entire tool kit to help plan your trip over Snoqualmie Pass in all seasons.

A new Google Maps app for smartphones and tablets

Today we’re introducing a new Google Maps app for Android smartphones and tablets, also coming soon to iPhone and iPad. It’s a new mapping experience that makes exploring the world and getting to the places that matter to you a lot faster and easier. The app is gradually rolling out globally in Google Play and will be available soon in the App Store.

The new Google Maps for mobile builds on the design we released for iPhone last December and improves on it with a few useful search and navigation features. And it's the first dedicated app for Android tablets and iPads. We’re also retiring Latitude and are making some changes to offline and My Maps which we’ll explain in more detail below.

First, here are a few highlights that make this release stand out:

Explore: Explore is a fast and easy way to visually browse and discover new places without even typing. Simply tap the search box and you’ll see cards showing great places to eat, drink, sleep and shop.

Enhanced navigation: In addition to current traffic conditions, we’ve added two new features to help you navigate around traffic. You can now see reports of problems on the road that you can tap to see incident details. While on the road, Google Maps will also alert you if a better route becomes available and reroute you to your destination faster. This feature is available only on Android and is coming soon to iOS.
Designed for tablets: A dedicated tablet design brings all the features of this new app to Android tablets and iPads, which makes exploring the world from the comfort of your living room much more fluid, smooth and fun.
Reviews, Zagat and Offers: There’s a new 5.0 star rating system that gives you a quick read on how your friends and others rate places like restaurants, bars and cafes. For an expert’s opinion, the Zagat badge of excellence and curated lists are integrated into search results so you can quickly spot the very best places. From “Best Restaurants to meet for a drink in NYC” to “Best Restaurants in the Mission” in San Francisco, Zagat’s there to help you uncover the local gems.
And finally, Google Maps for mobile is a great way to discover valuable Offers from national brands like Macy's, Michael's and Toys "R" Us, labeled right on the map. All these features can make it a lot easier to navigate the world, no matter what adventure comes your way.

One important change you should know about is that Latitude and check-ins will be retired. These features will no longer be a part of the new Google Maps app, and will stop functioning in older versions by August 9. We understand some of you still want to see your friends and family on a map, which is why we've added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS). More details about Latitude and check-in changes can be found in our help center.

The offline maps feature for Android is also no longer available. Instead we’ve created a new way for you to access maps offline by simply entering “OK Maps” into the search box when viewing the area you want for later. Finally, My Maps functionality is not supported in this release but will return to future versions of the app. People who want to create powerful custom maps can still do so with Maps Engine Lite on desktop.

Helping you find great places is what we love to do. And as more of us use mobile phones and tablets in our daily lives, information that’s useful to you isn't just about what you need, but also where you might find it. Today’s update is an exciting step forward for Google’s maps—one that we hope will make it faster and easier for you to explore and discover places you want to go.

Update July 16: The new Google Maps app for iPhone and iPad is now live. Visit the App Store today to download it.

*The new Google Maps for mobile is compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean Android devices and iOS 6+ when available. Please note some of the features mentioned in this post aren’t available in all countries.

More ways to catch up, share and come together during Ramadan

Getting together for meals and laughs, telling stories, and simply spending time with loved ones—this is what holidays mean to many of us.

This year, as families around the world celebrate Ramadan, we have some tips on how you can more easily keep in touch and share moments with the people you care about.

Check out our new page for Ramadan 2013 for suggestions on how to catch up with friends and family no matter where you are, drop in to live cook-along Hangouts with celebrity chefs from around Southeast Asia, easily discover and watch videos on YouTube, and find the best commute routes that will get you home in time to share a meal with loved ones.

You can also experience the atmosphere of Al-Masjid Al-Haram by tuning in to the live stream from the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information's YouTube channel, also available directly on our new page.

And if you’d like to see how people around the world are celebrating Ramadan, search for #breakingfast on Google+ to see the latest stream of posts and photos. You can also send through your own special moments: Simply share your favorite photo or post on Google+ and tag your post with #breakingfast.

A few easy tools the whole family will love

This summer we’re posting regularly with privacy and security tips. Knowing how to stay safe and secure online is important, which is why we created our Good to Know site with advice and tips for safe and savvy Internet use. -Ed.

Summer is here, and with kids out of school it is a great time for families to explore the web together—from learning what makes fireflies glow to playing online games together. But while there is a lot of entertaining, educational content online, there are also materials I’d rather not see when I’m surfing the web with my family. Google has built a number of tools that parents can use to help keep content they would rather not see from popping up on the family computer. It takes less than five minutes to turn them on, so follow the steps below to help make your search results more family-friendly this summer.

1. Turn on SafeSearch in Google Search
Turning on SafeSearch is an easy way to help you hide images, search results and videos intended just for adults. It’s especially helpful if you’re concerned about the content that might pop up on your family computer, and it’s easy to turn on. Just visit the Google Search Settings page, go to the "SafeSearch filters" section, and check the box to filter mature content from Google Search result pages. These preferences will apply for any searches done using that browser on your computer. If you have multiple browsers on your family computer, you might want to turn SafeSearch on for each one.

You can turn SafeSearch on or off from the Search Settings page

2. Save and lock your preferences
Once you’ve set your preferences, make sure to click the Save button at the bottom of the page. And if you're signed in to your Google Account, you can also lock the SafeSearch filter so others can’t change your preferences—just click “Lock SafeSearch.” Now the setting is protected with your Google Account password. While no filter is 100 percent perfect, with SafeSearch on you can feel more confident browsing the web with your family.

3. Turn on YouTube Safety Mode
YouTube Safety Mode helps you and your family avoid videos that might be OK with our Community Guidelines, but you might not want popping up on your family computer. Turning on Safety Mode in YouTube takes just one step. Scroll down to the bottom of any YouTube page and click on the button that says “Safety” at the bottom of the page—now you can choose your preferences for Safety Mode.

Click the button that says “Safety” at the bottom of any YouTube page, and then choose your preferences

4. Lock your Safety Mode preferences
Just like with Safe Search, you can also log in with your Google Account and lock YouTube Safety Mode on each one of your computer’s browsers. It will filter videos with mature content, so they won’t show up in video search results, related videos, playlists, shows or films. YouTube Safety Mode will also help hide objectionable comments.

5. Turn on SafeSearch on mobile
SafeSearch is available on your phone or other mobile device, as well as the web. You can turn on SafeSearch for Google on your mobile device by opening your phone’s browser and visiting Scroll to the SafeSearch Filters section to select what level of filtering you would like to enable. Be sure to tap “Save Preferences” after you’ve made your selection.

To enable SafeSearch on YouTube’s mobile app, first open your settings, then press “Search.” From there, select “SafeSearch Filtering” and select moderate or strict filtering.

Helping your family have a positive and safe experience with Google is important to you, and it’s important to us, too. That’s why we’ve partnered with parents and experts on free and easy to use tools and resources to help your family stay safe and secure when browsing online. If you’re interested in even more of our tools and tips, please see our Good to Know site, and stay tuned for more security tips throughout the summer.

A new way to experience the 100th Tour de France

This year, the Tour de France is celebrating its 100th edition with a special route, from Corsica to Les Champs-Elysées, giving people around the world the chance to admire beautiful sights as well as amazing athletic feats.

Our recent Doodle celebrating the 100th edition of the Tour de France

The Tour de France is using a variety of Google products to help you experience the race like never before, including a YouTube channel, a Google+ page and an Android app where you can keep up with this 100th edition. We’ve also used Google Maps and Street View to create a new interactive experience that lets you feel what it’s like to pedal alongside the greats. Put on your helmet and cycle along at

So what are you waiting for? Line up and get started!

Supercharge your summer at Maker Camp

We’re pleased to have Dale Dougherty, founder and publisher of MAKE magazine and Maker Faire, join us today to talk about Maker Camp—a free, online summer camp for teens on Google+. Last year, more than 1 million campers joined in, and this summer is looking even brighter. Maker Camp will officially kick off at 11 a.m. PDT / 2 p.m. EDT today in a live Hangout On Air from San Francisco’s Exploratorium and will go on for the next six weeks. - Ed.

Camping has long been a summer tradition that calls us to explore the outdoors, engage in fun activities and make new friends. Overnight camping might involve setting up tents and gathering around a campfire, while day camps can focus on areas of interest such as chess, computers, robotics or sports (we’ve worked with a lot of these at Maker Media). Yet no matter what kind of camp it is, or where it takes place, camp has to be fun and social.

Maker Camp is a whole new kind of camp: an online summer camp that is completely free and open to everyone. Maker Camp takes place wherever you are, by letting you do fun activities and share them with others through the Google+ platform. You’ll make cool projects, go on epic virtual “field trips” and meet awesome makers.

This is Maker Camp’s second summer, and the format is similar: Each weekday morning, we’ll post a new project or activity on our Google+ page—30 things to make over six weeks. Each weekday afternoon, tune in to a live Google+ Hangout On Air to meet expert makers who create amazing things. And like last year, our Field Trip Friday Hangouts will take you to new places that few of us get to see. For instance, we’re excited to take you to NASA Ames Research Center next week, and this week we’ll be checking out one of the world’s fastest sailboats, from Oracle Team USA.

We’ve added a few things to make this year's Maker Camp even better. There's a new Google+ Community for Maker Camp, so it will be even easier for you to chat with other campers and see what they’re working on. We also have a network of affiliate camps (we call them “campsites”), so you can create and make together in your local library, youth club or makerspace. If there’s a campsite near you, you’ll find it on this map. We’ve worked with Google to supply many of these campsites with maker equipment like soldering kits, LEDs, Raspberry Pi boards (mini Linux computers), and Arduino microcontrollers (good for making robots and other gadgets).

Maker Camp hopes to foster the DIY (do-it-yourself) spirit in young people. We want each camper to see how much there is that you can do and how much there is to explore all around you. Once you begin doing things, you’ll meet others who share your interests, and you can collaborate to work on projects together. We call that DIT (do-it-together). Google+ is a platform for that kind of collaboration, and it extends to any location and any time zone. And when Maker Camp comes to an end, you’ll have friendships that last beyond summer.

Maker Camp might not be surrounded by trees or near a lake, but it has many of the wonderful features of camping. For instance, you can think of your computer as the campfire that we gather around, and with more than a million campers, our virtual campfire is pretty big! Plus, like any camp, you’ll get the most out of Maker Camp by participating. Meet other makers, get involved in conversations, do things you’ve never done before and most of all, make something!

What each of us can do is pretty amazing, yet what we can do together is even more amazing. In that spirit, I invite you all to join us at Maker Camp, starting today. Just follow Make on Google+ to join, and let’s make this the best summer ever.

Registration Open for 1st National Roadway Safety Culture Summit

With safety culture being one of the AAA Foundation's signature research areas, we are very pleased to be participating in the 1st National Roadway Safety Culture Summit, to be held August 20-21 at the Keck Center in Washington, DC. Convened by the Transportation Research Board (TRB), this exciting event will bring together professionals from diverse backgrounds to showcase successful efforts to effect cultural changes, and explore how similar initiatives may be leveraged to improve a culture of safety on the nation's roadways.

With the 2007 publication of our traffic safety culture research compendium, the AAA Foundation made a long-term commitment to fostering a "social climate in which traffic safety is highly valued and rigorously pursued." Since then we have published an annual survey, the Traffic Safety Culture Index, which serves as our flagship tool for tracking and benchmarking the nation's attitudes and behaviors on the roads.

This Summit provides an excellent opportunity to continue to move the needle on this important cause, and to build on the progress we've made over the past half-decade. We encourage you to learn more about this summit here, and to attend if you are able. We hope to see you there!

Celebrating Pride 2013

Thousands of Googlers, Gayglers (LGBT Googlers), and their families and friends took to the streets last month to participate in Pride parades and celebrations around the globe. Pride had a special buzz this year, as DOMA and Prop 8 were struck down by the Supreme Court three days before the parades, marking an important step toward equal rights for all.

We supported our fellow Gayglers and others around the world with recording-breaking attendance at parades in San Francisco (well over 1300 Googlers and allies) and New York (500+ participants). In other parts of the world, we marched in celebrations in London, Budapest, Dublin, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo Rainbow Week 2013. We floated along the canals in Amsterdam Pride parade, marched in the Mardi Gras parade in Sydney and will gather in Hong Lim park for Singapore's 3rd annual Pink Dot celebration.

We had some big firsts this year all around the world as well:
  • Gayglers hosted a Pride@Google Speaker Series for the month of June, where speakers ranging from NFL stars to community leaders to Prop 8 Plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier came to share their messages at Google.
  • LGBT celebrations were held for the first time in Hyderabad and Google was there! In India, our contingent of over 30 people made it to the cover of many local newspapers.
  • Though we have participated in Sao Paulo’s Pride parade in previous years, this year, Google was proud to be the first corporate sponsor thanks to the hard work of the Sao Paulo Gayglers. More than 100 Googlers marched—doubling participation from last year.
  • Google participated for the first time in celebrations in Mexico City, Paris and Hamburg.
  • We kicked off a collaboration with two founding partners called 'We Are Open' in Hungary that joins together companies, organizations and communities that are committed to openness. More than 100 organizations signed up to make a stand for diversity and we'll show our united front at Budapest Pride on Saturday, July 6.

Our LGBT efforts are not just once a year during Pride, either. Earlier this year, we worked with Creative Lab to create a grassroots employee video for, an organization supporting marriage equality in the four U.S. states where it was on the ballot this past year. Google also co-wrote an article to the United States Supreme Court explaining why Gay Marriage is Good for Business. We supported the citizens of France by hosting marriage ceremonies over Hangouts and we recently launched a YouTube Spotlight Channel and campaign, #ProudtoLove, dedicated to celebrating LGBT Pride.

We’re proud of all our Googlers and excited about what was accomplished this year! We’re glad to have ended Pride month on such an inspiring note of equality. For more photos, click here.